Winter

Winter

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Snow Day!





We have had an incredible Christmas week! Great celebrating at my dad's house last Saturday, then time at my mom's house on Thursday evening. We were going to celebrate with Matt's side of the family Friday night but due to the tons of snow (more like 6-7 inches) we got we decided it was better if we all stayed home and off the streets. Tonight we had planned to have a game night, and four of our good friends were even coming from out of town... however, after much and a snowy trench to the grocery store we decided it would be best if everyone stayed home and wait for another day when the streets were dry. As excited as we were for game night, I can never be sad to stay home all day long. It's cozy and fun and now we have nothing planned. We have lots of good food, plus two dogs that are pretty entertaining. So today we played in the snow and the dogs just go nuts....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Something more positive to start the break...

Hey! I hope you are all on or soon to be on vacation. Let's try to get over that last too many words, slightly depressing post. Ok? The past two days at work I have had the privilege of giving!! And oh how good it feels to give. So at work, we have a very large closet, they call it a pantry, just filled with tons of food, water, shoes, clothes, hygiene items, water bottles, blankets, and so on. We can go in there at any time to give supplies to families or homeless youth. I have had two families, one current client and one past client that I have been able to pack up the van with supplies and drop off to their house. To help feed a family that can barely afford groceries, to give a brand new warm jacket to a girl in high school who doesn't have one.... very satisfying. Granted I didn't buy any of these things, just took the time to gather and deliver, it still felt very nice and I was grateful to be a part of it.

I hope we can all take time over the next few days and weeks to be grateful. To enjoy the time spent with our loved ones. And to remember what really matters, to see past the gifts and toys and to truly be present (word play- lame, I know) because you never know what tomorrow will bring. Stay warm, and Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

What a difference a day makes...

So yesterday at work I attended my first town hall meeting. These take place a few times a year to keep all the employees up to date on organizational changes. This one I knew I needed to be at because since the beginning of October major things have changed with in the place I work. All of the changes had something to do with the budget. Like a lot of people and places, the economy is still affecting our every day lives. Thankfully I still have a job... for now. Due to state budget cuts that took away 10% of our annual money, leaving us a half a million dollars short on budget. Unfortunately this means that parts of our organization will be closed and some people will lose their jobs. Oddly enough we were given small holiday bonuses just last week, and they are buying a new company vehicle, and having to spend over a thousand dollars worth of supplies for the outreach team. This doesn't appear to make sense to be spending when good people are losing their jobs, their jobs that they have dedicated their time and energy too, I get most people do that, but working with some of the kids they work with is extremely challenging and the people that are really good at it are harder to find. The point is the company has certain money that has to be used on vehicles or they lose that money, a portion of funds that is untouchable unless it is used to help families pay their bills, etc. You get the point. So as hard as 2009 has been on our organization, the C.E.O says next year will only be worse. Not exactly what we wanted to hear. We can look forward to more cuts in February and possibly even more after that. The general tone of the meeting was a total downer and truly I left feeling depressed. And one of my co-workers who I have never even seen in a bad mood said she needed to go home to take a nap. We all just felt drained and in limbo. It's hard to muster up the motivation and pump up the energy when you don't know if you will have a job in a few months. Do I keep working hard to help my clients? Of course. BUT I felt sad thinking of these families that may some day not have a program like ours to turn to. We are the only program of it's kind in our area, the next closest one is three hours away.

I am very aware that working in the social services you may be helping hundreds of people and there is a clear need for your services, but if money is an issue these are the programs that usually get cut first. I could go work in an office and do something I don't care about. Wait, scratch that. I can't. I can not let myself waste away doing something I don't like. Now there are definitely long days and days I can't wait to get home and leave all the stuff at work and yesterday was one of those days. A day of uncertainty. It got me thinking about people who work in the same place for thirty years (obviously I am not one of those people, and lots of times my jobs have ended before I wanted them to due to budget cuts) but that stability must be nice. Knowing that you will have that office in six months, the same amount on the paycheck, the routine. Then again I know it would be nice to pick up and leave all of that behind, to be spontaneous, to go do something you've always wanted to do but never had the courage, the thrill of taking the leap and praying that you land somewhat soundly. I also got to thinking that none of us have any idea what tomorrow will bring and all I can do is be present with this moment. We can try to prepare and plan, of course. But for the most part I want to just be here and feel like I do pretty well with change like this and I am flexible and creative and will "figure it out". There is always another option, a plan b.

Moving on... so today I am sitting in my office and my boss (well, old supervisor, technically he is my co-worker now because his position was cut, kinda odd, new adjustment) he comes over to me and my co-worker and says "Who wants to make someone's Christmas?!" And I immediately said "I do!".... "let's go.." So we left and went to Wal-Mart where we were going to go shopping. He began to tell me about the funds we still have left over and have the option to help those in need. This woman just recently left a domestic abuse situation with her six year old son and they have barely been living in a hotel for the past few days. She contacted our services and is now getting help. Everyone pulled together immediately, I think part because of the holiday and part because everyone has been feeling a little down about the future of our organization and to be handed a perfectly good candidate to help -you just jump at the chance to do so. The woman had nothing. She has tried desperately to keep her son at his school and he eats lunch at school and that's about it. They have no resoureces or support, until now. They were provided with tons of blankets, clothes, shoes and even games. While we were at Wal-Mart we bought $200 worth of groceries. It was very satisfying being a part of the whole process, and also very fun shopping for someone else. I had a chance to hand deliver the items to the woman at her not so nice motel she is currently at, however within the next few days she will be moved to a better, safer location thanks to our organizations funds. Also the woman is ten weeks pregnant.

