Scotland trip

P4140005  Three Marines gave up their seats so we could sit together in a row, and when I was very thirsty, one Marine poured his Sierra Mist into my water reservoir for me (all I really wanted was it to be filled up with water but he did what came naturally to him!). Such nice people all the way through. The Marines were on their way home from Japan after an 8 month deployment. P4140006  Ben had some trouble sleeping in his car seat at first - he couldn't roll over and got really frustrated not finding a comfy position. So guess where he ended up sleeping most of the flight? Yes - snuggled into me. He's such a wild guy that I enjoyed the time with a peaceful, calm Ben in my arms. Sam was leaning on my left shoulder the whole time. Close to arrival I was able to put Ben in his seat and buckle him up. He slept right through landing even with the bumps and loud noise! P4140007  Sacked out, man! P4140008  Here we are - it's sunrise in CA, and we're about to land after the first leg of three flights to the east coast. We almost didn't make the cut, but the crew generously opened up more seats for passengers and we boarded just before take-off.
P4140009  Turtle is happy to be flying! (See sleepy Marines in the background? These guys just sleep and sleep and sleep on the plane.) P4140010  The mom across the aisle was meeting her husband in CA midway through his deployment. She'd been waiting in the terminal for 20 hrs trying to catch a flight to the west coast. I feel very fortunate we managed to get on this plane. The only reason I was able to make my way east was due to some fortuitous detective work - I figured out the tail number of this plane (from HI to CA) was the same as the tail # of a plane going from CA to VA. When I travel alone without Dave, I need a special letter from the command, and I can only go point to point, I can't get off at a hub and find a connection. BUT if I fly on a plane with a continuing mission, same tail # (same aircraft) I can stay on the plane. They said I'd have to get off, pull my baggage to make sure it would stay on the plane (they don't sort baggage, and you don't get assigned seats), then recompete for seats in San Diego. I had already called and knew the supervisor of the terminal so when I saw a guy heading to the plane with baggage tags, I figured it was my buddy. He said I'd be fine and not to worry. He took care of us and we made it all the way through to Norfolk just fine. P4140012  Sunrise over SoCal. Sam enjoyed flying above the clouds - he saw this and went into a huge diatribe over storms, storm clouds, water spouts, and some other tired-boy nonsensical stuff. He just kept chatting and chatting, very animatedly. P4140015  Coronado Beach! This is where we had our first Bird on the Beach (B.O.B.) Thanksgiving! I used to watch the planes land here, never figuring I'd be on one myself!
P4140016  The runway at NAS North Island (Coronado). That's our plane, a Navy-run C40 used for troop transport and flying dignitaries around. P4140018  The crew gave Ben a patch for his first flight! P4140021  Wow! P4140022  This is the crew's headquarters in Ft Worth TX. We stopped her for fuel (and potty break for passengers). Very warm.
P4140023  Ben and Sam have been WONDERFUL travelers. This leg of the trip Ben fell asleep in his car seat just fine - he just gazed at me, then snuggled his Bear and dozed off. P4140024  Waking up face. P4140026  Sam spent a good deal of time drawing maps on this "laptop." P4140029
P4140030  Snoring? I am not sure what this face was all about but it was funny :) P4140032 P4140034  This is a note to mommy. This says "Mommy, thank you for taking me on a such a good trip, and thank you for a nice Thanksgiving." (???) P4140035  The pilots brought Sam RIGHT up into the cockpit!
P4140036  See him snuggled up there real close to the instruments so he could see out? This pilot was like "Oh - you can't see! Come up here right next to me!" He was also kind enough to help me off the plane by carrying Ben's big car seat. Can you believe it? Total VIP treatment. I love flying space-a - such an adventure and such nice people despite the hassles and uncertainty. Totally worth it. P4140037  Sam can buckle himself in! P4140038  A peaceful moment reflecting on his latest patch. P4140041
P4140042  Arriving in Norfolk after 16 hours of transit time. It's 5pm local. We've got our rental car, now we're just trying to find it! P4140043  Is that it, mommy? P4140046  Sam plays while we load. It's 50 degrees or something but it's really cold for us. Ben is hungry and cranky. I'm working quickly to get seats in while Ben crawls in the grass and tries to climb into the trunk. P4140048  A 30 min drive to Chesapeake takes us to my dear friend April's home for dinner and the night. This is her son, Ben. See the quesadilla spread? MY Ben put on a real show with beans. It was a bean bonanza. I had beans on my shoulder by the time dinner was over. He really enjoyed performing. I was so tired all I could do was laugh. Sam was in hysterics. April is a sweetheart - she was joking about peppers hanging from the lamp. We had a good time.
