My current occupation as a teacher is as an Online Teacher with students in Kindergarten through grade nine. I help set-up individualized programs for my students, suggest resources, provide weekly feedback on learning samples, do home visits three times per year and write two report cards. In my world as an online teacher, everything is individualized for the student. Yes, every little thing! Parents are free to use any resource from any grade, with some supplementation when needed. Students can work on their individualized plan throughout the year or intensively for months and set-up the schedule that works for their family’s rhythm and any activities that they choose to schedule.
Sidenote: I LOVE THIS HOME LEARNING LIFE!!!!!
In the last three years, I have worked with over twenty-five different families, totalling almost fifty unique students. Out of these fifty students, I have had four students whose families have wanted their children accelerated through the grades that they are currently in. This means that they felt that their child was exceeding what was expected for that particular grade in the nine or ten subjects that they were enrolled in with me: Math, English, Social Studies, Science, ADST, Art, Careers, Christian Studies, Physical Education and a Second Language, if they were in grades 5 through 9. Yes, they believed that in every single subject their were not only above the grade level, but they needed to be in the higher grade. This has put me in a terrible position as the educator “gatekeeper” for this process to happen. I have had a mom scream in my face, inches from my face. I have had a mom have every email and ever conversation revolve around acceleration. I have had mom’s question why I didn’t think their child should be accelerated. And I have had to get really crystal clear on my thoughts around accelerating children, which was never a discourse that I had had in the years I spent in the public campus schooling system.
First, I think all children are amazing with unique gifts and talents. Truly! I see such gold in all the students that I have the privilege to work with over my 23 years of professional teaching and many years before that through coaching and camps. I have never met a student that I didn’t genuinely like. I see preciousness in all of them.
Second, I believe that if you are in favour of and allow for acceleration that you must also be in favour of and all for retention. And, I would NEVER encourage retention for any reason. I have worked with a student in grade seven that was born with part of his brain missing that functioned intellectually as age five, but whom fit in completely with his grade seven class with the support of an EA. (Educational Assistants or EA’s really are saints!) I worked with a hard-of-hearing student in grade six, who had difficulty communicating, but could write like Shakespeare. I also had a student who couldn’t sit in his seat nor focus when someone was verbally speaking to him. He needed to move and have visual cues. Imagine if any of these students’ were “retained”. What needed to happen is that, I as the teacher, needed to be “retrained”. I needed to see what supports and programs needed to be put into place to support this student and their learning style so that they could be with their peers. Retention would not have solved anything. Retraining of me the teacher changed everything.
If we have this flexibility in the online learning world plus I fully believe that retention is never an option, how can I support acceleration?
If a child is bored, try hands-on learning or games.
If a child is flying through their resource, choose a different one or let them fly.
If a child needs greater challenges, have them take an online course or write their own problems to solve.
If a child is wanting to be with a friend in an older grade (yes, a parent has even given this reason to me for acceleration), they can learn patience to meet with their friend after school or at other activities.
These two words really mean to me that we need to retrain ourselves to see what the child is needing to do to learn in the best way possible.
Stepping off the soapbox today!
Have an epic May long weekend and love what you do!
Hi Mom’s and Dad’s that have chosen to give up or change their careers because a wee one came into your life, I am sitting with you as I write this. Grab a cup of tea and strap yourselves in… I have a major wondering today.
Do you ever have a sense that your career changed in an exorbitant way because of your wee ones arrival on earth?
I have been thinking about my time on earth and my career a lot lately as I continue working through the gift of grief that my mom gave me in 2013. Yup, almost 10 years since that fateful day that our Super Nana died and I began my personal journey experiencing the finality of death.
