Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 2014

I've been contemplating my approach to blogging lately. Once a week has proven too much for this lazy, tired mama who would rather spend her time napping, reading, or watching syndicated episodes of The Gilmore Girls during her downtime rather than do something productive like document her personal history.

Unsurprisingly, live goes on in spite of my laziness to document it, thus it becomes more and more difficult to catch up, so I won't even try, other than to say December was a wonderful month and I'll try to post pictures of both December and November 2013 so that I can have some remembrance of that time in our lives.

Mostly I want to remember my daughters. The way they looked, the sound of their laughter, the funny things they said. It would take a lifetime to document everything I wanted to about who they are in each little day and for now I'm just living it. I've gotten off Facebook which helps me to unplug a little from the things that keep me distracted and we've spent large chunks of time detoxing from the time we spend with the TV (seriously, it's been getting out of hand since baby number three entered the picture). So here is a little update on my daughters.

Hannah is the most eloquent, self aware four year old that I know, and I know a bunch of four year olds. She is smart and sassy but at the same time, she's extremely gentle and nurturing. She is always telling me if I'm not eating enough, or sleeping enough. "It's not good for the baby, Mom." She is constantly expressing her love either verbally, or by snuggling up and stroking my arm tenderly. Her bossy nature can be difficult to rein in (Adam prefers to call it natural leadership) but she isn't ever mean hearted. She's just used to being the oldest and having some sort of responsibility. She loves to speak into microphones in church, and to perform in some way. In fact, last month she sang "I am a Child of God" solo during the YSA sacrament meeting during my dad's talk. She made the mistake by starting to sing during the introduction, but covered it up by humming the tune. She then sang loud and clear into the microphone, looking at Mommy and Daddy the entire time. One of the YSA's commented on Facebook that it had been inspired, and had helped to remind her that she was a child of God.

Recently we've been getting better at reading the scriptures and praying. Hannah is becoming more aware of the gospel and the spirit, and makes insightful comments about what she is feeling and learning. The primary scripture for January is "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever beliveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). After many recitations of this particular verse, (in which we'd go line by line and talk about what it means) we were repeating it together at the breakfast table. When we got to the part that says "whosoever beliveth in Him" Hannah's face lit up and she said, "THAT'S ME! I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST!" It seemed as if all the pieces of scripture had finally connected and she recognized herself as a believer, who had the potential of eternal life with our Heavenly Father. I could feel her spirit be glad. It was extremely touching and gratifying for me as a parent.

Paige surprises us every day. Ever since she was a new born baby she has been an effervescent beam of light in our lives. She was always the happiest baby on the block, smiling her beautiful gummy grin. Now, she expresses joy throughout her whole body. She jumps up and down, claps enthusiastically, throws her arms around you and squeezes so tight you think she's trying to transfer her joy straight to you, and she emphatically proclaims her feelings of happiness. Almost nothing gets her down. She'll ask for an orange plate (after I've already filled up a yellow one) and when I tell her that I am giving her a yellow one but maybe she can have orange next time she'll proclaim, "That's a great idea, Mom!" Even Hannah's learned, that if Paige wants something, the mere suggestion of a slightly altered plan will result in an appraising, "That's a great idea, Han!" Other phrases that you'll often hear from Paige include, "That's my favorite thing!" "This is the best day ever!" and "I've always wanted ____!"

Of course the bigger they are the harder they fall, and in spite of her joyful, Pollyanna outlook, she is also extremely dramatic in the worst sense of the word. Sometimes our alternate ideas aren't "great" and they cause Paige to fall into the depths of despair. One of her most commonly used phrases is, "I WANT to cry!" She refuses to be comforted so instead she'll put herself into time out or head off to the designated crying spot in her room where the tantrum will last mere moments without an audience to fuel her passion.

Paige was the first to feel the baby move, and as soon as he kicked her little hand, she recoiled in fear as if he bit her. She wanted to feel it again, but it kind of freaked her out, so she'll get close enough to try but then chicken out. I mean, something is moving in there...can you blame her? She is extremely excited to meet her brother, who she has suggested we name Baby Boy since we already took her first favorite (Cache) off the table. Cache is the son of our close friends and the only baby boy she is truly aware of.

Oh the book front, things are going well. I've loaned out several copies of my manuscript to willing friends who are working hard editing, suggesting, and commenting on the project. To date about ten people have read my book, provided AMAZING insight and feedback, and have encouraged me to keep going. It's been amazing that those ten readers have meant so much to me, because they are my friends and their reactions and feedback show they are taking me seriously. They don't coddle me, but instead provide honest, helpful feedback. They'll tell me if I use a phrase too often, or if I've misused a word, or a character is superfluous or a story line confusing. I love hearing their praise, but even more so I love hearing the criticism because I know it means they are taking me seriously and interested in helping me improve, and providing my characters a chance to be better than I alone couldn't make them. I sent one of my friends, Natalie, an e-copy of my book. Not only did she provide fantastic feedback and edits, she printed a copy of the manuscript and HAD IT BOUND. Just holding a bound copy of my work was more thrilling than I could possibly imagine. It's the most ambiguous part of my life, I've no idea whats in store for me, writing wise. Will I hold out for an agent or a publisher (I've had interest from SHANNON HALE'S AGENT!!!!) or will I self publish? Or will I sculpt and polish this book until my dying day or until it is perfect? (No, I won't do THAT). All I know is that writing this book has fulfilled a part of me that had been empty for a long time. There was a corner of my heart that had remained empty because I'd known forever that I wanted to write a book, and now I have, and I've got a few others in the works too!

