health, life

Favorite Lifestyle Apps

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a paid advertiser/blogger of any kind.  I’m just a mom trying to do her thing so this post may seem like one giant advertisement but these are truly some of the most helpful apps I have found to make my life easier, better, happier, etc….

I, like most people in this day and age, have a smartphone that I use for a variety of purposes.  In fact, I have an iPhone 6S to be precise.  Like anyone that remembers a time before smartphones, I honestly am not sure where I would be without it.  I use it to remember/do so many things for me that I used to have to allocate towards my brain that I’d like to believe that it frees my brain up for more complex tasks of adulthood but sometimes that’s just not the case, we all know that but I do rely on my phone for an awful lot for good or for ill.  I am a “tech” person so I do enjoy using the technology but I use my phone as a tool not just a giant distraction, time waster, or amusement.  Of course I use it for those things as well but I try to get my phone to work for me instead of me just being a slave to it.  Here is a list of my top favorite apps for making my life easier or better:

  1. Forest (Apple and Google Play) – This app allows you to “turn off” your phone for a period of time from 10 minutes to 120 minutes.  Your phone “grows” a tree to add to your forest and that tree shrivels up and dies if you leave the app to, you know, go check social media.  When you pop on your screen it’s a nice reminder that you’re supposed to be doing something else OTHER THAN CHECKING YOUR PHONE.  I’ve used this to help me stay focused while working on something or while just playing with the Munchkin or attempting to engage with people IRL (I know, who wants to talk to people?)
  2. SleepTown (Apple and Google Play) – Along the lines of Forest (I believe it might even be the same developers) where you build a town while you sleep.  You set your sleep/wake up times and if you don’t start building on time (i.e. put your phone down and go to sleep instead of frantically checking your phone ONE LAST TIME) or if you stop building too early your city doesn’t grow.  Or in the case of screwing up your wake time, you end up with rubble in your city.  This helps me put my phone down and get to sleep in a timely fashion which then makes me a better, healthier person.
  3. Wunderlist (Apple and Google Play) – This app allows me to make lists and allows me to save/share these lists with the Mr.  We have a few standard lists and can add things to the list as we need them.  This helps me when I’m in Target or other places to not forget stuff and it allows the Mr. and I to be on the same page.  

I hope if you haven’t found these apps yet you give them a try (I’m !  Smartphones are here for the long haul, if anything they will most likely become even more integrated into our lives and I’m not necessarily against it.  (Of course I’d like to go back to some of my math teachers when they told me I wouldn’t have a calculator in my pocket all the time and show them how wrong they are.)  There are times and places where phones shouldn’t be the center of attention and we should be using them to make our lives easier/better/healthier but not worse.

health, life

When it rains it pours…

This entry may be a little less fun and more serious but bear with me.  It’s been a whirlwind of a week, it is my last week before officially heading back to work (tomorrow! eek!) and it was originally set up to be an easy relaxing week but as per usual there have been a few wrenches thrown into that.  

The Mr. ended up ripping open his cornea again.  A few months ago the Munchkin originally tore his cornea with her sharp kid nails up under his glasses and since he’s a commercial driver his eyes are pretty important.  We have since found out that happening once means that it can happen again so he will have to be careful with it.  Early saturday morning, after working all night, he ended up at the special eye ER near us (thank you big city!) because last time he just went to the regular eye doctor but since it happened again we thought it was a good idea to go right to the specialists.  They did a lot and then asked to see him back Monday and Friday.  When we finally got to see the cornea specialists on Friday they identified abnormal cells that could result in him being even more pre-disposed to corneal tears.  Also the Mr. has epidermolysis bullosa which is probably the worst skin condition you’ve never heard of which could also result in cornea issues.  The short of EB is that the Mr.’s skin layers are not fused together and results in blisters being formed from the slightest friction, he’s been dealing with it for 40 years and has a less severe form and he’s done a wonderful job dealing with the pain, the open wounds, as well as all the looks and questions he gets about it, some kids have it way worse, if you’re interested you can check out dEBra for more information.

