Thursday, December 29, 2011

One Year

Happy Birthday, my precious Ella.

Last night I woke up just after midnight. I wonder if my body knew it had been exactly a year since we held you  during the short moments of your life. I stayed up as though to keep vigil, remembering, glancing at the clock, knowing I had little time. I kept wondering what you'd want me to be doing, then decided you'd want me to be sleeping. Like Daddy. So I turned off the light at a quarter past two. I don't know how long it took me to drift off.

This year is one I'm ready to leave behind, but I never, ever want to forget. On your birthday, I should be giving you gifts. Instead you've given gifts to me:
  Deeper faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and in His gospel.
  Greater love for your daddy and the rest of our family.
  Peace. I no longer look on the concept of death with fear or dread. And I anticipate the second coming of our Savior with eagerness.
  A more profound appreciation for the blessing of temple ordinances.
  Greater faith in myself and my own personal worthiness.
  The knowledge that I have a daughter who is pure and perfect; an angel to guide me along, to watch over me, and to encourage me when times get rough.
  And though I don't always understand God's will, and sometimes I still have to work on trusting Him, I have grown in my knowledge of His infinite mercy and love for me.

I learn so much from you and I know I always will, for I still have so much more life to live and an unbelievable amount of things yet to learn. I hate that you're gone. I despise the memory of leaving you behind at that hospital. Sometimes I do not endure well. I have irrational fears when it comes to my future children. I become embittered easily, angry, and sometimes live with a false notion that everyone else lives perfect lives with their own healthy children.

And yet, here we are. On what would have been your first birthday. Though I wish beyond everything in this world that you were here, I wouldn't trade the gifts you've given me for anything. I love you so much and miss you every single day.

I wish I was buying you presents for your birthday. Something like a new outfit, a fun toy, and a ladybug birthday cake. Instead, I'll have to do other things that would make you happy where you are right now: I'll be a little nicer, a little more loving, a little more pure in heart, and a little more devoted to our beloved Savior.

Still... I do have a little gift for you. One that is tangible, though it won't show up until next July.

Around the 24th, I think.

Though you've known for a while, I'm sure.
And I'm terrified and ecstatic at the same time to actually say it out loud.

How would you like a baby brother or sister?













Happy Birthday, my Angel.

Love,
Mom

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas



I can't read this without tearing up. I miss my baby. Especially at times like this. 
But I take comfort in knowing
That she's spending this Christmas safe in the arms of our Savior.






My First Christmas In Heaven

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below.
With tiny lights, like heaven's stars reflecting on the snow.
This sight is so spectacular please wipe away that tear.
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear.
But the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.
For I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring.
For it is beyond description to hear an angel sing.

I know how much you miss me; I see the pain inside your heart.
But I am not so far away, we are really not apart.

So be happy for me dear ones, you know I hold you dear.
And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I send you each a special gift from my heavenly home above.
I send you each a memory of my undying love.
For after all "Love" is the gift, more precious than pure gold.
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

So please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do.
For I cannot count the blessings for the love he has for each of you.

So have a Merry Christmas, and wipe away that tear.
And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
--Author Unknown


Merry Christmas, everyone. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Saimi

Pronounced Sigh-me.

This lady is just cute. I like her blog because it makes me smile, makes me laugh, and makes me wish my husband liked horseback riding.

And she's a lovely commenter, so if you'll be her friend, she'll help to feed your ego. :)
BTW, Saimi, I keep trying to comment on all your adorable recent posts. The re-cap of 2011 was just too cute, I loved it! For some reason, blogger is acting weird and won't let me comment on your blog. Hm. Just know that I am reading and enjoying them!


She tells the most hilarious stories. Sometimes about her job, sometimes her family (which includes her dog and horse.) Her blog is very anecdotal and fun.

Facts about Saimi:
~She loves horseback riding (in case you didn't catch that)
~She's an accomplished quilter.
~She has a wonderful sense of humor
~She works at a preschool. Sense of humor comes in handy.
~She knows how to rock the blonde!
~She's a wife, mom, and great storyteller.

Thanks for making me laugh, Saimi! And for being my friend. :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Serene

I just have to start by saying this girl his HIL.AR.I.OUS!!!!

And she's real. The only sugar-coating on this blog is when she confesses her endless need for chocolate.
And let's face it... who doesn't have an endless need for chocolate?

Serene is my name, not my life! is one of my favorite blogs to read because she's just so dang funny. And her funniness is mostly because the stuff she writes about is so relatable and true. She has a way with writing her posts that make it feel like you're having a conversation with her.

Another person I wish I had as a neighbor.
And not just because she always has chocolate.


Things I know about Serene:
~She's an exceptionally gifted artist
~She has a husband and 5 very cute and entertaining children
~She loves shoes and chocolate. did I mention that? Another reason I feel I can so relate to her.
~She's also a gifted writer. Seriously, have you ever written a book, Serene??
~She has a fabulous sense of humor. Instead of glossing over the messy parts of life, she'll admit defeat, hide, or find away to laugh at it.


Do yourself a favor and check her out. Her blog is always great for a giggle.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Jamie

Another friend from the PNW. I get jealous of this gal when she talks about the greenery and beaches near where she lives. I'd LOVE to visit the Washington/Oregon area someday.

So, about Jamie.

