Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day 5 - Nov. 15, 2008

Our last day was perfect. It rained a little bit but we were able to relax, take a walk along the beach. One of the coolest parts of the walk were when we saw a HUGE sea turtle in the waves. It was a stormy morning and the waves were huge. This was over by the cliffs on the south end of the Shipwreck Beach. With each wave that came in, I just expected this turtle to be thrown onto the rocks. But each time the wave crashed, you would see the turtle swimming in place, as if the waves hardly affected it at all. Just amazing.

We spent the last part of the day exploring the west shore and eating at our favorite pizza place, Brick Oven Pizza.

Then we went as far west as the paved road allowed and found ourselves on a dirt road for almost 5 miles to reach Polihale State Park - a beach that the concierge told us that she would help to. There are not a lot of tourists. It was a gorgeous beach, the waves were huge (would never get in that water) but the beach never seemed to end. And seemed completely empty. We loved the rainbow and the light.

Darren at the beach

Can you see the rainbow in the background?

Nikki at the beach - sooo windy.

On our way back to the hotel, it really started to rain. Hard hard hard. Maybe it wasn't such a bad time to leave. I actually felt a little bit sad about the people unloading their luggage to this kind of weather at the hotel. 

At the airport, relaxed, tan-ner (for us) and tired, we were glad we got the chance for a little adventure. As we sat in the plastic lounge chairs, we started planning our next adventure.

The End. 

Day 4 - Nov. 14, 2008

This is the day we woke up at the crack of dawn on vacation to drive to the north shore of Kauai. We headed to Ke'e Beach - which is literally the end of the road on Kauai. From there we hiked the Kalalau Trail to the Hanakoa Fall. It was amazing. We didn't have rain (like we did last time) and we made great time on our hike. 

We even got in the water at the falls - which might have been the coldest water in the world. That waterfall might be coming out of a glacier. 

I was a wimp and was in the water for about 2 seconds. 

While Darren preferred to frolic. 

We were sad to have the hike end. I would like to think I was mostly sad because I was pretty tired by the end of the 7 mile hike through humidity. Luckily Darren was a gentleman and offered to carry the back pack. I needed all of the help I could with my balance (which has ever been good). 

Darren being a gentleman with the backpack. 

Our hike could not have finished at a better time - we were climbing into our car when it started to rain! The north typically has a lot of rain, while the south shore is a little sunnier.  Po'ipu was a little overcast, but no rain - we were lucky. 

We soaked in the hot tub for our sore muscles. And to remove some of that red dirt.

But we had to hurry, we had reservations at the Beach House for sunset. Unfortunately though - since it was overcast, there wasn't much of a sunset. However, it was still delicious. It was a little sad though, it was our last night on the island. 

Outside of the Beach House restaurant and our kind of sunset. 

Day 3 - Nov. 14, 2008

This was designated as a strict beach day. Which my really non-tan skin needed. We headed to Kiahuna Beach in front of the Sheraton Hotel. Not a lot of rocks, waves were not as crazy - so I felt a little more safe in the water. 

Beautiful beach, right? 

This a cliff we climbed up outside of the Hyatt - on Shipwreck Beach (the name alone makes me nervous in that water). You can see the Hyatt in the background.

We later were sitting on the beach when Darren fell asleep on the beach. I did what any loving wife would do in that situation. I 
buried him in the sand and took pictures. 

That night we were all set to go to the new James Bond movie but it was a tiny theater, the only seats were in the front - so we went to bed early for our hike the next morning. We had to get all of the rest we could. 

Day 2 - Nov. 13, 2008

We left Turtle Bay and O'ahu. We spent the day driving around the island and seeing various sights - like more shaved ice. We were even able to watch the Triple Crown Surf competition - it was pretty amazing.  

Then we headed to Kauai - where we spent our honeymoon. Awwwww. 

Back to the Hyatt  - such a beautiful hotel. Simply gorgeous. 

We were starving when we landed so we grabbed dinner at Roy's. Which was divine. Sushi and that souffle! It can't be shared. One of my favorite desserts ever. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 1 - Part 2

After we put in a few hours of beach time, we headed to the Polynesian Cultural Center. 

