Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The New and Improved 30 Before 30

After spending a good bit of time thinking about what I want to get out of my 30 Before 30 list, I am ready to make a few final changes. The whole point in creating this list was to make turning 30 years old less daunting, while also accomplishing things that I've always wanted to do. I previously mentioned that a change in perspective (due to becoming a mother) has made me question The List. 

I've been asking myself if certain things must be accomplished before I turn 30 years old, how will these items impact my family, and am I being selfish in wanting these things. To answer, yes, I need to make some adjustments to items that aren't kid friendly. Yes, a couple of items fall under the "life list" instead of the Before 30 list. And the selfish part? I do feel a little guilty for still wanting to accomplish these things, but I've realized that they are necessary in order to prevent the loss of myself. My world revolves around Gavin (as it should), but it's okay to have some "me time", too.

The items I've decided that need to be replaced are:

11. Visit the Grand Canyon
16. Visit at least one sponsor child 
17. Spend the day with beluga whales
26. Visit at least 5 museums
30. Get accepted to law school

Now, let me explain...

#11 - Visit the Grand Canyon. This is something that I definitely want to see in my lifetime, but I also want Gavin to be able to see it and remember seeing it. This needs to be a family trip when Gav is old enough to appreciate the sights, and this will not be before I turn 30 as Gav will only be 3 years old.

#16 - Visit at least one sponsor child. Currently, Keith and I sponsor 4 children through Compassion. Wilkemberg lives in Brazil, Luz in Columbia, Michael in Bangladesh, and Ester in Tanzania. I adore these children with all of my heart and want to meet each of them. However, I called Compassion to inquire about bringing Gavin with us and they told me he needs to be at least 12 years old. He's not even a year old yet. I can't imagine traveling out of the USA for weeks at a time without Gavin, so I'm removing this from the list. If something changes and I am able to meet my sweet sponsor kids soon, then fantastic. It just won't be on the 30 Before 30 list. 

#17 - Spend the day with beluga whales. This would be really cool to do one day, but I'm going to remove it from the list as it isn't something that I consider a worthwhile need-to-do-before-30 item. So off it goes.

#26 - Visit at least 5 museums. I love museums and want to visit as many as possible in my lifetime, but having to commit to visiting 5 with an infant and eventually a toddler will be quite complicated (and basically asking for chaos). So, instead of dreading #26, I've decided to remove it.

#30 - Get accepted to law school. This is one that needs more than a few lines of explaining, but for now I'll just say that my new perspective has made me question the timing of law school right now for my family. In June I attempted to study for the LSAT, but I just didn't have the time. And if I don't have the time for the LSAT, I won't have the time for law school. This decision is very important to me, and I'll be writing later with more of my thoughts.

So, those are the items that are being removed. I'm happy that some are going and a bit sad about the others. But, it's for the best and I'm excited about the 5 that I'm adding. 

The new #11 - Take an aerial skills class. This new item is a fun one and not extremely time consuming, so it's perfect for my schedule. I've always wanted to take a trapeze class (that's on the life list), but I think that this will be a nice alternative on my 30 Before 30. I can take this class here in Charleston and I'm excited to learn how to be an aerial acrobat. :)

The new #16 -Have breakfast at Tiffany's. Oh, Audrey. Is there anyone who exudes grace and poise like she does? Doubtful. Breakfast at Tiffany's is one of my favorite Audrey movies (right behind Roman Holiday and Sabrina) and I would love to spend a morning strolling NYC with my two favorite guys and have breakfast Tiffany's.

The new #17 - Start our adoption paperwork. This new item is truly the most dear to my heart. Keith and I have always had the desire to expand our family by having children and also adopting children, and I am anxiously waiting the moment that we begin the adoption process. To me, this isn't just an item on my 30 Before 30...this is the chance to change a child's life, and for our life to be changed in return. To love them and protect them and teach them about God. My greatest accomplishment in this life has been becoming a mother, and I can't wait to expand our brood. We desire to adopt internationally and know the process is a long one, so Keith and I have both agreed to begin the process before January 2016. AH! :D

The new #26 - Get published (even if it's self-published). If you guys only knew all of the ideas I have roaming around in this head of mine. I am itching to write my first novel, but I just have to get over the fear that it won't be good enough, and more importantly, that it's already been done. I've never particularly dreamed of having a book published, but if what I write does get publish then I would be thrilled. Mostly though, I'm writing for me, because I have to get it out! 