I don't remember when I started following her blog, What I did Today. I don't remember how I found it or who led me to it. All I know is I love it. I love how she writes what she did "today." Like a journal. It could be something big and exciting, or it could be something little, like "I went to a girl's night. Had a blast. Up too late. Going to bed" kind of thing.

Jamie is another one of my blog friends who I feel like I know. She's so funny and creative, such a good wife and mom, and one of my fellow Pinterest addicts. You can't help but want to be her friend.

Facts I know about Jamie:
~She has 2 ADORABLE little curly haired girls (#3 will be here soon!)
~She's married to Tony
~She comes from an amazing family. Beyond amazing. She has more than 20 siblings, many of whom are adopted from 3rd world countries. (Right, Jamie? Am I getting that number wrong?) Seriously! That is just fabulous.
~She served a mission for our church, something I totally look up to.
~She's good at cooking for special dietary needs and gives good ideas for recipes.
~She loves to read. (including my story blog. She's one of my heroes).

Jamie, thanks for being cool. And for reading Chapterhouse Lane. I love ya.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Carrie

This woman is a rock star.
I love following her blog because she's someone I can totally admire and relate to. And I can still love her even while I'm jealous of her talents and taste. :)

Carrie, I stole these pictures from your blog because they're so beautiful. I hope you don't mind. If you do, let me know and I'll take them down asap.





A few facts about Carrie:
~She's a photographer (as if you couldn't tell)
~She lives in the Pacific North West
~Her husband (another rockstar!) is almost done with his Master's Program. Yay!
~Her two children are her life. She's an awesome mother.
~She's a wicked good party-planner. Like the kind you'd find all over Pinterest.
~She's an accomplished pie-maker. Someday, I want to go to to one of her pie parties.


Here is someone who has been through the fire and come out refined. Here is someone who doesn't try to sugarcoat her life, but looks for the sweetness in it. Here is a lady who has counts her blessings and her trials and teaches everyone to embrace them both.

I tell her all the time in comments  that I wanna hug her.
She's just that type of person.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Meredith

Sorry I've been slack-a-lackin on the spotlights.

Today's is about a lovely girl who is the cheapest person alive. In a good way.
Her blog, Yours, Mine, and Ours, is always cute, often hilarious, sometimes introspective, and never without smiles.
She teaches me about fashion on a dime and how to love the life you got and love it out loud. She shows you how to put outfits together and how to see the potential in the pile of polyester you picked up at Goodwill.

I've never met Meredith in person, but I hope I do someday. She's the type of person I can imagine laughing really, really hard with.

So because Meredith and I have never had the pleasure of meeting, there are few facts I know about her. But here are the things I do know:

~She's a twin (how cool is that??)
~Her hubby is in law school
~She just got a new camera (I have the same one and they're seriously righteous)
~She has a very cute little boy
~She owns a pink washer. Pink, people!
~She can pull of outfits I'll never look cute in from thrifted and free-piled stuff.

Stay awesome, Meredith. Hope this post does justice to your greatness.
And hurry up and come to AZ, will ya??

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jessica

Oh boy, do I have some excellent blackmail pictures of this girl.
But I won't post them.
Because I'm a nice sister like that.

Soooo tempting though....


Ahem...

Anyway.
My younger sister Jessica is one of my best friends. Which is funny, because when we were little, we almost always hated each other. I didn't like it when she'd come play with me and my friends (but of course it was perfectly okay for me, the bigger, older, cooler sister to tag along with her friends) and I was always whining if she wouldn't let me borrow her clothes.
Sister of the year, I was.

Today, I am so glad to say that our warfaring past is behind us and we celebrate an awesome relationship. Her blog, The Secret Life of B's, has lots of wonderful recipe ideas (she's a chef, people. A CHEF.), tons of silly pictures of her extremely cute and endlessly entertaining 2-year old, and all around fun stuff.

 (I'm the fat one)



So cute!

Some facts about Jessica:
~Born on January 2nd even though she was due Christmas Day
~She's not a morning person
~She's organized
~I used to call her Arwen because she looks like her. Why'd I let that die out? That was fun.
~Married her hubby six years ago... baby #2 on the way!
~Graduated from ASU with a degree in Nutrition
~She has the best victory dance ever. Wish I had a video of it. Picture a cross between Napoleon Dynamite and the Elaine dance from Seinfeld. 

Love you, Jess!! You're the best. Can't wait to meet your new little one in a few months!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Darci

Otherwise known as The Page Traveler

Darci and I have known one another since our ballroom dancing days with Del Sol, the dance team we were both on. One of my favorite memories of her was when our teachers told us to go back to the beginning of our performance number and she said, in a perfect imitation of Inigo Montoya from Princess Bride:

"You tol' me to go back to da beginning!"

I still giggle about that.

Nowadays, I am so happy to have found a bond with Darci through our love of writing and of Harry Potter. We formed a writing group called the Typelings and we meet once a month to discuss writing and other topics that amuse us. (Now accepting new members!)

Darci's blog, The Page Traveler Tales, is like an online book club. She reads, reviews, gives solid opinions, makes me think, and often makes me laugh. We have similar opinions on just about everything. I love it!

