Some Christmas Eve Pictures

Christian and I spent Christmas Eve in traditional Plautz fashion and with excellent Plautz company.  We hit up McDonald's for dinner, then headed back to the in-laws' house to read the Biblical account of Christmas and sing Christmas songs.  We finished by eating delicious homemade candy.  {On a side note, my doctor told me yesterday that I'm gaining too much weight.  I think I should get a break just after the holidays.}  I didn't get any pictures from Christmas Day, so these will have to suffice.

I've loved having Christian home for the past few days.  It's so nice to just look over and see him nearby.  Today we set out to visit a couple of libraries and pick up some graphic novels for Christian.  When we arrived at the Eva H. Perry Wake County Public Library, Christian and I encountered what must have been the slowest family of all time.  First, they waited for someone to pull out of a parking spot they wanted, when there were plenty available.  They then backed in, which required the driver to execute a five-point turn.  Once they were no longer in our way, Christian and I parked, got out of the car, and walked inside.  We found the books Christian was looking for, browsed around, and checked out.  When we came out the car, our slow friends had just gotten out of their car.  As we drove away, they were still walking toward the door.  Seriously?

After the libraries, we strolled around Barnes & Noble, then Christian surprised me by suggesting Macaroni Grill for a late lunch.  It was wonderful.  I enjoy restaurants with paper tablecloths.  We played hangman until our orders arrived; my puzzles were "hoverboard" and "delusions of grandeur," while Christian's were "hangman is lame" and "these are the letters of the alphabet: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz."  When I complained that his second didn't count, because it contained non-words, he said that at least I didn't guess a single wrong letter {although actually I did; I guessed a letter twice}.


Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
Christian and I had a hard time staying asleep last night,
partly because we were just too excited for today,
and partly because I kept having to get up during the night.
Ah, pregnancy.
I was thinking, in the wee hours of the night,
that this was potentially our last Christmas for years when we could have slept in.
But that got me thinking about sharing next Christmas with our babies,
which is just too exciting a thought to allow for sleep.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
I hope you get everything you ever wanted.
{I did.}


I Don't Think I've Ever Seen Anything More Adorable

When I went to visit my mother on Wednesday, she gave me a package of diapers as a present.  They're the tiniest diapers I've ever seen, and definitely the most adorable.  I think it's good they're so charmingly small; I don't think my body is up to housing two nine-pound babies.  I can't stop looking at them.  I kind of want to tie ribbons to them and hang them on our Christmas tree:

My mom and I spent the rest of my visit snuggled on the couch, talking about everything that came to mind.  We talked about how wonderful getting married in the temple is, and how long it takes my dad to answer questions, and spiritual thoughts I had after our most recent Sunday School lesson.  We looked at my ultrasound pictures and exclaimed over how cute their little feet are.  It was very cozy and peaceful, and I had a hard time leaving.  Mom suggested I put my feet up and take a nap instead.

I really can't wait until we have a roomful of supplies waiting for our babies.  It seems like forever away.  I hope the time passes quickly.


Little Pregnancy Update

Christian and I went to another ultrasound yesterday, and because I'm now 19 weeks*, we were able to find out the genders of our little babies.  I could barely sleep Sunday night for excitement.  I had been waiting and waiting to know, and putting off shopping for anything until I knew.  I even avoided looking a baby girl clothes all together, convinced as I was that we were having two boys.  But now the news is in: one boy, one girl, and both perfectly healthy.  We couldn't be more happy.

Christian is trying to convince me that I shouldn't buy any baby clothes until February, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to wait.  Aren't these vintage clothes adorable?  I love the thought of dressing our baby girl in ruffly cotton dresses, and our baby boy in tiny cardigans and bow ties.  {I want him to look like Christian in this picture.  Actually, I want him to look like little Christian in almost every way.}

*Every time we go to the doctor, we get a different due date.  In fact, we get two different due dates, one for each baby, because they develop at a different rates.  For consistency's {and my sanity's} sake, I picked the closest date and stuck with it -- this date puts me at 19 weeks.


