My Boys - they're not so little anymore

My boys are growing up, and always want to be on the move now, so I filled our summer schedule to the brim. The teenager is especially fond of chasing fun. Slow days at home grow tiresome for him. But in the midst of all the going, I'm holding tight to the not so distant past, and all the memories of slow afternoons doing crafts and playing dress-up and eating popsicles when they were small. Tonight I came across a sweet little journal entry from four years ago, and it made me all weepy. I just had to share it here, for those of you still knee deep in park dates and naptimes.

 

DSC_0204

 

(March 2014) The other night I peeked in on my middle-est, long after he was supposed to be asleep. Instead of sleeping he was playing, propped up on his elbow, adjusting the 30-some mini-figures on his nightstand. As he worked he sang quietly to himself, "I won't grow up... I don't want to go to school... just to learn to be a parrot... and recite a silly rule..."

I've been thinking of the story of Peter Pan lately myself. My name is Wendy. And the name Wendy was first imagined, penned and introduced to the world by Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie. Audiences in England and America alike fell in love with Peter, the boy who never grew up, and Wendy, the lost boys' play mother.

Standing on the cusp of a new season, I've been thinking of Wendy Darling and her lost boys. How dear she was to them, to darn their socks, tell them stories and put them to bed at the end of their adventurous days. While I don't darn my boys' socks, (I buy new ones at Target), I know the sweetness of story books and bedtime kisses on soft faces.

In the end, Wendy Darling returned home to England at the end of her adventure in Neverland, she didn't stay a little mother for ever. And my season with littles is coming to an end as well.

 

DSC_0020

 

A few weeks ago my littlest guy, in his last days of five, went to his friend Rosie's birthday party. He found her a pretty necklace with her initial spelled out in rhinestones, and wrapped it in white paper that he then painted with pink and purple hearts. The day before the party Rosie told Asher that she'd be wearing a princess dress to her party, so Asher came home and immediately went digging through his dress up bin.

I watched at the party as the two of them played with other children; chasing balls, blowing bubbles, and spinning hoola-hoops around their tiny middles. And the thought occurred to me, this may be the last time he asks to have a lightening bolt painted on his face! This may be the last time ANY child of mine plays, unashamed, in a knight costume in front of strangers.

Gulp.

This imaginative, smiling, cookie eating, sippy cup toting season is indeed coming to an end. And my heart feels the pang.

 

DSC_0412

 

Sweet Potato Pie is right!

Perfection.

And yet it's all close enough to remember the scratchy constant noise of that annoying toy, and my concern over feet on the kitchen table. Oh to go back and smell his sweet cheerio scented neck and hold his miniature pants, and here the scratchily-scratch of that obnoxious battery-operated toy.

Slow down, Mamas. Slow it down.

DSC_0073

 

Say Yes

Say yes to markers and crayons and water colors and sticker books and PJ's until noon. Keep a tub of cookie dough in the fridge and say YES as often as you can. Tickle backs at bedtime, even when you're eager for your own back to rest. And take plenty of pictures. Take pictures, but not at the expense of making memories. Make memories and make popsicles and make memories of those popsicles melting down arms and dripping off elbows on hot summer days. And say yes to the sprinklers, though you already did today. Say yes again. Push them high on swings and say yes to caterpillars and frogs. And let them wear their Yoda years everywhere they go for two years straight, because one day they won't fit and you'll be washing them and folding them up and putting them away into a bin of memories.

 

IMG_2106

 

Wendy Darling knows the fine art of raising boys, but also when the end of a season bids her farewell. I'm standing there today. So say yes in my honor today, when your child asks you to get down on the floor and play legos. Say Yes.

Our Favorite Boy Movies of All Time

My husband was raised on a steady diet of classic rock (think Roy Orbison and Neil Young) and classic films (John Wayne and Gary Cooper.) When I birthed our third son, something was born in my husband's boy-loving heart... a passion to share his favorite music and movies with his sons. There's no better time to crank up the music than poolside in the summertime. Likewise, when the afternoon sun wears the kids out, and it's time for a break, a good movie in an air-conditioned room is the perfect treat!

And so I bring you, a list of our favorite movies to enjoy this summer! 

 

DSC_0019 copy

This post is part of our Summertime Series: BOYS! 

