Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Candy buzz and countdown

Theo and I joined a group of moms and mums I met through Meetup to make (phew that's a lot of alliteration!) gingerbread houses this week.  I love this tradition, love it.  It's a very messy process, but that and lots of candy go great together!  I realized I didn't have the right sugar to make icing.  FYI sucre en poudre is NOT powdered sugar, it's more like superfine sugar.  I whipped out yet another defunct coffee related appliance, the coffee grinder, and viola!  Confectioner's sugar!

I told y'all I had some Martha in me.

This will be the 20th candy that went past the gingerbread house directly to my mouth.

I'm whipping myself into a frenzy over preparing to go back to the States for Christmas.  Between the thought of such a long flight with these two and all the packing and presenting, I'll be at a full-on level 10 by Thursday.  I may be MIA for the next week or so.

I'm tough, real tough.

Gratuitous white sock shot.

 Luke takes naps in our room whenever he is home after lunch which is Wednesday, Friday and the weekends. Well, we call it a nap but it's mostly just time when he sits on our bed and talks to himself or throws things.  The other day he was very quiet and almost had me fooled he was sleeping.  Now I know it just means he is up to something.  I caught him playing the ipad that I had foolishly left in our room one time.  This time he had found yet another gadget and photo bombed my camera.  There were some 50 shots of him making faces, his feet, and some, ahem, other body parts.  Can I tell you how it is difficult to discipline when you are trying to not to pee your pants laughing?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pick up is no pick me up

  Hop on son, let's ride on this extremely safe mode of transportation!

Luke's school has a lot of students. About sixty kids in his grade alone. The parents, grandparents, and nounous gather en masse outside this enormous gray metal gate everyday to pick up their brood. Some days you can hear the kids chanting different teachers' names as they line up outside, really adorable in their high-pitched tone with French accents. As the gate swings open, like cattle we funnel in, tripping over strollers, bobbing and weaving around those who like to stop mid stream oblivious to the fact they are causing flow issues.

                                  Bad angle, can't see how massive and gray those doors are.  Hey!  It's dress in              
                                  black day!

I've met a few English speaking moms but am usually a loner at pick up. I now can recognize certain French mom clicks but I can't say I really want to befriend them. One of the click moms, I'll call her shiny patent leather mom, yelled at Luke one day at the park for playing too rough with her younger son. I watched it all go down and although Luke was in the wrong, she overeacted, arms flailing and yelling at him. Then I had to go over and yell at him and act all incensed. I would love to befriend the international mom click. German mom and Finnish mom are pretty cool, and they speak English, bonus!

Today we waited a few extra minutes for the kids to come out and I started chatting with another mom. She too was not a native French speaker and I had no clue what she was saying! Here we are chatting and smiling at one another, she probably had no idea what I was saying either. Smoke signals would have probably worked better.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Common sense take two

I mentioned in a previous post that sometimes in my opinion the French lack common sense for certain things like picking up after their dog. Well, boy oh boy, that is not always the case! I was pleasantly surprised that at a little fete at Theo's school on Friday the head teacher popped some bubbly and cheerfully served to all interested parties. I said "voluntier, Madame!" It was just enough to savor and remind me that this, my friends, was tradition in France. It made my day seriously, maybe not the champagne itself but the fact that we could drink in this setting in moderation like responsible adults. If you tried to pull that at a day care in the states you would be sent to the slammer and outrage the community. This hypersensitivity to alcohol irks me as if we adults cannot control ourselves and need to be treated like children. Anyhoo, thank you Frenchies and your celebratory ways.

Take me to your leader, masterful tree.

We continued the weekend by decorating our little tree. Yes little because our apartment is tiny and because trees in these parts will run you the same price as an actual trip to see Santa at the North Pole. But I'm a traditional gal and there is no substitute for the real thing. I even bought ornaments to color coordinate with our rug, yet another sign of turning French, color coordinating. The other day I stepped out in a head to toe shades of brown ensemble, as opposed to my comfy black sport shoes, jeans, and patagonia. And people actually paid me some attention! Like, "your worth a glance, beige lady." Definitely no love in my jeans get up.

Saturday night was my first girls night out in Paris, WAY overdue, mama likes her cocktails and dancing. Aside from the schizophrenic DJ, going from Madonna's Holiday to a really long Indian song (interestingly the French guys seemed to like this) and then to Gypsy Kings, it was a super fantastic evening. We moms were all giddy to have the night to cut loose. I don't have any pictures because when you smile really really big you get crazy eyes and double chins and no one needs to see that. We were really frickin' psyched to be out, 'kay? Of course when I got back at 2am Theo was puking and wide awake, what a welcome home!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Christmas spirit

Dude, is that a greenhouse out front!?

