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Learning to GOMO Instead of FOMO—With a Baby!

25 Jul
JoyZadieBeach

Zadie’s first time at the beach! Leo Carillo State Beach.

Remember the term FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)? When that term was in heavy rotation, I totally understood it and felt it often. I wanted to be a part of the action; I never wanted to be left out. As a single person, it was hard to commit to a plan because I wanted to know I wasn’t missing out on anything else. But after having Zadie, I moved from FOMO to FOGO—Fear of Going Out! I knew I was missing out on stuff; I had a newborn for goodness’ sake. But I was afraid of going out, afraid she might have a meltdown and I wouldn’t know what to do. As she got older, I found consistent naps to be the key to avoiding meltdowns, so I guarded naptime with the zeal of Gollum for his precious ring. But Zadie naps three times a day, and that leaves very little time for going out.

Recently I heard about Eventbrite’s GOMO (Going Out More Often) campaign, where they’re encouraging people to get out of the Netflix rut and go enjoy life this summer. It immediately struck me as a great way to remember to get myself out of my comfort zone and take Zadie on little (and maybe sometimes big!) outings as we resettle in Los Angeles, where there are amazing events happening all the time!

When Robert and I last lived in Pasadena, our absolute favorite summer activity was going to see free concerts at the Levitt Pavilion in Memorial Park in Pasadena. We’d ride our bikes to Pita Jungle and pick up some falafel wraps and dolmas to go, then settle on a picnic blanket with a thermos full of a refreshing cocktail and listen to live music.

It’s a bit tougher now with a baby whose bedtime is 7:00, but I know Robert’s been dying to go out more often, whether it’s a hike or to lunch at a fun place downtown or even camping (that’s pretty far-fetched if you ask me!).

So partly for Robert’s sake, and partly for my own sanity, I’m trying to GOMO this summer! I had the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is this week, when a close friend invited me and Zadie to visit where she and her family were camping at the beach all week. She actually invited us to stay a night or two, but I know my limits! Still, I decided to pack up a beach bag and hit the road with Zadie, heading out to Malibu on a day that was supposed to be in the high 90s here in L.A. I timed it so we’d drive during Zadie’s first nap, and hopefully she’d sleep in the car, and then driving back during her third nap, hoping again for sleep and also to beat rush hour(s)! I thought maybe she could take her second nap in the carrier while we were at the beach.

Well, guess what? Zadie was an angel baby all day. She slept the first 30 minutes of our drive, then studied her hands quietly for about 45 minutes. J She didn’t sleep on me at the beach, but she had a great time and played independently (read: chewed on a package of baby wipes) on a beach blanket for what felt like the longest time! And then she slept the entire 90-minute drive home. It was a small miracle. As for me: I got out of the apartment, drove through the vineyards and canyons to be greeted by the perfectly blue Pacific Ocean on the other side, caught up with dear friends, and enjoyed the cooler beach weather. And, I saw that maybe Zadie only needs 2 naps a day, so we’ve been trying that and it’s opening up a lot more time!

Over the weekend we went to a friend’s birthday brunch, I took Zadie to Trader Joe’s on my own (that was a first for us, believe it or not); we went to church for the first time since being back in L.A. (and she did great in the nursery!), and we ended the weekend hanging out at a local park, where a mariachi band suddenly showed up and Zadie had her first live music experience.

It all started with one little trip to the beach, and now I feel like the world is my oyster! It reminds me of a quote I once read that said something like, “Everything you could possibly want is right outside your comfort zone.”

What about you? Were you afraid to go out when you had a baby? Or did you just strap that babe on and go about your life? Any tips for someone who needs to GOMO? (Besides “just do it”—I don’t find that very helpful!).

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CicLAvia: All Bikes, No Cars, Yay!

