Some things that happened in August
There was a lot to be thankful for in August. Our exercise bike, which my sister and brother-in-law gave us 5 years ago, was in bad shape by this summer and I had asked Christopher if we could try to get a used elliptical for my birthday, which is on August 28. I saw a few of them on craigslist for about $200. I was surprised and happy one morning early in August when Christopher and his brother showed up with an elliptical. Christopher found it at the transfer site when he dropped off the trash before work and he called his brother at work to ask him to help pick it up. It's a very nice elliptical, cost $1000 new and works perfectly. When Christopher brought it home it was dusty, like it had been sitting in someone's garage but I was able to clean it up easily with rags and soapy water. Since then I have been enjoying exercising while listening to Revive Our Hearts podcast in the mornings before Julian wakes up.
Though I didn't leave Fairbanks this summer, during August I felt as though I did a little world traveling through reading. I went to New Mexico in Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather, Chile and Gold Rush California in Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende, China in Chu Ju's House by Gloria Whelan. India in Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya. South Africa in Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. By the time I got to England in The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro I felt like I had a gratifying scattering of pins in my (imaginary) reading world map.
Halfway through August I took the boys raspberry picking with my older sister. We went to a farm on Sheep Creek Road, close to the neighborhood where we live. Silas did a great job picking. He stayed focused and not a single leaf or stick made it into his container. Micah picked a few berries but then got bored. He put the lid on his container and shook it until his berries were mushed lumps floating in a beautiful red juice. Still, I promised him I would use his berries to make a smoothie and I did. I used Silas's berries to make raspberry muffins. Mine I sorted, washed and dried intending to freeze but they ended up being snacking berries, which was fine. I wish we could have done more berry picking but it is quite an outing with a 5 year old, 4 year old and 1 year old in tow. I would have like to at least make a blueberry pie. There's nothing quite like wild blueberries.
Some people shared their garden bounty with us, so we had some fresh greens, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini. Zucchini bread is an August tradition in Fairbanks, of course. We also tried grilled zucchini. One day I made chicken and dumplings with zucchini and kale, instead of the traditional peas and carrots. (Christopher can't stand carrots and I have never liked peas.) The boys enjoy sliced cucumbers, which we call "cucumber coins" and so we ate them all like that.
Micah had his 4th birthday on August 24th. I remember early in my pregnancy with him I thought it would be neat if we shared a birthday. But by the time he was born -- at 40 weeks and 2 days -- I thought I would have died if I had to be pregnant for another 4 days. I was so miserable! Those last days of pregnancy are tough. Since then I have been glad he came on his own birthday. For Micah's birthday this year Christopher took the afternoon off to take him to the playground. When I asked Micah what playground he wanted to go to, his eyes lit up and he said "The park with the fire truck!" I had to think for a minute, then remembered a little playground in North Pole that has a wooden fire truck playset. So we went all the way to North Pole and played at the playground, then we stopped at the North Pole library where my sister-in-law works. Then we came home and had spaghetti for dinner. The cake I made for Micah was kind of messy, but I was proud of it anyway. He loves Paw Patrol, so I used one rectangle cake and two circle cakes to make the shape of a dog bone and Christopher bought some little Paw Patrol toys to go on top as decorations. It turned out pretty cute. Micah chose strawberry cake with chocolate frosting, which -- coincidentally, I'm sure -- are the exact flavors Silas chose on his birthday 6 months ago. After supper we gave Micah his presents. He got a walkie-talkie set, a bathtub submarine and a toy Jeep and mail truck. "Tell Dad thank you for your presents," I said.
"Well, all I dist wike is this mail twuck," he told me. Hehe. I guess we all have room to grow on our birthdays.
For my birthday Christopher and I stayed overnight at Chena Hot Springs while his amazing sister stayed at our apartment with the boys. His parents let us borrow their camper and gave us a swim pass! Christopher bought me a luxury Love by Davines shampoo set for a birthday present.