Only Children Syndromes: Fact or Fiction

This is my beautiful daughter who grow up an only child.  When I was raising her, I heard many women say that they would never have one child because they wouldn’t want them growing up alone or only children are spoiled and misbehaved.   My daughter turned out just fine.  She had playmates, she listened and she followed rules.  Now I must admit, I spoiled her rotten and I enjoyed every second of it.  Yes, she had more
than most children because she was an only child, but that’s not my problem.  I told parents who were bold enough to make comments that maybe they should have stopped at one too.  


She find herself a target by other kids at school at times.  When we got to the bottom of the harassment, we found that the child or children where envious of  her clothes, other possessions, and accomplishments.  She was called Little Princess by some of her classmates and if you can believe it by some adults.  Those with siblings seemed to be the ones who were green with envy.  I’m not saying that all children who had siblings were a problem, but I am saying that the children she had issues with had siblings.   Funny, she was suppose to be the one who ended up with problems.   

During that time, I often wondered why people believed that only children would be unhappy, selfish, spoiled, lonely and maladjusted.  The Only Children that I knew did not fall into any of these categories.  I’ve also wondered how America explained the behavior of children who misbehaved and who had siblings.  Most importantly, when our children end up with drug and alcohol problems or behind bars, does it really matter that they were Only Children, the Baby, the Middle Child or the Older Brother or Sister?

I did some research on Only Children and I’m happy to say that this article in  Psychology Today discusses some issues that parents encounter raising only children, however, the majority of only children turn out to be happy, well-adjusted adults.  It has also been proven that children with siblings often have self-esteem problems because they grow up thinking their siblings were favored or they were neglected because mom and dad had to divide their time, attention and money.  Oh lets not forget the middle child syndrome and the arguments and hatred spewed between siblings.  Psychologist have found that it can take a lifetime to work out problems created because children grew up believing they were treated unfairly by their parents or siblings.  In some situations they don’t speak for years if ever again over childhood issues that were never resolved.  

My daughter has stated that there were times she wished she had a sibling, but for the most part she was content with her upbringing.  She had my undivided attention, everything she needed, and the majority of the time she got everything she wanted.  By the age of 21, she had traveled to places that most people won’t see in a their lifetime.  I had no behavior problems with her growing up.  She did not hit, spit or bit other children nor did she disrespect any adults.  She excelled in school and had plenty of cousins and friends to play with.  To this day, she’s very sociable and respectful.    

For mothers who only have 1 child, don’t allow the myths of the “Only Child Syndrome” make you feel guilty about your decision. Personally, I believe people should have as many children as they want and can afford.  None of us know how our children are going to turn out.  Whether we have 1 child or 10, we just do the best that we can raising them.  I survived motherhood one day at a time, and it is still my motto.  


Do you have 1 child?  Did you grow up an only child?  I would love to hear your take on this issue.  Please leave us a comment. 

Self Improvement Tips: 10 Steps To A Better You

self improvement


I gave up on making New Year Resolutions years ago.  I decided to reach my goals by taking small steps rather than making big plans and than fail.  The first steps that I decided to take was making myself better as a whole.  I believed that I needed to start on the inside rather than focus on losing weight, exercising a hour a day etc.  I believe that being healthy is important, but I wanted to ensure that I was healthy on the inside before I moved to the outside. 


I spent the last year working on who I was as a person.  I must say for the most part I have been successful in achieving a better me.  Here are the 10 Steps that I took one at a time:  

  1. Surround yourself with positive people.
  2. Learn to say no and not feel guilty.
  3. Respect yourself and others will too.
  4. Embrace your flaws, we all have them.
  5. Know that obstacles are temporary and you  have the ability to remove them.
  6. Reach for your dreams whatever they may be.
  7. Nourish your soul by reading daily affirmations.
  8. Understand “Me Time” and take it.  
  9. Write down your goals and work toward them one at a time.
  10. Know that success takes time.  
I have found that I feel better emotionally and physically.  As a result of me feeling better physically I have been able to incorporate more exercise into my week.  This step has taken me one step closer to reaching my weight loss goal.  

I believe that we must first be fit on the inside before we tackle the outside.  They go hand and hand.  What are some of your goals for 2014 and how are you working to achieve them?

