Category Archives: Parenthood

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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Filed under Family, Getting Real, Good Life, Hard Reality, Life, Parenthood, Relationships

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

What are you worried about?

If someone asked me that, there would be days that my response would be, “ EVERYTHING!”  Do you ever go through phases like that?  It seems like I can go through months without fretting over anything, and then other days where it consumes every part of me!

As a Mom there are SO MANY things that we can worry about; if they will be safe when you leave them with someone else, if their cough is turning in to pneumonia, if they are making the smart decisions with their friends, how they are doing in school, if we are doing the right thing as parents…I could write a novel on all the things Moms worry about!!

SOURCE

SOURCE

With my daughter going to Kindergarten this year I have been challenged with this more than normal.  We want our kids to be safe, healthy and smart, yet we are reminded by all the negative things in the world as soon as we turn on the t.v.  So what is a Mom to do?

I’m still trying to figure this one out.  I’m not even confident I would be able to answer the question when I am 100 years old, but I’m determined to try.  I just have to keep reminding myself that in some ways, worrying is good because it means that I love my kids so much!  BUT I also have to remember that worrying is a result of the devil creeping into my life, and why let that take away precious time with the ones that I care about so much?!

If you are worrying a lot these days…no matter if it is kids, health, money, your job…try to TaLK BaCk to those negative thoughts as soon as they creep in your mind.  This is sooo hard, I know.  It is a full-time job on its own!  The other thing that helps is to KeEp BuSy.  If silence traps you in bad feelings, turn on the radio, listen to books on tape, or start singing.  If you have too much time on your hands, find a new hobby that requires a lot of concentration so you can give your worrying a break!  And of course, the obvious, pRaY about it.  Try your best to hand your worries over to the one that created you.  That is what He is there for ;)

Take comfort in knowing that you are among the rest of us mommies out there that are losing sleep and feeling like we are going crazy.  That in itself should ease your mind and give you motivation to shake those bad thoughts along with the rest of us!

For another one of my posts related to worrying, read: Become A Trainer

~Lara

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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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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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Saved By The Bell

Growing up with all sisters, I never knew what it was like to grow up around boys.  When we were bLesSeD with a baby boy over 2 years ago, our world changed forever.  I immediately learned how different (but good) life would be with a boy!

One of the main differences between Garrett and sister, Leanne, is that Garrett has little to no fear.  When that kid decides he wants something, he heads that diRecTion and never looks back.  Because we live in the country, with plenty of land to run around on, you can see how this poses a major problem.  The second we would turn around our little boy would be off eXploRinG, leaving us in a panic not knowing where to look.

Due to a few of these scares we took away his freedom when he went outside.  His FaVoRitE thing to do is to play outdoors, so you can only imagine the tantrums this created when he wanted to go and we didn’t have the time to take him.

My father-in-law happened to pick up a small cow bell at an auction.  We joked about how we should attach it to Garrett since he always runs off.  One morning, after another 2-year-old meltdown, I was desperate for him to have an atTitUde change.  I grabbed the bell, tied it to his pants, opened the windows and let him loose to play in the front yard.

Let me tell you….that bell changed EVERYTHING!

Garrett gets to play in the dirt as much as he wants, and I am always an earshot away.  I can get work done in the house and this gives him a break from me, in a way that I can know where he is at.  We’ve been doing this for several weeks now and Garrett’s temperament has changed drastically.  Now that he is able to release his eNerGy by playing outside, he is much happier and less likely to throw tantrums.  It is really cute too…every time he grabs his shoes, he always grabs his bell!  He knows he can’t go outside without it!

Who would have thought we’d be saved by a bell? If you are at at the end of your rope, I encourage you to talk to as many other people as you can AND exhaust all options. It may be as sImpLe as getting a cow bell…

Ring-a-ling! :)

Lara

 

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They Are Paying Attention!

Today I got an email forward from my mom that really made me think.  It was a beautiful poem about what goes on in the mind of a child when we ThInK they aren’t looking.  There are so many times I clean up the toys only to have them scattered around the house an hour later and think to myself….Why do I even bother?  This poem really touched me because it made me realize that as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends we may not instantly see the influence we are having on the children in our lives, but they are always WaTcHiNg us and taking in the little things we do day in and day out.

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

Author: Unknown
When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
and I wanted to paint another one.When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you make my favorite cake for me,
and I knew that little things are special things.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I heard you say a prayer,
and I believed that there was a God to talk to.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I felt you kiss me goodnight,
and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw tears come from your eyes,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt,
but it’s alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw that you cared,
and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I looked….
and I wanted to say thanks for all the things
I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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