Sunday, July 29, 2012

'Neakin' Around

Roman fell off his chair and told Derek that Xandri pushed him.

This little lie earned him a time-out on the couch from Daddy.
Who went back to playing Diablo 3 with Weston ten feet away. 

After some time he came upstairs, got some paper from the printer and some crayons and sat next to me, quietly coloring. After drawing a couple pictures, Grandpa Wayne said, "Roman, what are you doin?"

Roman replied, "I'm 'neakin' out of my corner."
The he finished coloring, ate a little snack and got down from his chair. 

Wayne asked him where he was going.

"I'm 'neakin' back to my corner."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Leggy Pepper

This morning at breakfast we were all eating our eggs when Roman asks, "Mom, what is this black thing?"

I glanced over between Max's bites and said, "It's pepper, Roman, you always have pepper in your food. It's fine."

"But Mom, it has legs. I don't like pepper with legs."

"What? Pepper goes on eggs, Roman, it's fine."

"Mom, we don't eat pepper with legs."

Finally convinced this might not be pepper on mispronounced eggs, I inspected the proffered fork and egg. 

Sure enough, his "pepper" had legs. A little roach had somehow found it's way into the pan. I still don't know how and I'm quite traumatized.

I'd post a picture, but I'm still trying to hold down what I hope is legless eggs. We all left off the eggs and moved onto better things. Legless Poptarts. 

I need me some Orkin!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pretend Xandri Did It!

Standing at the kitchen sink rinsing some dishes when suddenly I'm attacked from behind by a Bad Guy under the cover of a blanket.

And then CHOMP!
Right on my behind.


Ducking quickly away...
"Mom! Mom! Pretend Xandri did it!"

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dad & Shelley Get Hitched

So we left off last time, with Derek getting on a jet plane to go home without me while I went on to my dad's wedding.

Although the parting was difficult initially, I was comforted and left with a feeling of peace that allowed to look forward to and enjoy the rest of my journey. 

I'm so glad I was able to go. It was wonderful to see everyone- my friend Natalie picked me up from the airport and we hung out briefly that evening, catching up and enjoying each other's company. She then dropped me off at Derek's grandparents' house where I was immediately made to feel loved and welcome, I felt, as always, right at home there. I miss them already just thinking about it!

We caught up for a bit, but it was late and we were all tired so I crashed pretty quickly but made sure to set my alarm so I would have time to leave for the wedding by 8:00. Of course the travel and the late nights and the jet lag caught up with me though and I slept through (or "snoozed" through) my alarm. Thankfully Grandma Zickgraf had an eye on the time and listened for me- not hearing me she sweetly took it upon herself to wake me!

After a quick breakfast, I headed out and tried to remember my way up to Provo from Salem on the backroads. All things considered it didn't go too terribly badly. I got to the temple on time and when in to a near-on family reunion. Everyone was waiting inside, so in hushed voices we said our hellos and made our reacquainted ourselves. I was so happy to see a few familiar faces from my childhood ward and see the love and support my dad has at home. 

The sealing was beautiful. My dad and Shelley looked so happy together and I'm so grateful I was able to be a part of it. It was definitely an emotional experience for me.

I'm excited to get to know Shelley more personally, as well as her kids. I mean, wow, five more siblings in a matter of a few minutes? That's impressive. And daunting! I was delighted to meet them all, as well as some of their new spouses (this was the FOURTH wedding for Shelley and her kids in the past year! And when I say that, I mean her three oldest kids got married, not that she's been married four times in the past year. Just to clear up any confusion that may have caused.)

And of course I was more than thrilled to catch up with my own siblings- I mean who wouldn't love to talk to this face?!

These faces... well, I'm torn between the adjectives "entertaining" and "terrifying". And I mean that in the best way possible. 

It was so good to see my dad's family and catch up with them and hear about their own families as well. The saddest part was the whirlwind aspect of it all! We had so little time to catch up, I'm grateful Denise and Grandma will be coming with Dad in August for Avril's baptism. 

Shelley-- are you SURE you're ready for this crew? We're excited to have you, but I don't thinking you know what you're getting into! ;)
Oh and hey! There's Nic and Ethan in a picture! I wasn't sure I had any of Ethan, he slunk away halfway thru pictures. I'm pretty sure Nic woulda if he coulda, too, but I was his ride- sucker.  

I miss you, Amiee! I really wish we'd had more girl time together, it simply wasn't enough!
I could not BELIEVE how grown UP this girl looked when I saw her at the temple! Her hair, her dress, her jewelry... dang, girl. I'm still reeling a bit from the shock of it. Still my little sister, but no longer the baby, that's for sure.

