Our Modern Family



Axelle Is In The Hizzie (pt. three)

We made our way back to Axelle’s home and headed over to her aunt’s new house as she was making dinner for us that night.  Axelle would be heading out to a big birthday event for two of her friends, so this night we would be left on our own to figure out any translation issues…but it would not prove to be a big deal.

It was easy because as I had mentioned earlier, Axelle’s aunt and uncle both spoke pretty good English.  In addition, we met another of Habiba’s sisters and her boyfriend who also spoke very good English.

We got a tour of the new house to discover a funny French obsession with America.  Her aunt had indicated that the upstairs had New York everywhere, and she wasn’t kidding.  In several rooms there were picture scenes from New York, and in their 13-year-old son’s room there was a mural of New York on one wall and his bed spread had different American images including President Obama saying Yes We Can…Jenn and I couldn’t help but laugh. Continue reading “Axelle Is In The Hizzie (pt. three)”

Brian est dans la cuisine (pt. deux)

We took a three-hour train ride from Paris to Chambery where we were greeted by Axelle and her parents (Habiba and Oliver aka Tye).  I shook Oliver’s hand and then went to give Habiba a hug when I realized that in France an introduction starts with a kiss on both cheeks.  I awkwardly went the same direction, but we finally figured it out.  By the end of the trip I would be a cheek kissing fool.

Her parents could not have been any nicer and Axelle instantly began the task of translating all of our conversations.  I was amazed at how easily she bounced back and forth between the two languages.

Shortly after we arrived at her house, several members of her family came over (again I was awkward with the kiss greeting).  Axelle’s aunt also spoke English and her husband spoke a little bit of English and you could tell he was very excited to try it out.  As we sat down with Axelle’s family, it was neat that we were now seeing this side of someone who was such a big part of our lives for a year.  Dinner lasted until about 11, and then exhausted from a day and a half of traveling we went to bed. Continue reading “Brian est dans la cuisine (pt. deux)”

Brian Is In The Kitchen (part one)

In high school I took German for four years.  Besides a few basic phrases, a few bad words, and then a few more that we made up, I really don’t remember much. There is one thing though that you can ask any U.S. student who took German and they will know…Kennst du Ingo? Nein Ingo ist mein fruend. This was the universal chapter one dialogue that you learned.

Well apparently the same holds true for the French. They all know that Brian is in the kitchen with his sister (or girlfriend depending on who you ask) Jennifer…and with that dynamic sentence the English language is introduced…just like Jenn and I as we arrived in France.

Besides the fact that I would affectionately be known as Brian on this trip, I quickly learned a few other certainties about the French: Continue reading “Brian Is In The Kitchen (part one)”

Down With The Sickness

So we can only be thankful and count our blessings that in Nolin’s 13 months, he has never really been sick.  At the same time it kind of makes you realize how unprepared you are for it when it comes crashing down on you.

The fun began Father’s Day. My whole plan for the day was to take Nolin on a bike ride now that he and Jenn were back in town.  In the morning he just seemed off, but we figured that was just him getting back on schedule from traveling. When he woke up from his nap, he was sweating and Jenn got a little nervous, but we decided to wait for a little bit because after all, Nolin doesn’t get sick. Continue reading “Down With The Sickness”


Axelle, Jenn & Nolin Halloween '10

As the darkness settled in and the temperature dropped to a blustery 81 degrees, the ghosts and witches began to descend upon our neighborhood.  This year they were joined by another terrifying creature…The Penguin (do-be-do-be-do).  Ok, let’s be honest, Nolin’s costume wasn’t too fierce, and he will probably hate us when he gets older for making him wear it and showing all of his girlfriends the pictures, but I thought he was the coolest Penguin ever.

This was the first real fun holiday that we have had a chance to participate in with Nolin.  It was even more fun because Axelle was in town to celebrate with us.  We took Nolin to the pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins and let him play in the hay.

Nolin and His Big Sister

We also took him to a Trunk-or-Treat event at our church on Saturday.  We pulled up in our car with a bowl of candy only to find about 50 cars completely decked out.  Suddenly our car with a bowl of snickers and skittles didn’t seem to be as exciting.  Needless to say we discretely parked our car elsewhere and just walked through.  Nolin was mesmerized by all of the people in costumes and all of the decorations.

Then the big day arrived.  Nolin slept almost the entire day to save up for his big night as The Penguin.  We only went around to a few houses, but the routine was pretty much the same each time.  I would walk up to the door with Nolin and say trick-or-treat, he would kick his feet in uncontrollable excitement and Jenn would announce to our neighbors that the candy wasn’t for Nolin, but really for his daddy…awesome.

Full Bag of Candy

When Nolin’s Halloween bag was getting too heavy (aka apparently he had enough candy in it to keep his dad happy) we headed back home for dinner.  We only had a few trick-or-treaters this year.  Two were our neighbor’s boys, who Jenn had commented I guess you are not dressing up for Halloween this year, to which they replied no we are going as nerds (insert foot now).  I have to admit I had a good laugh at that one.

As Jenn’s mom headed back over to her house for the night, she called back to say she was scared to drive down her street because there were hundreds of kids walking around.  We thought how could there be so many kids one street over when we may have had 15?  Nolin was in his pajamas, but we put his penguin hat back on and went exploring…we discovered this is where Halloween lives.  This is where the party was at.  There were still hundreds of kids, a ton of adults dressed up handing out candy in their driveways and haunted houses constructed in their front yards.

I couldn’t believe that this had been going on for years so close to our house and we never knew.  I guess when you become a parent, you start to open your eyes to everything else around you.  I now can’t wait for next year when Nolin will be able to celebrate Halloween like I remember it as a child.


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