Sep 3 2014

becoming outmoded.

(Above: Dave dressed up as “Outmoded Technology Man” at a Superheroes and their Alter Egos party we went to a few years ago)

Dave and I have always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with technology/media. I’m sure that’s true for a lot of people, especially those who have to work with it on a daily basis.  When we were first married we did (what some considered) a crazy thing and never bought a TV.  Keep in mind, this was almost 10 years ago– far before Netflix, and when YouTube barely even had cat videos on it.  The idea of even owning digital versions of movies or TV shows was just barely starting to become a thing.  People would say everything from “Wow, I wish I could do something like that”, to “What are you going to do all day?”  Well, somehow, 9.5 years later we are still alive, we still have no TV (although we do have a Netflix subscription, but it’s used mainly for our regular evening Star Trek episode) and we have generally entertained ourselves pretty well I think.  Lately though–and this could be because I’m now a stay at home mom–I’ve found the internet/iPhone is eating my time up.  Facebook stays on a tab on the computer and gets refreshed often, and when I have a spare moment (when Dave and I are driving and I’m bored) I’m checking instagram on my phone.  And it’s become exhausting.

Here’s the thing:

I don’t think humans were meant for this kind of overload of information/constant stream of conversation.

As an introvert I especially find myself overwhelmed by the end of the day if I had spent too much time on Facebook.  There’s no time for my own quiet thoughts when I’m scrolling through everyone else’s.

I’m tired of a thousand articles being shared telling me that everything that I’m eating is wrong.  Do I feed my child formula?  You bet.  Do I eat food that contains gluten in it?  I do.  I’m also tired of all the facebook debates over politics/religion/whatever-the-heck that don’t actually serve any purpose.  Because, for real people, do facebook debates make anyone ever feel good?  Have you ever walked away from a facebook debate going “Wow, that internet stranger really changed my mind on that subject.  I feel so good that we had that debate.”  I’m not saying debating is bad, but I feel like most of the time internet debates get bad fast and no one wins.  Because it’s easy to say something nasty on the internet when you are safe behind your computer, but it’s not so easy to go out and do something about it.  Every day on the web we are inundated with a crap-load of opinions and voices.  I’m not sure how our brains haven’t exploded already.

I see how damaging and addictive technology can be and it’s starting to loose it’s lustre.  I used to say that I neither liked nor disliked Facebook, because for all it’s flaws I could see how valuable it was for keeping in touch with friends and family from far away.  I saw that for a small business it had huge potential for advertising, especially as a photographer.  The tool can’t be evil–it’s how you use the tool, right?  But the problem with Facebook is that even if I’m using it just to keep up with friends and family, there’s still 300 other people on my friends list that might decide that the best way to use Facebook is to share Fox New clips. (No thank-you).  Also…I don’t really want to see what everyone is commenting on.  Unless a friend of mine shares it with me, why do I want to see their other conversations?

Most of all, I’m concerned over how this will affect Lucy as she grows up.  If she sees that her dad and I are dependant on all our devices, she will assume that it’s only natural.  I’d rather wean ourselves off of being so dependant on technology while she is young so that we never have to say “Put that phone away and spend some time with real people!” while at the same time we are itching to get on our phones.

So I have decided to start a technology wean.  Dave and I have already been talking about getting rid of our smart-phones when our contract is up.  In the meantime (so it won’t be such a shock) I’ve installed an app called “moment” that counts the minutes that I use the phone and when I reach a certain number (30 minutes, for example) it tells me my time is up for the day and sends me constant reminders to put my phone down.  I also cleaned up my facebook newsfeed to a small amount of family/friends.  Also, because I have a few ongoing projects that are shared on Facebook (project 52, for example) I plan on using it till the new year, and then I hope to only use it for business purposes.  Another program that is useful is called “Self Control” where you can either “blacklist” a list of websites you don’t want to see for a set time, or “whitelist” a list of websites that will be the only available sites.  You can set the time limit, and that’s it.  It is a pretty crazy program though–even restarting your computer won’t shut it down!

I’m looking forward to reseting and using technology as a tool instead of a crutch and I encourage you to do the same.

