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Loss Is Never Easy…

18 Nov

Robert and RenthyI am so sad today. It seems so sudden, but it’s not. Sudden because I live in Las Vegas and he in Oklahoma, making it hard to visit my father’s side of the family frequently. Flights from Vegas to Oklahoma on Southwest, on average are $700 round trip two weeks in advance (which I just don’t understand why getting OUT of Vegas cost a pretty penny, however, getting here is not nearly as much.) His health has gone down over the past year and, fortunately, the family has been able to prepare. We received a shocking call this morning.

Renthy, Uncle Chief, Robert JrMy dad is the oldest of many siblings with Robert Sr. being the second. It’s crazy how much they all look-alike. It’s also funny how differently we were raised. My cousins are from the country, sounding and behaving like it; we are true products of the West Coast and Vegas. They laughed at us a lot and we laughed at them right back, mainly because of how different we sounded when we all talked.  

248My mother, his mother, and my other aunt married brothers and were pregnant at the same time with their children. My sister Carri, then cousin Arlena, me, then my brother, cousin Renthy (Orenthal – yes, in honor of OJ Simpson. It was the 70s), and Cousin Freddie are all the same age. We were stair steps. We grew up so close. They would come to Vegas for a few days, then we would head to Los Angeles and Oakland to visit more family, go to Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Sea World, Lion Country Safari, and the beach. Robert and his girlsWe would head back to Oklahoma for family reunions during the summer, only to be eaten alive by bugs. We were “deceived” about dinner being “chicken” when it was really rabbit, catfish, and frog legs caught earlier in the day by my dad and uncles to go along side some of the best BBQ I’ve ever eaten in my entire life coated with my Uncle Chief’s homemade BBQ sauce (he never did share the recipe.)

Which equates to a lot of the problem. Poor eating habits. I don’t ever recall eating a vegetable while in last daysOklahoma over the years. No salad, fruit, water… mainly, pop or something fried or grilled. My parents didn’t seem to mind because it was only for a short amount of time then back to our regular healthy West Coast diet and some form of exercise on a regular basis.

Paw Paw and Shuga FootMy point is to take better care of ourselves. He was too young to pass in such a way. Now he will miss his children’s graduations, weddings, and grandchildren –although he was lucky enough to meet one “little Miss Shuga Foot.” She is really going to miss out on how funny her Paw Paw was… I know I already do.

ANH

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After the Countdown

7 Jan

On New Year’s Eve I was celebrating with my three-year-old great-niece Brielle, my mother and brother (Happy New Year!) watching the fireworks from atop the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower from my mother’s kitchen window. If I wasn’t such a wonderful aunt to stay in so my nephew Alex could go out, I would have hit up at least one of three great parties (A Vegas New Year’s Eve 2013) and sipped champagne all night. Instead I opted for a Ciroc Peach martini and some sparkling wine from Trader Joes that’s been in the wine fridge for a while.

New Year’s Eve would have been spent at Bagatelle Restaurant & Supper Club. They held a New Year’s Eve Gala hosted by Robin Thicke. I’ve been a fan of his since the Evolution of Robin Thicke album – 2006. It was a fashionable night with beautiful people.

Robin Thicke

Robin Thicke performs. Photo Credit: Carlos Larios

Robin Thicke

Robin Thicke with his gorgeous wife and actress Paula Patton. Photo Credit: Carlos Larios

Lucent Dossier. Photo Credit: Carlos Larios

Lucent Dossier. Photo Credit: Carlos Larios

The celebration kept going the next night at Hyde Bellagio at their “Lost Angles” party, a Tuesday night industry event. Common performed live with The Sayers Club on New Year’s Eve. Definitely a more relaxed night out full of celebrity.

Former mixed martial artist and UFC Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz and friends. Photo credit: Hyde Bellagio

Former mixed martial artist and UFC Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz and friends. Photo credit: Hyde Bellagio

Lil Jon parties in a VIP booth with friends. Photo credit: Hyde Bellagio

Lil Jon parties in a VIP booth with friends. Photo credit: Hyde Bellagio

I love Las Vegas.

