Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Embracing Our Next Step

Hey you! Yes, I am talking to all of you.






 We have some exciting news.




I can't believe it, but it is time for the Hilton Family to embrace another MOVE.  


We have so enjoyed our time here in France, but this summer we will be packing up and moving back to Houston, Texas.  There has been a lot of discussion around the where and the when of this move and we are so excited to be abler to share with all of you the when and where of our move.


We are thrilled to be heading back to a place we know and closer to family.  It will be sad to leave France, but we have done as much with our time here as possible.  We still have a few adventures planned for our remaining time in France and I will keep you all updated on those as well.




As for all of my Brocante Treasures there will be more news coming about that soon too.  

I look forward to seeing many of you before the end of the year!


Friday, February 27, 2015

Where We Stayed, What We Ate and What We Saw

I know I have mentioned AirBNB before, but it is worth mentioning again.  We love Airbnb.com to find an apartment or house for our adventures.  Our trip to Provence took us to a 2 bedroom apartment with a private indoor pool.  We never know exactly what we are going to get, but all but 1 time we have been very pleased with our choice.

The kids were very pleased with our choice this time.  The indoor pool was heated and the kids had a good time.  Peggy, the hostess, was so sweet and so accommodating.  The house was in Senas, about 45 minutes north of Marseille.  It was about 5 minutes from the interstate and we were able to visit quite a few places and could have spent more time there.  


When traveling with children we have ended up looking for food too many times.  We knew we would have a kitchen so we brought food for one dinner with our favorite meals is fresh ravioli.  It is easy and fast to cook.  We packed a cooler with milk for our cereal in the morning and the ravioli.  A jar of sauce and a box of cereal and we were ready to go.


We had planned a day in Marseille with a ferry ride to Chateau d'If from the Count of Monte Cristo.  Unfortunately this glorious sunshine was accompanied by a ridiculous wind.  All ferries to the Chateau d'If were canceled for the day.  We were so bummed and our enthusiasm for Marseille was seriously diminished.  


We did walk around for a bit, enjoyed a wonderful Starbucks, and I bought some savon, authentic Marseille soap. 


After that we hopped in the car and headed to Orange to see what Roman ruins we could find.  I didn't edit this picture at all.  I love the colors here in France.


The kids took a rest in the car and we made our way to Orange.  This statue was next to the parking lot.


It is always fun to see places the US Army liberated.  



Orange is a small town, and it seems to be more seasonal.  There was some construction going on and several of the shops were closed.  


The big attraction in Orange is the Roman Theater.  This theater is in amazing condition.  We climbed these steps and I loved how worn they are.


This is the theater wall and that is Garrett at the bottom to give you an idea of the scale.


Bennett really enjoyed listening to the audio guide and learning about the site.


It was a short trip, but we had a lot of fun.  We would definitely come back to this part of France again if we had more time.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pont du Gard

When we planned our trip to the south of France one of the top things on our list was the Pont du Gard. Jon loves Roman history and aqueducts are always such an impressive sight.  We stayed in a small town about an hour from the site.  We had a lovely drive through Avignon and we made it to the aquaduct about mid morning.  Everyone was rested and well fed and ready for an adventure.

I have to say we thought Pont du Gard was amazing.  The site is very well maintained, but still just stunning.  


As you walk across the bridge you can see graffiti from 1818!





There were not that many people there so the kids were able to run free.


Our kids love to be able to explore on their own.


Even Malachi had fun climbing over the rocks.


This is how Garrett posed himself when I pointed the camera at him, our little explorer.


I love this smile on Malachi.  


These boys are too funny.  They posed themselves like this too.


Jon started skipping rocks for the kids, and then other people started to try skipping rocks too.


Later, a lot of people started trying to skip rocks.  It was fun to watch.


Notice all of the coats are gone!  It was so nice to enjoy the sun and run around without all of our layers on.


After the kids came back for our family photo they were off again.



Jon had fun throwing rocks in the water with the kids.


Malachi thought it was pretty funny.


