Archive for the ‘Life with Boys’ Category


Monday, January 22nd, 2018


The days of my boys being small enough to curl up in my lap for story time have long past.  Board books, we literally have memorized, are a thing of the past.  However, I still read to my kids and I encourage anyone with older kids to do the same.  My teenager is an avid reader, but he loves story telling of any kind.  My youngest is a reluctant reader.  He does not read by choice and prefers graphic novels over any other text.  I choose books I know they will both enjoy or that I want them to experience.  They also ask for titles they are interested in hearing.  We try to read nightly during the school week.  It is the perfect opportunity to enjoy each other’s company late in the evening.  No screens and a shared experience.  Cozy moments don’t come as often anymore, so I trick them into being close when we read.  Shhhh, don’t tell them!

Here are a few ideas to consider while selecting titles:

1 |  Read a classic.  A few titles we have enjoyed:  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, A Cricket in Times Square, Where the Red Fern Grows.

2|   Read a book before the movie is released.  We finished reading A Wrinkle in Time and just started Ready Player One.

3|   Read a book full of action.  We loved Hatchet!

4|   Listen to an audio book together.  Perfect on long road trips.  Try a funny title such as The Twits, The Minpins and The Magic Finger,

5|  Read a book that contains themes and plot lines that are better read together. Consider the refuge story, A Long Walk to Water.

Image by Tom Hermans on Unsplash


You might also like:


Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Other than this, Little Man only had one other item on his wish list in December.  A motto jacket.  It literally came out of the blue and was completely unexpected.  He continued to ask for it, so on Christmas morning he found this sweet jacket under the tree.

After careful consideration of his current wardrobe, he decided he had nothing to wear with it. For the last 3 years he was worn the same thing everyday: basketball shorts, a short sleeve t-shirt and zip hoodie.  He has now created a new uniform for himself.  Black on black on black.  He requested new black jeans and ALL black shirts.  (Thank you, Old Navy.)  The black Vans were a birthday present, which happens to fall 4 days after Christmas.  Without fail he has worn a version of this uniform since New Year’s Day.  The kid is strong on commitment.

If I was his stylist- I would add a dark green beanie, for a little splash of color, and these awesome spectacles.

We shall see how long this lasts, but for now it’s pretty fantastic.


You might also like:


Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

a reading list

Permit me to totally geek out over a book list.  It might be the English Lit major in me, but man I’m excited about my 8th grader’s reading list for the year.  Last night was our curriculum night and his teachers shared the titles he will be reading this year.  The anchor document that his Language Arts teacher is using for the entire year is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Ya, things have come a long way since I was in 8th grade.  I was totally impressed!  Without hesitation, I decided to read all of them too.  (Yep, there’s the book nerd in me!)  Hopefully it will be a way to talk about school and life in a non-evasive way.  One must tread lightly with teens!  In the very least, I will know the topics he is discussing at school.  As school kicks into high gear, consider reading the books on your child’s required reading list.

the required reading:

books 1books 2


You might also like:


Thursday, August 31st, 2017

dear boys | WHERE IS JUNE?

Dear boys,

Our summer came to an abrupt end this morning.  After weeks of sun and friends and freedom, you face weeks of structure, work and responsibility.  As I tasked you in organizing your backpacks, charging your iPad, packing your lunch and finding a book- I realized how much we have grown. Obviously you have physically grown, but the maturity that is emerging is astonishing to me.  You are becoming self-sufficient young men in front of my eyes.  I have learned to literally “chill out” and continually try to NOT sweat the small stuff.  (I didn’t even make Henry change his stained t-shirt this morning.  I’m showing great progress.)

When I think about what I want for you this year, my list is simple.  I want you to be yourselves.  That’s it.  I feel like the rest of the stuff is working itself out.  You are learning to be trustworthy.  You are both reasonably kind people.  For the most part, people enjoy your company.  You occasionally eat a vegetable.  I love you for the unique beings you are.  Keep on being weird, stubborn, caring, fiery, funny and unpredictable.  My promise is to guide you and not try and change you.  I’ll support you in your passions-even if I don’t get it.  Your dad and I are lucky to be on this ride with you.  Although we may annoy you, we are your biggest fans. Always.

As you charge into 5th and 8th grade, try to keep it together.  If you fall flat on your face, I will help you pick up your yard sale.  And I will also do your laundry every once in awhile.

Have a great day 2. Love, Mom


You might also like:


Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

teenager in the house

Today marks 13 years of being a mother.  It actually seems astonishing to me, but then I look at pictures and it is all too real.  My Will was the sweetest and happiest baby on the block.  With his blond curls and killer blue eyes, I was smitten from minute one.  There was something reassuring about those early days.  Lucky for me I didn’t have any postpartum depression or sadness.  It was actually quite the opposite.  I instantly loved every part of having a baby and felt confident as a mother.

