Friday, March 29, 2013

My apologies, its been a few days hasn't it.

Our days have settled into a lovely routine. Breakfast, reading, homeschooling (hopefully Sausage naps at this point), hot lunch and then we head out for our adventure :-)

Yesterday our adventure involved:

A) a pond
B) vegetation
C) ban on photography

Can you guess? After a lesson on art history, we headed to the Musee D'Orangrie, which used to be the greenhouse where orange trees were grown for the gastronomic pleasure of the royalty. It is a small museum, and the cheapest, so I figured that it would be a good fit for us to tackle on our own.

We wound our way through some back roadTulleries. Crossing over that we noticed many school groups and a light bulb went on in my head that it was probably a field trip day since it was the Thursday before easter. Oh well. Thankfully there were only 2 groups actually in the museum.
s, making our way past the tourist junk and bustling sidewalks, following our recently discovered shortcut to the

We learnt the importance of saving time by pre-purchasing our tickets online, and then we were in. As a side note, most museums allow children under 18 in for free - which definitely helps out! Wish it were this way in Canada.

After a reminder on behaviour in the exhibit, we walked into the first of 2 stark white oval rooms, lite from giant skylight tunnels in the roof above our heads. They were stunning! Monet's waterlilies were simply gorgeous in their simplicity and depth. The old me would have wept at having to walk through and not stop and sit on the benches provided and sketch, but the mother played I-spy with the children and we made our way through and back again before Sausage caused a disturbance. Monkey's favourite was "sunset", Magoo's "water lilies on a clear day with willow trees" and Helper "clouds".

Since they were being so good, we decided to head into the basement to look at the other collections. And in the second room we came across our fist um painting with a lady in her all-togethers! oy! right, art....oh bother me. So stern instructions to look to this way and that and the ground were relaid back to the children and we got through there.

The children all choose their favourite in postcard form to copy for Art and we picked up a great book on Monet's paintings for our homeschooling next year.

On our way back through the Tulleries, we of course had to stop at the playground, and were surprised when the black clouds that had been trailing us since we exited the museum opened up and proceeded to snow instead of rain!

So home we went, dinner made, readings done and tucked into bed :-)

Today is simply preparation for the weekend. The shops will be closed until Monday so we have been to the bakery for chocolate croissants for breakfast and 2 baguette. After sausage wakes up from a very late nap we will be heading out to the grocery store as well. It seemed odd making a list for 4 days instead of 2 now that we are used to the every second day shopping. Here is a photo of the toy MALL that is simply too close. We've walked through 3 times but so far have managed to only pick up paints for their art project :-) so far!

Tomorrow we are hoping to get to Napoleon's grave and then Sunday we are going to be able to get to a Meeting and have Memorial service. The brethren and sisters are meeting in Paris and there are also some visiting from the UK. So instead of logging in, we will be taking the Metro to break bread. We are all very Happy about this!

A Dimein

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Such a Fun Day

Yesterday started out with all the usuals. Laundry done in the sink times 2, homeschooling, you know the usual. Then after lunch we headed out for some fun. Hubby had a business dinner so I wanted to make sure the A) the kidlets had fun and B) they got tired.

We wrapped up - well, as much as we coud seeing as the weather was supposed to be warm and it has been very chilly. That damp, wet chilly that cuts through your spring rain jacket in no time like in England. About every second day we long for our winter jackets. Whomever said that Paris in the Springtime is lovely must be meaning Spring - as in May and not Spring as in March!

So the high was 5C. Yup thats it. So we layered with sweater and jacket and out we went. We went to the little playground nearby that Magoo had spotted - and the age limit was 2-6! Obviously that wouldn't work, so Monkey had a wee climb and then we headed off again for the Tulleries. The playground got an hour of good solid dedication and then since Sausage was chilled to the bone we headed to the Carousel. Right as we walked up to buy our tickets the man left because it was lunch and so we headed off to find a loo and somewhere to warm up! The line up for the free loo at McDonalds was up the entire staircase and around a bend so we crossed the road and went upstairs to the Starbucks one. No line :-) Yes I required ALL of them to go. Hey its a free loo and somewhat clean. Then we re-crossed to get coffee as I am cheap and the McCafe Cappuchino is nearly 1/2 the price of the Starbucks one. They also had Macaroons, 6 for the price of 4, why thank you....but we had to sit outside since it was so busy. And to be frank, the macaroons tasted like sawdust compared to the ones at our neighbourhood pastry shop.

