I’m sitting at my desk working on my second cup of coffee after a very early start to the morning. I woke up at 3a and tried so hard to go back to sleep until finally throwing in the towel and getting up at 5:30a. I read for a while and finished the book I was reading, Summer of ’69. This usually does the trick to put me back to sleep but not today. Oh well.
I got up, made coffee and did a 20-minute yoga nidra practice. It seemed like the best choice for my morning meditation since it offers deep relaxation. I definitely felt more rested and relaxed afterwards. Also, Rod Stryker’s voice is one of my favorites for meditation. It’s so soothing.
For this post I wanted to backtrack and share life lately and recent adventures with my little guy. Lots of Finn + Zoey pics coming so you’ve been warned if you’d rather skip over this one. 😉
EXPLORING OPTIMIST HALL
Finn started to turn the corner on Friday and after being cooped up inside all day due to Finn staying home from school and an insane heat wave (my car said 101 on Friday…we didn’t even go for a walk), we needed to get out of the house. I was invited to check out the soft opening of Village Juice at Optimist Hall and it sounded like the perfect thing for the hot day and Finn’s sore throat/teething situation.
Village Juice is a Winston-Salem-based restaurant serving juices, smoothies, toasts, bowls and lots of other clean and creative food. They just opened their third location in Charlotte. I had the Green Coco smoothie which was a blend of housemade coconut milk, mango, cucumber, spinach, kale and mint. Finn had the Mango Tango kid’s smoothie which was a blend of mango, strawberry, banana and orange juice.
I spent a good bit of time chatting with one of the owners (it’s a husband/wife team that brought this new location to Charlotte) and I cannot wait to go back and sample more of their menu items. Everything sounded amazing!
It was a great excuse to visit Optimist Hall, which I had been dying to check out! Optimist Hall is a new development that has a food hall, retail, restaurants, office space and tons of outdoor/green space. It’s not fully operational/occupied yet but it’s off to a great start!
I love two things about Optimist Hall. First, the aesthetic. It’s a gorgeous space. Open, airy, full of natural light. I 100% know this will become a go-to work spot for me when I need to get out of my home office.
Second, the variety of choices all under one roof! Currently, there is a coffee shop, sushi, ramen, gelato, a cocktail bar, dumplings, a grilled cheese stand, a juice bar, a Mexican restaurant and a few more open. Coming soon is Indian concept from my favorite Asheville Indian spot, a Mediterranean restaurant, Neapolitan pizza and much more. It’s AMAZING! You could literally stay at Optimist Hall all day. Haha.
If you’re in the Charlotte area, go check out Optimist Hall!
SATURDAY AT THE MARKET
Our Saturday outing was a morning trip to the farmers market. Finn enjoyed checking out the pumpkins but I learned my lesson last year to wait to buy my pumpkins at Home Depot or Trader Joe’s. I spent $40 on two pumpkins at the farmers market last year. I remember my jaw dropping open when he told me the price.
Here’s what I did bring home, all from Blue Bird Farm. They are my favorite vendor at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market.
Lacinto kale, two dozen eggs, radishes, arugula, eggplant, tomatoes, apples, butternut squash, pork chops and ground beef.
MY LITTLE OUTDOORSMAN
While Friday was one of the hottest days of the year, Saturday brought cool, fall-like weather. It was overcast all day with a high of just 68. We spent a ton of time outside. After Finn’s nap, we went for a long walk with Virginia. Back at home, we played in the backyard. I am so relieved that the mosquitos are finally starting to calm down and Finn is steady enough on his feet to explore the backyard. It’s fenced in so a great container for him to explore and run around. It’s his new favorite place to be.
And I just can’t resist sharing this picture from Saturday. Finn was quiet and I looked over to find him eating his snack in the dog bed. He was just laying there looking out the window and as happy as he could be. It was so sweet.
Our Sunday outing was to Home Depot to get pumpkins and mums for the front porch!
Our day ended with more outside time walking, in the backyard and at the park. In this picture Finn was watching the big kids climbing up the play structure and wondering why he couldn’t do that too!
And of course we celebrated the birthday girl! Maybe my favorite photo of these two ever.
I treasure these low-key days so much. We had a wonderful weekend. <3
I am now off to teach a strength class! Hope it is the best day for all of you.
What do you do when you can’t sleep?
What are you reading right now? Related, who has read The Goldfinch? Thoughts? Both my mom and grandmother recently purchased it so I’m thinking I might need to join in on this family book club.
Do you decorate for fall?
I may be in the minority, but I hated the Goldfinch! I read it for book club a few years ago and really struggled with it!
I also didn’t like the Goldfinch…..it was SO long and I kept waiting for something exciting to happen.
On another note, I’ve been plowing through John Grisham’s books. Finished The Client, A Painted House, and now working through The Pelican Brief. They are an easy, fast read!
If you haven’t read Pillars of the Earth, check it out. Its long but SO good!!
