Saturday, March 29, 2014

Outings and Adventures

A goal we set for this year was one "big" family outing every month.  Our big outing mixed in with all the other outings I can find for us has led to a very fun and exciting year for Ashton and I so far.
  January, Jason treated us to a motorcycle/ATV ice race at the Maverick Center.  Ashton was nervous from the noise at first but thanks to his trusty snow hat that covers his ears he ended up loving it and still talking about it to this day.  
Ashton and Mom also had our own night out at the Fire and Ice Festival at the Riverwoods.
 February was full of love and adventures at the Ice Castles.  We also met up with friends down town and played at City Creek.
Ash loves being the only boy (not really, but it happens sometimes).
I've been trying to squeeze in as many outings and play dates as possible this month with Ashton. We are loving this warm weather and time is running short that it is just going to be me and him. 
We took advantage of Dad's days off and went to the Hill Aerospace Museum followed by Grandma's house one week.  Ash loved looking at all of the planes and helicopters.  
Like father like son. 
We also went to Tracy Aviary, and then played at Liberty Park.  
Working on our flamingo pose.
This last week, after Jason got home from work we headed out to the store at 8:30pm too pick out two kinds of ice cream and two kinds of easter candy to share.  (No this was not the first time this type of sugar run has happened this pregnancy).  As I looked at him sitting on the couch with his little legs up and a bowl of candy in front of him as content as could be at 10:00pm on a Tuesday night. I thought to myself that he just has no idea how good he's got it.  
Heading out for the days adventures... He likes to pick out his own accessories if you can't tell.
Thursday we met up with a friend and went to the new aquarium.  He loved the otters, and the leftover candy that I brought as snacks because that was all we had.  After the aquarium we went and visited Dad at work.  Jase is currently at the Spring store in the South Towne Mall, Ashton loves visiting Dad because he likes to watch the train that drives around the mall, ride the escalators, and play on the indoor playground.  So we rode the escalators, played on the toys, hung out with Dad who got us candy from his stash at work and a balloon.  On the way back to the car someone gave Ashton an extra token they had for the merry go round.  The kid was in heaven.  You would have thought we were at a carnival, candy in one hand, balloon in the other, riding a cat (of course he would find the one cat on the entire ride).  I put him in his car seat and thought once again, "you have no idea how good you've go it right now".  All these activities and treats and it wasn't even 2:30pm yet.  

I wish he could have memories of these activities when he is an angry teenager suffering with the poor oldest child that never gets to do anything attitude (I can say that because I'm an oldest child and still have that attitude).  :) I hope somehow he will know that I am obsessed with him and love him so much and even though his world is about to be flipped upside down it will all work out and be even better in the long run.  
He truly is my best friend and little buddy.  We are kinda joined at the hip, not always by choice mind you, but where I go he is always right behind me.  Even if I'm cleaning the bathroom or doing laundry he is right there helping me.  Getting ready in the morning he loves sitting on the sink "helping me" or playing with his cars down by my feet.  We snuggle lots lately, more than Jason would think is healthy.  I haven't been allowed to pick him up for a couple months now (doctor's orders) instead we hold hands.    I can't tell you how many times I hear the words "mamma, hand" all day long and how much I love it. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"One of the greatest secrets of success is knowing when to move on"

I've been putting off writing this post for a while now.  I didn't want to go into it with negative feelings. I want to remember Blue Lemon and all of my memories there with fondness.  I thought about skipping out on this post all together but for my own journaling sake there are things I want to remember and since my goal is to be all caught up before the baby is born I better get this one going.

When Jason and I decided to move back to Utah I was excited for the opportunity to return to school and finish my Event Planning Certificate I had been working on prior to us getting married and moving to Michigan.  I had my bachelors from USU but had started taking classes at SLCC in 2008.  While applying for jobs I came across the BL add on Craigslist, I remember saying to Jase "this is it, this is MY job!" I had been interviewing for a few other event positions and some other options too.  I actually had a different job offer when I received the good news from Blue Lemon.  It was a no brainer to me to turn the other job down and even though we were living almost an hour away at the time I knew I wanted to be apart of this company.
Having worked at the Grand America I had an idea of "fine dining" and having worked weddings at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for four years I knew everything I needed to know about running events.  What I didn't know was selling/booking/marketing.  We had covered things like vendor relationships and contracts and I had the opportunity to help put together/manage/volunteer at some big events through my classes and other side jobs I had picked up in the past.  But actually selling an event room and planning a menu was an all new experience.  I also got involved in random things like the bakery, cooking classes, brand awareness, website, social media and other miscellaneous things I knew nothing about but enjoyed being a part of.  If I could have taken all the knowledge I had by the end of my time at BL and applied it to my first year there, man I would have been incredible!
Jason, Ashton, and I at the 2012 Cottonwood Heights grand opening

I absolutely loved my job! Sure it had it's ups and downs.  There were times I was sure I was going to get fired and there were times I was sure I was going to quit.  In fact January of 2013 I met with my boss and told him I wasn't sure how much longer I could keep going.  The December before had about done me in with its mass volumes of events, issues with chefs, and lack of time spent with Jason and Ashton.  All of the time apart was wearing thin on Jason and I's relationship and I had guilt leaving Ashton with a babysitter so much.  However, I felt like Blue Lemon had become such a big part of my identity.  In talking with my boss, Michael, he helped me find ways to manage my time and emotions better and he helped me make things work so that I could continue to do everything I wanted to.  Run the Blue Room and spend time with my family.  I will always be grateful that he took the time to come in and talk with me with in hours of me texting him and asking him if we could chat sometime.  I had a renewed passion and desire to succeed in all that I was doing.
Floral design was another thing I really enjoyed learning and got pretty good at too.