With incredible clarity, I took leave from my career when our oldest came into the world almost sixteen years ago. I was a teacher, coach, volunteer and an advocate of campus education, but when that blonde haired boy with that straight edge part and blue eyes came into the world, my life pivoted and my career path changed forever. I never stepped back into a campus classroom full time and I have never wanted to. I am proud of the fact that I could help keep things simple in our family’s life by being the person “on the home front”. I never wanted someone else to raise my children or see their “firsts” or major milestones. I wanted to be the person to spend the most amount of time each day with them. We are only give twenty-four hours in each day. Those first few years on one income as we added wee one #2 and #3 were years of focus and frugalness, but our family never did without. We went down to one car, bought a home with a suite, took in international students, cut cable and reduced our expenses, by as much as possible, through figuring out what our needs versus wants were.
As the kids grew older, I took forays into selling Hawaiian Green tea directly to customers, ventured into Referral Marketing of health products, worked as an online teacher at a Vancouver-based school and even worked in my dream job as a part time Physical Education Teacher at an elementary school. This is what I wanted to share about today and is the reason I decided to write this blog post . This P.E. teaching job was absolutely perfect for me. I worked a half day Monday and full days Tuesday and Wednesday. I had the gym doors open every single day at lunch for the students. I felt that I could be creative in the physical literacies that I taught and truly impact the school as a whole in terms of health and wellness. I had personal time to train for and race small triathlons on the weekends. PLUS, I could be there for my own blue crew on the four days I wasn’t working as well as not work momentously long days doing prep for my teaching job. BUT, the boys didn’t enjoy getting themselves to and from their own campus school in grades 1, 3 and 5. They began fighting a lot and being unkind to each other on a level that reminded me of growing up when my mom went back to teaching when I was in grade 1. My dream job was no longer my dream job as I left to work with upset kids at 7:45am or came home to chaos at 4:00pm. Due to my family of origin and sibling experience, I have a very low tolerance for my boys treating each other like a-holes just because they are related. The dream career came to a clear closure.
I changed my career in an exorbitant manner yet again. I said no to a returning contract as a Physical Education teacher and came back home full time for the next few years. During 2020, I was drawn back to work as an online teacher again at a new K-city based private school, which I love, but isn’t without some friction within my family.
During this winter season, I have often wondered, what would I be doing if I hadn’t changed my career in such drastic ways. What would my days look like? Where would we be living? Who would I be surrounded by? I am not sure if any other mom’s or dad’s can relate, but I sometimes wonder if I have given up too much. This life I lead working from home is often lonely, isolated and takes a lot of personal motivation/momentum as I don’t walk the halls or share daily energy with any colleagues anymore. I have always had big dreams, an ever growing thought life and a vision of making a major, positive impact on the world around me. By keeping my vision narrow and focused on my family, perhaps I have lost the bigger picture of my life.
Well, I must admit now that as I sit down and type this, that JC is our guy that I was most concerned about and most excited about this year as he was growing and learning. At the end of last year, fourteen year old JC had decided to stop doing gymnastics since starting it at 18 months old. In our experience in watching children as teachers, grade 8 or 9 is not the ideal time to be stopping activities as you have to wonder what will take the place of the activity? He was also getting quieter and quieter as his voice changed and he was our quiet one to begin with. Lastly, he started talking in one syllable words, with the predominate word being “good”. Oh no, what other changes were ahead for us?
This year, JC really grew in so many tremendous ways and it has been so fun to see his passions develop and catch fire. JC developed skills in the media arts, drones, photography, video-making, producing, writing music, pottery, and stunting. JC is now a pro at Adobe Premium Pro, Unreal Engine, 360 degree camera and GarageBand.
After encouragement from people placed in his life at the perfect moment, JC moved from gymnastics to competitive trampoline in September. He had success after success in the gym each week and has been keen to learn new tricks daily (like a half-half and a Rudy-out). In his first in person competition, he stuck all his landings and showed what a ‘gamer’ he is. He won 1st all around for British Columbia (level 1-4) in April and did amazing at Western Canadians in June.