Then Will became a toddler and a pre-schooler.  All of my conceptions that I was “doing it right”, that I so naively assumed when he was tiny, were thrown out the window!  To say he was a spirited child is a complete understatement.  I read every book, tried every strategy and cried and yelled a ton!  He was so darn cute and inquisitive, but never easy.  I would later learn that many of our battles were directly related to ADHD, but at the time I was just a horribly ineffective mother (or so I believed).  Adding Henry to the mix upped the ante.  I had become a mom to two ridiculously over-active boys and I was outmatched on a daily basis.

Will has grown into an amazing young man.  He is passionate and fun-loving.  I have never met anyone so willing to try new things without trepidation.  His interests are alternative and that is 100% awesome!  I don’t particularly love Star Trek, but I listen intently to all of his factoids.  Our path together has been anything but straight. But he is hitting his stride and has matured in ways I didn’t think possible even a year ago!

I’m not sad that he is turning 13 because he is so pleased about getting older.  Don’t you remember that feeling?   However, I am keenly aware that our precious time together under one roof is ebbing.  He is finding independence and needing me less and less.  Proud to be his mom doesn’t even come close to describing how I feel.  I cannot wait to see what lies ahead for this beautiful creature.  I am the lucky one!


You might also like:


Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

capable humans |Where is June?

Everyone needs a mantra, right?  That might be a bit of a stretch, but I love it when someone tells me they have a personal mantra.  While mantras are usually focused on one’s self, my new mantra is focused on parenting.  My “mothering” to be specific.  As we embark on a new school year, I have adopted a simple but powerful mantra:  I am raising capable humans.  (At least that is the goal!)

As a mother who does not work outside my home, this guiding principle isn’t so simple after all.  My job is actually… my kids.   My kids and running my house while trying to maintain some semblance of sanity. When your kids are your work, you can get a little crazed.  I take my boys’ shortcomings, struggles, and idiosyncracies very personal.  I feel it all to my core.  After a particularly difficult school year, I came to painfully realize this is 100% unhealthy.  It isn’t good for me and it certainly isn’t good for them.  They are humans, and although I am on the journey with them, it is their journey after all.

These boys do amazing things all of the time.  They are capable of climbing rock walls, skiing black diamonds, making stop motion videos, and popping up on surf boards.  If this is true, then they are also capable of making mac n’ cheese, managing their homework, asking a teacher for help, and doing their own laundry.  Of course I will advocate for them and help them when they need it.  I love them fiercely!  I just need to remind myself that I don’t need to DO for them all of the time.  In my teens, my dad used to say the funniest thing.  He would tell me, “I’ve done my job if you want to move out.”  I totally get it now.  Independent children ready and eager to take on the world is the end game.  The first step is just getting out of the way.  Simple, but not easy.

What do you think of personal mantras?  Am I just taking my crazy in a different direction?



You might also like:


Thursday, December 17th, 2015

headbanz holiday edition | Where is June?

We are once again hosting a holiday meal on Christmas Eve for our family.  Every year I try to think of a new idea to keep the cousins on their toes.  When they were really little I covered the entire table with kraft paper and left cups of crayons out for them.  They aren’t so little anymore {plus my boys never colored}, but they do love to laugh together. This year we are going to play a holiday edition of Hedbanz.  If you aren’t familiar with the game, each player wears a headband and tries to guess the card on his or her forehead.  We will use the blue headbands but the “playing cards” will be holiday themed.  I will brainstorm people, places and objects associated with winter and Christmas. A few I have thought of so far: Santa, Frosty, candy canes, Christmas tree, North Pole, stockings, hot cocoa, Rudolph, the Grinch, Cindy Lou Who.  Can you think of any others?

Keeping with the holiday theme, I plan to write the words on gift tags.  {That is very OCD of me and is certainly not necessary!}  Kids and adults love the original version of this game, so I hope it will be a big hit!   With a few cocktails it should make for great fun.

santa headbanz holiday edition | Where is June?

A few nights ago the boys were sweet enough to model for me and then we played a few rounds.  Little Man wasn’t too thrilled about being a Unicorn.  I was very comfortable with my hot dog persona.

headbanz | Where is June?

We are looking forward to an evening filled with laughter.  What games do you like to play with your family during the holidays?  I would love to hear!

You might also like:


Monday, October 19th, 2015

guys read | flying beaver brothers | Where is June?

Little Man’s love for graphic novels has been well documented.  {Read about other graphic novel series here and here.}   They are engaging, easy to read, and fun.  He has been reading the series The Flying Beaver Brothers by Maxwell Eaton III for quite some time.  He has actually read and re-read each title over and over and over.

