Posts Tagged ‘life with boys’

MOTHERING MANTRA: RAISING CAPABLE HUMANS

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?

 

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SETTING LIMITS ON SCREEN TIME

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? 

 

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SETTING GOALS WITH KIDS

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?

 

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LIFE WITH BOYS

Monday, August 10th, 2015

life with boys

I’ve touched on this topic before, but I feel it is essential to continue talking about it.  In the world of social media, the comparison game becomes overwhelming!  One of my goals with this blog, from the very beginning, was to just keep it real.  Present real life, the beautiful and the ugly.  I hope that I have been successful in accomplishing that. Simple enough, but it seems that it gets harder and harder as time passes.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I love to use the hashtag #lifewithboys.  It explains my life in a nutshell.  Raising two boys is a full contact sport.  The photos capture tender moments with my boys, adventure, accomplishments, and tons of fun.  And it is all true.  What is equally important is what is NOT posted.

I am not a perfect mother.  My children are far from perfect.  We are not the perfect family.  There is no such thing.  We all know that, right?  If we know that, why can’t we proudly shout it from the rooftops {or in our status updates}?  Summer is especially difficult because the guilt weighs heavily.  Oh, they should be reading more.  I should be more organized.  We should be doing something productive.  They should be reading more.

While it is awesome to be the mom that rides every water slide or plays Marco Polo, remember it is also OK to plant yourself in a lounge chair and take a moment to breathe.  Albeit impressive to create a chore chart for your children and actually follow through,  you can also do it yourself and then simmer about all you do without any help!  The fact is no mother is going to post a selfie of herself screaming at kids to get off the damn iPad.  Just know that is happening everywhere, everyday.

I will continue to share about the not-so-lovely things, because we are all in this together.  Please promise you will try to be kind to yourself.  And if you are brave, share a story with a friend that shows we can all fall short of perfection and live to tell about it.

PS:  comparison is deadly and the not-so-glamorous shots….

 

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SUMMER FUN: SEND THEM TO CAMP

Monday, July 27th, 2015

send them to camp

{camp orkila, Orcas Island, WA}

Looking for summer fun for your kids?  Send them to camp.  Not just camp.  Sleep away camp.  I know it may be late for the this summer, but put in the back of your head for next year.   Most camps open enrollment in January, some even earlier.  Or, hey,  jump online and see if there are any openings for camp in August.  Big W went to camp for the first time at age 8.  {Little Man was 7.} Without a doubt, they come home from camp dirty and tired, but also a little more grown up.

Big W and Little Man have grown immeasurably from their time away.  I see the growth in three main ways:

1.  Independence

#1 and always so surprising.  They return from camp more mature and more capable than when they left.  Most importantly, they learn to navigate the world with all their idiosyncrasies without my help.  Don’t like the food, figure it out.  Can’t fall asleep, figure it out.  Not getting along with a friend, figure it out.  Not sure of an activity, figure it out.

2.  Appreciation

Oh, this is a big one.  They appreciate home, their bed, their siblings, your cooking, and your hugs a little bit more.  Distance does make the heart grow fonder and it works for kids too.  They also gain an appreciation for the great outdoors.  The camps’ locations are so beautiful they can’t help but fall in love with nature.

3.  Confidence

Quite simply, they can do it.  And when they return home, they know it.

camp orkila | Orcas Island, WA

Camp is good for you too, for all the same reasons!  You get a bit of independence {even if it is just for a week}, you miss them terribly and appreciate the energy they bring to your house, and you gain confidence in knowing you will, eventually, be able to let them go.

If I could afford it {and allow it}, Big W would be gone all summer.  Jumping from camp to camp.  Each one offers new experiences, new challenges, and a new location.  Who know which camps next summer will bring, but rest assured they will both be packed and ready.

 

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SUMMER FUN: PITCH A TENT

Monday, June 29th, 2015

pitch a tent | Where is June?

Summer fun does not have to be expensive or elaborate.  You don’t even need to leave your back yard!   Pitch a tent and sleep outside.  Kids of all ages love camping out and it becomes a club house of sorts. You can crash with them or let them sleep on their own.  My boys have have a lantern they keep on low during the night.   I love seeing the tent glow from my kitchen windows.

Isn’t summer the best?!

