Saturday, December 29, 2012

Allison's Wedding

While we were in California for Christmas we were blessed to attend the wedding of my sweet high school friend, Allison. The two of us were on swim team together and enjoyed many, many hours together in the pool, talking at school or giggling at sleepovers. It made my heart soar to see her with a man that makes her so happy! Congrats, Allison and Josh! Thanks for letting us be apart of your big day!

During the ceremony

Friday, December 28, 2012

On Those I Love

One of my favorite parts of going back to California is catching up with friends and family I love most. I got my fill of both during this trip.

With high school friends Taylor, Jesilyn and Rachel.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Monterey 2012, part two

On day three in Monterey, we visited the Carmel Mission then headed to the Monarch butterfly sanctuary in Pacific Grove. The butterflies were just warming up when we arrived. I was amazed at how difficult they were to see from the ground. The butterflies spend the night clumped up together high in the eucalyptus trees — they look like leaves. Pretty clever disguise if you ask me!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Monterey 2012

For Christmas we headed to California to enjoy the holiday with my family. After all the gifts were opened we — my parents, two brothers Tyler and Austin, and me and Nathaniel — loaded up the car and headed to Monterey. The day after Christmas my cousin Kourtney, and her husband, Alden, met up with us and we headed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The aquarium was awe-inspiring — despite the crowds!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Noel Christmas Art

For Christmas I got busy making "noel" artworks for family and friends — with red, yellow, blue and green ink washes.

In full production mode.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Joy to the World: A Christmas Musical Celebration

In September I was asked to do volunteer public affairs work for my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.) My assignment was to assist in both stake (a group of regional congregations) and multi-stake public affairs matters. First thing on our agenda: pulling off a large Christmas concert. My work started full-force right away as I got together information to share with the media about our concert. I had two press releases printed in the paper at work at — you can read them here and here.

Here's what my first release said:
Oklahoma members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will host “Joy to the World: A Musical Christmas Celebration,” at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 22 at Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave. The free choral and orchestra concert is open to the public. 
“We wanted to share this Christmas celebration with our neighbors in Oklahoma. We believe in Christ and we have much in common with our Christian friends, many of whom have agreed to join talents with us in the choir and the orchestra,” said Walter Hobbs, local church leader and concert coordinator. 
The concert will be Led by Dr. Craig Jessop, former Mormon Tabernacle Choir director. Special guests will include baritone Anthony Eversole and soprano Lisa Howard. 
Orchestra and choir members are composed of people from all faiths in central Oklahoma, with the core choir membership drawn from 44 Mormon congregations in cities such as Stillwater, Ardmore, Woodward, Seminole, Oklahoma City and Norman. 
Favorite Christmas songs performed during the concert include: “Joy to the World,” “What Child Is This,” “White Christmas,” “Glory to God,” “O, Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Caitlin's Art

I helped my friend Caitlin make some artwork for her family members for Christmas. For her brothers, Caitlin used their names and a one-word definition of their name. Each had a different color.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lunch with Betty

Tuesday afternoon I called a potential source to see if she'd mind visiting with me for an upcoming story. I was surprised when she not only agreed to chat, but invited me over to her house for a home cooked lunch the next day. She ended the conversation by calling me "honey."

When Betty answered the door Wednesday afternoon, I was greeted by a big smile and firm hug. Tall, slender, a head piled high with glistening white hair, Betty is the picture of grace at 82 years old. She ushered me into her kitchen where she puttered back and forth — popping buns into the oven, breaking whole wheat noodles in half to boil on the stove, pulling honey out of the pantry — as she told me about her late husband and a marriage that began at the tender age of 16.

I smiled when she told me how young they were. They helped raise each other, she said, and had their first baby when they were "almost 20." I told her people thought I was young when I got married — 10 days short of 21, but her story made me look like an old maid.

She laughed.

"21 is quite respectable, Hannah," she said.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Phone Calls with Barry

Norman has a Christmas parade every year. And a parade wouldn't be a parade without a grand marshal. I called up this year's grand marshal, Barry Switzer, 75-year-old former University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys football coach, to ask him how he felt about the honor. No answer. Left a voicemail.

