The Screen Time app. It’s ruining my life.

OK, this blog post may be a bit dramatic even for me. But seriously, this darn screen time app…

I mentioned in my last post that one of my November goals has been to limit my screen time to under 4 hours per day. Easy, right?

Evidently not for me!

I had no idea I spent over 4 hours per day on my phone. That seems crazy! But when I looked at what apps I was spending a lot of time on, it makes sense. Little amounts of time over the course of a day really add up! Plus I realize I pick my phone up to check email or other notifications way too  often.

How the screen time app has changed the way I use my phone

I also realized that on days I pick Clara up from preschool I log about an hour on Google Maps. Just for preschool pick-up! So of course I stopped using Google Maps to go everywhere I should know how to get to… and subsequently got lost a bunch of times. This is not surprising (well, it was to me, but shouldn’t have been) because I have a horrible sense of direction. So now I do things the old-fashioned way: I look up directions before I go and try to memorize the route. And when I get lost – which is inevitable – I turn on the Maps to get me back on track.

All for the sake of limiting my screen time!

I wish I could just exclude Google Maps from being counted at all, but I am considering this part of the challenge in getting myself away from my phone for everyday tasks.

The dependency must end! (Or does it? Should I just be embracing modern technology and its ability to get me from point A to point B?)

One of the positive changes I’ve made has been to set limits on how much I’m on Facebook and Instagram, and this little setting has made a huge difference in my aimless scrolling. I really do think everyone should set limits on apps that they find themselves clicking on for no apparent reason. When it’s 10pm and my little timer tells me that I only have 5 min of Instagram left for the day, I take that as a great indication that I need to be off my phone and go to bed.

Even though I think ignorance is bliss when it comes to knowledge about how much I’ve been on my phone – the changes I’ve made to get off my phone have been positive. I mean, sure sometimes I cheat the system. For instance, I look up more things on the computer instead of my phone (but I don’t use social media on my computer). However, overall I know I spend much less time in front of my screen.

And this means that I’ve been reading even more books than usual – always a good thing!

Tim has told me there are ways to get around this little app ‘ruining my life’ such as taking it off my menu screen or whatever-you-call-it on my iPhone. (Basically he’s saying I could hide it.) He also says I can download a different app to track it so that I can exclude Google Maps from being counted as ‘screen time’.

But I’m not a quitter – no sir – so I’m going to stick with using this measuring device to record my screen time and see if I can build some positive habits, especially during the month of November when this is a goal of mine!

Do you check your screen time? How do you feel about the amount of time you’re on your phone?

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November Goals

Today is one of the rare days that both girls are taking a nap. (*Do you hear angels trumpeting in the background?!*) We don’t usually allow Clara to take naps anymore, because this guarantees she’ll be awake until 11pm tonight… but she has a cold so I’m just letting her have the extra rest. Girlfriend loves herself some extra rest – just like her dad!

But her nap gives me extra rest. Which I will use to eat Halloween candy, if we’re being honest.

In between bites of dark chocolate, I’m also sitting down to work out some of my November Goals. As I mentioned in the last post, I use Lara Casey’s Powersheets to organize my goals. This past year was my first year using them, and they really helped me to be intentional with my year. Although, I will admit, like most things, I’ve lost motivation as the year has gone on… and some months didn’t get filled out ‘on time’… but I’m definitely more intentional with goals than I have been in previous years. Plus, for the past few years I was focusing on one word (instead of a list of goals), and while I enjoyed that way of goal-setting, too, I was still consistently making mini-goals and challenges throughout the year, without having a way to record them or the progress I was making. I love how these Powersheets ask me how I want to spend my year at both a high level and then at a daily level, and it helps me to create actionable goals. Life-changing. (Especially for a chronic goal-setter like myself.) Anyways, I highly recommend you check out the Powersheets. They’ll sell out before the new year, so if you’re interested in them, buy them as an early holiday present for yourself!