Adrienne xo

 

Three Never Looked So Good

7 Oct

Our little princess Brielle turned three on Monday, September 24 and this past Sunday we threw a baby bash for her with lots family and friends at Child’s Play Las Vegas. And since she doesn’t understand dates or time yet, we went with it; which leads me to how amazing something as simple as having a birthday party for a toddler can turn into a major event from finding the perfect birthday outfit (for her) to making sure the cake and decorations fall in line with the princess theme – a theme Brielle unknowingly chose since she started calling herself a princess two months ago – and with that the hunt was on.

Luckily for me, it was a no-brainer to call Pamela at The Cupcakery to make a special princess cake for my great-niece because I knew it was going to look and taste amazing, and once I made the call it was one less task to stress about. All I had to do was add some candles. The most difficult part was finding a black princess doll and next to impossible to find one with long black hair. Unfortunately and thankfully, there is one black Disney princess – Tiana from the 2009 film The Princess and the Frog but her hair is in a bun.

Nonetheless, she was the only black doll with a sweet demeanor and right for a child. I have no idea what has happened to the Barbie brand, but their dolls are too mature and that is putting it nicely. Needless to say, Brielle freaked out (for lack of a better term) once she saw her birthday cake. She screamed and kept trying to hug it. Her dad (my nephew Alex) had to put it high on a shelf next to cake pops made by her YaYa (my sister her grandmother) until she was preoccupied with guests arriving.

Child’s Play is a toddler’s dream with large Backyard Adventures™ jungle gyms atop tumbling mats next to a real mini  basketball court with one hoop. The facility is membership-based and offers classes like karate, dance, yoga, gymnastics and cheer accompanied by an in-house photography studio. It’s has three distinct areas depending on the child’s age along with an interactive video wall where kids can play a virtual basketball and other games. They also allow full rental of the space for private birthday parties which we opted to do not being members.

Thalia, Brielle’s mom

After an hour of playing it was time to eat, sing happy birthday and open presents. By that time we had been out of time so we purchased an extra hour to let the kids play a bit more and stuff themselves with candy. I think Brielle ate all the cake pops and we didn’t care because she was going home with her mother!

It was now 8 p.m. and I (along with every adult) was ready to go so we loaded up the presents kicked everyone out, paid the bill and had one of the best days we can remember.

 Happy Birthday Princess xo

Love Auntie Adrienne

Every Princess needs a wand

Enough with singing Happy Birthday to me. I am overwhelmed.

Stop singing Happy Birthday to me. You are all freaking me out!

Disney princess dresses and princess slippers a.k.a. “click clack” because they click when she walks in them …click, clack, click, clack, etc.

Daddy and his girl xo

my nephew Dorian a.k.a. “D,” sister Carri a.k.a. “YaYa,” niece Sierra a.k.a “CC,” nephew Mario a.k.a. “MoMo”, and my mini me Jassie a.k.a “Honey” – It’s so cute to hear Brielle call them by the nicknames she gave them.

Every girl needs a bag full of shoes. Thank you Nanny.

Ceciley, Keannice, Sierra and Candace

Brielle’s little half-sister Ms. Tia

Brielle’s grandfather, Thalia’s dad

Brielle playing with her aunt

Smiling BEFORE we sang Happy Birthday.

She loves fur just like her Nanny (those are faux)

Another tutu for the princess

I Miss Changing Her Diapers

2 Jul

It seems like overnight my beautiful and talented niece Sierra grew up. I am really going to miss changing her diapers. She was a cute baby with full lips and cheeks I loved to kiss. And those arms. Yum! I would nibble on them up to her neck then kiss and hug her way too much. She was so adorable!

Honestly, it wasn’t all butterflies and lollipops either. Especially when it came to her long curly hair. The only person who could comb it was her mother or she would become overly dramatic screaming and crying. I wish I knew about Mixed Chicks products back then. Her hair did have a mind of its own. Sometimes it was red then once summer hit it would turn blond on the ends, and as she got older it stayed more brownish-blond like in this picture with her brother Dorian in July 2002.

