1. Hanging three birdfeeders and becoming a full-blown bird watcher. Picking up field guides at the local library branch. Smiling at Anna’s hummingbirds at the feeder, squirrels trying to get to the suet block and dark-eyed juncos hopping around the front yard.
2. Sam Anderson’s writing in The New York Times Magazine, whether he’s introducing me to Kevin Durant’s career or the last two northern white rhinos on the planet.
3. Cheering on everyone’s efforts to have and share simple (or complex) hobbies.
4. Attempting to capture backyard birds and the full moon through the camera scope on my new binoculars.
5. Enduring another year of the coronavirus pandemic, looking back on the one we’d already lived through, and turning to art and small kindnesses to keep going.
6. The launch of a trained behavioral health crisis response team bringing a bit of hope to our struggling city.
7. Strong women telling their own stories. Helen MacDonald’s H is for Hawk. Know My Name by Chanel Miller. Michelle Zauner’s Crying in H Mart.
8. Attempting cross-country skiing with only a handful of spills on a sunny, warm winter day on Mt. Hood. Drinking Barq’s and eating Burgerville takeout in the car on the way home.
9. Taking a virtual drawing workshop with the delightful, wildly creative Linda Barry.
10. Telling our families on Mother’s Day that we were expecting our first child.
11. Clinging to the gentle release of a short afternoon walk around the neighborhood.
12. Spending a lot of time unlearning work culture and thinking about my misguided millennial ambition. Caring less than ever about productivity and more about the small rhythms of my days.
13. Going downtown with Erika to see the cherry blossoms on the waterfront, and to see other people enjoying them, too. Eating green tea Kit-Kats under our masks.
14. Receiving my first COVID vaccine from my sister Aubrey in April.
15. Hunkering down in a cozy rental apartment in Bandon for Ryan’s 36th birthday. Looking out at the fog and taking long beach walks. Tidepooling among the rocks. Eating charcuterie and Dungeness crab with our hands. Watching School of Rock on DVD. Reading while listening to the ocean.
16. Falling for the allure of the Harry and Meghan interview with Oprah — and then watching The Crown in one glorious, cinematic blur.
17. Fleet Foxes’ SHORE, first on Spotify and then selections in this Tiny Desk (Home) Concert and this gorgeous recording.
18. Trying to prevent the internet and its various algorithms from learning of my pregnancy by googling things in incognito mode.
19. Reviving three jade plants that had root rot and replanting them in one big pot, where they are finally thriving again.
20. Turning to Emily Oster for data-informed answers on topics as wide-ranging as risk assessment with a newborn, foods to avoid during pregnancy and travel during COVID-19.
21. Attempting screen-free Saturdays whenever possible, as inspired by Katie Hawkins-Gaar.
22. Joining Rachel Syme’s Penpalooza exchange and writing to a pen pal who lives in England.
23. Baking chocolate chip cookies and Earl Grey tea cake.
24. Eating Taco Time when inclement weather struck (February’s record ice storm; the heat dome in June) and dubbing it “natural disaster takeout.”
25. Laughing out loud while reading Patricia Lockwood’s Priestdaddy and No One Is Talking About This.
26. Babysitting my nephew and niece on a handful of summer and fall mornings. Reading books together. Getting outside. Being silly.
27. Taking books and magazines to the Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood. Finding a copy of Great Circle in a Little Free Library while walking on Fairmount Boulevard. Driving to the Capitol Hill library branch to pick up my holds.
28. Finally seeing a dermatologist to get my moles checked.
29. Piling into my parents’ motorhome for a spring day trip to Mt. St. Helens and tailgating in an empty, icy parking lot. Attempting to hike in the snow. Looking out and seeing nothing but fog.
30. Taking a leap of faith and leaving my job at the end of June to explore self-employment.
31. Pork rinds.
32. Finding a near-perfect reading experience in Sue Miller’s Monogamy.
33. Flowering trees.
34. Watching TV almost every night. Only Murders in the Building. Maid. Reservation Dogs. Mare of Easttown. The White Lotus. Hacks. Sex Education.
35. Hanging out in my parents’ pool on hot summer days. And the community pool in my in-laws’ neighborhood when we visited Kansas City in the middle of a humid July.
