Tuesday, June 29, 2010

River Rafting

For a belated Father's Day gift, we took my husband river rafting. It was a blast! The water was a little on the freezing side, but we had such a great time, even when it started raining on us. The raindrops hitting the water was mesmerizing. We rafted 5 miles on the beautiful Animas River.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dress Success

We traveled to Utah at the beginning of this week in search of a modest wedding dress. We shopped from 10:00 am until 9:00 pm on Monday and it was exhausting. Tuesday we started about 10:30 am and shopped all day long until we couldn't shop one more second. By Wednesday morning, my daughter had narrowed her choice to 3 dresses.

Dress #1 at Allyse's Bridal in the University Mall. It was a unique dress that fit her body perfectly. It had a cowl around the shoulders and made her mid-section look tiny. It was very simple and had no beading.

Dress #2 at Gowns by Pamela was a rental gown. She mixed and matched pieces until she came up with a skirt and top that complimented each other and her figure. We all loved the big, poofy skirt. The price for the rental was a bit cheaper than to buy a dress and included the veil, corset, petticoat, and dress.

Dress #3 at Peggy's Bridal on north State Street in Orem. I actually bought my wedding gown at this store more than 25 years ago. This gown had a full skirt, making her look like a princess, beading, and a bodice that made her waist look tiny, tiny. When I saw her in it, I had to look away because it made me have tears. She looked like a bride and it hit me that she's really getting married. This dress earned the nickname by my older children of, "The cry dress."

After much deliberation and discussion, she picked the cry dress. Peggy's included the veil and the petticoat rental in the price of the dress so we were happy with it. Of course, wedding dresses aren't inexpensive these days and I choked on the price a bit, but she looks so beautiful. Just like I imagined her. She looks like a princess. And we now have dress success.

By the end of the shopping, the rest of us were pretty loopy, as demonstrated by this photo:

Yes, that is my son dressed up in a tiara and a veil. He was actually pretty good through the whole shopping odyssey.

Yay, the dress shopping is done. Now, on to invitations . . . .

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Real Grandma

My husband's grandmother, Vera Adams Hunt, passed away last week. She was a month shy of turning 93. We attended her funeral service on Monday in Thatcher, AZ. It was a celebration of her life. She was such an amazing woman who fiercely loved her family. She was always in the service of others, looking for ways to help those around her. She made so many quilts. I cherish the quilts she made for my kids.

Every time we visited her, she was so excited to see us. She'd pull out toys for the kids and then visit with us. She loved to laugh and had a fun sense of humor. One time, we were all together for a family event and I was using my video camera to record my mother-in-law and her sisters. As soon as they realized the camera was recording them, they promptly turned around and faced away from me. Grandma Hunt said, "Now turn back around. Your faces are prettier than your butts." I laughed and laughed.

Her youngest daughter shared Grandma Hunt's life story. She quoted one of the grandkids who said, "Grandma was a real grandma, not a pretend one." Grandma Hunt loved her family and enjoyed her grandkids and her great-grandkids. Her joy came from her family and it showed in all she did.

She has a large posterity who all love her. We'll miss her, but we're all happy she could finally go to the other side to be with her husband who passed away 9 years ago. She'd told him before he died that he was to come right away for her and not leave in mortality for very long. We all joked that as soon as she crossed through the veil, she gave him an earful for leaving her in mortality for 9 years.

I love Grandma Hunt. She taught me a lot by her example. I learned from her that one woman can make a huge difference. Because of her choices and example, many have served missions, been married in the temple, served in callings, and chosen to live the gospel. She didn't accomplish this by making a big mark in the world, she did it quietly by loving her family and serving them. Now, each of us can have a similar impact on our families, which can then be tied back to Grandma Hunt.