It was so much fun and it made me sad that I didn't have some great cultural tradition. I basically can contribute big gulps to society. Maybe casseroles or microwave popcorn?  I digress, it was beautiful and the church does an amazing job ensuring these cultures are celebrated.  

Here is our little canoe tour of the various islands.

This is Darren in the male Taihitian dance. It was so packed I could only get an upward shot of Darren. The dance resembled an elaborate chicken dance. 

Here we are before the lu'au began.

This is post lu'au - torrential downpour and Darren is over taking pictures. We are a tad wet here. 

I would say the only bad thing was when it started to rain after the lu'au. Actually the rain wasn't the problem. The problem was I was wearing a dress and had to run through the rain to get to the final performance. It was a LOT of rain - the deep puddle kind. So I was wet, tired, and really really cold.  Those fire dancers looked warm and I was a tad jealous that they got to handle fire. I knew I should have packed my Uggs. 

Day 1 - Nov. 12, 2008

Ahhh, we are back. From Hawaii where we just spent 5 very relaxing days. Lovely. I am going to post a little bit of what we did every day. WARNING - there will be a lot of pictures. 

Day 1 - we flew into O'ahu. I have never been to O'ahu before, so we starting things right by stopping at Costco first thing and picked up a few provisions and headed to the North Shore to stay here:

Turtle Bay - What a dump. Okay, just kidding. It was beautiful, we had a great view from our room. Our first day we spent the morning exploring. 

Me on a hammock with really really white skin - I had not been in the sun - YET. 

Darren in the beach cottage area- everything was so green! 

We were lucky to meet up with Clark and Kathleen - they were staying at the same hotel. 

And the famous Matsumoto's Shave Ice. Wonderful. Worth a flight. It's a bold statement, and I stand behind it. 

Day 1 was actually really long, so this will be done in 2 posts. 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Almost there

Here is Glenn Beck's take on marriage. Brilliant!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Going Viral

I am not sure if my blog gets enough visits to make a difference but this blog post is long overdue. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we were encouraged to use social media to educate others on Proposition 8. 
This is something that is near and dear to my heart and to my beliefs. Here are 6 reasons why voting yes on Prop 8 is so important for our generation:
1) Children in public schools will have to be taught that same-sex marriage is just as good as traditional marriage.

The California Education Code already requiresthat health education classes instruct children about marriage. (§51890)

Therefore, unless Proposition 8 passes, children will be taught that marriage between any two adults is of the same worth, regardless of gender. There will be serious clashes between the secular school system and the right of parents to teach their children their own values and beliefs.

2) Churches may be sued over their tax exempt status if they refuse to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their religious buildings open to the public. Ask whether your pastor, priest, minister, bishop, or rabbi is ready to perform such marriages in your chapels and sanctuaries.
3) Religious adoption agencies will be challenged by government agencies to give up their long-held right to place children only in homes with both a mother and a father. Catholic Charities in Boston already had to stop providing adoption services in Massachusetts because courts legalized same-sex marriage there. 
4) Religions that sponsor private schools with married student housing may be required to provide housing for same-sex couples, even if counter to church doctrine, or risk lawsuits over tax exemptions and related benefits.
5) Ministers who preach against same-sex marriages may be sued for hate speech and risk government fines. It already happened in Canada, a country that legalized gay marriage. A recent California court held that municipal employees may not say: "traditional marriage," or "family values" because, after the same-sex marriage case, it is "hate speech." 
6) It will cost you money. This change in the definition of marriage will bring a cascade of lawsuits, including some already lost (e.g., photographers cannot now refuse to photograph gay marriages; doctors cannot now refuse to perform artificial insemination of gays even given other willing doctors). Even if courts eventually find in favor of a defender of traditional marriage (highly improbable given today's activist judges), think of the money – your money – that will be spent on such legal battles.
The following reasons were blatantly copied from the website:
For me personally, I will feel as my right to have religious freedom will be affected if Prop 8 does not pass. I had forwarded emails to many people explaining what Prop 8 is, and have received hurtful and outrageous accusations that are filled with hate.
Hate is not the issue here. Not in the least. I can LOVE people who are gay. That does not mean that I agree with their lifestyles. I don't. I don't believe in many things that are becoming more tolerant in our world (pornagraphy, drugs, alcohol) but that doesn't mean that I hate people who have a lifestyle that tolerates them. Quite the opposite. I truly believe that every person is a loved son and a daughter of our Heavenly Father.
What has surprised me is that amount of angst that comes from the opposition. The opposition demands tolerance but is unwilling to show any towards our views.  
Please take the time to review what voting on this Proposition means. You have a voice, you have the ability to choose. The following sites have a great deal of information regarding Prop 8:
Please pass the link along and encourage your friends to vote! Every vote matters. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

One year???!!!!

