"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

in vino veritas

What a day!!  Working at Coulter & Company and later Coulters van Gend & Kotze has been my job since 17 July 1977, when I left college.  After school I did a 6 month secretarial course (which, I convinced my parents,would stand me in good stead for a career in journalism) mainly because I had a serious boyfriend at UCT and did not want to leave Cape Town to study in Grahamstown.  I started off as the receptionist in the Groote Kerk Building in Strand Street, I resigned once for a stint at Capital Radio.  It was in their heydays in 1979 and where the directors picked money,from the Transkei Government,off the trees.  After some travels, I went back to Coulter & Co. to work for Mr Hardie in the collections department and then left again after I got married in 1981.  John and I moved to Pretoria for a couple of months while he was doing an officer's course in the air force, we moved back to Cape Town and I did some temporary work for them while I was pregnant with Gareth. I was at home, playing Mummy, for the next 5 or 6 years, going in on occasions to help out for a few days here and there.  When Matthew started at pre-school I went back for 2 mornings a week and when they were all at school, 3 mornings a week.  Mr Hardie was a lovely man and called me "his little (sic) luxury".They amalgamated with another firm (van Gend & Kotze) and moved to offices in Claremont, which again suited me down to the ground.  Basically since then the job has been tailored to suit my needs but has been pretty much full time since I got divorced in 1998.  

There are many stories to tell and Gill and I have been reminiscing about our years in conveyancing together. There is so much history and I don't feel sad because Coulters is certainly not over for me.  Coulters is a part of me, not forgetting that I am now married to the senior partner, so removing myself completely from the office and it's staff will be impossible.  It was hard enough throwing the contents of my drawers into a suitcase this evening.  It was almost as hard pressing "send" on an email which I sent out to friends on my email list this afternoon.  It seemed somehow pretty final, and I suppose, in a way, it is.

For those of you who are not on my list, this was my email.

From: Jenny Kotze [mailto:jenny@coulters.co.za] 
Sent: 31 October 2012 15:50
To: "Undisclosed-Recipient"

Hi there

I have an announcement to make about exciting times ahead for me.  I am joining a partner "in wine" Steve Ackermann in a new business venture called "Wine Time".   After years in the business, he has many contacts for wines and sources great wines at very reasonable prices.  His business has grown and he has taken me on as a partner to help meet the demands.  I am going to be doing his promoting, selling and distributing. 

I cannot believe this opportunity has come my way.  A change of direction, is just what I need after so many years behind a desk doing legal work, and into a field that I am passionate about - What a bonus!   I have so many ideas and plans in store but will not hit you with all the excitement in this initial email.

This is really to advise you of my new venture (which starts tomorrow with an 8.30 appointment with the bank manager) and to ask you to look out for the next email (from sawinetraders@gmail.com) giving you the details of the wines which we have available.  Tomorrow is going to be a busy day sorting through cases of wine.  I can't wait.

Watch this space!!

Jenny (Kotze / Rosslee / Pay / The Wine Lady)

InVinoVeritas was one of the names that came up to call the business - "in wine there is truth".  However, it is a bit of a mouthful and I thought it better to get away from the latin/legal stuff.  The saying goes on further to say  "in vino veritas, in aqua sanitas", i.e., "in wine there is truth, in water there is health".  

So "Wine Time"it is!!

Two (of the many) wines available
For those of you who are interested in getting my newsletter and who are not on my present email list, please won't you send me your email address and I will add you to the mailing list (jenny@coulters.co.za - I am keeping this address until the website is up and running).

My big day starts early tomorrow. My first meeting is with a Bank Manager.  I have never met with such a person before and he has the title of "Business Banking Manager".  I will have to negotiate traffic, find parking and get to the bank promptly at 8.30 tomorrow (usually the time that I start preparing to leave home for office so that I miss the traffic).

You are never too old to act "grown up".

As I have said before "Watch this space"

Secret:  I really do have a new pad and pen for tomorrow.

