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December 2011
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February 2012

January 2012

Our on going kitchen project: the before photos.

If you've ever come to our apartment you will quickly notice that it is the biggest room in the apartment. The phrase life revolves around the kitchen is so very true in our house. We've been living in this apartment for 8 years now. It was supposed to be a temporary stay that turned into a permanent one. With all it's imperfections we grew to love this place. The room, the floor, the plumbing and the electricity is sure in this apartment. It's a more modern apartment building dating between 60-80 years old according to Julien.

The French love doors to all their rooms. Everything in this apartment could be closed of by a door. The first thing we did when we moved in was take the door off the kitchen. Then we finally felt the necessity after 6 years of living in this apartment to knock the wall down. Our family grew from two to four and the time spent in the kitchen pretty much was multiplied by the same number.

Just to give you an idea of the kitchen wall and doorway:


Maximilien, January 2009.

21/365 : Life revolves around the kitchen

Here's a shot from two years ago today. Baby Alixe!  We were mighty cramped when we had people staying with us.  Knocking down the wall we gained two meters in our kitchen. The flow of the room felt less congested and what was a dark and cold hallway now has natural light through out most of the day.

Here are few shots of the kitchen wall before it went down the summer of 2010:

30 Days :: 3
Maximilien, February 2008.

View from the hallway

Bye bye wall!

As you will notice we did things in phases. We had to because it's expensive to renovate and we had to keep living in the apartment while we did it. We had the wall torn down while we were at Belle Ile on summer vacation two years ago.  It was nerve racking to say the least but my brother was supervising while we were gone and everything went fairly well.

And our first view of the wall upon returning to Paris:

The wall is gone!! There is more work to be done but we're moving toward something so very good.
Clearly baby Alixe was not too impressed with the missing wall. August 2010.

This was the beginning of our major renovations to the kitchen. Nothing happened from August 2010 until November 2011. We started to put money aside and planned carefully. We took our time planning because I am horrible at deciding on what I want. This worked out fine because we didn't have anymore vacation time to spend on working on the kitchen and we needed time to save up to make it happen.

I didn't take any photos of the kitchen right before we renovated in November 2011. Too bad. I dug through my Flickr archives and found some shots that will give you a good idea of what a poor lay out our kitchen was.

Here are a few views of the nook portion of our kitchen where our stove and our makeshift cabinets and majority of the storage was:

View from the kitchen door

And this one from the nook towards where the laundry and the kitchen sink was. A total hike when working in the kitchen to go from one side to the other but not surprising in Parisian kitchen layouts. We suspect that when the building recieved their gas lines they pretty much took the easy way to install things along the defunct chimney conduits thus placing the stove on the opposite side of the sink which was installed next to the bathroom. Both of these photos are quite dated having been taken in April 2006 but you get the idea...

30Days :: 7
A view towards the window in the nook where we've moved our sink.

This kid doesn't need toys. He has tupperware and empty boxes. And he loves it!
 
Baby Max is sitting right directly in front of the heater where the future dishwasher will go.

30 Days :: 20
Julien, February 2008.

And a shot of my fabulous husband with the glimpse of the sink and laundry area behind him.

Our plan for the kitchen renovations that took place in November 2011 was to move the kitchen sink from far end of the kitchen over to the nook and place it right under the window by the water heater. Then move the heater (cutting if from the gas line and moving it two feet to the adjacent wall) out of the nook to make space for the dishwasher which means we had to bring an evacuation and a water source over to the kitchen nook. Confused?

Here's a photo of the heater and we moved it from where it was in the nook to where the kitty grass is in this photo:

Directly behind the cook's counter

In the place of the heater we installed the evacuation for the dishwasher and at the same time we had an Ikea kitchen installed. I have to say it was very easy to pick the kitchen perfect for our needs using the Ikea kitchen planning tool online. We were in desperate need of storage and having a U-shaped nook now it was imporant to utilize the corners to the max. As you could see in the previous photos we had random shelving and cabinets installed. Nothing going all the way to the corner and if anything a HUGE waste of space! But that is now over and done with and we are left with a wonderful, functional kitchen nook and I will share photos of that with you later this week...

 

 


Alixe, Bicycles and #growingitout2012

I spent the morning with the kids while Julien did the bi-monthly run to Metro for L'OisiveThé. Maximilien has painting class on Saturday morning so while he's making art Alixe and I hang out and play. Since the weather has been cold and raining lately we have been staying inside and we read a lot of books.

Keeping busy while we wait for Maximilien.

I can't believe how grown up she looks.

Alixe loves books. Even ones without pictures. She loves turning the pages and it fascinated with how they are held together.  She has ripped out her fair share of pages and she is learning like every two year old does that one must take care of their books. Luckily, at the Centre d'Animation where Max's painting class is there's a whole load of books that are new to Alixe so they keep her busy.

