Friday, March 22, 2013


My sweet friend Mindy Warren just had her third baby, a beautiful round cheeked little baby named Gwen.  She is precious.  

A lot of people love Mindy, and even though I totally agree that a person does not need a baby shower for every single baby, a good old rockin' luau is fun at any time!
I don't think I have ever documented my long relationship with Mindy that has formed into the bond we now have.  Mindy is my Las Vegas replacement sister.  The one I can turn to for literally anything without guilt and with the full knowledge that she will let me return the favor.  She is one of those friends that makes it survivable not to live by any family.  

***Backing Up*** When I met Jon he had two roommates, Sarah (whose relationship was recently documented in my Kauai post) and Dale Warren.  When we got married, we kicked Dale out of the apartment.  (Sarah caught on quickly that living with the newly married couple would not be an option, Dale had to be kicked out :)

He then moved to California, where he met his future wife, Mindy.  You're welcome, Dale.  I met Mindy at Sarah's reception.  Within the first minutes, she told me how excited she was that I was normal since she knew we would definitely be friends through our husbands.  Who knew I gave off such a normal first impression?

Mindy and Dale lived in California for a while, then moved to Utah where they had their first daughter just 6 months after Scarlet was born.  When they moved to Las Vegas, they took over our apartment.  They then followed us over to our new house neighborhood about five minutes down the road.  

And we are now caught up.  

So, anyway, everyone wanted to throw Mindy a party but Zannie Collette and I decided to take the ball and run with it.  We wanted to surprise her to make sure she didn't have to plan or think about anything.  As an excuse, I asked her to babysit my kids while Jon and I went to the temple.  Then, we had to change dates like three times.  And the final date was on a Monday...  I made up some incredibly horrific lie about having a business dinner with some client of Jon's, it was seriously bad.  But she totally bought it.  

And this is the look of surprise and wonderment that we were greeted with.

But look how happy we are to be throwing this party for her!

She cheered up dramatically when she learned there would be no baby games and we had all pitched in on a Joanns gift card instead of baby gifts.  Plus, we fed her.  And it was really good food.  I don't remember all of the delicious food people brought, but I remember what I made.  Yeah, I'm like that.  And my contributions were delicious.  These Kalua Pork sandwiches are easy and really really delicious.  I linked the picture for your eating pleasure.  You will not be disappointed.

My second contribution was our fun fruity drinks.  We went with pina coladas, a recipe from Sarah on our Kauai trip.

1 can Frozen Bacardi Pina Colada mix (found in the frozen concentrated juice section
A few scoops of vanilla ice cream
some milk so your blender doesn't explode
and then right before serving, squeeze a lime wedge on top of your glass.  

Obviously the ingredients do not leave room of non-deliciousness but really the lime just makes it phenomenal.

We played some awesome luau games including a great round backwards charades, but my favorite was the Luau Spelling game where teams had to spell Hawaiian words out with their rear, and Mindy had to guess the word.  The best part was our spellers were surprisingly good at making the letters clear and Mindy was great at guessing the letters.  What she was not good at was remember all of the letters she guessed and putting them into a word.  It was oh so very fun.

I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.  And if they didn't, at least I got to enjoy their company and good food anyway!  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Disaster Strikes in Threes

It has been a rough few months for Asher.  Really rough.  

He is doing some major toddler to kid transitioning and it has not necessarily been a smooth transition.  It's been fun on our end.  He has a renewed love for his brother and "sissy" and they are loving how fun and grown up he seems all of a sudden.  He talks to us all day long and we catch some of it.  He has a few phrases that totally crack us up, including but not limited to, "I did it!" "Give me that!" and "what's that?"

His new obsession is undies.  He loves to wear his big boy undies at every opportunity.  He thinks the idea of the potty is very fascinating and even appealing at moments, but he mostly likes cheering on the rest of us when we successfully keep our pants dry.  "Yay mom!  Bye bye pee pees!"  It is very strange to have a potty cheerleader but that is for sure what we have.  Hopefully this half effort on my part will just magically turned into a potty trained child....

His other love is shows.  He is going through a big TV phase.  The timing couldn't be more perfect for me, the extra time between nap time and picking up kids from school is still work time for me and he is  happy to let Leap Frog, Backyardigans, or Curious George fill those precious minutes.

The best part is he is one of those awesome kids who responds to the characters on TV.  It is the best.  When Mickey asks if Asher wants to come in his clubhouse, Asher responds with a very enthusiastic, "Yes!"  And when Diego can't find the baby elephant, Asher points and shouts with the best of them.  