A Slight Clarification

After reading my post from yesterday, Christian looked at me and said, "Your belly is full of growing baby?"  And that might sound like a strange thing for my husband to say, considering we've known I was pregnant since the end of August, so let me explain.

If you already understand the difference between count nouns and mass nouns, you can skip this paragraph.  If you don't, pay attention, because this is important.  Count nouns refer to things that can be divided into individual, countable units, like apples or cars.  Mass nouns refer to things that can't be counted, because they aren't viewed as individual units; think of as milk or sand.  So as a quick example, money, in its most common usage, is mass noun, while dollar is a count noun.

When I posted yesterday that my belly is "round and full of growing baby," I was using "baby" as a mass noun, referring to all of the developing matter inside of me.  I wasn't talking about a single entity of baby, because there isn't just one in there.

There are two.


Happy Thanksgiving!

In a move that's completely cliche, I'd like to share a few things that I'm thankful for today.  I'm thankful that Christian's brother Eric came home safely from his mission in Georgia this afternoon.  I'm thankful that our big huge whole family could be together for Thanksgiving today.  I'm thankful for everything we have, and that we could share an excellent dinner this evening.  I'm thankful for the gospel, for my life with Christian, and right now, I'm especially thankful for...

...my belly, which is round and full of growing baby.


Komen Race for the Cure

{Kristin, Michael, Dad, Alex, Mom, Catherine, Daniel & Christian}

My favorite pictures from this weekend -- after the race, each survivor got a pink balloon for each year since her diagnosis.  {See my mother-in-law with her balloon?  I'm so proud of her.}  We saw one tiny old lady ask for 54 balloons.  Fifty-four!!  And were afraid she would start floating away.  At the end of the closing ceremonies, they all released the balloons into the air.  It was a great experience; I'm grateful Catherine set everything up for us, and that we could do it as a family.  We'll be back next year!


An I'm-Still-Alive Post

{Salt Lake City Temple, flowers in Temple Square, view of the mountains from my grandparents' house, catching up with Amy & Ashton, Christian cuddling with Pumpkin}

I know it's been 19 days since I posted last.  Six of those days can be explained away by our trip to Utah; for the other thirteen I have no excuse, except maybe that constantly designing other people's blogs sometimes gets me a little bored of the whole blogging enterprise.

Our trip to Utah was wonderful.  We did more people-seeing than sight-seeing, and spent a lot of time talking and eating with friends and no time, for example, going to Lagoon or doing a session in the SLC Temple.  We did walk around Temple Square, but we waited until Saturday to do it, which meant that the temple closed early and the Conference Center was {obviously} closed to prepare for the Relief Society Broadcast.  We didn't even hit any of the classic Utah eateries that I was hoping to visit, including In-N-Out Burger, and Cafe Rio.

The people we saw definitely made up for it.  I realized {not for the first time} that I am incredibly awkward around people who I feel don't know me very well.  Thank goodness I married Christian, who is an absolute wizard in conversation -- he often saved me from looking like a socially inept idiot.  {Also, he's way hilarious.}

As great as our trip was, I'm so glad to be back.  We both are.  Sleeping in our own bed has never felt so wonderful.


Kate + Mary

Alice just sent me this picture she took when I went over the other day.
Thank goodness for nieces.
I love fat little squishable baby ones who let you hold them until they fall asleep,
and cute little girl ones who want to do everything with you,
jump on you when you're not paying attention to them,
and cuddle with blankies on your lap.
I love how the first kind turn into the second kind.
{But what comes next?}


Important Thoughts 21.0

21.1: Noticed how I haven't posted for over a week?  I hope not.  But if you have, understand that it's only because a) I get bored of blogging sometimes, and 2. I've been spending all of my computer time working on my blog design shop, which is now finally open for business.  You should definitely check it out and then tell me how awesome it is, or at least like it on Facebook.  I'm glad that the pressure and stress of meeting my self-set deadline to open today is over.  Now I can look forward to the pressure and stress of not getting any business.  {Yay!}

