Milestone in French

Tug of War in French, with puppies

golden retriever puppies, leash, france (c) Kristin Espinasse,
The game of tir à la corde is illustrated here by our pups.

le tir à la corde

    : tug-of-war


A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

This'll be quick today... for by the time you receive this missive, I will be on a train heading north to the American Library in Paris. And, on a less exciting note (so as not to say "sad note"), by the time you receive this letter the puppies will be gone.

Gone from our home, to be exact--yet settled in to a new nest.

I took the following pictures a few days ago, when the remaining four puppies were busy with a game of tir à la corde.*  Watching them "tug" and "war" reminded me of les hauts et les bas* that life will throw at them, no matter how good their new homes may be. 

And so, to our 6 darlings, I would like to tell them that in this vie*...

golden retriever puppies, leash, france (c) Kristin Espinasse,

You've got to know when to clamp down....


...and when to tug...

and, sometimes more importantly,

golden retriever puppies, nursing, leash, france (c) Kristin Espinasse,
you've got to know when it is time to let go.... and refuel.

golden retriever puppies, leash, france (c) Kristin Espinasse,


It helps to be a team.

Have fun and don't struggle so much.

Never lose hope...

golden retriever puppies, leash, france (c) Kristin Espinasse,

Give... a lot!

In this way you will always be a winner.

golden retriever puppies, leash, france (c) Kristin Espinasse,

We will miss you Dixie, Épice,* Étoile,* Sugar, and Dune (the last two names we're just trying out... until the new owners let us in on the permanent prénoms*...)

As great grand-mère* Jules suggested, we'll have to have you all over to our house for a big birthday party in one year's time. I can't wait to see how you will have grown (I hope I will have too). Which brings me to the last lesson (or second-to-last lesson): never stop learning and never stop loving.

lots of love,

Grand-mère Kristi

PS: my, how you've grown!

Comments, corrections--and stories of your own--are welcome and appreciated!

golden retriever puppies, newborn, basket, day old, france (c) Kristin Espinasse,

~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~
le tir à la corde
= tug-of-war; les hauts et les bas = the highs and lows; la vie (f) = life; une épice (f) = spice; une etoile (f) = star; le prénom (m) = first name; grand-mère (f) = grandmother


*   *   *


Coming this Saturday in Cinéma Vérité ... photos from Suze la Rousse! Don't miss them.


SmartFrench Audio CDs Intermediate/Advanced

French Demystified...simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for a more advanced student.

Lego Make & Create Eiffel Tower 1:300

Cavallini Carte Postale * Vintage Paris * set of 12 cards Keepsake tin:  Regular & Joyeux Noel



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Diane Scott

So bittersweet . . . but what delightful memories!

Larry Griffith

You have now provided a great deal of joy to many families. A dog is a wonderful way to bring a family together....


Such sweet looking puppies. Did you keep one of the puppies like you had mentioned? If so what did you name him/her?


Lovely, lovely pictures Kristin!
We will miss the puppies too.

Have a nice trip and enjoy!


Vivienne Mackie

What a lovely post, Kristin! And such an apt metaphor for life, for all our lives.

Gloria Waggoner


Thank you so much for the delightful photos and stories of your precious puppies. We had to put our beloved Black Lab, Madison down a year ago (she was 12) and my heart still aches. Our situation does not allow for another "child" right now, so your puppy tales are most welcome and comforting.
Love your blog of daily life in France.
Best regards,
Washington State, USA


You are so brave to let them go, and a reunion sounds like just the right thing to make it alright. How fast they grew, and love how they lined up at the milk bar! So darling!



*sniff* This made me teary because it made me think to when we'll have to give away our own newest batch of puppies.

It would be irresponsible to not give them away, as we already have quite enough dogs before they were born. But I've also grown to love and adore them all.


If I am not mistaken, you are keeping one of the puppies, which is an excellent idea. I hope that you do have a one year birthday party with all of the puppies so that they get to see their brothers and sisters and you get to see what wonderful dogs they they have become. But it is a sad time, as they leave the nest.
Thanks for the adorable pictures!


