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A Canadian expatriate living and exploring first France now Germany, then BACK to FRANCE (!!!) with her family; former fashion designer, turned unexpected UNLIKELY NOMAD, raising two children, writing, photographing, painting, playing piano (who knew!!) and blogging - and now... full time student at ART SCHOOL!! (I MUST be crazy!!)

Sunday, December 24, 2006


The kidlets skating at the open air rink just a few hundred metres from our house.

Lily's first time on skates. She started out with cheese cutters and one of thise kiddie-contraptions that helps them stand up. One moment when we were not watching she decided to skate across the rink to get another one that she liked the looks of a bit better...

HEY!!....I thought you couldn't skate...(you three year old you!)as she zoomed around...!!

Riel is like Crash Charley, lots of speed and copious enthusiasm but no abilty to stop. He goes all out and then just slams into the boards to stop himslef...

Whatever works for ya!!

Christmas in France with the children

A trip to Strasbourg to the christmas market was lots of fun, here the children watch the Giant Manege Noel, while we wandered the city's different Marche de Noel which sold anything for kids candy to decorations to regional foods to crafts.

Strasbourg in close to the border of Gwermany, is about a 3 hour drive from Dijon, and is famous for its Christmas Markets.

Then as it darkened we wandered the streets searching for the perfect gifts, admiring the lights, sipping hot mulled wine and looking for a little nibble.
It was Magical.

One of the Markets we visited was a Romanian craft market and we were fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of some regional dancers with enourmous bells tied around waists singing and parading around. Lily was not too sure of them...

This is a shot of the Christmas Train in Dijon, as we also have a Marche de Noel here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Buche Noel

WE are just buzzing with Christmas preparations over here I tell you. I am teaching Riel to cook and we made a Buche Noel together last week, even did chocolate leaves...

check it out,

It was Yummy!!!

5 Euro Baby

Whew...sorry it has been sooo long...

So the tooth finally came out, only took about a week, and happened a bit by accident.

During roller-blading class at school he fell face first onto a jump and guess fell out right then and there. I think the poor child was a little traumatized by the abruptness of it all...Good news is the tooth was found and the tooth fairy paid up a whole 5 Euros for that baby.

Like Beth said the first one is worth more and I think I can go with that.

Our little guy is growing up!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Urgent: Tooth Fairy needed

“Hey Mom!!”

“I have WIGGLY tooth!!”

He rushes over to me; immediately I give it the wiggle test and sure enough it is moving a LITTLE tiny bit.

Riel had been asking me for a while when it was going to happen to him as one of his best buddies has been all toothless and whistley-like for a while now.

After that came a barrage of questions like what happens next and does it hurt, how do the new teeth arrive and what do we do with the old ones and so on.

So of course we launch into the whole entire Tooth Fairy thing (and all you experienced parents out there are going to have to help me out here) the tooth under the pillow, fairy finds baby tooth and leaves a little something.

Riel’s eyes are getting wider and wider…

I for one have a few questions…

1) How does the “Tooth Fairy” find a tooth the size of a grain of Kat-kibble under the head of a sleeping child’s pillow in the dark??

2) What is the going rate for the tooth fairy these days?

3) Does the Tooth Fairy wear anything special? (Yes loaded question I know...)

4) What does the Tooth Fairy do with the Kat-kibble after he/she has retrieved it…surely the reappearance of any particular tooth that a parent might happen to be attached to might just blow the Tooth Fairy’s cover….? (No?)

When I mentioned casually that ALL of his teeth would eventually fall out and be replaced his eyes widened in surprise…and a little bit of concern…


Then it was all real quiet like.


“Can I watch TV Mom?”

“Sure Honey”

Riel climbs the stairs and sits on the top step so he can see the TV and a mirror and proceeds to watch TV and check on his tooth every 60 seconds or so.

“Watchya doing honey?”

“I don’t want to miss it when it falls out…!!”

