The Romagnolo Family

The Romagnolo Family

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Who Is Your Hero?

We will have someone that we idolize and look up to.  Who is your "hero?"  I'll tell you who mine are.  They are these two...

Yep, that's right.  My heroes are my children.  Don't let this picture fool you.  Like all children, they aren't perfect.  There many days where I am either putting myself in timeout to calm down, thinking that God has a sense of humor or just crying in frustration.  If you are a parent, I'm pretty sure that you've felt those emotions too.  😂

This past week, I had to advocate for one of my daughters at school.  This sweet child has ADHD.  Even though I've been a teacher for 21 years, until one of my own children was diagnosed with it, I didn't really understand just what those with ADHD go through.  I found this article that describes what ADHD is like.  She struggles with impulsivity.  She struggles with feeling defeated because she makes bad choices.  As God has been teaching me about parenting with grace, I'm learning that she needs me to speak more words of love and encouragement into her life.  Not only does my sweet girl deal with ADHD every day, but she has overcome so much in her short life.  Both her and her sister have.  They have overcome so much more than many of us ever will in our lives and they are only 7 and 8 years old.  If you ever read this post, you know that I did not give birth to my sweet daughters. They were 6 months and 16 months when we first met.  If you are a parent, you know that the first 2 years are critical in forming emotions in a child's life.  I won't share my girls history, because it's their story.  I will say that while we all have dysfunction in our families, many of us are blessed to have the childhoods that we had.  It is a complete miracle that my girls are the way that they are.  These precious girls are overcomers.  They are sweet and strong.  They are my heroes!

I know that we still have many interesting years ahead of us (hello, teen years! 😂 ).  I am praying that I can help my girls navigate through any obstacles that may come their way.  I was also reminded this week as I gave some insight of just all that my daughter has overcome, that you have to advocate for your children and make sure that people see the whole picture.  This morning, my devotion reminded me about labeling ourselves and others.  God is chiseling us into His masterpiece.  Instead of labeling our children, let's point them to the one that loves them more than we ever will.  He is going to finish the good work that He has started (Phil. 1:6). 

So, now you know why my children are my heroes.  Who are you heroes? 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

2018 WDW Marathon Weekend Half Marathon

Saturday morning, January 6th was a very cool 39 degrees.  It was warmer than the days before, but it was still cold.  I mentioned in my previous race recaps that this runDisney race weekend experience was very different from previous runDisney races.  The weather was one factor, but I also did not run these races like I normally do.  I had a few friends that needed to walk for various reasons, so I walked with them so that we would have each other.  I didn't realize until this race just how different running and walking races are.  Not that I ever have, but I will for sure never mock power walkers!  I trained to run these races.  When I run, I do a run/walk/run interval of 90 seconds/30 seconds.  At the Disney races I also have time to rest while I wait in line for character photos.  When you are walking these races and you are only 2 corals ahead of the Balloon Ladies (sweepers), there is no resting or even stopping for character pictures.  We were trying to maintain a 14 -16 minute mile pace for 13.1 miles.  I've had friends say, "A 16 minute mile pace?  That's nothing!"  Yes, but when you have to maintain that speed for 13.1 miles?  That's hard on your body.  Or, maybe I'm just a wimp.  😂

This morning was just like the other two mornings with a 2:30 am wake up call and on the bus by 3:30am.  I met the rest of my friends at the race like before.  For the half marathon a group of us from our running group decided to dress as the Kakamoras from Moana.  See the resemblance?  😄

We got a few pre-race pictures with characters before we headed to the corals.  There is a further walk to the corals for the half and we wanted to be in the first or second wave of our coral (E).  I loved being able to spend this time with my friends Jamie and Cori.  Getting through these races with friends by your side has become a must.  It's so much better with friends.  We didn't stop for characters along the course, but we got every mile marker and other pictures along the course.  I stole pictures from my friends Angie, Cori and Becky though for my recaps.   😄

I loved the half marathon course for this race because it took us through Magic Kingdom.  I love running through Magic Kingdom.  I made sure to get a jump shot in front of  the castle.

