Thursday, December 20, 2012

ZooLights and Alex's Chorale concert

On Sunday we had some Holiday time with the Cahoon's and then went ZooLights at the National Zoo.  Tuesday night was Alex's Holiday Choral Concert for his chorus group at school.  Other activites included Vincent's second haircut and dinner at Buca di Beppo.


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Alex chorale

video Alex singing "The rattlin'bog"

"Feed the Birds"

Friday, December 14, 2012

Winter Fair and trains at Brookside Gardens

Saturday was the Winter Fair at Alex's school, then a trip to Brookside Gardens to see the annual train exhibit.  Vincent loves the "choo choos" as much as Alex.  Alex also took some very nice pictures.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Alex's class picture

classe CP (First grade)
It's been cold then hot then cold, so we've spent some time outdoors.  Vincent likes to walk around the block with Grannie.


basement antics

Monday, November 26, 2012


We journeyed to Carlisle, PA for Thanksgiving with Marjorie, Bruce, and family.  We had a great meal at The Hotel Hershey which included an all you can eat gourmet buffet with seafood and raw bar.  Yum!  Then there was a midnight excursion to Walmart for some of us to experience the madness of pre-Black Friday.  You will also notice from the pictures that Alex lost his second front tooth.


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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bar Mitzvah weekend

This past weekend was cousin Daniel's Bar Mitzvah in Carlisle, PA.  We all had a great time seeing the whole family and celebrating.  Alex thought the party was "awesome".


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Friday, November 09, 2012


Alex's class

After Alex had an entire week off of school for Toussaint, he got an additional two days off for Hurricane Sandy.  We had to amuse ourselves in the basement with snacks and car ramps.  We also had a nice play date last weekend with Alex's friend Frank-Eli.

Vincent is walking all over the place and eating with utensils and having a grand ole time.

Alex had a sortie (field trip) to a spectacle de danse "The Creation of the World" presented by a Lithuanian dance troupe at the Kids Euro Festival in DC.  It was also his first time on a school bus which he thought was exciting.

Lots of eating per usual, including a fantastic meal at Full Key in Wheaton with roast duck.



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Thursday, November 01, 2012


Vincent was the Cookie Monster and Alex was Darth Vader, although Alex was also a ninja on Sunday for Rose and Beth's party and a pirate at at school.  Alex loved his first trick or treating experience in the US, and Vincent enjoyed walking everywhere.


Earlier in the week we drive to Point of Rocks and over to Virginia and took the ferry back.

Monday, October 29, 2012

National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Last week was Alex's Toussaint vacation at his French School.  Just one week off instead of two in France, oh well.  We spent the week exploring the countryside of Maryland and Virginia.  We also went to the Air and Space Museum near Dulles airport.  Alex loved the Blackbird, the Space Shuttle Discovery, and the Concorde of course.  Vincent also loved all the "air-mains" and watching from the Observation Tower.


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Vincent tries on hats and Alex loses his 3rd tooth

Alex's camera
Alex got a new Fisher-Price digital camera since his old one broke.  He loves taking pictures, and it is a really interesting perspective on his life. Take a look.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Orchards and pumpkins!

We've hit up a couple of orchards and farms in the Maryland area for some pumpkins, apples, farm animals, and beautiful scenery.

Vincent continues to practice walking and point at "air-means" (airplanes).


Butlers Orchard and Homestead Farm
Corn mazes! Children of the Corn!  Alex enjoyed the tractors and pump the water duck game.  Vincent also liked the tractors.

Butlers Orchard

Homestead Farm

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October in full swing

The weather has been absolutely perfect this October in the DC area so we've been taking advantage of it, trying to eat and play outside.  We met Z & GG for lunch on Thursday at Eastern Market at Boxcar Tavern.  On the way back to our car we accidentally ran into our good friend John McArdle which led to a great afternoon of catching up over beers and fries.  Then we headed to the State Street Theater in Falls Church to see JD's friend Des who was participating in the 48 hour music project awards and his band was also playing.

Then it was a busy birthday weekend - football game at Spencer's school where he is in Marching Band (1st down Cougars, RAWRR), dinner and cake, fun on Saturday with lunch at Los Toltecos, putt putt, and then a big fondue dinner followed by steaks as Spencer was off to the Homecoming Dance.

