Friday, August 28, 2009

12. Departing from Duckhaven

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Yes – this is the final stop on our American odyssey – 4 final days with Grammie and Grandpa in Delaware.

I realize, looking over my blogs, I have said lots of things I love about the US, but nothing that I miss about France.  So, here is my list of things I miss: bread, butter, cheese, my own personal baker and my waterbed. (I can’t wait to get a good night’s sleep again) PLUS, truly deserving of it’s own sentence, I truly miss traffic circles (also known as round-abouts).  These things beat traffic lights any day.  Frankly, the roads in Europe beat our own, hands down.  They are smoother, cleaner and have much less traffic – and people (perhaps because they are required by law to take 30-40 hours of driving training before they can get a license) drive much much safer in France than they do in the US. OK, I also miss the way there are chateaus on every hill and  how the roads are not clogged with lots and lots of strip malls and how each town is filled with ancient, red roofed buildings.  I miss hearing my kids babble in another language and encountering strange new facets of culture that I’ve never seen before, each week.  Frankly, I’m dreading August, no school, no camp and no friends – but, before I know it, all that stuff will start up again, another summer will fly by and I’ll be back here for good – missing these things with no way to go back to them.

mini_HPIM1940So, here we are with the parents again.  Left, you can see my father in his natural habitat.  This, of course, is sitting in ‘his’ chair while reading ‘his’ paper.   Every day he reads the New York Times, the Washington Post and 2 local papers.  All my life I remember my dad reading papers, his car being simply filled with papers and the not so musical lilting of his voice as he so frequently yelled: “Where’s my paper!?” (substitute ‘book’ or ‘magazine’ for paper as appropriate)  I remember, as a kid, aiding my mom in the constant battle to keep ahead of the piles of newsprint.  There was an unfortunate period in the evolution of recycling when we had to tie up all the papers with twine in small, grabbable stacks, and separate slick paper from regular newsprint…. I have no idea how many hours I wrapped up papers, but I’m sure it pales in comparison to the efforts of my mother, who still fights the battle to this day.  Of course, I inherited my most prized possession, my own love of the printed word, most likely due to all the reading my father did.  I know that, no matter how bad things seem, I can always rely on books.  Thanks, Dad!

Of course, we did all the fun things Duckhaven has to offer, such as playing in the clubhouse, reading with Grammie and Grandpa, building with Lego’s, canoeing and sea-biking on the pond and lots and lots of snuggling.  See pictures below!

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Omini_HPIM1961n Monday (or was it Tuesday??) we had our super fun day out.  We went down to the beach and swam around in the Pacific.  Despite the overcast, slightly rainy day,it was incredibly, massively crowded, the kind of crowd where your blanket is only a foot away from the blankets around you – but that’s part of what makes the beach so great.  Lakes mini_HPIM1964can be too full, but the ocean is a vast and endless playground, and the sand just never runs out!  Zander has always loved the ocean and spent at least half an hour just crouching at the edge of the sand and letting the waves crash over him, laughing madly.  (I think he may have a slight masochistic streak).  Callie was nervous at first but then warmed up and had an amazingly fun time riding the waves with me and Daddie.  Griffin mostly hung on the beach with Grammie, who wasn’t going to get wet, but, in typical Grammie fashion, ended up encouraging Griffin to the edge of the water and then having to grab him when a big wave came and almost knocked him down! Our hero!

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  We showered off and headed for the movies.  We went to see Up, which was fun and excellent, but, as per most of Pixar’s latest movies, partially went over my kids’ heads.  I mean, Zander didn’t even know that the wife was dead!  OK, maybe that’s a good thing, but still….  We ended the night with a Chinese buffet.  It was super delicious!  Thanks Mom and Dad for such a fun day.

mini_HPIM1942 The next day we did ‘special time’ for all the kids with Grammie and Grmini_HPIM1943andpa and even I got to go out to lunch with my own mom!  I miss her so much.  We spent lots of time packing up our belongings and ended up buying 2 more new suitcases.   I don’t know how we are going to make it home with all this stuff! All the kids have been particularly well-behaved throughout this adventure, I’ve even gotten several compliments on their behavior, particularly Zander’s.  He has really matured in the past year and we are so proud of him.  I think I realized I hadn’t gotten a good shot of him with Grammie so I wanted one – but it was tough – you can see how he was feeling about leaving his best bud.  He perked up a bit for a shot but everyone was a bit out of sorts on this last day together.  Here are a couple of videos to send you off – one of Grammie and Griffin playing tinker toys and one of Grammie and Callie, talking about wrinkles. 

And that’s the sunset to our adventure this time…. This photo was taken off their dock. Our next blog will finally be back in the land of blundering misadventure.  What can I say about my family but that I love you to infinity and more – and you are what I miss the most when I am gone….  maybe a visit this year??? (OK, I know it’s not going to happen, but I would be wrong not to express my desire anyway!)

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