Archive for January, 2013

28th January
written by Michelle

It has been so good to be back.

Back to grocery shopping, swerving for pot holes and waiting in line at the bank.

Back to saying buenos dias and buying fresh squeezed orange juice from the stand with the green umbrella.

Back to my messy desk and piles that make sense only to me. Back to a dog that likes to sleep as much as I do.

Back to sunny mornings, and church bells and fire crackers.

Our car needs new tiers, the house is dusty, and I feel a little behind on everything, but we are home.

And home feels so good.

I don’t exactly remember when Guatemala started to feel like home. I came here for the first time in 2007, and didn’t want to  leave. But it wasn’t really home quite yet. I visited in 2008 and 2009, and was tempted to move, but that seemed too crazy. What I do remember is for about a good two years while living in Santa Barbara I had this consistent, quiet heaviness that lived buried underneath layers of busyness and stress. I kept my schedule full and my heart just slightly disengaged. I thought I could be the best teacher, run an after-school program on the Westside, make it to the gym, meet with my small group, do some emails and cram in a quick dinner and get by.

But if you have ever tried to keep anything buried inside for too long than you know how this goes. Things buried inside eventually do come out, and often not in the prettiest way.  Mine came out through tears on Friday afternoons while sitting in my white Honda and then, eventually in a counselor’s office. I had to learn to listen to myself. And to stop being so damn, practical. My life looked great on paper and I was trying my hardest to convince myself that it was. But I’ve learned that a life that looks good on paper, may not necessarily be the life that I want.

I knew deep down I wanted a change. I needed a change. Something was missing from my life. And it scared me because I knew that in order to find it I would have to take a risk. To let go and leave.

And for me that risk was Guatemala. Maybe for you that risk is starting a grad school program, or making the first phone call, or being willing to move even when it makes sense to no one else. Risks are hard. Especially for pragmatic, controlling people like me. Risks don’t always make sense in the process, and maybe not always in retrospect either. I think that’s the nature of a risk.

It would be misleading not to mention that dating and marry Gerber was a huge part of this “something missing.” My longing for a partner and to be married for most of my twenties was obviously part of my journey, but it wasn’t everything. For years in Santa Barbara I had this ache to be settled, to feel at home. And for a reason I may never understand…this tall, white, California girl found it here, in Guatemala.

I guess 5 weeks away makes me appreciate it all the more.

Where do you feel most at home? Or with whom?


P.S And yes, I will get around to posting a few pictures from our travels- even though it is wonderful to be home, we did have a great time in the states!

16th January
written by Michelle
There is a baby

yes, there is a baby in there { 16 weeks }

Being pregnant has many perks. I now have a great excuse for even more snacking, my boobs have grown at least a cup, and people genuinely seem so excited when they find out we’re pregnant. I kinda have a feeling those same people may not be quite as excited when they have to sit near us on a long flight with the crying child, but that’s for another time.  For now, I’ll take the excitement and the slew of questions. Over the past few weeks these have been the 12 most common.

So in case you were just sitting at home, dying to ask us these questions…ta-dah, now you don’t have to. See answers below : )

1. Do you guys want to find out what you’re having?

yep. Partly just to plan and prepare for either a little girl or little boy….but the real reason is because we want to eliminate half of the name conversation. Once we get back to Guatemala we’re hoping at one of our next appointments to be able to find out.

2. Do you have a preference? boy or girl?

Nope. I will be happy with a healthy little baby doesn’t matter the gender. Gerber says he has a feeling it’s a girl, but who knows.

3. Do you have name ideas?

Oh, do we ever….but one of our requirements is that the name has to be pronounced the same in English and Spanish. So we’re trying to stay away from names with r, j, y, and th. We’ve both had to let go of names we used to like. For instance, I’ve has to accept that Ethan (for a boy) and Madelyn (for a girl) are just not gonna work in Spanish. And Gerber had to give up Joaquin (for a boy) and Maria-Jose (for a girl). Our litmus test has been to see if a Starbucks barista can pronounce the name. So you know when you go to Starbucks and the ask for your name? Well, I may have been a “Gabriella” or “Elena” and Gerber has tried out “Mateo” and “Elias.”

