Thursday, 27 November 2008

Third Child

I am a firm believer in birth order and the way that it defines part of YOU. I am a third child. Scott is the first of three and we have three children. The dynamics of a family of five are familiar to us.

About three weeks ago, I shared an exciting bit of information with Charlie. You see, my cousin is getting married this Saturday in Louisiana and Scott and I decided there would be no way that our whole family could make it. No Thanksgiving across the pond and therefore no school holidays this week. And the Rector and Headmaster frown on missing school. So, I wrote a note to the school to say that since Charlie was 4 and not quite studying physics yet, he and I would be headed to the USA for Karen's wedding.

I waited to tell Charlie until a few weeks ago and when I did, this is how the conversation went:

Me: "In 2 weeks, you and I are going to go to Shreveport to stay with Mims and Gramps, see your Aunt, Uncle and cousins, and go to cousin Karen's wedding."

Charlie: "Just you and me? Not the brothers?"

Me: "Yes, that's right. Just you and me, not the brothers or daddy."


Charlie: "You know mom, we ARE the lucky ones." (using the confident third child tone of voice that sounded as if he'd meant to say, "the chosen ones")

I really had a hard time holding back the grin as I kindly explained to Charlie that boasting would be hurtful to "the brothers" and that we should be mindful of their feelings when we talk about this trip.

Flash forward 2 weeks and it was time for us to leave for the US. Charlie had managed to keep the boasting to a minimum and we hugged Ethan, Christopher and Scott goodbye.

I have to say, I was really looking forward to this one on one time with my baby (who's not such a baby anymore). And Scott had fun things planned for the big boys in Scotland.

It's three flights from Glasgow to Shreveport and Charlie was the ultimate trooper the whole way. As we boarded the plane from Newark to Houston, the flight attendant asked Charlie if he'd like to meet the pilots and see the cock pit. Charlie nodded his head so we greeted these very friendly Texas based pilots and chatted with them about the trip. As we wrapped up the conversation, the pilots politely asked, "would you like to take a picture?"

"Oh, darn. You see, he is a third child and my camera is in my bag in the belly of this plane. And if he'd been a first born, I probably would have been thinking about possible photo opps and would have had my camera in my carry on. But he's not, and I don't. So I now feel like a heel and my precious little "chosen one" has no picture from this fun little memory."

I didn't say this but I was certainly thinking it as I said instead, "Oh thank you, but our camera is in our checked baggage. Thanks for the visit though!"

So I wish I had that cute picture to post here but instead, you'll just have to imagine the picture the our sweet little Charlie, in the cock pit, on our adventure to the USA!

I wish you blessings this Thanksgiving Day! I feel grateful beyond measure for many things, especially our First Born, Second Born and Third Born Boys!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Scotland vs. Argentina

Football. European Football. Soccer. It's MAD over here! Fans and players LOVE it! Scott has been to a few matches since we've been here but until last week, the boys had never been.

Scott took Ethan, Christopher and Ethan's friend Lewis to the Celtic match last week. He had tickets in a box so the boys dressed up in their Sunday best and off they went at 5pm to have their 3 course meal and watch a little football. They LOVED it! Had a ball. Although Celtic is probably not their favorite team, they enjoyed being in the mix and cheering on the locals. All on a school night which was even better! (Wish I'd sent my camera!)

Last night, Scott and Christopher were invited by our dear friends Andrew and Jude Waddell to the Scotland Argentina Match! Hot ticket and they were thrilled to go! They said it was fantastic! Not really a great football match but it was fun to be in the park! Scott said he enjoyed cheering for the national team more than one of the many fiercely supported local teams (to which we have no allegiance). ie...Celtic vs Rangers vs. Partick Thistle....Anyway, they had a great time! A big thanks to team Waddell!

3 out of 5 of the Nicols have been fighting coughs and colds and Christopher is still on his meds, can you tell??

Monday, 10 November 2008


I apologize that it seems to take me a week to post these days!

We've been blessed with a house full of visitors this fall and this past weekend Lauren Hawkins (daughter of Hawkins (old neighbors) that were here last week) was here from London. She is on a work assignment for six weeks in the London area and so she came up to Scotland for a visit.

Friday, Lauren and I went to the Edinburgh Castle all on our own. This was the first time that I'd been without children and it was fun to read a few more of the signs and learn a little more of the history. We enjoyed the tour and then had lunch at a pub on the Royal Mile.

Saturday after Rugby, we loaded into the car and headed West. We took the ferry from Greenock to Dunoon and then drove a very scenic drive through the Argyll Forest. The rolling hills and pine trees were beautiful and much different from any other part of Scotland that we'd seen. My pictures do not do justice to the colors we were seeing. The views were spectacular! We were headed towards coastal towns that a few friends have mentioned and because of weather and lack of beach, we decided not to get out but to keep searching for a good lunch spot. Lauren quickly noticed a sign for the Oystercatcher and so on we went in search of this wee pub. It was like a little gem, in the middle of the country, with very little around and it was on the water. Perfect. We stopped, the boys played outside while we ordered lunch (I love that about Scotland, I don't think we ever did that in Dallas) and then we enjoyed a terrific meal. The owners were super friendly and the place was hopping.