3 comments


Jun 11 2014

monthly prompt: shine

How to shine.  Even when your life is chaos.

(OR Why I never gave in to the sweatpants, messy hair and dirty house and still loved my baby all at the same time)

***

At a recent appointment with one of Lucy’s specialists, the doctor (whom we had never met before this) exclaimed upon seeing me “You look way to put together to have an 8 month old baby!”  To which I didn’t know how to respond, and simply said: “Oh…?”   “Most of the moms I see are in sweats and a messy pony tail.” she said.  To which again, I still didn’t know what to say and I laughed nervously.

I often hear stories lauding the sweatpants and messy hair as a mom badge of honour, while at the same time subtly (or sometimes not so) hinting that if you are not wearing last nights PJ’s you are clearly spending too much time on yourself.

We like to talk about how it’s totally cool to be messy when we have kids.  “That barf stain?  Yeah that happened last week.  I’ve got too much going on though to put on something clean.  Don’t like it?  Well if you can’t handle me at my worst you don’t deserve me at my best.  I may not look great but I’m too busy being a good mom to worry about clean clothes.”

In reality though, what we are thinking on the inside is probably the opposite.  Using our kids as an excuse to justify our mess is easy.  Setting a routine, taking care of ourselves and being disciplined is hard.

When Lucy was in the hospital we had very little control over anything.  I pumped and fed her according to the hospital schedule.  They told me how many times I was allowed to breast feed her (once a day) and what time (noon).  They told me what days I could bath her on, and when I could hold her.  Some days they told us we would be home in a week, some days a month.  When we did get home 7 weeks later, we battled with so many things for months and months to keep that baby alive and growing.  Some things were typical baby things, some were special Lucy problems.  In the midst of all of this I easily could have used Lucy as an excuse to let myself go.  In fact, if I were an outsider looking in on our situation I probably would have said “Go for it!”  But one day, or one week leads to one month or two of “It’s okay, I’ve got a baby to deal with. Maybe later.”  Then a year later you realize you haven’t ever established a regular time for yourself and those sweatpants that used to just be for bed time have been worn to the grocery store regularly.

Before I had Lucy, many people would say to me “Oh you just wait till after she’s born.  You’re going to look terrible/You will welcome the sweatpants. But it will all be so worth it.”  I was legitimately concerned, because being clean and looking nice rank pretty high on my “things that keep me sane” list.

When we brought her home I was determined that I wouldn’t fall into bad habits.  Despite what everyone was telling me, I knew that it was possible to be a good parent as well as take care of myself.

What is the secret?

It’s called: Routine. (see photo: life can be hectic, but our routine helps us get things done)

Every day when Lucy has her morning nap I get dressed and tidy the house.  Every day.  Even if she doesn’t nap, we get it done. When things are chaotic these are things that I have control over that will make the day feel a little less crummy.  If I feel good about myself then it’s natural that I will feel (if only a little) better about the things I can not control.

We’ve got to take the time to take care of ourselves because we are, after all, still human beings after our children are born.  This is not an “either/or” situation.  Taking care of yourself and your home does not beget neglected children.  Despite what some may say, I am not neglecting my daughter because I put on makeup and combed my hair today.  Her happiness is not at stake when I wear a clean shirt from the closet instead of a dirty one from the laundry bin.  Similarly, she is no less loved because I did the dishes while she played, or swept the floor while she sat and watched me intently. (Have you seen this link on Pinterest? Can we please pretty please stop pinning this insane quote?)

Listen to me, because this is the key point:  Hovering over our children every second of the day at the detriment of daily chores and personal care is not healthy.  It’s not healthy for us, and it’s not healthy for our  children.

We need to take the time to shine, because how else will our children learn?


