Category Archives: Digital Age

I’m a consumer consuming. Or a consuming consumer. Either way, I’ve got it bad.

I have become a woman obsessed with using her phone. Once the kids get to bed, it’s: which site am I going to go to next upon which to waste hours and hours of time and energy? 

The past few mornings I’ve woken up feeling extra groggy, and I’m starting to wonder if this is the cause. Well, either binge surfing the net, or the added caffeine and sugar I’ve slowly let creep back into my diet after months and months about being vigilant about avoiding it.

It’s just there’s SO MUCH out there to read and see and peruse and browse and buy. I’ve got world news to catch up on, celebrity news, local news. Facebook news, Instagram posts. 

And then there’s the most recent obsession: the Bloglovin’ app. It’s an app that lets you plug in all your favorite blogs so you can follow them directly and get all recent posts in one place. Right now I’m subscribed to about twenty food blogs. And a couple of writing blogs. LOVE wasting time here.

When I’ve checked all of this stuff out, there’s always Pinterest and Etsy and Wayfair and Overstock and Craigslist and Facebook yard sale groups to check in on to find ideas and inspiration and items with which to fill our new home. So far I’ve purchased nothing. But the temptation is strong. Real strong. 

I’m feeling the need soon for another of my necessary iPhone abstinence sessions, which I self-mandate every now and then. 

But for now, I’ve got to run and check out these Memorial Day sales online.

Peace out.

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An unexpected and TOTALLY entertaining surprise.

I’ve been perusing lots of different cookbooks lately to find inspiration from new recipes. I’ve borrowed some books from friends and checked some out of the library. I’m so short on time these days, that rather than take a moment to write down an appealing looking recipe, I’ll just take a quick photo on my phone. I’m not sure if this entirely legal, but it’s been working for me. 

I do, however, know this: Few things are better than going to check on an image stored in your photo feed, and then finding no less than 408—That’s right.  I counted. By fours—pictures that your VERY amateur five-year-old took sometime when you weren’t looking.

Mirror selfie # 1 of 3.

Selfies 1-26: The art of wispy hair and a serious face.


Is the ‘capture photo’ button on my camera EXTREMELY sensitive, or insanely fun to push, or does my child just love the look of the same image over and over and over…and over again? I don’t know, but it’s wildly amusing. 

Peter Rabbit close-ups with some questionable dark spaces.


Liam and I have been looking at these this evening and just cracking up imagining Nora so seriously attempting to document her subjects around the house.

Two ceiling fans, more dark shit, a car book, is that an actual smile in a selfie?, some blurry shots, and Pete the Cat.


And then there were about a hundred of Nora just holding up random puzzle pieces in front of the camera. These were perhaps my favorite of the bunch (see below):

We’ll call this series: “Look what I’ve got!”


These were so flipping funny to look at, that I think I will actually encourage Nora to borrow the phone from time to time to practice her craft. And provide me with fodder for the blog, as well as minutes upon minutes of entertainment!

Forgetting my kid’s name and Kiki the navigational voice of the car GPS.

Ever since my son Rowan arrived on the scene—nearly eight months ago now—there’s this weird thing that happens every time we are around my nephew Desmond. I call Desmond Rowan, and Rowan Desmond. So when I wonder aloud, “Desmond, do you need your diaper changed?” people look at me oddly, because Desmond is in second grade and has not worn a diaper for years and years. Additionally, when I look at the second grader and call him Rowan, he cracks up and gives me this look like he’s thinking: Again, you crazy lady? Haven’t you figured this out yet?

Apparently, I haven’t. It used to not be such a big deal as we only saw our Connecticut family several times a year. The occasional mix-up was just a silly reflection of my muddled brain’s state of ever-confusion. However, now that we are living here, I can see it becoming more of an issue. Desmond thinks I make the mistake because the boys look so similar. While Rowan does resemble Desmond as an infant, there is no ignoring the fact that one kid is a GIANT, and the other is still crawling about on all fours.

It could be that the names are somewhat similar; they both have two syllables and end with an /n/ sound. Whatever the cause of my bizarre error, I need to work on some kind of strategy for keeping the names straight, as we’ll be seeing a lot more of each other, and I’d like to not be known as batty old Aunt Kirstin before I’ve yet hit my fortieth birthday.

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We’ve settled into our new temporary home in Connecticut. There are still boxes to be unpacked. And, while I fear those same boxes may need unpacking months from now, the essentials have been put away and there is room now to walk about, and in fact, live comfortably.

Although we have been coming to Connecticut to visit friends and family for the past seven or eight years, I’ve never really paid much attention to the routes we’ve taken or the landmarks we’ve passed on our journeys back and forth. And, let’s face it, even if I had, I was not born with the same inner compass that my dad, my husband, and even my sister, Melissa have. You know, the kind of people who can visit a place once and then always remember how to get around there, even years later. I, on the other hand, am perpetually lost and directionally challenged.

To illustrate this point, I will share with you a couple of examples.

