Sunday, December 28, 2008

Home Sweet Home



Believe it or not, I officially made it to Dallas!! God is so good to bring me home for a few days, and I flew in Friday evening a little before midnight (Texas time). My Momma picked me up from the airport and came home to sleepy Grandparents who waited up to welcome me home. It was so wonderful, and we have had such a pleasant trip so far. I have been able to spend a lengthy amount of time with both sides of the family, which has been the best part of the trip by far!


I can't wait to upload pictures once I get home, but here is a picture of me being able to feed my favorite nephew who is growing so big. I came in town just in time to celebrate his 9 month old birthday :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!! There are so many things to be thankful for, and it's hard not to recognize all of our blessings during the Holidays. I am so grateful for my husband, all of our family, our health, my job, and more importantly for Jesus dying on the cross!


The last couple days have been a little emotional for me because more than anything I wish I was in Dallas spending the holidays with Gabe and the rest of my family. Since we live so far away, we try to take advantage of every opportunity to get back to Texas and treat the time with everyone as if we haven't been away. I am okay with the fact that this year is different and know there is a reason for all of it to pan out the way it did, but it's still hard for me.


I was making dinner last night and just started balling because it didn't seem like a true "Christmas dinner." Poor guy, he wasn't expecting that at all! Gabe has gone out of his way to be attentive and make this Christmas special for just the two of us. I absolutely love the fact that no matter what happens, we have each other. So, we spent the evening enjoying hot mocha's from his new espresso machine and watched the new Bond movie cuddled on the couch with a fire .


Anyway, here is a fun picture that cheers me up! My sweet family called this morning and sang "We wish you a Merry Christmas." Then, they all passed around the phone, which of course made me cry. You gotta love always being the emotional one .....


Love all of ya'll and maybe I can come next weekend to see all the gang!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Vacation

This weather has put a slight damper on our Christmas plans, which was to travel to Pagosa Springs, CO, and have the first Christmas with the Brooke's and my side of the family at my Paw Paw's cabin. We were going to arrange our flights to meet my family in Albuquerque, and then drive 4-5 hours on one of the most treacherous passes in blizzard type weather. Pagosa has gotten 75 inches of snow in the last 5 days! So, Paw Paw made the decision that it just was not worth the risk and decided to have us all meet in Dallas. Momma is now scrambling with the sudden curveball to have it at their place. We are thankful to hopefully still be able to fly out of Seattle and see everyone.


I am praying for clearer weather so we can at least get out of this city! As of right now, Alaska Airlines canceled all flights out of Seattle. The local news said Horizon, Jet Blue, and Frontier also canceled flights for the night and tomorrow, which makes our luck of flying non-rev (stand by with Mom's tickets) not looking too good. There is supposidly a de-icer shortage not allowing the planes to then take off, so who knows what will happen! We will just cross our fingers because it seems as if a ton of families are stranded at the airport with no luggage and not being able to get another flight reservation for a couple days.





Gabe went to the Seahawks game today with clients, which was Mike Holmgren's last home game against Brett Favre and the Jets. I drove him to the game so he wouldn't have to pay $40 to park (yes, that is what they charge right by the stadium) and walk half a mile in the snow. It snowed the ENTIRE game, so this is the one game that I am thankful I didn't get to go to. On the other hand, I was too nervous to drive home in this crazy weather, so I parked at a Krispe Kreme a couple blocks away and got a cup of coffee for 5 cents!! The franchise said everyone should be able to afford coffee even with an economic crisis, so I support them every time I am in the area. It was more relaxing to read a book until the Seahawks won and he was ready to leave than try and drive 20 miles on ice/snow.


I should probably mention that I have had horrible luck in this city driving for a living and with a jinxed SUV. Within the last two years, I am embarrassed to say I have been involved in 6 accidents; 5 being non serious fender benders, only 1 being my fault, and 1 very scary experience. I should be getting a new vehicle in the next couple months that should make all the difference in the world :)

Winter Wonderland



The Seattle weather has been incredibly chilly the last week with temperatures in the low teens! Luckily, I was able to take three snow days last week, since it is more of a liability for my company to have us out driving on the icy roads to see all of our customers. Seattle has not seen this much snow in 18 years!!!


Here is what I woke up to this morning ..... 10 inches in Mill Creek! We took videos of the pups trying to walk in the snow, and it was so sad! Although Harley was not a big fan of it, she was a pretty good sport to attempt to run around, and Willis was so funny to just walk in circles when the snow was too deep!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Secret Shopping at the Ornament Cart

Mystery shopping is a tool used by market research companies to measure quality of retail service or gather specific information about products and services. Shoppers pose as normal customers performing specific tasks (such as purchasing a product, asking questions, registering complaints or behaving in a certain way.) They provide detailed reports or feedback about their experiences (thanks to Wikipedia's official definition).


