30 By 30

30 things to do before my 30th birthday.

1. Have babies.
Ha! Hmmm. Here are my thoughts:
(1) I think God smiled when I put this on my list. I wrote it thinking “Well, THERE’S a freebie.” LOLLLL…oh Laura. If you only knew.
(2) We’re so ready for them. But we are really enjoying kid-free life, in the meantime.

(3) We are already completed fulfilled in Jesus. No matter if or when or how kids enter our lives, God always has been and always will be all we need.

2. Take an Alaskan cruise. ✓ // Part I, Part II, Part III
May 2017 – visited Seattle, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, and Victoria! Plus, we got to take our anniversary pictures in Juneau (SWOON) and hang out with the Hightowers in Seattle. Dreamy, amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

3. Pay for someone’s dinner anonymously.
Hadn’t expected or intended this, but we actually got OUR dinner paid for, twice! Once with David Reagan at Main Street BBQ, and once with the Wesberrys at Roadhouse. Still don’t know who did it, either time! I’m going to make sure to do this as part of my 40 By 40 paying it forward goal.

4. Go on a big adventure. ✓
Gosh, where to start?? I kind of killed multiple birds with one stone on this one. (1) We paddled (nonstop, in freezing rain, 45 minutes one way) across Mendenhall Lake, hiked on top of the glacier, and explored the gorgeous ice caves underneath. (2) We hiked Chimney Rock National Monument and whitewater rafted the San Juan River in Colorado. (3) Robyn and I went on a sister trip to Six Flags on what was arguably the hottest Texas summer day in 2017. (4) We swam with stingrays in Grand Cayman.

5. Throw someone a surprise party. 
We hosted Jeremy Burns’s Stranger Things surprise birthday party in October 2017, on the exact day that the new season of Stranger Things came out on Netflix. It was EPIC! I also had the privilege of throwing a surprise “30, Flirty & Thriving” birthday party for Courtnie Whitley.

6. Read 10 new books. ✓
Bossypants by Tina Fey, 2016
The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, 2016-17
The Defining Decade by Meg Jay, 2016-17
Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown, 2017
Wild and Free by Hayley Morgan and Jess Connolly, 2017
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller, 2017
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, 2017-18
Wait and See by Wendy Pope, 2018
From This Day Forward by Craig & Amy Groeschel, 2018
— Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur, 2018
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, 2019
— Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot, 2019
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 2019
The Compelling Community by Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop, 2019

7. Learn how to curl my hair. ✓
Big thanks to Jen and Daniel for the curling wands! :)

8. Make a complicated recipe.
I bought the French butter and everything, and then I ran out of time because of my surprise birthday trip!! As soon as I have a full day at home, I’m making croissants. It’s happening.

9. Complete the 52-Week Money Challenge.
Starting the first week of January 2019, I transferred money from our regular checking account into a separate account I created at our bank! $52 the first week, $51 the next week, and so on, until the last week of December 2019 when I laughed to myself about transferring $1 between accounts. The original idea on Pinterest suggested starting with $1 for Week 1, $2 for Weeks 2, etc. But I started with the bigger numbers first so that we  wouldn’t feel as pinched around Christmas-time. This was a super easy, low-maintenance way to save almost $1400!

10. Participate in a Color Run.
Color Run in Tulsa with Daniel, Robyn, Travis, Jennifer, and Stacey in April 2019

11. Deliver meals to new parents. 
2016 – Kelli, Blake, & baby Elijah
2017 – Courtnie, Andy, Owen, & baby Abigail
2017 – Tiffany, Cole, & baby Éowyn
2017 – Jennifer, Stacey, & baby Cole

