Friday, 20 December 2013

Cheater-Pants Post

This is a cheater-pants post because I'm a new mom and I ain't got the time (seriously) to sit and write posts and take pictures right now. We're watching other moms do fun Christmas cookies and parties and cards and I'm over here like, "I kept my kids alive today."

Since Mark ran back to the US the morning after Thanksgiving to see his dad in the hospital I've been running, running, running. In my week as a single parent of 4 I found that:

-I cannot sleep more than 6 hours at night not counting middle-of-the-night feedings. There aren't enough hours in the day to get things done so I have to borrow from the nighttime!
-Laundry never, ever ends. The washer and dryers here take about twice as long as the ones in the US so I'm half as efficient as I was (and to enlighten you; I am NOT laundry efficient).
-Plan, plan, plan. To get things done in a timely manner I have to lay out outfits for everyone the night before, set alarm reminders on the phone, make school lunches the night before, and even set out the toaster, Nutella, and bananas for breakfast to keep me on track!
-You might be an idiot to try and drag out Christmas decorations during all this chaotic time. ("you" means "me" in this case).
-I need lots of precious friends. People walking me home, helping me put kids to bed, doing my laundry (I know I just admitted I'm still behind despite the help, just some raw truth there). Caedmon's teacher even came and picked him up one morning for me when I had to get him to school and Nessie to her Highland Dance medal test at the same time. SO precious and SO telling that I'm not a great single parent!

So all that being said I'm telling y'all I'm going to do one giant post with lots of pictures and a few captions and say that's me done blogging for December!

Thanks for your understanding.

I'll do better when my 4 are grown and out of the house.


AirBear all dressed up (and hating it) at one month old.
She is a miracle and a living testament to God's goodness. 
We treasure each day.

Thanksgiving night the kids hanging out with one of their favourites: Hannah Aitken.
(Why yes I make my husband cram his guitars behind the couch to keep them out of sight. But the out of sight part of that only works when they're out of sight...)

The moment I lost my mind and drug all the Christmas decorations out while Mark was in another country.

A tradition 30 years in the making: wearing the Christmas tree skirt! My sisters and I would do this every year and dance around. I'm happy to pass down this tradition--it's wonderful to see girls loving  to be girly!

Nessie in her kilt and pumps ready to take her medal test in Highland Dance!

After Mark was gone a gift, a Moby Wrap, arrived in the mail not a moment too soon! Hands-free momma-ing while still keeping the baby happy.

Mark had the audacity to send me this picture of lusciousness that he enjoyed while in the US.

Whoa, cute kids!

Nessie Mae getting ready to go to her very first Christmas party of the season. This one was with her Highland Dance. Here in Scotland they dress up super fancy to do a Christmas party. Ness was happy to follow suite!

Willie Aitken preaching for Mark and graciously ignoring paparazzi photographer trying to be sneaky on the front row.

Aberdeen and her new friend from the Port Gordon Community Church.

Soup and sweet (soups and dessert fellowship meal) after church with our PGCC friends.

Anyone else exhausted while Mark's gone?!

This dear lady, Paula, introduced herself to me and helped with laundry right before Mark left. Then she came and helped me out SO many times when she heard Mark was away. Because of this lady I was able to shower. Not kidding.

Mark enjoyed some quality time with 3 of his 5 brothers while in Springfield. He's here with his younger brothers (L) Micah, John (almost Amish), and nephew Isaac.

The weather forecast for Buckie on 5 December, the day Mark was coming home. 70mph winds?!

Said winds tore a board off the neighbours fence and it was dangling precariously over our car
(not a minivan, it;s a "people carrier").
I ran outside and twisted it off the fence.
My daughters cheered me on.

The lighthouse in Buckie stands on the harbour wall 50 feet above the water.
Oh. My. Lanta.
My fear of waves and tsunamis were justified that day folk. 
That day gale force 11 winds were reached here in Buckie. Max wind gusts here reached in excess of 90mph with other areas of Scotland hitting an amazing 150mph!
There was lots of damage and the storm surge in some areas left 2 feet of sea water in the coastal houses!
All the while Mark was flying into Aberdeen 50 miles away. On their first approach to landing Mark looked out and saw the runway about 50 feet below them. All of the sudden the plane shifted sideways and the runway was no longer visible. The pilot immediately took the plane back up and circled the airport 5 more times trying to land. Upon landing they were detained 15 minutes because it was too windy to open the doors of the plane. God isn't done with Mark Anderson yet and we're thankful for his hand of mercy on Mark--keeping him safe that day!

Mark's 38th birthday was 4 December so we had a celebration waiting of him when he got home the following day. My mother in law was gracious enough to share her award-winning Green Chile recipe with me and I made that and a chocolate-raspberry cake for a birthday meal.

Note: if you're ever thinking, "Hey Nutella is cheap here. I'm feeling a bit overworked and lazy all at the same time...I shall frost a cake with it..." 
Go ahead and resist that urge. 
Also resist the urge to put powdered sugar into the Nutella to make it frosting consistency.
And whatever you do don't try and put milk in the concoction to calm the whole dang thing down.
It ain't gonna work. It ain't gonna look pretty.
Ask me how I know.

When you have a billion kids you're gonna have some extra spit on that cake from all the candle blower-outer helpers.

