Friday, August 29, 2014

It's the First Day in the 2nd Grade

This week our two big kids started school.  Garrett will be starting his own school next week.  He decided to help Ben carry his backpack to the car.   Do you think he was feeling a little left out?  

Malachi was excited to be a part of the action.

I love that their back to school pictures have the Eiffel Tower in the background.  This really is such a special experience for all of us.

It is also nice to be able to send the kids to the same school for the second year in a row.  I went to a lot of different schools when I was a kid so in some ways I can relate better to a new experience than going back as a returning student.  I am enjoying this bit of stability for our family.

Garrett brought his scooter to get around the campus.

I love this pictures of the kids.  Unfortunately my camera decided to stop working. I am trying to get all of the bugs worked out.  Addie and Ben are so excited for this year and I am so proud of them!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

French People Throw Away Some Great Stuff

I have mentioned before about heavy trash Tuesday.  It happens once a month in my neighborhood and it is something I put on the calendar.  When the weather is nice people start putting stuff out on Sunday night.  I live in a neighborhood with a mix of houses and apartments.  There is public transportation close by so not everyone has a car. It can be really challenging to get rid of larger pieces of trash here.  Once a month the city will come around and pick up anything that you put on the curb.  The first time we saw this we had just moved here and I was very pregnant.  It broke my heart to see some amazing pieces of furniture going into the back of a trash truck. My mom came and she was a trooper going out and dragging stuff home.  

Here is a sampling of some of the things I have carried home with me.  There are a lot of people out looking for things, but usually the other people looking are not going for the same type of things that I am.  

This planter, the drawers and lampshade were all recent finds.

Of these doors and windows have been dragged home.  I am not sure what I am going to do with them, but I am looking forward to using them one day.  

This random piece with wheels will come in handy one day, I just know it.  The planter is part of a pair that I brought home.  One of these days I am going to buy some flowers to put in it.

This mirror and random piece of a gate make for pretty garden decor.

I carried home this plastic bench and it has been so useful in our yard.  

This door weighs a ton!  Jon is still not convinced that we need to have this, but I just know one day it will com win handy.  

This barrel and magazine rack are mine now too.  The magazine rack is going to get a makeover, the fabric part of it unscrews and I will use it as a pattern for a new insert.  

This bed frame is one of my favorite finds.  I carried home the footboard and rails and then I went back for the headboard with my car.  I looked like an absolute crazy person hauling this home, but when I cleaned it up and put it together I knew I had a find.  Unfortunately we don't have a mattress that fits this bed right now,  it is a European double bed I believe.  One day this bed will get a coat of paint and it will be fabulous.

These windows have been collected over the last few months as well.  

This crate has been cleaned up and brought into the kitchen to hold our extra drinks.  

This little shelf is one of my favorite things.  I can't believe that someone would throw this out!  It is the perfect size to hold our coffee cups.

The back porch holds all of my finds that have yet to find a home.  This window frame is nice and big.  It needs to be cleaned, but then the possibilities are endless.

This wire rack is from our neighbors across the street.  I was watching them from Malachi's window one night and when I saw them bring it out I grabbed Jon and we went and carried it home.  The chairs have been collected in the streets surrounding our house.

This giant frame is awesome, I am looking forward to doing a fun project with this soon too.  

I am so looking forward to September's Heavy Trash Day. 

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Monday, August 25, 2014

A Sunday Adventure, the end of August

On Sunday we headed out on another adventure.  We found this adventure through the website  You can use this website to find a brocante, vide grenier, foire a tout, or fete. Going to a smaller town in the middle of nowhere can be hit or miss.  Thankfully I have an adventurous family.  There was also the promise of a castle later in the day.

On our way to the brocante we took the A13 out of Paris, and then we left the interstate.  We love going across country.  You see so many things that you wouldn't otherwise get to see.
 We saw so many beautiful buildings.  This is the marie's office in a small village, this was the most beautiful one we saw all day.

This was the view down the street from the other picture, such a quaint little place.

The architecture throughout France is always so fun.  There are places that the old walls come right up to the edge of the road.  The roads get smaller and smaller as you leave the cities.  We ended up on  several roads that were just one lane and you had to go off into the field to pass.

We made it to our destination.  This town was also the home of the Wind Instrument Museum.  

We spent about an hour and a half walking around this small town foire.  It was awesome.  We got there about 10 and most people were set up, just putting the finishing touches on their spaces.  Some people had used clothes, toys, and kitchen items.  There was one legitimate dealer of antiques and military items, but his prices were legitimate too.  I did manage to find some treasures.  The prices out in the country are so different than in Paris.  For a treasure hunter like myself it was amazing.  My French is good enough that I can ask a few questions, get prices and do some bartering.  We were the only English speaking people that I heard, but that never slows us down much.  There was a playground in the field where people were set up so Jon took the kids, did a little shopping and then played.  

This was my view as I was finishing up.  The church bells chimed a few times during our visit and it was so wonderful.  

Here are a few of my treasures.

We left our first adventure in search of our next adventure.  It meant more cross country driving, but on a day like this we couldn't have asked for a better time.  

Unfortunately our second adventure of the day didn't pan out.  We were hoping to visit a Fete de la Liberation, but it was not what we were expecting, I think we may have just visited at the wrong time.  We did see quite a few old vehicles on the roads.  We took this ride as a chance to eat the picnic lunch we brought twitch us too.  

Our final stop for the day was Chateau Gaillard in Les Andelys.  He found this on our last adventure to Robert le Diable's chateau.  We were hoping this worked out better than that trip.

We tried heading up the path, but the stroller was not going to make it.

You can see Jon on the upper right hand side pushing the stroller up a different path, all the big kids made it up the little path.

I took over the stroller and Jon followed the kids up the hill.  

And then we were in the ruins.  

We were lucky that this weekend there were a group of actors and craftsmen staying at the chateau.  We came in while they were eating lunch.

They had this display all set up.

There was a leather worker.

Our happy boy!

Ben is getting to be such a big boy.  He was having fun playing on the well.

The view from the castle.  This is the city of Les Petit Andelys.  There is another part of town with a beautiful church that we would love to go back and visit.

This portion of the castle is only 3.20 for an adult and free for 10 and under.  There is not a lot to do in here, but it is work walking through.  They do a tour, but I am not sure if they have one in English or not.   All of their signs with information about the castle were in English and French.  

The signs all say no climbing, but I looked over and saw this little monkey.  He is going to keep us busy.

Here are some of the characters in their costumes.  The guy on the left in the black spent the afternoon sulking around the grounds with a foul look on his face.  I think he likes his job.  At one point I was trying to take a picture of the boys and I was trying to get them to smile.  They gave me big grins all of sudden and when I looked behind me he was glaring at me.  It was creepy, but it worked.  

More climbing.  

Addie was very interested in the leather working.  

She found this head dress and fell in love.  He didn't have any samples for sale that day, but he is on Facebook here.

Here are my boys looking at the camera.

Two more happy boys.

Addie was watching a basket weaver.

Jon got to try on a real chain mail shirt.

Jon said it felt heavy, a lot like body armor he wore in Iraq.

There was a small pack of dogs that were almost as big as horses.

Then the kids got to try on a helmet and hold a sword.

Then we headed back down the mountain.

From here we drove the hour and 15 minutes to our house.  It was a full day, but it was so much fun!

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