The Value of Family According To One Central New Jersey Couple

Robert Markowitz’s family history does not include aging gracefully. His father of sixty plus years old, died at a tennis court, in the same year that he would often ride bicycles from Rye to Martha’s Vineyard in New York. Robert adopted his family’s tradition of an active family life and currently has to find clever ways to escape his daughter’s playful wrestles. He writes that Kate, his teenage daughter, jabs and pokes at him as an invitation to get him out of his cocoon. Though contrasting with Robert’s playful parenting style, Kate’s mother is a thorough parent who will go above and beyond to ensure her child has a smoother time growing up. Robert refers to her as the family’s psychotherapist because of the amount of information she has figured out about every family member. According to his wife, Kate enjoys attacking his father’s quiet times with games and tickles so as to get his attention when he is distant.


A close family unit is not a blessing every person enjoys. Unlike Kate, unavoidable circumstances may leave one with the sole option of having to be an adopted child. However, countless people express their gratitude for finding an amazing family with whom they share life. According to studies, couples who consider adoption so as to become parents often turn out to be loving, committed and stable parents to these lucky children. They are excited about having a family after exhausting all other options of trying to birth children without success.


According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in eight married couples battle infertility. Lindy and Thomas are a Mormon couple living in Central Jersey who went against their religious beliefs when they could not conceive. They sought the help of a sperm donor after learning that Thomas was barren. After several failed attempts at vitro fertilization and one miscarriage, they opted to check out the biggest adoption website which is more affordable in comparison to seeking out the services of an adoption agent. After screening two women, the couple finally adopted a son, Grayson, and are currently looking to adopt a second child. Couples or an individual must receive a background check and home inspection clearance to qualify for adoption. Despite the emotional turmoil that stems from the process, Lindy and Thomas are happy with their decision new found family.




How to Fit Exercise Into Your Family’s Schedule

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to make sure that everyone in your family is healthy and happy. In order to be healthy and happy, it is evident that routine physical exercise is absolutely necessary for everyone.


For this reason, it’s a great idea to organize physical fitness routines for your family throughout the week. Spending time together during these workouts can also help you and your family bond more. Use the following ideas to integrate exercise into your family’s schedule and see what it can do for you.


Ways for You and Your Spouse and Kids to Exercise Together


  1. Play an active game together.


Playing games is not only fun, but it’s also exercise, and you probably won’t even notice that you’re working out. Great athletic game ideas for families include bowling, badminton, soccer, basketball or baseball. As a final note, remember not to get too serious about these games. They are just for fun.


  1. Take a bike ride or walk around the block together.


If you’re just getting started working out as a family, you should take it slow. A good idea is to simply take a bike ride or walk around your block. It’s a great workout, and it’s a good time to chat with your family as well.


  1. Get on the trampoline.


If you have a trampoline in your backyard, this is a great way to spend time with your family and get a workout in. Always make sure to follow the safety guidelines that come with your trampoline so that no one gets hurt.


  1. Go for a hike.


Going for hikes can be great exercise, and it’s also a perfect time to chat and spend time with your family while enjoying the great outdoors. As you improve your physical fitness, you can make your hikes more challenging as well.


Finally, remember that no one’s perfect. If you miss a few exercise routines or workouts on your family schedule, don’t sweat it. The fact that you are simply thinking about physical fitness as a family and doing at least some workouts together is absolutely great.


The Non-Traditional Family Make Be the Best Way to Help Children Understand Diversity

Several decades ago there were television shows that tried to show Americans the model of the traditional family. There were shows like The Brady Bunch, The Waltons and The Cosby Show that tried to paint the picture of the model family. These shows were praised for family values. There were others shows like Roseanne that came along and totally changed all of this. This was a show that presented a dysfunctional family. It was the type of show that would open up conversations regarding the squeaky clean family and the gap between reality and fictional television families.

In this day and age there are few television shows that show the traditional families that have been carved into the mindsets of the other generations of TV viewers. The generation of today is learning much more about diversity in families and this is being reflected on television. Much of this reflection of diversity comes from the real life changes that children are witnessing. In New Jersey, for example, there is a white lesbian couple that has adopted several black children. These mothers were interviewed by the Huffington Post and they shared their outlook on love and parenting as two moms in a household where there is a white girl, 2 black girls and two black boys. These are lesbian mothers that are raising adopted children. This may be as diverse as a situation can become.