A few facts about Darci:
~She's married and has an adorable son
~She and her husband met while on the Del Sol dance team (he's a buddy of mine too!)
~Her birthday is on November 5th.
~She loves stars. Like, the shape, or the ones in the sky. Not necessarily movie stars. Although I'm sure she'd probably wet her pants if she were to ever meet Emma Watson.
~Darci served a mission for our church in Temple Square, Salt Lake City.
~She and her husband make and sell magic wands, in the style of Harry Potter. They are SO cool.
~And, incidentally, she was in Slytherin house. An odd thing for a Gryffindor like myself to have such a good friendship with a Slytherin. But she's an example of the best of them. :)

Yes. We're obsessed.

And so, to conclude today's Spotlight, I give you a video I found on Pinterest that I think Darci would highly enjoy.

Personally, I find this video utterly and completely awesome in all its particulars. I actually had the idea to make a Harry Potter montage to this song... seriously, I did. But someone beat me to it. With magnificent results!!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Mom

For my first bloggy buddy spotlight, I've chosen my Mom.
Because she is one of the most important women in my life.

Isn't she beautiful?

 Think she'll forgive me for hijacking her photo collection?
A few things my Mom loves and is good at:
~Being a good friend to her kids and grandkids.
~Gardening
~Speaking Spanish
~Serving others at home and at church
~Making quilts and other assorted lovely things
~Typing (she's like 150 thousand words a minute or something. She's good at it. Whether or not she loves it remains to be seen.)
~Using all-natural stuff like Essential Oils for everyday ailments
~Eating healthy and making it delicious
~Cooking. (again, does she love it? I don't know. But she's good at it. Very good.)

A few more facts about my Mom:
~Born on November 13th
~She has learned Spanish on her own through classes and practice
~She has given birth to 7 children. 3 of them... including me... without the aid of epidurals
~She's been married to the same guy for 35 years
~She has a talent for dancing, having been on the pom squad (or whatever those things are called), a folk dancing troupe, and other performance groups in her earlier days.
~She was sitting in a Lazy-boy chair at the hospital when she gave birth to me. This is a story that has been retold over and over in my life.

My mom is the best. Today, I salute her.
She's the one who got me into blogging. Her blog is fun, funny, instructive, and inspirational.
You can find her blog on the side bar under Mom, or at The Merry Misadventures of a Matriarchal Madwoman. I made up that title. :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Spotlights

I love being "spotlighted." It's so fun.

So I thought, in the coming weeks, I would spotlight some of my bloggy buddies, ones I know in person and ones I don't. These would be the ones I have on my sidebar, the ones I follow and frequent. Some of them I don't know well... some I've never met. And some of the posts may be short.
But each of them will get a spotlight.
I apologize in advance if a lot of these posts say similar things.
Like:
Hilarious!
or
Beautiful!
or
witty and fun.

Cuz honestly, most of the people I follow are hilarious, beautiful, witty, and fun.
So I'll try to make each one unique. All will be from the heart.
Watch for yours!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dear Asthma,

Stop it.


Love,
Ames

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shameless bragging

if I may....

28 years ago my best guy was born.
As a tribute to my awesome companion,
I made this video of one of his talents.

You've seen a similar one before, but this one is
all him.




Yow!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm losing it.

Facebook has its virtues.
For example, a friend of mine posted on my wall "Haven't you forgotten to post something today??"

I thought... did I? No. I always remember to post on Chapterhouse Lane. I very much enjoy rewarding my readers' anticipation.
I checked back on the blog.

And I forgot to post! I couldn't believe myself.

I must be going nuts.
So anyway, I posted this morning. I should post twice. Yeah, I really should. Inexcusable.

I may, one day, be able to plead my case.

I also had a test in Bio last night. I don't think I did very well. Major brain farts going on. Seriously, STP stands for Short Tandem Repeats, not Short something-that-starts-with-a-T Replication!!!
I remembered that this morning at like five-thirty. Ugh.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Love, Ames

Dear England,

I dream about you sometimes. The dreams are always pale, disjointed, and not at all like the reality but they make me happy nonetheless.
It's been five years since my visit. I think of you often and how soon I can return.
I love your history. I want to study it.
I love your literature. I want to study that too. Especially John Ronald, James, Jo, Jane, and Jack. And some Will and okay, maybe a little Geoffrey. Just a little. Uncle Geoff, you may be a distant relation, but your stories are weird.
Is it completely mental for me to say that I miss your cities and countrysides, England? That I think back on your twisting, maze-like streets, your ancient hills, and your cute-as-a-button bed and breakfasts with longing comparable to homesickness?
I can't pick one favorite place. I loved it all. York was so wonderful, I had to use it in a story. Lacock was absolute enchantment. I wish I would have walked around that place more. And I'm still kicking myself that I went all the way to Oxford and forgot to ask where John Ronald used to work. Really!? At least I got to go to The Eagle and Child where he and Jack and their other mates got to hang out.
Next time I come, England, I want to go to more castles. Like Alnwick Castle. And pass through York again. I'd love to ride the train and visit other historic sites in London. I want a picture by the statue of Peter Pan. I want to talk to more of your people, visit your LDS temples and churches, see and feel and breathe in every moment.
And I'd love to fight the temptation to do a spirited impression of Robin Hood in the movie Men in Tights when he arrived on your shores: kneeling on the ground, arms outstretched, exclaiming "Home! Home! England!" then bending down and kissing the ground.
But that would be undignified.

Give my regards to William and Kate.