P4140052  Making brownies for dessert!!! (Mom and Dave - yes, there were "little tastes"!) P4140053 P4150056  Sam and I shared a bed and Ben was in the pigpen. I am SO proud of these guys. Sam slept straight through the night and Ben woke up at midnight thinking it had been his nap. He was up for about 2 hours trying to resettle down (I knew this would happen from past experience, so thankfully I didn't worry and just gave him some hugs, some water, showed him Sam still asleep and that it was dark out then put him back in bed). He fussed briefly, but then rolled around with Bear, squirmed, talked a little and finally went back to sleep. It was a bit of a wild morning - April is in the process of moving with her husband and Ben to HI so she had carpet cleaners there at 8am, then carpet installers, then a house showing...all by the time we left at 9am! Whew! She also has a very big doggie who barks a lot. Sam was not to thrilled with all the loud barking and kept asking "Will Buster come in here?" (into the bedroom). We couldn't find Turtle at bedtime, and guess who'd taken him? Buster! It was a wild time with lots of giggles...and April's husband Rich was on mid shift so poor guy was just waking up to go to work when we descended upon them for the beananza dinner. P4150057  Sleepy boy.
P4150060  Good morning, Bear! P4150061  Last leg of the trip - heading to NJ via MD and DE. This long bridge/tunnel was a hit. P4150062  Ben taking his morning nap right on time. P4150063
P4150065  Playing his ukulele while listening to Eddie Kamae :) P4150069  Crashed out! P4150070  We stopped to see Aunt Kate and Uncle John in MD for lunch. The boys really enjoyed getting some time to romp and relax. P4150071
P4150072 P4150073  Lots of wrestling! P4150074  Look at this!!! Lunch dessert! Aunt Kate, you DA BOMB! P4150075  Uncle John got to hold Ben! We're loading up amidst driving rain. They almost thought they saw snow.
P4150077  Heading to NJ now. Only 440 miles of driving. P4150078  Look at this temperature!!! Wind gusts up to 50mph! Hard, driving rain. Thankfully, we were blessed by zero traffic - no accidents even on the Turnpike. P4150079  Sam drew a map for me to get to Dad's. P4150081  Playing the ukulele with Dad! I didn't know Dad had his own, given to him by a friend of his father's who was stationed in HI during WWII.
P4160004  Morning Lego time followed by scrambled eggs, Dad-style (which means everything but the kitchen sink thrown in). They were very good! P4160005  Bundled for 68 degree weather indoors. Brrrrr. Cold! We're getting used to it. We are actually dressing about the same as everyone else here. P4160006  My mobile food pantry. Thought I should document what's in here, especially since it popped out of my sea bag and opened up on the carousel in baggage claim. People were going "PUDDING!! There's PUDDING, MOM!" Then fast hands grabbed up my stuff for me before it circled around. There was much interest among the Marines regarding some certain something that you may notice. My flask of Bourbon. Always travel with vitamin B when you're solo with boys. There's also oatmeal, Cheerios, a spoon and First Aid. We could be stranded just about anywhere for three days and survive. Did I mention already we had a tent in the sea bag? And fleece sleeping bags? P4160007  Sam wrote "I love you mommy" this morning. I see the LOVE, don't you?
P4160008  Visiting Marilou (my Dad's wife) in the hospital. Grammie had sudden onset AML - a form of leukemia which is thankfully treatable (80% recovery prognosis). The meds are really taking it out of her but she generously spent about 45 minutes catching up with us today. We are thankful we got here enough time before the wedding so we could see her. Be well, Grammie! You look great!!! P4160011  Nice balloon, Dad :) P4160013  Back for some more Lego time, then out on some errands to return my car and check flights to McGuire for Dave. P4160015  A special boat with an articulating front end.
P4160017  Somebody crashed out. He took a brief nap earlier, but I could tell he needed more. He went back to sleep really hard about 45 minutes later. This is who I found when I sneaked in to see him. Soooo cute. P4160019 P4160020  Monkey boys gettin' crazy on me. They are in the trunk while I deal with switching car seats around after dropping off the rental. They are so mischievous! P4160021  The NJ trees are all in bloom. Very pretty. The clouds are not like Hawaii, though.
P4160023 P4160024  Oh yeah! Time for burning off some energy! P4160025  A roller slide that we remembered from 18 months ago! P4160026
P4160027  Lots of monkeying around. P4160028  We stumbled across a couple girls on horses. I asked if they could "barrel race" the horses (which they do) so Sam could see. I wanted to ride SOOOO badly. Kathy - we are doing this for my birthday!!! P4160029  Who is that on the other side of the stairs? P4160030  Getting good at climbing!
P4160031 P4160035 P4160037 P4160038  Finally found something for Ben to do without getting all wet in the damp bark (it really rained hard yesterday and the day before).
P4160040  Like his baby balaclava? P4160042 ATT00092 ATT00095  Look at me pedaling!
P4170003  Each year we have a new tractor picture! This time Sam did most of the driving! P4170004  Late afternoon romp in the backyard. Who says NJ isn't beautiful? See the big big big yard? This is only 1/3 of it. P4170005 P4170007
P4170008  Web hunting. We have had a major resurgence of web paranoia lately. I am not sure why. So we have web wands to clear webs. Sam says he doesn't like it when they tickle him and surprise him. Well, I guess that's understandable. P4170011  This little web had a tiny coccoon in it. P4170012  See? P4170013  Dad ordering ice cream is an experience. Always has been! The funnier movie, if I'd been on the ball to catch it, is him actually placing the order. I had turned around and was talking to another family behind me. The conversation went on a minute or two. When I turned back around, Dad was STILL talking to the girl at the counter! He loves concoctions. As a matter of fact, he made a very good omelette with everything but the kitchen sink in it - we are calling it a conglomelette.
