Friday, December 31, 2021

"Le choix du Roi"


They have a saying here in France, when you have a boy and a girl, “Le choix du roi,” the choice of a king. During the middle ages, a King needed a son to pass on the crown and a daughter to extend the lands and power of the kingdom through marriage. Therefore, to have both a son and daughter was ideal. As a peasant, I am honored to have been gifted the choice kings. We are so rich, for a healthy baby. He was born one month ago, in a pool of water at my mid-wife's home, with the help of his father who caught him. His arrival onto earth was magical. 

His gender was a surprise, we had wanted it that way; but I knew all along he was him. His name is Anthéor. We named him after a pristine place on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea near where we have some of our apiaries over winter. Jorris and I have fond memories of this wondrous place where earlier in our relationship as young wwoofers we’d spend weekends working on the apiaries of our wwoof host Philippe and camped in the J9 (camping car) with a most spectacular view of the sea. Now we have our own hives there and hope to share these memories, which happened what feels like so many moons ago, with our son Anthéor one day.  

We love the way the name sounds too, like a strong knight, courageous and honorable. So far, Anthéor lives up to the strength implied by his name. He kicks his legs and pushes himself on our arms to get up over our shoulders in the position he likes while making a squirmy-cute determined sound. Sometimes, he even stands on our thighs when we hold him upwards. He doesn’t cry very much, only when he is very hungry or wet and cold. He has a calm and sweet spirit. He smiles a lot and often. They tell me the smiles are just tics and he doesn’t know yet why he does them, but I disagree. My son smiles because he is just a happy baby. 






It’s that smile that rekindles my own spirit, one easily bogged down by the combination of sleep-deprivation and the everyday to-dos of caring for another little one and household. Thankfully, Roua, who is one and a half years old, is a great big sister. She adores her brother, caresses him gently and brings him his blanket. She has moments of being clingy towards me, mostly before bedtime, but other than that, she hasn’t shown much signs of jealousy. Watching her interact with him is the most joyful thing to witness.

Anthéor lives up to the chivalrous nature a knight’s name as well, having waited for Mom to celebrate her birthday and have a Thanksgiving meal the next day before coming. I’m sure that nourishing meal shared in fellowship powered me up for birthing him. I had contractions during my birthday Friday, while vintage shopping with the family, and then throughout dinner and movie that night with Jorris, into Thanksgiving lunch the next day Saturday, then the real work began and early the next morning on Sunday he was born. My Mom tells me that I too waited for her to have a last giant Thanksgiving meal at my grandma’s house before I came. 




I wonder if babies are just as nervous and excited as we are when they are about to be born. I imagine so. Imagine diving into a completely unknown world! If my theory is correct, Anthéor is courageous because towards the end few hours of labor, Jorris and I felt him kicking and wiggling about inside, like he was also working to find his way out, brave and ready to see the world that awaited him. I felt like he helped me in a way. 

As we come near to the end of another year, I am feeling reflective. November alone offered us so many opportunities to celebrate. The birth of our son Anthéor, my 33rd birthday, the 9th anniversary of this blog, a Thanksgiving meal of our dreams with my American bestie from New York Hilary and her family...the last date night for Jorris and I, at least for the next few years. 



I’m not one for resolutions, but if I have one wish for the new year; it’s to remember how rich we are even in the most challenging moments of parenting when it can be so damn hard to see the kingdom we get to live in, with nature, the bees, a garden, people to call family and friends. I wish to continue cultivating that loving-kindness and patience towards myself and my family, everyday. I wish to be present and remember to enjoy my babies and my husband and garden and home even if there is a pile of dirty laundry on the floor and last night’s dinner dishes in the sink. I wish to choose not to let those little things bother me. It’s ok. There will always be dirty laundry and dishes, but my babies will be babies only for a short time. I want to look back on these baby years when they are 20 and remember us having fun with them rather than complaining about not sleeping enough or eating cold food, or not showering or not having time to do those other things etc. Because I know that by then, I’ll be wishing they were little again so I could hold them as I did when they were babies. So, here’s to savoring these moments gone by too fast. Santé to you and yours. Happy New Year. Thank you for being here, always. 

