I've always looked forward to my birthday with anticipation and even delight but this year... not so much. I've also always scoffed at people who dreaded their birthdays or were reluctant to reveal their age but the closer the big 3-0 starts to loom in the distance, the more I start to get it. Anyway, since I am definitely still a birthday person in that I want the day to be about me (insert angel emoji) I thought I'd share some fun (?) facts/feelings and hopefully distract myself from the fact that my twenties are almost over. 

My most recent/decent picture. #thisis28

1. My eyes are green and that's probably my (only) favorite physical feature (since I have so many great ones. #hystericallaughter) I like that they're unusual and not that common! Also I guess I like my hair- I'd cut it off because #Texas #hot but short hair, as I regrettably learned in 2009, is not a good look for me. Plus, like Jo March, it is "my one beauty." 

2. I tend to remember the year things happened and also really specific details about events, which I usually have to keep to myself lest people think I'm a creepy stalker. I'm sorry, I really can't help knowing what you wore to a baseball game in 2004. I just do

3. Speaking of baseball, I was a fanatical baseball follower for many years. Need a Mariners stat from the early 2000s? Step right up. (I've fallen way off that wagon, but go Braves! #chopchop)

4. I didn't get my driver's license until I was 21. So knowing me as a fairly spastic driver now makes more sense when you realize I've had a five-year handicap. So embarrassing.

5. HOWEVER, even the full decade+ of driving practice I should have wouldn't have prepared me for driving in Texas, specifically Houston. I refuse to drive on the highway past a certain point toward the city. It absolutely scares me to death and really if I can put off an errand until Jonathan can drive, I do. #noshame

6. I'm super affected by the weather. My attitude, spirit, whatever you want to call it... if it's terribly hot or the weather is seasonally inappropriate I hate it. Probably should have thought about that before moving to the surface of the sun, but you know. 

7. I firmly believe that Tangled is better than Frozen in every way. Yeah, I said it.

8. Singing in front of people makes me really nervous and I have to hold a microphone with two hands so no one can see me shaking. (Thanks for that tip, Melissa! It has served me well.) 

9. I worked at Chick-fil-A in high school and college. Those truly were the best and worst of times, but they left me with SO many good stories and I'm pretty sure I could step into a busy drive-through situation and handle it from memory. Plus I have a deep appreciation for quick-service employees (and a disdain for those who do it wrong.) 

10. Aaaand speaking of Chick-fil-A, I am still making up for not having access to it for the first 15 years of my life. I repay that debt by eating there as many times a week as possible both financially and healthfully (and by that I mean the health of my marriage. #sorrybabe)

11. Things that make me feel warm and fuzzy? People who call me Ash, any time someone says something nice about about my blog, hearing from my dearly beloved former students, and the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda. 

12. If I don't text you back right away, I'm more than likely looking for the perfect gif. Or meme. But seriously, the gif keyboard has improved my quality of life. 

13. Reading this book two years ago and learning that there's actually a name for my personality type (ambiverts unite!) has made me feel a whole lot less crazy. Do I feel energized or terrified by other people? It depends on the day. =)

14. Dream jobs: personal shopper, author, editor, college English professor but with an assistant to grade papers, stylist/WNTW contributor, ghost writer for Angela Lansbury's personal memoir. (Come on, Ang. Let's make magic together!) 

15. I have a secret (eh...not-so-secret) dream to perform on some kind of stage. Community theater, Broadway... who's to say?? =) But my crippling stage fright kind of derailed that (see #8) so Alice is my best hope. The stereotypical stage mom living out her dreams through her kid? That will be me. 

16. Speaking of the stage... I love, love, love musicals of all kinds (obviously Disney is at the top!) and it makes me SO happy that Alice seems to be loving them too. I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in truth... and have committed the complete works of Rodgers and Hammerstein to memory. 

17. I believe that skinny fries are the best fries. McDonald's, Smithfield's, Freddy's, Whataburger... I'm looking at you. Steak fries and whatever other garbage you people are serving? Go home. (Except for you, Chick-fil-A, waffle fries. I'll love you forever.) 

18. For whatever reason, people tend to confide in me, which I find ironic because i don't consider myself a great listener. (This stems from a childhood of basically never shutting up.) But maybe it's that I'm a middle child and thus (according to all the research) a born reconciler. I don't know, but people tell me stuff. But don't worry... you're secret's safe with me.

19. ...when I say I can keep a secret, clearly that means I will tell my sisters. I mean, duh. It's the sister code. 

20. Favorite foods in order or nutritional value: green beans, tomatoes, pineapple, breadsticks (or just bread), chips and salsa, mint chocolate chip ice cream. #thatescalatedquickly

21. I took piano lessons for over a decade but you wouldn't know it. (My sister weeps in her shame of my wasted talent. hahaha) But I also briefly attempted to teach myself the guitar and given my lack of natural ability and also the fact that I thought my fingertips would fall off I quit. I can play like 3 songs.

22. I'm 100%, embarrassingly obsessed with my baby. Even though she's 18 months old, I'm still staying up at night looking at her pictures and freaking out over how adorable she is. I guess every mom is like that but yeah, when it comes to Alice I have no chill.

23. After being well-known for my love of Mountain Dew for most of my life, I regret to inform you that I hardly ever drink it anymore. I feel like I've lost a part of my identity but gained a healthier liver. #balance

24. How did I break up with Mountain Dew, you may ask? Well, it certainly wasn't at the pleading of my many dentists who have said to please stop drinking acid. (Not really but kind of.) No, I started Weight Watchers for the ______th time last summer and finally kicked my MD habit (and also lost 30 pounds. Woop woop!) Now I just need to do the same thing but with Dr Pepper. Ugh.

25. After basically being anti-exercise/a couch potato for almost my entire adult life, no one is more shocked than I am that I now work out at least 6 days a week. (Currently 7- curse you 30-Day Shred!) If there is something you think you can't do, picture me huffing and puffing in 99% Texas humidity and know that you absolutely can. 

26. In fits of humiliation, I have thrown away/destroyed most of my teenage journals, but thanks to my obnoxious memory I can still recall passages from them verbatim and am occasionally haunted by the stupidity of what I wrote. On the other hand, one day when I write my fascinating memoir/tell all, I'll probably regret not having access to my 8th grade thoughts. Or not. 

27. If I could combine my family's traits to create my own Super Ashley, I'd use my mom's ease in front of a crowd (or really any stranger), my dad's laid-back nature and gift with words, Amanda's universally likable personality and musical skills, April's beauty and uproarious humor, Amy's apathy towards the opinion of others and lip-syncing ability (plus her hair), and my in-laws' organizational talents (minus possibly Rebecca... but I'll take your wardrobe. =). Plus the combined adorableness of my nieces and nephews. Unstoppable!

28. Even though I roll my eyes when people point out how lucky I am to be married to Jonathan (and they do), it's true. I know and appreciate that I really do have the best husband and married way up and the fact that he knows all these things about me and loves me anyway is truly miraculous. #awwwwokaythatsgrossstopit. I love my little family and our Texas life, heat and all. =)

There you go. I'm going to celebrate today by eating chicken minis for breakfast and at least one chocolate dessert... maybe more. I'm praying this year is full of new creative opportunities, memories with my girl, and the start of my best-seller, "The Wisdom and Insights of a First-Time Mother Living a Very Uneventful Life." Copies will fly off the shelves. 

Happy Friday, everyone! And happy birthday to meeeee! Cake for everyone! (Or banana pudding which is better.)

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