Wednesday, September 19, 2018

How To Build Fine Motor, Gross Motor, Language, and Cognitive Skills Through Play (Featuring Cubbie Lee Toys)

How To Build Fine Motor, Gross Motor, Language, and Cognitive Skills Through Play (Featuring Cubbie Lee Toys)

This post contains gifted products from Cubbie Lee Toy Company.

Up until Liam was born, I didn't think much about the quality of play. Play was just something that all kids did. I certainly didn't think in terms of gross motor skills, fine motor skills, language skills, and cognitive skills. Learning those valuable skills was just something I took for granted until my fourth child was diagnosed with Down syndrome. That diagnosis introduced us to a whole new world, including actually thinking about and researching how much play matters.


See, playing is more than just something kids do. Play not only inspires creativity and imagination, but it also leads to healthy brain development, and it builds fine motor, gross motor, language, cognitive and social skills. Kids can actually learn more through play at an early age, than by sitting down with learning materials, so it's important to fill your home with quality toys and encourage kids to play as often as possible!

We were introduced to the concept of quality play when Liam was 2 months old. At that point, home-based early intervention therapy services began. A speech therapist, an occupational therapist, and a physical therapist began to visit our home each week. I closely observed what the therapists were working on, asked lots of questions, began to research toys and activities that helped build important skills, and asked for toy recommendations.

It turns out that we already had a lot of quality toys, but from then on, I became very selective about the toys that we purchased. I also encouraged Liam to play with a wide variety of toys that would help him develop and grow! Using play to help build fine motor, gross motor, language, cognitive and social skills isn't just for kids with special needs. It's important for kids of ALL abilities!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Liam Lights Up Times Square

Liam Lights Up Times Square!

On Saturday, Liam's picture appeared in Times Square, as part of the NDSS Times Square Video Presentation, which highlights the lives of people who have Down syndrome. This was the second time Liam was featured, but yet again, we were unable to see it in person. Thankfully, we watched live (and cried)! Thanks to some amazing friends whom we have never even met, pictures of Liam from every angle in Times Square, came flooding in shortly after the presentation!


If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you probably already know that we had a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome with Liam after he was born, and it wasn't even confirmed until he was a few weeks old. Initially, it was a huge shock, but life didn't change in the ways we expected. Instead, we decided that we were going to raise our son exactly like we were raising his older siblings, and life with Ds actually became quite normal.

Life with Down syndrome isn't always easy, but again, life with ANY child isn't always easy. The truth is, life with Down syndrome is actually "typical" the majority of the time, and we're devoted to bringing awareness to the fact that Down syndrome is nothing to fear! The NDSS Times Square Video is a powerful way to bring awareness to an often very much misunderstood genetic condition!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Super Easy Way To Organize Important School Papers During The School Year

The Super Easy Way To Organize Important School Papers During The School Year

When my first child started school, I was amazed by the amount of important school papers that came home each week. I just tossed them in a basket, and hoped for the best. Eventually, I spent so much time looking for the papers that I needed, that I knew I had to figure out a better system. A $1 - yes ONE DOLLAR - expanding file folder from the Target Dollar Spot was the perfect solution!


Using that inexpensive expanding file folder kept all the important school papers organized in one spot. I perfected my method over the course of the years, and now I use just one folder for all four of my children. I briefly attempted a file folder for each child, but it ended up being more work. There were more folders to organize and sort through, and it didn't make sense for my son who was in junior high, because most of his papers were sent by email or found online. I've been using the super easy one file folder method for two years now, and it works beautifully!

Today, I'm sharing my tips and tricks to make the system flow seamlessly, and the little extras I keep in the folder that I always seem to need. I highly recomment this super easy method for anybody who has a child in school!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Monthly Recap: August Edition

The Monthly Recap: August Edition

When Summer began, it seemed like August was so far away, but the months flew by. It felt like I blinked, and August was over! I took off half of the month for vacation and family time, so I left a lot of blog posts hanging out in my drafts folder, just waiting to be published. That included my usual weekly mom life recaps, so I figured I would just share the rest of August in a quick monthly recap!

At the end of my last recap, I left off a week into August. So let's play catch-up on what happened last month! Spoiler alert: It's a lot!

Friday, September 7, 2018

It's Almost Fall Friday Favorites

It's Almost Fall!!! Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, my friends! The official start of Fall is just over two weeks away, but it doesn't feel much like it right now. We had temperatures over 90 degrees most days this week, and I just might be wishing away Summer for the first time ever! I am ready to decorate, embrace the upcoming holiday season, and put on some cozy clothes!


