34 Before 34: Halfway There

So every once in a while, I remember that I continued with my tradition of writing a birthday to do list back in July. The list isn’t really at the forefront of my mind these days, although it does contain some stuff that I really do want to do. As a way of reminding myself about it, I thought I’d catch us on what I’ve managed to do so far. I’m including the original list below, with notes on some of the items that I have actually worked on.

  1. go on dates with Dan
    We have actually done this! We went on two dates to celebrate our second anniversary in January, and my sister watched Ben just after the new year so we could see The Hobbit. It’s not as easy as it was before, but I definitely want to keep working on this.
  2. host a party of some sort (dinner party, housewarming, football party) for more than 4 people
  3. shoot at least one roll of film each with the AE-1, instax, polaroid
    I started working on this in a roundabout way in December, when I finished up my year of daily photos with daily instax photos. I ended up going through almost four rolls of film, and it got me really pumped to get out the AE-1 in particular.
  4. make a wedding album
  5. make wedding albums to give to our parents
  6. visit the ocean (at least 5 times)
    So far I’ve gone twice – once in August in Cape Cod, and once in January.
  7. walk across a bridge in NYC
  8. visit a new local brewery
    Dan and I visited Carton Brewing Company in Atlantic Highlands back in July with my brother, sister, and brother-in-law. Their IPA 077XX is one of my absolute favorites. Even though this one is technically complete, I really want to visit another small brewery near my hometown, Kane Brewing Company before my birthday.
  9. make pom poms
  10. eat at Pete and Elda’s
  11. make quote wall art
  12. crochet a giant scarf
  13. get another tattoo
  14. hang a photo gallery wall in our new place
  15. go to a Patriots game with Dan to celebrate six years since our first spark
    done in August, and now Ben is part of the tradition!
  16. make a new dessert
  17. get a sewing machine
  18. and sew something simple
  19. make a wreath for each season (summer, fall, Christmas, winter, spring) for our front door
    I did make a fall wreath, and it was simple and SO worth it. I haven’t made any others, but would consider this one complete even if I buy a few more seasonal wreaths so we can always have something on our front door.
  20. decorate the living room and the dining room
  21. write in a paper journal three times a month
  22. blog more
    I’m working on it, right? Ha.
  23. learn how to be a mom
    I wrote this knowing that it would always be a work in progress, but there really are a lot of days when I really do feel like I know how to be Ben’s mom. (Of course… there are other days when I super don’t but I am gathering that that’s part of the whole deal, too.)
  24. try NOT to overthink things so much
  25. go on a photo excursion (by myself or with friends)
    Yes! And I blogged about it last week. I am hoping to do this again, though.
  26. thoroughly purge my closet (again)
    I couldn’t stop thinking about this, and went through my closet rather harshly over the summer. I got rid of a bunch of stuff, and boxed up some more, partly because Dan was kind of appalled at how much I wanted to get rid of. (Honestly? I would have gotten rid of almost every piece of clothing I owned, at the time, and still kind of feel that way.) The box is in the basement, and if I don’t want anything out of that box for six months, that’s going, too. (And I may do another pass when it gets warm again, because I just have SO MUCH that I don’t or can’t wear.)
  27. start building a new wardrobe
    I can’t really say I’m working on this; clothes fit so strangely now, and until I start exercising I’m sort of at a stand still. Baby steps.
  28. collect more bracelets for an arm party
    I am doing this, thanks in part to a very nice Christmas haul. Maybe I will blog about this, although I can’t imagine too many of you are dying to see photos of a bunch of bracelets.
  29. grow out my hair
    Whoops. So I totally forgot I had this on my list, and have obviously chopped off my hair completely. Ha. (I am LOVING having super short hair, though, more than I ever expected. It is AMAZING and I haven’t regretted it for a single second.)
  30. plan an awesome first birthday for Benjamin
  31. eat healthy food and exercise (and okay, also lose weight) to really stave off diabetes
    I can definitely be doing a better job on this than I have been so far. Exercising in particular, which I basically… don’t do. It’s hard when it’s so very cold outside.
  32. keep up with Project Life and Ben’s baby album
    I have been doing this, and absolutely loving it. I have plans to blog about my latest creations soon!
  33. choose a positive outlook even when things are hard
  34. laugh more. feel the wind. go for walks. read books to Ben. savor the snuggles. tell Dan how awesome he is. love big. breathe deep.

