Unplugged, Plugged: Hallmark

This post is another Hallmark sponsored post. I am being paid by Hallmark to write it, but all writing, ideas and opinions are mine. Thankfully, Hallmark and I share the same idea–that little moments are to be celebrated and that good people, good efforts and good intentions deserve a spotlight. See Hallmark Life is a Special Occasion for more details, like them on Facebook, and/or sign up for their e-mail messages HERE.

After yesterday’s Unplugged Day, I’d like to tell you I’m writing this post with a pen–a good old-fashioned quill pen and some parchment that I just pressed from our own trees. And after I write it, I’m going to slip it in an envelope and take it to the town courier who will set off on horseback for his postal journey. Hallmark might get it somewhere near Christmas, and that’s only if the courier didn’t get eaten alive by wolves. He can’t call for help, you know. No cell phone. Once my mail has been deployed, I will get back to churning butter and knitting booties and making bonnets for the little ones.

Well, that’s not happening. I am, in fact, sitting amidst a mess of cords and hard drives and USB hubs with lights that, I swear, are blinking to the rhythm of Jingle Bells. My phone sits close on my desk, and I have to admit that when I went to write this, I was first sidetracked by three e-mails, a Facebook status update and a wicked clever attempt by Zappos who I know has placed a chip in my brain to memorize my shoe preferences because their ads only feature things I like.


I’ll admit something else. When Hallmark suggested a few topics for September posts, I skimmed through them, saw “Unplugged” and knew I’d be selecting anything but that one. It’s not that I’m addicted to technology–I have no problem stepping away from my phone or the computer. It’s just that I didn’t really want to dedicate a full day to purposely shutting everything off because I knew I’d just feel guilty for how much more I should be doing it.

But I was surprised at the outcome. I don’t feel guilty. I feel reminded of the importance of balance.

Act One: The Part Where I Twitched

I woke up early yesterday. It is unusual for me to make my morning trudge toward the kitchen without a baby clung to my hip or a toddler tip-toeing behind me, but yesterday it was just me and the first rays of the sun and the quiet of a sleeping household. I spooned a few teaspoons of fake coffee into a cup, poured hot water over it and leaned against the island in my pajamas, contemplating what to do next. No kids. I could get so much done—tackle my e-mails, write, edit photos. But no, it was Unplugged Day and I wasn’t going to cheat. For all the times I couldn’t find my phone buried in the heap of junk on our catch-all counter, suddenly it stood out like chipped red polish on an otherwise perfect manicure, luring me near. It would only take a few minutes to scroll through my e-mail box, weed out some clutter and delete some spam, and I almost gave in, convincing myself Unplugged Day didn’t start until the kids woke up. But I stood firm, even though I twitched. Yes, I nervously twitched, the first sign that this day dedicated to stepping away was important in reestablishing the most important priorities, none of which are e-mail. Here’s the crazy thing about e-mail: it doesn’t disappear.

Watching the Today Show wasn’t an option, so I threw a load of laundry in, wiped down the counters, sat on the couch and thumbed through the girls’ scrapbooks, enjoying the silence and lack of pressure to get something done. After an hour of quiet, I realized how much I missed the girls and tried to will them to wake up. And when they didn’t, I took the opportunity to make French toast for them so that when they did, a good breakfast would greet them.



I won’t rattle on with a play-by-play of the day, but I will say, I didn’t twitch for long. In fact, my shoulders settled and, knowing I’d be sticking to my plan of not giving in, I enjoyed myself more. No pressure to get back with anyone, no stress of having to do work. Remember snow days when everything seemed better just because school got called off? Yeah. It’s kind of like that.

We didn’t churn butter or knit booties or make bonnets. We did the things we always do, but it felt a little bit like vacation spilled into real life because I made a point to enjoy them more—no pressure to get home, to finish up, to hurry up because there was something else I had to get done.

I watched my ballerina a little more closely.




I noticed more triumphs during Nella’s physical therapy and I clapped a little more enthusiastically.



And I followed my girls down the sidewalk in the afternoon and never once said “time to turn around.”




Act Two: The Part where I Missed being Plugged

I could easily end this with some predictable closing line about “time to turn around” and how a day of Unplugged changed me for good. But that’s not true. What’s true is that I did indeed realize it is so easy to adopt bad habits—to let e-mail and Facebook, texting and TV seep into our lives and stretch roots where they’re not invited. But, I also learned that there’re a lot of good things about being plugged, and there’s a reason I missed some habits yesterday that people so quickly deem as “bad.”

What is it that phones and computers and televisions plug us into? Is it evil? Hardly.

It’s people.

And me loves me some people.

I realized yesterday just how much an instrument technology is in connecting me with people I love. I reached for my phone in a store to take a picture of Hello Kitty pencils to send to Lainey’s ballet teacher because she loves Hello Kitty. But then I put it back. I pulled it out again to tell my friend Dot her niece was our server at Applebees because I knew that’d make her smile. But then I put it back again. No texting. My sister called me, encouraging me to get on Facebook stat to watch an amazing video that would rock my world, and I knew from her enthusiasm, it would be good…but it was Unplugged Day. Nope. Can’t do it. I wanted to know how my friend Elizabeth was feeling during her chemo, and I wondered if there was an e-mail from her just sitting in my box. And when I heard my phone ding during breakfast, I “accidentally” looked to see a text from my friend Amy who had just dropped her little Kayla—who shares Nella’s almond eyes—off for her first day of kindergarten, and Mama was a hot mess of tears. I admit, I cheated on that one. I couldn’t grab my phone fast enough to call her up and cheer her on. And that’s when I realized there are so many incredible things about texting and Facebook and blogs and e-mail, and curling up on the couch with Brett on a Friday night to watch a movie. I missed these things yesterday. And I didn’t feel guilty about missing them.

The amount of people that are online or that have televisions in their homes or that have data and texting plans on their cell phones—it shouldn’t be alarming in the What-is-this-world-coming-to? way. It should be inspiring in that there are so many opportunities to promote change and positively affect such a mass of people who are plugged in. It’s a different world today. And while yes, I wish we still had petticoats and carriages, dance cards and phrases like “come a callin’”, we have American Idol, Skype, On Star–and fabulous opportunities to connect with people. To make their day with an e-mail or a text. To use the “evils” of technology to make a difference.


Shoe shopping can make a difference too.

It’s all about balance. Recognizing when we need to pull back and focus on our own families and yet embracing the modern world and using its advances for good.

I don’t want to twitch anymore. That’s for sure. But I also don’t want to give up routines I love—like watching Little Bear curled up on the couch with my girl, saving reruns of Deadliest Catch to enjoy over Chinese take-out with Brett, Skyping with friends far away or texting pictures of Hello Kitty pens to ballet teachers who own the matching notebooks.

We’ll be repeating the Unplugged day for sure. I like the awareness, the focus, the calm it brings. Like a snow day.



But I also love relishing in the joys of being plugged in…to the many people that help make our life grand.

The courier has a long night of travel ahead of him and a treacherous journey to get this post to Hallmark before due date. Or I could just hit “publish” and save him the trip.

Plugged or Unplugged? Why not both?

Hallmark and I would love to hear about the Unplugged and Plugged rituals, traditions and routines you have that draw your family and friends closer together. Please share one of each in the comments. I’ll start.

1)Plugged: Our extended family–aunts, uncles, cousins, grandkids–have an e-mail chain that continues to keep us together long after my grandparents passed away. We’re all on the link, and e-mails trickle in every week–with happenings, stories, challenges, etc. Without it, I wouldn’t know my family as well as I do. I wouldn’t feel as loved and supported and connected to the thing that matters most…family.

2) Unplugged: Bedtime book reading. All bodies smooshed in the bed, Brett and I acting as book-ends on the end to keep the little bodies from falling off. We read by nightlight and magically, the sisters grow quiet and stop fidgeting. We trade off who reads each page, and I laugh when Brett tries to attempt a funny voice. We don’t do it every night–maybe we should, but we forget. But when we do? It’s special. Really special. Kind of like a snow day.



To see all Life is a Special Occasion posts on this blog, click HERE.


Leave a Comment
  1. Kelle, you are precious. Keep it comin’

  2. I love it. Facebook keeps my family connected – starting with my great aunt. She’s awesome. And just learned to text. Oh, and my blog keeps us connected since Ellie was born. So grateful for mass-text-messages after Ellie’s surgery.

    And unplugging? Beach time, baby…. but we have a much longer drive! And running. And walks. And dinner.

    OK, little miss grumpster calls.

  3. 1)Plugged: Reading and “getting to know” fabulous bloggers..like you.

    2) Unplugged: Time spent in the woods as the sun sets and light beams down from heaven. Pure magic!

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  5. I’ve been trying to be a lot more unplugged lately. I am happier, my baby is happier, my house is happier. It’s a win win win. I took an unplugged week, though we did watch tv after the babe went to bed, and although the effects are wearing off it really changed some things for good. Like we wake up in the morning and have breakfast and leave for work on time without wasting hours in bed with cartoons on. Love that. We’re happier for it for good.

    TV after bed is a ritual for the husband and I. We clean, we do laundry, we change into pjs and then we curl up on the couch and melt away some stress with a favorite show. I don’t feel guilty about that one at all.

  6. Unplugged: My mom prays for us on our way to school. For a second everything is quiet and peaceful. But, don’t worry she keeps her eyes open while we close ours;)

  7. Plugged:

    Blogging, monthly prayer conference calls with 5 women in my family, job searching (can you imagine?!)


    Journaling, sewing, taking walks, making out with my husband.. 😉

  8. This rocked my world! I loved this!!

    Unplugged: Forts, flower headbands, baking, curling up to a book while listening to a thunderstorm, going to the beach and resting… mmm

  9. Plugged: Skype with the hubby overseas!

    Unplugged: Definitely the night-time routine! My kids don’t go to sleep without it! :)

  10. Love this & love you & love Hallmark!

    Plugged: sharing my little slice of the world and sneaking a glimpse of others through blogging, as well as emailing my favorite United States Marine who is currently 7000 miles away :)

    Unplugged: very rare for this college student, but 3AM conversations in the middle of the dorm hallway complemented with blankets and tea stand out as some of my favorite unplugged memories

  11. Being one of the ‘Eastcoasters’ hit by Irene, we were out of power for 2 1/2 days! I totally enjoyed not having all the gadgets to get in the way of family time. But so missed being able to hop on Facebook or the phone to check and see if they were ok, or just to talk. And candle power? Not so good for getting ready for work in the morning….Lol

  12. Plugged: keeping up with family & friends around the globe, connection with amazing people through blogs & online groups, able to do my business in my pjs whenever I want…

    Unplugged: every weeknight from 4pm through kids bedtime for dinner / bath / stories routine, am thinking an entire unplugged day would be a great challenge!

  13. Plugged – Pinterest and Flickr for quilting and knitting inspiration!

    Unplugged – Really listening to the kids and husband.

  14. beautiful!! and i loveee the yellow on lainey- so cute, modern ballerina!

  15. Your post are always so inspiring. . . Thanks to this post – I want to make it a point to “unplug” once a month and dedicate 100% of my time, energy and love into my little girl, who is just a few months younger then Nella. I recently had to send my beloved computer into the computer Dr – I was without it for a week and a half. I did have my phone, but I couldn’t get onto most of my favorite sites or my google reader to check blogs since it was so slow. And it was nice. I missed my computer, but I enjoyed my time with the kiddo. And I got more house work done – Which made for a sense of accomplishment and for a happy husband. :]

    You make a great point about how being plugged in isn’t a horrible thing this day & age. As a stay at home mom to a toddler – The internet and my friends in my computer screen are all I have throughout the day for some sense of adult interaction & conversations. Do I spend too much time on my computer during the day? Probably. I can deff cut down a ton. But having the internet has saved me from many bad days!

    Not to mention, just this past Spring I moved to a whole different state from my family and everything I’ve known in California {to Hawaii} for the first time in my 23 years of life. . . Being plugged helps us stay in contact with our family much easier, and makes it so they aren’t missing our daughter grow up too much. Skype is an amazing thing!!

  16. Ahhh snow days…baking, coloring books, playing aboard games, watching a movie with popcorn,all in our pajamas…so relaxing.

  17. Plugged ~ being able to keep in touch so easily no matter where people are.Making great friends who I would never have known existed without technology.The feeling of never being alone,of always having someone there no matter what the time of day.

    Unplugged ~ quality time with my family!Being more aware of them.Noticing tiny things I may not if I’m on my phone
    .Making the boys aware I’m there for them not just saying ‘yeh’ whilst glancing at a screen.Not time wasting for hours infront of a screen!Time slips away when you infront of a screen!
    Being a good role model for my boys ~ how can I say they need to come off the electric stuff when I’m stuck infront of it!
    Just more family connection really!

  18. i love this! it makes me feel less guilty about being “plugged” all the time. after all, i have developed and grown relationships with people i certainly wouldn’t normally ever talk to, some i wouldn’t have ever met.

  19. plugged: the network of friends I’ve connected with and formed lasting friendships with since Lily’s birth as we follow each others journeys, encourage each other, cry on each others virtual shoulders. I don’t have time at this point in my life to go to Ds support groups, but my online friends have been that support in a million ways and then some.

    unplugged: Kamping at the KOA with my family- starts tomorrow and I will try hard not to cheat. Because last month I was checking in on Nella and Lainey around the campfire and “BOOYAH’D” a little too loudly because I was first to comment…and I sort of killed the unplugged atmosphere 😉 SO here’s to trying not to twitch too much!

  20. unplugged: we don’t really watch tv. there are certain shows that I will let the kids watch for a treat, but it’s so great to not have the tv on all the time! we have a family bible study together every night, so special. I try to do unplugged things each day with my girls, walks to the park, playing in the yard, crafts.

    Plugged: i love keeping in touch with our aussie friends on fb, I love checking in with my favorite bloggers, and being encouraged at the end of the day, i love being able to help others with technology, like sending a note or email etc.

    I loved what you said about being plugged in and unplugged. i try to always be unplugged in the things that don’t really matter and just waste time. but being plugged in especially when you have family and close friends so far away is such a blessing. It’s all about balance. oh and hubby and i love to snuggle up and watch a red box movie every now and then, we don’t often get to do “dates” or alone time. so that’s our thing.

  21. Plugged: Reuniting with family and friends through Facebook is a real treat for me. When I first got on Facebook I was addicted for three weeks, eagerly anticipating the goings on. I now visit Facebook maybe two or three times a week. Ahh, balance.

    Unplugged: Husband and I take lots of walks in our little Midwestern town when we want alone time (3 kids can make for a noisy house!) These are the moments that technology can’t beat, especially when we walk hand in hand. :)

  22. Plugged: We watch Team Umi Zoomi every night before bed where the whole fam gets up to do the crazy shake at the end. It’s a sight to see, I tell ya.

    Unplugged: Spending hours outside with my girls playing in the back yard playing in the sandbox and swinging and sliding. It’s is the best. Trying to soak it up before the cold weather creeps in.

  23. i love this, both views are so wonderful. your blog makes me happy, when i see it on my blog roll that you have a new post it literally makes me day. i hope my blog one day makes a difference in someones day like yours in mine. it touches my soul. i kinda feel like we are friends. :-)

  24. I love how you focus on the good sides of being Plugged, instead of just saying how terrible things are these days! Technology is good for lots of things & we just need to find a comfortable mix. :)

  25. I like this post- A lot.

  26. Love this post. :)

  27. We unplug every Friday night and all day Saturday for Shabbat. (we’re orthodox jews).
    When I started observing- it was so hard at first to unplug- no phones, no computers,no driving, or writing no electricity at all, unless left on before or set with a timer.
    I had no idea when I’d be able get my nails done, do my returns, and run all my errands, but turns out… it’s kind of nice. It’s a day that we’re forced to relax, and unplug, and eat with friends, and read book, and newspapers, and US weekly! It’s a super added treat when you get to plug back in to find a fresh ETST blog post :)


  28. Oh what a nice way to start a Thursday morning,
    Unplugged: We head to the beachouse, my boy and my girl surf together..and I watch as she stands on the car roof to secure the boards, laugh at the fact that surf wax is still called ‘mrs palmer and her five daughters’ because some things should never become politcally correct, and then I marvel as the sun sets and they perch on a rock playing guitar together, which sounds cheesy and like a movie but somehow its our real life…

    We come home and plug in, I skyped the girl on her month in europe, I email my friends recipes, dinner dates and text my husband to please record the ‘roof show’ because its not Tuesday night without it.


  29. plugged: I skype with my dad almost every day so that he can see his granddaughter (and me too). She is the only grandchild that lives away from him and my mom.

    unplugged: there is usually one day a week where I don’t do any chores, blogging, emailing, etc….the entire day (or atleast most of the day) is dedicated entirely to my little baby girl. A day she knows that she has my entire attention! I love these days!

    Thanks for this post!

  30. I think you did really good. Glad you talked to Kayla’s Mommy. She needed you. Technology has its ups and downs. Your little ballerina reminded me of one of my granddaghters. I never noticed that before.

    Nella wants to be a ballerina too…..she’ll have to be on her feet then won’t she, hah.

  31. Absolutely love this!!!

    Plugged – Keeping in touch with my cousin’s that live in other states and rarely get a chance to visit. Reconnecting with old friends that become some of the best friends once again thanks to Facebook. And most importantly, reading blogs from women on the other side of the country who inspire me to be me and put it all out there!! Thank you Kelle!

    Unplugged – Beadtime rituals with my baby. Reading her stories, then her taking the book from me to try and read it herself (in her own little language). Sitting at the dining table watching the baby eat her food all by herself and dancing to the song in her head or the beats her daddy is making with his hands or mouth. Family time unplugged is my favorite time of all!!

  32. Kelle, I really enjoy reading your posts, you write beautifully.
    Plugged – I suffer with depression and anxiety and at times can’t leave the house, so social media helps me to connect to family and friends.
    Unplugged – my 14 year old boy has been banned from technology for a month. Yesterday he told me he doesn’t miss it and when he gets it back would like stricter rules and more time without his computer! He told me that he feels more connected with his family. I certainly noticed a difference in the after school activities with no technology.

  33. You have a beautiful family, you write beautifully and you take beautiful pictures! Really just adore your blog!

  34. LOVE it. I so agree with the technological leaps we have made. There are days where I use so much time just gawking at Pinterest. Not a memory or a relationship I will remember and treasure. But hey, probably better than watching E!. There are days where I spend an hour facebook chatting with a friend who is trying to conceive, trying not to cry and reassure her that there will be a happily ever after. So I love it. Plugged is also good.

