Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Love Isn't All We Need

We've done a lot of fun things since my last post so let me show you some pics in case you are missing out. You know you have to show up to get something out of this gig. We are missing you, too! My favorite thing is getting to know the newbies. So, come share your story!
We did a "play date" at IKEA- sipping coffee and walking through show rooms while my son enjoyed Small Land was fabulous (and dangerou$)
Claire hosted possibly the most fun girls night, game night!

Congratulations, Elise!

"Gymnastics class" at TNT, train park then La Nap!

Dinner and a movie- we ended up seeing "Molly's Game", which was really good!
We had a leadership meeting then a therapeutic play date at Chick Fil A. If you haven't thought about leadership for next year, I think there are a few spots available. This is a great way to get a bang for your MOPS buck. If my grammatical errors bother you, there's even a blog spot open! It's neat to see the behind the scenes for each MOPS meeting. You also get a vote for speaker topics for next year. Talk to a Jessica or Laurie for more info! 

I loved the speaker for our last meeting, Dr. Roxanne Louh. She talked to us about having a healthy marriage. This came at a PERFECT time for me! After dealing with a #mancold, I needed a pick me up! We do have higher expectations for our spouse. We should be waiting for times of non-conflict to have an important talk. Dr. Louh referenced Dr. Gottman a lot. Definitely add one of his books to your reading list! We often become so focused on parenting. We need more than love to make a marriage work. Remaining in love is a choice, not a feeling you always have. Learning love languages in important. Laugh! Don't criticize. Have something to look forward to (like our Valentine's date night this week!) Do you have a curious friendship with your spouse? Check out these hand outs. I love all the questions- do you really know him?

Whomever calls the time out, ends the time out. Have you ever been flooded? When you need a time out and can't empathize or even hear? That was me last weekend. During the meeting, I scheduled "wine on the porch" with my husband later that night after the kids were in bed. I didn't bring up any fights from the weekend. We just sat and relaxed together and I listened to all his latest stress. We ended up laughing and enjoying each other- just what we needed! Gotta protect that relationship! 
Mentor Moms rock!
Our biggest fundraiser is Shrove Tuesday! I'd say we had another successful party! Great job, ladies on all your hard work!
Serving breakfast for dinner on Shrove Tuesday!

Packed house!

Getting crafty!
I can't think of a better way to kick off Lent and Valentine's Day, then bringing Valentines to the residents of a nursing home. This is a great activity to do with little ones- a win-win! We had a play date last week- Pick a Park Friday to make Valentines. So, we had plenty to bring! It was so awesome making them smile!
Former MOPS mom, Kassie let us come out to the farm to help with some chores- feeding the cows and horses! What a great way to spend a non-MOPS Monday!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Uncomfortable Conversations

Death is not something we like talking about. It's sad, depressing and uncomfortable. We're in the trenches right now, why add discomfort to these long days? My good pal, Brian came to MOPS today to talk to us about why that's so important. Bad things do happen. Having an uncomfortable conversation now will make things less stressful later. Brian answered all sorts of awesome questions. There was laughter and there were tears.
Brian answering lots of questions

Moms asking lots of questions

Kathryn's notes
We discussed setting up trusts and the pros and cons, figuring out who should be your children's beneficiaries, talking to your parents about their post life plans (Claire found some awesome links to help with that! Death dinners and It's time to talk to your parents.), covering the 3 basics: power of attorney, health care surrogate and your living will. Lots of "what if's" and "how does this play out". Ultimately, it was a good one! We have a girls night and play date this week so stay tuned! In the meantime, make an appointment with Brian (or another estate planning friend). Lori-Ann or Karen's husbands are financial advisors that can help with the other side of it- or Brian can recommend someone else. Do it, girl!
Rock climbing at Picwick Park. Emily brought a cheese board again. The bar has been raised!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

"Proclaim the Favorable Year of the Lord"