Love,
Ames

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11

Five years ago today:

I woke up early. I couldn't sleep.
I went to Dillards to get my makeup done.
The lady who did it was over the age of 60.
I was nervous.
She did fabulous.
I bumped my head on the makeup counter. It hurt.

I got my hair done. Half up. With curls.
I put on a pencil skirt and suit jacket.
I felt like a lawyer.
I went to the church to inspect decorations.

I was scared. I sat on a bench in front of the temple.
Then I saw him walking toward me. I smiled. The fear lessened. He took my hand.
We went in.
When we came out, we were an eternal family.




Five years ago I married the sexiest man alive.
Perfect for me.
My best friend.
Hilarious.
Smart.
Hardworking.
Kind.
Supportive.
The love of my life.
My friend, my companion, my partner.
And the father of an angel.


What a guy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Love, Me Monday

Dear snow,

I miss you. I've lived in Arizona for 99% of my life and I've only lived where you fall for two winters. I miss that giddy feeling when I first notice your flurries in the air. Like a little kid I'd squeeeeal, run outside, and try to catch you in my mouth.
I miss seeing you gather in thick blankets in the yard, in grimy clumps on the side of the road, and in the branches of trees. You turn everything into a Christmas card and make every day a hot chocolate one.
You even gave me a day off from school once. I was on my way to my least favorite class when the radio guys announced that the college campus had closed. The song "Beautiful Day" by U2 followed that announcement. You can imagine the perfection of that scenario as I turned around, went home, and watched Home Alone 2 while drinking hot chocolate and gazing lovingly out the window to watch you fall and collect.
I remember skating on the frozen blacktop in the Wal-mart parking lot. I remember laughing my head off while watching one of my friends attempt at making a snow-angel chain. I remember the misery of freezing to death when I unwisely left my thick coat at home (because I thought it made me look fat) when we went tubing down the snow-covered hills. Seriously, who does that?
I remember the time when I was a dance teacher, rehearsing in the warm dance studio with my girls. We were all sweating. We saw that it was snowing. We had to go stand in it. And then we had to dance in it.
So we did.
We turned up the music, left the front door open, and rehearsed the performance number. In the parking lot. Among the falling snow. It was glorious!
I love the glitter of diamonds when the sun shines on your calm, frosty surface. I love the tiny, delicate design of lacy snowflakes that I tried to see before it melted in my bare hand.
I love seeing you on the Superstition Mountains. A breathtaking image in the middle of a desert.
Yes, you're hard to drive in. I almost rear-ended someone because of it and I've slipped and slided (slid?) over the wintery street when you covered the road. Luckily, I never hit anyone. And yes, you make it freezing cold outside, you make every extremity on my body go numb with cold, and you're easy to get sick of when you're piled several feet high.
But oh, darling snow.
Wish you could visit me down here.

Love,
Me

Friday, November 4, 2011

Two things that have no relation whatsoever.

Good news! My thumb is all healed. I cut it while carving my freaking awesome Halloween pumpkin.
Which, by the way, DID win an award for the contest.
Prizes were a big tin of popcorn, some Halloween candy, and 50 bucks off our next month's rent! NICE!

Guess what? I'm doing NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month.
50,000 words in 30 days. That's a little less than 2,000 words a day if I don't write on Sundays.
I'm a bit stoked.
And a little in over my head.
Is it cheating if I use large portions from the previous, unfinished draft of the novel that I'm going to write in 30 days?
Hopefully not.
Cuz somethings are better the first time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

She's with me when I need her

I don't go to baby showers.

Doesn't matter who, when, or whether it's a boy or a girl.
I don't like them. So I don't go.

My sister Jessica, who is one of my best friends, is having a baby girl right around the same time Ella was due. Even though it's not my beloved sister's fault for the way these events have unfolded, it is still salt on an open wound. I hope she'll forgive my honesty.
Her shower was last night.
And I was expected to go.
I didn't want to. I didn't want to be the one sitting in the corner, holding back tears, watching everyone gush and coo and awe over all the pretty little girl things she was bound to receive. I didn't want to be the one everybody had to tip-toe around and wonder if Amy's about to explode.
During the drive out to Mesa, I thought a lot about my self-pity.

Sometimes I imagine that Ella is beside me, somewhere nearby, offering me words of encouragement during times that are especially difficult. I don't know if these musings are the truth. I hope they are. I feel like they are.
In the car I had one of those moments.
I dried my tears.

I was not going to allow my grief to ruin this happy occasion for Jessica, who hurts for her big sister and also mourns Ella's loss.

Still, I arrived at my mom's house (the venue for the event) with a bad attitude. But by and by, the longer I was with my family, the more time I spent with the people that mean so much to me, I felt my mood lift.
Not only could I hold it together, but I could even have a good time.

I'll admit I cast a few jealous looks at the girl who brought her 10 month old daughter. And I still felt like had an obvious mark on me, the "baby widow." But I was treated normal, which was what I wanted. And  my fears of completely losing it were completely unfounded. I was able to smile.

I skipped the present-opening part. I lounged with my brother in the other room watching tv and playing Angry Birds on my phone. And I was content.
After everyone left, I went to get some food with my friend, who is also a friend of my sister's and a guest at the shower. She said I needed a pick-me-up. In all honesty, I felt totally fine. I wasn't moping or crying or even sad. But we went anyway. I got some onion rings and had a lovely talk with her.