So we headed back to the gardens through the front gates and BEHOLD we saw a marvelous sight. Le Bateau man was walking down the side path with with his adorable wooden cart loaded with hand carved and silk wonders. Just an fyi, they are only 1 Euro for 20 minutes instead of the 3 Euros that they are across the river. So they each got one, and he just happened to give them all their favourite colours. Red & Orange for Captain Magoo, Purple & blue for Helper and finally yellow for Monkey. Sausage and I watched and when we realized that we had gone over time, he Merrily shooed us and our euros away saying that they could have them for as long as they liked since no other children were there.  After an hour of Sausage longing to join the ducks wadding in the pond, we left and headed back to the carousel. Another kind gentleman - he said that since we had to come back after his lunch, the children could have 3 rides instead of 2. They were thrilled. Sausage not so much. By this time she was wearing white socks for mittens and wrapped up in her blanket while Mummy bribed her to be good with halves of M&Ms !!!

Needless to say she was carried home instead of fighting in her stroller. It was three gleeful yet sleepy children that piled into the 3ft x 4ft elevator. Chaud Chocolat was a necessity to get the blood flow back to icicle fingers, and put a blush back onto white faces.

(and yes I have looked and looked for hats and mittens but all the shops are selling spring stuff!)

Story time, dinner of chicken corden blue & the Luke reading completed our day and they were tucked in nice and early for a solid sleep.

Today is just a regular teething screaming day. Sausage is going to be taking home a souvenir of eye-teeth when we are done. So our homeschooling is done - with a bit of frustration today I will admit - and we are about to head out to run errands (Baker, Pastry Shop, Postcard Mailing, Grocers, cappuchino...........well I guess I could make mine at home!).

Le Musee D'Orangrie has been postponed to a slightly warmer and hopefully happier baby day of tomorrow :-)

A Bietnot

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Just A Regular Day

Sometimes there is so much contentment in those everyday sort of plain days. Yesterday was such a day. Just the usual new routine of breakfast, laundry, Proverbs reading, homeschooling, lunch and then an outing. Our outing was groceries and the bakery followed by the playground. We headed off to the small playground staged around a nearby fountain, only to get there after school had been dismissed and so it was swamped. Not only that, but on the rules for the play space it states no running - seriously! So everyone was in agreement that we should go instead to the larger playground at the Tulleries. So off we went, with the older three munching on baguette. We had been going to get a treat at the bakery, but alas a little Miss needed to learn a lesson in obedience so no macaroons this time. I was so tempted to let it go, but life lessons need to be taught and instilled while they are young.

It was a very weary mother that pushed the stroller and shepherded the young ones to the playground. Since it was nearly 5pm the daily tasks had done their usual draining and all I really wanted was to flop on the couch. But keeping these healthy and active children cooped up in the apartment seemed akin to torture. For all of us! So when I saw Starbucks, I was rather pleased. See the cappuhinos that you get in the park and just about everywhere else have no lid, no lid equals scalded hands and fingers or gulped caffeine, neither of which is rather enjoyable. Starbucks & McCafe both have lids - its the simple things really that matter after all :-)

So in we went, and I was a bit disappointed that the lady switched to English on me, until then I thought I had been doing rather well since everyone would keep on going in French after speaking English to some other tourist. So my bubble head got popped. Anyways, out of Pike place so we splurged on a cappuchino and then proceeded to wait for over 10 minutes. Someone had snabbled my coffee! So they made me a new one and the guy was all impressed that all four children were all mine since he was one of five and according to him and the lady behind the counter (who was your typical Starbucks snob) no one has more then 2 these days. So he handed me a venti instead of a tall after hearing that we were heading to the playground. He said I deserved it - ha! Then 2 of the 4 decided that if we didn't find a loo posthaste that there would be puddles on the floor so up we went on the scary elevator that had no walls and into the loo they all went (I am so thankful Helper is old enough to take Monkey in for me) and after all that Monkey decided she "had imagined it" so out we all went, by now with a screaming arched back sausage and our whole entourage left. I felt like turning around as we walked out the door and saying "you may now return to your regular programming!"

The children simply love the Tulleries. We spotted the boat man, whom we had been informed was only there on Wednesdays and the weekends- but he obviously didn't get that memo. Unfortunately I wasn't prepared with the euro coins I would need for them to do that, so we made plans for Wednesday afternoon instead. Then to the playground we went, with about 100 other children, all with their Nannies and better dressed then I was and their outfits must have all cost at least 100Euros.

We only lasted 20 min.

In order to get home the fast way we had to walk through the middle of the set of for the PAD. Picture this, carpet laid on the ground, covered art displays in peaked tents, potted topperaries, plush chairs and couches for them to have drinks on and the line up of gorgeously apparelled rich art peoples. women in evening gowns (at 6pm) Men in full tuxes or suits. Shawls draped across the ladies arms, gems glittering in the setting sun - and us. In our play clothes and children all gnawing away at hunks of baguette, while Sausage fussed in her stroller and threw chips all over their gorgeous carpet as we walked inbetween the 2 tents to the gate. Yup we aim to make a scene everywhere we go.

