Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Meet Our Families

We are both from large families, who are a big part of our lives. Andrew is the 2nd oldest of 7 children with 3 amazing step siblings that we both adore, and Elizabeth is the 2nd of 9 siblings.

We love spending time with our parents and siblings and value our relationships with them. They are all excited and supportive of our pursuit of adoption. Because they mean so much to us, we wanted to take a moment and introduce them on our blog. To help, we put together a video!

We seriously love our families so much! Growing up in large families was pretty crazy, but we wouldn't trade it for the world.  We are so grateful for all of their love, support, and excitement for us as we've started the process of building our family through adoption. They are definitely key parts of the "village" that will help with our family!

Our favorite things about growing up in a large family is always having a friend that has your back, as well as sharing memories and inside jokes with one another. Also, it's nice that you can always find someone to play a game with!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

We Are Ballroom Dancers

We love dancing ballroom together! It's part of what brought us together, and every time we dance together it's a warm, happy reminder of what made us choose each other in the first place.

Andrew grew up learning to clog as a child. When he was older, Andrew's family had a rule that you had to take ballroom in order to graduate (his mom regretted not being able to dance, and wanted to make sure that all of her kids knew how). As a result, he had not only taken classes, but had been on his high school ballroom team and went on to be on the UVU ballroom dance company two different times. In contrast, prior to meeting, Elizabeth had taken one semester of ballroom in high school because it sounded interesting and fun - she loved it! At the time that we met, and even today, Andrew is the much better dancer of us two.

We met at a dance that we were both "crashing" - Andrew's brother Tom invited him and Elizabeth's friend invited her. Elizabeth's friend was late, so she ended up joining Andrew's group since they had some common friends. After a while of Cha Cha after Cha Cha song playing and not getting a chance to dance ballroom to them, Elizabeth decided to take matters into her own hands and ask someone she had noticed was dancing Cha Cha with one of her friends to dance Cha Cha with her. During that one dance, Andrew noticed Elizabeth dancing and decided he NEEDED to ask her to dance. He taught her the FoxTrot and the rest is history.

Our first dance as husband and wife was also a FoxTrot. Part of that was because "our song" happened to be a FoxTrot, but the other part was in memory of when we met.

After we got married, Elizabeth took some more dance classes in college and was a part of the UVU ballroom dance company for a semester.

We still dance together all the time. Give us the space and the music for dancing, and we'll be out on the dance floor (assuming both of us are feeling well and have the energy) rocking it together! Our technique is not quite up to par anymore, and we mess up all the time, but it's definitely something we really enjoy doing together. We have choreographed routines twice now - once in November 2017 for a Ward Talent Show, and again this month for a Ward Christmas Party we were asked to perform for.

Andrew's favorite ballroom dances to do together are the Waltz, West Coast Swing, and Cha Cha.

Elizabeth loves dancing the FoxTrot, Tango, and Quickstep, although she doesn't know very much Tango, and has since forgotten the routine she learned for Quickstep.

November 2017 Performance to "Human"
at a Church Talent Show.

December 2018 Performance - Andrew is doing a clogging solo.
We were doing a Triple Step Swing to "Marshmallow World"
at a Church Christmas Party.

Picture taken of us dancing together at Elizabeth's sister Eva's wedding.

If you would like to watch us dance, here is a link to a video of the dance we choreographed in 2017 for the Ward Talent Show, which we performed a second time at Andrew's family Christmas Party for their Talent Show, which we posted on our Hoping to Adopt Facebook Page:


Monday, August 27, 2018

We Are Board Gamers

We're not really sure when and how we became as big of board gamers as we now are. We both enjoyed them before we got married, but not to the extent we now are at.  To be fair, both of our families had a few games we would play together sometimes as kids. Andrew even used Monopoly as an ice breaker to help introduce Liz to his mom (which, for the first time in her life, Liz won).

Our power went out one day, so we played a card game together by candlelight.

