Thursday, July 2, 2009

A fun comparsion

Last week, I put together this comparison of Dakota and me when I was around her age. What do you all think?

Happy 4th of July!

It has been a busy last few weeks. The fam had a great time on vacation, Dakota had a blast with Nana and Papa in Kansas while Jared and I successfully blew through our entire gambling budget in a matter of days. Vegas remained fortunately rather warm (not sweltering hot) and it was so great to get away from the normal work life for a few days.
The Fourth of July weekend is upon us. Luckily, Jared and I have a few days off to spend together and I'm especially excited to spend some quality family time.
Last night, we all did an arts & crafts project. Dakota has a 4th of July Parade at school this afternoon, and I decided to make Pom Poms for her classmates. Jared was a great sport and helped out, while Dakota stayed interested for about 2 minutes. Here are a few pictures.
I have my camera in my purse, so I'll be sure to catch some festive pics this weekend. Happy 4th everyone!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Vacation 2009!

I have been terrible about blogging, sorry about that. Life has been hectic and crazy, as usual, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Today, after work, we leave for Kansas to see Nana and Papa S. We will get some relaxation and fun time with them, then Jared and I head to LAS VEGAS to celebrate 5 years of marriage (hopefully winning Jared a new car, since it appears his has gone to the other side aka dead and gone).

I will be sure to post fun stories and pictures upon our return, and maybe if you're lucky, I might even post while away.

Here are a few recent pictures:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pretty toes.

Last night...

me: Dakota, do you want pretty pink toes like mommy?

Dakota: YEAH!

me: can you sit still for me to paint them?

Dakota: yeah...

me: ok, come on.

(Dakota sits in my lap. I proceed to break out the polish thinking this is going to be a complete disaster and she reaches for the bottle. I have never seen the girl sit so still in her life...she kept trying to put her face closer to her toes to examine.)

me: All done!

Dakota (pointing to toes, trying to touch them): PRETTY!

me: Don't touch, they have to dry!

Dakota: dry

me: yeah, dry.

Dakota (points to my toes): pretty! (points to her toes) pretty!

This morning on changing table...(points to toes): pretty toes!

Success! :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Can I get a weekend from the weekend?

This weekend was ...what's the word I'm looking for...productive. Relaxing? There were moments, but for the most part, we tackled the weekend full force. Picked up. Cleaned house. Organized rooms. Cleaned out junk. Grocery shopped. Lowes trip(s). Pool party. Hauled stuff. Planted flowers. Unloaded stuff. PHEW. I like the 3 day weekend thing, though :)

We went to a resident get together yesterday. We came fully prepared with swim gear, thinking Dakota would swim. Upon arrival, we learned the water was not quite summer temp ready and it was rather chilly, so I didn't put Dakota in her swimsuit. Daddy would sit her in his lap with his feet in. She gradually "warmed up" to the idea of putting her feet in. Then, her feet and splashing her hands. One of our friends took a turn at holding her and the next thing you know, our friend is in the water WITH Dakota, clothes and all! Daddy being a good daddy he is jumped in despite the chilly temp so she could swim with him. Mommy stayed in her clothes and watched from the sidelines :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Positive Outlook Friday.

10 things I'm looking forward to:
1. Getting the hell outta dodge (aka this office in about 2 hours)
2. Enjoying a 3 day weekend with my family
3. Getting new carpet
4. Taking D to Sea World
5. 5 year ani vacation to Vegas in July
6. 4th of July
7. J being done with residency
8. Someday being the proud owner of a Toyota 4Runner
9. Growing stronger in my faith and love everyday

What are 10 things you are looking forward to? Today, next month, 20 years?

Friday funnies

Good Friday morning giggles.

Doors that open.