Afterwards, I chatted and laughed too loud with my mom and sisters. It was fabulous. Fabulous people just make for fabulous moments, it's a scientific fact. The night ended up a happy one.

I feel like Ella was with me last night. Even if I was talking about something else, or thinking more about passing another level on Angry Birds, or laughing with my family. I had fun. I didn't cry. I got through it.
And the most important part of all: my sister had a wonderful party and got lots of lovely things for her sweet girl.

My girl isn't here.
But she's mine.
And she's perfect.
And she'll always be here when I need her.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Love, Me Monday

My fellow writer, member of Typelings, and good friend the Page Traveler gave me this idea. An idea I should have put into practice a long time ago.
It's a letter from me to whoever or whatever I feel like writing to. I decided to copy her and make it my Monday blogging theme.
Check back every Monday. Maybe there'll be a letter to you!

ahem....

Dear Halloween,

You've always been great. You're the start of cooler weather, the kick-off to holidays, and the one night of the year we can all be something we're not. How delightful!
You're the excuse to carve a pumpkin, to watch scary movies, to read spooky stories, and to be something I'm not.
My heart chuckles with glee.
I eat food I shouldn't, be sillier than I ought, and be something I'm not.
I mean, seriously, what's not to like about you?
I get to be something I'm not! For a whole night! Sometimes several nights, as was the case during my young single adult days.
I remember when I dressed up like Super-girl as a kid. Fun.
And the time I was a jogger that got bit by a vampire. Creative.
I've been a cat (or a mouse, don't remember which), an angel, a rock star, a princess, a mermaid, and Princess Leia.
Twice.
Don't forget the times I was a Lord of the Rings elf. I say times because it was more than once. And more than twice. I'm not sure of the total number. Three times? Four? I dunno.

So thank you, Halloween. Thanks for the memories. Just so you know, if Ella were here, she'd be a Ladybug. Naturally. I sure miss her. Especially on days like today. But you're still great, Halloween. And you always will be.

Cheers.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hogwarts

Some things bring me joy.
Harry Potter is one of them.
Winning contests is another.

Our apartment complex is having a jack-o-lantern contest tomorrow.
I'll be in Mesa all day because of an appointment and work.
So I carved the pumpkin today and Bret will display it on our porch tomorrow for the judging.

I decided to carve Hogwarts Castle.
Because I knew it would be as my brother would say
disgusting.
or, freaking awesome.

Here's my process:
My victim pumpkin. 4 bucks at Wal-Mart
I think it was cross-bred with a spaghetti squash. 
Really, I'm serious. The inside had the exact same texture. Annoying.



My weapons instruments. 
Yes, those are old dental instruments.
Don't worry, they're clean. And invaluable with carving details.



Sketched in my design with some dry-erase markers.
Easily wipes off.



Partway through the carving process
Sorry it's so dark.



And finally, the finished product.
Disgusting.
There's an HP carved backwards on the back of the pumpkin to achieve the cool spotlight effect.

 And only one casualty...

Think I'll win?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So I checked up on my followers...

And I realized they've multiplied! Holy canoli, I've got 45!

Now, for you folks who have 100+ or even 1000+ (um, jealous) that might not seem like such an exciting number. But it got me thinking, Wow! I need to blog more! And blog better.

Because someone out there likes me!
That puts a nice little bloom of happy in my heart.

Ok, so here we go.
Remember how I despise Biology? Well, in case you didn't know that, consider yourself informed. I can't stand this subject. My brain just doesn't get it until after it's explained to me the way you'd explain it to a nine-year-old. Pretty sure people younger than that don't have to learn biology.
So glad my husband was a Bio major. He's a genius at this stuff. Blows my mind.
Can't wait till I can write essays.
Anyway, we got our last test back yesterday. The teacher sent us an email before the fact saying that the class average was 71%, ten percent lower than our previous test average. He said he was going to provide a worksheet to help us boost our grades up.
I was worried.

Got my test back.
91%

Um.....
booyah!
Happy dance.
You know the one, Jessica. Wish I had a video of that one.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Glitter Toes!!

Broadcast Bloggers is awesome.

They give me sweet deals.

And I can hook you up.

By clicking on the link below, you can get a kit for Glitter toes for 65% off! Retail is $111.50 but you get it for 39 bucks! And this includes shipping.
You get:
12 colors
brush, file, base, bond, and seal (The bond and seal are an added bonus)

These glitter toes last about six weeks and you can do this yourself at home!
Save some major moola....


Like it says on the picture, the deal ends on the 29th, so hurry and order yours!!

http://www.broadcastbloggers.com/deal.php?i=104&a=1069138

Friday, October 21, 2011

Guess I better post

Just so you know, I'm holding off on the self-publishing. Hero London will happen one day. Just not now.

Just reviewed my "Before I turn 30" bucket list. Here's what I've done so far:

#2. Read the Book of Mormon cover to cover. Our bishop challenged us to read it in 90 days. I did it!
#6. Start a new book. Well, I guess I can count this. Mostly I re-started a book that I lost a good portion of when my computer crashed. It was in terrible need of a re-write anyway.
#9. Repurpose a piece of furniture. Remember my kitchen hutch? *squee!* It's so pretty. I love it!
#10. Read a classic I've never read before. Just finished Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Interesting read. Glad I read it. Will I ever read it again? Probably not. But a good one.
#18. Make a movie. Vacation video. Bret dissecting a grapefruit video. Brother's mission video. Check, check, check.
#21. Go back to school. Taking Bio 101! Do I give a rat's butt about ribosomes? Not really. But I'm learning a lot.
#24. Take a dance class. Does Zumba count? If not.... put it back on the list.
#25. Work up the courage to cut my hair. Done and done. Growing it out again. he he he.

