Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What You Have All Been Waiting for, I'm Sure... and not the sample version: The Best OF....

Facebook Statuses 2010!!!!
(Well, lets just say, "The Better Of" some of them are not entertaining at all...just figured it would be good to have.) Feel free to vote on your favorite if you have the time to go through and read them all...

Guilty Pleasure of the day: Listening to "Let me be the One to Love You"..from Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love cd with my sister in the car. Singing it, and harmonizing it a the top of our lungs and yes, unfortunately directing the strings and the rests. There you have it folks...the dork shines.

This morning I was at Target looking for a book for C to give at his preschool Christmas party gift exchange. I picked up the book, "If I could keep you little..." by Marianne Richmond and started reading it. I'm not a sappy person but I totally teared up. If you have a little one and have not read it, it is a must. So sweet!

I'm afraid my dog Max who is elderly in dog years is developing Dogs Alzheimers. Is there such a thing? Out of no where we discovered that he is eating his own excrement. He pants and paces for us to let him out, and when we do he returns licking his lips. I'm so disgusted right now. He wants water constantly too. I know some of you friends are vets. Should I be concerned? I think he's losing his mind.

I'm watching an Reo Speedwagon Concert on Direct TV, I like a few of their songs even though they are lame, but I am sure you could guess the three songs...I would be lying if I said I have never owned their greatest hits CD...oh well, there you go, they are no Journey.

You know you have been to a truly good authentic Mexican food resturaunt when you walk in and your mouth waters, you can't wait to gorge on the chips, salsa, entree and beans and rice. You leave feeling like you must shower as soon as possible because you smell like you just ate some manure fried up on a plate, but strangely you can't wait to return. Tonights experience, Original Mama Ninfa's.:)

I remembered that I have a blog...

For some reason my house will not stop vomitting up laundry. I have no clue where it is all coming from. Everytime I think I'm finished there is another pile.

The note I sent to Ben's teacher today went as follows, "Dear Mrs. Marshall, I'll be praying for your day, it is going to be a hard one.Due to severe jetlag Ben was up at 2:30am playing on Earle's iphone and up at 4am for good. If you can figure out a way for the nurse to send him home feel free. I have packed a coke and some chocolate for you because you'll need the extra energy. Hope you survive.~CB"

One 6 year old crashed out in his bed, one three year old struggling to keep his little eyes open while his softing blanket, i.e. the infamous and extremely well travelled, "BIG SOFTIE" dries in the dryer. I just could not let him rub that thing all over his face after it has been on countless dirty floors and planes! Bless his heart.

Thankful for God's blessings of wonderful family and friends like family...and His protective provisons! :)

Questions from our kids about the trip: "Mom, do I need to say goodbye to my friends @ school? Are we getting a house there? Will People come to pack up our stuff? Are we Americans?" With all of our moving we've so confused our kids! Bless their hearts! I guess this is about the time each year we have prepared for moving! What a blessing that we are not!!!!

How do you load your toilet paper holder? Does the paper feed go on the front of the roll or the back of the roll? Is there actually a way that everyone is to properly feed it? Bestow your wisdom please someone. For I do not know the proper etiquette.

Having a great time seeing old friends. So weird how even the different smells bring back such good memories!

Ok, well I was checking out at Wal-mart and I fell for a sales trap. Andes De Menthe Chocolate Covered cookies...staring straight at me in the check out line. I felt ashamed for impulsively grabbing them and throwing them onto the check out belt...but alas they are truly decadent and I have no regrets...seriously!

"I can tell that you had your hair done today, now that you mention it," says he to me.

Ben got the "Most Outstanding Behavior Award" in his music class today. He came home this afternoon and immediately showed it to me. I'm not going to lie, I was surprised a little but very proud of him. He said to me, "Mom, I almost exploded, I was so proud." I love that he almost exploded.

