Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Hey readers. You know how I love me a good giveaway, right? Well try this on for size: I'M DOING A GIVEAWAY OF MY OWN!!!!

You may or may not recall my obsession with a certain book series about 3 years ago...The Dark Divine Trilogy by Bree Despain. Well, I won a series of giveaways that Bree did and managed to win signed ARCs pf all three books. And I actually won two contests for the first book, The Dark Divine. Meaning I won two autographed copies. And guess what-- I'm giving one of them away!!!!

One of my oldest and dearest friends, Kati, is trying to win a wedding package from a local country club here in upstate New York. She is competing for votes against 9 other couples. People are allowed to vote once every 24 hours through June 10th. And she needs votes. So you vote for her, you get an entry to win a SIGNED copy of a RARE Advanced Reader Copy of The Dark Divine.

So to enter my giveaway:
1. Go here. "Like" the Webster Golf Club page (don't worry, it's a safe, local organization. They won't spam you or post things to your wall.)
2. Vote for my friend Kati's story, "Love Comes When You Least Expect It."
3. Come back here and leave a comment saying you voted for her!

*Bonus Entries*
This contest will go through Sunday, June 10th at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. Since you can vote for Kati's story once every 24 hours, you can come back here and leave a comment every time you do so. That's one entry a day for the next 12 days!!!

You can also snag yourself an extra entry for sharing this blog post on your blog or on Facebook...or heck, even both! Just leave separate comments here saying you did, giving you up to two extra entries.

I'll be using random.org to pick the winner, so go. Vote. Help my girl win. And you get an autographed book!!!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

My Gift To You...

And after that long post, here is my Memorial Day gift to you: a photo dump from my iPhone!!!

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year...

We all know I despise Christmas, right? I think that has been well-established on this blog before. So...what holiday is my favorite? Truth is, I have two. The first is Black Friday. And yes, in my book, Black Friday is a holiday. Thanksgiving leftovers (namely turkey sandwiches), an insane amount of shopping, and everything in stores more than reasonably priced? Love it.

And my second favorite holiday is today, Memorial Day. Now I need to clarify which Memorial Day I'm talking about for you, my readers, as there are two kinds of Memorial Days...the East Coast Memorial Day and the West Coast Memorial Day (and East Coast Readers as well as West Coast Readers). You see, out west, Memorial Day is weird. No parades, no special sales, and people gather- in the masses- IN CEMETERIES. Sure, I get going to headstones of your loved ones and leaving flowers. But out there, it's weird. People take their camp chairs, picnic blankets, food, gas grills, radios....and sit around grave sites all day long. I kid you not. It's freaking weird.

It's the East Coast tradition that I love. And I'm especially partial to the celebration that happens in my tiny hometown of Bloomfield. Bloomfield is so small, it kind of feels like one big family. So the downtown Memorial Day celebration is like a big family picnic. First, everyone lines Main Street and South Ave (the Thomas Family typically congregates at the corner of the two by Pickle Park and the funeral home) (the Steeles are usually less strategically sitting by the old Headlee house which is silly because the marching band never plays down that stretch. They do their drum line thing until they round the corner past the fire hall.)

Then after the parade, the entire town heads to Elton Park for the presentation of a wreath at the memorial statue, the reciting of the Gettysburg Address by a 5th grader, and a 21-gun salute. And while all of this is going on, you can typically get hots and hamburgers at the Methodist Church parking lot, or chicken barbecue at the Congregational Church across the street.

The cemetery is, like out west, full of flowers and those remembering their loved ones (Military personnel or not). However, I feel that a much more reverent attitude is present here. People go in, reflect, place wreaths and flowers in remembrance, and quietly leave, allowing others to do the same. It's not a party, it's peaceful. Out west, it's just weird.

However you spend it, I hope your Memorial Day is wonderful and that you take a few moments to reflect and remember those who have served our country.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Why I Don't Blog Anymore (And Why I Should...)

Oh, hey blogosphere. Long time no see. And this is why: I started this blog when we were living in Utah. When we were thousands of miles away from our family who wanted to know what we were up to. And then, as you may know, we moved away from Utah. The blogging slowed considerably when we moved to Seattle, for a lack of ways to post and a lack of things to post about. We were unemployed, struggling to find work. It was very depressing. So then we moved back to New York. Back to our family for whom I originally started the blog. Back to all of those wonderful, dear people who get to experience my craziness and life-happenings on a daily basis. But what about YOU? Yes you, dear, loyal reader. I assume you still care (or are at least curious) about me, my family, my life. Why else would you be reading my little old blog? So I need to keep that in mind. Keep YOU in mind. And, well, since this blog doubles as my journal, I guess I need to keep my posterity in mind. So. A quick catch-up since my last post in February (ACK!).

