Saturday, September 29, 2012


The "Euro Car" has been purchased!  We now have an official European car, the Volkswagen UP, which is only available in Europe.  This is a long way from my gas guzzling environment killer, a 1999 Chevy Suburban that was lifted, which got about 8 miles to the gallon.

The UP gets about 50 MPG, avoids all road taxes and only needs maintenance once a year.  Yeah, you heard it.  I only need to get an oil change once a year.  I had to ask the dealer three times to make sure I wasn't miss communicating. I asked the dealer, "Where do I go for regular maintenance "  He says, "bring it in next year."  Hmm...SoOO, What do I do when I need to get an oil change," He says, "bring it in next year and they'll do a full maintenace including oil change." "One more time..after 3000 miles, where do I go to change the oil."  Ok sir, "bring it in next year, you only need to do it once a year."

And, as many of you know, petrol is not cheap in Europe.  We are paying about 1.90 Euros/liter or about $8.75 USD/gallon.  Ouch!!  

By the way, buying a car at this dealership ,Avenu Auto Group, in Naarden was easier than buying an iPhone.  I didn't feel like I needed to take a bath after I got home from the dealer.  No under handed $300 or $2000 here and there. It was a very straight forward experience.

Now we wait for the Lexus (AKA Lexy), she'll be on a boat Monday and with us in 30 to 40 days.  La is done with these stick shifts in Holland.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bonjour from Paris

Ah Paris! What a wonderful city and the perfect place to celebrate baby Jessica turning 1 and mommy turning 30 'again'. Our plan was to take the speed train from Amsterdam to Paris but I waited to long to purchase tickets and the prices went up (WAY UP) more than 200 euros each way, so we braved it and drove, it took 5 hrs. Chris is amazing at navigating European highways, in fact I think he has a special talent. It's a combination of having a good since of direction and balls to turn around in traffic no matter where he is, it's rather impressive. And this trip the iphone looked like this most of the time. So helpful.

Connor as we all know by now was born to travel while baby Jess can be a nightmare in the car. In fact she cried, yelled or fussed most of the way to Paris. However as soon as we got into the city she was happy as a clam looking out the window, pointing and making happy noises. I think she loves Paris as much as I do. 

 My happy place a Parisian cafe, sipping something yummy and people watching. I love looking at all the stylish ladies in Paris, if only some of that stylishness would rub off on me ;)

Jess' happy place. Baby Jess loved the windows in our apartment. She would stand at this particular window and squeak loudly so she could hear her voice echo in the court yard below.

Connor looking snazzy at the Place De La Concorde.

Another one of my favorite shots. Jess by the window, this time in her special birthday outfit from Grandma. Thank you sweet Grandma. XOXOX

Typical Parisian breakfast le cafe and a basket of 'pain' (bread) and pastries. My kind of breakfast. 

Breakfast was across from the Paris Opera House.
The Paris Opera House was a short walk from our apartment. We stayed at the  Adagio Apartment hotel. It's a European apartment hotel chain. We stayed at one in Brussels as well. It's a very cost effective way to have all the things you need when traveling with a baby i.e. extra bedroom, full kitchen and laundry facility should you need it. It's modern, super clean and they are in great locations around Europe.

After breakfast we spent the morning at the Jardin Des Tulleries. Another happy place of mine is just about any Parisian park.
Jessica did a bit of 'walking'.

Connor took a few spins on the carousel there.

One thing I love about Paris parks is that they have these charming little cafes right in the middle. We parked ourselves for a bit and enjoyed a drink while Connor just ran and ran and ran his little heart out. 

Again my picture perfect ballerina baby. One thing you will notice is that you can not sit on the grass in many of the parks in Paris, but they have the following things to make up for that . . .

Such as a really cool trampoline area. You pay a couple of euros and your kids can jump away all their extra energy. Connor could have stayed there all day. 

 and if you are into relaxing as opposed to jumping, there are these cool lounge chairs. Chris could have stayed here all day : )
Doesn't he look comfortable. Ok Chris time to get up and go shopping.

Um Yes please. 

Miss Jessica looking stylish in her faux fur vest. We saw these all over Paris but ours is a hand me down from cousin Gracie. Who knew hand me downs were so fashion forward.

Sorry I never get sick of these cute tutu shots. 

Thank you Daddy for taking Jessy and Mommy to Paris for our birthdays! 
You made it a magical trip for both of us.
You are a good daddy and wonderful husband. We love you! XOXOXO


Chris is crazy for the Eiffel or just plain crazy. 

Jessica's 1st time on a carousel . . . she was not thrilled.

Connor however was thrilled to have cotton candy. He ate his and then his sister's  too. Lucky boy.

After the Eiffel Tower we headed to a local bistro for an authentic french dinner. 

Connor always adventurous eater enjoyed some escargot. We also enjoyed a traditional french salad with haricot verts, tuna fish, boiled egg, anchovies, lettuce, and white beans. 

 . . .

Chris enjoying a "little" beer on the Champs Elysees, after a 'little' shopping of course. 

 "Passerelle Solférino (or pont de Solférino), is a footbridge over the River Seine in the VIIe arrondissement of Paris where people attach locks to the bridge as a symbol of love." - Our family did it as a symbol of our love for the beautiful city of Paris, may we have many many returns. I am already dreaming of coming back for Christmas to the city all lit up and decorated for the holidays.
The Louvre. I would love to stroll the halls of the worlds biggest art museum but I dare not with 2 small children. Maybe if one of my girlfriends should make the trip out with me we could spend the day enjoying the magnificent art but today we will just enjoy the property from the outside. 

So grand.

Random side note: chestnuts are everywhere here. Who knew they had such spiky outer shells.

The thing about Paris, well actually there are many things I love about Paris but one thing is the architecture. Just about every building is beautiful and each detail seems carefully thought out. There is a cohesive thoughtfulness about the design of the buildings and city.

I love that there are so many buildings with little domes on top and the round windows and the arches, and all the details, details, details.

We also visited the famous Sacré-Cœur or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris.  As you can see from the above picture it was not busy at all. Ha! It was a zoo outside but inside it was calm and quiet (they request silence inside the church).  Of course baby Jess did not understand so her voice was the only one you could hear but no one seemed to mind.

I have tons more pictures so look out for part 2.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A weekend at home

These pictures are in random order but here are some pictures of a great weekend at home playing in the garden with friends. 

Scrumptious little Jess.

Doing what she loves best, walking with her walker.

Sharing a laugh with Lucy.

We played lots of soccer AKA 'football'. This game was moms against kids.

So focused.

And score!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Out cold. 

A little snack and a sip of wine.

This is David, sweet and cute and quite tolerant of the big kids and loves baby Jess.

Connor proudly sporting his field hockey headband with his buddy Clair Bear.

A little dorkin around before heading off to dinner. 

Breakfast the next morning.

The morning light was just magical on Sunday.


I love you sweet Jessie girl. You are turning one this week.

We locked them in the pack n play on the patio and they happily played together all day.

We also played lots of Tball. Chris was really into it.

Doran was the kids team coach. Connor and Clair said "he was the best coach they ever had".
It was such a nice weekend relaxing at home with friends... that we all got the Monday blues when it was over.