“Shine” is the June writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Christina of Mouse in Your House. A few words from Christina — At Mouse In Your House, I’m bringing you stories about being a working mom, quirky family lifestyle trends, frugal living, DIY ideas and the talented people who make life something amazing. I hate getting bored and occasionally use Mouse In Your House to ask people very personal questions that I would, otherwise, never get away with. My goal is to find chicks and gents doing something cool and inspiring, which could lead to a feature about a family who took the year off to travel the world one day and the next day’s post could be all about how to dress a stylish toddler. To qualify for a feature, I need only go, holy moly that is frigging awesome….and you may even get a long set of questions for our next Q&A. That’s the way I roll. And P.S. I LOVE budgeting and it has taken over our lives in the past. We recently graduated from living in a 400 square-foot apartment to a 1,400 square foot house in my beloved small town of Knoxville, Tennessee. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///

5 comments


Aug 14 2013

i’ve become a cat.

Have you ever looked at a cat who has been lounging in the exact same spot for hours on end and wondered what it’s like to be them?

I think this week I’ve discovered what that’s like…although I must say it’s more due to incapability rather than laziness.  So I’m 30 weeks pregnant tomorrow.  I start counting down in single digits after that.  I’m pretty stoked,  but I feel basically useless at this point.  I think this point arrives for every pregnant lady at a different time.  Some people work almost to the end (and they are crazy), some people are put on bed rest at 20 weeks.

I’m the kind of person who really enjoys working from home because even if it’s a slow season I always can find something to do.  I actually like housework,  I love to reorganize things,  and I always have a sewing project on the go.  With a baby on the way, there is much of that happening.  Until….this week.  It’s true that I’ve slacked a bit on the housework in the last month but I still have managed to do the necessities (well, to me) like making the bed, general tidying, dishes, etc.  This week, however, I have started to develop a fun pregnancy ailment (with an equally fun name!) called diastasis recti, essentially, my abdominal muscles are separating!  It makes it fairly difficult to sit up, bend over, lift things (any movement involving your abdomen, which is a lot I’ve discovered).  I’m not entirely certain how common it is, but on top of regular braxton hicks (practice contractions) feeling huge and lethargic, it certainly has changed my daily routine.

So I’m feeling done.

But I would really like to make the bed and dust and vacuum and reorganize the kitchen and clean out the closets (and finish that dang dress I started two weeks ago!)  But instead I sit on the couch reading Calvin and Hobbes.  Oh, and dinner?  Poor Dave comes home from working all day…and so far this week all I’ve got done is plan what we will eat…and then he cooks.

Is this normal?  Do other pregnant people feel as useless as I do at this point?

1 comment


Jan 12 2013

to better days ahead.

I haven’t really written on my blog for quite some time.  When I have, it’s been intermittent and  impersonal.  Let me explain.

Saturday, December 29th was gearing up to be a pretty good day.  Dave and I hadn’t had any time off together for a LONG time.  This was the first Saturday in literally MONTHS that we had no engagements.  We were planning on going to Fort Langley to the antique malls for the day.  It’s one of our favorite things to do.

Instead we spent the day in the emergency room at the hospital.  I was 9 1/2 weeks pregnant and things weren’t looking swell.  After waiting and waiting for results, the Dr. told me despite what I had been experiencing, things looked fine.  Just to be sure, however, he set me up for an emergency ultrasound for the next morning.  We tried to reason with him, because with Dave being a pastor and me scheduled to play piano that Sunday morning, doing an ultrasound would not fit.  He insisted that it would be done first thing and we’d have enough time to get to the church.  I was actually quite relieved at this point.  Many people that I knew had their ultrasounds at 9 weeks (or even earlier) and my doctor was only going to do my first at 20 weeks.  Even when I had spoken with him about the trouble I had been having, he maintained that everything was fine and there was no need for an ultrasound that early.

Sunday morning we rushed to the hospital to get our ultrasound.  I was excited because we had plans with some friends that evening and were going to tell them the good news.  It would have been even more exciting to have an ultrasound picture to show.

The ultrasound technician explained what was he was going to do, and that he would recommend that I go to emergency when I had time (if the results were good) or right away (if, from what he could tell the results were not good).  After the first ultrasound he discovered my uterus is retroverted (tilted backwards) which makes it difficult to see anything with a standard ultrasound (especially at only 9.5 weeks).  He then performed an internal ultrasound and without saying anything else, told me that I had to go directly to emergency.  Despite the fact that he gave me no exact results, my suspicions of a failed pregnancy were confirmed at that point. I had been experiencing problems from 5.5 weeks and even though I had gone to the doctors almost every week with questions he said I was fine.  I think I knew even then that it wasn’t.

