Thursday, April 24, 2014

4/12 (a year of dates)

I really, really, really wanted to get creative with these dates. To, like, not do dinner each month. I mean, eating is fine, great really, but I wanted to experience all the things that my town has to offer that aren't fancy pants restaurants. And perhaps those fun things will come but somehow it is already the end of April and we realized that the date we had originally planned involved proper outdoor weather and this weekend calls for rain, rain and some more rain and then that's it for April.

So, we took the open window, which was a Wednesday night, dropped the babe at the grandparent's house and went to a fancy pants restaurant for free because Evan won a gift card for being amazing at sports and winning his office March Madness bracket.

Sidebar: The rule is that Evan is allowed to play whatever sports thing he wants to--Fantasy Football, March Madness Brackets, et cetera. But if there is money involved he has to win. He HAS TO win. That's the rule. Not because I care about the buy in but because I take a cut of that winning and make him take me to dinner or buy me a new pair of shoes with it. I have got this thing figured out. Basically: If you can't beat them, join them. He's not going to stop being obsessed with sports, so I'm just going to tack on a little bit of shopping and call it even steven.

But back to our date. It wasn't anything special but I had been looking forward to it for a while. April sped by so fast and with Evan gone for the first week, I felt like we really especially needed a date to get back into the swing of things. Because we're still coming down from vacation highs over here. Like how the suitcase is still in the laundry room with like a pair of shoes and headband in it and I just don't have it in me to put it away even though it's taking up valuable floor space.

What I'm saying is, I needed out of the house for a minute. And also a beer.

I got both of those things. On a Wednesday.

I like weeknight dating.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

10 things

Ten random things that I want to rant and rave about but don't deserve their own blog post.

1) We've had some disgustingly creepy spiders around these parts lately. Before the past month or so I'd never ever seen one of the spiders before. And then we killed three. They look like really big ticks but they die when you squish them and so I know they're not ticks. So. I was telling my friends Erin & Logan about this the other day and so my friend Erin proceeded to Google these spiders because maybe she hates me. (Ps. I'm beyond terrified of spiders. Like, if she would have put that phone with pictures of spiders in front of my face I probably would have had a mental breakdown and needed a tranquilizer or something.) Anyway. We discussed how gross spiders are for a good little while and then like thirty minutes later I glanced at the floor and a run of the mill house spider was running across my dining room floor like a total jerk. We totally called him out of hiding with all our spider talk.

Oh, but that's not all. I've been complaining about these spiders to, like, everyone hoping that someone will have a similar tick-spider experience. But no one has any idea what I'm talking about. So anyway, I woke up the other morning with a red mark on my face. Upon closer inspection I noticed two tiny little bite marks in it. It burns and hurts and kind of itches but mostly burns. Spider. Bite.

I have to stop talking about these vile creatures so they leave me alone.

2) How do you react when someone mispronounces your name? Do you just let it go and pretend like your name is whatever they're calling you? Or do you correct them (sometimes up to like 50 times) and deal with that awkwardness? Because people think that my name is Laura. Or Lisa. Or Marissa. Whenever I leave a message for someone I have to overly enunciate my name. Like, "LAAAA RIIII SUHHHH" and I also say my name approximately 6 different times, "Again, my name is LAAA RIII SUHHH. That's Larissa, with an L, as in Lemon. LAAA RIII SUHHH. Larissa. Thanks. Bye." And people still call me back and call me the wrong name.

3) On a related note, how do you handle this with your children? I mean, I know that I want to correct everyone who calls me Laura or Lisa or Marissa because NOT my name(s). But people call Maddox "Mad Ox" all the time and I get so defensive and irritated at it. For example: The nurse at our doctor's office calls him "Mad Ox" and so at our most recent visit she called for him, screaming "Mad Ox" into the waiting room and then us idiots, the idiots who named their baby "Mad Ox" have to get up and parade ourselves and our little baby "Mad Ox" through all the people. So, she calls him and I run over there with him and I say, yell really, "HERE'S MADDOX! MADDOX IS HERE TODAAAAY!!!" Like a total lunatic because GET THE PICTURE. Also a lady in the nursery at church calls him "Mad Ox" and I am that mom who is like, "I love you, Maddox." "Bye, Maddox." "Be a good boy, Maddox." using her son's name 500 times in a 30 second period so that this lady knows that my child's name is not Mad Ox. And it's awkward now because I should have just said something the first time. Instead of being just a child about it, I should have stuck up for him because it's not like he can pipe up and be like, "It's Maddox, thanks."