    Plugged: a comment on my blog, or a comment from my fellow bloggers on my fb page. ZING! So thrilling.

    Unplugged: Bathtime. The whole family squished into the bathroom laughing at every little thing. Running to get the camera. Changing into jammies, singing Twinkle Twinkle. Love.

  35. Well, this hits home seeing that I was forced to be unplugged thanks to that snarky woman Irene. :) And the only things I missed, a hot shower and a nice cup of joe made at home.

    Plugged: Facebook keeps a lot of us connected on a daily basis. I’ve reconnected with high school friends and kept long distance relationships going with a daily commentary. Also, with a closest of friends living in Indonesia for 3 years, Skype baby!

    Unplugged: We minimize the TV around here in a big way. Reading 4-5 books together at night tucked in bed, crafting, drawing, play dough, teaching Alex how to sew with a small plastic needle and plastic canvas. Making forts with big sparkly pieces of material. But my favorite: Dingy rides in search of turtles.

    -Jennifer from Annapolis

  36. I love your blog kelle. I want you to be one of my bff’s!

    Plugged: blogging so far-away friends & family can keep up with little one & reading blogs for inspiration (on cooking, parenting, creating, sooo many things).

    Unplugged: Just sitting and watching my 11 month old girl play, do silly things, walk up to me (stumble…) and come in for hugs and kisses. Taking her in!!!

  37. So often I think of things as all or nothing, especially when it comes to being plugged in or not… but you’re so right, the balance is key, and the sweet spot is just that – so sweet.
    Plugged in: Friday family movie night, popcorn and blankets and snuggling close on one couch.
    Unplugged: Beach trips. Long lazy mornings at the beach when we have no place to be, no worries that come in to our sacred space :)

  38. I love, love, love this post. Spending too much time using technology is a big problem for me, and while there are most definitely time wasters on the internet, the things like blogging and Facebook and texting and Twitter…I totally agree with you. I’d never thought about it from your perspective before, that it’s spending time with people, just in a different way. I’ve spent days unplugged and it was good, but days plugged are good too. Thank you for this, Kelle.

  39. Plugged in: Keeping in touch with family and friends back east all and in between, family movie nights, dance parties with the ipod

    Unplugged: READING!!!!

  40. Kelle- This was a much needed insight into the unplugged world I needed! I’m trying to decide what my challenge for next month would be and have been toying with the idea to go FB free for a month. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do. I really love the idea, but like you, it’s how I connect with people. I was hoping it would encourage me to connect with people without the aid of that massive social network. So conflicted!

  41. Unplugged. Such a simply beautiful idea!


  42. I agree with your “technology connects us to people” when people aren’t around. It also has the ability to steal us from the moment if we are with other people. It, like everything in this world, has its pros and cons! Without technology now though, my family and I would be strangers! We always have a group email going between my mom, sisters and I, we talk on the phone every night and text randomly throughout every day. I would be lost without technology so far from ‘home’.
    I used to do wireless wednesdays only allowing myself to use my phone for necessary calls/texts. I would write (like pen to paper write) and I genuinely miss that.
    I would doodle in the margins, write the date, things that happened, jokes, quotes and little memories that happened that day. Needless to say that doesn’t happen on the computer and I miss that.
    Lainey’s yellow leotard is so cute! Yellow is a good color on her! Girl loves her shoes! =)
    Happy Hump Day!

  43. Plugged: Catching up with my sister who lives in London via Facebook, texting and skype. without those connections I wouldn’t be able to find out what zany adventures she’s been up to lately.

    Unplugged: we’ve ditched our tv since moving to the hut- Rob didn’t want an old tv and the reception was pretty rubbish without investing in an antenna- so now we actually sit and talk to each other over dinner at the table, rather than couch dinners watching tv.

  44. Hi Kelle!
    Plugged: reading blogs, finding out about friends’ kickstarters and websites and shows and promoting them on facebook to show support, cause it means so much.

    Unplugged: everything about my life in Vermont (especially now that they have no power!) tea from a kettle on the wood stove, popcorn, a big fire, curling up with my dog, reading as the rain falls.


  45. I absolutely love this post! It is so true that technology is great when you use it properly. I am guilty of overusage at times so I try to have off limit times to just be for my kids and husband! What a great reminder:)

  46. Plugged: Well, that’s a daily battle of a million small choices, some I choose yes and some I choose no, all trying to find a balance. (Your blog is usually a yes! Facebook is usually a no.)

    Unplugged: All of our vacations, big ones or little ones, or just random days off from work are unplugged. We are usually so busy doing new and fun things that we don’t miss being unplugged at all. It doesn’t feel like a deprivation – just part of vacation from the real world. Plus it keeps my husband from working while we’re away! 😉

  47. I’ll admit that I was a little bit freaked out when I first got a FB page b/c OMG how did so many people that I haven’t even thought of in 10 years find me OVERNIGHT!

    But then I relaxed about it and realized people just wanted to re-connect. It’s nice now b/c some people that were just another face and name that I met at work or school and that I never would have seen again have become good friends b/c I’ve been able to keep in touch and we remain connected to each other….I love that about social networking.

  48. The family email chain is a wonderful idea! I’ve lost touch with some family after my grandma passed away. Maybe I’ll start one up.

  49. Plugged – Facebook, with friends and family, text messages.

    Unplugged – after work, spending time with my little guy, and my hubby of course.

  50. Plugged- I use e-mail to share pictures with distant family members, say Hi to a friend and get business done. I also blog so I can share our adoption journey with those that want to know about it!

    Unplugged- I don’t own a cell phone, right now. I like being free from the constant information a phone can bring. I also feel less stressed to rush and share information I want to share. I find that I am much more patient without it.

  51. Hear, hear!! I agree 100%. While my husband says he could dump every piece of technology and run off to become a mountain man (and I believe him), I too need to stay plugged in. Maybe not as much as I am – but at least to some degree. But I loved hearing about how you spent your morning when you couldn’t check email or watch the Today show… I think about the early Saturday mornings I have squandered on Facebook or email or reading blogs (not yours of course – never a waste!), when I could have done something productive to make a better day for my family. :-(


    PLUGGED: Skype time w/ family in CA (need to do more often, esp w/ my sister’s family), day-ending debrief phone calls w/ my mom, texts betw me & husband about how Nattie’s morning went, using iPad apps to teach N colors and animal sounds, and watching DVRd TV w/ husband over a bowl of popcorn after the babe is in bed.

    UNPLUGGED: Anytime between coming home from work & putting baby to bed: no TV, no phone, no email, no nada. This is an unspoken rule we just naturally obey.
    –> NEW UNPLUGGED TIME: At least 15 minutes a day at work, for lunch break. I will bring a book (okay, a Kindle but that doesn’t count as plugged to me :-) and ignore all technology while I eat. They can live w/o me for 15 min!

  52. Plugged: Blogging, reading blogs,connections to family & friends, online browsing~sort of like window shopping~without the bad weather & sore feet~ & just keeping in touch, plugged into a community including but not limited to those closest to us.

    Unplugged~easy~spending time with my nephews. No need for any distractions. We make forts, we draw & color, we do chalk art outside, we swim in the heated pool, we fly kites, we build things & race cars…who has time to be plugged in to anything other than these precious boys!

  53. Plugged: I’ve kept a blog since my son was 1, now entering Kindergarten. It helps keep family and friends close to our hearts!

    Unplugged: We find our way unplugged to the beach every Saturday. And, we have our kids use their senses. It’s amazing how beautiful and loud the bay can sound when you really stop to focus on it!

  54. I have got a girl that loves yellow, loves ballet and I would love to know where you got the super fab leotard.
    Unplugged…something I never do but should do more of, just so my kids don’t think I sit on this computer all night because a lot of times they find me here when they wake up…as that is really the only chance I get to be on.

  55. Plugged – Using a FB group to coordinate our playdates.

    Unplugged – we don’t have cable, network tv, or rabbit ears. If it isn’t 100+ outside or storming, we usually don’t turn our tv on for days at a time. Bliss.

    The photos of Lanie’s dance class are beautiful. Heart-warming to the core.

  56. Plugged – me, my parents, and my little sisters curling up on the couches in our living room to watch movies once or twice a month.

    Unplugged – teaching my sisters how to make bread and cheesecake and good coffee.

    I am loving Lainey’s yellow leotard! It is bright and beautiful, just like she seems to be :)

  57. Oh I just LOVED this topic! My mine raced about my own loves as I read about yours.
    1. plugged: I would die without skype. We are in Calif., the grandbabies are in Texas. Without Skype we would not get to hear the latest song, see the silly dance, view the newest toys, get the ‘moniter kiss’ or the ‘pretend bite of food!’.

    2. unplugged: I’m happily addicted to hand sewing. Can sit for hours with my ‘creation’ taking shape right there in my hands. As it grows thinking what silly thing I can add to make it special for Olivia, like pearl beads maybe. Oh perhaps Landon would like some crossed eyes on his with extra long arms! Unplugged can really make your imagination work.

    Both: I would never be able to make the unplugged treasures for the kids with out being plugged in and talking and seeing the kids to know just what they like and who they are! So I am definitely for BOTH!

