Pitching my Weird Pregnancy Dreams as Book Ideas

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Okay, so I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes when I dream it’s not about myself… That is to say, that sometimes I dream in a “movie format” with it’s own characters and plot twists and everything. This especially happens when I’m sick. And if I’m sick and pregnant, the story-dreams are even crazier.

So I started writing them down as if I were pitching them to agents as book ideas. Here they are for your enjoyment! (Forgive the conspiracy thrillers. It’s been a rough first trimester.)

 

Retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, but the giant is made out of pulled taffy.

A family of four tries to escape a mall as an active shooter works his way towards them.

A cheerleader is forced to spend time with some of the grossest and geekiest outcasts of the school (stylized as a 1980s John Hughes comedy).

A down-on-his-luck father is hired to work for the United States’ most extensive underground mob.

Four amateur and bumbling criminals decide to rob a bank accidentally at the same time as four violent and capable criminals.

A woman takes down a group of terrorists on a cruise ship by using an animal-shapeshifting superpower.

Queen Elizabeth is let in on a secret plan to assassinate one of her own government officials right before her daughter announces that she’s fallen in love with him.

A group of young boys find themselves trapped in a house with strange and mysterious properties, competing for the only exit.

A lonely high school kid is granted the ability to become invisible for a day. He uses his new skill to learn that his fellow students have their own demons.

A high school girl begins to accurately dream the future the day before her premonitions become true. At first it’s all fun and games, until her dream predicts that she will somehow become hopelessly lost in the dark woods.

“Morty’s Fun House of Outrageous Revoked Licences: The Strangest Reasons People Have Had Their Driver’s Licenses Taken Away” (I flipped through this book in a dream haha)

A doctor is hired by a corrupt pharma company to pretend that he has a specific degenerate disease in order to falsify research.

BONUS: I dreamt that my husband and I were contestants on The Bachelor/Bachelorette but living in the same house. We made a vow to give up our roses for each other

 

Which one would you read as a book or go see as a movie? Do any of you creative people have out of control dreams like this?

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Making a Fool of Myself at Barnes and Noble

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Anyone who knows my husband and I, knows that we love to prank each other. One time, Dan put cottage cheese in my deodorant, changed my birthday and Facebook and announced that I was engaged to a mutual friend all on the SAME April Fool’s Day.

So, naturally, I am always trying to get back at him in any little way I can think of.

One time we were hanging out at Barnes and Noble, because if you didn’t know, that’s how non-nerds spend their time. OBVIOUSLY.

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I was browsing around the aisles while Dan trailed behind me. It came to me that this was a perfectly perfect time to be a really annoying wife. I could tell that he was trying to get around me, so I spread my arms out to the side and did a weird zig-zaggy walk. Basically MAXIMIZING every inch of space so that it was impossible to pass by.

I kicked my knees up with each step. Exaggerating every single movement, because I’m a comedic genius honestly. Anyways, basically, I looked like a marionette being controlled by a preschooler.

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That’s when the Barnes and Noble employee was like, “Um… Excuse me…”

Dan had stopped one aisle over. Letting me do this STUPID dancing block-aid. For like honestly a full minute.

Dummy. Even when I try to get him back he finds a way to turn the tables on me.

Things that Made Me Throw Up During the First Trimester

Haven’t I mentioned several times how sick I was with this pregnancy? Well here’s some more of that.

First trimester was the WORST. In fact the retching got so ridiculous that I started keeping a list of why in my phone. (You’re welcome. I know you wanted this.) If you don’t believe that nausea is a problem for a pregnant woman, give this a read. It will give you an idea of how hard it is to live daily life without puking during that 1st trimester.

Trigger warning… if you’re pregnant probably.

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REASONS FOR THROWING UP

My son gagged on a mouthful of chicken nuggets
Saw a picture of a sweaty boxing champion and imagined how they smelled
Scrolled too fast on my phone
Touched wet Rice Krispy cereal
Ate too much
Ate too little
Tried to do the dishes
Remembered what bacon soda tasted like
Watched a review for Hungry Man Enchiladas. (That was a mistake)
When Zoe on Sesame Street said her sandwiches would taste like bologna and socks
Had to cough when I woke up, puked instead
Arie breaking up with Becca for another woman and then following her around the tiny apartment for like AN HOUR
Husband made a ratchet poop joke
Smelled my toddler’s poop
Watching Rhett and Link eat anything
Tried to put on a pair of jeans
Oven was too hot
Had to bounce to get snow off my shoes
Thought about food
In the music video 6 Underground where he drips worms out of a can. Barf
Sat up too fast

 

 

Thankfully, I’m over the worst of it. But even reading over this list… I just… it kind of… makes me… excuse me…

 

Trying to Recreate the Parent Trap IRL

So, here’s a thing that happened.

