Family Moments

I have been so looking forward to this vacation for so many reasons.  Besides being home and being able to catch up with family & friends, I was really looking forward for Nathan to meet all of his cousins especially since they are so close in age.

Today, inspite of a 2 AM wake-up call (I'm still waiting for him to adjust to the 9 hour time change) we got ourselves ready and headed out to make the introductions.  I should have known we were doomed from the very beginning since he fell asleep in the car.  He is always a grouch after naptime! 

As soon as we parked he woke up - and he woke up in a mood.  Where is the baby medication when you need it.  We thought he would cheer up once he got inside and saw the kids - WRONG.

His cousin Dante (who is only 2 weeks older) was so excited to see him.  He ran over and tried to give him a hug, to which Nathan began crying and pushed him away.  Then Dante brought over his little cars and gave one to Nathan.  Nathan rolled it on the floor and proceeded to steal the one his cousin was playing with.

In other words - he wanted NOTHING to do with him.  He was being mean and cranky.  I'm a really that mom?  I was so disappointed and a little embarassed.  My child is surrounded by kids all day at daycare and he plays great with them.  Why was he being so mean to his cousins?  We figured it was because of his short nap so we decided to call it a day and try again later.

It might not have lived up to what I was expecting, but I do have to admit it makes me so happy to finally have Nathan be surrounded by family.  It is what has been missing this entire year.  I can only imagine what it would be like if we were living closer and the chaos that these two kids would cause on a daily basis.  Just like I was growing up with my cousins.

So this week I'm so grateful for:

1) Family Moments - and having the chance to tell them later about their first encounters.  Having Nathan be hugged and held by all these people that have been waiting to meet him.

2)  Christmas @ home - I haven't been home since 2007 and I'm so grateful to be able to share this time and this Christmas with my family.

3)  Good Friends - that have taken the time to come and visit us while we have been hiding away trying to recover from jet-lag.

4) Grandparents - I didn't grow up with grandparents so I'm so happy that Nathan is getting spoiled and that he loves them as much as they love him.  It is truly such a special relationship.

5) The hubs flying in tomorrow!  It has been great to spend time with the baby and my parents alone, but I'm missing Cornel and can't wait for him to fly in tomorrow!

6)  Homecooked meals.  I love cooking, but there is nothing like "mom's" home cooking.

7)  Holiday memories in the making.

McGlothin Family Nest

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Wilderness Explorer

Have I really been here for five days already?  This vacation is going to fly by.  Although, I guess it doesn't help that I spend most of my time sleeping since we are all still jet-lagged.  Thank God for parents. 

I was kind of anxious to see how Nathan was going to react to my parents.  I was sure he didn't remember my mom since the last time he saw her was when he was one month old, and he had yet to meet my father.  I don't know what I was so worried about, it was love at first sight.

He loves to cuddle with his Grandpa and he is learning so much.  Yesterday they went out to the backyard and explored nature together.  Nathan was loving all of the dirt & trees since he doesn't get to see much of it in Clermont.  It doesn't help that the weather is freezing and he hardly ever gets a chance to go outside.

We did have to make a trip to the doctor already.  Nathan has had a bad cough and in true over-protective grandparent style they forced us to go see a doctor.  They gave him a little medicine for his flem (what a terrible sounding word) and he is doing much better.  Sadly, I think he has passed on his cold to both grandparents.  Hopefully we all start feeling better before Christmas!

For now, I'm enjoying being home and watching Nathan get spoiled by his grandparents.  He still hasn't had a chance to meet his cousins or aunts and uncles and I'm sure that will be some more fun adventures. 

And on a side note, I can not get over how hot it is here!  It has been in the high 70's all week (around 24 - 25 Celsius for all those on the metric system ).   We don't know what to do with ourselves.  I did not bring seeing the sun after nearly a yang any weather appropriate clothing for either of us.  I guess this could only mean one!  Life isn't so bad sometimes.
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Overseas Adventures

Well, I am very glad to report that we survived our first solo overseas trip.  I was really starting to freak myself out about having to fly by myself with the baby and over fourteen hours no less.

