Hasta la vista, 33.

Hi friends! I was reminded this morning via TimeHop that this very day last year, I wrote a post that wrapped up 32 great things about being 32. And since I am the creator of my own destiny, and a grown ass woman who is in charge of herself, I'm doing the same thing this year. I have so many things that I could blog about currently - my mind and heart are very full and have a lot of things that they want to say. But it's not time yet. I'm not ready for that. For now, I'm holding those things close until I feel ready to put them all down. Partially because I'm in a fog of "did that really happen?" and partially because I just am being selfish with my thoughts and memories. But I know they will come out eventually. So for now, you guys get to read along as I recap some of my great memories and insights from this last year, the day before my 34th birthday! 1.) Like I always say, birthdays when you work in a school are awesome. It's so wonderful to be loved by people who aren't required to love you.

2.) I've learned (again) that a grown person must ALWAYS brush their hair. Even if they don't feel like it. Especially when you have hair like mine. It HAS to happen, or you have to chop it off. Which I did.

3.) Even if your dog "graduates" from Doggy School, it doesn't mean she necessarily EARNED her diploma. It turns out that if you look cute, wag your tail, and weigh 10 pounds, you can get that certificate no matter what. She totally trumped us.

4.) Celebrating your bestie's birthdays is equally as fun as celebrating your own! Especially when there are good drinks, shuffleboard, and a hippie corner in their booty basement. And dance routines. :)

5.) The people in your life will constantly surprise you. This includes amazing parents at your school that will give you the chance to have a wonderful weekend in Canada with your hubby!

6.) My best friend moved away to San Francisco, and that has been a TOTAL shift. Not a bad one, just different. I am so happy that we talk all of the time, and that I've gotten to see her so much. I need to get my butt down there ASAP, that's for sure. Having her away but still so close, and happy where she is, makes me happy also. I just love her so much, and seeing her go was hard to do!!!

7.) Starting a new hobby with David has been awesome. We discovered the Center for Wooden Boats, and are volunteers there. David is taking sailing lessons (when it warms up again!), and I just love being there by the water and seeing how happy he is. It's a great place and I'm so happy that we have a "thing" together now!

8.) Having a puppy is awesome. And challenging. And she's not a puppy anymore. But she will always act like it, I'm sure, until she's 90. Because knowing her, she's going to live to be 90 - which makes no sense for a dog who puts anything she finds in her mouth.

9.) All it takes is a backpack and shorts to make the best outfit ever to an Oscars party.

10.) Don't hesitate to go to Vegas with your best friends. Ever.

11.) Cirque de Soleil is insane. Amazing and insane. And sometimes you will go see them perform Beatles music and your bestie will cry while the other one is stalked by a creepy demon man, and it will be so, so perfect.

12.) I developed love for: fried pickles, poutine, happy hours at new places, my new KitchenAid mixer, good smelly candles, self-timer on the iPhone, coloring, journaling, Washi tape, going to Mariner's games (but only when I'm in a suite and barely paying attention to the actual game!),

13.) I got surprise slumber party'd, and it was awesome! It was perfect and wonderful to catch up with old, great friends, and feel super comfortable knowing that our house wasn't in perfect shape and that was ok.

14.) Having electricity is amazing. I pray to the power gods to never take it away from me again!

15.) I'm learning that I have to start taking better care of my self. Eating healthy and exercising is key. I know that most of you knew that already and were thinking "duh, Mandy -- you just discovered this??" but I've been a little stubborn about it. Things are changing now.

16.) I've learned both through things that have occurred for me and myself, that when your best friends need you, you just go. Don't hesitate. Go. Be there. Even if you are just there with them, not talking.

17.) My brother moved in with us for what we thought was a few months and still is continuing... The upsides outweigh the downsides, and my brother and I have developed a really close relationship. It has come in especially handy these last two weeks. Don't tell anyone, but I love that guy like crazy and I'm so happy that we have each other.

18.) Getting a grown-up bed is life changing! Who knew?

