Sunday, July 29, 2012


this weekend i was a morning person. on saturday, at precisely 6 am, evan and i found ourselves at a little hot air balloon rally. six am is sort of an ungodly hour to be awake, standing in a dewy field with screaming babies and barking dogs when you could still be at home in your bed for another three hours because it's the weekend and no one should be awake at 6 am on a saturday. but then the balloons lift off and float towards the rising sun and the sunrise is speckled with tiny balloon dots and that just might be the best way to start your morning. even if it is the earliest you've been awake in years, maybe. even if it makes you think for just a minute that maybe you are, in fact, a morning person who likes to be up before the rest of the world. even if THAT requires a good 3 hour nap. i'm determined to have myself a ride next year. to spend my morning in a basket in the sky floating towards the sun.

photo credit: evan

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

tonight, tonight was a good one. i needed tonight. it hasn't been easy lately. i've just been overcome. maybe that's the best way to describe it. overcome and worn out. and these feelings of inadequacy that just won't quit. everybody has that now and again, i think. this was just my time. it has a lot to do with learning (still. i'm aware. i know how pathetic it is that i have continuous struggles with this subject.) how to share evan. i don't like to share and my husband most definitely falls into the category of "things i don't share well with others." sorry homies. i'm learning to be gracious and not greedy and how to not get jealous when he's with his friends and not me and when he wants to be in a group of people and not with just me. i'm learning and it's a battle and for a while there i was just losing. and i'm not very good at losing. i think i need a few days in a place where there is no phone service and no internet and maybe just a cabin in the woods with a fireplace where it actually gets below 80 degrees at night and we can fry some fish and hot dogs and marshmallows and sing around the campfire and smell like the great outdoors and smoke and river water for just a few days. i'd like that a lot. where i can regroup without worrying about weddings and money and fantasy football and unreturned e-mails and texts and our overgrown lawn and school and jobs and the future. where it's just us for a few days and i don't have to worry about being a greedy wife because i'll have all the time with my wonderful husband that those few days allow. but until then i'll settle for our favorite musician in concert for the 3rd time. where we worship our jesus and dance around while the old people worry about the noise and we wish it was louder. where our church is bathed in sunlight when we walk outside and the most beautiful sunset is waiting for us across the street. where we take a few extra minutes to get home because we might be extending the concert a little bit longer and that warrants driving slow(ish) and rocking out at the top of our lungs. [it's not settling if you're absolutely content with your life in this exact moment.]

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

on my heart;

i have been refusing to talk about africa because right now africa is on the other side of the world. it's over there and i'm over here and that is a long ways apart. it's not coming up in 5 months because i'm not on this years team.


i said it.

i'm not on the team. i'm not going to africa this year.

i refuse to deal with this. i refuse to think about it. acknowledge it. understand it. work through it.

i refuse because it means that i won't get to have butterflies in my stomach while we drive up the dirt road and see the kids frantically lining up to sing to us and give us flowers. it means i won't have slobbery cheeks from all those kisses. it means i won't get to lay in the shade while someone braids my hair into dreads and sings sweet african songs to me. it means i won't get to see my sweet little jitu and see all the work God's been doing in her heart. it means i won't get to eat spaghetti saltada 3 times a day for 15 straight days. it means i won't get to practice counting to ten in amharic (aunt, oulet, sost, ahrat, ahmist, sehdist, sabat, sement...) [nine and ten get me every time!]. it means i won't get to chase the older kids around and tickle them until we're all crying in fits of laughter. it means i won't get to love on my little decho and teach him to not kick things. it means i won't get to walk with those kids and pray over them one on one. it means i won't get to hug all my neighbor kids through the barbed wire fence and sneak them treats until they've told the entire town of gouder that the ferengie have "caramela" and suddenly hundreds of people are yelling "laurdesa! laurdesa! caramela! caramela! laurdesa! give me caramela?" [that's how they say my name, if you were wondering.]

and all of that shatters my heart.

