Friday, September 27, 2013

new favorite

welp. i have a new favorite picture of my kid.

i mean, KID, not baby, right? WHO IS THIS SITTING, LAUGHING CHILD?!

we were sitting on the floor of his room practicing sitting up without help and i was snapping a few pictures and this happened. pretty great, right? somewhere in the past few weeks maddox started laughing AT us and not just when we tickle him. it's kind of the greatest thing ever. i mean, i know i'm hilarious and all, but maddox totally confirms that when i headbang and whip my hair back and forth and make funny face and pop-up from my hiding spot to play peek-a-boo. he laughs hysterically like i'm the greatest thing in the world. my heart is a puddle on the ground and i'm not even mad about it.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

six months//dear maddox

Dear Maddox,

Half a year. How do I even put into words everything that my heart feels in this moment? I want to be cliche and say how quickly time has swept by us and every single day I wake up and replay the first week of your life and think about how incredibly tiny you were that even socks couldn't stay on your little chicken legs and think about the Easter service where you slept in the wrap for an entire hour and then proceeded to pee out of your diaper on me during your Easter dinner. I'm going to be cliche because it is the truth. Every single day I think about how six months snuck up on me and tapped me on the shoulder when I was just sitting here, holding you close and minding my own business. I did not appreciate the people who offered their two cents (and those that continue to still offer it when they see you) and inform me that in the blink of an eye you'll be graduating high school. I did not appreciate this warning of how quickly time passes because I wanted so desperately to believe that that's just something that people say, just like people say things about the weather in order to fill those empty spaces. But it's not. It's something that people say because no one has been able to reign-in time and force the moments to last just a little longer.

I remember complaining about how long nine months seemed. I was continually looking forward to the day I would finally meet you and nine months felt like an eternity. We're well on our way to your nine month birthday and I don't exactly understand how slow and fast nine months can be. That's what time does. It ruins you and makes you cry big alligator tears when you think about all of the things that happen in six short months.

That's right. Your mama had several big meltdowns this week. Six months definitely snuck up on me. Couple that with our newest adventure of eating big kid food! and you've got one nostalgic mama who just wants to hold onto this baby stage for one more minute (and perhaps that's why you're wearing my favorite hoodie today which coincidentally is a newborn size [but it still fits so.]). I wasn't ready to start food. That and teeth. To me, those two things feel like the end of the baby stage. And I'm just not ready to let go of this precious little baby stage just yet.

But back to the meltdowns.  I cried to your daddy that I was just so sad at how quickly you were growing up. How it still feels like you were just born yesterday. How I can't stop thinking about the very last afternoon before you arrived. How we watched Sherlock in the hospital while we were waiting for you and I was too excited and nervous to sleep. How it doesn't seem possible that we have a six month old already. And do you know what he told me? He said, "But just think, he's just that much closer to saying, 'I love you,' and giving hugs and kisses." And that healed my heart; just filled it right back up. Because I know that each month I've had to shake myself from the "my baby is growing up" stronghold and look at you, just look at you. Look at all the things you can do now, like sit up and eat baby food and growl and roll over and smile at us and grab things and recognize people and know your name and I realize that no matter how enjoyable holding a sleeping infant was, each new stage where you are able to interact with us and communicate with us just gets better and better.

And sometimes your daddy just gets it. He's looking forward to wrestling with you and tossing a football around and buying you a puppy. And here I am, stuck in this stage where I just get to hold you and love you without even realizing that the best is yet to come. I know that moment when you first say, "I love you," will probably result in a month's worth of tears because I know that nothing will ever compare to that. But here's where I tell you a secret: Your dad always talks about how excited he is for your big kid days. But last night he rocked you to sleep while I did the dishes and you two shared a moment. It's been a long, long time since he's gotten to hold your still, sleeping body against his heart and I think he realized what I mean when I tell him that I'm sad about moving past this stage. Because he got to experience what I experience every single day and I think you won him back to my side (thank you) (now slow down).

So, while I'm over here being pulled in two directions over being nostalgic and being excited for your future AND still trying to live in this here moment, you learned how to sit up on your own. You ate baby cereal and carrots and loved the cereal, hated the carrots. You stopped sleeping through the night and refuse to nap unless I'm rocking you. You started laughing at us and not just when we tickle you. You started grabbing our hands to give us raspberries. You grew six and a half inches since birth and practically have the same size feet as me. You started reaching for things and those things you reach for inevitably end up in your mouth. You found your feet and those end up in your mouth, too.