We arrived at the airport very early so we decided to stop in and have some coffee and croissants.  Nathan was in heaven in the tiny toddler armchairs.  I was hoping his good mood was a sign of good things to come. Daddy had also bought Nathan a cute book for the flight with pop-up windows all about Christmas.

With about a half hour to go we said goodbye to Cornel and crossed through security and customs.  There was a cute play area that kept Nathan entertained until it was time to board on our first flight to London.

We boarded the plane and we were in a window seat.  Not ideal since I knew Nathan would have a lot of energy and I wouldn't be able to walk him up and down the aisle. I tried to settle in to the seat and Nathan was moving all over the place.  He loved looking out the windown and trying to play peek-abo with the people behind us.

When the flight finally took off, chaos ensued.  Nathan was in rare form.  I tried to give him cookies to keep him occupied which he offered to the gentleman sitting in the aisle.  Luckily there was no one in the middle.  I set him down on the floor to try and grab his sippy cup and he started crawling underneath the seat.  By the end of the two hour flight I was exhausted and was cursing my idea of flying solo with Nathan to the States.  In the five minutes it took us to land somehow Nathan had passed out.  Perfect!  Now I have a sleeping baby and I have to switch planes.

I tired to grab all of my personal belongings but sadly I left his new book and my sanity behind on the plane.  Luckily Nathan kept slept through the entire de-planing process.  I got him in his stroller and we proceeded to continue through Heathrow to get on our next plane.  The people at Heathrow were nice enough to let me go through all of the VIP lanes since I was travelling alone with a baby.  Kudos to you Heathrow!

The problem with the VIP lane meant Nathan had 0 time to finish his nap.  Not less than 15 minutes before deplaning I was in line for security.  I placed all of my belongings on the belt before having to lift Nathan out of the car seat.  He kept sleeping, but then came the task of folding the stroller and lifting it onto the belt with a toddler on my shoulder.  I want to give a big thanks to the American asshole behind with his headphones on that was pretending not to see me while I struggled to lift my Maclaren.  And after I woke up Nathan and he began crying hysterically and I finally managed to get the stroller on the belt, who then asked if he could go ahead of me.  No Jackass, you can't.  And I pray to God I set off the machine to make you late for your flight just for being an obnoxious Abercrombie wanna be.

We boarded the plane and settled in.  I was in the bulkhead seat, which meant Nathan go his very own bassinet for the trip.  Thank you God!  I wasn't going to have to sit through 10 hours with a cranky infant on my lap.  We did do some laps up and down the aisle before the rubbing of the eyes began.  He then proceeded to sleep comfortably for the next 8 hours.  Thank you God.  Mommy was too worried that he would tumble out of the bassinet (even though he was strapped in) so I just caught up on terrible movies while the little guy slept.  He woke up with about a half hour to go in the trip.  After changing his diaper he settled into the seat and proceeded to eat while playing peek-a-boo with the man across the aisle.  I think they were both having fun.

When we finally arrived in Phoenix I waited patiently by the door for our stroller.  After five minutes I asked one of the people if they were going to bring it soon to which he replied that I would find it at baggage claim.

Excuse-me?  I have to carry Nathan all the way through customs and baggage claim.  BIG FAIL British Airways!  Just when I was starting to like you.

Luckily customs was a breeze and our stroller and bag were waiting for us when we got to baggage claim.  My arms were a little sore and tired, but I'll take.

So we survived our first solo trans-atlantic flight and now we are dealing with jet-lag!  The first night Nathan woke up at 12:30 AM asking for breakfast.  Ouch!  It hasn't gotten much better but thankfully my parents are here to help me with the transition.  And I thought Daylight Savings Time was bad!
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Bûche de Noël

I have been beyond stressed this week trying to get ready for our trip tomorrow.  I have been super busy at work trying to get everything done and then there is the packing that I put off until tonight!  Why do I procrastinate like this?  Insanity!

