Sunday, March 21, 2010

long see!

So, I know, my new years resolution of writing once a week has long gone out the window. But isn't that what happens to most new years resolution? I mean, we make resolutions to eat better, work out, get up early- but they usually only last a month or so, right? The really bad thing in this case, as that I put my resolution on the world wide web! Well, life goes on, as it has these past weeks! So here is what has been going on these last few weeks...

February was a busy month. My parents came for a visit. We had a fabulous time seeing Paris and many of the favorite tourist places like Tour Eiffel, Palace of Versailles, Paris children's museum, river boat ride and visiting all around our village of Saint Germain en Laye. Many of these places we had not been to yet, and it was great to finally see them! Natalie was still enjoying school and Landon was exploring the house on all fours (crawling). At this time the church was meeting in a hotel in Paris and we were quickly outgrowing that location! We had an adult room and 2 children's classrooms. Those attending were the team along with the core members (we were not open to the public yet).

At the end of February, first weeks of March, a team from Kansas (our home church- Maranatha Worship Center) came. The first week they were here we had a team retreat at a campground 2 hours from Paris. The Kansas team did the children's ministry for the retreat. The kids were blessed with treats from the States as well as letters from family and friends! Our adult team had a wonderful time in worship and with guest speaker, John Kurt from PA.

Since that retreat it has been a whirlwind of activity. Over the last 2 weeks we have had two families and 2 single team members arrive. I have been helping them find their way around the grocery stores and with some kitchen help- which I really enjoy doing! Another big event that happened this month was our first public service on Sunday, March 14th. We are now meeting in a larger hotel with 3 classrooms for the kids ministry and a large meeting room for the adult service. We have had several families, couples and individuals visit over these last 3 weeks! It is exciting to see what God will do in the coming months!

Natalie is back in school after having a 2 week break. In France, they go to school 6 weeks and then have 2 weeks off! She had a hard time the first few days but now looks forward to seeing her friends. I spoke with her teacher this week and she said her French is slowly coming along. I asked Natalie on our walk home if she speaks French at school, she said "yeah, I say oui (yes) and no!" Funny
thing is she said it as if, "isn't this enough mom!" Her school is doing a carnival and parade in April. Her character is Little Red Riding Hood. Her teacher sent the book home for me to read to her- which of course is in French! I tried, but ended up just telling the story as I remember it!

Landon is a pro crawler. He can get around the house in a split second. He is now taking a few steps along the sofa, coffee table or whatever he is standing up to. His laid back personality is so very opposite of Natalie, but he is so much fun! He is always smiling. And whenever we are out, he is always smiling at whoever will look his way! When we went to the Palace of Versailles a few weeks back, I had him on my back carrier. Debbra and Stephen were smiling at me. I wondered what they were smiling at, I slowly turned around and Landon (on my back) had 4 teenage girls talking and surrounding him and he was soaking up the attention! He is such a flirt!

I am including a hodge-podge of pictures from the last few weeks! Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter! So thankful we are able to celebrate his death and RESURRECTION! Many blessings! Please feel free to keep in touch with us on Facebook (as I check that often and quickly write short snip-its about whats going on)!

Pictures from right to left: Landon exploring the view; Our family at the Palace of Versailles; the kids and I at Normandy (Utah) beach; Natalie doing a dance with her friend Hannah to the song "Rainbow in the sky" at the Bridge Kids talent show (@ the team retreat); Landon eating his first apple (not cut up); the three of us at Sacre Coeur- highest elevation in Paris and a beautiful church. Landon was asleep in the stroller. BTW- there is a little artist district behind the church a few blocks. This is my new favorite place in Paris! Its beautiful!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My cute kids

I think my kids are the cutest ever! I know every parent gets to proclaim this, but this week they did some cute and funny things. Here are some stories with pictures and videos of MY CUTE KIDS!

*Last Friday was library day at school for Natalie. She brought home a French children's book she said she picked out. Thinking that "Okay, I am doing good in French lessons with the text book reading, I can handle a children's library book" So Natalie and I got cozy on the couch to read her book. Well, let's just say that I was struggling. I gave up after a page and we picked out a new book- in English. Well, this Friday she went to the library again with her class. She was so excited on our walk home at lunch and said "Guess what mom? I picked out a new book for us to read...and this one has no words! You can read a book with no words right?!" Sure enough, she picked out a picture book- with NO words!

