Oops, we are a bit behind. So we came back from the West mid-November and spent the rest of the month resting and settling back into a routine. Noah got three teeth in 10 days! December was busy with family and friends and pre-Christmas get-togethers. Noah was also busy. He started pulling himself up and standing holding on to furniture. He also started climbing stairs and could not get enough of it.
Here he is pretty proud of his prowess:
He also discovered snow
When we arrived in Winnipeg, Kevin and Melissa came to pick us up at the airport and Noah was very excited to see them. We did forget to mention to them that we had a ridiculous amount of luggage with us: Bed for baby, stroller bag, toy bag, you name it…which could not all fit in the car. So Melissa and Marj took a taxi home.
We had a great time in Winnipeg. Kevin and Melissa were fantastic hosts. Noah had a great time playing with Melissa:
We went on long walks to check out Winnipeg which we really liked. They live in Osborne village which is a very nice area with nice stores and restaurants. We went to the market at the Forks and had some great empinadas and a deep-fried Mars bar! It was very good! We also walked around the Exchange area which has great old buildings, and the french area in St Boniface which is also nice.
I know we talk a lot about food, but you should know by now that food is quite prominent in our lifestyle :-). So let me keep going. Kev and Mel made us a great meal with grilled shrimps, an awesome risotto and delicious meat. Jodene came over that night and it was great to see her. We also ate in a very good Thai place, miam miam.
One evening, we went over to their friends Pete and Lisa who have three adorable little girls. They were so cute with Noah.
In early November, we decided, somewhat at the last minute, to go to Alberta to visit family and friends. Noah was very excited to meet some of his Uncles, Auntie and cousins he had not met yet. He met the Noels: Auntie Louise, Uncle Jacques, his Godmother Kristan and her boyfriend Craig and cousin Tracey. We spent quality with the whole family and Noah had fun playing with everyone (and creeping as fast as he could after the four cats!). As always, Uncle Jacques prepared some amazing food with roasted ham one night and deep fried turkey the other night. It was delicious!
Here he is with Auntie Louise who came to see him as soon as we landed:
He also met the rest of the Brattinga family: Uncle Pete, cousins Kyle and Kurtis. He was very happy see his Auntie Denise and his Godfather Justin and meet Justin’s girlfriend Rebecca. We spent some time in Camrose with them and had lots of fun.
Here is Noah with his Godfather:
October was a busy month filled with visits from family and friends as well as great events like Thanksgiving and Halloween.
For Thanksgiving, Auntie Anette, Uncle Ken, and cousins Travis, Daniel and Lindsay came to visit from Vancouver. It was the first time they met Noah and everyone had a great time together. Went on long walks in the city to McGill Campus and the Jean Talon market, enjoyed our neighborhood with good coffee and good pastries and of course enjoyed good food at home.
Here is a Fall family picture at the Jean Talon market.
After living the high life in Europe, it was time to come home. If I had to summarize:
week 1: Jet lag, Eczema madness, and two teeth!
Week 2: Catching up with our Montreal friends
Week 3: Friends visiting and starting solids…
So we got back from France on the Sunday night with a 6 hour jet lag. Noah decided that between midnight and 3h30 was a good time to have a party (it was morning for him after all…). The Monday, which was a holiday, he breaks out into a pretty major skin outbreak all over his body. So Tuesday morning we rush out to see the nurse, who calls in the doctor. They are not sure that it is actually eczema. They want us to see a dermatologist but there is a 6-month waiting list. After more phone calls from the doctor, they got us an appointment 20 minutes later (and it was a 20 min drive)… So we grabbed the baby and jetted there. She was also perplexed as it did not look like typical eczema. She said it could also be rare skin condition with no treatment (great!). If you remember from previous posts, we had spent a good half hour morning and night for weeks in France for Eczema treatment… She sent us to see a Pediatric dermatologist the next day (who says the Health system doesn’t work). She examined him and concluded that is a rare form of Eczema called Nummular Eczema which can be more severe. We left with two full pages worth of treatment with yet new creams, wet-dry bandages and tar baths… And that week Noah got two teeth! Factor in the jet lag and let’s just say it was a rough week! Where were our idyllic places in the South of France!?! In true Noah fashion though, he did not let a little eczema bring him down. Here he is having fun in the park:
On to the Next Chateau!
We left Chateau Turcan to move down to the coast to Hyeres to stay at Chateau du Fenouillet (www.chateaudufenouillet.com). We were very happy with the rental, nice place with nice terrace and nice pool surrounded by a beautiful view of the mountains and the vegetation.
