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30 Before 30

Another on my list of 30 Before 30, a beach bonfire. Thanks to my Darlin’ for making this one happen for me on the last day of summer. As we sat together on our beach, the one that holds special memories for us, it was one of those moments to take a step back to look at my life. I feel really peaceful about where we are at, watching that fire together and in some weird sad way acknowledging all that we’ve been through for it. In life full of ups and downs, Summer 2013 was a really sweet one.

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I dare you to read this post by my friend Shelby and not get a bit choked up about what she had to say. As I look through these photos from our Road Trip around Oregon I can’t help but feel my heart burst with happiness. If I could have one wish for what I hope to contribute to Jonathan and Holly’s lives, it would be to create all the magic I possibly can for them to play in.

Our photos from the natural hot spring at Paulina Lake, Crater Lake National Park,  the Oregon Caves, Redwood Nation Park, Blacklock Point, the Oregon Dunes, Newport, and Lincoln City.

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Another one checked off my 30 Before 30 list: I’m officially a half marathon finisher.

I’m not a runner. Or I wasn’t I should say, I don’t know… What I do know is that training for a race made me appreciate hitting the pavement a lot more and certainly found a new respect for what my body is capable of when I put my mind to it. I wanted to set a physical goal for myself that seemed somewhat impossible back in October without some serious dedication. And considering that 3 miles just about killed me, adding another 10 on seemed like a good idea.

While I’m not the fastest runner in the world, I did run the entire 13.1 miles, hills (dear lord, the hills!) and all, and I’m very proud of what I accomplished. I followed a pretty strict schedule to prepare my body, and I will tell you… The actual half marathon? Not that hard. Sure I was TIRED AS HELL when it was over, but the hard part? The really really exhausting, mentally challenging, horribly stupid hard part was the training and daily runs. The 6 miles on a Friday followed by the 10 miles on a Saturday, and starting it all over on a Monday. The hurt knee and the blisters. The putting on my running shoes and going out in the cold, in the rain, in the wind, or in the heat for 14 weeks leading up to the race. That was the challenge, and the part I am most proud of for sticking with it.

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Thank you to my friend Shannon who ran it with me, and to Aaron for encouraging me on the hard days and for being my biggest cheerleader the day of. Who cried while running at mile 9, 11, and 13 when she saw her boyfriend and his kids cheering her on? This girl!

I shared a little bit about making a list of 30 things I want to do before I turn 30 years old in a previous post, and I think I’m going to blog more about my 30/30 adventures.

Up next was to host a big dinner party for 12 of our friends. Of the party experiences I’ve been invited to in the past the most meaningful get-togethers are the ones that centered around food. The kind of food that you could just tell was made with an extreme amount of love… Maybe that is why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Planned out, prepared, and slaved over for hours. The kind of party where you feel special just to be there because of the kind of food you get to eat. Like you were invited to a secret club where you only eat the best food and talk over candle light and somehow everything looks prettier in that golden light and you leave feeling kind of a bit drunk on friendship or something cheesy like that… That is what I want to host. That is how I want, or want to attempt, to make people feel.

This was the first time a group of our friends from our past and present all got together at once. I was excited, a little anxious maybe, of course wanting everyone to have a good time. Once everyone arrived and conversation started flowing, and people started eating, and I started laughing…. damn you guys, that felt really really good. We are so lucky to be surrounded by so many loving people. I am so lucky.

Here is the menu:

Roasted Red Pepper and Butternut Squash Soup

Spinach Salad with Pears, Bacon, and Blue Cheese

My Grandma’s Garlic Bread

Green Beans

Best Mashed Potatoes

Peach-Whiskey Barbecue Chicken

Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Pie

Pumpkin Cheesecake

 At the end of the night we  all carved pumpkins. Can you guess which one is ours?

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