Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thanksgiving in February

One of my classes on Thursday got cancelled, so I only had class from 10:30-11:35am (oh the joys of only one class!!). I figured it was a great opportunity to try out a new breakfast recipe I found on Oh She Glows: Sweet Potato Oatmeal Breakfast Casserole. Just looking at the pictures made my mouth water.

This recipe was a very good life choice. I enjoyed it with pumpkin spice coffee and pretended like it was Thanksgiving all over again. :)

You can find the recipe here:

I did make a couple changes to the recipe - instead of maple syrup, I used honey, and I increased it to between 3 and 4 Tbsp. I think brown sugar would also work well. We don't have pecans, so I substituted almonds, which was also successful.

Here's my version:

My classmates were very jealous... :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Moot Court

When I was choosing law schools, one of the features that I like about Baylor was that they require  all of their first-year students to participate in an intraschool Moot Court competition. Since you're not allowed to participate in Moot Court or Mock Trial until your second year, I thought it would be a wonderful way to indulge my love of debating.

Fast forward one year, and I found myself wondering why I ever thought this would be a good idea. It has become painfully obvious to me over the past six months that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I presented cases for the Arab Court of Justice. In law school, they hand you a 15-page problem packet and wish you luck. Seriously, I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of 4th and 5th Amendment constitutional issues with no clear answer in sight. It's enough to make even the most experienced debaters sick to their stomachs. Usually, I love to talk (just ask Jocelyn - she will quickly confirm this!). However, the mere thought of having to stand up and argue made me want to crawl in a hole for the next two weeks.

 Let me explain the difference between Moot Court and Mock Trial. Moot Court is at the appellate level - basically, it simulates arguing before a Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court. Thus, it is completely different than a trial. There is no cross-examination, and there are no witnesses. It is a very formal atmosphere, and the judges can cut in with questions at any time. Additionally, you are not arguing the merits of the case as much as why the district court should/should not be overturned. Once I discovered this, I realized that I think I'm going to like Mock Trial much better - a debate just isn't quite as fun without the chance to cross-examine someone!! :)

One of the things that makes this competition so difficult is that we are given very little guidance. In our legal research class, we were taught how to research and write intra-office memos. However, brief writing and oral arguments are completely different. Instead of citing cases for every statement, we have to come up with arguments on our own, find case law to back them up, and make analogies. The toolbox looks completely different, and making that switch was more difficult that I anticipated.

We had our "class round" on Monday. I set my expectations very low - as long as I didn't throw up, pass out, or cry during the round (though after was acceptable), I would count it a success. I know, that's an incredibly pessimistic outlook - but I was terrified. And there isn't even a cross-examination to look forward to!! Thankfully, the round went pretty well. I stammered around a little bit, but I didn't make a fool of myself, nor did the judges ever ask a question to which I couldn't formulate at least a semblance of an answer.

Our first real round of the competition was last night. We had to switch sides from Monday to yesterday, which was quite interesting. I definitely have areas in which I need to improve, but overall it's not as bad as I thought it would be.

This week, I am thankful for the reassurance that I can do what it takes to be a lawyer. Sometimes I catch myself wondering why I picked this profession - there are never "easy" answers, and the law is rarely black and white (quite a disheartening realization for someone like myself!). Sometimes the difficult overwhelms me, and I find myself wishing I could find a rich husband so that I can stay at home and cook all day (don't judge my domestic side!). :)

But then...I do what needs to be done, and it isn't so bad. And then I realize, I can do this, and who knows where a law degree will lead or what doors will open as a result...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Playing "Mommy"

This past weekend I got to indulge my love of children and babysit my 18-month-old cousin, Ross. AnnaGrace joined me for the adventure. We had a BLAST, and we were able to prove our superb babysitting skills. ;)

My aunt and uncle warned me that although Ross has been going to sleep in his own bed, he wakes up in the middle of the night and refuses to go back to sleep, so they usually bring him into their room. I figured Ross would push the boundaries with new sheriffs in town, so I was a little bit nervous about how much sleep we were going to be able to get. Ross, however, decided to be on his best behavior...

Friday night:
  • 22 minutes of crying before he went to sleep.
  • 10pm (just as we were dozing off) - Ross awake again. Rubbed his head, told him goodnight. 5 minutes of crying and he was asleep again.
  • 5:30am - Repeated above process, and it worked like a charm.
Saturday night:
  • Less than 1 minute of crying when we put him to bed (although he had skipped his nap, so he was pretty tired).
  • 1:50am - Repeated process from Friday night with the same results.
  • 3:15am - Same as above.
Nap on Sunday:
  • Less than 1 minute of crying.