Top twenty classic film favorites (curated by my husband)

20 - Treasure Island

19 - The Alamo (John Wayne)

18 - McLintock (John Wayne)

17 - North to Alaska (John Wayne)

16 - High Noon (Gary Cooper & Grace Kelly)

15 - Beau Geste (Gary Cooper)

14 - The Quiet Man (John Wayne)

13 - Chariots of Fire

12 - The Great Escape (Steve McQueen)

11 - Ben Hur (with Charleton Heston)

10 - The Man from Snowy River

9 - True Grit (with John Wayne)

8 - Shane (Alan Ladd)

7 - Seahawk (Errol Flynn)

6 - Captain's Courageous (Spencer Tracy)

5 - Robin Hood (with Errol Flynn)

4 - The Human Comedy (Micky Rooney)

3 - Old Man and the Sea (Spencer Tracey)

2 - Magnificent Seven (the one with Yul Brynner)

1 - Swiss Family Robinson

 

51JN182SCXL._AC_US218_ 51M74BWE3SL._AC_US218_ 51CiHLqKcLL._AC_US218_

 

Best Series - The Chronicles of Narnia

 

Best Boy Musical of All Time

Newsies

 

More Recent Family Favorites

The Princess Bride

Facing the Giants

The Perfect Game

That Thing You Do (I love this one!)

Teen Beach

Nacho Libre

Rudy

Remember the Titans

War Room

The Queen of Katwe

McFarland, USA

 

TV Series

 

The Little Rascals

Tom and Jerry

I Love Lucy

Flipper

Phineas and Ferb

 

DSC_0010_1manhoodDSC_0767DSC_0437 Copying

Special thanks to the man who builds tree forts, takes boys on motorcycle camping trips, teaches them to worship, and is always up for an adventure.

You're our favorite dad, Matty B.

 

Head on over here for the rest of our boy-loving posts in our Summertime Series: BOYS  or sign up here to have the rest of the summer's posts delivered to your inbox.

(This post contains affiliate links because sharing our favorites is fun!)

BOYS - a summertime series

Summer is here for many of us - just around the bend for others. Either way it's time to get ready for those sweet, sandy, sun-kissed boy-shoulders; sticky popsicle smiles; and long afternoons at the pool. But there's more to summer than those iconic highlights. There are perfectly temperate days when kids dare complain, "But mama, I'm bored...." and sweltering afternoons when you're all desperate for a movie on the couch in an air-conditioned house - specifically, a good movie that both entertains and teaches a virtuous lesson! Here in our home, we love movies that inspire boys to be good and masculine and adventurous. (The classic Disney adaptation of Swiss Family Robinson is my personal favorite.) Similarly, we want them to read tons of good books for the same reason. You can find a few of our favorite boy books here - and stay tuned, because I'll be adding to the list in the summer days ahead.  

This will be an on-going summertime series simply titled: BOYS.

 

boys

 

Get ready for our favorite recommendations: movies and music, books and board games too. We also love good bbq followed by lemon bars and lemon scones, chased down with a cool glass of lemonade. Since we have lemon trees all over our property, summertime means lots of these citrusy treats. Let me know if you have a favorite recipe I need to try.

 

I'll also be sharing our two annual summertime challenges! Each summer I give my children the chance to earn money two different ways. First, a reading challenge, where they earn 25 cents per chapter. Secondly, a seriously strenuous workout regime where they have a list of fun exercises to choose from. Each exercise earns them one point, and after they hit 200 points there is a big $$$ payout at the end. I'll be bringing you more details next week, so stay tuned! Sign up here to have this summertime series delivered direct to your email inbox.

 

IMG_2048

Here's one of my all time favorite summertime shots - circa 2009! 

The series begins next week, so sign up now to receive the first installment!

Until then, here are a few of my favorite summer posts from the vault:

  1. Let them be bored!
  2. The Best Lemon Bars Ever
  3. Slow Down and Say Yes to Summer
  4. Summertime - there's no better time to begin reading through the Bible
  5. Summertime Parenting - parenting right when our children do wrong
  6. Our Favorite Books
  7. Our Favorite Boy Movies

If you have a specific question about boys and summer, leave a comment and I'll try to address it in the sunny days ahead.

Summer love to all the BoyMoms out there!

Wendy


 

If you're new to WendySpeake.com, let me introduce myself. First of all, I'm a BoyMom, married to one hunky BoyDad. We live in San Diego, raising our three masculine charges, ages 9, 11, and 13. They all have a creative bent - like their Mom - and they're all strong-willed - like their Dad! I recently co-authored the parenting book Triggers: Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses with Amber Lia, and Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom with Kelli Stuart. That's me! Now be sure to introduce yourself in the comments below or shoot me an email. Looking forward to getting to know you this summer!