6 Things I’ve Learned in July


It’s time to share the things we’ve learned this summer. The What We Learned posts are hosted by Emily Freeman as a “monthly community link-up to share the fascinating, ridiculous, sacred, or small.” Mine is usually just ridiculous. Want to know more of what I’m talking about? Go here.

In no particular order, here are things I’ve learned in July.

1. I do not understand boys but I totally love being their mom.

When I envisioned myself as a mom, I always had more boys than girls. And even though I am a girly girl all the way, I loved the idea of a house full of boys. As fate would have it, the boys do indeed outnumber the girls in our house and from a hormonal standpoint, we are all grateful. My boys are 10 and 6. I worried about the 4-year age difference between them but they are fast becoming the very best of friends. This summer has shown me that and it has been a sweet, needful gift in the midst of all the crazy.

They memorize raps and coach each other on how to get more words into one breath. {Of course they are totally rapping their Bible verses here and not “Can’t Hold Us.”}


And they are all hopped up on American Ninja Warrior.


I’m convinced that they can turn anything larger than a 4 x 4 foot space into an obstacle course. Their bedroom doorway is the spider climb. Random posters strewn across the floor are the landing spots. Sit-ups and push-ups and counting each other’s abs are daily rituals. Last night I was tucking my littlest one in bed and he asked me if I could count his “back abs”. “What are those?” I asked. “You know mom, the abs on my back. How many do I have?”

And that’s why little boys are totally awesome.

They have driven me out of my ever-lovin’ mind this summer with their noise and hooligan-ness and empty popsicle wrappers never ever in the trash can. But they have made me smile and laugh and thank Jesus for the gift of boys more times than I can count.


2. Maple syrup is my favorite coffee sweetener.

Sounds crazy but trust me. A teaspoon of real maple syrup in your coffee is perfection. My sister-in-law got me started on this and I’m never going back. It’s important to note that you must use real maple syrup. Do not, I repeat, do not go putting Mrs. Butterworth’s in your brew because that would be gross.


3. The world needs more chip and guac hats.

Nothing is wrong. I’m just chilling with the guac…from my chip hat. — Gru from Despicable Me 2


We saw Despicable Me 2  again at the free summer movies a few weeks ago. My sister and I decided that these hats need to go mainstream. Dear Walmart, please make chip and guac hats so that we can all snack our worries away while looking wonderfully ridiculous and laughing at one another. I feel like I could handle anything with one of these hats. {And a side of frozen margarita.}


4. Target donates stuff to Goodwill.

Do you know about this? Our Goodwill sells brand new goodies from Target. I guess it’s returns and overstocks. Anyway, I found two of these lovely Nate Berkus for Target tables this summer, brand new and just waiting for me amid the ceramic kitties and dusty old afghans.



Hello lover, with your faux mercury glass tops and gold frames. Please get in my minivan. Never mind those two wild boys counting abs and dripping slushie juice in the backseat.

It’s like a marriage between my two favorite stores. {T + GW 4 Ever}


5. I’m not as young as I used to be.

News flash, right?

We have some major projects and upheaval right now and in days gone by, I would have stayed up super late and consumed lots of coffee and gutted it out because I’m all about getting the job done.

Not so much now that I’m over 40. When the sun goes down, Marian is tired and can no longer work. The energy of my youth is now laughable. And I don’t ever plan on pulling an all-nighter for anything ever again. Unless there is a all-night Nate Berkus for Target overstock clearance extravaganza at the local Goodwill.

Anyway, my old-age exhaustion has been both frustrating and freeing. We all have our limitations. In my good moments, I can accept them with a sense of peace and gentleness toward myself. In my anxious moments, I tend to resent them and try to barrel ahead anyway. The latter approach never ends well. But still, I am slow to learn.


6. Several hours of quiet {in my own home or somewhere without other people} is priceless.

I’m a mom who also happens to be an introvert. I actually love people but I’m drained by social interaction instead of fueled by it. That includes interaction within my own home….especially within my own home. Steady doses of time alone are the way I recharge and maintain sanity. But this summer? It has not happened. I had my first ever time alone in months here at my house Sunday evening. Two and a half hours of blissful solitude. I literally savored the silence and stillness like it was my last meal.

And then everyone tumbled back into the house and I loved them again.

