Autumnal Delights

What have we been up to since August?  Let me see…

  • The doctor went to Australia for a month – we missed him dreadfully, but were very glad of modern technology to keep track of him
  • I got a new job while he was away – which meant doing two jobs (sort of) for a few months
  • He returned to his first semester of teaching a new course  – which has been rather hectic
  • A close family member passed away the week the doctor was due to jet off to New Orleans, so we all packed up to fly to Dublin, only to have the wee one fall prey to the dreaded winter stomach virus – so I drove him home in a storm, but the doctor then ended up in A & E for the night after an allergic reaction, so that weekend felt a rather crazy ordeal
  • But – uh, no – I got the bug when the doctor was abroad and the little one and I have been lurching from one bug to another since, I am not sure we have had a decent nights sleep in over a month

It all sounds a bit grim…I would have to say that we have seen better times.  However, all around us the world has been changing colour and it has been rather glorious.  While our weeks have been a matter of just trying to stay on top of things, our weekends have involved some lovely adventures still.  So here are some recent pics of our out and abouts – and since we have vowed to lay low for the silly season this year, we might have more time for reflection soon.  How often do I say that?  Anyways, happy Autumn friends – hope you have had some lovely autumnal afternoons too!

Cycling Adventures

Last summer on our trip to the Cairngorms, we hired bikes and a weehoo trailer for a day’s outing.  It was such a hit with the wee guy, that we decided to acquire our own for family cycling adventures.  It has not had too much use yet, since the weather has been a bit dodgy and the doctor was away for the best weather we have had in the past few months. However, upon his return, we hit the cycle path around Loch Leven for a picnic bike ride.

It was a glorious afternoon and we had a lovely ride.

The loch looked marvellous.

So lovely to be out and about.

While the Cat’s Away

This summer the Doctor took flight for parts very southern for a month and the wee one and I had to keep ourselves occupied on the weekends in his absence.  We had a lot of happy adventures.  The time passed rather quickly in reflection, though as we counted the days it did sometimes seem like an eternity.

We had a day at Cairnie Fruit Farm which involved a large strawberry…

…finding our way around the maize maze…

… and some very gleeful moments on the trampoline.

Another afternoon was spent at the Science Centre in Dundee, which was hosting an exhibition of robots – the wee guy is quite the Star Wars fan (without having yet seen the films…that can wait) and he was very excited to meet these two…

…and have a go at manipulating these little robots…

…and have a go at making Iron Man hands on our way out.

This led to some inventive play with the old Duplo blocks when we got home.

We had a sunny afternoon at the beach…

…a lovely lunch at the Cocoa Tree in Pittenweem…

…and picnic tea on the beach after preschool…

…and celebrated Mama’s new job with some cheery flowers at home.

We counted the days…

…and finally Dada came home!  We missed you Dada, we are SO glad you are back…please don’t go away again.

Friends and Farewells

We were lucky in August to have a visit from our dear friends Julia and Jon from the US. Their visit flew by, but we were glad to show them St Andrews at its sunny gorgeous best (a rare sight this summer!).  Here we were perched on the famous pier.

It was Edinburgh Fringe Festival time – so we took the train to Edinburgh for the day and dragged them along to an adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s The Snail and the Whale.  It was a total hit with the wee one – and brought a tear to my eye as it was laced with a charming narrative about a girl whose Dad (forces) was away more than at home.  Something that seemed to be the case in our house this year.  [Though I exaggerate wildly here.]

Sure enough though, it seemed that the very next day we were savouring our fleeting memories of our dear friends’ visit whilst trying to quickly slot in some lasting memories of our own Dada before he hopped on the plane for a month in Oz.  Farewell!!

Family Wedding Time

June was wedding month.  Sadly, our circumstances did not allow us to jet off to Michigan to join our lovely friends Tim and Ruthann on the occasion of their flowery country nuptials.  However, since we had missed a few wider-family events in the past couple of years, it was grand to be able to don our glad rags and join with the doctor’s family in Ireland for his cousin’s wedding.

Kazuo was so excited about being SMART for the wedding.  I made him a little outfit to wear and he was so proud of looking neat and tidy.

Weddings are not really pre-schooler friendly events, so it was a quite a big ask for the wee guy to keep fairly quiet (he mostly managed this, though he did echo the wedding vows, which I thought rather endearing, especially the ‘Love you’ part!) and on best behaviour for an entire day.  In the above picture he was hungrily eyeing up the chocolate cookies on the tea tray…but after munching them down, he eventually lost the plot and crawled under the sofa – so we took a little break.

Thankfully Kaz brought some of his friends to keep him company for the weekend.

Dinner was a lovely but rather lengthy affair.  I was so grateful for the diversions provided by the iPad and some new creator Lego – it kept both the lads occupied.

