This last weekend we decided to treat Uncle David to some touristing, and chose two sites that we are particularly fond of to go and see together. On Saturday we decided to visit Dunnottar castle, which is located just outside of Stonehaven about 13 miles south of Aberdeen. Unfortunately for our view we had the worst "haar" (or fog) in Aberdeen that I have seen in a long time that whole day, so much so that you couldn't even see the castle at all! The walk we did to it was cold and damp and everybody was a little weary by the end of the tour, including and especially Dad who pushed a crying baby in the buggy all the way back to the car so that he could pick us up (and not have to bump the buggy and baby down and up all the steps to the castle. It was built, after all, before disability regulations had come into effect. As in the 1300's!)
here is a pic of the "to" part of the journey--brrr!
Luckily Saturday night provided warm and welcome relief in the form of music at a local pub called the Blue Lamp, played by one of Brian's colleagues, one of his students, and two other divinity students. The group is called "Trimmed and Burning" and they are, to put it mildly, fantastic. We took Uncle David with us and he really enjoyed the night.
Sunday dawned clear and bright and proved to be the best of the weekend by far. We headed inland to Huntly to see the castle and play on the playground, followed by a picnic lunch in a town called Dufftown at another playground. Then a walk to the Glenfiddich Distillery for a tour of the warehouse and whiskey tasting. Then a pub dinner and back home in the gathering twilight to put the kids down and play another game of "Shoot the Moon". The day stayed warm and sunny all day--here are a couple of pics to show the fun times in action:
Mom and kids in full swing
Adam doing some climbing on the way to the Distillery
The evidence in plain view!
All this was a great preamble to turning 38 on Monday. I showered myself with sunshine and a cupcake for lunch, Caleb showered me with "presents" he made, Brian showered me with music and the Lord showered me with several days of sun and warmth (including the one day of haar to keep my expectations real!)
Overall I can say that it feels good to have another year under my belt. And a year in which I welcomed our daughter from my belly into my arms--wooed by her sweet smile and gorgeous personality every day, she has added light to my heart. I was also introduced to cancer in our family through dear sweet Adam, who has taught me anew what it means to soldier on and smile with your hands and soul even when your very marrow is rebelling. Brian and I have acknowledged both trials and the consolation of dear friends that keeps us going...Caleb has embraced both the loss of teeth and a place on the school council! I am running again and looking forward to doing my first race in three years on the 28th of April. If I may say so, I am faster than when I was only 37, and that right there is worth adding another year on!
We have had Uncle David here for a week now and have thoroughly enjoyed the change in dynamics that his presence brings, along with the gifts he has shared with us. So far he has been Chief Dishwasher, has developed skills in bottle-making and baby-feeding, has filled our front room with the sound of the mandolin and is at this very moment involved in putting together a sideboard that I ordered for the kitchen. That, and enjoying what Aberdeen has to offer, both weird and wonderful, and much more.
Here is a picture of some little hands helping Uncle David to do his work...
Another instalment, and this time we have arrived at Agnes' first birthday.
I can't believe my baby girl turned one last Tuesday the 6th--a whole year has blown by so fast!
She is amazing--fun, happy, adventurous, crazy coordinated, social, smiley, funny and SO beautiful. This year has been anything but easy, but watching her grow and develop has, I think, made some of the more bitter pills easier to swallow for us all. Adam has enjoyed having her around and is learning to play with her, giving her kisses all the time...Caleb loves his sister and can make her laugh so hard and so easily, and loves playing chase around the house...I have been grateful for the grounding in reality that her schedule and needs demand, keeping me focused when I might otherwise have crumbled, enjoying doing things one-handed while holding her and snuggling up at night with her bottle...and Daddy, well...Daddy loves his little girl and that's all there is to say! :)
Here she is contemplating both her cake and those goofy people singing to her--
And here she is sampling the wares..."yum, carrots!"
Part of the evening was sad because Caleb had to be disciplined and thus missed the whole cake and singing part. But, as with all clouds, the silver lining was that Caleb's absence enabled Adam to step forward and play a more central role in helping sister blow out her candle, as you can see from the video:
The funny part was that we were all totally surprised to see Adam actually blow the candle out, he had never done that before! And Agnes cried because we took the cake away--it was such a funny mix of happy and sad, but then all major moments in life really are, aren't they?
That's all for now...more instalments soon I promise!
Next stop on memory lane, St Andrew's and our weekend away to celebrate the end of Adam's intensive phase of chemotherapy.
We drove down on Friday afternoon, just after the boys got home from school. An hour or so of driving and we stopped off just after the bridge for a nice pub dinner, finishing up our drive by seven pm.
It was a lovely, sunny weekend--full of light and opportunities to walk outdoors, sit on benches and play on the playground.
In the evening we went on a forest walk called the Snowdrop Festival--it was put on specially by a local family and their whole estate was decorated with lights and permeated throughout by the famous snowdrop flowers. Here is Caleb "hiding" in one of the tents made by branches woven together:
On Sunday morning we accompanied Jacqueline and Ames (our hosts for the weekend) to their church where we enjoyed a traditional Church of Scotland service and a sermon about the Queen's Diamond Jubilee which is this year.
It was a great weekend and we were grateful for the Broen's hospitality and the chance to get away for the first time since Agnes' birth and Adam's diagnosis. Indeed, there was a LOT to celebrate and a lot to be grateful for still.
There has been so much going on in the last 6 weeks or so that I have been very sadly neglectful of the blog, and also of posting pictures that I have taken along the way.
Today, however, is a day for pausing, reflecting, and uploading.
First, so long ago...Feb 3 and Caleb's sixth birthday. A party at KC Kangaroo's with his friends from school...an emergency hospital admission for Adam that prevented him from joining in the festivities. Here are some pics from that afternoon:
Caleb's friends, from left: John, Bruce, Aiden, Corinne, Alastair, (Caleb!), Aiden, Imdad, Reuben, Nicola (the gf!), Alba and Alba's brother Camilo in front. It was a great, happy group.
The birthday boy in action, playing in the ball pit. He was sweaty and wild and happy all night!
The cake: a weak attempt to recreate the Omnitrix from Ben-10, the popular series where the young boy can turn into all sorts of alien heroes. It may not have looked great, but it did taste out of this world! (ha ha)
I am proud of who Caleb is becoming, and I enjoy watching him learn to read, to write, to express himself through pictures and stories. He is a helper with his brother and with his sister too, as you can see here:
It will be fun to see where we go this year, and to see what talents and gifts emerge as Caleb journeys toward seven. I am glad for him.
I am only what people who love me have helped me become. I learned to be a nurse at Biola University and practiced it at UCH London. I am now a mother to two lovely boys and a daughter too, and learning how to love them with abandon. I am learning about disability because my first son Adam has Down Syndrome and Autism. I am slowly learning how to be a good wife to Brian, and learning patience by his example. I am learning to sing in a choir at St Andrew's Cathedral. And I'm learning to be a good friend through the great friends I've been blessed to make...