steady as she goes.

I have about 11 months to check 25 bullets off my to-do list before I celebrate my 25th birthday.

I’ve had the honor of being part of some beautiful stories in my 24 years, but I don’t want to dwell too much on the past that I miss the beauty of the present, or the future.

I’m working on what I’ve coined my '25 by 25' list. 

My tangible goals, in no particular order:

  1. Take Ruby the Dog on two walks a week. With illusive daylight and an inquisitive toddler, this poses a challenge. I think this means I have to wake up early, while Jonny + Joseph are still sleeping, in order to make this a reality. I don’t do mornings well, so this could prove impossible. But good for Ruby, because she is getting chub-by. Probably couldn’t hurt me, either.
  2. Climb a mountain. I know. But for 24 years, I’ve lived in the Midwest. I want the challenge (because let’s face it, no matter the size of the mountain, it will be a challenge — I’m no athlete) but mostly, I want to stand atop and feel it. Ya feel me?
  3. Try real sushi. And I just heard a collective gasp from all of my cool friends. Actually, probably from all of my friends, since I am really late to jump on this bandwagon. Yes, you’ve read it here first, folks. Rolled up goo has never graced my mouth. I had a sample of something resembling sushi at Costco once, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count. Sushi become so mythicized now that I don’t really know what to expect. There’s a lot of pressure. What kind? What restaurant?!
  4. Write Joseph’s story. The whole story. Beginning to end. I’m not sure we’ve even processed all of the ins + outs, highs + lows. A gazillion emotions are wrapped up in the story, moments painful to relive and moments absolutely bursting with joy. It’s daunting because there’s just so much to tell. But for Joseph’s sake, I need to start the process now, while it’s still fresh. 
  5. Compile Joseph’s baby book. Similar, but not the same as writing his story. His baby book is just like any other, except it focuses on his first year with us, instead of his first year of his life. We have hundreds upon hundreds of photos, documents, sheets, passports, stamps and momentos that it’s also daunting to start this project. But it’s a must-do this year.
  6. Create our wedding album. I’m starting to sense a theme here. But seriously, Jonny and I will celebrate our fourth anniversary this year. I need to just get on Shutterfly and order a stinkin’ photo album before we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary. Procrastination, you can’t hold me down!
  7. Pay off my student loans. This is a slightly lofty aspiration because I don’t exactly have a small amount of student loans to pay off. Also because any + all savings we might have had last year went toward Joseph. But these monthly bills would be sososo great to erase forever.
  8. Start an adoption savings. Also in the money management realm. I know that when God tells you to do something, you do it. And he will see it through. He did it before and he will do it again. While Jonny and I feel like we’ll eventually be led to add to our family adoption again, now is not the time. But, now is the time to save. How amazing would it be to have a fund for when God says ‘now’? Also, I’d love to pull from this set-aside fund to support others.
  9. Try a new recipe every week. Before becoming a mom, nutrition, cooking time + cost of food weren’t things I really thought of when making dinner. But with a picky (and growing) eater and a cramped schedule, these are much more important to me now. I have a multitude of amazing cookbooks + recipe apps, so I really have no reason not to try something new. Plus, I love feeding the people I love.
  10. Meal plan + grocery shop every Sunday. In our pre-kid days, Jonny and I flew by the seat of our pants when it came to suppertime. We’d get home from work, stomachs a-rumblin’, and make a fast, last-minute dinner decision that usually meant an unexpected trip to the grocery store at least a few nights a week. That time has definitely passed. After picking 5 weeknight meals, I want to make an itemized grocery list — and then immediately go shopping. I think it’ll be cost-effective and time-saving.
  11. Make lasagna. I absolutely love my mom’s lasagna. In college, I’d come home and beg her to make it so I could jam all the leftovers in my mini fridge. A pan lasted me about two days. It’s seriously thatgood. Which is why I’ve avoiding trying my hand at it. Such a basic dish, you say. Yes, but why mess with perfection? Well, because I miss eating it and I don’t have her as my personal chef. If it fails, it fails. And I probably won’t document it on the Interwebs.
