Category Archives: Parenthood

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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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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How I Got My Kids To Stop Sucking Their Thumbs

Hi friends!  I missed you all this summer, more than you’ll ever know.  I underestimated how much writing YOU is such good therapy for ME! :)

At the beginning of the summer I decided to work on accomplishing one GoAL with the kids by the end of the summer: to stop their thumb sucking!!  It has been a habit for both of our kiddos ever since birth.

We purchased some (pricey) thumb guards from tguard.com which was recommended by a friend.  This worked well with Leanne, our oldest daughter who is 6.  thumbguardGarrett, our 3 year-old, didn’t respond as well to them.  No matter what I did, he seemed to find a way to get the guards off.  I even bought the next size down, thinking they were too big, but he still found a way.  Truly, I think he got them off because he was willing to put himself through a considerable amount of pain…that’s a BOY for ya!  But my daughter didn’t really fight it, and even if she tried, she wasn’t able to get hers off.  Regardless, I would still highly recommend tguards to anyone wanting to break this habit.  I think they are one of the best options on the market.

The next thing we tried was our ChEApEst and most successful attempt so far.  I took their winter mittens and cut out all the fingers except the thumbs!  Both kids responded well to these because they were more comfortable to wear and much easier to put on.  The issue with mittens: they are SUPER easy to take off, which meant we had to UP the incentives to keep them on.  So…if they took the mittens off during the night, they didn’t get chocolate milk for breakfast and had to choke down regular milk (ha!).  Also, they got points toward a favorite toy which they finally got to cash in at the end of the summer.  The chocolate milk was a good incentive because it is the first thing they look forward to when they wake up, which we always reminded them when putting them to bed.  Sometimes they would come into the kitchen with a frown on their face and mitten-free hands, knowing regular milk would be on the menu:(

DSC_0556It took about a month for Garrett to break the habit of taking his mittens off at night.  And even though I feel they have broken their habit, they still request the mittens at night, just to make sure they don’t suck their thumbs without realizing it while sleeping.  I am so proud of them!

As I re-read this post, the process still sounds so much easier than it really was.  I don’t want to lie and make it sound like it was easy, because it wasn’t.  It was a FigHt, especially with our 3-year-old.  We exhausted all incentives and thumb guard options out there, and by the second half of the summer the mittens seemed to be what was most effective (even though it still took a good month before I felt like they really had it mastered).  It was a roller coaster of a summer, but worth all the hard work!  If your kiddos are dealing with the same struggle, I hope our experience and the mittens/tguards can be new options for you! Don’t lose hope! Hang in there momma!

Good Luck!

Lara

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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.

*********************************************

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Easy Outdoor Game

The hour before dinner in our house is always difficult because the kids can’t help but get restless waiting to eat and waiting for my husband to get home from work.  In an attempt to avoid taking out every single backyard toy, I came up with this simple game that kept them busy and didn’t leave the yard a mess for me to clean up!

If you have a walkway similar to mine you can use each stone individually.  If you have concrete you can divide it up into squares and play.  I used sidewalk chalk to write down the sight words that my son is working on.  I also drew some pictures for my daughter to color in to keep her busy.  I had my son pick out a rock and instructed him to toss his rock onto the walkway filled with words.  Once it landed on a word he had to run to it, say the word, then bring the rock back to me.  It was such a simple game, but it kept him busy and helped him practice his words!

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You can modify this to any level:

*Write letters on the stones to practice upper and lowercase letter recognition.

*Write numbers on the stones and use 2 rocks.  Have your child add together the two numbers that the rocks land on.

*Draw pictures with your kids and have them tell you the first letter for each picture and the sound that it makes.

The possibilities are endless and the only thing you have to do is collect your sidewalk chalk when you are finished!

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~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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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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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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I Lost My Kids in Disney World

It has taken me months to start this post because of  sheer embarrassment, but if my story can provide insight to someone else…then it is worth sharing.  Last summer we went to Disney World for a family vacation.  My sister had planned the trip from wake-ups to bedtimes and we had the time of our lives.  That would be minus the 15 minutes of terror when I realized I had lost my two kids in the park.

My husband had taken the kids on the train-ride around Magic Kingdom and I was shopping on Main Street.  We were planning to meet at the train stop at the front of the park and continue our day.  When the three of them got to the train stop my husband realized he had left our empty stroller at one of the other train stops and was staying on the train to go back to get it.  The kids came off the train and started walking down the ramp that they thought was going to bring them to me.  As I watched them exit the train I realized that the train exit ramp and the platform I was standing on did not meet in the same location.  Before I could yell to them they were gone.  I ran down a set of stairs hoping it would end where the kids came off the ramp, but the ramp was nowhere in sight and neither were Nicholas and Abby.  I ran around like a maniac trying to find them, but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.  I found a young “cast member” (that is what they call the people who work in Disney) and told him I lost my kids.  He didn’t really seem to jump with any urgency and I immediately knew I needed to find someone else to help me.  The next cast member that I found was a woman who immediately sprung into action.  She got on a radio and asked me what the kids looked like.  She assured me that the kids would be found and that they would not get out of the park.  Like a scene out of a movie I watched all of the cast members leap into action…as I kept saying “My son is 5 and my daughter is 3, they are blonde as blonde can be, she is wearing a red and white polka dot dress and he is wearing and black and red Mickey Mouse shirt.”  My heart raced as I cried picturing how scared my babies must have been.  The woman kept me calm by telling me that she lost her own son in the park a little over a week ago and that an undercover cast  member had found him.  I wish I had gotten her name…she knew how it felt to be a mom who was missing her greatest blessing and hugged me as we watched the scene unfold and wait for what seemed like an eternity.  After about 15 minutes I heard a voice say, “We’ve got them.”  I looked at the top of the train platform and ran to the steps to see my scared little ones walking toward me.  They were holding hands and Nicholas (my mamma’s boy) was crying.  I hugged them and never wanted to let go.

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I am beyond grateful to the cast members who went above and beyond to find my kids and keep me calm.  I wish I could have thanked them all, but the moment was so overwhelming that by the time I got it together everything had gone back to normal in The Magic Kingdom and they were all scattered about doing their jobs.

When I look back on this I really can’t BlAmE this on anyone.  There was no way any of us could have known that the ramp and stairs didn’t meet up.  It wasn’t like my kids had wondered off and weren’t paying attention…they thought they were walking and meeting me after getting off the train.  What I did learn is that there are things I could have done PriOr to this incident that could have made finding them a little easier.

Before our trip we had purchased tattoos for the kids arms that said, “If lost call XXX-XXX-XXXX.”  Did I have the tattoos on the kids arms that day?  NO!  What good were they doing in our hotel room?!!!  My husband and I also realized we had never had a discussion with the kids telling them what to do if they got lost.  We should have pointed out what cast members look like and told them to find one if they were lost.  Someone else gave me a great suggestion to take a picture of my kids each morning on my phone so that if they are lost you can see exactly what they are wearing in case you forget and you can show the picture to anyone who is helping to find them.  I also found a great idea on Pinterest where you make a bracelet with your phone number on it so that if they are lost someone can call you.  Bottom line…if you ever get into the situation that I was in act fast and find someone who you feel can help you.

I hope you never find yourself in this predicament, but just in case here are some ideas to help others get your kids back to you safely.

Take a Picture of Your

Kids Each Morning

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Cell Phone Bracelet

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If Lost Tattoo

Website for Safety Tattoo

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~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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