Alice's Birth

Alice was born. I probably read hundreds of birth stories before I was pregnant and probably hundreds more while I was pregnant. And thank you, internet people, for writing down those stories and posting them. I am grateful I was able to read such a wide variety of experiences. There were maybe only a handful that really mentioned how they *felt* whilst having that baby. There were a lot of summary feelings like "crazy experience," "overwhelming," and "unbelievable." And I thought, "okay self, be prepared to feel overwhelmed and crazy and dumbfounded." Check.

I love this photo. The Mother-Baby sign, our baby bag, Tyler's school bag that we used for our stay, and his full hands.๐Ÿ’›


Traditions and mini traditions.

Last year I was pregnant. And it snowed A LOT. So instead of going to one of the fun farms in Greenbluff to cut down our Christmas tree I insisted we drive ONE BLOCK to the tree lot, stuff the tree in the trunk and drive it back. Like some kind of pregnant Grinch. 

But we had also found out Alice was a girl that day. Before we went to the tree lot we went to Target to get some pink ribbon to tie on the tree for little Alice. 

So we got the tree home and decorated it with the pink ribbon and twinkly lights and I felt less grinch-y and way ready for Christmas!

All this to say I've been waiting three hundred and a thousand days to drive up to Greenbluff and cut down our tree like the real Washingtonians we are.

We decided to go to Dietz to get our tree because it looked like they had the most options from the road. And online it said they had free hot chocolate so maybe that was the real reason. They had hills and hills of trees so we felt good about finding one we would like.

In the choosing of our trees over the years, I've realized my priority was 'cute.' ha. Ya I just want a cute tree.


Prayers and Pie. Thanksgiving 2017

Sometimes when it's my turn to say our family prayer I just start saying thank you for "ridiculous" things. It usually starts because I open my eyes while praying (gasp!) and just start expressing gratitude for the things I see. The ottoman, locks on our doors, a mattress, trees, our mailbox, shoes, silverware, socks, pens, paperclips, tiny perfume samples, receipts, chairs...so this actually just makes our house sound messy.

In the process of the ridiculous thanking, I find myself actually feeling gratitude for all of those little things. Those that make our life so comfortable. The ones that make our life easier. Those are the things that make it so I can focus on the bigger things. 

I get to focus on Alice, to play with her and comfort her and show and teach her new things. I get to focus on Tyler, do laundry or dishes so that when he gets home we get to veg on the couch together.

I get to work comfortably from our home so that we can eat and keep living here. I get to cook meals, because we have food to cook. 

I am so grateful for everything I have in my life. 

We spent our Thanksgiving at the J&A Ranch this year. It was over 60ยบ every.day. 
Wednesday we played with family, started making our pies for the great Larsen Pie Contest of 2017, and enjoyed not working or going to school. 



What I Learned From My Mother

What are some things your mother taught you?

Someone asked this question to a group of women the other day and I spent the next several hours thinking about it.

At first, I couldn't think of anything. That sounds harsh, but what I mean is, I couldn't think of a "lesson" that my mom had taught me. I was trying to think of things my mother had sat me down and said "now let me teach you about..." and taught me something. And I felt like that had never happened to me, at least that I could recall.

During those next hours I played my 29 year life movie in my head thinking of things my mother has taught me. I realized that almost everything I learned, was learned by watching her. But there is one thing she taught me, that I'm not even sure she realized she was teaching me.


Alice's First: Pumpkin-ing and Other Fall Stuff

We took Alice to pick out her first pumpkin and get her first pumpkin doughnuts and cider. It was freezing cold, and there was a little rain, but we powered through and had a great time. Well, Tyler and I did. Alice probably had no idea why she was so cold and her eyes wouldn't stop watering.


Ireland is for...

My sister and brother-in-law are living in Ireland and we were BLESSED to be able to visit them last month. Ireland is a gorgeous country. The sea, the forests, the hills, the doors, and everything between is beautiful!

The first couple of days we spent exploring the coast, a couple beach towns and some of downtown Dublin. Some had colored homes and some had colored doors. They were all so charming.


Father's Day

I wanted Tyler's first Father's day to memorable. The most obvious and best way to do that was to take ourselves and our 2 month-old baby camping, obviously. It was a surprise and probably the best one I've pulled off in our relationship. When I want to surprise Tyler I usually get too excited and start giving hints and make a face like the emoji that looks like it's showing it's teeth to it's BFF to check for food. You know the one. But this time I kept it hidden till the night before.




