25th Anniversary Party

Here’s a rarity these days: this year marks my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary! How amazing (and rare and cool and how much work is that?!?!) I am so totally happy for them and so to mark the occasion, I wanted to throw them a party. And so on September 24th 2011, just days before their actual anniversary (September 27th), we had a soiree at their house!!

After the wedding invitations were sent I got busy on the details: food, drinks, cake, & decor.

We chose to do a “charcuterie” theme for the food, which translated into lots of different meats (salami, turkey, sausage, smoked salmon, smoked trout, oysters, pate) and cheeses (brie, goat cheese, manchego, gruyere…I know I’m forgetting something here). We also had grapes, strawberries, quince paste, lots of different crackers & breads & spreads. We also served a lot of Italian-style antipasti – several types of olives, pepperoncini, roasted red peppers, pearl onions, etc.

For the drinks, I bought different bottles of red and white wines, each with a special memory: one was the same wine they liked when they first got married (a German Kabinett Riesling), another was French (Dad’s a francophile), another was from Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington (where we lived 1987-1999), a Nero d’Avola from Sicily (Mom’s roots), and another that was Dustin’s favorite (Rosemount Shiraz). I also made this punch, and served sun tea, Coke/Diet Coke, and a selection of beer. I bought some bubbly for the champagne toast I wanted to give as well, which you can see in the following video (please excuse my ugly cry face – I’m no good at giving toasts!!!)

*leave a comment if you need a password to watch the video and I’ll respond to you privately*

So this one is for you, Mom & Dad! I think (hope?) you had an amazing time, and deserve every compliment, every blessing, and every moment of happiness!! Each and every day 🙂

Lots of love,
Nikki, Maurice, & Hazel


Honey, what are you really trying to tell me??

I am trying my best to learn German. Maurice writes to me during the work week, and to facilitate my Sprachenlernen, he’ll more often than not write to me in Deutsch. Also more often than not, I end up using Google Translate to assist me with some, if not all, of his email. This morning went something like this:

“Hallo, meine schoene Backende Frau.

Wie geht es dir Heute, es tut mir leid das duch nicht gut Schlaffen contestL  Heute Abend kanst du vor mir ins Bett gehen und einschlaffen.   Ich hoffe du hast einen schoenen Tag, und das es ein produktiver Arbeits Tag ist!

Mit Liebe
Dein Ehemann,

I started to translate using my own Deutsch skillz:

“Hallo, my beautiful something (will have to look this one up) Lady.

How are you, something something Sleeping contest huh?? Something today can… uh…Day…ok I give up please help me.

With Love,
Your Husband

Armed with the words I clearly do not yet comprehend, I went to my trustworthy Google Translate pal and copied the email in, pressed the magic button, and this is what I got:

“Hello, my beautiful wife back end.  (umm…)

How are you today, I’m sorry that Duch is not good flaccid contestL (now you’re getting weird) tonight then you can do before I go to bed (I’m not so sure I want to do what YOU want to do before bed!) andeinschlaffen (oh yes, andeinschlaffen translates to andeinschlaffen, that is so much clearer, thanks Google!). I hope you have a nice day, and it is a productive work day!

with love
Your husband,


Maurice’s response:

“Google translate Sucks”

haha!!! In any case,

“Dear Maurice’s butt,

We seem to be having a communication problem. I’ll be sleeping on the couch until the “contest” is over.

Deine loving but weirded-out Frau,

My husband knows me

I knew Maurice was up to something good yesterday when he emailed and said “I have a surprise for you.”  Despite my plea to TELL ME RIGHT NOW OMG I CAN’T WAIT TELL ME TELL ME!, he didn’t cave in. He never does which I find irritating love about him. I’m never any good about waiting for surprises, just ask my mom. She’s no good at it either.

When I got home, Maurice had a sly look on his face and a hand behind his back. First thing I said was “I WANT MY SURPRISE NOW PLEASE!!!” and he showed me his closed hand. “WHAT IS IT WHAT IS IT!” When he opened his hand, he had a small black key. I squinted my eyes and said “is that what I think it is?…”

Sure enough, the key belonged to exactly what I thought and hoped it would be:

my very own toolbox!

There it was, all shiny and newly-restored just for me! No more sharing, no more digging through his mess (sorry honey) of tools to find mine, no sticky glue or flammable liquids to get on my pretty hands while searching for MY tools… it even has my name on it!

yep, that's mine

Now I can really get down to business building beds and side tables and dining tables with benches and TV stands and whatever else I or my family & friends may want! Knowing that would be my desire, Maurice even included these wish-list goodies for me so that I can start right away:

carpenter's square

carpenter pencils

I think what’s even cooler is that Maurice put so much work and thought into restoring it for me! He salvaged it from the work trash pile and brought it home, knowing that with a little elbow grease, paint, and a few adjustments it’d be good as new.

Here are a few pictures of the work he’s done to it to get it pretty for me:

before: rusty, dirty, nasty


sanding the rust away

taking it all apart

prepping for paint

first layer of paint goes on

then the guts get prepped and painted

hardware gets adjusted and prettied up!

He even put noise-dampening pads on the top lid so that when it closes, it doesn’t make a peep (he knows I hate loud noises). He thought of everything!! Now I just need to fill it up. I have some card making materials going in the top drawer. Surely he won’t mind if I put modge-podge and 20 vials of glitter in there.

So to all you nay-sayers who say that I must be joking when I ask for a 12″ sliding compound miter saw, or that I prefer to receive something useful rather than extravagant as a gift, take this as a lesson. Not all women want diamonds and froo-froo; some of us want tool boxes and a man in overalls. But all of us really just want a man that listens to what we like and supports our interests….even if it means giving up a tiny bit of garage space 🙂

I love my husband

…with a love note that says:

“To My Dear Nicole,

I am so grateful to share a wonderful life together with you. With the days behind us increasing my love for you continues to grow. You make me truly happy. You have my heart.



{and all of this while he is offshore on a spotty internet/spotty phone, smelly offshore rig}

Roses are red…

…and my husband is awesome!!

Thank you for the beautiful flowers, and for not “leaving me in an empty house without something beautiful to look at” as you say! My favorite flowers have always been roses…but then again, you already knew that!

Love you Schnookums!




so beautiful

Happy Birthday Meecie!

I’ve known you since you were a by-then-totally-worldly 23 and I was but a silly 19-year-old in tight black pants.

You drove a sensational baby blue Prelude with stickers all over it. (You still like your stickers…) We’d go out in Austin, laughing it up as I snuck into bars and shared a beer or 3 with you.

You were always my protector – still are – and made sure I was home safe and sound before you started your drive back to Fort Hood. One time my parents and I convinced you to stay over… the drive to Killeen was so long, and it was so late… so you stayed and slept on my futon while I slept on the floor. I thought you were uh-mazing but way too hairy, which at 19 is a totally valid reason for not wanting to date somebody justsoyouknow.

Years went by and we stayed in touch – through Arizona, Korea, and Iraq. You finally got back from your war and I grew up and realized that just maybe, hairy wasn’t so bad.

The year we moved in together we celebrated your 30th birthday with angel food cake.

This year we started the party hat tradition:

Hazel's Birthday

It’s your turn now so get home soon, ok? In the meantime… HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEECIE!!!!

With Love,
Your Wife ‘n Hazel