Category Archives: Getting Real

I’m Not Going There

I got up this morning with a mission to help my daughter.  As a homework assignment, she was asked to gather pictures of herself which capture her favorite things.  As I began skimming through files of photos on my computer, you would have thought I was spending most of my time smiling and reminiscing about the past.  To my surprise, recalling those days turned into feelings of discouragement as my role as MOM.

You see, after I had my first daughter, seven years ago, I did a great job taking lots of pictures and getting them into a scrapbook in a timely matter.  As life got more hectic and our family grew, I didn’t capture the same moments by photograph with my other two kids—probably because I usually had one kid on my hip and a basket of laundry in the other.

The reality is, life will always be hectic and I CaN’t Do iT ALL.  As soon as I had those sunken feelings this morning I could see how this day was going to pan out—feeling guilty ALL day about the numerous things I should be doing better.  Like how I should plan meals ahead of time instead of pulling meat from the freezer at 4:59 every afternoon…or logging our monthly expenses in a spreadsheet every month instead of staring at a pile of receipts from the last 5 months. The list is never-ending, isn’t it?

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Instead, as soon as my daughter left for school, I shut those feelings down by thinking to myself, “I’m not going there”.  I’m not going to spend the entire day beating myself up about my areas of weakness as a mother.  To help, I tried to imagine what our seven-month-old would say to me when he becomes an adult.  If he knew how terrible I felt for not taking pictures of his sweet feet when he was only a few days old, he would say, “Mom….really?  That’s what you’re worried about?  It’s not a big deal. Really.”  And then he would go on to remind me how I would play tractors with him on the living room floor and  spontaneously make him a farmyard out of old oatmeal containers and cereal boxes.  Ahh…thank you, my sweet kiddos, for loving me for my imperfect self.  And Leanne, make sure you remember this if you become a Mom some day. Don’t be so hard on yourself :)

So if this is you today, pick yourself up and start focusing on the things you do well.  You simply can’t do it allDon’t let special moments (like scanning through years of pictures and reflecting on the past with your kids) pass you by because you are beating yourself up, wishing you’d done better.

From one parent to another, I think you are doing just fine ;)

Lara

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Filed under Getting Real, Life

Impeccable Timing

Every now and then I find myself focusing way too much on areas of my body that I don’t like.  Do you ever do that?  Often times it is the skin spots that keep popping up with age or the way my body has changed after having three kids. *Sigh*.

Well today I got an email that included the video I have posted below.  Talk about impeccable timing.  I am glad God put it on someone’s heart to pass it along, because I needed this reminder.  Just in case you needed it too, I decided to share it with you!

This video is an eye-opener in more ways than one.  Not only does it make me think twice about nitpicking areas of my physique, but gave me a kick in the pants for when I get down about life or complain about a task being too difficult.

Attitude is everything.  Don’t deprive yourself of a good life just because everything isn’t perfect.  And I love what Chris says, “If you are worried about how you look, you are cheating yourself out of opportunities.”  Needed to hear that. So true.

I hope this touches your heart like it did mine.  Enjoy…

~Lara

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Filed under Dream Big, Getting Real, Hard Reality, Inspire, Life

Be Rewarded for Shopping Online

As I’m sure many of you can relate, shopping with kids in NoT exactly my favorite thing to do.  There is always the fighting over who sits where in the cart, then the whining that I’m taking too long, and of course the dreaded tantrum over the desperately needed toy they just HaVe to HaVe!  My kids can turn a 5 minute trip to Home Depot for light bulbs into a disaster.  They will manage to find something they need…such as the Tinker Bell and Lightning McQueen flashlights that are placed just at their eye level so they can pull the, “Oh wait, we need this!”