Until the next adventure :-)

Sunday, March 24, 2013


We decided to have a second attempt at ascending the Arc De Triumphe. This time via le Metro :-) so off we all went, after the usual triple checking that we had our keys, cell phones, Metro tickets, Kids metro tickets, keys (again), Euro coins for emergency toilet trips, regular Euro bills (but not to many in case we get pick pocketted - is that even a word?), stroller, front pouch for Miss Fussy Pots, diaper, wipes, snacks for kidlets, gluten free snacks for Sausage, rain jackets (Paris is has the most humerus weather patterns in a 24 hr period) and 4 kids.

The signs signaling that all the metro stops in the close vicinity to the Arc were closed "for maintenance" should have alerted us to the fact that something was up. It didn't.

So we all got on, and re-figured out where we would get off and where we would need to walk. And out we popped from the rabbit hope and up we walked (again) the Champs Ellyses. We passed the cheapest Postcards we've seen yet so the children picked out their weekly one and we kept going. About a block after the postcard place, we started noticing police vans, at least a dozen....and an abundance of police all alone the street. It soon became apparent that we would not be going up the Arc (again). I'm having deja vue! So after confirming that it was only closed for today because some super important yet un-named person was visiting the site, we went to McCafe to get a cappuchino for Daddy and the kidlets had the mini cakes we had packed into the amazing purse. Yes I know we are in Paris and we are going to McCafe. But the price is half that of Paul's in the tourist areas and in the regualr areas a good Euro to .50 off!

Onto the Metro we went and came home in time for them to catch up in their journals and to get ready to dial into Memorial. We enjoyed the exhort and then got all choked up at the closing hymn (101) about God being with us "at home and abroud". Then Monkey cried, because she is mssing her friends and then Helper did a few hours latter before bed. So I think we need to start calling home more often for the chidlren to chat to their friends!

It is going to be cold again this upcoming week. Highs of only 5 or 7 and below zero for the lows so we may attempt a museum or 2 :-)

For those that know us in "real life" we are feeling comfortable with using the Metro and our feet as transport now. The last week our spare time has been spent exploring all the little roads and alleyways around here and some treasures have emmerged (such as our favourite bakery and a toy store). Getting a  handle on your whereabouts is so useful, especially when you get turned around! Magoo spotted a small (5 ft by 5 ft) climbing rope thing by a nearby fountain (where the grass is all fenced off!) that we will definately avail ourselves of this upcoming week. We need to start their Art projects so at least the Orangdrie will be on the list to see the Water Lillies.

Le BatoBus

Our adventure on river was nice. Though I couldn't help but thinking how nice it would be if we didn't have the four monkeys with us. The Batobus has 8 stops, and you can get on and off at any on the ride. we walked down and caught it at the Louvre. Well we almost caught it, there was one right there while we purchased our tickets and they waited for the family in front of us, and then left. Fine then. So we had a walk on la Siene and Mummy had numerous heartattacks. There is NO RAIL inbetween you, or your child.....your accident prone clueless adsentminded child and the rushing river. Oy. Notice in the rail!!!! we saw the actual lock bridge and then turned around and caught the next Batobus.

For the first half an hour the children enjoyed the sights, the many neat houseboats, resturant boats and the amazing bridges and the Tour Eiffel. Then first Sausage got bored and within one more stop, Monkey was complaining "I'm bored, when can we get off" "this is boring" - argh (again see the picture, Magoo all intent on the sights, Monkey busy sucking her thumb!). So the parents decided, at the point that sausage started screaming - which I'm sure was to everyone on boards delight - that we would get off at Notre Dame.

Um no. There were thousdands (and I really wish we had a picture of this) and thousands of people sitting on the side of the river, the roads were shoulder to shoulder people ramed in, the bridges covered with even more people. Obviously something was going on, and obviously we were not getting off with our four children and a stroller and tyring to find a cafe in that crowd. So we stayed on (much to the supreem delight of the other passengers) until Jardin De Plantes. It turns out that Notre Dame had new bells and was going to be rung at 5pm for the first time in over 200 years. We passed by on the boat five minutes before then and didn't hear a thing. Yes there were naughty Man of Sin comments made ;-)

Off we got and the park found. What is it with this country where one is supposed to looka t the grass and not play on the grass - yeesh. But we found an area where they could play tag, and since it was after 5pm we picked up fries for the Monkeys, cappuchinos for the parents (mine was gulped in about 2 gulps as my nerves were absulotely shoot). Then we missed the boat back. Oy. Red light, green light kept the monkeys entertained until the next one came, which was thankfully in 15 min and not the 25 expected and then we headed home.

Roast chicken, beans & fried potatoes were for dinner. Chocolate pudding & kinder eggs for dessert :-) The kidlets are collecting Astrix & Oblix characters out of them ans so far we have an army of Oblix's and only 1 other guy - the cheif.

Well I can smell our lamb dinner burning so off to save that and get ready to dial in for Memorial.

A bientot

Saturday, March 23, 2013

This is a Public Service Announcement...

When you are using google maps and are planning on walking. Do click on the icon of the little man walking to change it from the driving instructions. Otherwise one may find oneself (and ones children) walking for a very long time.

