Thursday, May 17, 2012

Our Anniversary

To celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary, Daniel and I were able to spend the whole afternoon together without the kids. We love our children, but man, what a nice gift from Chad and Larry.  They offered to watch our children for us while we were able to spend some alone time.  I was definitely a lot more relaxed, and welcomed the idea of not having to catering to all three of their needs for a few hours. Daniel and I actually walked hand in hand.

For lunch we went to Chez Janou. I believe the food network did a little blurb on this restaurant.  Anyways, the restaurant didn't have any English menus, so Daniel and I did our best at ordering what we thought would be good.  We both were not disappointed. He got a yummy Scallop risotto and i got a yummy piece of fish and vegetables. Then for dessert Daniel ordered the Tarte Tatin, and I ordered the chocolate Mousse. In reading reviews on the restaurant, the chocolate mousse is the "main attraction" if you will, of this bistro. I would definitely have to agree with the reviews! HEAVENLY or SINFUL-whatever you want to call it-it will be a definite go there again and get me some Chocolate goodness! They brought out Daniel's dessert, and then me an empty plate...I was a little confused, but then they bring you this big bowl of Chocolate Mousse to your table.  They then proceed to tell you, "take as much as you like."  Well, if I really took as much as I would have liked I would have had them box the whole bowl up, but I took a big enough portion for me to share some with Daniel.  It was very very tasty!

After Chez Janou, we went to Rue Montorgueil, a famous street here in Paris.  It kinda reminded me a little bit of Pikes Place Market.  We walked the street and visited the shops, bought some fresh cherries, and stopped off at a recommended gelato place.  We were not disappointed. We visited some churches in the area, and were amazed by their grandeur. Such intricate design and detailed work on every aspect of the churches. Very impressive indeed. 

Daniel and I have had many adventures in the past six years, and look forward to all the adventures we have yet to embark on. Spending your 6th anniversary in Paris is not a bad way to go :)

Discovering Paris...

Kylee and I got to go out to eat, just the two of us.

Kylee loved these glittery stairs, and maybe one day we can get them in our house

Outside of the Luxembourg Jardin

We have seen a lot of ornate fountains.
The pushing of the boats. We all enjoyed doing this.
A Parisian Hotdog
A gift to me from the hotel on my birthday. Kylee enjoyed helping me eat it:)
I am going to have to find a different punishment for Owen-he likes standing in the timeout corner.

Eiffel tower at night, while it sparkles.
My baby Owen is getting soo big. We love him lots, and the kids can't take their hands off of him - a good and bad thing :)

After spending the weekend at "the museum," as we like to call it, I gladly welcomed coming back to the Hotel.  We may not have a lot of room to run around in here in our rooms, but at least we have the hotel to explore, and I feel more secure in letting Owen crawl around- no pokey nails here, and his clothes are not filthy.  The "museum" wasn't all bad, we did enjoy the historic value of it, and it was fun to see Kylee and Carson's reactions to the busts throughout the apartment.  It was also neat being more in the heart of the city.  I really don't think Parisians sleep because we heard people on the street all night long.

We are still deciding whether or not to move closer to the city or stay in our home out in Croissy.  I've done a lot of analyzing of the two situations and the home seems to be winning out. I really like the city life idea if we didn't have such young children. My day to day life isn't really going to change that much here.  I still will be at home/apartment the majority of the day because I have children who still need their nap. I don't know how willing I would be during the day to hop on the bus or subway with all three of my children to go grocery shopping, and the maternelle (which is a french preschool) that I would put Carson in is further way if we lived in the apartment than if we lived in the house.  Ultimately I know we could make both work and I would be happy in both situations but I think I would be happier in the home. Who knows maybe my thoughts will change...

Another exciting bit of news is that I had my first scheduled playdate.  I was at the park on Monday and I met a very nice woman, Svetlana, and her son Felix.  She is originally from the Czech, but she has lived in Paris for 10 years.  She was very patient with me and my French, and she speaks a little bit of English.  So with her little bit of English, and my little bit of French, we had quite the conversation.  It probably took us a half hour to establish what the other does, why we were here, and to set up a time to come back the next day.  Tuesday we met up again, and we hung out some more, and I got her email address. My first friend in Paris :).  She is very nice, and I plan on staying in contact with her.

