December 2009: Flying through year end

The end of 2009 flew by so fast. We didn�t have any time to stop and ponder.

November had just finished with Thanksgiving at the Butlers, is a continuing tradition!

And we never stopped after that.

Theo�s science experiment involved an egg, a match, a glass jar� and a good dose of optimism.

Never let a baby try to feed himself

Ambroise discovers crackers.

Mom makes baby food

Ambroise enjoys his daily bath

Go figure. There�s a Christmas spirit in the air...

Madeline is making snow globes for her best friends. Each one is made specifically based on their interests. She made a soccer one, a summer theme, dogs, fashion...

Theo is making chocolate houses for his friends�

and so is mom.

Some turned out less than perfect

And we made gingerbread houses too!

Bon Papa arrives from France for an hugely expected visit.

First time he meets his 20th grandchild!

And just in time for all the pre-Christmas festivities!

Starting with decorating the tree while drinking hot chocolate

Madeline puts the star

Gontran (aka the Grinch) preps the tree

Theo does the lights

The kids have their own tree too

Without forgetting Madeline�s wreaths.

Off to meet Santa, everybody is in the Christmas spirit

With all that, it�s difficult to understand why they say that Xmas is �the happiest time of their year�....

Bon-papa brought tons of presents: a suitcase full of wine, champagne and souvenirs for E&G, Asterix for M&T, and even more presents under the tree.

But Bon Papa hasn�t come to the US that many times, and we want him to have a good time.

So everybody (except mom and Ambroise) went to Washington DC for a few days.

So much history to discover, so muh architecture to see, so many museums to visit...

We had to make tough choices.

The Spy museum was first - but pictures were not allowed. Plus we lost our tiny microfilm camera... So you�ll have to believe us on this.

The Air and Space museum came second, with some incredible artifacts...

The 3D/Imax theater was very cool, so we enjoyed it a few times.

The Smithsonian Natural Science museum came third. Astonishing too.

The Minerals and Gems exhibit displayed incredible treasures...

and there are so many other exhibits!

Talking about dinosaurs... A few years back, I was explaining evolution to the twins.

�Guess what kids, many years ago... the grandfather of the grandfather of .... of the grandfather of bon-papa was a monkey!�

... which they were young enough to understand as... �So Bon-papa used to be a monkey when he was young?�

So here is to that special family picture.

And this one too.

And the traditional picture, of course...

Yes, Barack had planned to have lunch with us, but had to postpone at the last minute. Some peace prize to collect in Sweden, he said.

Anyway, that was enough fun for you, Bon Papa! Come back home to Fair Haven and get to work!

You were not here to take a vacation! You came to fix the bathroom ceiling, paint the porch ceiling and fix plenty of little things around the house.

And so he did.

Thank you so much for all of your hard work!

But he also had a bit of leisure time. Theo showed Bon Papa his chess skills.

But all good moments have an end. And we sadly have to say good bye to Bon Papa.


PS: Daddy had to shave for the 3 generation picture... You liked vacation-scruffy look?

Too bad. Outvoted 3-to-1.

(and one abstention)

It seems someone�s birth has been duly noted.

Probably a polite apology for the missed lunch.

We forgive him.

Is this his magic touch too?

We finally obtained Ambroise�s name correction - his full name now contains the first name of his grandfather.

Bon-papa was actually witness to the application and signed the request form.

In memory of Mamie.

The kids book club has really grown! This month we discussed The Phantom Tollbooth.

And since it was held on Gontran�s birthday, we took the opportunity to celebrate.

Happy Birthday Gontran!

[Thank you so much !!!! I really didn�t expect it]

The first snowfall of winter is coming.......Even the first 1/4 inch is fun!

Friends stopped by before the storm hits.

Is it really gonna be that bad?

And the snow started, slowly, in the evening.

And it effectively turned into a biggie.

In one night:

Friends came over to play.

Another tunnel AKA �the igloo�

Icicle flute (now aging in the freezer)

Last year, Dad broke his back shoveling the snow.

So this year, he hired passing teenagers for the sidewalk, as well as a truck for the driveway.

The guy $urely knew hi$ $ervice$ were in high demand, but we got a �deal�. Still worth it...

That bought us some fun family time.

We thought it would be fun to make a carseat-sleigh...

... until it toppled over and Ambroise landed face first.

Fun, he?

Time to meet Santa

and look

at his train set

Madeline has asked Grandma and Grandpa for an IPOD for Christmas.

This is the list of songs she wants on it.

Merci Grandpa.

A pre-Christmas present for mom:

This note was on the door.

Early in the morning, Madeline quietly gets Ambroise and lets mom have a few minutes of precious sleep.

Christmas Eve at the Butlers

Thank God! The beautiful and top-of-the-range camera Robert got for Xmas takes outstanding pictures. You know, it�s the one with incredible several eye-guided focus points, fast shutter, programmable modes and fully autofocus lenses.

We are so relieved he purchased the most expensive camera to help him take such gorgeous pictures.

�Cause you should have seen the pictures with the old camera...

One last check - All is ready for Santa

And here he is!

Cookies with your milk, Santa?

It�s Christmas morning, and Santa did come!


The razor spark scooter!!!!

Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!!!

Madeline gave Ambroise all her swim team ribbons. What a snack!

And Santa gave him lots of other things to chew on.

Thanks for the puzzle Auntie B --

It was a map of our town with our house right in the middle!

An awesome remote-control helicopter was a total success - thanks Yann!

Auntie B made a doll dress to match the flower girl dress she made her for Allison�s wedding. So thoughtful.

Madeline and Theo unknowlingly got eachother the same gift�sticky mosaics.


Santa brought himself a new highchair. The most awesome highchair in the world, with hydraulic lift, rolling caster, zero crevices, and 2 trays.

(Madeline & Theo quickly discovered it also rolled really fast...)

Oh, we almost forgot. Old Santa also grew himself two fresh front teeth!

Too bad you can only see them when he cries.

Before the year ended, the kids also had their monthly book club, Dickens�s Christmas Carol.

There is so much more to this novel than we thought! It is extremely profound and surprisingly complex. It was difficult reading, so we read it out loud together. Mom voted it the best the club has read this year.

The movie (with Jim Carey) was absolutely amazing and spot-on. Highly recommend both the book and the movie!

Then New Years Eve party at the DiPaolo�s.

Children, children, children everywhere

And yes, there was also a bit of Champagne

Try to get a group pictures with kids of these ages.

And after these few miscellaneous photos taken during the month...

Here are two small videos

(click on the pictures to access the youtube videos)

Hey, Ambroise, what would you think of sleeping through the night?

[Hey, I manage to rotate the movie! Sort of]

Seriously, Ambroise, what do you think about sleeping through the night?

Only a few seconds left before 2010....

Super-Ambroise wishes you a great year in flying colors!