Monday, June 29, 2009

Bragging Rights

Hello Everyone!

I am very proud to report that Max and Josey both graduated to the next class here in Bouzigues! Remember, they spoke almost no French a mere 9 months ago. Therefore, it was not a "given" that they would pass their grades this year. Now, they are advancing to the next grade with their friends. With very high praise from their teachers, too. Yay!!

I will tell you more about their school year soon.

Alex . . . well, she is currently "infuriated" with me. Therefore, I dare not volunteer any information on her grades.

We will be in California in less than 2 weeks. Wow!

Love to all!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dado's Back & London with the Family

Dado’s flight to the US in May was a 24-hour, 3-plane nightmare. In the hopes of making his return flight to Europe less onerous, he took a direct 13-hour flight to London. We were there, at the Sheraton Heathrow, waiting impatiently for him to arrive. Much to our delight, he showed up at our hotel room at least an hour sooner than we expected. Yeah!!

It was so cool. After we all had our kisses & hugs (Almost more, since when he opened the door, I was only half-dressed! Like I said, he was an hour earlier than we expected. He he he.), Dado whipped open suitcases and started tossing presents around. The kids were practically falling over themselves and Dado, showing him new birthday gifts, the newly removed molar, etc., while he was showing us his goodies. It was the chaos that my family thrives on, and it was a joy to see.

We stayed at the Sheraton Heathrow long enough for Dado to shower and shave, then we were off to the Marriott Marble Arch in Londontown. We stayed there 3 nights, and it was a great hotel. We had a large room with a sofa bed for the kids, and there was a pool where the kids had a great time swimming.

While in London, we shopped, did a double-decker bus tour, took a short cruise on the Thames, toured the Tower of London, walked on the Tower Bridge, and we visited the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum.

Max was enthralled by Big Ben. Did you know that Big Ben is actually the name of the huge bell inside the clock tower? The tower has its own name, which I can’t remember right now.

Most of us decided that the Tower of London was our highlight of London. It was very sad, though. I actually sat on a bench, and we had a moment of family discussion and silence related to the people who lost their lives there.

Right now, there is an exhibition of King Henry XIII’s armor and weapons at the Tower. It was quite a cool exhibition!

The kids took more pictures than I did this time, so I will have to upload some from their cameras later.

Now we are home in Bouzigues, adjusting to “normal” life with Dado back at home. Yeah!

Love to all!!

Merci Mille Fois a Sandra, Michelle, et Jean-Louis

I am very grateful to have wonderful friends – family now!! -- in France. While Dado was in the US, Sandra, Jean-Louis, and Michelle all looked after me and the kids.
  • We were invited for dinners, parties, and swimming.
  • They were there every time I needed special help living in France (for example, writing a letter to the bank to cancel an automatic withdraw).
  • They provided emotional support!!

Merci mille fois Sandra, Michelle, and Jean-Louis!! We appreciate everything you do for us, and we are very grateful to have you in our lives.

Here are some photo highlights . . .

Max swinging in the garden

Josey and Victoria playing in the pool

Stephanie sipping margaritas, complete with salt provided by my Aunt Julie

All the kids frolicking in the pool - 9 kids and not a single fight the entire day!

Mmmmm - fresh paella, homemade by Sandra & Jean-Louis. Deeeelicious!

Love to all!!

Josey Loses a Molar!

Check it out – Josey has a new hole in her mouth.

She is a clever girl. She has received money from the Tooth Fairy in the US and in France, and she now understands the difference in currency values. Thus, she knows that $5 for a tooth is not the equivalent of 5 euros for a tooth.

Well, clever little Josey had a plan! She actually hid her tooth from the Tooth Fairy. She had two reasons. First, she wanted to show her tooth to Dado before the Tooth Fairy took it away. She is so sweet! Second, she wanted 5 pounds for that molar. We were to depart for London to meet up with Dado a mere 3 days after she pulled her tooth out, so she hid it until we arrived in London.

The Tooth Fairy still remembered Josey’s tooth – even 4 days after it parted from Josey’s gums, and Josey did in fact receive 5 pounds. Dado did get a chance to see the tooth, too.

Love to all!

Josey's French Birthday

Josey and I both had the pleasure of celebrating a decade birthday in France. She turned 10 on May 31, and she celebrated several times.

She had a birthday party at home with friends. It was a beautiful afternoon, so everyone played outside.

We had crafts . . . I must admit that I bought the craft kits in the US in April (good ol’ Oriental Trading Company!).

We had cake . . . fondant chocolate and vanilla.

We had presents!!

And, I have to say that I’m proud of myself. Since Mike was still in the US, I hosted the party tout seul – all alone! I managed with 8 French children. Yeah for me!

Josey actually had three separate birthday celebrations this year. In addition to her birthday party, we celebrated with a cake, improvised candles (matches and tea lights), and family gifts before Mike left for the US.

And, Max, Josey, and I had a special day on her actual birthday. We bought special goodies at the Meze boulangerie that sells great little cakes, I saved some special gifts for her, and she got to plan our day. We had dinner for breakfast, relaxed, goofed off, and watched movies throughout the day, and had breakfast for dinner.

Happy Birthday, Josey!!

Love to all!!