Sunday, March 30, 2008

Brandon Dayley R.I.P

I just found out the news from some friends of ours, that an old friend of mine named Brandon Dayley just passed away on Friday. Brandon had a recent history of seizures and had one while he was standing near a pond at school.

This news is very sad. My heart is breaking for his family and all his friends. He was such a great guy. I had actually lost touch with him over the last few years, and found him, by chance, on MySpace just a couple months ago. I can't believe he is gone. :*(

This song, by Sara McLaughlin, is dedicated to his memory. We love you Brandon. And we will see you soon!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Firsthand Details

Breaking news..........Amy aka Cometomama posted her story of her experiences on the set. It goes along with the pictures I previously posted. The March 24th posts...

It is a fun read. ;)

And can I just say that so far I've converted 10 people to the Twilight Universe. Go me, Go me, Go Go, Go me!

I've only met one person so far that said they didn't like the books (I love you LL, you know I do, even if you are misguided. lol). Some of my converts, are even people that don't normally read these type of books, or really read at all. People of all ages even. Of course the degrees of their love varies. Most are "addicted", and a couple said they enjoyed reading them but aren't in love with the books. So if you still hesitate in reading them; DON'T!

That said, I do have to say it is more of a "girl" book than a "guy" book. But I have read of husbands that have read them and ended up enjoying them. Just in different way, and not to the depth that most of us women do. *hee hee* :D I'm still trying to convince Dan to read them. But that probably won't ever happen. Miracles do happen though, so you never know. *shrug*

Monday, March 24, 2008

Google Reader

This site is very cool. My friends Lacy and Erica told me about it. It is a way to stay up to date on everyone's blog postings. So you never miss any new posts. It is called Google Reader. It is very simple to use. Just go to They explain right there how it works.

If you have a blog through Google, or any type of account with Google, including gmail you can just sign right in and use it. If you don't it is super easy to sign up and it's free.

Then all you have to do is copy and paste the blog url into the little box on the left hand side that says "Add a new subscription". Put in the website and click the button. It is as simple as that. Now everytime you log into Google Reader you will see who has written new posts, and you can read them right there. It has been so much easier keeping up on all the blogs I read. That way I can stay in touch so much better.

Now when you read the blogs on Google Reader, it won't let you post comments, and you can't see or hear all the little extras some people put in their blogs (cute templates, flash player music, etc.) I like all that extra stuff personally. So if you prefer those things, the Google Reader does have the link to the actual blog right there above where you read the new posts. So it is easy as pie to just click on over, and then post you comment or whatever else you want to do.

And Google Reader makes it better for all of you that are still living in the land of the dinosaurs (*ahem ahem* dial up connections ;p), because you won't have all the extra stuff interfering with the loading of the posts you are trying to read.

Anyway check it out, and give it a shot. It is so worth the little effort it takes to copy and paste all the blogs that you want to keep track of.

1st Baby Tooth Gone

Another exciting thing that happened yesterday, besides Easter. Sierra's first loose tooth, finally fell out!

The tooth fairy visited her last night and gave her 4 quarters. Must have been a valuable tooth.

This morning Sierra told me the tooth fairy took her tooth, and she was sad because she had wanted to share it with her class on Wednesday for sharing time. I told her the tooth fairy would let us borrow the tooth so she could share, but then we had to give it right back. lol

Yay for the Big Girl!! :)

Our Easter

We had a nice holiday. Dan's parents were here to celebrate Easter with us. In the morning the kids found the baskets that the Easter Bunny gave them. They got goodies and some paints, and Dallin got a new hotwheels (you can tell he was excited in the picture), while Sierra got a tiny "lunch box" with Thumper on it. She loves it (despite the sour look on her face).

After getting ready for church I wanted to take some pictures of the kids in their cute Easter clothes. So we headed out front to get nice shots. Sierra proceeded to not cooperate. I wanted a nice background for the pictures. Unfortunately while I was attempting the shots, Sierra noticed there were some bees in the trees and started freaking out. So instead I got lovely shots of the garage door as the backdrop. And even then you can see the faces I get from Sierra. Got to love my drama queen. lol I still managed to get a couple good pictures of them, at least.

After that we went to church and then after the kids had an Easter egg hunt. They had lots of fun doing that. Sierra must have a built in radar or something, because she smoked Dallin at finding eggs.

When it was time we had dinner. Ham with chutney, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, and corn. Good stuff.

We had a very nice holiday together. We wish we could have all our family here. But we were with you in spirit. Love and hugs to all of you.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Ton More Twilight Pics

Quick blurb to let y'all know that Amy put a ton more pictures from the set up, and she fixed the color on them. So they look a lot more vibrant. Here is just a taste...

