wherever you go


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Scotland

I think we got a pretty good glimpse of Scotland in the two weeks we were there. Miraculously, it didn’t rain very much at all, and our day trips included seeing Lochness, St. Andrews, Fort William, Mallaig (on the western coast), Glen Coe and the Rannoch moor, Rosslyn chapel, Melrose Abbey, Stirling Castle, Alnwick Castle, the Cairngorms National Park, and Edinburgh Castle. Highlands, lowlands, west coast, east coast, and even a little trip across the border into England!

Edinburgh was a great location to have as a home base. We walked (and walked and walked and..) everywhere. A few of my toes were unenthusiastic about all the walking, and a couple of them are just now recovering. Stephen’s suggestion: wear sneakers – real sneakers (aka – athletic shoes or trainers). Not that I could bring myself to wear them with my skinny jeans. Ha! I was wearing little canvas shoes, not something crazy.

But that reminds me: Jeans! I wore jeans the whole time and I loved it. There was one day it got a little warm, but otherwise I was happy in jeans, a long sleeved shirt and a light scarf. Ahhh….loved it. I miss wearing scarves.

Here is a quick run down of the highlights:
- bus trip to Rosslyn chapel, Melrose Abbey, and Alnwick castle with my mom and her friend
- bus trip to Inverness, Lochness, Glen Coe, Rannoch moor, and the highlands with Stephen
- day trip to Stirling Castle
- walked up to the Edinburgh castle
- trip to Saint Andrews to see friends and we had lunch at Anstruther Fish Bar
- Stephen and I walked for 1 1/2 – 2 hours to find the restaurant where we had our anniversary dinner. It took us 20 minutes to walk home.
- day trip to take a ride on the steam train from Fort William to Mallaig
- the house we stayed in was a perfect location, beautiful, and I felt right at home

I’ll spread the pictures and stories out over a few posts.

After all our fun in Scotland, Stephen had to go back to work, and the kids and I came with the Grandparents to Pennsylvania. We have been visiting family, enjoying thunderstorms, and I can drive!! Somehow, I haven’t been to Target yet, but give me a day or two…

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– Edinburgh castle -


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It’s hot.

 

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That picture of trees against a blue sky is misleading.  The sky is rarely blue here.  Usually it is more of a gray or brown color.  I find the choice of photo in this app annoying.

It is June 1st today! The beginning of Summer!  And I am so glad we are going back to the states for a while this year.  I don’t remember being this uncomfortable last year, and we stayed through the summer months.  Maybe we stayed inside more.  Maybe it wasn’t as hot last year. Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant.  Either way, I find I am not enjoying the increasing temperatures.  By 10:00am there is no longer shade to walk in, and it isn’t until about 5:00 that it starts being bearable outside again.  When we go to the pool in the morning, we are usually walking back to the house around 11:00, and it is a hot walk home.

However, we have enjoyed some time out at the pool in the evenings and have cooked out on the grill with friends.  We even tried making some s’mores, but something is wrong with the marshmallows I bought here.  They don’t melt.  They stay chewy on the inside even when the outside has been perfectly toasted by my loving husband.  (I didn’t want to stand that close to the extra heat of the fire!)  I am looking forward to more cookouts in the fall!  And I may have to add marshmallows to my list of things to buy in the US.


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Bahrain

We stayed at three different locations for our three weekends in Bahrain.

The first was located right beside the yacht club where Stephen’s lessons took place.  It wasn’t close to anything else, but it with restaurants, a beach, pool, and room service why go anywhere?!  We had a smaller room: bedroom and living area combined, bathroom, and a balcony. The balcony looked into the marina, and a big yacht was right in front of us.  While Emery napped, Myka and I would read books, eat snacks, and drink iced tea (all which we brought with us to save on cost) on the balcony while we watched them clean and ready the yacht to go out.  Jet skis would zoom around, and the kids would wave at the riders.  The balcony got afternoon sun and was Hot! I would pick a different location next time.  It took a short walk to get to the beach and restaurants.  The kids loved the little beach area, but Myka was a little worried about the small crabs in most of the tiny sea shells. It was entertaining to watch them crawl about though!

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The second place we stayed was attached to a mall, so I had a completely different packing list.  There was a pool, and the kids loved the play area beside the breakfast buffet.  We did some shopping and besides one Major Meltdown (I think it was the worst fit Myka has ever had…and in public too.  And Emery joined in.  Lovely. but besides that…) the kids did really well!  I got almost everything on my list! This hotel was so comfortable and had a large kitchen area.  Because the other two places we stayed at had beaches and lots of outside activities, we will probably stay at this location if we visit during the summer because we will want to be inside where it’s cooler!

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And the third place we stayed was back on the beach!  It so happened that some friends were going the same weekend, much to my children’s overwhelming joy, and it made this weekend so enjoyable!  It cost more than the other two places, but it is a beautiful resort.  We had a spacious room with the bedroom and bathroom separated from the living room and dinning area.  The living room and bedroom had french doors which opened onto a patio, and we could walk right out to the pool and beach from there.  It was shaded nicely and Myka and I enjoyed our afternoon outside on the porch while Emery napped.  The pool had perfect areas for children with slight grading with plenty of water about 1 1/2 feet deep. There was also a splash area specifically for small kids.  The service was impressive: drinks brought to you on the beach, towels laid out on your pool chair… We had a rough time at dinner the one night (really slow service. Just getting our drinks took 45 minutes!), but other than that they were very attentive.

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You never know what you might see along the way…


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It’s a girl!

