Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gone Fishin'

Will post when I return from TN.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Snippety Snip Snip

I took the boys to get haircuts. All of them. Including Andy.

No, there are no pictures. I'm still getting used to looking at Andy and seeing him with BOY HAIR. And not crying. So you'll have to wait.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

different world

Taking off from Manchester, I can see the trees, the green foliage, all this GREEN stuff.

Flying on, the earth gets flat and turns into a huge quilt of irregular green squares.

It gradually fades to brown squares, and then... then this. I think I love it because it's so different from what I'm used to.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Nate Has A Home

Yesterday I dragged the kids to four different child care facilities. I ended up choosing the one that was brand new, and second to most expensive. We'll be paying ten dollars a week less for three mornings instead of three half days. But this way I'll be able to pick him up on my way home from picking up Nick instead of making a second trip out.

I have to admit, I was mad. When public kindergarten finally opened enrollment, we stared getting surveys asking about our intentions. They kept asking for information again and again, and was sufficiently wishy washy to frighten parents away. Because if you need care for your child, you don't want to sign them up for a class that won't take place. And I know parents who moved to other kindergartens because they were nervous.

I would have thought they would get creative. Make the kindergarten class smaller and form another toddler class. One for two-year-olds, so that kids like Nate wouldn't be in classes with eighteen-month-olds. The toddler class was always full.

I think I feel more betrayed or abandoned than I would like to admit. And I'm nervous because this new place... is new. I just have to keep reassuring myself that all will be well.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Deck Of Cards


Yesterday we got a letter from the school the boys attended last year informing us that they are closing. Enclosed was a check for the deposit I had sent in for Nathan in the fall. And a few thoughts / emotions ran through my mind.

1 - guilt. Because I chose public kindergarten over the school's existing kindergarten and contributed to the downfall of the school.

2 - sympathy for the teachers, who I trusted with my children, and who must now scurry around to find new jobs.

3 - Oh My Lord, where am I gonna send Nate next FALL?!?I had this all SET! Not just until Nate went into Kindergarten, but until ANDY went to Kindergarten, and Andy wasn't even enrolled...

Most schools that I would like to send Nate to begin accepting children at age 3. Which means that I either have to wait until Andy is 3 to send him to school (which I don't want to do because I've already been having fantasies about 3 mornings a week of no kids) or send Nate to a school that is less than what I want for him, which I don't want to do because he deserves the best. Or send 3 kids to 3 different schools for one year of my life.... one, sad, likely miserable year.

Anyway, I'm doing a whirlwind tour of local schools for the next couple of days, as are apparently, every other parent that had a kid enrolled at old school. Which means there's just a leeetle pressure to sign up yesterday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Was Going to Say Something....


Along the lines of "this wedding was really beautiful" or "it was nice to see my friends" or "I liked doing things because I wanted to do them without having a small child crying or saying 'mama' or bonking his brother over the head and also, no laundry!"

The truth is, any time I don't have to cook dinner is a treat. Any time I don't have to clean up is a double treat. To have all responsibilities lifted for a couple of days was bliss in and of itself. Add friends, a beautiful wedding, and food to die for...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Overheard in the car



NATE: I love you, Nicholas Charles LastName!

NICK: No, call me Nick.

NATE: I love you, Nick!

NICK: Thanks, I love YOU, Nate!

NATE: No, call me Nate The Great.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wedding in Santa Fe

I laughed.

I cried.

It was better than CATS.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Off to Santa Fe

I have already packed my camera for the trip to Santa Fe, and I'm not about to unpack to find it just to put up more photos.

I'm going to Santa Fe for a wedding. Miranda and Jud are getting married! It should be a good time, and I'll be back on Monday.

I love you, internet people! By-eeee!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

All Good Things

Our trip to France has come to an end, as all trips must. But thanks to Andrew's resiting the change back, my body is still enjoying the effects of the time difference. Last night was the first night he didn't come into my room at 3am wanting to play.

I have been strong, though, and have resisted the urge to throw him out the window or nap too much during the day. But today I broke down. After putting Andy down I stretched out beside Nate until he fell asleep, and then climbed under the covers next to Nick, who no longer sleeps every day.

I fell asleep, and dreamed I was in France with Anne-E and Jamie, and we were watching movies on a big ceiling in a huge room, and I was dancing in the darkness, thinking about how I was wasting the sunlight, holing myself up in the dark room. But before I left I asked Jamie to check his computer to find out when Meg and Winston and Emily would be arriving. I was so excited to see them. And when I thought I saw Jamie alone in the next room, another huge, endless room with tall, tall ceilings and a floor that was black and smooth and shiny and that might have been water... I ran into that room, but it wasn't him. In fact, I woke up.

