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!

Summer Reading

As they discover the magic of good books,

I can't help but write in rhyming couplets!


I finished it

He tumbled out of his room, wiping wet from his eye

and smiled, accomplish, then sighed,

"Well, I finished it."


"Was it good?" I asked over the stove

and he nodded it was so...

So good, he's sad he finished it.


Two dogs with their boy, a hatchet in hand

So like my son who longs to be a man

But he's not finished yet.


This growing up wild and growing up free

and growing up reading in the crook of a tree

Till we've finished it.


But the day will come with he's grown up and gone

And the books on his shelf will sing out like a song,

"Well, we finished it."


by Wendy Speake

For my oldest, who cries in just the right spots.

I love you.



Then there are days that turn to weeks in mid-summer, when visitors come and church camp leaves them exhausted, with no time left for reading.  And in the empty space of our vacant home, when guests have left and it's just us, alone, the boys whine and cry and hit and I don't understand.  Until I understand.  And then I say, "Okay, boys, it's time to go find your book.  Come to the couch or go to your room, and find where you left off."

They cry, "This is summer!"  But once they are a chapter in... they remember the miracle.




Summer Reading

It doesn't happen every summer day,

like I purposed each one would go.

30 minutes of reading literature

on the couch together, or all alone.


But days when it does and times when we do

Peace descends in the quiet of each room.

And the rythm of our breathing slows down,

For mother and child, amidst imagined sounds.


The neigh of a horse on Herriot's Farm,

Boyish Laughter rising from Plumbfield's barn,

The crackling hot breath from evil Smaug's snout,

The poetry of springtime calling Mole out.


Hound dogs howling, chasing coons up a tree,

Pirate chantey's mingling with salt from the sea,

A lion roars and four children bow down,

The chronicles end, and now there's no sound.


The story's ended, the journey's been traveled;

The very best summer vacation's unraveled.

With book in hand and sweet smelling pages,

Cover to cover, transcending the ages.


The spine bares the title, cracked open and worn,

Bidding us, wooing us, back in the morn.


by Wendy Speake

Dedicated to three boys on the couch,

and one little girl, Sophia, who read me Heidi tonight.





Incase you are curious, my oldest is ten and reads good pieces of literature, while the youngest sounds his way through early primers at six.  Then there's the eight year old who chooses one book, and I choose the next, then he chooses one, and so on. He chooses Diary of a Wimpy Kid, then I choose Robin Hood, He chooses Captain Awesome followed by my choice, White Fang.  Whatever it takes, Mamas... Whatever it takes!