21.2: Our water heater busted a few days ago.  At least, we noticed it a few days ago -- we're not really sure when exactly it started leaking water all over our box of homemade Christmas ornaments.  When we made those ornaments I thought, "In thirty years we'll be telling our kids every Christmas about how we made these the first year we were married, just like my parents tell us every Christmas when we put up the ornaments they made the first year they were married."  Only, my parents were smart enough not to store their precious keepsakes next to a leaky water heater.  {Clearly, my parents are much smarter than we are.  I am.  I think it was my decision to put the Christmas ornaments next to the water heater.}

As I type this, I have both air conditioning workmen and plumbers at my house.  The air conditioning workmen are supposed to be moving over the colossal air conditioning unit so that the plumbers have enough room to take out the busted water heater and put a new one in.  As I type this, no one is doing any work at all.  In fact, I'm the only person in the house.  Go figure.  I'll let you know how all of this turns out.

21.3: Christian and I received our LOST Complete Series on Blu-Ray yesterday.  When we opened the box from Amazon, we were a little confused, as what we saw inside looked more like a board game than a container for six excellent seasons of television.  Seriously -- see for yourself.  We found the hidden bonus disc, we watched the special features, we were not especially impressed.  But I am looking forward to watching the series again in amazing high definition.


Photos from Christian's Birthday

I promised a while ago that I would share more about what we did on Christian's actual birthday.  It seems a little late now, but here are a few pictures I snapped with Stephanie's camera.  After bowling with Jeremy and Stephanie, we ate dinner at Red Lobster {falling in love with their cheesy biscuits} and saw Inception.


Diana Beach Pictures

I brought my Diana with us when we visited the beach in July, but I've only just gotten around to getting the pictures developed.  I realized after taking the ones of Christian and I together that I had forgotten to change the focus, which is why we're so blurry and that man behind us with the plastic cup in his hand is so clear.  I'm still getting used to the whole advance roll, check shutter speed, check aperture setting, check focus procedure before I snap a picture.  The ocean was too beautiful for me not to use up half my roll trying to capture it -- the one with Christian striding into the water was my last attempt, and my favorite.  I'm looking forward to another beach trip {this time with several members of Christian's family} tomorrow!


Another Rainy Day Picture

Alice sent over this picture that she took of our beach trip on Thursday.  I love that it has some of everyone in it: Kate, Mom, Elaine {isn't she adorable?}, Lara, Laura and I are all smiling for the camera, you can see Hayden and Sara Joy swimming in the oceanic distance, and Alice, of course, is taking the picture.  It's perfect.


Rainy Day at the Beach

My mom and sisters packed up all their kids and headed to the beach for a day trip on Thursday.  We were worried when we got to Fort Fischer and the lifegaurds had just told everyone that they were closing down for at least an hour because of a storm that was passing through {okay, maybe just I was worried, and maybe a little bit frustrated}, but we drove down the coastline until we found a Public Beach Access where lifeguards wouldn't be a problem.  Aren't lifegaurds a serious hassle sometimes?  Our spot on the beach was perfect -- it had a tide pool where the girls could play out of the waves.  The weather was cloudy and a little rainy at times, but also cool and breezy and wonderful.  We all had so much fun, except Elaine, who slept the whole time we were on the beach.  The only thing more I could have asked for was not so many creepy guys walking around slowly.  And a bathroom would have been nice.


Important Thoughts 20.0

{photo via PaperTissue.}

20.1: I made a bold move on Wednesday and bought a new couch.  After browsing for couches a few weeks ago, I came to the sad conclusion that I wasn't going to be able to afford a couch for several more months.  However, on Tuesday I decided to look around on Craigslist for the first time, and the fifth couch I clicked on was my dream couch.  {Not exactly my dream couch -- I wouldn't mind if the seat was deeper, or if the upholstery was radically different -- but it's close enough.}  I could afford it, so I e-mailed the owner that night and picked it up the next day.  It's now sitting in our dining room, waiting for the explosion of throw pillows that I think will make it look perfect.  I'll post pictures when it looks just right.

20.2: I downloaded Photoshop a few days ago, and have since spent several hours editing photos.  Specifically, our wedding photos, which is why I randomly posted some yesterday.  I've been jealous of people with gorgeous wedding photos since I got married, and I love how mine look now.  Belated wedding photo win!