Yep. 16 minutes was the time given for getting to the Arc De Triumph. And I actually thought it sounded a bit short, but not by too much since to walk to the Tulleries is only about 10. Oh dear me! So it is all up hill. It took over an hour to get there. We left home around 1pm, and got home at 5:30. The line up for walking to the top of the Arc was quite lenghty so we all decided against that, I'm sure that the tingling of wee feet had a lot to do with that decision.

History lesson on WW1 and such. We stood back and looked up at the huge massive stone structure and I remarked "wasn't the walk worth it children" a chorus of "no"s was the response. Utter Mother Fail!

We agreed that the way home would be by Metro and we needed to get onto it at Franklin Roosevelt. So Monkey kept repeating that over and over again as we marched downhill on the Champs Elysee. Well, we couldn't see it. Walked around and around, got out the map and looked like lost tourists - which we sort of were....and then Magoo noticed some construction. My heart felt as if it dropped to the ground. No way!

Yes way. The entrance to the Metro that we needed was under construction, with no other way in. I expected 3 monkeys collapsing into a soggy mess of wailing. But they proved me wrong again and after mention of a trip to the bakery on our way home we sallied forth.

We had left the apartment at 1pm. We got home at 5:30. But with giant Macaroons :-) Chocolate for the monkeys, raspberry for Mummy. At 2,80EU a piece they were a bit of a ripoff, but by that time I really didn't care! With sausage strapped to me and Monkey in the stroller that sugar rush helped us get home in one piece :-) Though mine was too sweet. Monkey admitted she didn't really like hers but ate it so it wasn't a waste - argh. The crumb of chocolate Mummy got has convinced me to get that kind next time, or maybe lemon, or maybe both!

Needless to say we all slept well last night. Today we have been enjoying a lazy Saturday morning, with a trip to the Bakery for our daily baguette, only to discover that they are closed on le weekend. So the grocery store saved us again. Hot lunch of rice noodles with veggies & chocolate pudding for dessert was yummy, and we are actually getting used to eating our hot meal in the middle of the day.

Sausage did NOT want to go for her nap this morning, and managed to scream for the better part of an hour, but she is sawing logs and has been for a while. When she gets up we will be heading out for an adventure on the River :-) Until latter,

Bon Weekend!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Another Wonderful Day

The morning was the usual, well the new usual. However breakfast was made special by those chocolate croissants Hubby brought home last night :-) Playtime, Psalms reading, Homeschooling & wonder of wonders Sausage had a morning nap! Yahoo! Our plan was outlined and after lunch (quiche & garden salad) we packed up some double chocolate cookies and headed out....

only to turn around within a block because someone (Mummy) had forgotten the camera, for the 2nd day in a row. So back we went, electric code put in to open the massive green doors, electric key turned in the slot to open the next set of doors, 3 monkeys left to wait while up went Sausage and Mummy to the 6th floor to retrieve the camera and back we all headed out again. Only to realise about  5 min down the road that we forgot the phone. Oh well, too late. Said a quick prayer that we would not need it and be safe and we continued on our journey.

Journey makes it sound long, but it's only about 1 km to the park, looking all the shop windows and drooling over the ballet costumes (girls) and chocolates (all) and racing road bikes (Magoo) made it take about 30 minutes, but it is so worth it. They are learning so much on this trip, and so is Mummy!

The Garden of Tulleries was our destination. Playground equipment was the goal! An hour and a half latter Sausage had had enough so we reversed course and headed back home. Doesn't sound like much, but I think it was the highlight of the children's week - and a new weekly goal is to get to the playground.

Short and Sweet is today's post. I'm not feeling inspired for writing today.

jusqu'à demain

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Will I make you terribly envious if I tell you that I'm sitting here typing away with a cuppa and a chocolate croissant? Hubby is so wonderful and brought back 10 from a place near his work! 10! Be still my heart! (fyi the pic below was taken when the sun came out for the 1st time since we arrived around 3pm from our kitchen window - we are on the 6th floors in the attic)

Sorry, that was a digression wasn't it. Now to our day, we had a home day today. I think that it actually works quite well having home days in between outing days. The forecast was for thunder storms on and off all day long, so we delayed the playground visit and enjoyed being cozy in our ship in the sky (as Helper and I both think it feels like). All the monkeys were up within a minute, literally a minute, of Daddy leaving for work so it gave us a good start to our day. I will admit I was having a bit of a tough time to rushing as is my normal practice. But that is one of the benefits of being away. I need to get weaned off of the North American addiction to rushing about all day!