ATT00224  Beautiful dogwoods on a run. ATT00187  At the playground - again (twice today). We had another wild day - a shocking experience, literally. The playground we found on base is WONDERFUL - huge, in typical military style. But the equipment builds up a pretty sizable static charge, especially on these super dry days. Sam got a shock and man oh man...not pleased! He was like angry about it. Incensed. There was no talking him off the ledge. I even put him on the phone with Daddy (who happened to call in the middle of it all) who tried to put it into the context of the storms Sam loves to read about - electricity building up between clouds and such. Only minimally helpful. Of course I had a talk about trust, and trusting mommy, then sure enough as soon as he took my hand BAM a tiny shock undid all that learning. So we came home and had sparkling water (we were all dying of thirst after running (literally) all over base) and cake. That brought some smiles and sleep for Ben. While Ben napped, Sam and I chatted about T-R-U-S-T and how his animals trust him. So this playground offered a second chance to enjoy playing without fear of sparking (but do you know I managed to get shocked when I touched down after a slide?) Dad totally did not believe me, but I felt it. I can tell you which toe. Someone please tell me what kinds of shoes my kids should wear to discharge the static!!! ATT00190  Dad coming down a very narrow slide. ATT00199  He did get stuck at the bottom!
P4180014  Out to dinner at a German restaurant nearby. We called Dave and told him we'd gotten tired of waiting for him to catch a flight and decided to hop to Ramstein :) There was music in the background to add to the realism. Ben loved our waitress. P4180016  Look at these sausages! I am not sure how much Dad got, but not much. The boys ate like you would NOT believe. Sam was stealing from Dad's plate. Ben was long-forking the serving plate. They even ate the German salad and sauerkraut. And of course the apple streudel afterwards. P4180019  Honey mustard was a big hit. Dad put it on potatoes. Try to act surprised :) P4180020  See? Sam is taking note. This is real trouble.
P4180021  Poor baby bird - forgot his sippy cup, so amidst all the manic feeding I had to hand-drip water into his baby bird mouth. You can imagine how thirsty he got with all that feeding on salty sausages! P4180024  The long-fork! P4180025  Funny funny bath time. Sausage-heads are still thirsty. Actually, Sam was in doing #2 and hollered out to me "MOOOOM! Bring the sparkle-ling water, puhleease!" So he had it on the sink next to him while he lingered over his production. Then I thought Ben might want some, too. They both enjoyed dumping their drinks in the bath water. P4180027  Then drinking out of them. Hmmm!
P4180029 P4180031 Copy of P4180033 P4180035  Back into the water!
P4180038  And the crowd responds! P4180039  What is going on here? He is chewing on the faucet knob thing that makes the bath turn into a shower. Look at those biscuits! P4180040 P4190001  Out to Sunday brunch with the boys after church. These poor unsuspecting people.
P4190004  Oh! P4190006  Playing peek-a-boo! P4190005  Ha ha! He is really a ham! P4190007  Sammy writing me a note.
P4190008  This is how you get into REAL trouble at a nice restaurant. But the nice thing about nice restaurants, there are often built-in mess catchers, like this tablecloth. You may think this is just pure mischief, but it's really me passing on a legacy to my children. You'll see how important it is in the next clip. P4190009  Doing something naughty at the restaurant...this is something Doug and I did when out to eat dinner with Dad one time. I'll never forget how it sprayed up and over dad's baseball cap and landed right on his brim! We did it very quickly here and mopped up afterwards. No one will be any the wiser! P4190012  Learning to eat gentlemen style. 2009-04 Boppin too da loppin thistle too da booooo  This little song just stays with you...we had a lot of fun. And dad - I really made sure he wouldn't break the bed. I think it's ok :)
P4190002  Trying to figure out how to wear a dress I found. This is Bill ... last name omitted to protect privacy. We're over at Bill and Janet's for a wonderful dinner. P4190003  Sam and Ben were really hamming it up. They love an audience. I'm relaxing the rules a bit and trying to role with it...laughing alongside them. P4190004 (2)  Look at his head!!! P4190005 (2)  The casseroles here in Central NJ are to die for. Ben went in head first!
P4190006 (2)  Measuring Sam and Ben on the wall of fame. P4190007 (2)  Here we all are - thank you, Janet and Bill! Wonderful to see your brood! I hope Liam is rested up by now :) ATT00125  Out on a wintery run! We actually saw HAIL blowing sideways on us! I have the kids bundled in four layers with a fleece blanket and my rain jacket in case it decides to pour. The blossoms off the dogwood tree blew off in great bursts, bouncing across the road - Sam yelled SNOW! So I agreed - hey, it's cold, windy, and wet - might as well be! This is the cemetary where Dad would like to be laid to rest, so we ran through to see it. It's a Veteran's Memorial Cemetary. ATT00128  Neat tree on a country road.
P4200009  This can...just wanted to make soup for my children for lunch. Look at the can opener! Pampered Chef can opener was a real pain to get to work. Sam finally took over. See hilarious commentary in next clip. Well, it was hilarious to me at the time. Decided to record our thoughts "live." P4200011  This is how you do it, Mom! P4200012 P4200013  Ben says, "No, THIS is how you do it, Mom!"
