Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hope all was merry and bright. It certainly was for me.
All my love.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Sunday Photo

Christmas shopping with Ava is the best kind of shopping there is.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Humbled


Picture & thought found
here

My great grandpa fought (in WWII)so I wouldn't have to. I'm thankful for him and all the others who went before, after, and who are yet to make that sacrifice for me.

"It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes ..." Norman Schwarzkopf

"America’s fighting men and women sacrifice much to ensure that our great nation stays free. We owe a debt of gratitude to the soldiers that have paid the ultimate price for this cause, as well as for those who are blessed enough to return from the battlefield unscathed." Allen Boyd

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Year's Resolution: Check


I have to tell you, there's more pictures where that came from. When life has settled a bit, there will be plenty. I just wanted you to take note of the fact that on October 24, 2009, I fulfilled a New Year's Resolution. I wore red lipstick...oh well if I was also wearing a Halloween costume...I have to say, I kind of liked it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Party In the USA

I love how I use my blog for embarrassing confessions. Nice. This song makes me happy. That's all.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Halloween SOS

I determined last night that my kids are going to probably hate me. I came to the conclusion after I had been to 3 Halloween stores looking for a respectable costume. I'm modest, but not over-the-top. I searched high and low for a costume that was not labeled "A Playboy Original" or "Leg Avenue." My girls (as in, my girl children) will never be allowed to wear those costumes, and my boys won't be allowed to be with girls who wear those costumes. I'm expecting them to know right from wrong, and it won't be an issue. I'm not budging if it is.

Basically, my options were to be a witch or wear a man's costume. Neither of which will do. For two years now, I've just wanted to be a sailor -- a respectable, God bless America sailor. Not a slutty one. We're in the middle of a war here. Is that too much to ask?

I need more ideas and someone to help with the vision. Send help please!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Letter To A Designer

Dear Kate Spade,

Your fall line is truly inspirational. Thanks for the ideas and for renewing my love of patterned, colored tights, dresses, polka dots, and cardigans. Also, you have made me want to stick with my get healthy plan even more, because skinny jeans are awesome. As if that weren't enough, I never really thought peep toes and tights were acceptable. Apparently, I was wrong.

Unfortunately, your prices are out of control and more than I could ever splurge on. You make Anthro look like Wal-Mart. Maybe someday when I meet my scruffy man in scrubs (they make my heart flutter every time)...or fire fighter... or whatever... I'll consider it, but even then I'm doubtful. I'll just figure out how to make your look for less.

Also, you confirmed to me that having dark hair and thick bangs is hot. I am blond. What's a girl to do?

Affectionately yours,
Nikki

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ruby Slippers

There's no place like home... ~ Dorthy

I've never really thought seriously about buying my own home. I've always been okay renting, not having to mow my own lawn, shovel snow, not being tied down to something. Not to mention, I didn't have too much confidence that I could swing it financially. Let's be real, it's scary to go into something like that by yourself.

I've moved around enough to know that home is where you make it. If I feel comfortable, welcome, peaceful and have a warm bed to lay down at night, the house can become my home. As long as I'm close to people that love me, I'm good to go.

I felt all those things where I'm at until Saturday.... when my Athena brought in unexpected visitors. Just a few, but enough to make me sick to my stomach. Then it got worse when I realized they came from the neighbor.

And I cried.

In the apartment.

At the laundromat.

On the phone.

At the vet.

Just like that, my house didn't feel like home. I was over apartment living.

Monday morning, I got pre-approved to buy a house. I was super excited, started looking, and had some strong possibilities in mind. So started the up and down cycle of deciding between buying my own house and renting.

Up and down.

Pros and cons.

Back and forth.

50 million times.

Every 5 minutes.

And the cycle continues.

It would be awesome, but I don't feel completely at peace (I've learned to listen to that voice, you know?) The timing isn't right.

Good news is, my house is more spotless than ever before (which makes sense when you vacuum every freakin' day...), and I haven't seen any of what I not-so-affectionately am referring to as the plague in 2 days. Also, I was encouraged to know I could actually get a house when I'm ready.

For the first time this week, I'm optimistic. And I'm hoping my house feels more like home very very soon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The 515

found here
Des Moines made Design Sponge! We're listed in good company with places like D.C., Sydney, Milan, Boston. I'm just starting to figure out this place is kind of cool. It only took me 16 years, but still.