You can see Edward's topaz eyes in this pic!

For all the pictures go here.

Thank you again Amy for taking such awesome pictures, and for letting me share them!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter Sunday. May you be surrounded by your loved ones, on this sacred day. We send our love your way.

On the Set

So a lot of new news from my TwilightMoms. A few of them got to watch a couple days while they were filming Twilight at Kalama Highschool. Here are some pictures of the cast from those days. The pictures look fantastic. Robert especially. ;) I don't think I can be anymore excited than I already am for this movie. And from what the TM's are saying that have got to sit in on production, I have complete faith that Summit Entertainment will stay true to the book. There have been some minor changes, or added scenes. But not things that would compromise the heart of the story. And Stephenie Meyer is very pleased with the actors chosen (Especially Robert as Edward), and the screenplay. So if the author is happy, who am I to complain, ya know?!

It is completely hilarious how worked up I have gotten seeing the pictures and reading the experiences on set. It reminds me of watching all the old footage of The Beatles or Elvis, where the fangirls are crying and fainting over them. I could not understand the depth of their reaction... Until now! As I've read and seen the accounts, my reactions have ranged from squeeing & running around doing a jig, to getting teary eyed, to feeling lightheaded & practically hyperventilating. Very sad I know. I never had this strong of a reaction over anything, even as a teenager. It is just so exciting, that I can't help it. lol

Here are some pictures, courtesy of fellow Twilight Mom, Amy Howe, aka Cometomama. All pictures are copyrighted. Please ask permission before copying, posting, or manipulating. Thank you!

Emmett, Bella, Rosalie, and a crew guy

Edward and Bella

To see all her pictures go here..
Amy said she will have even better pictures up on Monday. Plus her experiences on the set.

Here are some other shots, from different TM's and other fans..

Alice and Jasper

Joy riding in Rosalie's car.Emmett and Jasper talking to Edward (Emmett is holding Alice's bag)
Part of the fun of looking at the pictures is reading the stories behind them. So because I aim to please, you can read some of the details of the TM's experiences, at these links.

Ok, I think that is it for now. I have some other Twilight related stuff. But I will save it for another time. Don't want to overload our blog with too much girlie stuff.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Please Change...

Ok, so a couple other friends have done this, and I think it is a good idea. With the internet being so big, anyone can read your blog really. With all that personal info we had posted I really didn't feel comfortable. I don't want to make the blog private though. I like having long lost friends find us, plus it is a pain to have to log in everytime you want to read new posts. So we decided to change the blog a little bit. We took out all our personal stuff, like last name, and where we live. And we changed the URL address as well, since that had our last name in it. I am sure that if we had left everything, nothing probably would've ever happened. But it is better to be safe than sorry. Especially with Dan's line of work.

So if you have our url posted on your blog. Please change it to read "Amber and Dan", or something more clever like "The coolest cats on the block". lol No last name please. Also the new url is

Thank you for understanding!

PS. We also went ahead and changed all the blog links we have up, to read just first names. Happy blogging! :)

My Adorable Niece

Here are a few pictures of my niece, Chloe. My brother Ian's daughter. She is now about 6 months old. And she has the cutest red hair. These pictures are of her, with her Grandma and Grandpa Smith.

Isn't she adorable?! :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Our Anniversary

Danny and I celebrated our 8th anniversary on February 26th! 8 whole years, wow time flies! It has been a wonderful eight years. Ups and downs of course, like any real relationship. But I wouldn't change a thing. I am more in love with him now than I was back then. He is the best and most loving husband any girl could ever want. I am so blessed, and thank God every day for him.

I put the first three songs that play here on our blog, in the flash player, in honor of our anniversary. The first is Our song, "I Do" by Paul Brandt. The second is "The Way I Am" by Ingrid Michaelson. Because Dan does take me the way I am, quirks, flaws, and all. lol And the third song is one of my favorite songs, that Danny and I used to dance to at YSA dances, it always makes me think of him and the good times: "Bizarre Love Triangle" by New Order. All the songs after those three are just some of my favorites.

Dan and I went away for the weekend from the 29th-2nd. Grandma and Grandpa Cranston watched the kids for us, and we stayed in Santa Cruz. Our tradition each year is to stay at a different Bed & Breakfast. So this year was no exception. The place we stayed at was called Babbling Brook Inn. The outside wasn't what I expected. But our room was very nice. Soft feather bed, gas fireplace, nice bathroom with a huge jacuzzi tub, a balcony that overlooks a brook and the garden. The breakfast each morning was very good. I was impressed.

