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:
Here she is (on the left) at Disneyland in Anaheim toward the end of 2003. Alex can be seen a little out of focus in the background, and in a very cute photo on the same roundabout at the bottom of this page.
Marie-Hélène lived all her life in Paris but for the odd year here and there "en pension" (boarding school) or in the UK until she met Ian. Life could have continued on its tranquil path even after meeting Ian, but it was not to be.
At a cafe in Carmel on her birthday in 2001
Somehow she ended up living in Santa Cruz, on the Pacific Coast in North or Central California, depending on who is defining the town's location. The family history behind this rather extreme transition is here.
Geographically, the first move in 1994 was from Paris to Le Tahu, just outside the village of Hermeray in the Foret de Rambouillet, perhaps 40 miles southwest of Paris. Not a big deal: her extended family were still close, and the children had room to breath outside of Paris.
Then in 1996 came another short hop, this time to the neighboring village of St. Hilarion, where we moved into La Bellanderie. The children each had their own rooms, even Charles, born in 1995, and stayed in the same village school.
Next came our wedding, and less than a month later the move to Santa Cruz. This was long hop, to say the least, and everything changed. Not just the language, although anyone who has moved to a country where they don't speak your language will know how difficult it is to do so. A new community needed to be built around the household, and three children who basically spoke not a word of English needed help to adapt.
But the children took much more effort. After our move to California, it took our furniture and household goods over three years to follow us! How do you reassure children (aged almost 2, almost 8 and almost 10 at the time of the move) in a completely different world with none of their furniture and almost almost none of their toys and clothes, in short almost nothing familiar to comfort them?
Charlie was born a couple of weeks before this photo, taken in September 1995.
Helping the children cope after a house move that was an unmitigated disaster was just a part of her job.
With Ian out of the house typically twelve hours each weekday (and all the working week during his year working down in Newport Beach), the weight of all six children all day long fell on her shoulders, which gives the job of "homemaking" a whole new meaning.
Ever tried to get four easily distracted children to do their homework (in a foreign language, by the way, that you are mastering at the same time they are) while preparing dinner for them and keeping the two smaller children occupied? Ever tried keeping six children clean and TIDY!! In the modern world, what she does is only rarely lauded, which is shocking if you think about it.
What's so funny about motherhood and teaching the children? (sung to the tune of Elvis Costello's "(What's so funny 'bout Peace Love and Understanding?"
The six children dropped to five in the summer of 2005, when Nick became the first to flee the coop, and as Daphné has her own car and lives her life with much greater independence, Marie-Hélène was all but down to four children by 2006.
But with the children remains mostly how she wants to be: with Daphné, and with the children. Not to forget with her favorite husband! Even the younger children caught this one: she has only been married once!
The photo on the right was taken with her brother Denis at the Chicago Pizza Factory on the Champs Elysees in Paris in August 2003 during our summer vacation.
Listing of Pages in the Site
. . . with Alban