Thursday, October 16, 2014

Growing Up

It's hard to let go. No matter what it is that you're "letting go" of, it's no doubt a difficult thing to do.

I have been thinking a lot recently about the person I used to be. Looking through old pictures, all which would be great candidates for a "throw back Thursday" pick, end up making me a little sad and I never get to posting them.

Life was so carefree then, even in college. The problems I thought were "huge" are nothing compared to the fears and problems I face now as a wife and mother. There is so much more weight attached to those titles.

Sometimes I find myself getting lost in old pictures and videos, wishing I could rewind time and live those moments all over again. I want to shake myself and say "Live it up! Don't let this moment slip by you so quickly!"

Life is ever-changing, so in the same respect, things cannot stay the same. I think that is something that is universally hard to deal with--growing older, wishing you could have done more, enjoyed your youth a little more.

I know it sounds like I'm 80 and talking about "back in my day..". But when I became a mother, I had to grow up and leave my carefree youth behind. So, yes, sometimes it does sound like I'm 80. And, sometimes I have the schedule to match- bed at 8:00 sounds fantastic, thank you very much! Quiet dinner in with my husband, relaxing on the couch in an over-sized t-shirt, catching up on our weekly shows = my perfect Friday night.

It is kind of pathetic, that last paragraph I typed. My old high school and college self would have never thought at 26 I would be this much of a home-body. But, I am. Life is just... different now.

Don't get me wrong. I am so happy! It is a happiness that I never even knew existed until I became a mom.

But, I feel as if I had to trade in somethings to get that happiness in exchange.

Some of my life trades so far-

* hour long phone calls to friends to catch up on the latest gossip ---> face time with grandparents and family members so they can see the baby

*hangovers ----> Diaper changes (I think they both suck equally actually)

*Being skinny and tan ----> not skinny or tan

*Staying out all night -----> the earlier in bed, the better!

*Going out to eat ----> forgetting to eat a meal and settling for a handful of baby puffs

*Going to the movies -----> finishing a movie two days later after having to pause it so many times

*Blasting music in the car and singing ----> singing "itsy bitsy spider" and "Old Mc Donald" on repeat

*Getting excited about new episodes of shows I like-----> getting excited when there is finally a new episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on

*Being alone- never being alone (that one is probably my favorite, I love always having Anthony around to keep me company and make me smile!)

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm doing it all wrong, and instead of exchanging in those parts of my old life I could still enjoy them in moderation. Maybe other moms have it all figured out, and I am left looking like a hot mess that cant seem to juggle it all. If you're one of those moms, please let me know your secret!

I would love more than anything to have a girls night again. I can't even remember the last time that happened. The night before my wedding? I don't know...

It's hard for me to see the distance growing between all of my friendships that once consumed me. I guess it was just a different time then, and maybe I'm not alone in feeling this change so deeply.

Most changes in life happen without you even noticing. Those gradual changes fade into something else right before your eyes and you don't realize until you take a second to reminisce about how things used to be.

Somethings in my life I don't want to fade away. And, I feel as if I am the one to blame for letting them.

I honestly had an entirely different post in mind when I had the idea to sit down and write during Anthony's nap. However, as usual, I was distracted when I first got to the computer and went to  Facebook instead. I took a good chunk of time scanning the old pictures and videos that make up my past. These pictures are my history, they are the reason I am who I am today. I think I had to go through each of those stages in my life to end up here. And, for that, I am so thankful.

All I know is, I am going to enjoy these moments and memories I am making now, with my family! And, I will try a little harder to bring back some of the old things that used to make me happy too. Balance is key! Maybe someday soon I will figure out how it all works.

I leave you with the thing that makes me MOST happy of all- my little baby man's adorable face.

Those eyelashes!! 

No big deal- just a little opera practice in the back yard. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Down Syndrome Awareness Month 2014

A little late in posting this since it's already mid-October... but... HAPPY Down Syndrome Awareness Month everyone! 

There are two times each year specifically designated to spreading Down syndrome awareness:
1. Every October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month
2. March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day (this date is significant because it is written as 3-21 or 3 copies of the 21st chromosome)

For this past World Down Syndrome Day I created a few lessons for educators to use to teach students about Down syndrome. I wanted to provide you with the link back to that post in case you were interested in using these lessons during Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Check out the lessons here

There is an amazing video that I recently posted on my Facebook page, and have seen it take over my news feed (rightfully so!). This video was so powerful. MattyB, the boy in the video, is a talented young rapper. He spreads the message of love and acceptance through his popular music videos. The reason I am writing about this video is because MattyB has a younger sister with Down syndrome. This is not his first time making a video with his sister, and I hope it will not be his last. 

The first time I watched this video I cried. 

Of course there are fears that go along with raising a child with Down syndrome, and acceptance is probably my number one. This video brought these fears to life for me, since they currently only live in the back of my mind. I don't have to worry much about Anthony being bullied or hurt right now, but I know that I will most likely have to face that fear in a few years. I just want to be able to protect him from everything in this world that isn't good. But, I know that I can not attend Kindergarten with him, or be there every time he meets someone new. So, at least I am hopeful that these young generations will be even more accepting and kind than the ones before them. MattyB is influencing so many young minds with his music and sending positive messages out there that I hope will stick. There need to be a lot more people like him to show others that it's not cool to bully and exclude others because of how they were born; whether it be their gender, the color of their skin, or how many chromosomes they have. We can't change how we were born, it's not a choice-it's who we are. But, we can change how we act and how we treat others. So, please, this month spread awareness about Down syndrome. The more people are educated, the more accepting they will be. If we don't make the effort, nothing will ever change. 

I personally know two amazing teachers who showed this video to their class during a bullying lesson. The video was so powerful for these students, and it sparked so many wonderful conversations not only about Down syndrome but about bullying in general. If you're in the educational field, or work with kids, show them this video. I know it will make a lasting impact on how they treat others. 

I posted the video below- but if it does not work for some reason you can find it here

To shift gears a little, I wanted to talk about the Buddy Walk we attended on October 5th!
Our team, Anthony's Avengers, raised $1,115 this year for CHOP's Buddy Walk. Wooho!! A big thank you goes out to everyone that joined us that day to walk, and those that couldn't be there but donated to a cause so close to our hearts. Thank you! Together we helped raise a total of $239,985 for the Trisomy 21 Program at CHOP.

I took a screen shot of the Buddy Walk website today to see the total amount raised- and the picture behind the numbers made me smile! It is a picture of last year's walk, and team Anthony's Avengers is front and center in our white shirts! You can even see me holding my little superhero in his red cape! It's crazy to look at that and think how much has changed in one year. This year, Anthony "walked" during the buddy walk, and had a blast. Last year, he was only 2 months old and slept most of the time. I don't want to rush this next year, but I'll admit, I am excited to see how much he will grow, change, and accomplish by our next walk!
Where's waldo  team Anthony's Avengers?!

I decided to pick only a few key pictures from the walk this year instead of posting the over 100 that I took. 

Anthony's Avengers! The best of the best! 


My little munchkin! 

Captain Anthony to the rescue! 

Geeking out with my superhero sunglasses. 

On the move! 

And, of course I had to add in pictures of Anthony with his girlfriend! We were so excited she was at the walk this year! 

Cheese! Two awesome team captains! Antonella's Admirers and Anthony's Avengers.