Friday, December 19, 2008

Glad we have a doctor in the family

Friday night Erica began to feel some discomfort in her stomach and we figured it must have been something she ate. Saturday morning she felt a little worse, but not enough to discourage us from braving the New York crowds for a little Christmas shopping. Saturday night it had gotten bad enough that I went to the ward Christmas party by may know, Erica does not like to miss a party! Sunday she felt no better than the day before and she decided to stay home from church. I left Sunday morning with Erica in the bed in a fetal position, clenching her stomach in pain. Throughout the day the pain did not get worse, but also did not get better. We started to get the hunch that it was not "just gas." Thanks to Erica's sister Angelique (the Dr.), Erica was convinced to go into the emergency room. We had plans for Erica to go see her Doctor on Monday, but Angelique insisted she go to the hospital then.

After a couple hours of ruling out things other than appendicitis, Erica was given a large bottle of nasty fluid for a CT scan of her abdomen to see if in fact her appendix was "thickened"

It is safe to assume that Erica was not a happy camper trying to put down the entire bottle of fluid.

This was Erica after the Dr. told her that in addition to drinking the fluid and recieving some intervensouly, additional fluid would be pumped into her abdomen through a "tube inserted rectally." She is not going to be happy that I am including this on the blog, but don't you think the reaction is classic? She tried reason and charm for an alternative, even including drinking more can ask her how it all turned out?

The picture above tells it all. Appendix was infact "thickened" and the preparation for the appendectomy began. I couldn't resist posting this picture - isn't she just so adorable? I was surprised at how quickly it all came together. After the Dr. came and told us that the results indicated that it is likely appendicitis, within 90 minutes she was in surgery (her first!).

Literally as they are rolling Erica away to surgery I am standing in there in the prep room wondering where I am supposed to go. It was 3:30 am and the hospital was eerily empty. I asked the surgeon as she was leaving where I could wait. She sent me to the family waiting room. Can you see the picture above on the left. Family waiting room closed. I was tired, thirsty and hungry. Problem, vending machines were on the other side of the iron curtain. Being the problem solver that I am, I found other vending machines to quench my thirst. Concerned for Erica while in surgery, yes. Bored? Yes, as evidenced in the photos above.

On the Left: Erica post surgery, still not awake - but smiling.

Below: Erica in the GI Surgery unit with sister Angelique.

During all of this I couldn't help but think how lucky we are to be able to recieve medical care so readily. Despite the economic difficulties, Erica and I are both employed and insured. I think sometimes we take that for granted. Erica's doctors were great and we only had one grouchy nurse experience the entire time. Thanks to everyone that called, sent flowers and offered support to Erica. Although a fairly routine surgery, we are both grateful to have family and friends that care.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


a few samples of how the nicolais prep for thanksgiving...
1. melt about 3 cups of brown sugar in an equally alarming amount of butter and pour over sweet potatoes to negate all nutrients.
2. roast peppers until they're sufficiently blackened. peel off skin and add olive oil, garlic (see #3), and parsley. (jason's job this year)
3. chop 25 gloves of garlic. do not use garlic press because mom swears it is too hard to clean.
4. boil/steam 14 artichokes to stuff with breadcrumbs.

the best part is sharing the deliciousnes with family and friends and enjoying an evening of stories, music, and togetherness.

overheard in kindergarten

erin "my dad is from china....chinese"
charlie "my dad is boston."

rhyming is a big theme in my class, so in a way i was asking for it. before an acting activity, i wrote "skits" on the board and as we discussed the meaning i hear brett say, "that rhymes with the s-word."
lily, "no it doesn't." then she slowly enunciates "stupid"--the word that has somehow become the kindergarten swear. stopped that conversation in record time.

today at the MET..."I'm going to be gooder than usual today. You know why? Because I already know not to touch things."

aaron was out monday and looked iffy on tuesday, i felt his head (i don't know why i did this b/c i can NEVER tell) and sent him down to the nurse. as he left he said, "i know, i know, you want a professional to do it."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In a recent Primary related meeting we were trying to determine the best, and most modern way, to stay in touch about weekly progress on a program we all aren't attending every week. After wondering out loud, "There must be a way to to do it online." Someone (ah-hem, younger than me) knew a way to do it on Google. We left wondering what the world would do without Google. And now this...

