family, parenting, Uncategorized

I don’t want to grow up, because if I did…I wouldn’t be a Toys ‘R’ Us Kid

"I don't want to grow up because if I did, I wouldn't be a Toys 'R' Us Kid

I saw this picture recently on social media and surprisingly it made me reflect….


Not just on the closing of an Iconic store –that during my childhood made my spirit leap with joy.

My favorite area was the Barbie aisle the colors would illuminate the row pink and

I was in Barbie Heaven!

I could do and be anything!

…and I didn't just reflect on how I when I was pregnant, I walked the aisle picking out a stroller , car seat and high chair etc- thinking one day – my baby would come here with me

…and I didn't just reflect on the memory of when I introduced my child to Toys 'R' US  for the first time and saw her eyes   img_1566   light up at the unlimited possibilities of 


I did truly reflect on the  fact that it is a reminder that life will always be a series of goodbyes. That nothing last forever. That change is constant and we are constantly evolving to another level and we should STOP and enjoy the moment we are in. As the saying goes, sometimes you never know what you have until its gone.

My daughter recently was promoted from Kindergarten and said Goodbye to her teacher and friends and she cried.

She says she will miss her teacher , friends, doing work, playing on the playground and the "Kindergarten life"–her words not mine :)   We reminded her, this does not mean the end of school, you will go back in August; and all was right with her world 🙂

…and I realized this just the beginning of always saying goodbye

Goodbye to moments, and things that were constant in our lives

Goodbye to seasons in our lives-we thought would last forerver,

Goodbye to our jobs and careers- because situations and people change

Goodbye to friends who we have lost touch with -due to circumstances or life

Goodbye to family – because, unfortunately  those we love cannot live here on Earth forever

 Goodbye to things we know and thought would be forever.

Is it sad?

Yes! We are human and it hurts

But is it necessary?

Its necessary to let go and 'Trust the Process' because without change there will be no growth. We also have to learn to cherish each moment without rushing to the nextbecause just like a snap of your fingers- it can disappear.

True,we can cherish the memories forever. However, it is important to  savor ,embrace , fully be in the moment of where you are in life at that moment.

If that's you taking your child to Kindergarten for the 1st time- enjoy that sweet innocent time-its hard , its challenging, but make that time AMAZING.

We celebrated my daughter's  1st day of Kindergarten with lunch and invited the grandparents. I took pictures. She may not remember this in few years, but I will always remember her face as we exclaimed how proud we were of her and going to school for the first time. I'll remember this season as the time I embraced the 'Art of Letting Go'

As emotional as her last day of Kindergarten was for my daughter and I'll admit-me and her  dad-  We embraced the moment- took a ton of pictures and took her to dinner to celebrate all that she had learned and acknowledged her transition.

You may be facing a career change or starting a new position- embrace it. Try not to yearn for the days gone by – enjoy the moment you are in- learn what the situation is teaching  you and wrap yourself around that experience.

If this is you , with your 1st baby or 10th-embrace this time- you will never be pregnant with this child again. Take a moment to just savor that you are creating a "WHOLE HUMAN BEING"!   Find the joy in the season you are in.

Goodbyes are a part of life , a part of our daily existence.

Take the moment you are in a make the Goodbyes count . Each moment in time is meant for you to learn from, experience, love , embrace, acknowledge; and then say goodbye too.

Just like Geoffrey

I don't want to grow up because if I did I wouldn't be a Toys R Us Kid


all the children have grown up-there's no more Toys 'R' Us Kids


So be like 'Geoffrey' with  his little suitcase leaving behind a global brand, a life,  passion, our history…

Embrace the change , Embrace the moment, Find the joy and say Goodbye!

I want to hear from you- tell me about your recent goodbyes- What have you learned? What are you embracing? Comment below…





Wife/Mother/Nurse/"Champion " for all pregnant women

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family, parenting, pregnancy, pregnancy announcement, Uncategorized

Pregnancy Love: #8: Dreaming of Your Baby to Be !