Is it ironic that my 3 yr. old is roaming around our house shouting the fruits of the spirit? He's been yelling,"The fruits of the spirit are LOVE! JOY! PEACE!PATIENCE! KINDNESS! GOODNESS! FAITHFULNESS! GENTLENESS! and SELF CON-TRO_OOOL!" I think the Lord is trying to see if I can take a hint. Hellooooo Monday!:)

So AAA was great! I think they r totally worth the yearly membership. They put on my old spare so that I could get to Walmart to have the new tire put on. Question: do you tip AAA? I had no cash. Instead I just gave him my coke and my HEB brand Doritos out of the lunch I'd packed for Bens field trip. Was that tacky? I asked him if he'd like to have them and he said he would.

Today I threw on my infamous Hot Pink Track suit to walk Ben to the bus. He looked at me and said, "hey mom, that hot pink jacket and those pants are a real outfit. Just like my dinasaur outfits that I like to wear so much. " yay.

As I was cuddling with Collin in the morning he said, "Hey mom, you smell good, but sometimes een da morning you ahr a little bit stinky. Mom, I fink it is yor bref. Yeah, yor bref is a little stinky."

Taking Lorie out on the town. First stop is Sonic then downtown to the Wortham to see HGO present Peter Grimes. Nothing like a little Benjamin Britton to lift anyone's spirits. I was embarrassed at sonic when I could not find my cash. The worker was laughing at me when I realized it was sticking out of the top of my dress, where Earle had stuffed it.

There is much rejoicing in heaven today. My sweet little grandmother ma received her crown early this morning. Heading home for the party. Definately a life worth celebrating.

Strange toliet issues in our house...Ben has aquired a paranoia that if he flushes the toliet it will "Flow" at any minute, so he simply refuses to flush it so surprises await around every corner; Collin has apparently forgotten how to aim..there is nothing like waking up at 3am to a tiny blond boy saying he needs to pee pee, and when I sat him on the potty, I got a shock when he peed all over my legs. Nice.

Does anyone else get multiple random e-mail messages on their iphone that are blank and say that they were sent 12-31-69? What is the deal? Is someone trying to reach me from the other side?

Panty hose poll: some of my friends r trying to help me... Do you wear them? Can u wear tights with a nice dress? R they completely out??

Sad admitance: For the past few days there have been some kid's meals purchased, which have been half eaten, so after they go to bed, sadly, I have eaten the other half of their meals for my meal...sometimes you just need to eat in peace, and by that time, you don't care!:)

I remember my first grade teacher giving me the daily class "Super Student" award. I had not idea why. I asked her and she told me, "I was so proud of you because you did not come up to my desk today constantly and ask me lots and lots of questions about each and every assignment." I think we will start the "Mommy's Favorite Child" award at our house

I think I'll change my name to Joy for the day.

Earle came in the door with a bouquet of Stargazer Lilies today. They are one of my favorites and it made my day. I love you big daddy!;)

Hello Monday, hope you're a super fun day. I long for some pep in my step,
and some joy from a tired little boy. Now to get some tasty dark juice to give me a little push in my big caboose. ;)

Beautiful day for sipping my peppermint mocha and watching tiny people play soccer:)

When trying to convince a good friend that she would love to have kids someday, it does not help when that sweet friend is sitting out on the patio having breakfast and your three year old smiles at them and intentionally locks them out of the house while you are preoccupied getting your hair done in the bathroom.

I've recently realized that developing friendship/relationships or maintaining them is not so much about the distance that seperates you, but the energy and desire it takes to open a friendship account and making enough deposits to keep your account balanced and active. Its more a decision than a circumstance. Thank you for all of your deposits!

My kindergartener just informed me that his ice cream sandwich was in the shape of a rectangular prism... Sadly,I had to look this up to find that he was right.

Coversation over steak dinner tonight: Ben,"Mom, did you know that this is cow and they wring the cow's neck and kill it and then there is blood and you eat the killed cow? YUCK!"Me,"Well, I think you might have the technique confused with a chicken, but yes, steak is a killed cow." About ten minutes later after a fing...erlicking plateful Collin responded, "Hey mom, I'm done with my cow. Can I have dessert?"

