35 BEFORE 35

35 Before 35: A 3-Year Bucket List

*1. Take an international trip | This is a carryover from my 32 Before 32 bucket list. I haven't traveled out of the country since our Jamaican honeymoon in 2012!

2. Earn a second professional designation | I earned my first professional designation in 2019 and had planned to work toward a second in 2020. I think this is totally within reach, but perhaps not as soon as I had planned due to the Coronavirus.

3. Pay off ALL student loans | | This probably won't happen within the next three years. I've calculated out our debt snowball and we're realistically looking at a 4-year timeline unless our household income dramatically increases. It's unlikely, but who knows what the future has in store.

4. Renovate basement half bathroom to a full bathroom | I think we're all ready to stop fighting over our single shared bathroom. It's long overdue to turn our non-functional basement half bathroom into a bathroom people actually use!

5. Schedule a monthly family day trip | Before the stay-at-home order, we were actually doing a good job of this. In February, we paid a visit to the Newport Aquarium and we in early March we took a day trip to the COSI museum in Columbus with Chuck's brother and his family. I like being intentional about spending time together as a foursome and introducing our boys to new experiences.

6. Join a nonprofit board | This has been something I've been interested in for awhile, but the timing has never worked out. 

7. Install new kitchen and basement flooring | Our basement carpet and grimy kitchen tile has got to go.

8. Open Roth IRAs for Chuck and Me | Debt payoff is the name of our game right now, so we're not in a place to begin investing and saving for retirement (outside of our 401ks) just yet. Hopefully, this will change in a couple years' time.

*9. Host a foreign exchange student | This is another carryover from my 32 Before 32 list. I've always wanted to host a foreign exchange student because my own study abroad experience was so impactful. Chuck has been supportive, but continues to remind me that the timing isn't right quite yet. He's been right, of course, but it's only a matter of time before I wear him down.

10. Deliver 35 meals to someone who needs it (0/35) | Loving on people with food is one of my favorite things to do. I make a mean veggie lasagna and I love blessing new Mamas and friends going through tough times when I'm able to. It's something I'd like to do more frequently. 

*11. Run a half marathon | I trained in 2018 and 2019, but due to work obligations and a heat advisory, my Half never happened. I have two scheduled in 2020- in August and October. They're far enough out that I still have time to train, but running definitely hasn't been a top priority during lockdown.

12. Teach Charlie + Crosby how to swim | For a couple years, we took the boys to weekly lessons at Goldfish Swim School in Dayton and loved our experience there. However, when I returned to work full-time, it just became too logistically difficult for us to continue. We have a local community pool that opens in the summers and at some point I'd like to get our boys back in the water and swimming independently.

*13. Replace our back porch | Our back porch is in rough shape and we've had to have broken stairs repaired more than once. Eventually, we'd like to replace it, reconfigure the stairs, and add some built in planter beds.

*14. Visit Frankie's grave | It feels impossible to believe my fake big brother has been gone for 7 years. We were actually supposed to be headed to DC at the end of April on a family trip en route to a friend's Maryland wedding and I planned to visit Arlington National Cemetery while we were in the area. Due to COVID, her wedding has been rescheduled for September so hopefully I can visit my Frankie G once and for all.

*15. Attend a cooking class | Cooking has become one of my favorite weekend activities. Getting meal subscription boxes like Purple Carrot has been so useful in teaching me new skills, but I'd really like to up my game by taking a class.

16. Deliver my Daddy's ashes | When my Daddy passed in 2018, his Last Will & Testament stipulated that he wanted half of his ashes spread over his Mom's grave in Upstate NY and half of his ashes were to be delivered to his best friend in California to be spread in the Pacific Ocean. My sister haven't had the means to deliver his ashes to the West Coast...yet. But I'm hopeful that we'll be able to do so in the next year or two.

17. Take a romantic vacation for our 10th anniversary | Our 10th anniversary will fall on September 2, 2022. Honestly, our bar for a romantic vacation is so low at this point. We'd take a long jaunt to a Taco Bell if it meant we got some alone time! Ideally, we'd like to do a Caribbean trip of some kind reminiscent of our Jamaican honeymoon.

*18. Get a fourth tattoo I've had a tattoo idea I've wanted to do for several years now, but could never justify spending the money when there are childcare and student loan payments to be made! 