JC continues to really loves hanging out with his brothers and his Winnie, skiing the Prospector Terrain Park, cross country skiing, reading and having time to create! It’s in these in-between moments of time that JC really thrives. His imagination always takes him to interesting and fascinating places. He made a cardboard Ironman mask one day, created a stunt where his younger brother, CC, flew through the air and through garbage bags covering a doorway and also worked alongside his little brother, OC, to make fascinating Lego building another day.
Now that we have made it to the end of grad nine, it is really hard to believe our oldest is going into high school next year, with a hybrid twist! (More to come about the hybrid twist!)
P.S. And yup, no pics again. Anyone know someone that works at WordPress and can give this loyal 10+ year blogger some more storage??
Do you find your middles are always stuck in the middle? I thought that I would begin this sequence of blog posts by updating everyone on our middle guys journey over the last few years of this home learning life. Yeah for middles for adding spice to our lives.
CC moved out of French Immersion in grade four and came home starting in grade five. This was an influential time for him. His confidence was at an all time low as there were some boys that were very unkind and we realized that his learning changes were far beyond what we thought. He was receiving sporadic support at school, but nothing like he needed. He now receives weekly tutoring for one hour plus I work with him daily for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. In all areas of learning, his confidence has grown and he is seeing himself as a capable learner now. WHEW! We dodged a bullet on this one. We really didn’t leave the “campus school system” because we were unhappy. Our sole purpose was to create flexibility to travel with Sexy Neck and to take a “radical sabbatical” from the grind of everyday life. Here’s the full story! God really did have us in the palm of His hand, in more ways than one, when we started this in the fall of 2019, especially for our middle guy who’s life has been enriched by all the people who have loved on him, listened to him and shared in his learning over the last three years.
As CC finished off grade seven on June 10th, we realized that he had so much life and love POURED into him this year. He achieved his green belt in Taekwondo at Quest Martial Arts and now has his name on the wall as a member of the Black Belt Club with Mr. Rowe and family guiding CC in such a loving and disciplined way. CC was able to experience his first bus field trip when he went with Daddy and his international students to Vancouver. For fun, CC played soccer and basketball, did his first rail jam event up at Apex ski resort, and started refereeing in soccer. CC also did scuba diving, golf and swimming lessons this spring. CC LOVES his Goldendoodle , his new hat from Village Hat Shop in San Diego and every second with his brothers plus singing with his teacher Janel. He is very proud of the fact that he finished his first album “Sensation” containing 10 original songs. This guy really does love performing! He also staged a strike against a movie choice, strongly disliked our squid and eyeball dissection, as well as skied, skated, hiked and enjoyed every second learning in the world!
If you ever can’t find him, CC would be found working on his remote control cars or building one of his ideas in the garage using his hot glue gun or one of his daddy’s tools. It is a fun ride with this guy’s quick wit and super sense of humour. CC’s current goals are to be a truck driver, inventor or “puppy hugger”. As you will see over the next three blog posts, we definitely aren’t raising robots or mini-me’s. Helping the boys find their passions while exposing them to as many different situations and activities is our mission. This homelearning life has literally and metaphorically exploded since taking the boys out of a large box called “campus schooling”. We are grateful we were brave enough to give it a shot and grateful that our country allows choice for how students learn. Thank you Canada!
P.S. Sorry for the no photos. WordPress is really not allowing much storage on my ten year old ++ blog and I don’t want to stop this writing train now that I have gotten it started again. TOOT TOOT!
What happened after the “Radical Sabbatical in Europe” Joanna? I have been asked this question many, many times in the last 2.5 years. November, 2019 feels like a few months ago. So much has changed, hasn’t it? I wonder what has changed for you?
First, before we get into the newspaper headings from our lives, I want to send you a big hug with my eyes with the few more well-earned wrinkles around them. HUUUUUUG!
