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  1. It’s so nice to hear you and your family are well! I can’t believe how everyone is getting so big. And your pictures are lovely. The grown out bangs look great on you.

  2. Laura Pappas says:

    Triathlons are starting again, excited to be racing again!

  3. Tiffany Harris says:

    I LOVE summer. With two boys at home (newly 17 and almost 16) I have some fun adventures planned. Looking forward to kayaking and visiting a friend with goats and eating lots of popsicles and swimming. I will have the boys doing some cooking. They both have camp this summer and are so excited. We are also going to read a book together. I just love the lazy summer days and warm summer evenings. Having a break from routine and feeling like the pandemic fog is lifting! I am treasuring these days, moments….

    1. Oh I love all of that, Tiffany! Sounds pretty dreamy and like the kind of summer you’ll cherish forever. Big hugs to you all!

  4. Excited for summer here in Michigan but the challenge is that it isn’t laid back anymore. Two in travel sports will take up some weekends and some weekday practices. All good stuff but still hard sometimes. Will have to be very intentional to schedule in fun stuff like beach days, bonfires, and down time. Looking forward to August when we have nothing on the calendar. Hoping to do a family get-away to the U.P.

    1. Yes, April…about now you kind of long for the days when kids were little and just towed along with whatever Mom was doing, right? 🙂 Everything has to go by so fast…(including the season you are in — which, of course, you will also miss one day! haha)
      Blessings and hope it’s a lot of fun! (and August is all you dream it will be!)

      1. Thank you for always being encouraging and looking for the positives!

        1. Aww, thank you April! Blessings to you and your fam!

  5. I absolutely love the adventure your boys took! So cool & what memories they made!

    This summer there is an exhibit in Kansas City of artifacts from Nazi era so I’m reading books with my boys on this topic & we will take a road trip to go see this. I typically have my boys do workbooks on math & read each day in the summer, but we are being more intentional with learning about a specific historical event & then go experience it. We are also focusing on character trg (which I love so much) so they are using the list you created & each week they have to select 1 to watch/listen and then journal & reflect, with a focus on writing.

    Then it’s just baseball baseball baseball the rest of our summer!

    For me I’m working on reading 21 books in 21. I’m loving this challenge!! I also just started a 21 days of walking prayer with Revelation Wellness. If you aren’t familiar with this ministry I recommend you check it out! It’s faith & fitness and has blessed me so much!

    Love your coffee chat! I enjoyed an iced Nespresso & caught up in your blog posts! Excited for your branding update! Keep being the light & thanks for sharing all that you do! It has blessed me tremendously!

    1. Oh this is all so good! Thank you for the update. What a cool summer you’re going to have. Well done! And yay for baseball! Love it!
      21 books is impressive. I’d love to see the list. I am familiar with Revelation Wellness anything I’ve seen them do! big hugs and so fun having coffee with you! xo

  6. Summer plans include trying to reframe my training after finally maybe figuring out my hip pain and coming up with a treatment plan with the doctor. And thus finding different ways than walking/race training to be outside.

    1. Hey Sandy– So good to hear from you. Oh, adjustments like that can be painful (literally and figuratively! 😂) but you are so resilient! Proud of you. Have a great summer, it’s magical in your neck of the woods!

  7. The dreaded bang grow-out! Congrats you look fabulous. Just when I was contemplating cutting bangs I see your new pics and now doubting my decision. Summer plans include a week at Universal Studios to celebrate my son’s 10th birthday and trying to get a head start on homeschooling. Oh and my husband and I have committed to going through your character training this summer. Thanks for all you do and catching us all up.

    1. Heather! Yeah, you might need to hang in there with me on the bangs…haha, isn’t it a crazy dilemma?? 🙂 I love Universal Studios! Have a blast. And so happy you get to go through the CTC!! Please please let me know your thoughts. I’m so excited as I am already working on some new pieces to add for this fall!

  8. Erica Ferretti says:

    How beautiful for your boys to go on an adventure like that! It made me tear up, right now at the ages my boys are and being together all day every day(homeschooling) I feel like that is a far stretch for them one day.

