What I Learned in June

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While June in the Midwest has felt strangely like November in Texas, the calendar says summer has arrived so I am appropriately basking in its slower pace, longer days, and lovely produce.

Despite the persistent brain fog that has enveloped me over the past few weeks (and which I suspect is directly related to my children’s recent resistance to naps) I have managed to put my finger on ten ways in which I’ve mentally grown in June.

This month’s roundup includes representation from the fields of literature, grammar, child-rearing, home dec, and chiropractic care.

Diverse, yes.  Degree of mental growth? I’ll let you be the judge.

June’s Lessons Learned

1.)  My vocabulary lesson for the month:

Meme: “an image, video, phrase, etc. that is passed electronically from one Internet user to another”

-Oxford American Dictionary

Thanks Bob Hostetler, for providing proof that even being Facebook friends with smart people can make you smarter.

2.)  June’s Grammar Lesson: The use of the Serial (or “Oxford”) Comma is not a matter of absolute truth but is, in many cases, one of preference.

As a enthusiastic user of the Oxford comma, this realization pains me. And yet it’s true.  Or so says Lynne Truss.

Yet, I will still die on the hill of clarity in comma usage; as this illustrates, one absent comma can be a matter of life and death.

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3.)  Coronata stars are a decorating trend.

Who knew? Not me. Thanks, Nester.

4.) Not finishing a book doesn’t make me a bad reader.

Having 6 books going at once doesn’t mean I’m non-committal. Preferring certain genres to others doesn’t mean I’m less intelligent.  You can benefit from a book without being able to regurgitate its contents.

All wisdom gleaned from Michael Hyatt (who’s been in the publishing business for many years and says–gasp–most books aren’t worth finishing) and this post.

I am now relinquishing my guilt over a half-finished Brothers Karamozov (though I won’t commit literary blasphemy and say it’s objectively not worth finishing) and preferring children’s literature to NYT best sellers.

Photo By
Photo By

5.)  Nutritional response testing may not be (quite) as crazy as I’d thought.

I still hesitate to tell certain people I’ve had it done on my son (and yet I proclaim it on the internet…) but after seeing some fairly profound results, I am convinced there’s something to it. Although I don’t pretend to understand what that is.

6.)  Ditching my daughter’s paci was not as traumatic as I’d imagined it would be.

Naps are still a bit touch-and-go, but nighttime is perfectly peaceful.

6b.) I should not google “what happens at nap-time when your toddler gives up the paci” if I’m looking for encouragement.

7.)  Making skinny jeans out of a pair of regular jeans is possible but tedious.

For me, it involved about 20 “fittings,” most of the ink in my invisible erase pen, lacerations from the seam ripper and safety pins, and just enough awkward hobbling to make me think paying to have them altered might have been better for everyone.

8.)  Saying no to good things is sometimes necessary.

And somewhat liberating.

This month’s big “no” was to the neighborhood garage sale I’ve been planning to join in for the last year.  When it came time to do all of the prep, I just didn’t have it in me.  Too many other things had already claimed my time and energy.

Saying no brought a strange mix of guilt (that I didn’t follow through on something) and freedom (from tagging endless piles of junk).  I did my best to discard the guilt and embrace the freedom. There’s always next year.  Or donation.

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Photo By

9.)  Having friends in different life stages is awesome.

They offer refreshing perspectives (You mean you can leave your children at home and go out with your husband? That day is coming!?!?!) and conversation fodder outside the scope of toddler drama (Ohhh, you’re dating such a sweet boy!).   Thankful for the whole multi-generational thing.

10.) It is possible to befriend someone on the Internet.

For years I have been incredulous when bloggers spoke of this phenomenon–skyping with other bloggers they’d never met in person, planning to meet up at conferences, etc.   It took experiencing it for myself to realize what a blessing it is to authentically connect–online–with someone juggling the same responsibilities and pursuing similar goals.

**Bonus: There’s a “What We Learned in June” link-up over at Chatting at the Sky today!  Emily’s posts were my inspiration for this series and I’m looking forward to checking out what everyone else has gleaned from June.

What did you learn in June?

About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • Lori Harris

    Love this link up! And I agree with not finishing book, even when the rest of the world thinks it’s a winner. Thanks for sharing today~

    • Thanks, Lori! I saw your list earlier and laughed at the bootleg copy of the movie. I taught in “the hood” for several years and received similar gifts :).

  • Jennifer

    Jenn, I love your list! I will forever remain devoted to the Oxford Comma. I had no trouble ditching the second space after the full stop when conventions changed a while back, but I can’t bring myself to omit the last comma in a series!

