How does your garden grow...

I seriously don't know why I do this to myself every single year.  Each year I tell myself "this time it will be different.  This year I can do it".

Every single year I make a trip out to the uber fancy plant shop.  Every year I shell out a small fortune for beautiful herbs and flowers. 

Since we don't have a garden in our tiny French apartment, I try to make do with things I can grow on my terrace.  I have dreams about beautiful flower boxes and herbs lining our terrace.  Going out to enjoy a cool morning, sipping coffee.

Last year I even did a small vlog about my beautiful "garden".  I had hopes and dreams, but sadly they too became victims to my black thumb of death.

I have no idea why I cannot keep anything alive.  Well, not anything, my kids and husband are still alive and kicking.

The beautiful tree that my husband had years before we got married, it wilted and is now near death.

The beautiful orchid that survived longer than I thought possible, has now too, passed on.

In spite of my track record I still went out and purchased these lovelies. 

A rosemary plant, a basil plant and a tomato plant.  Maybe I was just craving a caprese salad. 

I bought them while my husband was out of town.  In a moment of weakness.  I knew what he would say.  I knew the look that would come when he saw my purchase.

Afterall, you need only look a little further right on my terrace to see the massacre that occurred last year.

But this year, this year it will be different.

Linking up with Mama Kat's.

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WTF Wednesday

It was my Swiss boss who first introduced me to the true meaning of the expression WTF, "Welcome to France".

In all honesty there are some things that happen here that just leave you scratching your head and the only logical response is "WTF".

I will try my best to introduce you to local French culture by sharing with you some of these moments.

The title of this restaurant says it all.  There is no need to sugar coat it.  If you want to eat, you will do so Entre Midi et Deux (Between Noon and Two).

This is an expression to live by in France because lunch at most restaurants is only served between 12 - 2.  And if you are one of these people that likes to run errands during your lunch break, you are out of luck.  You see most stores and offices are closed "entre midi et deux".

Welcome to France.
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The Boys are Back in Town

The moment I had been waiting for finally came on Saturday!  My boys came back into town after two long weeks away!

I was so excited driving to the airport! In my mind I pictured an enthusiastic, open armed, running toddler screaming "momma" when he saw me.  In reality, he didn't even notice I was there and when he did all he said was "hi".  Go figure.

I blame it on all of the excitement of the plane ride.  Surely that was it.

It was amazing to spend the weekend as a family, reunited.

We packed up the kids and headed to a good ol' fashion American picnic a la francais.  Noah was excited.

Nathan was excited to eat some hotdogs, play in the pool and run around with "older" kids.  Did I mention the hotdogs?

When did Nathan get so big, by the way.  I feel like I blinked and now I have a little boy.

I absolutely love the American picnics.  It is so amazing to have such a great community of expats, and so great to spend an afternoon speaking English and eating some good ol' Southern barbecue!

I am absent for the next few days please forgive me.  I'm busy soaking up the terrible two's until the novelty wears off again.

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Dear Nathan....

Dear Nathan,

I cannot even begin to tell you how hard this month has been for me.  For the past 2 1/2 years I have been by your side, guiding you and watching you grow.  While we have spent a few nights away from each other, we were never apart for a prolonged period of time.  You were an extension of me and our worlds were intertwined.

This month you embarked on your own adventures, without me.  I knew it would happen, I just wasn't prepared to let you go so soon.  You are off having fun on your great grandparent's farm.  You can hardly contain your excitement as you tell me about the baby chicks, and the chickens and the countless other things you have seen.  You even passed the phone to the baby chickens so that I could talk to them.  That was very sweet.

You are doing things that every little boy needs to do.  You are playing in dirt.  You are playing with animals. You are exerting your independence.You are surrounded by family and people who love you.

I haven't been able to witness the countless changes that are happening in your life right now and I wonder if I will recognize the boy that returns from this wild adventure.

I know that this is the first of many adventures that you will embark on without me.  I just hope that you know that no matter how far you go that I will always be here for you.  I hope to be the constant in the amazing life you have ahead of you.

I might not always be in the same country as you, or even on the same side of the world, but we will always carry each other in our hearts.  I love you.

Linking up with Shell for Pour your Heart Out

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Happy Half Birthday Noah

Noah, I can't believe that you are already half a year old.  These past six months have literally flown by and already I can catch glimpses of the little boy you will become.

