Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mini-Rugby Chez Moi

As much as I know Mini-Husband had an artistic streak, I'm convinced that Bubba-Love has a rugby streak.

Perhaps his being born right before the annual Six Nations Tournament has something to do with it. The first days of his life were spent in the hospital with his father glued to the television as his sister and brother played with the electric bed. The frantic yells of "Go England" and "Refereeeee" were permenantly etched into his head at that moment.

He has a tendancy to tackle, this one. And tackle hard. He's already taken down The Princess and Mini-Husband on various occasions and today he decided that his friend Solen was a ripe target. Nothing like watching a solid almost two-year old taking his 15 month old friend out at the knees.
Luckily, at 15 months there isn't a lot of distance between the floor and said knees!

Each child in a family finds a way to get attention. In ours, Mini-Husband has trantrums, The Princess whines, and Bubba-Love tackles.

Or rather, we've got a coach, a star scorer, and a wacking defense.

Go Team!

The Resident Artist has updated his site. Hope you enjoy his latest works!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ohhhh Big Scary Dog!

I asked Anouk and Typhon to give me their "scary dog" look. This was the best I got.

You'll notice that Anouk is trying to hump Typhon. She's got this opinion that she's the Alpha dog at our place. Bless her.

Someday she'll realize he could just around and bite her in half if he wanted to. Of course, that takes effort and I'm not sure Typhon wants to exert himself that much.

A Favourite

What do you call a cow in heat?


Friday, January 25, 2008

President: Le or Mr?

Mini-Husband got his birthday present from Kitty and Daddio this week.

I had explained to them that he had asked for an airport in the backyard. They weren't able to fullfill that construction request but they did find him an Air Force One airport play set. Two planes, a tv van, security cars, and a airport playmat.

Mini-Husband was beyond thrilled with it. He grabbed the planes, unrolled the playmat and was happy as Larry. (Who is Larry, by the way?)

I sat there with him protecting his 'world' from Bubba-Love when he turned and asked me,

"Who's planes are these?"

"They are Air Force One and Air Force Two." I replied. "They are the President's airplanes so he can go visit places."

"Wow! Nicholas Sarkozy has TWO airplanes!"


Roll converstion explaining presidents and which countries have them and just which ones have airplanes with names.

Someday I'll remember my kids don't have the same upbringing as I did.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

What Mini-Husband Ate for Lunch

Last night I was reading a story to the kids before bed about the sea and the beach and all the creatures that call that world home.

As we got to the pages about clams, oysters and mussels, Mini-Husband pointed excitedly at a picture and said,

"I've had that!"

"Had what?" I asked.

"Those. Those black things there."


"Yeah, maybe." He replied. "What are they called in French?"

"Moules." I said, feeling ever so happy with myself that I actually knew the response.

"That's right!! I have had them! They are sooooo good, Mom. Really, really good. I'll have to get you and daddy some to have here one time."

"Mini-Husband," I said, "When have you had mussels?"

He looked at me with a serious look on his face that slowly turned to consternation.

"At school. At lunch in the cantine, Mom." He said, rolling his eyes and wrinkling that spot on his forehead between his eyebrows.


"Yeah, and another time we had kangaroo! I didn't like that as much."

It was at that moment I learned two valuable lessons.

The first being that my children go to school in France, where food is serious and the school lunch consists of appetizer, main course, cheese and dessert.

The second being that I really should read the menus that they send home in the parent's notebook!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Another Stage, Another Phase

Why is it when you seem to think you have everything going the way you want it, you suddenly start thinking about what the hell you are doing with your life?

I am a giant flounder, floundering. Trying to figure out where to go to next. Call it a mid-life crisis, call it my Bubba-Love turning 2 next week, but I'm starting to feel at a loss.

Who am I really? What is it I really want or need to be doing in this life?

I know what makes me happy and what motivates me. It's just finding a way to use those things to feel as if I contribute to this world.

