Although I turned 39 at the end of December, I’m happy to be finally getting around to my annual tradition and bringing you my list of 38 favorite things in my 38th year. So without further ado, here they are!
1. A sweet end to nursing Maeve and closing the breastfeeding chapter of my life.
2. An early January trip to Austin to snuggle my new niece, Quinn Kelsey.
3. Nespresso milk frother and making my favorite café au laits at home.
4. Tazo glazed lemon loaf tea. The first lemon tea that I’ve loved.
5. A writerly day with Rachel Nevergall in Minneapolis. I’m now especially so thankful for this day since Rachel shared that her family is relocating to Chicago!
6. Pecan pie energy bites. A great snack or dessert to have on hand.
7. Our Eau Claire adventure of buying our house in a far-away Wisconsin city and spending a month there this past summer. A particular favorite memory is catching up with Chris after he visited Eau Claire for the first time and was able to see the house we were buying. He was brimming with excitement and we felt giddy from making a big dream come true.
9. The first annual Girl Next Door Podcast retreat with Erica to Pine, AZ. Getting away for two nights with Erica was not only fun and relaxing but was so impactful for the podcast. We had time to plan and dream big in a way that we don’t have throughout the year. And I think those efforts showed in our content during the next year.
10. Directly related to our podcast retreat is what we accomplished with the podcast over the past year. I’m so proud of our work launching a Patreon program and bringing important topics like our periods, white privilege, and feminism to the show.
11. Trying out HomeExchange and dreaming of all the affordable travel we might do with our family.
12. My perfectly designed Saturday morning ritual of Orange Theory + recharge time. This includes: taking hot coffee with me on the way to Orange Theory, a 6 a.m. work out followed by a rinse off shower at the gym and dressing in the same comfortable outfit (leggings, tunic t-shirt, and zip-up). Then I head to The Coffee Shop nearby to have coffee, sometimes a bite to eat, and to read. I only started doing this sometime in the fall but it quickly became a favorite and now I look forward to my Saturday mornings so much.
14. Any of the many best days at home with Maeve when I felt fully present and everything went smoothly: at the Gilbert Regional Park splash pad, the i.d.e.a. Museum, or feeding the ducks together at the Riparian Preserve.
15. Mythical Coffee, a new-to-use coffee shop with interesting and delicious seasonal drinks. We love to start a day date or have a coffee-budget date at Mythical.
16. Books, of course. The books that were either the most enjoyable to read or had the greatest impact on me during my 38th year were: The Maid, Lessons in Chemistry, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, Mad About You, When Breath Becomes Air, and Catastrophic Happiness.
17. Long-awaited and anticipated house updates: new floors throughout, new interior paint, a bed frame that is not on wheels (woo hoo!), and a new vanity light fixture in our bathroom.
18. Maeve finally, FINALLY not crying to go to sleep. It only took two years and eight months.
19. My Nashville trip visiting my cousin and her family including her sweet baby boy. While I Nashville I was finally able to visit Parnassus Books which has been on my wish list since it was opened by my favorite author, Ann Patchett.
20. My leopard print Rothy slip-on sneakers (similar). These are my everyday go-to shoes.
21. Our roomy and fancy new minivan, nicknamed Blue’s Cruise if you’d like to know. And by fancy I mean can play my audiobooks and podcasts over the car speakers (our Prius couldn’t), has seat heaters, and doors that open with a kick when my hands are full.
22. Watching seasons 1 and 2 of the funny, creative, and suspenseful show Only Murders in the Building with Chris. I can’t wait for season 3!
23. Taking a hip hop dance class and experiencing both joyfully moving my body with other women and embracing being a beginner and laughing at myself.
24. Our Thanksgiving family photo.
25. Maeve’s blooming interest in story books and short audiobooks. I love listening to the same audiobooks with her in the car as we did with the boys as I make the same drive to daycare that we did so many times with the boys.
26. My book club, every year. This year marked my 15 year book club anniversary and that group of women and our commitment to each other is a deep comfort. I love the conversations we have, the varied opinions (sometimes with colorful language) on the books we read, and how I usually end up cry-laughing. Two favorite quotes that I collected this year from the group: “I want to read something by this author. But it wasn’t this book.” And “I hate whales so much.”
26. Late afternoon Friday phone dates in the spring with my friend Allyson. I order takeout from Uprooted Kitchen and then take a neighborhood walk while we catch up. I always feel rejuvenated after we talk.
28. Our trip to Universal Studios in February with the boys! Chris surprised us with the trip as a Christmas present in 2021 and planned the whole thing. We’ve never done a theme park as a family before and it was a great experience.
29. The love between Maeve and Annabelle, Maeve’s zombie Halloween friend.
30. Finishing a third The First 1,000 Days journal, one for each of my babes.
31. Pizza farm nights! Twice while we were in Eau Claire, we drove through the beautiful rolling green hills to visit Dancing Yarrow Farms and have pizza dinner there. The entire experience was fantastic both times, from the uber-friendly staff, so good pizza, and beautiful setting, to the live music and even making a new friend (hi, Hannah!).
32. Maeve getting her COVID shots. My COVID baby, born in early April 2020, finally being able to be vaccinated against COVID felt significant as a health and personal milestone. Wow, wow, wow what a thing to experience.
33. Fun family dates and glimpsing the next phase of parenting. These included family dates to The Pemberton food truck park in Phoenix and an evening celebrating Chris’s 45th birthday at Fire and Brimstone followed by ice cream at Cream of the Crop. We also had a fun date with just the boys to eat in downtown Gilbert and then to see their art in a district show.
34. Maeve’s love of Moana music and how she loves to run around the island and shriek from excitement during How Far I’ll Go.
35. Car Kleenex! These cylindrical tissues blew my mind because they fit exactly into the door cup holders in my car. The practicality makes me so happy. Together with a canister of Wet Ones and some baby face wipes they are part of my car door dream team.
36. Watching the boys crack up listening to Chris tell stories of misadventures from his youth.
37. Celebrating being married to Chris for 12 years. I can honestly say that our marriage gets better every year. I’m so thankful for how we love and support each other and the way we each show up for our marriage. I especially loved the staycation Chris arranged for our anniversary and the conversations we had that weekend.
38. Another trip around the sun, arriving feeling healthy and happy, and looking forward to another year watching my family grow and making memories with them.