Monday, 29 October 2012

always good for a giggle

What a silly, giggling afternoon we had yesterday.  Kathy, Dalene and I headed off to see Hope Springs.  "Let's meet at 4.30, it may be difficult to get in", was my suggestion.   Well, I thought the movie would be at 5 but it was at 6, which gave us some time to spare once we had our tickets.  I had the wine, cups and ice blocks in my bag ready for the movie but now, with time on our hands, we headed off to JB Rivers for a drink.  They were getting ready to close but said we could have drinks.  Kathy and I decided on the Porcupine Ridge white blend.  Dalene had been to a street party in her road and had already had a gin and tonic in the sun, so she was not in the mood for wine.  Kathy and I gave each other a look and thought that a whole bottle of wine in 40 minutes would be a bit much (even for us), so we went along with Dalene and her wish for a cocktail.  A Strawberry Daiquiri for her and Frozen Margaritas for Kathy and I.

Well Dalene's was bright red and ultra sweet while Kathy and I nearly choked on what tasted like neat tequila with a heap of frosted ice that looked like it had been scraped off the walls of the freezer and lots of salt around the rim.  Hectically sour.  I opted to put some sugar into mine, while Kathy and Dalene started making eyes at the waitress to complain. This caused me to drink faster and even to mix some of Dalene's ultra sweet daiquiri onto the scraped ice on my Margarita.  My drink turned into a pretty palatable and slightly pink slush puppy.  I am not fussy and have been known to enjoy retsina in Greece when nobody else could swallow the stuff.  You have to show commitment, you know.  The other two were not giving up.  They started waving at the manager, who was engrossed in the Everton / Liverpool match, and called him over to complain.  Kathy wanted to know what tequila had been used and the manager went off to find out from the barman and to discuss with him exactly how he had made it.  He came back defending the barman and telling Kathy that it definitely was not "unleaded diesel" (which she accused him of using) but Omega Gold.  Before he could leave the table (poor guy was starting to stutter and spit) the waitress appeared with a glass of lime mixture for us to add to the drink.  Obviously the missing ingredient.  It all ended well but I was forbidden by my two fiery eyed companions to give any extra for a tip.  They were taking bets on the fact that we would get the drinks on the house.  Better luck next time girls.

So up the escalator to the movies we went, me with my bag of now slightly melting ice blocks (they were in a small WP Blood Transfusion blood cooler but that seemed to be leaking right through my handbag).  We were there early to book and had chosen our seats cleverly this time.  E row against the wall - we did not want anybody making us stand up to get past and risk spilling our drinks and knocking over our bottle.  First mistake - our JB Rivers cocktail had made us a tad late and E row was full except for our 3 seats against the wall.  I was a bit worried about the iced water, which was now dripping at a rapid pace through my bag, pouring onto the row of ladies laps (or feet) who we would have had to make stand up to get to our seats.  I led the way 2 rows further down, against the wall.  By this stage Dalene (who does not like to sit in "other people's seats") was getting nervous and twitchy and I had to push her into her (not really "her") seat and quickly pour her a drink.  The theatre filled up quite quickly but no one came to claim our seats.  If they had, they would have had Kathy to contend with.  

Chilled wine, with melting ice, in white polystyrene cups is quite hard to beat.  Add to that a wonderfully entertaining and funny movie. It is a great movie, made on a low budget with 3 main characters, who were wonderful.  Meryl Streep is her usual brilliant self (who all menopausal woman can relate to) and Tommy Lee Jones is a tonic (an ugly, wrinkly tonic).  Steve Carell holds it all together with his straight faced questioning and advice.  I won't say much but we were in hysterics.

I think it was probably the frozen Margarita which got me going but I was sure that I could hear a man's laugh at the back, who I knew.  He had this deep, giggling belly laugh that set me off every time.  There were not that many men in the movie but certain things sure tickled him and added to our enjoyment of the movie.  After the movie I had to find out where the laugh was coming from but could not see Gavin (a couple of sms's later and I discovered that he was still on a holiday safari in Zimbabwe).

It was the perfect end to a lovely weekend.  

