Identity and the Internet

Sometimes I wonder if I would be as creative or motivated if it weren’t for social media. Kind of like if-a-tree-falls-in-the-woods-and-no-one-hears-it-does-it-make-a-sound kind of thing. Do I worry too much about sharing and not live in the moment enough? 

Those of you my age and older are some of the lucky few in the history and future of the world that have had the opportunity to live life before the internet, while also getting to watch society progress with the advancements of  the world wide web. It’s pretty awesome when you think about it.

Feeling like I now have some responsibility to share my knowledge with the future generations I wrote this letter to my children (and their generation). I’m sure by the time they read this a lot of the latest websites and apps will be obsolete, but the core message remains the same. Here it is.

 

Dear Post-Millennial Children,

I was born way back in 1982. It was a bad year for hair and makeup (in my opinion) but it was a good year to be born and I’ll tell you why. I am one of the last ones to remember a childhood without Wi-Fi or high school without social media. No, this is not another lecture about how when I was your age I was content just looking out the window on car rides. This is a different message. This is a lesson about your identity.

I struggle with this even now. Sometimes I wonder if I really enjoy writing or if I just want people to read my blog. But then I have the luxury of knowing that before I was blogging I was writing. I’ve always had a passion for writing, even before it ever hit cyberspace.

Other times I wonder if I would be inspired to throw fun theme parties if not for Pinterest. Then I remember that I’ve always loved to throw parties. From the birthday party I planned for my dog as a child, to the fun bachelorette parties I planned for friends. All of that was before the age of Pinterest. Same goes with my photography, my friendships, my “outfit of the day” and everything else. When my identity feels lost on the Internet I can at least reach back and remember that I have been the same person I am today with or without the online exposure. I won’t let the internet take credit for my interests nor will I allow it to steal my joy.

Your experience will be different than mine, but I want you to know that the screen does not define you.

Your Identity is Outside of the Screen

Just be yourself no matter what. I don’t care how many likes you get on Instagram or how many shares on Tumblr (Is that a thing? Did I spell it right?)  I don’t care if your embarrassing YouTube video goes viral or your cool video tanks. Your identity is not found on the Internet. Social media can trample your ego just as fast as it inflates it; you have to be grounded in the truth on and off-line.

The truth is that you have been blessed with talent. You have your own unique style. Above all, you are valued.

Believe in yourself and be yourself because “the Internet” doesn’t know you like real life people do.

When Social media becomes a sad depressing place feel free to step away from it all and unplug for a bit. There was life before the iPhone believe it or not.

I know you may think that I’m out of touch with what’s trending, and that’s probably true, but I also know what it’s like to feel lost in the vastness of all the messages that you absorb online. Those trends are going to come and go, but always remember you are a fearfully and wonderfully made individual and your voice matters.

Trust me. I should know, because I’ve been around longer than the Internet.

 

By | March 14th, 2016|Parenting Tips|8 Comments

Ideas for Helping Kids With Daily Routines

“Routines involve repetition.  Repetition involves predictability. Predictability involves stability. Stability involves security.  Kids crave routines because routines make kids feel safe and secure.” – Maci Elkins

When I was a new mom I read “Baby Wise” which is a book about getting your little bundle on a schedule from the beginning. I quickly learned that that approach would NOT work for me. I am the messy mom. Laid back is my middle name. Just call me The Messy Laid Back Mom. Actually, don’t call me that.

The fact is we have had to be flexible because the past 3 years of our life has demanded it. On the other hand, as my babies get older and more independent I realize they require more routine to help them navigate through this unpredictable world. So this week I have been focusing on the topic of routine and structure, but sometimes (or in my case most of the time) that concept is easier said than done.

The other day my friend Tiffany posted this question-

What do you moms do with your kids after school? In my house, there’s just a lot of fussing, boredom, and people complaining about doing homework. Would appreciate your ideas. THANKS.

