Saturday, 22 December 2007

Early Christmas

Celebrating Thanksgiving late and Christmas early really changed the holidays for us this year! Even though it was busy getting ready for both holidays, we did not seem to be quite so harried as I've been in years past. Anyway, we loved the school programs and the boys each enjoyed Christmas parties at school. We made and decorated cookies for Santa, enjoyed playdates withfriends and had many discussions about how Santa was going to fit down our wee chimney!

We had a special visit from St. Nick on Saturday the 15th and we enjoyed exchanging gifts with each other that day as well. We put on our PJs Friday night and did not get out of them until Sunday morning! It was absolutely fantastic. The boys loved playing with their new toys and games and we enjoyed sharing a quiet day at home with our family

We are excited to be sitting in the Newark Airport awaiting our plane to Dallas. We are on our way to Arlington to see the Nicols, Dallas to see friends and then we'll be off to Shreveport next weekend to see the FitzGeralds.
We wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. If we do not see you stateside, know that we are thinking of you this holiday season!
Blessings to each of you, love the MacNicols

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Jamie the Fox

I've been meaning to tell you all that we have the BBC Autumnwatch's very own "Jamie" the fox that lives in our neighborhood. We see him often and sometimes get to see him very closely.

The family that lived in this house before us included the BBC photographer Gordon Buchanan and he started filming these local foxes for a program called Springwatch on the BBC. Then they followed up with Autumnwatch which aired shortly after we arrived. Apparently there is a large population of chip shop foxes in Glasgow. The boys have enjoyed seeing him and we recorded the program from BBC and of course they love to see this local celebrity. They think it is so cool that Jamie lives in our yard some days!

check out their website if you are interested in seeing him.......

Friday, 14 December 2007

School Christmas Programs

Well, I have to say that it was quite refreshing this year to see not one but two new school Christmas Programs. After 7 years at the same pre-school in Dallas, I was eager to see something other than the basic/traditional nativity story. The boys had fun and were proud to have us come and see each of their performances.

The Prep 1 and Prep 2 classes put on the "Bossy King." It is the story of a greedy, bossy king that is mean to his servants. The towns people quickly show him that there is a great King, much better that then Bossy King and he is "Ruler of all Heaven and Earth, and His name is Jesus!" The children sang, narrated and performed the program magnificently! Bravo to Christopher and his friends. Christopher was in one of the singing groups.

The Prep 3 through Trans classes had a program about Christmas Around the World. Each class shared a story and and song about the way that different cultures celebrate Christmas. It was really cute and Ethan's grade sang about Spain. The show was wonderful and Ethan had fun being a part of it!

We are really enjoying The Glasgow Academy and all that we are experiencing there!

Quirky Things

I've been meaning to tell you all about a few things we find to be different/quirky here:

Trolleys (grocery carts) do not go straight when you push them. They go sideways. Maybe the Scots fell like they are going straight because of the beverages they've consumed? Anyway, it's very difficult to push a trolley full of groceries with a wiggling child inside. I do think this gets easier over time because everyone else does not seem to be having a hard time like me! I've hit a few people as well. Yikes!

Dry Cleaning - next time you go into your local dry cleaners, please give them a big smile and thank you! It is soooooo expensive to dry clean your clothes here. It's 5 pounds ($10) an item. Of course part of that goes along with the weak dollar and that everything is much more expensive here but we've noticed this to be especially true. You also have to wash your shirts before you go so they will iron them. Needless to say, I've purchased an iron and am learning which items really have to be dry cleaned and which ones can be washed on the wool cycle.

Driving - My brother Todd asked me recently how we were getting along with the driving rules here. Well, we've gotten quite used to it; so much that we both have already received a ticket! There are speed cameras everywhere and they constantly shoot ya. On one particular part of a major road, the speed limit is 30 kilometers which is pretty slow for 6 lanes of road. It' s one the way to the hardware store and we've gotten 2 little notices in the mail to say we were busted! Darn it. They have a point system here and each ticket is 3 points and you are only allowed 10 points and then they take away your license. We've slowed down.

