Friday, November 25, 2011

Our first Thanksgiving in Scotland

No, they don't celebrate American Thanksgiving in Scotland;)  Because we are in a town of alot of ex-patriots (North Americaners), though, quite a few Americans gathered in small groups to share their tradition together.  The Jagger family was invited to the home of a very hospitable couple, likely our parents ages, that actually lived quite nearby.  A few familiar friends also attended and Claire had some younger playmates.  Appetizers started at 6, a spread including wine, cheese, grapes, gourmet breads, nuts, deviled eggs, crips (chips)- honestly, it was enough for dinner!  Claire saw the table that was set for all the guests- some 20 of us- with china and real wine glasses, cloth napkins, a white tablecloth and gasped.  She said "Mommy, it looks like a table for a king!".  So that certainly made an impression on her.  She ended up helping the teenage babysitter take care of the little ones from Autumn's age to about 2 and a half and of course snacked the whole night through!  Auty booty had everyone smiling and complimenting her "Mommy's little lovebird" shirt.

It was definately a treat to sit down to a four course meal with other adults.  The hosts read some bits from the original pilgrims journals (or some version thereof) which was a good reminder for why exactly we were sitting down to eat together.  I also learned that either Ben Franklin (or maybe Jefferson) chose the turkey as the traditional bird because even if 20 redcoats entered the turkey yard, the turkey would stand up and fight them off showing extreme bravery and fortitude.  Americans were there from Texas to Minnesota and had plenty of stories to share with one another.  Let's just say it was QUITE a cast of characters.  A close friend of ours said the evening reminded him of a Seinfeld episode and I would have to agree.  And some of you know how much I love Seinfeld!  Best of all, I felt that the hosts were extremely generous.  I had written to a friend recently how frustrated I have been by people's lack of generosity here.  This couple were some of the most generous people I have met and made a bunch of strangers feel welcome and more importantly loved at their table.  So, I give praise to the LORD for such generous fellowship that uplifted our spirits.

It was a interesting and memorable evening to say the least.  Tonight, we hope to have a quieter family meal include the Jagger tradition of orange jello, a roast chicken, and some pumpkin pie spiced pudding- can't really find pumpkin in a can over here for less than 20 pounds!  I will also let Claire finishing watching Charlie Brown and Garfield Thanksgiving cartoons that she is just old enough to start getting into...

Also, Claire is attending a free soccer session for primary school kids after her school day.  It is being held at the Sports Centre where I coach at the university so she is pretty excited feeling like it's the real thing.  She also wants to come to soccer training with me tomorrow because the girls on the team invited her after the game on Wed.  She hasn't stopped mentioning it since.

Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends and family.  We will be putting up our first Christmas decoration today- a little reindeer that says "Santa Please Stop Here".  Claire lucked out in getting it because I ran over it with our large pram in a cluttered store yesterday.  I guess it was meant to be;)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Getting high off the new carpet smell

 Goodbye old carpet!

The new carpet is in and we are loving it.  I think we might move all of our furniture into the hallway...
Before I forget, here is a link to some new photos and a video of Auty in the mix:

My  women's football team has it's first match today.  We are likely to lose badly since it's our first match and the girls say the opponent is a  "sporty university".  And it's windy, not good for those who aren't so good with controlling the soccer ball.  Im excited, though... a first match makes one feel like an official coach (however much it might leave one with a bad reputation.

Tomorrow is the American Thanksgiving holiday.  We are attending a large party at the home of some people we barely know.  But there is childcare and it's a potluck- so very little cooking for EvE (always a good thing).  Not much else to report- life is busy and we are trying to keep up- making friends slowly and continuing to adjust to a car-less life.  For now, we are just watching and waiting to see how God continues to write this chapter of our lives.  The Divine Artist works mysteriously, but creatively.  The Storyteller behind our lives can see more than we can.  Even though many things seem to go wrong, we are trusting that He is writing our story into his Greater story....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Claire Bear and her Auty Boo

The sisterly bond is growing.  Autumn always smiles when Claire walks into the room and frequently stops nursing to turn her head and see what her sister is up to.  Claire still continues to ask to hold Autumn and is actually getting quite good at it.  She is able to carry her around the room, stand her up and help her bounce, and even wrestle her gently.  Claire was especially concerned for her little sister the other day when we found a mouse in the house.  At the dinner table, while Auty was napping upstairs, Claire demanded that someone go get Auty so that the mouse wouldn't get her in her baby "cot".  Sometimes, I can even catch 10 minutes to myself while Claire plays with Autumn on the floor keeping herself and the wee one enterained and occupied.

