Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Goodbye 33

These are my last few hours as a thirty three year old. I'm anxious and excited for everything year thirty four holds, but happily look back at thirty three. It was a pretty big year for me. I started thirty three a homeowner, I traveled. I valued my friends more and made time for them. I watched my kids get older and more independent. I joined a Board of Directors. I stepped back and only did things I wanted to do. If it didn't bring me joy at the moment, I didn't do it.

I'm ending number thirty three as a money making freelance writer, something I had only dreamed of before making it a reality. I lived more by my mantra "work hard play harder" and it has payed off this year. I now get to make a living playing day in and day out with all of my "jobs." It is not lost on me that I am ending thirty three and beginning thirty four overwhelmed and stressed with writing assignments and due dates so I can play REALLY hard next week during our unbelievable trip we have planned.

Thirty three brought lifestyle changes that have had a positive impact on our entire family (not just me). I climbed more mountains (literally, climbed...well, okay hiked on a trail but up a mountain) this year than any other year. I tried new things even when I was unsure. I lived every day of thirty three exactly the way I wanted; not always how I envisioned each day, but at the end of the day, it was good. Even the bad days (and there were several) left me with lessons learned and new life insights. 

People have asked me if I'm going to slow it down one of these days. My answer? No, it's not in my plans. It's not me and I don't plan on changing that any time soon. I may take a few more weekends to sleep in or lounge around, but I also enjoy life too much to sit around and not live it.

I attempted to choose a Top 10 for 33, but I just couldn't do it. So, here's some of my highlights:

33 brought out A LOT of gray and white hairs on my head. 

Moving into a new house that we bought was exhausting. Even more exhausting??? Looking at that wall paper! Shortly after we moved I put the minis to work tearing it down. That awful first layer came peeled off easily. The special layer underneath?? Not so much. I had plans to get it done in November and I had wanted to start a kitchen remodel. I got neither done. Instead I spent time with my minis, friends, community engagements, etc. So, we've been left with a wall paper filled with bouquets of daisies and a stenciled on flower cart. Like I said, it's special but still not as busy as the wall paper in this picture.

We saw hockey games, basketball games, football games, and baseball games.

It was one of those odd goals, but I had always wanted to be able to purchase a Rainbow play set for my kids, their friends, and daycare. As soon as we put in the purchase agreement for our house, I put a deposit down for a play system. It's by far the most expensive "toy" I've ever bought and by far the best investment in a "toy" I've ever made. I felt like a bad ass the day I walked into Rainbow, stated exactly what I wanted for the play set, and pulled out the cash to make it happen. I called it my "bad ass self-employed woman moment."

We spent so much time in home improvement stores from my birthday until November. I haven't stepped in a home improvement store since then because of home improvement burn out. Our house is livable. We'll get back to updating the house at some point in the future.

That weekend we did family fun night and started our daycare room painting project. My husband told me we couldn't get it done in an entire weekend. I proved him wrong....I also missed an entire section of wall, but whatever. I have it covered up by a shelf currently.

Trip #1 for the year to Chicago. This was the time that we unexpectedly walked 10 miles in one day because the minis were obsessed with the architecture of the buildings. Let's just say I didn't wear 10 miles a day walking shoes and ended up with blisters all over my feet. I wound up carrying my shoes and walking barefoot along Michigan Avenue back to our hotel. The famous conversations between my husband and myself:

Matt: I cannot believe you are walking barefoot down a Chicago street! Look around. No one else is doing that because they knew to wear proper shoes.
Me: I didn't know we'd be walking 10 miles, that wasn't the plan...and you're bitching at me for walking barefoot down Michigan Avenue. I'd be shocked if I was the first person to do this and I know I won't be the last." Conversation was done as everyone within ear shot was laughing at us.

Our BIG summer road trip: Badlands, Black Hills (Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, hiking, etc.), Devil's Tower, Big Sky, Montana, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Cody, WY, and back to the Black Hills for one last hike before heading home. I have wanted to go to Yellowstone since grade school. I was so happy to make this trip happen for us and the minis. 

First time at 80/35 music festival. Fantastic night!

 We made the most of date nights and made sure to take a lot of them.

 We took the minis mini golfing for the first time. There were plenty of firsts throughout 33. I love that I continue to plan "firsts" for myself the older I get. The older I get the more I find it important to never stop experiencing new things.

 Daycare was still daycare. Fun, tiring, and never short on entertainment. This is a day I'll NEVER forget.

 New appliances!!! Yeah, yeah, I know this makes me officially old when I get sooooo excited about the new appliances I've purchased. But I'm seriously so in love with this washer it's ridiculous. I happily tell anyone I can about this washer and the tubeless toilet paper we switched to. Big things in an adult world.

 The minis reached an age where we could do the occasional night hikes or late night whatever and get through it with minimal meltdowns. This was a hike that I had wanted to do for years and we finally did it!

 Matt and I got away for a quick minute to Indianapolis to see U2. Best. Night. Ever.

 I became a dance mom and I had to buy business-y clothes to wear for meetings and such in the evenings. I can't really complain about my gigs: sweats and yoga pants during the days and business casual in the evenings.

 Apparently, the times I grew up in (80's and 90's) are referred to by my minis as "the old days." I was told this when I wore a baggy sweatshirt and my hair in a ponytail. My oldest schooled me on scrunchies that day too.

 Trip #2 to Chicago. 

 We made a point to attend more community events. This is how we're spending Halloween night from now on!

 So, after our eventful trip to Yellowstone, I became a vegetarian. I've learned to make my favorite recipes not only vegetarian, but vegan as well. Now, all of our homemade baked goods are made vegan, along with a lot of our meals. There's actually been very few complaints from the minis.

 Thanksgiving weekend was still my favorite weekend of the year.

 Looks like I'll be a dance mom for another year. Sigh. She plans to continue with ballet next dance season (in the fall).

 We spent A LOT of time on our couch from Christmas through January thanks to a flu-like illness that took us down (especially me). I actually enjoyed being down and spent quite a bit of time watching movies and catching up on TV shows. It sucks when I'm just starting to feel more like myself two months later, but I really did enjoy all of those movies.

We got to take part in the women's march this year. This was a truly unforgettable day.

Dear 34,