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
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This is Easter

This is Easter
This is Easter

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.

My garden
My garden
First bites
First bites
OK, as long as he doesn't eat MY food
OK, as long as he doesn’t eat MY food
Pie in process
Pie in process
Chocolate lover #1
Chocolate lover #1
Cooking assistant #1
Cooking assistant #1
Ahh sweet bed
Ahh sweet bed
The Bear family
The Bear family

Life these days

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A walk in the leaves

The holidays are here. Somehow this year it is a mix of the familiar and the totally new. The year beats a rhythm, and I love to dance. Now the lights, the smells, the cookies, good cheer…all of it feels like a warm hug but somehow I am seeing it now with new eyes. That in fact it is part of a rhythm, a dance, a banner that smooths the ups and downs and somehow brings us closer. As a mother of two amazing babies, wife and world explorer I have turned a new page. Some fear or dislike growing older but feeling now the passage of time, I feel emboldened, more present than ever, loved and loving. I hope this holiday, you take each moment for the gift it is. The ripening of promise and the comfort of familiarity.

Please enjoy these snapshots of a blooming of Christmas cheer. Ho ho!

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Dusk
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Kisses for Nona
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Older and wiser
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Fair isle
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Comfort call
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Diva
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The prince
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Siblings
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Life these days

 

First look: The shape of motherhood

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In blue

There must be something in the air. The gorgeous pregnant mommas are all dropping by for beautiful maternity sessions! The one I share today took an especially soulful approach. Drawing inspiration from antique photomatons that let you take four different pictures, just enough to capture the shapes that made up a whole. So we sought to capture some unconventional angles on the blooming relationship between a mother and her soon-to-be little one.

On the topic of mommas soon to be, it is just 18 days until my impending due date! Very excited, a little nervous, to welcome my little boy into the family. Wish us luck!

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Shapes
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In silhouette
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Into the light

And we’re back!

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Summer time and the livins’ easy

Ahh summer holidays. We had a fantastic time on Gran Canaria with three weeks of sun, play, naps and relaxation. A lovely 200 year old farm house set the scene and kept us mostly away from the tourist beach crowds (mostly). We were thrilled to find it fully equipped with more toys than you can imagine, a pool, trampoline and vegetable patch where we pick strawberries each afternoon.

Excited to get back to work with a newborn session and a bunch of family photo shoots out in the Parc. Time to take advantage of the full bloom of summer!

Hope your summer break was relaxing and fill with love and laughter like ours.

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Ready for action
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Good morning!
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Time to wake up
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Angel in waiting
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Let your light shine in
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Fashion plate
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Paradise

First look: The lovely Lalvanis

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Grace

Well the weather has turned and even the most reluctant of trees appear to be ready to burst forth with their much anticipated buds and leaves. Is there anyone in Brussels now who is not salivating at the thought of shedding winter coats and hats in favor of sundresses and sandals? Ok, that might be a bit optimistic but you see where I am headed, right?

Luckily the studio is always warm and even more so when families like the lovely Lalvanis stop by. Three year old Milan and three month old Olivia kept us all on our toes and we played, tickled and snapped some photos. This exotic German-Italian/Indian duo lit up the space and I am happy to be able to share some favorites with you.

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Tickles!
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Sweet smile
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Proud

Things to do with a baby in Brussels: Baby Yoga!

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You must be new here

With this post we travel back in time to before Bababoo was a champion speed crawler. To a gentler time when she was happy to gently roll around in front of the mirror and to be lifted, crunched with and generally used as exercise equipment. I am talking about Baby Yoga!

Back in September, I was turned on to several baby yoga options by the knower of all things wonderful, Katy Kefferpütz. She suggested two to try although in the end just one fit with our schedule (both are below). So I dug out the old yoga mat and away we went!

Housed in the Udi Malka dance studio, Sivananda Yoga is led by the ever smiling (even when several babies are screaming) Laia. The yoga room has one all mirror wall which is very fun and provides roughly an hour of entertainment for the babies, which is perfect since that is the length of the class. With your little one positioned next to you, you will stretch, go through classic but gentle yoga poses and if you are comfortable, you can incorporate your baby as well. If you are a yoga veteran then you will find the experience very gentle indeed, it is designed to help get the body moving again after birth, not necessarily to give you a super work out.

If your baby catches the zen mood then it makes for a delightful hour. Move, chat with other mommies, smile at babies and enjoy Laia’s patient instruction.

Open for little tiny babies up to crawlers. Once you baby clocks in at under 20 seconds to cross the room, your out. 🙂

Om shanti om.

Laia Puig Escandell – Sivananda yoga
Udi Malka dance studio, Rue des Francs 51
Tuesday 1015 – 1130
laiulipe@hotmail.com

Kristen Macpherson – Kundalini yoga (with songs etc. for babies too)
At Kristen’s apartment, Rue Major PĂ©tillon (PĂ©tillon metro)
Monday 1400 – 1515
Wednesday 0930 – 1045
yogakristen@me.com
http://web.me.com/yogakristen/Site/Welcome.html

Update: The Yoga Loft is a cozy space with pre and post natal yoga classes. They even have a babysitter on hand. Seriously.

http://www.yogainbrussels.com/

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I come in peace!
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Hey good lookin’