Homeschooling was seen to, and Magoo even got one lesson ahead on English! While the older two worked away in the dining room, Helper was "helping" me with the washing and we got through a good amount. Every one's unmentionables, the children's shirts, sweaters and Hubby's dress pants. The last of them are draped over the ceramic towel dryer as I type :-)

After lunch, of what we thought was chicken noodle soup but was really a thick vegetable soup with noodles in it (odd?) we headed out for our every 2nd day grocery shop. And we found the most wonderful bakery....the baguette were 2 and a half feet long! So we of course HAD to purchase TWO! and yes, they are gone ;-) Magoo is quite the professional market cart puller now and very pleased with this responsibility. The baguette wouldn't fit of course so he was a bit concerned that other things would fall out, such a serious wee man about everything! This time, we did make a list and TAKE the list.

But we had a fussy pot in the stroller who seems to take great delight in screaming the moment we walk into a shop. So the list was left in the front right pocket of my jeans and the shopping was done without it. This meant that extra cookies were bought, and 4 things forgot. we also had a music history lesson up by the academy of music looking over all the statues of the composers - Magoo was distraught that there was no Handel to be found!!! The first of the postcards were purchased and back we went.

So we had to go out again. AFTER Miss fussy pots had a brief but indeed essential nap. Why did we have to go back out you ask? why hot chocolate mix was on the list - a necessity in this household :-)

On our second foray out into our wee area of Paris, we decided to have a peak in the windows of the toy shop we had seen before. So off we went, and behold....a gate was open....and we went in....and it was an entire mall of TOY STORES!

There was a lego store, a playmobile store, a craft store, a teddy store, a doll store, a model car & plane store and a store with all those expensive models animals that they carry in chapters...and more. So we were able to window shop for ages inside (while Mummy checked out the prices and was pleased to see that they are not ridiculous - we shall be back for a certain Miss' Birthday gift!). Well we window shopped for ages until that same little person as yesterday needed the loo! Quick exit was made and bearings gotten and with the compass pointing straight for home we headed off at a fast trot.

The rest of the day was spent with the kidlets playing a very silly and very loud game of doctor. Dinner prep, snack of baguette and nutella with hot chocolate. Yes I know that seems decadent, but we are in Nutella land!

Did you know nutella was invented in the second world war? There was a lack of cocoa so Ferro Roche decided to try to mix it with crushed hazelnuts since he had an orchard and as they say - voila!

Since chocolate seems to bookend this post I'll leave it there.

Until tomorrow
Bon Nuit (pic of the monkey's looking for Daddy to come home)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our First Solo Adventure :-)

Our day started earlier then usual with the children up when Daddy left as he is in a dinner meeting tonight so otherwise they wouldn't get a chance to see him. I missed my few chapters of the Gospel of John that are the starting to my day, but children must be fed and clothed and the rest of it. I am planning on settling into bed shortly to read a few though. It is definitely my favourite gospel.

The first hour of the day was very busy with the usual household stuff to see to. Washing to do in my "laundry room" (sink on the right is the washer, sink on the left is the rinser and the "dryer" is behind), day bag to pack and our plan of attack for le Metro mapped out and memorized ;-)

Around 9:30 we headed off up the road to l'Opera intersection to find the metro that we needed and traversed underground along passageways filled with shops! and cafes! More "billets pur les enfants" were purchased and I figured it best to get 10 and save time off our next trip. We were aiming for the #7 train and it took a few turns to find it, and many stairs. I was so glad that we had decided to put Sausage in the front pouch and carry the stroller on my back for our first forays into the underground maze so that I could keep a hand on Monkey and keep sausage happy. At one point it felt like we had descended to the center of the earth we had gone down so many staircases, and even though the #7 for the opposite direction was sign posted, we couldn't make out where the other direction's platform was so we asked an older lady in French and she was most helpful, even making sure that we got onto the right train :-) God really does provide care in all the little things doesn't he!

a few short stops latter (and an accordion player thrown into the mix) and we emerged out at Chalet to cross over to le Ile de la Cite for our first daily adventure.

Our plan had been to head to le Marche des Fleur (flower market) that is run all year long as a simple and easy first adventure. The idea being that it wasn't too far from home base and we could always go there and turn around and head home if the children (read MUMMY) couldn't handle it all. Our map helped us figure out where we were when we popped out of the "rabbit hole" and literally around the corner the history lessons started!

half way across the bridge (Pont Nortre Dame) we stopped to look at the Conciergerie. This is the imposing castle like structure on the Island which was used as a prison during the French Revolution. It is called the "anti-chamber to the guillotine" as prisoners were taken from here to loose their heads! After about 10 min of discussion and questions from the older 2, wee Monkey piped up "please can we talk about something else so I don't have any nightmares". Continuing on we crossed nearly straight into the Marche aux Fleurs and it was a breath of fresh air to see forced spring bulbs and the most beautiful trained rose trees (at 85 Euros each we overheard!) lots of potted plants and an entire block dedicated to Orchids. Magoo was very long suffering about all the flowers but commented that he didn't really mind as some of them were neat. Another lesson on the lavender of Provence and pausing to smell some - they thought it smelled of soap!

