They’re Speaking a Different Language, But I’m Still Listening

The Star Wars obsession in our house has reached full throttle. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like Star Wars, especially the original three episodes. Han Solo is my favorite. Who is with me?!

The boys, however, have taken liking Star Wars to a whole new level. They want to watch it all the time. They check out books about it at the library. They play Star Wars games and play with Star Wars Legos and have lightsaber fights with the pool noodle lightsabers I made for Little J’s Star Wars birthday party.

STAR WARS EVERYTHING.

So when we sat down to watch The Empire Strikes Back, I wasn’t just getting Luke + Leia + Han + all the droids. I was getting full commentary on every ship, weapon, planet, and character that came in to view on screen. My brain just about exploded. I know the boys get their ability to talk for hours from me, but OH MY GOSH.

I will fully admit here that I wanted to tune them out for much of the movie. I don’t really care whether Chewbacca is using a Bowcaster gun or the stormtrooper’s BlasTech E-11 blaster during the battle at Cloud City. Are you impressed with my knowledge there?! All from my boys. And I think I can recognize an X-Wing from a Tie Fighter, but I don’t mind if I don’t know all the names of the other ships.

My boys, however, care deeply. They love learning about Star Wars and they love telling me about it. Most of the time, they sound like they are speaking an entirely different language, but I’m still listening.

Listening to Your Kids

I’m still listening when they talk on and on about Star Wars because I want them to know THEY matter to me. Star Wars isn’t my whole world, but these boys are, and I can show them just how important they are to me by just listening. I can look them in the eye and ask questions when I don’t understand. Their handsome faces just light up when I ask them to explain the droids to me or on which planet everyone has now arrived.

I’m still listening because I want them to keep talking to me. I want to listen when they talk to me now about what matters so they know I will keep listening as they get older and the things that matter to them change. It may be Star Wars now, but some day it will be friendships and peer pressure and deep faith questions and even girls…so not ready for that. 

On the nights where I think we’re just settling down for a relaxing family move night and I, instead, get an earful about jedis and padawans, I am committing to listening and letting them know they are heard.

Listening to Your Kids 2

Keep speaking that strange language to me, boys. I’m still listening and I always will.

What do your kids talk to you about that you just don’t “get?” How do you make them feel heard in these situations?

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All the Feelings

Our sweet, squishy, super-energetic and super-loving Little J turns six today.

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Our confident, independent, way-too-old-already Big J left for three nights at church camp yesterday.

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And Double J…well, he’s two, so…you know…

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Excuse me while I have all the feelings today.

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I’ve been floating around to different places on the web lately! You can check them out here:

The Making of an Affiliate Marketer – My podcast debut over at the Declare Conference!

Deep Breaths – one way I embrace motherhood in the middle of chaos at Thrive Moms

 

 

 

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Mighty {Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute FridayIt’s Five Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo!

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: Mighty.

Stick around for why this week is so important!

*****

And go…

I’m coming up on eight years of being a mom and I’m still not sure of myself. The moment I think I’ve figured out what works for our family, our boys, things change – ages, stages, moods, circumstances. I’m a little lost and trying to find my place.

Mighty Men

But I do know one thing about these boys of ours: I want to raise them to be mighty men of God. I want them to recognize the strength and power that comes from the Holy Spirit when they are living in relationship with Jesus. To use that might for the Kingdom. To be mighty for God and to love mightily. To use their passion and strong will for justice and mercy in His name.

I know no other way to do this than to be a mighty warrior in prayer for them. I’m not a guy. I don’t know how to be a godly man. But I know how to pray and prayer is a mighty weapon. None of us will be mighty on our own, but in His hands, there is strength this world can’t come close to touching.

Mighty

I need to wear out the knees of my jeans in prayer the way my boys do playing hard. A mighty prayer warrior to raise mighty men of God. Only by His grace, I’m finding this is my place.

Stop.

*****

Do you ever feel lost and completely un-mighty in your role as a mother? You’re not alone. And even though our paths to motherhood are very different, I’ve never felt so understood as a mom as I did reading Lisa-Jo’s new book, Surprised by Motherhood. Mamas, this book is for all of you and it will rock your world. Go. Pre-order it now. For you, your mom, your sister, your bible study – all the mothers you know. I have more to share on this next week, but know that I laughed and cried and finished it in 48 hours.

