family visits

Team Hayes {2014}: What a summer….

So Andy and I had a wonderful summer volunteering in Guatemala with Latin Link followed by a great visit to my family in Alaska. We spent a total ofΒ 6Β weeks there, two of them up in Fairbanks, my University town and another 4 with my family.

Our time in Alaska was so much fun and we had so many exciting adventures:

Everything from flying in my dads airplane to hauling in our first halibuts!

Flying with my two favorite flying buddies!

Flying with my two favorite flying buddies!

Andy with his Halibut!

Andy with his Halibut!

My halibut that is bigger than my sister!

My halibut is bigger than my sister!

We also go to camp out on our boat out in the ocean and explore some of the little islands off the coast.

The boys off to explore some islands

The boys off to explore some islands

While we were camping we got to swim in glacier water, go fishing almost every day, go on hikes and do a bit of unexpected rock climbing πŸ˜‰

Out for a swim in very cold Alaskan water!

Out for a swim in very cold Alaskan water!

I took us up a very scary mountain...this is our afraid faces ;)

I took us up a very scary mountain…this is our afraid faces πŸ˜‰

We attended my little sisters butterfly/cupcake themed 8th birthday party which meant dressing up in the most poofy dresses we could find.

Lily and her birthday pinnate we made :)

Lily and her birthday pinnate we made πŸ™‚

We got to to shoot lots of big guns, and even managed to have a snowball fight! These of course, are just the highlights.

Snowball fight!!!

Snowball fight!!!

The best part by far was just spending time with my family. The moments where we find ourselves playing about our 6th game of Ticket to Ride (a board game) without a break. Chatting about what the kids think about their family, friends, school, or God. My brother and sister are growing up so fast and starting to form their own character and thoughts. They are getting more independent and I love to see them starting to influence their friends for the better. We are able to have heart to heart chats while waiting for dad to fuel up the airplane or while we are out on a run together (course Isaiah always had toΒ to ride his scooter cuz it was faster, fair enough!)

Having one of our girly chats while we waited for dad to get the airplane ready

Having one of our girly chats while we waited for dad to get the airplane ready

Heading off on one of our walks/runs/skates

Heading off on one of our walks/runs/skates

These are all moments I will treasure forever. The excitement and the adventures are all fun but it’s the heart to hearts and being part of their lives that means the most to me. I am so thankful for Skype and email but there’s nothing quite like going home for a good chunk of time and living life together. So much thanks to my parents for always welcoming us home with open arms and lots of yummy food!

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Happy Hogmanay Scotland!

My favorite fireball swinger!

My favorite fireball swinger!

Pipers performing before the fireball swinging began

Pipers performing before the fireball swinging began

Happy Hogmanay! Going into 2014…whaaat?

In Scotland New Years Eve is a massive deal full of food, drink, and massive amounts of celebrating. They love it so much that they’ve named it Hogmanay. We were trying to figure out what to do to celebrate Hogmanay and to bring in the new year and Stonehaven came up. Stonehaven is a wee village on the east coast near Aberdeen. It is famous for it’s fireballs…what are fireballs? Balls of fire that locals march up and down the high street with swinging around their heads….usually wearing kilts, no protective gear for these Scots!

A piper leading in the Fireballs

A piper leading in the Fireballs

I had heard about the Stonehaven Fireballs before so as soon as this came up as an option I was all in! So we grabbed a few friends and made the drive up to Stonehaven. I have to say I wasn’t disappointed.

The festivities started a few hours before with a Simple Minds concert in the square and then a parade of drummers and pipers up and down the High Street all wearing traditional kilts (some of them wearing Christmas lights!) . Then a few minutes before midnight the fireballs were lit! It was like nothing I have ever seen. They have been swinging fireballs for over 150 years and one of the guys that was swinging them that night had been doing it for 45 years!

A parade of dozens of fireballs!

A parade of dozens of fireballs!

One lady was 65 and had been participating since 1988! I have to be honest and say if anybody wanted to start this as a tradition today Health and Safety would NOT let it proceed. Swinging balls of fire around your heads and marching up and down a street with pedestrians on either side???Probably not πŸ˜‰ They actually have never had anybody get hurt at all in the 150+ that they have been doing this. SO I was impressed by that because some of the fire balls seemed to have come VERY close to my face πŸ˜‰ After all the swingers get tired and their fireballs start to fade they parade down to the harbor and throw the fire balls into the sea! Then we finished off the evening with a fireworks display. It was memorable and if you’ve never seen the Stonehaven Fireballs you HAVE to make a trip up to Stonehaven.

Happy 2014 everybody! I am excited for the year ahead!

 Happy 2014!

Happy 2014!

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Christmas at the Hayes House!

 

Hayes/Bruce family Christmas 2013

Hayes/Bruce family Christmas 2013

Mom's Christmas morning Breakfast!

Mom’s Christmas morning Breakfast!

So this is my second christmas with Andy’s family so I was able to get really excited about it this year. Looking forward to our christmas day walk and dinner at Granny and Grandad Bruce’s πŸ™‚

I have found this Christmas so difficult being away from my family and not being able to celebrate with my little brother and sister but the Andy and his family has been so loving and caring with welcoming me in and trying by finding snow for me and helping to keep a few of my Silveira-based traditions alive. Things like my moms Christmas morning breakfast and opening one present on Christmas Eve!

 

Sam with his Christmas Pressie

Sam with his Christmas Pressie

Christmas day started with moms Christmas morning casserole which is a massive hit with the Hayes boys! Lots of meat, eggs cheese, and bread. Can’t go wrong. Had some presents which was wonderful. Got some really thoughtful presses from my brothers-in-law and Andy’s parents, even Sam got a present! A little light up bone for his collar πŸ™‚

We headed to Edinburgh and stopped for a rainy christmassy walk around a Loch then headed to Granny and Grandad’s! Granny pulled out all the stops as usual with every Christmas dish you could want along with two puddings! A Christmas pudding with Custard and a Trifle. I love Christmas dinner granny Hayes’ ❀

Rainy Christmas Day walk :)

Rainy Christmas Day walk πŸ™‚

Granny's Christmas dinner!

Granny’s Christmas dinner!

Granny's Christmas dinner!

Granny’s Christmas dinner!

 

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Christmas holidays!!!

So I am currently sitting next to the fire with a cup of tea and a dog next to me. This is the start of the Christmas holidays in Dundee. Today it snowed a wee bit which was fun even if it only lasted 5 minutes and turned to mush right away :s

I was blessed with about two weeks off work this year!!! From the 22-2nd. I am really looking forward to it. Looking forward to hill walking, skiing, baths, runs with the in-laws, home cooking, and being taken care of by a mom πŸ™‚ I’m missing my family a lot more this year than ever before so there have been lots of skypes and I’m looking forward to opening their presents which is basically love wrapped up in a box! Also Andy’s family really does their very best at making me feel at home and the ask me all sorts of questions about Alaska and my family. Plus they let me talk and talk and talk (aka serious bragging) about my brother and sister to no end πŸ˜‰ so with them making me feel so loved it doesn’t really make it any easier but it does help if that makes sense πŸ™‚

So far this holiday I have slept til 11, gone for a run, done absolutely nothing with my whole day and went to a Christmas carol service which was followed by tea and mince pies. Gonna be a good holiday season I think πŸ™‚

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