Near extinction . .

 The popularity of the names Susan and Susie over the years . . . I'm almost extinct.  Then again, Niels didn't even make the chart.

Check out your name, or your kid's names here:  http://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager


It's not really looking like Christmas in Vegas, but we'll try anyway.

It's still 70 degrees here (not complaining), so we figured we better do something to get in the holiday spirit. After all, it is our first winter away from snow in 7 years. (again, not complaining)

The entryway creation . . .

The tree . .

I have this quirk sometimes that if I am going to do something that I care about, I want it done well. Hence this little Douglas Fir. I didn't want to fork out the dough on an expensive tree this year, only to adorn it with tacky ornaments that would drive me crazy to look at every day (being that those are likely all we could afford right now). But, it's not Xmas without a tree so I decided to put the 11 ornaments that we own on this 18 inch beauty. We pick a new one each year and the others were gifts. My plan is to get a steal in January on a big tree and some pretty ornaments for next year.

I promise I am going somewhere with the following:

Most of you probably already know that many celebrities have their various assets insured. Well this was completely news to me last month and frankly I was baffled to learn that J-lo's derriere is insured, as well as are Mariah Carey's legs, not to mention Bruce Springsteen's voice, Liberace's hands, Dolly Parton's you-know-whats, etc. , etc.

I also recently learned that most dentists insure their hands in case anything debilitating happens during their career. While it totally makes sense, I guess it never really crossed my mind that we would have a policy on Niels' paws someday.

Still going somewhere with this. . .

This all being said, I am slightly overprotective of Niels' hands as they are kind of our future. I got a tad nervous when he played in last week's Turkey bowl, and to be honest I have doubts about our ski trip next weekend as I envision all kinds of worse case scenarios. I know it sounds crazy, but Niels will testify that his professors back me up on this.

Earlier this week I was nervous for his hands as he climbed a 20 ft ladder to hang Christmas lights on the top story of our house. Now he tried to convince me that it was ok and very normal to just hang them on the first story above the garage. But because of my above mentioned quirk, that was simply not an option. That is, it was simply not an option until I saw how tall that ladder really was. I told Niels to let me get up on the ladder becasue we needed his hands. He replied from 20 ft. above me, "You're not getting up here. We can still have children if I don't have hands."

Ta dah . . .

We took the girls to an outdoor light fesitval at Springs Preserve. Jen told Taylor the real Santa was there and she cocked her head and rolled her eyes in very Taylor fashion.

Who needs a Douglass Fir, when you can have a huge Saguaros instead? Kind of cool.

Turkey Tales

It was soo last week, but . . .

This year we hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house for my family of 6, minus both my sisters and my nieces. My mom brought the bird and Niels and I made all the sides. I told her I couldn't cook anything else if I had a Turkey in my oven all day. While that is very true, I was actually just too nervous about making a turkey.

It was the very first adult only holiday we have ever had. It felt slightly incomplete to not have the girls running around to buffer conversation with how cute they look or how funny they are.

I didn't take any pictures of my food creations, just of the ambiance . . .

My awesome brother Ryan saying, "Stop, don't take a picture of me . . . I don't want to be on your dumb blog!" He used to work in banquets at various hotels and has amazing napkin folding skills. I am jealous.

My best friend Jessica Jensen, her husband and her kids stayed with us for 3 nights. Her kids are pretty much little replicas of her and her husband, Travis. So cute.

On the same day that Jessica and Travis left, we wiped down the counter, washed all the sheets and towels and had a quick overnight visit from yet another Jensen family. Niels' brother Trevor and his family stayed with us on their way back to SLC from Disneyland. Caden and Hailey are alwasy cracking us up. It was so fun to see all of them.

To top off the busy week, we had . . . eh hem, we got to speak in church on Sunday. I was actually ok with it so people can stop asking us if we are new at functions.

Needless to say it was a crazy and eventful week. However, we are indeed thankful for the wonderful family and friends we had to share the holiday with!