Note:  photo courtesy of stockvault.net

                                                                     

A Tour of My Hometown

I used to play in this little house when I was a child.  It had a living room, kitchen and a bedroom upstairs.  Rather than dolls, it had bears to play with.  It seems so small now, but I was able to stand up in it as a child.  I grow up in a small town in WV where everyone knew everyone and we ran around the town carefree. I wanted to share some of my fondest childhood memories with you.  So I thought we would take a tour of my hometown.  


I loved this little house.  It was open to the public on certain each week.  On the days that it wasn’t open, we looked at the bears through the window.  My fondest memory of the bears was them having a tea party.  


This stream ran behind the Little House.  We would take our shoes off and stand in the water.  It seemed so much deeper as a child.  

Oh the memories of Betty’s Restaurant.  We hung out here as teens.  Betty was the owner and cook.  She made the best cheeseburgers, fries and chocolate shakes.  The restaurant is still in business.  Occasionally, I will stop by for breakfast.  They still have the same booths and bar stools, lol.  I’m squeezing in the booths now rather than sliding in, but the hometown atmosphere is still the same.  

This is where a our town newspaper was printed.  Mr. Charlie was the printer.  He was always covered in black ink as he rolled the newspaper off the printer.  We would look through the window as he was working. Mr. Charlie never allowed us to distract him from his work.  He just smiled and kept the printer rolling.  It is now a 5 star restaurant called The Press Room.

This is the Rumsey Monument. We spent hours here climbing the steps to watch trains cross the bridge behind it and cars cross the bridge on the other side of it.  This monument is dedicated to James Rumsey, who launched the first steam boat on the Potomac River in Shepherdstown, WV. According to the history books, Robert Fulton was given credit for the first launch, but residents of Shepherdstown, WV know better.  

                                                                               


This is a view from the Rumsey Monument.  Absolutely beautiful and more so in the fall.  The local Girl Scout and Brownie troops walked across the bridge shown so we could hike along the C & O Canal Towpath.  My sister was a Girl Scout and I was a Brownie.  I have to admit I crossed it, but I was scared to death.  My troop leader would allow me to walk in the road until a car came and than I had to get back on the sidewalk.  Her kindness sure helped ease my fears.  Because of it, I was able to take the hike along with the other girls.  

       
I spent many days at this little library reading or going to story hour.  I remember my mother scrubbing me until I was as shiny as a new penny and sending me off to story hour each week. Books were big in my home.  We had library cards, so my friends and I would head to the library until closing during the summer.  I also remember not returning books on time, and having to use my allowance to pay the fine.  I learned early to pay my bills on time.  

This is The Wall and my sister posing.  We spent hours sitting on this wall people watching and playing games.  Residents have been banned from sitting on The Wall on now, what a shame.  It was a great gathering place for chatting, eating an ice cream cone or just passing time away.  

We would leave the house early morning most days and just walk around town heading nowhere in particular.  Our parents never worried, they just wanted us back in time for dinner.  If we missed lunch, someone in the community would feed us and they in turn would do the same for the kids who where out of their neighboring area.  What a great era to be a kid.  We didn’t have children being kidnapped or harmed in any way, it was the least of anyone’s worries.  

We gathered pop bottles to cash in at the local store for money.  We had a red wagon that we pulled to the store to cash in our goods.  Back in those days, candy was a penny.  We would have candy for days with a quarter.  My best friend’s Uncle owned the candy store, he would always give us extra when we visited.  My favorite was the chocolate covered peanuts.  Yes, I was a chocolate addict at an early age.   

I loved my childhood.  We weren’t rich, but we had a great community.  Everyone knew what community meant, and looked out for each other.  Lend a handing hand, wasn’t a saying when I was growing up.  It actually took place.  We were raised by the community.  We trick or treated with brown paper grocery bags until midnight.  Our parents purchased sleds, Lighting Guiders, every Christmas.  Daddy gave us sand paper to sharpen the blades, and sharpen we did.  We stayed out until we damn near froze sled riding, and nobody called us in.  What are some of your favorite childhood memories?

Brother Sister Love

I love these pictures of Xavier and Zarriah. They demonstrate the love they have for one another.  I can’t say that it’s always been there, but it has grown over the years.  When Zarriah arrived at 31 weeks, and the doctor announced it was a girl my grandson immediately told the doctor to take her back.  He didn’t realize the severity of her early arrival, he just knew that he wanted a brother to play with not a sissy girl. 