P4200010  Trying to get a can open... P4200015  We won! P4200016  Yay! Daddy is here! We drove up to Newark airport through heavy rain and wind to collect him. Fortunately traffic was just fine. The boys are in a blur of excitement! IMG00047  Dinner at Janet and Bill's house - Janet is Marilou's daughter, so my step sister. We had a wonderful evening, and the boys enjoyed themselves immensely, making a huge mess while eating and relishing the laughter in response.
IMG00049  See Sam eating like a doggie? And my finger desperately holding down the plate while Ben scarfs away? I decided not to enforce rules but rather let them be a bit naughty and let their hair down a tad. Thankfully Janet understood, and the "real" doggie, Muffin, appreciated the "fallout." Thanks again, Janet and family! IMG00050  How do you spell ayayay? IMG00051  Nice! P4210001  Off to JFK to catch our Scotland flight! See the wheels on the car seat? Nice, huh? Made a big difference.
P4210003  The monorail to the terminal was fun. We could see tracks and switches up close. P4210004 P4210007  We needed to cool down after the security exercise - you all know the drill. Sam is cooling off with the huge fan! P4210008  We found mom shopping near the gate. What fun to see her!
P4210010  The boys were angels - after their dinner they crashed out. Dave and I only got 1 hour of sleep for some reason. We were pretty wired and Dave had only gotten 1 night of sleep in the previous 36 hours or so since he'd just come in from Hawaii. P4210012  Sweet boy! P4210013  Wired, I tell you! P4210018  Almost there!
P4210019  Sun rising over England, and illuminating Ben's sweet face. P4210021  Finally in Aberdeen where we found Doug - aka Tito Pig. Coming into country at Heathrow was a barrel full of laughs. Ha! Get your picture taken and retinas scanned at border control (not really on the retinas but sure felt it), answer a bazillion questions (note to self, do NOT say you're attending a wedding - it triggers a whole secondary question and answer drill - say "pleasure" only...just "pleasure"!), then through customs, then through security again to continue on to Aberdeen. My car seat got pulled and I had to talk to a supervisor since it set off some kind of explosives detection thing. The guy said it triggered the sensor the first time but cleared the second, adding "If it hadn't cleared the second time, we'd be having a different discussion right now." Then he asked if I had used any cleaning products (HA!). I said I once put it in the washing machine - his eyes then opened WIDE as he pictured putting the whole rig in there. He was like "What? How?" then realized I meant the cover only. I joked that we Americans do everything on a grand scale and that it's routine to put entire car seats in the wash. No big deal. Then Dave chimed in, going "OH! I think I know what it might be..." and I was fearful he'd say the N word (NUCLEAR) like some residue from him had gotten onto it. He finished his thought by saying something about all the sunscreen we use. Whew. Enough with that, we got the car seat back and were finally on our way. P4220024  At Skene House Hotel and Suites in Aberdeen. Wonderful flat - 3 br, 2 ba, kitchen and living area. The boys enjoyed romping behind these curtains in a little alcove in their bedroom. P4220025
P4220026  And finally seeing the bride! This is Mary, aka Tita Bear. P4220027  Doug managing his wedding hedge fund - shuffling currency around depending on exchange rates. He is unbelievable. P4220029  Typical Aberdeen street. Beautiful granite buildings all around. Great day. P4220030  Walking to dinner on Union St.
P4220031  We'd all had a nap by now - feeling really very good, actually! P4220033  Robbie Burns!!! P4220035  Turtle managed to sneak out of the hotel with us (I think Gramma might have accidentally overturned our rule that turtle stay home, so out "she" came to a bar for a drink!). BUT Sam managed to leave turtle behind at the bar, so Dave had to go back in and reclaim her. When we saw him emerge from the bar, we all had a good laugh. Turtle was stuffed under his sweatshirt and under his arm, with just one tiny bit of the flipper visible. We realized why very quickly - he had to walk through a bunch of big Scottish guys watching a soccer game! He is very good at smuggling...remember the machete he smuggled out of the Macadamia Nut Farm for me in Hawaii? I'd gotten it from a Samoan chief, my very own machete, but couldn't quite carry it out with Ben in my arms. Dave had it tucked alongside his arm and was carrying it away from his body, trying to hide it. Wouldn't you know he bumped into some people he knew from work and had to try to shake hands, say hi, make small talk all the while trying to minimize visibility of this machete. It was very funny to me - I will long remember that one, as well as turtle smuggling... P4220036  Clean baby Ben!
P4220040  Very sleepy boys sleeping in the next morning! See how crashed out? P4220042  Sorry so blurry - this is Mary's mom, Caridad (Cari). She loves the boys and always shows their pictures around her office. P4220043  Breakfast at the hotel - very yummy Scottish fare of eggs, sausage, black pudding... P4220045  And yogurt lips!
P4220046 P4220047  The Alli paparazzi spied Robb and Kristy (Robb is my cousin) across the street. It was chilly this morning - maybe mid 40's? See Kristy's gloves? P4230048  Beautiful blooms all over Aberdeen. P4230049
P4230050  Words of wisdom at the William Wallace statue. P4230051 P4230052 P4230054  An outdoors store!