Second, here’s a few highlights since November of 2019 (and WordPress cut off my blog because I had used up all my storage!):
We are now on year three of our Radical Sabbatical and we are calling it “Best of Both Worlds”. After living at the ski hill for TWO, yes count them TWO University school years, we moved back to the city in May of 2021. We have been living here in the city and commuting on weekends to the ski hill, hence “Best of Both Worlds”.
The home learning life continues. We are going into year four of learning outside of a physical school setting and I truly wish that I had done it when the boys were younger. The boys are thriving and finding their true passions. The boys and I work together, as a team, each morning on specific learning mostly related to writing, numbers, French, Social Studies and Science. Afternoons are full of outside time, art, music, making things in the garage, hanging out with neighbours, classes and activities. It truly is a richer life than I could have ever expected. (Future blog post coming on the pitfalls and blessings of this type of learning!)
Sexy Neck has changed jobs! He moved back to the city where our house is to be one of the leaders in charge of a large 400+ student International Program. Coming from a program he led with 100+ students, this move has been a huge shift for him and our family. Yes, we are still happily married and we celebrated 25 years in May. WOOP WOOP!
In the spring of 2020, I was getting asked many questions about home learning and as a teacher, I felt called to head back into a school to help other families. Next year, will be my third year working with Heritage Christian Online School (HCOS), working with 15+ families per year (@40 students). I guide each student’s learning, meet with them, suggest resources and report on each child’s learning twice per year. I have done this job previously in 2015-2017 and I feel a real “calling” to be with this school, at this time, working with my exceptional, lovely, amazing, fellow home learning families.
Another questions I often get asked, are you still with Isagenix? Yes, yes, yes, yes. I am a lifer and we enjoy the #isalife every single day. My life sharing Isagenix looks a bit different now, as it fits in the corners of my days behind my faith, family, friends and teaching, BUT I will always be passionate about health, helping people with their goals and guiding people on how to use the Isagenix products. After doing 12 events in 5 years, I don’t see many events in my future, but one thing I have realized in these last years is that I truly love one-on-one contact with other human beings. At the events, I would have preferred to be stacking chairs or helping people register or wiping down sinks in the bathrooms that speaking or standing on a stage. I love these products and the people it has brought into my life. If you are one of those people that has asked me about Isagenix in the last 8 years, I am truly blessed that you asked, trusted me and shared your health journey with me. Yup, I am truly a lifer.
“The boys” are now going into grades 6, 8, and 10 in September. I cannot honestly even explain the growth that they have had the last 2.5 years. Our oldest is now taller than me! Our middle guy is going for his blackbelt in Taekwondo and our youngest is thoroughly enveloped in learning about Policing and being a Conversation Officer. They are such fun kids to hangout with too! More coming on “The boys” soon.
December of 2020, we introduced Winter, a goldendoodle, into our family of five. Winnie is truly each of the boys’ first love and they shower her with attention, walks, cuddles and lots of time together while they learn at home. (If anyone remembers our labrador, Summer, the name will make perfect sense!)
Lastly, tonight, I wanted to tell you that I will again be regularly blogging, sharing the journey that I have been on these last few years and also what’s coming. I realized the other night that often we talk about the pregnancy, baby and toddler stage way more than the teenager stage. Who remembers talking about breastfeeding, first foods, which diapers to buy, organic crib mattresses, milestones, toileting and so much more ad nauseam? As our second guy turns 13 this weekend and we are going to have two teenagers in the house, I want to use this energy they are creating by talking ad nauseam about this important stage in children’s lives. Strap yourself in folks, it is going to be a fun ride.
I love you all dearly, back soon! (well at least sooner than 2.5 year. HAH!)
Ahhhhh Germany! I am sure I have ancestors here because it always feels like home. Most of my ancestry is English, but it is possible that I could be German as my grandfather Jenkins was adopted.
Steve arrived here late last night via train from Dusseldorf to Frankfurt. He has another fair tonight in Frankfurt showcasing his school district. What a cool job he has!