 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

A New Season Awaits


There’s nothing more humbling than a warm bowl of homemade butternut squash soup and some crusty sourdough bread. Oh wait, there is! If that butternut squash came from your garden and the sourdough bread is from your own starter. I had this such experience the other night with my Roua baby; well, I suppose she is technically a toddler now?!??? But, in any case, I still love calling her my Roua baby. 

Papa was away working with the bees in the Lavender fields. Sometimes, like that night, he camps over so he can get work done over two days, checking on our other daughters and their Mamas and the brood babies. So, it was just Roua and I, like many times over the summer actually, just the two of us, well, technically, it was the three of us. 

Yes, three! Roua and I and baby in my belly enjoyed our first butternut squash soup of the season. I am 29 weeks pregnant, just into the beginning of my 3rd trimester. Baby was just as happy with the soup I suppose, as I felt little kicks, between sips of smooth soup (thanks to my new blender toy Jorris gifted us as a 3rd wedding anniversary present) and bites of toasted seeded-sourdough bread slathered with butter. I’ve been experimenting with adding seeds again to my breads and this particular combination of pumpkin, flax and poppy seeds is especially wholesome and fragrantly delicious. I think it’s mostly the pumpkin seeds being toasted that add such flavor. Roua mimicked me as I dunked my bread into the soup before a bite. Of course we saved a bowl for Papa. 




The earth has been good to us and offered a beautiful bounty of pumpkins and butternut, corn, tomatoes, courgette, zinnias, cosmos and sunflowers...my favorite were the success of the sunflowers this year (thanks Sophie!). It was a small garden. We kept it simple; mostly because I could only do so much with my growing belly and a toddler to care for, but we enjoyed so much of our garden and thank her for all the food and lessons she has provided us. 

 


The sunflowers, who I had transplanted as baby plants which I got from my friend Sophie, struggled in the beginning, but my oh my have they established themselves and bloomed in such glory. They have been my greatest teacher this summer. I had planted them around June and patiently waited until September, watering and caring for them until they got tall and I could see little yellow petals peeking out of the green bud. I remained patient. Some moments I felt they would never bloom, but deep down I knew better. Mother Nature knows better. Then, the first bloom appeared on a day when I was having a hard time. I didn’t expect it at all and just happened to wander into the garden and the moment I saw that sunflower just magically like that, bright and yellow, I was reminded to cheer up and stay hopeful, that there is always beauty brewing and bountiful, we just have to be patient and believe. 



 

Despite the small size of our garden, I had never planted and gardened with such intention and thoughtfulness into where and what I planted. It was a giant milestone of an experience, a maturation as a gardener, I suppose. I envisioned how the white cosmos would grow in community next to the zinnias and why I wanted to plant it where I did, sort of at the entrance of the garden as to be inviting. And it turned out to be just that and this one plant of white zinnias has taken off and added such beauty to our land. Their purity and positive energy make me happy each time I enter the garden, and Roua adores them too, as she does all flowers and the butterflies who visit them. And of course, the garden plans herself as well and Mother Nature crafts gorgeous pockets of flowers and vegetables that I could have never imagined on my own. 

We also got chickens this summer! They have been such a delight. We have four for now and they are well-behaved and gift us their most delicious eggs for omelets, mayo, red fried rice, and pancakes, just to name a few delicious things we make with them. We got them from our neighbors Lolita and Dorian. They were their favorites but they didn’t want to mix them with the other new flock, so after careful consideration, offered us to be their new family and we gratefully accepted. The chicken house mansion, which my beau pere (father-in-law) built last year, is now put to use! We now have a chicken house with chickens! I love watching Roua interact with them. She helps me feed them food scraps and is about their size so it’s adorable to watch her waddle around and try to pet them. 

