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The second New Year

This time of year is akin to a second New Year for parents. A new school year, new fall commitments, extracurricular activities, and an eventual change in season all make it feel like a new horizon around the bend.

It gets me in the mood to reevaluate how we’re doing as a family. To start fresh with new routines and habits. To prepare mindfully for the busy season ahead.

But if you’re like me, it’s all kind-of ironic—these things are meant to help simplify life, but instead, they feel like one more thing to do. These to-do list add-ons eventually make life more stressful, not simpler.

After the summer season, I want to dust off the menu plan, wake up early enough again to have alone time, and regularly commit to weekly family meetings with Kyle. But when I try to do all those things, all at once, I stop before I start. It’s too much. I’m overwhelmed.

I’ve got a little something-something up my sleeve, and I’ll pull back the curtain this Friday. Its launch date is to celebrate my birthday, but it’s also deliberate: it’s the Second New Year for us parents. A fresh start feels good right now.

This week, we started our homeschool year. In a few weeks, we start our co-op and Tate starts gymnastics. I’m traveling in 10 days, and then again overseas in a month. Speaking at Relevant. Starting book number two. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the many little commitments that go with those holidays. New friends, new church, new town… It’s another season of busy for us.

Good things. But busy things. I’ll bet you many of you could say the same thing.

So this thing I’ve got up my sleeve, it’s a nifty tool. But I also hope it’s a gift—not only to you, but to me, too. I need it, so I made it for me, but then I thought it’d be fun to share it with my readers.

I’ve been working long hours to get this tool fleshed out, two other people have their sleeves rolled up in collaboration, and Kyle’s putting in even more hours on the home front so we can get this thing ready.

I’m excited! I love the fall season, busy and all. And I’m eager to share this thing with you on Friday.

What do you have going on right now? Anything new on the horizon? Looking forward to fall?

Reading Time:

2 minutes





  1. Jessicah

    Ooh, curiouser and curiouser!

    Funnily enough I’m planning on fall being my slow season. For the last 16 months I’ve worked 30 hours a week. Eleanor spends 3 days a week with Grandma, and goes to work with me 2 days a week. It was an ideal situation for the first 12 months or so, but the last few months have been rough, because she is NOT a happy camper at work anymore. So this Friday is my last day of work! For the first time ever I’ll be staying at home, and I’m pretty excited about it! It’s going to be so nice not to have to drag myself and the baby out the door by 6:30 every morning.

  2. Michele

    Beautifully said, Tsh. It does feel like a new year in many respects. We have something fantastic prepared for our near future. We live in an idyllic town that allows us to walk to almost everything, but there was one thing we had to drive to each week. Not anymore. The church we love planted a second church – two blocks from our home. I see Sunday Morning Children’s Sunday School in my future! 😉

    xoxo michele

  3. Stacy

    Talk about leaving us on the edge of our seats! Can’t wait to see what this something-something is.

    We are getting ready to start our homeschool year in a week or two and are also venturing out into some new activities for our family. It’s all very exciting 🙂

  4. naomi

    counting down until Friday!

  5. Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)

    While I am not a momma yet (praying this will happen soon) I can’t wait to see what you will reveal later this week!! Friday October 7th will be my last day at my current job. At that time I will begin a more low key ( = less stressful) job babysitting two toddler boys down the road. While I will miss my current job, my coworkers and clients, I can’t wait for this new season of life and to see what God has in store. God has been nudging me for a while to make a move and I finally listened & acted in faith. New things ahead!

  6. SLVenn

    You’ve got me so excited for Friday. I just love your blog by the way. Keep up the great work and inspiring writing!

  7. Heather

    Very excited about a new tool! We are trying to slow down a bit this fall. We do a lot of handmade for the holidays, which means I need to get started NOW! Usually our fall weekends fill up way too fast and we can’t get a breath until January. This year I hope to slow way down and have more free weekends for family time and crafting.

  8. Clara

    My summer holidays are almost ending :(, but I’m preparing myself and my family for this fall whith the help of an “organized simplicity”. I’m looking forward for friday!