i don't want to deal with it because this is the first time since my church began taking teams to ethiopia that i won't be going. the first time. i knew the last time i went that i wouldn't be on the next team. God and i already had this talk. i knew it was coming. but that doesn't make it any easier.

so a few weeks ago evan and i went to lunch and we hadn't even sat down at our table when he said to me, "ihavetotellyousomethingit'snotbadbutihavetotellyou." just like that. then he spilled his guts about the two members of the team that had suddenly dropped out and if they could change the name on those two tickets we could be on the team.

the reason we're not on the team is because we need a financial break. it's like $7,000 for us to go. plus taking time off of work. plus raising that in a year. that's like $21,000 over the past 3 years. INSANE. we stress ourselves out trying to raise the money in time and still trying to live comfortably and still paying our bills [in that order, obviously].

the situation would be different if they could switch the names, but i shouldn't probably share a lot about that. just that we could make it work.

evan was  so excited. he was crying and ecstatic about the prospect of going back.

me, i don't know. he kept saying, "don't get your hopes up in case it doesn't work out." but all i could think was, "i wasn't supposed to go back. why is that changing now?" i wanted to puke and cry and kick something all at once. and i wanted to be excited because evan was excited. i wanted to FREAK my freaking FREAK about the chance to go home again. to go see our kids. to go back to the place where we feel so at home.

i prayed so hard over that. sitting at my work desk praying that God would either open this door or shut it real quick so i didn't have to sit in limbo and wonder whether or not i was going.

and as the day went on i started to get excited. it felt like a little bubble in my chest that i knew would burst with every correct and possible emotional response once i got that call that, yes!!! we were on the team!

but then initial reports didn't look good. and because of the way the church had purchased the plane tickets it wasn't possible to change the names. but she'd continue trying. but it wasn't looking good. but if we could come up with $7,000 in the next month we could go.

i had every correct and possible emotional response to this for 5 seconds. a 5 second cry and that was all.

but that 5 second cry changed my heart. something clicked and allowed me to accept the fact that i won't be going back to ethiopia this year. now when people ask me if i'm going back anytime soon, i can say with confidence and with a smile that i'm not. no more tears, no more running away to avoid that conversation because, well, people just don't understand how difficult $7,000 is to raise in about 9 months. and how missing one trip is sort of comparable to the end of the world.

and it's okay. obviously: i miss my kids like crazy. obviously: i'm sad i am not going to see them and even sadder for how upset they'll be. but i've been holding onto this sadness and anger and frustration with my inability to be there and i know that i should have been beyond angry that my hopes were dashed [but the truth is they really weren't] and that i was thisclose to going but now i have so much peace about the whole situation. my heart is completely changed and i know that it's finally OKAY.

there will be other trips. there will be a trip that's not on the church team where it's just evan and i and we sit in the grass for 10 days straight and love on those kids and we don't lift a single finger to do any sort of manual labor. there will be that. i think the lesson here is that i need to learn to be okay with not being in control and with not being everywhere at one time.

sorry, not sorry for the exorbitant amount of images. i can't stop/won't stop.

where i have ADD and too much time on my hands;

i win the award for most blog changes in a minute i think. what is this, like number 8? i have ADD, it's cool. i'm getting really good though. well, comparatively. it's free, so, i'm basically getting what i'm paying for. ha. i've finally figured out how to remodel without killing the internet by uploading a picture that's approximately 400 square feet in size. BECAUSE THAT HAPPENED ONCE.

i got ALLLLL this ish from irocksowhat's freebie section [which is AWEEEESOME btw. have you seen her prints? exactly. my house needs some art inspired by the help, and that's all i have to say about that.] and also my lovely friend amy informed me that pixlr is basically the ish and waaaay better than google plus and yeah. she was indeed correct.