I am teary eyed from that post. We just had to put our black lab to sleep two weeks ago. We are taking things day by day and trying to focus on the ten years that Bernard was happy and healthy. Your puppy stories have helped me remember the joyful times, so thank you.

Melissa in Minneapolis


Hi, Kristen. I'm a long time lurker but have never posted. I loved all the puppy posts and so happy they've all found new homes. My heart breaks a little for Blaise. How is she holding up? Thank you for allowing all of us into your life every week. Good luck in Paris!


Hi Kristin. So nice to meet you and hear your talk at the American Library tonight. Thanks for your encouragement as I consider following this dream...and figure out how to fit my concert harp into tiny Parisian elevators!

Nicole Lidji

Les petits sont adorable ,et ils vont me manquer beaucoup ! Nicole

Fred Caswell

Thanks once again, chere Kristin. Now all 5 of your family can empathize together -- a sad lesson for Max and Jackie a huge loss for Momma Braise.

I'm alive, have been struggling, worrying (uselessly), working, socializing, studying, reading, lunching "out", watching TV, agonizing over what to say after volunteering to give a short talk in church this Sunday, wasting time and not able to write the story I promised you -- tried one evening, struggled with evening fatigue, and lost the whole thing to the computer "larrons".

Right after the service Sunday Nancy and I will pack for a drive to New Hampshire where we will spend a week on an island 3/4 mile from the coast in Lake Winnipesawkee -- just the two of us. No computer so will aim to get my little story to you after we return. Will have a small powered boat when a trip to the store, etc. is needed.

Just know you will do or did well a Paris. Comme toujours a tous Fred

Pat Cargill

Dear K, have thought about you off and on all day and am sure all went well and you had many delightful stories and anecdotes to share. You are such a source of inspiration for many...merci for all the encouragement and openness with which you share your corner of la vie francaise. Nice to know the expression les hauts et les bas. That's def'ly what life is about!

Melissa, my sympathies to you on the recent loss of your pet - they are so precious to us. I still miss my little schnauzer "Rascal," and it's been almost 3 years this month. They live in our hearts, toujours.


I will so miss seeing the pictures of our little friends! Hopefully they all will love their new homes and have nice "E" names that fit their personalities. Best wishes to Braise as well.

Tomorrow I am going to pick up my new dog, who I found through a rescue group. She is a Pomeranian named Sunflower!! Wish us luck.


I know how full a house can be with all those puppies, but doesen't it just BREAK your heart when they leave? Some time ago we had five poodle pups along with their parents and what an adventure that was! I hope yours all have happy lives and we look forward to this big Happy Birthday Puppy Bash next year! Thanks for the memories, Kristen!


Good luck in Paris...I know you will be an absolute hit there. Hope you also have time to explore a bit as it is a wonderful city with lots of nooks and crannies! Enjoy!
Will miss the adventures of all your roly-poly puppies but know you will give them away to happy homes and families!
Cheers for now
Gretel x

Linda R.

Delightful photos - may all the puppies have wonderful and loving homes.


I will so miss seeing the pictures of the puppies as they grow. They are dolls!


Kristin, I really enjoyed your talk at the American Library last night, so very inspiring and heart-warming!
From a Franco-American (and therefore an expat everywhere...)

G.M. Malliet

Kristin - this could not have been a more delightful post. Adorable photos. Merci!

karen graham

It was so nice to finally meet you after years of reading your blog and reading your book, even if it was in the ladies room. :-}
Even though I am just here for a month and not an ex-pat it was fun to listen to your stories. Fun to see the lovely man you moved accross the Atlantic to marry. He is charming.
I'm inspired to re-read your book when I return home and plot ways in chich it would be possible to make a permanent move to Paris.


the puppies are so cute! I really enjoyed the pictures !
Thank you that you are sharing with us ( people around the world ) the beutiful moments from your family life.
HAve a beatufil day!

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