It’s Just a Flesh Wound: Diving into England’s bloody history

The yeoman warder at the Tower of London.

This post is the eighth in our England 2015 series.

As we readied our minds for the trip, I became excited about studying English history with the girls — until I was blindsided by the quantity of bloodshed and decapitation in the available narratives. Continue Reading →

How to Talk English: Learning to embrace Britishisms

Posing with King Henry VIII.

This post is the seventh in our England 2015 series.

As soon as we had secured our plane tickets, our first task was to contact our dear friend and host Teresa, a spunky, energetic 86-year-old Englishwoman. She and the Boyd family have been friends for decades, and she has been urging us to bring our family to visit for years. Continue Reading →

Homesick for Cats: Missing Franny and Pepper all over England

Pepper and Franny.

This post is the sixth in our England 2015 series.

The hardest thing about traveling for our seven-year-old daughter Rosie wasn’t the unfamiliar food or the jet lag or the miles of walking we did every day. It was missing our cats. Continue Reading →

Perfecting Fun in Quiet Desperation: A lesson from the London Eye

Rosie sticks out her tongue.

This post is the fifth in our England 2015 series.

On our second day in London, we decided to take a trip on the London Eye. This giant ferris wheel opened in 2000 and consists of 32 large glass-enclosed capsules that hold up to 25 people each. The view is incredible, and the girls had been drawing pictures of it practically since the moment we announced our plans for the trip.  Continue Reading →

The Champion: Our favorite burger for the travel-weary

Scalp massages at The Champion.

This post is the fourth in our England 2015 series.

Our arrival day was exhilarating, but exhausting. After sleeping minimally on the plane, we landed at 8:30 am England-time with the intent that we would power through until bedtime in order to beat jet lag. Continue Reading →

Departure: The journey from crazy to calm

At O'Hare and reading to go!

This post is the third in our England 2015 series.

The week of departure was chaos. Pack the bags. Shop for airplane snacks. Clean the house. Finish up work projects. Pack up the cats and bring them to our friends’ house. Back up the computers. As I tied up loose ends at work and at home, staying up into the wee hours of the night, Jon voiced his concern that my stressful aura would spill over into our precious trip. Continue Reading →

Obsessing over Shoes: Gaining self-knowledge through packing

Ironing in England.

This post is the second in our England 2015 series.

About four months before our trip — on January 5, to be precise — we bought our plane tickets. “Hooray!” we rejoiced. “It’s really happening!” And I immediately became preoccupied with the questions of what to pack. Continue Reading →

Learning to Crave Tea: Cultivating our appetites for England

Lucy and Rosie collect snails in Wiltshire.

“A pleasure is full-grown only when it is remembered.” — C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

In May 2015 — one year ago this month — our family of four took a two-week trip to England, during which I gathered up an assortment of notes, photos, and memories. Continue Reading →

St. Patrick’s Potpie

St. Patrick's Pot Pie (with broccoli on the side)

I have a little bit of Irish in my background, but I’ve never done a very good job celebrating St. Patrick’s Day aside from wearing a bit o’ green. But after years of experimenting, I’ve finally landed on a winner: a truly delicious and mishmashed celebration of Irish food. Continue Reading →

Huzzay! It’s the 2015 Boyd Mad Lib!

Christmas Card 2015

Yet again this year, we are sending out a blank Mad Lib for the fun-loving among you to create your very own version of a Boyd holiday letter. But if you’re curious about the official version, read on. Continue Reading →

U2 kept my soul tender: Reflections on the profound influence of the world’s most famous band

U2 in concert.

When Jon and I went to the U2 concert in late June, I merely expected to have an excellent time rocking out. I didn’t expect that it would spark a full summer of serious reflection on the way my soul has been formed by listening to U2 over the past three decades. Continue Reading →

Life lessons through literature: Grieving a raccoon

Tissues, toy cats, and Kildee House.

Sometimes reading good books together can lead you onto paths that you are not expecting — just like life. Continue Reading →

Remembering Pearlio: How to have a fish funeral

Pearlio, in his habitat.

Today is the first birthday of our dear kittens, Franny and Pepper. Adorable as they may be, we feel that it is appropriate to give a fuller picture of their characters by telling the story of one of their most heinous crimes — and its effect on all the creatures in our household. Continue Reading →

For the Sake of My Sisters

Lucy and Rosie at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

With two daughters and a lifetime of experience as a female, I have a few things to lament about the way our world treats the ladies. Continue Reading →

In which I take issue with Shakespeare and invite you to my 40th birthday party

Waiting for the el

I was browsing through a copy of Shakespeare’s sonnets the other day and came across one that begins: When forty winters shall besiege thy brow… “Excellent!” I thought. “This will be perfect for my fortieth birthday!” Continue Reading →