He also now sleeps through the night!  Finally... the formula to a full night's sleep for this kid is threefold: 1) turn on white noise machine while sleeping 2) leak proof sippy filled with water in crib and  3) have your 18 month old suddenly decide he likes pacifiers.  Wouldn't bat his eye at the thing for the first year and a half of his life and now he can't live without one right at the age when most moms are weaning their kids off the plug.  Not this mom.  I figure I'll just put a dollar in the bank for every full night's sleep I'm getting to remember how much his future orthodontia bill will totally be worth it.

So, back to the bad month.  Warning, bloody pictures ahead, not for the faint of heart.

Seriously, they are pretty gnarly.  

Well, in his transition from baby to boy he is convinced he can do anything Scarlet and Rhode do.  They run outside, he runs too.  They go down the biggest slide at the playground, he's right behind them.  They turn my living room into their personal bounce house, he's flying past them.

His first major injury came from our backyard punching bag.  My kids aren't really strong enough to punch it, so they just push it around.  They all gave it a big push, and Asher missed the memo to move out of the way when it comes swinging back.

The black eye extended all the way across the bridge of his nose.  He got a lot of comments wherever we went.  But other than the initial double bloody nose, it didn't seem to bother him too much.  He just looked black and blue for weeks.  It seemed to take a long time to heal, especially when he added his second and most major injury.

We were home on a Sunday evening, everyone relaxing on the downstairs couches when we directed the kids upstairs to get their pajamas on.  Asher enthusiastically joined up in the trek upstairs, but instead of heading to the bathroom for teeth brushing, headed into Scarlet and Rhode's pitch black bedroom.

The lack of light did not seem to deter him from deciding it the perfect time to jump from twin bed to twin bed.  Downstairs, we heard bounce, bounce, bounce, CRASH! followed by SCREAM!  

He had taken a big tumble off their bed onto the wood tiled floor and bit his way cleanly through his bottom lip.

I warned you... bloody.

I am not sure how we were smiling here.  I'm gonna blame this one on shock but I was a total wreck.

We threw our pajama clad kids in the car and headed to the nearest quick care.  They agreed the outside cut needed stitches but they were not equipped to stitch a wiggly one year old so they shipped us off to UMC Childrens Emergency Room.  There they strapped him down in a towel/papoose combo and put four stitches through his front cut.  He retaliated from his tied down position by blowing raspberries with his mouth the whole time and splattering blood over everyone present.

At one point, the doctor noticed his yellowed eye bruise, wondering if it was related to the fall.  I had to admit that no, that was a completely unrelated serious injury.  Good mom moment for sure.

We all survived the night, headed straight to bed and got some sleep.

Literally the NEXT DAY, Asher was sitting on my lap at the kitchen table and decided to jump from my lap to dads without any kind of warning.  Instead of making it, he smacked his head on the side of our table and split the side of his eye.

 It was just gaping enough that we really thought we were going to have to go get stitches for that one too to keep it from making a big scar.  I was humiliated thinking I was going to have to bring my child in for a second set of stitches in two days... surely there was going to be a call to CPS.  Luckily, a well placed butterfly bandage held it in place.

So this is what my beautiful little guy looked like for the next few weeks.

And thankfully, his mood improved before the bruises.

Being third child sure looks rough.  Hope he survives it....

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Everybody loves a Hukilau...

This vacation post is almost two months behind schedule.  I am oh so tempted just to post the pictures and hope that I later remember what the heck we were doing.  But, it was just too great of a trip to not get some details down.  

It is time.  

Kauai time.

Though I promise everything I say did actually happen, I hold no fault for chronological miscalculations.  We were there for 8 days.  We did stuff.  In some kind of order.  It went something like this:

Our flight, rental car pickup and trip to the condo were quite uneventful.  We showed up when we were supposed to (after ignoring Jon's advice that we were leaving WAY too early and Trevor thinking we were leaving WAY too late) and got there without issues.  It is a seriously long flight of just straight blue ocean.  I found myself paying more attention to the water landing instructions than I have in awhile... but as I mentioned uneventful.  Moving on...

For the next few days, it was just Kristy, Trevor, Jon and I.  Another couple was joining us later in the week.  But during our two couple days, we did the following at some point.

Waimea Canyon
We took a beautiful drive straight up the canyon into the middle of the island.  There were a lot of place to stop and hike around and feel like you are in the middle of a jungle paradise.

Thank goodness for the stops 'cause that twisty drive almost did me in.  I have slowly become the biggest motion sickness wimp but since its more of a recent thing in my life (thanks babies of mine) I forget sometimes that this is how I am now.  That came back to get me later in the trip... note my very alluring foreshadowing here.

