Happy birthday Mom!

We are 3729 miles apart (I looked it up) but the worst part is the 6 hours time difference. At least when you were in Italy we were in the same time zone. Phone calls are impossible, Skype is difficult – get whatsapp already! FaceTime!

Kodak moment!

Scandinavians don’t get emotional

What am I complaining about? When you were my age and your own mom lived the same distance away, or a bit more, you had twice-monthly phone calls with a 5 second speech delay. But I’m addicted to our conversations and I miss them. I miss you.
Happy birthday, Mom. I hope you wake up to a bright sunny autumn (fall!) day in NYC. Have a bagel, some jus de chaussette and a walk in Central Park. Have a Manhattan in Manhattan. What an adventure! What an amazing woman you are!

Love you!

Turning heads

TMAB! xxx

Quenching the Thirst

Finally, finally, after more than a month of canicule, we have rain. As if the weather gods suddenly stopped messing around and heard the parched earth gagging for water. And sent it. Much water. Good. It was starting to feel like the Sahara around here – and what’s the point of that kind of heat, if you don’t have mint tea and a bunch of gangsta mamas to share it with?

Good thing I have my very own mommy here with me 🙂

Raincoats and wellies!

Raincoats and wellies! And death stares.

Defeating the purpose of the double pushchair.

Defeating the purpose of the double pushchair.

Greeeeeeen. And new calves.

Greeeeeeen. And new calves.

Much sun + much rain = plump blackberries

Much sun + much rain = plump blackberries

Nothing to do with rain , but… We have hens!

Nothing to do with rain , but… We have hens!

And where is the rest of the crew, you wonder? Glasgow, NYC, Cape Cod, London. Sending love from here to there. We miss you. TMAB.

 

Resurrection

Dolly was in bad shape. Dolly needed fixing. We explained carefully to Zazzie that Dolly was broken (“Bébéééé ? Cassééee ?”*). Great-Grandma pitched in with a helpful “It might work or it might not. We’ll try to fix her. If we can’t, she’ll die.”

Help!

Help!

Dolly arrived in our family when I was about a year and a half old, just before my baby sister was born. She has been mine, then Hannah’s, then Joe’s, then Calum’s, and now Zazzie’s. And she has been loved, fiercely loved. She just about held it together for about 30 years, but things were getting out of hand. She has developed a sleepy eyelid, and looks permanently grimy. There’s not much we could do about that, but we could try and fix the dangling limbs.

I called a doll fixer in Toulouse who said the case was hopeless. She didn’t have the machine necessary to sew a new body onto Dolly’s thick arms and legs. She suggested buying a long sleeved outfit from the premature baby department and gluing it all together. This wasn’t a bad idea, but my Mom the superhero said we could do better than that (unless it didn’t work, and then Dolly would die).

First we cut off the arms and legs. I performed the first amputation with Zaz in the privacy of the kitchen. I was wary of her reaction, but she took it all in her stride (we had done A LOT of explaining prior to the operation).

Look at the Legs off her!

Look at the Legs off her!

Great-Pa at Work

Great-Pa at Work

Great-Ma at Work

Great-Ma at Work

Double Checking

Double Checking

Pattern

Pattern

Sew me up, Scotty

Sew me up, Scotty

Working Outside

Working Outside

Four Hands

Four Hands

Great-Ma made sure all the old stitches were out. Great-Pa drilled minute holes along the edge of the limbs so we could fit a needle through the thick plastic. Grandma took apart the body and made a pattern for the new one. She sewed it up in a beautiful blue (Zazzie’s favourite colour). It took a few days and one mistake, but the outcome was successful.

Bébééééé !

Bébééééé !

First Look

First Look

The Team

The Team

Reunited

Reunited

Here’s to many more years of love and wear and tear for Dolly.

Happy Easter, everyone!

 

*As you can see, in spite of all my best efforts, the girl still speaks French. She’s been in an English-language-only household (with the odd word of Italian) for 2 weeks now and it’s till more “Ouaaais” than “Yeah”.

Manchester, England, England*

I heart visitors! We’ve just had a series of them, the last in date being Joe Gunn. You might know him; he was a finalist at the Commonwealth Games this summer. Well, he has since retired from competitive swimming and moved to London where he is living the high life. In one move he has gone from one of the ten cheapest postcodes of the UK (you know how the Brits love measuring people’s worth by their postcode), to one of the top ten expensive ones. How’s that for social ascension? He’s living with our favorite one and only Hélène and working with his mate Charlie in their company Agon Sports Management. His latest news: he’ll be in Rio next week, on business. La classe à Dallas, moi j’dis.

He’s not the only one of our Crew to cross the Atlantic Sea, as Hanoushka is already on the South American continent (if I could remember which country, I’d tell you – but baby brain has interfered)**. Mom and Calum are also outside of their country of residence as they’re in Edinburgh at the moment for Calum’s International Baccalaureate November session. Go Calum!

Dad, I presume, is happily Ralphing away (of the Lauren variety, not the vom variety) somewhere in Italy. His schedule and mine unfortunately mean we have to rely on other members of the tribe to pass on news. But, Dad, if you’re reading this, my phone is up and running again and I’d love to hear from you 😉

Life continues (more or less) smoothly and as I’ve already managed to write 260 words uninterrupted with only a zillion or so interruptions***, I’ll be thankful for that, not ask for more, and leave you with a photographic summary of the past few weeks.

Grandma on the stoop

Grandma on the stoop

Oh, hi there!

Oh, hi there!

Siblings

Siblings

Autumn

Autumn

Hanging out on the football pitch

Hanging out on the football pitch

Dans le vent avec Grand'maman

Dans le vent avec Grand’maman

Who's this dude?

Who’s this dude?

"Wanna ride?"

“Wanna ride?”

"I will give you a ride! Hop on my dragon."

“I’ll give you a ride! Hop on my dragon.”

Marloushka

Beautiful Marloushka

Friends for generations

Friends since generations

Heading home, now.

Heading home, now.

And back out again, this time with Uncle Joey.

And back out again, this time with Uncle Joey.

Dude.

Dude.

Holding his own.

Holding his own.

Yup.

Yup.

Babbling at breakfast

Babbling at breakfast

"A TANGERINE!!! WOW!!!"

“A TANGERINE? WOW!!!”

Who's the champion?

Who’s the champion of the cardboard box?

* Reference included within.
** Information retrieved: Columbia.
*** OK, it took me 5 hours total to write this. Efficiency = me, impersonated.

On the track, Jack!

Zaz and Sousou’s Grandma came over from Italy to visit. Actually, H emailed her and pleaded with her to come help me – the pleading happened back in the Dark Time, the time when the little guy wouldn’t sleep or smile, but preferred to cry (and frown, and scream, and writhe and wriggle uncomfortably, and silently curse us for bringing him onto this planet). Since then he still doesn’t sleep has started smiling, and my life has changed for the better. No longer desperate, but still pretty happy to have my mom around.

On the track, Jack!

Flat road!

We have been discovering loops to walk around the village, and on this particular one there is a flat bit of track which Zaz can easily walk along without me freaking out about cars. And in time she’ll be able to practice riding a bike along here (H seems to think this will be around Christmas time. Is 1.5 years too young to be cycling?).

Everybody had to come along

Everybody had to come along