Brothers Ace and Bub make him giggle.  Ace loves extreme sports and is always looking for a new adventure. Bub loves napping and, well, napping.  Each new book finds them on a new adventure.  The illustrations are fantastic, the colors simple, and the dialogue is snappy.  Little Man devours these books and anxiously awaits the next title to be released.  Give this series a try!  I bet your kids love it.

The Flying Beaver Brothers is targeted for kids in grades 1-4, but Big W thinks they are hilarious as well.  They are a crowd-pleaser!

Reading for enjoyment is so important for young children.  There is no way to convey how strongly I feel about this topic.  Please allow your kids to have fun with books.  Never mind the mom who is bragging about her three year old reading chapter books.  Forget about the labels they may or may not have put on your child at school.  The goal should be building life long readers.  Whether your child is reading chapter books, comic books, graphic novels, non-fiction titles or poetry, the important thing is that he or she is reading.  Simple but true.  Let them enjoy books and have fun helping them find books they love.


You might also like:


Monday, October 12th, 2015

setting limits on screen time | Where is June?

This is a very personal post.  Maybe it will be a popular post.  {Who knows?}   All I know is that I struggle everyday with setting limits on screen time in my house.  Like many parenting topics, it is sort of like opening Pandora’s box.  Every family has their own philosophy on screens and the amount of time that is appropriate for their children to be staring at them.  While I am in continual struggle to set these limits for our boys, there are a myriad of thoughts that run through my mind:

**I love screens when the boys are creating a movie, messaging with Grandma 30o miles away, looking up a fact on Safari, looking at the surface of the Moon.  I love screens when on a plane.

**Screens are invaluable to my boys’ education.  Most specifically they use their iPads every day to complete homework.  They both use voice dictation software to help them compose their thoughts for writing assignments.  My oldest has a school iPad provided by his middle school.  They view assignments, submit work, keep a calendar, message classmates regarding class work, and communicate with teachers.

**I mostly hate YouTube.  Specifically the 30-year-old gamer that lives in his parents’ basement and records and narrates himself playing video games.  Seriously, it is mind numbing!

**I have a love/hate relationship with Minecraft.  It is amazing what the boys craft, but inevitably one pisses the other one off.  {The yelling is no joke.}

**I am a lazy mother.  It is so easy to just let them play and sometimes I just need 30 minutes.

**It is the boys’ language.  When they aren’t playing, they are talking about games and apps with their friends.

**Adults are always on screens too!

**The game is rated T for Teen but my eight year old is playing it.  Should I have stricter limits?!?

**I am parenting in an age in which I did not grow up.  While this isn’t unique to our generation, it feels like an immense responsibility.  Everything is posted and published.  Add teaching our kids to be responsible social media citizens to the list.

**Judgement is harsh and it is real!

Ok, so there it is.  Nothing really but a list of all the crap that runs through my head.  How much time do my kids spend on screens per day?  Well, most days it is an hour of leisure screen time- unless I am feeling lazy {see above}.   And weekends are the hardest days to regulate!

I am interested to hear if you struggle with screen time too! 

What are your tricks?  What do you love/hate about screens? 


You might also like:


Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

setting goals with kids | Where is June?

Little Man and I have set a goal for the school year.  He and I are going to walk or ride our bikes to school for at least 100 days.  I may have selfishly suggested this goal since it means I will rarely have to enter car pick-up or drop-off.  That my friends is priceless.  It also encourages both of us to brave the weather, even on cloudy, drizzly days.  Fresh air in the morning does a body good.

In all honesty, it is an easy way to introduce goal setting.   Little Man is still quite young {8 years old}, so the goal had to be simple in nature with a clear outcome.  After setting our goal, I did a bit of reading.  {It appears that goal setting is a multi-million dollar industry?   “Experts” from all walks of life!}  A few reoccurring principals seem essential when goal setting with young kids.

1.  Set a specific goal with measurable terms //  We set the goal of riding or walking 100 out 180 school days.  Specific and measurable.

2.  Set an end date//  We have until June 23, 2016, the last day of school.

3.  Write goals down and keep track of  progress//  We created a chart for Little Man to keep track of the days he rides his bike or walks.

4.  Find a partner or team//  We are in it together!

5.  Agree on a reward or celebration//  Three words.  Great Wolf Lodge.  {Oh, lord, help me!}

I think our goal is perfect.  It pushes us, but it is reasonable and attainable.  Other goals that would be great for young kids:  trying new foods, reading a set number of books, practicing an instrument, running a 5K.  As kids get older, goals get more complex.  I’ll get back to you about setting goals with Big W.  That kid is tricky!

What goal could you set with your kids this school year?


You might also like:

Where is June?


  • Simple Practices

  • Trending Posts

  • Archives

  • Subscribe

    Enter your email address