We all slept in this morning then enjoyed a multicultural buffet breakfast where one child had sausages and egg, another noodles, another rice and sausage. I had miso soup and granola with yogurt and Steve had his traditional croissant with ham, cheese and jam.
We decided to do a walking tour to see what we could discover and find some lunch. We followed the red line starting in the west at our hotel across from the Hauptbahnhof. It was a magnificent walk. Cities were built around water here. Not like Canada where most were built around train stations in the middle of nowhere.
1 self-driving bus.
1 Maclaren seen in real life.
Copious amount of steps. ( My Garmin is dead and I can’t find my charger!)
1 lunch in a restaurant above the Markethalle.
5 lit candles and prayers for Grandma, Nana and our boys at the church.
3 more handstands.
1 chamomile tea ordered that ended up being a karmel alcohol-free beer. (I don’t even like beer 🤣 and it wasn’t too bad!)
One thing I LOOOOVE about Europe are their parks and non-vehicular spaces. The symmetry of the trees and the imperfect spaces as well as the non-cement paths feel good for my soul. I think we use way too much concrete and spend too much time maintaining our parks in Canada and we have too few defined spaces and too much grass. 🤪
We had an amazing time just walking along the river and through the pedestrian paths of the old city today. Even in the sprinkles of rain, it was beautiful and divine.
My very creative husband took the next couple of photos. Man, do I love this man. He is such a genius in so many ways: in business, in education, as a man, with photography, with drawing and even guitar playing!! What a gift to spend this day with him in Frankfurt.
Friends, what is it about boys and farts…🤣 this is the exit sign in German… which will now become a permanent sign in our home.
1 failed attempt to find another RC store.
1 awesome park found instead.
Daddy dropped off at the airport for a flight to Hamburg.
2 Berliner (donut) and 1 pretzel eaten today.
1 large “STILL” water bottle.
1 bag of Haribo coke bottles.
208kms to our next “field trip”.
Going back to 1272 in the German medieval city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
One of Steve and I’s favourite German cities.
Walls all around it.
Staying in a family-owned Gasthaus inside the walls.
And oh so beautiful for a one night stop.
We decided to try the Gasthaus Goldener Greifen. It didn’t disappoint. Take a look at the view from the third floor looking down on the street and the dinner was delicious. The boys are loving the potatoes pancakes, apple sauce, cheese and bread.
In the evenings, we have been doing stretching and writing in journals. I bought all the boys each a special black journal and wrote a blessings for them for this trip. It’s beautiful to watch them immerse themselves in writing and drawing. It’s such a great way to debrief our full and fun days. I am enjoying spending some time each evening, connecting with my customers, looking at photos from the day and recapping what we’ve done. The boys have told me they want to do this whole trip again.
Guten Nacht with a final handstand photo from today and our walk to see what the wall around the city actually looks like. It’s thick!
Tomorrow, we will walk the mile around the wall that encloses the city and see what we discover, before heading farther south into Germany.
Traditional German breakfast at our awesome, cozy hotel in the centre of town.
3km walk around the city, mostly on the 500+ year old walls.
3 head bonks.
3 toques and 4 pairs of gloves.
1 Christmas store with automated teddy bears and a very cool woodworker.
1 church visit.
Many church bells ringing on this Sunday morning.
A walk in the fog and the sun.
Oh what fun!
When we were walking around the city walls, the boys were pumped at what they could see through the archer’s windows. One thing they spied was a wooden castle playground. After driving out of the city walls, we went to play at the playground before heading south to Munich on the Autobahn.
214 km drive to Munich.
Driving 150 km/hr in the slow lane.
1 stop at a resthof.
70 cents to pee.
Check-in at Brunnenhof Hotel near Marienplatz, the centre of Munich since the 1200’s.
WARNING: Nylons and short skirts are back in style over here (coming soon to North America), Canada Goose jackets are more popular here than in Canada, jogging is a huge deal over here, bikes and biking paths rocks and yes you can eat too many croissants. Cleansing tomorrow!
