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Friday, 27. November 2009 23:33

In the midst of all of this chaos, Julien turned 2.




I am continually being amazed at his new abilities. He is becoming quite a talker and can be the perfect parrot of his sister. There are times now when we don’t know who said what because he can repeat what she says so precisely. He wants to do everything that Sophia does and she is quite content to have someone to do her bidding. As a result, most of his play revolves around mommies and daddies and babies with some horses thrown in as well. He is perfectly willing to be the monster, dinosaur or dog, but there is not a whole lot of boy stuff happening around here.

All of that is about to change.

Joe’s sister, Ali, has also moved to the Bay Area. In fact, she and her two sons, Tyler and Aiden, moved into our house two days after we did. Tyler and Aiden are the same ages as Sophia and Julien, so it’s a bit like having two sets of twins around — all under the age of five.

Three adults and four children in a barely furnished house. This could get interesting.

Category:Julien, Moving, Re-entry | Comments (3) | Autor: Erica

We Made It

Tuesday, 24. November 2009 17:35

I have some catching up to do! The next couple of posts will be about the move back to the US and I have a few other French ones that I still want to write. I’ll be moving the blog in the next couple of days, too, so be on the lookout for the new address.

San Francisco Airport

This photo shows Joe and Julien at the San Francisco International Airport. Some of our luggage can be seen in the foreground.

We ended up reserving our own Super Shuttle in order to get us to our hotel in San Mateo and then just barely fit ourselves and our luggage into it. That has been the theme of the past couple of weeks, apparently.

Joe’s Dad, Rick, came out to France to help with the move and I don’t know how we would have done it without him. He was able to watch the kids while Joe and I took care of everything move-related, and he only packed a carry-on so we were able to get two more bags onto the plane without paying for them! The man has far more patience than Joe or I do when dealing with our children.

Jesse made it through customs without a glance. Seriously. Not even a glance at all his paperwork saying that he had had his rabies shot and that he was in good health. They confiscated his food, though. And Rick’s orange.

But we have all made it to California safe and sound, with all of our luggage and ready to embark on our new adventures.

Category:Julien, Moving, Re-entry | Comments (1) | Autor: Erica


Friday, 21. August 2009 13:27

La canicule is upon us. Canicule means heat wave and can also be referred to as the dog days of summer, but for our area it means that the temperatures are at or above 35C (95F) during the day and don’t cool down below 20C (68F) at night. For us it’s been closer to 36C (97F) and the kids’ room has been staying around 27C (81F) at night.

Now, I grew up in Los Angeles so I am familiar with heat and had often complained that the San Francisco Bay area was just a little too cool for my taste. I don’t know if it’s the humidity here or just the lack of air conditioning, but it is flippin’ HOT here right now. Like, hard to sleep hot.

Our main mode of climate control is to open up all the windows, doors and shutters first thing in the morning to let in the cool morning air. As the sun makes its way along the house, we close all of the windows, doors and shutters to keep out the heat. Add a few fans to that mix and we usually have a decent temperature in the house. I knew we were in for trouble yesterday when I opened up the shutters only to find that it was the same temperature outside as it was inside.

And since we, unlike Joe, don’t get to hide in our air-conditioned offices during the daytime, we have to find more creative ways to beat the heat.

On Wednesday, we enjoyed the pool.
The Pool

On Thursday, we made our way to Fun City in Cannes La Bocca. It’s an indoor, air-conditioned playground.
Fun City

We are still in the midst of the canicule, but we actually had a bit of cool air when we opened up the house this morning. Phew!

Category:France, General, Julien, Sophia | Comments Off | Autor: Erica

Overheard: The Alphabet

Saturday, 25. July 2009 21:25

Julien points to a letter and says, “S!” I am amazed to find that he is actually pointing to a letter S. It starts to dawn on me that my kid could be a SuperGenious when I am jerked back into reality as he points to an F and says, “S!” and then to a T and says “S!” I then realize that, no, he isn’t a SuperGenious, he’s just been listening to his sister who constantly points out her letter — the letter S.


We are driving to Turin. Eilene and I are in the front seat, Sophia and Julien are in the back. From the back seat we hear Sophia singing.

Sophia: A – B – C – D – E – F – D

Julien: S!

Sophia: Q – R – S – A – B little T

Julien: S!

Sophia: Now I know my A – B little C’s. Next time won’t

Julien: S!

Sophia: you sing with me! (pause) A – B – C – D

Julien: S!

