lundi 6 décembre 2010

Discoveries


Following Courtney's (Storinguptreasures blog) example, I am giving you

My discoveries for this month:

- If I miss one gym class, I make a habit of it and conveniently forget to go the following Mondays.. So let me hurry this post along so as not to 'forget' today.

- No matter how many bananas I buy, it's never enough, I have one in my cereals the first day, half one the next (had to share with Anaëlle), none the third.

- Asking them with a smile, with a threat, with a yell, with a treat, with a compliment, with a joke... doesn't work: teenagers will always be teenagers. I just have to accept it. Can't though.

- Jérôme has been back full time for 3 months now, working from home. I love it, no matter how incredulous some people look when I tell them, truly, honestly, I love it. It's... happy. It's not always organised, it's not always peaceful, but it's fun and happy.

- You can feed a family of 6 for a week without going shopping, just by making do with what's in the cupboards. They won't like everything you give them, but that's all they get..

However, I have to run to the gym AND do a tiny bit of shopping now (bananas!)



dimanche 28 novembre 2010

Dyslexie ou esprit mal tourné?


A mon avis, c'est la 2e option, mais j'ai des doutes car ça m'arrive régulièrement.... Je lis un truc rapidement, et le mot qui arrive à mon cerveau n'est pas du tout celui qui est écrit.
Après relecture, je comprends vite ce qui s'est passé: j'ai amalgamé 2 lignes pour fabriquer un autre mot, qui me fait
-rire
-lever les yeux au ciel
-penser à quelqu'un

Bref, l'image créée est souvent bien plus forte que celle que je suis sensée lire et c'est probablement la raison pour laquelle mon cerveau accepte un raccourci plus puissant que la réalité.
Passionnant.

Vous lisez la même chose que moi?

samedi 27 novembre 2010

To Do Lists

This one is not going to be the most entertaining post of all, but some things are easier once their are written somewhere, at least for me.
Maybe a post now and then with lists is a healing thing to do, as if it helped me focus on important things (to me) that are really nagging me at this point. And that is what the whole blog is about, sharing things that feel important. So for today, my listing exercise/ze:

Be so much more peaceful with my children, which entails:
-patience,
-sleeping more
-playing with them
-reading to them more
-focusing on the positive things
-be more generous with my time
-admiring them for what they are

A friend who is now in her third year of 'family management' course was reflecting to me yesterday how some things that seem 'laughable' at first, like approving and admiring and encouraging in a very 'non-french' and 'overenthusiastic' way have become automatic responses after a while and are now so natural to her that her relationship and behaviour with her children has totally changed and improved...

Getting ready for our trip abroad at Christmas:
- Meeting teachers to have a homework plan because the children are going to miss school.

- Planning their backpacks for the 24-hour plane trip.

- Planning their suitcases with stuff for summer whilst we are watching the first snowflakes settle down on the streets. (I know, let's not complain here...)

- Make sure all the bills and taxes have been paid. ('All' not being the adequate word, they are never ALL paid)

- Tidy up garage to fit in both cars whilst we are away. (We have a bet going with Jérôme, he says they won't fit, I say they will...)

- Change sheets before leaving. (and wash and dry and fold them of course... mmmhmmm not sure about this one..)

- Finish planning and buying Christmas gifts, take pictures of the ones we are not taking with us. (Doll stroller, snow boots, things that might be a bit bulky AND useless on this trip?)

- Send 20 Christmas cards (can't possibly do more this year!)

- Lose 10kg (yeah, well... not sure about this one either..)

- Sort through the 20km of electrical wires (phone battery charger, laptop battery charger, camera battery charger, Ipod battery charger, energy battery charger for me???)

- Make a list of safety things to check before leaving (HA! Another list coming up!)

- NOT BE STRESSED OUT, yeah right.

- Update my blog a bit more often, I miss it.


Photos are a bit scarce these days, my camera is dying and I am hoping to find a new one in my birthday gifts on the plane, as we are leaving on the day I turn 4XXXXXXXXXXX!




samedi 20 novembre 2010

la Toussaint, encore






Je me réveille trrrrrrrrrrrrès tôt pour un samedi matin et me voici de nouveau au poste....