  58. Plugged = creating a blog for my friends in the UK I made over living there the last year. It’s not fancy or perfect but it’s a great way to hear how our lives are going and whether it’s details of an upcoming wedding or a new home improvement project, it makes me feel connected and still a part of their lives.

    Unplugged – my husband and I along with our 8 friends (we call ourselves “The Ten”) started quarterly dinner parties. We hang out all the time but this is a chance to be fancy and try new foods and the couple that hosts gets to bring a couple to the new dinner. Just a way to meet new people and learn more about each other through a new perspective. We had our first one on Saturday night (http://thenut-house.blogspot.com/2011/08/white-party.html) and it was amazing…my cup runneth over.

    As always my fav plugged addition is your blog. You make me excited of new adventures hopefully on my horizon – being a mom.


  59. Plugged: Since half of our family is in England are we are in Tennessee, we rely a lot on our blog, Facebook, and Skype to keep in touch an to keep them up to date on their only grandchild.

    Unplugged: We are a very plugged in family- too much at times. But every day at least once, Will and I put Henry in the stroller, leash up the pups, and take a long walk around the neighborhood. Henry and I also about 20 minutes of story time every time before his bedtime. It is my favorite time of the day :)

  60. I unplugged today for 8 hours- and it did get easier as the day went on and I liked the freedom of not “having” to respond e erytine my phone beeped. And yes, I do not need to respond e ery tine- while I don’t have to fully unplug I need to keep those things in their right times and priorities.

  61. Plugged: My extended family on my dad’s side keeps in touch through myfamily.com. We are there to support each other through the highs and the lows of life.

    Unplugged: Dinnertime: I always have dinner with my 2-year old twins and ask them what their favorite part of the day was. Now, they have begun asking me. So cool!

    I definitely need to work on balancing the plugged and unplugged lives. I sometimes find that I’m reaching for my phone and checking Facebook when I should be playing with my daughters. I’ve even thought of giving up my iPhone because it’s made staying connected so much easier but the downside is that it makes me more disconnected from those around me. Trying to weigh my options on that one and hope that I make a good decision for me and my family.
    Great post, as usual!

  62. You are so right…it’s all about balance. Too much of anything isn’t good! Sounds like your unplugged day was fun, but I’m glad you’re plugged back in!!!

    Plugged – Blogging, checking Facebook statuses and Skyping with my friends and family that live in all different corners of the country, updating my Grateful List.

    Unplugged – Scrapbooking my daughter’s yearly album, playing at the park (and NOT bringing my Blackberry!!) and quietly reading after the babe has gone to bed!

  63. If I wrote all I think of when you post you would never have time to read it. At 62 years old it is so awesome to think that I remember the first time I saw a TV – I also remember churning butter for Grandma Lund. I have that butter churn now in my dining room.:) Such wonderful memories. I don’t have all the new technology but am still amazed at how easy it is to correct a mistake on the computer. We have lived so many different places and FB has reconnected me to so many wonderful people – Let’s use technology for good and not let evil take it over.

  64. Thanks for this thoughtful post!

  65. Oh, me loves me some people, too! Finding & meeting new friends is amazing & such a blessing!

    Fab post, as always. :)

  66. i absolutely adore the picture of your oldest with her friends at ballet playing with nella…..the one little girl has on pearls…be still my heart.

  67. I completely agree with you in every way. When I find that I’ve had a little too much facebook for the day, I know that I need to step away from the computer. But the long lost friends I’ve found through it? Totally worth the slight addiction.

    And Skype? My husband and I wouldn’t be married if it weren’t for the ability to call each other long distance. When I was finishing up college, we were long distance between Iowa and Australia for twelve months. Because of technology and our ability to talk for free every day, twice a day, I have a darling husband. Furthermore, we’re now able to communicate to his Aussie family every week and see our nieces and nephews grow from infants to babies to toddlers to little adults.

    I, like you, yearn for the days of old. The romanticism of receiving a “parcel” from the Wells Fargo Wagon will always make me swoon. But why can’t we have that and a daily email from a loved one? Or a weekly video chat with someone 10,000 miles away?

    Being unplugged is important — get outside, be with the family, and for goodness’ sake turn off the cell phone for a little bit. But never insult the beauty of being able to communicate with a far-away loved one instantaneously. Those moments are priceless and beautiful, and often life-changing.

    I know that is is super long already, but one more story about how much I love technology. Grandparents. My husband and I communicate with our grandparents via video calls and they can’t get enough. But one particular story is the most relevant. My husband’s granddad in Australia just passed away this summer. We hadn’t physically seen him in a year. Ordinarily this would be heartbreaking, but about a month before he started slipping away, he randomly skyped my husband. They had a quick chat, face to face, just the two of them — they were able to be together one last time, though neither one knew that. It is a moment that my husband will never forget, and it’s one that could have only happened because of technology. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

  68. Plugged: My brother & sister-in-law have been living in California for nearly 7 years now. I’m in Virginia. The only way we keep up with each other’s tears & victories are calls, texts, and facebook. They are moving “back east” soon… but that will be to TN and we will still have to be plugged in so that their niece knows exactly who they are.

    Unplugged: not often enough… I need to work on that.

    P.S. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Lainey’s yellow ballet outfit. She stood out like a ray of sunshine!

  69. Why I love being PLUGGED: I have endless hours of editing photos that remind me of fun & special moments, I get day-to-day silly photo texts of my niece & nephew’s latest tricks, my cell phone=best way to vent/be vented to when your best friends live a state away, & one I’m not good @ but try to be…I keep up with current worldly events. You know, like hurricanes & earthquakes…

    Why I love being UNPLUGGED: I have more “me” time, my dog & I take adventures, I get lost in good books, I have uninterrupted time with the hubby, I’m more focused on the “now” rather than what’s to come, and I indulge in how slow life can feel when I’m not drowning in our cultural societies’ up-to-speed lifestyle.

    Balance, baby. It’s good! You were right.

  70. Plugged: My blog. I’m a medical student and I don’t have time to give everyone the play by play of my life. I love that my family and friends read and that I get emails from my sister or best friend at midnight saying things like, “He did WHAT?,” after a bad date. Blogs = awesome (including yours).

    Unplugged: After I stared medical school, I convinced myself that I had adult onset ADD. It was just so hard to sit still and stay focused for long periods of time. Eventually, I realized that the problem wasn’t studying. It was studying in front of a computer, where I felt a constant compulsion to check email! Again! Facebook! Email! Facebook! I consciously shut off the computer and make those stupid emails wait. And, I’m pretty sure that I don’t have adult onset ADD.

  71. The pictures are great on this post, I notice both the girls are looking a teensy bit older, oh how I would love to twirl with Lainey and squeeeeezzzze Nella, can you do that for me? =)

    Plugged- LOVE that facebook has found a childhood friend for me, love my 4 year old and 2 year old met Mickey Mouse club house on TV and then got to actually see them in person (10000 watt smiles- melts my heart!), knowing I can be reached in the event of an emergency- at any time- priceless

    Unplugged- Making playdough with my kids, singing It’s a small world after all (my 2 year old sings ‘after all’ extra loud) with those babies. Making chalk drawings or painting, putting puzzles together, reading the Sunday paper while drinking hot sweet tea, hot baths with a good book.

  72. PS plugged in..

    Seriously can NOT be left out- READING BLOGS

    You have changed my world, thank you, I simply would have the ugliest fit if I had to go to long without reading your blog. It is one of my happiest pleasures.

  73. plugged- I take videos of my toddlers and share them with friends and family on facebook, brightens their day.
    unplugged-12 days this summer at our cottage, no tv,computer, phone(for me) everything off. I loved that time but your post inspired me to unplug in the middle of a regular old week at home!

  74. plugged: Skype – I love watching my little sister singing Itsy Bitsy Spider to my 2 year old and him giving her kisses and hugs through the computer. Even though she lives in Cyprus, it makes 5,000 miles not seem quite so far.

    unplugged: spending the entire afternoon at the playground with my 2 little men while the phone sits in the car, reading a really good book outside by our pool during nap time in the afternoon.

  75. Thanks for giving my faith back…I even wrote a post about you.

    Plugged in: Aspergers research and reaching out to women like me who struggle.

    Unplugged: my friends off screen who couldn’t care less about my techy world. They ground me with their tangible laughter.

  76. Just got back from vacation and realized that I was unplugged a lot more often and didn’t really miss being connected. We didn’t have Internet at the house, and the only time I really checked email or Facebook was in the car when we were headed somewhere or I was waiting on the hubby. It was nice.

    Loving the pictures where Nella looks like a little pig-tailed froggy. Too cute!

  77. Plugged: We are a military family so we’ve never lived near family. If it weren’t for technology, grammas, grampys, aunties, uncles & cousins would be SO far away!
    Unplugged: My 11 yr daughter says I spend too much time online….so I’m making an effort to BE there more. To SEE all 3 of them more. They are amazing kids.

  78. Thanks so much for posting this! I agree that technology can be a great thing! I know that I need to find a better balance and maybe unplugging for a day would help me with that. Thanks for always being so honest and open!

  79. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Sometimes it seems people will forget how to read a map, read an old fashioned clock, or know how to send a handwritten letter with a real stamp. Then my daughter went off to college, and I’m so grateful for texting and Skype! It doesn’t feel like she’s so far away when we can talk to and see each other several times a day. It’s like the computer is a magic portal from my kitchen to her dorm room.