At 5 am this morning I woke up to hearing my boys playing in the living room. Collin was acting out Superwhy at the top of his lungs..."With the Power to read I can change the story and SAVE the day!!" Ben told me that they were afraid they would miss us leaving. My alarm had been set for 6. Nice.

must get up and go pick up child...must get up and to pick up child...must get up and go pick up child.....

It is not awesome when you look in the car mirror and see that an eyelash

has fallen near your chin and you go to brush it off with your hand and realize it is attached. Call me nanny mcfee! Hooray for having a pair of tweezers in my purse!

While watching a Leslie Sansone video Ben who is laying on the couch tells me, "Mommy, rest is better than exercise. It really is." ... spoken from the mouth of a babe...

Imagine the excitement when Ben was unwrapping a birthday present from my mom this evening expecting for there to be a costume inside for him;little did he or we know that the costumes inside were for Earle, Collin and myself.I should have looked inside the box before I wrapped it!He was so excited that he was going to... have live Star Wars characters all around him on his birthday! Yes, you know what we will be wearing for Halloween! Gee, thanks mom!;) This added a fun new twist to our evening!

Ben, "Mom, I was just thinking about something, how do parents get milk in their bodies that they feed to their babies? I mean, how can I do it for my kids? That's gonna be so cool...and where does it come out of exactly?" Me, "it comes out of ladies chests. Only mommies though, sorry, buddy you'll be a daddy!" Collin ...interupts, "Well, I'm gonna be a mommy."

Ben was so excited this morning and I was excited for him! I was proud of him for not being too nervous and being so brave. It was a good first day of kindergarten!!

I hate it when I search everywhere for my sunglasses...then realize that they are on the top of my head.

I think it's funny when my 3 yr. old does what the tv asks him to Dora will say, "what was your favorite part of the adventure?", and he funny.

All week Ben has been expelling repulsive gas for fun.I told him that was not going to be acceptable at school because it is very bad manners and very unpleasant to other people I tried to explain to him that u can't just do that for fun, and if u have to, make it quiet and just politely say "excuse me". He giggled and... told me that he will probably just say, "Excuse me, I cut the cheese in my pants." Great.

Collin (boy,age 3) was sitting in my lap just now, twisting my engagment ring, and all of a sudden looked up at me and said, "Mom, when you die, can I have this?" What in the world?!

having one of those days where I felt skinner than what the scale told me...hmm...false self image in the opposite. Please let me know if I am busting out of something that I should not be wearing...apparently my gage is a little off these days;)

Uh Mom? Yes, says I. My tooth just fell out onto the van floor, says he.

A Favorite Ben Quote of the Week:
When walking by the produce section of Wal-mart I could smell the peaches. I picked one up and said, "wow these smell great! Here Collin smell this, " and he did. Then I said, "Here Ben, smell this peach" He then exclaimed," UH Uh! NO way, I'm not smelling that thing, it looks like a f...uzzy bottom with a crack! GROSS! I will never smell it!"

Ben informed us tonight that tomorrow when he goes to another churches VBS with a friend, he needs to wear his blue sweatshirt with the hood. We asked him why and he told us, " so that people will think I'm cool and call me dude." Okay...

Today, in a bathroom stall at the movies, I was helping Collin get off the potty. He said, "hey mom, what's this?" I looked in his little hands and saw he was grasping a USED plastic applicator from the floor! I almost vomited! Could be one of the grossest things yet! Apparently it's my week for bathroom adventures!

Just stopped at a run down texaco where the bathroom was unisex and outside. The deadbolt had been stolen and a huge wad of to was where it once was. I latched the door from inside preparing the seat when the door swung open. I screamed very loudly in a very normal looking mans face. Then asked him to stand guard.

While eating breakfast, my oldest said, "Mom, I was wondering if today could be all about me? I mean you know, I could pick everything we do and get whatever I asked for and stuff like that." I responded with a blank stare and said, no, sorry, not today!

This evening I was walking into the grocery store and reached back to pull up my jean capris around my waist...or so I thought...apparently, I ended up pulling my underwear up over part of my shirt in the was not my capris...yeah, I'm into setting trends these days.

