Category Archives: Marriage

What’s Next?

 

It’s been ages since I posted and this year has been filled with twists, turns and unexpected trials and triumphs.  With my son moving up to 1st grade and my daughter going into her last year of nursery school, I found myself at a crossroad with no idea of the next direction I would go.  Being a stay at home mom for seven years was a gift that I am lucky to have had.  I started my role as “Mommy,” “Mama,” and “MOM” after teaching 1st grade for eight years and loved my new identity.  Time has flown by and I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been home almost as long as I was in the classroom and can’t imagine jumping back into a teaching career when I’ve been out of practice for so long.  So…where does that leave me?  I’m no longer a first grade teacher, an identity I cherished and was proud of, but I’m also not a mommy of babies and toddlers anymore which is what I came to love even more than my previous role.  I felt like I was slowly becoming NOBODY.

Bigger kids means bigger financial needs and the strain of a single income was becoming apparent.  The obvious solution would be going back to teaching.  However, there are no words to describe the anxiety I felt when even thinking about returning to teaching.  Being out of the classroom for so long makes it that much harder to imagine going back.  If I had taken a maternity leave and gone back right away my kids wouldn’t know any different and neither would I.  Problem is I know how much I love bringing them to school and picking them up.  I love “Mommy and Abby days” when she doesn’t have school.  I couldn’t imagine giving it up.

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Conflicted with finding an answer that would be best for our family I had one of those MEANT TO BE experiences that has changed the path from uncertainty to determination.  I have always believed that certain people come into our lives for a reason.  There is no doubt in my mind that Tracy was one of those people.  My husband went to high school with Tracy and we have been facebook friends for a while.  She lives in Georgia and was a marine biologist, but is now a division leader with lia sophia.  For those of you who are not familiar with lia sophia it is a direct sales company that offers gorgeous jewelry at affordable prices (Think Tupperware party, but with jewelry)!  One day Tracy sent me a message asking me if I would be willing to host a facebook virtual jewelry party so she could show her team that it is possible to connect with friends from out of state and build your business through technology.  I thought about it and mentioned it to my husband and he said to me, “Maybe you should talk to Tracy about selling lia sophia, she was a marine biologist and is now really successful doing this and is home with her kids.”  That was it…I talked to Tracy once and signed up!  That was two months ago and boy has my world CHANGED for the BETTER!  Through friends and family who volunteered to host parties I have been able to get my business started and already recruited a customer to join my “team”!  I am on my way to promoting to Unit Leader and am still in awe that this practically fell into my lap.  Tracy has guided me EVERY step of the way and has been my biggest cheerleader.  It is AMAZING to work for a company that encourages women to be their own boss, set goals and attain them, and live their dream.  My dream has always been to be home with my kids.  My fondest memories are of my mom being home with me and my sister.  I completely understand that this is not an option for many and that there are many women who even if staying home was an option would choose to continue with their career.  The choice we each make does not DEFINE the type of mother you are.  It does not make one of us better than the other.  It is simply the path that each mother takes on the road to raising their children to be the best they can be!

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In the past two months I have gained a new level of confidence and am proud of the work I have done to build my business.  Dressing up my “Mommy” clothes with all of my new jewelry has added an element of fun to my days.  I LOVE being my own boss, making my own hours, and helping our family out with finances.  People do come into our lives for a reason…Tracy came into mine to be the light on this exciting new journey that I am on.

Visit my business Website!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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A Drop Of Honey

Quotes from How to Win Friends & Influence People (Revised Edition) by Dale Carnegie:

Chapter: A Drop Of Honey.

Principle:  Begin in a friendly way.

“‘If you come at me with your fists double,” said Woodrow Wilson, ” I think I can promise you that mine will double as fast as yours; but if you come to me and say, ‘Let us sit down and take counsel together, and, if we differ from each other, understand why it is that we differ, just what the points at issue are,’ we will presently find that we are not so far apart after all, that the points on which we differ are few and the points on which we agree are many, and that if we only have the patience and the candor and the desire to get together, we will get together.'”  (pg. 143)

“If a man’s heart is rankling with discord and ill feeling toward you, you can’t win him to your way of thinking with all the logic in Christendom.  Scolding parents and domineering bosses and husbands and nagging wives ought to realize that people don’t want to change their minds.  They can’t be forced or driven to agree with you or me.  But they may possibly be led to, if we are gentle and friendly, ever so gentle and ever so friendly'”  (pg. 145)