Daniel is still working lots, and I am looking forward to becoming more settled and getting out of the hotel. Although, hotel life has it's cleaning or cooking.  I would have to say that most days have been really good with a few not-so-good days scattered in amongst them.  We have discovered that JUST DANCE videos are posted on YOUTUBE and we have been enjoying doing that.  The kids think they are winning all of time.  It is quite entertaining.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What we've noticed and learned...

1. The owners of dogs do not clean up after their animals and my kids like to point out the "bombs" any time they see them.
 2. Bright colors do happen in France, but the majority of people wear subdued hues or neutral colors.
3. Lots of little girls are seen in pea coats or something of the like
4. You can never be completely certain of when shops or restaurants are open. They have kinda random hours. You'll find more things open in touristy spots, but I have yet to see an open for 24 hour place. I do not think they exist here.
5. Fast food does exist here, but I have not seen any drive thrus, and few restaurants offer takeout.
6. Bon-jour-nay can be used to say goodbye...I have heard it several times.
7. Either people think I am a native or they look at me and say, "ah, she's American," because several people have stopped me to ask for directions or for bus information in their broken French. X-scoozy m-wah... Or maybe I just look nice;either way I am not vey helpful, and I've gotten good at saying I am an American and sorry, I don't know.
8. The weather is very similar to western Washington. I almost feel like I haven't left home, but then it hits me when everybody around me is speaking gibberish, that I yet to make sense of.
9. Food is definitely an art here. I was hungry, and ordered a pretty expensive dish of prawn something...that was it, it was just pretty. The portion size was just a bit bigger than my fist, with three prawns laid out beautifully on top. Aesthetically pleasing, but not stomach pleasing. I guess that's why the French usually eat more than one course...I should have gotten an appetizer ( it probably would have been the size of half my fist, thus making a more filling meal).
10. They don't have indoor play places at the shopping malls.
11. I would say about 1/3 of the people in paris smoke.
12. Fashion wise, anything seems to work, as long as you wear it with confidence. They have these wedge sneakers that I have seen a lot of...don't really know what I think. wedge sneakers
13. I like these store. Promod  , NAF NAF, and du pareil au meme . And I am sure I will find more to share with you.
14. I do like going to the bakeries, and I am getting better at least they understand.
15. Not all French children are well behaved. I have seen some rowdy ones, and some fights at the park.
16. Women in pencil skirts and high heels ride the same scooters as their children to and from work.
17. I see a lot of older women all dressed up in skirts riding their bicycles to the market.
18. Women of all ages and dress drive motorcycles or scooters. The ones that stick out the most to me are the older grandma types speeding around and the women in skirts, nylons, and high heels.
19. Parking censors are a must because of all the parallel parking that is required here. Daniel is a pro when it comes to parallel parking. Tight spaces do not deter him.
20. I love the window displays, but not the prices.

 We are still learning and discovering, so I know this list is not complete...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Review of week 3- April 30 til May 6th

The previous weekend we were able to spend some time with Daniel's friend and co-worker, Ken and his wife Betsy.  The kids just loved them!  One night we had dinner down at the hotel restaurant. The kids weren't eating their dinner or behaving so well, but they were loving talking to Ken and Betsy.  I think they are tired of just talking to each other, and Daniel and me.  They had so many stories to tell Ken and Betsy that their food didn't hold much interest for them. It has been fun watching them warm up to all these new people, and it puts my heart a little more at ease about this transition for them. 

Monday- Our sleeping habits are still off.  The thick curtains block out all the light, and with no alarm clock it is easy for the kids and me to sleep in. Which is a good and bad thing.  Its kinda nice to get that extra sleep, but then our day gets pushed back ( not like I have any pressing engagements with anyone, but some sort of schedule is still nice to have).  Sometimes we wake up, and by the time we are all ready to get out the door, the breakfast hour has passed us by.  We have been buying plastic cups, spoons, milk, and cereal as back up.  The kids really like eating out of their "special" bowls, and I like that they have food in their tummies.  This was a morning where we pulled out our breakfast staff, sat at the tiny table and enjoyed a quiet, non-stress breakfast in our room.

I seem to be very obsessed with food because next I want to write about our lunch in the hotel restaurant.  I braved it by myself with all three kids. We were able to eat outside, and we didn't disturb many.  The kids are getting better, and I am feeling a little more secure in my ability to manage these three out in public :).  I just have to mention the dessert that I had at lunch. The kids wanted to try it, and they didn't seem all too impressed with it, but I totally was.  They made this tapioca pudding with coconut milk and a few other ingredients and rolled it up in a chocolate covered crepe.  They then cut it up to resemble sushi, placed it on a sushi platter of some sorts, and served it with chopsticks and chocolate dipping sauce.  I am going to have to try and re-create it. It was tres bien!

