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Category Archives: Living in Europe

We spent a week in Austria at the end of May, and now as we are packing up for a week in Belgium and the Netherlands, I thought I’d share a few photos from our trip to Salzburg. Our close friends from Oregon were camped out in Salzburg for over a month so it gave us the perfect excuse to hop on a short flight to visit them. It was wonderful to see “old” friends.

Kyle and I spent a few days in Salzburg in our early twenties, but I hardly remembered just how magical a city it is. It was a wonderful place to be with the kids. It’s a small enough city that you can cover it easily by foot and there were great park tucked all over the city… plus having kids gave me an excuse to belt out tunes from The Sound of Music all over town.

SALZBURG AUSTRIA TRAVELING WITH KIDSPINTRAVELING SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINSALZBURG AUSTRIA TRAVELING WITH KIDSPINTRAVELING SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINWe spent one big morning taking the cable car up to Untersberg and then hiking the last bit to the top of the mountaintop for a seriously spectacular panoramic view. The kids were all a bit grumpy by the time we made it to the top, but some gummy bear bribery helped. I didn’t take too many photos at the top since we were busy making sure no tiny people tried to ski down from the top.

TRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINWhile we were in Austria, Lulu turned four! We loaded up for her birthday day and took the train to Hallstatt. To get to Hallstatt from Salzburg involved taking a train to a boat to get across the lake to the beautiful little town of Hallstatt. It’s picturesque from the boat, but once you’re in the (adorable) little town you can barely move as their are so many tourists! Kyle and I both hate being in crowds like that, so we made our way out to the edge of town, called a cab, and escaped around the bend to Obertraun. Obertraun was quiet as can be, we had a whole cafe to ourselves with a view of a park. The girls played on the playground and came back for bites of birthday cake now and then. It was a long, lovely day.

TRAVELING WITH KIDS HALLSTATT AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS Obertraun AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS Obertraun AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS Obertraun AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS Obertraun AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS Obertraun AUSTRIAPINWe had a few more days to explore Salzburg, including a visit to the Hohensalzburg Castle, and a couple visits to the Augustiner Bräu (brewery), and a few key Sound of Music tourism spots along the way. A week was the perfect amount of time for our trip, although I wouldn’t have argued about staying another week there.

TRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPIN

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We have four pages filled with places we’d like to see in England alone. There is so much to do and so much to see. We are countryside people, and our adventures tend to take us further out away from London and into the lush green countryside. It’s so picturesque that I can hardly stop myself from gasping and grabbing for my camera; the soft rolling hills, the bleating sheep and lambs that speckle them, the yellow flowers that cover vast areas of farmland creating a bright ochre blanket that spans for miles. We always take backroads and find that adding ten minutes to our drive frequently results in magical views and “pull the car over!” moments.

Mostly we’ve been traveling close by where we are living in Berkshire. We spent one Saturday exploring Tisbury and Shaftesbury, including a wonderful countryside walk (my favorite thing about England), and an incredibly lunch at The Beckford Arms. Country walks on public footpaths take you through fields of sheep, into bright green woods, and across little bridges. Every place we go, I don’t want to leave. I find myself looking wistfully in the review mirror as we drive away, longing to go back.

trip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINThe following weekend, after our trip to Tisbury and Shaftesbury, we loaded up for another day trip to the Cotswolds. This time we knew to call ahead to book a table at a popular pub called The Fox at Oddington, and we headed straight there to eat before we explored Upper and Lower Slaughter. The two small villages are connected by a walking path that was perfect for the kids.

THE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPIN

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Springtime in the English countryside has been absolutely spectacular. It feels reminiscent of our home in the Pacific Northwest weather-wise, and we’ve been taking full advantage of every “partly sunny” day. This week has settled in with a bit of rain and a biting breeze so we’re sipping tea, spring cleaning, and catching up on all sorts of things. You would think that, having moved away from all our stuff, we wouldn’t have anything to spring clean. But nine months into our time here and we have a garage filled with things for donation. We recently discovered that the local church where we go to nature journal, explore, and picnic is where three of the original Salvation Army founders are buried which makes me hopeful that I can find a Salvation Army soon to donate a lot of our accumulated stuff on to.

At the start of April we met our friends from Oxford for something called Lambing Weekend which seems to be a popular thing around here, and I can see why. It essentially involved spending a few hours wandering around a local farm petting and holding baby lambs, admiring piglets, buying some early spring vegetables from the farm shop, eating food and drinking coffee. I could do this every single weekend and never tire of it, which leads me to believe that my long harbored dream of having a little farm of my own is something I should seriously pursue.

