I've fallen into the weekday routine of stopping at the park next to school most days after picking the boys up. This week the weather has been perfection: warm enough for shorts and short sleeves but breezy so it doesn't feel hot. The light is getting more golden in the afternoon and the shadows are longer. There are always a few other kids at the park and the boys now easily meet new kids or recognize friends from school, all who live in our neighborhood, and fall into a game of tag. As I read or flip through a cook book, always on the hunt for new recipes, I can watch the boys venture across the wide lawn to a mesquite tree whose twisty branches have grown down to create a perfect hideout. All of this happens just half a mile and an easy bike ride from our home. I've been trying to be acutely present because these afternoons and sticking so close to home are so ideal, so perfectly match what I hoped we would experience, I almost want to cry.
Last night we joined neighbor friends and took Captain America and a dinosaur (previously a unicorn) trick-or-treating. While Chris and the boys hit some houses on our street I sat and passed out candy to the early trick-or-treaters. The weather cooled just in time for Halloween and the air carried the cozy smell of smoke from a neighbor's outdoor fire pit. Halloween kicks off two months of being in the holiday spirit and often marks the beginning of a glorious stretch of sunny, mild weather for us here in the Phoenix valley. You hear people say, "This is why we live here."
And now all I want to do is get organized for Christmas, think about what I'll make for Thanksgiving and what movies we'll watch this holiday season, and plan my 2019 goals. At the same time, I know I want to make the most of the work days left in 2018. It'll get harder as we get closer to Christmas so this is the month to be productive but I think there will be room for savoring the season too.
+ Trip with Chris to NYC and Yale reunion. Lots of planning went into this trip including having my parents come and keep the boys plus all the travel arrangements. But it was all worth it! We had a great trip and the boys and my parents had a great time. Although my mom did say, "We understand why you go to bed at 8:30 now!" Haha - thank you mom and dad!
+ Low key Falliday family celebration.
+ Sideboard organization. We keep art supplies, cloth napkins, and a few random things (coasters, battery-powered candles) in this piece of furniture. It was overflowing and disorganized but now it's tidy with plenty of space. Ahh!
+ Linen closet organization. Once everything was organized I took stock and also bought us some new washcloths and hand towels, which were much needed.
Big things happening in November:
+ Chris travels for work for four days
+ Thanksgiving in Prescott! Cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen does not sound like fun to me so I'd like to make my dishes ahead of time and and bring them with us. Plus supplement with items from the Prescott Valley Trader Joe's, naturally.
+ Complete Christmas shopping
+ Spend time reflecting on my 2019 goals
+ Spend 2 - 3 hours of focused writing on each Monday in November. Mondays are my best opportunity for focused writing. I have been okay at sticking to this routine but would like to make good progress on my proposal this month.
+ Organize the garage. We don't keep a ton in our garage but it's time to pull things out, get rid of what we don't need, and come up with some additional organization systems.
+ Go on a family hike
Recurring monthly goals:
+ Weekly phone dates with my mom and regular phone dates with close girl friends. I haven't had a phone date with two close girl friends in Austin in a while so that needs to happen!
+ Thursday night at-home cookies dates with Chris.
+ Don't start or end the day with my phone.
+ Go to bed by 9 pm.