Blogging is hard, takes a long time, is not satisfying, and it’s super useless. That said, I’ll keep doing it because it helps my shitty memory, especially when I need to find a recipe or when I wonder what was I doing 2 3 or 4 years ago today. Life goes so fast, and only now do I start to realise it. Michele and I will be married 8 years next month! Now we’re starting a new phase, or should I say a new parenthesis? in any case, it’s so bloody exciting I can hardly grasp it, but it’s so good that not even my dissociation can handle it.
I will start my master’s degree in less than two months, Damiano and Santiago will start school in 3 weeks, and we have made quite a home of our rented house. After literally months without doing it, I poured the contents of my iphone so I have some photos to post. I guess they’re “cold” now, but who cares. The only question is, FIFO or LIFO? I think I will just shake things up a little and post randomly. YAYYY!
A good thing of our house in England is the garden: our neighbours were so nice as to give us their trampoline before moving out: the boys use it for jumping. I use it as a sun lounger. We bought a small BBQ and a picnic table. And now we eat alfresco all the time as long as it’s not raining, which by the way it hasn’t done at all.
A bad thing of our house in England? Well, besides the pink bathroom and the linoleum floors, there’s no dishwasher. WAHHH WAAAHHH.
Anyway, these two little people here seem to like it here, as you can see.
4 years ago I made a baby and he was the chubbiest sweetest thing in the world. Now he’s a big boy who still wishes he could wear nappies, who loves food and cars and pink. He’s quick to scare (Santi the cupboard!!!) and also quick to console. He loves his big brother probably more than anything else, and also to twirl his fingers around my hair, especially at 3 in the morning.
Since next year we’ll be in England, who knows if we will have time for a party, and since he’s seen Damiano’s party, a bash of his own was mandatory.
The invitation was a trace for a paper plane, of course.
The cake was a whipped cream cake base from the usual book, layered with strawberries and strawberry compote and frosted with 7 minute frosting. It’s a slight variation on the one cake my grandmother used to bake when I was little. For the lettering, I piped his name with melted chocolate on a piece of parchment, froze it for a few minutes and carefully placed it on top of the cake.
We had around 18 kids so we sealed our parking lot with construction tape.
He got a ton of presents. His favorites? This (he will go to sleep hugging it), and this. (yep, that’s right) oh, and this.
And tattoos. (I don’t think I’ll ever throw a kid’s party without them)
Besides folding around a hundred paper planes, mostly taking inspiration from this kit, I folded tiny ones to put in the favor bags. Very relaxing. My favourite pen (White ink!!!)
tic-tacs in the favor bags=happy kids.
For the bags I used my tracing paper and I sewed them into pyramids, which was very satisfying.
I don’t have many photos of the actual party because I was too busy taking kids to pee, making sure nobody threw themselves in front of a car, and keeping the wind from blowing all our cheese-puffs away, but my friend Chrissy did so I’m waiting…
Sooner than I had anticipated I managed to take my boys to Paris. Fed by an obsession with dubious pixar films and high speed trains I got them all excited and it totally paid off.
The TGV does go really fast.
The Eiffel Tower was explored, on foot, somebody’s acrophobia notwithstanding.
Le Jardin d’acclimatation. A lovely trap once the kids discover the rides and bumper cars.
The metropolitain was explored intensively, more than any landmark. We also got around by bus a lot, so the kids could grasp how big a city can be.
On our way to the Citè des Enfants, inside the Citè des Sciences.
After a few hours there the kids were so whacked that we even managed to make them sleep in the late afternoon and go out for dinner together. Thumbs up!
We stayed at someones apartment via airbnb and it was a great experience: not expensive, very flexible, and with a child’s bedroom full of toys.
The kids ate: Sushi, Thai, Lebanese and uncountable pains-au-chocolat. As did we.
