October 2021 goals

5 October 2021

As of yesterday, my maternity leave is officially over and I’m back to work, thus welcoming in another new season for our family. I’d imagine the end of parental leave comes with mixed feelings for most people, and I’m no exception: wistful to miss some time with my girl during the day, full from all the time we spent together, achy to be closing a chapter for the last time, happy to be back with my team… but mostly, very, very grateful. I have work to do that helps people, uses my gifts, and that I enjoy. I have a schedule that works for my family. And for the next month, while my parents are here watching Annie, I still have my tiniest sidekick in the next room over.

Knowing that this will be another transitional month for our family, I’m keeping things simple in October! Simple goals + all the simple pleasures fall is known for = a great month ahead.

P.S. The 2022 PowerSheets launch tomorrow! (!!) If you’ve ever wanted to get to the heart of what matters to you and take small (and sometimes big!) steps toward living more intentional days, I would love to have you join me in using this product. (And if not, there are so many other fun things launching this month, too! Conversation cards! Action decks!)

Our fall mantel! The bats we’ve had for a few years, and the pumpkin garland I made from my felt ball collection and this vase filler pack. The wicker pumpkin I snagged last year (they stocked them again because they sold out so fast!). The gorgeous fluff I surreptitiously snipped from the fringes of our neighborhood and John was very embarrassed, ha.

On my calendar this month:
All the fall things, including our trip to Black Mountain, the State Fair (it’s back!), and some version of pumpkins and soup.
Camping with the Rays! As many of you know, we have an annual camping tradition eight years strong. The spring trip we had planned before the 10th and 11th members of our combined crew arrived was canceled due to John’s Achilles injury. At first we thought we’d have to miss a year, but instead decided to do a backyard camping night! I can’t wait, even though the mamas and babies may or may not sleep inside :)
— The Raleigh tour stop for Taylor Leonhardt’s new album. It’s outside at the end of the month, and I’m hoping it will be one of those crisp, chilly fall nights.
— The premier of the new James Bond movie! We are still avoiding most elective activities that include being inside in a public place for an extended time, but we both love these movies and would love to see it in theaters. We shall see!

What I’m loving right now:
— The easiest up-do ever! I am generally hopeless when it comes to doing anything with my hair, but EVEN I can do this one! Props to my friend Bethany for teaching me her ways.
— I found the intro to the new season of the Raising Boys & Girls podcast to be such a good listen. It’s short (20 minutes) but packs a punch as Sissy, David, and Melissa talk about the differences in kids and parents today versus when they started counseling, as well as what kids and parents most need to thrive today.
— I am a chicken pot pie connoisseur, and this recipe is my absolute favorite. I use store-bought refrigerated pie dough and a rotisserie chicken, and it comes together so easily! Perfect for fall dinners.

You can see all the things I’ve loved in my goal posts over the years right here!

What I read in September:
September was a slow month for reading. I began Awaking Wonder, but a few pages in it wasn’t catching my attention, so I put it aside. I’m sure I’ll return to it, but in the meantime, I’m reading The Dearly Beloved and it is FANTASTIC so far. Making an early call that it may be my favorite fiction book of 2021.

My reading list for 2021, if you’d like to follow along! I’m a little out of order but have read 13 out of 24 so far.

Revisiting my September goals:
Edit June in June, Volume 6 (Done!)
Film Sheptember, Volume 3 (Done! What a relief to have two able-bodied parents to film, ha!)
Lay out 2012 in family album
Write 6-10 blog posts (Done! Yeehaw! Thank you for all of your feedback along the way – makes writing that much more fun.)
Finish our master bedroom refresh (In my mind, to complete this goal I needed to purchase a lumbar pillow and hang something above our dresser, and I didn’t do either of those things, sooooo… not done.)
Do a Peloton exercise every day (Nope, definitely did worse with this goal this month than last month.)
Write a thank you note every day until I’m finished with my backlog (Made good progress! Only four notes left to go.)

October goals:
— Complete the backing for our Advent calendar (it’s baaaaaack!)
— Create our Halloween costumes (very excited a family theme is back after taking a break last year!)
— Listen to an upcoming sermon series for a church we’re exploring
— Plan and enjoy our Black Mountain trip
— Re-introduce our evening Peloton stretch sessions
— Find that lumbar pillow

As a reminder, many of these are drawn from my 2021 goals!

