Monthly Archives: February 2013

@ShannonSKL: The “newest” member of Twitter

As I shared last week, I gave up Facebook for Lent. One week in, and I’m going strong.

With my Facebook-free time, I have written 2x more blog posts than in a typical week, started a new book, The Fault in Our Stars, and reactivated my previously neglected Twitter account.

I know you’re probably thinking that I’ve defeated the purpose of giving up Facebook (and you may be right), but I disagree and here’s why:

  1. Twitter is a surprisingly reliable avenue for news if you follow the credible news sources. I feel more connected to what’s going on around the world than I ever have before. Full disclosure: I also follow E! News and Perez Hilton, so some of the news I’m consuming is meaningless.
  2. I find it strangely fun to challenge my OCD for description, grammar, and punctuation when compiling a message in 160 characters or less.
  3. It’s an excellent resource for quick tips or links to articles on parenting, health, and more.
  4. As is with Facebook, I have found that I’m not wasting time reading the narration of a high school classmate’s daily life, but instead that Kristen Stewart was voted the least sexy actress in a list published in Britain and Fergie is loving her new #lovelyladybump.

Now that I’m officially a tweeter, I invite you to follow me @shannonskl. If you aren’t signed up, join me and we can figure out this #hashtagthing together.


The good stuff – 2.20.2013

I’ve learned this past month that the process of buying and selling a house sucks. Period. Brian and I have adopted a new mantra as a result: Keep laughing so we don’t cry.

I’ve been trying to stay focused on all the “good stuff”, too, and here is what topped my list this week.

Fellow parents who told me time passes quickly were not exaggerating. I seriously feel like Bridget is living her first year in fast forward. She’s crawling, standing, and showing signs of walking. She’ll be up and around before we know it.

She has also been quite the chatty Kathy (Kathleen is her middle name, after all) for the last couple months. I swear she’s expressed every sound but “M”. Finally, on Saturday, she said “ma ma ma ma” and didn’t stop. Although I know she has no idea what “ma ma” means yet, I do and it sure is a lovely sound.

This was a beautiful (and much needed) reminder that Zac Brown was a wise man when he said, “it’s the little things in life that mean the most.”

Happy Valentine’s Day 2013

Valentine’s Day may be overly commercialized, but it’s still a fun way to celebrate the most important thing in life: LOVE.

Remember in elementary school when you’d pass out cards to classmates? Wouldn’t that be kind of cool if we did that as adults?

Earlier this week, I got inspired to host a mini Valentine’s Day photo shoot with Bridget to create a digital Valentine’s Day card for you, my readers, family, and friends.

I am not a professional photographer, and therefore don’t have access to creative props that are all the rage in photography. What I did have was a big idea, a Valentine’s Day-themed outfit, chalk board, red lipstick, and an adorable (so I think, but I am biased) but crabby 8-month-old model. My big idea didn’t pan out as planned due to the latter, but nonetheless, I snapped a few memorable shots.

Here’s how this “photo shoot” played out:

PicMonkey CollageAnd here is what my Valentine’s Day card would be if we celebrated it like we did in 3rd grade:

PicMonkey Collage 2

Facebook-free for 40 days

Lent is the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter that people of some faiths commit to fasting or giving up certain luxuries as a form of penance.

Every year, for as long as I can remember, I have given up pop or chocolate for Lent. It’s not that I drink that much pop, but I really, really enjoy it when I do. On the contrary, I eat a lot of chocolate. Some may even consider my consumption of chocolate a form of addiction. 

This year, I have decided not to give up either. To be frank, between having the appetite of a growing teenage boy (thank you, Bridget) and preparing for our move in March, I will need the spurts of pleasure that both pop and chocolate provide. 

Back to the drawing board…

Source: Google
Source: Google

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have challenged myself to make better use of my not-so-much spare time: spend less time on my phone, read more, etc. Bingo! What is the greatest distraction of achieving this goal? Facebook. While I don’t consider Facebook to be a “luxury” (more like a bad habit one can’t kick), giving it up for 40 days would be a challenge. So, challenge accepted and no Facebook it is.

I have permitted myself three exceptions:

  1. If I receive a message, I can read it and respond. Come on, I don’t want to be rude.
  2. If I receive a notification from a group to which I belong, I can review it. I get frequent notifications from our HOA, work groups, etc. In many cases, Facebook is my only method of receiving this news.
  3. Brian can relay to me important news shared via Facebook and comment on my behalf if I deem appropriate. What if a friend of mine announces a pregnancy or has a baby? Again, I don’t want to be rude.

If you don’t receive a thumbs up from me on your next Facebook status or photo, now you know why.

So long, Facebook. See you in 40 days. Until then, I’ll be drinking a Pepsi, enjoying a Snickers, and cruising Pinterest.

Bridget’s first “class”

Bridget is a baby on the move. She’s here and there and then over there. We are starting to get cabin fever so I have been trying to find activities to mix things up for her.

Here are my criteria: must be on a weekend, relatively inexpensive, within 30 minutes of drive time, conducive for a baby under one, and available during the winter months. This has proved to be a challenge because most local activities are held on weekdays (annoying!). As a working Mom, it hasn’t left us many options.

So, I turned to good ol’ reliable Google (seriously, what did we do before Google?) and found a play and music class at Gymboree (an affiliate of the children’s apparel store). We signed Bridget up for a free trial class and we attended yesterday.

Since Bridget slept in till 6:00 am (yes, that is sleeping in for her), she had a later than usual morning nap and a full belly to take on the class.

We had so fun playing, climbing, sliding, rolling, and singing. Bridget couldn’t explore the unfamiliar grounds quick enough. She couldn’t decide which ball to chase first. She had the biggest grin on her face when she took the “parachute ride,” and looked like a ping pong spectator watching everyone sing and motion through the songs. And then she fell asleep before we even made it out of the parking lot.

It was a well-spent 45 minutes and worth the $15 once or twice a month.

I’m still looking for more ideas of activities in northeast Ohio. Ready, set, comment and share your suggestions below.


Love your library

I have a personal and professional vested interest in the success of libraries and the invaluable service they provide to a community. Libraries are far more than brick and mortar buildings for books. They can be the hub of a community; a place to learn new skills, network with fellow residents, engage children in activities, consume the latest movies, music, games, and so much more.

It seems like every month there is a new list that Cleveland tops (or near tops): the most dangerous, most obese, worst sports team, etc. Well Clevelanders, I have good news. We are finally near the top of an important and positive list: #14 on USA Today’s Most Literate Cities in America based on data that includes the number of bookstores, library resources, newspaper circulation, Internet resources, and educational levels. Not only did we make the list, but we received a personal call out from its conductor:

“Cleveland may be a rust-belt city, but it continues to invest in its libraries.”

Did you know that Cleveland public libraries rank #1 in circulation, collections, and staff? It’s one reason (of many, in my opinion) that Cleveland rocks.

If you let your library card expire from your childhood days, dig it out and visit your local library. There are SO many educational and fun services available for adults and children. Here are a few cool and free ones to check out:

Download eBooks, audiobooks, and more

Zinio: Free, popular magazines to read online (Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, US Weekly, and more)

Ed2Go: Free online courses and training programs (writing, technology, design, and more)

What’s your favorite thing about the library?

This post is my personal opinion and does not represent any other party.