This year February 1st is my January 1st. I was just easing into 2022 and feeling energized when COVID hit our household. That pulled the rug right out from all the routine we were just settling into. Whew! But even COVID aside, I think collectively we could all use some rest, recharge, and reflection after the holidays. Especially so considering what we've experienced in 2020 and 2021. I'm here to gently remind you that a fresh start is a mindset and it can happen on January 1st or February 1st or July 23rd. This month I'm celebrating the routine and... Read more →


Feeling energized and content after the coziest creative weekend away in Pine with Erica. Here's the perfect cabin where we stayed! We planned a year of content for The Girl Next Door, worked on our own creative projects (for me, this blog, for Erica, her Homeschoolhood podcast), laughed, and talked for hours in the company of a crackling fire. Settling into our spring semester routine this week. Our family had COVID in mid-January which disrupted the routine we were just starting to find. Thankfully we had very mild cases (the boys and I tested positive, Chris and Maeve consistently tested... Read more →


End of 2021 / Beginning of 2021 / Same winning white shirt/cardi combo Hello, hello! Happy 2022! December was full. I had a lingering cold (but not COVID!) that turned into an ear infection but there was also holiday magic and amazingly even some rest. Then I spent the first week of the new year in Austin where I snuggled my new namesake niece, Quinn Kelsey, and doted on my sister and nephew. It was so so special. Now we're getting back into the swing of our regular routines. I love the holidays but also find myself delighted to greet... Read more →


The stockings are hung on their Command hooks with care and, because of our curious toddler, our Christmas tree is decorated with all the ornaments hanging in the top half of the tree. This year Maeve is fully participating in the wonder of Christmas and it's bringing us all joy. She shrieks in excitement when we tell her we're going to look at lights. She points at Christmas books to show us "Pata!" (Santa) and "teee!" and "mights!" At every opportunity she wants to see decorations in our neighborhood over which she oooos and ahhhhs. I'm savoring that we still... Read more →


This post is also available in podcast format in which I read the post. Search for "rising shining" on most podcast platforms and subscribe! Loving... Decluttering and inviting in a clean slate. This time of year, as we open our doors to the chilly air, I always find myself inspired to declutter. The air feels fresh and clean and I want our home to feel that way too. I'm also loving our backyard movie setup. We're using the same projector/screen set up that we've had for a few years. We hang the screen on our backyard wall and hook up... Read more →


This post is also available in podcast format in which I read the post. Search for "rising shining" on most podcast platforms and subscribe! In two years I will turn 40. (Wait, what?) Our culture has imbued that birthday with such significance and not necessarily a positive one, especially for women. So I will admit that sometimes when I think about turning 40 I feel some reluctance and kind of what to whine, "But do I have to?" Then I stop to think and interrogate the cultural messages we've been given about turning 40. I think about what an absolute... Read more →


This post is also available in podcast format in which I read the post. Search for "rising shining" on most podcast platforms and subscribe! Around June I remember thinking that I should write one last pandemic check-in post since it seemed that life was heading back to normal. All the adults in my family and many friends were fully vaccinated. New cases numbers for our county seemed to be holding steady in the low hundreds, which was a significant improvement from making headlines in the New York Times as a hot spot months earlier. Mask requirements were significantly eased in... Read more →


Costumes for 2021: a Minecraft character for Dash, a last minute costume change into an improvised zombie for Cedric, and a dinosaur for Maeve. She has the cutest dino hoodie but didn't want to wear it. / Halloween High Fitness with my friends who were the most amazing Barbies! / our grilled Halloween pizza that turned out a little ugly but was completely delicious I had the realization this week that November 1st kicks of my favorite, best four months of the year. From now through the end of February we have great outside-every-day-weather, there's the holiday hubbub and then... Read more →


This post is also available in podcast format in which I read the post. Search for "rising shining" on most podcast platforms and subscribe! Feeling... like the weight of my summer and heat blahs has been lifted. As always I'm so, so happy the heat is behind us for the year. Loving... how full and boisterous the house is. A babbling toddler, two loud boys, so much activity in the kitchen, so much laundry. All the saying apply: The days are long but the years are short. Full hands, full heart. These are the days. Purchased... new workout leggings in... Read more →


Fall weather is very reluctant to visit us in south central Arizona. So we have to bring the fall spirit ourselves. A list of fall activities reminds me of the fun seasonal things we can still do despite the over-eager sun. The boys are old enough that they're excited to think about fall activities too which makes a family bucket list much more fun. We brainstormed ideas together with the boys one night after Maeve's bedtime. Some of the boys’ ideas are not quite fall themed (like "play with friends") but I love hearing what they come up with. Cedric... Read more →