Oh hello! It’s been a little quiet around here with my more personal posts. It is fairly easy to share book reviews a few times a week because I have already written most of them for partnering publishers, but these take a while because I always have way too much to share! I like having a mix of book chatter and also some daily life so these posts are important to me but they just haven’t been able to be as much of a priority during this busier season of work.
The Dream Daughter Kindle Deal!
Before I share anything, I have to post that The Dream Daughter is a Kindle Deal today!! If you haven’t grabbed this yet, you need to! It is my favorite Diane Chamberlain book ever.
During the last couple of weeks, we started finding our regular rhythm again with the start of school for the boys. I am a creature of habit so while I am sad to lose the long days of summer I very much embrace this time of the year.
The pictures above are the perfect example of why parents have a harder time during summer…you are never alone! I was impressed with how much self-care I was able to fit in while doing the weekly grocery shopping and my BIL and SIL(whom I randomly ran into at the store) were just delighted to take this photo for me, ha!
Yup, I totally wore my noise-canceling headphones to the grocery store to listen to my audiobook while I shopped, and lots of people looked at me like I had 3 heads. You have to find space when you can and I have no shame. 😉
End of Summer
On our last weekend of summer vacation, we had a campfire in the yard and make S’mores. I am also very excited about my new Ogunquit sticker from our family vacation and I had many water bottles in my cupboard to choose from for where I would display it. We try to not get a bunch of junk as souvenirs(we already have enough!) so stickers have been a fun thing to get when we travel. Buzz was just happy we were all reunited! Speaking of Maine, I am planning on sharing my post on our trip this weekend, so stay tuned.
Back to School
The boys headed back to school and everyone was excited except Buzz! They are now in 1st and 4th grade and it has been a fairly smooth transition. The hardest part has been getting everyone back on an earlier bedtime and I don’t see this struggle going away anytime soon.
The boys were excited to take my back to school photo and I was more than happy to oblige!
Kari and I celebrated quickly at Philo Ridge before headed off to our first days of work, ALONE!
Kristy and I were excited for our first day together without kids(our kids had opposite childcare schedules which worked great for work coverage but not so much for being able to work together) since June. We got a lot of work done and also got to catch up! I was able to finalize my post about The Better Together Book Club and Buzz was ecstatic to pick the kids up at school at the end of the day. He picked his newest bandana up at the Skida sidewalk sale.
It is absolutely my favorite time of year and I wish it was sweatshirt and jeans weather all year long. We have lucked out with a gorgeous September so far. It has been the perfect temperature and I am hoping it stays that way. I am done with the heat!
Back to the Barre
I am back in my regular barre before work routine and also to bringing 10 bags of random stuff to work. Kristy is clearly very accommodating. I like to take a lot of my book photos at her house, mostly because it is way cleaner than mine. She is the queen of no clutter which is my ultimate goal in life but it probably will never happen.
Speaking of photos, one of my friends asked me the other day if I post my Instagram posts in “real-time” and I thought it was a great question. I tend to take 3-4 different photos at one time for posts I want to do that week. I post the actual text in real-time but many of my photos I have previously taken if that makes sense. I tend to post in the early morning and that is not a great time to take photos because it is pitch black outside!
Mom’s Night Out
In celebration of back to school, my friend Elisa and I went out the other evening. We had a drink at Shelburne Farms and then made our way to Peg & Ters for dinner. We ended up running into a bunch of other school moms so I think everyone was feeling festive this past week…and we were home by 8pm!
While a drink by the lake is lovely, regular life looks a lot more like this. The kids are excited about book orders and the newest Dog Man bookand we have been trying to teach both kids how to put away their own laundry, which is a work in progress…I did teach Parker about the gift of listening to a podcast while you do it, and he is a fan!
And Buzz…he loves life on a farm but boy does he get dirty! We have to spray him off with the hose and then give him a full bath more than we would like to admit, ugh!
Speaking of podcasts…
These are some series/episodes I have been loving…
One of the most wonderful parts of the online reading community is the connections I have made through it. I have met book lovers from all over the world as well as in our very small state of Vermont. While I love the reach online connections can allow you, there is something so special about connecting in person.
Last spring I had the idea of starting a local book club centering around issues that are not only a big part of my life but so many of the women around me. Through the help and support of our local library, this dream has become a reality. The Better Together Book Club is a book group focusing on motherhood and will be starting this fall!
