Sunday, 26 September 2010

Girly Weekend

I spent the first weekend of our holiday in Austin, Texas with 7 of my friends from university. What a blast! We had 48 hours to laugh, talk, walk, shop, sleep, laugh and talk some more! We'd not been together as a group in way too long and really laughed until our sides hurt. We'd forgotten how much time we'd spent together at school and how well we know one another. It was a fantastic weekend and one that I hope we will repeat sooner rather than later! Mandy, Christa, Ashley, Marty, Jane, April and Dena, I miss you already.

And a huge thank you to Bob and Jane for keeping the boys so that I could go!

Schools Out, We're USA Bound

Another school year finished, a rainy Glasgow summer guaranteed, and so we were off! USA bound. 6 FULL weeks. Yippee!

Our first stop: Grandma and Grandpa Nicol's house in Texas. Even after a LONG day of flying and waiting, the boys had enough energy to throw their suits on and hit the pool with Grandpa! We enjoyed our time at Camp Nicol (there is so much to do!) and we slowly adjusted to the time change. Such a treat and we loved these first few lazy days!

We also met the newest Nicol. Abagail was born in February and we were all desperate to meet her. Scott had a chance to meet her in the spring while on a business trip but the boys and I couldn't wait to get our hands on her. So Stinkin Cute....

Aunt Amie getting in some Abby time.

Tons of Sunfish caught and released.

And lots of time in the kayaks and canoe.

Summer holiday continued in our next post!

Prep 7 Prom

The Grand Finale of Prep School here at the Glasgow Academy is the P7 Prom. It's was held the weekend before school finished for the summer and Ethan had a blast! The teachers and staff go all out to make it an event that the children will love. They've been teaching Scottish Ceilidh lessons at school and this traditional dancing mixed with pop and disco dancing proved to be a HIT!

Check out the grins! I am a little biased, but I think he's the cutest one going....

Ethan joined a group of boys and girls for a little pre-party so they could all ride together to the dance. As you can see, he and his friend Chris were providing some of the entertainment!

Ethan and his friends Katie and Seri.

Arriving at the school and hearing a few rules from the headmaster before heading into the dance.

And after. Sweaty and smiley. I think that says it all!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Brooks in Scotland

Memorial Day weekend our dear friends Andrea, Jay, Jay Anthony and Evan Brooks came to Scotland for a visit. Andrea and I have been friends for 15 years and she is one of those friends that makes time stand still. Every time I see her or speak to her, it's as if NO time has passed. We laugh just as much, we share life's heartaches and joys, and she reminds me of the time in our lives when our responsibilities were less significant.

Our boys had a long weekend but otherwise had to go to school. So things were a bit crazy but we packed in a lot of fun while they were here: Museums, Golf, Castles, Beaches, Lochs, Shopping, Cooking, Laughing and much more. The weather was even nice! As usual with our family, things were sometimes really organized and smooth and other times, the wheels came off. Thank you to the Brooks for tolerating us and for making the effort to come! (they were even buying a house back home while they were here....Crazy!)

One of the first days they were here, we headed up to Mugduck Country Park. We walked and and walked to get a bit of fresh air and to keep the Brooks family awake. Total troopers.

Over the long weekend, we all loaded up for a day out at Culzean Castle Park on the coast in Ayr. It's a gorgeous property with lots to do. I'd promoted it big time to Evan because he is a big Lego fan and in this castle, they've hidden Lego mini figures in every room. Well, guess what? We got a late start on the day, we played at the park and then on the beach, had our picnic lunch and got to the castle door at 4:05. They closed at 4. Total MacNicol luck. Bummer, total bummer. Not only because they would not get to see this beautiful property, but because I'd promised Evan a chance to count the Lego guys! Oh man, lesson learned.

Apart from the disappointment, it was a great day. Scott took Jay, Jay Anthony and Ethan by Turnberry on the way home for a quick look. We continue to take for granted all of these beautiful places at our doorstep.

Sunday, we had a lazy morning then headed to Kelvingrove Park and Museum. Another great day except, Scott fell in the half pipe on his skateboard while chasing Charlie. He wouldn't let me help him out or take a picture. Big Bummer. Not about the picture, his knee. It was shattered.

We went to dinner that night with 2 other couples and what a laugh. I wish I had pictures from the night. We really had such a great time introducing Andrea and Jay to a few of our friends here. And I think everyone had a great night.

Monday morning, Scott and I headed to the ER to see about his knee. He blew his ACL and tore his Meniscus (which we did not know at this point). Really Big Bummer. He was looking forward to his first round of golf at St. Andrews with Ethan, Christopher, Jay and Jay Anthony. He was heartbroken but thrilled to see the boys on the tee at the "Home of Golf".

I walked the 9 hole course with the 4 above and then Jay took Ethan and Jay Anthony for 18 more. Scott had taken Andrea, Evan and Charlie to the dunes and so Christopher and I met them there. We also phoned our Glasgow pals that have a house there to join us on the beach. It was cold, but another GREAT day!

The town of St. Andrews is so picturesque.

When the Nicol boys were back in school, I took the Brooks to Edinburgh Castle because it's a must see while in Scotland. We'd checked the calendar to see what was on and picked our day in hopes of no crowd. Well, guess what? The Prince of Wales does not publish his calendar for security reasons and therefore, we did not know we'd find the scene below.

When we were purchasing our tickets, they told us to hurry up to see the crown jewels because some of the buildings would be closed at during his visit. Off we ran and I shoved the Brooks into a queue of people for the jewels (I've seen them more times than I need to so I stayed outside to people watch). Little did I know that I'd see Prince Charles himself while they were stuck inside a claustrophobic space, waiting to see something they could barely see because of the crowd. Again, huge Gwen Nicol blunder. I think they've forgiven me and Andrea posted on Facebook that she'd was hanging out at Edinburgh Castle with the Prince. All was well!

We were also treated to a traditional Scottish band and a 21 gun salute! Jay Anthony and Evan were extremely patient while we checked out the spectacle.

On their last day here, we headed up to the famous Loch Lomond for the views. It did not disappoint and we even got a little exercise.

One of the things that I wish I had on film, is a picture of Jay Brooks walking to the local market for money or whatever we needed for the day. He is such a trip and we had a many a laugh with him about exchanging money, getting foreign money from the cash machine and spending said foreign money in the shops. Jay, you are one of a kind!

Thank you again for spending your time and money to come and see our nutty crew! Can't wait to see you again stateside!