Dans la série 'Mots d'enfants':

Petite Soeur fait ses devoirs de CP avec moi, elle lit "le lion dévore le mouton..." Elle se marre et me dit "C'est pas vrai, parce que le lion vit dans la forêt très loin et le mouton vit dans la montagne. Le lion peut pas manger le mouton!" CQFD

En CM1, Moyenne Soeur nous récite sa leçon: "Alors, quand le supermatozoïde rejoint l'ovule, ça s'appelle la fécondation et..." On n'a pas entendu la suite, Grand Frère et Grande Soeur riaient trop fort.
Nous leur avons donc gentiment rappelé que l'un d'entre eux, vers 7-8 ans, nous avait parlé des "astéroïdes de Papa."
On en déduit que ces tout petits machins méritent une appellation spéciale quand ils sont un cru familial. Le Papa est fier.

Petite retour sur les vacances de la Toussaint pour quelques photos encore. Après un temps de rêve à la montagne, petite incursion au bord de la mer où nous avons regardé les kitesurfer kitesurfer et... tomber la pluie.









vendredi 19 novembre 2010

Bad Mood

I am angry. Very very angry.
I can't tell much, as it is not my story to tell, but I just have to vent it out.

How can a single girl justify to herself coming on to, then starting an affair with, and also planning on a future and all that entails together with a married man, a father, no matter what he tells her of his (enormous quotation marks) "unhappiness"???

I know, there is his and her faults, it's their story, blablabla.
I know it's none of my business.
I know I don't know anything.

I will still make sure in my daughters' education that some things definitely feel very very wrong some times, no matter how twisted and deformed one's vision of them might be.

I don't believe that if a marriage is doomed to fail, it is doomed. That is not true, we all know we can work at it. I am not saying we can save it always, but it demands work first.
Coming to the advanced age of 41, I am suddenly seeing men leaving their family, ALL because they were never "happy" and had found their "happy one", suddenly. So if the happy one had not happened, they would never have left???
The sad answer seems to be : no, they would never have left. Would it have been better, is it a disputable philosophy of 'If it ain't broken, don't fix it'... maybe. But nothing is as simple as that.
I just think the responsibility of the new woman here is huge and not pretty.

I am raving here, but I am sooooo angry.

Will probably reread this post in a few days and feel terrible about it...
Who am I to feel entitled to judge?



mardi 9 novembre 2010

Rires


Hier soir, petit mot maladroit de l'un d'entre nous pour dire à Marie-Liesse qu'elle était la plus énervante de nos enfants. Ben oui, ça arrive, le mot sort et on se dit qu'on a endommagé notre enfant pour le restant de ses jours.

Gymnastique intellectuelle digne des plus grands champions du monde de psychologie enfantine, tant en vitesse qu'en pirouette, le mot a été transformé en "C'est toi qui a le pouvoir d'"énervation" le plus puissant de nos enfants, tu en as hérité de ton Papa, et en plus tu sais l'activer quand tu veux au maximum... t'es très très forte!!!"
Eclats de rire, le sourire est revenu... et à ce moment-là, Marie-Liesse nous raconte:

Après la cantine, quand il pleut, on va dans la salle de télé. L'autre jour il y avait une grande qui était à côté de moi et qui n'arrêtait pas de faire 'pic pic' sur ma jambe pendant le film et ensuite ça s'est transformé en petits coups de poings. Alors je lui ai fait pareil et elle s'est tournée vers moi en disant:
"Mais ce n'est pas moi qui t'embête!"
et je lui ai répondu:
"Moi non plus!" (tête de Marie-Liesse avec un grand sourire sournoisement innocent)

On a tous éclaté de rire et applaudi!
En fait, les talents de pestouille, ça peut être très utile.. Quelle arme!
J'aurais voulu prendre une photo de la tête de Marie-Liesse nous mimant la scène.

vendredi 5 novembre 2010

Halloween for us

After years of pumpkin carving competition, I have let things go since we came back to France where Halloween is more used as a business/shopping/decoration item than anything else, as it's definitely not a european tradition...
But just to prove it, here are some photos from past Halloween pumpkins...

My favourite! Our 2005 spider pumpkin.

It did win a prize, if I remember well.

Our 2006 fiasco. The following morning, the parts where the sweets came in contact with the wet parts of the pumpkin had dissolved the sweets, everything had fallen down, it looked like nothing any more!!!!

But there was a lot of fun involved in the making, so a great memory all in all!


The 2007 masterpiece by Pacôme. The children are growing, won't let me get near their work so much, I am starting to learn to let go (still learning, grmbl grmbl..)

and I love this pirat!