“It is an old and true maxim that ‘a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.’  So with men, if you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.  Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart; which, say what you will, is the great high road to his reason.”  (pg. 146)

“Daniel Webster… one of the most successful advocates who ever pleaded a case; yet he ushered in his most powerful arguments with such friendly remarks as:  ‘It will be for the jury to consider,’  ‘This may perhaps, be worth thinking of, ‘  ‘Here are some facts that I trust you will not lose sight of,’  or ‘You, with your knowledge of human nature, will easily see the significance of these facts.’  No bulldozing.  No high-pressure methods.  No attempt to force his opinions on others.  Webster used the soft-spoken, quiet, friendly approach, and it helped to make him famous.”‘  (pg. 146-147)

Principle:  Begin in a friendly way.

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If You’re Wrong, Admit It

Quotes from How to Win Friends & Influence People (Revised Edition) by Dale Carnegie:

Chapter: If You’re Wrong, Admit It.

Principle:  If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

“If we know we are going to be rebuked anyhow, isn’t it far better to beat the other person to it and do it ourselves?  Isn’t it much easier to listen to self-criticism than to bear condemnation from alien lips?   Say about yourself all the derogatory things you know the other person is thinking or wants to say or intends to say – and say them before that person has a chance to say them.  The chances are a hundred to one that a generous, forgiving attitude will be taken and your mistakes will be minimized.”  (pg. 137)

“There is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the  courage to admit one’s errors.  It not only clears the air of guilt and defensiveness, but often helps solve the problem created by the error.'”  (pg. 138)

“Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes  – and most fools do – but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.”  (pg. 139)

“Remember the old proverb:  “By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.”‘  (pg. 142)

Principle:  If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

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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.

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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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Make a Pact

Every once in a while Doug and I will catch ourselves wAsTiNg a lot of time rehashing an upsetting incident, discussing something negative, or spending way too much time on something that we shouldn’t.  Do you ever do that? Recently, we have done something helpful to avoid these ongoing situations.  We “make a pact” with one another to no longer waste another minute on that specific topic.  When we catch ourselves in a conversation that makes us feel sour, one of us may say, “Okay…for the rest of the month we need to work on not bringing up_______.”  From then on we hold each other accountable by giving “the look” or a quick reminder when conversations head the wrong direction.pinky-swear1

Is there something that you are doing, saying or thinking about that you need to nip in the bud?  By regurgitating the same negative conversations you are adding unnecessary depression to your day AND to those around you.  Doug and I always have to remember…the kids are aLwAys watching and listening!!  Whatever we talk a lot about, they will believe!

What conversations can you remove from your life by mAkiNg a pAcT to stop?  Don’t forget, with the help of someone else, you can achieve this goal much easier and catch old habits before they creep back in your life!

Lara

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Infertility During the Holidays

These days our house is filled with toys, laughter, and absolute chaos as we prepare for Christmas.  I’m running out of places to hide presents and our elf on the shelf, tripping over Abby’s little people reindeer thanks to her insisting that they “take off” in the middle of the living room, and loving the million different ways my kids pronounce Feliz Navidad (Denise Nady Na is my favorite) each time they hear the song on the radio!  However, a few days ago as I was hanging ornaments on our Christmas tree I was reminded of a Christmas not so long ago when I was longing to be a mother and that dream seemed beyond my reach.

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Growing up I was a goal setter.  I knew right away that I wanted to be a teacher.  Not just a teacher, but a first grade teacher.  With hard work and a little luck I was hired for my first job the June before I graduated college to teach first grade the following year.  My next goal was to be a mom.  My husband Rob and I had been married for a little over 2 years and figured it was a good time to start trying to start a family.  When month after month turned into over a year and  the little white stick was still showing not a sign of pink I knew something was wrong.  We tried using ovulation predictors and monitors on our own and nothing seemed to help.

