Friday, December 26, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
We spent this passed Thanksgiving in NYC. Because of the crappy economy we were able to score a great priced hotel on Priceline right in the city. Ben's brother, Nate, works and lives right in Manhattan. His office is right in Times Square and we were able to watch the parade from inside with bathrooms in close proximity, a catered breakfast, and heat. It was the best way to watch the parade!
For Thanksgiving dinner we went to Virgil's BBQ in Times Square (pause for giggles) with Ben's brother, Nate and the Waltman's. Amy and Nate ordered the 'Thanksgiving meal' which they say was great. The rest of us got something BBQ. Mine was fantastic!
The day after Thanksgiving we went to a matinee performance of Mary Poppins. We all loved it and Luke didn't look away once. Caleb slept through the first half and yes, we had to buy him a ticket. He took a very expensive nap! At the end of the show Mary Poppins flies over the audience and I said to Luke, "Wow, Luke! She's flying!" He said to me with a tone that was completely exasperated, "She's just on ropes, Mom." He was not impressed!
Sorry again with the month long delay. And finally, Yes, I did cut my hair off. Pictures will follow shortly. It is the shortest my hair has ever been and I'm liking it. I have had no regretful days. Phew!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Ben was highly disappointed in Luke's uncreative choice of SpiderMan. He told Luke, "1 in 4 boys is SpiderMan, don't you want to be something different?" To which Luke told him AGAIN that he wants to be SpiderMan.
Here is Luke's progression of head wear throughout the Halloween week. At the first party, Ben's school party for families, he wore the costume mask.
To the next party, the church trunk or treat, he asks me if I can paint his face like SpiderMan. It didn't take long for him to realize those masks are ridiculously uncomfortable. Here is how it looked by the end of the night.
Finally, on the day of Halloween he decides that "sometimes SpiderMan wears a headband." He wasn't willing to sit for the 15 minutes it took me to paint his face or wear the suffocating mask and so here he is as SpiderMan/Rambo.
Also this year Ben and I made a costumed appearance...we were able to con friends into watching our boys after trick or treating so that we could go to the Johnson School party. It was fun! Ben's pirate hat didn't fit his big head so without me standing beside him Ben got mistaken for a rocker because Yes, that is eyeliner around his eyes.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Luke has taken a gymnastics class for the past year and a half and we will be missing the last few weeks of this session because we're leaving to UT next week. He has been making them up this week and has attended 3 classes, 2 of which were with a different teacher. Today after one of his make-up classes the teacher came up to me and said that she really enjoyed having Luke in her class the last few times because he was such a good listener, so well behaved, not to mention adorable. Although Luke was within listening distance she was talking to me for my benefit...not to me in order for the child to over hear and feel proud. Do you know what I'm talking about? I was surprised with myself when I suddenly felt my throat go tight with pride, I can only imagine the crying boob I'll turn into when someone might tell me he is such a good missionary, or an honorable date for their daughter.
Luke really is a great boy (definitely adorable) and I've seen him listen and use kind words, so why is it he so easily tunes my voice out???
Lastly, tonight as we were getting ready for bed I was singing 'Once There Was a Snowman' to Caleb while I was brushing his teeth. I overheard Luke singing along and these were the words...
In the sunny mountain, mountain, mountain
In the sunny mountain, small, small, small
I said "no, Luke, it's in the sun he melted, melted...you know like snow melts to water." And he says with total exasperation, "no Mom, in the sunny mountain!!" He totally thought I was pulling his chain like I do when I sing the Thomas song starting with...
They're 12, they're 2, they're 6, they're 10
Shunting sticks and hauling clothes
They think I'm hilarious because they know these aren't the words to the song. Now when I'm really trying to tell them the correct words they still think I'm teasing. Whoops!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
So last year upon finishing Eclipse I was flipping through a JC Penny's magazine that came in the mail and as I scanned over this picture I froze and said to myself, "there's Edward!" This is the Edward image of my imagination! Puts poor Pattinson to shame. Yes, he's a bit older than 17, but so am I!! Use your imagination and take a few years off.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Luke tells me all the time, when he doesn't want to eat what I'm making that "his body doesn't want chicken, or carrots, or whatever." Or, if he does want something that "his body is hungry for..."