I’m glad that we ended up at the specialists and I’m glad that he is on the mend.  Since two different offices wanted to take a look at his eyes on Friday we took the Munchkin to her wonderful sitter and then spent the day in the city, had a nice, relaxed lunch, and wandered for a little since there was some time in between appointments.  Also, since the Mr. is, as I previously said, a commercial driver and he was out of work for the week he was able to handle the Munchkin when the second thing that rocked this week came to a head.

On Saturday we also found out that my 35 year old cousin had passed away.  This affected me a lot, still is to be honest.  I’m not sure it has registered completely.  We were not the closest of cousins for a lot of reasons but he was only 11.5 months younger than I am, it puts a light on something that most 36 year olds understand but still don’t believe is going to happen to them yet.  We found out that he passed from an abdominal aneurysm which according to my research was nothing that he could have known unless they were already looking for another issue.  Due to the Mr.’s blindness he was able to stay with the Munchkin during the services which allowed me the freedom to attend and support as well as not screw the Munchkin up too badly right before I need to go back to being a functional adult again. One of the things that was a theme during my cousin’s memorial service was his ability to build relationships and make people feel at ease which is something that was also a timely reminder as I begin a new school year.

During the course of the week I also underwent an evaluation at the gym I’ve recently joined with Babci which determined my physical age is 8 years older than my chronological age.  I am not sure exactly how much stock you can put into some of those tests but it was definitely hard to hear that I’m 8 years older physically than I really am based on my current physical status.  I’ve been warring with myself about taking time away from the Munchkin (and the Mr.) for exercise and losing my cousin made me realize that if I can spend 3 hours a week away from my loved ones to try and get those 8 years back it’s completely worth it.  I want as much time as I can get with all my loved ones because you never know exactly how much time you’re going to have.  

These weeks happen once and awhile and sometimes it’s important to admit that life sucks and allow it to suck but there will be a change in the winds, and if there isn’t a change in the winds at least I can take some time to regroup and re-direct my sails.

life, organization

Time Saving Tips Pt. 1

Everyone wants to save time doing the required stuff so they can spend time doing the fun stuff, whether you’re a mom, dad, living the single life, or whatever.  When you’re “adulting” there are some things that are required which aren’t always glamorous but if we can make those things take less time then we have more time for the fun stuff.

  1. Outfit planning – I read in a blog a few years ago about planning out outfits for the whole week and that revolutionized my mornings.  It’s amazing to not have to think about clothes for the week.  I have taken this a step further and added accessories to the outfit in little baggies which allowed me to go through my jewelry and make sure I’m actually wearing it instead of it sitting in my jewelry box.  I also set up the Munchkin’s outfits when clean laundry in an over the door shoe organizer so when I am trying to get her ready, just pick an outfit out of the pocket and you’re ready to go.
     

  2. Batch cooking – I’m fairly new to trying to do this, started as an experiment a few weeks ago to make an attempt at weeknight dinners early.  There is still some tweaking that needs to be done but I cook a bunch of meat, rice/quinoa and veggies one day and then after that it’s been about a 15 minute meal prep on any given night.  I just use a little olive oil, salt and pepper so when I go to cook the actual dinner I can add any other flavor I want.
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  3. Showering with the Munchkin – I am able to kill two birds with one stone.  I found these awesome Crayola ® Fingerpaint Soap in the Dollar Spot at Target and it has made my life so much easier.  She sits at one end of the shower and plays with the “paint” while I take my shower and then transition over to her bath.  I should make the disclaimer that I take short showers (generally under 10 minutes) and I approach showers with a very utilitarian mindset so if you take long showers or want to savor your shower this is definitely not for you.  It saves me the getting soaked when my bathtub soaked Munchkin tries to give me a hug or splash me and having to shower once she’s asleep because currently her crib backs up to the same wall the shower is on so I’m pretty sure she’d sleep through it but not interested in taking any chances right now and once she’s asleep I can spend the next couple hours getting stuff done but also relaxing.  Once I’ve reached a point where I should be going to bed it allows me to get to bed in a timely fashion.
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Now that my summer is winding down and I’ll be heading back to full time work I know that I’ll appreciate saving time because I’ll want to spend more quality time with my family and more quality time on myself which will hopefully also include some regular exercise.

