Two Elaine Pictures

{Alice took both of these pictures.  The first is from the hospital, the day I got to hold Elaine for hours.
The second is one Alice took at home.}

Baby Lara and I came to visit Alice today, on my birthday.
We took more pictures of Elaine, for her birth announcement.
Then I put everyone down for a nap.
{First Alice and Elaine, who went very willingly, and then Lara and Kate, who both demanded that I read them stories first.}
Since then, I've been trying to e-mail myself compressed folders that contain the Elaine pictures.
Alice's computer is slow at uploading pictures, and it's been taking me a while.

I'll tell all about my birthday celebrations
{which started this morning, with Chrisitan's car battery dead again}
in another post.
For now, I hope you enjoy these two adorable pictures
of my tiniest of nieces.


My Garden

I decided a while ago that one of my projects this summer was going to be planting a container garden on our back patio.  My parents have always been into gardening -- we had a large vegetable garden in our backyard growing up -- and I felt that growing a small vegetable garden would be a fun adventure.

To start, I borrowed eight pots from my parents, and went to Logan's {the best garden supply store ever} to buy plants, seeds, and soil.  I got tomato, bell pepper, banana pepper, and bush cucumber plants; summer squash and bush bean seeds; and four huge bags of Logan's potting soil.  I also got plenty of advice from my mother, who I called several times to ask questions like "What size tomato cages should I get?" and "Where do they keep the seeds?"  I planted everything the same day.  It was hot outside, but I have a genetic inclination to plant things, and had so much fun.

I've since been disappointed with how little work my garden requires from me.  I go outside once a day to check on it, make sure squirrels haven't been breaking off the stems of my plants again {because when my seeds were first growing, I had a problem with that}, see if the soil needs watering, and send out positive growing thoughts.  I plan to sit on the patio in my camp chair and enjoy the outdoors this summer.  I'm excited with the possibility that I might be able to eat produce from my own garden {even though the amount of sun we get on the patio makes that unlikely}.


Saturday Night

Now pay attention, because this is a good story.

After filing our taxes this year, Christian has been planning on buying a new TV with money from our tax return.  He's spent no short amount of time looking at prices and sizes and models and features online.  For years he's been saying that if we got a new TV, it would have to be at least 50 inches.  The ones he's looking at online are 55 inches.  But on Saturday we get to talking about how large that would actually be in our living room.  Christian takes out the measuring tape and shows me, and it looks just ridiculously huge.  It looks like we would have a TV-wall like the one Barney has in How I Met Your Mother.  So we take a spontaneous trip to Best Buy to see how big a 55-inch TV actually is.  We're parking the car and we're saying to each other, "We're just going to look.  We're not buying anything today.  Not like we would buy a TV from Best Buy, anyway.  We're just going to look at sizes."

We go in and walk straight back to the Home Theater department.  Christian finds his favorite almost instantly, a Samsung.  We quickly decide that 55 inches is not too big, it's just right.  Then we spend an hour marveling at the picture quality on all the HD TVs.  {It really is amazing.  I like to watch football in the snow, which I think is mind-blowing.}  We're looking at an LG when Christian notices that it comes with a free Blu-Ray player.  I impulsively say, "Okay, let's get it."  He gets a very excited look on his face and says, "Are you serious?" and I say "no" before realizing that he would have done it, and how fun that would have been.

We continue to browse; Christian notices the advertised hertz levels and I examine entertainment stands.  Christian wonders out loud about the differences between a couple of TVs; we look around for someone who might be able to answer our questions, but unlike most of our trips to Best Buy, no one in a blue shirt has been by to check on us for half an hour.  We keep going back to look at Christian's Samsung, and then while we're standing in front of it for the sixth or eighth time, I say, "You like this one so much.  We should just get it."  And he says, "Are you serious?" and this time I say, "Yes.  Definitely."  And then he calls me crazy, and we start looking for a blue-shirted employee in earnest.  No luck.  We look at Blu-Ray players.  I pick one up and carry it around with me, to show Christian that I'm serious.  It's a Samsung, to match our TV.

