Thursday, March 28, 2013

Well, we're back..

So, the last few weeks have been extremely stressful. I'm sorry I wasn't able to post sooner, but things just got so busy, I really never had time. Our last few weeks in Scotland, Steven and I were going through all of our things and deciding what we could get rid of and what we needed to keep. It was a shocking amount of stuff we got rid of, but we still had a ton of stuff to bring home. I was happy to donate our old toys to the Ward Nursery, so all of the little kids we've grown to love there will be able to play with them now. Its nice to know they have a good home.
I was stressed about how many bags we were bringing home. When we came, we were all allowed one bag, a carry on, and a personal item. We ended up coming with 5 big bags and I really didn't want to have to pay to check that bag again. My Goal had been to keep it down to 4 bags, but we just had too much stuff. It physically wouldn't fit in 4.. and then there was the issue of weight. It was really stressing me out, but then Steven's Dad had the foresight to double check how many bags we got. It turns out we were all allowed 2 bags instead of 1, and I was SO happy. What a load off of my mind. Then my only stress was worrying how to get all 7 of the bags we ended up bringing from the airport home. (We ended up buying a cheap one, and just checking one of Steven's carry ons. It was nice to have less to worry about carrying through the airport)
It turns out all of our luggage was under the weight except one, but it was just BARELY over so they let it go. YAY! Once we got checked in, security went quite smoothly as well. Once we got to our gate there was a little corner with some toys for the boys to play with, so it didn't seem like a major wait.
When we got on our first plane to Iceland we found out that they had put all 4 of us on aisle seats. We were all across from each other, but not sitting together. Luckily, the stewardess was standing right there and realized that Gavin was NOT going to be able to sit on a sit by himself so she asked the people around us to let us sit together. It all worked out quite well.
We were lucky and had movie screens on the back seat of every plane we flew on. And since we flew Icelandic air they gave the boys a meal on the first two flights. They got Pizza the first one, and chicken the second. It really helped knowing that they were getting food. Sadly, Steven and I weren't given anything to eat, but we had a few snacks so it wasn't horrible.
Flying into Iceland was so strange. The airport was right on the ocean and so we were literally flying in from nowhere. It looked absolutely gorgeous though. Steven and I would like to go back one day when we can actually leave the airport and look around a bit. I loved seeing all the signs in Icelandic and hearing it over the speakers was really cool. We only had to wait about an hour and then we were put right back on the plane we had just gotten off. This time we were in the VERY back of the plane. I don't really mind that, except all of the people waiting to use the toilet just kind of hover by you, which can be a little irritating. But, it really could have been worse. I ended up sitting with Rhys and Gavin and Steven sat in the seat across the aisle from us. He was lucky and pretty much got a stress free flight since there wasn't much he could do to help. But the boys were amazing, so I shouldn't have worried about it. Gavin fell asleep for a tiny bit, but even when he wasn't sleeping he was being good. The stewardesses even commented on how good they were, saying they'd forget kids were back there. Always a good thing to hear. =)
I had been really stressed about landing in Denver because we had to go through Customs, pick up our luggage and then re-check it and I wasn't sure how long that would take. It turns out that the luggage pick up was only about 100 ft from where you check it back in and there was NO line for baggage check or security. The whole process took about 20 minutes which was wonderful. Then we found out our flight was delayed almost an hour so it ended up not being a problem anyway. By then Steven and I were pretty hungry so we thought we'd have our first American meal. We REALLY wanted Taco Bell since we didn't have anything at all like it the whole time we were in Scotland, but of course the only one at the airport was all the way on the other side and through security so we couldn't. So, instead we went to.... McDonald's!! It tasted exactly the same as it did in Scotland but of course seemed SO much more expensive. It wasn't.. but with the conversion rates it just seemed like a lot more. The boys were happy to get McDonald's but Steven and I were a little sad since we had a ton of it in Scotland. Oh well.
The last flight was good as well. Since the flight was delayed they let us watch their T.V.'s on the back of the seats and Steven and I were thrilled they were playing the Avengers. We both fell asleep though, and pretty much missed the whole thing. But it was nice having all of us sleep that last little bit.
It was WONDERFUL finally getting home and getting to see my Parents. The boys were excited to see them. It was so weird walking outside to the warmth of California though. We were wearing coats in Scotland, so it was a huge difference really fast, but we have since adjusted. (Well the boys and I have, Steven's still working on it.)
Anyway, that pretty much sums up our trip home. I'll write another post soon about what our life has been like here since we've been home. Love you all!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Fragmented Life of Dorothy Lawrence