Today, we were on our way to Target and the boys started whining for all the toys they want. I told them that in a few days we would go visit Santa and that they could tell him what toys they would like for Christmas. Caleb says, "but my body wants light sabers and Woody right now."
I'm sure it does.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Sometimes I think to myself, "wouldn't it be nice if I were more motivated like some of my friends and got my lazy tush to the gym early in the morning and then I could be ready for the rest of the day all exercised and fresh, instead of waiting until I was more awake to get to the Y and then looking like garbage until I finally shower at noon." Or, "wouldn't it be nice if Ben shaved everyday and refrained from dressing like a mountain man on his "off" days." Or, "wouldn't it be nice if I were motivated to style my hair everyday." Or, "wouldn't it be nice if Ben and I talked more genteel and gave up the slang."
And today I thought to myself that although all of those things are worthy of working towards Ben just wouldn't be Ben without 2, or 3, or 5 days (after an extra long weekend) of facial growth and a "freakin' a!" every now and then. And Niki just wouldn't be Niki without days (sometimes many in a row) of jeans, tennis shoes, zip-up hoodies, and a pony tail, or a stop at the grocery store after working out. If I see you before you see me, I will run!
Here is my mountain man in Alaska rolling boulders down the mountain with his friends. What's more cave man than that, AND more worthy of mountaineering attire and facial scruff? Could also be asked as, "What's more Ben-like than that?"
So, as much as I'd like to imagine us a sophisticated, manicured, tea-sipping type people, I've come to accept (at least for today) that we aren't and we just wouldn't be the Rollins' you all know if we were!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
It is raining today and at times the rain is turning to snow. I hate it. These pictures are from the last couple weeks and they are how I always want to remember Ithaca.
Ben had a few days off last week (the fall break) and we took a day trip up to Canandaigua, NY. We stopped at the Whitmer Farm which is on the way and then visited the Sonnenberg gardens and mansion in Canandaigua. I was a little disappointed at first because I was comparing Thanksgiving Points perfectly manicured gardens to the government owned Sonnenberg gardens. There were many weeds and it seemed a little rustic, but the trees were amazing.
The mansion was really fun to walk through! Again, a little neglected, but it was like being in a movie. The dining room had a beautiful banquet table with a massive fireplace. A small breakfast/tea table was at the other end and huge glass doors on hinges allowed the entire wall to be removed and open onto a patio with a charming water feature. Just like in the movies or in my imagination when reading books from this period. I could tell of many more mansion-like features that I loved, but I'm sure are boring to readers.
The following day we went to a pumpkin patch and farm not far from here. We pet the goats, drank apple cider, and took a hay ride. It was very season appropriate!
Yea, we didn't get a great picture of either of the boys in the pumpkins.
Check out those hills! It's what we're surrounded by everywhere and it's great. Not much longer and they will be grey sticks. They are beautiful covered with snow, but you've got to take the impossible temperature with them.
And this is my cheesy boy!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
So, apparently I must have some serious white trash blood running through me because I'm still totally loving Kid Rock's new song. If I were more computer savvy like many of you I would post a cool little link to the song, but alas, I suck. Some may find the song a little "unworthy"...sipping whisky out the bottle, making love out by the lake...but I can't help myself! Love it every time I hear it!!
Also, who doesn't love Sawyer??? Come on, now!
My art collecting, country clubbing parents are so ashamed!!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Prom Video - Oct 4, 2008
Every few years Ben plans a "surprise" date. I am given directions on what to wear and that's it. Ben even figures out babysitting, which is fabulous! Back in '06 he got us tickets to the So You Think You Can Dance tour and it was super, super fun. This year he conned a few other husbands into taking their wives to the "free prom." It was at the Cornell Museum and mostly for the freshman. We made the tissue paper flowers we're sporting and took these highly professional photos down in the museum basement, and then busted a move for awhile before leaving. You should have seen these white boys dance!! It was a fun night. Good job Ben!
Let me tell you a little about our flower making. I was putting together a surprisingly decent pink rose with some dark green leaves while Ben put together the beauty pictured above. I went to tuck it in his lapel and he says, "No, you have to change the leaves to this green paper. It doesn't look right." Heaven forbid the paper flower look wrong! Yea, he made me change the leaves. His "artsiness" still surprises me sometimes.