This week actually she has been successful at gently caressing one of the brown ones and the chicken stopped moving and spread her wings and Roua petted her so sweetly with her fingers spread wide and palm stroking the soft feathers. She managed to do it again another day and that time, laid her head gently on the chicken’s body. It was the sweetest thing to witness, my baby being so kind and sweet to another being. I had a proud parent moment. 


The bees have been good to us this season. They have made a lot of honey and we are so thankful. It’s been an intense period of juggling work and family life and couple life; but it’s September, fall is approaching and life is slowing down a bit so we can spend more time together. 

Still some preparations before baby arrives, and hopefully a little family holiday before then. I can’t wait to see Roua as a big sister. She’ll be amazing. She already blows baby raspberry kisses on my belly and gently pets my belly when she notices it. It’ll be so tender to see Jorris as Papa to a newborn again and for us to have a cozy winter together, nestled by our woodstove with homemade crusty sourdough bread and soup. Until then, I can patiently wait and savor this pregnancy, especially each little kick and wiggle I feel inside this abundantly amazing belly and body I am so honored to embody.

Cheers to you, thank you for being here, and may a new fall season invite you too to slow down and enjoy your family!




 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Happy 1st Birthday, Roua!



Last weekend we celebrated our Roua baby’s 1st birthday! It was a beautiful day, joyous and heartwarming. All our friends were content and happy, as were we and Roua seemed to be as well. It was a sunny Saturday afternoon, perfect summer weather for a garden sourdough pizza party! 

I ended up making 8 pizzas, just as I had planned! Go Penny! I had fed Penny a few days before, mixed the dough and then just started cranking out pizzas on the morning of Roua’s bday. It worked out really well with the timing, and with a few friends coming later, I was able to take a break and enjoy the party, making the last two pizzas in the evening. 

I had made a few chanterelle pizzas with creme fraiche and chives from the garden. The chanterelles we had harvested a few autumns ago in the mountains across from our house. I had rehydrated them and they were just as delicious. The other pizzas varied, margarita with just tomato sauce and basil from my potted basil, then a veggie pizza with summer veggies of courgette (zucchini), aubergine (eggplant), onions and garlic, always garlic, can’t forget the garlic! They were topped with parmesan cheese and mozzarella and emmentel cheeses. One pizza had just onions and garlic and parmesan,  and it was delicious too. Overall, I received good compliments about the pizzas, mostly at how tasty the dough was. Thank you Penny! Roua thoroughly enjoyed her slices of pizzas too! 



Celebrating Roua brought friends from near and far. Our neighbors down by the bridge who also have a little baby were not able to join since they had another party to attend, but Dorian made an appearance and gifted Roua a drawing he had made of her the other day when she was over playing at their house. It was a beautiful piece of art and on the back, Lolita had written the sweetest messsage for Roua. Jorris' and my heart melted. Dorian stayed for a drink and then had to run, but his presence and their present for Roua was so touching. 

From far our friends from Digne came. Lise, Roua’s American bestie and her mama, Hilary, my American bestie and Papa Franck came. Lise had also just turned 1 two days before Roua! We were in the same birth preparation class with the same midwife. It’s been so wonderful and healing to have an American bestie like Hilary to write to and talk with, sharing in the experiences of Motherhood together. I am so grateful the Universe brought us together. 

After a delicious lunch including various salads from our guests, it was time for cake. I had made strawberry cake with lemon curd and vanilla buttercream frosting. Although we had a good strawberry harvest this year, more on that later, there wasn’t enough for the cake. But I had happened to see Lolita the day before explaining my predicament casually, thinking I would just stick with lemon curd, and she offered her garden strawberries which are an incredibly fragrant and sweet variety, mara de bois, the essence of strawberry-ness. I am so grateful for the community we live in. 