Part of being in the MACCT program includes doing the Final Project at the very end of the year. For these projects they hire some Professional Writers to come in and write an original piece specifically for them to perform. They been working on this final project since November when they first met the 3 Play writers who were going to be working with them this year. The Writers met all of the Students and then they were divided into 3 different casts. Each Cast was going to have a different writer and director and they would be working within their smaller groups for the duration of the final semester.  Steven's final project  is called The Fragmented Life of Dorothy Lawrence, and its a story that is based on the life of Dorothy Lawrence. She was a Woman living in London during WW1. She was a journalist and dressed like a man and made it all the way to France so she could be at the front lines. The story tells us of her experience during the war and what happened when it was over.
Its actually a really well done play and I enjoyed watching it. They had a rocky start at the beginning of their rehearsals and everyone was wondering whether they'd be able to pull it off. I won't get into all of the details, but there were problems and it took a while for everything to get sorted out. In the end the cast had about 10 days to really rehearse and pull the show together. I'm So proud of what they were able to accomplish. It really is a strong show and I'm happy everyone involved is happy with the result.
The show opened last weekend here in Glasgow, which is when I got to see it. They are currently in London this week performing down there, and then next weekend they'll be in Edinburgh. Steven was really excited because his Dad is teaching at Oxford this week and was able to see Steven perform his show last night. I know it means a lot to him when his parents get to see his shows too, so I'm happy he was able to. Plus, he's going to Glasgow this weekend to see the boys and me so we're all really excited about it.
But, what's crazy is that when they're done performing, that's it.. Steven's done. Its just amazing how fast this year has gone. We are a week away from our year mark when we left the States. It surely doesn't feel that way. But, I guess that's how most things in life are. When I think about my cute Rhys and Gavin and how old they are now, it doesn't feel like they should be so big. I swear they were just born yesterday. =)
Anyway, here are some pictures of the show that some members of the Program were able to take so people can get an idea of what the show was like. Enjoy!
Side note: If you notice, Steven looks a little different in this show. They made him keep his hair after As you like it, and they had him grow a mustache since its more historically accurate. Steven's not a big fan of it, but I kind of like it. It reminds me of how he looked when we first got married so I feel all nostalgic about it. But, get a good look in these pictures because he fully plans on shaving his head and growing the beard back once the show is over!  =)

The end is almost here

Well, its official. We have our plane tickets to fly back to San Diego on Sept. 27. I am both excited and scared about this next adventure. This is the moment Steven and I have been planning for since we got married 8 1/2 years ago, so its exciting. But at the same time, we have been in our comfortable cocoon of School Attendance since we got married and its scary to leave that. I'm so proud of Steven and everything that he has accomplished this year. I know this is where we were supposed to be so I just need to hold onto that knowledge as we head back and look for a job.
Right now I am busy getting the flat cleaned up and organized. They have a huge list of things that need to be clean in order for us to get our Deposit back, so I've already started on that. We also are trying to save some money by only taking 4 suitcases back with us instead of the 5 we came with. We don't want to pay to check another suitcase if we don't have to, so we have been diligently going through everything and deciding what's really important for us to take back. Its actually been easier deciding what to leave here then it was deciding what to leave in Cedar City. I think its because I knew that whatever we took to Scotland was going to be ALL we had while we are here, but when we go back we still have all our stuff in Storage. It doesn't feel like we'll be left with nothing. So that's good.
Its also been a little emotional lately. Sometimes I find myself just staring out our flat window, looking at all of the things that remind me that I'm here, in Scotland. I've definitely cried a few times at the thought of leaving such a beautiful place. Luckily, all I have to do is think about my family and how wonderful it will be to be so close again and that cheers me right back up. Its always hard to leave a place you're comfortable with but you usually go to some place that's better. I'm just hoping that's the way it is for us this time.
I've also gotten a little emotional lately when I realized just how much weight I've gained while being over here. I was expecting to gain some, since there are all these amazing new foods that I knew I was going to want to try. So, its not a complete shock. I was just hoping that with all of the walking we did while we were over here that it might keep the weight a little more at bay. Sadly, it didn't work. I don't have a scale here, so I don't know EXACTLY how much I've gained, but I know its got to be about 30 pounds. Maybe more... who knows. The only thing that comforts me is the knowledge that most people, on average, gain about 10 pounds on vacation. We've lived here a whole year so it really could have been worse. A LOT worse. Of course, Steven didn't gain any. He didn't lose any either, but he didn't gain either. HOW DOES HE DO IT!?!?
I've been gearing myself for the diet I will be starting again when we go back. Luckily, my Mom and Little sister Kati decided that they needed some good motivation to lose some weight themselves. They decided to do a Biggest Loser Challenge. Everyone who wants to do it is welcome, but everyone who joins has to pay $10. They're starting on the 15th and going to the 23th of Dec. That's 99 days. Whoever can lose the most percentage of body weight (Not actual pounds, which is nice) will win all of the money. There's at least 10 people that I know of who are doing it, so the winner will get at least $100. That's pretty good incentive. I'm excited to get to join them. Of course, I won't be able to officially start until the 27th because we don't have a scale so I don't know my starting weight. But, I guess that means I will just need to work that much harder. Wish me luck. Hopefully I'll be posting some good news in December. =)
Also, here are a few pictures we've taken these past few weeks.
Rhys on his first day of school. Primary 2!
 Gavin looked so cute during his nap, we had to take a picture.
 The boys playing video games together. We definitely have a house full of boys!
 Poor Gavin fell and hit his face on the ottoman last night. So sad!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Day of Scottish Awesomeness!

