Thursday, May 31, 2007

my hero...

Today is my Dad's Birthday...he's 51! I really hope he doesn't mind my divulging his age, and posting it on the web; but I think he should be proud to celebrate fifty one years! Especially because he has lived well, and been a wonderful example to those who have had the privilege of knowing him. Dad, I wish you the best, happiest, most fulfilling birthday...I'm sorry we won't be there to celebrate with you!

Daddy and Me...Just the two of us.

Below are 51 special and unique things, that make my dad:

  1. He was born on May 31, 1956, in Grand Junction, Colorado - to Dean Henderson Pitts, and Virginia Lorraine Brewer.

  2. He is the youngest of 4 children. His closest sibling in age is his sister, who is 10 years his senior, making it seem as if he were an only child.

  3. His earliest memory is at the age of two. It’s of a family vacation to Mesa Verde National Park, riding on his dad’s shoulders.

  4. He first met my mom in the 9th grade…it was love at first sight. They were high school sweethearts.

  5. He’s a convert to the Church, and was baptized at the age of 17. Despite all of his missionary efforts, he is still the only member in his family.

  6. He lost his dad when he was 25 and his mom when he was 35. It bothers him when he sees people who mistreat their parents, or who don’t appreciate the fact that they still have both of their parents.

  7. He refers to Scout and Yoffi, (the family dogs), as “The Boys”. He loves dogs, and has always had a soft spot for all animals (except maybe cats).

  8. He has helped me (and my siblings) with countless math assignments, essays, reports, projects, and campaigns over the years.

  9. He is very generous with his money, and loves to use it to help others.

  10. He keeps up on current events, and always knows what is going on in the world.

  11. He loves to read - and reads a lot! He especially enjoys reading anything historical, and feels like there’s so much of it, that he can’t waste his time on anything fictional.

  12. He loves to work out, and stay in shape.

  13. He enjoys going to the movies, and even renting a good flick to watch at home with his family. (It was a sad day at the Pitts’ home, when clean flicks shut down.)

  14. He got a chanter (an instrument which precedes the bagpipes) for his 50th Birthday, and is finally realizing one of his life long dreams, of becoming a piper.

  15. He loves learning (and trying) new things, and sharing his discoveries with others.

  16. One of his favorite indulgences is a Coke coupled with a Dark Chocolate Dove bar.

  17. He is the best Dad to his seven children, and the best grandpa to his three grandchildren.

  18. He is a kind, caring, selfless husband.

  19. I love hearing my dad pray. His prayers are always so heartfelt… and I know he really speaks to his Heavenly Father.

  20. He loves going to concerts (or at least used to), and has probably been to hundreds (back in the day).

  21. He loves to laugh, and to make other people laugh. He is witty, and has a great sense of humor.

  22. He gives the best advice. Even now (at age 30), I welcome my father’s advice, and still seek his counsel.

  23. He enjoys drawing and painting, and is really good at it. He is also a poet, and has composed some beautiful poetry. He has a very creative/complex mind.

  24. He uses a special technique called the “patty pat” to lure any baby to sleep.

  25. He makes up silly lyrics to well known songs. For example, to Feliz Navidad, he sings “Fleece and a dog. Police and a frog…” or something like that.

  26. He makes the best Chili. He even won the grand prize in a community chili cook-off, bringing home a brand new TV for the family.

  27. He loves bratwurst…(not my favorite).

  28. My dad is the smartest person I know; and it’s not just because he’s my dad…he’s really, really smart.

  29. He would love to go back to school to get his B.A.

  30. He has an interest, and actively takes part in city politics. He served for 8 years as a city councilman for the city of West Jordan, and would make an excellent mayor.

  31. His favorite TV series is LOST. One of his favorite movies is Master and Commander with Russell Crowe. (Whenever deciding on a movie to watch, he always puts a plug in for that one.) A few more favorites: The Sting, Mickey Blue Eyes, The Natural, The Three Stooge movies, and pretty much any Alfred Hitchcock. One of his least Favorites would have to be M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water.

  32. In keeping with my mom’s traditions, he goes all out on St. Patty’s Day. Green everything, and yum…his famous White Irishman drinks are so refreshing!

