I know, I know. Christmas is already everywhere. Every shop is breaking out their holiday wares. Gold, red, green, sparkles. I want to love it but I can’t! Not until after Thanksgiving at least. 🙂
However, photography and family pictures is one aspect of Christmas that rightfully rides the early wave of holiday cheer. I love the physical nature of printing and sending Christmas cards. For us, Christmas prints are kind of an obvious go to. But this year I really went all out and made a book with the beautiful printer Artifact Uprising. Easy to use and really really lovely. I can’t wait to get my hands on our copies and even made one to keep at home. Just a tip!
I am doing some Christmas oriented sessions but no holiday mini session this year. Next year for sure. However, to complete our book we had to bring some wintery holiday cheer in during the height of fall colors. Not an easy task! Luckily I spotted a row of evergreens near La Hulpe and on a clear, cold and dewy morning we packed up our sparkly gear, mini Christmas tree and close friends bribed to take our family shots (thanks Sarah and Simone!) for a little leap forward in time.
Now to add a little heartfelt Christmas love to your day. I present my very favorite presents of all.
Its been a tad busy around here but anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE to be busy (much to the Bear’s chagrin). However, we took a break from busy today in order to return to the PiPO apple orchard to see how things are coming along and just maybe, if it warranted a full circle trip for a fall mini session to follow up from our apple blossoms mini session in the spring.
It was a crisp fall morning. The kind where the light is a little soft and misty. We packed our sandwiches and some play clothes and away we went! As we pulled off the highway into apple country, I could not have been happier. All the lovely trees that were swathed in pink and white blossoms in the spring were now heavily laden with brilliant red and green apples. We pulled in to my secret, favorite corner of the orchard and realized that though the day was perfect, that soon the harvest would be over. At least I know for next year!
We played, snacked on fallen apples (abandoned as far as I could imagine) and I snapped away to my heart’s content. As I looked through the pictures after the session, I had a minor heart attack. My babies are growing up! I love them so much and I am proud to share them with you today. 🙂
These days are precious. So precious and wonderful and special as we spend time, love and energy just enjoying each other. In some ways, time goes slow and in some ways it goes so so fast and even whole periods of your life can seem to fly by in a heartbeat.
Despite occasional protests from the Bear, my camera is the tool that I use to grab these moments in time and store them away. I imagine pulling these out when I am 80 and marveling at all the beauty. All the love and all the moments bursting with the vibrant life we have. Exhausting, busy and at time past trying but I would not trade even one second. As you enjoy your holiday, I hope you also look around and take a more distant view for once. Imagine yourself in 40 years looking at this moment. Let your heart fill up and then jump in and enjoy every second of it.
Here we are in big sky Sweden with our beloved Farfar and Farmor. I am so glad to have had a chance to organize a little mini session to capture the loving relationship that is growing across these generations. This pond is just a short walk from the family home and we have spent many an afternoon throwing rocks and shivering in the cold Nordic waters and evenings enjoying a cold beer and getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Its a special place and I hope you enjoy it!
Ok, I could not resist. I mean I have been preparing for these blossom mini sessions and hey, I have a nice little family I like to take pictures of so why not get a jump on the fun and a little practice at the same time! We head out to scout the location and enjoy some beautiful spring weather. We had an amazing time and I can’t wait to get some of these pics up on the mantle. If this does not convince you, I don’t know what will. Three spots left! Just email email@example.com to reserve your place.
According to my calendar it is March. Yes! And with our adopted adult family member, Uncle Johan, in tow, we made like adventurers and headed (finally!) to the beer holy grail, West Vleteren. You may not necessarily consider this to be a family destination per say but I would dispute that as long as you have a begrudging sober driver in tow and a willingness to head to the middle of nowhere to take part in a one of a kind Belgian experience.
I leave it to the fabulous Alison of Cheeseweb to explain the background here. Suffice to say, this is a very exclusive trappist beer than is scarcer than hen’s teeth outside of Belgium. A friend in Sweden recently reported seeing it on a menu for almost 60 EUR a bottle. Ouch.
