Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Scotland is so bi-polar

I mean really. Must we have such extreme cases of light and dark? Is there no middle ground?

Hubby! Find a job on the equator please! I need some consistency in life!

We finally finished the week containing the longest day of the year. We go to bed anytime between 10 and 12 at night, and you know, it always feels like we’re going to bed at 7.

In the winter I’m ready for bed at about 4pm. In the summer I can’t believe it’s already 11 and still doesn’t feel like bedtime.

I am ever confused when living here.

And the crazy thing is, you just can’t get used to it because it doesn’t last! As soon as you’re like, ‘oh yeah, this is the time when it stays light out really late’ and start making the necessary life adjustments, it’s already headed back into the darkness of despair.

Sheesh.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer time = Berry time

I love summer.

I also love berries.


It’s nice that they come together :)

Turns out the Aedster loves berries too.


Actually, he looooooooooooooooves berries.

Monday, June 28, 2010

How does this even happen, really?

I didn’t get much sleep last night. Aed helped with that, but mostly I just couldn’t sleep. So sleepy this morning and all I wanted to do was take a nap while Aed slept. I almost never do that anymore.. I have found those minutes are too precious to waste on sleeping. It took him a while to get to sleep, he was banging around in his crib and talking to himself so I camped out on the couch until I knew he was really asleep before I went upstairs to try to nap. Then I started hearing a weird noise coming from the monitor. It was regular like breathing, but sounded funny.

My mama brain immediately assumed the worst and I knew I was going to have to check on him. Especially with all the banging he did before he went to sleep. I also knew that anytime I open the door to his room he wakes up and that it would probably take forever for me to get him back to sleep. But obviously, I had to check on him.

I listened outside his door.. same weird sound.

I opened his door and went in, found him at the end of his crib not moving.

I said his name. Nothing.

I rubbed his back. Nothing.

I started to freak out so I flipped him over because his face was in the mattress. Then he sort of wiggled.

Then I picked him up just to be sure and when I tried to put him back down and leave, he assured me he was fine by screaming like I had just ripped his heart out.

It was another 40 minutes before he was asleep again.

I was so tired, and since he was fine, I was really regretting that I had woken him up. I did manage to catch a half-conscious 15 minutes after that, but there was really no nap to be found.

Interruptions.

A part of everyday life.

Things don’t go as planned. You get used to it.

Then you have a baby.

And you realize that actually, you weren’t used to it at all.

Because really, things went according to plan much more than you realized.

I found it amazing after Aed was born how I would just be sitting down to eat after a long day of the vicious newborn cycle, so thankful that he was asleep and we could all just think about feeding ourselves for a little while, only to suddenly hear stirring or screeching as I was about to take my first bite.

It was even more amazing how we’d get him down for the night, have some time to ourselves, decide to finally go to bed and head upstairs, get completely ready, snuggle below the blankets, and close our eyes with a sigh of comfortable relief, only to have our hearts suddenly jumpstarted by a cry that could only mean one thing.. we’d be up for another hour yet till our hungry baby was satisfied.

I mean, his timing was really unbelievable. It still is.

I can’t tell you how often I’ll get him down for a nap, he’s quiet for a good long time, I decide to hop in the shower and as soon as I step in he starts whining. Fortunately, at his age now, he can most always entertain himself till I’m done if he actually fully wakes up.

It’s been so interesting to watch this happen again and again, especially being a believer in God’s sovereignty, and often wondering why He chose that precise timing exactly? It happens so frequently, I think there must certainly be something I should be learning from it :)

It never fails that when I really get my heart set on doing something while my kiddo is napping, he wakes up just as I start. (or breathes weird so I think he’s dying..)

I’ve gotten to the point now that I can almost always just give a bemused chuckle and run up and get my little charmer, no harm done.

Besides, life is a lot more interesting when he’s awake anyway.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better.. It’s getting better all the time..

(Name that commercial! At least, I think it’s a song from a commercial..)


Our little Aedster is well on his way to being 10 months old! It is so hard to believe we are this close to one year. It’s amazing how it has all flown by. It seems like the more the years pile up in life, the faster they go. I can honestly say that even though it’s hard to believe we’re almost there, it does actually feel like enough has happened to add up to a year! I think having a baby to chart everything week by week, month by month, makes it feel like much has been accomplished.

I thought I’d take a few minutes to just note some of the little things Aed is doing as a 9 month locomotive.