We made it to one year. If you want to be more accurate, one year snuck up on us. Life still hasn't slowed down, but let's be honest - will it ever? Tonight our celebration will be simple. Take out from Pei Wei, Baskin Robbins ice cream (hand packed) and we are going to watch our new Mary Poppins DVD (my choice, not Darren's) and go to bed early. Lovely. 

PS - this what we looked like a year ago. Nothing has really changed except a slight weight gain :) Dang that ice cream!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Broken ribs are a pain (in every sense)...

Things got a little more complicated for Dad at the hospital today. The staff are still struggling to find a vein for Dad to get his antibiotics, so he may get a central line. His pneumonia has gotten worse, so his stay at the hospital will be extended. And last but not least, those darn broken ribs caused some more problems!

His doctors think that during a coughing spasm, one of his broken ribs tore a hole in his left lung (OUCH). They inserted a chest tube to help repair the damage, but this is a discouraging set-back. His pain level is back up and he is discouraged about this new complication. 

Please keep Dad in your prayers.  We want him home as soon as possible. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Newest Dad Development

Let me give you the latest Dad update:

He finished his radiation about 2 weeks ago. Over the last few weeks, he has suffered a few set-backs unrelated to his multiple myeloma (ie- broken ribs, yeast infection in the throat) but we were hopeful that he would return to the joke-telling, easy going, paperback-book-reading Grandpa Brown in no time.

We moved Dad to his  new room downstairs (which looks great!) and due to fantastic organization on our sisters' part, helping Dad with his medications is a breeze. He has a new flat screen TV, a padded reclining glider, a mini fridge and a fancy smancy new hospital bed to make him comfortable. THe best environment for a recovery and the best way to keep Dad away from the stairs :) 

However, recovery has been slower than expected. His tumors have shrunk, but he developed a blood clot in his calf and in his lung over the weekend. His appetite has decreased, and it is still difficult for him to take a deep breath (not because of his tumor but because of his broken ribs). 

Our newest development? Today Dad checked into the hospital with a bout of pneumonia. The pneumonia is affecting the upper part of his lungs and he needs IV anti-biotic-therapy but he is expected to be home by the weekend. We are hoping there will be no additional complications and a special thanks to Misha who waited at the hospital for 5 hours until they managed to find a vein to give Dad his antibiotics. 5 hours? What type of needle were they using? A straw from McDonalds? Thank you Misha!!! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Changes for Lexi

Lexi - you get your own post about how I finally connected you to my blog.  I regularly check her blog through bloglines, but she pointed out that there was no direct link to her blog.

This has been fixed. A nice new feature is the family section.  (Lexi - being a sister - you are in the family section).  Let me say how happy I am to have a sister live so close. But since I am older, there is this nagging feeling that I should do all within my power to tease her! Thus the title :) 

I would like to give a shout out to a few newcomers in the blogging world. Welcome Nellie and Angela! You may notice that I typically list all couples with the girl's name first. This is for a few reasons.

1) The girls are typically the ones who actually post on the blog (excepting a few like Kent, Tim, Ryan). 

Okay I lied. That is the only reason. 

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Birthday Boy

Here he is in all of his glory. 

Today is Darren's birthday. I felt a little bit of pressure because last year we were here:

No, that is not the zoo. We were in Kenya on safari in the Mara. Last year all Darren wanted for his birthday was to see a leopard. 

Needless to say, a trip to Africa was hard to follow but I think I was able to make a big impression with a little crepe paper, a custom birthday hat and a birthday banner:

This is how our day went. Woke up and made Darren oatmeal pancakes with buttermilk syrup. We did a little church service by knocking on doors for Proposition 8. Then we were destroyed in a tennis game by Casey and Lexi.  Our beating was followed by lunch at Fiesta Grill. Then we settled down and watched the BYU game and finally dinner at Houstons. (Which has the best ribs and hamburgers I have ever tasted!!! Two words - California Burger.)

