Off the Grid

Time from time, I observe friends of mine choosing to step away from their phones, FB, or the internet in general.  Those who have made this choice have discussed feeling as though they are focusing too much of their time into electronics or the internet and want to step away to reconnect with family and friends.  I totally and completely respect this, in fact, I find it incredibly courageous as our world has become so wrapped up in having the internet at our fingers.  This day in age, smart phones can do some amazing things; making our lives easier or pulling us away from the direct contact with our family and friends.  

I’ve found that for the most part, I’m able to disconnect from my phone, facebook, and the internet as I need to or want to.  There are times that I leave my phone at home when I’m out or realize that I’ve been home all evening and my phone has been untouched, in my purse for the last few hours.  But, it’s there and it’s there when I need it.  

I’ve come to really appreciate the convenience of texting in the last four years of having kids.  What I like the most about it, is that I can have a full, complete conversation with a friend without either of us being interrupted to redirect a toddler.  But, it’s also an easy way to ask a question and get a response, rather than finding a moment to pick up the phone with two unhappy, hungry kids as I’m getting dinner on the table.  It’s been a great way for Chris and I to connect as well, briefly, throughout the day while we are both at work.  

However, I have involuntarily found myself “off the grid” for the last several days.  I suddenly woke up Friday morning last week and my phone didn’t work.  I suddenly, didn’t have service!  I couldn’t make calls, send texts, check my email or check facebook in my downtime at work.  After a little investigating that evening with T-mobile, Chris and I learned that the initial owner of my used phone, put themselves on a payment plan to pay off the phone.  At some point, the original owner of the phone cancelled their service with T-mobile and sold the phone, without paying off the phone.  So, apparently, my phone got flagged by T-mobile and they turned off all access to that particular phone.  It’s one thing when you CHOOSE to step away from technology, but it’s another when you are blindsided by it happening, without a choice!!  

I now feel like I’m in my own little world.  I have had to be creative to reach out to others.  I find myself sending emails to connect with friends.  But, the most challenging part of this is knowing that while I’m at work all day, daycare can not reach me as easily as if I had my phone.  I can’t text Chris as I’m walking out the door at work for us to briefly connect.  I’ve hardly spoken with my mom in the last week (we usually talk daily or every other day).  I also miss exchanging those simple conversation with my closest friends to connect throughout the day.  

Surprisingly though, it’s working out okay.  The individual who sold us my phone, refunded our money and I have a new phone on it’s way.  I have been able to connect with some friends after putting my SIM card in Chris’s phone to send texts or make calls from my plan.  Daycare has been very responsive to emailing me at work.  I feel like I’m back in the 1990s, phoneless.  The only difference, I don’t have a LAN line to use at home to gab for hours and hours with friends as I did in the ’90s back in HS.  Although I’ve made it work the last week, I’m really looking forward to having a working phone again.  Have you ever tried to disconnect from your phone for awhile? 

 

 

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Eight Weeks Down

I have officially been back to work full time for eight weeks!  It’s crazy!  I have no idea where the last two months have gone, and in many ways not really sure how we are surviving.  However, there are definitely things I feel like I’m getting figured out and other areas that I just have no idea to problem solve.  But, for starters, here are a few things that are mostly, going really well:

  1. The kids love daycare
  2. We have routine established to get out the door every morning
  3. Chris and I continue to feel like this is a good fit for our family
  4. I like my job, I feel like it’s a good fit, and *mostly* look forward to going back the next day
  5. If I leave as scheduled, I can make it home, prepare dinner in a quiet house and have it on the table for my family
  6. Our cleaning ladies

My first week of work, I had this crazy high!  It felt amazing to dress normally every day (other than yoga pants and tank top or hoodie), I didn’t have to make a meal every 2 hrs, clean up messes, change poopy diapers, wipe poopy butts, etc.  A friend of mine asked, “Is it easier working or being at home?” That first week, it was FOR SURE easier working!  This was a new exciting territory!  Something I had wanted for so long!!  I felt a sense of freedom and a different kind of purpose that I had longed for a very long time.  It really feels good to miss Emma and Noah and desire to be around them in the evenings and on the weekends rather than constantly feeling like I need to get away.  The quantity of time I spend with them is definitely less, but the quality is so much more!

