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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Smarty Mom: Jessica Robb

By Guest Blogger, Rachel H

Welcome to another Smarty Pants Saturday where we are featuring a new Smarty Mom! Meet Jessica Simstein Robb. I met Jessica through a mutual friend shortly after we moved to Winston-Salem. Since we were both teaching elementary school at the time, we had much in common and many stories to share. Jessica also had much knowledge of the area due to the fact that she has lived in the Triad since age five. Jessica is married to Julian Robb, and they have a beautiful little girl Ellie, who is 17 months old. Their family will grow this Spring, as they are expecting a boy in April! Jessica is a former teacher, who now stays at home with her daughter. I am excited to share some of Jessica’s Smarty Wisdom with you all!

You and your husband love to travel. Tell us about your favorite vacation so far. My husband and I were both born overseas to parents who love to travel. So traveling is something that we both really enjoy. My favorite trip that we have taken together would be our honeymoon. We went to South Africa. It is such a beautiful country - there is so much to see and do. We visited the vineyards and historical sites and went on safaris. Of course, there are some very sad scenes and it is not a very safe country. It truly makes you appreciate everything we have here.

You have taken Ellie on many trips with you. What are some tips you would give other parents who will be traveling with small children?
Ellie is a fairly well traveled little girl. She has been to Florida, New York City, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, West Point, and of course the beach. I think the best thing that parents can do while traveling is to keep your baby on his/her schedule. Also, we try to be flexible with our plans. We no longer attempt to make good time when going from point A to point B - we stop as many times as needed. When traveling by air, know the new laws and the policies for the FAA and the airline you are flying - they change constantly. We learned the hard way. On one airline, they would not give us water, we had to buy it. Of course, you could only buy water during certain times on the flight. This is not practical when you have a hungry baby and need to make a bottle with formula. Five things I am always bring with me I when we travel are a small light stroller, recyclable yet reusable plastic sippy cups, a container full of Cheerios, wipes (both Lysol and baby wipes), and Tylenol. By the way, we just became a proud owner of a minivan - love it! They are great for traveling!

Your father was a deeply loved surgeon at Forsyth Medical Center. Your family has found a wonderful way to honor him. Please tell us about the Lee Simstein Memorial Fund.
The timing of your interview is perfect for sharing information about the Simstein Fund - Super Bowl Sunday is the when the majority of the money is raised for the fund. My dad, Lee Simstein, passed away almost eight years ago from renal cancer. He loved life. He was generous, fun loving, and he loved sports. My family and I wanted to do something that would perpetuate his generous spirit. So we came up with the idea of the Simstein Super Bowl Party. It has now turned into an annual event, but people give to the fund year round. The Simstein Fund is dedicated to helping cancer patients who cannot afford personal expenses related to treatments-medications, transportation to appointments, lodging during treatments and more. Since 2003, the Simstein Fund has raised more than $120,000 and has assisted annually about 100 cancer patients receiving treatment at Forsyth Medical Center. Every penny of the Fund helps patients. My family and I receive updates on how the Fund has helped people. It truly is a wonderful cause and it really makes a difference in the life of a cancer patient especially during a difficult time. If you would like to make a donation to the fund you can make a contribution to:
Forsyth Medical Center Foundation, 3333 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27103. Be sure to indicate the gift is for The Simstein Fund. Or, to donate online click on this link and be sure to indicate the gift is for the Simstein Fund.

You have lived in the Triad most of your life. What do you think is the best kept secret in the area?
Winston-Salem has a rich history which I think many people who live in here don't explore. Old Salem and the Reynolda House/ Reynolda Gardens are great places to take young children and parents can learn while they are there as well. Old Salem has fun shops, a children's museums, and a great bakery. The kids can pet the horses that pull the carriages or run in the square. The Reynolda House/Gardens has a museum, fun events year round, fields to run in, and a path along creek where you can spot various species of wildlife. When you are done playing, you can go to Mayberry’s and get some ice cream or go to the Village Tavern for a great meal.

What is your favorite family activity?
I love just hanging out at home together, playing and being silly, or going for walks together.

Favorite “mommy-time” (or daddy-time) activity?
I love reading to Ellie. As a former teacher, I know the importance of reading to your children. Watching her learn is so fascinating and a lot of fun. I'm always amazed at all the information she picks up when we snuggle together with a book.

Favorite book you have read?
For me anything by Nelson Demille or Ken Follet. Ellie enjoys almost anything. Eric Carle, Richard Scarry, and P.D. Eastman just to name a few authors.

Best place to eat lunch with the kids?
Jason's Deli is a great place to take kids if you are in Greensboro or Winston Salem. They have a great (and cheap) menu for kids. You can get free muffins from the salad bar to hold them over until the food comes. They also have free ice cream cones for dessert. Their food is good and fresh and they have many healthy choices. They always have a lot of kids there, so if yours is fussing, you don't have to feel bad about disturbing the other customers. If you are in Greensboro, Mimi’s CafĂ© in Friendly Shopping Center is also a great place. With a purchase of a child’s meal (under $5), they give kids an appetizer of fruit and Cheerios. For dessert, they are served dirt and worms (chocolate pudding topped with crumbled Oreos and gummy worms). The food on the adult menu is very good – I’ve never had a bad meal there.

Favorite park in the Triad?
Tanglewood. They have a great playground. We always go visit the horses or feed the ducks afterwards. They have a children’s garden that is fun to walk through as well.

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
I feel like most people here still have old fashioned family values.

I could not live without My husband is an amazing father. He loves spending time with Ellie. He knows what she needs and when. I can leave her with him for a long weekend and not think twice about it. He also tries his best to keep me sane. Staying home with a toddler and being pregnant can make one go crazy at times. My mom and my sisters are another support system. I don’t know what I would do without them. We have done a lot of laughing and crying together. We are having a blast raising Ellie and her cousins together. Oh, and playdates!

I wish someone had told me sooner much it hurts to stop breastfeeding. Since I am pregnant again, that is in the back of my mind.

Thanks, Jessica for all your Smarty answers!

Do you know a mom who goes above and beyond the call of duty for others, someone who does incredible work for her family and a charitable organization, runs a company and a marathon, or is just simply living the daily grit of motherhood?! Then email me here with your “Smarty Momination”!


Angela said...

I enjoyed reading your profile, Jessica. The Simstein Fund sounds like a great idea and it is for a wonderful cause. Good luck with your pregnancy and upcoming delivery.

Carrie said...

I love Ken Follet! Great "mommy time" books!

Anonymous said...

What a nice surprise to see you featured here. You're having a boy! I know you and your family must be thrilled after a family filled with girls. Congrats! I still feel so fortunate that you had both of my kids as students at the DTS.
Sam & Julia's mom (Lora)

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