She's really started to become a much more social toddler. She will go up to people and see what they are doing. Today, she went and sat next to another parent while they were reading so she could listen to the story too. She also spent a lot of time siting on my lap cuddling me. I love this. She recently figured out how to give kisses instead of these went open mouthed stamps she'd leave on your cheek. It's quite possible the cutest thing I've seen all year. And she loves to kiss her Mama. As we were walking home we admired the decorations that are up in our neighborhood for Chinese New Year. We haven't gone to the parade in past years because it's rather noisy/scary with all the firecrackers but I think this year we'll give it a go.

Chinese New Year is coming!

Preparing for the Chinese New Year.

I worked this afternoon at the tea house. The routine is Julien gets home from Metro and I usually run out the door to start my shift at 1pm. Lately, I've had rather heavy loads to take back and forth from home to the tea house. We've learned that our current bicycle isn't cutting it especially since most time we have a child strapped to the back.

Julien surprised me today with a new to me bicycle:

My new bike from my husband! Isn't she pretty!!

It's a bicycle the postmen use here in France. Apparently they retire them once they become too used. This one looks like an older model though the gear shifter looks brand new.  Compare her to one I saw last summer (also this one is electric):

Postman on his electric bike.

My bike had been refurbished and Julien found it on Le Bon Coin. This is the kind of bike I need. Something that can transport my precious cargo plus the extra stuff I tend to truck back and forth everyday. I have to say, it was love at first sight and how fitting that she's yellow.

Tea canister

She matches the yellow tea canisters at the tea house...

Love the yellow mailbox

and the yellow mail boxes here in France...

Love how tender they can be toward each other.

And my kid's yellow raincoats...

 

A bit of Madeline Tosh Pashmina around the neck is a good thing.

and my newly knitted cowl. I'm really into yellow right now.

 

Doesn't my new bike look perfect parked outside l'OisiveThé? Gosh, I love her. Thank you, my dear sweet husband.

Julien got me a new bike! I love her. It's a La Poste velo. Now I can carry some serious weight in the front and the back!  Cc: @merzol  <3

Here's my last Instagram of the day:

Gotta bobby pin the bangs. They are starting to get annoying. #growingitout2012

This is my first photo in my #growingitout2012 series with my glasses on. Looking forward to wearing them with long hair. The bobby pin has started making an appearance as my bangs are starting to get long and heavy. The thickness is coming back as my hair grows. I had forgotten how thick my hair is. Julien started making remarks that he has found my hair all over the apt. Oh, just you wait, Julien...


Ikea and #growingitout2012

Julien and I went to Ikea tonight. Got a babysitter and everything so we could go child free. Talk about an exciting date night. Actually, it was a work trip to Ikea because we are preparing for a huge tradeshow in February where I hope to sell lots of yummy yarn from my shop to French knitters.

We have to build our stand from scratch so off to Ikea we went to get inexpensive storage for the yarn.

My husband says I look like a playmobil toy.

Here my husband said I look like a Playmobil toy. I didn't take offense to that. Not really.

We started to worry as we were in line to pay because we own the smallest car (not counting The Smart car) in France, The Twingo. And we didn't have the foresight to take the car seats out of our tiny vehicle. So here Julien was faced with a pretty complicated task. I just stood by and watched because deep down I knew he'd make it work. He always makes it work when it comes to packing the car except that one time he crushed my Nikon D200 and cracked the LCD screen when he packed my bag but I'm trying to forget that so let's get back to the story, shall we?

Can we get it all in?

He doesn't look worried at all, does he?

Tada!!

And 15 minutes later... the car was packed perfectly without forcing one single thing. Quite possibly the most impressive thing I've seen all year. Way to start the year off, huh? When we were in the elevator in our apartment Julien told me that my hair sorta looked like a helmet and that reminded me that I needed to post another #growingitout2012 photo.

My hair looks like a helmet. That's what my husband said tonight at Ikea.

I'm not upset about the helmet comment because it really does look helmet-y. My hair is so thick so I am not surprised at all. I know when you are growing it out from this short of a length that trims are inevitable unless I am willing to sport a mullet which I am not okay with this. I think I can hold out a little longer before that first trim to help me on my way to #growingitout2012.

I found this cute little image on Pinterest via some Tumblr blog:

From a tumblr blog that I found via Pinterest.

I've got it on my lock screen on my iPhone and it's been a great motivator for me not to think about getting my hair cut. My ultimate goal is number 7. I am currently at number 1 but not nearly as cute. Sigh.


