Category Archives: Parenthood

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.

snow

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)

Leave a comment

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

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

2 Comments

Filed under Family, Friends, Hard Reality, Life, Marriage, Parenthood, People, Relationships

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

 

8 Comments

Filed under Parenthood, Relationships

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)

2 Comments

Filed under Good Life, Inspiration, Inspire, Kid Stuff, Life, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships

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)

3 Comments

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

Follow Your Heart and Use Your Head

For the past two summers I have enrolled my son in a swim school that offers phenomenal programs to teach children how to swim.  He has a summer birthday so it is always hard for me to decide what age group I want him to be with.  Last summer I put him with the 3 year olds even though he was turning 4 because it was his first experience swimming, but this summer I decided to put him with the 5 year olds since he did so well last year.  What I didn’t factor in was that by moving him to the 5 year olds I was taking him out of the smaller pool where he can reach the bottom and putting him in the bigger pool where he has to rely on his swimming ability.  After 3 days of swim school I was already regretting my decision.  Nicholas was giving me a hard time about going in the morning and kept saying he wanted to go back to the little pool.

That night I told my husband I was going to talk to the director and get Nicholas switched into the younger group with the 4 year olds so that he could go back into the smaller pool.  I tossed and turned all night thinking I had made a terrible decision and that I just wanted to make everything better.  I guess the PrOtEcTiVe MoMmY in me had gone into overdrive because I couldn’t wait to get to swim school and fix everything for my little boy.  When we got to swim school the following morning I decided that rather than just go to the director and switch Nicholas I should talk to his instructors first and get their opinion.  As a teacher I always encouraged parents to come to me with questions or concerns so I thought following my own advice might be a good idea.  Nicholas’ instructors assured me that he was swimming with a group of children who are at a level that is perfect for him.  They also reminded me that it was Nicholas who expressed interest in swimming in his very first race that same week and he even came in first place.  Dropping him to the younger group would allow him to touch the bottom of the pool and make him more comfortable,  but it also would never have given him the opportunity to rise to the ChAlLeNgE and SuCcEeD!

I guess in the case of parenting it is important to FoLlOw YoUr HeArT and UsE YoUr HeAd!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

1 Comment

Filed under Parenthood, Relationships, Uncategorized

Happy Father’s Day From Suede Sofa!!

The movie CoUrAgEoUs has really had an impact on Lara and I.  So much so, we are working our way through the book Courageous For Women together.  (Published by the writers of the movie. You can find a link to the book and movie at the end of this post.)  If you have not seen the movie and you asked me to sum it up in one sentence it would be:  Have the courage to do the right thing.

Although this movie focuses on fatherhood, having the ChArAcTeR to be courageous applies to all of us.

In what area do you need to step it up?  In your parenting?  In your marriage?  In your thought life?  In your diligence on the job?  In your faithfulness to others?  In your FaiThFuLnEsS to God?
I love this song from the movie and would like to DeDiCaTe it to all the fathers in my life – my dad, my husband, my father-in-law, the men who are like second dad’s to me and most of all, the Greatest Dad ever – who has left the perfect example of what a real Father is – Father God.
We at Suede Sofa wish you a wonderful Father’s Day!!
:) Robynn~

http://www.sherwoodbaptist.net/templates/cussherwoodbc/details.asp?id=33770&PID=874712

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, Family, God, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships, Videos

A Tradition of Giving

This past weekend my son went to a 5th birthday party for his friend, but instead of bringing a present for the Birthday Boy, he brought a bathing suit that will be donated along with a sackful of others to children who until now didn’t own a bathing suit of their own.  My friend Bridget started a tradition in her family where her boys choose a charity to collect items for in lieu of gifts at their birthday parties.  I was so ImPrEsSeD with the uniqueness of this idea that I had to share it with all of you!  I hope it will touch your HeArTs as it has mine and that maybe you will start a similar tradition with your children as I plan to do with my kids in the future!

Cael with all of the bathing suits he is donating to the children who attend Camp Hope NJ!

