Monday, August 20, 2018

Finding My Way Back

I've spent a lot of time over the last few months trying to figure out what social media was doing for me, and for my family. I talked about it in my last post, and went so far as to declare that I was going to delete all of my social media accounts.

I didn't.

I did delete Snapchat, although I admit to missing some of those fun filters. I just wish I had a way to filter out the ugliness there, you know? I also deleted Twitter, but I never used it anyway. I'm totally burned out on Facebook, and feel like it's become a place of political griping, sharing a bunch of videos to waste my time, and overall whining about life. I just can't do that. I still have it, though, and use it periodically to post a full-length video of the kids performing and such.

I do still have my Instagram, though, and it would be really hard for me to delete that one. I only follow close friends, family, and a couple of accounts that truly add value to my life. I learn things from the people I follow there, and I enjoy keeping up with friends and family. The trick, I believe, is making it work for ME, and not spending too much time there.

All that said, I miss my blog. I got super frustrated because I lost several years of it, and that took the joy out of it for me. But I miss it. I love this way of keeping a family record, our history as it's happening, and I love the connections I've made here.

I'll have to figure out the best way, but I'm coming back! For now, I plan to try to hit some of the highlights of the last few years, and then pick up where we are now. If I try to go back and really tell the story of the last six years, I'm afraid I'll never catch up. Maybe I can use the whole "Throwback Thursday" thing to work on catching up?? I don't know. I'll have to be prayerful about the best way, but I'm going to do my best!

So what's going on today?

Carter, Caden, and Makenna all have auditions for this year's school musical, Into the Woods. It's particularly exciting for me because it's a show I did when I was in high school! They're all nervous, of course, but they'll do amazing, I'm sure. Auditions are just terrifying, that's all there is to it!

So let's get you all caught up!

Tyler is 27 now, living and working in Texas, and learning the art of the stock market. He recently spent a few days in Washington with Russell while he was there, and they had a great time together, just the two of them!

Chandler (Elder Rowe) is working and serving in Provo, Utah as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! He's speaking Spanish there, and currently serving right on the BYU campus. That's great because he'll know his way around when he heads back out to school next year, ha ha. He'll be home right at the first of the year, but who's counting? Sure do miss him, but wouldn't have him anywhere else!

Conner is the baby of the family, although at twelve years old, he can hardly be called a baby! Where has the time gone?? He's a middle-schooler now and just started the seventh grade. He's happy and busy and all the things a twelve-year-old boy is supposed to be, and I just love it!

Caden is a Sophomore this year, driving (currently with a permit), skateboarding, playing Risk with friends, and providing enough energy for the entire house.

 Makenna is a Freshman, and is in full-blown social butterfly mode. She's a hard worker at school, and seriously can't handle getting anything other than a 'A' in any class, ha ha. I don't mind!

Carter is a Senior, what?? He's working at Jason's Deli in the evenings, participating in Chamber Choir, Concert Choir and Drama, and thinks that life could stay just like it is today for the rest of forever and it would be ok!

And the biggest thing to happen to us recently is the birth of our first grand baby! Zoey Elizabeth Rose was born one day after her Mommy's birthday, July 24. She was a mighty 5 lbs 13 oz, ha ha. She and Mariah are all the way out in Hawaii, and we're just dying to see them! I snapped this picture yesterday while we face-timed with Miss Zoey and her mommy, and even thought the quality isn't amazing, the two sweet girls are! Thank goodness for modern technology!

Welcome back, my friends! It's wonderful to be here again, and I'm so excited to use this blog to keep up with our little circus' story. Thanks for being here with me!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Goodbye Social Media

I got my first smart phone when we moved to Arizona in 2011. Russell had a great new job that provided him with a new iPhone, and I felt like I deserved one, too! I headed to the mall and got a brand new iPhone 4. It didn't take long to discover the joys of smart phones, ha ha. Games, pictures and of course, social media. I got the Facebook app, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Linked In. I found Pinterest, too, and we all know what a black hole of awesomeness Pinterest is, ha ha.

For the last SEVEN years, I've been active on Facebook and Instagram. Sporadic on Twitter, and rarely on Linked In. Snapchat was used pretty much for playing with filters, and an occasional message to a friend or family member. Snapchat's always good for a laugh. And Pinterest sucked me in big time for a while, but then I kind of burned out on it.

In this period of time, my kids went from little kids to teenagers well on their way to adulthood. They've watched me on social media, they've watched their friends on social media, they've BEEN on social media.

Over the last few months there's been a lot of talk about what affect all of this is having on us and our children. Study after study confirms that it's more negative than positive for most of us. Psychologists are dealing with more and more depression, anxiety and suicide attempts than ever before, and they're blaming social media. The issues of comparison, jealousy and the feelings of inadequacy are no joke, and for the last several months I've been trying to figure out how to deal with it all.

The fact is, my generation of parents are the first to have to do this. There simply is no precedent for the all-day access to information (good or bad), the photo editing software that allows us all to "fix" ourselves right in the palm of our hands, the never being "out of reach" from our work or friends, all of it.

And I asked myself "Do I want MY family to be the guinea pigs for this?"
And I finally answered myself 

I'm not sure what the future holds. I would never go so far as to say that I'll never have social media again. I'd love a good way to keep up with family, especially as my kids leave home and start families of their own. Instagram would work, it's just that it's overrun with users, and it's hard to restrict it to family only. Anyway, I do want to figure something out for that, since I have seven kids and they're likely to be spread out all over the place.

I've spent a lot of time trying to convince myself that I'm able to focus on the good things that are found on social media. And that's true, to an extent, but I'm not immune to the feelings of inadequacy that come when I've had a rough "mom day" and I get on Instagram and see beautiful pictures of loving, happy moms laughing with their kids. Rest assured, I know social media. I know how it works, and I know most of those pictures are staged. Please know that this knowledge does NOT make you immune! You still see what you see with your eyes, and those images are powerful!

 If you're feeling that self-doubt, or worse, PLEASE try going without social media for a while. Just give it a chance! I can't explain it, but just making this decision has been freeing to me. I feel a power that I didn't feel before, and I have hope for amazing things to come!

I don't know how often I'll post here, I'm not very reliable, but I have no intention of shutting down my blog. There was a time when I found a lot of joy in posting here, and just maybe I'll find that joy again, now that my time isn't being sucked up watching other people live their lives! 

Can't wait to see how this simple decision changes me, friends!

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