World Down Syndrome Day

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!  Today we celebrate the lives of those with Down Syndrome.  Why today?  We celebrate today because Down Syndrome occurs when there is an extra copy (three) of the 21st chromosome, hence 3-21. Pretty cool, huh!  It’s kinda crazy the uproar that one little extra chromosome can bring.  Like that one extra chromosome some how makes a life not worthy?  It’s true, there are still people in this world that don’t believe that people with Down Syndrome’s lives matter.  In fact, in the US, the termination rate for those mothers who get a confirmed diagnosis of Down Syndrome is about 75%.  That’s a lot of babies not even given a chance, all because of one tiny chromosome.

 

Why we celebrate WDSD

Those alarming statistics are exactly why we still have to continue to celebrate this day.  It’s unfortunate really, that we even have to have a day like this.  The truth is, I’d like nothing more for my child to be treated like any other child and not need a day that is just about them.  But the reality is, is that there is still so much work that needs to be done.  We celebrate this day to bring awareness to Down Syndrome and to educate and advocate for our children and adults with Down Syndrome.  We have to celebrate this day so that my child can grow up in a world that accepts her differences and her challenges and loves her anyway.  Celebrating this day is about showing the world that people with Down Syndrome are much more like the rest of us than they are different.  It’s also showing the world that our differences are what makes us each unique and wonderfully made.

Is raising a child with Down Syndrome Challenging?

I’d be lying if I said that raising Stella doesn’t come with challenges. It’s hard having a child that is non-verbal.  Stella has the same needs and wants as other kids her age but she has a much harder time communicating that to us.  Imagine that for a minute!  What if you were sick, had a headache, were hungry, sleepy, scared, just wanted to go home, etc but you couldn’t tell anyone.  How would you react?  Cry, Yell, get angry, kick, scream, run, lie down… That’s hard on all of us.

But when I really sit back and think about the challenges that I go through with Stella, it is much more about other people.  It’s about the expectations or lack of expectations that others put on her.  I’ve gotten use to the stares and random snide comments made by other kiddos or even adults, for the most part.  Currently I’m finding the pre-judgment based simply on her diagnosis a little hard to swallow.  The fact that people still think that she needs to be segregated from her peers, in school and extra curricular activities is like a punch in the gut.

Here’s the hard truth, Stella and all kids, for that matter,  will only live up to the expectations that you/society places on them.  If you put my six year old in a dance class with 3 year olds because she can’t quite keep up with the other six year old, guess what she will do?  Yep, she will act like and do what a 3 year old does.  But if you place her in a class with other 6 year olds, she will at the very least, try to keep up with them and do what they are doing.  And if she isn’t doing exactly what the other 6 year olds are doing, why the hell does it matter?!  Why should we expect all kids to learn and act in the same manner? Learn to teach to the individual child!

Advocate like a mother

Being an advocate for Stella is the most challenging part of raising a child with Down Syndrome.  It is mentally, emotionally and physically draining to have to constantly prove my child’s worth to others.  I’ve realized over the last 6 and a half years how much I truly took for granted raising my “typically developing” boys.  Side note: I hate those words “typically developing!” What the hell is typically developing anyway!  We are all different! Anyway, I digress.  You do take things for granted, like getting to choose what school your child will go to, which soccer team they will be on, who will hire them when they get older…

What I want is for all people to see Stella’s value.  I want people to presume competence.  My wish is that we didn’t have to have a special day (other than her birthday) to celebrate her.  Instead, I wish that she was seen and accepted like any other child.  What I would love is to not have to fight and advocate for her to receive the same education that her brothers were able to get so easily.

Stella is loved and accepted by so many.  We are beyond blessed!  But there is still work to be done!  So, instead of getting angry, I’m just going to keep on educating, spreading awareness and advocating for her.  I will push through the tears and heart break and show the world what she is capable of when treated with respect and presumed competence.

Finding Strength Through the Hard

Life is so full of lessons!  Most of them, I think we totally overlook or it takes us a while to see them.  I use to think that when things didn’t go my way, or something bad happened in my life, it was a punishment.  I believed that I deserved it for all of the bad things that I had done in my life, for not being a better Christian, friend, daughter, mother, wife, etc.  Imagine that, me thinking that God would punish me for not being enough. It took some time for me to realize that I am enough, even when I sin, even when I fail, even when I do bad things.  God loves me through it all.  Finding Strength from the Hard, takes time but it is possible.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my adult life is that there is always an opportunity to learn and grow from our experiences-both good and bad ones.  Tragedies happen, hard times happen, there are times where we want to give up and throw our hands up in the air and ask God, “WHY?!”  Those are the times that we have to dig deep and look within to really see what blessings God is trying to reveal to us.  It is one of the hardest things to do in the moment.  If we can take the time to just breathe and talk to God, He will reveal to us the lesson to be learned.  But we have to listen.  We have to be patient.  And we have to have faith.

There are definitely times in our lives where its easy to do that and times where it seems impossible.  Having faith in midst of tragedy or heartache is one of the hardest things that you will have to do.  Tragedy will test your faith.  It’s up to you go stay strong and decide that your faith is stronger than whatever you are going through.  And when it seems impossible and that you can’t go on, turn to Him, let Him lead the way.  Ask Him for strength, but be patient and listen.

