My 38th birthday has come and long gone but I'd still love to share my favorites for the previous year. I hope to get my 38 favorites out on time this year! Stay tuned...
Here are my 37 favorite things from the year I was 37:
1. Launching my audioblog. And, instead of only two months (April and October) like my original goal I started in April and have kept it going. During a year that was so demanding I’m so proud that I made this creative project happen. The feedback from listeners has been so positive and it’s creatively energizing to bring a new dimension to my writing.
2. Childcare where I know Maeve is loved and loves being, and that gives me much needed recharge and work time.
3. Loft smocked muscle tees. I have five that I wear in near-constant rotation (white, grey, green, dusky red, light pink). (Unfortunately their current versions that I'm linking to are much cheaper in quality than the previous version and don't fit as well, booooo.)
4. J. Crew linen pants. The perfect thing to wear when I’m not in the mood for shorts but it’s 115 degrees outside.
5. Cold treats Wednesdays (#coldtreatswednesday)with the boys. I created this weekly ritual to give us something to look forward to and to bring some routine to the long, hot summer. Every Wednesday we found a different cold treat and I had fun researching where we should go. Every stop was good but my favorites were Balboa’s for frozen dipped bananas and Jeremiah’s for Italian ice layered with soft-serve. The boys’ favorite place for Studio 212 for over-the-top ice cream creations and ice cream rolls.
7. Toddler girl clothes. The colors, the patterns. The leggings, the dresses, and tunics. I love it all.
8. Cedric playing on a basketball team for the first time after being delayed a year by COVID. I am so impressed at his ball handling and team work!
9. Taking Dash out for a Christmas shopping date and teaching him Five Crowns, a favorite card game my family played while I was growing up.
10. The boys reading chapter books. A parenting and book-lover moment that I have been waiting for basically since Dash was born.
11. A cozy fall day I spent with Maeve and any number of sweet times during my at-home time with her when I’ve been fully present with her and not trying to multitask.
12. Being back at exercise! During one of my first classes back at Orange Theory someone said to me, “I’ve never seen anyone so happy to be on a treadmill!”
13. Audiobooks and reading more than ever. The books I rated five stars this year are: The Idea of You, Just Mercy, Eligible, The Book of Longings, Rodham, How To Be A Family, Bad Blood (a re-read), Sitting Pretty, Olympus, Texas, The Great Believers, Piranesi, Beyond The Bright Sea, Shrill, The Ensemble, and Caste.
14. Completion of our studio and what a wonderful addition it has been to our house and life!
15. My sister welcoming my niece namesake, Quinn Kelsey. I’m so happy for her to be a mother of two and to have a daughter.
16. The softest loveys from IvieBaby. Maeve has two (one for home and one for daycare) and I have loved gifting them as well.
17. Candy Cane Lane tea (which is also the candy cane green tea at Trader Joe's) with a glug of half and half. The perfect cozy drink for a winter mid-morning or afternoon.
18. Our library card catalog entry table that Chris completed for me three (!) years after I purchased the card catalog.
19. Watching Ted Lasso with Chris. Hilarious, heart-warming, just what every pandemic soul needs.
20. Taking the boys on an adventure to Colorado Springs. I especially love my memories of our nightly “basement parties” with pizza, ping pong, and Super Mario Brothers.
21. My trip to Portland to visit my dear friend Allyson. It was perfect from beginning to end!
22. Bringing back nightly read-alouds with the boys.
23. The Caldwell Gals Family Book Club with all the women on my mom’s side of the family: my mom, my Aunt Peta, my cousin Emily, sister Elizabeth, and me. I love having a designated time for all of us to get together (virtually, across three states) to catch up and chat about a book.
24. Coffee walks with Chris and Maeve once the boys were back in school.
25. The BEST French toast casserole Chris made at my request for our family Mother’s Day gathering.
26. Watching Maeve learn to walk on her own time. Taking a step or two then having no interest for several days. Until finally one day she made out from the couch like she would walk to Chris then bypassed him completely to take a turn around the island.
27. Athletic Brewing non-alcoholic beer. The first NA beer I've had that actually tastes good!
28. Maeve’s robust belly and wispy hair which has grown into a toddler mullet.
29. Making the switch to a fake Christmas tree. I ordered one on super-sale after the previous Christmas so we unboxed it for the first time around Thanksgiving. Pre-lit branches! No worrying that I forgot to water the tree turning it into a fire hazard! No dry needles constantly raining down! Plus I loved keeping the tree up after Christmas for a while with bare, lit branches to ease out of Christmas and into the new year.
30. The Jingle All the Way to School neighbor event we hosted on the last day of school. We had coffee, hot chocolate, cookies, and Christmas music in our garage on the morning of the last day of school before winter break. When it was time to leave for school, kids and adults rode their bikes together while we played Christmas music on a bluetooth speaker. It was pretty easy to host and made the day feel very festive.
31. Jersey Mike’s sandwiches. A deliciously messy sandwich that I discovered this year with all the pickled, spicy toppings of my dreams. My order: veggie sandwich on white bread, add avocado, with spicy mustard and mayo, Mike’s Way minus the tomatoes, add pickles, jalapenos, pepperoncini, and red pepper relish. Barbecue chips and unsweetened ice tea on the side eaten while reading. Please and thank you!
32. Traveling to Austin as a family of five for the first time! While we were there I attended a lovely and energizing women's retreat hosted by my long-time friend Sara. Then we had lots of family time and cousin time plus I had dinner with two of my oldest friends. I also cleaned out my parents pantry and had people guess the most expired item. And with extended family we hosted a Ted Lasso party for which my cousin and I baked shortbread and my sister made the iconic “BELIEVE” sign. It was so fun!
33. Seeing the boys’ personalities and individuality emerge even more this year. Dash has a morning ritual of waking up slowly on the couch wrapped in his tortilla blanket. I love his commitment to cozy. Whereas Cedric gets up and right away gets dressed, makes his bed, and brushes his teeth. Dash is always drawn outside to play with friends. Cedric would sometimes rather stay home and do something with us.
34. Our second annual Labor Day staycation. Maeve slept great and was so engaged exploring a new house. We had a movie night with the boys and ordered our favorite pizza. It was a wonderful dose of fun during the hot slog of late summer.
35. COVID Vaccinations for Chris, myself, the boys, and our extended family. So thankful!
36. How good the return to in-person school was for the boys and for our family. I’m so proud of the boys for being braver than they even know through all the hard things about COVID and so thankful they were able to go back.
37. Finding lots of small joys and deep gratitude as we continue to live with hard things (but maybe are emerging from??) like COVID and sleep challenges.