Well it's been a busy fall with lots of activity at school in particular. The older boys are enjoying their friends from last year, and Lincoln is adapting to his new environment (that is diplomatese for "he hasn't been expelled from school - yet"). After a mere two months of administrative processing Kristie has gotten permission from the French government to start a job at the school she was given at the end of summer. Busy protesting against changing the retirement age from 60 to 62...
We've kept plenty busy with early Halloween activities, a scouting trip (in the freezing rain) to Belleau Woods, and a road trip (yes on a ferry and then on the left side of the road) to London. The only thing missing has been guests, but we have a few recent bookings that we are looking forward to - so act now this is a limited time offer.
Soooo - in no particular order ...
London Trip - we had a great visit, taking the ferry over, not quite getting sea sick and being welcomed by the white cliffs of Dover. Then a nice drive through the country where everyone seemed very nice, but kept moving into my lane... :) just kidding - but we did notice that these poor blokes even seem to have their trains moving in the wrong direction! Next we did the London eye, arriving for a perfectly timed sunset "flight" - which apparently makes you feel better about the most expensive ferris wheel you'll ever ride. Honestly though - it was worth it for an amazing view of the city. Then off to our hotel, which was on a major road by the airport but which apparently had some kind of GPS cloaking device since that usually reliable marriage preserving device insisted the hotel was several miles away. When we finally stumbled across it, we got a nice room and felt like we were back in Paris because, regretably and ironically, the room had been recently occupied by one of the much more rare London smokers - who had ignored the fact that the entire hotel was non-smoking.
The next days were a whirlwind of bus, ferry and "tube" trips, great meals, blue skies, marching guards and an ultimately unsuccessful effort to get the various Ben and Jerry's vending machines we found to actually produce that heavenly product. We topped off the weekend with a visit to the show "Wicked" which we would highly recommend to anybody who gets the chance (and can find reduced price tickets...).
Hallowen - part 1 of 3-5: One nice thing about being in a country that doesn't really follow or understand our crazy traditions, is that they won't notice the liberties taken with them. Accordingly before Halloween hits America, we will have celebrated and cashed in on at least three major trick-or-treat outings. We realized that perhaps we weren't really following State Department advice not to stick out as Americans when I was talking with a French colleague about Halloween and she remarked on a cute little boy she had seen in the metro in a Buzz Lightyear costume. I was curious and asked if he had the inflatable wings, which he did, whether he was blond, which he was, whether he was about so tall, which he was - and whether he was running and talking a blue streak - which definitively identified him as Lincoln... Oh well - at least we have a superhero on our side.
Outings: A relaxing Columbus day bike ride in the gardens of Versailles (while the boys were at school)
An evening ride to a park overlooking the city
Celebrating the birthday of a good friend
A visit to Belleau Woods where Graham and his friend raised the American flags at a cemetary on the site of a battle of defining importance and solemnity to the U.S. Marine Corps
Same deal as the last post - been a busy summer and busier start to fall. Lots of sun, lots of fun, enjoyed seeing friends and family - looking forward to getting settled in the school year routine. Kristie will be joining all 3 boys at Marymount this year as an assistant in the pre-K class which is very exciting for us, but another adjustment. Lincoln is psyched to be joining the big guys at the same school and riding the bus, and the older guys are being good sports about it.
In other news, after years of window shopping and a lot of soul searching Bill decided to take a job in Afghanistan working with local Afghan authorities near Kabul that will start around July 2011. The rest of the family will probably move back to Vermont for that year, and from there we are looking at the possibility of a tour in Montreal.
Hope all of you are well - and please (seriously) book your visit early, spots are going fast!
Enjoy the pictures, we cherish the memories that go with them...
The Bridge Building Gang at the commemoration ceremony
Cowboy Lincoln on his favorite day of French preschool (his last)
On Lake Champlain
Chillin with Gpa
Fun with the Cousins
Where did Lincoln go?
Those Crocs don't stand a chance vs. Team Swaney
Eli's Favorite monument - the Pont du Gard - southern France