My dearest Aedster,

You are a big boy! As of last Monday you weighed in at 21lbs, 5oz. You’re moving your way up in the weight percentiles, but you don’t look very chubby. This is because you’ve also managed to move your way up in height and are a whopping 31”, which puts you in the 99th percentile! Looks like you’re going to big a big, strong boy just like Daddy :)

You, my little man, are a child that has used every ounce of his being to live up to his name thus far. You’re not always fiery, of course, but you know how to make your wishes clear! You have grown and changed so much in the past nine months, as have Mama and Daddy.

You love to eat with all your heart. You are happiest just after you have woken up and just after you have eaten. Things can go sour very quickly if your tummy is too empty! You eat all kinds of things and like to make sure you get a few bites of what Mama and Daddy are eating, too. You eat with great gusto, never happy unless your mouth is filled to the brim and you grab food to shove it in your mouth faster than Mama can give it to you. You also love your sippy cup and guzzle down water at an alarming pace. Basically, you eat all the livelong day, and we marvel at you for it.

Sometimes if the combination of sleepy and hungry is too much while we’re trying to feed you, it helps when we sing together. The one that works every time is Mama’s rendition of The Little Drummer Boy. Mama discovered this by accident when it was the only thing she could think of one day, and now you just laugh and laugh while she sings it to you when you’re eating.

To help you in your eating frenzies, you are accumulating teeth! You started a few months back with just those two cute little front ones on the bottom. Now though, things are getting crowded in there – four more coming through on the top! You’re getting really good at biting and make all kinds of funny faces as you feel your new teefers.

You are very active (maybe the reason for all that eating!) and are crawling like a maniac now. It was a little overwhelming for you the first few days and you often would just stop in your tracks and cry, but you seem to have gotten the hang of it and love exploring all around the house. Mama and Daddy think they have managed to get all the ‘no-no’s out of your reach, but you still show us new ones now and then.

The hard part about all this crawling is, you would really rather be walking. You love when Mama and Daddy walk you around and get so upset when it’s time to stop. You have managed to pull yourself up on to a few pieces of furniture and even climbed up a step all by yourself this week!

When you find something that looks like it will be fun to play with it, you grab it and flip over on to your back so you can really check it out with both hands. You might shove it in your mouth, babble at it, yell at it, shake it, throw it, or anything else you can think of. If it happens to be clear, you will most certainly look around the room through it.

You have recently learned how to wave, and this seems to be your first trick that Mama and Daddy really want to show off. It is SO cute to see you wave to other people. You’re also a bit of a squinter. Any old time of day, you just start squinting at things to see what they look like through squinty eyes instead of regular eyes. Sometimes this makes Mama and Daddy think you’re choking, but you’re always just playing tricks!

You have become a very good sleeper and still take two naps a day, nice and long on good days. Mama nurses you and sings you to sleep, and then you wake up playing with your paci or the special blanket Miss Joy made for you and crawling around your crib. You are a very curious child. You also love to play with the flashlight. It makes you laugh when it shines on the ceiling.

You are a precious little boy and Mama and Daddy love watching you learn about this great big world. We are so thankful for you and can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!

All my love,
Mama

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Buggy Bookshelves

Some friends of ours asked me a loooooooooooooooong time ago if I would be interested in a little art project for them. They share a room with their baby girl and have split off her area of the room with some bookshelves. They wondered if I would be willing to paint a mural on the back of the bookshelves to spice things up a bit.. Of course, I said yes and got right to work! Not! :) It took me a long, long time to finish them. MUCH longer than I anticipated.. Turns out having a baby to look after changes pretty much everything.. go figure.

So, I worked here and there when I got a chance and eventually finished them and handed them over. They were painted with acrylics and gesso, in four parts as the panels were at our house and the bookshelves themselves were at the Bawulskis. I just made the mural up with some vague intention of it being related to the collages I made for Sara when Kate was born.

I think they turned out really cute (if I can say that without being presumptuous) and though it was a lot harder to get work done than I thought it would be, it was very encouraging to see the finished product. When I saw the picture that Shawn had posted on Facebook, I told Ian it made me really want to do more.


Ian was very supportive (of course!), as I’ve been planning to do some art for Aed’s room for a really long time (I’m seeing a pattern here :), so maybe I’ll have something else to show you in the next few months!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What is love exactly?

Meander with me for a few moments.

