September 10, 2011

My first 5K

I did it.  I ran my first 5K.  The one I wanted to run last month was cancelled, which was a good thing because I hurt my knee and had to take 2 weeks off to recover...and then I got a cold and couldn't breathe while I ran with boogers running down my face (pretty)...and then....just kidding, that's the end of my list of complaints.

My crazy neighbor  ran with me for most of it, even though she’s 8 months pregnant.  She had to slow down after a bit due to some pain, but she insisted I continue without her.  After ‘yelling’ at each other for a bit (and some emotional “we leave no men behind” and “go on without me” type drama), I moved on ahead and kept my promise to not walk any part of it.  I finished with a personal best of 36:54 and she finished too!  Her husband came and walked/ran with her for most of it, and I went back after I’d finished to walk with her and we ran over the finish line together.

It’s been a fun journey.  No, fun isn’t the right word.  Running isn’t FUN yet, but I like feeling healthier and it does help me feel a bit more mentally stable (which is always a good thing in this house).  There are a few more races before the year ends that I’m going to try to hit, but I’ll be doing it solo since my friend will be giving birth here shortly.  Good thing I have an iPod to keep me company.

So far I’ve lost 17 pounds and went from an XL running pant to L.  I almost cried in the dressing room when I pulled up the XLs and they fell down to my ankles!

This picture shows me running across the finish line, looking rather happy and peppyIt’s a fake.  My husband didn’t get one the first time so I had to re-do it, but by then the giddiness of having FINISHED had set in so I was able to ham it up a bit.

And thanks to our husbands who put up with our 3x a week running then hour-long gab fest while we “cool down”.

September 5, 2011

Raising Real Men - a review

So here’s a confession, I’m a girl.  I was never a boy nor will I ever be one.  But I am currently raising four boys.  And I have no idea how boys think.  They are foreign to me.  Sometimes I look at them and can’t figure out how their brains came up with whatever behavior/game/idea they just displayed/played/told me.  Truly.  They think differently.  They react differently.  They are different.  Some days I’ll ambush my husband when he comes home to tell him all about the crazy things his sons did, to which he’ll reply, “So?  What’s weird about that?”  Huh?  It’s weird because a girl would NEVER think of that.

I’ve always wanted an Owner’s Manual for Raising Boys.  Then I was given the opportunity to review Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys by Hal and Melanie Young as a part of the Timberdoodle Blogger Review Team and I think it’s as close as I’m going to get!  I have had this book on my list of “to read” for years and now that I’ve read it I’m sorry I waited so long.

Written by conservative Christian homeschooling parents of 6 boys and 2 girls, this book was full of funny anecdotes, real life example and practical ideas.  Over and over again I found myself saying, “Hey honey, listen to this”.  In fact, he left the room several times because he couldn’t get his own work done with me interrupting him every two minutes.  Reading this book was like light bulb after light bulb going off.  “Oh, so THAT’S why!”  “Okay, NOW I understand.”

 The book is divided into two sections.  The first deals with “values” or “virtues” and discusses such things as the need for heroes, what play for boys really is, leadership, and whether to allow weapons or not.  The second half talks more about “civilizing” a boy or the things which will help them grow into well-rounded men.  The authors discuss, among other things, education, responsibility, dating, manners, and whether boys should help in the kitchen.

Some ideas I had heard before, some were completely new to me.   For example, the Youngs discuss how boys are born with the desire to be leaders.  It’s how God made them…because one day they will be in charge of their families, their employees, their community.  They state, “We’ve got to teach them how to submit to authority without destroying their leadership.”  This put disobedience and their often challenging behavior in a whole new light.

 There were a few points I didn’t necessarily agree with, and a few scripture references I felt didn’t support their arguments.  It is also written by a couple who firmly believes homeschooling is the best option and a person who doesn’t homeschool might feel a little ‘judged’ or excluded in some of the comments.  The book, on the whole, however, was well worth reading.  In fact, I’m going to read it again and mark it all up and take notes and write down ideas I have on what I’d like to change about my parenting, new things I’d like to try.  You don’t have to agree with everything to make a book or idea valuable and instructive.

As a mother of boys, I highly recommend this book.  It has changed how I view my sons and helped me create a better vision for how I want to raise them.  I feel like I understand ‘boyness’ just a little better.  This book will stay on my shelf for years to come, and I know I’ll reference it often.  Along with Last Child in the Woods and Boys Adrift, this should be required reading for all parents of boys.

By the way, if you haven't heard of Timberdoodle yet, check out their free catalog.  I do a lot of our school, birthday and Christmas shopping there. (which is why I wanted to review for them...I like 'em!)

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Legal Disclosure:
As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of Raising Real Men in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

September 3, 2011

Stories That Build Statesmen

I recently listened to a talk given by Marlene Peterson entitled "Stories That Build Statesmen".  She shared some wonderful examples of the power of stories and the need to teach through stories.  It truly inspired me to look at what I'm reading to the boys, and what they are reading in their spare time.  And just when I thought I had all my plans finalized for the year!

I highly recommend you listen to it...and I found it free here.  It's on the right-hand side, towards the bottom.

I'd love to know what your favorite stories are!