Mom of Fame – Karen: Parenting a Pre-Teen with Down Syndrome

When we decided to dedicate October to moms who have kiddos with Down syndrome we reached out to several moms who we admire and we are absolutely pinching ourselves that Karen responded. She is another amazing mom to follow on instagram (@karenjp0915) if you are a new parent to a child with DS or even a new parent in general. She has a lot of experience being a mom (and a grandma) to her 12-year old son Caleb and his three older siblings. She talks about the importance of parenting each child individually, what is was like to get Caleb’s diagnosis, and how Caleb is “more alike than different”. Please help us welcome Karen into our Mom of Fame!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

My name is Karen and I’ve been married 30 years (!) to my husband David. Between us, we have 4 children and 3 grandchildren (with one on the way). Caleb, our son with Down syndrome, is the youngest at age 12. His sister Courtney will be 30 later this year. He also has a half-brother (39) and half-sister (41). We cover all ages in our family 🙂

What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

I’ve been blessed with many wonderful role models in motherhood, including my own mother. So much good advice; it’s hard to narrow it down to one piece. But if I had to, it would be to parent each child individually. That each child has their own strengths, interests, opportunities and challenges. Providing an environment to help them each learn their own path can be tricky, but look for the “helpers” – circles of support. Churches, community groups, schools, etc. can be great lifelines to broadening the path for your child(ren).

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

Wow. It’s harder and it gets harder as they grow up!

It’s such a blessing to be a parent, and it’s also a responsibility. Helping your child find out who they are; what they want to be – it’s work! But wonderful work. I’m very proud of my children and whatever they want to be or do, I try to support them and guide them.

Love them unconditionally. Be there for them.

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

I’m a “doer” – if there’s something that needs to be done to support my children, I’m there. They know I’m in their corner – loving them unconditionally. I try to be an example for them – for their faith and for giving back. Volunteering was a huge role in my upbringing and I’ve tried to instill that in my kids too.

Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

When our son Caleb was born with Down syndrome.

I felt like I was suffocating at first; like the world would never be right again. I had no knowledge of people with challenges – what their lives were like or how to mother someone with a difference. It took time, it took support, it took him guiding us and teaching us.

We eventually found the path wasn’t so different. It’s challenging for sure, but it’s a beautiful thing to recognize that our world has broadened so much by having Caleb in our lives.

Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

When I was young, all I ever really wanted to be was a “mom”. So I would say not really. I’ve had quite an eclectic career path including both for-profit and not-for-profit roles. All those roles though had led me to meet the most interesting people, and really prepared me for who I am today and what I do now.

What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

Love, kindness, empathy, responsibility, community, faith, friendship.

Since it is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, what is the most important thing you want people to know about Down syndrome or about being a mom to a child with Down syndrome?

I could write on this point for a dozen pages or so, but I would love people – especially parents who don’t have children with unique (special) needs to know that our lives are not so different than yours (in our personal experience). Day-to-day living with Caleb is very similar to bringing up his sister – school, church, activities, friends, responsibilities. We depend more on supports with Caleb (therapies, etc). but we also have plenty of wonderful activities to do each week and throughout the year. Our local community is very supportive of people with differences, and that’s been huge for us.

There are things that we have and will put into place for Caleb that we didn’t have to with Courtney and our older children – financial strategies and educational plans. We look ahead and plan more for him most definitely. But there are many who love Caleb and are there for him – helping him to become the best he can be. Whether that’s owning his own business, or working for someone else, we hope and pray that he grows into a productive, happy young man who loves the Lord and loves his fellow man. Including him in community events and traveling has helped.

I would ask other parents to teach their children about “difference”. That having special needs or being a different skin color adds to a beautiful variety to community – wherever you might live. We believe that Caleb is “more alike than different” but also the “different is beautiful” too.

Mom of Fame – Amy: The Gift of a Down Syndrome Diagnosis

When I first learned that my son, Ryan, had Down syndrome Lisa suggested I follow @uplifeofemmyjoy on instagram. I checked her out and I’m so glad I did! Each day Amy posts videos and pictures of her adorable Emmy, who has Down syndrome. She made me understand how lucky I was to have Ryan and I loved watching Emmy, and now her son Reese live their day to day life!

