The fourth baby is born.  He is amazing.  Sweet, full of smiles, someone we can’t imagine living without now.  I think he is the light of all our lives now, nicknames abound for this little guy- Boss Baby, Arsou, Beau Loulou…  He’s not supposed to be spoiled, but somehow I don’t think that is going to be his reality.  Its like a non stop circus around here for him.  Someone is always singing a song, telling a store, showing him things…  But he does sleep through the night more or less, I think probably because he’s so tired from his sisters entertaining him all the time and driving around on errands all day.

He is such a great baby.  He charms everyone we see, the cashiers at the grocery store, old ladies out on errands, the teachers at school, the entire elementary school student body…  He makes parenting a baby look easy.  (Although, I do think parenting a baby is easy.  I am sure parenting a adolescent or teenager is a lot harder!)

I’ve gotten the hang of this family of 6 thing.  Its a bit more work then a family of 5, but really adding one more person to the mix isn’t that much work.  A bit more wash, and he does like to be in arms a lot so I’m still working to find my rhythm a bit for keeping the house cleaned and picked up.  It was actually a lot easier when he was tiny (and light) even just post birth.  I think once he can sit up alone it will also get a bit easier, he’s at that in-between stage now.  Next it will be a different stage and different difficulties, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.



I am really awful at speaking to my kids in English.

I did really good with it with my first.  It was the two of us, in our bubble.  We spent our days cuddling, playing, it was natural to speak in English with her.  Once she got to school age, it all kind of changed.  I remember on one of her evaluations, naming shapes, her teacher wrote a little note “l’élève a dit circle”, meaning, she knew what the shape was but her natural inclination was to name it in English.

As time went on, I had more kids who spent more and more time in school.  I’d spend time chatting with other parents (in French) at the school gates…  And somehow it just slowly spread over into my day to day speaking with my kids.  And it got to the point where we speak in French.  I speak in French to my husband, somehow it ended up feeling natural to speak to the kids in French as well…  I have an anglophone friend who also spoke in French to her kids and warned me about this.  That eventually it does feel natural, and just kind of happens while you’re living life…   I never really believed her when she first said it to me, but, here I am almost ten years later looking at exactly that situation.

And so, I’ve been trying, hard, to fix this.  They deserve more, they are so incredibly lucky to be raised in a house where we have two mother tongues, I’m trying to change my habits to give them two mother tongues.  So we can read Harry Potter together in English.  Aria is five so small enough if I just keep at it, she’ll pick it up lightening quick.  Her teacher asked her about it the other day and she just shrugged, I don’t even know if she gets the idea of two languages conceptually.  Evie is a bit of a perfectionist.  She hates making mistakes so if she can’t get her sentence out perfect the first time, she gets frustrated easy.  But she is extremely smart, and I’m sure she can do it.  And Lily has the best base of them all, I think she’ll do fine.  Our latest addition, Arsène is just a tiny baby so if I start now, hopefully it will just be second nature to him and a true mother tongue.

And now we are 6!

Mid-September we welcomed our fourth baby into the world.  He is six weeks old and I think I have finally gotten used to talking about my son, mon fils.  Being the Maman to girls for so many years (nine!), I feel like I am programmed to calling out “les filles!”, so re-adapting my vocabulary is taking longer then a few weeks it says.

Our little guy...

He is absolutely gorgeous.  MrB and I really do make beautiful babies, that grow into beautiful children.  Some days it feels like we have no idea what we are doing, but I don’t think we are doing too poorly.  Overall our kids are sweet, kind-hearted, helpful and all around great kids.  We are so lucky.  Every single birth I am amazed at how my heart expands.  It feels like he has always been here, like his place was pre-destined.

I feel so incredibly lucky.  It is definitely busy, but I wouldn’t change anything for the world.  It is also really neat watching the girls take on their role as older sibling.  Aria is the only new big sister, but Evie was only 18 months old when her little sister was born, so as far as she remembers she’s always had a little sister.  Lily was also only two when Evie was born, so really, this is the first time they’ve all really known what was coming before it happened.  And they all doing really well, I don’t think that any of them would change their brother for anything either.

