Saturday, May 26, 2012


While we had a fabulous trip and Spring Break.  I missed having some down time to prepare for Easter spiritually with our kids.  It was rushed and I'll do a better job next year making sure we set aside specific time to focus our family before Easter Sunday.  Obviously, the Jesus we follow and love is everywhere and accessible anytime.  I just wished for being home where we could do some fun and impact activities that would give a visual to the kids about the Cross and Easter.  
We left Belgium on Saturday morning and arrived back in Doha that evening.  It was straight to bed because the next day was of course Easter Sunday at school and work.  I'll never get used that.  

After school the boys were thrilled to decorate eggs! 
Such an un-traditional day.  After dying eggs we, the boys ate a little dinner and we snapped a few pictures before our ride arrived.  Our sweet friends the Griders picked us up and we headed to church to meet Nick for the Easter service.
The Easter service at church was awesome for me.  We had a very authentic stripped down no fluff service, as usual for Grace.  It was truly a celebration though.  After a day without any Easter fluff and commercial bunny stuff it was such a good reminder to me of what was really important.  Truth.  Jesus.  And His love for us that is incomprehensible.

After church we rushed home to squeeze in a little indoor egg hunt before bed. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Best of Beautiful Bruges!

Our last night night was the most beautiful.  We saw and experienced the most quaint and picturesque spots in Bruges.  It lived up to it reputation and more.  
First of course was eating at a recommended restaurant...all you can eat ribs!  And we did!
And as we began our short walk home we finally experienced why people fall in love with the city of Bruges.  We saw and experiences the most picturesque spot all along our way.  These pictures are pitiful compared to the real thing.  
We look so "beverly hill billies"...worn out with all kinds of bags, coats and raggamuffin kids.  
Proof we were actually there...even if we did look rough. 
Did a little window shopping... 
Those are swans
After a good night of sleep in the castle we were packed up and checking out...headed home but not without roaming around the castle grounds.  With an extra day and warmer temps the kids would have had a blast just playing outside.
Last group picture with our travel buddies!
What was the best part of our trip? 
The Chapmans!!
This is a special friend who I will treasure forever!  Sharing history and expat life has changed us both forever.  Although we live in completely different foreign countries we share the same struggles.  I came back to Doha refreshed and filled up by our conversation and time together!  Thank you sister and thank you Chapmans for great memories.  Can't wait for more!

 Farewell to the castle...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bruges, Belgium

We took off from Laren and headed south to Bruges, Belgium.   First up was checking into our dream accommodations.  Christine and I booked the castle separately, both of us only planning to stay one night.  To our advantage we accidentally booked different nights so we extended our stay for 2 days and 2 nights!! The castle was such a perfect ending to our trip since it was what the boys were most excited about.  We kept motivating with "castle talk".  It did NOT disappoint!
The castle has been kept in good condition since Medival times and has a mote surrounding the entire thing.  The interior has been kept as it was in the Middle Ages as well.  It is decorated with antiques and has a gothic style.  And to be honest...there was a bit of mystery and creep to the old place.  We denied any scary thoughts because it could be an awesome haunted house.
After checking in we hit the small amazing city of Bruges for the evening! 
We were in search of once again, an eatery! It was basically Easter weekend so everything was booked full.  And as usual we followed Rick Steeves suggestions along with everyone else in the city. We didn't eat here b/c of the crowd but it was cute and the food looked delicious!
We made reservations for the following night at one place and actually ended up at a brand new restaurant that was amazing! Don't judge...there might be an ipad at the dinner table in every picture.  We were nearing the end of our travels and patience was in short supply.
Goat cheese salad that Christine and I devoured! 
Two punkins! 
Meagan and Barrett
The next morning we enjoyed farm fresh breakfast at a table the set special for our two families!
Square in Bruges 
The Bell Tower...which we totally owned!  All of us except Georgia climbed over 200 steps to reach the top.  The staircase was very narrow and quite steep.  
Poor Daddy!  He was such a trooper.  Georgia was D.O.N.E.
After that accomplishment we celebrated with a little fun! 
Next up was a Chocolatier recommend by one of my best friends, Tracy back home in Houston.  Her and her husband traveled through Europe almost 10 years ago and they insisted we hit Dumon (and bring them back some chocolate).  And no kidding...Dumon was THE BEST chocolate I've ever had.  And that's saying a lot...I'm not a chocolate fan. cute!?
Shoppin for some sugar!  The truffles were my favorite.  I did buy Tracy some chocolate but it might arrive as chocolate chips instead of pieces :) Rough travelers but it tastes divine! 
After the chocolate...we were off to check out the famous Belgium French Fries.
Friet Museum
And next up was the Chocolate Museum.
Sample please?
Sugar baby!
Can you believe the food!?  Well you can because as you can see I came home puffy and swearing not to eat another carb for years!  
Christine enjoying the most delish waffle!
To be continued...