And it took a few moments for me to realize that the vacation was actually over, and that I wouldn't be going back for awhile, and that I didn't even know the next time I'd be seeing my brothers or sisters (OK, Jamie next week, but you know...) And I was just coming to terms with the fact that I wasn't going to be seeing them, when Nicholas stirred beside me.

Before I could take a breath, Nick asked "Mom, did you enjoy the nap I let you have?"

Yes. The nap he let me have. And the wonderful dream.



Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Someplace New

It's true that, over the years, I've been to many of the touristy places there are to go near my parents place in France. And I tend to revisit these places and note how they have changed over the years.

This year I did not venture into St. Tropez even once. Nor did I take the boys to view the castle ruins in Grimaud. (We started out, but it was too hot so we simply went back home.)

But I did get to go to a couple of new places. One is Gassin, which has a most amazing view and a charming lane with nothing but places to eat. The other is a house in Lorgues which belongs to friends of my parents. I loved this house. It is the stuff novels and films are made of.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sailboats


Sailboats are cool. Sailboats sail in water. I like sailboats.

And we now own one, by the way.

Not the one in this photo. This is a random picture Steve took in France. Our is smaller. But today we visited it for the first time. We're docked in Salem (House of the Seven Gables, Mom!) and I envision many fine days of sailing and / or wandering around a small, quaint, witch oriented town. How cool is that?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Thing About Ice Cream

Ice Cream tastes better when it's in the shape of a flower.

But the thing is...

It still melts.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Travel

My trips, especially the ones I take with my children on planes, are usually bookended by the horror stories of "how we got there" and "how we got home." Tales of delayed or cancelled flights, sick children, races through ariports, rude airline employees... I have told them all.

And I know you are curious.


Our flights to get there were happily uneventful. I purposely scheduled an earlier flight to NY to avoid afternoon thunderstorms, and this meant we had about 6 hours of waiting at JFK before we could board out flight. We were zone 4, which meant we had to wait to get on the plane while crowds of people pushed past us to get on first (I don't get that when there is assigned seating. the SEATS are THERE. It's not like you're going to get anything better.) Once on the plane, I got a little miffed when the man sitting diagonally asked for earplugs because "I'm surrounded by children" and was feeling quite smug that the noisiest child was the 2-year-old in the seat in front of him - the one with the mother who freaked out because he started to cry and kept pushing the pacifier in his mouth even though he wasn't crying. Then Andy chose that moment to get a night terror (crying in his sleep, inability to be woken up or consoled, all experts say to just let the baby cry it out. Not good advice at 30,000 feet.) Oh, well.

But all of our luggage made it, our car was actually a station wagon, and we made it to the house in record time!

On the trip back... well, as soon as I took the exit for the airport Nick threw up all over his pants. I told myself we'd change him as soon as we got into the airport and had a few minutes. We spent time shoving the car seats into the suitcase, waited on line to get our passports checked, waited on line to get our luggage checked, and by the time I got to the bathroom I realized I forgot to pack a change of clothing for the older boys, so I wedged Nick into a pair of Andrew' shorts, and stuck his shorts into a plastic bag instead of throwing them away, which was my first instinct.

And good thing, too. Because after rushing through security and through customs, and then somehow almost immediately through the gate and into a long hallway where they once AGAIN checked our passports and boarding passes and asked us the same questions about our luggage, after getting on the plane and the plane taking off, and the kids falling asleep... Nathan had an accident and needed to change into something. Feeling awful about making him wear a pair of shorts someone else had thrown up on, I make Nick change back into his own shorts, and wedged Nathan into Andy's shorts. Thank Goodness Andy didn't need a change of clothing on the plane, or I would have had to bring someone back into the country naked.

After the plane landed we had to stand in a line to have our passports checked, then we had to claim our luggage and walk through a customs checkpoint where a man counted the number of people and the number of bags, then we had to stand on another line to re-check our bags to Boston, where they started running around like ants when we told them our flight was less than ninety minutes way. Then we had to take our shoes off and go through security, then we had to find our gate, and when we did our flight was boarding. We then sat on the tarmac for fifty minutes before finally taking off. Only one of our bags didn't make it to Boston, and we found it on our doorstep when we woke up at 3am the next morning. (Thanks, Andy.)



Thursday, July 09, 2009

Swimmy-Dim-DIm

Swimmy-Dim-Dim is the name of Nick's stuffed sea turtle. The boys invent all sorts of interesting names for their toys and stuffies. While we were on vacation, Nick introduced his bakupal "DrillKiller" and Nate introduced HIS bakupal "boop-bee-boop." Nate also named one of his toys "Hey-Cool-Dude" and while we were there adopted a small rooster figurine he named "Lloyd."

But anyway...

Last summer I signed the boys up for swim classes, for eight weeks, twice a week, they got a half hour of pool time, which they shared in a class with four other students. They did improve, but I was dissapointed that they still couldn't swim and cried when their faces got wet. Then I was dissapointed in myself for expecting too much of my children, and then I had to medicate myself with chocolate and red wine.