When we reached out to Amy we were so excited that she agreed to share her experience with us since  was such an integral part of my transition to being a mom of a baby with Down syndrome. She shares her struggle getting pregnant, why being a stay at home mom is NOT boring, and how Down syndrome is a gift. Please read her amazing words and help us welcome her into the Hall of Fame, where she obviously belongs!

Meet my family.

We are Chris, Amy, Emerson aka Emmy, Reese and our dog Ozzie.

Chris and I have been married for 8 years. We always knew we wanted kids and after saving a little money the first two years of marriage we decided to start our family.

We never anticipated the struggle.

It took 3 years and a lot of medical interventions for me to finally get pregnant with our first baby, Emmy. She has been such a gift to our family. She is such a bright light. 2.5 years later her little brother Reese miraculously joined our family with absolutely no medical help whatsoever. We live in Southern California along with our entire extended family. I stay home with the kids and Chris works for a home builder.

What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

I don’t remember what advice I was given besides, it goes so fast so enjoy every moment. I really do try my best to soak it all in and yes, I think everyone should follow that advice.

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

It’s much busier than I imagined. I was told I’d feel lonely and bored as a stay at home mom but when your first born goes to therapy neither of those are true. I have a huge support group of friends and I’m never ever bored. We are a very busy little family.

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

I have come to realize that my biggest strength is patience. I knew I was patient in my teacher days and I’m even more so when it comes to my kids.

2. I have thick skin which is a major asset when raising a child who is differently abled.

3. I have great confidence in my abilities to love my children and to stand up for when they deserve and need.

Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

I felt overwhelmed the first few weeks after my new baby was born. I had a very rough c section delivery, we were struggling with nursing and I wasn’t healed enough to fully care for my kids on my own. I was use to doing it all myself and needing others to help A LOT was overwhelming.

Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

Every stay at home mom looses their freedom to a certain extent. I can never go anywhere or do anything without making plans for someone to watch the kids or taking them with me. I’ve gained my purpose. I love being their mom and I love being an advocate for the special needs community. I wouldn’t trade what I’ve gained for the world.

What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

I want them to learn everything but mostly I want my children to learn to be kind, independent and loving individuals that make a positive impact on the world.

Since it is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, what is the most important thing you want people to know about Down syndrome or about being a mom to a child with Down syndrome?

Down syndrome is a gift.

It’s not scary and if you get to be a part of someone’s life with Down syndrome you are lucky. Parts of this journey are hard but it’s mostly so beautiful. I wouldn’t change one hair on my daughter’s head.

I want for her what every parent wants for their child and in a world that doesn’t fully understand disabilities we will work harder and shout louder for her to be seen as the valuable human she is.

In order to help spread the truth and joy that Down syndrome is we need all of you to join us in shouting the worth of these beautiful humans.

Mom of Fame – Taylor: Adopting a Baby with Down Syndrome

When we decided to highlight moms for Down Syndrome Awareness month we knew that we had to talk to Taylor. She is a one-of-a-kind person who has such a unique view of motherhood and Down syndrome. She has worked with children and adults with Down syndrome for years and because of her experience doing this she decided, at age 19, that she wanted to adopt a baby with DS. Last summer that dream became a reality and she flew to California to pick up her baby boy, George. In her interview she talks about how motherhood has made her stronger, what it was like to fly home with a 4-week old, and that she doesn’t want to be considered “heroic”. Please help us welcome Taylor into our Mom of Fame…she truly deserves it!


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

My name is Taylor! I work in theater, doing teaching work, directing, and performing. My husband, Kyle, also works in theater, and is the drama teacher at a local high school. We adopted our son, George, in March with the help of the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network. It’s been our dream to adopt a child with Down syndrome for many, many years, and since that dream has come true, we’ve been in a state of pure joy.

What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

The piece of advice that I have found to be the most helpful is that every stage is the hardest and will also be my favorite. So far, it’s definitely proven true, and it makes the hard moments a little bit more achievable!

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

I am shocked that I feel like myself. I imagined that becoming a mother would strip me of my previous identity, but what it really did was enhance my identity. I am happy to feel how much of myself I feel in my motherhood.

