Friday, December 8, 2017

Getting Festive

We are now well into December and feeling the Christmas cheer. Hallmark movies on tv, music playing all day long, and we put our tree up this week! We got a real one this year, as our little fake one fell apart. :( It's cute and squatty, but all of our ornaments fit on it! Julia was very happy to be the official tree decorator after I trimmed it up and put on the lights. Luckily James has shown no interest in it at all, so we've had no drama with him pulling it down or breaking ornaments. We still have to find a good tree topper though. 

James also turned 11 months old last week, and promptly started walking on his own. He can take 2-3 steps before grabbing hold of something or dropping down to crawl. He has 5 teeth now and working on more. His favorite things are baths and trying to play with whatever Julia has. His only word is still "mama." We'll have a 1st birthday party at the end of the month with Paul's family. 

Our next few weekends are filling up with church Christmas parties, cookie decorating parties, Christmas Eve service, and then we'll be at the Bourdois' for the week of Christmas with the family. :) Can't wait to see the cousins!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Annual "Friendsgiving"

We've been able to continue our tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving in France, but in a slightly different way from what we're used to growing up. We don't get any weekdays off, so the third Thursday in November is just the third Thursday in November. We normally have a big meal on the Saturday after with Paul's family, but his parents were out of town, so we had our friends the Sanders over. This is the 3rd or 4th time we've celebrated Thanksgiving over here with them, so definitely an annual event now!

We hosted, so I took on the task of cooking some turkey (I found some separated turkey legs and breast and popped them in the slow cooker that morning--best ever, and will now be doing this every year), mashed potatoes, stuffing, veggie sides (I ended up just doing corn) and a pie. Now normally I love a standard apple pie, but a friend left me a can of pumpkin puree, so I volunteered to make a pumpkin pie this time. The Sanders brought the green bean casserole, bread (fresh roles from Marks and Spencers!), wine, and an apple pie. So we we were set!

We ate late in the day, so the kids mostly played and bounced around while we adults dug in and marveled over how well we can cook delicious food. Really, everything turned out amazing (except my gravy, something didn't go right there...). The real tie were our pies. Everyone had a bit of both, and then seconds of both, proclaiming they were the best pies they've ever tasted. So all our efforts were worth it! :) 

Now the Christmas season is officially kicked off, although Paul protests it shouldn't start until December 1st, I think we're wearing him down. As is Paris, as decorations are up everywhere and temperatures are in the low 40s. Let the fun begin! 


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Week in England

We're lucky to have some family in England and took advantage of a week off of school and work to go visit them. Paul's sister and her family live about 40 minutes outside of London in Chelmsford, which is in the county of Essex. They have two little kids, a boy who just turned 2, and a baby girl who is now 7 months. We really enjoyed spending time with them, getting to know the kids, and going to parks and shops. 

We also spent a day in London. Now Paul and I have been to London a couple of times before and while I certainly haven't done everything, we don't have the pressure to go and DO a lot. Which is not really ideal with two little kiddos. So we focused on what would be easiest and asked Julia what she wanted to do--which was ride a bus. :) A great activity in London with their iconic doubledecker red buses!

So we caught the train in, enjoying the views of the countryside, and started from Liverpool Street Station. From there were caught a bus for a 15minute ride to the Borough Market. We wondered around there and found some snacks before catching a bus back to the Spitalfields Market. There were food trucks and restaurants as well as market stalls to explore. After we ate, found some cupcakes, and explored the market, the kids were tired and ready to head back. We were probably on in London for 4 hours in total, but that was all we needed and we had a really fun time! 

One day we also drove over to Weston-super-Mare and visited Paul's grandma, we call her mum. She looks like the queen of England and has a little two bedroom apartment in the downtown area. From there we could walk around downtown and to the waterfront. They have a pier with a big arcade center with rides and games. Julia also talked us in to letting her ride a little donkey on the beach. 

Both kids did pretty well with the car ride and the ferry trip between Calais and Dover. The crossing over was rough waters and delays, but going back it was smooth and quick. We loved having a break and relaxing with family for a while. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

He's 10 Months Old?

I realized the other day that we hadn't added any updates for our little guy for a while. He's now 10 months old, and looking more and more ready to walk. I can't believe our tiny baby is almost a toddler! 

Having grown two teeth, he's eating 2-3 "solid" meals a day, still mostly smashed up veggies, yogurt, compote and soft biscuits.

He's interested in everything big sister is doing, and often follows her and tries to grab what she's playing with. She can be very protective of her toys and teddies, but is also very patient and helpful with him. She often wants to help feed him, stops him from going where he shouldn't, and will find him a toy to distract him when needed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

It May Be Fall, but It Doesn't Feel Like It

Despite temperatures during the day up in the 70s lately, we've been to some very "fall" activities the last couple of weekends. The neighborhood here puts on an apple festival every year where they make fresh pressed apple juice and have food stands. They let kids participate with the apple pressing too. 

Then we also went to an early Halloween party with other American kids through the AAWE, the association I'm in with other American women. They had different tables where the kids could paint a pumpkin, color a page, make slime, hear a story, and even a little haunted house. Julia went as supergirl and James was a little leopard. She liked painting the pumpkin best and didn't want to go in the scary haunted house. 

It's supposed to cool back down by next weekend, but then we'll be traveling to England for a week to visit the English cousins. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A New Class At School

Julia started her second year of school in September, now in moyen section, which means the "middle section" or second year of preschool. Everyone at this level will be 4 years old by the end of December, and now they all stay a full day until at least 3:30pm. Julia stays an extra hour until 4:30pm to get the gouter offered, a snack followed by some play time. 

This is her class this year, a woman teacher and boys outnumber the girls 17-10. There are at least 3 other girls who were in her class last year too, so she knows some familiar faces. The first few weeks were a rough adjustment where she was frequently tired every evening and didn't always want to go. It's gotten a lot better and lately she has even started speaking a lot more french with us and around the house. 

Four days a week she stays for lunch at the cantine. Wednesdays, school is only a half day and everyone comes home at 11:30am. We try to ask what she eats at lunch, but most of the time she doesn't want to tell us, or maybe she doesn't know. Her afternoon snack is often a baguette with chocolate or jam in the middle, or a biscuit with chocolate in the middle. 

At the end of this month they have their first vacances or "break" from school for two weeks. We're planning to go to England to see cousins over there for a few days. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Our Fun Filled Summer

We have been so busy this summer, I ended up taking an unintentional hiatus from blogging. We're back to our regular schedule now, but here are some highlights from the last few months.
 We got to spend the 4th of July with some friends from work at a picnic on the Champs de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower. We don't get the day off in France and there aren't any fireworks, but we tried to make it a little "all-American" and festive anyway! 

We also had a little picnic with some friends on the 14th of July, France's national holiday. It was a bit more overcast on that day, so we didn't stay the whole time until the the show and fireworks that night.

In August, we travelled to the US for two weeks and spent time with family and friends in Seattle and Oregon. We loved the few days on Whidbey Island where we could play on the beach and go for walks.