The new #30 - Further my education. Instead of focusing on getting accepted to law school, I'd like to weigh my options and see what is best for my family. Do I still feel called to fight injustices? Absolutely! I have already been provisionally accepted to a local Criminal Justice Graduate Program (YAY!) and could begin taking courses online and on-campus as soon as January 2013. I will be meeting with an academic advisor soon and will make a decision shortly after. All I know is that it's been a long, hard road for me to earn my bachelor's, and now that I'm almost there, I don't want to stop.

The New 30 Before 30 List

1. Ride in a hot air balloon
2. Fly a plane
3. Learn to speak Italian
4. Go sailing/learn to sail
5. Graduate from college
6. Go to Italy!!!
7. Pay off debt (excluding student loans)
8. Run a marathon
9. Read the whole Bible
10. Go on a mission trip
11. Take an aerial skills class
12. Meet my weight loss goal
13. Learn to play the piano
14. Go skydiving
15. Learn to play tennis
16. Have breakfast at Tiffany's
17. Start our adoption paperwork

18. Take a dance class
19. Learn to surf  (again)
20. Go snowboarding or skiing
21. Go to a Hillsong concert
22. Go horseback riding
23. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
24. Attend a Yankee game in NYC
25. Volunteer regularly at a nursing home
26. Get published (even if it's self-published)
27. Go on a cruise
28. Learn how to shoot a gun properly
29. Do an anonymous pay it forward
30. Further my education

There you have it -- my new complete, final 30 Before 30 List! Do you have a bucket list? If so, please send me your link! I'd love to follow your journey.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fill in the Blank Friday!

Click here to play along!

1. I am tired. Very, very tired. Gav is only waking up once a night and I get anywhere from 6-8 hours of sleep, but I'm just exhausted. I don't sleep during the day when he does, and I've never seen the underneath of my eyes look so dark! Any advice for some good eye cream?

2. I have always liked writing, although I never thought I was good at it (I'm definitely my worst critic). In second grade, I wrote a story about a talking leaf on one of President Clinton's jogs, and I won an award at my elementary school for it. That was the first time I felt good enough and it was awesome. :)

3. I hope to accomplish everything that is on my 30 Before 30 List with my family.

4. I can finally announce that my brother and sister-in-law are pregnant!!! Stephen and Ivey are some of our best friends and we could not be happier for them! Gav will be 11 months older than their little one and we just can't wait to raise our kids together! :)

5. I dream of changing the world. I know it's cliche, but I sincerely want to do my best to impact this world that we live in. I am only one person, but since when did that stop anyone? Specifically, I want to help lower the number of children currently living on the street in the Philippines (well, that and stop human trafficking and poverty). There are more than 250,000 currently living there, but my God is a BIG God, and I can do all through Him.

6. The way to my heart is with quality time and having a positive attitude. 

7. I am passionate about fighting injustices. When I changed my major 2 years ago to Criminal Justice, I wondered if I'd made a mistake. But honestly, this was the best decision I could have made. I love learning about the justice system and I know that this is where I'm called to be. I'm often extremely conflicted by news stories and am excited to one day become a part of this field.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Baby

Today is my amazing husband's 27th birthday. :D

Four years ago, this man walked into my life by mere chance (well, God knew what He was doing, but you know what I mean). I was visiting Charleston, SC to see someone else and just so happened to be introduced to Keith at church. 

When I first met him, I thought that he was kind and very handsome. He has beautiful blue eyes. :) Little did I know that two years later, I would become his wife. And two years after that? I would give birth to our first child. Life with Keith is an amazing adventure that is always filled with love and laughter. And for that I am forever grateful.

Keith Joseph, I hope you have an amazing day. You are an incredible father and husband and Gavin and I are beyond blessed to have you lead our family.  

We love you!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet,
simple things of life which are the real ones after all."