I was really nervous about potentially having a boy.  I know how to be maman to girls.  I have girl clothes.  Girl toys.  Girl everything!  Changing has been fun and it lets me indulge my side that likes to buy things.

Everything has also been, well, easy.  I hope I am not jinxing myself by saying it, but his labor and birth were easy (I dropped the kids off at school at 1:30pm after having them home for lunch, managed to have MrB home, drive to the hospital, go in and have the baby before 4:30pm), nursing him has been easy…  It has just been absolute bliss.

I worked a few months as an English teacher before the birth.  I had worked towards that for awhile, but I think its left me with more questions then answers, so for now I am staying at home focusing on us.  And it feels right.

2018, as all years seem to, started off with a bit of a bang!

After lots of worry, stress, and paperwork, I got called to fulfill a teaching position, through the end of June.  Full-time, prof principal, collège and lycée!  The one downside is that it was a bit far, but hey, everything has a bit of a downside, so I figured I’d take it.  There are 4 and a half weeks of breaks in-between, so, I figured I’d have some down time to regroup, prepare, etc as needed.

I went and saw the directeur of the school, got my schedule, the basic information on how the school works, they showed me where the teacher room was, etc.  I was all set up to shadow the teacher I was to replace for a day, and then she decided she wasn’t coming back, at all, so, my start date got pushed forward.  I contacted the teacher to meet her, to get her keys, tablet, books, sort out where she was, what she had planned, etc.

So, the Tuesday before I was supposed to start, we decide to meet at her house.  I get there, realize I’m not feeling well, at all, but suppose it is nerves and try to focus.  And after a few minutes I have to come to terms with the fact that, I am not well, at all.  I had intense abdominal pain, was sweating a lot, couldn’t even really stand.  Anyone who knows me, probably can see how horrifyingly embarrassing this was to me…  The poor teacher I was to replace ended up calling the “15” (quinze) as they say here- basically emergency services.  So I spoke to the nurse, then a doctor, who decided to actually send an ambulance to me to check me out.  They arrived fairly fast, and decided they needed to take me in- I was freezing cold, extremely pale, and in intense pain.

So into an ambulance, speeding along to the ER, leave my car in front of the teachers home.  Due to pain and partially I think due to riding backwards in the ambulance, I am sick on the way…  Get to the ER and basically wait in line for a bit since there were quite a few people there, also waiting…  They eventually rule out the basics, a kidney infection or kidney stones, it can’t be my appendix since that was already removed…  Finally, around 9pm (I’d been there since 11am or so), they find the source of my pain (a cyst!), and since morphine is barely touching the pain, we decide to go ahead and remove it.  This ended up being a wise choice since it was strangling an organ, probably why I had such pain to start with…

So down to the OR, an hour of laparoscopic surgery, I was up cyst-less and already feeling so, so, so much better.  I don’t know if I’ve actually ever known such relief, in such an immediate fashion from something.  I stayed the night and the next day through 5pm, when I got to come home.  But, I was sent home with an arrêt, to recover, from both the anesthesia, and the actual operation…

And, so, I lost the job before I’d even started!

Since I was to replace a replacement teacher, so in short, be the 3rd teacher these students were to have in the year, starting in January, they found someone else to avoid have a replacement, for the replacement of the replacement for 2 weeks while I recovered…  I really did need a good 10 days to recover, more from the anesthesia then anything else, and had a few nurse visits to remove stitches.  I am hoping that maybe this one slipped away for something maybe better (closer?) right after the next few weeks vacation.  I hope, at least.  Something from the March vacation through the end of the school year would be really nice, the days are longer, they’d have hopefully done a large portion of the programme.  

Sigh, as dramatic as all of that was, I feel so lucky- lucky to live here, where things like pain are taken into consideration, lucky to have run across that doctor who knew something was wrong and determined to find it, lucky to live in a place where things such as an arrêt even when you are job hunting, simply lucky, and thankful, overall.

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.