My life in numbers

Some of you might know that I am an accountant by profession. I am constantly surrounded by numbers. The funny thing about all of this is that I am terrible at math.

My husband is constantly making fun of me because sometimes basic concepts escape me. Like when I told him that this year on my birthday I was going to be 16 squared.  I'll let you do the math on that one.

So just for fun, here is my life in numbers.  Feel free to check my math on some of these....

11, 680 - the number of days I've been alive

4 - the number of countries I've lived in

3 - the number of languages I speak

1 - the number of languages I speak well

10 - the number of years since I graduated college

17 - the age I graduated high school in

16 - the number of countries I've visited

8 - the number of countries my oldest has visited

53 - the number of months I've lived in France

2 - the number of years since I've been back to the States

12 - the number of weeks until I go back to the States

1, 460 the number of days I've been married

2 - the number of beautiful boys I have

1 - amazing husband who has made this day amazing

1 - cake from Maison Vacher sitting in my fridge

84909845084594 - the number of calories in one piece of said cake

0 - the amount of time I will spend working out to work of said calories

5 - the number of roses my son carried in the door for me today.

32 - what I hope will be an amazing year in my life.

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Fall is in the Air

Fall is by far the very best season in France.  The weather is usually gorgeous while bright and vibrant colors light up the landscape.

Most people think that we live in a super fancy city like Paris, but actually we live in the country in central France.  We live in a chain of volcanos and the life here is made for fall.  There are thousands of hiking trails and lakes all made to enjoy the beautiful fall weather.

To be quite honest though, the weather lately has been anything but desirable.  It has been cold and rainy.  It was as if we skipped summer and fall and jumped straight into winter.  We were all becoming a little stir crazy since we hadn't been able to do any outdoor activities.

We were so lucky that Sunday the weather finally improved enough were we could go out and do all of the things we had been wanting to do for so long.

There were bike rides in the park.  Enjoying the beautiful flowers and fountains that fill every corner.

A trip up to the lake to feed the ducks and enjoy a nice walk in the sand.

Followed by a donkey ride through the forest.

It was one of those picture perfect days (even though we had no camera with us) filled with the fall magic that only France give.

Linking up with the SITS Girls Fall back into Blogging
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My school years are sort of a blur - I think subconsciously I blocked out all recollections of anything before college.

I was the heavy-set awkward girl that always struggled to find a place to fit in.  That isn't to say that I didn't have friends.  I had some great friends - friends that I can still count on today.  For some reason though, I struggled to try and find a "great" school memory.

Growing up in an extremely small town it is hard to shed those "labels" that high schools thrive on.  There were cliques that had formed in elementary school that continued well into our teen years.  There was one week a year though, where we dropped all of our differences and came together as a class.


A word that conjures up some great high school memories - memories of pep rallies, parades and football games.

My favorite memory though, float building.

Every night we would gather at the local armory to create our class float - the float that would represent our class in the Homecoming parade.

Our nights were filled with molding chicken wire and covering it with paper mache. Nights filled with making crepe paper flowers and making signs with tempra paint.

All of this for bragging rights of having the best float of the year.

It was the only week were the cliques were gone.  The week where school mates were actual friends.

The only week were we united as the Class of 1998.  The class that won "Best Class" all four years.

Linking up with the SITS Girls Fall Back into Blogging Series

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Welcome to France Wednesday ... Seeing Red

Every once in a while there is this guy that stands outside the entry way into our offices. He is always handing out flyers for the cause.

What cause you ask?

Well the communist party of course.

Welcome to France, where Red is still alive and kicking!

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Noah 9 months

I can't believe 9 months has already passed.  Nine months in - nine months out, isn't that how it goes?

You are truly such a happy baby - you are always smiling and laughing.  Even in the mornings when I go to get you out of your crib you are usually in there playing and giggling.

You are slowly starting to transition out of baby mode.  It is so exciting and depressing to see.  You are no longer content staying still and you must get into everything and anything you can possibly get your hands on.  You have mastered getting around the house using ever resource at your disposal.  If you can't crawl there - you'll roll.  If neither of those works you will still find a way to get to where you want and when you want.

You are still babbling like crazy although it is still nothing coherent.  You have learned to smack your lips together when you want more food which is adorable and let us just say that you smack your lips a lot.