P4230057  The first of several "hijackings" as Dave calls them. We were on a walkabout when we ventured near the train station. We managed to wrangle Daddy onto a train,"Just one stop!" we said. We went to Stonehaven and saw Dunottar Castle ruins. It was a great time. P4230065  A few pictures of the Scottish coast. P4230066  Love this picture Dave took. Sam just looked at this picture as I type - "look at my hair!" he says. He had a lot of bedhead this trip. We even bought some "product" in Aberdeen for him. P4230068
P4230069 P4230070  That little sign to the right says "Town Centre 1/2 mi". P4230072  Very typical cottage - granite punctuated by bright red or blue doors, and beautiful garden plots (most of which are not quite this big, but equally manicured). P4230076  Fish and chips at the local pub.
P4230077  And a big hot chocolate! Sam was a huge city hiker - walking several miles every day with us as we explored all over. The brisk air made him hungry :) P4230078  Here's Dunottar Castle. P4230079 P4230082  Perched high on a cliff, it is a stunning sight. You have to walk down a bunch of stairs then climb back up again.
P4230085  Built about 500 years ago, you can see bright wildflowers growing out of the stonework. P4230086  Don't they look like Scottish gentlemen? P4230087 P4230090  The kitchen.
P4230092  View from the men's loo...don't ask what I was doing in there :) I had Ben on my back, so that counts, right? P4230093 P4230094  Trying to take a family shot on camera timer :) See the couple in the background? They ended up helping us out. They're from Philadelphia area. P4230095
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P4230109  The town of Stonehaven. P4230113  See the profusion of flowers? This is at the Stonehaven station. The Scots really take care of their towns. Everything was beautiful. P4240114  Checking out a knight in shining armour. I like seeing Daddy in the reflection, too. (See the bedhead?) P4240119  Ma Cameron's pub - highly recommended by locals. And more beautiful flower boxes.
2009-04-24 Tea(32)  Mom and I at tea hosted by Mary at The Marcliffe - it was elegant and really nice to finally chat with mom like two ladies. P4240120  Hmmmm...I should let Lelu explain this picture. Let's just say we bonded. Those who know me well can guess how! P4240121  Here's my flask of Scotch for the rehearsal. :) P4240123  Saying hi to the horses and donkey out at Skene Castle. Wish I had taken more pictures of the castle! I was thinking that I'd snap them the next day at the wedding, forgetting as a member of the bridal party I would not have a camera in my hands :)
P4240126  Ben likes to "text" on my phone, then listen to how he says "HEH-YO!" ("hello!") P4250137  Another "hijacking" - we went to see Old Aberdeen just two hours before we were due to catch the bus to the wedding. This is St. Machar cathedral. P4250142  Beautiful ancient woodwork on the ceiling. P4250143
P4250144 P4250145  I'm pointing to a garden off to the side. See my hair? All done up already. P4250146  The grave stones are interesting table-like structures to protect the ground underneath. P4250148  Love the cobblestone streets.
P4250151  And flowers at every turn, softening the look of the stone all around. P4250154  King's College. P4250156  This is really an incredible shot. Can you find the royal in the picture? It happened quite by accident. Dave is holding Ben (look just above the crypt's chest) - then look to the left, just under the turrets. Prince Charles!!! P4250158  Such a picturesque town.
2009-04-23RehearsalDinner (19) 2009-04-23RehearsalDinner (2) 2009-04-23RehearsalDinner (23) 2009-04-25Wedding (45)
2009-04-25WeddingDay (2)  Thanks to mom and Richard, the boys looked sooo incredibly dashing! Look at us! Amazing that we all got ready in time - and were actually the first down to catch the shuttle to the ceremony. Look at the boys' little vests and bow ties! 2009-04-25WeddingDay (7) 2009-04-25WeddingDay (3)  And see the beautiful necklace? Mom and Richard found that for me in Aberdeen. (The sash was later hooked onto the dress strap so it didn't slip, and Mary actually put powder and blush on me - I had no makeup on when I left for the wedding! Oops!) 2009-04-25WeddingMementoes  Wedding details...
P4250159  Getting ready. P4250161  The boys have colds but are real troopers. See Sam's kerchief? P4250162  The groom boards the bus. They lined up a coach service to take the wedding party and the guests to the ceremony, then the reception, and back to the hotel. It was very nice - a great way to relax and see the countryside, and spend some time together. P4250166  Miss Christy - she is so sweet to the boys whenever we see her in NYC. We'll have to visit again. Hi Christy! (The following is from Sam..."I LOVE  YOU!"
DSC00493  Dave and the boys at the Skene Castle waiting for the guests to arrive. The wedding party is upstairs doing final preps... 2009-04-25Wedding (30)  Reading a message from Dad to the bride and groom. Dad prepared the entire ceremony but unfortunately couldn't attend due to illness in the family. DSC00501  Watching Mary arrive! 3225 164549900161 578935161 6715447 2243750 n  At the ceremony - Sam was the ringbearer and took his job very seriously. Nice work, little man! He even tried not to step on the rose petals on his way down the aisle.