health, life, pet

Tuesday Afternoon Misadventures in Running

I have posted about my attempt to regain something that resembles health before here so today was a beautiful day and that meant I should go for a run. The Mr. has started a new job that starts anywhere from 1pm-6pm and then ends anywhere from 11pm-2am which has basically turned me into the only parent Monday through Friday as well as the only animal caregiver for the week as well.  Babci is home from her European adventures but it was never our goal to interrupt her life or ask her to take over jobs we would be doing anyway so I’ve been dealing with a lot of the everyday details which leads me to today’s misadventures.

Part of having dogs is walking them.  I used to walk/run with the dogs almost daily because they were so high energy that walking or running was the only way to keep them (and thus me) sane; now the dogs are 10 and 8 years old, still in good health but their age is starting to show so the daily excursions for exercise has decreased in need since they’ve become almost normal.  However when I do go out, especially on beautiful days like it was this afternoon, I like to take the

dogs.  This does make for an interesting set up, I’ve got a 16 month old wiggly toddler in the stroller and then two dog leashes clipped to either side of the stroller.  Water, keys and cell phone are in the stroller and I am running/walking (using this 5K Runner App based on the couch to 5K program) pushing a stroller, trying to interact with the toddler because she hasn’t seen me all day, and then managing 2 dog leashes.  This has lead to a few things of note today:

  1. The dogs are so interested in meeting other dogs that it is an arm workout keeping the stroller, dogs, and me from going flying.
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  2. The Munchkin has become so squirmy that if she isn’t strapped in she decides it’s fun to turn around and stand up to stare at mommy.
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  3. The Munchkin also discovered that she could close her Camelbak water bottle but not open it so she spent many minutes closing it and then handing it to me to open it just so she could close it again (or I’m a sucker and she really can open it but the jury is still out on that one).  While this is fun to learn a new things and I’m all for practicing motor skills but see #1 and constantly having to close a water bottle makes it difficult.  Of course if we stopped playing this game the Munchkin started to scream bloody murder and other pedestrians wondered what I was doing to my child.
  4. I got new headphones at a recent running sale and found out I can take pictures using the headphone controls so I took many pictures of the inside of the stroller pouch.  As a sidenote, I need to figure out how to use these Yurbuds.
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  5. I have finally realized I can listen to my cues/music in the aforementioned headphones.  Before one of my hang-ups was that I couldn’t listen to anything because I was supposed to be interacting, talking, etc…to the Munchkin.  I don’t have a lot of mom guilt but it seems to show up in very random places.
  6. Even with all the imperfect-ness of it, I still at least got out there, enjoyed the weather and was able to rack up some calorie burn and movement.

Once we got home I made dinner and with my experiment at batch cooking yesterday it was really easy and took me about 15 minutes to put Butter Chicken and Rice together (with some brussel sprouts…don’t ask why these were added to Indian food) for dinner which the Munchkin kind of happily ate.  She’s got four teeth pushing their way up right now so she’s as happy as anyone would be with four spiky protrusions trying to assault their way up through sensitive gums.

