Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DIY: Table Refinishing

We got this table for free during our time in Buena Vista. It had definitely seen better days as this is what it looked like when we got it (this is not the table that went with the chairs I recovered in this post. I haven't even gotten around to adding legs to that one):

The pups are equally as shocked as you are. (Also I forgot to take an actual "Before" picture, so this was the only one I could find.)

Christian's parents came to visit in March, and not only did his dad help us knock out that wall, but he insisted on helping me refinish this table.

First we sanded that bad boy all over, eradicating every scratch.

Then we wiped off all the dust with a DRY rag. The "dry" part is very important, because according to my father-in-law, the water from a damp rag can get into the wood and cause the grain to raise up. So after that, we applied some sanding sealer to lock moisture out of the wood (I think? I can't remember the exact purpose of that stuff), and when that dried, we lightly sanded it again to shave off any roughness. We followed that up with another wipe down, this time with a damp rag (I think. I need to ask my father-in-law for the specifics again).

THEN we applied the stain by dipping clean rags into it and rubbing it quickly and evenly over the table's surface.

We mixed these two stains 50/50, because I wanted the darkness of the walnut with the redness of the mahogany.

The more coats of a stain you apply, the darker your wood gets. It just depends on your preference. I think we applied two or three coats to end up with this:

When the stain dried, we applied some semi-gloss varnish. A few coats of that, too.

We let it dry for several days in the garage before bringing it up to our kitchen:

For now, we're using it as a makeshift island with chairs that don't match. I'm not in love with it, but it is useful to have a place to set the mail and magazines, and it functions nicely as a breakfast nook. The point is, it looks 20 million times better than it used to.

And also, I learned how to refinish things made from wood. Nightstand-stools, here I come!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Journal Prompt #4: Twenty Facts

(Prompt from here.)

1.  I love animals. I always have. I grew up breeding guinea pigs, raising chicks and ducklings, catching birds and toads, saving turtles from the road, nursing baby rabbits back to health, and the list goes on. Snakes don't scare me and I had lizards as pets. I cannot stand to see creatures in pain and the only bugs I willingly kill are cockroaches, black widows, and mosquitoes.

2.  I love Macs. You PC-lovers can rail on me all you want, PCs are more customizable, better for gaming, blah blah blah, I don't care. I love the simple beauty of a Mac, the sleek, aesthetically-pleasing hardware and smooth user interface, and most of all I love the customer service. You PCers can keep your video games and non-English-speaking customer service representatives. ;) Also, I have yet to encounter a better touchscreen than Apple's. Honestly, have you?

3.  I can't stand extreme Republicans and Democrats. I hate when people are so caught up in which party they belong to that they are blind to differing opinions and perspectives. Or when they vote for the Republican/Democratic candidate for no other reason than that he or she is Republican/Democratic. It's that fanatical "party (a.k.a. herd) mentality" that I think is such a huge problem today. We aren't cattle. Do your own research, be informed, and think for yourselves.

4.  I love nature. A lot of people talk about science and religion like they are two opposing viewpoints, one or the other, but I don't think that is the case at all. The more I learn about how things work naturally, the processes that make our bodies function, and the vast amount of things that could go wrong but usually don't, the stronger my belief grows that this did not all happen by chance. It just makes sense to me that there is a creator behind it, and the things in this world that we don't understand or may not even have knowledge of at this point, they're just things that our understanding of science hasn't caught up to yet. Think about it. The things we're capable of now would probably seem like miracles to people in biblical times. And they are. Technology is a beautiful thing.

5.  Perhaps contrary to what #4 would have you assume, I utterly loathe camping. Jim Gaffigan expresses my sentiments pretty well:
I'm sorry but I just don't understand the draw. I love being outside and hiking, and I think the natural world is beautiful, I just would rather have the leisure of taking a shower and using an actual toilet afterwards. :)

6.  I write much better than I talk. I'm sure that's probably true for a lot of people, but I envy those who can express themselves so easily in speech. (My husband is one of them.) In writing you can think about what you're going to say, you can erase and rewrite, you can look up synonyms, you can research definitions to be sure you're using words correctly, and you can cite your sources to make sure you've got your facts straight. When you're talking, what's said is said, and you can apologize for it and all that, but it's still out there.

