4.15.2018

How has a year passed?

Alice is turning one year old.

When I think about her birthday coming up, I ask myself how this happened. How is she one? How has that much time passed? Well let me tell you how.


We've clocked thousands of hours of feeding her. One of the most daunting things I remember feeling after she was born was that she needed to be fed everyday, several times a day for the rest of her life. And we were responsible for that. It felt so overwhelming for so many months, and on some days it still does.

We've put her to sleep and woken her up hundreds of times. After she was born, every time she fell asleep I was itching to get things done, do something I had wanted to do for a few days, or binge watch several episodes of The Office. I've calmed down a little since then, I feel much calmer when she sleeps and am much happier playing with her while she's awake.

We've been on countless walks in the sunshine, the rain and the snow. And now she wants to get out of the stroller and walk around on her own two feet.

We watched her legs and all four of her cheeks get chunky and slightly less chunky again. Tyler has made her laugh the hardest and realest too many times to count. We've snuggled and read books and knocked over blocks and sang songs.


I think the reason that we feel nostalgic for our babies in their baby stages is because it is the most rapid change most of us have experienced in a person. So many little phases have come and gone so quickly that sometimes we don't have time to mark them in our memory or write them down or take a photo to look at later. It feels similar to when you're out walking and suddenly a bike whizzes past you going the opposite direction. It happened so quickly that you turn your head to be sure of what it was.

Old people, like us, we stay the same for so long that it's easy not to see change and growth. But children change and grow so quickly that it feels jarring at times.

Sometimes I do wish she'd make that funny blah-blah-blah noise she made for a few weeks, again, just so I could hear it one more time. Or I wish she'd let me hold her till she falls asleep like she used to.


       


But then she does something like grab her stuffed dog and hug him and sway side to side and I think, "Nah, I don't want to go back, this is better." I'm guessing that's how the rest of her life will be. I know all you vet-moms just snort laughed thinking, "you'll want to go back when she's three or when she's 14!" And maybe you're right. But there's probably something at those ages that will still make me think, even if for a second, "this is better."

Every few days since Alice was born, in a quiet moment, I ask Tyler, "Do you think Alice likes her life?" He always glances at her for half a second, across the room or in the backseat or sitting in the grass eating dirt and leaves, and then he says, "Yeah, I think she does."

Happy Birthday to our darling Bean.

4.10.2018

Half Dome: Another Time I Thought I Might Die

Maybe I should start this story by spoiling the ending. I didn't climb the rock. I turned around and came down. I tried to be brave and have courage but I guess I just didn't.

Maybe I should make this a series about hikes that my family wants to go on that I'm not thrilled about but went anyway and it ended up being a really good time.

This would be part two of that series. Part one would be the Grand Canyon.

This hike came about because Tyler and I got sucked into one of those you-won-a-free-trip-and-all-we-need-is-your-email-and-your-firstborn things. We decided that would be a good excuse to make a big trip out of it. We went to Tahoe first for a few days and then met up with my family in Yosemite to hike Half Dome.

I'm sure you know Yosemite is breathtaking. It's a mountainous oasis with sky scraping granite surrounding lush green valleys weaved with cold rivers. If you don't know Yosemite but you own an apple product, at one point Half Dome was your background so just filter back through there and I'm sure you'll find it.


Leading up to this trip, and many other hikes I wasn't thrilled about but went anyway, my Dad talked IT UP! Sending us the stats including elevation gain, strenuousness, and number of deaths in recent history. You know, all the things to get everyone pumped.

We hit the trail bright and early and I was scowl-y and slow. The first part has several(don't quote me, it was early) stunning waterfalls and shrubbery, a lot of which I missed because of all the scowling I was busy doing. I defrosted quickly though and rather enjoyed bringing up the rear for the next several miles. Then came the going up part of the hike.

I'm just not an uphill kind of person. I don't think it agrees with my brand. Let's just skip to the part where I wimp out.