Victory for the babysitters!!! :)

Now that you know way more about his sleeping schedule than you ever wanted to know, I'll get to the interesting stuff.

The first order of business on Saturday morning was a run. The goal was 11 miles, but we only made it 7.7 miles. We didn't have a jogging stroller, so we made do with a regular one - although it didn't feel that heavy at first, it felt like a ton of bricks by the end!! Ross was a good sport and happily watched the scenery pass the whole time.

Next, we were off to the grocery store to get ingredients for smoothies. Please notice my new reusable grocery bag, courtesy of AnnaGrace. It says, "Green - it's not just for monsters anymore."

Yes, this is a reference to my new addiction to Green Monster drinks. :)

The rest of the afternoon was spent doing basically nothing - Ross was more than happy to play out in the yard while AnnaGrace and I tried to recover from our morning run.

We had planned to go to the park on Saturday afternoon, but it looked like it was going to rain. Plus, we were completely out of energy, so we postponed the trip until Sunday morning.

I thought the park was going to be a great idea, but I think Ross was a little overwhelmed. I guess 18 months is a little young to appreciate slides. Who knew?? :)

On Sunday I was able to upgrade my new phone at Costco - HALLELUJAH!! I dropped my phone about a week and a half ago, so I have been unable to see anything on my screen. It's amazing how dependent one becomes on something as simple as the ability to send text messages. Thankfully, I was able to navigate some aspects of my phone from memory (such as contacts).

Monday was a jolt back to reality as we had the class round of our first Moot Court competition. That story, however, will have to wait until later. At the current moment, I should get back to preparing for tomorrow's real round.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eating My Words

I have a remarkable way of saying things that I end up having to eat later. *sigh* Maybe one of these days I will learn to stop making overly broad generalizations - although not likely in the near future. :)

For years, I have disliked Valentine's Day. Now, before I go any further, I am sure some of you are thinking, "Well, that's obviously because it's depressing to be single, and she's never had a boyfriend." Let me assure you that this is not the reason I harbor dislike for this "holiday." And, although this may come across defensive in printed word, I assure you that I am quite calm, and not the least bit defensive. In fact, one of the reasons I dislike Valentine's Day is the way that so many single girls treat it as a "Woe-is-me" type of holiday, by wearing black, calling it "Single's Awareness Day," etc. Seriously, there is no reason to get so over-dramatic about such an inconsequential holiday.

In contrast, I also despise how many girls with boyfriends act as if the world is going to end if they don't get flowers, chocolate, or a nice dinner out. Of course, this reaction is not confined to Valentine's Day, but somehow I find it more prevalent this time of year. Even after I have a boyfriend, I will not judge whether he loves me by whether he comes in with a dozen over-priced roses on February 14th. No, no, I have much higher expectations - he should buy flowers on a random day just because. ;)

Okay, I will get off my soapbox now and get to the real point of this post. :) Several weeks ago, Bri (one of my new law school friends) said that we needed to have a "Girl's Night" for Valentine's Day. I was hesitant at first - "I don't celebrate Valentine's Day. It's a commercialized, inconsequential holiday." However, after receiving assurances that this was a "celebration of sisterly love and friendship," and not a pity-party, I reluctantly agreed to participate.

So last night Bri, Sara, and Laura Kate came over for a chick flick and loads of chocolate. The menu included: molten chocolate lava cakes, dinosaur cookies, chocolate-covered strawberries, and peanut butter hot chocolate. After having trouble deciding on a proper chick flick, we went with the classic, "You've Got Mail" (if there is one thing that five girls can agree on, it's that movie). It was a lovely evening. Although we ended up talking through a majority of the movie, we made sure to quiet down for the most important parts - aka, the witty banter and the ending. :)

This gathering, in addition to a wonderful card from AnnaGrace, made my Valentine's Day quite enjoyable. So, my heart of ice might just be melting a little bit...maybe it's not such a bad holiday after all. :)

Spring Break Countdown: 17 DAYS

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Okay, so my blog has been quite devoid of pictures recently. However, I have several to share that will fix that problem.

Here's the "gang" after our snowball fight...

This is my homemade juice that I mentioned yesterday. Doesn't it look delish??? :)

And finally, I have a little bragging to do, if you'll indulge. :)

Today, I became a "real" runner. The Bearathon is coming up exactly 5 weeks from today - my first half marathon!! I ran 12 miles today along the actual route, to prepare for the killer hills contained within Cameron Park. I will admit, one of the "long hills" got the best of me, and I took a walk break for the second half. Since I took last week off, though, and this week a little easy, I figured it was okay.

