Parenting Boys is Not for the Faint of Heart

Hiking at the Grand Tetons

Yesterday was a big day for my son Sander and Megan’s son Kimball.  They went to Colorado snowboarding with Megan’s husband Chris and our sister Kendal’s boyfriend Rob.  The boys (not the big ones) have never taken a trip without us except for camping….what will they do without their moms?  I know exactly what they’ll do:  have fun.  We won’t be there to worry over them and nag them.  I’m sure they’ll miss us, though.  That’s what I keep telling myself.

As excited as Megan and I are for our boys, we’re nervous to let them out of our sights.  To give you a little background on our boys, Sander is 16 and Kimball is 14.  But they act like they’re really 9 and 7.  They are a lot alike and get along great when they’re not fighting, that is.  They both have ADD, love sports, junk food and pop, and basically don’t like to use the good sense that God gave them!  We’ve always said that the boys’ guardian angels are amazing and overworked.  They are our button-pushers too, if you know what I mean.  It’s a good thing they’re cute because…..um, never mind.

A year and a half ago, our parents took all 15 of us on an RV trip out west.  Our destination was Yellowstone.  As we researched Yellowstone, we kept reading about the danger of thermal pools.  So Megan and I were nervous wrecks the entire trip!   We kept fearing the boys would go off the path, fall into a thermal pool and vaporize.  It didn’t help that in our cabins, there was a book that was called Death At Yellowstone.  What kind of dummies read that the day before exploring the park?  That would be Megan and I.  Let’s just say it didn’t put our minds at ease!  Now here’s a little background about Megan and I:  we’re worriers.  For some reason, our minds automatically go to the worst possible scenario.  Despite our strong faith in God, we have a problem fully trusting Him.

Grand Teton National Park

We know that God loves our kids even more than we possibly could.  It’s true that bad things happen, but God doesn’t want us to waste our lives worrying.  When I was pregnant with my twin boys, I was in the hospital for three weeks on bedrest.  It was a scary time and I worried that the boys would be born too early.  My Mom sent up a quote from a calendar that said, “Died a thousand deaths, but buried only once.”  Wow, that was written for me!  Worrying does not add hours to our lives, instead it robs us.    My favorite verses in the Bible are Philippians 4:6-7:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Another verse that is so helpful in remembering to trust in God, Joshua 1:9:

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

boys at the Grand Tetons

And one last verse…because you can’t have too many!  Matthew 6:26-27:

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or stow away in barns; and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

boys at the grand tetons

When we start to worry this week (I mean IF), we’ll cling to these verses.  I’ll try to stop worrying about the boys on the chairlift together, wrestling, getting separated from each other, attempting a 360…….Ok, I’m a slow learner!

Here’s a link to another post about anxiety.

What’s your favorite verse to combat worry?

Mardi

TLB’s Gift Guide For Older Boys

It’s officially Christmas time, friends!  I can blare my Christmas music unashamedly (I’ve already been listening to it for a solid month!)  The tree is trimmed, the mistletoe hung (not really…it just sounded good), and my shopping list is getting smaller.  I hate how fast this season flies by.  I just want to savor each and every day, enjoying the lights and decorations, the scents of candles and cookies, cozy fires and Christmas movies, and picking out that perfect gift for someone I love.

Do you have your shopping done early or are you a last-minute shopper?  Well, if you aren’t already finished (I’m definitely not!), Mardi and I have brainstormed some of our favorite ideas for kids in case you need a little help.  So for all of you needing to buy a gift for a boy…probably aged 10 and up, you’ll want to check out these ideas.  After all, we have three teenage boys between us, so we do know a thing or two about what they like!

All of our kids love these packable hammocks.  They can set them up themselves between any two trees with the adjustable straps.  It makes the perfect place to read or listen to music, and they can stack them up with friends.

If they have a hammock, then they definitely need this cool blow-up solar lantern.  It changes colors, is small and packable, and even charges devices.  Hang it on a backpack while hiking so that it charges during the day, and then enjoy the light at night from your tent or hammock.

Last year I got this cool chair for Kimball’s room and he loves it.  It works great for playing video games and hanging out, but my favorite part is that it unfolds and lays flat.  When one of his buddies sleep over, they have a place to sleep.  Well worth the money!

Here’s a fun game that just about any kid that likes being outside will enjoy.  Our boys haven’t got this yet, but it is definitely something Santa might bring!

