A Little of This and That in June

Jul 17, 2022

Out of the summer months, June is my favorite. The start of school is still far enough away that we don't have to give it any thought, and the novelty of lazing around has not worn off. We had just enough frequent rain to keep things from heating up too dramatically. It was just a really pleasant month, filled with activities such as . . . 

Being . . . the only boy at a birthday party. One of Ian's cousins had a birthday at the beginning of the month. A piñata was part of the afternoon's festivities, inside of which was a flower crown for each person. I thought Ian was going to balk at this, but he happily put it on and wore his with the rest of his cousins. 

Finishing . . . another school year. All of our kids had such a good year. Really, no complaints. Ian thrived in preschool (I noticed his teachers had creatively added categories to his end-of the-year assessment, which I thought was cute). Clark and Bradley had amazing teachers (it was the fourth time we've had Clark's teacher, and my kids' handwriting never looks as good as it does in second grade). Maxwell found his stride in junior high. He loved the pacing with multiple classes and teachers and getting the chance to explore new subjects. And Aaron actually got to finish out eighth grade (a new experience for him since he missed the end of sixth and seventh grades). It's always bittersweet to see a good school year come to a close--it almost feels like we should just keep a good thing going!

Looking . . . through Clark's alliteration book. Speaking of good handwriting, one of my very favorite keepsakes from second grade is an alliteration book. The kids work on this throughout the year. They complete a page for every letter of the alphabet. First they come up with a sentence using the featured letter in a name, place, action, etc. Then they draw an accompanying picture. Clark's book was so creative, and we all enjoyed looking through it. And then, of course, the older boys all had to pull out their alliteration books from second grade and reminisce a little. 

Kicking . . . off the summer with a family vacation to the Oregon coast. I have so many photos and memories to share, but I'll save them for a separate post. But here's a little sneak peek:

Eating . . . doughnuts. Did you know Doughnut Day is the first Friday in June? It's one of those random holidays that our family looks forward to celebrating every year. We decided to try a couple of new places this year: the French cruller from Beaumont Bakery (very rich) and My Sugar's (unimpressed--basically like the doughnuts you'd get at a grocery store). 

Quitting . . . my job. For the past four years, I have worked as a manuscript reviewer for Deseret Book. It has been fun and fulfilling work. I loved being a small part of the publication process, and it was always quite exciting to see one of the manuscripts I gave feedback on go all the way to print. I have always reserved the early morning hours as my time for reading and reviewing. But lately, it just hasn't been working: sometimes Silas has a bad night, and it feels impossible to wake up at the right time; sometimes Silas wakes up at the same time I do and needs me; often, my other kids have questions or needs during that same time. Mike has always been very helpful and supportive, and I know he would have continued to be so. But things have felt quite busy since Silas was born and school got out. I realized that working in the morning was actually starting off my day on the wrong foot. Instead of launching into all of my daily responsibilities after doing hyper-focused work, I wanted to ease into it. I realized that using that hour to go on a walk or think or meditate was going to serve my day better than being productive with an actual job. So I quit. I hope someday I can pick it back up again, but for now, it was the right choice. (But just for fun, here are three of my favorite books I reviewed that were later published: Eve and Adam, A Walk in My Shoes, and One Breath at a Time.)

Walking . . . on pioneer trek. Our stake put together a four-day pioneer trek for the 14-18 year-olds. Aaron got to go. I was so grateful that he is healthy right now and didn't have any physical or dietary restrictions that would have made it difficult for him to go. But I will also admit that it wasn't easy for me to have him gone for four days without any way to check in with him. Luckily, all of the youth made it back in one piece, and Aaron had a fantastic time. A few minutes before he got home, Mike asked me, "What is the first thing Aaron is going to want to do when he gets home? Take a shower? Eat? Take a nap? Or tell us all about it?" We both laughed at the last option, thinking that there was no way he was going to want to sit around and regale us with stories. But then, that's exactly what he did! We even got a meal-by-meal recounting because he is almost fourteen, after all. Since I wasn't there, this video sums up the experience better than I could.