And go read more fabulous posts on the topic of mighty at Lisa-Jo’s place today!

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Natural Room Sprays for Stinky Boys!

Happy first day of spring!

Between sports, playing outside, and just plain growing up, we’re entering the world of stinky boys. Yes, I still have one in diapers, too, so we’re covering all ends of the stinky spectrum! In all honesty, I contribute just as much to the stink with my smelly workout clothes!

We’ve tried all number of air fresheners and some of them smell simply delightful…but they are loaded with chemicals and we just don’t need that floating around our house! I would much rather freshen our “stinky boy” air that my guys are so proud of with natural room sprays and I have a few favorites to share with you today!

Natural Room Sprays

All of these room sprays use essential oils, a new world I am loving and learning all about! Just put the suggested oil and water together and give it a good shake to mix it up before you spray!

Purify Room Spray

What You Need:

  • Small spray bottle
  • 2-3 drops Purify essential oil blend {buy here}
  • Water to fill bottle

Purify is an amazing cleansing blend that I have found to be fabulous at eliminating odors and “clearing the air!” The scent is not overwhelming and it really does give the area a refreshing atmosphere!

OnGuard Room Spray

What You Need:

  • Small spray bottle {mine was 3 oz}
  • 2-3 drops OnGuard essential oil blend {buy here}
  • Water to fill bottle

OnGuard has a wonderful fall smell {my favorite time of year} AND it has great immune-boosting properties! Plus, the boys think the name is really cool, like something a knight would yell!

Room Sprays Big

Lavender Room Spray

What You Need:

  • Large spray bottle
  • 20 drops Lavender essential oil {buy here}
  • Water to fill the bottle

This is great to mist in bedrooms before bedtime. I’ve also sprayed it around our school work area to promote a little more calm – anything to help when homeschooling two boys and trying to keep a third entertained!

A few notes for these natural room sprays…

  • Even though my picture has cute colored plastic bottles, certain oils can cause plastic bottles to disintegrate. The ideal small bottles for these sprays are dark-colored glass bottles which you can find here. They will also help the oils in the spray retain their effectiveness.
  • You can make room sprays from many of your favorite essential oil scents! Just follow similar ratios as those listed above!
  • I use doTERRA essential oils because they are what I know and love. They are pure, therapeutic grade essential oils. For more information about doTERRA Essential Oils and how to order them for your family, please click here!

Essential Spring Cleaning Blog Tour

For more great spring cleaning with essential oils tips, visit these lovely sites today:

For a full list of all the posts in the Essential Spring Cleaning Blog Event, click here!

Have you made your own room spray using essential oils? What is your favorite scent?


I am a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and receive commissions and/or bonuses from doTERRA.

Disclosure: I am not a medical professional. The statements and suggestions given here have not been evaluated by the FDA. I am simply sharing ideas and suggestions on how to use essential oils in everyday life. I assume no liability for the way you choose to use essential oils. Use your good judgement and act responsibly.

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Our Favorite Bible Apps for Kids!

I love that even the iWorld – apps and iPhones and iPads and the like – can be used to further the Kingdom of God!

We’ve recently discovered two Bible apps for kids that are amazing and I had to share them with you! I’m even learning things as the kids play the games on them!

Bible Apps for Kids

Adventure Bible Games

We just received an email about this free app {for iPad only} late last week and, being lovers of the Adventure Bible {affiliate link}, I downloaded it immediately and started playing around before I handed it to the kids. This app has SO much great Bible knowledge for our kids to learn and review!

  • Leapin’ Lemur is like Wheel of Fortune with Bible verses! A few words are filled in and the verse book, chapter, and verse are given, but then the kids have to pick letters to figure out what the verse says!
  • Books of the Bible reviews the order of books in the Bible. I was shakier on this in the Old Testament than I care to admit, but we were all singing through the Books of the Bible songs from Slugs and Bugs trying to remember the order and it was great fun!
  • Leopardy = Jeopardy for Bible trivia! Pick your category and point value and answer the question!
  • X Marks the Spot deals with biblical geography! We loved this one because just playing it is a learning experience
  • Truth Quest gives you a question, a time limit, and three clues to figure out answers to various questions about the Bible. It felt very much like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and there are several levels and categories to go through!

