Push Pull

I think most people are the same in that we often have opposing ideas. Our ideals can often contradict our reality, such as our beliefs not always being aligned with our actions.

If I had my way, I would live in a world without clutter. Paperwork and “stuff” that litters our countertops in piles would be eliminated. (Immediately!) I am a sentimental person, but I’m also a purger. I can feel warm and fuzzy about memories, but I don’t necessarily need a tangible memento to carry for life. Part of this comes from our life in the military. We move every 2-3 years. We get accustomed to downsizing and resizing as the size of our living space changes. My personal motto is, “If it hasn’t seen the light of day or been used in 3 years, it’s time to go.” We typically donate it to someone who can use it or have a garage sale. I’m not a huge knick-knack person. It’s just more stuff to dust and haul around. Yet, in reality – we have knick-knacks and clutter and papers that are in need of a permanent home.

Also in my perfect world, I would have a library with floor-to-ceiling shelving loaded with books of all kinds. I love to read and love that my kids are now readers. I would eliminate iPads and iPhones and even though we use both (ahem, I’m typing this on my laptop!) I would love to drastically reduce, if not remove completely, the amount of screens at which my minions stare. If my son had his way, everyday would be iPad day where he plays endless hours of Minecraft and comes up only for lunch and the occasional bathroom break.

After our rough weekend, iPad went away. We are currently finishing up our second week (of 8 total) without tablets and I have to say that I’m surprised at just how much I have loved it. My kids (shockingly) have not had the same fondness for this experiment. Nagging in general has lessened. “C’mon, turn it off, time for dinner!” or “Mom!! Just 5 more minutes, PUH-LEEEEASE?” have all been eliminated. My frustration level has gone way down. We’ve been reading more. Playing games as a family is the new routine.

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Rummikub! Our current favorite!

The kids are not racing through homework salivating for that looming iPad time after school. We’re talking more. I’m listening more. The fighting when one “kills” the other off in their linked game is done. No tears. No fighting about virtual worlds.

Peace.

But….

It’s easy to hand them the tablet when I just need a few minutes. It’s convenient to have them occupied when Eric and I need to have an uninterrupted conversation. It’s wonderful on long car rides. (Let’s be honest – here in Texas, every excursion ends up being a long car ride! This place is huge!)

There is this push and pull tension I feel between what I envision and the reality. I still don’t have answers, despite having done these types of experiments before, here, here, here, and here. I doubt the tension will lessen any time soon. It’s hard to have balance. Given the choice, I never would have purchased tablets in the first place. I do think it’s entirely too easy to lean on it as a crutch, much the way we used tv before tablets.

I love having electronic “breaks” but wonder how, after our 8 weeks are up, to reintroduce the privileges without it becoming all-consuming. Am I the only one that has a kid THIS into electronics? Our daughter enjoys it, but can easily move on to other things and doesn’t seem to crave it in the same way that our son does.

What’s it like at your house? How do you set boundaries or are you boundary-less when it comes to electronics and screen time?

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Life in the Lodge

Well, my meltdown/culture shock phase of this move is winding down. We’ve spent the last week looking at houses and rentals and have decided to purchase this time around.

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EEEK! I am so excited! Can’t wait until move in day!

 

We have about 2 weeks until it’s all ready for us. We are also getting geared up for school registration! (Yeah, that sentence made me throw up a little!)  In the meantime, we are living in the interim at the Navy Lodge.

Ahh, life at the lodge.

There is much to be irritated about when you are living out of suitcases; most of your earthly belongings are in a warehouse somewhere, lodge kitchenettes are TINY,  etc. What I do love about this phase of a PCS move is that there isn’t a lot to do, and it’s okay to sort of just hang out and be.

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We’ve been playing lots of games such as Old Maid, War, Slap Jack, and we attempted Crazy 8s, but, to quote Jake, it was a bit “too long and too boring”. We are good with Sorry! and I have a few books we’ve read, not to mention the iPads have been lifesavers, especially while driving all around a new town trying to find a place to live.

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We’ve also discovered that with life in Texas, we have to get in our outside time either in small doses, first thing in the morning, or at dusk. It is HOT, and our Washington bodies need just a little while longer to acclimate. But this morning when I walked out at 86 degrees, I thought it felt good, so we may be getting there sooner rather than later!

We’ve also encountered some neighborhood kids, one of which was about Jacob’s age and they had a muscle inspection the other night. (Muscle inspection = each one flexing and asserting (read: SHOUTING!) that “I have HUGE muscles”!) Following the showing of their ‘guns’, they proceeded to have bike races and then a great game of hide and seek with Hannah. Poor girl hid in a great spot, but immediately discovered the wonder of fire ants. Welcome to Texas!

Until our new home is complete, I’m trying to savor the little things about this time. Things like:

  • I don’t have to clean! Maid service!
  • We cook here, but don’t dirty up too many dishes so meal time is a cinch!
  • I’m not tripping over toys in the hall, or in their bedrooms – cause they don’t have many and we are all in one room!
  • God bless the iPad. It’s been a lifesaver in so many ways.
  • Hooray for PBS Kids TV. Educational programming so they might actually learn something
  • Cheap story books for bedtime.
  • The Navy lodge is not fancy (by any means) but it is clean. I have yet to see any nasty critters.
  • We are within walking distance to 2 playgrounds
  • We went to Padre Island Seashore – it was LOVELY. I can’t wait to go back!
  • Teaching the minions fun card games that I played as a kid keeps the screen time down, but it’s been really fun, too. I love hearing my little girl say, “Go Fisssh!” or the way Jake dances around when he doesn’t get the Old Maid.
  • For now, just right now, I have nothing that NEEDS doing. And I’m enjoying it!