Of course, it was just like me to have never made a layered cake before and just make 2.5 on the first try. I stayed up until 2 am the night before the party and quite frankly was running on adrenaline at some point, but I pulled through and am so proud of my cakes! I really wanted to make Roua her own smash cake for her birthday and that goal just stuck with me, so I had to do it, or at least try. I am so happy with how it turned out and it tasted pretty good too. I did every step from scratch. The only thing I did “ahead of time” and only a day before, was make the buttercream. But now I know that you can make all these little steps a few days, sometimes even weeks before if you freeze them! I will take this into consideration the next birthday! 





We sang happy birthday, both in French and English. During the serenade, Roua had her serious face on, the one with the wrinkle between her eyebrows. She got that from her papa. It was so funny. I had made a candle from our beeswax. The wind blew it out. Philippe had sweetly tucked the wick between the rock and sign down at the bridge for me the day before on his way to work. See? Amazing community we live in, right?

At first, Roua was more interested in eating the candle then the cake and it took her some time to warm up, and help to break into, but eventually, she tasted her cake and I think rather enjoyed it. It was so satisfying for me to witness. What was more satisfying was how our friends enjoyed it too. I managed to save a few pieces for those friends who couldn’t make it. And had a sliver with some coffee for myself the next morning. 








Roua opened some sweet presents, played in the kiddie pool with the other kiddos and fell asleep wrapped in a towel in Sylvaine’s arms. Party well done. Then, a sprinkle of rain came, so we went inside and friends began to leave. Dan and Sylvaine stayed for tea and coffee and we got to catch up on each other’s lives, how our trip to the US had been in May, my brother’s wedding, their home improvement projects and summer plans. It was nice just to sit with them. After they went home, we had a few hours just to relax and then the last guests showed up, Philippe and Celine. I fired up the oven again and made the last 2 pizzas. We ended up having a candle-it dinner in the garden. Roua was in bed. 

And Philippe, always with thoughtful poetic gifts, gifted Roua a frame of honey from one of his hives from Roua! This is where Roua is named after actually, this natural place in the mountains where the dirt is red and where back in the day when we had first met, Jorris and I were just two wwoofers helping out Philippe with this hives there. Roua tasted her gift the next day and I’d say she appreciated every drop of the golden liquid on her little fingers. 





Reality turned out better than my visions for her birthday. Just seeing and feeling all the love Roua has all around her from all these truly genuine and caring people made me feel so happy, that she is so loved. And, actually, this was her 3rd party! She actually had 2 while we were in CA and also showered with love from all her cousins and Great Aunties and Uncles. I suppose as a parent, knowing your child is cared for and loved by more than just you is an assuring and easeful feeling.  

It was just what we needed as a family and couple. The bee season has been quite intense this year, honey flow is excellent but that means so much work and only us, so balancing family life with work life has been challenging for Jorris. As for me, watching over Roua most of the time has been challenging too. But the good energy we got from the party set us up into a better place, rekindling our spirits, reminding us of why we chose this life to begin with. Seeing friends and getting together to celebrate our daughter was just what we needed to reset perspective on our life here, to step back from the everyday chaos and just admire for a second the beauty of it all. When I take a moment to step back from the chaos of daily life and routine, and look at Roua, it’s such magic that she exists, that she moves with her own life force, that she smiles and talks and laughs and climbs and has even taken her first few steps. In just one year this sweet little baby I birthed is evolving everyday into her own little person, little but with big personality. 




I suppose it’s our own birthdays also, in a way. Roua’s 1st birthday marks my first year as a Mother and Jorris' as a Father. I take a deep breath to reflect briefly after typing that. What a whirlwind of wondrous and wild experiences, what suffering, what beauty, what growth. Thank you Roua for giving us a chance to celebrate you my love and for one year of magic with you. Mama and Papa love you so much! Happy Birthday, honey!


Sunday, April 4, 2021

Happy Easter!



While we are usually not big on the Easter celebration, Uncle Kevin gifted Roua a beautiful vintage dress that screamed, “Wear me on Easter!!”…so we were obliged to, and had so much fun. Uncle Kevin had given it to us over Christmas, worried it might not fit Roua when Easter came around, so I hope this post makes him happy because it fit her perfectly! 

Actually, we did this yesterday, before Easter. We had fun, Oma, Roua and I, mostly Oma and I, I think, playing dress up and taking pictures. Only one egg was cracked, but Oma caught it in time and I ate it for lunch. 

This morning I opened my bedroom shutters to a chorus of birds as the garden greeted me with her fresh scent of morning dew. It was surreal, a dreamscape. The bees are busy, the birds are singing, the buds and blooms of the trees all around us are bursting with white and pink flowers brightening the pale winter landscape. It's been warm and beautiful this last week, but we are not totally in the clear yet. Frost is still possible, so we will take care to wrap our flowers when the time comes next week as the forecast predicts. 

The surge of new energy and life all around has me feeling so profoundly grateful. There is new life everywhere we look. Spring is here. Mother Earth awakens from her winter slumber. Within every egg comes the possibility of life, as within every seed. When I look around and see the carpet of the earth in bloom with different types of tiny flowers of all the colors of the rainbow, and in the most intricate shapes and patterns, I can't help but smile at the sheer miracle and beauty of our world. I suppose even though we don't celebrate Easter, I like the idea surrounding it of celebrating spring time and new life. It's hopeful and bright. These days especially, we must cherish each of our hopeful and bright days. May your day be bright and beautiful!








 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

9 Months In & 9 Months Out

 

Roua is 9 months old

Easter is tomorrow and yesterday we celebrated Roua's 9 month birthday, neuf moisiversaire we say in French. We took a drive to the city in my little saxo that could and went to a beautiful children's book store, full of gorgeous books and toys. It was very classic and old-worldy, with only the best illustrated books and toys, hand-selected for sure. To me it was like an art museum. Roua enjoyed gazing around at all the pretty colors and pictures as I carried her in the baby carrier. Of course, Oma spoiled Roua and her friends. I think Oma might have had more fun than any of us. It was endearing to see her excitement at all the books and toys. The parking was tough, but we managed to squeeze onto the end of the street just before the crosswalk. It was so worth it. Despite being in yet another covid lockdown here in France, we are managing to find ways to enjoy life, no restaurants but why not bookstores. 

After that it was a stop at Satoriz, our organic local food store, where we loaded up on bulk foods which we had been running low on. It felt good to replenish our food pantry. As head chef of the household, I always feel I can cook at my best with a full pantry. Roua swooned everyone in the store of course, and delighted in playing with the carrot tops protruding out of the basket cart. So many people asked questions about her and everyone who saw her smiled. She beamed back, as usual. And I beamed from a far, as she was with her Oma. I'm really the lucky one here, though. 


June 24th, 2020

April 3rd, 2021

I can hardly believe it's been 9 months since I was pregnant and gave birth to my beautiful baby girl. Looking back on this picture last year which was taken 8 days before Roua was born and the photo we took today, I am filled with sheer awe at the miraculous and magical changes of life force which governs us all. 9 months ago I was reborn as well, into the role of Mother, a role which has been the most enriching and profound gift of my whole life. 

If life is a movie, which in my mind it is, this would be the best role to play of my entire career. What a beautifully, wild adventure it has been to learn how to be a Mother and to learn about my daughter, to watch her change by the day, and for us to learn to be a family. Some days I just want to press the pause button and hold her close, smell her soft semi-curly hair and just watch her sleep, cradled in my arms. Other days, I just want to sleep in myself and she waits patiently in between us, nudging us to wake. 

