Friday, February 28, 2014

Valentine's Day!

{I apologize in advance: This day was important to me, not because it was Valentine's Day. So I go into great, lengthy detail so that I will remember every single thing about this special night when I read about it in the future. It is completely for my benefit. ;) Xoxo.}

I sort of freaked out a few weeks before Valentine's Day. It really hit me that our lives are going to change FOREVER when this child is born. I knew it would change for the better, of course, but I felt like we were saying goodbye to a very huge part of our lives and I wanted a proper "send off" to this irreplaceable non-parenting era.

Matt and I have had so much fun these past 3 years as newlyweds. I'm so glad we had that time to get to know each other really well, have adventures, get through school, and just be "us". During this freak out, I wasn't worried we wouldn't have fun anymore once the baby comes... I just felt like we really needed to commemorate the memories and special time we've had as M&M.  :)

Matt and I don't spoil ourselves. We never spend a lot of money on gifts or trips or dinners. We're poor college students, happy and content with small, meaningful gifts and memories. So when I asked Matt if he would take care of Valentine's this year, I didn't mean anything fancy. I just asked for a memorable night filled with great conversation; a final salute to the only time in our entire lives that we only have each other. And he blew me away!

He usually works pretty late, and I actually was expecting him to this day as well, surprisingly. But right after arriving home around 3:30 from shopping for his gift (yeah I'm not a procrastinator), there was a knock on the door. I thought it was the maintenance man to fix the washer, so I didn't think anything of it as I opened the door. But there was Matt... handsome as ever... with this adorable thing in his hands:
we laughed at the zebra. why a zebra? in a monkey/koala position?

We got in the car and he started driving towards the coast. I was guessing in my head where we were going, but we honestly haven't been in San Diego long enough for me to even know what's around! So I was completely surprised and unreal excited when we got closer and I realized he was taking me to Seaport Village! How dreamy is he, to research fun/neat places in the area and take me to the coolest restaurant he read about! It's called the Pier Cafe, and it has the most breathtaking character of any restaurant I've ever been to!
view from the inside

We were seated in the best place - it had an unbelievable view of the ocean, but was close enough to the entrance that we still felt the open air from the sea. 

So I'm usually wary about the food at fancy places like this. It's either not very delicious, or really small portions. UM NOT! SO much food, and it was SO delicious! I wish every day was a special occasion so I could eat that meal again. 

While we ate, we talked and stared at the ocean. Kayakers appeared out from under the restaurant, sail boats and battleships went past, and a pod of dolphins frolicked right in front of us for a solid 5-10 minutes! We don't have a picture because Matt was too busy yelling, "Dolphins! Dolphins!" for me to look, haha! He was probably more excited for the battleships though. Those things are massive!

We shared the most DELECTABLE dessert, Matte folded me a fancy napkin ;), and then we walked around Seaport Village. 

We stopped at an adorable candy shoppe and I found out Matt's ACTUAL favorite candy (where the heck have I been the past 4.5 years?), and found the carousel! {Not pictured.} We were totally going to be kids again and ride it, but it had just closed for the night. Walking around this place with the dazzling lights at night time was so romantic and the perfect ending to our day. When we got to the car, we were parked right by an aircraft carrier that was holding a party. A FANCY party -- people dressed for the red carpet, I swear. I wanted to sneak onto it and peak at the dancing people and decor.  :)

Thanks Matt for the most perfect Valentine's Day I've ever had, and the most perfect way to sign off as non-parents! I can't wait for our NEXT chapter, and the fulfillment and joy being parents will bring us. You are already the best dad in the world. 

I love you.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

That 3-week period when we were homeless

After we left Rexburg, we couldn't move into our San Diego place until January 12. We were going to spend a week at my in-laws' home for Christmas anyway, so they were kind enough to let us stay THREE weeks! I'm sure we were such a headache for them (especially Zach, since we took over his room ;)), but they were so sweet to have us, feed us, and entertain us.