No pumpkin for us after this. I got lazy. I am promising myself to have a great pumpking carving session with the children next year. So this is as far as our Halloween got this year:

Yeah well, that's Jérôme sitting in the back making calls, my brother-in-law is driving and I am giggling at my 2 youngest! Jérôme finds that not having a license for 1 month is bliss, he is being chauffeured around and arrives everywhere fully rested and relaxed!





jeudi 4 novembre 2010

2500km plus tard







C'est vrai, nous passons beaucoup de temps à partir en vacances, à en revenir, et je ne résiste pas à poster quelques photos. Tour du sud de la France, tour météo, tour de la famille, les vacances furent bien remplies...


Montagne enneigée à partir d'une limite bien définie, couleurs d'automne en dessous, mes photos ne rendent pas justice au paysage.




Arrivée à la montagne sous la neige, avec des passages de cols dignes du plus froid de l'hiver.


Et le lendemain, on est les premiers à en profiter... Les seuls d'ailleurs, il n'y que le gardien du refuge et nous dans le village !




samedi 30 octobre 2010

all fixed

Once upon a time there was a woman who was very very angry. She had been angry for a long time, since her childhood. Angry at somebody in particular, so angry that she suddenly lashed out at the person who had been hurting her, lashed out in a very unreasonable way, in a mean way and she hurt the other person a lot.

The person expected apologies that the woman never made. The person would not talk to the woman any more. The person's wife got sad and the woman tried to persuade herself that she did not care, that she had made a clean break after years of verbal abuse from the person.
The woman went to see a therapist, the woman tried to forgive herself, the woman tried to go on with her life. The woman never cried, but she had a constant bellyache, she was wolfing down vast quantities of food, and oh the guilt. The guilty feeling that was always there, so painful, so heavy.

The woman stopped visiting the person and his wife, but after one year of not visiting, asked her husband to take their children to see them, a 600 km drive one way. The wonderful husband agreed, and the woman was to meet up with him and their children after the 2 day visit, somewhere else.

But 3 days before leaving, the wonderful husband, for the first time in 20 years of driving, got caught by the police at an unreasonable speed on his motorbike and his driving license was taken away on the spot, for one month. And the woman could not bear to think of the disappointment that the person and his wife would endure not seeing the children, so she drove them all there, and stayed with them and all went well.

Wonders....
She could not bear continuing to be hurt, but then she could not bear having hurt in return. What is a person to do? Some relationships are such hard work it's unbearable.


vendredi 22 octobre 2010

Mont Saint-Michel



Petite escapade en amoureux au Mont Saint-Michel... Jérôme lui a trouvé un petit côté EuroDisney, avec tellement de reconstructions au cours des siècles qu'il n'y a plus grand chose d'original.

Faut pas exagérer, elle est tout de même un peu magique, la Merveille..



Mais on en a vite fait le tour, et prendre une chambre sur place a un certain charme, (si on en oublie le prix) pour se balader le soir après le départ des hordes de touristes. On se l'approprie un peu...


mercredi 20 octobre 2010

Drawings




Just sharing one friend's terrific good idea: take a picture of your children's drawings and then throw them away! YESSSS! So much place gain, it's amazing, and I feel so much lighter. Haven't gone very far yet, but I have thrown those away, and looking forward to doing more !



Because, quite frankly, who wants to be handed over a huge cardboard box full of drawings and exercise books at the advanced age of 21 with a comment like "I kept them all for you, for the day when you move in your teeny wheeny 15 m2 studio and take all your belongings with you"...
So instead, they will get a thin folder of the very most cherished ones, AND a photo download.

mardi 12 octobre 2010

Changements

Vous avez vu, j'ai relooké! J'y ai passé un peu de temps... J'ai même réussi à me sentir intelligente en ajoutant un code CSS pour faire passer le titre du blog de gauche à droite, Yipeee!


Week-end de soleil et de bons amis, les enfants sont repus de bon temps et nous de bonne compagnie et bons moments, on profite de l'été indien, chaque jour de soleil est du bonus sur l'hiver..


Moyenne Soeur trouve toujours un moment pour se déguiser, j'aime bien ce look-là.



lundi 11 octobre 2010

A gift

I seem to have some difficulties finding things to say at the moment. It might be a good thing, as in 'I am too busy to sit down..' but no that's not it. I find that I don't necessarily want to say the same things in english and in french, so I had to find inspiration for my english post. I have lots of ideas but by the time I start typing, the idea is gone or discarded at not valuable enough.