IMG_6805The bean did well her first night away from home. Her high-waisted sweats probably helped.


9 Real Thoughts, 1 Week Postpartum

I don't think I need to go into detail about what a convoluted experience it is to have a baby. I think trying to explain the emotional part of it is something I would be terrible at.

Instead, I wrote down some real thoughts that either traveled through my real brain or really came out of my mouth the first week after Alice was born. Before I had a baby, I didn't think a list like this would be that interesting. However, I myself was shocked at the things I thought and said during that first week. And I'd like you all to be shocked with me.

"I feel like I've lost an appendage to my body. And now that appendage is mad at me for cutting it off."

"Why don't they make you take some sort of stamina or capability test before you're allowed to reproduce?"

"How in the name of yellow poo does everyone have at least one person that kept them alive long enough to be semi-independent?"

"Why don't more people just give up on parenting?" 

"What is motivating me to keep this baby alive and relatively content?" 

"Am I still alive?" 

"Will this baby wet their pants more in their entire life than I have in the last two weeks? Doubt it."

"I don't think time is moving. I'm 90% certain that we are in some weird time warp/continuum thing and it is standing still in this time and we just happened to have a baby right before time stopped and now we're stuck here. Forever."

"Whoa, that's a cute baby. Maybe they should've DNA tested to make sure she was ours before we left the hospital. No, she's probably ours."

Ya. I know--crazy. I think we use the word crazy pretty lightly nowadays but this is a time when it is not being used lightly. Crazy.

Here are a couple pictures of that cute baby, and two very tired parents.


With and Without You.

There is a phrase that I see every once in a while, regarding one's significant other.
"I can't remember what life was like without you," or
"I can't imagine life without you."

Or something similar. You know what I mean. While I find those things cryptically sweet, I've realized I really don't hold those same feelings. I will never forget my life before Tyler.

Tyler and I met on a "blind date" even though he saw me before the actual date and asked his roommate to switch dates with him because I looked too tall.

Months later, we went long-boarding one summer evening and I remember feeling unabashedly joyful. Laughing and playing and forgetting that there was anything to do in the world but those two things.

We spent almost all of the rest of that summer's nights meandering around town, either on foot or in his truck.

We went to the park at all hours of the day and night. We read books and played games. Chased and tackled each other. And then laid in the grass forever wishing it was our own park, on our own planet, in our own universe.

We went to the lake and sat on the dock until we had what felt like thousands of mosquito bites. We tried to use toothpaste as anti-itch cream and when that didn't work we rinsed off in the nearest sprinklers.

We bought gas station junk food and parked at the top of hills to eat and dream and watch tiny Provo glitter below us.

We drove through the mountains in the rain and the sunshine and the moonlight.

We laid in the back of his truck on blankets, in the mountains, watching the stars come out.

We laid in the cool grass listening to the wind and watching clouds. The minutes seemed to slack so we could stay that way a little longer.

I left notes on his truck and he surprised me at school and work with treats and the biggest smile.

It was like we couldn't sit still with each other. I wanted to make him laugh every second that we were together because it was the funnest thing to listen to.

I asked him questions that lead to long stories so that I could listen to him talk. I fell in love with the sound of his voice.

He put on my jeggings and let me take a picture.

He grew a mustache and wore blue sweatpants and spandex in public because I asked him to be Nacho Libre for Halloween.

When we were still, I felt like I couldn't be near him without touching him. I'd put my legs on his lap and my hand in his hand. Even when we drove I had my hand on his neck or his arm or his leg so that he didn't feel so far away.

Months later, Tyler asked me what I thought the first time he kissed me. Without a breath, I responded, "uh-oh." Because I knew that I never wanted to kiss anyone else for the rest of my life.

Being with Tyler actually lit up my life. Before him I still had happy moments, lots of them actually. But the lens through which I was living wasn't as wide or as bright.

And then I met Tyler. And I finally saw how dim my life was.

Imagine it's the middle of one of the hottest days of the year. A day you wake up already warm. The sun seems to penetrate any layer of clothing you wear and soaks into your skin and through to your bones. You walk through the grass and then you hear that familiar click and burst and your glance is directed downward as a sprinkler pops up and schick-schick-schick.