Although I can't fully get in the Fall spirit just yet, I've been sneaking in a few favorites, both old and new, over the past few days. I might still be wearing Summer clothes, but it sure is starting to look and smell like Fall in my home! It has been a few weeks since I last shared a Friday Favorites, so I figured I would share a few of my Fall Favorites today!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The First Day of Kindergarten, 2nd Grade, 6th Grade, and 8th Grade

The First Day of Kindergarten, 2nd Grade, 6th Grade, and 8th Grade!

I'm back!!! After a nearly 3 week break from blogging, I figured it was time to get back to work. Over the course of those 19 days, we had a lovely family vacation at Myrtle Beach, and as soon as we returned home, it was time to go back to school. There was something else keeping me away, too, which I will be sharing soon. I'm going to kick off my return with a recap of a big day for my crew: The First Day of Kindergarten, 2nd Grade, 6th Grade, and 8th Grade!


Although I missed blogging, I have to admit that the break was nice. I loved being able to focus on just my family! I have so much content lined up over the next few weeks, so I'm hitting the ground running today. I'm going to ease into it with one of the biggest changes for our family this year...sending all four of our children to the same school district, and having weekday mornings all to myself!

The past week was exhausting, but the school year is off to a great start! Although I was very nervous about the transition, Liam is THRIVING in Kindergarten. Lily moved to a new building, Lexie is in her last year of "elementary school" and Dylan will be heading to high school next year. All four of my kids are in different schools, so I'm adjusting to the new normal of juggling even more chaos! Back to school is always one of the busiest times of the year!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Virginia Beach: The Final Recap

Virginia Beach: The Final Recap

It's hard to believe the final Virginia Beach recap I'm posting took place almost a year ago to date. I didn't intend for that to happen, but life got in the way of blogging about vacation. I wanted to finish it before this year's vacation, and I hope to be more timely with that recap!


Speaking of this year's vacation, as this post goes live, we will be preparing for our trip to the beach! We're leaving very early Saturday morning, which also happens to be Liam's 5th Birthday. Spending 12+ hours in the car isn't exactly the best way to spend a birthday, but he will be spending the evening of his birthday on the beach! (Hopefully that will make up for it.) We're all looking forward to spending a fun, relaxing week together at the beach!

For now, let's go back to almost exactly one year ago today...it was day seven of our Virginia Beach vacation, and it was Liam's 4th Birthday...

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Life Lately

Life Lately...Mom Life with four kids and Down syndrome

I'm back! The past three weeks have been rough. Liam got sick on July 24th, and it took him over a week to bounce back, then I caught his germs. I haven't been that sick in many years. I literally stayed home for almost an entire week, and couldn't leave my bed or the couch. I'm still not 100%, but it's a huge improvement from last week!


Needless to say, I won't be posting a weekly recap this week. If I did, it would look something like this: Monday sick, Tuesday sick but had to run a few errands, Wednesday sick, Thursday sick, Friday sick but starting to feel better, Saturday and Sunday weak and exhausted. I only pulled out my camera once the entire week, and I didn't get anything done! Lily spent this past weekend at my parent's house, Dylan had a friend sleep over on Saturday night and he spent all day Sunday with us, and Lexie went to her friend's house on Sunday. I feel like the past three weeks of Summer passed by in a blur while Liam and I were sick!

We hit the ground running today (Monday)! Liam has his last three days of preschool this week, and we have so much to do to prepare for our upcoming beach vacation. I also have to get back to work, and catch up on some sponsored posts that had to be pushed aside while I was so sick. I have so much unfinished content in my drafts folder, but right now I only have the brainpower to focus on real life posts! I'll get back to focusing on content after I get back from vacation and the kids go back to school. So for now, let's chat...

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Family Fun at Virginia Beach {Day Six}

Family Fun at Virginia Beach

We are less than two weeks away from our next family vacation, and I have yet to finish recapping our last trip. I took so many pictures during the last three days in Virginia Beach that I have to break it into two posts, but I'm determined to finish the recap over the next week! Although I do want to share our family trip, it was honestly very low on my list of priorities over the past year!


We absolutely love Virginia Beach, and have gone there the past few years, but we opted for a different beach this year. We're excited, but looking back at all the fun pictures makes me regret that just a bit! If only we could plan TWO beach vacations each Summer...or just move to the beach!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Mom Life Chronicles

The Mom Life Chronicles

The past few weeks of Summer have been a blur. After taking care of a sick Liam for two weeks, I ended up catching his germs. Although I didn't get nearly as sick as he did, the sore throat is brutal, and I'm now on day four of feeling miserable. That makes mom life a bit tough! Here's hoping the germs leave our house soon, and nobody else gets sick!!!


Here's a glimpse at mom life over the past week...