Instead of sorrowing over all the things we don't have (Anthro, H&M, Ikea, the oceans, mountains...I could go on, but that's not the point), I'm thinking of all the things we do. Like, grass that is actually green, snow flakes at Christmas, charming brick houses, Von Maur, the Iowa State Fair (duh). Lest you think because I live in Iowa, I am a little bit country, I have never milked a cow, collected my own eggs, and once cried when I stepped in manure at a friends house. I did, however, listen and thoroughly enjoy the Journey concert at the Iowa State Fair...from a lawn chair...in my brother's backyard. WT maybe, country, not a chance.

So friends, come play with me. We've got some fun things to do off this list. Don't believe me? Check it out here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Ol' List

Remember my list? The "30 Before 30" one? It's time to knock a few more off.

This one should be fun. #15 -- Perfect a Cookie Recipe.

Here's the problem. I'm overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed by cookies? Yes, overwhelmed.

What kind should I start with?

Should I keep it simple?

Chocolate chip?

Sugar Cookies, gingersnaps, snickerdoodle?

Or make something fancy like macaroons?

Help me decide. Please.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Healthy Goals: Redo

Don't you love it how when you commit to doing something hard, you struggle more than ever? Yeah, me neither. After eating more food this weekend than what any human should consume(that gyro and funnel cake at the fair were to die for), I went to sleep Sunday night with thoughts and commitments to myself for a healthy week. And then I got to work on Monday, and someone had brought donuts... and then a friend invited me to lunch... and then Tuesday we went out to eat for a co-worker's birthday. Seriously, can I catch a break???

Here's the story, I've been working hard to be the healthiest, most fit person I can be for the last 3 years. I joined Weight Watchers, and started going to the gym. I've been successful, but I'm not there yet. Actually, I'm about half way there. Let's be honest, I'm tired of half-way.

I can't tell you what that ultimate goal looks like. I think I'll know when I get there. If you'd be so kind to humor me while I document my journey, I'd love you to pieces. I can promise you, goals will be recorded, met, shattered, and failed, and I promise not to give up. I'm hoping for more shattering, less failing, please.

And for the love of all things, could someone tell the doctors to stop bringing the donuts??? Seriously.

P.S. Your thoughts, tips, and encouragement are always welcome. :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bottom Line

On January 27, 2008, my sister-in-law gave birth to the most precious baby boy I have ever seen. He was perfect – 10 fingers and 10 toes, hands and lips that looked like his daddy’s. The only problem is that he was born at 23 weeks after his mother’s water broke spontaneously in the night. He was just too little to make it. After living for just 15 minutes, my nephew Kane went to be with Jesus. I watched my 23 year old brother plan the funeral of his first born son, with a grace and strength that could have only come from the Father. As he carried the casket of his 1 pound, 5.7 ounce baby it was evident that the burden he bared weighed far more than what he held with his physical hands. I also saw his mom mourn and attempt to let go of all the hopes and dreams she had created for her baby that she would never see grow up. A gut-wrenching thing to do, I am sure.

Here's the thing. Everywhere I turn some one's talking about the Obama Health Care Plan and I'm sure it's no surprise that I am adamantly opposed. There are more reasons than I would ever want to get into. Trust me, there's a lot of them. But there is one reason I can not fight or ignore. From my understanding, his plan, as modeled after the one is Massachusetts, allows for late term abortions for a $50 co-pay. If that's true, that makes me sick.

I've been questioning whether it's insensitive to use Kane's story to prove the point I want to make. But you see, I got that call from my brother in the middle of the night, and I rushed to the hospital and watched his mom cling to a perfectly formed human being. At 23 weeks. A baby. Not just a fetus. And I just can't understand why someone would want to or could go through with an abortion after seeing what I saw.

Bottom line, that's why I won't support the Obama Plan.

You want to talk about rights now?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Terribly Happy

I can't get enough of this blog. Her passion and love for life is contagious. Here's my very own list of 10 things that make me terribly happy!

1. Best friend reunions
2. The smell of my home after it’s been cleaned top to bottom
3. The first signs of Spring after a long, Midwest Winter
4. An American flag flying in the wind
5. A baby’s giggle (doesn't get much better)
6. Seeing the potential in others
7. The peace & security I have in my relationship with Jesus Christ
8. Post-it Notes & Mechanical Pencils
9. Diet Coke with a lime – the fizzier the better
10. Generosity

And to add to my list of happy things getting me through this Monday...

