My past few posts have been in the form of top 10 lists, or just a regular list...and I am too lazy to break away from that format quite yet. Thank you David Letterman for making the top 10 list a popular way to share information. I turned 31 last week, not quite sure how that happened. I often feel like I am still a 21 year old kid until I run into a real 21 year old and realize that that time in my life was a very long time ago. I don't mind being in my 30's, it's actually pretty great...not nearly as unsettled and hectic as my 20's were. I went through 11 roommates in my 20's...so far I just keep adding roommates in my 30's by having children.
In honor of my 31st birthday, here are my 31 favorite things from this past year. In no particular order...except that number one is definitely my favorite thing! :)
31. New make-up. Chanel mascara is the most amazing that I have ever used. It gives me back the eyelashes of my youth!
30. Flemmings happy hour. The best bacon cheeseburger for $5 that you will ever taste and drinks for $5 too! It's a tasty meal for $20 for two!
29. Nice jewelry. I have always liked jewelry, but too often frequented Forever 21 to boost my collection. (I still go there to boost for trendy pieces) But I have so appreciated my husband and girlfriends for supplying me with grown up jewelry from Tiffany's or Kate Spade that are made from REAL metals, not ones that turn your skin green.
28. Dinseyland Passes. We renewed our annual pass this year and it is such a great way to burn an afternoon with the girls! It's also really magical to watch my girls experience Disneyland and have an excuse to be a kid again with them.
26. A Clean Home. I am a terrible house keeper. I can keep our home picked up...but it is rarely truly clean. I couldn't take it any more this week, so I brought the girls to my mother-in-law's house for the day and had seven hours to dust, mop, vacuum, and clean toilets. I never thought cleaning my blinds would be so life giving! It also helped to listen (aka belt out at the top of my lungs) to Pink's Less than Perfect song.
25. Spray Paint and wall decals. Who knew that such cheap items can make a huge difference in decorating a room? Probably several of you. But I was so excited to paint a black side table pink for the girls room this week!
24. SUP. I finally went Stand Up Paddle-boarding for the first time on my birthday and had a blast! I could totally get hooked on it.
23. Family Traditions. Even though some are AWFUL...it still brings me such joy. One of our traditions is to wake up the birthday boy or girl at the crack of dawn with cake and presents to enjoy before the sun comes up. As a kid it made it so hard to go to bed the night before because it was like waiting for Christmas morning. Now as an adult it is a little sad to lose sleep, but still great to start your birthday with sugar and gifts! Now the bummer is the traditional morning time pictures where everyone looks awful and half awake.
22. Big Macs. McDonald's not usually a favorite, but there is something that is truly special about two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
21. Lainey's Ballet class. There are few things cuter than a dozen two year olds dancing around in black leotards with buns in their hair and pink ballet shoes. It makes your heart melt. I love that Lainey loves going to "school" so much each week.
20. My Wedding Dress. I was able to put it on AND zip it up, which felt like a big accomplishment after popping out two kiddos. The best part was putting Lainey in her Easter dress and having a "Princess" dance party in our living room. We felt very fancy! And it really does put you in a better mood.
19. REAL SIMPLE's recipes. I love that magazine. I love their food. It makes it look like I know how to cook, but their meals are ready in under 30 minutes. I made an Open-faced chicken Caprese sandwich for dinner and it was so good!
18. My Cannon T2i Camera. I now have a grown up SLR camera like the rest of my friends. It is amazing the difference the right tool makes on taking pictures. I have no idea how to use it properly, but the auto function is AWESOME! And allows me to take pictures of my
food children that turn out beautiful!
17. Fresh Stacks crackers. This is the best idea. We are a cracker family, but our Ritz always go stale before we can get to the bottom of the long pack. NO LONGER thanks to Fresh Stacks! They are half the size and keep the rest of the crackers fresh until you want them!
16. Running. I'm not sure if I like the feeling of running or the feeling of being done running. Either way I do enjoy a good run. It's nice to have a few moments to myself with some music jamming in my ears and exerting myself to make it up the monster hill or run just a little faster. Did my first half marathon this year. Don't think I ever want to do a full!
15. The Zoo. What is not to love? I feel like a kid again when I am at the zoo. Excited and amazed to see the silly monkeys or polar bears playing together in the water. I am not a dog person, but I do love animals and find them so interesting and fun! The only bummer is that San Diego zoo is built on a hill so it's a major work out to walk up and down those hills.
14. Beach Days. Even though it is a lot of work to get down to the beach with little ones. I love it! Sand everywhere. Water powerful enough to knock you down, but so fun to pretend you are Ariel from the Little Mermaid in the waves. And the best naps after we get home because the girls are just exhausted!
