Monday, November 30, 2009

Big Trip, Part II - Avignon, France

Our second day of our big trip took us from Beaune, France down to Avignon, which is in the Cotes du Rhone region of France. It was about a three to four hour drive, so we decided to drive just south of Avignon to a little village called St. Remy. We walked around the village center and stopped at the chocolate store, which was very good. Then we headed back up to Avignon to check in to our hotel and explore the city a little bit.

We walked up to the Palace of the Popes and checked out the "Roches des Doms" park that overlooks the Pont d'Avignon (an old bridge that used to cross the Rhone river, now broken). The photos of the kids here are from that hilltop park. It had great views of the river valley and of Avignon itself.

This shot is of the sunset over Avignon and the Palace of the Popes. I did some quick and dirty photoshop to this one, hopefully not too distracting.

And here are Catherine, Ian, and Leah at the northern edge of the hilltop park. You can't tell from the photo here, but there was a fair bit of whining on the walk up, to be replaced by fun and squealing once they got to run around and have some real kid fun!

Finally, there was a Christmas Market in the city square, and both Ian and Leah were just dying to ride the carousel.

All in all a nice day. Next up is a trip through Cotes du Rhone wine country.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Big Trip, Part I - Beaune, France

Hello everybody! We started our vacation on Thanksgiving Day. I had been home from my deployment for about a week, I took care of all my administrative stuff and it was most definitely time for me, Catherine, and the kids to go get away!

We are planning a fabulous get away - and so far this has been just awesome. We are driving to our rented villa on the Costa Blanco in Spain, along the Mediterranean Sea. Along the way we decided to make some overnight stops to make the travel easier on the kids, and lets us see more of the world at a slower pace.

Our first stop was Beaune, France. That is in the Bourgogne area (that's Burgundy for you wine-lovers). Beaune is only 4 hours or so away from our home in Germany, so we had plenty of time to travel the area. We used that time to travel some serious back roads - some single lane roads that were TIGHT! We passed through many small villages, and finally stopped at a winery in St. Romain. It was run by an older couple that spoke no English, and my French is atrocious! But we had a good time and bought a couple of bottles from the nice gentleman.

The photos below are of Ian in our hotel room. The kids had a room upstairs from us, and they had an absolute ball going up and down that tiny spiral staircase.

Here is a photo of Leah sitting at the same desk.

This is a castle in La Rochelle, just south and west of Beaune. That was a nice drive to get there and amazing views.

Finally, here is a photo of Catherine, Ian, and Leah in the courtyard outside of our room. We were actually upstairs from this, and the courtyard was enclosed to protect us from the elements.

Look for more in the near future. I'll keep you updated with our goings and doings!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ian and Leah

Ian and Leah were looking good this morning, so I decided to grab a photo of each one. Leah is wearing a new "princess" outfit for the first time and so far has really enjoyed it. She is such a girl!

Ian, on the other hand, is such a boy! He HAD to wear his football jersey today. However, yesterday he made this American Indian vest for Thanksgiving and had fun wearing it.

Both shots were processed in Photoshop rather crudely to help replace the background. Not bad for a touchpad on a laptop, I think.

I hope all is well out there. Look for more photos in the upcoming weeks. We leave for our trip through France to Spain. There was a pretty last minute change to the itinerary for the trip home, but it should help make the trip even better. Slightly more driving, but probably worth it as we will make our way through a tiny county (Andorra) and get to see the Pyrenees.



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Leah's Dance Recital - Tap Routine

Okay, Leah is just too cute. I just posted her ballet routine and here is her tap routine. It looks like she really had a good time with her dance recital.


Leah's Dance Recital - Ballet Routine

Since I had some free time today, I thought I'd post a video from Leah's Recital she did while I was in Iraq. I'm biased, but this is adorable. Probably good ammunition when she gets older too!

I hope everyone enjoys as much as I do.


Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm Back!

Well, I've been home almost a week now, and am still getting adjusted to it. I haven't been playing much with the camera, so not many photos to choose from of the kids. We've been playing too much for that.

But I did manage to snap a couple of shots of Ian and Leah together on the couch in the dying light of the sunset the other day.

We are planning an absolutely wonderful sounding vacation through the Burgundy and Rhone areas of France on our way to a Mediterranean villa on the coast of Spain starting later this week. Most of the places advertise internet, so look for updated posts from that in the days ahead. Otherwise, if internet is not available, I'll post updates in early/mid-December.



Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween 2009

So, after forgetting to take the camera to the Pre-Halloween parties, I actually remembered to take pics of the kids before we went to trick or treat.

Here is Batman Ian:

and Pooh Bear Leah:

They are posing with a pumpkin that Ian decorated at one of the fall events that they had here on base (yes, that I also forgot to take the camera too). They were excited to get out to trick or treat this year:

It does get dark early here. We were out from about 5 - 6:30 or so & then it started to get really cold (I had layered both kids with fleece under their costumes).

The MP's are usually out giving the kids glow sticks so all of the kids can be "seen" on Halloween, but they also limit traffic flow on base that night, which is also nice.

We came home & handed out some candy to those who were still out & I put hats & gloves on the kids for that. They had a blast & got to enjoy a few of their treats before crashing into their beds that night. Hope everyone else had a fun night too!