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! 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Hurricane Irma

I had all these plans to write another summer post before our first meeting. But then this whole Irma thing happened and I've been in a funk. So bare with me. We did manage to have our kick off dinner at Burrito Gallery. Despite the last minute notice, we had an awesome turn out! Anne's husband now wants to start FOPs (Fathers of pre-schoolers).
Kick Off Dinner

The Friday before the storm, we had our first Pick a Park Friday. We analyzed hurricane strategy. When to evacuate, where to go? Stress level was high. The kids ran wild at the park.
Ringhaver Park

Our first meeting was canceled due to the storm. I love the way this group comes together when times get tough. The hurricane is happening and we're sounding off on Facebook to check on each other. Tracy throws out a last minute play date to have us all over. I did a load of laundry since my washer and dryer drowned. Karen's husband took a shower. Lots of people charged their phones. Many of us just wanted to sit in the ac. It was perfect! Tammy hosted an awesome beach play date the Monday after the hurricane. A glorious morning on the beach to appreciate nature is just what I needed!
Play date on the beach!
We had a few babies born during the hurricane chaos! Congratulations, mamas!

We finally had our first meeting and wow- it was amazing! Our coordinator, Jessica did an awesome job of creating an open, honest tone. We went around the room and introduced ourselves, saying what we could release to feel more free. We were all so emotional and felt comfortable already sharing with each other. It was quite a sight to see! Lots of tears, lots of laughs, new friends, old reunions, a bit of drama- all on a Monday morning! It's going to be a great year!
Awesome first meeting!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Proclaiming Release This Summer

Have you received your MOPS packet yet? I did! I am loving all the good stuff. Just read this bit:

"Sometimes we don’t take responsibility for our lives. We carry the weight of expectations, feeling out of control, over the pace and trajectory of our days. Being gutsy is about realizing that you get to decide how busy you are, what you say yes to, what is best for your family and what you make a priority in your mothering. If you need to slow down your life – you can do that. If you feel like you don’t have any friends – go out and make some. This is the year of release from believing life has to look a certain way, and isn’t there so much freedom and audacity in that? The truth is, we have more authority to shape our daily lives than we think we do. Your life can match your values and your passions, it will just take some guts to make it happen."
So, how is your summer going?
I'm all MOP'd up with my bracelet and play date tank top!
I am biased, as play date coordinator- but play dates this summer have been fabulous! Check out these pictures of all the fun things we've been doing!
Last minute play dates are always fun! There's been pop up pool parties, park hops and this one to the zoo!
St. Mary's Splash park! These MOPPET grads were finally tall enough for the water slide!

Only the GUTSY few went tubing down the North End of Ichetucknee Springs!

Beach play dates might be my favorite! This one was at Hanna Park. We also went to Bunny's condo!

Blueberry picking was the first official play date of the summer! YUM!

When the pool gets too boring, let's play in the river! Check out all these river rats!

We've had so many MOPS moms share their lovely homes with us! Thank you, Talley, Vanessa, Tracy and Jessica for hosting pool parties this summer

This summer is HOT for all our preggo mamas! Welcome to our 5 new MOPPETS! We can't wait to love on you this fall! Check Facebook for their meal schedules. The top middle is Bunny's first grandchild! Woooo whooo!

We've also had some great girls nights. They always come at a much needed time for me! In June we had an ice cream pool party at Tracy's. In July we did a Pure Barre girls night at Vanessa's. Talley taught the class then we swam in the pool and relaxed. And here comes that freedom release- after a night out with your gal pals!

The summer isn't over yet! Our first MOPS meeting isn't until September. If you've been holding back, now is a great time to jump in with both feet! I can't wait to hang out with you soon!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Free Indeed!

Introducing the MOPS theme for 2017-2018! 

Theme verse: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, he has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. -Luke 4:18-19

You can read all about it here (no need for me to make this gig harder, right?) Registration for 2017-2018 at the St. Marks MOPS was open for a hot minute, then it filled up. It's based on nursery spots. So if you're nursery needs change, please let us know ASAP! If you'd like to be part of this amazing group, please fill out the application here. You'll be on the wait list, but sometimes that list moves quickly so don't get discouraged. Stay tuned for our summer fun. We have a closed Facebook group so make sure to join that so you can see all the last minute play date invites and other goodies. I'm enjoying "meeting" all the newbies! If you aren't on Facebook, stay tuned to the calendar on your right. Happy Summer!

Were You the Starry Eyed?

How did you do with this year's theme? Did you live fully by sunlight and moonlight? Did you take risks or grow in friendships? The MOPS Starry Eyed 2016-2017 year is over already. I think we finished off strong. The last two months have been jam packed with awesome events to make us feel loved and supported. The first meeting in April was pretty relaxed as we painted pots and planted succulents. Although this isn't my thing, I am totally still rocking my succulents and even a tomato plant!
Chatting and planting

Look how pretty these are!
Vanessa hosted another fabulous all day play date starting with an Easter egg hunt. Kudos to this family for their amazing hospitality!
So brave to dye eggs!

Perfect day!
We did another fun play date to Rebounderz and a few to MOSH. If you want to do the Little Learners you really need to register online in advance!
Practicing for American Ninja Warriors at Rebounderz
We had a travel agent speak to us at our 2nd meeting in April. She talked about some kid friendly vacations like Disney Adventures, Back roads, all exclusive resorts in Jamaica, Tauck bridge tours, Fathrom cruises (to combine volunteering- way to keep it real!) and Paws Up in Montana. A travel agent is the way to go if you have no idea where to go or what to do and you have a large family so online reservations don't have enough blanks to type in all your kid's names. 
Here's the travel agent's info if you'd like it.