20.3: Christian and I bought tickets for our trip to Utah!  We'll be leaving on September 21st, and coming home on the 27th.  We have so many people to see again {and some to meet for the first time} -- I can't wait!  I'm so excited that it's finally happening after being in the planning stages for two years!  For some reason, I love planning trips way in advance.  Case in point: I told Christian that for our tenth anniversary, I want him to take me to Paris.  One advantage of thinking so far ahead is that now he has more than seven years to get used to the idea, and obtain medication that will knock him out for the plane ride.

20.4: Happy Birthday to Alex, my youngest brother-in-law, who turned 14 yesterday!  Always remember, Alex, that birthdays are good for you -- you can tell because the more birthdays you have, the longer you live.  That's a fact.


Take 3

We went to my parents' house this evening for our monthly dinner and Christian's birthday celebration.  We had sandwiches {Christian's favorite}, pasta salad and lemonade for dinner.  My mom stuck a candle into a pack of Oreos for a birthday dessert.  They were delicious.  It was windy and cloudy and cool outside, so we all ended up on the porch.  Happy Birthday to Christian again!  I'll tell about what we did on his actual birthday another time... I'm waiting on photographic evidence.


Happy Christian's Birthday!!

{celebrating with his family last night}

Today is the birthday of my most favorite person in the world.
I like to think that twenty seven years ago today, right before he was born,
my spirit kissed his spirit and said,
"I love you.  I'll see you in twenty-four years."
{But really, I know that spirits can't kiss.  That's one of the wonderful things about having a body.}
Yes oh yes oh yes, I am one lucky woman.
Happy 27th birthday to the best husband alive,
the awesomest person on the planet,
my spectacular husband,
Christian Michael Plautz.



{Hayden, Kate, Mom & Elaine}

Everyone came over to visit me and my neighborhood pool on Friday.  And by everyone, I mean Alice, Hayden, Kate, Elaine, Mom and Sara Joy.  According to our pool rules I'm only allowed to bring four guests, but Elaine and Mom never swim, so they don't really count.  Also, it's difficult to take those rules seriously when every time we go, no one else is there.  {Besides, who's going to enforce the rules?  Our pool has zero security.}  Owning a pool pass this summer means that my family is more willing to come and visit me; last summer I think I did all the visiting.  This summer is also abominably hot, which makes just sitting by the pool unbearable -- one reason I never go by myself.  {Maybe if I could manage to relax with a book in the water.}  I got a headache from the heat on Friday and wasn't very much fun after a while.

Alice brought part of a German chocolate cake, which was delicious and became my breakfast.  She also brought me some very good pasta salad.  Mom brought me a cantaloupe.   I brought my camera and took a few pictures.  Mom refuses to smile in most pictures -- instead she makes a face that she thinks looks dignified and serene, and I think looks bored -- but I asked her to please smile for real this time, and the picture turned out very well.  {And yes, Mom, you do really look like that.}  Kate also took a few pictures, mostly of Elaine laying on a towel under the table.  She took a few up-close out-of-focus shots of me, which made me rethink how good my hair looked that day.  {I'm exercising my right as co-author of this blog and not posting those pictures.}

Are you enjoying the summer?  Any ideas for having fun while keeping out of the heat?  Don't forget that Christian turns 27 on Saturday!


We're Home!

Christian and I are home!  I ate a meatloaf sandwich a little while ago, and lately my body has been thinking that right after food is a good time for sleep, so my brain is a little hazy right now.  I'm struggling to stay awake, so here are a few disconnected thoughts about our trip/drive home/time since then:

1.  While making the meatloaf sandwich, I clumsily dropped the knife I was using, and it bounced off the floor and into my toe.  I didn't notice it had broken the skin until I also noticed the drops of blood on the kitchen floor.  Gross!  {I told Christian as I handed him his sandwich, "Don't worry, it doesn't have any blood on it."  He didn't look very reassured.}

2.  We drove home yesterday with Amelia in tow -- we took her to "Grammy's" house, which she was very excited about.  "Grammy's going to be so happy to see me!" she kept saying.  "Yes," we kept replying, "and Grandpa and Catherine, too!"  We also accidentally poisoned her with McDonald's food, and shortly after our arrival in Fuquay, she began to throw up.  I still feel bad about that.

