Friday, April 26, 2013

Thirty good deeds to celebrate turning 30 #30for30

Yesterday was my 30th birthday. And I was lucky enough to have my daughter all day! I had seen a blog post via Pinterest about a woman who performed 38 good deeds to celebrate turning 38, which also gave me a lot of great ideas. So I decided a few weeks ago it would be a great way to spend my 30th birthday!

And, boy, did it keep us busy! It also meant a crazy number of times I had to get L. out of her car seat and into her stroller and then back into the car seat, which was exhausting! Aside from waking up sore from all the running around I did, I feel I got quite a good workout in my arms from the car seat shuffle.

But that's not all I felt ... even after the first good deed, I start getting this feeling like I was a superhero. My boyfriend had gotten me a crown that I wore pretty much all day. Of course, because I had a crown, we had to make sure L. had her crown. But, of course, she ended up asking for mine anyway.

Here's what we did:

1. Paid for the guy behind me at Dunkin' Donuts.

2. I had gotten a roll of quarters earlier in the week I planned to use for good deeds. I was able to add money into an expired parking meter of someone at the hospital-- I just found out a few days ago this was illegal. I don't understand that law at all.

3. Left coloring books, crayons and playing cards in the waiting room of the maternity ward where L. was born.

4. Left a bag of treats and toys for the animal shelter from which I got my two fur babies, or as L. calls them, "keeeeee-tteeeeee!"

5. Left an unopened package of wipes in the family bathroom at the mall, where I would walk around with L. when she was a newborn and would only sleep during the day while moving. Those family bathrooms became a bragging point for me, since they had breastfeeding stalls and a bottle warmer.

6. We used some of the quarters and played with the wishing well that went to the local Kiwanis Club.

7. Saw a cart only a few feet from the entrance of Target so I walked it back over to the rest of them in the store.

8. Leaving the mall, I saw another rogue Target cart. I walked it inside and all the way to Target. I had one hand on the stroller and one hand on the cart, I must have been a sight!

9. Following that, we went to one of our favorite parks, Boothe Park in Stratford, Conn., and we picked up litter. From what I understand, two brothers had all this land and all this money around the early 1900s, so they decided to build all these little buildings, like a mini lighthouse, a blacksmith shop with 44 sides and a clock tower. It's really such a fun park to wander around. L. usually gets a kick out of the chickens there, too!

10. One of the buildings there is a bird atrium and there is a box to donate for the birds, so I gave Layla some coins and held her up to put the money in. She did such a good job! Bonus: We got to sing, "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins!

11. Dropped off baby shirts I made on and a package of wipes and a Dunkin' Donuts gift card to my friend, Joy, who just gave birth to her daughter earlier in the month. She has a 1 year old, too! When she was in labor, I got to stay and play with her son overnight and her husband insisted I take money for it. So I used that money to buy the gifts!

12. Went to Bodie's Place at Eisenhower Park, one of our favorite playgrounds. We dropped off a bunch of sand toys.

13. We also left bubbles around for families to take and enjoy.

14. While Layla played on the playground, I picked up trash, including cleaning up after a family's lunch, since I saw her toddler have a meltdown and had to leave right away. I totally understood where she was coming from. I've had those moments, too. I knew she had more important priorities.
15. They hadn't turned on the water fountains at the playground yet, so I left some unopened bottles of water by them.

16. By this time, it was time for Layla's nap. She was absolutely pooped! So we went home and, while she was napping, I began clipping manufacturers' coupons from circulars I saved. (Since I work at a newspaper, I kind of have a connection to those ... ) I sorted them by category and put them in individual envelopes. I put them in a mailing envelope and sent them, along with a note of thanks and a few dollars to help with shipping, to Operation Expiration, which sends them to families and troops stationed overseas. Coupons sent to troops are good up to six months past their expiration dates, by the way.

17. I also wrote a condolence note to the Huntington Branch Library in Shelton, Conn. Recently, someone poured a cleaning chemical on their 8-year-old snake, Peaches, and she died. I heard about it through my favorite podcast, Good Job, Brain! Since Layla and I have been reading "Dear Zoo" a lot, I wanted to make sure they knew my daughter was a fan of snakes.

18. After L. woke up, we dropped off some old clothes at a donation box.

19. We got a bouquet of flowers at the supermarket and placed them in the windshields of the cars parked around me.

20. We donated books at a donation box.

21. I drove up to work and stopped at Dunkin' Donuts and was able to pay for the person behind me again.

22. Through Dunkin' Donuts, I was also able to donate to The One Fund, which helps the people most affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.

23. I got to work to drop off donuts for my coworkers and I spotted an abnormal amount of smoke coming from the ashtray outside. So I grabbed a bottle of water and put it out. It may not have been a Category 3 fire or anything, but it made me feel extra superhero-y.

24. I brought the donuts upstairs to my coworkers and was wished happy birthday by them. I heard when I left I was so happy and giddy, they thought I was high! I think the adrenaline rush of the day and being bubbly around L. probably gave that impression to a bunch of people.

25. The good deed I was looking toward the most was dropping off baby supplies and toiletries I had collected throughout the month and L.'s old stroller and high chair to the Prudence Crandall Center. I always love when our newspaper covers them because they do such great work.

26. I had a box of random housewares I donated to Saver's. The donation area was closed, but people had piled their stuff around the entrance. Among the items in the pile was a lamp decorated with ceramic killer whales! It was so fabulous, I hope it goes to a good home!

27. After all that driving around, I had to get gas. While I was there, I bought a car wash and taped the receipt with the car wash code to the pump so someone else could enjoy it.

28. I was running late for getting L. to bed, so I went to McDonald's so we could get home, eat, then hop right into the bathtub. While in the drive-thru, I put a bunch of quarters in the collection bin for Ronald McDonald House, which assuaged my guilt for giving my daughter fast food.

29. When we got home, I put the rest of the quarters in L.'s bank for her when she gets older.

30. A few friends came over that night and I realized I needed one more good deed. So when they wanted to order pizza, I decided to pay for it!

And with that, my day of good deeds was over! I think it was my favorite birthday ever. I got to feel like a cross between a superhero and Oprah. And, even if L. doesn't remember the day, I took plenty of photographs I plan to make into a photobook to remember everything. I basically live-Tweeted my experiences and put the photos on Instagram with the hashtag #30for30, even though both accounts are private. At least I know I inspired some of my friends! I already know at least one friend who will be doing the same thing to celebrate her 25th birthday!

By the way, my shirt says:
Thirty good deeds to celebrate turning the big 3-0. #30for30

L.'s shirt says:
My mom is totally awesome!