Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day at Quai Branly with the pointer

More Sabine!  Tuesday we went to the Paris' Quai Branly Cultural Museum Last time we were there, Sabine was just learning to walk.  It was really fun to see her about a year old older in the same setting.  This time there was no finger holding for balance, it was too busy pointing at everything cool to look at. 

When Sabine was 10 months old.

Standing in the flowing "River of Words"

Native American Head Dress

Brazilian Carnaval costumes

African totems


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sabine, the great laundry hanger. (play by play photo shoot)

Another Sabine-centric post.  Lucky you!  Since Sabine just loves to help mama around the house, she has been given some new chores around the house.  She puts her bibs away, closes all the cabinets/drawers as I put things away, cleans up her own toys and helps put away dishes.  She really gets into it and seems to just glow with delight at participating in well ... everything.

As with most other people I know living here in France, we do not have a clothes dryer.  One would think it would be especially tedious to use cloth diapers without one, but in fact, no it really isn't.  It also prolongs the life of the diaper to not be exposed to that intense heat. But anwyay ....

We do a fair bit of laundry around here with a sporty dad, learning toddler and spill inclined mama.  Sabine had been content with handing me things from the wet pile to put on the dry rack for a while, but then she decided one day that she would also start hanging the clothes.  She takes this (and most) tasks seriously.

The following is a series of pictures where she hangs and then re-hangs a wash cloth until she is satisfied As always to see the cuteness bigger, click on the photo.

Okay, a what do we have here ?

I think I will put it right here

yup, nice and flat, right here

oh, look at that ... I put that there!

Wait... wait a minute, that isn't right.  It is folded a bit.

Must take it off and try again...

Okay, shake it out like mama does.

Take each corner now..


Further inspection ....

Another angle...

From over here now, yes, that is acceptable.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Babyland Parc! Amusement park without all the consumerism.

Sabine was invited to a birthday get-together of the soon two year old friend, Tjark at a unique destination.  It was a beautiful day for sure, but Sabine was unfortunately under the weather.  She took an extra long nap that day so we arrived later than we planned, leaving us with about an hour and a half to enjoy "Babyland Parc".  Here is  the link to their terrible (typically French) website: ParcBabyland

As always to see the picture BIGGER, click on it.

Babyland is a unique concept though, really.  It is a large plot of land with a lot of trees and animal sculptures, filled with various rides for the younger set.  The ages permitted are 0-12.  It was also unusual for two other reasons as well.

First it cost double the entry price for the child.  Eight euros per kid and a mere four for the adult, clever huh?

Second, there didn't seem to be anyone working there really.  The rides were started by the parents.  Talk about a grassroots style amusement park.  No characters walking around, no plastic crap to buy, no overpriced food and drinks.  Trees, rides, benches and tons of little people.  All the kids would get in their animal, car, boat or chair of choice and a parent standing nearby would start the ride.  I particularly liked this car:

It had a really positive, fun vibe - except for Sabine who although wasn't sick enough to stay home also wasn't her most expressive self either:

But she did make the most of her laid back state:

It was really cool though that Sabine could just go on as many merry-go-rounds as she wanted and pretty much have autonomy to choose where to go and what to do.  Of course, it does require some negotiation:

Hicham and Sabine pointing in different directions.

She looks like such a big girl here!  How is this already happening?  19 months old going on four!

So, we went to Ikea a couple of weeks ago to return something and Sabine found a kid's ride there was powered by pushing a button.  She seemed sure that she was single-handedly powering any and all of the rides there by pushing any buttons (or round things that looked like buttons).  When the rides stopped, she would furiously push the button repeatedly like the ones in Ikea.

Button pusher (like in Lost)

The seat was pretty little for our two adult butts .... two close for comfort, thus the expressions.

Me and my girl going round.

One fun day at Babyland Parc! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

So we went to a little castle instead

So, last weekend, Hicham and I had lovely plans to go to a blues festival about 3 hours away... when the drive seemed just too daunting for our moods, the plans changed. We found another music festival about 1.5 hours away that sounded really amazing, latin/cuban something or other. We found a quaint B&B to stay in, looked at things to do in the surrounding area, packed all the bags, loaded up the car and looked at the time realizing that we were total losers for leaving so late.

I said to Hicham, well let's just start driving and see where we end up. And so that is what we did and here is where we ended up. We came, we saw, we explored a little castle (no inside pics allowed.... grrrr) and then enjoyed the moat/gardens outside. After that, we stopped and had some dinner while Sabine slept and then drove home (45 minutes).

