Showing posts from 2009

My first digital camera

Christmas in Kensington, a nice lamb dinner, and then a visit to the Kurtz/Cahoon's and Mrs. Mudd and Kathleen. Andrea came over after work and Alex loved his digital camera she gave him - see the first pictures here.


Last few days of our visit to the US - Alex got a badly needed haircut, JD made a fantastic prime rib, Alicia stopped by since she was in town for work, then we went to National Harbor on Christmas Eve to see the water-skiing Santa. There was also a cool train exhibit at the Gaylord Hotel and the new Peeps store.

20 inches of snow in DC

Who would have thought we'd make the Dec 20th flight to Dulles with the 20 inches of snow in DC and the fact that it was snowing in Paris when we left? The 8 hour flight turned into 12 hours on the plane (4 on the runway due to delays and de-icing in addition to the 8 hour flight) but we made it! Luckily Carrie and David live near Dulles so they came and picked us up and we spent the night at their house and had a great time.

Alex enjoyed his first big snow by shoveling, throwing snowballs, and walking all the way around Grannie's house.

Other highlights have included getting our fill of some US food we haven't had in awhile - wings, burgers, and Vietnamese noodle soup.

short Alex and snow.


walking around Grannie's house and making paw prints.

snow in Paris!

Last week it snowed in Paris! Everyone told us this was "very rare" for December. We enjoyed a few snow days and got ready for our trip to the US.

Lennen School Holiday Show, December 16, 2009


Pictures from Lennen photographer.
Holiday show at Alex's school. Alex's All Day Nursery Class sang "Les Musiciens" and "Hurry, Hurry Drive the Fire Truck".


December 15th pictures...

December 15th pictures.

Friends, Marché de Noël on the Champs Elysees, etc.
End of November pictures.
Alex got to take Coco the Monkey home from school for a weekend. We had our "Thanskgiving" and JD made delicious sausage and fennel stuffing.
Pictures past few weeks.
Champ de Mars, hanging at the apartment, playground, Guitar Hero, meeting up with my friend Stan while he was in Paris for work, reading, baking (!) from Duncan Hines mixes. Cost: 5 euros, or $7.50 US each box. Seriously! More school pictures, the American Church, Champs Elysees Marche Noel, and Alex got to take Coco the Monkey home for the weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Alex's school provided a Thanksgiving meal today, including turkey, mashed sweet potatoes, and corn on the cob! A good time was had by all, as you can see from the pictures.

Catching up from October....

Pictures up to November 17, 2009.

Pictures from October, and also some from my camera from Andrea's visit.
-Alex and I met JD at La Defense one day for lunch, for sandwiches from Paul and strawberry ice cream.
I also found a cute toy called "Paris in a bag" at a store called Muji.
-That weekend was warm and we went for a walk on an old railway bridge that has been converted into a green walkway.
-Then there was some relaxing time, which Lincoln enjoyed. By the way, the vet demanded I put Lincoln on a diet as he is overweight and risks "cardiac problems". No more bread and cheese for him.
-On the last day before Toussaint vacation was over, we met a few of Alex's friends from school at Jardin du Luxembourg for some fun.
-When Andrea came to visit, we went to a great restaurant called "Boeuf sur le Toit" that has great food and an Art Deco interior.

Andrea visit to Paris part 2


Second half of Andrea's visit - more walking around, grocery store, cooking, eating, and a playground.

November in Paris


Andrea came to visit for a few days. We've been walking around in typical November weather in Paris - cool, damp, rainy. On Saturday we went to the Latin Quarter to wander down Rue Mouffetard and see the area we stayed in when Andrea was here last in 1998.

Today, Sunday, we walked around Trocadero, Eiffel Tower, Champs de Mars, the American Church, etc. Andrea wanted to make a special pilgrimage to 81 Rue de l'Universite (Rue de Loo) where Julia Child lived.

And of course there was food, cheese, bread, wine, naps (Alex), and Lincoln!

A week in Provence.

We just returned from a week in Provence staying in a 200 year old "burgher home". Kathleen and John McArdle joined us and we had quite an adventure. We (actually JD) drove all over the South of France and saw a lot, including a quick jaunt to Italy. Lots of good scenery, eating, and drinking. More stories and pictures to come.
Monfort sur Argens.
Aix en Provence
Inland Var villages
more Aix en Provence
Nice to Italy
Nice one last time
and for another perspective on the trip:
Kathleen's Provence pictures
John's Provence pictures
John's Paris pictures

Epernay, France, Capitale du Champagne.

