My Mom & My Sister: Southwest (ish) England

With my mom and sister visiting for two weeks we had to get out and see more of England than just Birmingham and London. The first stop on our road trip was Salisbury Cathedral, where we got to see one of the original copies of the Magna Carta.IMG_3029 IMG_3041IMG_3033The highlight of the day though, was Stonehenge. We went to Stonehenge when we had family visitors last year, but there’s a new visitors center and exhibits with neolithic houses. IMG_3049IMG_3043We weren’t strong enough to pull one of the blue stones. Props to you, prehistoric man!
Prehistoric Huts CollageDaughter likes to get up close and personal with history. Walk a mile in prehistoric man’s moccasins, stamp out a fire, sleep in a hut; she takes it all in stride.
In addition to the huts and the visitors center, the set up for parking and getting to the henge is also new (I’d recommend buying tickets in advance since everything is more structured now). You park at the visitors center, see the exhibits, then either walk or take a shuttle out to the actual site. We chose to ride halfway and walk the other half. This meant we got to gradually get closer to the stones and we walked past some long barrows (prehistoric burial sites). The long barrows are the grassy lumps behind Derek:IMG_3055 IMG_3125 Continue reading

Ma Mère & Ma Sœur: A Weekend in London

For our first weekend with my mom and sister visiting we headed down to London. We started off with some classic sites: Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Trafalgar Square.Big Ben Collage As we walked from Big Ben/Westminster to Buckingham we stopped in St. James’s Park for an ice cream cone and a rest. Continue reading

Mi Madre & Mi Hermana: Around Birmingham

My mom and my sister came to visit us for two whole weeks in August. We had a glorious time. We sat around, played games, ate chocolate, discussed all things pregnancy and newborn (my sister is pregnant with her first!) and we saw England. Well, not the whole country, but some important bits. Their visit was so significant I’m breaking it into three posts. : ) Around Birmingham, London (weekend #1), and Southwest England (weekend #2).
On their first full day here we went to Cadbury World, Birmingham’s best attraction. I mean, chocolate tasting + a cheesy ride + a little history + more chocolate + a 4D show + a playground + more chocolate. And it’s only a few miles away from home.
IMG_2748I think my favorite discovery from this trip to Cadbury World is a very Wonka-ish chocolate bar with popping candy (like mild pop rocks), jellies (like little bits of gummy bears), and candy shells (like bits of mini M&Ms). A bit bizarre, but certainly a fun treat.
IMG_2752 Continue reading

Cambridge

Cambridge has been on our bucket list for a while, and after a really nice weekend in Oxford we made it our next priority. We’ve had several friends and family members tell us things like, “Oh Cambridge is just lovely,” or “Cambridge is such a nice little town,” so we decided to check out their recommendation.IMG_4338 We (the three of us plus my mom is visiting from America!) popped into the Fitzwilliam Museum first, then did the same type of free walking tour as we had done in Oxford. The tour started outside of the King’s College chapel.IMG_4318 Continue reading

A little Chi-Sick

In the past month we’ve met three new families that have moved to Birmingham from the U.S. and it has caused me to reflect on our first few months of living here. I was fairly homesick for the first two or three months for city and friends we had just left. Now, even though there’s lots of time before we do move back, I sometimes like to enjoy the nostalgia I have for the time we spent in Chicago.

Check out this awesome time-lapse video of Chi-town.

Or this post from a friend about Chicago neighbors.

And any of these (1, 2, 3, +) instagrams from this fabulous photographer.

It’s not easy to admit to myself that it will be equally difficult and painful to leave Birmingham next year. I just won’t think about it until the time comes…

Oxford, Windsor, and Roald Dahl

Yay for three day weekends! After we had so much going on in August, we took it easy after getting home from Norway in September. It was necessary and appreciated. However, Derek and I don’t sit still for long, so this past weekend we took off for Oxford. 
IMG_4088Oxford is a beautiful town. I was breathing in autumn and scholastic learning and dreaming of my days back at university. Continue reading