Our Five Ring Circus: September 2018

Friday, September 28, 2018

A Few Of My Favorite Things

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Happy Friday, my friends! Can you believe it's the end of September already? Where did the past month go?!? Today I'm sharing a few of my favorites that I loved during the month of September!

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Help Change the Future of Medicine with the All of Us Research Program #JoinAllOfUs Sponsored http://bit.ly/2CT5dqi

This is a sponsored post in partnership with All of Us Pennsylvania  and ​The Motherhood​.

As an individual, I worry enough about my own health, but as a wife and a mother, my worry increases. My family relies on quality healthcare, regular well exams, and a healthy lifestyle, but I felt like the future of our health is out of our control. I hate feeling helpless, but now I can actually do something...and you can, too!  You can help change the future of medicine by participating in the All of Us Research Program!

The All of Us Research Program is a  nationwide research program, run by the National Institutes of Health. They are working hard to create the largest health database EVER. The goal of the All of Us Research Program is to get one million (or more) U.S. participants so they can find out how diseases is prevented and treated based on differences in lifestyle, genetics, and environment. Their mission is to speed up health research and medical breakthroughs.

By participating, you can potentially improve your health, the health of others, and even help create a healthier future for generations to come.  Participating is simple, and the information gathered will help researchers better understand health and disease.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Liam's 5th Birthday & A Road Trip to Myrtle Beach

Liam's 5th Birthday Celebration & A Road Trip to Myrtle Beach

On August 18th, our sweet Liam turned 5 year old! It just so happened to be the start of our family vacation, too, so we celebrated Liam's 5th Birthday with an 11 hour road trip to Myrtle Beach. It may not have been our usual birthday celebration, but we filled his day with our favorite birthday traditions!

Even though we spent 11 hours in the car, Liam didn't seem to mind one bit. He's a perfect traveler, and always does great on road trips. He didn't complain once, and the reward was spending the rest of his day in Myrtle Beach!

It's so hard to believe our beautiful boy is already 5 years old! I swear, he was just born. Time is a thief! The arrival of Liam's 5th Birthday was bittersweet, but it was definitely a memorable one...

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!