    Yet, I will still be sending her real care packages, with real things, through the real mail. There’s always room for old fashioned care packages in a digital world, right?

  80. Another beautifully written post!

    Unplugged- I love reading and enjoying a cup of tea. As Lewis Carroll says, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”

    Plugged- A lot of my friends live in other parts of the country (sometimes the world) I love being able to stay in touch with them through facebook or texting. It makes me feel wonderful to know that I can give them encouragement to get through their cancer treatments, divorce proceedings, or just general tough times because of the wonderful technology available to us. It can be a time stealer if used wrong, but it can definitely be a blessing if used right. :)

  81. Kelle, I laughed at the picture of Lainey looking at the costume catelog, my kids have been hooked to theirs many costumes are circled or x’ed out, lots of dreaming and planning going on, thankgoodness I got 2 in one day or one of my kids might have been leftout!


  82. Plugged: I have family all over the world- we stay connected through handwritten letters covered in strawberry scratch and sniff stickers and goodies (Danish Chocolate- YUM!) sent on holidays. Kade and I also jam to Bob Marley every morning at breakfast :) It’s been a tradition since he was born.

    Unplugged: We make it a point to put our phones on silent, and turn off the radio during dinner time and our bedtime routine. We have such busy lives, its important to us to focus on just us for a few hours a day.

  83. Love this post. I’m going to try to do an unplugged day, too.

    Plugged: my brother lives in Korea so really it’s the only way of staying in touch in a current way.
    Unplugged: Reading. To my girls or to myself, it’s something I will always enjoy. And I feel better about myself when I do it.

  84. I share and love the perspective that technology actually keeps us more in tune with others than we realize!

    Plugged: My mom and sisters and I share a private group on Facebook (its name is made up of each of our first initials) and we post private stuff to each other there weekly. Funny stories, travel plans, silly gossip, photos…it keeps us connected – and usually laughing.

    Unplugged: My boys and I have a simple new game that they adore. It’s called “Store.” I give them paper monopoly money, and they bring me junk from around the house that they want to “buy.” I tell them how much, and they count out the money and then accumulate these huge piles of stuff that I have to sort through later. I don’t know why they love this so much, but they do, and I love spending the time with them and seeing what they pick out to buy!

  85. Love, love love this post. You said everything I have been trying to say for quite some time now. (To all those people out there who insist all technology is evil)

    Plugged: Our family watches a show together every single night (we are all here). We have gone through every single episode of Stargate SG-1, Monk, White Collar and no Ordinary family. It’s our time to all cuddle up on the couch and connect. I love it, and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

    Unplugged: My mom and I have a little notebook in which we write little notes back and forth to each other. We love to find the book on our bed. It’s a fun little way to connect.

  86. It’s funny you posted this today.
    I just “deactivated” my Facebook account for the month of September so I could unplug just a bit more.

    I use Facebook and email to stay connected to my family. They all live on the East coast: FL, TN and IN. And we are way far away in WA. It’s a way we connect to know whats going on in our daily lives, share photos, ups and downs.

    Unplugged: Reading for hours every day on the couch with my 5 year old. Solving mysteries around the house. Taking a walk to the rose garden across the street to pick up the fallen petals for our collection. Picnics out back. Hanging out on the couch with the hubby watching reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond.

  87. Plugged: My blog is a great way to keep my huge family feeling close to my boys. My parents live about 23 hours away from us & my mom is the oldest of nine children. Her brothers and sisters all live 6 hours away. When all my aunts, uncles, and cousins get together at grandma’s house, they look at the blog together and sometimes print it out for grandma to read. We even webcam sometimes. I love having them all sit around the table talking to us via webcam!

    Unplugged: “Let’s talk about our day!” Adam asks me that every night when I tuck him in & we talk about pretty much every single thing we did from morning til night. I know it is his way of staying up later, but it has become a sweet little ritual of ours. Then we say prayers and give each other an “I love you” tap. (We both make the sign for “I love you” and tap them together like a fist bump.

  88. fantastic post!

    that photo of you and nella snuggling in the bed is priceless!!


  89. All this FB talk has me wondering why I haven’t looked you up and ‘friended’ you before… I’m gonna get right on that …

  90. Plugged: Sharing videos of my little girl via youtube with my family in Australia. One of my sisters has not yet met her, but feels as though she’s connected to her with videos of my daughter pretending to talk to her aunt on the phone.

    Unplugged: Singing in the car while my little girl dances in her car seat with her hands up in the air and her cute little shrugs and huge smile. She’s such a gleeful child.

  91. PLUGGED: Like you, I enjoy writing in my daughter’s/family blog to stay connected with others. And the iPhone — well, I think that little gadget has got to be one of my guiltiest pleasures. It keeps me connected to everyone through calls, texts, emails, and of course…the ever so fabulous Facebook.

    Some days I resent Mr. Facebook, but most days I get a little giddy over being able to share with my close friends and families Chloe’s most recent accomplishments at the click of a button!

    UNPLUGGED: We recently took a trip to Cambria, a place along the coast of California (about 5 hours away from our home), that seems to have been untouched by time. There are farms, small little businesses, and stretches of beaches for miles. And honestly, unless you go looking for technology…it’s no where to be found.

    It was a nice retreat, filled with days of long beach walks, mid-day drives up the winding coast, and late night talks with a glasses of wine and chocolate. We loved it…and it felt good to unplug a bit.

  92. Gah! I’m making an unplugged day mandatory in our house. The entire house is addicted to tv! Thank you again for an awesome idea.

    Unplugged. I wish. I have the biggest nerd of a husband and a day without that extra current might put him over the edge but were going to make it happen. Soon.

    Plugged. I’m the only one in our family that lives out of state so Skype, texting, emailing and Facebook is our way of sharing. I laugh that the kids these days wont know what it’s like to leave your BFF for college and only catch up over email, phone calls and visits. With Facebook it’s like they’ve never left 5th period! But, alas, all will be fine with these kids…

  93. Plugged: the few minutes where I get to read a blog or two and forget… dream for a bit.

    Unplugged: Cancer Sucks!!
    But I will “Fight Like a Girl”!!

  94. I love the “why not both” take on tech…

    Plugged: Instagram -especially if I’m away
    for the weekend.

    Unplugged: No phone activity in the car allows
    me treasured talk time with my kiddos where
    we have our deepest philosophical conversations
    about cloud shapes, boogers and the man on the
    freeway off ramp holding the cardboar sign. We
    don’t talk about his boogers. Just his sign.

  95. PLUGGED: We have 2 kids…3yo boy and 9 mo girl. My husband is an amazing dad and they are both madly in love with him. An opportunity came up for him at work to really get exposure and put him in a good position for promotion…this is important to our family and he has worked very hard I am am so proud BUT…it required a lot of travel and it broke his heart to be away from me and the babies…Enter Skype! We now just keep the laptop in the kitchen and every night when we come home and start dinner…we video call daddy and he is there with us chatting at his normal place at the table…we just move the camera around. The kids LOVE it and it really has helped make the separations easier.

    UNPLUGGED: We LOVE to camp. So much so we bought our own property in the Tahoe National forest and we haul our trailer up there and go unplugged (with a few conveniences) for days at a time. Kids play in dirt, we go for long walks, cook over a fire, the boy goes fishing with his dad and I read a lot of books and remove a lot of rocks from my crawlers’ grasp. it is GLORIOUS!!!!!

    Balance…you are right…it is all about balance!

  96. PLUGGED: Family movie night. It’s a lone ranger on the frontier of things my 13 year old STILL likes to do with his mom and dad. And I’m clinging to that lone ranger until it rides off into the sunset.

    UNPLUGGED: Making dinner for my family. I wasn’t always a stay at home mom but now that I am, I work it. So making something to wow my family is a personal unplugged moment of every day for me. It’s also followed by family dinner time around the table every night. The aforementioned teenage son would rather eat dinner in his room but his friends mysteriously end up at our house around dinner time a few times a week.

  97. I like the ballerina photo’s much! So cute.
    30 days marketing success

  98. The picture of you kissing Nella is my fave! That and the last one of Lainey enjoying ballet class!

  99. plugged – all the SMS I had yesterday to wish my baby girl a happy 2nd birthday despite all the cards they’d sent, something about remembering ON the day as well as just before when mailing a card.

    unplugged – mealtimes…sitting down all together, our little family, talking about how our day’s have been and remembering things that made us laugh and cry.

    Andrea x

  100. Love it, and this is timely for me…I deleted my facebook at the start of July, and am about to sign back up. While unplugging is great (I try to have a day a month with no technology!), I love the feeling of being plugged in to my friends and family!


  101. Plugged: You know, without the evil internet I wouldn’t have been able to find your blog, which would make me sad because it is a great blog. I love being plugged in because it gives me the opportunity to read about other peoples lifes and stories and I love getting in contact with others. There are so many people out there with interesting lifes and stories and without the Internet you wouldn’t be able to connect. I love meeting people from around the world online. And Facebook and Blogging also gives me the opportunity to keep in contct with friends that have moved far away. I wouldn’t want to miss that.

    Unplugged: Me and the hubby always make sure we have dinner together at the table, we try to teach the kids to stay in their seat as long as one of us is still eating so no one ends up at the table alone with his food. No eating in front of the TV while watching the news or anything.