Silently to self….Oops…forgot that part…

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Boxed In

The tedium…the humdrum…it is starting to get grey and chilly here (plus the chocolate is all gone) …*yawn* and it’s not even February yet…

My kids are at school all day today and so far I have had a German lesson, lunch and a nap. Not so good. Sort of gearing up for a crazy weekend as we have some of our friend’s children for two days and TBG comes home today (at least that’s my excuse). Somehow I always feel compunction to have the house compulsively tidy whenever he gets home…sort of like I feel we need to rack up against Sofitel…(*Chuh*)…like he has not seen our place a mess and like it is my job…*ughhh*

Gosh gotta get to the laundry, run some errands-sort out dinner yada-yada-yada…


My kids more specifically. Riel is utterly, utterly absorbed right now with making houses out of cardboard boxes. On my last trip to Ikea I came home with a slick office chair which of course included a nifty kid sized carton and the lights I bought also included even niftier doll sized boxes. Quick as a blink Riel had fashioned himself a set of carving knives out of Lego, (really)…with such an imagination the child will never lack for anything that’s for sure, and he instantly set to work carving out openings and fitting little boxes into big ones and constructing all manner of magic access panels and such.

This cardboard box thing has reached epic proportions and has been going on endlessly for about two weeks now. Every time I go into the play room, nay even turn around, he and Lily have built an entire subdivision out of a combination of boxes, the play table, its chairs, a compilation of the dissected elements of both their beds including the foam mattresses and blankets. The room is FULL. He has his quiet time in there all fortressed up, roofed in under some sort of contrived combination of things, having dragged in his comforter and Cleo. One day I walked in to discover him on the floor lying IN the barely big enough box on its side head-first-with-just-his-bum-hanging-out happy as a clam. Very funny.

All well and good. But the mess and subsequent Mommy driven reconstruction bi-daily not too mention the constant distraction from the things-that-must-be-done is driving me INSANE. Every time I turn around it is like a Greenspan building site in there and the child cannot walk past any of it without completely losing his way. I have threatened to pitch the whole kit and caboodle, as it is driving me crazy, but can’t quite bring myself to do it as they are deriving such obvious pleasure from it all.

Yesterday I picked up something downtown that had been ordered and had arrived (god forbid) in a box. Riel was with me and his eyes instantly lit up. He timidly asked the sales clerk if he could have the box.

“Oh yes, yes” she breathed in her French-sales-clerky way…”Ve have many many boxes here, you can always come and pick up as many as you like…

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Sort of a ho hum day today, the children are really tired as the week moves along. They have been fighting, gosh it makes me want to just wrap them up tight in blankets with just their heads sticking out, end the day and just put them to bed for the night…which by the way is what I have done albeit after baths and dinner with their little limbs loose and unfettered…as normal.

Anyway got through all the whining and screaming without loosing my cool…pat on the back for me.

TBG is in Germany until Thursday for the second or third week in a row and I must confess this routine is getting a little tiring.

Lily and I prepared all the dough for our annual ginger bread Christmas activities this year. I hope to do a little house, some big kid shaped cookies for the children to decorate and cookies to eat and gift.
I love doing this every year and it has become a bit of a tradition. I love the smell and the tang of the ginger and the silky feel of the dough. It was fun doing this with Lily though at one point it was getting a little scary with two bowls of unmixed dough, a bowl or two of flour and other ingredients lurking around and a big sink of goopy water, what with her intense desire to have one hand in every pot as it were. Lily had a great time in the mess, watching the mixer do its efficient job, sifting and stirring and washing.

So now we have a great big bowl of dough all ready to go, waiting for little hands to shape, form, bake and eat.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Oui Oui

My BIG girl made her very own bed this morning and when I went into her room after she had left for school this morning this is what I found.

So sweet!!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

This and That

The children’s star system is working brilliantly; we have been doing it for about a month now. The kid’s love it and it has had the desired effect of changing my focus from harping endlessly about all the stuff that is bugging me to chatting more about what we like to see…(it just occurred to me maybe I needed it more then they did!! *cringe*…)
In any case we have had to revamp the rewards section a bit do some tweaking and fine tuning as they were doing so very well it was getting a bit ripe around here with rewards.
I would have to say overall there has been a pretty dramatic improvement on the behavior front and they are now actually dreaming up new “GOOD” things to do to earn stars.
Gotta love it.