The Better Together Book Club
My friend, reader, fellow mom and elementary school Literacy Coach/Specialist Kelly and I are delighted to be co-facilitating this group together! We have been working hard behind the scenes and couldn’t be more excited to finally be making this public! Information went out in the Charlotte Library Newsletter yesterday so we thought it was the perfect time to share online as well.
Book selections will change monthly and will be a mix of fiction and nonfiction, including topics pertaining to parenting, marriage, mental health, self-care and the work/life “balance”. We will meet and discuss the book and topics relating to it as well as enjoying some tea and light snacks. We are also so honored that we already have some of the authors scheduled to come when we discuss their book!
Our First Book Club Selection
Our first book club selection will be To Have and To Hold.While I am lucky to have had many conversations with the people in my personal life, never have I read something that explains the complexities of motherhood and marriage in such a profound manner until I read this book. The highs and lows of parenthood, the immense love and also the intense quest to reclaim ourselves as women and partners when our lives will never be the same are so real and valid.
Author Molly Millwood will join the discussion on Thursday, October 10 @ 7:00pm. Books are available for loan at the circulation desk. Registration is required by contacting Susanna or Margaret at the Charlotte Library at email@example.com Once the spots are full a waitlist will be started. While this event is open to anyone in the area, priority will be given to Charlotte residents if a waitlist occurs.
Hardcopy & Ebook Copies
Charlotte librarians Susanna and Margaret have been so amazing at helping get this group up and running with us. Our October book, To Have and To Hold, is now available as a “Charlotte Only” book on Libby (which decreases the wait time significantly!). They also ordered 10 copies of To Have and To Hold which will be available at the library for pick up after Labor Day!
Book Club Ongoing Schedule & Communication
After our first event, The Better Together Book Club will continue to meet monthly at The Charlotte Library the second Wednesday of every month from 7:00-8:30pm. Subsequent books will be available a month before each book club so everyone has time to read them. All announcements will be shared and in our private facebook group which you can be added to once you are registered.
If you live in the area, we would love to have you join us! If you don’t, we would love it if you would like to follow along. We plan on sharing updates about each book club on my blog which will include our discussion questions and highlights of our discussion. I will also announce the next book we will be discussing at that time.
I just talked with Susanna and we only have a few spots left so if you are interested, shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to register! And please feel free to email or comment below with any questions. **Update, as of 8/30/19 there is a waitlist for this group**
Hi everyone and happy Friday night. While I may not be drinking coffee right now, I did just have some espresso gelato, so that counts right?
After a fun week of camp for the kids and work for us, it feels great to have no plans tonight. We may live in a small town but we live close to a lot of amazing food options and tonight we visited Pizza On Earth for some to-go pizza. We picked up two pies and also each had a little cup of gelato, before dinner! I know, just living on the edge over here….It was delicious and was such a good reminder of the ease of summer nights.
August is a big time of reflection for me on what has worked so far this past year and what might need some adjusting. Now that both our kid’s schedules really follow the school calendar it really does feel like the end one of one year and the start of a new one in so many ways.
This past week the kids were in a day camp which allowed me to have a lot more work hour available since school ended back in mid-June. This time was also a great indicator of how I can work smarter once we are back to this “regular” schedule in a few weeks.
While I got a lot done, it was also a reminder of how much I have to catch up on and the “pile” seems so high right now it feels a bit overwhelming. I talked about this on Instagram the other day but I have felt like I am just treading water over here during the last couple of months.
I have a supportive partner and many helpful resources that I don’t ever want to take for granted but it still often feels like I am just trying to stay afloat instead of making progress forward. I love to share my highlights on here but there is also the reality of life with two working parents and the endless cycle of family life at this stage and it is just something in the background that we are constantly navigating.
Academic Calendar Planner:
So with that in mind, I always follow the academic school year with my planners and it feels nice to have a “fresh start” as we transition back into more structure and routines. I love sitting down at the beginning of the school year and penciling in all the important dates and not having to wait until I have a new planner for the “new year” in January.
I am a paper planner person all the way and I just love having a physical calendar in front of me. I have tried many brands of planners over the years(Erin Condren, Emily Ley, etc), and have been the happiest with Bloom plannersand they also have a great price point.