We told him that we wanted to keep her, but she was really sick and we needed him to help us get her well.  Amazingly, he rose to the occasion.  Looking back at Zarriah’s fight for her life still brings me to tears.  She was one of the smallest preemies in the NICU, she weighed 2 lbs. 10 ozs., and she was there for 3 months.  I have to say, it was the longest 3 months of my life.  

My granddaughter has an attitude, and she has had it from the day she arrived.  She’s pretty independent and demonstrated her independence in the incubator.  The nurses wanted us to touch her and talk to her as much as possible.  When I tried to touch her or hold her hand she jerked away.  When her brother touched her or held her hand she would grab his finger and hold on.  I was amazed that she could make a distinction between us.  The nurses placed a step stool beside her so Xavier could reach her when he visited.  He made just about every trip to the hospital to visit her and never complained once about the length of time we spent there.  He was 4, and we all know that a 4 year old has little patience.  He spent hours coloring pictures for her.  The nurses placed the pictures around the incubator.  
                                                                                 

They are now 6 and 2.  He’s an excellent big brother, I’m so proud of him.  He loves her up, plays with her and protects when he thinks he has to.  He said he never wants her to go back to the hospital.  

Those 3 months had a major impact on all of us, but it had a major impact on him too.  He thinks about her stay, he built a hospital out of his legos.  I hope their love for each other never dies.  It does my heart good that he is happy she’s here and she’s his baby sister after wanting to return her.  Happy Valentine’s Day Xavier and Zarriah.  

                                                                        

Happy Valentine’s Day



Happy Valentine’s Day to all my followers.  May you and yours find the love you desire and deserve.  Art work courtesy of my little Picasso, Xavier.  

                                                                                

Disney Movies: Muppets Most Wanted

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I love Miss Piggy’s gown.  Will she marry Kermit?  Miss
Piggy is back on the big screen, starring in Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted,”
which follows the Muppets on a grand, star-studded tour throughout Europe. The
European setting screamed romance to Miss Piggy, who’s been trying to convince
her favorite frog to tie the knot for years. But what will the divine diva don
for the all-new film, which hits theaters in the US March 21, 2014? Vivienne
Westwood was commissioned to create couture desingers for the fashion icon,
including a white dress that would be perfect for a wedding if one should
actually take place.


In
the film, Miss Piggy wears a Vivienne Westwood couture Long Ivory Court wedding gown, with corset detailing and paillettes
made from recycled plastic bottles, accessorized with an ivory tulle veil.
Piggy also entrusted the designer with additional looks for the film, including
a Vivienne Westwood couture Harris Tweed houndstooth check coat and matching
beret worn in a scene set at Tower of London. Miss Piggy also chose a long
silver hand-embroidered floral lace gown for a very special number in the film.

“Vivienne Westwood is fabulous—just like moi,” said Miss Piggy.
“When I asked her to design this wedding dress for moi’s new movie “Muppets
Most Wanted,” she was thrilled and I was thrilled. The only one a bit ‘iffy’
about it was the Frog.”  
Will Kermit the Frog Finally Say “I Do”? That’s the question.  Miss Piggy says, “You’ll have to see
the movie to find out.”   Mark March 21, 2014 on your calendar, and go see Muppets Most Wanted.  
                                                                              

Winter Images: Ice Trees


Sometimes we need to take our mind off the stress of everyday life and focus on something beautiful.  Spring is around the counter, but I wanted to share a few pictures of West Virginia winters.  Winter has let its presence be known at my house the last few months.  We’ve had snow, ice and more snow.  I’m not much on the cold weather, but I have learned to enjoy mother nature’s beauty when she lays a blanket of snow and ice in my neighborhood.  I have learned to turn these type of mornings to be an opportunity to de-stress and enjoy the beauty.  

I stepped outside and found my trees layered in ice this particular morning.  They were beautiful. I could hear the sounds of crackles, drips and more crackles as the ice was melting.  It was beautiful music to my ears.  It was quite a fascinating experience.  

Rather than be angry at mother nature for causing unsafe conditions and bringing extremely cold weather upon us, I have learned to find the beauty in it.  I found these beautiful ice trees outside my door.  What are some your favorite things about winter?  

