Category Archives: Family

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

iPhone Mommy

I admit it…I spend WaY ToO MuCh time on my phone.  It is a habit I have been saying I am going to stop for a long time, but have yet to accomplish.  It would be bad enough if I was taking time away from my kids by just talking on the phone, but we all know that is not what I am doing.  I hop around from email, to Facebook, to Pinterest, to Twitter and sometimes throw in a game of skee-ball.  The problem is…NoNe of this is more important than my kids!  If you are hooked  on your phone and have been trying to stop, this letter written by Tonya Ferguson on her blog 4 Little Fergusons might just be what you need to finally put it down.

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Dear mom on the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids: You work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now …

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her.

You aren’t.

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way.

He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing.

Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you, and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize: your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not OK to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish. They won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.

Because they know …

You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime.

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.

May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all.

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~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under All-Or-Nothing, Family, Friends, Getting Real, Hard Reality, Kid Stuff, Life, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships

When You Know Your Family is Complete

I’ve had friends tell me “You’ll just know when you are finished wanting to have more babies.”  It seemed some vague to me…you’ll just know.  How will I know?  Will the two kids I already have drive me to the point of insanity one day and the image of a newborn swaddled in a receiving blanket will no longer seem appealing to me?  Or will I wake up one day and realize the indecisiveness over wanting a third child just isn’t there any more and I can finally get rid of all of the baby stuff that is piled to the ceiling in my basement?  I’ve wondered this since the birth of my daughter for over 3 years and can finally say I understand the “You’ll just know” feeling.

My Baby Boy Nicholas

My Baby Boy Nicholas

This past month has been swamped with baby news.  Friends have been giving birth left and right and pregnancy announcements have been popping up all over the place.  All of this baby news of course made me think, “Maybe we should try for a 3rd.”  I went back and forth with it in my head for days even though my husband had put the idea of a 3rd to rest long ago but I just couldn’t come to peace with it.  Then it hit me, as I was daydreaming about the possibilities of expanding our family, the black cloud of postpartum depression loomed over me.  I suffered from severe postpartum depression after the birth of both of my babies. (Click here to read my postpartum story, Baby Blues to Baby Bliss).  It was to date the most difficult thing I have had to face.  I started to feel the tightening in my chest and the ache in my heart.  I thought of the two beautiful and  healthy children that I was lucky enough to give birth to and how I would never want them to see me go through that nightmare again.  At that moment I JuSt KnEw that I was done having babies and that my family was complete.

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My Baby Girl Abby

I am sure the “You just know” moment is different for every woman.  Whether it is the decision to not have children at all, or to not add any more children to the family you already have.  I suddenly feel a sense of peace knowing that my decision is made and will live each day loving my family of 4.

Please share your “I just knew” moments in the comments section!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Start Over

Good morning Friends!

I am sure eNjoYinG the nice weather we are having in Kansas. We are looking forward to spring break!

Today I wanted to pass along something that has been helpful to our family. The other morning I was fixing Leanne’s hair.  She didn’t like it and combed the braid out.  It upset me because I had worked hard on it and we were running out of time before the bus came.  I told her she would have to figure out how to fix her hair on her own and walked into the other room, upset (probably not the best of parenting!).  To my surprise she walked after me and asked,

“Mom, can we sTarT oVeR?”

I replied, “Sure!”  She stuck out her hand and we shook on it.

She smiled.

In a cheery voice I asked her how I could help her get ready for school, and off we went.  It was as if the short moment of frustration never happened.

SOURCE

SOURCE

Don’t get me wrong, when my kids or husband ask me to “start over” it takes a big swallow of pride to put my anger aside and agree to start fresh.  The human side of us just wants to stew over the problem, which only makes things worse and wastes a lot of time.

But just like ripping it like a band-aid, it only stings for a second!  Do yourself (and your loved ones) a favor by asking if you can START OVER the next time things head in the wrong direction.

Lara

Now that nicer weather is around the corner, do you need help getting motivated to do some spring cleaning? If so, read my “Rip It Like A Band-Aid” post!

 

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Filed under Family, Friends, Marriage, Parenthood, People, Relationships

Robyn’s Tips for a Disney World Vacation

This past August my entire family went on a 9 day trip to Disney World.  My kids had just turned 5 and 3 and my niece was 3 1/2.  It was the MoSt MaGiCaL time of my life.  There are no words to describe the sheer joy and awe that comes with seeing your children experience the magic of Disney for the first time.  Here is a list of tips that I put together based on my experience at “The Happiest Place on Earth!”

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*PLAN AHEAD!!! We had our entire schedule planned out from wake-up through bedtime before we even left for Disney.

*Book all of your meals in advance.

*Bring clear ponchos to put over your stroller if it rains.  They are cheap and fit over single and double strollers.

*Don’t bring ponchos for the kids…they are too big, just pack their raincoat.

*The Hoop Dee Doo Revue is a great show/dinner for a big family trip.

*Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins are going to be characters  in Hollywood Studios. If you do the Hollywood and Vine breakfast they should be characters there along with Special Agent Oso, and Jake from the Neverland Pirates, and Handy Manny.

*FAST PASS EVERYTHING!!! It saves you a ton of time!  Fast passes are available on rides and attractions that have long wait times.  You can take a fast pass ticket and it tells you when to come back and do the attractions with no wait time.

