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.
It is a stunning fall day and with an special Momma and Babatwo morning ahead we decided to get ourselves down to the new Train World in Schaerbeek. If you have a major train lover on your hands then you might want to think carefully before taking them to this over-the-top mecca of traindom because it is very possible that their heads might actually explode. As a medium train appreciator myself, I was still blown away by the sheer volume of the collection and impressive attention to detail. It is truly is a captivating experience.
We arrived around opening time (10 – 17:00 everyday except Monday) and walked right into the ticket office. Very well organized entrance where you pay the fee (10 EUR for adults and FREE for children under six) and receive a map, ticket which you scan to get entry to the different buildings and a handheld devise which provides commentary in English, German, French and Dutch.
The entry takes you into the oldest remaining train station in Brussels built in 1887. Here you can catch a glimpse of the evolution of the ticket office including original tickets, train conductor uniforms and some neat model trains. I have to admit, I was already pretty satisfied that my 10 EUR was well spent but truly we have not even scratched the surface.
Exiting from the rear you walk a bit to the right into the modern building constructed for the museum. We scanned our ticket, opened the door and were immediately engulfed in a whole new world. The first space is dark. Really very dark and the music is tense, suggesting a scary but bold adventure ahead. Looming in the darkness were six large and fully restored engines dating back to the 1830’s. For me this was good fun. I loved the little spine tingle of this foreign environment. For the little guy, not so much. Poor thing was scared nearly out of his wits and to be honest, never fully recovered until we exited to the bright sunshine of the outside world.
So needless to say, we beat a fairly quick path through the rest but I was both seriously impressed and mentally book marking all the things I wanted to more fully explore when I come again. The museum traces the history of train engines, train lifestyle and travel, track development, and yes, even has a train simulation which was a hit based on the number of pushable buttons alone. Each exhibit is thoughtfully put together, creating a fascinating and immersive environment. It really shows off the best of the best of modern museum experiences that can blow us away even when coming from a high tech and high information lifestyle.
Although it was a little scary for my almost two year old (he’s a little afraid of the dark to begin with), I would still recommend this experience for the toddler and kid set. It is beautiful, interesting and just enough hands-on to keep them going to the end. With friendly opening hours and excellent value for money, this is a spot you can visit again and again, each time finding new surprises. And how do you get there? By train of course. Choo, choo!
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. 🙂
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!
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!
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!
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!
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)
I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. We did! After a long week alone with the kiddos while the Bear traveled, I was thrilled to have everyone back in place for a long weekend. We had a fun time splitting Swedish and American Easter traditions. For the Swedish side we had a Sandwich Cake and spent the afternoon at an IKEA. For the American side we colored eggs, baked a Banana Cream Pie and ate too much. No dressing up here. Most time was spent in pajamas. Babatwo took his first bites (pumpkin). You get the idea.
This is Easter. Last week while driving (driving!) along, I heard from the back seat, “This is Momma. This is babatwo. This is Bababoo”. What?! Bababoo’s first sentences. While she has lots of nouns and verbs, it was somehow so striking to hear a full sentence. So in honor of that sentiment, this is Easter. Enjoy.