Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Saint Andrews by the Sea

The three kids and I stowed away on part of John's business trip to Scotland in July.  John worked A LOT during the week but on the weekends we were able to explore the coast and countryside.  John's Scottish colleague mapped two road trips for the weekends.  It was perfect for sightseeing with our "wee" crazy kids.
One of our favorite and first stops was St. Andrews.  I was completely caught off guard by the serene scenery of the golf course, the adjacent majestic sea cliffs, and the medieval architecture.  I have a crush on this place that could only compare to Maui's Road to Hana.  
St. Andrews is the birthplace of golf and has Scotland's oldest university.  We were there just days  before the British Open and were able to explore the old golf course.
This is the famous Swilcan bridge.  Many famous golfers have squared off here on the 18th green.  It was exciting to see on TV the following week.  

John and the kids playing tag on The Old Course.  I couldn't believe this was permitted days before the tournament.  When we were watching the final minutes of The Open, I couldn't help but wonder if Rissy's boots made divots in the grass that could have effected the turnout.  I was hoping she ruined Tiger's game;)
There is so much history and tradition in this town.  I could taste it along with the salty sea air.  
My mom said that because the days are so long in the summer, the flowers flourish like you wouldn't believe!  
Sea cliffs and Scottish kilts.
I am dying to do genealogy and find out if I have Scottish blood.  John is related to Rob Roy.

The castles reminded me of Sleeping Beauty.  The ruins and landscape were so enchanting.  

Next we made our way along the coast to Anstruther and the best fish and chips in Scotland.   

The recommendation was spot on, some of the freshest seafood I've ever had!
Taking our three kids over the big pond had it's hellish moments.  I don't know if I've ever been so exhausted.  But the excitement of being in a new place gave us extra energy.  And our evening in St. Andrew's felt like a walk in the clouds.  I know we will be daydreaming of this land and the memories we made with the kids for the rest of our lives.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Remembering Billye Keister (Grandma Nan)...

 John's Grandma Nan passed away early Friday morning July 3rd.  It hurts how much we are going to miss this spunky, classy lady.  Visiting with her has always been a highlight for our trips to Oklahoma.  
When we visited her home, she was always very warm and welcoming.  She would pull out a big basket of toys and get down on the floor (even though she was in her 90's) to play with her grand kids.  
 Rissy looking up at her Great Grandma.
 She rocked both James and Rissy in this rocker of Grandma Clarissa's.  I feel so blessed to have inherited it a few years ago.  It is over 100 years old and creaks loudly as it rocks.  I love that it will always remind me of Nan.  
John and the kids taking a nap on Nan's living room floor Thanksgiving 2012.  
 Nan had a lot of class.  She made me want to step it up as a mom - her example makes me want to iron the kids clothes more, set the table with real dishes, and maintain a clean house.
 Even though there was never a thing out of place in her condo, she made us feel comfortable letting the kids play.
 This picture is from an Sunday brunch in her home.  I still remember the delicious egg casserole.  She was an outstanding cook.  On our last visit I thought about asking her to pull out some of her favorite recipes from her box for me to copy.  I am glad I at least have her Thanksgiving recipes and pumpkin bread.  The last few years she would always send us with a loaf of pumpkin or banana bread for our drive home to Texas.   It meant the world because we would get home late to an empty fridge and pantry but would be able to feast on her yummy homemade bread.

 John has told me many fond memories of Christmases past and sleep overs at Nan's house growing up.  He used to mow her lawn every week when he was young and I know how much he enjoyed that special time with her.  When she found out my fondness of antique china, she was so generous to give me some of hers.  I am glad she was able to watch me enjoy them the last few years.  They are my prized possessions.
On our trip to OKC a couple weeks ago, Nan was pretty sick.  She has been living with Carla the last year and on this visit she hardly came out of her room.  The last day she came outside and watched the kids play.  She was quite taken with Rissy and kept saying she wished her Aunt Claudia (who was away in Dallas) could see her.  It was a really nice afternoon and in her own special way she made us all feel loved.  I am thankful for Nan's presence in our lives.  She will be sorely missed.  We will always remember you  Nan!

John's dad sent this video to us a few years ago.  I loved watching it and learning more about this great lady.  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

2015 Fourth of July...

We started the day bright and early with a red, white, and blue breakfast.  
Rissy is our little miss 4th of July.
 This baby is our firework.  
The neighborhood has a parade.  It has doubled in size from last year.  That is a good sign - more families are moving in!

Nap time! Everyone was hot and tired by 10:45.

 I had my hair done on Friday.  I had to document it because no hats and headbands are a rarity in Houston weather.  
 After a church bbq and naps, we headed to the Adsero's for a swim party.  
These two are James's best friends.  
 John baked his yummy chocolate pie specialty.  Every get together at the Adseros looks like something out of a magazine!  They are great entertainers! 


 I can't say how much I love this family!  Quinn is our hometeacher and is constantly serving us. 

 We finished the night at the Mortensen's.  All the dads put on a fabulous fireworks show.  Rissy loved the pooping dog firework.  The Fourth of July seems to turn our husbands into teenagers.  It is fun to watch.  Several times yesterday I thought about how much I love where we live.  We have made great friends and started some fun traditions.  We are lucky to live in the USA and the great state of Texas! 
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