Here are the pictures from that relaxing, spontaneous day. There are two categories of pictures, artsy and cutesy. You decide which is which.  And as always for a better and BIGGER view, click on the photo.

Sailor girl

in case you wondered where her curls came from

the immense lawn behind the chateau (castle)

the moat and reflection

another reflection picture (can't stop myself)

A cute little church about a block away from the castle

Hicham being cute as usual.  I sure do love that guy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I wanna dance with my baby.

So, one might think that all we do around here is sing and dance.  That is mostly right according to the following video. Only watch it if you like to watch little kids dancing.  Otherwise, spare yourself the agony because it is over 8 minutes long.  Of course, interspliced is me dancing too.  Sabine shouldn't be the only one making a public fool out of herself. That wouldn't be fair now would it?

The video starts out with a little clip from when Sabine as about 11 months old.  It shows just how much she has grown up.  It is not all fun and games as the clip with her wearing black/white shows either.  The singing part when she is laying down is particularly funny to me.  In fact, she sings all the time: before falling asleep, in the car and well, whenever she damn well feels like it.  The other clips are just various dancing around the house when I happened to have the video camera out.  Of course, many of them are not filmed because the camera is not out or charged.  Anyway, here is a lil bit of what we do around here for fun.

Yup, us girls like to dance.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 5, 2011

An addendum to Big, Rich Texas review and drunk rambling...

For the long-winded review of Big, Rich Texas go here: TK's Big Rich Texas Review Part one

Sooooo, as does happen after putting "it all out there" in the blogasphere, I thought again about what I wrote.  I know that there are a great number of blogs who play it safe and don't share any controversial opinions, non-mainstream notions or put anything that they may later recant or addendum.  I wish I was like that, but it just ain't my nature so....  an addenduming we go.  Or here is a fun analogy: as I get more comfortable in the blogging chariot, I am picking up speed here people ... but then slowing down, going in reverse and driving down the same road but with different non-rose colored shades on (good one, huh? ... er not).

Which brings me to the addendum that I titled this entry about.  Sooooo, my entry before last was about TV being for losers ;) and that marinated a bit in my mind as I was doing what?  Cleaning ... um, yeah.  and I thought that perhaps I didn't give enough credit, or any, credit to some of the TV shows that I have enjoyed and to others that have helped me get through some tough times.  This is NOT to say that I am recanting in anyway what I written, because it is my truth.  BUT sometimes, a person doesn't feel like being creative or feel like contributing.  Yeah, TV IS undoubtedly a time suck - but sometimes that is what we need, at least once in a while (but not as a lifestyle, ew).  Sometimes we just need to be entertained.  To distract.  To make us feel less lonely.  To make us laugh.  To see people acting silly, serious, or in pain, or in healing, or whatever the hell it is.  To get the fuck out of our heads for a minute.
34 hours per week of this? Why?

What I realized was that although my consumption of television is clearly less than the average 34 HOURS A WEEK that my fellow Americans watch according to the New York Times.  (Added up, that is more than 9 years of life, scary shit).

I nevertheless failed to mention four shows that became like companions to me over the last three or so years.  Yeah, I know, I know, I made it sound like I never, ever watched tv ... and well, I didn't really, but I did watch some TV SHOWS on the internet which is basically the same thing, right?  It all started when Hicham left for France and I was weft awone....

What I mean by that is, if you read back on the the early days of this blog, you would see a very distraught woman terribly upset at leaving her home and friends (not job, ha!) and most beautiful state of North Carolina in exchange for Paris, France to be with French hubby who was living in Paris.

There were times when I just couldn't be creative or contribute because I was so fucking depressed.  I wasn't the best company either because hanging out with me was full of phrases like" oh, boo hoo, this is the last time I will ever sit in this booth" or "i will never have bubble tea like this again" or "see, how nice that waitress was?  they are all mean bitches in france".  Of course, all of those statements proved to be mostly accurate (boo hoo).

So, unlike my ceremonious introduction Lost, I am not even sure HOW I watched my first Star Trek Voyager episode on what was at the time called, (now defunct).  This amazing website had each and every episode of every season of Voyager.  In the last few months of my life in NC between finishing at my jobs, getting rid of hundreds of books, furniture, clothes, etc and spending time grieving with friends - I watched Star Trek voyager nightly and sometimes even with breakfast.