Since autumn is quickly changing to winter, we took off for home in the dark. Not too good for sightseeing. We did enjoy the nice lazy day though! And our visit with Lauren! The boys came home with new tricks for passing the time at the dinner table. In a pub. Flipping the coasters off the end of the table and blowing the coke can across the table! Skills. We've got em!

One other quick note; one of the many blessings of all of the rain in the part of the world. Rainbows. We've seen more beautiful rainbows in the past year than I have seen in my lifetime!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Truth about costumes

This post is a little belated but as I told this story out loud on Sunday, I realized, it's much more funny and truthful about our Halloween experience and costumes this year.

I had decided months ago that we could come up with/recycle our garb to create fantastic costumes this year and that we did not need to buy any. Ethan, being the planner that he is, had his sorted in no time. Skulduggery Pleasant was created with from his closet and face paint from the pound store. (Well, they didn't actually have white paint for the skull part so I just used my handy dandy white Origins mask. He said it didn't sting or hurt so all was good!)

Christopher just kept going back and forth about what he wanted to be. Skater Dude, American Football Player, Ninja, Karate Guy......we seemed to have all of the gear needed, we just needed him to decide.

And Charlie, he just wanted to be the same thing he was last year. Lightening McQueen's Pit Crew. Thank goodness he is our third child because I am not sure that I would have let Ethan be the same thing twice in a row. "Come on. Let's use our imagination." but with Charlie, I was thinking, "great, that is SORTED!" Well, that was until on Wednesday before Halloween on Friday that he decided he wanted to be the Gruffalo. You might be thinking, the who? The Gruffalo. He's our favorite storybook monster with purple prickles on his back, green wart on the end of his nose, terrible teeth in his terrible jaws, scary claws and much more! I was thinking, that's a terrific idea Charlie, I just wish mommy had known about it a little earlier. So I didn't say much and just started looking around the house at what we might have to create this costume. When I asked my neighbor about the purple prickles, she said Charlie told her a week ago about the Gruffalo. What? Well, you could have told me!!!

So by noon on Friday, I'd just about figured out the Last Minute Gruffalo. I went ahead and sent Charlie with his Pit Crew costume to school for his party there and when I went to pick him up at lunch time, guess what? He was in the Pit Crew costume and he said, "I'm going to wear this tonight because it makes me fast!" WHEW! No running to the store for bits and bobs to finish the Gruffalo. Sweet words to this non-creative mommy! And a happy Pit Crew boy he was.

Now back to Christopher. He decided after a few tears and costume changes that the Skater Dude was his best choice! He decided at 5:29 pm before our 5:30pm party! Sweet boy. He really is a skater dude at heart!

Next year, this mommy will do a little more pre-planning!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Home Economics

Once a week Ethan attends a Home Economics Class. He LOVES it! They've practice knife skills, dish washing, table setting and cooking. He's made many different dishes to share with our family and this cake is what he made this week! It was fantastic. Expertly decorated and yummy to boot!

Go Home Economics! Boys in the kitchen! I love it!

Too much fun

Well, we have been having too much fun to be inside on the computer. Sorry for the delay in posting! We've had more visitors from the US. Scott's boss and his wife visited for a few nights of meetings, dinners and sightseeing. Then I attended an all day charity luncheon with a group of Glasgow friends. Our weekend was filled with rugby and squash and then this week our Dallas neighbors, Rick and Terri Hawkins came for a quick visit. We had beautiful weather and so we toured around, ate tons and enjoyed the spa and golf at Gleneagles on Wednesday. (I think I could move there!) We were having so much fun that I forgot my camera have no pics. Hopefully Terri will send me some.

Halloween snuck up on us this year. We managed to carve our pumpkins the night before Halloween. The boys were excited and we attended the neighborhood party again. Fun to see some of the neighbors that we've not seen in a long time and catch up with those we don't get enough time with. We were filled with sugar and more sugar from the word go! (notice Charlie never took off his costume the next day!)

Ethan is Skulduggery Pleasant (a character from a book he's read), Christopher was a "skater dude" and Charlie was Lightening McQueen's Pit Crew (again!). Ethan's friend Owen (not sure what his costume was??) spent the night and joined us for the trick or treating and party. No pictures from that night but I managed to get them back into costume the next morning for a quick photo!

Yesterday we took the boys mountain biking on some trails 30 minutes from here. It was cold but dry and Charlie and I waited in the car so he could nap. Boys had a blast. We continue to enjoy the great outdoors!

Happy Halloween to All!