I refuse to stop using my cell phone around my kids

Yes, I use my cell phone when I’m spending time with my children. #sorrynotsorry

I have read lots of articles and anecdotes about smart phone addictions: how our phones have become an extension of ourselves, how we are ignoring our kids because of it, how “mommy loves her phone more than me.”

My children know how much I love them, and that they are not second rate to a device.  Yes, sometimes they have to wait a few seconds for me to look at their 12th new Lego design (learning a little patience is never a bad thing). But, I will not stop using my phone around them; this is what I will continue to do:

I will continue to take photos of my children doing whatever they are doing, because tomorrow when I’m at work and my heart is longing for their hugs, I will browse through the photos and my heart will feel full again.

I will continue to check my email, because like it or not, sometimes work does come home. Even a quick email back of “I see your email, and I’ll get you the answer in the morning” can help someone enjoy their family that night.

I will continue to watch for updates on a friend’s recovery as I cheer along him and his family.  Learning about his specific prayer requests that day can help guide my children’s prayers that night.

I will keep checking instagram to see how an internet stranger’s daughter is doing through her chemo treatments, because although I cannot help directly, I can send love through a like.

I will continue to text a family member who is looking for help with a new baby.  I can send answers, support, and love to someone struggling.

I will watch for photos of my sweet niece who lives much too far away.  As much as a photo of my own children fills my heart, so does her pudgy smiley face.

I will continue to read a blog related to a stage of my child’s life, because sometimes people who have been through it before, just know more that I do now.

I will continue to use my phone when I’m with my children to keep in touch with my village. That village provides the foundation on which I stand, and I want to teach my children to grow, love on and support their own villages.  This is one way I can show them how to do that.

The excitement of an April

As I’ve been watching my Timehop app, and Facebook’s new “On this day” feature, I discovered having statistically boring Aprils.  Then I thought, how can I make April 2015 more exciting?

Monday-Friday I go to work at a job that I mostly enjoy.  From 5-730pm those nights, I make dinner, do laundry, do dishes, play with the kids, bathe them some nights, put them to bed.  I follow that up with more laundry, house work, or lounging in bed watching ER.  Weekends are packed with swim lessons, birthday parties, lawn work, outside time, grocery shopping, etc., etc.

All of that – I love.  I’ve been doing those things in Aprils for years.  Which means I’ve been busy, hence less exciting social media posts.  Which is a great thing!

I am on my iPhone plenty, and I rarely judge other parents on their phones when they are out with their kids.  I know that we all could put our phones down more and enjoy what is in front of us.  I cherish the time I spend behind the phone’s camera capturing memories of my rugrats and I enjoy sharing those photos with others.  I hear time and time again how much folks enjoy seeing their big eyes and goofy moments.  And watching my history of a day, I see that the more recent the year, the fewer memories listed.  I find joy in that – it means I did put my phone down to enjoy my life.

April 2015 has been full of joy.  Eloise has started talking more and acting like a little girl instead of a tiny baby.  She has decided she wants to potty train and loves playing outside.  Lincoln has stopped saying stupid and talking about poop all.the.time. and changes best friends every other day.  They had excellent reports at their conferences and enjoy being together so much.  Justin and I are in our routines and have started doing more outside projects.  April is 15 days in and we’ve done those things and so much more.

I’m not sure I’d want April to be any more exciting!

Overwhelmingly blessed

There are moments when I feel God’s blessings in my life.  Sometimes, it is a bit overwhelming.  This weekend included many of those moments.

Mother’s Day weekend was everything I needed it to be – minus extra sleep.

I was able to spend quality time with my favorite sister-in-law, and watch our cousin pick out her beautiful wedding dress.  I am so excited to celebrate Ali’s wedding planning journey with her as a bridesmaid, and watch her begin a marriage to a wonderful man.

I watched my children, who have been very “new-people-anxious” lately, embrace Amy and Collin, who in turn just loved on Link and Ellie.