I have felt compelled to write this post for some time now. This is not news: our economy blows. So many of my friends have been affected by this terrible market, myself included. I still to this day can't believe I got laid off. That was ohhhh 6 months ago. I took it very personally. I don't fail at a job. But guess what, it wasn't my decision to make. Someone had other plans for me.
In my industry, connections matter. Much like any other industry, it's all about who you know for the most part. Thanks to my friend Grant, I was able to snag an interview at my current place of employment for a marketing position. I immediately hopped on board and couldn't wait to start.
Not two weeks into my new job, a nationwide fashion retailer based here in Dallas called me offering me a position of copywriter. I had randomly applied for the position a few months previous and thought eh, no way, I don't have my foot in the door. With the offer can a hefty dollar amount that I had to ask my recruiter twice about and had to re-read the offer letter about ohhh 14 times. I immediately accepted, thinking I was crazy to turn down that kind of salary with that big of a brand.
About a week later, about 3 days before I was supposed to start my new new job, I couldn't do it. My current boss was sad to see me go, and he would ask me everyday if I had changed my mind. I ended up sticking with my current job and politely telling Big Brand Retailer I would have to graciously decline.
So why did I turn down the money with the big brand to stay doing marketing for a hospital with a smaller budget? Because I love what I do. Everyday is a mixed bag. Marketing means wearing a lot of hats. Writing copy, designing brochures, poking fingers at health fairs, attending golf tournaments, party planning and serving ice cream for employee events.
My friends, you gotta do what you love doing. Life is way too short to be concerned with money, what-ifs and taking the safe route.
It sounds so cliche, but as quoted in Wedding Crashers: Grab that net and catch that beautiful butterfly!
The world is your playground.

Creativity rocks.

When I was 5, my sister and I thought it would be a good idea to sucker my dad into setting up the circa 1980 video camera (you know, the one that goes through the tv so you can actually see yourself on tv as it's being recorded) so that we could broadcast the news. My sister, being the diva she was (is) of course had to play the news anchor. We set up shop in the basement on the couch and started our very professional and informative newscast. She predicted the weather, then cut to a commercial break. It was my time to shine. Product to advertise? Shampoo. And I did a dang good job if I do say so myself. I'm sure I probably sold at least a million bottles promoting it's ability to make your hair soft, shiny and healthy.

How in the world I knew at the age of 5 I was destined to be an advertiser is beyond me. Funny how those things work out.

I have been very fortunate in my life to have met and become friends with some truly damn good creative people. And I mean SUPER creative. So here on this blog, I am going to give mad props for the people that have inspired my creativity throughout my life and career. (And no, I haven't met Martha or JK, but wouldn't that be sweet?)

1. Jane
Meet Jane. AKA mama. Where to even start? From doll clothes to Halloween costumes to the James Dean quilt to panda bear birthday cakes to those god-awful troll angel ornaments, this lady does it all and is a little bit of Martha Stewart (minus the whole jail time and fraud thing). She's one of those ladies that walks around with sewing scissors in her left pocket, straight pins in her mouth and a tape measure around her belt and doesn't even flinch. All while sewing the shit out of anything. I will never forget when my BFF's bridesmaid dress didn't fit an hour before my wedding. My mom made all the dresses and took it personally when it didn't fit her just right. So what does my mother do? She whips out the needle and thread 2 minutes before walking down the aisle. After, of course, she gained permission to go under her dress and do her biz. In fact, I just bought a dress yesterday for an event tonight. It was on super sale and looked like a sack of potatoes on me. It was the only one left, so I snagged it, knowing my mom would pull through. Luckily my mom is in town and has already managed to do her magic this morning on it so now the black sequin dress fits me like a charm. Thanks mama for inspiring me and bringing me up in a creative environment. And thanks for always fixing my sewing machine jams when I was totally convinced I would have to save every penny I made to buy a new one because I busted yours while you were at work.

2. Kimberly
My first job out of college was a small marketing firm in Dallas, Texas. It was there I first met Kimberly. I was amazed at how effortlessly the girl could come up with creative concepts. It was so easy for her, because ideas were always cranking in her head. She could throw down concepts to sell Kimberly-Clark at the Diaper Derby that were so genius. She had the coolest little ideas ever that were just icing on the marketing cake. And now she owns her own business, The Boarding Bungalow. The place is all decked out in surfside gear, complete with bungalows, surf boards and waves. What a creative diva. She taught me so much my first job and I am lucky to have her in my life again down here in the big D.

