Thursday, January 30, 2014

UK Part 5

Our next stop was the Cotswolds.  Cute, quaint little towns that came to be because of their wool industry.  We rented some bikes to better tour some of the towns and country. Talk about out of shape. That bike ride sure kicked my trash.

Ashlee on her bike.

My bike was named Helga.

The country was dotted with stone houses, thatched roofs, rolling hills, and sheep.

Picturesque little church.

More of the countryside.

Really, there were a lot of sheep.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

UK Part 4

Our next stop was Oxford.  Ashlee was kind enough to indulge my desire to see Christ Church College. One of the many colleges in Oxford.  We didn't go inside due to lack of time, but it was very impressive from the outside.

From Oxford you can take a bus to Blenheim Palace; birthplace and childhood home of Winston Churchill. I felt like I had stepped into a Jane Austen novel. This place was incredible! I have a hard time believing someone actually lives here.  I wouldn't want people touring my home day in and day out if I were them, but it's what keeps the place running. It's too expensive to live there otherwise.

Christ Church College - where the inspiration for the Great Hall in the Harry Potter films came from.

Ready to go into Blenheim Palace. Notice the incredible gate in the background.

Someone lives here! Can you imagine?

My favorite room in Blenheim: the library, complete with an organ.

Quote from dear Winston. Turns out he didn't love his time at Blenheim Palace.

From the "back yard".  This place has extensive grounds. You could almost get lost there.  They even have a Secret Garden!

Don't we look happy to be rid of our packs? A kind soul let us store them in the gift shop.

Disney Franchise was filming Cinderella.  Watch for it to come out in 2015.  They were getting shots of the grounds from a helicopter while we were there, so if you see a speck of blue walking the grounds in the movie, that's me!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

UK Part 3

Proof that we survived jumping into a car with strangers in a foreign country:

Our Kentucky friends dropped us off in Bath.  When we tried to pay them for their kindness they wouldn't accept it, but just asked that we pay it forward. 

Bath is breathtaking.  Everything is made of this light colored stone.  There was such a fun vibe there. No wonder so many writers found inspiration by visiting/living there. The Roman Baths were pretty cool too. It's amazing how much history was preserved.

Stunning view of the river.

Dinner that night: ratatouille & fish

View during dinner.  Bath cathedral on the left. Roman Baths on the right. Street musician blurry in the bottom right corner.
Getting ready to go into the Roman Baths.

Inside the Roman Baths

My new Roman friend saying hello with his hand -- apparently I didn't understand that you were supposed to keep your mouth closed.

Us getting ready to drink the Bath water. Turns out we weren't supposed to be here.

The Royal Crescent, and Ashlee who looks like she should be in a musical.

Monday, January 27, 2014

UK Part 2

We couldn't make a trip to England without seeing the mysterious Stonehenge.  

Double Decker bus ride to the stones.

Here they are in all their mysterious glory.

Proof that we were there - with our packs.

After we had our fill of the stones we waited in the parking lot for our bus.  As we waited we were offered a ride to Bath, our next destination. Now, just like the rest of you I was taught to never accept a ride from a stranger.  So, before you get all excited that we disobeyed our childhood lesson let me tell you - it was from a couple who were visiting from Kentucky. We took their picture for them, and they took ours at Stonehenge.  We had chatted with them earlier. And my pack was starting to feel really heavy.  Does that explain away the crazy fact that we accepted a ride from a stranger when there have been horror films made of strangers in foreign lands?  I don't know. All I know is that we felt just fine about it at the time.

Our new friends were headed to Bath for the night, but they wanted to stop in Avesbury first.  Avesbury is a lesser known stone circle that you can only access with a car.

The Avesbury stone circle.

We had afternoon tea (herbal in case you were worried) in a beautiful old manor.

Us in front of the beautiful old manor where we had tea.

One of the stones.

The only picture I got of our Kentucky friends + Ashlee doing some sort of elegant pose...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

UK Part 1

Okay, okay, okay. Since everyone has been begging me to post some pictures of my trip to the UK I decided to finally give in. 

Alright, no one has begged me to post pictures, but here they are anyway! I'm normally that person who waits for someone else to post the pictures of me on Facebook (I really hate putting pictures on there myself - do they have a word for that?  Facebook-post-a-phobia?), but since my travel buddy Ashlee Burgener doesn't use her Facebook, I guess it's up to me.  Now, I realize this isn't Facebook, but I just couldn't bring myself to upload them there (remember the phobia?) and a blog is the next best thing.

We took A LOT of pictures. No really. A LOT for the short amount of time we were there, so I'll put our adventures into a few different chronologically ordered posts.

Our first day Ashlee and I went straight from the airport to Windsor.  We chose to pay the extravagant fee and tour the castle with everything we had with us on our backs (we chose to backpack from one location to the next). It was a pretty incredible tour.  It's hard to imagine so much history taking place in one location, and having so much proof of it still there for all (who pay the extravagant fee) to see.

Lovely view of a section of the castle from inside the gate.

Listening to the audio tour.

In the center of the castle.

After our tour we headed to Salisbury for the night.  The next morning we went and toured the Salisbury Cathedral. Absolutely incredible. They had the best preserved copy of the Magna Carta.

View from our breakfast spot.

Inside the Salisbury Cathedral.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Center of Attention

This picture accurately depicts the role that Benjamin has taken in our family.  Whenever he's around we don't need conversation.  We just watch every movement Ben makes.  Every. Single. One. Because it's so darn cute.  On the occasion that we do have conversation it ends up something like this:

Tara:  Who wants to hold Ben?

Everyone in the room: Me! Me! Pick ME!!!

Leah: I need some attention too...

Erin: Ben just sneezed! How cute!

Josh: (Proud father face)

Trent: I think I made him cry again...

Leah: Did anyone hear me? 

Chase:  Look at his little nose!

Mom: Oh, I just love this little boy!

Leah: You love me too.  Right?

Dad:  I think he looks like me.

Leah: Right, Mom?  You love me?

Tate: (clear from the MTC) I'm Ben's favorite uncle!

Leah: Ben just smiled at me!  Ohmygosh he is so cute!!!

You guys, he is REALLY cute. Even if any real conversation is non-existent when he's around.  He is definitely loved in our family.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sister Pride

Long gone are the days when.....

 We would put glow in the dark beads on our eyelids at night with the hope that we would scare each other in the dark with our "creepy eyes".  We were strange children.  I realize that now.

We would stay up way past our bedtime giggling like little girls in our shared room.  We weren't always little when this happened.

We would fight, like only sisters can, over our minimal bathroom space.  Before you judge, YOU try and share a two and a half foot counter space with another teenage girl.  Let me know how that goes.

We would make up our own slang term to replace a word that was 'bad'.  Little did we know at the time that the word we made up actually meant something worse than the word we replaced.  The price of being way too innocent.

Now she has a husband, a baby, and a college degree (well, almost).  I'm so proud of you Tara!!!

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