Adam is doing fantastic as well. He is a wonderful person and husband and I could go on for days about him but I've written quite a lot already and I'm very tired, so more on Adam later. For now, goodnight.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Christmas Letter 2013

I was going to include this in my Christmas card but I just didn't ever get around to it. A little recap and holiday cheer for 2013:

Dear Friends and Family,
  Merry Christmas! We can’t believe how quickly 2013 has come and gone, and what an amazing year full of twists and turns. Here are some of this year’s Turney family highlights.
Adam was offered a new position at Forbuss Elementary as the Humanities (technology) specialist. This job has been a unique challenge, as Adam is no longer a classroom teacher and he is learning how to navigate his new role in the school. He teaches all the third, fourth, and fifth grade students in rotations. He’s also become indispensable around the school, fixing different technology related issues. His position allows him to experience other administrative duties as well and he’s learning a lot. He spent most of the year as an instructor in the Elders Quorum and is now the Elders Quorum secretary. He really enjoys his calling and loves serving in this capacity.
2013 was a significant year for me, because I finally, FINALLY accomplished a huge goal I’d been dreaming about ever since I could remember. I wrote a novel. A 60 thousand word, Young Adult contemporary fiction.  It took the better part of the year and hundreds of nap times for me to accomplish it, but I did it. Currently I’m working on revising and editing, and I’ll ether seek an agent in 2014 or self-publish via Amazon depending on current market trends. I am also loving my calling as a Relief Society instructor. It’s been a huge blessing to me.
Hannah has grown leaps and bounds this year. She is currently enrolled at Wright Elementary in a special pre-K class of mixed abilities students to model typical peer behavior. She loves preschool, and has been especially interested in letter sounds. She is taking a music class, which she loves. Hannah is extremely independent, and loves to take care of herself and her sister. Hannah started primary this year and almost every week she volunteers to say the prayer, read a scripture, or give a talk. She loves that microphone.
Paige is not your average two year old. In fact if you ask her, she insists that she is three. Her vocabulary is extraordinary and she is able to communicate easily with everyone.  She has the sweetest heart, and loves to snuggle and spend quality time with her family. She started nursery this year, and loves it. She loves her nursery friends, and especially loves her teachers.
Our most exciting news is that we are expecting Baby Turney #3 in June 2014. Adam has been incredible, taking care of our little family while I’ve been experiencing morning sickness and exhaustion. In fact, the whole family has really helped out and picked up my slack.  We can’t wait to meet this new edition and find out what new surprises lay ahead. Hannah is probably the most excited, and often asks to see pictures of what the baby looks like right now, or how big the baby is right now. It’s going to be a long wait! We are especially excited that HE is a BOY! We need a little more testosterone around here. 

We want to express our love and gratitude for each of you in our lives. We are so incredibly blessed to know you. We also want to share our testimony of our savior Jesus Christ, the reason we celebrate Christmas. We know that through His atonement and example we may find peace and happiness.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Books Read in 2013 {For my Record}

I read upwards of 60 books this year, which is quite impressive since I also wrote a book (and started a few more drafts). Mostly I focused on books that were written for my particular genre and audience that I wrote for (for research like character development and pacing ideas). A lot of people might say, "Wow, you have a lot of time on your hands..." but head over to the Becoming Lovely blog for a great post on priorities.

Here is my list. I'm not sure if it is complete. Sometimes I am lazy and forget to add a book or five through the year. You can check out my goodreads for a more complete list (complete with impressions and reviews for the books as well).

Completed Reading List 2013

Incendiary by Chris Cleave

*Edenbrooke: A Proper Romanceby Julianna Donaldson

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

*The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Worblewski

*Hamlet by William Shakespeare

*What Alice Forgotby Liane Mortany

*Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

*The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

*The Happiness Project by Grechin Ruben

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

*Code Name Verityby Elizabeth Wien

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

*The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

*Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt

*Bird by Bird byAnne Lamott

*These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox

Happier at Homeby Gretchin Rubin

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

**The Life of Joseph Smith by Truman G. Madsen

*Raising a Family unto the Lord by Gene R. Cook

*Running Barefootby Amy Harmon

*Life of Pi by Yann Mantel

*Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Mother by Maya Angelou

The Peacegiver by James Farell

Sparky Green Earings: Catching the Light at Every Turn by Melanie Shankle

The Selection by Kira Cass

The Prince by Kira Cass

The Elite by Kira Cass

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can't stop Talking by

*A Different Blueby Amy Harmon

The Rent Collectorby Cameron Wright

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

*Christlike Parenting by Dr. Latham

Someday, Someday, Maybeby Lauren Graham

*On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

*Women and the Priesthood by Sheri Dew

Blackmore by Juilanne Donaldson

*Making Faces by Amy Harmon

The Girl who Chased the Moonby Sarah Addison Allen

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indianby Alexie Sherman

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

*The Shoemakers Wife by Adriana Trigiani

*The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

*Charlotte's Webby E.B. White

*The Fault in our Stars by John Green

*The Book Thief by Markus Zusack

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

*A Christmas Carolby Charles Dickens