So, a few things I’ve identified that I feel like have really helped to make this transition go as smooth as possible is identifying what HAS to be done during the week and what has to be done daily!  Chris agreed to take on loading and unloading the dishwasher and although it’s such a small task, it is such a SIGNIFICANT chore that keeps the house running.  Secondly, if all goes as planned, I do laundry three days a week.  I do darks on Tuesday, lights on Thursday, and rotate the sheets and towels every other weekend.  I throw in a load in the morning before I sit down with my coffee and throw it all in the dryer before I leave for work!  This allows a clean load of laundry to be completed and all that needs to be done is folding that night, which is an easy TV chore.  However…. I have had days that this gets delayed!  Third, I meal plan. I meal plan for the week so I know what the plans are for dinner that night.  I cook in bulk on the weekends so we have options and usually a crock pot meal during the week.  And I’ll be honest, 1-2 days/week, the kids get PBJ because I can’t always get home in time to prepare food to feed their hungry tummies!  PBJ is quick, easy, and they love it which makes happy kids!!  Fourth, I pick up the house on Sunday evening to prepare the house for the week. I don’t know why, but the house just gets TRASHED on the weekends!  So, I spend about an hour cleaning up the kitchen, picking up toys, putting things back in it’s place and gathering scattered dirty laundry.  Our cleaning team comes every three weeks on Mondays, so this also helps pick up the house to prepare for them!

There is still so much that I’m trying to navigate through and so much I’m continuing to learn about the juggle.  But, we are slowly getting the hang of it.

 

 

 

It’s been a long time…

A few months ago when Jan 2014 hit, I decided that I was going to set a few goals of things I wanted to specifically accomplish this year.  One of those, was returning to my blog that I started a year ago.   However, our life has been a whirlwind since Feb 2014 when God decided it was time for me to go back to work!  Life has been busy as our family is learning to juggle life with two working parents.

Something specific happened this weekend that really inspired me to sit down TODAY to start a new post.  Our family took a quick trip to Springfield, IL to attend a memorial service for Gpa Tom.  During the reception after the service, I had the privilege to sit down with two wonderful ladies (who are sisters) and reconnect after years that we had not seen each other since we were in elementary school.  One specifically asked me, “What ever happened to your blog?  It was so good!  I loved reading it!”  And I wondered myself, I have no idea what happened to it… life happened.  It seemed like any time something happened that triggered the urge to write, something interfered with my ability to sit down and write.  Typically, I would think about topics/events to blog about in the middle of a crisis, like my three year old smearing his poop all over the carpet in his bedroom.  Sometimes, it was in the quiet moments in a dark room with the sound machine on full blast as I nursed Emma to sleep.  However, the moment I would think about actually sitting down to write, someone would wake up screaming, or wouldn’t stop talking and then by the time everyone was in bed, I was ready for bed too!!!  So, it just.didn’t.happen!

Life is different since I last posted in August 2013.  Noah turned four in April and Emma will be two in June!  I just can’t believe what a difference six months can make when your children are 26 months apart!  I feel like there are increased moments that they can play independently (or with each other).  I can leave them comfortably with a babysitter without freaking out that someone will die because my kids are just that.crazy!  And most importantly, most of the time, I feel like we are finally out of survival mode and that our household is not in complete chaos most hours of the day!

I have to admit, I’ve had some fear about starting this post! I found myself actually avoiding it tonight even though I wanted to write!  So, why?  I think, simply because it’s been so long.  Where do I start?  What do I write about?  What if no one cares?  But, I certainly want to be able to share my experience that our family has undergone with me returning back to work.  And, in another post, I will share how that decision was started and the process in which God lead me to know it was time.

Car seat safety!

Car seat safety!