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

hump day smiles

From the Urban Dictionary 

"Wednesday, or the hump of the week. The absolute BEST day of the week, the day of maximum hope that maybe, you might make it out of this week alive. A particularly good hump day can last you the rest of the week, and by Doomsday morning (Monday) you survive by anticipating hump day. Nothing goes wrong on hump day"

I must say I have a thing for Wednesdays as well.  Hard not to like a Wednesday on a day like today, in Cape Town, when we have our first warm summery day in weeks.  A late summer is a good summer, they say.  I hope so.  I also realised while watering my garden this morning just how much I miss watering the garden through the winter months.  OK, it is not a huge garden but all you fancy-pancy people with automated sprinkler systems are seriously missing out on the best 40 minutes of free therapy you can get (Mike will correct me and say that, judging by our water bill in summer, it is certainly not FREE therapy).  Ok, there are certain irritations like a kink in your hosepipe (not sure why we go through a hosepipe a year, but we do) but overall it is a great start to the day.

I don't have much to waffle about today, so here are a few things to make your smile today a little bit broader.

Taking vertical gardens a bit far?  Note the CA number plate!!

I love this one.  Wish I could draw nicely!!

Monday, 22 October 2012

young at heart

Frank Sinatra had a hit with this in 1954.  We cannot fault the man, his timing or his voice but please listen to Landon Pigg's version.  From such an old "bandstand" sound to a soft, heartfelt and beautifully sung song.  I love it. A bit maudlin for a Monday but I am thinking of starting a weekly "Maudlin Monday" post (I have been dying to use that word and now I have used it twice in one sentence).  We need to get a bit soppy and sentimental sometimes, it's good for the soul.

Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you
If you’re young at heart
For it’s hard, you will find, to be narrow of mind
If you’re young at heart

You can go to extremes with impossible schemes
You can laugh while your dreams fall apart at the seams
And life gets more exciting with each passing day
And love is either in your heart or on its way

Don’t you know that it’s worth every treasure on Earth
To be young at heart
For as rich as you are it’s much better by far
To be young at heart

And if you should survive to 105
Look at all you’ll derive out of being alive
And here is the best part
You have a head start
If you are among the very young at heart

Landon Pigg
(sorry I could not find a good version of him performing the song but knew
that some of you would like to see what the singer looks like)

Sunday, 21 October 2012

just saying...

I was thinking about all the little things in my daily life that give me pleasure, some are silly but all of them are the simple things that don't cost much at all and more often than not, nothing. 

So here are the small pleasures that my day today brought:-

my first cup of hot tea; damp, dewy morning grass on bare feet; the first squeeze of a new tube of toothpaste; the smell of lemongrass: the smell of the tar on the road as it warms after the rain; the Weekend Argus (to myself) with a second cup of tea;

the smell of butter melting in the pan; playing Masterchef in my own kitchen; listening to my 92 year old mother-in-law reciting poems in a Cockney accent;

setting the outside table and taking pictures of bottles of wine (and food); freshly washed sheets and towels (just the best, if I were rich I would love to have clean sheets, pillowcases and towels (all white) everyday - I remember Oprah confessing to this being one of her indulgences);

Sunday night leftovers for supper; nothing tempting to watch on television, so off to bed with my book but first, a hot shower with my lemongrass soap, a squeeze on a "new this morning" tube of toothpaste and into my bed and the freshly laundered sheets. 

Such is the simplicity of the circle of life!!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

pecan bob

I miss Bob. Bob is Nic's great friend but all three of my boys have a very close friendship with him. He spent loads of time with us when he was at boarding school and continued living at Albion Road when it became a digs.  He did a gap year at Clifton College in Bristol and put in a good word (with the headmaster's daughter) for Matthew.  He headed home to the Karoo earlier this year to perfect the skills of farming and I have not seen him for a couple of months.

Yesterday I sent him a link to an article that Gareth had written which had a strong reference to "a farmer (and his son) in Hopetown".  So no prizes for who he was writing about (although, I thought he could have mentioned Bob's name).  Read it, it's a lovely story.  Today I got the surprise of a letter from Bob thanking me so much for the link and giving me news.  Little things about what he is up to and how they have planted 22 hectares of pecans, the harvesting and his plans for the next crop. Spoken like a true blue blooded farmer.  I could feel his enthusiasm and I felt quite teary.  (What is up with me these days?)

I am a firm believer in things coming full circle and while I kept an eye on Bob, fetched him from parties and fed him when hungry while he was at boarding school, Bob's parents Chris and Sandy have now done the same for Matthew.   Ramah, their farm became Matthew's retreat during his 3 years in Kimberley and the Roux's provided him with a home, open spaces and many wonderful meals, whenever he had some free time.