Bookings - if you want to have dinner out, it is almost mandatory that you have a booking (reservation) to get a table. We went to a restaurant on Wednesday, walked in off the street without a booking, the restaurant was half empty, but they wouldn't let us have a table because they were fully booked. They could give us a table in 30 minutes which of course is the same as waiting at a restaurant in Dallas but to see all of these empty tables and be turned away is new to us! We walked next door to see about that restaurant and they couldn't seat us for the rest of the evening. We're learning to book in advance. I think people here must be good about keeping their bookings because the system is working for these restaurants.

Credit - as we have had to re-establish our credit in our new homeland and we are learning as we go. One of the things we learned that quite surprised us; if you are renting and you have no credit history, your new credit is tied to the previous renters at your address! Can you believe? Thankfully there was a reputable family that lived in our house prior to our arrival. This really surprised us.

Anyway, these are just a few observations about things that are different here in Scotland! Have a great day!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Blogging Difficulties

Well, it has taken me 3 days to get the pictures posted to the Christmas Tree Blog. Apparently is having technical difficulties with picture uploading and I just experienced the worst of it.

If they appear blank to you, click on them and it will take you to a link at my Picasa Web Hosting page where the pictures are stored.

Hopefully this will be resolved soon as I will have lots of pictures to post in the next couple of weeks!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

O Christmas Tree

We went right from turkey and dressing to all things Christmas! Since our arrival in October, the weather has been fairly mild. It has rained but not like we'd expected. Well, all of that changed about 2 1/2 weeks ago when the temperatures dropped and it rained solid for 2 weeks. Everyone has said, "welcome to the REAL Scotland weather!" It's been pretty yucky, but you learn to get out and do everything that you have to do in the wet cold weather. As we started to focus on Christmas this past weekend, the cold weather helped to get us in the mood!

Saturday morning we bundled up to head into the City Centre to see the Winterfest in the Square and the German Christmas Market. Winterfest is just a few rides and food booths in one of the main squares with an outdoor skating rink. Ethan thought he would try until until the rain came pouring down and changed this outdoor adventure into a soggy one! Anyway, the boys were troopers. They tried one of the rides and tasted some of the food at the Christmas Market.

The highlight of our day was picking out our Christmas tree and bringing it home to decorate. We had a great afternoon, snuggled in our living room with Christmas music on, a fire in the fireplace and decorations coming out of boxes!

Just as we put the lights on the tree, huge snowflakes started falling from the sky! It was so beautiful and certainly something we do not see very often when decorating our tree in Texas!

It did not stick since it was so wet but it was nice to see it in the air for a few hours!

The tree is up, the stockings are hung and we are awaiting an early arrival of St. Nick this weekend!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner 2007

We celebrated Thanksgiving last weekend and we had a great time! I was able to source all of the ingredients with the help of a package from Mims and a little store called Lupe's Deli! We invited our neighbors and it was "brilliant".

We made turkey, cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes, green beans, salad, apple pie, pumpkin pie and pecan pie squares. We were really missing our dining room and the nice big kitchen on Meadowknoll Drive! We have one tiny hob and about 8 feet of counter space so the preparation was a little more challenging and lunch was cozy in the kitchen! Nevertheless, the food was yummy and the company perfect.

I set the kitchen table for the adults and set up tables in Charlie's room for the children. The guests included Pippa and Neil Watson, their girls Jessica (4) and Georgia (1), Ethan's friend William, Pippa's Father Brian Gibson (lives next door and her mom was out of town) and Pippa's brother Kerr (he works in the family business so we see him often as they office out of the Gibson's house next door). It was so fun! They all pitched right in to help get the final dishes ready and we really enjoyed their company! Everyone arrived at 1 and by the end of the afternoon we had them watching American football on the Telly, Kerr asleep on the couch, and Pippa and I finishing the wine until 8!

I managed to get a few pictures but regretfully not one of Brian in his Family Tartan Suit! Riot!

It was a great first Scottish Thanksgiving!