Mom fail.

4) Here's a story about sleeping Evan and his antics. Maddox has been waking up around 3 in the morning because he's teething. So we bring him into bed with us and he falls back asleep and we all sleep soundly until it's appropriate to get out of bed. The other morning Maddox had just started to fall asleep and Evan suddenly jumps up and grabs Maddox and I'm all, "EVAN! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" He was having a dream that Maddox was falling out of bed and so he felt like he needed to grab his head. To which Maddox thought that it was time to play and then proceeded to be wide awake and so back into his own bed he went.

5) I tried coconut water for the first time the other day and I wanted to scrape my mouth out with a razor. It was that bad. It tasted like glue. I wanted to like it to be soooooo hipster and shit but I just couldn't do it. Hipster fail.

6) I am addicted to watching documentaries about Everest and K2 on Netflix. I don't know why because I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever (extra emphasis obviously needed), ever climb a mountain that would require oxygen and sub-zero tents and sleeping bags and cost about a million dollars. Just, no thank you. But I can't stop watching. I'm pretty obsessed with knowing why these people enjoy risking their lives to stand on the top of a mountain in the freezing cold. I just don't get it. But I can't stop watching.

7) This year my goal is to read 24 books. So far I'm on book 11. My absolute favorites have been The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Anaya Mathis) and also Where'd You Go, Bernadette? (Maria Semple). I'm also obsessed with finding books at thrift stores and lately I have found some really great ones like Bossypants (Tina Fey) and Franny and Zooey (J. D. Salinger).

8) Remember the spider story from number one? Similar: My friend Allie and I were talking about ex-boyfriends the other day and immediately following our conversation I went to the store where I proceeded to run into an ex boyfriend in the checkout line. I didn't even recognize him but Evan did. (Because apparently they were childhood friends/basketball buddies. Because how many of my exes can my husband possibly be friends with?! God bless.) I really seriously just should not talk about anything anymore because I apparently can call people and spiders and Lord knows what else out of the woodwork with just my words.

9) We used the map app on our iPhones while driving around LA because reasons and while driving home from the Dodger's game on the 605, Siri informed us to just make a u-turn. In the middle of the interstate. Because obviously. It was already dark outside and there was much traffic and I was in charge of navigation and Evan maybe dropped some choice words because he thought it was my fault that Siri was being an idiot. Spoiler alert: It wasn't.

10) Maddox is obsessed with pickles. I'm not 100 percent sure if a one-year-old should be eating pickles but he loves them and flips his lid if you eat one and do not share it with him.  I think he gets this from me because I am a pickle snob. Claussen is the ONLY way to go. Don't even tell me Vlasic or I will punch you in the jaw. However, my mom likes to can things and she canned some dilly beans last year and I cannot get enough. However, I'm about to have enough because there are only a few jars left in her cupboard and it is too, too long until canning season begins. And if you don't know what a dilly bean is, it's basically a pickled bean. Except for that my mom fills the jar also with garlic and then made some very delicious lemon rosemary-flavored dilly beans and in addition to me loving them, Maddox also loves them and we have been sharing the very last jar of lemon rosemary beans every night and it's totally a bonding experience.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Our Easter

I just really like Easter. And this year I was pretty annoyed with the fact that it was so late in the year because I fee like it's weird. Is it weird? I don't know. Maybe. But then Montana decided to have the most beautiful weather probably ever and I enjoyed it far more than should be allowed. So, now I say yes to late Easters so that we can have springtime weather always and we can play outside for most of that day. Because that is what we did because it would be a total crime to stay inside on such a lovely day.