That's 8 things done. Out of 29. Better get my rear in gear.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Self-publishing

I'm thinking about going the indie route.

I've sent my writing to publishers and agents and all I get are big fat No's.

I got some advice from my new friend Britney Jensen, author of Risen.
(If you also follow Chapterhouse Lane, forgive this redundancy.)

She published her book through createspace.com. It only cost her the isbn number.

So that's very little investment on my part.
And to tell you the truth, I'm not in it for the money.
Okay, maybe a little.
I'd love to earn enough money to support my family while my husband is in school. Or to earn enough to pay down his student loans after he graduates.
Or to, ahem, go back to England.

But getting rich isn't my whole motivation. Nor is fame.
In fact, if I do get published, you'll never actually see my name on the book. I'll have my picture on it, but it'll be a vague picture. Yeah I'll do signings if it were to ever actually come to that, but as Hero. Not as Amy. No, I'm not doing the Hannah Montana thing. No disguises. 
I guess what I'm trying to say is I just want to write books and maybe have some success at it.
Not J.K. Rowling success or even Stephanie Meyer success.
Maybe Shannon Hale success. :)

Anyway, so it's looking like self-publishing is my only option. Through createspace.com, I could publish my books online so you could purchase then for a Kindle or a Nook reader, etc. And if you wanted it in book form, you can buy it from createspace in a paperback.

This feels like a good decision. I'll be in charge of my own product. No agents or publishers ever pressuring me to "spice things up" in my stories.

What do you think?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ohmygosh Ohmygosh

Awesome giveaway happening over at
The Page Traveler Tales

Definitely, DEFINITELY go check it out!!
A signed copy of Risen by Britney Jensen is one of the prizes!!
I really hope I win.
I get to meet this author TOMORROW!!!! WAHOO! So stoked!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Coupla things:

Because of school, I write stuff in outlines a lot. So here we go.

1. I missed a lot of conference. 
~I'm very sad about it.
~Planning to catch up on all the talks via internet.

2. Biology is both amazing and unmerciful.
~Reading from my textbook makes me feel like an imbecile
             - i.e. "In incomplete dominance, the heterozygous phenotype is intermediate between that of either homozygote." -Human Genetics by Ricki Lewis 
             - um, what?
~Then again, the complexity of the human body testifies to me that there is indeed a God in Heaven.
             - I wonder how can people not believe in Him with this information in front of them.
~Biology even helps you learn about British History. awesome
             - Learned all about a disease King George III had.
             - Found it fascinating.
             - Doing an extra credit term paper on it.

3. Lots of crafting/writing projects.
~some have blown up in my face
             - never sewing without a pattern AGAIN.
~some have turned out so utterly cute!
~my friend has a weekly "Pinterest Party" so we can actually get some of these cool ideas DONE instead of just pinning them to a board.
              - can't wait for tomorrow's party.
              - working on Halloween decorations
~just finished chapter 5 of a new story.
              - liking it a lot!
              - will need polishing. What story doesn't?
~still working on a sequel to my story Fathom.
              - meh. Coming along. sorta.

3. Sometimes life really sucks.
~even my Mom said so. In those words.
~I won't go into detail. Just know that I'm doing fine.

4. Prayer works.
~Gets you through the crappy things.
~There's ALWAYS an answer. There's ALWAYS a reason.
~God wants to bless us. He's waiting to bless me for just the right time and season.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ever have one of those days?

Where you just want to neglect everything....

your friend's blogs.
your own blogs.
your projects.
The dishes in the sink.
Even reading Harry Potter?

Yeah.

I'm having one of those weeks.
Sluggish.

But on a brighter note, my baby brother is now a Return Missionary!!! I wish I had a picture. He's such a stud. It's so nice to have him home. I've missed him during what has probably been the longest two years of my life.

Monday, September 19, 2011

WINNER!!!!

Through random.org, I randomly received a number.

And that number was 15.

Which means the winner is


LEIGH!!!


Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to everyone who participated. I love you all and wish I could give prizes to all my lovely, wonderful, great, fabulous fans. I hope you enjoy the new story on Chapterhouse Lane. It is one I'm rather proud of. :)

The first post is up today. http://chapterhouselane.blogspot.com/2011/09/fathom.html

Leigh, let me know your t-shirt size and which design you would like.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Giveaway!

To celebrate another beginning on my story blog, Chapterhouse Lane, I am having another GIVEAWAY!


First, the prizes:
1. A Chapterhouse Lane tee-shirt. You can choose one of four designs:



 or
2. Some very special nail polish, exclusive to the story Fathom. You'll know why it's so special after you read it.

it looks way better in person, trust me.


3. This beautiful book. Gives you a rather large hint of what Fathom might be about. 



4. And because no giveaway is complete without something to eat, you'll also be getting a bag of dried mangoes. Random? No. Read the story and you'll see.

All these prizes are being provided at my expense (along with a generous donation from Amber Martin) so PLEASE spread word and give your support!