Any suggestions from the peanut gallery?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Beautiful Boy

Tuesdays are wonderful for me. Bubba-Love is at the garderie, Mini-Husband and The Princess are at school and I'm home all by myself! I get to clean in peace and actually go play with the dogs.

Today, the three of us headed out on some of the backroads around the village. It's cold, but not bitter, and the dogs were in a great mood. They are really starting to work wonderfully together.

It's been an incredible experience with Typhon in our lives. He's a whacking great big old ninny when it comes right down to it, but his sweetness and simpleness are a joy.

It's so hard to know what a rescue dog will really be like once they move in with you. You don't know their past, their 'issues', or how they behave in the simplest of situations. When Typhon first came to live with us, he couldn't handle being anywhere near cows. Now, he's able to run right on past a whole field of them without a flick of his ear.

I enjoy having the two dogs in our lives. They add to our family and give me added stress that I can't seem to live without.

Just imagine how happy and insane I'll really be if I get my way and we have 6! I figure Hubster would be happier having more pups rather than bubbas. That way, we won't need to buy a bigger car, just a truck!

There's beautiful chaos in the fur.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Team Vache

Here's the latest from a training run with Anouk. Musher Boy took this video on Saturday and it's given us ideas. If only we can find harnesses big enough for the cows!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thoughts on the Hamstermill

"And I rannnn, I ran right into a wallll..."

Nothing like 45 minutes running on a treadmill that faces a wall. A very nice wall it is too, but it doesn't inspire much.

While I ran there staring at the orangeness of the wallpaper I got to thinking:

I miss my college roommates.

Did I really interview at one point for a master's program at NYU?

Is taking two Ibuprofen a day considered an addiction problem?

Boy, this wall is really orange.

Must remember to shower at some point.

Wonder whatever happened to my friend Roc? And Jill-O?

If I take apart Mini-Husband's old bike, could I build a three-wheeled dog cart from it?

Why has Anouk taken all her bedding out of her dog house AGAIN?

I miss my sisters.

I'll never finish reading, "The Golden Bough."

This wall paper is bordering on 1970s organge.

45 minutes. Thank GOD that's done.

I really need to get outside more often.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ok, Who Farted?

Miss Tennessee 1975 modeling the latest fad in nappy changing gear.

Poopy nappy supplied by Miss Tennessee/Auvergne 2007.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

It's nice that we've finally sorted out ways to get rid of the kids so we can enjoy ourselves! Who know that there was a babysitting club at the ski area! (Well, obviously LOTS of other people, but we know about it NOW!)

We celebrated Mini-Husband's birthday weekend by heading off to the local area on Sunday. Mini-Husband took his first ski school lesson and Hubster got to work on his rope-tow form.

After Mini-Husband went off with his class, Hubster and I finally got a chance to reach the top of the ski area. We've lived here 5 years and it's the first time we've seen the summit in winter.

The sky was brilliant blue and clear and as I looked down across the mountain, I followed the fall line down to the valley around Besse. The hills gently rise up on the other side of the town and then fall away to the deeper valley where the city of Clermont-Ferrand sits. I could see the hills even farther over, chateaus and rocky ruins sit perched on almost every peak.

Way off in the distance, past the peaks and hills where we live, I could see these tall, white icebergs looming on the horizon. At first, I was convinced they were clouds, but as looked harder I realized that I was actually seeing the Alps.

The skyline of France is breathtaking.

The Bad

I had my practice exman for my grammar final. Oh, MON DIEU! By looking at my results, it would seem like I never went to class! I spoke to the professor after the test and asked what would happen if I didn't take the final. She told me that if I don't take the test, I won't be able to move on to the next level.

I think that might be a good thing as far as I'm concerned.

The Ugly

I haven't cleaned up after the dogs since Friday. Our own miniature relief of the skyline of France is now on display in the yard. Of course, in shades of brown and not at all skiable.

Friday, January 11, 2008

His Last Day as a 5 Year Old

Tomorrow is Mini-Husband's 6th birthday.

I can't believe we've reached this milestone already.

