It seems a bit complicated at first, but in the end, it's quite simple.
Thierry has a daughter, Chloé by his second wife, Nicole.
Chloé has an older sister, Barbara, from Nicole's first marriage.
Barbara and Michel have two daughters, Émilie and Charlotte.
Thierry and I are the "adoptive" grandparents for Émilie and Charlotte.
And that summer, a lone chick was born, christianed "Mon Petit Poussin Spécial" by Charlotte.
A day at the beach!
Sleeping with her favorite "Schcroumph Noir"
Early spring gardening
Summer holiday in Heuchin with Mamy, Mamie Lee, Papet, Emilie and Charlotte
For Carnaval this year, Emilie asked to be in the election of the Mini-Princesse contest! Amazing for her, since she used to be so shy. First grade has done a lot to bring her out of her shell.
The rule for the costumes is that they had to be hand-made from bits and scraps about the house. Luckily for us, her dad had found, years ago, a roll of tapestry material (for recovering furniture). Armed with that and an incredibly sheer golden veil material, I went to work to make her princess dress. She tied for first place!
Charlotte, unimpressed with the whole affair, concentrated on her Baby-Belgian-in-training, by diving into a serving of 'frites'.
We had a full house for Christmas at Heuchin this year, with Émilie and Charlotte, Barbara and Michel, Chloé and Philou, and Nicole. Some photos of the event below.
Émilie was so sad that she wasn't quite big enough to crochet that she cried. Charlotte came to console her big sister and asked to be picked up. Émilie asked me, "Pourquoi vous ne prenez pas une photo?" ("Why don't you take a picture"), and I did.
Playing the piano together
Two sisters on a little bench
Émilie participated a lot, helping Tatie Chloé with the Christmas decorations. She put up the manger scene all by herself.
Poutitoute had a big cold and spent time resting with her dad, or napping with Moïse.
She spent a lot of time watching the chickens out the window, or investigating the Christmas tree from atop her new "pouf" (tuffet).
Maggie Koziol spent one weekend with us in Heuchin and took this great shot of Charlotte, doing her on demand "smile", greatly entertaining her grandmas.
Charlotte's first vacation at Heuchin began on August 16 with her family, where she was often cuddled and coddled by her grandmothers.
First by Mamy...
and then, Mamie Lee.
Charlotte begins to take in her new surroundings. Will she be as impressed by the cobwebs and spiders as her big sister is when she comes to Heuchin?
September 2005: After a month, she has filled out even more!
Much to the delight of her big sister, Émilie.
August 1, 2005 brings a new addition to our family: Charlotte. She weighed 4,17 kilos and measured 51,5 cm. (Émilie marked the event by cutting her own hair -- slight correction required by the hairdresser!)
But all went well and Charlotte has a very good temperament, calm and alert.
Maman, relaxed and happy.
Émilie was thrilled that her sister had *finally* arrived. She was also very relieved that there were cartoons on the television at the hospital.
Émilie with her new baby buggy and Legos. Both a big success.
She loves to play "gillie-gillie" in Le Papet's beard, but seemed reticent to blow out her candles. "Non, c'est chaud!"
Her 'compagnon' is Philippe Duchêne, and here they are:
Celebrating Chloé's loooooong-awaited diploma, here she is with
her proud parents, Nicole and Thierry:
Featuring a special guest appearance from Little Stevie Bingen!
Even though the actual family links may be complicated, the true nature of the relationship prevails. It is harder to explain to people our actual relationship to Émilie and Charlotte than it is to simply present them as our granddaughters. Hoorah for extended families and many thanks to Barbara (Chloé's older sister) and Michel for including us on the grandparents' distribution list.