Category Archives: Hard Reality

Get Your Posse and Get Your {Exercise} Groove On!

If you read Robyn’s post The Weight Is On yesterday, you can probably relate.  As spring approaches it is just natural to want to get in shape whether you have gained excess winter weight or you’re just feeling like you’ve been stuck inside for way too many months and are needing a ChAnGge oF sCeNeRy.

Sometimes it can be hard to get started when you see the long road ahead to reach your WeiGht-LoSs GoAl.  Afterall, overcoming the inertia can be a difficult thing to do.

On Monday we had a little pep talk and we decided that we would overcome the inertia together.  So we made a 2-MoNtH pAcT to exercise consistently from now to mid-May, basically, the beginning of summer.  It is actually quite motivating when you look at it in the context of  summer being right around the corner.

One thing that really motivated us in our new goal was this website from the National Institute Of Health that can help in your weight loss efforts.  Here’s the link:  http://bwsimulator.niddk.nih.gov/ .  It allows you to put in your weight, goal weight, and a few other items.  It will then tell you how many calories you need to consume each day to reach your goal.  We played around on it and found it quite addictive.

(You do need to have Java installed on your computer.  You can install a free version by going to www.java.com ) Here is what the simulator looks like:HWS

Overwhelmed by the idea of tracking your calories?  No worries!  Check out this quick, easy and free calorie counting website:  http://www.myfitnesspal.com/  They also offer a free app for your phone!

So, if you’re like us and you need to overcome inertia, GeT yOuR PoSsE – a group of friends, an exercise group, your neighbors, or family members and get your exercise groove on.  After all, there’s only about 60 days until summer!

Lara, Robyn, & Robynn

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Filed under Hard Reality, Health/Fitness, Inspiration, Inspire, Life, RANDO•RAMA, You

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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Filed under Getting Real, Hard Reality, Life, Self Image, SelfImprovement, You

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

Snowflakes for the Newtown, CT Students Return to School ~ How You Can Help!

Everyone has been deeply affected by the tragedy that took place a week ago in Newtown, CT.  All of us at Suede Sofa were teachers prior to turning in our plan books for diapers and mommy blogging.  I was a 1st grade teacher, Lara was a music teacher, and Robynn was a science teacher and school counselor.  Now being stay-at-home moms we felt compelled to do something for the children of Newtown, CT who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School the day of that senseless act that stole the lives of 20 children whose ages are similar to that of our own.

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The following letter explains a simple snowflake project that you can do with your children or grandchildren to send to the Newtown PTA to help decorate the new school that the children will be going to after the Christmas break.  Although my children are too young to understand what took place, I was happy to make a special snowflake with each of them to send off in hopes of putting a smile on the face of another child.

snowflake~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Family, Hard Reality, Kid Stuff, Life, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships, Uncategorized

Jersey Strong and Thankful

There is nothing that could have prepared any of us for the DeVaStATiOn that resulted from Hurricane Sandy blowing through the Jersey Shore.  My children are the 4th generation of family spending summers on Chadwick Beach so seeing homes that have been in the backdrop of photographs with my grandparents  tossed on their sides and nearly unrecognizable was heartbreaking.  Those of you who follow our blog know how much the beach means to my family.  From my seaglass collection to finding special shells with my children to make wreaths or to just paint for fun, Chadwick Beach has been our own little paradise right here in our own backyard.  Chadwick Beach is on a barrier island that rests between the Atlantic Ocean and the bay.  During the storm the water from the bay and the ocean met causing extensive flooding.  Our family home was filled with a foot and a half of water in the first floor, but thankfully it is still standing.  Others were not so lucky. Neighborhoods of houses were completely washed away into the Atlantic Ocean.  Another beach suffered a tremendous loss when gas lines exploded and blocks of houses burned to the ground.

Abby on our beach path Summer 2012

Back home we lost power from the storm for six days and lived on a generator that we used conservatively because of a major gas shortage in the state of New Jersey.  My brother-in-law waited on a line for four hours in the middle of the night to fill up his car and some gas cans to keep his own generator running.  It was a very scary week for all of us and at the same time we were trying to find out any information we could about the shore house.  Thankfully my parents had full power fifteen minutes away and we were able to drive over there during the day to watch the news, stay warm, and let the kids play in some normalcy.

My second summer at Chadwick Beach ~ Summer 1978

Now that the power has been restored, the gas lines are back to normal, and we look forward to rebuilding our Jersey Shore back to its original beauty I am trying not to focus on what was lost.  The hurricane may have washed away many of the buildings and landmarks that were symbols of our shore, but nothing can take away our MeMoRiEs.  Let’s be thankful for what we have, and not ever for a second take anything for granted, it might not be there tomorrow.

This picture shows the two houses that line the beach path that Abby was on in the above photo.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving  celebrating

all that you have to be ThAnKfUl for!

My little loves

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Just Do It – Say “I’m Sorry”

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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Mommies…Can’t we just support each other?

I have to admit I am a total junkie for the Your E Cards that have been popping up all over Facebook and Pinterest, but this one really pushes my buttons.  When my son was born my husband and I made the decision together that I would leave my job and stay home to raise our kids.  I understand that this choice is not something that is possible for every family and that there are many women who may not want to leave their career.  However, I am finding there is still a disrespect for the stay-at-home mom with the “What do you do all day” AtTiTuDe and in turn the working moms seem to face the, “Oh you’re so lucky you get a break at work” NoNsEnSe!

Keep in mind…I’m not an expert.  I am basically going off of my own experience and that of my sister who is a working mom of a 3 1/2 year old.  In this day and age we are all just trying to get through the day whether we work or not.  When are we all going to WaKe Up and realize that stay-at-home, working, part-time, full-time, married, divorced…WhAtEvEr…we are in this together.  Instead of putting others down or making them feel inferior maybe we should take a minute and think of what their day might be like.  I think a better rule of thumb would be…

Don’t Judge Until You’ve

Walked A Mile In Their Shoes

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Getting Real, Hard Reality, Life, Parenthood, People, Relationships