  33. He’s also a sucker for April fool’s Day (I think just because mom was), and has come up with some of the best pranks. A few of my favorites: The caramel covered onions, the bottled waters filled with vinegar, and who could forget the water and white paint mixture (in the milk jug). My sister Kim, actually poured it on her cereal.

  34. He loves to scare people. (Hey dad, remember Corkey? You got me good that time!)

  35. He is an entrepreneur, and has had many business ventures.

  36. He worked for Gold Cross as an EMT, he was a fire fighter, he worked as a security guard for a couple of different department stores, he had a 17 year career as an Air Traffic Controller, and currently works as a consultant for a land developer.

  37. He once broke both his elbows while chasing a shoplifter.

  38. He takes pride in his work, and is a perfectionist with his projects. (The shed, the mantle.)

  39. He’s a great public speaker. Some of the very best talks I’ve ever heard, (and that have had the biggest impact on me), have been those given by my dad.

  40. He makes the world’s greatest omelets; it’s the number one requested birthday meal at the Pitts’ home.

  41. He is proud of his heritage, and fascinated with Family History. He has traced several family lines all the way back to royalty; and I think he even followed one line back to the year 12.

  42. He’s a master dry-wall repairman, and an all around, great handyman.

  43. He has a green thumb. He loves plants, and flowers, and enjoys caring for his various bonsai trees.

  44. He likes watching sports. He’s a supporter of the Utah Jazz, NY Yankees, and BYU Football; and, of course anything that his kids participate in. He has almost never missed a sporting event, dance competition, or piano recital, that one of his children took part in.

  45. He is an anchor to those around him amidst trials and affliction. He was our rock during, and after, the passing of our mom, (and I happen to know, he was probably hurting worse than any of us).

  46. He always knows what to say, and when to say it.

  47. He compliments me, and encourages me to follow my dreams. (As he does with all of his children.)

  48. He is the most spiritual man I know. He loves the temple. He loves the Book of Mormon, and has read it many, many times. He emulates the Savior, and studies his life and teachings. He loves the Sermon on the Mount, and looks to it as a standard in his life.

  49. He is a master scriptorian. He really knows, and loves, the scriptures.

  50. After mom passed away, Dad did his best to take on her role, as well. He wrote me every week during my mission (what dad does that?), he took my sisters shopping for bathing suits, bras, and prom dresses. He became our best friend and our confidant, and the one we could (and still can), talk to about anything.

  51. He always has been, and always will be, my hero.

I love you Dad!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

viva las vegas!

So as promised, here are some pictures, and a brief recap of our fabulous weekend getaway/birthday celebration in Vegas...

Friday (my b-day) afternoon, we arrive in Las Vegas. We check into our hotel, and get somewhat settled. We stay at the Lowes Resort at Lake Las Vegas, which is about 17 miles from the strip. The place is absolutely beautiful! The balcony, right off the room, has a breathtaking view! Look, you can see for yourselves (these were all taken from our balcony!)...

We don't have a ton of time to relax...the night is young, but we have a lot on the agenda!
Our first stop - Nordstrom, at the Fashion Show Mall! We only have a little over an hour to shop (a lot of damage can be done in an hour, though)...

here we are eating at the yummy nordstrom cafe

Next stop...

Such a fun and entertaining show. There is a little bit of history behind this one. Every time John and I go to the movies, I get all excited when the Dolby digital advertisement comes on, which features a bunch of people pushing brooms, and banging on trash cans...I just love it. Well John found out that it's actually a show (not just an ad for Dolby), called Stomp Out Loud, and that it plays at Planet Hollywood in Vegas! He couldn't pass up the opportunity to get tickets, and I'm so glad he didn't, definitely a must!

We don't have a lot of time to spare, or we'll be late for our 10:30 show!

...and "oh" was it a good one! We sat by some really nice people, Claudia and John, who after talking to us for a while, found out that we were LDS. John had the opportunity to answer some of their questions, and to share some of our beliefs with them. It was really neat for me to listen to the conversation...and to hear my husband emit his excitement for the restored Gospel. Wow! Was that enough for one day or what?! We were both totally exhausted, and couldn't wait to jump into bed!

Saturday morning, we order room service, and enjoy it together on our balcony...

We spend the rest of the morning and afternoon, lounging by the pool...

and strolling the beautiful beach!

Until, the time arrives, for our final show...