My phone rings a few hours later. I answer.

"Newsroom, this is Hannah."

"Coach Switzer."

"Uh, yeah, hello. This is Hannah with The Norman Transcript. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about being the grand marshal in the Christmas parade this weekend?"

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Child of God, part 3

I've gifted quite a few "Child of God" artworks lately. I even did one in Spanish to say "Hija de Dios." I've done a few "Hijo de Dios" pieces but have yet to gift them. And I have been lovin' the stripes!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dallas World Aquarium

Over Thanksgiving weekend, we visited The Dallas World Aquarium with Allison and Diego. At first, I felt really confused...there really wasn't that much aquatic life. There were a lot of birds and tiny monkeys, which were really entertaining, so I didn't complain much.

Allison feeding a bird.

Nathaniel making friends with a tiny, tiny monkey.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dallas Inwood Theatre

When we were in Dallas for Thanksgiving weekend we ventured to Inwood Theatre with our good friends Allison and Diego. This wasn't just any theater though — this one had full on couches. Couches. Can you believe that?

We were the first in line to get in the theater to see "Life of Pi" (which was so good, by the way. Just as good as the book.) The four of us ran to our selected couches and I felt like a kid in a candy store. I was so giddy I could hardly contain myself. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Meeting Baby Belton

After Thanksgiving, we loaded up the car and headed to Dallas to spend time with friends Matt and Laura, and Allison and Diego.

First on our agenda was meeting the new addition to Matt and Laura's family! We both totally fell in love with little Belton!

Such a sweetie!

We enjoyed catching up with Matt and Laura and loved hearing all about their new adventures into parenthood. We are so excited to watch Belt grow, and are excited to be a part of his life in the future! And we are especially glad he made it to this life in one piece — he had a close call trying to make his grand appearance, and we're grateful both him and mama are now happy and healthy.


Friday, November 23, 2012

When Lifetime Calls

A year ago I sat in a courtroom and listened to testimony accusing a Norman woman of a year long relationship with a 13-year-old boy. To say the least, 38-year-old Amy Blose creeped me out. When she walked into the courtroom — wearing an orange jumpsuit, hands and feet in shackles, crocs with ink hearts drawn on them, the front of her hair plaited — and sweetly, smiling thanked the sheriff for holding the door open...I knew this lady had more then a few screws loose.

The testimony that followed Blose's entrance, including from the victim himself, was grueling and painful to endure. The boy was forced to share intimate details of his sexual relationship. By the end of the testimony, I was disgusted by the vile woman who just hours before had batted her lashes at a police officer. I was convinced she was guilty.

Who wears a bow in their mug shot?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Like last year, I spent this Thanksgiving bouncing between my house and the newsroom. I headed over to the community dinner, spoke to a handful of people, slammed out a short story (basically the same one I wrote the year before!) and headed back to our place to chow down on turkey with Nathaniel. 

I must admit, I didn't give much thought to Thanksgiving this year. We didn't have any plans, and we didn't even go to the grocery store until Wednesday night, where we contemplated just buying a lasagna and not even bothering with a turkey. I nearly started crying in the middle of the grocery store, feeling sorry for ourselves that we'd be spending Thanksgiving with just the two of us. It was definitely silly of me, but I was having a moment of shallow self-pity. Nathaniel lovingly reminded me that we are our own family and we're starting our own traditions. So we bought ourselves some turkey breast to prepare for our quiet, humble — but thankful — Thanksgiving dinner.

Nathaniel had to go at cooking dinner by himself with me bouncing between work, and he did the most fantastic job! After dinner, we called up some family members via FaceTime, and suddenly I felt like we were transported to California. Our quiet Thanksgiving wasn't so bad anymore...thanks, technology!

My mom 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mia's Blessing

We headed to Lubbock a few weekends ago to bless our sweet niece, Mia. She is such a happy baby and we loved squeezin' and lovin' on her!

In her dress. My sister-in-law wore the same dress when she was blessed.

