Reverb 16 | August | Nostalgia

Sarah and Kim have been sharing Reverb prompts and  Meredith and I are back in the saddle.  Because writing can be fun.  And we all have a lot to say.  Join us.

Nostalgia: Tell us about your favorite summer memories. As the summer winds down, tell us about your favorite summer memories from this year (or past year). We want to see your freckled faces and tanned skin. Show us your summer.

August has always been my favorite of all the months.  It is The Birthday Month for my little brother and I.  It is the last full month of summer.  It is the month in which we have taken family trips to the Wisconsin Dells and cabin that are too numerous to count, even if I use all of my fingers.  And all of my toes.  It is the bittersweet month we must enjoy to the fullest because fall is nearly upon us.  It is the month in which we race to the finish line because school is about to start again.  It is swimsuits hanging to dry, and sweatshirts waiting to be pulled out.

It has much to recommend it.

Time moves very quickly these days.  Even on the days where it seems to halt, suddenly, if by magic, we are at the end of the week.  The end of a month.  The end of the season.  The addition of a child has made this summer different from the other ones, sure.  We play in the shade on the deck.  We go for walks every day.  We nap.  We don’t nap.  We are quiet.  We are roaring.  Everything is a new discovery.  Everything is a first.

Still, everything has been the same.  We go up to the cabin.  We eat dinner on the deck.  After dinner, we debate whether or not we’ll catch up on a favorite show, or enjoy the rest of the evening outside.  This has been the prettiest, nicest season to enjoy as we have continued to find our new normal.  Our new routines.

Next summer, we will try again at this season.  And as we continue to grow up and grow together, part of it will look like the ones that I remember and most of it will look like this one.   Someday they will be the same thing.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

Friends.  So much to say about these books!  First off, I really loved reading them all.  I think that Krakatoa is probably a little niche.  But the rest = for all people.  Second.  I am pretty sure the last time I read two books by J.K. Rowling in one month was when I was in 7th grade.  I had just read the first book (obtained via Scholastic Book Order) and consumed it so quickly (I was reading it under my desk in science class) that Mom took me to Barnes and Noble to go buy books two and three which I began to read immediately that evening at my grandma’s house.  I am now informed that she is releasing like three more books via Pottermore so friends we need to figure out how to get those!  WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE.

In all seriousness, I loved reading Harry Potter, but I have also really loved reading her Cormoran Strike series and The Casual Vacancy, which was her first book after HP is also quite good.

Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester


Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Before the Fall

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

The Cursed Child

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

The Casual Vacancy

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Friday Food Round-Up!

Oh my God so much cooking.  As we continue to chip away at August, I know that in the next week or two, I should probably batch cook another meal for the freezer (and double it for ANOTHER soon-to-be new mama) so that Marcus and I have some variety.  I also feel like at some point, I’ll need to go through my cookbooks to find some old favorites we haven’t made for a long time and some new things to experiment with.

Friday – Corn Tacos with Grilled Asado Chicken Thighs from Trader Joe’s, Cilantro-Lime Rice, Black Beans

Loved trying out these marinated boneless chicken thighs from Trader Joe’s.  Grilled up, they were just phenomenal for our taco date night and we would 100% buy them again.

Sunday – Grilled Chicken Thighs with 4-3-2-1 Spice Rub, Grilled Zucchini, Corn

We made this meal after Critter’s first Twins game.  I cannot say that I was too motivated to cook at that point, but really, we couldn’t have made it easier unless we were having toast for dinner.

Monday – Turkey Picadillo Sandwiches from Great, Easy Meals, Grilled Tomatoes, Corn

We had a pound of ground turkey lurking in the back of our freezer so it seemed to make sense that we would whip up a batch of picadillo.  The sweet (raisin) and savory (olives/meat/tomato) combination is so interesting and so delicious every single time.

Tuesday – Seared Ahi Tuna Bowls with Rice, Avocado, Spinach, and Refrigerator Pickles

To celebrate Marcus’ last week of Ultimate Frisbee (OMG seriously), I decided that Michelle and I should have something “fancy.”  I pulled out some of our ahi tuna steaks and we seared them and using inspiration from this blog, assembled.  100% would make these again and if there is ever tuna in the frozen case at ALDI again we would 100% buy that too.

Wednesday – Grilled Spicy Italian Sausages from Trader Joe’s with Sauteed Onion and Hungarian Peppers, Oven Fries, Green Beans, Corn

You guys, Marcus had his first ever impulse buy at Gregor Farm and bought a Hungarian Pepper.  I knew it was going to live its best life sauteed up with some onions atop a spicy Italian sausage.  I was not wrong.

Miscellaneous – Earth Cookies


And again.

Summer, sleep, and stuff.

You guys.  Summer is almost over.  I don’t know if the light has shifted, or what has happened, but suddenly I have got that fall sort of feeling (and just a phenomenal craving to eat sweet potatoes).  Regardless, I along with all other Minnesotans will be staying strong on my commitment to summer until Labor Day at which point I will reconsider.  Fall is just lovely, but Marcus and I are already terrified of winter (and discuss this with frequency) because we cannot imagine what we’re supposed to do with Critter if we are cooped up inside all day!  What will become of our walks?  What will happen to the time we spend laying in the grass, looking at the trees?  What about Toys On The Deck Time?