4. Will you have the baby in the States or Guatemala?

Guatemala. It just makes sense. We live there, we don’t have insurance in the states and we have found a great midwife and birth center in Guatemala City. I mean women have healthy babies every day in Guatemala so I figure I can too.

5. Why did you chose a midwife?

I love the philosophy behind midwifery and probably would have chosen one if we were having the baby in the states as well. I mean women have been having babies for centuries with midwives and the whole idea that God made our bodies able to do this just fascinates me. I wanted a woman to attend my birth because most likely my mom and sisters will not be able to be there. Hannah, our midwife, has been a great support so far- available for phone calls, emails and all of my random questions. She’ll do a birthing class for us and 40 days of post-postpartum care. And maybe what sold me is that the birth center has a warm water tub- which I kind of imagine will be like a jacuzzi during labor. (yeah, yeah…just let me by a little naive for now, the idea still sounds lovely). And for those of you tend to worry… no need to be alarmed, there is a hospital close by that she partners with if at any point me or the baby is in danger.

But really, to each her own. I know wonderful women give birth to healthy babies in hospitals all the time. I think the last thing moms-to-be need is judgement from other women.

6. Will you baby have dual citizenship?

yep. The US embassy in Guatemala will grant US citizenship to our baby because one of it’s parents is a US citizen. So a few months after birth we’ll take the little one in for his/her first passport picture so we can come visit the USA. (yes, you can expect a picture : )

7. When will you guys come back to the states to visit?

Well, I am trying to hold all plans loosely for next year- but our hope is to come back sometime in August or September. We’ll see.

8. How have you been feeling?

Thankfully, really well. Just hungry…I feel this ravenous need to eat every 2 hours. But, I really can’t complain. Besides being super tired the whole first semester and noticing an increase in hair-growth (on my chin!), I have felt really healthy and happy. Don’t hate me. I sometimes feel bad, because I know some friends have had such difficult and nauseating pregnancies, but maybe I can blame it on good genes?

9. Have you had any weird cravings?

Nothing, too particularly weird. Baguettes with cheese have never tasted better and for as cliche as it sounds, I may have sent Gerber on a few pickle runs. Why do pregnant women like pickles???
10. Are you going to keep working after the baby comes?

well, that’s the plan. (see answer #7 for a reminder that all plans are held loosely: ) Gerber I agreed before we got married that because we both have flexibility with our work and ministry we both want to be able to keep working and spend time at home with kids. So we obviously we will have a lot to figure out. I’m sure our schedule will change (probably even more than I realize) and especially at the beginning because I plan on breastfeeding. Thankfully, our organization is super flexible for families and parents.

11. What about your the home remodel you’ve talked about? Is that still happening?

yep. That’s what we’re hoping. It will probably mean moving out of our home for a few months while construction happens. So we may rent for a while and probably won’t be doing an nursery decorating, but that’s ok. Most families in Guatemala have babies and never decorate a nursery or buy a crib before a baby comes. I figure we’ll do all of that later. I don’t think the baby will mind.
12. What’s been the best part so far?

When Gerber cuddles me at night, kisses my head and says “I love you both.”

11th January
written by Michelle
I realize we’re about 2 weeks into 2013, but when you’re living out of a suitcase and catching up on emails via airports and coffee shops, this is what happens.

 New Years Eve was spent in Santa Barbara, recovering from colds, sipping soup and watching movies. I didn’t even make it till midnight. So very adult-ish and boring, huh? We have spent 3 weeks in southern California, staying with dear friends, seeing family and spending many hours on the 101, 405, 55, 57 and 134. If you’re not from the SoCal area- those are some of our freeways names.

(side note: watch this SNL video clip, The Californians. It’s hilarious and partly true.)


I got to visit some of my old favorites; Panino, the Boathouse, Butterfly Beach and the Mission lawn. And Gerber declared his Santa Barbara favorite: Blenders. We enjoyed some In-N-Out, his FIRST time. (I know, I know… he has been in CA three times and I have never introduced him to this California deliciousness. What kind of wife am I?) We visited with churches, met up with water filter project consultants and shared meals, and coffee dates with good friends.

