Monday, August 24, 2015

Dallas Stars Ice Girl

I did it.  I freaking did it.  After months and months of two-a-day workouts, crazy clean eating, no cheat meals, countless dance classes, lots and lots of tears, hard work and determination...I made the Dallas Stars Ice Girls team!  Never in my wildest dreams would I thought these words would come out of my mouth.  

Last year I danced professionally for the Dallas Sidekicks dance team, and I absolutely loved it.  It was a great year, and I definitely feel like it prepared me for future professional teams.  I loved dancing for the Sidekicks, and I will always cherish the relationships I formed through the team.

DSIG tryouts were the weekend of July 25th. Each team hold auditions a little differently, for Dallas Stars Ice Girls there are a few rounds the actual day of auditions.  Each round they made cuts, and girls got sent home.  At the end of the day, they announced the candidates for training camp.  Training camp is a two week intensive audition, where they cut at least 2 girls each night.  Each day I would go to work for 9 hours like I normally do, then I would leave straight from work and go dance/skate for 4 hours, get done at 10:30 (sometimes later) at night...just to get up and do the same thing the next day.  I don't know if training camp was more physically or mentally exhausting.   Not only were we all physically pushing our bodies to their limits, and were so unbelievably sore it was  painful to walk, let alone dance.  Each night they taught us a new dance, and we were expected to not only remember the dance from the night before, but have it perfected.  This might have been easier if I didn't have a career like some of the girls, but I was working (stressing) all day long, and so mentally and physically I was pushed to my limits.  We also ice skated for at least one hour each night, which was also extremely nerve wracking.  No one likes to fall skating, but especially not when your every move is being judged.

When they finally announced the team, all I could do was cry...but this time they were happy tears.  For some people, things come easy in life.  Some girls I know just float through life, without a care in the world.  Unfortunately/fortunately, this is not the case for me.  Everything I have, I've had to work so hard for.  Making this dance team was no exception.  I worked so hard, for so long, and it finally paid off.  I improved immensely with my dancing.  I took dance classes every night after working 9 hours a day.  I transformed my body.  I learned to eat right, really watching what I put in my body.  I learned how to hockey skate.  Along with many things, my Dad taught me how to ice skate growing up.  Sometimes when it would rain, then freeze later that night, our front yard would turn into an ice rink.  Other times he would take us into Chicago, and we would skate in Millennium Park.  I have wonderful memories of him teaching me how to ice skate.  Unfortunately, hockey skating is very different.  Luckily, my amazing friends Manda and Liv are great hockey skaters.  They bought my skates for my birthday and took me skating every week.  I'm so lucky to have them in my life!  If dancing, working full time, skating, and being married weren't enough to balance, I worked out every morning before work.  Three days a week I ran in the morning with my running buddy Nikki, she is a rock star.  She came to my house each morning so I could hurry and get ready for work after our 4 mile run.  Each day I was working out and dancing, sometimes skating as at least 2-3 workouts a day.  This didn't leave much time for other things, which brings me to my next motivator...

Sean.  I can't even talk about it without crying.  There is no way, in this world, that I could have accomplished this dream of mine without his help.  It is absolutely impossible for me to thank him for everything he does for me on a daily basis.  From waking up early with me to work out, cooking me healthy dinners, eating clean with me when we're out to dinner with friends (seriously so hard), consoling me when I have breakdownS (yes, there were many), to putting up with all of my shenanigans. The list could go on and on.  He has been my cheerleader, support system, my coach, and my rock through this crazy wild ride I've put him through.  He has completely taken the back seat while I've put off other things to pursue my dreams.  With tears streaming down my face, I am eternally grateful for everything he has done for me.  I'm so lucky I get to spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to him.  Like seriously...the tears are out of control right now.  The easiest way to say it, is that I'm so freaking lucky...he's by far, way too good for me.  I'm still pinching myself that he chose me.

When I finally found out I made the team (seriously training camp was an emotional roller-coaster too) I called Sean first, I couldn't wait to tell him.  The directors told us the good news half way through practice (they had some mercy on us).  They gave us a few minutes to call our friends and family, and of course he didn't pick up!  He was playing basketball at the church, I swear I called at least 20 times! He wasn't expecting a call until 10:30 at the earliest, so in his defense it was only 8:30.  We decided the night before that either way we were going to Taco Bell after I got out.  It was either going to be a celebratory cheesey gordita crunch and Mountain Dew kind of night, or eat your feelings until you can't eat anymore experience (don't pretend like you haven't experienced both).  Luckily...we were getting refills on that Dew with a smile on our face.  With all the excitement and happiness I felt, I couldn't help but think I wanted to call and tell my Dad. Everyone was calling their parents after they called their boyfriend/husband/significant other. My Mom was lucky she was even getting a was a group text to her and my brothers.  I held it together at that moment, but lost it on the way home (weird).  It was an emotional night to say the least.  I know if he was here, he would be so proud of me.  I miss him so much...still.

