8 ans

Somehow, in what feels like the blink of an eye my “baby” is now 8.  This can mean only one thing…  A watch was requested, and gifted for this year.  A few new outfits tossed in for good measure; as oldest she has the least amount of clothes of all the girls here.

And this weekend, a birthday party!  We’ve invited ten little French girls over to celebrate this year.  Last year we played games and had a dance party.  They absolutely loved the dance party bit…  I am currently on the hunt for a art type project we can do with them all this year…  Dreamcatchers, I think.

All of that to say I cannot believe that I have a child that is already 8.  I really was a baby when I had her, even if I didn’t feel like one at all.  (Ah, hindsight!)  She is bright, kindhearted, beautiful, and absolutely perfect just the way she is.  I can’t imagine my life without her in it, and I hope that we are able to stay close as she gets bigger.

And with that, I am off to sweep under the couch and do some deep cleaning so we are ready for the hoard of little girls this weekend!  🙂


Hues of blue and gray

Be it the skies or the water, my eyes have been attracted to the different hues of blue lately.  La Bretagne really knows how to show off if you know to look!  A few sights that have caught my attention lately…

Daoulas at dusk…



Mushroom hunting!



The day Brittany had yellow skies…



Sit and think a bit…?


Time really seems to fly by, and I always feel like I’m running to catch up.  Which is also how I feel about life sometimes.  Not in a time sense, but in a “by the time I figure out what I want it is too late” sense, maybe?  Or in a missed opportunity type of way?  Maybe in a “if only had had a couple hundred thousand euros laying around I could…” way.  I imagine I probably spend too much time considering all the possibilities that just aren’t there now, for whatever reason.  Reality is I probably just need to get a regular old job, nose to grindstone and do what I have to do.  But I like to think, wish, otherwise.  Like maybe if I want it bad enough, it’ll happen.  Which is just silly, but, voila, there it is.  I think it is a trait my Dad has, as well.  This strange half hope, half if I want it bad enough, think it hard enough, maybe, just maybe we can bed the time space continuum, and force it into reality.  What is funny about this, is that I don’t think it’s every really happened.  Maybe for some small thing that I could actually influence, but never anything else.

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit antsy.  Ready for the next place, the next step, like I’ve been around the block here.  I scour real estate websites for a project, a dream, an absolutely forever house.  (This house is nice and would absolutely be a forever house for most, it was never a true “coup de coeur” for me, though, even though I do like it very much, and it may just end up being a forever house!).  I scroll through pages of employment offers searching for the right job, rather then just a job.  I study websites of people and pages I like, trying to figure out what it is that makes their space tick.

Am I bored, maybe?  I don’t really feel bored, I feel like I’m forever running from one meeting to the next, from volunteering, to making meals, to running kids around…  Maybe I need a more personal creative outlet?  Soon rather then later, I’ll need a job, regardless, so that also may change things up a bit…  Maybe I am still searching for my spot?  The place my soul can rest, that will be mine forever?  Or maybe I just need to accept and be happy with what I have, with life as it is, which is, actually, quite sweet.




I managed to go for a walk this morning which is something I’ve been meaning to do every day since school started!  It was beautiful, as usual, Brittany never seems to fail in that regard.  Down the road we have a tiny little sign indicating the Chapelle Saint Jean.  It is a dirt path, and up until now I’ve never had a chance to see what is at the end.  I finally took the time this morning and it is a amazingly cute little chapelle, with a red door, at the end of a path.


Some quick research online seems to point to the original building being built in 1656.  I’ve lived in France now for a long time and still find wonder in such old things.  I can picture in my mind baptisms, weddings, celebrations of all kind.  People walking from surrounding areas to the church for Sunday mass, maybe?  Baskets full?  Did they ring the bell often?  Does the bell still ring?  The chateau in this area is the Rosmorduc chateau, was the church associated?

When my girls were born we didn’t have them baptized.  I was not baptized as a child and at the time of my own children births didn’t feel the need to have them baptized. I now sometimes wonder about that choice.  In a world that feels so unsure, so hard, so sad…  Maybe having some hope, faith, attachment to traditions, isn’t a bad thing?  Walking over the same steps, the same phrases, the rituals that have little changed over time…  Having that reassurance of being part of something so much bigger then oneself…  And perpetuating years of traditions, carrying down rites people have held onto for centuries.

We visited Lourdes this summer and watching all the people come in hope, for healing, for peace, was beautiful.  I found it peaceful, and inspiring after visiting once with my inlaws, so went back with my girls and husband a few days later…  Religion and the history of France are very much braided together- it is the cradle in many ways of French civilization, its past and present; tied into family history, into celebrations and traditions.