11. A new cardigan to wear today
12. A trip to Hobby Lobby over my lunch hour for project supplies
13. Figuring out what menu item I LOVE at Jimmy John's and picking it up after Hobby Lobby
14. Matt Lauer looking extra dapper in his gray suit this morning (is that embarrassing to admit?) and Al Roker being on vacation (I'm sorry, but sometimes he is too much for me).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Bunch of Hot Air

I have lived in Des Moines for a big chunk of my life, but have never (that I can recall) been to the National Balloon Classic in Indianola. What is wrong with me? I'm thinking I need to make it there ASAP before this weekend when it ends because it sounds like a good time to me. Two things...Does that mean I'm getting old that I would like that sort of thing and does anyone else want to come?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lump In My Throat

I've been up since 4:15, and several times before that through the night. I'm restless, thinking about the future and how decisions I make now, will affect me, and possibly others, for years to come. I don't typically second guess myself and I don't like this feeling. I keep getting mad at myself for not doing things sooner. Then I remember that I have always loved my life. I'm trying to remember this, and mostly this.

I'm also thinking of friends, some close and some far away. I have to admit that I'm both sad and happy. I can barely see through the tears to type this. You'd probably laugh, if you could see me now. About the ones that are far away, I hope people who get to live near all them know how lucky they are. I'd give anything to put them all in one place and get to see them everyday. I would. And all their babies, ones just born and ones starting junior high this year. I'm praying for babies and overcome by how awesome it is to think of the potential in those kids and that God knew them before their moms ever felt them kick. That is so incredible. I'm thankful that I have a healthy niece because carrying a baby is not easy for everyone. She puts life in perspective.

As I write, and pray, and write, and pray I'm filled with peace. I know my steps are ordered of God, that He goes before me, that He chose me, and that there is no reason to worry.

And to all my friends facing your own trials, He thinks those things of you too. Isn't that humbling? It is for me.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Running, & Running, & Running

Here's hoping for legs like this after I'm through.
found here

To most of you, this goal would be easy. To me, it sounds like torture. I have never been a runner. In high school, I ran in the back of the group. With the smokers. I have never smoked. I have also been known to ask if games involve running before agreeing to participate. It's just not my thing.

But I'm stuck. I need something new. A challenge. A feeling of accomplishment. Motivation. Success.

I'm starting this plan tonight and posting it for you all (all 3 of you :)) so I'll actually follow through. I think I'm ready. Here we go.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Birthday Cake: FAIL

Picture from smitten kitchen
What my cake should have looked like.

My friend Megan is always making the cutest cakes for birthdays... this year, she made me cupcakes with butter cream frosting (my favorite). She inspired the big dreams I had of making my sister the birthday cake she'd be talking about for years. As in, "remember that one year when you made me that AMAZING cake... that was the best..." I searched high and low and settled for this one from Smitten Kitchen.

What my cake ACTUALLY looked like.

It wasn't the easiest of recipes and I followed it step by step. Everything was going good until I added the 3rd layer and it started to collapse. I thought, "nothing a little frosting can't cover..." So I continued on with the frosting and chocolate glaze. Then the cake literally started cracking and falling apart. I have no idea what happened and that picture above is what it looked like BEFORE it was cut. I almost had left it at 2 layers and I wish I had. Thankfully, my sister is good sport and we ate it anyway. It may of been ugly, but it tasted darn good! Maybe next time it will look good too.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Oh Snap

This picture is to prove to the world that me and my sister are not twins and that I am the older one. I was very much 6 years old, on this day, 22 years ago. This picture also proves that she was indeed born in Des Moines, IA (if you look closely you can see "Iowa Methodist Medical Center" on my gown) and not adopted from Ethiopia like we used to tell her. :) Pretty sure we (as in me and my brother) were way mean to her growing up and I'm thankful she is so forgiving and doesn't hold it against us. It took us a while to warm up to another sibling, but now I'm thankful she's around and makes me laugh almost every day! Happy Birthday, Linz...I love you!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Pretty Penny

Pretty sure I'll be saving for this dress!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Summer Letter