You still love to eat.  There isn't a food that you've tried that you haven't loved.  We've started to make your food more consistent adding in rice and pasta while leaving some bigger chunks.  We have also started you on finger foods, although you love to throw it over the high chair more than eat it.  You definitely love to see it hit the ground and you burst out into fits of giggles.  I was actually kind of hoping we would skip this phase all together.

You still have no teeth.  I'm honestly starting to get a little worried.  While I love your gummy smile I'm wondering why they haven't started coming yet.  We have taken away your pacifier in hopes of stimulating some teeth - we'll have to wait and see.

You are still nursing in the mornings and at night.  I am really hoping that this will be the last month for us.  You are no longer as distracted - which is good - but I think the time has come.

This month it took a while for you to adjust back to daycare.  You weren't your usual happy self.  I completely understand though, after a month off it's tough to try and get back into a routine.  You seem to be adjusting better which is great for all of us.

You love to be on your feet and cruising along.  If it isn't holding on to your daddy's fingers it is in your walker - and you are going full speed.

You are learning to do so many things and it is so amazing to watch you develop.  I'm hoping we have another great month!

Be sure to stop by my FB page to see Nathan vs. Noah at 9 months!

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Growing up...

One of my closest childhood friends shared this picture with me a few weeks ago.  She had posted it onto my personal Facebook page.  Within minutes the picture started filling up with happy memories from old friends.

This "tunnel" was part of my hometown.  We called it a tunnel, although it was more of an underpass.  Just a piece of cement with a picture of Cochise, paying homage to the people who lived there way before us.

This place is so embedded into my memories and into my past.

As a child it symbolised joy.  We would squeal in delight as my parents honked the horn for the 2 seconds it took to actually cross.

As a teenager it symbolised independence - cruising with friends on a Friday night with the music blaring.  We would drive in endless circles passing the tunnel at least 20 times a night.

I'll never forget the night when we packed too many people into a silver Volkswagen Beatle and almost didn't make it over to the other side.

When I moved away it symbolised the past.  The place I had grown to love but had left.  No matter how many times I left, it always welcomed me back with open arms.

When I would complain and insult the town that gave me life it never judged.  When I would leave, passing through it on my way out of town with promises of adventures not yet lived - it was always there smiling in my rear view mirror.

Until the day I returned - many years later and it was gone.  The hole had been filled and the street had been levelled.  My beloved underpass had disappeared and replaced with a modern intersection.

It was a sad realisation.  Coming back to the place I had called home for so many years - and it was no longer the same; I was not the same.

There was always this magic in my memories of the place I grew up.  A magic that I lost as I grew up and magic gave in to reality.

But in this moment, in this picture - the magic returned.  The nostalgia that comes with a life well lived.

The joy of a child's laughter.  The sarcasm in teenage angst.  The pseudo-intellect only a college student poses. The compassion of adulthood.

Is there a place that you always associate with home?

Linking up with Shell for Pour Your Heart Out
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A day in the life...sans mots

6:09 a.m
6:20 a.m                                
6:28 a.m
7:32 a.m
8:05 a.m
9:57 a.m

5:43 p.m

6:14 p.m
6:22 p.m

7:05 p.m
7:39 p.m

9:04 p.m

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WTF Wednesday...the drink edition

It's confession time.  I am addicted to Diet Coke.  I am also one of these people that will order the water when my only choice is Diet Pepsi.  They are not the same thing.  My co-workers never miss an opportunity to make fun of me every time the hear the classic opening of the can.  "Tres Americaine"

In France my Coke is fancy schmancy. She prefers to go by the name Coca-Cola rather than Coke because it sounds so je ne sais pas - sophisticated.

Also, please don't refer to my Coca-Cola as Diet.  How insulting.  Here she prefers to be referred to as Light.

All of this sophistication comes at a price though.  In my office this lovely costs me 80 centimes (over a $1.00).  If you order here on a lovely terrace at a cafe - she can cost you over 2 euros ($2.50).

But she's well worth it.  Welcome to France.

If you are curious about anything here in France, stop by my FB page and leave me a comment.  I will try to answer in a future Welcome to France (WTF) post.

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My husband's favorite city in France is Montpellier.

There was actually a time at the beginning when we were going almost every other weekend.  This is quite a feat considering that we live almost 3 1/2 hours away.