I have to be honest and say that I’m pretty surprised to have made as much progress as I have. There are about six months left until I turn 34, and my goal is to choose a few things to work on each month. For February, I want to keep blogging more, work on decorating the living room (we have many of the pieces, we just haven’t set them up/hung them up/framed them yet), make or obtain a wintry wreath, and maaaaybe finish knitting the scarf I started for Dan like… three+ years ago so that I can start on the giant pink cowl I bought yarn for over a year ago. We’ll see. (And just to put this out there, mostly for myself, it is TOTALLY okay if I don’t come close to finishing the stuff on this list. Life with a baby who’s more active by the day is, as they say, unpredictable at best.)

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The Beach in Winter

On Friday, Ben spent the day with his grandparents, leaving me with a very rare afternoon to myself near where I grew up. I took care of some errands that were way easier to handle without Ben, and then took my camera to the beach. When I lived near the beach, I used to do this all the time. Any time I felt sad or lonely, or needed some inspiration, I’d head down to the boardwalk in Asbury Park and listen to the waves, feel the ocean breeze on my cheeks, and breathe in the salty air. I have gone only once or twice since I moved west, and that bums me out more than I realized. Visiting the ocean was on my 33 Before 33 list, and got carried forward to my 34 Before 34 list, and until Friday, I’d only been once (in Cape Cod when we were there this past August). Taking my camera out and taking pictures just for fun was just so good. I really need to do this again, soon.

on the boardwalk

no swimming

the ocean in winter is my favorite

camera on the ground

the old casino

I've taken this photo a million times before

the old casino

sigh.

on the beach

34 before 34

It hit me about a few months ago that I had completely forgotten about my 33 before 33 list. I suppose impending parenthood can sort of take over your life in that way. That list wasn’t a total bust, but because I forgot about it so thoroughly, I don’t think it’s really fair to consider it done. Some years, I plan my lists for weeks ahead of time, but today is my 33rd birthday, and I still want to do all those things I thought up last year. So I decided to start a new list for my new year. The first 19 items are from 33 before 33, and the rest are new or just slightly revised for this year. When I turned 32, I was a newlywed who had a lot of high hopes, and adding them to a list helped me feel a bit like they weren’t as crazy as they felt. Now I’m 33, and we bought that house and I had that adorable baby, and I need a list like this more than ever, as I’m learning how to be BOTH the new me who’s a mom and the old me who really needs to create. So here we are. And even if I forget about this list by January, I think it’ll be a pretty good year.

  1. go on dates with Dan
  2. host a party of some sort (dinner party, housewarming, football party) for more than 4 people
  3. shoot at least one roll of film each with the AE-1, instax, polaroid
  4. make a wedding album
  5. make wedding albums to give to our parents
  6. visit the ocean (at least 5 times)
  7. walk across a bridge in NYC
  8. visit a new local brewery
  9. make pom poms
  10. eat at Pete and Elda’s
  11. make quote wall art
  12. crochet a giant scarf
  13. get another tattoo
  14. hang a photo gallery wall in our new place
  15. go to a Patriots game with Dan to celebrate six years since our first spark
  16. make a new dessert
  17. get a sewing machine
  18. and sew something simple
  19. make a wreath for each season (summer, fall, Christmas, winter, spring) for our front door
  20. decorate the living room and the dining room
  21. write in a paper journal three times a month
  22. blog more
  23. learn how to be a mom
  24. try NOT to overthink things so much
  25. go on a photo excursion (by myself or with friends)
  26. thoroughly purge my closet (again)
  27. start building a new wardrobe
  28. collect more bracelets for an arm party
  29. grow out my hair
  30. plan an awesome first birthday for Benjamin
  31. eat healthy food and exercise (and okay, also lose weight) to really stave off diabetes
  32. keep up with Project Life and Ben’s baby album
  33. choose a positive outlook even when things are hard
  34. laugh more. feel the wind. go for walks. read books to Ben. savor the snuggles. tell Dan how awesome he is. love big. breathe deep.