Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Place to Speak Your Mind....

In Midland, I wasn't considered your normal twenty something year old. I was a proud, outspoken Democrat. I wore Democratic tshirts, had Democratic bumper stickers on my car, and wasn't afraid to say, "Hey! I'm a Democrat!". These are simply things most people in Midland were afraid to do; it could compromise their job position pr make people upset. Some people just didn't feel comfortable being as out in the open as I was about it. This is why the state Democratic convention is socially important to people from small towns.

The last weekend of June was the state Democratic convention, held in Dallas, TX. It was a blast. There were so many events going on, interesting people to talk to, and most of the candidates on the Democratic ticket were there. We ran in to Leticia Van de Putte and Wendy Davis multiple times, just by walking around the venue! This is something you could call a safe haven. This is a place where everyone believes in the same things, politically, as you do. A place where you can be open about your beliefs and stand strong on issues that are most important to you. It's a place you won't feel judged or looked down upon, simply a place you feel right.

 This may not be the best picture, but it's one of my favorites. This was during the woman's caucus, while Wendy Davis was speaking. The energy in that room was unbelievable and something I'll never forget.

One of my favorite moments of that weekend was Sunday. My guests were preparing to leave, and each one of them had on a Democratic shirt to wear home to Midland. It made me so happy to see 4 women so fearless to be proud of who they were politically in such a Republican county. Here's a picture of my guests at convention :)

 Lastly, I'd like to thank David Rosen. He took me under his wing, so to speak, when I lived in Midland. Him and his wife were so nice and accepting of me right off the bat. David not only made me his Vice Chair of the Midland County Democratic Party, but he taught me so much about politics from county level to nationally. He's also taken me to a few extremely awesome fundraisers for candidates, such as Wendy Davis, Leticia Van de Putte, and Pete Gallego. I thought I knew about politics until I met David. Thanks for everything, David.

I miss my Midlanders, a lot. I miss my Democratic women, my favorite County Chair of all time, and just the Democrats in general. I miss making a difference with them, but I know they'll continue to make me proud.

Love all of you so much, see you soon; but until then, let's turn Texas blue!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Place for Friends, Family, and Dreams

It's July.
{ Let that sink in for a second...... }

June is, as always, a crazy busy month for this Payne family. Between my mom's annual dance recital, our anniversary, my dad's birthday, Father's Day, and the State Democratic Convention every other year, June just seems to fly by us!

While I could bore you with photos from the State Democratic Convention... I decided to post about our house. Although this is not our first home together, it's a special one. This house is a new start for us, in a new place, with nothing but new people. Will and I moved to Fort Worth without knowing anyone; which has proven to be a challenge at times.

When we were telling our friends and families about our move to Fort Worth, it never failed that one of us, if not both, would say "we can't wait for you to come visit us!". Finally, 4 of my friends from Midland accepted that offer, which means I had to get my butt in gear!

I am not a decorator. Let me repeat, I AM NOT A DECORATOR. So, of course, decorating a house this big was a challenge for me. My main goal was making sure that the guest bedrooms were complete. I had a vision for a British themed guest room, but just couldn't seem to pull it together. Maybe in the future.....

In the meantime, how about some photos?

Once I get the rest of the house "together" I'll share those with you. Until then, I'm off to prepare for my parents to visit! Just got the call they are on their way :)

Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Third Anniversary, Dad's Birthday, and Father's Day

We've had a pretty busy week in the Payne house.

Last weekend, Will attended his baby sister's high school graduation while I was in Sweetwater for my mom's 30th dance recital.

I really wanted to do something special for my mom's 30th recital.. but with the kind of year we had, time simply got away from me. I decided a video would be the best way to say congratulations! I got a group of her past students together on Facebook, and it went from there. I ended up with over 10 videos from past dancers, which I showed at recital. Mom cried the whole time, so my goal was accomplished. Here's a copy of the video, incase you wanted to check it out.