All in all the perfect day spent doing things that Darren loves. And because he is 31 this year, I will list 31 things that I love about Darren.

1) How sweet he is
2) He is a great cook
3) He is a great example
4) He will watch chick flicks with me (sometimes without me, he watched Enchanted when I wasn't around).
5) I love his sense of style
6) I love his spiritual side
7) I appreciate how hard he works at EVERYTHING
8) I love that he helps out around the house
9) I love how smart he is
10) His tie collection (it is truly amazing)
11) How I can laugh with him all the time.
12) How hard he tries to do what is right
13) How he loves to travel
14) I love how shamelessly he likes me to scratch his back
15) I love how he never gets angry (at least at me)
16) I love how he loves to travel so much he is always planning trips
17) I love how much he loves wearing free t-shirts
18) I love how supportive he is
19) I love that he is the person I want to talk to the most
20)I love that he is obsessed with college football and basketball
21) I love that he is a great athlete (sometimes I don't like the fact that he runs a lot faster than me though)
22) I love how he is always wanting to surprise me. 
23) I love how much he wants to cuddle with me
24) I love his family
25) I love that he loves my family
26) I love his example
27) I love how he helps me simplify things
28) I love how generous he is with everyone
29) I love how willingly he does his callings at church
30) I love how he is a night owl.
31) I love him and am so grateful to spend my life with him. 

I love you Darren!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Silent Auction

Stephanie and Christian Nielson

My sister-in-laws are hosting a silent auction tonight to benefit Stephanie and Christian Nielson of Mesa, AZ.  Stephanie is the author of the blog,

They are the parents of 4 young children. Last week they were in a plane accident where they sustained severe burns over most of their bodies. They are in the hospital in critical condition and are expected to go through months and years of skin graft surgeries and rehabilitation.

I have come across Stephanie's blog in the past and was always so impressed with her style and love for her children and life. 

We don't know Stephanie and Christian, but we want to help.  The details of their accident can be found here. As of right now, their family is caring for their children during their long road to recovery, which you can read about here.  

My sister-in-law Stephanie Waite is hosting a silent auction on her site for a Kazuri bead necklace. All of the proceeds will go family. Our family was incredibly blessed by strangers in our time of need. We want to help others if we can.  

If you can, please help us bless this family in during this dark time. Most importantly, please remember them in your prayers. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008


We have a new addition to our family. Welcome home, little Harris. 

Born: 08/21/08
Weight: 4 GB RAM 
Length: 24 Inches

Darren was concerned that I needed a better computer to blog and a bigger monitor so I can look at more blog screens at once. I am certain I will now be capable of responding to emails in a more timely manner. 

I am in love. And so is Darren, don't you think? 

Friday, July 25, 2008

Good news!

Some may think it is strange to entitle the post - Good News!, especially since we are talking about Dad's cancer. But we know what we are dealing with: Multiple Myeloma/Plasmacytoma.

What is important is that the doctor believes that this is very treatable. We are hoping for good results and Dad is starting treatment today. He still needs to do more tests (of course) but Phew. Grateful to know and grateful for modern medicine.

Thank you for your prayers - they helped!

If you want to follow Dad's progress, we are updating his blog daily:

Phil Brown Updates

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dad Update

So we know, kind of. Dad has stage 4 cancer and it has spread to his bones but apparently it is not terminal until we have:

1) discovered what type of cancer he has
2) exhausted all treatment options available

We are hoping for the best, but we are currently waiting. Again....Did I mention that I hate waiting?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Father's Day - A Little Late

I love blogging. More specifically I love "blog stalking" others blogs. I am constantly checking various family members blogs ( Stephanie - I read your blog over and over :)). It is such a simple way to keep in touch with people. Okay, it is borderline lazy. I will say this though, there are some ways in which the blog is a form of therapy. My sister in law Stephanie writes the most amazing entries on her blog everyday, describing her emotions. She has said that it is a form of therapy for her, but it is therapy for us too.

