Sunday, November 25, 2018

Halloween Cuties and more

Courtney Hughes speaking about the Will King Foundation

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  Courtney Hughes came to our October meeting to share her story of loosing her son Will in 2018.  As result, the Will King Foundation was created and helps children receive life-saving heart treatment and share God's love with their families.  They help children without the healthcare resources they need to get specialized care through local partners.  The children and their families are supported in three ways, financially, by providing a community, and through prayer.  For more info The Will King Foundation on Facebook or through email at

Dr. Deb Harrell came to speak to us about creating nutritious meals for our families.  She shared a few life tips such as making our own self care a priority, celebrating progress, letting go of perfection, following the 80/20 rule, and cut out good things to do great things.  She has chosen a vegan lifestyle and gave suggestions of how to follow if your family desires this.

We also learned that food is meant for fuel, not for fun and to get away from the feasting mentality.  It's often difficult to get our children to eat veggies so she suggested hiding veggies in different foods, color your plate game, trying to prep ahead of time, making smoothies, putting out a muffin tin with different fruits and veggies for them to eat as snack whenever they want.  They should be getting 5-7 servings and adults 9-11.  Additionally, we should be getting 3 servings of whole grains a day, 1 Tablespoon of flaxseed, and chia seed. 
Halloween Parade at All Saints Nursing Home

Our little ones had so much fun dressing up and showing off their costumes to the residents of All Saints Nursing Home.  It was a great turn out and the staff helped our kids get a head start on Trick Or Treating.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Marriage Wisdom and More

For our first meeting in October, we were blessed to have a panel of married couples share their wisdom with us.  A big thank you to Ian, Nikki, Karen, Bunny and Wyndham for sharing your time with us.  My favorite quote of the day was from Wyndham, "happiness in life depends on how you deal with plan B, because plan A rarely works out."  Karen shared with us a tip about using a code word to end arguments immediately.  In her case, they use "blowfish."  Nikki shared about how when they are doing their budget and setting money aside for retirement, it reminds her that he is planning for a future together.  Hopefully we can all implement the wonderful advice we received.

Caitlin and Laurie at Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless

Thank you to everyone who helped out with the decorations the Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless.  It was a fun filled night hanging decorations and relaxing after.

On October 20th, we had a regional training with our community coach Rebecca Tillmann.  She shared with us about creating an anchored team, connecting with moms, and MOPS International Resources.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

MoMcon and more!

The second half of September was jam packed with MOPS happenings.  Some of our fearless leadership team attended MoMcon and came back on Fire!  During our September meeting, they shared how the sessions rejuvenated them and encouraged everyone to sign up for next year when it's in Orlando.  If you want to know more, ask one of these lovely ladies.

Jan, Bunny, Claire, Jessica S, Laurie, Caitlin, Jessica T

Cindy Trainer Williams from UF Health Birth Center, Department of OB/GYN came to share her knowledge with us about Women's Health at our second meeting in September.  We learned so much from her about how our bodies work and the beauty of being a women.  My two big take aways were that we need to love our bodies how they are and nobody's looking at you with judgment, it's us who puts the judgment on ourselves.  Everyone has different smells and levels of sweat and we should embrace as that makes us who we are.  As we age our estrogen decreases and our hormonal levels can change, so discussing our personal situation with our medical provider will give us the best outcome.  We learned it's best to use unscented products when bathing and toxic shock syndrome is actually very rare. To keep our brains sharp, we should do sudoku, learn a new skill or crosswords.

Door posters for Sulzbacher Center trick or treating

We had a great time at preparing door decorations for the Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless Trick or Treating.  There's still a chance to donate candy or help put doors up on the 11th.  Please contact Jessica Stevenson for more info.

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Year has begun!!!

 MOPS is back!!!! It has been so much fun kicking of our new year with all our old friends and meeting new ones.  We had a fun filled night at South for our kick off dinner.  Thank you Savannah for organizing it and making it a smooth event.  Everyone especially enjoyed the ice breaker questions at the table.  I'm pretty sure I learned something new about my husband 😛

Happy Birthday to all the Hot Mamma's!  Finally a birthday party for us to enjoy for ourselves.  We did some self care with a trainer and then partied the night away.
Finally, what we have all been waiting for...the opening meeting. For some of us, we were looking forward to the child free time, hot coffee, or a chance to talk to adults.  As always, our mentor moms were eager to hold the newest moppets.  Each leadership team member had a chance to share about their position and give updates.  Make sure you are checking the calendar on our Facebook page or blog for scheduled play dates and girls nights.  The thing I'm most excited about this year, is our budding partnership with Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless.  Jessica Stevenson has been working hard to provide us opportunities to give back to other mothers and children.   We will be helping decorate doors for Halloween at the center for when the children go trick-or-treating.  Get in touch with Jessica for more details as we finalize the date.

We ended our meeting with MOPS friend "speed dating" and had a chance to get to talk to different people one on one.  This was an awesome opportunity to get to get to know each other and hear funny stories.  Looking forward to seeing everyone at our next meeting on the 24th to learn about Women's Health.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Summer of Fun and Transitions

(Meredith and Anne at MOCA with a visual art piece)

MOPS had such a fun summer filled with pool and beach playdates.  Thank you to all of you who opened up your homes to let us splash and relax.  Meredith and I braved the rain for the August girl's night at Art Walk downtown.

