Tuesday, January 13, 2009


So I was talking to my mother on MSN yesterday evening (France time) and she was telling me how cold it was over there. -8 Celsius (mind you). I was like?? Well yeah it is cold, and then she asked me how cold it was here! Oh something like that too I said!! ;-) Well yeah -10 or so… but in Fahrenheit. I forgot about the “conversion” so… Here is a little taste for those of you out there that are in sunny California or in the south of the Equator in Thailand/Singapore, you know who you are! ;-)

Freezing water under 2mn!

So for those of you who aren’t familiar to the “English” system! I found that little quote in another blog:
Of course you will need to understand English to get that!!
But I thought it was pretty Funny!! ;-)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 in review... and more!

And another year has passed by… I seem to repeat myself but time flies when you are having fun. Or I guess even when you aren’t… But at least it is something we can’t complain about here in Iowa. We are having fun! We had a nasty winter very cold temperatures and then some nasty Tornadoes and Rain that never seemed to stop in the Spring. It seems that in our area in Iowa we have had our share of nastiness from the weather, let’s hope that it doesn’t continue in 2009. We were fortunate enough not to be touched by either Tornado or Flood. So we can’t complain, right? Matt : Matt is still stationed in Fort McCoy WI. He was in Mississippi in the beginning of the year, you know since they can’t do anything with the training under 5 feet of snow. So since then he has been coming home every weekend or almost every weekend. Took a few days off here and there, just to be with us and will be home over the Christmas break. In September he was contacted by a unit in Heidelberg Germany for him to come and work for them. He was supposed to be going in January 2009, but it seems like the transfer from Army Reserve US to Army reserve OCONUS (overseas) is more of a pain than anything else, so he might still be with us over Valentine’s Day! (I can’t complain right... One more romantic dinner with my loving husband!) ;-) As we learn to do with the Army is just being patient. So we are. After all he is still working and still getting payed so… it could be worse. He has been in good health and spirits. It’s harder on him to be away from us. I guess I am just used of not having him around, and I have the kids to concentrate on. He only has himself so it is worse for him than for us! Even if yes it is hard on everyone to be separated from each other! So if the mission in Germany happens, we decided that we will ALL go. He will go first, and I will follow with the kids at the end of the School year. Anne: As most of you know by now, I have found a part time job here in Coralville; only a few miles away from home. I am the Activities Assistant Director in a nursing home. I like it even though it is hard to be around people that might not be here tomorrow when you come back to work. The first few weeks were pretty hard on me. We lost a total of 10 residents in 2 weeks. I wasn’t expecting the “death toll” to be that high. It has slowed down since November, so it is good, but we still see a lot leaving us for a better place. I guess this is part of working in Health Care, especially with the elderly. I have to work every other Holiday and Weekend, so that isn’t very cool but at least all my Christmas shopping was payed for in cash, so I won’t complain too much right! ;0) I have tried to concentrate a little more of my time on my business and have had a few new clients. I do believe that I am not really “cut out” to be into the “people picture” business. I don’t like to deal with all the crap that comes with clients who seem to want to have the pictures and my services for free. So, right now, I am putting my personal business on hold and will concentrate on “landscapes”. At least the birds and trees don’t complain about stupid stuff or how much I rip them off. It is funny because the reason I went into business was to be able to supply people with low rate service and do everything digital, well it seem that even my “low rate” aren’t low enough for some people… So I have decided to keep my regular clientele who know what to expect and read my contract thoroughly and leave the unhappy one behind! I think it will be healthier for me and my sanity. Besides, who will complain about taking natural beauty and sharing this with the world? I won’t !! So wish me luck! ;0) I am excited about following Matt with the kids to Germany. I won’t lie. I am so scared and overwhelmed about it. It would be easier if Matt could be staying with us until the end of the school year so that we could get the house and our belongings ready for the move and getting rid of some of it. But it looks like Matt will be the one leaving early, so I will be stuck at home dealing with the sorting and downsizing of the home. Wish me luck with that too! ;0) I know I will need a lot to keep my sanity!! Oh, wait... I already lost that one over the few years that Matt has been on active duty! ;0) Damien: Damien is 13 since April (so almost 14) he is almost as tall as his father. He is still my sweetheart. Ok, he does drive me insane from time to time, but I can always count on him if I need to get out of the house. So he is a good boy for that!! (Young man oops!!!) ;0) He still plays Guitar and is getting better and better every day. He composes his own music. His teacher is very impressed with his skills, so this is pretty cool for him. He has been really involved in the “presidential election” not involved as, doing something, but he was following the race with a lot of interest. He was very happy when his candidate won! So you know who he would have voted for this year! Wonder if he will change his mind with the years!! We’ll see that one when he is of age! ;0) He had some struggles with the “middle school”. The first trimester was weird; I got a few calls from some of his teachers who were concerned because he wasn’t doing his homework. We ended up going from some Fs to mostly Bs, so we are very proud of him. He has been working hard. The only remaining F? FRENCH” Yes shame oh Shame!! ;0) His teacher is still impressed with his “talking” French though! ;0) Morgane: Morgane is growing up to be a sweet girl. She has of course her moments when she drives everyone nuts, but most of the time Damien and her are finally getting along fine! No more “he hates me!” comments from her. So I am glad. She is 10 years old will be 11 in March and will probably turn into a nasty teenager, but for most of it, she doesn’t have the “attitude” yet! Sometimes she throws a fit and tells me how she really feels (very rarely does she do that, since she still is afraid of me, and believe me I am glad she still has that fear of me and my big mouth telling her what I really feel!!) she is always trying to please everyone at home, and is trying her best to compromise to be a good little sister as a good big sister. I think she succeeds in both of those! She went to France over the summer, and I do believe it was a little too long for her as well as for us! She flew all on her own from Chicago to Paris, met her “Mutti” (her maternal grandmother) and stayed a few days in Paris to visit. She saw the Eiffel tower and lots of cool stuff, like the castle of Versailles where Marie Antoinette lived, and lots of museums. I think the first few weeks were tough on her, because she wasn’t too sure about her French. My mother told me she started enjoying herself after 3 weeks being there. And then they went to the South of France where my mother and her brothers and sisters were meeting for their “family reunion”. Morgane really liked it there, because she was able to meet some of my cousins who are bilingual, and my mother was pretty impressed, saying that after a discussion with my cousin Kelly, Kelly came back and told everyone that Morgane had the best sense of humor (I always thought so, but you know, she is my daughter so… who am I to know what is real or not right?) ;0) Anyway... After that week, my mother took her and my nephews to the Island of “Houat” (little duck in Breton) located a few miles from the South of Quiberon in South Brittany. I use to go there on vacation when I was little, and I always loved it. Houat is a small island which still has the charm and character of a little Breton town. It is very small and they don’t allow people to come with their cars, so you have to walk everywhere, or take the “city bus” that will drive you from the harbor to the campground where you could just go and spend a few days/weeks. It is very simple. The only showers are located about 1 mile away from the campground. The beaches are but a few yards away from your tent. So that was always a great place to go for the summer. My dad’s uncle built a house for his family that they always use for vacations, and we always went there to visit. It is very meaningful to my family. My father and mother met in “Houat”, my father’s ashes were spread near Houat… So I was happy to learn that Morgane had the best time ever over there. She said that my nephew, Thomas, and her painted seashells that they would pick up on the beach and sell those near the market. They made a lot of money. She came back with over $15, just by selling her seashells. So she told me that the next time we go, I would be in charge of painting and she will be in charge of selling! ;-) I like her way of thinking!! And who knows maybe next summer we will all be there for a few days! I sure would love to go spend a few days with everyone and show them around. For those of you who have the chance to go in South Brittany, if you have the chance to stop by Houat… Go ahead and spend just a day or two on its beaches. It is a little piece of Heaven on Earth! She came back from France and her French was much much better. Now I don’t know how it is anymore. ;-) She is still busy with Music, but she stopped taking harp lessons, she is now playing Piano (Keyboard) and is pretty talented as well, we are very proud of her. She is also doing well at school; she does have issues following what her teacher is telling her. She tends to need to be reminded a LOT before she does it. Sometimes she has good days and sometimes bad! I guess she is a normal person after all! She is a great artist and continues to amaze us with her drawings. Rafael: He is still my Baby… I guess he will be stuck with that title until the end of my life! ;0) He turned 6 in July so he is now (and will tell you so if you ask him) 6 and ½ almost 7. He always say the cutest things. Last week he came up to me while I was in the bathroom putting some make up on, stepped on the scale and told me look Maman I am almost 7. So I looked and he was 46.8lb, so I said: Yes you are almost 47lb. he looked at me funny and said: so, how long will I be 7? I am well?? 47lb?? or 7 years old?? He says: 7 years old. So I explained to him that it was a scale that measures the weight of the person not the age of it! AAHH!!! OK!!! ;0) Jeeeeesh, good thing those measure the weight, cause I will be WAY old then! ;0) He is in Kindergarden (we chose to retain him because of his “social” skills) and it seems to be going well. His teacher Mrs Knupp LOVES him. She told me that if he doesn’t come home after school he will probably be at her home, because she loves him so much. He has is good and bad days at school as well, he sometime likes it and sometime not, but he always come back happy to have gone there! He is getting into drawing too. He comes back with maps and plans of the street where we live or what our house looks like, or what Grandpa and Grandma’s house looks like. It is funny, his teacher mentioned that he would probably be an Architect when he grows up! We’ll see what he chooses after all he is JUST in Kindergarden. All 3 kids are all excited of the upcoming move to Heidelberg, Damien is because we will be closer to all the cool castles and all the stuff that we can visit in Europe. Morgane is because she will make LOTS of new friends, and Rafael because he want to see his “Mutti” more often (my mother). So hopefully we will learn soon when the move is going to happen. Keep on reading my blog and you might learn sooner than from our next newsletter for the next year! We sure hope that everyone in your life is doing well and that you are keeping warm and cozy during this holiday season. Wishing you the best time with your loved ones on this holiday season. The Best Year to come, may 2009 bring you Happiness, Health and Success in whatever you choose. And lots of happy memories to fill us in for the next holiday cards/newsletters. Take care and God Bless From ALL of us to ALL of YOU!

Merry Christmas

A few pictures taken while out with some of the resident from my work. During an outing to see the luminaries in the area. You will excuse the poor qualities of some pictures due to a lack of "light" ;-) But I played with some and I thought I will share with you the result. :-)

Snoopie & Charlie Brown were out too.

This house has been named the “Santa House” by the local. The owner said he has over 100 Santa in, on or around his house during this time of year! Can you imagine how much time he is spending after Turkey day to put those up??