But after being introduced to a few fun, slightly more modern games and being brought to BryceCon* for the very first time, our interest in board games skyrocketed. We get games that we have tried and enjoyed together for each other for birthdays, Christmas, our anniversary, Valentine's Day, Easter... Any occasion that calls for a gift is an excuse to get another board game that we loved playing together.

Two sets of games going on at the same time,
but still enjoying spending time with each other

Board games really have become a huge part of our relationship with each other and a huge way that we stay connected with our friends. Looking back, we probably became as big of board gamers as we now are when our friends first invited us to join them at BryceCon*, but it's hard to be sure since we already enjoyed them prior to this happening.

*BryceCon is a convention that happens in Bryce Canyon every January that is all about playing board/card games. They have a gigantic library of board games including a Play-to-Win section, raffles that go around to win some games, and they host a giant board game flea market. This is definitely the biggest place where we add to the list of games that we really enjoyed playing together that we want to eventually own. It's so much fun taking a break away from life to just enjoy time together as friends and families, doing something that we all really enjoy doing together.

Our friends that we attend BryceCon with.

We really enjoy doing game nights with our friends in smaller settings as well, just to hang out and have fun together. We also do this with people in our neighborhood as an opportunity to get to know more people that live nearby and make new friends.

We love having kids games available to play with our friends' kids before they go to bed as well. After a few games with the kids, they are usually put to bed and then we pull out some of the more complicated games to play with their parents. 

Playing "The Witches" based on Terry Pratchett's
Discworld book series at a local game store.
We love party, cooperative, competitive, deck building, drafting, resource management, decision making, and dice games; I don't think we've found a style of board game that we haven't yet enjoyed. Each really brings its own fun element to the (literal) table.

Andrew thinking up a strategy to try to help us win the
cooperative game, "Salvation Road".

Some of Andrew's favorite games are Mystic Vale, Dead of Winter, Settlers of Catan, Betrayal at Baldur's Gate, Roll for the Galaxy, Firefly, Munchkin Quest, and Not Alone.

His favorite game play styles are deck builders, worker management, cooperative, decision making, and role playing games.

Andrew loves games where it's possible to lose, and flourishes (AKA often demolishes everyone else) in strategy based games. He is often thinking several steps ahead in the game to figure out the best way to win.

Liz playing a game with her friend Alexis at BryceCon

Some of Elizabeth's favorite games are Dead of Winter, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Codenames, Paperback, Clank, Paramedics: Clear, Flash Point: Fire Rescue, and Quiddler.

Her favorite game play styles are cooperative, word games (like Scrabble, Quiddler, and Paperback), deck builders, puzzle solving, and role playing games.

Elizabeth loves games that push her to think outside the box, and (usually) excels in luck based games. We once played a game of Phase 10 where she had at LEAST one wild in her hand every single round.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Meet Our Pets

When we were dating, Andrew reconciled himself to the fact that one day, we would own cats. Elizabeth has always loved animals: growing up, her family had dogs, cats, fish, a hermit crab, hamsters, a pet mouse, turtles, and birds. It was only a matter of time before we got pets as well. Andrew isn't a huge animal person, but he doesn't hate them, either. He was definitely not up for getting a dog, but cats were tolerable. Elizabeth was fine with this, as she has always preferred cats.

When we got ready to buy our first home, Elizabeth was on full speed "find my cat" mode. So when her mom's cat got pregnant, Elizabeth declared "first dibs" on her pick of the litter. Momma Kitty delivered her kittens April 17, 2015. Due to an unfortunate accident, only one of the kittens in her litter was born living. Elizabeth jumped in right away and named her Ayah (after looking up names that mean miracle - this one, apparently, is Arabic. We're pretty sure we're not pronouncing it correctly, but the meaning and intent are there).

Baby Ayah, 1 Week Old
Baby Meg, just over 1 Month Old
We bought our first home a month later. While waiting to turn in the keys for our last apartment, Elizabeth decided to browse a nearby pet store to waste time until she was supposed to meet the manager. While there, she saw another litter of kittens, two of which were calicos. Elizabeth is a HUGE sucker for calicos, and they were just so cute!! It took her two days to convince Andrew that two cats were better than one cat, and that it was a good idea for them to get one of the two calico kittens.