Since it was about 6:00pm when dinner was finished, we started the bedtime routine and after her book she went happily to sleep even with the windows open and the A/C off she’s sleeping like a rockstar.  I’m hoping I can join her when I’m finished all my adulting (and TV) that waits until she’s in dreamland

life

A Day In the Life

Right now I am off for the summer and the Mr. has started a second-third shift job (it’s supposed to be 8 hours but routinely lasts 10+) resulting in him not getting  home until the wee hours of the morning and thus making me parent numero uno Monday through Friday because he’s sleeping usually until damn near nap time and then is gone by the time dinner, bath and bed and I’ve noticed a few things about myself in this new daily schedule:

 

6:30a – 7:00a: the Munchkin starts to stir, babbles in her crib most likely to her flowered hippopotamus Katie until she’s decided she’s had enough then starts screaming

so it begins

7:00a – 7:30a: Convince the Munchkin to get out of the crib after she’s done yelling at the dog who came in to investigate.

7:30a – 8:00a: Breakfast, I attempt to make something that resembles varied and healthy for the two of us and it usually results in the Munchkin just wanting to eat whatever I’ve made for myself so other than the coffee she and I share breakfast and generally results in her getting coated in it.  Also feeding the 5 fur children.

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8:00a-11:00a: We play either downstairs or in her room subject to the whims of the toddler and her toys.  While she’s entertaining herself sometimes she requires my presence in her court, sometimes she requires my interaction, or I can get away from her tyranny and potentially accomplish something crazy like adulting!  She’s gotten to the point where she doesn’t really require me to entertain her but some days if I attempt to leave her space she does start throwing a hissy fit.  When we’re playing in her room it results in me just reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy out loud as she plays with her toys around me.

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11:00a-11:30a: Lunch time!  Once again this generally results in us sharing food, but I’ve made an effort to not necessarily make “kid” food to try and encourage her to eat as many different things as possible, so far my plan is working so I guess I’ll stick with it.

12:00p-2:30p: Nap time!  This is my chance to get anything done I want.  I’ve been alternating spending time writing curriculum which has been a huge pain in the ass, straightening up the house, or just being a bum.  I’m glad that we get nap time still!!

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3:00p-5:00p: More playing!  If the weather isn’t too bad I try to get outside.  Sometimes I take the dogs and the Munchkin for a walk.

5:00p-6:00p: Dinner prep, eating, feeding the fur children again (why does everyone need to be fed so much?).  Luckily the Munchkin has not entered “picky” toddler stage yet so she eats whatever we eat.  Tonight for example it was Coconut Tofu Curry with vegetables and jasmine rice with a bowl of watermelon for dessert.  She ate with gusto even after having a snack so I’m guessing there is a growth spurt on the horizon.

6:00p-7:00p: Bath if it’s necessary, which during the heat wave it seems like it has been.  Sometimes a little last minute playing in her room and then the bedtime routine. Most nights she falls asleep pretty well and generally sleeps through the night, when she doesn’t there’s usually a good reason for it.

Once she’s down I generally clean up dinner and then do whatever until I feel like going to bed which is usually much later than it should be but I’m a night owl by nature.

I have noticed that being home with the Munchkin during the day has some pros and cons compared to when I’m at work.  I feel like I’m getting more time with her of course but I’m not sure if it’s more quality time than the few hours I would get to see her during the school year.  This trade off of more v. better time is definitely something I’ve been struggling with.  There have definitely been some rough days where she has been a clinger and it’s made it difficult especially because she can’t vocalize her needs just yet (she’s getting better) so I have to play 20 guesses to try and understand why she’s upset and when you’re a toddler everything can send you into a tizzy if it’s not exactly what you want.  Getting used to this new schedule has also been daunting since I have basically no help Monday to Friday with Babci still on vacation and it makes me appreciate the Mr. because he holds up his end of the deal it’s just difficult with this schedule as it right now and we need to work out a better system.  I’m also not one of those very crafty or creative moms and I haven’t made any “wonderful” experiences for her like you tend to see on social media but I’m ok with that because she doesn’t care what we do as long as we do it together and she’s not going to remember anything special I do now anyway!