The show was spectacular! I've seen it twice before, but never at the Venetian, and let me just tell you, that is the place to see it! The theater was perfect, and the chandelier scene was unbelievable! And you'll never believe who was sitting right behind us at the show - that's right, John and Claudia, our friends from the night before! Claudia kept saying that it was fate that brought us back together, and John, the cynic, assured her "it was just a coincidence". Whether you call it fate, or destiny, or God's provident management, I believe that we were supposed to meet John and Claudia. I mean really, what are the chances - sitting next to the same couple, two nights in a row, in Vegas, over Memorial weekend? Do you realize the incalculable masses of people that go to Vegas over Memorial weekend? They invited us to join them for dinner afterwards, and even picked up our tab for us. We enjoyed their company ('til one in the morning), and again had the privilege of sharing our testimonies, and answering their questions about the church. It was fun, and reminded me of my days as a missionary. We were able to exchange contact information with our new friends, and hopefully will remain close over the years.

Sunday, we enjoyed another breakfast on the balcony, a few more hours at the pool...

and some serious rest and relaxation...well, maybe not that serious!

I just need to thank my sweet husband, once again, for this unforgettable (and much needed) escape. I will never, not in a million years, forget the way I felt, and the things we did, the week I turned 30!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

our birthday week...

Because our Birthdays are just two days apart, John and I typically end up celebrating, not only on the 23rd and the 25th...but for the entire week! We refer to it as, our Birthday week; and boy has that ever been the case this year!

Here's a breakdown of the b-day events...

Monday the 21st
Scott was in town - so, everyone met at Lori's for pizza, cheesecake, and ice cream. We celebrated Scott and John's Birthday (23rd), Rob's (24th), and mine (25th)!

Tuedsay the 22nd
Rob and Brooke gave us tickets to the Diamondbacks game (for our birthday), and invited us to join them. We had a blast together! I'm really not big on sports, and I probably watched a collective 10 minutes total (of the 4 1/2 hour game), but there was something so fun and exciting about being there...the crowds, the music, the hype, the stadium (which was huge, and amazing). Really, we had such a great time. Unfortunately, though, Rob was supposed to be part of a promotion to catch fly balls sometime during the forth inning (his birthday present from Brooke); but for some reason, unbeknownst to us, the intern in charge of the promotions had lined up somebody else, and didn't bother contacting Rob! To say the least, this guy totally dropped the ball (no pun intended). After breaking the news to him that he wouldn't be catching any balls, they asked if he'd be interested in taking part in a different promotion called where's the Gecko?, in the which the Geiko Gecko would be hiding somewhere in the crowd, and Rob would be given like 30 seconds or so to spot him. The invite was comparable to a slap in the face, after reneging on their earlier promise to let him catch the flies. Nevertheless, Rob was a good sport, accepted the invitation, spotted the Gecko (with a little help from us), had a few moments of fame, and in the end made out like a bandit (in prizes).

The four of us at the game...

Wednesday the 23rd
John's Birthday! We woke up super early (like 6 AM), to open presents. I actually had to wake him up... I was too excited to give him his stuff. The highlights - his grill, and the book I made for him. He repeated to me several times, "this is the best birthday I've ever had", which of course, made everything totally worth it for me! We enjoyed a wonderful lunch out together, and a nice evening at home (after his Elder's Quorum meeting and visits), watching the finale of American Idol. (Too bad our man Blake didn't make it...oh well, Jordin was really really good, and probably totally deserved it. We just thought Blake's Beat Boxing pretty entertaining...)

Thursday the 24th
Rob's 30th!...and our combined Birthday Bash at Jerry's house. John and Brooke planned a really fun pool party, and invited a ton of our friends to come and join in the celebration of our three birthdays. The 23rd, was also the birthday of a guy in the ward, so we invited him and his wife to come, and be honored as well. I had a great time that night! Food. Swimming. Friends. A few of my favorite things, by far! It was especially great, getting to know some of the people in our ward (at least better than before), and to be able to let loose, and to laugh, eat, swim, and live up my 20's...for one more day!

Ruby and her darling little friend Sofia

All of us girls...

My family

Ruby and mama with our friends Amber and JR

Ruby all wrapped up...