Playing . . . in the Junior Youth Symphony. For the month of June, both Aaron and Maxwell participated in a band camp that is organized by our school district. Max had a really good experience doing this same band camp last summer, and I thought Aaron would like to do it this year as well, especially since his band teacher is one of the directors. However, it wasn't as rewarding as I hoped. First of all, Aaron missed almost all of the first two weeks due to our Oregon trip and trek. By the time he was finally able to go, the teacher who was in charge of his section thought he was a total flake. Plus, the quality of playing wasn't as high as what they were used to with just their junior high, so it wasn't as much fun performing music that they knew didn't sound the greatest. There were a couple of unique performing opportunities (under the Claw and at Trolley Square), but when the final concert finally happened on the last day of the month, both of them sighed with relief. 

Cracking . . . the pumping code. Last summer, I tried to teach Ian how to pump a swing. He could never get his motions to sync up in a way that produced actual movement. But he tried again early this summer, and something finally clicked. (We happened to be at the same park where Clark learned to pump, which we hadn't been to since then. There must be something magical about those particular swings.) Ian has been joyfully swinging ever since.

Taking . . . photos of Clark for his baptism. On a beautiful evening, Mike and I took Clark to the Jordan River temple to take a few photos of him in his Sunday best. (Silas came along, too, as babies do.) Some kids find photo shoots to be a real drag, but Clark is not one of those people. Everything I asked him to do, he did with his characteristic eagerness. Because of that, we easily got everything we needed in just one loop around the temple, and we had a lot of fun doing it, too. At the end of the night, when we were almost back to the car, I remembered that I had been planning to take a photo of him without his suit jacket on. However, we had already taken so many good photos that I said, "Oh well, it doesn't really matter," but Clark insisted that we take a couple more.

Gaining . . . some tennis skills. Clark took tennis lessons with a few of his friends. I only signed him up for two weeks, but after it was done, I kind of wished I'd registered for a couple more. He really loved it.

Dressing . . . up as twinners. It just so happened that on random day, Clark and Aaron wore identical clothing, and a couple of days later, Ian and Bradley did the same thing. I'm always so grateful that my big boys are willing to go along with the younger boys' antics. (This also proves that sometimes, for the sake of ease, I buy the exact same shorts and shirts for all of my kids in various sizes.) 

Camping . . . with friends. Maxwell and Bradley got to go camping (in a camper in the Uintas) with two of their best friends. They played many rounds of Scum, hiked, paddle boarded, and talked around the campfire. Definitely a highlight of the summer for them.

Rolling . . . over. Silas mastered the art of rolling from his back to his stomach, much to our dismay. It led to all sorts of problems. First of all, he often rolled to his stomach when he didn't actually want to be there, and since he couldn't figure out how to roll back onto his back, he got stuck all the time and squawked until someone would come save him. Second, he started rolling over when he was sleeping, which made him wake up and need help getting back to sleep. Plus, he still wanted his arms swaddled when he went to sleep, but then it wasn't safe to have them swaddled once he rolled over. The rolling saga was a vicious cycle for several weeks until he gained a few more skills.

Stopping . . . by the shave ice shack for a cool treat. Our niece is working at a shave ice place this summer, so of course we had to go there during her work hours, both to say hi and to treat ourselves. 

Eating . . . our way through a bunch of food trucks. For World Refugee Week, our community brought together many refugee businesses featuring ethnic food from around the world. Mike and I went with his sister and brother-in-law, and we bought a few things from various food trucks and then shared them with each other so we all could try a little of everything. Everything was so good, but especially the fish tacos. Talk about yum! (This is an event we will not be missing in the future.)

