December 14, 2011

Come Play with Me: 4

It's another exciting day today as Melissa from MaMe Musings joins us to embark on episode four of my Come Play With Me Guest Posts series.

Melissa's super duper busy these days with her own blog, life, and I'm thinking her two adorable TWIN toddlers might have something to do with it, too, so I'm really grateful she took the time to play with us. Take note, too, cuz she's got some really great advice about how to approach the new year.


My Birthday List

Thanks so much to Christina for having me over at Finally Mom today!! I am excited to be guest posting at one of the cutest, funniest blogs I know.

On most ordinary days, I can be found at my blog,MaMe Musings, sharing the joys and challenges of raising my 18 month old boy/girl twins, Emily and Andrew.

Originally when I thought about what I could share from my 2011, I envisioned a post about things like my extreme home make-over, my journey to complete (dis)organization, or my middle- of- the- night insecurities. Sort of a retrospective, if you will, highlighting all the, um, parenting experience and wisdom I gained the hard way along the way.

Then I thought about discussing all the fun things I am looking forward to in 2012: toddlers who can talk and argue back, potty-training not one but two kids who currently don’t mind poo, or the real “Terrible Twos” since apparently the tantrums we are now experiencing are just a precursor to the fun that is to come.

But, for some reason, none of these posts came forth. Like my pregnancy that eventually had to be induced, this post likewise seemed destined to be overdue.

What could I share to inspire other moms beyond cute pictures of my babies like this one?

And then it hit me like a sippy cup flying out of the back seat.

So, I hope you will indulge me as I take you back to end of 2010, to my 35th birthday, which I promise will bring us back to 2011 and into 2012:

In the midst of feeling like the weight of my birthday was going to crush me, Marty tried hard to perk me up by planning a birthday surprise that included an afternoon at the art museum sans babies.

As we strolled through the whiteness of the museum, I felt the tension between the peacefulness of the setting and my frenetic mind. Feeling more mixed up than an abstract painting, I had to work to slow down and soak in the serenity. Away from my cell phone, Facebook, and babies, Marty and I walked through the museum at our own pace. I felt keenly aware of the sanctity of life as I looked into the eyes through the ages. As I tried to place myself in the grandness of history, I realized anew that one of our greatest abilities is the ability to think, and for a while, I selfishly reveled in thinking deeply about the art that was before me. I realized much of the beauty was of the ordinary variety—a bowl of fruit, a couple in love, a sunrise, a man standing alone. As a new mom, I was drawn to the pictures of mothers with their children. Regardless of the time that separates us, the connection is the same, and I thanked God again for the opportunity to count myself among those who answer to name of “mommy.” In a time when the world seems to be shrinking, my stroll through the museum reminded me that there is still a big, wide world that awaits my visit. Just as art requires us to slow down and be intentional in our thoughts, I think the art of enjoying life requires some of the same intentionality. Don’t we all need to slow it down and appreciate the art of daily life just a little bit more?

Image Credit

One of my favorite teacher sayings and an art-inspired one at that is, “Attitude is the mind’s paintbrush,” and as I left the museum that day, I tried to color my attitude with a brighter hue.

I resolved to be more intentional about my happiness and about living my life. I resolved to quit using the babies as an excuse for not doing things and instead view them as the motivation for doing them. My babies deserved the best mommy possible.

And that was the start of my birthday list.

The idea was simple: 36 things I wanted to complete in my 36th year. There were big, broad items like (1) Be the best mommy I can be. And small, specific ones like (10) Learn to play poker. There were some serious, adult ones like (11) Re-evaluate my long-term finances. And childish, playful ones like (31) hang-gliding. Of course, there were the perfunctory ones like (24) Lose weight or (25) Eat healthier. I threw in random ones: (33) Watch a meteor shower and (21) learn to make a good mixed drink

(14) Support a charity (Go, Little Pink Houses of Hope!)

My 36th birthday came and went in November 2011, and as I look back on my list, I realize I accomplished probably two-thirds of my list. Some are a work in progress like (3) Take a good picture; some were started and not finished-- (8) reading a book a month; while others never even came close to happening—(5) a 5K. What was I thinking??

I almost typed that I just completed two-thirds, but I think adding just minimizes my effort. Sure I didn’t accomplish everything, but I certainly accomplished way more than I would have without the list.

First, the list made me think about what I wanted, needed, and valued. It made get specific, get motivated.

The list made me intentional.

While being the best mom I could possibly be was rightfully number one, I know that, ironically, this list helped me be a better mom, as I carved out time to feed my spirit, recharge my mommy batteries, and reconnect with the woman who I have grown to be.
Originally, I stated my ultimate goal for the list was “to use each day to the best of my ability, and hopefully arrive at 36, alive and healthy, rejuvenated and ready to find 36 new ways to love my life.” Again, I was pretty close. I am still working on “rejuvenated.” (I think a spa day is in order after putting up Christmas trees with twin toddlers!)

So am I making a “37 things to do before I am 37” list? I am actually contemplating a slight twist, a challenge I am calling 12 in 2012. In short, I will be identifying 12 core values I want to illuminate in 2012. Sound like a challenge you’d be interested in undertaking with me? Stay tuned to MaMe Musings for more details (coming right after I get started on my Christmas shopping and take down what remains of my decorations—ie. Somewhere around the first of January!)

I hope to see you in 2012. Until then, I hope you have a very happy (and intentional) end of 2011!


As if her twins weren't cute enough and keep her busy enough, Melissa's got the brains to come up with what I think is a brilliant idea... 12 in 2012?! Man, I wish I had thought of it! As it is, I've been pondering on doing a 40 before 40 list (since I'll be turning the big 4-0 in September oh dear oh my) but 40 is a big number of things to come up with. 

I'm so grateful to have done this series; I've learned SO much- not only about each participant, but I also learned that it's time to look forward to 2012. It's time to make some plans and live life to the fullest. Yes, it's great to live life every day to the fullest, which I really try to do, but making a plan or two can't hurt, can it?

Anyway, thanks so much for playing Melissa

If anyone out there might be interested in playing, please shoot me an email at


  1. Your amazing Melissa.

    This was just a fabulous post and your ideas are wonderful.You know my kids are grown, but I'm inspired to do some of your list anyway.

    And about that pregnancy picture...let me just say holy cow what a big belly you had!

    Enjoyed visiting you blog Christina, Lovie is adorable.

  2. Love it! Thanks Melissa. I'm inspired to get even more intentional with 2012

  3. Kind of genius - I am definitely making a list for my next year. I may even steal a few of yours.

  4. Intentional. I love that word. Love it so much that it's on the wall in my living room. Living life intentionally is the best way to live it. And--it means so much when we see intentionality reciprocated, doesn't it?!

    Great post, Melissa!


speak your mind.