Friday, June 20, 2014

Favorite family photos of our first year in Scotland

Below are my favorite family photos that I've taken in our first year in Scotland.

More accurately put, all of these photos are of Kate and Jackson. They are my constant subjects. Generally, if I'm taking a picture of a person, it's of my wife or kid. Occasionally, I take a few photos of my extended family. I rarely take photos of other people.

I've struggled to limit myself here to only a handful of photos. It's hard to do. Painful. Over the past year I have taken more than 10,000 photos, primarily on an old Nikon DSLR, though my camera phone gets some use, too. The vast majority of my photos are from our travels and explorations around Scotland, the rest of the U.K., and a few spots in continental Europe.

Some of these photos are posed, others are candid. I didn't pick them as favorites because Kate and/or Jackson look cute, though there's some cuteness here. Rather, they are my favorites because I think they're striking, in some combination of composition, texture, color, or mood.

Half of the photos below haven't even been shown on a previous blog post, because I am so . . . ummm . . . s  l  o  w regarding writing about our travels. Anyway, here they are, with no particular ranking:

At Loch Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye.
On a ridge in Avebury, England.
Gardens of Brodick Castle on the Isle of Arran.
On the beach in St. Andrews. A version of this photo currently heads the top of this blog.
On the grounds of the Bishop's Palace in Wells, England.
Inside the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, France.
Ice cream in Barcelona. Kate took this selfie, which is my favorite family photo ever.
Scalpsie Bay on the Isle of Bute.

An earlier post has a bunch of photos which didn't make the cut for this post. It's got some good ones. But not, in my opinion, quite as worthy.

What do you think? Should I have included any of the photos from that earlier post here? Or are any of these photos not up to snuff? I'm curious about whether your opinion matches mine.

Want to see more? Here are the favorites from our first year in Scotland:

Favorite photos of places we visited our first year

(Nearly) favorite photos of places we visited our first year

(Nearly) favorite family photos of our first year in Scotland

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

⅓ Scottish ???

Jackson turns three today!

He has spent one third of his life in Scotland. Actually, our one-year anniversary of moving to Scotland is this coming Friday, but close enough.

Does that make him ⅓ Scottish?

Last July, with his cousins Garrick and Macie on the Old Course in St. Andrews.
A few weeks ago. He definitely has grown taller (7 inches, by my measurement) and leaner in the last year.
Not really.

No wee Scottish accent. Not yet inured to rain. Hasn't developed a taste for whisky. Golf swing needs work. No kilt.

Jack spends almost all his time with me. And with Kate. He's not getting any Scottishness from us. He does get to play with Scottish kids in playgroups and in the neighborhood. But those are just for a couple of hours at a time. Our next door neighbors on both sides are Scottish, and with warmer weather we talk with them a fair bit as we work/play in the yard and eat some dinners al fresco. Overwhelmingly, however, his influences are American.

His lack of immersion feels a bit like a failure to me. We work hard to be expats who embrace the culture and get to know the natives. Although we like having fellow expat friends, we want to make sure they don't eclipse some of the main reasons for moving abroad: broadened perspectives, learning new cultures, assimilating into a country. We need to work to make sure Jackson is on track to do so.

Celebrating his second birthday in North Carolina with best friend Nicholas.
A few days into our move to Scotland.
And we will, I think, over the coming year. We aim to get Jackson into at least some part time nursery/day care, where he will be immersed in Scottish adults and kids. And as he now starts heading into an age when kids actually play together rather than just beside each other, he'll get the start of a peer group. Peer groups and schooling -- that's how he'll become more Scottish.

So there's still hope for developing a Sean Connery accent.  <<< Cue the James Bond theme song >>>

{Ed.'s note: You'll now have that song stuck in your head. You're welcome.}

Before moving here, I thought spending ⅓ of his life in Scotland sounded like it would make a deep influence on his development. Not so far. But this next year will mean he'll have spent half his life in Scotland, and more of it will be spent with actual Scots.
Today's birthday cupcakes.
Jackson has already declared he wants to be Gonzo for Halloween.
Those worries are for another time. Today is a day to celebrate Jackson. Happy third birthday, Jack!

Waiting for a toddler movie in the classic Grosvenor Cinema in Glasgow's west end.

Monday, June 9, 2014

(Nearly) favorite family photos of our first year in Scotland

I take a lot of photos. That's self-evident on this blog.

I have taken more than 10,000 photos in our first year in Scotland. Kate has snapped some, too. Lots of things are memorialized and captured for perusal later. Most of the photos are nice enough. Some are pretty good.

Here are a couple dozen of my favorite family photos from this past year. Whittling down from 10,000+ is a challenge. In a post next week I'll show you my very most favorite family photos, limiting myself to fewer than ten. But here are some of the other candidates which didn't quite make the cut.

When the museum doesn't interest you, make your own excitement. (St. Andrews, Scotland)
Communing with the old gods. (Machrie Moor stone circles, Isle of Arran, Scotland)
Kate's an expert selfie taker. (Hiking in Glen Coe, Scotland)
Racing a new friend in Park Güell. (Barcelona, Spain)
Kate's eldest sister, Tracy, and her husband John, claim the thrones. (Stirling Castle, Scotland)
Kate and Jackson can't quite muster as much dignity.
Grampa Bill and Nana take a breather while touring Paris.
Bucket. Shovel. Temptation.
Finishing a cookie before going into the castle. (Stirling, Scotland)
Finishing a pint in the sailors' lounge, the Verge Inn (get it?), on the Royal Yacht Britannia. (Edinburgh, Scotland)
My niece, Macie, plays on the beach. (St. Andrews, Scotland)
It looks like I superimposed Kate on this photo. I didn't. (Isle of Skye, Scotland)
Hiking is a lot harder with a butterball on your back. (Isle of Skye, Scotland)
Ennui, appropriately, in Paris.
Even the master selfie taker sometimes fails. (Versailles, France)
Group nap after sightseeing. (Our house in Glasgow, Scotland)
Jack's first shower was taken, ironically, in Bath. Because our room didn't have one. (Bath, England)
Skipping rocks. (Scalpsie Bay, Isle of Bute, Scotland)
Grammar exploring. (St. Conan's Kirk, Scotland)
Happiness. (Barcelona, Spain)
Cheerio-bag pruning of flowers. (Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran, Scotland)
Collecting the clippings. (The Crescent, Bath, England)
Note the tiny hand photobomb.
In the Hall of Mirrors. (Palace of Versailles, France)
Believe, you will. (York, England -- exactly where you'd expect to find Yoda)
A blustery May day in St. Andrews.
The imp has a lollipop. (On a Cal Mac ferry in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland)
It's what I do. (Glastonbury Abbey ruins, England)

Want to see more? Here are the favorites from our first year in Scotland:

Favorite photos of places we visited our first year

(Nearly) favorite photos of places we visited our first year

Favorite family photos of our first year in Scotland