The only time I ever remember wearing pigtails.1984
Dear Sister,
Let's set the record straight. I love my city. I really do. D-town is where it's at for me... Atleast for now. But I'm boorrreeeddd. Sure, there's things I could be doing -- cleaning, walking the dog, going to the gym, working on some project. Heck, I could even be filling out my UoP application...Remember when you were a kid and thought you had nothing to do during the summer? We didn't know a thing. Today, summer is basically half over and I haven't got much to show for it. I'm glad you're coming to play this weekend. We'll have a fabulous time and won't be bored for one second. I promise.
Love,
Sister

Monday, July 6, 2009

Night on the Town

Right before Megan left for vacation (I'm still in denial that she's leaving), her and Amanda took me out to celebrate my birthday. Oh and celebrate we did. We dressed up, had a fancy dinner, laughed a lot, and memories were made. Ultimately, it made me more thankful for girls like this to live life with.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Lucky

Happy Independence Day! In my humble opinion, I'm a citizen of the greatest country in the world. That makes me lucky.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Washingon DC


I'm excited to report I get to cross another thing off my list. I just got back from a work trip to Washington DC. I think I fell in love with that city. I don't have many pictures of me on the trip. This one will have to do as proof I was actually there. Trip highlights include: staying in the nicest hotel I've have ever stepped foot in, Arlington National Cemetery where I had a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye the entire time, the Holocaust Museum where I couldn't hold it in anymore and balled like a baby, the Iwo Jima monument, and getting caught in the presidential motorcade. I didn't have nearly enough time and would love to go back. I need to work in that city someday. That's all there is to it.
Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns
Rows and rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery

Iwo Jima Monument for Marines

The White House

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today

Thinking about my little buddy and missing her already.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Do You Believe In Magic?

I do. I can't even begin to put it into words. I was so close it was incredible. My only regret was not having a camera with me. Number 2 on my 30 before 30 list... check.

Friday, June 12, 2009

30 Before 30


I would like to think I'm a bit of dreamer. Always wanting just a little bit more -- not being completely satisfied with where I'm at. I think it's a bit of a generational thing -- always wanting more. I don't want to identify with the discontentment of my generation, I'm just hoping to be a little better, and leave the people I come in contact with a little better than before. I want to be wise enough and brave enough to seize the grand opportunities of this life, and be discerning and sensitive enough to take advantage of the quiet, every day occasions that make it all worth living.

I think I sort of lost the dreamer in me for a little while. Things kind of felt far off, unattainable, and overwhelming. I think I've got a handle on that now. What better way to jump back into it than my making my very own "30 before 30" list. At first, I thought it was impossible to think of thirty things, and then 30 didn't seem like nearly enough. I tried to make the list as tangible as possible, but there might be things you don't get, certain people I'm referring to, specific moments I'm hoping to make real life. Some may seem insignificant and some used to be secret -- until now. Some of it is about finishing what I started and doing what I've always wanted to do.

More than accomplishing the list, I'm hoping to make some memories along the way. I'm going to enjoy the journey and have stories to tell my grand kids someday. Here's my list, in no particular order:

1. Finish school
2. See a really great concert
3. Go to New York
4. Run a race
5. Pay off my car
6. Invest some money
7. Plant a garden
8. Sew a baby blanket
9. Hand write 1 note per week
10. Work for a political campaign
11. Visit Washington DC
12. Make a new life friend
13. Overcome shyness – Be confident
14. See a horse race
15. Perfect a cookie recipe
16. Learn to play tennis
17. Give to something until it hurts
18. Know how to change a flat
19. Break 100 in bowling
20. Encourage someone’s dream
21. Stop drinking diet pop
22. Forgive quickly
23. Love unconditionally
24. Read Bible through
25. Write something worth reading
26. Live in the same city as life friends
27. Have a job I love
28. Start a book club
29. Go sailing
30. Be in love

I pray the next 2 years are better than I could ever imagine and that I can't even wrap my mind around what good things are next.

"Happy are those that dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true." ~Leon Joesph Cardinal Suenens

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Destiny


I'll admit it. I like the Hills. I like Lauren Conrad. I'll probably read her new book this summer. I don't think the Hills will be as good now that she's gone. I feel like I watched her grow up. I am, after all, 28 years old now. I first started following the drama on Laguna Beach, and would get SO mad at Stephen for how he treated her. By the way, Stephen is on One Tree Hill now and he should stick with breaking hearts on "reality" tv. Lauren's come a long way since then... especially her highlights.