Lessons through my personal loss

I always think back to some of the hardest times in my life to remember how far I’ve come.  My faith was tested to the limits back in 2006 when my mother suddenly passed away at the age of 52.  I talk about this a lot because it was a pivotal moment in my life and it completely changed me.  My mother was my best friend and we spoke by phone daily and saw each other  a few times a week.  She was my rock, my biggest supporter, and my biggest fan.  Her death was by far the hardest thing that I had ever gone through at that point in my life.  I thought that there was no way, any good could come from such a tragedy.  I was angry with God for taking her!

As awful as losing my mother was, it also grew me as a person.  It took time, lots of time but eventually I was able to forgive God and find the strength to move on.  I had two choices when she died.  I could crawl into a hole, continue to feel sorry for myself and spend the rest of my life sad, lonely and in my own pity party of one. Or, I could pray for strength to move on, never forget, grow, become the person God intended me to be, learn from it and thrive.  I eventually chose option 2, but it took time, lots of time.

Losing my momma forced me to become more independent, a freer thinker, a more present mother and also taught me the importance of taking care of this one body that I have.  Her death eventually made me want to LIVE my life to the fullest!  It made me want to soak up every minute with my children and husband because you don’t know when your last day will be.  This tragedy also brought my siblings and I closer together.  While some relationships were lost after her death, the important relationships remained and became stronger.

Tragedy or a Blessing

Then there was the diagnosis of my daughter with Down Syndrome.  You’ve probably heard me talk about this many times.  Having each of my 3 children were life changing events, ones that I hold near and dear to my heart.  Stella’s diagnosis was life changing in my faith and in my relationship with God.  Just when I thought I had my shit together, I get this diagnosis that I thought, at the time, was tragic.

I’m pretty sure that day we received the news, I went through every emotion.  I cussed God, I pleaded with God, I told Him that He made a mistake, He chose the wrong person.  I prayed that the test was wrong.  I cried, I was angry, I was terrified.  I didn’t understand why this was happening.  I blamed myself.  The emotions were real.  They were raw and they changed every few minutes.  I let myself have a pity party for about 2 weeks and then I pulled my big girl pants up and did the things that I needed to do.

I continued to pray to God but I changed my prayers.  I began to ask him for strength, for guidance, for unconditional love.  I thanked Him for entrusting me to take care of another one of His children.  I listened for His guidance.  And as you can probably now see, I’m pretty darn thankful for our Sweet Stella.  She is exactly what I needed and she has taught me more lessons about life and being a good human then I could’ve possibly learned without her.  She has helped me develop a strength inside of me that I never imagined I could have. Her and her brothers make me want to be better and do better every day.  Yes, I still fail, I still fall, but because of them, I always get back up.

“God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called”

I have learned to trust God in a whole new way.  He will provide you what you need if you let Him.  As one of my sweet friends always says, “God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”  And He continues to do that for me.  I am His work in progress but what is so wonderful, is that He never gives up on me.  And He won’t give up on you either.

I’ve realized that all of the hard times that I’ve gone through in my life, have brought me right to where I am now.  God is using me to share my story, to share His story, to hopefully keep someone else from giving up and giving others the strength to push through the hard.  I use my mistakes and my past to guide and help others.  God doesn’t always reveal His plan to us, but He always has one. Listen and don’t be afraid to follow His plan even if it isn’t always the same as yours.

 

Putting an End to Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome Awareness

Putting an End to Down Syndrome

Hold up, don’t fret, for I am a Down Syndrome advocate!   There has been a lot of talk this past week about Down Syndrome, abortion and Putting an end to Down Syndrome in other countries.  Since I am a person who doesn’t follow the news, for reasons I won’t get into in this post, I won’t be able to state facts about the situation that is going on.  Of course, it’s not like the media actually states facts. 😉 I can share with you about what I’ve read in my Down Syndrome Community and from fellow moms.  I can also state with certainty the truth about Down Syndrome and the quality of life that our kiddos can and do have. My personal experiences seem much more qualified than the angry and negative people that are posting such awful things about Down Syndrome in the media.  Most importantly, you should know that God makes no mistakes.  He has a purpose and a plan for each of us.

Something you should know about me, I avoid negativity as much as possible which is why I haven’t said anything about what’s going on up until now.  But I felt compelled to address the subject, not to add to the negativity but just the opposite.  I believe it is my job and my purpose to educate others about Down Syndrome so that maybe by the time my daughter is old enough to be on social media, she won’t have to read the terrible things people are saying about her.

What’s going On?

So here’s the scoop, from my perspective.  Apparently there is a large number of people in Iceland, I believe, but also right here in the Good Ole United States, that believe that people with Down Syndrome are a burden to society, don’t deserve to get assistance from the government, have no quality of life and should be aborted with a positive pre-natal test.  So, I’d like to address each of these issues for those that are not educated on Down Syndrome.

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Social media

A burden to society

I’ve come across people in my life who seem to be a burden to society but not one of them had Down Syndrome.  Again, I’m a positive person so I’m going to tell you how people with Down Syndrome are good for society.  People with Down syndrome actually contribute a lot to their communities.  Many adults with Down Syndrome actually go to college, have jobs, volunteer in their communities, are self advocates, and overall hard workers.  Are there people with Down Syndrome who do not work?  Um, yes, there’s also plenty of able bodied people without Down Syndrome that do NOT work.

