Twenty-five Before Twenty-six

Photo by LYNDSI Photography

I've had well over a year to think about this, and I did, somewhat.

But of course, I leave it to the last minute, two nights before my birthday, to sit down and hash it out, deciding what will make it on the list.

You might remember, back when I was a young thing, barely twenty-three, I came up with a list of twenty-three things I wanted to accomplish before I turned twenty-four. As the year progressed, I worked my way through the list, blogging about each item as it was crossed off. I didn't have a 100% success rate, but I did complete most of those items. That year stands out, prominent, in my mind, as fun and rewarding and fulfilling.

So here I am, back at it again, working on perfecting "The List".

Like last time, I want this to be a set of realistic goals, some fun and free, while others challenging, seeming a bit more like work.   And also, like last time, as I accomplish each of these goals, I'll be blogging about it.

1. Take a Sabbath from social media one day per week for the next three months
I love social media, but I do spend too much time on it. I'm going to use Sunday as my day off from it, not opening or scrolling through any accounts from 6 am - 9 pm. My goal is to be present with my family, or truly resting during that time. (Ultimately, I want to do this for an entire year, but I'm starting out small.)

2. Participate in a group workout with an instructor
This was on my 23 before 24 list, and sadly, I didn't complete it. We're giving it a try again. I'm thinking Crossfit and maybe a class of Barre too, if I'm up for it.

3. Write more love notes
A good marriage doesn't just happen. I want to be more intentional in telling Herm how and why I love and admire him.

4. Memorize three passages of scripture with Carson
We're almost through our first, Psalms 23. The two I plan to add are The Beatitudes from Matthew 5 and the Christmas Story from Luke 2.

5. Attend a writers workshop
Because my dream of being a published author will never happen if I don't make it happen.

6. Set up and follow through with a zero based budget
Hello Dave Ramsey, I'm coming to you!

7. Take dance lessons
So as not to look so Mennonite on the dance floor of every wedding reception we attend.

8. Try a new dish
Maybe with my foodie friends, or maybe just for us. It's got to be something I've never made with ingredients that are new to me.

9. Take the kids to the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester 

10. Write a handwritten note to someone I greatly admire
Maybe include a good bar of chocolate + locally roasted coffee.

11. Sew an outfit for Brooklyn
Top, bloomers, and a headband. And if I'm feeling super ambitious, make something to match for myself. Well, not the bloomers.

12. Teach Carson to swim
Either in group classes or by myself. This is something I want him to know soon.

13. Hand copy the book of Proverbs into a notebook *

14. Take a personal retreat
I deeply love my family, but it's always good to get away for a bit, so I can be refreshed to love them well all over again.

15. Teach Carson the entire alphabet
He's got a good grasp of this already, but I want him to recognize upper and lower case letters and be able to write them out.

16. Read a classic by Jane Austen
I never gave these a chance. Maybe it's time.

17. Channel my inner yogi by mastering a headstand

18. Visit a new country *
Two years ago I included this as well, thinking it wouldn't happen, but it did! I'm adding it again because I have a passport and am always eager to travel.

19. Visit another National Park

20. Become friends with someone different than I *
In age, nationality, and/or religion

21. Learn how to make something new *
In other words, take crafting lessons from my sister or learn floral arrangements from my sister-in-law.

22. Interview and write about my Grandparents' lives

23. Re-read a book by Janette Oke
It was her Love Comes Softly series that made me fall in love with what I thought of as a chore, reading.

24. Do something about those wisdom teeth

25. Blog regularly
At the least once every other week

*subject to change because they were all on the other list



Reading: This summer the stack of books I was trying to work my way through, More Than Enough by Dave Ramsey, Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst, Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, were all but discarded, for every time I would curl up on the couch with the intent of reading, a cute little boy would snuggle in next to me, reminding me that it was my turn to read Curious George or Richard Scary's Busy Busy World to him -- for the tenth time over.

My love for audio books has greatly increased as a mom; it's in those mundane rituals of laundry folding and toilet scrubbing and dinner making where the magic of "reading" happens now. I use the app Overdrive to borrow audio books from my library. I can download them onto my iPhone, listen to them, and returns happens automatically - no fines for books overdue!

This week I downloaded Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult.

Picoult is known for tackling sticky issues, things that make most of us uncomfortable, this book is no exception -- it is about Ruth, a labor and delivery nurse, who was banned from caring for an infant because of her skin color. The father of the child is a white supremacist who doesn't want any Person of Color near his son.
In the course of events, the infant dies in the hospital, and even though there were others on staff as well, Ruth is the only nurse who was taken to court and tried for murder.
The author weaves three points of view through the book, that of Ruth, the African-American nurse, that of Kennedy, Ruth's lawyer, and of Turk, the skin-head father.
It's an eye opening book, and with everything that 2016 showed us about racism and how it's still so prevalent today, I encourage you to read it... I'm guessing it'll show you biases in your own life, and hopefully give you understanding into why this is such an important topic to work through individually and as a nation. I highly recommend this book.

*Book does contain explicit and offensive language

Loving: Leg day... or rather, the definition I've been noticing after months of "leg days", where I challenge myself with lots of squat and pliĆ© and barre workouts focused on my thighs + butt.

Since Brooklyn was born, I've gotten out for a few runs, but not the 3-5 runs per week that use to be my normal. It seems as though at least one, if not both of my kids, start complaining and crying when strapped in the stroller or I don't have enough time between naps and errands or, or, or... I make excuses and running suddenly isn't priority.
 I miss it.
However, I've been opting for short, intense workouts 3-5 days per week -- then, if I have the time or energy to get out for a walk or jog with the kids several times each week I do. Although, to be honest, I also count cleaning and chasing after Carson or going to get the mail as cardio too. :)

I love knowing that even just 15 minutes per day is completely worth the effort, and if done right, you will notice results. You don't have to be a gym rat to be fit or have muscle definition. I promise! Just add a bit of HIIT (high intensity interval training) into your routine.

Dreaming: The year I did my 23 before 24 challenge --where I created a list of 23 things to do before I turned 24-- was so much fun. I'm turning 25 next week, and I'm dream up a new list to work on this coming year; things like sew an outfit for Brooklyn, reach a new fitness goal (headstands? run 20 miles? try Crossfit?), take a writers workshop, memorize more scriptures with Carson, etc.

It's sort of daunting, coming up with 25 things to do... And I'm open to creative ideas. What should I add to this bucket list of sorts?

Wishing: Be warned, if you have a little girl to dress, Etsy is a black hole, which leaves me wishing for all the things. Like this and this and this.

You're welcome.

Thinking About: Dinner. Or rather, what's for dinner? I wish I had a better system in place for planning and preparing meals... It's one of my least favorite yet most important tasks each day, and I have zero creativity with it. Have you ever used Prep Dish or a similar menu planning service? Please, please comment with all your menu planning tips and tricks. I'm begging of you!
My husband would be most grateful.

Listening to: The belly laughter of Carson and the bear-like growls of Brooklyn as they are playing together post nap. I'm going to assume all is well... because with those two you never know.

What are you currently up to?