Cutting Out Technology

technology

Lately, I’ve been feeling suffocated. What do I mean by that? I feel under constant pressure to keep up with people’s lives on social media. In the morning, the first thing I want to do is check my email, Facebook messages/notifications, and Instagram. Why? I honestly can’t answer that. Yesterday, I felt so suffocated by the pressure to be online that I decided to completely drop Facebook for an entire week. I was sick of feeling like I need to always be checking up on people’s lives or responding to messages and comments.

My decision might be a bit impulsive, but you know what? I love it so far! Last night {Adam’s last night with us for a bit as he left early this morning for training}, I was able to spend 100% attention on him while we hung out and not feel the need to be online. This morning, my first thought was not what is everyone up to? but rather I was able to read through my devotions and spend some one on one time with both of my girls. I don’t feel hurried while going through my cleaning or other tasks.

The sad thing is, that is how it should always be. But I will be honest in telling you that sometimes I want to be on the computer when I should be more present with my girls. So, that is what I am doing this next week. I am being present in their lives, intentional to be mentally, emotionally, and physically there when they are learning to walk, needing to snuggle more, seeking my attention to see a big tower they built out of blocks… the list could go on and on.

I don’t want you to think I was never present before this. I do try to be a good mom, and I think this step away from some social media is just what I need to get refreshed in my relationships with others, God, and even myself.

I hope you all have a great week. You won’t be seeing me on facebook this week, but if you want to reach me, just send me an email. I might not respond right away, but I will at least give you one option of being able to communicate with me. {since living in Japan, calling my phone from the States isn’t an option. I kind of like that…}

Have a great week, readers! :)

 

Photo source

On This Day of Love

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I totally lucked out with marrying the best man on the face of this earth. Seriously. Sorry to all of you who were looking for Mr. Right, because I’ve snatched him up and I’m not letting him go!

Adam and I met 13 years ago, in high school. We had a few classes together Freshmen year. We began hanging out with the same group of friends our Junior year and by Senior year, he asked me to go out on a double date with another couple. Unfortunately {or fortunately?} they couldn’t make it that night, so we went ahead with just the two of us. We went skating in downtown Grand Rapids, holding hands and talking forever, and, well, the rest is history. Five years of dating, and then five wonderful years of marriage later… I couldn’t be more blessed!

It’s funny how when you are growing up, you hear from seasoned married people how each year just gets better and better. I always thought that was just a nice thing to say in front of their spouse because they didn’t want them to feel bad. But, how true it is! Every single year that I’m married to Adam, it just gets better and better.

In many ways, Adam and I question why we had to move to Japan. It was our last possible choice, and we honestly had no desire to live in Asia. Europe? Yes. Asia? No way. Nothing about this country or continent was a desirable place for us to live. But, I’m coming to realize now that one of the reasons we moved here was for our marriage. There’s nothing like moving to the opposite side of the world to make you fully rely on your spouse. Adam and I no longer had the chance to turn to our close friends or family when things got tough. Instead, we had to fully turn to each other to help us get through whatever came up. Not that we hadn’t before we moved, but there was absolutely no other option.

And now, having lived in Japan for 2.5 years and with our move back to the States coming in the next six months or so, I can be thankful for our three years here. I don’t look at these years as wasted. Sure, I’ve missed out on the birth of my niece {and still haven’t met her a full year later}, graduations, funerals, and other milestones. But, what I’ve gained has been an insurmountable faith in God and love for my husband.

Life can be such a mystery. The unexpected happens and we are left to question why. We may find that answer immediately, or it may take a couple years to come around and then, it hits you hard. God always has a reason for everything. It’s understanding why that’s the hardest part.

Photo: Source

Product I like:: Laundry sorter

First, thank you to all of you who thought of me and prayed during my surgery yesterday. It was a very long day, but thankfully it’s over now. Since Adam had to go back to work today, it’s been a really lazy day of watching movies and playing sit down games where I don’t need to move much. I am truly overwhelmed with so many offers of help that I can hardly believe how blessed we are with so many great people here! I am a very independent person and hate asking for help, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Tomorrow, Lent begins.

While Adam and I are not Catholic, we do sometimes challenge ourselves to give up something for Lent. This year, we decided to give up sweets and anything with high fructose corn syrup. We will see how I fair. I thrive on eating sweets, so if I start wilting too much, I might need to back out of the pact.

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I wanted to share another product I like. For someone who does laundry quite a bit, this laundry sorter saves me a lot of time. When we take off our dirty clothing, we immediately sort it into the different sections. This saves me time so I don’t have to dump out all the dirty laundry and sort it right before I do our wash. Instead, all the colored clothing, whites, etc. are already sorted and I just take out each section separately and dump it right into the washer. It may not seem like a big deal, but I absolutely love it.

This isn’t the exact laundry sorter we have, but it was the closest I could find online.