Monday, November 4th.
5 hours of driving, broken into two parts.
2 bags of cookies.
2 bags of Whey Thin protein crackers.
1 bottle of water.
All used as sustenance for this day of transition.
From France to Belgium.
From past to present.
From past dreams to present-day dreams.
We left our cozy, sweet sixth floor Paris hotel room on Monday, November 4th to start out European road trip after picking up this sexy station wagon:
We had two special places we want to show our boys: Vimy Ridge and Harnes, France (which will be furthermore known as the Armpit)
First, Vimy Ridge. A place to remember. A place to learn. A perfect place to be in November (or any time of year!) We went through the tunnel and the trenches, soaked up the information in the new museum and had a private tour of the monument. God even gave us a rainbow, like He did on the top of the Eiffel Tower.
When we lived in Harnes for one year, I used to come running on this land, given to Canadians from the French because of the significance of this Ridge during World War One. Being back in this place as a mother, I was touched by the Mother Canada statue at the front of the monument and all the mothers that have been affected by war. I am grateful for our country. 🇨🇦
After Vimy Ridge, we made a quick tour of the town where Steve and I spend our first year of marriage. Steve was playing professional volleyball for Harnes and I played a bit and coached ten year old boys volleyball. We found the gym with the cement floor and our old apartment across from the canal and coal excrement hill. I wish we had a video running as we drove into the village. At the time, we were surrounded by great teammates and didn’t realize what an armpit that we were living in. No train station. A little rough around the edges, a bit smelly and really in the middle of nowhere. An armpit.
We arrived in Brussels around 6:00pm. With time to checkin to our uber cool, mostly young person’s Meininger hotel/hostel and wander through Brussels and find an awesome Italian restaurant. We closed down the place!
Bonne Nuit sweet friends from room #401. (Every room number is an individual work of art here!)
10,396 steps walk
A quieter day at our hostel hotel.
Buffet breakfast (9.50 Euros for each adult and 4.95 Euros each for the boys)!
Yes, we did have Belgian Waffles. The boys were very surprised there wasn’t any maple syrup.
We had a morning of math and writing in the common area then zipped to our old favourite discount grocery store, Lidl, to pickup food so that we could make lunch and dinner ourselves today.
The arcade games behind us have been a huge hit. Old school driving games and some pinball too.
From living three years over in Europe, we knew that concrete ping pong tables are at every school and almost every park. I tucked four paddles and some ping pong balls into our suitcase. We plan on many days of playing. We had this ping pong table one block away.
Today was CC’s turn to plan an activity and he researched and chose the chocolate store, Leonida’s.
CC didn’t find any chocolate that he liked!
These chocolates looked like a white mushroom with a chocolate, caramel filling. Wow!
We then walked and visited the famous Mannequin Pis. I hesitate to even post a picture because the surprise we received when we visited the statue….hmmm… maybe I won’t post a picture. Nah, I think I will leave the Mannequin Pis as a surprise for all of you.
After visiting the statue it was time for dessert before dinner – more Belgium waffles and some ice cream too!
We finished off the time in the city with a few handstands in the City Hall square and listening to some beautiful accordion music.
Evening was spent cooking together with four other multicultural groups and talking about a hilarious reality tv cooking show in a hostel where no one speaks the same language and there aren’t enough pots, plates or cups to go around. Plus, you are so tall that you keep bonking your head on the vent and one burner on the stove keeps randomly going on. After the hilarious and hot kitchen, dinner tasted good.
Goodnight from Brussels. What a spectacular view our room has looking across the canal towards the city and the lit up Ferris wheel.
Our last full day in Brussels, Belgium involved wandering, waffles and a wonderful adventure to pickup our superfood nutrition from a friend of a friend who we had it delivered to. More room in our suitcases for presents for friends.