  12. Bake a pie. A real pie. Not a Jello instant pudding pie or a pre-fab cheesecake, but a real, up-to-your-elbows-in-flour type of pie. My mother-in-law is seriously the pie queen, which is why I haven’t even attempted to bake one. This seems like a pie-in-the-sky aspiration (hardy, har, har) but as summer rolls around, nothing compares to a rhubarb pie. Seriously. Nothing. Again, if I fail, I will not be documenting it. You’ll be able to find me holding my knees, rocking back-and-forth in the corner, repeating, “I’ll never be your mother! I’ll never be your mother!” <— Just made myself LOL.
  13. Incorporate Common Prayer into my daily routine. We’ve had the book for about a year now, but it has been dutifully collecting dust, waiting to really be cracked open. Something about liturgy is absolutely beautiful. I think meditating on and worshiping with this will lead to some really good time with Jesus.
  14. See Shane Claiborne speak. I know some Christians roll their eyes at Claiborne (But honestly, who don’t they roll their eyes at?) but his books have invigorated me and pushed me and I think his voice has been much needed to a watching world, especially when ultra-conservative fundamentalists tend to take over and stain Jesus’ name for a lot of people. My personal favorite book of his is collaboration with John Perkins, ‘Follow Me to Freedom.’ Plus, anyone that can write a heartfelt, non-corny piece about Jesus in ‘Esquire’ is good in my book. Bonus: I know that I will definitely accomplish this — he’s coming to Iowa in February. Win!
  15. Visit friends in PA. This spring, two of our closest friends moved away. And then they had a baby. And then we adopted one. We miss doing life with them. They’re the type of people that are down-to-earth and down-right amazing. Do you have a type of friend who would take a day off work to last-minute drive from Des Moines to Atlanta and back in 24 hours for a visa so you can fly to Nigeria the next day? We do. These peeps definitely left a hole in our hearts and I hope to see them soon.
  16. Get new glasses. I’ve been rocking the same maroon, oval-shape glasses since undergrad. They definitely get the job done (I’m Coke-bottle blind, you guys) but they’re not exactly fashion forward, which means I only wear them very late at night and very early in the morning — the rest of the time, I’m shoving contacts into my dry eyes. I’d probably wear glasses more if I had some I thought were cute. And we just got vision insurance! Which means I can go to a real eye doctor and get real frames instead of a recent grad working the corner of Sams Club. But I don’t know if even the hipster-est of glasses would make me look adorkable, or just like a dork. My elementary pictures suggest the latter.
  17. Go to Target Field. I spent my formative tween years in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, which means I got dragged to my fair share of Twins games at the Metrodome. Turns out, I kind of loved the Metrodome and I kind of can’t believe the Twins don’t play there any more. I have got to see this new place for myself. And Joseph needs to experience his first MLB game! I know Jonny would push for the Cubs, but if I get Joseph a Mauer jersey, we won’t have a choice, now will we? (Cue evil laughter!)
  18. Clean my closet. We currently live in a 1.5 story house from the 1940’s, which doesn’t leave a lot of space. Which is good, because it forces me to downsize. I really have so many clothes that could be doing way more for others. I’m not sure if the best way to tackle the threads is to commit a whole day or to do little by little, section by section. Downsizing. Simplicity. Sounds good to me. Thoughts?
  19. Read two books a month. Pretty self-explanatory.
  20. Blog weekly. Ditto.

Okay. So I have room for five more. Help?

Well, actually four because one is more on the DL. :-)

    take a stand.

    I’ve been scoping out the blogosphere lately trying to get some swell ideas for an upcoming couples wedding shower I’m throwing.

    I saw these DIY cake stands in ReadyMade recently, and spotted them again tonight. They just look too easy and too cute not to try. Thrifted plates + glue + old vase or candle holder = cutest dessert bar, ever.

    Let them eat cake! (This red velvet beauty, perhaps?)