Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Valentine’s Day Extravaganza!

Ian and I have a funny trait as a married couple. I’ve noticed that we tend to take a holiday that normally lasts one day and make it last for multiple days, sometimes weeks, and I’m pretty sure that we dragged Christmas out for about a month our first year together. I think it’s a combination of loving things that are special and being a somewhat noncommittal/indecisive couple (in certain areas, obviously not in all areas of life). That first Christmas we decided that instead of buying each other gifts we would just each have an allotment of money and have fun spending it together. Well that backfired and we were spending ‘Christmas money’ long after Christmas, and long after the assigned funds were depleted. It took us a while, but we eventually figured out that it was time for Christmas to be over. After many holidays of similar situations, we fell upon this Valentine’s Day. Our actual V-day was very uneventful as we were both really busy and slightly stressed. We did have a great time randomly wishing each other a Happy Valentine’s Day in high-pitched, excited voices while squinting our eyes and noses and shaking our heads at one another (this is our faithful expression of love and excitement about anything towards each other) all day long. I had so much fun incorporating well wishes into the day that I told Ian I wanted everyday to be Valentine’s Day. So, Friday morning we got up and made heart-shaped pancakes and Ian brought home some flowers and a special dessert. He also brought home some on-sale steaks. When I found out my heart kind of flip-flopped because at this point in life the word ‘steak’ equals ‘ridiculously impractical use of money’ and I thought surely my husband would know better than to bring steaks home to his scrimping wife. But, he found them in the clearance section and wanted to surprise me (though I can’t help but think he might’ve been craving some red meat himself) with a nice dinner tonight. So, here we are going on day three of Valentine’s Day and still thoroughly enjoying it :)

Here’s a picture testifying to my crazy skeeelz (or lack thereof) at making heart-shaped pancakes, and the beautiful tulips Ian bought for us to enjoy.

Aren't they breathtaking? Those flowers are singing praise - Good choice hubby!

Ok, so about the last two weeks! A lot has happened so I’m going to try to summarize (it will never work, I just can’t tell a short story). One of my friends from college came for a visit starting on Monday the 4th. Since going to Edinburgh by public transportation is no small feat, we decided to make a day of it and went with Kelly and Elliott to enjoy more sights in the big E. We hit up the castle again and had a much more in-depth experience, including several rooms that we didn’t get to see before (like the banquet hall, the room where King James was born, and the DUNGEON du du duuuuuuuuuu). We proceeded to the Elephant Café where Harry Potter was born, which was super cool. It is actually the café that JK Rowling would go to a lot to do her writing on the Harry Potter series. Very tasty and reasonably priced, plus a great view – I mean, give me that everyday, and maybe I could crank out thousands of excellently written pages to provide millions of people with a good read too! Anyway, we continued on and saw St. Giles’ Cathedral, the current Parliament building (not exactly what I expected), King Arthur’s seat, and the outside of Holyrood Palace (which I’m determined to get into one of these times!). We had a really fun day and I’m going to put up another slideshow of pictures to cover the last couple weeks.

We picked up Alicia (the friend from college) and had a great ride home talking all about Morocco and her new life there (although it’s not so new to her since she’s been there almost a year). We had a very relaxed week, which I think all three of us were thankful for. We spent lots of time everyday outside and managed to get some really beautiful sunny days while she was here. A couple highlights for me were:

Our trip to Anstruther for the best fish and chips in the UK (which, Ian enjoyed pointing out on numerous occasions, probably means it’s got to be pretty close to the best fish and chips in the whole world too). We took a bus to Crail (all of these places are small fishing villages in the East Neuk of Fife – super cool little towns) and hiked a little over four miles along the coast to get ourselves to Anstruther where we enjoyed the famous meal and ice cream for dessert. Here are some pics of the hike.

We found these great rock formations...
That, naturally, Ian and Alicia had to climb.
A harbor in the small town right before Anstruther.
Hooray and Yum!