(I'm running out of steam...umm...)

7.  I have pinching toes.

8.  I am not flexible at all. I watch "So You Think You Can Dance" and Olympic gymnasts with equal parts covetousness and awe.

9.  I love the feeling of being sore after a workout. Nothing says you did something taxing like waking up feeling like an 80-year-old the next morning! For real though, I love it.

10.  I hate confrontation.

11.  I am a crazy neat freak. When my house is less than spotless, it's really hard for me to be productive and I get really irritable.

12. I am a member of the Harry Potter Generation, and words cannot express how grateful I am for that or how much those books mean to me. I grew up with Harry. I felt like I was a part of those characters' lives and I walked around in a daze when the era finally came to an end. What was I supposed to do with my life now? ;) I was eleven when I read the first book. The next two books came out quickly, but books 4-7 involved lots of waiting. But I think the waiting was what truly made it the Harry Potter experience. Without those months and years of waiting, it would have been a completely different, and altogether less meaningful, experience. The waiting allowed the anticipation to grow exponentially; Harry Potter nerds across the world banded together in book clubs to reread the past books in preparation for the newest release. These books were an integral part of my formative years, and they have had a profound impact on my life. Make fun of me all you want, I don't care. I feel sorry for you, because you missed out on one of the most incredible journeys of a lifetime and you can't even appreciate that.

13.  Perhaps this is also pretty typical, but I love the beach. My family has gone to the same beach for as long as I can remember, and it's always the highlight of my year. I love the sound of the waves, I love the smells, I love getting tan, I love waking up early to watch the sunrise, I love that the sand exfoliates my feet so by the end of the week they're soft as a baby's. There is just something magical about the beach and I can't get enough of it. In August, Christian and I are going to that very same beach from my childhood for a week and I can hardly wait!

14.  I am pretty sarcastic. Since I am also pretty quiet until you get to know me, this often catches people off guard. I get it from my family. We are a family of sarcastic, butt-slapping, wedgie-givers, and we are loud when we all get together. That may surprise you.

15.  I'm good at impressions. I hear that a lot.

16.  I also hate being asked to do impressions because I hate being put on the spot. Being the center of attention is not my idea of a good time, which is why I've always dreaded parties thrown on my behalf. Yeah, I'm a party pooper.

17.  I AM TERRIFIED OF VOMIT. Spare me the "Well you ain't seen nothin' til you've had kids" lecture, like I've never heard that before. I don't know what I'm going to do when we do have kids, because I cannot handle seeing the contents of someone else's stomach. I can't even watch it on TV. Oddly enough, spit-up from babies doesn't really bother me. It's chunky, fully-developed puke that triggers my flight response, because what scares me even more than vomit is the act of vomiting. There is nothing I hate more in this world than throwing up. I desperately hope I'm not prone to morning sickness. That seriously scares me even more than the actual giving birth part.

18.  People think my 14-year-old sister and I are twins when we go out together. All the time.

19.  I love thunderstorms.

20.  I love being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love its message of charity, of serving others even if we think they don't deserve it, and how it transcends our human pride in that way. I love the Atonement and the power it has to change lives. That Jesus Christ chose to suffer every pain in this world so that He could know, from experience, how to help us through our own trials and pains, no matter what they are. There are so many things that don't make sense in this world. Why are innocent children born into homes where they are subjected to violence and abuse? How is it fair that people unfit for the job are able to reproduce like rabbits while those who are ready and waiting to become parents are never given the opportunity? But Christ knows the pains that these children in broken homes feel, He knows the frustration and sorrows of these couples who yearn, and He knows these things because he felt them, literally experienced them, too. And if we turn to him, he can help us overcome them and heal, and all will be made right in the end. I love that.

