Our Last Days in England // Europe with Kids // Part 7

For the start of this blog series, begin here!

Hello again! Back with more photos… you knew they were coming eventually. :) Elliott took the older kids to gymnastics this morning and told me to stay home and write a blog post. So I did!

When I left off, we’d just visited London, which was great, but we were ready to slow down again and enjoy our time in southeastern England.

Ironically, if you look at guidebooks like Rick Steve’s England, they don’t have much to say about this little corner of the country. We, however, found so much to love and enjoy. Not touristy stuff, necessarily, but beautiful, rural England was enough without any major landmarks. Here are photos from our last few days there:

Eggs for breakfast, as usual, but this time they’re from a roadside stand and an “honesty” cash box. I loved that pale blue one especially!

The day after we visited London, we stayed home most of the day and then visited Sheffield Park and Garden for an afternoon picnic. It was quiet and cool and so so beautiful!

So hard to get pictures of this guy, but I got one!

We love him so.

Back at home that evening, I took this picture of the spring blossoms outside the upstairs window, and this blurry photo of my three babies in the bathtub:

The next day we decided to visit Brighton, mostly because of the place it plays in Pride & Prejudice, and because it was within a 30-minute drive. Our first stop was a children’s museum, but the place was pretty funky (with a weird movie playing in this little theater — Lena and Elliott’s faces are indicative of the 60 seconds we spent in there). The cafe and play space downstairs were lovely, though:

Gil is an amazing reader, and he can read at what we estimate is a First or possibly Second Grade level. He picked it up pretty much on his own after his 4th birthday, after asking us lots of questions as we read to him. “Where does it say, ‘God,’ Mama?” “Where does it say, ‘school,’ Daddy?”

Lena, meanwhile, is learning at a more traditional pace. In this photo, she was working very hard to sound out a book while Gil quickly and easily read this book to Forest. I love this photo because it captures so much of life right now, and its challenges and frustrations, in this very brief and sweet stage of life.

On to a seaside playground in Brighton!

This beautiful carousel and these carnival rides along the boardwalk were a highlight of our time in Brighton. The town itself, we discovered, is pretty seedy and not at all a tourist destination. I later learned an American friend of mine lived about 30 minutes from Brighton for two years and never visited it because of its less-than-stellar reputation. So… whoops.

Another photo that captures a brief slice of life. Each morning in the place we were pet/housesitting, I served breakfast, put Forest down for a nap, and then sat down with the older children to do some schoolwork while Elliott got in a couple of hours of work upstairs. During that time I often worked on laundry, cleaning, or some editing for my copyediting job. Once Forest woke up, we’d pack a picnic and head off on an adventure for the day, usually exploring another National Trust site nearby.

Forest is up and playing with one of the two cats we were petsitting through TrustedHousesitters.com. And now it’s time to head off to… Scotney Castle!

We signed up to do an Easter egg scavenger hunt, and a little children’s nature observatory room was the first stop. When it was time to move on, Forest was so crushed when I took these cool binoculars away!

But I gave him a plum — first one he’d ever seen — in the kids’ playground on the property, and he was happy again. Love his little pose!

Like most of the National Trust historical sites, this one had a well-preserved old home to tour. I love the kids and Elliott here, with Elliott playing with Lena’s hair as he explains something about the room to them.

Afternoon tea break in the cafe! The marshmallow negotiations are going down…

My baby loves scones with jam and clotted cream too! He made this smiling face all the time at this age (11 months).

By the ruins of Scotney Castle. The owner of the property and the big house we toured apparently deliberately ruined this castle to make his garden more whimsical! Only in Europe would you have such a luxury.

We have so many beautiful photos from this day, especially of Elliott and his children — and I am sorry for the photo dump! I love all of these pictures so much, with the flowers and joy that fill them, and the memories that come along, too.

Off to church the next morning in our matching “jumpers”!

We went to a local evangelical church in Haywards Heath, the town we were staying in. We met a couple of people there who were friends of friends, and one girl who is from the States but married an Englishman. I had forgotten the joy that comes from connecting with Christians from another culture. The connection between us — random visitors from California and these Christians from Sussex, England — was amazing and beautiful because of the fellowship we share in Christ. We have such a gift on this earth to enjoy community with other Christians and to worship together around the world, and what a greater gift to know that we will spend all of eternity with these very same believers, too!

And that’s it for England. Next up… France! Coming soon. ;)

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4 Responses to Our Last Days in England // Europe with Kids // Part 7

  1. Grammie May 20, 2017 at 8:30 pm #

    What a beautiful photo journey. Thank you for compiling this, and giving us a glimpse of your travels and the purposeful meandering through the south of England. It would be hard to decide which photos I like best. They are all wonderful!!

  2. Lesley May 21, 2017 at 3:26 pm #

    LOL – I live 7 miles from Brighton and I’m seriously struggling to understand your comments. It’s one of the most cosmopolitan cities you can visit and is most definitely a tourist attraction – even if you only visit The lanes for the antique and jewellery shops or the Royal Pavilion which is iconic. In atmosphere it’s probably not very different to San Francisco. How your friend can discuss something she never even deigned to visit is surprising.

  3. Joy May 21, 2017 at 10:05 pm #

    Looks like such an amazing time! Lena and Gil’s faces watching the movie in the children’s museum cracks me up, too. I’ve definitely felt like that during some of our travels!

  4. kristin May 25, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

    This is so fun to watch your story unfold. It has been interesting, as our family does not have the experience for this kind of traveling! (but man! it is whetting my appetite for SURE!)

    I am grateful for the slice of wisdom on different reading skills as well. My 4th is definitely more inclined in learning both reading and math work. It has been hard on my heart for me to see my 4th ‘answer’ the questions I ask of my 3rd kiddo. We definitely encourage them to look at their own learning, and enjoy the ride. They will all end up in a great place, I know it! *learning styles are so interesting to unfold and watch.

    NO worries about the photo dump. It is wonderful to see pictures of real people (that I know through the ‘internet’) exploring fun places! Kind of reflecting back to the first part of my comment… I’m not so sure we will ever make a trip like this. Our first step is to explore more of the US. :) *next year! :)

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