Sunday, October 7, 2012


Friends, school is busy, but we're loving it and having a grand ol' time.  Here are some updates since August:

1.  On August 15th, a new little nephew joined our family.  Little Jimmy (James) is the cutest little guy!  I feel so lucky that I have been down to Houston twice since he was born to snuggle him.  I also feel the need to mention that his mom was a champion and delivered him naturally (and this was her first!)  She rocks. 

2.  Steven finished all 12 weeks of his internal medicine rotation and is now 2 weeks into his 6 week obgyn rotation.  He is liking obgyn much better than internal medicine (weird, I know), but he says he was bored to death doing internal med.  I'll let ya'll know if he delivers a baby in the upcoming weeks.  Once he's done with obgyn, he will have his 6 week psych rotation and then Christmas Vacation!  Partay!

3.  I am on school overload this semester.  Ho-lay Crap! 16 credit hours + 6 hours of volunteer work a week + teaching 6th graders after school until 6pm + primary chorister (with program in Nov) is keeping me busy and I LOVE IT!  Ahhhh...I thrive on being busy.  Busy Amber=Happy Amber.   Another perk about my busy schedule is that it keeps me from bugging/missing Steven.  Let me tell ya, if I were bored at home all day with him being gone all the time and at the hospital overnight once or twice a week I would be a pretty miserable girl!  Luckily with obgyn, he gets his Saturdays and Sundays off!  Yay!  It's always a bummer going to church alone...

That's basically it for now.  My best friend, Alexa, is getting married next week, so hopefully I'll remember and do a post on that.  I am so, so, so excited!! :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"How to Hug a Porcupine"

This may seem like an unlikely book to review, but let me just say, I am only 5 chapters into it and it has changed my life already.  No other book, aside from the scriptures, has caused more meditation and self-reflection. 

I received this book as a wedding gift actually.  I thought that was a bit of an interesting gift at the time, and it has collected dust over the last two years in Texas.  However, a couple days ago I started reading, and I cannot put it down, or get it off my mind. 

The book "How to Hug a Porcupine" talks about how to deal with toxic personalities. 

Side note: NO I am not in a toxic relationship.  NO I am not in a toxic marriage.  And NO I am not dealing with a particularly toxic person in my life as of right now.  YES I have been in these kinds of relationships before.  And YES I have dealt with these kinds of people before (everyone does in their life).

Everyone has a few (or more) toxic personality traits that they can work on.  This book identifies the different types of traits, personalities and habits that can be harmful to yourself and others.  Within the last week I have already noticed a difference in my marriage (not that it was bad).  That wasn't because Steven changed at all, but because I was able to label some of my faults and I have found the motivation and inspiration to change those faults into strengths.

For instance, I have the habit of overlooking everything that has been done and only noticing the undone.  Did you know this is a toxic personality trait?  I didn't! And instead of becoming overly stressed and taking it out on my husband, I have been able to take a deep breath and reassure myself that my life really will be ok if we wait until tomorrow to vacuum. 

There is a part of me that wishes that I could make everyone in the world read this book.  I think so many relationships would be spared pain, neglect, sorrow, loss, betrayal, ect. if they could just learn how to identify these toxicities, how to become their own best-self and then learn how to protect yourself from a harmful person or relationship. 

So there's my plug.  I highly recommend it to anyone.  And I think this may be a wedding gift I give to any new couple for the rest of my life.

Happy Reading!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lucky Duck (Part 3)

The last two weeks of July I spent with my sister-in-law and her three little boys.  It was so much fun to be with them-they are highly entertaining!

One day we went to the Natural History Museum in Gainesville and they had a butterfly aquarium.  I learned two things while I was there: 1.  It is nearly impossible to take a decent picture of my three rambunctious nephews.  2.  There are some people out there that dedicate their whole lives to only studying butterflies.  I had no idea that there was SO much more out there to learn about them ;).

 We also had an Olympic opening ceremonies party!  And by party, I mean it was just me, Stefanie and her husband Ed.  But it was great!

Bath time for Will and Jack!

Sleepy Benny.  Such a cute picture!