This may sound like a totally depressing situation, which it was and they will have a rough road ahead of them. But the fact that this woman was courageous enough to leave her abusive partner with NOTHING and deal with the fact that she will have to accept help from others if she wants to better her situation for her and her kids. I truly believe this family has a better chance at life once they reached out for help and help was given. It's incredible helping someone who you know is going to do something good with that help. So many women stay in abusive relationships because they don't know what they will do next, but there are options, there is help if you look hard enough and more importantly it is SO worth it.

It was a good reminder to me that that is what it is about, helping one person at a time. Also gaining a little more perspective on what some people are struggling with. And praying that our organization and others out there have the chance to thrive in order to serve those that need it.

So whether I am at this particular job for the next two months or the next two years, who the heck knows. But I do know that in my next job I hope to continue to help those that want it and I hope this experience only furthers my passion for working with young people.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quick trip to Iowa

Hey there... Matthew and I drove to a tiny town in Iowa to see his Grandma. We spent one day getting there, taking our time, exploring small towns, having a great time. We drive right through Amish country and saw several buggies on this trip.
At Grandma's our niece Ainsley wanted to have a tea party and the boys nicely joined in.
We stopped by this Apple Orchard... one Matt has driven by dozens of time but never actually stopped. We thought 11 a.m. on a Sunday was as good of time as any.
It was a very cute barn, with a shop attached, and lots of space for goats and some lamas. We bought some banana nut bread for Grandma and rhubarb jam for me, in honor of my Grandma Sugar. She always had huge rhubarb plants growing in her backyard in Iowa and she would make sauce and put it on vanilla ice cream. I knew we had vanilla ice cream waiting for us at home so I thought it was time to try it again.
There is a family favorite pizza place in town but we thought we would branch out a bit and ended up going to a cute Mexican restaurant, good food, and a cute little doggy bag to take back to the hotel full of leftovers.
We drove down town to the park that runs along side the Mississipi river. They have a pretty nice sized park full of objects, art work, and toy trains covered in lights (the picture doesn't do it justice).
On this drive I love looking at every thing through the small towns and all the barns I find to be very unique. Some are depressing as you can tell they have just been left alone and on the verge of falling over, but I thought these two were cool lookin.
The week before Iowa had gotten a lot of snow, but thankfully our drive was relatively sunny and dry. This semi must have slide off the road a few days before, we couldn't believe that it hadn't tipped on it's side.

It was a quick, fun, nice trip and I am very glad we made the trip.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Married!


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Too many awesome wedding pictures to put up here... but can we just show you two? We are very pleased with how our pictures turned out.... and have yet to figure out exactly how we want to keep them (around the house, photo album, dvd, etc.) Married life is even better than engaged life. Hope you all are enjoying this holiday season and thank you for sharing in our excitement!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Little kids

We had a really great Thanksgiving. We spent most of the day at the Weiss' eating, hanging out, chillin with the niece and nephews and relaxing. Good food, great company, very nice. Then we came home and layed around for a few more hours enjoying some of The Office and Home Alone again (which is on all the time now), I even let out a tiny laugh at a part that I have seen a million times and in my food coma state I thought deserved a tired funny response.

This picture is actually from Halloween. My mom and I joined my sister and her adorable family to the petting zoo where little man Kestan was dressed head to toe as a cow. He had these little mittens that you had to struggle to find tiny fingers as he reached up for your hand to walk along side him. This kid is beyond cute, and like we all are in love with our niece and nephews, cousins, kids and grandkids... I of course think my nephew just so happens to be one of the cutest kids around, and that's that.



So Kes has began to LOVE uncle Matt... he just thinks he's the coolest, which is great. Anytime my sister says "Lindsay's coming over.." or "it's Lindsay!" Kestan's first response back is "Matt!! Matt!" We got a voice mail today from Kes saying over and over again "Hi Matt... ejghj eidh Matt, Hi Matt... eidjha wj wu Linly Hi Linly.. Matt! Matt Hi Matt!" You get the picture :) So pretty much any voice mail from an almost two year old that goes like that, is pretty great. And I know being an aunt is way easier and less tiring than being a mom or even a grandma for that matter... but as exhausting and life changing little ones can be.. at least they are so dang cute, that helps, right? :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's the most wonderful time...

Hello there. I woke up early with the dogs and then have taken the afternoon to be lazy. I have to remind myself that we have absolutely nothing planned the rest of the day and I really love that feeling. Matt set up our wifi at home because soon I will be working from home! It will be an adjustment but I am pretty excited about it. Work provided us with lap tops and soon cell phones to keep up with our clients. Working from home actually saves our organization money and let's us have more flexibility and thankfully keep our jobs at least for the next year that is. I definitely still have a long day at work every once in a while but I have truly enjoyed all of experiences (even the not so pleasant ones) with kids and their families because I know I am gaining alot from each encounter. So I find myself cozy and at home, currently on my lap top on the couch while Home Alone plays in the background, and a meal cooking in the crock pot. I love this time of year when all the good holiday movies come on. I have added a few to the list over the years but for the most part my favorites are the ones I've been watching for years.

Thanksgiving; Planes, trains and automobiles. If you have not see it, please rent it. Classic Steve Martin and John Candy. Love it.

Christmas; Scrooged -Bill Murray, maybe not so traditional but hilarious and sweet. Definitely How the Grinch stole Christmas (the cartoon). Home for the Holidays -Robert Downy Jr. and Holly Hunter, dysfunctional family makes for a great comedy. Another family with a lot going on but still the underlying idea is about love; Family Stone.

