Offline: I’m on a Social Media Detox

Posted by Carly Morgan

I started a little love project last week to share my late grandfather’s photos. After my grandpa passed away, I scanned tons of snapshots, photo album pages, documents, and slides that he had created over the years. I’m now sharing them on Instagram, which has been a fun way to showcase all of these candid moments that he captured during his life. There’s nothing commercial about that account, outside of a link back to a post here I did about scanning so people can see how I made the slides into digital photos, and I have absolutely no agenda beyond sharing these photos so people can enjoy them.

They’re old and obviously unfiltered, with no Photoshop fixes or white balance correction. They’re also taken with no background voice whispering that this shot is going to get a lot of likes, double taps, retweets, and so on. Just candid shots taken in the moment to try to hang on to something beautiful.

I love sharing things online. I love that it motivates me to take photos I might have skipped otherwise. I love being able to take a video, upload it, and immediately receive comments from friends and family far away. But I have to admit that I’m too plugged in these days. I check my social media all the time. I take photos with the idea that they’re going to be seen by thousands of people and I buy things because I know they’ll work well as props on Instagram. I check my email at least ten times a day, even though I spend all day every day with my kids and often have to shush them or plug them in to some other screen so I can give my full attention to whatever is going on online. I love it, but it’s become something that isn’t great for my family.

So, I’m going to try to go offline for the month of March to give my brain a little detox. I’m still going to check in for 5 or so minutes a day for a couple of projects that I’m working on, like the Instagram account I mentioned above, and there’s a post or two that may sneak in because I have contracts that I need to honor, but for the most part I’m going to put the phone down and try to refocus on what’s going on around me. I’m actually nervous about it – a sure sign that I’ve become too tangled up in my online accounts! Still, I made a big fat list of my priorities for March and I’m excited to start putting my energy in other places.

Enjoy your month! May we all have a few days of nice weather to get outside. Spring is on its way and it’s a great time for a fresh start…

One Mom Turning 34

Posted by Carly Morgan

Today is my 34th birthday.

 

I’ve had 34 years so far. I’ve traveled all around. I’ve had a million great conversations. I’ve listened to my favorite albums over and over again. I’ve laughed to the point of tears in a hundred movie theaters. I’ve spent a few thousand days smiling at my husband. I’ve pulled all-nighters. I’ve cooked feasts. I’ve had my toes in two oceans. I married my favorite person. I’ve felt the first butterfly kicks of three babies. I’ve even loved hard enough to outlast grief.

I am one of the lucky and I know it and even though it’s tempting sometimes to list all the things I don’t have (yet) and all the things I haven’t done or haven’t learned or haven’t gotten over, in this world today I am feeling especially lucky and tonight I’ll celebrate in my little house with my little family and feel grateful for a million things including you, friend. So happy my birthday to you!

Easy Meal Planning with a Free Printable Monthly Calendar

Posted by Carly Morgan

I have freebies for you today!

If you’re working on simplifying your life in 2017, you’re going to like this one. I’ve tried meal planning for years but I would always drop the habit after a few weeks because I’d forget to plan over the weekend and then I’d shop without knowing what we needed and the next thing you know everyone is eating Nachos Bell Grande and I’m chalking the whole project up as a loss.

It turns out that weekly meal planning doesn’t work for me BUT monthly meal planning makes my life a whole lot easier. The trick is to repeat what you’re eating from week to week. For example, at dinner we have chicken on Monday, burritos on Tuesday, pasta on Wednesday, stir fry on Thursday, and freezer meals on Friday. Breakfasts and lunches repeat as well!

It sounds boring but unless you’re Rachel Ray you probably repeat a lot of meals anyway (particularly if you have little kids) and a week of spacing things out seems to be enough time for us to not get sick of anything. Plus, I plan a little generally (like burritos every Tuesday) and then vary the details from week to week (grilled mushroom burritos last week, spicy turkey burritos tonight).

The best part about planning a month at a time is that I can plan out my shopping all at once. I try to only grocery shop once a week and we do 90% of our food shopping at either Costco or Trader Joe’s so when I make the calendar I write down which stores I’m going to hit each week and plan accordingly. If it’s a Costco week, I know I can plan on a rotisserie chicken so we have things like chicken burritos and chicken soup. If it’s a Trader Joe’s week, I’m more likely to include a variety of veggies because I’m not buying them in bulk.

Benefits:

  1. I’m saving money by planning out my shopping in advance and splitting my bulk purchases to last through the month.
  2. I plan out three meals a day so I don’t ever have to go stare blankly into the fridge while hungry kids whine behind me.
  3. By not planning on eating out, we get less take out. It still happens but it’s turned into a real treat where it used to be something we did 3-4 times per week.
  4. I can sit down on the weekend and write out our whole week’s menu in less than five minutes without stressing or flipping through Pinterest.
  5. When I actually want to make something fancy/creative/Pinterest-y, it’s easy to bump whatever is on the menu because everything repeats to some extent.

The actual planning pages I use are pretty blank but the calendar has a place for all three meals plus a space on the end of the week to write down which store I’m hitting that week. I couldn’t find anything like it so I had to create my own so I’m sharing my 2017 calendars with you in case you’re interested:

January 2017

Feburary 2017

March 2017

April 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

I also have our weekly planner page. This is what gets posted on the fridge so I don’t have to answer “what are we having for ____ ?” five million times per day. Honestly, I feel like it was also the big motivation for Calvin to start reading – he wanted to know what was coming to the table!

