Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sophia's Least Favorite Things. . .

You've seen Sophia's talent in high heels, so you'd think a flip-flop would be no problem, right? Guess I underestimated the strangeness of having something between your toes.  I had a full box of shoes stashed for her to grow into, but one by one they've been absconded from the box and excitedly worn around the house until they've been stashed into some unknown corner.  I have no idea how she can squirrel away that many shoes?  It seems to take me forever to find a simple matched set though she doesn't seem to mind, anythings better than flip-flops? 

I've got to give her credit she tries, but after several uncomfortable upsets (ok she's my daughter and I've never been patient, I've been able to master too many things quickly to have much persistence with things that don't come naturally.)  Instead of hearing our little girls footsteps flip-flopping around, soon we hear clomp, clomp.  Sure enough, she's opted for her favorite brown Mary Jane's, about three sizes too big and typically on the wrong feet.  She looks like a little clown-in-training with rounded toes pointing out in opposite directions. Still you'd be amazed the mischief she can get into in these adorable clod-hoppers. 

Sophia's Favorite Things. . .

If Sophia asks you to 'Please read Sookie'  she means this book.   It's her FAVORITE and she can read it along with me getting all the "shiver" motions in just the right place. 

The No No Song . . .Sophia's Inspiration

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Goodbye Uncle Banga!

Last night we drove to Des Moines to say goodbye to Nate's little brother who's heading off to boot camp this morning.  I don't know anyone who's got a bigger heart.  Only Sophia can get his heart a poundin' though.  We found that out last night when Sophia charged a Canadian Goose and then took him to a rather rowdy play area in the Jordan Creek Mall.  It was adorable to see our big soldier get so worried over the well being of a bunch of little kids.   "I can't watch this, my heart's beating a mile a minute, I think I'm safer in the Army!"   We love you Banga and we're prayin' for you!  

Monday, May 19, 2008

Paris Paparazzi

We met up with Nate's little brother Joseph in Paris. He captured different aspects of the same Paris, it's always interesting to see through someone else's eyes. 

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Paris in 30 seconds. . .

Left USA Thursday evening-arrive CDG Friday morning 7:00am Greeted by Nate's father Abel we were treated to lunch and a brief nap as we caught up as a family. Several hours later after annoying several French people trying to get checked-in BEFORE 2pm so that we could go into town early.  My husband discovered a new pastime-annoying French service people.  (Don't get me wrong the French people we met were wonderful, warm and friendly, but these we didn't encounter in a tourist role. Hmmmm maybe a new take on the French stereotype?)  Later that day we binged on tourism, we met up with Miriam-a childhood classmate of Joseph's and a fairly new inhabitant of Paris.  It was a wonderful introduction to French for me, she and I had a lot in common as mother's of toddlers and so I hit the ground running with the language b/c instead of foreign words it was now a person that I wanted to connect with.  That evening we trekked up the Rue de Rivoli, past the Louvre, a statue of Joan of Arc and all sorts of great shops and recognizable names like Rue de Pont Neuf.   
Saturday we took the train, to the metro, to the Porte de Clingancourt (train travel was the common theme of our whirlwind trip.)  "Les Puces," literally translates, the fleas, are a group of flea markets that have been in this place since the 16th Century.   Here you can buy knock-off Converse, a 1950's movie poster, or a Louis the 14th chair for hundreds of thousands of Euro's. 
That afternoon I took a nap at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.  I had no idea how big or elegant it would be. Only the French could make their national monument coordinate with the iron scrolling on the lovely penthouses that surround this graceful tower.  Yes there were herds of tourists from all over the world but it was nice to hear the crack of the Pentaq ball in a time honored tradition of whiling away a Saturday afternoon in the park.
Sunday we took two trains, one into Paris, one out of Paris to the city of Cergy for Sunday services at a church-plant not unlike the one we go to here in Iowa.  I had the rare chance of hearing my father-in-law preach and were treated to a wonderful Chadian meal by the pastor's family who happen to be our family as well.  Monday was a French national holiday so we traveled back to Cergy to be the guests in Nate's second cousin's home and spent the afternoon in Vaux sur Seine (more stories and pictures to come)  Monday evening, we took a tip from our new found family and friends and traveled up and down the Seine in a lovely open air boat.
Tuesday we traveled back into Paris so that Nate could attend a morning meeting while I got to shop and sketch the beautiful square we stumbled into off of the Rue des Innocence.  The last of my souvenirs purchased, we jumped back onto the train and got off at Charles De Gaul airport where English surrounded us again as we lumped onto the plane with all the other Americans.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Nous arrivons! We've arrived

And this is just how I feel, like a kid in a candy store--or a bakery in this case.  In only 24 hours, I've had every conception of Paris confirmed and contradicted many times over.  I've seen lovers kissing on the Pont de Neuf, I've counted the disciples on the front of Notre Dame, there are indeed 12.  I've been in conversations with rude Parisians, and nice ones.  I've seen men carrying arm fulls of baguettes or flowers. Even a lovely French women with her shopping and a big bite out of the end of her baguette.  I've walked past the Louvre and a statue of Joan of Arc.  I've fallen in love with a little boy floating boats in a fountain and even had the Eiffel tower play peek-a-boo with me from the tree-tops.  Thus far, I have my rose-colored-glasses on and it's beautiful.   Yes, I've seen many non-Parisian cliches and many people who aren't Parisians, this is definitely an international city.  But that will have to wait for later. This morning, the flea market is calling and I want to live in the glow of my expectations a little longer.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

With All My Heart. . .