& i had my first toasted tomato sandwich tonight, so it's officially summer. i SHOULD have had one last week but then something happened to the tomato i picked. i set it on my picnic table and the next day it was gone. it's my fault for forgetting it outside, but in my defense it wasn't totally ripe. either my father stole it or my dogs ate it. both of those are totally, 100% possible. ps. people who don't like tomatoes weird me out. i grew up on tomatoes and sugar and toasted tomato sandwiches and BLTs and fresh tomatoes straight out of the garden, eaten like an apple. comfort food to the max. evan hated tomatoes when he met me and i basically fed him tomatoes every meal until he learned to love them. guess what? he LOVES them. i win.

i spent tonight reading in my book [the marriage plot--SO good. loving it so far!], eating tomatoes, having late night yogurt runs with my favorites and doing some much needed ranting and raving and life planning. it was good for my soul.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

seven ten

seven ten. that's our anniversary. seven ten ten. two years, seven hundred and thirty days.

i think evan and i said, "i can't believe it's already been two years," about 40 times on our anniversary. because, yeah. we can't believe it. it doesn't feel like that long because it still feels like we got married a week ago. a week, two years. same thing.

we both had to work because of last week's vacation, because it was a tuesday and because mid week days off suck [as does work on fun days like anniversaries and birthdays and everydays]. but we got up extra early and had breakfast together before we had to head off to work.

we had dinner at the cutest little wine and tappas (with real food, too) bar in our downtown. also, i was having THEE BEST HAIR DAY. can you see how good my hair is being? i know. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME, FROM MY HAIR.

this is our anniversary tradition, because we've done it two years in a row: order a pretty little cake from the sweetest bakery and devour it. seriously. SO GOOD.except for those little flowers on top. DO NOT EAT THOSE. they are the same consistency of a granite pebble. i think i broke a tooth.

our night was low-key and relaxed. we ate some cake and read the love letters we wrote each other [swooning over his, still. love that man a ton.] and watched TV. typical us. it's been a happy, happy two years. i cannot wait for the next 100 with this man.

we can't tell you our anniversary gift to each other because it's not here yet. it's going to happen in the near, near future and i cannot freaking wait. it was my idea so you know it's going to be brilliant.

PS. how handsome is my husband in his new glasses? I KNOW.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

what we've learned

idea from here

two years down, 100 more to go. we're still learning and we don't always get it right, but i love that man past the moon and the stars and he makes my heart sing. this thing, this is for keeps.

/do not speak ill of your husband or wife. that relationship is sacred. those bonds are sacred.

/we learned to value each others opinion above all else.

/husbands and wives that pray together, stay together.

/evan does not like to share the covers.

/larissa likes to play soccer in her sleep. [also likes to wake up laughing regularly.]

/we LOVE sushi. like, real sushi. raw fish and all. we love it.

/evan has a good eye when it comes to neon green paint. 

/larissa has major anxiety when it comes to any kind of paint, no matter the color.

/we learned how to make new friends. and how to keep the good ones around. and how to boot the bad ones. we learned how to be each others BEST FRIEND in every sense of the word. even more than before.

/evan is the hottest bearded man alive.

/larissa learned how to fall in love with the beard and DOES NOT want it to ever go away.

/we learned about love languages and how to communicate with more than just our words and our actions.

/evan is too generous when it comes to his free time and his friends.

/larissa is too stingy when it comes to evan's free time and his friends. [LARISSA IS GREEDY.]

/we've learned to be better time managers. especially when it comes out to only 48 hours of together time.

/evan doesn't cook.

/larissa doesn't cook.

/we need to learn how to cook.

/evan has the ability to convince larissa that this is the best place on earth.

/larissa decided that anywhere with evan is the best place on earth.

/we do not know anything about taxes or sprinklers or garage door openers or random leaks in the foundation of your brand new house or the installation of a washer and dryer or how to install a light fixture or how to spend four + weeks re-roofing your house. BUT BY GOLLY, WE FREAKIN LEARNED IT ALL.

/"home is wherever i'm with you" was our theme song for the year. and probably maybe the rest of our life. also, "stand by me."

/we learned how to use our fancy pants camera kinda.

/we drank a lot of beer. turns out we're beer and wine kinda people. [with the occasional margarita of course.]

/we stuck up for each other and practiced being encouragers.