There was a light at the end of the tunnel, however, the daycare Christmas party.  Is it sad that I looked forward to this all week?  I really need to re-think my social life.

The daycare had invited us to eat and enjoy the Bûche de Noël or "Christmas log" (not to be confused with Christmas "biche" which is a completely different thing).  It's a traditional Christmas cake in the shape of a log with a filling on the inside.  I had never tasted the "bûche" so I was excited.

The daycare was filled with people.  They had set up tables in the Atrium and everyone was enjoying their cake and drinks.  After picking up Nathan we headed out to the Atrium and grabbed a seat.  He hasn't been feeling very well, so he wasn't in a party kind of mood.

And of course the infamous "bûche"...

It was good, and I'm glad we got to spend a little time together with the other parents, kids and most of all the teachers.  They really do take great care of the kids.  It was well worth the year plus on the waiting list!

As for now, I'm still procrastinating packing and decided that writing this blog was a better use of my time.  I am praying for an uneventful trip.  Please keep me in your thoughts as I travel overseas with a toddler alone!  I hope to write our survival story next week.

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Christmas is all around me

I think I have watched the movie Love Actually at least 3 times this year, it ranks on my favorite Christmas movies!  This post, however, is not about movies but about Christmas.  Can you believe in just two short days I will be on my way back home to spend Christmas with family.  I haven't been back during the holidays since 2007!

The excitement of going back home and introducing Nathan to everyone has really put me in the Christmas spirit.  I put up decorations all over the house, I've been watching holiday movies and have Nathan wearing cute Christmas PJ's with "Joyeux Noël". {LOVE}.  I've even done some Christmas baking if you can believe it!

Last night I made six bags full of French chocolates and homemade vanilla/almond biscotti for the ladies at the daycare.  In spite of the biting incident, I am grateful for the way they take care of Nathan.  It really adds to my peace of mind knowing he is well taken care of, having fun and learning.  I knew I wanted to do something nice for them and had I been in the States it probably would have been Starbucks gift cards all around.  But since I live here and chain restaurants/coffee shops are hard to find I knew I had to be creative.

This morning I carried all six bags and handed them out.  They were {SHOCKED}.  Apparantley it is not customary in France to give gifts to your teachers.  They were so touched that the daycare director even sent me an email at work to thank me again for my thoughtfulness.  It was so sweet.  Seeing how much Nathan loves all the ladies, homemade cookies is the {LEAST} I could do!  That email was all I needed to get me into the joy of Christmas and truly how it is the thought that counts.

Last year during Christmas we had just had Nathan so we ended up staying in France. I was lucky enough that my mom was able to come and spend Christmas with us so at least we weren't totally without family.  It is amazing how much things can change in just a year.  We went from a tiny one month old who couldn't care less about the tree to a little boy who is completely fascinated and can't get enough.

Nathan is in for a treat when we get to Arizona since my parent's tree has been completely overrun by gifts.  Not fooling ourselves, the presents aren't wrapped so Nathan will be able to play to his hearts content without us having to worry about wrapping paper.

Last year I made Nathan a cute little video from Santa.  That says his name, shows his picture and tells him what he wants for Christmas.  It was so adorable and I couldn't wait to make one for him this year.  I got the link in my email and I couldn't wait to make it.  Sadly the site kept redirecting me to the French Pere Noel (Santa).  I was about to lose it.  Why couldn't I get Santa speaking in English?  Santa should know that there are American kids living in France.  Doesn't he see everything?

So, I sent the link to my mother and asked her to make this video for Nathan.  He was fascinated.

And because this family is nothing if not international.  Here is Pere Noel's video in case Nathan prefers to watch it in French.