I knew things would have to end at some point even though I didn't want it too.  Med School was coming in a year.  I had hopes of staying involved somehow even if it was long distance.  I even had Jason apply to schools in Arizona for the sole reason that they were building a Blue Lemon there (he actually had interviews to the schools there but after quitting we pulled his applications).  When we found out we were pregnant, I again wanted to make sure I could stay involved somehow even though Jason and I both decided that by the end of January (start of the third trimester) I would need to quit the Blue Room.  After having Ashton early I knew I couldn't put that kind of stress on my body again.  Anytime I would talk with anyone about leaving BL I would always joke that I would still end up back at BL visiting every day anyways.
Aislinn and I at the 2011 "Lemmy Awards"

Soon after we found out we were pregnant things started going south at work.  In a sense the management changed.  My boss was no longer my boss and my best friend there, Aislinn, left as well.  Aislinn and I worked together in the office for almost three years.  We quickly became close friends inside and outside of work and helped each other out with our different responsibilities.  I began dreading going into work.  I would get up first thing in the morning and work before Ashton got going, then again during naps.  I'd go into the office in the afternoon for appointments and meetings and to get other things done that I couldn't do as easily at home.  Then after Ashton was asleep I would work again.  I started feeling like I was only paying attention to Ashton in my spare time and that I was putting work first constantly.  I realized I was sacrificing for something I no longer had passion or belief in.  I still absolutely loved what I did for my job and my friends that were still there.  But I was starting to lack pride and respect in the place I was working for.
When Jason got hired at Spring we were starting to rely on a babysitter more and more.  It was the first of November and we were heading into the crazy holiday season.  I knew I'd now be quitting the end of January in order to help keep the baby in longer and with the new management situation I didn't think they would be open to allowing me to work in another position that was less physically demanding, nor did I really want to anymore.  I realized I could keep working for three more months and dread it almost daily.  Or I could enjoy an entire December doing fun Christmas activities with Ashton.  When I thought of it that way I realized I wanted to quit right away,  there was currently an event booked on Ashton's b-day, I decided I wanted to quit before his birthday so I could spend it with him.

Leaving Blue Lemon was nothing like I had ever imagined it would be.  Whenever I pictured it, it was full of tears, and sad goodbyes.  In a way I am now grateful for how things turned out after putting my two weeks notice in.  It left me with no desire to ever set foot in the building again.  In stead of having to mourn the loss of my job I was able to walk away with pride in what I had accomplished and have no sad feelings for the fact that it was over.  I'm not going to sugar coat it and say I wasn't hurt by the way things happened, but I don't want to remember the negativity that surrounded leaving so I'm going to skip all that.  I do want to remember that I was good, no great, at my job.  I know there was always room for improvement.  But I tried hard.  I attribute a lot of my success to the intense training that the Joseph Smith Building puts everyone through.  I created a lot of the standards and practices around what I had learned running events there.  I also give credit to Michael for being patient with me and having faith in my abilities and allowing me to pretty much run everything on my own and in my own way.  We weren't best friends, and we didn't always agree but he trusted me to get my job done.  I loved my staff.  The girls that worked for me were like little sisters I cared so much about them and some will hopefully remain life long friends.  The night I left/got kicked out I received so many messages and even visits from them coming to make sure I was okay and saying that I was the greatest boss they had had.  One thing that I was told that has stuck with me was along the lines that: "we were awesome at what we did, we were good at our jobs, it sucks that they will never acknowledge that, but as long as we know it that is all that matters".
Ashton ringing his babysitter Toni up for some treats.   He was a hard mini-worker too.

In the end I am so very grateful for the three and half plus years I was able to spend there.  I'm grateful I had a job that was able to put Jason through school and that allowed me to continue to work and be a mom at the same time.  I laughed the hardest and had some of the funniest moments of my life so far there (things get really funny after 14 hour work days).  I am so grateful for the experience and knowledge I gained.  I had several job offers come during the time I was employed there.  Some from people I helped coordinate events for that wanted me to come and work for them.  Others came from other event establishments that saw what I was doing.  It was a compliment every time, but I in no way regret not accepting any of the other positions.  I also don't regret quitting one bit.  Somedays I wonder how things are going.  I had wanted to be able to train someone so I could confidently hand off everything I had worked for and built pretty much from the ground up.  But if they wanted to try and figure it out on their own and make it harder on themselves then fine.  I just have to let that go.
Staying home with Ashton was a bit of an adjustment at first but now I wouldn't have it any other way. He has excelled in so many ways since I've been home.  I have learned to be a better mother and wife and I think in all aspects am a happier person.  I completely love that I get to spend so much time with Ash before we welcome little brother into the family too.  I know he won't remember this time or all of things we go and do.  But I will.  Instead of planning weddings, I plan play dates and there is nothing wrong with that!