  102. I have always been ambivalent about technology in our lives. And I’m constantly wondering if all of this “connectedness” isn’t too much overload for our brains. I do make certain choices about what technology opportunities I take…I like to stay just on the edge! But just before moving across the ocean a couple years ago, I discovered Skype. What a gift to people who live far away from each other! My sister and I are better friends now than ever! It is so easy to just “pop” in for a visit! I guess that is my favourite “plugged” tradition.

    As for unplugged…I have many. But perhaps the best is walking in the forest with my husband. We love to get out to places where you can barely hear anything!

    Here’s to “snow days”…just enough of them to remember to prioritize our lives. :)

  103. Oh, how I agree!
    I have come to realize, this passed year, that I want to be more present in “right now”, especially when I’m off duty and in my home/private life.
    I more seldom “plug in” on those occasions, which doesn’t at all mean “never”.
    On the other hand, being able to use the time on the communte train (back and forth to work) to catching up with friends and relatives on Facebook or mail, is pure wonder: win-win.

    1) Plugged
    Spending quality time with my network: my dear, sweet, precious friends in the forum is the best thing ever with being plugged in.

    Hugging and kissing my sons, husband and dog. The best thing ever being the moment when we meet up again – all of us. Mostly in the city where my oldest son lives and that split second when we all hug and I cry happy tears and we’re all smiles and pure joy!
    Love that. So very unplugged!

    Loev to you, over there Kelle, for being so super fab!

  104. Love it!

    Plugged: Googling it with my boys. Huddling around the computer after my 6 year old has asked something like, “what are the natural predators of aardvarks?” (I’ll save you a google…it’s humans, lions, hyenas, leopards & pythons) 😉 Once upon a time we would have just been left wondering.

    Unplugged: art projects with my kids or Busch Gardens. (wait, does that one count?)

    p.s. Nella looks a lot like you in the photo of her looking through the window. Beautiful girls!

  105. So perfect. Just perfect. I love what you wrote. Always do. Thanks for that.

  106. Plugged: I live far away from my best friend and family, so emails/texts/pictures etc, help to keep us connected and involved in each others daily lives. Being able to plan my wedding with my Mom would not have been possible without technology.

    Unplugged: Every Sunday afternoon, my husband and I go down to this little park on the bluffs and have a picnic. We bring books to read, although they never get read, and we always end up in some fabulous conversation that makes us love each other a little more. Since the rest of the week seems inundated with technology (and that needs to change), I relish these few hours where it is only the two of us in the picture.

  107. What a wonderful post! Thank you!

    Plugged: Communicating with family in different states via Facebook. It is the way most of us stay in touch with one another. Also, sending random text messages to my fiance throughout the day to remind him how special he is, or to cheer him up when he is having a rough day at work. Reading a fantastic book on the Nook… technically I would say that is plugged, but it feels unplugged.

    Unplugged: Evening runs to clear my head, relieve stress, and socialize with my new found friends in the running group (although I’ll admit to nearly always using my gps watch).

  108. Plugged: Reading blogs (like yours) that inspire me to be a better person, try new things, and appreciate the life I have been given.

    Unplugged: Putting away phones and computers as I climb into bed so that my boyfriend and I can enjoy some QT of recapping on our days and looking into each others eyes. That way, he’s the last thing I see before I melt into sleep.

  109. Great post!

    Plugged: facetime with my mom during my son’s bathtime each night. My parents live almost 600 miles away. This little ritual makes it seem a lot closer.

    Unplugged: reading my little guy books and seeing him reach for another, and another, and another.

  110. “It’s all about balance. Recognizing when we need to pull back and focus on our own families and yet embracing the modern world and using its advances for good.”

    I agree completely. Being plugged in can be a wonderful thing, as can knowing when to step away from the cell phone!

    Plugged: Last week I promised my sisters that I, as the oldest, would keep us all on track. We live in Maine, TN and Philly respectively and don’t communicate enough. So I’m starting a ritual of texting them both at random, just to check in and say hi, and hopefully spark us all to keep in touch more.

    Unplugged: My yoga studio has a no cell phones policy. So when I go, rather than silence the phone and bring it in, I leave it in the car. I go early and lie on my mat and just be still for a few moments.

  111. Plugged: Reading in bed on my iPad, my kids talking with their dad via Skype, playing video games together.

    Unplugged: Reading books in bed together. My 10 year old, 6 year old and I all hop into bed and read, just as you described Kelle. It’s a special, wonderful time :)

  112. Plugged: gotta say I love it, Facebook keeps me connected with family and friends that I haven’t seen or talked to in years. Ancestry.com has introduced me to family I didn’t even have, and has helped me create a family album with Shutterfly with old pictures that we can all contribute to, and discuss like its one little social network page! I can text with friends while waiting for soccer practice to end, I can play Words with Friends that I have never met in real life and have so much fun doing it, I can finish my degree and be challenged to new ways of thinking during my online classes… I am plugged in…no doubt about it and I love it!
    Unplugged: Hm…I should try it for a day and see what its like! I do love my quiet moments reading in bed, or sometimes doing my homework in the backyard while the kids play on the swingset!

  113. well said my Dear, well said…

  114. Plugged – being there for my sister, who needs me now more than ever. Texting keeps us connected.

    Unplugged – That feeling of freedom when I accidentally forget my phone at home on a trip out and know that I have time with no interuptions and nothing can be done about it.

    Great post – as always!

  115. I think it would be neat if we all as a whole tried to do this at least once a month. Appreciate what once was.

  116. Great idea..May have to try it out this Saturday. It’s college football season, but it’s a home game so Daddy won’t be forcing us to watch TV this Saturday, we’ll see.

    Unplugged: the book store for me and my girls. Love to see what random books Miss K picks up and love watching Little A follow big sister around mimicking her every move.

    Plugged In: we are also Little Bear watchers. And when it’s a late night and falling asleep isn’t coming easy, getting into the big rocker and putting Little Bear on, it soothes both our hearts. (Last night K told me “Mommy, you make my heart super happy!” I almost lost it.)
    But also texting lately has been very important. My Big Brother is serving in Afghanistan and when I hear that clown car honk emit from my phone, I am always secretly hoping it’s him. And sometimes it is! thanking me for the packages the girls sent him with new socks or baby wipes. And other times just to tell me he misses me and loves us all. times like that, gotta LOVE technology.

    Have a great rest of the week.

  117. Recently, my husband and I decided to unplug one Sunday a month. It’s challenging, but nice since we’re always online. We do, however, allow TV for an evening activity.

  118. Plugged : Facebook, e-mail, blogs, and online comics. Keeping up with what my family is doing.

    Unplugged: The middle of the night feedings with my 7 week old daughter, just rocking her and talking to her, and watching her melt my heart with her little face expressions.

  119. Plugged: my ever growing village. I am almost 9 months into my first year as momma and it takes a village. My village is spread across the globe.

    Unplugged: rocking my sweet girl to sleep. Nothing, absolutely nothing to the outside world (except her window) is allowed in the nursery when I am rocking her to sleep.

    Wonderful post!

  120. plugged: it keeps me from crying the few times a year I see my best friend, i just chatted with her via text all day and have watched her kids grow on Facebook. I get to see my nephew take his first steps via skype. My kids homeschooling experience is enriched with online classes and chats.
    unplugged: sitting on the back porch, watching the kids play in the sandbox, Antique shopping with my mom.

  121. Great observations Kelle.

  122. You can “come a callin” on me anytime with your words!

  123. Plugged: Getting to send and receive emails from very special coworkers from my old job which I was recently laid off from. ALSO, getting to find and keep updated with your blog.

    Unplugged: Getting to visit and spend time with all my family that lives on our one little road out in the country.

  124. I just had to say that I love the picture of Nella leaning against the glass. She looks like a mime! Haha :) Because if it weren’t for the smears on the glass next to her you can’t even tell she’s leaning on anything.

  125. came across your blog via pinterest… ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!

  126. I know you must hear this all the time but Nella (and Lainey of course!) truly is stunning. If it wasn’t completely creep-tastic I would put a picture of her on my desk at work because seeing her face makes me happy.
    Also, the pictures of her up against the glass melt my heart. And then the picture of her surrounded by the “big” girls…. she is so lucky to have a sister like Lainey! Good post Kelle, it made my day a little brighter.

  127. Aahh….so much relief from this post.

    Plugged: keeping in touch with my far-away sisters and watching our kids grow up together, being reunited with my childhood best friend; it’s like time never passed, and we’re still in 4th grade. And especially this: being able to send out a request for prayer before I walked over to the hospital alone when my water broke 3 weeks early at 2:00 a.m., and having to send out a “search & rescue team” for my husband and 2 sons who were hiking up a mountain out of cell service (it was so exciting….we literally had HUNDREDS of comments from family & friends following the updates on Facebook). And then of course, your blog. For 2 months after Nora’s birth, I UNplugged from everything…..until I read Nella’s birth story. And now I’m plugged in every time I sit down to nurse (okay, so it’s more often than just nursing :). You will forever be a part of Nora’s birth story….all because of technology.

