Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Operation Reconnect

It's always neat for me to see how my daily life changes when I set my mind to MAKING the CHANGE.  There is so much power in putting our goals and intentions out there.  So much to say about taking control of our life and making it what we want it to be rather than wishing it was different.  Ever since I wrote my post the other day about turning my autopilot off and waking myself up so that I can be more intentional and present with myself and my kids, things have just felt fresh.  It's like I cleaned my self-windows.  A film of sorts has been cleared and I feel just a bit more alert and awake to the life around me.  

This mental freshening-up or "snap out of it" exercise feels good.  I've missed the quiet time with myself.  I've missed reflecting and starting my day with my journal and coffee instead of waking right up to chores, e-mail, to-do list, texts...all those things that can end up sweeping us up and taking us swiftly through our day only to be at the end of it and ready to start all over again. I'm thankful for the reminders and awareness to put on the breaks a bit and just soak the important stuff up. At the same time, I'm thankful that we do have the option of life autopilot where we don't always have to be actively seeking out some magical moment in life.  Ha!  Sometimes it is just nice to zone out and tell your kids to disappear to the backyard for awhile so you can check you e-mail and write a blog.  Right?!  

Balance.  Change up.  Seasons.  Not always being content with SAMENESS.  These are key for me.  

So, in my intent to reconnect just a bit with myself and my kids, I forced myself to leave the house yesterday.  Staying inside can just be too distracting sometimes if my computer is on and my phone is beeping and ringing.  Oh, and then the constant mess from living with kids....too easy to want to just start picking up and "getting things done" instead of spending time playing with my kids.  Before I know it, hours have gone by and I've gotten nowhere...just cleaning.  But there is always more mess.  

So we took off on a "nature walk" to the park.  And I left with one big intention:  UNPLUG.  


I tried to only use my phone for my camera and to ignore the chimes telling me about an e-mail or text.  This is harder than it sounds.  Talk about an exercise in self control and being present.  

It ended up being an hour and a half that definitely made an impression on my kids. 

They will remember it.  They will remember that Mom was present and excited about being WITH them and doing what they were doing instead of just being there while they play.  I was playing too.  


Stopped to see bees on flowers,
Watching the bees

Picked up all the interesting leaves, pine cones, flowers on weeds, small rocks 
Added to our Nature Collection for a collage.
Gave attention to the the things we usually rush past.

My daughter
taught us all about spit bugs and the different kinds of trees.  She shared with me the many facts she has learned from being so in love with nature.  

Spit Bugs...Thanks to my daughter for pointing this out.  

My son
rode his bike and carried our nature bag on the back as he picked up on our energy and got so excited about everything he saw. "Look at that! Woah, look Mommy!  Look at the tree and the bug and the...."  

Everything was a treasure on this Nature Walk

Then the park. 
Again, I played instead of my usual watching.  
I got on the swings and felt like a 9 year old again. Swinging so high that my stomach felt like it wasn't in the right place.
My daughter learned to finally swing on her own to where she was really gaining some speed.  
She even conquered the little rock wall and climbed in 3 times!  
My son found a broken toy helicopter that was discarded in the grass.  Left as junk. But it became treasure.  We fixed it the best we could and one happy little boy carried it home in his bike as if he had just bought a new toy at the store. 

When we got back, I was exhausted but just hearing my daughter's words made me so so glad that I gave that time to them.  And myself.  Without other distractions.  We walked up the driveway and she said:

"This was a good good day!  A good day!"  

Later on after lunch, having a day off of running gave me a little extra time to spend in the journals that I keep for my kids.  It was nice to WANT to and have the energy to write them each a little note...a snapshot in time.  I don't write in these journals as often as I used to but they are some of my greatest treasures to look back on as they grow up.  These are the second journals for each kid.  I started one for each of them when I was pregnant with them and it lasted several years (still have many pages to fill of the first one of my sons).  They even write in them on occasion and it is cool to see their writing skills develop over the years...from just a hand tracing, to scribbles, to their first wobbly letter, and eventually their names and thoughts.  These journals are a perfect place to write down those little things that kids say that you never want to forget but you somehow always do.  I have lots of quick short scribbles in these journals where I just write the date and the funny sentence one of them said.  For example, my son is big into saying the phrase "by the way" lately.  So last night at bedtime he shouted from his room to say good night.  After I said goodnight back he called out in his little voice: "Oh, by the way Mom....I love you."  Now, that went in his book.  