Tuesday- France celebrates the 1st of May.  It is a National Holiday. May 1st in France This was THE BEST day ever!! I am not taking about the holiday itself.  It was fun seeing all the flowers being sold on street corners, but the weather was perfect.  The best day yet! Warm and Sunny!  Daniel and I took the kids to the Eiffel tower for a picnic lunch, walked around the park, the kids rode the carousel, and got cotton candy and pistachio ice cream. We later went to our local park which was packed full of Parisians who all had the same idea as well. We played for over an hour in the park, went back to the hotel, had a light lunch, and then played the rest of evening. It all seems like a dream now because the weather has returned to typical chilly and wet Seattle weather that we thought we left at home.

Wednesday- We looked at the apartment in Neuilly Sur Seine, and we liked it.  We are not totally in love with it, but I do love the location for Kylee's commute and Daniel's commute.  We would be by an extremely busy intersection, but the apartment building itself would be fenced in.  We also got the keys to move into our temporary housing.  Daniel and I were pretty excited to get out the hotel and into something with a little more space for the family. Here is a link to our current "home"   It is very Parisian, and I am afraid we are going to break something. We got all packed up at the hotel, and Daniel's boss Chad and co-worker Ken, came to help move our luggage.

When they arrived to the apartment they thought they would help themselves out by placing the luggage in the elevator and sending it up to the first floor (in Paris, and most European countries, the ground floor is 0, and the floor above that is the 1st floor). The elevator here is very tiny- Kylee, Carson, and I fit snugly in it if that gives you any idea.  Anyways, as the elevator went up, the luggage shifted causing the doors to get stuck and malfunction. They repeatedly tried to open, but could not because the luggage got lodged in there in a way that did not allow the doors to open and close as they should normally do.  The care taker was very upset, and yelling at them in French. Daniel and Ken couldn't understand much, and Chad, I'm sure, understood more than he wanted to. They had to call the elevator technician, and for the price of 90 euros were able to get our luggage out, and fix the elevator.  Oh and did I mention that it was raining.   For those familiar with Paris, parking is a BEAST!! Daniel and Chad turned on their flashers outside the front of the apartment and unloaded the luggage as fast as they could. Good times...Good times!

Thursday- We checked out of the hotel, and officially moved all of us into the hotel.  Daniel dropped the kids and I off at the apartment and then left for work. Round two of setting up shop, (just in case you were wondering round one was done when we first arrived at the hotel ).  It was a little tricky here because everything is a little spread out, and not what I deem as usually places. We have a bathroom off of our bedroom, but that's just it- a BATH-room.  In many of the homes it is very common to have the toilet separate from the shower and bath. In this apartment the closets are in the entry way. The kitchen is in the back of the apartment. The quickest way from the dining room to the kitchen is through our bedroom. Kylee discovered this route and enjoyed running it. I am sure our neighbors below loved that. While setting up, I got a visit from a construction worker.  From our conversation or should I say game of charades, I gathered that he wanted to come in so he could finish painting the outside window frames. After he was done painting I did understand that I needed to wait 2 hours before shutting the windows so the windows did not get stuck. I also found out that after 80 minutes of drying clothes in a wash and dry single machine yields warm, wet clothes.

Friday- We woke up to pounding and drilling. Kylee was a little shaken, and Carson was scared. The construction was worse than I thought. I walked into my kitchen and it smelled like burnt metal because the construction workers just outside of the window were drilling on the rod iron. Every six years here in Paris, each building gets a make-over. New paint, washing, and cleaning so the city stays pretty. Of course the buildings rotate throughout these six years, and this building that we moved in was one of them going through this process. Friday was spent trying to figure out how we could get out the apartment and possibly into another one or back to the hotel. Lots of phone calling and rearranging. To top it off, the apartment itself wasn't kid friendly...not very many Parisian apartments are.  Daniel told a french co-worker that, and she told him that in the states we tend to shape our lives around the kids (all of our safety things and such), but in France they shape the children's life around the adults.  The french teach the children how to act in an adult home. I don't understand how they do that with tiny babies. Owen was dirty every day from crawling on the floor.
 Later that night, I made Daniel and I a very gourmet meal of scramble eggs.  The furnished apartment had only a few cooking utensils...not even a spatula or a sharp knife to cut an apple. One of the main reasons I wanted to get into a furnished apartment was to be able to cook. The pots and pans were dingy, and washing them didn't even help.  I didn't have pepper or salt for the eggs, yet there were black specks in the eggs. It was pan scrapings...yuck! Needless to say, I did not feel comfortable there.