We had a wonderful time relaxing and visiting with our family, and I definitely got my fill of my sweet niece and nephew!

The "tia's" with Mia and Ethan.

Ethan is old enough now to play, play, play! He is absolutely non-stop, has so much energy but is just the happiest little boy. 

 His favorite word is even "go!"

He did finally get tuckered out though. Fell asleep on Nathaniel and Abuela mid-dinner!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Wedding gift art/new baby gift art

A very belated wedding gift and baby gift for my friend, Rachel!

I did this couple's wedding portrait with inks. The size is about 8'x10''.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Amazing (Preparedness) Race: LDS youth mutual night

For a multi-ward LDS mutual (youth night) activity a few months back we had the kids participate in "The Amazing (Preparedness) Race." The youth were split off into different teams and had to complete an obstacle course around the church building. Every event was meant to highlight the importance of preparedness or being self-sufficient and included different categories like health, home-keeping, finances and spiritual well-being.

Let the races begin! 

1. The groups began the race outside by running a lap around the church building. Upon finishing the lap, everyone had to drink a bottle of water. 

2. The teams then had to tie and untie one tie on each team member.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

On Church Callings: Public Affairs

A few weeks ago I was asked to do volunteer public relations work for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here's what I wrote in my personal journal on the matter:

"After church today I was called into the stake president’s office. He extended me the call of stake and multi-stake public affairs specialist. I’ll no longer be doing young women’s. Right when he told me, I felt like it was the right thing to do. Basically, I’ll be writing press releases, making media contacts and arranging interviews, etc. for the stake and the region. It will be good in many ways because it’s already what I do professionally, but in other ways frustrating because after writing all day long…writing is probably the last thing I’m interested in doing once I get home. 
I went to my first meeting tonight, a multi-stake meeting. Everyone was really nice and it was exciting to hear everyone’s ideas. Although, it was a tiny bit overwhelming. I will get the hang of it soon enough, though, I suppose! 
We are getting a big public Christmas concert ready. The concert is at one of the concert halls in Oklahoma City. ... It’s amazing for me to reflect on this last year and see the Lord’s hand in everything that’s happened. ... It is really…serendipitous. It’s like being on top of a mountain and being able to see my entire course behind me. While you’re trekking up the mountain, it’s almost impossible to see or know what you’re headed towards or what the view will be like once you’re at the top. But once you’re there…everything makes sense. You can see the whole valley. You can see the path the Lord has taken you on, and more importantly, you can see why he has taken you there. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful I’ve managed to exercise the faith to follow him where he wants me to go. I’m grateful that because I’ve endured and trusted his will, I’m able to use my talents — the talents he blessed me with — to bless others and share the gospel! It is humbling and utterly gratifying. 
So as much as being in young womens was fun and as much as I learned there…I know the Lord has a new way for me to serve now. I know this is the best way I can use my talents to build up the kingdom of God at this time. What a beautiful, beautiful thing."


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Visit to Lubbock

We spent last weekend in Lubbock visiting family. I got to squeeze on my sweet nephew, Ethan.

 I can't believe how big he is!

But mostly we were there to cuddle with Ethan's new born baby sister, Mia. She was such a sweetheart.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

PR tips from a journalism professional

A few weeks ago a woman called me in the newsroom. I answered, "Newsroom, this is Hannah." The woman introduced herself. I waited for her to continue. She did, in an unexpected way — "I just want to let you know I'm recording this conversation," she said, with a slow and methodical voice.

To say the least, the conversation went downhill from there. I won't bore you with details, but she accused me of libel and of not properly doing my job. She ranted — slowly, mind you — for 5 or 10 minutes before I asked her what she did for a living.

"What do you do for a living, Hannah?"

I was baffled. And didn't answer. She cursed at me and hung up the phone.

If you want something from a journalist, I can tell you this much...that's not the way to go.

So, my public relations friends, here are my tips for communicating with the media:

1. Rapport.
It's pretty simple: you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. If I know you, I'm more likely to want to respond to your correspondence. If I know you, I'll know who you're representing. If I know you, I'm more likely to overlook when things go wrong. Rapport is king. Love it and do it.