Dear Spouse *ahem*, though you are most always one of the most joyous and brightest spots in my day, it is not at all uncommon for me to hear violins playing in the background when you speak.

Walking into the YMCA this morning Ben asks me what my favorite exercise is. He says, "Wait, I know what you like, you like to rub yourself up and down on that board thing that goes. Yeah, you really like to do that." "WHAT?!" I ask, clearly confused. "You know, that thing that you used to do it on that broke when we w...ere in Canada." says he. "Oh, you mean the treadmill, I think you meant RUN?! Sure, thats my fav.;)

Me + 1/8th of a yellow cake with choc. icing left in the pan + a fork = one very guilty lady...."thou shalt confess thy sins one to another..."
Happy Lord's Day! Anyone wanna go for a walk?

The other night we had a major thunderstorm, the next morning Collin came up to me and said that the "funder" had really scared him. He told me that Ben had come into his room and slept in his bed because he had been scared. I asked Ben about it and he said, "yes mom, he was scared, and I will ALWAYS do that for him." ... Totally touched my heart. Sweet brothers!

My poor Ben is puking...bless him! Would it be horrid if I wore rubber gloves and tied a hankerchief around my face while tending to him?

Every year around Mother's Day, Ben(Age 5 1/2) asks me when it is going to be "Brother's Day". This year my response was, "Happy Brother's Day Ben!, everyday is Brother's Day!" His response was, "I thought the parents were supposed to get stuff for the brothers.." "Oh." says I.

Early this morning Ben just burst out laughing, for no apparent reason. Then he said, "Hey mom, I'm laughing at myself because I tooted in the bed last night, and it was really funny." I think I should start a book called...things that are hilarious to boys...

Recorded some of the series "Life" on the discovery channel for Ben(51/2) to watch. It is a scientific series about nature and different animals. Tonight he watched an episode about the Deep Sea. I was taken aback by the question, "Mom, what is sperm?" I told him to ask his father who gave him a very simple age appropr...iate answer. Whew! Maybe we'll hold off on the discovery channel for awhile.

Son #1 and son #2 were just taking a shower. They were nice and clean. I turned off their shower water and stepped away to grab towels for them. I heard giggling from #2...I turned around to see #2 peeing on #1. I immediately turned the shower back on. I don't get it!

Overhearing my boys while watching Team Oomi Zoomi....Collin says, "I'm Buck Ben, I'm Buck..." Ben says, "Buck is a Robot and you are a human, you can't be Buck"...Collin says, "I don't care, I'm Buck!"

was trying to get the leashes on my dogs this morning at the door..and tripped on something...I looked down to see that what I tripped on was a hot dog bun sized turd that my dog max had created...apparently he could not wait until we got outside the door...oh the fury!!

Today my son Ben left his DSi in a grocery cart outside at Academy...we did not realize it until we were 10 minutes away. I called and there was no sign of it. Over dinner I told him to ask God to get it back for him so he and Earle prayed for it...about 30 minutes later the phone was Academy and someone had turned it in!! What a great lesson!

Happy Valentine's Day Earle! For your gift I had my upper lip waxed, my eyebrows waxed, and my hair are now married to a woman again instead of a beast.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shelter in a time of Storm