    1. Oh thank you Erica! I would never have imagined it either, but the day does come. Keep up the great work! xoxo

  9. Hi Monica. I’m new to your blog but listened to your book, Boy Mom, last year during lockdown just after my second son was born in March. I have been particularly challenged with your approach of raising men rather than boys, and since I’m expecting my third boy in October, I decided to subscribe to your blog posts (and relisten to Boy Mom).
    I live in Cape Town, South Africa, very far away from you. We’re currently in winter, which is our very wet, rainy season. I’m currently an online tutor for families that homeschool their children. We run on a 4 term year (starting in January), and the end of term 2 and the start of the 3-week winter holiday break is at the end of June.
    South Africa is entering our third wave, so we’re expecting stricter movement restrictions shortly. That said, we have a number of parks near us as well as Table Mountain National Park and the beach where the kids can play. Both boys love to play in muddy puddles (and mud, in general) so we tend to be outside even if it’s just in our garden.
    I never expected to have three children, never mind three boys when I only had a sister growing up, and your content has provided a wealth of information for those days when I don’t know which direction is up! I now have hope that I’ll be able to raise my boys to have integrity and great character with a love for Jesus. Thank you for sharing your and your family’s journey.

    1. Hi Gabi!
      Thank you so so much for taking the time to comment. I love hearing about you and your life in S. Africa! Wow– I do hope to visit one day and imagining my son’s surfing might get me there eventually. 🙂
      I am blessed to hear that Boy Mom has been helpful. You’re going to do fine — one day at a time. Set your vision on the goals, but also enjoy the moments! Big hugs and love to you!! (Also — my brain always struggles to imagine winter right about now — but it also sounds refreshing on a hot day like today here!)

  10. My boy mom summer is filled with soccer, a GO! training program and lots of family time in between! Heading to a lake house this week with the extended fam, and the beach next month! Oh how we LOVE summer! I hope someday I can visit YOUR beach!

    1. Thank you Joelle! I hope you can too! Enjoy it all and thanks for taking time to say hi! xo

  11. I’ve been following you for a couple years now and really enjoy your spiritual family life. I’m in Canada and right now we are still in lockdown so for now, what strikes me most about your posts/updates is the way everything seems to be back to “normal” there. This gives me hope as our children head into a second summer with all their activities cancelled. I share with them the photos of your boys and their adventures to show them that God is here and we just need to be patient. That soon enough they will see their friends (and family!) again, go on adventures and the world IS getting back to “normal”.
    We have a couple family camping trips booked this summer with our boys and pray that the lockdown will lift and allow us to get out and enjoy a change of scenery. I also had plans to register for your Character Building class this summer. This seemed the perfect time as life has slowed way down allowing me to refocus on family life and our boys. Financially, it is not the time for us, but I want you to know that I’m very excited to see what you have in store for us (what could be more important than our children’s character?!). Hopefully by the end of this year, the pandemic will ease, work will start again and I will join your class 😃.
    Thank you for the coffee date! Good luck with finishing homeschooling and I look forward to seeing more Swanson adventures! ☀️

    1. Oh bless your heart, Lisa. I have heard that Canada has been so rough. I love your positive spin on things– and pray that your load will be light until things really do lift and life can feel more like normal again. Big hugs and blessings to you!

  12. Love reading about your 4 boys! I’ve got 4 as well (3,5,6,8). Our “what’s new” is that we bought a new house. 4 boys sharing a very small room was getting a bit much 🙂 now they’ll have a little more room to grow.

    1. Hey Laura– oh so happy for you — and with those ages of kids especially great to have some space!!! 🙂 Big hugs and thank you for dropping in!

  13. Hi Monica!
    I’m new around here; I discovered your book, which I am still reading, then your website, and —this is God’s timing— came to the character training session right before the course opened. Of course I signed up! I have an 11 yo Levi, too. We’ve been struggling with him for years with the same topics and now feel so empowered to get to the root, character qualities, feeding the outward behavior. So that will be what this momma focuses on over this summer— along with trips to Maine (hello ocean!), veggie gardening, plenty of mountain hikes, and lingering in the slower swing summer. So excited to be part of your community and learn from the wisdom shared! ☺️

    1. Mary!! So happy to have you here! Love your heart for your little Levi (wish our boys could meet!) and honored to be walking you through the course this summer. I pray it is a massive blessing to you. Your summer sounds incredible – enjoy it all. Big hugs and please keep in touch!

  14. Ohhh and the bang grow out….Love it!

  15. Love your coffee emails!
    How awesome is it that your son wanted to share his graduation adventure money with his brothers! You are brave to take on another dog…you have a real pack started there. One naughty beyond measure cat is enough for me right now but my buys sure would like a dog. Not many summer adventures planned other than some long weekends camping before the heat and dry comes.