Epernay, France, Capitale du Champagne.
On Saturday we took a day trip to Epernay, the "capital of champagne". It's an hour and a half train ride from Paris. The day started out gray and rainy, but cleared in the afternoon. We had an enjoyable time walking up and down the Avenue de Champagne, which is lined with mansions that are now offices for Moët et Chandon, Perrier-Jouët etc. Of course we had to tour Moët et Chandon, and take the "Imperial Tour" which includes two tastings. And this was after we found the free tastings at Tourist Office of champagne.

Then there was a lovely lunch at a French bistro, more walking, and the train back to Paris, which was just long enough to sleep off the 4 glasses of champagne.

Week of October 5th.

Paul was in town so we went to McBride's to watch the game, then out for a really good Italian meal at Livio's in Neuilly. On Sunday I ran out to the airport to quickly visit Alicia who was passing through on her way to the Middle East. Some pictures from Alex's school, the park, Alex helping me make a quiche, and walking through the 16th arrondisement this past weekend.

October in Paris.


As if on cue, the weather is chilly, the leaves have started to turn. Some pictures near Invalides and Alex's school, and one of Alex and his new friend Alexandre. Alexandre is in his class at school, and we hang out a lot with his Mom Gail and go to the playground near the Eiffel Tower, Champs de Mars.

September visit to US

The only car left to rent on the lot.....

We had a whirlwind trip to the US in September. We covered a lot of ground in almost two weeks, seeing family and friends, even though we didn't get to everyone!

Alex really got into helping us pack this time. When we left Paris it was cool and rainy, and when we arrived in DC it was humid and rainy. But the weather cleared. We had another nice Air France flight, good food, great movies.

Alex got right to playing with his toys at Grannie's house. Then there was:
a haircut and a trip to the mall, including food court
brisket dinner at Ilene's
helping Grannie with the lawn
dancing to Mamma Mia
more eating
watching a Manchester United game at Lucky Bar
meeting Shana for brunch then hanging out by the waterfront
thai food with Val
a visit to Alex's old daycare
a visit to Toots and Poppie
dinner for Spencer's 11th birthday
renting a car, which ended up being a monster truck which was all they had
meeting Eddy and Suzanne at the Col…

First week of school, Paris in Sept

The open house for Alex's preschool on Sept 4th was dark, cold and rainy - hope that's not what the Fall is like in Paris! We had a nice time visiting Alex's new class, where there was an escargot station, among other great toys. There are 20 children in the class, 15 boys - it will be a fun year (especially for those teachers).

At the apartment there was cape time, and we got Lincoln a new brush he desperately needed. On Saturday we tried to go to Jardin des Plantes but is was cold and rainy, so we went shopping at the Grands Magasins (Galeries Lafeyette and Printemps) which have great rooftop views. On Sunday we enjoyed the marche in our town and playing in the park, where Alex walked across the spiderweb climbing thing all by himself.

End of August, Cite des Enfants.


Alex's friends from school last year are all moving on - Jamie back to Australia, Carson to the US, and Grey to another school in Paris. We all gathered at Grey's apartment for a good-bye party.

Alex and I went to the Cite des Enfants one more time for the summer. It was the day after schools went back in Paris, so it was empty! We also went outside to see the "geode", and discovered a submarine we could go inside. Alex found a Space Shuttle in the gift shop he really liked.

Giverny and Montmartre

On the drive back from Normandy, we stopped by Giverny.

On Carrie's last day in Paris, we went to Montmarte. Alex walked up all the steps himself which was great. We had escargot and onion soup for lunch, and then walked down by the Moulin Rouge. It was a nice, hot, sunny day. Little did we know that the next day, September 1st, would dawn cool and gray and rainy, exactly as Carrie was leaving.

Etretat, Normandy.

Normandy - Etretat.
On Saturday we headed across the Pont de Normandie to Le Havre, a busy harbor town. We weren't sure where to drive next. The ferry to England would take 5 hours, which we didn't have. Then we saw signs for the town of Etretat, and JD said a woman he worked with suggested we go there. After a short 20 minute, we pulled into town and parked near the water. Carrie got out of the car, walked up the street and some steps to investigate. She came back and said "I can't tell you what's up there, you have to go see, right now". She had this look of awestruck amazement on her face.