 

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MY BABY RATTLESNAKE

Monday, May 4th, 2015

MY BABY RATTLESNAKE

It is said that baby rattlesnakes are more dangerous than adult snakes because they haven’t learned to control the amount of venom they inject when they bite.  They just release all their venom in one swift, deadly release.  Now, this little fact is mostly likely not scientifically sound-but for the sake of my argument let’s say it is.

I am raising a baby rattlesnake.

Little Man is a tightly wound ball of emotions.  He can go from a kind, sweet boy to door-slamming, venomous creature in a matter of seconds.  What can set him off?  His iPad not responding, losing or not performing well in a game, a change in schedule, his socks.  It is my job to teach him how to control is venom.  He 100% got it from me.  {I 100% believe it is the Italian blood coursing through our veins. While I was not as volatile or stubborn, I was a master door slammer and screamer.}  Navigating this as a family can be difficult and challenging.  In public, it can be frustrating and embarrassing.

What have I learned {and continue to learn}:

1.  Acknowledge his feelings. 

Often he is verbalizing exactly how most of us feel.  Software glitches, a strike out, traffic, homework, Mondays.  No one likes these things.   I find myself saying, “I understand it is super frustrating.”  I say it over and over.  I am not sure if it super helpful, but I  want him to know that I recognize what he is feeling.

2.  Set him up for success.  Be flexible.

I try to be ready with a preemptive strike.  I know him well enough now to foresee certain situations.  Before a our LEGOLand visit, we talked about lines and how there is likely to be long waits for rides.  We checked out the interactive online map and plotted a course to a coveted ride.  I sat out with him when he didn’t want to ride the BIG roller coaster.  Instead we wandered around {just the two of us} and found an exhibit where he could build a robot.  Sometimes he just needs down time.

3.  Let him be.

He knows what he likes and wants. When he was really young, I used to coax him or force him to do something he didn’t want to do.  Jump in jumpy houses, go on a merry-go-round, pet a dog. The list goes on and on.  Then one day it dawned on me.  If he doesn’t want to, don’t make him.  Let him be.  Well, let him be, unless it involves his education, safety or being polite.

4.  There is a limit!

He needs to know that while we do have control of many things, life is a series of readjustments and compromises.  I serve him no good, if I smooth every path for him.  And honestly, I am just not that patient.  There comes a time where enough is enough.  Time alone in his room often does the trick, for both of us.  I’d like to say I am always the calm, serene role model he needs.  Uh, nope.  I do yell and I do lose it.  {I am saving for his future therapy!}  My challenge is being consistent.

From my own experience, the outbursts decrease with age and maturity.  However, as the parent, I will just need to survive and come out on the other side of this. Thankfully, we have wonderful friends and family that care about Little Man and show great love toward him.  I appreciate their willingness to help him navigate the world and continually support me in return.  He is endearing and has a lovely soul.  I so want the world to see that!

 

 

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STRUCK OUT SWINGING

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Lessons from a Strike Out | WHERE IS JUNE?

Big W had a Little League baseball game last night.  I could tell he was going to have a great game when he struck out swinging during his first at-bat.  And I was right!  Two more turns at the plate brought swings, foul tips, and a throw out at first.  He gave a top-notch effort and had his best game of the season.  I know you are probably wondering if I am being serious, right?  I am 100% serious and seriously proud!

While I cheered wildly for his strike out, many parents looked over their shoulders-wondering if I had lost my mind.  You see, W has probably been up to bat fifteen times this season and had not swung the bat once.  Not once.  {This is actually a carry over from last season as well.}  Only he knows why.  But last night he stepped up to the plate and swung at the first pitch.

What have I learned?  Be patient with your kids.  They are not on all on the same trajectory.  It is difficult to watch your child struggle.  But, struggle teaches resiliency.  Be a great team parent.  Get to know the kids on your child’s team.  Scream madly when the kid that never gets a hit, suddenly ends up on first.  Tell those babies that you love to watch them play.  Cheer on every success, even if that success is a strike out!  Find the lessons in the game outside of being an all-star.  Encourage them to grow as person and as a teammate.  Tell them to have fun and be great.

I can’t wait to watch him play next.  Who knows, he may even get a hit!

 

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FUN CLASSROOM VALENTINES + A GIVEAWAY {CLOSED}

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Classroom Valentines

The holiday filled with paper hearts, delicious candy, and love notes is right around the corner.  Everyone loves Valentine’s Day, right?  Well, kids do at least.