My last few days in Florida were spent at the happiest place on earth!  I was melting the whole time, but it was a blast! (Shout out to Becky who watched the boys in the evenings so Stef and I could go out and ride the big kid rides!)

Jack and I were naughty so we were fed to Bruce...

 Can you hear the twinkly Tinker Bell music??  I can!

It was a wonderful trip and it was great to spend some time with Steven's older sister and her family.  Now I have just one more week of summer before school starts up again!  I love school and I am super excited to start! :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Luckiness cont. (Part 2)

The first two weeks of July I spent with my family in Arizona.  At first, I didn't understand why they didn't live somewhere cooler and why we were spending money (actually they were free stand-by tickets) for me to fly from one hot place to another hot place.  I am all in favor of my family moving to Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, ect.  Those would be great places to visit during the summer.  But I guess Arizona will have to do!

It was a wonderful trip and those two weeks FLEW by.  The first week was spent up at my parents cabin in Heber, AZ so that was a welcome relief to the heat.  I love being up there.  It was nice to see my grandparents and aunt and uncle over the 4th of July too. 

The second week we were back in Glendale, and my mom got sick which was a total bummer.  She was out for a good 4-5 days there.  BUT, I spent wayyyyyy more time with my brothers on this trip that I normally do which was really good.  I had a lot of fun with them and actually gave them a run for their money while playing Mario Party.  I have some secret sweet Mario Party skills up my sleeve. 

Why I never take pictures while I'm with my family, I have no idea...maybe it's that I am having so much fun I forget ;). 

More pictures and excitement to come with Part 3!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

One Lucky Girl (Part 1)

Can I just say that I am one lucky girl!  Holy Shmoly, I have been a traveling machine this summer!  And with all the good times, I must admit, there is no place like home.  It was nice being in my comfy bed again last night (even if I did have a snoring companion by my side).

To catch up I guess I would need to back up to the last half of June! (Btw, can you believe it's August already?  I swear time just keeps going by faster and faster)  In the middle of June Steven took his Step 1 medical board exam and after that 8 hour test he had about 10 days of freedom and no obligations.  With that, we went off with his parents on a big, pretty boat for a week and had the time of our lives!  Nothing beats playing hard and relaxing hard for a whole week.  It was a BLAST!

Our first port of call was Montego Bay, Jamaica.  We went swimming with dolphins and climbed Dunn's River Falls.  I had never swam with dolphins before, and it was one of the coolest things I have ever done. 

Can I just say how much I love Steven?  He keeps me laughing all day long!

Our second port of call was Grand Caymen in the Caymen Islands.  That day we had some crappy weather, but it didn't matter to us because we went scuba diving!  We saw two sea turtles and some of the most beautiful coral reefs I have ever seen.  It was beautiful.

Our third port was Cozumel, Mexico.  That day we went spelunking down Rio Secreto.  It was by far the most amazing cave I have ever been in.  Becky and Kayle didn't go with us that day, which was a real shame because it was amazing!

It was a wonderful week!  I loved spending time with my in-laws and Steven totally deserved a much needed break after studying for so long for his board exam.  Speaking of which, he did AWESOME!  The national average for the Step 1 board exam is a 220, UTSW (his school) average is about a 230, the average score for potential orthopedic residents is 240, the average score for potential urology residents is a 239 and Steven got a 249!!!  I am so proud of him.  He is so relieved that he will be able to go into any specialty he wants to. 

Anyway, that is all for now.  Part 2 is coming soon (I hope).


Sunday, June 10, 2012

St. Louis, Nauvoo and Carthage.

This last week I had the awesome opportunity to visit St. Louis, Nauvoo and Carthage with my family.  It was such a good trip!
Our first day was a half day that was spent at the St. Louis Arch.  They have a really neat museum to look at and some cool videos about the Louis and Clark expedition to the west.  It was really cool to travel to the top of the Arch. 

 Matt, Me, Adam
 At the top of the Arch!

The next day we drove up to Nauvoo.  On our way up we stopped at Mark Twain's cave and went inside.  It was a pretty cool cave and it was fun to hear about Tom Sawyer's adventures.

 My mom and Adam being silly!