    1. Hey Rachel! Thank you so much for commenting. Long weekends camping sounds like my kids’ dream! (I’d love it too!) Thank you for the bang-grow out compliment…I’ve tried to be patient! 🙂 Big hugs

  16. Hola! I pray and hope you and those you know who have pups, that you all never have to deal with what we are. My Australian Shepard, Buttons has developed a seizure condition. Even with phenobarbital, it still confuses. He’s only 3. The worst, my other Aussie want to cull him when they happen. The vet said this is normal behavior, but scares me silly. All of it scares me. I worry when we’re all gone and Button seizes that Riley will attack him. It leads to crating which drives the two crazy since they are so bonded.
    Sorry, this got away from me. Just a mild warning since Australian Shepherds are prone to these. 🥺

    1. Hey Cyndi– SO sorry, what a rough thing to deal with. Goodness. Glad you let me know, too, b/c I had not heard that about Aussies. Hang int here and hope you have a good summer anyways…♥️

  17. My oldest just graduated high school, so we recovered from the (fun) craziness by taking a family vacation to NC for a week, enjoying both the beach and then mountains! I also have one who will be a senior this year (here we go again!), and another who will be a sophomore. We’re juggling summer jobs, camp, online classes, hanging with friends, etc. 🙂

    1. Wow, Brenda– what a busy season. So different from a few years ago, right? Hope it’s all safe and fun. Thanks for dropping me a line! aloha-

  18. Crystal Heckle says:

    Hello! I enjoyed reading while drinking my iced shaken espresso 😋. We’re going to KY in July to visit the Creation Museum and will probably go see the Ark Encounter too.

    1. Hey Crystal! Great having coffee (espresso!) with you. ♥️ I’d love to hear about the museum — it sounds incredible. Please update me later. Happy Summer!

  19. So fun to read your update & I just loveee that your boys did that trip together! Really dreaming of that for my 3 littles future (caleb, ezra & I have a Levi too…5, 4 & 2 years old at the moment)…we are from toronto Canada & loving being outside a ton…we are trying to complete 1000 hours outside…it is a thing…you can look it up…even has a pretty chart that you can colour in a shape for every hour you spend outside)…we are sad because the gov’t just decided school isn’t opening up for the rest of the year. But looking forward to being at my parent’s cottage in the summer and going to lots of splash pads & play dates!

    1. Wow, Amanda– this is all so interesting. I will def. look up the 1000 hours thing. Love the idea!! Sorry about the school situation, but sounds like you have such great perspective. Well done, Momma! ♥️ Enjoy summer and keep in touch!

  20. We added an above ground pool last Fall and my hubs has been working hard to build a deck off it so I can enjoy watching my crew swim all summer long. We look forward to that and a family trip to myrtle beach along with various sports camps throughout the summer. Hoping for a more normal summer and school year for Fall 2021.

  21. I truly enjoy your emails, Monica! I need to check out Thor stories. Oh what crazy adventures he & his litter mate are getting into nowadays. Thanks for all of the updates, I love hearing about the family adventures!
    Low key summer here (hopefully ;)). Beach days, slow mornings, a week camping at Malaekahana, then ending with a week summer program for my oldest at the fish pond on the North Shore.
    That about wraps it up! 😉
    Aloha & Blessings to you all!

    1. awww, so fun. Where exactly do you live, Roxie? (Do I know you? 😂) Much aloha to you my friend and Enjoy!! xo

      1. I’m on the west side, in Makakilo ;). Haha, no you don’t know me. I found you on Instagram (I can’t remember how & I blame it on mom brain) shortly before your Boy Mom book came out. Got the book, loved it, loved the character training course.. and the rest is history!
        Thought it was pretty cool that we’re on the same island.
        So much aloha to you and your ohana!

  22. Love the idea of a graduation adventure- I’m definitely filing that away for the future. We’re “done” homeschooling but truly kind of fell off the wagon a little these past few weeks. I really really love this time of year so we’ve been gardening and learning other life skills! I save math worksheets to make them do once or twice a week though so they don’t lose any fast math skills! As a teacher myself I can truly tell you kids lose math skills over summer quickly if they get several months off. And we still read daily of course. Love your family, book & podcast. I have bought SO many books based on the guests on your podcast and they’ve all been amazing. My boys race dirtbikes so if you know or can find any dirtbike moms to have on your show I would really love that! Thank you for all you do ❤️

    1. Mandy– I love all of this! And yes to math– Even after his 2 week adventure Levi was struggling to recall some basics! haha. Thank you for the kind words and I will keep my eyes out for #dirtbikemoms! So fun!!