2017 – Brianna, Dillon, & baby Mallorie
2018 – Kaci, Tyler, & baby Theo
2018 – Dara, Les, & baby Laeklyn
2019 – Wes, Kendra, & baby Lacie
2019 – Courtnie, Andy, Owen, Abigail, & baby Olivia
2019 – Sam, Baily, Karis, and baby Ezra
2019 – Sheridan, Jeremy, & baby Ruby
2019 – M’Cayla, Charles, Sophia, Jeremiah, & baby Norah
2019 – Brianna, Dillon, Mallorie, & baby Devon
2019 – Jessica, Garrett, Alice, & baby Wolfgang
2020 – MaRisa, Jake, and baby Maggie
2020 – Sarah, Ethen, and baby Emberly

12. Get serious about MONAT. 
I did get serious, but not in the way I had originally planned. :) MONAT gave me the chance to do some really cool things (like going to Vegas for free, taking our Alaska pictures, etc.), but I reached a breaking point in 2018. I experienced some very time-consuming and emotionally draining personal issues, and honestly, I reached a point where I was sick of social media. I still wanted to enjoy it, but I was tired of trying to keep people *engaged* all the time, and I felt controlled by it. Due to both of those things, I made a choice to stop pursuing the business side of MONAT. But before you get uppity about network marketing, just know that I am still a Market Partner, I still think MONAT is a fantastic company, I still love their hair products, and I’m even still earning income! However, I decided that taking a step away from MONAT was what I needed, and I have not regretted that decision. For now, I am enjoying this season of trusting the Lord, spending time with people I love, dreaming a little about the future, and learning more about myself.

13. Host a backyard dinner party.
Ugh, how I wanted to make this happen. But between owning a dog, traveling, working on rental properties, throwing parties for other people, and working on our guest house, this just became impossible. Currently, actually, our backyard looks the worst it’s looked since we moved in….lame. BUT: (1) We are planning to lay sod in the spring, (2) I technically threw Daniel a backyard party for his 30th, it just wasn’t in our backyard, and (3) I finally got to cohost a party at my own house for myself (our NYE party). I’m determined to make this one happen though, and I put it on my list for 40 by 40.

14. Plan a “stay-cation.”
As much as I wanted to make this happen…I waited too long. :( I wanted to try to plan one in the midst of Daniel’s busy season this past year, to give him a breather, but it didn’t work out like I had hoped. But I’m not giving up, and we’re going to do this soon!

15. Take Fitz on a trip. 
He went on a two-week vacation in east Texas with a little hussy named Scarlett, haha :) And they made the cutest puppies alive! Plus, he goes with us to see my in-laws all the time. It’s my favorite place to take him because they live on 75 acres of gorgeous land, and he can run as fast and as far as he wants to.

16. Create a new annual family tradition. ✓
Watching the entire Harry Potter series every fall.

17. Make a map of places we’ve visited. 
I got a cute map tea towel from Colorado with the United States outlined on it, and I’m in the process of coloring in each state we visit!

18. Take anniversary pictures with Daniel. ✓
5-year photo shoot with the talented Catie Bartlett in Juneau, Alaska – what a dream.

19. Spend a long weekend tucked away in a cabin.
(1) Our VRBO cabin in Colorado was pretty dreamy, and we got to stay there much longer than a weekend! (2) I got to travel to the Broken Bow area for work and stayed in a really cute cabin with a huge wrap-around deck, a hot tub, and the most epic rocking chair ever.

20. Update my home decor. ✓
– New print/wreaths above the couch, 2016
– Wooden Oklahoma from Mom, 2016
– New Brooklinen bedding, 2017
– Changed up living room bookcases, 2017
– Gallery wall in master bedroom, 2017
– DIY “BATH” letters in guest bathroom, 2017
– “Be Our Guest” sign in guest room, 2018
– “Enjoy the Journey” sign in kitchen, 2019

21. Make our backyard fun. ✓
– Globe lights on the back porch, 2017
– Wildflower planter, 2017
– Hanging solar lanterns on the fence, 2017

22. Grow the blog. ✓
I increased my views and follows, posted more frequently, wrote about things because I really wanted to and not because I felt like I was ‘supposed’ to, and made peace with the possibility of Embracing the Chaos being little more than a life journal of memories + an opportunity for the Lord to speak to me years later through my own writing.