It’s a lot easier for me to be present during the school year because my time is inherently limited while I’m working all day away from the Munchkin so I am having to work hard at not letting the moments I do have this summer slip away by watching TV or playing on my phone around the Munchkin but as always I’m a mom in progress, because that’s the only kind of mom there is!

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life

Where Have I Been?

You may or may not remember from the introductory post I did a while ago that I was in graduate school working on my masters of science in biology and since my last class (biostatistics) ended I hunkered down and started studying for my comprehensive exam which was a 4 hour test on 10 classes over the course of the past 4 years.  Between still working full time, having an energetic toddler, and studying for comps I decided to take a hiatus from writing.  After I finished my exam I had to spend the next 11 days down at Mississippi State University running from lab to lab completing the capstone portion of my masters.  It was a grueling almost 2 weeks but I finished my program and was informed last friday (July 7, 2017) that I passed the comprehensive exam and I’m pretty confident that I’ll pass the capstone class.  Now I’m just waiting on the official word that I am a MS degree holder.  While that is good news I definitely had some adventures when this Yankee city girl ended up in the wilds of Mississippi.

I will not lie I was a little nervous heading down to Mississippi for 12 days leaving on Father’s Day for a variety of reasons.  I was leaving my 15 month old Munchkin with The Mr. and Babci, I was a very stereotypical New Jersey girl heading down to the South, I was battling a brutal case of strep throat (102 degree fever on Thursday before I left), and I was trying to stay on top of the very hectic schedule the program coordinator had set out for us which was jam-packed laboratory days from 8am-6pm.  I flew down and ended up meeting a lot of really great people from all around: Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, Michigan by way of Florida, Illinois, Texas,  and then me.  I definitely was an odd person out because I am loud, take no prisoners and curse like a sailor (I blame my father…) and many of them were not but amazingly we (for the most part) meshed pretty well together and worked together to try and make sure everyone was able to succeed through the grueling days with the lab reports to write and exams to take (for 12 days I had 5 lab reports, 6 or 7 exams and quizzes, and then a few other assignments) as well as some time for fun along the way.

I ended up going “herpin’” with a couple of the guys that were in the program which basically consisted of driving around looking for amphibians or reptiles around dusk.  One of the guys, I’ll refer to him as M-squared, knew way more about herpetology than anyone else I’ve ever met and could identify frogs by their call and most organisms on site.  He was our guide as we went driving around the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge and would identify various frogs, snakes, and other things we saw.  We even saw a crayfish (or crawdad) crossing the road (I feel like there’s a joke there…) and got attacked by a giant Stag Beetle but that’s a story for a different time.

We also ended up having a few nights off where we didn’t have a lot to do and were able to go out and enjoy ourselves.  It was almost like reliving college days but with much better bank account and much worse sleeping in ability!  I missed my family but had to concentrate on what I was doing and didn’t have a whole lot of time to talk with them but the few times I did it was great to connect with them but I’m not going to lie, I embraced my unencumbered lifestyle.

It was the first time I had spent any significant time away from the Munchkin and I had asked for some advice from some other moms (that’s always a mixed bag isn’t it?) and one of them said to make sure I put myself fully into the adventure because otherwise what was I leaving her for?  So I took that advice and focused on where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with instead of constantly worrying about what was happening 1,000 miles away and I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it anyway.  Luckily the Mr. is someone who is quite capable of handling his daughter without any trouble but I wasn’t sure how the 5 fuzzy four-legged children or the state of the house would fair.  I knew I would come back to everyone fed and alive I just wasn’t sure how well it would have been done!

After being out of reality for 12 days and shedding all of the roles that I play I came back home and slipped back into those roles but with one less burden.  Those 12 days were a blessing in many forms: I had to focus on what I needed to and I had to let go and let the Mr. handle it all for good or for ill.