On an entirely different front we have had a little trouble in paradise. TBG went up to the caravan a few weekends ago to discover that it had been broken into. Nothing to serious for us but not only had it been broken into but several others as well and one of them even had been set to fire, burning it right to the ground. It seems all that was left was but a charred frame with only the fenders left (not even the tires) causing its two propane canisters to explode turning them into nice tidy little missiles that were discovered several tens of metres away. Apparently the culprits were 3 local boys aged 12-16 who were found at the scene in the middle of the afternoon.

As a parent can you IMAGINE????

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Halloween 06

I must confess I am a bit remiss in not posting our Halloween pics. We had our party over a month ago, a joint effort by our Mother's group. It was awesome, we rented a hall, and had the entire thing decorated and ready to go in just over an hour an d half. Each mom took on one responsibility and supplied a game, some food and helped with the set up. It was a blast and everyone had LOTS of fun. Pics as follows.

The Mummy wrapping contest.

Princess Lily in her papier mache crown

Some Faery Friends!!

Knight Riel in the papier mache helmet

What exactly I am doing bellowing with this role of toilet paper in my hand is not clear...but in *ahem* any case....

a good time was had by all!!


Today Riel was at school all day and I kept Lily home for the afternoon. She has been having trouble going to sleep the past few nights and last night for the first time ever she was talking about all the things she felt afraid of. Imagine almost four years old and never a word before about fear?

I sort of felt like my absence in Chicago this last weekend kind of made her feel a bit on shaky ground. Now you see Mommy.....Now you don't kind of thing.

Soooo anyway I decided to keep her with me this afternoon so we could spend a little bit of girlie time together. Well girlie time turned out to be an afternoon at Ikea buying a new office chair for Mommy to try to seduce Mommy's back back up to work in her office again...apparently in so far as unsuccessful as evidenced by semi reclined typist on heating pads on the couch writing blog entries while the kids sleep...*ahem* anywhoo..back to the story...

Lily is so cheerful and so interested in it ALL, we had a great time poking around, touching, feeling and chattering about everything there (plus Mom kinda likes Ikea too...)

At one point we came across a big bin of fluffy sheepskin pelts for bedside carpets to warm early-morning-just-out-of-bed-toes and Lily was very happy to stop and feel how lovely and soft they were.

I explained to her that they were sheepskins.

Lily looked sharply at me with her big chocolate coloured eyes wrinkled into a puzzled expression and said "But Mommy, the sheeps can't put them on ....because there aren't any sheeps around here!!"


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

More on Annie

Today Riel is feeling yucky...

He has a fever and the chills, a headache and a yucky tummy.

Poor guy.

I called his teacher to let her know that he would be staying home for the afternoon, and she said that she could see he was tired and not feeling very well.

The she said "Give him a big kiss for me and I hope he feels better soon."

(In french of course...)

She IS so sweet!!

Monday, November 6, 2006


They were very excited to go back to school after our 10 day break near Halloween.

They looked so sweet all dressed up and ready to go...of course you know how hard it is to get little kids to stand still for a picture...what with all the goofing going on.
Sort of special too; Lily is wearing a kilt that my Mom made me that I wore on my very first day of school ...

One day last week Riel said to me breathily....

"Oh Mom... I can't wait to go back to school..."

"Why Riel, Do you really like it?"

"Yes I do , but I really can't wait to see my teacher Annie... sigh"

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Team Bowling the French way...

Team bowling, we went with our friends from New Jersey. The kids had a blast, we played air hockey, ate a yummy lunch and the kids learned how to bowl...Corny but very very fun...Riel won!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Man On A Bicycle

Today we woke up bright and early (since the clocks rolled back here too..) with great plans for the week.