And now, to convince you I'm really crazy - I came home and got into a tub of ice water.  My knees were quite painful for the last two miles, so I was hoping to head off the achiness that I feel after each of my long runs. While the experience was quite painful for the first 2 minutes or so, by the 5-minute mark I was able to breathe normally again, and was adjusting to the new "normal" temperature. :) Although I was quite cold for awhile afterward, it made a huge difference in how sore I feel today. My knees have been giving me a little bit of trouble, but they are not nearly as bad. Additionally, the rest of my legs feel a little tight, but not bad at all.

Here's my stash of "goodies" to get me through the experience. :)

So, now that I've taken the leap from just ice packs to ice baths, I can officially consider myself a CRAZY runner, right??? :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Off the Deep End

My new obsession with green monsters has caused me to start throwing all sorts of things into the blender. Since you can't taste the spinach, I wondered, what other vegetables might you be able to throw into a smoothie? So today, I decided to try and make my own version of V8 juice. It actually turned out quite well. Here is my ingredient list:

Orange juice

On my second batch, I threw in a little spinach, too. :) And, I even got my roommate, who has been teasing me about drinking "grass," to go for it!!

However, don't worry - I am not being a complete nut. I have no plans of ditching chocolate or any unhealthy foods anytime soon. I just like coming up with new creations!

Sorry for the delay in posting, but as promised, here are my favorite Super Bowl commercials.

1. Volkswagen "Darth Vader" - CUTEST COMMERCIAL EVER. I love the kid's reaction when the car turns on. I seriously hope I have a kid like this (and a husband willing to play along). :)

2. Coke "The Siege" - Okay, so I am a complete nerd, but I mainly love this commercial because they use classical music in the background! :) BTW, it's Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture."

3. Coke "Soldiers" - Handel's Sarabande from the D minor keyboard suite. :)

Nothing else very exciting going around here - the moot court competition starts February 21st, so life will probably be crazy the next couple of weeks.

Spring Break Countdown: 3 WEEKS

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fresh Start

Alright, so here is the happy follow-up to my wretchedly sad post from yesterday, as promised, complete with pictures! First, a movie review:

"How Do You Know"

I am a big fan of Reese Witherspoon, and have been wanting to see this movie since before Christmas. Unfortunately, I was disappointed - even though I was in the mood for a chick flick. Since I've never written a movie review before, I'm going to break this down into a list of pros and cons. I always do bad news first, so here goes...

  • Owen Wilson's character was positively revolting. A total jerk, completely dense, and extremely narcissistic (or at least, my impression of what a narcissist would like like).
  • The fact that Reese Witherspoon's character kept running back to Wilson infuriated me. I can't stand stupid girls!! Women, it is time that we stop settling for any guy that comes along. Seriously, we deserve much more than that!
  •  Reese Witherspoon is a brilliant actress - although the role was a different one for her, she was splendid. And her blue eyes are stunning.
  • Paul Rudd's character was the cutest guy ever...awkward, terribly unlucky, and yet a true gentleman.
  • I went to see the movie at the discount theater, so I only paid $2 for my ticket. Hence, I was not annoyed that I paid full price to see it. :)
Well, that's all I've got on that one. On the next subject - my first day of third quarter!! This quarter we only have four classes - thank goodness!!! I'm hoping that this one will be slightly lighter. However, I found out last night that our first round of the moot court competition is in two weeks - YIKES!!! Maybe not so relaxed after all...

I have decided that I am going to absolutely LOVE my LAPP professor (though NOT in one of those weird "professor crush" ways - merely as a person). He did not assign any homework for the first day of class, and he sent us a nice email on Friday informing us that we merely needed to buy the book and show up for class. Just based on the wording, I could tell that I was going to like him - and I was right!!! He started class by telling us about himself, where he grew up, why he went to law school, etc. He probably spent a good 30 minutes of class on just introductory material. 

My FAVORITE part of class, however, was his "LAPP Exercise Chart." It is a new challenge that he is instituting this quarter. After telling us that exercise helps you think better (and yes, it does!!), he proceeded to outline the challenge. There are 8 weeks on the chart. We have to exercise at least five days a week, and there are certain minimum time/mileage requirements, depending on what you do. For my purposes, running requires 15 miles. Considering that my run on Saturday will be 12 miles, meeting his minimum will be a piece of cake. In fact, all I have to do is add one more day a week of something...probably 30 minutes of pilates with Denise Austin. :) And what, you may ask, is the incentive for finishing this 8-week challenge? A LAPP Exercise Nerd t-shirt (oh, and a "refreshed mind and healthy body!).

That t-shirt is mine! :)

So far, I have completed 5.35 miles of my running requirement for the week - and that was only yesterday's workout.