The title is right out of this MOPS years theme verse! How are you doing with your FREE INDEED? Stress, guilt, bad habits- what do you need to let go of to feel more free? We had a MOPS Leadership dinner this week and had an awesome discussion about our 2018 goals. We also talked about how we can help each other achieve them. Some of my take aways: if you’re on MyFitnessPal friend me so we can encourage each other!, weekly organizational goals, I ❤️ Jessica’s idea of scheduling time to turn off your phone and be present and Amy’s idea of reading before turning on the TV at night. 
These were our goals. Do you have anything to add? Any ideas to help achieve them?
We finally had our first meeting of the year! We ended up just doing a group chat since there was a speaker mix-up. It was pretty much Mae helping us with parenting and Kim giving us health tips. 
Bunny gave an awesome mentor mom moment. Elizabeth was the only January Bday present

Mae giving parenting tips. Oh and check out our 2 new members on her right! If you aren't on the waiting list, get on it! We do work through the list as nursery space becomes available! 
We had an after party at Vanessa's- backyard play date in the mist and rain! We also had an awesome Friday playdate at the indoor Trinity playground. Emily even brought a cheese board! Way to take it up a notch! 2018 is starting off great!
play date at Vanessa's

Monday, December 11, 2017

If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy!

How are you, mama? Are you happy? Are you taking care of yourself? Our last two meetings have been about that. The last weekend in November we had a relaxing meeting painting pots and planting succulents.

Bunny did an awesome mentor mom moment reading from the Unplug the Christmas Machine book.

We did a gymnastics class, train park, BBQ lunch play date.
That TNT open gym is an awesome gymnastics "class"!
We had some awesome girls nights recently. We had a huge swap where you could bring and take each other's clothes, accessories and stuff. I brought 5 bags of things and took 3 super cute dresses! Tracy even brought her nail stuff and we did manis and pedis. Perhaps that and Nora Jones is what pushed Ann into labor the very next morning!

We also went on a last minute movie night to see the new Bad Moms movie!

Awesome way to celebrate my Birthday's Eve!
This morning we heard from Jackie Culver, a local celebrity for us. She was the first coordinator for the St. Marks MOPS! No surprise that a women like this is now coming to speak to us on taking care of ourselves. As the executive director of the Shannon Miller Foundation, of course she talked to us about how running has impacted her life. Early mornings, with friends, Jeff Galloway, and setting goals.
Jackie Culver, mom of 2 boys and married for over 20 years. So far, so good!
She also talked to us about keeping yourself looking good- botox, laser, eating well, Rodan & Fields, make-up, her "tennis dress", and this Revlon hairbrush hair dryer. We are still having the conversation on Facebook- trading tips for taking care of ourselves inside and out. I loved hearing the happiness in Jackie's voice. She reminded us that your children are happy when you are happy. What a great meeting!

Happy Birthday December Hot Mamas 

Congratulations to the co-coordinators who have stepped up to lead us in 2018-2019! Statistically speaking it would have to be a Laurie and a Jessica!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Checking Expectations

We've had some fun parties and play dates in the last few weeks! I think fall is one of the best time of year in Jacksonville because of the gorgeous park weather! Check out these pics!
Walking the trails at Alpine Groves park (not pictured: the walk back)

Gorgeous day at the air show!

Costume parade at the nursing home

Halloween party at the park after the parade

The zoo!
Today we had Dr. Noelle Pomeroy talk to us about sex at our meeting this morning. She opened it up for questions right away so we got into it quick.  If you already have a healthy sex life and good relationship, try the Mojo Upgrade quiz. She suggested scheduling and taking turns to lead to get back into a regular rhythm. For pelvic floor therapy, try a dilator. It's important to check your expectations for sex with your partner. There is no "normal" for frequency. It totally depends on what you feel comfortable with- what's your range of compromise with your partner? Are you at a happy medium? Electronics can mess with your sex life. Try sitting with your partner for an hour, uninterrupted talking about fun topics that make you happy. That will increase your dopamine level, instead of getting it through Facebook. Check out the sexual response cycle. We've talked about the "women are like crockpots and men are like microwaves". Scroll through the blog history for that recap! John Gottman talks a lot about the emotional bank account. I've read a few of his books. Good stuff! I asked about talking to my children about sex. Dr. Pomeroy recommended It's Not the Stork and to be open and honest from the beginning so sex doesn't come out as being a bad thing. Please contact her if you have anymore questions or feel like to need additional help. Another open, honest meeting with these amazing women!
I really enjoyed Perrin's mentor mom moment. She talked about the upcoming stress of the holidays and suggested lowering our expectations. You don't remember the sticky part when thinking back to your perfect Thanksgiving...but it's there! Your kids schedules will be out of whack, your husband has a different tolerance level for your family than you do. Cut them some slack and check your expectations. Great advice!

