We’re closing in on the end of September, and I can no longer deny that summer is over. Summer is not at all my favorite season, and most years I skip my way into fall, waving bye-bye to summer and relishing the fact that I can wear sweaters again.
This year, I’m just as thrilled as ever that my actual favorite season is upon us, but I’m also completely baffled that summer is over when it feels like we just got started. I wanted another boat ride. I wanted another day at the pool. I wanted another cookout.
But we’re marching on, and I’m determined to not let fall slip by the way I did summer — which will be tricky, to be sure, because fall in Chicago lasts approximately 17 days.
So for this month’s armchair chat, let’s imagine we’re sipping on pumpkin spice lattes (because I don’t mind a bit that I’m basic in this category) with the fall breeze blowing in through my front windows.
If I you and I were cozied in our armchairs, catching up on life and sharing about what September meant for us, this is what I’d tell you.
What I’m Learning
- I will never feel “done.” There will always be more dishes to do, more laundry to fold, more mail to sort, more stuff to put away. I am all about keeping a tidy home, but at some point, I need to admit that I’ll never feel “done enough” to take Sabbath time. It’s easier said than done, but I’m going to try to set a time limit for housework on Sundays, and then slowly set that time earlier and earlier as I retrain my habits.
- I’m not a big fan of home decorating. I so want to have spaces in my home that are welcoming, cozy, and practical, but I get totally overwhelmed trying to create those spaces from nothing. We’re finally getting started on some home renovations, and I’m hoping my decor decisions will become easier once the big stuff is in place—flooring, paint colors, etc. But on that note, if you want to help me pick my paint colors, I’ll love you forever. (Why are there 392 shades of beige?)
- We can never go back to “before.” I’ve been waiting and waiting for healing in a specific area of my life, desperately wanting to get to the “other side” of this challenge. I had been defining freedom as getting to the point where I feel like I did before this challenge popped up in my life, which I now see is unrealistic—we can never get back to the way things were before, but we can have hope that we’ll experience freedom and growth in light of our challenges. A few weeks ago, I asked Dan, “Do you think I’ll ever get to the other side of this?” He told me, “I think you already are on the other side and you just don’t see it yet.” His words have stuck with me, and I’m trying to reorient my perspective to better take in this new normal.
What I’m Wondering
- How in the world families find time to lounge and relax together. Or do they? Do we all think everyone else is out doing fun things or relaxing together at home, when really, we’re all running endless errands and cleaning our houses and cooking dinners?
- What’s going to replace riding boots. I loved the mid-calf riding-boots trend, and I have yet to jump on the bootie trend . . . though I think I’ll finally cave this year, because my shoes could use some updating. But booties serve a very different purpose from riding boots in the snowy Chicago winters — namely, keeping my ankles warm and dry. Any ideas on what’s next?
- Just how long and cold winter is going to be this year. But as I said earlier, I’m doing my best to just enjoy fall.
What I’m Loving
- This Is Us. Cue all the feelings and all the tears. You guys, I don’t remember the last time I watched a show in real time. As soon as the pilot ended, I wanted to binge the rest, and I just can’t believe I have to wait for one episode each week (and watch COMMERCIALS). Every keeps saying this will fill the Parenthood void, and maybe it will to some extent, but I’m really hoping this show will stand on its own.
- Coconut milk lattes. So velvety and just a tiny bit sweet. These taste like pure luxury but they don’t leave me feeling strung out on sugar.
- Jeggings. Real talk: My stomach is nowhere near pre-pregnancy condition. It’s especially awkward because my pre-pregnancy jeans fit fine in the legs, but the waistbands are too tight, which is rather uncomfortable. Enter jeggings. (But please, please hit me with your recommendations for mom-bod-friendly real jeans.)
What I’m Reading
- Present Over Perfect. I read this once through quickly as soon as I got my hands on it, and now I’m reading it slowly a second time and discussing it with a book club. This book is about soul-level change as we learn to live slowly and within our “means” in many senses of the word (energy levels, relational capacity, time limits). It’s definitely a departure from Shauna Niequist’s usual style of storytelling, but I still found myself nodding along and underlining furiously and saying “me too” throughout this whole book, and that feeling of being known is one of my favorite things about her writing.
- I Let You Go.
In the opening scene of this novel, a mother witnesses the death of her five-year-old son in a hit-and-run accident. The rest of the book dives into the mother’s grief and the police investigation of the crime. I love thrillers with excellent plot twists, but I tend to be pretty picky and hard to please. This one was disappointing for sure. I will say the main twist at the halfway point of the book was masterful . . . but the rest of the book was not. The first half was too slow, the final twist was not even a little bit believable, and the ending was ambiguous. That said, I didn’t totally regret reading this, and given that it was a debut novel, I’ll give the author another chance.
What I’m Clicking
- How You Can Thrive during a Season of Waiting: Aren’t we all waiting for something? Hannah’s thoughts on growing and thriving in a season of waiting have stuck with me since I read them.
- Why We All Need Family Leave: Family-leave policies in the US are pitiful to say the least. Jessica Shortall, a champion for this issue, was interviewed on goop, and this Q&A puts into words what so many American businesses need to understand. Family leave benefits everyone.
- How We Keep Our Marriage Strong in Every Season: My favorite point: “We participate in everyday tasks together.” Having a newish baby is a pretty low-glamor season of marriage, and often, Dan and I are tempted to divide and conquer household duties, errands, and adult responsibilities. But we’re also trying to enjoy and make space for little moments with each other, even when it’s something as simple as running to the store together.
What I’m Writing
- I Am Not Enough
- 7 Empowering Strategies for Coping with Pregnancy Anxiety
- Armchair Chats // August 2016