August: getting back to simple living.

As a family, we've decided to take the month of August to simplify our lives even further, to cut back on spending and get back to the simple, wonderful things that make life worth living. We've already been eating cleaner thanks to our first completed Whole30, which we're both continuing to do for the most part.  But now we're feeling led to tackle other areas like TV/movie consumption, financial spending, and just how we spend our time in general. 

Technology is helpful, but I don't want our family to be defined by it.  There are so many other things that are important to us: embracing time outside in nature, savoring the simple gifts of childhood like reading books together, making crafts, digging in the dirt, and running through a sprinkler.  I want my children to be able to find ways to play on their own (or with us) without a TV, phone, or Kindle being involved.

Here's what we've committed to for the month of August:

No TV/movie/Netflix watching at all.  Let's be honest, this is probably going to be the hardest on mama, not because I like to watch TV (I rarely do), but because I absolutely use TV/Netflix as a crutch to keep my 4-year-old busy when I need a break.  I'm pretty stringent about her only watching shows like those on PBS Kids or other classics like Richard Scarry's Busytown, Little Bear, and Strawberry Shortcake.  And I'm not some kind of supermom who thinks I should be able to parent 100% of the time without using media, but I do think we need to cut it out for a month just to take a step back and re-evaluate.  This will open the door back up to more creative play, more often.  For instance, our babysitter Rachel who comes twice a week has a strict no-TV-watching policy while she's with any kids she's babysitting.  You wouldn't believe the creations she and Luci Belle come up with - a "dollhouse" made of cardboard and recycling scraps, a secret hideaway made from a carseat box, and a super hero tissue paper cape.

No technology while eating, nursing, or bathing.  We've gotten into the bad habit of answering texts while at the dinner table and allowing our oldest daughter to eat her lunch while watching a show.  I've picked up my phone to check Instagram while nursing as my precious wide-eyed 6-month old is looking up at me playing with my hair.   And the other night, I took my phone with me to take a bath.  Seriously?  This is not okay.

Cook and share meals at home.  We haven't been eating out much since Whole30, but this will also eliminate the several-times-weekly trips to Whole Foods to get my daughter pepperoni pizza from the hot bar.  We know how to make an awesome homemade crust ourselves, so instead we're going to have a fun pizza-making fest here at home and freeze them for later.  Or spend some time on the patio at our own business, Urban Acres, and eat some of our awesome artisan pizza.

Be outside. Yes, August is absolutely sweltering in Texas, pretty unbearable unless you're near water.  So we're either going to find water, just sweat it out, or hunker down inside.  I'd like to see more family walks this month, then a run through the sprinkler when we get home.

Read more books.  After the children are in bed, Steven tends to veg out watching a movie on Netflix, and I join him mindlessly or work on some writing/creative stuff.   At the same time, I have, like, 6 books going and can't seem to finish any of them.  I hope to fix that in the month of August!  And I know my husband will benefit from getting back to reading more.

So here are the books I'm currently reading that I'd like to finish:

Um yeah, so 7 books.

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We've already started preparing Luci Belle for a month without TV and have been talking about all the things that are better than it, anyway.  Tonight, we're making a list of all the things we're going to do in August instead of watch shows.  I can only imagine the ways this is going to change our family.

And I don't know if this is weird, but I actually feel giddy about this.  Probably because it stirs what's deep in my soul, what I want my life and family to be about, and what I know is healthiest for us. 

They say that "transparency creates accountability," so now that it's out there, there's no turning back.  August, let's do this!