What I'm Into (July 2014) [Updated 8/9 to add books I had forgotten to add]
There were many years when I didn't like summers growing up. Have I ever told you that? Actually, to be perfectly honest, I hated them for a while. My excema would always flare up, making angry, weepy patches on my legs, arms, and hands. My face was often swollen with allergies after any fun event (dirtbikes through the hayfield, helping in the garden, walking). I wore long pants and shirts to cover up my skin, and this meant I was perpetually hot. I craved the routine of school and counted down the days until September. I tried unsuccessfully to bring routine to the untameable summer months. Not so anymore.
In June it felt like we were trying to get the hang of summer. I kept fearing that we were wasting it--that we weren't having enough fun. But by July, the pace picked up (as it always does), and there was more delight crammed into July than possibly the other eleven months of the year.
We took Liam out late for fireworks and music the day before Independence Day. We celebrated the actual Fourth of July with Chick-fil-A and errands early on and then hot dogs for dinner.
The next day, Liam celebrated his first birthday. Because we had a big gathering for his baptism (and I am often too much of a minimalist to throw a Pinterest party for his first birthday), we kept his actual birthday simple. We had two mini-celebrations with my family, and at neither did he get interested in smashing a cake or cupcake (which was fine with his cake smashing ambivalent parents).
We used some gift money to buy Liam (and, let's be honest, ourselves), a FunPod. It's life changing. With his increased mobility, he started hating the highchair, and he didn't like sitting on the floor where he couldn't see what we were doing. Enter the FunPod. It even fits under our counter with our bar stools when we're not using it (see the lower right picture above). We use it multiple times a day.
We started going to the children's museum, which isn't too far away. Jon's family gave us a family membership for Christmas, and we finally activated it once Liam started toddling. It is awesome! We usually don't make it far because Liam gets so enthralled by one area. But it gives us a nice break from the usual.
In late July, we took a day trip to meet our new niece and see Jon's family. It was a fun day. We learned Liam's love for semi-truck sales books that day when we stopped at a truck stop. He can also point out red trucks on any page of the catalogue. We were shocked.
We picked so many blueberries and ate them still warm from the sun and extra sweet. Liam showed us that he could pick them off and stuff them right into his mouth. There were zinnias and sunflowers and walks and popsicles and playgrounds.
My sister was in town for the summer, and we had Wednesday breakfasts at one of our favorite places many weeks. We took a trip to my family's farm in the mountains. Perhaps the highlight of this was the day we left Liam with his grandmother and went to a waterfall. The cold water and spontaneity made me feel like a child again. It was a day I wish I could capture in a bottle forever. There may have also been some bridge jumping (but not by me with my fears of all that could go wrong).
There was food on the grill in July and time with friends and nights of staying up far too late. There was weeding and errands that felt like adventures and an utter lack of deep house cleaning. We had blueberry raspberry pound cake from Delancey, and lots of chocolate chip cookies.
July is a magical month--with all that you do, you should come away exhausted, but for one month, the wonder of it all sustains you and you wish it could just keep being July.
Reading: What would I do without Modern Mrs. Darcy's Summer Reading Guide?! It is fabulous!
Five Star Book: Dear Mr. Knightley: I was fairly enthralled by this book and stayed up way late finishing it. But does anyone else not love the ending? (P.S. It's on sale for $2.99 for Kindle right now!) All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood: I wouldn't go as far as to say this was life-changing, but it definitely explained some things I've wondered about (like why we struggle so much with parenthood today) and shifted by perspective. I want to return to it as Liam grows. Beautiful Ruins: The picture of how brokenness extends through times and generations is so accurate, and the possibility of beauty from brokenness reminds me of the Scripture narrative.
Other Great Reads: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry // Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage//
Watching: While my sister was here, we started some TV again with Veronica Mars. It makes high school look like the scariest, most horrible place on earth, but the plot has me hooked.
Listening: I'm loving podcasts right now. Time to clean or cook and listen to a podcast refreshes me more than I would have thought. I currently love the following:
- Kat Lee's How They Blog and Inspired to Action podcasts inspire me every time in blogging and motherhood (respectively and simultaneously).
- I always love Tsh's Art of Simple podcast. Tsh's perspective is so refreshing, and I love the variety of guests and topics.
- I recently discovered The Relevant Podcast. It's a little longer, so I'm not the most faithful listener, but the conversations generally make me laugh, and I always need a little culture in my life. Plus Shauna Niequist is always delightful to listen to.
- Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy was featured on The Brilliant Business Mom podcast, and I'm hooked. I loved her episode and the one on blogging tips that was featured right afterwards.
- Elise Gets Crafty and After the Jump inspire me to dream big and think through practicalities of work and being a mom, as well.
- Are there any podcasts you recommend?
Now that summer is winding down, you can expect more frequent posting. And I have another project in the works I hope to introduce to you soon.