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

First and foremost, I look at myself as a lifelong learner. I do not know it all and I do not believe I know more or less than my child.

Secondly, I work hard to maintain my personal identity- I’m a better mother when I am and feel like myself!

Thirdly, I value community, which I believe helps both me be a good mother because it gives me opportunity to connect and grow, as well as opening up opportunities for socialization with George and other kiddos!

Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

In March, we got on a five hour flight with a four week old. Yikes. I had been a mother for all of a week and a half, and I had to try to navigate getting me and my husband and our newborn onto a plane. Learning to be a mom is hard enough, and learning how to with such little ability to fail was traumatic. Being a mom while also being a person felt truly impossible as we went through security, but the TSA agents luckily took pity on the sobbing new mother!

Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

I don’t like to think of it as what I’ve lost. I think I have highlighted parts of myself, and I have put other parts of myself on the back-shelf temporarily. I believe we’re all lifelong learners, so any part of myself that isn’t present because of my transition into motherhood needed to make room for the things I’ve gained.

I think I have gained so much confidence. Not about motherhood, but about myself. The strength I have did not exist 8 months ago, and I can’t believe how quickly that has changed.

What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

I hope he knows that doing what you love is the most important thing. I hope I teach my children the value of heart and soul over the value of quantity.

Since it is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, what is the most important thing you want people to know about Down syndrome or about being a mom to a child with Down syndrome?

I want people to know that the narrative about Down syndrome that is heard within in our society is adamantly false. People with Down syndrome are so much richer and deeper than the “always happy” people that society sees them as. Kids with Down syndrome deserve the same joy, respect, discipline, and expectation as any other child.

Being a mom to a child with Down syndrome is absolutely not a heroic act. It is not something that only a few special people can do. Anybody is fully equipped with the tools that are necessary to be a parent to a child with Down syndrome. We aren’t special, different moms, so ask us the same questions you ask your other mom friends, and just know that our answers might be a little different. We also desperately crave your childs acceptance, so know that we want to help create significant, real friendships between our children!

Down Syndrome Awareness Month: What is Down Syndrome?

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month which is very exciting in our household because we love getting to share what Down syndrome is to anyone who will listen. When we were told our son, who is now almost 2, had Down syndrome we had to do a lot of research because we didn’t know a lot about it. That research led us to understand that technically “Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21 [and] this additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome” (according to the National Down Syndrome Society). But to us, Down syndrome is so much more than that…

To us, Down syndrome is:

  • watching my mom get a tear in her eye when Ryan finally calls her “ga-ga”.
  • hearing my dad say that Ryan was “chosen for the perfect family” and “that he will teach us so much.” when we told him.
  • having everyone stop me in a store just to say “hi” to Ryan.
  • immediately having a club of strangers who are also part of the “lucky few” and feeling connected to them in a way other people can’t understand.
  • celebrating like crazy when Ryan meets a milestone he has been working so hard on—and even FaceTiming “ga-ga” so she can celebrate with us!
  • listening to my 5 year old niece tell me how lucky I am that Ryan is my baby–and knowing how right she is!
  • looking into Ryan’s eyes and realizing that he understands people in a way I never will.
  • seeing Ryan’s smile light up a whole room.
  • having the most walkers at our local Buddy Walk and realizing that our support group is absolutely amazing.
  • receiving all of the uplifting articles about people with Down syndrome from everyone we know.
  • dealing with normal day-to-day ups and downs of a typical toddler; because he is first and foremost, a toddler.
  • advocating for Ryan so that he can live his best life–whatever that entails.
  • not wanting to change a thing about Ryan because he is “down right perfect”!
  • feeling like the luckiest mama in the world because Ryan is mine!



But don’t just take my word for it…come back and check out our Mom of Fames all month to hear what other moms who have kiddos with Down syndrome have to say! And please, if you know, tell us what Down syndrome means to you and your family!

Family Friendly Events Around Metro Detroit for Fall 2019

Today is officially the first day of fall! So grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte, throw on some boots and a scarf and take the kiddos outside to enjoy the beautiful weather! There are so many fun things to do around Metro Detroit this time of year, so there’s really no excuse not to! We have even compiled a list for you to make them all easier to find. So get out there and have some fall fun! Don’t forget to let us know if there is something going on in your town that we missed!