Ben was just reading over my shoulder and says, "you're making it look like I only take you on 1 date a year." Disclaimer...we do go out more than that, the "surprise" dates are only every few years.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Ben & Niki at Viewmont High School's Christmas Dance (Dec 1997)
In order to save face you can see Ben's rebuttal in blue italics.
I may have been tagged before, but have ignored it only because unless I know your husband, child, dog, whoever you are writing about I find it (sorry) boring. So, I am responding to the following tag by my long-time friend Ambyr because I simply have nothing else to blog about right now, no new pictures because Ben busted our camera and I haven't figured out the new one yet, and maybe some of you (who know Ben) might find these facts amusing or at the least interesting (I find them super interesting). And so...
Where did you meet???
I imagine a lot of guys were also praying for inspiration to meet a beautiful blond girl from California - I guess my prayer requests were at the top of the list.
How long did you date before getting married?
We dated (non-committed, teenage dating, he was not my boyfriend, I was not his girlfriend, dated other people to prove it while hurting each others feelings because of it) from Feb 1997, when I met him, until Dec 1997, when he left on his mission. After the mission we continued the "non-committed dating" for a few months (Jan 2000-March 2000), became a committed couple around April, engaged in October, married in November 2000.
How long have you been married?
Almost 8 years. It will make 8 years on November 25th. The best 8 years of my life.
What does he do that surprises you?
Picks his freakin' nose in front of me!!! However, I have never, in all the 7 years of marriage heard or smelled him pass gas. Ever!!! The man is just not gassy. I count myself lucky. Scratch, not pick - there is no penetration.
What is your favorite feature about him?
His big, currently in the process of being whitened for all the upcoming job interviews, toothy grin. Special thanks to Dad Rollins for the braces.
What's your favorite quality about him?
Most definitely, my favorite quality about him is also one of the most irksome. Ben does not wait around for fun to happen to him, he makes it happen. Why is this irksome you may say? Because sometimes I just want to stay home, or sometimes I don't want to whirlwind clean my house because he just invited 4 people to come over for ice cream in 10 minutes, or sometimes the boys shouldn't stay up until 10pm for the 3rd night in a row because we took them to a movie, a concert in the park, a birthday party for the neighbor. See what I'm saying? However, I also love that he makes the fun for us. We do a lot of fun things because Ben makes it happen! "You pile up enough tomorrows, and you'll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays." -The Music Man
Does he have a nickname for you?
How do I answer this?? For those of you who know me as Nicole, I would tell you my nickname is Niki. When we move to new wards I find that many of the men start to call me Niki because that's what Ben says when he refers to me in conversation, until their wives say, "No, no, no, that's what Ben calls her. It's Nicole." I usually introduce myself as Nicole...it's more formal, more grown-up and so the women and then eventually the men end up calling me Nicole. Really, I don't care what I'm called as long as it's one of the two. But, coming out of Ben's mouth I don't see "Niki" as a nickname. It's what I was when I met him, it's what he's always known me as. When he calls me Nicole it doesn't sound right. He also calls me "Babe." That's about it. "Super Model Mom." Quick story - Nicole is in charge of the Moms group at business school. She sent out emails to all the new students spouses before they arrived in Ithaca. When one student spouse saw Nicole for the first time she told Nicole, "I didn't expect the leader of the Moms group to look like you!"
She also has a sweet spirit...
What's his favorite color?
Blue, I think. BYU Cougar Blue
What's his favorite sport?
He is a die-hard BYU football and Utah Jazz fan. But I couldn't tell you which sport he enjoys playing the most. Since being at Cornell he has taken full advantage (well, as much as I let him) to participate in every sport he can squeeze in his schedule. Last semester he took a kayaking class, this semester he's in a sailing class. He's gone rock climbing several times. In fact he's got a camping trip planned in a few weekends at some state park that's got amazing rocks. He's President of the Business School Football Club and Vice President of the Outdoors club. Anyone surprised?? I would also add the sport of "avoiding the diaper change".
Who said "I love you" first?
