Archive for July 2010

A Dog and Some Hobo

July 28, 2010

There’s nothing like being awakened in the morning with, “Mom, hurry! Jake has a big cut in his leg!”, followed by thunderous footsteps from the other two children confirming the statement in tones that would make you think the world will probably blow up in 3.2 seconds.

Indeed, Jake, our delightful dog and my 6th child (7th if you include Greg 🙂 ), had a gash in his leg. It was clear to me that he would need stitches. It was ALSO clear to me that this was no accidental scratch from a chain link fence sort of injury. After I set up the interrogation room and got out all of my torture instruments (OK, so we just sat on the floor and I asked the kids what happened, but the other sounds more exciting), the truth all came out.

Evidently my children’s father felt it was 1) appropriate to let a 7-year-old have a pocket knife. “But it was a really small knife”. Yeah. And 2) he seemed to think that it was OK to let said 7-year-old whittle a stick out back. Alone. With a sharp pocket knife. What seems to have happened is that as the dogs (the ex was babysitting Jake overnight for us. The other dog, THEIR dog, is Rocky) were running around being crazy, as normal, and Jake ran over to see what my kiddo was up to. He’s pretty playful like that and is always interested in where the kids are and what they are doing. And if they are sitting on the ground they are fair game for a round of dog vs. kid wrestling match. Anywho, the result was… SLASH! Guess that will teach him not to bulldoze into kids holding knives!

1 vet visit, 1 shaved leg, 3 staples, 1 “cone of shame”, 1 bottle of canine pain killers, 2 weeks worth of antibiotics, and a nice big bill was how my Monday morning started. And all before 11 a.m.

We had planned on a really fun and activity filled day, but the above as well as the rain later that day put a kink in our plans. But why let that ruin ALL of the fun. Greg picked up the girls and although we didn’t get to do the fun activities we planned, we DID try to make some fun at home happen. We decided to make “hobo dinners” and let the kids each design their own meals. In keeping in with the luck of the day, the propane tank was out of fuel and we had NO coals to even try to make a fire in the fire pit. IMPROVISE! I have to admit that I don’t really have any hobo dinner experience. I’ve eaten them once or twice but never prepared them. So I figured why not just cook them in the oven!

We had shrimp, hamburger, chicken, potatoes and onions to choose from. 45 minutes in a 450 degree oven did the trick. Surprisingly, they were awesome! The kids all loved their concoctions and everyone ate everything in their foil packet. YUM!

Last week Greg bought a flip camera, and it’s been the tool of entertainment for the last couple of days. After dinner the kids made silly videos (Alex interviewing Cooper about his love of a piece of paper is my personal favorite), and then watched them on the computer. It’s so fun for me to kind of just sit back and listen to the laughter in our home. I can say with certainty that they LOVE each other. The past 2 weeks they haven’t seen each other as much as they usually do (which will be remedied with my family reunion tomorrow 🙂 ), and when they aren’t together they really miss each other. It’s been just over 1 1/2 years since Greg and I got married, and while it’s not all been sugar-coated roads lined with gumdrops, it has been a wonderful experience to watch and be a part of our melting pot family. It’s been amazing to be able to witness how their relationships with each other (and with both Greg and I) have developed and grown into what they are today. We are a family! And it’s great that the kids have their best friends with them right under the same roof.

Maui – Part 2

July 15, 2010

Thursday, while waiting in line for heaven, aka breakfast, I was talking to my friend Cynthia. She had planned to scuba dive both Friday AND Saturday, and was planning on going solo. I happen to be certified (which I did when I was about 19). I had NEVER been in open water since my certification, and I’m not sure that Blue Lake, located in beautiful Wendover, really counts as open water. After chatting about it a little bit I decided that I would join her for Fridays dive.

The next morning I was nervous but excited, and pretty tired after some serious jet lag and having to wake up at 5 am. But my sleep deprivation was a non-issue when we got on the boat. Diving in an ocean is a WHOLE different ball game than what I had previously experienced… pathetic in comparison. I could fill up 10 posts with all of the details, but to sum it up… it was one of the coolest things I have ever done! Amazing. Life-changing. Something I am sooooo glad I did. Here are some photos of the dive:

After our phenomenal dive, we headed back to the hotel for some poolside relaxation. I was still lobster red from the day before, so I put on my spf 50 and just enjoyed the warmth of the sun while I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which about 234 other people at the hotel were reading :).  The rest of the girls joined us and then we headed into town for another delicious meal, statue harassment, toad catching (just me… the ladies looked and scremed), and laughs before bed.

