Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Baby Bump

When we found out we were having number 4 I knew I wanted to have maternity photos done.  When we found out we were moving toward the end of the pregnancy I knew I would need to find someone to do the photos quickly.  
I started with a google search for "English speaking photographers in Paris".  There are several photographers that come up when you do this search.  I looked through several portfolios and I decided on Katie Donnelly.  She is an American living in Paris and she had some great photos on her website.  I contacted her and we were able to set up a date for the pictures pretty quickly after we got to Paris.  
We met at the Eiffel Tower on a Saturday morning.   Katie and I had talked about what kind of photos I was looking for and she came ready.
We got a lot of great photos, and I wanted to share a couple with all of you. 
I love this shot of Jon and I.

Garrett was not in the mood for pictures, but I love this one of the two of us.

I love how you can see the Eiffel Tower in this picture, and the kids were having so much fun!

The belly.

A good family picture is always a special thing.  

There are a lot more pictures, these are just a few of my favorites.

If you are ever in Paris and looking for a family photographer I highly recommend Katie.  I am so excited that we have newborn photos scheduled with Katie too!
You can check out more of her work and contact info here.

Katie also has a blog about her adventures of living in Paris.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Visiting a Chateau is Always Fun!

When we found out we were moving to France we knew we were going to want to explore as much as possible.  This weekend our house is as settled as it is going to be for now so we started looking for places within a good driving distance.  I will admit that one of Addie's Madeleine books helped give me a place to start.  The Chateau de Fontainebleau has housed kings, queens, and emperors for 800 years.  Napoleon I lived here and left his mark on the home.  I have read that this Chateau was part of the inspiration for Versailles.  

We realized that Chateau de Fontainebleau is only an hour from our house.  We got up early this morning, Jon made some amazing pancakes, I made a picnic lunch, and we headed out to hit the road.

We pulled up to the Chateau at 9:30, right when they open.  We were able to find a spot to park on the street right out front, it is the little things when you are taking three small children to look at an old house.

We had the courtyard to ourselves!
The kids had fun running on the cobblestones.

Jon has been trying to get more pictures of the belly and me, 32 weeks now.

Once in the Chateau we had many of the rooms to ourselves, once we dodged a large tour group.

The highlight of Addie's day, the Audio guides!

Ben had a lot of fun, he especially liked Napoleon's weapons.  After about an hour though he was done.  He was ready for a snack and a break.

I am hoping to print out this H for our house. 

This was a gallery that had been converted to a library.

I love these chairs that are meant to be used near a fireplace, one low arm rest to let the heat in and one high arm rest to keep the heat in.

My little history buff and I.

Napoleon I's throne room.  It was Louis XVI's bathroom at one point.

I don't remember whose room this is, but I love it.

Here is the chapel it was beautiful.

The ceiling and balcony of the chapel, this is where the King and Queen would sit.

Addie wanted me to take a picture of her re-enacting the statue.

After walking through a lot of rooms we headed outside to the gardens.  Jon went to the car to grab our picnic lunch and we went to the lake to check out the ducks and swans.  

Once Daddy was back with the food we found a bench.

Not a bad view for lunch.

The kids enjoyed their PBJs.

I love how sweet he looks with such a grand background.

The flowers were so pretty.

I love these views of the Chateau and the flowers.

These three were such good troopers today.

The fountain was beautiful, and no one fell in!

This was down at the end of the gardens, it was a perfect day for walking around and enjoying this beautiful property.

We didn't get a family photo, but we did get a picture of everyone.  

This is a picture from our car to the front gate of the Chateau.  The crowds had definitely picked up by the time we left around noon.  

On our way home we stopped in the village of Barbizon, it is a quaint little place with lots of art galleries and restaurants. 

I know most people don't make it out to this Chateau  on a normal trip to Paris, but we really enjoyed ourselves.  You can see where this Chateau may have been an inspiration for Versailles, but they are both very different and interesting in their own right.  One things we noticed about Fontainebleau is how many rooms they have for you to tour and how much furniture they have in each one.  If you are coming to visit us this is a place we would offer up as an option!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Getting Settled.

Now that we have gotten both of our shipments and almost all of the boxes are unpacked I realized it was time to get started putting the house together.
When we first looked at this house I loved these shelves in the living room.  A lot of our books and knick knacks are still all boxed up in a warehouse in Houston.  I never thought I would 'need' more books, but I am just going to have to wait and see what we find in our adventures here.  This was my first pass at the staging these shelves and having at least this one thing done is helping me feel a little more settled.