Ben made it very clear before leaving on his mission that he would be the first to say this by first, asking me if I'd ever told a boy that I loved him. While watching a movie and really not paying attention to what he was getting at I said, "Uh, I told my dad." He went on to tell me that he was never going to tell a girl he loved her until he was sure he was going to marry her. Ah-ha, I get it...this was his way of keeping me from ever saying it first, not having to "go there" before his mission and also telling me that if I danced with any thoughts about marrying him that I should not be telling this to any other boy while he was gone...which I didn't. I also knew that this statement would be a proposal and my responding the same would be the answer...which it was. Although Ben didn't present a ring and ask me to marry him until October of 2000 I knew we were gonna get married in August which is when these words were exchanged. I married a smart one.
When and where was your first kiss?
I was convinced that Ben was a Mormon, UT, player boy and so I held out for quite awhile. I thought for sure he was just looking to make out and move on. I held out so long that he actually had conversations with his friends about the possibility of me having been assaulted somehow which made me super uncomfortable kissing boys. I know...stupid boy. We finally smooched in the driveway of Zack's house. Not too romantic, but I thought it was a great night. I can only imagine the hoots and hollers his friends gave him when he went back into the house (I went home, I had my car) having finally broke me. I was a very nice boy looking for a very nice girl.
What's your favorite thing to do as a couple?
Really...I don't know. We do still like each other, but I could really care less to scale a rock wall and he would rather stub his toe multiple times than watch a romantic comedy. To this day we have never seen a romantic comedy together in the theater. We've watched them together at home, or rather, I've watched and he sat next to me and checked his email, surfed the net. So let me think...we do enjoy having friends over, and we do this a lot since we don't live near family. romantic kisses
How old is he?
29, for 3 more months!!! Prime-time.
What's his favorite type of music?
Good old rock n roll. Anything fun.
What do you most admire about him?
His undying optimism. Really though, this is one of those love it/hate it characteristics because sometimes I just want to yell, "just give it up already!!!" But again, we've done some really fun things because he's managed to fit it in AND convince me it's a good idea, which is usually harder than fitting it in. I'm optimistic that we can have 12 kids - but I might lose that battle!
What's his favorite past time?
I often hear him talk of the great trips he took with his high school hommies to St George in the "Magic Van" over spring break. Sounds shady, doesn't it? The Magic Van was before my time so I can't tell you what went on in there. I like to think that they called it magic because it had a way of not breaking down, or maybe an ability to find the most groovin' party. Really, Ben was a good boy and I have no idea why they called it that. Obviously they knew it insinuated so much. Stupid boys! It was a dark day when the Magic Van was sold.
Do you think he's going to read this?
Not for many weeks from now when we're watching a romantic comedy and he's run out of emails to check and sport articles to read.
And that's it! I must admit, I found this more fun then I thought it would be and I've killed an entire evening. I would love to post more pictures of us back in the day, but it was just that...back in the day before digital and we have not scanned in many of our old photos. In fact, the one at the top is the only one. And so, for those who made it through this congrats and consider yourself more Rollins educated! I feel much more informed, thank you!
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Caleb's mane of hair, intensity, and stubbornness has earned him the name "Lion Head" in our house.
Things will not go so smoothly when we finally decide to take Caleb's. He is absolutely more stubborn than Luke. Caleb pulls the baby BS tantrum...let me explain.
Lastly, so that you can all have a vivid picture of this determined little boy, one funny story. When my parents were visiting we toured an old mansion with actual artifacts that shouldn't be touched. Torture to any 2 year old. I was holding him because he was getting a little too friendly with some of the artifacts and he wasn't happy. He wanted "DOWN." I finally let him down because I was exhausted from carrying a struggling boy and as he was walking away from me he turned around and sort of squatted. He extended one arm with a fist at me and with a mean face he gave a big throaty growl. This happened a few more times just to make sure I really knew he was ticked with me. So funny, only because he's still 2!
The kid has spunk!! That's a good thing, right??
Friday, August 22, 2008
My parents came to visit us and we did all the things we did with Ben's parents, plus some (they were with us for 7 days). We added a day in NYC, a day in Doylestown, PA, a day at Sesame Street Place and we had an unfortunate day including a vomiting Luke. At least it was in the rental car! Caleb followed up a few nights later in the hotel restaurant, also not in my car or at my house.
This is Luke standing on the pier at Battery Park. Every time a wave would swoop up under the pier a burst of air would shoot up the vent. This kept him busy for at least 20 minutes.
