Friday, May 31, 2013

I'm Sick Without A TV

It's Friday and I'm all jittery because we have a fun weekend ahead and the house is clean (enough) and the groceries are restocked.  This week has been beautiful.  

Nothing special has happened, but I feel like I owe my sister-friend a general rundown and update of this week.  We've been in touch texting about coloring in the lines and turds hitting the floor and what people think of us, so we've obviously stayed on the surface.  Wink, wink.  

Here's the thing about this week-I've been sick.  I've had drainage and I've hacked and my fever got up to 100.4 and I've acted very pitiful just to make sure no one around me forgets that I'm sick.  This is the third time that I've been sick in 2013, which is highly unusual for me.  I get sick once every year or every other year.  I think it's my kids.  I'm blaming them, and I blame them with the utmost love.  I heard that this happens-healthy people get sick more often once they have littles running around.  It's a fine trade.

Anyways, it's been rough and awesome and beautiful, because I survived and I survived without a TV.  When I was sick (or pregnant), then the TV played a major roll in how I got through the day.  This week, I kept the kids fed and happy as I rolled around in self pity.  We did this combination of read a book and snuggle, then they would get down and play while I closed my eyes.  We would repeat a few times, then head outside while I played lazy on the outdoor chairs and they ran around like crazy people.  Pure bliss.  It really went a lot smoother than I imagined.  

Last night, I went to yoga.  (I went to a yoga class at the climbing gym, which I hadn't been to in about three years after an unforgettable accident.)  I told the yoga instructor that I might have to bail early if I wasn't feeling good.  There happened to be only two of us in the class, and it went beautifully.  Not only did I stay the whole time, but I felt so much better afterwards.  I slept hard last night, then woke up this morning feeling amazing.  Burl keeps asking me, "Mama, how you feel good?" which sounds differently than, "Mama, how you feel? Good?"  Well, Burl (and Lauren), Mama's running at 90% and that's good news by me.

On this weekend eve, I'm perfectly ok with 90%.  That's all I need to carry me through some fun stuff scheduled.  I hope your weekend is full and fun and carries you outside often.  These are the days!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Birthday/Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend was a mighty good weekend.  Three day weekends are so rare, so we treasure them like, I don't know, something special that we treasure.  They are a big deal, since John's time off of work is so limited.  However, this weekend was double special because it was John's birthday!  I've taught him the art of spreading his birthday out onto multiple days.

First off, I went out on Friday night after the kids went to bed.  A friend of a friend moved to town to open a dental practice, so she threw a party for him to welcome him to town.  It was a Mad Men dress up party with dancing.  The friends were originally from Montana, and I got to meet people from Oregon, California, and Montana.  I also met someone who was in management at Amazon and another person who is a supervisor at a chicken processing plant.  I'm somewhat fascinated by logistics, food, and general large operations, so those were two gold-mind conversations. 


Saturday morning, I woke up and pumped coffee right into my system.  After a new weed-eater purchase, Burl and John got right to work on the yard.  Fern and I joined them once she woke up and got some breakfast.

Fern, as sweet and girly as she is, has mastered the shooting-gun noise.  Thankyouburl.  Here she is with a piece of wood aiming straight at me.  Psst.psst.

Later that night we had our dear friends over for dinner and laughter.  Great times.

Sunday morning we asked Burl if he would like to go hiking by a waterfall and he got all excited.  He asked, "How 'bout we go a waterfall, come home, take wittle nap, den have Daddy's burfday? Ok? Dat sound like a good idea?"  That's exactly what we did.

Who needs a TV to stare at when you have a nice little fire?  While it makes us nervous to have them around an open fire, we try to stay calm and remind ourselves that this is good practice for camping.  They won't learn unless we show them.  

A little post birthday dinner watering is always a nice way to end the evening...
...especially when the boys get to wake up and hit the garden again at 7 the next morning.

  Monday was pretty chill for us.  We joined John's parents for lunch downtown, then came home, put the kids down for naps and had a babysitter come over.  John and I went on a little birthday date to two bookstores.  Oh, the romance!  We had a lot of fun.  The date got cut short, because we had to pick my brother and his friend up at the shuttle.  They arrived from Greece, where they had been climbing for two and a half weeks.

They met Dylan Wyer who offered to take some pictures for them.  Well done, Dylan.  The pictures are almost as great as the stories that they told us.  

 We ended the night and the weekend with pizza and ice cream.  Cause that's how we roll.  The weekend was great, and I've now come down with a virus that I'm almost over.  This is my third time being sick in 2013, which is crazy.  I think it has something to do with having kids.  And I say that with love.  