Today is our day for La Musee Des Beaux Arts. The children here have a 10 day break so we have the entire week to do fun things. I will try to post everyday so you can follow our activites...(if you want)

We had a lovely walk there, the sky was bright and clear and it is still really warm. We have not yet turned on our heating (amazing as it is almost the end of Oct and today I am still in short sleeves).

At La Musee des Beaux Arts was an exhibition of Theatre Costume. The kids were interested so we decided to bring along our pencils and try to do some drawing.

It went well, we also stopped into the Modern Art section where the children comtemplated "Man on Bicycle" for some time...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Star Track

One day a few weeks ago after a terrible day with my children I decided…


That’s IT…! We are making a change.

Well…Here is the change and man does it work well.

Each child has a list of things they can do well.

There is a sheet with reward stars every night for great behavior.

There is a sheet listing rewards the most interesting to them by far…must be the clip art...
Green chip first level takes 20 stars to earn with which they can spend on a first level reward or save to trade. Blue chip can be bought with a 5 "Green Chips" to spend or trade up. Red chip can be bought with 5 "Blue Chips" the reward a big bonanza "Theme Park" day...wooohoooo!!! at the bottom.

And then we keep track on a pie plate.

It took about 1 hour to set up.

It has been 3 weeks now, my kids drag me to do their stars every evening, and they just cashed in their second level “Blue Chip” for a trip to the Toy store after 3 weeks of amazing behavior. We celebrate the great stuff, end the day on a positive note by talking about all the things they did really well, and they are learning the routine chores much more quickly as we review the elements every day.


Huge satisfaction.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Church with no Donation

It is SO nice to see you here....but...the gig is up…

That’s right all you peepers out there (you know who you are…) who don‘t leave a note to let me know you were here…

It is like going to church without leaving a donation, dining and dashing, a blind date where you never actually get to see your know...!

C’mon you gotta let me know you dropped by, I have been feeling like a blogger in blogger-looser-land sitting by myself at my computer painfully pecking postings… for no one but myself…

Oh well, I would say to myself, even if no one is reading it is still a fun record for our kids, you know a journal of our trip…the kids will like to read it in years to come…
Yadda yadda yadda…whatever….

Then I talk to one of you on the phone and you say, yeah by the way I saw on your blog…..


Say hello, bonjour, whatever, let me know what you love/hate, think is stupid want to hear about or just plain old Hi. No??


I know...Yeah whatever… (sheepish smile)

See that little "buttin" just below this text that says 0 comments??
The envelope will take you to email and the button enables you to leave a comment...(let me know if it works ok??)

I’ll see you here soon…and thanks for dropping by!!

Oh and by the way “Shoulds” are not a type of shellfish….(for P and M…)


Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Little Miss Lily Turns Three!!

Lily has had a pretty good time of it this year, what with a birthday party with my family, another with Bruce‘s and still a third here in Dijon with her two best buddies Hannah and Lea.

So what does a three year old like for a Birthday?

Lily was lucky enough to get Polly Pocket, Playdough, a Doctors kit and a bath for her baby doll “Lulu”. sure is good to be three.

Lily LOVES to bake with me and was more than pleased to help make her own yummy chocolate birthday cake.

And then to blow out her three birthday candles and share her cake with her friends.

We played the Lily’s favorite games
”Charades”,“Hot Potato”,“What Animal am I?" and “Pin the Present on Lily“... made even more fabulous by the creative efforts of Riel...

Happy Birthday Lily!! We love you!!

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Happy Magpie

In my slightly obsessive (ask any one) quest to find antiques to drag home before we leave this place I can often be caught surfing the net for auctions that might yield fruit. My normal routine which includes checking the local “Emmaus”or “Troc 21” (somewhere between an antique and pawn shop) for finds has yielded antique bake ware, turn of the century furniture, art, books and textiles…

Let’s just say one (French)(wo)man's seemingly 150 year old junk is another (expat)(wo)man's treasure….

Though some days I feel a bit like a Magpie…

“Geee, (with slightly unbalanced gleam in the eye) That is a NICE shiny thing….“
“Hmmm….wouldn’t I love to take that NICE SHINY THING home with me…”
“Yeah, let me just tuck it under my wing like that….yeah….there….”