In less than a month, we will have our first meeting which is so exciting and everyone is in their new leaderships roles.  For many years, Lucy Bravo has kept the blog going and now as secretary I will be trying to fill her big shoes in documenting our meetings and group outings.  

I'm so ready to see all my peeps are out MOPS and POPS dinner next week and our open house on September 5th.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Cheers to another great year!

This is Tracy writing this post. I may be leaving but y'all can't get rid of me just yet!

Somehow another year has flown by, and we had our final meeting of the 2017-2018 year in May. We started off with the regular announcements and Mentor Moment, then moved into the end of the year business. Jessica recognized the outgoing leadership team and introduced near year's team. Then comes the most emotional part of the year - talking about what mops has meant to us this year, how much this group keeps us (and our children) sane and alive, and of course lots of tears.  Like I said in the meeting, I've cried so many times in that room over the years, and I know I am not alone in that. We're all so lucky to have been a part of mops! Ok, moving on so I don't start crying again right now.

Next we moved on to Anne's fabulous rendition of Family Feud. Lucy would have been so proud to know how much the blog posts came into play at this meeting! Jessica kept score and Aedan helped out with moral support. Half of the answers should have been "take a time out" but somehow Anne didn't agree, probably because she was the one who actually reread all the blog posts and picked the answers. All I know is that my group did not win. I'm pretty sure our buzzer didn't work and we were robbed. If trash talking had anything to do with our scores we would have been the clear champions.

Walking out of that last meeting was very strange for me. It felt a lot like my last day of high school: a mix of nostalgia and excited nervousness for what's ahead. It's hard to put into words just what this group has meant to me over the years. It's been great for my kids over the years, too. They've made so many friends at mops, and thanks to Leo and Niko at the last meeting they now know how to play "bubble gum bubble gum in a dish." Great for practicing counting and for driving mom crazy!

Luckily I didn't have to be sad for long, thanks to the end of the year party! Things got a little crazy, as predicted. A little bit of wine, lots of laughs, and plenty of people in the pool, most of them in bathing suits. Get your minds out of the gutter, she jumped in in her clothes!

I hope to see everyone over the summer at play dates and girls nights. Thanks Jessica for your amazing leadership this year and for helping inspire all of us to become Free Indeed!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Deep Breaths

Sometimes I feel relaxed or re-energized after a MOPS meeting. Sometimes I walk out with wide eyes and mind reeling. The latter has been the case for the last two meetings. Our very own ER doc, Kim Thivierge spoke to us earlier this month about taking care of our children in emergency situations. At first I sat there with my mouth open instead of taking notes on how many chest thrusts to administer during CPR.
Dr. Kim is a great friend to have
Kim's big on minimizing the risk. She went through a long list of things to avoid and/or keep an eye out for. Car seat safety (pull that clip up to their chest and keep it tight), choking hazards (bad bad button batteries), bolting furniture to the wall, hide n seek in the car- keep it locked so they don't go hide, put out the cones in the drive-way and helmets please! Poison control should be in your phone (800)222-1222! Talk to your children about their body parts using real words. Open conversations with friends and parents about risks, who is in the house and gun safety. Standing water around the house, fitted sheets only in a crib, jump ropes around the neck, playground safety, concussions- oh my! This would have been a good meeting for mimosas! 
Happy Birthday April Hot Mamas!
The good news is that we have this awesome support system. If you need a breather, one of us will watch your kids. Need some prayers? Laurie has a running list! On your way to the ER? We'll bring you dinner. This group has your back. That's a good segway to this week's speaker. But first, a few fun pics...
Movie Night to see Blockers! A good belly laugh is chicken soup for my soul!

Pick a Park Friday at Mandarin park was gorgeous!
So, what happens when the stress of raising these sweet children gets to be too much? You know what I mean- when it bottles up and you start to see red. Anger. Maria Inoa spoke to us this morning on how to manage our anger. Self awareness is key. Do you feel yourself getting hotter? Do you notice the body cues? We need to learn some self care skills and give ourselves some grace. There are many layers here. Spiritual, getting some quiet time, reading scripture, praise and worship. Physical- exercising, yoga and stretching. Mental and emotional- journaling, crying, support, adult time (we have a girls night on Wednesday!). It's good to normalize feeling words for your kids. It's okay that they see you cry and hear you YELL! You are human. 
Maria Inoa sharing her wisdom
Check out her contact info
Practice the pause. Take some deep breaths. Meditate. Mary Lynn told me about this app. This is something you have to practice doing. Take time outs. Ask for help. There's a whole Facebook group of people waiting to be asked. It's taken me years to finally start asking. Try Psychology Today for a counselor that fits you. It's okay to shop around. And in the heat of the moment, if you're seeing red and just can't calm down. You can always call this parent hotline: 1-854-4-A-PARENT. 
Mentor Mom, Perrin giving us wisdom in the thick of it
We've got this ladies! Breathe in. Breathe out. Let's go do some zumba!

For current members, registration for next year is out! Check your email for the link! Are you on the waitlist? You should get an email next week to register. I'll post a link here when it's open to the public. You've got to act fast when you see it. Nursery space fills up quickly! Find your Fire is next year's theme. It's going to be good! You won't want to miss it!