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.




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.



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!



If you're new to, 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!

A Mom's Self-Love


He's been sick on and off, mostly on, for nearly a month.  Four trips to Urgent care, one to the ER, another trip downtown to see a specialist and nearly as far each time we go to his primary care physician.  He prays and holds me tight when shots are coming down the sterile hall and into his hospital room, and I'm blown away by my love for this child, and the goodness of a very near God.  

Then suddenly he seems better, strong and sure and all caught up with his school work.  So I tuck him into his bed at home, with plans that he'll be back at school "tomorrow".  I walk out of his room doing a happy little dance, because I know that his older brother, the one I homeschool, has a special class day that next day too, so I will be all alone in my empty home.


All.  Alone.  In.  My.  Empty.  Home.


Visions of myself resting, reading, and writing fill my heart and mind, so I dance again from the sheer pleasure of my dream.  My husband walks in then and laughs.  I tell him of my joy and he smiles, because he's starting to see (nearly 11 years into this parenting gig) that I need quiet spaces to rest my soul so I don't go crazy.  And since he's a fan of my sanity he nods deeply.


He encourages me to go to sleep early, rather than working on that writing project with a deadline fast approaching.  "Tomorrow you will have all day to write," he reminds me with a kiss.


Tomorrow I will write!


Except the child wakes up sick again... and I feel angry.


What a sad confession!


These words are just black lines and swirls on a white page, but they make me moan because they're true.  And maybe they're true for each weary mom who has her plans thwarted on a daily basis; with kids just being energetic kids, families just being busy families, twins just being a double portion of childhood all at once, and husbands just being hard-working husbands.  We try to claim moments for our self-care, only to have them snatched up by the ones we love most.


It's clear to see it as it really is, when it's written out neatly in rows.  But in real-time our frustration over letting-go feels more like anger.


You see, my heart's explosion had very little to do with my sick kid, and so much more to do with my self-love.  I know it's true because the same beast rears up when all three of my children are well and life is going along without hiccups.  Everyone is happy and healthy and our schedule makes sense, miraculously.  But I set a plan for myself, as simple as an afternoon at home with the family, only to get a call from my husband who says he's made plans with friends.  And after church there's a women's ministry program I'd planned on attending, but my children were up too late and now they're one big riled-up basket of nerves in need of a soothing mom at home.  But I didn't want to be that soothing Mama at home this afternoon... I wanted to be at church, soothing my own self.


Here's the point, Moms - We matter!  And we need to dream and schedule in our health and our rest and our peaceful pockets of time to enjoy good friendship.  But we must, must, must love ourselves with an elastic love - Love that gives way to the needs of others.




Oh, pin that, my friends!  Pin it on your heart and your facebook page.  Print it up and frame it over your bathtub, because sometimes we need Calgon to take us away, and repair what's been torn down by the daily wear and tear of our blessed lives.  However, if a sick kid, a neighbor in need, or a husband who's missed his business flight home gets in your tender-lovin' way, yield.  Turn off the faucet that's throwing out hot water and soothing steam, and yield.


"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13: 34-35