The day after we arrived, my MIL Lisa and SIL Cassi threw me a baby shower for the Larson family! It was the most miraculous event I have ever seen! It was a "feminine woodland" theme. They used burlap, moss, greenery, wood stumps, and a garland of pinecones/pine needles to create a forest feel. They made it feminine by adding doilies, pink and white floral, and other touches of pink. Cassi made the sweets (mini cupcakes with a roasted crème brûlée marshmallow topping, amazing owl sugar cookies, pecan pie, and s'more marshmallows) and Lisa made the savory (bbq meatballs, mini quiche, paninis wrapped in twine, and sugar cones filled with berries). They even made "acorns" out of kisses, wafers, and butterscotch chips! Everything tied in so flawlessly! Baby girl and I were so very spoiled.

My family!
(I burned that shirt after seeing these pictures.)

A few days later was Christmas! Kind of funny/cute that we had our California wedding open house the weekend before Christmas, and then my California baby shower the same weekend three years later. :)
Christmas morning
Doesn't little Lenna have the best smile in the whole world?! Agh I love her.

Every year after Christmas (or before, depending on which day it falls on) the extended Larson family camps at the Glamis dunes. This year all of the campers were rented out, so our immediate family had to stay at a hotel a few minutes away. It worked out kind of nicely since I was 29 weeks pregnant. ;)
I wasn't able to ride the quad, but Tara snuck me on a rail ride with Kyra!

After Glamis, we took the long way home and stopped at Salvation Mountain. Holy crap that place is weird and amazing and breathtaking and humorous all at the same time. It is in the middle of NOWHERE and I'm kind of in love with it.

And then took another detour to picnic at The Salton Sea, which apparently used to be a beautiful oasis people would escape to, but is now a pretty disgusting placid fish-bone dump with billions of seagulls. I love this picture Cassi captured of Matt being all Bruce Almighty-y.

For New Years Eve Lisa made king crab! It was SO delicious! We watched the ball drop, danced to some performers, laughed at Miley Cyrus, and drank sparkling cider as we kissed our significant others.

I was leaving January 2 to visit my whole family in San Diego, so the day after New Years we celebrated my birthday. :) They made my favorite foods - chicken, fettucini, asparagus, bruschetta, and Cassi made an ALMOND JOY cake! What the heck! My favorite candy transformed into cake-form?! I love her. Matt keeps teasing me at how spoiled I was during our 3-week homelessness. (and it only gets worse... aka better.)
om nom i want to eat this picture

The next day I left for Mission Beach because my family was having a little reunion there at my SIL's  beach house. It was so beautiful and I couldn't believe we were about to live there and be so close to everyone -- and the beach!
View from the balcony
Everyone playing football
Infamous french toast on Mission Boulevard
I love my kiddos.

After the "reunion" I didn't really have anywhere to be, so I went home with my sister's family an hour north to spend my birthday weekend! Melissa and I haven't been together on my birthday since I was 2! We kept pinching ourselves that our dreams of living close to each other have finally come true! (Even if it's only for a few months... we are in denial.) On my birthday we went shopping, ate at Nordstrom Cafe, got our hair done (yay back to my "natural" color!), ate ice cream, and saw Saving Mr. Banks. It was such a dreamy day with just us two!

The next Monday the kids didn't have school, so we all went to Disneyland! Sure, I couldn't ride many rides (I only went on Alice in Wonderland-- how have I never ridden that before?), but it was SO fun to all hang out, eat pineapple froyo, and play "Heads Up" in line. :) PLUS I got a BIRTHDAY pin and every single cast member that passed me wished me a happy birthday! I never got tired of it. I'm saving that pin FOR.EV.ER.

See what I mean about being spoiled? The next week was slightly stressful getting all of Matt's HR paperwork and preliminary employment forms completed and figuring out when/how/where to move in. BUTT that does not negate any fun or relaxing time we had before the final move. :) THANK YOU so much to Matt's parents for having us for so long and helping us move in!

We had a fun time playing hooky with no jobs and no school for the last time ever in our lives. ;)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A New Adventure

Rexburg | Idaho. Photo stolen from the BYU-Idaho website because I tried to capture this
beautiful frost wonderland in a photo and it just didn't do it justice like this does. 

So much to catch up on since my gender reveal post!