And because it's Thursday, I have so much to be thankful for this week:

1)  Thank you emails that brighten up my day and get me in the holiday spirit
2)  Having Champagne with the hubs for no reason other than we felt like it
3)  Being able to spend Christmas with my family
4)  Nathan being able to meet his grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins
5)  Christmas PJ's and Sunday morning play dates

Happy Holidays everyone!

McGlothin Family Nest

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Hello my Biches I totally was going to write about Christmas but we'll have to save it for another day.  Why?  Well I'm glad you asked.

There are certain days when it is clear that even after two years here I still have moments where I feel like I just stepped off the boat (figuratively since I obviously fly).

Yesterday I heard one of my french co-workers say "ma biche" (sounds like bitch but with a cute french accent).  I turned in complete and utter shock!  This is a woman in her late 50's...what or who was she talking about?  When she said I was a term of endearment here in France I'm sure my jaw fell to the floor.


When I explained why I was so shocked she started laughing of course as she googled up what a biche actually was.  Imagine my anticipation as I waited to see exactly what or who would be pictured.

She comes out with this... not what I had in mind.

All of the French people found this hysterical of course.  I came home so proud of my new word.  I used it all night long referring to people as "biches".  Because they're as sweet as Bambi's mom of course!

And because I am nothing if not mature I continued all day at work.  I walked in bright eyed and bushy-tailed saying "bonjour ma biche" (but in a nice context of course) to all of my co-workers.  Of course I would giggle like a 12 year old girl each and every time the word came out of my mouth, which they found completely hysterical.

So now, I am the office "biche" and everyone comes by and greets me accordingly.  I absolutely love it! I have to admit it is much better than the time I asked for my food without condoms (preservatives)!  I guess I will never stop making a fool out of myself regardless of which country I live in.
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13 months

Has it really been a month since we celebrated Nathan's first birthday?  And more importantly do we only have 4 days left before we leave for vacation?  This year has gone by entirely too fast.  Trying to take a picture of Nathan these days is nearly impossible.  He is literally all over the place.

Age - 13 months today

Height - No clue this month  

Weight - I'm guessing about 22 pounds

Sleeping Habits - Sleeping through the night still.  I LOVE that he sleeps until 8:30 on the weekends!  I know it sounds crazy but those extra two hours make a WORLD of difference!  I'm so nervous about jet lag this month, so we'll see how he survives.

Eating Habits -  He still loves to feed himself and anyone around him.  He still is very stubborn when it comes to certain foods.  He still hates spinach and fish and loves Couscous!  We'll see if his palate changes when we're back in the States and he has to try different foods.  I was so gung-ho last week to start him on normal people food, but I still haven't started.  We give him little bits and pieces of our food, but he hasn't had a "full" real people meal.  There is always this month I suppose.  And on a side note, did you know that here in France they don't let your child drink real milk until they are 3 years old?  So we are on a special type of formula "lait de croissance" or "growth milk". 

Teeth -   Eight is great.  We have four on top and four on the bottom.  He still loves to show them off.  This tooth came out with no problems.  After the last time when we has getting them all at once, it is a much needed break!

Milestones - He is full of babbles.  Nothing coherent, but he now calls us by name.  He loves to play with "Papa" and he cries to "Mama".  He has such a personality now.  He still isn't walking.  He makes efforts but then decides it is easier to crawl to his destination.  Everyone keeps saying "any day now", well I really want "any day" to be soon!  He is still loving school and gets so excited every time he walks into his class in spite of the biting incident!
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Move over SpeedRacer

This past Saturday we went to the a shopping center on the outskirts of town in order to buy all of the souvenirs and gifts that we are taking back with us.  We loaded up the cart with chocolates, spices & herbs, cookies, etc.  We usually avoid going all the way there because it takes forever and there are always SO many people!

