Good Monday morning. Welcome to July.
Last week was quite a week. It was a good week. Last week was a microcosm of everything that is wonderful about summer all crammed into one lovely week. A few highlights before I delve into the details:
1. I read a lot. On one occasion, I read until nearly five in the morning.
2. I spent a lot of unstructured time with the kids.
3. ANTHONY KENNEDY ANNOUCED HIS RETIREMENT FROM THE SUPREME COURT.
4. I found some curtains for the kitchen/dining area of our home that I think are the curtains.
5. I saw Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Yes, again. Don't judge.
It all began with book club Monday evening. Since both of our husbands were working, Jessica & I left all four grandkids with our parents at Jessica's house & hightailed it to book club. We met at Chicken Salad Chick, a new restaurant in Monroe. The food & the discussion were wonderful, but I was burned by my decision to wear no makeup when the restaurant's owner (manager? . . . I don't know) snapped a picture of our table . . . & then posted it to the restaurant's Facebook page. Everyone in book club then shared the post, & so by the end of the evening basically everyone I know saw the photo.
I am choosing to share with you this photo taken at our May meeting. I don't think I am wearing any eye makeup, but I did shower & put some powder on my face & look less bedraggled than in the photo from our June meeting plastered all over Facebook.
Last Monday night we discussed June's book, Dear Mr. Knightley, which I briefly discussed last week. I so enjoyed this book. We concluded our meeting by deciding our July meeting will be held at Log Cabin, a Ruston restaurant that makes the best nachos I have ever had. The thing is, Log Cabin serves two different nacho options, & they are equally excellent. They make fajita nachos (served with your choice of chicken or beef . . . I prefer the chicken), & they also make BBQ nachos that just make me not care about calories or carbs or anything outside of me & the plate of nachos in front of me.
Needless to say, I am excited about book club happenings in the month of July. We are reading Liane Moriarty's The Husband's Secret this month. I haven't yet begun reading The Husband's Secret because I was on such a book high after finishing Dear Mr. Knightley I wanted to reread something I knew would give me that same wonderful rush, & so I reread The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.
Trey was out of town for much of last week, & this is a large part of the reason I read so much. My schedule last week was quite bizarre but also lovely because it suited me well. It was so hot I couldn't even think of going outside to exercise until around seven-thirty in the evening. I'd finish about eight-thirty. I'd get the kids ready for bed. They'd get up two-thousand times for water, to use the bathroom, to ask me if Trey was home yet, to find a toy they lost a year ago, etc. They'd eventually fall asleep around ten or so. At this point, I'd smile & make myself a cup of coffee. Between exercising late in the day, drinking coffee at ten pm, & not sleeping well without another adult in the house, I read a lot. I read, & I think I isolated the curtains I want.
Here they are.
Click here to visit Pier 1's website if you want to see a close-up of the pattern. You may or may not be able to tell from this photo that there are lovely little birds on the curtains. I decided I want a pattern (but nothing extremely busy). I eliminated paisley. I decided most floral patterns are just too much for me. When I saw these, I just knew. The color palette is right, & the birds just sealed the deal. I haven't bought them yet. I'm going to sit on it another day or two.
I told you last week I would share pictures of my new table with you, but it is not yet in our home. It's a Joanna Gaines Magnolia Home table that I had shipped to Pier 1. I have been assured by a sales associate that the table was delivered to my local Pier 1, & this very day Trey is headed there with his truck to retrieve the table.
I have blown this thumbnail of a photo up so you can see the table. It's not the best picture, but you get the idea.
At some point this summer I plan to blog about the psychology of home improvements. This is probably not going to happen until I get the table in the house & finish going through all the junk in our house. The junk in our house is such a thorn in my side. We are not total slobs, & some of you might walk through the house & find it in good order. I know, though. I know what's in the closets. I know that the kids cannot wear half (or more!) of the clothes clogging up their drawers & closets. I fear one day I am going to lose it & grow so weary of trying to find artful ways of arranging toys in decorative wicker baskets I will throw it all outside & light it on fire.
I have been in the house so much lately, which is wonderful, but it is also awful. A week or so ago I saw something on Facebook that said something like, "If you spend a lot of time trying to organize your stuff, you need to just get rid of the stuff." It was written for me. I have gotten rid of some stuff, but I have spent (I have wasted!) so much time trying to organize what amounts to a lot of stuff we rarely use & do not need. I took a load of clothes & toys to a local thrift store a few weeks ago, but I remain deeply dismayed by the amount of STUFF I SEE EVERYWHERE I TURN IN OUR HOUSE. I'm going to stop now. Like I said, soon we shall discuss this in more depth.