Testing came back labeling us as “unexplained infertility”  and 3 intrauterine inseminations (IUI) later I was still not pregnant.  By now I couldn’t hide the fact that we were doing infertility treatments to try to have a baby.  I wear my emotions on my sleeve and it was clear that we were having a problem.  I was also being so closely monitored for egg production that I had to miss school a lot for the insemination schedule that I was on.  Now that I look back, I am thankful for all of the support that I received from everyone who knew what Rob and I were going through.  I saved every card, St. Gerard medal, and well wish that was given to us during our journey and would often joke that I felt like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life from the end scene when he is on the bridge and everyone is praying for him…except everyone was saying…Dear God please give Robyn and Rob a baby!  I had a co-worker who told me over and over that the baby that was meant for me wasn’t ready yet.  I knew she was trying to be helpful, but when you want nothing more than to be a mother RiGhT NoW you don’t want to hear anything like that!  In hindsight…she was right.

After the 3 failed IUI’s we decided to go straight to in vitro fertilization (IVF).  This just had to work.  How could it not?  They take healthy eggs and healthy sperm, put them together, implant them into the perfect location in your uterus and all they have to do is implant.  We did the injections, the 6:00 am blood-work and uterus scans every morning, egg retrieval, and then the big day…the embryo transfer.  I can’t even begin to tell you how exciting it is to lay on the table with a photograph of the embryos that the doctor is transferring in hopes that one will implant.  In the days that followed my transfer I carried around that photograph like I had just been to Portrait Innovations with a newborn!  After the transfer comes the wait.  For a week we waiting hoping those little embryos had nuzzled in to stay, but we were saddened when my blood-work came back to show that I wasn’t pregnant.

Moving on we had to wait one cycle before we could begin another round of IVF.  By this time I felt like a professional at the infertility group.  I sat in the same chair each morning for my monitoring, had become friends with all of the nurses, and knew which parking spots were the best to get out of the hospital lot the fastest to get me to work on time.  My doctor changed my medications a little to get more eggs to fertilize this time and I had 26 eggs retrieved and 13 that went on to fertilize and become embryos.  Getting the call that I had produced 13 healthy embryos had us on cloud 9…we were sure this round would get us the baby we so longed for.   The next morning by a horrible twist of fate, we received a phone call from my Dr. notifying me that due to a “Catastrophic error on the part of the lab” all of my embryos had been lost because there was something wrong with the gel that holds the embryos.  There are honestly no words to describe the pain we felt that day.  Even today when I think of 13 potential lives lost it kills me.  We didn’t even know what to do with the news, we just knew that we wanted a baby and we needed them to get one.

We went ahead with a 3rd round of IVF and by now we were going on 2 and a half years of infertility.  I was emotionally drained and depressed.  I went for my egg retrieval and transfer and I honestly didn’t have much hope this time.  I had been through so much heartbreak that the naivety of the “This is definitely going to work” was LoNg GoNe.  I went for my blood-work the morning of my pregnancy test, but I was already spotting so I figured that it hadn’t worked.  I went back home after my blood-work and put my pajamas back on and laid in bed waiting for the phone call from my nurse.  Rob and I answered the phone together and were shocked to hear, “Robyn, you’re pregnant!”  We both cried along with our nurse who had been through all 3 cycles with us.  My pregnancy wasn’t easy but I delivered a healthy baby boy and finally understood what my friend meant… All of those missed opportunities to conceive didn’t happen because Nicholas was the baby that was MeAnT FoR Me!  If I had gotten pregnant any of those other times I would have had a baby that I would have loved, but I wouldn’t have Nicholas, and knowing that makes all the years, all the heartbreak, and all the lessons learned worth it.  Nicholas is 5 years old now and I still call him my little miracle.  When I meet couples going through infertility I try to remind them of this and to NeVeR GiVe Up HoPe.

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Our Miracle

Finally A Mommy!

Finally A Mommy

Those of you who follow Suede Sofa know that besides Nicholas I have a daughter named Abby who is two years younger.  As shocked as I was the day I found out I was pregnant with Nicholas, multiply that by 100 the day I figured out that by some either miracle or complete fluke we conceived Abby on our own!

My family ~ 2012

My family ~ 2012

If you or someone you know is struggling to conceive this Christmas season please share my story with them.  I know how hard it is to put on a brave face when you want nothing more than to be a part of what it seems like everyone else around you has.  Remember the words of my friend…Maybe the baby that is meant for you just isn’t ready yet!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year…

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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A Cookie & A Walk

Years ago when I was living in Tulsa I got an unexpected knock on my door.  It was my good friend Cindy.  She knew I was going through a really difficult time and so she bought me a slice of a large chocolate chip cookie and asked if I wanted to go for a walk on my favorite bike/run/walk trail along the Arkansas River.