13. My Grandmother's music box. My Grandmother passed away this year right before Christmas. She had the best questions and always had updates on what everyone in the family was doing. One of the sweetest memories I have is watching Lainey on her lap mesmerized by the music box my Grandmother was showing her. I am so excited to now have the music box as a special memory of the woman I love and miss so much!
12. Yosemite. There are very few places that I have visited that feel truly breath taking. But I swear everywhere I looked while in Yosemite national park left me in absolute awe. If you haven't been, I'd highly recommend it. I can't wait to go back when the girls are older to float down the river as a family in tubes and rafts!
11. Family Photos. I love catching our family together on film. With my ever changing hair color and length and how quickly the girls change. I am thankful whenever all of us are together in a photo. When we are being weird:
10. Babies in a bathtub. Is there anything much cuter than that? The only thing that wrecks it is if one of the babies decides it's a toilet and not a bathtub. Ew. I swear everyone has those bath time pictures with their friends or siblings as bitty babes. I LOVE IT!
9. SKYPE. Best invention ever. I love that I get to chat with my family and friends face to face via the computer. My favorite part is watching my girls giggle and laugh with my mom over Skype. So much better than a phone call.
8. Pool time. Being in the water is one of my absolute favorite things. I am so thankful my girls enjoy it so much too. It is especially fun to watch Lainey do "twist jumps" into the pool and Katie try her hardest to kick kick kick. Again, the exhausted nap time that follows a morning at the pool is pretty sweet too!
7. Lainey's first movie theatre experience. We took Lainey to see Winnie the Pooh in the theatre this year and she was awe struck from concession to the big red seats. Popcorn, pink drink (lemonade), and fruit snacks while watching a show she loves = a great afternoon.
6. Giving my nephew and his buddy wheat grass. My 14 year old nephew and his buddy came to stay with us for a week in July and we had a blast hitting up the beach, pool, Disneyland, LA, Go Karts, etc. The day we went to Disneyland I ordered each of us a shot of wheat grass for an energy boost to get us (me) through the day. Although they "complained" about it most of the day, I think it was an experience they will never forget...or repeat.
5. International Princess Project. I have the privilege to volunteer with this amazing local non-profit that advocates and supports women that have been formerly enslaved in forced prostitution inside the red-light districts of India. The staff and volunteers are passionate men and women that are truly inspiring to be around and are making a huge difference in these women's lives, as well as, the generations to follow. The Fabric of Freedom gala is coming up September 24th. You should definitely take the time to check out their website and see what they are up to. Feel free to buy a ticket to the gala too while you are there!
4. The women in my life. I feel incredibly blessed by all the women in my life. Not only did I get to grow up with an amazing mom that loved me well and gave me the strength and courage to adventure out on my own, I then married a man with a mom that loves me as her own and supports and cares for me in ways that I could never have imagined. On top of that I have an amazing group of girlfriends that have meant the world to me and I don't know what I would do with out them. My girls that I love and talk to still since Jr. High. My College girls that are still close as sisters. And those from after college that I am eternally grateful to be in relationship with and am better because of. I am thrilled my girls will be influenced by you all! Thank you! You know who you are!
3. Seven Sobbing Girls. Several of the above mentioned women joined me on my birthday to go see The Help. It was comforting to watch it with them because not one of us was had a dry eye by the end of the movie. (Okay so twenty minutes into the movie we were all basket cases.) Maybe not your way of wanting to celebrate your birthday, but it affirmed my belief that you should not cry alone, and my girlfriends did not fail me! :) Thanks for your tears, ladies!
2. Pickles. I can't seem to get enough of them lately. At Disneyland with my nephew and his buddy, I found the best snack ever! Disney's monster dill pickle. Oh my goodness it was delicious. I have been ranting about that pickle ever since, so much so, that one of the girls brought a jar of pickles to my birthday movie! Popcorn and pickles for a movie snack is AMAZING. I was glad to see I was not the only one to partake in the snack combo. I do not think the people in front of us enjoyed the pickle smell as much as we did, however. Sorry sucka! Thanks, Katie, for being my pickle provider!
And finally to my number one favorite thing of this last year (by the way, very impressed you are still reading):
1. My husband taking a pregnancy test. We found out on the 4th of July that another little firecracker would be joining are family. I woke Chad up on the morning of the 4th completely frustrated that I was still unsure if I was pregnant after I taking three different pregnancy tests. I knew he wasn't pregnant and so I could compare my test to his negative one. Thanks to his test, we saw that all mine were positive and that I wasn't reading it up side down. If any of you are keeping track, our youngest does not turn one until September. Three babies in three years is normal, right?
We are thrilled and excited about the new addition. Can't wait to see what new little personality will join our family.