gratitude: hey, Alexa

Alexa’s living in our kitchen now and she’s a delightful houseguest. She’s knowledgeable, well behaved, entertaining…adding both enjoyment and enlightenment to our mornings. Plus Alexa never plants big fat paws on my counter to steal food, so she’s got that going for her.

We welcomed our Echo right after Christmas, and she is a dream. Here are just a few things I love about her:

** She keeps me in the know.

I’m multitasking like a beast in the morning, so scrolling through a news app isn’t in the cards. Some days it’s a miracle that everyone eats and I get my coffee (plus, you know, dressed), so a device that shares news from NPR, CNN, and Reuters? Yes, please. Plus Alexa will stream stations like NPR or CNN. Score!

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tech free Sundays, an update

Back in October we rolled out technology free Sundays in our house, a change that was met with many a moan and groan from the middle schoolers in our midst.  What do you mean, we can’t text our friends?  What do you mean, there’s no FaceTime?  BUT THAT’S HOW KIDS CALL EACH OTHER THESE DAYS.  Lawdy, lawdy – rend the garments and don the sackcloth, my children, because clearly I know not of your suffering.

Fast forward to two weeks ago when I learned the neighbor’s child is now a member of this pained “no tech Sunday” clan.

Score one for the meanest mama on the planet.  Can I get a holla??

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navigating the world wide web

Picklebums is throwing her hat in the ring when it comes to tech advice.  Some of these I’d heard before, but some were a fresh look at a very real issue in our house.  Thought I’d pass them along.

Social media moves like wild fire and it’s very hard to put out.
Part of the joy of the internet is that you can reach a whole lot of people, super fast.  That means you can use the internet to do so many amazing things, but it also means that negative things can get out of control very, very, quickly.  And once it’s out there it is very very difficult to get rid of it.  Think about what you are sharing online, and if you are not prepared to have it shouted from the roof tops and shared with the world, keep it to yourself.”

Ten Things I Want My Tweens to Know About Social Media – Picklebums

texting, a love story

Truth time.  I love my text app.  LOVE it.  Texting may be the single greatest thing to happen in my lifetime – okay, maybe next to the smart phone.  And e-mail.  I sure do love my e-mail.  But for the purposes of this post, let’s just say texting rocks.  It’s our generation’s sliced bread.

This particular adoration may have something to do with my aversion to phone calls.  I was never the girl who spent hours talking with her friends, but somewhere between fifteen and twenty-five years old I developed an active distaste for the phone.  It became stressful, even draining, for me.  Too much pressure, too many unknowns, too little time to figure out what to say when things go wonky.

Yeah, I know that sounds completely nutty, but if we’re not hanging out face to face then I just do better in writing.

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buenos días, cómo estás?

Oh boy, do I love this duoLingo.  I’ve been working on my Spanish for over a month and reached the intermediate level – woo hoo! – which basically means I’ve graduated from apples and rice to present tense verbs.  My app tells me I’ve achieved 37% fluency, which may or may not be a slight exaggeration…I’m taking it as encouragement either way.

At 37% fluency I can regale captive blog readers friends with phrases like:

  • ¿Dónde está el baño?
  • Mi esposo es mono.
  • Como pollo y arroz.
  • Yo no corro.
  • Sí, me gusta tomar una cerveza, gracias.

I’m pretty good at colors, too.

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when you set a goal and God throws down

“When it comes to technology and the kids nothing promised is permanent, nothing is etched in stone.  We try something and if it works, great.  If not?  Well, we try something else…

Which brings us to our latest shift.  It seems even our best efforts can’t get the kids enough non-screen time altogether, so BrightSide came up with the radical idea of no screens on Sundays.  I’ll repeat that.  An entire day without technology.  None.  At all.  Every single week.”

The goal of Friday’s post, basically, was the hope that sending good thoughts out into the universe might bless us with a semi-peaceful attempt at living tech-free for a day.  I wasn’t looking for Ghandi-like enlightenment, just sixteen or so hours with limited squabbling.

Here’s how it went.

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technology trial and error

Life around here is one long experiment.  When it comes to technology and the kids nothing promised is permanent, nothing is etched in stone.  We try something and if it works, great.  If not?  Well, we try something else.

I’m sure the shifting ground rules irritate T-man and Bear, but it’s the best we can do.  And isn’t that the truth for parents everywhere?

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texts about porn are rarely good news

Yeah, it happens.  Kids + technology + the internet = the source of a thousand awkward conversations.

“It was after a night spent with family — the adults in one room and the seven- and eight-year-olds in another — when I received a series of texts that began with: “Anna and Ella were watching PORN!” Apparently they’d been using an unrestricted adult iPad to search the web for “kissing pranks.” If you aren’t familiar with Rule 34, now you know. Rule 34 was on and popping in this scenario.”

Suburban Snapshots: So, Your Kid Found Some Internet Porn