Since I was in Sweetwater last weekend, I decided to give my daddy his birthday and father's day present early. Go ahead and put me down for the best daughter ever..... I got presale tickets to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for him! Now the fight is on to see who has to take him.....I've got my money on Will. :)

Yesterday was our 3rd wedding anniversary. In one way, it seems like it just happened yesterday, but in another way it feels like we've been together forever. We decided to try a place we hadn't been before, and ended up at The Capital Grille. It was a fancy, dark, fantastic restaurant in downtown Fort Worth. It's pretty pricey, so I'd only recommend it for special occasions. When I called to make reservations, they asked what the occasion was. I told them and they definitely made us feel special when we showed up. Our table was decorated with 2 place settings and hearts on the table. Every person that passed us wished us a happy anniversary. It was very sweet and made us feel, well, special. The waitress brought us a fun dessert plate at the end of our meal with a rose for myself. She took our picture and was on her way. When she brought the bill, it had the picture she took of us as well as a card saying happy 3rd anniversary.

Will and I are spending the weekend in Fort Worth, hopefully we'll find some fun stuff to get in to.

Happy Thursday y'all!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

They're Coming!

I'm probably over-excited about people coming to visit us this month.... but I just can't help it!

We've got a busy month which includes our first over night guests! Although my immediate family has been to our new house in Fort Worth, Will's haven't. He mentioned that they plan on coming in 2 weeks, which makes me super excited! I love when family visits, especially Will's grandfather. He is so sweet and means so much to Will; I just love it. 

Then, at the end of the month, some of my Midland County Texas Democratic Women are coming to stay the weekend! Since the Democratic State Convention is in Dallas this year, we're all staying at my house, EEK! I've been stressing over getting the guest rooms ready for them, hopefully we'll have the last one done soon.

I'm not the best decorator in town.....okay, I can't decorate at all but I'm trying! I really wanted to do a British theme in one room, but just can't seem to pull it together. Maybe one day, but as of now, it doesn't look like that will happen. Two out of our three guest rooms are almost done, just down to finishing touches.

My sweet friend, Brittany (you have to check out her blog!), is so good at welcoming guests; I strive to be like her in this area! She always has the cutest "welcome!" gifts or notes....I've got to come up with something clever.

How do you prepare for your guests? Do you do something special to make them feel extra welcomed?

Happy Tuesday, y'all. Will and I are both going out of town this weekend, so I won't be on here for a few days. Will's youngest sister, Kristen, is graduating from high school and my mom has her 30th dance recital! Busy, busy, busy.....

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Something A Little Different.....

I wanted to do something different here..... so I decided to do a DIY video!

Some people are really good at taking it step - by - step, taking pictures, and stuff like that, but that isn't my style. Once I start, it's hard for me to stop. :)

Here it is!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Four Legged Habits

Although, I may not have "real" kids, my four legged, slobbery, fur babies sure do seem like "real" kids. Now that I work from home, I've been able to see what they do all day..... and it's so interesting to see how habit like they are.

They wake up with me, each morning, and of course, go to the bathroom and take a nice 30 minute sun bath. My little Luna loves the sun, however her skin hates the sun. She goes outside white and freckled and comes back in red like a lobster! From about 8:30am till 10:30am it's naptime; hard life, right? 10:30am to about 11:45am it's playtime; toys are everywhere. Then of course, it's lunch time for all of us. Since the weather has been so wonderful recently, they've been spending 1pm to about 2pm outside in our backyard. I think it's safe to say, our backyard is a favorite hangout for all the Paynes :) Naptime comes again from 2pm to 4pm, then it's just whatever!

I'm sure it might be weird for me to post about this, but for someone as organized and schedule oriented as me, I find patterns and habits interesting; human or animal. Most of my friends have 2 legged kids, so I often hear about their schedules, and thought it was interesting that my 4 legged babies are the same way.

For your viewing pleasure :)

Cayley didn't want her picture taken, but I managed to get her in with Luna.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Making Our House A Home

Evening, y'all!

I've been trying hard to make myself stop working on time, shut my doors, and be "home"... it'll take time, but I'm getting better!

I wanted to give you an update on our new home in Fort Worth. First off, we absolutely love it! I'm so glad that Will and I decided on this house; it's perfect for us. However, going from a 2 bedroom, 1 office, 1,100 sqft house to a 4 bedroom, 1 office, 2,600 sqft house isn't as easy as I expected. My walls are so bare!!