2009-04-25Wedding (32)  Chief of Skene, Danus Moncrief Skene, collecting the rings from Sam. 2009-04-25Wedding (56) P4250170  Dave took lots of pictures of the interior decor at Fyvie Castle, where the reception was held. P4250171
P4250173  Robb, Doug, and Gould, a fraternity friend. P4250174  Robb and Doug are Skenes, wearing their clan tartan. The other guys rented tartans at a Highland wear store. It is apparently considered an honor to don a clan's tartan, even if you aren't a member. P4250175 P4250176  Robb, Doug, Norman Fiddes (the piper) and my date :) The sash is also Skene - my mom's mom made it. My dress is quite wrinkled by my other "date" who is with a nanny in the tea room. I met Gillian through a friend of a friend in Hawaii. She was so lovely and drove all the way out to Fyvie to care for Ben while we had dinner.
P4250180 P4250186 P4250188  Robb and Kristy. P4250191
P4250192 P4250193  A Scottish birdie :) It had rained during the ceremony but cleared to just perfect lighting for the reception. P4250195  I love those lamps! P4250197  The castle is 800 years old, and passed through 5 families before it became part of the National Trust of Scotland.
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P4250205 P4250206  Another knight in shining armour, just like in the Eddie Kamae song "Golden Stallion." P4250207 P4250208  My cousin Joel (also a Skene), from California, and his fiance Priya (not pictured).
P4250209  Brother! His sgian dubh (pron. skee(a)n-doo - a small double-edged knife) is in his right sock (is there a more formal term for that?). The Chief of Skene is telling us it's not proper to put the dagger away unless it has drawn blood. Doug said it was a "used" dagger, so it most likely had at some time! P4250210 P4250213  I forget what story Doug is telling here :) P4250214  Kim Mason taking pictures. He is a wonderful photographer.
P4250216  Dave and I both enjoyed getting to know Doug's friend Rich and his wife Elisa. P4250218  Mom, Dave and Doug. P4250219  And the sumptuous dress made for Mary by Yves Saint Laurent in Paris. It arrived at the hotel by courier in a huge box. P4250221
P4250235  Irishman Niall, and Mike? Guests came from just about every time zone - from Spain to Bahrain, Japan and Hawaii, California and New York. P4250241 P4250246  Dave recognized these military heroes... P4250247  None of the decor was imported - these are all original holdings belonging to the castle property.
P4250249  Portrait with arguably the most significant naval hero in history - Adm. Nelson stopped Napoleon's advance, forcing him to turn eastward and ultimately face defeat at Waterloo. P4250251 P4250254  Moving into the gallery for dinner. P4250255
P4250256  The piper accompanied us at every step. He saw a lot of me as I traipsed from tea room (Ben) to reception. As I flew up the stairs once again, I joked "hey - do you have a special song for my entrance?" and sure enough, he did :) P4250257 P4250258  I noticed in going through all these pictures that Dave took a lot of me...very sweet of him. I think he enjoyed seeing me in a dress and jewels. Thanks mom and Richard for decking me out in Aberdeen finery! And Mary for applying some makeup as you waited for your ceremony to begin! P4250261  History of Fyvie Castle.
P4250262  Mary's childhood friend is giving a toast in the background, while the Chief of Skene (Danus) chats with my mom and Richard. P4250264  Robb and Kristy in background with Tricia looking on. P4250266 P4250268  Danus and his lovely wife. They drove in from Perth to be there for the wedding. What a privilege to include them in the big day.
P4250275  Joseph, Lelu and Maha taking a self portrait. P4250277 P4250280  Sam looks in wonder (or exhaustion?) at his lamb dinner. P4250281
P4250288  Doug makes sure all the candles are lit. Apparently we both share a fascination with fire...fiyah fiyah fiyah! P4250289  Danus explaining the connection between "Skene" and the Skene lands. P4250291 P4250292  Danus explaining the marriage cup, which he gave to Doug and Mary.
P4250294 P4250295  Mom and Richard. P4250296 P4250320  And fireworks lit the sky! This is the "ghost of Fyvie Castle" taking pictures (Joel!).
P4250323  Candles lit the way to the dance hall (racquet court). P4250316 P4250327  Sam had a wonderful time dancing! He never rested :) P4250329
P4250343  Doug got in the DJ booth - the Notorious P.I.G.! I don't know what the phone is all about. P4250349  Sweet handsome guy! The boys were so tired when we got back to the hotel around 1am that Sam fell asleep in his suit on the bed and we had to redress him in his jammies almost sound asleep. Ben stayed up late dancing, too, then crashed in my arms while I sat on the side of the dance floor and admired everyone having fun. P4260351  We're out walking around Aberdeen the last morning (Sunday) before our 4pm flight. This is at St. Nicholas Kirk where they are doing some restoration. I guess the church was built above another church. P4260352
P4260354  There was a helicopter crash enroute to an oil rig and all 16 aboard perished. The church has been open for weeks to allow people to sign a memorial book. P4260356  More flowers in Aberdeen. P4260358  We hit the Maritime Museum as well - it's a good museum for kids. Very colorful and I like the circle motif they use throughout. Here is a dive suit that is rated to 1000m. Wow! It's a "Nuit Suit" and uses oil in the joints to allow them to move despite the pressure. P4260360  A 3 story oil rig is in the center of the museum.
