Saturday, February 27, 2010

Definitions of Prom

3 according to the American girl; dreamed of since elementary school, planned for all year, dates manipulated for months and daily shared with friends, (read the word D R A M A), and of course SHOPPING!

4 according to the African boy; unknown big event to be endured in uncomfortable clothes with someone of the opposite sex that jumped up and down, squealed, and announced it to the world when he said he would go with her (read C O N F U S E D and S C A R E D).

The dates are decided (see above) so now it's time to think ahead a bit about the rest of it.

Issue #1:
Fancy Clothes.
Answer #1:
Thrift store suits that my husband is already looking for.

Issue #2:
Answer #2:
One son has a double date. Still working on the other one. Maybe his date has a car.

Issue #3:
We haven't even discussed flowers or schedules or.......the GRAND MARCH. Never mind. We'll take baby steps to avoid more confusion.
(read N E E D T O K N O W B A S I S).

I'll keep you updated.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

High School Wrestling/College Basketball

It was a big sports week for us (what else is new)! Our nephew competed in the State Wrestling Tournament on Wednesday and of course we had to be there- yelling our lungs out from the balcony to the far corner mat- knowing that he couldn't hear us but yelling just the same. Well, those of us with the last name of Nichols were yelling. Dennis was busy analyzing each move and counter-move. Victor was trying to keep his legs from cramping after the long ride to Des Moines and the small chair he was sitting in while quietly rooting for one of his favorite "cousins".

Then on Saturday we traveled to Ames to see the Cyclones play Texas A&M at Hilton Coliseum. It was actually a good game even though ISU lost. James came over from UNI and William took time from his research assistant job in the Ag Engineering department to join us for lunch and the game. (a sacrifice we did appreciate- Will doesn't really enjoy basketball all that much, and was seen snoozing during the first half). He wasn't snoozing during the halftime show, though. The dunking demonstration was a hit with all of us, especially Victor, who has been working hard at perfecting his dunking skills. As usual, Dennis watched carefully and had intuitive insights about several players when the game was over.

On the home front, we are managing two sports at once as Victor finishes up basketball and informal soccer practice gets underway for both boys. Up to now, we have been teaching Victor and Dennis about American sports. With soccer, the roles will be reversed and we will be the learners! Bring it on!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Nichols Style

Our family Valentine tradition (in addition to the things that my husband and I do for each other) is to have a special meal that includes eating on china, special heart-shaped desserts, favorite entrees, and homemade valentine cards for the children. This tradition was started from necessity when the children were small and funds to buy gifts were even smaller. So my gift to my family was this special meal. Actually, it is a continuation of something that my grandmother did for all her grandchildren on this special day. She had dozens of small cupcake tins that were shaped like hearts and she made each grandchild a small Valentine's cake- even when we were in college. Somehow I inherited the small tins and I have loved passing down and elaborating on the tradition.

Enter my African sons.

I told them I was making a special meal and I banished them from the kitchen (which of course only made them more curious!) I made heart-shaped pumpkin pies instead of cakes because they don't really like cake. I thawed 4 gigantic T-bone steaks and heated sweet corn that I had frozen in summers past when it was fresh. I baked their favorite biscuits and threw in some baked potatoes, decorated with Valentine napkins, candy favors and chocolates (not their favorite), and wrote mushy cards with decorations and heart stickers. I was so excited! I was showing my love in the best way I knew how and I had gone to WAY too much work for a Saturday lunch. Of course we took a picture to document the important occasion.

But........I think they thought I was crazy. Turns out in Tanzania Valentine's Day is only for lovers according to Dennis. And Victor was concerned about the fact that the big vase of roses in the middle of the table (thanks to my husband) was going to make it so he couldn't see me at the table --so we had to move them. Maybe they were just embarrassed. Maybe they were just being guys. Doesn't matter, because I had fun and they learned about our tradition! And THAT is Valentine's Day Nichols Style!