So after a 90 minute drive, we arrived in said middle of nowhere. We wondered if it would be crowded on a Sunday but we were one of maybe 20 people in the whole of the In de Vrede cafe. Following Alison’s suggestions we tried the sandwich and ice cream a la maison. There were indeed fabulous! We also sampled the three beers on offer. 🙂 The cafe was bigger than expected and beautiful. They did have a terrace and small playground. I can imagine it is a very nice place on long summer days or even crisp fall evenings. On our early spring morning the terrace was closed. :p
After lunch we walked around a bit and stepped in to the Pilgrimage Room at the Sint Sixtus Abbey. Truly an austere space and gave you a small slice of the monastic simplicity that rules the house.
If your littles can survive a bit of a drive, I think it is a great destination to get out of town. Out-of-town visitors are sure to enjoy the experience. Without a doubt West Vleteren is a must for any Brussels experience bucket list. Happy Drinking!
It is truly incredible to see this amazing preschooler walking around the house. She has big feet, loves to jump and sing and has seriously strong opinions about her hair style. My daughter is growing up! The original inspiration and often documented subject of Life of Bear and Dragon, bababoo is turning into a kid and downright awesome person right before my very eyes.
We celebrated the big #3 this weekend and now I am happy to share some at home snaps with you. 🙂
Thank you for your sweet hugs and kisses my sugar bean. I can’t wait to get started on this next year (already dubbed the year of “why”, if you know what I mean). Let’s see what beautiful adventures we can have together.
Its better late than never, no? Second baby guilt was setting in over a month after Babatwo’s first birthday came and went and still no photo session. Sorry little man! So I took a pause from my business editing schedule (you know who you are) and had a blast with my little man playing with some Christmas goodies, laughing and carrying on like we do.
Ah my little man, you are such a big personality. Like momma in so many ways and sure to be a driving force in our family. Love you more than words bunny rabbit!
You can feel it, can’t you. The air is a little cooler. The forest a little quieter. And somehow the light has more gold in it than before. I just can’t help but fall in love all over again. Fall is coming.
We are making the most of our last summer days. Out and about, long walks, picking berries. I just can’t believe that my little Bababoo is starting school in a matter of days. Where does it all go?
Enough musing and on to the topic of this post! If you find yourself taking a drive down Avenue Tervuren, look for a sign on the right side of the road for the Rouge Cloiture. Located in the Forêt de Soignes, the Rouge Cloiture is one of our favorite places to get away. When we say, let’s go for a walk in the forest, this is where we mean. But the Rouge Cloiture is much more than just a beautiful forest. After a while, you emerge to find the Abbey which was founded in 1367. Lots of beautiful buildings and an art gallery but more often we are there to pet the muscular working horses, to take coffee and cake on the weekends or to just walk around the grounds. A perfect step away from passing time. It is truly a wonderful way to spend the day. To get you in the mood, I wanted to share a few snaps from a recent wander.
In Bear & Dragon news, things are already getting very busy for the fall. It seems I am not the only one who loves Autumn colors! I am planning a series of mini photo session in a location soon to be finalized. On hand will be gorgeous portrait and family photo set ups, great light and of course brilliant red, gold and green fall trees. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on an early list. October weekend spots are already getting scarce!
Ahh vacation, you are sweet indeed. Just home now from our travels across Europe and down to Lake Como for two weeks of living la vida loco, oops, I mean la dolce vita. Our first road trip with the kids! They were troopers and after a stopover around Strasbourg, we hopped, skipped and jumped over the alps to the noble and stunning Como area. Just one hour North of Milan, Como is an incredible mesh of Swiss and Italian culture. Where the wealthy Milanese families escaped the heat, Como is now an eclectic mix of families, Russian mobsters (parlez-vous russain?) and elegant Italian matriarchs.
We stayed as always at a little house in Carate Urio found via our favorite site, airbnb. Though it rained much more than expected, we had a wonderful time eating lots of gelato, dipping into the cold lake and checking out the many small villages.
Now happy to be home in Brussels and buckled down for a busy fall. To reminisce, here are a few snaps to share. Enjoy!