Focusing on #Pregnancy Love,

I want to take a moment to celebrate 

dreaming about the baby you

will soon meet!

                      edited with picsart


Pregnancy is an opportunity to dream. Dream about your hopes, promises, future and who your baby will be.

Is the baby a boy or girl? Tall or Short? Dark hair or light hair? Freckles or none?

The truth is it doesn’t matter- Whoever your baby is and will become is


Personally , I think this is the perfect thing to celebrate during #Pregnancy Love Month. From the moment you begin to attempt to conceive to that positive pregnancy test and throughout your entire pregnancy- You are dreaming.

Dreaming about when you will become pregnant. When you become pregnant , you dream about how you will tell everyone. How your pregnancy journey will be. You dream about your labor and delivery story. Most important you dream about this baby who is more than “just a baby” , this is your baby. During your pregnancy you not only “see” your baby, you see your future with your child. The places you will go, the things you will do, your new family dynamic; the hopes and dreams you will have for this child

Every moment will be perfect because they are yours.

So for this #Pregnancy Love Moment

Celebrate the dreams that are within you

for your pregnancy

for your future

for your baby



Happy Dreaming!

picture source:



What are you dreaming for your baby?

Comment Below….

family, grandparents, pregnancy, pregnancy announcement, Uncategorized

Pregnancy Love: #5 : Telling the Grandparents


Focusing on #Pregnancy Love, I want to take a moment to celebrate 

the sweet moment

you tell your

Parents they will be




This pregnancy is a special moment for you and your parents. It is a moment for them to see you as parents and experience the joys seeing you experience the joy they had when they raised you. img_7123

Its a moment for them to look at you through new eyes . Possibly the moment where they truly realize you are now the “Parent” and not only their child. This is when they have the opportunity and honor to be proud of you being a mother /father and not only their child.

                                                                                                                                             (picture source:
                                                                              (picture source:

This is also the time were they can relax with the child raising and focus on the Loving and the Spoiling. “Grandma/Grandpa is my name and Spoiling is my Game ” .


Make the moment you tell your parents you are pregnant special. Do not be surprise if they have guessed it already 🙂 (Parents have an uncanny ability to do that).

Today during #Pregnancy Love Month:

Celebrate the moment you tell your parents you are having a baby !

Please share how you told your parents you were pregnant and their reactions.

Comment below


Grandparents love- Love on Another Levelpexels-photo-302045.jpeg


dads and pregnancy, family, parenting, pregnancy, Uncategorized

Pregnancy Love #2: Sharing the News with the Dad-to Be

Focusing on #Pregnancy Love, I want to take a moment to celebrate 

Sharing the Positive Pregnancy Test

with the



(picture source:

I want to celebrate 2/5/2018 day of #Pregnancy Love with the moment you shared your pregnancy news with the dad-to-be

Did you take the pregnancy test with your partner? Or did you take the test alone and get to share the exciting news ?

This moment will be in your memories forever- the moment you realize 2 will become a family of 3 or more.


(picture source:

Its a life changing moment. A moment of joy, dreams realized, hope and happiness. Its a moment that is yours together.

Listed below are 5 Unique Ways to Tell Your Partner you are Pregnant!!!

You can be creative, be simple, be fun, but most importantly – Be you!

(1) Be Creative

  • Give a the dad to be a Baby Gift  or Coffee Mug with a saying “Best Dad Ever”
  • Give dad a baby gift- stand back watch while he opens it and wait for the reaction….
  • Trust me- that moment will be priceless 🙂  Bonus points for recording it

(You can also use that gift for Baby Announcement photos later)

img_7027 img_7025

( &

(2) Just say “Hey! You’re going to be a daddy!

(3)Play a Game

  •       Pictionary See the source imageCan you imagine the look on his face       when he guesses the answer?

(4)Give a card (you can save the card for years as a memory)

(5)Write a heartfelt letter with your news and about your journey to this point in your life

Take this time to share in it together! This the start of your journey. The ups the downs the nausea and the hopes! It is a time to dream and plan-together.

