The Final Countdown

I may not be counting down to Venus, but I would say home is just as good.

Tonight is special in that I only have 5 more sleeps till I leave. I’ve had this idea for title/video for months. I think I was planning on using it this summer when my family came. Then I thought it was better suited for today. It certainly won’t be the last countdown in my life, but it’s the most bittersweet, exciting one right now.

Today started off a little rough. I wasn’t in a very good mood and I had to call Bastien 3 times to come take his temperature. He was sitting on the couch, his cartoon finished, and all he had to do was come into the next room. I was not impressed. Things got better though, I cooled off and got it through my head that he is sick and he is 3. Sylvain had two naps today, Bastien one. Bastien was actually quite energetic. He was running a fever almost the whole day, although it almost broke before lunch. He was exceptionally warm when he came down to ask me to fill his water bottle because he was very, very, very, very, very, very, very – I lost count – very, very, thirsty. Except for his ‘tardiness’ this morning he was really good all day. Until supper when we went through the usual “‘I don’t like this’ ‘I want help’ followed by threats of making him eat alone in the kitchen and blah, blah before finally him eating and saying it tastes good” episodes.

We talked about what we have coming up. I asked him where we’re going tomorrow and first he said Chez Kathrine (Kathrine’s house – the babysitter). I said no, Granny’s – ‘yeah, I get to see Clémence!’. I asked him who is coming on Saturday and he said ‘Mammi and Pappy’ (Greg’s parents). I asked who else and he said Jean-Go and Val Ou…I’m not sure where that came from :P. I corrected him, ‘no, you’re godfather’, ‘Jean-Phillip!’ and he is who? ‘Papa’s brother!’. Then he said it was Christmas and after that I go home. So he is totally aware of what’s going on. We had a discussion about flags and colours (of Belgium and Canada) and then I asked him what country he lives in. His answer was Wasseiges. Hmmm. Well no Bastien, you live in the village of Wasseiges which is in the province of Liège and the country of Belgium. Before I explained that I asked him what country Wasseiges was in and he answered Canada…tee hee hee. Kids say the darndest things, don’t they?

Bath time was fun. Why is it that as soon as you take a diaper off, kids will pee all over the floor? I took off Sylvain’s diaper and was about to put him in the tub when he started peeing. He was just standing there, letting it go. He seemed pretty happy with himself. Waving his arms around ‘yeah that’s right, I’m peeing on the bath mat!’. They had a lot of fun in the tub tonight. They were laughing and splashing and laughing some more. It was awesome. I feel so bad when Sylvain goes into one of his coughing fits. His face gets all red and he looks like he’s choking. Sometimes it’s a little scary. Thankfully though he hasn’t had a fever all day. You know how all doctor’s have horrible penmanship? I mean, of course I’m stereotyping here…Well, reading names of medication is tough enough, without trying to do it in a foreign language. And the instructions, oh boy. Thankfully it’s mostly things like 3 f/j (3 x/d) and 3.5ml and stuff, not too much to read, but still. And it’s different for both. Some stuff is the same, but man, I’m going to be a pro and medicine regimes if I ever have kids. Thankfully there’s not very much fuss when they have to take the stuff. I guess it tastes good :P.