36. Finding endless motivation and positive reinforcement on The Writers’ Co-op, a business podcast for freelance writers.
37. Staying informed about the pandemic and slightly more grounded in a time of misinformation and hysteria, thanks to Ed Yong and Zeynep Tufekci.
38. Griping about my neighbors’ use of gas-powered leaf blowers.
39. Laughing so hard at the pitch-perfect Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.
40. Ignoring all food-focused media during the first trimester of my pregnancy, as well as most cooking. Avoiding mundane foods that suddenly grossed me out, including oatmeal, fried eggs and mushrooms.
41. Getting out of the house on Friday afternoons and starting the weekend with a local hike.
42. Feeling screensick for much of the year and yet still doomscrolling.
43. Ultrasound appointments.
44. Applauding Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka for changing how America thinks about athletic strength, well-being and health.
45. Getting out of the house and realizing how uncool we are at the Portland Flea Market. Buying ceramics and popsicles. Sweating through a PNW summer day.
46. Long conversations with friends at Maplewood Coffee and Tea.
47. Ryan teaching our nephew how to build his confidence while riding a bike. Kai pedaling toward us and announcing, “Comin’ in hot!” Biking the perimeter of Black Butte Ranch with my cousins. Finally getting a new Trek bike and building it during a Zoom session with Luke’s help. Riding behind Ryan on a long run around downtown Portland.
48. Summer smoothies.
49. Buying donuts while running errands.
50. Celebrating Aubrey’s 30th birthday with a long weekend in a weird vacation house in Depoe Bay. Getting silly with an elaborate treasure hunt and late-night dance parties. Watching bald eagles and ocean waves from the living room windows.
51. Liana Finck’s cartoons about motherhood. Edith Zimmerman’s slice-of-life comics depicting her new baby. Evie Ebert providing a bit about pregnancy that I would use over and over during my second trimester. Lydia Kiesling on pandemic parenting. Erin Gloria Ryan’s hilarious newsletter.
52. Hosting friends and family for dinner again. Pizza on the back patio. Big pots of soup. Giving tours of the house even though we’ve lived in it for over a year. Playing catch with our nephews in the front yard.
53. A garage baby shower, complete with forest-themed cookies and golden balloons and lots of happy mini-reunions. Getting the best advice from my teen and tween cousins.
54. Scoring Mary Carroll mugs during a rare local sale.
55. Finding pleasure and meaning in TV specials that spanned genres. Derek Delgaudio’s In and Of Itself. Bo Burnham’s Inside. Mike Birbiglia in The New One dropping the articles from his speech in a bit about how people refer to unborn children. Amy Schumer in Expecting Amy, which led us to rewatch her special Growing.
56. Sitting in the shade eating fries and drinking cocktails at Ça Va. Oysters on the patio at Flying Fish Company. Pizza under the space heaters at San Juan Island Brewing Co.
57. Drinking cider and eating soup at Topaz Farm on Halloween weekend. Crowding around the bonfire and watching an employee light another fire with a giant blowtorch. Listening to screams coming from the haunted corn maze.
58. Taking my nephew to the zoo on a chilly fall morning. Saying hello to the cheetahs and orangutans and penguins and otters and African wild dogs from the other side of the glass. Watching Preston watch the elephants play in the dust.
59. Making stuffing biscuits in late November. Eating them all in a week.
60. Hiking more than ever, even into the third trimester of my pregnancy. Exploring the Tillamook State Forest and Silver Falls State Park and revisiting some favorite trails on the coast. Staying stable with the help of trekking poles. Wearing tall socks and plenty of sunscreen.
61. Thinking more critically (and maybe slightly less judgmentally) about mothers who feel compelled to influence thanks to Kathryn Jezer-Morton’s excellent new Substack.
62. Joining an advisory council for Gonzaga Magazine.
63. Falling prey to the Twitter algorithm while thinking about rewilding my attention.
64. Drinking Italian sodas in the car on a day trip to Hood River for pears and apples. Meeting Carlos the steer and picking a bouquet of dahlias at Mt. View Orchards.
65. Watching Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy and then eating more pasta than ever. A festive late summer meal with an old friend at Montelupo Italian Market.