It was 1998. A beautiful time of matching windbreakers over mom jeans and boy bands with frosted tips. 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Boyce had just blown everyone away in the school talent show by singing “My Heart Will Go On”. And while all the adults were laughing at There’s Something About Mary, the kids were all about Lindsay Lohan in the remake of Disney’s The Parent Trap.

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If you’ve never seen it, first off – shame on you because it’s a real treasure. Secondly, the idea is that two twins separated as babies by a divorce meet at a summer camp. After camp, they pretend to be each other in an effort to rekindle their parent’s love. To this day, my sister Natalie and I are still huge fans of both the old movie and the new movie. In fact, when it first came out we were so enchanted by it that we decided, Hey, let’s switch places…

Here’s the problem. Um… we look nothing like each other. I was a super blondie and Nat had really dark hair. We didn’t even really look like sisters, let alone twins. Also, we were three years apart. My sister was in the fifth grade and I was in second grade…

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Nevertheless, we were sure that this was a good plan.

We planned it out for weeks. We each had a notebook with tons of important tips jotted in them, where my desk was in the room, where I kept my markers, nick names I called my best friends so they would be none-the-wiser.

The day came and we went right to each others classrooms. Natalie went to second grade and I went to fifth. My sister, haha, recognized RIGHT AWAY that it wasn’t going to work. She stepped into class and the teacher was all like, “Can I help you?”. She just kinda shuffled back out the door, “Uh, no. I’m good.”

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I, on the other hand, was still so sure about this. The teacher had kind of the same reaction.

Teacher: Do you need something?

Me: Nope. I’m Natalie.

Teacher: …. wut?

Me: I’m Natalie.

All the other kids started laughing so hard! And they were big kids. And it was scary. So I started to cry. My sister’s teacher had to walk me back to my second grade classroom. Ah, man.

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Anyways, coincidentally! Utah Children’s Theatre in Salt Lake is putting on The Parent Trap. How fabulous is that? Doesn’t that sound like the most fun ever? Come and see it! Tickets and showtimes can be found at uctheatre.org I can’t even tell you how excited I am to check it out! I’m definitely bringing Natalie with me.

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Novel Update: Back from the Editor!

So in case I haven’t spammed you well enough and you somehow don’t know… I’ve been working on a YA novel for the past six months. It’s about an LDS girl who tries to fit in with a group of burnouts, and it’s lightly based on some experiences that I had in high school.

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Completely finished three drafts (woot!) and hired a freelance editor to take a look at the project. I do plan to try for traditional publishing which would probably require another editor anyway… but my thinking is that it was more of an investment into my skills as a whole. Trying to improve my craft overall.

The timing was impeccable honestly. My morning sickness had me out all of March and my book came back right when I was feeling better. (Um, amazing!) Now I could actually process the daunting six page editor’s letter.

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(ALSO) If you are a writer and are considering hiring an editor. I wholeheartedly recommend doing it. It was expensive (my only Christmas gift). But in my experience, it was worth every penny. She addressed all the concerns that I had for the piece, but could actually tell me what to do about it. It is worth it my friends!

Mostly her recommendations were things to add in, opposed to changing. Which YAY! Because writing more book is WAY more fun than re-structuring everything. She also mentioned that my writing was some of the cleanest that she had come across… which had me like “Wha? Really??” For a first time novel that I wrote in twenty days. Um yeah, that’s a compliment.

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So anyways, didn’t mean to blab on so much about it, but in short – It’s going well. Haha

Now, with the brainstorming help of my editor I am starting draft numero 4. And I am hoping that this is the one I can present to potential gatekeepers and book Gods. So cross your fingers for me! I would love to finish it before I move to AZ, but realistically… who even knows.