I am not a big candy eater, I like gum and reesee's peant butter cups, but around this time of year I love candy canes, plain. simple. peppermint candy canes. The grocery store by our house had fifteen kinds but no peppermint, thankfully Target had some :)

I put up our christmas lights on our porch and windows for the outside and love them. I don't want to rush and get a tree but when we do get it I know I will love decorating it, especially since my wonderful aunt Tracy hand made us a beautiful tree skirt for our wedding present, it's going to look great under our tree!

And if you've ever been around me during christmas you already know this but; my abosolute favorite christmas music is by the Carpenters and Amy Grant and then I like the really old stuff by Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, all the stuff my grandma likes to hum along to.. warms my heart as she would say.

I hope you are all having a chance to enjoy your traditions, start new ones or whatever it is you chose to do...

Monday, November 16, 2009

there's something about the air

so work has been going well, busy but good. there is something kind of odd going around with all of our families, some things seem to be extra chaotic and we can't decide if it's the weather, this time of year, or perhaps too much dairy. i don't know what that means, i just had to add a third thing on the list for some reason. i took off work early today because i had a sinus head ache, and this was my first one ever, so i have much more sympathy for people who say they have a sinus head ache, i now understand. and later in the evening my boss called me asking where one of my clients lived, i told him and said "why, are you meeting up with them?" which this never happens in a normal situation so i instantly knew that something had gone wrong. he said "yes, SRS was called and we have to go over there now, i will tell you all about it tomorrow". so, this obviously is not good news and this has been a very chaotic family since the beginning (July). however it did make me wonder, if i was at work would this same thing have happened? i had called this mother five times in the morning from 9-noon because i knew they had a scheduled meeting tonight and i wanted to confirm a meeting with them for tomorrow, however mom never answered and never returned my calls (which is unusual for this family). i was on my drive to pick matthew up from work because his car wouldn't start this morning. his car is fine, just hates the cold weather and we were leaving at the same time so it was just easier to take him then wonder if he caught the bus, etc.
so, i let myself burden myself with this families issue for a few minutes. wondering if i could have done anything different. then i stopped myself, and reminded myself not to feel burdened or internalize any of the negative things i see and hear every day (there are lots of good things i see too) but when you feel compassion and empathy for families it is also easy to drown yourself in their problems too. i take myself back and remember that i can only help people who want help, and even then i can only do so much. their burdens are not there for me to carry. i know that it is all worth it at the end of the day even if i only help 2 out of ten, at least those two were helped, right?
i also know that things happen for a reason. and whatever happens with this family (i obviously don't know the whole story yet) but there could be an issue of the mother losing custody of her kids and as sad as that is, it might be something that saves this family.
i want to continue to help, to be energized to help those that want it, and know that my part is my part and the rest is up to them.
i continue to work from a place of goodness, to try and see the bigger picture more often. i know that even a little is better than nothing, and i'll strive for a lot...

do you love recess?

i went shopping on saturday with my mom and sister. it is always great having that girl time together to catch up, have fun, and grow closer. we were at an outlet store, which any sort of store/mall on a saturday is one of my least favorite things to do. i don't like all the crowds, all the hurrying, people not walking my speed, etc. but i managed to enjoy myself because of the company i was with, plus i really like people watching. i was in the little girls section of old navy looking for a cute top possibility for my niece. a mom and her daughter were slowly getting closer to me, and eventually pushed me out of the isle as i leaned into some clothes and made some weird noise that made only myself laugh as i walked away.. but before that the mom was looking at every single shirt and reading it to her daughter. the girl was around 9 or ten so i am pretty sure she could read all of these herself, which was kind of the funny part to me.
the mom -"ohhh i like recess (reading the shirt), amber! do YOU like recess??"
eight seconds later, the mom -"ohhh marshmellows, amber do YOU like marshmellows?"

you get the idea :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

It's about time....


I find myself sitting at home in front of the computer, after spending a few hours scanning photos and compiling our short but sweet video that we plan to show during our reception... that just so happens to be in a week!! One week from tonight we will be pre-wedding celebrating at our rehearsal dinner. I can not believe how quickly time has flown by! I am aware that come next Sunday I will say "woah... that night flew by I can't believe our wedding is already over!" All of this excitement leading up to the big day will perhaps make it seem even quicker. But I can tell you one thing, it is going to be one of the most fun, and most blessed day of my life. Matt and I have been through a lot together, some lows, and many many highs. I know that we deserve this day of celebration and we are going to live. it. up. Believe me. The next several days I am going to try and be present for EVERYTHING. Even a meeting at work that I am dreading going to, and would rather not be at, I am going to soak it up because then I feel like I will remember this time in my life even more. And the fun stuff will be even better.

I have been slacking on blogging, writing, creating, some cleaning... we have been consumed with wedding stuff! I know very soon we will have not one thing to do that relates to our wedding and I will have time for all these other things I have lost the time for. Until then, I embrace the seventh draft of the seating chart, the 200 or so candles that are left to buy, and soon the hours upon hours of cupcake decorating, because I am/will be spending that time with the people that I love. Family and friends coming together to help make our celebration even more special.

So I may be gone from here for a bit, but know that I have a ton on my mind that I would like to get on here, or at least on paper. I get these bursts of energy to write and write and write.. mostly when I am at work but some days even like now, I have a dozen things racing through my brain but at the very same time I feel content. So very content and peaceful. I am soaking up this week before the wedding, even now when Matt is off on his bachelor party weekend, and the next Saturday we spend together we will do so as Husband and Wife.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 14, 2009

One more...!