The truth is , it does not matter  how you share your news of that Positive Pregnancy Test-

It only matters that you make it a part of your story together

and Celebrate the

#Pregnancy Love


I would love to hear from you, and if you want to be featured on the Blog or Instagram during the month of February during the #Pregnancy Love series – e-mail me (Mary) at



img_7036(picture source: &


By: Mary E. , RN,BSN,MSN




family, parenting, pregnancy

February : Pregnancy Love Month

February : The Love Month

Pregnancy is beautiful, amazing, miraculous. What better time to celebate the Miracle of life than during the Month of Love: February!

The Month of February is a fun time to celebrate everything there is to Love about Pregnancy. Often we hear about the Pregnancy Woes, complications, pains, aches and discomforts. ( All of which are true.)



                      Sometimes you just need to nap, and that is 100% okay.

However, while the pregnancy journey is not always smooth and easy- it is definitely worth it!

Therefore, during this Month of Love, I want to Focus on the Lovely aspects of Pregnancy. I’ll attempt to write a post a day that focuses on one aspect of Joyfully being pregnant, in hopes to inspire , encourage, give hope and encourage all the #momtobe and #momtobeagain to enjoy this season of pregnancy.

Welcome Everyone to the Month of #Pregnancy Love

By: Mary Echols, Wife/Mother /Registered Nurse

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family, parenting, Uncategorized

The Art of Letting Go

So it happened.
I learned to let go.
My baby girl; my 1 and only started Kindergarten. IMG_3923
This was a major stepping stone for her and our family. Until Kindergarten, she had always been in the care of us her parents or grandparents. However, the time had come to learn The Art of Letting Go.
What?! She’s a baby! How could I let her go-send her away to strangers for hours without me there-watching? How could I trust she would be cared for? Yes, I’ll admit it took researching schools, touring schools, much discussions and prayer. However, when we walked into one particular school- we were home. The setting, the academics, the organization , the cleanliness, the current parents praises of the school , the teachers were engaged, the administration was helpful and the uniforms were cute 😉 We had found the school for our daughter.
I loved the school helped the Kindergarten class  become comfortable with going to school . Starting in the summer the school hosted:  Kindergarten play dates,  Popsicles with the Principal , Meet and Greet the teacher and become use to the classroom prior to the first day.

Postcard From the teacher welcoming Baby Girl to her class

The Official 1st Day of Kindergarten,8/28/2017. It was time, time to practice The Art of Letting Go. Putting Faith into action and trusting the process. After all-letting go is trusting,right? I had to activate my faith and trust placing my daughter with educators to direct, care and teach. I had to trust we have raised her to this point to be able to function away from us. To know how to navigate her world without us being physically there. To know herself. This is what we want.  Sounds simple, but is it hard? Yes! and again Yes!  However, is it right?  Yes! and again Yes!


Baby Girl’s 1st day went surprisingly well.  Her dad, Steve and I walked her to the classroom, helped her find her table, put away her supplies.

Then she asked…..

“Are you leaving?” What? Maybe I did not hear her. I bent down, my ear close to her mouth to listen closely.  “You guys can leave now”. Yep, I heard right. After prayers, pictures, hugs and kisses; we left. No tears from me or her. Steve had a few tears; or as he says ” my allergies are flaring”.

As we left her with a quick glance back; it was definitely a surreal moment for sure-yet one I felt at peace with. (Full disclosure, yes I checked my cell phone every 2 minutes to make sure I did not miss a call from the school and would not let Steve leave to far from the school, just in case I had to make it back quickly).

I know this is the beginning as I let go of her hand and let her walk into independence. Grade School will fly by and all I will have are memories of my baby girl with the pigtails and missing teeth saying ” I love you to the Moon and Back”. IMG_3918
8/28/2017 will forever be ingrained in my mind and heart. A moment I begin the Art of Letting Go. 

As I reflect on this week- which went well; I thought about parenting. As parents our goals should always include letting go. While its true- I’m the mom who has a small part that wants to attach myself to baby girl and never let go. In reality, in my heart I want Baby Girl to discover who God has designed her to be, to witness her walk into the promise He has ordained for her.

Kindergarten is the 1st stepping stone for Baby Girl; one that will be a distant memory for her one day. However, I want this first stepping stone to lay a foundation for the years to come.

