Posts Tagged ‘life with boys’


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.


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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


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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


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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!


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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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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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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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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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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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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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Where is June?


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