Friday, December 26, 2014

Superheroes with bed head


The Black Nightmare

The Red-Hot Lava

The Pink Fairy

The Silver Streaker

Their alternate identities, thanks to their Canadian grandparents

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

'Twas The Night Before Christmas (Freeze Family Edition)

I thought of writing this entire post in rhyme mimicking the original poem...but it's already past midnight so I threw that idea out the window.

'Twas the night before Christmas, and at the Freeze house...

We draw pictures (we're halfway through our second ream, thanks to four children who start drawing the minute they wake up)

We decorate with paper. Because it's pretty and it's cheap!

We are tearing apart our master bedroom/bathroom, putting in a shower, and installing a sleeping loft. There is plaster/cement/rock dust everywhere.

Which means we are sleeping on the living room floor. See our mattress next to the dining table?

We have beams and plywood and other building materials inside and out

We also bought a big Jacuzzi corner tub for our other bathroom (floor model! 1/3 the original price!) and are storing it on the bed in Ivy's room. This means I have to curl up on a tiny spot on the bed to nurse Ivy at night. Kind of a pain. Oh, and to get it in the bathroom we have to open up a hole in the wall :)

We have art on our walls! (on loan from an artist friend)

We are reupholstering our daybed

We are making and eating lebkuchen

That's our night before Christmas!

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas meal at a French public school

This Thursday our public school served a special Christmas meal for lunch. When I read Zari's menu, I had a "we're not in Kansas anymore moment." You'd never see anything like this back home!

Au menu de Noël:

Bagel de saumon fumé et ses légumes croquants
Quenelle de brochet, sauce américaine à la bisque de homard
Riz pilaf (bio)
"Ma bûche créative!"
sur la base d'une bûche patissière traditionelle
Chocolat de Noël

Christmas menu:

Bagel with smoked salmon and crisp vegetables
Pike quenelle with tomato-wine sauce and lobster bisque
Organic rice pilaf
"Decorate your own Yule Log!"
on a traditional Yule log pastry
Christmas chocolate
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nice at night

Last week we went on a walk to see the Christmas lights. It was drizzling but warm. All these places are just a few minutes' walk from our front door!

On the Promenade du Paillon is a structure reminiscent of the off-shore Casino Jetée-Promenade, built in the late 1800s and destroyed in 1944 by German troops. You can see the fountains of the Miroir d'Eau behind the casino. The kids ran and rode their scooters through the water. Amazing how they don't care if they get wet even in cold weather.

The original casino circa 1891. This was at the height of Belle-Epoque Nice, when the English came down in droves during the winter season. Hence the walkway along the ocean named the "Promenade des anglais."

Ferris Wheel on the Place Masséna!

Place Masséna

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Why we moved our family to France

We made this 5-minute video about our family's decision to relocate to Nice--who we are, why France and why Nice specifically, some of the risks and challenges of leaving our life back home, what we were looking for versus what we ended up with in an apartment, and our life now in Nice.


Why we moved our family to France from Rixa Freeze on Vimeo.
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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

A somewhat melancholy post

Ivy and I have lots of one-on-one time during school days. During the mornings I can pretend that I'm a mom of just one child instead of four. We go on long walks, run errands, clean the house, go to the park, or just side by side as I read and she plays with toys.

Ivy is little enough that I can pretend she's still a baby. She will be our last--barring some extraordinary circumstance--and I am already mourning the loss of her babyhood. It's more than that, really; it's the end of a stage of my life as a young mother. As long as I have one baby, I still feel like I am in that group. But it's coming to an end. I'm not sure if I'm ready for the next stage of my life. I keep thinking of what's coming and honestly I don't know if I'm very excited.

Parenting keeps getting more complicated as my kids get older, and I miss the sheer joy and simplicity of raising babies. I don't have much to look forward to once I no longer have a baby underfoot. Teenagers? Bleh. My kids turning into adults and leaving me alone? Sob.

So tell me I have something to look forward to. Because I thinking of growing older and aging and getting wrinkles and health problems (okay, maybe some of this is a long way off!) and my kids getting bigger and none of it seems interesting. What I'm trying to say is: having newborns and babies has been, for me, the Best Thing Ever and I don't know if anything else can make up for the loss of that part of my life.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ivy is 20 months old!