I’m glad I was gone and now I’m glad I’m back!

life

Halfway to Motivation

As with most new-ish (I’m 13 months postpartum at the point of writing so I’m not sure I can blame this entry on being a “new” mom, but I’m going to try…) moms and women in general I am concerned with my overall health and appearance.  Mostly for health related reasons but also for some vanity but at this point I’ve have just gotten to a low level of concern and I haven’t been able to translate that into any actual motivation to do something about it.  I was hoping at my yearly wellness visit the doctor would say I was ridiculously unhealthy and going to die tomorrow if I didn’t change something about my life because maybe that would have been the kick to the @$$ that I needed but alas I’m still a relatively healthy 35 year old.

I have struggled with size issues for the majority of my life in various ways.  I’m 5’10” on a short day and have shoulders wide enough to qualify to be a linebacker (shoulder pads were a bad look for me) and I’ve always been on the hefty side.  We could get into the myriad of reasons why that has happened (including genetics, my father was 6’3”) but at this point it’s no one’s responsibility but my own and I have been trying to get back on the health and wellness bandwagon since I stopped officially “eating for two” in March 2016 but trying to juggle the craziness that is a working mom life and a toddler who demands a lot of attention and occasionally wakes up at all hours of the night for who knows whatever reason I have constantly made excuses for why I can’t do this that or the other thing even though I know what I need to do: eat less and move more.  Simple, right?  Easy – not so much!

I have always been a huge advocate of exercising in the morning because it gets it out of the way (eating the frog in the words of Mark Twain) but that means currently I’d have to get up around 5am (and if work wants me to start at normal time that gets pushed even earlier to 4am) and I am inherently a night owl (I’m typing this at 9:44pm).  If you tried to guess how many times I’ve ACTUALLY gotten up and worked out in the morning I’d bet you would definitely aim too high.  I like the quiet of night time when everything is settling down and people are quietly snuggled up just relaxing or sleeping.  Nighttime to me has always been more peaceful.  Of course while it’s more peaceful it also means I’m more exhausted.  I heard once that we have only so much energy to make decisions or spend on will power and by the end of that day that energy is exhausted and I believe it.  While I’m a better nighttime person, I’m definitely not a better person at nighttime.  I just want to curl up, watch TV/YouTube, read, goof around online and just enjoy the tranquility.

With all that said, I’m trying to actively change my behavior so I can get up at 5am to go for a run in the morning.  One of the joys of moving in with Babci is that there is a treadmill in the basement, no need to go out to the gym or run outside especially if the baby is asleep, just go downstairs and get it done.  I’m proud to say thought I’ve made it 50% there!  I’ve been getting up to shower in the morning.  I have also never been a shower in the morning type of person, I’ve usually done my showering at night; maybe that’s because my parents always gave us baths at night, maybe it’s because I could get up later in the morning, who knows?  But I’ve made it to 50% of a morning person!

I’ve joined a StepBet (it’s like DietBet but for steps instead of weight loss) for May 8 – June 18 so I’m hoping that’s going to give me some extra motivation with the goal in mind to get up and get as much done before my day starts so when the munchkin goes to bed I can focus on some relaxing time or the much more likely at this point, studying for a comprehensive exam to finish out my masters.

I’ll keep you posted on this one.

life

Meal Time with Toddlers

One of the greatest (and scariest) things as a parent is watching your child become more independent – except for meal time. There are so many things about toddler meal time that just make it a fun and exciting adventure every time you sit down to the table, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks you’re never entirely sure what you’re going to get.  We have been very lucky with my daughter, she is a good eater and has been from start.  She was trying to eat foods at 3 months old….so we let her (that’s what baby lead weaning is all about right?!?!) but that brought a whole new set of challenges to parenthood.  

There are some very interesting things that happen when you allow a child to feed herself and most of it has to do with where the food ends up.  When the Munchkin started getting annoyed with meal time around 10 months we started giving her the spoon/fork to feed herself or just pick it up with her fingers and that’s resulted in finding food in various places, especially when we go to change her for bedtime.  She’s had cheerios in her diaper, yogurt in her eye, peanut butter in her hair, and peas in her ears.  It’s gotten to the point where dinner time almost always ends in a bath now because she attempts to feed herself and it tends to go horribly wrong from an adult standpoint.

