Wednesday, August 3, 2016

July Jackpot

During the many years I wrote for business, I signed my name to countless of grants, reports, and letters. Since I started writing for myself five years ago, I have put my name on (and contributed anonymously to) blog posts, online articles, and website copy for numerous online organizations and businesses. But it wasn't until this month that my name appeared - for the first time - below the title of an article in an actual magazine.

Not a bad feeling, I must say.

I had grand plans to read three or four books this summer, but thus far I have only made it about halfway through one: Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock. This book, however, is a perfect read for "the times" and thus far I find it equally eye-opening and engrossing.

"The iconic photograph of Hazel Bryan and Elizabeth Eckford has riveted us for fifty years. David Margolick's effort to bring the photo to life is equally riveting. It makes for a deeply compelling story of race and our ongoing efforts at understanding."  
~ Julian Bond, Chairman Emeritus, NAACP

Thanks to loosely adhered to bedtimes, our movie watching increased quite a bit this summer. First, whatever you do, skip "Zoolander 2". Tom and I can never get those two hours of our lives back. Second, if you haven't done so already, check out "Finding Dory" and "The Secret Life of Pets" with your kids...or on your own. And third, consider "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Trip" and "Miracles from Heaven", both of which we truly enjoyed. No really, we laughed out loud over and over again during Alvin, and while I found Miracles difficult to watch, Hallie - who had been begging to see it for months - handled the emotionally complex plot with ease and became engrossed in the film's dealings with faith and science.
Enjoying Madison's luxurious movie theater recliners.
Listening To
Does four kids screaming musical demands from the backseat count as "what I've been listening to"?

Last Christmas my sister and I bought an inflatable water ski trainer for my dad - who learned to ski as a child and still skis regularly every summer - so he could more easily help our kids become comfortable with the sport. (Riders can both stand up and sit down while on the trainer; this makes it a great tool to use when learning the basics because kids feel secure in knowing they can always rest or regain their balance by sitting down.) Will gladly went first. Though he has gotten up on actual skis a couple of times before, riding on the trainer boosted his confidence and allowed him to relax and get used to cruising around on such a big lake. Once Hallie saw how much fun Will was having, she decided to give it a try. In the beginning and at her insistence, we went so slowly that the boat's speedometer didn't even register movement. But as she grew more comfortable with the trainer, Hallie signaled us to go faster, and faster, and faster still...until the boat was whipping along at 20MPH. She rode for five miles - the distance from where she started back to the dock - at the that speed and smiled the entire time.
Sitting down and b...a...r...e...l...y moving.
So happy!
If the kids in your life want to learn how to water ski, the ski trainer is a fantastic purchase!

You guys. I wore clothes not specifically made for the gym and/or swimming exactly five times in July. I plan to ease back into my wardrobe throughout the month of August, but I expect the road to be challenging...if I take two steps forward and one step back I'll still reach the figurative finish line, right?

At the beginning of July we discovered a new Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans dispenser, one that made cheating at the bean game much more difficult.  We played quite a few games of Bean Uno and Bean Spite and Malice, which gave us the opportunity to enjoy all of our old favorites but also try out some of the new flavors.

After learning that many of Madison's food trucks visit the park nearest my parents' house one evening a week, later in July we walked down to the park for an evening spent playing on the playground and sampling these trucks' sliders, sandwiches, tacos, quesadillas, and pie.

Because Tom, the kids, and I have thus far enjoyed our "Rate Your Restaurants" endeavor, throughout the month of July I - with different family members in tow - dined out at fun, unique restaurants in each of the cities we visited. I can't wait to share our rankings - including a new one, established by my mom, about how closely a restaurant's servers remember celebrities - with you next week.

We didn't dine out at all in College Station during the month of July because of our travels, but we plan to pick up where we left off at the end of June now that we've returned home.

In general and as is always the case, throughout the month of July I indulged a bit too often. Time to eat lightly for a while!

The same can be said for my drinking as could be said for my eating...I indulged a little too much. As a result of this indulgence, my sister and I did, however, find our new favorite prosecco:

Perfect for drinking on its own or mixing with lemonade, juices, or fruit!

What have you been up to this month?

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