From the pictures you will see what we discovered - the most amazing white cliffs and natural arch, and the stone beach. We had a wonderful time in the town, walked around, had wine and cheese as the sun set, and mussels for dinner. All the hotels were booked, so we headed back to Le Havre to stay in a hotel.

On Sunday, we drove back to Etretat and went up to the …
Normandy - Honfleur.

We rented a car last Friday when Carrie was here and decided to go to Normandy, a 2 hour drive. We drove to Honfleur, where JD had been for a work meeting in late June. We didn't have a place to stay but decided we would find one when we arrived. We were lucky and found a room at the Hotel Dauphin, up many flights of skinny stairs to the top floor, with a cute room we could not stop taking pictures of, including the view of the rooftops of Honfleur out the window.

We proceeded to have a great meal that night sitting outside at a restaurant in a cobblestone alley. Alex liked the house special fish soup.

Saturday started out gray and rainy, so we walked around the market and had snacks. Then the weather cleared as we took off for the Pont de Normandie, a very cool bridge across the Seine to Le Havre. We had no idea where the day would take us....
Carrie in Paris.
Carrie came to visit us for a week! We had a great time, and these pictures are only from the first two days. After a jet lag nap, we hit the Trocadero for a view of the Eiffel Tower. On Thursday, we decided to take an open top bus tour to cover most of Paris. It was cloudy and drizzled a bit - but that was the worst weather we had the entire time. Of course we introduced Carrie to our "wine and cheese course" before dinner.
Week of August 26th.
On Sunday we went to the Bois de Vincennes to meet Liliane for lunch, my former manager who hired me way back in 2000! She's from Paris and we met for lunch and decided we both looked the same, even though we haven't seen each other in seven years. She took us to a great outdoor restaurant on the lake in the Bois de Vincennes, then we walked around. It was very hot that day.

During the week, Alex and I went to the Jardin d'Acclimation again with his friends from school - Carson, Jamie, and Juan Martin.

We went to a small town about 10 miles outside of Paris the weekend before last, Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
We walked around the park(which had a great view of Paris and La Defense)and the town, and had a nice meal in a quiet courtyard. Then we headed back to Paris to watch the Manchester United Game at a bar, and then walked a bit since it was a nice Saturday night.
Week before last.

I am behind in posting, we had great weather all of August so lots of playdates with Alex's friends, and then Carrie was here the past week (those pictures are forthcoming).

A day at the Tuileries where they were having a summer carnival, including trampolines.
Then we spent a very hot day (95°F) in the Jardin d'Acclimatation with Carson. The boys went in the water sprays and rode the rides.
On another day, we met up in the Jardin Luxembourg, then went to Anne-Marie's beautiful apartment for lunch and a party for Juan Martin's birthday.
Bois de Vincennes and Parc Floral de Paris.
Last Sunday we went to the Bois de Vincennes and the Parc Floral of Paris. It was a hot, sunny day and we enjoyed walking around, looking at the Chateau, and all the beautiful flowers.
Alex and a sculpture in the Tuileries.
More fun last week.
Parc Monceau with Alex's friend Jamie. A sand pit and a big tree was being cut down.
The Tuileries and the playground and trampolines.
Then, on Wednesday we met Jamie and Carson at Cite des Enfants where the boys enjoyed the hands on work zone and water play area. It was really cool!
Then on Friday we walked all the way into town, ate and drank at a cafe, then walked to see La Tour Eiffel at night.
Exhibit at Musée des Arts et Métiers

Last week.
We've been taking walks to La Defense since the weather has been nice, and to meet JD for lunch.
Last weekend, we went to the Musée des Arts et Métiers which had lots of gadgets and inventions from several centuries.
The café was good, and Alex enjoyed running around the courtyard.
Then we met friends of JD's from Delaware at a cafe near Pompidou.

Last week.
Our Boulangerie/Patisserie is closed for August, so we made sure we had some desserts before they closed down.
A nice week in Paris, more playgrounds.
Alex and his friend Jamie from school met up in the garden of the Musee Rodin to play in the sand pit and run around.
Then we met JD for lunch in La Defense.
Later, Alex enjoyed playing pizza delivery boy.