I want to let go in Faith and Trust she will

  • Always Know Who She Is
  • Always Follow God’s Will
  • Be Kind
  • Know When to Speak and When to Listen
  • And Always know even while I’m letting go in my heart I’m holding on – Always



By: Mary Echols, RN , BSN, MSN

Wife/Mother/Registered Nurse

Do you have any 1st Day of School advice or thoughts

Comment Below

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amazing mom contributor, family, parenting, summer camp, Uncategorized

Before and After Kids—Camp Experience

I admit, before I had kids, my thoughts about parenting and raising kids was set in stone. It is always easier to think your way would be better than others.  Then reality hits and you actually have kids and things are not how you imagined it would be.

Recently, my two oldest sons spent a week at summer camp. I highly encouraged, ok ok, made them go… since they had no inclination to go themselves.  Eric and I talked about the wonderful experience and how much fun they would have and the friends they would make while at camp.  Eric and I both had the opportunity to go to summer camp when we were younger and talked about what we did and how we would go back if we could.  Of course, they still dragged their feet and feigned sickness as the day came closer.  And when the time came to drop them off, I was sad because the drop off was so “sudden.”  No chance to walk around the camp, to see their cabins where they would be sleeping, the cafeteria, where they would be eating or the beach where they would be swimming.  I didn’t have the opportunity to give them a hug.  Eric hurriedly ushered me awaits saying  “I didn’t want the camp staff thinking I was “that mom.”

While they were gone, I thought about them; were they having fun? What did they eat? Did they sleep ok?  I would get teary eyed when reading the email Eric sent them.  It also made me think about what I used to think before I had kids.  I have to admit; pre kids- I may have been judgmental towards parents; thinking how could they send their kids off to summer camp. How could they send their kids away?  Didn’t they want to spend time with their kids?  I wondered if their children were affected by spending all this time away from their parents. Were they traumatized knowing their parents didn’t want to spend the Summer with them.  Obviously, my times away at camp were forgotten during my judgement. 😉

When we picked up the boys, they talked about how much fun they had. They were able to go swimming, canoeing, played games and they even said how much they liked singing camp songs!  My boys said the food was good and was impressed by showers where pull down ropes made the water come out.  They both spoke about the friends they made. 

The oldest had the chance to go canoeing and then spend the night in the woods in tents. He talked about how gross the boy’s outhouse was so they all used the girl’s outhouse.

The conversations and shared experiences did not end there. The boys sang the camp songs to their siblings and talked about their counselors and recited all their names.

The best part; they admitted they want to go back next year.

(Yes! right decision made by Eric and myself!)

As they talked, I thought about how wrong I was thinking parents were selfish for sending their kids to summer camp. With kids of my own, and having to work during their summer vacation, I realize summer camp is not only a time for kids to have fun, make new friends and enjoy new experiences.  Summer camp is an opportunity for parents to work. Not every parent has the luxury being able to take their summer off to spend with their kids.  Parents have to find alternatives to school, and childcare has to be made so parents can work and pay the bills.  Summer camp gives parents a sense of peace of mind knowing their kids are safe and having fun.

My eyes have opened now and I offer a heartfelt apology to all those parents I judged before I actually had to walk in your shoes. Summer camp is a great chance for kids to have fun and experience summer like a kid. 

If you get the chance to send your kids to camp, please do.

Your kids will thank you for the memories.


By : Kristine Walton

Wife/Mother of 5/Registered Nurse

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family, Uncategorized

Love & Technology

Eric and I have always loved to have friendly debates. The most hotly discussed topic has been the use of social media in our relationship. The use of phones, tablets and laptops have become the roadblocks in our conversations and quality time.

My husband argues that I spend more time on Facebook then talking about my day. He feels the phone has become my new partner, my best friend and confidant. This has been brought up many times and I have made a conscious effort to put my phone down. I’ve set my phone down when I come home from work and many times cannot remember where I have left it. Despite this, Eric still feels some kind of way with the amount of time I spend on technology. So ultimately, it’s not just the use of Facebook, it’s the use of all technology in Eric’s mind. 


