We’ve been home from Paris for almost a week, and I am still decompressing. Paris with kids is woah. So, so wonderful and awful at the same time or at different times.

Extra grateful, though: showing them the world is all worth the pain of traveling and schlepping them (literally, read below) around a city.




Grateful for: the memories we made in France and for being able to share Paris with my kids! It wasn’t easy and rupe and I lost our minds a time or two but we had so many fun moments and a huge thanks to Plan My Paris for creating our custom itinerary. I’ve never used a service like that and I am SO glad we did. Every day was planned out but still loose enough for plenty of flexibility and downtime (if there was such a thing with a 6 and 8 year old in tow). Check out Plan My Paris here

Learned: We took a day trip to the palace of Versailles and really enjoyed the paintings by Horace Vernet but the kids favorite fact was that the drink of choice for King Louis XV was hot chocolate.

Accomplished: Rupe and I took turns carrying clover up the 600+ stairs to the second platform of the Eiffel Tower and I gave her a piggy back ride all the way down. We also carried her approximately 6 of 8 miles around the city daily. She was not in the mood for all the walking. Ha

Delighted in: watching the kids get drawn at Place du Tertre in Montmartre. After proving their artistic ability, all the artists there are licensed by the city of Paris. There is a 10-year waiting list for new artists to set up an easel here. I was proud of the kids for sitting so still for their portraits for 20+ minutes. And our artists name was samuel so that was pretty special too

G.L.A.D. December 1, 2023 G.L.A.D. December 1, 2023


Grateful for: We’ve managed to avoid the post holiday sickness that everyone else around us has fallen victim to. #smallblessings

Learned: I’ve unsuccessfully tried booking a campsite at Yosemite National Park for the last two years. The campsites are typically booked within minutes, if not seconds. I just learned that they’ve started a lottery system to win a chance at priority booking. Three of my email addresses later and after barraging all my camp friends… Fingers crossed for the summer of ’24!

Accomplished: I hosted my first poetry therapy circle for mothers last week. There were tears. There were breakthroughs. There were friendships made.

Delighted in: I introduced Lou to play pickleball this week. And although she’s too young to actually play, it’s been the cutest watching her get so excited to swing her paddle and throw the ball back over the net to me. 😭🤍


Grateful for: the season of advent. For Catholics, it is our “new year” and a season of celebration. It is also a reminder to slow down and focus on what is most important in life.

Learned: of a War and Peace read-along/book club led by Simon Haisell on Substack. Simon leads the group in reading a chapter a day for a year! I read a lot of classics in college and am excited to rechallenge myself and read outside of my comfort zone.

Accomplished: I bought all of Birdie’s Christmas presents secondhand! Via marketplace or thrift stores. I saved a lot of money, and finding exactly what I wanted was a thrill. 

75-piece set of Magnatiles for $25, an $8 Minnie Mouse doll house 🤭 and a set of 10 Schleich animals for $15!

Delighted in: walking to Lake Michigan every day for 4 days during our stay in Charlevoix for Thanksgiving. Nowhere else do I find such peace than by that shoreline. She was breathtaking!


Grateful for: This Thanksgiving, our extended families were out of town, so I’m thankful for friends who’ve become like family and welcomed us around their table. 

Learned: the phenomenon called microchimerism blew my mind this week. As early as the second week of pregnancy, cells can escape from the mother’s uterus and spread through the mother’s body, embedding in organs, including the heart, lungs, and brain. Each time a woman is pregnant, she acquires these cells. What a feeling of connection with my two boys and for past babies lost. ❤️

Accomplished – getting our Christmas tree up and decorated. 

Delighted in: we’ve agreed around the office that as we age, we want to be bold old ladies who make adventurous clothing choices. This Instagram account from the streets of Madison Ave is the perfect inspo for our future life as crazy but stylish, old ladies. 


Grateful for: living near our extended family. After being across the country from them in NorCal for 13 years and Chicago for another 3, it’s special to drive 30 minutes and spend Thanksgiving together. My husband made his amazing turkey ballottine, a deboned turkey stuffed with shiitake + leek + apple, rolled up and wrapped in bacon. So yummy!  

Learned: We rediscovered our Year of Knots book by Windy Chien, and we’re learning how to tie knots together. The doughnut knot was surprisingly easy and satisfying to make. My 5-year-old has his heart set on learning the multistrand star knot which is the most difficult knot in the book. Wish us luck! 

Accomplished: We wrapped our Christmas books and put them under the tree for our book advent tradition. I started this for the kids last year after learning about it from Amanda Jane Jones. It’s a sweet low-cost way to celebrate the season and rediscover all of the magical Christmas books in your collection. You can supplement with library books if needed. Unwrapping them each day brings another level of joy!  

Delighted in: cutting down and decorating our Christmas tree! Santa and horse drawn wagon rides were also at the farm we went to, so all had major delight. 🙂

Sarah Matthews

Grateful for: Dan got me a new water flask with a straw, but he didn’t just buy it for me and bring it home, he hand washed it and filled it with water before giving it to me. A small thing, but really spoke to my “acts of service” love language.

Learned: I love cozy Christmas decor 😂 i’ve always been so minimalist in my decor (mostly bc living in apartments I didn’t want to accumulate extra stuff) but this year we got some christmas throws, pillows and sat around all cozy after putting our tree up and the dopamine was FLOWING.

Accomplished: We hosted a friendsgiving with 20 people at our house, and it was so sweet with 4 kids running around chasing each other and having a blast. when I went to check on them in the room they were playing in, Tilly came to shut the door and said “bye bye!” My friends went all out and the food was the best I’ve ever had.

Delighted in: We’re in the schematic phase of a new project and pulling together all the inspiration with Sarah is one of my favorite things.


Grateful for: the best time of year is here!

Learned: Stumbled across @jennybloomfield Instagram and have been inspired by her illustration style, especially her drawings of dogs.

Accomplished: I’m trying to draw more often. Started some drawings of some dogs & cats! All while our house got through another round of COVID! 🙄… Juniper has never been this sick before, but I’m fine now, and Juniper is almost better!

Delighted in: all the nostalgia and family memories I have when I listen to my favorite Christmas album- Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi Trio.


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