We cruised back down the mountain to make it to church at time at the adorable little ward in Kapaa.  The church was three separate buildings, a chapel, a gym and one with classrooms.  The chapel was PACKED.  Each row was shoulder to shoulder.  They were barely able to squeeze us in.  I felt kinda guilty about taking up space in their already crowded room.  I felt even MORE guilty as the room got warmer... and the voice became more distant... and then suddenly there was lava flowing down the aisle ways around the giant palm trees that sprouted up between the pews... and then I realized I was asleep.    And then I realized EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN OUR GROUP was asleep.  There was no way I was going to continue our embarrassing display of disrespectful sleepiness to Sunday School so I kicked everyone out of there and we headed home.

Speaking of home, we got to stay in one of my parent's timeshares while we were there.  It wasn't anything too fancy, not nearly as awesome as the other resorts we crashed while we were there, but it was cozy and located in Kauai so it totally fit the bill.

Our kitchen

Our balcony

Our view

Our second day on the island is when we planned our helicopter tour.  Having never been on a helicopter before, we were all pretty giddy.  Jon will never admit to being giddy, but he was.

We had a very interesting safety instructor, and her odd talking style became Jon's Kauai voice the rest of the trip.  It didn't get old.

See here?  Still giddy!
On board, the giddiness has not faded!

And then we started moving.  And then I realized this was a bbbaaaddd idea.  Like really bad.

I was instantly so so so sick.  The motion didn't agree with me at all.  I spent the entire flight staring straight ahead of me, gripping Jon's hand and trying to keep my stomach where it belongs.  I made it the entire way until the last 10 minutes.  Thanks to some well placed barf bags, my stomach loss was only bothersome because of the smell (sooo embarrassing...) and I felt momentarily better right before we landed.

Needless to say that will be my last helicopter adventure ever.

Luckily the sights out the front window were almost worth it.  Almost.

The "Jurassic Park" waterfall

NaPali Coast
The top of Kauai

This is one of the wettest spots in the world.  It gets almost 500 inches of rain a year.  The south part of Kauai only gets 18 inches a year.  

Jon's main purpose in going on this vacation was to hike the Napali Coast.  It is a crazy two day hike across that cliff face (pictured above) where a lot of the time it is just inches between you and the end of the trail.  Not to mention, it is a very popular hike in the summer but not during the winter because it is wet and rainy the whole time.  

So we got to the island only to discover the whole Napali Coast path closed.  A girl had been pushed off the cliff a few days before we arrived by what they think was a local guy and they were looking for him in all of the jungly beaches in the area.  Crazy huh?  It didn't reopen the whole time we were there. It was a big bummer for Jon, but I said a little prayer of thanks just in case it was a little divine intervention for me.

We spent the next day on Poipu beach.  This place was incredibly beautiful.  We got to snorkel, boogie board, get some good beach reading time in, and do a little tide pooling.  Every other day we tried to go there the beach was packed with people so I am glad we went when we did.  It was a great beach.

We then got to pick up the Whitmores.  **Back Story** The Whitmores are old Nielsen friends.  I met Sarah for the first time when I started dating Jon... because she was his roommate.  Seriously.  She had finished a lease and couldn't find a new place so Jon offered to let her crash for a bit.  He gave up his room to her and slept on the couch.  For a large chunk of our dating life, I would come over to hang out with Jon and just talk with Sarah the whole time.  She's fantastic.  

She met her husband Tyler while Jon and I were dating.  They got married shortly after we did.  They then picked up and moved to Arizona and I took over her dance teaching job at El Dorado High School.  And if they weren't already ingrained in our history, we took our "babymoon" together in 2007, both 6 months pregnant with our first baby.  

So we're lifer buddies basically.

We picked them up from the airport and headed straight back to Poipu beach to enjoy some New Year's fireworks.  Which luckily went off at 9:00 p.m.  Midnight is really late...

And from then on I have no idea which day we did what so just go with it.  

I am pretty sure one of the first day's they got in town we went kayaking.  We kayaked down the Wailau river that runs through the center of the island up to the Fern Grotto and over to hike secret falls.

Flash flood warnings don't scare these two crazy chicks!  Not too much at least...

The scenery was beautiful.

Another awesome thing about Sarah?  She takes a buttload of pictures.  Jon and I didn't even bring a camera, that is how lame we are.

And this is the fern grotto. Its very pretty.  But not very exciting.  I found out later that during the summer there are performers and all kinds of other crazy stuff going on here.  