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Journal Prompt #3: Growing Up (Part 2)

    What did you look like?

    How would you describe yourself as a child? Were you happy?

    I read a lot. Like come-home-from-school-and-read-until-dinnertime-and-then-read-until-bedtime a lot. I made straight A's and I was quiet so all my teachers loved me. An unfortunate result of this was that I was often the "buffer" child at school, meaning I got seated next to the problem kids because my teachers knew I wouldn't retaliate or copy their bad behavior. Sad and pretty unfair, but true. But except for the stealing thing, I never got in trouble or did anything particularly bad.

    Other than that...let's see...I was outside a lot. During the summer I would spend all day outside with my siblings and the neighborhood kids, riding bikes, climbing trees, swimming, building forts in the woods, catching crayfish and salamanders, etc. My mom would do her football game whistle to call us back in for dinner, and then we were out again to play night freeze tag in my neighbor's front yard until bedtime.

    I love that. I'm so happy I had a childhood spent outdoors and not in front of a TV/computer screen. I want all of our kids to have a childhood like that.

    What is your best childhood memory? Worst?

    Best: Having all of my younger siblings pack into my room at night so I could read to them. Hyrum in particular would sneak in on school nights when he wasn't supposed to and he would play with my hair while I read. (Is there anything better than having someone play with your hair? I submit that there is not.)

    Worst: Any time I had the stomach flu...? I can't think of a "worst memory" in particular, but I utterly despise throwing up so this answer is probably accurate.

    Did you have a nickname? How did you get it?

    At home I went through several nicknames. Thanks to Hyrum, we all did. I am Hank, Hink, Hinkle, Stinky Lyn, Heidalot...probably more that I can't think of. My parents have called me Heidi Lyn ever since I can remember, which I guess isn't as much of a nickname as it is my actual name, but they're the only ones who call me that. In eighth grade my best friend Heidi (I'm not kidding) came up with the name H because she felt weird calling me her own name (how did she think I felt?), and it really stuck. In high school we decided it was actually spelled "Aitch" and most of my friends seriously called me that and still do. I even had a few (immature) teachers who used it.

    Who were your best friends? What were they like?

    When I was real little, I had a best friend named Zachary, who is in several pictures from my last post. I don't remember much about him (we moved, remember?) except that we spent most of our time outdoors and he's the reason I learned to ride a bike at age four, and I fell out of the crabapple tree at his house once and split open the gums above my front teeth. (Funny story: We actually ended up reconnecting through MySpace the year we graduated high school, and we exchanged graduation announcements and wrote a few times. It was pretty cool. I have yet to find him on the Facebook.) ***UPDATE*** Answering this question reminded me of Zachary again, so out of curiosity I looked him up on the Facebook and I found him! We're Facebook-officially friends again!

    Throughout most of elementary school, my best friend was another boy named Travis. He was super tall and very funny, and we got along famously even though we did get into trouble sometimes. We sort of grew apart in middle school, as these things sometimes go.

    Then enter Heidi, my best friend in middle school. We made each other laugh a lot and she gave me my nickname H. We grew apart in high school.

    Erica came into the picture around the same time Heidi did. We had the exact same class schedule in eighth (I always have to think so hard about how to spell that) grade and shared a penchant obsession for all things Lord of the Rings, especially Orlando Bloom. Erica is funny and brave and sassy in a way that I will never be, and I am so, so grateful I had her in high school. I don't think there's a thing in this world that scares her, and I have so many stories I could tell about how she defended my honor here or stood up for me there. One of my favorite memories with her was the time we went to see "The Return of the King" the day it opened when we had both been throwing-up-sick all that week, and we went anyway because we had already paid for tickets. And how she marched straight through that crowd and into the theater to save us seats, and how she laid across four seats and didn't budge even after some man cussed her out for it. Or the time "The Two Towers" was sold out so we bought tickets for some other movie instead and then snuck into it anyway. Or all the times we snuck out of our ninth-grade English class and browsed pictures of Orlando Bloom in the adjacent computer lab. Or all the parodies we wrote together, or our "Comic Notebook", which was a composition notebook we passed back and forth depicting, through stick figure drawings, our adventures with various hot guys and scary teachers and Samara from "The Ring". We wrote a how-to essay together once, entitled "How to Catch a Hot Guy", where we went into a frightening amount of detail on the subject. (Gosh I hope that still exists somewhere!) We watched scary movies together and she would get her hair wet and hang it in front of her face and scare the crap out of my little brother. And once for Spirit Week she brushed her hair out into this 3-foot afro and she practically had to walk sideways through every door. It was awesome.