19.) Be open to new friends that will come in to your lives quietly and unassuming, and then will end up being a friend that you couldn't imagine your life without in a very short time. I developed that kind of friendship this year, and it's the best. She is supportive, and so loving and kind, and I am so lucky to have her! Friend pickles. :P

20.) Say yes to creating!!! I am constantly having ideas for "the next thing" that i'm going to be working on to satisfy my creativity, and I think that this year I have found a few that are going to stick around and could someday be a thing -- who knows? Hand lettering is something that I've always been good at but want to really develop and hone... I started making candles, and I love doing that, and have been able to make them for said above friend for her business. I feel great when I create (trademark it! Ha!), and I'm so excited to have a space now in our den that I can do that, and am so thankful for having the time to be able to play!

21.) Sometimes, you just have to worry about your dog enough that you end up making her a geriatric ramp to get up the outside back steps. And then she masters it in about 4 tries and become Ramp Champ 2015. She's the coolest ever.

22.) Hold your family close. Don't be a brat. Make the calls when you think that you should. Show your love.

23.) I learned this year that it's ok to push yourself, but it's also ok to say that you need to sit out of something. I always suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), but when I took a field trip with my 3rd graders and had to sit a few of the strenuous things out, I felt really badly at first. But the more that I reflected, the better I felt -- I TRIED! I gave it my all, and had to back off. That's not the same as failure. I need to remember this constantly.

24.) There is always time and room for ice cream. It's always appropriate to have ice cream on your lunch break. Although I'm not eating sweets right now, it still holds true. Ice cream makes things happier.

25.) Making up a holiday and then celebrating it is particularly thrilling - especially when you are celebrating someone! This year we created a School Lunch Person day, and it was SO fun. The entire school knew about it but managed to keep it a secret until that day. It was so great to celebrate our awesome lunch staff and spoil them!

26.) Throwing a BBQ at your house is not as scary as I'd always thought it would be. In fact, we celebrated David's 30th birthday at our house full of family and friends and it was a BLAST!!! Everyone had a great time. :)

27.) Dressing up your brother's dog and taking her photo without his consent gives me a thrill that probably isn't normal! Haha! But she's so cuuuuuute!

28.) Losing dogs that you love and that the people in your lives love sucks. There's no other way to say it that won't make this blog a Terentino movie. It is just plain heartbreaking to watch someone go through, and my heart still hurts for the people in my life who dealt with this during this last year. You never get over that. They are a part of your family forever.

29.) I have the world's best boss. Hands down. A boss who is there for you no matter what, is so understanding, who gives the best gifts, who lifts you up when you are down, who comes to your wedding and your father's service and cries through both. I am so lucky to have her.

30.) There's something to wonderful about having milk and eggs appear at your doorstep in your cute milk box every week! I love it. Best decision I've made in awhile.

31.) Call your parents. Email them. Text them. Visit them. Talk the talk and walk the walk. You will have regrets if you don't, I promise you.

32.) It's okay to cry. I don't meant to end on a sad one, but it's not always sad. It's ok to cry. People will not laugh at you for crying. They will not shame you. Everyone does it, and needs it, and you can't stop it sometimes. Just know that there is always someone there ready to hug you and allow you time and space to let it out. I've been learning this lately, and while I used to be super embarrassed to cry in front of people, it's gotten easier. Because I'm a human person, surrounded by other human people, and I'm so, so happy to know that.

33.) I have lived through the worst thing that has ever happened to me so far in my life. I'm still living through it. I can handle anything with the family and friends that I have by my side. Never underestimate the impact of your text, call, email, food that you drop off, flowers, cards, etc. Always know that even when you reach out, if you don't get a response, you've been seen and heard. And know that it means so, so much. I feel so supported and loved and cared for -- so much so that it hurts sometimes to know how love I am. But in a good way. It's been hard. Every day is different, and will be different forever, and that's okay.

I am so lucky. I am so blessed. It's not cliche, it's true. I can't write more for fear that #32 will happen -- and it's a very good chance that it will definitely happen. But know this - I am so in love with everyone in my life. And I'm feeling pretty strong at this exact moment in time, and I know it's no coincidence that I am surrounded by an amazing village.

Here's to 2016, and 34 year old Mandy Marcellis. I hope you all like her, because I have a feeling already that I adore her.

Wishing you all love and light this year. I'm hoping to be 34 with tons of it!
Wishing you all love and light this year. I'm hoping to be 34 with tons of it!