I mean, who doesn't want to cuddle a miniature human all the days? But I would so much rather sit on the floor and play with your horsey and roll over and over and over and bounce in your bouncy chair and play peek a boo and toss you in the air and hear your sweet voice laughing and talking and singing.

I've learned a lot of things in these short six months. But maybe the greatest lesson you've taught me is about love. I'm not talking about the kind of love that I have for you. You were created in my womb, I carried you for nine months, I felt your kicks and stretches and hiccups. Of course I love you with every fiber of my being because every fiber of my being worked to create, grow and nourish you. Of course. What I'm talking about is your love for everyone else. I noticed it a few weeks ago when a girl I'm not too fond of came up to see you. I was short with her questions and comments, wishing her away because she was bothering me. But you, you sweet boy, you smiled and cooed and flirted with her. There wasn't a single ounce of judgement against her. And that was incredibly beautiful and eye opening and embarrassing--that a baby could show compassion and love that I, an adult, could not. Evan and I always pray that our marriage and relationship toward each other (and you) would be a positive force in your life. That we would be a good example for you. But life isn't just about the relationships inside the walls of our little home. So my new prayer is that we would be an example of all relationships for you: Both friends and strangers.

I pray you never stop being kind. I pray that I could learn that love and kindnes from you and that when you are old enough to pass judgement on others for any reason at all, that you would remember the way that your father and I loved others, just as Jesus does. I'm working on it. But above all, I want you to know how much you are loved, and I want you to love others in return. "We love because He first loved us." You never stop loving others, little love. Never stop.

I love you past the moon and the stars, forever and ever.

I love you, I love you, I love you.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

traveling with a baby (i'm an expert)

we returned from seattle last monday and needed about 4 days worth of sleep to make up for our vacation exhaustion. THEN maddox went into full-on sleep regression and now i need 124 days worth of sleep to make up for a baby who likes to wake up every hour and only wants to sleep on me (no thanks to the unsolicited advice on that one). but being home for a week has given me a chance to think about our trip and how we will not be traveling with a fully dependent baby in our near future (except that maddox was the mostly the best traveler).

obviously we flew to seattle because a five and a half month old in a car for 12 hours equals not a 12 hour trip. when you walk into the seating area with a baby, people look at you like you are lepers and bringing with you thirteen different communicable diseases. it's just a baby, folks. of course maddox slept through the entire TSA process until i had to get him out of his carseat to walk through the metal detector and then he was wide awake and just charming the pants off of everyone. our flight left at 6 am so it was the perfect timing and match right up with his normal feeding schedule and i could just feed him during take off. high fives all around for that good travel planning.

the minute we got to our gate i ran to the bathroom to do one last diaper change, which, of course, pissed maddox off and i brought a crying baby back to the gate and the thirty other people on our plane. so that was a good time. i also am a moron who didn't practice using the nursing cover until the day before and so there i was trying to figure out how to keep myself and the squirmiest baby on the planet covered and also the squirmiest baby on the planet has FOMO (fear of missing out) and so of course he's starving but also where the heck are we and so looking around at all the things and simultaneously crying overrules eating.

i finally got him fed and of course he does a big diaper-filling poop twenty minutes into our two-hour flight. and of course the flight attendants are just then taking their sweet time with the beverage carts and of course the man in 8A can't decide between coffee and juice and maddox is crying again over his diaper and OMG. thank goodness we were sitting right on the propeller (i mean, no. TERRIFYING.) because that thing was loud enough to drown out our crying kid.

the flight attendant also lied to us and said, and i quote, "oh, there's plenty of room in the bathroom to change him!" LIES. there wasn't even a SINK in the bathroom. i mean, how is that sanitary?! (although most people don't wash their hands because i can't tell you how many people in bathrooms on our vaca just skipped that step. UM HELLO PEOPLE. WASH YOUR HANDS PLEASE AND THANKS.) and so evan had to change him on the lid of the toilet and brought back thee angriest baby i have ever met.

but i mean, our choice was either that or leave him in his dirty diaper.

he fell asleep immediately after that fiasco and slept until landing when i nursed him some more and he seemed to have no problems with popping ears or any of that nonsense.

we vacillated on bringing the stroller along because although free, it's the size of a small car and do we really have room for that? no. so we decided we'd just pack the baby around in the baby bjorn and share the wear between us.