That evening we made it to Nauvoo.  What an incredible experience it was to be there.  I was not expecting the Spirit to be so strong-it was overwhelming.  I was fortunate enough to go inside the Nauvoo Temple on Tuesday with my parents and it was incredibly beautiful.  It is, hands down, my favorite temple!

This statue is just west of the Nauvoo Temple on the other side of the road.  I could not contain my emotions while looking at this beautiful statue and reading the plaque underneath it.  My testimony of this gospel grew immensely on this trip.  

Down the Trail of Hope on Parley Street there is a memorial for all of the Saints who died trying to make it to Salt Lake City.  I do not personally have any pioneer heritage in my family because my grandparents are converts, but I feel so lucky to have married into a family that has an incredible church history.  Elizabeth Neeley was Steven's 4th great grandfather's wife, and Elizabeth Ann Neeley was their daughter.  He remarried a Cherokee woman in Salt Lake who is Steven's 4th great grandmother (Steven is 1/64 Cherokee from that line).  It was very humbling to see their names on this memorial.  I am so grateful for their sacrifices.  

 Statue of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young

It was also special to visit the Smith Family grave site.  Although this part of Nauvoo is owned by the reorganized church (now called the Community of Christ) it was still very special to visit the graves of Hyrum, Emma and Joseph Smith.

By the Nauvoo Visitor's Center there was a "Women's Garden".  I found this awesome statue entitled "In Her Mother's Footsteps".  I thought it would be cool to pose like I was following my own mom, but apparently she didn't like my artistic style.  

While we were in Illinois, we also visited Carthage Jail where Joseph and Hyrum were martyred.  That was an incredibly spiritual experience for me, and I didn't feel right about taking pictures while I was there.  My dad said that the room where Joseph and Hyrum were killed was "a room of miracles".  I had never thought of it that way, but that is what it truly is.  I don't think he could have said it a better way.  How grateful I am for this church and for the blessings it has brought into my life.  I know Joseph  Smith was a true prophet of God, and that he translated the Book of Mormon by the inspiration of God.  The Spirit in Nauvoo and Carthage are undeniable.  This is Christ's church and it is under His direction.

After three full days of touring Nauvoo, we spent one day at Six Flags in St. Louis.  It was a pretty good park.  Not as good as Magic Mountain in Cali, but wayyyyy better than the one here in Arlington, TX.  It was a fun day!

I got totally SOAKED from the Rapids ride.  No mercy!

Our last day we went to Grant's Farm.  They had some beautiful bald eagles there.  That night we randomly were able to get tickets to the Olympic National Qualifier Competition for Women's Gymnastics.  Nastia Luikin was there competing and it was incredible to watch!

I feel so blessed to have been able to go on this amazing trip with my family.  We missed my older brother, his wife and two kids as well as my brother who's serving a mission in Colombia right now.  It definitely felt like we were missing people, but we still had a great time.  What an incredible life I am living.  I am so grateful for all of my many blessings.  


Tuesday, May 15, 2012


This girl is DONE with school!  At least for a few summer months, that is.  Ahhhhh the smell of sweet, sweet freedom.  It's delicious.  Unfortunately for Steven, the studying never ends...but I guess that's the price you pay to be a top notch Doctor, right?  So proud of him.

For the Neeley Crew we have a pretty fun (well, at least for me) summer lined up.  My mom is coming into town to play with me for a few days this Friday...the first week of June my family is going to visit a bunch of church history sites and I'm going to tag along with them. After Steven takes his big medical board exam in the middle of June (seriously, that kid is studying 12 hours a day for this thing, six days a week.  I do not envy him in the slightest) we are going to escape on a fun little cruise with his parents.  After we get home, Steven will start his 3rd year of medical school!!  I can't believe it!  This whole next year he will be doing rotations in the hospital so he's pretty excited about it.  Because he is doing one of his most time consuming rotations first, I'm pretty much ditching him the entire month of July because I would never see him any way.  I'll be back in Arizona the first few weeks of July, and then I'm going to Florida to visit his family the second half.  I'm so grateful to have family that is willing to let me tag along, otherwise I would be SO bored this summer.