There are other uses for blogs. My Dad has been going to a lot of Dr. appointments lately. And I have been calling up there almost every day. With 11 kids in the family, they almost need a calling service. One of my sisters suggested creating a private blog to keep the family updated. It would also be a way to update his medications, appointments and any news from the doctor. I jumped on blogger to register his name and was surprised to find out that the name philipraybrown (Philip Ray Brown) was already taken. Curious, I clicked on it and found this:

It seems that 4 years ago, Lexi (little sister) interviewed my Dad for a school project. It was pretty concise history of my Dad. And it was so fun to read. He is a tad older. He is 72, not 73 as I was telling people - oops! When I called to wish him happy 73 - he asked why I was trying to add years to his life?

Dad in front of his favorite place. Whataburger. Have you ever seen a smile like that?

Since I missed Father's Day and his birthday (both within a few days of each other), I want to make a post about my Dad. Just share a little bit with you about him. I always loved my Dad but I didn't really appreciate him until I was older. He is a kind soul and the term "without guile" frequently comes to mind. I don't think that it occurs to him to do bad things. And his needs and wants are simple (a quality I wish I had). His favorite thing to eat is a japeleno burger form Whataburger! Like I said, his needs are very simple.

I am not the only person to see these qualities. My Mom's first impression of my Dad was that he was "so good." He takes after Grandma Brown as a natural storyteller and has a large supply of jokes. He has an amazing memory and I doubt if I have ever caught him without a book in his back pocket or his hands.

His most valuable possession is his testimony. His belief in his Savior is one of the guiding forces in his life and it was such a great example to his children. I remember him once telling me that he put the Savior first in his life, even over my Mom. When I first heard it, I was immature and in love with the idea of romance, so that was disappointing to hear. How unromantic. When I was older and wise enough to ask him to expand, he did so simply, "By putting the Savior first in my life, I am capable of loving your Mother more deeply than I ever would by myself." Wow. I can't tell you the impact that statement had on me and the qualities I sought after in a companion shifted to be more eternal, someone with a desire to do what is right. (Which I would like to say, I found :)) As I get older, I find myself seeking Dad's counsel more and more in my life, regretting I haven't used this valuable resource more.

In the end, I am more like my Mom. I am proud of that. She was a bright, energetic and fun woman. But I really wish I was more like my Dad, possessing all of the goodness that guarantees eternal blessings. I love you Dad!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Moving Forward But Not Moving On

I struggle with posting on my blog in general but this post was hard to make for so many different reasons. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. From the accident, the ensuing sorrow, to the planning the service - everything came in a steady stream and it culminated with a beautiful service. The service was truly beautiful, Jon, Stephanie and their bishop were the only speakers and seeing how they were the two people who knew Camille best, it was perfect. It was brief (just over 30 minutes) but I came away in awe of Jon and Stephanie. Their faith throughout this trial has been a huge example to all of us. As far as Camille is concerned, I have no doubt as to her place in heaven. In Stephanie's talk she said that, "Camille will watch over her sisters throughout their lives to make sure they return to live with her again." I believe that our loved ones that pass on before us are a huge part of our lives and Camille will be no exception.

Let's talk about the title. In the aftermath of the memorial service, we have all had to return to our lives. I didn't really want to leave. I couldn't live in Vegas forever (although that would be great) because I have a life in California. But getting back in the swing of things has been difficult for me, I can't even wrap my mind around how hard it is for Stephanie and Jon. I didn't want to return to everything with the attitude of moving on. Because I am not. There is still a little ache. Although Camille was so young and little, her absence is huge. And there will always be an absence, until she is reunited with her family in the eternities. So because I can't keep things the way they were, I have to move forward. Things are happening all around that force my life to move forward. So I am moving forward but not moving on. Not forgetting but remembering. Reminding myself that is okay to cry sometimes and to take things at my own speed.

I find that more often than not, I am grateful. Grateful for sisters, especially Buffy (seriously Buff - thank you!) for dropping everything in her life to ensure that Stephanie had Camille's baby book completed by the funeral. I am grateful to all of my sisters who watched Buffy's kids so she could work and those who worked with her (I have a LOT of sisters). I am grateful to the Harris sisters and all of the work they did to make the service beautiful. Grateful for the Harris and Waite families. I have felt so much closer to my Harris family throughout this ordeal. Grateful to my husband for teaching me about faith. Grateful to the example he is to me. Grateful that Stephanie so eloquently posts everyday on her blog. Grateful to the friends and family that have expressed their condolences and shared similar experiences of loss. And mostly I am grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is through Him that we are sealed together as a family and through His Atonement we will see Camille again.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sweet Camille

This is our sweet niece Camille Kathleen Waite. She drowned in a tragic accident on Friday afternoon. She was in a coma for 2 days. 

