Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back to NS

So, just less than a month after arriving in SC, I turned around and went back to NS. Paul had work at home for a week and then we had a week booked at Milford House with my parents and sister. The trip home was a little easier - we had the new Jeep and less stuff plus Isabelle had done it once before and I knew what to expect. We left early July 3rd with a picnic lunch and plans to stop somewhere along the way for lunch. We did well in the morning with only one stop before lunch. We stopped at Shot Tower State Park in southern Virginia for lunch. Virginia is a nice state to drive in - pretty roadways, clean rest stops and this nice park not far off the interstate. We had a quick lunch, a walk for Maggie and then headed on.For an afternoon stop we went to Lexington, VA. This was the site of the great meltdown of the trip to SC but I thought we should see it again. Sure enough, we missed a neat town. A little like Wolfville, with a university (Washington and Lee), some neat shops (see the 4th of July window below) and, most importantly, some good ice cream. Definitely worth a return visit when we have more time. Since we were travelling on the holiday weekend, we booked our hotels ahead of time. We weren't sure about how heavy traffic would be both on the roads and in the hotels so rather than risking sleeping in the car with the girls... Our first night was in Winchester, VA, we probably could have pressed on but Isabelle and I got a swim in before dinner which always brightens her mood. As with the trip down, it was too hot to leave Maggie in the car for any length of time so dinner that night was quick at a staple restaurant around here Chik-fil-A. For fast food, it wasn't too bad and maybe better than some other options. In the morning, we packed up early and got on the road. I really didn't like driving the stretch from Scranton, PA to Harrisburg, PA so I suggested that we change our route. At Harrisburg, we left the interstate - had a detour by Hersheypark, a little more off the track than I intended, and then got on the 78 headed for Allentown, PA, NJ, NY and our destination for the night, Danbury, CT. We debated stopping at the Crayola Factory in Easton, PA but decided to leave that for another trip - another thing on the 'things to do' list! We also saw the biggest Cabelas I have ever seen in Hamburg, PA. In New Jersey, we stopped in Flemington to go to an LL Bean outlet and a break from driving. While Paul and Isabelle were shopping, Maggie and I saw a deer in the parking lot. From Flemington, we skirted NYC on the 287. It was hard to believe we were that close and not going, again, something for another time. I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of traffic, there were very few transport trucks which made the driving seem a lot easier (says the navigator).After the Tappan Zee Bridge, we took the Sawmill River Parkway towards Danbury, CT. It was a pretty drive especially after a long day on the interstates. Paul and Isabelle got a swim at the hotel before dinner at Bertucci's, a chain Italian restaurant which was pretty good. The 3rd day, we didn't have to hurry since we were only going as far as Portland, ME to stay overnight before boarding the Cat on Sunday morning. So, we meandered through MA, NH and ME, stopping at another LL Bean in Nashua, NH and in Kittery since Paul had missed out on Kittery on the way down.We had another good ferry crossing, a lot more people than in June but by no means crowded. Isabelle had fun colouring and doing crafts. Customs in Yarmouth was very fast. Rhea and Sam, were in Saulierville with the rest of the crew, waiting for their move to CT. Paul went off to the Valley for work Sunday night. Isabelle and I stayed on a couple of days before setting off to spend some time in the Valley.We managed to get the girls together a couple of times before going back to Saulnierville for the weekend. Paul and I went out for dinner with some of his colleagues at the Union Street Cafe in Berwick. As usual our meal was excellent, thanks to the Weirs for taking Isabelle and Maggie for the evening! We had a good visit with Paul's aunt and uncle from SK and on Sunday went to Milford House for a whole week! The weather was very warm in Nova Scotia but I couldn't complain, it was still cooler than what we had left in SC.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This just in...

This afternoon, Isabelle asked for a car. We said no.

Settling In

We are still unpacking. This house has lots more room than Belcher St. but we are missing our built-in bookcases and the unit Paul and his dad built for the TV and Isabelle's toys. Paul has rearranged the garage a half dozen times but since, ideally, we would like to be able to put one car in the garage, he won't have the space he did in the basement of Belcher St. for all his tools and kayaking gear.

Isabelle has made friends on the street - there are two families each with three girls and other families with one and two children - the youngest ones are 5 and are nice playmates for Isabelle. Most families in our neighbourhood seem to have taken some extended vacation over the summer, including us, so the last week was the first chance Isabelle had to interact with everyone. Battery operated cars for kids are popular here - Isabelle has been learning to drive the neighbour's cars and, so far, hasn't asked for her own. She is getting a bicycle and helmet for her birthday so, hopefully, she won't be asking for one anytime soon - not sure what we will do when she does ask...Isabelle has a orientation day this week at her new pre-school. After some debate, we have chosen the Montessori School of Greenville. There are tons of choices here for pre-school: every church seems to run a program in addition to quite a number of private schools. The Montessori School offers a five morning a week program which, I hope, will prep her well to either continue there again next year or to move on to the Michelin School where she will be taught under France's school curriculum. We are quite adamant about having education in French since we have the opportunity.

And with that, we are trying to encourage her to speak french as much as possible. She is very stubborn and often refuses now but in the coming weeks we are going to step up both her and our use of french. I have been lucky enough to find a friend in the subdivision with a daughter a year ahead of Isabelle and a son a year behind who is french-speaking. She has included me in a couple of informal gatherings of french-speaking moms so I hope this will help too.

I haven't found a local stamp club yet but have entered two exhibits in a show in Atlanta at the end of September. We will all go for the weekend to see some of Atlanta including the zoo and our closest IKEA store (did someone say bookcases?). After that Paul may be travelling a bit but with Isabelle in school I will stay here.

Well, this by no means brings us up to date, there are lots of adventures to tell about and a few good restaurants too! More to come...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Not....in the mood

Sorry to have been away for so long - I just haven't been in the mood to blog. I think I am still on Milford House time. I have lots to write about: a trip to Nova Scotia (and back); a week at Milford House; a visit with my mom; good restaurants; good shopping; Isabelle's school (which starts on her birthday!); the Greenville zoo; and some upcoming events - trips to Columbia and Atlanta for all of us and some trips for Paul for work too.

So, I guess this is just a teaser so I will try to get going on some posts this week.