First of all – to get you in the right mood:

We celebrated Derek’s birthday a few weeks ago. For the Saturday before his birthday we took a train up to Liverpool – a place that’s been on our bucket list since we moved here. My dad listened to the Beatles all the time while I was growing up and I, like so many others, love their music. However, I’ve recently come to realize there’s much more music than what I know from my dad. I mostly just know #1 hits and early years music. It’s time I educate myself on the music of their later years!
My inept knowledge of the Beatles’ music aside, our overall takeaway from Liverpool is that one day, bookended by two 2 hour train rides, was not quite enough.IMG_5523 Liverpool is has enough to see in its own right, never mind all the Beatles related sites.
From the train station we headed straight to the Albert Dock (a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of all of the maritime history that’s happened here) where there are lots of things to see and do.IMG_5576 Continue reading



In an effort to combat the winter blues we set a goal at the beginning of the year to regularly go out and do something new or stay in and get together with friends. Some of our Saturdays have been spent in Birmingham City Centre, a few at home, and a few on days out. One recent day out was to nearby Coventry.
Coventry is famous for a few things; Lady Godiva, the Coventry Blitz of WWII, and for being a manufacturing hub in England.IMG_5503 The city has a few museums, the cathedral that was famously bombed out in the blitz, and a nice little town center. We went to the Herbert Art Gallery first. Our main purpose there was to learn a little more about the Lady Godiva legend. IMG_5468 Continue reading

Happy Toddler, Happy Flight

Are you flying during the holidays? Holiday travel, especially a long fight flight with a toddler, can dampen anyone’s festive spirit. It’s tricky to manage everything when planning a trip; finding flights in your budget that fit with your schedule, reserving places to stay (Is the hotel close to the sites? Do they provide a crib?), putting together an itinerary, hiring a car (A quick tip: I recently learned about Turo – a car sharing company that has rentals all over the states, including airport rentals. It’s like the airbnb of cars. So convenient & helpful when traveling on a budget!), etc. Once you’ve done all that it can be exhausting to face the fact that you may be flying with a small child. Don’t worry. You can manage it. With a little planning ahead of time, smart packing, and low expectations everyone will survive and get to your destination.Happy Toddler, Happy Flight: Packing for a flight with a toddler. // Our Second Second City Over the past few years we’ve been on dozens of short flights (like Birmingham to Zurich or Chicago to D.C.) and several rounds of transatlantic flights with Daughter. After each flight I took note of the toys/snacks/games that were lifesavers and the items I wish had been handy during the flight. So, to help you be confident in your ability to travel happily during the holidays here is my list of recommended items for a smooth flight. 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

Paris Travelogue

Where do you go when you have a week off and are kind of sick of flying? To Paris via the Chunnel, of course! IMG_0984Since we’re in Birmingham and not London this meant two 2 hour trains, but it was still easier than flying. I’ve spent some time in Paris already – when I was 13 for a semester, a few months for a study abroad during college, and Derek and I spent a week or so there when I was pregnant in 2012. But it’s Paris, so it’s still worth it to go back. It was also really nice to not feel pressured to see anything specific. We saw a ton last time so while we hit a few big sites, we just did what sounded fun.IMG_1159We stayed in an apartment in the Marais not far from the Centre Pompidou, which I’m embarrassed to admit that I had never been to. So, after we got the keys to our apartment and dropped our bags off we went to the Pompidou. I’m actually quite glad I waited this long to see it. I was 19 when did my study abroad and I’ve learned a lot about modern art since so I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much if I had gone then. Additionally I think toddlers get more out of modern art museums than (for example) a museum focusing on renaissance art, like some of the ones we visited in Florence. There’s something really appealing to toddlers in big bold swatches of color or spattered paint or minimalist lines and circles (like Mondrian). Modern art is so visual and easier to talk about to a 1 or 2 year old than other periods of art. For example when the two of us were in the Tate Modern a few months ago she really liked the Bacchus series by J.M.W. Turner because we could talk about the red vs. white contrast and trace the circles in the air. We saw, traced in the air, labeled colors, and more at the Pompidou that day. IMG_1515 Continue reading