Saturday, 31 January 2009


Since it's officially February, I can officially say I survived the January Blues! Thank you all for your emails, comments, prayers and concern. I AM FINE. REALLY.

The weather has already changed for the better and the days feel a little longer. It's still super cold but when the cold is not soggy everyday, it's no bother! We really do appreciate the nice days a little more.

One of the reasons that I did not post again for so long is that Scott was away for 2 1/2 weeks travelling and I was in Mommy Survival Mode (not just January Survival Mode!). I am happy to report, he is home, his trips were productive and we are all well. (just FYI he went to Dubai, Abu Duabi, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok and Madrid!)

We are having a great weekend with Scott home. Yesterday, Scott took Christopher skiing at the indoor ski slope. We are headed to Austria to ski in 2 weeks and Captain Cautious Christopher, was feeling a little apprehensive. Scott wanted to take him one on one to remind him that he's a great skier with terrific control. They had a blast! Charlie and I headed to Edinburgh to watch Ethan's Rugby Match. I must say (even if I am a little biased) he is really good at that game! He loves it. He has no fear. Every time I looked up yesterday, he was in the scrum or taking down one of his opponents. This is not a game for tentative boys. They played well and won their match, 5-2. Notice the SUN in the pictures!

Notice he is on the outside of this scrum. I can't seem to lift my camera when he is in the thick of it because I am usually holding my breath to see him get up, get out of the middle or whatever the situation might be! But this gives you an idea of the physicality of the sport. They wear meadl studs (cleats) people. Again, not a game for the tenative. Those things leave a mark!

I just love to watch this game. Even though it's super rough and I worry about him getting hurt, I am fascinated by it and I want to learn the rules. I am still asking lots of questions to figure it out. Rugby has the pace of Basketball because the ball is always in play and is forever changing hands and directions. Ethan said it was GREAT FUN.

Yesterday afternoon, we headed to the Asian supermarket for ingredients to cook something from my new Wagamama cookbooks. (Remember, this is one of our favorite restaurants here. it's a Japanese Noodle house that serves fast, healthy, yummy food. The boys gave me their t-shirt and cookbooks for Christmas.) The market is an adventure itself with live seafood (even eels) and all kinds of things on the shelf that are unfamiliar. We bought all of our ingredients and a few more and then headed home to start our culinary adventure. With Scott and Ethan's help, I am happy to say that we were able to duplicate our favorite dish, Chili Chicken Ramen. Boy was it tasty!

We're off today to church, more Rugby, and then coffee and a cake with our babysitter and her mom! Life is GOOD!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

January Blues

It's been awhile since I've posted. You see, I was supposed to be hanging out with my mom in Glasgow, showing her around, shopping, going to the museums, going for coffee. You know, all of the things that we could think to do while the boys were back at school.

What did we do instead? Rest and relax while nursing fever, sore neck, back, and throat, chills, shakes (mom) and major headaches and sore body (me). We both had that nasty bug going around; that my family had been passing around since Christmas. And then we were nice enough to give it to Mims. Aren't we sweet? It manifested itself differently in all of us and poor mom seemed to have it the worst. So she and I enjoyed quiet, restful days, watching movies, reading, chatting and surfing the Internet until she decided she needed to fly home early to be in her own bed!

Boy did we understand but boy were we sad to see her go! She suffered at home another week and is finally fever and ache free.

I recovered pretty quickly here. You see, it's cold, rainy and very grey here so it's been pretty easy to stay inside and not do too much.

On that note, I am really noticing the weather this year, much more than last year. The consistent lack of sunshine and cloudy wet days is sort of getting to me. Scott felt this way last year and I didn't notice it as much. This year, different story! Scott is taking vitamin D and traveling to sunny locales. He doesn't feel so blue. I'm sure he really has a meeting or 2 but next time, I'm going too! Me, well I'm noticing.