    We graduated 3rd and 4th in our class and I'm still friends with her today. She came to our wedding reception even after getting stuck in traffic for hours and almost missing us entirely. Gosh I love that woman. She is so beautiful and driven and terrifyingly smart. Someday she's going to win the Nobel Prize and I'll be like, "I know that girl!" I'm so proud to call her my friend. She is the smartest person I know and will always be my Eee.

    But my best friend forever, my bosom friend, kindred spirit, talk-about-anything friend, is Jessica. Her family moved into our branch halfway through my ninth grade year. She went to a different high school though, which sucked, but then we started writing notes. Our notes are what kept me alive during those awful high school years. We wrote to each other almost every day and exchanged the notes at seminary or at mutual on Wednesday nights. We wrote absolute novels to each other. (I think my record is 8 pages, front and back?) Jess is tall, red-headed, beautiful, hilarious, easily scared, and weird, and I love her that way. We shared potty secrets (where we literally went into a bathroom and told each other secrets) and planned imaginary make-out sessions with boys and teased each other incessantly. We came up with code names for just about every person in our lives (if you knew us in high school, chances are you had a code name) and went through so many taxing experiences together (girls' camp, pioneer trek) that only made our bond tighter. We formed a toilet-papering duo named the "Boomers" and went pranking crazy with a group of boys in our stake who called themselves the "High Rollers". I would never have done that without Jess! Somehow I'm a lot bolder when I'm with her.

    She is a year older than me so she graduated first, and when she left for school in Idaho we hugged each other and cried for ten minutes straight. We are always there for each other. When the High Roller I liked asked me to prom my senior year, she made me promise to call her immediately afterwards no matter what time, no matter what happened. Prom went great until he dropped me off at home, and I literally mean "dropped me off". I'd thought for sure he'd finally kiss me, but he didn't even walk me to the front door. I was devastated. And her hilarious post-prom experience where her date tried to drag her to a dark corner to kiss her and she ran away under the guise of saying goodnight to her parents but then never came back out and ended up sleeping on their bathroom floor to avoid facing him. Hahaha, oh my gosh, I love Jess.

    Movie Star Dance, circa 2004.

    Palmyra Pageant Youth Conference, 2005.

    June 2008, before I was engaged and before her mission.

    April 2012. Isn't she beautiful?
    We roomed together for my first year of college at BYU-Idaho, and she remained my friend through what turned out to be the hardest year of my life thus far. My heart had been broken, and I was terribly hurt and confused. I was resentful and moody and depressed and angry, and I often took it out on her, but somehow she still likes me today. :) Jess is my best friend, my confidant, my soul sister. She is a lot more outgoing than me, but somehow we just click. Like, there are other people whom I consider "very good friends", but Jess is on a whole other level that no one else even comes close to touching. Literally nothing is awkward with her; we can talk about anything and I feel completely at ease around her. You know, the kind of relationship where silences aren't awkward, where you can see each other for the first time in years and pick up right where you left off. The only other person I can say that about is Christian. :) She is dramatic and hysterically funny and her reactions to things are the best. She is scared of Gollum (which you can bet I took complete advantage of) and thinks my pinching toes are horrifying. We hated girls' camp together (I HATED GIRLS' CAMP, SHOOT ME). We shared many a 2-a.m. IMing session (remember IMing?) and talked on the phone for hours at a time. (To this day she remains the only person, besides Christian, whom I enjoy talking to on the phone.) I love me some Jessica Coombs and I don't care who knows it!