She is the epitome of, "The most important work you'll ever do will be within the walls of your own home." I can't remember who said that, but Grandma Hunt lived it. I hope that I can be fraction of the woman she was and that my children and grandchildren will say of me that I was a real mom and grandma, not a pretend one.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Writing Stuff

I actually finished cutting down my new novel, The Upside of Down, from over 80,000 words to about 74,000. It was brutal, but I think the end result is a much tighter story. I ended up taking out some redundant dialogue and scenes, combining tags with actions, and purging it of some of my "pet" words. I'm hoping it didn't harm the story, but rather made it better.

I still don't have a release date but I'm thinking it'll be springish 2011. I hope it'll be out before the next LDStorymakers Conference in May.

I'm now taking an online class on characterization through WriterU, http://www.writeruniv.com/, with CJ Lyons, a popular novelist. I'm enjoying the class because it also covers plotting. Her method is somewhat similar to Larry Brooks' method over at  http://www.storyfix.com/. I'm going to use this new information to help me plot my next novel.

My next novel, the one that won't leave me alone, is a YA paranormal. Think Twilight meets Supernatural, but without vampires. I'm currently fleshing out ideas using Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake method. Summer doesn't give me a lot of writing time, especially since my daughter decided she wanted to get married and on top of all the planning, I'm sewing bridesmaids' dresses. How cool is that? Not. I'm hoping to have a first draft complete by September.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fishing Trip

Saturday we took our kids fishing. I'm bummed that I forgot the camera because it was a momentous occassion--we actually caught fish.

We've been on numerous fishing trips and come home empty-handed each time. It isn't easy taking a bunch of kids fishing, especially young ones who have a two-minute attention span. Generally, someone has to keep track of/chase after the little kids so the olders ones can fish.

The upside of all of our fishing trips has been the gorgeous scenery--mountain lakes surrounded by pines and snow-capped peaks. It's truly breathtaking. I've often wished I had my computer with me because I feel so inspired when I'm surrounded by such incredible beauty. I also wonder how the celestial kingdom could be any more beautiful than some of these places we've been fishing.

However, even the natural beauty doesn't outweigh hours on end of waiting to catch a fish and then having to come home without anything. But, that changed on Saturday and I've never seen my kids so excited. My nine-year-old was the first  to catch a fish and his smile stretched across his whole face. He wasn't even sure how to reel it in, but he was thrilled. When he caught another fish, he was Mr. Expert at it.

Each of the kids caught a fish. I even caught one--first time in too many years to remember. I was way too much of a pansy to stick my finger in the fish's mouth to unhook it--glad my husband was willing to do that and the whole gutting part--gross. Some of the kids helped him gut them. Not me. No thanks.

My youngest liked reeling in the line as fast as we cast it out for him. And, his greatest enjoyment came from taking off his shoes and socks and throwing them into the water. I was sure I'd end up soaking wet trying to retireve them, but luckily I didn't.

We came home and ate our catch and even my fussiest daughter who hates fish said they tasted really good. Nothing like a fresh catch.

So, yes, we had a successful fishing trip and the only thing I regret is not having my camera to document it all.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Eclipse Contest

Karlene Browning at Inksplasher is featuring a Countdown to Eclipse contest and today I'm the sponsor. You have to answer this question:

What is unique about my youngest son?

If you know the answer go to http://inksplasher.blogspot.com/2010/05/chasing-twilight-sponsor-question-june.html and leave the answer in the comment section. You can also answer other questions--the more you answer the better chance you have to win the grand prize: a basket full of Twilight-themed goodies. And each day you can win a prize. If you win today, you can choose a copy of Heaven Scent or Altared Plans.

You can also leave the answer here in my comment section and I'll forward them to Karlene, if that's easier.

Hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day yesterday. We drove up into the mountains, 10,000 feet elevation, and fished at a lake. We didn't catch any fish and I spent most of the time running after my four-year-old, but I was struck with the incredible beauty that surrounded me. Snow-capped mountains, pristine lake, evergreen trees, green meadows. What a gorgeous place and how blessed we are that Heavenly Father has seen fit to allow us to live in such a beautiful world.