Hello from mid-October, friends! We started the month in the woods north of Sedona on our first camping trip as a family of five (Maeve's first). It was just about this time of year and Cedric was just a few months older when we went on our very first Team Wharton camping trip! We had a great trip and Maeve was a champ little camper, helped along by some iPad time in the tent both days to keep things honest. And then fall break stretched on for another 12 days which felt long, especially because it's so dang hot. But, here we are getting back into our routines and a break in the heat is coming next week.
Even as I was feeling drained and running on introvert fumes towards the end of fall break I was also holding close the knowledge that absolute horrors were being rained down on children and mothers and fellow humans in Israel and Gaza. On one afternoon in particular I just had to hug Chris and cry, saying, "I just feel really sad." Two podcasts that always help me process and better articulate hard and sad world events are Pantsuit Politics and The Ezra Klein Show. Both have had very thoughtful episodes recently (Pantsuit Politics, The Ezra Klein Show) that have helped me better understand the situation and to make space for trying to process it. So I'm sitting with those feelings even as live my privileged, safe life with relatively inconsequential frustrations like squabbling brothers and a toddler who wants whipped cream for breakfast.
Once the kids were off to school on Monday I breathed a big exhale and Chris and I treated ourselves to coffee and a shared scone at The Coffee Shop. I've been in a good work groove, which came to screeching halt over fall break, and am happy to be picking it up again. And we've entered my very favorite stretch of the year from now through early March. The weather is great (once it finally cools off, sheesh!), we have lots of cozy and fun holiday activities to look forward to plus the energy and then calm of a new year is on the horizon. Also, I'll be turning 40 in two months! I recently loved Kae's reflections on turning 40 and related to a lot of what she shared.
To bring you some light-hearted joy I'll share that Annabelle, our adopted un-dead zombie daughter and Maeve's dear friend has returned for the season. And friends, the love is still alive! Maeve was overjoyed to get Annabelle out of her wooden coffin where she has been sleeping in the garage since last November. She lovingly carried her around, did her hair, and insisted that she join us on a bike ride. She smuggles Annabelle inside and recently my worst fear of being startled by Annabelle in a dark house was almost realized when Maeve asked for Annabelle to sleep in her room. We narrowly avoided that situation but we still have a week and a half to go of hosting Annabelle. Honestly I've come to feel affectionate for Annabelle, even if she is very creepy, because of how much Maeve loves her. Maybe we need to get Maeve a more normal looking life-size doll for Christmas??
With less than two weeks left of the month there's not a lot of time for lofty goals but it's never too late to be intentional with your time. Here's what I want to be intentional about for the rest of the month:
Goals for October
+ Spend time planning for the rest of fall and the holidays. This will involve looking at the calendar, reviewing my Christmas notes (which I schedule to email to myself every October 1), and reviewing my holiday Google Doc that I created last year. This is all very enjoyable planning for me so I want to lean into it with either takeout lunch or a festive coffee.
+ Keep moving forward on two work projects. I have one writing-related project and one podcast-related project in the works. I am trying to block out time each week to make some progress on them. Like I wrote in a recent post about my work days, it can be easy to get sucked into everyday tasks plus keeping up the content I already produce but I'm feeling a lot of energy around taking these endeavors up a notch.
+ Keep my nails painted. Overall I have made so! much! progress over the years not picking at my cuticles and keeping my nails painted really helps. When I don't make time to paint my nails it's so much easier for me to fall back into my old habit. Lately I'm loving black nails and will soon bring back the dark and moody red Not So Low Key by Expressie. Also to note, Emma (on the A Beautiful Mess podcast) has talked about a hypnosis session helping her to break the habit of biting her nails which I find so intriguing. If anyone has tried hypnosis to change a habit I would be so curious to hear how it was.
I'll wrap it up there for now. I hope you are finding good things in October, friends.