Logan was sick with a cold. Which lead to an ear infection. Which landed us at Urgent Care one night at 6:30. And while we were in Urgent Care, I decided to go all insane fever spike and passed out. They admitted me, found that I was dehydrated, blah blah blah. I'm fine. We started a standing dinner date on Thursday nights with my grandma. The kids and I definitely look forward to it every week! March also brought my childhood friend Nikki's bachelorette party at Turning Stone Casino. It was a fun night away from the kids! The Steele's dog, Jessie, also passed away in March. It's been weird to have to explain that to the kids. See, when my grandpa passed away in January, I don't think it phased them all that much. I hate to say it, but they didn't know him all that well. He wasn't part of their daily lives like he was mine. But Jessie was. Not a day went by that they didn't see her or play with her. So that was a whole new thing to deal with. Oh, and I became obsessed with Downton Abbey.

Easter was nice. The weather was beautiful. The kids ate too much candy. Family dinner was wonderful, as usual. My very best friend, Dani, has her third baby on the 11th. She was almost as big as Logan...little Natalie was 9 lbs even. She was admitted to the NICU for a few days because she had a pretty traumatic birth (what about that process isn't traumatic???!!) and was having trouble breathing. But many many prayers were sent their way and she was home within a few days. We had some really nice bouts of weather. It was 80 degrees for a few days. And then a blizzard hit and we had a snow day. Silly Rochester. Back in April, I also applied for a fellowship grant for my whole writing thing. I don't know if I mentioned it here or not, but I am attending the 9th annual Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference in Utah next month (check it out!www.wifyr.com ) and this year they are giving away a $1000 grant to a promising writer to help launch his or her career. Fingers crossed!

May has been busy! I can't believe it's already more than half over with. May 5th was Nikki's wedding. It was at Steamboat Landing and was beautiful! Then a week later came Savannah and Brandon's wedding...which was absolutely wonderful!!! The weather was perfect, the reception was decorated beautifully, the colors she chose just popped on everyone....it really was splendid. The only thing I would have changed was my trip to the ER... Yeah. Most of you know what happened, but again for posterity: I'm anemic. I have been for a while. So if I don't take my supplements or eat enough iron-rich foods, it's bad for business. I also have a habit of running around like a crazy person for hours upon hours and not drinking enough water. Put those two bits of common knowledge together and add them to me feeling queasy and not eating anything of substance for a few days and you have a recipe for disaster. At 8:30 Saturday morning, my friend Marcie came over to do my hair for the wedding. It was going to be a waterfall braid with a bunch of loose curls and a flower. Gorgeous, right? Well as I sat there in my living room getting my hair curled, I just didn't feel right. And I quickly realized that was how a felt back in March when I passed out at Urgent Care. So I said, "Marcie, I think I may pass out." The next thing I know, I hear someone say, "is your daddy home?" kind of panicked. So I thought to myself, I don't live with my parents... and I opened my eyes. I was on the floor, face down. That didn't make sense. And my face and my hands were wet. And there was a puddle of black...no red...liquid. Blood. My blood. All over the floor. Streaming from my head. Oh, the panicked voice was Marcie's. She is talking to the kids and looking for Zac. So Zac came out and freaked out a little. At some point, Jaylene showed up and the two of them took me to the ER (after Urgent Care sent me there saying I would need a head CT) where I ended up with 7 stitches in the top of my head and the gash above my left eye glued closed. But I avoided the head CT and actually made it out of the ER in record time. They knew I had a wedding to get to so they worked super fast. They even washed the blood out of my hair for me so when I got home, I just threw some mousse in and let it do its wavy thing. The temple sealing was wonderful. The story Brother Milroy told about the little girl who had visited the Bountiful Temple open house was super touching and simply amazing. I loved every second of being there with Savannah and Brandon as they were sealed for time and all eternity!!!! And I couldn't be happier for one of my best friends and her new husband!!!!! This merry month of May also brought another round of illness for the kids. Just yesterday, actually. They were both puking and miserable for the better part of the day. And Logan stayed home sick today, too. But I still managed to get into the school for his Parent/Teacher conference. Since I didn't have one at the beginning of the year, this was my first one for him! Well, first one ever. It was great. His teacher, Mrs. Hammond, said the most wonderful things about him and how impressed she is by him. It was so nice to hear that he is doing so well in school and that she sees him as being right on track for Kindergarten! Yay, Logan!!! So, there it is. The last 3 months in one simplified post. I'm going to be better about posting. I promise. Maybe.