At that point I had to sit and wait in emergency for another few hours (I don’t know exactly how long actually…it could have been 5 minutes for all I know).  Dave had to leave to go and lead worship at church (now without piano player), and so my parents joined me while I waited.  The staff at the hospital was all very kind and professional, but in the end told me what I didn’t want to hear (not their fault though): that the fetus had recently died, there was no heartbeat, and I would miscarry in the next few days.

The following days need no explanation, but let me just say that when doctors say that miscarrying is just like a “heavier period”, it’s a farce.  It’s not.  Maybe if you are 4 weeks pregnant.  But not if you are 2.5 months.  (Perhaps some lady doctors need to speak with all the man doctors and tell them what it’s really like). **side note** I chose to miscarry naturally.  Many people choose a surgical process called a D&C, or they take a drug called Misoprostol when they are past 8 weeks or so.  I decided that since this was not a medical emergency, medical intervention was not needed.  My body would do what was necessary to compete the process. **

So there it is.  My crummy New Years un-celebration.

Why am I sharing this?  I don’t know.  Perhaps I feel like I need to explain why I’ve been a zombie for the last 2.5 months (it can be so frustrating in the first trimester when you feel tired/sick/gross/grumpy and no one knows what’s going on) …Or why I haven’t been in church for the last 2 weeks…or why I may not feel like talking to pregnant people in the next little while.  Maybe it’s needs to be shared because a lot of girls don’t realize how common all of this is…until of course it happens to them and people start whispering their stories. In reality, doctors estimate that 70% of women will have at least 1 miscarriage in their life. It sucks.  But it is a natural process of procreation.  As the doctor at the hospital explained: there was nothing I could do, or he could do.  Sometimes things don’t match up and the body says “This isn’t going to work out.  Let’s try again.”

So that’s what we will do.

In the mean time, lady friends, I urge you to be more open about this.  I think that so many people think it’s a shameful thing.  I know for me I felt sick to my stomach when I had to email some acquaintances whom I had impulsively shared my pregnancy with, that I had experienced a miscarriage.  I felt like a loser.  Completely untrue…but that’s how it felt.

So don’t be afraid to share your story…or just share my story…whatever helps people realize that this is not a shameful thing.  It does not make a person a failure.  I don’t want to scare potential young moms…just to inform.

If anyone has any questions about miscarriage, I am 100% here to answer them and talk about it.

6 comments


Nov 23 2012

humbug.

Someone asked my a couple days ago how my Christmas planning was coming along.  I was shocked.  And then I realized that Christmas is is but a month away.  Some people have bought all their gifts and decorated the house.  Good gravy.

I have been so unaware of the imminence of Christmas.  I looked at my calendar this week and realized that normally by Dec. 1 Dave and I have gotten a tree and I have already decorated quite a bit.  Usually by this point I have pestered Dave about a Christmas tree and am so excited to get it that it’s all I talk about.  Not so this year.  Strange.  I’ve barely thought about it.  I haven’t even bought any presents.  Maybe it has something to do with the rain.  The non-stop, never ceasing downpour of rain.   Maybe it’s just because it seems like a few weeks ago fall just arrived.  Or maybe I’m just growing into a scrooge the older I get.

Honestly, the more I experience the insanity of Christmas, and stress out, and watch others go nuts with it…the more I’d like to just have a quiet time with family playing boardgames (yes, I said it.  I am willing to play board games.) Forget the frivolity.  Just a few relaxing days off celebrating.  That’s it.  I don’t want to be thinking about it for 2 months prior.  Seriously.  I think the more planning we put into Christmas, the more of a letdown it is when it’s all said and done.  Each year after Christmas I feel almost offended by it.  I take my tree and decor down as soon as I come home from my parents place.  Perhaps that’s a symptom of Christmas overload.  Does anyone else feel that way?

To add to my humbug mood, here are some rainy grey pictures from today that are sure to bring you even more down.  You’re welcome.

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