I know it’s a lot of things.. but what does it mean to tell someone you love them? We take the meaning of words for granted a lot, and I have been pondering what it is in my heart that follows the word ‘love’.

What do I mean when I tell Ian I love him? What does he understand when I say it to him?

I don’t always feel like I love him, but I still say it. Is this then an empty statement? Is it just feeling? Is it more than 1 Corinthians 13? Can I still love someone even if I’m not acting like 1 Corinthians 13?

It seems to be a fullness. A rich, warm something that can fill a life, fill a soul. To truly love is more than just lip service, of course. It is day in, day out. If I tell Ian I love him even when I don’t feel it, maybe it’s not such an empty statement because of yesterday, or five minutes ago, or an hour from now when I’ll start making him a delicious dinner. Maybe love isn’t always just in the moment, maybe it’s a collection.

A collection of moments in which we catch a glimpse of something bigger. A whisper of something worth more than we understand. Maybe it’s an acquisition of perspective, the ability to reign ourselves into a place where we find patience, kindness, generosity, humility, peace, forgiveness.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

A tall order.

But, it never fails.

What if I could find myself in a place of such love? What difference could I make in the lives of other people? What if I had the presence of mind to seek the love first and then see what follows?

These three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

It is love.

May I be so bold as to say that there is nothing mysterious about why someone might want to be a Christian? Perhaps there are mysteries within Christianity, but in my pondering of love at this moment and in my experiences, I can’t believe that it is anything other than love that draws people to Christ.

To read 1 Corinthians 13.. To see what it is that Christ is offering in a way that is perfect, how could you resist? It never fails. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It always perseveres. And it will always remain. It is not limited by the things of this world, by the people in it, by the mistakes we make. It is big, and it is freeing. To love and to be loved. Christ and by Christ. People and by people. What a thing to soak in.

I think my ideas are getting bigger than my words. But thanks for meandering with me.. I think I’ll continue this path for a while..

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Afternoon at the beachy beach!

On a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon, we got hit with the beach bug and headed out!

We started with some little splashes to see if Aed would like it..


Mere seconds before the wind blew his hat off – oh well!


Hey Mikey! He likes it!


He walked all around with Daddy in the puddles near the edge of the water, but then.. then we decided to really go for it.


Off with the pants, I say! Off with them!


Turns out we have a beach baby. He LOVED the water.


Did I mention it was a gorgeous day??

I wanted to give him a chance to play in the sand too (and Mama and Daddy’s backs were getting a little tired :), but when I picked him up he immediately tried to lunge back down to the water!


The sand was alright..


But not nearly as good as the water.


Aed wrapped up the day for us by waving ‘hiya!’ and ‘bye-bye!’ in Daddy’s face :) You’ve got to watch out for that little flailing arm, he’ll poke your eye out!

An afternoon well spent!

Monday, June 21, 2010

I spy with my little eye..


Ian’s birthday cards from his recent 27th!

A box of Kleenex to remedy Aed’s (formerly) runny nose

A lovely green sweater with a hole that needs to be sewn

A baby monitor hard at work

A fish tank full of ichy fish, poor wittle babies (at the time of posting there are three fish left of the ten we had.. the three seem to be healthy, but it's been a sad week of flushing)

A box of Cuban cigars

Remnants of Aed’s most recent feeding frenzy

Roses from a friend’s garden

Ian’s lunch for tomorrow

A happy zebra

A patio table/chairs turned dining table/chairs

Ian’s favorite alcohol (hint: it’s kahlua)

A lived in and loved home

Did I miss anything? :)

p.s. Happy Father's Day to my beloved hubbykins yesterday - his first with his baby on the outside! Ian got a most special card made by Aed and I, and a most special dinner (but that was made by only me). He deserves much more, but we celebrate his fatherhood on more days than one, so I figure it all works out. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dungarees!

We made it a whole week wearing only dungarees and pajamas! :) I realized when we got to Wednesday, that Aed had only been wearing overalls thus far for the week, so just for fun, we made it a goal to keep it up!


I think dungarees is way more fun to say than overalls, and it reminds me of dunkaroos which are less than nutritious and also delicious (but maybe not anymore.. I haven’t had them in many years.. do they even still exist?).


(yes he is playing with a diaper.. yes it is clean.. speaking of which, for those of you that are interested, I did send in my diapers from bumgenius that had failing velcro, and they replaced them – super nice and very quick turn around time! Kudos to their customer service!)

Also I am wondering if we have committed a fashion faux pas?