My mom kicked off Easter in the best way by buying me a tulip that will eventually find itself planted in my yard. So. That's nice of her. We spent Saturday night with my family and Sunday with Evan's (dude. it's so hard to please everyone and still get enough time to be a family ourselves every holiday.) so we were fed a LOT of good food and you would think that we wouldn't be hungry for like a week after prime rib and ham and more ham and enough potatoes to feed a small army. On Sunday night we gave Maddox his Easter basket which consisted of a bunny that I hand-sewed for him and also the book, "The Tale of the Three Trees," which was one of my favorites growing up and I found it for $4 on Amazon because I'm mostly amazing at shopping. So, there was no basket involved but I'm still calling it an "Easter basket." I know. Evan was just as confused. We spent Sunday night as a family just lounging around and trying to coax Maddox into walking and also walking ourselves around the neighborhood and discussing plans for the rest of our spring and summer. I feel like this gorgeous Easter weather has totally propelled me into DIY-mode and I have about a hundred projects I want to complete and how is it also already almost May? Still trying to get used to this late Easter thing, but mostly loving it.

I'm also slightly confused because was it not just Christmas? Like, yesterday? I don't understand how time works around here. It'll be Christmas again before I even know it probably.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Twenty three Easters I lived just going through the motions. Twenty three Easters that were the culmination of 40 days of Lent where I would sometimes give something up but usually give up giving something up by the second week. We would have to go around the classroom and each say what we gave up and I remember the one kid who gave up hot showers and his bed. And I thought that he was probably crazy.

Anyway. There were Easter baskets and trips to the mall to visit the Easter bunny. I remember a scavenger hunt that ended in the movie Babe and a new Polly Pocket toy. I'd don a new dress and some uncomfortable shoes and Easter would come and go just like any other Sunday, just like any other holiday.

But then I turned 24 and a few months later I was pregnant. I didn't even understand the love I would have or even could have for the tiny life that my body carried until the moment I saw him for the first time. He was born five days before Easter and I was slightly obsessed with having an Easter baby and so Easter was one of my first thoughts as I laid eyes on my beautiful baby boy. I was so overcome with the love that only a parent can have for their child that I understood the slightest, smallest fraction of the love that my Savior has for me.

Sometimes I think about how God has this incredible capacity to love every single human that ever was or is or ever will be. And I am so overcome with awe and a complete inability to even understand it. How in the world can he love every human the way that I love Maddox? How is it possible to love anyone more than that? Because I'm telling you, I don't know how I could love another human as much as I love Maddox. I know that I will have other children and I will love them just as I love him, but I cannot wrap my mind around that. But God does. He unconditionally loves me and you and everyone in this world including the people who don't use their blinkers or who cut me off and then proceed to go five miles under the speed limit. He loves the worst criminals and the goody-goodies and the people who don't love him back.

If that isn't true love, then I don't know what is.

I could sit down and write out every single sin I've ever committed. I could write down the little ones and the big ones and the ones I just can't quit (I'm looking at you, name calling in traffic). I could write them all down and I think I would run out of time before I'd run out of sins. It would take me the rest of my life to get them all down and I would fill page after page with my sins. And then I would finish and I would put that notebook away and I would walk out the door and I would gossip and I would think mean thoughts about the parents who are smoking in front of their children and I would be a bad role model for Maddox in, like, every situation even though I'm trying really hard to be better at that. And I would fight with Evan and be annoyed with my parents and I would skip church to sleep in and I would be a glutton and I would lust after Jesse Pinkman and Jackson Avery and I would be two faced and mean and rude and a horrible, horrible person and if anyone ever saw the things I would write down in my Record-of-Sin Journals, no one would ever want to be my friend.

So sometimes I just think about how I commit all these atrocious sins and I am no better than any other person on this planet, no matter what they've done or will do. And my Jesus loves me anyway. He loves me despite my flaws and shortcomings and He loves me through them and He'll love me tomorrow after I've done it all over again. He not only reads this journal but he sees me live my life and think my thoughts and has not abandoned me.

That's immeasurable and beautiful and something I didn't come close to comprehending until I became a mom. I still fail at understanding it because my humanness gets in the way but my grasp of this unconditional love that covers all sins, all shortcomings, that thinks that I am beautiful despite my flaws, I understand it a little bit better and I am so much more thankful for The Love that died so that I could live.

