how many browns do you have?

i have a little "dark meat" in me. so does kaitlyn. we know it comes from our great grandfather, but the nationality is a little bit in question. we think he was latino. but then sometimes grandma would change her mind and throw out greek.....anyway, it's picks and chooses people here and there in my family. it got my dad, skipped my older sister, got me, skipped my younger brother, got my youngest sister, etc. you get the idea.  

in my own little family, we have "two browns"--here's how we know:

about 4 years ago we had my cousin allison's daughter, india, over to play with chandler. india is the most exquisite shade of copper brown as her dad, vasu, is from (you guessed it) india. allison and vasu also have a younger daughter, sienna.

that night we loaded up all the kids plus india to go for a ride in our sweet miniature van. india and chandler were sitting in the captain's chairs right behind me and rbc, and we could hear their little 5 year old conversation:

chandler:  india, how many browns do you have?

india: what?

chandi:  you know, brown people. how many?

india: oh browns! we have 3 browns.

chandi: we have two browns, mom katie.  me and dad and abbey are the whites. 

politically correct? yeah no. but by breaking it down to the easiest of terms, she managed to sidestep all the hatred and bigotry and rules that the world demands that we follow, and make it straightforward and simple & sweet.

i absolutely love telling this story because i think it would be so much better if we could all just reason like children did. i think it could solve so many problems. my hope? that we can all be color blind in the future.

here are the two "browns" in my own family: me and megan
and a photo we took a couple of years ago to actually show the whites and browns: l to r--loni (white), mindi (brown), ryan (white), michael (white) and megan (brown)

 we will make some great oreos togeher.

thankful thursday

this week i am thankful for:

good friends and good family

the fact that our ghetto rec center is getting new spin bikes--yahoo!!

that my baby turned 14. and is going to her first stake dance on saturday night. yikes.

for a mother who loves me always and still calls me her baby

that my husband takes my car and gets it washed for me on saturday afternoons. he is an incredible caretaker and i'm so thankful for him.  he rules.

but today i am especially grateful for my baby and little caboose.  i sometimes have so many things going on that i am missing the important things.  i'm trying to slow down and have more puzzle time with her.  she's growing up super fast and it's a strange and wistful feeling seeing her start to grow up.  please stay little, my baby. 

chandi got glasses and she's TOO cute.

at our girl who wears glasses! wondering how long until the novelty wears off......any bets?

mia loves riding on the motorcycle with russ

katie is 14 and FABULOUS

no way can i have a girl who is turning 14 years old. or, "WAY."

hb to my little katie bird who was my first born beautiful little indian baby. she had a head full of dark, curly hair and the prettiest olive skin. i was a young, vain mother who was worried about birthing an 'ugly child', so i can't believe that someone upstairs didn't teach me a lesson by sending me an unfortunate looking baby. instead, i hit the jackpot and was totally in love.

being first child,kaitlyn has been the guinea pig, which i want to apologize to her publicly for. katie, we haven't been perfect parents, but you know how much your dad and i love you, and we hope that fact will make up for all the different ways we've scarred you over the years.

katie is such a sweet, compassionate, good girl with a great head on her shoulders. she has a little bit of her mother's obsessiveness about things periodically going on. over her years she has been obsessed with all things: titanic, moulin rouge, phantom of the opera, twilight, maximum ride, prison break, and someone with the initials b.s.

kaitlyn gets as brown as a bear in the summer--one of my favorite stories is when she was about 6 years old, her little friend kennedy was talking to her mom about what they'd learned about martin luther king, jr, and the civil rights movement. kennedy said to her mother (kristin), "mom, i'm so glad that we live in this time and not back then, because i wouldn't have been able to sit next to katie on the bus."

katie, i love you so much! i am so glad that you were sent to our family! you make us proud of all the great things you accomplish. i'm sorry that you have a mother who likes to embarrass you while you roll your eyes and say, "mom! you are such a dork!" hb sweetie.

we celebrated katie's birthday with a dinner last night--here she is with her wanksta uncle neal:

aunt megan made you the cutest ginormous cupcake cake:

lots of love from your "peeps":

soft talk with abbey

we were in the basement watching our 428th consecutive episode of "lost". they had just buried shannon and had a funeral for her, people crying, etc.

abbey was sitting right next to me, snuggled on the couch. she looked up at me with her big eyes filled with sadness and said, "oh, mom! i would be so so sad if someone i loved very much died!"

my heart filled with sweet tenderness as i looked down at her. i kissed her on the head and was about to tell her i wasn't ever going to die when she added,