Google Inc. has opened an online photo gallery that will feature millions of images from Life magazine's archives that have never been seen by the public before.
The new service, available at, debuted Tuesday with about 2 million photos. .
About 97 percent of Life's archives have not been publicly seen, according to Life.

My favorites are the first automobiles, the great depression series, and the ballerinas.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The final installment...after all we were there for a wedding

The celebratory events were supposed to take place at Cap Juluca. Unfortunately hurricane Omar did some permanent damage and the parties were relocated to an enormous villa near-by. This worked out for our contingency as the rest of our family was moved from Cap Juluca rooms to the villa right down the road from us! And the parties were held there.
@ the welcome BBQ

Not your run of the mill place cards. Seriously cute!

Ocean side ceremony. More legit than I had imagined (keep in mind this was my first destination wedding). Krysta and Adam were so happy1
We left our mark on the beach before we took off. While we may not have gone the extra mile and wrapped our initials in a heart, the sentiment was there.

finally living up our name...

1 (real) post a day. 3 days in a row. bam blog! take that for constant.

One 1/2 in Mexico City, The Other in New York City

When friends and family ask if I'm missing Jason, I should say, "How could I not?" Its true. I'm his biggest fan! I love spending time together. He is funnier than most people know, so comforting, and deals with me (almost) perfectly. How could I not miss this guy...

The most difficult part was flying and traveling home from the airport by myself. I'm not used to keeping track of my passport and ticket. It felt weird to be responsible and alert and make sure I got to the right place at the right time--lazy, right? And as I got out of the cab with bags in hand, I realized no one would be offering to lug them up the stairs for me. Sunday night felt odd and it is safe to say that I strongly prefer Jason home but, the truth is, I'm an independent person.

And while I wouldn't say there are perks to his work travel, I have enjoyed covering the bed with clothes which I shove to a corner to sleep...diagonally. I go to bed at 10 and wake up at 5:30 (my preferred sleep schedule). Upon waking I flip on the lights, turn on some tunes and the day has begun without disturbing someone's last 2 hours of beauty rest. Also this week my diet has consisted largely of cheese/crackers, pizza, and corn chowder. I made the soup Tuesday night and consumed it throughout the week. These types of dietary patterns are difficult for Jason--no variation, high calories and little nutrition. I completely understand but sometimes it's just so easy.

But...even though I've enjoyed the crappy diet, a permanent sweat pant wardrobe, and guilt free late nights at work, I am ready for Jason to be home. Friday can't come soon enough.

(post script)--without jason, i still haven't fixed the busted interned & the fact that @ some point i'll have to take out the trash is hanging over me like eeyore's cloud.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

wedding bells...part 2

Jason rose to the wrong side of the road challenge and chauffeured all weekend. One day as he opened the gate he watched it scootch a turtle off the driveway. When he got back he dove right into the bushes (such a boy) and pulled out this little guy.
Nicolais can eat. My mom jokes that we plan dinner while we eat lunch. Needless to say, the food was enjoyed. We had several plates of these rock lobsters."
Meet Glenis,aka "The Mayor". Adam hired him as our bus driver/tour guide around the island. He knew everyone and everywhere (I realize the island is only five miles long). One night, after dinner when the main island was all but shut down, my father asked if there was a store open so he could buy some milk. In two minutes Glenis pulled over, opened up a store and acted as cashier while Franky got his milk. I loved that he was also a guest at the wedding!

Friday, November 14, 2008

how did this happen?!

Something was nagging at me…our blog was lacking…
And it just hit me! Where are Tyler and Stacy? A huge oversite in our link fiasco.
We’re sorry! We missed you!

Wedding Bells Were Ringing...part 1

my cousin announced a destination wedding in the caribean, so we were obligated to spend 4 days in st.martin/anguilla. of course by obligated i mean ecstatic.
we got over the cost, use of personal days, distance from nyc, customs checks & international travel-- anguilla is english and st. marten is 1/2 dutch-1/2 french.
instead we focused on spending time with family, delicious food, exploring a tropical island, and working on our tans.

jason and i flew into st. martin a day early to spend a day at the dawn beach resort. BK on the dutch side supports obama!

we started planning the excursion and our eyes popped at the $600/night rooms rates at cap juluca, where the wedding was being held. noelle quickly decided a beach villa was the way to go and found an incredible property--beach access, separate houses, and a pool. sadly noelle and matt didn't make it but we enjoyed her work!
by the time we arrived at anguilla we had slowed down and adjusted to island time (nothing rushed, nothing is even close to being on time).
jason spends a lot of time with flip in hand--A LOT! here he is catching a video of our beach.
i'm changing my original "i don't like beaches" to "i like caribean beaches." the sand is smooth. the water is clear. a place i could actually relax! angelique, jason, and i spent saturday morning snorkeling in shoal bay. the reef and fish were breath-taking, and we saw a sea turtle!

actual wedding festivities coming soon to a blog near you...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

on monday, jason and i went to costco with matt while poor sister worked into the night. we only "needed" paper towels but as we roamed the aisles, mostly keeping matt company (wink. wink), we fell victim to the "spend to save" philosophy that makes buying in bulk dangerously salsa, pacific tomato soup, ribs, honey-wheat pretzels. when i picked up the three pack of boursin, jason rolled his eyes and jokingly swore it would be gone by next week. "no way" i vowed, "its good until mid december and i'm relishing this." i think i have so much will power.
tonight after a trying day at work, as i finished off the first package, i realized how well jason knows me. if you've tried this cheese, you're probably nodding your head in understanding.

related to the boursin incident, one would never know from the way i've been gobbling down my stress that in one week i'll be on this beach at my cousin adam's wedding. i'll be the one hiding in the flowiest dress i can find (in my sister's closet).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

if you have to teach, may i recommend the dalton school?

lunch today. enough said.

**this was lunch for the the teachers, the children had pita pocket pizza with organic cheese. NOT lobster.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blog Links

they're gone. i don't know where to find 'em thier. this weekend i tried to be fancy. i wanted a green, patterned blog template so i loaded it one up...and all of our blog links were gone.

forget it. adios pyzam. i went with a basic, white boycott. and knowing how long it take me to post, it may be weeks before i get the links up again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm Sick When....

I love Diet Coke...there's probably a post in the archives about it. Please don't pass me a can laced with vitamins or made with Splenda. Not with lemon, or with lime. Just the classic version, preferably in a can. It may be running through my veins. But when I'm not feeling well, I have no desire for the stuff.

And so tonight, with my ear aching just a little and a craving for hot chocolate instead of a DC with my grilled cheese and tomato, I may be sick.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Best Trip Ever-photo essay

It happens every time. We get back from Utah and I think "that was the best trip ever." This time I mean it--really. Three full days (thanks to Yom Kippur and Columbus Day) was just enough time. Here (inspired by the Smylies) are the his and hers highlights. His-Finally being present for a Team Snake softball game. Please understand this is not laid back, old man softball. It is serious...very serious. You should see the cuts Mr. Fowler procured sliding into third (don't worry, Mrs. Fowler is a cute nurse) and a team mate was derobed of the beloved Snake jersey after a commitment issues. Serious.
Hers-Getting to watch in 30 degree weather as my 30 year old husband make solid contact every time at bat, snagged balls fielding @2nd base/right field (where were you, honey?), and was "signed" as an honorary team member. Also seeing Ashley and Jill and Cynthia for 20 freezing minutes.
Mutual-We miss them in New York. Due to circumstances, we now miss them in Utah. So we drove to Idaho to meet our dear friends for lunch. Thanks Mom G for going an entire day without your car! Both parties traveled far for the yearly visit. Maybe next time we'll meet up in Hawaii.
His-Leo liked Jason. Without a benchmark for Leo's level of caring, I can only say for sure (see picture) that he frequently reached for Jason and even requested that Jason put his shoe on.
Don't Ashley and Nate look great? We satisfied our cravins for Mexican fare. Yes I do like Mexican food.
Hers- Getting a kick out of how much Leo loves the bottle...I hope it isn't an indicator of things to come.

