Category Archives: Getting Real

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

Don’t Post Until You Check Snopes!

It seems like I am coming across more and more inaccurate information circling around Facebook.  My news feed has been full of stories and pictures of sick kids with captions like, “If this picture gets 1,000 “likes” so and so will pay for their surgery,” etc.  There has been a Photoshop  image of Bill Gates going around saying something like if you “share” this picture he might give you $5,000.  The other day I saw one with a picture of the gold dollar bill with a false statement about the government printing them with the “In God We Trust” omitted from the coin.

If something comes across your news feed that you are tempted to re-post or share, check its validity out on www.snopes.com.  You can type in a key word and information comes up about whether it is true or false.  It also gives you an explanation for why it is true or false.

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Click to see the Snopes responses to the Bill Gates Facebook scam and the gold dollar coin information that is circulating.

Bill Gates – Facebook Giveaway

Gold Dollar Coins Omitting “In God We Trust”

The bottom line is…YOU CAN’T TRUST EVERYTHING YOU READ…just because someone posts something, doesn’t mean it is TRUE!

If you are questioning something you read, check it out on Snopes Rumor Has It and find out the truth.

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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50 Life Lessons to Live By

My sister shared this list written by Regina Brett on facebook and I was amazed at how many of the lessons we have already written about on The Suede Sofa, but also how many we have yet to learn!  I’ve already gone out and purchased the book that corresponds with this list titled, God Never Blinks, 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours.  I can’t wait to get started!

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You can find lots of great information on her website…

www.reginabrett.com

Regina Brett’s 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on

by Regina Brett, The Plain Dealer

May 28, 2006

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.

It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here’s an update:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Good gravy!  The last couple weeks have been bRuTaL as far as putting my foot in my mouth.  They were all pretty minor comments, but as I reflected on them later I couldn’t help but do this…

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Do you ever have days like that?  The other person may not have thought anything of it, but you still WiSh you could take back the awkward, hurtful or unnecessary words that were spoken.

The truth of the matter is, if you are HuMaN and if you are going to be social, you are going to say things that you regret.  I guess you could avoid these situations by isolating yourself, never meeting new people or no longer interact with your peers, but that wouldn’t be LiViNg-It now would it?

Next time you catch yourself banging your head against your desk, remember that even though you made a human mistake, it is still better to reach out to others versus doing nothing at all.

*If you are really sick about something you said, you can always clear the air by making it right (click on the bolded words to read that post).

~Lara

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I Expect That from WHO?

Recently, we have been working with my daughter on trying to get her to stop sucking her thumb.  She is using a thumb guard that is really helping, but like any bad habit, it has been hard for her.

The other day I told Robynn that my worst habit is eating late at night.  It is like clockwork; as soon as I put the kids to bed I’m off to the kitchen searching for a sweet treat.  Whether it was college or even my childhood, eating a dessert to end the day was very much the norm!

Then it dawned on me.  Why do I expect Leanne to break a habit that she has had her entire life, yet I make an excuse for not breaking mine?  Is it because hers is only 5 years of a bad habit and mine is 30?  I guess the number of years shouldn’t matter, since for each of us it equates to be our ENTIRE lives!

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I talked to Leanne and told her I was going to work on breaking my bad habit too.  It has been challenging for both of us, but I know that we will benefit from it.  Putting myself in her shoes also makes me more sympathetic towards what she is going through.  Before, I would always get frustrated and lose patience when she wasn’t making progress.  It wasn’t until I tried to stop my habit that I did a better job working with her.  Not to mention, seeing her work hard helps me work even harder when I have moments of weakness!

Is there something you expect of others yet you don’t expect of yourself? Nothing probably comes to mind right away but some time and self-reflection may shed some light on bad habits we can improve in our own lives.  Oh….it can be so humbling…but a good reminder to have the same expectations for yourself as you do for others!!

~LaRa

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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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The Weight is On

As we are approaching the warm weather I once again find myself having to deal with the excess weight that I have put on over the winter.  Every year I say I am not going to gain weight during the winter, and every year I find myself in the same predicament.  Last summer I reached my lowest weight since having my kids.  I was so proud of my achievement, but did that stop me from over indulging during the month-long Christmas festivities…NO!  Then once Christmas came and went there was New Years, the Super Bowl, and I can’t forget to mention my new obsession with Golden Oreos.  I watched the numbers on the scale creep up until yesterday I realized I had put on a full 15 pounds since the summer and am once again miserable with what I see in the mirror when the clothes come off.