Last week after months of surfing the local sales (finally with enough French to understand) I discovered what seemed like a Pandora’s box of possibility, an estate sale in a small Village called Villiers Saint Benoist about 200 kms N/E of Dijon. Listed on the site were 5 armoires of varying design and age. (Perhaps “THE” armoire?? )

But....Could I pull it off??

FIRST-(FOREMOST)-Convince Bruce it is a good idea.
SECOND-Find a babysitter on short notice
THIRD- Rent a truck to bring home any sort of delightful (large) thing we might find.

Sunday morning found us at the Hertz rental depot picking up a cube van…(nothing like pulling up at an estate auction full of seasoned professional antique dealers with a rental cube van…)

Villiers Saint Beniost clung to the road side like grapes to a vine, the painted claims of long dead merchants peeling from crumbling buildings of half timber, brick and stone. After a quick quiche and a pastry run, while picking up on the gossip from the local pattissier, we wound our way to the chateau through a mossy hardwood forest.

There we found a romantic medieval cottage with its pigonnier, series of pruned hedgerows, gardens and a reflective reservoir stocked with fish for watering the garden. The cottage, rich with the resonance of inhabitants past stood sturdily over heavily beamed ceilings and massive hewn stone fireplaces. Invited inside by the auctioneer to “fait la tour” we glided over the patina of slipper polished tile to view its treasures.

Sort of like a 70's French film set, blustery red faced collectors, stylish jewelry types, well heeled bourgeouis and a few grand old dames , they were all there, plus of course the two amateurs with the Hertz truck.

Needless to say four hours later found the two tired but satisfied amateurs struggling to dismantle a very old and very dusty armoire…

Makes the Magpie happy…

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Badge of Honor

Riel is a carbon copy of me in little boy format. He can be very gentle, funny and gregarious and at the same time kind of barky…oooh who knew our kids would be such accurate mirrors of our own personalities…

He is so sweet now that he has started CP, the French version of Grade one. He sort of wears it like a badge of honor. He is very proud of himself since he has HOMEWORK to do unlike his little sister (underprivileged home-work-less child she is who is just 3) and approaches it all with great seriousness.
He adores his teacher and she tells me he is a dream.

Riel can now go into the school by himself which is a big deal if you are 6 (or his mother watching carefully from the car) and we have just removed the child lock form his side of the car door…you know the stages of independence.

On my return from dropping Lily off in her class I have just discovered that I can catch a glimpse of Riel intently setting up his things at his desk. So I wait to catch his eye to blow him a kiss silently across the room and then I do.

I love the way his eyes light up with a start when he sees me and secretly sends one back.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Helmets and Crowns

So I have to write about our last Sunday, it was sort of like a bear (or rather mother bear and her young) coming out of hibernation….With the two weeks of stress getting over jet lag and back into the rhythm of school, Bruce gone for a week…Lily yelling and then Riel yelling at her and then me yelling….my goodness why are we ALL yelling????

Figuring out all the details for school every morning in which order everyone does what and all the minutae of what makes for a smooth or rocky start to the day…not too mention all the bureaucratic paper work imaginable for school activities, fees to be paid, photos signed, permission slips delivered…. we emerged **ahhhhh** into the sunshine of a weekend day.

Suddenly we all seemed refreshed, rested and ready. At the same time. Miraculous.

Soooo… what to do.

Ok Mom has a great idea….. let’s do papier mache for your Halloween costumes!!!!!!

(enthusiastic yes it is a great idea pitch to kids who have absolutely no idea what in the world I am talking about…)

What am I talking about?? (ever do Papier Mache with a three year old??)

So I get busy

and mix up 8 (please note quantity) cups of sticky warm gloopy paste and strip kids down to skivvies and we all enthusiastically get to work.

A crown for Lily

and a knights helmet for Riel.

Everything was going so well until some one’s elbow connected with the gloop and then you guessed it….

Oh la la.

