Saturday, July 29, 2017

Screen detox

So...here's where I lay myself vulnerable.

Here's where I show you a triumph.

I've been feeling quite convicted lately about screens. With our whole family in general, but especially with my kids.

What started as "background companion noise" when Adubya was a baby has turned into a full-blown lifestyle.

TV on all the time, 

tablets the go-to anesthesia.

Then MiddleC and LittleL had their tonsils out a month ago, and we hit deafcon 5 slothdom. TV was on all.the.time, charging cables were in every outlet.

You guys, it was bad.

Two weeks ago, we were taking Adubya to camp,  and I took the opportunity to plant a seed with the kids: I explained my concern about their behavior now, what it means for their future, and the sadness it brought me. 

They all actually thought about it.

We decreased screens quite a bit while Adubya was gone.  Then, the day we picked him up, we left for camping.

Sunday to Sunday my boy had gone without any screen. So, I decided....it was time.

Monday morning, the screens went silent.

We went Monday through Friday without any screen of any sort.

(Exception: my phone. I used it to contact people to make play dates and coordinate some of my commitments).

I'm going to do my findings in list form:

- With the exception of Monday morning,  every morning thereafter was blissfully silent. I came out to both boys reading on the couches. Now, if LittleL was up before me, I HAD to get up since she requires adult supervision,  but even toward the end of the week, Adubya was pouring her cereal, and MiddleC was reading her books. (Bless me!)

- Both boys made themselves goals to finish books. MiddleC finished 3, Adubya finished a long one and started on another. They both enjoyed reading these books, and were excited to tell me about what they were reading. (Not super exciting stufd, but they wanted to tell me, so I'll listen anyday!!)

-Errands were fun. Yep, you heard me....FUN. Why? Because no one was trying to rush me through anything to get back home to screens. At one point, Adubya said "yeah, let's try there too...we've got nothing but time..."

- The boys worked together. Monday, they came up with the idea of a cardboard fort. They put their money together to buy a roll of gorilla tape, asked me to drive them around looking for cardboard, and built a fort. This was not without artistic differences, mind you, but after a little FOB time, and a quick talk from mom, they quickly joined forces again and built a fortress.

- We had a total of 4 meltdowns this week. Four.  (Bonus! None of them mine! Ha!). You guys...coming off screens ends up in daily meltdowns from each kid. Multiple daily meltdowns for one specific kiddo.  Four. Blissful four. What a difference!!! (FOUR!!!)

- I stepped up my parenting game. I almost felt like a teacher: planning out our days ahead of time. I was careful to have a little bit of fun time with friends,  physical activity time, quiet time, and then unstructured play. I was present. I was engaged.  Guess what? I liked it. And I have some pretty amazing kids with some great things to say.

- I became an authority in their lives again. Not a problem with LittleL,  but with the boys, they had started untying apron strings on me. They were listening to their bloggers more than me- this week, they reengaged with me too. While they do listen to me, I think the dialogue changed this week. It was more open, honest, fun, and encouraging. 

- Chores got done. Timely and completely.  It was great! We did less chores at the beginning of the week, and kept life fun to encourage us to get to Friday. We did more and more toward the end of the week,  but they were motivated because there was the promise of ice cream and a movie on Friday night.

- We had fun. Structured and unstructured fun. Talking, swimming, laughing, board games, fun.


So, going forward, what does this mean?


Well, we're going to try to let them have some screens, but nothing close to where it was before.

I remember once,  a mentor of mine, Cheryl, called screens a theif.

She was right: they steal.

They steal attention, brain cells, time, parental control,  imagination.

I let that theif keep stealing things until I had little left to give.

No more.

So, we're going to try to do light screens for now, and if the meltdowns come back, if the time gets stolen, if the obsession returns, then they all go off.

For good.

And I'd be totally OK with that!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Smart guy

Dave: Did you get your haircut today?

Me: no (thinking what did I do differently this morning to make my hair look just-cut worthy)

Me: why? Does it look different?

Dave:  Nah. Just being proactive.

:)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Lion's heart

So.

We're smack dab in the middle of baseball season. Manic May, y'all.

I have a color-coded calendar. And a color-coded menu. Me, the furthest from type A, is color coding things....yeah.

But in the midst of this busy season- where hurried is the life we lead, sometimes

                   ....sometimes....

God has me sitting on the sidelines and he shows me a calm ray of sunshine. Things that our overbooked calendar can show.

Life lessons.

So, last Saturday...I'm at the end of 6 hours at the ball fields.  Adubya had a game at 9am, MiddleC had a game at 11:45.

Abudya's team won. It was a fun game to watch.

Onto MiddleC's game. This is where I tell you that they are undefeated this season. They have learned and played together so well as a team, I have been so proud of them.