Lately, one thing stands out though : I can't wait to go and see the movie 'Eat, Pray, Love' as I really loved the book. I read an article (Grazia...?) by the author Elizabeth Gilbert on what we women do to ourselves, particularly always comparing and in the process never feeling adequate enough. She mentions how her sister organized a treasure hunt for the neighbourhood kids and one of the mothers complimented her by saying 'You are a much better mother than I will ever be." Elizabeth Gilbert's sister grabbed her friend's hands and said "Please. Let's not do this to each other." (And yes, it was in Grazia, issue 285)

This short anecdote means a lot to me. We are all doing it, aren't we? You have a successful job, I don't. I have 4 children, you say 'I have only 1 (2, or 3).' You play often with your children, I play one game of Monopoly per year. You are on time to pick them up, I am often late. You have never slapped your children, I have. You don't bake cakes, I bake a mean chocolate cake. Your child loves beetroot, mine hate it. Your children speak their native language, mine speak 2. Your children make their beds and tidy their rooms, mine are slobs etc.

Let's focus on the important things. It seems that the 'memory trick' is a good one. When I think of you, what will I remember you by? What do I want you to remember me by :
'Remember how you were always late?' 'Your chocolate cakes were incredible'?

Mhmmm... Can I choose please?

Last year, one girlfriend from my old life in Brussels said to me 'I miss the endless coffees we had in your kitchen, your kitchen is the fondest memory I have of the house you lived in, it was so cosy and warm and comfortable... (we are talking big 70's kitchen in rented house, with dirty white broken tiles and brown cupboards, complete with Ikea stools with screws coming off)
I nearly fell of my Ikea stool when I heard this.

I always felt so inadequate, offering coffee in the messy kitchen because there were always snacks, dishwasher emptying, homework, meals to prepare and I could never spare the beautiful calm moment to sit down properly in the living room and enjoy a peaceful cup of coffee with my friends.

And then this. What a gift this friend gave me. I had given her something she enjoyed and I did not know it at the time. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself, nurturing the feeling of inadequacy.
So while I will keep trying to do better, I will also stop nurturing the wrong thoughts, stop comparing, stop trying to measure up to standards that are made neither for nor by me. And that goes for you too.
There you go.

mercredi 29 septembre 2010

Tris

Voici un message hyper passionnant, nan nan vraiment.. Mais j'avais besoin de m'épancher!




Depuis quelques jours, Anaëlle me poursuit pour que je sorte les vêtements d'hiver. J'aurais bien attendu un peu plus longtemps, mais bon.
Alors en ce tiède après-midi de septembre, Pacôme et moi avons remonté quelques énormes sacs de vêtements. Je suis sûre que les quantités baissent chaque année, ce n'est pas possible autrement, je donne et jette plus que je ne récupère... et pourtant...

Il y a la pile 'à donner' qui partira dans des containers, la pile 'pour ma belle-soeur',

la pile 'beaucoup trop grand, pour Anaëlle et Marie-Liesse dans un an', la pile 'un peu trop grand, on reessaye à Noël', la pile 'pour la montagne', la pile 'reste encore à essayer',

sans compter les découvertes de vêtements sales qu'il faudra retrier quand ils sortiront de la machine car j'aurai bien évidemment oublié à quelle pile ils étaient destinés. Ah et il a aussi les jeans un peu trop serrés, un peu démodés, un peu trop bleus, des grands qu'on met de côté en pensant que les deux plus jeunes les mettront un jour... Qu'est-ce-qu'on s'encombre...

Vous voyez la petite chaussette abandonnée pendant l'essayage? J'ai bien peur que sa jumelle ne soit partie dans un des sacs..

Bref, ce fut une activité très motivante... et ce n'est même pas terminé, pauvres de nous!







lundi 27 septembre 2010

Learning

On parenting... No matter how many children we have, they are all different, we love them all the same and yet differently. They are all smart and bright in their own ways and yet it's harder for some and easier for others. Will I ever pass my Ph.D in parenting ??



She is extremely talented in so many ways. She has a pretty voice. She wins poetry contests. Her writings get published in every school journal ever produced. She is one of the actors that the spectators love to listen to when her theatre group does a play. She does very well in school. She draws beautifully.


How does a mother do to not let all this talent go to waste?

Don't read me wrong. She has her 'dark side'.
She is struggling to cope with being a kind older sister... but she has been trying hard and the last few month have shown a gentler and caring side of her. Her bedroom is a battlefield most of the time, but even though I don't let her get away with it, a part of me thinks 'Let this go, she needs an area in her life that is not organised...'

Thank you...