It was all super fun, but I'm so glad to be back in quiet, slow, Ithaca. I'm really looking forward to these next couple of months in the most perfect NY weather with all the great autumn holidays! I'm also glad we'll be heading to sunny Mexico before the weather turns devilish. For those who haven't heard, Ben is doing his last semester in Monterrey, Mexico. It's time to refresh my Spanish...my high school Spanish. I know, I think I'm in trouble.
Monday, August 4, 2008
My mother is admittedly a terrible cook - maybe not...she just loathes cooking, baking, and the like so no one really knows if she's any good. Anyhow, as a result I have no cooking abilities myself. Over the passed 7 years of marriage I've managed to go from terrible to bad with the help of Ben's annoying help and critique.
Usually I stick with the regulars...tacos, spaghetti, frozen lasagne's dressed up with salad from a bag and store bought garlic bread. I have ventured to experiment with new recipes, but 9 of 10 typically end up going down the garbage disposal.
Amazingly, just last week I had new 2 hits! Even Ben and Caleb liked them and they are the pickiest of the crew. The first was a Chicken Sausage Rigatoni Pasta dish. Found it on foodnetwork.com - it's from Rachel Ray. It was super yummy, definitely worthy of a dinner party, and I don't usually have success with her stuff.
The second was a Cheeseburger Meatloaf from Paula Deen, also found on foodnetwork.com. We don't usually like meatloafs at our house. I cook about 1 a year and it's always tolerated not enjoyed. This one was actually enjoyed and I'm sure it's due to the bag of cheese and 10 strips of bacon added to the heart clogging hamburger. Do not feed this to any husbands with a family history of heart disease. It's pretty bad, but good. I only put in half a bag of cheese and 8 strips of bacon and it was still great.
I would wager to say that these are pretty fool proof if I was able to figure them out. Give 'em a shot and let me know what you think!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
We bought the "self auto tour" CD's at the book shop in the visitor's center. You just slip them in, follow the signs, stop when they tell you, and listen. The narrator tells you what you're looking at along with all sorts of extra facts. We really enjoyed them and loved that we could go at our own pace.
I do hope that the soldiers didn't look as happy as Luke does holding their guns!
We drove down with our friends, the Crutchfields. Those are their kids, Ivy & Lane with Luke & Caleb at the pizzeria we stopped at for dinner.
This wild flower field wasn't part of the tour or any specific battle site, but we thought it was absolutely amazing so we stopped to take pictures. Unfortunately we did not do it justice.
Monday, July 21, 2008
2 weekends ago (the weekend of the unfortunate hole in the head accident) G & G Rollins came to visit us and I think we set a record for the maximum amount of attractions seen in 3 and a half days. Here's a run down...
We started Friday morning in the Constitution Center and then grabbed a Philly Cheese Steak before picking up Nathan at the train station. Next we stopped by Costco (yes, I know, very tourist worthy) so that Nathan could birthday shop and we could grab some snacks. Next we picked up Ben and made it back to downtown for the Duck Boat Tour Ride. Luke especially enjoyed the quackers...all weekend long. We ate at The Tavern, which is a tavern turned restaurant that dates back to the 1700s. Ben Franklin actually met John Adams at this historic tavern. Lastly we took the Lights of Liberty tour which is a night-time walking tour around historic Philly. You wear headphones for the narration and music and they light up certain buildings with pictures. It's pretty cool!
These pictures were taken at the Constitution Center. Luke is signing the declaration of independence.
Saturday was Nate's birthday and he requested a day at Hershey Park - the amusement park. It was super hot, super crowded, but still lots of fun. Fortunately they have a lot of water attractions so mid day we all changed into our suits and tried to stay wet.
One of the most fun things for me was seeing Caleb ride the baby rides all by himself. He's getting so big!
Sunday morning we went to church and then visited Valley Forge National Park. We took a bus around the park and learned (or re-learned) lots of revolutionary history. Afterwards we drove over to a big Amish settlement in Lancaster. We took a tour through an Amish house and had an amazing "family style" dinner. It was super, super good. Better than the meal at The Tavern and only a third the price!
Monday morning Ben went back to work and the boys and I met G & G downtown for a few more hours before they headed to the airport. We visited the Liberty Bell, took a carriage ride (another high light for Luke), watched a short video in the visitors center and then took the tour through Independence Hall.