You Old Hag

If you know me well, then you will know my best friend Jessica Jensen as she usually comes up in conversation on average of about 3.74 times a day.

Today is her 25th bday (you're old Kika) so I thought I'd tell you all how much I love this woman. Seriouslly, who drives 10 hours to be a bridesmaid at my wedding 7 days after giving birth?!

Jessica and I became friends shortly after she decided to no longer be scared of me in 7th grade. You see I went through a skater phase in middle school where I wore a chain on my wallet and one those metal ball necklaces. I also wore blue mascara with white eyeliner and only wore Vans shoes (kind of like Avril). Jessica, being a naive girl from Farmington, Utah . . . knew that girls that looked like me must have been trouble. But, she eventually she saw past my facade, and embraced my quirks in all their glory. The rest is simply history.

I first thought about listing 25 things I love about you, but I could only come up with 7.

So instead I just want to say thank you for being such a huge part of my life. I know without a doubt that I would not be who/where I am today if you were not in my life these past 12 years.

You make me excited to be a mom someday when I watch you play with your kids. I just hope you will still consider living next door to me someday when we finally decide where we settle. And no, Forks, Washington is not an option.

Love your guts.


Swoopy Bangs

Yes, I tried to cut my own bangs last weekend thinking I could pull off Reese's look.

No, they did not turn out like this, or anything like unto them.

No, it was not pre-meditated. It was VERY spur-of-the-moment.

Yes, I might have watched 2 hours of makeovers on TLC's "What not to Wear" prior to doing so.

Yes, I am too vain to post a picture of the result.

When I came out to surprise Niels, he simply paused for a second, and said ,"Um, are you two-years old? Who cuts their own hair?"

One word: hid-e-ous.
Two more: headbands and bobby pins


Apple Bottom Jeans is the new Twinkle, Twinkle


I will admit that part of me thought these videos were kind of funny at first glance as anytime children sing it is pretty dang cute. However, my better half of me knows that these clips are slightly twisted, and knows that I should be kind of scared about the generation that is coming up. 

What parent decides it's a good use of their child's amazing capacity to memorize things, to teach them rap songs about big butts and getting low? What happened to Mary's lamb, and Hey Diddle's Fiddle?

Isn't it just lovely how the parents say,"Good job!" when they are done?  

Lollipop, pop! Duh, dum, dum, dum.

My 8 year-old niece Taylor called me tonight and caught me off guard with, "Hi Aunt Susie, my mom told me that you know a dance to the lollipop song and I wanted to know if you would teach it to me for the talent show tryouts next month."

A brief awkward phone silence followed while I processed what she just said, realizing that she was serious . . .

Of course I do not know a dance to the 50s lollipop song. But of course I TOTALLY pretended like I did so I would not let Taylor down or sacrifice my cool aunt status.

"Oh Taylor, I would love to teach you and 2 friends my special lollipop dance for your tryouts!"

. . . Thanks Sis.


Mawwwage - Is What Brings us Togetha Today

Dedicated to the recent passing of Proposition 8.

My favorite wedding scene ever.


Becasue I Don't Have Any Yet

My Girls:

Out of the Office, Into the House

I'm not referring to my recent move from working at an office in Utah, to telecommuting from home in Las Vegas. Although, it is kind of fitting I suppose.

I used to be a huge fan of The Office. I even have the once coveted, and ever so hard to find Dwight Schrute bobble head on my desk. But sadly, I have not been overly impressed with any episodes this season and most of last season's. They are ok, but they are no where near as belly-laughing funny as they used to be. Could you agree?

I kind of feel like an un-loyal child who eventually gets sick of their once favorite toy, only to find a new and shinier one. Kind of like a Buddy/Buzz-Lightyear type thing.

My new show of choice is House. Although it has been on for a while now, I just picked up on it a couple months ago randomly one night. I originally hated Hugh Laurie's (Dr.House) dry and heartless disposition. But he quickly grew on me and I am a huge fan.