And now, finally, what you all have been waiting for - The GREEN MONSTER!!!

Beautiful...just beautiful

I have become completely addicted to a cooking blog written by a girl up in Canada called "Oh She Glows." She has the most amazing recipes, and takes great pictures of the cooking process!! I want to be her when I grow up (just with J.D. behind my name). :) Anyway, she has this drink called the "Green Monster" which she often drinks for breakfast. Here's the basic recipe:

1 cup milk
1 ripe banana (or any banana, actually)
2 Tbsp. nut butter (I like to use almond butter!)
1 Tbsp. flax seed
2 handfuls spinach leaves (or you can use frozen spinach, which makes the smoothie thicker!!)
Honestly, I just eyeball this one - when it looks green enough, I stop adding spinach. :)
Ice - if you don't use frozen spinach, to make it a little thicker

Add the ingredients one at a time, blending as you go along, and voila!!! You have your daily serving of a green vegetable. And yes, I will be serving these to my kids one day - I figure if I can't sell it as a "green drink," I'll just change the recipe so they can't tell that I've blended spinach into their fruit smoothie...bahahahaha. (You know you're an adult when you suddenly start fantasizing about how to torture your kids - YIKES!)


I know that many of you are thoroughly grossed out by the fact that I am encouraging you to throw spinach into your blender. Trust me, I have gotten some teasing from my roommate, and a long pause on the phone from another friend. :) However, I promise - you cannot taste the spinach! If you don't trust me, try it first by adding spinach to your regular fruit smoothie.


You can go for the chocolate version (yes, chocolate-covered spinach - delectable!!!!). AnnaGrace and I made these as part of our lunch on Sunday. When we looked down in the cup of brown and saw little specks of spinach I said, "It's like dirt and grass!!!!" But, let me clarify, it did not taste like dirt and grass. Rather, it tasted like a chocolate banana smoothie! Man, I'm getting hungry just looking at it. :)

Forget those Oreo dirt cups - this is what my kids are getting. And yes, because it's so healthy, I'll give in and throw a gummy worm on top to make it more appealing. Or, maybe I'll put a gummy bear vitamin... :)

About to enjoy our grown-up "dirt cups"!!
Well, I believe this post has gotten ridiculously long. At the moment, I am off to invent my very own pumpkin smoothie!! Tomorrow's post may have the recipe (if I am successful), plus my favorite super bowl ads!! :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

2Q – The Quarter That Refused to go Down Without a Fight

I am happy to report that I have survived yet another set of finals. This time, however, I survived by the skin of my teeth. I knew that having four finals was going to be much more difficult than three, but I had no idea just how bad it would be. By Thursday, I was mentally and physically broken. I find myself looking back on senior year of college and thinking, “Gee – I thought life was difficult at the time…but that was nothing compared to what I am going through now.” Occasionally the thought crosses my mind that I will probably look back on this year with the same thoughts – that, however, sends a shudder through me, and makes me hope that it never comes true. For the moment, I am tired of being stretched.

Thankfully, I had a lifesaver – AnnaGrace drove down from Denton (she had snow days all week!), cooked me dinner, and washed my dishes. Her presence was a Godsend. I have never been so thankful to see someone in my entire life. I honestly think I would have had a complete nervous breakdown if left to myself.

The cherry on top of my wretched day was that it started snowing. The weather forecast had been calling for snow, and I was praying all day that it would not – I just wanted to finish my last final and be done with it. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Usually when snow arrives, I am like a 5-year-old kid in a candy store. But Thursday night, I almost cried as I watched it fall. The snow day did end up being a nice break, however. My group of friends from Christian Legal Society (CLS) came over, and we watched “The Little Shop Around the Corner” with Jimmy Stewart. If you have not seen this movie, I HIGHLY recommend it!! We then went out and had a snowball fight – it was the best one I have had in a very long time. We took some pictures, which are not currently in my possession – but look for them in a future post!

I am sad to admit that after a terrible speed workout last Monday, I didn’t run again until today (a whole week!!). Although I woke up Thursday morning, pulled my running tights on, and swore that I would drag my butt out the door, I did not. For the first time since August, law school won – but only a small battle. I like to think that I will still win the war – but that determination will have to wait until after I get my grades back. Today's workout was much better. I was actually under all of my times, and it felt wonderful...and the sunshine was amazing. So, I'm back on track for my Bearathon training plan, complete with three black X's through last week's workouts. :)

Well, sorry for the dismal post – life has gotten much better since the weekend…you will just have to wait to hear more about it. Here are a few highlights to whet your appetite – a movie review, my first day of my third (can you believe it??) quarter, and my new favorite way to eat vegetables – the “green monster.”