Since they didn't provide the crazy stuff, we had to bring 'em with us.

What's more crazy fun than panorama picture fun?!  Nothing

And then back into the kayaks and over to the Secret Falls.

And this is the moment when our little games of bumper kayaks took a bad turn.  Tyler and Sarah's kayak gave Kristy and Trevor's kayak a little nudge and they thought it would be a good idea to both learn away from the impact.  By the way, in a kayak that is not a good idea.  They then got a nice dip in the river.  Which would have been all fun and games... except their kayak somehow was the one with all of our sandwiches.  Doesn't matter how much you hike, soggy sandwiches are never delicious.

The hike to the falls was beyond beautiful and very doable.  It was just also very very slippery.  And we all chose incredibly insufficient footwear.  

That hike to me will always be punctuated with high pitched wails as Sarah tried in vain to stay on her feet.  Luckily we kept her on the path for the most part but I am pretty sure she was bumped and bruised from the experience.

The falls were freezing!  But you don't fly all the way to Hawaii, kayak all the way down a river, and then hike all the way into it on the muddiest path in the history of existence and then NOT get under the waterfall!  Unless you're Kristy and Trevor of course.  :)

We drove up to the North side of the island to walk through fancy hotels to feel poor and to check out the NaPali coast firsthand - definitely closed.  It rained on the north side the whole time we were there so we didn't linger.

But on our visits to fancy hotels on the south shore, we found ourselves lingering a little longer...

look at me, I'm a fancy hotel and I have parrots just hanging out in my lobby.

And this was the Sheraton.  The resort was sitting on a public beach so while Jon got his bodysurfing on and I enjoyed a little reading in the sand time, a few of the rest of the crew slowly meandered themselves into this paradise and made themselves at home.

Sarah even ordered a fancy drink or two.  We had such an awesome time pretending to be rich, we may or may not have come back a couple of times...
but check out who we saw catching a few waves, Bethany Hamilton.  

We threw in some local flavor time with a hula performance from a local hula studio and some trips to the farmers market.  Lychee... much tastier than they look from the outside.

Jon and I rented some beach cruisers one day and took off on a fun path that wound north up the beach from our resort.  On our way, we found an almost completely deserted beach and then a little further on, a completely deserted beach.  We took the rest of the crew with us there the next day.  The surf was really high so we enjoyed our solitude, let a few waves knock us over, took a bazillion pictures and called it a day.

We call this picture... longing.

In between all of these fantastic adventures we spent a lot of time eating.  A LOT of time.  We ate a shaved ice at least once a day... usually twice.  The perfect Hawaiian shaved ice goes as follows:

scoop of macadamia ice cream on the bottom
followed by perfectly shaved ice
topped with sour cherry
and pineapple flavors

It's called the Kacey (or it really should be), you can thank me for the recipe later.

And really, don't be tempted to order the weird flavors like dill pickle or buttered popcorn.  You will take a bite, think 'wow this really does taste like (whatever weird crap you thought you should try)' and then you will be stuck eating the whole thing.  Cause you know your friends are not going to share their delicious flavors with you.  This is not personal experience advice I am sharing, I am way too smart to make that mistake.

Our last adventure of the trip was a four wheeling tour to... you guessed it a waterfall.  

We didn't let Tyler or Jon come.  They went and hiked a mountain or something instead.  They have a hard time "staying behind the guide" and "following the rules" and "not getting us kicked out of fun tours" so they were deemed unfit companions.

And it was seriously fun for the mildly adventurous people that we are.  This was my first four wheeling driving experience and it was a blast.  We got to some some of Hawaii's finest wild animals up close and personal.  Here's an interesting Hawaiian tidbit for you.  Kauai has no predators.  There are no snakes, no crazy poisonous spiders, nothing like that.  So when people introduced wild boars and chicken to the island, they took off like rabbits.  There's nothing to kill them but people and they just wander the island like they own the place.

The waterfall at the end of our journey.  We jumped off it into the freezing cold water.  It was awesome.  

It is a true miracle to me that we have come to the end of this blog entry.  It has taken me months to finish it.  I blog almost solely on Sundays and between trips out of town, it just wasn't happening.  Then two Sundays ago, I committed to finishing.  Then, Jon ripped out a tree in our front yard the day before, taking our internet cord with it.  Undaunted, I vowed to finish the next Sunday.  Instead I spent the evening in the ER (more on that later, no worries everyone is fine).  I was beginning to think it just wasn't meant to be but I have proved you wrong Fates of the Blog!  I will now publish before I accidentally press the delete button or something.