It was a delight to meet Shelley's parents as well, they were so pleasant and charming. She just makes such a beautiful, classy, elegant bride. She carries herself with such confidence and you can see her inner light. As I said before, I look forward to getting to know this lovely lady!

Love you Grandma! It was wonderful to see you. I love this picture.

(Amiee, we need more of these.)

The newly-minted brothers. Well, except Ethan. This is the part where he ditched.  

And the women of the family... we're a pretty good-lookin' crew I'd say. 

We love you, Dad! Congratulations on this big step in your life! May you treasure each other always.

Afterward we got to catch up with everyone a bit more over dinner at Olive Garden, Chelsea and Reed serenaded them on the ukulele with a couple of songs, one of which was a personal favorite of mine. Aren't they simply gorgeous together?!

I also got to know Denise's daughter Aspyn a bit- she is a firecracker! She had us cracking up all over the place, good luck with that girl Denise! She's got boatloads of personality!

After the festivities and the bittersweet goodbyes, I drove back "home" to Grandma and Grandpa Zickgraf's house to pack up for the trip back. I wish I could have stayed longer just to catch up with them (and everyone); my time there was precious, more so for its brevity. 

Natalie once again hooked me up with a ride (thank you for driving me all over Utah girly!) and we went out for frozen yogurt before she dropped me off at my aunt and uncle's house for the night. Thank you Robert and Debbe for your hospitality as well! 

I felt so loved and cared for on this trip and I am so grateful for the many, many friends and family that I have out there. I look forward to the next time we meet in our many walks of life and think of you all with fondness until then. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

New York, New York! Part the Second

So then that brings us to Friday, wedding day. I started off my day with a grueling new workout called S.L.T. led by the harsh (yet sexy) taskmistress, Natalie Uhling, who also works as an UnderArmor model. I can't even describe what it all entails, so if you're interested or curious, just check out the link. 

All I know is that I've never actually been able to see myself shake so visibly in the mirror on the other side of the room. 

After S.L.T., I went back to the hotel to get ready for the day. Camas had sweetly offered to have our hair and makeup professionally done, so I got there early. Apparently everything had gone wrong already that morning. Wrong flowers, wrong gift cookies, second hairstylist no-show, and then the overcast, threatening clouds, soon to be rain. 

But we already know how that story ended. 

Then the reception was perfect. Lovely top story reception room and roof garden in Soho, beautiful despite the occasional rain and threatening clouds. Enjoyable company, delectable hors d'oeuvres, refreshing libations. Frank Sinatra crooning in the background. So very tastefully done.

I loved the guest sign in book. A beautiful coffee table book full of stunning photographs. Pick a page and write a note. 

The cake was divine. Both the cheesecake and the chocolate. 
Then they did a little gift presentation to Matthias' kids, symbolic of how they were joining all together as a family. It was very sweet. The look on his son's face in particular I will never forget. The sweetest smile as he looked at all their pictures in the frame. 

Post reception Jaime and I, the honorary maids of honor (yes, maids- I defy you to say otherwise), Jared & Derek, Camas' parents & Bradley all helped clean up. Dropped off the various leftover food items at their new apartment & after salivating for some minutes over the extra cakes in the fridge, finally decided to head out to finish off the night in style. Found a sushi place that was still open at 11pm. Lots of great conversation, reminiscing, discussing, plenty of laughter and all around some good bonding with some truly fun people. 

Sleep: 3am.

Awake: 12:30pm.

Now somehow we're going to cram all the rest of our sightseeing into the last half of Saturday. Time to prioritize. Grabbed the camera and headed to the Top of the Rock. We opted for a stroll through Central Park on the way there and snagged some food from a Shishkebab or Halal truck before going in. Pretty tasty.

First sight to greet our eyes was this:

The poor dears really just need a beach. Nothing quite like this level of wishful thinking to really appreciate what I got, eh?

Meanwhile, I was enjoying the juxtaposition of God's creations and man's.

Also, there were turtles in the water.

Finally made it over to the Top of the Rock. 1/2 price for military, BOOYAH!

Absolutely stunning views of the city. 

Next stop, The Meatball Shop in Chelsea with the cousins!

First, though, we had to find our way and bumbled into Grand Central Station, which I had wanted to see but forgot to do on purpose.

Sorry guys, we actually did have a picture where we all had our camera faces on, but I liked this one better, more fun and personality here. And since it's my blog, it's my say. 

