Happy Christmas from England

IMG_9064Okay, so that title is a lie. We actually flew to the states for the holidays. But before we went we spent some time enjoying the Christmas spirit in Birmingham and in London.
IMG_8425Birmingham has a huge German Christmas market every December. Which, by the way, so does Chicago. Yeah for matching second cities! Birmingham’s is actually much bigger that Chicago’s, even if that’s because the stalls tend to repeat every block or so! Good thing though, because it was already massively crowded.
IMG_8420IMG_8409Recognize the church from our first week here?
IMG_8429In London we did a fair amount of non-Christmas sightseeing, but loved the lights and decorations at Convent Garden and the window displays at Harrods.
IMG_8671IMG_8711IMG_7736IMG_8650 IMG_8654And took a creepy picture with Harrods’ creepyish Father Christmas. ­čÖé
IMG_8662Looking back on these pictures I wish we had spent more time in London when we were there! Thank goodness we can go back so easily.
IMG_7738We flew from London to see friends and our old stomping grounds in Chicago. It was lovely to be back ‘home,’ albeit a bit weird. Plus, the below freezing temperatures were a bit off-putting after such mild temperatures here. And that was before the insane polar vortex temperatures!┬áRegardless of what it was like outside, who can resist a breakfast view like this?!
IMG_8731We spent Christmas in Idaho with my family – It’s been 2 years since I’ve been home (!) and over a year since I’ve seen some of my nieces and nephews. It was a great reunion.IMG_9047On Christmas eve after our traditional hodge podge Nativity Derek found a Santa costume with the Nativity costumes and we thought we’d try for a Santa’s lap photo op.
IMG_8800That sums it about right! Doesn’t every kid need a photo like that?┬áEven without the beard she was pretty skeptical. Sorry Daughter!
IMG_8826Hugging the doll I made her. Success!IMG_8864Christmas day was full of silliness & laughter, largely in part to the 4 teenagers in the house!IMG_8926 IMG_8927 IMG_8933Derek and I had some British Christmas crackers mailed to my parents’ house – these ones are concerto crackers – each one with a little whistle inside to play group carols. I thought they’d be fun, I didn’t realize just how hysterical we would find them!
IMG_8945I was laughing so hard I cried. Unfortunately that’s not terribly unusual. ­čÖé
IMG_8948We spent the last few days of 2013 and the first few of 2014 in Washington with Derek’s family, complete with lots of partying and additional silliness. Visiting family was just what we needed to make it through the dreary months ahead (February is my nemesis).
IMG_9078Happy 2-0-1-4!IMG_9022


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