Akira’s very kind family made it so easy for us to enjoy their celebration and we are so grateful for their thoughtfulness.  For the first time ever, I settled Kaz to sleep in the onsite suite we were staying in, and a lovely local girl baby sat so that we could go back in our dancing shoes and continue to join in the festivities.  This bodes well for our future social life!  I’ll not forget the bride and groom…they were charming and elegant hosts and we had a lovely weekend celebrating with everyone, may they have a long and happy life together!

May Highlights

It seems that the weekends have flown by this month.   Summer is not really making much of an appearance.  Though from last year, we are not expecting too much!  But we have managed the odd outing, including a trip to the bird reserve with friends (which involved some batman antics on the beach and lots of fun for our budding little birders), and a stroll on the beach with Claire when she came to visit. This month also heralded the advent of ‘Super Lightning Man’ who makes a regular appearance in our weekly life.

There was also plenty of opportunity for indoor play with puzzles, trains, lego and cars – largely due to the often inclement weather.  We are still holding out for the rain to disappear and for more outdoorsy weekend activities.

Easter Antics

Easter is a magical time for me.  Just like Christmas, I took quite a bit of pleasure in introducing Kaz to the wonderful delights of  poking about in the garden looking for chocolatey treats from the Easter Rabbit, eating toasty hot cross buns (this year I made them myself for the first time) and popping down the road to the National Trust house at the Hill of Tarvit to try out our dyed eggs in an Egg Roll.  We boiled those eggs so well that ours bounced down the hill several times before it got a bit ‘icky’ and we headed off to poke about in the grounds for the Easter Egg Hunt clues for yet another chocolate treat.  A happy kind of festival.

Springing Again

Lately I have been making a habit of taking an  early morning stroll over the hill to the nearest town and this little fellow often kept me company on my way through the woods:

Since then, we have spent more and more time outdoors as the chill that had settled over the winter began to dissipate so we broke out the garlic bulbs and began our first garden in the new house.  It was lovely to show the wee guy how to start off the garlic plants and so we look forward to helping him see them pop out of the ground in the summer.

As hoped last month, the weather has started to improve, and we  have spent some lovely afternoons running on the beach…

and having our first outdoor picnic on the Loch…

Mother’s day necessitated a raspberry tea cake…

…and a picnic on the patio – albeit Scottish-style with sunglasses and coats!

Unseasonable springy sunniness.

Birdy Birds…

One of the wonderful delights of our little rural idyll are the birds.  This morning our house was bombarded by housemartins as we got ready for the day. We recently signed up as family members of the RSPB and finally made a short trek to the local RSPB Reserve at Vane Farm.  It was a a bit of a greyish day, and taking two year olds out to a bird sanctuary is perhaps not the most conducive to enticing shy birds to come close – but once again we had a lovely stroll and managed to spy some ducks and geese that we would not normally see at home. Part of Kazuo’s RSPB mission was to ‘buy a blue tit for me’ – we are endeavouring to foster his budding fascination with our feathered friends.  So now there is quite the collection of fluffy birdies who sleep with our wee one…and come into Mama & Dada’s bed in the morning – so far we have blue tit, woodpecker, penguin and pukeko: Birdies are appearing everywhere – my current favourites are the bullfinch, who made a fleeting appearance a few weeks ago.  They are such a gentle and colourful addition to the birdy garden – so much so that I even planned out a whole re-decoration of one of the houses we tried to buy recently (long saga…still ensuing…sigh) based on shades of bullfinch!
Since the wee guy is becoming more and more fascinated with our feathered friends, I felt it timely to embark on some birdy crafting.  The duvet needed a new cover, and I had some leftover of the scribbly bird fabric I’d collected in IKEA some months back, so a comfy cushion for the reading nook also made it through the sewing machine.   Although I still find it a challenge to do anything other than cook, clean, wash laundry and get out and about with the lads on the weekend these days – it was so satisfying to whip up some birdy bedroom crafts…  I do hope I manage some more crafty activity in the weeks ahead!

Happy Father’s Day – ish

I know, I am a little late.  But last weekend we were so busy having a lovely time that I didn’t get on here to record…and then the week filled up with graduation events at the University and sadly I didn’t take any pics of that (note to self…all that lovely ancient pomp and ceremony DEMANDS some photo effort next year!)…and we are back into the treadmill of househunting since we put in an offer on a beautiful river-front villa a few weeks back and didn’t make it through the mire of the Scottish system of closing-date blind bidding…

But amidst a little anti-Father’s-Day protesting from the paternal one, Kaz and I still got up early and made Dada some River-Cottage blueberry pancakes together last Sunday – here is my little chef amidst the chaos of early morning kitchening:

And the wee one had made Dada a card at Nursery, so that took pride of place at breakfast:

Then we ventured out to Kingsbarns to poke amongst the rockpools – one of the things I love most about living here in this northern kingdom is how easy it is to get outside somewhere lovely quickly…and I love that the doctor is happy with the simple things in life on the weekends – from Kaz and I, we just want to say: Dada…you’re great!