Fall always feels like a new beginning and this year especially so. After months and months of every day feeling the same, but also like nothing at all, it is nice to have some normalcy and rhythm again.
The kids are finally back to school. We didn’t start until the 16th, and it really was the morale boost we needed. The high schoolers are doing a hybrid model, and my middle schooler goes full-time.
We’ve been 98% housebound since March. In a lot of ways, it was great. In the beginning of lockdown, it was still winter in Massachusetts. So it felt like one long snow day and having everyone home from school (Wes was still a student at the time) was fun.
As spring turned into summer, and one day just felt like the last, it got to me. Between being isolated, the world literally and figuratively being on fire, politics, worrying about keeping everyone healthy, I was not in the best head space. I retreated and spent a lot of my days playing hours and hours of Animal Crossing and trying to do my best to stay positive.
When we came to Massachusetts last summer, it was for Wes to be a fellow and it was only for 10 months. We never in a million years dreamed that we would be able to stay here, but by some miracle, we are, and Wes is working at the D1 command. So, we are going to be here for a while. He also got promoted, and with that, we were able to move to a different house on base. So we moved down the street in June and it was a pain, but it was worth it.
I’ve gotten some emails/messages/DMs about my Friday newsletters. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you can read some old ones. 99% of them are so sweet and kind and you tell me that you miss them. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.
I got more than one (really) that mentioned that they really liked them better when we lived in Europe and now they weren’t as interesting.
Were these intended to be rude? No.
Did I get what they were saying? Absolutely.
Did it still rub me the wrong way? You bet.
The Friday newsletters take a really long time to put together. I loved doing them, but I was really thoughtful about what I linked to and I read everything that I posted.
I spent a lot of time taking and editing photos to share each week and I also wrote back to every single person that responded to my emails.
And if you aren’t a blogger, you would not know this, but it takes a lot of time and energy to maintain so many links. Google does not like broken links so I spent a lot of time making sure that all of those links worked (all the old ones too). And we need Google to ALWAYS be happy with us.
I resented that you (not YOU specifically, obviously) found me to be boring now that I lived in New England and wasn’t visiting England, England.
I felt like my time is valuable and if I am boring, then why bother?
It hurt my feelings.
It was also coupled with another interaction that I had around the same time where someone that I respected in the blog world told me that brands are not interested in 40-year-old lifestyle bloggers with teens. Unless I was shiny and new with babies, it’s hard out there for a girl like me.
What I heard (and this is NOT what she said) is that no one would be interested in what a 40-something like myself has to say.
Between those two things, COVID, racial injustices, everyone being mad all the time, being afraid of saying the wrong thing, or saying the right thing, being tired and semi-depressed, I just stopped saying anything at all.
I am far more interesting now as a 43-year-old mother of teens than I was 15 years ago. I am more nuanced, smarter, I’ve seen more, my worldview is larger. It’s a shame that brands aren’t that interested in women like me (she wasn’t wrong on that front) because we are kind of amazing.
Am I going to bring back the weekly Friday newsletter? No. I cannot handle that level of commitment right now. But I can handle monthly.
I really miss the connection that I had with you and I *almost* even miss when you judge me on how much money I spend on makeup and candles. I get emails about that too.
So here we are, it’s already October.
I don’t think we really need to recap much of 2020 do we? But there are some things that I’ve found to be really wonderful about it. And for things I’ll always be grateful.
SEPTEMBER HIGHLIGHTS //
I have put off getting headshots for YEARS and I finally did it. I found Joy LeDuc on Google and as soon as I hit her website I knew she was my photographer. She is indeed a JOY. We rented an incredible house for the morning and I also used Veronica Nunes for my makeup and I am so happy with how the shoot turned out. I dreaded it and now I can’t wait to do it again. (If you are Boston local and need a photographer or a makeup artist, these two women are incredible.)
Our schools did the most AMAZING job of getting our kids back safely and I am so grateful to every single person that works in those buildings. I know that they worked tirelessly (and didn’t get paid for a considerable portion of the time) to get the kids back into the buildings in the most effective and efficient ways they knew how. So much love and gratitude for our teachers.
Also, virtual school days are very exciting when your dog gets to say hi to your class.
We got another puppy! Beauchamp (staying with the Outlander theme, but we call him Beau) is an 8-week-old Golden Retriever and he is the sweetest, most chill, little dude. We always planned on getting two dogs and needed to figure out where we were going to be before we could get another one. We love him so much.
THINGS I’M LOVING //
If I am being totally honest, I have been taking breaks from the Internet so instead of just sharing links, I am going to pepper links with actual things that bring me joy and happiness.
I do religiously read one newsletter and it comes from Erin Moon. It’s called The Swipe Up and it’s worth the time and space in your inbox.
Every morning, I watch Kalin’s Clinks on Instagram Stories. I’ve always loved flowers, that’s not new if you have been here for a while, but she’s really taught me how to design and arrange flowers and it brings me JOY. I’ve also been going to a local flower farm and picking my own each week. Next year – I’m going to plant a cutting garden.
Animal Crossing from my Nintendo Switch has gotten me through a global pandemic with my sanity intact. (Mostly.) It’s a sweet and simple little game that is mindless and I’ve spent so many hours making my little island cute and if you need a brain break, this is it.
Yellowstone. Wes and I are so sad that we finished Yellowstone and have to wait so long for the next season. It’s like the Sopranos meets Montana cowboys.
Making little family films. I used to do these a lot and I stopped making them. My kids weren’t around as much and how many shots of kids looking at screens can you take? But lately, I’ve started consciously taking more video clips and I love putting these together.
Going to the grocery store used to be one of my favorite activities and now it stresses me out. Since we live on base, we can’t get grocery delivery, otherwise, I would just do that. I started ordering Butcherbox for my meats and I’m waiting for my first box. I’ve heard nothing but great things from friends I trust and they have amazing customer service. If you want to give it a try here is a $15 coupon.
My favorite pumpkin bread recipe. It’s super easy and I love the way my house smells when it is baking. It also makes a few loaves so you can give a loaf away or save some for another day.
Reading normally is something that brings me a lot of happiness, but has been really hard for me since we’ve been homebound. I don’t have the attention span like I used to, it’s taking me a long time to get through books that would normally take me a day or two. But I have read a few good ones. Transcendent Kingdom was excellent. There are a few other good ones in my Goodreads if you are interested in what I did manage to get through.
What have you been loving this month? Let me know in the comments.
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