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Thanks to the ease of online shopping and the availability of coupon codes, (read our post on how to get coupon codes) and free shipping, I try to avoid going out to the stores as much as possible.  I was recently introduced to an online shopping opportunity even better than coupon codes!  EBATES!  Ebates is a company that gives you cash back if you shop through the links listed on their site.  They advertise for the stores and you make money back by shopping through their link.  It is a WIN WIN  for everyone!  At first I thought it was too good to be true, but I did my research and have been a member and shopping with them for a month now and earned over $30 back on purchases I would have made whether I ordered them through the Ebates site or not.  You can track sales, coupons, and percentages that stores are giving back on their site.  The money you earn from shopping is either mailed to you in check form or can be deposited directly into your paypal account.  You can still use coupon codes and free shipping codes and get whatever percentage that particular store is offering back on the day you are shopping.

Here’s a link to get you started!

http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=1F4aHuk9ijWgSKFCdEfzww%3D%3D

Happy Stress Free Shopping!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Finances, Getting Real, Life

Christmas Card Chaos

Tis’ the season for trying to capture that PeRfEcT photo for the annual Christmas card!  You know the one I’m referring to that gives the illusion that your kids never fight, don’t play in the mud, and wear matching outfits daily.  First there is the decision over whether to go to a portrait studio, hire a photographer and do an outdoor family photo shoot, or take the pictures yourself.  Once that is decided the planning of the outfits can begin.  The ridiculous part about this is that stores start  putting out their holiday lines in October so if your kids wear a popular size you better be thinking ahead.  Ok, now you know who is taking the picture and what everyone is wearing, but here is the hardest part…getting everyone to cooperate! photo

I am sure many of you moms are going through this torture over the next few weeks so let me share my Christmas card 2013 attempt with all of you.  Before I start getting all sorts of complaints from dads, I chose to write moms because maybe there are one or two dads out there who break the mold and take the kids for the Christmas photos, but in MY experience, there is NO dad who wants to be anywhere near this unprecedented madness EVER!

This year I was going to have a friend who is a professional photographer take photos in our yard.  Well that idea went down the toilet when I had to cancel the session because it had rained the night before and the grass was soaking wet.  I know my kids would never have cooperated if their feet were soaking wet from the grass and we wouldn’t have gotten the photos that I wanted to get.  My second attempt pictured above was yesterday.  I thought I could take the bull by the horns and take the photos myself.  I’ve done it before so why not?  Here’s why not…apparently I bought my son “handsome” clothes instead of “cool” clothes and he refused to put them on.  In a desperate attempt to move forward with my plan I decorated a tree with candy canes and figured I would at least get my daughter’s picture done since she was all dressed and loves getting her picture taken.  I figured my son would get jealous and cave once he saw her getting all the attention and put the cute plaid shirt and sweater on, but boy was I wrong.  What erupted was like a scene out of a Christmas horror show.  While my daughter was standing on a chair smiling my son took one of my giant candy cane props and started chopping down the candy canes one by one out of the tree faster than I could grab him.  Candy was flying all over the place, my daughter was wobbling in a chair in her Christmas dress, and all I was thinking was, don’t react like Clark Griswold when his lights don’t light up in Christmas Vacation!

Needless to say, we marched back in the house after picking up all of the broken candy canes and I am left with this fantastic picture that I share with all of you.  Please keep it in mind when you are stressed to the max this Christmas season.  As you receive your mail full of smiling faces each day remember a lot more goes into those cards than you think and don’t be too hard on yourself if your journey to whatever your PeRfEcT card is isn’t so PeRfEcT!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Getting Real, Holiday, Kid Stuff, Life, RANDO•RAMA

Okay for ME, but NOT for YOU…

I am hard on my kids.  Too hard, a lot of times, which always makes me regret it once I stop and think about how I’m treating them.  Instead of choosing my battles, I decide to take on every battle!  That is what SUPERMOM is all about, right?  Keeping a tight leash on your kids and setting the bar super high?  After some ReFleCtioN this week, maybe I should start looking for a new role model…

As Christians, we know how miserably we fail at numerous tasks and actions throughout our day, yet when we glance up at God we are reassured that He forgives and loves us no matter how much we are being a disappointment.  It is so comforting to know that when I make mistakes, at least someone still has my back…because HE knows we are human and are far from pErfeCt.