Favorite Workout Gear

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              hoodie / shorts / tights / shoes / short sleeve shirt / sports bra / long sleeve

As any fitness guru, I have my favorite go to gear. I’m not a person who splurges on Lululemon clothing when I can get just as much comfort from Adidas, Under Armor, or Nike. So, posted above is some affordable running gear that hopefully you will find just as great as I do!

And with that, I’m going to say happy weekend, readers! I’m off to enjoy some family time with my wonderful husband and daughters.

{Day in my Life}

6:27am: after being up every 3 hours during the night, the littlest family member decided this would be a great time to wake up for the day. I stumble to her room in an exhaustive haze, change her diaper and nurse her in hopes of her going back to sleep again. No such luck. And so my day begins.

6:45am: say good-bye to Adam as he heads out to work for the day.

7:00am: Brooklyn wakes up early. I change both girls’ diapers and let Brooklyn pick her clothes out. I start the coffee pot and get Brooklyn’s breakfast ready.

Brooklyn has a very distinct fashion sense already. I love it.

Brooklyn has a very distinct fashion sense already. I love it.

 

7:30am: I referee the battles of “no-Scarlett-can’t-touch-this-toy” and “mama-she’s-sitting-on-my-blanket!” along with an overly tired, toddler’s tantrums. We sit in a time out together so she can collect herself and calm down.

8:00am: snuggle with my girls and watch Sesame Street for ten minutes. Brooklyn usually tells me she’s “scared” of this show, so I’m really surprised she wants to watch it today. I rewarm my coffee in the microwave for the second time this morning. {I usually end up doing this a few times each morning…}

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8:15am: craft time! Brooklyn makes a special Valentine’s Day craft for Daddy that she’s excited to show him.

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9:00am: after chasing this little lady all morning, it’s finally her nap time.

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I use this time as one-on-one with Brooklyn, catch up on a little social media, plan out our day, clean up the apartment, and make Adam’s lunch. Thankfully Brooklyn’s great at playing with her toys while needing minimal supervision.

10:45am: we head out the door to run errands. It’s a nice enough day, so I decide to use the jogger and run. Putting on mileage and getting things done while doing it!

11:30am: We bring Adam lunch at work while he’s on duty.

12:00pm: lunch time.

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12:30pm: Brooklyn’s nap time.

1:00pm: Scarlett’s second nap for the day, which means I have a little time for myself. I sit down and do my daily devotions, pick up the never-ending mess of toys, clean up the remnants of lunch, work on filing our taxes, and make/freeze a couple meals for next week.

3:00pm: indoor play time with the girls.

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4:30pm: Adam’s home early from work! We head out for a family run. We usually play at the park after our run, but today is way too cold and windy.

5:30pm: I prepare dinner and we sit down as a family to eat. One of my favorite times of the day. Adam and I stress having this nightly sit-down time together.

6:30pm: clean-up and play time with the girls. Brooklyn and Scarlett love having both mommy and daddy in the same room to play with them.

7:00pm: begin the girls’ bedtime routines.

7:45pm: Adam’s and my time to watch our shows, discuss our days, and lounge around.

10:00pm: read in bed then lights out. Scarlett’s first time up is always three hours after she goes to bed, so I usually wait up to feed her, then fall asleep after that.

Hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into our busy life. It’s crazy, but oh, how I love it!

Rainy Day Fun

Today’s rain/snow coming down means “inside” fun for the girls and I. I hate to take them out in the cold if I don’t need to, just because of the increased risk of sickness. As every mom knows, if one kid is down for the count, the other child{ren} inevitably get sick as well. With our upcoming week, we can’t afford sickness. So, indoors it is!

I’m always looking for new ideas and fun for my toddler.

I wanted to share our current top five:

1. Coloring - Brooklyn loves sitting down with a coloring book and crayons in hand. I haven’t attempted paints yet, but those are next!

2. Books – our girls love their books. {Want Chicka Chicka Boom Boom read? I can recite it to you right now}. Growing up as a book worm myself, I’m so excited that they are following in my footsteps!

3. Puzzles - this is a great learning tool and she has a ton of fun, too! We have quite a few Melissa and Doug puzzles that are great quality and hold up against a teething 8 month old.

4. Make believe: my toddler excels in the area of imagination. She has dancing animals, blocks that magically transform into trains, and tupperware that make pancakes, oatmeal, and birthday cakes. {I’m always the taste-tester and I tell you, she’s a cooking genius!}

5. Children videos - we are a VeggieTales and Praise Baby loving family. Adam and I are pretty strict about what our girls can watch, but these are great Bible teaching videos that we really enjoy.

What are some of your favorite indoor activities for toddlers?

My New Camera

So, I finally got my Christmas present last night.

After doing a lot of research, thinking, and much discussion, I decided to get the Canon t3i. It’s the second newest in the Canon Rebel series. Why not get the t4i? After reading a lot of reviews, it appears the only reason to spend the extra $300 was for the video aspect of the camera. Since I am not buying a camera for video (although the video option is a nice addition), I decided to save the extra money and put it towards a new lens. After all, it’s really the lens that is the most important part, right? The camera body is secondary. (kind of…) :)

I’m so excited to start playing with it more. I’m moving up from an older Canon Rebel model, so it will be nice having the extra megapixels and other upgrades from my model of 4 years ago. Yay!