Saturday- It is always a nice treat to have Daniel home with us on Saturday.  It makes those transition days a lot easier. We went to Croissy Sur Seine to walk around the neighborhood and get a feel for what life would be like for us there if we decide to stay in the house. It is very beautiful and quaint, and I do love it there. We met our possible neighbors. Lori, from the UK, is super nice and has 4 younger girls. She was telling us about the street.  Quite a few people from the UK, and a family from Sweden. A lot of expats live on this street. She was also reminding a neighbor of their block party they were going to be having on the 8th. The vibe on the street is very community centered. They seem to all be willing to help one another out as they are mostly all in the same boat. We really liked it.

After walking around in Croissy, we toured some surrounding areas.  All very nice.  We stopped in Le Vesinet, picked up some sandwiches and other lunch foods and had a make shift picnic in the trunk of the car. We ended the day back at the apartment, walked to le Chalet, a crepe shop, and had a very yummy dinner.

Sunday- We were late for church, but we were able to meet the stake president and his wife. A very nice family.  We were having ward conference.  After ward conference everybody stayed and had a potluck lunch. It was fun sampling some of the different dishes here.  It didn't feel like a normal ward potluck because many dishes had goat cheese in them, and there was not one single jello salad in sight.

On the way home from church, Daniel was turning from the Champs Elysees onto Rue di Berri, and he ran into a curb causing the tire to blow out.  He quickly pulled over to estimate the damage. The need for a tire change was mandatory.  Lucky we weren't to far from the apartment, so the kids and I just walked to block home. Before we left though, a group of guys motioned to Daniel to move his car out of the way. They helped him push it out of the way, and then parked their lamborghini in that spot ( the lamborghini was a business operation-rent a lamborghini for an hour for 89 euros). I thought somebody would help him, but no, I guess it is more Parisian to watch or pass by, then stop and help.  They are all to busy and consumed with their own lives. Daniel later told me that he was grateful for picture diagrams. French is foreign, but a picture of a tire and a picture of a car jack are universal. Thanks to those pictures, he was able to find what he needed in the car and switch out the tire. Quite the afternoon.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Picture journal

 Owen has found all sorts of places to get
into, and this just happens to be one of them.
He really keeps me on my toes.
 Kylee's first baguette sandwhich. She loved it,
but it was kind of tough to bite through.
 Carson is starting to like the chewy bread
with the "skin" on it.
 Sharing a sucker they both picked out from the 
 Hotel life isn't the best, but we try
and make the best of it.
 This is our meal set up. Cozy.
 He is getting so big on us, and he
wants to explore, explore, explore!
 I had to take a picture of this bistro/cafe.  
Very Parisian Chic.
 After exploring all the floors,
the kids like to hang out on these loungers.
 One of their many favorite pictures
in the hotel.
 Watching the kids play in the 
sandbox at the park near the hotel.
 I am pretty sure this
little guy is going through a growth spurt and teething.
Combine those two with jet lag, it equals a very
wiped out baby.
 Very good crepes here. Kylee loved the dessert
crepe. It was basically like eating a smooth
and silky apple pie. Yummy!
 I know this little guy is the star of the photo, but
I really love how each cafe/bistro here is decorated.
Each is very individual. This crepe shop used to be an old 
school cafeteria. Very good food and atmosphere.
 I asked Carson to get in the picture,
and when I snapped the shot this is what I got. He is
into making silly faces for camera. He cracks me up!
 The sandbox at the park.
 The Park
 The very regal entrance to the park. A lot of the
major parks I have seen in Paris have these types of gates.
 An evening stroll in Paris.
 This was the first time I officially saw the Eiffel Tower.
Daniel was driving us around, and we spotted the Eiffel tower. We tried to get 
closer, but thought we lost it. We looked up through the windshield, and this is what we
saw. WOW!

We enjoyed a very nice lunch in front of the Eiffel tower, and hope to
be able to enjoy more.