Annoucing Bear & Dragon Adventures: How to Catch a Star

A beautiful adventure
A beautiful adventure

Sunday mornings are for late wakings, slow sipping coffee, trips to the market and storytelling. I hope you have the first three checked off because here comes the  last.

This summer in Sweden, I thought I would pack away my camera and not touch it for the full three weeks. Separation makes the heart fonder and all. Well I was WRONG. Sweden in the summer, and all through the Nordics for that matter, are a wonderland of forest, wildflowers, long sunrises (waaay too early) and even longer sunsets (just perfect). The gentle sweeping of barley fields made for an irresistible setting. A trip to a local lopis (rummage shop) reviewed two bug catching nets and a story was born.

How to Catch a Star is the debut of a new Bear & Dragon offering, Bear & Dragon Adventures. This is a more stylized type of session where we develop a fantasy, style it with a special look and props and create a wonderland for play and adventure. The editing approach is equally fantastical. Your child as art. The first event will be announced early next year and set in one of the lush rooms inside the Chateau at Domaine Solvay. The theme will be Royals. If you have a little princess or prince who’s dream is sweeping into their own castle this is the one for you. 🙂

As the weather has taken a turn for the frigid, I hope this sweet tale warms you all the way through. Happy Sunday.

First make a wish
First make a wish
A partner is a must
A partner is a must
Set out with determination and love in your heart
Set out with determination and love in your heart
Search high and low
Search high and low
Close your eyes and feel
Close your eyes and feel
Never give up
Never give up
Follow the last rays of the sun
Follow the last rays of the sun
Fill your heart with joy and they will come to you!
Fill your heart with joy and they will come to you!
There they are!
There they are!
Give chase, soar
Give chase, soar
Almost got them!
Almost got them!
Now slow down and wait
Now slow down and wait
A beautiful dance begins
A beautiful dance begins
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Things to do with a toddler or kids in Brussels: Have it your way at Kessel-Lo

Two seeking adventure
Two seeking adventure

Ages and ages ago, I took a walk with a friend and our new babies in Kessel-Lo. Taking in the monumental climbing areas and wood structures, I looked at my little bababoo and tried to imagine her big enough to take on some of these amazing adventures. Well today we set out to try our chops on the king of all local playsets.

Kessel-lo is situated in Leuven and about a 25 minute drive from Brussels. It is also possible to get there by bus. At Kessel-lo you really can have it your way. On the grounds you will find beautiful walking paths, lined with flowers, trees and ponds. If you care to venture out on the pond, there are some sweet little paddle boats on offer. Also a small animal park sporting donkeys, goats, and chickens. Yes, there is even a pool! But truly the highlight for us are the gorgeous and abundant play structures which cater to around ages 2 and up.

The play structures are mostly made out of wood and blend in with the forested surroundings. That makes it all the more fun as you get tired on one and then notice a castle or massive slide peaking out from behind the trees around the corner. There is so much to discover! It is a real paradise for the adventurous little one.

Though the pool was closed today, it looked really fun with a big slide and plenty of space for kids to play. We would return just for this as well, should the weather gods turn it up past 25 one of these days. 🙂

Not the adventure sort? There is plenty of space for a nice stroll and a picnic with lots of flowery fields, picnic tables and neat designed wooden seating.

So one of these warm early summer days, definitely check this place out! Though there are a number of parking areas, I recommend P1 which you can find by putting 203 Eénmeilaan, Leuven. Happy whatever you like. 🙂

King of the castle
King of the castle
My big girl now :)
My big girl now 🙂
Saving a seat for you
Saving a seat for you
Lean in
Lean in
Black diamond slide
Black diamond slide
Float
Float
A pool!
A pool!
Its the climb
Its the climb

Bababoo Ballerina turns three – WOW

Ballerina birthday party - coming up!
Ballerina birthday party – coming up!

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.

Reflection
Reflection
Taking time to chill with little brother
Taking time to chill with little brother
Sweet hug or attempt to gain control over the iPad? You decide.
Sweet hug or attempt to gain control over the iPad? You decide.
Party time!
Party time!
Face painting :)
Face painting 🙂
Sorry...when are my friends arriving?
Sorry…when are my friends arriving?
Time for a ride
Time for a ride
And always there is cake
And always there is cake
Oh Zuzana <3
Hair still in place! Oh Zuzana ❤
Happy Birthday sweet bean!
Happy Birthday sweet bean!
Aftermath
Aftermath

First look: Sea of leaves mini session

The Sea
The Sea

Is it already time to get nostalgic about fall? Winter is closing in and with it all the good cheer, rosy cheeks and holiday treats we love in late November/early December. I am especially excited about this Christmas as it will be the first in which bababoo is actually aware of what is happening. Also the first that I can use the lightly veiled threat “Santa only brings presents to little girls who eat all their vegetables”. Yes!