This person set up their tent a few months ago along the Place des Etats-Unis. He (I'm assuming) started to settle in by planting a little garden out front, charming! Now he is feeling the holiday spirit with some nice decorations, I love it! I imagine life for these folks is difficult and the fact that this individual has some cheer and a joie de vivre is very touching. At this point I hope he makes it through the cold winter.

The parents' association at Luke's school was selling these cute bags and towels with the names and drawings of the whole grand section. I proudly showed it to the Lukester and he says, "I'd didn't draw that," in a very nonchalant manner. Hmm, then who did? Luke says his teacher, suuuure buddy, and my name is Carla Bruni ;-)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Double fete weekend

Luke's school had their annual Christmas party on Saturday. It was a real feel good event. Packed with kids and their parents, there were games, food (huitres and wine anyone?), all sorts of goods to buy such as cashmere sweaters and books. All proceeds were for the school and the church. Everything was staffed by parent volunteers and the school administration, like I said a real feel good event. Luke got his hands on his first toy rifle. He got that mesmerized glassy look in his eyes, face void of expression, like when he saw the monster truck show back in Vermont. He nailed the target every time too. I'm not gun gal, but with two boys, I'm bracing myself for the inevitable fascination with them. We managed to leave with a new pet goldfish as well. He lives in our now defunct coffee pot.

Nice form, not than I condone it.

You're lucky we got that Nespresso machine, fishy.

On Sunday Luke went to his first birthday party in his new school. Apparently the whole class plus siblings plus siblings' friends were invited to the boy's apartment. We rolled up, along with a parade of other parents and kids, to one of the nicest addresses in Paris. I had a hard time keeping my mouth off the floor and my eyes in my head. There were a team of nannies and entertainers dressed up as all the Toy Story characters to greet us. Their entrance was as big as our living room, adorned with major works of art no less.

I'm Bahtmaan, Mommy.

Thanks for the balloon, bro!

I spotted who I thought was the dad and blurted out something like, "I'm the maman de Luke" as I vigorously shook his hand. He smiled politely and was off. I'm still not clear about how to handle meeting people/parents because it seems like no one really introduces themselves. No one else said hello besides one mom who did the bisoux. That means your tight when you do the double kisses, I've got that down. Parents were not invited to stay, however on returning to pick Luke up, the adults were drinking Cristal champagne, the kids were face painted and goody bagged. Very nice, very nice.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Flashbacks to the 70's and 80's not in a good way

To ring (pun intended) in the Christmas season, I took Luke and Theo for a stroll down the Champs late afternoon to see the lights and the rides by the holiday markets. I felt as if I'd been flung back into the 70's or some bad sci-fi movie. Au revoir traditional twinkling lights, bonjour or should I say bonsoir hula-hoop roller rink thingies (so bad I had to use the word thingies). I applaud the effort to save energy, from what I hear they are much more efficient. But please, to me Christmas means tradition and I don't like to mess with that too much. Bring back the pretty twinkling lights.

See that expression? Pretty crappy I agree Luke.

On the bright side, we found the giant slide and Luke was smiling ear to ear as he made his way down. He was practically halfway up before I finished paying the lady. Theo was pissed I couldn't take him this time but I know we'll be back in the coming weeks, we live a short walk away from all this fun.

Changing gears. There are some things you never forget such as, "if I touch that hot stove, I will get burnt." Well I learned a very important lesson the other day, "if you cut your hair after drinking wine, it will look f*%ked up." You would think I should have known this by now, or just known from common sense. I blame it on a, the wine, and, b, living in surroundings where common sense doesn't always dictate the way things are. For example common sense would mean that if your dog (especially a large breed dog) does their business in the middle of the sidewalk, you pick it up. If you are smoking a cigarette, you don't blow your smoke in the direction of children. You know, things like that.

Just right long bangs Hideous short puffy disobedient bangs

Luke circa 2009, those bangs nooot exactly straight

I have been cutting Luke and Theo's hair since they were very little with some good and bad results. Luckily no one has really noticed and I've gotten better with practice. I know my bangs will grow out in a few weeks, hopefully before Christmas. I'm debating whether or not I should tease them up and try to bring back 80's power bangs.