Then even though it wasn't on our plans, the children were being so good, that we continued on to the seat of the Man of Sin on the Island, passing the Hotel Dieu (first orphanage in France and Hospital even til today). For those interested in the second world war this was where the last stand against the Nazis was made by the Parisian police. Another wee history lesson was covered, and our sympathetic Helper was wondering why there had to be wars, which opened a lovely talk about the coming Kingdom of God. I was really wanting to figure out where this hospital is as it is the nearest one to us - about 18 min away by foot & metro.

We had noticed that the crowds were thick, but figured it was the normal tourist traffic plus the fact that there was a lot of construction, little did we know that it was a special day for Notre Dame. It is their 850yr anniversary this year so they had a big seating thing all set watch Rome! It was Pope Francis' inauguration and the crowds were going to watch it all and participate. So we took pics and I told them to note some things that we would talk about after we left. We didn't go in, not that we would have wanted to! They had police checking lists and huge lines to go into the cathedral. Magoo noticed a statue that was Charlemagne - which he had remembered from our classes on Revelation - right in front of the church!

After leaving we were in the middle of a "Man of Sin" class sitting on some random steps when Monkey decided she needed a loo. As in - that very second. So the futile search for public toilets began, and I never did find the ones that the signs were pointing to - finally we asked a lady police officer (that was part of the crowd control around N.D.) and were directed to Hotel Dieu. So into the hospital we went - and extra of washing of hands we did!

Now we headed home on foot as there were 2 important stops to make. 1 - the most important - for 3 "petit pain de chocolat" for 3 very well behaved children. AND the laundry mat we had noticed near the Louvre. On our way we popped into the 2 children's stores we past (Gap was 1-oy) searching for gloves or hats as it is very chilly and damp here - but everyone has their spring stuff out so no luck. Then finally Magoo mentioned that he was hungry, and they all tuned in. Oh dear me, the packed lunch never got packed as I had expected this to be a short trip and to be back home for lunch. But never fear - the golden arches were up ahead so into there we went.

Miss Helper remembered that we had planned on buying flowers for the apartment while at the market, but we had forgotten, but she made the astute comment that we weren't going back for any now! Instead we saw the cancer society selling daffodils just like at home, so we picked one out and she carried it home all pleased :-)

The 3 pain au chocolat were found and Magoos eaten right away as he was still hungry. Then the search for the laundry mat kept on and on as we walked the entire length of the Louvre in search for the correct street. Turned around and just decided to go up another one that we knew would get us in the general vicinity of the apartment, only to see it up head in a couple blocks. So both #1 & #2 of our list is done and I cannot get over the cost of doing laundry!

1 load of washing is 10 euros ($13) AND 8 min of drying is 1 euro. So I recon it is going to cost us about 18 Euros (plus soap) for one load....about $24. so I will continue to wash our little things and just save the trip to the laundry mat for pants and such.

Finally we reached home around 1pm. What a wonderful morning we had. After a half hour of play, homeschooling we started and completed, quiet time, more play time and watching the market out the living room windows.

Now they are all tucked into bed, with visions of the playground visit for tomorrow dancing in their wee heads :-)


A Bientou

Monday, March 18, 2013

What a day

When the sunset and the kids were tucked into bed, I was so happy to see this day end! Sausage woke up with a fever, again. So whoosh out the window flew our plans for the day and instead we were stuck in the apartment. Don't get me wrong, it is a lovely and very nice apartment, but for 3 active kids that are used to having 2 acres to run wild....and I do mean WILD....around in, it is getting a bit old hat as they say. So instead we got some jobs done. Right after breakfast (and I broke the news to them that we weren't going anywhere today-they were so good about it all) we got out our homeschooling and got down to work. Monkey was pleased to have some pages to do as well, but as seems to be a daily occurrence right now--Mummy discovered what was left at home. again. By our estimation we have left the equivalent of half a suitcase at home.

So the morning was filled with taking temperatures and re taking the same temps, and googling this odd fever that keeps coming and going and coming again. I know, I know at home I wouldn't be worried, but the nearest hospital is 30 mintues away by Metro and until this evening I had no phone.

Magoo finished his Hardy Boy book and we started reading "Little House on Rocky Ridge" together. The kids played with their minimal toys, and then after lunch we headed out to get groceries - an every two day ritual. But that's good because it will keep us going out and being busy :-) Yes I took Sausage out with a fever, it was now a low grade fever and it was either go down a couple blocks to get food or not eat until Hubby got home - and since that was likely to be after 7pm, that was not possible.

I'd like to introduce you to my new best friend, this thing is amazing. it has three wheels on the bottom of both sides you so can actually roll it up the stairs. So off we went. My new best friend, 3 hyper active "get us out of here" children and a sick baby with a stroller. The basket fit on the stroller and I held sausage and we "just" managed to squeeze into the elevator. So I sent the three brimming with energy to walk down the 6 floors - with STRICT instructions to be quiet. They have no idea that we need to be mindful that other people are living in the building - oy.