You are still an incredibly happy baby, and it is such a joy to be around you.  You are constantly laughing, smiling and cooing.  This month you started "talking" and making the funniest noises.  It was almost as if you were trying to have a conversation with us.

You are constantly moving and this month you learned to roll over and it is something that you love to do. You can roll tummy to back and back to tummy.  We can no longer leave you on your activity mat without you moving somewhere else.  You haven't learned how to crawl, but you wiggle your way to wherever you want to go.  I wasn't quite ready for you to be so mobile so quickly.  You still can't sit up yet, but we are working on it, and I'm not in any rush to have you grow up so fast.
So we meet again...

You also love to grab onto anything and everything that you can get your hands on.  You found your feet this month, and they have become your new favorite play thing.

You are still nursing, and we did it.  We made it six months.  There is still no rhythm between us but I am so proud that we were able to make it this long. 

We also started you on solids this months.  Truth be told, we started last month, but I wasn't quite ready to have you grow up so quickly so we put it on hold until this month. You love to eat.  LOVE.  You open your mouth anxiously and get extremely upset when the food is all gone.  What was supposed to be only a couple of spoonfuls, turned almost into full meals.  You are now eating four meals of solids a day, and nursing four times a day.

We have worked our way through most fruits and vegetables and we are now working our way through all possible combinations.  You hated, hated, avocados.  It leaves me to wonder if you are truly my son.

You are still sleeping through the night and you no longer wake up crying.  Every morning I hear you "talking" and "babbling" only to find you happy and smiling in your crib.  While I am ecstatic at all of the sleep I have been able to get, part of me is missing out on our late night snuggles.

I look forward to watching you grow more and more everyday.
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Parenting 101

Another sappy post about my husband?  Say it isn't so.

The funny thing is, I am not at all sappy in real life.  I hardly ever tell my husband how great he is because we all know what happens when you say that to a man!

Luckily, I have no problem putting it out on the internet for all to see.  He hardly ever reads my blog, so this is a good compromise when he says I don't appreciate him.

The truth of the matter is that my husband and I have completely different parenting styles.  We were brought up on different sides of the world, so our views on child rearing tend to clash from time to time.

There are some things, however, that I could learn from him:

Flexibility - 

Your toddler pooped in the middle of a Versaille tour with no bathroom in sight, no problem.  Sneak off into a historical staircase take out a changing pad and take care of business.  It's what Louis XIV would have done.

Patience - 

There is no frazzling a man who can withstand the same question asked for the 1000000000th time in a row.

Enjoying each moment -

It is not about how many activities you can fit into your day, but about enjoying all of the activities you have planned in your day.

Sense of humor -

When you spend most of your day surrounded by children, sometimes all you can do is laugh.

Family, Faith & Love -

That these are the most important things in life.

Even though he is out of town this weekend, I hope he knows what an amazing father he is.

Linking up with Mama Kat today...
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Last Friday, for our anniversary, we ended up calling in a sitter.

The last time we hired a sitter was when Nathan was 6 months old. If you do the math, that is over 2 years ago.

You can imagine my apprehension about leaving not just one but two kids with a sitter.

I got all dolled up.  Well, as dolled up as a girl can get after having been at work all day.

And we headed out to dinner, to a Michelin one star restaurant.

This is the restaurant inside of the hotel I was staying when we met up for our first date.  Can you call it a date if other co-workers were with you? Hm...

This is also the hotel where we had our first kiss (I sound 16, right?).

So, this place holds memories.

So many memories.

We had a champagne aperitif.

And there was the amuse bouches (the appetizers before the appetizers).

And a delicious four course meal, wine and of course cheeses.

And then the piece de resistence, this amazing dessert with the inscription "Joyeaux Anniversaire de Marriage 2012".  I love this place.

They also gave us a small jar of their homemade confiture (jam) to enjoy the next morning.

We did, with pain au chocolate.

It was a magical night that ended way too early.

The best present of all, both kids slept in the next day.  I would call it a successful anniversary.

Check out  my FB page to see the course that followed dessert...
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Cutting the Cord

Being a parent his hard.  Being a parent with a traveling spouse is even harder.  When my husband is out of town it is no longer about parenting but about survival.

