Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A New Favorite City, Bruges

After an okay time in Brussels we made a short drive to Bruges.  We were winding our way through the streets of old Bruges hoping our GPS was taking us the right way.  When we pulled up as close as we could get we were so excited.  The location was wonderful, right off the main square.  Monday morning we got up and walked around the city.  It was chilly, but beautiful.

When did our sweet girl get so grown up?  I love this picture of her.

This was a map of the city made of lace.

We walked to Our Lady church, you can see it in the background here.

Here in the church is the Madonna by Michelangelo, it was made more famous recently by the movie The Monument's Men.

It is always amazing to see these amazing works of art in person.

We were at the church at opening time and there were only a couple of other people and it was very nice.

From the church we headed to the boat ride on the canals. 

Everyone was so excited about this, it was really cute. 

This tree was just gorgeous, I loved all of the colors of fall.

The kids were so good on the tour and enjoyed checking out this new city.

This guy is such a fun person to travel with.

Malachi had so much fun on the tour, at one point he put his head against the boat and just sat there, I think he liked the feel of the motor.

I was there too!

I love this picture, the awe on their faces, it really is a beautiful city.

This crew is so much fun!

After a trip through the Historium we got to go out on the balcony to see the city.

And then we headed to a horse and carriage ride.  It was another fun way to see the city.

We ate at a couple of really good restaurants, Jon and the kids got their fill of moles et frites, mussels and french fries.  Our waiters were so surprised to see our kids putting away the mussels.  It was a great end to our vacation and just a 3 hour trip from home.  I completely recommend this as a visit.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Our Belgium Weekend, Brussels

Jon had some work in Brussels so the kids and I drove up to meet him for a long weekend.  Finding a hotel for all 6 of us is always a challenge, but I found an apartment hotel that would accommodate all of us.  The drive into the city was fun.

At times it was a little nerve wracking.  There were several places that we had to pull onto the tram tracks.  It was starting to get dark, but we were able to get to the hotel without too much trouble.

The next morning we woke up and headed into the city.  This detail work on a window was pretty.

This was the view from the street in front of our hotel, hotel Saint Maria.

This is the uncropped view of the last picture.  This is more of my impression of Brussels.  

We were up early and had the streets to ourselves.

We had a gorgeous day to explore.

There are so many beautiful buildings in Brussels, and they are not as well known as most of the buildings in Paris. 

We didn't get into the museums, but we did walk by quite a few.

The Grand Sablons market.  All of the items in this market are at least 30 years old.  There were quite a few amazing items and a lot of prices to match.

This gorgeous church overlooked the market.

We walked around for a bit and found the Place de Jeu market where I found some great treasures!  We then made our way to a cafe for coffee and hot chocolate and then to a great museum for kids.  It was one of the old gates to the city that had been restored.    The coat check room had these great pieces that the kids could try on.

They had so much fun trying on all of the knight's gear.  

The museum had a great duck hunt for the kids and they were so motivated to get through the museum.

This glass floor showed all the way down through several stories.  Yikes!

The displays were beautiful and we had the whole place to ourselves.  

You can see the little blue duck up in the top left hand side of the picture.  The duck foot prints on the ground pointed the kids in the right direction.  

The puppets were a hit with everyone.   

The Panoramic view area at the top.

This piece in the attic was gorgeous.  

The rafters were inspiring as well.

On the way down the boys used the smooth steps and slid their way down.

The statues in the middle of the staircase were so fun.

One more stop to try and on knight's gear. 

We walked back by the Place de Jeu for a few more treasures and then back through the city.

I had told Ben that Belgium was famous for waffles, and he really wanted a waffle.  Thankfully we found a waffle truck and Ben and Malachi ended up loving Belgian waffles.

I love these pictures of Malachi.

He was so happy to dig in.

Ben enjoyed his waffle with chocolate.  Addie enjoyed her waffle too, but didn't stop long enough for me to get a picture.  Garrett ended up throwing a monster fit during all of this so I avoided taking pictures of him.  It is a good thing Ben and Malachi were cute enough for all of them.

After more walking we were back at the Grand Sablon church.  The park across the street was beautiful and there was a great cafe with to go coffee and yummy pastries.  Jon and the kids played while I went and grabbed a snack.

Brussels was not my favorite city, but we had a good visit and we had fun together.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Halloween 2014

This year I volunteered to help put on the Halloween party for Ben's class at school.  I had my 2 helpers that I brought with me.  There were a bunch of other moms there helping and we all had a great time making this day special for the kids.

I love this big personality in this little boy.

He was taking it all in.

He is just precious if I do say so myself.

Garrett got to go to the assembly with his big brother.  Can you see them holding hands?  My heart is so full with their love for each other.

While the kids were in their assembly the moms set up the party.


and crafts.

Then it was time for the parade.  My sweet vampire princess.

Garrett got to walk in the costume parade too!

My happy pirate.

Still taking it all in.

Garrett loved being a big boy for the day.

Time for games!

These two were having so much fun.

This guy had a pretty good time too.  I LOVE the expression on his face here.  He loves slides and he knew I was coming to get him.

So sweet.

I did get down to Addie's party for a minute.

After school we met up at a local park for a Trunk or Treat.  There were just enough cars and candy for our little legs and the kids had so much fun.  

 I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! We sure did.