 Side note...they had me change my hair!  I'm a brunette again!
Along with the grueling training camp, we had an interview with the directors during the first week.  They asked me in the interview how I would feel about going brunette.  My response was, "I'll be whatever hair color you want me to be.  Even victory green!"  The assistant director said, "good answer".  I actually had to color my hair half way through training camp, so I was going to be a brunette with or without being an Ice Girl, haha! :)

This girl...besides Sean she was my main motivator and partner in crime.  This is one of my best friends, Liv.  She and I danced on Sidekicks together.  I thank God everyday that he put her in my life, she is just the best.  She is the one who convinced me to try out.  She and I went to dance classes together after work (she works full time too, so we literally feel each others' pain).  We ate clean and dieted together.  Both of us have to work really hard on our bodies.  She helped me so much through this process, and I know I couldn't have done it without her.  As soon as we found out we made the team we hugged each other and just started bawling...bawling happy tears.  We did it, and we did it together!

 Then came the laughs...

 And the cheers...

 And the smiles...

Check us out!!!  My snapchat that night.. :)
Liv kept saying, "I feel like this is a dream...someone pinch me."  I felt the same way!

 The directors told us throughout training camp that they were only able to take 21 girls instead of the 23 they had last year, due to budgeting cuts (which apparently is true, they weren't making that up).  All of us were thinking they were at least going to cut two more girls, so we weren't expecting to find out if we made the team or not that night.  Right before we walked into the locker room they had us do interviews with Channel 4 news.  The directors asked each of us a question about the Dallas Stars, and were told we were being judged on our ability to answer questions in front of the camera, and our knowledge of the team.  We all answered the questions (luckily I got mine correct), and then they told us they were going to show us the team locker room.  We were told not to touch anything and be very quiet, they were doing this as a favor to us.  We walked in the locker room to see this sign and all of the veterans yelling "CONGRATS!" We were all pretty confused...and then caught on, and the tears came!  They're all so sneaky...

Our first team selfie!  I'm sure there will be many more to come!

 I came home the next night after we signed our contracts to these surprises from one of my besties KC, and Sean.  It was seriously so sweet!  Can you tell I look a little thrashed?  To say I was exhausted would be an understatement!

After all the tears, smiles, hugs, and screaming had passed, we were able to grasp what was really happening and take a picture with our new teammates. This was such a happy moment! 

It was such a crazy audition process.  I don't know if I was more emotionally, physically, or mentally exhausted when it was all said and done.  All I know is that it was so worth it in the end.  I am SO BLESSED to have so many friends and family members who have supported me through this journey. I had so many sweet calls, texts, and facebook messages throughout the process.  It helped so much, and really helped me to keep my spirits up.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to dance and skate for the Dallas Stars.  I cannot wait to see what the next year brings for us.  It's going to be a wild ride, but I am completely overjoyed that I was chosen to go along for it.  GO STARS!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

4 years of missing you...

Dear Dad,

Today has been four years since you passed away.  I'm not going to lie, I just freaking hate this day.  I honestly dread the entire month of January.  It just  As much as I try to distract myself, and keep myself busy...I still feel as if I have a lump in my throat the entire day, and I'm just doing my best not to think about how much I miss you...and from having a massive breakdown.

Today was a typical Saturday.  I had dance practice this morning.  I woke up early to practice dances, but I couldn't dance, I couldn't even really think. I just kept crying.

Sean got his wisdom teeth taken out this weekend.  He's been in and out with the sedation wearing off, and taking know he's a lightweight.  Sean is a great husband, you know he is.  But he's not very good at remembering dates, or more specifically important and meaningful dates.  He never has remembered what day you passed away, and I definitely wasn't expecting him to remember while he was all drugged up. :)  So, it was just me...alone with my thoughts.

 I spent a good 30 minutes sobbing on the couch by myself...thinking how crazy that it's already been 4 years, since the day you left us.  But it still stings like you left us yesterday.  I keep trying to look for the silver lining in all of this heartache, why God took you from us...and why was it your time to go home and return to him?