You would never guess that Hugh Laurie (Dr.House) is from England and has a thick British accent. He has to practice acting in English. I have always known that American actors have to practice British accents, but I have never considered the opposite.

It is amusing to watch House with Niels because he gets kind of giddy when he understands the medical terms they are using on the show because he is learning them at school.

I have even noticed that anytime something hurts or if I find something abnormal on my body, I find myself subconsciously creating an episode in my head. Normal, right?


Outside of the Box

It is always refreshing to see original and clever costumes that break away from the weak traditional adult costumes: cat, angel, devil, and the ever so popular cowgirl. (I admit to being at least 2 of these, btw)

At my company's office in Utah, I worked among several graphic artists and many other creative minds that would never settle on being anything close to traditional. For this reason, I always looked forward to Halloween every year becasue I never knew what was going to show up, but I  was certain it was going to be good. I am quite sad to be missing out on it all this year.

A few absolute gems that I love:


Dora the Explorer. His backpack had speakers on it and was blasting "Come on vamanos, everbody let's go!" Hilarious.  Yes, he even has pink Nikes. 

This is Curt, one of the most talented designers I know, as Mary Poppins.  He always has the best costumes.  This year, his family dressed as the cast of Peter Pan and went to the mall to show it off. Too fun.


Shaved face in the back of his head.  Who would of thought?

Nachoooo!! I don't know how to sew.  Let's just say that a hot glue gun and a stapler saved me on this one.  
Noelle's little guppy. One of the cutest baby costumes I've ever seen.



White as Snow

This is my sister-in-law, Lizzie. As you can tell, she does not have a hard time making friends.

She went to Africa last month, and this picture made my day, and I'm pretty sure it made their lives.

Only a Mother Could Love . . .

I'm feeling kind of shallow and heartless this morning.

This guy found our doorstep last night around 6:30 pm. I tried to shew him a few times, but sure enough at 8 pm, 10 pm, and midnight he was still comfortably situated on our front porch. Pictures do not capture the appearance/scale of this pup too well. He is what appears to be a bad combination of a chihuahua trapped into a rottweilers body. How do I say this nicely . . . well, he is ugly. He looks normal chihauhua sized in these pics, but he is not at all.

I went to bed around 1 am figuring that he would make his way home, if he indeed has one, in the middle of night. I was relieved when I woke up at 7:00 this morning that he was gone.

After returning from my jog this morning, I came home to find the rott-uahua fast asleep on our porch. It pulled my heartstrings a little bit that this guy apparently is a stray and he wants us to take him in. "Of all the fish in the sea, he chose us" type thing. Then he stood up and put his huge, ugly chihuahua ears in the air and it totally killed the tender moment.

I know this sounds shallow, but just like in the dating scene, there has to be some sense of initial attraction or interest in the person. And if it's not there, it's not there. I have paced by my front door about 10 times this morning trying to have a change of heart, and hoping he will look cute to me. No such luck.

I called animal patrol and they said they will be by to get him. It has now been two hours and he is still chilling on my porch. Am I hero for calling the pound in hopes they will take him in and feed him? Perhaps someone will come in and think his unique look is cute? Or, am I the wicked, shallow lady who doesn't want an unattractive housemate?



Recently I was talking with a friend about how he pays his children a nickel for each piece of Halloween candy that they surrender from their stash, and a dime for any full size candy bars, and then he throws it away. Of course he does all of this to try and keep his kids healthy.

I really should be embarrassed about my thoughts/plotting that followed our conversation. I soon pondered how I would likely do the same thing with my future kids, minus the whole throwing away part. Instead, I would buy from their stash for a low price, and keep "mommy's secret stash" somewhere for when I needed a sweet fix. Genius if you ask me. I'm joking by the way. Kind of.

My thoughts then wandered to how I would never admit to my children that . . .
  • The typical plastic jack-o-lantern head with a handle was never a sufficient companion for trick-or-treating. The pillowcase was always the better choice.

