Tuesday, November 30, 2010

a little timeout

I will get back to my blog. Thanksgiving was great and we had friends visit. It was wonderful. But I will write about that later. Now I am preoccupied.

The kids are supposed to be back in school this week. We are supposed to go back to our routine. Joey started running a fever yesterday. He was home today. I knew he was sick when all he wanted to do was lay on the couch. Unlike Joey.

Today when I went to pick Ellie up the teacher told me that chicken pox was going around the school. Then she pointed to Ellie's face. Ellie has some little red dots on her face. They showed up today. Then I tried to explain to the teacher that Ellie had the vaccine for chicken pox. Yeah, I am sure I looked pretty funny. The teacher's aide stayed in the classroom to watch me. I felt like a circus sideshow. Trying to act out Ellie getting a shot. I think the teacher understood me. But still.... there are spots on Ellie's face.
So I think that you can still get chicken pox after getting the vaccine, it is just a milder case. Ellie does have tomorrow off school (every Wednesday off). I just don't know if I should send her to school on Thursday or not.

I have some research to do tonight. If your child has gotten chicken pox after getting the vaccine please let me know. None of the other kids have had chicken pox and this is all new to me.

Monday, November 29, 2010

christmas card 2010

Family Snowfall Leaf Christmas
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Monday, November 15, 2010

morning run, part 2

I am really glad that manure truck got me away from the fields.
Now I am finding some good stuff.

I kept on running past the chateau I just posted about.
I saw this sign.

But it was raining and I decided to turn back home.

So, on another day, I finally follow the sign and head toward Le Mazeau.

First I see the gatehouse. Yeah, you read that right. The gatehouse.

I kept on running down the country lane next to the gatehouse. That is where I get a glimpse of the chateau.
Helllooooo chateau!

I can't even get close enough to take a decent picture.

On the way back past the gatehouse, I saw an old guy, a young guy and a ladder. They were doing some kind of work. I asked if they lived in the chateau. No, they live in gatehouse.
Monsieur lives in the chateau, they said.
I asked if I could come back another time and take a picture of the chateau. They just shrugged their shoulders, looked at me funny, and said yes.
I am thinking that they didn't understand me. I wonder what they thought I was asking?

Did you hear the part about people living in the gatehouse?

I must be in France.

If you want to see this chateau, bring your running shoes.
Oh, for crying out loud, I am kidding.
Or am I?

This is the road that I am going to go down next.

I have to say, I am looking forward to my next run.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

morning run

When we first got here I would run through some of the fields near our house. It was ok, until the manure truck passed me.
I decided to go in a different direction.
So then I started running toward a little town called St. Michel le Clouq. It is uphill the whole way to the little town. That means it is downhill the whole way home.

The road going to St. Michel is kind of busy so I decided to turn off the main road and look for a quieter road one day.
Went past a car restoration shop (think junkyard - complete with barking dogs behind a fence) then went past some cows until I came upon this:

Just ran around the corner and there was this old chateau sitting there. It has probably been sitting there for a few hundred years.

Doesn't it look like something is missing from the whole bottom part of the building? I wonder what is missing.

Here is the gate for this Chateau:

I saw a couple of shutters open and a car in the driveway so I think someone lives there. I am very curious about this old house.
I get so curious and distracted that, just for a moment, I forget that I am running.
My morning run just got more interesting.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nintendo is not my friend

We brought adapters for our American plugs. They work fine on everything EXCEPT Nintendo. Nintendo is not my friend.
My sweet husband packed our Nintendo Wii as a surprise for the kids. None of them are addicted to it, we just thought it would be fun. When they were at school one of the first days here we tried to hook it up. Yeah, that didn't go so well. After we plugged it in, there was a loud popping noise and smoke. ok. Not a good sign.
Rod went online and did some Nintendo research. If you buy a Wii in the US it is only for the US. Even if we found a way to get our Wii to work here, the American games wouldn't work. Nintendo is working really hard to keep us from using their product here.

Rod took the Wii back home. I don't know if it will recover from its trip to France.

If Joey tries to charge his portable Nintendo DS it won't charge. Sigh. Thanks a lot Nintendo. But for some reason we brought a Nintendo car charger. Guess what, it works. Haha, Nintendo, gotcha!! We found a way to use one of your toys here even though you don't want us to.

I am thinking about this today because the kids are home from school. It is Armistice Day. Not only is everything shut down, the rain and wind kept us in all day. It would have been nice to have an activity like the Wii today.

We had movie day instead.

We watched movies on my laptop. We had a Snoopy marathon. Got to love Snoopy. We went through all the holidays. Even Arbor Day.