We have been so thankfully for lazy mornings and comfortable beds and gracious hosts who have let us make a home away from home. We have had fun meals out, great conversations with friends, time to rest and explore some of California’s best cities, and lots and lots of car time to talk about baby names. Things that most people would probably envy, and we are grateful. But we’re both ready to get back….back to our home, to walking the dog and running errands and doing work we enjoy. Back to regular exercise and hanging up clothes and really, just a sense of normalcy.

I will forever and always be a list maker. I like goals and I like to write down my goals. But I have learned I need to let my lists of goals be more like prayers, with room to grow, change and shift…probably this year more than ever. Usually every January I  choose one thing I want change or start to incorporate into my life, like flossing or only using reusable bags. But this year I’m not choosing one thing, but one word.


My word for the 2013 is appreciate.


  1. To recognize the quality, significance, or magnitude of: appreciated their freedom.
  2. To be fully aware of or sensitive to; realize: I appreciate your problems.
  3.  To be thankful or show gratitude for: I really appreciate your help.
  4. To admire greatly; value.

•   •   •

When I appreciate what I have, I complain less.

When I am thankful for those around me, I don’t compare or become critical.

When I am fully aware, I appreciate my healthy body and the growing baby inside.

When I appreciate what my husband does for me and not nag him for what he didn’t do, everyone is happier.

When I am able to admire God’s endless creativity and grace, I don’t feel the need to be judgmental or change people.

When I recognize how much of my own life is a gift, I am a better version of myself.

So, will you join me in the year ahead and remind me to appreciate?


1st January
written by Michelle


Thanks to facebook, instagram and the twitterworld many of you already know that…

come June 2013 we will have a family of THREE.

We are beyond excited and amazed that there is a little one growing inside of me. Sometimes I still can’t believe it. But at our 12 week appointment we indeed saw it- flipping, swimming, and moving about. Our midwife’s first comment: wow, you got an active little one.

So, dear active one, here is your entrance into the blogspshere:


We think he/she is the cutest thing ever, but you can say it looks like a small alien. No offense taken.

 •    •    •

For the past three months we have kept this little one a secret, partly because we wanted to make sure everything was ok. I know miscarriages are common the first 12 weeks and we wanted to be cautious. But also, we wanted to wait and tell my parents and family in person. We shared with G’s family before we left Guatemala, but I wanted to tell my family when we arrived. It’s the first baby on my family’s side and I knew they would be excited. And excited they were.

We told my parents a week before Christmas and made them promise to keep it a secret. That involved convincing my Dad that he could not in fact use it for a sermon illustration at the Christmas Eve services.

mom’s first response: ooohhh, I knew it! congratulations!

dad’s first response: awwww, we’re so happy for you! I wana tell all of my friends.

Then, gathered around the Christmas tree last Tuesday morning my siblings (well, one via facetime) all opened cards with a picture of the ultrasound:

steph: Whhhhaaaattt?!?!

christine: {a huge GASP} oh, my gosh.

andrew: {fist pump} Yeaha!


 {evidence of the gasp }

And because my family shares an affinity for social media the news was shared on facebook, twitter and instagram. This little one is going to have so much love from all these aunts/uncles and grandparents.


We have felt so loved and supported with all the comments and excitement. Sharing baby news definitely earns you popularity points in the land of facebook. It’s all felt exciting, special and so, very 21st century.

 •    •    •

It has been so fun to share, because for the previous 3 months we were pretty silent about the whole baby news (and silent here on the blog, too- partly due to my daily napping requirement : )

So what does one do when you are kept waiting and holding a little secret?


Yep, I joined pinterest.

Thankfully, pinterest announced their secret boards right about when I was excited/overwhelmed with the amount of info out there in this crazy new baby world. So, I’ve been pinning away on these boards:


Baby on the Brain



Bilingual Baby


A New Mama


It can feel like there is so SO much out there for new moms and babies. I can get swept up in reading about the best car-seat or homemade baby food and magical swaddle sacks that promise a well rested baby. But then I remind myself that people have been having healthy babies way before there was the BreastPillow, the Ergo and SwaddleMe Blankets.

So, here’s to a New Year, learning about pregnancy and motherhood and not believing I have to have everything I see on pinterest.

Happy New Years and Merry Christmas!


Me, G and Baby P