There will be the occasional week or two within there that I will be back in Texas so I have lots of pinterest projects lined up for me to do.  And I'll be home all of August so I've gotta have something to do to fill up my days before school starts again.  My sister-in-law should be having her baby sometime in August so there will probably be a quick trip to Houston thrown in there too.

Hopefully I should be better at this blogging thing because I'm a free little bird now.  And hopefully I'll be better with the camera.  I am the WORST at taking pictures, even with instagram.  I was just not born with photo passion I guess and I always forget.  I'd like to think that it's that I'm so passionate and excited about life that I forget, but that's probably not true.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The last two months

Man has a lot happened in the last two months, and man do I STINK at blogging. In my defense, I think I have been much more busy this semester and I have chosen to spend my free time with my hubs. Although...I think I may have given that same excuse last semester so now this excuse probably isn't as credible. I will try to touch on the highlights of the last two months as briefly as I can.

1. Probably the first of which was spring break! I was able to visit my fam in AZ, and Steven was able to ski with his fam in Colorado. Our spring breaks didn't overlap this year which was a bummer, but we still feel lucky to have been able to get away and see our families.

2. The week after my spring break my mother-in-law and Steven suckered me into finally doing a tough mudder!! It was 12 miles, with about 24 obstacles. It was intense, but it was really fun! And the crazy part is, is that Becky and Steven did it TWO times. I joined them their second time around because they went much slower (thank goodness). Steven teases me that I should do another so I can say I ran the whole thing, but I'm thinkin not. This girl doesn't have anything to prove.

3. 14 different tornados hit DFW a few weeks ago and holy smokes was that craziness! Those storms come on so fast. I was at school, and when class started it was cloudy, but nothing was really going on, and within an hour all chaos had broke loose and we were hangin out in stairwells. Thankfully, Steven had gone to school with me that day, so we weren't separated on opposite sides of the town. We were pretty nervous that our place was going to get hit, because there were two just north and south of it. I feel so blessed that everything was perfectly fine. A few miles south of us...not so much. The damage across the metroplex was astonishing. A friend of a friend took this crazy picture from his neighborhood:

4. We finally got a new car!!! I am soooo thrilled. It has been such a pain to share Steven's truck when our schools are 50 minutes apart from each other. However, we were able to spend wayyyy more time together because of the car-pooling and schedule-balancing so that was a blessing during a tough time.

We are loving life! ttfn.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Valentine's Day I'm Sure I Won't Forget...

My Valentine's Day started out like this:

I have the sweetest hubby! :)

BUT...15 minutes later it was this:

(insert horrific picture of my beautiful yellow car being smashed to bits)

Ya. It's been a rough 48 hours since.

Not fifteen minutes after I took the above picture and posted it on facebook a large, red SUV somehow "didn't see me" and merged into my rear right tire (he was switching lanes). I was in the far left lane of the freeway going at about 65-70 mph. I spun out and hit the cement median three or four times. My air bags went off, and somehow I have walked away practically untouched (minus some nasty bruises and a rug burn over my shoulder and collar bone). I have been thanking the dear Lord for saving my life every minute since the accident.

The man who hit me was at LEAST 70 years old, was wearing super thick tinted glasses and was walking funny. It was obvious he should NOT be on the road. Unfortunately, I didn't see who hit me (it happened from behind me and I don't have eye balls in the back of my head!) and the man says he "doesn't know who hit who". We have no witnesses. There were no cameras. And the police don't know who is telling the truth (um, me! Kinda obvious!). Basically, it's kind of an insurance nightmare. My car was only covered under liability insurance because it was considered totaled after the bad tornado/hail storm last May. So if we get any money at all it would be from the old man's insurance company. But guess what? He hasn't even filed a claim yet! And he won't admit that he hit me. Ughhhh...I'm dying. Can I just stop being an adult? I don't like it!

But, I'm alive, when I should be dead. I still have a mission here on earth that I need to fulfill. It was not my time to go (which I am ok with!). We'll see what happens with the insurance. Keep your fingers crossed for us!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Give a girl the right shoes...

