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.

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.



I'm calling it the Larsen Post. As in the British definition of post, cause it sounds cooler, but also a little play on the online definition of post. They'll just be little life updates, snippets of the happs over here at our house. You know, stuff nobody cares about.

This last week and some days Tyler had Spring Break. He finished another quarter of school and now he only has two left. TWO. FOR REAL! This is so exciting!

We always like to celebrate a break and finishing another round of finals by going out for dinner and usually dessert. It's always Tyler's choice since he's the one who accomplished something and he always picks ice cream. This is the one time every 3-4 months that we go to ColdStone.

On Tyler's breaks from school he likes to design and build stuff. And usually sometime over the last three months I've come up with some other piece of furniture or decor that we 'need.' This time we wanted to redo our dining chairs that Tyler built a long time ago while we were still in Utah.

If you've seen our dining chairs you know they are uuuuuuglaaaaay. For some reason when we stained them the stain was extremely red once it dried. I didn't like it so I wanted to paint the chairs a different color. Well the seal we put over the stain must not have been enough because the stain changed the color of the paint. It was a very light gray with a minuscule tint of blue, but when we painted over the presumably sealed stain the paint over time has turned into a weird yellowish green color. It's bad.




So we wanted to sand them down to the raw wood again, stain them the correct color, and upholster the seat and back. Well Tyler sanded a lot and now they look much better. But we tried to find a fabric to upholster with and there really was nothing we loved so that project stopped. If you have any recommendations for upholstery fabric please let me know!

Once that train stopped we decided I would try to work a ton this week since Tyler was available to watch Alice.

       

We also went on walks every evening and made treats and watched movies. It has been a grand ol' spring break.

Now on to the next!

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.



Maybe I just get to watch Alice grow and be herself and instead of worrying about who is doing the learning and the teaching maybe I just get to wonder at who she is. Maybe I just get to watch her be and that alone gives me perspective and strength and joy.

And maybe she gets to watch me. And sure she probably watches me and a lot of the time it gives her anxiety but I hope it gives her perspective and strength and joy as well. Maybe I should stop worrying so much about making sure she knows and does 'all the things.'

I don't know. Anyone else have any ideas?

       


Did you brush your teeth? A Pregnancy Story

If you've had any contact with us in the last year and a half then we probably told you the story of how we found out I was pregnant with Alice. For the other three people on the planet, I'm writing it here so you can read it.

We had been trying to get pregnant for a couple years and were getting ready to move to Spokane, and therefore losing the doctor we had, so it seemed like a good time to give up for a while. We were pretty discouraged and welcomed the break--sort of.

Neither of us were doing a lot of work so we had plenty of time to spend packing and cleaning. The way I pack is pretty efficient. I usually just choose a space that I feel like packing and hit it hard with Netflix in the background till it's done. I probably packed our dishes first, our storage last and our pantry somewhere in the middle. I know, super efficient.

The plan was to drive with Tyler's parents who let us borrow their truck and trailer. We drove the 11 hours in one day, which probably ended up being about 13 hours since we had a big heavy trailer of life behind us. We 'decided' to stop for dinner at the only restaurant in a 100-mile stretch once we got hungry.

It was a place kind of like Denny's but more like Denny's plus an antique store plus a Montana collectibles store. They had a giant menu ranging from breakfast burritos to ribeye steaks. I ordered oatmeal with butter and brown sugar on the side. Tyler ordered a chicken alfredo dish that was large enough to feed all four of us.


As we were eating I could tell the drive had worn me down. My eyes were tired and my bum was sore. I remember looking over at Tyler's dinner and thinking if those little chunks in there are minced garlic, that is too much garlic.

We had a few hours left to drive after dinner and had been switching cars and riders all day. So the last stretch Tyler and I decided to ride together. About an hour outside of Spokane I felt so gross. That long in a car makes you stink no matter how much deodorant you put on or how many times you brush your teeth. I asked Tyler if he'd put the toiletry bag anywhere near us so I could do some freshening up, and he hadn't, it was buried in the trunk somewhere.

So I soldiered on through the stink and the sweat for another hour or so and we finally made it! We had put our mattress in an accessible place so we could just pull it out, sleep for the night and do all the unpacking the next day.

I woke up the next morning to more stink. Our room smelled so terrible, I assumed it was leftover sweat and told Tyler that we both needed to shower(thinking, there was no way that much smell was just me). Well that didn't work so I insisted we unpack with all the doors and windows open all day to let the place air out. That didn't really work either. Then I made Tyler let me smell his breath. And then I gagged. It was his garlicky alfredo breath that had stunk up the entire apartment and the car the night before. I proceeded to say a lot of things like, "we should call them and tell them they use way too much garlic, as a public service to the rest of humanity," and "neither of us should eat garlic, or alfredo, or chicken, or pasta for at least a year," and "did you brush your teeth?" I said that last one every five minutes for like a week. Eventually the smell subsided and I patted myself on the back for being so strong through it all.

Tyler's parents left a couple days later and we settled in.

The whole first week we were there I did not feel good. I was not hungry and only felt like eating things like oatmeal and rice. Even though I wasn't really eating I also felt like my pants were getting tighter. I complained to Tyler every day that week about not wanting to eat anything and how I needed new clothes or a gym membership.

We went to Target late one night out of frustration and bought me some new clothes. During this week of frustration Tyler didn't once suggest that I might be pregnant until Friday night. A doctor had told us that we wouldn't be able to get pregnant without some, or a lot of, interventions and so I ruled that out from the very beginning.

Friday of that week came and I had decided something must be really wrong. I was (more) lethargic, tired all day long and every food made me sick. I decided to go see a doctor the following week. However, I knew that if I showed up there and told them my symptoms the first thing they would do is ask me to take a pregnancy test. I decided I'd rule that out myself so we wouldn't have to bother with that.

We went to the Rite-Aid down the street and bought a test and came back home. I got up early the next morning to pee and just decided to do the test and get it over with. Tyler wandered in to the bathroom as he had hundreds of times before and sat on the tub while we waited.

And there it was, the little word 'pregnant' showed up on that test and we just stared in disbelief for what seemed like hours. And the rest is history! No, actually the rest is pregnancy and taking care of a baby forever, but that's not what people say at the end of a nice story.