22.5 before 30?

Well guys, today is my (and my twin brother’s) 30th birthday.  And you know what? It feels pretty much the same as 29.  I have to say, I’m at a point in my life where I feel amazingly blessed.  I have great friends, a fantastic family and a wonderful husband.  I am so very lucky to have a church I love, a job that challenges me, and a house that feels like home.  I guess with Dad’s birthday last week I’m feeling a bit nostalgic about life.  And one of the things that I feel really fortunate about is that I feel as if I have gotten to enjoy all the phases of my life.  I watched our seniors in high school have their ‘Senior Sunday’ at church, and I remembered how much I loved high school (I know… call me crazy, but I had great friends and a pretty easy life), and how much I was excited and nervous to go to college.  But in college I found more great friends, more fun experiences and a whole new level of life as I learned to be a responsible-ish adult and decide what path I wanted to take.  And even the years after college that were so incredibly hard and lonely led me to great friends, a Master’s degree that I’m incredibly proud of, and a deep understanding of how imperfect life can be, but that there is incredible beauty in how people support each other during hard times.

And now I feel like myself and my friends are moving into different phases of life.  I’m at the age where TONS of my friends are expecting their first (second or third) children, others are getting promoted and doing exciting things with their lives, and life is generally whizzing past us.  I look at some of the people in our church who have been friends for YEARS and have gone through life’s ups and downs together, watched their children grow up, graduate and in some cases get married and have kids, all while doing life together.  It makes me so excited to be on that adventure with the people in my life.  And it also makes me so grateful for all the blessings and trials I’ve had in my life because they have all brought me to where I am. And I wouldn’t trade that for the world.  So really on my birthday I want to say thanks to all of the people who have shaped me and helped me get to where I am now, and those who will help me keep on.  Its been a great 30 years and I look forward to many many more!

But since last year I set up a few goals for myself… I’ll give y’all the update on my list.  When I set it up last year, I knew there would be things I wouldn’t accomplish, and several of the ones I didn’t (ahem… pergola) were because I decided living that aforementioned life was more important than checking the things off my list.  So even though I only finished 22 1/2, I feel pretty good about my accomplishments over the year!

Without further ado… my 30 Before 30 list:

  • Run another half marathon I’m kind of marking this off.  I trained and was mostly ready to run this, but the Dallas Marathon was cancelled because of Ice-maggedon. So I kinda half ran it, since the training is half the battle, but I really would love to run another one, so I’ll be registering for another one, but maybe not before my 30th birthday.
  • Start a vegetable gardenDONE!
  • Build my own built-in-closet (modeled after Sandra’s AWESOME closet)  Because the timing worked out and I got a friends and family discount, we decided to do Elfa in our closet instead of building a built in one… and it was totally the right choice.  It was quick and easy and my closet is STILL organized.
  • Book a trip to Europe with my husband (and maybe a few friends)- Not Done: the husband and I decided to make the grown up decision to pay off all our school loans instead of going to Europe this summer.  It is still definitely on our bucket list, (hopefully sooner rather than later… but not gonna happen this year)
  • Find a farmer’s market near my house to visit on a Saturday morning- I have a friend lined up to do this with sometime (thanks claire!)… but haven’t done it yet… maybe next weekend!!
  • Finish my t-shirt quilt (2+years in the making)–Didn’t even work on this project.  Although I’ve been very busy making burp cloths for all my friends who are expecting… so I’ve gotten REALLY GOOD at sewing straight lines. This will have to be added to next years list!
  • Learn to cook 5 new meals  I learned AT LEAST this many during my two weeks of my Whole 30
  • Take my husband to visit my favorite city: Washington DC DONEAnd Done.
  • Go see Lion King (kind of cheating… I already have tickets to this… but it’s a show I’ve always wanted to see!)
  • Pay off part of my company debt
  • Finish another sprint triathlon (again… bonus points if I beat my previous time)- I didn’t get around to this, but I still love the idea of doing triathlons, so my brother and I are tossing around the idea of doing a half ironman next summer.  He and a friend did it last year… and I’d love to try!
  • Build a pergola in my back yard- Nope… didn’t even start
  • Help my twin brother fix up his house (as payment for letting me use his pool whenever I want!)
  • Spend a Saturday without ever leaving the house… no projects, just laziness.
  • Take a weekend getaway to Beaver Creek.  (I bought a couple of free nights at a silent auction… now we just have to use them) Check out our visit here.
  • Go Skiing with the church youth group… as an ‘adult’ sponsor.- I’m signed up and ready to go!
  • Get new Christmas Stockings for my husband and I for our first Christmas as a married couple.See how cute they are?
  • Learn how to put crown molding up in my our house- 1/2 done… I learned how to do it at my brother’s house, but haven’t done it at mine yet!
  • Give 10% to charity or the church for 2013
  • Get my husband certified to Scuba Dive–in progress… he is about to sign up in the spring! Done! And we had a blast on our first dive trip!
  • Finish changing my name to my married last name… who knew there were so many things to change!?– Just a few more to go! And seriously… American Airlines Miles Program needs more info than my credit card?!
  • Organize the whole house- no seriously… every cupboard, closet, under every bed. I am marking this off, its not 100%, but it is significantly better than it was last year.  If you want to check them out, click on my projects page and I’ve added a section for organizing posts.
  • Take a spa day with a friend Thanks Ashley!! And seriously, I think I need this about 3-4 times a year. It was A-MAZ-ING.
  • Host a dinner party
  • Make homemade ice cream The hubs and I tried this on Memorial Day.  I think we need to make a few more batches to perfect it, because I still prefer Bluebell Homemade Vanilla, but it was so fun to do! Anyone have a great recipe?
  • Make a wedding book for each set of our parents and ourselves
  • Save enough money to install double ovens in our kitchen- Didn’t do this.  See above comment on being a responsible adult and paying off all our student loans. 🙁
  • Get to my ideal weight- Working on this… –Nope, didn’t happen.  But everyone has to have goals for next year right?!
  • Get better at using my SLR Camera (kinda hard to measure… but maybe I’ll know it when I get there?) I am definitely better than I was last year, so I’m going to say I accomplished this.  I still have a ton to learn, but I do feel more comfortable trying different things now… so practice makes perfect!
  • Throw a 30th Birthday Party for my twin brother and myself technically I didn’t throw it, my husband and sister-in-law threw the party, but it was FANTASTIC. We had a blast and got to hang with good friends and enjoy the summer weather. It was a great way to ring in my next decade!  Mom even found our little birthday outfits from our 2nd birthday:




  1. Emily Webster says:

    Happy birthday Marynell and Arthur! I can’t say that I didn’t shed a couple tears reading this post. You are an incredible friend and woman and I am very blessed to have you in my life.

  2. Judy Britt says:

    Working on the t-shirt quilt and will have LOTS of pointers to give you when you are ready. I should be an expert after I’ve done 3 or 4!!!

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