*To see the princesses (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Belle…sometimes they switch out Sleeping Beauty for Rapunzel) without doing a princess breakfast, you can fast pass the line for the Princesses in Town Square at Magic Kingdom. Right next to this is the same spot to get your picture taken with Mickey and Minnie. Fast Pass them both and get all the pictures there. It is near impossible to get pictures with any of these characters unless you do a breakfast.

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*Get to Magic Kingdom a half hour before it opens so you are there for rope drop. The characters come in on the train and fireworks go off…it is AMAZING.

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*Right after rope drop at the Magic Kingdom, if you hang out in town square, there are always characters. Mary Poppins was there every morning off to the right along with Snow White. Goofy and Daisy and Pluto were there most days too.

*If you hang out by the Mad Tea Party ride you can find Alice in Wonderland and the White Rabbit.

*The ONLY way to meet Tinker Bell is to wait on line at Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook (on the right hand side on your way to Adventure Land). Tinker Bell is always there with another fairy. We waited over an hour, but it was worth it!

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Pure Magic!

*You can find Peter Pan on the bridge going into Adventure Land right after the character parade that goes down Main Street.

*Make sure you see the Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It Parade in Magic Kingdom. My kids LOVED it! We went twice a day on some days!

*Pre-purchase your Disney Photo Pass. This is a pass that looks like a credit card. They sell plastic things to keep it in with your park tickets on a lanyard around your neck so that you can access it easily. There are park photographers ALL OVER the place. You ask them to take your picture/family picture and they scan the card.  All of the pictures go onto your Photo Pass account. When you get home you can upload your own photos to this account and make your Disney Memory Album.

*Get a bright colored bandanna and tie it to your stroller. When you get out of an attraction the strollers are sometimes moved around and it makes it really easy to find yours.

*ASK QUESTIONS…Disney employees are extremely knowledgeable and can help you navigate your day through the parks.

*In Hollywood Studios, The Character Department at the Magic of Disney Animation Building is a GOLDMINE for hard to find characters at 5:00.  We were able to get pictures with Pinocchio, The Queen from Snow White, Captain Hook and Smee, Mulan, Goofy, Mary Poppins, Jake, Piglet and Pooh and more!

*Bring your kid’s costumes with you.  There are kids dressed up as Disney Princesses everywhere you look.  My sister and I brought all of our costumes and brought certain ones to the park based on which characters we knew we would see that day.  My son brought his Peter Pan costume and a pirate costume!  It is a lot less expensive to bring the costumes you already own than to buy them in the parks!

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Mommy’s little Peter Pan!

*Bring glow-sticks, glow-wands, glow-necklaces, etc. from your local dollar store with you!  The kids can use them at night at the Main Street Electric Light Parade and lots of other nighttime festivities!

*Grab a park map at the entrance of each park.  Not only will you save time knowing where you are going, but they list the character spots and times that they are there so that you don’t have to guess who is in each park for photos.

*If there is a character that you are trying to get a picture with and can’t seem to find, go to guest relations in City Hall on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom and ask.  They have a schedule of all of the characters who will be in the park for the day.

*If you are staying in the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks, make sure you have a view of the top of the castle.  Weather permitting…each night the fireworks are started after Tinker Bell flies out of the top of the castle.  If you are staying that late, with kids…it is a MUST SEE!

*If you are planning a family trip or reunion, you can schedule a photography session at The Grand Floridian.  You are paired up with a professional photographer who will take family photos for a half hour.  When you are finished you get to keep all of the photos on disc that can then be uploaded to your Disney PhotoPass account.

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Family Portrait Taken at The Grand Floridian

HAVE FUN!!!

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~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Remembering Grandma

Last week I lost the last of my four grandparents.  My grandma was 91 years old and had been living in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer’s for the past 10 years.  She lost her ability to speak about 5 years ago and hasn’t recognized any of us in over 5 years.  Over the years it has been devastating to watch what this disease has done to the woman who taught me how to sew, bake, cook, and craft.

BeFunky_grandma

As I sat at the funeral home I kept starring at my grandmother’s hands holding the rosary and then all of the beautiful flowers that surrounded her from our family.  Those hands had taught me so much and I immediately began to think about what I could do with all of those flowers.  My grandmother would have hated to see all those flowers thrown away which is what typically happens with funeral arrangements so I asked the funeral director if I could take the arrangement home with me.  Now I have a little piece of my grandmother watching over my family…I know she would be proud!

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grandma

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Parenting Resolutions Worth Keeping

As we all begin our New Years Resolutions I PrOmIsE you WilL NoT find me walking around with a shiny new gym membership. Ooooooooh no!!! You all know I couldn’t even follow through with The Lazy Girls Workout!  Looking back on that post, maybe I was pushing myself with saying I was going to start out aiming to workout 3 to 4 times a week.  If I had started with 1 to 2 and gradually added on maybe I would have stuck with it!  Anyway…I’ll worry about toning in the spring and stick with these ReAlisTiC ReSoLuTiOnS that will benefit my entire family!

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I found this while looking for cute winter crafts on Pinterest and realized these are all things that I need to do not only for my family, but for MySeLf!  I spend way too much time trying to get everything done and need to focus more on the important things in life.  They may seem simple, but they so often get overlooked and could be the difference in making your child’s day go from OK to OuTanDiNg!

Happy New Year!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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