Every kid knows Yeti stuff is cool.  Get them a Yeti water bottle to take along on outdoor adventures or sporting events, and you’ll score major cool points.

And this last idea is probably the best deal of the bunch.  A portable Bluetooth speaker that is waterproof and floats…perfect for taking along on hikes, kayak rides, or just hanging out at the beach or in a hammock.  It has great reviews on the sound quality and is way cheap right now.  I just put a couple in my cart!

So there you have it!  I hope this post gave you a couple of good ideas for those boys in your life.  The best part about most of these ideas is that they get your kid off the video game and outdoors.  Sounds like a win in my book!

Happy Shopping!  And if you have any great gift ideas, please share!

Megan

It’s a Boy!

 

My firstborn turned 14, you guys.  Kimball Morgan Hanks came into the world August 20, 2003 and has made my life an adventure ever since.  Not having a brother growing up and only having one close male cousin (poor Mitch…he played more “house” than probably any boy ever did with two sisters and three girl cousins), the idea of raising a boy was so exciting.  I didn’t know he was a boy until he was born, but I probably should have the way he made my stomach bounce with his vigorous gymnastics.  And he has never slowed down since!

At the beginning of his life, he made his preferences known…he wanted to be in constant motion, whether it was being walked around, bouncing in a bouncy chair, or riding in a car.  The second we stopped at a red light, he would howl until we were moving again.  He also loved being outside.  At just a few weeks old and somewhat colic-y, all I would have to do was go outside and he would magically calm down.  And trust me, nothing has changed in his fourteen years!  He still lives outside, is in constant motion, and gets impatient when he can’t be on the move!

As a toddler, he loved monster trucks and his battery operated four-wheeler.  One time he drove his little monster truck down a bench and over a gentlemen’s lap at Hollywood Studios without missing a beat.  You should have seen the look of surprise on the man’s face!  Luckily he also thought it was funny!  Kimball just kept right on walking, making his little car noises, never really noticing what he ran over.  And Chris had a part-time job charging the battery to his little four-wheeler.  One time, I noticed Kimball going around and around in a rather tight circle, and realized he had fallen asleep!

The man in the red hat is about to be ran over by the truck in Kimball’s right hand!

Monster trucks eventually turned into a dinosaur phase.  Oh how I tired of reading his dinosaur books and pronouncing all of those scientific prehistoric names!  I learned more about the Triassic period than I ever cared to, needless to say.  He also loved catching frogs, turtles, salamanders, and any other slimy little critter.  Actually, he still does!

Now it’s sports, sports, sports.  Which is good…it gets some of his tireless energy out.  And though he is small in stature, his heart is fierce.  He doesn’t back down from any challenge.  He has no fear (much to my fear!), and doesn’t think twice about sacrificing his body for the sake of a ball.  He is one feisty kid.  Sometimes that feistiness drives me crazy when the two of us are disagreeing about something.  Let’s just say he is very persistent in whatever avenue he chooses!

Number 7

But he is also kind, mostly polite, and well-liked by his friends.  He is the biggest cheerleader on whatever team he is ever on, always encouraging his teammates and celebrating their victories as if they were his own.  He goes out of his way to offer a pat on the back, a slap on the helmet, or a high five.  I hope he can always celebrate other people’s successes, for that is something hard to teach that he comes by very naturally!

At fourteen, he still tolerates this mom praying for him at night, and sometimes even makes specific requests known to me.  This is also something I hope and pray will never change.  It is usually my favorite time with him, when his body and mind are still for once and I have his undivided attention.  It’s hard to believe this kid is mine…that he has survived all of the crazy stunts he’s tried, that I have survived all of the crazy stunts he’s tried.  And it is my prayer that God continues to keep him safe and healthy, and that he will use his passionate, feisty nature for the good of God’s kingdom, in whatever capacity that may be!

Here are a few books/resources that I have found helpful while raising this son of mine:

Wild Things:  The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas

Triggers:  Exchanging Parent’s Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake

Six Ways to Raise a Godly Man by Kaylene Yoder

Five Power Packed Prayers to Pray Over Your Son by Kaylene Yoder

 

Thanks for allowing me to celebrate my boy and for tolerating my trip down memory lane!

Megan

Do you have a favorite parenting book?  I’d love to hear what it is…I’m definitely still in training!