I’ve got most of my clothes packed up. Just the stuff I’m going to be wearing over the next few days is out. The rest is in the vacuum seal bag my Mom left for me. I used my ‘travel’ bags (no vacuum needed, you just push the air out) on the way over, but this works better because you can get so much more air out. Plus, I’m pretty sure I can fit all of my clothes into the one bag. So I’m thinking clothes and shoes (or at least some shoes…I have too many here…I acquired some while over here) in one bag and everything else in the other. I’m thinking I should be ok weight wise too. I can’t remember if one of my suitcases was overweight coming over here or not. And I’m trying to think what is staying over that I brought. Because I certainly didn’t bring the maple syrup! I know I brought Ice Cider and some Roots wear for the kids. My HUGE bottles of shampoo and conditioner won’t be coming back with me, so that will lighten things up a bit. I brought a lot of other stuff with me that I used throughout the year that took up space, but not that much weight, so I don’t know. Well, if I am, I am. I shouldn’t be over the final limit, so if I’m over the initial limit I’ll just have to pay. I know I could have shipped some stuff home, but this is me we’re talking about. I procrastinate. And I couldn’t decide if sending stuff home would be worth it. I have to pay for the 2nd suitcase anyway, why also pay to ship stuff home? That’s all moot now regardless. I’m not really looking forward to packing. Getting everything in the first time was bad enough. I know space has been made, but I’m still not looking forward to it. At least my clothes will be more compact.

Enjoy the video! Made in 1986. Good year. I should know, I was born then ;).


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Twas the night before…uh, what day is it again?

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

Not being catholic and therefore knowing nothing about saints, I always assumed good ol’ St. Nick and Santa Claus were the same guy. In essence they sort of are…in the sense that Santa Clause (or Père Noël) is based on a real guy; St. Nicolas de Myrne (from Turkey). He is the patron saint and protector of children (and students) as well as the Lorraine region of France. 3 weeks before Christmas Eve, that magical night when Santa Clause flies around the world with his magical reindeer and sack full of toys*, St. Nicholas comes around with his sack of toys on his trusty donkey accompanied by Père Fouettard who hands out rotten apples and things to all the naughty children.

December 6th is his day and like Christmas Eve, the eve of the 5th holds a special tradition. All the traditions you know that go with Santa Clause are very similar to St. Nicholas – since the inspiration for SC was the real man. Of course, as with any legend, the stories of St. Nicholas are highly exaggerated, but they do hold a little grain of truth. He was a kind and generous man (Nicholas of Myrne) and the legends reflect that.

St. Nicolas and his trusty steed preparing to reward all the good children of the world.

Like the tradition of hanging stockings on the mantel, for St. Nicholas shoes are placed by the chimney; if you don’t have one you would place your shoes by the door or your bed. Along with the shoes is placed a carrot and some sugar for the donkey, and a glass of wine (or other spirits/drinks depending on the region) for St. Nicholas to help him stay warm. You know the Knight tent I mentioned before? Well, that was one of Bastien’s St. Nicholas gifts. Children get gifts on the 6th of December from him. Then 3 weeks later Père Noël comes along with more. Of course, not every family celebrates both, but these are the two traditions. Santa Clause is the more Americanized version, totally commercial, where St. Nicholas is based on a religious figure. He was a Turkish bishop.

All is in readiness for St. Nicolas' arrival.

Originally – and you may have seen pictures of this, I know I have – Santa Clause was dressed in green. So as not to be confused with St. Nicholas. Those of us in North America anyway will know him best as that jolly fat man with his snow-white beard and hair dressed in red with white trim and black belt and boots. According to the paper my teacher handed to us the tradition of the red clothes can be attributed to the Coca Cola company and their Coke ads around Christmas. I guess they decided he should be dressed in red and white to match their colours?

There’s also a song that children sing telling St. Nicholas to come, they’ll be good so he’ll bring them candy, come and visit them. I got a video of the last half of it when Bastien, Adeline, and Greg were singing it. It’s amazing the things you learn when you’re away from home ;).

In other news, I think Bastien is feeling a bit better tonight. He had a fever today, he was really, really warm. Once that broke looked a lot better. I guess he couldn’t keep his dinner down, but when I got home from class he was playing and was actually pretty rowdy. He did sleep a lot today, I guess he really needed it. You can tell he was actually sick because he was feeling too crappy to misbehave. He had a nap this morning, and again this afternoon. After a little he came downstairs, but I said it was really important that he get as much rest as possible and he didn’t fight me, but went back upstairs and to sleep.

