Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so

Signs you are turning FRENCH:

1. You think to yourself, "oh, I need to iron that before I put it away."
2. You open the windows and shutters for some "fresh air."
3. You say an obligatory "bonjour" before any questioning or conversation ensues.
4. You find yourself smiling less and less frequently.
5. You dole out chocolate bars and lollipops for snack time without batting an eye.

Still eating leftover turkey. Pot pie was a roaring success. I think it's going to be turkey with a Mexican twist tonight, ole!

Too much turrrrrkey, cannot stay awaaaake....

Monday, November 28, 2011

That's a big bird

On Saturday we survived celebrated our first Thanksgiving in Paris. First time without either of our families, first time with our French friends for their first Thanksgiving ever. Lots of firsts you can see. We rose early for a Saturday at 7:30am. There was A LOT to do and we weren't even cooking the bird.

In non-Thanksgiving news, we got a fancy Nespresso machine on Friday. Ever since I had a few cups with my friend Lorraine, I was hooked. Still figuring out how to make the perfect morning cup of coffee, but it is a major improvement from the crappy drip coffee we have been drinking for the last year.

The hubs ( I will refer to my husband as "hubs" from now on) went off to the marche to get the rest of the fixins' for the meal. He was determined to make creamed onions (barf) and I was determined to make brussel sprouts (yum). For the table setting, my inner Martha Stewart was on fire. I got crafty and painted little glass yogurt jars with everyone's name for the place settings. Hubs was a busy bee in the kitchen making his onions, stuffing, and mash potatoes. It quickly became clear that our kitchen could not hold all this Thanksgiving goodness. We had food all over the place. Stuffing? In Luke and Theo's room. Cranberry sauce? Living room, next to the stereo. Once hubs finished up, I had twenty minutes to make the hors d'oeuvres and a salad before our guests arrived, um scramble much? And of course they showed up right on time.

Ain't that purdy?

Made with my own two Martha hands.

Our French friends are fantastic. Very chill. They have two kids around the same age and everyone seems to get along great. Now that my French allows me to communicate more than spastically blurting out words like bien! oui! pourquoi pas! I don't feel like a total moron, I've upgraded to half moron status. If only they liked to drink large quantities of wine and champagne it would be a perfect match.

Hubs returned from the boucher with what looked like something the size of a small pterodactyl. I guess our pounds to kilos conversion was a taaaad bit off. We will be eating turkey until Christmas, but eh, I'd rather have too much turkey than too little. Turkey jerkey anyone?
I hope the buffet doesn't cave under the weight of that massive beast.

So we are finally sitting down to eat. They arrived at two and I think we started eating at four. Stomachs were grumbling. The kids are seated ready to dive in, and I offer them some milk to drink. *Record scratch*, silence...umm, non. Milk is for the morning only I learned. Otherwise water with lunch and dinner for kids. They were very gracious about it and everyone had a little milk and water, not together, gross. No biggie, but another interesting cultural difference.

Overall, I would give us a B+ for our first Thanksgiving in Paris. Great company, great food, next time we will have everything just a bit more pulled together, and more wine.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A guide on how to grocery shop avec les enfants in Paris

Step 1: Leave the children at home.

Ahh, if it were only that easy... Shopping with the kiddos is one of the things that I try avoid at all costs. It is chaos. This one is screaming because they want to drive the cart, that one is crashing into little old ladies. Mommy is acting like a frantic squirrel gathering nuts, trying to get outta there as fast as possible.

The thing that makes shopping with kids in Paris more intense is that the space is much more confined and it is usually more crowded. And don't think when you get to the caisse you are homefree. They do not help you bag your goods, they go right on to the next person in line creating more squirrel like activity from mom. While I'm frantically bagging les enfants are running out onto the sidewalk. Then you gotta haul that stuff back to your apartment. I have never appreciated driving to the grocery store more than I do now. Y'all don't know how good you have it!
Since we have been here about a year now, I have smartened up a bit. I use their delivery service, I try to go when I only have one kid in tow and when they are less crowded around 10-11am.

Happy Thanksgiving my fellow Americans! Just another day in Paris. We will be celebrating this weekend with our French friends. It will be their first Thanksgiving, our first one in Paris. I'll fill you in on that next week!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Time to run

From this morning's run.