Although we technically "owned" Ayah first, the calico kitten was the first to come to our home. It took us longer to come up with her name than Ayah's. After the kitten climbed all over the David Weber section of our bookcase, Andrew suggested the name Megara, named after a character in one of the books that was named after one of the Greek Furies. We call her Meg for short.

The two kittens weren't so sure of each other at first (Meg was excited for a playmate, but Ayah wasn't having it) but are now close friends.



Ayah is basically our "dog cat". She loves belly rubs (forever and ever without biting or getting annoyed), is extremely friendly and sociable, is good with kids, has been trained to sit for treats, and enjoys playing fetch with small bells, tiny pom poms, or little toy mice. 

She can never get enough love or attention from other people. She loves making new friends when people come over, and is extremely curious and intelligent. Her preferred human is whomever is available to give her cuddles at any given moment.

She loves to chill with Andrew while he's reading, and has a weird thing about licking peoples' noses with her sandpapery tongue to show her affection.


Meg is definitely the more "catty" of the two. She will deign to sit for treats, but makes it obvious that it's *her* idea and that you aren't able to boss her around. She is pretty sure she's the queen of the household, and we are the staff that keep her food bowl and water filled. She lets us know when we are failing at that job.

 She's very specific about who is allowed to love on her and when. Basically, she has to be the one to initiate it. When she does decide that she wants cuddles, though, she is SUPER cuddly and it's nearly impossible to shake her. Elizabeth is definitely her preferred human, but she will occasionally decide that she wants her cuddles from Andrew.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

We Are Bookworms

"I never thought I would meet anyone that reads as much as you - but Andrew reads even more!" 
- Elizabeth's mom to Elizabeth

Andrew reading with our cat Ayah lounging on his lap.

Andrew read the Hobbit in 3rd Grade and the entire Lord of the Rings collection in 4th Grade. In 5th Grade, he was tested and discovered that he was already at a college reading level. In Junior High his English teacher told him to stop reading because he was reading too much (he didn't). In Junior High School his mom would frequently resort to grounding him from the library to try to get him to stop reading and work on his homework. In response, he would just find books from other places. By High School she had given up, and Andrew got a job helping open the library in the mornings.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth was frequently "sneakily" reading a book when she was supposed to be reading or paying attention in class as well. The librarians at both her junior high school, and later her high school, had her Student ID number memorized because she frequented the library so often. At home, she would steal away to her room to read when she ought to be helping out the the chores. This led to her also getting grounded from books several times. She read books anyway.

Elizabeth in Jr. High - she fell asleep reading a book
Since we've been married, we have visited the library often together, and Elizabeth has had to make sure to not go to bed early without encouraging Andrew to put his book down, otherwise he might not make it to sleep that night (it's so hard to put down books in middle of the good parts - unfortunately, Andrew often feels like the entire book is the good part). We have accumulated more books than we have bookshelves and are not totally sure if that will ever not be a problem. There are frequently stacks of books lying around the living room. Our dream house would have a gigantic library filled with, basically, everything: children's picture books, early readers books, Young Adult and Adult (but nothing smutty) fiction/fantasy/non-fiction/sci-fi/clean chick flicks, religious books, craft/cookbooks, and so on.

Ayah sneaking in more book reading snuggles

Andrew's favorite authors are David Weber, Brandon Sanderson, Tamora Pierce, and C.S. Lewis. His favorite book series are Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien, Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson, Circle of Magic by Tamora Pierce, and the Safehold series by David Weber. He particularly enjoys sci-fi and fantasy books, but is known to read from almost every genre (Liz has not yet seen him reading horror or strictly romance books, though). Some of Andrew's favorite books are White Fang, The War God's Own, Ready Player One, Ender's Game, and Alloy of Law.