Yet WHY do I hold my kids to a different standard?  When they don’t do what I ask, or spill a cup FULL of pop on the floor, I repeatedly get on to them and ask why they didn’t listen or be more careful!!  Not only that, but I bring it up AGAIN when their Dad comes home and maybe even AGAIN before they go to sleep, in hopes that I am getting my point across!Scolding

When I make the same exact mistakes (just in adult form!), does God TrEaT me like that?  Never.  I always feel Him looking at me in a calm way, his eyes telling me that I need to pick myself up and go on.  I know I let Him down but I also know that once I acknowledge my weaknesses to Him, He moves on and doesn’t keep throwing it in my face. I really appreciate that about Him.

So why is it okay for me to fail God but not okay for others to fail me? As cHalleNgiNg as it will be, I am going to try to be as understanding and calm with my children as He is to me.  Sure, I’ll still get on to them and discipline when needed, but then I need to let it go and hope they make a better decision next time.  We know that kids won’t always do the right thing, but thankfully God doesn’t give up on us adults either!  With every year I get under my belt, I can see I’m going to need all the help and forgiveness I can get!

-Lara

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Filed under Faith, Getting Real, God, Life, Parenthood, Relationships

How I Fixed Our LAUNDRY Situation in 15 Minutes

If you were to ask me what area of my household chores stresses me out the most, I would say “LAUNDRY”.  I feel like our laundry takes over my life and my mood!  Like most people, we have a small laundry room, which also serves as a mudroom next to our garage.  Since I don’t have much room in there, laundry always ends up in our bedroom.  Clean clothes, dirty clothes—you name it—ends up either folded or unfolded on our bed.  By the end of the day, I usually never get around to putting all of it away, so where does it end up?  On the floor!  Yep, we are always so tired at night that the easiest thing to do is throw it on a dresser or make a pile on the floor.

This makes me CRAZY because the very next morning I feel like I have to rewash or dry everything due to unwanted wrinkles or not knowing what is really clean.  What a waste of time, energy, and laundry soap!!

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when we noticed some of our clothes smelling bad, even after being washed.  Since I didn’t have a good laundry system all of our clothes, musty towels and kitchen washcloths would sometimes end up in the same load.  What happens when you don’t do a good job sorting?  Your shirt smells like the onion you made for dinner last night :-/

I couldn’t take it any longer.  One morning, I decided I had to make a major change.  I headed down to the basement and grabbed a couple old card tables and plastic tubs.  I cleared out the corner of my office (which once consisted of a comfy chair and lamp) and I set the tables up.  Sure, I was sad to see my “reading chair” go (which never got used—but “looked” nice!) but I knew this area could be better utilized for something more practical.DSC_0577

I labeled each tub “whites/colors/smelly stuff—washcloths/other” and slid them under the table.  Within 15 minutes I had a functional laundry area and my life has been drastically changed every since!  I now have room to fold and make piles for each person in our family.  I also decided that I needed a place to hang clean clothes, so I took the hanging rod out of one of my kids’ closets and hung in above the card tables!  It only took me about 10 minutes to move from their closet to the new spot, and now it saves me tons of time from walking back and forth to bedrooms to hang clothes!DSC_0571

If I don’t get around to putting clothes away, everyone knows that their clean piles are now in my office.  My entire family has done great making sure they put their dirty laundry in the correct tub (but I even have an “other/don’t know pile” tub in case someone gets confused!) and I am proud to say that we haven’t dealt with any onion-smelly clothes since! YAY!  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!DSC_0572

One more thing I want to add…as you can see, my laundry room does not look “pretty”.  In the past I would have put off making a makeshift laundry room due to feeling like I needed custom cabinets and a reconstructed room in order to have a functional laundry space.  Because I did it this way, I was able to create a better laundry situation within 15 minutes AND it will give me time to try it out before I decide when and if I should ever upgrade to something more permanent.

