Saturday, April 25, 2009

Moulin de la Rouque

We arrived to a little bit of heaven on earth. The Moulin de la Rouque estate is one of Troy & my favorite places on earth. Close enough to civilization to be convenient, but off the beaten path, quiet, and lots of room to run & jump wildly if needed.

We were there 3 years ago about the same time of year (the pool is solar heated & was freezing both times!), but it was great to be able to share with mom & dad, and then Brehan & Caro arrived for the second half of the week. It was amazing, and we would definately recommend it for a family looking for a nice mix of touring & relaxation.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The drive to Provence

I know it sounds nuts to most Europeans, that we would drive 10 hours to Provence instead of taking the train or flying, but we would still need a car while there, and trains are not exactly cheap or necessarily faster in Germany. Plus Munich to Avignon isn't really a straight shot. Probably direct to Milan, and then a transfer there to Nice, and then north.

And how would we get all the wine back to Munich? (the wine we didn't drink anyway...)

It was a beautiful drive, down around Lake Constance into Switzerland, across Switzerland almost to Basel, and then we stayed the first night in Montreux on Lake Geneva.

Lake Geneva & the Alps

Although it took us longer, because we then went south of Lake Geneva toward Chamonix & Albertville, the drive was absolutely incredible. Definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The Glacier on Mt Blanc

It would have not been so stomach churning, but the main highway was closed so we were sent off on the mountain's edge on a local road for about an hour. Unreal sights, lots of grapes, crevasses, glaciers falling down mountains, and ski areas still open (we even saw people going out for hikes with their skis on their backs!) ~ just beautiful!

Alexandra is ONE!!!

Our little Alexandra has turned one year old!

In the past month she finally got her 8th tooth and the smiles are endless (except when facing new babysitters!). She is pulling herself up on everything, and has started climbing anything she can get her leg on... The kids tables & coffee table in the living room are favorite pieces of furniture right now.
We had a great trip to Paris, and she did amazingly well with the long drive. It was so much fun to see all of our friends, and for both girls to have so many kids to play with - the Cathedral is looking very young!

Alexandra's personality is also appearing all over the place. Although we have been signing to her for the past few months, she is absolutely refusing to sign back to us. Just keeps pointing to what she wants & makes a sound that sounds like "More". Now she won't even make eye contact when we sign.

She definately knows that words have meaning, and now easily says Dada & Mama (I won't say which came first). I keep waiting for her version of Sophia, but right now screaming with delight when she sees Sophia is about as close as we get.

Chocolate cake was a huge hit for her birthday party (just like daddy), and HUGE thanks to Nana & Papa for bringing the cake mix with them.

And for the first time Alexandra is becoming possessive of her toys. After opening her gifts there was an attempt by Sophia to play with them, and Alexandra knew right away that they were hers & hers alone. Very interesting...
She even has her own laptop now! Definately part of the family...

And then she sleeps.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sophia's assembly

At Sophia's school each class performs during the weekly assembly once during the school year. Sophia's class assembly happened to be 2 days after my parents arrived for their spring visit & Alexandra's first birthday! She was so excited for Nana & Papa to be there, and was so confident about her speaking part (she called herself one of the "talkers").

The assembly focused on the weather in the different parts of the world. Lots of butterflies and raindrops dancing madly around the stage. It was too cute, and we had our first experience with being proud stage parents!

All of the kids had a flower or a raindrop painted on one cheek & their national flag on the other. Sophia, not realizing this, insisted on flowers painted on both cheeks. When she realized she was supposed to have the US flag on one cheek there was only one place left to put it - on her forehead!