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Month: March 2016

Shrinking the Distance: Voxer

Shrinking the Distance: Voxer

I purposely saved this post for last because it’s quite possibly the most wonderful app of all time. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic but you get the point. It’s really great.

If you don’t have the Voxer app on your phone already, stop reading this and download it now.

UnknownVoxer is a walkie talkie app for your smart phone. Swoon. I know, right?

It allows you to communicate with anyone who has the Voxer app anywhere in the world for free but the fun doesn’t stop there. Of course you can send text messages, videos and pictures but Voxer also allows you to hear live voices in walkie talkie style. You have the option of listening live at the exact moment someone is leaving you a vox or you can choose to listen when it’s convienent for you, which is great if you have a big time difference to consider. It also has a “tap to talk” option that makes it easier to use and military grade encryption/security if that kind of stuff matters to you. I’m just sayin’.

You all know I love a good text message and I’ve already declared my love for WhatsApp in a previous post but there is just something about being able to hear someone’s voice that makes this app so dear to my heart. I may or may not have gotten emotional a time or two when I first hear the voice of someone I miss dearly and haven’t seen in a while. The struggle is real.

However, Voxer should come with a warning label that reads:

WARNING: “It can be dangerous to give a mom who spends most of her time with small children fifteen minutes of uninterrupted time to talk.”

I can go on, an on, and on ….you’ve been warned. However, Voxer already thought of that and installed a 15 minute time cap. So if you’re still flapping your jaws after fifteen minutes it will cut you off. My mother and I have named this the “Voxer Walk of Shame.” Don’t worry, you can just push the button and start another vox. Ask me how I know?

Voxer also has a button that allows you to speed up the rate at which you listen to your messages which is great if you are crunched for time. The best part about that is if you are from the Deep South like most of my friends and family, I can speed your voxer messages up to x2 and it sounds normal. Now if I can only get my iPhone to stop auto correcting the word “voxer” to”boxer” I won’t have a single thing to complain about.

Shrinking the Distance: WhatsApp

Shrinking the Distance: WhatsApp

I love how easy it is to have long conversations over the phone without ever dialing a number. Some folks would argue that texting is the demise of our ability to converse and have real relationships but those people probably don’t live 7,000 miles from their friends and family.

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Due to the work week in this part of the world running Sunday-Thursday, the difficult time difference and spotty internet, it can be next to impossible to talk with people back home.

Thankfully, WhatsApp takes care of that problem and allows us to keep in touch. WhatsApp is a cross-platform mobile messaging app that allows you to send text messages without having to pay SMS charges. And it’s available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia. No matter who your carrier, what country you live in or what type of phone you have, you can send messages all over the world without a fee.

UnknownWhatsApp isn’t widely used in the United States but it has taken the rest of the world by storm. It has the look and feel of conventional text messages and is super easy to use. You can send pictures, videos, locations or voice recordings for free. Still not ready to download the app?

ATTENTION: You can text back and forth with me. Got it?

If the only reason you have the app on your phone is to keep a smile on the face of this Desert Diva, I wouldn’t mind at all. So, what are you waiting for? Send me a text already.

Shrinking the Distance: Be a Pen Pal

Shrinking the Distance: Be a Pen Pal

My husband started traveling overseas a good bit early into our marriage when we only had one child.

I vividly remember watching him board a plane headed to a far away land and wondering how I would survive while he was away. Not so much because I minded being alone or that the responsibility of taking care of a baby was too much, those both had little to do with it. I honestly wasn’t sure how I could handle not seeing his face, hearing his voice and knowing what was going on in his life for two solid weeks. Dramatic much?

In my defense, things were much different back then. He would get on an airplane and I wasn’t able to see him, FaceTime him, Skype him, text him or call. Nothing. Nada. It was brutal. I would anxiously await his return home and then beg him to regurgitate every. single. detail. of his trip.

It’s crazy to think that things have changed so much in just a few years but in light of all the latest technology, it’s super easy to keep in touch with people living overseas, but a lot of people don’t know just how easy it can be.

