Thursday, March 22, 2012


G boy, at three your favorites are:

Food: grilled cheese, pizza, goldfish, pancakes

TV/Movie: "Cars", "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse", "Thomas"

Time of Day: waking Woo up from his nap, Daddy coming home, Barek's arrival

People: Barek, sometimes your brother, Mommy/Daddy are at a tie right now

Activities: playing in the water, wrestling/flips with Daddy, kissing Mommy, finding shapes/numbers/colors everywhere around you, (foot) racing, running errands

Songs: ABCs.  We can't get you past this one right now.

Sayings: "Mommy/Daddy hold you", "Go for walk?", "Woo-woo down" (put J down and hold me instead), "Share?" (used when you want J to share whatever he happens to be playing with), "Talk Gran" (this is recent when you get in trouble or don't agree with a decision, usually accompanied with tears. Not sure what you think Gran can do from across the ocean...), "Go hide" (to Daddy),  and "Grasshopper, Hop, Hop, Hop"( all. day. long.  from Mickey Mouse), oh!  and you have started mimicking the call to prayer lately too.

Your least favorites: solid fruits and vegetables (except bananas), when Mommy holds your brother, when Daddy leaves to go, well, anywhere,  and insects buzzing around you.

Oh G, you are something else.  You are cuddly, yet independent, laid back, but oh, so demanding at times.  Everyday you are learning new things.  Today we threw a frisbee for the first time and you were thrilled!

We love how you throw yourself completely into everything you do, whether it be figuring out a new toy, learning a new skill (hopping currently), or falling into Mommy or Daddy's arms (you reach up as high as you can on your tiptoes before leaning forward with a huge smile on your face).

The best thing about you right now is at night when we say bedtime prayers.  If we leave someone out that we normally pray for you always let us know and we remedy the situation together.

You are so fun at 3 and we continue to love you more each day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Parlez-Vous Fran├žais?

Let's talk about speaking French.

For those of you who speak French or another language fluently (or multiple languages, sheesh), this post is not for you.  Because there may be a little whining and I don't expect to garner any sympathy from you.

To begin with, I had NO idea how difficult and painful this would be.  Yes, I watched Joe sweat through multiple layers of clothing each day in French class, wake up in the middle of the night from having nightmares in French, and drop 15 lbs in the 8 months of taking the language full time.  But oh dear me, I still thought it would be fine.  And come to find out, the things I thought I would struggle with (vocabulary, conjugating verbs) are actually the easy part.

I take French 3 times a week at the embassy.  Joe also takes 3 times a week at the embassy in addition to 2 hours of private one-on-one classes. (And he is AWESOME.  Except when he meant to tell a Moroccan official the other day that he had a long line outside his office and instead told him he had a nice A$$.  Gotta love similar pronunciations).  I have learned a lot about pronouns, comparatives, conjugation, future tense and (help me, Rhonda) past tense, but I still need a lot more conversational practice.  It  is really ALL about speaking.  I now understand why I learned next to nothing about Spanish in 3 years of high school and yet people that study abroad for 3 months come back fluent- they are speaking the language all the time!

Now, when I am out and about town I speak French: shopkeepers, waiters, service providers, etc.  It has become so natural to us both that when we were in London there were several times that we had to tamp down the "Bonjour" when we walked into a store.  Also, we are so used to language being difficult that we felt like we were "cheating" in London- it was just too easy!  (Except when they asked me for my chip and pin at the cash register, which is a different story)

After 6 months of class (and not much studying) I am to the point where if I think about it ahead of time I can communicate just about anything I need to and can read pretty well, but am tired of panicking when a shopkeeper says something back to me that I wasn't planning on.

So I have decided it is high time to take the bull by the horns.

Last week I told Khadija, my helper, that we needed to start speaking in French to each other all day.  Which is pretty painful.  (She of course speaks Arabic, French and English)  "D'accord", she said, smiling.  "Ok".  It has gone pretty well, and she is great about correcting/helping me when I am confused or stumble.  (which is generally every sentence)

I am going to start having a private lesson once a week.  This will also be painful.

We bought some TV series in French which is painful even for Joe.  But we continue because so many people swear they learned a language by watching TV.  I am skeptical.

Before closing I have to show you a picture of our French teachers, Janey and Marie Adele.  They are French- Moroccan (French citizens that grew up in Morocco) and have been friends since girlhood.  Joe and I have become good friends with them because of course there is a lot of laughter when I am "speaking" French.

Their voices sound exactly how you would imagine- deep and throaty from years of smoking.  And we love 'em.

So we'll see.  Wish me luck and I'll give you an update in a few months.

p.s. One more thing.  Any time Grayson hears any of us start speaking French he immediately starts saying, "Onjour! Onjour! Onjour!" Love that kid.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Not sure how THIS happened...



Oh little Woo boy.  I can't believe you are already a year old.  SO big, too!

You love: being held, Mommy, Khadija, smiling, your bottle, real milk, eating in general, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, being held, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, bath time with brother, music, walks in your stroller, your crib, and being held.

You don't love: not being held and bananas.  And that's pretty much it.

Thankful you're ours and we love you oh so much!