Happy Birthday to the November hot moms!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

"I Am Enough"

Our very own super mom, Kim posted this on our Facebook page. I'd like to start with this:
"I wanted to expound on the topic from Monday's MOPS meeting regarding post partum depression and anxiety as well as provide resources for those of you who need more information. I think it is very important to delineate between postpartum depression and post partum blues. The latter of which is treatable with simply time or with the lifestyle modifications described by the counselor on Monday plus/minus therapy. It is a topic I am passionate about because of the devastating effects of the disease I have seen in the ER over the course of my short 7 year career. Fortunately for most of us, post partum blues and mild depression will be our only experiences during this time of our lives. It is important to recognize however when post partum blues turns into post partum depression and when mild situational depression turns into major depression as we know the health implications of untreated major depression and post partum depression are severe. Un-treated perinatal depression can lead to pre-eclampsia, early labor, and substance abuse. Untreated post partum depression can lead to failure to bond with your infant, substance abuse, obesity, and chronic life long depression.
There is NOTHING wrong with needing medication to treat your depression to give yourself time to heal and be able to develop the coping skills necessary to treat yourself with lifestyle modification and therapy alone. If you have major depression, you are UNABLE to simply just get some sunshine, get more sleep, go out with your girlfriends, and meditate to feel better. It becomes a fierce debilitating disease. Unfortunately there is a global stigma regarding mental health disorders. It is unfortunate because mental health disorders are a result of physiology that is often times out of our control. Just like we all have those friends who can seemingly eat anything and not work out and stay skinny as a result of their fabulous metabolism, there are people who are eternally happy not because they are "stronger" but simply because of their neurophysiology. Some of us have a finer balance in regards to our neurophysiology making us more susceptible to mood disorders. But know it is not your fault! You are not "crazy." This disease does not discriminate. I have see it cripple people who you would never have thought were susceptible given their training, expertise, and seemingly "having it all."
If you choose to find a therapist, I encourage you to find a therapist who encourages a multimodal approach to treatment. Meaning find a therapist who encourages lifestyle modifications, therapy, and in the appropriate setting pharmacotherapy. If you are seeing a therapist who only recommends a "holisitic" approach to treatment ONLY, you need to see a different therapist as major depression and post partum depression not simply post partum blues are SERIOUS medical diagnoses. Similiarly, if you are seeing a physician who recommends medication only and does not have a healthy respect for alternative approach to treatment of your condition whether it is back pain or mental health, you should be seeing a different physician. Therapy, yoga, lifestyle modification, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, etc all have their role in modern medicine. But just like no one should advocate cancer be treated with essential oils only, no one should advocate true post partum depression and major depression be treated with therapy only.
For any of you who are suffering with depression or post partum depression, know this:
1-this is not your fault.
2-you are not alone.
3. you WILL feel better.
When you break your ankle, if treated you will no longer have a broken ankle. If un-treated, you will have life long chronic pain and ultimately arthritis that will then develop into chronic knee and hip pain due to changing the way you walk to accommodate your broken ankle. Similarly, when you develop depression, it does not mean you will always have depression. If recognized and treated, you will get better. If untreated, you are at risk of spiraling into chronic depression. Trying to "handle it" or "shake it off" is not going to work. Reach out to your OBGYN. Like I said in the meeting, so much focus during the post partum visit is on the baby and routine physical health and recovery. Unless your scores on the Standard Edinburgh questionnaire flag you as being at risk, often times mental health is not discussed during your appointment. Advocate for yourself. If you feel more comfortable with your pediatrician, talk about it with him/her. They are also equipped to provide you with the support and resources you need to get through this.
There is an entire subspeciality of psychiatry dedicated to what is called "reproductive psychiatry." This means that after 4 years of medical school, 3 years of psychiatry residency, there is a additional fellowship training offered to obtain expertise in reproductive psychiatry. That is how complex this spectrum of mood disorders can be! So do not feel silly or weak for not being able to take care of things yourself.
Massachusetts General has an excellent synopsis of postpartum blues and depression. Their website also has an app you can download to your phone for those of you who asked "how do you know if you are affected?" It allows women to screen themselves multiple times during pregnancy and thereafter.
I hope this was helpful!"
Patricia chatting with us
Um WOW! How have we never talked about this before?! This is my 7th year in MOPS. I can count on one hand the number of meetings I've missed and we have NEVER had a speaker on postpartum depression and anxiety since I've been in MOPS. How did we miss this?! And under Kim's post, there has been an awesome flow of conversation on "what works for me" and "my struggle". This is amazing! Patricia Flores was our speaker on Monday. We began with some visualization to be able to listen to each other with our hearts. Patricia talked about the importance of taking care of ourselves. I AM ENOUGH. She got us talking and sharing stories. It was so eye-opening to me to realize that every single one of us has dealt with anxiety and/or depression either with ourselves or in our marriage! Why don't we talk about this?! She suggested this awesome yoga nidra meditation and this relaxation app for your phone. Every parenting book I've ever read suggests getting up BEFORE your kids and having a cup of coffee and time for yourself before the chaos sets in. That's my plan for tomorrow morning. But I can't do that anymore than once a week! But, that is so true, it really does help! Jan suggests this book: Change Your Story, Change Your Life. So, let's keep this conversation going!
In the meantime, check out these Birthday beauties! Celebrate we will!
Did you guys see Kristi sneak into the meeting! Yay! Look what she did!!!!
We've also had some fabulous play dates, thanks to our AMAZING play date coordinator ;-) Pick a Park Fridays are going well with Boone Park 2 weeks ago and Alpine Groves tomorrow. It's finally nice park weather! 
Conner's A-maize-ing Acres was so much fun!

