A Party at Rumbeke Castle

Rumbeke Castle - Belgium
Rumbeke Castle, in Belgium's West Flanders region, is said to be one of the oldest Renaissance castles in the country. Belgium boasts more than 3000 castles, so it's pretty cool to be known as one of the oldest from a certain historical period. A large park, known as the Sterrebos or Star Forest, surrounds the 16th century castle. I knew that we lived fairly close to Rumbeke, so one afternoon last week while Chris was working, I rode my bike around town trying to find this darn castle!

I got a lot of exercise, but I didn't stubble upon any fairytale castles. 

I did find some angry geese . . . but that's another story for another day. 

When Chris suggested a romantic, castle picnic to celebrate my birthday, I got all giddy and girly! This time we plugged the address into the GPS and drove straight there in five minutes. Thanks to Chris and his trusty GPS, I foresee a lot of future bike rides ending up at this beautiful location. Today, the castle is owned by the local bus company, but there is still a moat surrounding the property so that keeps it legit. Right?

Even though we're so new to Belgium, Chris still managed to make my birthday special and memorable. (WARNING - this is a lovey-dovey message for Chris.) I am blessed to do life with you, Chris. You are a dedicated, hard working man, and you daily find the energy to spoil me and make me feel beautiful. Thank you for gently reminding me to passionately live this life to the fullest. Together, I truly believe that we will live a story worth writing about. You are an amazing husband and the best friend a girl could ever ask for. In fact, you're my favorite birthday gift, but I'll never turn down an invitation to picnic at a 
romantic Renaissance castle. 

"What do you think about a birthday picnic?"

The statue was missing, so Chris stepped in. Star Forest.
For dinner, Chris took me out to a great place called the Grand Bazar. Roeselare, Belgium.
Grand Bazar in Roeselare, Belgium. 


Gäubodenfest (drinking-fest) in Straubing, Germany

I love dressing up! Or maybe I should just say that I have no problem making a complete fool of myself. My entire family has zero inhibition when it comes to donning outrageous attire; and we are all talented at getting our friends to participate! Maybe it's because we just hate to "party" alone. After all, events really are more exciting when there are costumes to take pictures of! Like that one time (pictured above), when Chris and I went to a rodeo in Oregon and I made him wear a ridiculous jumping-salmon-shirt with a "sheriff" badge and leather vest. . . . 

Sexy, eh?!
Or, that time that I dressed up as the Octomom (remember her?!) for a work Halloween party. 

The first annual Pilgrims and Indian Thanksgiving. We were Pocahontas and John Smith!
And then there's the annual "Pilgrims and Indian Thanksgiving" dress up party where everyone has to come with food (or wine) and a costume for Thanksgiving dinner. It's really not politically correct AT ALL, but my family has a great time! Maybe it's just another excuse for my ridiculously talented photographer/brother (David James Visuals) to take pictures. . . 

The second year of the "Pilgrims and Indian Thanksgiving" offered even more picture opportunities. I was an oversized, juicy turkey, my mom and dad were pilgrims, and naturally, Chris and my three brothers were four savage indians. The rest of our friends filled the house with lots of Indian-and-pilgrim-costume-cheer. I just laughed the whole time, and of course, bumped into everyone with my enormous turkey thighs. 

Lets just say . . . that it didn't take much convincing for me to drop 100 Euros on a Dirndl (German ladies outfit) for our friend, Reece's, 30th birthday party. I really thought it would take a little begging to get my husband into a pair of those thick, brown, leather overalls with a checkered shirt, but to my surprise, Chris jumped right on board with the birthday shenanigans. Before we even moved to Belgium, we made a pit stop to celebrate with our best friend Reece. Chris' Lederhosen was pretty expensive, but I just made him promise that we would get a lot of use out of our German outfits over the nest few years. If nothing else, they make awesome halloween costumes . . . and I love Chris in those tight, leather capris! 

I mean - how hot is he?! I could not stop laughing!
A lederhosen butt shot!
I got to party with these handsome fellows!
Don't judge - Chris and I matched!
Heading to the Gaubodenfest. We were not the only ones dressed up!
There were at least 4 of these huge drinking tents! It was wild!
I drank beer mixed with apple cider. Too much beer for me!

Prost! Cheers to Reece's 30th!
It was so lively and everyone was standing on the tables and dancing and clapping!
Best friends in awesome outfits!
Check out Reece's birthday bling!
Aaron, Reece and I at the end of the night. Happy Birthday REECE!!
This is the boys saying they had a wonderful birthday bash in Germany!


Moving Madness

This is how our 25 boxes arrived from Serbia! Lots of unpacking for the McCoy family!

What a whirlwind! This past month allowed no time for blog-posting or friend-making; instead, the month sounded a little bit like this for me:

Pack your life into those 25-dust-covered boxes that are hiding under your bed in Serbia - 

Place said boxes on a truck bound for Belgium, and expect them to show up at your new apartment in a few weeks -

Did you make sure to update that shipping list before sending those 25 boxes? - 

Decide how to pack five suitcases with basic living essentials for those few weeks and remember a knife and at least two place settings, oh, and bedding and towels. . . there's got to be something you're forgetting - 

Say tearful goodbyes over one too many cups of coffee -