I don't remember much of 2011. I randomly caught a very serious ear infection during my annual trek to SXSW in March... and poof! There is really nothing left from that year. I spent most of that time in the hospital, in doctor's offices and…
[caption id="attachment_9440" align="alignright" width="160"] This post is part of a sponsored series from Domain.ME[/caption] This blog is a decade old. Seeing as my son is almost 13, he is has grown up online - at least in these archives. It has been an interesting learning experience for him, and us, as he's grown. I used his real name when I started because many other mom bloggers were making up cutesy names and I figured "Greeble" was goofy enough. That came back to bite us when his friends first learned how to Google each other and started reading stories about his diaper rash. Super quickly many posts got moved to "private" to protect his privacy. It even changed the whole tenor of the site: as he has grown up, there are less stories about him here because the stories are not mine to tell. I have always been a bit of a stickler for following the COPPA age 13 standard for social networks. I recognize that every family finds their own way, but in addition to being a rule follower - having a public blog has taught me things about dealing with the online world. As Dex approaches this milestone, we have been prepping him, taking things slowly and learning about the every evolving landscape together.
This is probably going to sound very self-pitying and whiny, but trust me, I am grateful for my life. It's just that things have shifted so greatly over the last few years, it's hard not to be reflective. Given our work and hobbies, not to mention the kid, we've had friendships that cross into several different groups of people. Primarily, for me, that has meant mom bloggers, musicians, tech/social media peeps and PTA parents. Our connections within those groups swelled so much that they crossed over within each other and life was pretty frenetic. Almost every single night there was one, two, three or more possibilities for going out in any one, two or more of these areas. Foursquare was roaring because you could check in, and regularly find out a friend was not only nearby, but often times was in the same bar. If I went to see a local band, I could expect to know many people there. Heck, we used to run into people, all the time, all over.
We have been up at Keystone for almost a week now but it feels like a year. We really needed a vacation. While this has been a sponsored trip, we have just relaxed. You know that kind of relaxing? Where you *literally* cannot remember what day it is? I only know it is Thursday because on Tuesday my whole family SWORE it was Thursday and we all checked our devices to make sure. Today is Thursday. I am almost positive. Humans clearly created vacation to give their mind a rest. Even if we are doing non-restful things (like in the case of Bryan, who has been snowboarding his brains out), sometimes we just need to remove our brain from everyday life, do something different, think about other things. That way you appreciate where you are while vacationing, but also appreciate your regular life more too.
It's pretty clear that I love phones, and tech, and apps. I was excited when AT&T asked me to check out their new app for iPhone called DriveMode. With a tween who also uses a phone and will be driving soon (OK... soon being a relative term here, as in a few years from now)... it's important for me to set a good example on my phone. The problem is - IT'S HARD! When so many notifications come in and life is moving so fast, sometimes I need a little help. DriveMode kicks in once the car is going over 15mph and basically provides a shield while you are driving - silencing incoming notifications. You can also set the app to send a custom auto-reply for you to let people know you are driving. Depending on what screen you have open, a top banner will blink red saying "DriveMode" - which is a good reminder that it can wait till later to use your phone. However, if you really need something, the app provides one button access to 5 emergency numbers, music and the navigation app of your choice. Or, if let's say you are the passenger and want to access your phone - you can quickly turn the DriveMode app off with the big green slider.
I was chatting with a friend recently about our teen years and the stories were the same. While I never had outright bullying, there was a lot of ugly teasing and mean girls. I grew up in an area and a time where everyone was supposed to be exactly the same. My friend talked about how, when he turned 14, all of his friends pretended that they didn't know him. These kids who used to walk down the street to pick him up on the way to school all of a sudden, they would just yell rude comments and keep on going. One of my worst memories from high school was when two best friends just didn't pick me up one night, and then pretended they never even knew me after that. Like we had not been friends for the past however many years. Like I hadn't slept over umpteen times. Like, what the hell just happened? So, yeah, as Dex entered middle school - that time when friends traditionally get judgey - I have been a little, let's say... twitchy. I try not to impose my past experiences too much, because not only is Dex an old soul - he is most definitely his own person. He has generally not really cared what anyone thought and has gone his own way. Part of it, I know, is all that diversity we fight for - one benefit seems to be (thus far) kids like to be different. Less pressure to wear exactly the same clothes and do exactly the same things. I am pretty sure we all owe Glee a huge debt of gratitude.