To know a person with Down Syndrome is to know unconditional love.  They are able to teach us so much about life, love, happiness, kindness and how to live your life to the fullest.  My daughter loves with all her might at just 4 years old!  She does not judge.  She does not discriminate.  The people that she encounters in her day to day life, leave her, wanting to be better people.  That does not sound like a burden to me.

Government Assistance

I’m not going to go deep in to this subject because I know many people believe different things when it comes to this subject.  But there a few things that I would like you to just take into consideration and really think about.  I live in the United States of America. Last time I checked we were still one Nation under God.  As Christians, it is our duty to love one another as He loves us.  My opinion is that we help our fellow neighbors who can not help themselves.  It’s the Christian thing to do.  If you claim to be a Christian and are reading this, I just ask you to consider What Would Jesus Do?

The next thing I’d like you to consider is this:  What if it were your child?  As a parent of a daughter with Down Syndrome, we are planning for her future.  We have high hopes that she will live on her own, work, earn an income and be independent.  But we recognize that there is a chance that all of those things may not happen.  We are planning for her future.  Unfortunately not every child with Down Syndrome has a parent who is doing the same or even can do the same.  So, are we to just feed them to the wolves??  Are we to make them suffer for their parents shortfalls?  Throw them on the streets??  What would Jesus do?

No quality of life?

If you’ve ever seen a picture of my daughter and/or my family, you would know that this statement is beyond ridiculous!  First of all, who defines quality of life??  My daughter is happy, loves life, loves her brothers, her family and going to school.  Even if she is never able to hold down a job, does that mean that her life was in vain?!  Really?!  Most people with Down Syndrome live long, happy lives, a lot happier and more fulfilling than plenty of people who seem to be missing a chromosome.  Honestly, if you believe this statement than you need to wake up, go outside and step out of your bubble.  Enough said!

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Aborted?!

This issue is not one of Pro life or Pro Choice.  It’s an issue of education.  We must educate more people on how wonderful Down Syndrome can be.  People only see the negative but there is so much more positive.  What if you were told at your gender reveal that your child is  never going to go to college, he will probably end up in jail, he’s going to be a real pain in the ass?  Would you abort?  None of us know before our child is born what they will become.  A blood test will never reveal that!

We must educate OBGYNs on how to tell parents that their child will be born with Down Syndrome.  When I was told by my doctor, it was an apology.  Really?!  You’re sorry that my child has Down Syndrome?  I’m not, not for one singe second!  The way that you receive that news has an impact on how you react to it, especially when it comes from a doctor!  “Well, if he’s sorry, it must be bad!”  It is 2017, it is time to get educated, people!

My guess is that if you are reading this, you’re probably not the problem.  It’s the closed minded ones that will see the title and choose not to read.  They are scared they may be proven wrong.  Chances are though, that you know one of these people.  YOU can help make a difference, you can educate! Share the wonderful things about Down Syndrome! Show the pictures of Stella and the wonderful life that she has.You have the power to help bring awareness and stop this hate.  Will you do it??

Stella

5 Foods You Should be Avoiding

One of the biggest questions I get from people is, “what should I be eating?”  With so many contradicting articles on the internet, people just aren’t sure what they should eat or what foods they should be avoiding.  There are always new studies coming out on how certain foods affect our bodies.  Not to mention the fact that we simply do not grow and make food like we did 20 or 30 years ago.  It’s all about mass production and getting as much food grown and packaged as possible.  No wonder so many people are confused.  This is my reasoning for sharing with you, 5 foods that you should be avoiding.

While I’m not necessarily an expert on nutrition, I have dedicated lots of my spare time and energy into learning more about healthy eating.  Losing my mother at such a young age made me really want to be proactive in doing everything I could do live a healthy, long life.  With my daughter’s special needs, it was even more important for me to learn how certain foods may affect her now and in the future.  While researching that I’ve learned quite a bit about the what certain foods can do to our bodies and our minds.

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5 Foods you Should be Avoiding

 