What can I say?  I missed Hicham and living in limbo was really hard.  I was amazingly depressed and just getting to the finish line of the day my plane (with Olivia in with the cargo) would leave for France was all I could hope for.  I even knew at the time, very aware in fact, that I "should" enjoy this time, live in the present, blah blah blah, since it was soon to be over.  And yet, limbo is not enjoyable.  It just plain isn't.
Captain Janeway

So, I distracted myself with the wonderful crew and Captain Janeway as they, ironically, tried to get home after being flung into the other side of the universe doing a heroic endeavor.  Janeway, strong and wise, striving to do the right thing, struggling sometimes, never perfect but doing her best, oh my goodness, just thinking back on her makes me want to watch an episode.  The witty doctor, the cynic half human Belanna, the player Tom, the spiritual ChaKotay and all the other characters who made the Voyager a diverse and interesting space ship.  You never knew where you were gonna be when you watched Voyager, another planet, on the ship, befriending an alien species, being taken over by one, in the future, in the past .... thanks to the holodeck, there was no limit as to what the plot of each episode would be.  But you were almost invariably guaranteed a happy ending.  That is what I so desperately needed at that time.  A bunch of strife cleared up cleverly with lovable, relatively complex characters and ON TOP of all that ... it was SCIENCE FICTION! 

Then, after clearing out of my house I briefly lived with my friend Rachel to help work for the presidential election which happening in November.  I flew to Paris on December 1. Anyway, she had a TV AND cable.  After our long days, we would sit in her livingroom and watch election coverage, the Daily Show and I would discover all kinds of different shows.  I was over 30 years old and had no idea what tv had become during my absence.  The Dog Whisperer for example blew my mind!  It was brilliant!  I also discovered a wonderful show called "Clean House" and HGTV in general.  Wow! wow! WOW!  Inspiring stuff to be sure.  Those shows made me really proud of myself that I had narrowed all my belongings down to 26 (albiet large) boxes, 4 suitcases, one dog kennel and a dog.  Helped me to let of that crap ..

Then, my plane took off, I was no longer in country limbo.... BUT I was in home limbo.  Will and Grace helped me through that one.  I had seen a few episodes along the way somewhere and so I knew the premise.  and I knew it was damn funny.  This show slid into it's comfy place since my belongings were still on the boat.  Hicham was at work.   We didn't have a phone line yet.  I didn't have any friends yet and it was cold as shit outside.  And so, I huddled around my laptop watching episode after episode of hilarity.

Then I discovered ....last year RuPaul's Drag Race.  Like America's Next Top Model, but with Drag Queens who had lip-sync for their lives, make costumes of random objects and display real creativity during various challenges.  Dragalicious.  And of course, RuPaul is my hero/ine.  I don't have to explain that one because it is all about Ru.  I have all of RuPaul's cds, books and have seen RuPaul perform twice.  Love Love Love that Queen of Queens. 

So, what do all these shows have in common?  Pulling it together, getting where you want to go, living your life on your own terms, being silly and having a good damn time even when faced with obstacles. 

So, yeah, I was probably a bit too harsh about TV not having a place in life, because it can be a wonderful tool to be inspired by, to relax with or just to laugh your ass off.  Just not everyday (and certainly not for 34 hours a week, wth? I still can't get over that.  Imagine, that is the average and so some watch 70 hours of tv a week) and not at the expense of living your own life instead of watching someone else's make believe life.

Having reread this, I will admit though, that TV has been important when I was at my lowest .... or when I am my most tired .... or when I just don't wanna live this life.  Soooo, my original theory holds but with some more texture... and way more longwinded than was probably necessary.  But guess what?  Since I don't have any tv shows to watch, I can type and type and type and type all i want, i want, i want.... ha!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Phase two of Sabine's takeover :)

In my effort to keep up blogging, which is important to me AND stay in organization mode, I have decided to post my progress of Sabine's room.  I still need to get another bar to hang clothes on (thus the pile of coats) and some other boxes to store clothes in the big shelf.  Also, decorating has not yet begun.  The clock on the wall doesn't even have a battery and obviously it looks ridiculous there.  Finally, I need to find a new system for storing the dirty cloth diaper bucket.  Or at least a place for the old one.  Oh, wait, one more thing, I need some seating for my big butt in that room. 

There was some discussion of putting giant lazyboy in Sabine's room, well that is obviously out of the question now.  So, some big yet also small chair since I am not inclined to sit on the floor. 

Not the most exciting post, I know - but anyway, neither is my life at present.  First are the "BEFORE" Pics from the last entry.

Before and before Sabine
Limbo, my room + her room.

Now the space has transitioned to a toddler room, which I know will not last long either as she is growing up so fast! 

left side
right side
big view 
English and French books.