Sunday, February 26, 2012

And the Last Few

Pssst.. I love Christmas time. This is something I may have mentioned once or seventeen times before. St Andrews gets all gussied up with sparkling lights throughout the main streets. Some people think St Andrews' attempts at Christmas lights are rather half-hearted but in my opinion, Christmas lights are out of the ordinary and a special treat when evening begins at 4pm. Someone who loves festivities decided it would be fun to have a little ceremony to get the town together to switch the lights on. I agree with that someone, but much to my disappointment, we had never been able to attend. This year (last year, I should say) I was determined to figure out when it was and get there! I am so glad we did! Having never been, we didn't know what would happen. Sadly, we missed the actual switching on, but we made it just in time for the parade! We took our sweet boys and pushed them right along with everyone else through the streets as the pipers piped and the drummers drummed. It was so special. Something I would have thought was cool, but may have felt a little silly doing before I had kids.. But now, I am thrilled to give my boys opportunities that show them that life is bigger than just us. We are a part of something bigger, a friendship, a class, a town, a community, a country, a continent, the world.

Maybe this is a good example of the 'half-hearted' accusation? :) Two strands didn't even light up! So it goes, and it is still wonderful.

Next we took a little jaunt to Edinburgh to go to Deep Sea World. We met up with some good friends, the Bolos family. Tony is a philosophy student in Edinburgh and has been a great friend and colleague to Ian. Julie and Emeline are wonderfully sweet and very fun company as well :). We took the big bus down to meet them and Aed LOVED riding it. He had so much fun (well.. on the way there anyway.. on the way back he was less thrilled and more ready for a nap!). 

Deep Sea World was very fun, but a bit smaller than we had anticipated. The best part was definitely the tunnel under the water. There was a little belt that moved you along underneath a huge aquarium full of fish and sharks. The pictures are all taken with an ipod, so low quality, but it was so fun we did it more than once!

One little guy really liked it.. that's for sure. We were really grateful for an opportunity to spend more time with the Boloses, and are looking forward to seeing where the job search takes them as well!

Finally, we took a little outing to Pizza Express. It was our first and only time eating there! I had eaten there one other time in Inverness, but never in St Andrews! I thought it would be fun to have a family pizza night out together rather than cooking in for an evening. We did really enjoy it, and it was one of the very (very) few times we've eaten out with the kids in St Andrews. Aed did great, and as usual..

Gave us a good gun show. (Yes, that is him flexing his muscles. Yes it is as funny as it looks when he does it.)

And I think that about sums it up! We did as much as we could and spent the rest of our time trying to pack up our things. We had a horrible last night and an unbelievably blessed day of travel the next day. And now (hooray!) I have lots of fun things to share about my two little hooligans since we've been here.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oh Deer(s)!

Another last hurrah.. The Scottish Deer Centre. Just down the road from us, but since we never had a car, we'd never made it a priority to go. There is a bus that goes right passed it, but I had sworn off buses very early in my Scottish career when I realized they led to nothing but hot flashes, cold sweats, misery, and nausea. 

We had some Tesco points to use up, so I planned our last few activities based on that. Much to my delight I found points could be used for tickets to the Deer Centre, so off we went with our favorite Buchanans! Four adults, a three year old, a two year old, an 11 month old, and a five month old.. we were not lacking in volume or awesomeness. We found ourselves briefly trapped in the gift shop (conveniently located right next to the entrance for tickets) as our children (and possibly us) ooohed and aaaaahed over the stuffed animals and toys and waited for everyone to get ticketed. But of course, we also purchased pellets of the feeding variety to bestow upon the fenced in wildlife :). And off we went to find some deer!

While Aed had no idea what these were ('Hi Cow! Hi Doggie! Hi Horse!' etc, etc), he was VERY excited to see them. He ran right up and let them know they were appreciated.

The boys had so much fun! Ian attracted a few with his bag of food...

While Travis went for the Interpretive Dance appeal. (Notice the rolled pant legs.. it was very muddy.) Both entirely effective approaches, though one was certainly slightly more entertaining. (Piper was super impressed with Dad's moves)

Aed tried with all that was in him to get some food into those deer's mouths. I think he managed to get a few pellets in, but mostly let go of them just as the poor things would get their lips up to his fingers. 

I don't know about you.. but in my opinion there is far too much cute here! They had these little stump chairs all along the path, and while we had a hard time getting Aed to sit still for a picture, we also had a hard time getting him to get up and keep walking with us! He couldn't decide what he wanted to do.

There is also a tree walk, during which we were supposed to encounter red squirrels, but I'm pretty sure our squirrels were hibernating. Regardless it was very fun to walk up high through the trees, and to see some of the bigger deer sparring down below us.

This is Hamish (we named him). So named for Hamish the Highland Cow (one of our favorites)! We tried so hard to get him to come over, or even turn his head, but he would not give in. Stubborn cow. So we fed the sheep/goat things instead. I can't remember what they were but I think they were puffy. And enthusiastic.

Then.. Man oh man.. We found the giant play area. With the hugest slide ever. Enclosed to make it even more fun! You can bet I climbed up and slid down that thing with Asher strapped to my chest. Everybody took at least one turn :). It was really fun. The whole area was just different levels of wooden climbing structures. Not the easiest for a toddler, but we had no trouble making sure it was fun.

Right next to the slide were these poor, crazy wolves. Pacing and pacing and generally making me uncomfortable. So I took an uncomfortable picture.

Aedster and Daddy went down the slide together several times. 