She has also become aware of the fact that there are dogs in the house who will conveniently eat anything she drops or throws to them.  As a result of her meddling the dogs have put on a few pounds and for the time being I’m really not sure about what to do about it, because how else would I keep the floors clean if they weren’t around to eat up all the food that falls to the ground or clean her high chair when she’s done?

Lastly, she can’t communicate with words.  She’s saying some words but she’s not reciting the Gettysburg Address just yet.  This makes it difficult to decipher exactly why she isn’t eating something that she ate just fine yesterday.  We’ve been very lucky with the Munchkin, she eats pretty much anything and everything we give her.  She’ll never quite give up on a food, she’ll try it and spit it out multiple times and then you can get her to try it the next day.  I’m hoping this trait sticks around but it can make it difficult to understand why she doesn’t want to eat something, especially when it’s something she’s had multiple times before so this leads to a whole lot of me sounding stupid trying to get to the bottom of it: “Mommy doesn’t understand, does your mouth hurt? Are you not hungry? Do you not like green eggs and ham today?”
If you have ever wondered what it was like to feed a toddler, go look at some abstract art and imagine talking to the Swedish Chef and then I think you’d have some clue of what meal time looks like in our house!

life

Birthday Parties – A Celebration Amid the Messiness

This weekend was the big birthday party that I’ve been working on “planning.”  I use the term loosely since I didn’t do a whole lot but it was an adventure to say the least.  The Munchkin turned 1 last month and the Mr. turns 40 next week so we combined the parties and had an affair.  She had a pink sparkle cape and he had a “vintage dude” shirt.  We invited family and friends; had food, music, and just a really good time.  

I attempted to keep it low key because the Munchkin wouldn’t remember and the whole point of living with Babci is to save money so spending a ton of money on a party is counterintuitive to that goal.  I also am not a fan of huge, elaborate parties for children because anything you want to do for your kids that means you have shoulder that burden so why make yourself crazy?

I ended up ordering some food from a local grocery store as well as some chips, snacks and drinks just so the people are fed, plugged my cell phone into some speakers for some music, had a few things for the kids to do and otherwise it was just a time to have some fun!

Luckily the BFF and another friend became the “caterers” and took over the majority of work in the kitchen at the beginning of the party (after I arrived a little late and with tipped over cupcakes and the Mr. attempted to get the place up and running) so I actually got to enjoy myself and socialize.

However, if you were expecting a pinterest perfect party, this was not it!  In no particular order the pinterest “fails” of the party:

  1. Not enough centerpieces (and they were just cheap paper ones from oriental trading)
  2. Cake was only a sheet cake from the grocery store
  3. There was no actual theme to the party – the favors were dinosaur duckies and temporary tattoos, the Munchkin was wearing a pink cape, and there was a “vintage dude” banner
  4. The invitation was digital
  5. There were no special treats
  6. I was wearing jeans and sneakers
  7. The Munchkin was wearing a “superhero loading” onesie
  8. We didn’t really hang any decorations
  9. We didn’t have organized games or activities to keep the kiddos or adults entertained
  10. We didn’t have the attendees write cute letters to the Munchkin (although I kinda wish we had LOL)
  11. Pictures were hung in no particular order
  12. We didn’t decorate the high chair
  13. I did nothing crafty other than use shutterfly to make a photobook
  14. When we all started singing the Munchkin got upset
  15. It was not “magical” in any sense of the word, nor did I attempt to make it so – this was a willful negligence on my part