Our trip was a nice one. We enjoyed our time together, and had fun. But we were a bit disappointed with Santa Cruz. It was a lot dumpier than I thought it would be. And not very much in the way of exceptional restaurants to recommend it. Dan said he thinks that there wasn't better eateries because of where along the coast it is situated. You have San Fran only a little farther north, and just an hour south you have Carmel (which we love!). I'm not saying we hated the places we did eat at. It just wasn't anything to be impressed over, like I was expecting.

We checked out the Beach Boardwalk and that was pretty fun. We rode on the three bigger rides they had. The one famous roller coaster (can't remember the name off the top of my head) was actually my favorite. Which is surprising, because it is a wooden coaster. Usually the wooden ones are too jarring for my taste, but this one wasn't bad.

We checked out one the beaches there: Natural Bridges state park/beach. That was nice, but again kind of a disappointment compared to other places.

The downtown area was cool in Santa Cruz. That was one thing in its favor. Reminded us a little of San Francisco. We had a good time shopping, seeing a movie, watching the street performers, and our dinner that night was the best out of all our restaurant stops that weekend.

We tried to go dancing Friday night. They have a couple dance clubs. But just like in Vegas, someone got sick (not me this time). Yep Dan started feeling unwell that night, so it was a no go.

Final verdict: Being with Dan without the kiddos I give a 10++++, our B&B I give an 8, restaurants a 6, the overall town and atmosphere only a 5. We won't be back.

Next year our plan is Sausalito/SanFran. We've stayed in San Francisco for one of our anniversaries already, but never in Sausalito. I heard it's very quaint and it is close to SanFran (so we can do all the fun stuff there too!).

Anyway that was our trip. Don't mean to complain so much. We did have a good time despite the flaws of the city.


Change of Plans

Our plans in moving here was to live here for just a couple years. That way Dan could work a bunch of overtime, so we could get out of debt. We were planning on no more than 18 months more. Well that has changed. We have decided to stay about 5 more years. We really love it here. The town is nice, we adore our ward at church (Go 3rd Ward!), and have tons of friends, the school that the kids are going to/will go to is phenomenal. So weighing those options against our reasons to move back sooner like we planned, it changed our minds. We will after 5 years move back to the Sacramento area. We still don't feel like putting permanent roots here, as it is too far south for our liking (we wish we could just pick up the whole city and move it north more).

Since we had decided on staying longer, we thought we would go ahead and take advantage of the buyers market in homes. The prices have come down so much, that we thought we could go ahead and invest in a home now, instead of waiting until we moved. Well it has been more of a challenge than we imagined. No banks right now are accepting 100% financing, and we don't have and are not willing to put 3-5% down. Especially when it would only save us about $50 a month on our loan payments (completely ridiculous, imo). There is a way to get a loan through the Feds, but we don't know if it is worth the hassle. We aren't desperate to buy a home. We have a lovely home now, that we rent from Dan's parents. It is perfect for our needs, with more than enough space. It just would've been nice to invest while the prices are so great.

What I don't understand is with the market being so bad, it seems stupid to me that they are so unwilling to work with people. Especially when said people have awesome credit scores, fantastic pay, and job security. Oh well, we'll see what happens. Either way, ya'll are stuck with us for a bit longer than you thought. ;p lol

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Today is my Bday

Ok, so my 32nd birthday was today (Saturday). I'm so old! lol Just kidding, I don't feel old whatsoever. I had a nice day.

Last night Dan and I celebrated by doing a session at the Fresno Temple, and then out to dinner at a fancy schmancy restaurant, called Flemings. Our friends Marcie and Chad Galley were sweet enough to watch the kids for us. All our normal teenage babysitters were all busy, so Marcie and Chad helped us out. They ROCK! ;)

Dinner was so yummy. Expensive and not a place to bring the kids, but well worth the price. We had Lobster Tempura for our appetizer, and the Flemings house salad, and I had steak and Dan had almond crusted shrimp as our main course. And for dessert we had fresh berries, with chantilly cream and Bluebell vanilla ice cream. Oh my it was all amazing.

Then today I had to go to the Primary activity, since I am now in the Primary Presidency again (only as secretary this time though, so it's all good). I was sad though that I couldn't sleep in on my birthday. But the activity went well, and all the kids seemed to have a good time.

The rest of the day was mainly spent relaxing. Dan made me a special dinner. Yummy, yummy! Then he got me my favorite Mint Chocolate Chip icecream cake. He even had them decorate with my favorite color; periwinkle. And after that I opened presents. I got one of my favorite movies on DVD, "The Princess Bride". A well loved classic. Also some tasty girl scout cookies. Thin Mints are my favorite!

Also my lovely friend, Peggy surprised me with a little birthday gift as well. Some tdf chocolates. What a sweetie she is. Thanks again Peggy!

It was a good birthday. :)