When I woke up this morning, more tired than usual from all the birthday partying I've been doing (uhh, something like that...) I just didn't feel like doing my hair. For some unknown reason I thought I could pull off Lauren's braid. Apparently I didn't look into the mirror until I got to work and it was too late... CRAP! Note to self: braids do not hide grease. Is that embarrassing to admit?

Then, I happened upon a quote by Coco Chanel on some one's FB.

"I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny. And it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny."

I hope today is not my day.

I should shower at lunch time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Be Still My Heart

In case you're wondering, I'll be seeing this guy in Omaha this weekend. My heart is about as happy as it could be.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chubby Cheeks

I think I must be squeezing her awfully tight because there is no way her cheeks are that chubby seeing that she's still under 5 lbs. P.S. She loves me the best.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Age is Just a Number

Pretty for sure we need a picture that isn't over 2 years old...
Dearest Em,
I have to tell you, I'm a little ticked that Illinois came between us on this day, your 27th birthday. Distance does not play nice. I can assure you, there is no where else I'd rather be today than celebrating with you. I listened to Survivor, All or Nothing by O-town, and Eye of the Tiger, but it just wasn't the same. It is not fun dancing on the counter by yourself. I also ate a cupcake, although you probably wouldn't have ate one because you have discipline and you're good like that. Anyways, I hope Jake was extra good to you today, that Jones was sweeter than usual, that Ben was a little angel, and that Natalie sleeps through the night. I also hope that you know how much I love you, that I admire you, and that I'm proud of who you are and who Jesus is making you to be. Your perseverance, strength, and character will still be there when hope feels gone. Those are some of the important things -- things that really matter. I'm praying good things for you this year -- the very, very best of things.
I love you always,
EM
P.S. Your present will be in the mail soon... I sorry.

A Thought

photo via msnbc
Right after it occurred to me that I get a 3-day weekend, I remembered what it was really about. Then, I was all the more thankful.

Friday, May 22, 2009

These Are My Confessions


Do you remember that song by Usher? I'm listening to it right now. I've got some things to get off my chest. Here's the thing, I've been known to color coordinate my closet. For some reason, it makes me happy. It's like for a second everything is as it should be -- As if I don't live between 150 and 1500 miles away from my best friends, I never lose my cool, I travel the world, people I come in contact with are normal, mutants from X-men are real and then maybe I could get some world peace. Instead I settle for a closet that's pleasing to my eye. I'm really not that particular of a person -- I usually have at least a few dishes in the sink, my desk is a bit disheveled, and I always have a large stack of things on my kitchen table that need to be filed. Always. Sometimes, I pay my sister to clean my house because I'm just not into it. Don't judge me. I suppose it is not the organization of the closet, but the color of the closet that makes me happy. I think that's one reason I love working at the G-A-P so much... seriously, can I get a cardigan in every color please??? I would if I could. I spent a ridiculous amount of time picking the paint colors for my house. I'm still not satisfied. I know what I like. Please don't think I consider myself a color expert. I leave that kind of thing to some of my favorite friends. Although, I did learn all about complimentary colors in my high school art class. It was actually easy for me to remember because I had a polo shirt in each of the three combinations (red & green, orange & blue, yellow & purple). How embarrassing, huh? I did just text my friend to make sure I remembered right. I strive (and sometimes fail) to see the glass half full, the silver lining in the clouds, the best in crappy situations. My blue eyes aren't the bluest... A little bit muddy & sometime gray. Though here's the thing, I got a spray tan the other day and my skin is straight up ORANGE. Thanks to my knowledge of complimentary colors, I've figured out why my eyes are sparkling, piercing, crystal blue today. I suppose the tan isn't all THAT bad. Lastly, I actually like that Usher song.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Somewhere In Middle America

I realize in every picture I take these days that my regrowth is out of control...

Not our best shot, but I'll take Cheeseburger in Paradise with these ladies any day (and their husbands). Shannon's busy running the universe and Elisha's about to have a baby girl, but we converged in Omaha this weekend so I could see the belly one more time before it pops. Throw in a visit to Anthropologie, and some of my favorite shopping locations with Shannon to make life feel really good. The 2 hour drive between us may seem close, but it's just plain too far for my liking. Maybe someday they'll move here? I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This just in...

A-Vizzle's coming home tomorrow!