We just spent four days in Munich and had a great time. The pictures speak for themselves: Bavarian cuisine (beer, sausages, potatoes, pretzels), gardens (both of the flower and beer variety), architecture, squares, water fountains, fruit stands, bicycles, and swearing in ceremony for soldiers of the German Bundeswehr at Marienplatz complete with anti-war protestors.

JD even found an entire store devoted to the cookies from Vienna his Grandmother used to give him - Manner.

We also enjoyed the surfers in the Englischer Garten. la la


We just spent four days in Manchester, England. We had a great time, walking around the city, seeing Old Trafford for the first time (me and Alex), meeting old friends.
The city has a great vibe to it - the industrial revolution era buildings, the academia, art, and Mancunian spirit.
Of course there was beer, fish 'n chips, mushy peas, English breakfast, a curry, and a great dinner at Yang Sing.
Paris last week.
Alex met a cute girl at the playground.
A few days walking around at the gardens(the July flowers are in!) and playgrounds. Alex has become more adventuresome on the playground equipment.
His latest thing is he likes to stand on the "bumpy stones" as he calls them.
We went to La Defense to visit Dad at his office, but first, Alex hung out by the water fountain and enjoyed jumping down the stairs.
Pictures from last day in US and back to France.
Here are some pictures from our last day in the US. Andrea made a delicious meal, and Alex watched "Mamma Mia". Then Grannie came back from Charlotte, and Alex got some last tricycle riding in. Andrea was able to accompany us to the gate at Dulles which really helped. Then Dad met us at CDG!

Back in Paris.
Back to our apartment, and it was Dad's birthday July 19. We walked around town, enjoyed the cool summer weather, and just being back.

More visiting...


Alex had a really nice visit at Toots and Poppie's, then they took him to see cousins Brian and Lindsey in Frederick. Alex had a great time playing with Brian.

Yesterday, we got to see Mrs. Mudd and Maureen and Maisie and Debbie and Matthew and Carrie and Natalie for a girls lunch in Rockville.


Alex's first camping trip!
Where to begin? We just had a great 3 day vacation camping with Carrie, Spencer, Mitchell, Natalie, Rose & Beth (all experienced campers) near Ocean City, MD at Frontier Town. We had great weather, not a drop of rain, and lots of fun activities. Highlights included:
-the pool, General Store, playground, algae pond, RV park watching, and all around camp experience
-Spencer's skills at building the campfire and pitching his tent
-Rose & Beth's great food and tents they brought and set up for me and Alex
-Bike riding (note the surrey with a fringe) on the boardwalk and
the water park!
-the Ocean City Boardwalk including arcades, Thrashers fries, and
Assateague Island and the horses
-just being with great friends who let us tag along on their vacation and seeing Alex have fun with Spencer, Mitchell and Natalie
and above all - the fun and flexibility!
Last few days. More playing, a barbecue at Carrie & David's, the DMV, the dump to recycle an old TV, visiting Alex's old daycare, Andrea at the airport, and then Silver Diner where it was children's night and Alex won a dance contest and got to lead a parade.

So I switched the blog a little bit

You know. Sometimes change is good.
July 4th. We had a really nice day at Mace & Suzanne's for July 4th. The weather was warm and sunny, not too hot, and Alex and cousin Eddy had a great time swimming, going for a ride in the kayak with Suzanne and Andrea, and just playing together. Alex loved Eddy's toys, especially the fire engine.
Sunday in DC with Toots, Poppie & Aunt Shana. Alex and I are enjoying our summer visit back in the US. On Sunday we met up with Toots and Poppie and Shana in DC, and went to the Museum of Natural History, and saw the IMAX 3D film on fish.
Yesterday, we hung out with Carrie and Mitchell and Natalie - including causing trouble at the Mall with a giraffe in Macy's.
Past few days.

A few days in Paris before our trip back to the US for a summer visit- playground, etc.
Alex and I flew to Dulles on Friday - Alex was mostly good on the flight. The Air France movie selection helped!
Grannie and Aunt Andrea met us at the airport. We were back at Grannie's house for less than an hour and Alex was in the kiddie pool and riding his tricycle.
After some jet lag, there was second breakfast at McDonald's, and a sorely needed haircut at the barber shop.
More pool, chalk, bubbles, Skype with Dad in Paris, and Yolanda stopped by to visit.
Alex and his teachers, Kim and Chrystelle.

