Monthly Archives: March 2011

Two Girls in a Bedroom

On Friday, with some apprehension, I said to Catherine, “Y’know, Papa and I have been thinking about getting your old small bed down from the attic and putting it in your room so that Esme can sleep with you at night.” I wasn’t sure how she would react to the idea of giving up ‘her’ space and brought up the topic just to start the ball rolling so she could get used to the idea.

Well, wouldn’t you know that Catherine was more than thrilled at the thought of having “two sisters in one room!!” So excited, in fact, that as soon as we got home and put Esme down for her nap she rushed into her room and started cleaning up.

Before
Before

Catherine and I had the room clean and tidy by the time Peter came home from work and before bedtime the two of them had rearranged the furniture a bit, retrieved the bed from the attic, assembled it and made it cozy. Both girls were almost too excited about it all to fall asleep, but they eventually drifted off.

After
After

Esme spent about half the night in her new bed and half the night in ours, but I’d say it was a pretty good first night. Just before bed Catherine told us, “If Esme wakes up and cries I will say to her ‘are you okay, Esme?’ And if she says no, I will bring her to Mama.” So sweet!

The room is so small that eventually I think we’ll have to go to bunk beds, but for now this arrangement will be just fine. [more photos here]

Lenten Challenge: After Nine Days

I’m currently on Day Nine of my Lenten Challenge. Nine days without using Facebook or Twitter. I wanted to share a little bit about how that’s been going.

First, Twitter. This one has been easier to give up. Not many of my close friends use Twitter, and most of the ones that do also duplicate their posts on Facebook. So I’m not missing a lot of valuable content. Sure, I’m missing out on a lot of conversations I might have missed otherwise, but most of them don’t really concern me, and are nothing that I really need to spend my time thinking about. The thing I’ve missed most about Twitter is the ability to easily contact some of the brands that I use every day, for example Roku and Comcast. These days, Twitter is one of the best ways to get support for products and services. I’ve also missed Twitter’s ability to bring people over to read my blog entries. Although we do offer an RSS feed of our blog entries, many people have abandoned RSS newsreaders these days in favor of gathering their news from Twitter. If I’m not posting updates on Twitter, then many people probably don’t know that I’m blogging. Yes, I do know that many of my friends from Build Guild have daily conversations on Twitter, and although I’m probably missing out on some of that, I’ll be looking forward to seeing them even more at next month’s event.

Second, Facebook. This one has been harder. More of my close friends and family are on Facebook. Rebecca and I and our friends and family rely more on Facebook to share family news and information. So I’m definitely missing the ability to stay up to date on what’s going on in everyone’s lives. To be fair, I did keep two Facebook features active – I’m a member of the Ericsson’s baby updates group, and I elected to continue receiving updates from that group since I really did want to know when their baby was born and what his name was (welcome, Levi!). I also get messages sent to a Facebook group for the young married couples group I’m involved with at Dane Street. I’ll also look over Rebecca’s shoulder if she wants to show me something specific on Facebook. But other than that, I haven’t visited the Facebook site on my own.

So far, I think the biggest benefit this challenge has had has been the reduction of distraction in my daily life. I already have enough to handle, with my responsibilities at work and at home. I already have social groups to interact with in a face-to-face setting at work, at home, and at church. Throw into the mix scanning updates from hundreds of people dozens of times per day, and I’d be getting far more input than I can really handle. Sure, I might get an endorphin boost from scanning all of that news, and it may create a feeling of excitement, but after that, it’s a bit of a letdown. I feel mentally quieter, and I feel that I’m able to give more attention to my immediate responsibilities: my work during the day, and my family on the evenings and weekends. I’m still searching for more ways to enhance the time that I have taken back from Twitter and Facebook, although I think the biggest realization has been that there is plenty for me to do already, if I’d just stop and take notice of it.

Rebecca has pointed out to me that giving something up entirely, especially something that isn’t required for survival, is much, much easier than doing it in moderation. It’s easy for me to simply say that I’m giving up Facebook and Twitter entirely. It makes decisions much simpler. Do I check Facebook or Twitter now? No. How about later? No. However, I do think that it’s a good starting point to clear the decks and make a fresh start after the Lenten challenge. At that point, the new challenge will be how to reintegrate these media into my life in a meaningful and balanced way. I hope to be more intentional about how I use them, and I’ll definitely have to exercise more self-control and discretion.

I also think that I’ll probably end up unfollowing some people on Twitter and unfriending some people on Facebook. Not because I dislike these people, but because I simply feel the need to focus more on the people who are really more a part of my daily life. I am a bit worried about doing this, however, because it seems that people have really started to believe that followership on Twitter or friendship on Facebook are as weighty and important as real-life friendships. I think this point is still up for debate, and the way people use social media is constantly evolving. But for my own personal usage, I’d rather start to see Facebook and Twitter more as extensions of real-life, face-to-face friendships, something that is added on to what I’ve already experienced and cultivated. I realize that for people who have been raised on Facebook, there may be less of a distinction there – you probably don’t have many friends who you met in real life first, and didn’t friend on Facebook until after you got to know them. You probably friended them on Facebook as soon as you met them, and it’s been one and the same ever since. And in the past two years or so, there are quite a few people who I’ve met in real life for the first time, only to add them to Facebook shortly after. Perhaps I’ll try to delay the friending process until I’ve had some more time to get to know them. Who knows, I may even end up adding some new people to my network – people who I’ve known for a while but haven’t connected with online.