  9. MamaBird

    Yes! to all of your sentiments in this post. Another school year, a fresh start, indeed. And yet, I always feel the same way… sometimes organizing it all feels like more work! I’m excited to see what you’ve created on Friday. Sometimes getting to “simplicity” can be very involved. 🙂

  10. Lanelle King

    Very much ready for fall – I’m not as much of a fan of summer as I used to be, now that I am working full time! Fall is a time to relax and kick the fallen leaves – which is what I am looking forward to.

  11. Lisa @Granola Catholic

    I so agree, Back to School time always seemed like a the start of a new year for me, a time to get everything back in order and organized. For us the slow days of summer come to an end and activities start back up.

  12. Jensgifts.etsy

    My oldest starts preschool tomorrow & she’s already having a rough time with the transition! I start babysitting a 6 mo old on Thurs. My youngest is 18 mos so I have to haul out all the baby gear & toys again & freshen up on my feeding skills: 🙂

  13. Alison B.

    I’m starting the fall off fresh with a re-vamped “Cleaning Box.” Very easy to make and to keep up with.

    Check it out

    Have a great day!

  14. Maureen

    Exciting- can’t wait to see what you have cooked up. We’re adding a move into our already busy next few months. I’ll be doing lots of deep breathing, lots of stepping back to gain perspective, lots of seeking to find the balance and beauty within all the changes. Mostly, I don’t want to miss the now, the wonderful present while I’m waiting for things to settle down. Because they won’t. Thanks for your encouraging words!

  15. Alissa

    No, no, no! I am not ready to kiss summer good-bye yet! I am so grateful that my kids are not yet school age, so we can pretend that September is still a month of summer. (Here in the northwest, that’s certainly true.) We’ll be hiking, swimming, grilling, and running amok as much as possible these next few weeks.

    But okay, I have to admit that some “New Year” thoughts are creeping into my brain. Our playgroup has our annual “planning meeting” (aka mama wine night) coming up, my work schedule is shifting next month, I’m looking at refreshing my work-out routine, and hunting for a fall bible study/core group.

  16. Courtney

    I’m curious! Can’t wait to see the new tool. Yes, I feel like my family is about to enter a busy season as well: school, new volunteer commitments, shifting work schedules, sports for the first time ever – ak! And like you, I need to re-start some habits like getting up early and meal planning. It was nice to let that go for a few weeks; now I’m motivated to get back into a more structured routine.

  17. leigh ann

    Wow! I’m excited for Friday! I just started following you on pinterest and love your pins! It’s so addicting when you pin in small doses!

  18. Emily

    Gosh am I looking forward to fall! How about temps in the eighties and nineties instead of 103+ every day? Maybe some rain!?

    We are suffering from serious cabin fever – can’t wait till it’s cool enough to start playing in parks and going on long-ish walks again.

  19. Kelley

    This is exactly how I feel! I look forward to seeing what you have up your sleeve 🙂 Glad to know I am not alone in the never ending pursuit of the perfect schedule and family routine, ha!

  20. Lisa

    I feel similar to you – excited about the fresh start but overwhelmed by its busyness. I look forward to what you have to share! I just wrote a post about how I am trying to cope with life’s busyness. I hope you have a great fall!

  21. Allison Stephens

    Your book has changed my life. I would use some of the basic techniques that you give in the book, but by the way you presented it I have been able to apply it and use it. So whatever you have planned I am counting the days. Have a blessed day, a wonderful conference and a great homeschooling year!

  22. michelle @ this little light

    Oooh, I just can’t wait to see what it is. I know I’ll love it, just like I love my ever-present daily docket. Friday can’t come soon enough!

  23. Natalie

    I don’t know what you’ve got up your sleeve, but I’m having fun speculating 🙂 And I totally share your feelings about what I sometimes call “the busyness of simplifying.” Streamlining often feels like more work than just maintaining status quo, even though the results can be so wonderful. I sometimes daydream about what if everything in my house just disappeared (minus the people and pets and photos and keepsakes 🙂 and we just had to start over from scratch. . .

  24. Elise Adams

    Love this article because it’s like you read my mind! I am feeling overwhelmed as I look at new opportunities and experiences opening up for our family. My first Women’s Conference (as the sole speaker) is coming up in October and my blog continues to grow needing more of my time. The girls (just 4 and 5) are starting half-days at school this Fall and the baby (now a climbing/running tot) is still at home with me. Without doubt managing time and tasks is a challenge for us. I love you message and mission so I can’t WAIT till Friday!