25 Apr
DTLA minus cars

DTLA minus cars

On Sunday Robert and I participated for the second time (Robert’s third) in CicLAvia, an event that comes around 2 or 3 times a year, shutting down a bunch of streets to cars and opening them to cyclists. Being married to a cyclist means events like this are a pretty big deal. Robert was basically in paradise–cruising around Downtown L.A., no cars in sight, just bikes bikes bikes! It’s such a cool feeling to pedal down a giant street downtown–that’s usually crammed with cars–between high rise buildings and feel like you’re on a movie set. Everone’s yelling and ringing their bells and it’s like a party on wheels.

Gold Line

Rob and I on the Gold Line on our way down to CicLAvia!

We met up with some different friends at our apartment at 10am and rode two blocks to the Gold Line station, where we took a short train ride to Union Station downtown.

The route went from downtown L.A. all the way to Venice Beach–about 15 miles–but we didn’t make it that far because there were SO many people this year (180,000!) that we kept getting in bike traffic jams, which kind of defeats at least part of the purpose of leaving the cars at home for the day. So we stopped in Culver City for lunch and then took the train back downtown.

We were gone all day, not heading back until the late afternoon, and I kept having the feeling of being a tourist in a foreign city–except we were still in L.A.! One of the best parts was when we got back downtown and hung out at Grand Park, newly remodeled by Robert’s company (it was the first project Robert worked on!). It was so fun to just hang out with a coffee frappucino, people watching and dipping our hot feet in the cool fountain.

It also kind of felt like a statement, being at CicLAvia. I never realized how unsafe LA tends to be for cyclists–people just don’t look and a lot of them are irritated by people on bikes. Now that I ride around our city of Pasadena with Robert, I see the other side of the coin. Cyclists are choosing a more environment-friendly, cost-effective, and healthy form of transportation, and a lot of times we are met with honking horns or frustrated drivers speeding up right behind us and then roaring past in a dangerous fashion. It’s all pretty frustrating and makes me wish L.A. was more bike-friendly, like Portland or Amsterdam. I think we are on our way, though!

Finally, it was a bit of a personal achievement for me. It’s hard to believe that only a year ago Robert was building me my bike and I was terrified of riding it. I remember we rode down the street to a parking lot where I freaked out trying to make turns and quick stops. Now I’m happy to say freak-outs are much more rare, and also my slow-speed balance has greatly improved, which really came in handy during all those bicycle traffic jams!

The next CicLAvia is in June. You should check it out!

Grand Park group

Cooling off at the fountain at Grand Park downtown

Born on the Fourth of July

7 Jul

madagascar lemursOkay, I wasn’t really.  I was actually born on the 3rd of July.  But (Mom, correct me if I’m wrong) the story goes that my due date was July 4th and the doctor didn’t want to do a c-section on the holiday, so my mom had the option of picking the 3rd or the 5th.  How special!  I’m glad she chose the 3rd, though, because otherwise it wouldn’t be so crazy that my license plate has the numbers 7 3 84 in it.  Woah.

Anyway, I turned 25 on Friday, and one thing I can say about my 25 years on this earth: I finally got smart about parties.  See, I love throwing parties.  The more the merrier.  I hosted a couple of epic parties back in college (epic being a relative term when you go to a Bible college where everyone’s signed contracts that they won’t touch alcohol).  The best was at the end of my senior year, when I threw a Peter Pan themed party – fairies, lost boys, pirates, and Indians everywhere.  I was Tiger Lily and got a wicked spray tan.  A bunch of us ended up dancing in the backyard like the lemurs in Madagascar.  Sweet.

Back to my party anxiety.  The during is usually great.  But my freak outs always happen in the moments before, when I’m waiting for the first guests to arrive and wondering if anyone will even show, if anyone at all in the world actually loves me.  Birthdays are the worst, because so many people go out of town for the Fourth, so my guest list is usually pitifully small.  So this year, I wised up.  I decided that a) I didn’t want to worry about who loves me and who doesn’t on my 25th birthday, fully aware that I might already be dealing with monstrous emotions of a quarter-life crisis; and b) I didn’t want a diminished guest list due to the Fourth and also about half of my friends leaving for other countries the first week of July.