I already shared our morning and afternoon routine, but that isn’t even half the battle. You can schedule your day down to the minute but how do you get a rowdy bunch of little ones to go along with your plans? In Tiffany’s case this means 4 kids, including 2 year old twins and 4 and 6 year old boys. There is certainly no easy answer to that question, but I can tell you what has worked for me and share some other ideas that I found online.

For my family, it’s all about the timer/alarm. I have about a dozen alarms on my phone that go off throughout the day. These alarms are set for everything from just waking up to reminding me to go get the kids from school. All of those things that I listed yesterday are all alarms on my phone.

 

 

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Granted, if my volume is down or my phone is in the other room I may not hear it, but I usually have my phone with me and these are activities I am anticipating anyway so the phone is more of a backup.

My oldest son made the system a little more fun last year by adding emojis and special ring tones. This was totally his own doing by the way. He also added more alarms that said “Too late” or “Really really late!!!!” with little screaming emojis… which I deleted. He knows us too well.

I love the alarm sound options. I use the ducks for bath time and the robot for when it’s time to leave (my mom mentioned that it sounds like it is saying “beep-ba-beep Time To Go” and now we sing along when it goes off. Also, the crickets are a great signal that it is time for bed. As a bonus the kids love it when they have a day off school and my alarms are still going off because they are set for every weekday. They love to laugh and joke about it, “Uh-oh. Time to go to school- NOOOO!” It’s a fun reminder of the responsibilities that they are off the hook for on that special day.

So the kids get some visual and auditory queues that times up and we are moving on to the next activity. It’s even a sensory tool in some ways because the phone vibrates and at times I have had to bring it up to my daughter with hearing loss to let her feel and see that the alarm was going off. Last year I wrote a post called The Magic Kitchen Timer . I talked about how the timer is a great alternative to just nagging and screaming because a machine is not an emotional being. It can’t be offended or manipulated.  The routine becomes more about the clock and less about you just being mean. Your kids will still whine and protest, at least mine do. And you will still have to nag at times. For me though, I feel so much more prepared and armed when I have my timer to blame. Hey, the timer said times up, not me!

*I repeat, this has not eliminated all struggles in our home. Some days are better than others. Long term results have definitely been positive though or I would not have kept it up for the past three years .*

Here are a few links to some other schedule incentives that I thought looked promising. 

Pill box reward tool by The Inclusive Church. 

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Having treats for every little thing might be overkill on a daily basis, but this system was designed for special needs kids in a church program and for those situations it seemed pretty cool.

 

For older kids you could just hang up a list. This printable schedule by Smashed Peas and Carrots reminded me a lot of our routine.

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I thought this clock looked like a great idea to give kids a visual.


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The fussing, boredom, and complaining that Tiffany mentioned is not in any way unusual and unfortunately somewhat inevitable, but hopefully these ideas can help.

Maybe you have a creative solution of your own. Please feel free to share it in the comments. It might be just the thing another mom needs to hear!

 

By | August 27th, 2015|Parenting Tips, Schooling, Special Needs|5 Comments

Carter’s Size 8 and More!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. The opinions stated in this review are genuine. 

When I mentioned that I was doing our back-to-school clothes shopping at Carter’s you all responded with “I love Carter’s” “Carter’s is the best!” or “Us too!”

So maybe I’m not going to tell you anything that you don’t already know, which is that Carter’s clothes are adorable, affordable, convenient, and comfy. But did you know that they now offer a size 8?!

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This is really exciting for my family because Z turns 8 in like a week and he’s starting to wear size 8. So when I went to the Carter’s store a couple of weeks ago it was so convenient. I was able to shop for all 4 of my kids at Carter’s and left with a bag full of bargains.

That’s right, I said all FOUR of my kids because this pregnant mama stopped dead in her tracks when she saw the baby clothes at the front of the store. I couldn’t resist doing a little shopping for the little one coming in 3 months!