November Goals 2018 (Monthly, Daily, Weekly)

A Summary of My November Goals:

Monthly Goals:

  • Travel to Chicago
    • Create itinerary
  • Create holiday activity (bucket) list
  • Catch-up on house projects
  • Massages
  • Buy anniversary gift

Weekly Goals

Daily Goals

  • Screentime less than four hours
  • Bedtime before 11pm
  • Move/stretch/walk Oz/etc.

Thoughts on these goals… some of them are more generic than others! “Catch-up on house projects” is kind of a never-ending goal and I may never truly catch-up this month, but I want to FEEL caught up. I also want to ensure I move my body more and get regular massages and exercise my mind by blogging, taking photos, and writing. My favorite way to get into the Bible is through the Write the Word journals, which I want to get into at least once per week.

Then of course the daily goals… Has the screentime app/feature in the recent iPhone update ruined anyone else’s life?! (OK, being slightly dramatic here.) Because it has made me realize I’m on my phone even more than I thought I was. Ugh. Four hours still sounds like a lot, but the reality is I use my phone all of the time to shop, look things up, navigate places, etc., so I’m going to take baby steps in spending less and less time on it! Wish me luck.

And let’s not get started on how hard it’s going to be for me to get to bed before 11pm… yikes. I accomplished this goal earlier in this year (when it was a daily goal for a few months), but then I fell straight off the wagon. I need these check marks for accountability, darnit.

Well, now that I’ve written it out online and in my Powersheets, it has to all happen – right!?

Do you have any goals this month?! Can you believe 2018 is almost over?!

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Things I’m Loving This Week

It’s only Wednesday but it’s already a good week! I’ve managed to shower and straighten my hair, I’ve put on ‘real’ clothes, we had a great speaker at our MOPS group, I took Isabelle to her first dance class, we got our family photos back, and generally I’m feeling very on top of things. (THIS NEVER HAPPENS!) Of course, that can all change in seconds, so I’m counting my thankful seconds while I have them. 😉

fall-leavesRoasted chickpeas!

We went over to our neighbor’s house the other day, and she generously offered to make us roasted chickpeas with her air fryer. Let me tell you, that thing made roasted chickpeas in no time at all! I make them at home in the oven, too, and they’re perfect for a fall snack.

Lara Casey’s Powersheets!

I just wrote out my November goals yesterday, and the 2019 Powersheets come out today! I’ll be snatching some up for sure. PSA: these sold out pretty early last year, so if you want to be intentional about goal setting this next year, buy them early! I really think this is a helpful tool if you want to take a step back, look at your life, and define some long and short term goals for your year ahead. I bought the 2019 Dated PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner.

Art For Kids Hub!

A friend recommended that I use this YouTube channel as a tool for quiet time and it is WONDERFUL for Clara (who is 4.5 years old). Granted, I’m not sure she actually tries that hard to recreate the drawings they do, but she will sit there and watch them! I’m not a fan of screen time for my toddlers, but I feel better about turning on shows that they can follow along with and that are somewhat interactive.

Fall Colors!

Everyone always says the east coast and Midwest have the best autumn scenery… but I don’t know… Seattle looks gorgeous with the changing leaves! Of course, this year we were extra spoiled because we had outstanding weather for most of October. Tim and I even took the girls hiking over the weekend to Twin Falls, and it was fun and gorgeous! I just wish I had taken my ‘nicer'(not phone) camera to capture some of the scenery!

I hope you’re having a great week!

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Meet Your Neighbors!

I’ve mentioned before that (about a month ago) we moved to a town right outside of Seattle. It’s no secret that I was not excited about being in the ‘suburbs’, at all.

HOWEVER, the thing that has surprised me the most about our move is how much we love our neighborhood. Sure the walkability isn’t great (*sigh*) and it’s not the most beautiful area to walk around, but, our neighbors are great!

And this is how I know that to be true… we’ve actually met a lot of them!

How To Meet Your Neighbors

In a place known for its ‘Seattle Freeze’, I’m shocked that we’ve met so many people after just a month of living here. We lived in our rental house in Seattle for two years and barely met anyone.

