New Microphones!


My husband, Caleab, and I have a little “band” we call Yikes!(a band). I say “band” because we also do Yikes!(a film), Yikes!(a book), or Yikes!(a insert-anything-you-want-here). We recently made a purchase of some new microphones for recording music and made a little video about it. Also, in the video, Caleab refers to a cover that we will be recording soon. We did a quick practice go just to test the microphones. It was basically just a room recording, and when we record it for real, it will be done much more “professionally”. Caleab has informed me that he is going to put our test recording up on his blog, so I will link to that specific post here.


Coffehouse Crouching

Rudy Mae

I have been a little under the weather, two separate occasions with barely any time at all between them. I have thus been slacking on anything “ericanichole” related and I was itching to get something up, but a) since I have not been doing much, there’s not much to post and b) since I have to go to work soon, I really think I ought to nap so I don’t feel like double crud before a long shift. So, I wanted to make this short and sweet. This photograph was taken a week or two ago when my husband and I went to our local coffee shop with Rudy Mae for a quick pick me up (chai tea for me, hot chocolate for him, and a blueberry muffin for all).


My husband and I were testing out a few things before some real videos get made. This was his test edit. (Please excuse, well, everything. It was late, we were tired, [I was looking like a zombie,] it was not intended on being a real video, etc. Just a fun snippet of us goofballs.


this is a test for a new video blog made by me and my wife. look out america!

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Beatles Scrabble

Here in our house, we are a bit board-game-crazy. If there’s a special edition version of something we love of a game that we love (i.e. Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit) we are sure to play it. Caleab happened to get Beatles Scrabble as a Christmas gift and on a lazy afternoon while Rudy was napping and the boys were still away, we decided to give it a go. First of all, I never knew this existed. Second of all, I was perplexed; how can it be a “Beatles” edition? Scrabble is Scrabble, so I thought. Well there are a few differences, as a matter of fact. In general, if you play a “Beatles” word (predetermined by players) you get extra points. Then there are the “Help!” cards. Oh, those tricksy little “Help!” cards! You could use one per turn and they were for all different things that would basically completely bend the rules and get you more points: play a word backwards, make any other player give you a tile, get 10 extra points for playing a word horizontally on the bottom row, etc. It really was a lot of fun, and we had a jolly time playing. Caleab pretty much creamed me, but we won’t speak of that.

Beatles Scrabble

Just starting out.

Flying hands.

A "Help!" card.

Nearing the end.

This is the Way the Ladies Ride

It was a pretty cold, snowy day and we did enough laying around, cleaning up, and feeling tired to last us a week. Finally, we decided that we needed to get out of the house. We just went to two stores to grab a few things but we really had a good time and it made us feel much better.

At the last store, right before heading home, we passed by a coin-operated horse and put Rudy Mae on it. It was her first time riding one. She was so funny, acting quite apprehensive at first, but by the end was really loving it. It’s the times like these that always help remind me about ‘little things’. Cherish every moment. Focus on what is happening in the now. I don’t always remember to think this way, but when I do, it can be quite overwhelmingly heart-warming for me. Of course, I do tend to be a bit emotional as the norm anyway, now don’t I?

Not sure.

Loving it!

Just as I inserted these photographs I noticed how terribly grown up she looks. Where is the time going!??!!?

Bath time

Let me get it out of the way: our bathroom is surely the number one worst room in our house for lighting but I really enjoy documenting all parts of our day. Now that it’s been noted, let’s move on.

Rudy Mae is getting so big and so bright. She amazes us every day and makes us die laughing every minute. She’s got quite the personality. Today at bath time, she was trying to unzip her sleeper herself and was having a bit of trouble. When I stepped in to help, she didn’t just forget about it and let me do it, she had to watch very intently as if to mentally document what I was doing differently so that she could do it on her own next time. I really love this girl.

Bath time.

Also, do you know how much better bath time is when you are serenaded through the whole process?


Two Loves Combined

There are a few things that I am notorious for, and I would surely say that one is being a board game lover and another one is being an all-things-Tolkien lover. I will have to show my board game collection some day; I own well over 100 board games (yikes). I also own quite a number of Tolkien’s books and related items. This being true, I can understand, and am incredibly grateful for, my sister-in-law Lynn snagging me a Trivial Pursuit: Lord of the Rings Edition when she saw it for sale. When she first gave it to me, Caleab, the boys, and I read a few of the cards for a sampling, but we were out of town and had a 3 hour drive ahead of us, so we decided “Later, later…” Then of course, life happened and we never play our board games as often as I wish we would, so we still, until this day, had never sat down and actually played it.

When Rudy Mae went down for her nap, I knew we had at least 2 hours, possibly 3, so I suggested giving it a whirl. The boys were busy with their own versions of games (one was on the computer, one was on the PS3) so it was just Caleab and I, but my word, we had such a wonderful time. When she awoke, we had to just call it a game without it officially ending, but Caleab was the winner with 5 pie pieces to my 4. I can guarantee you that we will be playing this one more often. Not only was it terribly fun, but being the one who introduced Caleab to Middle-Earth, I need my chance at redemption!