I can use my laptop here without a problem, but we can't use a little Nintendo toy? Give me a break Nintendo.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

French Halloween

First let me say, I didn't think that the kids would get any candy. So the fact that they got a little bit made them happy.
Before Halloween I asked a neighbor if her 4 and 5 year olds were dressing up. She said they were not dressing up. She thought of Halloween as an American holiday. The day after Halloween is All Saints Day and it is a big family holiday. They don't want to deal with trick or treating the night before.
So, to celebrate Halloween here, you have to be old enough to get your own costume or you need an American mom.
Hello, I am an American mom. How can you skip trick or treating? Childhood would be RUINED if you even skipped ONE year or trick or treating.
Ok, well, I am not that dramatic about Halloween. I just thought it would be entertaining to watch my American children trick or treat in France. And, believe me, it was highly entertaining.

First there were the people who wouldn't answer their door.
In the US, if you are home on Halloween you answer the stinking door (or they know enough to hide!). Otherwise children peer in the window and scream, THEY ARE HOME, I CAN SEE THEM.
Apparently this has no affect on French people. Apparently it doesn't bother them to hear a 7 year old screaming through the window. Then again, that 7 year old was screaming in English.

A neighbor boy, Zach, went trick or treating with us. He didn't wear a costume. He just thought the idea of going house to house and asking for candy sounded like fun. He just skipped the whole costume thing. Whatever.

It was helpful to have Zach along. When the old lady yelled at us. Zach translated - she doesn't celebrate Halloween. At least she answered her door.

Sometimes we couldn't get past the gate. The French loooove their gated yards.

This nice man wanted us to have candy. I think his wife went into the cupboard and found something.

This lady seemed to have a bowl of candy by the door!

Umm . . . this house clearly wasn't prepared for trick or treaters. They handed out cookies. One bag was already opened. I was laughing so hard that I am surprised the picture isn't blurry. As you can tell, the kids didn't care.

Our British expat neighbor forgot it was Halloween. He brought a bag of cookies to the door and handed each kid a cookie.

They do not know all the Halloween rules here. The candy must be individually wrapped. And sterilized. And pasturized. And put through the parent poison test.

Katie passed out candy at our house. We followed all the Halloween candy rules. Even the poison part.

Yeah, the costumes were lame. But it was still a pretty funny Halloween.

bathing suit

There will not be photo to go along with this post. You might thank me later.
Joey's class went to the pool today. (Didn't know this ahead of time. Had to dash home to get his bathing suit, ummm, his normal American bathing suit) I think it was some sort of swim class.
After school all Joey could say was, "I think they make fun of French boys"
Then he stopped talking.
I had to ask what he was talking about.
He said, "I just think they make fun of French boys. Why else would they make them wear those things to swim in."
Then I got it. He had been introduced to the speedo. And he didn't like it.
He wanted to come home and talk to his dad.
Good idea.
Joey is talking to his dad. I am trying to stop laughing.
"Dad, they show everything"
I couldn't hear what Rod said because I was still laughing.
Joey really doesn't get it.
For the next swim class they want Joey wear the French bathing suit.
I asked Joey if he wanted me to buy him one.
He had 2 words for me. NO WAY.
Probably a good thing. I don't think I could buy one and keep a straight face.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

La Rochelle Aquarium and Ile de Re

Another outing while the kids were off school was a trip to the Ile de Re and the La Rochelle Aquarium. They are near each other so we went to both in the same day.

First we drove to the Ile de Re. The kids were not excited about going. They didn't want to hear about an hour car ride. Then I told Gabi that Johnny Depp owns or owned a house on the Ile de Re. She could look for him. Helloo Mad Hatter. Gabi was ready to find Johnny Depp.
First we had to drive over a tall bridge. While everyone else was oohing and aaahhhing about seeing the Atlantic Ocean, my knuckles were changing color from gripping the steering wheel. I do not like heights and that was a tall bridge to drive over.
Found the tourism office. Got our free map. Ile de Re is much larger than I thought. It has quite a few towns. We heard that St. Martin was a nice town so we drove there. If you want a quaint French town on the water with lots of outdoor cafes and cute boutique shopping, then this is the place. It was adorable. We had a long lunch at an outdoor cafe.

The kids were entertained at lunch when a gust of wind toppled over an umbrella on some customers.
After lunch we wandered up some of the cobblestone side streets.

This is where Joey wanted to shop.

This is where I wanted to shop.

Ellie found a carousel.

Then we found a church with a narrow stairway up to the top. As we were walking up the rickety stairs, the church bell rang. Right next to us. Yes, it was loud. The kids thought it was the best thing ever.

The reward was a great view from the top.

Oh yeah, once we got to Ile de Re, the kids forgot to look for Johnny Depp.

Then we went back to the mainland and drove over to La Rochelle to go to the Aquarium. It was Saturday afternoon around 4pm. I didn't expect the aquarium to be so crowded. But there were lots of French families. On the Ile de Re we heard English being spoken several times. At the Aquarium I did not hear English one time.
The kids loved the Aquarium. Sharks, seahorses, jellyfish, eels and piranhas. We were there for several hours.