Mutual- Finally going to Bukos and getting items at exceptionally low prices is almost better than getting them for free. Jason was giddier than I was...and just look at this chair! So what we had to leave it in the basement. So what we don't have a home to put it in. It was 80% off.
Mutual-A birthday celebration at Tucanos. Happy Birthday Dad! Someone told our waitress ("'kay?")that we had two birthdays to celebrate.

His- Breaking out the 80s BYU ski hat. He was so tickled by that hat, the expired foot warmers, cutting holes in garbage bags to use a emergency ponchos, and game time hot chocolate that I'm not convinced he was upset about the rain/snow forecast.
Hers- That the game only lasted 3 hours and we spent the whole time with Derreck/Karen (and a tiny bit of time with Scott).

His- BYU won! (guess that could be a "mutual")

We left the snow behind for beautiful NYC Fall weather. We can't wait to visit again!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

It's Official....

The fabulous Jason Reed Gardner turns 30 today! He has left his 20s behind and is on to a new, and promising, decade. I'm sure I'll have a cheesier post soon, but for now call, email, or text some birthday love!
I love you Jason!

Monday, September 22, 2008


Today we illustrated our alphabet. This is a fairly typical Kindergarten classroom assignment. Each student picks a letter and we brainstorm a list of things that begin with that letter, the student selects one to draw.

Darling little Adam known for spontaneous bursts of excited applause during conversations, lessons, or announcements of what we are having for lunch, raised his hand for 'A'.

"Ok," I ask "What would you like to draw?"
"Adam," He replies.
"That definitely starts with A but we aren't going to draw self portraits. Actually we aren't going to draw any people we know. You could only draw people doing a policewoman for 'P' or a doctor for 'D'."
"I mean Adam the First Man that God made" Adam replies.
"Oh I see, but He is a specific person. Do you have any other ideas?"
"Not really. Can I switch to 'K' and draw a koala?"
"That sounds like a good idea." I offer.
"Oh Good! (applause) I'm going to draw a koala on the move!"

Looked a lot like this.
I wouldn't say I have favorites but...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Outback Aphrodesiac

This has been my favorite pedicure polish for at least 4 years. In a typical moment of indecision at "Yes Nails" I selected it based on it's name. The first part of the name...I had just returned from Australia. It is never on my fingers but frequently on my toes, and I knew I would wear it for my stroll down the aisle. Finding a bottle turned into a pre-wedding obsession. Whether or not it's stocked on salon shelves is a gamble, but I did not anticipate tracking a bottle down would be to difficult. I never found one and was getting ready to change my vision (that's right, my pedicure was part of my wedding vision) until a friend randomly found a bottle.

Now, 2+ years later, the old bottle is running a little low so I turned to google to locate a replacement. I found the $25 price tag a little silly and the description description slightly far fetched. How does a person write, and expect others to believe, that nail polish evokes such deep feelings...

I looked again and found it on ebay for much less.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


orthography: the conventional spelling system of a language including the symbols used and the rules for using those symbols.

e.e.cummings was known for his eccentric use of capitalization/punctuation. some scholars believe that when he signed his name without capitalization it was intended as a gesture of humility. my haphazzard application of conventional capitalization rules is nothing of the sort...not humility, not even a signature style.
the aversion is born strictly from laziness.

and i learned recently it may irk jason. we were joint drafting an email to friends and he suggested i use capitals. it's been so long that now to capitalize takes thought--that's probably reason enough to start up the habit again.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Queen Bees

Last year my mom had a bee infestation. She noticed bees mysteriously, and frequently, appearing in the house, both alive as they buzzed 'round the windows and dead all over the floors. It was curious to say the least. Worth mentioning is my mom's allergy to bee stings. So where she usually overlooks creepy crawly, and in this case flying, things, this matter needed to be taken care of. I believe the story, which I've heard many times (it was kind of a big deal) but usually am only 1/2 listening (sorry mom), goes like this...