My husband has to travel for work.  In the past six weeks, he has been gone four.  We were lucky that on his last trip I was able to pack up the kids and go with him for two weeks.  However, the times when I am able to do that are few and far between.  While I would love to just follow him around Europe, I too have a job.  Not to mention that raising kids out of a hotel room is not as a glamorous as it sounds.

While my husband lives the life of room service and feather beds, I am usually the one left behind.  I usually don't mind.  I had long decided that my business traveling days had come to an end. 

This business trip, however, was different.  This trip was to Romania; "back home".  He would get to see his family again and be able to speak his language.  He doesn't get to go back often and I know that there are times when he wishes he was closer.

When he found out about this trip he asked if he could take Nathan along so that he could spend time with his family.

My first reaction was "no".  Actually I think my first reaction was, "you must be insane if you think you are taking my child away for two weeks".

Then I started to concede.  I agreed for him to take Nathan for one week, and one week only of his two week trip.  This meant that there would be no family time over the weekend but rather Cornel would be flying in Saturday to fly back out Sunday.

My mind was made up and if he wanted to take Nathan this was the deal.  Then common sense took over and I knew that I either had to let him go or keep him home; so I let him go.

I complain about being so far from family and here I was trying to keep Nathan from his.  How is that for rock star parenting?

Now, Nathan is off having wild adventures, like flying first class from Paris to Bucharest.  He is off enjoying the sunshine on his great grandparent's farm, while daddy slaves away.

It was right for him to go, but not easy.  The house is too quiet and I miss him like crazy.  Only a few more weeks until his laugh is bouncing off the walls again.

Linking up for Pour Your Heart Out.

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Leaving on a jet plane...

Yesterday was a major day in my life.

The day woke up gloomy and rainy; setting the perfect tone for my emotions that day.

The day that we drove to the airport as a family.

And I came home alone (well, with Noah).

Cornel left for his business trip and took Nathan along.

Nathan was so excited to get to ride on the plane again.  He had his little "suitcase" with books for the trip.

He ran through security and clapped when he didn't beep.  He waved goodbye to his mother, and never looked back.

This is the first time that Nathan has ever been on a plane without me.  This is the first time that I have been away from him longer than a few days.

I am not ashamed to admit I cried on the way home.

He, on the other hand, is busy having fun with Daddy on the their "man trip".  At least I got a couple of cuddles and "I love you's" before he left.  This should help get me through the next weeks.

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4 years

Four years ago today we pledged our lives to one another.
Never could I have imagined a life filled with so many blessings.

It hasn't always been fun and it hasn't always been easy and yet somehow we always manage to come through.  We always manage to come out stronger.

You have been my strength and my shoulder to cry on.  You have made me so angry and so happy, sometimes simultaneously.  I have loved you and hated you (like only a wife can). 

You have never let me down and you have never disappointed me.  You restored my faith in love and family.  You are the reason that I can find happiness in my life.

Our anniversary celebrations no longer involve trips or presents.  They are days filled with doctors appointments, school pick-ups, tempter tantrums and diaper changes and babysitters.  They are days filled with chaos; days filled with love.  Days that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

I love you!

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Noah at 5 months

My dearest Noah,

I have to apologize for being the worst mother in the world and forgetting your 4 and 5 month updates.  You are already 5 1/2 months and nearing the half year mark.

I have no excuses, but I hope that this post will make up for it.  Even your 5 month picture was missing your beloved pachyderm friends.  We just didn't even think to take them with us to Romania.  Hopefully you will forgive the lapse this month.

These past few months have actually been extremely busy for us, and you have been such a trooper through it all.

I started work when you were 16 weeks old, just shy of you turning four months.  I was scared for the transition, but you thrived.  I think you loved the attention and all of the teachers would comment on what a cute and well behaved baby you are.  Even the older children (albeit mostly girls) would gather around you to play as if you were a doll.  You loved every second of it.

Sadly, daycare does not come without it's hardships and just two weeks in you got sick for the very first time.  It was hard on all of us, but you handled your treatments like a champ.

We've done a lot of traveling the past few months and you have enjoyed trips throughout the South of France.  It was nice to get you out into the sun for a while.  You have become such a great traveler and I can only hope you keep it up.