For the next few posts, I’m going to show you a few simple ways to help shrink the distance and feel like you’re close to friends and family that live far away. These tips could help you connect with people and be involved in their lives even if they are in the next state or across the world. Hint, Hint.

1) Write a letter or become pen pals. 

I’m sure you’re first thought was, “how outdated” but hear me out. I’m not necessarily talking about the pen pal days of the past.

Of course, you could actually write a letter and drop it in the mailbox but in some countries due to import laws or high import taxes, it may cost less to book an airline ticket and go visit. In that case, we’ve got a spare bed. IMG_5655

Can’t book a trip across the world? No worries, I’ve got a solution.

Write a letter, or have your child write a letter and snap a photo of it with your smart phone. Then you can email the photo or send it through one of the many other tech savvy apps and resources I’m going to talk about later in the week. Stay tuned.

Two of my boys are currently learning how to write a friendly letter in school but they would always lose interest because we couldn’t actually mail the letters to their friends. Now we snap a photo and send it on it’s way. I can check the homeschool box and my boys can keep in touch with friends. JPEG image-C4961DEB659D-1 2
This one makes the grandparents especially giddy because they get to see actual handwriting and you know….some folks really like that kind of stuff. I also snap pictures of the boy’s artwork and send it to friends so the younger boys can have a pen pal, despite the fact that they can’t write just yet. IMG_8535

Come back later this week and we’ll talk about some more fun ways to love folks from a distance.

Ten Signs that Mom is Sick

Ten Signs that Mom is Sick

I recently emerged from the bed after a seven day battle with a sinus infection, that turned into an ear infection, that ended up rupturing my eardrum.

Sounds like I’m 6 years old, right?

Who knew adults got ear infections and pretty serious ones at that. Not me, I thought I graduated from ear infections in my elementary years. Obviously not.

I can’t brag on my husband enough for keeping the ship afloat while I was down. He managed to rearrange his work schedule so he could be home with the boys, make sure they were fed, keep the house from being burned down and even check off a box or two from the homeschool assignment list. To some that may not sound impressive but I’m still in awe of his Daddy Ninja Skills. #LoveHim

But it goes without saying that when Mama goes down, things can start to go awry pretty quickly. I was pretty useless for five full days and am still not 100% but I’m trying to get back into the swing of things little by little.

I decided the first step to making myself feel better was to get our house back in order. I started picking things up and trying to bring order to the chaos when I finally had to stop and have a good laugh.

I really can’t put into words the absurd condition our house was in. So, instead of using words, I’ll use pictures.

Here are my “Top Ten Signs Mom Is Sick”…

1. There is yellow modeling clay in the bottom of the turtle’s aquarium. I’m guessing the modeling clay was in lieu of actual turtle food, meaning the turtle hasn’t eaten in a week. Thankfully, he’s still floating upright. Mr. Chad will be proud.

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2. The trash is piled high with school assignments that have been discretely dropped in the garbage can.

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3. An entire roll of tape is stuck to the floor to serve as a reminder that someone tried to tape his baby brother to the rug. IMG_0694

4. You have enough empty pizza boxes to build a small fort. I only photographed two because I was too embarrassed to admit the actual number of pizzas that were consumed in my absence. IMG_0696

5. Picture frames, along with other household items are broken as a result of the MMA cage match that took place in the living room.

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6. The baby has painted himself with White Out AND it hasn’t been washed off. I refuse to admit how many days the “war paint” remained on his arms because that would be evidence of how long my boys went without a proper bath. I digress.

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7. The bottom of the coffee pot is burned black, which serves as evidence that Daddy has relied heavily on caffeine to get through the last week.

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8. The curtain rods are literally ripped off the wall. See #5.

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9. Pizza Dinner is served along with soda on the floor, on a blanket, in front of the TV in the middle of the living room.

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10. You get an insane amounts of hugs, kisses, cuddles and snuggles when you do finally manage to get out of the bed because your kids have missed you so much. Swoon.

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Thankfully, as I type this we are on the mend and there are brighter days ahead at the Taylor house. We’ve managed to find order in our home and even get the laundry caught up. So, we survived the plague of 2016 and hope that it’s a really long time before something like that comes around again.