I stumbled upon this blog post this morning and felt that it was articulated so wonderfully that I couldn’t help to share it.  So many parents are not informed of these because they are not in car seat manuals and I have no idea why they aren’t!  Please read this because these simple things could be a matter of saving your child’s life in a car accident. 

http://www.treadingragingwaters.com/2012/02/11-deadly-mistakes-you-didnt-know-you.html

Celebrating Breastfeeding Awareness Week

I’ve had a hard time keeping up with my blog.  I find that often when I think of something to post, I am wrapped up in some task that I can’t get away from.  Often it’s nursing Emma because that’s when I’m sitting in the quiet and in the dark and with myself.  However, when I leave that moment and have a moment to sit down to write, I forget what it was that was so great to write about.  :/  The other thing I run into, is a three year old talking a mile a minute that I can’t focus on typing.  Ya know, I should try sometime, that would be quite interesting to see how that turned out.  In fact, I’d probably end up typing exactly what Noah was saying or what my response was back to him.  😛 Now, for what I was really coming to post about:

Breastfeeding Awareness Week just ended and I have come across so.much controversy in the media about mothers nursing in public (NIP).  I keep hearing of circumstances in which women are shamed, humiliated, or discriminated against for nursing their babies in a public setting.  Some of the things I’ve come across is people being supportive of nursing but saying “women need to cover up” or comments that women should just pump and give the baby a bottle.  I have some thoughts, many from personal experience.

I have been nursing for 3.5 years, nonstop.  I nursed my oldest until 2.5, nursed through a pregnancy, tandem nursed for 4.5 months, and I’m still nursing my nearly 14 month old with no plans or intentions of weaning anytime soon.  I have never been able to feel comfortable and confident NIP for a few reasons, but mostly because it really isn’t that comfortable for me.  I’ve never felt it was easy.  On top of that, both of my kids are so busy and distracted that they never WANTED to nurse in public.  So, my solution has been to nurse my babies before we left the house and we were never gone for more than 2-3 hrs unless we needed to be.  I really tried hard to not have to NIP because it seemed like such an ordeal for me and my babies.  Emma particularly, will only nurse in her room, in the dark, and with the sound machine on.  She has to be incredibly hungry to nurse anywhere out of that environment.  Additionally, I’ve probably only nursed Emma in public a handful of times.  But, those times were because I HAD to, because there weren’t any other options.  I nursed her at the gate, on the floor, and with the boppy at the Miami airport while everyone was boarding because it had been 6 hours since she had nursed and we were about to board a 3.5hr flight.  Did I want to?  No!  Was it uncomfortable?  ABSOLUTELY!!  Was I nervous about the looks I was going to get?  Or things that people would say to me?  ABSOLUTELY!!  But, ya know what?  I was prepared to fight if I needed to and no one said a word to me!  I did what I needed to do, I fed my baby because I needed to and she needed to eat.  I wasn’t trying to make a point, I wasn’t trying to stand out, I was simply nursing my baby because she needed to eat.

Of all the times I have NIP, I have never covered up.  Mostly because my babies would not tolerate it.  I did when Emma was tiny, but it got so hot under the cover that we were both sweating and I felt like she couldn’t breathe.  I really believe covering up should be the choice of the mother.  Covers are available and used  to make the MOTHER more comfortable to nurse wherever she needs to, not to keep others from being uncomfortable.

Society has become so incredibly sexualized.  There are pictures of women all over facebook, television, beaches, swimming pools, or just walking down the street hardly wearing clothes or dressed provocatively and no one cares.  But people care to see a bit of a woman’s chest while nursing a baby.  There is more breast showing at a BEACH than a mother nursing and that is okay.  I just don’t quite understand why people are so offended by it.  Women don’t nurse their babies in public to stand out and make a point (unless it’s a nurse in), we nurse our babies in public because that’s what they need at the moment.  It could be a matter of that or a screaming baby in a restaurant.  Would you prefer that?

Women’s bodies were made to lactate, for the reason to feed their babies.  No one comments how gross it is that animals nurse their babies, in fact, people often make comments about how cute it is!  Why is a human nursing her baby so offensive to others?  There is so much that is hard about motherhood and nursing in particular.  We all need to reach out and support women in their choice to breastfeed because it is the best nourishment for a baby.  The World Health Organization now recommends children be nursed through their second year.  There are so many decreased health risks for women who nurse and children who were breastfed.  Let’s support each other, support nourishing the future of the world, and lift up mothers who make the commitment to breastfeed because it takes a lot of commitment and dedication to do so.

