Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Walking in the Yorkshire Dales

On the Thursday of T and Big Daddy's visit we drove into the Yorkshire Dales for a walk with our neighbors.  I think this is our 3rd time to walk in the Dales, and our lovely neighbor did a great job leading us on this one.  There was a little bit of everything:  clouds, sun, rain, water, open fields, woods, and even a castle.

Oh, yes, there was also a kissing gate, which T didn't want to pass up.

There are three sets of falls, and we first went to the Middle Falls, and then on to the Lower Falls before continuing on to open pastures.

Right about the time we made it to the pasture, the rain started coming down in sheets, which made James start to cry.  Thankfully it didn't last too long.  I kept taking my camera out and snapping a picture quickly and then putting it back under my coat, because it really was beautiful even in the rain.

The view of Castle Bolton in the distance was really lovely.  Someday we're going to make it inside.

I love my little Yorkshire boy.

After the rain shower, as so often happens, the sun shone brilliantly.  This tree was really particularly beautiful.

The girls have been horrified on our walks to see the skeletons or remains of dead rabbits in the fields.  We saw several live specimens this time around, too, so that helped morale immensely.

We really liked walking through the woods towards the end of the walk.  The light was all kinds of lovely.

Finding a good tree branch to climb is always fun.

We ended at the Upper Falls of Aysgarth, and all was well until James tripped on a root, landing with the side of his face on a rock.  It immediately swelled out, and he had a lovely bruise of varying hues for days.

But right before that happened we took a nice family picture, so we'll just end on that note.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Because it's {almost} Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to the dad who took us on too many adventures to count, taught us to love Jesus, and repaired who knows how many bicycle inner tubes.

We blazed trails.

We broke a few rules.

Dad always took us to see beautiful places.

He gave us a love for adventure and travel.

Even when we were moody teenagers and didn't want to participate.

He taught me to love photography and that you can never take too many pictures.

And one of my favorite memories:  being checked out of school early because it was a great day to drive to the mountains and look at the changing leaves.  I love my dad's spontaneity and how he never wanted vacation to end.

Happy Father's Day!  We love you!

KJ Takes the Wheel (or the camera, in this instance)

Continuing on with pictures from our week with KJ's parents...

On Tuesday I was still running a fever and had a sore throat, and it just seemed better to take it easy and rest a bit.  The kids took Big Daddy and T on a walk around town, and T went on the hunt for some flowers for our back garden.  There were probably a couple of trips made to the hardware store (one of my favorite establishments).

It did seem a shame to spend the entire day at home, though, because the weather was sunny and perfect.  KJ took everyone (minus me) out to Newby Hall in the late afternoon and took lots of pictures so I wouldn't completely miss out.  I think they had a really lovely time.

They arrived just in time to go on the guided tour of the house (which I have yet to do) and then just enjoyed the vast and amazing gardens, one of which is a memorial garden where there are signs requesting you to be quiet.  Ella and James complied cheerfully it seems.

KJ captured the flowers in honor of my absence.

He also made sure to take some pictures of sheep for me.  He knows what I like.

And then, of course, they got some playtime in because Newby Hall does have some of the best play areas I've ever seen.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Arrival of the Grandparents and a(nother) Trip to Fountains Abbey

It's time for me to start sorting through photos from half-term break and our time with very special visitors.  It was such a gift to have KJ's parents' visit coincide with a week off of school!

Along with the arrival of our guests we had the arrival of lots of fun things from home:  toys (both new and old), clothes (both new and old), and food (all new).  The saddest part for me was coming down with the same viral tonsillitis James had, so I wasn't feeling 100%, but I tried to stay on top of the fever with ibuprofen.  We all had a Sunday afternoon rest followed by a walk.  The following Monday we met up with the de la Hoydes for the first of many outings.

Fountains Abbey is beautiful in any season.  On this visit the wildflowers were blooming in wild abundance, and it was so fun. I suppose the 900-year-old Abbey was pretty magnificent, too.

Wouldn't wedding pictures with that arch in the background be absolutely gorgeous?

The boys love climbing on the rocks, and getting inside the centuries old toilet is always a hit.

A field of buttercups seemed too good an opportunity to pass up for a photo-op, though it took a few tries to get the troops in order.  Speaking of buttercups, I have learned to recognize more flowers in the past 6 months than in the rest of my life put together.

I learned that instead of Queen Anne's Lace they have Cow Parsley.

I could spend the rest of this post writing about how beautiful the wildflowers were, but that might feel repetitive.

During school breaks there are usually lots of fun activities for kids, and on this day they went on a scavenger hunt for different kinds flowers/plants/herbs and learned about what each could be used for.  Looking for clues is a great way to keep the kids running all day long without complaining about walking.  I know Big Daddy and T were much impressed with the kids' newfound resilience.

A tree stump in the middle of a patch of wild garlic (yet another tidbit I've learned from the National Trust) seemed the perfect place for a picture, though it wasn't our best effort.  T and Big Daddy did better.

Bluebells and ivy-strewn rock walls, then hope to rest because my ibuprofen wore off hours ago, and I was feeling it by the end of the day.