  23. Christina says:

    Summertime means water adventures – even in the north. 😃

  24. Hi, Monica! I was expecting our coffee date, but I understand how busy this time of year is. I cannot believe how fast your boys have grown. My oldest one is becoming a Senior in HS now. I will have two in HS, a 5th and 4th grader, and the baby in Kindergarten. When I started following you, my 8 year old was six, so I have grown a lot with you. Work has been busy, and I cannot wait ‘til I catch a break from the business. I got to go for now, but I am looking forward to our next coffee date! Love,

    1. Oh big hugs to you, Nidia! Try to enjoy even the short moments of fun between the busy of work! You’re doing amazing!

  25. Love the grown out bangs, neighbor. I just have to say, and this has nothing to do with anything, but I started playing pickle ball. Very fun. I feel like I am retired now…lol

    And I buy my coffee from Hawaii, still. Time for my second cup. Aloha friend.

    1. Thank you, Kendall! And that is exactly the idea of these posts — I LOVE that you are playing Pickle Ball! You’ve worked hard to get to this place so enjoy every day! Curious where you get your coffee from?…Take care!

  26. Hi! Enjoying coffee with you and excited to start my Character Training Course! School started late, so we have two more weeks left, then I am road tripping my parents down to their new home in Florida-fun stops and local restaurants in states I have never been to-woohoo adventure! We are just relaxing this summer and my kids will be honing in on their surfing and skimming skills!

    1. Cindy! I love this so much. Thank you for trusting me by diving into the course. I pray it is a huge blessing for all of you! Enjoy the road trip — I love traveling with my parents!! Big hugs

  27. Hi Monica! So fun to read your updates! I, too, have a son who will be a senior in high school this year and I can’t stand the thought that he will be preparing to leave for college a year from now (he’s our oldest). I’m hoping by God’s grace I’ve prepared him as well as possible and hope he’ll be ready to fly! 🙃 For now, he’s running XC summer practices and lifeguarding. We also have two girls, 14 and 11, who are keeping busy with cheer and gymnastics practices. We are looking forward to a trip to Colorado in July to ride our vintage Honda trail motorcycles with some family who are coming to join us for their first time riding the trails. In the meantime we will be sweating through the hot Houston summer, or rather cooling off in the pool! 😅 Take care, Monica, and best to you and your family.

    1. Sarah– Love these updates!! Thank you! I hear you with the senior in HS! My two older boys’ gap year kinda saved me emotionally, haha… Sounds like a fun summer and I do remember visiting grandparents in Houston in the summer and sweating the second I walked out the door. The pool sounds amazing! Have fun!

  28. Kristi Belt says:

    Loved this Coffee Date post! (Though it’s a Hot Tea Date on my end. 🙂 ) I’m so excited the doors opened to the Character Training Course again. I jumped in and purchased it earlier this week, and I can’t wait to use it with my boys in the fall. We just wrapped up our first full year of homeschooling this week. It was a huge success all the way around (even through REALLY hard days because it is the hardest thing I’ve ever done). We loved our school year, had a lot of fun, cried many tears, laughed A LOT, learned A LOT, changed things up and tried again, and ended our year feeling successful and excited to do it again next year. I watched my 4th grader go from having extreme anxiety anytime he had to spell or write to being able to spell almost anything he wants and write confidently without any frustration or tears–all that just since January. Taking away the pressure of “keeping up” with other kids or grade level expectations has been HUGE for him. I watched my 1st grader be able to move around as much as his little body needed him to and still be able to learn to read, add, and subtract. He would have been miserable stuck in a desk all day being told to be still. We’ve had some fantastic conversations about the Bible, our relationships with Jesus, ancient history, stories about people, the way God made animals, and the way God made our bodies–and that’s just a few of the amazing things we got to talk about during our school days. I’m so so thankful for our homeschool journey that we’ve begun. I already have everything purchased for next year so I can spend the summer reading through stuff and getting myself excited and ready to dive back in with a 2nd & 5th grader (both boys) next year! And next year we will be doing the Character Training Course in little bits during our Morning Time. I cannot wait to dive into it! Thank you so much for making it available again. Oh! We learned about Foundations by Troy and Ruth Chou Simons from your Boy Mom book (or the podcast…can’t remember which), and we’ve been slowly reading through that as a family at dinner time. I can’t wait to add the Character Training Course to our school routine and have good, quality, Christ-centered foundations and character lesson woven through all parts of our day. I know the Lord will use these amazing resources to reach deep into my boys’ hearts.