I'm relishing my feeling of impulsiveness, and I'm not going to let Christian back down.  Another family is looking closely at the TV we're almost definitely going to maybe buy and Christian jokes, "What if there's only one?"  And I say, "We were here first."  We finally flag down a Best Buy worker and ask about our chosen TV.  He replies, "We have one in stock."  Just one?  Or at least one?  "Just one."  Our decision is made: "We'll take it."  He walks us over to the register, where another employee starts typing our information into a computer.  I can see that Christian's as excited as I am.  This is happening.  We have our hearts set on it now.

And then there's a problem.  Our employee asks us to verify which TV we want.  Christian tries to explain which one it is, and then goes over to point at it.  "Someone just bought that TV five minutes ago," the employee says.  It's the family we saw earlier.  It seems that they snagged our TV, just like Christian joked.  I'm disappointed, but Christian says, "How could that happen?  We were told there was one in stock, and we came immediately to the register.  Who's to say they bought it?  We bought it.  We're here."  I can see that he's right; the TV was promised to both of us, but we're here with half of our information in the computer, and they're still standing in front of the display.  Our employee agrees with us.  He's a nice guy.  His name is Chad.  He finds other Best Buys nearby that have the same TV; the family can go to another store.  I swipe my credit card, and our TV is safe.

We're then asked, "How are you going to transport the TV to your home?"  Um... in our car?  "What kind of car do you have?"  An Altima.  "That's not going to be big enough.  Do you have anything else?"  A Camry.  "You need an SUV."  We don't have an SUV.  What now?  "We can deliver.  Delivery is free.  Does Monday work for you?"  No, Monday does not work.  We want our TV now.  What's the point of being so impulsive if we still have to wait two whole days?  I tell Christian to call Jeremy.  Jeremy has an SUV, and we let him watch LOST at our house, so he owes us a favor.  Christian makes the call.  Jeremy and Stephanie are eating dinner at Pei Wei.  They're close, but they have Stephanie's car.  They'll finish eating, go home, and then bring Jeremy's car to Best Buy.  They'll call us when they're close.  Perfect.

Christian and I promise Chad that we'll be back in an hour; we head home with only a Blu-Ray player and an HDMI cable in our hands.  We make room for the new TV by taking everything off our old entertainment center.  Christian plugs and unplugs wires.  I dust the space where our old TV sat.  Our living room goes from perfectly clean to a major mess in five minutes.  We wait for Jeremy's call and contemplate how funny it will look to have our new TV sitting on the floor.  The call comes; we get back in the car.  En route, Christian blames me for egging him into buying a new TV.  I accept; it's definitely all my fault, and I'm happy.

Christian goes inside Best Buy with our receipt and pick up form while I wait outside for Jeremy to arrive.  Jeremy arrives; we talk about our TV and Wade's TV and good movies and how sometimes couples do a give-and-take so each of them can see the movies they want {which is how Jeremy saw Dear John}.  We briefly skim over politics, and I realize that Christian is taking too long.  He calls and says that they're having problems with the system.  Not that there's a problem with our order, but that Best Buy is having a computer problem.  I can tell he's getting frustrated.  He tells me later that the computer kept freezing while an employee at Customer Service was filling out an inventory form; Christian asked if he could just sign something and be on his way, but nothing doing.  Eventually, all forms are filled out, the TV is in Jeremy's car, and then we're home.


Important Thoughts 17.0

{pictures from our anniversary dinner at the CKF.  left: Christian wishing I wasn't taking his picture.  right: Christian with a spoon on his nose, wishing I wasn't taking his picture.}

17.1:  Christian and I had our second anniversary on Monday.  Which means: 1) no more month-a-versaries.  We decided that we would mark the age of our marriage as parents do the age of their children; by weeks until two months, by months until two years, and then just by years... for forever.  It also means: b) I've just lived the best two years of my life so far, and they were amazing.  And I won't speak for Christian, but if you think the two years he spent on his mission even come close to competing with the two years of our marriage in his favoriteness, you're kidding yourself.  And you don't know Christian.

