Letters to Alixe Feed

Alixe, my almost three year old...

I can't believe that Alixe is going to turn three on Saturday. The last three years have gone by so fast in comparision to Maximilien's first years. What a joy Alixe has become as she grew out of her toddler years and now she is a mini school girl. In Petite Section this year she is the youngest in her class though she is one of the tallest. It's hard to notice any physical differences between her and her classmates. It's only when she starts to talk that you realize that she is a year younger than everyone else. Going to school has really changed her personality. Where she used to be sort of rough and tough girl now she is really attention detailed and into giving hugs and kisses to her brother and parents. Where it was always, "No!" as her first response. She now is always saying, "yes, yes, yes! and please and thank you. 

Alixe almost three

I feel like it happened literally a week ago while I was working the Marie Claire tradeshow. I literally didn't see Maximilien and Alixe the entire week then on Monday morning when she woke me up she was so sweet, rubbing my cheek, gently waking me up. Smile on her face and she told me how she missed me and was glad that I was home. Awwww... 

We spent Wednesday inside this week. It was cold outside and the kids were really just interested in lounging around playing Headbanz and watching tv. Alixe saw my camera on the table and asked me to take her photo. Who was I to deny her... I've been waiting for this moment to happen. She used to hide from he camera or I'd have to surprise her to get her to actually look at the lens but now she engages the camera and LOVES when I take her photo. 

Loving that she is the center of attention.

She loves the camera.

Now both my kids love the camera and I feel motivated to carry my big camera around with me again. Maximilien has always loved the camera and knows how to turn on his big smile when it matters. I love how these two are getting along lately. Thick as thieves... the other day I was tired and wanted to lay down and I ask them to go play house in their bedroom. They were so cute that I didn't actually manage to take a nap because I ended up listening to them play nicely together for nearly an hour. Ever so often they would fall into a fit of hysterical laughter with Alixe shooshing Max because they thought I was sleeping. It was music to my ears.

Alixe & Maximilien, November 2012

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The last seven shots on my series of 12 shots of Alixe. Each one is so very Alixe. Her personality shines in every one of these shots. These were taken with my D200 with my 50mm f1.8 lens and my SB-600 lens. They are straight out of the camera.

My girl and her many faces...


6 :: 12


7 :: 12


8 :: 12


9 :: 12

Dou Dou:

10 :: 12


11 :: 12


12 :: 12

12 faces of Alixe. 12 faces I adore.

Alixe, 19 months old.

Figolu are good.

Alixe, 19 months.

Looking more and more like a little girl and less the baby. She refers to herself as Ali and Maximilien as Ma. She is shoe crazy and loves to try new foods. When we have pizza for dinner, she waits patiently for us to serve her and then announces that the pieces on her plate are "à moi", mine. When Julien comes home from work she runs to the door and screams with joy reaching out for him to pick her up immediately. She gave me a kiss on the mouth for the first time recently. This came as a big surprise because usually when she kisses you it involves a head butt and a fat lip.

I love this girl more than I'd imagine I would. I relish in the small moments like rubbing Alixe's back while she listens to me sing or watching her laugh as her brother tickles her. Suddenly, something has clicked and I finally feel in sync with her. Before everything seemed like a massive struggle and now it feels natural. Is it possible that I have come out a depression after 19 months? All I can say is I feel light hearted and happy again when I'm with my kids and the feeling of stress, dread and anxiety are gone.


My life is full. I am grateful to be able to type this and realize it at the same time. Last week, my husband's grandmother passed away after living a full life. I am grateful that my children were able to spend time with her in their way. Though Alixe will not remember her we will try our hardest to keep reminding Maximilien and Alixe about Mamé. It's nothing like losing someone you are close to to make you really stop and think about life. The same week that Mamé passed away a friend of Julien and I's was killed in car accident in Brazil. Hughes and his wife, Andrea, were lost in the accident and their 2 year old son is in serious condition and still in the hospital.  A blog post was written about him by one of his photography friends.  I've known Hughes almost as long as I have lived in Paris.  I remember a conversation we had the last time I saw him at my tea house. We were talking about photography and how in the moment the photo is taken that memory will stay with us for a lifetime. It's so very true. I don't ask myself why I am taking all these photos all the time. The happiness I feel looking at them days, months, years after the fact is reason enough.   I have these moments when I just need to grab my children, hold them close, nestle my nose into their necks and breathe them in. Remembering that moment. Trying my hardest to etch every emotion and feeling into my mind.