Since Theo started l'halte garderie, I have had more time to run in the morning without having to wake up at the crack of dawn or limited to the weekends. It still amazes me that it is always dark when we wake up at 7/7:30am. We are on the first floor of our apartment building and don't get a ton of direct sunlight. The Champ de Mars is quickly becoming my running destination. It's about a ten minute jog from our place. I prefer it because I don't get held up at crosswalks, it is not very crowded, there are other runners and people to watch, AND of course the Eiffel Tower is gorgeous!
Cool and misty, perfect running conditions.

One morning I spotted a large group of buff and buzz cut fine looking French men running in my direction, my eyes were probably popping out of my head! As I finished up a lap I saw they were a fine group of Parisian firefighters!! Total Frenchie hotness. Maybe they will be back one of these mornings!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I could drink you up, Versailles

It doesn't get better than this, folks.

Visiting the Domaine de Marie-Antoinette and the Petit Trianon this weekend is probably one of my favorite things we have done in the area thus far. Seriously, I felt transformed having left the gritty streets of Paris, strolling the thousands of acres at Versailles. There were no lines, very few people, fresh air, beautiful gardens, beautiful buildings, the kids could zoom around on their bikes without me freaking out they are going to go into the road, I think I said "I want to stay here" about 20 times during our visit. You can actually rent a golf cart to get around the grounds, how fun! Poor Theo was so tired after all that biking and walking he passed out cold on the couch at 6:30pm!

That bike is the greatest thing we ever got you, Theo.

Ready, set, go!

In other news, I learned a very important French word this weekend. Couvert means place setting in French. Whenever I go pick up something to eat a emporter, they always ask est-ce que vous blah blah blah blah? To which I always respond, oui! And everytime I realize when I get home they are asking if I want plastic cutlery for my meal. Now I have a sh*tload of it and I can't bear to throw it out. It just feels wasteful. I guess that makes me a hoarder. It's worse, I will take it with me from a plane, anywhere. "I'll need it someday for a picnic," I convince myself. Now time to find ideas to repurpose it, for an art project or something.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Halloween Recap

Ready or not, here we come!

Halloween is one of those events I didn't think I'd really miss until we were here. The thought of not trick-or-treating in our Vermont neighborhood with all the other little kids and parents made me very nostalgic. I started planning early this year for costumes because I knew I would be making them, which I prefer to store bought anyways.

There better be candy people. I didn't dress like this for nuthin'.

All four of us went to the Message Halloween parade at the Jardin des Tuileries. The weather was great and the bonbons were plentiful. It was fun to see all the costumes and roam through the Tuileries in our full American costume glory.

Et moi? Et moi?

Theo was a French mime. I wasn't and still am not sure if it was funny "ha ha" or making fun of the French but it got some laughs. Luke got to choose his costume this year, sigh, a race car driver. In my opinion Halloween is an opportunity for parents to dress kids up in cute, funny, ridiculous get-ups for their own personal amusement. I'm going to push for one more year with Theo's costume, but after that I'm sure he will want to be a race car driver.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Great Mug Mystery

I don't like to make fun of peoples' accents in general, at least in a mean derogatory kind of way. I'm a big hypocrite because my French is so-so and anyone willing to talk to me in English is usually gratefully welcome.

We were on the train from Paris to Toulouse. Anyone who has been on the train knows that your conversation is for everyone else to hear. Especially when you are yelling and pacing the aisles. French grandma with her two grandsons were sitting a few aisles away when she gets on her cell and starts talking about her MUUUGs, like Uggs but lots of oomph on the "u." Back and forth and several phone calls about the status of her MUUUGS, "where are my muugs? why don't you know where my muugs are? I don't understand why I don't have my muugs." She was growing increasingly agitated, this went on for a good half hour. She got off at the first stop. We will never know if French grandma actually got her mugs or what she does with mugs. Who doesn't enjoy a good mug?

Every now and then one of us will say, "muuuugs!" and we have a little chuckle. It even has us contemplating our future pet dog "mugs." By future I mean five years from now. We like to plan ahead. Not really.

Toddler time = Mommy free time

Our youngest son Theo started L'Halte Garderie at the end of September and Mama is impressed. The facility is clean, lots of new (wooden to boot!) toys, an outdoor playground, and most importantly les educatrices are caring and professional. They have been able to accomodate extra mornings when the days he is supposed to go fall on a holiday. After the week of l'adaptation Theo is happy to go and play. They have said that he likes to fight with the other little boys, but that's just Theo. I swear he is going to be a linebacker one day. One interesting/odd thing, they are not allowed to call him by his nickname, Theo. They must call him by his full name Theoden. Anyhoo, this has been a great experience so far.