SPRING LAMBING WEEKEND ENGLANDPINSPRING LAMBING WEEKEND ENGLANDPINSPRING LAMBING WEEKEND ENGLANDPINSPRING LAMBING WEEKEND ENGLANDPINSPRING LAMBING WEEKEND ENGLANDPINSPRING LAMBING WEEKEND ENGLANDPINSPRING LAMBING WEEKEND ENGLANDPINRight now things feel so good here; something I doubted would happen in the first months we spent trying to settle in. The list of frustrations and things we miss is slowly fading, and the list of things we love and are going to miss is growing steadily. The girls do ballet and gymnastics, we do our homeschool work, and we try to get out and adventure every weekend. We have started playing with watercolor painting, and we are quickly becoming avid nature journalers. In the midst of our activities Baby Roux keeps growing (far too quickly), Gigi keeps loosing teeth and slowly transforming into a proper kid, and Lulu keeps being Lulu – that is to say a feisty, magical, hilarious tot-kid.

ENGLAND SPRINGPINENGLAND SPRINGPINENGLAND SPRINGPINENGLAND SPRINGPINENGLAND SPRINGPINENGLAND SPRINGPINENGLAND SPRINGPINENGLAND SPRINGPINMy Mom and her boyfriend came to visit mid-April for a week and it was wonderful to have family around! We had a wonderful time inviting them into our home, hosting meals, and showing them around our favorite places. We spend most of our time here walking around lakes, wandering footpaths, checking in on the local cows, staring at Roux, and picnicking at our favorite little local church so we brought them along on all of those activities. My Mom is a wonderful watercolor painter and she brought the girls watercolor “crayons” and small watercolor journals which they love. When we’re out and about they draw in them, and then paint over their drawings with water when we get home. She did some watercolor lessons with the girls during the day, and some with me at night after the kids were in bed, and helped me pick out some quality watercolor supplies for my new hobby.

spring in englandPINspring in englandPINnature journalingPINnature journalingPINspring in englandPINspring in englandPINspring in englandPINspring in englandPINnature journaling spring in englandPINnature journaling spring in englandPINspring in englandPINspring in englandPINspring in englandPINThe month of May shows no signs of slowing down. Kyle is hard at work and we’re trying to form and keep a balance of everyone’s needs. We have a trip to Salzburg, Austria planned where we’ll get to spend some wonderful days in the company of good friends from back home. Lulu will turn four this month, Roux will be five months old, and I’ll be trying not to cry over how fast they’re growing up. With life flying by, I’m finding it hard to carve out time to write here, but you can follow along on Instagram too, where I keep things more up to date and in the moment.

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January and February have come and gone. The weeks keep slipping by, some feel much longer than others, but still they slip away. It’s starting to feel like spring here in England; daffodils and crocuses are blooming, stormy afternoons come after blue sky mornings. We’ve just passed the six month mark of living abroad. For Kyle, who’s been working long challenging and stimulating hours at the brewery, the time has passed quickly. For the girls and I that six months seems to have gone by very slowly. As we enter into Spring with more time outside exploring the area around us, visiting new friends, and feeling more and more at home here, I can literally feel time speeding up. The girls are doing wonderful homeschool work, Roux is growing quickly and is such a cuddly, happy boy, and the days go by in a rhythm of naps, lessons, meals, and more laundry than seems possible.

living in englandPINliving in englandPINliving in englandPINWe’re loving cozy pub afternoons, walks in local parks to feed ducks, geese, and swans, hanging laundry outside instead of on the radiators inside, getting the backyard ready for lots of spring and summer play time, exploring local churchyards and neighborhoods, baby cuddles, homeschool lessons, and solitude. It’s ironic that the hardest thing in this move is how much we miss our friends and family on a daily basis, and that one of the things we are most appreciating is the about this move is the solitude, and the freedom that comes with that. It’s hard not having many play-dates, evenings with friends, invitations to family events, but it’s also kind of wonderful to be so completely in charge of our time and our calendar.

living in englandPINliving in englandPINliving in englandPINliving in englandPINliving in englandPINliving in englandPINHere’s to the next six months, to spring, to solitude, to adventures and to quiet days at home… and to baby cuddles.