So, in my previous post I stated that as we drove away from the village of Buckie the snow was coming down by the bucketfuls. I of course was the driver. Just before we drove out of Hunter and Elaine's driveway, the boys and I said a prayer that we would be safe and that God would protect us and watch over our drive. The roads in this area are very narrow and one lane goes each way with only the paint on the road as the divider. There are no street lights when you are not in a village or town. So I could only see as far as my lights would shine. The snow bank on the side actually was a decent guide. I tried to say in second and third gear for the 25 miles that we travelled that night. We had heard that the worst stretch of road in this area was the 10 mile stretch between Keith and Huntly Scotland on AB96 heading to the Aberdeen airport. I was getting a little nervous about running out of gas even though we had a full tank I was worried in case we got stranded that we might need more. So when we made it to Keith, I pulled into the first station that I saw. We had seen many people broken down, stuck and many people fishtailed out in the road, but I still had pretty good traction in second gear. I thought we could slowly still plug along the next 25 miles. After leaving the gas station, I realized that not only were we driving on snow, but we were now driving on black ice under the snow. The realization of this made me somewhat apprehensive to continue. We got to the center of Keith and there was a very steep hill to get up and then there was a sharp curve at the top of this hill on a two lane road. I was still doing just fine in second gear. In front of us though, there was a big semi-truck struggling to get up the hill. It made it to the top of the hill and stalled. We stopped and after a few minutes I realized that it was stuck so I started trying to turn around and find a different way. I then realized that stopping the car had lost our traction on the road. I saw that all of the cars behind us had backed way up. So, I decided that maybe I could go in reverse. Earle and I managed a little ways back down the hill. Out of no where, a random man, came up to my window and told me he wanted to help me get backed up and see if I could turn the car around. He managed to help us get most of the way down this hill in reverse. Just as we were still facing forward, and were getting close to trying to turn the car around, a big tour bus came quickly around that sharp curve at the top of this hill. It fishtailed out and lost control and started sliding. It slid straight into the spot that we had just backed out of and was sliding straight at us. I threw the door open and Earle jumped out of the car. I started yelling, "Get the boys out of the car!" But I was sort of frozen and was not doing it myself. The people on this tour bus were just standing up looking out of the front window in horror as this thing kept sliding straight at us. The bus was able to stop about 10 feet in front of us. I threw us into second gear and the man helped us get turned around and we drove straight back to that gas station passing the long line of cars that were behind us. I asked the lady to use the phone so that I could call Elaine because we did not have a cell phone.  "Hello, Elaine? Well, the good news is that I am at a phone calling you, the bad news is that I don't think we are going to make it past Keith. Could you help us look up a place to stay here for the night because I don't think there is any way I want to get back on that road to your house...."  Elaine was frantically trying to help me figure out if I should go back to theirs and chance it or if we would find a room. 
  Out of no where a couple of men walked into the gas station. A minute later I heard someone saying, "Right then. You will stay at the Ugie House Hotel. I've got two rooms."
"Pardon me?" says I. "Are you talking to me?"
"Yes," says the kind man.
"Seriously? You are talking to me?" I ask again.
"Yes, Quine. It is just up the hill, to the right..." says the man.
"Oh my goodness. Thank you so much, " I said, "Do you see that man in the car out there," I said pointing to Earle, "could you tell these directions to him because I know I will not remember right."
So he went out and I saw him briefly chatting with Earle, as I was getting off of the phone with Elaine. Then he got into his car and drove away. Earle and I started going the way that he told us, we had to go back up that hill, but before we got there, there had been another wreck or something and we could not get by. So we decided we would park on a side street and walk to the hotel and carry the boys. We turned off and started to park and an SUV came up behind us. A man in his late teens or early 20's said, "Aren't you all going to the Ugie House Hotel? I was in the station then you were talking to Robbie. We were behind you. Follow us, we know a different way."
And so we followed him. And it was a very steep way, but we managed to get there about 10 minutes later. We parked and as soon as we were parked we knew we were stuck but did not care because we had made it to this place.
 We carried the boys up to the door and went in. There was no one at the reception desk. It was an old hotel and it looked as if there was a lounge and eating area. We rang the bell and a few minutes later a teenage girl came in and said, "Are you the lady on the phone that Robbie told me about?"
"Well, I was at the Shell station and a man said he had two rooms. Am I the right person you are talking about?", I asked.
"Yes, you are. He told me about you. He owns this place. And he told me not to give that room to anyone else that comes in because he promised it to you. And I'm not to charge you more than 60 pounds. This is our last room and it is a family suite, there are two bedrooms and a bathroom with five single beds all together. There is tea and biscuits for you in your room for tonight and you will have your breakfast downstairs in the morning." says the girl.
Earle and I just stood there shocked and amazed and pretty much speechless.
"Thank you so much," I said. "We had no idea where we would be able to stay and we have these two little boys, this is an amazing blessing."
Earle and I continually uttered thank yous up the stairs to our room, and through the very windy hallways of stairs. There were only ten rooms at this hotel. Our room was quaint and comfortable. The keys were the old keys from the 1800s with the round end at the top and a thin metal cylinder with the tooth that hung down at the end as the actual part that unlocks the door.  We got in and started trying to get our flight situation figured out. Earle and I were both on and off the phone with Elaine, and airports. We managed to figure out that our morning flight had been cancelled and we were able to switch it to 5:15 pm. the next day out of Aberdeen, then we would have to stay the night in London and fly out of London Sunday morning.
We started settling in for the night and I got the kids bathed. Something to know about me is that I am a little freaked out about things like ghosts and haunted type places. I started asking Earle, do you think this place has ghosts? Should I be a little scared? Look at these keys."
Earle said, "Carrie, this night can only be described as a night of Divine Intervention. I don't think God brought us here to be killed or taunted by evil spirits or ghosts," he chided. "I'm pretty sure you are fine and if you think you see one, it is a good one."
He had a point. How very blessed we were that night. Random things that happened only to be explained by Divine intervention.
We slept well. We woke up and had breakfast. The owner, Robbie, came down as we were eating and grabbed a shovel and he and Earle shovelled the car out so we could leave. We made our flight. An experience I think that we will never forget, and we will go back to when our children ask about the power of prayer and of the Lord's provision. If you look really closely, you can see the owner, Robbie standing up on the deck.


