We got to Crathes Castle and Tolquhon Castle and love them both, for completely different reasons. Crathes has the most enchanted gardens, enhanced by the drizzling rain and pictures of various family members and friends getting married there, along with the Queen visiting. This feels like true Scotland. As for Tolquhon, pronounced Tol-hoon, we love it for the complete explorability you cannot get in the US. I know if this castle was in California we'd have camera's monitoring it, people standing in discreet places, ready to pounce on anyone who leans against it or picks up a rock from the ground, and a general feeling of--isn't this great, now DON'T TOUCH!. But here in Scotland you are encouraged to climb and explore the ruins. This castle has many archways and stairwells that look like a castle sleeping beauty would have been proud to call her own. The light inside the halls is quite exquisite, even with a grey day outside. You can just imagine the laird on horseback riding up to a busy castle such as this with people coming and going and working away cheerfully. Adam and I visited it last year and it was one of our favorites and now it is Calvin's favorite so far. I'll post some pictures here of the two castles but you can always go to followthenighs at Facebook and become a fan and that's where I'm putting most of the pictures. The weather has held and it's pretty nice here and there and pretty gloomy here and there. It hasn't rained again nor gotten really cold and windy but we continue to see the landscape changing and getting ready for winter and we're anticipating it with a sort of ghoulish curiosity. The time changes next week and we'll be plunged into darkness with it being dark when we get up in the morning and dark by about half past three in the afternoon--not really looking forward to that and sort of wishing we were hibernating animals.
Calvin and Mercy are doing fairly well. I don't know how they measure up at home, but here they are tall. They seem to grow almost before your eyes. We have been building a lego city in Calvin's room and they both have been enjoying a play dough factory in the dining room. Mercy has discovered play kitchens, and if there is one in a store--we won't' be able to get her out of there for at least an hour. I think we might have to invest in one for the long winter days indoors ahead. So, if you feel like sending anything for the kids, Christmas or otherwise--Mercy loves everything to do with play kitchens--fake food, plastic tea sets, pots and pans, etc. and Calvin is getting back into Playskool, loves Legos and Imaginext, and likes shape cutters for play dough. Clothing and shoe sizes: Mercy is in a size 8 shoe, Calvin in a size 3. Mercy wears 3 year old clothes and Calvin wears 8/9 clothes. :)
As for Adam and I, well...we're starting to feel the very definite fact that we're not on vacation. Adam is settling into a routine for reading and writing but is still waiting on an office and I am trying to find a routine at home though Adam is home more often than he was back home and Calvin is on holiday from school so I don't really know what my days are going to normally look like. We miss back home and are trying to really enjoy the landscape here so that we can come home and look back at this time with fond memories and the joy of being here. Love to you all, and please drop us a line and let us know what you're doing. - Rachel