  • On the tip of CriminelleLaw, I ended up sourcing two pairs of UGGs via for winter.  It seemed sort of extravagant until I remembered I have been debating wintertime slip-on footwear for a few weeks now, as getting out the door with Critter needs to be as simple as possible. I also remembered I live in Minnesota and I haven’t bought new winter boots in probably six years. Related: I need to get my tall UGGs cleaned.
  • We are going through some sort of sleep regression/growth spurt/teething thing (hard to even know) and it is a bit…difficult for sleeping. God willing a fang appears or it ends soon.
  • About a week and a half ago, I went in to get seen for PPA/PPD. This isn’t something that has been going on for “a long time” but after a difficult 36 hours of Not Feeling Like Me, I felt like telling someone was the right next step. The doctor told me that mostly what I was feeling was normal (I would like to be excluded from this narrative), but they also gave me a counseling referral (I scheduled an appointment) and a prescription “in case” I need it and if it turns out I need it often, instructions to return to sort out a regular medication. And I rented an eBook specific to my experiences so I could learn more about what was happening to me, why, and how I will move forward.  I have experienced anxiety in my life and just knowing I need to dust off coping skills that have not seen the light of day in YEARS has been immensely helpful. I’ve also taken the time to see what more I can do to take care of myself.  A lot of it comes down to physical and mental rest.  Also, fellow mamas, if this is you, it is okay to tell someone and get help.  You are a great mama and you are NOT alone.
  • I fully realize that with my previous revelation, there are probably a number of you, who are my close friends in real life who are only just hearing about this for the first time.  I wasn’t trying to not tell you in person or via text or whatever, I honest-to-God just did not have the emotional energy to do it.
  • Today Critter and I baked brownies for Marcus to take to work tomorrow.  I strapped the little lad into his booster seat-high chair and then proceeded to mix up the batter in front of him, while he “cooked” with his own rubber spatula and tiny tupperware cup.  He was supremely interested in what I was stirring when I brought it down to his level.  I have a few other baking projects (nothing glamorous) coming up in the next week or so  – it will be fun to continue doing this with him!
  • In case you missed it, ALDI now has a baby brand – Little Journeys.  They’re selling diapers, wipes, formula, and baby food (pouches, puffs, cereal, etc.).  I know that you all know what a development this has been in our house.  Last weekend they had a special on baby gates so we high tailed it over there to source one for $29.99.  We then returned the $60 version to Target.  What a time to be alive.

August Goals

It’s so late to be posting these but I did write them out earlier this month.  Already winning at some and failing at others.  That said, I went to hot yoga yesterday and OMG it was healing. 

Friday Food Round-Up!

Oh man, you guys.  Oh man.

Marcus was on a business trip Monday through Wednesday.  First solo parenting journey of summer/fall 2016 is over!

That meant a few things.  First, that we spent a lot of time on Sunday preparing food so that I would have stuff to eat (that did NOT require additional preparation and/or clean-up) while he was away.  It also meant the dinner that Michelle and I actioned on Tuesday night went un-photographed.  We had farm salad and grilled bread with mozzarella and bruschetta and corn on the cob and it was lovely.  And it meant that by the time we got to Wednesday and I had forgotten to pull the chicken thighs out of the freezer to thaw (whatever), it was just meant to be a week of convenience meats.

Last but not least, from the department of things I am really proud of, I whipped up a double batch of Vegetable Tortilla Stew from Cravings so I could bring some to a new mama AND so we could re-build our freezer stash of foods.  On the nights where I am out with girlfriends, my husband apparently still has to eat dinner.  ;)

Sunday – Trader Joe’s Garlic Chicken Sausages, Corn on the Cob, Dijon Potatoes, Green Beans


Monday – Sweet Potato Oven Fries, Roasted Cauliflower, Feta and Orzo Salad from Cravings


Wednesday -Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Chicken Burgers with Avocado and Pepper Jack Cheese, Corn on the Cob, Oven Fries, Green Beans


Miscellaneous – Earth Cookies

Earth Cookies


About A Critter

As always, there’s more to say about suburban life with The Boy King. 

  • Separation anxiety has struck. I’m glad that like, our son recognizes us and misses us when we are away, but now each time we step away when he is playing?  Tears. 
  • Solid food update: did not know what to do with sweet potatoes, did not mind carrots, liked avocado, liked banana, despised peas.  Thought puffs were invigorating. 
  • I’m still exclusively breastfeeding him. Pretty much because it is still working. It’s crazy to think at this point that we’re officially on a six month countdown to Year One and weaning!
  • At Critter’s six month appointment he was 30″ (100%), 20 lbs 2 oz (89%), and his head was 17.91″ (95%). So our adult baby is still…adult sized. 
  • Playing has gotten to be more and more and more fun. We’ve started stopping on our daily morning walks to lay in the grass, swing at the park, and sometimes stick our toes in the sandbox!
  • Unswaddling Critter’s arms has been a great success. The first night was rough (he woke up four times in one hour!) but after that, smooth sailing. THANK GOD. 
  • Playing with blocks has been such fun. This Eric Carle set that we registered for have been perfect for him at this stage because they’re light enough for him to pick up.  They also have an open side which means they stack inversely so they are quite compact when you put them away. 
  • Carseat update: Critter seems to like the Evenflo Sureride/Titan 65 reasonably well so we’re going to order a second for my in-laws. Really cannot complain about that less than $100 price tag (thank you, WalMart!). 
  • In that same vein, since we no longer have a “travel system” we ordered the Summer Infant 3D Lite stroller as our car stroller/umbrella stroller. It was $69 including tax. There were many nicer choices but since we already have a BOB Revolution I didn’t feel we needed to spend to excess on this and $69 already felt pricey. 
  • I have some solo-parenting stints coming up while Marcus travels for business and pleasure. Pray for us.