Finished 4 exams with decent results and survived. Enjoyed 12 days of vacation doing mostly cross country skiing and lolling around at home, playing with the boys and having a ball. Tomorrow it all starts over, my hopefully final semester and it’s going to be a tough one. I have a big project and 4 big exams, as well as a race in May for which I’d better start training soon. Thank gawd I have these two things here to keep me focused:
Yesterday I volunteered at the boys’ preschool for the 4ht year in a row to do the carnival face painting. It was fun and the boys were so proud that I was there. It made my heart melt. They both chose to be blue spidermen, don’t ask me why.
Today it was fancy dress day instead. Feeding their current fascination with all things outer space, they went as astronauts. I tried to make the costumes myself using tyvek coveralls but then I found ready made astronaut costumes in Berlin for a steal. So much better!
snowy day yesterday, so after indulging in a sushi lunch we got back home and Michele had some nap credits to use up so I was left to entertain the kids all by myself. Damiano said he wanted to sew, and I thought: why not. We did a little bit of stitching, he made a wee blanket for his stuffed bunny, seen here: (or here if the Vine embedding doesn’t work for some reason: http://vine.co/v/b1XWvP1P7MT )
Then, since I needed to involve Santi more, I told them to draw a pattern for their pillow. They did, and then we sewed and stuffed them together. Santi’s is the one with eyes, and Mano’s the one with numbers. The boy is obsessed with numbers (clearly not something that comes from my share of genes). The tiny one is also bunny’s.
My little baby, my teeny tiny 30 oz. baby is now 6 years old. Sometimes he says things and has expressions that make him seem like a real person an adult and it fills me with awe and joy an terror all at once. One thing needs to be said: I wouldn’t change a hair on his head nor a single moment of his life.
He requested a pirate party. I designed the invitations, which were ready in 6 minutes. (excuse the font abuse)
I cleaned the house, blew some balloons, put on the bunting and hid the valuables.
These winter holidays have been lovely, and I’ve found myself enjoying each moment almost effortlessly: this is a good thing. (I credit all the exercise I’ve been having: skiing cross country and running, mostly. Moving is my antidepressant, and it has no side effects! Well maybe some sore muscles here and there but hey).
I’ve also been quite tired and I think that’s not because of all that exercise but rather due to all that cooking, starting on the 24th, with the traditional Christmas’ Eve dinner at our house, when I decided that making antipasti, spaghetti with scampi, a yule log AND cleaning out the fridge all at once was a good idea. The yule log was delicious and a big hit, and all the rest was great, too. And the fridge? Spic and span!
(Black forest yule log with chocolate swiss roll, black cherries and chocolate frosting: here showing that the thing DID indeed roll without cracking, big success)
For Christmas we got a new, bigger bed because the standard “french” size one that we have is one that I bought 12 years ago when I was convinced that I’d never marry or have children, especially children that would sleepwalk to my bed at night, every night, and things get kind of crowded now.
The kids got very lucky, since Michele feared they would be disappointed and ran to the store at the last minute to get them more plastic crap presents.
They loved their fleecy new jammies. I bought them in London in August, and they’re already on the small side, so I’ll have to modify them already. sigh.
Sleeping bags! Also a great present. The kids slept in them for a few nights in a row and now they can’t wait to go camping. (and I can’t wait to have the house all to myself)
After Christmas Michele and I threw a party, partly to celebrate his birthday and partly just for the fun of it, and it was really great. I made sushi, falafel, pigs-in-a-blanket and tons of other stuff and there was plenty of booze to go around. Unfortunately we were all too busy having fun, no one took photos. I foresee more of these parties in the future.
Skiing cross country: my favorite thing.
And Santi’s first winter on skis. He seems to like it be oK with it.
New year’s Eve: we tried. We tried to stay awake until midnight, but we just couldn’t.
I made paella and we invited friends over, who like us, had no babysitters.
We even tried to have a sleepover, but they were all like: yeah right. In the end everyone went home before midnight and Michele and I said goodnight at 11.55 and crashed so fast I barely heard any fireworks.
Anyway, happy new year! Who knows what this 2013 will bring!!