Now my debt is paid, it is paid in full,
By the precious blood that my Jesus spilled.
Now the curse of sin has no hold on me.
Whom the Son sets free, oh is free indeed!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

cali, cali

California was amazing. It wasn't nearly long enough, but vacations rarely are. I think it was extra hard on Evan because he had been on vacation for a week already, and then I show up ready to hit the beach and see all the things and he's already had his fill of In 'N Out (SACRILEGE!) and is probably ready to be out of the smog and into the fresh mountain air. Me, on the other hand, I'm ready to go, go, go and do every last thing there is to do in LA, which is a lot of things if you were wondering.

We did the beach thing and walked around Seal Beach, which is the cutest little coastal town I maybe have ever seen. Minus the name is totally deceiving and there are not actual seals on the beach and Evan and I argued over this for quite a while and he won and I looked like an idiot. This town should get a rename because nonnative Californians are all so excited to go to SEAL beach only to find out that there are absolutely NO SEALS anywhere to be found besides the concrete one on the sidewalk. We ate Thai food and Evan had to change a dirty diaper on the bathroom floor while Maddox screamed his head off and I sat at the table like, "Omg, this is real life." We did the California Science Center where we saw the culmination of my childhood (Endeavor) in a metal hanger out back and I almost cried because that was cool. We walked around and around in awe at how freaking massive that space shuttle is and watched the movie of getting Endeavor to the museum like 100 times because that was equally as amazing. We did the Zoo thing where we walked an insane amount and it was insanely hot that day (especially so because I went from negatives to barely above zero to 80 in a few weeks and my body was just like, "WTF."). But I love zoos and Maddox also loves Zoos. He was especially fond of the gorillas and the little baby monkeys who climbed against the netting. He loved the giraffes and the zebras and all the children running around. We went to a Dodger's game and sat in the outfield and didn't spend $13 on a beer even though I really wanted a beer. We ate at In 'N Out and Chipotle and had gelato and bubble tea and Rita's Italian Ice. We had some rooftop brews at the cutest little rooftop brewery that overlooked the ocean. We watched a sunset on Huntington Beach and drove around on the PCH like total tourists. I took a million pictures of palm trees and the ocean and speaking of the ocean, Maddox was a big fan and threw a temper tantrum when it was time to go.

We had entirely too much fun and I have been home for four days and I'm already ready to go back.

Traveling by myself with Maddox was super hard. He didn't love spending four hours on my lap and I didn't love running through SLC because our layover was literally 30 minutes in length and our connecting flight was in final boarding stages by the time I arrived. I didn't love holding a screaming and kicking baby while simultaneously being judged by other flyers. I didn't love being home for a week by myself before we got to fly out to meet Evan.

BUT. I did love Cali. That was my forth trip to that state and I have told Evan multiple times every single day how much I need to move there. Yeah, the mountains are super great but I want to live on a beach for a while. I feel like this won't go over very well with our parents so mostly I'm going to call it a vacation but it's going to be a vacation that is going to last like 365 days.

PS. Sorry, not sorry for the picture overload. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

E + L and our california sunset

The best thing in the world was reuniting with Evan after being away from him for five days. I arrived at the airport at 11 am and made it through two short flights with a squirmy baby who is obsessed with his freedom and who hated being held for four straight hours. We landed in Orange County after the most turbulent flight I've ever been on and after wanting to do some serious puking because the plane felt like a fly in a hurricane, we landed on solid ground and I ran, not walked, to baggage claim and into the arms of my waiting husband.

My very first sunset in Cali was spent just off the PCH in a little parking lot overlooking a beautiful stretch of beach. We made it just in time for them to close up and let us sneak in to watch the sun dip into the waves and not charge us the ridiculous $15 parking fee. We stood in the parking lot, my arms around my husband, being so thankful for the opportunity to be in California as a family (FINALLY) and to see a beach sunset with my husband. We've been all over the world together but we've never seen a sunset on a beach together. But we fixed that in Laguna Beach and my heart exploded with every single emotion possible.

Monday, April 14, 2014


So, I have a one-year-old now. No one ask me how that even happened because I'm not totally clear on all of the details. All I know is that we all woke up on March 26 and Maddox had turned one and I may have cried a little bit looking back through his baby pictures and all of the first moments that we captured on camera.

