Saturday, January 19, 2013


The annual reflection. Here's the one from when I turned 26. Here's the one from when I turned 25.

WARNING: This is 90% baby because that's just what's been consuming most of my physical, mental, and emotional energy this past year!

What was the single best thing that happened this past year? Finding out we were going to have a child. (Read: "Oh my gosh, we're PREGNANT!! woot!")

What was the single most challenging thing that happened? Slogging through the last semester of law school followed by studying super hard for the bar exam.

What was an unexpected joy this past year? Volunteering at a nearby after school program. I've just loved working with those kids.

What was an unexpected obstacle? I landed an awesome temporary job with an immigration attorney, but that meant interviewing clients in Spanish about their personal lives including the awful crimes that they experienced that made them eligible for the U-Visa.

What were the best books you read this year? I always read a lot, so I have a lot of favorites!

  • "Compassion" by Henri Nouwan & others
  • "Grace for the Good Girl" by Emily Freeman
  • "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
  • "Two Part Invention" by Madeleine L'Engle
  • "Through Gates of Splendor" by Elisabeth Elliot
  • "The Meaning of Marriage" by Tim Keller

With whom were your most valuable relationships? My husband, my parents & siblings, and my closest friends. I also loved getting to know my daughter as much as you possibly can through feeling movements, hearing heartbeats on the fetal doppler, and seeing ultrasound images.

What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year? 
Being pregnant takes so much time. In the summer, I had many days where I just laid on the couch feeling too exhausted and nauseous to move. In the last few months, I have moved more and more slowly, have insomnia more often, and am exhausted a lot. But, given that this is all a byproduct of growing a human being, it probably doesn't count as wasted time!

What was the best way you used your time this past year? Taking it easy and not expecting too much of myself (this is hard for me to do!) on the days where growing my sweet little fetus took a lot out of me.

What was the biggest thing you learned this past year? I've experienced God as my Shepherd in a way like no other year of my life.

Did anyone close to you get married, give birth, or pass away? 
My brother and sister-in-law didn't give birth, but after months of waiting, my precious niece, Lilianna, was placed in their family on an adoptive basis! Also, our college mentors, a cousin, and friends from church had babies.

Where did you travel? 
We rang in the New Year in Bangkok and also traveled south to Thailand's touristy Phuket. We road-tripped to Colorado over the summer, flew to Colorado for Thanksgiving, and I went alone to Colorado after Christmas while Michael was at Urbana. We also just recently went on a babymoon to Cambria, California.

What would you like to have this year that you lacked last year? My baby in my arms.

What days will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 
Fourth of July when the pregnancy test was positive. Do I need to explain why?

Two days after we found out we were going to have a girl, my brother and sister-in-law called us telling us they had a girl (via adoption). We sat in the Costco parking lot on the phone with them hearing her story up to that point. I remember that conversation every time I drive into the Costco parking lot.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Growing a human. (More than becoming a lawyer.)

What was your biggest failure? Worrying about the future.

Did you suffer illness or injury? 
Other than typical pregnancy aches and pains, no. Well, except for that time I fainted outside an ice cream shop.

What did you get really, really, really excited about? Baby stuff. Finding out we were having one, seeing her ultrasounds, feeling her kick, finding out it was a girl, my niece coming into our family, and meeting her at Thanksgiving.

What kept you sane? Having lots of free time. My man.

What are you looking forward to the most this year? Meeting our baby!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Christian Bookstore Scavenger Hunt

About a month ago, I was lying in bed and out of nowhere, an idea popped into my head. "Hey Michael... Wouldn't it be fun to go on a Christian Bookstore Scavenger Hunt?"

I don't remember what his reaction was, but when I explained myself, he was 100% in.

"We'd compile a list of all the things stereotypical to Christian bookstores and Christian culture and see if we could find them. Things like Thomas Kinkade light paintings, Veggie Tales paraphernalia, and frumpy Bible covers."

Well, we compiled out list and went out on our date to Family Christian Bookstores. It was so fun and we laughed so much. I highly recommend doing it.

In case you have our sense of humor, here's the list copy/pasted from our original word document. You get a point for every item you find.

Christian Bookstore Scavenger Hunt
Ô  Larry the Cucumber
Ô  A Bible costing more than $100 (You may include tax and any embellishments the store offers like putting your name on the front)
Ô  Something WWJD
Ô  Rubber Stamps
Ô  Christian T-shirt using a pop culture spin-off (i.e. see “Jedi for Jesus” tshirt below)
Ô  Thomas Kinkade light painting
Ô  Something both patriotic and Christian
Ô  Precious Moments anything
Ô  Something with Jeremiah 29:11 on it
Ô  Footprints poem
Ô  Something involving seashells
Ô  Benefit compilation CD (bonus point if Mac Powell is on it)
Ô  Something made out of porcelain
Ô  Something made by an artisan in the developing world
Ô  Ugly Bible cover
Ô  Christian-themed board game
Ô  Something involving cross-stitching or knitting

Special rules:
v If you find two of the above on one object, +4 (instead of +2). Three of the above on one object, +6 (instead of +3).
v -1 point for every time an employee asks you if you need help

“He who seeks finds.” -Matthew 7:8

We could hardly believe that this board game existed. Check out the subtitle.

Footprints poem on an ugly Bible cover = four points!!

We ended with 15 points. Beat that! (And please let me know if you do!)

Friday, January 11, 2013


Michael and I got to spend four days on a Babymoon in Cambria, CA.

Here are three of my favorite memories from the trip in order from most pleasant to most disturbing.

1. We stayed at a bed and breakfast run by a single woman in her 70s. She began her B&B orientation with an almost five minute explanation of what the four light switches by the front door did. She also made sure to tell us that the heater had to be turned to "on" to work. When she began her long explanation of how to connect to the internet, I thought I was going to bust up laughing.

This old woman made us yogurt and muffins every morning for breakfast. Our little weekend home was completely decked out in a birds, eggs, and nests theme. Michael and I decided to count all the birds and all the eggs.

Michael's guess: 35 eggs and 50 birds
Christie's guess: 10 eggs and 100 birds

We were woefully short of reality.

Final count: 133 eggs and 155 birds

Our sweet hostess sent me home with a handmade nest with a little egg in it. She said it was symbolic of our little one on the way. :-)

2. We wanted to visit Hearst Castle, but we were worried that the tour might be a little too much time on my feet for my wimpy back and hips. When we asked the older woman at the ticket booth which tour to take, she took one look at my swollen abdomen and told me to go on the accessible tour!

I gave in and toured Hearst Castle in a wheelchair! Let's just say that when the tour guides weren't around, Michael spun me around and wheeled me into plants.

3. We were fortunate enough to be at California's central coast during elephant seal birthing, nursing, and mating season. The baby seals were pretty cute, but the female seals were too huge to be cute, the males were straight up ugly, and when the mating happened, it was both horrific and hilarious at the same time.

I made the picture below small so that if you don't want to see elephant seals getting it on, you don't have to. If you're like me and you think it's funny, click on the picture. Let me just warn you again that it's a bit disturbing.

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