living in englandPINliving in englandPINliving in englandPIN

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A few weeks ago we piled into our little car and drove to The Cotswolds. We’d planned to leave early in the morning, adding half an hour to our estimated leaving time because newborns somehow add at least that to your estimated leaving/arrival time. We also planned to head home early as to get the kids home in time for dinner and normal bedtime. Neither of those things happened. But, because we had to stop and change diapers and nurse, and because our pub lunch took so much longer than we thought it would, and because we’re learning that for every hour the directions allot for you actually need one and a half, we got to really relax into our day in The Cotswolds. Sometimes it’s a gift when things don’t go according to plan, and schedule and structure have to take a back seat to spontaneity.

traveling england the cotswoldsPINIt was freezing cold, but sunny and it felt wonderful get get some fresh air in our lungs and sun on our faces. We tucked Roux into his cozy Solly Wrap and Lulu into our new Nuna Ivvi Savi stroller – loading the base of the stroller with extra layers of clothes, water bottles and snacks for the kids, and all of Roux’s diapering supplies and burp cloths, etc., and we… strolled. I put a lot of thought into before choosing the Ivvi Savi stroller which is a big luxury stroller vs. the Nuna Pepp Luxx which is a sort of luxury umbrella stroller.

Our main complaint when we are traveling is that we feel bogged down by stuff, which is honestly a bit claustrophobic and cumbersome. It seems we are always carrying a few bags, plus my purse, my camera, a kid or two. So, we opted for this stroller because it’s heavy enough to hang bags on, and the basket underneath is large enough for all the things we need to be out and about as a family of five. If our kids were older and needing less stuff like diapers, back up clothes, and the like, we would have opted for the more lightweight stroller. The Ivvi Savi stroller is also great for “off-roading”. It has substantial tires, and a base that’s high off the ground which makes it great for muddy footpaths or bumpy cobblestones.

Anyway, as I was saying, we mostly just wandered through the streets in Stow-on-the-Wold, meandering through fleece alleys, narrow passages designed for counting sheep as they paraded by on their way to Sheep Street (the site of a medieval sheep market), popping into a couple shops, an art gallery, and a St. Edward’s Church.

traveling england the cotswoldsPINtraveling england the cotswoldsPINtraveling england the cotswoldsPINtraveling england the cotswoldsPINWe paused for a bit letting Kyle nerd out about this door on the backside of the church which Tolkien fans (which I am not) believe is the inspiration of some Hobbit-y place called “the entrance to Moria”… again, I’m not a fan myself, and I feel that watching Lord of the Rings is a form of torture, but the door is very old and very beautiful, and that was impressive enough for me.

traveling england the cotswoldsPINAfter meandering through the little town, we got in the car and headed to find a pub for lunch. One thing we are learning with quite a few disappointments under our belts, is that you really should make a reservation at pubs especially if it’s a Sunday, and especially if it’s within a week of a holiday. We were very kindly turned away from The Fox Inn, but quickly found ourselves seated by a cozy, crackling fire at The Horse and Groom. Kyle ordered the Sunday Roast and I got Fish and Chips; I seem to have a hard time straying from this pub classic. A nice glass of red wine, a warm fire, people coming in with their dogs and their boots caked in mud, and a baby snuggled up on my lap? That’s a pretty great way to spend an afternoon.

traveling england the cotswoldsPINtraveling england the cotswoldsPINtraveling england the cotswoldsPINAfternoon gave way to an early winter evening and we loaded ourselves back up for the drive home. We headed out at golden hour and the landscape was incredibly magical. At one point Baby Roux was crying, so Kyle pulled the car over and I got out to nurse him on the side of a side road. I stood for a bit nursing him next to a field of sheep.

traveling england the cotswoldsPINThe light was gold and lavender and I felt that if I was wearing a long dress and my hair in a bun and walked far enough out into the field that I might happen upon Mr. Darcy. I knew better than to wander out into the field pretending to be Elizabeth Bennet on her way to Netherfield Park from a lesson I learned once when I was feeling very much like Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face being photographed by Fred Astaire, and I fell on the marble staircase in the Louvre. So, I just stood by the field, imagining for a moment what it would be like to live in the little cottage down the lane, and then we buckled back up and made our way home.

traveling england the cotswoldsPINWe’ve spent that last few weekends at home, chipping away at making our rental house more comfortable and home-like, but we’re getting antsy to explore more of England in the coming months, particularly the coasts, countrysides, and National Parks. Any suggestions are welcome!

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