Monday was our first day, which is usually the day when we get our bearings and do groceries. So we drove around Hyeres, had lunch, went grocery shopping and then went to the tourist information office. The Laforces then brought Noah to the doctor, the fourth one of the trip, because his eczema was not yet under control and he had been coughing for a while. The doctor was super nice. So back to the pharmacy and loaded up again on medication. As Marnie said, we should buy one of those neon green crosses that signify pharmacies here to put on our bathroom. The eczema has been much better since so we have hope… The doctor diagnosed the coughing as Acid reflux and gave us something until we see our doctor back home. I am glad we can help with the deficit of the health care system in France…
After all that excitement, we all took a drive down the peninsula in Hyeres and stopped by the beach. It was Evan’s first time to the ocean (well the sea to me more precise) which was pretty special.
Here is our double decker of babies
Mr. “Goof-a-lot” seemed to enjoy it
Life at the Chateau
Our next stop was Chateau Turcan, a vineyard in a beautiful little town called Ansouis. We were renting half of a large house that was built in 1750. The living room had a gorgeous vaulted ceiling made out of rocks. The staircase was really cool as well – it looked very chateau’ish. That evening we had a BBQ and relaxed a bit by the pool.
On Sunday, we decided to explore the town of Ansouis. We went to the market in the morning and bought some meat and vegetables. We then walked around Ansouis which is a perched medieval village, with a beautiful castle. We had a drink because, as you guessed it, we were a bit hot. We spent the rest of the day enjoying our new pool and getting acquainted with the other vacationers who were renting the other half of the house. It was a really nice family from Paris with three boys. The youngest who was 5 was also named Nathan. He worked really hard to get Evan to play with him as Evan was pretty shy. However the ice did break despite the language barrier and it was cute to see them holding hands by the end of the week.
Since we lived on a vineyard, that night we went to a degustation of Chateau Turcan wines hosted by our gracious host Martine. It was great as we tried the whites and the rosé wines which were very good. Roger enjoyed asking: “I am making Lapin à la moutarde tonight, which wine would go best?” Within their Chateau, there is also a really nice museum with more than 3000 objects about wine-making from the last few centuries. We walked away with a few bottles and had a great meal that night.
I forgot to mention that we had a wonderful view from our terasse onto the vineyard and the perched village of Ansouis and its castle. Here is a picture of one of the gorgeous sunsets we could see from there.
On Monday, we went to Lourmarin, another medieval town with a nice castle. It was a town well liked by painters and now has a lot of cafes and galleries. As Curtis would say, yet another medieval dump ;-). We went up and down the beautiful streets with Marnie and Marjorie working on their daily medieval strollercizing (exercice poussette). At some point I had to stop for breastfeeding so I sat down on some steps looking at this beautiful view.
Then I turned the other way and here is what I saw:
Can you say addicted? I guess we stopped at a spot where there was wifi and everyone was on their iphones!
So we arrived at the Mas Souleiado, our Provencial villa in the town of Goudargues on the Saturday and fell immediately in love. It was a gorgeous 200 to 300 years-old stone house with a great terrace and an amazing pool.
Here is a snap shot:
After their journey, The Johnstones arrived a little tired but excited. Roger cooked us a nice BBQ that night that we ate on the terrace. The BBQ is built Looking through the window inside the house was beautiful. It was like being a movie.
We took our flight back from London to Paris. When we got to the Paris airport, our stroller bag seemed to be missing so we went to the luggage claim and waited. While we were waiting, the police arrived and said they were blocking all access out of the terminal because of a suspicious package. So it was 9 pm and we thought, perfect, no stroller and who knows how long we are going to be stuck in the airport. Thankfully Noah was in a good mood and everything got resolved in good time.
So for those of you who are wondering if we picked up a convertible as a rental this time, no we finally have a family car. We got a nice Volkwagen Passat station wagon – yes 4 doors.
After spending the night in Paris we started our descent towards the South, heading towards Limoges to see Martine and her daughter’s (Fanny) family. The GPS almost got us there no problem if there was not a town with the same name 40 km away… During our stay, we visited Martine’s cousins Dédé and Danielle who had prepared a great meal for us with home-made fois-gras and great wines. During the meal, Roger decided to baptize Noah a second time even though he was baptized the day before we left on our trip. During the meal, Dédé asked Roger to open up a bottle of Champagne. No problem – Roger has opened lots of champagne over the years. However, for some reason this bottle decided to start spraying everywhere including all over Noah. Despite his initial screaming from the surprise, he didn’t seem to be traumatized. And hey, there are worst things to be baptized with. All in all, we had a great meal.
For our anniversary weekend, we decided to treat ourselves and go to London to visit our friends Dave and Fiona. We met Dave and Fiona in Vietnam on a cruise in Halong Bay. We met them again a couple of weeks later in Saigon and then again in Cambodia. We had a great time with them every time. Here is us in Cambodia:
We flew to London on Thursday night and Fiona came to pick us up at Heathrow. Noah took a liking to England right away and was giggling the whole car ride home. He had a great time playing with Fiona and Dave the whole weekend.