3. Maridith and Sarah
The dynamic designing duo. I met these two at my restaurant marketing gig. It was really the first time I learned how to do creative concepting as a writer/designer team and how much power it could bring. These two girls are so talented. Even though they are two totally different people, they are both so talented in their own ways. They are artsy, creative and dang outright cute. They work their magic not on the dance floor, but on the computer with InDesign as their partner. They can layer, edit, draw, distort and recreate. They use their Wacoms and font libraries to create beautiful and amazing layouts that make you oh so happy. They make your headlines "Our chefs had a smackdown with vanilla" and "Hellooooooooo summer" sparkle and shine. (Even though sometimes I needed to correct their spelling, we'll let that slide. Details, details.)

4. Scotty B
I met Scotty B at Garmin. I've never met someone that is so passionate about his craft. He gives 110% to every project he tackles. He looks at life behind a lens and can twist and turn it to make just about anything super cool, interesting and full of emotion. I don't know much about videography or even how you do it. I just know he sits in the dark dungeon all day with two big screens pulling, clipping and editing raw video. The outcome is usually a kickin video that makes you laugh, cry, makes you proud or makes you wanna buy. Mission accomplished. Thanks for inspiring me even after I've moved on Scott, your passion for creativity is like a disease and you've managed to pass on the bug. It's like a gift that keeps on giving.

5. Martha Stewart
Yeah, yeah, let's just not take into consideration the small mishap with the law. Everyone makes mistakes. We should probably also bypass the fact that the woman seems to come off as a cold, heartless and stiff beotch. It doesn't matter, because she is a creative mastermind. She does it all - from baking to cooking to crafts to gardening. She has writes books, answers random quesitons on her own Sirius radio channel and shares ideas on her very own television show. And she makes the cutest freaking crafts on the planet. Her work is brilliantly simple, tasteful and out of the box. Like wedding favor boxes.

6. JK Rowling
Since we all know by now writing is my creative outlet, I had to throw a writer into my mix. JK Rowling is probably the most creative writer I know. Why? Because not only can she write (and I mean write write), I can't even begin to wrap my head around her fierce creativity. Harry Potter and the world she has created truly amazes me. She has come up with the game of Quidditch, an entire wizard language and personalities for about a gazillion characters. Amazing. So amazing.

6. Amy
Even though Amy is not in my field, she is artistically creative in so many ways. She covers the other creative side I don't. She plays choreographer, director, stage manager, costumer and set designer all in one and she's dang good at what she does. I should have known she was destined to do this when she would make me act out the musical Annie 45 times. It was the scene when she was playing Miss Hannigan and me Annie when she dragged me on the carpet for 31 feet across the house. Thanks Am, for giving scarring me for life to be deathly afraid of rug burn to this day. I also remember doing The Sound of Music, but the rug burn blocks out most everything else show-related we did. Oh, except that horrible fashion show we performed in the playhouse where she wanted me to wear a dress I didn't want to and threw a fit on camera. Being dramatic (GASP), she also spilled tea on the cameraman (aka dad). It was that day we witnessed the short fuse my dad had for the true art of drama. Be on the lookout for her someday, because she will soon be directing Broadway shows. And brilliantly, I might add!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Love is a decision.

Love is a decision.

And so is this blog entry. You can choose to make the decision to read it or ignore it. Please realize this is a very personal story that tells of my personal life and also includes my opinions, feelings and beliefs. Enter at your own risk.