/we decided that this was a good year to start chasing our dreams.

yep. bring it on, year three, i can feel it---you're gonna be a good one!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

two years; part III

did you miss parts I & II? see them here and here.

i adore my ring. i still look at it and fall in love with it all over again. it's so, so beautiful. [he did a good job.] [with maybe a little help.]

this man. my whole heart for my whole life.

do you know how many times we tried the "jumping picture?" the girls are really good at it because obviously and then there are the boys. who apparently have no knees.

did you miss it earlier when you saw all three girls together? drop dead gorg. oh and they're the skinniest minnies. GET OUT.

and this. just, love. flat out love.

these people. so thankful for them.

and him. love this man. and so thankful for these past two years. for the struggles and the triumphs and the laughs and the tears and the joys and the heartbreaks. we go through it together, hand in hand. through sickness and health, through life, through death. always & forever.

here's to many more, i love you EPC.

thanks for putting up with my constant mushy gushy love posts, friends. but it's my anniversary week so i do what i want. all the other times, you're just gonna have to deal with it. because i cannot contain myself. sorry, not sorry.

all photo credit: tawni bannister photography.

Monday, July 9, 2012

two years part II;

did you miss part I? see it here.

our venue was the prettiest. it was out of town and brand new. i refused to do something that had already been done and we knew zero people who had been married here. plus it fit our ginormous guest list. i know, i know, that doesn't look like much. but that's about 400 people. um, yeah.

my sweetest little flower girl, avery. i cannot contain how much i love her. she was so nervous and did the best job and even stood up with my wedding party through the entire ceremony. best flower girl ever, yes.

my dad. my sweet dad. he had to tell me, "larissa. stop running." and we talked about tie tacks. good grief i was nervous.

we practiced this "giving away" part about 100 times. ummm, totally forgot about it. all i could think about was, "get up the stairs. don't puke. don't trip. don't cry. get. up. those. stairs." hahaha then all of the sudden my dad was hugging me and i was all, "oh yeah. thanksloveyoubyeee." also, love the look he's giving evan, just please, dad. everyone knows you're the sweetest man around.

we went over the entire ceremony with cindy (our pastor) in a coffee shop one morning. it was amazing. we did not want the cliche (no offense) 1st corinthians love love love, blah blah blah, so she spoke about jesus turning water into wine at his first wedding. and i would love to say i remember it, but i don't (sorry cindy) because all i could do was stare at my flowers. i didn't hear a thing. we didn't write our own vows because i knew i'd be too nervous and too emotional and since i cannot have appropriate emotions for the situation i'm in, we decided to just go with the old standard. if i had to read my vows i'd probably burst out in a fit of laughter and hysterical crying, probably some snorting and recollection of some hilarious event and you'd never calm me down. i seriously am inappropriate when i need to be most appropriate.

we shared our first communion as man and wife and it was so special. our friend michael and his sister played their stringed instruments and sang "beautiful" by shawn mcdonald which you need to stop what you're doing and listen to right now. because evan would not let me stop praying and listen and we were also laughing (inappropriate, again) because there were flies mating on our bread. notice how we're still eating it. oh. and that communion was my one freak out and i'm super proud of that. this was me 20 minutes before go time: "MOM. I NEED TO KNOW FOR SURE, ONE HUNDRED AND TEN PERCENT THAT MY COMMUNION IS OUT AND READY. I AM freaking out. IS THE COMMUNION OUT?! WHERE IS THE COMMUNION?" she was so gracious and nice. but she had to be. i was a perfect bride up until then. ;]

and we did it.
 a year of planning for this 5 second moment in this 6 hour event. it was perfect. everyone told us to practice our kiss so evan did not put his hands on my face. exactly.

 that's my moh, jamie and evan's brother stan.
 and erin and my brother, nick.
i can't even with this picture. my best friend from high school, allie, and evan's best friend brandon. and sweet little ave. BRANDON IS EVEN CARRYING ALLIE'S BOUQUET SO SHE CAN HOLD AVE'S HAND. i mean. shut up.

there's good news if you got through this: MORE TO COME TOMORROW. ;]