Our Trip to Scotland

Glamis Castle outside of Dundee

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh


My sweet friend Elaine. She's so pretty!

Dungeon time for Collin

Hunter and Elaine outside of Edinburgh Castle

Looking at Edinburgh Castle

Church in Buckie, missing five from this evening. Yes, that is the famous Bill Pirie.

Loch Ness


Me, Samantha, Louise, and Elaine

Hilton Caldonian Hotel in Edinburgh

   We had a great visit with our friends Hunter and Elaine in Buckie Scotland. By the time we arrived on Saturday afternoon, we ended up having a total of five and a half days before we had to head on our trip home. We squeezed quite a bit of sight seeing into those five days! Especially for two jetlagged little boys. Earle had never been to Scotland, and since this area of the world is so special to me, we had decided that we would plan to go there to celebrate our ten year anniversary. So a couple of years ago we started planning for it so that it would really happen. Our anniversary was in July, but we decided to book the trip in November because there was such a difference in plane ticket prices. We ended up having to shorten the trip at the last minute due to Ben's strict school absence policy.

     The minute I walked into Hunter and Elaine's house it did not feel at all as if eleven years had passed since I had been there. The smells were the same and brought back such wonderful memories and warm feelings. We got to spend time visiting with some of the people I knew from the college trips that I took to Scotland. It was great to see life in the highlands of Scotland  from this angle of my life. I feel like when I was there with Harding there was such an agenda, while it was great, I think I was too busy 'doing' to soak in some of the perspective and culture that I could have paid more attention to. The character and history of the architechture of the buildings is so unique and beautiful. The cobblestone and windy roads and stone fences that don't have any cement in them that are hundreds of years old stretch for miles. We attended church there in Buckie and there was so much to appreciate. Songs passed down through generations sung by rote, in their original form. Folklore that would be found only in the most rural areas of the United States are just the way of doing things in the Highlands of Buckie even with all of the modern ways that they live and things that they have.  The people even in the shops stop and ask about you and where you are from and seem to truly want to know. Life is not too fast for a cuppa (cup of hot tea) and a biscuit (cadbury choc. cookie) multiple times a day.