As many of you have may or may not have speculated, the past 5 months of Jared and I’s marriage has been what you could call rocky. Scratch that, on the brink of death. Separated and very close to divorce only a few weeks ago. We have been through a lot of hurt, disappointment, mistrust, painful judgement and miscommunication. It has been extremely challenging to say the least, and many times, I was unsure which direction to go. In fact, for those that knew a little about what has been going on, this will be news to you. For others that had no idea, this will be even bigger news. I am a writer for a living, yet this writing is not for advertising or business purposes, it is from the heart. Therefore, it will have flaws and opinions you may or may not agree with. Why share it for the world to see? The answer is easy. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time he may exalt you. -Peter 5:6

I’m not looking for a pat on the back, or any kind of reward for sharing my story. In fact, I will most likely be judged and talked down upon. Some will think I am foolish, or that Jared and I are both foolish. I might even lose the support of some of my friends, but that’s alright with me. My life is mine to live. For so long, I have often worried about what others think of me and have always tried to live the norm, go with the flow and let others strongly influence my beliefs. At the age of 28, it’s time to take the reigns of my own life. God has moved me to write this, for whatever reason. If I can touch one hurting couple, that’s all I ask for. If I don’t, it will still be a healing tool for me, and hopefully my marriage.

Society promotes that divorce is acceptable, and it is okay to give up on it when you are faced with difficult situations, sadness or loneliness. I was a believer of divorce and thought it was totally fine, too. That if you weren’t happy, it was simple to get out and the answer was simply to get out. I am here to go against society and stand up for marriage. As a disclaimer, I will state I don’t believe all marriages should be saved. There are circumstances where divorce, in my mind, may be necessary. Everyone deserves to be happy as well as loved.

In the days leading up to the actual filing of our divorce, Jared and I met one evening to discuss custody arrangements, who would get the house and how we would go about filing and the divorce process. We talked about how we saw the future going as we tried to raise Dakota to the best of our abilities as single parents. This was the first time in 5 months we had sat down to have a discussion and actually communicate, believe it or not. After leaving our meeting, I thought I would feel a weight lifted off my shoulders. Like finally, decisions were being made and we could move on with our lives. Instead, I stayed up all night tossing and turning with an insane stress twitch in my lower left eye. This continued for days. Why was I feeling so much emptiness, sadness, stress and heartbreak? Shouldn’t the end being so near feel exhilarating? I spent 5 months making myself believe we were better off divorced, and how it would just be easier to start life anew considering the challenges and hurt we had been through. But the fact remained, whether I was willing to admit it or not: I knew my life would not be the same without my best friend, and I would miss him. And that I did in fact, never stop loving him.

In one last final attempt, I asked Jared to go to a weekend marriage retreat with me. He had asked me to go a while ago, but I just blew him off. In my mind, we were hopeless. After all, it was a program organized by the Catholic church and religion was a huge hurdle in our marriage. I didn’t want to spend a weekend being pressured to convert to Catholicism, or for them to tell me that if I was Catholic, I wouldn’t be having problems in the first place...the scenarios of the program ran the gamut in my mind, including thinking I would be locked into a room in a cult-like fashion and be forced to go through reconciliation. Okay, perhaps the last was a bit dramatic thinking on my part. I had read on their website many lawyers and judges send couples to the program as a prerequisite to filing for a divorce or rendering final decisions. In a way, I felt it one last final effort. I knew it wouldn’t be a miracle cure, but I had a hint of effort still left in me. I didn’t want to give up just quite yet.

Jared agreed to go, and the week leading up to the weekend was fairly nerve-racking. Much like preparing for a job interview or starting a new job, not having any idea what is in store for you or any indication of what will go on. It was like being lost in the dark, feeling for your way around.

As we walked up to check in, I had a feeling everyone was judging us. Going in, I knew we had many handicaps--knowing our past problems, me not being Catholic and us being young. But as I entered the gathering room, I was shocked at how many chairs were set up and the couples that were entering. There were sad couples, old couples, young couples, couples that would not even talk to each other and couples that were fake with each other. Couples I would later find out were already going through the divorce process and were awaiting their court date. Parents, atheists, career-driven workaholics. A feeling of ease and commodore took over me. What do you know, there ARE other couples out there that were on the brink just like us, couples that brought an insane amount of hurt too that weekend, willing to try with courage. Banners hung reading “The past is passed, let’s begin again”. There were boxes upon boxes of Kleenex at the ready, and right then and there, I realized this weekend was not going to be a cake walk.

