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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Of Surfing, Afros, and Raising Daughters

Here is the problem--okay, one of many-- with raising three girls: there is a lack of good role models for them in the media. So when the movie Soul Surfer came out and my friends with daughters were all like, "you've gotta take your daughters to see this!  It's such a great movie for girls!," I decided I'd better jump on that bandwagon.

I'll be honest, it's kind of a cheesy movie. There were points where my husband and I were pretty sure, even if Bethany didn't surf again, she would probably walk on water. But there were a couple of great messages I wanted my girls to take away from it:
1. Sharks will sometimes bite off your arms, but don't let that stop you from doing what you love.
2. God works through people of all different faiths to perform miracles, as long as they will allow Him to.
3. Serving others is the best way to overcome your trials because you can always find someone else whose life sucks worse than your own.

Here is the message they actually got:
Never, ever go in the ocean, or even to the beach, because a shark WILL eat one of your limbs for lunch. (The shark scene, by the way, is, literally, about two seconds long).

Now, this would not be a problem if we lived in, say, Nebraska. However, about 15 miles from our house is a large body of water--perhaps you've heard of it--called the Pacific Ocean. And I would be very sad if we couldn't go there anymore, because I love it. (To look at, because I'm from a spot on the Snake River in Idaho where we learn to waterski, boat, and ride wave runners ON TOP of the water in order to avoid actually going IN TO it).

So, imagine my relief when Girl 1 decided she wanted to learn to surf. I knew I had to take action fast because she doesn't always want to try new things, especially when it doesn't involve books. Luckily, I have a most awesome uncle who lives in Newport Beach AND surfs AND who I was able to cajole in to passing along his mad surfer skills to my daughter.
Here is the best picture of him ever:
 Taken in 1976. Seriously, how could he not be awesome to pull off that white man's fro?

And here I am in 1990-- because it's only fair I post an embarassing picture of myself now:

Clearly, (a) he was much better able to pull off an afro than I was, and (b) big hair in Idaho never goes out of style.

But here are the most important pictures of all:

That is my daughter saying, "it's okay if there are sharks out there, I'm going to try surfing anyway because I watched a movie about a cool girl who had no fear." And sure, she probably won't ever be a pro surfer ala Bethany Hamilton, but that's not the point. She tried something new--and scary-- so I'm pretty darn proud of her anyway.

And this is Girl 2 who decided she'd better get in on the action too, even without a wetsuit:
Talk about fearless!

Do I have awesome kids or what? They must take after their great-uncle (and his even awesomer wife, who may not surf, but man can she cook. And shop. And decorate. There's a pretty long list, so I'll end there.) 
Hang Ten!

Monday, July 18, 2011

How A Trip To London in 1994 Kept Me From Blogging On Saturday

My plans to blog keep getting thwarted. This past Saturday, I should have been writing something pithy and original-- perhaps even life changing. Something groundbreaking. Like how kids (namely mine) fight in the summer.

Instead I cleaned my kitchen. Partly because one of my kids was stuck to the floor in there for quite some time. But mostly because I invited a friend I hadn't seen in fifteen years to come to my home and thus I had to create the facade that 1) I am a super housekeeper or 2) I am wealthy enough to have a cleaning lady. 

I'm hoping she thinks #2, but not #2 + "she should find a better cleaning lady." But in reality she probably didn't even notice because I forgot to make her go on a tour of my house to show off its cleanliness.

Some of you may know my friend Kelly because she has a very funny blog here. But I knew her first because I met her seventeen years ago when we went to London during the summer of 1994 on a BYU study abroad program. And that was before blogs. Or even the internet (I am purposely not making the requisite Al Gore joke here because I happen to like the man).

And maybe you remember her post that referenced a smokey nine hour bus ride to Scotland -- if not it is here. You should read it.  Then come back here.

All done? Well, I was on that carcinogen loaded bus and, not only do I have the scarred lungs to prove it, but also this picture of us waiting to board the bus:
See that girl with the totally high-tech walkman? That's me. And that other girl rockin' out on her headphones? Not Kelly. It's her sister. But Kelly is the one standing on her left in that cute dress that would sometimes come unbottuned as we were running to plays, or church, or other things you should be on time for.
Also,see that guy standing behind me? I totally made out, held hands, talked about his mission and the best way to get to the Celestial Kingdom on our entire red-eye trip to the land of Scots. Also, I married him about six months later--because how could I resist those sideburns?

So we had a mini-London reunion of sorts, the three of us, plus Kelly's husband-- who we like, despite his not being an original member of the London '94 club-- and 1/5 of her children. We had lots of fun and I liked it when she said we had not changed at all.

But I think she was maybe being nice. Or she is forgetful. Because here we are then:

And this is us now:

And this is the picture I (or maybe somebody else) took of Kelly and Jake (or possibly other people found on Google images under "attractive couple" because I actually forgot to take pictures, but you get the point.):
Attractive Couple in Summer Royalty Free Stock Photo

We would be jealous of their stunning good-looks except that they have added "visit Larsens" to their list of things to do on their yearly vacation to California. Right under "go to San Diego swap meet." Which, they say, is a good thing, so we will trust them and look forward to seeing them again next year.

P.S. Here, Kelly, is the promised picture of the Doc Martens I bought on Carnaby Street. Yours are much cooler. I don't think I would wear these to a U2 concert. But that old lady in the picture might.