Friday, September 8, 2017

Afternoon in Abriachan

Hello, friends!  Isn't it nice to be in September?  We've spent this week transitioning from that summer feeling to one of fall and routine.  Even our weather seemed to transition. Saturday was sunny and warm here, but on the first day of school it poured down rain for several hours straight, and by the time I picked the kids up there was a cool breeze blowing and a few leaves falling down from the trees in our neighborhood.  But I don't want to talk about autumn yet, I want to talk about SCOTLAND.

Taking our family vacation at the end of the summer as far north as we've ever traveled on the globe, I expected it to feel like autumn a little early.  In my head I made it a fall vacation, picturing mucky boots and rain jackets and a cozy fire at night.  But no.  We had sun almost every day, and it was absolutely gorgeous.  We were amazed and thankful.

The owner of our guest cottage where we were staying recommended the Abriachan Forest as a great place to take kids.  There was a wonderful playground and planked paths, and as the kids happily discovered, really cool tree houses.  There were not many people around, as I think Scotland's schools had already re-opened, and I was able to ride my bike through the trails, saving my injured foot a lot of steps.  The quiet of the forest, and the beautiful light coming through the trees made it such a quiet place of rest.

There was a trail that led to this loch where there was a bird-watching station, and the heather!  It was so gorgeous.  I also loved the little mushrooms all over the forest floor.


The days were so pleasant we spent several nights eating dinner outside.  This particular evening the herd of cows came pounding through the pasture around bedtime.

Look at that baby run.

Good-night, Skye.  She was the best dog, sitting still and patient beside the table while we ate, not scavenging until we were finished.

Thursday, August 31, 2017


It's the end of another month, and I always like to look back at all the daily happenings, small and big alike, before moving on to a new month and a new season.  The month of August means summer holidays in England, and this year that included a more than expected share of sunny days, afternoon outings and evening walks, and vacation in Scotland. 

I always feel so grateful for having such a good little camera phone in my pocket, because like it or not memories do fade, and the picture helps me remember the moments I would otherwise forget.  Some of my most vivid memories in childhood are the ones recorded in the family photo album.  I loved looking through those hefty volumes with the pictures safe behind their sticky plastic covering!  I'm glad my dad took lots of pictures.  

As we were filming a bit with our phones in Scotland last week K.J. recalled his mom with her giant camcorder on her shoulder, "recording our lives before it was cool."  I'm glad we get to be another generation of memory-keepers for our family.

August 1 - Shoe-shopping in the city requires a Starbucks stop, of course.

August 2 - I made some impromptu s'mores in the oven for the kids in our Wednesday night church gathering clamoring for dessert (or pudding as they say here).

August 3 - We were invited to an outdoor pizza-making party in the loveliest of back gardens.

August 4 - Solving puzzles for the summer reading challenge at the library

August 5 - a pineapple jalapeno salsa that was SO good

August 7 - Monday mornings in the holidays mean time for pancakes.

August 8 - Two Little Writers

August 9 - Super-Fun Charity Shop Find (1 Pound!)

August 10 - Little Family in a Big World, an after-dinner walk

August 11 - Family Bike Ride in the Rain 

August 12 - Game Night

August 13 - Hide-and-Seek amongst the Ruins with Friends

August 14 - James has been bringing me wildflowers all summer from walks he goes on with K.J.  This is a snapdragon.

August 15 - Autumn is coming.

August 16 - The days really have been overwhelmingly sunny this month!

August 17 - We found Ella some new socks.

August 19 - Speaking of memory-keeping, the kids love watching their annual birthday videos from years past, especially after making an international move.

August 20 - Morning Light

August 21 - Packing her doll's backpack for vacation

August 22 - Traveling North

August 23 - The prettiest apples growing beside our holiday cottage

August 24 - The most quiet and beautiful sunshiny wood

August 25 - We're all missing this view.

August 26 - I rubbed Skin So Soft all over my face to repel the midges and cycled down a quiet road on the Isle of Skye.  

August 27 - I was feeling all the romance of the Bonnie Prince Charlie story and Scottish patriotism.

August 28 - This is what it looks like when James asks K.J. if they can go on a walk.

August 30 - Raindrops

August 31 - I don't have a picture of it, but today you can imagine me in front of my computer, resting my foot and putting together a birthday video for my daughter's 11th birthday.  Here's last years:

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Road Trip

On Tuesday we drove north to the Scottish Highlands.  We've never been this far north into Scotland before, and I don't know why, but I was surprised by how beautiful the drive was. We had a couple of bathroom breaks along the way.  Because this is the island of amazing beauty those bathroom breaks included a castle and the banks of Loch Lomond.  Truly we are getting spoiled by such scenery in the background that makes life's mundane moments seem like adventures.

We're enjoying slow mornings with an overall good amount of sunshine, which you can never count on but is always welcome.  The only bummer is the acting up of my plantar fasciitis after walking up a hillside in my wellies instead of my good-support tennishoes.  I'm trying to be thankful for all the good and just accept the enforced slowing down of my body, for indeed, "The Lord's lovingkindnesses never cease."