5 Foods you should be avoiding

  1.  Sodas, soft drinks–  I think most people know that they shouldn’t drink sodas.  I mean, there is absolutely no nutritional value in a can of soda.  You’ve heard the phrase, “don’t drink your calories,” right?  Not only does it not have any nutritional value, it is FULL of sugar!  According to Livestrong, one can of soda contains 30 grams of sugar, which is about 9 1/3 teaspoons of sugar.  WHAT!?  Now, that’s a lot of sugar!  This is more sugar than an adult woman should have in one day!  Try trading your sodas in for flavored water, green tea or one of the healthier sparkling water like La Croix.
  2. Artificial Sweeteners– While we are on the topic of sodas, don’t let the word diet in front of it fool you into thinking it’s a better alternative.  Diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners that just cause other harmful damage to your body.  Why would we want to put anything “artificial” in our bodies??  That can’t be good for it!  Did you know that your body has to work extra hard to break down the artificial crap they now put in our foods and drinks?  What does this mean?  It means that our bodies are working so hard on breaking down the bad stuff that it struggles to break down the good stuff causing your metabolism to slow down.  What happens when your metabolism slows down?  You start to gain weight or find it even harder to lose weight.  The bad thing is, is that companies are putting this in everything and making it sound like a healthy choice by adding the label “Low fat” or “Sugar Free.”  We are fooled into thinking that it’s good for us but the truth is, it is NOT!
  3. Processed Foods-This is one of the foods you definitely want to avoid especially if you are trying to lose weight!  This is also ties in with the artificial sweeteners as it is processed as well.  But I felt like it needed a number of its own.  😉  Processed foods are foods that contain artificial ingredients like, sugars, corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or other harmful ingredients.  Eating these kinds of foods has been linked to obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, cancer and many other ailments.  Your best bet is to stick with real, natural and fresh foods like, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and seeds.
  4. Refined Flours/white bread– White bread is bread that has been refined and typically contains a lot of sugar.  There is also little to no nutritional value in white bread.  It has been linked to an increased risk of Type II Diabetes as well as an increase in weight gain.  All you need to do is substitute your white bread for a bread made with whole wheat.  Ezekiel bread is a good option.  Keep in mind that even whole wheat contains gluten which has also been linked to other health issues.  So, I suggest if you are going to continue eating bread, do so in moderation.
  5. Trans Fat–  I think most of us know by now that we should avoid foods with Trans fat but it is still definitely one of the top foods you want to avoid!  Trans fat is found in fried and processed foods like chips.  It is said to be one of the worst forms of fat causing weight gain especially in the belly area.  When shopping for food, avoid foods with ingredients that say; hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated.

The biggest advice I can give you when it comes to choosing what foods to eat is this, read your labels!  If you do not know and can not pronounce most of the ingredients listed then chances are it is something you should not be eating.  There are so many healthy alternatives out there now, just be proactive when doing your shopping.  Another tip to avoiding bad foods is to do most of your shopping in the outside perimeter of the grocery store.

If you want to learn more about clean eating and portion control, give the 21 Day Fix a try!  It’s the perfect program to teach you what you should be eating and how much each day.  If you’d like to join one of my support groups on fb where I share even more health and fitness tips, email me at tmg3177@gmail.com.

 

Focus T25

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If I had a soulmate workout, it would be Focus T25!  After all my soulmate fitness trainer is Shaun T!  Focus T25 took my fitness to a whole new level and in less time!  Like the title says, each workout is only 25 minutes!  Crazy!  But don’t let that time fool you into thinking that it’s an easy workout.  Nope, it’s he real deal!

What is Focus T25?t25 alpha

Focus T25 is a 10 week program divided into cycles; alpha and beta- each lasting 5 weeks.  So how is it so effective in only 25 minutes?  Shaun T took out all of the rests in this program so you are working hard for 25 minutes straight!  The moves are all dynamic and high intensity designed for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.  If you are tired of spending an hour to an hour and a half working out, you are short on time, have a busy schedule-this is the program for you!  It won’t be easy but the results speak for themselves!T25_Week1_Day7_image

Why I love T25

So, I fell quickly in love with this program and Shaun T for many reasons.  First of all, I love the idea of getting an incredible workout, a serious sweat and calorie burner in only 25 minutes!  I mean, I am a mom of 3 kids who are involved in everything so I stay busy!  When I started doing the workouts, they were tough but manageable, especially with the modifier there when I needed to follow her.  I loved that I was burning lots of calories and strengthening my entire body with the focus always on my core.  As for Shaun T, I find him to be one of the most motivating trainers.  He has a way of getting you to do things that you didn’t think you could.  Like getting in your head and making you push through when you think you can’t go any further!  He is both tough and gentle.  When I am doing his workouts, I swear that he is talking right to me!  I love it!!

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You know what’s even cooler????  This program is now available with our All Access Pass to Beachbody on Demand!!  Want to learn more about how you can get this access to this program and 100s more…. click here!

Fitness worth Fighting For-Core De Force

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Fitness Worth Fighting For

I can still remember how it felt to hide behind my daughter- so insecure, hating my body, despising the way it felt to age.  She was being used as my shield to keep others from seeing me. That was until I decided to take a stand.  I chose to to fight for for my confidence.  To show my daughter what it looked like to be comfortable with who you are and what you look like, no matter your size, shape, color or ability, I must make a change!  This was no easy feat and it certainly didn’t happen over night, but this kind of Fitness was Worth Fighting for.

Having babies can do a number on a woman’s body.

There is no denying that!   I thought I was doing okay until I had my third child at the age of 35.  That pregnancy, though I hadn’t gained a ton of weight, left its mark on my body.  I found that it was a lot harder to lose that extra “baby weight” this time around.  Whether it was age or something else, I didn’t know.  But what I knew that I didn’t like the way I felt and something had to be done about it.

A daughter has the ability to change the way you think and act.  My daughter made realize that I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about how other people saw me.  She made me realize that there is no perfect look, no perfect size, no perfect shape, etc.  If I continued to rely on other people’s opinions, I would never be happy.  It was time to make a change for myself, for my daughter!  I want her to grow up with confidence, loving who she is and not because of other people’s approval.  It was time for me to be the example.