After all the loss we experienced then Maximilien's 4th birthday came. My baby is FOUR YEARS OLD. I still wonder how this has happened so fast. I can still feel him kicking me in my belly sometimes. Is that weird or normal? I look at baby photos of him...

Four years ago today I became a Mother.

Four years ago, he made me a mother. I remember it like it was just yesterday. And oh, how he has changed...

He really isn't into the camera these days...


He's such an inquisitive little guy. Very funny too.

He makes up stories and songs. He's very, very good at drawing and coloring. Budding artist? Perhaps.

Keeping busy

You can see that he is a happy, happy child. He has the joie de vivre for sure.

And Alixe chased after him...

Max is sweet and caring. He holds the door open for people in our building. He says thank you to the cars that stop for him so he can cross the street. All the teachers and administrators at school know who he is. He hugs his teacher every morning.

Something new that Max has been thinking about is me as his Mommy. He realizes that I have friends and relationships with other people other than just Daddy and Alixe. He asks me if when I'm at the tea house if I am still his Mommy? Or if after we have a fight and then make up he asks if I am still his Mommy when I am mad. Happy, sad, mad... no matter what I tell him, I will always be his Mommy. Forever. "Foreva?" he asks.  And I respond, "Yes, of course. FOREVER. He sticks out his pinky and asks me to pinky promise. We do and then he tells me that he loves me T H I S   M U C H and he holds his arms out as wide as he can. My heart swells to epic proportions.

These are the moments I never want to forget.

As much as Maximilien loves his Mommy, I think that he may love his sister more and vice versa. Alixe adores her brother.

She adores her brother



These two are a pure joy to see together.



Alixe started walking shortly after the beginning of her 14th month. She just decided to get up and walk and boy, did she! No stumbling around to cruising for her.

Alixe's first walk at the park

As much as I find parenting a girl different than parenting a boy, I never thought for a second that such a little girl could teach me so much about myself. Alixe on a daily basis is a constant exercise of patience for me. She has a very strong personality. My father says it's the Osbourn in her. Maximilien is a mini Julien. Alixe is a mini me.

Apparently she is the bruiser in her class at the creche but someone finally fought back...

My father said something to me that struck true. I asked him if I was like Alixe when I was her age. Temper tantrums. Very clear about what she wants. LOUD. My father said to me that if I was like that my mother would never have stood for it. I know what he meant because I don't stand for this behavior.  Just tonight, Alixe and I had a face off, literally, I was in her face telling her to calm down and she just stopped, stared at me and wouldn't back down. And if anyone who knows me knows I can be stubborn, I wasn't going to give in to this little girl. We sat on the floor staring at each other until Alixe finally gave in, leaned in and fell into my arms for a hug. And in that moment all my frustrations melted away as my heart exploded with love.

I put my kids to bed tonight taking time to play and snuggle them. I hope that maybe they will remember these moments when they are older as I remember my mother coming in to check on me while I slept (or lay with my eyes closed). How she would cover me up and I would hear her say sleep well in Korean.  Her voice very clear in my mind even today.

New beginnings...

I've been thinking about what to do about this blog. I have had some sort of blog under the name of PutYourFlareOn for nearly 8 years now. EIGHT YEARS. This blog has seen me through my move to Paris, the first years of my marriage to Julien, my first job in France, my mother passing away, the birth of my first child, the opening of my own business & the birth of my second child. With each passing event in my life I found that I blogged less and less. Every time I think about stopping I feel a tinge in my heart as to say "don't do it". I get a lot of pleasure reading old entries and remembering moments long forgotten. 

I intend to keep blogging. I'm just not sure in what capacity yet.

Alixe is one now. She had her birthday on December 1st. I can't even express the joy she brings to my life and how much she has made me realize how important a daughter is to a mother. Even at 12 months she teaches me things about myself that I didn't know. Through the good and bad I am grateful to have her in my life.

Happy New Year!

Part of the reason I haven't blogged much in 2010 is Alixe. The addition of the second child into our life wasn't as seamless as I thought it would be. I honestly didn't realize how difficult it would be juggling it all. Several things in my life were just put aside because it wasn't important. The first six months after Alixe was born I was in true survival mode. Surviving the waves of emotions I felt everyday, the depths of depression I felt every moment of the day while caring for a newborn and a toddler. I felt resentment, anger, sadness, grief and massive fatigue. Though I can't remember much of what went on the few months after Alixe was born I know that I wouldn't have been able to make it through unless Julien was there to help me. I reflect back to that time and it seems so long ago. The memories of that dark time are starting to fade and to be honest I am glad to let them go.