Anyway. I've been planning Maddox's first birthday for months, ya'll. This was a big deal, worthy of months of planning and high-gear OCD. I knew that I wanted to get Maddox a teepee and basically planned the party around that gift. I was totally kidding when I presented the idea of a Cowboys and Indians party to Evan but he was on board and after I thought about it for exactly two seconds, I was on board, too.

So that was it: Cowboys and Indians. Basically, I scoured Pinterest for ideas and came up with some pretty great ones of my own, too.

Evan and I started making the teepee a few weeks before the big day. It was slightly a nightmare because we didn't know what we were doing. We were trying to use two different DIYs as a reference but also make up our own template as we went along. And it wasn't working. So we used this DIY and all of her measurements and we love how it turned out. Tying the thing so that it would stand was a total nightmare and the boards + our wood floors isn't ideal so currently the teepee lives in our hardwood floor living room but we will probably be moving to the carpeted family room in the near future. We finally figured out how to keep it standing without holding it upright but a certain one-year-old who shall remain nameless likes to go in through the door and out through the side. This totally moves around the canvas/legs and because I don't think it would be a good idea for the thing to fall over on him, it needs to be moved to a less slick surface.

Anyway, birthday party. I slaved away making feather headbands for all the girls to be little Indians and bought some sheriff stickers for the little boys so they could be cowboys. At the very last minute some of Maddox's friends were unable to make it and so I made all the adults dress up because I'm the boss. I made a chalkboard sign and made a few of my friends cut shapes out of felt to be sewn into garland. Evan and I bought trail mix and little baggies and stamped "trail mix" on each of the baggies and gave those out as party favors to everyone.

I had planned to get plenty of pictures but then it was suddenly party time and people were showing up and I was still making lunch and so I didn't get any pictures of the adorable headbands or the mason jars we used as glasses or the cute paper straws or really anything else. But mostly I wanted to enjoy my baby turning one and focus on that and not be behind my camera for the entire party. And I'm okay with that.

I dressed Maddox up like a cowboy and he wore the cowboy hat for exactly .02 seconds. He is not a fan of hats which is a bummer because they're adorable.

My friend Emma made us s'mores cupcakes and golden oreo funfetti cupcakes and we demolished them. Maddox had a golden oreo cuppy with a dangerous candle that he really wanted to touch but obviously the candle had its own bodyguard (Evan's arm). Maddox wasn't too sure what to do with the cuppy and he was super gentle with it so maybe I helped smash some into his face to liven things up a bit.

After the party our family stuck around to open presents (we asked our friends to just bring their presence, no presents [HA HA get it? I didn't come up with that. I found it on the Google. It's adorable.]) and we had a little family time that mostly consisted of Maddox and Hason giving each other kisses and Hason opening most of Maddox's presents and Maddox being mostly obsessed with the boxes and none of the presents, obviously.

I cannot believe that Maddox is already one. And that I planned and planned for his birthday and then it happened and now he is one and we have a giant teepee in our living room and the chalkboard sign has not been erased and still informs us that Maddox is one. Yes, sign, we know. ;]

It was such a fun birthday and so much fun for me to plan and spend all of my free time dreaming up. I've been enjoying having a one-year-old and all the fun that he is and how he looks more and more like a toddler every single day. Kids are crazy, man.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


As we were walking along the beach on our little family vacation last week, I decided that our April family photo would most definitely be a beach picture. I found us a life guard station and carefully set up my camera to make sure that no sand would work its sneaky little way into my expensive camera and looked like a total idiot running back and forth to get the perfect shot. And laugh at that because it's so far from perfect. But it was hot outside and some chick was really adamant about taking the picture for us even though I explained to her why I didn't actually need help and after like the fifth try I decided to just give up and keep the few unperfect ones that we had gotten and roll with it.

We ended up only being at the beach in the middle of the day or at sunset. That high noon sun is brutal and it was freezing cold at sunset and so this was our one and only impromptu family picture photoshoot on the beach in Cali. Lame.

I wanna go back.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

3/12 (a year of dates)

Date three of twelve happened this weekend after the longest and fastest month of my life. Somehow it's practically April and so Evan snuck our March date in there real quick.