Let the fun begin!

Highlights/Lowlights

Anyone watching the Superbowl? Since moving to Japan, it’s always been a little weird for us as the game is on a Monday morning at 8 am. Adam gets off from work, though, so I’m not complaining. And, we get to enjoy coffee, mimosas, and breakfast casseroles followed by the regular Superbowl food after halftime. Win, win!

Since the littlest family member needed her morning nap during the game, and our friends’ apartment filled with Superbowl fanatics was not the location for that to occur, I decided to come back home where she could enjoy a peaceful nap. Which, in return, gives me a peaceful hour or two that I’m not accustomed to. I do enjoy some me-time when I get the chance!

I thought during this downtime, I would give you our highlights/lowlights from this past week:

Highlights: 

-My sister announced they are having another baby! I’m so excited for another little niece or nephew due this August!

-The weather has been awesome lately. Mid-50′s-70 degrees a couple days. So nice.

-Adam watched the girls for me a couple times and I was able to get in some good workouts sans kids.

-Scarlett stood up by herself and apparently was very proud of that fact because she began clapping! It was so cute but unfortunately I wasn’t able to record it.

-I’m joining a new bible study soon. It will be nice for both the learning part and the social aspect of it. A mama needs her couple hours every once in a while, and what better way than fellowshipping with fellow Christians. Do I hear an “amen!”

-I got asked to join a group of local, budding photographers.We’ll discuss photography related things such as: lenses, critiquing our photos, and just asking any questions we may have. The ladies all seem to be much more experienced than I, which makes me excited to learn a lot more than I already know.

Lowlights: 

-My grandma’s younger sister (my great-aunt) had a massive stroke and has been in the hospital this whole past week. The outcome is not looking good. I would love your prayers as this is really hard being away from family during this time. Please pray for a miracle as they are not giving her much time.

-Pre-op appointments are completed and now I’m waiting for my {kidney stone removal} surgery. The appointments went well, but it is never fun to have blood draws and take the girls all the way down to the hospital by myself for an entire day. They are such troopers.

Well, the little lady woke up. Mommy-duty calls. Enjoy your coming week!

Favorite iPhone Apps

We’ve had lots of playdates this week.

Have you ever scheduled a play date at your home not only for the kids’ benefit, but also to ensure that you clean your house? That was me this week. Don’t get me wrong, I love hosting things. But sometimes I just need that extra push to clean our place, and no better incentive than knowing people are coming over! Growing up, I was taught to have things neat and orderly when guests came over.

So, floors were swept and mopped, carpets vacuumed, furniture dusted, bathrooms scrubbed, kitchen Lysol-ed,…

And, of course, having people over means I need to provide a snack. So, cookies were made. Man, this sweet tooth can get out of control sometimes. I blame nursing – it always heightens my sweet tooth.

Moving on.

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I wanted to share my favorite photography apps. Below are my top five that I use on my iPhone:

Instagrammy favorite app used to share pictures of our everyday life. I really like this app because I can set the privacy setting to only those I want to see my pictures.

PostalPix - I use this app to print out my pictures from Instagram. I’ve used other websites through my computer that link directly to Instagram, but PostalPix is right on my phone and really easy to use!

VSCO cam - this is a camera app to take pictures and moderately edit them. You can directly link to social medias to post them. {always a must in my mind!}

Afterglo – another picture taking app like VSCO with cool editing tools. My new favorite.

 Dipticfor when you want to make a collage or post pictures side by side.

Have fun playing around with them! Any awesome apps I’m missing? Please share!

Lately, I’ve been…

enjoying peace and quiet while the girls are asleep.

planning the beginning stages of moving back to the States {yay!}

thrilled for playdates this week.

praying for my great aunt and a few unspoken requests.

celebrating almost TEN years together with my beloved. A whole decade!

resisting the peanut butter brownies I made a few days ago.

preparing to have surgery in a couple weeks. Not super thrilled about it.

making our family yearbooks soon. I’m behind on printing pictures out.

carrying the weight of a secret that I can’t wait to share soon!

expanding my list of blogs I’ve been reading and finding some I’ve really been enjoying {when I actually get the chance to read}

writing this post while listening to Hawaii 5-0 playing in the background. 

preparing for a certain little 8 month old to begin walking. Not quite ready for it.

living for my morning coffee.

ordering nothing lately! With Christmas just past and trying to save us as much money as we can, I haven’t ordered much online lately. It’s a weird, but surprisingly, good feeling!

eating candy and sweets while I can – Adam and I are giving up sweets and anything with high fructose corn syrup for Lent.

loving having my husband around every night. 

sleeping not so well these days with a little one who’s teething and loving her snuggle sessions at night a little too much. I’m enjoying this time though, because I know as soon as I’m done nursing her, I won’t be able to have that special time with her anymore.

(I got this little “survey” from Elise Joy.)