If you haven't hiked Half Dome here's a little summary: up, up, waterfalls, granite staircases, flat, flat, flat, up, up, straight up, straight up some rocks, flat area where you eat granola bars and drink the last drops of your water, STRAIGHT UP A SLIPPERY PIECE OF GRANITE HOLDING ON TO A SHANTY CABLE THEY PUT IN HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO AND DON'T REALLY MAINTAIN BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT TECHNICALLY SUPPOSED TO BE CLIMBING THIS TINY PIECE OF COUNTERTOP.

That is a factually accurate description of the hike. Look it up. Here, I'll look it up for you.

So we get to the sub-dome, the place where you realize the stupidity of what you've decided to attempt, and it doesn't look quite as vertical as you thought it would.

Those little dots are people. And you CAN'T EVEN SEE THE "CABLES"
You eat your snackies and drink your water and watch people inch up and down the dome and you psych yourself up.

Hilarious aside:

We were all standing around kind of eating, kind of waiting to go jump in line to start up the cables. There were large gaps between groups of hikers going up the cables because it wasn't very busy that day. All of a sudden we noticed my dad at the bottom of the cables, and he just started left-righting it up the cables. He did not look back, and he did not stop till he got to the top. And he was passing people on the way up. We all looked at each other and did a little collective shoulder shrug in hesitant agreement that we guessed it was time to go. Oh, dad. Later we would learn that he knew if he had to wait for anyone he'd probably turn around and not make it up so he just pounded it out all the way up.

We all got in line at the bottom of the cables and like I said, straight up. It looked pretty vertical from far away but up close it was incredibly worse. We started up and things were going pretty okay.

The cables are strung through basically a fire poker that the blacksmith accidentally curled too much at the end and was like, "hey, National Parks Service, do you want this messed up fire poker?" And NPS said, "that will be perfect to hold the cables that people will cling to on the face of a cliff as they climb up a slippery piece of countertop one hundred thousand feet above ground."

And then someone in the quality control department at NPS was like, "mmm, I don't know if that's quite secure enough." To which the head of stuff at NPS said, "hmmm, we'll put some 1x1x1 pieces of pine next to it and that will make the people feel like they're on sturdy stairs instead of a wet Wal-Mart floor." "Perfect." (This is not a reflection of the NPS, they're a good group.)

I have no idea how far up we were when my panic attack was triggered. I assume it was about a quarter of the way when the vertical goes from about 60 degrees to 88 degrees. We had stopped to let some people coming down get past, which happened pretty frequently, and I was holding on to one side of the cables and my feet resting on one of the sturdy pine sticks. The people had passed and I turned to grab the other cable. I heard plastic hit granite and tumble down the rock on my left side. I looked down to see what it was and it was one of the small empty gatorade bottles I had in my pack.

I watched it bounce and hit two, maybe three, times before it disappeared over the edge of the cliff. In my head I became the bottle. In a matter of seconds I weighed the consequences of my untimely, bounce-like death over the edge of the rock, and it didn't seem worth it. Tyler tried to encourage me, telling me I was steady and we could make it. Jordan and Cristy did the same, telling me it wasn't that far and it would be awesome at the top. All good points but I quickly concluded that my loss of life, however unlikely, did not seem worth the view.

I told Tyler I was done and with little contest he turned around with me and we came back down. I felt pretty sad about not going to the top for a long time. I know I probably would not have fallen off and died. But I just couldn't bring myself to risk that. I thought of Tyler and our possible future children and all the life I would miss and I just couldn't. Or maybe I saw that stupid gatorade bottle and that was enough death for me for one day.

4.04.2018

A Book I Read

I'm happy to say I am now part of two book clubs! I have decided that book clubs are difficult to start and difficult to maintain. But very much worth it if you can keep it up and running. Maybe we should start an AdriLars book club here on the blog? Would anyone be interested in turning these posts into more of a discussion? Let me know.