We didn't stop for much else though.  It wasn't until we were on the overpass to Epcot that we realized that we were way ahead of the Balloon Ladies.  I'm not gonna lie.  I was ready to slow it way down at that point, but Jamie and Cori wanted to just be done.  I kind of don't blame them.  I did make them stop in Epcot so that I could use a real potty.  😂  This was a hard race, but I wouldn't have missed the opportunity to do it with my sweet friends.

After the race, Jamie and I met up with her husband John.  Jamie had a nice surprise for the three of us.  Normally when we run three races at Disney, we walk away with 4 medals because we get a challenge medal.  The 10K and Half Marathon are usually a challenge race.  The only challenges for this weekend were the Goofy (the half and full marathon) and the Dopey (all 4 races).  Since we were only getting 3 medals for our 3 races, we would joke around that we were doing the "Grumpy Challenge".  Well, Jamie designed and made us our very own "Grumpy Challenge" medal!  I love it!  It's probably my favorite medal from the whole weekend!

We all parted ways soon after that.  I went back to my resort to shower and take a much needed nap.  While my girls watched tv (I know...great mom moment), I took a little nap.  I was wiped.  After my nap, we headed to do laundry and then we were able to walk up and get a table at Olivia's Cafe.  If you have never tried Olivia's, I highly recommend it!  We've had breakfast, lunch and dinner there.  We've always had great service there too.  When we were through with lunch, we headed over to the Community Hall at our resort where I made a sign to cheer for our friends that were running the marathon the next morning and my girls painted piggy banks.  I love Old Key West.  The Cast Members are awesome!  Before we left the Community Hall we checked out a movie and then stopped in the general store to grab frozen meals for our dinner.  We spent the rest of the night relaxing with dinner and a movie in our room.

We had to make sure that we got to bed at a decent hour because Lyla and I had an early morning on Sunday.  We were getting up to go with our friends Jamie and John to cheer for our other friends that were running the marathon.  That recap is coming soon!  In the meantime, be sure to check out some of my video recap from Marathon Weekend here.

Until next time,


Monday, February 5, 2018

Parenting and Being Silly

In my blog last week, I referenced Angela Thomas' book, "52 Things Kids Need From A Mom."  I am really learning so much as I read this book.  God has really been giving me opportunities this past week to practice my parenting with grace.  😄

Another chapter in this book talks about how "Kids Need Their Mom To Be Silly".  Angela talks about how being silly does not come naturally to her.  I read this and thought, "Yes!  This woman GETS me!!!"  I grew up with both types of parents.  One was silly and one was not.  For some reason it is easier for me to be sillier with teenagers and my friends, then it is with my kids.  I don't know why it is so hard.  It is very uncomfortable for me to be silly with my kids on a regular basis.  I feel like I am more serious then I am silly with my girls.

I don't want my girls growing up and remembering that their mother was all business and no fun.  One of Angela's suggestions was to have a crazy hat night at dinner.  Everyone is required to come to the dinner table with a crazy hat on.  I thought, "I can try that."

Spring semester is so crazy for us.  I am at my school 6 out of 7 days for a lot of the semester.  My girls love being at my school, but it is very busy and not a lot of down time.  Mommy is usually very tired too.  I am trying to do little things to spend time with my girls and give them fun memories.

This past Friday we started crazy hat/hair night at the table.  One child embraced it.  The other thought it was ridiculous.  That could have also been because she was losing out in participating in a family activity later that night for having made poor choices during school.  😢  Since the rule was that you had to wear one if you wanted dinner, she quickly embraced it.  😂

After dinner, my youngest and I went to my room and played a couple rounds of Uno on my bed.  My girls love family game night.  I've realized that I haven't taken advantage of that like I should.  That is going to change though.

I am also trying to squeeze in a family movie night where we cuddle under the covers in my bed and watch a movie together.  This past weekend we watched Cars 3.  I learned this past summer when we were in close quarters and constantly together for 5 weeks, that my girls LOVE it.  I let the busy-ness of the school year get in the way.  That is changing this semester!

What do you do to be silly in your family?  What traditions do you have?  I am still a work in progress, but I am trying.  😄

Saturday, February 3, 2018

2018 WDW Marathon Weekend Kids Races

The kids races at the 2018 runDisney Marathon Weekend were special for us in several ways this year.  The first reason is that this was Mia's last runDisney race. She is not a runner. My sweet girl has been running these races to humor her mommy.  To her delight, runDisney changed the races that they offered this time.  The last two runDisney races she has run the 400 meter dash.  This time around they only offered the diaper dash, 100 and 200 meter dashes.  A cast member told me at the races that they are only offering those races from now on.  Mia was excited to only have to run the 200 meter dash.