After two days of prayers, priesthood blessings, and fasting on Camille's and her family's behalf, her parents made the difficult decision to turn off her respirator this afternoon after her body began to decline.  Camille passed away peacefully in her parents arms. 

We will miss our sweet Camille and her happy smile. We are grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ and the ability we have to be with our families forever. 

Please include Stephanie and Jon and their little family in your prayers at this difficult time. If you would like to leave them a message of comfort, you can on the Waite family blog. They appreciate your words and support, even if you haven't had a chance to know their beautiful Camille. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Uncle Brent

When I think about Uncle Brent a few things come to mind - ASU sports, Easter breakfast, cowboy hats, cowboy boots, glasses and lots and lots of newspapers. He was and still is such a good man. My heart ached to find out that after being in the hospital for 7 weeks and countless complications, he passed away at the age of 66.

Uncle Brent, March 2008
Let me tell you a little bit about Uncle Brent. He was my Dad's closest brother. Brent and Phil (my Dad) were the two youngest children of Joseph and Elda Brown. They reminded me of two peas in a pod. We were lucky enough to live a few miles away from Uncle Brent and Aunt Marilyn and their 6 children. His youngest 3 daughters -Angela, Mandy and Bethany - are some of my closest cousins. It would be safe to say I practically lived at their home and I probably spent days of my life begging my mother to let me play with Mandy.

One of my favorite memories of Uncle Brent was when I was a freshman in college. He had taken a sabbatical to research for a book and had moved to D.C. for a year with Aunt Marilyn, Mandy and Bethany. I went to visit him with a few of my sisters. One night we were up late and by we, I mean - Mandy, Bethany, Misha and Nikki, all of the older people were asleep. At the time, we were in a very young and immature stage where we would make fun of wedding invitations. Okay - that hasn't stopped but at the time there was a particular invitation that had arrived at my parents house. I hadn't recognized the name but I had found the layout and pictures to be humorous. As I was describing the invitation, Mandy disappeared into the kitchen and returned with the very invitation I was describing!!!!! At this point we start screaming and laughing hysterically. At 2 o'clock in the morning. In a townhouse full of sleeping people.

That's when we heard the footsteps. They were the heavy footsteps of a Dad who had been pulled from sleep by a room full of giggling girls. We heard him coming down the stairs and I seriously fought the urge to run and hide like a 6 year old. WE WERE SO BUSTED. Uncle Brent appeared in a robe with his hair crazy messed up and his glasses on crooked. On another person it would have looked silly but Uncle Brent was not a person who looked foolish. He didn't have to holler to get his point across that we were being loud. He just reminded us that we were being loud and to quiet down. I can't remember what he said but it might be something my Dad often said, "What's the matter with you?"

Why do I love this story? Because he felt comfortable enough to discipline me like one of his kids. And because that is not the first time I was busted by Uncle Brent or my Dad. :)

I love him and his sweet family. I am grateful to have known him. I am grateful my husband had the chance to meet him and I am grateful he is no longer in pain. I am sure he is having a grand ole time with Grandma and Grandpa Brown and my Mom and I can't wait to see him again.

Brown Boys - my Dad, brother Johnny, cousin Morgan and Uncle Brent

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


This most recent Mother's Day was one of the more pleasant ones recently in my memory. We spent it with Darren's Mom and it was wonderful to see him enjoying her company. I will upload pictures soon from the weekend. It was the first (and probably last) time I ever witnessed Darren and Stephen switching places on their parents. And I can't even describe the AWESOME-ness of the moment. That is how funny it was, I got to make up a word for it.

Dad and Mom, Christmas 2000

But I digress. I am writing this post because I wanted to share some thoughts about Mothers. It is a topic I enjoy. Because although Mother's Day can be a bummer, I believe that for 23 years of my life, I had it pretty good. So I am going to share a story which is random and sweet and is one of my favorite memories of my Mom, since it happened right before she passed.