  • I would go to the rich neighborhoods because big/expensive houses = big/expensive candy.

  • I would not go to bed on Halloween night, until my stash was dumped out on my floor and strict inventory was taken to see what candy I had the most of that year. Dang Tootsie Rolls always won.

  • In a somewhat OCD manner, I would line up all my candy by type and size, and then throw away any of the nasty mystery candies that were wrapped in those unmarked, generic orange and black wrappers.


A little help from my girls

I didn't have younger siblings, which might explain why I have always been so fond of my nieces. Something about being an aunt brings me so much joy. The girls all have funny little unique personalities, and they are always cracking me up.

The transition to Vegas has been somewhat of a huge adjustment, for me at least. However, please meet the little ones that have helped the process.



My sister Jen says she must have brought this on herself when she banned the color pink from Taylor's baby shower. Taylor seems to think that a little bit (or a lot, actually) of pink and bling makes everyone look better. She is the epitome of a girly girl.

I totally fear Jen's years ahead with Taylor as a teen, especially after seeing this picture of her sleeping on the couch with the face mask that SHE saved her money to buy and HAD to have.

Because Halloween is around the corner, you might guess that Taylor has always chosen princess this costume, fairy that costume, and wants to be Pocahontas this year.


I love this picture only because she looks so intense here , when really, she is the goofiest toe-headed child you have ever met. She still has one of those small person voices and I am sad for the day when she finally develops a big kid one and starts saying "blue" instead of "bwue". Sydney loves yellow and blue, and wanted to be Davey Jones from Pirates of the Carribean (yes, the octopus face man) last year for Halloween. This year she wants to be Captain Hook after watching "Hook" with Robin Williams at my house last month. Don't worry, Taylor was quick to show her disgust by saying, "Sydney! You always pick the boy costumes!!" as she shot her a crusty look. Jen has shot these down too.


Oh, Miss Avery. While most baby girls have cute cooing noises, Avery has a wide range of grunts and other random loud noises that crack me up. She is definitely danger becasue she makes me baby hungry if I am around her too long. I am excited to be here for the next 4 years and watch this one grow.

The girls love their Uncle "Skittles" - couldn't quite say Niels when they first met him.

I guess I have always just assumed that I will have all girls too, because they are somewhat dominant in my family. But then again, Niels has mostly boys in his, so it will be interesting to see how that will all work out down the road.

I will need some SERIOUS boy training after playing hard with these girls.


She's big, she's black, and she's beautiful . . .

The movers bringing in her parts

This beauty arrived yesterday from Niels' mom and step-dad's house in Arizona. They recently purchased a newer piano to help someone out financially. Consequently, they decided to surprise Niels with the piano that he learned to play on growing up. Apparently, Niels was the whole reason a family friend gave his family this piano many years ago. Needless to say, he was very surpised, and he is one happy and thankful man.

Ironically enough, earlier this year we were fantasizing about bigger purchases we want to make later in life after the heaps of student loan debts start to diminish. One of Niels' first items was a grand piano. So, a HUGE thank you to Dave and Julie for accelerating his dream.

I am really excited to have what I feel is a family heriloom. I am especially eager to tell our future kids that they are learning on the piano their dad learned on. Very cool to me.

I don't play, but I wish I did everytime I walk by her. I guess I am content listening to Niels serenade me for now. =)


Apparently they don't count

Should I feel bad that my husband got mocked on his first day of lunch at dental school? Perhaps I should be sad like a parent is, when their kid gets picked on by the lunchroom bully.

I should have taken the hint last weekend . . .

Last weekend:
Susie: Did you eat all of my blueberry sorbet?
Niels: Well ya, I had a sweet tooth and we didn't have anything else to cure it.
Sure we do, we have Chips Ahoy, Nutter Butters, Oreos AND Grasshoppers.
Niels: 100 calorie packs don't count, babe.
Susie: What? Why? They are delicious.
Niels: Eh, they are good, but they still don't count.