Boxcar Tavern and State Street Theater, lots of Des and his band

pho and Eastern Market

marching band Homecoming and dinners

more weekend and Homecoming

playing outside

Monday, October 08, 2012

last of September, October arrives



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Finally catching up on some pictures.  We've had some great weather so we spent more time outdoors and on the porch.  We can't seem to get away from the wine and cheese.  Vincent had to have another operation on his hydrocele, hopefully the last one.  He's doing fine.  Alex had his first book report on his favorite book, "Volcanoes".  We've also had fun watching the scary spider that is living on Grannie's front porch. 

Vincent walks 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

DC Waterfront

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Not once but twice this week we found ourselves on the DC Waterfront, eating lunch at Cantina Marina, which has great views of the water, and many airplane and helicopter flybys - an yes, that's Marine whatever (probably not One or Two, but still, pretty cool).

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Z and GG are docked at the Capital Yacht Club so we had a nice visit when them on Saturday.  The Pride of Baltimore II was in town also.  Alex again got a chance to drive the dinghy, and see a water cannon off the DC Fireboat.  Did we mention the weather has been phenomenal?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

mid-September: playgrounds and the zoo

Alex's desk and homework.  Alex is enjoying learning to read and his homework.  We've set up Papa's old work desk for his homework(devoir) station - note the soldering iron and old morse code machines among other things.

Week at school, playgrounds, the zoo.
We have been exploring all the local playgrounds after school, and went to the zoo since it is so close to Alex's school.  Vincent also had his 15 month check-up and four shots.  Ouch.  We had some more great food, Los Toltecos for Mexican, and Mykonos for Greek.

Weekend, tricycle, playground, pho, Rosh Hashanah.
Fantastic weather, and another playground.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Vincent's first ice cream cone

Finally the weather turned nice and cool.  We had lunch last Saturday at Chevy's where Vincent enjoyed the chips and had his first ice cream cone.  Alex devoured his lunch of tacos.  We then headed over to Carrie's to meet their new dog Axle.  He is a very sweet dog and we're glad he's part of their family.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Back to School Night

Alex's classroom

pictures - Wednesday was back to school night.

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snacks and standing
We've spent a lot of time on the back porch having snacks this summer.  Vincent took his first steps (2 or 3) on Saturday and will walk holding on to our hands.  He is close to being mobile.  Watch out!

Friday, September 07, 2012

MRE - Maritime Republic of Eastport (Annapolis, MD)

Labor Day Weekend.  We had a great day on Saturday visiting Z and GG who are docked in Eastport in Annapolis.  It was very hot and humid (of course) so we ate and drank and drank and ate.  Alex drove the dinghy, and played a mean game of war with GG.  Vincent even napped on the boat.  A great meal was had too at Davis Pub.  Alex had a lot of question for Z about the boats and barnacles and stuff.  Oh, and the movie everyone was staring at?  Down Periscope.  Good stuff.  We didn't have time to watch "Captain Ron".


Thursday, September 06, 2012

Vincent's first haircut - August 30, 2012 (14.5 months)

Vincent's hair was getting pretty long so we took him for his first haircut.  We were driving back from Pennsylvania and hit the mall in Columbia, MD, and there was a Cartoon Cuts and I had a coupon, so it was meant to be.  Vincent was very good.  The haircut was nice until she put gel in his hair and spiked it. Funny!

The other big event was buying the step-up-step-down convertor for our Nespresso machine.  Not sure why it took us so long to do it.  But those capsules cost more here than in Europe!

a few artistic shots by JD

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

La Rentrée !

Et voilà ! Enfin c'est la rentrée ! (Translation: It's back to school time!)

This year Alex begins first grade in the French school here in Washington (Lycée Rochambeau primary school). We decided to do this for several reasons, not least of which was that we want him to maintain his exposure to French as we will one day – sooner rather than later, hopefully – return to France to live. It seems like a very nice school from what we can tell. We meet the teachers and tour the building tomorrow evening. Alex's maitresse, Madame Monique Curioni took a slightly nervous Alex under her wing immediately and shepherded him along to meet his classmates.