And thou shalt be amazed - we remembered our list! ha! Off we went to the cheaper shop (not monoprix), where my visa doesn't work apparently (yes I tried again for the 3rd time today and between my french and his English discovered that their machine only accepts EU visa cards). But we were prepared for that. What we weren't prepared for was the throng of hungry peoples on their lunch. But the kidlets behaved, sausage only started screaming halfway through our short shop. And Mummy managed to only forget bananas! Since Sausage was content again in her stroller, Magoo pulled the Best Friend and off we went to Office Depot. Yes, they have one, and a subway, and a kfc, and well isn't that disgusting - or am I the only one that abhors seeing all the same shops over here too!

They had notebooks for the girls journals (3.60 euros for the CHEAPEST and the ones we left at home were bigger and only $1) but the girls are happy, no stickers or craft supplies like we discovered we had left at home. But I figure we will make do and I can always google that too!

(Google is my second best friend here I am discovering!)

The afternoon was spent writing in their journals, and playing. We folded up Magoo's bed up in the loft to give them some more "hang out" space which they loved. They even got piano practice in :-) Baths followed, and anyone planning on travelling with small kids - go to the dollar store and get a package of the bath foam letters & numbers - so worth the $2.

While all that was going on and Sausage slept off some of her fever, Mummy was scrubbing socks. Remember the 4 pairs Magoo has. Well he was down to 1. So we got a system going where we filled one sink with hot soapy water, the other with clean boiling water and rolled up my sleeves and got to it. Thankfully they have those wall towel dryer thing-a-ma-bobs (useful description, no?) and so the socks and such are dry. So our plan is to to shirts tomorrow and pants Thursday at the laundry mat.

Thankfully sausage's fever has broken and we enjoyed a large snack to hold us over until Daddy was home for dinner at 7:30. The kids, Helper in particular finds the fact that we are eating our hot meal at lunch time, very amusing.

God willing, tomorrow will be better. Either we are heading to the flower market on the Island, or the insane playground at the Tuileries (which from one blogger's description is a Mother's panic attack).

Bon Nuit

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Quelle Bon Jour!

Indeed, what a wonderful day! we have been enjoying our lazy mornings, with the children not rising until we wake them around 9:40.......after our first cappuchino of the day of course. Tomorrow will be a shock to the system with Hubby starting work and us being on our own for the day. But that will be the post for tomorrow, God willing.

Today was lovely. as I mentioned we are enjoying lazy mornings without the craziness that our usual schedule entales. Well to be honest it was a bit lazier then we reckoned it would be this morning as Mummy forgot that electric stove tops take ages longer to heat up then gas and so it took 20 min to scramble our dozen eggs! By the way, eggs are so cheap here - 24 eggs for 3.20 euros. That is about what we would pay for a dozen back home, so I now understand why the french eat so many egg dishes :-)

Once we got going, and spent about half an hour figuring out our metro routes on google maps, we packed a picnic lunch and headed out for a day of adventure. For some reason - completely unknown to us - the metro ticket computer would not let us but a day pass, so we went with the booklets of 10 and the children all enjoyed the thrill of feeding the machine and pushing their way through to the other side of the bars. 12 minutes latter and we arrived at the Iena station to exit towards the Eiffel Tower. It was a neat way to go, since you cannot see the tower at all until you are nearly at the bridge and turn the corner and then there is stands in all its man made grandeur.

By now it had started to rain (as it is want to do in Paris in the spring!) and the wind picked up so we were quite chilled and the thought of our picnic lunch on the grass was less appealing then when we had left the apartment under clear and sunny skies.

Since we had been warned ahead of time from numerous travel sites that the weather in Paris in the spring is unreliable, we were prepared with hoods and blankets for sausage. Though we are going to have to find a shop to purchase gloves for Magoo & Monkey since they have none and really - it is rather chilly outside here still.

We crossed the bridge (and passed the Iranian embassy) towards the tower and encountered the "vultures" as hubby described them yesterday. There are these men that are selling mini replicas of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc on large rings that they shake at you and yell at you "for you only 5 euros, 2 for 10, please nice tourist you need tower?" yeah right - I'd read about you guys! Everyone recommends not even looking in their direction and walking past. Which sounds easy, but not so much! they stand right in front of you and shake these loud clang things at you and yell...well you get the picture I'm sure. Anyways we told the kids just to stare at us and follow us and there we be. They were out at the Louvre yesterday and apparently hang out at all the main tourist spots so I'm sure we will get used to them. According to the travel warnings they not only rip you off - but work in groups to also pickpocket you at the same time!