Taking time to write in their journals.  This isn't a daily thing but they fill up eventually and become a great treasure...for me and them.

Happy to be feeling more alert lately.  I'm so glad that we hold the power to make changes in our life when we see it going a direction we don't like.  I'm excited to keep climbing and see where life continues to take me...I think I'll enjoy it a heck of a lot more if I make a conscious effort to keep setting goals and trying to be a better me.  This has so much to do with keeping myself present, my self-windows clean, and staying connected with ME so I can stay connected with others.  



  1. Little tip: Try putting your phone on airplane mode. That way you can have it with you in case of emergency and can still use your camera, but you don't get the alerts and aren't tempted to check your messages!

    I feel like I spend the majority of my life on auto-pilot. Me alone with my thoughts is a scary place to be! I stay so stressed out and worried so much of the time that it's just easier to keep myself distracted with anything and everything than to let myself FEEL. Feelings hurt, so it's safer to keep them at a distance.

    Need therapy much, Pam? LOL

    1. I don't think you're alone in these feelings Pam. Yes, airplane mode sounds awesome! I should totally do this. Thanks!

  2. Love this, Amanda!i love the effort you made for them and yourself and I love their own personal journals. What a great idea. They will treasure those.

  3. The airplane mode is a good idea that Pam suggested. I admit I am guilty too. The phone dings and I instantly feel like I have to check it. 95% of the time it is not time urgent! Our time with our kids is going too fast and your post was a reminder to stay in the moment.

  4. Amanda I absolutely love how you have journals for each of your children. What a precious gift that you will be able to give them.
    It is hard to "unplug". I know the feeling and it drives Cam crazy that I am always on my phone. That is something I need to work on this summer. It is going to be hard! My phone is like a third arm.

    1. Thanks Tasha. It is hard to change habits that control so much of our life.

  5. This was such a great post. I have the same issue with my laptop at home, I just always seem to end up in front of it, often unintentionally.
    I read this just yesterday, from Fastcompany.com, in an article called attention must be paid, or it will cost you money - I've just straight pasted it here, thinking you might find it interesting too. Especially with the "this has been a good day comment". Thanks heaps for sharing your day!

    Finally, let's take one more look at an incredibly critical business-client scenario: Disney World and kids. The world famous theme park wanted to know which part of the Disney magic most captivated the kids, so it hired a cultural anthropologist and business expert Kare Anderson to follow some little ones around as they hit the park with their parents.

    As detailed in Harvard Business Review, the results were shocking. It wasn't Mickey Mouse or Cinderella's Castle that captured the kids' imagination; instead, children paid the most attention to their parents' cell phones. Why? Because that's where the parents focused their attention, suddenly rendering the wonders of Disney irrelevant. Disney wrongly assumed they were the center of attention in this relationship, but clearly, kids primarily pick up their cues from their parents no matter where they are. Because the parents couldn't or wouldn't focus on their offspring, the fun factor was suddenly diminished.

    1. Thanks Annet. yes, I read this article. It really resonated with me. Good to hear from you.

  6. I love this!! It`s so important to put away your phone and enjoy people. I really try to make an effort to not use my phone when I am out with friends and family.

    And the books you made for your children are ADORABLE! Such a wonderful idea!

  7. Man this post makes me feel old. When my kids were growing up the most hi-tech thing in our house was the television. No mobile phone until my oldest was in high school. Our first computer we got when he was 12 and it was a second-hand 2MB beauty that ran DOS. It's interesting seeing the impact of technology on families these days.

  8. I think this is great. I grew up loving the outdoors and nature and things like that, although I have never heard of a spit bug :), and I feel that it is so important to spend that kind of time with your kids. I know that as a busy mom, it's not always easy, but like you said, your kids WILL remember these times very fondly. I know I do!

  9. this is awesome! i know i need to unplug more... i'm too addicted to my phone / the internet and i hate that i am like that! (but i love having my blog friends and i wouldn't have met you guys had i not been on the internet...) oh the dilemma.

    spit bugs?!? never heard of 'em. weird!

    glad you had a good day with the kiddos and that they seemed to appreciate it :) love the journals you make for them.

  10. What's the line in the song, "It's not getting what you want; it's wanting what you've got". Your post made me think of that line instantly.

    I love, love, love your childrens' journals. What a special gift - now and later.