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A New Look

Things are looking different here at My Dolce Vita and I could not be happier! The color combo, font, socialize icons, and header are exactly what I was looking for! :) The header is my favorite, and while this isn't a blog about Italy, I am semi-obsessed with that beautiful country. This look definitely feels like home and I can't wait to start blogging more. It's amazing what a new design will do for ya. :)

I absolutely love my new design, and it's all thanks to Brea at Utterly Chaotic. She was so easy to work with and really made this whole experience wonderful. Please check out her site at http://www.utterlychaotic.net/.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Beautiful picture by

As you guys probably know, a gunman entered a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado on Friday, July 20th. There were 12 people killed and 58 others who are injured. 
I truthfully cannot believe that this happened. I understand that we live in a fallen world and are given the right to choose good or evil...but this? It's unfathomable. A movie theater is a place where one goes for entertainment, not to dodge bullets. These innocent people were sitting in a dark room watching a movie, and were ambushed with tear gas and bullets. I'm feeling a lot of emotions ranging from sadness to anger, but mostly I'm just ticked. What kind of person does this?! 

My heart aches for all those involved in this tragedy and the only comfort I have is knowing that God is still on His throne. As a criminal justice student with a heart to fight injustice, these kinds of incidents really rock my world. I planned on writing a longer post and fully expressing the way I feel about this situation. Instead, I'd like to direct you guys to a blog that I read yesterday. It was written by a survivor of the attack and I adore what she has written. I hope you guys like it, too.


So you STILL think God is a merciful God?! 
From: A Miniature Clay Pot

(Maybe, just maybe God spared my life because He loves YOU and wants you to hear this..He wants you to believe that He loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son that if you would believe in Him you would have eternal life.)

So, you still believe in a merciful God?”  Some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. Regardless of the motive behind the question, I will respond the same way.


Yes, I do indeed.

Absolutely, positively, unequivocally.

Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil.  God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did.
In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil.

Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil.

I was there in theater 9 at midnight, straining to make out the words and trying to figure out the story line as The Dark Night Rises began. I’m not a big movie-goer. The HH and I prefer to watch movies in the comfort of our own home…where I can use subtitles and get a foot rub. I don’t like action movies. And I don’t like midnight showings.  But, as I wrote in my last post, parents sometimes make sacrifices for their kiddos and I decided I would take my fourteen year old and sixteen year old daughters who were chomping at the bit to see this eagerly anticipated third movie in the Batman Trilogy. Twice I had the opportunity to back out and twice I was quite tempted. But something in me said just go with your girls. I did.

So I was there with them, fidgeting in my seat, some forty or  fifty feet away from the man with the gun. It’s still a bit surreal, but I do know that when the seemingly endless shooting started, as my girls were struggling from whatever gas or chemical had been released, and we figured out what was happening, we hit the floor. I threw myself on top of my fourteen year old who was on the end of the row, straight up the aisle from the shooter.  In that moment, as the rapid-fire shots continued, I truly thought I was going to die. And I realized that I was ready. I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the redeemer of my soul, and there wasn’t the slightest doubt that I would be received into heaven, not because of any good thing that I have done but because of His merciful nature and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Still, as I lay over my daughter, I began praying out loud. I don’t even remember what I prayed, but I don’t imagine it really matters. I’m sure it was for protection and peace. It drew me closer into the presence of God. When there was a pause in the shooting, people began to clamor for the exits. The girls and I jumped up and joined the masses. We had to step over a lifeless body, not knowing where the shooter was. We raced to our car and I dumped my purse, frantically searching for keys, looking all around, prepared to hit the ground. I yelled at Michelle to call Matthew and find out if he had made it out of the theater next door. She did. He did. We booked on out of there.

Please head on over to Marie's blog to read the rest of this powerful post.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Waiting For My Evening in Roma


I have been dreaming of this country for the majority of my life. 

Three times I've had the opportunity to travel there, and three times is has not worked out. One of those times I actually purchased a plane ticket. Another situation consisted of applying to the American University at Rome, but never completing my admission application. The third and final time was simply bad timing. I was offered a job as a nanny, but the day before I had enrolled at a court reporting school in New Orleans (that I ultimately stopped attending when I realized it wasn't for me). 

But I never stopped trying.

In March 2011, my husband gave me the greenlight to begin planning our trip to Italy for summer 2012. I was over the moon and immediately made a trip to Barnes and Noble. There I purchased a large map of Italy, an Italian travel guide, a travel journal, and Rosetta Stone in Italian, of course. The cashier excitedly asked me when I was going to Italy, and I responded with "I don't know, but when I do I'll be ready!!"  And boy did I ever plan. I consider myself a Type A person with a hint of OCD when it comes to making travel plans. In my travel journal, I calculated our budget for food, lodging, travel between cities, souvenirs and activities that we would like to do. I determined the distance between all of the cities that we would like to travel to and even drew our route on my Italy map. I created my own calendar and mapped out all of the possible scenarios for our visit to each lovely city.