Because I hadn't taken the kids out when Mark was gone we packed up on Saturday and headed just a few miles down the road to the Winding Walks. 
This is a lovely place with pretty trees, lots of trails, and enough sound absorbing ground cover to let the kids scream and holler without the neighbours wondering what the heck is wrong with those American hooligans...

I kinda felt like Robin Hood in there...either that or a Ring Wraith.

We found a little dusting of snow in a clearing. 
Tuns out it was just enough to start a rousing chorus of "Frosty the Snowman".

All pretence aside: This is a posed picture.
Yup, I threw around my momma-weight and made them hold hands.
Let's all just enjoy how cute it looks and be thankful we don't hear the whines of holding one-another's hands...

Recovering from jet lag. We're 6 hours ahead of Central Standard time here. 

Dress rehearsal for out performance of "Shepherds, Sheep, and a Saviour". This is the JAM (Jesus And Me) club kids choir I direct on Sunday nights. They did AWESOME!

After the JAM performance we enjoyed shortbread, tea, coffee, and cider (non-alcoholic). 
As it turns out "cider" here is hard and so I had some raised eyebrows when I joyously exclaimed there would be cider served back in the church hall.
I'm such a rookie.

I love the non-perfect and cheap Christmas crafts to do.
Pomanders are so fun and make your kitchen smell yummy!

Caedmon's had a cool snowman looking face.

Mr. Creative.

I forget, every year, how much time it takes to stick those pokey little cloves into a giant orange.

I saw a cute pretzel/Santa hat treat on Pinterest recently and volunteered to make a couple dozen for our JAM Christmas party. 
Lo and behold no jars of red sanding sugar to be found here in town--nary a one.

Design change! Maybe we could make "reindeer" pretzels.
Hoping and praying that most kids would have enough of an imagination to know what they were.
That and the fact that they've never seen a reindeer.

It's hard to cut pretzels.
The entire time I kept thinking about that strawberry/pretzel salad.
Anyone know that recipe?

I could never be a for reals blogger. I take yellow pictures.

Marshmallow eyes and the last of my carefully hoarded Red Hots from the US went lovingly (or desperately) to make the eyes and noses.

"That's a lovely filter you've used on your photographs, Jordan. Is it the Lemonade one?"

And OK...
Moving right along here folks...

Christmas party time. They really get into it here. 
All parties are the same with fancy dresses, Christmas crackers, snack foods, dances, songs, and a visit from Santa.
I was indebted to my friend, Lorriane, to help make sure I didn't make any faux pas!

Having fun! 
At the end the kids did the "Hokey Cokey"
It's not the same and I have to learn it!

Ice cream and jelly. 
A treat served at every party is ice cream and Jell-O. 
My kids haven't caught the hang of the combination yet!

Cute little girl in her party dress!

We recently got a package from our old small group in Missouri.
Oh what fun!

My kids love these lovelies.
(Don't judge I have 4 kids.)

Girly stuff that I love and nail polish!
You never grow out of your nail polishes.

Mark went with Caedmon on a school trip to a pantomime (musical/play) in Inverness.
Here they're taking a selfie on the bus.

We let each kid have a tree of their own to decorate.
Airdrie's tree is fabulous because it has all the real glass ornaments.

Hanging up Christmas cards!

This thing took Mark and I a couple of nights to put together. 
And I don't even have an adorable mantle to put it over...
Thanks Pinterest for your unrealistic expectations.

Chalk art wall groupings.
Except I got more and more tired with each one...
meaning I slop through stuff to get it done.
I say it's ok because I mixed up the order so it's not so obvious, right?

Moving on.

A funny story called I was being frugal and gathered a bunch of greenery from the Winding Walks to decorate the house with.
Unfortunately the species I chose is extremely fond of throwing off all the greenery if 
someone walks by, 
looks at,
 or thinks about it.
We'll say the pine-needle-covered-floors are all the rage this season.

Pretties on the window sill!

AirBear loves her swing. She's always right in the action of this noisy household!

Caedmon's school had and end of the term service at Buckie North Church. Here all the kids are walking back to school assisted by the Lollipop Lady (crossing guard) at the "zebra crossing".

Airdrie loves watching her siblings play.
And it's always safest to watch in daddy's arms. 

Our big girls being sweet together...

OK that's it in a nutshell. Again, sorry for cheater pants-ing it. Maybe next year I'll be caught up on laundry enough to do a for reals post.

From our crazy house to yours:

A very Merry Christmas
and blessed New Year!


  1. Love the update and I love you!

  2. Whoa! That seemed like a for reals posting to me!!! You are absolutely amazing! How do you do it all? I've always been impressed with you and your sisters and mom, but man, you get more impressive all the time. Okay--enough being jealous....
    Loved your fun post...and I love all the different terms they use. Since it took me two days just to read this (see I can't even READ all this at once) I can't remember all my favorites, but I do enjoy the zebra crossing--pretty accurate. And why lollipop lady? And oh my goodness, your kids are precious!!!!
    Whew--that all took a lot out of me, I'm going to bed. ;) hope you had a very merry Christmas!!

  3. Natalie! Notice I didn't say when I started the post! :)
    It's a lollipop lady because the stop sign on a stick she holds looks like a sucker. Except silly Nessie girl gets its backwards and calls her the "Lady Pop". Hil. Ar. I. Ous.