Friday, August 19, 2016

August Top 5

Summer is winding down (sad face), but fall is around the corner (happy face, as long as it's a good one!). Here's some of what I'm enjoying right now. :)

1) Books!
We vacationed since my last top 5, which means I had a little more time to read for fun. A few of my favorites from the last month:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

This was our latest bookclub pick and we all loved it. It's a murder mystery set in England in 1950 whose narrator is an 11-year-old girl who you'll just fall in love with. And it's the first of a handful of books based on the same character, so there are more to look forward to.

Wild in the Hollow

I mentioned in July that Seth Haines' Coming Clean was on my list of things to read, after doing a 30-day journal of his. Well, Seth's book is still on my "to read" list, but his wife's book is now on my "already read" list. ;) And it was fabulous. So honest and raw and inspiring. I adore memoirs, so this was right up my alley. You'll also want to follow her on social media because her four boys are simply adorable.

Night Driving

I went to college with Addie and was super excited to read her first book, When We were on Fire a few years ago. Night Driving was just as beautiful and real as her debut memoir. Her writing style is just lovely and you'll want to sit down for a cup of gas station coffee and chat about everything under the sun. :)

2) Olympics!
Obviously, the Summer Olympics in Rio is pretty much all that's been on my television for the last two weeks straight. The Olympics got its own blog post last week, so I won't bore you with anymore ramblings about Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky and the Final Five and happy tears and the awesomeness of Jen Hatmaker's Olympic commentary. But honestly, I'm not sure what I'm going to do when these games are over. I love that there's just always something on TV that I want to watch. I'll probably sink into a deep depression next week when NBC is back to America's Got Talent. :(

3) Lundberg Fiesta Lime Rice Chips
For a variety of digestive reasons, Jackson has recently joined me as the second gluten-free eater in our house. I'm trying to make the transition as painless as possible for him, so we're experimenting with some new recipes, including one for pizza crust. It calls for psyllium husk powder, which required a trip to somewhere a little fancier than Target. I mean, who has psyllium husk powder just sitting in their pantry? Not I. So we ventured into Whole Foods yesterday, and of course we did not leave the store with ONLY psyllium husk powder. "Whole Foods. Come for the psyllium husk powder, stay for all the free samples!" And so we did. They happened to be sampling these amazing rice chips and we bought two bags. THEY. ARE. SO. GOOD. We've had them on their own and with salsa, but I can't imagine how amazing they'd be with guacamole. Mmmm. Go buy some and be happy.

4) On Being podcast

I'm still enjoying my morning walks with podcasts in my earbuds, and Krista Tippett has delivered a few great ones. She actually has a fascinating backstory and produces her podcast from Loring Park in Minneapolis. Local love! A few of my favorites of hers have been interview with Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, and the Indigo Girls. And her voice is so soothing--I could listen to her interview a 6-year-old about macaroni and cheese and still love it. I need more podcast time. I keep coming across podcasts I want to listen to, and my "unplayed" list is growing longer and longer. Oh, #FirstWorldProblems.

5) These crazies!

Yes, I'm including my children in my favorite things this month. Because we have had a seriously awesome summer and I just love them to pieces. There's a future blog post coming on this, so I won't say too much now. But the joy they've exuded this summer has blessed my heart, and I'm mourning the impending beginning of school right along with them!

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer, my friends!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Olympic Fever!

Okay, guys. We're almost halfway through this two-week Rio Summer Olympic experience. And frankly, I need to process. Join me, won't you?

I love the Olympics. I always have. I mean, when else does the world come together like this? Yes, there are still horrible things happening all over the place. But this feels like a couple weeks of beautiful coming together and (mostly, ha!) healthy competition. I have very fond memories of watching both summer and winter games as a kid (you know, when both summer and winter were the same year every four years?). I longed to watch gymnastics and figure skating and wished I wasn't too tall for either. :) I remember the summer Olympics being on American soil--Atlanta in 1996. Our women's gymnastics team, the "magnificent seven" won gold. Oh, and that vault by Kerri Strug. Bless her heart.

In the last few Olympics, it's gotten even more exciting, particularly with the addition of Michael Phelps to the world of swimming. I can distinctly remember sitting in the office of our first home in 2004, playing a game on the desktop computer (haha--this was obviously before kids) and watching this 19-year-old swimming phenom taking the Athens summer games by storm.

And it just keeps getting better and more exciting every time another Olympic year rolls around. I think what makes this year particularly fun is that Jack and Leah are old enough to actually enjoy watching some of the events. I'm sitting in the family room with both of them right now, as the afternoon coverage bounces among the various events happening live. We're marveling at the men's 1500-meter freestyle swim. (You guys--that's roughly 15 minutes of swimming without stopping. God help me). This is on the heels of seeing the semifinal of the men's 50-meter freestyle swim last night. It's one length of the pool and they literally don't breathe at all until they finish. The pool is a blur of splashing water and flailing bodies. Insanity.

We're waiting for coverage to return to rowing finals, which is a very exciting event for Jack and me, having both read The Boys in the Boat this year. (Side note--if you haven't read it, please do. And they adapted it for younger readers, which Jack loved). We're watching women's indoor volleyball and qualifying high jumps in track and field. We're hoping that the "trampoline" event listed in the schedule actually going to happen. Because that is so fun to watch!

I think another factor in the excitement of this particular summer Olympics is social media. Obviously, Twitter and Facebook has existed for previous Olympics. But memes are a more recent addition to the social media world, and there have been a plethora of amazing ones.

And, of course, Phelps face....

Also? Jen Hatmaker. Jen has made these Olympic games so enjoyable. She's hilarious--I'd love to sit and watch some events with her. :) 

I also feel like this first week has been such an emotional rollercoaster. The Olympics make me so happy! But also, THE TEARS! My top tear-jerker moments?
1) The refugee team entering the stadium at the opening ceremonies.
2) Michael Phelps running into the stands to kiss his baby.
3) Women's gymnastics gold and announcing their team name, the Final Five. So touching!
4) David Boudia and Steele Johnson's interview after winning silver.
5) Anytime the person on the medal stand starts to tear up (I'm looking at you, Phelps, you softy). 
6) Aly Raisman finishing her floor routine. She immediately started bawling, and then so did I.
7) Simone Manuel winning (tying for) gold in the 100-meter freestyle, making history as the first African American woman to win gold in an individual swimming event. 

Okay, a little over week left, people. Swimming is coming to an end, and now we get to delve into track and field! I said on Facebook yesterday, I'm a little concerned for my emotional health when these games are over. I'm going to be so depressed when I can't turn on the TV and watch whatever sport happens to be going on. Talk about withdrawal! Lord help us all.