 The first page of my travel journal. :)
In my heart I had hoped that this trip would finally be the one to come to fruition, but sadly it did not. Just a few months after planning this trip we discovered that we would be expecting our first child at the beginning of 2012 and immediately scrapped these plans. Of course I was sad, but I was overly excited about becoming a mother that not going to Italy didn't phase me. After all, I was sort of use to making plans and breaking them. 

To be honest, I had almost given up. Going to Italy is #6 on my 30 Before 30 List and a few weeks back when I was revising my list, I had decided to take it off. I figured that it was just too much pressure on my family to take a trip to Europe in the next 3 years and I didn't want my husband to feel obligated for us to go. Not to mention there is a hefty price tag attached to this 2 week trip. I even wrote an unpublished post explaining why Italy has been moved to the Life List instead of staying on the Before 30 list. But here's the thing, just when I was ready to accept the fact that going to Italy just wasn't going to happen anytime soon, things changed.

Out of curiosity I checked the price on flights to Italy for next May-October. And what do you know? The price was lower than we had always anticipated. This got me thinking...what if we shorten the trip to 10 days and cut out a few cities? Would this make the trip feasible? I immediately approached the topic with Keith, who by now is used to this. :) We talked for a bit and decided that this new 10 day trip would be feasible. :D He will receive vacation benefits soon and would absolutely be able to work this out with his company. We obviously have financial obligations elsewhere, but if we budget correctly and start saving now, it could happen. 

It could really happen.

Here I sit almost 8 years after that first failed attempt, truly believing with all of my heart that I will finally meet Italia next year. I picked up right where I left off in my travel journey, and to be honest there's not much left to plan. I already have everything figured out. :) Through all of my failed attempts, I know that everything has worked out perfectly. Had I traveled there when I was younger I may not have appreciated certain things. The biggest comfort now is knowing that when I do go, I will have my husband and son at my side. Even if Gavin won't be able to remember the trip, Keith and I will remember and we will make the most lovely memories. 

I could listen to Mr. Martin all day...

No matter how many times I've tried and failed, this is the one trip that I will keep fighting to go on. I know it may not make sense, but I'm completely captivated by Italia. I know that I probably shouldn't get my hopes up, because things change and life happens, but I can't help it. I always wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to Italy, because to me it is totally worth it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Four Months Old

Sleeping and Eating: Gavin is still on his own set schedule and sleeps pretty well during the night. Typically he wakes up between 3am-5am for his nightly feeding, and is up for the day between 6:30am and 8:30am. He's taking less naps during the day that are a bit longer, and overall I feel like he's doing well in this area. Our little munchkin eats 5-6 ounces per feeding and eats every few hours. As of this month, he started refusing to breastfeed. :( I feel a bit rejected because I'm still producing milk, but my supply has decreased. My guess is that he's just not getting enough when he's nursing, so he doesn't want me. :( Makes me sad, but not much I can do. A few days after he turned 4 months old we tried rice cereal, but I'm saving those updates for next month. :)

Likes and Dislikes: As I mentioned, he no longer likes to breastfeed. :( He does like to cuddle with me though and that makes me happy. He loves to play on his activity mat and also likes swinging in his swing. His favorite toy right now is a musical Baby Einstein turtle. He likes to blow bubbles with his spit and make "k" sounds. He loves when you say "green" and thinks it's hilarious. Lol. Singing "You Are My Sunshine" always calms him down, and lately I've been singing Christmas songs to him (very fitting, no?). This month we went to one of Keith's softball games and Gav enjoyed watching daddy. :) Overall, he is such a happy kid and a huge blessing to us. His 5th month update might be a tad different since he is sort of being a wild child...I'll explain later! :)

I'd also like to mention that Gavin is teething pretty badly now and it makes him very fussy. :( I hate that he has to go through this, but it's pretty much a necessity for him to have teeth. *sigh* Any advice ladies??


   June 22nd - Rolled over for the first time! 

   June 28th - Found his voice and started his little yelling sprees. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Guest Posting at Traffic Jelly

Traffic Jelly

Good morning, readers! I hope all of you are doing wonderful. I am honored to tell you guys that I'm guest posting at Traffic Jelly today. Al is such a beautiful, strong woman and I am so happy that I could help her out. I wrote about the seasons of life, and I hope my post encourages you! :) 

Click here to read!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...