Last year, when I taught fourth grade, I exited my classroom and turned to the right to get to the rooms of the other fourth grade teachers. At the start of this school year, I moved to fifth grade, where I needed to turn left to get to the other teachers’ rooms. Up until two weeks ago, I was still making wrong turns as I came out of my classroom door and other teachers’ doors. Additionally, I would come up from the main office stairs and walk back to my old hallway, and then realize it, and abruptly turn around.

When I take the back roads from the retail outlets to my parents’ home in Pennsylvania, I always take one of two routes. However, depending on the route, I have to take a right or left turn when I come to the end of this one road. I can NEVER remember which way to go. I often guess incorrectly, and need to make a u-turn to get back on the right track. Unfortunately, my girls are used to me getting lost and making wrong turns.

Since I’ve been home with the kids here in Connecticut, and Liam’s been working, we’ve been out and about exploring local attractions. Grocery stores, children’s museums, libraries. Naturally, I’ve had to rely on the GPS on my iPhone to get us places.

The other day, after the female voice of the navigation system instructed me to turn right onto Bank Street in two-point-seven miles, Nora asked, “Mommy, who is that?”

“Hmmm?” I said absentmindedly.

“That lady talking. Who is that?”

“It’s just the voice on the phone telling me how to get where we’re going,” I said.

“But, what’s her name?” Nora said.

“She doesn’t have a name,” I said. And then, after a pause, “Should we give her one?”

“Yeah,” Nora said. Then giggled. As if she understood the absurdity of it all.

“What should we call her?” I asked the girls.

Nora suggested Kiki since that’s been Frances’s favorite go-to name lately for all things make-believe. After I laughed out loud at the suggestion, I agreed that the voice should be called Kiki.

The other day I told the girls that I was going to try and find our way without using the map on the phone. However, after one of the roads with which I was familiar was blocked due to construction, I had to resort to using my crutch. I told the girls I needed to consult my phone after all in order to find our way.

“You mean you need to get help from Kiki?” Nora asked.

“Yes, I need to get help from Kiki.” I admitted in all seriousness.

And about a hundred other mental health professionals while we’re at it.

To TV or not to TV. That is the question.

I keep seeing commentary about the last couple of episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on social media. Most of it negative. Apparently, fans didn’t like the ending. I used to be a fan. Grey’s was the ‘one show’ I used to watch. Most of my time as a parent I seem to have only ever had time enough for one show in my life. 

However, midway through this past fall, I stopped watching. A friend and colleague had gotten me hooked instead on How to Get Away With Murder. So that became my one show. I watched the first half of the season, and never finished the second half. Life got busy.

So that’s two shows now I’ve invested in, without knowing the outcome. No spoilers, please.

In addition to these two shows, I’ve been known to watch an occasional episode of New Girl, Modern Family, NCIS, Million Dollar Listing, or House Hunters. All very educational and enriching, I know. Just the way I like my TV.

Pre-latest-baby I’ll say I watched an average of an hour of TV a week. Now, the only TV I’m watching is that which the kids watch, and there’s a LOT of that going on these days. Daniel Tiger, Super Why and Cat in the Hat just aren’t doing it for me, though. 

What I’m wondering is: How do people have so much time to watch TV series? I keep hearing about all these must see shows, that, truth be told, I’d love to be able to watch. Or binge-watch. Binge-watching Lost years ago, before I had kids, was one of the greatest TV adventures of my life. So addictive. 

I know of parents of two or more kids, just like us, that seem to have time to watch lots of TV, so I can’t use family as an excuse. So what, then, is wrong with me?

And then I realized. Two words: breastfeeding and co-sleeping. The two things responsible for strangling the would-be-free-time from my life. (Incidentally, I also like to blame my lack of exercise on these two activities as well).

As I was falling asleep last night, I calculated, roughly, that I have been breastfeeding for three years and eight months out of the past four years. That’s about 1,340 days out of the past 1,460. And, I’ve had one or more children in bed with me as many nights or more.

What does this mean? I have consistently nursed my children to sleep, and many times, fallen asleep with them, unable to wake at a later time and make it to the couch to watch TV. I guess not having eight hours of uninterrupted sleep for a thousand days or more is enough to make anyone go to bed early, if not cuckoo.

A couple of weeks ago, I agreed to watch my friend’s toddler for the day since his normal babysitter was unable to do so. Crazy, I know, given I’m barely able to care for just my three. Before I agreed to do it, I checked with Liam to make sure I wasn’t a nut job to offer. He thought the lot of us would be OK for the day. 

I also checked in with my friend to see about the little guy’s routine. Specifically, I was concerned about what naptime would look like with me trying to get three or more children to sleep at roughly the same time.

“So what’s his nap schedule like?” I asked my friend. 

“He takes two naps. A morning one around 9:30 and then in the afternoon at 1:30.” she said.

“And what’s his nap routine?” I said.

“What do you mean?” she said.

“Well, do you rock him, or walk around with him until he falls asleep? Sing to him?” I said.