Changing my fitness and nutrition habits helped create this strength and powe12645063_10208662118492651_7607730094660890477_nr within, that I had never had.  I had control over my body instead of it controlling me!  It was a very empowering thing and continues to be.  Don’t get me wrong, I still want to look good in a swim suit but my idea of what looks good, comes from me, not someone else.  I’m not trying to look like some girl in a magazine, just the best version of me.  More than that, I’m just trying to FEEL good, good about myself, energized, happy.  Fitness will do that for you!  Taking care of yourself will do that for you!

How can YOU begin to fight for your fitness?

I want to empower women, to fight for their fitness, because it is worth fighting for!  You can take this journey with me into finding your self-confidence, energy and happiness.  Jjoin me for my next challenge!  I will be kicking things off with Beachbody’s new Core De Force, an MMA inspired workout with no equipment required.  Talk about empowerment, this workout is sure to make you feel strong and powerful and ready to take on the world!  Wanna join me, email me at tmg3177@gmail.com for details or if you are ready to make your purchase and get started ASAP, click here and I will be in contact with you soon!

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Fitness worth fighting for

It’s Time for a Change

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It’s Time for A Change

Yesterday, my daughter turned 4 and to celebrate, we took her to her favorite restaurant, Chick fil a.  The girl loves her some chicken nuggets!  While we were waiting for our food, I took Stella into the small play area they have there.  For once, it wasn’t overcrowded with kids.  There was just one other little girl in there having a grand time.  In Stella fashion, she began to watch the little girl excitedly as she played.  Finally, She warmed up and decided to climb up into the play area.  The other little girl, who I later discovered was 5 and a half (don’t forget the half!) was oh so patient as Stella blocked the slide, too scared to go down. The little girl wanted to know why Stella wasn’t answering her when she talked to her.  I explained that she couldn’t talk yet and she said, “oh” matter of factly and went about her business. She was such a sweet little girl, I could tell.  It was when she said this to her mom,  “I like her face, it’s pretty,” it really got me thinking.  This sweet girl did not see Down Syndrome!  She saw Stella!

This cute, sweet little 5 and a half year old girl thinks my daughter has a pretty face! Well, I agree completely!  It really got me thinking, at what point do our kids start changing the way they see beauty.  Obviously it happens.  Society is the biggest reason it happens.  How many magazines, commercials, TV shows, movies, billboards, etc does a child have to see before their mind is changed about what beauty looks like?  Or how many times do they have to hear the people around them tease, make fun of, degrade others for their appearances before they start to change their mind about what’s acceptable?  More importantly when are we going to start setting a better example and be the change for our kids?

Who determines what is beauty, anyway??

Who decided that tall, thin and busty was beautiful?  That’s what our daughters are seeing in magazines, believing that is what they need to look like to be beautiful!  REALLY?! It’s time for a change!  Actually, it’s way past time for a change!  My daughter deserves to grow up, knowing she is beautiful because that’s the way God made her.  She is beautiful because she is kind, loving, smart and wonderful.  Stella is beautiful because she is Stella.

Changing the Face of Beauty

It is time to change the face of beauty!  I want to live in a world, where I can watch TV shows, movies, look at billboards and magazines and see ALL people represented!  Change is long overdue.  Now is the time for the advertising and media world to start using people of all abilities in their ads, movies, and TV shows.  We must hurry before society convinces that sweet little 5 and a half year old girl, that my daughter is no longer “pretty.”

I am calling out the ad world!  IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE!  Stella and all people of different abilities deserve to be represented in media.  YOU have the power to redefine beauty!  Will you take this challenge??  Will YOU start using people of different abilities in YOUR advertising?????  Will YOU represent Stella???

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10 Mom Tips to Help You Survive

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Mom Life

I don’t like to think of myself as an older mom, just a well-seasoned mom.  I’m also no expert but have managed to learn a few things over the last 13 and a half years, to help me survive this Mom life.  So, today I share with you 10 Mom Tips to help you survive.

Moms come in all shapes, sizes, temperaments and creativity levels.  And this changes some as we become more seasoned.  When I had my first child, I was high anxiety, worried about everything he did.  He was read books in my womb and everyday until his brother came along.  I was determined that he would be the smartest in his class when he went to school.  I practically wrapped him in Charmin when he went to the playground and played with other kids.  Then the second one came along, I was still a little anxious.  They both got read to a lot less, less playdates, each got less attention.

Now there are 3!  Well, life is crazy is about all I can say about that.  I can also tell you that I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  But I definitely had to learn to let some things go.  And that is okay.  It is okay to let things go!  Life does not have to be perfect.  You do not have to be the perfect mom (there’s no such thing!).  But we all need help sometimes, we all need advice sometimes.  So, here are 10 Mom tips that may help you survive this whole mom life!

10 Mom Tips to help you survive

1.  Get up before your kids

Believe me no one loves their sleep more than me!  This was a super hard concept for me and has in fact, taken me years to finally start doing.  But it is SO worth it!  The fist time I set my alarm for 4:55 am, my husband thought I’d lost my mind!  Having that time to get caffeinated and just be by myself has been life changing!  It completely sets the tone for the whole day. When I go to wake up my oldest, the caffeine is flowing, I’m in a good mood which helps to set his mood for the day and I’m not rushing around.  I know how crazy it may sound to some of you but I promise, as a momma who is NOT a morning person, this is totally worth it!