We're expecting our first house guests next month!!! The Texas Democratic State Convention is in Dallas this year, so some of my friends and fellow Midland Democratic Delegates are coming to stay with us. I'm so excited, I can't even describe it. I've missed them so much, it'll be so wonderful to have them here.

This past weekend, Will and I decided it was time to make our house a home, which means it was time to buy furniture. We bought most of our guest bedroom furniture and are currently working on decorating. One of our guest rooms will be a British theme, one will be a Country Chic theme, and one will be... well I don't know yet. :) 2 out of 3 is pretty darn good for me!

One problem we've had at our new house is cell service. AT&T and Verizon don't pick up signal in our neighborhood... weird, right? So we've really had to rely on our wireless internet to play on our phones and text. This is a big problem for people who come to visit..... how will I let them know the wifi password? How will they know which wifi to connect to? Well, while playing around on Pinterest, I found the perfect printable for our guestrooms!

How perfect is this?!

So, I decided to get some decorative paper and fun frames to make them stand out, while blending in with the room decor.

I renamed our guest wifi to a version of the hashtag I use on social media for house posts.

Feel free to use this printable  - it's so much fun!

Have a wonderful night, y'all!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Adventure of Working From Home

I've been working from home for a little over two weeks now, and let me tell you, I absolutely love it. One thing I don't love is the perception people have of working from home. I often hear, "Oh, you must get so much housework done during the day" or "How does lunch at 2pm sound? Since you work from home, you can make it, right?". Last time I checked, the term "working from home" meant that you actually worked, while home. Maybe I'm crazy......
Things I hear or get asked on a daily basis:
"Oh, so what time do you get up?"
Surprisingly, earlier than I did when I worked in my office. I don't know if it's the atmosphere of living somewhere we really love, or what, but Will and I are both waking up earlier than we used to. Just because I work from home doesn't mean I get to sleep in, lounge around, and maybe get some work done. I'm in my office, behind my computer between 7:30am and 7:45am.
"So, you've got time to do that, right?"
I mainly hear this from people I volunteer for or my husband. I work normal business hours, just like everyone else. Just because I work from home doesn't mean I get to choose my hours, or do whatever I want.
"So, what do you do all day?"
Work. What else? I'm not sure why people think because I work from home I don't "work" during the day. I actually work more at home than I did at the office. Let me explain.
At the office, you have the social aspect of an office; where at home, you don't. I find myself getting more done during the day at home than I did when I worked in the office. Yes, I have distractions like letting the dogs outside or answering the door to greet the mailman who I'm pretty sure hates me (due to the amount of packages we've been receiving since we moved in) but otherwise, I stay pretty focused on work. I can turn my music on and really just zone out on my work. I love it.
However, there are many concerns about working from home.
Will I be able to deal with it emotionally?
Many people don't have the personality of working from home, or maybe they need the social interaction of an office environment. This was something I worried about at first, but soon realized, it's right up my alley. I'm an only child and an oilfield wife. These two things have one specific thing in common; being alone. I never had a sister or brother around the house 24/7 so I never really got that "I need people around me" feeling. Yes, I enjoy people but I don't need to be surrounded all the time. Being an oil field wife is the same thing; yes we have a husband but he's gone a lot. When Will and I lived in Midland, we rarely saw eachother, had dinner together, or watched a show together. He worked 80+ hours a week and I was socially active.
Yes, I miss the people I worked with in my office, don't get me wrong. However, I really enjoy being alone during the day with my dogs. Now that Will isn't working 80+ hours a week, we have a lot more time together, which means I don't have the alone time I used to. Working from home gives me that.
 I'll just finish this then I'll stop.
This is something I find myself saying often. One thing I never thought about when considering working from home was "Will I be able to separate home and work?". I never thought I would have this problem, to be honest. But now, I find that I do.
Say it's 6pm on a weeknight and my office hours are 8am to 5pm. I'm sitting on the couch, watching a show with Will, and my work phone rings. Do I get up and answer it or let it go to voicemail and check it tomorrow? Of course, I end up getting up and answering it. This is something I've found myself doing more than I'd like to admit.
I also find myself working later than I did when I worked in my office. Will may be working late and I honestly lose track of time. I eventually look up and see that it's way past closing time. This is something that happens when I say to myself, "Oh...I'll just finish this then stop." Yeah, right. That never happens. I always end up getting caught up in whatever I'm doing and do more than I said I would.
This is something I have to figure out myself. I have to learn to close the doors, literally, to my home office and let them be shut. Stop answering the phone after hours, stop working past 5pm, and let home time, be home time.
Am I missing out on anything?
This may go along with the first paragraph, of dealing with working from home emotionally. My office is a very social office. The girls normally get together in the break room and have fun morning chats, go to lunch together, or even get drinks after work. This is something I've dealt with, and it's hard. I used to go to lunch with someone every day at work. Now, I often find myself going to the grocery store, preparing dinner for tonight, or unpacking boxes that we still have taped up. I'm sure once I get everything unpacked, meet all the people on my street, or meet friends in the area with the same lunch time as me, it'll get easier.
Sorry for such a long post, this is something I've really been thinking about and decided to stop working, on time, and do this instead. Do you work from home? What do you find most difficult about it? What do you enjoy most? I'd love to hear.
Happy Fort Worth Greetings! :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Movin' on...North-East!