The second special thing about these races was that my family was in Orlando.  It was so fun and special for the girls to have my sister and her family and my dad at the Kids Races.

The only days that they offered the Kids Races were Friday and Saturday.  I signed the girls up for the Friday races since I was running the half on Saturday and knew that I would be even more pressed for time then on Friday after the 10K.  After the 10K I ran back to our resort to get us ready.  Mia's race started at 11:15 and Lyla's one mile race started at 1:00 pm.  I went ahead and grabbed us lunch at our resort while we waited for our family to meet us.  It took a little bit for our bus to show up.  We thought that we were going to miss Mia's race (which she was very happy about 😂).

When we got to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex we discovered that they were still finishing up with the 100 meter dash.  Mia and I went ahead and got in line for the 200 meter dash.  There were a lot of kids there and we had gotten there late, so we were in the back of the pack.  When they finally started the race, they let the kids go in waves.  We had awhile to go since we were in the way back.  I love doing these races with Mia.  I run them with her and we run side by side.  She did a great job.

In between kids races I ran to over the Expo Hall to look at the runDisney merchandise since I didn't have time to do it on Wednesday night.  The girls took this time to color at the GoGo Squeeze tent with my friend Meredith.

A little bit before 1:00 pm, Lyla and I headed over to the start for the one mile race.  Lyla has been doing these races herself, so I stayed with her until the race started and then headed over to the finish line to cheer her on.  Once your child finishes the race, you show a cast member a ticket that you ripped off of your child's race bib before the race starts in order to get them back.

I'm so proud of my girls.  They both did a great job at the races.  Mia was able to high five Mickey, but there were too many kids crowding Minnie, so Lyla couldn't high five her.  The kids races were so much fun.  We loved having family there to cheer too.

After the races, we all headed back to my resort to part ways.  The girls and I had a meet up at Ample Hills Creamery off of the Boardwalk with our friends from Joyful Miles, Rez Runs, Heather Jergensen (from Running with Grace) & Kimberly Estabrook.  If you haven't met these guys, they are awesome people!  We also took our first ride in the Minnie Van service provided by Disney.

The girls and I couldn't stay long because we had a reservation with another group of friends at Via Napoli in Italy in World Showcase.  The service was slow but the food was delish.  As we were walking into the park Lyla asked, "why aren't we riding any rides?"  😂  Race weekends are super hard when you have so many days of 2:00 am wake up calls.  We did get a nice surprise as we entered the park though!

Once the meal was over, we headed back to our resort because I had one more race to get ready for the next day.  Saturday I would be running the Half Marathon and my last race for the weekend.  Stay tuned for my recap on that coming soon.  In the meantime, you can watch my video recap of the kids races here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Parenting With Grace

If you've been reading my blogs, I hope that you've realized that with me what you see is what you get.  I believe in being transparent.  I've learned that if I try to hide my faults and mistakes, it just ways heavy on me.  I also tend to feel shame when I try to hide my sins.  There is something freeing about being real.  So in the spirit of being transparent, I am going to share something that spoke to my heart and punched me in the stomach last night.

Not too long ago while I was listening to my friend Jennifer's podcast (you have to check it out if you haven't yet!), she mentioned a book by the author, Angela Thomas called "52 Things Kids Need From a Mom."  I added it to my wish list and got it with my next paycheck.  😄  I feel like every chapter speaks to me!  Last night the chapter entitled "Kids Need Their Mom...To Give Grace-Filled Consequences" truly spoke to me.  Let me say also, that Angela Thomas was a single mom for 8 years.  She gets me.  😄  I'm a single mom by choice, but she has been where I currently am.

This is where I felt the punch in the stomach.  Angela says, "To give grace-filled consequences means that you and I will have to be filled with a grace that guides our decisions and our words.  If we are empty of grace, operating with frayed emotions and selfishness, then guess what our kids will get?  Angry consequences.  If you are an empty woman, you will discipline from your emptiness."  Wow!  At first I was like, I'm not empty.  We have everything that we need. I have friends and family that love me.  I have a job that I love.  But then God spoke to my heart and opened my eyes.  You can have everything that this world has to offer and still be empty inside.  There is only ONE thing that will fill that void.  It's Jesus.  It's not just inviting Him to live in your heart though.  It's passionately pursuing a relationship with Him daily.

