May 2010: One year!

The weather sure is heating up! So we�ve turned our backyard into total white trash kid-ville

Daddy went to London on business for 2 weeks, to meet the key people in his new job... And a few friends! Unbelievable... it didn�t even rain once! (We must have been really unlucky during the 10 years we lived there.)

Mother�s Day was celebrated before daddy left�thanks family!

And then on the actual day, we had a wonderful dinner at the DiPaolo�s.

The older kids hung out. Ambroise is still in love with Chloe. He followed her around, sucked on her pacifier, and played with her toys. They ended the date with a romantic dinner together.

The next day he told Peyton that he and Chloe are �just friends�,

but she wasn�t buying it.

Ambroise has a few words-- ball, ceiling fan, balloon, bird, flower, baby, papa, car...

To the untrained ear, they all sound like brrrr. But there is a subtle difference only the most discerning listener can detect. (that�s us, dummy.)

By the end of the month, his verbal skills greatly improved.

Die-die = baby;

dah= ball (not to be mixed with bowl, which he says slightly differently)

brrrr= ceiling fan;

bah-urrr = balloon (and what an exciting object that is!!!)

Dadadadada= banana

Dada= papa

Voiture (car) = vrum

Flower= Fer

Da-dadine= Madeline

Sometimes he calls Theo �ee-o�, but most often, he calls him �Dave�

He also has communication gestures.

Opening arms with hands turned to the ceiling= �where is it?�

(especially funny after he has dropped all his food and/or the sippy cup from the high chair)

Small circles with the arm= fan (with the brrrr)

Sideway movement of the arm= car passing by (with the vrum)

Kisses seem to have disappeared (or maybe he doesn�t love us anymore?).

On the other hand, he can blow in a flute now. He is also sooo proud of drinking from a glass instead of a sippicup/strawcup. He has this tiny �h� sound, which he repeats when he is very happy.

He had his first blood test. Everything is fine. He�s perfect.

But of course we knew that.

Ambroise learns to roll over and sit up in his crib, but can�t lay back down. It is so frustrating for him!

We watch him on the monitor rocking back and forth, so tired. Countless times we go in and lay him down, just to watch him roll over and sit up again. Luckily, that only lasted a few days.

Ambroise is now chief floor inspector and little vacuum.

He will crawl across the floor looking for tiny specks of dirt/paper and eat them.

Theo is obsessed with the board game Risk�he has his friends over for a �Risk party� twice in the same week.

Mom is so impressed that 8 pre-teens devise strategies, form alliances and concentrate for hours on this.

You�re never too old for fun at the playground

Girl�s Book Club for May: Among the Hidden

Also, Madeline has gone back to gymnastics.

She�s really good!

Madeline has turned into a real Jersey girl. The proof: in her essay about slavery, she correctly used the phrase �yada, yada�. : ��. You may think slavery is wrong; we are all equal and should be treated respectfully, yada yada. But I�ll take you behind the scenes so you can learn more��

Dad got home from his business trip just in time for Ambroise�s 1st birthday!

Mom made a cake with his favorite things�balloons! (munchkins covered in frosting, then rolled in colored sprinkles).

And for his present we simply got him 12 balloons. He was amazed.

Click the photo to see his joy

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And a funny ball

Click the photo to hear him laugh

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The birthday hat wasn�t a big success

Cell phones for 10 year olds? No way! This has been a very hot issue around here for the last few months. We, the parents, don�t think they need them for goodness sakes. But they, the tweens, beg to differ.

After much debate, Madeline shrugged her shoulders and in exasperation said �Mom, listen, you are going to have to get me a cell phone one day, so why don�t you just MAN UP and get it for me now?� Yikes.

We did have a great idea. They currently �earn� candy for doing their French lessons. I would love to substitute this for something else. So I thought why not for cellphone minutes and texts? We figured out a plan. They could maybe �pay� for the increased phone bill with allowance and points earned from French homework.

I took them to the AT&T store to discuss the contractual details and how adding 2 lines would impact the bill. The helpful salesman took Madeline and Theo aside and explained all the fine print- loss/damage insurance, taxes, line rental, penalty for termination of contract, per-text cost, surcharge, telecom tax, 911 service fee, etc. Madeline burst into tears under the financial pressure. Theo read the two-year contract and said simply �Nope, I�m out.�

We actually convinced them both to go for it. It should work out to about $25 per kid per month. It is a good life lesson anyway- they will see how the bill works, etc. The first bill should be very interesting!

Congratulations to the Rao family! Welcome Lucie!

Jon Stewart bought a house 3 blocks away! We love him! He�s already called twice to ask our opinion on current events, and to run a few jokes by us...

And a few miscellaneous pictures & videos

We all like grass stains. click

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These blackberries are a bit tart. But so good!

�Can you say Madeline?�

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Early morning snuggle

Samurai Ambroise