Monday, 28 September 2009


A few weeks ago I went to the Coldplay concert with a few girlfriends and had a ball. The weather was decent, the music was brilliant and the company was terrific.

One of the things that cracked me up was the drink distribution. I'd never seen the beer keg backpacks before and had to laugh at the inefficiency of their use in a crowd of 40,000 people. The beer queue was 1 hour long. And there must have been 40 guys with these backpacks on. Have you seen these things?? Seems like a regular tap at the concession stand would work better. But they didn't ask me.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Birthdays finale 2009!

To finish off the Nicol boy's birthdays for 2009, we celebrated with Ethan at the Cream O Galloway Ice Creamery on Sunday. For those that do not know, we went there this summer with Grandma Jane and Cousin Davis and had a blast. Even though it's 2 hours away, Ethan was set on having his party there.

So Sunday morning, we loaded 13 children and 5 adults into a "people carrier" and my car and headed south. The day could not have been better! The weather was brilliant, the ice cream making was spectacular, and the outdoor playing was SUPER! And we all slept really well Sunday night!

Ethan had a great day and weekend! Counting our blessings!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Tartan Night Out

One of life's greatest blessings is a trustworthy, fun, kind, mature babysitter. We've been blessed many times.

In Dallas, we had a few regulars. One of these was Kimberly. She moved to London shortly before we moved to Scotland and it's fun to keep in touch on this side of the pond. We email back and forth and chat about the little things we miss and the things that annoy us here. Kimberly came for a quick visit a few weeks ago and it was if no time had passed. It was great to see her, and Kimberly, we thank you for taking the time to stop in Glasgow!
And in Scotland, we've been lucky enough to have a wonderful child-minder (as they are called). Once a week, Scott and I have a quiet dinner sans children and the boys get time with Gemma. They look forward to it each week and so do we.

Gemma planned a night out for the boys' birthday. She booked a table for dinner and let me know when she'd be here to pick them up. They were so excited and readily agreed to put on a button down shirt and clean themselves up a bit. Don't you wonder about Charlie's outfit?? I'm not sure Ethan would have been allowed out of the house like that but I'd like to think, I've relaxed a bit in the last 5 years.

The boys had a blast and Scott and I enjoyed dinner at home sans children, a first for our time in Scotland! Here's to more tartan nights out!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

The Spud

As the leaves begin to change and fall, I am thinking of autumn menus. Comfort foods come in many different forms don't they? What might be comfortable to me, might not be comfortable to you. Since I was raised on Louisiana and Tex-Mex cooking, those are the foods that I crave for comfort.

In not so sunny, frugal, Scotland, comfort foods find their roots in what is plentiful. And that my friends, is the potato. In many different forms: as chips (french fries to you and me), baked, boiled, or mashed.

Chips are served with many things here. Even pizza. And sometimes they are lacking in salt and most times they are accompanied by fried fish. Yummy, sometimes. The chips are either plain, salted, salt and vinegar, or with ketchup. Or curry. Or mayonnaise.

And the Baked Potato on many menus includes toppings that do little to comfort me. Baked beans and tuna fish are the 2 that really challenge me.

Mashed potatoes are found mainly in pies. Not sweet pies, but cottage pie, steak pie, fish pie, etc. I'm sure they are lovely if prepared by your mom or grandmother, but again, they've done little to comfort me.

As we brace ourselves for the cold Scottish fall and winter, I will continue to savor the memories of my comfort foods and I will continue to support Lupe Pintos Deli. Happy Harvest!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Happy 11th Birthday Ethan!

Whoa. I can't believe it. I know I've said this in previous birthday posts, but it is ringing even truer today. Time is flying by. Ethan is 11 today and I really can't believe it.

Ethan, when I was pregnant with you, a woman in my office building said to me no less than once a week that I was the happiest pregnant person she'd ever seen. And then when you were born and she met you, she said she knew why. You were the happiest baby she'd ever seen! Your zest for life is contagious and for that, we are grateful!

Mom and Dad are so proud of you and feel it's a privilege to be your parents. You are kind, funny, clever, fun to be around, courageous, wise beyond your years and you are one of the best big brother's I know. We learn from you each day and we love you more than you will ever know. Happy 11th Birthday Ethan!
"O, God, our times are in your hand: look with favor, we pray, on your servant Ethan, as he begins another year. Grant that he may grow in wisdom and grace , and strengthen his trust in your goodness all the days of his life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN."
Book of Common Prayer
PS....We only have a few digital pictures from your earliest years, the majority are on OLD FASHIONED FILM! See, I told you time is flying!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

La Manga

I've just returned from a long weekend in La Manga, Spain with my girlfriends. It was perfect in every way. We were 16 women, mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and we enjoyed our time chilaxin in the sunshine. Some are golfers, some are tennis players, some runners, some spa goers, some shade seekers, some funny, some partiers, some observers, but most of all, we were a diverse group all seeking a weekend away from the normal day to day.
There was not a time in the weekend that I wasn't doing exactly what I wanted and needed to be doing right then and there.