Let me give you some background. Out of my parents, my Mom was the mechanically inclined person. She was capable of changing oil, popping a clutch, changing tires, and knew all kinds of crazy things about belts and I have seen her hotwire a car. She talked shop with mechanics. She was THAT Mom. Not to say my Dad was a slouch by any stretch but it was typically my Mom that would ask her children about the well being of their vehicles and tires. She was very big on getting tires rotated and checked.

At this particular time in my life I had an '82 VW Jetta. I was fortunate enough to purchase this car for $100 from my brother Jeremy and his wife Kimmi. And it was a great car. It has its little quirks but it worked and served my needs in college. At this particular time, I got a flat tire. Not just a flat tire but more of a tire implosion (I think the tires were from 1982). Luckily, I knew how to change a tire (my Momma taught me right) so I put on the spare tire. Since it wasn't a donut tire, I had no intention of getting it truly replaced. This was a topic that worried my Mom greatly when she called me. One of the questions she typically asked during the conversation was, "Did you get a new spare tire? You should always have a spare tire in your trunk." To which I would breezily reply, "Yeah yeah, I am going to get one soon."

Around Thanksgiving, I called my Mom (which I must admit, I did quite often) and she answered the phone crying. When I asked what happened, she told me that she had been very stressed. She was planning Thanksgiving in Arizona for all of her Bluth cousins and wanted to play games and have some sort of a program. Well she had talked to a few family members who shot down all of her ideas. And she was stressed and discouraged and felt bad. At this point, she sensed my first instinct to call these people and let them know exactly how I felt about ANYONE making my Mom cry, and she made me promise that I would not call them. I was sad because I didn't think I could made it to Thanksgiving to help her so I did the next best thing I could. I called my brother Tim. I told him a short story about what happened and told him he needed to be at Mom's disposal for Thanksgiving. (She didn't say I couldn't tell other people :)) Tim promptly called Mom and told her that it would be a great time and he was there to help with whatever she wanted to do.

These events happened within the course of an hour. What do they have to do with a tire? I promise I will get there. On my way to work Mom calls.

Me: Hi Mom
Mom: Hi Nikki-gal - Tim just called me. You didn't happen to tell him what happened did you?
Me: I only promised not to call those people, I didn't promise I wouldn't call anyone else.
Mom: Thank you, it was a huge relief to get that call. That really helped.
Me: No problem. It will be a great weekend.
Mom: Where are you headed to right now?
Me: Work.
Mom: Did you get your spare tire?
Me: Ummm, yeah, I will get that when I get home. Huge priority.
Mom: Long lecture about how dangerous it is to drive without a spare.

I got off the phone as fast as I could and went into work. When I came out almost 6 hours later, I was surprised to find a brand new tire on my back seat. No note, just the tire. I never locked my car because who steals an '82 Jetta? If it ran out of gas, it would be totaled. But the tire was there. It came from Mom because she was the only person who cared. Which means my Mom jumped in her car, went and bought the tire. Since she is a car person, she knew which tire to purchase. Then she drove 45 minutes from Salt Lake City to Orem to put the tire on my back seat to show her love for me. She didn't call me, or come into my work. She just drove home. Some Moms make quilts and some Moms write eloquent notes to show their love but I am glad I had a Mom who simply bought a tire. And to me that's love.

As a little sidenote there was a great article in the New York Times by Thomas Friedman (thanks Corey). His mother recently passed and he paid tribute to her. At the end he wrote, Call your mother, I sure wish I could call mine. I couldn't agree with him more.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Summer Secret

I am willing to share it but it is hands down the easiest way to make Corn on the Cob. Why is it easy? No boiling water. It is easy peasy and I got it from that weather man in SLC. Don't even know his name. All I remember is this valuable tip. Valuable for a few reasons. 1) it is ridiculously fast. 2) it is ridiculously good.

Corn on the Cob
By - the old weather guy in SLC

Take a few ears of corn. Make sure you buy corn with the husks. You want to make sure you do not shuck the corn.

Put the ears of corn in the microwave. I was even so lazy, mine still had the plastic bag from the grocery store.

Microwave for 5-6 minutes.