The Time I Tried to Teach Myself How to Yodel

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I can’t get enough of the video of the yodeling Walmart kid. Buuuut at the same time, it’s been kind of bringing up a lot of repressed memories…

Mostly this one.

I just randomly ‘get into things’. Like when I tried to memorize Hamlet. Or when I tried to teach myself how to dance to house music. Or when I spent like two months watching Cleopatra documentaries every day. I just get really excited about niche stuff.

So one day I was like, yo, I’m going to learn how to yodel.

I hadn’t really imagined the Hank Williams covers at Walmart. Mostly, I wanted to do like an Appalachia mountain kinda thing that I could use to call my kids to dinner with.

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Anyways, so in case you didn’t know… yodeling is switching back and forth in between your lower register and falsetto voice. Your voice makes a “break” and that’s where the yodeling sound comes from.

So basically, the way to practice yodeling is to do these weird freaking scales and strain your voice like Scooby Doo after he’s had some bad Taco Bell.

eeeeh EEEH! eeeh EEEH! eeeh EEEH! And you can’t do it quietly either or your voice won’t break as well. Okay… yeah…

Well, around this time I was asked to help clean my local church building. It was like eight in the morning on a Saturday and the other people they asked were young single adults with lives. So obviously, it was just me that showed up.

Just kidding. It was me and the guy who asked me.

So I got to work cleaning my half of the church building. The classrooms. All by myself. But hey! That wasn’t such bad news. I mean, golly gee, what a PERFECT time to practice my yodeling scales.

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I straight up practiced yodeling for an hour. THAT – IS – NOT – A – JOKE. I started to lose my voice before I finally finished up.

I wound the cord up around the vacuum and hauled it out into the hall… when I saw this other GUY. This effing latecomer that had UNBEKNOWNST TO ME been helping me clean my side of the church building. The whole time. The. Whole. Hour.

Oh my gosh, can you imagine this poor dude waking up early to clean a church and having to listen to this girl go “Eeeeeeeeeeuugughghh! Eeeeeeeeeuuughghghg!” for an entire hour. OH MY GOSHHHHHHH.

I think I honestly could have just buried down into the ground like a mole. I DIED.

Stopped yodeling after that traumatic experience I assure you.

All the BIG LIFE CHANGING NEWS

Hey, so it’s been a million years. Did you miss me? I basically ended up scrapping March, because my morning sickness was soooo harsh that I couldn’t even look at a non blue-light computer screen for more than 45 minutes without puking. I went from the best productivity of my entire writing life to the lyrics of “Lump” real quick.

Oh yeah, but did you catch that? I’M PREGNANT Y’ALL! BABY NUMBER TWO IS DUE IN OCTOBER!

That’s only the first announcement.

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I knew 2018 would be crazy. I sensed its scent like a lion crouching in the savannah grass. I just didn’t know it would be this crazy.

Don’t get me wrong, the baby was in no way an accident, but it still was a surprise. I had been having some health issues with my ovaries and infertility runs in my family. In fact, I was scheduled to check my egg supply and some other things when bam! Turns out I’m more than fine.

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I can’t think of a clever transition into the next big piece of news, so I’ll just blurt it out instead. WE’RE MOVING TO ARIZONA Y’ALL!

Dan is graduating pharmacy school in May aaaaaaand he got offered a residency position at a Banner hospital in Mesa.

I thought that I would be really scared to move far away, but it turns out that I’m actually really excited. And I can tell that I’m really excited because I do what I always do whenever I have a new adventure, or a book project, or a crush or something… which is bite my lip on baited breath waiting for someone to bring up “the thing”.

Plus not to mention the awesome job opportunities that will be available to my post-resident-doctor-husband.

YAAAAAAS

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Things are good. And exciting. And also terrifying… but like a rollercoaster terrifying where you still want to ride it. I don’t know, it’s great! But it will be even better when I’m not a lump sitting alone in a boggy marsh. Now excuse me while I go toss up my lunch. 😷

 

PS Check out this weird Easter Egg from the photo I used for our Christmas cards…

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FATE KNOWS!

Accidentally Feeling Up a Football Player

Hi, welcome to last week’s blog this week. Does anyone even notice stuff like that? Oh well, here’s your embarrassing story…

I never really had crushes on jocks growing up. I think probably because they weren’t geeky enough for my taste. But I guess that’s some typical girl thing? I mean I only see it in EVERY SINGLE TEEN ROMCOM EVER.