Before we step into our red, white and sparkles. I wanted to share some of the beautiful pictures from the recent “Sea of Leaves” mini sessions held in Parc Cinquantiaire on one of the most gorgeous fall days of the year. Seriously, I am afraid I am using up all my good weather karma in one go. But hey, it feels good. 🙂

The fall mini sessions were such a hit that I am definitely planning more. The ingredients will remain the same: 30 minute sessions at a great price, a very special seasonal location and beautiful family photos. Send me a note or leave a comment if you want to get on the mailing list.

Without further ado, enjoy!

Sweet
Sweet
The look
The look
Daddy's girl
Daddy’s girl
Fly
Fly
Out and about
Out and about
Magic
Magic
Sailors
Sailors
Tidal
Tidal

First look: Jumpin’ Jack

Hooray for sunshine!
Hooray for sunshine!

What a week! Bababoo started school on Monday and I think she likes it. Come on, they have a pet rabbit! Excited to get to spend some one on one time with my little Babatwo who, let’s face it, is not so little any more. 10 months old on Friday, crawling and talking up a storm including a rather unusual first word, color. 

It has been a busy time in the studio as people reach out for back to school and last summer hurrah in the park pictures. Last week I had the chance to meet a lovely American-British family, in for their first photo session with 3,5 month old Jack. Such a sweet boy and with the most amazing eye lashes. Why do little boys always have the longest lashes?! 

Please enjoy these sweet pictures and the late summer bump of sunshine. Cheers! 

Those lashes
Those lashes
In mother's arms
In mother’s arms
Man to man
Man to man

 

Together
Together

Things to do with a toddler or baby in Brussels: Stroll through the forest at the Rouge Cloitre

Long light
Long light

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 ForĂŞt 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 bearanddragonphotography@gmail.com to get on an early list. October weekend spots are already getting scarce!

In formation
In formation
Glow
Glow
Sweet breeze, lazy days
Sweet breeze, lazy days
Them boys
Them boys
Ride
Ride

Ciao bella

Andiamo
Andiamo

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!

Lago
Lago
Life on Via Clerici
Life on Via Clerici
Momma attack!
Momma attack!
Beauty
Beauty
The air out there
The air out there
My matched set
My matched set
Hang time
Hang time
Timeless
Timeless
Holy Light
Holy light

My sister, myself

Under the flags
Under the flags

When the Bear received a reward to do two weeks of volunteering in Nepal, I wondered if I would survive on my own with the littles for that long. Thankfully it was little sister to the rescue as Lauren swooped in from San Francisco to lend a hand and meet Babatwo. Hallelujah! We had the most wonderful time. So many laughs, new memories, late night card games and sisterly love. I miss her tremendously and each day after she left reminded me of some kind of post break up mourning. “Oh, this is the last of the pasta we made together” and “Hmm, last time I was in this park, Lauren was there with me”. Oi, the bittersweetness of it all.

Of course I made everyone get a little dressed up for some memory making with the big camera. What better backdrop than a lawn of blooming lavender and the European Commission building at Berlaymont. Bonus shots at our favorite park. Miss you Laurenee and love you to pieces!

Beauty
Beauty
Auntie love
Auntie love
From afar
R From afar
Rockstars
Rockstars
My sister, myself
My sister, myself

Things to do with a toddler or kid in Brussels: Choo Choo on the steam engine at Parc du Bempt

All aboard!
All aboard!

Holy blazes, spring is back on! One of our favorite things about Brussels is how many fun things are going on all the time. There are always a number of festivals, kid events, races, etc. This weekend we hit the Festival du Pain (bread) in the Schuman roundabout. It was delicious!

Now we turn to a summer activity that is more of a perennial than a flash in the pan. Thanks to the tip from Brussels Life, we decided to check out the little steam engines in Parc du Bempt. It is a bit of a long haul to Forest but fairly convenient if you take Tram 82 almost straight there. It is just past the Abbaye de Forest, which is also worth a visit. Parc du Bempt is a lovely green space with some ponds, area to play and some play structures but the real highlight is definitely the steam engines.

Three choo choos run along a super cute track for about a five minute ride. If your little one is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine, this is for you, big time. Buy a ticket for 2 EUR and jump on. Tickets are technically for 3 year olds and up but Bababoo is on the tall side and her parents have a flexible sense of truth so away we went.

Zoe had a blast and we took the edge off with some ice cream from the garage. Beer and wine also on offer if you are so inclined. 🙂

Hope you check it out!

Where:  Parc du Bempt. If you need a GPS try Chaussée de Neerstalle 323B, 1190 Forest

When: Every weekend from 26 April to 5 October 2014 from 2pm until 6pm (only Sundays during July, August and September)

How much: From 1€

Ready to roll
Ready to roll
Sidelined...for now
Sidelined…for now
That was a blast!
Running!