2.  Make a to-do list

I’m going to start off by telling you that I never did this before I had my third child.  I can also tell you that I was completely unorganized and did not get near as much done as I do now.  Not to mention, the fact that with 3 kids and so much always going on, if I don’t have something written down, I WILL forget it, EVERY TIME!  Once I have my coffee in hand in the morning, I sit down in my favorite chair, and make my to do list.  From laundry, to picking up and dropping off kids, appointments, my workout, etc-it all goes on my to do list.  And can I tell you how good it feels to go down that list everyday and check things off?!  There is something so satisfying about checking things off a list!

3.  Give age appropriate chores

Now, I’m not really big on giving my kids chores.  I grew up in a house where we could not watch our Saturday morning cartoons until all of our chores were done- and there were a lot of them!  So, I may be a little more lenient then some on this but I do believe it’s important for kids to have some type of chore.  It’s an important lesson for them but it also helps you out as a momma!

So, my boys-13 and 11 have to take out the trash and recycling, clean their bathroom and bring down their laundry on laundry day.  They also set the table for dinner and help clean up.  My 4 year old daughter is learning to put her toys away and helps me tidy around the house.  You can decide what level of chores you think your child should do-maybe start small and see how it goes.  Keep in mind that all children all different and may be better at different types of chores.  Test it out!

4.  Exercise Daily

This is one that I see neglected so often because it’s something for ourselves.  We tend to put off doing anything for ourselves as mommas.  Here’s the thing, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to fully take care of your kiddos.  You want to be the best mom that you can be?  Then get healthy.  Exercise is important for your health and I’m sure we all know why it is important.  But, did you know, it’s also good for your brain??  It helps release endorphins which helps lower stress levels and even helps your memory!  Who doesn’t need that!?  So, whether you go to the gym, workout from home, walk or run- just get moving!

5.  Meal Plan/prep

Again, this is one that I have to admit that I never use to do when my boys were younger.  I use to hate to cook and was terrible at it so I rarely did  and when I did, it wasn’t something that was ever planned ahead of time.  Sitting down one day (I do Sundays) to plan out your meals for the week will save you so much time, stress and money!  Planning ahead of time and knowing what we are going to have for dinner each night, keeps me from going out to eat, having to run to the grocery every day and stressing about what to fix that night for dinner.  It will also help keep you eating healthier since your resisting the urge to go out and grab fast food.  Need some meal plan ideas?  Check out my blog for some recipes and menus.

6.  Tuck your kids in every night

This is one of my favorite parts of being a mother and is highly recommended!  There is something so special about that time of night.  I know it can be crazy and you get tired of hearing the “just one more book” whines but as a parent of a teenager and a preteen, I’m telling you that it will be worth it.

I have tucked my boys in every night since they were babies and I still do.  And there were, without a doubt, times that they drove my crazy at bedtime and still do.  But that habit I created and continue has turned into this bonding time with my boys.  Because sometimes, when I go in to tuck them in, and I just take the time to lie down with them for a moment, sometimes,  they will open up to me and we have incredible conversations.  Sometimes they will tell me secrets, sometimes they tell me about their favorite basketball player or super hero or the show they just finished watching.  Sometimes, it bores me, sometimes I’m intrigued but ALWAY, I listen!  DO THIS!!

7.  Don’t compare yourself to other moms

PLEASE DON’T DO THIS!!  Too many years, I spent comparing myself to the moms that I thought were perfect moms.  GEEZ!!  That is exhausting and gets you no where.  We are all different and good!  We all have exceptional qualities that make us wonderful moms. None of us are perfect, not even the moms that seem to be.  Trust me, they’re not! They are likely comparing themselves to you, wishing they could be more like you.  So Stop it right now!  YOU are an amazing mom, just the way you are!!  BE YOU!  And also, please, for the love of God, do NO MOM SHAMING either!  It is not your place to judge other moms, just like it is not their place to judge you.

8.  Do something for yourself

This one ties back into the exercise one and the getting up before the kids.   It is imperative that we doing something that is just for us and only us.  Some of you may think this sounds selfish.  Well, I use to think so too.  I spent many years living for my kids and never doing anything for me.  It’s still a battle I face.  What I have learned is that I am so much better at mommin, when I’ve taken some time for me.

There was a time when I had lost who I was because I put everything I had into my kids.  It was not healthy for me or my marriage.  I’m still working on finding myself after being lost for so long.  I still put lots of energy and focus in my kids, but now I take the time to do thing that I want to do and that are for me.  Even if it’s just an hour a week, find something to do that is completely for you!

9.  Go to bed early

This is my favorite one!  I told you I love my sleep.  🙂  One of the number one complaints I hear from busy mommas is that they are always tired.  Of course, this could be from numerous things but it’s usually lack of sleep.  Our bodies need sleep!  Really, they do!  Sleep is important for our health, our minds, body and soul.  So, I encourage you to just leave that basket of laundry unfolded (I always do;)) and go to bed!  It will still be there tomorrow and the the world will NOT end, I promise!  And if you’re lucky, like me, maybe your hubby will fold it for you while he’s up watching a game!