After some great conversation and delicious meatballs (served up in at least 6 different ways that I noticed), we speed walked over to Amorino's for some sinfully delicious gelato- I think Derek got mango but all I could concentrate on was my fantabulous dark chocolate nutella gelato... omnomNOM!

From there, booked it on over to the port for our evening cruise (which I kept thinking, "Wait, if the SUNSET cruise doesn't leave till 9pm won't we miss the sunset?" And then I remembered I wasn't in Hawai'i anymore where the sun never sets any later than like 7:30.) Biggest bummer was our camera died by then. The Statue of Liberty is absolutely gorgeous at night, though, I will tell you that. The city itself is beautiful all lit up, the lights reflecting on the water...

We made it over the Chinatown and Little Italy just as they were shutting down for the night, but managed to snag a few last minuted deals from some indulgent shopkeepers all the same.

All in all, New York was fantastic. We made it on our subway, train and plane all on schedule and parted ways in Phoenix so Derek could make it back to work for Monday and I could make it to my dad and Shelley's wedding Monday.

On a side note... that was one of the hardest splits for me. Watching him get on that plane to go back home- to our kids, to my Max, to Hawai'i... I felt like my heart left with him. I wanted nothing more than to bag it all and go with him. But a quick little prayer left peace in my heart about the upcoming flights & experiences left in my own trip and although I still missed everyone terribly, I was able to go on and enjoy the rest of the trip.
Blog to follow. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Circle of Life According to Xandri

A while ago we were driving past the Valley of the Temples memorial park, home to the Byodo-in Buddhist temple and a large cemetery. Derek and I were talking about something until I overheard the conversation going on behind us as Xandri explained to Roman what a cemetery is.

X: "That's where people go and die. And then the people that love them and miss them go and put flowers on them to show them."

R: "Who killed them?"

X: "I don't know. Some of them just grew and got too big and explode and die."

Me: "Wait, what happens Xandri?"

X: "They get old and lose their minds and grow and get too big and go to the top of the tallest tree in the world and explode and die!"

Dad: "Is that what's gonna happen to you?"

X: "No, first you, then Mom, then Trin, the Avril, then me, then Roman, then Max."

A: "Max is immortal!"

So. I suppose that makes the most sense. Although does that mean that the larger you are, the older you are? I'll have to ask her.

Monday, July 2, 2012

New York, New York!

My dear friend and cousin Camas just married the love of her life in New York. It was a lovely wedding, set in a quietly preserved garden in Central Park. While the weather had us all wondering whether it would be as great as it sounded in theory (it was raining right up to about an hour before after being extremely hot all week!), it wound up being absolutely perfect. The rain cooled the air temperature by about 10 degrees, filled the bird bath in the fountain, bringing birds and their songs for background music. It left a beautiful golden light filtering through spots in the clouds and a smell of cleanness in the air. 

And I will say this: God answers prayers! The rain cleared up just at the right time, and the reprieve lasted just long enough for the ceremony and pictures of friends and family with the bride and groom as well as a handful more after we all dispersed to go to the reception. Apparently, being the last to leave the scene, Camas and Matthias, dressed in full wedding attire were left huddling under a hot dog stand when the deluge started back up. I had no idea until after the reception as neither of them were any worse for the wear!
I can't wait to see the wedding pictures. She hired a brilliant photographer, Jen Huang, to shoot the wedding. I love her style. 

Derek snagged this shot of me during the ceremony. I'm so happy for you both!

We've been needing updated cousin shots. I sure hope Jen got some good ones cause oh boy. We look great-- just a wee bit fuzzy

Camas, you are simply stunning. So beautiful inside and out. I'm honored to be able to have shared this beautiful day with you. I love you as a sister.

Doesn't my hair look AWESOME? Camas's friend/hairdresser did it and I LOVED it. It looked so cute the next day, too, when I took all the pin curls out. 

I wasn't sure what to do myself-- I wanted great pictures, but at the same time didn't want to interfere with the true professional at work. Further, I didn't quite know whether that was a faux pas to take personal photos during the ceremony. So. Derek got out the camera and snapped a few, for which I am grateful. Unfortunately, in my quest to learn some new features on my camera and get better at using them, I'd changed the focusing to back button focusing (yeah, now I'm getting to the point where I'd have to explain my stuff to non-photographers! Booyah!). Derek is used to shutter focusing. So we were left with several out-of-focus, blurry shots. While on the one hand it makes me happy that I'm increasing in my knowledge enough that I can't just hand my camera over to anyone and expect the same quality from them as myself, it also (as seen here) gets in the way at times. I tried to do this hazy vintage-y edit on some of them as well. I'm still unsure whether I like it or not. I think it looks good on the pics that are sharply in focus, but the ones that aren't... I'm afraid it just looks like bad photography.

