Sunday, November 1, 2009

November 2, 2009:Who's On Break, Anyway? Not me...

Happy November! I hope Halloween was fun for everyone. You might be wondering what we did here in France for Halloween. As you might expect, this holiday is not widely celebrated in France. We did see a few children and teenagers dressed up Halloween night, but my guess is that they were fellow Americans. Despite the lack of Halloween celebrations here in France, we did manage to find a few occasions to get festive.

One day, my friend Carih (she is originally from Montana) invited us over to carve pumpkins. She found some average-sized pumpkins at the grocery store. I brought Ella with me and we had fun carving together. Carih was a great host as usual, baking homemade pumpkin pie and pumpkin seeds. It smelt like my childhood home in Indiana in her kitchen and it was heavenly! While Ella and I went to this celebration, I took Grace and Mia to First Babys School where they were also having a Halloween Party. They dressed up in their favorite costumes, played games, and ate a ton of tasty cakes and cookies and candy (I know, because they felt sick for two days after!). All four of us arrived home around 6:00 p.m. on Friday night, we lit our carved pumpkin and patiently waited for Andrew to arrive home from work. Like clockwork, he got home minutes later and we all admired our little French Pumpkin.

(Pictured above: Ella, Grace and Mia with our carved pumpkin)

On Halloween night, some friends of our invited us over to have a small Halloween Party. They have a son that is the same age as Grace and Mia, but Ella loves to play with him, too. The four adults chatted and the host made Polish Pancakes for all of us. They were tasty! She also carved a pumpkin and I carved some red and green peppers - I couldn't find any pumpkins!

(Pictured above: Our carved pumpkins and peppers)

Other than Halloween, things have been going pretty well around here. At the moment, the girls are on Fall Break. Two weeks off from school. Boy, has it been hard keeping the three of them entertained and my sanity maintained! At the outset of the break, I decided the best thing to do was make a calendar for the two week break. Map out projects, outings or planned commitments for everyday and then be sure to follow the calendar. So far it has worked pretty well. Haircuts, the library, the park, the movies, preparing for Halloween. Simple stuff, but a plan seems to work well.

One day last week, we took the 9:00 a.m. train from Caen to Paris. We went with my friend Celine and three of her children. It was a really long day, but a lot of fun. I managed to find a babysitter to accompany me and Celine's sister also met us in Paris. So our group of four adults and six children made their way from the train, did a 15 minute walk to the metro, went 12 stops and then arrived at the Parc de la Villette. Some pictures are below of the many entertaining features.

(Pictured above: Me trying to stop Mia from jumping onto the train platform)

(Pictured above: Grace, Mia, Lo and Jules on the train from Caen to Paris)

(Pictured above: Magnetic letters for the kids to practice spelling at La Villette)

(Pictured above: Ella writing on a wall with a light pen at La Villette)

(Pictured above: Me reading to the children at the library at La Villette)

There was a ton to do at La Villette. We actually didn't get around to seeing everything. We also saw a 3-D movie that the kids thought was so cool - so did I! We stopped to see a little aquarium and had lunch at one of the restaurants. Around 4:30 p.m. we started our group metro ride and walk back to the Saint Lazare train station in Paris. With about 20 minutes before we could board the train, we decided to stop at The Gap store right by the train station. We bought a few items, then grabbed some dinner for the train and headed back for home. We got into Caen around 8:00 p.m.

It was one of those days where you are just hoping and praying all day long that no one gets lost, no one gets sick or injured and things run smoothly. And when we finally got back to the train station I was relieved that all had gone well. And that my bed was just a few moments away...

Something that was awesome that happened last week was that we finally traded our car in for a smaller one. It is SOOOO much better! Driving it is like a treat. I mean the car itself is nothing fancy, but the size and drivability far exceeds the old CTA bus. So sorry fans of the CTA bus, it is no longer in service. It has been retired for the fine specimen below.

We now have one more week left of Fall Break. The weather has been really rainy so it is hard to get out and about but I will manage to stick with the calendar and keep us all motivated and entertained.

And Happy 6th Birthday today to my nephew Kameron! Birthday greetings from the Haverkampfs!


  1. Wow, that sounded like a lot of fun! Glad you all made it home in one piece! Great pictures Kate!!