At the bottom on the left is an alphabetical list of the pages in this web site, to help you navigate if you feel so inclined.
A guide to our family photo album covering 1994-2010, showing the principal themes, is here.
A year by year guide to our family time-line from 1994 through 2007 is here.
A photo journal beginning in 2008 is here.
The most recent pages of the album, copies of posts from my WordPress family blog, http://ianstock.wordpress.com/, are linked here:
http://www.zinzins.net/disneyland_weekend_2011.htm, http://www.zinzins.net/peace_train.htm, http://www.zinzins.net/manutd_v_barca.htm, http://www.zinzins.net/xmas_&_alex_birthday.htm.
Perhaps a better word for us would be a "household." We do not have the servants and live-in artisans of prior epochs, but we are a more extended group living together than a modern nuclear family. The dynamics are more various and less conventional. Each of the parents has a different relationship with each of the children, and one of the distinctions is whether the relation is blood or not. There is typically more going on, in every sense of the term.
Then Charlie and Alex arrived, Charles in Brittany in August 1995 and Alexander in Santa Cruz in January 1998.
Now we are a real Brady Bunch, with embellishments. It's not his and hers: it's his, hers and theirs!
All of the older children latched on to Charlie and then Alex, and the "family" in the larger, household sense of the term came together. Charles and Alex do have a lot of advantages: no missing parent, and four doting elder siblings. What they miss according to Charlie is a missing parent. He complains that he never receives candy and little care packages by mail !!!
On the left is our youngest family, in a cafe in Carmel on Marie-Hélène's birthday in May, 2001.
Below right is one of the all the children in the family together with Marie-Hélène on Mother's Day 2001, while she opened her presents. An all too rare moment when we were photographed almost all together.
While the household was growing and becoming a complex family, its relations with the outside world were themselves evolving. The first and most significant support for the parents was their own parents, whose support was key to a successful integration.
And somewhere between the children, the parents found the time to get married, although they are still waiting for the honeymoon, especially Marie-Hélène (who has still not seen Venice ten years later)! We belatedly had Charles and Alexander baptized in Brittany in August 2004. Things don't necessarily get done in order in this complicated little world!
During the first three years (1994-7), until we moved to Santa Cruz , the children melded into a tight little crew. No family is entirely happy, but we were all close and had a lot of fun, especially after Charlie's (and later Alex's) arrival created a common goal for us all.
With our move to Santa Cruz, we became a temporarily unblended family. The French courts separated us for two years, from June 1997 through August 1999.
The crooked moving company that we engaged then refused to move our furniture out to California. They wanted more money, which we did not have. So we arrived in Santa Cruz short two children and all our furniture!! Not what you could call a brilliant success, that move!
Alex arrived in January 1998, cheering everybody up and even prompting Ian to quit smoking for the second time (the first was from 1984 through 1988). At the beginning of 2008, ten years on, he's still not smoking! In short, he's over it.
Nick and Tom rejoined us in August of 1999, with the effect that again our interpersonal dynamics changed. They are already pretty hard to keep up with, and the coming and going adds to the complexity, not to forget the entertainment. The summer vacations since 2000 have generally seen Daphné and Alban with their dad most of the time, and Nick and Tom with their mom most of the time. It's a time of R&R for the rest of us!
Here we all are in the spring of 2001 with the Hanlons in the Ideal Cafe on the sea front in Santa Cruz. The household had been together again for two years.
After we'd been together again for six years, the provisional nature of families was already upon us.
Nick became the first to move out in the summer of 2005, and the first to move back in again! He has spent a couple of six-month sabbaticals in Europe based at his mother's place in Paris. By the end of 2007, Daphné was talking about moving out herself, to San Francisco, and Tom was talking about spending time in Paris and living with his mum.
Nick graduated from high school in June 2004, Daphné in June 2005, and Alban and Tom in June 2007. In late 2007, Nick, Daphné, Alban and Tom all attended Cabrillo, the local junior college, as well as worked part time. They were all mulling over what they're going to do next.
Today's frustrations with our willful if well-meaning adolescents will become tomorrow's regrets as they slip away from us one at a time into their own worlds.
In the meantime, WILL YOU PLEASE CLEAN YOUR ROOM!!
Listing of Pages in the Site
. . . with Alban