Then there was this one time with a bad hair cut, but luckily it grew out in time to attend another Alpha  Kappa Alpha luncheon with my mother and my other niece Jaslynne (Jassie.) My mother lives for her grandchildren. She was grooming them to be AKATeens (they lasted two years before she finally gave up.)

Sierra is an athlete not a debutante. She excels at what ever game she plays, a trait she inherited from my brother.  She played youth softball and soccer and was constantly sidelined for being too rough and too good. She is competitive. It was a hard pill for my mom to swallow for obvious reasons. As sorority sisters we prefer ball gowns, makeup and super cute accessories. Sierra prefers a pair of Nike Dunks and baggy basketball shorts. 

I write this for my niece as a small token of how proud I am to be her auntie. I want  her know she will always have my love and support… even though there were many times I wanted to knock better decision-making skills into her head, then I remembered all the really dumb decisions I made during high school. Plus, I got a giggle  lecturing her into boredom instead. She matured A LOT during her final year in High School. To say I am proud of her is an understatement.

On Monday, June 18 at noon, I toughed it out with a debilitating migraine to see her walk across the stage at the Thomas and Mack Center and then stood in 103 degree heat to give her hug afterward. Now she is off to Southeast Community College in Nebraska to play basketball on a scholarship. I am excited for your future.

I love you Sierra.
a.k.a. CC Piece
a.k.a. Pieces
a.k.a. Aunties Baby

XO

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As Football Season Ends I Think of My Father

5 Feb

My father Frank Hester

As this year’s football season ends with a Super Bowl XLVI rematch between the New England Patriots vs. New York Giants, I can’t help but think of my father and what was his football career. He was a sensation from the first time he put on cleats in the small town of Clinton, Oklahoma. When he was growing up, Clinton had one school for all grade levels. He graduated one year before they built what is known today as the ‘Tornado Dome.’

SCSC Varsity Letterman Sweater

SCSC Varsity Sweater

Last summer, my family accompanied him to his school reunion (which turned into an impromptu family reunion) and stories about my father being an All-State and All-Conference player are still told today. He has football records that are unbroken at Clinton High School and at Southern Colorado State College (SCSC, then called the Indians) and now Colorado State University–Pueblo home of the ThunderWolves. Where he lettered  all four years and received his varsity sweater.

Somewhere in my mother’s garage are his Letterman jackets – one is from a bowl game and the other is All-Conference along with multiple letters of interest from the NFL (if I can find the jackets and letters, I’ll add images.)  Unfortunately, the Vietnam War happened.

Here are some photos my mom recently brought back from Colorado.  His “Potential All-American” article ends with the mention of my parent’s wedding.

Thank you for reading.

Adrienne xo

A Las Vegas Family Christmas

26 Dec

Disney's The Lion King at Mandalay Bay (Source: Mandalay Bay)

On December 23rd my entire family went to see Disney’s award-winning Broadway production The Lion King at Mandalay Bay (a Christmas present from my mother) before it leaves Las Vegas on December 30th. I was fortunate enough to see this show during its opening week as part of the media back in 2008. I loved it then and looked forward to seeing it one last time.

Most exciting, my two year-old great-niece attended as well. I was a bit worried the puppets would freak her out and the ticket would go to waste (my mother had to pay full price for a “lap child” – yikes!), but she loved it along with all the other little children in attendance. Only few melt downs toward the end from other tikes, which was completely okay since it’s the full version.

IPI 'N TOMBI. Original Cast Recording. Hinged Double Album. Cover (Source: bidorbuy.co.za)

The last time we went to see an acclaimed Broadway production as a family was in the late 1970s when my parents took me and my siblings to see Ipi N’tombi: A South African Music Celebration at the Riviera Hotel & Casino. I remember that night as if it was yesterday. My sister still has the original LP (although the image is not her album.)

Christmas this year was wonderful and full of joy and a focus on family and a new generation to share lasting memories. It was our little version of Circle of Life (yes, I went there.)

Brielle (great niece), Alex (nephew)

Sierra (niece), Mario (niece), Jaslynne (niece)

Carri (sister), Frank Sr. (dad), James (boyfriend)

Patti (mom)

Mario, Sr. (brother-in-law)

Thank you for reading

Adrienne xo


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