Sky way "train" ride to Sweet Pete's for pumpkin cookie making!
I'm not a huge bowling fan, but the bowling girls night on Tuesday was off the chain!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Good Directions

Due to Hurricane Irma, our scheduled speaker for 'Technology and Your Children' had to cancel. So, our very own Doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Mae Barker talked to us about improving our children's adherence to rules and compliance. Mae came to speak to our group a few years ago. Half way through her presentation, she said "I need to be IN this group!" Soon after, she became one of us. So cool! How many times have you screamed, "JUST LISTEN TO ME!" this week? I can't count. Mae did an awesome job using personal stories, laughs and great advice to put a more positive spin on our parenting techniques. One of the most profound take aways for me was "You can never praise a child too much". Also, "Don't use your precious home time to punish for something that happened at school." Take a moment to write down 5 directions that you tell your child to do and they typically don't do it. Maybe you need to change the way you are talking to your child. To give GOOD DIRECTION to your child, you need to be clear, concise, calmly stated, not a question and with a nice "please". Instead of "Go clean your room" you can say, "Please put your clothes in the dirty clothes basket." Mae brought her children in for a live demonstration on implementing a reward program.
Mae's live demo

Here is her hand out for the technique
Mae recommends the book, The Power of Positive Parenting by Dr. Glenn Latham. I have it if you'd like to borrow it. It's like a work book and full of great tips! She also suggested these video clips with Dr. Friman. 

We celebrated the summer Birthdays of these hot mammas this morning!

Meilani came to her first meeting! Caroline was impressed with the sweet newbie!
We had a Saturday play date at the Amazing Grace Crop Maze this weekend. It was fun hanging out with the whole family and seeing other families enjoying some fall fun in the FL heat!