Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Happy Birthday, Finley

Monday night, we tucked a one year old into bed for the last time.

Because yesterday Finley turned two!


I can’t believe it’s already been two years since this guy was born.  He was the sweetest, easiest baby, and he’s growing into a silly, funny, energetic, rough and tumble toddler.


Finley loves Hannah, who he calls “Nah-Nah.”  Everyday when he wakes up from his nap, he starts saying her name because he knows it’s time to go pick her up from school.  He squeals and giggles when he sees her coming out of school and he loves for her to sit and play with him.


There’s not much that Finley won’t eat.  He’s such a good eater and almost always points at his plate and demands more at every meal.  He’s really good with a fork and spoon and prefers a regular cup to a sippy cup. 


He loves to wear shoes and point to body parts and name them.  His vocabulary is building and he’s saying quite a few French words and phrases and I’ve even heard him say a few things in German.  If we ask him, “Tu veux manger?” which means do you want to eat? he always answers, “Oui.”

At his two year doctor appointment, I said something to him in French and the doctor said, “Oh, you should really only speak to him in your language.”

Finley also loves cars, trucks, trains, buses, airplanes and anything with wheels.  He gets excited when we drive past a construction site and could watch bulldozers all day. 


This is pretty typical for us – one kid looking sweetly at the camera, the other being goofy.

This is the face Finley makes when you tell him something he doesn’t like. 
He doesn’t like to be told no and can be difficult to strap into his car seat and stroller.  He wants to walk everywhere.


We had a simple little birthday celebration at home, just the four of us.  We ate dinner, cupcakes, and, because Finn’s birthday is on St. Patrick’s Day, I made these rainbow fruit parfaits:


(Feel free to pin this very difficult dish to your Pinterest boards.)


Happy 2nd birthday, Finley!
We love you so much!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Skiing the Alps

Well, we’re back in Luxembourg, fresh from the slopes of the Alps in beautiful Les Gets, France.
This was our second time there and it was just as beautiful as I remembered.
(You can read about last year’s trip HERE.)

We set off on a Friday as soon as Shawn got home from work, stopped at a hotel for the night and then met up with our friends the next day.


After we got settled in our chalet, we headed out for some sled riding and playing in the snow.



I had been a little concerned about Les Gets, because in the days before we left, they got an enormous amount of snow and were under an avalanche warning of some sort. 

The next morning, we picked up our gear and got ready to ski.  Finley wanted to get on skis so badly, but he is still a bit too young.  Next year, buddy.



These sweet girls are such good friends.  We’re so lucky to know them and their parents.


As most kids do on a ski holiday in Europe, Hannah went to ski school every afternoon.  When we picked her up after the first class, I asked her about her instructor and she told me his name was UNO.  On the second day, when he introduced himself to me, I learned that his name was actually BRUNO. 
Close, I guess.


Here’s some of our group, with the girls acting silly.



I learned that the slope, or piste gradings aren’t the same in the US as in Europe and by the middle of the week, the girls were ready for some red runs, which means that the piste is intermediate/advanced.


I, however, being the slowest and most cautious skier in my family and in our group of friends (there’s always one in the bunch) spent the first two days on the more gentle sloping pistes.
Hannah: Mom, were you skiing on the greens today?
Me: Yea, but just for a little while. 
Hannah: Wasn’t that embarrassing?
Maybe a little bit.

On the third day, I got in a bit over my head, on some pistes that were a bit too much for me and I fell.  A lot.  And then I had myself a little pity party and I may have said something to Shawn like I’m horrible at skiing, my French is awful and I shouldn’t have come on this vacation.  

Going on a ski holiday in France is a great way to remind yourself of just how bad you are a skiing and French.
The next morning, I was telling my friends about my meltdown and they smiled, nodded and one of them said, “Yes, of course.  That was just your ski tantrum.  Everyone has one at some point during a ski holiday.”
A ski tantrum?  I didn’t know this was a thing, but it gave me just what I needed to pull myself up by my boot straps (literally) and carry on.



Shawn never had a ski tantrum, but he did take a day off to rest his knees because he’s not exactly supposed to be skiing.  You see, he’s had SIX knee surgeries so let’s not tell his doctor about this trip, ok?

Remember when I said that although I may not be a good skier, I am good at après-ski?  Well, here I am, doing what I do best on the slopes.  Everyday, we relaxed on deck chairs in the snow, eating, snacking and enjoying the sun, blue sky and mountain air while the kids played. 




One morning, Hannah and I snuck off by ourselves for a hot chocolate.  We don’t get a lot of time for just the two of us, so this was long overdue.  I told her we could talk about anything she wanted.
”Mom, when you were my age, did you make excuses?”
”Oh, probably.  Why?”
”What kind of excuses did you make?”
(I wasn’t sure how to answer that one.)


Ready to head outside.




They spent nearly every evening snuggled under a blanket in pajamas.


Here’s one of our whole group, at one of the restaurants in Les Gets.


After a fantastic week, we headed out early on Saturday morning to return to Luxembourg.  We packed the car the night before and if I’m being honest, were a bit smug about making it down the mountain with no traffic.

And then we ran into this:


We sat in this mess for a nearly FIVE HOURS.  That’s 300 minutes.  With two kids in the backseat. 
Luckily, we had water and snacks in the car and Finley fell asleep for a while.  Hannah watched a few movies on the ipad and I got to crack open a book I started but hadn’t made much progress in.  Lots of people got out of their cars and kids were building snowmen along the side of the road.  No one was moving anywhere.

Me: I’d like to know who’s in charge here.
Shawn: This is France.  No one’s in charge.

In France’s defense, however, a man wearing a fluorescent vest and a backpack did come through and ask if we were okay.

And then Shawn said, “Ya know what could make this situation worse?  If we had a cat in our car.”

Oh, you mean like this car next to us?


We made it home around midnight, which was 16 hours after we set off.
But, what a time we had!
We skied, we relaxed, we caught up with friends.
We had raclette, tartiflette, and panaché.
We talked about everything from the future of the Euro to cats to CNN.

We made it home in one piece, with no broken bones.
And no avalanches.