When A Marriage Ends

One night over the summer, when I was home alone (Camaron was at work), I got a call from a number I didn't recognize. It was an older-sounding lady doing a survey about families. Even though I sometimes get anxiety talking on the phone, I usually go ahead and do surveys like this. I figure a job at a call center is probably no fun, so I try to be as nice as I can. The questions she asked that I remember were along the lines of "are you married?" "Do you have children?" "Does your family practice religion?" "Does your family pray daily?" Eventually, she got to one of the last questions, "Do you see yourself still married to your spouse in five years" and I could only answer "no". I immediately felt sad and uncomfortable, and even though she had to stick to her script, I could tell she felt it too. I've known for a while that things weren't going to last.

All marriages are hard. I'm pretty sure that's a fact. I went into ours knowing this. But, for the first year or so, I felt like we just lucked out. We were so great together. We were on the same page for almost everything. We worked well together and made each other happy. It wasn't perfect, but I had heard so many friends complaining about their marriages, so I just knew ours was something extra special. But, not too surprising, things changed. We changed. And we didn't change together. It was actually more opposite. I won't go into detail because it's just sad. I don't mind talking about what happened, but I feel I'm better at explaining some things in person, so I'm not going to post details on here. There are two sides to every story, and I would really rather portray things in the clearest way possible to be fair. Maybe that doesn't even make sense. It's the best I can do right now though.

This is a post I never wanted to write. For the past year or so, though, I knew I eventually would type these words (or something similar).

 It made it hard to plan things for the future. Should I buy these concert tickets for us? Should we plan that trip? It just felt so unlikely that Camaron and I would still be together much longer. But I kept moving forward and we kept moving forward. Then I'd get my hopes up for a while that we were going to grow old together ...even though we were both miserable inside.

Doesn't that just happen for couples who fight all the time? Couples who sleep in different rooms? Couples who talk crap about their spouses to others? Not to couples who say "I love you" and have a goodnight kiss EVERY night. Not to couples who finish each other's sentences way too often. Not to me.

But we've been sad for so long. Sure, we have happy moments. The kids are awesome (oh, the kids. The hardest part in all of this). We enjoy doing a lot of things together. But the happy stuff is all just surface level, it seems. There were lots of little things. And we have had big issues. We've been to multiple counselors (I'm a big fan of counseling, FYI), but in our situation, we just weren't able to work through it.

We've worked for this marriage. For us. But we still ended up here. I don't write that to make it seem like divorce is inevitable. I just want to make it clear that we definitely have not taken our marriage lightly. We haven't just given up. I honestly feel like I did all I could. I would have never agreed to a divorce if I didn't feel that way.

Once we officially made our decision and I moved out and into my parent's house, into my old room, at a time when I should have felt so so terrible and sad and alone and confused, I felt a weight lifted. I felt less anxiety and stress than I had in years. I joke that maybe it was just my new anxiety meds finally kicking in, but I know it was something I was meant to feel. That it was a reassurance that this was the right decision -even though I had never wanted it.

It continually amazes me that I haven't had a day where I just sat at home crying to myself all day long (if you know me even slightly well, you know I'm a big cryer. Uncontrollable. Ugly). I've definitely been sad about this situation. It's not ideal. But I've been able to feel happy. To feel optimistic. I don't speak a lot about religion on here, but I would be a huge liar if I didn't attribute these feelings of comfort as direct answers to prayer. And not just the feelings, but the people who have been there for me right from the moment everything happened. I know each person who has texted, called, volunteered babysitting, hugged me hard, bought me treats... each of you has been a blessing for me from a loving Heavenly Father. These experiences have brought light back into my life.

So, I think we're all caught up now. I don't know what's next for me and my family. It's definitely going to be hard for a while. But I know that I'm not alone and I can do this and I'm moving forward.

*The pictures in this post were taken by me on my trip to Switzerland in 2010. I love these pictures and didn't want sad pictures in this post:)

**Sorry if this comes as a big shock to some of you. I would have liked to tell more of you about it in person, rather than have you find out this big change on my blog. But the truth is, I hardly told anyone. I'm terrible with sharing things like this. Again, sorry for not telling you sooner.

***As I mentioned earlier, I don't mind talking about what happened. If you have questions, please let me know. I don't mind if you're just curious, or if you are in or have been in a similar situation and would like to discuss. I'm totally down for that.