    How would you describe a perfect day when you were young?

    Riding our bikes to Five Forks and back, catching a salamander or two in the creek, climbing to the tops of our 40-foot pine trees (I know, we got in big trouble for it when my mom found out) and throwing pine cones at each other, and finishing it up with a rousing game of freeze tag in the dark. Or maybe Ghost in the Graveyard.

    What did you think your life would be like when you were older?

    I figured I'd graduate college (check), be married (check), and be a mom.

    Do you have any favorite stories from childhood?

    Favorite books? Animorphs, by far. I would come home from school and do nothing but read most days, and most of the time it was Animorphs. I used to dream of having the power to transform into animals. How cool would that be, I mean come on! I even prayed for it on occasion. Seriously. I'm so embarrassing.

    * * * *

    If you seriously made it through this entire post, mad props my friend. This was a long one and I promise to try and pick less in-depth questions for later posts. Or at least not so many at a time. Unless you like that sort of thing, in which case you should let me know that in a comment so that I may know that my words don't go unappreciated. ;)

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

    Journal Prompt #2: Growing Up (Part 1)

    (Prompt from here. I'm splitting it into two posts because the questions go on forever.)

    When and where were you born?

    My parents were married June 17, 1987 and I was born March 26, 1988. Yes, I was a honeymoon baby. These things happen. I was born in Alexandria, Virginia, and I'm rather proud of my, as they say, "northern" roots. ;)

    I don't have my baby pictures at my disposal, so these will have to do. Can you guess which child I am? If you guessed the adorable blonde on the far right, you are correct. For those interested, the wild child second from the left is my brother Hyrum.

    Joy School graduation. I'm on the right, the other kid is my best friend at the time, Zachary. Tell me you don't love our shorts and I'll say you're a liar.

    I'm on the far right again.

    Me and Zachary. Notice the pants.

    Where did you grow up?

    In a little place called Bedford, Virginia (home to the D-Day Memorial and the Bedford Boys). We moved there when I was 8 and I thought it was the end of the world at the time. But a year of college in the wintry nether regions of Rexburg, Idaho, taught me to appreciate it. Good gosh I missed Bedford then! There ain't no rolling hills or lush green forests in Rexburg, that's for sure.

    Did I mention that I love Virginia?

    And now we live just 20 minutes from here! Crazy. Well I guess maybe not that crazy, but it feels crazy because I feel like the person I am now is night-and-day different from the person I was growing up here. Life experience will do that, I suppose.

    My lovely abode for 11 years of my life. Too bad this picture was taken on a cloudy winter's day, geez.

    What was it like?

    Small, conservative, and very redneck. To quote my hippie twelfth-grade English teacher: "I hate going to the Bedford Walmart because I can't go inside without seeing every person I've ever known in my entire life."

    And it still is, even today.

    Who are your parents?

    John and Cathie Butler.

    What are they like?

    My dad is soft-spoken, gentle, and kind of a pushover when it came to us kids...mostly in that if we ever wanted something, we knew to ask Dad first. :) My mom has always been the stricter of the two, but loving, easily scared, and funny. Seriously, that woman's got jokes.

    How was your relationship with your parents?

    Growing up, I was pretty much the perfect child. My parents tell me that all the time. They thought they were such good parents because I was so good...and then came my little brother Hyrum. :3 Seriously though, I was a good kid, and as a result, I was allowed to do basically whatever I wanted because my parents trusted me to make good decisions. I never had a curfew, for instance. I think I have a good relationship with them now. We aren't like BFF in that we don't talk every single day, but when we do talk we can pretty much talk about anything.

    Did you get into trouble? What was the worst thing you did?