you guys? we carried an eighteen pound baby around seattle for five days. the first day we walked probably five or so miles (uphill both ways, obviously. in the snow and shit.) and i carried maddox the entire way and when we arrived at our destination i died a little bit.

did you know that a baby gains about a hundred pounds when they fall asleep? because they do.

that tidbit aside, i'm so thankful that we got to carry him around. it was like 24/7 cuddle sesh. because also he slept in our bed because what else are you going to do with a rolling baby? so, 24/7 cuddles basically.

for reals though, maddox was such a good traveler. he slept in the bjorn and he even let me walk around while i was feeding him (i got better at the stupid cover but i just prefer to be in the comfort of my own home and not in search of a bathroom or using the stupid cover in the middle of public.) and he slept through the night and didn't seem too phased by the hour time change or any of that.

i was mostly nervous for the plane ride and how he would do (mostly great) (because he slept the entire ride home) and how he would nap while we were in seattle. because this child needs his naps. or else. but he is so adaptable and went with the flow every single day.

i don't have any advice for other people traveling with a baby because what worked best for me was a husband who was more than willing to carry my girly diaper bag or the baby or change him on the middle of the ground in front of the orangutang exhibit at the zoo. what worked best was the binki clip i hand made to attach his pacifier (and also his favorite rattle) to him so that we didn't have to worry about sanitizing the shiz out of it when it inevitably hit the ground. what also worked best was carrying around not one or two or three or four but actually like 30 changes of clothes because just in case, the baby might have sixty diaper blowouts at the zoo and he also might pee on the one lone burp cloth and so you end up using the bag for the nursing cover as a makeshift burp cloth. what also worked best was using the baby bjorn instead of leaving it in the suitcase your husband is rolling a half a block ahead because you're carrying an eighteen pound baby in your arms and not the wrap.

mostly, my advice is to just not have any expectations or requirements because the number one rule of babies is that babies are always in charge and to also bring along a tide bleach pen just in case the baby spits up on your husband's suit for the wedding he's in. (oops)

Thursday, September 12, 2013


i mean, would you expect anything else from us on a full day off together? celebratory pictures in our new secret location + celebrating evan's birthday. i also made him a confetti cake and were you all aware that mrs. betty crocker is no longer producing rainbow chip frosting? this is an outrage. besides the fact that i had a mini-melt down at three different stores, today was a great day to celebrate my love and another year under our belts.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


it's this guy's 25th birthday today!

(evan's. not the baby's. just to clarify. although it feels like he's 25 at the rate he's growing up.)

i just feel so blessed to live life with him by my side. i know everyone says it all the time and it gets old because whenever i see someone else say it, i'm like, "uh, no. you. do. not. have thee best husband/baby daddy/bff/etc." because i do. but sometimes in the quiet moments or the moments where we're laughing so hard we can't see or the moments where one of us is mad at the other one, i just realize how perfectly aligned we are. how there is no other person on the face of this planet that i would rather do anything with. i mean it. even fights. i'd rather do fights with him than with anyone else.

his twenty fourth birthday was spent telling a lot of people about maddox and taking care of me because i had the worst sinus infection of my life. so this year we're celebrating by packing up our suitcase (singular because checking luggage costs about as much as our mortgage) and flying out to seattle tomorrow! it's a birthday trip for my love but we're pretending it's to celebrate our friends getting married. confusing, i know.

so, we're off to venture as west as evan and maddox have ever been and i'm off to find out what sort of anti anxiety medications i can eat because larissa + flying = no. (ps, that's my new formula for everything. i should probably be a math teacher. mostly because i'm 99 percent positive they don't even use numbers in math anymore? my brother brought home his college math homework and i was like nope. nope dot com.)

but back to evan.

happy birthday to the love of my life, here's to one hundred more with me by your side because YOU are the luckiest man on earth!

haha haha haha.

happy birthday evan, i love you.

Friday, September 6, 2013

new news

Let it be known that Evan is very good at convincing, uplifting and sweet talking. He's the best at confidence building and compliments. Because obviously you always see yourself in a harsher light than the rest of the world does.