*Landon began crawling on his first birthday. When he crawls on the rug its on both knees. But when he crawls on the wood floor he has developed this "monkey crawl" has we have named it. Here is a video clip for you to enjoy!

He is also our little organizer- always stacking blocks, arranging toys from one side of the room to the other. Here he is sorting his blocks.

*And just this morning we were doing laundry and cleaning up around the house. I pass through the living room and Natalie & Landon were both in the laundry basket with a bunch of toys. She says "We're on a boat going to Mexico, mommy!" Here they are on their "boat".

Natalie did really good at school this week. She struggled a little bit at drop of time. But once she got in the class room the teacher said she had a great time. She came home with a card she made and said they made a crown in class too. Here is a video clip about school. Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

First day of French school...

So yesterday was our first day of French school! Here is what I learned:
1. It is very important to be on time. This was always an issue for me in high school...I always tend to be running late! We made it on time yesterday, but I have been told they frown on you if you are late!

2. You will meet friends at school! Well, I didn't necessarly make friends, but I did meet a American dad dropping off his daughter! When I heard English words in a crowded hallway of French voices, it almost startled me!

3. I will get lots of excerise at school! I didn't get to play on the playground and the bikes...but I did walk 24 blocks going to and from school 3 times! Maybe this is why French women stay so thin!

Oh wait...This is about Natalie's first day! Well, it was my first day too... I should get to tell about what I learned, right!!

Natalie had a fabulous first day at school! Her school is all in French! We met two other girls that speak English. One is from Holland and the other has an American dad (who I met) and a French mother. Natalie said she played with both.

We went last Friday to meet her teacher and visit the school. The school is very modern. There is a gymnastics room (more like a P.E. room) and all the walls are decorated with the kids art work. Before going into each room, the kids have little cubbies to put their things. They also remove their shoes and wear slippers in the class room!

When I dropped Natalie off, she was greeted by her teacher with a kiss on each cheek! She was all smiles. She turned before going in and said "Mommy, don't forget to leave all my things!" She had a great morning. She enjoyed music class and story time she said.

In France the school schedule is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (Wednesdays off). She goes from 8:30-11:30 and 1:30-4:30. I pick her up for lunch and walk her back. If both parents are at work, then the kids can stay for lunch there, but because I stay at home, she eats with me. I think it is great that I get to see her in the middle of the day too! When we returned after lunch, she played on the playground. She said they went in after they played. She didn't have much to say about the afternoon when I picked her up. She did say "school is hard work!" So funny! She was excited to go back this morning, so I guess that was a good sign!

Landon, is a little congested, so we spent the morning at the house. I think we will enjoy the moringings together and it will give me a chance to get caught up on house work and shopping. We have also just been invited to some playgroups...but more on that next week!
I am beginning my "New Years" resolution of blogging weekly a little late. But check back next week to hear more about our life in France!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Natalie's 4th birthday party

Last night Natalie had her birthday party with her friends. We had a Strawberry Shortcake theme, the girls made necklaces & bracelets and also did a strawberry craft! We enjoyed pizza & muchies for dinner. Natalie love all of her birthday gifts (she told me after that opening gifts was her favorite part!) We finished the evening with a delicious cake. The girls all had a wonderful time and Natalie is ready for another party she said!

p.s. I used the same cake pan that my mom used for my 4th birtday party. I plan to frame the pictures side by side!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I know what you're thinking... "Where has this family been? I've been checking their blog and no new posts." Life has been busy around here. But I am making it my new years resolution to post one new blog every week (and now that I am publishing this, you can all hold me to it!)

So, what has been keeping us busy? I know you are wondering. We have finally gotten all the boxes unpacked in our apartment. That didn't actually take too long as I made it my goal to get settled as quickly as possibly before life here started moving- and moving it does! We have had many interesting experiences trying to find stores and shops, navigating the roads (parking in a city), and many other daily chores for me are now much more adventurous now that I am in a foreign country! For example, grocery shopping... alwasys a unforgetable experience! Think Walmart, but everthing in French and items that are completly new you have never seen before. Also, there is a huge fresh fish area and Natalie always scrunches her nose and says "its so stinky!" We also have wonderful smaller grocery stores in our neighborhood that the kids and I often walk to during the week as well as a outdoor market (3x a week) that has fresh produce and goods!