Well, while we were there Nathan started checking out the little coin operated car.  He loves his tiny little car so I can only imagine what he thought when he saw the big one!  We were waiting for Cornel to come back from the Pharmacy so I decided to put him in the car just to gage his reaction.  He was so excited and moving the steering wheel.  Where did he learn that?

He was content just sitting in the car but his daddy wanted to see him driving.  So 2 euros later (it has really gone up since the quarter it used to cost when I was a kid) Nathan was driving his very first car!

It was so adorable!

We also wanted to go and take Nathan to see Santa.  Last year he was only a few weeks old, so I was excited to see his reaction.  Sadly the French Santa was pathetic - thin with dark eyebrows.  You think the Malls could have tried a little harder to fill the role.  So sadly, this is the closest that Nathan got to seeing Santa this weekend.

Luckily he is the kind of kid that is very easily amused!

Sunday morning was perfection.  It was still cold outside so we all slept in (for Nathan 8:30 is sleeping in)!  After we woke up and had breakfast we had playtime in our PJ's.  Could you ask for anything more in life?

In the afternoon after lunch and nap time we all got dressed and headed out to meet Kim's newest addition Baby Jacob.  I had forgotten how small newborns actually are!  I don't even remember Nathan being so small, and it was only 12 short months ago!

Nathan got decked out in his new outfit from his Nana Beatriz and of course showing support for his favorite team (and mommy's Alma matter)!  Go Sundevils!

On a sidenote, I changed my blog design to be a little more festive during the holiday season.  What do you think?

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My baby is not a chew toy!

I think I have finally calmed down enough to where I can post this without flying into a fit of rage.

Let me start at the beginning.

I have always know that Nathan has cute adorable cheeks.  The kind of cheeks you can just take a bite out of!

Well, today someone did just that!

At around 5 the daycare called Cornel to inform him that there had been some sort of "incident" at daycare.  Apparently some kid bit Nathan.  I being the cool level headed person I am almost lost it when he told me! I mean, there are 5 ladies in the room to take care of 20 kids!  How was no one around when some kid used my son as a chew toy!  Cornel proceeded to inform me that the daycare director told him it wasn't so bad, that it was just a small bruise.  I was not appeased, but decided to let it go until we could go and pick him up.

I knew walking into the daycare that I was setting myself up.  I was angry before I walked in the door.  As soon as I saw him, I lost it.

This wasn't just a BRUISE his cheek had blood!  I was livid!!

The girl in his room was very nice.  She explained the situation calmly and I knew it wasn't their fault.  I was accepting this when I put him into daycare.  Then she told me that this "child" had also bitten another little girl.

She smiled.  I didn't.  You let a serial biter run loose with the other kids??

I should say that Nathan was fine.  Smiling.  Laughing.  Playing.  He was obviously not affected by this incident at all.  Which is probably why I should have been more calm.

We proceeded to the lobby to put on his socks/shoes/coat etc. when the daycare director came by and asked if we wanted to talk.


So we walk into her office and all hell broke loose.  I usually hate dealing with these kind of situations.  Mostly because I cannot adequately articulate in French and I'm more intimidated than anything else.  Today there was no intimidation!

I'm not really sure what was said.  But I was angry.  Cornel said it was the first time he had seen me behave this way, like a mother protecting her young.  From what he describes I looked a little like this.

Thank God he was there.  Out of the two of us, he is the one that always maintains a level head.  After I screamed and cried.  I felt better.  Then being the person that I am.  I apologized profusely for my behavior.

We walked out of there and I still didn't feel better.  I realize that things like this are going to happen.  I just didn't want them to happen to my baby!

On Monday when we go back to daycare I am going to ask if my son has to be bitten, that they at least give him the other cheek to make them even!

And as for Nathan, it is just his bad luck for having been born with "des joues a croquer" ... "cheeks you could eat!"
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Blurry Reminders

I can't believe it's Thursday already.  This week had been a blur. It helps I guess that I have been super busy at work and that I have just over a week before leaving on vacation.  I really feel like I should start packing or at least getting some things put away.  I should - but I definitely don't work that way.  I work better under stress and pressure.  Then when I forget something - because I will definitely forget something, I will curse at myself for not having been better prepared.