I wonder some days if I’ve somewhat denied my children part of that, the passing down of gestures, celebrations and traditions.  Maybe one of them one day will need the belief in something bigger then them, and without having been given a religious direction would have to search for one?  I rarely doubt what we’ve decided to do as parents, but this one has been weighing on my mind a bit lately.  As I get “older” (though I am far from old); I think that maybe I would like one day to have my last rights, I’d like to be able to be buried next to my husband and loved ones, I’d like to have some faith in, well, something…


The Sunday before the réntrée…  A rainy, gray, wish-I-spent-more-time-outside-yesterday kind of day.  We are all curled up on the couch (in pants, socks and sweaters!) watching a movie.  And in-between the squeals and peels of laughter from my girls I’m thinking back on our summer.  They always seem to fly by…

I’m sad to see summer go.  We had a lot of fun this summer and it was fairly stress free.  We travelled to the south west of France, the haute pyrénées, for two weeks, where we hiked, visited sites, relaxed.  On our way home, we went to the center of France, near La Roche Posay, and stayed two nights in a château for the Pépé’s 85th birthday.  We ate at a nice restaurant, the girls swam in the pool, and asked about eight times per day “is there a real princess hidden in the château, Mama?”  Every time I answered the same way, “*you* are the princesses here today!”

We drove the six hours home from there and spent a few days cleaning up the yard, the house.  We spent the weekend du 15 aôut in the Vendée region.  MrB’s godmother has a house by the beach there, so we spent 3 nights there with their youngest daughter, son and his girlfriend.  We spent time on a sand beach, which the girls loved.  Our (very) local beaches here in Brittany are mainly galets.  

It was a beautiful, slow, enjoyable summer.  On the eve of picking back up the school week routine, after school activities, I wish we could do it all over again.  Even though I like fall, full of hot cups of tea, fires, knitting, crisp morning air… I’ll miss summer and its long evenings, apéros, and relaxed schedules.

French Husband will be back into his regular working routine the day after the réntrée, which means he will be here for the réntrée itself, then gone for the rest of the week for work.  I still am anxious thinking about potentially working since I am quite often alone with the girls during the week.  On verra, as the French say.


Random thoughts of the day…

-A sore throat that seems to come and go.  Sore throat and then a cough, and then back to a sore throat again.

La rentrée.  Its in a week.  Apart from finishing to sort the girls clothes, I think we are ready to go.  I don’t know that I’m ready to have 2 kids in primaire, though.  My babies.  What happened to them? When did they get so big?  Can I go back to have a 4 year old, 18 month old and new born, please?

-Fall.  I think it is quite possibly the best season in Brittany.  Gorgeous light, beautiful weather, crisp mornings, hot tea fireside…  It sounds divine.

-London.  I’m hopefully going to spend a few nights in London in September.  I feel a bit … conflicted?  I am looking forward to it and hoping it works out and also feeling anxious about leaving for a few days.  I know the girls and Damien will be fine, but while I’d enjoy the quiet, I’ll miss them so.  I don’t want to cave into the idea that I’m safer at home, but sadly in the world we live in there is that small bit of me that is saying “stay home!”  And on the other hand, it would be fun to go, a nice break and I’m sure I’d come back home with more patience and resolve (and a suitcase with Christmas presents)!

-Job. At some point I should probably make the jump back to employment.  It feels a bit futile when I look at local-ish job options.  I’m hoping to get a job substituting English either in public or private schools.  Maybe at some point I could take the government issued test to get a tenured position.

-Tisane.  Its a nightly ritual now.  Put the kids to bed, turn on the kettle, prepare a taste with a spoonful of honey…   Mmmm bliss.

While browsing Facebook yesterday…

While I was browsing Facebook yesterday I saw something really interesting.  It was a post by a man discussing his mother’s death, their relationship, life.  And he mentioned, almost in passing, having lost his backpack once in college, and a homeless lady found it.  On one of the notepads he had written “Mum” with a phone number, and this homeless woman called his mother and arranged to get his stuff back to her.  After that, for years, this mother and woman would check in with each other regularly.  Keeping in mind this was before cell phones, so each call they would end with the next day and time for a call, usually to a payphone, I imagine where the homeless woman would be waiting.

It really struck me.  This, well, humanity.  Two people who had a happenstance encounter then keeping tabs on one another, checking in, over years.  Maybe, too, I was struck by the effort involved.  Now, most of us can quickly reach out to pretty much anyone with a cellphone, a computer, but for both to stick to set times and places to call, to continue to make the effort when I didn’t get the impression they ran into one another, there was no family obligation, just a simple obligation, one person to another.    It reminds me a bit of my Dad.  My Dad loves looking at Craigslist (I know where I get my interest in LeBonCoin from!), and through a purchase there met an elderly gentleman that he now regularly keeps in touch with.  A chance encounter, that has led to this gentleman taking the train out to spend the weekend with my parents, my Dad stops by now and then, sends him some pocket money now and then (so he can vary his meals from ramen)…  And I think they both get something out of it, and beyond the material.  It is a positive and enriching experience for everyone involved, on a basic, human to human level.  I think some of us are “better” at this then others, maybe.  My Dad seems to attract people, of all walks of life and is friends with many many people.  I can think of many characters from my childhood, all that entered into our lives from some chance encounter.  And the beauty of all those relationships isn’t lost on me- I realize how hard it can be to make friends, find a place in a community, or even in the world.

These weird, unexpected, encounters feel like destiny, or fate.  Something meant to be, something that was meant to happen, pieces of a puzzle falling into place.  Each person bringing something to the other, everyone enjoying something from the encounters.  I like thinking that it is fate, meant to be, that we are all fulfilling some bigger picture, or moment, that we are all linked in some strange, unpredictable way.