This summer, when we got to my parents' place, I took the boys to the pool. They were not very excited. Nick said he would go in if someone held him, and Nate said he's "tinkle his toes in the water." We didn't go to the pool every day, but by the end of the two weeks... see for yourselves!

video

I'm proud. And I think they'll be swimming on their own by the end of the summer.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Franch Fries, Franch Toast, And to Drink....

My father likes going out for meals when he's in France. And so do I. It's easy to go, sit, and spend hours performing a ritual - the drinks, the first course, the main course, the dessert... the trouble is, the kids are not quite there, and eating that much even once a day is not a healthy thing for body or pocketbook.
So most of the time the places we went out to eat were casual, places where the kids could climb under the table or go run around is some courtyard. Places where they served either pizza or a kids menu.
I started off getting just Nate and Nick kids meals, and letting Andy feed from bites off of others. He never eats a lot, anyway. But after a few failed attempts I finally broke down and got him his own Steak Hache with fries. He was so obviously pleased when the plate was set in front of him - he smiled and hid his face before digging in.
The food is different, so it's hard to know what to order. The first night, Steve and I were deliberating over what pizza to order for each boys. "I'm going to get Nick the 'Quatre Fromages' Pizza," Steve said. I was surprised, but figured I'd let it happen. Meanwhile, I was planning on orderingthe most simple pizza for Nate. "Nathan, I'm going to order you the 'Margarita."

Nathan shook his head. "No, Mom. I really want a coke."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Getting My Balance


I think it might take a few days to get back on my feet. Or get my timing back. Or get used to being home. Call it what you will, it's all the same sort of thing.

It's one think if it's just you. If you have a day to sleep and nap when you want, to eat when you want. But I have the kids. My schedule is dictated by theirs. Nicholas, who refused to sleep on the plane on the way back, started crying five minutes before we reached home, and did not stop until we let him climb into bed just before 7pm. Andy, on the other hand, who has slept through a good deal of the flight to NY and ALL of the flight to Boston and then half of the trip home from Lillian's, refused to fall asleep at all, so I rocked him until we were both asleep. Then he woke up at 3:30 AM.

Three. Thirty. In. The. Morning.

Lucky for him I have a sense of humor.

But I did sleep deeply last night. And when I woke up I had the unsettling sensation of not knowing where I was. Upon opening my eyes I tried to make sense of my surroundings in the dark, and I mistook the TV cabinet for one of the open arch-type doorways in my parents' dwelling.

When I realized where I was and things fell into place I was hit with the difference in architecture. There everything is rounded and curved, stone and high ceilings, and that pink-red color. And here, in our home, we have harsh angles and drywall and if you're over six feet you might be able to change the ceiling bulb without a step-stool.

Also, it is under 60 degrees here and raining.

So while I wander around in my dream-state, please forgive my absent minded-ness.

Monday, July 06, 2009

I'm BAAA-ACK!

Ha ha! Due to the miracle of pre-posting, I was able to post several mediocre blog entries over the past two weeks, and no one was able to even tell I was gone! I am an evil genius, I tell you! GENIUS! Bwah-hahahaha!

I have many pictures. I have many stories. But what I do NOT have at the moment is the ability to remain awake much longer, let alone focus my thoughts.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Pack What You Need

I am hopeless when it comes to packing for vacations. I simply cannot predict what I'll need. I usually end up bringing too much stuff. A day into my trip I realize I could have left more than half of what I brought at home, but that I need several things I didn't think to pack.

In this case, we'll be gone for two weeks. That's quite a few changes of clothes, diapers, etc. However, we'll be in a house. We'll have access to a washing machine. We'll have access to a dishwasher for sip cups. And France is not the end of the earth. It's been a couple of years, but I am pretty sure they sell diapers, wipes, shampoo, etc. So I'm only bringing what we need to get us through the first few days.

Here are the bags we plan on checking:

Two Wall-E suitcases and a big black bag. These are holding all clothing items for the boys and myself, including shoes and swimsuits and extra hats, all toiletries, and all the books are toys and diapers we aren't bringing with us on our carry-ons, including a pack of swim diapers and a pack of pull-ups for Nate sleeping. As if this isn't impressive enough, the big black bag also has two booster seats so we can put Nick and Nate in a car and feel safe about it. Two booster seats. In one bag. With all my clothes. Steve will need to pack his own suitcase.

Here's what we're carrying with us on the plane:This is a black backpack, a Wall-E backpack, and the attachment for Andy's carseat, which he will sit in on the flight. See the pile of clothes? This is the pile of clothing we will actually be wearing on the flight.

For the record, we are leaving the day after tomorrow. Which means I am packed two days in advance. Which I think is proof that I'm adopted.

Or maybe I'm just excited to see my parents?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Thursday, July 02, 2009