Is there an area of your daily routine that makes you CrAzY (like my laundry situation)?  If so, I encourage you to think outside the box and find a way to make it less stressful.  Sure, I am sacrificing looking at dirty laundry baskets in my office, but now my master bedroom is ALWAYS clean and laundry free.  I am also saving time this way!  Just remember, even though you want your home to look like something from Pottery Barn, you have to ask yourself, “Would I rather have a magazine-looking house, or eliminate DAILY stresses by making an area more functional?””

Good “looks” don’t always mean a HaPpY HeArt!  Make a change TODAY!!

Lara

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Filed under At Home, Getting Real, Life, RANDO•RAMA, Uncategorized

Love In An Elevator

For 35 years I’ve cried at the end of each and every summer.  In my teenage years my parents would drive away from Chadwick Beach, New Jersey as I cried with sand still sticking to my toes.  This year, my 36th summer was far from any scene Norman Rockwell would have wanted to capture!  My kids seemed to take up sibling arguing as their summer hobby, my parent’s beach house at the Jersey Shore sat completely gutted and unusable thanks to last October’s hurricane, my son broke his arm, and as the lyrics of It’s a Small World say it best, our trip to Disney seemed to bring out “A world of tears” in my daughter!  TaNTrUmS, ScReAmInG,  and BrEaKdOwNs were everyday occurrences for my kids (and sometimes Mommy).  On our Disney vacation, the low-point was my daughter Abby while decked out head to toe in her Belle costume screaming at the top of her 4-year-old lungs, “You’re a mean Mommy!”  Why you might ask?  All because I wouldn’t let her walk on a ledge that she wanted to use as a balance beam!  MeAn MoMmY!!!  Where was this kid when her MeAn MoMmY was packing 3 princess dresses complete with tiaras and light up shoes, a Tinker Bell costume with light up wings and shoes that jingle, and countless other Disney “necessities”?!!!

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This is just so you can get an image of the Belle ensemble!

Then the high-point.  If you’ve ever been to Disney World’s Hollywood Studios you know you can’t top the experience of ridding the Aerosmith Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  I LOVE roller coasters and this one is simply the best.  You ride in the dark and go 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds while Aerosmith’s LoVe In An EleVaToR and WaLK THiS WaY blast in your ears!  Since my kids were way too little to go on this ride and we had no one to watch the kids while my husband and I went on the ride.  I did the only thing that made sense.  I WENT ON THE RIDE ALL BY MYSELF.  I walked up the single riders line and was on the ride within 5 minutes.  As like each time I’ve gone on the Rock ‘n’ Coaster before, my heart was pounding with anticipation as the limousine coaster pulled back and took off into darkness.  Turning upside down and sideways with Aerosmith screaming in my ears was exactly what I needed to recharge and refuel.  I walked off that ride like a little kid on Christmas morning.  OK, so the ride  only lasts 1 minute and 22 seconds, but it was 1 minute and 22 seconds ALL TO MYSELF!  There was no fighting over who was going to sit next to Mommy, no crying when “World of tears Abby” was too short to go on the ride when Nicholas made the cut, it was just me and around these parts that is a ReAlLy rare thing!  I think there may have been a little skip in my step when I met my husband and kids waiting for me and when the next little crisis broke out…this Mommy was ready to take it on!tumblr_m8il1io18v1rq4chmo1_500

I realize that I can’t jump on a roller coaster every time I need to get some perspective, but this entire experience made me realize that it is the smallest and silliest things that can turn your day or summer in my case around.  If you feel like you are overwhelmed with something whether it be your kids, family, work, etc. take a break and do something that makes you happy.  Get your nails done, go shopping, grab coffee with a girlfriend.  It might be just what you need!

*Or you can click on this YouTube video I found that someone made of the Aerosmith Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  It pretty much details my entire ride except they had a different music selection…still great though!

Experience the Rock ‘n’ Coaster!

Great to be back!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Family, Getting Real, Life, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships