Sunday, December 20, 2009


twenty-six years ago today, my life changed forever.
i was no longer the baby of the nicolai family and noelle's arrival guaranteed my life would never be boring.this sassy little thing has never been boring! she's intense, clever, a devoted friend, crafty, smart, always on the go, full of ideas (some better than others but she tried them all), and a wonderful little sister (i didn't always think so but i KNOW better now).
i was going to look for a (as in one) cute picture of her but i found so here's a little tribute.

remember that amazing pillow i mentioned...

i leapt as soon as it was out of the box! even matt couldn't resist trying it out.
'tis the season!

Friday, December 18, 2009

One Week and Counting

In honor of the seven days remaining until Christmas, I decided to list 7 of the things that have made my happy this season (thus far and in no particular order)...

1. receiving the most amazing pregnancy pillow ever--i'll probably sleep with it for the rest of my life
2. my new, and most favorite, ornament and our first family tree

3. the Nicolai family Christmas party. as usual, i slacked on the pictures but did get this one of my mom's delicious, huge snowball cake
4. these two triumphantly returning for a holiday visit and the adventures that followed
5. making Christmas treats with Jason--even if it wasn't the "1, 2, done" process we envisioned and we were forced to abandon the project midway. as you can see, it wasn't for lack of thoughtful preparation...

6. two weeks off from school two. weeks. off.
7. meeting peter! the steak was as magical as legends imply and the broccoli, creamed spinach and onion rings weren't bad either.

Friday, December 04, 2009

3:00 Snack(s)

I had one of those afternoons.
And a snack isn't complete without...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black Friday

So we didn't get up at 4 am to fight crowds or score major deals, but we have a little Black Friday adventure. We looked into registering for Bun. It was a reasonably sized store so my heart didn't start racing as we walked in. Cindy was calming and offered sound advice. Jason was great. He had researched specific products, investigated what babies need, and had an idea of what we wanted. All I wanted to look at was bedding...

Isn't this sweet? The only problem is that we weren't planning on getting a crib. Now I want one so I can look at those sheets!
And shoes....

Darling! But I promised Jason we'd never spend $60 on baby crocodile-embossed moccasins. I'm hoping Target has some knock offs.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On The Run

We moved to our current apartment in May. One major draw was the 4 big windows facing Marcus Garvey park. We look out over a baseball field and heard little-leaguers all summer, and see enough tress to allow us to imagine that we live in suburbs. And as it turns out, in Novemeber, we get to watch the NYC marathoners trot by.
The leading women and men. Can you imagine looking this relaxed at the 22nd mile? And they were still booking it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Plan

there is an envelope by our bed with Bun's gender sealed inside. the plan was to open it with our families on thanksgiving. we may opt for plan b. we're blaming the urge to peak on our family's interest...but really, it is getting too tempting. at this rate, i don't think we'll make it through the week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Live From Our Oven...

#4B smells like Christmas and the whole apartment is being warmed by a tempting, glazed ham. Look good, right? Thanks to Jason, I'll be having dinner part deux at 10:30.

And speaking of ovens...

There's a bun in mine. 18 weeks. So far, so good. We'll blog details soon.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall Is Here

Fall is such a beautiful season!

And in unrelated news--I love teaching kindergarten (especially this year)a beautiful afternoon, we celebrated it's life with a fare-well release from the upper roof. Who knew moths were so captivating?

When it gets cold and snowy I am going to remember this perfect, bright fall afternoon!

Monday, August 24, 2009

an addition to the list of things we like....

we just returned from a week long family vacation in biddeford, maine. despite the uncharacteristic heat wave and huge mosquitoes, we had a terrific time. here are a few of the things we liked...
family day at the driving range and for jason, early morning golf excursions. adirondack chairs. this one was painted like a lobster (how clever.)
decorative buoys.
smooth rocks. they would have been perfect for painting.
kayaking. even though mike, the NYC business man turned hippie, wanted to take us on a spiritual voyage ("not religious") not a kayaking adventure. we only had two falls into the frigid water. guess who it was?
touring the pemaquid lighthouse. you may recognize it from the maine quarter.
fresh squeezed lemonade. the official recipe seems to be 3 tablespoons of sugar, 2 shot glasses of fresh lemon juice, about 10 oz. water, and ice. shake and enjoy.
fried clams. the best we had were at The Ramp but in my opinion, it is hard to find a BAD fried clam. other items of incredible deliciousness: blueberry pies, the produce (especially corn), grilled hot dogs, and lobster. although after last week's indulgence, i can probably go a full year without seeing a lobster and be perfectly happy.
family time...especially that these two came all the way back from SLC.

not pictured but enjoyed....
-long bike rides
-getting the nicolais hooked on the gardner family card game. i got in some Rook practice for the family reunion. although i still have to work on my inclination to overbid...and cheat.
-getting tan (sort of)
-the freeport outlets!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


We would strongly recommend you see...
However, we would not recommend that you see...
The best part was that we got to go with Ali.

We also took China Town by storm, visited Union Square twice, viewed NYC from Top of the Rock, giggled through Paper Hearts, spent an hour in Sephora and had an all around fabulous time. Come back soon, Ali!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A few months without a bad hair day....

A few weeks ago, Ali, Cindy* and I took a semi-spontaneous road trip from Farmington to Ephriam to visit Snow College. Ali met with a guidance counselor about her first semester schedule, Cindy paid a bill and I got to see campus and the cute apartment complex where Ali will be living. Before leaving we stopped to take a few pictures. As Cindy handed the camera off to me to join Ali by the flowers, she ran her fingers through her hair and looked down at all the stands left behind in her hand. We were in good humor about it (check out the picture) but it was still surprising. I thought her hair was safe through a few more rounds of treatment.

After Quarter Pounders and a visit to Grandma, we arrived home. As we chatted around the counter, deciding if we were too tired to play Rook, Cindy plucked strands of hair off her clothing. After looking over the pile she had gathered in a baseball cap, she announced, “I think we better shave it tonight” and then after a short pause she added, “But it has to be fun.” Not only was Cindy taking her hair before chemo slowly crept in to claim it, she wanted to have a good time doing it.

Ali skillfully cropped one side, while I worked on the other. We left a 3-inch strip down the center for a mohawk. If someone had asked you in December whether Cindy Gardner would ever have a mohawk, what would you have said? I’m pretty sure I would have laughed out loud and I certainly wouldn’t have thought she’d look so dang good with a punk ‘do! Reed decided to shave his head to match. Using Deven’s fancy clippers, Cindy replaced the cul-do-sac do with a new Bruce Willis look (which I think is quite flattering).
Cindy kept a few locks for sentiment (and color samples) and Deven buzzed the rest. We laughed because it was fun. We cried because we were saying goodbye to Cindy’s beautiful hair, and also because we were acknowledging that it was the cancer’s fault it was gone. We all know Cindy is beautiful. In a stunning, radiant kind of way. I didn’t realize it had nothing to do with her hair.

Courage. Amen! That’s Cindy! As this battle continues, I’m sure Cindy will show this courage again and when she isn’t up for it, we’ll all try to be courageous for her. Though I doubt it will come quite as naturally to most of us.

*I’m calling Mom, “Cindy” to stick with blog format.

**We’re hoping Cindy gets to keep her eyelashes. That seems cosmically fair.

***This was meant to be posted on Cindy's blog (lovingly updated by Libby) and will be there shortly

Friday, July 24, 2009

Jason's mom took this picture in their backyard...and I like it.

Turns Out I’m Not 21….

But I couldn’t resist, I went into Forever 21 anyway. There is cute stuff in there….and maybe I was felt like I needed a challenge. And Forever 21 at my stage of life is a challenge.

Let me start by mentioning that you have to look high and low for the items that don’t actually look like they cost $9.80. There is constantly a stream running through my head….what accessories will make this look good, could I wear it under that new j.crew cardigan, or will pairing this shirt with $150.00 jeans help it out.

The next obstacle is modesty. I would venture that 80% of the stuff in there is too strappy, short or see through to meet the standards that I am required* to meet. Trying to convert club wear into work casual is not for the faint of heart.

The last part of the challenge….sizing. Most of us 28 years olds are not the same size we were at 21. Although images of all my thin friends just started passing through my mind like an old school slide show. Even their big sizes are small.

So I left with a pair of pants and a cute blouse, huffing slightly about not being 21 anymore but positive I'll shop there again. I wonder how old I'll be when I swear it off?

*Its a requirement, not exactly a desire. I would be modest without any religious standards, although admittedly my hemline would drift up a few inches.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Turns Out I'm American

When we were younger, a ride with Aunt Antoinette meant we were either listening to Brenda Lee or Lee Greenwood. I know the the words of God Bless the USA by heart...

"From Detroit down to Houston,
and New York to L.A.
Well there's pride in every American heart,
and its time we stand and say.

That I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free."

Not that I was feeling particularly free, but I was feeling very American last night as I devoured a BigMac and then bought a t-shirt at the GAP.

Looking for a Big Mac pictures, I came across What You Really Get a site that compares advertising images with what you are really served at fast food restaurants.

Mine didn't look this good, the layers were doing a familiar slide but it tasted delicious!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

reaching around to give myself a little pat on the back.

Does smugness lead to blogging? Absolutely. (As does a range of other emotions) Look back at some of our not-so-constant posts or for that matter, read random blogs. The blogging/facebook/twitter worlds are full of people sharing their self-satisfying experiences. I think there is nothing wrong with it and had such an experience that pulled me back into the blogging world (where, don’t worry Gardner Compost site-moderators, I will stay at least until my guest post is completed). Where to begin. The pictures and explanations of our recent travel are still coming. However, I am compelled to leap ahead to leaving Utah, before getting to what brought us there and what we saw along the way.

On Saturday I was in the SLC airport. Seated comfortably with an enormous diet coke and a good book, waiting to board flight 1732. I figure I better hit the restroom one last time (I had a window seat where l would only feel just justified taking one mid-flight crawl over my neighbors to relieve myself). On the way I noticed a tall, sculpted, tan man wearing a pony-tail and white capris (I swear it was this exact cut in white). As I passed, I noticed the Lululemon insignia on said capris and spent my entire bathroom break trying to figure out if they could possibly be men’s pants. I decided they probably were. Lululemon is a fitness brand that is “yoga-inspired for healthy living.” Although I am proof that they also make fantastic lounge pants.

After using the bathroom, I resumed the wait to board the plane. I love airports…and malls…and public parks. I have always enjoyed people watching. In college I wrote several journal entries of the life stories of people I had seen in line at WalMart--(small disclaimer—this may lead to stereotyping but it is not mean spirited and until this post, I generally kept these tales to myself). So as I wait and watch, I see an impossibly lithe woman walk by and envied the genetics that make one look like a lean pixie. There were numerous businessmen and a family playing a game on the floor, that I overheard say they were form China. At the ticketing counter, another tall sleek lady waited in flowy pants with hooded sweatshirt pulled over her head. She has a tiny backpack and an even smaller sleeping roll. Then as boarding begins, these three converge—white Capri man, lithe pixie lady, and the hooded girl. When I realize they know each other, I just cannot help myself from guessing their story.

I followed these 3 down the gang plank, or whatever the tunnel that spits you onto an airplane is called. I thought to myself, “What could they be doing here?” Despite the tightly coiled sleeping bag, I seriously doubted backpackers or hikers. I also eliminated Utahans. It just seemed improbable. And although they all sported expensive name brand items, I also doubted they converged in Utah for a shopping trip. As we got closer to the plane, the one girl slid her hood off revealing another horseshoe-esque Lululemon insignia. Ah ha! They had to be yogis (those who practice yoga). Perhaps, visiting some kind of spa or Canyon Ranch type place.

