Elephant Sanctuary
  1. Volunteer at the Elephant Sanctuary -DONE! We went in May, the elephants breathtaking. They are majestic creatures. We got to see Shirley who at age 66 is their oldest elephant, she retired from entertaining in the circus in 1999. In 1975, Shirley was attacked by another circus elephant and her back hind leg was broken. It was never treated and therefore never properly healed. She still walks with a little bit of a limp. You can learn more about The Elephant Sanctuary here.
  2. Replenish savings account from Lainee’s vet bills (this will be the most challenging one, hands down!) - IN PROGRESS ** This one will be the most difficult thing on this list! But, we have definitely made advancements!
  3. Learn how to code. - IN PROGRESS: I have been to a couple of intro classes this year, which I have really enjoyed but I will not be employed at Facebook or Instagram anytime soon... Still in progress! 
  4. Start keeping track of recipes - DONE! I was nervous to start this website, but then when Lainee got sick, I realized that was WAY scarier, even though it was definitely NOT the most ideal time to start but there was no way I would have been able to predict that! 
  5. Teach a cooking class* (this one is the scariest)
  6. Run a new half-marathon - DONE! I ran the Women's Half Marathon on September 27! Read more about it here and here. This wasn't really what I had in mind for a new half marathon, we really want to fit one in on a vacation sometime! Maybe next year! 
  7. **NEW ADDITION** Run a marathon. EEEEEE (<--- say that like you're walking into a dark scary basement.) This one seems like a good replacement for #14 which turned out to be not as much of a challenge as I thought it would be. Had my first 10 mile training this weekend (1/10/15). I'm rather terrified and afraid that my limbs will snap. This is also part of my effort to hold myself accountable and to keep me honest!   
  8. Try new heirloom tomato seeds - DONE! The Black Cherry Tomato is the most productive tomato plant I've ever had, especially from seeds! Its only been a couple of years since I started appreciating tomatoes, and these are the sweetest most delicious little morsels ever! You can see a photo here. (update: November 30th - I just brought in five black cherry tomatoes that are ready to eat!) 
  9. Investigate and plant native flowers to feed bees and butterflies. - DONE but IN PROGRESS too!  I planted lavender and Russian Sage which the honey bees are STILL loving in November! 
  10. Travel to at least two new places, not in Tennessee or Minnesota (I am a little nervous about this one because we can't leave Lainee right now and the extra expense would be taxing). Update: We went to California! Specifically Encondidto, with a visit to Laguna Beach
  11. Get a dog trainer to work with Marley so people don’t poop their pants when they enter our home
  12. Make homemade sourdough bread that tastes like sourdough bread
  13. Get a lemon or a lime tree - DONE!! I got a calamondin tree! More to come on that!! 
  14. Hike or run every trail in Percy Warner and Edwin Warner State Park - IN PROGRESS (and almost done, this one isn't nearly as exciting as I thought it would be!!)
  15. Go to the Franklin Farmers Market and eat mini doughnuts - DONE! - I had been hearing rumbles of delicious doughnuts at the Franklin Farmer's Markets for a while, and one Saturday we decided to see what they were all about. I am not a big doughnut fan because they usually make me feel sick, but A are exquisite and we have been daydreaming about them ever since. Update: Marathon training made me donut obsessed. Since then, my other favorite donuts come from Vegan Vee. They are vegan and gluten free. I went for the first time the week of the marathon...twice. And then once again on my 30th birthday for breakfast! On my birthday, I was telling this lady about the pistachio rosewater donuts, and how good they were and how many times I'd been in Vegan Vee in the last week. She said, 'Oh do you have food allergies?' ..... Nope just really like these donuts! 
  16. Get a grain mill to make fresh flour Update: Turns out that a good grain mill is actually pretty expensive. I have seen hand crank grain mills, and plan to try one out. 
  17. Read 29 new books -  IN PROGRESS **see below 
  18. Use all of the 100 stamps accidently purchased at Costco. This will be a feat for me because the shipping department at our house is TERRIBLE. Things can be addressed, stamped, and all ready to go but for some reason they have a REALLY hard time making it to the mailbox. - IN PROGRESS: I'd say we have about 50 left, but I will do an official count soon! 
  19. Take a carpentry class (Having a hard time finding a class, if you have any suggestions, please let me know!) Update: I have decided to stop waiting around to find a class, and it was one of the best decisions we've ever made! We made a ladder planter for our back porch! You can see it here!
  20. Build a mini greenhouse for our back porch 
  21. Keep fresh herbs and greens growing during the winter - DONE!!! Super successful too! More to come!! 
  22. Get a library card. - DONE (now I just need to use it....)
  23. Write to Janet and Ezekiel once a month, not including holidays or birthdays (Janet and Ezekiel are children who we sponsor through Compassion International) - 
  24. Stop using plastic bags so much - This one has evolved into decreasing the amount of trash I produce, I've been been more conscious. Update - 2/6/2014: Last week when we went grocery shopping, two small miracles occurred.               - Miracle #1 - We brought all of our reusable bags to the grocery store. Have you ever seen this episode of Portlandia?   - Miracle #2 - I brought my own glass jars to Whole Foods to use for buying things in bulk. It is so easy, you just go up to the customer service desk and they weigh them, make a little mark on it, and you're good to go! Go stock up on quinoa/oatmeal/pepitas/cashews/barley/etc. 
  25. Get a family photo taken when Lainee is better (Our Christmas Nativity scene photo doesn't count does it? See below for some outtakes of that situation....) 
  26.  Volunteer at The Next Door - Ok, I did not know how time and brain consuming marathon training would be. I did not have time to do this during my 29th year of life, BUT my 30th year will be a new year. 
  27. Host a Thanksgiving ‘gratitude’ dinner party! - DONE!!! It was actually a Christmas Gratitude party!!
  28. Start learning a new language
  29. Relearn how to knit and knit a scarf
  30. Complete gallery wall downstairs - IN PROGRESS AND 92% DONE

