August 2023 goals

4 August 2023

We learn, and then we learn, and then we learn some more :) That’s a bit what this summer has felt like at the intersection of my goals and family life. Thus far (two summers in!) this off-from-school season has been a learning curve each time – summers just don’t seem to be “set it and forget it” with growing kids. But that’s okay! This is when it’s really nice to be clear on the big picture – what matters and what doesn’t – instead of just clear on my goals for any one month.

So though I didn’t much make a dent in my goals for July, here are a few things that did happen:

completed projects at work
a week in Connecticut and a week in Maine
after-dinner pool trips
watching Hijack and Never Have I Ever with John
a trip to the Museum with friends
hosting my niece and nephew for a week of cousin camp
reading dozens of board books and a chapter of the Penderwicks each night
trips to the grocery store, one kid in tow each time
rounds of Dutch Blitz and Cribbage
lingering after piano lessons to play with friends
allergy testing (and soft-serve afterward)
a long weekend with my parents
a trip to the Eno River
caring for a succession of sick kids
volunteering at neighborhood swim meets
a weekly dinner with our church small group

…and more. And when you put it like that, this month does sound like a success :)

On my calendar:
— A train trip to Greensboro for the day with friends. We are directly lifting Kristin’s itinerary, including visiting the children’s museum!
— Visiting John’s parents for the first time at their home in Virginia. A new era in our family!
— The first day of school and our back-to-school dinner.

What I’m loving right now:
— I actually feel I need to apologize for not mentioning these sooner, but if you’re smaller-chested, I CANNOT recommend them enough. I had seen them recommended for years but never took the plunge because they seemed vaguely complicated, but nothing could be farther from the truth. They’ve made wearing sleeveless and skinny-strap dresses an absolute breeze this summer and are FAR better than a strapless bra, IMHO! Go for it!!
— Not a strapless dress, but this striped number has been a staple this summer. The sage green color and style are perfection. Size down!
— I was nodding right along with this piece in The Atlantic about the reasons so many people have stopped going to church in the last 25 years. Made me grateful to be a part of a church that’s committed to living differently – and caring for people differently – than most in modern American life.

As a reminder, you can find allll the things I’ve loved over the last few years neatly organized right here!

What I read in July:
This Time Tomorrow | I really loved this one – it includes time travel, but really it’s a daughter’s love letter to her father (which pulled at all my heartstrings).
Little Earthquakes | The memoir of one of my sister-in-law’s best friends, who was diagnosed with stage four cancer as a young mom. Sarah has an incredible story, though knowing her personally made this an especially bittersweet read.
The Lincoln Highway | One of my favorite reads of the year! I *almost* put it on my reading list for 2023, but I’m so glad I made time for it even though I didn’t. Memorable characters, excellent writing – a true journey you won’t soon forget. (I liked this better than A Gentleman in Moscow, for those who have read both!)
Piranesi | This book is weird yet charming. A short read, it’s the story – the journal – of Piranesi, a strange fellow living in a massive stone ruin surrounded by the sea. He’s mostly alone, with the exception of his biweekly meetings with The Other, who is seeking A Great and Secret Knowledge. Though trusting, Piranesi begins to question his home and life after strange events begin happening… and the story continues from there :)
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street | LOVE! June read this chapter book on her own and then passed it to me, insisting I must read it, too. I did, and fell just as much in love with the Vanderbeekers as she did. Heartwarming and fun, it’s an almost perfect pick for any young readers in your house who love the Penderwicks.

My reading list for 2023! Even though not one of my July books was on my list, I’m 17 / 24 so far for the year.

Revisiting my July goals:
Update our budget tracking (I made the tiniest dent in this, but it will be largely moving to September.)
Finish organizing the second half of our 2021 photos (Nope.)
Edit June in June (I chose a song and did the prep work but have not edited yet!)
Tackle our master closet (John and I actually made really good progress on this! I’m not checking this off because I’d say we’re only half done, but I’m thrilled we got as far as we did.)

August goals:
— Make plans for our anniversary trip to Charleston
— Clean out the art bin and clean off the top of my white dresser, both of which still have clutter from the last school year (eep!)
— Buy bins for each kids’ mementos and artwork and sort items from the current joint box into them
— Tackle the pantry
— Edit June in June, Volume 8

As a reminder, many of these are drawn from my 2023 goals!

I hope you get to enjoy some of the sweet fruits of late summer (literal and metaphorical) this month, friends! Feel free to comment on anything above or anything else that’s on your mind :)

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Kelly Strawberry
August 4, 2023 8:24 am

Can you share more about the train itinerary or link it? We’ve done the Amtrak to Charlotte and loved it. Almost suggested recently to a friend to take train to Greensboro but will wait until next summer due to the walking (longer distances are getting harder for me now in this pregnancy).

August 4, 2023 9:28 am

I knew you’d like the Vanderbeekers!! My daughter is waiting for the last one to come out – she read and loved them all. I only read a few chapters here and there, but I think, I’ll have to make time to read them all! I’m currently reading “A Place to Hang the Moon” – which I have a feeling, you and June would love as well ;-)

August 4, 2023 11:45 am

I really enjoyed Rules of Civility and The Lincoln Highway but couldn’t get through A Gentleman in Moscow.

August 5, 2023 9:45 am

I read and loved This Time Tomorrow in July as well!

Kristen M
August 5, 2023 11:43 pm

Oh yay! I’m eager to hear how the train trip to Greensboro goes!

Abigail Gray
August 8, 2023 11:38 am

I unexpectedly loved This Time Tomorrow, too! I haven’t loved the author’s other novels so almost didn’t read it but am SO happy I did. I loved A Gentleman in Moscow SO much, but agree that The Lincoln Highway is beautiful and different. It’s the perfect summer “big” book! I think you’d like Go As a River which I recently finished; it is full of beautiful, descriptive writing and a unique story.

August 9, 2023 1:35 pm

Depending on weather, if you can’t spend time at the park, next door is Art Quest located in the Green Hill Center for NC Art and is a lot of fun! They have open studio hours Wed – Fri from 1pm – 5pm and on Saturday’s from 3pm -5pm where kids can create to their heart’s content. It’s where my kid’s had their birthday party this year and it was a big hit!