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I decided to interview Josie on the eve of her third birthday (an idea I borrowed from my friend Letia at Rockin’ Our Madeus).

Since her answers are apt to change from moment to moment, I should note that the interview occurred on May 9, 2012.

Favorite food: “Porridge and cereal.”

Favorite fruit: “Apple!”

Favorite color: “Purple.”

Favorite thing to do at school: “Paint and draw and just say please.”

Favorite thing to do at home: “I like to dance.”

Favorite song: “The Halo song.”

Favorite thing to sing: “The Hello song.”

Favorite instrument: “The violin.”

Favorite thing to do with friends: “Share, don’t push.”

What do you want to be when you grow up? “16, 17, 18, 19.”

Favorite animal: “A peacock.”

Favorite book: “Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport and Miss Rumphius.

Favorite neighborhood place: “Delaney’s!”

What do you want for your birthday? “Ummm, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.”



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Bonjour Durham…

Dear gentlest of readers,

If any forlorn souls were checking in on this blog during the months of July and August, I commend your patience and can now say that we have resumed life with a high-speed internet connection. Which means that I will soon be uploading some photos to document our amazing travels in England and Ireland before we returned stateside. We’ve made the big move (back) down to Durham for this coming year so I can direct a large portion of my energies into finishing the dissertation. La Petite has also embarked on a somewhat scholarly tack as she started nursery school whereupon she immediately came down with a cold which blossomed into an angry ear infection and so the past week has definitely been bumpy.  Once the amoxicillin sets in, I predict that things will be looking up.

In other grand news, my sister Jackie — artist extraordinaire– is off and running in Finland so check out her blog here.

À bientôt, j’espère


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We bid some bittersweet goodbyes to the city of light last week (including a sublime afternoon of macarons in the Parc Montsouris) and then boarded a train of great vitesse to London, where we’re visiting some family. We’re currently in Wales, and then we’re heading to Ireland. With any luck, Josie could take her first steps in the land of her ancestors…

Our blogging capabilities will be limited for the next few weeks so stay tuned for updates on an even more infrequent basis. Merci !

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We went to Berlin last week to visit our good friend Stephanie and her husband Toffi and their two adorable daughters, Marie and Greta.

Josephine was thrilled to be able to roam all over their gigantic apartment in Prenzlauer Berg and to play with all of Marie and Greta’s awesome German toys (they have a slide in their living room!).  Berlin, in general, seemed really kid-friendly (sooo different from Paris) and we were surprised to see sandboxes and toys for children in numerous cafes, even cafes in high-traffic areas like on Museuminsel (museum island) down near the river Spree.

Josephine also got to know their dog, Oko. When we first arrived, she was scared of Oko and she started crying if he even looked at her. It was odd for us because we had never seen her afraid of something before (she doesn’t even really have stranger anxiety, unless she’s really tired and cranky).  Yet, she really warmed up to him, and she began pointing at him and saying “Daaah” (for dog).  Tadhg and I have since been having heated debates as to whether or not this counts as her first word.  We’d love for any gentle readers out there to intervene with their opinions.  Tadhg thinks that this instance does stand as the first time that Josephine has intentionally used a word with regularity.  I think that the word “hi” could be her first word, since she has been able to wave and say “hi” when someone enters the room for weeks.  However, she does not say “hi” consistently every time.  And, though she does pretty consistently call out dogs on the street (and there are a lot of them here), she has also been known to point at pigeons and ducks and call them “daaah”s as well, so maybe we’re still waiting for the first definitive word.  What do you think? How do you know when your kid has said their first word? Is it just something you make up when she asks you ten years later?

We were also happy to take a break from French cuisine and sample some German fare.  Stephanie had baked a loaf of delicious walnut bread before we arrived. The following night, Toffi made some crispy swineschnitzel and Stephanie prepared some asparagus (apparently the Germans go gaga for asparagus) and pommes de terre which we washed down with a nice Riesling. Oh, and she made the most amazing rhubarb crumble for dessert… I am not normally a rhubarb fan but I was scraping up crumbs from the baking dish before retiring it to the kitchen sink to soak. For TD, though, the cullinary highlight was sampling Berlin’s best currywurst (according to Toffi and Gerhard Schroeder), which just happened to be located at a stand down the street, under the UBahn.

On our last day, we wandered into a great street market in Stephanie’s neighborhood, where we listened to some music, sampled some sizzling bratwurst wrapped in bacon, and oogled all of the meat and cheese vendors, and the piles of peonies:

Given our ardent love of the GDR classic film “Go Trabi, Go” (and it’s totally awesome soundtrack), we made a point to check out the recently opened DDR Museum, which indulges in a good bit of “ostalgie” (nostalgia for East Germany).  The high point was, obviously, getting to slip behind the wheel of an actual Trabant, which Josie found pretty exciting.

Merci again to Stephanie, Toffi, Marie and Greta for having us  and letting us be Berliners for a few days !

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In true French fashion, Josephine decided to “faire le pont” and extend her Wednesday birthday through the weekend. This happened to coincide with the national holiday of the Assumption on Thursday and therefore many Parisians left the city for the long weekend and we had Parc Montsouris almost to ourselves on Saturday afternoon for a lovely birthday pique-nique. Let’s recap:

On Wednesday, Josephine, Maman and Dad went out to lunch and Josephine enjoyed some delicious frites. That evening, we sang happy birthday to her and she sampled (which is to say, devoured) her first pâtisserie, a strawberry shortcake kind of thing from the boulangerie around the corner.  After this sugary indulgence, she was pretty wired and therefore really excited to web-cam with Aunt Jackie before hitting the hay (not to say that she isn’t always excited to see her Aunt Jaquie).

On Saturday, the weather graciously allowed us to have a little afternoon fête for Josephine in Parc Montsouris. We were so happy to share the day with some amis who helped sing a rousing version of “joyeux anniversaire” and watch Josephine stare intently at the sole candle on her delicious raspberry cake.

She spent a lot of time practicing walking by holding hands.  She is pretty much obsessed with walking at this point and we could soon be reporting news of her first real steps.  Today she stood on her own several times and seemed pretty thrilled with herself.

Unfortunately, Josie has learned that all good things, even birthdays must come to an end. Or must they? Gigi and Papa are already planning yet another fête for Josie this July in Buffalo. Stay tuned.

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She is opposed.

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This entry was inspired by an image of the signature of Empress Josephine, which a friend came across through her work with the archives of Martinique. (Thanks for sending it to us Lesley!)  Josephine is still a pretty common name around here and it’s been kind fun to see her name around town in different places, including a totally awesome barge turned into a municipal pool named after Josephine Baker.

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