A young exterminator came and determined the nest was in the ceiling above the master bathroom. Donning full protective bee wear, he cut a hole in the ceiling to begin spraying. After cutting the whole and investigating briefly, he excused himself and went outside to make a phone call. My cute and clever mother listened in and overheard the unfortunate fellow lamenting to his superior that he was in over his head and needed back-up. Whether they did or did not send this back-up, I am not sure. I do know that the spraying was done and over the days that followed my mothered vacuumed up 100s of bees everyday. They just kept dropping dead from the ceiling, making a thick carpet on the bathroom floor.

This experience was traumatic for my mother. It completely occupied her thoughts, life and conversations. To a friendly, "Thank you for joining us this evening," all my mother could manage in reply was "I'm just so glad my bees are gone."

Anyway in one of the clean-ups, mom found the Queen Bee--huge, intact, stinger on, big beautiful wings. A perfect specimen! And what did she do? Box it up and give it to her Kindergarten teacher daughter of course! Very thoughtful (that is not sarcasm, I mean it). This year in setting up my little science investigation area, I put out this Queen Bee. I met my new children today and as they explored their new classroom, many were captivated by it.

One little girl (I wish I could post pictures of them--think thick glasses, bright, spunky dress, pigtails, thoughtful, and curious) and I stood together admiring the bee. After her examination little Kennady whispers, "Wowwwwww, that is big." "I know," I say, adding with emphasis, "That is the Queen Bee." Kennady continues to look, slightly more interested now. Then turning to me, she asked with complete sincerity, "Well, where is her crown?"

After checking her face for a giggle or smirk, I realized she was completely serious. And that, my friends, is why I love my job.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Now What?

After 5 years of haircuts in random salons when the ends of my hair were so broken I couldn't even stand it up in a ponytail, I finally found a perfect hairdresser. Liliana has pulled me from the "just cut it straight along the bottom", no layers, nothing anywhere near my face boring look of days past**.

I'm not trying to paint a halo on Lil. There are things I don't love. For instance, she likes to blow my hair out all flouncy. She chats the entire time, while I'm trying to get my fill of free US Weekly. Yet overall she works quickly, prices are better than reasonable, and knows what she's doing (or at least exudes enough confidence to make me believe she does). And obviously I like the result.

I arrived at Lil via Pam. Dalton's receptionist extraordinaire, who knows the best restaurants, the best exhibits, and apparently the best hair dresser. Today on my way to lunch I commented on how nice Pam's hair looked, and quipped, "Just visit Lil?" She suddenly looked tres serious and said, " Haven't you heard?" And then as my jaw dropped she finished "Liliana has carpel tunnel...every appointment I've tried to make has been canceled." Carpel tunnel!?

So before I get a new do comparable to this...

does anyone have a hairdresser referral?

**Yes, I am fully aware that my current look isn't edgy. No blunt, dramatic bangs. No crazy colors. But for me, a few layers (they grow too fast to call them bangs) around my face was a substantial change.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

People say they don't play favorites.....

I disagree.

Erica mentions her flowers, oodles of joy and large amounts of admiration are shown.

Erica mentions my hole-in-one a few posts back - 1 comment.

Thank you to Rebecca Smylie for her comment (even though she doubts the accomplishment).

When it comes to this couple, Erica is everyone's favorite - including mine.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"There are no ugly flowers."

When I read that in Martha Stewart's Living, I was skeptical. Hadn't the woman ever seen a carnation? Then I flipped the page and saw these stunning purple carnations packed tightly together and my mind was changed.
This weekend I was making floral arrangements for a Harlem 1st Ward wedding. The design team (my sisters) and I got up with the sun and headed down to 28th st. (aka-the flower district). We tromped in and out of several stores, Angelique being thoughtful and supportive through her sleepiness and Noelle with great color suggestions and an inclination to cuddle the mice-catcher cats in the establishments.

After a couple price inquiries, Noelle turned to a huge shelf of brightly colored carnations and gently suggested incorporating some. An "ah-ha" moment! I muttered the mantra, "No ugly flowers" and we realized we read the same article. Angelique suggested mixing them with red roses. We found some accents and were on our way.

"It's actually quite easy to transform inexpensive flowers into truly spectacular arrangements. It just requires a little rearranging, not to mention a willingness to defy convention." Here's a sample of the finished product. I'm a carnation convert.