Myka was right.  The boys will now be out numbered.  I am so excited to start getting ready for another girl!

 

Here are some pictures and happenings from April.  First, some randomness:

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A budding photographer:

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I made Myka a skirt!

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And the last of a set of four plastic cups from Target cracked.  I loved them.  White on the outside, bright and colorful on the inside – it’s the simple things that make me happy.

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We played outside with friends:

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(Can you see what Emery is looking at?  A digger.  He loves scooping, digging, machines, trucks….)

 

And we went to Bahrain THREE times!  The packing and unpacking and prepping for each weekend trip was a little crazy, but it was a lot of fun.  Stephen took sailing lessons and the kids and I enjoyed the hotels.  We stayed at three different places; so much fun!  I’m putting together a post about the three hotels we stayed in, and there will be more pictures with that one.

 


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and then there were five..

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Tomorrow I have a doctors appointment and hopefully we can find out if we are having a girl or a boy!  I can’t believe we are that far along already.  Myka has always been sure that it was a girl.  A friend has predicted a boy. I have no idea.

The hospital I go to for my doctor appointments is about an hour away.  Stephen takes off work to drive me there, and it always takes at least half of the day.  I miss the ease of my little doctor’s office in Washington (and being able to drive myself, of course).  However, I am happy with my doctor and the hospital.

It’s interesting how life affects your decisions.  If I was still in the US I would be considering a mid-wife, home birth, birthing center, etc.  But here my choices are restricted to hospitals and OBs.   The choice of both is based on things like being able to have Stephen with me for the birth, safety and care in the hospital, and being able to understand the doctor.  I never thought these kind of things would be how decided to give birth.  But it’s all part of living somewhere different!

I could go back to the states and have more choices, be around more family, but then Stephen wouldn’t be there and it would be months before we were all together as a family.  I don’t want that.

Stephen is starting to figure out the process of getting the birth certificate, social security number, passport…all those necessary documents.  I remember getting very clear directions when I had Myka and Emery – fill out this form, send it to this place with this amount of money, and you will get what you want.  There is a definite lack of direction and information here.  I’m still hoping I can get a hospital tour before I actually come to have the baby.

Enough about all that!  We have been busy playing in the pool and with friends, going to Bahrain and the beach, and getting a taste of the hot weather to come.

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Grandma came for a visit and got to see our little corner of Saudi!  She even got to wear an abaya, lucky girl! It was Wonderful to have her around.  The kids and parents were both sad to see her go back home.

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In March a friend gave me an umbrella because I didn’t have one.  It doesn’t rain much, so it hasn’t really been an issue. The day after I got my new umbrella it rained!  Any guesses were this friend is from?

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And in winter and spring in Saudi you get flowers! These tiny, yellow flowers were everywhere and added fun color to the view.

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excuses…excuses…

But it’s a good one, really!  I meant to write posts more often with the new year.  I have lots of things to write about and travel stories, but goodness I’ve been tired.

But I have an excuse.

We are going to have another baby! I’m due in September.  So while I was in Pennsylvania it was understandable that all I wanted to do was nap.  I’m a little more awake these days, but there are still naps some afternoons.  Everything is going well.

Stephen’s mom, Bonnie, flew back to Saudi Arabia with us from the states and spent three weeks here.  After my mom being here before our trip, six weeks staying with Stephen’s Dad and step-mom, and then three weeks with Grandma Bonnie, everyone is quite sad to be with out a Grandparent near by.  It was so good for the kids to be close to family, and I enjoyed the company and help.  Especially as I’d prefer to sleep in and take naps most days.

We are getting back into a routine and appreciating time outside while the weather is still nice.  It’s getting hotter! We have gone to the pool a few times and Emery has a serious farmers tan.

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Refresh and Restart

We have been in Pennsylvania for a week, and my first remotely productive day was yesterday. I did laundry, ran the dishwasher, packed for our weekend, read a bit. And it felt so good. I’m hoping to have some time to think about our life and family and future, but I don’t feel free to do that when there are messes to clean up or phone calls to make or laundry to do. Even with some improvement yesterday, things are still cluttered and unorganized here. I might just have to realize that I’m not going to be very organized while I am living out of a suitcase. Some people can pull that off. I’m not one of them.

I like thinking about how I want life to be: what I want my priorities to be, what I want to be teaching my children, the qualities I want to see grow in myself over the next year or so. I dream about what life will look like in five or ten years and ask myself what needs to be happening now in order for that to happen. What do I need to be doing now to prepare for what is ahead? And I’m not a type A personality, so I can set up all kinds of goals and steps and weekly schedules without being ruled by them to the point of exhaustion. (No offense to you type A’s. I love you and quite often wish I had more of your drive!)

I have learned (and it took me almost 30 years…) that my process is to set up a system, it will work for a while, I’ll stop using that system, things will ramble on for a bit until I feel the need to reorganize and pull things together, I’ll set up another system that points me toward my goals and the process starts again. By system I mean anything that I plan to use to help me work toward my goals. This can be anything from a weekly schedule to posting things up around the house, using a new calendar or task app on my phone to journaling more. I don’t let myself get bogged down about being without a system for a time or finding that a system no longer works. No guilt. Just move on and try something a little different. Or a lot different.

How do you refresh your life, meet your goals? Am I the only one who has this rotating system craziness? Do you make New Years resolutions or do you restart throughout the year or is this something you never do?

Alright, I need to go make a phone call to set up an appointment. Then maybe some dreaming and planning!

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