A Little of This and That in June

Jul 17, 2018

June was idyllic summer: warm days, long evenings, structured mornings, lazy afternoons. I would take June over and over again.  We spent our time . . .

Going . . . to the zoo. Early in the month, we had a cool morning that was not great for the pool but was perfect for the zoo. Our zoo recently opened up a new red panda exhibit, which we were very excited to finally get to see.

Fasting . . . from social media for seven days. On June 3rd, the prophet of my church, President Russell M. Nelson, gave a devotional with his wife to all the youth. In his address, he issued five challenges: 1. Take a week-long break from social media, 2. Make a weekly sacrifice of time to the Lord for three weeks, 3. Do a thorough life assessment, 4. Pray daily for all of God's children to receive the blessings of the Gospel, 5. Be a light to the world. The first two challenges were more focused and tangible while the last three are more ongoing and constant. Even though I am long past being a teenager, I knew that accepting those five challenges would bless my life. I stayed off social media (Instagram, blogs, Youtube, Facebook, etc.) for seven days. The results were both expected and surprising. I found that I legitimately missed certain people. I also felt greatly unburdened. I realized that I'm not usually negatively influenced by what other people post, meaning I don't look at other people's perfect lives and feel sad or depressed that my life is not as perfect. However, I realized that my emotions are very tied up in the way other people react to my posts, and when a post or a picture or a caption doesn't get the kind of engagement I was hoping for, I feel disappointed and depressed. Interesting, huh? When I got back on social media, those old feelings started to flare up, and I realized I'd been blissfully free of them for the entire week. Sorry, I probably should have saved all of this for its own post, but needless to say, this is something I'm still trying to find a happy balance with.

Eating . . . doughnuts. We have made it a tradition to celebrate National Doughnut Day on the first Friday in June. Mike was in charge of buying doughnuts from our very favorite doughnut place, Banbury Cross. He came home with two dozen, which I thought was excessive for six people, and he thought was totally justified.

Scorching . . . microwave popcorn. I accidentally put it in for a minute too long, which doesn't sound like it should be that destructive, but it was. The inside of the microwave was completely discolored and every time we used it, it smelled like burnt popcorn. After trying all the Googled tricks to restore it to its original condition, we called it a loss and bought a new microwave, which Mike was only too happy to do. We'd had that microwave since we got married, and we had long outgrown its teeny tiny size. So overall, we're calling it a win.

Teaching . . . my sister how to knit. This might just be my favorite thing from all of June. With my sister's recent graduation, she suddenly has more free time than she's had in the last seven years. So one weekend, she came over, and I taught her the basic knit and purl stitches; then we went out and bought yarn for her first project--a hat. Once she was in a good rhythm with that, we watched Sense and Sensibility while knitting. It was so much fun that we repeated the knitting day three weeks later, right down to watching another adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. I can see this becoming a tradition (although we're going to run out of Sense and Sensibilities . . . ).

Finishing . . . off another soccer season. And for Aaron, this will probably be his last. He has played with the same coaches and group of boys for three years, but at the end of this year, they decided to move to a competitive league. Neither Mike or me or Aaron was willing to take on that kind of commitment, and Aaron wasn't really interested in switching to a team of strangers, so we're going to move onto something else.

Baking . . . chocolate chip cookies. That is to say, Aaron baked chocolate chip cookies. All by himself. From start to finish. Completely from scratch and without any help from me. We're all pretty pleased with this development.

Agonizing . . . over paint colors. Since the day we moved into our home more than four years ago, we have known that we wanted to paint the exterior. We thought the time had finally come last fall, but the cold weather came on fast and thwarted our plans. So this spring, we started over and went about getting estimates and comparing paint colors. But guys, it is hard, soooooo hard, to settle on a paint color when 1) you're not sure what you want, 2) you doubt your own taste, 3) even little decisions tend to cripple you, and 4) you can't afford to second guess your decision (like, you literally can't afford it). So thank you to all of our family and friends and neighbors who weighed in with their opinions because in the end, all that agony led to . . .

Admiring . . . our "new" house. Because really, there's nothing like a fresh coat of paint to breathe new life into an old, ugly house. (And if anyone needs a painter, we can highly recommend ours.)