So what did I do?  I had two parties, silly!  The Saturday before my birthday I had a bunch of friends meet me at my new (to me) apartment in Pasadena where we had some drinks and some appetizers before heading out to The Cat and Fiddle in Hollywood.  Inside, the Cat was pretty dead, but their courtyard was hopping.  Lots of ivy and twinkle lights and wrought iron made it a good place to chill, although not worth the traffic we had to fight to get there!  Good times with fun friends.

Then on Friday, my actual birthday, I had a little barbeque with just my family and my “other family”, the Rays.  It was so fun because I was totally relaxed.  I didn’t have to worry about how I looked or who came or how much food we had.  It was so good to spend quality time with people I love and who love me.  So, it’s good to know that while I am older, I’m a bit wiser too.

Now on to the juicy stuff…I know you’re dying to ask if I am going through a quarter-life crisis.  As dumb as that sounds…I kind of am.  I think.  I don’t know.  I do know that I’ve been having a lot of feelings lately – such strong emotions that I don’t know how to deal with so I tend to just try to shut them off or drown them out.  Healthy, right?  Oh, and every time I see a baby now, my womb hurts.  Hee.  Totally kidding about that one.  Although, I am way more aware now of my utter singleness.  I never thought I would be 25 and not even dating anyone.  I know that there’s people reading this thinking, “Why, she’s just a baby!” and others thinking, “Yeesh, 25?  She should join eHarmony or something.”  I remember being 20 and seeing 25 year old friends get married, thinking that they found love “later in life.”  Oh ho, how foolish I was.

To round out these ramblings I thought I would share a quote I read on Greg Boyd’s blog that goes along with the Fourth of July theme and made me think:

Greg Boyd, on Steven Russell’s Overcoming Evil

He [Russell] notes that empires rise and fall with remarkable speed, even those such as Assyria and Babylon who, at the height of their power, seemed utterly invincible. Babylon’s mighty reign lasted less than a century, as did the empire of modern day communist Russia. We Americans are now the reigning empire, and, as with all previous empires, we trust in our power and wealth to keep us secure. (In fact, as with all previous empires, we interpret our power and wealth as a blessing from God/the gods). We must remember that this has been the arrogant mindset of all empires just prior to their falls from power.

In this light, Russell concludes, “Who imagined the fall of the Soviet Union would come a short seven decades after its founding and rapid rise in power? And who among us knows what God has in store for our nation or any other? But His purpose is good, and if we choose to become part of His plan, even our deaths will be victorious” (72-73).

Wise words. I encourage you to put no trust in the power and wealth of America (or whatever country you happen to live in). The only real security is in Yaweh and living his way, as revealed in Jesus Christ.

Even if it means you die.

Okay, maybe not terribly cheery or patriotic, but these are wise words.  Often in Europe I thought about what it would be like to be one of those smaller, albeit developed and thriving, countries.  Prior to the election, Norwegians would eagerly ask my opinion on the race, declaring that “America’s president is our president.”  How crazy will it be when America is in that position with another nation overshadowing her?

What I Want to Do on My Summer Vacation

3 Jun

summer_karly_swingYou know how you used to tell the whole class what you did during your summer break?  Well, now that I’m a *cough* grown-up and work full time, thus disqualifying me for a summer vacation, does not mean that I can’t still wish for some things to happen during this season.  In random order, and fully aware of the improbability of a few*, here are my top 13**:

1. See Kings of Leon live.  Preferably outdoors.  And dance like a rockstar to “Use Somebody.”

2. Swim in the ocean.  I know it’s basic, but you’d be surprised how easy it is for summer to pass without this happening.  And once I get in, I always love it.

3. Go to the Hollywood Bowl with either a) cute, funny, and attentive boy, or b) group of fun friends and definitely with c) lots of amazing cheese and wine.

4. Travel to Sweden for Matilda and Rickard’s wedding, and for the Midsummer’s celebration.

5. Hike.  Frequently.

6. Go sailing.  (I’ve never been.  I know!)

7. Griffith Observatory.  This one depends on the company.

8. Watch the sunset over the ocean and have a bonfire, complete with s’mores.  (Oh, and if we do carne asada like the good old LPC days, so much the better).

