Friday, January 21, 2011

best friends

Kate Evangeline and Angelina Kate; 3 days apart; destined to be BFFs (photo by Lindsey).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rethinking social media

How do you get your news? Facebook? Twitter? An app on your phone for your local newspaper or the USA Today? Do you often find yourself on your phone (even in the car) checking social media for the latest updates from friends? Is your phone or computer time beneficial or a tremendous time waster?

Social media sort of drives me crazy. I like it and I don't. It's great to stay connected to old friends, to see pics of everyday life of those I love and to hear what they are up to, but it can also be a tremendous time suck and distraction. Let's be honest with ourselves. How many "friends" are we actually very close to? How many of them do we really and truly want to know what's going on with and vice versa. If I'm honest with myself, it's a good few dozen and that's it.

I've been feeling a slow pull from the Lord to distance myself from social media outlets. Last year, I took a month long break and it was so helpful; gave me a fresh perspective and was quite shocking to realize how much time I spend on my phone or on the computer. And how life went on without much incident and I wasn't around to "view" it and it was just fine.

At various seasons of my life, I've found it's a big distraction and not in a good way. I find myself checking Facebook news feed to see what others are up to, when I should be playing with my children. Lame. But, what to do? Go offline all together? Many I know have become "Face-Free" and I think that may be the way I'm heading one day. For now, I've set several boundaries for myself and have done a good job sticking to them: checking social media outlets only a couple of times a day, and not when my children are present. They deserve my full attention and investment. I want my life's work to be reflected in them, and not waste the time I have on some silly network (which will eventually be replaced by the next-best thing; remember, Myspace? Me either).

Because I am not feeling ready (for some good reasons) to go "Face-Free," I recently did a few things to "tidy-up" my Facebook and Twitter accounts. These have been life-savers for me.

First, I deleted people who I do not consider close friends and who I have no contact with. This makes sense. I am not truly interested in what a high school friend, who I haven't spoken to since high school, is eating for lunch that day. The same goes for a slew of elementary and junior high friends.

Second, I hid all "push notifications" to my inbox for anything but direct messages to Facebook account. Honestly, do I really care what Jennifer so-and-so (who I do not know) said on my best friend's Facebook page about her new haircut? Do I need to read someone else's comments on a friend's picture of her new baby? Not really. I was finding that such email notifications only cluttered my inbox and distracted me from being present with my kids and focusing on important tasks of my day.

And lastly, I "hid all posts" of Facebook friends who I have very little contact with. These were people who I did want to remain in touch with, but overall, am not very close to and didn't want to keep up daily tabs. It's freeing to not see so much clutter in my news feed and email inbox. I like it!

I found this article by Lindsay of Passionate Homemaking an excellent one on "guarding against technology time wasters."

What suggestions do you have for curbing the onslaught of social media?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My little boy turns 2!

Today is Curren's 2nd birthday! Two years that have just flown by, more than I can remember with Maggie. I so love my sweet little man. He is full of energy, loves all things music, iPhone, iPad, and drumming, knows almost all his ABC's by sight and in the last few weeks loves to identify any letter that comes across his radar, can count from 1-10, is gentle and kind to his sisters and loves to be outdoors.

His birth was one I will never forget (my first VBAC), the experience worth every moment until I held him in my arms. I love raising a boy; he is a true joy and delight to our family.

We love you, C!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Favorite blogs

Recently, my good friend Erin, asked me what blogs I follow. I shared a few of my favs, in addition to many on my sidebar.

What are some of yours?

Friday, January 7, 2011

these are the days

Unloading the dishwasher is one of my least favorite tasks, especially when the dishes begin to pile in the sink. I try to stay on top of unloading it (because really, how long does it take? 5 minutes, tops?), but let's be honest, other things come up and I can't get to it.

I especially dislike unloading all the sippy cups (and reassembling all the parts), the small plastic bowls, the big plastic bowels, and any other kid-ware. It all just seems cumbersome. It feels like it goes in cycles: some weeks I'm totally on top of it, and then I get in a slump and can't seem to get out of it. And if my duties as a mom are left stacking up, I have a difficult time focusing on playing with my kids. I know I'm not alone.

The other day as I opened the dishwasher I was greeted with this colorful sight and as silly as it might sound, I sort of stopped and took it all in. It will only be a few more years that my dishwasher will look like this. Soon the toddler years will be behind us and new dishes will replace these.

And my 3 children will be that much older, that much more grown-up.

Let's be honest, so many of the tasks of our days as moms are so very, very mundane. Sometimes I just can't stand it, so I have to pack all my children in the car and go for a drive, see the ocean, get an ice-cream or coffee, and listen to classical music on the radio. I need something different than my routine (which I do love, don't get me wrong). Perhaps that seems silly. My point is, even though the mundane drives me to feeling stir-crazy all too often, I don't want these days to pass me by without taking in all they have to offer: my children's sweet smiles and kisses, their morning breath and silly antics, their warm, outdoorsy-smells after playing in the sun, the conversations had over meals, and yes, even the difficult moments we walk through daily.

These are the days. These are the days I want to tell myself to slow down, take it all in, and enjoy the mundane. Relish it. Because my children will grow up before I know it.

These are the days I need to stop racing past the silly or quiet or a whole host of moments with my kids because I'm going bonkers thinking about all the items on my "to-do" list. I need to clean less, enjoy them more, and allow my 3 beautiful, wonderful children to teach *me,* too. Because, oh, how I have grown in my role as a mother. For the better. And deep down, I do want to continue to grow.

So, bring on the sippy cups, the melamine bowls in every color of the rainbow, the stickers, the silly putty, the bubbles, the same questions and conversations, the tears, the joys. For these are the days.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Maggie turns 4!

Maggie turned 4 years old on December 11 and as you all know, time flies. It was a rainy, wet day when we had her party, rescheduled from a previous day due to me being sick. Maggie really enjoyed the morning, complete with a half dozen friends and all their siblings. An added bonus was my sister and her family were in town for the holidays so were able to be at the party, too. It was definitely a full house, but fun! We played, opened gifts, let the kids run out some energy briefly in the wet outdoors, and ate cake. I'm so grateful for all the sweet friends and their mamas who came and gave Maggie some wonderful gifts.

Maggie continues to delight us. She truly loves her siblings, loves her friends, playing with princesses, playing "voices" (where either Aron or I pretend to be a whole host of characters from various shows or books), drinking juice, learning and loving Preschool and AWANA, and singing and drawing as often as she can. We love you, sweet girl!

A creative gift from my friend Lindsey--a sugar cookied shaped "M" with a little jar full of individually wrapped sprinkles and other decor, and several bags of frosting for her to decorate the cookie!
A tried my hand at the Rainbow Cake featured on The Idea Room blog here. Overall, very easy, and Maggie said it was her favorite part of the party. :)