Thursday, April 23, 2015

Examining Your Selfie

Life in the month of April is always incredibly full. My job is insane, church activities take up a lot of my time due to the Easter holiday, taxes are due, and it is finally time to start on our vegetable garden. During times of stress, it is easy to close oneself off and spiral into introversion. This year's April was proving to be on-trend.

Jeff and I decided to try an interesting experiment last week. During this time of the year when we want nothing more than to pour a glass of wine and lose ourselves in the television every night, we resolved to make it "No Screens Week." This meant no cell phones, computers, television, iPad, etc. for an entire week! Of course, there were exceptions. I work with a minimum of 2 computer monitors every day, Jeff needs his laptop for work, my iPad holds my books, and telephone calls and minimal amounts of texting were still allowed. However, other than these few instances, grabbing our phones at the first sign of idleness was strictly off limits.

The first night, when we would normally turn on the television after Everett went to bed, Jeff and I looked at each other and had no idea what to do. At 9:00pm, Jeff finally said, "I'm bored. I'm going to bed now." We both got an excellent night sleep, and we woke up the next day more refreshed and revitalized than we had been in months.

The next night we opened a board game we have had for years, but never played. It was the kind of game that requires you to do a lot of adding, and we were forced to use our brains in a way we have not done since before Everett was born. It felt good.

By night three, we had gone to Target to buy a new cribbage board (among other things), we both started new books, and I started a new crochet project. By the end of the week I had finished 2 books, started my gardening projects 3 weeks ahead of my anticipated schedule (and made a HUGE dent), made a list of housework priorities, and most importantly, reconnected with my husband and son. It is amazing how easy it is to go on a bike ride or hike when there are no other distractions keeping you bound to the couch (and your smartphone).

I started noticing how obsessed people are with their phones. I was having a serious conversation with a good friend, and was actually a little offended when she took out her phone and checked it while I was in the middle of a sentence. I then recognized that I have definitely done this to many of my friends in the past. Sometimes I will take out my phone to check the time. I'll click on the home button, stare at it for a few seconds, then click the home button again to turn it off. In that time, I never even glanced at the clock to check the time; I simply wanted to touch my phone, to know that its power was still available to me, and that feeling of dependency is eerily comforting. Sometimes I will open my phone, forget why I opened it in the first place, so I will open the Instagram app and get lost in a stranger's pictures of her corgi. After 20 minutes of watching mindless videos of people feeding panda bears, I will finally remember that I was supposed to call my mom.

I love my phone. I cannot imagine life without its conveniences. I love feeling connected to people that I would know nothing about otherwise. I could never give up my phone permanently, but a week was the perfect amount of time to give me a priority reset. If you are ever feeling consumed by technology, I highly recommend a No Screens Week.

Also, I discovered that the radio still exists! Who knew?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tractors and Tulips

I have been to a few tulip festivals in my day, but the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival outside of Woodburn, Oregon, is by far my favorite. It is $5.00/adult for entry, and once you have entered the property there are dozens of wonderful FREE attractions for the whole family. The vendors in the booths sold beautiful, affordable handmade crafts, and we came home with a few extra things. And the view of Mount Hood in the distance on a clear cannot be beat.

Everett's favorite part was riding the cart to/from the tulip fields. We had to ride it extra times to satiate his obsession.

 There may have been tantrums over some of the activities...

 He liked the flowers far more than I expected he would.

The unique tractors were definitely a draw.

Things that are normal:

We took off around nap time (which he skipped BTW and the results were not pretty/he is lucky to be alive), and I cannot wait to visit again.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Easter Memories

This time of life has been so precious. Everett is at a super fun (and at times trying) stage of life. He still has that happy-go-lucky attitude about life (except when he's throwing a tantrum), and holidays like Easter are a time of wonder in our house.

Easter is a very important time of year. I want to make sure my kids grow up having a reverence for the holiday, so I put together a few fun activities in the days preparing for Easter.

We baked bread together to serve with our fish on Good Friday. Fish is a traditional dish on Good Friday, as well as all Fridays throughout the season of Lent.

We talked about the cross and did a craft using Con-tact paper, tissue, and cardstock.

And we made Easter eggs. 

On Easter Sunday he woke up to a basket filled with goodies. I hardly had time to snap a shot before he tore Dusty out of the basket!

This toy was the best $5.00 I've spent in a long time. He loves it so much and takes it everywhere, even to bed.

I thought about not doing the whole Easter Bunny thing, but then realized that Everett's toddler reasoning might cause him to expect his parents to put together a basket of goodies for him on a regular basis. No, it's better to have a Bunny. Even though I have always kind of been against the idea of tricking my children, I think there is some value in it. The last thing I want is an entitled child. Now, being that rationally minded adult in a child's world, I have to remember to talk about the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. It is funny how much having a child can change your perspective on things like this.

Later that afternoon his Grandpa had an Easter egg hunt and he got to spend time with his favorite people: his Aunts and cousins.

The funny part about the egg hunt was that several of the Easter eggs had been chewed open by the neighborhood squirrels. The little critters were kind enough to leave behind the wrappers though. It was a classic Dad moment.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Goodness Friday {Portland}

 There are some definite perks to working for Catholics. Like having Good Friday off! Since Jeff takes every Friday off to spend the day with Everett, our little family gets some quality time together. Now a normal Christian would post about upcoming Easter preparations, but I work for a church and get burned out on Easter every year around the beginning of March. I know...wahwaaaah. So I am taking my day off to post about last weekend's trip to Portland.

Everett began his visit with Nana and Pop by puking. The good news is that it all landed in a bowl. The next morning he was feeling better and we took him out to the airport to look at some airplanes.

He was in complete awe, and the flight instructors were incredibly cool. They let him touch the planes, and even offered to let him sit in a cockpit! I politely declined, as knowing my son, we would have never been able to get him out.

Nana and Pop live across the street from a horse pasture. Everett wouldn't stop talking about seeing them, so we took him out to say hello. The horses galloped right up to us, which was thrilling and terrifying for him.

They are very friendly horses.

A trip to visit his grandparents wouldn't be complete without Everett "helping" in the garden.

Here's the beautiful Master Gardener herself!

Our visit ended with a trip to the tulip festival. Those pictures will come at a later date because ---> this girl <--- is ready to dye some Easter eggs! Here's a teaser though:

I hope your Good Friday is filled with goodness.
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