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Monday, November 7, 2016


Alright, so first off - big news.  I've decided to discontinue the blog :( .  It was a really hard decision and it makes me sad every time I think about it, but it needed to happen.  The stress that it causes me to create these massive posts every single month is just not worth it.  I've been trying to think of a solution for months (years?) including making them smaller, using a different website, etc. etc. and I've never felt good about any of the options so I've just kept going because having this record is too important to me to stop without having an alternative.  I've finally hit on an alternative that I can live with.  From now on I'm going to up my Instagram posts so that all the content I would have posted on here is on Instagram.  I've been on IG for a while, but I always tried to limit my posts so as not to annoy people.  But, you know what?  I'm over the fear of annoying people.  I will be completely unoffended if people stop following me on IG because I'm cluttering their feed and no one is obligated to follow me.  That way, I can record little by little each day and on a more convenient medium instead of spending a huge chunk of my free-time each month on the blog.  I feel like that is a GREAT decision.  Anyway, so if you're sad this blog is ending (Grandma), get on Instagram and go follow me!  You'll get all the content that would have been on the blog, just in a different place :) .

Onto the updates.

I finished last month's post late and I tend to blend in things from the next month when I do that, so I don't have THAT much new to say about this month.  The big things were conference, going to Disneyland for Tom's birthday, my friend Jen coming for a visit and Halloween.  I'll talk about all of those as I go through the pictures.

Emerson is becoming more of a "person" every month.  He's definitely more of a toddler than a baby now, though I can't get myself to stop calling him one.  Words he's learned since the last post: 

All done/All gone
Rawr (the sound his stuffed Tiger makes)

Also, something funny to note is that I noticed that when he comes over to me and whines for me to pick him up (a very common occurrence) he says, "Daddy!"  And I realized that he almost never says mommy.  So, I think somehow, "Daddy" means either "parent" to him or "snuggle" to him.  Also, "apple" means "fruit."  He says "all done" whenever we're doing something he doesn't like (diaper change, face wipe) and he wants it to be over.

Harper had a bit of a rough time for some of the month because she gets congested A LOT and her nose tends to bother her.  It would throw her into full-on tantrums several times daily.  Finally, I started to saline rinses and whether it was that or something else, she's definitely been complaining about it MUCH less for the last week or so.  Whew!  She was also whining A LOT about how her clothes felt and I feel like that has started to taper too (though still there).  

We started having her sleep in Emerson's "room" at nighttime this month too!  This was a big deal!  So, up until this month the arrangement was that I would sleep on the queen bed in the "bedroom" and Emerson would sleep in the pack-n-play in that room as well.  Harper and Tom would sleep on the fold out twin beds in the living room.  Reason being that Harper often gets scared or lonely in there by herself, wakes up in the middle of the night crying for various reasons and is loud when she wakes in the morning.  We needed someone in there with her to mitigate all of that so that she would feel better and wouldn't be constantly waking E.  The problem, of course, was that Tom and I were in different rooms while we slept and it also led to us being in different rooms before we slept.  Plus, we were never alone.  There was always another kid around, even if they were sleeping.  All of this was really effecting our sanity!  So, we decided to at least try out putting Harper on the queen bed in the "bedroom" with Emerson.  We figured that there would be an adjustment period, but that in the end they'd both adjust to each other's noises and that even if it resulted in some loss of sleep for everyone it was worth it.  The first night, after we put Harper in the room Tom and I looked at each other and realized it was the first time we were in the same room, alone, since we've been in Paris!  Ah!  Totally worth it.  There was definitely an adjustment period where H was waking frequently at night for a few nights, but E was a remarkably sound sleeper through it all and we've coached her quite a bit on being quiet when she wakes up, so that mornings haven't been much of an issue either.  So, I'm SO glad we did it.  WOOHOO.  It has been SO worth it.

Alright, onto the pictures and videos:  

Conference weekend (General Conference for the LDS church, look it up) was lovely.  Harp had a bowl of peanut M&Ms that she bought from her birthday money given to her by my grandma, which she was stoked about.  Plus, we had lots of other special treats.  Conference started at 6pm here, so the first session each night was when the kids were awake.  Harp actually really enjoyed it and sometimes really watched and listened intently.  On Monday she was super sad when we told her it was over and that she'd have to wait a long time for it to come back.  Anyway, it was great.

M&Ms bowl + playdough set she got from Tom's parents for her birthday
More conference fun:

Just Emerson:

Just Harper:

Playing at the park:

Daddy + Harper:

Scootering at the Musee D'Orsay:

He is using my boot for a chair because he's adorable
Just being silly:

At the park with Dad:

Carrot for the win.