17.2:  Alice had her baby yesterday, on Tuesday, April 13.  It's a girl.  She is adorable, and has teeny ears and fingers, and spiky soft hair that falls into a faux-hawk.  I feel so lucky, because when I went to the hospital today, no one else was there and I got to hold her for hours, which was awesome.  Alice and Cletus had a little trouble deciding on a name, even after she was born, but I heard Alice on the phone with the birth certificate lady today, so I know it's official: Elaine Ruth Simpson.  I think I'm going to call her Laney.

17.3:  Since I've been so satisfied with my own blog design recently, my blog designing itch has had to be satisfied elsewhere.  {Specifically: here, here, here, here, and here.}  I've had so much fun designing blog templates for my family members, that I think I might want to try designing for other people also.  Not for money -- I mos def don't have the skillz to pay the billz -- but if you like the designs I've done, and if you would be comfortable coming up and talking to me in person {I'm not ready to design for strangers yet}, then e-mail me and I'll see if I can help you.

17.4:  Why can't anyone ever be happy on TV?  *Possible spoiler alerts ahead!*  Christian was telling about how on 24 Renee died, just when she and Jack were finally together {because even though I don't watch 24 regularly myself, I still feel invested in what's going on}, which is such a bummer.  Lost aired a great episode last night, with what I thought was just the right amount of explosions, but Sun and Jin still keep missing each other, and I'm starting to worry that they'll never get the sweet reunion they deserve.  Christian keeps saying that conflict makes for good TV, and I get that, but also people like watching TV that makes them happy.  So consider my complaints registered, general TV authorities.

17.5:  I'm not watching Lara any more.  It happened so suddenly -- one week I was watching her and planning on watching her for a long time {possibly years}, and the next week Laura has a new job and gets to work evenings, and so I'm off the hook.  The thing is, I'm not sure I want to be off the hook.  Because what am I going to do with myself now?


Beach Trip

I took a quick trip to the beach with Rochelle and Meredith two weeks ago.  We had so much fun!  The wind coming off the ocean was just so cold {which is why you can't see that we're wearing matching black halter swimsuits}, but we still managed to lay out for a while.  Setting up our towels right next to the bathhouse and snuggling into the sun-warmed sand helped us keep out of the wind enough that it was almost possible to ignore everyone else in their sweats and windbreakers.  Thanks for inviting me along, you guys!  I had a blast!


She Is My Sunshine

Lara and I had fun today playing outside.  I decided it was time for me to stop feeling cloistered in my house; over the winter I hardly ever even opened the curtains, and there were days when I didn't step outside.  Now that the weather is gorgeous, I'm going to make a greater effort to spend time outside every day.  This morning I took Christian's forlorn beach towel onto our back patio so we could sit without getting dirty.  We blew bubbles and talked about all the ants crawling around us and sang "The Itsy Bitsy Spider."  We listened to airplanes and geese {which I think were actually crows} and collected sticks to poke in the bubbles.  Lara also ran in circles around me.  She thought it was hilarious, enough to not mind my taking her picture:


Today I'm Grateful For...

...my family.

I'm grateful for my great big whole family: the ones I get to see often, the ones I get to see not-so-often, and the one wonderful one I get to see every day; the family that I was lucky enough to enter into at birth, and the family that I was lucky enough to enter into at marriage.  I'm grateful that my favorite people in the world are the people to whom I'm related, because even if I annoy them, they still love me.  I'm grateful for the Restored Gospel on the earth, and for the sealing powers of the temple, because I know that I can be with my family forever.  That man sleeping on my couch right now?  The one who's taking a nap in the middle of the day because I possibly gave him food poisoning last night?  I get to be married to that man for eternity, and nothing in the world can ever separate us, and I'm so grateful.  I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who knew to organize the billions of people who would inhabit the earth into families.  I'm grateful for the joy that my family brings into my life.

I'm especially grateful for my knowledge of God's plan right now.

{I'm also grateful for old family pictures -- I love this one of me and my two older sisters.  I just noticed today that Alice has her arms wrapped around me in it.  Could anything be sweeter?}