Halloween was somewhat of a bust for us.  We weren't sure if there was trick o treating and there wasn't any in our neighborhood and we didn't have much in terms of costumes.  Add that together with the fact that it was a Monday night and Claire has a serious anxiety about people "looking at me", we decided to just skip out this year on whatever was happening around town.  It turns out some people did trick o treat, but mostly among friends and that Halloween garb here is still quite scary and devil-ish, not all too kid friendly.  We hid a few candy pumpkin chocolate balls in the house for Claire who put on her KY cheerleader outfit (wildcat blue) and we dressed Autumn up like a little lamb. 

Claire has been struggling lately (as in the past 2 years) with being "wrong" or having to be corrected.  Even if she writes a "J" backward she refuses to admit it and demands that she be able to write it the way she prefers. A few nights ago, she tried to quit a game she and Keith were playing because she knew he was right about a certain rule and didn't want to give in.  I told her she could quit, but still had to look at her Daddy and tell him that he was right and she was wrong.  A long time later (including an intermission of sobbing), she reluctantly managed a whimper along those lines.  Then, the other day she asked me where her coloring book was.  I told her it was in the drawer in the living room.  She had just been looking there and told me it wasn't there.  I told her that it was and I was certain of it, but she needed to look more closely.  She had a hissy fit saying it wasn't there even though she did not look again.  So I left the room, but Keith was on the other side.  He said he watched her from the corner of his eye and saw her quietly pull out the coloring book she of course found where I said it was and try to toss it in the corner like she found it there instead.  At the last second, she saw that Keith was there watching so she hesitated and paused for a moment.  Then she said sadly, "Daddy, I just wanted to be right...Mommy's always right!".  We have a stubborn little one dealing with a mix of emotions that come with slowly realizing life is disappointing and pride is hard to swallow.

We had a glorious family morning, though.  After a hike up the steep hayfield behind our house that climaxes with a breathtaking view of all of St. Andrews all the way to the white capped waves hitting the shore 2 miles away, we found an amazing hiking trail which was completely secluded and led to one of the best playgrounds I have ever seen.  It's obvious that both of our girls have adjusted to our non-car existence here as Claire walked 2 miles without so much as a whine of being tired and Autumn fell asleep in the hiking backpack twice today (More and more, she is falling asleep in strollers, backpacks, arms, wherever without a peep no matter the amount of stimulation surrounding her or the discomfort of her sleeping position- a girl's gotta sleep!). 

Keith continues to dive into his studies and I've begun training the University's second women's football team and helping out with a local youth ministry.  We are keeping busy and enjoying our down time.  There is a Thanksgiving meal planned for the Americans at the University, though, it is pretty late at night and will be tough on the kiddos.  We don't yet have Christmas plans, but rumor has it my best friend Lori and her Scottish husband may be visiting his folks here over the holidays and hopefully they can make some room for us in their schedule!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

In a castle, Forfar away....

Our first castle visit!  The Glamis Castle is located just outside the town of Forfar, about an hour north of us.  Due to last minute planning and the bus system, it took us 3 hours to get there and 3 hours to get back.  Fortunately some of the buses were double deckers (Claire's favorite) so we at least had a nice view of the Scottish countryside on the long trips.  As for the castle, it had some amazing grounds and garden areas (though we didn't have enough time to explore) as well as a great outdoor wooden park area for kids.  We met some of our American friends there and took a tour of the castle where the current Queen Elizabeth's mother once lived and her sister was born.  It was not quite as ritzy as I hoped, much more grandmotherly looking in terms of decor, but it really did look and feel like a castle for the most part.  We did not get a tour of the entire place because people still reside in certain parts- pretty cool considering it was built in 1372!  So it was an adventure of a day, and despite several small regrets, we are glad we went for it and experienced some British history.  I think Claire was disappointed that Rapunzel and Cinderella weren't there, though.  She expressed frustration several times over how boring the tour was- especially since she was not allowed to touch ANYTHING...

The night prior to our castle escapade, Keith and I were able to escape for our first date in St. Andrews.  We biked to the centre of town and joined some friends at a Ceildh (kay-lee), a Scottish folk dancing party/lesson.  Keith is great at learning new dances, but he doesn't have the best of partners...So we skipped and spinned for about an hour and then left early for a quick drink at a local pub, the Blue Stane.   A nice St. Andrews evening memory for us.

Last night there were fireworks in town celebrating Guy Fawkes Night.  Guy Fawkes was part of a plot to blow up the House of Lords in 1605, but was arrested in the nick of time.  The country began celebrating the survival of King James I and their triumph over treason.  We didn't make it to a fireworks display, but we could certainly hear them going off a bit. 

We are bracing ourselves for another week of school for both Claire and Keith.  We have our first conference with Claire's teacher on Tuesday night and are interested to hear how she is doing in class.  She seems to be doing well, but still has many emotional breakdowns at home when we are firm with her.  Auty is still basking in her innocence and continues in her sweet disposition. Claire put a shower cap on her in the bath tonight and Auty was giggling away. She has her upper teeth breaking through the gums!