** 16. Read 29 new books:  (in order of enjoyment!) 

CURRENTLY READING: The Interestings by: Meg Wolitzer

  1. All the Light We Cannot See, by: Anthony Doerr (ONE OF MY NEW ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS!!!)
  2. Life after Life, by: Kate Atkinson
  3. Wonder, by: R. J. Palacio
  4. The Secrets of Happy Families, by: Bruce Feller
  5. Where’d You Go Bernadette, by: Maria Semple
  6. Spark: the Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by: John J. Ratey
  7. The First 20 Minutes, by: Gretchen Reynolds
  8. This is Where I Leave You, by: Jonathan Tropper
  9. The Gifts of Imperfection, by: Brené Brown
  10. A Christmas Carol, by: Charles Dickens (this doesn't count since it is a short story, but I wanted to add it still!)
  11. Eating on the Wildside, by: Jo Robinson
  12. Pitch Perfect, by: Bill McGowan
  13. The Dove Keepers, by: Alice Hoffman
  14. The Joy Luck Club, by: Amy Tan
  15. Me Before You, by: JoJo Moyes
  16. Let the Great World Spin, by: Colum McCann
  17. City of Thieves, by: David Benioff
  18. The Fault in our Starts, by: John Green
  19. The Cuckoo’s Calling, by: Robert Galbraith
  20. The Casual Vacancy, by: J.K. Rowling
  21. The House Girl: A Novel, by: Tara Conklin
  22. Wolf Hall, by: Hilary Mantel
  23. Flight Behavior, by: Barbara Kingsolver
  24. The Snow Child, by: Eowyn Ivey
  25. Tell the Wolves I’m Home, by: Carol Rifka Brunt
  26. Only Time Will Tell, by: Jeffrey Archer
  27. The Round House, by: Louise Elrich
  28. The Faceless Killers, by: Henning Mankell (to date, the most boring Swedish mystery novel I've read)
  29. What the Dead Know, by: Laura Lippman
  30. Rules of Civility, by: Amor Towles
  31. The Dinner, by: Herman Koch (the absolute worst book I read all year, and on the list for worst books I've ever read)