The Birthday Kids!
Nicole (30 on the 25th), John (28 on the 23rd), Rob (30 0n the 24th), Kris (28 on the 23rd)

Friday the 25th
My Birthday! I'd like to start off by saying that I have no qualms about turning 30. I still feel young (and people tell me I look young), I have a lot of energy, I'm (getting) in good shape...seriously, what's not to love about turning 30?
Besides that, I have the most beautiful family, and the best husband ever! Listen to what he did for me. He got me up, and took me to the table where I found two presents - a small white box with a red bow, and a 8x11 manila envelope with the writing The big birthday day plan on the front. I first opened the small package, and lo and behold, found a mini ipod shuffle, in hot pink, with the inscription love is... engraved on the back. (The saying is an insider that we share, which also goes along with the toothpaste on the toothbrush thing, mentioned in a previous post.) I was thrilled! I've been wanting one of these to take to the gym, and also to use when I go put running. To be quite honest, I would have been completely happy with the ipod alone, but, oh no, John did not stop there...

Inside the large envelope, I discovered a stapled packet of papers, the top one reading, Happy Birthday! I then flipped the page and read, Luv is... Turning to page 3, I found the words: Pack your bags! We're off to Vegas!!! Happy 30th Nicole!
And, just in case you are at all curious as the what the subsequent pages contained, here you are:

4) You might be asking..."What will we be doing in Vegas?" (At the bottom of this page he had various images of wedding chapels, slot machines, poker chips, cards, and buffets.)

5) No! None of these things!! Well...maybe the buffet :)
(a picture of a buffet at the bottom of the page)

6) Agenda for Today

7) We Leave for Vegas at 9 AM! (Start packing fast!)

8) What would your Birthday be like without getting something from Nordstrom?
Well, we won't find out the answer to that question this year! Let's spend those Nordstrom Rewards certificates at the Fashion Show Mall!
(side note: we've been saving up those certificates for some time now, and I'll just say, we had a lot!)

9) 7:00 PM Stomp Out Loud, showing at Planet Hollywood
(images from the show all over the page)

10) What a day!
What's the matter? Are you tired already? The night is young!! What's next!?

11) 10:30 PM Cirque Du Soliel "O" , playing at the Bellagio
(once again he had various images from the show adorning the page)

12) Wait! You haven't asked "My love, Where will we be staying?"

13) Loews Resort at Lake Las Vegas
(with pictures of the room, the spa, the pools, the lake...with the white sandy beach)

14) Saturday 9:00 PM Phantom of the Opera, (with pictures, of course) showing at the Venetion

Okay, so that was John's Birthday surprise to me, and let me tell you, I was beyond surprised. I was thinking we'd probably spend the day around Mesa, maybe go to a movie, get a bite to eat...never, in my wildest imagination, did I suspect this! I was, in fact, so shocked, that I had difficulty packing my felt as if I were paralyzed, from the head down! The trip was amazing, and I am so grateful to my dear sweet John...who delights in making my dreams become reality. John, this was the best birthday I've ever had! Thank you & I love you!

(pictures and details from the trip to come...)

Friday, May 25, 2007

30 things that make nicole special

[for her (2nd) 29th birthday :)]

...written by her father Brian & posted by John.