One big reality that children are realizing is that the traditional family is gone. There are gay couples that are adopting. There are transgender children in families. There are interracial families. There are all types of different formations of families. Oddly, this pairing of so many different types of family groups may turn out to be the best possible way to learn about diversity. Children don’t have to do a lot of thinking about how they should feel about diversity in the homes. They are being raised in homes where diversity is just a way of life. This is something that helps kids understand other children. This will inevitably help break down many prejudices in the world.

The traditional families of the past often seem foreign to children of today. Many kids that watch old sitcoms cannot relate to what they see.

The Value of Homework

While New Jersey’s public schools certainly want their children competitive in the 21st century global economy, they do not agree homework is the way to do it. If your child comes home with no homework from a Trenton or Woodbridge Township elementary school, it may be because the teacher or administration believes that quality time within your family is more valuable than a few extra lessons.

Principal Judith Martino sent a letter home to parents stressing the value of “strong interpersonal relationships” within the family and their role in the formation of pro-social bonds. She wrote that students need need to play, eat, and converse with loving family members on a daily basis. They need to do chores, converse within their family. learn values, and read alone or with family members. Parents, aunts, uncles, and older siblings can do much to improve a young child’s ability to read and write.

The administration now forbids teachers to assign projects due immediately on return from a school break. The same schools do not allow teachers to give tests directly after school breaks or on Mondays following long weekends. A secondary goal is to reduce the stress and pressure on New Jersey’s youngest students.

West-Windsor, Plainsboro, Princeton, and Hopewell schools have anounced similar homework-free breaks. They also deny teachers the right to test students or demand projects from students directly after a holiday. Though new to parents and grandparents, educators endlessly debate the best truly effective ways to prepare young students for the challenges in their future.

Woodbridge Township School District Superintendent Robert ZegaIf challenges parents to remember doing their own homework. How meaningful were your homework assignments? How often did you do without sleep in order to get them done? Did you ever feel compelled to lie to excuse your own missing or incomplete homework?

Parents and care givers have a responsibility to elementary school children to ensure that they use their out of school hours wisely, safely, and productively. The American Journal of Family Therapy also found that elementary school students subjected to daily homework assignments do not like school as much as others do, and they may be less confident.

The Costly Necessity of Epi Pens

This afternoon, a friend dropped her three girls off for me to watch. One of the girls has a severe nut allergy and my friend handed me a little pouch with cute pictures and the cartoon word “Allergy,” on the outside.

I peeked inside and was so impressed with the amount of organization– everything was labeled. The back up epi pen was clearly marked. A pre-measured dosage of Benadryl was included. Instructions on what to do should the need arise, were included and laminated. I love organization and this pouch exemplified it; however, before I could voice my praise, I was struck with the fact that this pouch was vitally important to her little girl’s well being. Had she neglected to leave out any of the items– especially the Epi pen– it would mean the difference between life and death for her little girl.

My friend walked me through the steps on how to use the epi pen. Sadly, my husband is deathly allergic to bees and has two of his own tucked away, so I was familiar with what to do. Thankfully, he has never needed it and neither has my friend’s little girl. However, whether they are used or not, they still have to be replaced yearly as their effectiveness diminishes over time.

My husband can not control getting stung by a bee. My friend can not be there every moment of every day to make sure a nut never comes near her friend. The company that manufactures these life saving medical marvels can control it’s costs.

As reported in the NY Times, the company that produces and sells these pens is releasing a generic pen at a lower cost. However, the generic pens made by the same company selling the name brand pens, is still 300 dollars.

Why can’t they just lower the price of their original product? They have no competitors that are offering a similar product, hence an introduction of a generic item typically. They will still control the monopoly of their product and they control both the cost of the original and the generic. Neither is a cost saving benefit to the people who desperately depend on them.

Despite the fact that Mylan, the company that produces Epi pens, blames others for the cost increase, they are the ones who stand the most to gain from supplying a life saving Epi pen at an increased cost.

When you have a life threatening allergy, you can not escape it or the daily threat it opposes to you or your loved one. Now, you also can not control the fact that the cost is skyrocketing on an item that you desperately need. It seems that is exactly what Mylan is banking on.

