Earlier this week, I wrote about the first half of our spring break trip to Joshua Tree National Park. I'd love to share a recap of the second part of our trip in San Juan Capistrano, California. Let's go! San Juan Capistrano After the remote desert of Joshua Tree National Park, we were excited to get to the beach. Our trip to San Juan Capistrano came about through Home Exchange when a woman reached out to me with interest in staying in our home. Otherwise San Juan Capistrano would not have been on my radar for a trip. But I'm... Read more →


Hello, friends! We arrived back home after a nine day family trip that included two nights at Joshua Tree National Park and six nights in San Juan Capistrano, both in California. I'll give you a recap today of our trip to Joshua Tree National Park and later this week our trip to San Juan Capistrano. Maeve doing the "cool" hand signs like her brothers! Remote desert beauty To drive to Joshua Tree National Park from Arizona you first drive through hours of open desert. There are long stretches without even a gas station in sight. At one point we could... Read more →


Every year around the new year, Chris and I have an annual summit. We reflect on life currently, deep dive into our budget, project finances for the year ahead, and set couple and personal goals. To us, this ritual is emblematic of what makes our marriage strong and happy. During and after these conversations we feel solidly on the same team and excited for the adventure of our everyday life ahead. It's a wonderful feeling and a new year doesn't feel official until we've had our summit. A reader asked me to give more details about our annual summits and... Read more →


While I was running on the treadmill one day, I realized that I have certain phrases that I say to myself while I exercise and memories that motivate me. I've been exercising for so long – I started running with my dad when I was 12 – that my inner monologue while I workout is second nature to me. But it made me curious about what's going on in everyone else's heads next to me on the treadmill. So I thought I'd share what's going on in my mind during a workout and I'd love to hear from you as... Read more →


Two weekends ago I filled the trunk of our car with bags of soil and plants. At home in the backyard I worked all morning digging up the compacted soil, pulling out weeds of long-gone plants, and creating soft, ready beds. It's been so long since I worked in the yard like that with my hands. I kept thinking how good it felt to get my hands dirty and to fill two corners of our yard, plus a couple of pots, with plants. Maeve helped me "tuck in" the plants nice and cozy and even sang them a bedtime song... Read more →


Hi, friends! How was your February? Lately I'm sipping coffee that's half-caf (which I mix up myself) although I always make my coffee strong, decaf or not. I use one very full tablespoon of coffee per carafe cup of water to make my coffee. I'm curious, what ratio of coffee to water do you brew? My personal opinion is that there's no excuse for weak coffee. ;) February was wonderfully rainy, our rainiest month in my recent memory, and I reveled in the coziness. I leaned all the way into the coziness with a weekend trip to the mountains with... Read more →


This is our house – we think it's so cute! Sadly we had to have the backyard tree removed last year though. Last Friday was the two year anniversary of having our offer accepted on our second home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin – even before we had ever been to Eau Claire! Here's the full story about why we purchased a second home including how we afforded to buy a second home. The short story is climate change and by using a big chunk of savings and additional funds from a well-timed cash-out refinance of our Arizona home. Now that... Read more →


This year, as part of my 2024 goals, I'm planning to take three days completely off: February 29, June 22 (my half birthday), and December 22 (my birthday). Every year I take my birthday off and love the feeling of being completely "off-duty." I realized I should not limit myself to feeling that way only once per year! As I've been looking ahead to February 29 I found myself trying to figure out how to take a day off. What a funny conundrum to be in! But I wonder if others can relate to it as well. Even though I... Read more →


In September I shared 10 things adding shine to my life. Today I'm back with a similar list of everyday joys, so named because I sign off every episode of my audioblog podcast with "wishing you everyday joys and small wins." I was going to do a list of 10 but at the end of the list I thought of one more, and I thought, "What's the harm in 11 joys instead of 10?!" So here are 11 everyday joys I'm noticing lately in no particular order... 11. Rain. Here in central Arizona we get a whopping annual rainfall of... Read more →


Great sunset and daily tea time. Two of many things I love about February. We turned the corner from January and are already well into February; life is full and busy lately! Before pressing ahead, I want to reflect on how January started and where we are now. January started off with some rough seas but the waters feel much more manageable. With a lot of intention and effort we made parenting changes across screen time, chores, and behavior which has made a difference. Even if these things still take effort, I feel confident in our approach and what the... Read more →