Elizabeth's favorite authors are Gail Carson Levine, Robin McKinley, Brandon Sanderson, Marissa Meyer, E.D Baker, and J.K. Rowling. Her favorite book series are the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, The Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan, The Reckoners trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, and Once Upon a Time by multiple authors. Some of Liz's favorite books are Tuesdays with Morrie, To Kill a Mockingbird, Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Ella Enchanted.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Meet Us (According to Andrew)

I (Andrew - see below for details) am not the writer in the Group (see below for more details). Most of the time that you read something on our blog, it will have been put together by Liz (see below for more details). However, as Liz points out, correctly, it would probably be weird for me to not contribute anything to the blog. So here goes my version of an introduction of us...

Introducing Andrew (Andrew):

I was born in Orem, Utah, and that’s where I grew up. I spent most of my free time growing up reading. A lot. I’ve been grounded from books and told by English teachers that I read too much. I don’t see that as a problem. I was certain that I was going to be an Air Force Pilot right up until 8th grade when I found out that not having perfect vision makes that impossible. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do after that until I took a computer programing class in High School (I needed something to fill a time slot and free time wasn’t an option in my family). I fell in love with the logic of programing and that’s what I’ve wanted to do ever since.

Introducing Elizabeth (Liz) :

Liz always tells everyone who asks that she’s from Oregon. I’m quick to point out that while she was born there, she grew up in Orem, Utah for most of her life. She comes from a large family (8 siblings) and as the second child grew up as the backup mom. (I’m pretty sure that’s now a real term). She is an amazing artist, a great cook (I can literally count on one hand the number of meals that she has made in the past 6 years that were inedible), full of energy, super attractive (yes, I know I’m biased. But that’s okay), really smart, and just over all an amazing person to be around. She has big plans for everything, and really likes to jump into projects.

Introducing the Christiansens (Us or the Group):

We met because I know how to do ballroom (growing up ballroom was a required class for my family, and my family only, in high school), and Liz also knows how to do ballroom, and dances are really boring if you don’t actually dance ballroom. Okay, so that’s not the whole story, but I’m pretty sure Liz will go into more detail on that, if she hasn’t already. We were married on Dec 16th, 2011 and want to stay that way forever.
We both discovered a love of board games after we were married, although thinking about it, I’m not really sure how/when that happened. It seems weird to me to think back that at the beginning of our marriage; we didn’t own very many games and didn’t play the ones that we did have that often (What DID we do for fun???). Nowadays we are often playing some new game that we discovered via my coworkers, kickstarter, or friends.

I am out of things to say (I did mention I’m not a writer, right?), so there you go. Welcome to the group.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Meet Us (According to Liz)

Meet Elizabeth / Liz

- Artistic / Creative: I love drawing, painting, photography, sewing, making wreaths / jewelry, cutting out paper snowflakes, and doing basically anything crafty!

- Home Chef: While I have yet to master baking, I am a good cook. I love playing with seasonings and trying out new recipes. In our six years of marriage, I have only had two or three meals not turn out.

- Family Oriented:  I am the second oldest of nine children, so I was always the "Second Mom" growing up. I got my degree in Family Studies . I have always loved kids and can't wait to be a mom!

- Animal Lover: I grew up with animals (cats, dogs, a rabbit, hermit crab, fish, etc.) and am definitely the reason that we own two cats and have bird & hummingbird feeders in the backyard.

- Bookworm: I love visiting the library and bookstore! While Fairy Tales, Fantasy, and Fiction are a few of my favorites, I enjoy almost every type of genre. Some of my favorite authors are Marissa Meyer, Brandon Sanderson, and Gail Carson Levine. I love the books "To Kill a Mockingbird", "Tuesdays with Morrie", "Pride and Prejudice". For book series, I love Harry Potter, The Lunar Chronicles, Percy Jackson, and The Ranger's Apprentice.