23. Take a group vacation. 
Jamaica with the Hendricksons, May 2016
Colorado with the Simmas, June 2017
Florida with the Simmas, June 2018
Caribbean cruise with the McCains, Sept. 2018
– Caribbean cruise with our LP family, Oct. 2019

24. Give away a few blessing bags. ✓
If you’ve never done this before, you really should. ♥

25. Have a “Favorite Things” party.

26. Visit 5 new states. 
Washington – 2017
Alaska – 2017
Colorado – 2017
Nevada – 2017
Arizona – 2018
Florida – 2018

27. Go on a fancy dress-up date. 
We went on a couple! (1) While on the 2017 MONAT Vegas trip, we fancied up for the special dinner and gala. (2) For our 6th anniversary, we dressed up and went to Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House – easily one of the best meals either of us has ever had. (3) On our 2018 Caribbean cruise, we put on our finest for the two formal nights. (4) We celebrated NYE with the McCains, Wesberrys, Burnses, and Walstons, and I dug out a form-fitting, gold, vintage wrap top I found at Goodwill years before and had never worn, and paired it with some tight dark jeans and my new strappy black heels from Isaiah. (5) For Valentine’s Day 2019, we revisited Del Frisco’s to use the gift card we forgot the first time…lol…and then I proceeded to order a jar of wine. Not a glass. A jar. What even. *facepalm* (6) We dressed to the nines for the formal nights on our 2019 friendscation cruise.

28. Really establish a cooking/cleaning routine.
Truthfully…I only halfway feel like I can check this one off, lol. Maybe this is something I’ll never really be good at. But I’m getting better at cleaning more often and I’m making better use of my groceries instead of throwing all my uneaten produce away every week, and that counts as a win in my book.

29. Publish my book.
It’s funny how your dreams evolve over the years. I definitely still hope to publish a book someday, but the more I think about actually doing it, the larger it looms in front of me and I get overwhelmed. If spending five of the last seven years trying to have a baby has taught me anything, it’s taught me that creating an outline for when you should have things accomplished in life isn’t always the right thing to do, and sometimes it’s fruitless and even laughable. Planning for the future, using wisdom and discernment when it comes to make decisions, thinking ahead – all of those things are good! But I think I was too caught up in what I *needed* to get done by 30 in order to be a successful young adult, and I’ve realized that my 20’s don’t have to be the only decade marked by fun, inspiration, energy, and doing big things. I hope every decade of my life is like that! All of that to say…I’m a week away from turning 30, and no, I haven’t published a book. But I’ve got DECADES ahead of me, Lord willing, and I know that if God wants me to publish a book, He will equip me for that task. ♥

30. Take a road trip. 
Colorado with the Simma clan, June 2017
– Driving to Galveston with the McCains, Sept. 2018
– Driving to Galveston with the Wesberrys, Oct. 2019
– Waco with the McCains and Wesberrys, Dec. 2019

*Bonus: Each year, visit a new place I’ve never been before.

  • 2016: German colony in Muenster, TX; went to Chicago and Jamaica again, but stayed in different places and did new things (like ice skating in Millennium Park, cave diving, and cliff jumping!)
  • 2017: Seattle, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, and Victoria; Pagosa Springs, Durango, and Silverton, Colorado; Chimney Rock National Monument; Las Vegas
  • 2018: Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; St. Augustine; Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World; Costa Maya
  • 2019: Deep Ellum; Library of Congress in DC; Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica; Magnolia Market Silos in Waco
  • 2020: Back to NY for my surprise birthday trip and F I N A L L Y got to go to the New York Public Library and see the Great Lawn in Central Park

To see my full post about why I decided to do “30 By 30,” click here!