Screen-Free {midweek} Update

 We are starting Day Three of Screen-Free week, and I have had an epiphany.  This is what being a stay-at-home mom should look like.  I am waking up before my kids, posting my daily blog and enjoying some quiet time before we hit the ground running.  As soon as they are up, I am on. And it feels so good.  

Yesterday I made four loaves of bread, a batch of cookies, lasagna for dinner and did all the dishes. Twice.  I am working my way through all our homeschool curriculum as well as crafts and quiet activities, reorganizing the shelves in the kitchen and playroom.  It is time consuming, but feels really good.

Staying offline from 6:30am when the kids wake up until 7:30pm when the kids are asleep makes the day seem so long. But not in the way you think.  It makes the day long as in, I can't believe how much I can get done in a single 13 hour period.  I am getting more done and spending more time with my kids than ever before.  I can't believe how much time the internet was stealing from me. And my kids.

I am more plugged in with the boys, have more patience and more fun while I am being present.  

I find that every evening, I look forward to my "me time", checking my email, Facebook and blog again after spending the day away.  It has given my parenting its *magic* back, but it has also given my online time its *magic* back.

I am hearing more of what the kids say, and it's awesome.  This morning Wyatt was going potty and he said to me, "I'm going to throw up in heaven."  I have no idea what that means, but it was so random, I had to laugh.  

Jack was talking to Logan about their "plans" for the playground and Jack said he was going to be a bad guy unless Michael met us there.  Logan responded, "So let me get this straight..." I was dying! Where do they get this stuff?!?

When I told Jack was making cookies for afternoon snack, he snapped his head around and looked at me where I stood behind him and said, "Are you for real?"  I was laughing so hard.  Then I asked him if he was for real.

With the extra time I have dedicated to the boys, we've been having some really fun conversations.  The first one was on Monday with Jack.  He was asking why I chose to have twins.  I told him I didn't choose it.  He said, "Did you only want one baby?" 

I assured his sweet blue eyes that I had planned on only one baby, but God knew I needed to be a twin mommy.  I told him it was the best surprise!  Then I explained how he became a twin.  That the zygote in my belly split into two magically and that's how he and Logan became twins.  He was fascinated.

 Yesterday the twins and I talked about color blindness.  I have known for a while that they are colorblind, but hadn't yet shared that with them. I wasn't sure what to say, and honestly, it hadn't come up for them personally.  Yesterday we were working in their dinosaur book and they were decoding (using symbols to find out what each dinosaur's name meant) when I discovered both Logan and Jack had mixed up the green and orange dinosaur symbols.

I explained to the boys that the answer was "A", not "E" because the dinosaur was a different color.  Then I told them that they struggled to identify it because they are colorblind.  I told them that means they can see lots of colors, but not all the colors.  I assured them that it might be annoying, but wasn't a huge deal, and that their Papa Barry is colorblind, too.

Logan wanted to know why they are colorblind. I told him that it passed from my Great Grandpa Arthur to Grandma Woo Woo, and then from Papa Barry to me, and finally from me to them.  

They both then proceeded to prove to me that they are not indeed colorblind by pointing out colors they could label and identify.  I assured them that they can see many colors, but there are some that their eyes just don't register.  Logan asked if their glasses could fix it, and pointed out that there's two things wrong with their eyes-- they don't see well, and they don't see all the colors.  

Then we talked about how their eyes are shaped like footballs instead of basketballs and (like Wyatt and Josh) they need glasses to correct that. I told them how lucky they are that their glasses make their vision good, but that colorblindness is different and can't be corrected.  Slowly they seemed to accept the news and then Logan asked me, kind of choked up, "But I don't know where the colorblind is in my body?" He was touching his throat like he thought he could give it to someone else and I assured him that it's not contagious or like a germ.  

That's how I ended up spending the morning explaining DNA to my five year olds.  They wanted to know why Wyatt didn't have colorblindness and why they did, and where it was inside them... so I drew a picture of DNA, telling them that you can only see DNA with a microscope, but that it contains all the directions for how they should look.  I explained that they have the same DNA, whereas most everyone else has their own.  That their shared DNA is why they look the same, why they are both colorblind and why they have the same physical mannerisms.

