The time has come

No, it's not time that I put this blog to bed, not yet anyway, but it is time for me to start documenting our return.

I have hesitated because I don't want to be that expat who returns and can only say negative things about their home country.  On the contrary, I love this place and appreciate it even more after our time away.  That's not to say "these United States" (this is what Aidan calls The United States, as if he was not born here!), don't have their fair share of problems, but I just don't want to look like an asshole when I point a few of them out.

But I'll go ahead and start with this.

I'm pretty certain the ladies changing room of any USA fitness club is the most under utilized room in all of the USA.   The men seem to understand the concept workout, shower, change clothes and go about your day.  The women seem to think that they don't need that extra step.  Maybe it's because the workout pants cost around $30.00 at Target and they figure that's equivalent to a pair of pants so it must work like pants.  Let me help you with this one.  NO.

One more question, why do the ladies in the USA dress like they are going to play the sport they are going to watch, be it soccer or field day?  Judging by the size of the asses in the spandex, I'm going to say it's been a while since they saw some action on the field.

I should mention my "suburban spread" is currently at 10 pounds.

This post is not going in the direction I had planned.

Ok, now I just keep typing and erasing, what I mean to say is, I'm happy to be home.

I'm going to try this again tomorrow, I think it's going to take a while to get back in the swing of things.

In the meantime, welcome to my new surroundings.


Like I was never gone

There was much to do before we left Paris.
Then to complicate matters Nolan decided to get pneumonia.
We like a bit more chaos in chaotic moments.
But the show had to go on.
Literally, the kids Christmas show.
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Where we had to say good bye to the best school and friends.  Ever.
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Then there was the matter of doing a few Paris "must" during Christmas.
The first was for the kids, the second was for the adults.
In five years I had not made the trip out to see it.  Now I can say I have.
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This is the metro you will need to get there.  I had only seen it in children's books before, but I must say, it was a bit more exciting for me than the Moulin Rouge.  I know, I'm lame, but the 1,000+ Chinese tourists gathered in front of the Moulin Rouge kind of takes away from it.  That is not to say we didn't go home with an "adult" souvenir from one of the nearby shops.  GASP.  It's okay, we're married.
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Thank heavens other people did the packing for us!
Then reality set in and we really had to say good-bye.
I had to say good-bye to my neighbor, more tears, lots of tears.
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Without a doubt the best part of Paris was the relationships that we built.  The city can beat you up, but the people always make it worth it!
To make our transition back to the States a bit easier we headed to London for some downtime and to experience London at Christmas time.
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London did not disappoint, she was wet, but it did not stop us!
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We spent our retirement at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.
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I got cool mom points for booking this.
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After the Ice Castle tour Pretty started asking how much this Winter Wonderland was costing us.
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Acceptance is key.
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Happy kids.  Don't be fooled, for every happy there is a downer, this is his recovery after the biggest melt down in the history of Aidan.  Let's just say it was a show stopper.
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On another note, I will never understand this ride.  Never.
The next day, we spent the other half our retirement.
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Want a good London tip.  Take the water taxi.
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Parents love it, kids love it and I should mention there is a bar on board, coffee for the morning ride over and wine for the ride home.
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This is the tree at Trafalgar Square.  Meh, the Frenchy in me could have been more impressed.
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However, this did deliver.  Christmas Eve Crib service at Westminster Abbey.
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The Santa arrived.  To a cupcake liner tree.
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No, I did not cook.  We went to the North Pole for Christmas lunch.
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Aidan sweet talked the waiter into pasta with butter.  The rest of us had a traditional British Christmas lunch and it was great!  Just stay away from Christmas pudding, it is fruit cake, but worse.
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We had to do the phone booth photo.
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Then it was time to head to the airport.
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Off we went.
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But, of course there is always a cheers first!


12.12.12 Birthday Girl

We start an international move in 5 short days.
We still have three little ones who need their normal lives.

Photobucket So birthday pancake tower it is.
Of course there is a party.
9 little girls will "sleep" at our house.
Wish me luck.
The boys?
Sick, of course.



