From France to the US and back: Pennsylvania
Growing it out in 2012

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012.

Another year comes to an end and in all honesty I haven't seen the year pass. Something about having kids makes time speed up for me. I am sure other parents can chime in here with their own experiences. I see time through my kids now. Everyday I see them changing and growing, some days it's more obvious than others. Alixe is two now and Maximilien is just a few months short of turning five. FIVE. Has it really been five years since I had my first baby? But that will have to be reflected in another blog post as I would like to reflect on what happened to me in 2011.

My work life in 2011:

The year 2011 was the my first FULL year back to work after Alixe's birth. I stopped working almost completely a month before she was born in 2009 and took a full nine months off after she was born. I started back to work at the end of 2010 but really got back into the swing of things in the start of 2011. Lots of new things started happening at the tea house in 2011. At the beginning of the year I was a vendor at Aiguille en Fete, an international crafting trade show. It was my official way to putting it out there that i sell yarn and beautiful, hand dyed yarns that you can find anywhere else ! It was a great boost for my business at the beginning of the 2011 that last all the way through the entire year.  Growing my business was my goal in 2011. We had reached maximum capacity where my shop is currently located and I wasn't in the market to purchase a second location. So instead,  I started working with a very savvy and patient web designer and we were on our way to expanding my business online! I took my beautiful yarns online to sell to all of France and Europe. This project took me through the spring and summer of 2011 and we launched in the fall of 2011. The shop was an instant success and this brought about a new dimension to my business.

Being a mama in 2011:

Maximilien ended his first year of pre-school and stated moyen section of  Maternelle. The year was rocky with lots of learning to be had for myself and Max. School was a different environment than the Creche but he adapted at his own pace and I learned how to interact with school administrators. I integrated myself into the parent/teacher association and befriended a few parents from Maximilien's class.  Our life really revolves around the neighborhood where Max's school is located because next door was Alixe's Creche. I can see Maximilien's school from the front step of the tea house. I tried to invest myself as much as I could and keeping a balance with work and my home life. I was lucky this year to have a full time employee who would close for me three nights a week so that I could do the after school pick up almost everyday of the week. This is something that will be changing for me in 2012.

Alixe is in her last year at the creche this year. it hasn't really hit me that my baby will be starting school in 2012. My babies are growing up. I am exiting that phase of changing diapers and pushing strollers to transitioning to becoming a mother to children who are more and more autonomous. I admit that I am excited for this phase. Just an example, traveling this year to the United States was SO MUCH easier than it was last year.  Maximilien flew alone to visit his grandfather and he said it was so easy.  Also earlier this year I finally came out of my depressive haze after Alixe's birth. This year has been a bonding year for Alixe and I. Things just stated to click between us. It's an incredible feeling when my daughter comes to me if I'm having a difficult moment and she says to me, "Viens... and she hugs and and kisses me". I can't imagine my life without her. Our family is complete.

Max's personality has really developed this year. He articulates himself in French so well. I am often impressed with his reflections on life (and death) and the life around him. He has become such an inquisitive and generous boy. Also, his English has improved a lot this year. It started over the summer while we were vacationing at Belle Ile with another Franco/American family. Something clicked for him and he started speaking more and more English with me. We went to the United States for Thanksgiving and it was just the extra exposure he needed to put him into English overdrive.

Julien and I are still growing as a couple. We will be married 10 years this spring. I can hardly believe it. He still makes me laugh all the time and even though we know how to drive each other crazy we also know how to make it all better. I have loved seeing my husband transition to being the most important person in my life to being the most important person to Max, Alixe and I. He shares himself with us completely and I realize that I am really, really lucky.

Me in 2011:

I have to say that I am a bit disappointed that I didn't take better care of myself until the end of this year. I use my work and being a mama an excuse not to do things. I have to stop doing this. It will be hard for me in 2012 because I am going to be even busier at the tea house but I must find the time and the way. I re-discovered my love for bicycles! I dusted off my bike from storage, strapped a bike seat for Alixe and rode. I saw immediate results as my jeans became once size too big and I just love feeling the Paris streets under my wheels as I ride.

I have reflected on what I'd like to accomplish in 2012 but that will be for tomorrow's blog post though...

Happy New Year and Bonne Année from our family to yours!