Before (I cheated a little because I found a photo from two years ago when we still had the old roof)


Vowing . . . not to take our kids to the movies ever again. We took the three older boys to see Incredibles 2, and Maxwell and Bradley couldn't handle it. It was just too scary for them, and they begged Mike and me to take them home. We didn't because the rest of us were loving it, but this is at least the third time they have pleaded for us to take them home in the middle of a movie (the other times were with Moana and Coco). I think we've finally learned our lesson. The big screen is just too big. (Side story: see that big tub of popcorn? It was upside down and all over the floor two minutes after this photo was taken.)

Bringing . . . basil back to life. I have a black thumb. I really do. All my plants seem to come to a swift and fast end. Such was the case with a basil plant I purchased recently. I needed basil for a recipe, but then hoped I could keep it alive and enjoy basil all summer. In just a few days, it was drooping and looking stressed, but I went ahead and re-potted it, which only seemed to make matters worse. But I persevered, even when it looked like the most pathetic spindly little thing. And guess what? It survived! And it is getting nice and bushy, and I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Learning . . . new skills. Aaron has wanted to mow the lawn for several years, and Mike decided he was finally tall enough to try it this summer. I hope Aaron enjoys mowing as much when he's sixteen as he does when he's (almost) ten.

Overflowing . . . the toilet. Not our best moment in June, for sure, and maybe a little too much information for all of you. One morning, Clark found me, and said, "Mom, something very bad happened in the bathroom." I was worried he had broken the soap dispenser again and made a big soap mess (which has happened before). If only. I was horrified with what I found. I'll spare you the details, but it was bad. Clark sat on the edge of the bathtub and kept saying, "It's all my fault. It's all my fault." I think he was pretty traumatized, but it will all be worth it if he remembers not to use exorbitant amounts of toilet paper ever again.

Going . . . on a little family hike. We didn't realize how little when we started out, but it ended up being less than half a mile to get to a waterfall after which the only way to go forward was with ropes straight up the cliff face. No thanks. But it was short enough that none of my kids complained, so I think it was perfect for us.

Celebrating . . . Father's Day. The boys made some things for Mike, and we gave him treats and a new game. In the evening, my family came over and we celebrated with my dad. I'm very blessed to have these two good men in my life.

Rekindling . . . our love of The Great British Baking Show. A new season is up on PBS. Have you watched any of it yet?

Hanging . . . out at the pool. We spent a lot of time at the pool in June. Clark and Bradley took swimming lessons; Max and Aaron did swim team. Clark cracked the swimming code and became an independent swimmer. Bradley learned how to do a back flip off the diving board. We were even joined by a few family members on a few occasions.

Knitting . . . a shawl for my Aunt Sheri, which I gifted to her a couple of weeks later, but not before I took some photos in it. I loved planning it; I loved knitting it; I loved finishing it; I loved wearing it; I loved giving it away. The whole process brought me joy.

Spending . . . time together at a family reunion. It's the season of family reunions over here (we have three this summer), and the first one took place with my family at the end of June at Lava Hot Springs. I sometimes complain about going to so many reunions, but the truth is, I really do love it. I only got to go to one family reunion during my entire childhood, so I'm so glad my kids are having a very different experience. This is the stuff of memories.

And that's it for June! How is your summer going so far?


  1. I really like the colour of your house, well done. And I empathise, I'm the same, but I have a friend who is really talented, I just ask her.
    Re the movies, empathise there too. We never take our younger ones (under 8s) anymore, it's always too overwhelming for them and they want to go home. Our oldest son was totally freaked out by Stuart Little many years ago, so then we never went for many years. We recently broke our rule and took the whole family to watch Dragons 2 and youngest child was over it half way through. Recently older kids went to Incredibles 2 and said it was great that we hadn't taken the little ones it would have been too scary for them

  2. Wow, Amy, that paintjob really blew me away. What a difference. Great choice.

  3. Wait -- you buried the lede! What game did you get for Father's Day?

    Lovely pictures of a lovely family again.

    It's great that Aaron is stepping up in the kitchen!

    We didn't do PG movies until pretty late. But we liked G movies (our local theatre does $1 movies on summer afternoons of mostly old stuff). PG is a big jump up in intensity, especially if you don't watch a lot of TV at home. I sympathize with the boys!

  4. I feel so cool to have been your favorite part of June! Let's do it again soon!

  5. Wow! Your house looks so great! I would love to paint our exterior someday but would totally be stressed out by the decision, too!

  6. The knitting while watching Sense and Sensibility with your sister! I want to be part of that! Sounds like the most incredibly dreamy lazy way to pass a free afternoon/evening!!!!


Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground