Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Eight months

Sammy turned 8 months old on Sunday. Kim has been taking photos of him on the 23rd of each month for his baby book, so I thought I'd share this month's versions.

Biggest highlight here are the choppers. He's got four showing to greater or lesser extent on top and three on the bottom.

Come on, show me those choppers!

And this is what he spends a lot of his time doing- chewing on whatever is at hand.

Today Sam and I had lunch together while Kim was in a meeting. Jasmine joined us.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


For some reason, the word suffering is one often used in discussions of road cycling. You'll hear the talent using the term when doing voice-over on tele-broadcasts of professional cycling races. "Look at the face of Hushovd and you'll see he's really suffering up this climb!" You'll hear it from ardent roadies as they get passed by pros. And you'll hear it from shlubs like me after a long weekend ride: "oh, man I was really suffering on that climb up Old Mill Road."

Just last evening I was driving Middle Child home from her violin lesson, which is held right along one of my standard cycling routes. Of course this time of year our fair city is blanketed in darkness for most of the hours of the day, and there is a foot-deep coating of various consistencies of water- snow, ice, slush. Which means that cycling is but a memory in January. But it's a memory that prods, right into my softening midsection.

And it's usually about now that I cave in and pull out the trainer. It's an odious thing for me- what could be worse than cycling in place, indoors? Perfect waste of an hour if you ask me, but my legs, waistline and lungs disagree, so now it's time. And thanks to one of the blogs I follow, I've found a televisual stimulant to help me stay motivated: Sufferfest. For ten bucks, I get a paced workout nearly guaranteed to induce quivering legs and tossed cookies. I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


One week from now, our Anna will be on an airplane bound for New York City, and a day later, to Paris. She is preparing to leave on a trip that she has been thinking about and planning for two and a half years, a six-month AFS sponsored study trip to France.

As you can see here, she's got some cash-money ready to spend on gorgeous French fashion, chocolat chaud and ink pens!

All of us have spent the last year attending orientations, reading handbooks, acquiring documents and paying tuition for this dream to come true. It's hard to believe that all of the planning is now done, and all she needs to do now is pack her one suitcase and one carry-on bag, and board the plane.

Just in the last week we have finally received confirmation of Anna's host family and of the school she will be attending. She will be living with a family in the small village Menetou-Salon, right in the middle of the country- indeed, in the Centre region of France. We have been in contact with the family- in fact, Anna is already Facebook friends with her host sisters!- and they seem like a delightful family.

Anna will attend school at the Lycee Alain-Fournier, which is in the city of Bourges, 20km from where she will live. Her host father is a mathematics teacher at the school, and one of her host sisters attends the same school.

We will miss Anna so much while she is gone, but it is good to know she will be with a family that seems so much like ours, and that she will be making friends and learning the language and culture in ways only living there afford, something I know only too well!

Anna will (hopefully!) be keeping us all posted on her experiences via her blog "ma vie en france". If you haven't already subscribed to it, do so, and as I said, hopefully she'll use her writing skills to let us know what her life is like in France!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Weekend Skiing with Sam

Today we finally had our first ski outing of the season, long overdue considering how much snow we've had. This time would be different though- Sam's first time out with his mom and dad.

Here is the quiver, or part of it anyhow. Left to right: Maggie, Anna, Kim, Bill. There are a couple other pair but these are the most frequently used.

It was a warm day, low 30s, so a good one to introduce the lad to gliding through the forest. We headed to the familiar paths of the large farm owned by the university. We got Sam loaded up in the backpack and headed off. It's been many years since his sisters were this size, so it took me a few moments to get my rhythm going, but did so without too much trouble. Here we are in the woods.

A group portrait taken by Kim.

We skied for about an hour and a half. Sam enjoyed himself and was awake for most of the time. The wind caught us on the way back to the car, a pretty strong one up on top of the ridge and that wasn't fun for any of us. It didn't take long to get back to the car though.

Here is some video Kim took:

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Anna and I took a quick business trip to Chicago this week. The business was an appointment at the French consulate to obtain her long-stay visa for her upcoming trip to France. The paperwork involved in this process was extensive, which made the 5 minute appointment somewhat anticlimactic. However, the opportunity to visit Chicago, however brief, was a great one and we made the most of it.

We arrived Thursday evening at the residence of David Wong, my college room mate and his family. After a dinner of deep dish pizza, Anna and Wai-sinn entertained us with some Christmas carol duets.

Friday morning was our appointment at the consulate. Before heading up to the 37th floor, David asked Anna to take our picture with his phone. Just as she snapped it, security descended on us. "NO PICTURES!" It is a very nice lobby, and I'm sure they don't want anyone to poach design ideas. None of us were jailed.

After the appointment (handing in a stack of signed documents, paying the fee, having a photo taken "don't smile!", and having her fingerprints scanned) we went out to North Michigan Ave. This is Anna saying "I'm going to France!"

Before leaving, we stopped at the sandwich shop Hannah's Bretzel. Incredibly delicious sammies, but check out the wall 'o chocolate. We chose a few to bring home.

This one is for Belle-mere. She like.

The drive home was uneventful, save for a hairy 20 miles around South Bend where a band of lake effect snow turned the highway into a snow covered skating rink. Many cars and big rigs down in the ditches. I took it slow and was grateful for snow tires.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Showing off

In what will surely be but the first of several posts, here is Christmas Boy showing off an outfit he got from his Aunt Dorothy.

Unbearably cute? Quite possibly. Thank you, Aunt Dorothy!

And showing off the nubbins of his top two teeth, to go with the bottom three already gleaming white.