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! 

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!