9. Go to a Dodger game, hopefully on a fireworks night.

10. Go back to Berlin.  And Paris. And Norway.   And London.  ….and pretty much do a whole other European tour.

11. Disneyland.  This must be rounded off with a waffle cone from the ice cream shop on Main Street.

12. Wear a LOT of really cute summer dresses.

13. Have a memorable (in a good way) 25th birthday. *cough* July 3rd

*I have no problem with friends attempting to make some of the items on this list happen.

** This list may get longer.  Deal with it.

A Boyfriend Would Come in Handy Right About Now…

25 Nov

australia_movie

I want to see this movie so much!  Here’s the trailer…if you can watch it in Hi-Def, do.  It’s starring these two beautiful people, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, australiapubaand it’s by the same director as Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrman).  Hello!  It’s going to be so good!  And Oprah loved it.  And I REALLY want to see it in the theater…or the cinema, I think that’s what they call it here.  The cinematography looks amazing, and I have a feeling it just won’t be as cool in a few months on my laptop or on the tiny screen in front of me on the airplane.  

Plus, you already know how much I loved going to the movies cinema (I’m sorry, cinema just sounds cooler).  So hey, if you’ve got a few extra days off this Christmas, come visit me in Norway and we can go see Australia together.  Not like I have a bunch of plans or anything *self-pitying sigh*.  Dammit, when is teleportation going to become a real form of travel?

Norwegian Sunday

21 Oct

The other day I was taken on a spontaneous boat trip across Mjøsa, the lake here in Hamar.  I was supposed to walk over to some friends’ log cabin near the base to see their pictures from a recent trip to Israel, and I ended up having coffee and homemade apple cake (with apples off the tree in their yard!) on the shore of an island where 1000 years ago human sacrifices were made.  Ola rode almost the whole way sitting on the front of the boat while his son drove…apparently to even out the weight distribution.  It was an interesting afternoon.

Ola and Elisabet have really taken me under their wing, and I see them as a sort of set of Norwegian parents, as they are about the same age as mine.  It’s so fun to get off base and in their house or their boat, with their son Ola Johannes, and feel like I’m looking through a window into the life of a real Norwegian family.  I loved how they just spontaneously decided to take the boat for a spin, just because they had a full tank of petrol and it was sunny outside, never mind that it was 43 degrees.  

Norwegians are a hardy breed, I’m beginning to find.  Ola Johannes jumped out of the boat and was in knee-high, frigid water pulling it to shore of the island, then quickly whipped up a fire to warm his feet once we were ashore.  Everything was so low-maintenance and I think that added to the charm and beauty of the day.  The apple cake with homemade whipped cream tasted that much better because it was enjoyed outdoors, soaking up the last of the “warm” sunshine before winter comes.  

That island felt so mysterious…I’ve looked out at it so many times from the windows on base, and that tree-covered land seemed to be the birthplace of a hundred myths.  I remembered Ola telling me that they used to make human sacrifices there, which made me feel a little creeped out but fascinated as well, when I thought of the ancient Norse people living their lives here a thousand years ago.  Even while we walked around on the island, climbing up the sacrificial hill and surveying the blue waters around us, the sunlight shooting through branches, I couldn’t shake that awed feeling, like I was walking in the middle of a legend from a distant corner of the earth.

Take Me to the Movies! Or Sushi.

22 Aug

yuma.jpg 

Hey, I totally love being single but sometimes I miss how when you’re part of a couple, you go to the movies ALL the time.  When I’m flying solo, I just don’t get to the theater.  I’m not one of those brave souls who can go to the movies alone, and I never really want to go with friends because I feel like I’m wasting quality time with them.  But a boyfriend?  Sheesh, you’re always talking and spending time together, so sometimes it’s nice to sit in the dark and drink a Diet Coke and then have something to talk about afterward. Continue reading

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