P4260371  We also went to Duthie Park where we visited Europe's largest indoor garden. Guess what we found there!? P4260362  Cacti! P4260366  And a real Saguaro cactus! A young one - probably about 10 years old judging by the size. P4260367
P4260368 P4260369 P4260375  On the move again. See Dave's latest gear purchase, the wheels which attach to the car seat, turning it into a stroller or cart? Love it. P4260376  Heathrow is so clean. We just flew from Aberdeen to Heathrow and we're waiting for our 7 hour flight to JFK.
P4260377  Ukulele man! P4260379  Dave went for a beer while I played with the boys. He left it half full at the table, but since the airport was virtually empty I ran to the bar and found it! The staff nicely poured the remainder into this coffee cup, so I had Guiness to Go! See Ben in the background? :) P4260381  Helloooooo PopPop! Welcome to NY! It's 11:15pm. The boys have slept a few hours but we really haven't again. We are all bushwhacked. P4270385  Out at Captree on Long Island the next day. All are a bit rested, but can certainly use some more. Diner pancakes almost did us in! I napped in the car with Ben, and Dave is on the bench behind the slide :)
P4270386 P4270388  Seeing Great Grandma (Marion), Uncle Richie, Aunt Diane, Jen and Stacie on Long Island. GG hadn't met Ben yet so this was a real treat! P4270391  Boys liked romping. P4270392  And Ben let Uncle Cool hold him for a few seconds!
P4270396  He liked romping with Stacie! P4270399  Playing football with Sam. P4270402  Aunt Diane, thank you for the fabulous salad!!! You are amazing! We love you guys! P4270403  Mauling Aunt Diane :) Remember feeding him puddin' when he was a babe?
P4270404  Jen gets a smootch :) P4270405  Stacie and Sam do some posing :) P4270407 P4270411
P4280414  Ok - the truth be told - the boys' colds really hung on. We had a major cougher on our hands (Sam), and Ben managed to puke on Dave just as I handed him over for a hug. This is Gail saying "NO PROBLEM ALLI!" as she cleans up, juggles five loads of wash, makes waffles for breakfast and then serves up a beautiful lunch plate. P4280415  Ben going "Did I do that?" P4280417  Gail and Bill also had lots of new toys for the boys to play with! The pirate Legos were a real hit! P4280418  Sam took this picture of mommy.
P4280420  Impromptu trip to upstate NY (Saratoga) - Bill is giving us his EZPass. We figured the boys can be sick anywhere, why not in the rental car or a hotel that we don't have to clean? P4280421  They started out nicely enough. Singing, talking, drawing... P4280422  Then got cranky around lunch time. P4280425  But there was fun stuff to see...
P4280426  And a nap to be had... P4280428  I love the dual controls for AC... P4280429  But then things turned nasty! One was screeching and the other coughing and shouting "NOOOO!" P4280430  But finally we arrived and hooked up with Tim, Dan and his fiancee Heather. What fun!!! Here we are going out to dinner at the Olde Bryan Inn.
P4280432  All is well again - we figured we dodged a bullet. Ben didn't puke again, they'd had naps, and Sam seemed fine. Tim is so funny with the boys. P4280433 P4280434  Nice dinner with everyone! P4280435
P4280436  Much glee and laughter... P4280438  Until... "Dad! I don't like cranberry sauce!" Then AAARRRGGGHHH! SPLAT! Sam hurled on the wall of Olde Bryan Inn, then a second shot onto the floor. Dave evacuated him, and I followed shortly. We paid the bill and totally disappeared, leaving a path of destruction behind us, hidden by a napkin on the floor. P4280441  But then the boys rallied, Sam played his ukulele with Tim...and we all had a wonderful time. P4280443  Ben got in on the act until he got too rough with Tim's guitar.
P4280444 P4280446  Sam rockin' the suite! P4280448  Building with Dan - this is "Captain Pirate Paddlehead!" or "Pirate Parrothead"! There was so much giggling - I love Dan's laugh! P4280453  And when he and Heather get going, Dave gets tears in his eyes laughing so hard.
P4290457  Sam, Ben and I sneaked up on a friend of mine, Maureen. We decided to be like groundhogs and just "pop up" everywhere! When you fly space-a you never know where or when you'll land, which makes it really fun to just pop up, or in, on friends :) P4290458 P4290459  There we all are! P4290460  Alli!!! You are a crazy mommy!
P4290461  Really crazy! Look at Ben's face...he's like "right..." P4290463  Sammy taking a picture of our sneaky shadows - we were quiet as shadows sneaking up on her! P4290466  In Saratoga town for a stroll, then a hike. More blooms, just like Aberdeen! P4290467  Gorgeous day. Sam has his ukulele as we walk through the park.
P4290468  Sniffing the tulips... P4290469  Pretending we're on mountain's how you work this hill, Dad! P4290470  "Use your brakes!" P4290471
P4290472  Tim does a jump for us! (ukulele in hand!) P4290473 P4290475  Tim and Sam having a great time on the hike, pretending they're on bikes :) Sam just watched with me and said "I want to do that hike again!" P4290477
P4290478 P4290480 P4290485 P4290492  Fiddleheads!