Phoenix Fire Station Field Trip

Fox's preschool class recently had safety week, which was capped off with a visit to a local fire station. Sloane and I lucked out and got to tag along too. This was such a cool field trip! 

Their faces! Hahaha
The firefighter who gave the tour was awesome. He showed us just about everything at the station and in the fire trucks. And he let the kids take turns spraying the fire hose -major highlight!
There may be a few future firefighters in the bunch:)

Other highlight: we went the the fire station at lunch time, while the fire fighters were cooking their lunch feast. holy cow. If you ever have an emergency that requires you to stop by a fire station, plan it around lunch time:)

My Experience at Pinner's Conference 2016

Have you heard of Pinner's Conference? It's a show where you can take amazing classes and then shop hundreds of super-talented vendors. Basically, it's the best weekend ever. In the past, the conference has always been held in SLC. But this year, they expanded to a few other locations, including AZ!

I first heard about it a few years ago, because one of Camaron's aunts is a healthy food/life genius and was a presenter at the SLC show a few times. It looked like so much fun. So, when I was invited to be a vendor, I jumped on the opportunity. And I'm so glad I did, because it was so much fun and I learned so much (both from classes and from experiencing my first big trade show). 

The classes were one of my favorite aspects of the weekend. Thank you Natalie for being my booth-mate, so I could take some classes!!! (and also, because it's always fun to hang with you). I took a watercolor desert botanicals class and an advanced watercolor florals class. I have a tiny bit of watercolor background, but I always love learning more -and I did! Pink Puddle Studio and Natalie Malan were such great teachers.

Ok, let me do a little run-down of my booth. 

I wanted to make sure to document it well. This was not just for my benefit, but for anyone else looking for inspiration for their first big booth. (If this isn't your thing, just scroll to the bottom;) 
I felt kinda like I was going into this blind, because I couldn't find many resources for different setups for a booth similar to mine (selling hand lettered art prints). So, be ready for plenty of pictures! And just a heads up, the lighting at the show wasn't the best, so some pics are a little grainy -not my fav, but you get the idea:)

My goal for my display was to showcase as many prints as possible and also show some framed prints hanging, to help customers to picture my work on display in their homes. Also, it had to be cute. My dad can make anything, so he was an amazing resource in bringing my ideas to a reality. 

We built a bi-fold wall from plywood. Each side is 4'x6' with a piano hinge connecting them. I then hung the framed pieces using Command hanging strips -which worked great!

The tri-fold on the table is made from pegboard. I'm pretty sure it's 3' tall and the middle piece is 4' wide with the sides being 2' wide each. Then I screwed in bulldog clips to display my prints with.

Let's just go ahead and cut to the chase here, though. The real stars of the booth (and possibly the whole conference) were the giant paper flowers that my extremely-talented friend, Jenny Bradford, created for me. I'm not even exaggerating when I tell you that EVERY SINGLE person who came to my booth commented on them (or wanted to buy them). Even people who were just walking by did double-takes because these flowers are just so pretty. I couldn't get my camera to do them justice! So if you ever need paper florals, Jenny is your girl!

I added triangle wood shelves (built with Ron Swanson-like precision and love) and canvas banners to my inventory this time around:)

You guys, I sold out of these woodland animal prints. Sold out! milestone.

One of the most common questions I got right after Pinner's Conference wrapped up was "would you do it again?"

It was an incredibly stressful week/weekend, and I definitely went out of my comfort zone trying to not come off as a nervous, shy kid sitting in a booth. And i didn't go to the bathroom the whole day. Both days.

Here's my answer: I'm already planning on it:)

All of these prints are available in MY SHOP


Kitchen Helpers + Cookie Cake Recipe

When it comes to making desserts, I seem to always find two little volunteers begging to help out. I love how much Fox and Sloane are interested in all things involving making food. They always seem to be willing to stir, whisk, peek in on, pour, ...or just straight up lick a bowl clean. It really makes doing dishes a lot easier ;)
I made this cake for Fox's birthday back in August (guess it's about time I should post the rest of his birthday pics??). I asked if he wanted donuts for his party (because I wanted donuts, of course), but he told me he wanted a cookie party. So cookie cake it was! And it may be one of the best decisions of my life. It was sooooo good. I've been getting requests from my mom to make it again and again (now you know where my sweet tooth came from). I used this recipe. Make one and invite me over, please. Like asap.
Licking the bowl used to be my favorite baking task. But I'm ok with being replaced when the replacements are this cute (and they remove their shirts so they don't get chocolate on them) :)
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