Wait a few minutes before you start to shuck the corn because it is pretty hot. Discard leaves, silk and your corn is ready to be slathered with butter, salt and pepper.

Why this works - the leaves and silk work as a natural barrier for the corn to steam itself. All you need is heat. Can it work if you bbq it this way or just throw it on an open fire? I am sure it would work. I just don't have a lot of open fires around my house and it is faster to microwave it. :)

You can thank me later :) Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Do you know what I like about Chicago? There are too many things to list. It is a big city but not too big. I feel that I could comfortably walk to anything in town. (Did not feel that way in New York). It is clean. And is a beautiful. Darren and I did a whirlwind trip. Complete with art museums, food, friends, Cubs game and shopping.

We were staying two blocks from Michigan Avenue - the Magnificent Mile. Take it from this shopper, it really is magnificent. You name it, they had a store for it. Our first stop in Chicago was at Portillo's. For a Hot Beef Italian Sandwich and hot dog. Which was so filling, we couldn't even eat dinner.
Next we just walked around and shopped. And saw the Silver Bean in Millenium Park. We next had dinner with the Lippencotts. And by had dinner, we watched them eat because we were still full from our afternoon snack. :) Even though we didn't eat, we did have a great time visiting them and their new baby.

Darren in front of the giant silver bean. And our bean reflection.

About 11pm and our appetites returned. Luckily for us, Grand Lux Cafe was around the corner and still open! So like responsible adults who watch what we eat, we helped ourselves to beignets and molten chocolate cake. DELICIOUS!!!

Saturday morning was just as fun. We visited the Art Institute of Chicago, I saw the building from Adventures in Babysitting, and we went to a Cubs Game! I have been to a lot of sporting events, but this was a BLAST! These fans take it seriously, despite how freezing it was. :)

We did the American Gothic pose:

And had a Ferris Bueller's moment - does anyone remember this moment from the movie?:
And I took a picture of the building in Adventures in Babysitting (sad but could not resist):
Our Wrigley Field moment - in the shade was the only moment we were cold in Chicago:
Afterwards, we of course had some more food when we had a stuffed pizza at Giordanos and more beignets at the Grand Lux Cafe. Then we spent more glorious time shopping...Ahhhh - what a great trip. Shopping, friends and food. How can anyone not like Chicago?
This is a picture of another late night trip to the Grand Lux Cafe - ahhhh. I can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

American Idol - the real deal

What can I say? We were on American Idol. I think I've been "discovered" or I have just "discovered" what a cult TV show can do to a responsible adult if she is withing 3 feet of a celebrity. Let's just refer to my actions as star crazed.

Here are the rundowns of the events:

  • We had priority seating thanks to Elizabeth. No waiting in long lines.
  • We were on the floor next to Randy.
  • I shook Paula Abdul's hand.
  • Randy gave me a high five.
  • Didn't touch Simon but not for a lack of trying.
  • WAS ON NATIONAL TV and was right behind David Archuletta.
  • Realized how much Jason Castro did not belong on TV.
  • Had a sign but was standing so gave it to some little girls. I don't think it made it on tv.
  • Paula hugged my sister-in-law Elizabeth.
  • Randy said my brother-in-law Morgan was a funny guy.
  • You can't really hear anything in the studio.
  • Aside from not being able to hear much, David Archuletta has the best voice.
  • Did I mention Jason Castro is worse than I thought?
  • Talked to Syesha's parents - who were quite nice. Took a picture with them too!
  • Ryan Secrist is GREAT at his job.
All in all - it was the perfect day. We got to spend some fun family time with Elizabeth and Morgan and it is always a good afternoon when I get to leave work early and spend it with my husband! Thanks for the tickets Elizabeth!!!!

Here is some photographic evidence that we were in fact, ON TELEVISION. The pictures are poor quality because our TV is old but I am hoping Elizabeth will have some better ones from her TV.

Do you see us? I am to the right of David Archuletta. Darren is directly above David's head, Elizabeth to the left and Morgan right above Jason Castro's head. I don't want to brag but we are AMAZING!!!!

Terrible picture of me but still counts as proof. What was that face???

And I am off to a work meeting in LA for the next 3 days. Yipee! Otherwise this post would be much longer.