So for one of the book clubs I'm in we read Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas. I didn't know this book existed until Ash suggested it, which is actually the truth about most things I read. I may have been an English major and English teacher but I'm probably the worst-read English major and English teacher there ever was.



For full disclosure I will say that I didn't read the book with my eyeballs, I actually listened to it on Audible. I turn my subscription on and off all the time (which is probably not how they want you to use it, but oh well) because sometimes I like to listen but other times I really want to read the book so I can write notes in it and mark things. If you want to try it there is a link over on the sidebar right under the popular posts box.

This was one of the books I'm glad I listened to because Firoozeh reads it herself and it was so fun to hear her voice telling all the stories. So many hilarious things happened to her and her family living in America, I actually snort-laughed several times.

Some favorite quotes:
It's not what we eat or don't eat that makes us good people; it's how we treat one another. As you grow older, you'll find that people of every religion think they're the best, but that's not true. There are good and bad people in every religion. Just because someone is Muslim, Jewish, or Christian doesn't mean a thing. You have to look and see what's in their hearts. That's the only thing that matters, and that's the only detail God cares about.
I truly believe that everyone has a story and everyone's story counts.
Is that boy from your country?” she asked me. “Why, yes,” I wanted to tell her. “In my country, which I own, this is National Lose Your Child at Disneyland Day.” “No,” I told her. “He’s not from my country.

Firoozeh has such a sarcastic sense of humor, which speaks to my wannabe-comedian heart. On a more serious note the book addresses the racism and discrimination that she and her family and thousands and thousands of other immigrants have faced living in America.

It made me question myself. It has added to a list of events, texts, and experiences that have made me think about my own racist tendencies, how I think of others and how I treat others. I asked myself if I had ever treated people the way that people treated Firoozeh and her family. And the answer, unfortunately, was yes. I feel I have a long way to go in order to be the accepting, kind, Christ-like person I want to be. I'm learning that it is important to question myself constantly and make efforts to change.

Has anyone else read this book? I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to post them here, comment or DM me on instagram or email me directly as well.

I definitely recommend reading this book if any of the above strikes a chord with you. Here is the link to the book on Amazon. Turns out it is also on sale!

4.02.2018

Larsen Post

I'm starting new little series. And when I say series I mean I'll probably do this once and then forget that I planned to do it regularly so really it's not a series its just a one time thing. But maybe not, maybe I'll actually do it more than once.


3.28.2018

Why am I a parent?

You know how you follow people on social media and then you feel like you are friends even though they have no idea you exist. Or maybe they do, but you're the 'creepy one' that keeps commenting overly nice things on their photos or sliding into their DM's when something in their stories makes you laugh so hard you pee a little? No? Just me?

Well I have done that to quite a few people and now they're my friends in my head even though we've never met.

All this to preface the story I'm about to tell with, "I was talking to one of my friends..."
So now you know when I say friend I mean friend in my head but they actually think I'm a creeper.

My friend posted something about their kid that was proof he was an incredible little person. I don't want to share the story because it's not mine to tell, but it was incredible. I messaged her saying that that was unreal and incredible. She messaged me back(maybe we are friends?) and said that she didn't know how she was supposed to raise someone so magical and that instead maybe she's supposed to let him raise her. I agreed saying that sometimes I look at Alice and think that she must be here to show me what life is about instead of the other way around.


That got me thinking about parenting. I understand, obviously, that there are a few things I can teach Alice.

Stoves are hot.
Knives are sharp.

But after that, what good am I, really? I can try to show her what I think it means to be kind and generous and accepting. And yes I will keep her safe from whatever I can. But as far as teaching her about life and being a good human and all that--I don't even have all that together myself!

I just don't know that I am able to teach her anything or 'raise' her the way people say you 'raise' children.

       

And everyone says they've learned so much more from their children than they thought they would or could or more than they could have ever taught them and that's all fine and good. But maybe it doesn't really need to be who teaches who.

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