We had decided ahead of time not to ascend the Tower today, but to enjoy the park at the base instead. That was before the weather turned on us. Instead, after walking through the base (past the gun loaded guards!) we found some cement cubes they had placed to keep cars out and sat on those for our picnic lunch (honey sandwiches for the older two, ham & cheese for Monkey & Daddy, ham wrapped around cheese - yes we ran out of bread! for Mummy & sausage....with whole carrots & chips & apples) yeah I know you are thinking - WHAT they ate in front of everyone on those cubes, that incidentally were placed right in front of the one ticket poster. But you know what - we really didn't care, we were out of the wind and somewhat sheltered....and got to look at the park we had been planning on picnicking in ;-) For those interested - no there are no leaves on the tress and no buds either, still winter here too!

Our plan had been to then hop on the metro to the Arc d'Triumph...but it was now 3 and Memorial was to start at 4. Of course I forgot that daylight savings hasn't happened here (joy we get to do that all over again!) and so the time change is 5 hrs not 6. Thankfully Hubby is always on top of this sort of thing :-) So we retraced our steps through the vultures and stopped at............

The CAROUSEL. Main attraction for the girls in Paris! They all loved it, and sausage enjoyed watching. We will be back!

Figured out the Metro home and then went to see if (hope against hope) one of the grocery stores was open .....because of the bread situation. But it wasn't and we got in the door just at 4! Mad dash to change shirts and into skirts for us ladies and we all sat down at the dining room table for memorial service, dialing into our ecclesia back home to watch.

It was such a comfort to see familiar faces and listen to a good exhort by Bro Tim Bering. The point I took away was in reading the parable of the talents....substitute the word hour for talents and it is a very sobering thought - how do I spend the hours I have been given in a week?

Yes, we did have some bread - the last bit of a stale baguette (they really only last the day you buy them) but Hubby managed to break it in two and we could then use it.

Thankfully Sausage napped for half for Memorial and through making dinner, so the children played upstairs in the loft (where Magoo is sleeping) while I had the kitchen to myself. I love cooking, and find it so therapeutic after a busy day :-) Roast chicken, sliced carrots tossed in butter, mashed fingerling potatoes (I added garlic cream cheese to mine) and Brussels sprouts was a feast for sure.

We polished off the chocolate covered cookies for dessert. I really must remember that these packages are European sizes, only 12 cookies in a box doesn't last very long in a family of 6! That is what happened with the bread.....bought a loaf thinking it would last us a day, and since there were only 14 slices it barely covered breakfast & lunch!

Well I should sign off. Homeschooling must be organized and all found! before tomorrow morning. We have forgotten some of the craft supplies so off to Office Depot will be a stop to pick some up and journals for the girls.

Until tomorrow then,

Saturday, March 16, 2013

So apparently people in Paris like to party Friday nights!

Yup, until 4 am. In the apartment across the road from us. Positive spin - 5 of us slept.

Our day today started with Sausage with a fever, a high one at that. So we hung out at the apartment and the children played with the toys and such that we brought. We unpacked the suitcases while Daddy was out on his run (to across the river from the Eiffel Tower) and all the little ones enjoyed finding drawers and such in the built in wardrobes to put their clothes away. Unpacking yielded some surprises.....Magoo only has 4 pairs of socks and undergarments. Opps, guess I forgot to finish there. And Mummy has 14 shirts and 5 that's where they were! While I was packing I couldn't find my fav ones and dug out some old ones to bring and voila, they were prepacked. But this is good since we don't have a washing machine (!!!!!)

After lunch we remembered that tomorrow is Sunday (feels like we lost a day) so Magoo and I headed out to buy a few more groceries..........since we forgot to make a list yesterday, so we made a list today, but then we forgot the list............I digress. We thought we went the right way for the butchers (and yes I had been practicing how to ask for a leg of lamb before we left with google translate) and though it WAS the correct street, we didn't go down it far enough. Then we went right to go down the next street to get back to our street...........forgetting that this doesn't work in Paris - not at all - and had to take another zig zag and then travel through "les passages" shopping mall thing, and then recognised la Bourse so headed that way to get to our street. All in all, a fun adventure :-)

MonPrix we know is the more expensive grocery store, but it is down the road from us and has everything we that is fine for right now. picked up everything (and yes we remembered everything) plus some Astrix & Obolix kinder eggs for a treat for the children's dessert and headed home.

And for those that know us in "real life" yes, we felt safe the whole time and though I knew we were turned around a bit I wasn't worried.

After getting home and waking up the girls we set off for our daily trot. we headed down a nearby street and walked the 1km to the Louvre :-), ignored the pests tying to sell Eiffel Tower junk, went inside to ask about the family rate (50% off for kids) and a boo in the children's museum shop so I could pick out some things that they could choose from on a latter date (for example the pencils and erasers were only a euro each) We have found that helpful, especially with Monkey as she has no concept of what things cost. So when we go, I can now tell them that they can pick out either a pencil or eraser when we are done.

Peaked at la Seine and offered to take the kids through the Tulleries but they were hungry and so we walked home. Late dinner of Quiche Lorraine (SO CREAMY), salad & Brussels sprouts around 7, Bible readings and now they are tucked up in their Parisian beds :-)

Bon Soir