Things to Do:

October 5th at 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

What: Ferndale Fall Festival
Where: Detroit Curling Club
Details: 2019 entertainment and activities include – hayrides, pony ride, carnival games, face painting, inflatable bouncers, trick-or-treating, pumpkin painting, music, arts and crafts, photo station and more!

October 6th

What: Fall Color Walk
Where: Heritage Park in Farmington Hills @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Details: Experience the magic of the season! Take a guided hike under a canopy of color through Heritage Park. Discover why and how leaves change color in the fall, and search for animals preparing for winter. Please dress for the weather.

What: Harvest Happening – Fall Festival
Where: Hess-Hathaway Park in Waterford @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Details: This annual event is a fun event for the entire family. The day is filled with a variety of activities and events including:
A children’s area with inflatables, a trackless train, Science Alive, make and take crafts, a pumpkin patch, Golden Age Club Bake Sale, crafters, entertainment, farm animals, food concessions, hayrides, pony rides, and more!

What: Clawson Fall Festival

Where: Clawson City Park @ 3:00 – 6:00 pm
Details:Celebrate the beginning of fall with an afternoon of fun with the Parks & Rec Department! The day includes free hayrides, farm animals, free rock-climbing wall and inflatables (don’t forget your socks) and baked goods for sale. Food offerings will be available at the Clawson Chamber’s Taste of the Town. The day will end with everyone’s favorite— a bonfire conducted by the Clawson Fire Department.


October 8th @ 5:00 – 8:00 pm

What: Hay Day
Where: Heritage Park in Farmington Hills
Details: Hay! Check out these unbe-leaf-able activities: hayrides, pumpkin painting, hiking, bouncing on the bounce house, touring the Fire Department’s fire tuck, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs over Farmington Hills largest camp fire, and watching the trees change color. Food, hayrides, and other items will be available for purchase. FREE ADMISSION

October 11th-27th

What: Hallowe’en at Greenfield Village
Where: Greenfield Village
Details: What is the most enchantingly thrilling Hallowe’en adventure of all time? The story you create in Greenfield Village through magical encounters with show-stopping storybook characters along a path lit by over 1,000 hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns.

Throughout your evening, comfort yourself with craft beers, warm apple cider and fresh doughnuts, then stop for a photo opportunity at your favorite scene. The torches are lit, bells are tolling, skeletons are dancing and pumpkins are singing — all to make this the most stirring night of the year.

October 12th

What: Stone Wall Pumpkin Festival
Where: Rochester Hills Museum/Van Hoosen Farm
Details: Come and enjoy the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm’s signature event – the Stone Wall Pumpkin Festival. The presenting sponsor is Genisys Credit Union. Activities during the day include food, pumpkin bowling, Stoney Creek High School Drum line, a Rochester Hills Fire Truck, and more! Guests are invited to carve a pumpkin and place it on the stone walls surrounding the Museum property and return in the evening to see all the pumpkins lighted up! The Museum is hoping to exceed its record of 1,011 pumpkins lighted at one time. In addition, an outdoor exhibit of scarecrows made by local organizations will be on display. The Museum will provide stencils and carving tools but guests are encouraged to bring their own carving tools from home.

October 17th – 30th

What: Zoo Boo

Where: Detroit Zoo
Details: The Detroit Zoo’s annual “merry-not-scary” event has been re-imagined to bring even more Halloween excitement to your family! New this year–the entire Zoo will be open until dark, allowing you to visit your favorite animals throughout. You will also have the option to purchase tickets to a 15-minute version of “The Wizard of Oz 4-D Experience” at the Wild Adventure Zone in the Ford Education Center, or purchase tickets to take a ride on the Tauber Family Railroad!

Zoo Boo will be held on the afternoons of October 11-13, October 18-20 and October 25-27. These Friday, Saturday and Sunday events will run from 3 to 7:30 p.m. with last entry at 6:30 p.m.