This and That and the Ostriches

Sooo...not much going on so exciting here, as most of you already know we are still contemplating a move to Germany, still awaiting a final contract. Bruce has been looking at houses in Hannover, even though we both knew this was death... to find one before a final contract has been tendered, haggled etc. You get the idea.

So of course we have found the impossible, a big (old) house near the centre, with a garden and lots of room for all of us, all of our stuff and all of our guests (for seemingly the right $$ still more amazing) but still no contract...urghh! So we can't move forward. Stuck like check mate in a great big game of chess. I knew this was going to happen. So I have been forced once again from my nice comfy ostrich hole back to the edge of my seat. (I was doing so well!!)

**I hate that**

Not only that but we have had some calls to rent the house at home...again forcing me to contemplate the future...It has been so nice over here just us and chocolate croissants and of course the ostriches.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Monica's Spanish Tortilla

Mom’s Group Picnic.

We had tried to arrange it for weeks in the early summer and finally by consensus decided it had to wait until September since no more than two of us could make it on any prospective weekend. Our group is great, it is always nice to see everyone, hear about all the fun things from each family’s summer activities, share a glass of wine and of course lots of jokes. In the end a reunion of sorts.

We got to nibble Corinne's quiche, Jose's yummy pink pie, keep everyones fingers off Susie's sandwiches (just for the kiddies!!) Monicas's Spanish tortilla, Natalie's chick peas and Brice's perfect cafe. Yum yum.

The kids just had a blast... racing around. As the disparate ages and stages seem to change so quickly amongst them new alliances are always seemingly being forged. It has been super watching the bumps grow, babies being born and now toddlers and kids zooming around.

It is really nice to have perspectives from so many different places, hearing of interesting journeys planned, and taken, our next destinations as it seems some of us are nearing the end of our stay. We are French, British, Dutch, Mexican and Canadian. The common denominator our children at the beginning (and our sanity), our common language, a coffee, and now it seems good friends.

The motley crew.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

So to those of you who have been checking and have had no blog joy my apologies.

I will try to post a little more regularly and try to get over my blog fright…kind of like stage fright.
Let me know what you want to hear about. (Is mundane OK??)

So we had a fabulous trip back to France, the gods were all looking the right way (either away from us or towards us not sure….) We had bulkhead seat so the kids could stretch out . I could stand sleepy guard (not sure where they will go on a plane but none the less feel compelled) and we all managed to get a little shut eye….tho I caught Riel peeping a few times at whatever in flight (“in fright” in his case) adult movie was on the big screen.

The kids (I have to hand it to them) really seem to know the drill now and were just as good as gold all round. Our train trip was uneventful even tho there was some Old "Gaseous Grand Dame" in the truest sense of the word who happened to have the 4th of our 4 seat booth (to her obvious delight) giving us the hairy eyeball for most of the trip. Like it is a crime to be a kid. Sheesh.

So we are back in Dijon.
You ever feel like you are moving from one series of piles to another?
For this summer for us it was a rather consistent stream of

**pack** unpack** pack**laundry** pack** unpack** pack**laundry**

and then all over again. I guess I have nothing to complain about.

I must confess I was starting to feel a pull to come back here around the start of school (quelle surprise), as it is hard to leave home and all the nearest and dearest. As you can see by the photo went throught this bizarre uncontrollably tacky desire for Canadiana... even bought some good old red and white roots to see if I have the guts to wear it.

Sooo..We are now back in the throws of settling into the new routine for the school year. Riel is starting "CP" which is the French equivalent to Grade one and Lily is in “Petite Section” like PRE jk (if you can believe that). For those of you who may not know the school day is staggeringly long, starts at 8:45 and ends at 4:45.Oh my goodness!!! Poor little souls. Riel is so proud of his new “homework” he brings home every night. (See how long that lasts….)

The kids are settling in better than ever before after the jetlag. So either they are figuring it out or we are. (not sure)??

It seems to be a case of anticipating the natural rhythms of the last time zone and not letting them fall asleep when their bodies want them to until the “new” right time in the current zone.
No easy task …like feeding them candy non-stop all the way to my Mom’s on the Canada end while singing songs at the top of our lungs to bribing them with movies to keep them up at this end…

Oh La La.
"A Sailing boy"
Riel with a bit of trepidation departing with his dad, his uncle and his Grandpa for a sail across Lake Ontario. The first night it was very windy and what else blowing out of the wrong direction, so they had to turn around and go the other way than intended. Gladly it meant a nice downwind sail directly across the lake from the Eastern side of Toronto to a small historic village called Niagara on the Lake.

“Children of the Corn”
Riel is back from his sailing trip and we are shucking corn for supper, Bruce text messaged me at 5A.M “Made it” so presumably he is safely back in France. (I just heard my phone go bloop bloop…)
The cottage has a fabulous hammock right on the edge of the bluff overlooking the lake, great for a book or a romp with the kids or…shucking corn.
It has been unseasonably cold and windy so even thought the lake has been glorious in its surf I must confess our visions of sand digging and sunbathing are fading just like our tans from last week. 

"Bubbling with Lily on the front lawn"
It was so great to be able to spend a little quality time with just Lily this week while Riel was with his Dad on the boat. We did some crafts, spent lots of time reading and napping together, swung on the swing and just chatted. It is amazing what a 2 year old has to say. Lily got her own special pedicure as well.
She is always so full of ideas and questions. Such an great age. My Little Lily.

"Thanks Mom"
Oh my goodness I LOVE visiting with my mom, just past those angst ridden 30’s into a really wonderful place where you forgive all those perceived “mistakes” and into a great space where you really appreciate them for the great and amazing women they are.
We had such a fabulous time, every evening just talking and us both doing our own quiet thing while thankfully this kids slept exhausted from the day activities.
My mom is someone I can really be with and really be myself with….what can be better than that??
I admire her, all the amazing things she does, so many talents and skills always learning and always doing and like myself a little more than obsessed. I love to see her with my kids, it makes me realize all the great gifts she has given me by just being herself.

Thanks Mom.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Big Four-O

Decorate Daddy...

Star Treatment

We Love Daddy



Thursday, August 24, 2006

Oh my goodness the torment continues….

I actually had an almost panic attack when Bruce told me that indeed they had tendered an offer…you mean I might actually know where we will be living?

The normal has become not knowing and suddenly I appreciated the freedom that no plan allows…everything is possible, there is no down side- no upside- just one great big possibility.

And now we might actually know??? No way.

Back to the 1000 Islands

We have had Bruce’s family all week… it has been so nice to have people around who really know us and are interested in all the minutiae of our lives. I think they were a bit shocked by the new belligerent Lily as she bellows her way out of the last half of her 2nd like a lamb out like a Lion for her. (I am shocked!!) Why is it that all those normal developmental stages catch you by surprise anyway… She is still her sweet funny self in between all those No’s.
We had a great time, lots of good meals and conversations. It feels so easy for us to be with them. We miss them.

Then a really good friend of mine from my college days dropped y for several days with her little boy…so good to see how the great people in your life really just don’t change…

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Blue Belly Button

When asked why her belly button was Blue Lily said matter of factly…Because I colored it!!
So why is that adults are so slow on the uptake anyway??

So finally after a week or 10 days in Canada of “other things” we have finally arrived in the 1000 Islands to relax and unwind. In true Canadian tradition, the cottage is earthy, has a screen door that swings and slams and we have a fabulous view of the lake or in this case the Saint Lawrence river.
We can hear the loons calling at night, and the first night we were here we observed a heron feeding by the little willow tree on an island metres from our dock. This morning I counted 16 adolescent ducks nibbling on river grass near the shoreline.

The first day is always frenetic as the children instinctively explore every inch of our digs as we discover together all the dos and don’ts for anyone under the age of 10. Then we settle into a bit of a routine. I made a huge trip to Dollarama and came home with almost every craft supply they had (I think) so we can do a different craft every day. This morning we made magic wands out of errant tree branches and sprinkled them with “Magic Dust” in preparation for their first solo spells. We have a few days of just ourselves to ourselves before our family and friends arrive. A nice reprieve from the last weeks of activity.

