Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Georgetown, Texas

Our next stop was Georgetown, Texas, to visit my aunt and uncle. Noah couldn't get enough of Aunt Claire's pottery shed.



Benjamin was finally persuaded to try it out, too. 


One day, Aunt Claire took us to The Thinkery, a children's science museum in Austin. Their favorite part turned out to be the arts and crafts room, where Noah made a house, and Benjamin made a tank.


Benjamin also made a stop motion video at one of the exhibits.


While we were in Georgetown, we visited Blue Hole.


Benjamin found a dry-ish spot to sit and was building a dam. 

"Dry" is not a word Noah thinks very much of. 

So Uncle Curtis knew Noah would also enjoy the small splash pad right in the center of downtown Georgetown.



Other Texas highlights:
Seeing cousins, eating Texas barbecue at Rudy's, and catching up with friends J.L. and Emily Gray in Austin. We went with them to a city-run aquatic park and then had dinner at their house. I tried to tell Benjamin that J.L. and I met at about the age he and their son Zachary are now, and he yawned and told me J.L. had already told him that. Ha.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Our next stop was Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, to visit my grandparents, my uncle Jim, and the adorable new dog, Cookie. It's always nice to catch up, and they always feed us well when we are there.





Thursday, August 3, 2017

Mountain Home, Arkansas

After a short weekend in St. Louis, we took off for our first stop on our crazy 2800-mile trip (4500 km). Our friends Wayne & Betty Nunnery had invited us to their lake house in Mountain Home, Arkansas. 

The boys both got to drive their pontoon boat, and go fishing, and we visited a nearby fish hatchery. It was a quick trip; we only stayed two nights, but we had lots of fun and were happy to visit with our friends.

Benjamin's invisible fish

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

America - in the summer?!

Frédéric was missing America, and by some miracle had vacation in August. So the day after the boys returned home, we took off for our grand tour.
The traditional "train to the terminal" photo

The upside to jet lag is the beautiful sunrises.

I warned them, but somehow Noah was still surprised it was so hot. 


However, America was not quite ready for us... this happened at immigration in Chicago.

Immigration officer: Do you intend to move here?
Me: Not anytime soon.
Immigration officer: Good!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Summer Camp

The boys went off to church camp this year as usual. A day or two before they arrived home, we got this letter from Benjamin. 

Rough translation:


"Dear parents,

Camp was great! At the theme day, we almost won. I'm sorry, because I didn't take pictures, because all during camp, it felt like déjà vu, and, I will remember this year! And also, I didn't have too much time... Anyway, I hope to come back to camp, but I can't wait to come home! I miss you a lot.

Love,
Benjamin

(P.S. I hope this letter comes home before me! Coming soon!)"



Saturday, July 8, 2017

Forest Visit with the National Forest Bureau

Noah and I participated in a free outing with the National Forest Bureau today. They took us on a hike through the woods, and told us about how the Forest Bureau manages the forests throughout France. 

Noah impressed all the adults by knowing how to estimate the height of a tree. "With a woodcutter's cross!" 



Sale of the wood from the forest is the main source of the forestry office's budget, which is then shared out nationally and used for forest rangers' salaries as well as costs like putting out fires in the forests in the south, or preventing erosion in the mountain forests. 

It's wheat harvest time!



Sunday, July 2, 2017

Teenage Mutant Gymnastics Turtles

End of the school year means busy, busy. Sports and schools all have to show off what the kids have been doing all year. This year, we got the school show and the gymnastics gala on the same day. 

For the school show, Noah's 4th & 5th grade class sang some songs for us. Noah was supposed to play a guitar duet, but as things turned out, the girl he was going to play with had already left on vacation. So that got nixed. 

But we managed to come up with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes on short notice for their gymnastics gala. 


Benjamin sparring with another Ninja Turtle.

Noah showing us his stuff


Here's their part of the show:

This was near 10 pm, on our way home - we skipped out before the end because it started around 7, and wasn't over yet by after 9:30. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

But it's not over yet

Normally swim practice ends after the intraclub meet. But the boys' teammate was going on to regionals, so their coach let them join her for practice an extra week. 

And Frédéric took advantage of that to test out the camera my dad gave him last year. 

Noah

Benjamin

Benjamin

Noah

Saturday, June 17, 2017

And final club meet

After the final competitive meet, they still had their last intraclub meet of the year. These meets are mainly so that the non-competitive kids can see what a competition is like and start learning the rules. 

First out of one is still first! 

Frédéric got pressed into service as a timekeeper, despite having been up since 3:30 am for work. 

New lifeguard in town.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Noah's final swim meet of the year at Château-Thierry

Noah's final competition of the year was in Château-Thierry, a town about 45 minutes from us. He and one teammate have been the only ones in their age group to compete this year, but a few others should join them in the fall. 


This time, Benjamin got to do warm-ups with Noah. It makes the team look 50% larger. 


And he eked out a medal!
Noah came in third in the 50-meter breaststroke, beating out the 4th place by 9/100ths of a second!