We tried out a new Hibachi grill and oh me oh my, that meal easily made my Top Ten Meals of my life. Let me give you background about a Hibachi grill in case you've never been to one before. You sit at a U shaped table with a bunch of other people and a chef grills your meal right in front of you on a million degree flat top stove. You sit with a bunch of other people. So awkward, yes. Obviously Evan and I planned this out real well because we got stuck with a table of high school prom children. Thrilled. So thrilled.

Besides the children, our meal was so great. Our little Hibachi chef was hilarious and also pretend sprayed me in the chest with some saki...awkward...and then made fun of the way I say, "Thank you." So. I mean, all in all, good times.

Evan and I were going to go bowling afterwards but the men who work at the bowling alleys are so. rude. So, needless to say, we did not go bowling. Instead we went to a wine and tapas bar and shared a bottle of wine and talked for almost two uninterrupted hours (I mean, literally. Our server totally forgot about us.).

It was so super low-key and after the craziest month with a certain someone's first birthday party, it was so needed. Evan will be in LA for the next little while before Maddox and I join him, and it was kind of perfect to spend some time just the two of us. What's weird is how this used to be our thing, our weekly thing. Like, if I didn't get uninterrupted weekly time with Evan, I threw a total fit and probably had to hurt someone. Now, Evan and I spend a few hours together after Maddox falls asleep almost every night and we make time for each other in the mornings and during lunch breaks and always when Maddox is around so that he grows up in a home where his parents love the ish out of each other.

Evan also continued our date to Sunday morning when he woke up early with Maddox and made chorizo and eggs for us. And then because Maddox likes to climb out of his highchair and so Evan couldn't leave the kitchen, he scream-yelled at the top of his lungs, "Ri-ise and shi-ine and give God the glory, glory. Ri-ise and shi-ine and give God the glory, glory. RISE. AND. SHINE. AND. give God the glory, glory, child-ren of. the. Lord." until I woke up and joined them in the kitchen to the most delicious breakfast I've had in quite some time. I'm a big fan of this man and the way he loves. A big fan.

And now that that song is stuck in your heads.....BYEEE.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

About teeth part III

I really, really should stop writing these posts about teeth. Because every time I do, another tooth makes it way through those poor baby gums and just about ruins our lives.

Recap here and here for the full story.

Over the past few days (the days right before Evan left for his little tropical vacation), Maddox came down with a fever and has been ultra crabby pants about everything. He refuses to eat (he's even refusing cheese. I don't know who this kid is, even!), refuses to take medicine, won't drink anything and naps for hours and hours and hours. His fever was anywhere from 99-101 so I did what any hysterical mom would do and obsessively held the thermometer in his mouth and gave him Tylenol on the dot and rubbed his back and used an entire bottle of lavender oil all over his hot little head and sweaty little feet.

I felt like it would be mean of me to hold him down and look in his mouth so I did not do that. His fever finally broke on Tuesday morning but even without a fever he was still mega grumpy the entire day. This was also exacerbated (oh you fancy huh?) by the fact that as we left Evan at the airport and tried to pay our way out of the parking lot, the car in front of us was scouring their entire car for pennies to pay their fee. I video taped the entire odyssey to send to Evan because I feel like sometimes he doesn't believe the things that happen to me. The video was TWO MINUTES and FORTY SECONDS of this couple searching their entire car for change and my commentary and also Maddox losing his shit. When the entire ordeal was finally over and I pulled up to my turn, having the correct change sitting on my lap, the guy working the window heard Maddox screaming and said, "Oh, she's so upset!"

So, that made him even more mad, obviously.

I finally got the courage to check his mouth and saw two new incisors already most of the way through.

Those stinking teeth. But thanks for not wasting any time on your arrival, I guess!

Since he is refusing to eat anything, I'm mostly playing a game of, "Will this be something Maddox will eat? Or will this be something he's going to spit all over me?" Because mostly the latter. And also why I was cleaning cottage cheese off of myself for a good 10 minutes yesterday.

Thumbs up to also how I get to get on a plane by myself in a few days and sorry to whoever has to sit next to us on the plane and might become a victim of Maddox's rage-spitting. I apologize in advance.