  • Rosa Veldkamp

    I’m dropping by from Emily’s.
    I loved your list and it makes me happy to know I’m no the only one who loves to read children’s literature. . . 😀

  • Rosa Veldkamp

    lol! NOT the only one. . .

    • Ha :). Yes, not the only one for sure. At times I have trouble tearing myself away from Narnia to read other books. 🙂

  • Laura

    The jeans thing? You are very brave, I have never tried sewing denim! And I wholeheartedly agree to #10, I only know Emily from the Interwebs and she is one of my favorites now. 🙂

    • In my sewing ignorance, I didn’t think of jeans as being a challenge :). Thankfully, I didn’t break any needles!

  • TrishMarie

    As a mom of 4, 3 of mine had a paci. I remember those days of going paci-free. One of my boys kept his until he was well into 3 years old because I had such guilt about taking it from him, he loved his “monkey” so much! But it brings back the memories of those first couple of nights/naps that were a struggle to say the least, and then when the realization came that I didn’t have to go in their room 47 times to find the paci in the dark! It was a good day indeed!

    I also have a group of very close friends I “met” on an internet board when we were all pregnant with babies due in June/July 2000. We have remained so close, like sister all these years and they are some of my most valued friendships. Who knew it was possible?

    Great post!

    Trish
    http://mom2the4thpower.blogspot.com/

    • Oh yes, I hear you on the paci-retrieval missions :). How great to have found such a sweet group of friends online! Love that.

  • Great list! We’ve been having a “napping war” at our home also lately – some days are better than others!

  • Mare

    thanks for the ‘meme’ lesson. I didn’t know that one either. Glad the paci-withdrawel has not been too traumatic. Nutritional testing sounds so interesting…and I imagine is very enlightening. What i learned (again) in June is that God is good to me. I’ve been blessed this month is many ways. Not every month feels like that.

    • Mare, I smiled as I read this! So glad to hear you’re experiencing God’s goodness this month. 🙂

  • Number 10 is my favourite. 😉 And re-making skinnies from regular jeans…wow, just wow. I have no patience for that but kinda wish I did. =P

    • You know, #10 may be my fav too!! And I can assure you, the patience was limited. I was just really committed to finishing the project once I’d ripped them up! 🙂

  • Oh I’ve always felt so guilty over unfinished books! I recently just had to ask myself who in the world is the book police anyway? Some books you just can’t set down. Others take a while to mull over but you eventually finish them. Others, well they just stay half read and that’s okay!

    • Stephani, I totally hear you. I have been my own book police for too long! Here’s to no more book guilt. 🙂

  • TJ

    I really like #4 and #9. Great reminders. I agree with not feeling like I have to finish a book. I have even deleted a book from my kindle account so that no one else in the family could read it since I didn’t want any one else wasting their time. Right now I am missing having an older friend in my life someone who can give me help with what comes next.

  • Jennifer @ Swing Whistle Zing

    I wanted to write because I, too, recently learned that ditching the paci wasn’t as traumatic as I first expected it to be! At about 2 mo later it seems such a thing of the past now & its wonderful to have that stage behind us! Several years back I also had the privilege of someone giving me the advice to say no to good things sometimes. Isn’t it liberating?

  • Katie at Cardigan Way

    I get you with your Oxford comma issue…in my graduate class this past spring, we spent a good 30 minutes on this very issue. I’m with you. And also — I chatted on the phone and via skype with a blogging friend for the first time and it was such a blessing! I completely resonate with number #10 for this month…and it’s on my post’s list, too!

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  • raisinghappy

    I especially like what you said about the “multi-generational thing”.

    As an oldest child with a need to take care of others (and a healthy dose of childlike carefree-ness), I gravitate towards younger folks. But as an oldest child with a not-so-secret wish to have had older siblings, I gravitate towards older folks, too. (Now I’m nervous about whether or not that comma goes there. ; ) )

    My two neighbor-friends are in completely different life stages than I am:

    One just graduated from college, is unmarried, doesn’t have children, and spends her time skateboarding between job interviews. I completely relate to her, as that was me at some point in my long ago life.

    The other is 16 years older than I am with a husband who is even older, 5 children (2 of which are adults), and 3 grandchildren. And we get along like peas in a pod! No surprise there.

    In my own home, we have three generations under the same roof. My mom has her own house, but she also has a room here so she can stay as often as she likes to be near her children and grandchildren, and we can be near her. My grandmother regularly stops by each week and all my immediate family and a couple of close friends have keys to our house.

    There’s so much the generations can learn from each other. I wouldn’t build my village be any other way.