    Unplugged: during meals it’s just talking and eating while sitting down at the table together, then bath time, reading, wrestling, tickling, talking, playing a card game on the bed, and praying before sleep. And during the summer and fall we get to go to a place called “Camp Spalding” for kid camps, family camp, and women’s and men’s retreats…..pure serenity. We walk and hike the beautiful outdoors, paddle a canoe or kayak on glassy, mist-covered water, and eat food we don’t have to prepare ourselves. We sing praise & worship music while someone plays the acoustic guitar or bongo drums. We build a campfire, sit around and talk with our coffee, or work on a craft we brought with us……no phones, no computers, no T.V.

  128. Hey Kelle –
    Plugged – We started a ‘blog’ of sorts on Caringbridge after our son was diagnosed 4 years ago with a disgusting disease called MLD. I can’t tell you how many times during a day or week I look at the ‘guestbook’ where friends and family write in to offer words of support or encouragement. I can feel their love through their words..I read their messages to Mac and I can just tell he loves it. It keeps up connected with those who are far away or even those who are near but we don’t see. It’s a lifeline of sorts…a friend of a friend just recently wrote a poem to Mac in the guestbook that rocked our world…and made our day. The computer helped make our day and I’m OK with that…but we also love UNPLUGGED: For us, it’s reading and music. I love to read to Mac during the day and his little brother at night before bed…and we also love music – the real kind – not itunes (we love that too though!) I play Mac the harp and Colin and his little buddies play instruments for Mac all the time…and the only kind of therapy we have for Mac now is music therapy…his therapist sings and plays the guitar – it’s so ‘bonding’ – and we cherish those unplugged moments, too.

    I’m not on facebook but I love the blogs I follow and Pinterest…and hope I can remain strong to stay off of facebook even though I know at some point I’ll have to ‘plug’ into that too. (-:

    Thanks for getting me thinking about the good and evil of being plugged in and seeing that both are good!
    Aimee Murray

  129. Plugged: My husband and I play our Wii together now and then, I know it sounds childish, but we have so much fun, it makes us feel like kids and we learn to work together to beat games like Lego Star Wars.

    Unplugged: We have family dinners with my mom and when get to her house there’s music playing to deter us from turning on the tv, which means we are all in the kitchen have some wine talking and cooking together. Its family time.

  130. AWESOME as always!

    PLUGGED: Learning new ideas, or being inspired by others via blogs or pinterest. The daily cell phone call to my mom each night on my way home from work. Texting the boy’s teachers to see how their day is going. Being able to watch whatever we want when we want (TiVo) is my friend. IMing my hubby while I’m at work…and him IMing me goofy cat videos. Being able to send my friend a good luck text for her daughter’s medical procedure. Skyping my family in Michigan so they can see how tall my son is and watch my littlest one’s first steps.

    Dancing at the dinner table to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Cheering my son on during his first tee-ball game. Relishing SILENCE! Cuddling with my hubby without an iPhone buzzing between us. Being able to swim in the pool with the munchkins. Avoiding work phone calls, emails or texts.

  131. Plugged: friends & family out of stste
    Unplugged: supper– the news can wait; suppertime is about family

  132. Plugged: reading blogs is such a sneak peak into peoples lives and such a treat for me. (I love yours!) Plus- my family loves seeing what fun my kids are having and all the payback I deserve on my blog.

    Unplugged: I love those afternoons when we are in the backyard all day, swinging, running, laughing, and I “forget” my phone in the car until after bedtime.

    Sidenote- Is Lainey OBSESSED with that Halloween catalog? My 4.5 year old (must include the half) looks at those pictures a million times a day since we got it. Why are the teenage costumes so “saucy”? Was I a saucy teen?

  133. this is a beautiful entry. Your girls are growing up SOOO cute!

  134. I adore Lainey in yellow ballerina garb!

  135. Plugged: When my dear aunt in Finland was nearing the end of her journey with cancer, Facebook brought the whole extended family together. We sent one family member out to be with her and her family as the time of her death drew near. We could get updates and send our love back. It was incredibly powerful to know that our messages were getting through, and that she could feel our love right until the end. The one year anniversary of her passing just took place a few weeks ago, and the family still uses her FB page to send encouragement to each other.

    Unplugged: My little 22 month old girl was never a snuggler, that is until around 6 months ago when she started “allowing” bedtime snuggles. Now she asks for and initiates “cuckles” (cuddles). That’s the best use of unplugged time I know!

  136. I love balance.

    Plugged: Facebook and blogs keep our family (even in-towners!) connected to our kids.

    Unplugged: Reading, playing games, talking at the dinner table.

  137. i was introduced to you in early june. my girlfriends and i were sharing our “favorite blogs” and a friend quickly yelled, “kelle hampton”.

    so i hopped online at the oddest time to read your blog – 430 am on a monday. i should have been getting ready for the airport – instead, i was in my robe, sobbing after reading nella cordelia: a birth story. little did my friend know, but i was 10 weeks pregnant and my husband and i were contemplating the genetic testing by of my age (yes, i am ancient – all of 37). you have no idea how your post changed my life. after reading, and re-reading your birth story (i still tear up when i think about the wonderful words), i had made up my mind. you captured all of my fears / emotions in your story. i saw your strength, your beautiful nella…if God chose me to raise a child with DS, i could do it…and i hope i would have as much grace as you do.

    i am also a working mom, struggling to “balance” being a mommy, wife, friend and daughter. your posts remind me to take a deep breath and find enjoyment in the small things of life. i am “giddy” when i see you have a new post.

    it is funny how a complete stranger can have such an impact on your life – thank you.

  138. I LOVE THIS!
    I unplugged from Facebook for this whole week so far! I am on day 4 and LOVING IT! but I still have INstagram, email, texting and the phone for distractions. hmm a whole day unplugging is sounding quite lovely to me about now! esp. because we homeschool and all of the distractions keep us from focusing!
    thanks for the lovely post!
    my family lives far away from me, in upper MI (and some in Florida and Kentucky and WI) so I HAVE to keep in touch through the computer!
    lots of LOVE!

  139. Plugged: Though I love the power of connecting via the www, I’m really partial to phone calls over texting, and handwritten notes over emails. So, I still do those things though it takes a little more time. Always worth it.

    Unplugged: The whole family piling in D’s room and winding down the day with music, singing, and even a little dancing thrown in. It’s a sight, for sure!

    Glad you took some time to yourself, and happy to see you plugged in again.

    Oh, and my adorable oldest said, “That’s Dew” as he sat in my lap and saw the pic of Nella in her Applebees high chair.
    Picturing pig-tails on Drew now…he’s right. HA!

  140. Plugged-writing my own blog with pictures (that I try to rival yours, but really that’s laughable…because they don’t…yours will always be my inspiration) so my family and friends far away can see what’s happening with our children.

    Unplugged-homework time and dinner time. Ever try to help a 6 year old with number bonds or spelling words while PBS Kids is on in the background with siblings watching? Doesn’t go over so well! And dinner is just that-good food and family and candles and conversation! Who needs technology when ya got all that?

  141. Plugged: I take picture of Duck Tape displays in funny stores and send them to my friend, Lindsay, who sells it. I always ask whose territory that store is, because I know it makes her smile, and it’s random. I like random. I also love watching Griffin watch himself star in family videos on our TV. His memory is so great. He always seems to remember things I have long forgotten when we watch.

    Unplugged: Magazines. Bathtub. Sleeping babies. Magic.

    I also quite like writing notes… all sorts of notes. From thank yous to happy birthdays (although the chaos of adulthood has made me bad at this) to just-becasues and everything in between.

  142. I laughed out loud at the thought of you writing the blog with a quill pen!

    Plugged: It has been a crucial part of me getting through my daughter’s Down syndrome diagnosis and her open heart surgery. Reading all the blogs of other moms who have traveled this road before me.

    Unplugged: Now that the weather has gotten cooler we have been heading to the patio for Uno and Go Fish games before bedtime. The fresh air and laughs from the kids have been fabulous!

  143. As an employee of an IT company, I am NEVER unplugged. But I love the idea of it. At a minimum, I’m going to begin imposing an unplugged Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter for my family.
    Thanks for sharing!

  144. I think I have said this numerous times before, but HEY! You are impressive that way….but I truly think this might be my all time favorite post. What a fascinating way to look at it…you are SO so right. **high five**

  145. I keep Shabbat, so I get a day of unplugged every week and love it! It really helps slooooow down life and enjoy it:)

  146. After Hurricane Irene we were without power and running water for five days… and I was a tad grumpy. It was nice when we got the power back and I could actually turn the faucet on and wash some dishes – talk about perspective!

    Though I felt guilty about not keeping up with dishes, laundry, vacuuming, making meals, it did feel good not to HAVE to check e-mail every five seconds.

    When I’m unplugged, I spend more quality time with the kiddos, make more of an effort to be Involved. I also get to devote my time to actually finishing a book! Mealtimes are always spent together around the table regardless of the power being available. :)

    Lately I’ve been using the computer to plan out my lessons for preschooling my daughter, which is giving me practice for officially homeschooling her in the future. I check favorite blogs daily, and of course check my emails. Friday nights we do homemade pizza and a movie.

    During the Summer there’s more of a motivation unplug – beach days, playing outside, trips to the park or zoo, picking in-season fruit. Tomorrow we hope to go peach-picking!

  147. How great is this piece?! I’m an editor for a blog called Mom Colored Glasses and I just put up a piece today (maybe at the same time you were putting up yours!!) about balance. It’s our theme for the month of September! Check it out—http://momcoloredglasses.com/2011/09/01/balance-september-is-upon-us/

  148. Kelle, I have never met you in person, and I am not even sure how I came across your blog. But, I love reading your posts, and love being updated on your life with your two girls. One of my closest friends has a 4 years old boy with DS, she is one of the best people I know. So I love trying to stay in tune with how he is progressing & growing :)
    Looking forward to hearing more about your life :)

  149. Plugged in with my Nana: A few years ago, we got my Nana a “Presto” machine for Christmas. (Presto==basically an email printing service geared for people who aren’t computer users). The Presto machine looks like a printer. Every morning at 6 a.m., my Nana’s Presto machine wakes up and starts sputtering out her day’s emails from all of her kids, grandkids and great grandkids. She is 90 years old, and her Presto emails literally make her look forward to each and every morning. We can send her pictures in the emails, which is a double bonus.

    I’ve written my Nana every single day for about 3.5 years–and she surprised me by keeping and collecting all of the Presto emails into 3-ring binders. I have now amassed quite the day-to-day chronicles of our life. What a keepsake, both “plugged” in through Presto, and “unplugged”, printed emails in binder after binder….

  150. Plugged: Skyping with my octogenarian grandparents, so they can see my children.

    Unplugged: Eating dinner together as a family, camping.

  151. That last picture of Nella, in the high chair, has convinced me bangs are the way to go for my little one year old. TOO CUTE!

  152. After reading your post the other day I told my husband I wanted a day without technology. It was awesome. We were so much more productive and spent a lot more time focusing on our baby girl and each other. Thanks!

  153. Plugged: This blog & Etsy – which have given me inspiration and factual knowledge in how to improve my unplugged time which now includes…

    Un-Plugged: Baking, candy making (wanted to do this all my life – just didn’t know how) on line diary, DIY & how to give a ratty old bit of furniture a great distressed french country style look – all skills that i could only have learnt from being Plugged in.

    Thank you Kelle for your part in all of that !

  154. Plugged: damn, that’s easy… Family, friends, a paycheck, and a liitle r&r.
    Unplugged: Is it cheating to unplug from the tv addiction by choosing a day when there isn’t anything on worth watching? Lots of time with my 3.5 yr old. But then nearly all free time is her time. Me loves me some crazy giggles from my sweet girl.

  155. I totally agree with you. Plugged in isn’t bad as long as we remember to unplug once in a while.

    Plugged…leaving encouraging comments for friends on Facebook, sending my hubby “like you” texts, and showing my girls photos of when they were little(r) 😉

    Unplugged…praying for friends and family before dinner, playing countless rounds of Uno and Old Maid, and reading “just one more” book at bedtime.

  156. Plugged: I text a list of people, including my mother, both aunts, grandmother, and brother a daily picture of my 4 month old daughter since they are all far away from us. It keeps them up to date on her, and seeing her daily keeps it from being too shocking when they see her every three months…they don’t have to live through that moment of “She’s gotten so big!”

    Unplugged: Lying in bed with my baby girl today, as her eyes got heavier and heavier, and she stroked my face as she fell asleep. I fall in love with her all over again every day.

  157. Bravo! I love this…I feel the same about all of the technology that surrounds me. I think if you use it productively and positively that it is a wonderful thing. xo. M.

  158. Plugged: Best Friends (all 9 of us) from High School started a private facebook group. The first comment on the group is from the summer day after our senior year where the first one moved away to college. That was August of 2006. We all went to different colleges on the East Coast, traveled the world, switched majors, discussed new boyfriends, old boyfriends, graduated, got jobs and now post about engagements, weddings and the possibilities of babies. The group has kept us connected over the past 5 years. We update it daily to keep up with each other.

    Unplugged: That same group of girls make it a point to have a Christmas party every year to get all 9 of us back together (the party is held at one of the homes of any one of the girl’s parents house that we used to hang out in when we were in middle/highschool). It’s the most important to be inplugged when we’re at “home”

  159. Plugged: Because I live so far away from so many family and friends(I live in the Canadian Arctic just south of the Arctic Circle). I rely on Skype, Facebook, MSN and email to keep in touch. Recently my nephews (5 and 3) and I have added me reading them stories before bed, at the end of our skype conversations…I have come to cherish those moments.

    Unplugged: Getting together with girlfriends…and initiating an old school slumber party–the ones where there’s a movie, nail salon, and conversation all at the same time! Drifting off to sleep, while still trying to tell ‘just 1′ more story… sometimes about ‘boys!”

  160. What a cute blog! I am so happy I have found you! Finding new blogs to follow are my addiciton. Cant wait to read more. :) If you get a sec, go check out my blog and tell me what you think. Have a magical day! http://www.gavinandlauren.blogspot.com

  161. Plugged – Skyping w. my daughter’s gma and gpa (my parents) who live 4 hours away ~ Keeping up with my sisters’ and friends’ lives via cellphone, Twitter, and Facebook ~ Learning! Everything I don’t know I google…

    Unplugged – Quality conversations with my husband and daughter, listening and talking to one another ~ Observing and teaching our 2 year old, reading to her and doing flashcards (which, for some reason, she loves!)

  162. Plugged: Keeping in touch with my friends and family from my old life in CA. Also my best friend lives in Australia and we couldn’t keep up the strength of our friendship so well if we were completely UnPlugged!

    UnPlugged: Definitely bedtime stories, interracting more with my girl, watching a whole TV programme without one eye on FB, Twitter, GMail, reading a proper book with pages, actually properly relaxing :-)


  163. I’m glad that you and your family are doing well. I read Nella’s birth story a while back when it was published in a magazine. Since then I’ve been curious to read more about your story. It just so happen that I found your website through a pin. The power of the internet. May you continue to have success in life, work and motherhood!

  164. Plugged: As an immigrant, with my family and most of my friends an ocean away, and in some cases including vast chunks of continent as well, I find being plugged in to a social network keeps me close to people who would otherwise be too far away to touch on a daily basis. On Facebook I have reunited with old friends who seemed long lost, and I’ve generated relationships with family members I’d hardly known before. When my grandmother died, it seemed like the last thing holding us together as a family was gone, and we’d never be brought together in the same place again. Now we’re in touch in a way that lets us share not only the momentous occasions and big events in our lives, but the day-to-day routines and mundane victories of ordinary life.

    Unplugged: My favourite unplugged activity is getting together in a big group of friends and playing music. House parties always turned into jam sessions as more and more people showed up lugging instruments, and the circle would expand further and further to include them. Some of the best memories of my life come from inside those circles, inside that music, that sharing.

  165. Unplugging to take a long evening walk with my 8 year old son and our dog, learning all sorts of tidbits about his day I would have never learned at home.
    Plugging into Facebook, where I can make someone’s day just with a heartfelt response to their post.

  166. Plugged: I like that I’m still in touch with those we moved 300 miles from 5 years ago. That would not be possible without FB, e-mail, texting, and digital pictures.
    Unplugged: We unplug our children from 6 p.m. on Sunday until 4 p.m. on Fridays — I love that when they get up in the mornings that they are reading books, playing cards or board games or creating something with art supplies. They do not need “background noise” all day every day. I love that they are growing up without video screens from sun-up to sun-down. That day will come, I’m sure. And I hope when it does that they will make a willful choice to abstain once in awhile and slow down and enjoy the *real* things around them again.

  167. Plugged: skyping with the little one back home to grandma and pa..we’re now living in sydney, couldnt be further away from our city in iceland if we tried!! At least they can see her grow up..and my belly growing bigger!

    Unplugged: Dinner times. Beach. centanial park duck feeding…

  168. Dude. How’d you score such a cute OT?

  169. Once again Kelle, you nailed it! Thank you for continuing to share you life and family with us. I may not always be the best about balance but I will not hesitate to share my daughter growing up with the people that matter to me. Whether it be emailing, blogging, or texting a few photos or wishing an old friend “happy birthday” on fb! Thank you!

  170. Kelle, I too Unplugged and it was eye-opening.
    I realized that it was so worth it to be more present. I know I will do it more and more. I want to teach my daughter to be in the moment…and well, having a smartphone strapped to me doesn’t really allow it.

    I also learned that I am grateful for the technology that gives me freedoms in my work and connection to my family far away.

    But the biggest lesson for me was that it will work for me, not me for it.


  171. Plugged – staying connected via text or FB with our daughter who is back in Florida (we’re in Az.)

    Unplugged – we have a family rule, that no matter where we are, we do not bring our cell phones to meals. This includes any of our dinner guests – we just explain to them that this is a “sacred” time to connect with each other and have a no phone zone at meals. we do make exceptions, if it is our kids calling though they know if we say we’re eating, unless it’s an emergency, then they’ll call us back.

  172. Plugged: My sister in law has cancer, and we have a family page on facebook. It has grown into more than chemo updates as cousins get engaged, football rivalries start, and youtube videos are posted. It’s amazing.

    Unplugged: Every year, we go “camping” in a state park cabin, and no one is allowed (out of 5 boys and mom and dad) to bring anything electronic–phones, gaming systems, computers, the only exception being iPods for long rides, but they’re not allowed for hiking and sightseeing once we get there.

  173. plugged: skype! I live overseas so I have learned to love it, even if I’m a bit camera shy sometimes
    unplugged: knitting – it is therapudic and has the ability to make me feel busy, while doing nothing. :)

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