I remember being at the hospital, holding that little baby, trying to figure out how I was going to sleep with him next to me. Now, it's just so natural to wrap my arms around him when he comes into our room and squeezes in under the covers.

He is an amazing person. I am so proud of who he is becoming and how he sees things in his life. With his beautiful big brown eyes, he takes it all in. When he laughs, I can't help but join in. He's so intense and serious with a twinkle in his eye that I adore.

He wants an airport for his birthday. A real one. And he wants it built in our back garden. In Mini-Husband's world, anything is possible.

Ah, to be almost 6...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Long Night

It's been a while since I've had one of my panic attacks about death. I used to get them more often, but in the recent years, I seemed to have grown out of them.

I can vividly remember my two most difficult attacks. One was when I was in college. My one of my lovely roommates stayed up with me hours, watching me pace around our living room, muttering and blubbering about the futility of it all. The second one happened when I was living in Aspen and I made the mistake of watching the movie Alive. Again, I stayed up most of the night, pacing around our condo while my friend sat there making sure I didn't do anything stupid.

Since I've been with Hubster and had the kids, I haven't had these attacks very often. Perhaps it's because I'm too busy to dwell on what I can't control or it's that I see, upclose, the beauty in life everyday.

That being said, I am worried today. I'm anxious for my loved-one's loved one who faces a long battle today against an enemy who's strength is hidden.

I'm not sure how make anything better in this situation and I could sense these feelings of helplessness and fear creeping into my subconsciousness as I worried about it last night. Plus, watching two documentaries about death and illness last night didn't help. Nor did reading Mark Twain's 'The Mysterious Stranger' this past week.

Huster realized that I wasn't getting settled to sleep and asked what was going on. I quickly told him I was fighting off a panic attack about death and helplessness.

He paused for a second and then replied,

"But you're not dead."

Good point.

And neither is my loved-one's loved one.

I think I'll try and remember the quote from The Shawshank Redemption, "get busy living, or get busy dying." I've got to stop worrying about what I can't control.

I need to not let the unknown scare me.

I need to stop watching late night tv.

I need to send all my love and thoughts to my loved-one and her loved one.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

We Have Wee-Wee and Oui-Oui

I realize that this really isn't 'post worthy' but it's getting posted all the same.

Bubba Love today decided that he wanted to use the little potty. I stripped him down and plopped him on there not expecting much. To my surprise, he went wee-wee.

Of course, I was too busy browsing online for a three-wheeled dog sledding cart to notice right away so he promptly put all kinds of toys in there it. Nothing like sharing the joy of wee-wee with your favourite race car!

Actually, I'm thinking we may need to call this pee-pee rather than wee-wee since that is actually the name of his sleeping buddy, Oui-Oui.
There could be a whole realm of linguistical and hygene problems here.

Both boys are now in the bathroom together dicussing the finer points of having 'boy bits' while I'm hiding out here with The Princess. I'm hoping I can find us a nice pink dog sled...

The Resident Artist has updated his site. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


The dogs have once again removed all of their bedding out of the dog houses. This time it just looks like we are having a very not-white 'white sale' in the garden. Old drapes, blankets and rugs spread all over what was left of the grass. The two of them, sitting ever so calmly next to the gate with that, "What? Wasn't us" look on their faces.

Meanwhile, inside the kennel, er house, the kids are bouncing off the walls and I'm having a hard time remembering how to speak to them in a calm, controlled manner. They aren't happy with the non-sippy-cup-in-the-television-room rule that's been applied since Jan 1, 2008.

Think all this chaos must have something to with everyone going back to school this week. I'm ready to admit that I will never quite understand just what to do with a qui and a que less this thing dont.

It's only Tuesday but I surrender. I'm heading to the cave and I'm finding a nice bottle of Cotes du Rhone ...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

My Other Family

Had one of those moments today where I really wished I lived closer to my family. Turns out, I was supposed to help clean at Bubba-Love's day care and I agreed to meet the other parents there at 10am. Of course, Ms. Flighty over here forgets that

A.) Not only do Mini-Husband and The Princes still not have school but
B.) Hubster is working today.

