It's hard to know where to start and how to best communicate to you the memories from our trip. I thought I'd take this post to share ten things that made the trip special.
Beauty: Wherever I looked and wherever we went there was the natural beauty of the landscape, the beauty of wildlife (namely sheep), and the beauty of historical buildings. For a soul that felt as dry as a bone when it came to beauty, this was medicine indeed!
Friends: Every year from age 1 to age 5 we took pictures of these girls together. It was so fun to watch them re-connect again now that they are (or almost) 13. Not only that, after being away from Scotland for 8 years we were so eager to see our friends and it was such a wonderful experience to find that our friendships were just as deep, perhaps even more so, than when we left. It felt as if we'd only been away a few months. This did cause some slight mental confusion as it then seemed that we belonged to two different worlds.
Airdrie RP: It was such a treat to be worshipping again with the congregation in Airdrie. There were so many new faces to get to know and lots of familiar friends. We did feel that we were able to get to know the church at large in Scotland in a broader way than we had in previous years during this trip.
Shopping: Guess what?! The kids actually begged to go shopping everytime we went somewhere! They had saved their spending money for at least a year and thus buying something was actually an option! This was fun for me since I got no complaints about stopping in charity shops or visiting gift shops. Even Laura had money to spend and her favorite part of the trip was "buying balls".
Books: Oh it was fun to collect a whole new list of books to read!!! And it was also fun to buy books to bring home (maybe about 120 or so?). The only surprising thing was that I read only 1 1/2 books while we were away! WHAT??!! Strange what vacations/holidays do to one.......
Author Inspiration: One of the absolute highlights of the trip was visiting the homes and haunts of various authors. Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth, Arthur Ransome, Sir Walter Scott, James Herriot, etc. To have studied these things with the kids, immersed ourselves in their writings, and then actually see the places in person where these people lived and were inspired is really a privilege I will never forget.
Family Time: Wow. It was amazing to spend time together as a family and watch the children having fun. I think it will be something that binds us together in a special way for the years ahead. It was perfect timing just before the children enter the teen years.
Sheep: Sheep are everywhere in the UK! Good thing we all love sheep. We decided on several days that we were on a "sheep safari" and Michael was very good about slowing down for pictures while we drove around.
Tea: It was nice to be back in the land of tea! We drank as much as we could and brought a suitcase back home! And for those of you in the USA, the good news is, while we still don't have teabags as good as those in Britain, we definitely have access to loose leaf tea that is just as good.
Country Life: After dreaming for most of my life about living on a farm it was so fun to actually do so for six weeks! The farmer next door was so welcoming and let us interact with the animals all through our stay. Best memory: helping move the sheep from the pasture up into the barnyard.