I realized today that I only have to more French classes left. The 19th is my last one. Class was cancelled last week because my teacher’s granddaughter was born last Monday. So today Madame Colette brought in gummies and Smarties to celebrate that, and the Ferrero Rochers, clementines, nick-nacks, and chocolate covered marshmallow bars in honour of St. Nicolas. There were only 4 of us there today (actually, the 4 who are the most…competent in the class) so there was a lot of extra candy and we were told to take a lot. I took some extra gummies for Bastien because the doctor said he was supposed to have sugar, but no milk or chocolate. We talked about St. Nicolas and the tradition and then we did some grammar. It was a good class.

Oh! I keep forgetting. Sylvain can stand up on his own now, without wall, chair, or any other support. He’s making great progress and loves to walk around the house growling at things – especially the cat. He’ll go off, just wandering around, and then he’ll start walking back towards you and if you hold out your arms he’ll walk right into them and lay his head against you for a second…I think that’s his version of a hug/kiss. And he does all of it with a big smile on his face.

He's making a list, checking it twice... Or is that the other guy?

I guess we made it on the 'good' list. 😉

Sorry about the pictures…I’ll have to try to fix them later. The edit feature is not working :(.

*For those of you who choose to believe. Or if you just think it’s fun. ^_^


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Random is as random does.

Does that title even make sense?!

Bastien was home sick today. He’s had a fever all day and still has one now. His coughing sounds horrible, poor boy. For lunch I made him scrambled eggs (they go down easy), these potatoes things that are like tasty taters but not (he loves those), and veggie soup. He ate almost all of it! He actually ate more eggs than I thought he would. Do I have that saying right? Feed a fever, starve a cold? I don’t know. All I know is he didn’t eat tonight (minus one little piece of meat and once piece of spinach stuff pasta) and he only took a couple of sips of milk. He only napped for about an hour and a half today, not long enough. But of course he didn’t want to go to bed.

Sylvain was a jolly as ever, walking around like he owns the place now. He still has his moments when he falls, more so when he’s tired obviously, but he’s getting so much better! I sat with him in front of the fire for a while and sang while he clapped his hands or held mine. Smiling is always better than crying.

The heat was off today because they were fixing it. I think it was supposed to be off until tomorrow afternoon/evening, but I guess it’s back on. So that’s good. We do have space heaters in the bedrooms and bathroom and the fire in the library was going all day so it wasn’t so bad. Actually, I don’t think the heat in my room worked very well at all before so for me it wasn’t much of a difference! The space heaters you can only have on when you’re in the room and I actually had to turn mine off and didn’t even have it at full heat and I still got too warm.

So I’ve looked at the BBC Weather for London because I wanted to know if it’s going to rain this weekend or not. Last time I checked it wasn’t supposed to. Cloudy, with a bit of sun, and highs of 14-15, with lows of 9-11, but no rain. Would it be tempting fate to leave the rain jacket here and use my other one? I don’t have room in my backpack for the rain one to take ‘just in case’, but I don’t want to wear it if it’s not going to rain. Hmmm…maybe I do have room in my bag. We’ll see tomorrow when I finish packing.

Once this post is published today I get the weekend off! Not that I don’t love blogging, but it is nice when I don’t have to worry about it. I’m going to leave you all with a little treat. Some random photos I’ve taken around here. Enjoy!

These piggies have split national personality disorder. Or dual citizenship, I'll let you decide. 😉

Yeah for Canada! The pig I painted is the one on the right, Sylvain's pig. :P.


This is your proof that Sylvain is in fact walking solo. The crown was made by his babysitter for his birthday. Actually, when he first started walking (and sometimes still) I would always get the song 'Drunken Sailor' in my head. That's how he walked. 😉

Here's the B-man just chillin' out in his chair, reading a comic in front of the fire. I posed him for this picture, but not before seeing him already sitting like this. Apparently he's always sat like this with a book in hand.


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