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Well anyways I guess after seeing the personality-less jock trope for the 500th time, it got me really thinking… Like, have I ever had that kind of crush though? I had to push through a lot of band geek / theater boy memories but then I REMEMBERED THIS THING THAT HAPPENED.

I can safely say that no, I’ve never really been that interested in a sportsy guy. But there was this one football player that I recognized to be quite a pretty man.

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For the sake of this story we’ll call him… ‘Stallion’ haha. (I never had enough of a crush on him to make up a proper codename at the time.)

So Stallion and I always had the same gym class. It was weird. Like no matter what grade, semester, A day B day, we always got put into the same gym class… maybe the school had to make up for my lack of physical skill by putting in an athlete like iono.

Anyways, we’re playing flag football. Woo hoo *sarcasm*. As soon as I left my high school theater room I was pretty much out of my elemenet for any other skill/interest. So just like any other boring gym day I casually stayed the furthest away from the game, while still trying to look like I was actually doing something.

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I was having a great time daydreaming UNTIL Stallion intercepts the ball and starts running in my direction for a touchdown. He had red tags and I had yellow tags. Which meant that NOW instead of avoiding the game it was my responsibility to pull the flag off this guy that played for the school team.

I made the most half butt attempt to stop him. I reached out and ran like four steps. See, coach? Go sports! Don’t fail me okay? He made the touchdown. (Big shockeroo there)

He walks towards me and he says something like, “Hey you almost got me.” Yeaaaah *shifty eyes*. But this is like the first time I’ve ever even heard Stallion’s VOICE so I’m intrigued enough to engage in this conversation.

As I took a step towards him, I stepped into a freaking hole. My toe caught the side and my knees just buckled from under me.

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Honestly, if I had just fallen on my face that would’ve been okay. I would have gladly taken that over what happened instead. Instead, Stallion reached out and tried to stop me from falling.

It wasn’t a good catch at all. He just kinda limply held me in his arms as my knees continued to buckle. AND the thing is that when you feel yourself fall you put your arms out in front of you right? Yeah. So I put my arms out in front of me as he stepped forward and ‘caught’ me.

My palms slid all the way down his freaking torso. Slowly too. Creepily slowly as I fell. Like if I had been in a cartoon it would have made a very loud squeegee sound.

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The game is just halted as everyone watches me seductively slide down this poor boy.

My friends even asked later if I had tripped on purpose to be able to feel down his rippling abs. It was all horrible. I spent the rest of the semester pretending to forget my gym shoes and hiding in the supply closet.

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What Does a Stay At Home Mom DO All Day?

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*NOTE: Mothers who work full time are actually amazing and I admire their ability to balance that into their lives. But I DON’T ADMIRE mothers who shame other mothers and act like they are the superior beings. JANICE! This meme got me TRIGGERED

You stay at home with your kid all day? Liyke, what do you EVEN doooOOOOoooOOOoooo?

Seriously?

Alright, well, this is what my average day looks like:

8:30 Get him up and dressed.

Sometimes if I’m lucky, he’ll want to cuddle into me for a bit. I give him breakfast (which is usually waffles and cereal) and I put on Sesame street. While he’s distracted and buckled into his high chair I RUN, take a shower and get dressed for the day.

9:30 ‘No-screen-play-time’

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This is usually the second most exhausting time of the day. It involves a lot of going up and down the stairs, opening and slamming doors, jumping on the bed… I have to SECURELY HIDE my phone and remotes to pull off no screen time.

11:00 Probably caving into more screen time

Around this time I’m usually like, okay… let me destroy you with more TV. Jack LOVES music videos! So he’ll usually go for that. He likes Coldplay, OK GO, Fun, Fall Out Boy, selective Taylor Swift (he’s really picky about her stuff), weird viral music videos like Gangham Style and that Pineapple Pen song.

12:00 Lunchtime!

By now I’m usually giving him a hot dog or a sandwich OR BOTH. (He eats a lot). String cheese, veggies, maybe a cookie 😉 😉

1:00 Nap

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Finally! The glorious nap time! Jack is a good sleeper, so I can count on at least two to three hours. Sometimes he’ll fall asleep right away, sometimes I have to put him down like three or four times while he laughs at me.