In your fifth month, you took your first plane ride and left the country for the very first time.  You were able to meet your grandparents and your great-grandparents who were waiting for you with lots of love in Romania.  Though I know you won't remember, I hope one day you will realize how blessed you are to have had this opportunity.

You are still nursing and I'm surprised we have made it this long.  We still haven't found this mythical rhythm everyone always told me about, but it has become less of a chore for us.  Luckily the daycare has put you on a schedule so that you no longer eat round the clock.

You also started sleeping through the night.  What a magical time it has been.  You go to bed with your brother at 8:00 and wake up around 6 the next morning.  I'm sometimes sad to admit that I miss our late night cuddles.

You are always smiling and love to giggle.  You also started grabbing onto anything and everything you could get your hands on.  You are loving tummy time and love sitting, I think because it changes your perspective.

It is so much fun watching you grow, I just wish you wouldn't do it so fast!

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Pins & Needles

I am sure that after my last post you have all been left wondering if the hubs stepped it up on Mother's Day 2.0 or not.

Before I let you all know the answer I thought I would share the events that led up to Sunday.  This was supposed to be our "relaxing" weekend at home.  The first full weekend back home after our "vacation" last week, and the last full weekend home before Cornel goes back on a two-week business trip and takes Nathan with him.  Yes, you read that correctly.

The first thing on our agenda was to get Nathan haircut because the boy couldn't even see anymore.  He was one day away from being mistaken for those shaggy dogs.

Of course the only time his hairdresser (yes, he has his own hairdresser) was available was 8 am.  Now let me tell you, that even on a work day we struggle to get anywhere by 8, and here we were attempting it on a Saturday.

We somehow got it together and my sweet boy now looks like this.  I love him with his short hair.

Not to be left out though, this happened!  If you listen closely you can hear Nathan speaking French and asking for his pain-au-chocolate (chocolate croissant).  What can I say, he is his mother's son.

At just 5 1/2 months old, Noah got his first haircut!!

He has a lot less hair than Nathan did during his first haircut so the experience was less traumatic.  These little curly cues have now made their way to his baby book, which I have yet to fill out.  I blame second baby syndrome.

After finally buying Nathan his pain-au-chocolate we were off to run errands.  Which included a stop at Toys R' Us.  Luckily riding the display toys and pushing around a little cart was enough for us to escape unscathed.

But what could possibly be more fun than a trip to a Toy Store, well, there was our company sponsored "Kid Day".

Have I told you how awesome my company is to work for?  They had an entire set up with bouncy houses, slides and all sorts of animation.  Nathan couldn't figure out what to do first and he rode the tobogan (slide) a bazillion times in a row. Okay, maybe it was only 20 but it felt like a bazillion.

Then Sunday rolled around, and my dreams of sleeping in where thwarted when Nathan ran in singing "Happy Birthday".  It wasn't my birthday.  In the mind of a two year old every occasion in which breakfast is served in bed and cards are made is a birthday!

And of course, the husband stepped it up and got me some beautiful flowers for La Fete de Mamman.

I didn't even have to tip the messenger!

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Can you believe that I didn't get anything for Mother's Day?  There was no breakfast in bed.  There was no card.  There wasn't even a "Happy Mother's Day" uttered that Sunday morning.

In my sons' defense, they really had no idea that it was even Mother's Day, so they get a free pass.  As for my husband, well, in his defense we were flying out to Romania that day.

When I finally called him out on it later that day, he replied with his all time favorite line, "well you aren't my mother".

I blame this oversight on our hectic travel schedule during the month of May.  He did go above and beyond for my first Mother's Day, but this was my first Mother's Day as a mother of 2, you know what I mean?

Luckily, Mother's Day in France is actually this weekend.  This mean that my husband has an opportunity that most husbands would die for...a do-over.

At least Nathan showed me how much he loves him.  I got this little doozie at the daycare.  It is the sweetest thing.  To be honest, I have been waiting for this kind of thing since the moment he started going to daycare.  My office will be a little brighter with this little doozie hanging.  Doesn't he looks so sweet in that picture?  Why do all kids look like angels when they are sleeping?

And in case my husband doesn't take the hint, he'll have to go above and beyond for our wedding anniversary next week!

Are there sometimes when you would like a do-over?

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