    Thank you again, Monica. I’d love to meet you someday. Your Boy Mom book and podcast and weekly emails truly breathe life into my boy mom heart.

    Oh and I love your new picture. The grown out bangs looks gorgeous on you!

    1. Kristi, You just made me fall in love with homeschooling all over again! I am so inspired and so very proud of you!! Thank you for the kind words…that was just a lovely comment! 🙂 I love that you will incorporate the CTC into your homeschool year. Keep in mind, the video lessons (average 10 minutes) are speaking to the parents specifically, but there will be plenty in there to go over with the kids as well! Hope you love it! Enjoy summer and keep in touch! xo

  29. Monica,

    I enjoyed our “coffee date” so much! I truly felt as if I were catching up with an old friend. Seeing the relationship that your boys have with Christ, each other, and you and Dave gives me so much hope for my own three sons. They are still young and my Mama heart has so many hopes and desires for them!

    Our homeschool year hasn’t ended yet either. I had a hysterectomy a couple of months ago and it has been hard to get back on track since then. I’m thinking we will have a modified schedule through the summer to finish it up.

    We did add a new supplement to our curriculum – chickens! We bought 16 chicks in the Spring. They have been a joy to have. Our youngest (he is 5) says he wants to be a farmer when he grows up and spends most of his day out in the run with the girls.

    It’s was lovely to catch up. Looking forward to doing it again!


    1. Hey Amanda! Love hearing your update. (and indeed I’m sipping coffee while I read it!) I know a hysterectomy can require a long recover, I’m sorry — but also glad it’s over and hopefully only going to get better from here! 🙂 LOVE that you got chickens! We want to do that, too. First need to figure out how our naughty dogs would not eat them. 😂 Farming is sooo good (and educational!) Big hugs and happy summer!

  30. We finished homeschool- i vote just be done (2-cents)
    We are headed across country to finally visit family post covid- we are thrilled

    1. KC– Thank you for your 2-cents! 🥰 I am so happy for your chance to travel and connect with family!! big love!

      1. Us too! 2 in college now and 2 homeschooling through high school (one freshman and one junior!) enjoy your summer 😍

  31. Juliana Gouveia says:

    My son started summer school and he is riding the bus for the first time and he loves it! We plan to go to the zoo and the beach this summer! Your dogs are cute! 🌞😁

    1. Juliana! Yay for your son…I love that! Enjoy your summer and the dogs say thank you (they’re still on my naughty list at the moment! haha)

  32. Samantha Brown says:

    I just love releasing and listening to you, Monica! And you’re so inclusive, I feel like we are just sitting around having a “coffee date!”

    I’m excited for this summer! As a middle school teacher, this year has been taxing, so my husband, 2.5 year old son, and I plan to enjoy the summer with no specific plans! I’m here for it!

    1. Samantha! That means soooo much to me (I wish we could be sitting together for coffee! :)) Your summer sounds pretty perfect to me — ENJOY!! xo

  33. I’m a mad gardener, so my news is that my leaf props are producing babies! This is an exciting development!

    1. Sharon- Oh wonderful – my husband would especially relate to that. Our garden is a work in progress (still just fruit so far but hoping for veggies soon!) Enjoy it all and have a great summer!

  34. Loved getting an extra email this week! Now that it’s finally warm in Ohio, iced americanos are my go-to!

    We are enjoying the longer days (sun is setting at 9!) and days my 4yo can be outside playing in his little pool and riding his bike. In 6 weeks, we fly home to Hilo! The trip was supposed to happen last summer but that got canceled. My dad wanted my sister and our families to come home for a reunion of sorts, so we are thrilled things are slowly opening back up!

    Our new church plant is going really well and we are planning a few fun summer events to get out into our community such as soccer camp, a picnic, and some church services in the park! We’re also praying that God provides us a building in our target community. We have a potential building in the works in the heart of the small city but it will need A LOT of love and care before we can fully function. Very exciting!

    1. Trisha– what a great update! I love summer nights when it stays light out late (that doesn’t happen here in Hawaii as you probably know-) so enjoy that! And how special to reunite in Hilo! yay. Sounds like a very healthy, full summer ahead. Enjoy it all!

  35. Lots of relaxing and reading going on at my house. My kids are finally old enough to really get into books and it’s wonderful to watch

    1. Catie– Yay for good books and summer reading. I’m hoping we have a lot of that too! 🙂 xo