Attending . . . art camp. Two teenage girls in our neighborhood ran a fantastic art camp for a week. Both Clark and Ian went, and they came home with all sorts of fun projects, including Father's Day presents for Mike and fun painted canvases featuring themselves. I loved that they had something fun to look forward to every afternoon and that they got to do it with all of their friends in the neighborhood. 

Celebrating . . . everyone's favorite person (Mike!). Clark and Ian made him mugs (at art camp), and everyone got him a new game (Otrio). They all filled out their traditional questionnaires with artwork and photos, which we added to the collection. We spent time with Mike's dad and my dad in the evening.

Hiking . . . Ensign Peak. We had to take advantage of one of the cooler days to do a hike that is traditionally very hot (because of limited shade). Ensign Peak is a short hike, but it gives a great view of Salt Lake, and I love the history associated with it. Our kids had never done it before.

Finding . . . his feet (Silas). It's one of my favorite baby milestones. Too, too cute.

Developing . . . new swimming skills. Ian's swimming has progressed a lot this summer, in part because of a little swimming camp he went to for a week at a neighbor's pool. It was five days for three hours each day. Those three hours were interspersed with lots of games, and I never stayed to actually watch, but apparently he learned something since he is now comfortable and confident in the water (although still not in the deep end). 

Attending . . . my sister's bridal shower. It was a fun afternoon celebrating Anna with food, presents, and games. It also helped me get to know her fiancé a little better since, even though he wasn't there, his sisters were. They told some really sweet stories about him.

Making . . . important covenants. Clark has been preparing for his baptism for several months. When he had his interview, the bishop asked him, "Clark, how many times will Jesus forgive you?" And Clark replied, "Infinite times." I thought that was pretty much the perfect answer, and if there's anything I hope Clark remembers as he gets older, it's that. We had a full room at his baptism--friends, neighbors, and family--which I felt perfectly represented the amazing support Clark has. His Aunt Angela and cousin Addie gave talks, and Aaron played a piano solo. Later in the day, Clark wrote in his journal, "When I got out of the water, I was physically cold, but spiritually warm." We had everyone over to our house afterwards for dinner, and I think that's the biggest party we've hosted in years. 

Going . . . to day camp. Clark and Bradley both got to go to Camp Tracy with their activities group from church. Clark gave me a full recap after it was over: archery, BB guns, obstacle courses--basically a kids' paradise. I don't have any photos from the day since I wasn't there, but Clark bought a raccoon cap at the trading post and put it on Silas when he got home, so here's that:

Practicing . . . sitting. By the end of the month, Silas was sitting up (almost) like a pro. He's not stable enough to leave unattended, unless surrounded by pillows, but he's getting there.

Driving . . . to swim team. I made a point of saying "driving" because it's not the norm. Bradley has been on the recreational swim team for a year, and they swim at the high school, which has always been so nice because Bradley could just get there by himself. But a new pool is being built, and it isn't quite ready, so over the summer, they're swimming at another pool, some distance away. It has not been the most convenient, and I'm ready for them to be back at their regular pool. But meanwhile, Bradley swam in a meet and took seconds off of all of his events, so the hard work is paying off. (And the little boys and I often go to the park to play while we wait for him, so I think they'd consider this a perk of the new location.)

Spending . . . time at the pool. Not as much time as in past summers, but we still make it there a couple of times each week. 

That felt like quite the recap, and it didn't even include our vacation. These are memories we don't want to forget. 


  1. What a summer already! I especially love the nature (can't wait for Oregon!) and the Pioneer Trek. Learning about the manuscript job has me curious about your reading life these days! That's what originally brought me to your blog.

  2. I love the alliteration book! Also, every picture of Silas melts my heart. He is so adorable. Clark's baptism photos at the temple are so nice. He has a bright light that shine from him.

  3. My friends and I ran a day camp when we were teens -- I hope our kids had as much fun as yours did! It was a shock to see Clark getting baptized; I think I found your blog just as he was born. Lovely pictures of a lovely family.


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