I am so proud of Roua already: her fierce and determined will-power (diaper changes are always a challenge), how her 4 teeth have popped through and barely any whining, how she is almost walking, not afraid to experiment, and how she crawls so quickly towards me with that sweet smile which melts my heart every morning, how gentle she is to other babies and how she plays with other kids with non-attachment and only her pure presence. I love how she makes raspy, gollum voice sounds, sometimes saying "mum mum" and they way she loves to eat my sourdough bread and just food in general. I love how she has to touch and explore everything, breaking it a part to understand and discover it. Her curiosity and fearlessness for the world empowers me and inspires me everyday. Roua, thank you for choosing me to be your Mama baby, I love to more than I'll ever be able to show you. Happy 9 month Birthday, my love!!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

A Re-Cap



Happy Spring! We've been so busy living life, in our home, out in our garden....keeping up with it all and starting a season anew. Our second beekeeping season of Au Septieme Miel has begun and with that our garden. Oma, Roua's grandma, ma belle-mere (mother-in-law), is here with us from Holland and with her grace and love, I have the privilege of time for myself, shower, slow-drip Vietnamese coffee, yoga and writing this blog. Roua sleeps in her stroller in the garden as Oma works. I hear her singing songs in French to Roua and the clinking of the garden trowel against the rocky soil we have here. It's been on my mind for so long to write here. I miss being here at Garden Gallivanter. Finally, here I am with high spirits. So much has happened, and I've chosen to live mindfully with my fullest presence to my family, which is why I haven't been able to share here as I love to do. Do forgive me for the long absence. We are well and happy. I suppose I should just fill you in quickly, catch you up to speed with what life has been like these last few months, or at least draw a rough picture. While I haven't been writing here at Garden Gallivanter, I always write in my black notebook, so I thought I'd just write some entries here, bullet points really, and elaborate on some which I couldn't finish at that time. So here is a short re-cap:

December 19th, 2020  Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, CA, USA



Made it to Los Angeles! So happy to be home! Embracing my Mom was the best feeling.


December 25th, 2020      Azusa, California, USA 





Today is Roua’s first Christmas! Merry Christmas from Azusa, CA. We are at Nene’s house. The Christmas tree sparkles day and night with greens, reds and blues...Roua loves staring at it. Chill day together. Kevin and Steven are with us and Grandpa Ma from Texas. My heart is so happy! 


December 30th, 2020     Royal Oak, Michigan, USA 








Roua stands up pulling herself up for the first time! She used Uncle Kevin and Steven’s coffee table! Jorris and I caught on camera the 2nd time. It was amazing. She is so strong!!! 


January 4th, 2021 Azusa, California, USA






Roua eats carrot puree for first time! Her first “solid” at Nene’s house! Sweet moment to share this “first” for Roua with my Mom. 


January 10th 2021      Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, California, USA 


It happened in the same place exactly 1 year and 8 months ago where I said goodbye to my parents in a not so nice way, hurried off up the escalator to the zone non-ticketed people couldn’t travel to, not turning back for one last look and wave. Nope, I was too proud, tired, stubborn and stupid. The stress at the ticket counter over heavy bags and shifting weight around, yelling at my parents and the Norwegian Air desk woman, actually, more at my parents than at her which was so unfair....I had gone back to LA for not one but two Grandmothers’ funerals. It was intense. I kept strong for my grandmas, for my family, fighting through jet lag, emotions, etc, the passing of Grandpa Ma just a few months ago in February was still raw and I was still processing that on top of all this, so finally this was the catalyst of my pain and I broke, but wasn’t brave enough to take that pain on my own yet, so had to drag my parents down too when all they had been was loving and welcoming of me. Had I known the future that a pandemic would hit the world and soon our lives as we knew it would change so drastically and that I wouldn’t see them again until a year and a half later, I would have behaved so differently. 