My Mama Told Me Book Review

I finished another book on my Kindle.  I read My Mama Told Me by Sade C. Morrison.  This book is the first of three novels from Sade Morrison, and I have to say I enjoyed it.  In some instances it could be a Tyler Perry novel, starring Medea and her daughter.  


The main characters in the book are Naomi and her mother Gloria.  The setting is Detroit.  Naomi is ambitious, has a master’s degree, drives a Jaguar and lives in a wealthy neighbor.  Her life is far from the working class neighborhood where she was raised.  That life seems to be beneath her now and has created a distance between Naomi and her family.  


Gloria, Naomi’s mother, is a churchgoing woman who’s career was raising her daughter and making a home for her family.   She’s a southern cook, soul food recipes are her specialty, believes in the Lord and lives a simple life. 

Naomi’s life is turned upset down when a secret from her husband’s past surfaces.  She decides to leave him and the life she has become accustomed to and file for divorce. She heads home to her mother until she can figure out a plan and get back on her feet.  During her stay, she finds comfort in her mother and learns that her mother had endured a painful incident in her marriage too.  Her mother also suffers a heart attack.  Gloria helps Naomi by having heart to heart conversations with her and attempts to bring her back to her roots and the strong foundation she was raised on.  


All and all, I thought it was a good first novel by this author.  I would and will download another book in the future and see what it brings.  I recommend the book.  

My Ancestors Discovered Johnsontown

                                                                    
                                                                       


It’s Black History Month, and I wanted to share a little of my history with you so you can get to know me better.  I’m in the midst of tracing my ancestry, and I discovered that a small town near me was discovered by my great, great, great grandmother and grandfather.  I remember going to family reunions in a town called Johnsontown, WV, but I have to admit I had no idea of the history behind it.

The town was discovered by George W. and Betty Johnson who were slaves in Pennsylvania.  In 1848, they were freed.  The slave owners brought them to Virginia where they founded Johnsontown on 12 acres of land. It is now, Johnsontown, WV.  My grandfather, my mother’s father, is a descendant.  They built several homes, a church  and a one room school house in the small community.  Before the church was built, the one room school house was used for both church and school.
                                                    
                                             


I remember attending family reunions in Johnstown.  The cook-out was Saturday and the following Sunday one of my relatives would preach at the small church shown above.  My mother’s side of the family were religious people on both sides.  They have a history of being Ministers, Bishops, Evangelists or marrying those who were.  I often wonder how my grandfather and my grandmother meet.  My grandfather who I loved dearly missed the boat on his religious calling.  He drank and raised hell every week-end God sent, but he never missed a day of work.  He taught me to care, share, work hard and play even harder.  I remember him planting a garden the size of a field to feed all of his children and grandchildren and making a career on the B and O Railroad.  My grandparents stayed married until the day my grandfather died.  My grandmother grieved herself to death, she passed away 6 months later. 
I’m proud of my heritage and wanted to share a part of my history with you.  Have you traced your ancestry?  Please share a part of your history.  Knowing who you are is a great feeling!
                                                                          
  

10 Tips to Transform Your Love Life

Relationship Reality Check:

10 Questions that Can
Transform Your Love Life

By Dr. Jacqueline Del
Rosario

Relationships
often collapse because couples are not prepared to withstand the inevitable
conflicts or even the humdrum and monotonous plateau period that’s nearly
certain to present as the years go by.  A relationship can feel more like
“boot camp” when trying to acclimate to each other’s personality differences
and habits—frustrations, tensions, and resentments that can persist well into a
long-term love affair and undermine the ability to feel happy and content. For
other couples, it’s shear boredom that can wreak havoc—if the partnership
doesn’t continue to stimulate and enrich their lives, the doldrums can be a
relationship death knell!


When
couples do not understand these are anticipated and natural events in the
course of a relationship, they may start looking for the exit
door thinking that they have made a grievous mistake. But, many people
don’t realize the extent to which their relational health and happiness is
under their own control. That power lies in one’s ability to self-assess and
foster quality communication with their partner.

With this in mind, here are 10 self-assessment questions—answers to which can
not only help a relationship survive, but also thrive so that both partners can
actualize their dreams of “happily ever after”:

1. Am I putting my
best face forward?

People dress up in their best clothes, make sure their hair is done, and put on
makeup for the outside world. Do you put forth the same effort to impress
and excite your mate? 