I have recently joined a online group for English speaking moms and families called Message Paris. I am excited about this new avenue and way to connect with other English speaking moms. They organize playgroups, coffee times and community activities. I am going to my first moms night out this Friday and hope to build some new friendships. We are always looking to build relationships with the English speakers here in hopes that we can introduce more and more people to the Bridge.

Stephen has been busy doing numerous things. His role is to connect with the students that are interested in the Engage internship program, as well as constant contact with with the MA's on our team, coordinating the setup at our new facility and connecting with people that visit the Bridge website.

The kids are both doing well! Natalie just had a birthday. She is now 4! She is in a constant state of pretend...she loves dressing up and is always pretending she is sleeping beauty, cinderella or some other princess. She often tells me she is not Natalie she is sleeping beauty or a ballerina! She has a very big immagination! Landon is such a content little guy! I am not sure I could have handled 2 busy Natalies. He has begun really playing with his toys. He is so happy just to sit and move animals and blocks from one container to another. He has yet to crawl on his knees (hoping he will get this soon as his first birthday is coming up) though that hasn't stopped him from getting around. He has mastered the "army crawl" sitting on his bottom. Its very amusing to watch, but he gets where he wants to go doing this. He has started trying to pull up to things too! He is such a happy little guy... always smiling and excited about everthing. We are so blessed to have two amazing kids.

Last week we went to Paris to explore the Christmas market they have set up. I have attached some pictures of our outing! Enjoy! I hope to post again before Christmas, but if not, I'll see you again after as I have now committed myself to a weekly post (what's your new years resolution?) Love to all of our friends and family this holiday! We pray you have a wonderful Christmas and blessed new year!

Click on picture to enlarge...might be a little fuzzy (sorry)!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our First Week In Paris

I am not sure I could even begin to blog about what our family has learned and experienced in our first week in Paris! From the cultural things like learning to eat with our fork in the left and knife in the right to parking in very small tight parking places, learning many new French words, observing cultural things and enjoying tasty foods like pastries, coffee, and French bread.

A few fun high lights:

-Natalie thought the VERY small sink in the Bradford's bathroom was super cute and wanted one in our house!

-Soon after we got to the Eiffel Tower Natalie had to go potty. So we went searching for restrooms only to discover there small "restrooms" that you go down under the city to use. There is a small charge to use these toilets. We decided it was a fancy port-a-potty restroom that was actually clean...and worth the change!

-Parking seems to be a matter of seeing a spot and taking it. Even if you park on the opposite side of the street in the wrong direction. If your car will fit, take it! Stephen's truck would have never fit down some of these amazingly small streets. And Stephen is getting really good at zipping in and out of the round-a-bouts and tight corners. I plan to stick to my "back seat driving" and give him directions a little bit longer!

-We have explored Saint-Germain-en-Laye. This is the district that we are looking for an apartment in, mainly because of its location to the bus stops and RER (train system) to the center of Paris, but also because so many internationals live in the area. What an incredible opportunity we have as a family to live in a area where God has brought the people of the world to live so close together! We have also observed that there are many students in this district and we are excited about the opportunity to reach out to them.

On Sunday, we attended our first core meeting! It was so great to finally meet the team members that we had been facebooking, hearing about, and praying for this past year or so. We had our team, plus a few other people from the city that want to join the core group and help begin the church. What an amazing morning it was! Natalie jumped right in and loved playing with her new friends and Landon enjoyed all the attention he was receiving!

We are excited about all the new things that are ahead for our family in the coming weeks and months! Below I have posted some pictures from our first week. Enjoy!

1. Natalie at the Eiffel Tower- she was SO excited to see it!!
2. Stephen and Natalie enjoying a baguette
3. City Street
4. View of Saint Germain

5. Natalie & Stephen in front of the Chateau de Saint-Germain. Yes, Natalie was excited to see a real castle, and wanted to know where the princess and her carriage was!
6. Landon and I looking out over La Defense (business part of Paris). The Eiffel tower is just to the right, but did not come out clear in the picture.
7. Stephen demonstrating the very small parking space in the parking garage. Its important to line up just right as we found out today, so that you don't hit the brick walls that divide each space.

8 & 9. Eiffel Tower pictures
10. Flower shop in Saint Germain

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dance Me Daddy

A month ago I purchased the book Dance Me Daddy for Natalie. Her and Stephen have been reading it every night. It has now become her favorite book. We often hear her quoting the book but the other night she read it from memorization- the whole book. Today I asked her to read it to me and I got it on video.

so enjoy Dance Me Daddy, read by Natalie.