This has been our how-to-meet-neighbor secret:

Walk around. A lot. With small children.

The day after we moved in, another family came running out of their house to introduce themselves, because they have two girls the same age as our two girls. BONUS!

The neighbor across the street came over to introduce herself to me (that’s a whole other story in itself…) and ended up babysitting the two girls while I took a shower.

Then there are a few parents who Tim met while taking the girls on bike rides who have volunteered their kids to babysit ours – and of course we’ve taken them up on that offer!

I can’t believe how easy it is to meet people by just walking around and saying hello. (It doesn’t hurt that Tim will stop and talk to absolutely anyone and everyone.)

And it’s not just in Seattle it works…

A few weeks ago when we were in Las Vegas we were trying to burn some energy off after dinner, and we took the girls outside in our friends’ neighborhood to play a family game of tag. We were loud and I was afraid we were bothering people, but it turns out that it was a good meeting-people strategy. A mom and her kids came out of their house and chased us down the street to say hello! They had just  moved into the neighborhood and were looking to meet families with young kids, and I felt so bad telling them that we didn’t actually live there! But we did have a really nice conversation.

So before it gets super cold and everyone heads inside for the winter, I want to urge you to get outside and meet your neighbors (if you haven’t already)! Or hang out in your front yard instead of your back yard! Take slow walks! Go on slow bike rides! I have a firm belief that most people love connecting, but everyone appears to be in too much of a rush for those connections to happen.

And if all else fails, make a batch of cookies and hand them out. Everyone loves cookies.

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A life update (in bullet point form)

Well this past month or so has been a whirlwind of chaos in the best (or maybe worst?) kind of way, so I’m resorting to a list form to give the bare basics update of what we’ve been up to.

+ We went to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for one of my best friend’s weddings! It was a blast but a looooong freakin’ way away from Seattle. This one deserves a whole blog post, so I shall write one. Probably. Eventually. Basically, if you’re on the east coast, I strongly suggest you make a drive to see the Outer Banks! And the wild horses on the beach! And to have the adventure of driving on sand! We had a great time and the girls are still talking nonstop about how much fun they had as flower girls.

outer-banks-wedding benroeck-family

+ We came back from North Carolina and moved a few days later – to the first house we own together! If you’re considering moving with two toddlers – don’t do it. Save yourselves. The move itself wasn’t too bad because we hired packers and movers (always the best decision for our marriage), but I may be unpacking boxes for the rest of my days. Plus, our house renovation is not done so we’re living in a house without most of the furniture we’ll need, without outlet covers, without closet doors, without a master bathroom vanity or shower door… it is not ideal. But we’re in! So that’s a win.

+ (Pre)school started last week! Not to be confused with the week of Labor Day. We may or may not have brought Clara to school a week early, only to realize that there was no school for another few days. Whoops. Nothing like starting the year with a giant parent fail. It can only get better from here, right?!

+ Also starting a new year is our Seattle MOPS group! I’m so excited to get the ball rolling with another great group of table leaders and participants! We had our table leader training a week ago and it went super well. It should be a fun year and it’s taken a lot of work to get this far, and there’s a lot of work still left to do before we kick off the year ‘officially’ with our first meetings in October. If you’re a mother of a preschooler and haven’t joined a MOPS group, you should see if there’s one that meets in your area!

+ We went to Las Vegas last week for a few days while Tim was at a work conference. Luckily, one of my college roommate lives there, so we were able to stay with her and her family (including her sweet and squishy newborn baby!). We had such a fun time in the sunshine and heat and it definitely prolonged our summer for just a bit!

+ Audrey launched another Fall Outfit Challenge and of course I’m participating! Not having to figure out what I’m going to wear for a few months is a huge win in my book, and I always look forward to the release of her outfit challenges / fashion guides.

… And that about sums it up for the last month or so!

Now that we’re more settled in to our new place, I hope to have more time to write… but I feel like that’s my intention every time and then life happens!

I hope you’re having a wonderful start to the fall season!

Posted in currently, week recap, weekend fun | Tagged | 3 Comments