Meanwhile, the rest of our 4 days in New York were spent well-- at least we enjoyed them. Whether or not we maximized our site-seeing time is debatable. I don't think we got to bed before 2:30--ever. Despite the melatonin Camas thoughtfully gave us.

Wednesday we got in at 4:30, got to our hotel around 6:30/7 after trying to figure out the best way to get there like a local (we flew into Jersey), went to 5 Napkin Burger for the best burgers and the most amazing chocolate peanut butter milkshake (deja vu anyone? I think I posted about that last time I went to NY). It was even better than I remembered. Then we stopped in late to say hi to Camas before heading back to our hotel to crash. Seriously, it was like 8:30 our time. 

Thursday I got up early to meet Camas for a Barry's Bootcamp workout that kicked my butt and left me in pain for the rest of the week. Good pain. Following that I grabbed a fantastic, cheap mani-pedi ($25!), had Derek meet me and then on to Vive la Crepe! for a delicious and light lunch. Derek got dark chocolate with strawberries while I enjoyed a savory goat cheese, spinach, mushroom and tomato crepe. Then we met up with Camas again briefly before heading back out to check out MoMA

On our way there, we stumbled upon Rockefeller Center,

and Time Square, where we discovered we were on a giant screen. 

I really honestly think I was one of, if not the first person to notice the giant screen. Tell you what though. I pointed at that thing and within a matter of seconds not only did everyone else notice, everyone within a 2 block radius seemed to have materialized to do really original things, like point at themselves and take pictures of the screen. Even the vodka company advertising its wares noted how original we all were. 

Next stop, MoMA. 
Single Adult Admission: $25.
Admission for Active Duty Military members: FREE.

Love it. 

So. Modern art, huh. Well, when we walked into the bottom floor, I was pretty unimpressed. Social and political statements? Yes. Art? Well, no. In my humble opinion, art requires a degree of skill and should be based around creating something original-- not destroying another person's original creation that required skill. Or littering candy wrappers in large areas of the floor, no matter how organized you try to make it look.  Frankly, I was embarrassed for our generation of "artists". 

Although, Derek's favorites were found on this floor. Though the word "favorite" is rather tongue in cheek here. The top and middle left being the ones that made him "feel". 

Somehow we were unaware that Starry Night made it's home here and Derek was delighted to find it on the top floor. That made it all worthwhile. And while the first floor did little to wow us, the following floors each offered more, one after another until we were able to leave quite satisfied. A number of pieces had varying degrees of effect on me, from making me think, to causing me to reexamine previously held ideas, to stunning me with skill, creativity and beauty, even to visceral emotional reactions. 

The sculpture below was one I found interesting-- it was described as depicting the relationship and communication between men and women. Think about that for a while. 

This one just made me happy. And dork that I am, I couldn't help myself. 

So original.

After finishing at MoMA, we went out to a delightful little Thai restaurant called Topaz Thai and enjoyed some fantastic curries before our Broadway show that night. We got to see Anything Goes-- it was SO fun! We were both pretty tired from the late night before, so during the slower parts and the ballads found ourselves nodding off, BUT. The big song and dance numbers were fantastic. So much energy and talent, and although I've heard much of the music, I'd never seen it-- I loved the story. Fantastic and well worth the experience. 


Sunday, July 1, 2012


The kids have their own colored plates. They are quite possessive of their colors. Anything green automatically belongs to Roman, yellow to Xandri and orange to Avril. Roman and Xandri in particular are very possessive. 

While we were in New York, Zan watched the kids for us. Without thinking about the possible ramifications, Zan served up a plate of cookies-- on a green plate. While everything around him was going on as normal, Roman became increasingly concerned about how to claim possession of what appeared to him to be his rightful cookies.

Suddenly he blurts out, "Those cookies are MY business! Don't touch my BUSINESS!"


Also while in New York:

Roman became concerned that Grandma (Tutu here in Hawai'i) wasn't taking care of Max properly. Helpfully, he suggested "Tutu, you're supposed to feed him with those" pointing to her chest.

"With what?" she asks.
"With yow' boobs," he replies.
"I can't. Those don't have any milk in them."

"Just try, Tutu. Just try."