Neither is marriage. Love is a decision.

Throughout the weekend, we listened to real life, heartbreaking stories of presenting couples. Stories you thought were completely in possible to overcome. We cried. We laughed. We struggled. We surrendered. We communicated. Communication was not something Jared and I had done well. In fact, the only things we “communicated” about was what to have for dinner, what was on TV or what Dakota ate that day. Communication is the #1 reason for divorce, that is no mystery. Jared and I were living proof of that and were about to become another statistic.

While details of the program wish to remain confidential, we walked away from the program feeling refreshed and encouraged with some tools that would help us get back on the right track with a lot of hard work and determination. We were hopeful, despite all the bad things that had happened to us. Despite all the hurt. In no way did the program provide a miracle cure or solve all our problems in one weekend. There is still a lot of hurt to heal. With ourselves, each other and with our families. Admitting faults and problems is hard to do as humans. So is feeling vulnerable. Worries and anxieties remain. After all, you are never 100% sure about any decision you make in life. But this program gave a few tools to communicate, hope for a better tomorrow, and provided us with the enlightenment that with God’s grace, anything is, in fact possible. Retrouvaille gave us the opportunities to open up and share our feelings with each other, even when we differ. It’s a simple concept, but one that is so easily lost or forgotten.

As we drove home from our weekend, we both knew the stresses of everyday, real life were waiting for us back home. What if we would slip back into laziness? What if we forgot the tools? Work, Dakota, dogs, house, bills, responsibilities. Again we became nervous and apprehensive. But for the first time in our 5 years of marriage, we were able to communicate with each other our feelings with each other and were encouraged to be open and honest and therefore, accepted. Because after all, isn’t that we really want in life? To be able to be accepted for who we are and accepted despite our flaws and whether our feelings are right or wrong?

One personality trait that has never faltered throughout my life is my optimism. Even when others try to drag me down with their pessimism and unpleasant outlook, I usually always try to find the positive side and the hope for a better future. Those other hurting couples were an inspiration for my own marriage, and knowing they were going through the same trials and tribulations was inspiring. I know we are not alone. I know now there are second chances in life, even third and fourths. I see obstacles as opportunities. I am seeking inner peace, one day at a time. God brought us to sit next to each other at Retrouvaille, that is no coincidence, for that I am certain. Perhaps we had to fall to the bottom before being brought back up for air. We have not finished the program, and we will never finish the work. I am not perfect. Jared is not perfect. Marriage is not 50/50, it is 100/100. It takes two. I am grateful for the hope I have and I’m looking forward to continuing the hard work of marriage with my husband, one communicative and forgiving day at a time. I pray that God will give us the blessings to change, to listen, to forgive, and most of all, hope that our marriage will heal and our family will remain whole and holy.

When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been too long
and you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter
far beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed
that with the sun's love
in the spring
becomes the rose.

On the way home from our weekend, I ironically saw a billboard advertising a lawyer that stated “complete divorce: $500”. If it were writing a Master Card commercial, I would end that with “saving your marriage: priceless.”

Thank you for taking the time to read my note. If you have gotten this far, I thank you for being open minded and willing to read my voice. I would also like to thank my family and friends for being supportive regardless of the decisions I make in my life and standing by me. That takes a lot of strength, and supporting without judgement regardless of decisions made is insanely beautiful. And thank you Jared, for taking that leap of faith and sitting next to me at the retreat.

If you have any questions about the Retrouvaille program, please feel free to contact me or Jared. No questions asked, and without judgement. You can also visit their site at

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's been a long time.

It's been a while since I've posted here. Don't blame me - I've just been dealing with every sickness on the face of the planet the past month. Along with daycare comes a hoard of germs that brings every illness home with Dakota. Her and I are just now getting over the same cold. So as I sit hacking a lung in my office, I'm hoping this is the last of the sicknesses for a while. Here's hopin....