Nicole's 2nd Birthday...with Dad

1. She is my firstborn. [I’ll always remember the feelings I had in the delivery room when she came into the world. I marveled at the wave of instant love I felt for this little “stranger”. (Was she a stranger? I’m not sure. I do not automatically adhere to the “Saturday’s Warrior” doctrine, that we all knew each other and were formed as families in the pre-mortal life. The prophets and apostles have remained silent on this issue; so, I’ll remain noncommittal until they speak.)]
2. She was a sweet, obedient child – easy to raise (except for one short period when she was 15. ☺)
3. I believe, like her mother, she has always had a testimony of the restored gospel. (She is, and has always been spiritual.) She loves the Savior and she loves the temple.
4. She always puts all of her heart and effort into anything she commits to do, and always has.
5. She is dependable, and has always been so.
6. Former employers have calculated that she does the work of two regular employees. (She has been an award-winning employee, winning the highest awards given by her employer; and she has been a highly regarded manager.)
7. She is a returned missionary; and, she returned with honor, beloved of those she served, and those who served with her.
8. She put all of her heart into helping me after her mother died, and would not consider going on a mission until she was sure I could manage without her.
9. She is honest.
10. She loves movies and books, probably in that order, and is a hopeless romantic when it comes to a good storyline. (She has read the entire unabridged Victor Hugo classic, Les Miserables, which President Spencer W. Kimball proclaimed to be the closest thing to scripture without being scripture. It is a very, very large epic work, and she has read it more than once).
11. Like her mother, she has many times slept through a movie she really wanted to see.
12. She inherited her dad’s passion about things, sometimes giving others the incorrect perception that she is angry when she expresses herself (which frequently happens to me).
13. She is loyal, and has always been so.
14. She always accompanied the first asker to the high school dances, even if it was a young man she didn’t particularly want to go with, and even if the one she did want to go with ended up asking her afterward. On separate occasions, she attended dances with a mentally handicapped boy and with a blind boy.
15. In high school, she suffered several bitter disappointments in school elections and auditions; but, she would not give up. In her senior year, she was rewarded with almost more successes than she had time for.
16. She is trustworthy.
17. Family means everything to her.
18. She is a sharp dresser. (And, like her Grandma Pitts, she loves shoes.)
19. Like her mother, she is a very good mother. (Just ask Ruby.)
20. She frets over finding the right gifts for others’ birthdays and special occasions.
21. She has known the heartache of the “temporary” loss of a parent and a child, making her wise beyond her years.
22. Like her Grandma Pitts and her Aunt Dorothy, she is an immaculate housekeeper.
23. She has a natural flare for decorating, and has good taste.
24. She worries about how other people feel – she really cares; and, she serves.

25. She has a great sense of humor and loves to laugh.
26. She loves to be physically fit, and works hard at it.
27. She loves to learn.
28. She is wonderful at public speaking, teaching, and presenting (though she wouldn’t think so).
29. She labored through a long, difficult, personal process of trial, deliberation, and inspiration to find the right eternal companion (lasting years); and, she succeeded marvelously! She is a very good wife. (Just ask John.)
30. She is a Christ-like soul whom I desire to emulate. She is my Princess.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

angel on earth...

I know I'm repeating myself by asking this, but have you ever met, or come across an individual who left an impression on your soul like no one else had before? And perhaps, you even thought to yourself, this person is just too good... too good for this iniquitous world? I call them Earthly Angels; and sadly, they're hard to come by. When I met John for the first time, I really felt that way about him. He came in to Nordstrom, looking for a job. I was at the counter in Women's Shoes when he entered the department. The first thing that struck me, was his huge smile, and his sparkling eyes. After his interview, he returned to the counter and preceded to talk with me. I got the impression that his words were genuine, and that when I spoke, he really listened. That was my first encounter with him (little did I know at the time, that he would come to be my spouse), and even after five years of knowing him, I am proud to say that he has not changed. It wasn't just a facade, an act to win me over, that was John, just being John. A true, charismatic, genuine, kind, caring, happy, sincere...individual. And he's mine! And I'm madly in love with him...I was when I first met him (although I didn't come right out and say so), and I am even more so now! Wow! I don't know what else to say, other than that I feel like the luckiest woman alive to have, and to know John.

Today is his 28th Birthday, so, in keeping with tradition...28 reasons I love John...

  1. He's a twin. I think that being a twin, and having another person to look out for and to think about, helps one not to be so self absorbed. John is the most selfless person I know.

  2. He has the most perfect smile, and is constantly showing it off. His smile was the first thing I noticed about's contagious.

  3. He's a great cook, and loves to mix different spices and herbs...which always results in the most delicious meals.

  4. He's pure. He refuses to be involved in, take part of, or participate in, anything that is not edifying and uplifting. He honors the 13th article of faith, which states, if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, (John) seeks after these things...

  5. He's honest, and has integrity.

  6. He cares about the feelings of others. The other night, he declined an invitation from his dad and brothers to go the the movies. Later, when I asked him why he didn't go, he replied, "I didn't want to leave you here at home, alone and bored."

  7. He's very handsome. Ever since my childhood, I dreamed of marrying a "tall, dark, and handsome" man...and that's just what I got.

  8. He's very righteous, and spiritual, and has such a pure testimony. I love listening to him express his feelings about the Savior.