P4290498  Building a skunk trap while Dave relaxes (a skunk kept stinking us out!). P4290502 P4290503 P4290505
P4300507  Where we stayed... P4300508 P4300512  A last stop at the silly swing. P4300514  Then on to NJ via Mary Jo and Ben's house...what a treat to see Big Ben!
P4300517  And swing on the tree swing! P4300523 P4300524  Ben's initials are BWK as well - middle name Williams, can you believe it? P4300525  I'm saying "NO way!"
P4300527 P4300530 P4300532  NJ state tree or something, but very pretty. P4300533  Mary Jo wasn't feeling well so we waved goodbye from outside her window.
P4300534 P5010537  Making waffles with Dad before heading to McGuire to hopefully catch our flight. Turned out the flight got delayed, then evaporated, giving us another day to hang out with my Dad and visit the biggest playground on the planet at base once more to show Daddy. P5010542  On this damp day, there aren't many "shocks" from static electricity :) P5010553  The slide train!
ATT00047  Another day waiting for a plane gave us some time to do weird things in Central NJ - Dave went to the BX/PX to find a new set of headphones and iPod (since he thought he'd left his on a plane in Aberdeen). Later he actually found them in his backpack! (I would tease here, but I did the same thing, thinking I'd left Ben's rain jacket behind at Gail and Bill's only to find it later stuffed carefully in my pack.) Can you see a little head popping up in the green grass? Look at the 4th pole from left, then just a hair further to your right. Groundhogs! Seemed like a fitting thing to do - try to sneak up on them before they dart into a hole. It was groundhog day for a couple days, checking flights, going to McGuire all packed, mark ourselves present, get excited, then go back home again... ATT00050  I see one, Mom!!!! (By the looks we got, it felt like we were the only crazy people to go running in all of Central NJ, and certainly the only bright orange double-Bob jogging stroller on base, and most certainly the only one bumping across the grass stalking ground hogs!) ATT00053  See the big holes? We got close enough to see their tales disappear into the hole! The boys had a good time stalking with me :) I'm not sure who enjoyed it more, actually. It's good sport. Really. You should try it if you have groundhogs in your area. ATT00056  This is the plane we thought we were going to catch - a C17 (a "C17-fighter" as Sam would say, convinced it's a fighter, not a cargo plane).
P5020560  At the terminal again the next day, waiting for our flight. We got all the way out to the "sterile" holding area (after security) and thought we'd be boarding a shuttle bus to the plane but found out it had mechanical problems. We waited from 7pm to 11pm before hearing any news. At about 11pm, they came and said the plane had passed all its tests and they hurried us straight out to the tarmac and on board. Here we're hanging out with Nicole, who is on her way home from Iraq. She won a body building competition over there - plenty of free time to invest in weight training, she said. She was really nice to the boys despite being totally exhausted from her long trip home. P5020561  Finally on board, and everyone crashed. Ben got to sleep in the nursery at the terminal while we waited for word on the plane. We were so relieved to finally be on our way - time was slipping by and we were worried that the window of opportunity to catch the next leg from Travis to Hawaii would evaporate if we left much later. P5020564  Waking up to land at Travis. It's not worth calculating what time it is local vs body time. We're on a KC10 refueling plane. It was a bumpy ride but free! P5020565  Ben got his first KC10 patch!!!
P5030569  Sleeping at Travis terminal where we had to wait for 4 hours before our next roll call to see if we would make it onto the Hawaii-bound plane. P5030570  Sooooo tired, mommy and baby. P5030571  Amazing where and how one can sleep. P5030572  We took a walk to check out lodging at Travis. Very very nice! Even got Dave a latte. He could not believe we came back with a latte on a military base at 0630 on a Sunday morning.
P5030575  This is "groundhog face" and Travis terminal. P5030576  Boys eating muffins and lattes :) P5030579  Dave is up at the counter ensuring we are "marked present" and Ben is pretending to drink coffee. This whole space-a thing is wonderful, but you have to be really on your game to ensure your name is properly entered onto the wait list, and properly ranked according to your registration date. All worked out well for us today, thankfully. We got the first flight out on a KC135, another refueling plane. P5030580  People had no trouble figuring out where we were from given Sam's music playing.
P5030581  I ran into a lady named Patty who I'd first met on my way out of Hawaii, through San Diego. She was on her way to meet up with her hubby who is deployed. Sweet lady with equally sweet kids. It was good to see her again, although she was having a hard time saying goodbye to her husband. P5030582  Big traveler wearing his ear plugs! P5030585  Ben finally asleep, wearing his ear plugs as well. P5030586  See the crew? This was actually a medevac plane with people on litters going to Tripler for outpatient treatment. Very interesting.
P5030589  Ben kept standing up in his car seat (when I let him stretch his legs) to smile and play peekaboo with the guys behind us. You just can't help but smile back at him! P5030591  He was really great about the earplugs, much to my amazement! P5030592  Sam loading our stuff up to go home. P5030595  Whew! Finally back in Hawaii!!! I haven't been this tired since childbirth. I have vertigo, and I can barely see through my dirty contact lenses. It was a fantastic, epic trip! Off to bed now :)
2009-04-25WeddingDay (3) (600x800)