Let’s start with what makes me happiest – my new bookshelves. I don’t know how long I’ll be riding the new bookshelf high, but for now it’s one of the things that is bringing me joy daily. My hopes of shopping on Friday were rewarded. Between Hobby Lobby & Michaels, I was able to get 4 picture frames, 3 decorative signs, a fake plant and two photo boxes. The bonus was all the items were 40% off, 50% off or on clearance. I got all my new decorative items for under $54. I was very impressed with those bargain finds. And now my bookshelves look complete. No more empty space! I love it. Every time I walk by my books, I smile.
I was able to run all my errands on Friday, so Saturday was a full day at home. Week one of March has had a successful day at home! Woo hoo! Tomorrow is supposed to my home day for week two. A friend had to reschedule with me so we are hanging out at my house tomorrow. I’m also hosting a book party tomorrow night (more on that in my next post). The level of put-togetherness I need to host company and work might cancel out the benefits of staying home all day. We will have to see how this experiment goes.
While we are talking about home, Jeremy and I dove into another home improvement project this week, but were met with much mishap. Ever since we realized that the pedestal sink in our half bath isn’t big enough to hold a soap dispenser, we’ve talked about putting in a vanity instead for counter space and storage. We found a vanity we really liked online and purchased it in store on Monday. After ripping out the pedestal sink, we realized that the vanity was damaged. Lesson learned – check new vanity before ripping out pedestal sink. Oops. We have now purchased three vanities – all having to be returned because of damage. We are still formulating where we plan to go from here. Despite the rough look, the pedestal sink has been reinstalled until the mythical perfect vanity is found.
On to the big screen time update. We are a family that allows screen time. We keep it under 2 hours daily. We use kid-friendly apps to make sure the content is appropriate. And then the news blew up about YouTube kids… While one of the new stories turned out to be a hoax (I learned after research), it has become apparent that people are trying to send harmful messages to kids and YouTube Kids isn’t doing a sufficient job in my opinion to make sure their content is safe. This led to us deleting the YouTube Kids app off of my phone and tablet. We still have the YouTube app on our TV in the living room where it can be used with parental supervision – my kids love watching videos of trains too much to cut all YouTube. The boys got Amazon Fire tablets for Christmas with the FreeTime Unlimited subscription. Web videos are available through that program and I learned after doing research that Amazon and an outside organization called Common Sense Media previews all web content before it is available to kids. This makes me feel safer about the videos they are viewing. While we always had good intentions with screen time, we have really locked down the “rules” now. Time limits have been set, screens are only allowed in the living room and within ear shot of a parent. The boys have responded well to the increased security. We took time to explain to them the reasons why. They know to not watch anything that is mean, scary or makes them uncomfortable. I can already see how this is a positive change, for Graham especially. He is playing more games instead of watching videos. He isn’t watching as many videos of kids playing with toys – these kinds of videos make him want us to buy him the same toys as the kids he is watching. Videos like that feed consumerism and discontentment. Overall we feel like we’ve landed in a good place. I’m glad we were able to have the conversations now and set healthy boundaries at a young age. Media will be a factor in our boys’ lives as they grow up into adulthood. My hope is that we can give them a firm foundation to use technology for good and that they would know how to have healthy safe guards in place to protect their hearts and minds.
This topic fits well with the latest book I’ve been reading called A Practical Guide to Culture. It came highly recommended from a friend/mentor and it was on sale for $0.79 on Kindle. I downloaded right away. Later our lead pastor recommended that Jeremy & I read it and attend a group discussion on it. I finished it yesterday and it hits so many important topics for parents to be aware of and shares how to have intentional conversations with kids. It was like a Biblical college course on culture. There was a lot to unpack throughout the book. It is a great resource to encourage parents to be proactive and also a helpful reference for when situations come up that might catch you off guard. Kids are exposed to all kind of things way sooner than we experienced as parents. We might not be ready to have tough conversations, but we need to be aware that they are going to happen. If we’re not willing to have these conversations with our kids, they will go to someone else for the answers. This is a resource I will return to many times over the next few years.
Okay, way to end with the heavy topics, huh? The pictures below might help to lighten the mood. I look forward to next week’s update. Who knows, maybe we’ll actually have a vanity we like and isn’t damaged installed in our half bath? Or not! Life can be a great mystery! I’ll just look at my bookshelves and soak up the happy vibes if things get too intense around here.
Note: My kiddos got new pajamas a week or so ago. Now if we are home, they are in the their pajamas. That is why they are in their pajamas in almost every picture. And they are washed daily… and put back on promptly. This is my life.