3.  We went to see fireworks in Fuquay last night with Christian's dad, Daniel, and Alex.  I absolutely love watching fireworks, and last night was no exception.  We sat by  this one lady who was smoking, who was talking loudly on her cell phone, and who kept company with hordes of greasy, rebellious-looking, pierced teenagers who kept standing in the way.  Blerg.  On the upside, though, we also sat by a group of adorable kids who said "WOW!" in unison after every firework went off.

4.  Christian made me pancakes for breakfast yesterday morning.  He is so sweet, and a very good pancake maker.  He certainly did a better job than I usually do, since none of his pancakes were runny in the middle.  Christian is also better at taking pictures of us than I am.  He took the one above, and I took this one:


We Are Loving It {with sidenotes}

{photos via esoule}

We're having the best time on our little vacation.  We went to the beach yesterday afternoon.  I forwent sunscreen, which meant that I got an intense sunburn on my right arm.  {So intense, I thought when I woke up this morning that my skin had already started peeling, but I afterwards realized that it was only dried aloe.  Still gross.}

I'm glad I went to Harris Teeter and bought myself a new pair of cheapo sunglasses before we left.  I only ever buy cheapo sunglasses, because I am continually breaking or misplacing them, and also because I'm indifferent to the superior style of expensives ones.  {On a similar note, if anyone has seen my last pair, purple with black polka dots, please let me know.  I was a little attached to them.  My sister gave them to me for Christmas, and I like the way they made everything look purple.}

We also braved crowds of uniformed, vampire-crazy little camp girls to see Knight and Day, which turned out to be pretty weak.  Still, I had a great time -- the best time I've had in a while.  I got a little hysterical while eating my peanut butter cups before the movie started, and laughed at everything Christian said.  It was wonderful.  I love going to the movies with my best friend {which is maybe why we've gone to see seven in the past 35 days}.

More updates & eventually pictures to come!


Christian Plautz Plays Softball

I finally remembered to bring my camera to one of Christian's softball games.  At least, I thought I remembered to bring my camera to one of Christian's softball games, and then I heard that the team Biogen was playing had to forfeit, which means that they didn't play a real game.  They played a scrimmage.  The only scrimmage that Biogen has had to play in the past 1.5 seasons, and it happens on the day that I bring my camera.  Nevertheless, I took plenty of pictures of Christian playing softball in his scrimmage.  I feel like it's important, because one day when I remember all of the incredibly hot hours I spent faithfully watching Christian play softball, I'm going to want to look at some pictures.

{top to bottom: Christian warming up, random pictures of Christian standing around, Christian pitching in the game, Christian getting ready for some action at third base, Christian at bat, Christian sitting on the bench}


I Just Gagged on News from the Front

Christian's brother Eric is on a mission in Georgia right now.  We get e-mails from him every Monday, and it's nice to hear how he's doing.  Today, however, he shared this truly disgusting story with us:
"So this week we four elders in Milledgeville have zero dollars to buy any food with because we had to buy a new bike rack for our car and we had to pay out of our pocket and then get reimbursed, so we have to wait a couple days before we can buy any food. Yeah, we do have some food but nothing amazing, we are almost out of milk but we can survive with water. Speaking of milk and water, when I was in Moultrie, we were at an investigators house who wanted cereal but didn't have enough milk so he put water in it shook up the carton and put it on his cereal.  I immediately thought about how Mom puts ice in her milk and how that is just as abominable as false preachers."
First of all, that is incredibly gross.  I had to stop reading for a while to get my gagging under control.  Second, putting ice in your milk is not at all as gross as putting inch-milk water on your cereal {I do it, too}.  Third, Eric is funny.


{photo by Caiti Borruso.}

Christian surprised me yesterday by telling me that he's taking four days off work, starting at the end of next week!  I was {and am} so excited!  He's taking off Thursday and Friday, and then next Monday and Tuesday.  Christian's had a very busy work schedule lately; they've been doing a lot of system upgrades at Biogen, which means more to do for everyone {but especially, it seems to me, for the Automation Engineers}.  We had planned to take all of our summer vacations this fall, including our trip to Utah, which is still scheduled for September.  When he told me about the time he was taking off, I asked, "What about work?"  To which he replied, "Work schmirk."  That's good enough for me!

