The month starts with a spontaneous trip to the Arboretum on a gray day. We’re members, but have barely visited this year because the baby couldn’t (wouldn’t) tolerate the car. Weather and naps mean that we can’t stay as long as we’d like, but it’s a lovely excursion while it lasts.
At work, we shut down the intranet that I somehow came to manage nearly seven years ago. The shut-down was supposed to happen in mid-2016. We have a party to celebrate, and I bring a glazed vanilla cake from Simple Cake baked in my grandma’s Bundt pan.
My work isn’t typically tied to the cycles of the academic year, but this year I’ve volunteered for a number of things that keep me busy as the academic year arrives with a roar. I make exhaustive lists in my planner and on my whiteboard. Both are completely filled with text. No wonder I feel like I’m drowning. Deep breaths, and one foot in front of another until the end of October.
We implement Falafel Fridays. The falafel can be accompanied by an exciting veggie side, or by homemade hummus, or by anything we need to use up, or by whatever looks good at the grocery store. We can eat in or get take out or meet at one of several falafely restaurants near us (though regrettably not Beni Falafel – see you in November!). Anything to put at least one meal per week on autopilot.
We work on making room in our budget, in part because we need to, and in part because we want to, and in part because we’re going to Belgium in two months and travel is always more expensive than anticipated. One week into this new focus on belt-tightening, we notice that our AC is making a strange noise. It stops working completely just in time for a brief but miserable heat wave. Fall is almost in sight, but not soon enough to postpone the repairs, particularly since we still can’t open most of our windows and the new windows, expected in August, still have no ETA. Sorry, landlord. Sorry, eating out budget, but we just can’t cook when it’s 95 degrees inside.
Another month with too much time spent on the road. At the beginning of the month, we drive out to Rockford to celebrate the a number of birthdays (my mom, two siblings, and the big kid) and take family photos with all of the siblings and their kids. A week later, I drive to Iowa to meet my mom and aunt at my grandparents’ house – one last visit to pick up furniture and odds and ends before the house goes on the market. It’s an exhausting out-and-back with an excessive amount of ice cream in the middle.
And then the following weekend, another trip to Rockford to celebrate the big kid’s birthday. His actual birthday is spent doing low-key fun things: pancakes and a special birthday balloon, a farmers’ market walk in the morning, then a run: five whole kilometers, one for every year. Pizza lunch at Jolly Pumpkin, his pick, then meeting his friend at the playground for cake (chocolate, with marshmallow frosting, both from Simple Cake – he requested chocolate with blueberries which I failed to deliver due to frosting miscalculations). A movie on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn. More pizza and cake the next day with his cousins, and many hours of solo time with his grandparents. We can’t deliver much on the present front, but hopefully the happy memories will make up for it.
- The Four Tendencies — Gretchen Rubin — More on this at some point.
- Things I’ve Carried on a Cargo Bike
- What’s a ‘Normal’ Amount of Time to Breastfeed? — NYT Parenting
- Parent Coffee Guide — Baba’s Field Notes
- How Long It Takes To Do Something — Cup of Jo
- The Future of the City is Childless — The Atlantic
- Want Stronger Friendships? Pull Out Your Notepad — NPR
- The (actually accurate) Bachelorette — Vox
- Existential Dread in the Animal Kingdom — The New Yorker
Also somehow I forgot to tell you that I read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy this summer, which I LOVED. Also The Egypt Game, for my book club, and Big Little Lies, just because.
- Chickpeas and kale, last fall’s obsession, brought back just in time for the weather to hit the 80s again.
- Eggplant with crushed chickpeas and herbed yogurt from Plenty More
- Corn, as often as we can eat it
From the NYTimes:
- Pasta alla Norma Sorta, except with Beyond Meat sausage (shockingly good!) swapped in for the prosciutto and Violife parm for the mozzarella. So perhaps more precisely Pasta Alla Norma Sorta Sorta.
- Sheet Pan Sausage with Peppers and Tomatoes with the aforementioned Beyond Meat sausages. Easy weeknight dinner that made me miss the many, many dinners of pork sausage in broiled in tomato sauce from a previous life.
- Skillet chili, which prompted the big kid to say “I don’t see any chili!”, which probably tells you how we felt about this meal generally.
- Coconut curry chickpeas, lacking some oomph because I forgot the jalapenos.