Tyler turned on the sprinklers in my life. He refreshed a living, but lacking 'me.'

I would never say that I can't imagine life without Tyler. I remember what it was like to live without him. I can never forget how small and gray my life was before him because I now get to live with his light. My two lives are incredibly different and I'm so hashtagblessed I have the one with him in it, forever.

Now please enjoy a couple of my favorite pictures of the light of my life.


Dear basketball...

Dearest basketball,

That is what Tyler so affectionately calls you these days, as he (and I) can still hardly believe that you're actually a tiny human.

No offense, but are you real? It seems easy to imagine you actually being here: growing up, playing, being weird. But it feels impossible to imagine that the you we see playing with us some day is the same you that lives below my ribs.

It's strange to imagine the day we "bring you home" even though you've been home with us this whole time. You've been here watching Netflix and basketball games, having dessert, riding bikes, and slowly snuggling your way in between us.

I feel like if there is something, or someone, growing inside my belly I should know that someone pretty well. But we don't know each other at all. It seems like we like the same foods. And I'm basing this on the fact that I think your signal of agreement or satisfaction from inside there is kicking your legs from one side of my belly to the other. You do this when I eat ice cream and pizza and fries. Although this could be your signal of disgust or disdain. If this is the case, I don't think we'll need to worry about stealing from each other's plates once you can eat solid foods. And if you don't like those foods, I'm not sure we're even related. But we can deal with that later.

That's all for now. See you never, it seems.

-The person you're living inside.


Can I? A letter to my past and future self, from my present self.

Our story may not seem particularly difficult. But I think that is why it needs to be said. And I'd like to preface this by saying that a lot of torturous things in life seem to feel this way, but I'm using this current torture in my life to try and explain how I think a lot of things must feel. 

We've tried to have a baby for what I consider to be a while. And it just hasn't happened. Waiting and trying to have a baby has taught me something about pain. It is painful to want something and to try to have that and to never get that. But it is made more painful by the waiting to feel part. 

The discussion around difficulties in life often falls to comparison. "At least you haven't had (insert horrible things that happened to someone else) yet." That and the telling of various heartbreaking stories about other people who have it much worse than you do. And it's something that has been ingrained in me, considering the sentence I used to start this letter. 

So that first month or that twenty-second month, when you really want a baby and there is nothing on the ultrasound or the cancer is still there or you still haven't been able to forgive them or you still haven't forgiven yourself you don't know how to feel. 

When can I feel sad? When is it okay to weep? When can I throw things across the room in an attempt to channel my rage in some direction? When is that deep, unrelenting ache in my chest valid? 6 months? A year? Five years? That's what you ask yourself day after day, month after month and year after year. 

But that isn't fair. Sadness is sadness, whether you've been sad for a month or for years. Emptiness is still emptiness. And aches are always achy. You shouldn't have to tell yourself that it's not your turn to be sad yet. You shouldn't have to pretend that you're fine with feeling like something is tearing up your insides into little tiny pieces. Just because someone hasn't felt pain like you have or another has, doesn't mean that what's happening to them doesn't hurt. If someone hasn't felt the 10 year pain yet, it doesn't mean they're not allowed to feel the 6 month pain. 

Maybe instead of saying, "just wait till you get to where I am or where this other person is, then you'll know real pain," we should say, "you know, I remember that part, and it felt really terrible and I'm so sorry you have to experience that...it's awful."

Pain, anguish, sadness, tears, and torture don't have start dates and "only allowed if experienced X amount of time"-type conditions. 

It has been some time that we've wanted a baby of our own. As I write this I'm counting down the hours to take our next pregnancy test. I'm hopeful that there will be a little baby growing in there this time. But if there's not, my pain is still pain, regardless of how long I've felt it. 

Just because someone doesn't hurt as long as you hurt, doesn't mean they don't hurt. I now understand what it feels like to be told, even unintentionally, that my pain isn't that bad.  I'm sorry to those of you who confided your hurt with me and I told you that it could be worse. No one should be told to hush and then be forced to wait and wonder when it's acceptable to feel out loud the despair they've been feeling inside for much, much longer. And I'm tired of waiting and wondering if it's okay to feel.

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