This past fall semester Matt had been working on finding an internship for the upcoming spring semester (April-July). The plan was to go to school during winter semester (January-April), which is normally his off-track semester, walk at graduation in April after the baby was born, and then move away to an internship that would hopefully lead into a job offer at its conclusion. He worked so hard, and had several promising interviews - including Texas and Utah.

At the end of November, we had our 3rd anniversary! Unfortunately, it was on a Tuesday that went like this: work and school from 8:00-5:00, play practice from 6:00-9:00, and then leaving town at 9:00 to go to Vegas for Thanksgiving. So, we had from 5:00-5:45 pm to celebrate. :) Matt gave me the most beautiful rose I have ever seen, along with the sweetest card. He told me my gift was inside the card, but I didn't see anything. He told me to look harder. When I looked on the back side of the paper insert, he had written sideways on the crease: "Ready to move to California?"

I of course screamed with excitement! California? It's only our DREAM to live in California! He began to tell me that he was offered an amazing internship/co-op opportunity with a company in southern California, but that there was a stipulation -- he had to start in January. Six weeks from now.

This meant the following things:

  • Moving in actually three weeks, because we were going to his parents' in California for one week during Christmas anyway, so we might as well leave at once instead of taking a week off of work just to quit one week later and drive 13 hours to and from California three times in three weeks.
  • Quitting my job earlier than expected, giving them only 2-weeks' notice. (More stressful than you could imagine.)
  • Packing and moving during finals week.
  • Leaving our beloved OB, Dr. Prince, and amazing hospital in small-town Rexburg that I was so comfortable with, to have to find a new doctor/hospital in southern California where you're just another pregnant woman on a conveyer belt. ;)
  • Matt graduating next December instead of this April because the co-op will last from January-August, so he will have to do his last semester in Fall 2014 instead of this winter.
  • Not blessing our baby in our amazing ward that we love and loves us and that Matt has taken care of for over two years. 
  • Not being able to babysit my best friend's 15-month old when she goes into labor with her twins in February. (This secretly really upset me.)
BUT. I of course told him how proud I was of him and how incredible of an opportunity this was. While we stewed over the pros and cons for the few days that we had to make our decision, the good SO outweighed the bad. (I would list the pros, but that feels weird and a little personal.) It was so fun to be with my family that week for Thanksgiving and tell them we might be moving down there. Their excitement combined with Matt's family's excitement made it feel like we had already made our decision -- which scared me at first since we HADN'T made our decision, but comforted me when we visited the temple and decided to go for it. 

My office behind a beautiful snowy Christmas-y tree.

When we got back to Idaho after Thanksgiving... the craziest three weeks of our lives commenced. We were so blessed to have so many people help us since I was out of the house from literally 8:00 am-9:00 pm every day with work and my play, and Matt was studying for all of his finals. When the play ended, we had our wonderful friends from out of town stay with us for a few days, which was actually more helpful than stressful. My great friends threw me a surprise last-minute baby shower so I could have one with my dear ward friends. Matt's dad was so selfless and drove his truck up to Rexburg (nearly killing himself in the process due to the craziest storm in Utah), packed our stuff, and took it back to California all in THREE days because we couldn't find a third person to drive a U-haul down there if we rented one. 

Matt and I fought a lot because of all the stress. :) Luckily, we had a wonderful last night in our trailer. I worked that day, and had a board meeting that night until about 9:30 p.m.  When I got home, all of our belongings were either in storage or packed away - except for two couches which the next tenants were buying from us. We snuggled up all cozy on those in our otherwise empty family room and discussed our fondness for our time in Rexburg, specifically the trailer, and the crazy future in store for us. 

And then, on December 20, we departed snowy Rexburg for the first time in our marriage, commencing the next adventure in the lives of m&m.  :)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Feelings on the babe

I am sitting on the edge of my couch cushion because I have to lean forward a little bit to reach my laptop on the coffee table. My little one is moving around like a monkey inside of me, and since I am slightly bent over, her bouncy... butt? feet? is nudging into my ribs over and over again.

I couldn't be happier.