We spent just this last weekend having an excellent time at Kathleen and Charlie's wedding. Great toasts, lots of dancing, and a really good time!!

Weddings Galore!

We spent two weeks ago celebrating my good friend Ashleigh's wedding to her man Jesse. My mom and Steve were there, and Shan, Chris and Kestan too!! It was such a lovely wedding and we LOVED being apart of it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

9/9/09

I had a blast at my good friend Ashleigh's wedding this past weekend (pictures to follow soon). It was so fun celebrating with them, and it was kind of nice that it wasn't our wedding yet... mainly because this time is flying by already and I want to really make it last. My other good friend Kathleen is getting married this weekend and I am going to do a reading for it... let's hope I don't trip all up and down my words for that one, k? Once you find the partner you choose to spend your days with, whenever other people around you chose to do the same thing, and you can just tell it's a good decision for them... it just adds to the excitement. Most everything is set for the wedding, but there are a ton of little details that still need to be done. Like buying about 80 candles for all the holders we already have, figuring out center pieces or lack there of, buying Matt's suit (kind of a big deal, but it will work out), finishing gifts, cards, making sure all the technical stuff is taken care of, getting a marriage license.... and, you get the picture. Our weekends are filled up and now our week day evenings are quickly becoming busy, which truly... as much of a homebody as I am... I have enjoyed every busy, crazy, relaxing, fun part of this whole entire process. Regardless of how quickly time flies, th eonly thing I can do is take it all in, just be present with everything I am doing, especially anything wedding related :) and take lots of pictures. that will help. It's fun looking at the guest list and although we would have originally liked to invite every single family member ever, and old friends we care about but haven't seen in a while, I know it is going to be a day we never forget and almost all of our favorite people will be in that room with us.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The weekend...

Friday afternoon I called Matt to see how is much needed day off of work was going and he said he received a present from Diana (one of my mom's really good friends and also the woman who will be performing our wedding ceremony) had sent us a gift. And Matt admitted he could not wait for me to open it and opened it himself (which is great considering all the shower gifts I had the pleasure of opening and he was not there for those). She sent us a book on daily reflections involving life, love, and becoming more aware of why we do the things we do, and how we react to other people. We read the reading for August 28th and it just so happened to perfectly go along with some of the things we had recently talked about. Very cool book. I had an initial meeting with a new client that went very well and by 4:00 I was headed home on a surprisingly cool summer night and stopped to rent two movies along the way. This was the first time in a long time that both Matt and I were home on a weekday before 5 p.m. We decided to have a mexican night. I made guacamole, we had a margarita, made tacos and watched two movies! It was lovely.

Saturday we got out and went to one final store looking for Matt's ring. We ended up going back to our original place and looked at our two favorite again and suddenly one awesome ring took the lead and we made the purchase. Thankfully we made it when we did, because this particular ring is coming from Germany and could take as long as 6 weeks to get here. They put a rush order on it and we were assured it would be here at the beginning of October. So happy about the purchase and glad to mark it off the list.

I am currently typing quietly as my nephew sleeps upstairs. We had a busy night of playing, bathtime, a walk around the neighborhood and then some flipping and flopping like a fish until he found a good upside down pose in bed with two stuffed dog animals by his side. Tomorrow Matt and I plan to get a lot of house stuff done (our basement has kind of been in shambles ever since we redid the floor, but soon it will be all back to normal). And we are having my mom and Steve over for dinner on Tuesday so that's a good motivating factor to make it look really presentable. And then this week looks like this; three kind of long days at the office, Thursday working till about 3 and then headed to Parson's for my friend Ashleigh's wedding! I am one of her bridesmaids and so very excited about her wedding. Then we come back on Saturday afternoon, and Saturday night is my other great friend Kathleen's bachelorette party! And thankfully I am taking Monday off of work and we are having a cookout with the family and might run to a nice park and take a few more engagement photos for the fun of it.

Hope you all have a great week, thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Date Night

After a good but somewhat long week Matt and I went out on date last night. We had gift certificates to a nice restaurant so that made date night even sweeter. We dressed up, took our time at dinner and enjoyed a grilled salmon and a bow tie pasta with chicken and mushrooms, both very tastey. We got home, opened the windows and let this amazing fall-like weather rush through our house and watched The Reader. Interesting flick, a little odd but that's how it goes sometimes. Then waking up to the cool air, birds chirping that at one point got a little annoying but quickly switched back over to being lovely as sleeping in on a Saturday can never be bad in my opinion. We ran a few errands this morning, about to take the dogs on a walk and have a relaxing evening. I bought some new art supplies and with all this wedding planning I haven't had the energy but tonight I think I will have to play around in my art room for a bit. Tomorrow my mom and I will be working on our gifts for our wedding party and then I will go to the bridal stoe to get a bustle put in, THEN a cookout at my sisters to celebrate my dad's birthday. Hope you are havin a great weekend!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

3 day weekend

I do wish every week we had a three day weekend. I just think it sounds way more logical but whatever. This past week I have been on call for work. I truly was lucky with the smaller amount of calls I got and none of them were later than 11:30 p.m. (thank goodness!) because usually once I wake up, I am up. And I don't really want to be "up" at 2 in the morning if I can avoid it. Like I said it wasn't that bad but I will be happy to turn over the phone tomorrow morning as my on call shift ends because you never really feel off the clock when you are on call. You have to try and stay in work mode even when you are home and that was a little harder for me just because I really enjoy being off the clock. Moving on... we have designed our wedding invitations! They are sweet and simple, and Matthew did a great job on them. I will start addressing envelopes and hope to have them all out by next weekend. Yay!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tweet this