"like zac efron."

i would like it stated for the record that i would not like zac efron to die, either.

i'm obsessed with the girl's nick and nora pajamas from target.

this is totally random, but i am a little bit obsessed with girl's pajamas by nick and nora. you can buy them at target and i am going to bear my testimony about how much i can't live without them and why you shouldn't.
i heart them so because they are CHEAP-- the nightgowns and the shorts and capri sets are $14.99 and the long sleeved, long pants pajamas are $19.99. they go on sale about every 4-6 weeks, down to $12.99 and $14.99, respectively.

i heart them because they are SOFT-- they are made out of 100% polyester, so they are slick and slippery like satin, and super comfy.

i heart them because they are STYLISH-- i love the bright, whimsical patterns they use. i am always just disappointed that they don't make them in my size.

but probably the reason why i heart them the most is because they WASH UP LIKE A DREAM-- i hate on pj's that ball up after 2 times through the laundry. these just wash and wash and wash and still look brand new a year later. i am not kidding.

they make them in about 4-6 different styles and lots 'o fabrics:

also my girls have all had the pajamas pictured.  they are the cutest little ladies in them.

it's all about mindi and it really should be.

3 Joys-
*4 girls who love their mother unconditionally (well, mostly.)
*traveling with anywhere with russ
*a really great concert with friends

3 Fears-
*a child drowning
*hurrying through the stages of my kid's lives and realizing that only when it's too late
*always having a hate/hate relationship with my body

3 Goals-
*finish mia's scrapbook (oh. and to actually START it, i guess.)
*learn to be more patient with my children
*be better about church attendance (did i say that out loud?? hey--we have the 8:30 am church whinewhinewhine)

3 Current obsessions/collections-
*diet dr pepper
*my extensive 'precious moments' figurine and spoons from every state collection. (just waiting to get north dakota. it's in demand and hard to find.....)

3 Random Surprises About Me!
*i used to be a lifeguard at the st. george city pool, but only had one rescue in 4 years. (successful, i would like to add.)
*I will buy anything from any child under the age of 16 selling something door to door for girl scouts, fundraisers, band camp, etc. ANYTHING. i also stop at EVERY "lemonade 4 sell" stand that i see and buy a cup. then i toss it out the window when i'm far enough away that they won't see..i'm a sucker with a bleeding heart.
*I served kenny rogers pizza at pizza hut when i was 16. i actually tried to incorporate "you gotta know when to hold 'em. know when to fold 'em," into the conversation. i failed.

june 22nd, 1991

17 years ago i made a really smart decision.

happy anniversh to the love of my life.  i've been in love with you since i was 17 years old  thank you for taking care of me and our girls and giving me the best life.  i love you.

songs russ and i heard while in hawaii. (repeatedly.)

 here's a little known fact about hawaii: they only import 10 songs to their radio stations. seriously, just 10. i know this because i heard them. over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. and there is some mad love in the citizens of hawaii's hearts for rap.

believe you me, i would know because russ and i are radio listeners when we travel. we find the 5 or 6 local radio stations that we enjoy and program them into the rental car's ghetto-fabulous stereo. unfortunately for us, there were only about 6 total stations on oahu that we could get, or that weren't broadcasting in japanese.

we spent a LOT of time cruising in our sweet convertible mustang, and there was one moment on saturday afternoon that 4 out of the 6 stations were ALL playing "what you got", which only made us want to veer off the freeway into oncoming traffic. 

wanna know the ten?? well, you're gonna get them whether you want to or not, since they are burned into my memory forever after:

in this club--usher (who, ironically, doesn't club anymore with his 50 year old wife)
get low-- 'lil jon (which has lost it's 15 minutes. or so i thought.)
what you got-- colby 'o donnis (liked it the first time. not the 20th)
soulja boy-- soulja boy (naturally. hate it)
lollipop-- 'lil wayne (as obnoxious as it sounds)
sexy can i-- ray j (don't even get me started)
bleeding love-- leona lewis (used to like this , now i develop hives)
take a bow-- rhianna (used to like this, too. but i can only take so much)
realize-- colbie callait (the soft rockness made me drowsy)
stop and stare--one republic (which i used to LOVE, but now have to banish)

now you know. and if you ever get to be on jeopardy and 'hawaiian musical favorites summer 2008' category comes up, you are SET.

one song that we did get to hear occasionally sandwiched in-between songs by artists starting with " 'Lil " is the song that my blogging bff kami turned me on to: jason mraz's 'i'm yours'--i have it on my blog player, and i fell in love with the ukulele and the "island vibe", and it will always remind me of russ and hawaii and driving in downtown honolulu while singing the words.  i loved this trip with him and i can't wait to go back. 

you need to take 3 minutes and 41 seconds to feel the love for the islands right here

thankful thursday

this week i am thankful for:

1. hawaii. {sigh} i think i've covered why but i can't stop thinking about what a wonderful trip it was.  russ and i truly enjoyed each other and that island.