*19. Install planter boxes in our front yard | In 2018 while we were out of town, Ohio was hit with a huge ice storm and we lost both of the beautiful trees in our front yard. Since then, our house has lacked any curb appeal. I'd really like to build wooden planter boxes to plant some flowering perennials and add some color to our property!

20. Run a 5k with Charlie | Charlie is quickly becoming my little running buddy! He's accompanied me on his bike on a few of my trail runs and always wants to come with me when I head out. The kid has got some serious speed and I think it would be such a fun bonding activity to do together.

*21. Purchase a minivan | We paid off my car in February 2020, so right now I'm enjoying having no car payments for as long as possible before we take the plunge into minivan ownership.

*22. Run a race in 3 different states (1/3) | This is a carryover from my previous bucket list. So far, I've only raced in my home state of Ohio!

23. Plan an annual sister weekend | A few months ago, I called my sister and asked her, "Do you feel like we've been growing apart?" It was a heartbreaking realization to come to that as we've been getting older and creating lives that are states apart, we're just not involved in each other's day-to-day the way we were as kids. We decided to commit to an annual sister weekend and had even made plans for a weekend in Denver in July...before COVID hit. 

24. Refinance our mortgage | Once we've built up a little more equity, we'd like to refinance so we can get a better rate and expedite our payoff. 

25. Attend a concert with Chuck | It's been years since Chuck and I attended a concert together which is insane because we're both huge fans of live music. Obviously, I don't foresee any large gatherings in our immediate future, but I look forward to this day when life returns to some semblance of normal.

26. Replace living room furniture | Having two toddlers and a puppy has not been kind to our sofa. It's gotten to the point where we rarely even use our living room because the furniture is in such terrible shape. I want to change this ASAP because our living room was my favorite room in the house until recently.

27. Take a Mommy + Me class with Crosby | While running is an easy bonding activity for Charlie and me, I also want to find a one-on-one activity for Crosby and I to enjoy together- whether, it's art, music, cooking. I cherish spending quality individual time with my kiddos. 

28. Learn how to can veggies | Chuck lovingly bought me a hot water bath for Christmas several years ago that still hasn't seen any use. I've always wanted to learn how to can veggies in the summer, but have either been too intimidated or just plain lacked the time. As my kids age and become less dependent on me, I'm hoping I'll have some more time to pick up a couple new hobbies. 

29. Replace backyard fence and repair driveway | I'm thankful to have an enclosed backyard to contain our energetic pup, but the chain link and patchy asphalt is really unattractive. I want to continue making our backyard a place we want to be in. 

30. Visit my BFNSCF | My high school best friend and I have lived states apart for our entire adult life and have not seen nearly enough of each other in that time. The last time we saw each other in-person was when Crosby was six weeks old and I made the spontaneous decision to spend a week of my maternity leave with my bestie in North Carolina. 

31. Host an annual ladies' brunch | Since moving back to Chuck's hometown in 2013, I've found myself in a group of terrific women. I've held a couple Galentine's Day and Christmas Cookie exchanges since then, but I'd like to be more intentional about hosting my friends. In a house full of boys, having time with female friends has become so important to me. 

*32. Paint and install new counters and kitchen backsplash | Since the day we bought it in 2015, my kitchen has been my least favorite room in the house. It's a small, dark galley-style kitchen that is in desperate need of a coat of paint. If I'm going to spend hours of my day cooking for my family, I want it to be a happy, welcoming space!

33. Decide whether to grow our family | I shared the state of our family a few months ago, but the truth is, we still don't know what the future holds for us. Will we remain a family of four or will we grow in number either biologically or through adoption? We somehow still don't feel confident in the answer, but I'm hoping we'll know someday soon. 

34. Increase our tithing by 10% each year | I've only recently begin a habit of monthly giving versus sporadically giving when we happen to show up to church on Sunday mornings. It's a small amount until we're debt-free, but I'd love to give more to the faith community that has given me so much. 

35. Send 35 birthday/thank you/etc. cards (0/35) | I feel like this is such an easy goal to embark upon during the time of COVID. I've kept every card I've ever received since the 6th grade and I want to do a better job of sending little parcels of TLC to my friends and family.

*Indicates a carryover from my 32 Before 32 bucket list

During this time of anxiety and uncertainty, it feels good to have hope in better days to come. I don't know what the next year has in store for me, my family or my country, but I'm hopeful that by my 35th birthday, I will have some accomplishments to reflect back on and celebrate. 

What is something you're looking forward to if and when life returns to normal?

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