2. Am I still
growing?

You must come to a relationship, willing to continuously improve who you are so
that your relationship can continue to evolve. Consider trying new things
together.  Exploration
and adventure can go a long way to keeping things fresh and appealing and will
help you understand and appreciate who your partner is today. Continue to date
and experience new things as a couple. 

3. Am I continuing to
invest the time and effort to maintain a strong foundation?
All good things take
work, and both parties must roll up their sleeves and commit to doing their
part to add value to the union. This includes continually stoking the flames of
passion.  Are
you as proactive or even adventuresome in the bedroom, or are you relegated to
business as usual? Break the routine here and watch the magic ensue. 

4. What are the
anchors in my relationship?
What are the things that keep you rooted and
well-connected with your partner?  Why are you together in the first
place? Identifying and nurturing similar values, goals, and expectancies in
your relationship are fundamental and will help you endure during the tough
times. 

5. How can I help
improve our communication style?
It is essential to learn how each party in
the partnership prefers to communicate. 
 You must then make the conscious effort to deliver and receive
messages from your mate according to their personal style, which may differ
from yours. Knowing when and how to disseminate information is a key
relationship skill that can be a saving grace unto itself. And, during an
argument, always fight fair and with respect—no name calling, no degrading one
another, and no using your tongue as a weapon of mass destruction. 

6. What unmet
expectations do we each have that need to be addressed?
Unfortunately, unmet
expectations are often not shared and, instead, they can fester within and
result in resentment and bitterness. How can you expect your mate to meet your
expectations if you don’t voice them? 
It’s unfair of you to feel that your partner “should know” or be able to
decipher passive aggressive cues that something is wrong.  Met
expectations equal relational bliss, so be honest with what you need from your
partner for a real chance that those needs will be met, or even exceeded. 

7. What emotional
triggers might be adversely affecting my current relationship?
Triggers link back
to past traumas and can hinder the way we respond to or even perceive
present day issues.  Were you lied to or
cheated on in the past? It doesn’t mean you cannot trust your current mate. Did
your past partner drink too much? It doesn’t mean this partner can’t enjoy a
cocktail responsibly. Put your old baggage aside and experience your current
partner on their own merits and actions.

8. Do I stop, look, and listen? Take
the time to listen to and validate your mate. Couples often decrease their talk
time once they have been together awhile and feel comfortable. Keep the
channels of communication open—chatter about the day’s events, current events,
family matters and similar. It bonds the heart and abates the feeling of
growing apart.
Should a concern be expressed along the way, it’s
imperative to hear your mate and try to empathize with how they feel.

9. Do I allow outside
interference?
 There is a reason “interference” is a penalty
in most sports. It is because someone is getting involved where and when they
do not have a right. This can result in focusing on the wrong issues and
reinforcing dangerous and emotional conclusions that can be detrimental to your
relationship. Your partner may also be very angry to find out that others are
now involved in your private life. Instead, go directly to your partner to
resolve relationship problems. However, if things are critical and seemingly
out of both of your control, qualified assistance can come from marriage
coaches and counselors who are there to help get the dialogue between the two
of you on the right track.

10. Do I have a maintenance plan? Are you still doing what you did to get your mate? Do you
know exactly why your mate should or would want to stay with you in the months
and years ahead? What emotional benefits do you offer your mate that others
don’t? Take the time to assess what your virtues are and even ask your mate to
cite favorite qualities about you. Then, make a concerted effort to foster
these qualities to not only ensure interest remains, but also maximize the
caliber of that interest.

“America’s Marriage
Coach” Jacqueline Del Rosario is
President and CEO of Recapturing the Vision International, an organization
dedicated to promoting healthy marriages and family strengthening. Also a
published author, speaker, and nationally regarded media personality, Dr. Del
Rosario has been a certified pre and post-marital counselor for more than 20
years. Her cutting-edge series, Marriage Solutions and The Marital
Constitution™, help couples successfully work through problems and find
healthy solutions. She has two children and currently resides in Miami, Florida
with her husband of over 20 years. Dr. Del Rosario may be reached online at
www.DrJacquie.com.
I will be interviewing Dr. Rosario.  Stay tuned for my interview post.