Despite a wonderful book club meeting, a planned trip to eat (a lot of) nachos at Log Cabin, & many quiet hours spent reading in the dead of night, the highlight of last week was probably Anthony Kennedy's retirement announcement. Yes. This trumps the thrill of reading a good book until five in the morning & the excitement of discovering the perfect curtains. It trumps seeing Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom again Saturday afternoon. I'd planned to see it with a friend, but she had to cancel. Since my mom was already scheduled to hang with the kids, & the kids & I kind of needed a break after all the quality time we spent together last week, I decided I was going to brave the dinosaurs alone.
Every summer I have the same internal debate about how much structure the kids need. In May I have grand plans for us all. We're going to rise at the same time each day. We're going to make our beds. We're going to maintain a chore chart. Hahahaha.
Here's a snippet of what we have been doing when we do get out of our pajamas & leave the house.
You have to understand that we are late sleepers. You wonder how I make it when I read until five in the morning. Well. First, I do not do this every night. Second, the kids go to sleep about ten or so & then sleep until nine or sometimes ten the next morning. So I can read until five in the morning & still get four or five hours of sleep. This feels like such a personal victory for me given that on school mornings from August through May my alarm sounds at five in the morning.
Anyway, I said all that to explain to you what a rush we are in when we try to make it to Chick-fil-A in time to eat their delicious chicken minis for breakfast. I can usually motivate the otherwise slothful children by telling them if they do not hurry, they will not eat the minis. Between the minis & the promise of time in the indoor playground, they usually step on it & we fly into the Chick-fil-A parking lot at 10:28.
We have had some quality time with the cousins so far this summer.
Below is a picture of the Philly cheesesteak sandwich currently on Outback's menu. After spending a lot of hours in the house avoiding the heat, building forts with pillows & blankets, reading, & keeping up with breaking SCOTUS (that's Supreme Court of the United States) news, by Friday of last week the kids & I needed to go somewhere. I took us all to Outback around three Friday afternoon. Was it a late lunch? Was it an early dinner? Ah, the fun of summer.
We'd all slept until ten & then snacked on yogurt, protein bars, & coffee for a few hours, & so I guess it was a late lunch. It was perfect because there were few other people in the restaurant. We ordered some appetizers. The kids happily colored their menus. I devoured this most excellent sandwich below. I planned to get a steak, but I love a good Philly cheesesteak sandwich. After the total lack of structure that characterized last week, I figured I may as well indulge myself. You can see I opted for asparagus rather than a side of fries, so I didn't get too crazy.
I am happy to report I am at a place in my life where I can easily turn down french fries. Unless fries are hand cut & fresh & hot, they are a pass for me. I would rather have good asparagus, truly.
Only in June can I read until five in the morning & still get in some decent sleep, celebrate the retirement of a subpar Supreme Court justice whose judicial philosophy is based on his whims rather than the Constitution or settled law, take the kids to Outback at three in the afternoon, spend way too much time searching online for curtains, & go sit & eat popcorn while I watch dinosaurs eat people. It was a good week. Every time I started to feel bad about the total collapse of structure in our house, I would remind myself of the five am school mornings, the five-day-a-week commute to & from school, the homework, the exhaustion. I would remind myself of all that, & I would read another chapter, or signal to the kids that yes, they could pile more pillows on their fort. It is already July. School & structure will return soon enough.
This week we will hopefully get the new dining table set up. I will likely order the curtains. We have plans to spend time with some of Trey's extended family; they will be in town for most of the week. I have plans to continue reading a lot. My new plan for the house is to throw a bunch of stuff away; I will begin with old mail, old magazines, & broken toys. I haven't been firm with the kids about getting rid of some of their stuff. I keep trying to work around the stuff; I buy more baskets & cubbies & end up spending more money & bringing more stuff into our house. I am tired of buying stuff I think will help me organize stuff. The other issue is that I am just so relaxed most days I often find myself getting up to fix my second cup of coffee, & then I decide to read one more chapter, & poof!, it is four or five in the afternoon.
I don't want to look back on their childhoods & regret the time I spent obsessing over their toys, books, blocks, trains, dolls, etc. that are sometimes literally everywhere. I am trying to find a healthy balance between total anarchy & a house that looks like a museum. I suspect this is a universal struggle. I want routine things to be the only house worries I have, things like making up the beds, keeping up with the laundry, putting dishes in the dishwasher, & returning the *few* toys we have to their rightful, designated place. Maybe I am having some sort of midlife OCD crisis, although I don't think it could be too serious because when I feel the urge to do something drastic, the feeling will always pass if I sit down with some coffee & read a little more. Truly most days all that stands between me & the fiery destruction of my children's beloved toys is a hot cup of coffee & a good book.
I hope you have a happy & safe 4th. Please remember that even though it is legal in many areas to explode fireworks near the homes of your neighbors, this practice is considered the work of Satan by people with young children &/or pets.
Have a great week. Here's to July, a month that promises a Supreme Court pick (who will, I pray, be a slave to the Constitution), the elimination of stuff in my house that makes me crazy, & a plate of nachos.