This particular game was out of the ordinary. Our starting and back-up pictures were struggling on the mound. Walk after walk. Even our bats weren't as hot as they had been in every other game.

Our team was having an off-day.


We were at the end of MiddleC's game.


 In his age bracket, they usually only play through the sixth inning. At the bottom of the sixth inning our boys were tied 3 to 3. The coaches and umpires talked and said that we had extra time before the next game started, so we would play through the seventh inning.


Our team was up to bat first. In this inning we score 2 runs. The score is now 5 to 3.


After the third out, I see MiddleC running up to the pitcher's mound. He had such determination in his eyes. All he had to do was hold off any runs, and they would win the game!

He knows he's capable of this.

I know he's capable of this.

But, ohhhh, did my mama's heart fret on the sidelines.

Batter one: walk

Batter two: walk

Batter three: hit, caught, out

Batter four: walk

Walk.

Walk.

Walk.

Walk.

I could see him struggling.  I could see him not give up. He kept trying. Harder and harder.

Walk. Score.

Walk. Score.

Tied.

Walk. Score.

End of game.

They won.

He exhaled.  His shoulders left their determined strength on the mound, now slumped.  He was trying to hold it together.

And then the coach walks up to him and gives him encouragement.  His teammates join in trying to bolster his heart.

Cue: tears.

My heart hurt for him. Physically hurt. I'm watching on the sidelines- it's not yet my turn to comfort. Mom's don't belong on the field, but

Oooohhhh, did I want to scoop him up.

He cried again when he came to me.  And here are the words God gave me in this moment:

MiddleC, it takes a special kind of kid to even walk up to the pitcher's mound under that kind of preasure. It takes a special kid to STAY on the mound in the midst of a struggle. Someone who will walk into a pressure cooker, and someone who sticks with it: that takes courage. Lots and lots of courage. And while we would have loved to be able to brag about a huge victory today, that's not the story that was written. It didn't go the way we wanted...but if we had won, I wouldn't have had a beautiful glimpse at something.

What, he asks.

Your lion's heart.  Your courage. Your determination. Your amazing ability to admit fault, even with an entire team riding on your shoulders. You are fierce, you are strong, and you have an amazing courage. I have never been more proud.

So, I learned something on Saturday. MiddleC has the heart of a lion. He has courage under the hardest of 9 year old circumstances.  Thank you, God,  for giving me this glimpse in the midst of his heartbreak.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Counting mine {474- 481}

474. Payday for the kid: having him walk into the bank to cash his check, and watching him joyfully fill his tithe envelope first.

475. Watching the eyes opening of fellow friends when you tell them about how amazing Jesus is.

476.  Holding a sweet baby less than 24 hours old

477. The daddy who see when his little girl needs to get out of a situation  with unkind girls. He walks her to the concession stand for a ring pop, and on the way fills her head with kind thoughts.

478. Sunday nights

479. Getting a text from the best inviting me to birthday breakfast

481. Gluten free stuffed french toast.

Counting Mine {461-473}

461. Pure friendships. Ones that are happy for your successes, sad for your struggles, open armed, and lack drama.

462. Fun afternoons of coffee, friendship, and political talk....even if you're on different sides of the aisle.

463.  Finding a cute outfit in the back of the closet (on laundry day!)

464.  Baby snuggles

465. Leasurely walks on a beautiful sunny day

466. Walking through a store at the perfect time when the employee is putting stuff on the ultimate clearance, and finding 14 pairs of underwear and 2 bras for $5.

467.  Finding the perfect gift for the birthday girl- within budget

468. Coming out of a mental fog

469.  Snuggles with the dog

470. Morning thunderstorms - on a day where we had no where we needed to be.

471.  Getting a genuine smile from someone who doesn't smile much

472. Seeing friends I haven't seen in...well, too long

473. Unexpected inclusion

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Love

His love for me put Him there .

His love for you put Him there.

His love for the best people put Him there.

His love for the worst people put Him there.

He didn't want to do it.

He knew what was coming, and prayed, begged, his Father to "take this cup from me."

But he did it.

Love isn't always sunshine and roses.

It's not always feel good.

Sometimes, most times, it's service and sacrifice.

This was the ultimate service.

This was the Ultimate Sacrifice.

This was love.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Counting Mine {447-460}

447. Remembering the phone charger

448. And when you forget the charger, remembering the external battery.

449. Remembering to charge the external battery

450. Great clearance sales  that fit like a glove

451. Taking a chance and buying a dress off amazon, and having it fit well.

452. Early morning snuggles with Ally

453. Wine

454. A night with friends and wine

455. No wine hangover

456. The smell of the dirt in a freshly turned garden

457. The song of a Robin

458. When the 13 year old declares that he will do his own laundry from now on

459. A cavity free check up

460. The start of baseball season

458. Hitting your water intake goal three days in a row

460. Date nights that include lots of laughter