I eventually consoled myself enough to get ready for the day.  The drive to dance practice wasn't much better. I had do pull over multiple times through sob fests....ridiculous.  As I was pulling up to the studio, I got a text from Mom.  You know very well that Mom and I haven't had the best say the least.  We don't speak very often, and when we do it's very brief.   Then I read her text...
Ugh, it felt like I just got stabbed in the heart.  How could I honestly be so selfish, and not think about Mom?  I seriously can't imagine how she feels, I know she misses you so much.  I don't know what I would do if I lost Sean, he's my best friend and my entire world.  Cue for total breakdown.

I had actually gotten to practice 15 minutes early...luckily.  I used every minute to get myself together before walking in 30 seconds before practice started (the last thing I needed today was extra burpees).  Apparently my failed attempt to make myself presentable was pretty obvious.  I tried my best not to make eye contact with any of the girls, for fear they would see my puffy, bloodshot eyes.  As I was fumbling with my bag in the corner my good friend Olivia, knowing what today was, came behind me and gave me a big hug.  Then came the tears...the ugly kind.  You know, the kind of crying where you feel like you can't breathe and you come up grasping for breath between sobs...yeah, it was bad.  I just kept hugging her, because I was too embarrassed to look up and have everyone see me   Within seconds, the rest of the girls quickly rushed over to us, which resulted in a 12 girl giant bear hug...which of course only made me cry more.  Olivia is so sweet, she actually started crying too (happens to me all the time Liv). I am so grateful for all my DSD sisters.  They all made what could have been a terrible 4 hour practice, into one of the best moments of my day.  Thanks girls, love you all.

You would have really liked them too, Mom loved coming to the game and meeting them.  I wish you could have come to see me dance too Dad, you know it's always been a dream of mine to dance professionally.  I'm so glad you were able to see me dance throughout elementary, middle school, high school, and college.

After practice, Liv and I had made plans to meet up with our friend Manda to grab lunch and get our nails done.  I initially was hesitant about going out, but it turned out being another tender mercy of the day.  I felt bad leaving Sean alone so long because of his wisdom teeth removal, but I wasn't exactly in a hurry to get home after his 'annual day of date amnesia', We ended up having a great time, despite me yelling at the nail technician...ugh, first world problems.  It really helped to have my friends keep me busy, and I love them for it.  Then I headed back home to play my frequent role as 'Nurse Becky'.

I had a lot of friends text, call, and leave me messages throughout the day.  I know it seems silly, but it really does help.  It's so nice to know that I have friends and family that truly do care about me.

Now I am here, thinking about you again...trying to put some of my thoughts together.  Why do people say that it gets easier with time, time heals all wounds.  You know I hate it when people say that stupid crap.  It doesn't get easier, if it's possible I miss you more.  It's been so much longer since I've seen you, so much longer since I've talked to you.  I just hate it, I just hate today.

I still talk about you all the time, unlike today I can usually get through an entire conversation without completely losing it.  I think about you even more than I talk about you...every day.  I know I tell you this all the time, but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you.  You're in the back of my mind all throughout the day, and I guess that's the only thing I'm glad that hasn't gone away.  I know you're watching over us from the other side, wishing that we weren't so sad that you're not here with us anymore.  I try not to be sad Dad, I really do try.  Days like today are just hard without you.  I know we'll be together again someday, I truly do believe that.  I just wish that day wasn't so far away, I can't wait for the day when I get to see you again.  Please keep watching over the family and me, and I'll keep praying for the peace I know you want for me.

 I love you Dad, xoxo.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Sidney's Baptism

 In June, we went out to Seattle to see our oldest niece get baptized.  It was a very quick weekend trip (way too short), but we're so glad we were able to make it out for Sidney's special day.  It was so good to see everyone, it makes us miss them all over again.  

Telisha did a great job putting everything together.  The day turned out beautifully.

 Sidney, "Sunshine" Packard.

Sean's Mom was able to fly in from California for Sidney's special day too!  I thought this was such a great picture of Owen and Grandma.

Look at how cute she is!  Our little Sid bid, looking SO big!

 Telisha's Mom did a great job playing the piano for the baptism.  I however, was not the greatest conductor.  She carried us through every song!  Sherrie gave a talk on baptism, and Sean spoke about the Holy Ghost.  They both did a great job on their talks, everything was wonderful!