After saying “au revoir” to Daddy who will be working in Berlin and Düsseldorf for the next two days, we decided to try and find the Ferris wheel that we have been watching out our window in the evenings. We found the Ferris wheel plus stairs and concrete barriers to do parkour on, a construction site to watch and eat more Leonida’s chocolate at, a skateboard park, and many poles to “kong”. (To think I didn’t even know what konging was a week ago!)
It was CC’s choice for our meal today and he chose a waffle place. Imagine waffles with anything you want on them or in them. Our oldest had a smushed waffle sandwich with hamburger and cheese plus one with caramel for dessert, the other two had ham and cheese and then one with whipped cream for dessert. It was a memory making meal and a favourite for our boys. If you are travelling in Belgium or France with kids, Waffle Factory would be a safe bet for the family (as long as you aren’t looking for any fruits or vegetables!)
After our waffle meal, we went on a cross city journey to retrieve our super food box. This beautiful soul below received our package and allowed us to pick it up at her house. We are looking for partners in Belgium if you know anyone who lives there and is into helping people get healthy and wealthy!
We finished this day off with a hallway workout and a few more races on those old school video games in the common area.
Oh and I have to show you one of the bikes that captured my heart. I love this country for their biking culture: the trails, the bike shops, and the bike themselves.
Gooood morning from Brussels and goodnight from Frankfurt, Germany.
3 hour and 58 minute drive.
18 minutes in the Netherlands.
1 stop at the awesome “rest stops” on the side of the Autobahn. 50 cents for the toilet.
Side note: I was surprised at how many Burger King’s, Starbucks and McDonald’s are now available at these Autobahn rest stops. Twenty years ago, these rest stops were a highlight because of their uniqueness and you never knew what you were going to get.
We did get yelled at for not knowing that the ketchup dispenser had a foot pedal, so that kept things real for us.
Oh ya, on our way out of town, we had CC’s last choice for activity: Driving to a RC Car store, apparently the last RC car store in Belgium. The owner, Bernard, was THE BEST! We were able to hear stories about his story, his family, his businesses and all the trophies that lined the entire store. It was a blast. The boys were super happy and CC was pumped to walk away with a race car he can fix up.
After enjoying the RC car store and our Autobahn experience as well as seeing many churches in the distance, we arrived in Frankfurt!
We are pumped to be staying at Monopol hotel across from the Hauptbahnhof with a breakfast buffet, free mini bar, a bathtub and a hotel that has a door that swings out. (It’s the little things that these boys are finding interesting!!)
After checking in, we took a cruise across the street to the train station to have our first German pretzel and see what a train station looks like. It was as spectacular as I remembered. The book and magazine store was delicious. I loved watching people bustling around and the whooosh as the trains pulled into the station.
Guten Nacht sweet friends. We love you ♥️ and if you have made it to the end of this entire blog post air hug 🤗 and high five!! Leave me a comment so I can send them to you!
Pure excitement for the screens with movies, tv shows, podcasts, games and music on the seat in front of us.
Plus wifi while flying through the air too!
1 yummy airplane meal.
Copious amounts of water.
Lots of veggies from home, 2 meal replacement vitamin-shakes so no one gets a bungled up but.
3 hours of fitful sleep.
1 lost water bottle.
1 lost hat.
1 Uber drive.
1 random security screening and tears from our eight year old. (It is the second time he has been randomly selected for hand swabbing)
10:05am Arrival in Paris
1 hotel in Montmartre that actually looks exactly like the pictures in the online photos. (Hotel Migny Opera)
Sacre Coeur, the highest point in Paris and very close to our hotel.
Danone pudding cups. Oh man, do I love these delicious things. I would never eat them at home, but the dairy products and bread here are just oh so delicious.
Gotta love parks that have workout equipment. Plus fooseball, two playgrounds, a fenced in soccer/basketball area plus a ton of benches to sit on.