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I decided to take out my camera phone and take 3 pictures of myself…front, back, and side views in my bathing suit.  What I saw in the pictures was even worse than the image that had been staring at me in the mirror.  As I said in a past weight loss post (Put On Your Big Girl Panties and Deal With It), to many friends and family members it may not seem like I need to lost weight, but I know that I can do better.  Weight loss isn’t about how you look compared to other people, it is about how you feel about yourself.

Using my pictures as a starting off point, I am excited to get my butt in gear and start working towards the Robyn that I know I can be!  With today being the first day of spring…NOW is as good a time as any to change the eating habits that have crept up through the cold.  Any readers who can relate…GET OUT YOUR CAMERAS and let’s go!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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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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Filed under Getting Real, Hard Reality, Junk Drawer, Kid Stuff, Life, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships, Road Trip, Uncategorized

You can either be miserable about it or…

Accept it and move on.  Easier said than done, isn’t it?!  I was actually sitting here answering a bunch of emails this afternoon as I could hear a bunch of gravel trucks driving back and forth on our gravel road.  Now, you must understand that where we use to live, we were lucky to get 1-2 cars drive by every day.  So…no matter what is driving by our house it would seem oVerwHeLmiNg because it is so foreign to me!traffic

When we first moved here this summer the traffic drove me crazy.  I cringed every time I could hear a motor off in the distance.  It would upset me so much I would be in a bad mood for the rest of the day. (Doesn’t that seem so silly?!?!) I am so embarrassed to even admit that!  I would have a pity party every once in a while and sulk about how much I loved living in our old location, with no one to noisily drive by the house and kick up the dust.

After a couple months, I got tired of FeeLiNg this way.  There wasn’t a lot I could do about the situation and I could either let it destroy my days or I could accept it and move on.  Believe it or not, things actually got easier the day I finally decided to accept it.  It isn’t always easy but most days I don’t even give it a second thought.

There are so many things that pop into our lives that we don’t have any control over, YET we let them consume us and our mood.  Maybe you don’t like your husband’s new work schedule or you get annoyed with someone you work closely with.  These things are probably out of our hands and the only thing we can do to control the situation is to control how we let it affect us.

So next time that gravel truck gets under my skin I’m going to remember all the great things about living in our new location.  Sure we have more traffic, but that also means we are seeing more friends and family!  You have to take the good with the bad, and instead of letting the “bad” destroy you, make the best of what’s left or simply LET GO.

Lara

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Feeling Like A Failure

Sunday morning I made my family breakfast.  To me, I was going “all out” as I made the kids orange juice from a frozen can and threw together a quick and easy breakfast casserole.  For a moment I felt like finding my SuPerMoM cape and attaching it to my p.j’s.  “Look at me!” I was rejoicing inside.  “I’m a pro at this Mom stuff!”

The t.v. just happened to catch my eye as I headed into the dining room.  Pioneer Woman was on the food network.  Consequently, she too was making breakfast that morning.  I enjoy watching her show and am faSciNateD by her life.  I couldn’t help but keep watching, noticing her amazing (spotless) kitchen.  She put her homemade French toast in the oven and headed off to her garden to water her flowers.  Of course, the plants were luscious and looked like something out of Better Homes and Garden.  Everything was perfect, clear down to the beauty of the garden hose (I know…is that even possible?!)!  Once breakfast was ready she told her daughter to “grab the hot syrup I have warming on the stove”.  As I watched the hot syrup flow out of the beautiful serving dish I realized I hadn’t blinked in the last 5 minutes….

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Remember the last sentence of my first paragraph?  Well, those feelings were long gone.  I felt so deFeaTed.  The breakfast I made was a joke compared to what I had just witnessed.  And the gardening?  I would have been lucky to remember that I bought a small plant at Wal-Mart, only to find it dead in the back of our expedition a few weeks later.

I just want to be clear that I think Pioneer Woman is an inspiration, but I would be foolish to think that every part of her life is as perfect as seen on t.v.  If, at the right time, you took a snap shot of every person’s life, it would appear that their situation and life is perfect.  Someone is even looking at part of your life and wishing theirs was as perfect as yours!  Doesn’t that make you laugh? Of course!  Because we know how imperfect our own lives are, and can’t believe how much we have them fooled!  Yet why do we think we are soooo different than everyone else?

With pinterest, t.v. and magazines, it is easy to feel like a failure!  In the future, use these things as resources to moTiVaTe or give you some ideas.  DON’T use it as a comparison tool, because the only person you are fooling is yourself!

Lara

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