Nathan and Sidney. :)

I've always thought Sean looks exactly like his Mom.  This bodes well for the future!

 Nate did a great job, it was a beautiful baptism.

Say hello to the newest member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!  Sid and her Grandpa Berry (T's Dad) performed a touching duet.  Sean recorded it, here's the link:

Refreshment time!  The popsicles were a great idea, the kids LOVED them.

 EVERYONE'S favorite part, family pictures!  I thought the kids did a great job, there are a ton of pictures I took with some pretty cute faces.  This is one of my favorites.

 The Nathan and Telisha Packard family.

 And then it was our turn...oh Sean, always so dramatic with the pictures.  I love how everyone is smiling or laughing at him, at whatever fiasco he was causing. :)

 YAY, a cute keeper!  We love all these people so much.

My favorite, as always, the funny picture.  This is definitely my favorite picture from the entire weekend.  Thanks for having fun with us, we love you guys!

 We are so proud of Sidney for choosing to be baptized, and become a member of the church.  Sidney is such a sweet and happy girl, and we're so lucky to have her as a niece!

The most handsome little boys!  As usual, they were dying to play with my phone the entire weekend.  I'm pretty sure Nate and T wanted to kill me for allowing them to play on it...sorry guys.

 Sidney is by far, the funnest little girl to watch open presents.  I remember at her 2nd birthday party, every single present she opened she trembled with excitement and screamed.  It was basically the cutest thing ever.  I love that not much has changed, she is one of the most grateful and excited receiver of gifts.  Her faces are priceless!

 Sid's turn to open the present from Uncle Sen and Aunt Becky!

Her face, it kills me.  I love it.
This picture and poem of the three white dresses I also received on the day I was baptized.  Like a crazy old Aunt, I started to tear up a little bit as she was opening it...I kept thinking, come on Becky, get a grip!  It was so sweet watching her open it up and read the poem.  It brought back a lot of great memories, for which I am also grateful for.

 When we came to Seattle the first time at Thanksgiving, it was too cold to do a lot of stuff outside.  It was nice coming in the summer, so we could go and play in the pretty outdoors!

 Nate and T took us on a pretty hike at Wallace Falls.  Sean has got himself a pretty cute hiking buddy!

 Look at Owen down there!

 So pretty!

 A bunch of hikers!

I was super impressed at what a good job the kiddos did hiking.  They were champs! I still can't believe how big Taryn is, so crazy!

Just as we were getting to the top of the hike to eat some snacks, it started down pouring!  We tried to wait out the rain, but it kept raining harder and harder.  Eventually we just toughed it out and headed down the mountain.  Of course, just as we were finishing up the hike it stopped raining.  It wouldn't be an adventure without a little excitement. :)

PRESENT TIME!  Uncle Sean and Aunt Becky are notorious for bringing gifts when we come and visit.  We don't get to see these cute kiddos very often, so when we do it's nice to give them a little something.  I love watching them open presents and get so excited, it's always worth it.  Love these cuties!

 Owen thanking Uncle Sean for his little presents.  I'm pretty sure Taryn was more excited about the gift bag than she was anything inside it. :)

We miss these sweet little kiddos so much!

 Funny pics, they're essential.
Sidney, she's such a pretty little girl!

There were tons of people over, and it was SUPER loud, and these boys slept through all the noise.  They must be brothers...

In T's family, when someone gets baptized they get to go out to dinner with all the adults.  It's like a rite of passage, I think it's a cool tradition.   Sidney chose Red Robin, with bottomless fries--what's not to love?!

On the way to dinner we all squeezed in Nate and T's car so we could all ride together.  T accidentally knocked Sid's loose tooth, and it came right out!  We decided to do a little reenactment!

We came to visit the weekend before the 4th of July, so there were plenty of fireworks to be bought!  Nate and Sean put on a little show for us in the driveway.

 This is what happens when a 5 year old has your phone, hundreds of selfies!  It turned out to be a good distraction while we were driving around. :)

 Oh Owen, you crack me up!  Every time I see these pictures I still bust out laughing.  Nate kept screaming in the background, "Owen, take those shoes off!  Those are girls' shoes!" 

Love these boys, as always...I miss them terribly!

Thanks Nate and T for letting us come out to visit you, and for letting us be a part of Sidney's special baptism day.  It's something we'll always remember, I'm so glad we were there to celebrate her getting baptized.  As always, thanks for being amazing hosts, and showing us a great time.  We miss and love you all! Xoxo.