Friday, November 21, 2008


One of the great things that we have been able to do in France is to have family picnics. Because Sean works so close to home, we often go for picnics to La Burthe (a city sports park just a mile or so away) or on the Observatory’s campus during lunch. But, we have also had many picnics at Bordeaux’s Jardin Publique and Jardin Botanique. Sometimes we would bring ham sandwiches and cheese and saucisse seche, and a few times we stopped at Peppone for pizzas and wine and took them to the Jardin Publique. Here are some of our favorite photos from our tasty and fun outings. They are not commented, but you can see what a picnic is made of: eating, playing, laughing, stopping O from getting into our food, then getting tired and whiny and going home.

Owen is usually pretty clear when it's time to go home:

In addition, we have some cute videos that we have taken on these adventures. We want to share a few. This one is from the jardin botanique in late September:

Here is one of Owen showing off his soccer skills at la Burthe:

These last two are from a picnic on the observatory campus, near the director's house. Owen goes nuts from time to time as you can see. And, as much as Marisa wants him to say "mama", he can't stop saying "dada". Hooray!

It won't be picnic season when we get back to Boulder so we will have to improvise....

over & out

First Halloween!

Halloween was our first (and only) American holiday that we had to celebrate in France. There is really no French equivalent, though the French are learning about the American customs and we saw several stores with spider webs, skeletons, witches, and plastic jack o’lanterns in their windows for several weeks before. Sean went to buy some food on Halloween itself and all the ladies at the cheese counter were dressed as witches – a good show!

Franck and Valentine had never carved a pumpkin so we bought 2 small, “jack o’lantern” brand, pumpkins from the Auchan (the French version of a Super Target or Walmart) and they came over on October 24th. Owen was already in bed so the adults carved the pumpkins.

Ours is the one on the right, we called it “Pumpkin Owen”. If you look closely, you will notice the 2 bottom and 3 upper teeth. Very realistic. ☺ Even Owen seemed to do a double-take when he saw it the next morning:

Sean and Franck made a “spooky” movie (a short feature) starring Franck and Valentine’s pumpkin. In case it doesn’t make it to the big screen, here it is:

Then, we ate pumpkin seeds and popcorn while watching the Big Lebowski.

Owen, as usual, was ridiculously cute. While I don’t think he fully grasped the concept of Halloween, he was more than willing to put on his costume and play around:

And here’s a cute video of Tigger taken a week after Halloween when Owen modeled his costume for Jonathan, Petra, and Vovo:

Back to the real Halloween, the Guarjardos arrived later that night (more pictures of their visit are coming!) but, unfortunately, MJ and Owen were both too tired to put their costumes on again so we don’t have a picture of them together. Maybe next year somewhere else in the world!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Alex and Laura visit: Oct 17-20

Alex and Laura came to visit us all the way from Beijing a few weeks ago. Owen was super confused at seeing Alex because he looks so much like me. For the first few hours they were here, Owen would look at Alex and then at me and have no clue what was going on. It was cute and weird at the same time.

We only had a couple of days together so we did our best to show them aroumd. On Saturday we went to Bordeaux and walked around town. We went to the place de la Bourse, walked by the miroir d'eau and also to the old part of town.

IT was a nice day but quite chilly, so we stopped at H&M to get Laura and Owen some warmer clothes. We got Owen a super cute bear hat!

We had lunch at one of the most delicious places in town, an italian resto called Peppone -- or in this case its offshoot, called Ragazzi da Peppone. Alex and Owen had a little heart-to-heart talk about bread and such:

The fair was in town and so were some police demonstrations so we checked that out and then we walked across the bridge and almost the whole way home. One thing of note is that on friday I found fresh porcinis ("cepes" in french) at the store on Friday so we talked about cepes a lot with A&L and ate them at several meals as well. So tasty! (Note that it is not unlike me to get highly obsessed with various food items).

On Sunday we ventured back to the big sand dune at the Dune de Pyla. near the bassin d'Arcachon. As usual, Owen loved walking and crawling around in the sand:

At the beach, there is always time for girls and babies to quietly reflect while big boys get attacked by their vicious older brothers who probably want to remember the days when they could beat us up, although those days are long gone!

This time, we walked back down the dunes to the ocean, where Owen got to splash in the water for a few minutes. Uncle Alex volunteered to porter the Tomato all the way back up the hill while we lagged behind with all our stuff:

Another fun time at the beach! (And more cepes for dinner if I remember correctly, on top of Giovanni Rana's excellent chevre + caramelized onion raviolis).

It was great to see Alex and Laura and we will be sad to miss them at christmas.

over & out