If it's your first time contacting a newsroom, do some homework. Read the paper and figure out what reporters write what stories. If you contact a beat reporter (a journalist who only writes certain stories i.e. sports, crime, religion, entertainment, etc.) you're more likely to get what you need. Sometimes contacting the editor is helpful, other times they are so bogged down with calls and emails you get lost. So, if you have a relationship with someone, you're more likely to get somewhere.

Monday, September 17, 2012

More Than Slightly Alive

Two years ago my ankle started hurting. Over a period of months the pain worsened and spread. Before I knew it, my ankles, knees, hips, elbows, wrists, and just about anything and everything hurt. I tried to find a pattern and a reason but couldn't figure it out. Long story short, I've spent the last two years going back and forth to the doctors trying to put a name to what's going on.

A few weeks ago I was at the rheumatologist. I told her I'd been experiencing chest tightness and heart palpitations for a while. She decided that the heart palpitations might be related to my joint pain. So she ordered an echocardiogram (aka heart sonogram) to check out what's going on in there.

So today, I saw my own heart. It looked something like this...

And I discovered I'm not dead. My heart does, in fact, beat — which is good, ya know?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Iron Chef LDS youth mutual night

For our combined activity mutual a few weeks ago, the young women presidency planned an Iron Chef night. We split the kids into four teams, and created four cooking stations in the primary room. We brought in our pancake griddles, stir fries and spices — but all other supplies were from the church. We also pre-cooked noodles and rice, to save cooking time.

The goods!

And, of course, Iron Chef wouldn't be Iron Chef without a secret ingredient. And ours...was turkey bacon. Or, fake bacon, as the kids called it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On Trains and Stop Signs

Crossing the tracks to talk to the cops...had to snap a photo.
All the reporters in the newsroom take turns covering the weekend. Frequently weekend coverage just means going to whatever event is happening that day. It also means covering breaking news.

For whatever reason, Norman has had a lot of people hit and killed by trains lately. And all have been on foot. I don't get why. It's not like you can't hear, feel or see a train coming. But nonetheless, it's been happening.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cleveland County Free Fair

I wrote a story about the Cleveland County Free Fair this year and had a fun time hearing about the history of the fair — checking out the festivities wasn't too shabby either.

My favorite was the petting zoo.

And the FFA art competition...what exactly is this? If it's not a life-size sculpture of a poop? Seriously?

My favorite part was seeing my article hanging up in the office window.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Thank you, FaceTime

Technology is awesome. I chatted with my silly momma on the phone the other day. I remembered where I got my goof from. Check it out:

Friday, August 31, 2012

Red/Pink Hair

We all know how I feel about hair, here. It should come as no surprise I got bored again. Kathleen jazzed things up for me. I've got peek-a-boo red/pink hair now! 

When my hair is down. And tucked behind my ear.

And when it's half up:


Ignore the bags under my eyes please — sheesh!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

San Antonio family vacation

In August we jumped in the car to meet Kourtney and Alden in San Antonio for our first family vacation together. Kourt and I have been talking about having our own family vacations since we were little girls — so we were obviously excited to be having our first, official, grown-up cousin family vacation. The trip started off just as a trip with the four of us aught to — with chaos! Kourt and Alden nearly forgot what day it was and left from a Houston a few hours late. All was well though, we met up for dinner before getting some rest for our big day at Six Flags the next day.

After dinner, we were witness to this. Alden popped out to ask the woman if she needed help. She said she just backed into the tree?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Frontier City

For our birthdays this year I bought us season passes to a water park that also happened to give us access to a local theme park called Frontier City. We finally had some free time and made our way to Frontier City. It obviously wasn't excessively impressive but it was definitely cute!

What most of the park looked like.

Definitely the best part of the day...this lady was for real.

One of their restaurants.

Nathaniel has the greatest tan-lines.

A comedy show. Pretty awful, honestly.

But at least this girl was having fun.

And I loved this sign on one of the rides.


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