- Outdoorsy: I love camping, hiking, sledding, being at the beach, fishing, tubing down a river / creek, spelunking, boating, going swimming, and playing at the park. I had a snowmobiling license when I was 14, and really just love being in nature. I hope to travel quite a bit with our family.

- My favorite part of camping is being out underneath all of the stars and feeling totally awestruck by how gorgeous the world around me is. I love the excited spark of curiosity I feel when I am exploring a new hiking trail or a place that I have never been before. I love the smells, as well - like rain falling on pine trees, or a campfire burning. I love listening to the birds singing or the crickets chirping, or hearing the pattering of light rain.

- I love going back and visiting the Oregon Coast. I was born in Oregon, and every summer we would go to the beach. Occasionally I get homesick for the sounds of the crashing waves, the feel of the sand between my toes as I race along the seashore, building sandcastles, and the excitement of searching for sea shells. I loved going fishing with my Grampa, and the rush of adrenaline from being pulled on a tube behind his boat.


- 5 Favorite Movies: Zootopia, Big Hero 6, Moana, The Emperor's New Groove, & Wonder Woman

- 5 Favorite Board Games: Codenames, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Dead of Winter, Quiddler, and Clank!

Meet Andrew

- Bookaholic: Some of his favorite authors are David Weber, Brandon Sanderson, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien. His favorite genres are Science Fiction and Fantasy. He completely gets lost in the books he is reading: one time, I managed to take off both his shoes and socks while he was reading without him noticing at all.

- Computer Techie: Andrew is the one family turns to and depends on for technical support. He got his Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science at UVU and currently works as a Software Engineer at Family Search.

- Superhero Nerd: Almost anything you might want to know about a superhero (DC or Marvel), Andrew knows. His favorite superheroes are Batman and Captain America, and he loves debating about who would beat whom if you pitted different heroes against each other.

- Frisbee Expert. Frisbee golf is one of Andrew's favorite outdoor activities, and he knows several "trickshot" moves with a frisbee. His family really enjoys playing "Ultimate Frisbee" - these, as well as dancing ballroom, are as "sporty" as Andrew gets.

- Service Oriented: Whenever anyone needs help, Andrew's one of the first people there, whether that's helping with someone moving in or out of the neighborhood or one of his family members needs someone to listen and offer advice (he's really good at that). He's extremely dependable and very compassionate.

- Outdoorsy: Andrew really enjoys camping, hiking, going on bike rides, spelunking, playing frisbee, playing at the park, and being up in the mountains. Despite his love of nature, amusingly, he really dislikes getting dirty. His favorite part of camping is watching the campfire flames flickering as they slowly die down, as well as staring up at the starry night sky. During this time he is usually very quiet and reflective.

- Andrew served a full-time mission in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He still really enjoys telling stories from this experience and we are looking forward to going there together someday so he can show me some of his favorite sites and introduce me to some of the people he met there.

- Andrew is the second out of seven children in his family (five boys followed by two girls).


- 5 Favorite Movies: The Incredibles, How to Train Your Dragon, Beauty and the Beast, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Pride and Prejudice (the 6 hour long version)

- 5 Favorite Board Games: Settlers of Catan, Roll for the Galaxy, Dead of Winter, Mystic Vale, and Betrayal at Baldur's Gate

Meet Us

Andrew and I met at a young single adult dance that we were both "crashing". When Andrew realized that I knew some ballroom, he decided he had to ask me to dance the foxtrot with him. I was totally swept away! We ended up dancing the rest of the night together and hit it off really well.  We got married seven months later in December 2011.

For the first three years of our marriage, we were both students at UVU. We both graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors with our Bachelor Degrees in May 2015. We bought our townhome in Pleasant Grove, Utah and got our two cats, Ayah and Meg, later that same month. 

We love going on bike rides, camping, dancing together, hiking, having tickle/pillow fights, thumb wars, and being silly with each other. Over the course of our marriage, we have also found that we both absolutely love playing board games! We own over 150 board games (and counting) and love having game nights with our friends, family, and even just with each other.