December 2023 goals

1 December 2023

Welcome to the last month of 2023, friends! I’m grateful to be here. Between Thanksgiving, the anniversary trip for my parents, the (very soft) launch of The Connected Family, a particularly sad+thrilling week with Articles Club that I hope to tell you a bit about in the future, and, last but not least, the everyday magic of writing by the light of our Christmas tree with a fun holiday weekend ahead – how could I feel anything but?

And thank you again, friends, for your warm and excited support of my new venture. I shared that my subscriber goal for this week was 50, and we’ve now topped 350 – plus several pledged subscriptions, which I truly did not expect at this point at all. I’m sure we will unpack all the feelings at some point, but suffice it to say I know that this community is a big chunk of my “new” one, and I couldn’t imagine better gals to have along for the ride. You’ll see several TCF-related goals on my list below – excited to keep you in the loop as things progress!

A quick snap of my favorite shoes at my dear friend Libby’s brand-new play cafe in Raleigh! Triangle friends with littles, you must go visit!

On my calendar:
— Dinner out with John for our 2023 review and celebration.
— Hosting my family for Christmas. Truly an honor (and big responsibility) to orchestrate magic for a group!
— A trip to California for Christmas with John’s family. It’s been four years since we’ve been out to visit my sister- and brother-in-law and we’re excited!

What I’m loving right now:
— Copyright issues notwithstanding (?), this audio track of The Grinch is fun to listen to around the Christmas tree or on a holiday road trip! H/T to my friend Bethany for unearthing it.
— This little flocked Christmas tree has been sold out for years and they finally brought it back! It’s the one we have in June’s and Shep’s rooms, and this year I bought two more to flank our front door. It looks delightfully full once fluffed!
— Late breaking to this year’s stocking stuffer post, but if you have Squishmallow fans in your house, this mini set is genius. I’m planning to put one in each kids’ stocking, share some with my sister, and save the rest for Easter baskets or friend birthdays throughout the year. Perfect to go in on with a friend!

As a reminder, you can find allll the things I’ve loved over the last few years neatly organized right here!

What you’re loving right now:

This is where I highlight a few items here that have been popular in the last month with fellow readers, based on my analytics. Here’s hoping this will help you find something you’ll love!

— These Liberty-print toiletry bags from the grown-up stocking guide
— My (and June’s) favorite modern monogrammed notepads that I put on both the kid and grown-up gift guides
Vuori’s joggers – hoping I find some under my own tree :)
— One of our very favorite toys – this adorable ice cream set!
— The cutest animal sticky notes. Splitting them up for each kids’ stocking!

Plus lots and lots of orders for Christmas books – makes me so happy!

What I read in November:
Welcome Home | This home decorating and hosting book – based on the four seasons – was on my 2023 reading list. Though I enjoy the Nester’s style and home/decorating philosophy (and enjoy her newsletter!), this one was a DNF for me. It wasn’t offering me much new info and when I continued to reach for other titles, I knew it was time to return it to the library!
A Light in the Window | Another book in the Mitford series, the coziest story set right here in the mountains of NC.
The Wishing Game | This was a debut novel that felt a bit like a debut novel. Good, not great! It’s a sweet story but was just missing a little spark in the plot and life in the lines for me.
China Rich Girlfriend | I read the first in the trio a few years ago and when a community group friend was offering this one up, I snagged it! Again – the writing is not necessarily going to win any awards, but it was a fun, quick read that kept me turning pages.

My reading list for 2023! I’m 21.5 / 24 so far for the year!

Revisiting my November goals:
Submit all passport paperwork for the kids’ passports and my renewal (Nope, absolutely no progress on this, ha!)
Tackle Shep’s closet
Finish writing and design the Articles Club guide and list it for sale (Very close! Just need to finish the design!)
Finish our 2015-2019 photo album (Determined to finish this in December!!)
Design and order our Christmas card and newsletter
Edit Sheptember, Volume 5 (Halfway done!)

December goals:
— Finish our 2015-2019 photo album (gotta do it, it’s one of my 2023 goals! ;))
— Prepare well for my family’s visit. With such a large group, I’ve learned that advance (somewhat intense) planning is key to being able to fully enjoy our time together. Rereading my own post from last year to brush up!
— See what I can do to continue to customize The Connected Family’s home on Substack – it is pretty bare bones currently!
— Plan out content for Q1 of TCF, including brainstorming at least 100 newsletter ideas
— Tackle our laundry room…
— …and our downstairs linen closet, the very last space to complete my 2023 goal!
— Savor the Christmas season by focusing on loving the ones I love most, and loving those who need it the most. Even to me this sounds somewhat trite, but also the best way I know to celebrate the arrival of a tiny baby king who did the same.

Wishing you the merriest December, friends! Please feel free to comment on anything I’ve mentioned here, or anything else on your mind.

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December 1, 2023 5:10 pm

Happy December! I wanted to pop in the comments to say that your post on hosting rang especially true for me last week as my husband and I hosted both our families for Thanksgiving this year. The intense (and joyful) prep TRULY paid off and I thought of several of your tips including don’t forget the fun throughout my own process. It inspired us to institute a signature cocktail for each of the three nights, which truly delighted everyone!

December 2, 2023 10:25 am

“Orchestrate magic” is the perfect description! This year my family is getting together in a location where none of us live. Since I’m the only one close enough to drive vs. fly, I’ll be trying to pack the magic in my car :)

Emily Cochran
December 2, 2023 8:13 pm

I came across the full version of the original Grinch Christmas special on Pandora Radio a few years ago, and I found it on Spotify if you’re looking for the original version:

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas season.

December 3, 2023 8:32 am

Re: passports! I had the most luck getting an appointment with post offices outside of our immediate area. Once I made the appointment I was forced to get the paperwork together! 🤣

December 6, 2023 12:48 pm

Id love to know more about how you do the photo albums

December 18, 2023 5:35 pm

Hi there! I’ve been a loyal reader of your blog and absolutely adore your goal-focused posts. They truly inspire me with your mindful and deliberate choices. I’m particularly thrilled about the Connected Family topics, as screen time, staying connected, and intentional living are all things I’m so enthusiastic about learning more about.
Lately, I’ve been reflecting on how I spend my time and why I often feel overwhelmed and exhausted by the end of the day or week. I’ve been questioning if my schedule aligns with what truly matters to me, like having more quality time with my loved ones.
I have a somewhat silly question: Do you feel like your days have more breathing room? Is it possible to “take your time” a bit more? I’m asking as someone with a full-time work schedule who has become slightly obsessed with reaching my Goodreads reading goal and spends quite a bit of time on Instagram while trying to be present for my children. As I read your posts regarding your schedule and habits I suspect you are using your time differently and am considering what ideas I could also incorporate.
I’ve read your part-time post about being okay with not always being in the spotlight, and I wonder if this ties into that concept. I’ve been chasing after more and striving for that star status for so long, but my days are bursting at the seams, constantly transitioning from one thing to another without any room to rest.
I appreciate your insight and would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for everything you do!
P.S. Along these lines I’d love to hear more in TCF about your own phone habits and how they may help support your goals for connection