Just before I met Tyler, my life had taken a big left turn, but I was pretty sure I had ironed out all the kinks. I was ready to hang out with Claire in SLO, graduate college, and start my career. Tyler walked in, he was way too... nice, so I walked him right back out. But something happened, he wouldn't leave. I liked him OK and all, so I was fine with him hanging around, plus he had a car and I didn't. Pretty soon, I let him take me on another date. To Hearst Castle.
This was the most disasterous date ever, mostly that was my fault. As you can see from the picture below, I had an awful time: women's issues. I was in a lot of pain and I don't know if the day was dry or if my contacts were just old, but they were bugging me so much, I couldn't see very well. I couldn't have been terribly pleasant to be around. (Myriah, maybe this is why I hate Hearst Castle).
But, even though I was awful, Tyler was really concerned. He wanted to help, to make me feel better. He offered to stop and buy me medicine or ice cream or whatever I needed. He rubbed my shoulders or left me alone, depending on my mood. At the time, I had no idea how much it cost to tour the Castle, but after I found out, I thought if the shoes were on the other foot, I would have been irritated that Tyler ruined my day after I paid so much for it. If he had any thoughts of this nature, he never let on. This really turned my opinion of "nice." I decided I wanted a "nice" guy.
After the tour, I felt a little better so we drove up this hill overlooking Morro Bay. You can see Morro Rock just to the left of my face. Even though I had been a horrible date, Tyler asked me out again. And again and again.
By August, Tyler and I still weren't what they used to call "going steady." At least not to me. Then my friend Jen (on the far left of the picture) invited me (far right) to go backpacking in King's Canyon. I bought a new backpack for the occasion thinking I'd use it again and again in my swinging single life. We were gone for a week, during which time, I did nothing besides hike and talk about Tyler and how great he was. It was a surprise to me, I had no idea he was so fabulous. When I got back home and saw him, I realized I had missed him a lot. A lot a lot.
Two months later, we were engaged.
Three months after that, we were married. Everyone warned me that the first year is the hardest, and after four year, I'd have to disagree; the first year was the easiest.
We were both in school, so our lives weren't terribly exciting, but we went on a few trips during those first months. Around May, I think, we hiked Half Dome in Yosemite. This was my last big hike. I haven't used my backpack again because...
In October, one year after we got engaged, I found out I was pregnant.
This was our dining room in our apartment on Boysen street. That was a great year: the Winter Olympics and the World Cup, Patrick and Peter across the street, Claire and Liz two streets over, dinner parties, Trivial Pursuit, Settlers of Cattan (or rather, Settlers of Zarahemla), Farmer's Markets, the Geek Movie, a lot of good music mostly provided by Claire.
When I was four months pregnant, we hiked Bishop's Peak. I knew it was the last time I'd get to be up there for awhile.
In July, Lillian was born. Here we try to give her her first Gravenstein apple. She doesn't seem terribly interested. Mmmmn, Gravensteins.
December was a big month. Above is my first run in with a jalapeno. I saw someone on TV chop up a jalapeno with their bare hands for guacamole. I decided to do this as well, with disasterous consequences. Within minutes, nay seconds, my face was on fire. I called my mother and Tyler's mother to find out how to make the burning stop. My hands started burning. We consulted the internet. I put baking soda, baking powder, and vinegar on my face. All to no avail. So take heed: if you're going to chop up a jalapeno, wear ziplock baggies on your hands, or get someone else to do it for you.
Over Christmas break, we took a trip up to Oregon to go snowboarding on Mt. Hood with the Saponases.
In February, we went on a hike with our friend Liz. I remember this hike because Liz pretended to ride a bike like she was on that Capitol One commercial. It was very funny. Lillian hated this backpack/carrier. She screamed the whole hike. Around this time, I joined a hiking mom's group in an effort to make friends with other moms. I went hiking every week for a few months but didn't make any friends. Probably because it's hard to make small talk when your baby is screaming bloody murder.
And who could forget the dog sweater? My Chinese friend Patrick bought us this dog sweater for my baby shower. His line of thinking was that babies crawl with their arms out in front, like a dog, so wouldn't dog clothing fit better than human clothing? Did I mention he's a mechanical engineer? And Chinese?
Our friend Blake (who's taking the picture) took us river rafting on the American River. That was pretty fun, although not as fun as when he took Tyler the year before.
In December, Vivian took our family pictures in Goleta. She does such a great job, and she's great. I want to grow up to be just like her.
Also, at the First Annual Canaan Christmas Party at the Cohen's, I got Tyler to do the unthinkable: we karaoked "Baby It's Cold Outside" in front of other people. If I didn't have this picture to prove it, I would think I dreamed it. This party was such a good time, I'm sorry I missed the Second Annual CCPC.
You guys all remember this last year, so I won't go too much into it. We took a trip to DC and Boston.
We took a trip to San Francisco (although this was before our trip to DC because I still had long hair, sorry for them being out of order) and saw the Wave Organ and Alcatraz.
I found out I was pregnant in March. Tyler and Lillian dressed up like superheroes to disrupt my study time.
We graduated college and had a big farewell party at Port San Luis attended by no less than five Ashbys (if you count Jerry and Levi) and Liz and my entire family (except for the Maryland Calders, and they were missed). Vivian took this picture of Lillian in the sand. She does such great work. I passed my boards, Tyler defended his thesis, we moved to Arizona, and I had Nora (not pictured).
To those who say the first year is the hardest, I say what about a few nights ago when Nora was colicky all day and then up ever hour and a half from 11-4 and just after she went to sleep, Lillian trotted into our room to tell us she had a messy diaper and my husband, who doesn't function well on little sleep, had to get up to go to work the next day and I had to get up and care for two children under three all day? Huh? How can arguing over where to put the couch compare to that?
But, when everything calms down, when I watch Lillian twirl around and tell me she's a ballerina, or when I look at Tyler asleep on the couch with Nora on his chest, or a million other times a day when I'm amazed by how great life is, it's all worth it.