38 years

PhotobucketToday I turned 38, on a Wednesday no doubt.  If you think a stay at home mom eats bonbons all day, come hang out with me on a Wednesday.  You'll be begging for your office come lunch time.  Three kids in a bakery picking their "regular" touching every glass surface they can get their little paws on, mixed with pleas for sweets.  Well, let's just say I told the bakery today, they should offer Vodka on Wednesdays.
Last year at this time I had a tiny little baby that barely made a sound, slept and nursed like a charm.
That baby is now a walking, talking, screaming little man, affectionately known as Henry the 8th.  The days sometimes feel a bit upside down, but at the end of them, I'm so thankful for the crazy that is my life.
Photobucket At thirty eight I feel younger than I look. Most of the time.
I look forward to staying in, more than going out.
Saying no got so much easier with #3.
I love taking pictures of little things everyday. Instagram is my favorite app. Ever.
I still curse at people while driving and I wish I didn't.
I still stay up too late and wish I hadn't. When I'm exhausted at 9:00, why oh why, don't I just go to bed!?
I have spent 5 years in Paris and now it comes to an end.
Oddly, it's bittersweet.
I have told off an elderly woman (complete with flipping her the bird), a priest (I didn't shoot him the bird), and the crazy bird lady at Champs de Mars.
Speaking of birds, every person in this family has been pooped on at least once with the exception of the baby.
I've hit a moped driver. Pas ma faute. Seriously, there were witnesses.
My eye has twitched at some point everyday for the past five years.
Okay, perhaps it's not so bittersweet?
I crave the still of my house when I know everyone is in their bed where they should be. It feels like the safest part of the day.
Salted dark chocolate is my weakness.
If I'm really honest so is the Bison Vodka that Brandon brings home from Poland.
I lost a loved one that I wish I could have had more time with.
I'm looking forward to the ease of being surrounded by my own culture, but so thankful for this experience.
And drive thru pharmacies, because, I absolutely hate standing in line with oozing, sickly people.


Baby turns ONE!

Life takes this family places we never knew we would go.
Nolan's birthday week was no exception to this.
He has been such a perfect addition to this family.
This is my daily view.

Photobucket A third child changes everything. He is not calm. He talks/screams at every moment of the day. LOUD. He is not dainty. Baby food insults him. He walked earlier than my other children. He is wild in every way. My friend/neighbor has perfectly named him Henry the 8th. But when he crashes, he crashes. Photobucket We had to sing him awake. For cake of course. birthday cake table THIS cake is Amazing. One party tip, even though everyone loves some good stinky cheese in France, the smell was a bit too much for me. I'ld go with Cheddar next time. He smiles with his whole face. Photobucket No doubt he was born in France, he had no desire to stick his hands, let alone his entire face in that cake. I could eat him up!!! Photobucket Brandon says no more kids. Nolan and I are leaving that door open;) Photobucket Cheers!!! (I just gave Pretty a heart attack)


Birthdays, confessions, and therapy

Aidan celebrated a birthday this past month.  You know I love a good kid birthday party.  I love making them feel special.  I love that this year he helped make so much of the food.  I overheard him tell Jaylee, "this one is going to be even BETTER than last year!"  I love that I can do that for them.  When they get older there will be plenty of time for birthdays that pass and they go for a birthday meal and a clan of strangers come to the table and sing happy birthday (I was a waitress, and still, I will never understand this ritual in the USA.  Who gives a shit if complete strangers are singing Happy Birthday to you?!)  Also, I'll be completely honest, I think box cake mix sucks as does frosting in a can and don't even get me started on a cake that comes from the local grocery store with a plastic cover.  Go ahead, call me names, chances are I've said worse if you served this at your party.  
I blame my brother really, but thankfully I still love him dearly, but I'm pretty sure if I had ever gone to therapy they would blame him too.  Once my mom made me a birthday cake (it was from a box, but in her defense I didn't care at that point in my life).  My brother volunteered to frost it.  He frosted it alright, right after he drilled holes in it and then filled those holes with salt.  Uhm.  Yep.  He did.  Still love him.  I'm certain he should have been the original Seinfeld.  But, if you think my birthday celebrations are a bit out of control you can blame him;-)  
I love Martha Stewart.  This is her Boo-tiful cake.  Topped with 7 minute frosting.  I would change the chocolate cake itself to the Hershey cake recipe on the back of the Hershey powder can, just because I think it's so much better.  Sorry Martha.
Anal retentive Peggy took a break and let the kids draw the clementines plus wrap the yogurt drinks and juice boxes.  
There were games.  Thank heavens my friend Ruth stayed to help.  Want to know what age a little boy party should be held at the park or local theme park?  Six.  Straight chaos.  A day later I would find half filled juice boxes and half eaten sandwiches under Aidan's bed.  I block out what his dorm room will look like in a few short years.
But, BINGO was still a hit.  BINGO is cool in your younger years and your elder years, anything in between is questionable unless large amounts of alcohol are present.  
I love you little man!