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Backstage at TEDxACU:  Confessions of a TEDx Speaker, Part 1

Backstage at TEDxACU: Confessions of a TEDx Speaker, Part 1

It all began last fall.  A dear friend of mine from graduate school, Lauren, also happens to be the TEDxACU director at Abilene Christian University.  Ironically, even though we are both ACU grads, Lauren and I initially crossed paths as students in Texas A&M University’s doctoral…

Mom Hack Thursday – Escaping the Hustle and Bustle of Life and Seeking a Quiet Place

Mom Hack Thursday – Escaping the Hustle and Bustle of Life and Seeking a Quiet Place

Remember when you were in college and you got a “spring break?” I distinctly remember those days as some of my favorite – amidst the hustle and bustle of midterm exams, part-time jobs, friends, and obligations, I was always very grateful for an extended period…

The Mama Mix – 5 Tips for a Healthy Work/Life Mix

The Mama Mix – 5 Tips for a Healthy Work/Life Mix

A blog graphic with a picture of a laptop and some spreadsheets and the words - Mommin' Ain't Easy and the Struggle is RealA new mom with a precious newborn baby boy with DS recently asked me what it was like to return to work after Everett born and, “How did you find the perfect work/life balance?” I struggled to answer this question because….spoiler alert — there isn’t really a balance or a “perfect solution” to the work/life struggle. If you’re striving for the “perfect solution” to anything, you’re probably setting yourself up for failure, especially as it relates to mommin’. From my experience, in the past when I thought I had achieved “balance” or the “perfect solution” in my work/life sphere, my entire family would come down with the stomach flu (or strep throat, or something else) and I would quickly find myself in a vicious cycle of imbalance, rather than balance. And my “perfect” little solution would get tossed out the window in lieu of primordial survival. It’s true…when it comes to being a busy mom these days, the struggle is real and mommin’ ain’t easy. And a big part of that is figuring out how to manage the many tensions in our lives that yank us in vastly different directions (oftentimes simultaneously), including those that push us towards work obligations and those that pull us back home. And while I’m definitely still a student in this area, over the course of the last couple of years as I’ve cycled in and out of various states of work (e.g. maternity leaves, new jobs, side hustles, etc.) while raising two small children, I’ve learned a few things. I’ve also conducted some research regarding the topics of communication and work/life balance, and along the way I’ve picked up a few survival strategies that have proven to be quite useful as I juggle the many mom-related and work-related responsibilities that fuel my long days/short years. If you find yourself in a situation where you could use some direction in this area, here are my 5 tips for success while seeking to strike a doable balance for you, your family, and your unique circumstances, aka, “the mama mix.” It’s important to note, that these tips are specific, yet general enough to help any mama who finds herself busied by a variety of occupations including the SAHM (stay-at-home-mom). It’s all about the “mix,” so tailor each suggestion to your own set of work and family circumstances.

Continue reading The Mama Mix – 5 Tips for a Healthy Work/Life Mix

God only gives special children to special people…

God only gives special children to special people…

Have you ever heard this phrase before?  — “God only gives special children to special people.”  I have.  Too many times, actually.  That seemed to be a “go to” response when we broke the news of Everett’s diagnosis to friends and family after he was…

5 Things All New Parents of a Baby with Down syndrome Should Know

5 Things All New Parents of a Baby with Down syndrome Should Know

5 Things All New Parents of a Baby with Down syndrome Should Know — Mainly, It’s Going to Be Okay! I recall a lot…I mean a lot…of irrational fears that I experienced in those crucial moments right after Everett was born and diagnosed.  No mother deserves…

Resources for New Parents of Children with Down syndrome

Resources for New Parents of Children with Down syndrome

Like many parents, as I walk through this journey of parenthood, I turn to a few sources when I have questions. Most of the time, the question dictates the source. For instance, if I have a question like, “How do I get my kids to sleep through the night?” – I turn to my mother first. She’s a kid/baby whisperer. But if it’s a question about something more technical, like AAI (atlantoaxial instability and Down syndrome), I turn to the interwebs. The interwebs has a lot to offer any parent, but there are quite a few useful resources for us parents of kiddos with DS! Here is a list of some of my faves. I’ve organized each resource by national resources, parent groups, local (North Texas) resources, and blogs. I can assure you that this blog post merely touches the tip of the iceberg, in that there are many, many other resources related to Down syndrome (aren’t we lucky to have so much info and potential connections at our fingertips?!?!). The ones listed below are just a few of my personal favorites, and the local resources are a great read for families in the DFW area. Feel free to mention some of your favorites in the comments section below, I would love to keep this list updated on a rolling basis!

A cute photo of newborn Everett laying on his changing pad with his stuffed puppy.

Continue reading Resources for New Parents of Children with Down syndrome

Thyroid Ragin’

Thyroid Ragin’

Thyroid Ragin’ or Threenager syndrome? It all began early last summer, right as Everett turned 3-years-old.  Everett was making huge strides in his preschool class at end of term.  He was trying to run & jump, was saying a few words, and was very engaged…

Mom Hack Monday Debut!

Mom Hack Monday Debut!

Mom Hack Monday Debut! Featuring the lovely and talented Jen Jacob I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to my friend, Jen Jacob, who has graciously offered to contribute the first Mom Hack Monday entry on Mamability.com!  But of course, as usual, a…

Ode to Kinderfrogs

Ode to Kinderfrogs

Some context…the Kinderfrogs KTPA Fundraiser – 2016

I have a little bit of a crush.  Actually, it’s a bit more than just a crush.  Back in the summer of 2013, I fell in love.  I was head over heels for a little newborn baby named Everett Michael, but as a new mama with a new baby, with a new diagnosis, I was very worried about his future.  And then, I fell in love again.  But this time I fell in love with a huge group of people – the Kinderfrogs community.  At first, I fell in love with the director (in case you didn’t know, Marilyn, lol!).  Then I fell in love with the faculty and staff. And shortly after that, I fell in love with every kid enrolled at Kinderfrogs and their families.  I guess it’s safe to say, by virtue of the introductory language in this blog post, that I have a deep and unyielding love for my child’s preschool and everyone involved in shaping that preschool into what it is today.  In fact, this love is so pure that when asked to give a speech about “What Kinderfrogs Means to Me” last spring….I gushed.  So, since my second-born began his first day in the Toddler class today (Everett is now in the Pre-K class…he big boy), I feel compelled to profess my unending and undying love for Kinderfrogs in today’s blog post.  The following is the speech I delivered last year at the KTPA Fundraiser (2016), where parents, faculty, and staff hosted an annual event that raised monies for Kinderfrogs!  A great deal of the money we raised provided instructional resources and scholarships for our kiddos with DS. So, there is a “call to action” at the end of this speech/blog entry.  If you are so inclined to give, I’ve included a link at the end.  And if you are interested in this year’s fundrasier, the above graphic is our 2017 save-the-date! Continue reading Ode to Kinderfrogs

Last-Minute-Mom Debut!

Last-Minute-Mom Debut!

Introducing — Our First Last-Minute-Mom So I thought it might take a while to round up some content from my fellow mamas….but nope!  Today’s post features our first fearless last-minute-mom, Amy Matasso!  Amy’s got her hands full these days with three littles, Josh (5), Andrew…