Mom Dating or Something

Well, I’m 15 days shy of turning 31.  I’ve completed high school, undergrad, and graduate school all of which I’ve met AMAZING people and made wonderful friends.  Many of these people, I’m I’m close with 18 yrs later.  Something happens once you get married and have a few kids.  Is it just me or do you kinda stop making friends?  I just realized this morning that I haven’t really MADE any new friends since I had Noah and all of my “friends” (those I see and talk to on a regular basis) are either people I knew in high school and college or newer relationships with people through church.  I sorta feel out of touch when it comes to making friends now.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE people (I’m a therapist) and I have a lot of great friends, but maybe being in the trenches with young kiddos is too much work to venture out and met new people?

Something happened the other night:

Chik-fil-A is new to the area where we live and the newest one is about 10 min away.  We have had dinner there as a family the last two Fridays and it’s great!  We eat and let the kids play in the clean, baby/toddler/preschool-proof area (other than the shoe bin and apparent bits of floor that I have found in Emma’s mouth) while Chris and I hang out and “supervise”.  This may have to become a Friday night tradition.  🙂

While we were eating as a family, there was another family sitting at the table behind us with their two children that appeared to be about the same age as Noah and Emma.  The youngest was VERY loud, babbling 10 month old  (just like Emma) and we just briefly connected over our loud, messy children.  The youngest was eating blueberries and the mom had mentioned they go to Costco twice a week to stock up because of how many the kids eat.  I DID have the guts to say, “Oh, so then you have black poop in the diapers too?” So… throughout our meal, bits of conversation continued as we shared the kids names, ages, etc.  Shortly after Emma and I said goodbye, they met us in the play area where we continued to talk.

The mom shared that they had just moved out to the suburbs from “the city”, didn’t know anyone “out here”, and very unfamiliar with the area.  I shared some things to do that were child friendly and affordable.  She mentioned that she is home with her kids two day a week.  I kept thinking that this would be the PERFECT opportunity to say, “Hey, wanna get together sometime?”  And something just stopped me.  It felt weird.  Weird to make a new friend at a restaurant, just because our kids were the perfect ages to play together.  We continued to make small talk and not much longer, it was time to leave with bedtime pending.  As she walked out of the play area with her kids and husband, she said, “Maybe we’ll see you here on another Friday night!”  This was yet another great  opportunity for me to offer getting together and I just froze.

As Chris and I were walking out with the kids he questioned why I didn’t give her my phone number.  I just mentioned it felt weird to just hand out my phone number to another mom.  I mean, it was like… giving a guy my phone number WAAAAAAYYYYY back in the day.  I just couldn’t do that.  As we loaded the kids in the car, she and her family were walking to their car.  As we were driving away, Chris said, “Are you sure you don’t want to give her your number?”  I got all squeamish and anxious.  I wanted to, but I was nervous.  What if she didn’t like me, what if she thought it was weird.  And then… Chris made the judgment call.  He turned the car around, drove over to where they parked, stopped behind their car, and rolled down the window!  I.COULD.HAVE.DIED of embarrassment.  Chris said, “Hey!” and all I could say was, “Do you want to play sometime?”  WHO.SAYS.THAT?!  Again, dying of embarrassment, she came over to the window as I was ripping off random paper to give her my phone number.

As we drove away, all the same feelings that I’ve had in the past giving a guy my phone number arose.  What if she doesn’t call?  What if she doesn’t like me?  What if she thinks it’s weird?  But, guess what?  She texted me so I had her number too!

So, is this what it’s like to make friends when you have kids?  You meet because your kids are similar ages or have similar interests?  It’s one thing to meet a new mom at an organized setting like a bible study, church, work, or even through a mutual friend.  But, making a friend at a restaurant? So, now what?  If we get together, the small talk will continue to evolve and we will decide if we have enough in common to continue hanging out?  Or even, MAYBE, hanging out without kids?  And if we don’t feel we are compatible enough, do we break up?  Or just stop hanging out?  It *IS* like dating!!  It’s mom-dating!!  This is a whole new phenomenon and something I never thought would be happening!  So, I hope we actually follow through with getting together and it would be great to make a new friend!