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Scotland 2019

A Family Adventure in Oban & Ardgour

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I'm Katelyn James Alsop, a photographer, educator and momma who believes any photographer can have a profitable AND purposeful business.

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Some of you may think we’re crazy to have attempted this trip. It’s understandable. We left Virginia for a ten day trip to Scotland with a 29 month old and 3 month old. Believe me, we had our reservations about this. It would have been very easy to say “No, not this year”…. but we had the time off…. we loved our last Scotland trip… new friends would be joining us on this trip… and honestly, we wanted to redeem the fact that we lost our chance to go to Europe last year because I was still pregnant with Baby James and I couldn’t travel in case we lost him while we were gone. Talk about a sad reason to miss out on a trip with friends. It was awful.

Our friends Buddy and Jill and Josh and Mandy traveled to Ireland and England last spring. It was going to be a babymoon for us and the Powers but after we found out about James’ complications, we couldn’t go. As I sat at home waiting to lose our sweet boy and our friends were on the trip we longed to be on, I hoped that one day we would take another trip to Europe but that we would be in a new season. This was that trip. Multiple times on the trip I found myself being amazed that we were back but this time we had TWO kids with us. It feels like it was just yesterday that we were there with little 5 month old Evy in her hip brace. Oh how much has changed since that season.

This trip wasn’t easy…. and we knew it wouldn’t be. Traveling with a three month old is easy, in my opinion. Sure, they need to eat often and they need a lot of care but honestly, Evy was way harder than the newborn. Two is both a fun and yet challenging age. I’ve been told by other more experienced parents that Evy is advanced for her age in several ways. I would never be one to say “My kid is advanced” but when I hear other parents say it, I believe them. The issue with this is that she’s trying to act as independent as a three year old and she’s not ready for that kind of freedom. She’s feeling SO many emotions that she can’t differentiate what she want’s to express and that leads to meltdowns. It’s a hard age in general but it’s really a hard age to travel.

Our friends with younger kids on the trip said “Oh she wasn’t that bad!” and maybe she wasn’t…. but to us, every tiff or argument or meltdown was amplified because of lack of sleep and the general stress of being an ocean away from home. However, I will say this, for every challenging moment we had, we had equally incredible moments. If I could describe how we felt about traveling with both kids at their current ages, it would be that  phrase. We had moments of wondering why we did this… and then moments of feeling like “Oh my gosh this is amazing… Evy girl is getting to run and play in SCOTLAND! We’re so thankful we were able to come!”.

It was a trip that had a relaxed pace. We welcomed that pace because of the kids and because we had already been there before. Michael’s parents came and got the full Scottish experience by hanging out with Jill’s parents for the week.  We tried to keep up when we could! It was fun to show them what we had seen two years ago but also see and experience new things together. Everyone had hopes and expectations for the trip and honestly, I just wanted beautiful family photos…. just like 1 or 2. I came home with SEVERAL and I’m THRILLED!!!! I can’t wait to share them!!

So because it’s currently nap time at our house and I have approximately 30 minutes before both Graham and Evy wake up, I’m going to cut to the chase and show you some of the highlights of the trip! Enjoy!!!

She said she was Mary Poppins! This Air B&B had the most gorgeous views!  The stairwell was amazing! We LOVED this house and kinda wished we could have stayed here ALL week! Poor Graham… his sister puts him through so much! Back to the tour! It had a huge couch that was used daily! These two… it’s so strange to call them the “big kids”! Baby Roe was SO close to walking all week! The boys coming back from a grocery run! Whew… we’re crazy.  I thought this was cute until I realized she LICKED  IT!!!! Omg. I got over my “international germ” fear REAL quick after this incident.  Lunch… everything is just a little harder with 6 little kids under the age of three but we did it!  Going to see the seals!  My sweet babies…. Graham’s face when she holds him cracks us up. It’s like he loves it but he’s also terrified! Baby Graham napped just about everywhere. We’re thankful for a flexible baby…  after night three of course. It took THREE nights for our kids to get used to the time change. Thankfully they transitioned back to the US time change VERY quickly once we were home! One of my favorite nights! It was like 9:30pm here! It stays light SO long. Those eyebrows!  In case you were thinking our days were perfect and stress-free and tear-free…  On the ferry to Ardgour!  These are images from the Ardgour house!  Dinner at the Ardgour Inn!  Baby Micah took some steps and we all freaked out!  Their first bath together was in Scotland!  “Late” night drive… it looks like 7pm but it was like 10:15pm! We took this crew to a small, intimate 5 star restaurant and survived!  Gondola ride to an epic view!  Jack Jack’s serious face it the best!  Perfectly summed up how we felt at this point in the day! The Highland Games were at this castle!  We have beautiful family portraits to share!  Train ride day!  Tea at a castle!   Last pitstop on our way to the airport… all I wanted was a family picture in Glencoe!  YAY! I got it!  And I also got my favorite picture from the whole trip!! Such a perfect way to end a great week!Ps. Some people  have asked about my advice and tips and hacks for traveling with a newborn and a toddler. Ha! I don’t have any. Sometimes I dream about being one of those influencers that has amazing advice for traveling parents but I am NOT that girl! …. Ok maybe I have ONE piece of advice. Pack TRIPLE the amount of diapers that you think  your toddler will need for a red-eye. For some strange reason, Evy peed through TWO diapers (she didn’t even have extra liquid!) and then did two kinda-false-alarm dirty diapers and before we knew it, the SIX diapers we had for her (she normally needs three) were down to TWO… for  an entire  day of flying to another country. I panicked and spent $16 on TWO SIZE 3 DIAPERS from Hudson News at JFK Airport…. she wears size SIX. That’s how desperate we were! So, that’s my tip. Pack more diapers than seems reasonable!!!

Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn

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