I argue, excuse me, let’s say debate that I am on devices related to work, researching information for school or even ordering our groceries from #Kroger click list. In today’s culture, almost everything is done online.  Is there a happy middle for being an active participant in the World Wide Web and having time for our marriage? At least in my husband’s eye?


Now, on the flip side, my husband my not be on social media as much as I am but he is on his phone texting or reading the newspaper. He’s looking at #MediaTakeOut, researching home improvements and listening to music.  Is this really any different than my usage of the internet? I would say not, but for whatever reason my husband says yes.  We can go back and forth, like right now as I’m sitting here typing this blog, he’s researching shower heads.  Specifically oil rubbed shower body sprays. 


Eric and I have been together since 1994. We have been through our ups and downs and have made it through together.  We’ve actively changed how we perceive things and realize a relationship is made stronger when both partners know it is not a Disney fairytale. Compromise is required and if one partner always seems to get their way, the other one is probably slowing brewing on the inside.  Everyone always says, “Happy Wife Happy Life,” but Eric tends to argue why can’t the husband be happy also? I will agree because I sure don’t want a grumpy husband.  I asked him what’s wrong and he responded, “I’m a crab. Pinch. Pinch.” Need I say more?

So what is the compromise? Do we limit ourselves to 2 hours of screen time as we try to do with our kids? Do we pick certain days to be online? Or do we select a date night once a week to keep our relationship kindled and burning bright? Are there other couples who experience this phenomenon in their relationship? If so, have you done anything different?

As everything we’ve been through in the past, I’m sure we will find a solution to our Love and Technology; but any advice would be appreciated.

Kristine Walton ,RN, BSN

Wife/Mother of 5/Registered Nurse

Contact Kristine @



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family, pregnancy, Uncategorized

A Long Awaited Escape

As a mother, my time is divided between my husband, my children, my job and what’s left over is trying to maintain a chaotic household. Some days I pat myself on the back because I helped my kids with their homework, cooked dinner and even managed to do a load or two of laundry. Other days, I thank God I didn’t lose a child, that I managed to feed them and yeah, OK…however, the homework. We can’t win them all.

So when Eric was invited to attend the Knights of Columbus convention on Mackinac Island, I of course said “YES!” Oh, I guess Eric should have been the one to answer but I figured I would help him. We had the option of bringing our kids, but I jumped at the chance of having a couple getaway minus the children. We had not both, at the same time, been overnight without them since our youngest was born…5 years ago!  My husband does have his annual ‘mancation’ and he always encouraged me to do the same with my friends.  He’s always supported me, especially when it came to finding time for me. I’ve always felt guilty spending time away and couldn’t even bring myself to having an overnight trip.

This time around though, I felt ready. I felt no guilt in wanting to spend time away from my kids.  I felt excited to spend time with my husband.  My parents said they would watch the kids, did I sense hesitancy? Oh well.  I jumped at the chance to go to Mackinac Island. My kids would survive 2 days.  Now the question is, would my parents?! But it’s not about them.

We dropped the kids off and Eric and I made our way to the big island! No bickering siblings. No “Are we almost there?” No frequent rest room stops. This trip was looking fabulous already. Eric and I had dinner at the Grand Hotel.  We actually had a grown up meal. We had an actual conversation.  We enjoyed our meal.  Can I tell you how nice it was to really savor your food?

When Eric went to his workshops during the day, I was able to sleep in as long as I wanted. I would have coffee on the porch overlooking the water, while reading my book.


I would walk around the island taking in all the sights and sounds. I didn’t have to constantly count 1,2,3,4,5. Ok they’re all here.  I didn’t have to say, “no fighting, be quiet, no running, stay with us.”

I took pleasure in the beautiful views Mackinac Island had to offer. I smiled when I saw other parents trying to manage their kids. I leisurely window shopped while eating ice cream. 



I enjoyed being me. Not a mother of 5.  Not a nurse.  Eric and I found ourselves as a couple again.  We found out why we fell in love in the first place.