When we visited Matthew in Kimberley in 2011 we were also fortunate to spend some time on the farm.  It is a very special place.

A tour for the touring party of the pecan orchards
Playing "Farm, Farm"
Miles and miles of open spaces - Kelly was in her element and even whispered to Chris that if he was
short of an heir to inherit, she would love to live and work on the farm

Brothers from other mothers

Then I had another co-incidence today.  As I finished my reply to Bob this song played.  Just the perfect song of which I only knew the chorus (that was the appropriate part).  So I found it on Youtube and looked up the lyrics and have now put my earplugs in and have it on repeat.

So here is a song for you Bob

I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see
And now after some thinking, I'd say I'd rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me

But I don't, I don't know what that will be
I'll get back to you someday soon you will see

What's my name, what's my station, oh, just tell me what I should do
I don't need to be kind to the armies of night that would do such injustice to you
Or bow down and be grateful and say "sure, take all that you see"
To the men who move only in dimly-lit halls and determine my future for me

And I don't, I don't know who to believe
I'll get back to you someday soon you will see

If I know only one thing, it's that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I'm tongue-tied and dizzy and I can't keep it to myself
What good is it to sing helplessness blues, why should I wait for anyone else?

And I know, I know you will keep me on the shelf
I'll come back to you someday soon myself

If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm raw
If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore
And you would wait tables and soon run the store

Gold hair in the sunlight, my light in the dawn
If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore
If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore
Someday I'll be like the man on the screen
Bob's Orchard
Full circle, Bob?

I'm "watching" you!!!
(a private joke)
but it is Bob's watch
He is a firm believer in "Swiss Precision"

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

"shotgun" the front seat...

The other day I had the rare privilege of giving two of my boys a lift.  On the way to the car, the one shouted "Shotgun" and then the other tried to race him to the passenger side of the car and touch the door first.

It made me smile.

The "Shotgun" comment got me thinking about some of the car trip games that we used to play.  My favourite was "R5 to the boy who could keep quiet the longest".  Matthew always won that one.  Then the "Suck the Sparkles" sweet game where you had to see who could make the sweet last the longest. Matthew had the knack of holding it between his teeth and not getting it wet, Nic could not and still cannot not crunch a peppermint or hard sweet and Gareth enjoyed the sweet too much to try and make it last for too long.  Matthew won that one as well.  We also had the "See who could hold their breath until we were over the bridge game".  This the boys invented just in case we crashed and ended up in the river.  It is weird that I still hold my breath when on a roadtrip and crossing a bridge (I don't tell anybody what I am doing though).

Then I thought about when I took the boys to prep school in my Opel Kadett station wagon.  Things were different back then and the authorities today would put me straight into jail (if they could catch me).  I lifted 5 boys to school every morning.  I used to take the route along the railway line in Rondebosch and drop them off at school in Rouwkoop Road.  They all used to fight to pile into the back of the station wagon and the game was for me to go over the speed bumps at speed to see whose head or satchel could touch the roof of the car.  No one used to "Shotgun" then.  They all wanted to be in the back.  It sounds horrific now and rather negligent (I have seriously thought about deleting this paragraph) but it was fun at the time although it gives me shivers now.  I was always in trouble with our mechanic about how quickly the "shocks" on the car wore down!!  That old white Kadett station wagon was better than any 4X4.

Not quite as old as this one but the dark haired boy
looks just like Bradley from our old lift club
Cute hey?  But not quite
That's the one!!

We once went camping in Citrusdal in the middle of winter.  The tent pegs were left behind and we had no choice but to open the back door of the station wagon, put all the seats down flat and throw the tent over the car.  5 of us slept like that for 2 nights right next door to some serious campers who had a 2 bedroomed tent, with windows and even one of those washing up racks and a washing line.   

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

taking reality shows a bit too far...

I am hooked on Junior Masterchef on MNet between 6-7 every evening.  A damn awkward time to sit and watch a reality show and I must confess that I have only watched about three episodes and always only catch the second half of the show.  But last night I caught most of the show and I ended up in tears.  It is the sweetest show ever.