She paused for a bit before she answered, as if silently acknowledging my lunacy. “Um, no. We give him his blanket and tell him it’s time to go to bed. And then he just goes to bed.”

What?! “Oh,” I said, chuckling. We’ve never had one of those before.” Amazing!

“Really?” I asked, after a pause, incredulous. “You just tell him it’s time for bed, put him down, and he goes to sleep?”

“Yep,” she said.

And sure enough, he did just as she said he would, bless his little heart. It certainly made my afternoon easier, as I struggled with my two youngest in the other room, arranging both of my boobs and the kids every which way until they both were latched on and at peace. Gracious! I’m going to have chronic arthritis and a hunchback before all of this is through. But anyway, I digress.

When I told Liam about all the little guy’s sleep routine, he also was in disbelief. 

“Really?” he said.

“Uh-huh.” I said.

We both took a moment to sigh, wondering about greener grass on the other side.

“Must be nice,” Liam added. “They must have a lot of extra free time in the evenings.”

“Uh-huh,” I agreed.

So, basically, what I’m hearing is, if I want to be able to watch more TV and actually hang out with my husband, I need to wean my kids and sleep-train them immediately.

Seems like that might take more work than I’m willing to put in at this time, so we’re likely to be status quo over here for awhile. Probably another thousand days or so.

Guess TV can wait for now.



I can’t decide which is more annoying: typing out entire blog posts on my cell phone, or using my laptop with a significant broken key.

For a little over a year now, my beloved MacBook Pro has been without a functioning delete key (see image below: where working key should be, you’ll notice an empty key space filled with glowing backlight).

How did this happen? Well, let me tell you. Last Christmas, I decided I needed a big crafting project for our basement play space. I set my sights on several online DIY tutorials for a child’s teepee and worked for days like a madwoman until it was finished, imperfections and all.

The finished product.

DSC_0382

Two dads trying out the space just to make sure it was safe and suitable for the children. They look quite at home, don’t they?

Each morning for a few days between Christmas and New Year’s I took my coffee downstairs to work on cutting and sewing canvas, spacing out poles, and eventually, assembling the whole thing together. I had my laptop with me on the floor because I was using the online tutorials as a guide.

One morning, I carelessly knocked over my cup of coffee. I didn’t notice it right away, but the coffee had spilled onto part of the Mac keyboard. When I finally saw it, after I let out a string of oh-shit-oh-shit-oh-shit-oh-shit-oh-shits, I swiftly righted the cup, flipped my laptop upside down and ran to get a towel. An initial assessment showed that every key was working except the delete key. An hours later assessment still showed that every key was working except the delete key.

I did some quick and dirty research online to see about replacing the keyboard. It all seemed to point to a very expensive replacement and no easy fix. I’ve never taken it anywhere to be serviced or inquired about a repair. Liam and I have simply dealt with life without delete. It is a HUGE pain in the ass to be typing anything of some length (e-mails, blog posts, lesson plans, etc.), because we inevitably make mistakes when we type, and there is no ease of just hitting a button to go backwards and erase. Instead, we must highlight the error and either type on top of it, or just hit the space bar to clear it. Often this latter move results in creating two spaces between words, when there is meant to be just one, so we have to highlight both spaces again and press the space bar one more time. Let me tell you, it is a real drag.

Forget forward deleting either, an easy alternative option on a non-Mac keyboard. There is this option on a Mac too, using a shortcut, but you have to use the command key in conjunction with the delete key.

Want to go back to a previously viewed website on your browser? Can’t do it with a quick and simple keystroke anymore. Have to use the trackpad to go and press that backward arrow. Major waste of time. Deleting massive amount of photos, or clips in iMovie? No problem, right? WHEN. YOUR. DELETE. KEY. WORKS. Now we have to manually drag everything to the trash. Such a chore.

I suppose it could be worse. We could be without the ‘e’ key, the most frequently occurring letter in the English alphabet, a fact I just looked up online. What would we do then? Substitute with another vowel, like ‘a’? Frances would be Francas. Restless Roost would be Rastlass Roost. Similar enough, right? It might even be fun for word-smithy readers to try and decipher blog posts using that simple key switcheroo, a cryptoquip of sorts.

Liam and I have agreed that the best, though, is when we get to work and use our Dell, district/office provided laptops—machines with fully functional keyboards. We’ll both forget that we can actually use the backspace key. So, we find ourselves doing the whole highlight and type-over bit, and then realize—wait a minute! We can actually just hit this key right here, and all is well with the world again. So easy. So the way it should be.

And because things are not as they should be, I find myself at times preferring to type out blog posts on my cell phone, a fact Liam thinks is just absurd given the small size of the screen. I admit this can be equally frustrating since the keyboard is mini-sized too and this makes it easy for misplaced fingers to type lots of errors. However, when this sort of thing happens, I can just easily hit the delete key, erase my mistake and type again!

Hopefully someday in the future we will once again have a functioning keyboard on the laptop. Until then, we are becoming expert highlighters and type-over-ers. Be thankful for your working keys, people. Don’t take them for granted!