Friday, May 2, 2014

Weeks 15-16 of 52: post-apocalypse

Lent is over!

Which means that the Publix Greenwise organic chocolate ice cream I had for dinner tonight at 9pm is totally on God's "approval" list. And as we all know, "organic" is swahili for "healthy." #truth

This picture has nothing to do with the above. Just makes me laugh.
The past few weeks of the junior varsity detox I did from my personal computer and iPhone have been liberating. Some interesting things have happened. I've become more acutely aware of the absolute time suck that is Facebook and my Feedly reader. I've self-demoted myself from a chronic Facebook poster to efficient lurker with just an occasional post regarding things I can't capture with a picture (like recalling the unfortunate event when a stranger called me out for wearing maternity pants in the waiting room of the ENT office. And by called me out, I mean she asked me if I was pregnant after spying my skinny pants' maternity belly band.) I enjoy seeing pictures more than anything, or quick and witty posts, but at night when I'm scrolling through my feed I've realized that I haven't missed that much. I've also realized how incredibly biased Facebook can be. And how it truly contributes to a mother's (ahem, my) feeling inadequate or that there is something wrong with my children because I am not blowing up your feed with only the slice of perfect that is my family. And while I will still post my weekly photo challenge to my feed (wait until week 17's pictures I'll post tomorrow), I have realized that my heart belongs to Instagram. And I do have to thank Facebook, Instagram, and Feedly for being my constant companions during last year's lunch pump dates. Currently, I am still weaning from the pump (cruel, cruel situation that my last pump experience and I am actually having to wean versus the more cold turkey I was able to do the first 2 times), and if and when I pump (about every 2 days), it's at lunch time when I hook up and take my mind off of the fact that I am merely a bale of hay away from a dairy cow by scrolling through social media on my phone while I shove my face with whatever lucky food was thrown into my bag for the day.

I've also realized that an angel does *not*, in fact, lose its wings when I leave messages in my GMail unread. I have some slight residual OCD tendencies and analities (made up word) regarding things like my e-mail inbox. I have to keep my unread messages below the number 11. And if at all possible, I prefer to keep an odd # of unread messages. So if that means I forward myself an e-mail to make the 4 a 5, then so be it. But the past few weeks I just couldn't keep up with my personal e-mail (and those darn multiple tabs in Gmail are not helping me), and at first it was incredibly overwhelming and uncomfortable and I kept referring to the e-mail detox as a modern day version of my own hair shirt...but then I discovered that if I just shut off---shut off from everything that can be plugged into the wall to some capacity, I can actually go to bed before midnight.

Our family has the proverbial phone parking lot where we put away our phones after work through dinner, bath, and bedtime, but we've been known to take our devices out for a spin with excuses like "so and so *had* to text me how the rest of the kids' work out went" or "I need to respond to this work e-mail." And I am the first to own guilt because I am slightly obsessed with taking pictures of my kids with my phone. But my camera app is way too close to my e-mail app and even things like the weather app. And next thing I know, I'm looking up weather in CA just to see if my best friend is probably wearing shorts or long pants...because that matters at 5:30pm when your children are going crazy and reenacting Hulk Hogan versus Andre the Giant's epic match. (They had an epic match, right Eric? Wait...Eric doesn't read this.)

And while I still have my Canon camera out and ready for use, the struggle I have right now, outside of my global drive to disconnect to anything I either didn't marry or push out of my body, of getting real pictures is two-fold:

  1. Gus can stand on his own and even take a few steps, but has zero interest in actually walking. And so we are embroiled in the battle of hand walking. I call it the Miles Maneuver because we did this song and dance with Miles from about a year until he actually walked at 15 months. Although Gus could be considered your exceptionally unexceptional 20 lbs of averageness (ie, textbook on most things), he seems to be following the same walking trajectory as Miles and, DEMANDS, that you walk with him around the house while he white knuckles your pointer fingers.
  2. After school the big boys pretty much only want to do one thing: make a stream. What that means is turning on the house and letting it run down the driveway. I'm already thinking of skimming off the top of their piggy banks to pay for our water bill. Outside of the money and environment issue, the other issue is that I'm doing the Miles Maneuver with Gus, who enjoys playing in the pollen filled water. And guess what--I may be pretty strict in some areas, but over the years, I've learned that it's easier (and perhaps better?) to let your kids just GET DIRTY! So I let Gus drag me through the water and mud and let him sit his soggy bottom on the driveway and splash and crawl all over the wood chips while Miles and Felix play lord knows what in the water. So I just keep my fingers crossed Dekalb County hasn't found Giardia or cholera in their water supply. And I thank my local Goodwill, flanked by and donated to by excessively wealthy families, for the cute clothes that at $2.95 a piece, I don't care if they get stained with communicable diseases. 
So while I'm no real photographer, I do know that Cannon EOS rebels don't like hose water. And as the camera was a gift a few years back and we were not and are not in a financial position to replace if it gets ruined, I have no intention of compromising the integrity of its functionality when we are outside most days. That being said, I am still committed to my mission of getting "real" pictures of the kids every week. It's just that my library to choose from and filter through Lightroom is, as I always say, anemic. (That's my new favorite word.)

And poor Gus's first birthday fell during my detox. So his birthday was barely documented in photos. It didn't help that he slept through most of his little party we held at our house. Later we realized his somnolence even after waking up after a nap was due to a yet to erupt coxsackie (hand foot mouth) virus. Or as I call, coxSUCKIE.  Hmmm...maybe Dekalb should look and see if coxsackie is floating around the water supply?
Gus. Not feeling very "Gus"-like on his birthday. 
But we got a few pictures of him before he absolutely rejected anything related to this giant cupcake I slaved away over. (And by slave, I mean used a Trader Joe's cupcake box mix and a giant cupcake mold.)

I am hoping all our other "little friends" had fun despite the "Gus" of Honor feeling under the weather. 
Finally, my Lenten detox has allowed me to reflect on the changing of the season in life. My "material" for the blog doesn't come as naturally, which I guess is a good thing as it's reflective of the fact that part of life is hitting a sweet spot with the kids (tantrums excluded), but also as I have been discussing with a friend who hosts a much more "legit" mom blog, that you hit a crossroads regarding whose story it is you are sharing. And honestly, does anyone really want to hear me complain about fighting with the county over my eldest's speech therapy services? Snooz-a-roonie. But potty-training? Sleep issues? Breastfeeding challenges? Peeing in a used Starbucks cup in the parking lot of a private school? There is a reason "mom blogs" have a shelf life and most of the popularity focuses on the first 5 years of life. The stories, the laughs, the development. Heck, I joke with my best friend at work that we live an entire life before we walk into the office at 8:30am. 

I have lots of feelings on this, but right now am allowing this space to enter what I call hospice. I will continue to photo-document the boys through my 52 week mission with a wordy post like this now and then, but after that would really like things to just end peacefully. Never say never (No NEVER, to a Neverland Pirate--sorry Jake fans, had to), but this all just feels right. 

Until then, see you on the flip side. And by flip side, I mean Instagram.


  1. "that I am merely a bale of hay away from a dairy cow " I love you

  2. Good for you for letting your kids get dirty, and it will most likely keep them healthier than kids who live a super sanitized lives. Thank goodness you are still going to do Instagram so we can follow the boys as they grow. I do hope that there will still be funny events and occurrences to share with us at least on occasion...

  3. Oh, and I remember that summer of back breaking walking Miles around!