To Enter: 
Leave a comment on THIS blog for each entry!
1. "Like" Chapterhouse Lane on Facebook. Or, if you already "like" it, comment about this giveaway. Don't forget to include a link!
2. Follow Chapterhouse Lane on Twitter @herolondon. As with Facebook, if you already follow the Lane on Twitter, tweet about the giveaway.
3.  Follow Chapterhouse Lane on blogger.
4. Post about the giveaway on your blog.
5. Subscribe to RSS feed.
Open to U.S. residents only, please.

Winner will be chosen next Monday, September 19th. Same day as Fathom's debut!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Guest post!

I got to do a guest post over at The Page Traveler today about September 11, 2001. Hope you'll go see her, follow her, blog stalk her, travel with her, just plain love her. Cuz she's fabulous.

And stay tuned for next Monday when I post about my next Giveaway!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Have I lost it?

I'm working on a complete and total rewrite of one of the stories I've written. Serious overhaul.
Cutting characters.
Changing scenes.
Even giving my main character's personality an adjustment.


Because I didn't like her at all. And that's a bad thing for your main character.
Seriously, would you admire someone who kept dating a person totally wrong for her, who is actually quite foppish and annoying, while a very cute, very smart, very Scottish dude was pursuing her? Me neither.
So anyway, I'm starting basically from scratch. New opening. Almost new everything. 


And I have tons of time to work on it. But I'm stuck already. 


First chapter moves too fast. I'm almost liking my old chapter one better. Ugh.


I'm worried. Have I lost it? Is my writing talent finished, as far as novel-writing goes? Is it over for me? I know I've had lulls before. I had to take a huge hiatus while I was pregnant. And it took me a while  to pick it up again after Ella passed away
But I almost feel like I can't write. It's not coming to me. It's not working. I totally stink. The writing stinks. I don't know how to fix it. 


Any writers out there? Any advice? Cheats? Techniques? Help!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

One week

I'm announcing this on my personal blog for those who aren't aware of my story blog.

If you are, and are sick of my talking about Chapterhouse Lane, disregard this message and take with you my disappointment.

So, as I was saying, in one week the contest will come to an end and The Streets of Elangard will be deleted. For further information, visit www.chapterhouselane.blogspot.com.

And look forward to my next giveaway!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pretty good with a scalpel

I've had this video forever, just haven't had the chance to edit and post it yet.

So here it is now. My darling husband, who is now in his second year of dental school, demonstrates with a grapefruit and a kitchen knife how to dissect a human brain.

It's actually quite compelling, but if you're squeamish, I probably wouldn't recommend you watching it. Only because of what we talk about, not because of what it shows. It's perfectly non-violent.

The voices you'll hear in the background are me, my mom (who makes a brief cameo appearance), my sister, and her little boy.

Isn't he adorable?
Yeah. I get to sleep next to that guy every day.
Love him.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kate shoes

I wanted to re-do a pair of shoes I had. Got the idea from pinterest.


The idea was to put fabric around the edge where the feet go and add a bow on the side. So cute!


So I decided on gray. I just finished a new gray skirt, so gray shoes sounded good, right?
Wrong.
Ugh.
Painted them gray. The gray fabric didn't match.


So I tried to mix the paint so they would match.
Still couldn't do it.
Frustration!!!


Ok. New color.
White.
White is good. White goes with everything. I have white fabric. This'll work.
Wrong again.
Fabric was too white.


FRUSTRATION!!!!!!!!


What to do? What to do?


Ok fine.
Beige.


I wanted some beige shoes. No fabric things. I didn't have fabric to match.
So they're just going to be beige.
And now I have
Princess Kate shoes!
Oh yes.
Like in these pictures:

                 source                                                                                    source




























                                                                                                                                                                                          

Ah. So happy to have Kate shoes.


Here they are:


The before:

I cut off the strappies.
I don't have a picture of when they were gray. Sorry!

Here's after I painted them white. I know, they look fine. I just didn't like them.


And here they are beige:











I love my new Kate shoes.
All I did was sand them so the paint would stick well, paint them with acrylic paint, then seal them with glossy mod-podge. (I did have to re-sand, re-paint, re-podge, then re-sand, re-paint, and re-podge again because of the stupid color).
Because they're already well-worn in, I don't think I'll have problems with them cracking. I just have to be careful. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ella's headstone

It's finally finished.

We went to see it on Saturday. Even though I knew what it looked like because I designed it, it still killed me to see it in stone.
I posted a picture of it on Facebook. I don't really know why. Maybe to remind people that she's still out there? Or remind them why I don't come to their baby showers or gush and coo over their baby pictures? That's probably it.

They have their pictures, I have mine. Sometimes bitterness wins out and I foolishly try to humble the world, when really I need to humble myself.
Everyone said "it's so beautiful." "I love it." "It's so perfect." "You did a great job." or, my favorite, "dang!" yes. That was a real comment.


Yes, I think it turned out beautiful. But I hate it. I hate that I don't get to use this beautiful name I have loved for so long for a daughter I have longed for my whole life. Instead, this name is on a headstone and my baby is in heaven.

I know what you're thinking. I know I'll have her one day. I know she's mine forever. I know she's perfect and I'll get to raise her. But you know what? I don't have her right now.

And that really, really sucks.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shopping. So bad, yet so good.