October 18th – 20th

What: Halloween Hoot
Where: Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve in Rochester, MI
Details: An annual fundraiser hosted by Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve, Halloween Hoot is a light-hearted family friendly Halloween experience for you and your family to enjoy in a safe, all-in-one, environment. Discover Dinosaur Hill like you’ve never seen it before with guided forest walks with funny and interactive skits along the way, crafts, candy (duh!), a mini-carnival, and a cozy campfire with cider and doughnuts!

October 19th

What: Mommy/Daddy and Me – Monster Mugs
Where: Creative Arts Studio in Royal Oak
Details:Scoop up your little monster and come make a memory at our Monster Mug Mommy/Daddy and Me class. We’ll read a monster story and then use hand prints and sponges to create a monster design on a coffee mug. After the class, our talented custom artists will add details and your child’s name finish of your personalized masterpiece. Cost: $25

October 20th

What: Trick or Treat Among the Trees

Where: Troy Nature Center
Details:Put on your costume and come out to hike the woodland pumpkin trail with a SNC guide. Learn some secrets of the forest, receive treats, meet costumed characters and more! Dress for the weather. Adults are free and must remain for the program.
Ages: 3 – 9
TNS Member: $10.50 | Non-Member: $13.50

October 26th 

What: Streets of Treats (Family Halloween Event)
Where: Downtown Northville
Details:Kids’ costume parade begins at 10:00am beginning at the Community Center (303 W. Main St). Trick or Treat Stations will be open throughout Downtown Northville. Please come out and join us!

What: Trick or Treasure
Where: Downtown Clawson
Details: Kids in costume will travel through the downtown businesses collecting allergy-free treats and maybe a few tricks along the way! Find more information about this Downtown Development Authority (DDA) event at! There will tentatively be an unveiling of the Clawson / DIA Mural Project as well—check the back page for details!

What: Halloween Hoot
Where: Beverly Park in Beverly Hills
Details: All children living in Beverly Hills are welcome to join in the festivities. For more information go to the Beverly Park homepage.


October 27th 

What: Birmingham Farmers Market End of Season Celebration
Where: Parking Lot # 6 North Old Woodward (the east side of North Old Woodward, north of Harmon Street) @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Details: Everyone is invited to join in as the Birmingham Farmers Market wraps up the season. Dress your children in their Halloween costumes and let them enjoy these fun pre-Halloween activities and events: live entertainment, children’s craft, pumpkin carving demos, Trick or Treating (make sure the kids wear their costumes!)

What: Spooky Monster Magic Show
Where: Baldwin Public Library @ 3:00 pm – 3:45 pm
Details:Join Gordon Russ the Magician for his special Spooky Magic Halloween Show. (The Pumpkin Patch parade will be held at afterwards!) All ages. Registration required for magic show – Call 248 647-1700.

October 28th @ 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm

What: Trick or Treat in the Village
Where: Troy Historic Village
Details:Don your red riding hood, climb a beanstalk, fly a magic carpet—make your way to the Troy Historic Village for fairytales and legends come to life. Wear your Halloween costume and collect tasty treats from all over Village fairytale land. Storybook characters, potions and elixirs, magical beasts and more await! Activities include pumpkin bowling, ringing the anvil and jousting, making a dragon craft to take home, and collecting mini-pumpkins

October 29th @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

What: Troy Police Halloween Safety Bash
Where: Troy Police Department
Details: The Troy Police Department hosts the third annual Halloween Safety Bash, an emergency vehicle trunk or treat, on October 29, 2019 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The FREE, kid-friendly event features decorated police, fire and EMS vehicles, along with displays from a variety of community partners. The first 2500 children will receive a free, reusable safety light. Other giveaways include candy and promotional items. A live DJ will keep the event hopping with Halloween-themed music. All kids are welcome and costumes are optional. This a free event. For more information, email

 Cider Mills:

Cider Mills are the perfect fall event! Here is a list of cider mills around the metro Detroit area. See one missing? Comment below or email us your favorite and we’ll add it to the list!