Sophia: babyJulien! You don’t say “S!”

Julien: S!

And so on, and so forth, for more kilometers than I could count.

Category:Julien, Sophia | Comments (3) | Autor: Erica

Why I’ll Never Get Strawberries from my Garden…

Tuesday, 2. June 2009 10:22

Some creature keeps eating them right off the plant — even the green ones!

Julien in the Garden

Julien in the Garden

Category:Julien, garden | Comments (1) | Autor: Erica

Overheard: Ice Cream

Saturday, 30. May 2009 15:20

I am putting the laundry out on the line to dry when Sophia comes out to me, eyes wide.

Sophia: Look what Dad gave me!!!

She is holding an ice cream cone. It is not even lunch time, yet.

Me: Dad gave you an ice cream cone. That was very nice of him.

Sophia: Yes, and its chocolate!

Julien comes out, also with an ice cream cone.

Julien: Dad!

He continues to eat his ice cream cone, pausing occasionally to say:

Julien: Dad!

Me, to Joe: What, are you trying to butter up the kids for something?

Joe: Yep, I m the nice parent, aren t I?

Sophia: YES!

Category:Julien, Sophia | Comment (0) | Autor: Erica

How Does My Garden Grow?

Tuesday, 26. May 2009 14:41

I was able to get to the potager (vegetable garden) a little bit this weekend. Several of the rows are overgrown with weeds because I’m finding it difficult to do any garden maintenance with the kids around. Sophia wants to help, which is fine, but Julien likes to walk all over the plants, pull the plant supports down, or sit himself down and eat any strawberries he can find!

Not surprisingly, I don’t get out there as much as I should.

So I was pleasantly surprised the other day to find this:
Purple Artichoke

Remember those purple artichokes I talked about the other day? Apparently, I planted one last year! I knew that I had planted an artichoke, of course, but since they can take two years before they yield anything, I had forgotten which variety. Now I just have to figure out when I’m supposed to harvest it. The tag says summer…..

I am also starting to get some tomatoes (this one is a Roma).

And a row of lettuce that I was actually able to spend some time on this weekend.

Category:General, Julien, Sophia, garden | Comments (2) | Autor: Erica

At The Beach

Sunday, 24. May 2009 17:12

Sophia gathered her beach toys, bathing suit and sunscreen into her bag on Wednesday and announced, “We need to go to the beach!”

Mind you, I had no plans to go to the beach that day, but she followed me all day long asking when we would be leaving.

Me: Well, first we have to pick Julien up from the crêche, and then we need to take a nap.

Sophia: And then we’ll go to the beach!?!

Me: Then we’ll wait for Dad to come home…

Sophia: And we’ll watch him play computer games!?!

Me: Yes, you can watch him play computer games.

Sophia: And then we can go to the beach!?!

Me: And then I think it will be time to go to sleep.

Sophia: And then when we wake up, we can go to the beach!

This was a four-day weekend for Joe, so we were able to hit the beach on Friday. A few pics:
At The Beach

At The Beach


Every time that we went to the beach last year, Sophia would only touch the water if she was with one of us. As we would walk deeper into the water, she would cling on harder and climb higher onto whoever was holding her. This year, she really wanted to swim and, while also accompanied by one of us, she was very excited to be in the water and swimming around.

Category:France, Julien, Sophia, Travel: France | Comments (2) | Autor: Erica

The Perils of Having an Older Sister

Tuesday, 12. May 2009 21:51

The Headband, originally uploaded by emorris1.

Fortunately, Julien is too young to understand that the headband that his sister put on his head might not be the most, um, masculine accessory.

Category:Julien, Sophia | Comment (0) | Autor: Erica

Les Vacances: Day 8

Thursday, 30. April 2009 13:25

We got out the paints yesterday, cut up some fruits and vegetables, and the kids went to town. We used tomatoes, potatoes, lemons and onions to make our artwork.

Produce Painting

Potato Painting

And once they were bored of the produce, they moved on to just painting with brushes.


I think that I bring out the paints just often enough to remind myself why I don’t bring them out very often. The kids had a great time painting, but I spent the whole time in a panic that they’d paint something that they weren’t supposed to! Fortunately, the house escaped unscathed, but I don’t think that I can say the same for Julien’s shirt. Oh well, he’s growing out of it anyways. (And Joe, I made sure that you had two of the 2007 Jeux de Sophia T-shirts before I gave one to Julien!)

Category:Julien, Sophia, crafts | Comments (1) | Autor: Erica