What a simple gesture and yet close to 20 years later I am still touched by the impact of her thoughtfulness.  Maybe at the time it seemed like no big deal to her, but it was a big deal to me.  A really big deal.  And a really big lesson.

To this day her gesture challenges me to search for ways I can give someone a little grace, show a little kindness, and spread a little love.  And lest I am tempted to think my kindness is insignificant I remind myself of the power of a cookie and a walk.

As the holidays draw near, I know there are people needing kindness and a little hope.  And so I’m looking for someone I can dispense a little kindness to.  How about you?  Who do you know who needs a little grace?

:) Robynn

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Just Do It – Say “I’m Sorry”

Source: momontherange.com

As humans none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes.  Sometimes on accident, sometimes on purpose.  And occasionally sometimes those mistakes call for an apology.  Whether or not we give one is completely another story.

Knowing I need to say “I’m sorry.” to someone gives that sinking feeling in my stomach because a true apology requires complete humility.  It requires that I put aside any justification on my part, any of those pathetic, “I’m sorry if I offended you.” pseudo apologies and just say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”  But when I finally do, I feel like I’m walking on air.  I guess that is because a clear conscience is as the MasterCard commercial says, “Priceless.”

Do you need to make a sincere apology?  What are you waiting for?  Free yourself from the pain of a guilty conscience and just do it – say “I’m sorry.”

:) Robynn

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Wait It Out

I don’t know about you, but when I get upset I want to get it off my chest as soon as I can.  Let me tell ya, there are diSadvAntaGes to that.  I have found that if I speak my mind as the disagreement arises, I usually regret what was said.

The other day I was aggravated.  A first, I let my mind spiral out of control on all the things that bothered me about the situation.  Instead of verbalizing them as they came to mind, like I normally do, I took time to think long and hard about what I was going to say before pleading my case.  By thinking things through I was able to sift out unnecessary comments that would have been said only due to anger.  This was HuGe because back in the day it would have caused our arguments to fester twice as long!  By taking the time to fully evaluate the real reason I was upset, I had already calmed down which naturally heLpeD me discuss the situation in a more reasonable manner.

It is easy to want quick results and responses in all that we do.  The longer I live, the more I see the benefits in not getting in a HURRY.  As painful as it was to keep my mouth shut until I calmed down to carefully choose my words, it allowed me to resolve a problem with a person that wasn’t hurtful to them and regretful to me.

Taking the time to be more selective in what comes out of your mouth.  If your thoughts are going a hundred miles an hour, that is not the time to be verbalizing them.  Believe me; I know it is dreadful to wait.  Your mind is good at convincing you that those racing thoughts ARE truly how you feel.  Don’t be fooled.  Past arguments are evidence that your mind keeps tricking you, so do everyone a favor and wait this one out.

~Lara

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Love Letters

I’ve been married for almost 7 years.  When I ReMemBer my dating days with Doug, I cherish all of the little notes and letters we gave one another.  Call me old fashioned, but there is just something special about seeing how the other person feels on paper.  Who doesn’t like a heartfelt love letter?!

Fast forward to the present and we are lucky if we can squeeze an “I love you” in a ConVersaTion without being interrupted by kids or hectic schedules.  We do well at thanking one another for little stuff throughout the week (taking out the trash, paying bills) but it is rare to have moments that we stop and verbally express the deeper love we have for one another.

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So….this week I decided to write a love letter.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t on fancy paper sprayed with perfume and sealed with a waxed stamp.  It wasn’t even hand written! It was a simple email that I typed up while I was waiting for my letter blocks to dry (romantic, huh?).  And to be hOnEst, it felt a little weird at first.  I mean, I’ve known Doug for what seems like forever, but to write things that have more meaning than your typical daily conversation brought back butterflies as if I was awaiting my first date with him.  So a good “weird” I guess!

Like many things that are slightly uncomfortable in life, you have little to no regret once it is over.  It felt G O O D to share how I felt and usually that is all it takes to help nurture a relationship.

By the end of the day I challenge you to send your loved one a thoughtful text, email or voicemail (or hand written letter if you feel froggy!).  They may be shocked to receive it because it is so out-of-the ordinary, but you never know what good things may come of it!

Yours Truly,

Lara  :)

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