I was able to spend time with my family, enjoying our last week all in the same suburb, but looking forward to Ashley and Peter being so much closer than before!

This was a beautiful, happy weekend filled with love and Jesus.  For me, being a mom is the greatest gift in the world, and this weekend made that so much more special.

Playing with Aunty Amy and Uncle Collin

Playing with Aunty Amy and Uncle Collin

Sweet moments

Sweet moments

Sibling love

Sibling love

Cheese!

Cheese!

Sweet girl

Sweet girl

Splashing!

Splashing!

 

 

 

“It takes a village”

Waiting so patiently.

Waiting so patiently.

Friday morning I received a phone call from Link’s school.  He was hurt – he had a bad cut on his thumb and needed to go to the doctor or hospital.  Link’s school is 30ish minutes away from my work, plus Ellie pick up time, and they said he couldn’t wait that long.  I called Justin, who could have responded faster, but he didn’t answer.  So I called his parents, who are 5ish minutes away from Link’s school.

Calmly as I could, I communicated that “Link is bleeding, needs to go to the doctor, can you go get him?!?!?”  I’m sure I freaked them out.  Then I packed up all of my things at work (except my wallet – oops!), called Ellie’s daycare and said I was on my way, called my mom, called the dr., and called Justin.  Picked up Ellie, and sped as reasonably fast as I could to the doc’s office.

Listening to mom tell a story instead of watching the NP.

Listening to mom tell a story instead of watching the NP.

We arrived, everyone close to the same time.  Link’s hand was wrapped in a bandage and he was wearing a glove over it.  He was fine, but wanted his mommy.  We got in the room, and the doctor thought it was best to head to Children’s Hospital.  So my mom went with Link and I to the hospital, and Pat and Ron took Eloise home with them.  When Link heard we were going to the hospital he said, “but mom! I don’t want to go back in your tummy!”  Where he got that idea, I’m not sure, but the only time he’s heard about a hospital or been to one is me having babies.  I assured him they were just going to make his hand better.

The staff at Children’s were wonderful, and they took such great care of him.  Link was great, until he saw his cut, and then he cried a bit.  If it was covered, he was fine.  Especially once they have him apple juice and cheese crackers, neither of which he gets at home.  He was also able to watch cartoons.  They put numbing ointment over the area, and when the Nurse Practitioner came in, she evaluated the cut.  She described it as a very deep papercut, and it was fortunate to be on his thumb, and not in the webbing.  She said she rarely recommends glue, but in this case gluing the cut shut would be enough, and would save Link the trauma of stitches.  One popsicle and a few minutes later, Link was all bandaged up and ready to go home.

All glued and wrapped.

All glued and wrapped.

This was hard on mommy, of course, but I was thankful to Jesus for so many things during that experience.

First, I was so thankful for my village.  Link’s wonderful school took great care of him and reacted quickly to clean his injury well, keep him feeling loved, and were truly sad that he was hurt.  Three grandparents were able to respond so quickly so Link got right to the doctor and Eloise didn’t have to come along to the hospital.

Second, I was thankful that we were the family that could wait.  We waited in the hospital room for awhile, and there could have been many reasons for that.  But what I know is that Link was not injured so badly that he couldn’t wait. On that note, while washing his bloody clothes, I was thankful that it wasn’t worse – I never want to have to wash blood out of my child’s clothes for anything more than a bad cut.

Last, I was thankful for my sweet boy.  He was so strong.  He only cried a little when he could see his cut.  He was so kind to the staff at the hospital.  He didn’t pull off his bandages. He isn’t upset when talking about it.  Our neighbor asked him what happened to his hand, and he said “At school, I was working with a tape [measure], and suddenly it cut me! I have a bad owwie, but the bandage is making it all better”.  (The metal tape measure retracted and sliced his finger).

Not interested in sitting still anymore!

Not interested in sitting still anymore!

