Category Archives: Relationships

Honoring Teachers, Nurses, and Mothers!

It just occurred to me that this week we are celebrating three of my favorite professions…NuRsEs, TeAcHeRs, and MotHeRs!  Having been a first grade teacher for the 8 years prior to having my children I know how teaching can sometimes seem like a thankless job.  There are MaNy parents who go out of their way to let you know that they appreciate the difference you are making in their child’s life.  BUT…for every parent that thanks you there are 5 that say nothing and 5 that do nothing but complain about what you are NoT doing for their child!  I saved every card and thank you that was ever given to me by a parent or student and now being a parent myself know how important it is to simply say…ThAnK YoU!

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Next up…Nurses!  I have to say up until my late 20’s I had little experience with nurses.  I never broke a bone or needed surgery and had no reason to visit a hospital.  I guess I saved up my need for nurses for the grueling 2+ year struggle with infertility and then my 2 time bought with postpartum depression.  There is No WaY I would have made it through both of these experiences without the support of the nurses who took care of me during these times.  When going through my 3 IVF cycles, it was truly the nurses, not the doctors who knew my story.  I saw the doctors every morning on a rotating basis, but it was my nurses Mary and Pat who were my true cheerleaders.  They cried with me through the disappointments and were on the phone with me when I found out I was expecting my miracle baby.  It takes a SpEcIaL kind of person to be nurse and share in the highs and lows that come with the fragile life we are given.  To all of you…ThAnK YoU for all you do!

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Finally…a huge thank you to all of the MoThErS, AuNts, and GrAnDmAs!  For years I dreamed of having a baby and being a stay-at-home mom.  I am not sure what exactly I thought I was getting into, but I can remember saying a few times in the very beginning, “Where are the cute baby bunnies and little yellow duckies?!!!”  Baby gifts and baby cards always have cute little animals on them with cheerful little expressions…there have been MaNy a day that our house looks like a bull ran through a china shop and I have yet to see those cute animal faces!  That being said, I believe that being a mother is the hardest JoB in the world.  Every single decision you make directly affects those you hold so dear.  I wish all of you a VeRy HaPpY MoThErS DaY!

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~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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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.

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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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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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Filed under At Home, Junk Drawer, Kid Stuff, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships

Set Up to Fail

This week my son and I started planting our seeds indoors so that when the weather warms up they will be strong enough to be transplanted outside.  Once we had picked out our seeds we planted them in self-watering containers that we learned how to make on Pinterest.  With the internet and Pinterest available for gardening tips and ideas it is easy to get started even if you have never grown a single thing before.  For some reason as my son and I were working on our self watering containers, I had a flashback to my first year of teaching and a window box planter I painted with my class and attempted to grow flowers in.  That was almost 15 years ago and I didn’t have “how to” information right at my fingertips.  I didn’t even have a computer with the internet in my classroom at that time.  I bought dirt, about 5 different kinds of seeds, and we started planting.  I planted all of the seeds together in the windowbox one on top of the other and to my naivety thought they were going to grow into a beautiful garden for my class to enjoy.  I didn’t check plant size, seed spacing, and I certainly didn’t know anything about starting seeds in starter pots and then transplanting them once they had matured.

One afternoon after the kids had been dismissed for the day I was watering the windowbox and a veteran teacher (and avid gardener) came in to see what I was doing.  I showed her all of the seed packets and told her that I was planting a windowbox garden with the kids.  I remember like it was yesterday her smile and words, “I’m sure it will be beautiful.”  That was all she said and walked out of my classroom.  Looking back, I realize she knew my garden was going to be a disaster and didn’t say anything to me about how to ReAlLy grow a garden.  She had a wealth of knowledge and years of experience and made a conscious decision to leave me in the dark and LeT Me FaiL.  It wouldn’t bother me so much if it was just me who was going to be disappointed, but I had 18 first graders who though they were growing a beautiful garden.  I will never know why she didn’t offer to help, or why she even bothered coming into my classroom to see what I was doing in the first place.  What I DO know is this…I will NEVER knowingly set someone up to fail.

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This is a lesson I will pass on to my children in hopes that the little voice inside their head will say, “Do the right thing” when faced with an opportunity to help a friend or even a stranger.  Life is hard enough when you know what you’re doing…having a little help when trying something new can only raise your chances at success.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Theodore Roosevelt

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under People, Relationships, SelfImprovement, Uncategorized, You

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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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