24 April 2014

Holland Holiday

We met our friends Steve and Carole for a long weekend in the Netherlands.  We visited the city, the countryside, small towns and the coast!  



Here's a little video (with music :) of our trip . . .


16 April 2014

Abbaye de Villers


Last weekend when driving to the Hallerbos, we stopped over at this abbey.


The Abbey was established in 1146.


Construction began in the 13th century


and was finished before the end of that century.


The abbey's wealth diminished during the 17th and 18th centuries.


Guess they should have brewed more beer.


It was finally abandoned in 1796 


during the French Revolution.


In 1893, Belgium purchased the property.


It's now an official historic site.


According to their handout, extensive restoration has taken place.


And it's now home to these little mallards.


Abbaye de Villers
Villers-la-Ville, Belgium

14 April 2014

Bloemen

Everything is blooming here in Belgium!


This tulip tree is right around the corner from our house.


Just loaded with flowers.


This tree and a lot more like it line a street near our house.


Crabapple?


The orchards are also in full bloom right now.


Apple, cherry, pear . . .


This past weekend we took a drive to this forest.


It's covered in wild hyacinth, also known as bluebells.


The forest covers over 1,000 acres and was first mentioned in the year 686.  As with Belgium, it has changed hands a few times over the centuries.


The Spanish, the French, and the Dutch managed the forest.  Finally the Germans cut most of the trees during WWI.

After the war, it again became the possession of the Belgians and it was reforested in the 1930's and 40's.


For a few weeks each year it looks like a blue carpet.

Hallerbos
Halle, Belgium

31 March 2014

XXV

We had a very nice weekend of good food, nice weather and celebrating . . .


We had our stoic neighbors over for dinner to celebrate Ross's birthday.  Thank you, Anse and Esther for knowing how to properly pose for a photo.  After nearly five years, we give up on the other three!


Then we really celebrated in Brussels . . .


in this area called Quartier Saint Catherine.


We even stayed one night in this cute little hotel that's been around since 1896.


We were assigned to the Tahiti Room.  Interesting to say the least.


Then we went to this little bar called Cafe Merlo . . .


where Ross's two good friends, Laurel and Jenna, hosted a surprise party for him.


There were lots of decorations and fun "extras" (thanks to Randi!) like mustaches, glow bracelets, a photo booth and all Ross's favorite candies.


We even had Randi and Hannah join the celebration on Skype!


Naturally, Winslow was there.


Jenna made two delicious cakes and speculoos tiramisu that was the best we've ever eaten.


The whole spread!


and the whole gang :)

Happy 25th birthday, Ross!

26 March 2014

Our quick trip to TX


Jim had a business meeting in Jefferson and I couldn't help but tag along.  I'm so glad I did . . .

Be sure to . . .

- make it full screen by clicking [   ] 
- turn up the volume
- AND click the X to close out those pesky ads so you can see my captions!





Correction: I just thought that was the battle pusher.  Turns out it was his shield :)


Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, POP!