So I'm wrapping up on my third week of school and I don't think my mind has made the connection that I'm in school again. Kinda like when I first got married...I couldn't quite get my brain wrapped around that fact. Anyhoo, this nonchalant feeling that I have about school so far is a little weird considering that I've already written 5 lesson plans, read a book, done a book report on said book, taken three quizzes, done homework every night and oh ya, I've also done two observations. Weird, right? I should feel like I'm in school...huh. Maybe it'll click in next week. This is what I have come to realize in the last three weeks:

1. I think I'm allergic to one of my classes. Don't laugh, I'm being serious. Without fail the moment I sit down in that class I get an exploding headache. The moment I walk out I'm fine. I'm trying not to take this as a sign or something.

2. Sadly, I've realized how anal I am about the way I look/other people look. Let me explain. For whatever reason, it is a new super weird trend that all of the college girls throw up their hair in a ratty mess, throw on this gigantic piece of fabric that looks like a rag, but I'm guessing it's supposed to be a shirt, and some yoga pants/running shorts in warmer weather. Trust me, I understand the whole weird college sleep schedule-I did that my whole freshman year at BYU. The only thing I can think of is that it's the alcohol messing with these girls? I'm not quite sure. Anyway, they look like a bag of poo when they are in class. Also, I have one teacher that has some serious hair problems. I'm not quite sure what she washes her hair with, but it always looks slimy and matted to her head. It's pretty gross. I'm not saying everyone needs to dress up nice for school. I'm just simply asking they throw on a pair of jeans, a fitted t-shirt, and comb their that too much to ask?

3. Unlike my high school self, I have noticed that I have become the girl that everyone kind of ignores because she is always in the back corner of the class with her nose buried in a book. I don't know why I've become this weird recluse, but it is what it is. I'm also the girl everyone thinks is a total nut job because I get so incredibly nerdy when class starts. My eyes light up and I'm poised for optimal learning. My fingers are ready to zip away with note taking on my laptop and I have all of my readings and homework color coded and beautifully annotated. Ya, I know. It's embarrassing. I know you know what kind of girl I'm talking about. Everyone had this person in their classes growing up, and now I'm her. I'm pretty okay with it though, it has helped me find my inner Zen with life.

4. I have also realized that I have a better day depending on the shoes I'm wearing. Totally random, right? But, it's true. If I throw on some adorable color-popping flats, or cute boots it just does something to my self esteem and I have a fabulous day. If I throw on my ratty pair of sneakers or mocasins, I don't necessarily have a terrible day, but it's usually just "meh". I guess the quote from Marilyn Monroe is true:

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world."


Saturday, January 21, 2012

We're back!

So I stink at blogging. Oh well, it is what it is. Here's what we've been up to lately:

1. Steven and I finished Fall '11 semester with a bang and we are both pleased by our grades. Steven is doing EXCEPTIONAL and I couldn't be more proud. In fact, I brag about him all the time. I probably shouldn't, but I can't help myself. He's just so dang handsome and SMART. The kid puts me to shame.

2. We spent Christmas this year with Steven's family in Florida. It was a blast! I love my in- laws. It is a constant go, go, go when you are with them, and the Neeleys have a special talent of making you more tired when you get back from vacation than when you left. It was a great two weeks that consisted of Disney, Gators, Pirates, awesome Christmas skits (Steven was the donkey and I was Mary), and snuggling cute little nephews. It was wonderful!

3. Because Steven only had two weeks of Christmas break we were back in Texas on Jan 1st so he could start school on the 2nd (bleck!). I then ditched him on Wednesday to spend the rest of my break with my family in Arizona. Steven tagged along the following weekend to attend my younger brother's mission farewell. Jordan is off at the MTC, learning the beautiful spanish language so he can enrich the lives of others in Colombia. I couldn't be more proud of him. While I was in Arizona I ran errands with my mom, went on special dates with Jordan and snuggled my niece and nephew! I feel so blessed that I was able to spend my Christmas break with both sides of the family.

Now I am back in Texas and have started my second semester at TCU. I really do love it there. You can't compare it to BYU (it's like comparing apples and oranges), but I can say that I am starting to catch the "purple pride" bug. At the end of my educational career I may end up being a horned frog through and through. That school has been so good to me and I have made great friends.

That's basically all for now! Ta, ta!