Click here for the pictures from this morning

Monday, September 03, 2012

Dutch Wonderland - Lancaster, PA

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The free breakfast at the hotel was sparse so we headed to Perkins where Alex ate two orders of pancakes.  We then spent the day at Dutch Wonderland.  Alex's favorite rides were the simulator, the Space Shuttle, the cars on the Sunoco Highway, and driving the small boats.  In the evening we drove back into downtown Lancaster for some really great Thai food at Sukhothai.  On Thursday there was breakfast at Denny's and back to Maryland.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Trip to Pennsylvania - first stop Hanover, PA

The many wonderful flavors of UTZ potato chips

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As a treat for Alex after his surgery, we decided to take him to Dutch Wonderland in Pennsylvania.  We drove through Hanover, PA on the way up to tour the Utz Factory.  What fun!  Who knew there was a site for factory tours in the US? Had a great sushi meal to at Full Moon Japanese Restaurant where Alex had his first big meal after surgery - noodle soup.

Alex wanted to know if we were going to stay "in the old abandoned house" and "if it had electricity" when we pulled up to the hotel.  Funny.  The hotel was fine and it had a really nice pool we all enjoyed.

Recovery from tonsillectomy

Alex recovered from his tonsillectomy by taking pain meds and resting.  It was very difficult to eat, but he managed to finally eat some squishy waffles and drink lots of juice.

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We purchased Vincent some new toys with money Aunt Beaty sent him.  He loves his ride-on dump truck.  Vincent enjoyed watching Grannie mow the lawn.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Alex's tonsillectomy

Alex had to have his tonsils out on August 21.  They were huge!  He did great, the nurses gave him an A+.

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Some older pictures - Vincent and his shopping cart, Alex's tents, and hangin' on the porch.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


A quick visit to Toots and Poppie this weekend.  Aunt Shana came along too.  Vincent enjoyed using his shopping cart and also climbing up the stairs.  Alex had a great time at the Delaware Children's Museum.  There were some good meals and drinks of course.


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Then it was back to DC and Carrie's house to surprise David for his birthday with some BBQ from Famous Dave's.  Yum.  Then on Monday night we had a delicious Thai meal, Alex's choice, since he was having his tonsils out the next day.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Visit to cousin Marjorie's

Weekend at Marjorie's
Weekend trip to cousin Marjorie's in Carlisle, PA.  Pool, trampoline, hot tub, the cousins, lots of fun.

Vincent and his grocery cart

Pictures taken by Alex

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Including a nice French lunch at Bistro Bis, and hanging with Alicia who was in town on the rooftop of her hotel.  Vincent can say "apple" and "peach" and really likes to eat both.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) - You will notice the red spots on Alex & Vincent in the pictures.  Thanks to my cousin Mace and his son Eddy, Alex and Vincent contracted this highly contagious sickness. Poor Mace had a really bad case too.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


mmm, pancakes (Vincent finishes off Alex's pancakes)


End of July, into can it be?  We've been back a month and it feels like much longer we have done so much catch up on US things - doctors, school registration for Alex, eating eating eating.  We hit the Parthenon in DC, right over the Maryland line, for a delicious Sunday lunch outside.  Yay, eating outside even if it is 100 degrees and humid.  Gravelly Point to watch the airplanes take off and land, the Trolley Museum, and then Annapolis after dropping Pauline off to go to the beach.  We met up with Z & GG for a bit but it was just to hot to stay outside long.  Then some pool and food and fun with the Cahoon's.

Alex on his bike, Trolley Museum, Annapolis

Cahoon's and pool, playing after bath

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012


mmm, cheese

We spent the past week catching up on more administrivia of moving back to the US.  In between, we managed to have many more good meals including Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, and authentic Cantonese.  We also went to Cheesetique in Del Ray, a fabulous cheese store that existed before we moved but we had never explored.

Alex enjoyed the playground and has been learning sudoku from Grannie. Oh, and there was the task of registering Alex at Montgomery County Public Schools, which has an entire Department for children arriving from other countries.  Pretty impressive.

