It was one of those rare Saturday nights when both of the girls were sleeping over at friends' houses. Kevin and I decided that it was too good an opportunity to miss, so we headed to our favorite fondue place in Paris. Le Brasier is in the 17th arrondissement. They have another restaurant in the 19th, but we've never been to that one. It was raining a little, and just a touch too cool to sit outside (for us at least - some people showed up later who didn't seem to mind). The tables all have grills built in, so you cook your food right there. It's kind of funny to pay someone when you're cooking the food yourself, but it's so yummy and always a fun experience. We definitely didn't have room for dessert...even just the meal had me so stuffed I could hardly breathe (that may be partly from the baby, but I did eat a lot of bread and cheese). We'll have to go back again soon, but now I'm craving Mexican, so that will have to come first!
It's always an adventure preparing for two birthdays on the same day. We just discovered that September 16th is the most "popular" birthday of the year. In other words, there are more babies born on this day than any other (in fact, the top ten most common days to be born are in September). Now it makes more sense. It had been a busy week: trips to the mall, ordering and receiving packages from Amazon, trips to bizarre locations to pick up packages that I wasn't home to receive..., but the day was finally here. I still had a lot to do. We found a kitten to adopt and had been to see her the week before. She was supposed to be "adoptable" September 20th. I lobbied for an earlier adoption date since she would be 8 weeks on the 15th, and the woman finally said yes! So, on the 16th, I had to drive about half an hour away, sign papers, etc. and bring home the kitten. Then I just had make sure she stayed hidden until it was time for her debut. Thank goodness for the guest house...she has a very loud cry. By afternoon I was exhausted and couldn't face the idea of baking the Oreo cake I had planned to make. Although I normally wouldn't dream of buying a cake (it's a labor of love, right?), I started thinking about the beautiful cakes and tarts in the French bakeries (and about the nap I could take instead of baking the cake). Kevin agreed that buying something would be a good idea, so we all stopped at the bakery that evening. In the end, we each chose an individual dessert instead of getting one big cake. It worked out very well, as everyone got exactly what they wanted. YUM!
Last weekend, Kevin went to England to coach the Cross-Country team, so the girls and I did "girl stuff" while he was away. Friday night we ordered American-style pizza and watched The Little Mermaid. I saw it for the first time in the theater when I was thirteen. I loved it then, and it's still a favorite. On Saturday we tried to make cinnamon rolls (I have a recipe that tastes EXACTLY like Cinnabon...mmmm), but partway through we realized that we were out of flour. Oops. So, we put the recipe away and figured we'd try another time. Kevin was going to be getting home really late Saturday night, so we had one more evening with just girls. We made ooey-gooey grilled cheese for dinner, and then watched Newsies while we painted our nails. We also made chocolate milkshakes and ate Tostitos (one of my favorite pregnancy combinations...so good!). I know, it doesn't sound like the most nutritious weekend, but sometimes you just have to treat yourselves! We had a great time, but we were glad to welcome Kevin home and have some family time on Sunday. Kevin may have missed out on the fun here, but he got to hit the pub with the other coaches, so he had a good time too...and the team did really well.
In our first three years here, we heard about the American Library in Paris, but we never actually made it there (like a lot of places). Well, now that we're living closer to the city, we decided to join (we've really been feeling the lack of Barnes and Noble or other book stores with English books around here). There's a pretty substantial yearly fee, but then you get to check out as many as 30 books at a time, plus movies and music. Cool! The girls and I went a few weeks ago and joined, then we all went last weekend. It's a big place with something for everyone. We left with plenty of books to entertain us for the next few weeks.
Since we were in the city at lunch time, we stopped at a cafe before heading to the library. The food was so-so, but the view was lovely. We were close to the eiffel tower, so there were lots of tourist shops along the way. A few photos below from our fun afternoon...
Although we haven't finished unpacking, it's starting to feel like home. We love being closer to the city and to school. When Kevin drives to work it only takes 7 minutes...bliss! On days that I need the car, he walks ten minutes down the hill and catches the bus. It's all so convenient! The girls have both started school and the year is off to a great start. Serena is reconnecting with friends at the American School of Paris and is already very busy with homework and many social engagements. Parties in Paris and hanging out along the Seine seem to be the new normal. Bea is able to walk to her local French school and has already made new friends. She has a great schedule: every other Wednesday she only has a two hour PE class the whole day! On the alternate Wednesdays she has PE and Latin. Plus, two days a week she doesn't start school until 9:00. Pretty cool. The dogs are very happy with the new yard, as well as the forest path behind the back gate.
Moving from America to France with two preteen girls, two dogs and a cat was an incredible adventure. After four years living just outside of Paris, the Family McLean is back in the U.S. (minus the cat, but with a new baby boy). There's always something new to discover, whether it's a family outing, a new recipe, or the next fun vacation.