Of course, how can we ever see these things until it’s too late. The biggest lessons in life are sometimes the most painful, often seen only through the lens of hindsight. This trip back home has healed so many wounds. Becoming a mother has made me so much more mature and understanding. I found little ways to make my Mom’s house more cozy and just took action, a rug here, some flowers there. Jorris and I found necessary projects around the house to help her with. We ate exquisite meals together, family-style, tastes of my childhood, each bite nourished my soul and brought me back to life again. My Mom was so sweet and cooked every waking moment and while she was cooking she was thinking of what to cook next! All while carrying Roua in the baby carrier and talking to her in Vietnamese. Oh the joy! This is where I had dreamed of being for so many months! I savour the moment. We squeezed a lot into 3 weeks. Spending time in LA, then flying to se my brother and brother-in-law’s new home in Michigan. It was Jorris’ first time to the mid-west, and of course Roua’s too. Roua was stellar on the plane rides, 6 total!! I was so proud of my girl. We had lots of boobie and she slept and played. Through those 3 weeks she had many firsts: starting purees, crawling, pulling herself up to stand with support of a table, two little bottom teeth popped through. We saw family in small visits to my Mom’s house where we were staying. With each of my aunts', uncles' and cousins' hugs I felt more and more reinvigorated. And introducing them to Roua was so fun and exciting for everyone. Going to book stores was soooo fun!! I got so many books for Roua and I, English books!!! So proud of how we really savoured each moment, Jorris, Roua and I....how Jorris and my Mom’s relationship healed and mine and my parents’ too. 

This time, at the same spot at LAX International Airport, the tears were of joy and gratitude for the beautiful time we got to spend together and all those hoops and barriers traveling during covid were worth it. I allowed myself to hold my Mom close and tight and cried. She cried too. And I felt a heaviness lift from my heart. We got onto the escalator to the zone where non-ticketed people are not allowed and this time Jorris and I and Roua turned to wave one more time at Nene before she walked away. My heart was happy and filled. I was re-energeized to do anything now, most of all, to be the best mom for Roua. At least one of my pains was healed so she wouldn’t have to bear it later. At least those tears I and I alone had shed. My Mom told me a saying in Vietnamese, “ Tears fall downwards”...we pass on our sadness and tramas to our children, this I thought as we sat in our seats on the plane ready for take off, at least Roua would be free of. And I felt proud of myself about it. I maintained my energy well throughout our trip, I felt, keeping things flowing well between everyone and it worked! Our intentions and thoughtfulness matter.







January 22nd/23rd, 2021   Wankdorf, Switzerland







Here for the weekend visiting Ton Ton (Uncle) Valentijn and Zia (Aunt)Benny! What a fun road trip! Roua did amazingly and slept most the drive with pit stops for eating and diaper changes...she had a few driving lessons herself...what gorgeous scenery on our road trip and the alps here are so grand and stunning. Will visit Tata Lisbeth in Alsace this weekend all together for lunch and Anne Sophie will be there! 








February 5th, 2021    St. Leger, France




Yesterday Jorris found our beloved Bodhi dead by the area of the honeyroom entrance. It was tragic. I was with Roua on the sofa when he told me. 

Bodhi looked beautiful and handsome, lying against the pole. He looked as if he were napping. We don't know how we died. He has no visual marks of injury. Perhaps a wild boar attacked him or a car hit him and he suffered from internal injuries? We were in Switzerland and our neighbors were keeping an eye on him. 

I cried. We buried him by the apiary here in St. Leger. Life is so fragile, every changing. Never will Bodhi pop through his cat door while I'm brushing my teeth, or lounge by the woodstove on the sofa curled beside us. 

Bodhi was kind, sweet, loving and brave. He liked Roua and was gentle with her even when she pulled on his fur. He will be missed so deeply. 

That evening, I had an appointment to talk with my best friend back in the states. I was tired from crying, just had dinner and had put Roua to bed, so was a little meh, but still made the effort to be there for the call and learned the wonderful news that she is pregnant! And, I jumped up form my slouching in elation and jubilation! 

Life is beautiful. Nature is balanced. 


March 9th, 2021    St. Leger, France

Roua receives her American passport in the mail after we had applied a few weeks ago at the US Consulate in Marseille! Now she has two passports and is officially a dual-citizen of France and the US. 








On that note...cheers to more adventures to come....