    I never really got into trouble. Like, ever. As I said before, I was a good kid. Oh wait! I did go through a brief stealing phase in fourth grade. I'm not sure what brought it on, but it stopped when I finally got caught stealing my class's Oregon Trail PC game and I had to tearfully apologize to my wonderful teacher (who could do back handsprings across the classroom while seven months pregnant) in front of my parents. Needless to say, I was humiliated and it never happened again.

    Do you have any siblings? What were they like growing up?

    "Do I have any siblings", are you kidding me? I have NINE siblings. Long story short, our family is basically a "Yours, Mine, and Ours" scenario. So my parents each had three kids from a previous marriage, and together they have four. I'm the oldest of their four. I got along with my siblings for the most part. My dad's kids are all a lot older than me, so I think my relationship with them is different than most people with their siblings. But with my younger siblings, I was probably closest to Hyrum growing up. We did everything together and we even had a secret whistle language that only we could understand (which consisted of Hyrum saying words by whistling and for some reason I was the only one who could understand him). Other than that...we are a butt-spanking family. We spank each other and give wedgies like there's no tomorrow.

    Welp, that's all for today. I can't think of a graceful way to segue into the conclusion. Stay tuned for part II, I guess.

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

    Journal Prompt #1: Three Things

    I have decided to straight up copy follow the example of one of my friends...and so once a week, starting today, I'm going to be using a prompt from a different website and you'll get to know all about little 24-year-old me.

    I decided to keep this "journal" on the blog because I am a notoriously slow writer and also because virtual journals are decidedly harder to lose than paper ones. Sorry.

    You should probably know that I'm a big fan of lists, especially those middle-school questionnaires that made their rounds when it first started becoming the norm for regular people to have their own email account. And so I've chosen something similar for my first entry (from this site). Here we go.

    3 Things You Can't Go Without

    • Shampoo/conditioner, because I cannot stand for my hair to be greasy. I tried going no-poo for a couple months (that's a whole post in itself) and I hated every second of it.
    • Tooth care products, because I have this terrible fear of losing my teeth. I have nightmares about them falling out (I wish I was kidding). This fear is actually slightly founded though because I have pretty crappy teeth. Let me illustrate that point: I take immaculate care of my teeth. I brush with a Sonicare, floss, and rinse every day, I hadn't gone to the dentist in 3 years, and I had 3 cavities. (Which isn't bad considering the horror stories I've heard, but just keep reading.) Christian brushes every day with a manual toothbrush, doesn't floss or rinse, he hadn't seen a dentist in over 5 years, and he had ZERO. Also he's never had a cavity in his life. I know right? Let's hope our kids inherit those chompers.
    • Tampons. I'm sorry but I ain't gettin' caught unprepared on that front, ever.

    3 Celebrity Crushes

    • Milo Ventimiglia, specifically as Jess on Gilmore Girls, specifically as the reformed Jess in season 6. Why Rory would pick Logan over him is BEYOND me. The new Jess was so obviously perfect for her.

    • Matt Bomer (even though I'm pretty sure he's gay), because of his jawline that could cut glass and also his baby blues.

    • Elijah Wood, because how could I not?

    • And a girl crush, because I say so: Blake Lively, mainly because of her effortlessly beautiful, natural-looking, beach hair but also because she has a body I would kill for.

    However, sorry boys, I am very happily married. :)

    3 4 Favorite Book Characters

    • Bartimaeus (The Bartimaeus Trilogy - Read it. Love it.)
    • Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter series)
    • Sam Gamgee (The Lord of the Rings)
    • Tobias and Ax (Animorphs) (Because I couldn't pick just one.)

    3 Favorite Things to Wear

    • Boots. I can never have enough boots. Anyone who knows me can attest to this.
    • Heels. Unfortunately, wearing them usually makes me taller than my husband, but I don't care enough to wear flats instead. Heels make everything look better. Butt, legs, name it, it's probably improved with a 4-inch pair of pumps.
    • Flip-flops. I love being able to show off my toenail polish and I love how easy it is to transition to bare feet with flip-flops. I love bare feet.
    Basically I love shoes. They are by far my favorite thing to shop for. I'm such a cliché.