P.S. Can you have a baby blog when you don't have a baby??? Probably not. I'll work at becoming more exciting. :)

Working 9-5... and then some

It's a good thing I just picked myself up a second job, because the things I want to buy this kid (like the whole freakin' world) is nothing short of out of control. I can't help it. I love her so much I can't stand it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Flying the Un-friendly Skies

Keeping our skies friendly circa 1986

You should check out one of my favorite blogs to read "1001 Rules for My Unborn Son." The author says, "Let's get some things straight before I get old and uncool..." Honestly, I wish I would have come up with the idea, because I worry about the same thing.

A few of my favorites:

"Courage is not the lack of fear, it is acting in spite of it. Mark Twain"

"You are what you do, not what you say."

"Get to know your sister's boyfriend. I'll rely on your opinion."

"You can never overdress."

People can submit their own ideas, and after my flight home from Arizona, I've got one. Here's something I'm going to teach my future boys...

"When on an airplane, always offer to help a lady lift her bags into the overhead compartment."
Helloo?!?!? Its obviously too heavy when her arms are shaking.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Reunited & It Feels So Good

Holy Crap, I am WHITE!

I just spent 5 days with this lady and her family--who really do feel like my family--in sunny Arizona! Nothing like warm weather, eating at some of my favorite places (Charleston's and Chik-fil-a), and good people, who have a similar heart, to make for an awesome vacation. Whenever I am with PW & Dana, I inevitably dream more (for myself & them) and am encouraged (whether they mean to or not) to be more. We don't have to talk every week, or even every month, and it's okay. Before I left, Alyssa gave me a necklace and said, "so you NEVER forget me..." Seriously Peenie, not a chance.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Meet: Ava

Maybe I'm biased, but my new niece is the cutest... She was born on April 30th at 33 weeks. Just a peanut of a thing at 4lbs, 3 oz and 18 3/4 inches long. I can't wait until she's out of her little incubator and I can get my hands on her. With 5 aunts, and no uncles, I've got some stiff competition for the "Favorite" award, but I'm not worried. I've got it in the bag.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Making Me Happy

I walked outside my happy little apartment the other day and, overnight, my trees had burst into tiny, white flowers. I was glad I took the time to notice -- because sometimes I get preoccupied and am bad at that sort of thing. I took a picture to help me to remember to do that more often. Now, I'm reminding you.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Good Stuff


It seriously rained all freakin' weekend........
This is good stuff.

"I beg you...to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

Rainer Maria Rilke
Photo by Mark Boyle found here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Awesome

Let me tell you some things that are really awesome (or not).

1. When you spill pop all over your new leather purse and ruin your phone... losing all your contacts.

2. Getting a new phone!

3. Almost a week headache free! That's HUGE for me, people.

4. Getting a really great workout with Megan...So "good" that your legs hurt 3 days later!

5. Someone standing up for what she believes in... even if she isn't the most eloquent.

6. Only 4 weeks until my Baby Ava is here! I can't tell you how much I want to snuggle my new neice. In 4 weeks... no earlier. My eyes may have welled up with tears at Babies R Us yesterday.

7. Going to Arizona next week!

8. Your camera breaking while taking this picture.

9. Your new phone having a decent enough camera to showcase your new bangs.

10. Finally deciding you like your bangs.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Bang Up Job

I had big dreams last night -- ones of change (not like Obama) and being trendy and edgy. I channeled Kate Hudson in Bride Wars (how cute is she???) and thought blunt bangs was the way to go. I even googled "blunt bangs" and it really is all the rage for Spring '09.

The fact that my sister cuts hair is not always a good thing. I have immediate access with no time to think things through. If I'd have been rational I would have reasoned that my face (or body for that matter) is not the same size as Kate's. I wouldn't want it to be. Then I would have remembered how I tried to have straight across bangs in elementary school when big hair was cool, and I have a cowlick in the front that does not cooperate. I didn't think of those things. What's done is done. Hair grows back. But, I can assure you, I don't look like Kate Hudson.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

If Greece is anything as awesome as Greek yogurt and Greek salad, sign me the heck up. I also had a surgeon named Konstantinos who saw me in my abashing state, and he was still nice. As if that weren't enough, I thoroughly enjoyed, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." It must be meant to be. A trip to the Mediterranean in my future. Not sure when, or with what money, but we will meet.