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Then I moved onto the size 5 girl clothes because SJ needed some new leggings and a first day of school outfit. There were so many options and I get nervous with this cutie pie because she is by far my pickiest dresser. She came with me though to choose what she liked. Carter’s makes shopping with little ones so easy thanks to their helpful employees, a nice clean layout, and even a little play table to keep the tiny shoppers entertained.

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We both fell in love with the “Shine Like a Star” ensemble.

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I loved how easy they make it to mix and match. I got the whole outfit for 50% off and even stocked up on some cute accessories. SJ rocked this look on her first day of Kindergarten.

Z was due for new shoes, new jeans, some back-to-school tops…the works!

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I found everything I was looking for at Carter’s thanks to the new size 8 and size 3Y shoe options. The adjustable jeans are the best thing ever because growth spurts do happen! He looked stylin’ in his back-to-school clothes and he entered the 2nd grade with confidence.

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Lastly, I also had to pick up a matching outfit for Ezie.Ezie

He really looks up to his big brother and they are still at an age where they love to match so how could I resist.

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I scored all of these items and more at such a great price and I even got $20 worth of coupons at the end (which I already spent by the way).

Now is a great time to stock up on awesome fall fashion sets for your kiddos because the deals are so amazing! First of all you can use this printable coupon or promo code to shop at your local Carter’s store or online and get 25% off your purchase of $40 or more.

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On top of that right now and through the end of August they are running the #CountMeIn Sale with many items up to 50% off and doorbuster savings like $6 leggings, long sleeve tees, or boys terry pants when you buy 2 or more. Then get ready because Labor Day weekend the entire store is 50% off! That’s my kind of a sale.

I already loved Carter’s , but some of these latest improvements have just made me love them that much more.

onthegoAre your kids closets ready for fall? Head on over to Carters.com or the Carter’s store to stock up on the styles you and your on-the-go-gang are sure to love!

By | August 24th, 2015|Babies & Toddlers, Frugal Living, Schooling|7 Comments

It’s Like a Naked Nightmare

I apologize that I haven’t started my Look Back and Laugh Linkup like I thought I would. I did want to share a little “Look Back and Laugh” story that happened to me last week though.

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Here is the scene. Our bathroom has two doors. One goes to the master bedroom and the other goes to the hall way. While I was taking a shower someone locked the door. I don’t know who the perpetrator was or what in the world their motive was, but if we had surveillance cameras I bet we’d see a curious little two year old turning a lock and walking out slamming the door behind him.

Unaware of this, I tried getting into my room from the bathroom and from the hall only to find both doors locked and no one in there to unlock it. I panicked. I know you can pick an interior lock with a bobby pin or something like that, but I have tried that before when this has happened and could never get it to work. J has been the only one able to unlock these door knobs.

I figured J could walk me through it if he were available, but guess what? MY PHONE WAS IN MY ROOM! So there I was wrapped up in a towel with no access to my clothes whatsoever. I pretty much freaked out. I had access to all the other rooms, but I needed my clothes. I could ask one of my apartment neighbors to use their phone, but HELLO! I’m in a towel. Is this like a messed up Desperate Housewives episode or what? Maybe I could fit into Z’s clothes, but come on, he’s 7 and I am pregnant. Not. Going. To. Happen.

J wasn’t due home for several hours and to make matters worse for once in my life I had plans. A baby sitter was coming over so that I could go out to a show with my sister in law.  What in the world would you do in that situation?

Well, now that I think you are feeling how I was at that moment I can share the miracle that happened. Although my computer had also been in my room, I just happened to bring it into the kitchen shortly before my shower. When I realized that I texted J (which I can do via iMessage on the laptop) but he was in school so I watched a few youtube videos about lock picking (and was again unsuccessful) but eventually J was able to text me back and walk me through it.

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So it all worked out in the end, but my heart was POUNDING. Next time something like that happens I better wake up and realize it was all a dream!

By | June 9th, 2015|Laughter|14 Comments