Perspective on Christianity in Buckie is also different to me from the angle that I see it now. So many people are kind and warm. Not many talk at all about God. Very different from the atmosphere of churches and Christians in Houston or Nashville or places that seem to be in the Bible belts of the United States. It definitely made me think about how easy it is for the ones of us that have Christan friends, churches, and resources at our fingertips. Mr. Bill Pirie told me that Buckie's church is the farthest north church on the Western Hemisphere. That is pretty cool. They are down to 10 members, people who have just had died and some that have moved away and others that have just gotten busy with other things in their lives. But to those 10 people I have so much respect, for meeting and continuing even if to the ones around them it seems that they are weird or strange for doing so.  They seem so intrigued about what kind of things we have going on in our own churches and in other larger ones in Scotland, but I am terribly intrigued and silenced with respect for these people and their dedication to their faith.  Hunter and Bill run the services every week. Hunter is away to sea every six weeks for six weeks and Bill runs the services with an occasional guest speaker from Aberdeen or another congregation an hour or more south of Buckie. Bill is 79 years old. He still has his Harley, and still makes a mean pot of Cullen Skink Soup. They do not have a hired preacher, but they own a church building. They have been looking for a preacher ever since I can remember and the members have said that they would pay someone out of their own salaries to lead their little church. The few members there get along great and truly encourage each other.  Just a situation of persistence worthy of respect. I think something not many of us have ever had to worry about.
    We had a great time visiting with Hunter and Elaine's daughters, Louise and Samantha. Louise has been married for many years to Stuart Cowie who dives in the north sea to fix oil drills near the bottom of the ocean. They have twin daughters Courtney and Teegan. Samantha is working at a bank and living in Inverness. Just bought her first flat! So neat to see these girls become grown up ladies!
    We arrived on Saturday afternoon and I drove from the airport to meet Hunter and Elaine in Huntly and follow them to Buckie. That was definitely an experience because I had never really driven in the UK and have an issue with distinguishing my right from my left when I am tired or confused. Our car rental was a manual, and Earle was not sure about driving it...but we survived and made it. Saturday evening Hunter made pizza for us and we just sat around and visited until Earle and I were falling over from jet lag. Sunday we got up, went to church, came home and Elaine made beef wellington, nips, tatties, yorkshire puddings with gravy, and a Pavlova for dessert. OH MY WORD! So good! The afternoon we had many cuppa's and visited with Samantha and Louise and Courtney and Teegan. That evening there was church again in the town and I got to see Tracey Johnstone and later at Elaine's house Alan and Grace Johnstone. On Monday we left late morning to head to Edinburgh. We stopped at Glamis Castle and took a tour. Ben absolutely loved it and soaked it all in. We then to Hunter's sister, Ruth's house, about 30 minutes outside of Edinburgh. She made us an elaborate tea and then as a special surprise to us, her husband drove us all in a Limo into Edinburgh and dropped us off until the next evening. When we got there Hunter directed him to the Hilton Caldonian which is just in the town center and you can see the castle from it. Hunter and Elaine surprised us again because they had booked us to stay the night there as our 10 year anniversary gift! It was so special and really cool! We spent the next day doing the Edinburgh Castle and seeing the crowned jewels and also going to as many of the shops as possible:). We were home Tuesday evening and Wednesday we spent the day just hanging out in Buckie. We went to Cullen for ice cream, even though it was cold, I told Earle it was a must and we walked around some shops in Buckie. Thursday we went to Inverness. We drove out to Loch Ness to visit the famous home of the Loch Ness Monster, "Nessie". Then back to the shops at Inverness. After that we met Samantha and had dinner in her new flat.  Friday morning Earle, Hunter and Stuart went to tour a distillery, and I got our things together then spent some time with Louise at her house and had lunch with her. It had started to snow and the news was saying that the road to Aberdeen had been closed. So we decided that we would leave later that evening and try and spend the night in Aberdeen to make sure that we would make our 8:15am flight out to London. That evening we had dinner and Bill and Eleanor's house. Bill made his Cullen Skink and it was awesome! When we left the snow was coming down by the bucketfuls! We arrived back to Houston a day late, you can read the details in my next post.
       We so loved our time in Scotland! I wish we had had another 2 weeks to travel to Stirling and Peterhead and see everything there and visit with all of the other people I have such great memories of. Oh well! We will just have to go back much sooner! Eleven years is way too long, especially to go without all of that magnificent chocolate!!:)