The boys love the jungle theme that all Adventure Bible products bear, the games have them hooked, and we’re all learning more about the Bible each time they play! That is a successful Bible-related app for kids to me!

The Bible App for Kids

The other Bible app for kids we love is the Bible App for Kids from YouVersion. This app is amazing – great animation, several different Bible stories with more being added all the time, AND review questions at the end to check for understanding!

Each story has the choice to be read by the app, but the words are also on the screen, making it great for children of any age and reading level. And within each story, kids can collect points by clicking on different people, places, or things. Earning points and stars makes everything more fun and interesting for kids, doesn’t it?!

With Lent starting Wednesday and Easter to follow, both The Cross and The Resurrection stories are in the app ready to read and share with your children. And The Bible App for Kids is available for many different formats!

Are there other Bible apps for kids your family loves? Please share!

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Kid-Created Lego Snowboard Course!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

The boys would build with Legos non-stop if we let them. They may make a huge mess, but I LOVE the creativity that comes out in their Lego building!

Big J watched some of the X Games a few weeks back and caught snowboard fever. He’s never snowboarded before, but between the X Games, watching YouTube videos of Shaun White, our study of the upcoming Olympics, and the Disney movie Cloud Nine, snowboarding is totally on his mind. And it has showed up in his Lego building as well!

Check out his Lego snowboard course…

Lego Snowboard Course

Lego Snowboard Course Full

Lego Snowboard Course Side

The boarder is a storm trooper, obviously, because he looks like he’s wearing a snowsuit, mask, and goggles.

Lego Snowboard Course Boarder

And that’s his white, green, and red snowboard underneath him, sitting atop the course waiting for the go signal! I love all the details he added, like the flames as spotlights for night competition!

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There are also reporters on the course, a special second course, and a special snowmobile taking reporters around the course! I just had to share this and Big J was pretty excited when I told him I was blogging about it! I think it’s like an extra fist bump :)

If you couldn’t tell, we’re TOTALLY ready for the Winter Olympics around here!  My friend Stef and her son are ready as well with these AWESOME Lego Brick Olympics creations! My boys are so excited to try them! They already love the Winter Brick Activities ebook – perfect for these cold, snow days!

Are your kids excited about the Winter Olympics? Which Winter Olympic sports interest them most?

*This post and creation is not affiliated with, sponsored, or endorsed by The Lego Group or The Olympics.

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Praying for Boys

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

This is a very significant month if you’re a boy raiser like me. This is the month my dear friend Brooke’s book, Praying for Boys, is released!

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Nothing has impacted the way I pray for my boy more than Brooke’s words, starting with her ebook, Warrior Prayers, and now Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most.

God connected Brooke and I several years ago via the wonderful worldwide web and through that divine appointment, The MOB Society was born. I am so thankful to be on this boy-raising journey with her because, though our boys are roughly the same age, God has given Brooke a passionate heart for praying for our sons and wisdom beyond both our years as a mother from which I draw much strength and inspiration.

“Raising boys brings one adventure after another, but we’re losing the beauty and importance of training up godly men. Our boys need faithful Christian parents now more than ever. We can choose to rejoin the war for the hearts of our sons…today.”

Praying for Boys includes the original Scripture-based prayers from Warrior Prayers, but it is so much more than that. Brooke shares many personal stories that any boy mom or dad could relate with, as well as wonderful stories of the faithfulness of her grandmothers in their own journeys of raising boys.

“Remember mama, God hasn’t asked you to win the battle for the hearts of your sons. He’s only asked you to fight.”

I don’t know what I’m doing raising boys, but God does. When I try it on my own, I find only frustration and feelings of failure. When I bathe my sons {and my own motherhood} in prayers, there is hope in Jesus. And I don’t even have to have the right words because Brooke provides them aplenty in Praying for Boys.

“If their knees are ever to bend to Jesus as Savior, their hearts must bend first. This is the place of a mama’s prayers.”