Another thing I really enjoyed that week was the way we spent our Friday. Ok, so I have nothing against East Sands… it’s closer to us and is a really nice beach, but my heart sings when we go to West Sands (where Chariots of Fire was filmed). I don’t know what it is about that beach, but it is the epitome of a beautiful place to my eyes and my soul. I think Ian is finally figuring out that if my heart is set on going to the beach on any given day, it must be to West Sands and I am generally incapable of sacrificing the trip for any other kind of excursion. I really just can’t help it, fortunately I married an exceedingly patient and sacrificial man who graciously deals with all kinds of inexplicable emotions :) The three of us decided to have a picnic on the beach. It goes to show that we ‘are not from around here’ that on a day when we saw a total of maybe 10 other people outside, a day that was cold, windy, and gray, we took a picnic to the beach :) It was great! We concluded the day on Friday by taking a late run to Tesco for chocolate chip cookie supplies and making shape-cookies. I’m about as good at make shape-cookies as I am at making heart-shaped pancakes. Alicia spouted out the ideas, and I attempted to form them with cookie dough. Together we made things like: A cookie version of Ian, an elephant (by far the best cookie), an ant, a couple fish, a car, a CD/donut, a peanut, a flower, a moon, and much more.

Here are some pics of my beloved West Sands.

It was really windy, so the sand was blowing beautifully.
This was the view we had from where we settled in for our picnic.

Can you tell which of us lives in a sunny country?

Saturday afternoon we took a walk along the Lade Braes path and to my utter delight, there were signs of spring everywhere!

We said a sad goodbye to Alicia on Monday with hopes of seeing her again soon. It was a blessing to spend that time with an old friend, to be reminded of our history together and to work to keep the relationship steady. It was hard to believe it had already been a year since we last saw each other and in some ways, it feels like that was a whole different life altogether that we lived just one short year ago.

This week has been a crazy one! Ian started back to classes and has a great schedule for traveling, which is our focus this semester (aside from studying – obviously!). We’ve decided that we can’t miss out on our opportunity to travel while we’re here and we have no idea if we’ll be here after this year, so we’re going to carpe diem as much as we can from here on out! Mom and Dad are coming for a visit in less than two weeks (woohoo!!) and after we say adieu to them we’re hoping for a weekend in London or Paris. Then we’re (fingers crossed) planning on visiting some areas in Germany and perhaps gallivanting down to Geneva during Ian’s spring break. Following his break, I’ll be heading back to the states to celebrate the birth of my first nephew and bring the blessing of home cooked meals that weren’t cooked by either of the new parents to my sister and brother-in-law :). While I’m gone Ian will be heading to the Island of Skye for another reading weekend, and from there we hope to do some sight-seeing in Scotland as the weather gets nicer. I’ve choked back some scrimping and acknowledged the fact that it will never be cheaper, so it’s worth the money :) We’re looking forward to it and will, of course, fill you in on all the details, and if you have suggestions we want to hear them!

Now back to the main point, this last week. Ian started classes and thinks he is really going to like this semester. I’ll have to have him post a little bit about his classes, but I’m sure you could get your fill by visiting his site. I have acquired a new client for graphic design and have been crazy busy working for them on top of Taylor. It’s been great fun – I really enjoy working with them – but a very tight schedule, so I’m glad for a breather this weekend. We also had another fun start this week – art lessons!! I’m officially an art teacher – how weird is that – for some homeschooled kids here in St Andrews. I have about 12 kids all under the age of 9 and they are so fun. I was paranoid that it would turn into a big painty ball of chaos, but I think we all had a really good time. This week we made fruit color wheels (and I can’t thank Alicia enough for her efforts in helping me cut out all those fruits!) and next week we will be painting to music. Should be fun :) I’ll try to get some pictures to show you soon.

So, that brings us full circle back to today – our third day of Valentine’s Day :) We hope you all are doing well, and are so thankful for the love and support we’ve received from SO many of you over the years. (have I mentioned that I have become SUPER sentimental?? Seriously, I tear up at the craziest things) We love you!


  1. This is amazing - I have no idea how I came onto this blog - have never blogged before.

    But to see you writing about east and west sands and the Lade Braes -and looking at your pics. 50+ years ago I was at school in St Andrews, and 20 years ago my son and his wife were students there, si it's all familiar territory.

    Have fun.

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  4. That's so cool - I'm glad you had the opportunity to make the connection! St Andrews is a wonderful place to give a few years of your life :)

  5. hey guys! look what country you now have on your goodle analytics! amazing i know, but i do what i can for good friends. wow - that was a long update...i too was sad to leave you guys but am happily settled in again...sadly without louisa. she grew too much and now they wont let her ride in the taxi. =( ill figure something out - i miss her!! glad that you are stretching out the holidays as long as possible...i forgot it was valentines day. ha! and glad your art class was a messy success - i hope you took pictures. anyway, love you guys a lot, thanks again for your hospitality. cheers! leesh

    by the way ian - i will try to make it to your site someday...performed philosophy...renewed philosophy...reformed psychology..something like that - so that you can rave about your ratings. i can try to visit it from every computer in the cyber if you want. =)