She is so mature I often have to remind her and myself that she is only 12 and that some things are just no acceptable. Some movies, books, jokes, authorizations are too grownup for her and it's up to me to decide. But is it really?
From the age of 12, I personally read and watched everything I wanted to, burnt myself a bit in the process, but nothing got ever really forbidden and if it was, I didn't think it applied to me. Was is right or wrong? I don't regret it for myself, but less information was on hand in the 80's.

I struggle with these questions. I also trust her, she is so smart that I am sure she will make the right judgements as to what is right for her most of the time. Or will she?

She also finds it hard to come and ask for help. So it's a matter of
'Mum, can I show you this?' where I am only allowed to say how much I approve, nothing else.



So I am learning.
Learning to encourage, to provide positive reinforcement, learning to look at a 2-page long poem with only 2 and half spelling mistakes in it and not point them out, learning to kiss her good bye in the morning without asking 'Mmmmmh, did you really comb your hair?', learning to thank her for playing with her sisters instead of telling her off because the game they chose to play is a loud and shrieking tickling game...

I am learning to say no as well. No to sleepovers because she does not do well without sleep and weekends are ruined after a Friday or Saturday sleepover. Late nights are ok, but back home to sleep! No to going to the same drawing lessons as her brother, as it's his special activity. No to paying for another fountain pen because she lost hers 2 weeks after school started.
I am not saying it's easy.

They grow so fast





dimanche 26 septembre 2010

Petits Bonheurs




Sur la recommandation de Gwendoline, nous sommes allés voir ce film vendredi. Et je le recommande moi aussi du fond du coeur.
Voici son commentaire, je le copie-colle car ses mots sont justes et je n'en ai pas de meilleurs :
C'est l'histoire d’un groupe de musiciens composé de 5 paraplégiques et de 3 “valides”, qui vivent dans les rues de Kinshasa et créent, sur des instruments de récupération, une musique à nulle autre pareille...
Superbe documentaire sur la vie des rues de la capitale de la République Démocratique du Congo.
Je n'en dis pas plus, sinon que c'est vitalisant et pas larmoyant, pas de misérabilisme mais l'exposition malgré tout sans détour de la vie de ces personnes.
On a passé un moment magique. Pas sûr qu'il passe partout dans vos salles obscures, mais si vous en avez la possibilité, n'hésitez pas, c'est un très bon moment garanti!




Dans un tout autre registre, voici un aperçu de notre soirée de samedi soir... en exclu pour vous!!!
Thème 'disco', dommage qu'on ne voit pas mes pattes d'éléphant..

mercredi 22 septembre 2010

Une petite Chanson

Ca fait bientôt 2 ans que j'ai retrouvé cette chanson dont je ne connaissais que le texte: ma soeur l'avait copié pour décorer un classeur de Terminale, et j'aimais beaucoup les paroles.
Ben, en chanson c'est encore plus beau... Je fais des recherches en médiathèque régulièrement, mais retrouver l'interprétation originale relève de l'exploit on dirait. En revanche, j'ai trouvé cette interprétation-là, je me l'écoute parfois en boucle et ne m'en lasse pas. J'ai presque peur d'entendre un jour l'original, et si j'aimais moins???

Mes reprises diverses - Une cruche en pierre | gerard97deux.magicrpm.com

Je suis un peu fleur bleue, peut-être ;) mais j'assume!

mardi 21 septembre 2010

That's the way things are


Every night I go to bed with a herb tea. If Jérôme is home, I offer to make one for him too. He often says yes. He hardly ever drinks it. I continue to offer, he continues to accept and then I pick up the full mugs around the house, by his bed, by his favourite armchair, by his computer.
And there is nothing wrong with that.



lundi 20 septembre 2010

Été indien



On s'accroche à ces journées d'été indien tant qu'on peut... Quel joli ciel bleu!
Pour les journées du patrimoine, en toute modestie, nous sommes allés à Versailles. Les fontaines musicales, c'est joli. Photos à apprécier avec de la musique baroque en arrière-plan..
L'heure du thé?

Mais heureusement qu'il y a Jérôme pour jeter un rapide coup d'oeil sur le plan des jardins et nous entraîner ensuite joyeusement vers tous les bassins cachés dans les coins de cet immense labyrinthe. Avec moi pour guide, nous y serions encore...

Vous l'avez peut-être compris de mon poste précédent, j'alternerai désormais un poste en anglais avec un poste en français, pour nos amis lointains.

Et si on était tenté d'oublier où on est, une petite pancarte se charge de nous rappeler qu'on est effectivement en France et pas sur les pelouses de Hyde Park..


Je rêve, je n'ai pas pris une seule photo des bassins! Tant pis, faut imaginer.