I know you’re not supposed to wear plaid with stripes, but what about plaid with paw prints? Too much? I mean.. I think the Aedster was workin’ it.. :)


(notice anything new here???)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wait a minute.. just whose toys are these??

Aed recently acquired some new blocks thanks to Nana and Papaw. He loves playing with them.

Turns out, Daddy loves playing with them too..


But, when the Aedster wakes up from his nap, Daddy has to kiss his towers goodbye. The child refuses leave a single block on top of another :)


Love those boys of mine!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I’d like to present an award..

To myself.

Humble, I know, but you’ll understand momentarily..


See those Sweatpants?

Those are the ones, the ones with ‘Leach Eagles’ and a little eagle on the leg.. Those are my sweatpants from fifth grade. Yes, fifth grade. I have been wearing these sweatpants since I was 11. How many people can say that, really?

I acquired these sweatpants when I was on the cheerleading team. In fifth grade (E-A-G, L-E-S, Eagles, Eagles are the best! Goooooo Leach! Woooo! [attempted leg kick]). That was also the year I got my period, the year I learned it was very important to remember to wear deodorant, and the year I realized I was really not a flexible as I thought and was far too chubby to be a cheerleader. I think it may have even been the year that I found out about my SVT. A monumental three-hundred-sixty-five days in a young girl’s life. I may have even had a boyfriend.. SeƱor Hellems.. Was that you?

I’m not sure why I still have them (the sweatpants, that is), I’m even less sure of why I can still wear them.. but really, they are the ultimate sweatpants. At some point in their life, I decided they were a little uncool (I know, hard to believe), so I cut the elastic at the bottom of the legs to try to make them less uncool.

I have worn these in public since fifth grade. In fact, I wore them out of the house just last week. The Fife Council rubbish collector men have been exposed to my fifth grade sweatpants.

I decided that since they have been such a part of my life these last (almost) 15 years, they needed to be commemorated. You might think that I would give them the award. Nay, nay. I am presenting myself with this award today, in celebration of my 15 years with these sweatpants.


Thank you and goodnight!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Escargot

Meet Fiona


She is an Apple Snail. She lives in Scotland. Thus, her name is Fiona.

A recent addition to the fish tank, she is much speedier than I would have anticipated. Which is good, because she has a lot to keep up with – those fishies are messy! But, she sure spices things up in there :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Nana and Papaw Come for a Visit!

My mom and dad, along with some good friends Tim and Debbie, came to visit at the end of May. Dad and Tim played LOTS of golf while the rest of us pretty much just hung out with Aed :) We took them to Anstruther for fish and chips, they wandered St Andrews, the four of them took a little trip to the highlands so they could play the Dornoch course and see a castle (whose name is evading me at the moment.. Dunrobin perhaps?), and I enjoyed baking and cooking when the opportunity arose.

We also ate the best meal I have had in Scotland.. It was so delicious I can’t even tell you about it or you’ll be jealous :) Just one of the many perks of having visitors – eating out!

It was really fun to have Tim and Debbie here as well, since it’s been several years since we’ve seen them. They stayed for the first week and then headed home so they could turn around and go to Haiti a couple days later!

After the golfers had their fill and Tim and Debbie were on their way to Haiti, the five of us decided to go check out the Secret Bunker of Scotland. It was really interesting to see the kinds of preparations the UK was making in case a nuclear war broke out. It really is located in the middle of nowhere and is amazingly large inside. I think the highlight of that experience was when Aed peed on the floor. And on Ian. But the highlight was the floor, for sure. (While fully dressed, I might add)

We also did some shopping to try and replace all of our holey clothes.. we had limited success and are still on the hunt for jeans. These are the days when I just long for a Kohl’s! And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Wii frisbee golf tournaments we partook in after dinner :)

Like the photography fiend that I am, I ONLY took pictures when we went to Scone Palace (pronounced scoon, not like the scone you eat), which was one of the very last things we did. We’ll just say I didn’t pull out the camera because I was too busy enjoying my family :) I got plenty of pictures anyway, as you’ll see..

We headed to Scone for a day’s visit and were greeted at the entrance by a woman who told us the palace was closed today. What?? How did we not know this? Well, it turns out there was a Royal visit that day that had not been advertised. We asked around and eventually figured out that Prince Charles was coming for a visit, but they were all very secretive about who was coming and why they were coming.