It is amazing to me still the difference between my children. First of all they look very different (which I love) and they act very different. Where Maximilien was brusing through toys, Alixe is gentle and very delicate in the way she plays. Alixe is already starting to talk when at this time Max was ready to walk. They eat differently.  Alixe cries a lot more than Maximilien ever did. Max slept (and still does very well) and Alixe just doesn't sleep.

The weeks leading up to Alixe's birth I had insomnia and would stay up late reading blogs from other mother's about their experience adding a second child. Some were positive, some were negative... in the end they painted a picture for me of how things could be for me. And now looking back I should have been knitting more instead of reading those blogs. 

Now that 2010 is over I feel a weight has been lifted. I feel excited for 2011 and the projects I have planned for our family and myself. This is going to be a different year for us. A new beginning. There are no new babies in our future instead lots of plans to nurture and play with our two lovely children. I have plans to expand the tea house business. I also have plans to travel this year. And finally I have plans to care for myself. I feel like I have been taking care of everyone else this past year and now its my turn to take care of myself.


Let's not forget about this guy. My little guy. Carrying him home last night at 4 am, he felt so big. I smelled his neck as he nuzzled in close to me. He smelled of baby lotion the same that I used when he was baby.  Max will be 4 years old in March. FOUR. I look at this photo and still see his baby eyes looking at me.  Maximilien is in the midst of new beginnings as well. He started school in the fall of 2010. He's testing his boundaries and learning patience around his little sister. He has never once shown any jealousy towards her and this is a true testament to his loving and joyous nature.

Happy New Year!

Here's to 2011, a year of new beginnings... I hope the new year brings much happiness to you.

Alixe, One Month

Dear Alixe,

I'm a little late with your one month letter. You'll have to excuse me because I've been up very late every night for the past month partying with you. Yes, you... The baby who does not sleep. The baby we call Grunty McGrumpyPants. Or Vomita when you eat too much. You've had a very productive first month of life considering your lack of sleep. You met your brother, Maximilien, who is completely smitten with you. And you seem to be fascinated by your brother. You seems to really enjoy his stories he tells you after his long day at the creche. Often you are wearing your GrumpyPants and when he comes into the room and says, "Bonjour, Alixe!!!" your eyes open wide and stop eveything you are doing. 

Brown eyed girl

In all honestly, my biggest fear was that Maximilien wouldn't be prepared for your arrival. But in all reality, it was your Mama who wasn't prepared for your arrivial. I had in set in my silly Mama mind that you were going to be just like your brother. Big eater, big sleeper. You are a modest eater and do not sleep at all. Modest eater meaning that you don't pig out when I feed you like Max did. Though somehow you managed to gain 1.8 kgs and 4 cm in height. The doctor was shocked when I told her you were only a month old. Looking at you, you look like a four month old. But you act like a one month old in every way. Especially, when it comes to sleeping. But I'm learning to deal. I have come to terms that I won't get any sleep and not to count on getting any sleep if you are awake which is like most of the day. I try to busy myself by cleaning the apt and doing the endless laundry that you are happily contributing to. But sometimes I need sleep and these are the moments that are the hardest for me because this is when you want to be awake. We are trying a combination of co-sleeping, the five S's and lots of contact with Mama. And sometimes we get lucky (like right now!) you decide to sleep for a while. Everyone keeps telling me that this is a phase... let's just hope that is really is.

I am thrilled to say that you look a lot like me! I would hope so since you're my daughter and if you looked like your dad you'd be very, very hairy and I'm not sure that you'd be so happy about that. Your eyes are brown and you have a darker complexion than your brother. You have attributes that are very much yours but you also look a lot like your brother. Don't worry, your brother is a good looking kid...

Maximilien et Alixe

Maximilien (2007) and Alixe (2009), both 4 days old.

I am looking forward to the coming months of your development, Alixe. I am anxiously awaiting for your first REAL smile. Though, we've had a few smiles lately but they always precede a nice big fart so we can't officially say that you are smiling yet. But since you're so big for your age, you can easily hold your head up for several moments at a time. I put you on your stomach and you pick up your head with such ease. And often when when we hold you, you push up with your legs and stand a few moments with all your weight on your legs. One thing is for sure, you are one strong little girl. 

Jan 7 - I adore

So, lack of sleep aside... I'm so happy that you are here. I feel like our family is complete and know there are many beautiful (sleep filled) days ahead of us.