I completely agree with Allison, pass on the Goldfinch, so ridiculously long, and no explanation for the story whatsoever. I felt the same way about Fates and Furies… both of these books drove me crazy
Same – couldn’t finish it!
I co-sign skipping The Goldfinch. It’s really beautifully written, but it’s about 300 pages too long. I read it in my pre-baby life and could set aside the time for it. I wouldn’t set that much time aside now that I am a mom because I could read 3 books in the time it would take to read The Goldfinch. But if you are the kind of person that loves buzzy, Pulitzer-worthy kind of books, you might find it worth your time (I feel very meh about most Pulitzer-winning books…)
OK, so I recommend the Goldfinch only if you skip the excruciatingly long descriptions of NY streets, etc. I know that for some it’s a cardinal sin to skip lots of pages, but I used up all my patience reading Lord of the Rings and I still got a lot out of the Goldfinch. The writing is good, but yes I re-checked it out from the library three times before I threw in the towel and started skipping pages. Don’t tell the librarians, shhhh.
I feel the same. I finished the book because I can’t NOT finish a book I start, but it took forever. Maybe the movie will be better in this one instance?!
When I can’t sleep I play the alphabet game. I pick a subject and then go through the alphabet and list items related to it. My favorite is American cities and produce.It helps to quiet all the racing thoughts in my brain and allows me to focus on something unimportant. I am currently reading the Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. I’ve heard awesome things about it and I’m excited to dig in! I just finished Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center and it was one of my favorite books of the year!
I also loved Happiness for Beginners!! Highly recommend.
I also agree on skipping The Goldfinch…
My dog has IBD so she needs out to potty several times a night. Sometimes I can fall back to sleep and sometimes I can’t. I wish I knew the secret!
Currently reading Roses of May. It’s the second book after The Butterfly Collector. Not my usual genre but I’m hooked!
I’m laughing at Finn in the dog bed because I have the same scene in my house often. Same sized dog bed, much bigger kid.
I have a few podcasts from Meditation Oasis on my phone that I listen to when I can’t sleep. Listening to them makes me drowsy and will usually get me back to sleep.
I’m team Kelly on Goldfinch. I tried but just couldn’t get into it.
I have chronic insomnia so I’m usually out for a run around 5am on weekdays. And I’m about to start Stephen King’s new book!
I appreciate the clarification about medicine – I was one of the folks who commented on it. I totally get what you’re saying with more explanation. There’s a lot of misinformation and fearmongering out there about Western medicine, especially on “healthy living” blogs, so it’s easy to take offhanded comments about medicine out of context and I apologize for doing so!
I hate not being able to go back to sleep when I wake up! It happens to me whenever I’m stressed out about work/life, and it’s so frustrating because being sleep deprived just makes me more stressed. If it happens more than once in a week, I usually take that as my signal that I need to find some way to take things off my plate. I hope you’re able to get some rest the next few weeks, though.
I just picked up a few new books and am trying to decide what I want to read next.
How did you know that Finn had a sore throat (and I think you mentioned in your previous post that he had body aches?) My 17-month old was sick last week (fever/vomiting) and then had a few days where he was soo grumpy and miserable but had no obvious symptoms…just lots of crying and meltdowns! I kept thinking maybe he had a sore throat or a headache or something, but how can you tell?? It’s so tough when they’re too little to tell you what’s wrong and what hurts.
Love the dog bed pic! Lots of those pics around here too. 🙂
And I die watching my toddler observe big kids at the park…it’s too cute.
I love the Goldfinch!!! Highly recommend it.
+1 — it’s a masterpiece.
But if you’re looking for something shorter that moves faster, try Donna Tartt’s earlier novel, The Secret History. Also great.
The Goldfinch is one of my favorite books ever! It has mystery, art, great relationships, fantastic dialogue, etc.
I’m glad Finn is feeling better! His relationship with Zoey is priceless!!
I listened to the Goldfinch and it was an excellent (if very very long!!) audiobook! At the end I listened to it on 1.75 speed because it was due back and the library was going to take it back. The narrator does an AMAZING job and gives each of the characters different voices.
We have a place like Optimist Hall in my town. It’s an awesome location for a group – it solves the what do we eat dance and that way everyone can get something they like!
I just finished The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I highly recommend it. I’m currently reading The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware.
So I listened to The Goldfinch and I probably would’ve given up very early if I was listening to it. However, even though I finished the book I did not like it. None of the characters were really likable in my opinion.
I just started The Alice Network and have heard good things!
Glad to hear that Finn is feeling better! My little one loves her Lola and loves to give her pats, it’s a good thing she’s big bc I think some of her pats might scare a little dog.
Oh my goodness Zoey is smiling in the last photo! 😀
LOVED ‘Goldfinch’! So well-written, beautiful prose and story development.
I really like getting into a book and don’t mind a long novel ~ if that’s you too, I’d absolutely give it a go!
Was not a fan of the Goldfinch! I so wanted to like it, but it was just too wordy and the main characters were not particularly likable!
When I can’t sleep I find a meditation on youtube…it generally relaxes me enough to stop my mind from racing.