    Elise Adams from

  25. MaDonna

    Well put and said! Yes, we are starting something new this year and it feels a bit daunting at times. We moved to a new apartment in a different part of the city…so getting to know the neighborhood was the goal this summer. Now kids are back in school and so my husband is working out his new job schedule. I have that “To-Do List” that is overwhelming and can relate to the feelings of not wanting to even start. So, I can’t wait to see what you have “up your sleeve” for Friday. Thanks, in advance, because I know it will be good.

  26. Jessica

    new house (after we replace the floors, paint, etc.)! new preschool for my little man! new baby!

  27. Tricia

    Ooooo!!! I can’t WAIT!! :o)

    We’ve just started our school year, as well….and all the lists, goals, routines, etc. do tend to get overwhelming. But today was good. And that is enough for me! Now to just keep my head on straight for the rest of the week, er…uh, year.

  28. Kim

    Tsh – I can’t wait to see what else you have to share. I love yor blog & book. I like the idea of a weekly family meeting with your hubby. Is this your date night or do you discuss the kids, schedules and household issues? I think this is something that would be good to try out here.

    • Tsh

      Our date night is separate, though we do inevitably talk “business.” Family meetings are usually at the couch or kitchen table on Sunday evenings, after the kids are in bed. Just 30 minutes or so.

  29. Amy

    Kids don’t start school until after Labor Day, but tried to get the fall routine going today so it’s not crazy the week of school starting. It went pretty well except it is not even 9:30 PM yet and I’m spent.

  30. Angela

    Back to school has always been a “Second New Year” for us, too. My toddler isn’t in school yet. My husband is a teacher, though, so we never really stopped basing our lives around some sort of school calendar.

    We have looked forward to this particular fall with more than the usual sense of excitement and renewal. This week started not only a new chapter, but a whole new book in our lives. I left my office job on Friday to begin life as a SAHM.

    Never in a million years did I think this was a road I would want to travel. Even when I was pregnant with my daughter, if you would have told me I would want nothing more than to be with her 24/7, I would have said you were a nutcase. It didn’t take long after she was born for the gut-wrenching emotional shift that led to what may be the biggest change in my life so far.

    We are blessed that we can (we think) make this work for our family. It feels as if we are starting a brand new life and we are looking at EVERYTHING in a completely new light.

    Thanks for such a great blog. I’ve loved it for a while and now I have the chance to read it more regularly. I can’t wait until Friday!

  31. Jessica

    I love fall. It is absolutely my most favorite time of the year. I look forward to getting back on a schedule. This year our schedule is on hold though. My parents and youngest sisters are visiting us for a month as they take a break from being directors of a children’s home in Kenya.

  32. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

    Since I don’t have kids, back to school normally means the middle schoolers that I volunteered with are getting a year older. But this year, I’m taking a break so back to school doesn’t hold any particular meaning to me. However, I am excited to be celebrating my 25th year on this Earth with some pretty exciting things.

  33. Mandy Moore

    I love the idea of calling this time of year the “second new year”! The last few years as I have gotten my children ready for their first days of school I have realized one can compare the night before school to the night before Christmas! I spend about as much time thinking and planning and preparing for the start of school as I do for Christmas, and I do not even home school. I think it is part of being a mom, always analyzing, always dreaming of things running smoother, always looking for ways to grab precious moments and make them count for eternity… It truly is a second new year!
    I look forward to what you have up your sleeve 🙂


    I can so relate…
    It is such a transitional season…
    Even my personal calender runs September to August instead of the traditional month of January.
    Luckily, for me all the business is tempered by the fact that Autumn is truly my favorite time of the year.
    Can’t wait for Friday’s surprise!

  35. Caitlin

    Fall will bring new life and new rhythm to my house. My daughter is due to make her grand entrance into the world late September/early October and turn everything upside down in the delightful and chaotic way that only babies can. I’ll be taking a few months off from work to savor being a mama to the wee one; I’m predicting days on end of nursing, napping, and Netflix. NaNoWriMo if I’m feeling extra ambitious. And my dear husband trying to figure out how to change diapers.

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