21 - I celebrated my birthday with my sister in Las Vegas. I got a tattoo that day - my biggest regret (thus far).
22 - I started flying the friendly skies. I was so young. I made mistakes, learned valuable life lessons and matured seemingly overnight.
On April 13th, overlooking the Pacific ocean, the man of my dreams got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. How did I get so lucky?
23 - Two weeks after my 23rd birthday my dad took my arm and walked me down the aisle. I married my childhood crush and we moved into our first place, a 900 square foot house a few miles away from the beach.
24 - There were far more burnt dinners than edible ones that year. But after many hours watching the Food Network and practicing, I became a pretty decent cook. I also learned to manage our finances and discovered a love for DIY projects. Aaron and I took several vacations using my flight benefits and enjoyed being newlyweds.
25 - Working a full time job and taking 20+ units every quarter at Cal Poly paid off. I received a Bachelor's degree in Journalism.
Soon after graduating, we moved closer to our families and purchased our first house. Walking in with the keys was terrifying and thrilling. It smelled like fresh paint and saw dust. I couldn't wait to make our new house a home.
26 - "You can start pushing, Amanda." A few minutes later I was holding my precious baby girl. I became a mom. June 12, 2008 was by far the most momentous day of my life.
27 - My first year as a stay at home mom. I never saw myself as a SAHM but I couldn't imagine going back to work and leaving Noelle. It was a tough year financially but God provided, as He always does.
28 - February 15th at 5am I waddled to the bathroom and my water broke. I was relaxed, calm, and held Noelle as tight as I could. She had no idea how much her life was about to change.
At 5:13pm I met my son. He had dark, wavy hair and when I looked into his eyes it felt like I'd known him my whole life.
29 - Just a month after becoming a mom of two, I turned 29. Juggling the kids, the house, wifely duties and friendships has been challenging but by far the most rewarding year of my life. It has been my favorite year of all.
Which leads me to today. My thoughts on this birthday during the past few weeks have been negative. Thirty? How? I was just 21 a minute ago. A deep inhale ago. Then I look back at all I have accomplished and I'm proud. It could have turned out...differently, but God took favor upon me and blessed me with these memories. I'm immensely grateful.
On Sunday, my sister, Tina, hosted a little family party for me and her sister-in-law, Jessica. Our birthday's are exactly two weeks apart. I remember celebrating our 10th birthday together at Chuck E. Cheese's! My sister and her husband, Sean, have been together since the 7th grade so although they are technically Tina's in-laws, I claim them as my own as well. It doesn't matter how we are connected, family is family.
My best friends, Kim and Megan, took me out to dinner on Monday night. We usually get together Monday evenings to watch The Bachelor but we skipped the Women Tell All episode to enjoy pasta and great conversation. Mostly them telling me how old I am (oldest by 7 months) and discussing the plans for Megan's upcoming nuptials to Kim's brother-in-law - which will make them sister-in-laws - and how excited we are to meet Kim's little love, due to arrive on April 9th!
We have been best friends for over 20 years. Here we are celebrating my 21st birthday.
Oh how time flies.
Turning thirty is frightening because it's the number that takes away your youth. Thirty is adult. Serious adult. Kim and I agree that my birthday is the true reason behind my insane organizing spree and new clutter-free life style. Because 30-year-olds have clean cabinets, labeled pantries and closets organized by color.
Last night Mr. G and Noelle surprised me with cake and ice cream.
I think I've eaten more dessert this week than I have had in the past 6 months.
Mr. G took work off today to show me how much he loves and appreciates me. I didn't know what he had planned for the day but I was excited to get out of the house with him. Before we left, I opened a few presents. I'm in love with my new Coach purse from my parents and the nude pumps from my sister! I rocked both at dinner tonight.
My incredible mom came over to watch the kids for the day. I love her so much!
We kissed the kids goodbye and headed out of town. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived at a day spa!
Right when we got there I was handed a mimosa and whisked away to change into a robe. Soon I was laying face down on a massage bed, listening to hypnotizing music and fighting the urge to fall into a deep sleep. It was heavenly.
After the spa, we needed two things: food and water. We ended up at a seafood restaurant and discovered the best clam chowder evah! It's a mixture of New England style clam chowder and a spicier tomato-based chowder.
Then we did some shopping and went home just in time to meet up with my mom and the kids at the park. I remember when my mom was in her 30's. Not 30 exactly, but in her 30's. I wonder if Noelle will remember me at this age. I certainly will never forgot her sweet face.
On Monday, Noelle and I were browsing around the mall for an outfit for my 30th birthday dinner. I stopped to admire a red dress and Noelle exclaimed "I LOVE IT!" I don't own a single red item of clothing. Red is out of my comfort zone. It screams "look at me" and I'm not a "look at me" kind of girl. In the dressing room I slipped it on and Noelle said I looked like a princess. I bought the dress.
After a brief visit with Noelle and Noah, we left for dinner at a fancy steak house. I glanced at the menu and jokingly told Mr. G that I was going to order the steak and lobster. "Go for it!" he said. So I did. I'm noticing a pattern here. Perhaps turning 30 instantly made me more adventurous...or easily persuaded.
I worked at restaurants in my early 20's and I was totally cool with people sending food back that wasn't satisfactory. The lobster was seriously overcooked so back it went.
The chef sent his apology and 15 minutes later I had the juiciest lobster tail in all of California.
Which left no room for dessert....but we still ordered creme brulee and peanut butter brownies to-go. Then ate them in bed an hour after getting home.
It was a pretty amazing day.
I didn't have any goals for my 20's. I didn't think about the future much back then. Thirty seemed so far away and I honestly didn't have high expectations for myself. If I could send a letter to 20-year-old Amanda it would read something like this.
God is going to richly bless you beyond your dreams. Seek Him with all of your heart. Listen to your parents. Be smart with your money. Take time to talk to your grandparents. Be patient with children. You've been given the blessing of incredible friendships, cherish them.
(Also, your stomach hurts all the time because you're allergic to MSG)
So long, 20's. This is where we say goodbye.