I've already planned the first thing we're going to do on our little vacation.  I always love to go to the beach, so I thought it would be fun to stay there for a couple days and really soak it in.  I knew Christian wouldn't love the idea, though, so I was thinking of ways to convince him when it hit me: Elizabeth lives in Beaufort!  Staying with Elizabeth and Erik {and adorable Amelia and Charlotte} would be way more fun, and Christian loves spending time with family.  Bing!  Plan made.  We're going to leave late Wednesday night {Christian is helping out with the Young Men's temple trip that night}, and stay until Saturday.  I'm really so excited -- I love trips!



{photo via PaperTissue.}

Rah!  Rah!  I feel better today!  {Granted, I haven't attempted to go outside, for fear that whatever had me in paralyzing fits of sneezes yesterday will attack me again today.  However...}  I am in love with today.  It's gorgeous outside.  I love waking up with the sun shining out my window -- it makes me excited to get up and do things.  I don't have very much planned for today, just attempting to put my house in order and working on blog designs.  Perhaps I'll throw in a trip to the gym to change things up a little.  Before I get to work, though, I wanted to share a joke that Christian made while we were in the car yesterday morning, because thinking about it now still makes me laugh out loud.

First, a little background: Christian had made a joke about not being able to see a guy on a motorcycle, because he was wearing camouflage.  It was along the lines of, "Oh, man.  I can see a backpack, and I can see a motorcycle, but I don't see anyone riding it!"  I, being half asleep and not in any kind of mood to indulge him, said jokes about camouflage were totally lame and not at all funny anymore.  Christian said camo jokes were timeless, and to prove it, he said, "Camouflage jokes have been funny ever since the first time a caveman dressed up in a bush to go hunting, and another caveman said, 'See Grog spear, see Grog loincloth.  No see Grog!'"  The way he was trying not to laugh as he said it made it even more hilarious and adorable.


Things Aren't Going My Way

I'm sick.  That's how this long story starts.  I'm sick with some kind of cold.  I'm congested and sneezing like crazy.  I told Christian today that I was "sneezing constantly," and he didn't believe me.  "I don't think that's accurate," he said.  "I don't think you're literally sneezing constantly."  And then I explained.  I sneeze, and then immediately I feel another sneeze coming on.  You know that weird feeling of anticipation that you get in your nose right before you sneeze?  That feeling, immediately, until I sneezed again.  Lather, rinse, repeat, about ten times in a row.  Then a two-minute break, then another row of sneezes.  After hearing my explanation, Christian was forced to concede that yes indeed, I was sneezing constantly.  {At which point I asked, "Why do I have to explain everything to you before you believe me??"}

However, if you follow me on Twitter, you know all of this already.  You also know that I decided to help myself feel better by going to Cookout, my favorite place for my favorite onion rings.  So we'll skip over my playing Nintendo 64 all morning {I'm sick, remember?} and get straight to when I'm sitting in the drive-thru line at Cookout.  I ordered my usual -- hamburger with everything except ketchup, onion rings, fries, Coke -- and went to pay.  I shifted my car into park and knew immediately that I had made one of the biggest mistakes of my life.  Why?  Because my car has had a growing issue about shifting out of park.  For the past month or two I've only been able to get it to shift out of park after moving my seat around a few times.  Then I had to turn the wheel both ways.  Lately it's been both, for about five minutes, before my car will condescend to slide into reverse.

Today, nothing worked.  Nothing worked for about ten minutes {during which the Cookout employees were very kind and understanding}.  So I decided to call Christian and then a tow truck, which is when I realized I had forgotten my cell phone at home.  Blerg!  Suddenly I felt miserable, alone, awkward, and unprepared.  It brought back memories of when my mom would forget to pick me up from school, and I would sit outside and wait for hours, periodically going to the office and attempting to call home yet again, only to hear my answering machine... yet again.  Those adolescent experiences have left me with abandonment issues, as well as a serious desire to always have a reliable means of transportation.