Meet Lucy

I think she is 9 years old - for goodness sake and she has pierced ears and pearl earrings - but she is the kindest sweetest little girl ever.  She was so confident to bake Donna Hay's four tier chocolate cake because she is a "brilliant baker" and has baked "hundreds and zillions of cakes with her Mom and Nanna".  After announcing what a good baker she was she popped her chocolate cakes into the oven forgetting to put the eggs and buttermilk into the mixture.  Her cheeks were flushed but she carried on and produced a wonderful effort.

This is Nick.  A lisp and in need of some serious orthodontic work but the cutest little chef ever.  Last night his chocolate cake did not set and was a mushy mess.  He was supposed to have four layers but ended up with one mound covered in icing.  The judges are great to the contestants as well and complimented him on his "fondant pudding".  Little Lucy had gone up with him for the judging and she gave him this big hug and complimented him on his "mess".

Well I was in tears.

And we had not even got to Jack yet.

He has the most beautiful blue eyes you have ever seen.  The one judge made a comment that a dog looks like his owner because, although his cake was perfectly baked the icing was a mess and he added every extra there was onto his cake.  His hair is an untidy mop and he licks his fingers and his apron was as full of icing as his cake but he is too adorable.

Sienna is my other favourite, also 9 years old.  She is always so proud of her dishes and her eyes well up with tears very easily.  Second little cry of the evening.

A hug from Lucy, she just hugs everyone.

This is the whole team but tonight 4 are going to be cut.  Not sure if I am ready for this, because there are sure to be more tears, but best I get home quickly and put my food in the oven so that I can watch uninterrupted.

Gill already knows who won because they are already filming Season 2 in Australia (and because she cannot contain herself and hates surprises).  It was very difficult for me to find these pictures without being tempted to look at the winner, but I didn't.  I am rooting for Jack or Sienna (or Nick).

Nevermind the fact that the timing of the show is seriously interfering with time that I could be having a sundowner with my friends.

Monday, 15 October 2012

mumford monday

I just love this band. Nic played me this song on the weekend and I think even those of you who are die hard Simon and Garfunkel fans will enjoy this cover.

Click here for a studio version, if this was too noisey.

Thanks Nic.  I have had it on repeat the whole weekend.  

He seems like such a normal chap old Marcus Mumford.  He recently married Carey Mulligan (Pride and Prejudice, An Education) and she is also pretty cool.  I see that An Education is being screened on DSTV at the moment - watch it if you can.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

my dark arrogant and mysterious side

After standing in the Woolworth's return queue this week, I said to myself, "Jennifer, time to stop even buying these colourful clothes because you will not wear them.  It is a total waste of time."  Just as I should also say to myself "Jennifer, do not worry to buy new fashion lipsticks or blushers, because you will not wear them.  It is a total was of money (not time this time)."  My mother loves to say to me "Jennifer, you would look so much brighter (meaning prettier) with some blusher and lipstick on your face!!"

I had a rough clean out in my cupboard last week.  Clean out means pull everything out, neatly fold, colour code, winter jerseys in the suitcase and packed away in the top cupboard (hopefully for the next five months).  My cupboard now looks like this:-

This is the "black tops" shelf.  22 plain black T-shirts, 5 with detail, 11 long sleeve back
(this is after throwing out a big bag of the tired and faded ones!!)

Grey and white - short sleeved tops
Naughty top shelf showing a few hints of colour

Then hidden away in a packet out of sight (but not mind):-

are these cardigans pictured above
 i am undecided about them
and have not returned them yet
maybe i will wear them 
(but probably not)
i am a bit nervous to pack them in the cupboard in case they
scare those that live there so happily
in their blandness
a black, grey and white melange
for now these four cheerful "chaps" live, slightly crumpled, in the plastic shopping bag, 
with their tags on 
(in case they need to be returned)
on top of my shoes
on the bottom shelf of my 
very bland wardrobe
and they are hidden because 
they scare me a bit too 
but i do so enjoy peeping into the packet every couple of days
and sometimes even trying one on with what i am wearing for the day
but then it quickly gets taken off
and hidden away, in their secret place,
for another couple of days of uncertainty

they have 3 months to live like this
(before the "return for purchase date" expires)
but i am beginning to think that it will better for them
(and kinder)
that i return them to the store
(while woman are still shopping for new summer clothes)
to be re-sold
to someone
who is not afraid to dress up
in rainbow colours
with shoes and lipsticks to match
(not forgetting that bit of blusher on the cheekbones)

I should call this "Jenny's Ode to the Colourful Cardigan"

So now after a couple of lunch hours looking around the shops I have now decided to specialise, stick with what I know I will wear and in the process save myself time and money.  So what if every one thinks I wear the same clothes day after day?  I know the truth.