10.  Breathe

You can’t live if you’re not breathing!  Slow down once in a while and just breathe, just be where you are and breathe.  When you feel like you’re going to lose your mind, stop and BREATHE.  When you just stepped on the 100th Lego of the day, stop and BREATHE.  Your child in on her 15th tantrum of the day, BREATHE.  Sitting in traffic, running late, kids crying, burnt dinner, forgot to sign the paper, had to buy store bought cookies because you didn’t have time to make homemade ones, kids clothes don’t match, house is a wreck, husband is out of time….BREATHE.  You got this!  You’re a mom which means you have Super powers.  But even super heroes have to stop and breathe sometimes!

These are a few of the things that this “seasoned” mom does to survive.  Give them a whirl and let me know what you think!

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10 Mom Tips To help you survive

Core De Force Review

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Core De Force Review

Ever since I first saw the previews to Core De Force, back in July, I’ve been itching to try this program out!  Yesterday was the second time that Beachbody put one of the videos from the program up on Beachbody on demand for us all to try.  I first tried it a few weeks ago while on vacation.  I actually did the workout on the balcony of my condo while watching the ocean!  And of course, I tried it again yesterday, so I figure I would share my thoughts on the workout program and give you my Core De Force review.

What is Core De Force?

Core De Force is a mixed martial arts style, body shaping program that focuses on core rotational movements.  The workouts are set up in 3 minute rounds, just like a real boxing match.  That makes it perfect for getting that heart rate up and burning fat.  There are anywhere from 6 to 12 rounds of conditionings, spikes and combination skills.  This program teaches you to use your entire body, everything coming from your core, to really make each move powerful.  No equipment is needed so it can be done anywhere!  If  you want to feel powerful and strong, this program is sure to do it!

Another bonus to this program is the fact that you actually be learning some authentic techniques that will teach you how to use your body weight to throw a punch and defend yourself.

My thoughts

I was super excited to get started on this program though I was also a bit nervous.  You see, I’m not the most coordinated person out there, to say the least.  My concerns were that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the moves.  I was pleasantly surprised that for the most part, I actually was able to catch on to the moves rather quickly.  It helps that they give you a break down of each move before the workout actually starts. Also, It’s nice that you do not have to stay in-sync with the trainers, you can go at your own speed and pace.

The moves were very explosive and I felt my core engage in every move!  I worked up an incredible sweat but was able to keep up without getting overly exhausted.  My legs were burning also, during a few of the moves.  I woke up this morning and my triceps were feeling the pain!img_1042

What I think I loved the most about this workout, is that fact that it made me feel super powerful!  I felt strong and capable, who doesn’t want to feel that way?!  I’m honestly even more excited about starting this program when it comes out next week.  I can already tell, it will be a great stress reliever all the while getting fit.

Would I recommend this program?

For sure!  One of the things I like about this program is that I believe it is for almost any level of fitness.  Each move comes with a modification and you can adjust the intensity of the moves depending on what kind of shape you are in.  The fact that there is no equipment required means that you can do it anywhere at anytime, even on the balcony of your beach condo! 😉  Plus, the workouts are only about 30 minutes, so anyone can fit a half an hour into their schedule for this workout.  I am highly recommended this program and can’t wait to start!

If you’d like to join my November Core De Force challenge group, please fill out this form here, Core De Force Challenge group or email me at tmg3177@gmail.com to be one of the first to get this program when it comes out!

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

In light of October being Down Syndrome Awareness month, I wanted to share my very first blog post ever!  My first blog post was about my daughter, Stella who happened to be born with a little something extra.  😉  In this post, I share the ups and downs of receiving the Down Syndrome diagnosis prenatally.  This post was written just a few months after her birth.

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Down Syndrome Awareness Month

This is the story of my Sweet Stella…

After 5 1/2 years, my husband and I (mostly me) decided that we wanted to have one more baby.   We already had two wonderful boys that brought us so much joy and laughter.  I love being a mother!!  It’s what I was born to do.  And I felt like they were growing up so fast and I was ready for more.  After a year of trying to get pregnant and two miscarriages, we finally had our baby on the way.  I could not have been more excited and terrified at the same time.  Starting over again after six and a half years was a little intimidating.  I was having a fairly easy pregnancy and loving the feeling of growing a little human inside me.  There are no words for this.  It was such a joy to share all those little kicks with the boys as well.

It was during our routine Ultra Sound, at 19 weeks, that the doctor told us that our baby showed some “markers” indicating Down Syndrome. They offered to do an amnio to confirm or deny these findings but I quickly turned down their offer.  After speaking with the “high risk” OBGYN, we were informed that they could now draw blood from me to determine with 99.9% accuracy whether our baby had Down Syndrome or not.  I agreed to do the testing.   Though, I have to tell you that I was super angry at them for even putting these thoughts in my head.  I had never had a prenatal screening for Down Syndrome in the past.  It never mattered to me, mostly because I never imagined I would have a baby with Down Syndrome.  Now, all of these thoughts were swirling through my mind!