With that being said, I am officially hooked. My brother and I grew up with Momma taking us often to Shoney's and Captain D's when she did mystery shopping, and I still remember it to this day. Now, my sister in law and I do it, and we even got Mom completing some, too! It is so exciting, and there is definitely a story to tell regarding each experience. That is actually the reason why I started this blog because Gabe said my stories were too funny not to share. The jobs I have completed vary from visiting banks and getting information on new accounts, shopping Natural Markets, visiting apartment complexes, engagement ring shopping at high end jewelry stores, dinner visits (like The Cheesecake Factory and the RAM), Moneytree ATM transactions (wow are those an experience), Music stores, Brooks Brothers outlet, Coach, etc.


This last weekend I shopped a Personalized by Santa cart that is located at the local mall. My scenario was to purchase an ornament and share my experience.


As I walked up to the cart, I heard the associate tell the other customers that if they paid with cash she could cut them a deal. (Let me remind you we are not in Mexico and bartering should not take place!) So, I continued to shop for the right ornament and once I found two ideal ornaments, I walked over to the associate with them in my hand. I asked how much they were since they weren't tagged, and she immediately asked how I was paying. That was an unusual question as a response to mine, but it confirmed what she said to the other customers. She then told me the same thing she told the others. I said I did not think I had enough cash, and she even pointed to an ATM approximately eight stores down encouraging me to obtain cash and receive a better deal. The associate reinforced that it would be $10 flat if I paid cash and $14.99 plus tax if I paid with a credit card.


So, I immediately got the idea that she was possibly pocketing this money instead of ringing them up in the computer, and I was right. She rang up the two customers who purchased three ornaments each, paid cash, and neither of whom received a receipt. The money was placed in the register, but no transaction was completed.


After I chose an ornament, I walked up to the register and wanted to personalize it and pay. While she was gathering a piece of paper for me to write down the names to be added, her phone rang loudly and she proceeded to answer it instead of helping me. She got upset and started yelling in the phone that she would call a cab then to get her son from school --- Who sends a cab for their son to be picked up from school!! Anyway, she told me to write what I wanted while she was dialing the cab company. I asked how long it would take to be completed, and I ventured back to the cart fifteen minutes later.


I noticed there was another male employee working the cart and walked up to him to see if it was ready. He grabbed it from the cart, handed it to me without a bag or anything, and I immediately said this is not the way I ordered it. The employee had written the names on the very bottom of the ornament and it was very tacky looking. I told the male associate that the lady who was working earlier was on the phone while I gave my order, so maybe there was a misunderstanding. Long story short, she was shopping and came back to the booth after he called her to deny that she messed up. He then said, "You were on the phone when she gave you her order," and she, flat out, lied and said, "No I wasn't." I politely corrected her with the truth, and she told him to re-do it because she had to catch her cab! It was definitely uncomfortable and someone needs to teach her that the customer is always right :)


So, he re-did it and it looked very nice, and then I had to reveal at the end that I was a secret shopper. It is very rare to reveal this since 99.9% of the time it is against company policy to share with anyone that you are a secret shopper. So, I pulled out the letter that informed the cart attendant of the situation which also allowed me to take pictures of the cart. The associate was so shocked, caught off guard, and then still did not grasp why I was there after I explained that I was contracted to shop their cart. Would you ever believe me if I told you that the female associate was the MANAGER!!


It definitely was a benefit for this company to hire a mystery shopper because I am sure they learned a lot from my honest evaluation!

Here is the final product ....


Tagged


I was tagged to post a picture from my fourth album and the fourth picture. I arrange my albums chronologically by year and then of course in order by date. So, this picture is of sweet Harley on Jan 6th, 2007. She was my Christmas present and weighed a whopping two pounds! Look at her huge potbelly!!!! Little did I know that she would be my favorite Christmas present ever, and the best part of all is waking up every morning to her cuddled under the covers with me. What would we do without our lovely companions!


I tag ABBDAE!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I changed a setting

To clear up some confusion, I did not realize I had it set for only registered users to comment. So, I made a slight change. If you ever want to leave a post, click on "Comments" at the bottom of the post, write in the box, and then click on the pulldown box called "comment as." Scroll down and select Name/URL, then type your name but you do not have to fill in the URL box. Man, this is much more confusing than the old blogger! Let me know if ya'll have any problems.