There was nothing magical about it; the cupcakes got a little damaged on the car ride from the store to the party, and we ordered way too much food (I’ve got lunch for days) it was still a great time because it was made special by the people who shared it with us and the fact that I wasn’t a crazy momma who couldn’t enjoy herself.  My family is truly blessed by the others who are part of our lives both actually related and not.  While most of my friends don’t have kids they are really good at treating my Munchkin like their own and are wonderful people.  My cousins have kids around the Munchkin’s age so it’s nice to get together with them and while I asked for no gifts the Munchkin and the Mr. were recipients of kindness and generosity from the people in our lives.
While I may be a messy mom and definitely not a pinterest mom I’m a happy mom with a network of friends and family who can’t be replaced.

life

No Tech Tuesday Rescheduled Until Further Notice

I am a tech person, I like tech, I use tech, my life is wrapped around tech in some way shape or form.  I still use hand-written paper calendar and to do lists but I also have a gazillion lists on my phone (some I even share with the Mr. through the Wunderlist app), my calendar is digital on my phone (the Mr. is supposed to look at it but that doesn’t often happen), all the phone numbers are now in the phone (I have learned exactly 3 new phone numbers since getting a cell phone almost 20 years ago), and of course the social media aspect of things.  I was on myspace when it was big (who else remembers the drama of when you could rearrange your top 8??) and now facebook, I also use twitter and instagram but there I’m generally more of a lurker/stalker type but I love my tech.  I regularly check my fitbit, I use my laptop for practically everything; I find there are a lot of things I can do now that I never would have dreamed up and a lot of things that I don’t have to do now because of the tech.  Who balances a checkbook anymore?  I look at the online statement and move on!  But the point of this rambling paragraph is that I love technology.  It’s here to stay so we might as well learn to harness it’s power for good instead of evil and deal with it.

That being said, however, I also realize that it is becoming so ubiquitous that it can be a problem.  I have seen the damage it can cause when children are actually addicted to it; every day there are articles out there about the ‘heroin-like’ addictive nature of technology for our children and I can see that.  Obviously some of these articles are clickbait and their headlines are more attention grabbing that some of the science would suggest but there does seem to be a link between phones, screens, and the pleasure sensors in the brain; potentially similar to gambling.  The Mr. loves his phone as well so I had a brilliant plan to implement “No Tech Tuesday” and today was going to be our first attempt.  The rules were simple, from the time the Munchkin got home from the sitter’s we wouldn’t use any tech until she went to bed.  It would be about 2-2.5 hours of time that would just be all face time, all quality time of doing something together.  I thought we would go to the park (since the Munchkin is walking she enjoys parks now), make dinner, play in her room and then she would go to sleep and it would have been a blissful 2.5 hours of quality family time!

Enter in real life, what happens when you’re making plans?  As I was driving home from work with my carpool buddy I started thinking about how I felt like today hit me like a ton of bricks, what could I cook, the Mr. is at the other house working on stuff for putting it on the market and how long would that take, how long would it take to cook something, am I going to pick the Munchkin up right away or am I going to go home first and take these god-forsaken heels off, is it too damp and chilly to go to the park, and so on…you know, the litany of thoughts that start running through your head whenever you have a quiet moment to think.  I decided I wanted to go out to eat, I didn’t feel like cooking and wanted to go to our local haunt which is basically a low key bar, I would even go so far as to call it wannabe gastropub.  

We get to the bar, sit down to eat, order drinks so the Mr. and I both need to log our beers into UnTapped (which by the way got me a badge and a toast from the brewery), the TVs are playing ESPN and they’re everywhere, a friend starts texting me about an issue she’s having (communication and connection, doesn’t count right?!?!) and then it just devolved from there.

Moral of the story?  Don’t make plans!  I am going to continue to try for some no tech time at some point during the week but I’m a mom trying to do the best I can and usually my best is far from perfect.  I can’t feel guilty about all the things I do wrong or only half-right, I have to do the best I can from moment to moment, all I can do is try to get it right the next time.  Here’s to a successful No-Tech Tuesday next week!