Outrage Over Common Core Testing

The buzz over the past couple schools years has been the curriculum. That trend seems to hold strong to this school years also. According to an online Wall Street Journal article Parents and educators are expressing outrage and are pensive about the new state tests starting in March.

These new online tests are a reflection of Common core; a dirty word for most educators. The standards are tougher for what students are supposed to learn and Parents are anxious about how these tests will make their kids feel. The key arguments against these tests include things such as the tests using up too much class time, the tests will be too hard, the tests will negatively impact students’ self-esteem, and the tests will waste taxpayer money.

Being a father of two children dealing with the same situation, I can empathize with the New Jersey parents. The class material has noticeably changed since I was in school to the point where I have to teach myself this stuff before I can help my kids with their work. A simple subtraction problem has evolved into some sort of half-page monster that makes no sense. It reminds me of the adage, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. My kids are still in elementary school, I can only imagine how much the curriculum has changed for high school students. Being a parent, it is our responsibility to help our children succeed in school.

I sympathize with the parents of New Jersey. It is good to see that 45 people signed up to speak their mind in the meeting discussed in the article. I hope the people in charge of coming up with the curriculum realize the folly of their ways and bring things back to the old school way. It’s so much easier that this substitution method our kids are learning today.

Dad Limits Devices, Finds Family Time Priceless

What happens when kids give up tv, movies and game devices for 48 hours? One dad wanted to find out. So he promised his two daughters, ages 3 and 5, that if they put down the screens for 2 days, they would all do fun things together. After an initial discussion period (i.e., tantrums), the girls and Dad were off on an outing.

The first stop was the water park, where both Dad and kids totally enjoyed swimming, splashing and water gun fights. Dad noted that not only did the girls have a great time, he had one, too. He felt like a kid again, and back in the days when he played happily outside all day, pre-game console. Dad also observed that the girls later conked out and took their naps like troopers.

The next project was making cookies, perfect because all kids like messes and cookies. The girls broke eggs, added ingredients and mixed them around. There was quite a kitchen disaster left, but the girls had the enjoyment of knowing they made something themselves, as well as eating the cookies. Dad was also glad he had the chance to show them that men can cook, too.

Finally, there was an outing to the mall, where the kids found people-watching a very absorbing pastime. As they looked out the big glass window, the world became a fascinating show for them, something they couldn’t experience on tv because it was real life. Dad reflected on how many parents spend a lot of money on birthday parties or trips to theme parks, and kids don’t remember any of it. But he did remember the times he spent with his brothers, just as his daughters were spending time together at the mall.

Experts agree there are good reasons to limit kids’ screen use. Too much technology can lead to sleep problems and obesity, as well as less homework and reading time Dad also reflected that kids grow up too fast, and we should take every opportunity to bond with them while they’re small.

Finally, Dad realized it wasn’t realistic to ban electronics altogether. They can be educational and fun. But there’s no better app than the one called pleasant family time spent together.

From the Homeless Shelter to the Field: Three Sisters Refuse to Settle

A person’s current situation is far from their final destination. Hard work and dedication, beyond a shadow of a doubt, brings people opportunities that are often only unattainable dreams for them. Living proof of this concept currently are sisters, Rainn, Tai, and Brooke Sheppard, who reside in a homeless shelter with their mother, Tonia.

For over a year and a half, the four female family has been residing in a homeless shelter, but it does not deter any of them from working on their goals. As Tonia heads off for yet another day of work, her daughters attend school where they are not only striving academically, but athletically as well.

The undying dedication and raw talent of these young girls have allowed them to enjoy many accolades, thus far. In fact, young Rainn is the top qualifier for the 3,000-meter run in her age bracket; the other sisters have their own specialities, too, and have all qualified for the Junior Olympics. Track and field for these young ladies is so much more than a means to keep fit and busy, but is instead an opportunity for them to help their mother as she struggles to create a better life for her and her girls.

The sister team is currently preparing to head to Houston for the profound track and field events being held there. Unfortunately, their mother is unable to attend because, as she put it, “If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. There is no time off.” Tonia’s drive is just as admirable, and there is no denying where her daughters get theirs.