So, I don't use twitter, or tweet or anything. Not that there is anything wrong with it, I just haven't had the desire to do so... until today. I had a somewhat busy, kind of weird, overall good day but there were times that a certain thought would cross my head and I thought "that would be a good thing to tweet about". Now even typing those words I sound like a huge dork, but I'm okay with it. So my day would go something like this;

"making faces at cars as they pass on my way to work"

"wow, forced to watch over an hour of fox news at the doctor appointment, now really depressed"

"old man just hit me with his shopping cart. i. am. stunned."

*Side note to this thought; I am standing in line at a grocery store with a client waiting for her perscription to be filled. I am engaged in her story and noticed there was no more room to move up in the line and there is a good 4 to 5 feet behind me between myself and the other isle. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I get a nice jab on my calf and just above my hip simultaneously. I remember thinking in my head as I turned around "was that a joke? is there someone i know behind me playing a trick on me?" And I turn to see a short, angry looking old man had just pushed his shopping cart into me. Seriously. His wife is pushing herself in a wheel chair behind him, with their shopping cart list in her mouth, she shouts "he said pardon me!" Now, I couldn't help but say "well I didn't hear him" that was the truth, and I just didn't know anyone to say pardon me once (because if he said it, believe me he only said it once) and then just decide forget it, I am in that much of a hurry and this person is clearly deliberatly ignoring me, they deserve a little push. from a shopping cart. and the intense couple slowly makes their way past. Luckily I was with a client and I had nothing to do but kind of smile and say "that was kind of weird" and we walked to the car. I continued to laugh to myself a little in disbelief, did that really just happen?

Moving on...
"singing regina spektor in my office, hope my boss can't hear me"

"just took the dogs for a walk, neighbor found a lost dog, seriously considering the thought of matt coming home to a third puppy"

"taking pictures of adorable beagle mix"

"new flooring in basement is awesome, but very sad watching jaxon struggle to walk on it... he looks like bambi on ice"

and now "about to go relax on the couch and watch some educational reality show...."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

honeymooners

yo! matt and i met with a triple a travel agent this morning to discuss possible honeymoon locations. turns out we will end up finding the place ourselves (she wasn't as thorough as we thought she could be) and then perhaps will go to them for the insurance. anyways, we both got to go into work late and after the meeting we went out to breakfast together. it was twenty bucks. which i realize may either sound like a lot to some people or like nothing to others, but to me at the time it sounded like a lot. i have grown surprisingly cheap as i've gotten older, but i admit it, so it's okay. now truly i just like to save money, and it takes some talking into for me to spend money when it comes to clothes, or good hair stylist, or pedicures (i got one once and it hurt, so besides the massage part i don't really like it) but i do realize at times it's worth it to spend a little more on nice clothes and things of that nature. yes i just said "things of that nature" when i was in training for work i was noticing people using sayings like that all the time but in odd ways "so forth" and "things of that nature" basically wrapping up the answer with a very vague statement barely answering the original question. like ellen degeneres talks about trying to end a story when you are in the middle of telling it and forget the ending... "well, it's a slippery slope my friend!"... made me laugh for some reason. okay, back to breakfast we have a lovely time and as we leave i needed matt to remind me that spending the twenty bucks was so very worth it because we rarely get the chance to do that (even if we did it every day it would still be worth it maybe just a little excessive). between the triple a meeting and heading to breakfast matt is in heaven with the a.c. pumping (his car doesn't have any!) looking over the brochures of mexico we just got, and i am blasting some enya. enya, anyone? other than my mom? it was one of my old cd's i made with nothing but relaxing music on it (great for baths, meditating) and now after work from a twelve hour day. or just pleasantly enjoying a drive with your fiance. believe me, i enjoyed it. i enjoyed it so much that i broke out in laughter and could not stop. my eyes were watering, i was making those weird gulp and quiet laughish sounds that happen when it takes your whole body in order to try and hold in a laugh, matt's crazy look over at me soon forced him into a hilarious laughing fit, and he had no idea why i was laughing which made me laugh even more uncontrollably. (alisa, you'll know what i'm talkin bout... we used to get to the verge of getting kicked out of class because of this laughter). my mom and me in restaurants can get this way sometimes. and now matt and i in the car, listening to enya in a very happy cool state. it was a great start to my day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My dream last night...

So my dream starts out standing in a room with people, I don't really see their faces or feel like I know anyone but there are people in the room with me. The t.v. is on and there is one wall of windows looking out to a city of some sort. What is happening on the t.v. is the same as what's happening out the window, does that make sense? So all of a sudden on the t.v. there is a huge ocean wave building and building and coming towards us, I look to the window and the same thing is happening and right when the first rush of water starts to break over the top of the window I turn to my right and run to the door. (My first thought is if the water touches me I will probably die instantly... I know this is a depressing thought, but I can't hold my breath very long and drowning is one of my biggest fears). But I am the first one out the door and I start to lead this group of people behind me. I find the stairs quickly and run up a floor it was like we were in an apartment building or something. I am nervous but not really scared at this point, I had a sense that we were going to be okay. We keep running and gather all the people up over the wave so when we suddenly come in contact with the water we are on top of it and sort of swimming in it. I am relieved we didn't drown but now we have to float and swim in this water and I begin to worry about what possible creatures are in the water (I still sometimes think there could be sharks in lakes... not scientifically or anything, just a thought that will occasionally cross my mind if I am ever in a lake). So we start to swim a little fast to where we are near more people and we all seem to feel safe... and then the dream ends. I looked up a few things on having dreams about water and it seems to be pretty common (I have had a few vivid dreams with water) I don't always look up dream meaning stuff and sometimes I think the unconscious is just molding random memories together and making a dream however sometimes I think there may be meaning behind them. I found this online:

"Water dreams also come in the form of waves which may represent emotional fluctuations. If you are currently experiencing a period of tranquility and peace, you may be dreaming about calm waters and gentle ocean waves. This dream suggests that you may be gathering energy and recharging emotionally. However, more commonly people dream of violent and dangerous tidal waves. Tidal waves or tsunamis suggest a period of emotional upheaval. Anxiety, stress, and unconscious materials may be coming to the surface and affecting your daily moods. Giant tidal waves may symbolize current emotional unhappiness and psychological stress, which are threatening to destroy you. The outcome of this dream may reveal how much strength you have to "ride out" personal storms. For example, surviving the tidal wave suggests that you have enough strength to overcome challenges..."

It felt nice reading this so I am going to attach this meaning to the dream I had last night. I know I have a big positive change coming in getting married and all the planning about it has taken up most of my brain space and there have been moments of stress but overall I keep sticking to our original vision of what we want that day to look like and who we want to surround ourselves with. This has been a learning experience for me in some days letting go of my ego a little and taking suggestions, and some days truly listening to my own voice and making the decisions for me and Matt and not anyone else. I had a conversation with a friend about not inviting another friend to the wedding. I know it would still be very fun if we were to have my entire extended family, and all of our friends even the ones we haven't talked to in a while or friends of friends... but we just can't and truthfully the more intimate guest list works for us. It has grown a little more than I thought it might, but it just reminds me that we are very blessed to have really great people in our lives.

And I have grown throughout this process and I know I will continue to. I will come out on top of the water and gain more strength in myself and my relationship with Matt. There is something to learn in having disagreements, challenges, or doing things that at first seem uncomfortable (like a phone call to a friend, or a disagreement with a family member) but you soon find out it's worth it, and it will turn out better than you thought it could.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

disclaimer

hey there. now this next post is all about our dog jaxon. disclaimer; if you have kids and or have never been a dog person you probably have no reason to continue reading. my mom let me have my first dog when i was a sophomore in high school. it took some coaxing and conversation over many days and weeks where i would bring up dog names i liked (cooper was the number one choice) and finally one day after school i noticed in my moms bedroom that on the floor was a stack of books about dogs. that's when i knew i had succeeded. soon after we went to a farm and chose between a light and a dark colored beagle, we chose the darker one with tan and white spots. we probably could have trained him better when it comes to obeying (for instance he will steal food out of your hand if you let him) but we instantly fell in love with him. and now that he is turning eleven (a typical beagle life span is 12.5 years) we began to reflect on our lives with him. it was during a somewhat hard but very special time that my mom and i got to spend together, and with cooper. anyways fast forward several years and matt and i now have two dogs of our very own. we love them oh so much. we feed them, bathe them, take them on walks, brush their teeth (our vet says we have to do that every week now, who does that? but we are going to try to) basically they are our children with fur. and until we have kids it will stay that way and even once we have a child these two creatures will still be an important part of our family. i love coming home to them. i love being near them, and i can tell they like it too. right now jaxon has positioned himself underneath my chair. last sunday morning i saw jaxon laying down but his foot was kind of hanging in the air. i was busy running around the house and i asked matt to look at his foot, come to find out that his toe nail (like his pinky finger) was sticking completely out to the side and there was blood. long story short we took him to the vet once it opened in the afternoon and he had damaged his toe pretty badly. the vet suggested she sedate him and cut it off at the knuckle and then i guess it just grows back. we ended up doing that and left him at the vet for five hours (we've never left him anywhere except our house or matt's moms house) and when we picked him up it was like picking up our kid from college. believe me i know how rediculous that sounds but it was true. i was excited and nervous and couldn't wait to hug him. he came out from the back room and he was drugged. the vet warned us about this but it was just so bizzare to actually see. his eyes were watery, he was wired, and bumped into things as he walked. matt had to sit in the backseat with him because he was just falling all over the place. sunday night we took turns laying with him because he was so wired he would not lay down, but if you sit next to him he will lay for hours. ellie knew something different was going on and was just as weirded out by the fact that he wasn't really recognizing any of us. jax finally passed out and seemed to have little or no pain the whole week, but he did have a lovely little cast on for a couple days. everything seems to be healing just fine and he is acting like his regular cute self again.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dogs

So who else is sick of sob stories about car trouble? How about some pictures of our pup's instead? It's a special treat for them to get a new toy because Ellie (the little one) goes nuts and rips any toy to shreds in about four minutes. Thankfully toys are the only thing she chews on but when she does, look out. Jaxon will get a toy and just pose all cute, like he is here with his duck. Also his eyes are half open because of the flash on my camera, but it works out because this is what he looks like on rainy days, we call him squints.
Ellie is displaying her new toy, a red and white ball that was actually very hard for her to rip into, so good purchase.
And after a long day of playing these two usually curl up together on Jaxon's bed. Hope you had a great weekend, will post more soon!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What a pain...