My friend Sharon moved with her family to Doha, Qatar from Houston, Texas in August. She said that when they returned from their Christmas break in the USA, she and he husband we so blue from the lack of green around them! See for them, there is too much sun and no rain, so no green with lots of sand. And for the Nicols, so much green and so little sun. I always used to think that we had very short seasons in Texas apart from the long hot summer. The grass is always greener isn't it! Lessons, I know we are learning them each day and we'll look back on this sometime soon and say, what a ride. Our lives will be so much fuller from the blessings of these cold, wet, grey days! I just know it! I do, I really do. Now say it together boys.....I'm just kidding.

The days are already getting longer so I know we've been through the worst of winter. And the days that are dry and/or clear, WE'VE LEARNED TO REALLY APPRECIATE THEM! So for now, I apologize for moving slowly to post; just didn't have much to say. I'm off to book a sunny vacation and pop my vitamin D! Cheerio!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Happy New Year

We continued to have a terrific holiday in NE England with a Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year celebratory meal, Fireworks New Year's Eve, outings to Barnard Castle, Newcastle, the Hamsterly Forest, York (by train), and Durham.

We really relaxed and treated the week just as a holiday should be; RESTFUL! One of the main reasons we rested so much was because we all seemed to be passing around a horrible achy cold bug so everyone was run down. It was a great excuse to slow down.

Today, we are back in Glasgow, back to work, and back to school. Gramps had to leave to go back to work in the USA but we are enjoying Mims here for one more week. She and I are home today putting away Christmas stuff and catching up around the house.

Here are pics from the rest of our week! Holiday Dinner....btw, turkeys are harder to come by in this country. You mainly see them fresh not frozen and here in Glasgow, if you do not order one from the are out of luck. We were in luck and found one at the Barnard Castle local butcher! Fresh and juicy!!! (I brought cornbread and pumpkin back from the states and Scott's mom brought us some of the ingredients we needed as well!)

This is the Angel of the North, a sculpture nearby Newcastle that is really fun to see. Check her out.......

That's Gramps, Ethan and Christopher showing us their Angel Span!

Fireworks that our friend Neil Watson gave the boys.....And the only three brave souls to be outside in the below freezing weather to shoot them! It was quite the display from inside though!

Toasting Mims and Gramps' 43rd Wedding Anniversary (a few days late...) and learning to pop the cork!

On our way to York on the train and at the National Railway Museum (fantastic if you are ever close to York).

And at the Jorvik Center learning how to play a Viking game similar to chess.....Ethan bought the game so we could play at home too.......

We all loved York. Mims and Gramps had stopped through York on their way from London to Edinburgh once and had seen the York Minster but we all enjoyed seeing that amazing cathedral and walking through the quaint streets of York.

In Durham, we could not get past this carnival ride without a few turns for the little guys.......carnival "fun" is the same worldwide I suppose...

And I've been meaning to take a picture of the Post Box and the Phone Booth. Just in case you've not seen one before......

One of the highlights from our outings was the Durham Cathedral where part of the Harry Potter Films were made. Ethan was encouraged by Aunt Amy FitzGerald to read the Harry Potter Series starting a few years ago and he kept saying he wasn't interested. She gave him the first book last Christmas and it sat on his shelf until this summer when he devoured it lickity split and begged for the rest of them! I bought the series for him this summer while in the States and I've never seen a 9 year old boy read so fast! He couldn't put them down and he thoroughly enjoyed each one. So you can imagine, when he heard that scenes from the movies (he's seen the first 2) were filmed at this cathedral, he was really keen to go! Much to his delight, it was just as he expected. The Cloister was full of movie imagery for Ethan and he was thrilled!

The cathedral itself is breathtaking but this sure helped keep the interest of 3 little boys who've now seen their share of cathedrals!

This was our sunset travelling home from Durham. Amazing!

And last but not least, this is Christopher enjoying "a cake and hot chocolate." You see, when we go for a coffee after school with a friend, we say we are going for a cake and a coffee. Don't think I've ever been for a cake and a coffee in Dallas with friends.

It was a fantastic trip, in a fantastic part of the world, at a fabulous holiday house! Here's to traveling in 2009! Happy New Year!