Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Birthday Malachi!

On Thursday, October 23 we wished Malachi a very happy 1st birthday!  I know people talk about long days and short years, but this year has gone by SO FAST.  Maybe it has something to do with Malachi being our last baby, maybe it is living in France, but I am still in shock that my baby is turning into a toddler.  

We had such a fun day celebrating this happy boy.

Getting ready for his cake.

I am one lucky momma.

I made Malachi a pineapple upside down cake.  We did add a little whipped cream that he really enjoyed.

Malachi had a lot of help opening his presents. 

And just for fun, here are some pictures from a year ago.

The morning of October 23, just a few hours before we met Malachi.

Getting to meet our newest little guy.

Headed home from the hospital with our little pumpkin.

I am so thankful for this first year with Malachi and I can't wait to see what kind of little boy and man he becomes.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gite le Chardonnay a Amboise

When we travel, all 6 of us, finding a place to stay can be a challenge.  A traditional hotel is almost never the answer for us.  My favorite place to go for housing options is  In the US I like, but in Europe Airbnb seems to have more options.  We have used this website in Switzerland, Spain, and France.  We have almost always been happy with our choice and this time was no exception.  This time we stayed at the Gite le Chardonnay a Amboise.  We found the house with little trouble.  
Here was the driveway.  I was in love already.

Our parking spot.

The owners, Joel and Rose, were so welcoming and sweet.  They did not speak one word of English, but thankfully that is not as big of a problem as it used to be.  Joel and Rose live in the main house, the guest house was originally the barn that has been converted to 2 apartments.  These buildings date back to 1610!  It still amazes me living here how old everything is, but it is still being used.  I love it.

The following pictures were taken over the course of the next 3 days.  We spent a lot of time away from the house visiting the area, but when we were 'home' we were having fun.  

This tree was great for climbing.

The fields were great for running.

Could she be any sweeter?

There is Garrett having a conversation with le Coq. 

A field of wild flowers in the front yard.

The stone wall went around the property and I love the neighbors.

Addie has gotten a lot better about posing for pictures, can you tell?

There are the neighbors again.  

One of the sweet chickens that the kids chased around during our stay.

This was the backyard, I love spending time out in the country.

The inside of the house was very nice with a double bed in a room upstairs, two twin beds in another room upstairs and a futon in the living room.  The kitchen was extremely well stocked and the bathroom was a good size.  These are things that I do not take for granted any more after some of the places we have stayed.

The location was excellent for the places we wanted to go, Amboise is just 10 minutes down the road,  Blois is about 45 minutes, Tours is about 45 minutes, Chinon was an hour.  The whole drive from Paris was under 3 hours.  
This puts an end to our Loire Valley trip, I hope you had fun reading the posts, I had fun revisiting all of the pictures I took and the memories we made.

Last Chateau of our Loire Valley Trip, Chambord

Do you have those days on vacation that just do not go as planned?  This was one of those days.  We got off to a late start, we were hungry, and the weather was not as nice as it had been.  I will admit that my attitude is not good when I am hungry.  I look at these beautiful pictures and that is what I remember. 

Thankfully there is a nice cafe inside the chateau.  After we watched the video about the history of the chateau, we tried out the cafe.  

We all had a tasty lunch and we were able to enjoy the rest of our visit.

See these smiles?  Those are post lunch smiles.  Everyone is happier with a full belly.

Look at that bed!  Amazing and useful, the rest of the room was big and cold.

A beautiful carved wooden door.

I'm not sure who this is, but I liked the statue.

Oh, these green chairs.

Check out the bench along the back wall of the game room.  I love it!

Just checking out a statue.

Of course the dishes.  I love dishes.

This was a side room off of a main room and it is basically for storing extra furniture.  The walls are what caught my eye.

The French are not afraid to go all out.

The famous staircase, thought to have been designed by Leonardo Da Vinci.

The Lantern at the top of the stair case.

Having some fun on the stairs, there are two different staircases that twist around.  We had fun teasing the kids.

They tried so hard to find me.

No backpacks or strollers allowed in this chateau.  It is a good thing Daddy is strong!

If you know me, you know I love matching and/or coordinating clothes.  I found all of these at different stores and I was so happy that they all fit at the right time.  We had the chapel to our selves just long enough to snap this photo.  It makes me so happy!

After the visit was over Ben started posing for me.  I love this picture, and I love that he wanted me to take the photo of him.

From here we did drive into Blois, but we did not go into the chateau.  We did check out the gift shop at Blois, they had a good selection and some of the best prices that we had seen.  In retrospect we should have done our shopping at the Chinon gift shop, they had the best prices and selection, but it was our first stop and we wanted to see what was out there.  

Chateau d'Amboise

Just down the road from Clos Luce is the Chateau d'Amboise.  This chateau has a lot of stairs, but the views are worth it.  This tree was just a vine growing on the side of the wall, but the effect was gorgeous.

The view back to Clos Luce.

The street down below.

This is where Leonardo Da Vinci is buried.

The ceiling of the chapel with Da Vinci's grave.

The spire over Da Vinci's grave.

Like I said, the views were gorgeous.

That is the main chateau.

That is Ben standing next to the basket of firewood, I love the giant fireplace.

The fleur de lis on this column was a beautiful detail.

The throne.

The gardens were so pretty just sitting up on top of the cliff.

I love this view.

Malachi loved being in the backpack, he loved being able to see what was going on.  It worked out well since strollers were not able to go most places we wanted to.

And that was the end of a long, fun day of sight seeing.  One more day to go of our adventure.
I hope you are enjoying the tour.