While we were in Sete, Cornel couldn't resist being so close to Montpellier and not stopping by.

I was less than thrilled.  We had a long drive back home and a detour was not in my plans.

The thing about Cornel is that he rarely ever complains when I want to go somewhere so I had to take one for the team and go to Montpellier.

I have to admit that the town and the surrounding area is beautiful.  The beach is nearby and the town itself is the perfect mix of old and modern.

I was kind of sentimental and wanted to share the places Cornel and I loved so much with our boys.

The wind was cold and the water was rough, but this didn't stop Nathan from enjoying the Mediterranean.  I imagine this is what pure joy feels like in life.

Little did Nathan realize that the day was not over.  We decided to indulge his obsession and take him to a Pirate Restaurant.

Nathan loved every single minute of it.

We ended our wonderful afternoon with a trip to the Aquarium right across from the Pirates.  Both Nathan and Noah loved staring at the fish (what is it with fish?).

We ended up getting home much later than I thought we would but it was all well worth it.

Sometimes the detours make the most memories.

Do you have any memorable detours?

Stop by my FB page to see how France remembers today...
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Dear Nathan

Dear Nathan,

You have been a handful this month.  I know they say that the two's are terrible, but you seem to be proving that three is the new two.

I have to admit to you though, that we have had a rough month.  Your dad was traveling  almost half of the month which left you to be the man of the house.  You did help our around the house by putting your toys away when asked and going to bed without a fight.  For that, I am eternally grateful.

You loved the trip to Spain and came back speaking more Spanish than when we left.  You loved to shout "Viva Espana!" which definitely amused everyone.  You ate so many different foods and you never complained.  I would have never imagined you eating all of the different variety of tapas that you did.

You swam in the sea for the second time in your life.  At first you weren't impressed.  In fact, you hated every second of it.  You cried and couldn't wait to get out of the water.  The water was cold and the sea was rough, so I can see why you didn't love it at first.  When we changed beaches and took you to the "Mar Menor" you were in love.  The water was warm, the sea was calm and the water was so clear that you could see the fish swimming.  You even caught a few in your tiny net before setting them free.

You tried ice cream for the first time this summer and loved it.  I don't know why it took us long to give you some, but something tells me you will ask for it again.

You still love exploring your world and are fascinated by all things science.  We love taking you to science museums and letting you explore.

You are still fascinated with pirates and we can now add dinosaurs to the list.  Your daddy brought you a book all about dinosaurs from the US and you love to take it everywhere.

You are now the oldest in your class at school, which is so strange for me to see.  It seems like just a few months ago we dropped you off in the baby corner.

You are growing up into an amazing young boy and I'm so proud to call you mine.
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The Girl who Cried Pre-school

Everyone here in France is getting ready for the big rentrée, which is a big fancy word for "back to school".

This was also the time that Nathan was supposed to start pre-school.  After months of searching for a school and months of waiting to find out if they had a space available and finally getting our official "acceptance" letter we ended up not sending Nathan to school.

Instead, his big rentrée was back to daycare.  All of his friends are gone and he is now by far the oldest in his class.

All of this because the French school system is set up to screw with families with two working parents.

In France all schools are closed on Wednesdays.  Supposedly kids learn better if they have a break mid week, and so school is Monday - Tuesday and Thursday - Friday.  If you are a family whose parents work Monday - Friday you are pretty much stuck on finding somewhere to send your child on Wednesdays.

Some families hire nannies to take care of their children on Wednesdays.  If the big nanny debacle of 2009 is any reminder - this was not an option for us.  Nathan's daycare has a "Wednesday Recess" where the kids who have attended the daycare in the past can go their first year out - but with only 60 openings they were already booked up.

And so, with no other options we decided to keep Nathan in daycare until January when hopefully a spot will open up.

All of this cleverly designed by the French government to make me feel guilty for being a working mother.  This, in addition to the school lunch break from 11:45 to 2 p.m., where most mothers pick up their children because heaven forbid they have to stay in school any longer than they have to.

And while I worked myself into a tizzy about all of this, I've learned to embrace that my oldest baby will remain a baby for a few more months.

The school has graciously accepted to save Nathan's place until January, when hopefully we will have a second go at the rentrée.

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