Monday and Tuesday.
On Monday, Alex's preschool went to a marionette show in the park near the Eiffel Tower.
Tuesday was Alex's last day at preschool for the summer and there was a party.
Me, Alex, and the Mayor of Levallois

Sunday pictures.
I bum rushed the Mayor of Levallois for a picture (maybe we can get an intro to Sarkozy).
Shrimp snacks on Saturday night. Yes, they come with the heads on. Alex likes to scream "take the head off!"
Sunday, the second day of the Fete de l'ete. The weather was better and Alex got more of the sand pit -- and some moon bounce (structure inflatable). And the elephant.
We hung out with a co-worker of JD's and her family and had a nice time.
Alex's favorite dessert, a "chouquette".

This past week.

Alex playing a video game (it's soccer of course).
A curious police escort near Invalides.
Alex found his life jacket.
Grannie sent Alex stickers - which he promptly put on his face!
At the playground.
A wedding at the town hall.
The Summer Festival in our town, unfortunately it was rainy and cloudy today. Alex enjoyed the sand pit and moon bounce with balls anyway. And there was an elephant!

On Saturday we went to Versailles, which is exactly as the guide books describe it "magnificent, expansive, and full of the longest lines you'll ever find" to enter the Palace. So we walked around the gardens instead, and decided we'll go back another time for the Chateau tour.

Unfortunately, the fountains only run at certain times of the day, but even without the water they were still impressive.
This week.

We had rain over the weekend and into the week, so a lot of inside pictures! Saturday we broke out the stroller bubble (Boy in the Plastic Bubble) and went to the mall. Alex made friends at a restaurant by speaking French to our waiter (Bonjour Chef!). Alex kept calling the waiter "Chef" since the water was wearing a chef's hat.

However, we did have a nice day for most of Sunday, where we enjoyed the Farmer's Market in our town square. Alex loved the rides (complete with Easter decorations) and the moon bounce. JD enjoyed the free tastings of escargot and blue cheese! We walked all over Levallois and explored parts of our town near the Seine.

The picture of the man on the scooter with the suction hose, taken from behind - that's the dog pooper sucker machine!

Check out that egg on the frisee lardon.

Yesterday we received a care package from Carrie & David and Family! Including - spices, brownies, candy, letters from each member of the Cahoon famil…

La Ferme

La Ferme de Gally.

Alex's first preschool fieldtrip to a "farm" a little south of Paris with his class. There were ducks, goats, donkeys, pigs, cows, and rabbits. Basically, 27 children ran around for two hours and the Moms (and Dad) ran after them. Alex said his favorite part were the "vache" (cows) and tractors.

We just returned from a few days in Madrid. We really loved the city - the weather, food, people, architecture, plazas, parks and water fountains. We managed to go to the Prado Museum for a bit, and of course had paella and sangria. We also took a double-decker tour bus tour since we didn't have much time and wanted to see a lot of the city.
We spent the long holiday weekend in Strasbourg, France, in the Alsace region. We took the fast train from Gare de l'Est and it only took a little over 2 hours. We stayed near the pedestrian area and cathedral, and did lots of walking and eating. The first day was rainy, then it cleared up and was hot by the time we left. Alex liked watching the boats go through the canal locks and under the covered bridges that turned to let the boats pass through.

We also toured the Kronenbourg brewery right outside of town. Beer is no longer brewed there since 2000, but it is still the headquarters and labs.

Week before.

Alex was in desperate need of a haircut, so JD decided to do it on his own! Not bad for the first home haircut.
This week.

On Sunday we went to Montmartre but it was really crowded, so we left and ate lunch.
Alex discovered the window makes a great train track.
Alex likes to get the ladder out and play in the closet.
Last night he enjoyed chewing on the broccoli stalk.
Then it was time to make some phone calls home.

Alex Dancing movie

We just returned from four days in Amsterdam. JD had a meeting, so Alex and I tagged along. We took the fast train and enjoyed the ride in first class with wifi and meal service.

Amsterdam was nice, we walked all over the city and had good meals including an Indonesian rice table. We didn't see too much sun and it was fairly chilly, but we managed to cover a lot of the city. The amount of bicycles in the city was truly amazing, and the canals and canal houses were really cool.