Technically this is not something new that I’ve learned. But it is something crucial that I’ve not prioritized this summer. And then I wonder why my eye twitches and I can’t remember people’s names and I forget to put a coffee mug under the Keurig while it is dripping coffee all over the kitchen counter. {True story from two days ago.}

Sometimes the alone-ness is just not possible. But when it is, it’s a gift not only to me but also to the ones I love.


So how about you? What have you learned this summer? Tell me in the comments or feel free to link up with your own post over at Emily’s.

A few other posts from this summer

When Summer Gives You Crazy & You Give It Right Back

When Life is a Broken + Beautiful Mashup

Fighting For Peace When Everyone Else is at the Pool

8 Things I Learned on the First Day of Summer

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  1. says

    So glad I found you, Marian, through Chatting at the Sky! You have a beautiful site. You and I have learned similar lessons this summer. Thanks for bringing a smile to my day and for offering thoughts that are completely relatable. I especially love these words: “Sometimes the alone-ness is just not possible. But when it is, it’s a gift not only to me but also to the ones I love.” So true for me too!

  2. Joan says

    Love.It.All. The boys, the syrup, the tables, the chip hat (a scream!), the quiet Sunday evening, and even the aging. It let’s me know you’re still alive! I haven’t seen you in forever!

    Great post, honey!


  3. Melanie says

    You’re the second person this week to tell of forgetting to put a mug under the Keurig. The first was my mom who told me about her no-mug episode after I put coffee beans (WHOLE coffee beans) in my coffee pot and it brewed disgusting, hot, yellow not coffee. Coffee fails unite.

    And the boy stories. I remember when my boys were teeny-tiny, you once wrote about how everything in your house was tied together. Everything in my house is tied together.

    I’m glad I get to see you & our boys can run together Saturday!

  4. Kim says

    1. I am So trying the maple syrup tomorrow morning!
    2. And glad it is not just me, cuz, when 9:15pm hits, I am Done!
    3. Introvert alone time? Golden…I am counting down the days (5) until I have the house to myself for 3 days in a row!!! Kids start school Mon. and husband out of town for work.

  5. says

    Loved this! Glad to have found your blog. Your writing is refreshing. And I just read your ‘About Me’ and thoroughly appreciated it. Looking forward to following along.

  6. Emily says

    Oh, that sweet guac hat! And I definitely swept up some popsicle wrappers while working in your garage today :)

  7. says

    Wow, two hours alone in my house. What I could do with that! I’m still pretty sure I’m an extrovert, but I would still love to arrange that :).
    I’m about to find out what baby #3 is going to be, so I may have a couple boys on my hands too–Lord help me :).

  8. says

    Where do I start?
    I worry about money even when God has always taken care of us.
    My kids drive me nuts and I’ve overused video games for quiet this summer.
    Two teenage boys wipe away everything you said that was sweet above.
    My twelve year old is getting ready to be lumped into the same category as my 15 and 14 year old. Grrrr……
    Summer passes too fast.
    The schools wants me to buy a laptop. Are you kidding.
    Football in highschool is expensive-er than I ever thought.
    Surviving a Category 2 hurricane ocean front is almost like looking into the face of God. It’s wild, scary, calm in the center and miraculously extravagant.
    I’m so glad I banned all summer camps, activities and church functions. We needed the rest.
    I’ve enjoyed being kinda lazy.
    I’ve learned that more than ever I want to capture beauty in the form of people in front of my camera.
    God is good – ALL THE TIME!
    I still miss my mom like crazy!!! Even on good days.
    Life is short.
    Did I say I miss my mom? I do. Like Crazy!
    I’m blessed, broken, unable, capable and loved by a God that is so much bigger than I’ll ever understand this side of heaven.

    Did you say just July?

  9. Lisa says

    Your blog, as always, is a dose of real in a not-so-real world. Love your willingness to share your life. I’ve been reading here for quite a while and always come away feeling encouraged. I’m the mom of 3 boys, 2 of them teens, and during the month of July I have learned that 2 gallons of milk will NOT last for a week. I, too, have adopted the maple syrup in my coffee habit but I add a little unsweetened cocoa to it too (I’m a self confessed chocoholic). Thank you for your words…they encourage and inspire.

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