The kids and Bruce are setting a fire ready to light to roast marshmallows before bed and the meet is thawing in the sink for tonight’s barbeque.

A perfect cottage evening…Oh my…where is my glass of wine anyway?

Monday, July 31, 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

Ode to the Sling

I have carried both our children for endless hours in a sling fabricated with a plaid fishermans skirt. The sling was becoming ratty the same way a favourite doll might have had its eyes loved off.

It was purchased years ago on crowded ferry dock while leaving Ko Tao on the other side of the world. The long journey taking me there had been one to mark my life in ways almost to profound to record. The sling had been a skirt, a table cloth, a blanket on chilly journeys, a headcover and now it like my life had morphed into a baby carrier. It had been soaked and cleansed of soil to varied to record, imbueing it with a karma befitting a humble peice of cloth which had done so much. Now we carried it everywhere with us, tucked neatly into our backpack in case a tired child might be in need of a lift.

Fast Forward to Spain.
We spied the immense 7th century church on the way by, high and distant on terraced hills, hunkered back to us in silent vigil. The view was spectacular with rolling hills as far as the eye could see, the church in the foreground and an ancient and tumbled down villaged tucked in the middle.

We returned to circle the hill trying to find in vain a road which would lead directly to the place. We finally gave up our search and decided to park the car and hike through the already cut bleached wheatfields. From the top of a domed hill directly beside the church, we gazed in all directions over the barren landscape imagining oursleves ancient warriors awaiting pagan enemies. About halfway down we found an intriguing series of body sized depressions with slightly heaped earth around the edges and lots of scattered stones but no more. The natural vantage point dictated the site of ancient stronghold, yet the ground was barren of clues save the odd bone. The church sat in mute observation seemimgly bemused at our scratchings as we scoured for evidence of a surely magical past.

Having exhausted our curiosity (and water supply) we waited for Bruce to hike back to retreive the car. Lily had peed her pants so was sitting bottom airing in the shade. I had put our backpack containing the sling under her tender little self to protect her from the pavement. When he arrived we loaded the car up with kids, hot and tired and ready for the air conditioning. Lily's rinsed pants hung tucked into the top of the closed window to air dry in the wind, flapping like a lost crow.

We did not discover that we had forgotten the back pack until the next day when we went to retireve something or other for our next adventure.

It was, we decided, worth it to make the trip back to try to retrieve the sling but when we arrived we discovered that the backpack was gone. Where did it go? Taken we assumed by some traveller like ourselves intrigued by the old church in the middle of nowhere and feeling the need for an unclaimed backpack. Feeling wistful and foolishly sentimental we headed back hoping the sling would continue to find a place of value in someones life, but also knowing that like the church's secrets the answer would never be yielded to us.

Fish Upstream

Onward East towards Rioja and further south. We began the climb up and over the Pico's D'Europa, passing 4 km under the mountains by tunnel ( about waiting for the light...). After crossing the green peaks we discovered a completely arid and wind worn mountain desert on the other side which gradually made way to miles upon miles of undulating just shorn wheat fields, sun bleached and dry.
Now we understood why the Spanish have siesta from 12-5, and dine at 10 P.M in the cooling evening.

We spent a day in Burgos and visited its most famous and impressive cathedral there (all the godliness should be soaking in soon no?) as well as had a walk around the old centre. We chilled our hot feet in (what we assumed were) the Pilgrim foot baths along the "Rambla", a long shaded pedestrian collonade while we keeping a wary eye out for the Fountain Police.

A pilgrimage trail (Camino Santiago de Compostella) winds from the East to West culminating in the historic religious centre of Santiago. Its route slices off the northern most third of the countrywith its many paths. As we wound our way eastward, fish upstream, we saw many pilgrims walking silently, each determined in the heat to make the passage. Hats,backpacks and walking sticks, most with shiny brown foreheads, some with brows knit in concentration and all with eyes focused far in the distance along the trail.

What we have been up to...