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!

Magic

There are little things that happen each day (sometimes few and far between, but they still happen) that make my insides feel like someone stuck a little flame in there. I guess “warms my heart” would be the phrase I hear most people use but that sounds superficial compared to what I feel. 

It’s as if actual heat pumps out of my heart and spreads to my extremities.

It happens when Alice leans in to kiss Tyler. 
It happens when Tyler hugs me just a little longer, because he feels what I need.
It happens when Tyler kisses me and that makes Alice laugh.
Her laugh, every time she laughs. 
Tyler and Alice have this thing he calls cheek time. She lays her cheek on his and rests there for a while, calm as can be.
It happens when one of us hides and she looks for us. 
It also happens when she's super whiney and pulls on my pants until I pick her up. 
And it happens when either of them rest their head on me. 

It feels like magic. Magic because something so simple made me feel so much. Magic because I am in this life with these two magical beings.

When this magic happens, that little fire lights inside and sears my heart and my mind into paying attention to what is happening. 

I sink my mind and my feelings into that moment. It feels like I could pick them up, hold them in my hands and rub them into my skin. When we visited the Dead Sea everyone told us to rub our skin with the mud because it apparently works miracles. We floated and reached down pulling mud from the floor of the sea and rubbed it on our arms, legs, necks and faces. That's what I want to do with this magic. I try to take hold of his smell and comfort and her laughs and smiles and warmth and try to get it to seep into my skin. Because if it is in my skin, it will stay there forever, right?

I guess Brené Brown talks about this in her book(which I haven't read so sorry if this is wrong). She says that we try to revel in moments because our following thought is usually how we would feel if our magic was taken from us. But instead of reveling for the sake of the fear of loss we should revel because we are grateful for the magic.

Instead of being afraid of my magic disappearing, I want to be able to live in it, soak it in and feel grateful that it is mine. 

Click here to see a little video of some of the magic.

Halfway How-To January 2018

I decided to call this a halfway how-to. Partly because I'm not really going to give you instructions for how to do it, mostly because writing instructions doesn't appeal to me. And partly because the way I do DIY projects is not exactly the most correct or efficient way to do them and may actually be the lazy way, and the method of least resistance. Therefore this information is not reliable nor is it detailed and complete. And you probably just asked yourself why you are still here. So see ya!

For those of you that stuck around, here are some photos of the most recent projects we've been working on in the Larsen home.

I've made ornaments for every Christmas since we've been married. I originally just wrote the year on the back with a sharpie and that looked okay. And there was the unfortunate year of 2015 when I thought it would be a good idea to use glitter ModPodge. PSA for anyone thinking they should use glitter ModPodge it is MOSTLY glitter.

But I think I've got it down now. I burn whatever I want onto the back of the slice. Then I ModPodge the picture onto the other side.

*Fun Fact: these wood slices are our wedding vases. Tyler cut them up for me and I've been putting them to good use ever since.
Then I put the hook into the top, cut that string and tie it on. These are my very favorite ornaments because they are memories. And I love that I get to make them all different and unique.

Over Tyler's last school break he built us a TV stand/media console/bookshelf. We'd talked about needing something with doors to keep Alice from her favorite game of pulling stuff off shelves (if you've watched my Instagram Stories then you know).



Tyler designed this for us and it turned out perfect.

     



Paint, stained and ready for stuff and doors! 



Honestly this is one of my favorite things that we do together. And when I say together I mean Tyler designs, plans, buys, builds and during those phases I ask a lot of annoying questions. Then I usually come in for the staining and painting and sealing because it feels therapeutic to me and it's not Tyler's favorite part. This is by far one of my favorite pieces Tyler has built. And it has been tested and approved by Alice herself.

Minimally Minimalist

Yep. We watched it, too. Minimalism. That documentary on Netflix. If you still don't know what I'm talking about, go watch it. Actually read this first, then watch it.

We watched it and I was acutely aware of my thought trajectory and it was so surprising that I actually thought, "Is this what it's like to be brainwashed?" What I should have been saying was, "so this is what it's like to hear truth and recognize it." But isn't that what the brainwashers want me to think?...

There is a lot that we gleaned from the film. I went through my closet and shoes and that felt good. I went through the kitchen and that also felt good. Bathroom, books, movies and "junk drawer." Good, good, good.


But there was one thought I had while watching that really seared itself into my brain. Tyler articulated it so nicely. He said that filling your life with things distracts from what you think all of those things are for: the people in your life that you love.



It is so easy to buy things and hold onto things, telling yourself that you need those things in order for your family to be happy. Or you need those things in order for you to feel content and happy.

But the process of obtaining all of those things grows like a balloon in your life. And in order to make room for the balloon other things have to get pushed away and eventually out of your life. Things like family and bonding and love and the joy of watching someone you love learn and grow, try new things, and be a better person than the day before.  

Do I think I've pushed my Tyler and now, our Alice, away from me and out of my life in order to make room for things I think will make us happy? No, no no no no obviously I've never done that. Umm, actually, kind of...yes.

I did it unintentionally. Almost undetected. I wanted, and still want, for things that I think I need to be a complete, whole, happy person. But the truth is my happiest moments are filled with my family and friends instead of things.

That's just so hard to remember in all of those little tiny moments during the day when you see something and long to have it. When you click through to the site. When you sift and shop through all of these products looking for the one that will give you a little pinch of happiness. Or when you walk past the dollar section at Target, or any section for that matter cause I would like all the things that Target sells.

With all that being said, I am going to try really hard to remember that when I bring extra, unnecessary things into my life, I push something else just a little farther out of my life. And a lot of times that something else can be one of the things that brings me the most joy.

Here's to filling up my happiness well with the moments I have instead of the things I want.

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.💛


Probably the most annoying phrase I heard, but also the most true, in hindsight, was that "you'll just know when labor starts, you'll just know." Every time I heard or read that I just made a gagging noise in my head, and thought in my most sarcastic voice, "mmhhmm thank you so much that's sooo helpful."  Now I understand that you just know.

But I feel like someone also should have said PAIN, REAL PAIN means you're in labor. When the real pain started it felt like I was trying to grasp something that was speeding past me just out of my reach. I was coping, but it kind of felt like I was chasing a train alongside the tracks. You're obviously not going to catch that train unless your Wonder Woman powers suddenly engage. Which I think is what actually happens when you have a baby. Your Wonder Woman powers manifest and you push a baby out.



So after I channeled Wonder Woman, out came Alice. And everything was weird. And then I held her and I just felt confused as to why she wasn't attached to me anymore and how she was going to live without living inside me. I was dumbfounded at how she came to exist. And we just started playing parents. I'll be the mom, you be the dad, and this will be our baby. Oh the baby cries, the baby sleeps, the baby eats. Oh what a cute baby she is. What a nice family we are. And scene.

All of these photos were created by Esther Edith.  We will forever be grateful for this reminder of the day we met our little girl and everything we felt. Esther is not only a talented photographer but a warm and kindhearted friend.