Monday, April 6, 2009

May Be the Best Man I Know

My grandpa passed away on March 28th and I don't think you can ever be ready for something like that. He's been sick for awhile, but I wasn't ready. Selfishly, I want him here, but I know he's so much better there. I think this may be the first funeral I have ever been to, with the exception of my nephew, that I was certain they made it to Heaven. That brings the most comfort.

I lived at my grandparents house from the time I was in 2nd grade until I graduated from high school. After moving away, my grandparents would come visit me often. I moved back to Des Moines 3 years ago, partially because he had gotten sick and I wanted to be closer. I know I'm the person I am today because of his influence. I can't imagine where I'd be without him.

There are so many things that I will remember my grandpa for. My grandpa was funny and stubborn and passionate. We used to argue about politics and would always say, "what's you hurry?" when I would get ready to leave after visiting. It didn't matter that I had been there all day. A few things I especially admire about him are his perseverance, sacrifice, and generosity. With only a 7th grade education, he has successfully provided for his family for many years. When I was growing up, I remember waking up in the middle of the night to hear him pray for each of the members of his family. He stood upon the promises of the Bible and did not rest until He saw God move. He has always sacrificed for others whether it is through his time, money, or talent. I have heard countless stories of how he gave to others, even if it didn’t seem he had it to give. There were times when he would help people on the side of the road, or a friend at work, or even a stranger who came to their door.

I will never forget the day in hospice that I watched grandpa mouth the words to “It is Well” because speaking had become too labored at that point. I believe that when he looked back on his life, he knew those words to be true. I read the other day,” it’s not enough to be proud of your ancestry. You must live up to it.” That's what I intend to do.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Falling behind

I'm behind on pretty much every aspect of life... on cleaning (especially laundry & dishes), on homework, on my running (more like jogging) for idiots plan, reading, buying birthday presents/cards, blogging. I'll get caught up one of these days. Not that you care.

I have an addiction. It's a bit embarrassing. I just want you to know I LOVE MTV "reality" shows. All of them. Or at least most. I can't bring myself to watch "G's to Gents." The shows suck me in, and I can't stop watching. I want to, but I can't. I know they've lost their original niche and don't play enough music videos. Did you know that the first music video ever to be played on MTV was "Video Killed the Radio Star?" That's a Cranium question... remember that for future reference. Anyway. The trouble with reality shows is that they end. Last night was the "Real World Brooklyn" finale. And I'm sad that I won't know what's going on in their lives anymore. Is that weird? Whatever.

Monday, March 9, 2009

What Athena Hates Most

More than the mailman & squirrel & opposums, put together and multiplied by 1,000. Have you ever heard of dog that didn't like water??? So weird. But, it was time, her smell was too much to handle, and we got through it. Me, with claw marks and soaking wet... her, shaking and smelling like Baby Magic. I call that someday this will not be my chore, kind of like taking out the garbage, because really, it's not fun for me either.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

One of My Very Favorite People

Today is this girl's birthday. And you should know that she is one of my very, very favorite people. In fact, you should be very sad if you don't know her because she really is that great. We met through someone else, and in an unlikely way, and wouldn't have guessed we'd end up so close. Like, be-in-my-wedding-someday close (with an appropriate bridesmaid dress, of course ;)). I'm thankful her family ended up in Des Moines -- even for a short period of time.

She's creative, funny, an amazing cook, disciplined, thoughtful, a great mother, and just an all around good person and friend.

So, Happy Birthday, Megan. The world is a better place because you're in it! Hope your day is as special as you are. XO-Nikki

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Feathers and a Show

I bought some feathers for my hair. And it took a great deal of courage on my part to wear them.

I put them in Sunday before church and by the time I had driven the 3.67 minutes it takes to get there, I was like the Cowardly Lion. Just throwing it out there, but it could of been my sister's comment about me fitting in more at the earlier service (read: the one with mostly old people people). And then I remembered how the sales lady told me it looked like something you wear to a funeral. All this going through my mind in 3.67 minutes. And in those minutes, we had time to snap a picture. And then I took them out. Just like that, my courage had failed me.Fast forward to last night. My mom, sister, and me went to see Legally Blonde at the Civic Center. It was such a cool show, really funny, and we had amazing seats. I've seen a couple shows before, and it was by far my favorite. As I was getting ready, I remembered those feathers, but this time I was brave. I wore them with pride. And I was happy.
(Sadly, the best picture of the night doesn't exhibit the feathers... trust me, they were there.)