In our kitchen, we also have a shared calendar which includes appointments, events, practices, etc that all of our family can refer to. The Day Designer wall calendars are wonderful for this and I love that they have so many color and print options depending on your style and preferences
It Takes a Village…
Swim team ended for us last week and it was the end of an intense but wonderful month and a half of daily swimming and the wonderful community that comes along with it. I think a lot about “our parenting village” and I am so grateful to have made friends in many different areas of our family life.
I could not have done so many things this summer without the help of these people and it was such an important reminder about how small things really do add up. I remember hearing about this elusive “village” when our kids were very young and feeling not quite sure how you created one.
I will say that saying just hello and finding something in common with another person can the gateway to lifelong friends. It is also important to remember that most other people feel the same way as you and would be happy to have a new friend or just someone to chat with for a bit.
This summer I also learned about hard cider seltzer, I am always late to these things but I love how delicious and dry these are, and these tiny cans are a perfect size!
I don’t think I can talk about some of the successes of summer without giving a shout out to the ultimate friend maker & connector, BEYBLADES. The boys were introduced to these this past spring by some friends at school and it has been a “bey bonanza” since then…You don’t need a lot (and they were using a pizza pan for their “arena” in the photo above, my friend Jess is super smart!) and they are hours of fun.
I had never heard of these things before but I guess they were a thing that has come back as of recently… Anyway, the kids are playing with them now as I write this and they only argue about them I’d say 50% of the time…so I would call that a win!
Speaking of the Kids Arguing…
If you talk to any other parent this time of year, they will probably say the same thing…school can start anytime now and THE KIDS NEED TO BE SEPARATED!!! Our kids truly do spend the entire summer together, so I totally get it, but oh man, the drama! So last weekend we decided to each go our own way with one of the boys, and it was BLISS!
Being a Tourist In Your Own Town/State…
There is something so fun about soaking in all the activities right where you live. Vermont is a place a lot of people visit for vacation and we are lucky to live here all the time.
Owls Head Farm PYO Blueberries…
We have an annual tradition of hitting up Owls Head Farm at our old stomping grounds in Richmond, and we were excited to go for the pick 6 quarts get a 7th free deal.
Our younger son is an amazing berry picker and he is at the perfect age to still think this is totally fun and cool(not so with the 9-year-old!) so we completed this task in under an hour. It was the most beautiful summer morning and the berries were big and delicious.
Swimming at Warren Falls:
How gorgeous and clear is this water? I drove over the Lincoln Gap with our older son and hit up the swimming holes at Warren Falls. He “snorkeled” (with his goggles) and I sat reading my book with my feet in the water. It was amazing.
If you don’t haveChaco Sandals, are you really a Vermonter? 😉 We also explored the area where people jump in and he went quite a few times while I watched and took some photos. My river jumping days are over(long story for another day!)but it was so fun to see him so excited about it!
Canteen Creemee Company
We didn’t drive all that way to not try out the Canteen Creemees and they were amazing!! I had the chocolate mint which was great but the maple creemee was out of this world!!! It was topped with maple cotton candle and while normally don’t do a lot of extra toppings (besides rainbow sprinkles) it was the perfect addition.
Currently NOT Loving…Packing Lunch!
After packing lunches for the boys for many years, we have fully embraced hot lunch at school..so my packing skills were a little rusty when we had to break out the old Yum Boxes for camp this week. I did okay on the first day…but it went downhill from there. It doesn’t matter whether you are feeding your kids at home or packing it for them, the food disappears faster than you can buy it and their opinions change on the daily…
One of my top parenting hacks is to get cafeteria lunch if your school has that option. Ours is amazing, well balanced and they have so many more options than the dismal options that were available when we were kids. It is such a time saver and also money saver as buying everything to pack in a lunch box (the two above were lunch and two snacks) is quite expensive, especially if you have big eaters.
It has been a little slow in the social media department as this week was very work-focused for me but I have been quite doing a bit of reading in the evenings. I finished The Forever Summer which was a perfect summer read (predictable yet enjoyable) and Life and Other Inconveniences was published this past week if you are looking for another one to add to your end of summer reading list! The Wedding Party is coming up next for me, and I have heard great things.
I hope you have a wonderful rest of your Friday! <3