Someone asked me today, "Paris, are you going to come back?" Take one look at this face. What do you think?  Sophia will be surrounded by Nana, Papa, Uncle Dana & GG, GG and Auntie Minga all for good measure.  But I miss her already.  My dream, my life, my hope, I wouldn't be complete without her.   What a beautiful reason to come home.

Tomorrow Paris. . .

 “There are 26 bridges in Paris. You choose one and go to it in the morning with a croissant and coffee to write in your journal." Julia Ormond, Sabrina 

This might not be a traditional Paris image for you, but for me it was one of my first experiences in modern art.  Initially skeptical,  in college my professor introduced me to Christo's Pont Neuf Wrapped.  It was love at first sight.  I'm looking forward to living like a Parisian this trip, so a walk across the Pont Neuf will be a spiritual experience. It may be the oldest bridge in paris but there's a reason they call it "the new bridge."

Monday, May 05, 2008

Sophia's Guardian Angels

I've always believed Sophia has a guardian angel but today I couldn't be more thankful for my fleet winged friends.  This afternoon I discovered a mother's worst fear, the remains of a chewed pill, hmmmm?    Only when I found the coordinating empty bottle did I really begin to panic.  I immediately scoured Sophia's floor, half of a chewed pill casing.   Kneeling beside her bed and I asked if she ate the medicine?  No, she told me matter of factly, which was odd b/c lately she's been simply parroting my questions back to me.  We immediately prayed together, for guidance for me and for safety for Sophia.  Turns out the kid was telling the truth!

It only took several hours in the ER and two separate blood tests to confirm!  In the mean time, Nate & I discovered that Poisson Control will call the hospital for you so they know you're coming.  We discovered our daughter's a trooper not even flinching as the nurses put in an IV. We discovered how tender ER staff can be while they sweetly commented on each color of the leads they were implementing on to her little chest.  Brave little Sophia even offered her own commentary we sang Jesus Loves Me and sweetly chirped "Sure" when someone would ask her questions.  She was completely unfazed by the six or seven doctors and nurses clamoring around her. 

Unfortunately, I know all too well, the more people in your room the more trouble you're looking at.  The only upside to this ill-gotten information--I know flight nurses (the ones in the jump suits that work on the helicopter air-lift) are THE VERY BEST of the best, so when they're putting an IV in your child's arm, thank the good Lord b/c it's downright painless!   Another blessing is having parents as nurses and doctors. They know all the tricks including mixing chocolate milk with the charcoal so that it goes down easier.  Thankfully, there wasn't any stomach-pumping, only a slight overdose on charcoal and chocolate milk.  It came up immediately after we were discharged but not before we'd left the waiting room.   
It also helps when the Nana-squad rolls-in.  Miss Susan & Miss Cheryl, a former Infectious Disease nurse and a former Army nurse.  I felt safer with them around then anyone else.  Of course, they spoiled Sophia with toys and us with coffee while we waited for the 4 hour mark to approach so we could make-sure Sophia was in the clear. The nurses all laughed when they asked me what time it happened.  I guess I'm the only one who can figure out what time of day it is by what's on PBS?!?!?  I knew it happened during Thomas the Train so that had to be 11:30! 

 The ER is also an easy place to make friends, just as we were leaving an adorable little girl named Emma, who's only a few weeks younger than Sassy, sidled up to us while her parents remarked, "You must be the other two-year-old who ate something she shouldn't!"   That women was an angel!  We sat and commiserated and I felt SOOO much better to be talking to a fairly normal, Christian, mom, and her husband who were trying to determine how many of Grandpa's pills Emma had mistaken for candy.   Nothing makes you feel better than realizing every things going to be okay, and that you're not the only one in the world who's been caught off guard by a curious two-year-old.  

In the end Sophia's tests didn't even show Tylenol, meaning not enough had gotten into her system to be detected, let alone dangerous.  Thank God, but I still puzzled over that empty bottle?  I'd had the flu this weekend which is why there was a bottle of Tylenol on my nightstand but I didn't think the bottle was completely empty?    My husband came up with the answer to that one by looking under my desk and bed, sure enough there were three renegade pills.   Seems I'd searched Sophia's room after I'd found the spit out pieces but failed to search my room. So I'm guessing only half a pill or so, actually went down the hatch.   

Sunday, May 04, 2008

French Connection. . .

Parisian countdown begins.  .  .  No surprise that the internet is vital for the traveler, so many great tips, deals, info.  The other day I was checking the 15-day weather forecast for Paris.  Only one problem, it was in Celsius.   I'm not really sure what the temp will be but I do know that since 22 is higher than 16, Friday will probably be warmer than Thursday.  Well, I guess somethings got to be a surprise, otherwise it wouldn't be an adventure.   My new favorite French website doesn't even come from France, the BBC has a wonderful language site that's free and available in multiple levels!  Wanna study with me?


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