66. Celebrating my pal Shannon as he published his first book.
67. Reuniting with my best girlfriends for a long weekend in Seattle. Good pastries. A long walk around Green Lake. Talking about kids and childbirth. Laughing in the hot tub.
68. Sleeping in.
69. Listening to 101.9 KINK in the car.
70. Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR. Attempting to learn “driver’s license” on the ukulele. Feeling joy wash over me while watching her Tiny Desk Concert performed in a DMV.
71. Watching the Japanese maple in the front yard lose its leaves in a fiery burst of late fall color. Pretending that it was in a competition with the neighbor’s tree as they changed shades. Looking out the living room window at the sword ferns that sprout from the neighbor’s sugar maple.
72. Frozen pizzas.
73. Subscribing to a clothing rental service that made my last months of pregnancy feel a little less frumpy.
74. Walking through Multnomah Village with Ryan to get the hell out of the house on the weekend. Eating bagels and drinking coffee on the sidewalk. Doing some early holiday shopping and admiring other people’s handiwork.
75. Making daily blind contour drawings during the month of October, as inspired by Wendy MacNaughton.
76. Summer visits to the International Rose Test Garden.
77. Watching Jagged and becoming an immediate, late-blooming Alanis Morrissette fan. Blaring Jagged Little Pill on a long drive. Listening to Ryan reliving college memories and singing in a passionate falsetto.
78. English breakfast tea.
79. Ada Limón on learning different ways to be quiet. Putting some of those to practice in my own life.
80. Spending a long weekend connecting with friends and exploring the San Juan Islands on our second anniversary. Riding the ferry and looking for sea life. Sailing alongside a pod of orcas on a windy, rainy afternoon. Eating meals on chilly patios and splitting a pint of local ice cream on the couch. Watching half of Pretty Woman on cable TV. Finding it nearly impossible to get out of a foam-topped bed while seven months pregnant.
81. Playing Sushi-Go with my sisters.
82. So many good documentaries. The Mole Agent. Rebel Hearts. Dick Johnson is Dead. The Donut King. LFG.
83. Remembering Eric Carle and Beverly Cleary and Eve Babitz and bell hooks and Gary Paulsen and Joan Didion — and the worlds they built and ideas they explored.
84. Making the living room a little bit cozier with an electric fireplace.
85. Attending a Creative Mornings session with Portland cartoon journalist Sarah Mirk and making a zine that inspired me for weeks.
86. Peperoncini chicken.
87. Experiencing the “discomforts” of pregnancy. Achy feet. Compressed nerves along my ribs that made my torso tingle. Acid reflux. Swollen fingers. Always, always feeling like I had to go to the bathroom.
88. Ordering takeout on Wednesday nights when we had birthing preparation classes via Zoom. “Rehearsing” contractions by plunging my hands into a bowl of ice water while Ryan counted aloud. Watching birthing videos that were stranger and more ritualistic than I had imagined possible.
89. Watching Tua, the neighbor cat, explore his new catio. The time that Ryan attempted to rescue him from the busy road while he was on a run. Hoping to see glimpses of Tua in the living room window. The arrival of a new kitten, Kona.
90. Using terms like “plant-forward” and “lentil-centric” while working on a big copywriting contract for one of my first clients. Getting excited about diving deep into a new topic. Hearing my stomach growl on long afternoons spent writing about food.
91. Celebrating Mom’s birthday at Topgolf and swinging a golf club at 38 weeks pregnant.
92. Finding inspiration and an answer to my search for anti-racist action in Hope Credit Union. Planning to open a money market account with them in 2022.
93. Asking Ryan to tie my shoes when we left the house for a walk.
94. Lots of takeout and delivery. Rediscovering Little Big Burger. Bamboo Sushi. Hat Yai’s fried chicken for two. Soup dumplings.
95. Buying myself half of a pumpkin pie the weekend after Thanksgiving.
96. Jason Isbell on country music, nostalgia and white victimhood.
97. Being so tired that I misspelled my own name on our Christmas cards.
98. A very good pair of slippers.
99. Body pillows.
100. Giving birth to our daughter Maeve Lillian on the evening of my 35th birthday.
You can read all of my lists for past years here.