2021 wrap up
Goals for February

Currently: January


Feeling energized and content after the coziest creative weekend away in Pine with Erica. Here's the perfect cabin where we stayed! We planned a year of content for The Girl Next Door, worked on our own creative projects (for me, this blog, for Erica, her Homeschoolhood podcast), laughed, and talked for hours in the company of a crackling fire.

Settling into our spring semester routine this week. Our family had COVID in mid-January which disrupted the routine we were just starting to find. Thankfully we had very mild cases (the boys and I tested positive, Chris and Maeve consistently tested negative). The boys were completely asymptomatic and I had a few days of feeling blah.

Working on my blogging editorial calendar and hoping to get back to a more regular writing rhythm.

Listening to We Are Not Like Them and

Reading The Winter Garden.

Celebrating the incredible news that Chris's student loans were completely forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. He put in a lot of effort to complete the application and follow up with phone calls to make sure everything was in order. In total he waited five months to find out if the forgiveness would go through. To be honest I was really doubtful that it would work out because the system is quite a maze of bureaucracy. But then one morning Chris excitedly called to me and showed me where the balance of $58,000 had been zeroed out. WOW. If you are employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization please look into this program! To qualify for forgiveness you have to have made 10 years of payments but only certain repayments plans qualify so it's worth understanding the program even before you've made 10 years of payments.


Remembering fondly my early January solo-trip to Austin where I doted on my new niece, Quinn Kelsey, my nephew, and my sister. Plus I enjoyed quiet mornings and evenings, cozy fires made by my dad, and doing some organizing projects with my mom.

Taking more small rests in my day, like sitting with a cup of tea and reading for fifteen minutes when Maeve goes down for a nap instead of jumping into a task right away.

Trying to brush Maeve's hair most days and see if she'll let me put it in a ponytail (which is not often). I hope by the end of the year she'll be used to having her hair done.

Reflecting on a sweet and gentle end to breastfeeding Maeve. I nursed her for the last time on January 2 before I left for a solo trip to Austin. I was ready to be done and am happy to feel that my body is completely mine again. But I feel a twinge of sadness to have ended that chapter of my life and time with Maeve. I'm thinking about how to honor my experience of nursing my three children for over four years collectively (wow!). I loved the suggestions shared on my Instagram post such as breastmilk jewelery and a delicate tattoo.

Researching vinyl plank flooring and trying to pick one for our house. I'm looking for something with warm tones and light in color.

Planning to declutter and organize my very messy bathroom counter and closet shelves this week.


High-fiving myself for the winning dinner recipe of mac and cheese mini muffins from the No-Fuss Family Cookbook.

Drinking two delicious herbal teas: Tazo glazed lemon loaf (recommended by Rachel – thank you, friend!) and juniper mint honey.

Loving our new car!! After serving our family nobly for many years it was time to say goodbye to our 2008 Prius which had over 230,000 miles. We bought a 2022 hybrid Toyota Sienna minivan and it is bringing me so much joy. The sliding side doors that open hands-free with a kick sensor! All the room for our family of five! Listening to my podcasts on Apple CarPlay! The heated seats! This is the first new car I've ever had and I am appreciating the experience very much.

Enjoying browsing the archives of a new-to-me blog, Em for Marvelous, which is cheery and relatable.

Wishing for some rain but seeing only sun in the forecast.

Keeping my nails and cuticles looking lovely with cuticle butter and Expressie quick-dry polish.

Satisfied with a recent Friday organizing project of cleaning out our pantry.


Adoring watching the boys play so sweetly with Maeve and all three of them doing things together. I love my little crew so much.

Delighting in Dash's recent performance in the COVID-delayed 3rd grade Christmas play. He was a very charismatic reindeer!

Planning to bring back our after-school park routine, at least a couple days each week. Now that Maeve naps once a day the timing works out. Last week I arranged a park play date for Cedric which he loved and I enjoyed the conversation with other moms.

Hoping you found good things in January, friends!


Currently: January 2021 | Currently: January 2019