  9. He's loyal. He does what he says he'll do. You can always count on John to be a man of his word.

  10. He's confident. He's never been afraid to talk to people, he'll approach anyone about anything. When he and Scott were in college, I couldn't believe how many extensions they got on different assignments, or papers. I finally asked him if they were bribing their teachers...he said "no, we just ask them if we can get some leeway, and generally, they give it to us." (Okay, I don't think I would have ever had the courage to even ask.)

  11. He has a soft and tender heart. We've cried together on many occasions.

  12. He has the quirkiest sense of humor.

  13. (need I say more...?)

  14. He's very complimentable. He tells me I look pretty on a daily basis. (Even when I'm sweaty and greasy from the gym, or sick, or when I've been lying in a hospital bed for 13 days, or when I'm 15 pounds over weight...)

  15. He's smart. Although he doesn't love to read, he loves to learn, and is constantly expanding his wealth of knowledge.

  16. He's very business savvy, and has an entrepreneurial mind. One day, he would love to own a ton of different companies, and is constantly coming up with new business ideas.

  17. He's athletic, and particularly loves baseball.

  18. He's a great work out partner. (When I met him, he had an eight-pack! I'm not kidding!) We're both working on getting our "pre-marriage" bods back.

  19. Though he's not at all feminine, he doesn't mind getting in and scrubbing the toilets, doing the laundry, grocery shopping, making meals, or rocking the baby to sleep (the typical "wife" or "mom" chores). He enjoys relieving me of my duties, and alleviating my load, from time to time.

  20. He speaks ill of no one. In fact, if ever I feel the need to "vent" to John about somebody, he listens, but never responds negatively. He only looks for the positive in people, and always gives them the benefit of the doubt if their actions or behavior fall short of his expectations.

  21. This kind of goes along with the 8 pack thing, (but in my mind deserves it's own entry)... John (babe, I'm sorry if this embarrasses you) has the most rock hard buns I've ever felt! It seriously feels like he's flexing his glutes 24/7.

  22. He hasn't a jealous bone in his body. He genuinely wants good things for people, and shares in other's joy and success.

  23. He loves life. He focuses on the good. He smiles and laughs all the time. He's funny. He loves to play tricks on people...and (every once in a while) scare them, too. He's optimistic, and happy, and never wears his heart on his sleeve.

  24. He has a very mild temper. He never yells, or even raises his voice. He remains calm and collected while dealing with his frustrations.

  25. He doesn't complain. Ever. When life doesn't go as planned, he just simply "rolls with the punches", springs back, reevaluates his expectations, and moves on...all the while happy and contented.

  26. I love hearing him play his guitar. Once, he tried to teach me how to play the theme song from Sesame Street.

  27. He is the best, sweetest Dad ever. He and Ruby have something very special, and my heart melts every time I'm privileged to witness one of their tender "Daddy-Daughter" moments.

27. He carries himself well, and has excellent posture. He is also well mannered, considerate, respectful, and practices good etiquette.

28. He is constantly serving me. He demonstrates his love for me even in small ways. For instance, every morning and every night, he puts the toothpaste on my toothbrush for me, and then sets it by my sink. (It's now become somewhat of a joke between us, nonetheless, he still does it, without fail, morning and night...) In essence, I've never doubted John's love for's evident by the way he treats me, and by the way he lives his life.

(You see what I mean, doesn't this guy seem to have already passed his mortal test? )

For one of his gifts, I made John a book. First, I'll give some background. Shortly after my mom passed away, some friends in the ward brought over a book that they had put together for our family. I guess you could call it a memory book. It contained stories, memories, lessons learned, impressions, pictures...of my mom, from several ward members and friends. Although the book served as a great comfort to us, and was enjoyable to read about the impression my mom left on so many lives, I still couldn't help but feel bad that she hadn't been there to read all the kind words. I decided that everybody needs to know (in this life) that they are loved and appreciated. It feels great to hear about the impact we have had on other's lives. Of the example we have set. Of the memories we have created for others...
Anyway, that was my hope for John on his 28th Birthday, that he would know how loved he is. That he would know that the world is a better place, because he's in it...

(I hope you realize that John...)

I love you.

Thank you everybody, for your contribution in making John's Birthday a memorable one. (I received 63 responses!)