Caleab was Frodo and I was Gandalf.

Pie pieces just waiting to be won.

The game includes a Ringwraith playing piece for an advanced playing version that we opted not to use since we had minimal playing time.

Caleab won with 5 pie pieces, and I only managed 4. Good game, dear.

Hobbit Puppets!

I cannot seem to get enough classical music right now. I listen to it while I drive, while I clean, while Rudy Mae and I are coloring. A few weeks back I was listening to our local all-classical-music radio station while I was driving the van at work. I work with adults with developmental disabilities and when we’re in the van I usually put on their favorite music (today’s top hits, usually) because it is their van and their time, and I’m just there working. This day, however, their station was on commercials so I flipped to said classical station and caught the tail end of some beautiful music. As it was ending, one of the ladies started talking with me, so even though it went to talking on the radio, I didn’t change it because I was engaged in conversation. And thank goodness I didn’t change it! I thought I heard the word “hobbit” and my ears immediately perked up. Caleab and I are hobbit-crazy and all-things-Tolkien-lovers. As soon as our conversing was over, I turned up the radio, but I was too late. The discussion was over, and all I caught was something about The Dayton Art Institute. At my very first chance, I got online and went to DAI’s website and typed in “hobbit” in their search bar. The top result was exactly what I was looking for. A theater company called “The Zoot Theater Company” was going to be doing a few week long perfromance of “The Hobbit” with puppets. I got pretty excited, but the tickets were nearly $20 each, and Caleab and I just aren’t accustomed to spending money like that on ourselves.

When I arrived home, I still decided to tell Caleab about what I heard and, thenceforth, researched, in an “Isn’t that awesome, maybe some day in like 20 years we can do something like that” kind of way. But Caleab refused to accept that thinking. It was our anniversary right around the showtimes and he just flat out said “We are doing this.” Besides it being our anniversary, the fact that we never spend money, go out, or are without the children was all the more reason. We deserved this. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right. Besides a total of probably 6 hours, no joke, Rudy has never been out of my care, save for when I’m at work. Rudy Mae is over 19 months old. And those six hours weren’t for recreation, they were meetings for work that I had to attend, but Caleab was working himself, so he couldn’t be with her either. I decided that I would really try to let go of financial worries and that weird guilt feeling that even just thinking about doing something without the children gives me, and just enjoy the fact that I was actually going to go on a date with my husband.

The $40 was still a little hard to swallow, but as soon as we were driving in the car- gasp! alone- and singing together very loud, as is our custom, I was nothing but excited. When we arrived at the theater, I was thrilled with the charming, historic, original elements and the quaint size. It was not small, per se, but I was picturing a bit bigger. The show itself was absolutely amazing. It was one of those puppet shows where the puppets are around half the size of the person performing them, and the performers wear all black from head to toe so you easily forget they are there. The entire atmosphere was exactly what we as a couple needed, and I loved every second of our evening.

On our way to the theater!

The Dayton Art Institute. It was a wee bit dark, I apologize.

In front of the DAI. We cherished the first date that we had gotten since our honeymoon, if that is even considered a ‘date’.

Complete Again

I do not think it will ever be possible to put into words the way it felt to have the boys gone for over two months, or even more so, the way it felt when Caleab, Rudy Mae, and I saw them again for the first time.

For about two and a half weeks now the boys have been home and things have never been better. If Caleab and I were able to get anything beneficial out of the boys being gone for so long, it’s that we both had true realizations about life with the boys. We had many a good conversation while they were away. We talked about never taking them being with us for granted. We talked about no matter what, giving our all in encouragement and support. We have always been that way, but after a while sometimes, life becomes routine, and you might forget to really take a moment and truly from the bottom of your heart talk to your children about, well, anything; making sure to tell them how proud you are of them at every opportunity. We talked about our levels of patience. We talked about remembering they are children and explaining things thoroughly when needed. We talked about ways to help them grow to be more responsible, ultimately starting a chore regiment and planning on sticking to it for once, and an allowance, which they have never had in their 13 and 10 years of living.

The moment we were reunited, our enhanced way of thinking and parenting began immediately and I am certain that it has affected the boys’ behavior. They will always have their moments, but I promise you, they are both being more responsible and more respectful than Caleab and I have yet experienced.

And this is all from the parental views. You cannot even begin to imagine how having her brothers back has affected Rudy Mae. The three of them are all more in love than ever and as a parent it just really makes your heart hurt with love.

The first moment that Rudy saw Calum. (The boys were so excited, they could not even wait for us to unload from the car; they ran out of the house as soon as we pulled up. Thank goodness I had my camera ready.)

The first moment Rudy saw Ziven.

So happy to be together. (She might be feeling a little squashed though, haha.)

We have plenty of things that frustrate me: our financial situation, our job situations, our living situation. I have not thought about a single one of them since the boys have been back. I am so in love with my life right now. I know what true joy deep in your heart is.