Oh, and some breadbaking and wine and cheese at Carrie's.  We went to Wegman's which had an excellent selection of French wine and cheese.  JD made friends with the cheese expert, Alfred.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Maisie's 5th Birthday party


Maisie's 5th Birthday party at Pump it Up.  Alex had a great time on the gigantic inflatables.  It was great to see everyone also.  Then we hit Famous Dave's for some BBQ.  mmmm.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

More fun at Grannie's, JD's birthday, and the boxes arrive!

Bonne Anniversaire à JD...

More fun at Grannie's.  Vincent likes Alex's toys including the guitar and water guns from Gretchen and Dennis.  He is also enjoying the shopping cart. The boxes arrived, and Alex dug out, among other things, his karate outfit. Hooray.

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Hanging with Heather on Sunday and Mondays.  She is staying with Pauline while she volunteers at the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary.  Lunch at some great places in Wheaton, MD - this time, it was Kantuta's Restaurant.  Yum.  Sushi dinner for JD's birthday at Niwano Hana and then a Carvel cake.  Oh, and the next day some Guapo's. We are still getting used to the size of the portions here, but love that there are doggie bags.

Don't forget to check out the quick movies, including pool and bike riding -

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kurtz Pool Party


A great way to catch up with the entire Kurtz clan - get invited to their annual July and August Birthday bash held at Greg and Vicky's pool.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

JD's Birthday lunch in DC

Dad and son

a few more

We met Z and GG at Eastern Market to take advantage of the Saturday farmer's market.

Then there was a delicious lunch at Pacifico Cantina to celebrate JD's upcoming birthday on July 19.

Can you tell it was hot and very humid?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Veitches and Deitches

A Deitch and Two Veitches
We were thrilled to see our friends from Paris, the Veitches (but pronouned VEETCH!) this afternoon. They are in the US for summer vacation and are staying with friends in DC. Abigail, Toby and Alex had a great time playing in Lincoln Park.


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Lunch at Eastern Market, Lincoln Park, quick trip to Columbia for JD to have a meeting, snacks in the parking lot and Wal-Mart.  Hitting all the hot spots!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cahoon visit

We finally made it to the Cahoon's for a visit.  A great time and a cookout with burgers.  It was so nice to see our friends after so long, and catch up on things.  Check out how much Spencer, Mitchell and Natalie have grown!


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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fun at Grannie's

Some fun in the basement and pool time!

yard and pool
Alex loves to ride his bike, and Vincent is enjoying the zoysia grass at Grannie's (and all the new clothes Toots gave him).

Bistro du Coin and Titanic exhibit
We met Z & GG and Aunt Shana in DC on the hottest day of the year (109 degrees) for a great French meal at Bistrot du Coin.  Then we took Alex too see the Titanic exhibit at National Geographic, he is obsessed with the Titanic.

Chuck E Cheese and yard and bath time

Sunday, July 08, 2012


Quick visit to Toots and Poppie's to escape the power outage in Maryland.  Lots of good visiting and waffles and Lego-time and new sandals for Alex.


Saturday, July 07, 2012

Last week in Paris, arriving US, 1.3M without electricity....


2012-06-27 last week spectacle and park
Alex worked very hard on his spectacle, a modern dance presentation with his class.  We spent the last week packing, hoping we hit our weight limit to move back (1,000 lbs, and we were fine!), and saying goodbye to all our good friends and neighbors.
Alex spectacle see video here
Spectacle part 1
Spectacle part 2
Spectacle part 3
Spectacle part 4

2012-06-28 packing and leaving

2012-06-29 last daySaying goodbye to our friends and local vendors including Sushiland, the best sushi in Levallois, and the Anjou, the cafe under our windows.

2012-06-30 arriving USArriving DC to 1.3 million people without power and 100 degrees.  Ugh.  Staying with Ilene who had power for four days.  Thanks to Carrie for all the food and diapers and bandaids and popcorn and dental floss we could not have made it without you.

Vincent stands by himself!  Vincent's first pair of shoes (sandals). 

p.s. Lincoln and Vincent have had the easiest adjustment. Lincoln has the run of the house as Cica is locked in the basement until the two week suggested cat adjustment period is over.  Vincent is just happy to eat and sleep and crawl around.

Monday, July 02, 2012

All Good Things...