It's a great time to be alive!  Happy Birthday, John!  I'm looking forward to this weekend as well!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Church Hike

Today, a snotty-nosed Burl kept us from going to church, so we went to the next best thing: a hike in the woods.  Many people in these parts will say that a hike in the woods is a good way to church up a Sunday, and we totally agree.  A little singing with some birds.  A lot of pine smelling breezes.  A little resetting expectations of hiking with a toddler.  Oh, we worshiped alright.

I hope you're Memorial Day weekend is full of small and big adventures as well.
Happy three-day weekend everybody!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Avett Brothers, 5.17.2013

Last Friday, three vivacious sisters, Jenny, and I went to the Avett Brothers' concert in Alpharetta.  We were there when the doors opened, so we got close spots and were all kinds of hyper. We know how to jam out, and jam out we did.  It was not a year and a half ago this same group saw Avett in Chattanooga on a fun New Year's Eve Eve.  

I have to mention one highlight: Seth Avett pointed to me during the concert.  Everyone around me said so.  We were that close.  I'm that tall.  And I had my arms raised almost the whole concert.  I wonder if he wants to come over for dinner.  I'll make pie.  He can hang with my family.  

To get a crappy video of their opening song, click below. Can't wait until next time, ladies!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ten Days With No TV

Last night after dinner, Burl skipped his bath and came outside with me.  We had brush to move.  For thirty minutes, we pitchforked the brush that I cut down earlier in the day.  This isn't normally something I do, but without a TV, normal has been thrown out the window.  John put it this way, "No TV seems to have made you more industrious, not that you weren't working hard before, but you just seem to be into more things. I like it!"

We're only ten days into life without a TV, and I will be the first to tell you that it's nothing short of amazing.  I told John it was the best decision we've ever made in our entire lives.  He asked if I was overstating it just a bit, and of course, I said "no."  Mama likes to be dramatic.  It makes a better story.

Almost every night, John and I recap about our no-TV decision.  My close friends and family keep checking on us to see how it's going.  It's.going.great.  I have yet to see a downside to this.  It's pro's all around.  We're winning, and we're winning big. 

Now, I am not of the school of thought that everyone should chunk their TVs.  Many people I know are great about having healthy boundaries with the television quantity that they watch, but we were not those people.  Having the TV in our house was a crutch that I used too often in parenting, and even in life as a whole.  The TV brought us into the day and it ended the day.  The TV blurred the edges of our activities.  "Want to watch George?" was asked while I got the car loaded to leave or got myself ready.  Looking back, we used it to occupy the kids when we couldn't, or more accurately, when we didn't want to.  

With the TV eliminated as a childcare option, it's all us.  I changed my expectations for the day, and I know that I can't outsource my parenting to TV at all.  Game on.  I was expecting that I would have to entertain them constantly at first, but I've found that they're really good at playing by themselves or with each other.  I saw it before, but it's been jolted to a whole new level these past ten days.

Also, it's made me ecstatic about playing with them.  I enjoyed playing with them before, but would be too quick to turn the TV on, so I could go get something done.  Now, I still get things done, but I have calmed down a lot and just have fun playing with them.  I'm still processing why this is, but I can put it this way for now: if TV was my parenting crutch that I used before and I've chucked it out the window, then now I'm not just learning to walk on my own, I'm leaping and dancing and bouncing all around.

For example, yesterday I set up a huge little people town and played Imagination for a long time.  I was making up stories about the people that froze the kids in their places, then it would send them into their own play.  I swept them away.  It was awesome.  We were jumping for joy.  The idea for the little people town has been in my head for a while, but it always made me think of what a mess it would be.  Yesterday, I marked out some time at home just so we could do it-I was so eager!

 This no TV thing has jumped started our life.  If we were having fun before, then now we're having a blast now.  Removing the TV has helped us fill up our lives to the very edges of our days.  What are we doing now? We're doing an enormous amount more reading, we're playing, we're talking, and we're spending more time outside.  Those are all things that are way better than TV.  

This is the perfect time of year for us to start this little adventure.  We hope that it feels this good forever.  I told John that if it feels half this good at the end of the summer, then I'm fine with leaving the TV upstairs.  These tens days have been full of fun, and I'm eager to keep this up!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Jumpy Pictures

Who said teenagers get to have all the jump-for-the-camera fun?  Burl couldn't get enough of this.  We must have done it ten times in a row.  Every time I would start the camera and run over  with Burl, Fern would crack up laughing and get all excited.  A few times she joined us, but it felt to dangerous. arm sockets were hurt in the taking of these pictures.