2. kamari's pool. i think it's downright generous of her to build it so we could lay around and soak our fabulousness all day long. plus, where else are my kids gonna be entertained for a 3 hour stretch? that's some good stuff.

3. fathers--for my own, and the father of "my own". just had a lot of time to reflect, and i am so thankful i drew the "long straws" on both. me so lucky. i don't want no scrubs (see slang term of the day)

4. chips and salsa and steak quesadilla from pachanga's. i'm a little obsessed. i think it's laced with heroin. all i know is they did INDEED make my own dang quesadilla.

5. for things like THIS that happen, and restores my faith in humanity.

we ate at the famous kahuku's shrimpmobile and lived to tell about it.

so we were repeatedly told by people in the hawaii-know that we needed to buy shrimp from the shrimp trucks going up the north shore to laie. totally sketchy, but i'm willing to give it a shot if it's as good as they say.

russ and i decided that if we were gonna die of food poisoning, we were going all the way. and so we vowed to find the nastiest truck to patronize. i'm almost positive that we did:

we pulled over to a screeching halt when we saw famous kahuku's shrimpmobile, said a small prayer and then ordered:

the reason why we are smiling is not because it was the best shrimp we'd ever tasted--we are smiling because i couldn't believe we were eating seafood from an rv with a gott cooler in it's front windshield. it was one of those situations that we couldn't make up and i wanted to enjoy it while i could.  cuz i knew this thing would have a short shelf-life with me.

the shrimp WAS very good, but i'm afraid that the surroundings were just too much for my fragile psyche to handle. maybe i'm too suburbanized or too high maintenance but it's hard to eat something that came from an rv that could possibly be condemmed.  when in hawaii, though....

4th of july seasonals

god bless america.

russ and mindi stay at the jw marriott ko'olina and it changes their life.

ahhhhhhhh, paradise. it really IS all it's cracked up to be. this is the first vacation that russ and i have taken in our 17 years of marriage that i really was not ready to come home on the last day. don't get me wrong, i missed my peeps at home.........just knew i could extend for at least 72 more hours and then hug on them afterwards.  

we stayed at the beautiful jw marriott in ko 'olina and it was magnificent. loved loved loved these views from the balcony:

one of my favorite things about russ that makes me giggle is that, without fail, every single time we stay at a hotel, he unpacks everything. EVERYTHING and puts it all into the drawers or hangs it in the closet. i've asked around, and i've yet to find somebody that does this. fyi: he will do this, even if we are only staying one night. 

 we ate breakfast every morning out on our balcony and it was breathtaking.  i told russ that i didn't ever want to forget how it felt to eat an amazing and life-changing breakfast with a view like this

every morning, without fail, the birds would come down and perch on the rail and watch us eat. then, when we would hold really still, they would get brave enough to jump on the table and peck a little bit once we were finished.

confession booth

confess your sins with an anonymous comment.  you'll be surprised by how good it feels.

we spend our summers at the swimming pool

if you live in the desert and see that thermometer hover between 103-110 for 3 months straight, you can do one of two things: hibernate inside next to the a/c, or swim. really, that's just about it.
luckily for me, i've always had either my mom's pool or russ's hotel pool or kamari's pool to swim in, and i learned long ago one simple fact: swimming with my children is aLOT more fun if my friends are there to entertain me. lucky for me, also, is the beautiful thing that my friend's kids are MY kid's preferred playmates. fate was kind to me when she bestowed that precious gift upon my head. either that, or we all just got knocked up around the same time. 

when the kids were younger, we would make it to the pool at least 3 times a week. the children played (or floated) for hours and we moms got killer tans and lots of gossip in. fat, thin, pregnant, nursing with ginormous boobs, cellulite, jelly belly: these are all welcome at our pool.

we've managed somehow in the more than 9 summers that we've been swimming to NOT have anybody drown. but there has always been a child, at the start of swim season without fail, that goes in without the floaties and we have to fish them out. we never leave a man behind.

katie swimming at mom's--2002

{sigh} hawaii

i love you russ clove. thank you for taking me to a place that was beyond my wildest dreams and experiencing so many adventures with me.