I'm so excited to tell y'all that we're moving!!!!!!!
Although the past year has been great here in Midland, I'm ready to get out.
Will and I were talking one day about how wonderful it would be if we lived somewhere else... somewhere with things to do, within driving distance of fun places, maybe even have a lake. Boy, did we get lucky. I started to search on Will's company's website and saw a few options; Houston, Corpus Christi, or Fort Worth. As much as I'd love to move to Houston, Will ended that without discussion. Corpus Christi really wasn't an option for us, either. Although it would have been nice to be close to some of his family, it's way too far from mine for comfort. We eventually decided to take a weekend trip to Fort Worth, and that my friends was when we fell in love.
We spent a few weekends looking for houses with our wonderful Realtor. Finally, on the last weekend, we found our house.
We move April 15th..... EEK!
Hope y'all have a wonderful weekend; ours will be jam packed with packing!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Post I Don't Know How To Write.....

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal." 
~From a headstone in Ireland
It's with a heavy heart that I write this post.....
My sweet, wonderful, loving grandmother (Pmom) passed away Saturday, March 1, 2014 peacefully in her sleep. Although she was ill for many months prior, it was still hard to let her go.
As many of you may or may not know, my family is very small. Family gatherings included myself, my mother, father, and Pmom. Then we got Will, and had to add to our tiny table of 4. When I was younger, my mother would travel most weekends and some weeks of summer to teach or judge dance competitions.... this meant I got to spend a ton of time with Pmom. My mother always reminds me of how she would have to make me come home from Pmom's house, regardless of if I wanted to or not. I was very lucky to have her as long as I did, as I know some people barely get to know their grandparents, let alone spend as much time as I did with mine.
Pmom was born October 1, 1923, my mother was born September 24, 1956, and I was born October 23, 1989. This made all three of us Libras... making a decision was nearly impossible between the three of us. And although Pmom and I normally wanted to eat at the same place in Abilene, we were overturned because my mother always drove.
Although our family was small, my grandmother's life was not. She was loved by many, which was proven March 1, 2014. My mother and I figured her funeral would be small, like most other family functions, but boy, were we wrong.
Family from all over drove in to be with us and celebrate the wonderful women my Pmom was. Even their neighbors from Deer Park, TX drove all the way from Houston....what a surprise; or was it? Friends from my mom's studio joined as well, which was so thoughtful and wonderful to have them there with us, as we consider them our second family. The stories I heard from those who knew my grandmother before my time were so funny, mostly and inspiring. Pmom was and always will be such a wonderful person, and a women I inspire to be (even though she was a Republican).
The night before her funeral, regardless of her thoughts or feelings about this, I went to visit my cousin, Sheri. We talked about Pmom and how wonderful she was.... then this happened. Sorry Pmom and Mom... Know I love you anyway.

When I was 10, I was prescribed glasses. I wasn't too thrilled (from what I remember) at first, but Pmom knew just how to cheer me up.

As we're playing cards (casino to be exact) this conversation happened:
Pmom - Well, now that you have glasses, you can use my favorite trick!
Me - What's that?
Pmom then used her middle finger to push up her glasses....
Pmom- See, this way you can do what you want and not get in trouble.