So, after that really great weekend we had it ended in a not so fun way. After our bike ride on Sunday we decided to pick up lunch from Jimmy John's and the second I finished eating I felt sick. It could have been a culmination of things including but not limited to; over exercising, eating the wrong foods, dehydration, etc. But all I can tell you is I have never experienced those kind of pains in my stomach before. I could barely move, and spent the rest of the evening on and off heating my stomach because that was the only thing that gave me temporary relief. I even called in sick on Monday to my new job, it was that bad! Matt had a somewhat surprise procedure Monday morning on his tooth that made half of his face completely numb so he decided to take his lunch hour at home (to check on me, also to wait till the drooling subsided before going back to work :) We were quite the pair, but thankfully he felt better quickly and finished out the work day. I decided that if the pains were the same in the morning I would go to the doctor because it even hurt to roll from one side to the other. I went in to work this morning, even made it through a new family meeting and had an afternoon appointment with the doctor.

I met with a doctor I have never seen before. It turns out she was a younger woman and a breath of fresh air in the amount of time she spent actually listening to me and trying to figure out what was wrong, what we could do next, etc. (Rather than a doctor I have had before who doesn't listen, talks too fast, and he writes prescriptions so fast your head will spin). I had some blood drawn and I know it will all be just fine and I would much rather they say "you obviously can't handle pain well, go home ya baby" then to have anything be wrong. So it will all be just fine. It was kind of funny though when the nurse was drawing blood.. it usually never bothers me and when she pulled the needle out I actually said "ow!"

So I leave the doctor's office a bit more in pain then what I started with. But to add some flavor to this already long day of mine, I get no more than 50 yards out of the parking lot and as I am on the phone with Matt I said "I have to go, my car is making a weird noise". He said "what kind of weird noise?", and I said "well, it sounds like it did when my lug nuts fell off... I bet I have a flat tire... oh jeez, I'm gonna have to call you back". I pull over, put my hazards on, go to the suspected tire and sure enough I have a flat tire!

I call Matt back and by this time my energy is pretty well spent. I had a quick vision of me having to change my very first tire by myself, in my work clothes, without the proper tools. And instead of breaking a window, I start to cry. Not a real full on cry, but a I am so frustrated I just want to be home and I kind of want to hit something kind of cry. Sometimes in moments like these guys hit things, and sometimes women cry. Matt is somewhat familiar with this behavior and he is ready to leave work to help me, but I figured I call my Dad because he might be on a break from work but he doesn't answer, then I think to call my brother because I was somewhat in his neighborhood.. much more so then I would have been near Matt's work. But my brother was still at work even further from where I was. So after calling the men in my life (my sister is busy with her son, and my mom just had foot surgery)...

Finally I realize the best and easiest solution is to call Triple A for the second time in about 4 months (Thanks Dad for my membership!) and within thirty minutes these two nice young guys come to my rescue. The one guy gets out and sees that I have a band aid where they drew blood, and he says "ahhh, first that now this?" It made me smile and reminded me that it was just a stupid flat tire and there are much worse things. I immediately felt grateful and drove away completely fine. Bonus- five cars pulled over to ask if I needed help in that short time I was sitting there, so that was refreshing.

Surprisingly my stomach feels a little better, I had some more watermelon and I am going to eat a delicious dinner and get some good sleep tonight. It's funny how sometimes these things, these life annoyances come all on the same week, or even the same day. And you just gotta roll with it, and that guy whipping his arms about like a mad man in road rage on my way home made me smile and throw him the peace sign (which probably made him more upset) but perspective is what it's all about. And my perspective tonight and hopefully most nights is gratitude and being present.

4th of July!

To keep with our tradition that we started three years ago, we spent the holiday at my sister's house and the minute it got dark we began to play with sparklers, a flashlight, and a long exposure. Matt was the master mind behind the photography, and woah, he is talented.
We started the night with delicious appetizers, then cooked out on the grill and spent the entire evening on their back porch. Kestan was busy running all over the back yard, taking rocks and putting them near the dogs, trying to dig holes with Uncle Matt and overall just being a cute, really really cute, sweaty little boy.
Kestan also fell from the sky.
Me and my sparkler friend.
Of course a classic Star Wars recreation by me and Matthew. It was a really great weekend. Both Matt and I had Friday off, by the way I am in love with three day weekends. I cooked a delicious tomato basil quiche. We went on a bike ride to my dad's house on Saturday and then Sunday we met two women I work with and their husbands for a lovely bike ride. The weather was gorgeous and we all had a great time. Hope you enjoyed your fourth as well!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Grandma and Grandpa

After we spent the day in Omaha we made our way up to our grandparents' house. It was the first time I remember ever having just the two of them and myself, dad, sister, and nephew. We are blessed to have such a large extended family, but it was very nice getting a chance to really catch up with Grandma and Grandpa with no agenda or family reunion to compete with.
They have maintained and share a very beautiful garden near their apartment, after my first ham sandwich for lunch (not a huge fan) we spent the afternoon breezing in the garden and in a pretty gazebo just catching up.
My dad and Kestan spent some time chilling in the garden as well.
My grandpa has had this "tilly" hat, I believe it is called, for as long as I can remember. And once Kestan started wearing his big ol' cute hat for the summer it immediately reminded me of grandpa's hat... so naturally we had to get a nice picture of the two of them looking so good.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tiny Treasures


A few weeks ago my mom showed me this framed picture with some fabric inside of and asked me if I recognized it. I said yes, it used to hang in my bedroom throughout my childhood and hadn't seen it in a few years. It turns out that it was a baby's bonnet that my Grandma on my dad's side had made for me. She made it for all the Granddaughters (which is some amazing number as my dad is one of 10 kids and everyone has at least two kids beyond that). My mom had framed the bonnet, and attached the card on the back of the frame that read this; "A tiny square of linen and a dainty edge of lace, designed into a bonnet to frame your baby's face. After baby's warn it fold and tuck away, and it becomes a hanky for baby's wedding day." Well, it brought a tear to my eyes and I am so thankful for the sweet gift and my mom taking such great care of it, and believe me I will have it with me on the big day in less than four months away!