This was about the best stop we had during the whole trip.  I love starting vacation off on a high note.  We had to delay the start of our whole trip by a day because of yet another tummy bug.  Thankfully Addie was feeling much better and we did not take any of the germs with us and we had a great visit.


Here are some more pictures from our day.  We stopped at McDonald's for lunch and then we walked through Avignon.  I would HIGLY recommend Avignon.  Even though I didn't get many pictures from our afternoon there it was a really neat city.




This girl, she is growing up so fast.


Garett always has a question for us.


These two, they are so much alike.  I love their talks.

Sharing with



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Weekend in Waterloo

This weekend our family went on a quick trip to Waterloo, Belgium.  We had been here once before, but we knew we wanted to go back.  We planned a night in a hotel that had an indoor pool.  There were a few other families that thought this sounded like fun so we ended up with a group of 20 people (including all of the kids).  Malachi had fun wandering around the hotel.  Thankfully we didn't lose him, but he sure tried to get away.  


 

My main goal in this trip was to go back to the brocante in Waterloo.  Every Sunday the Carrefour grocery store parking lot is taken over by vans and trailers full of treasures.  I spent some time there with friends gathering all kinds of pretty old things. 



We were supposed to make another trip to the battlefield here as well, but a lingering tummy bug made us decide that heading home was the wisest choice.  We timed our trip home perfectly.  We grabbed sandwiches in the car and then everyone fell sound asleep.  Ben woke up when we were on the outskirts of Paris and he was so happy.  He knew that because we were in the city we were almost home.  It is a little surreal still that this is our life.  



Here are all the fun things that I bought.  I know not everyone appreciates this style, but I am so pleased with everything I found.  There are more pictures of the market and my treasures on www.brocantetreasures.com.



Monday, February 9, 2015

Disney Land Paris, Day 2

Back to Disney Land!  Because we stayed in a Disney hotel we were able to get in at 8 AM for Magic Hours.  We were able to spend 2 hours in the park before the general public was allowed in.  I checked the time for sunrise that day and it wasn't until 8:14.  We enjoyed watching the sun rise over the park as we tried to fit in as much as we could.

You can see Mickey in the clock tower, it was just after 8 AM.


When we walked through the gates Mickey and Minnie were doing a photo shoot.  We only waited behind about 4 families and then it was our turn.  I don't know if you have ver tried to get a picture of a family of 6, but this is pretty amazing.  Everyone is looking at the camera and it happy!


Malachi and I on Main Street, all by ourselves.


The Buzz Lightyear ride was first on our list.


This is a favorite for the whole family.


Look at these warriors!  We did the Buzz Lightyear ride a couple of times and Star Tours for the big kids.  Then we managed to find some coffee and snacks, we do have priorities.


After our snack and coffee it was time for the tea cups.  Jon handles the scary rides in our family and I step in for anything that goes around and around.


Can Ben pull the sword from the stone?  Nope, but he is cute trying.


Addie's turn!


I love walking by these empty line corrals!


We took all of the kids into the Haunted House.  Addie was so scared and put a blanket over her head for the entire ride.


On our way out of the Magic Kingdom we made a quick stop at the barber shop.


Jon loves to call the boys Dapper Dan Man when their hair is combed, this is Dapper Dan's Barber Shop!

Apparently they do a traditional shave and a hair cut here, so fun.


Off to the Walt Disney Studios.  We got fast passes for Ratatouille, the wait time was 40 minutes!  In the afternoon we got to see a few stars.  Jafar made Addie cry when he tried to grab her hat. Yikes!




Minnie Mouse came by next and Addie was much happier to see her.


Spider Man!  He spoke English too.  The boys were so happy to meet the real Spider Man.


Malachi was a little terrified and just kept yelling.


How cute are all these guys?


A quick shot with Woody.


On our way out they had plaques on the ground for each of the other parks.  We miss all of our family in central Florida!  


We had so much fun visiting Disney Land Paris and we felt like we were very fortunate with most of the lines for rides we wanted to do.  We all agreed that we would rather be hot at Disney than cold. 
Visiting Disney Land Paris is something that you should definitely do if you get to live here.  We had a great time and made a lot of good family memories.