Saturday, November 18, 2006


Last year Sophia had her first biking experience in Amsterdam on a seat attached to the handlebars of a giant Dutch bike. She had a great time, and we took the opportunity to purchase a tricycle with a push handle, and a helmet. Sophia has now taken to wearing her helmet around the house as she rides on her little scooter. No fear of crashing in our house, just fears for the woodwork!

Playtime with Peanut Butter & Jelly

Sophia LOVES Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, and we love the fact that she loves them given her reluctance to eat most meat of any kind (although Chicken Nuggets & Fish Sticks covered /smothered in Ketchup have been a hit lately). On this day Sophia & Ava had reached the end of playtime, and were into that (not) very pleasant part of play, the tired & hungry time, when we decided it was Peanut Butter & Jelly time.

We can purchase Peanut Butter here, but the amount of sugar in the mix makes Skippy almost look healthy, so we prefer to bring back the all natural creamy from our visits to the US.

There seems to be quite a PB&J following lately. There is a banana that sings the Peanut Butter Jelly song, which then was actually spoofed on “the Family Guy”.
Wilkipedia has a great “history of the Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich”.
Strange what you come up with when you use google for normal things…

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Halloween has not really come to Paris. Euro Disney has a great celebration (the 12 year old in our building went there last night for a spooky party), but the rest of the Halloween traditions aren't really a part of Parisian life. It was actually kind of strange to be accosted on the street yesterday by a goblin mask asking for a present, "un cadeau" in French. When I asked him for a trick, in english, he said "Nevermind" and walked away.
Sophia doesn't really like the Halloween celebrations that are here. For the Cathedral Halloween Part, we tried to get her into her Princess costume, but that failed. We then tried her Pumpkin T-shirt, but that failed as well. She would allow us to paint butterflies on her cheeks and went to the party like that. They didn't last long at the party though, the minute she saw the clown it was all over (she didn't even see the vampire until later).
On Tuesday I managed to sneak her into her Pumpkin T-shirt, and that went over very well at school!
Happy Halloween Everyone!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Park Buttes Chaumont

Asian Grafitti atop Park Buttes Chaumont
With its mix of hills & waterfalls it felt more like the Pacific Northwest parks than the center of Paris
One of our great Paris discoveries, the Park Buttes Chaumont is a bit of peace and tranquility in the midst of the crazy city
Sophia being silly in front of the winding lake that stretches throughout the park

The Park Buttes Chaumont was recently profiled in National Geographic magazine as proof that Paris is one of the most park-friendly cities in the world

Sunday, October 15, 2006


About 6 months we said, "next time, we'll stay here" as we drove through the pretty & historic coast-side town of Deauville. So sure enough, there we were showing up for a weekend stay. But just because it's a beach town, doesn't mean laid back or informal.

Deauville, as it turned out, is a resort town of the jet-set crowd - packed with all the exclusive retail shops: Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, etc. When we arrived, all the conceirge wanted to tell me was about the shops. I turned to Sophia, and asked "Don't you have anything here for kids?" He scratched his head and couldn't think of anything. I asked, "Don't you have a beach here?" Bien sur! (although it never occured to him to suggest it). I guess when your guests are mixed with the Queen of Dubai (who was staying on our floor with her 24-hour body guard posted), you have a one track mind.

As it turned out, the beach was one of the best I have ever seen. It went on forever, and everyone came out to fly kites, ride horses, and as Sophia so loved - collected and threw shells. Also, the boardwalk was quite amazing, more for people watching than anything else - but you could tell all the town strolled along the promanade.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Paradise Found in Sounion

You may have never heard of the village of Sounion, but it turned out to be a bit of paradise for the Zs travelling through Greece. We had all nights covered except the last in Voulegmeni (where Troy was working), so we ventured out on the last day. We had both always wanted to see the Temple of Poseidon, about 65 km south of Athens - so that is where we went.

We discovered the temple of Poseidon, which is generally considered one of the most amazing settings for a temple as it stands over the sheer cliffs leading into the Adriatic Sea. But we also discovered an amazing hotel at the base of the Temple. The village only has two tavernas and the hotel beach pretty much takes up the entire cove. But once there, all you can do is relax, swim, sleep and watch the occasional boats go by. We watched the families show up Friday night to be taken out to the boats for a sunset dinner and cast off in the morning for a weekend in the Mediteranian.

For us, it meant playing on the beach - where you could walk out 100 meters before shoulder height. For Sophia, it meant an outdoor beach playground that she just loved (as you can see in the photos). We could have easily stayed a week in this bit of paradise.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A trip to the Acropolis

It only seemed right to take our Greek daughter to a trip to the Acropolis. It was certainly a highlight of our travels to Greece, even if we did show up on a "Free Sunday" where it seemed everyone and their brother took the trek to the top of the Acropolis for a view of the Parthenon.

Sophia learned the word Temple on this trip, as she saw a lot of them. Honestly though, she was much more interested in throwing rocks than looking at the temple. Everyone loved her energy and her desire to play on the marble. People passing by mentioned how they loved that we took our daughter with us travelling.

After a big lunch in the Plaka, Sophia fell asleep in her stroller and we walked and explored throughout the center of Athens.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The US Team

All 12 Americans on the same hole, and the 20,000 people tryingto see them. The captain of the team later apologized for the decision to have them all practice at the same time, realizing that the fans were VERY disappointed.
The US squad with Tiger in the middle.
Fuzz Cowan, a journeyman caddy who used to work with Tiger, but has been on the PGA tour for over 18 years...
Betting for Putts..