Here is my new motto:-
I like you Mr Yamamoto!!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

a night at the theatre

Last night we went to the Fugard Theatre.  I am a tad embarrassed to admit to having never been there before or even to knowing where about in town it was (Cnr. Harrington and Caledon Street - close to the Diaz Tavern).  Ellen had booked tickets to see Karen Zoid and Zolani from Freshlyground in the first of only two performances (both sold out).  What an awesome venue in an old warehouse (Sacks Futeron Building).  The front of the building on Caledon Street is the renovated Congregational Church (I told you I would do some homework, Ellen).

Old school seats

It was a great show.  I had never heard Karen Zoid perform live before although I have heard some of her more popular music.  They were a great combination.  Zolani must have one of the most beautiful female voices around and it was great to hear them unplugged with two brilliant guys on guitars and vocals (Karen is a pretty mean guitarist as well).

A lovely evening in a wonderful theatre and a mix match of songs and harmonies ranging from Lady Gaga to "You'll never walk alone".

Talking of theatres I need to let you all know that a talented friend of mine, Wendy Goddard, is directing Calendar Girls at the Masque Theatre starting next month.  Booking will be opening shortly. Let me know if you are keen and I can make a block booking.  What about a Sunday matinee on 11th or 18th November?  Speak to me!!

Monday, 8 October 2012

nicholas or nic NEVER nicky!!!

Nicholas James Rosslee entered this world at a whopping 5.1 kg's this day 27 years ago (that is 11lbs 2oz for those still on the Imperial system).  I needed an emergency caesarean (not surprising) and I was pretty much out of it for most of the day.  When I awoke I was in a semi-private ward with a woman who had delivered twin girls the day before.  They were not with her as they only weighed just over 1 kg each and were in high care.  I thought it a bit cruel on the part of  the nursing home, especially as the birth of this mammoth baby caused waves throughout the hospital.  Nurses were popping in during their tea breaks from different floors to take a peep of this huge and totally chilled bald baby boy.  The one nurse even brought her Kodak Instamatic camera the next day and I had to take a picture of her with my baby.  

He did not have a name either.  I always knew he was going to be a boy and I loved the name Nicholas.  John wanted to call him James as Nicholas would "always become Nicky".  I got my way after about 10 days (yeah) on condition that "no one was ever allowed to call him Nicky".  Well I think he was only called Nicky once and that aunt got such a roasting that it never happened again.

Nicholas James - 8 October 1989 - 4 years old 

1.  Breathing in deeply and blowing out the candles before they could be lit.
2.  Holding the knife, insisting on cutting the cake and asking "Aww please Mom, I really need two"
3.  Holding his two pieces, weighing them carefully and thinking "Do I really want them both?"  

Early signs of weighing the scales of justice

My time in the nursing home was a blur.  Coming home to a toddler, trying to get sleep (the baby slept, the toddler never did) and suddenly coping with 2 children was an even bigger blur.  When Gareth was born and I held him for the first time the bond was instant.  I would do anything to protect this child.  With Nic the love was there, he was an easy baby, he fed well and biggest bonus, he slept.  What wasn't there to love?

During this blurry time I have one very clear memory and that is fixed in my mind forever.  Nic was about 5 weeks old. Gareth went off to playschool with his Oupa and Nic woke for his mid-morning feed. The house was quiet and I went to sit in the lounge to feed him.  It was in the middle of the feed that he stopped abruptly and pulled his head away, he looked deeply (and seriously) into my eyes and then gave me his first really true smile.  It was a smile that lit up his bright blue eyes and his one sided dimple deepen.  I smiled back with tears filling my eyes and hugged him very tightly. At that very moment I knew that I had just fallen in love.

Happy Birthday Nicholas James.  You are so special to so many, especially me.

In case you don't know below is Nic today. I have spent the whole weekend searching for the baby picture of him sporting his first "gremlin face" to put next to this one, but I think he has stolen it from me!!

Lucky I did not get this as my first smile!!