This was the dark and intriguing entrance to the long, blue slide. Just below was the last of three ladders you had to climb to get to the rather small opening (not easily navigated with a child strapped to you :).

We had so much fun, I told Ian I wished we had known we could use our Tesco points for the Deer Centre sooner! We loved our experience so much and highly recommend it for anyone in the area. It's a very fun outing, and not too far away. And, if you're in good company (thanks, Buchanans!) it's a wonderfully memorable experience.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

One last trip to the beach

I actually can't remember if this was really, really our last trip to the beach.. But I'm thinking there's a good chance it was. It was certainly our last trip to the beach for playing purposes. It was a beautifully sunny day. Chilly, of course, but gorgeous. I couldn't resist snapping a picture of our garden (jungle?) as we walked out. 

I love this view. The anticipation of what you are about to see is awesome every time.

What we did not expect to see was a crane lifting an excavator way up into the air! We thought this was crazy and very exciting and were oohing and aahing as I snapped pictures. Somehow, though, no one else thought anything of it! I still can't fathom how this is not an impressive sight, even to people who do not have small boys, but everyone else was just strolling along like they saw excavators hanging from cranes every day. Not us! We watched it until we couldn't see it anymore, and thoroughly enjoyed it :)

When we arrived at the beach, there were some horses that had just finished a walk/run in the sand. We watched them for a while and then Daddy took Aed over to say hi. Of course, I was too busy watching to think to take a picture, but it was so sweet. Aed really enjoyed seeing the horses and meeting the girls that were working with them. In the picture above, one of the horses is rolling around in the sand.. which in my opinion would be itchier than however it feels to have a saddle taken off.. but what do I know about that, really?

As I mentioned, it was a gorgeous day. I have a million pictures of this skyline and it never gets old. How could it?

Well, I suppose one of our number wasn't all that impressed, but who could blame him. Forced out into the cold during what should have been a nap? Shameful!

We pulled out the beach toys and went for it! I successfully managed a turtle and a crab, but the darn whale would just not cooperate. The best part, the spout of water, refused to make a debut, so I just gave up and watched my boy instead.

He had SO MUCH FUN. He threw a huge fit when it was time to go. I mean flailing all the way into the buggy and then some kind of fit. And, much to my delight, (before the fit) an elderly man stopped to watch him play for several minutes. He didn't say a thing, just watched with a smile on his face. I'm pretty sure he would have enjoyed getting down there and playing with our little guy. That's pretty much how I felt as well.. until the cold convinced me my child's internal temperature was probably getting too low. That sand is always wet! 

While we miss this beach dearly, I know what Indiana in the summer holds. Weather warm enough to expose arms and legs.. sweet watermelon, berries, and corn on the cob.. long evenings with lightening bugs and soft grass (and mosquitos.. but these are pleasant thoughts we're going for).. swimming pools and trips in the wagon.. Even without a beach, I think we have much to look forward to. 

The Haar

I have always loved Haar. The sea fog. I think it's beautiful and love watching it roll in and whisp itself around the landscape. A nice blanket settled itself behind our house one day, so naturally I documented it :)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

It’s the small things.

Our adjustment hasn’t been a breeze exactly, but in the scheme of things there is so much to be thankful for.

I was thinking recently how many small victories I have seen in our daily lives.

Things like noticing that all the hair I lost after I had Asher is finally growing back, leaving me with little wispy bangs to remind me of the blessing of our second son.

Like dropping Aed off in the nursery (creche) three times in a row with no tears (read: screaming his head off). I am hesitant to say we’re out of the woods, but after weeks of wondering if he’d ever be able to go to nursery, preschool, stay with a babysitter, etc. I am certainly thankful for this turn.

Finally finding my camera! I had very naturally put it away and forgotten where I had put it. Hopefully we can get back on track with picture-taking.

Getting our room to a livable state. I am happy to say we’ve been sleeping in our own bed for a week! We had so many things to find places for and organize and it just took me forever to work up the courage to tackle it.

A successful trip to the grocery store with both of my boys by myself. Carseats, car rides, shopping carts, huge stores, and general confusion as I shop makes this a completely different experience. I have actually really enjoyed taking the boys with me, though. It’s quite a fun little outing at our grocery store. The people that work there are so NICE! It’s like they want my shopping experience to be a JOY, and my kids! They love my kids! It’s kind of amazing. I think we could be friends.

We officially have an appointment with the doctor for both boys after much waiting and paperwork.

Asher is crawling! It’s wiggly, gimpy, adorable, and involves lots of pivoting on his belly, but the boy can move.

Aed is happier more than not. One of the hardest things about moving was watching him try to cope. As of about a week and a half ago, our little man is finally showing his true colors again. He is precious and I am so thankful.

I have officially registered myself for a mini-marathon. I am very excited, and very nervous. As I progress in my training I am realizing this is going to be quite the time commitment! :) But, I am thankful for the opportunity and a clear goal to give me some motivation.

Ian has an interview! This isn’t so much a small thing, but it is a victory. This week! We would love for you to pray for him.

There are many things I could add to this list. God has been so good to us. I am learning so much (which has caught me by surprise more than once) in this transition and the Lord has given me very clear memories of ‘ebenezers’ during the past several years that have really taken away any anxiety I have about the future (most of the time, anyway :). I am so thankful for His faithfulness. For the depth of His love, and the meaning that it brings to life.

The next few posts will be pictures of some outings we took before we left Scotland. I’ve been meaning to put them together since long before we left, but after we moved I couldn’t bring myself to go through the pictures. It probably sounds dramatic, but it is hard to know that is no longer our home. But it’s the truth, so on we go.