While we wait…

It was a long, stressful two weeks, waiting for the results.  We had to go into the office to get the results which I should have known was not a good sign, however I remained positive.  My husband, on the hand, was a nervous wreck.  As we entered the room, he decided to take a peek at my chart sitting in the door slot because he just couldn’t wait any longer.  The look on his face was one I will never forget, a look of terror, heartbreak.  This was all he read, “Patient has not been told.”  He began pacing the small room, looking as though he was on the verge of a panic attack.  I continued to try to appear positive but on the inside I was starting to get a bit nervous.  The “high risk” doctor came in and took us to his office and my heart began to sink.  He began speaking and I heard Down Syndrome, Trisonomy 21 and that was pretty much it.  I know we were in there for a few minutes but have no idea what was said.  We walked to the car in silence, pulled out of the parking garage and the tears came.  I couldn’t stop them.  I thought about this baby’s future, my two boys and how they would handle it, how I would be able to handle a baby with special needs.  God must have made a mistake!  I am Not strong enough to raise a child with DS!  Everything that I had been dreaming about for the last four months seemed to be disappearing.  I had wanted this baby so bad but this is not the baby I had wanted.  My baby was going to be healthy, happy and “normal.”

The boys had been with us during this visit but seemed to be oblivious to what was going on.  I knew when we got home that we would have to discuss it with them.  I couldn’t find the words, luckily my husband was able to.  They took the news matter of factly, probably not really grasping what it all meant.  Hell, we didn’t even know what it all meant.  I went straight to my room and buried myself into my bed and cried.

The next couple of weeks was what I referred to as my “grieving process.”  Why grieving process?   Because I had to grieve for what I was losing, which was an idea of what and who my child would be and what their future would hold.  There were a lot of highs and lows during this time.   But when I came out I was able to come up with a new idea of what my child’s future would be and was thrilled about it.  It took some research and lots of praying to get to this point but I was able to realize how much my child WOULD be able to do.  I became appreciative of the fact that this baby was being given to me, that I was lucky enough to be the mother of such a special and precious baby. That’s not to say that I wasn’t nervous or anxious about this baby because I definitely was.  But it was my baby and there was already had so much love for him/her so the joy outweighed the worry.

The next few months of the pregnancy seemed to fly by.  At 33 weeks, the baby was measuring small and the decision was made that we would induce at 36 weeks so as not to put the baby under stress.  It was time I get ready both mentally and physically!  The thought of having such a small baby terrified me because at this point the doctors were saying that the baby could be as little as 4 lbs.  My first two babies were 7 lb 10 oz and 8 lb 3oz.  I was praying for healthy!  After three weeks of doctors visits twice a week, the day finally came.

Chris and I left the boys in good hands as we went to the hospital at 7:00 am Nov.1 ready to meet our sweet baby.  We had no idea whether we were having a boy or girl, just praying for a healthy baby.  There’s nothing like the excitement and surprise of waiting for that little body to come out.  We got all checked in and lead up to the room where this miracle would take place,   filled with so much excitement, joy and anxiety. I loved this part, the labor slowly coming on, visitors trickling in and out, nurses and hubby pampering you, the anticipation of it all.  My labor went very smoothly.  The nurse kept letting me know that I could have my epideral at anytime.  As crazy as it sounds, the feeling of this miracle taking place was important to me.   I wasn’t ready to become completely numb to it….YET.  😉  It was finally time for me to push this little body out of me.  I had a whole team surrounding me, doctors, nurses, neonatalogists, my hubby, Aunt and Sister n law, which made me feel so much better about the situation.  During one of my last pushes, I remember seeing this little head come out and I looked at it and thought, “it looks kind of like a girl,” then seconds later her little body came out. Boy, this baby wasn’t tiny at all!  Just perfect!  But the doctor had the baby’s legs closed and I couldn’t tell, was it a boy or girl?!  It was a beautiful baby though, then finally he moved those legs and I saw. There are just no words to describe how it feels to become a mother of a daughter.  The tears welled up in my eyes, pure joy, bliss.  I never realized how much I had wanted a little girl until I saw her in the doctor’s arms all scrunched up, a mess of blood, vernix and perfection. A healthy 6lb 3oz 18 inches long!  This was just the beginning of Stella’s story.

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Down Syndrome awareness month
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Down Syndrome Awareness Month

 

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Down Syndrome Awareness Month
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Down Syndrome Awareness Month

 

Stella’s story continues…

Here we are almost 4 years later, right in the middle of Down Syndrome Awareness month!  Wow, how the time has flown by!  Still, such a blessing in our lives and never a burden!  Life is sometimes hard raising a child with special needs-therapies, doctor’s appointments, trying to figure out her needs and wants (she’s non-verbal), frustration, judgment, stares, glares, the unknown.  Nothing outweighs the joy that she brings to our lives everyday!  She is so much more like my boys than she is different.  It’s hard raising any child (trust me, I’m trying to raise a respectable teenage boy!) :).  There will be ups and downs but there will always be love and gratitude.

Something I’ve learned since then, that while I may not have thought I was strong enough to raise a child with DS, God knew better.  He continues to provide the strength I need to carry on.  We are all born with the strength to overcome obstacles and hard times.  That strength only comes out when we ask God for it and we listen.

If you’d like to follow Stella’s journey, you can do so by clicking here and then liking her page, Sweet Stella.   Help us celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness month, by sharing this blog and her page.  Knowledge is powerful!  Awareness brings acceptance.  Acceptance is love.