I still have 36 more days to go in this challenge. Quite a long time, to be sure. Perhaps my feelings will change during that time. Maybe I’ll have more revelations, or try some new things. Maybe I’ll change my opinions or backtrack on some of the grandiose statements I made above. I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of this Lenten season brings.

I’d love to hear from my readers. Are you fasting from anything for Lent? Do you have any thoughts on my challenge? Do you miss me on Facebook and Twitter? 🙂

Welcome, Baby Ericsson!

Tonight, Rebecca, Catherine, Esme and I headed over to Beverly Hospital for the first time as a family since Esme was born. The occasion was to visit our friends the Ericssons, and to meet their new baby boy!

Catherine and baby Ericsson

Catherine and baby Ericsson

Baby boy Ericsson was born on Ash Wednesday, and it appears that the whole Ericsson family is doing well and enjoying their time together. We had a good time visiting them, too. The girls loved getting to see a new baby, and Rebecca and I reminisced about our own experiences in Beverly Hospital’s maternity ward, two years ago with Esme and almost five years ago with Catherine. I even got to take a few photos, more of which you can see in our gallery.

Best wishes and many prayers to the Ericsson family for their new life together.

My Lenten Challenge

I’ve never done anything serious for Lent, but this year I’ve been feeling a real need to do something to help me contemplate the season and prepare for Easter. One of the traditions of Lent is giving up fatty food, and in a way I’d like to do that. Only, the fat that I want to give up is Facebook and Twitter. To me, these are like the fat of the internet. Very tasty, but very bad for you if not used in moderation. I’ve found that recently I spend far too much time engrossed in these networks, with my attention split in too many different directions. I’d like to spend my time and attention on other things, at least for a little while.

So, from now until Easter, I’ll be abstaining from Twitter and Facebook. I’ve removed the apps from my iPod touch, removed the bookmarks from my phone and web browsers, and cleared them from my browser history. I will challenge myself not to read or post anything to Facebook or Twitter. I won’t post photos to Facebook or Twitter via my phone. I’ve disabled all notifications from Twitter and Facebook except for direct messages (i.e. if you comment on one of my previous Facebook posts, I won’t know about it, unless of course someone tells me), and my hope is that if I do get a message, I’ll be able to respond via email, so as not to need to log in to the site. I’m grateful that my job requirement doesn’t include the use of Twitter or Facebook, as that would make things very difficult.

So if I’m giving these things up, what do I hope to do with this time? I’d like to write more, specifically in blog entries. I’d like to have more in-person, telephone, or email conversations with people. I’d like to do more thinking and more focusing. I’d like to do better quality work, and spend more quality time engaged with my friends and family.

I realize that there will be challenges. People will undoubtedly ask if I’ve read such and such a thing that was posted on Twitter or Facebook, and I won’t have, unless it came across some other channel like a blog or email message. Sometimes I may have an impulsive, instinctive inclination to pop over to one of these websites just to ‘see what’s up,’ but I hope to minimize or eliminate that. And I do realize that Facebook and Twitter are increasingly becoming a legitimate channel for events, collaboration, and communication. If nothing else, maybe this will be a great lesson in the impact of social networking in modern society, and what the consequences are when you tune yourself out. Maybe within a few days I’ll be crazy and screaming and running right back. I don’t know. It’s a challenge!

So, if you want to get a hold of me, you can find my email on the contact page. I’ll still be reading my news feeds, reading and sending email, answering my phone. I’ll still upload photos to our gallery, and I’ll probably still share funny photos and links… I’ll probably just email them to specific people instead of posting them for all to see. If you want to find out what’s going on in my life, check out this blog, or, just ask me! If you want to comment, leave a comment on this blog!

I hope that you have a meaningful Lent. Let me know if you’ve chosen to do anything in particular to prepare for Easter.

Esme’s 2nd Birthday!

On Saturday, we celebrated Esme’s second birthday! I can’t believe she’s already two! We had a busy and fun day.

We started off the day with a birthday breakfast of banana muffins, served to the birthday girl with candles on top.

Birthday Muffins...

Birthday Muffins...

After breakfast, we headed up to Gordon College for the Bennett Center Family Day. Catherine tried the climbing wall for the first time!

 

Catherine's a Climber!

We were impressed with how far Catherine climbed (3/4 of the way to the top!). She really seemed to enjoy herself, although she wasn’t all that interested in completing the goals set forth by the instructor. She tends to like to do things her own way, and so she did some climbing but also enjoyed leaning out on the rope, spinning around, and generally having a good time. 🙂 We also played for a while in the gym, and then had lunch at Lane. Ah, memories! I even had a Nubby Burger. for you Gordon alumni – they’re actually on the menu at the grill in the cafeteria!

After we came home and Esme had a nap, we did a Photo shoot for Esme’s second birthday. Here’s one of our favorite shots:

 

Hello!

Hello!

Finally, in the early evening, was our birthday party for Esme. Like last year, we had her party at Chipotle at the North Shore Mall in Peabody. It’s a favorite restaurant of ours, and certainly a favorite with our girls. We invited a bunch of friends and family to join us for dinner. We commandeered the front section of the restaurant, draped a banner across Mr. Chipotle (or whatever that sculpture is called), and settled in for a few hours. Everyone enjoyed burritos, chips and guac, and hanging out with the birthday girl.

 

Esme and Grandpa

Esme and Grandpa

You can check out many more photos from the day: Birthday Morning, Bennett Center Family Day, Photo Shoot, Party at Chipotle.