Sunday, June 11, 2017

June 10th in the garden

Things I love about France: late summer nights. This is how dark it was at 11 pm last night.

Summer is for ice cream.

Sunset... at 9:30 pm.

Potatoes everywhere!

Potato flower.

Noah's corn.

Noah's radishes.

Frédéric's snow peas.

Frédéric's cauliflower.

Zucchini, with flowers under there somewhere.

Cherry tomatoes, the only kind our growing season is long enough for.

And speaking of things in the yard, I made my attempt at helping clean things up by pulling and cutting some of the vines out of the hedge along the back fence.

When I had done enough for the day, I told the boys, "I pulled a whole bag full of vines out of that hedge, and you can't even tell!"
Benjamin replied, "Sure you can. There's not that big branch of avocado anymore."
I said, "Uh... avocado?"
Benjamin came back with further suggestions: "Mango? Lemon? Leeks?"
"You mean the blackberries?" I asked.
Benjamin confirmed, "Oh, yeah, that."

I guess we know who the gardener in the family is NOT. He must take after me.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Benjamin's quotables

Benjamin asked me to take him to school late tomorrow because his first class is cancelled. I asked him why I would do such a thing; He replied, "Because I'm so cute, and imaginary."

This might solve a lot of problems, really.

Then I asked if he had homework.

He said, "Demain c'est nickel, parce que j'en ai pas."

I said, "Tomorrow is a nickel, because you don't have homework? What does that even mean? What is a nickel, anyway?"

He said, "A nickel is a quarter."

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Pentecost Monday swim meet

Pentecost Monday is a holiday in France, because France is a secular country, which believes strongly in the separation of church and state. Oh. Wait. Let me try that again. Pentecost Monday is a holiday in France, because Pentecost has to fall on a Sunday, and that just isn't fair, and France is a secular country, which believes strongly in the separation of church and state, except when it comes to days off of work, in which case they'll happily profess whichever faith will give them the most days off. There, that's better.

So on Pentecost Monday, the boys' swim team had a meet in Soissons. And because we saw another team having a whole barbecue at lunch time at Benjamin's last meet, we decided to imitate them this time - much more fun and friendly than eating plain ol' sandwiches.

Benjamin, doing his beloved backstroke.

Noah, doing his favorite, the breaststroke.

And more Noah - about to touch the wall and turn for another lap.

And more Noah - rejoicing in being the only one in the smaller pool near the end of the meet.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day at Seringes-et-Nesles

When we can, we try to visit one of the nearby American cemeteries for the Memorial Day ceremony. This year, we went to Seringes-et-Nesles. Its ceremony is a bit smaller than the one in Belleau, but it's still very good for helping the boys appreciate their American roots and the Franco-American relationship.

We listened to the Star Spangled Banner and the Marseillaise, heard some short speeches, and some poems read by French high school students.

Many flowers presented by various groups, both French & American.

American and French flags, flown together.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Wherein Benjamin not only swims the 200-meter butterfly, but wins a medal!

Benjamin had his last official swim meet yesterday. He only had races in the morning, but we stayed all day to cheer on his teammate, who had races in the afternoon. We thought his coach was crazy, signing him up for the 200-meter butterfly, but he showed us!

Here he is, waiting for his race.

Benjamin doing the 200-meter butterfly.
Not only was it technically correct, so he wasn't disqualified, but he also won 2nd place!

About to do his turn in the backstroke.

200-meter butterfly - second place!

And... we got to follow Columbo through the forest on our way home.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Birthday!

Someone had a birthday!

And he did not even have to make his own cake!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Ever-improving in swimming

I think this might have been Benjamin's best swim meet yet. He's now swimming with the 11-14 year old category. This time, he swam: 100 meter butterfly, 100 meter freestyle, 50 meter freestyle, 200 meter breaststroke, and 400 meter freestyle - and he improved on every single time!
Noah got to warm up with the team, and cheer them on.

His butterfly has improved by leaps and bounds this year!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Little visitor

This little "mésange charbonnière" (or much less eloquent "grand tit" in English) got stuck inside the patio.

I opened the doors wide, and it managed to escape.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

So much (too much) school vacation

So I had to throw them outside.

Noah also liberated his inner artist.

But mainly there was a lot of this during vacation.

And another find in the garden... didn't even know we were missing a car key. Oops!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dyeing Easter Eggs

Our friends finally bought a house out near us, so we went to see them and dye Easter eggs yesterday.

I don't remember if this was a troll, or a gnome...

This one cracked, but we think it looks pretty cool that way.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sculptor extraordinaire

Benjamin was inspired and impressed when Peggy, our hairdresser, showed us her metal sculptures a couple of years ago in the U.S. She kindly let the boys pick out some pieces from her stash so they could make their own sculptures.

It took us a while to get Benjamin's finished, because we didn't weld them like Peggy does, and finding just the right glue took some doing.

But it was worth the wait - look at this amazing desert island.

The proud artist.