Today is one of those awesome playtime days with the kids.  John and I call days like these Money In The Bank, because it's times like these that we get to enjoy and invest in our kids.    I've busted out several fun mom tricks and we're rockin' and rollin'.  I've got a few tricks up my sleeve for post-nap time.  Let the good times roll. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Setting Expectations

I have this new theory that I've developed over the past few weeks.  I'm sure it's been around for a while, as it is nothing new.  For me, however, this realization has helped me look at several areas of my life quite differently, including motherhood.  It's been a refreshing change.  

Here it is: Anytime I get frustrated or upset by something it is because my expectations have not been met.  If I were to get punched in the face, then I would be upset because I expect not to get attacked.  If I get angry that there are toys all over my house at the end of the day, then it is because I expect no toys to be pulled out and played with. I've come up with several big and small scenarios in my head.  So far, there are good expectations (like not getting punched in the face), and there are not-so-good expectations (like my kids not playing with a single toy all day).  

For a few weeks, I thought that the only way for me to avoid getting frustrated at the unimportant things was to lower my expectations.  I've done some serious changing here.  My girl Patty puts it a different way.  She says to "lean in."  I've lowered my expectations, I'm leaning into my place in different aspects of my life, and I'm accepting several harsh and not-so-harsh circumstances. 

Certain relationships will always be strained.  We'll always have bills.  The temperature will never be right.  I'll always have things wrong with me, and I'll always have a hard time admitting it because I'm scared to come out of my hiding place...There are so many more things that I think about-things I've accepted long ago and things that I still hold onto in expectation of something else.  The list gets even longer when it comes to parenting.

Is the key to a happy life to perfectly match my expectations with the outcomes?  I've been doing that for a couple of weeks now, and it's been refreshing.  Letting go and lowering expectations is one of the most freeing things I've done lately.  It's changed my perspective to something more realistic, but I've also found it a little exhausting.  I stirred over this a little bit more and had my second little light bulb go off in my mind (that likes to toss-and-turn over so many big and little things all day long).  The key, I believe, is to have patience and understanding when my expectations are not met.  Oh my, how this changed my parenting!  It changed how I addressed my funk that I got into the other afternoon.  It helped me see that my biggest asset as a parent is to have patience and understanding.  

Dear child, I expect you to obey me, and I will have patience and understanding when you don't.  You don't obey, and I'll understand that you're still learning and I'm still training you and I'll patiently discipline you to help teach you what to do.

As I go through my day, I change my expectations.  I have patience and understanding when things don't go as I think they should.  While this sounds simple and basic for probably everyone else, it's really helped me look at my life with so much more openness.  I'm free from making sure everything goes my way.  I'm able to absorb the small, simple times of my day with peace and delight.  I'm happy that I don't have to be in control of everything.  Things will happen out of my control, big and little, but patience and understanding cover a multitude of disappointments. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

This Week's Menu

I'm in a little bit of a panic.  I can't find my menu that I wrote for this week and I can't seem to remember what the plan is.  I know that there are a bunch of vegetables and a pound of bacon in my kitchen, which are the same as a pocket knife and lighter to MacGyver in a life or death situation.  There is hope people.  With bacon and veggies, I can do so much!  Please don't worry.  No matter what occurs, I guarantee that we'll make some more pie and have some for breakfast too.  All is well.

Here's all I can remember for our menu this week:

Veggie night
Dairy free chicken casserole, veggies

Friday, May 17, 2013

Avett Tonight

Can I tell you that I am alive?
Let me prove it to you.

Concerts are something new to me.  In just a bit, I head out with Jenny to meet three of my favorite flowers for an Avett Brothers concert.  We're beyond excited.
I'm having so much seeing artists get wild with their music, and the Avett Brothers might be my favorite.  Let's do this!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

First Few Days Without A TV (in pictures)

John and I have both been shocked by the response and feedback that we've received about putting away our television.  John said it best, "you think we told people we were moving to Alaska or cancelling our electricity."  I got several comments here on the blog, I've received calls and texts, facebook messages, and emails.  When I see people, they ask me how it's going.  I've received a couple of "how you holding up without TV" questions.  And it's only been three days.  Even John checked in with me to see how the mornings have been.  

Here's the thing: it's going great and we're still processing it.  

In the meantime, we're having fun.  Daniel is in town, which always makes things more fun.  
Here are a few pictures from our non-TV days:

We're playing hard and sleeping harder.  Fern is becoming more vocal, more wild, and more talkative.  This has been her first time around Daniel where she's not cautious.  For so long, she just wide-eyed watched him and cried if he got too close.  Now, she's chasing him, snuggling him, and showing off in front of him.  It's been cute.

I plan to do a one week recap on the TV thing next week.  Thank you for so much support and interest.  It's been a surprisingly painless and quite refreshing transition.