I'm going to be honest with you.  My quiet times have been hit or miss over the past year.  I've been filling my time and the void with other things like work, tv, running, friends, this blog or my Youtube Channel, my children, etc.  Just like in any relationship, if you don't actively pursue it, make time for it and prioritize it, the relationship will fall apart.  I've noticed that my heart is less filled with grace then it should be.  I also get angry at my kids easier.

Angela also mentioned that are kids are little sinners.  So am I.  Do I want God to react in anger or with love to my sins?  If He is merciful to me, shouldn't I be merciful to my own children?  My job as their mama is to teach them grace.  They aren't learning it if I am not truly experiencing it myself.  I want my girls to grow up being passionate about Christ and to be world changers.  This won't happen if I am not modeling that for them.  The next chapter in the book talks about passionately pursuing Christ.  If I don't pursue Him with all my heart, I won't ever change.  I don't want to be empty.  I want His love to flow through me and onto my children.

This morning I started thinking more.  Not only do I want to parent with grace, I want to teach with grace.  Do my students see something different in me?  Do I extend grace-filled consequences to them?

Last night I was determined to get up early to have a good quiet time this morning.  My plans were almost thwarted when I woke up at 2:40 am and couldn't fall back asleep until 4:00 am and my alarm went off 45 minutes later.  I did hit snooze, but I got up and sat down to finish reading the book of Ruth (so many great nuggets in this book!) and to pray.  I have to make it a priority to spend this time "re-fueling" everyday.  If I want to change, I have to fill myself with His Word.  I don't want my girls memories to be that their mommy was a yeller.  I need to change.  His mercies are new every morning.  We were and are forgiven for so much.  How can we not allow that grace to pour out of us and onto others?

This is just me being real.  I hope that this encourages some of you.  There may be some of you that don't struggle in this area.  That's awesome!  I'd love your tips (for real).  If you are like me, know that we are in the trenches together.  Just pick yourself back up and keep pushing forward.

Hugs Mamas!!!

2018 WDW Marathon Weekend 10K

Friday, January 5th started out just as cold as the 5K.  This time, I was a little more prepared for the cold.  I was in MANY layers!  A huge thank you to my friend Angie for bringing me some hot hands!  They saved my fingers and even feet.  For this race a group of us decided to dress as the characters from the movie, Inside Out.

The 10K course was a little different from the 5K course.  I like the 10K course because we get to run on the boardwalk early in the morning.  

The first 3-4 miles aren't in a park, but Disney makes up for it by having characters along the road.  We made sure to stop for the Wicked Queen.  This was a different race experience for me because I walked all 3 races this time around so that I could hang with my friends that weren't running.  While they don't time you for the 5K, they do time you for the 10K.  

We didn't stop for many characters on the course because we didn't want to get swept off the course by the Balloon Ladies.  We made great memories though and we got great pictures from the PhotoPass Photographers.

I've learned after my first two runDisney races that doing these races (actually any races) with friends makes it so much more fun!  It doesn't matter if you are running or have to walk.  I had so much fun with these ladies.  I loved that we all crossed the finish line together.  The course takes us into World Showcase by Mexico and then back out by the International Gateway.  We passed by Rapunzel and Flynn Rider in italy.  Well, we waited in line for them, but the line was too long and not moving that fast.  While we were in line we heard that the Balloon Ladies and just crossed the 5K, so we had to keep moving.  This princess was very sad, but it's all good.  When we left Epcot, we got to run on the Boardwalk.  We re-entered World Showcase by UK.  The course then took us through the rest of World Showcase up to Spaceship Earth and then to the finish line.  I love running through the parks.  It's so fun to see the Cast Members out there cheering for us.  It was super cold too, but they were out there.

After the race, I had to go straight to the buses to head back to my resort.  I had to go get me and my girls ready for the Kids Races.  Overall, I really enjoyed the 10K.  I loved our costumes too.  Watch for my next blog with a recap on the Kids Races.  You can also see a video recap of the 10K here.