Friday, June 26, 2009

freckle face

I drove to Wichita for a work conference and although it was about 98* out, the drive was full of sunshine and great clouds like these. The conference was about juvenile justice and all the things wrapped up in to that category (gangs, sexual exploitation of youth, jail, and intervention programs like the one I work for). It's an under appreciated field, and there's not a lot of money in it, but the work is pure, tough, and life changing. There was a priest there that works with ex-gang members in LA and started his own Homeboy Industries (they have a cool website if you're interested) and the work he does is so intense and he left us with a great feeling of passion, and if you enjoy what you do every day (or at least most days) than that's a great thing. And the hopeless need hope.

I had spent two nights in a hotel by myself with no dogs and no books, by the end of the day I had little energy to write or read anyways. So some mindless t.v. and a few pictures documenting my state of mind. I think our connection to our body is very interesting. How some people are consumed with clothes, and hair, and whatever else. Don't get me wrong those are all nice things, but they are not who we are as people. And the things people notice about your appearance because we are a very visually driven society. Recently, someone told me I looked like Lindsay Lohan. Now at first I may have been a little offended, but then it hit me that this woman has rarely seen another person with freckles so she just equated the fact that we both have freckles. Like me and Evangeline Lily both have dark hair (someone also told me I looked like her, but we were in the process of possibly buying his house so I think it was just a good selling tactic). Believe it or not, but I sometimes forget that I have freckles. And that every year I have recieved more and more freckles, and to see a home video of me when I was eleven, I had set up the video camera on the edge of the table so I could run through the list of impressions I was learning... true story. But at the time I did not have one single freckle on my neck or chest, just emerging all over my face. It's interesting how some days I can feel so connected with my body and every move that I make, and other days I feel I live more through my mind and the idea of "living from the inside out". I want to accept my body for all that it is and all that it is not but also that feeling of just living and not getting wrapped up in those little things.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chicago!

My good friend Megan and I went to visit her sister Ashleigh in Chicago over the weekend. We got not so cheap tickets last minute because Ash's friends were throwing her a bachelorette party in town and we just had to crash the party. We showed up at Ashleigh's door and she was so shocked that we were there she just kept saying "What?!" It was very cute and completely worth the trip.
We did lots of dancing throughout the night, here we are impersonating an SNL character.. actually Kathy Lee... really it's too long of a story if you're not familiar with the character, but let me tell you we cracked ourselves up with this one. :)
And on our last day we took a boat tour of all the cool buildings in down town Chicago. It was a gorgeous day, interesting tour, and overall just a great trip.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

a dog's life

Okay so a few nights ago I noticed that Jaxon's haunches (sp?) were lightly blond in color and basically hanging off his sides. So, I started to pull at them, like any normal person would do, right? And it became a scene from Edward Scissorhands when he first trims the bushes in Diane Wiests' backyard... it just gets faster and faster and more and more leaves (hair) fall out/off. And yes this would have been a great job to do outside but I just couldn't stop, I was so amazed and actually grossed out at how much hair was falling off of this boy. I get that it's the season for shedding and really that just comes with the territory of dog ownership but I have never seen this much come off of Jaxon before. And secondly, as I was doing it he was kind of in awe as well and slowly sunk to the floor and just layed in his shedded hair.
He seemed to kind of enjoy it. He is a little weird, but also very sweet.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Zoo part 2

videoKestan was a great road tripper, but by the end I think we were all ready to get out of the car and run... and Kestan makes that clear in a very cute way in this video (also couldn't figure out how to turn it, so enjoy sideways for now).

Omaha Zoo!


Last week my dad, sister and I went on our second annual father-daughter road trip and this year we added my nephew Kestan to the mix which turned out to be a great decision. We spent a full day at the Omaha Zoo on it's biggest day of the year -25,000 visitors that day. It was definitely a little crowded when we first got there, but the zoo is so fun, and they have some great additions (like the butterfly house) I highly recommend taking a day to check it out. Not only did these freaks charge the fence.. but they make a pretty awful sound. I mean, I am sure they are beautiful creatures at some point in their life... but really, I barely wanted to stop to take the picture, but had to because I was on the phone with Matt at the time and I had to document where that loud sound was coming from.



Saturday, May 23, 2009

summa time!

Gearing up for our morning bike ride, trying to make it a weekend tradition. Also, making weird faces is apparently something we need to do as well.
Well if officially feels like summer! We spent all morning outside and decided we needed to cook out. Jaxon is definitely enjoying laying in the shade in our backyard.
Matt grilled out fresh chicken, veggies and baked beans... it was so delicious!
I got a little excited cutting the great big watermelon we just bought and sliced my hand, but it's okay.
We gave the dogs a bone to eat outside, which we have never done because I just figured Jaxon would try to bury it, but instead they both snuggled in the cool grass and leisurely enjoyed their treat. Well, Jaxon took his time, and Ellie eats everything in record time.
Ellie and
Jaxon.