Saturday some of us decided to hit our favorite breakfast spot again, which I forgot to mention is called The Gazebo Restaurant, while others decided to do the rip line, and 2 others did a volcano bike ride, where at 2 am they left to bike down a volcano, watch the sunrise (the pictures I’ve seen are amazing), and bike down some more. I spent the morning/afternoon enjoying the beach with my friend Strawberri (yes, that is her real name), and then met up with everyone else later on. Carlie, Tammi, and I entered a water slide competition where speed was the goal. Our “heat” was  for adults only. We were the only women that entered and were competing against about 5 young men (around 18-24 yrs old). I totally expected the men to win but… FIRST, SECOND, and THIRD!!! YAHOO! We were so excited to kick butt and take names, and we also won free shaved ice :).

The first day in Hawaii we made reservations for Saturday night at a place that we were told was the best entertainment on the island, Warren and Annabelle’s magic show. It was SO much fun. I really didn’t know what to expect, but everyone we spoke to beforehand raved about it, and it did not fail to deliver. Strawberri ended up being chosen to assist one of the magicians. FUN FUN!

Sunday morning we headed to, yes, you guessed it, the Gazebo for our favorite pancakes and rice. We then headed back to our room to pack, check out, load all of our crap in 2 of our friends room (who had their room until Monday morning), get in our suits and head down to the pool to swim, walk on the beach, and try to soak in as much sun and fun we could before we had to leave for a dinner reservation followed by a flight home.

While I was out at the pool, I noticed this cute little lizard. About 4 feet away a much larger lizard came out of the bushes. I loved it, because I happen to be one of those crazy people who love animals… all animals. The big lizard started running across the walkway and I thought, “oh, how cute. He’s running over to say hi to his little friend”. If cute means that the little guy was lunch. The bigger lizard ran up to the little guy and grabbed him in his mouth. I quickly poked the big lizard and he let the little one go. Pretty exciting stuff :).Here’s a picture of before the “attack”.

The night we left ee ate at the famous Mama’s Fish House, where we had made reservations even before we left on our trip. Ummmm, HOLY CRUD BALLS it was good. As in the best Ahi Tuna steak I’ve ever had. And the view and setting was absolutely breathtaking. The whole experience was surreal.

The plane home was a little rough. Our flight left 45 minutes late, 10:40 Hawaii time, and I couldn’t sleep AT ALL during the 5 hour flight, mostly because I could not get comfortable. I was tempted but didn’t put a plastic bag over my head ;). We then had a short layover in L.A., and had a 2 hour flight home to Salt Lake City.

I missed my hubby and kids a lot, and was ready to get home to them, but the end of the trip was bittersweet. We all had a wonderful time and were a little sad to say goodbye and end our awesome time together. But all good things must come to an end and it was nice to be home again to sleep in my own bed and in the arms of Mr. N.

I’m so incredibly grateful to my amazing friend Maree who made this trip possible. I’m not sure I’m worthy of such generous and great people in my life, but as long as they’ll have me, I’m theirs :). This group of friends/women made the trip what it was… unforgettable and what I needed. It was nothing short of amazing!

I appreciate everyone who helped out with the kids (Mom & Dad, Celeste & Patrick, and Carla, for being willing to watch the twins even though plans changed). And a huge thanks to Greg who handled everything at home and made it so I could relax while I was away and not worry about what was happening at home.


Maui – Part 1

July 14, 2010

“Is it worth it?”, was the questioned I asked a fellow traveler about 15 hours before we were scheduled to embark on our adventure. The morning before my trip, there were last-minute schedule changes with the care of the kids, which required about 10 phone calls. I had to pack, clean the house, finish the laundry, and scoop up my brain off of the floor and jam it back into my head. AHHH!


We left Salt Lake at 7 am, and thanks to the 4 hour time change, we arrived in Maui at about 12 p.m. The fun began as soon as we sat down on the plane (and my apologies to everyone who sat near us. My friends can get a little loud). Unfortunately I was unable to sleep, but luckily my lovely cousin and bff was able to (and she absolutely LOVES the photo I took of her while napping 😉 ). And it wouldn’t have been the same without the ultra creepy guy who kept his bug eyes on us… the whole 5 hour flight. Pure entertainment.

We landed, got our rental cars, and headed FIRST to find something to eat. We stopped at Hard Rock Cafe and had a REALLY yummy lunch. Their fish tacos were absolutely awesome, enough so that we returned for dinner another day, and the view… seriously, ridiculous!