I truly believe that raising children and cultivating a family takes a village.  You can do it without one, and do it well.  But I’m so blessed and glad that I have the support of my village walking alongside my parenting journey.

Routine

I can sit now mom!

I can sit now mom!

I am not great at maintaining a routine for myself.  I try to schedule my days so that the house gets clean on a regular cycle, I exercise each night, and meals are prepared for the next day.  This rarely happens – I don’t listen to the rules I set for myself.  This leads to greater issues when I have to construct and follow a routine for others.

Dinosaurs are a part of daily life

Dinosaurs are a part of daily life

Children thrive on routine.  There is a lot of evidence to support this, but I can tell from just observing my children.  Lincoln behaves better and feels better if he is on a routine.  The Montessori he attends has a basic routine for their day, with a lot of freedom built in.  On weekends I am not great at following this, but we do a basic job of it.  Breakfast, play, maybe snack, play/learn/story, lunch, nap… etc.  I do believe that the weekends are for resisting routine a bit more and creating excellent family time and adventures.  But things like brush your teeth, take a bath, make your bed – those are the things that I am not the greatest at enforcing.  Okay, so make your bed has never even been mentioned; brush your teeth happens regularly, if not exactly as it should; baths occur, although maybe not quite every other day.  It’s just the idea of making sure other humans follow a routine that challenges me.

Eating oatmeal!

Eating oatmeal!

Now we look at Eloise.  She is just starting in the world, and believes wholeheartedly that sleeping at night is not part of the routine, unless maybe if it’s in mommy’s bed.  I know she is old enough to do some sleep-training, but I’m not quite ready to do that.  Plus, she is sick with an ear infection right now, teething, and we are going on vacation in a week+, so it’s better to just wait until after all of those disruptions.  But I did some reading and thinking, and realized that she does not have a good bedtime routine.  So last night we started one.

At dinner she had a bit of baby oatmeal.  Although this is a cereal, and not what she is getting fed in general with BLW, I wanted to see if it would help her sleep.  I did have her feed herself, and she got quite a bit in her belly.  And on her belly.  Then we played for a bit with big brother and daddy.  Next was bath time.  I probably won’t do bath every night, but she really enjoys herself – I’m pretty sure she’s a mermaid.  Then I slathered her up with coconut oil and gave her a bit of a massage. Dressed, sleep sack on, and books read.  Then I nursed her a bit, which she wasn’t very interested in, and rocked her to sleep. I also added music playing in her room.

Bath time!

Sleepy head

Sleepy head

She did not sleep all night, but she only woke up twice-ish.  She went down at 7pm, woke up at midnight and ate.  I put her back in her crib and she slept until 4am.  Then she ate again, and slept in our bed with us until 6 when I got up.  This is better, and hopefully is a path to better sleep for all!

But sleep is not necessarily my main goal here.  I want Ellie to feel comforted and safe, and to thrive.

Routines are helpful, and if maintained, lives are better.  (Especially in situations like holidays/vacations – but that’s a completely different post…)

 

Prepare for and plan for the best

photoJustin and I are going on our first vacation sans children in a couple of weeks.  It’s a work conference for myself, but we are adding a day so that we can spend some quality time together. It will be a great way to strengthen our marriage.

I’m terrified.

We haven’t left the kids yet, but for a night away here and there.  Link tells me he misses me when I leave his room at night!  How will he handle 5 days?  And sweet Eloise, who doesn’t sleep… what will she do when she can’t snuggle with mommy all night?

I know they will be fine. But I worry – I am a worrier.  It will be so good for Justin and I, and it will be great for Link to learn that we leave AND come back.

I did get my will finalized, so if we end up in the Indian Ocean or anything, the kids are protected.  I didn’t put a directive for Alabaster – so hopefully someone will take him.

All this being said, God has us in His hands.  We will all be safe, and loved, and protected.  But say a prayer for us anyway… please.