Was sitting at the Mairie (city hall) waiting when I picked up this magazine about the 7th arrondissement (our neighborhood) and saw a picture of Harp's class on the first day of school (where it says P.06).  It was in there because the mayor came.
 Had a LOVELY outing to the Notre Dame and surrounding area:


statue on south side
My favorite little nook in the Louvre gardens:

 Had lunch on one of the local bridges where people hang "love locks."  Kids enjoyed looking at them and wandering around and Harp enjoyed pushing Panda in her play stroller all over it.

Our fold out couches are always accumulating things under them.  This was the loot I recovered one day.

He was tuckered.

She was SO proud of herself for getting her coat on all by herself (it's upside-down):

Tom accidentally gave Emerson nursemaid's elbow and I looked up youtube videos on how to fix-it and heroically did so.  It happened again the next day...
 Another Notre-Dame area outing:

Went inside the Notre Dame and they happened to be doing some sort of ceremony.  REALLY fun to watch with the bigness of it all (music, building, people):

Beautiful garden area inside the Hotel Dieu Hospital, right by the Notre Dame.  And SO quiet.

Flower market by the Notre Dame
Crepe-eating spot
Tom taught Harp good basketball form
 There is always a race going on by our house on our way back from church:


We had a great day at Disneyland.  Tom had never been to Disneyland until about 3 years ago, but it was love at first visit.  It's his happy place.  Some things we noticed that were different between Disneyland and Disneyland Paris:

- WAY less crowded.  Longest wait was probably 15-20 min and walked right onto many rides.
- Very lush and green and beautiful
- More spread out
- Space Mountain, Indiana Jones and Haunted Mansion were all very different and cooler.  Space Mountain was AWESOME.
- Area just outside the park (between the 2 parks and where tickets are sold, etc.) is a lot more landscaped and visually appealing.
- Much colder, obviously!!!

Anyway, it was a good day.  It started off a little rough though.  The first few attractions just weren't great for the kids or us and Harper was complaining of pain in her cheek.  The first real ride we went on was the Snow White ride.  I had no idea it was so scary!  Poor Harp was terrified!  She screamed all the way through and kept talking about the mean witches who laughed at her ALL DAY LONG.  Like, we literally could not get her to talk about anything else no matter how hard we tried.  It got pretty comical at times.  So sad and cute at the same time.  She was very worried that the witches were going to leave Disneyland and visit her at home and we kept assuring her that they wouldn't.  The rest of the day was fun though!  We got it all out of the way at the beginning.

Not a great age for Dland.  He was constantly taking off trying to wander all around and wasn't a fan of the lines (good thing they were tiny!).  If he wasn't on a leash we may have lost him.

A favorite of Harp's

He got a small stroller nap - woohoo!

She wasn't of a fan of the rockets bouncing up and down whenever you handled the throttle
Even the birds are super happy at Disneyland:

Autopia was BY FAR her favorite ride.  It was a great bonding experience and she was just so giddy the whole time.  So cute.
He tried to climb out of Dumbo the whole time but I managed to capture some cute pictures and videos anyway:

Super proud to take a selfie of all 4 of us with everyone looking and smiling!  What??
Inside It's a Small World:

E's favorite part of the day was playing on the changing table...:

Just documenting the sound he makes when he wants something:

The birds there just looked really cool.  Had never seen any like them:

Had a good time in the play area:

This was Harp's favorite spot and she was always begging us to go in there with her.

Pirate Harper

We obliged.

Much cooler looking Haunted Mansion
And that was Disneyland!

Being sweet playmates.
Emerson learned to spin:

 The fromagerie (cheese shop) on our street (Androuet) hosted a cheese tasting for the kids in Harp's class.  I got to help out.  The kids got a selection of various cheeses as well as grapes, apples and pears and some really sour milk.  The take-away?  French kids are just as picky with their food as American kids are!  Most of them barely touched the food.  Didn't help that it wasn't really at mealtime though.

Emerson's favorite game (that Harp occasionally does too) is putting crayons in boots.  Seriously, ALL the time:

E learned how to go up the stairs and down the slide all by himself (= break for mom!):

E is a dancing machine.  He is the most reliable dancer I know:

Tom got some action figures from his parents for his birthday.  My favorite part of this is E trying to copy what Tom does with them:


Got her face painted at the ward African Party (or My African Party as Harper liked to say).  She requested a princess, but the sister missionary didn't know how to do one, so she did butterflies.  Harp was convinced they were princesses though and would look at anyone who said otherwise like they were mental:

Magnetic toys + metal chairs = win

Glasses that came with a toy from my mom.  Harp loves them.
My friend Jen came to visit!  Woohoo!

So cool to have a friend in town and super surreal too.  She had a cute little hotel room, right on the river:

I watched the kids extra so Tom could get extra done the week before so that I could spend lots of time traipsing all over town with her.  It worked out pretty well.

We went to the Louvre.  Some of the rooms in the Louvre have REALLY beautiful ceilings:

Pont Alma Bridge.  So beautiful.