Hard to believe how big he's gotten. Remember the arrival photo?

It's hard to believe, but our time in France has come to an end. After three years and three months we are back. There is no other way to explain our experience save to say that it has been truly life-changing.

Here are pictures from the final days. These are from JD's camera. Gabby's has even more.

A bunch from the park
Alex goes to the park with his friends almost every day after school. He runs for hours with these kids and has made some nice friends that we'll stay in touch with.

Move in progress
Some pictures of the apartment before and after the departure of the boxes.

Final pictures from the apartment and the airport.

Monday, June 25, 2012

last Sunday Funday

June 10 was our last Sunday Funday, we had a picnic in St. Germain-en-Laye.  Unfortunately it was gray and cool, but we had a nice time anyway.  Then JD made some macarons.  Mmmm.


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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Budapest - all the pictures

Day 1
Arriving Budapest.  Hot, beautiful day. Walking around Vaci utca shopping district.  Drinks and snacks at Gerbeaud Cafe.  Back to hotel to check in and rest.  Metro to Kati's to visit with her family.  Dinner at Dunacorso, one of Bela's favorite restaurants.
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Day 2
Another hot, gorgeous day. We walked a bit, down to O utca to see if we could find Grandmother's old apartment.  Then we walked down Andrassy utca before taking the old metro to Hosok Tere with the monuments of all the Hungarian Kings.  We walked a bit into the park to see the statue of "Anonymous".  Then we ate a delicious meal at Robinson restaurant on the lake in the park. It was too hot to go to the zoo, so we went back to the hotel to rest before heading out for drinks and dinner along the Danube.
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Day 3
Bela's interment ceremony at Budapest Újköztemető, the large cemetery.  Kati planned a lovely ceremony with flowers and music and a priest.  Tibor and Laci and George and Esther also joined us.  Then lunch at the Blue Tomato on Pannonia utca, another favorite Bela restaurant we ate at quite a bit in 2001 and 2004.  After a rest at the hotel (with air conditioning!), we had drinks and dinner on a barge on the Danube where Alex wanted to go.
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Schaffer ceremony pictures

Day 4
93 degrees and hot hot hot.  We went to Castle Hill for a quick visit and walk around to Matyas Templom (Matthias Church) and Fisherman's Bastion.  Then we went to see the hunting fountain, and took the funicular back down the hill and walked across the Chain Bridge.  Then a quick lunch on Vaci utca before heading to the airport and back to Paris, where it was cloudy, cool, and rainy.
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Budapest - Bela's interment Ceremony

Bela Andrew Banyasz 
November 26, 1928 - January 27, 2011

The pictures of Bela's interment ceremony at Budapest Újköztemető, taken by Bela's good friend Lazlo (Laci) Schaffer, a professional photographer.  Bela's ashes are buried with his mother and Aunt Rose, per his wishes.


JD's pictures from Bela's interment ceremony

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Just a few pictures from our trip to Budapest. We're here mainly to inter the ashes of Gabriella's dad, but we're spending some time to enjoy the city as well.

pictures from the first 2 days

pictures from second night

JD's pictures from Bela's interment (more  from his friend Schaffer)

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Birthday pear tart

We finally gave Vincent his birthday tart which he had difficulty pulling apart, but enjoyed eating!


some more tart pictures

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Vincent!

Vincent enjoyed opening his birthday cards and licking and chewing on them.  He had a good day, including a very nice birthday meal at Cornelius, our favorite French restaurant.  We had the asparagus flan and côte de boeuf, more than enough food for the entire family.  We were so full we didn't get to his pear tart yet!

birthday pictures

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pictures from the week

food, flower, and Paris pictures

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


We've had a few warm days to enjoy the park.  It was 80 degrees on Saturday, hence Vincent was sporting his cool new top from Z and GG.  Then it turned gray and cool.  Ah, Paris.

Vincent likes to crawl around on the grass in the park. Vincent has started to say Alex - he says "Ah - ixe", and Vincent - "ince".  He can also pull himself up to a standing position in the crib.  Watch out!  He had his 1 year check-up and weighs 23 lbs. and is 31" tall - right on target with what Alex and JD were, except that JD weighed slightly more.