Saturday, August 11 was such a fun day. It was the last weekend before Rhys started school again and so the Housing Community decided to fund a "Fun Day" in the playground outside of our flat. They had bouncy castles, face painting, balloon animals, a small petting zoo, a wresting match, and it was all free. They had put posters up a few weeks before and since Rhys can read he was looking forward to going to it for a long time. We woke up early that day because we wanted them to get to play outside, but we were also going to the Pipe Band Competition so we wanted plenty of time for both.
The boys spend most of their time on one of the bouncy castles. I tried getting them to get their faces painted, but they just wanted to bounce. They were also the only ones on that Castle, so that probably was part of what was so fun. When we finally pulled them away we got to look at the animals. They had rodents, frogs, lizards, chickens, roosters, rabbits, snakes, a Scorpion, and a Tarantula. Gavin loved getting to see a real snake and Steven ended up asking if he could hold the Tarantula. They actually let him... and then somehow they convinced me to do it as well. I'm terrified of spiders, but its something I'm trying to work on. Plus, the really big fully ones don't scare me quite as much. It was terrifying, but I'm glad to say I did it.
When we were done with the "fun day" we headed over to the train station. Gavin ended up running, which isn't unusual for him and falling down a little hill. He scraped his elbow up pretty bad and we had to bandage him up with 3 band aids (or plasters as they call them over here.) He hates band aids so much so it was torture for him. But we couldn't get it to stop bleeding so he just had to deal. When we got into Glasgow Gavin was so tired from the screaming that he fell asleep in the buggy on the way to the Pipe Band Competition. He slept through the WHOLE thing. 
Steven, Rhys, and I just loved it. Everywhere you looked you saw men in Kilts and you could constantly hear the Bagpipes playing. They had all sorts of little shops set up and we actually found one that was selling Kilts. Steven had been wanting to get one for a while and we found one that was a good, quality kilt for £60. It was a good deal, so he got it and I'm happy that he gets to come home with one. He wanted to get a Coburn Tartan kilt, since that's his families clan, but they were just WAY to expensive. He ended up getting a purple one instead since that matches the Royal Conservatoires colors. It at least has some special meaning.
We watched a few of the competitions. It was amazing how together they were. I think my favorite part was watching them march on and off the fields though.
They were also hosting the Highland Games and so we got to watch some of the Caber Tossing. We saw both Men and Women compete and it was so impressive. I can't imagine how heavy those things are, and they got them to go so far. I think Steven would have stayed there all day if I had let him, but I also wanted to see some of the Highland Dances that they were performing. It reminded me of the Utah Shakespeare Festival Greenshows that they would perform while Steven was selling Tarts. Of course, this was SO much better!! 
We stayed there most of the afternoon, but we had also planned on taking the boys to see Brave because we really wanted to see it while we were in Scotland and we weren't sure if we'd have another opportunity. The movie was amazing. I absolutely loved it. I know Steven enjoyed it, but he said I liked it more. Apparently its a "Mom movie." I guess you'd have to see it to know what that means. =) I actually started crying during it, just listening to the accents and seeing all of the gorgeous scenery and listening to the music. I'm really going to miss living here, and that is one movie I'm going to have to insist on owning when it comes out.
After the movie we started to walk back to the train stop so we could go home and put the boys to bed. We ended up walking by a Chippy that we were told sold Deep Fried Mars Bars. (That's a candy bar, for anyone who doesn't know) We were told it was something we HAD to try while we were over here, so we decided we would end our very Scottish day with a very Scottish treat. It looked kind of gross, Gavin wouldn't even try it, even though we told him it was chocolate. Rhys said he liked it and took a few bites. Steven and I both really enjoyed it too, although it did kind of sit in your stomach for a while since its so heavy. I mean, it is a deep FRIED chocolate bar. That things going to leave a mark. =) 
The entire day was wonderful, but I think my favorite part was going home and having Steven try on his kilt for him. It looks SO good on him. I know we only have a few weeks left, but I told him we're going to have to find something for him to wear that too. He can't not wear his kilt out on the streets of Glasgow, that would just be too sad. Hopefully we'll come up with something... even if its just putting it on and taking a walk! =)
Here are some pictures of the day! Enjoy!!!
Some of the boys on the bouncy castle.

 Gavin saying hi to the snake.
 Steven was trying to get the frog to jump for Gavin.
 Holding the Tarantula.
 Yep, I was nervous.
 Gavin's poor scraped elbow.
 Pipe Band Competition!!
 Rhys trying to get a better view. Daddy's are great for that!
 They had a screen up so you could watch it better.

 The Caber Tossing.

 Gavin got in that position all by himself in his sleep.
 The Highland Dancing.
 Waiting for the Deep Fried Mars Bar.

 Gavin was nice and let Rhys rest his feet for a moment in the Buggy.

 Trying the Mars Bar.

 Steven looking so handsome in his Kilt!