Thursday, October 6, 2016

Photogenic Bug

Our school did a photo shoot a few months ago for some marketing materials and my little bug got to be a part of it! I got my hands on a few of the photos - not sure if she'll end up in any of the materials but I'm happy to have these pictures to enjoy for myself! [Although she does have her fake-smile going on...]

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Steward School for the Whole Family!

I didn't think four years ago that both of my kids would get to come to work with me everyday, yet that is exactly what is happening this year! Parker is starting junior kindergarten and is so thrilled to join Ainsley and I at Steward.  He is so ready for school, although he will need to adjust from his daily 3-hour nap to a shorter 1-hour nap. We'll have lots of early bedtimes this year! 

I can't tell you how fun it is to be walking to a meeting and stumble across a class of ten 4-year-olds all rushing to hug me. Or to watch my daughter on the playground, teaching her classmates how to master the monkey bars.  I am so thankful that they get to have this amazing school experience, and that I can be a part of it too. 

Parker with his senior buddies.

Parker's JK class!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Summer Wrap-Up

Yes, I realize summer is over and I've been very neglectful of my little blog. As usual, I had great intentions but life took over. Here's just a little summary of some other fun things we did (aside from our amazing trip to Scotland).  The kids got to spend those two weeks with Nana and Papa enjoying Vacation Bible School, swimming at the lake, hiking in the woods, and helping with the garden. Then we got to spend 5 more days at the lake later August - more swimming, s'mores making, fishing, and outdoor fun! And this time the dogs got to come with us. Blue thinks he found heaven! 

He loves catching them but doesn't want to get too close.

Not sure who is doing the fishing...

No clothes? No problem!

In July, Ainsley joined her cousins for two weeks at 'Camp Grandaddy' in North Carolina. They hiked, swam, camped, learned about butterflies, created a tree book, fished, made sailboats, climbed apple trees, star gazed, and did all sorts of other fun 'camp' activities with Skip and Reva. Parker joined them all for the last weekend while my DH and I spent two nights in Asheville. 

Making their camp tie-dye t-shirts!

We had a fun weekend in Asheville!

Right before school started, I decided I needed a little quality time with my girl (since I'd had two weeks with just Parker while she was at Camp Grandaddy). So we had a surprise overnight adventure to Williamsburg - went to Water Country USA, out to dinner, spent the night in a hotel, played games, and went shopping.  A fun little 24-hour mommy-daughter date!

Water Country USA

Dinner with my girl!

Popcorn and a movie at our hotel

Ice cream break while outlet shopping!

Now it's time for school (and the ensuing chaos) to begin again. Parker will join Ainsley and I at The Steward School and he couldn't be more excited. On to the next adventure!  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Final Thoughts on Scotland

To see all of the photos from our trip, please view my Flickr album

Now that we are back in the good ole U.S. I feel like I should take some time to reflect on our trip. It was amazing, beautiful, breathtaking, fun, delicious, and relaxing (not a sit-in-a-beach-chair-all-day kind of relaxing, but more like escape-from-children-and-drink-when-you-want-to relaxing). The landscapes are unbelievable and it's impossible to accurately capture it in photographs. The cities are historic, quaint, and interesting. It makes you remember how 'new' everything is in America (also how much we tend to build with crappy materials that don't last very long).  There are things that were awesome about the country and things that were annoying - like the sinks with separate hot and cold faucets. 

The country is so clean - we didn't see litter anywhere. They are so smart with their roads - I just can't say enough good things about roundabouts. I wish we utilized them more in the US. Even driving on the 'wrong' side of the road was tolerable with roundabouts. They were the friendliest people - possibly because they drink whisky all day - but we didn't encounter a single rude or unlikable person. Speaking of drinks, we thoroughly enjoyed sampling all of the local whiskies, beers, and wines. The food was delicious and we ate far too much of it. It will take a few weeks before my pants fit again.

The single track roads were a little nerve-wracking at times - driving over a hill and not knowing if another car is heading straight for you on the other side. The 'passing places' are tiny and sometimes not in the place where you need them. But since we spent most of our time on local roads, we could pull over and stop the car every time we saw a nice view (or a cow). Our travels took much longer than planned because we kept stopping to enjoy the views - and it didn't matter if we were late arriving anywhere because it didn't get dark until after midnight!  Thank goodness for the heavy dark curtains to block out the sunlight at 3:30am. 

All of the places we stayed were amazing. If you ever decide on a trip to Scotland, you should definitely try these - many of them have Michelin-rated restaurants!

Edinburgh - The Balmoral Hotel 
* Try their "Number One" restaurant, which was rated #1 on Trip Advisor

Pitlochry (Perthshire) - Knockendarroch House
* Dinner was amazing!

Nairn (outside Inverness) - Boath House
* Featured as one of Scotland's best gardens! Dinner was also amazing.

Isle of Skye - The Flodigarry Hotel
* Great restaurant and bar and amazing water views.

Kilchrenan on Loch Awe (kinda near Glen Coe or Loch Lomond - it's in the middle of nowhere) - Ardanaiseig Hotel
* Beautiful old manor home - delicious food and gardens. They provide Wellies for all the guests!

Stirling - Hotel Colessio
* Very close to Stirling Castle and shops. 

Edinburgh (near the airport)-  Norton House Hotel & Spa
* Also has a very nice spa but we didn't have time to use it. A good place to stay upon arrival or before leaving since it is so close to the airport, but is too far outside of town if you are wanting to sight see. 

I would highly recommend this as a trip for anyone, whether you want to do half the country like we did, or just a few stops (I could do a week just on Skye alone!)  If you are interested I'm happy to pass along more info on what we did, as well as our books that I used when planning.