RoByN: What first gave you the idea to collect something for charity in lieu of gifts at your kid’s birthday parties?
BrIdGeT: The idea really came just because they have so many toys and what more could they possibly get??? We like to have big parties, but I (selfishly) couldn’t stand the thought of another 20+ toys in the house.
RoByN: Did your boys give you a hard time at first?
BrIdGeT: They never had a problem with it (surprisingly). They are given a choice of a big party with donations or a special birthday experience with 2 friends.  They always choose the party.  We then take some time to find a charity that they are excited about donating to.  Of course, they still get presents from us and our families.
RoByN: How did you hear about Kids4Kids Project Camp Hope, the camp that your son chose to collect swim suits for at his recent birthday party?
BrIdGeT: We heard about Kids4Kids Camp Hope through my older son’s school.  They were collecting suits this spring for the camp and it seemed to be a great fit for a summer birthday.
RoByN: What other charities have you donated to in the past for others who are looking for ideas to get started?
BrIdGeT: We have donated to The Pajama Program, Toys for Tots, and  I also looked into toy donations for The Valerie Fund.
RoByN: What do you hope the children attending the parties will learn from bringing something for someone in need?
BrIdGeT:  My kids have learned that it actually makes them pretty happy to help other people.  It’s the reminder they need once in a while to show them how fortunate they truly are.  There are so many great charities that the kids can relate to so that they are excited when the donations come in.  Cael was so happy yesterday to see that someone donated an Angry Birds bathing suit!  So I’m hoping other kids will learn that giving to others can also make them pretty happy too!
~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

3 Comments

Filed under Getting Real, Good Life, Hard Reality, Holiday, Kid Stuff, Life, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships

Photo Perfection

Sometimes I think if I tell my kids to “SaY ChEeSe” one more time they might just throw something at me!  This weekend my daughter and niece had their very first dance recital.  It was a big day for all of us and I am not sure who was more excited, the girls or me and my sister!  The audience was packed with friends and family who came to watch our little ones dance to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo and of course we were armed with our cameras to document each adorable step they took.

After the recital we gathered outside to take some group pictures with our family and friends and after a while the kids were just SpEnT.  We realized we didn’t get a picture of the girls with my son who had been such a trooper all week as we dragged him to dance pictures, dress rehearsal, and now the recital.  Since their cooperation was at an all time low we decided to let the kids do a SiLlY pose and told them to make a funny face.  The girls immediately stuck their tongues out and I shot this incredible picture!  It is something my family will cherish for years to come.  Not to mention…any of you who follow my posts know that Nicholas can use a little teasing from Abby and his cousin now and then for all of his antics!

When trying to capture the PeRfEcT MoMeNt this summer, remember planned photos aren’t always the most memorable!  Have fun and let your kids be silly too!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

2 Comments

Filed under Kid Stuff, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships

Teachable Moment

This past weekend I spent the unofficial beginning of summer at the Jersey Shore with my family at my parent’s beach house.  Each morning my son rode his bike while my daughter pushed her baby doll in a stroller next to him as I pushed our beach cart full of “NeCeSsItiEs” up the block and a half to the beach.  I couldn’t help thinking how much easier this seemed compared to the past few summers when I had to manage the beach cart and the kids in a wagon behind me.  The morning of Memorial Day as my son and I were making our way up to the beach I hit a bump with the beach cart and the cart and all of its contents landed on the street.  Four chairs, my beach bag, and enough sand toys for a small army scattered all over the street.  My first instinct was to get my son Nicholas to stop riding his bike so that he would be safe while I picked everything back up, and then I began to collect all of our beach gear.  As Nicholas and I started picking up the sand toys I noticed two young boys who were about high school age had watched the entire incident and just LooKeD at me and kept on walking.  I stopped what I was doing and pointed them out to my son.  I explained to him that someday he is going to be a “big boy” like they were and that he might see a Mommy who is having trouble like I was.  I told him that I hoped that when he grows up he would…  At that point Nicholas stopped me and finished the thought for me.  He looked at me and said, “Mommy, I would help the Mommy pick everything up.”

Nicholas Memorial Day 2012

There are so many times as parents we get caught up in the busyness of the day-to-day routine that we forget to look for the moments that may have an ImPaCt on our children’s futures.  I thought this teachable moment was going to show Nicholas what to do when he gets older, but what it also did was remind me that although I am SO hard on myself, I must be doing something right for my son to already know a lesson that those boys may have missed somewhere along the way.

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

2 Comments

Filed under Kid Stuff, Parenthood, People, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships, Uncategorized