What's new with Ivy?

I suppose Ivy is a toddler, not a baby. But I still think of her as a baby. It's wishful thinking to stave off the inevitable growing up.

Molars #3 and 4 are peeking out

Huge uptick in the number of words she says. Occasionally she puts two words together: "no, mine" or "big ball" or "Zari shoes."

She's still waking up 2-3 times a night to nurse

Loves naps with grandma

Kills me with her cuteness. She gets so many smiles from passersby.

She would rather walk than ride in the stroller. This suits Inga just fine; more often than not, I'm pushing Inga while Ivy runs alongside with her bouncy toddler run.

So smart, so aware of things, and often so stubborn if she has her mind set on something

Loves to take baths (who doesn't?) and gets screaming mad if I turn the shower on instead. But she is happy to shower if I'm in with her.

Loves her siblings. Loves watching fish and cat movies on YouTube. Also asks for the movie Epic by name all the time (we borrowed it from our neighbor last week). She pronounces it "Epic-ah."

And is our growing soccer team!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ivy's epic story

On Zari's birthday, Ivy started telling a story. It was epic. She included dramatic gestures, earnest facial expressions, and carefully timed pauses. It lasted at least 20 minutes. I caught a few minutes on film.

If only we knew what she was saying.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Calling all breech mamas

I am passing along a message from a researcher, Karol Petrovska, collecting responses from mothers who planned vaginal breech births (regardless of outcome). Here's an excerpt from the survey:

This study aims to explore experiences of women who have been diagnosed with a breech presentation late in pregnancy and plan for a vaginal breech birth.

This survey is aimed at women who have planned a vaginal breech birth at or close to full term in the past 7 years. We are interested in your experiences regardless of whether the final outcome was a vaginal breech birth or a caesarean section. Sharing your experience with us is greatly valued and your views will contribute to improving care provided to pregnant women with a breech baby.

This survey is requesting information about your decision making process for planning a vaginal breech birth. It should take approximately 20 minutes of your time to complete.

Karol is working with Professor Caroline Homer and Associate Professor Andrew Bisits from the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. If you qualify, please take a few minutes to add your experience!

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Sunday, November 09, 2014

Zari's baptism

Zari was baptized today.

It was one of Those Days where everything goes awry and you somehow pull through. We spent much of yesterday baking cookies and cakes to share afterward. I finished sewing the sash for her baptismal dress last night at 10 pm. And of course, I *had* to come down with fever, chills, sore throat, stuffy nose, and achy body. Great timing. And Ivy decided to wake up 4-5 times.

Also our printer broke so I had to borrow our downstairs neighbor's printer last night to print the program and the violin-piano duet that my mom and I played. This meant that we weren't able to practice the music until today during church.

The biggest craziness today was a major plumbing problem at the church: the hot water ran out after just a few minutes, so the water in the baptismal font was cooooold. Several men formed a bucket brigade and were heating pots of water on the stovetop and pouring them into the font. It turned the water from ice-cold to just kind-of-cold. Zari was a trooper, though, and didn't fuss despite the cold dunking! "It wasn't quite as cold as the ocean!" I warmed her up afterwards with a hair dryer.

In the end, it was a lovely day for our family. My mom and I both gave short sermons (mine was en français, bien sûr!) before our duet. We sang my all-time favorite hymn "Souviens-toi, mon enfant." And we feasted on Lebkuchen cookies (my German grandma's recipe) and brown butter pumpkin cake (sugar cut in half for the cake batter).

Because I am a birth nerd, I worked in some stuff about birth. Baptism is, after all, a symbol of re-birth...emerging from the water and from darkness into the air and light. It's not every day that you get to talk about amniotic sacs at church! Haha!

[Sermon text below]

Je suis très fière de toi, Zari. D’être baptisé est une décision très sérieuse parce que c’est le début d’un long voyage. C’est le début d’etre discple de Jésus. C’est le début de ta nouvelle famille quand tu prend sur toi le nom de Christ.