Eiffel Tower
Carrousel at the Eiffel Tower:

Arc de Triomphe:

Champs Elysees

Emerson went through a phase where he would whine and whine for whatever book H was looking at, then when he finally got it he'd put it down and stand on it.
Tom has quite enjoyed the action heroes his parents got him for his birthday:

Got some rockin' hot cocoa while out with Jen:

This is Angelina's famous white hot cocoa.  It was truly amazing, but SO expensive.

Crazy story:  So, at a lot of the tourist sites there are these hoards of scammers with clip-boards who make up some reason why they need your information (like a petition or something) and then use the information for some nefarious purpose.  Jen and I both knew it was a scam, so when one of them tried to get us to sign while we were walking at the Tuileries we said, "no" and ignored them.  They kept following and asking us over and over though.  Then, I heard them call out to someone else and say something in a different language (not French).  Pretty soon I looked back and there was a bunch of them all together following right behind us, still asking us to sign.  Before long, they were right up to us and it dawned on me that they were probably trying another pickpocketing trick I'd heard about, which is to surround people and get close enough so that they're being touched on all sides so that they don't notice, in all the confusion, that a hand is being slipped into your pocket/purse.  I immediately looked over and saw that one of them was reaching into Jen's purse!  I started slapping at it and yelling at them.  Then...the girl HISSED at me!!!  Straight up creepy.  Anyway, we obviously booked it out of there.  Luckily, both of us had kept our valuables in pretty safe spots and nothing was stollen, but it was pretty crazy!

Anyway, the crowds at the Sacre Coeur and some girl doing who-knows-what with her phone, over and over:

Street nearby the Sacre Coeur.

Palais Royal
E enjoying a baguette in the most adorable way possible:

Went to the park and E kept going in this little corner and just wandering around like a lost man.  He'd be over there for like 15 minutes at a time:

 Schools in France had a 2 week break in October, but you could still send them to school (where they'd just play) if you wanted.  I sent her a few mornings so she would still see her friends.  One day they went on a field-trip (tried to understand where, but just got that it had something to do with Space).  They looked super cute walking back in their oversized safety jackets:

Eating lunch on some church steps:

When I was off picking up Harp and Tom and E were on the steps alone this lady walked by and said something to Tom.  He indicated that he didn't speak French and she asked if he'd been baptized yet.  He said, "not yet."  She did the sign of the cross a few times and said, "soon.  Soon.  Child of God."

Messy messy face.

One of my favorite Harp videos ever:

He doesn't even need music to dance:

Went to the Luxembourg Gardens and Fall was in full splendor:

My favorite fountain:

Kids were renting vintage wooden sailboats to push around the water with sticks.

3 year olds are very good problem solvers:

Rocks + sticks + buckets = happiness:

Polite Frenchman (merci):

Just a quick stop at Luxembourg Gardens with my boy while running errands:

Baby belly's are the best:

We went trick-or-treating on the 1st, so I spent Halloween doing some grown-up trick-or-treating.  I went to the Salon du Chocolat - a huge chocolate expo.  There were 300+ booths with beautiful displays of the most amazing looking and tasting chocolate you've ever seen and tasted and most of them were handing out samples.  By the end I'd had so much chocolate I felt like I'd never want any ever again:

High class fruitcakes


The collars they are wearing mean they are the Meuilleur Ouvrier of France (Master pastry/chocolate/candy chefs).  It's a really big deal and takes a LOT of work to get there.  They are like celebrities.

The map and list of booths.
Since we weren't trick-or-treating til the next day we spent Halloween night watching Halloween kids shows and eating special treats:

Discovered this "video" Harp made while we were getting ready for trick-or-treating and it kind of cracks me up:

E was a mime.  It is HARD putting face-paint on babies and a lot of it rubbed off quickly.  Plus, the strips of paper I glued/taped to his shirt didn't stay well (big surprise) and his suspenders broke.  But he was still adorable!

Harp was a mommy panda and her panda stuffed animal was her baby:

We went trick-or-treating with a group of parents and kids from Harp's school (mostly expats).  We just went from house to house of those who were participating.  Not quite the same as in the states but pretty good for being in France!

Walking into the first house.  The girl in the pink dress is Celestina and she is one of Harp's two best friends:

This is Harper's other best friend, Sophia.  It cracks me up because one of her best friends in the States is named Sophia as well but in France they pronounce it SOphia instead of SoPHIa and Harp corrects me every time I say it the wrong way.  In her mind her two friends probably have totally different names:

Lots of great leaf piles at the Champ de Mars:

FYI, there are several great playgrounds at the Champ de Mars by the Eiffel Tower.

These came from a tree on the Champs de Mars and I've never seen them before.  Anyone know what they are?

Finished off our outing with some candy corn for the kids and a delicious crepe for me!
And that was October!

And that's the blog!