I went yesterday with my new friend Camille.

That's right! I'm making new friends out here in our new city. It makes me so happy! There's a girl's night tonight too and I'm totally stoked to go eat too much sugar and hate myself tomorrow morning.


Anyway, we had so much fun. We went to Ross and Target and some other store whose name I can't remember that sold designer jean knockoffs for cheap. Nice!


I bought three things at Ross. well, four, but it was for the house and doesn't count: I got a gray and white-stripped cardi that came with an adorable black belt that goes around my waist, a dark denim pencil skirt that is so hot, and a pair of skinny jeans that are just stinking cute.

Spent less than forty-five bucks.
But had to tap into my savings. Dangit.

And today, my Mother came to visit me!!! I was so excited to have her come and hang out and show her around Glendale. We went to Nordstrom Rack.

ooohhh, that place is DANGEROUS. I found two shirts that I adore. But unless I take more money out of my precious savings, they're not going to come home with me. Dangit. I might just say phooey on savings and go back to get them.

Then me and Mum went to Freddy's for lunch (tasty) and then I showed her where they're building the new Phoenix, AZ temple, which is just a few minutes from where I live. Can't WAIT until it's finished.

Ah, shopping. How I loathe love thee.

Thanks for coming, Mama! I had so much fun. Can't wait to see you rock your new duds!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

It's finished!

Sorry, Mom.
I know I promised to post this last night.

But here it is!
Our final product.
After hours of priming, sanding, painting, and putting-back-together.

With much pride, garnished by bouts of aggravation, many trips to Home Depot, and a lot of sweat, I give you

Our new kitchen hutch!

We bought it off of craig's list for 80 bucks.

Here is the before:




Here is the during. Pictures complements of my hubby.
Oh how attractive am I. Sarcasm implied.

Use of garage complements of our amazing cousins. Love you, Heather!


 Primed


Sanded.
Some of it.


Painted.
And painted.


AND painted.
And painted some more.


Putting it all together


aaaaaaand, TA-DA!!




i love it.
We spent probably the same amount on paint and supplies as the hutch itself cost.
But we have extra storage and a gorgeous piece of furniture.
It isn't perfect.
There are paint blobs and streaks and one drawer that sticks.
But I love it.
And I did it! And Bret helped of course.
And Phil and Heather too. They let us use their garage AND their truck.
That's awesomeness in human form.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sorry it sucks.

I'd love to make money writing. 

And I'd love to have a secret identity.

An identity that sets my regular self apart from my writing self. In which case, should someone find out about it, they'd be shocked to find out "you're Hero London???"

I'd love to have Hero London and her stories adored by millions of fans. I'd love to pay off my husband's dental school debts with book royalties.

Problem is, sometimes my writing just stinks. And I don't know how to fix it.


I know I have talent. I'd be selling myself short if I didn't admit that. But I also know I'm not perfect. I'd be delusional to claim it.

It's funny though. I'll get lots of compliments and wonderful reviews, all kinds of encouragement and support.

And one or two bad reviews.
And that's all I remember.

"Annoying."
"Contrived."
"Bad characterization."
"Moving too fast."

Of course, it's all meant to help me. But I can't help thinking: This just sucks. Pardon my french. And I want to say "I'm sorry it's awful. I'm sorry I didn't get it right. I'm sorry there's so much imperfection and screw-ups and annoying, contrived scenes that lack motivation and move too fast."

Makes me wonder... what would John Ronald, Jo, Jane, and Jack do?

Probably just keep writing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lake Trip

More playing with iMovie. 
I'm not in any of this video because I was behind the camera.
Plus, I never wakeboard. I only humiliate myself.
So instead,  you can enjoy my very talented hubby 
and our relatives.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I've got a dream

So, chaps, I'm going back to school. Hooray!
I'm still a few classes off from getting my associates... yeah, MAJOR slacker over here. I regret not taking more classes (yes, Mom, I'll admit you were right) back before I worked full time and my parents or federal grants were paying for my education.

Back then, all I cared about was being on my parent's insurance. So I just took classes that caught my eye and fit my schedule. Things like ceramics, music appreciation, and of course creative writing. I did do some serious ones, like psychology, history, and English, but mostly I just goofed off.
So now I'm starting again, with a lot of classes under my belt but a bunch of yuckies still to do. Like math *SHUDDER*and a couple sciences.
But I tested out of reading!! I took the test today and scored a 111 out of 116. A 92 would have passed me out of reading. I did it! I wore my ladybug locket and charm bracelet for good luck. *smiley face*

We'd had a discussion on what I want to do with my life.
Here's the answer:

Be a mom.
and yes, I do still want to be an author, of course.



But when I'm at a point where my kids are old enough, I'm going to finish my education.
One day, with a PhD in British History and Literature. 
And with that degree, be a college professor. And with that paycheck, buy a house.

In England.
when I'm like, sixty of course.




Yep. My new dream.

I'd like to wake up with a crossword
In London, York, or Oxford.
By neighbors who use words like cheers and blimey.
In a country cottage pretty
Or a flat down in the city
To visit once a year or more or many.
I got a dream! I got a dream!
I'd just love to see an English sunset gleam.
And as every year goes by
I'll get it done instead of try
Because, my barmy chums, I've got a dream.

Anyone ever seen Tangled? If not, nevermind.