    3 Things You Want in a Relationship

    • Honesty
    • No yelling
    • Back-scratching
    Thankfully, Christian does all of these things. When we do get upset with each other, voices are never raised and we talk openly. And Christian is a primo back-scratcher.

    If you had to evacuate your home because of a natural disaster, what 3 things would you take with you?

    • Christian
    • Puppies
    • Computers
    We bought a fireproof, waterproof safe a few years ago on Black Friday, so once we actually start using it, we won't have to worry about important documents being left behind.

    3 Pet Peeves

    • When people leave the sponge/washcloth sitting in the bottom of the sink and DON'T WRING IT OUT so that it develops that horrible old sponge/washcloth stench.
    • People stepping on the backs of my shoes when they're walking behind me. Even though my rational mind knows they don't (usually) do it intentionally, something inside me RAGES every time. I cannot stand it.
    • Business signs that have spelling or grammatical errors. If you're going to spend the money to get the sign made, wouldn't you double-check to the nth degree to make sure it's correct?? (I only use multiple question marks when I'm particularly dumbfounded. Because as much as it pains me, sometimes one question mark (or exclamation point, as the case may be) just doesn't cut it.) This includes intentional "cutesy" misspellings, like "Kountry Korner" get the idea. NOT CUTE. STOP IT.

    3 Things You'd Do if You Weren't So Afraid

    • Develop an actual opinion about controversial things (gay marriage, Obamacare, etc.) so that I could get involved in debates.
    • Write a book.
    • Learn to drive stick.

    3 Favorite TV Shows

    • Gilmore Girls. I could watch this show over and over and over and I don't think I'd ever get tired of it. The snappy, reference-loaded dialogue and fast-talking characters take some getting used to, but I sure do love this show. Lauren Graham is Lorelai Gilmore.
    • Avatar: The Last Airbender. Yes this is a Nickelodeon cartoon, but it is so awesome. There's a reason it has 9 stars on IMDb, and I'll leave it at that, because you need to watch it. (All 3 seasons are on Netflix right now!)
    • House M.D. I'm not sure if I'd watch through it again, but man I enjoyed the ride. This is one show that's truly about the characters, their flaws, and their interactions with each other, and it is so, so, so well done. Hugh Laurie is a remarkable actor. Also, that show has dang good taste in music.

    The end. If you're still reading, congratulations! I hope we have some things in common. If not, well, we can still be friends.

    Sunday, July 1, 2012


    I'm sure by now most of you have heard about the crazy weather my beloved Virginia has experienced this weekend. If not, this picture should catch you up right quick:

    The devastation in our backyard. (Contrary to what it may appear, Christian is not urinating, but actually talking on the phone.)
    Basically Friday night was host to some 80+ mph winds, and we learned the hard way that tulip trees have very weak branches. We were in Buena Vista at the time for my little brother's mission call (L.A., Spanish-speaking, what?) and let me tell you, it was cray.

    Every single tulip tree in our yard (I think there are five?) lost branches. Our three maple trees? Not a one. Sigh.

    We came home to huge branches littering our backyard and half a crepe myrtle down in the front. At first I was really angry at the injustice of it all, just when our yard was starting to look nice! We had just mown and pruned and weed-whacked, and I was going to get pictures for you guys. But I slowly realized just how lucky we were. Tens of thousands are without power (even still), which means no A/C right when the temperatures are reaching record highs. (Like, over 100 degrees; it's ridiculous. What are we, Florida?? Geesh.) We have had power the entire time, and miraculously, NONE of those huge branches damaged our house or fence at all. Our neighbors on both sides lost portions of their fences and driving around the neighborhood, we saw some branches that had gone through roofs.

    So we are feeling pretty blessed right about now, and a tad bit humbled. The Lord's might never ceases to amaze me.