Amazing multi-purpose random parks where Sexy Neck ends up in a “dip” contest with other dads.
Hot Crepes. Who loves Nutella?
Pain au chocolat. Oh my.
In bed at 5:00pm to get our bodies onto this new time zone.
November 1st, 2019
14 hours of time in bed.
We made a mockery of the incredible French breakfast buffet and showed our boys where our love for jam, ham and cheese on bread came from.
We have the smallest elevator in our hotel! This is an actual real-life photo.
In our travel with our boys, we have realized one event per day is the perfect balance for us.
Today’s event was a Natural History Museum our eight year old picked out.
From the hotel.
On the metro.
To the Jardin des Plantes.
A misty walk.
A longer line than we are used to.
It was awe. some.
From the garden and zoo surrounding the museum, to the century old building that house the museum, we were in awe.
Then another metro ride to the Champs d’Elyssee for dinner.
3 metro rides.
One where I saw a man watching Steve buy our metro tickets. Then I saw the same man go through a turnstile with a woman, pickpocket her phone out of her jacket then proceed to give it back to her. I have learned that pickpockets use distraction and bumping into people to take things. The women didn’t even know he had gone through the turnstile with her. She thought it was just sticky.
5.5 hours of walking, talking, holding hands.
1 French dinner at Alsace restaurant.
1 priceless second day in Paris.
3 sweaty subway rides which were a nice reprieve from the cold wind.
1 canal boat ride along the Seine River.
3 bottles or Orangina and hot drinks by the “contained” Notre Dame Cathedral. There were high barriers around the property. We told the boys they will definitely have to go back.
Back to our hotel and 118 steps up a spiralling staircase to our room for a pre-dinner rest. We chose to be on the sixth floor. Steve and I decided that we will choose a place with a ton of stairs when we are 70 years old to keep us active!
Dinner at the highest point of Paris, Montmartre beside the Sacre Coeur.
Another beautiful day in Paris.
Cobblestone under our feet.
A quick pop-in to the LEGO store for the boys and H & M for me.
2 more Metro rides today.
We went to my favourite museum on earth, and it was free because it was the first Sunday of the month. If you love museums, checkout their free days and always note what day they are closed. It’s usually one weekday.
Off to my pick for this part of the trip: Mussee D’Orsay.
Two hours in the Museum D’Orsay was a hit. We climbed up to an observation deck on the fifth floor of the old train station and we asked the boys to see if they could recognize any of the artwork as we wandered around. We had a fun treasure hunt. But, I will admit that the biggest hit was the free virtual reality machine that gave the boys a two minute tour of the museum from the train station’s development over time.
16, 673 steps.
Over 700 of those steps straight up to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower.
Up in the day and down in the night is highly recommended.
Also, instead of accessing the Eiffel Tower from the plazas, come in from the side on Avenue Silvestre de Sacy. My boys found the sellers quite noisy and strange when we came from Pont d’lena yesterday to check out the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower truly was an inspiring and incredible place to visit and I know it will ignite many future conversations with our family.
At 6:30pm, we arrived back home to our hotel for a simple picnic dinner while writing in journals and looking at and sharing photos amongst our devices.
We are very grateful for this day!
We saw concrete evidence of art in action and what a “rough draft” and “final copy” looks like! Yup, always a teacher!
We discovered a rose placed on a fence below the Eiffel Tower that reminded us of our beloved Nana in heaven:
We stumbled into an obscure Starbucks after a very rainy walk from the Museum D’Orsay to the Eiffel Tower:
The sun came out for our trip up and down the Eiffel Tower and we even saw a rainbow🌈:
Steve and I have THE BEST travel partners in the world!! No complaints. Easygoing. Flexible. Great communicators of their needs. And so MUCH FUN!
This Mama’s heart is overflowing.
🚙 Today, we are off to visit the town used to live in in Northern France and also Vimy Ridge. Then Brussels, Belgium tonight for the next three days.