However, everything turned out alright.  The manager at Cookout lent me his phone.  I tried to call Christian, and, knowing he wouldn't recognize the number and pick up right away, used our super secret emergency signal which, unfortunately, he also didn't recognize.  I would have tried calling someone else, but Christian's cell number is the only one I have memorized {apart from the home number of the house I grew up in, my high school crush's home number, and my cousin Heather's number from when she lived in Raleigh, which, needless to say, were all completely useless}.  I then called a tow truck, and told the tow truck guy to take me to a good mechanic nearby.  See how trusting I am?  I get into tow trucks with guys I don't know and let them take me to strange places.

He took me to a car-fixing place {which is what I called it later when talking to Christian}, and when I told them my last name was Plautz, they asked me if I knew someone named Sally.  Yes!  I absolutely do!  {You've been there before, Mom -- they had you in their system.}  I immediately felt more at ease, and settled down to watch the end of Rocky IV and the beginning of Jaws III on the car-fixing place's surprisingly large TV while I waited to hear my car's diagnosis.  I tossed my Cookout tray out, number a because I felt like an idiot carrying it around, and letter 2 because my shame at being in such a situation left me without an appetite.  Eventually I was informed by Tony {a very helpful car-fixing guy} that there's a malfunction with some kind of security system on my car, and I should take it to a dealership immediately.  He also showed me a fool-proof way of getting it to shift out of park.  It goes like this:  When you go to start up your car, turn the key far enough that the dash lights up, but not so far that the air conditioning or radio turn on.  Leave it that way for ten minutes.  Come back, turn it all the way on, push on the brake, let off the emergency brake, and then it should shift just fine.  Awesome.

I'm safe at home again now, sneezing more than ever.  And I've learned my lesson: only talk about ways my mother has emotionally scarred me when her computer monitor isn't working, because then she can't read my blog.


Happy Father's Day!

{December 1984: Doug, 26; Christian, 16 months}

{July 1988: Jim, 42; Mary, 2}

Happy Father's Day, everyone!
Things I love about these pictures:
my dad's mustache,
how you can see both of our dads' wedding rings,
baby Christian's little red mouth and long eyelashes,
the scriptures next to my dad's bed,
baby Christian's cardigan and bow tie,
how young Christian's dad looks,
and how you can tell they love us so much.

Thank you to our Dads,
for loving us and teaching us and taking care of us.
We love you.


Hair Makeover

I cut some bangs for myself a few weeks ago.  I probably should have grown out of the impulse to cut my own hair by this point in my life.  Don't most kids try to cut their own hair when they're three? Or four?  And I'm plus twenty years old.  However, cutting my hair is one of the ways in which I express that I'm feeling something significant, and when I want to do it, I want to do it right then.  I think it's lucky I had a pair of scissors in the bathroom the day this happened, or I might have tried to cut my hair with fingernail clippers.  {Just kidding -- that would have taken forever.}  Anyway, want to see?

I should have said, "want to see goofy pictures I took of myself because I'm too self-conscious to make a normal smiling face"?  That would have been more accurate.  As it is, I feel self-conscious enough that I make going make a bunch of excuses for why my hair looks the way it does in these pictures.  I don't care so much about how my face looks, but for many of you, this is the first time you're getting to see the new cut, and I know you're going to judge me for cutting my own hair {again} if it looks awful.

Excuse #1: It looked better earlier today, but then I went to the pool, and it got a little bit wet and a little bit frizzy.  Excuse #2: Because of the extra frizzy, I over-tried to calm down my bangs, which made them a little bit stringy.  Excuse #3: When I first cut these bangs, they weren't this long.  They have since {miracle!} grown out, and they cover my eyes too much, so I sweep them too the side, and I think they look a little bit weird this way.  And, okay, I am going to try to excuse my face also.  Excuse #4: Christian came home much earlier than expected and interrupted my photo session, so I didn't get as many good pictures {any good pictures?} as I had hoped.

And... drumroll... what does everyone think?  People who have seen me in person, doesn't it look better in person?  And doesn't it seem like those two Marys on the right are looking at each other?  Is that weird?