they’re crafty

On Saturday, Susan agreed to teach the kids to sew.  The older two have been asking for a while – and they got right to it.   They each made two little bags.  It’s funny to watch how two kids can enjoy the same thing for different reasons: one for the crafty-imagination part and one for the innovative-building-something part of it.   
Jonah made one for his Bible and stuff to take to the kids AWANA night, the other has become a book tote.  Matea made her first one for Micah who immediately filled it with ‘treasure’ – and then made another.  They are already asking to make bags with handles  etc….

  (the only thing I did was resist the urge to title this with some incredibly lame pun: like “Sew, Watts new?”  thankful…aren’t you?)

assorted recent turn-of-the-new-year stuff…

OK, so there hasn’t been any specific events of late that I felt warranting of a particular post – so here are just some pictures of the things of daily life around here the past month or so:
Dec 26 – sledding with our friends the Royers who were down from Versailles for Noël.  We drove just up from their place to the most picturesque sledding hill I’ve ever seen

In the picture below the view is over the valley – towards our place.

nothing particular here – late Dec our neighbours left their yard light on – this is what it looked like.

Dec 31 – One last chance to play in the snow

This is Alma.  She is cute. This is almost a month ago – see below for how much she has changed.
The novelty of having a younger sibling has not worn off at all for our older three. They still have to take turns to hold her, and play with her – we even still have offers to change diapers!

The other day when I got off the bus it was close to 8:00.  At first I remember thinking – what a crummy way to end a long day – hiking up our hill in the cold, pitch black (it was a new moon- and the closest street/yard light is about 1km from our place)  As I started walking I looked up – the stars were absolutely amazing.  The sky is so incredibly clear here – that it sometimes feels as though you are inside looking at projections of the stars.  I got home just as the kids were going to bed – got to talk and pray with each one of them – then have supper just with my beautiful wife – who had made an amazing supper.  The extra amazing part of this (beyond the fact that it was baked St Marcellin cheese & roasted garlic, wrapped in filo pastry with cranberry chutney on it, with roasted sweet-potatoes and a salad) was the fact that 1) it was not just completely made from scratch (which everything she cooks is) but also that it was something that she just made up 2) she had made the same thing for our kids earlier!

Even though Jonah’s birthday was Dec 28 – he waited until friends were back from holidays -and had his party this past week.  Our tradition is that you get to pick supper on your birthday – so crêpes it was.  Crêpes with cheese, ham & veggies for supper – crêpes with Nutella, bananes and whipped cream.  10 year old boys serving themselves whipped cream….it ended up as you can imagine it would

This one was just the other day

Alma was laying on the floor here  – and doing what she does best – smiling and making cute little cooing noises – then she thought she’d give rolling over another shot.

But she got kind of tired – and decided to just lay there and suck on her finger instead.

We celebrated Epiphany in the traditional French manner – eating a cake that is super good, containing a prize and a paper crown.  If you want more info I wrote about it last year here.  Suffice it to say that Matéa decided who would be crowned royalty in our house.  Kind of like when Charles Martel, Grandfather of Charlemagne, fought off the Arabs when the last of the Merovingian Kings – les Rois Faineants- wouldn’t do anything – then arbitrarily decided that his son Pepin le Bref would be the first of the Carolingian kings even though he himself was only the maire de la palais….if you know what I mean  (I may have been helping Jonah study for his history test yesterday)

Oh Canada

I just found some text being used to sell home surveillance security cameras here in France that I thought was too insightful not to share.

It basically translates as:
“It is a myth that is the envy of many: in Canada, you leave the door open all night, a light on outside as a sign of welcome to all travelers who need a bed for the night. In the Land of Bears, this may be. But in reality, the traveler who enters your home is not always as benign as those in fairy tales.”

New Year’s Day Cranial Trauma

New Years Day was a Sunday – and our church was having an informal service at 17.00. (that’s 5:00PM for you non-Europeans or  2 3/17th Leagues in the US) We drove down to the city, pulled up to park, and got out of the van.  Matea opened the back door to let the boys out – and guess what fell out?  Micah.  Apparently he was being a secret agent, and hiding up against the door so you couldn’t see him when you open the door.  Of course this also means he can’t see whoever is opening the door, and doesn’t know when it’s going to open. He fell to the parking lot – and landed on the back of his head.  Susan and I both jumped out and ran to pick  him up – and by then there was already a freakishly-cartoon-like bump on his head.  Now, bear in mind – we have four kids, and I’m one of five, so I’ve seen my share of goose-egg-type head bruises.  But this one was freaky.  For one – it appeared immediately.  Also it wasn’t a big rounded lump – it stuck straight out. Basically it looked like someone had taken an ice cube and shoved it under his skin. Also it was right at the base of his skull.  So the kids jumped back in the van – and we drove to the Urgences Pédiatriques (which fortunately is just down the street from the church!)  Fortunately it was just a bruise – they sent us home and told us to watch for weird signs of a more serious injury over the next 48hrs – but he seems to be just fine. I was going to take the kids skiing today – as they go back to school tomorrow – however there is no way that we could fit a helmut over that thing – further potential injuries notwithstanding.
And really  – from the picture – it’s hardly noticeable! I just took this as they were going to bed – so this is over 24 hours after the fact.
It’s events like this that really make you stop and count your blessings.  At first I found myself annoyed at how long we had to wait, at how the attending doctor treated me like I was a obsessive-compulsive over-protective hypochondriac parent who brought a boy to the emergency because he fell down.  Then as we were driving home I thought about how fortunate we are: that Micah wasn’t seriously hurt, that we live in a country where we have quick, easy, and free access to world-class medical care.  That we have the resources just to drive our kids to a hospital – whenever there is something wrong. That we could just take the next day off and sit around the house to make sure that he was fine.  That medicine to treat the pain is instantly at hand.  Heck  – for millions of parents in the world right now, just getting their child a glass of clean water that won’t make them more sick would not be a simple task.  Our family is truly, deeply and richly blessed – and we are looking forward to the coming year to find more ways to share what we have with others who don’t.