My photo
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!!)

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.

What we have been up to...