I'll leave y'all with that to laugh at.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

School Night.....

Although I'm no longer in school, I still
call my weeknight's that I have to work the next day "school
nights".... anyone else? No? Okay.

My last post started off with the definition of politics; so let's stick with it.
friend Amanda and I made the long drive to Austin this past weekend to
attend the Texas Democratic Women's Annual Meeting and Convention. We
got in too late Friday to attend the Friday night festivities; but boy
am I glad. We decided to hit the hotel bar up since nothing else was
going on and I wasn't about to get back in my car to drive around Austin
for who knows how long. There was only one other person in the bar
besides me and Amanda; turns out she was from Houston and in town for
the convention as well. While we're talking to her, I spot someone
walking by in the corner of my eye.... as I take a good look, I see
Senator Leticia Van De Putte. I really tried not to freak out, so
instead I geeked out. Sorry, couldn't help it. I immediately yell
"LETICIA!!!!" while waving my arms like an idiot.... luckily she was
nice and didn't mind me yelling in the hotel. She mentioned she had to
take her stuff to her room and that she'd come back. I kind of thought
that I had scared her away by how ridiculous I reacted to seeing her,
but she came back.

*Breathe, Leah......BREATHE!*

what I kept thinking to myself as Senator Van De Putte pulled a stool
up next to me. The restaruant was already closed so she didn't have
another choice for dinner besides the bar. As she sits next to me, I
casually ask her about her day and what she had been up to. Here's where
I just have to say, if you don't know who Senator Van De Putte
is..............just watch this:

This video was during the SB 5 filibuster on June 26, 2013. I sat on my couch, watching in silence via livestream while this happened. It was a heart breaking step backwards for Texas women that night and something I'll never forget.

Senator Van De Putte had dinner and talked to us for a little over an hour about anything and everything. It was such a wonderful night and I'll be forever grateful for all that she has done for the women in Texas.

Early voting in Texas is NOW! If you haven't voted, please go to the polls and do so.

Election Day is Tuesday, March 4th.

See you at the polls.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Thanks for a simple, sweet note....

I ran the Swiffer Duster around before I started this post... you're welcome.

It's been quite some time since I last posted here.... my life has been a little crazy lately, to say the least.

Thanks to my sweet friend, old neighbor, and fellow blogger, Brittany, I decided it was time to get back to what helped me unwind after a busy week; blogging. Also, these cute hair ties put a smile on my face; thanks again Britt!

With that being said; let me explain my absence from the blog world....

1) Politics
The dictionary has the following definition for this word: 1.the science or art of political government. 2. the practice or profession of conducting political affairs. 
What they really meant to say was: 1. something you should never bring up with family, friends, or co-workers. 2. something that will eventually take over all aspects of your life and free time.

After attending The Young Democrats of America national convention in August, the "2" definition became 110% true. My life outside of work has become nothing but politics. Being the Vice Chair of the Midland County Democratic Party has been absolutely wonderful; I have met so many fantastic people and really become involved within our community. The things I learn on a daily basis from each person I encounter because of this position is amazing and I wouldn't change it for anything. From September to November, I volunteered for local county races; which was a great experience. In the middle of November, I was asked by a local county official and active Democrat to be his campaign manager..... at first, I was hesitant because this was something totally new for me.... how could someone ask me of all people to do this job? After thinking about it, and talking to other fellow volunteers, I decided to take the "job". Talk about WORK. Geeze! Although I'm absolutely loving being a campaign manager, I'm ready for a weekend to myself, on the couch, with my dogs. Our race ends March 4th.....

2) Family
As many of you know, I'm an only child, of an only child; which means family gatherings have always been small :) My sweet grandmother has been extremely ill for the past few months... so with what little time I have between work and politics, I've been spending my time with my family; I'm sure y'all understand this one.

3) Life in general.
Literally. This is the first time since November I've sat down, by myself, and just sat. It feels.... like I'm forgetting to do something, honestly. I'm sure it will come to me at 2AM.

Thanks for sticking around and reading this till the end, and thanks to Brittany for the sweet note; I definitely needed this.

See y'all soon; promise.

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