So, we decided to just wander the grounds as they are gorgeous, though it was a cold, rainy day.

Upon our approach to the palace, we spotted some white peacocks!


I had never seen one before but they are beautiful.


There were also some highland coos munching away, surrounded by goats and such, but only the coo made it into the sights of my lens..


Here’s our little buddy keeping warm under his rain cover (Papaw was very concerned that he was going to run out of oxygen under that thing.. the good news is, he didn’t!).


We weren’t sure if we would get to see Prince Charles or not, as no one would tell us when he was arriving. So, we kept wandering and waiting and wondering and waiting. Eventually, a band showed up all decked out in Scottish garb. Surely he’ll be here soon! We’ll wait because if the band is here, he must be coming.


We took some photos while we waited..



By this time, the Aedster was getting grumpy. We learned while mom and dad were here that he no longer sleeps in the stroller AT ALL, much to our disappointment, and even more disappointing is that he hardly sleeps in the car now, either. Ian was walking him around, but he was only happy when the band was playing and they kept stopping! So insensitive! So, we decided to try holding him instead.

However, we had left his coat in the car (seeing as how he’d SURELY be sleeping in the stroller the whole time), and it was pretty chilly, but the car was really, really far away and no one wanted to miss the prince! So we tried to come up with some creative ways to keep him warm. (Little did we know we could have made it to the car and back about 47 times before Mr. Charles arrived.)




He didn’t really like being inside Daddy’s jacket, and he wouldn’t keep the shirt on his head, so we eventually just took the foot muff out of the stroller and plopped him in it while we held him. Much more effective :)

So we kept waiting. There were buses and cars dropping off loads of nicely dressed people, but still no prince. A bunch of school kids showed up, and a lady started passing out flags to wave. Surely NOW he’ll be coming!


So we spent our time waving our flags..


Even Aed waved his flag (he LOVED it and still waves those flags all the time with great gusto)!





More cars, more people, no prince!

But, we’ve made it this far, we can’t give up now!

Then, a motorcycle. And another one! This is looking good!

Finally! He rolled up in his fancy jaguar, gave us a few quick waves, and disappeared inside the palace.

A little anticlimactic perhaps, but we still got to see him in real life!

Unfortunately, as I was snapping pictures of him as quickly as I could, I didn’t realize that my lens was focused on the heads right in front of me, rather than the Prince. Bummer!! He even waved and all I have is some blurry proof.


Then, suddenly I snapped out of it and remembered I could ZOOM IN and I got a few close ups of him over the heads.


Whew! So much excitement! So, we took off and decided to come back the next day. Since we had driven all the way out there and the palace had been closed, they gave us free tickets to come back and see it whenever we could.

We were so glad we did! The next day was gorgeous, sunny, and warm.

I was on a mission to get some family photos, so it was perfect!


This might be my favorite of the day.


This one is awesome though.. Apparently I was the only one that could see past the sun to look at the camera! :)

Dad decided to strike a quick pose for me





Those rhododendrons are gorgeous right now! So big and pink and fluffy! And they were everywhere.

We continued our wandering to see what we had missed yesterday (we did see the inside of the palace too, which was very nice, but no pictures allowed!), and we found a maze!

Since it was Aed’s first maze, we took a picture :)


This area is known for having some giant trees, redwoods, Douglas firs and such. We found them!


You can see Aed and Ian at the bottom of that tree. They were so big!


Ian took Aed over to see some of them up close, and here they are at the bottom of the California Redwood..


They touched the trees..


I photographed the trees..

And on the way out, Daddy let the Aedster ride on his shoulders! It was so fun!



Then we found a low branch to set Aed on for another attempt at a family picture :)


He thoroughly enjoyed himself..


May I just take a moment to point out how my son has inherited my husband’s cheeks?? :) Aren’t they so cute!!??


Aed’s favorite past time at the moment is WALKING. I’m not quite ready for the real deal yet, but he MUCH prefers to be on his feet then on his hands and knees (he’s a 100% crawler now!).


We snapped a few more pictures and headed back to the palace..



But not before finding a white peacock in a tree!


The entrance to the old village of Scone is just outside the palace entrance.


The Earl decided he didn’t like this way back when because the villagers were always around the palace, so instead of moving the entrance, they moved the village! Oh Nobility.. what will we do with them?


It was a wonderful day and a wonderful visit. We were sad to say goodbye, but were so thankful that Mom and Dad were able to come! Who’s next?? :)