Monday, July 27, 2009


We're home! Our week at the Outer Banks was a little too eventful for our taste (thanks to a wild horse that took a swat at Lucy), but we've survived and have made it back to PA in one piece (well, most of us, anyway). More photos will come, but I've got a lot of work to do to make that happen, so here's a teaser. I brought my camera, but one of the other women had a better one and was snap-happy, so I just let her go and read my book on the beach. She's given me free reign to download, so I will be doing that over the next few days, but since she took about 700 photos, it might take a while.

Rowan was a hoot to watch at the shore. She was terrified of the water, but determined to overcome her fear. The first day, she would go in kicking and screaming, clinging to us for dear life. As she'd come out of the pool or ocean, she'd turn around and go right back, scared but not willing to let that keep her from it. By the end, she was swimming alone in the pool (with water wings) and begging to go back into the ocean. The undertow and waves were strong, so walking was all she could do, and only with two adults holding on tight. I am so proud of her. It took me until I was in my thirties to get to the place she's at at age 2.


She had 3 dry nights! Woot! (I guess it all went in the pool.)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

See you in a week...

Rowan and Daddy, July 2009, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

We're off to vacation on the beach at the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a week. Though now it's nearly 4 AM and I have insomnia, we leave tomorrow. I hope I can sleep on the beach.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Les Soldes Américaines

Today, the big "sales" start in Paris. I say big with my tongue firmly in cheek--French sales are rien compared to the clearance racks at Target and Kohl's, as Chloé quickly found out. Despite her foot issues (one example of French Health Care that does NOT come close to American!), this girl can shop. Even jet lagged, she could go, but now that the jet lag is gone--the girl's got stamina.

Every day, after the kid I'm babysitting goes home, she smiles and says, "Ronica, can we go shopping?" Even me, who loves shopping (though the hunt is even more fun than the kill for me), is getting a bit worn out. But it's her only chance, so I've said "yes", every time.

Today, she finally got her trophy. After finding small gifts for her best girl friend and her sister, and part of her gift for her boyfriend, she had a few more things on her list. A bracelet for him (he requested--and finding man jewelry in the US is not an easy task), and jeans and a black hobo bag for her. She'd already found a cute black top at Target, as well as some strappy black sandals, but the jeans and bag eluded her.

Mais bien sûr, she is Parisian, she is rather particular. The jeans had to be dark, no little white lines, and skinny. They couldn't gap at the waist, and must not be too wide at the ankle. Oh, and cheap. The bag? Black, hobo style, not too square, with straps not attached by rings, and inexpensive. And the bracelet--steel or silver, adjustable (he's skinny), and masculine. And, of course, pas trop cher.

So today after Rowan finally woke up from her nap, we headed out to TJ Maxx. She hit. Jeans for $20, and a bracelet for him, with gift box. But the only bag she liked was again $100.

"We are going to Walmart?" she asked. "I could look for a bag there..."

"Uh, no. No, honey. Walmart is fine for grapes and pork ribs, but you won't find what you want there."

So we drove. All the way across town, to Ross. It happens to be next to the other Walmart, so it worked out fine.

And she hit again. The coup de coeur, the bag. "I am in love with it!" she cried.

"My porte-feuille is ..." she held it aloft, shaking it up and down, and gave me a quizzical look.

"Your wallet is light," I said.

"Yes!" she grinned back. "But I am so happy! I love American shopping. I will take a plane to America when I need to go shopping!!!" she laughed. "I now have a whole American..." she looked to me. "Outfit," I answered. "Ensemble."

"Yes! An American outfit. Shirt, jeans, shoes, bag. Everything from America!"

We arrived home, and she checked her email.

"Mom wants rassure-moi that I haven't spent all my money!" She grinned at the screen. "I have ten dollars left..."

A girl after my own heart.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

French Invasion

We have a guest chez nous, Chloé, one of the young girls I babysat in Paris when we lived there. She's now 14 1/2 and is here to practice her English. We have been having a great time introducing her to America and how we do things here. It is very interesting to see it from the other side and hear her observations. It reminds me so of the first days we spent in France, though she is without all the stress we had of setting up our own lives there. But still, the jet lag and immersion in a new language and culture are enough to tire her out. She has been enjoying it, however, and is adjusting quickly and well.

Here are a few of her observations so far:

"Everyone is very nice! Very friendly!"

"American pizza is HUGE! Everything here is so big!"

"It smells so good here! Paris smells bad. Here it is green everywhere!"

"Everything looks different. The streets, the houses, the cars, the mailboxes."

"I love Target! I could live in here! I want to buy everything!"

Upon finding a pair of black dress sandals for $19.99 in her size (11!) after hunting for 2 1/2 months in Paris and coming up empty--we found them in one trip to Target:

(shouted) "I *LOVE* America!!!"


"Can we go back to Target again? Please?"

On American food:

"I LOVE Pancakes!" "This hot chocolate is the size of 4 in Paris!" (She did drink it all.) "I love American breakfast!" "This sandwich is delicious!"

and when I said, "take as much as you like!"

(Big Grin)

Yeah, I think we're winning her over.

Ronica's "Delicious" Santa Fe Chicken Sandwiches

(Really just dressed up nuggets, but they are tasty and super fast.)

Prepare chicken nuggets or breaded tenderloins according to package directions.
On a flour tortilla, spread some sour cream. Top with ChiChi's salsa and shredded Mexican cheese, then add chicken. You can also add in shredded lettuce, sliced black olives, etc. Roll up and serve with extra sour cream and salsa as well as your favorite additions. (We did tortilla chips, corn, and carrot sticks and cucumber slices with ranch.) Enjoy!

Big american hot chocolate for energy!
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