Back to our routine & #growingitout2012

It's been a busy time since the begining of the new year. I had complete turnover at the tea house that lasted from November to end of December. As you can image it's been a pretty stressful time for us. We decided to up my hours and only hire a part timer to replace my full time employee that left us at the end of December. It took me a couple weeks to get adjusted to the new hours and I feel like it's going to work for us. Before I had Wednesdays off to hang out with Max and take him to his various activities. In France for the younger children in school there isn't school on Wednesdays. It seems a little strange but it's a nice break for him and he is only four. Now on Wednesdays, I take Maximilien to his morning English class and he comes back to the tea house with me and hangs out while I prepare for the day. Usually I work the lunch service with someone so I have time to hang out, eat lunch with Max before getting to work at noon. Julien comes over on his lunch break to take Maximilien to his tennis lesson and he bikes over and hangs out at the tea house while Max is in class. For the moment this is working for us as long as Julien doeslun't have any nch meetings. Then in the afternoon, Max hangs out with me at the tea house while I work tea time. So far it's been pretty fun as the customers are used to seeing him at the tea house.  He helps out by clearing tea cups and giving menus to customers once they have been seated. He even helps me dry dishes. He has his own reserved table where he can come and go as he pleases and often Max is striking up conversation with the people who happen to sit next to him. I love that he is at ease talking with my customers and they just love talking to him too.

Some days it's quiet like it was this week:

Quiet day at the tea house.

Maximilien and I had time to have a post tennis rooibos tea together. And before I could finish my second cup of tea L'OisiveThé was full and I was busy serving tea to weary shoppers. This is the first week of Les Soldes in France. I was left with this after they left:

A storm of people came and had their gouter and now they are gone. All in under an hour...

Before I knew it was closing time and I needed to prepare to go get Alixe from the creche to make dinner for the kids.

Closing up the terrasse. Served a few brave tea drinkers outside today. @loisivethe

Wednesday nights will be dinner night at the tea house. We are going to try this out through the end of the school year to see how it works for us. This week we had oeuf à la coque which the kids love.

New routine! Weds night dinner at L'Oisivethé.  @loisivethe

I think this new weekly routine is going to work out well for us. I love having the kids at the tea house and now that Alixe is a bit older and more autonomous I know she will be alright if I have to serve a customer a tea while she plays in the toy corner.

Today was the first day of the weekend we were pretty much back to normal. We slept in late after a late night of getting everyone to sleep. Both kids are in the midst of vivid nightmares and wake up once or twice a night usually end up in our bed. Last night, we had both kids with us. When Alixe slept in until 10am this morning we were all very pleasently surprised and well rested. We got up and headed out to Breakfast in America for our regular late morning breakfast and park play.

SuperDad & SuperSquirt @ BIA

Milkshake. Four straws.

Mmmmm. Good.

Paris parc play

Sun glorious sun!

It was quite cold today in Paris but the sun was out which made the day a crisp cold which I like.  The light in Paris was gorgeous today. We were out at the park until after 5pm and the sun hadn't set yet. The days are getting longer...

I stopped in a couple times to the tea house today to make sure all was well. I can't imagine living far away from my business. I am lucky that I live and work all within a ten minute walk. A five minute bike ride. Even though I am not there my employees know they can call me and I can be there in five.

I end this post with the first photo I took today which was a photo of me right straight out of bed.

First thing this morning. #growingitout

And my last photo today:

End of the day hair. It's starting to get out of control. #growingitout2012

I have set the goal for my self to grow my hair out this year.  I have a some twitter friends playing along and we are using the hashtag #growingitout2012. Feel free to join us in the fun! Growing it out will be a difficult task for me as I am addicted to getting my hair cut and I love my fabulous hair stylist, Stephane.  I'm going on nearly two months without a hair cut...shaggy? Not yet.


Growing it out in 2012

I always say it. Ask anyone who knows me I feel like I am perpetually trying to grow my hair out but I feel like I have to do it now or it will be never. I'm 34 years old and have minimal gray hairs going on and I feel like before I do start going gray I want to grow my hair out. Also, I miss putting my hair up ina ponytail and something about brushing Alixe's hair which is now longer than mine makes me want long hair again.

I had some pretty cool hair styles lately and I will miss them for a while... I figure I can go back to them again someday. Remember this:

Yeah... I like it.


Another selfie in an elevator. #elevatorseries #rightnow #sp #selfportrait

Very fun. By far the coolest hair cut I've ever had but now I want something more feminine. I just read on Dooce that she's growing her hair out too and she's going to blog about it. Something about that Mama and her explanation about how breastfeeding felt like the first time (stapler to the nipple) as she fed her daughter Leta really clicked with me. It was like she totally got it and made me feel less crazy as a new mom. I haven't stopped reading her blog ever since. So, here I go... blogging about my hair on my blog. Cheer me on because it's going to take a lot of cheering to keep me going. My hairstylist is located right across the street from my tea house and I see him everyday. Help me be strong in 2012 and grow it out.

This is me today:

Growing it out in 2012.