Just who was I thinking was going to watch the little people?

Amen for the expats. Miss Tennessee 1975 and her fab husband kindly took my people for the morning so I could keep my promise to the other parents.

It is amazing how quickly I find we, the expats, say "yes" when another one of us needs something. It's as if we have this immediate understanding, we're all in the same boat, far from home (be it the US, England, Poland or Russia) and we become in situ aunts, cousins, sisters, and grandparents. We've been in each other shoes. We know how it is to be lost, confused, elated, embarrassed and angry, struggling with feeling stupid, feeling blessed, feeling alone.

It's always so hard when part of that family leaves again, heading back to real family and home. But till that time comes, the understanding is constant. The immediate "yes" is there. I only hope I can return all of the kindness that's been shown to me from all of them before they do leave for good.

Amen for my in situ family.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Whirling Dervish

It started in September.

Somehow 6 dinner knives disappeared. I'm fairly confident they went into the dishwasher, but I never saw them come out. I searched the garbage cans, I searched under the furniture. Nada. And to this day, they are still unaccounted for.

The other thing I'm sensing as odd is that we are regularly finding rolls of toilet paper in the toilet. Full rolls. Sopping wet and horrible to catch with your bare hands. We'd just bought a new packet of 6 rolls the other day. We have 2 left. The others went for a 'swim.'

The third thing that it setting my mind a little more unease, is that everytime I pick up a toy, a book, some shoes, clothes, a drawing, I find the same said item thrown back on the floor within 10 minutes. It's as if I have a phantom tornado following me around the house.

Yes, a phantom. And it's going to be 2 in February.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

The celebrate the beauty of the holidays, The Resident Artist has updated his site. Enjoy!

Warmest wishes for a safe and wonderful 2008!

It Must Have Been the Snow

Hubster and I headed over to the local ski area on Monday with the boys. The Princess had decided ahead of time that she would be cold outside in the snow so she'd be better off at a friend's house. She's got a good angle on how to get what she wants. She definately takes after me.

The drive to Super Besse follows a small river back up to it's origins in the mountains. The road winds along side past craggy rock outcropppings, through small villages built straight into the rock, and finally out at the town of Besse. It is one of our favourite places in the Auvergne.

Something in my being begins gets anxious as we approach the town. Perhaps it's the snow. Perhaps it's all the slate covered houses, dark and strong, stark in contrast to the whiteness of the ground. Perhaps it's just that I have this 'thing' for winter.

As we arrived at the actual ski area, I was struggling to control my urge to jump out of the car and start making snow angels in front of the lifts. After living 7 years in the Rockies, you can take the girl out of the mountains, but you can't take the mountains out of the girl.

Hubster and I decided to divide and conquer with the boys. He headed off for sledding with the little guy while Mini-Husband and I tackled the rope tow. Mini-Husband wants to know how to ski NOW. He wants to be fast NOW. He wants to know how to turn left and right NOW. I stuck with my mantra that falling is learning and we weaved our way across the bunny slope without serious damage to him, someone else, or me.

Hubster arrived and we traded off the little Coors Lite can. Bubba Love's ski suit is yet another of our Patton Originals, handed down from my nephews. This said ski suit is silver and resembles a mini-beer can. I have vivid memories of nephew being in it in the Tetons. He's now almost 8 but the suit is still going strong.

As I stood there watching my boys playing in the snow, I became horribly depressed. I miss living in the mountains. I miss being able to walk in the snow everyday. I miss the sound of snow crunching under my boots. I miss seeing the silhouettes of the trees frozen in white. I miss dealing with the chaos of skiing and dog sledding on a daily basis. I miss the mountains.

It's hard for me to think that I will never live that way again. Finding a way of combining my past, which created me, with my present and future, which completes me, is a task I need to tackle.

I think Hubster picked up on my mood as we were packing up the car to head home. It must be very hard for him to deal with my obsession of all things mountain.

But bless him. At his suggestion, we've made plans to head back to Besse on Sunday. He really is good to me.