La Manga is an old Hyatt resort in the hills above Cartegena, Spain. It's not a cultural destination and really, there is nothing Spanish about it. But it suited our needs and we thoroughly enjoyed it!

The boys had a ball in Glasgow with their dad and they spent parts of the weekend hangin' out with the other La Manga families. All were alive (even the cat) and well fed when I returned Monday night.

Above is a picture of the group upon arrival. The stranger that took it did not notice the big plant in the way! Cheers to the La Manga girls for a fabulous weekend! Looking forward to next year!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Rest and Be Thankful

That is the name of a village here and it's been raining so much this month, they had a little problem with mudslides. One day this week, a mudslide was so bad that a 10-mile stretch of highway was closed indefinitely. Now to many, that wouldn't be a big deal. But on the winding 2 lane roads of western Scotland, it's HUGE! The detour was something like 100 miles.

I just found it particularly funny that it all happened in Rest and Be Thankful! Makes you stop and think, doesn't it??

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Blessings from Meadowknoll Drive

Last Tuesday, I was driving through town with Charlie in the car and we were blocks from the boys' school and only a mile from our house when low and behold, guess who we spotted taking photographs of the Kelvingrove Museum???

Our next door neighbors from Dallas, the Dowlings: Michael, Melissa and Katherine. I performed a very illegal U-turn and rolled down the window to surprise them! We were all shocked!

They did not realize that we still lived here (somehow I left them off our change of address card list this spring - so sorry!) and of course we did not know that Melissa would be attending a conference at Glasgow University. What a bonus and a blessing for our week!

We toured the St. Mungo Museum and Necropolis on Wednesday afternoon then picked the boys up from school. They came for dinner and margaritas and we laughed and chatted and caught up on so many things. (Poor Scott was entertaining a group of businessmen at a restaurant and he missed all the fun!) Michael and Katherine brought a gift of a "trebuchet" kit for the boys and it was a huge hit! We worked so hard to build that thing after dinner, determined to see things fly through the air.

On Thursday, Michael, Katherine and I went to the Burrell and Pollok Park while Melissa was at the conference and the boys were at school. It was pouring rain so it was nice to be inside.

The Dowlings were great neighbors, they are great friends and we miss seeing them on a regular basis. Micheal, Melissa and Katherine, thank you for spending part of your holiday with us! We loved seeing you and will look forward to seeing you again sooner rather than later!

Monday, 7 September 2009


Charlie said to me on Thursday (his 6th full day of school this year):
"You know mom, I am really not adjusting well to Prep 1!"

Oh to hear such a grown up, philosophical phrase out of such a wee little man! I thought my heart was going to break and I thought I would burst out laughing all in the same moment.

Sweet little guy. These longs days of school are not what they're cracked up to be. He is sleeping so hard and he loves having homework like his brothers. But I think sitting still for a chunk of the day and using his brain as much as he is, has worn him out!

If we can just make it to the long September weekend then he'll have a little break!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Happy Birthday Christopher!

Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday sweet Christopher. (I am not going to be able to do these birthday posts next year because they are making me too sad.) I can remember his fuzzy strawberry blond hair from the first picture like it was yesterday. I can hear his little voice telling me the names of all types of tractors while making the drive from our house to grandma's. I love that his wet hair still looks that crazy when we pose for pictures today. And the light in his eyes when he smiles has always been there and will melt my heart any day.

Christopher, we love you, we are proud of you and you are a blessing beyond words. For us and for all of those around you. Happy 8th birthday precious boy!

"Watch over thy child, O Lord, as his days increase; bless and guide him wherever he may be. Strengthen him when he stands; comfort him when discouraged or sorrowful; raise him up if he fall; and in his heart may thy peace which passeth understanding abide all the days of his life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Book of Common Prayer
PS.......Notice the new front tooth he has this week! It's only been three years!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009


I continue to be amazed by the weather here. The rain is relentless. It's never like the violent thunderstorms we experienced in Texas. It's just constant. Continuous. RAIN.

When it's not raining and the sun peeks through, the days are GLORIOUS. And I think it's the only way people have survived here for centuries. This country is so beautiful and we are reminded of it often. The green hills and trees everywhere. And the blooms on flowers not parched by the hot sun, they're spectacular.

My friends get out in the rain. It's my nature to stay in. I'm not used to going anywhere in the rain. But people here don't let it bother them. It's what they know. They play tennis, rugby, golf, football, cycle, and walk their dogs in the pouring rain. Everyday. Ethan loves the rugby practices in the rain. It makes my laundry more interesting.

There is a saying here that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes!

I'm learning to accept the rain and am bracing myself for the Scottish Winter!