Friends, I’d love to hear what YOUR favorite fiction book of 2021 has been so far! Please share in the comments, if you’d like.

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October 5, 2021 8:34 am

I LOVE The Dearly Beloved and I hope it continues to be a home run for you! I think my favorite fiction book of 2021 so far is The Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead – it is long (500+ pages) and centers on a subject I didn’t think I would have too much interest in (aviation) but the storytelling is just soooooo good. I spent afternoons lost in it!

October 5, 2021 8:42 am

I completely forgot that The Dearly Beloved was on my to read list for 2021. Bumping it up now :) The Book of Longings is easily my favorite non-fiction book I’ve read this year! I think you would like it too (or at least would find it very thought provoking!).

October 5, 2021 8:45 am
Reply to  Megan

Also! Have you ever read The Boys in the Boat? It’s nonfiction but written in narrative fashion, and seems totally up your alley!

October 5, 2021 9:36 am

I LOVE The Dearly Beloved, and it was absolutely in my top four books of last year. I can’t wait to hear what you think!! It’s so hard to narrow down, but my favorite fiction books so far this year include One Two Three, The House in the Cerulean Sea, Anxious People, Saints for All Occasions, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, The Midnight Library, and The Four Winds. SO MANY excellent reads!!!
We also ADORE James Bond movies a ton, and we’re similarly debating going in person (we always have in the past for the opening weekend!) but aren’t sure yet… we’ve waited so long for this newest installment!

Chelsey Colon
October 8, 2021 11:47 am

Going to second The Midnight Library and Saints for All Occasions – loved them both!

October 5, 2021 10:52 am

I think the Flatshare and the Dutch House have been my favorite fiction books of the year so far! I read the Dearly Beloved at the beginning of the year and enjoyed it too.

October 5, 2021 11:22 am

The Dearly Beloved left me with the coziest wistful satisfaction at the end — a weird description, but I think you’ll get it! ;) Favorite fiction books so far in 2021 have included One Two Three by Laurie Frankel; Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann; Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano; and The Guncle by Steven Rowley. I just started We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange and am enjoying it so far, too!
(PS: I have been loving your blogging behind-the-scenes series and am eagerly awaiting the next installments!)

October 5, 2021 3:06 pm

Just recently finished The Dearly Beloved! It started kind of slow for my taste, but I really enjoyed it in the end. My favorite book I’ve read in 2021 is Dear Edward. So sad but so beautiful! I also really enjoyed The Great Alone!

October 5, 2021 4:49 pm

Oohhh, I will come back and read through all the comments on this post!! I have been reading a lot of Kristin Hannah this year and enjoyed them all. „The Nightingale“ the most maybe. I also thought „The Midnight Library“ was really good, and different. Can’t wait to add more to my library cue as I read through the other comments :)

Also: that pampas grass!! So pretty! I should finally plant our own! It’s all over our neighborhood too!

October 6, 2021 11:01 am

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni, We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker, What Comes After by Joanne Tompkins. Just started Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles and loving it so far – A Gentleman in Moscow is a past favorite of mine.

October 8, 2021 12:23 pm
Reply to  Em

I second the Ordinary Grace rec, too! William Kent Krueger is a masterful writer! I am going to read Lincoln Highway soon, too, Erin! Glad to hear you are loving so far. :)

Laura M
October 8, 2021 2:50 pm
Reply to  Abigail Gray

This Tender Land was one of the best books I read this year! Adding Ordinary Grace to my list now.

October 6, 2021 1:32 pm

Definitely Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel. It is VERY long but very good. The author also wrote Piranesi which is much shorter and just as good.

October 6, 2021 2:19 pm

Good luck on your transition back to work. My favorite fiction book this year was The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. It’s totally different than anything else I’ve ever read.

October 6, 2021 9:53 pm

Thinking of you so much this week and praying for a smooth transition for all! Backyard camping where you can sleep inside sounds like my ideal version of camping :P And can’t wait to see your Halloween costumes!

October 11, 2021 3:12 pm

THANK YOU for linking the bats! I remembered that you used them for mantel decorating but couldn’t find the link in your past October posts. Also, your mantel is so beautiful – definitely worth whatever embarrassment John felt that day, lol!

October 22, 2021 4:16 pm

I love a good funny mystery book! Finlay Donovan by is killing it by Elle Cosimano was super fun to read. Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan was also excellent! :)