The other side of the living room has our hutch that we bought in Norway.  I love this piece and I like leaving it a little more uncluttered than it was in our house in Oslo.  

This is one of my favorite corners of the living room, the view into our backyard is so peaceful.

This space will be even better when we get our couch delivered next week, we find a cozy rug and I get a few things hung on the walls.  One step at a time though.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Adventures in Moving

We moved into our house and got our first shipment last week.  Yesterday we got our shipment from our storage unit in Houston.  We now have quite a bit of stuff in our house, but not quite enough.  Jon was quite impressed with my ability to unpack boxes and assemble Ikea furniture.

Today Jon had the day off of work so we headed into the city.  In August, all of Paris leaves on vacation.  If they haven't left already, they definitely leave by August 15.  We decided to take advantage of Parisians fleeing the city to go see the Sacre Coeur.  We were up and around first thing this morning, ate a homemade waffle breakfast, and drove to Montmartre.  We found a parking space and headed to the church.  This picture shows how we roll, carrying the stroller and hiking up the stairs.

I must admit this view is much more impressive.

We were here just before 9 am and we were a little patient and we managed to get this photo with no one else in it!

The kids were such good listeners as we walked through the church.  Here we are on the way out.

After a quick trip into Starbucks we headed down the funniculaire to explore the rest of Montmartre.

The view from the bottom of the hill.  There was a carousel and a playground here, but we managed to put the kids off this time.  

We walked a good bit of Montmartre and we are looking forward to visiting again when the shops are open.  We made our way to this apartment, Van Gogh lived here for 2 years while he was painting.  Addie studied Van Gogh last year and she thought it was very neat to see where he lived at one time.

After walking back up the hill we saw this beautiful view, if you look carefully you can see the golden dome of Les Invalides.  At this point we were all tired and hungry.  We walked back to the car and headed to the Hard Rock Cafe.  The parking garage we parked in had some of the tightest squeezes we have seen so far.  The elevator was so small and sketchy we chose to walk the 3 flights rather than chance it.  Lunch was yummy and we also found the Chipotle here in Paris!  We will be heading back there one day.

On the way home we were following the GPS when we realized where it was taking us.  We have heard horror stories about the round a bout around the Arc de Triomphe.  By the time we were there it was too late to change directions.  Thankfully traffic was really light today and Jon was able to make his way around to our exit like a pro.

Here he is driving like a champ.

It is still a little surreal for us that this is our home.  We are so thankful to be getting settled in our house, and we love the lay out more and more each day.  We still need at least one piece of furniture for every room, but we are waiting on deliveries.  Because everyone is gone for the month it makes things like deliveries a lot more challenging.  By September I should have some more pictures of the house to share.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

God is so Good!

We signed the lease for our house this morning and did the walk through just after.  This was the third time we had been to the house and every time I walk through the house I get giddy.  The more I see the house the more perfect it seems for our family.  I just can't believe that we found a house that met all of our needs in a home.  The guest space could not be more wonderful and the master suite makes me feel peaceful even though it is still empty.
There are a few issues with the house, one of the toilets is broken, and Ben helped us find that out the hard way.  We have blackberry bushes, an apple tree, and a fig tree.  The fruit is all amazing, but the bees that love the fruit are not.  At least we know now that Addie is NOT allergic to bee stings.
One other thing that had us a little worried was when we were going to be able to get our 2 shipments delivered.  Our Houston shipment is still en route, but our Norwegian shipment is here!  They were telling us they were not going to be able to deliver our goods for another 10+ days.  After Jon emailed them a picture of our signed lease they called back and said they have an opening tomorrow morning between 8 and 9 AM.
After all the paperwork was done we headed out for some lunch and then to a store called Darty.  Here we were able to buy a washer, dryer, mini fridge for the guest area, coffee pot, vacuum, toaster, and water kettle.  This was the first time that I really felt frustrated by the language barrier.  Usually we can get by with my little French and whatever English someone else speaks, but this time there was a problem.  Eventually a manager was involved and the problem was fixed.  All of that before nap time!
Thank you to everyone that has been keeping us in your prayers.  We can see God's hand at work in many different places in our lives right now.
There will be many more pictures to come, and we are so excited!