It's November, the time of the year when we seem to enter warp speed. Just when I am most wishing that time would slow down so that we could linger in the good weather and in holiday magic.
A few things helping me to slow down time right now are: Christmas planning in my Holidays Master Plan Google Doc and Christmas Gifts Google Sheet; listening to The Lazy Genius podcast How to Make the Rest of 2023 Easier, and queuing up both the Calm Christmas audiobook (for a re-listen; and to note I listen via Hoopla where it's free and always available if that service is available through your library) and the Calm Christmas podcast. Also, I've started a little ritual of "coffee and reading time" with Maeve during which we snuggle on the couch in the morning to read fall and Thanksgiving books while I sip coffee. Those are such sweet moments that I savor.
Last week my dad and I took a day trip to Sedona and hiked the beautiful West Fork Trail. We caught the end of the fall color (I'm making a note to go back next year but two weeks earlier) and the trail was a fun one. There's not any elevation change so the hiking is fairly easy but you do have to cross back and forth over the river several times by hopping across sometimes precarious rock paths. I'd love to bring the boys to do it. Also, I was freezing for nearly the whole hike! So that felt like a good dose of fall. It's hard to dress for cold weather when you've been nothing but hot for the past six months. But it was really great to be with my dad and to spend the day forest bathing – even if it was a very cold bath haha.
Big things happening in November:
+ Launch Your Year to Shine. I was so excited to share the news this week and I so appreciate all the encouragement and enthusiasm. I've been hard at work behind the scenes getting this ready and it's quite satisfying to see something I dreamed of take shape in the real world.
+ Santa Fe trip with Chris! We're taking a three-night trip as an early 40th birthday celebration. It feels a bit daunting to prep and pack to go out of town just as life is feeling so busy. But I also know that's what will make the trip all the more enjoyable. I can't wait. I'm looking forward to being inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe, who gives me divine feminine energy vibes, during a tour of her home and studio and a visit to the museum in Santa Fe. We'll also spend an afternoon soaking in thermal pools. One of my all-time favorite things to do is soak in hot water outside when it's chilly, like during our trip to Sol Duc in Olympic National Park. Ahhhhhhh...
+ Put up our Christmas tree. Now that we have a fake tree, I love to have the tree up by mid-November to enjoy the soft glow. However, we wait until the first weekend of December to hang ornaments.
+ Thanksgiving! We'll be going to my sister-in-law's house this year and we hope to enjoy the meal outdoors which is an Arizona perk.
+ Make a holidays game-plan with Chris. Planning logistics + gifts, budgeting early, and touching base often helps create more calm and enjoyment during the holidays.
+ Complete Christmas cards except for mailing. I plan to buy a template from Etsy or use one available on Canva along with one or more photos that I've already taken this year. I'll order postcard prints through VistaPrint, update addresses and print them on sticker labels, and order holiday stamps online. I really enjoy making and sending holiday cards (especially putting together our annual list of funny quotes from the kids) but also take pleasure in making the process as efficient and affordable as possible.
+ Complete teacher gifts. I already have the items for my template Christmas gift for teachers: a nice holiday dish towel from Target (this year's pick) and Mrs. Meyers Iowa Pine hand soap. I put those two items together in a small gift bag and also include a hand-written note expressing appreciation and usually tuck one of our holiday cards in as well. This year we have five teachers to give gifts to and often I include a couple of school staff members as well, anyone who has been especially helpful or impactful during the semester.
+ Catch up on our 2023 photo album.
+ Do a quick de-clutter in the kids' rooms. Always a great task before welcoming in new things at Christmas.
I hope your November is off to a good start and that you find calm and cozy.