It is Big W’s last year in elementary school, so this is his grand finale for classroom Valentine exchanges.  If he gives a Valentine next year, that will be a different story entirely!  {Oh, the joys of middle school.  Do you remember?} Kid’s Valentine’s Day Cards are hard to find once you have grown beyond Batman and Disney Princesses.  Last year, we were lucky to find Pear Tree Greetings!  Their classroom valentine cards are simple, easy to personalize, and fun to exchange.

It took Big W and Little Man a total of 1 second to choose this year’s Valentine card.  Fake mustaches.  BOOM!  These darling mustaches have a pre-punched hole for a lollipop or sucker.  The kids unwrap the pop and it looks like they have a stache while they are eating it.  Personalize it with your child’s name and you are done!  There are no envelopes to address, so the kids just have to add the lollipop and pass one to each classmate.  Wouldn’t a class photo with fake mustaches be amazing?!?

Today, I have partnered with Pear Tree Greetings for a $25 {shipping not included} giveaway.  Use it to buy your kid’s Valentine’s Day cards and cross that off of your list.  To enter, simply visit Pear Tree Greetings and leave a comment here telling me your favorite Valentine card design.  Receive an additional entry if you share this post on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.  For social media entries, be sure to tag me or use hashtag #whereisjunevalentine.   Entries close this Wednesday, January 28 @ 11:59 PST.  The winner will be announced on Facebook and by direct email.  {Be sure to like the Where is June? Facebook page!}

UPDATE:  GIVEAWAY CLOSED.  MEGAN IS THE LUCKY WINNER!

I chose a few more that I think are awesome!

fun classroom valentines

Clockwise from top left:

Heart Day Lollipop//Super Powers//Monster Lollipop//Colorful Macarons

Also, all of the personalized cards the boys picked last year are still available!

Use BEMINE15 promo code and receive 15% off your order -plus Free Shipping.  Expires 2/7/2015

{Mustache valentine cards c/o Pear Tree Greetings. Photo by Where is June?}

 

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MISSING MY WING MAN

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

wing man

In the last few weeks, I have been missing my Wing Man.  For 5.5 years, Little Man was my partner in crime.  We did everything together.  While big brother was away at school and Daddy was working, it was just the two of us.  I will freely admit that from the moment I became a full-time housewife, I dreamed of the day when both of my boys were in school.  My sanity hung in the balance most of the time.  I longed for adult interaction and interesting outings.  Most activities centered around him.  The park, the aquarium, indoor play, soccer class-you name it.  Carving out time for myself was nearly impossible.

When Little Man was three we found Barre 3.  The studio provided child care during the 1 hour workout.  The workout out was amazing, I didn’t have to find a sitter, and it was a perfect outing.  He loved it too. Usually bringing his own pack with snacks and a few toys.  After class, we would walk to the nearby public library, jumping in puddles on the way.  We would read a few books and spend time playing on the computer.  I would drop him off at our local play center to eat lunch and play with friends- leaving me with a quiet afternoon alone.  Tuesday and Thursdays quickly became our favorite days.   It saved me in many ways.

I hadn’t been to Barre 3 in quite sometime, but returned just recently.  I felt odd not having him with me. My boys are still not BIG in relative terms, but they certainly aren’t little anymore.  I found myself thinking nostalgically of our time together.  With enough distance, I now see how special and precious it really was!  I used to roll my eyes and grimace every time a woman would say to me, “Oh, treasure this time.  It goes by so fast.”  The thought that popped into my head {other than punching the nice woman in the face} was, “How many hours until bedtime?”  BUT now I get it.  For those of you in the middle of the preschool years, I feel your pain. I am not going to be the obnoxious girl who tells you how wonderful your life is.  I know that it is hard, unforgiving, and thankless most days.

But there are moments being written onto your heart that will be there forever.  And a few years from now, you will be driving to workout and tear up.  You will remember that little body in the back, chattering at you about cranes and semi-trucks.  Your heart will be sick that the little hand that reached for yours is now holding onto handle bars riding to school on his own.  Those darling, little rain boots are packed away in the garage as a keepsake.

So for now, I am holding onto him tightly when he will let me and reminding myself to enjoy him.  I have learned that the stress and angst of every phase will fade and what is left is wonderful, sweet memories.

 

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Where is June?

 

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