Things I’m Loving Friday #430

Hiii friends! How are you!? Friday is here and we are really looking forward to a weekend close to home even though the weather forecast is rather dreary. We have plans in the city with friends tomorrow morning but other than that our agenda is wide open which is a very good thing! Do you have anything exciting on the books for the next few days?

Our week was a good one. I’ll share more about our back to school transition for our littlest ones below and other than that, some highlights from the week included the start of soccer for Chase (his first “real” league with shin guards and cleats — haha!), my small group meeting with girlfriends (we’ve been meeting once a week for several months) and  evening chats with Ryan on the swing in our backyard after the boys were in bed. The little things are the best things, as always. In that vein, let’s move right along to highlighting this week’s roundup of Friday favorites, shall we?

Things I’m Loving Friday

  • Back to School for Rhett and Ryder

Tuesday was the first day of school for Rhett and Ryder! It was Rhett’s first day EVER and he was all about it! He actually wanted to follow Ryder into Ryder’s 4-year-old class and when I steered him to his 2-year-old class he thankfully walked right in without so much as a glance back at me. I think knowing Ryder was in the same building as him helped Rhett’s confidence going into the day! Ryder was so, so thrilled to bring Rhett to his “big kid school” with him and when I picked them up on Tuesday after lunch, Ryder talked all about how many times he saw Rhett throughout the day. Rewind a week or two and I was in full-on summer mode but something about this week shifted me into embracing all things fall. It’s back to school and back to reality and I’m looking forward to a little more structure and some free mornings for work time!

My rating: I’m withholding a rating on this one because my thoughts on this book were deeply impacted by the fact that I read Love and Other Words before this book. More below!  

My enjoyment of Every Summer After by Carley Fortune was significantly impacted by the fact that I recently read and loved Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren. The books are so incredibly similar that I truly felt like I had already read Every Summer After. The parallels were very distracting to me and throughout my time reading Every Summer After I could not shake feeling like I was re-reading Love and Other Words.

Because of the similarities between the books, I don’t feel like I can give an unbiased first-time-reader review of Every Summer After. Did I like it? Yes. Do I think I would’ve really loved it had I not been incredibly distracted by the parallels between this novel and Love and Other Words? Absolutely. But just know that if you’ve read Love and Other Words, this may be a book you want to skip unless you want to feel like you’re re-reading the Christina Lauren novel.

So much of what I loved about Love and Other Words is what I loved about Every Summer After: The author’s beautifully honest portrayal of first love, young relationships and navigating all of the emotions and firsts that come together to make something so new and pure so precious. And I loved the intrigue surrounding what lead to the couples’ parting ways. (Worth noting is the fact that I really did not like one decision that was revealed toward the end of the book that really took away from some of these sweeter emotions.)

Every Summer After jumps back and forth from the past to the present day and follows the relationship of Persephone “Percy” Fraser and Sam Florek. Percy and Sam first connected as young teens when Percy and her parents spent the summer at their lake house located next door to the house Same shared with his mom and brother. The pair instantly had a bond unlike anything either of them had experienced before and their friendship only grew stronger over through every one of the six summers summer Percy visited… until lines were crossed and their amazing relationship imploded.

Fast forward 12 years and Percy finds herself driving back to the lake, a place she swore she’d never return. When she comes face-to-face with Sam, the former best friends are forced to face the past and Percy must face the truth and the choice she made that may have forever ruined the best relationship she ever had.

A little backstory: On Christmas morning, my dad, brother-in-law and I opened a “gift” from Ryan. (I use “gift” in quotations for a reason. Would we call this a “gift?” No, no we would not.) Ryan registered the three of us as a relay team for the North Carolina Half Ironman he’s completing for the second time next month. He knew my dad would be all-in (my dad road bikes 3x a week and loves it) and figured peer pressure would coerce me and my brother-in-law into the race. Well, his strategy worked because my dad and br0ther-in-law are already enthusiastically completing training and I swam laps for the first time since high school (19 years ago!) earlier this week.

(More insight into this “gift” from a DM convo on Instagram)

I wasn’t sure how it would go but I was very, very pleasantly surprised by my time in the water. Honestly, it was wonderful. I’ve always loved swimming and it’s the only sport I’ve done where I enter an almost meditative state as I swim laps in the pool. The repetition of the stroke, the water and the fact that you are forced to completely disconnect from everything else — It’s all just really cool and irreplaceable for me. It truly felt nostalgic to be back in the water and while I have zero time goals for my leg of the relay, I am happy to say I’m no longer dreading training for the mid-October race. Ha!

Recipe Superlatives (I LOVED writing this blog post and assigning superlatives to my blog recipes — everything from “Recipe I’m Most Proud Of” to “Most Underrated Recipe” and more!)

Hearty Vegetable Bolognese

What You Wish You Knew Before Your Baby Was Born (Tips and advice from all of YOU about the things you wish you would’ve known before becoming a mom)

Question of the Day

What is one thing you’re loving this week? 

Healthy and Fitness