This would be a good time to get cleaning done… you’re right. It would. BUT I try to reserve this time for writing. That way I’m working on it everyday and it’s just a way to ensure that mommy gets time for herself.

4:00 snack / hobbit dinner / outing

Like I said, he eats a TON. Dad doesn’t get home until later and I know that he won’t make it until then so I feed him when he wakes up. After he eats, this kid needs to GET OUT. Lately, it’s been freezing outside so it’s been hard finding things to do. Sometimes we visit someone. Sometimes we just straight up go to a toy store and run around. The afternoon outing is interchangeable with the morning playtime and I do that sometimes especially if grandma invites us out to lunch or something.

5:30 starting dinner, trying and failing to do a last minute clean before dad gets home

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This is the hardest part of the day. I’m running around like a zombie while Jack is pawing at my legs and crying because I’m not playing with him. Aaaargggh! Sometimes I leave my phone on the floor at my feet so he can have a go, but then he usually tries to video chat random contacts in my phone.

6:30 Dan is home and we have dinner together

I’m so glad when daddy comes home. Glad as I can be. We all have dinner together (including Jack whose hobbit dinner is wearing off by then).

7:15 Mommy needs to freaking LAY DOWN

Dad usually plays a game of Hide and Seek with Jack, (his favorite thing). When Dad is exhausted we have family time by watching a couple of Fail videos on YouTube which our little one year old is all about tbh.

8:15 Bedtime routine

Jack gets a bath. Jammies. A book that he picks out. His teeth brushed while he tries to push you away. Family prayer. A song. Tucked in.

8:30 Bedtime

Now Mommy and Daddy can binge watch Catfish and eat the ice cream that we didn’t want to share with our son.

THE END

 

Trapped by a Parade of 2,000 Naked Bicyclists (No Joke)

My parents had this fun incentive that every time one of their children graduated from high school, that graduate got to pick where we went for our summer vacation. And while the limit of my imagination was California, my little brother chose to go to Europe.

June 2014, we were in London: me, my immediate family, a couple of my brother’s friends and my then fiancee Daniel.

We were scheduled to tour the River Thames, which I was particularly excited for because we were going to float past the recreation of the Globe Theater. And, hey, Shakespeare is sorta my thing. I was even IN an award winning Shakespearean play that summer so *sniffs and tosses hair over both shoulders like a snob*.

I was in the hotel getting ready to leave. When Dan calls me from outside.

DAN: Hey… There’s something really weird going on out here.

VAL: Oh, yeah?

DAN: There’s a big crowd of people… I think it might be a protest or something…

DAN: … … You should come down here.

When my family and I stepped out of our hotel we were greeted by a huge crowd of butt naked people standing around with bikes.

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So I guess the World Naked Bicycle Ride is a thing. (Don’t click on that unless you want to see nudies. NSFW. You’ve been warned.)

Us kids had a pretty good laugh at it, as my conservative parents were trying to herd our wandering eyes down to our river boat tour. We were only one crosswalk away from the dock before we found out that the streets were completely closed off.

So here we were caught watching the craziest parade ever. Thousands of naked dangling bodies zipping by us. Some were on rental bikes, which was… not something I wanted to think about too hard.

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(You know. In a weird way it was a confidence booster. In our society we never really see any ‘average-looking’ naked people. If you feel like you don’t look that great naked. Hey. Neither does anyone else. And I’ve seen a small towns worth of naked people to know. Everyone’s got rolls and flab. Guys are pretty much the same size… well okay, there was one guy that was “particularly brave”.)

Anyways, my mom is SUPER pissed off that we can’t cross the street. We’re about to miss our river boat tour because we can’t get around this moving wall of butt-cracks on bicycles. She WIGS THE FREAK OUT and just FLIPPING steps out INTO the middle of the parade.

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The guy has to squeeze his hand break and like skidded on his bare feet to stop from hitting my mom. Four to five people behind him are swerving and stopping and almost falling over. I thought for sure I was about to see my mother buried by an avalanche of a$$. She’s like waving us all to cross the street after she had just created the most awkward pile up in history.

That was embarrassing AF, but we made the river tour.

I feel like I can count that as one of the craziest things that has ever happened to me. I mean seeing a thousand lil’ Johnsons in one day is up there. I post crazy stories every month now, so if you haven’t subscribed yet, you may want to consider it.