Me and My Love

I encourage other moms to get away. Get away with your partner.  Renew your love for each other.  Find yourself again.  That young girl who laughed, who enjoyed life, who laughed uncontrollably.  You need to be you without your kids if only for a night.  You come back to motherhood feeling refreshed, alive and rejuvenated.   It is needed so our kids can see us, can see their parents in love.  It is needed to make our family more whole and complete.   When you feel ready, go find yourself again.  You won’t regret it.

Kristine Walton ,RN, BSN

Wife/Mother of 5/Registered Nurse

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family, pregnancy, Uncategorized

A Different Kind Of Perfect

As a mother of 5 children, I look back and realize I never had a plan on how many children I wanted. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I thought about child bearing as most people with common sense do.

Kids are expensive.
How will we pay for college?
I’m too old to have kids.
What about work?
Our house isn’t big enough.

And the list can go on and on. If I had thought about all those things and planned ahead, my life would not be as adventurous, as noisy, as joyful or as loving as it is now. I could not imagine my life without having my 4 boys and my baby girl.

It’s true when people say the hardest transition is going from one child to two. It’s like you’ve become used to the daily routine but the second child is thrown in the mix, and life has somehow become chaotic multiple times over. When I learned I was having another son, I will admit I was a little disappointed. You always hear how perfect having a boy and girl is–and who doesn’t want perfection? I should have already learned perfection doesn’t exist when I entered my home. Toys, baby things–who know there could be so MANY baby items?! I found out I was pregnant again shortly after my second son. I was that 1% that breastfeeding was not an effective method of birth control. I’m not going to lie when I say I was stunned and a little scared. And then I found out the baby was a boy. I did cry during the ultrasound. And then he came along and couldn’t be more loving. After finding the 4th baby was yet another boy, I told my husband, he failed his wedding contract to give me a little girl. I had decided that we weren’t meant to have a girl. Boys were in the stars; which was fine because I was not a girly girl. Make up? Dresses? High heels? Jewelry? What were these things and how are they used?! My favorite outfit were scrubs.

Our family, our boys were fun, loving and loud. Quite often dinner somehow never happened, laundry was abundant and there was always an errand that was always put on hold. My home wasn’t perfect and did not look perfect. But who am I kidding?! I looked like a hot mess. But did I? Because most days, I didn’t even look in the mirror. I realized this when my coworker politely asked me if my skirt was inside out and horrified I quickly went to the bathroom and redressed in the light. I don’t even know when I last showered. I gave up on going to the bathroom by myself.

I would go to parties and watch my boys be boys-loud, rough, running around, beating each other with whatever they could find but laughing the whole time. I would then watch the girls sitting quietly, coloring and playing with dolls. I thought, how nice, I bet that house is quiet.

One week before Eric was scheduled for the big snip–a vasectomy; I found out I was pregnant! Dear Lord, I’m about to have 5 boys! I’ve already read all the blogs about “moms of boys” how having boys were a special blessing. Yes, if that blessing was watching your kids be daredevils and jumping off things that make your heart stop and wrestling and playing so hard that they say it hurts. But you’re laughing and it hurts?! At my ultrasound, I found out the baby was a girl. I didn’t believe it. My family and friends were ecstatic. When I delivered, the first thing I did was look between her legs. YES! A girl!

Gianna has added a whole new dimension to our family. She is the ultimate girl but who also wants to wrestle with her brothers. She still runs around, climbs, jumps and is the loudest in the family! She bosses her brothers around, they in turn tease her but they watch out for her and attend to her needs. Eric is wrapped around her little finger and with a kiss she can get him to do most anything. For me, as a mother who has a girl, there is a relationship that is different than the boys. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them all the same. But a girl makes you a little more gentle, a little more patient, and a little more self aware of being a woman. You teach her how girls should be treated. You teach her to accept her body type because you accept your extra lumps and bumps. She learns that being cute or pretty is not enough. Girls are also smart, funny and strong. Girls can conquer the world. My daughter will know that she can be a wonderfully powerful force and nothing can stop her in this life.





Kristine Walton ,RN, BSN

Wife/Mother of 5/Registered Nurse

Contact Kristine @



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