Less expensive family fun
A few of us drove up to St. Simon's Island for a day at the beach. It was pretty windy but we still had a great time up there. It was chaos with a bunch of toddlers sprinting around the beach!
Babies on the beach!
We had our last leadership dinner at Jessica's house. She and Tracy really outdid themselves with a MOPStars red carpet theme! They even made us these awesome Barbie doll gold trophies! We had an awesome night together celebrating a wonderful year of leadership. High fives all around! And can we talk about the delicious almond joy cake?!
The beautiful 2016-17 Leadership team!

Thank you to Jessica & Tracy, the co-coordinators this year.
They have done such an amazing job leading this group!
Our last meeting was very emotional. Moms stood up and talked about how much MOPS has meant to them. There were lots of tears. We said good-bye to a few "graduating" moms. Tracy & Jessica set up pampering stations with nails, facials, coloring and body scrubs. It was a perfect ending to the year.
Happy Birthday May hot mamas!

coffee and egg white facials!

Tracy giving an emotional speech on what MOPS has done for her

Dr. Kim taking a much needed snooze

Nails and girl talk
We had an after party at Kim's parent's pool! Super fun! Our End of the Year party was this past weekend at my house. We had an awesome turn out! I love when the guys get together and get to meet each other. My husband has made great friends thanks to my experience in MOPS. I'm bummed we didn't take a huge group Starry Eyed shot! I think the last guests left around 2am! I can't wait to keep the party going with you all in this next MOPS year!
Rompers were the fad at this year's party! Ha!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Moderation- isn't that the key here? But, sometimes that's so hard to do. Some days I feel completely out of control. There's just too much to do and not enough time. As a mom, if you can get ahead- the day can be great. If you can meal plan, pack the diaper bag, remember the emergency snacks, drink your coffee while it's hot, tell your husband that you're proud of him, go for a run, have a good conversation with a friend, listen to the news, read a good book- man, you are on it! But how in the world do you get it together every day?! Well, that's what we were hoping life coach, Lauren Capitini would tell us.
Tiffany Weiss took some great notes!
Emotional secrets to the mental shift
#1. Embrace your mess (MOPS theme in 2013!)
Being totally absorbed, fully embrace who you are right now remember your strengths
Don't forget you were a woman before you were a mother. Look at your weakness. Unless you know your weaknesses you can't recognize your strengths. And they could become a strength.
Let go of the "what ifs", it wasn't mean to be. Glance in the rear view mirror but focus on what's to come.
#2. Create confidence, you are unique and we each have our own story to tell. (MOPS theme in 2014!) We are hard wired for negativity, for each negative comment it takes 5 positives to balance. 

Jeremiah 17:7
#3 Think and then take action. Thoughts lead to beliefs to actions creating character. Be goal oriented not fear motivated. Am I doing this or not doing this because I'm afraid? Chart it, write it, Pinterest it whatever to document what you need to do to have balance
Keys to success
-Let it go. Represent structure and dependability not perfection to your children
-Self care (you are setting an example in the way you care for yourself!!!) You are a woman first, a power source. You must take time for you physical health, exercise (just move, get the endorphins flowing), sugar kills serotonin causing mood swings, make sure hobbies happen even if it's only once a month for 20 minutes! Preferably something you did before the family. Make time for date night, you have to have sex in order to want it and it keeps the bond between your spouse. Girl's night out, have fun and connect, talk about the hard stuff. Be selective don't give away your valuable time to just to be drained...don't be a savior.
-Celebrate the accomplishments daily. (MOPS theme in 2015!) If all it was was brushing your teeth then celebrate! Specify the positives, it changes you on a cellular level. Positive self talk is so crucial, start the day with 3 positive things about yourself, it really does help.
Life balance is different for everyone and is constantly changing.
Heels off, tissues out- talking about balance!
We've had a few girls nights. Last week was the Creative Grains Studio. This week was Emergency Pregnancy Services then dinner after. I can't stop thinking about how perfect this agency is for our group and all the ways we can help! 
Making awesome art at Creative Grains!
Elizabeth and friends headed to the Clay County fair for a family fun play date. It was kina far out, but they had so much fun!
Clay County Fair
And then we had our last working leadership meeting of the year. It got a little intense in planning for next year. But then we have the blessing of mentor moms. These women are our life coaches, guiding us along this crazy path of motherhood. Just being in MOPS has helped me figure out some sort of balance. With the themes, friendships, words of wisdom and just taking a break. What a wonderful group!
Jan providing a dose of grace and love and wisdom to our leadership meeting

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Just a Little Advice

We had a wisdom panel of married couples at our meeting on Monday. My parents talked about staying married and in love through a military career- having fun! Our very own mentor mom, Bunny had awesome stories from her Wyndam. It was fun to hear his side this time! Ha! Rev. & Betty Ann McCarty had sweet words of wisdom from their many years together. Tammy's in-laws, Gillian & Philip Jones had a neat perspective from over the sea. They have a wonderful extended family to help support the marriage. Many years of experience- wow! It seems like communication, patience and forgiveness are all themes we've heard. Listen- really seeking to understand, even when you're mad. There were a few questions from our group. One on anger, fighting in front of your kids. One couple said to hide your big fights. Date nights are key- hire sitters if you don't have family to help. The scariest thing I heard is that this is the easy part....teenagers is when things get really tough! Oh dear!
Happy Birthday to our March gals!
Our amazing marriage wisom panel

Fabulous spread from Amy's group!
We had a photo fundraiser- thank you Andrea Bottin for taking your time and talent with us! We can't wait to see the pictures! Awesome St. Patty's play date at Vanessa's! 
The behind the scnes shot for the photo shoot

Thank you for an awesome play date, Vanessa!