This book has joined Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys as my go-to manuals for raising strong, godly men. It will stir your heart. It will move you to action. It will get you on your knees, right where God wants us. I’m doing it for these guys.

Praying for My Boys

I could not be more proud of Brooke and this book and thankful for her following God’s call to write it. Well done, friend. I needed this and I know so many boy raisers will find it to be just what they needed as well.

Praying for Boys: Asking God for What They Need Most releases January 7, 2014, but you can pre-order it now just to make sure you get it as soon as it is ready!

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All the Words

Our littlest guy is growing up fast. Too fast.

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A little over a month ago, he climbed out of the pack-n-play, which I had him in while I started supper. On his own. With nothing to aid his escape.

Double J Climbing

This prompted us to move him out of a crib for fear he would scale the side of it next and fall much further to the ground. While we knew the transition to a big boy bed this early {20 months} would be rocky, I don’t think I’ve ever had to put a child back in his bed so many times in my life. At all hours of the night. Lord, help us.

The bed situation may be one of the more stressful parts of Double J’s growing up, but we’re just loving another part of his growth recently – his speech.

Double J Pumpkin

Within the last few weeks, he has gone from babbling like the one-year-old he is to putting words to just about every thought that comes into his head and even stringing together some toddler sentences, a.k.a three or four words in a row that kind of make sense!

Mommy
Daddy
book
car
more drink
cra-cra {craisins}
crackers
woof-woofs
puh-puh {better check the diaper}
no…no…and more no

My mom and sister visited this weekend and commented on how much he had opened up verbally since they last saw him a month ago! And all this talking came together for a pretty darn cute exchange Saturday night.

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Well, it didn’t start out so cute. Cars was on TV and Double J pulled out our collection of cars die casts to play with his brothers. They unrolled our road floor mat and started lining up cars, driving around the town, and having a fun little brother time…until Double J picked up a car and threw it at Little J’s head. And laughed.

Oh boy…

Double J PP

Double J was reprimanded, gave his brother a hug, and was then removed from play time to get ready for bed. After getting his pajamas on, I took him to say goodnight to Daddy. I mentioned the incident to The Hubby at which point Double J launched into this progression {Jaja is what he calls his middle brother}…

Jaja no no
Jaja car no no
Jaja thow car no no
Ow
No no

Oh my word. I think it went on even a little longer than this. The Hubby and I both had to cover our mouths to keep from laughing as he processed his bad decision from earlier, complete with the action of throwing the car and shaking his head no. So cute, so hilarious, and so grown up!

Double J Cowboy

This “word explosion” has started earlier and earlier with each boy, but it is so fun each time to watch them discover the English language and learn how to express themselves!

Now, if we could just get him to process the whole “stay in your bed” thing…

All three of our kids are talkers. I think I know who they get that from! How about your kids? Did they have a “word explosion” at a certain age or did they slowly add more and more words to their vocabulary?

 

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Why a Mom’s Body Image Matters to Her Sons

Mom's Body Image

Earlier this year, I was challenged to write my health goals at this point in my life. I’ve set lots of health goals in the past, but most of them have been weight-related. A number. A size.

This time, I felt God leading me a different direction with my health goals. When I started running almost 16 months ago, my motivation was just to get to a certain number on the scale. But over the course of time, it became less about weight and more about health and strength.

The goals I wrote down were this:

Health Goals

Big J read these goals as he climbed up on to my lap that morning and asked wondered if “leaner” meant “skinnier.” I was kind of floored that the thought of “skinny” had popped into his mind. I don’t talk about weight much in front of them, and he’s a boy – why was he thinking about skinny? Isn’t it girls who think about that all the time?

I’m actually glad those words came out of his mouth. I had the chance to explain to him that being lean was more about getting rid of unhealthy fat and not about being thin. He seemed to get that, and he liked that my list also included getting stronger because boys think muscles are cool. Mom win.

Being a boy mom, I thought I had dodged the issue of my body image affecting the body image of my children. But that moment with Big J proved to me why my own body image is just as important to my sons as it would have been to my daughters.