So. When we bought my DSLR for my 23rd birthday, with the specific reason of taking pretty pictures in Africa, we never thought that it would turn into family photo shoots around town and taking pictures for our friends and family. Never in one million years would I have expected the cardboard box that contained a contraption I knew nothing about, to also held so many possibilities and opportunities exactly two years and three months later. Evan probably never imagined that he would use my birthday present as much as he does, and that he would have so much talent in his perspective and ingenuity. Because the first digital camera Evan had came from Costco in a piece of plastic. There was a slide cover over the lens and the viewing screen was about the size of my pinky nail. And now he's snapping the best pictures and making me feel good about myself on the other side of the camera. He's finding creative locations and using his height as an advantage because he's basically me on a stepping stool. He says that this is basically "my thing" but really, this wouldn't even be a thing if it weren't for him. So it's "our thing" and I've always hoped that someday we would get to work together again. And here we are.

Because every time we go on our own photo shoots Evan says, "You should do this for other people." And I shy away from that because what? Really? No. And he's encouraging and diplomatic and persistent and eventually he wears away at this incredibly strong and very dense external shield that I have built up and suddenly here we are, creating our own photography business, booking clients and finding ourselves totally immersed in this world of photography.

It's been a whirlwind. He's a go-getter and spontaneous. And I'm a type-A plan, plan, planner. I would have made a to-do list fifteen hundred miles long and required a check mark next to each item before I even leaked one single peep of this to anyone. But his excitement and spontaneity got at it before I could protest and I'm so thankful for his easy-going personality that didn't stop when starting a photography business turns out to be more than slapping a watermark on a few pictures you've taken. Once we announced this exciting news to our friends and family, I knew that this was perfect because of the amount of excitement built up in my chest. We'd have a big problem if I was only so-so about this. I mean, I sacrificed several hours of sleep to do some research and get things going. That should say something.

I can't wait for this next season of our lives. We're booking clients and taking this bull by its horns and going for it with everything we've got. Life's been pretty crazy for the past year with the news of a new baby and then having said baby and then turning our world upside down for said baby, why not throw in a new business and some late night photo editing dates over extra buttery popcorn and reruns of The Office? Sounds pretty perfect to me.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

on five months old

I was forever preparing myself for the "typical milestone" months--3, 6, 9--and then eventually 12. I never thought that month five would be such a time of change and growth for us. My nephew is almost five months older than Maddox. Five months is a lot of things when you're talking about babies. Five month old babies can roll over and talk and pretty much hold themselves upright in the sitting position if you keep a hand on their back. Five month old babies talk and blow raspberries and drool and make hilarious screeching noises in public. Watching my nephew be five months, and holding this itty bitty seven pound newborn in my arms, who I thought would shatter if I held him the wrong way, I could not even fathom Maddox at five months. It seemed impossible. Just like now, now I can't fathom him walking or talking or starting school or having his first girlfriend or graduating high school and going away to college. My mind cannot comprehend these milestones that this boy will someday reach.

But here we are a week into month five. We've got a child who absolutely loathes his carseat. Let me be more specific, we've got a child who loathes being placed in his carseat. Get him in (which takes approximately 10 minutes these days) and you're good. But good luck getting to that sweet spot with a child who has perfected "light as a feather, stiff as a board." And to think that his carseat used to be his favorite. To think that we had a child who would simply slide in and allow us to buckle him up without stretching out and arching his back and ripping the Velcro monkeys off the straps and instantly crying. TO THINK.

But this stage is so much fun, too. I wouldn't trade these mild carseat temper tantrums for anything. I love his attitude and personality that is developing, even over the smallest of things. It's so funny to think that five months ago we were just bringing him home from the hospital, just getting to know this little person outside of all the kicking and stretching inside of my belly.

Five months doesn't seem like a very long time. In the real world, it seems that not a lot can change in 150 or so days. But five months has made my baby boy ten pounds heavier, quite a few inches longer and heaps and heaps sweeter. I couldn't imagine him at five months and I couldn't imagine how much more I could love him than on the day I first met him. But here I am, my heart exploding bigger and bigger with each dimpled smile and each flirtatious eyebrow raise. Every single day I love him more than the last and it's not something I could ever explain with all the words in the world.

These past five months I've gotten less sleep than I've gotten in a long, long time; I've cried many a tear; gotten in the most ridiculous fights with Evan over things like where to place the diaper straps and how much desitin to use and who forgot what this time; I've been frustrated and happy and over the moon and confused and blessed and exhausted and content. I've been a lot of things and felt all of the feelings and thought a lot of thoughts but most of all, most of all over these past five months, I've been so incredibly, ridiculously, unbelievably happy.