Year 2016

Pole Vaulting
What do you do when Theo PRs (beats his personal record)? You get him a cake. And when he PRs again? Get him another cake!

Friends, doc club, book club and a baby shower

Ambroise helps with the Christmas annual puzzle, loves coding.

Mom takes the twins to college visits, while Ambroise studies French
TED has been a big part of Elizabeth's year.
I am so proud of the internship program I created.
Thank you to my 12 interns!
Click here to see this mini-documentary.
Home brewed Kombucha!  Madeline and Trevor. 

United Nations
Madeline participated in a 2 day symposium at the United Nations discussing global issues.
What problem do you want her to solve?
Madeline & Theodore at Columbia's splash. Ambroise learns to speak in public.
Doc club oscar party
Theme food included Bridge of Cherry Pie, The Big Short Ribs, Hateful Eight-ingredient salad.

The Goble visit
Navesink International
A new start 

Ambroise loosing his front teeth 
College visits
More college visits around New England... a lot more.
Spring pole vault
Ambroise, in first grade

A few miscellaneous
Led Zeppelin concert
Ambroise turns 7
French Honor Society
Madeline is named President, Theo Vice-President
The summer starts
Summer cocktail experiments... and the winner is...

Bastille day (14 juillet)
Coin toss
A few more summer pictures
Bon-Papa, Blandine, Marion, Baptiste
We had the great pleasure of enjoying the French family's visit.
Pole vaulting, Acadia
We drove Theo to his pole vaulting camp at Bowdoin and camped in Acadia National Park for a few days.
We even found a fairies' house in the forest 
Camping de Quillacq style: fondue, grilled lobster and gourmet s'mores.
LLegendary s'mores creation: gingerbread man + lemon curd + coconut white chocolate and roasted marshmallow. That's how it's done, folks.
Camping day 5. Time to take care of business.
At the dinner table this April, we were playing the "if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go" game. 
Madeline wanted to go somewhere "unique and far."
As a joke, I said "the vacation budget is $xxx. If you can figure out how to do something like that for our family of five, I'm in."
The next day, she announced: "I planned it! I found the perfect place - history, culture, cuisine, adventure, variety... Cambodia! But we will have to live on $50 a day total for three weeks, and we will have to use all our frequent-flyer points to get free airfare. Also, I want to do the minimalist back-packing thing you and Dad used to do, where you only had a small back-pack and three changes of clothes."
Challenge accepted, Madeline.  GAME ON.

Everyone has to carry his/her own bag, with only a few sets of clothes.

It took us a while to figure out this middle door... We eventually arrived safe.
Phnom Penh
  Even monks do their laundry
Madeline wanted to meet with the US ambassador, so she sent 13 emails in Bcc, and managed to find his work email.

He replied and invited her to meet with him at the embassy.
Amazing local life, people, food, very accessible hotels
We gave Ambroise his own camera. We found 317 pictures of street cats upon our  return.
Cambodia has a troubled past. To reject centuries of foreign influence, the Khmers Rouge led a communist revolution throughout the country. After taking Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975, they returned society to its millennial agrarian roots. The genocide and famine which followed eradicated a third of its population, its culture, its knowledge, its economy.
Tortured and summarily judged at Phnom Pehn's S21 prison, men, women and children were sent to nearby killing fields. Millions are still buried all around the country.
Crocodile farm... don't fall
We took the bamboo rail road to delve into the country

You're a long way from the Ventura Highway. Dude! Theo eating a frog Local circus.
We also visited the 'killing caves', a famous killing field now adorned with a monastery. We were attacked by monkeys on our way back. A monk protected us with his slingshot.
We stayed in a rural village, with a host family. We shared meals of their amazing local cuisine.
They showed us their garden crops and their rice fields, their local school, their monastery, their field hospital and the local market.
We talked history, as much as they were willing to say.
We had our own room with Camodian 'air conditioning' (fan), but shared the bathroom/shower. It's actually not too bad (mosquitoes and spiders aside). Theo got attacked by a Gecko, or so he says.
Siam Reap
A bit further to the East is the historical temple zone, which include Angkor Wat.
It's a three-day stop-over for many tourists, and the nearby town has developped its back-packer culture.

Silk Farm

We visited a community which reinvented the art of silk, lost in the revolution. They grow mulberry trees, raise worms, spin, dye, make designes and weave. Very impressive.

Lara Croft's steps

Angelina Jolie stayed in this hotel's best suite when filming the first Tomb Raider. It's incredible what airmiles can get you. Except for Ambroise's breakfasts ($25), all this was free. Great job, Elizabeth.

Landmine museum

Deserted Island
We wanted the Gilligan's Island experience, so we selected a remote island with bare necessities.
Nothing inspires confidence like being told to put all of your belongings in water-proof float bags "in case the boat sinks".
The boat ride was tough, the amenities were rudimentary, but the view was nice. We even found the time for a bit of summer work.

Time to go back
We are preparing our return to the US... A last cultural stop at a pepper farm (best pepper in the world), and the hairdresser for A.
Back in Phnom Penh, we visit the Correspondant's Club, where journalists gathered and risked their lives to get the story about the Vietnam war and the Khmer. History was made in this place.
Hotels in the capital have higher standards than in the country... From one day to the next, we go from bucket shower to modern bathroom.

Our farewell dinner, fried tarentulas!
26 hours of travel time killed the teenagers, but Ambroise is still going strong (how can sleeping with a blanket over your head be comfortable, Theo?).

School is back in session
Ambroise enters second grade, Madeline & Theo are now Seniors in High School!

Coach Slovensky from Bowdoin college calls Theo 17 means driver's license!
Theo's back with coach McCloone in Track & Field
Fall rowing season starts
Madeline is interviewed by the Asbury Park Press / USA Today newspapers about the trip to Cambodia
Ambroise's favorite place - Small Factory Productions
Time for college applications
Madeline's college essay was about Cambodia.  
Ambroise is Operation Man. Even Theo got in the spirit.
Madeline and her friends are the Ocean Spray Cranberry guys.
Day of the Dead
Dinners with the Sansones and the Laughinghouses, our adoptive families, and also our doc club meetings.
Election night... Both Ambroise and Gontran voted.
Theo's dream has come true. He is admitted to Bowdoin College. We all rejoice (even Ambroise behind Theo)

How to communicate with teenagers Teenagers supporting their team  
Theo 0 - Trashcan 1    
Grounds for Sculptures
Fireman's fair

Finished puzzle Love is a vertically organized drawer
Mom makes bookmarks
Daily Show with Trevor Noah with the Stypas!
Madeline is inducted into the National Honor Society
Gontran makes an amazing radiator cover with shelves all from scratch!
Annual NYC trip with Susan to see the amazing Bergdorf windows.
Paparazzi at Trump Tower, ice rink and Christmas tree.
Christmas 2016
She'll never guess what I got her... but Theo expected a Polar Bear theme.
New Goble baby joy!
And the French family expended by two as well!

Ad memoriam 2016...
Happy New Year!
Moment of Zen
And here it is, your moment of Zen.
On Jan 1, 2016, Elizabeth accepted the challenge to take a 1-second-video every single day for a year, using the app 1SE. The good, the bad, the beauty, the mundane, the changes, the struggles, the joys, the friends and the family.