What a sweet, sweet friend!

Thanks to my sweet friend who has been by my side my entire life ... she continues to add to our friendship my helping me on this blog :) She offered to spice up my page after it being too boring (let me remind you I have had this blog for for 15 hours), and TADA look how amazing it is! Who needs a graphic design degree if you have creative spunk like her. Seriously, I told her she could make them for others and make extra money on the side. Then, she reminded me that took half of the morning, 10 phone calls back and forth, and a little bit of love.


Thanks AbbyDae -- you are phenomenal! You can see her blog at thekrecks.blogspot.com, and she is updating hers if she didn't use all of her creative juices on me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's About Time .....

Well, I have held out long enough and it seems like the perfect time to start a blog. The first question a lot of you might ask is if I am preggers! It is so common for us naive bloggers to enter this crazy new world once we find out we're pregnant. Ha, I am not pregnant yet, but when the time is right and it is in the Lord's plan, then one day I hope to be! I will be patient until then.


I feel like I have so much updating for all of you blog readers (might only be my Momma, Sister Arrie, best friend Abby, and possibly a few more....ha), so I don't even know where to start. Gabe and I have been married for two and a half years, live in the amazing pacific northwest, and enjoy spending our days together. He is my other half that shares in my excitement, my frustration, and loves me till no end. The best part about my husband is the fact that we share a common belief in God, he is my accountability partner in life, and he is the one who picks me up when I fall. Aren't they the best?! I could never imagine not being married and coming home to cook for myself, watch our favorite shows together alone, or sleep in the middle of the bed without him saying scoot over.


For all of you that know me ..... I have a camera in my purse at every occasion and am known for documenting everything. I like being involved in the chain of fun news as well as I enjoy staying connected with each and every detail between friends and family. So, this just seems perfect, right? My sweet husband tells me that sometimes I leave out details when I tell stories, which leaves the listener slightly confused, so I will have to be careful of that on here :)


I was so blessed to have my Momma, Arrie, and favorite (he is the one and only) nephew Griffin come visit for almost a week at the beginning of November. We took them on their first ferry, tried to teach Griffin to crawl in Seattle since he was oh so close, cook wonderful meals, and most of all enjoy our special time together. Here are a few fun pics!





We just spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with Gabe's family in Tennessee! Gabe got to see all of his cousins who he had not seen in almost a decade, saw every person from Mark and Robin's side of the family except one, made it to church to hear Mark preach, and ate Chick-fil-A three times! Thanks Robin for hosting both sides of the family in your home.


I got to bring little Harley to play with her two other Yorkie cousins, Luna the Chi-weenie, and Kela the Golden Retriever. I could not stand leaving her in a kennel, so I just had to bring her! The dog, Duke, in the picture with Gabe is so precious. Robin rescued him from a puppy mill, and his life will forever be changed to become a lapdog that is spoiled rotten. He sticks his tongue out like this 99% of the time!!!

The Smith's


The Gills

Hope everyone has a wonderful week and yeah for blogging!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Our Story




One of the happiest days of my life
marrying this handsome man on July 1,2006.

We decided what better way to start of married life than an adventure to the Pacific Northwest to a town we had never visited nor knew anyone in.  It has been an adventure from the very start considering we got married, moved across the country, moved in together, both of us started new careers, and just got acclimated to life together.  He is an amazing Christian example, and my hope is to continuously strive to have a fruitful life together.



I wouldn't of had it any other way .... here is to the next 50 years together :) 
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Meet The Smiths








I am your typical southern girl ~ born and raised in Dallas, TX.  Thanks to my career in Pharmaceutical Sales, it brought our little family to Seattle, WA.  My husband is a Broker in Commercial Real Estate and works hard so we can play hard.  We fell in love instantly with the city, which I have to add .... Seattle is the neatest city I have ever been to. We love having skiing, camping, hiking, all within 60 miles! Gabe and I are so blessed with wonderful friends and family. Since I live extremely far away from both of our extended family, I found blogging as a way to stay connected with the adventures of our life.



We just like to laugh and be ourselves around each other.
Isn't that what best friends are for?
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About Me

I am your typical southern girl ~ born and raised in Dallas, TX. My husband and I got married in July 2006 and decided what better way to start of married life than an adventure to the Pacific Northwest. We live in Seattle, WA, which is the coolest city I have ever been to. We love having skiing, camping, hiking, all within 60 miles! Gabe and I are so blessed with wonderful friends and family. I live extremely far away, and I love blogging to stay connected. Who knows who even reads this thing ... follow my blog so I'm aware :)



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