Après ton baptême, tu va toujours faire partie de notre famille Freeze, mais tu vas aussi faire partie de la famille de Christ. C’est à dire que tu fais partie de tous ce qui habitent dans cette terre.

Tu sais que nous sommes tous les frères et les soeurs, même si on a les parents différents, parce que nous avons les mêmes parents Célestes. C’est pour ca que Jésus nous a dit que les 2 grands commandements sont d’aimer Dieu et d’aimer ton prochain.

Je sais que tu as beaucoup étudié, tu as beaucoup pensé, et tu as beaucoup prié pour savoir si le baptême était une bonne décision pour toi. J’espère que tu a les mêmes désirs d’aider et d’aimer les un des autres que le peuple dans Mosiah chapitre 18, versés 8-11 :

8 Et il arriva que [Alma] leur dit...puisque vous désirez entrer dans la bergerie de Dieu et être appelés son peuple, et êtes disposés à porter les fardeaux les uns des autres, afin qu’ils soient légers;
9 oui, et êtes disposés à pleurer avec ceux qui pleurent, oui, et à consoler ceux qui ont besoin de consolation, et à être les témoins de Dieu en tout temps, et en toutes choses, et dans tous les lieux où vous serez, jusqu’à la mort, afin d’être rachetés par Dieu et d’être comptés avec ceux de la première résurrection, afin que vous ayez la vie éternelle —
10 Or, je vous le dis, si c’est là le désir de votre cœur, qu’avez-vous qui vous empêche d’être baptisés au nom du Seigneur, en témoignage devant lui que vous avez conclu avec lui l’alliance de le servir et de garder ses commandements, afin qu’il déverse plus abondamment son Esprit sur vous?
11 Et alors, lorsque le peuple eut entendu ces paroles, il battit des mains de joie, et s’exclama: C’est là le désir de notre cœur.

Maintenant je vais parler un peu du symbole du baptême. Qu’est-ce que c’est qu’un symbole ? C’est quelque chose qui nous rappelle de quelque chose d’autre.

Le baptême est un symbole de 3 choses à la même fois. Premièrement, le baptême est un symbole de la naissance. Comment ?

Zari, quand tu était un bébé dans mon ventre, tu grandis dans un sac d’eau. Quant tu était née, tu est sortie de l’eau et tu t’est trouvée dans l’air. Aussi, tu est sortie de l’obscurité et tu t’est trouvée dans la lumière. C’est la même avec le baptême—tu sors de l’eau et tu entres dans l’air est dans la lumière.

Le baptême est aussi un symbole de la mort—mais pas seulement de la mort. C’est un symbole de la mort et de la résurrection. Quand on est mort, notre corps est atterri dans la terre—dans l’obscurité. Nous croyons, nous espérons que, à la résurrection, nous serons ressuscité. C’est à dire, nous croyons que nous allons avoir un nouveau corps, que nous allons sortir de l’obscurité et rentrer dans la lumière.

Donc le baptême est un symbole de la naissance, de la mort, est de la résurrection. C’est un symbole de l’espoir que notre vie n’arrête pas a la mort mais que nous allons continuer a vivre après cette vie sur la terre.

Pour finir, je veux te dire, Zari, que je trouve le symbole du bapteme extremement émouvant et précieux, parce que c’est un symbole d’un acte essentiellement féminin. C’est seulement les femmes qui peuvent donner la vie aux autres.

Quand Jésus a choisi ce symbole, il a montré qu’il apprécie les femmes autant que les hommes. Souviens-toi qu’après sa mort et sa résurrection, Jésus est apparu premièrement à une femme, Marie, et que Jésus a enseigné les femmes dans un temps quand c’était interdit. Après avoir eu des enfants et devenue mère, j’ai gagné une nouvelle compréhension du symbole du baptême.
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Sunday, November 02, 2014

Last week in pictures

Most of these come from my mom's camera. I'm usually the one behind the lens, so I love having pictures of our whole family together.

Heading out on a walk

Face painting before soccer practice on Wednesday

Trip to Monaco on Thursday

Beach pictures from Friday


The port in Nice

Birthday cake!

After church we visited the Franciscan monastery & gardens in Cimiez.

My favorite part is the sunken herb garden at the far end

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