Then Jack asked why he gets sick on planes and Logan doesn't, so our DNA conversation turned into a conversation on epigenetics, which I explained to them as buttons along our DNA that get turned off or on.  Then Jack wanted to know why he and Logan were different-handed if they were truly identical.  Holy cow! So then we had to talk about the fact that they are mirror twins, and that how they split inside me made them opposite each other, but that their DNA is still the same...

We also learned rhyming words and what triceratops means.  :)


Jack is my tender heart when it comes to caretaking. He absolutely loves babies, and is especially fond of our friends' little twin girls who are the same age as Wyatt.  

His security item has always been these "santa bears" that he and Logan got for their first Christmas when they were six months old.  These are his twins.  His twins are girls, which I think is sweet, and they love to be held.  At nap time, instead of doing his silent reading, I will often walk in and find him "rocking" his babies to sleep like me.

Monday he was wanting to push the miniature grocery cart and everything wasn't fitting, so I got my Ergo out of the Arctic Entry and put it on him so he could "wear" his bubbas. It was the sweetest thing ever.  I love that boy!


The Clinic
 All of Screen Free Week has not been easy.  Monday I needed to be seen at the clinic (sinus infection of some sort), so I bundled up the kids and we walked the half a mile downtown to see the Health Aid.  I vacillated between wanting to bring the tablets to entertain the children while I was seen, and wanting to face the challenge of bringing them without... so we left the tablets at home, adhering to screen free week even at the most inconvenient of times.

{View downriver}
 We left the house at 10:30am.  At 10:45am we were still on the road and I felt like I was herding cats.  Or turtles. It was painfully slow.  

Eventually we made it, only a few minutes late, and I was seen. The boys were okay while I was getting checked, but not having the tablets definitely made them more active and they were in and out of the room, climbing on the clinic furniture in the waiting room and talking the ears off every adult they saw.

 I left the clinic with some sudafed, cough medicine and sinus spray, feeling relieved to not be on antibiotics, and we headed home in the 34 degree sunshine.

 On the way to the clinic, the wind had been at our faces, so heading home it felt nice to have the wind at our back and the sun on our faces.

 We meandered on the way home since I wasn't in a hurry, and I was letting the boys throw rocks in huge puddles that had iced over in the night.  They love the satisfying CRACK of the ice breaking under the weight of the rocks.

 After a bit, I decided that if I was going to let them play at the forklift on the way home (there's a broken down forklift on the side of the road that is their absolute favorite thing to play on) we should get going, as it was pretty cold despite the sunshine.

{Mt. Pilcher behind the clinic}
 I was trying to convince Wyatt to come with me (He was responding with his new favorite thing to say, "I hate that.") when I heard it. 


 Logan had walked on the ice atop the puddle, and as it cracked under his weight, he plunged one leg in, up to his thigh, soaking himself in freezing cold water.

 So I had Wyatt throwing rocks in the water, telling me "I hate going home. I hate walking. I hate doing this every time!" 

 I had Logan sobbing because a) he was freezing and b) he knew I was mad,

{Houses in Marshall}
and I had Jack stomping his feet and crying because I told them now we couldn't go to the forklift to play.

 It was a long (long, long) walk home.

{The Catholic Church}
 I decided to make the best of it though, reminding myself to breathe and that "kids will be kids", and held Logan's hand as we made our way back to the house.

We finally made it home, Logan got on some dry clothes and I made the boys a picnic lunch on the living room floor.  We had survived!


I feel best when I am doing my best.  Being online all the time and checking Facebook constantly was not allowing me to be my best.  Now I feel like a confident, capable homemaker.  I feel like an able wife & mother. I feel like a focused, intelligent homeschooler.   All that multi tasking was stealing my days, as well as my focus.

 Now when I have a spare moment, I spend the time meditating. I think of what thoughts I'd like to change, what I'm doing well and what I'd like to work on, and I really hear my kids when they talk to me. It feels amazing. 

 This little buddy is going through some serious withdrawal (he probably asked to watch a movie six times yesterday), but I can tell it's been good for him because his independent play periods are getting longer, and he is falling asleep so much faster at night.

Here's hoping Day Three is as good as Days One and Two! 
(Minus the muddy water, tantrums & tears, of course!)

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