The US team walking up the 7th fairway.

The European Team

Darren Clarke walking on the backside of the course (I never did figure out the hair...)

Serigo on the driving range. Most of the European Team came out to the driving range while the US team stayed indoors because of the bad weather, until late in the afternoon when they played the front 9 and just chipped & putted. An omen for their play over the weekend.

The old guy with the hat to the left was the secret weapon of the Europeans. He coached every single player that came out. In between smoke breaks that is

The first european 4-some on the 10th fairway. They all hit within feet of eachother, except Padraig Harrington who was about 10 yards up.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The 2006 Ryder Cup in Ireland - GOLF/RYDERCUP06 - Barton: Money talks at The K Club

Well. We were on the course, but to be honest I was a little disappointed by the whole experience... The course was beautiful, but, as Murphy's Law would have it, Brehan & I happened to be scheduled for the day when the last of the hurricane hit Ireland; the trains & busses were cancelled, people were told to go home " the course was closed for the day", when they decided to re-open at 9am, the trains moved, the European team showed up, but the Americans were AWOL until 2 in the afternoon when they decided to play as a 12-some and only work on chipping & putting. Basically it was great to see them, butit was the Europeans that gave us the rush. Watching them on the driving range and then walking along on the 10-13th holes with them was amazing. At one point during the 4 some all of the drives were lined up about 300 yards off the tee, except for Padraig Harrington whose drive was 10 yards ahead of everyone else. So this does not bode well for the team USA this weekend if they won't even practice because it was too windy and all the Europeans could hit the middle of the fairway with the wind.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Daddy & Me BLISS

So Saturday mornings are reserved for Sophia and her daddy. We go to new places around Paris, hang out with other Paris dads and their kids - like Stuart or Charlie. This Saturday, we explored the Menagerie at the Jardin de Plante, supposedly the oldest public zoo in the world. Honestly, it felt like it. The zoo had a collection of many of the animals that wouldn't quite make it in today's zoos - like the Musk Ox or the North American racoon (like we haven't seen a few of those).

Well, after our adventure and a trip to the playpark, Sophia needed a treat for her good behavior all day. So Sophia had her chocolate Ice Cream and I had my chocolate crepe as we travelled back home. I was pushing the stroller with one hand while eating with the other. I took a big bite, and quickly realized I had spread chocolate all over my chin. I grappled for a napkin, while at the same time noticed a French couple passing by. At that moment of hightened self-contiousness, I looked down to Sophia, who turned to her daddy and said, "I have a chocolate mustache!" Circling her mouth was what looked like more of a chocolate Go-Tee. We couldn't help giggling and nor could the French passer bys. That's Daddy & Me Bliss if I've ever seen it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Indian Summer in Paris

People have really interesting behavior during the hot months of summer in Paris. There aren't many places that have central air-conditioning, so everyone gets really creative about how to keep cool. Some of the cafes around the Trocadero have installed "mist"ing machines, but for the most part we purchase evian or volvic water spray bottles & bring them with us where ever we go. There are few malls within the city center area, most stores just have a room size air conditioner, and I have yet to find a "P" pool. However, at the Jardins du Trocadero people strip down & play in the fountains to try to keep cool. We have managed to keep Sophia out of the water all summer, but this weekend it was just too hot & she discovered how to splash us & herself.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Playing at home...

Sophia loves playing with her dolls, and with the new toys from her Nouna and Didi, she is having a great time with her bitty Baby doll. (the little baby from the American Girl Doll collection). Changing diapers, putting clothes on them, feeding them & pushing the dolls around in her stroller. She is having a great time!

(I guess the diapers aren't too stinky).

Friday, August 25, 2006

Movie Night at the Cathedral

So tonight we had one of those amazing Paris experiences – which of course I had to share with you. We had been back in Paris for two days and our friends at the American Cathedral invited us to movie night at the cathedral with four of our favorite couples in the world. We shared great conversations about everything from Shakespeare to baby seats. Our group included the American Cathedral Curate, 2 attorneys, an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development representative (OECD – an offshoot of the Marshal Plan), the Cathedral organist, and some funny looking guy from Microsoft (wait that’s me).

Honestly, I was quite confused. I thought we were watching the 80s film Vision Quest, the one with Laudin Swain (played by Mathew Modine in Spokane, Washington) where he takes on Shoot (apparently, you’re tougher in 80’s films if you have only one name) for the state wresting championship. It turned out that the movie was Galaxy Quest, an off beat comedy starring Tim “Tool time” Taylor, Sigorney Weaver and Jeremy Irons. The Star Trek like cast is mistaken for real space travelers from a bunch of Aliens, and they are forced into some sort of save the world situation.

I’d say all in all, it was a fine use of the audio visual tools of the American Cathedral, as well as use of the courtyard – although I have to imagine all the trendy Champs Elysees passers by on their way to the club thought it was cool too, at least the view from the street. For us, inside, we ended up glancing up at the lit Cathedral spire (I’m told the highest in Paris) and watching the planes cross high above, and simply wonder – “Who do we think we are…”

Well, we return to the Cathedral in a few weeks for the annual 80’s barbecue – where it all started for us at the Cathedral. Go Banana-rama and Depeche Mode!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sophia & Sean at the Lake

One of the best things about being in the US was watching Sophia & Sean re-connect. They have always had a special relationship, and Sophia always "talks" to Sean on her phone here in Paris. The first night we saw Sean on this trip she didn't want to let go of him, and that joy in him continued throughout the entire time we were there. It is so much fun to see the two of them get lost in the giggles...