2 days later . . . first day of dental school
Susie: How was lunch?
Niels: Great. That sandwich you made was really good, the guys I sat with were jealous.
Susie: No they weren't.
Niels: Yes they were. But, I did . . . never mind.
Susie: What?
Niels: Never mind.
Susie: Just tell me what you were going to say!
Niels: I got made fun of when I pulled out my 100 calorie pack with a bunch of guys.



I, I, I

I have refrained from playing the tag game for a long time, but Kristy (the girl who replaced my position in Utah) got me and now I feel obligated to participate as a necessity to keep our working relationship strong ;)

I have... roots and look like I am from West Valley Utah
I fear... any activity that has a high potential of getting hurt.
I always... have to wash all the dishes in the sink and wipe down the counters before I go to bed.
I feel... like I am finally starting to get a daily routine going again.
I hear... Niels downstairs fixing the bobber thing-a-majig on the toilet that broke off the first day we moved in.
I smell... the onions I just chopped for fresh pico de gallo.
I wish ... I rocked at volleyball so that I could go to pick up games with Niels.
I hate... mayo, ranch and people that don't follow through.
I wonder... where all the stuff is that we are missing from the move!?
I regret....not paying attention in some of my classes in college as much as I should have.
I love.... sushi, creating new salads with whatever I have on hand, trying new restaurants with Niels, anything gummy, playing with my nieces and nephews, diet coke, road trips, running to a great playlist on my iPod, spooning.
I am... getting used to working from home.
I think... I will freshen up my Spanish skills this year.
I know... that August was the most expensive month of my life so far.
I want... to get motivated to wake up early and work out as much as I used to.
I always.... steal food from Niels' plate. Always.
I am not .... a fan of Lord of the Rings.
I am like... uhhh . . I dunno on this one, any suggestions?
I believe.... everything happens for a reason and that we cross paths with people/friends/experiences at certain periods of our lives for a purpose.
I don't always... wash my hair everyday. (This doesn't mean I don't shower daily, btw.)
I am happy that... I work for a great company and that I live by my sister and my nieces.
I win... at finding excellent bargains.
I lose... my keys and at any video game that is 3-dimensional.
I never... have been camping.
I need... to get to the beach this year.
I listen... to Pandora.com everyday. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I command you to go try it out.
I am scared of... snakes.
I read... lots and lots of emails and National Geographic.


Only in Vegas. . .

Will the stranger that sold you his TV on Craig's List call you and tell you that because you are new in town he would like to invite you to a low-key party at his house to get to know some people. He assures you it won't be anything fancy . . . just a few kegs, good music and great people.

Fabulous Friends and Farewells

It was pretty hard to leave some great people in Utah. I am especially full of thanks for the two great going away parties that were thrown for us.

My boss Paul decided to throw together a bbq shindig at his house with all of the managers at the office. Most of the guests had never been to his house before and were likely expecting the average summer bbq. However, I have been in his home numerous times before and I know that there is no such thing as average if his wife is ever involved with the planning.

I walked into Paul's house and was surprised to find Kelsey Nixon cooking in the kitchen! Now, you might recognize Kelsey (the girl in black) if you ever watched "The Next Food Network Star". She has been dubbed the mini Martha Stewart and she catered the event. Pretty cool, right? Kristy, on the far right, replaced my position at the office. She is great.

Is it kosher that my going away party was as nice as our wedding? =) It was beautiful and I was genuinely touched by it all.

A few days later some of our best family friends, the Hofheins, had a surprise going away dinner for us. They posted about 50 of these neon signs all over their house that had great memories and funny sayings from the past 6 years that we have known them. I was doing fine emotionally about the whole move thing until I started reading all of these and began reminiscing. It was the first time I got a little misty eyed.

We are really excited to meet new friends here now, even though they will have pretty big shoes to fill.