Meals for the Week

Our Anniversary and Our Wedding Story

Posted by Carly Morgan

Today is our eight year wedding anniversary and I marked it by doing something a little bittersweet. For the last nine years I’ve run a blog about Disney weddings, which started when I was planning our wedding at Walt Disney World, but for the last three or four years I really haven’t been able to put my heart into it. So, I spent the weekend clearing the blog out to get it ready to be deleted. I’ll miss it, but I didn’t want it to sit around getting stale.

The fun part about this is that I had the chance to go back and read a ton of posts from 2008 and 2009 including my ridiculously detailed recap of our wedding trip. How detailed? Well, let’s just say if you wish you were at my wedding, you can read this and feel like you’re there. In fact, you could probably read this and then remember the event even better than people who actually were there!

Our Wedding Trip Report
We spent a week in Walt Disney World with friends and family, with our wedding occurring mid-trip. These posts have been organized accordingly…

~Enjoying WDW with friends and family~
Day One, Part One (Delta sucks)
Day One, Part Two (Pop Century and Splash Mountain)
Day Two, Part One (My family discovers the Magic Kingdom)
Day Two, Part Two (10 adults on a flume ride)
Day Three, Part One (4 wheelchairs and 400 pins)
Day Three, Part Two (Evening in Epcot)
Day Four, Part One (On Safari)
Day Four, Part Two (Luau at the Polynesian)

~The Day Before the Wedding~
Day Five, Part One (Deathly Ill at Pop Century)
Day Five, Part Two (Rehearsal and Bridal Tea at the Grand Floridian)
Day Five, Part Three (I’m getting married tomorrow and I want my mother)
Day Five, Part Three Cont. (Fireworks from our room at the Grand Floridian)

~Our Wedding Day~
Part One (A rocky start to a lovely day)
Part Two (Getting ready to go)
Part Three (Picture time)
Part Four (Just us and the Roots)
Part Five (It’s almost time…)
Part Six (It begins)
Part Seven (Walking down the aisle)
Our Ceremony
Part Eight (So this is getting married)
Part Nine (Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Morgan)
Part Ten (Bubbles and group photos)
Part Eleven (Just us and our 15 attendants)
Part Twelve (Post-wedding portraits at the Grand Floridian)
Part Thirteen (Sneak peek at the reception)
Part Fourteen (The pre-reception)
Part Fifteen (Video of our entrance and first dance)
Part Fifteen Cont. (The story of our first dance)
Part Sixteen (The incredible buffet)
Part Seventeen (Father/Daughter dance)
Part Eighteen (Reflections and Mother/Son dance)
Part Nineteen (On the dance floor)
Part Twenty (A special dance for my grandparents)
Part Twenty-one (Top ten things I learned about receptions)
Part Twenty-two (Top ten things I learned about receptions cont.)
Part Twenty-three (A magical end to an incredible party)
Just a few more pictures
Part Twenty-four (Taking the bus in my wedding gown)
Part Twenty-five (Ending the night at Raglan Road)

~After the Wedding~
Day Seven, Part One (Hollywood Studios)
Day Seven, Part Two (Friends, family, and a painted niece at Epcot)
Day Eight (Grandpa goes to the hospital and we go to Epcot)
The End

~Our Home Receptions~
Our California Reception
Our Ohio Reception

Can you believe I wrote all that about one week?

Redshirting, Preschool Problems, and Plain Old Bad Luck

Posted by Carly Morgan

Calvin William is having a rough time of it lately.

 

He’s been attending preschool and I was so excited for him to start because he’s never been to school before. His privileged sister got to start attending Montessori school at 18 months and was able to switch into a 2 year old class at a new preschool the year after that, but Mr. Summer Birthday just barely missed the cut off to join the 2 year old class and we were not about to drop another gut-sinking wad of cash into the Montessori that we weren’t too thrilled with.

Anyway, it has not gone well.

He didn’t want to go at all in the beginning once he realized that he’d be going by himself. Unlike Eva, Calvin doesn’t like to do things by himself. A lifetime of always having one family member within arm’s reach has led to a lot of resistance when it comes to solo activities. It’s been a touch of a handicap because he can’t do things like gymnastics lessons or library story time unless he can stay within a couple feet of one of us and that’s just a huge pain. Preschool was supposed to be the answer to this problem, though, so we pushed him out the door even though he was resistant.

First, they lost him. We still don’t know exactly what happened but I went to pick him up and he was in the parking lot by himself. He had left his classroom and the building during the chaos of pick up time and with everyone coming and going nobody noticed his absence until I brought him back in. Not his fault but there was still a lot of scolding because I didn’t want hi to do that again so he left school in tears.

Then, someone took his backpack. Just one of those things that happens but a really big deal to a three year old and not something he was able to comprehend. It was made worse by the fact that his teachers didn’t believe he had brought one and told him so when he kept insisting that he had, so he left school in tears again. And that was the beginning of him saying that he didn’t want to ever go back.

Neither of our kids do things they don’t want to do very often unless it’s something that has to do with being at the doctor. We’re with them most of the time and not many situations come up where we want them to do something in particular and it’s worth pushing. The closest has been long car rides but the kids are mellow about that so it’s barely worth mentioning. This is the first time that we’re really pushing either of them into something.

I want it to be a good thing for him and I’m committed to at least finishing out the month, but I have to admit that his sad little face is making me waffle on how committed I am to him finishing the year. I think I’m coming dangerously close to crazy helicopter mom overprotective mode, but he’s such a little bear and is it really necessary for me to send him out on his own at three? Would it be OK if I dropped him down to a younger kids program with shorter hours and less responsibility if that means academic redshirting for Kindergarten…especially when these problems don’t really have anything to do with his abilities? Am I currently the queen of first world suburban homemaker problems thanks to all these pregnancy hormones?

Blah. He’s so little.

calvin

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