I am so happy it's Thursday because I have been neglecting to reflect on all the good things, but rather have been letting the stress of life overcome me.  I feel like I'm constantly rushing.  I rush in the morning to go to work and get the baby to daycare, work my little tail off and then rush home to feed the baby, eat take a shower before I do it all over again the next day.  Such is the life of a working mom I suppose.

So, I need to make more time to stop and think about all of the great things I'm thankful for.

{1.  Homemade chicken noodle soup}.  My DH made it last night & it completely hit the spot, especially since I though I was going to cough up a lung this week.  I'm not really sick, but have a cough that just won't quit.

{2.  Vacation in only 9 days}.  I can't wait to be back home after more than a year. To see my family & friends.  To eat all the food I'm missing.  And the shopping...oh the shopping!

{3.  Snow}.  Crazy thing to be thankful for probably.  Thanks to the snow, I get to bundle up in my comfy PJ's, sit on the couch with a blanket and watch movies.  All without being called lazy - all because it's snowing.  I can ingest hundreds of calories worth of hot chocolate, and it's all okay!

{4.  A job}.  I complain a lot about my job.  Why? Because I like to complain.  Sure - it can be boring sometimes and overwhelming the next.  It isn't my dream job, but I think at this point being a singer/supermodel are out of the question.  I love that I can contribute to our household, the ability to be able to buy things we want and not just what we need.  With the world the way it is, I should be very thankful that I have the opportunity to get up and go to work everyday.

{5.  Singing/Dancing}.  I love that Nathan is now at the age that he dances every time he hears a song.  I love singing and watching him clap his hands and move all over the place.

It has been such a great week.  I know that the next week is just going to fly by, and or this I'm also thankful!

McGlothin Family Nest

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Deja December?

This year has flown by way too quickly and now there are only a few weeks left before 2011!  Crazy.  Luckily these next few weeks I will spend mostly on vacation.  Thank goodness, because work lately has been kicking my derière!  So much to do and not enough time, isn't this always the case?

The snow still hasn't stopped falling and sadly we were able to make it into the office.  While it is absolutely gorgeous outside it is so incredibly cold!  It doesn't seem like the snow is going to let up and they are calling for -12℃.  I have no idea what that means, but it sounds cold! I still struggle with temperature conversions, that's what I get for never learning the metric system.  Thank you US Education system!

But enough about the weather, a mild milestone happened this evening.  Usually when we get home from work/daycare I immediately put Nathan in his highchair and begin feeding him whatever concoction I have on hand for him.  Why?  Well because his last snack at daycare is at 3:30 and we usually don't get home until 6 - 6:30.  I mean with a three hour break wouldn't you be starving??

This usually turns out into a big battle since Nathan eats a few bites and then turns his head and clenches his jaw shut.  He then continues to wail until we let him out of the chair.  This will usually result in a STARVING child before bedtime who is super cranky to say the least.

Well today, thanks to work and the snow storm we didn't pick up Nathan until after 6 and by the time we made it home it was close to 7.  As I proceeded to take off the first 5 layers of clothing I had on (OK, just my coat and sweater), Nathan began playing quietly with his toys.  He was giggling and and babbling, so I just let him be.

Then the sweetest thing...he came over to me, grabbed me by the hand and walked me to his highchair.  As soon as I put him inside he began happily banging on the table and smacking his lips.  As he dined on his macaroni and zucchini fondue (doesn't that sound fancy) he started clapping his hands!

Wouldn't you know.  My son actually lets me know when he is hungry.  I don't have to force feed him!  Who knew?I wish someone would have let me in on this secret months ago!  We could have been having enjoyable family dinners together.  I guess better late than never!
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