Even though my own weight hadn’t been discussed with Big J, he had still heard the word skinny somewhere and associated it with a reason to workout and eat differently. I don’t like the word skinny. I don’t think it is a healthy word for anyone to use. Well sure, it feels nice to have someone say, “You look so skinny!” But skinny has nothing to do with healthy.

I’ve read many times that a boy learns a lot about the kind of woman he wants to date and marry from his mother. If the boys were to get used to the kind of mindset that goes along with “skinny,” I’m afraid of what their standards would be for a woman in their life.

I obviously believe what’s on the inside matters most for friendships, relationships, marriage, and so on. Appearance does not come before the heart, the faith, the soul. But since we are trying to raise our boys to live healthy, active lifestyles, I pray they will find a woman who also enjoys being healthy and active, not one focused on doing anything to be skinny.

It’s not just girls who look at their mom to shape their thoughts on beauty. While the boys are learning a lot about their own body image from The Hubby, they are forming an idea of a woman’s healthy body image from watching and listening to me – their mom.

I want what I say and do in regards to my health and body to drown out the messages the world sends about women and their bodies.

I’m aiming for healthy, strong, lean, and energetic, not just for my own good, but for these young men in my house who need to know “skinny” is not the most important thing.

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Reading the Word as a Boy Mom: Thoughts on Bravery

You know all of those guys in the Bible? The disciples? The warriors? The kings? The everyday men God used to further His Kingdom? You know what they all had in common?

They all had moms.

We don’t hear about some of these moms and some of them may not have been present in their sons’ lives at the time they are found in the Bible, but they definitely all had moms. And I’ve been pondering a lot lately the mom’s perspective behind some well-known heroes of the Bible.

Reading the Word as a Boy Mom

Think about Peter and Andrew, a story we heard again at church yesterday…

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” ~Matthew 4:18-19

I never really thought about it before having children, but these two brothers must have seemed insane to their mom. They had jobs. They made their living doing fairly normal work for that time and place. And because some newcomer to town asked them to join him on who-knows-what kind of journey, they just left it all?! Peter and Andrew’s mom had to be thinking, “Crazy kids.”

I’m sure David’s mom had a HEART ATTACK when she learned that he had taken on Goliath.

And what about Joshua’s mom? What in the world was she thinking when she heard he was leading the troops in marching circles around a city in order to take it over? Did she think he was delusional?

I’ve been reading Bible stories with the boys and chapters in my own Bible time and I can’t help but think of those boys’ mamas. I’ve been reading the Word as a boy mom wanting to know more about the boy moms behind the great “stars” of God’s story. I want to know what they said to their sons before and after their God-sized adventures. I want to know how they felt and what they prayed and if they had any inkling of how God was using their boys. I want to know if they were scared.

Jen Hatmaker shared very profound words at dotMom in Birmingham last fall that I can’t shake out of my brain…

Scared moms raise scared kids. Brave moms raise brave kids. Real disciples raise real disciples.

If David’s mom had said, “Nope. No way you’re letting my young son go join his brothers near the battle lines,” the Philistines may have just had their way with the Israelites and then…well, God is control, but the story probably would have proceeded much differently.

The story of David and Goliath is a great example to my boys of God doing great – AMAZING – things through young people. David didn’t see his age or size as limitations. He saw only what God saw in him and what He could do through him.

But if I was David’s mom, I’m afraid – no, I’m SURE – I would have been running after him, telling him there was no way he would walk right in to the middle of that danger zone. What is that kind of attitude from me going to teach my boys?

Following Jesus looks different for every single person. For Peter and Andrew, it meant giving up everything they knew and literally walking with Jesus. Saul walked out of the “safety” of being the persecutor right into the line of persecution when he was converted.

When my boys come to me with a big, crazy, wild idea that involves following a call God has placed on their lives, I want to be able to say, “YES! Go for it! I’m cheering you on all the way!” Honestly, I’m not there yet. Fear and worry are much more present in my parenting than I care to admit. But I am praying for the strength and courage from God to get me there.

This verse…

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. ~2 Timothy 1:7

That is the verse I want to guide my mind as we raise these boys to be BRAVE followers of Jesus.

And, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I will be their BRAVE mom.

Have you had to be brave when your kids wanted to do something that scared you? What helps you find courage as a parent?

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