After lunch, we did a little shopping. I should tell you that I don’t like shopping. As in I’d rather spend 30 minutes looking at a blank wall than go shopping, , but I was a pretty good sport this trip. I did, however, skip probably half of the shopping excursions. We then headed over to our beautiful hotel. We couldn’t strip down and throw on our bathing suits fast enough! The pool area was amazing, and only about 200 feet from the beach. It was heaven.

Every night we went to a different restaurant… all were good, and some were amazing. Some I can’t remember the names of simply because I was either too tired (such as the first night) or to involved in fun and conversation.

Our server told us about an awesome pancake house located on the island, but he warned us that if we didn’t get there before 9 a.m., we would probably have an hour wait. Thursday morning we decided to check it out. It wasn’t an hour, but the 45 minutes were totally worth it and flew by (funny how fast time goes when you’re chatting with friends). I am in love… with these pancakes. They had a choice of macadamia nut, banana nut, white chocolate macadamia nut and fresh pineapple pancakes (my personal favorite, although all were delicious). They were SOOOOOOOOOOOOO amazingly wonderful, especially topped with the whipped cream (which had a subtle butterscotch flavor) and the coconut syrup. Words cannot express how delicious they were, but the fact that we went there 3 of the 5 mornings should probably indicate my groups obsession with the food. They also prepared this ham fried rice with egg on top that was to die for!

I decided this would be my day full of poolside fun. I got completely burned (my back is still itching) and loved every minute of it. I did get some reading done, but mostly just talked to the girlies, swam in the pool and ocean, walked on the beach, and took R&R to a whole new level. Some of our group went parasailing, but I had been before and decided to sit this one out. One of the great things about this vacation (and one of the reasons we got 3 cars) is that everyone got to do what they wanted, which often wasn’t the same thing, and every day we’d break off into smaller groups (scuba diving, rip lines, parasailing, biking a volcano were some of the activities), but we always met up again in the afternoon at the pool, and spent the evenings together. FUN! And of course the food was awesome.

There were these large statue thingies at our hotel, and for some odd reason, we felt the need to harass one every time we walked by it. No charges were filed.

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 :).

Hi… and Goodbye

July 6, 2010

OK OK, so it’s been a while. But my lack of posting the last few weeks is a direct reflection of what has been going on in my life. Family trip, 4th of July celebrations, Lagoon, and leaving good ole’ Utah in less than 24 hours (not to mention certain instances that have left me in need of finding an expert to perform an ex exorcism… ugh, don’t ask). Needless to say, things around (and away from) the Nickel home have been a little more exciting than the norm.

At the end of June we spent 5 days in St. George with our friends, The Hennessy’s. Hiking, ENDLESS swimming, interesting hairdo’s (thanks McCall 😉 ), Toy Story 3, sunburns and good times were had. Thanks to the Hennessy’s for making it such a fun trip. I hope you’ve all recovered :).

Greg took LOTS of great photos, but those will have to come later when time is on my side.

The 4th (which was the 3rd in Utah) celebrations were a lot of fun. We went to NSL Saturday evening and enjoyed a few rides and games, a live band, a rousing game of Red Rover with the kids and the more adventurous adults, a spectacular sunset, and ice cream sundaes while enjoying a great fireworks show . Thanks Mom and Dad for being excellent hosts!

Sunday, the actual 4th, we spent the entire day at Lagoon. It was a little stressful keeping track of all 5 kids, but it was also a lot of fun. I actually had more fun than I expected, and the kids LOVED it.

Greg had Monday off of work, so we broke out our water slide and let the kids go wild. Woo hoo!

Tomorrow morning I will be saying adios to Utah and ALOHA to Hawaii! I haven’t been to the “Big Island” since I was 4 years old and I remember very little about it. My lovely friend is taking me, along with 8 other women, to Maui to celebrate her birthday. Yeah, I know! I’m very lucky and grateful to have such a generous friend. While it’s been somewhat of a headache (or should I say migraine) to choreograph everything so that kids are taken care of each day and night, I’m hoping it will all pay off in the end. I’m indebted to the friends and family who are helping me out by being willing to take great care of my kiddos… I owe you all one (or fifty). And a HUGE thank you goes out to my awesome hubby Greg, who is handling everything while I’m away. I’m incredibly lucky to have married such a great man who is willing to take over for the week. THANKS SWEETIE!

I expect to have good pictures and hopefully some great stories when I return. Everyone enjoy their week while I’m away. I’ll see you on the flip side :).