So, we just got back from Florida late Saturday where we spent a long week relaxing and visiting with GiGi, Auntie Em, cousin Ella, Aunt Jackie, Aunt Rochelle, cousins Stephen and baby Bailey, and of course Great-ma too. And by “we” I mean just me and the kids, Joey was home, catching up on his sports-watching, beer drinking, old friend visiting, and basically sitting at his computer and working till all hours without me yelling at him to come upstairs. Everybody had a great week and we took some really cute photos of Rosie and Ella wearing the christmas jumpers my mom made for Emily and I when we were little. Here’s a little taste of the cuteness… I’ll post more and have more of an update later this week….
So, a family vacation to France with 2 toddlers is quite a bit different than what you would expect from a childless vacation. We had a great time and made a lot of memories, but it was a lot less fancy dinners and museums and sightseeing and a lot more sandwiches and parks and slides.
Here - is a photo essay of France - the playgrounds… Starring Sam and Rosie:
First - Parc de Monceau in Paris (and a playdate with a mommy friend that I met via the internet)
Then - the Carousel de la Tour Eiffel:
Then - the playground in the Jardin des Tuleries, outside the Louvre in Paris:
Then, off to Vendome and the electric carousel:
And the Parc Ronsard, also in Vendome:
We also played on the old swingset at our Hotel/Inn/B&B place, Moulin de la Plaine (with an audience of donkeys):
And we found a really cool little playground right along the river in the tiny town of Troo, France:
And lastly, the awesome playground at the Jardin du Luxembourg on our last day in Paris before flying home:
Did ya notice how awesome all the parks were? They were not the usual big plastic monstrosity things we have around here. They were a little old school - mostly metal and wood still - but really unique and so much fun!
And there you have it - France: A tour of Playgrounds. Stay tuned for our next vacation…
We got back last week from an 11 day - 2 wedding - 2 continent trip, and we are all still recovering from the fun, stress and jetlag.
First was NYC and cousin Jeffrey’s wedding.
NY was HOT - we didn’t do much sightseeing there as stepping outside the hotel resulted in us all being drenched with sweat. We did walk all the way to Central Park on the first day and had fun playing in the water sprinkler playscape.
Rosie was fighting some sort of bug and was running a bit of a fever on Saturday and Sunday. So we spent a lot of time just hanging out in the hotel room with GiGi (my mom - who came to town especially to hang out with the kids while we went to the adults-only wedding) and playing with GiGi and ordering room service was just as fun (probably moreso) for the kids anyway.
Then, off to France with Bubby (Joe’s mom) for cousin Neil’s wedding in the Loire valley - and sightseeing in Paris on the way there. That leg of the trip started off on a sour note when we got to the airport (at 7pm) and found out that our 10pm flight was delayed until 11:30pm - ugh! We were not happy about it - but resigned to the fact and settled down for a long wait. The wait became a lot longer as the flight continually got delayed later and later, and we ended up not leaving JFK until 3 in the morning. With 2 EXTREMELY tired and cranky and screaming and crying children and having waited at the airport for 8 hours - it was not a fun way to start the trip. We arrived in Amsterdam tired and hungry and of course missed our connecting flight - but hopped on the next flight out to Paris - and got a second wind and renewed energy once we finally arrived.
We spent 3 days exploring Paris - the parks and playgrounds mostly - though we did do some typical touristy stuff like take a trip down the Seine River and we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower (only to the 2nd level - the 3rd was closed for some reason when we were there).
Joe and I went to the top of the Arc de Triomphe during naptime one day, saw great views of the city, the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysses.
Joe and his mom also got to go to the Musee d’Orsay on the first morning there - while I met up with a mommy friend that I met via the internet for a park playdate with her 2 adorable kids.
Our last night in Paris, we walked down and had a picnic along the Seine as the sun set, and it was so relaxing and unbelievable, like something out of a movie, with a group of guys playing guitar to add more ambiance to the scene.
After Paris, we took the TGV (high speed train) to Vendome in the Loire Valley for cousin Neil’s wedding.
We rented a car and drove with Uncle Bob and Aunt Judy to the small town of Troo (known for its caves and troglodyte dwellings).
We explored around the Loire Valley for a couple days, went to Vendome - which was one of the larger towns in the area - and saw a really beautiful church and went to a couple restaurants there.
We went to the small town of Montoire for a couple meals and grocery shopping - and we drove to Amboise and saw the royal castle where Leonardo da Vinci is buried -
and Rosie got a princess crown
Neil and Annabelle’s wedding was beautiful and fun. The ceremony was in a field of wildflowers outside Annabelle’s family home, and the reception was in a castle (moat and all).
There were a lot of other kids at the wedding, so Rosie and Sammy had lots of playmates, and everyone and everything was so well thought out and accommodating and family oriented. It was great, there was so much love evident everywhere!
It was a lot of work with the kids, and I joked to Joe (more than once) that it wasn’t fair that he actually got a vacation from his job, but I had to work overtime on my job for the length of the trip. Aside from a few episodes of extreme tiredness and crankiness resulting in both kids screaming at once, I think both Rosie and Sammy did really well, considering all the traveling and moving around and changes to the schedule they had to endure. We tried to make time each day to cater to the kids and find a park or someplace fun for them to play and run around and just relax and be kids (thus most of the photos of the trip are of playgrounds).
We are blessed and lucky to have been able to have that experience and share it with our kids. There were probably a lot more practical ways we could have spent our tax return this year, but how often do you get a chance to go to a wedding in the countryside in France? The photos and memories are priceless, and I hope that these early trips will foster a love of travel and adventure in both Rosie and Sammy. Even if the best part about traveling sometimes is coming home and sleeping in your own bed.