I sat down in 8A and watched Capri man get up and down several times, finally resolving to check the website at home to see if they were male or female pants. About ½ of the way through the flight, when the man next to me excused himself, I figured it was a good time to use the bathroom as well. The line was long. As I cued up, I looked down to see I was standing next to the pixie, scrolling through pictures on her camera and zooming in to check her face in each one (we all do that, right?). I head the man seated next to her ask if she was from Utah. My heart sped up just a little. If the line held, my yogi conclusion might be disproven or proven. Two children had just entered the bathrooms, a good sign that the line would not move. “No,” she replied “I was on a retreat with some friends.” Yes! And then, to sweeten the pot, he asks,”What kind of retreat?” “Yoga,” Pixie says, “I’m an instructor.” I stand a little taller as they continue to chat about yoga. As I walked about, I heard her say, “Oh its amazing, you become a student for life and the world teaches you.” (Could I make that up?)

The smugness set in. It could mean I pay attention to details and notice people—think The Mentalist. Or it could mean I am materialistic enough to notice the brand labels I can't afford—think Becky Bloomwood. I don’t care either way. It doesn’t matter to me that the Lululemon and life style clues were blatantly obvious. All that matters is I got it right.

Thanks, Rebecca, for introducing me to these fabulous pants.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Recession Special

You may or may not know I have a little sister...

Who lives down the street...
Who dresses pretty well...
(You're not going to see her on the cover of Lucky, but you definitely won't see her in 360 degree mirror getting chewed out by Stacy and Clinton on "What Not to Wear")...
Who is trading her one-bedroom down the street in Harlem, for an a two-bedroom with a backyard in Sugarhouse.

She is also trading her wardrobe for dollars.
I already snagged some great Anthropologie items. (Don't worry, I left some for the rest of you.)

Her shopaholic syndrome is now your shopportunity.

Since she recently hurt her back and is stuck in that one-bedroom in Harlem, she edited her closet - and decided to sell it.
You can read about it here
or email her about it -

And for those who couldn't care less about second-hand sample sales - hold tight - as soon as I get through this last week of school the not-so-constant Gardners will be back - CONSTANTLY. (or at least more consistently)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Boys night out (Graphic Content.. not really - but you are warned)

Last night Matt and I went to see the Mets at CitiField. The Mets come from behind win in the bottom of the 10th was not what most people were talking about on the train ride home.

Saturday, May 02, 2009


who doesn't like a good recommendation, right?

we all know about free radio station where you program the music by selecting an artist, song or genre.

station: ingrid michaelson

i've been listening happy for over an hour.

Friday, May 01, 2009

What? I like bacon.

On Fridays Dalton's chef, Jack, provides us with a real breakfast in addition to the usual granola/cereal stuff. This means that every Friday on my way in to work, I cross my fingers and pray for bacon. Today a dear friend heading for the elevator said, "Come on! They have the good stuff."

I wander into the faculty room, grateful for being in the early shift. I'll admit it--fewer colleagues to see me load up on bacon. I'm supposed to at least act healthy, right? The chess instructor and school psychologist are also getting breakfast (a mini muffin maybe?) and I quip, "I'm always so happy when Jack makes bacon."

As I turn around the school psychologist innocently remarks, "Wow you really do like bacon." The only response I can come up with...
"I'm just glad you can't get swine flu from the stuff."

Maybe I should cut back. Not because of the comment...because of the bacon coma I fall into for 2 hours after eating it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From the middle of the world

Work has me spending nearly two weeks in Quito, Ecuador. Traveling is just not the same when left to explore on your own. Standing on the equator wont be nearly as fun without Erica.

Did you know Quito was the first city to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site ( and its elevation of 9,350 ft is more than twice that of Salt Lake City (even higher than Snowbird)? Stash that away for some random trivia knowledge.