Unless I was snuggling and kissing her, of course. Whenever I feel her move around, all I can think about is how badly I want to MEET her and have my little buddy by my side. You always hear pregnant women discussing how painful and irritating it is to have the babe kick them in the ribs. I feel so blessed that it doesn't bother me! It always makes me smile. Maybe it will bother me in the next few weeks, but so far all of her kicks, boxing matches, somersaults, hiccups, and stretches have felt more like nudges from a dainty dancer than tackles from a football player. I have felt for the majority of this pregnancy that she is a little dainty, petite girl. I will laugh if I have to push out a 10-lb screaming baby. Actually... I won't laugh.

I didn't tell many people, but for the first half of my pregnancy I didn't feel like what I expect most other women in my situation felt like. I grew up my entire life wanting to be a mother. I counted down the days until we could start a family, and it happened exactly how I planned - surprisingly enough. So why, when upon finding out I was in fact pregnant, was I not as ecstatic as I expected? Why, when we told our family the good news, did I not feel extreme joy?

I went shopping with my family on the day I told them and the girls of course wanted to go into the Gymboree store. I remember not wanting to go into that store and not wanting to look at baby clothes, but I didn't say anything because I was ashamed for feeling that way. Once in the store, I was overwhelmed, cried, and finally confided in my mother. I was nervous that these disgraceful feelings were foreshadowing some terrible postpartum I would experience. She assured me it was just because all of this was new and didn't seem real yet.

So for the first half of my pregnancy, I'm embarrassed to admit I was not enraptured with the pregnancy. I didn't feel connected to my baby. Matt was extremely connected. As soon as I told him the news, he thought we had a baby. Like, a physical baby in our arms to feed and bathe and change. He has been a dad since day 1, and it warms my heart.

I eventually realized why these feelings of disconnect haunted me for several months. I had so many people close to me struggle with getting pregnant, losing pregnancies, and even losing their babies, prior to us getting pregnant. My heart ached for these people (still does). I think I was embarrassed that we got pregnant so easily, nervous how these wonderful people would feel, and perhaps half-expecting similar things to happen to us. Maybe my subconscious didn't want to make any plans for the future or accept this beautiful, heavenly treasure because it was afraid of losing everything. Or offending anyone.

The reason I am saying all of this incredibly dreary personal history is because today I have realized something.

Every kick to my rib and jab to my bladder... makes me SMILE.

Every time she rolls around and feels like a creepy alien inside my insides... I'm GRATEFUL.

I believe that those same things which caused feelings of detachment during the first half of my pregnancy have caused overwhelming gratitude, humility, and awareness during the second half of pregnancy. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has blessed me with the ability to easily conceive and carry a child. I'm so humbled that my body is handling pregnancy like a champion and is hosting a healthy, perfect baby. I am supremely aware of the blessings from heaven poured upon our small family and this little one in particular. Every day, I wake up and have these feelings. Every day, I think of the struggles other women are going through. I can't do anything to help their pain except pray for them, and recognize how blessed I am.

I have been too embarrassed to admit how wonderful everything is going, but instead of keeping quiet I want to let other women know that

I don't.

take it.

for granted.

You have all sacrificed so much -- too much, in my opinion. And I love you with all my heart.

Baby girl -- you are so loved, appreciated, and cherished. We can't wait to meet you.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Gender Reveal

We decided to throw a little party to announce the gender of our baby! I was hesitant to do so because I thought gender reveal parties were a slightly self-absorbed excuse to have another celebration and receive presents if you're already going to have a baby shower. But I thought a little longer and realized it's actually such a fun way to get everyone involved and excited with us, and Matt deserves to have a celebration for his new baby with his friends too, because men don't usually go to baby showers. :) And I could say "no gifts please" on the invitation!  Plus, I mainly wanted to do it because the photos from the party would be the best announcement. So Matt and I put on a super low-key get-together at a park and we had so much fun! I wish more of our family could have been there to join us!

So! Here it is! We are having a....


Sweet baby girl!

(THANK YOU Melissa for having DIVINE gourmet chocolate cupcakes filled with pink frosting delivered to our door!)