  1. Blake’s Orchard (17985 Armada Center Rd., Armada)
  2. Erwin Orchards and Cider Mill (61475 Silver Lake Rd., South Lyon)
  3. Franklin Cider Mill (7450 Franklin Rd., Bloomfield Hills)
  4. Long Family Orchard & Cider Mill (1540 E. Commerce Rd., Commerce Twp.)
  5. Miller’s Big Red Apple Orchard (4900 32 Mile Rd., Washington)
  6. Paint Creek Cider Mill (4480 Orion Rd., Rochester)
  7. Parmenter’s Cider Mill (714 Baseline Rd., Northville)
  8. Rochester Cider Mill (5125 Rochester Rd., Rochester)
  9. Spicer Orchards and Cider Mill (10411 Clyde Rd., Fenton)
  10. Three Cedars Cider Mill (7897 Six Mile Rd., Northville)
  11. Yates Cider Mill (1990 E. Avon Rd., Rochester Hills)

Mom of Fame – Arianne: Single Mom to Blended Family

Arianne is a mom to two and step-mom to four! She was a single *boy mom* that met the man of her dreams and is now a blended family of eight. She talks about the achievements she has had from not only raising her boys, but from being a step mother as well. She goes into combining the two families and the challenges and success (and love) that comes along with it. She deserves the mom of fame title.

Please show Arianne some momfaming love!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I’m 33-years old and live in the small town of Morenci, Az. I am currently a full-time online college student with Grand Canyon University. As of August 2019, just made my University President’s List for maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Until 3 years ago I was a single mom raising two boys to become men. Then I met my current fiancé and now combined we have 6 children total, 3 boys and 3 girls. All from ages 12-years old to 4-years old.

My life is fulfilled for the first time in my life, everything seems to be coming together. I’m achieving things I never thought I could possibly do. Someone helping me mold my sons and having daughters of my own.


What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

Motherhood is one of the most difficult jobs, yet one of the most rewarding jobs. It’s one of those blessings that come during the most difficult storms of your own, and your biggest achievement you could ever see is when you realize the young ladies and boys that you have raised and the people they become. To not be afraid to raise them by rules, and it’s ok to be the bad guy; that is your job because they will teach them to be great citizens. Not to baby them, and to allow them to stand on their own feet and use their voice.

At first as a new single mom I didn’t take the advice about not babying them, and about not standing over them and trying to do everything for my two sons. This was something I learned as they got older. It was extremely hard to break because they wouldn’t apply themselves and if something was hard, they wouldn’t want to do it.

Advice I would give is allow your children to learn how to use their own voice in a respectful manner. If something is happening at school that is bothering them, they need to tell a member of the school staff. They need to not be afraid to be honest and talk to someone that will teach them how to understand what having a voice truly means. Also, allow them to try new things. If they are three and want to try and make their own chocolate milk then let them, let them start to explore and remember they are learning by watching you.


How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

I thought Motherhood would be easy. That it’s a natural way of life. Motherhood is far from that! It’s a constant learning experience and constantly is teaching you more about yourself as a woman and mother.

Motherhood changes you and that’s something I never thought I would do. I thought I was secure in who I was, but becoming a mother taught me more about my own strengths and weaknesses that I didn’t know I had.

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

1. Patience has become one of my biggest strengths when it comes to their bad days, or teaching them how to cook. Patience and being patient with them during homework and life lessons.

2. Listening to them. When I learned to listen to my children my relationship with them got stronger. Showing that their feelings do matter.

3. Making time for the little things. Life gets so busy and making the time to go on that bike ride with them because they asked or going to throw the ball with them. Making time for the little things is also a huge strength because that’s when the bonding happens.

Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

When I went from being a mom of two children to a mom/stepmom of six children.

Combining a family and trying to do everything for all of them and build relationships and understand them. That was extremely hard and overwhelming. I would hide in the bathroom at times just because I felt, at many times, I couldn’t make any of them happy or be the mother/stepmother I wanted to be.

It’s frustrating and felt like I was failing them all. It took about a year of overcoming the feelings I had to finally understand how to be the mother I wanted. It also took me not giving up just because it was hard. My stepchildren love their dad, but there is something about the women of the house. Always coming in to ask me something when my fiancé was right next to me or coming in to tell on someone.

Learning how to be what they all needed was very overwhelming. Now I can say it was worth it.


Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

Being a mother, there is no room for being selfish. Everything you do as a mother is for your children. No decision can be made without thinking how this will affect your children.

I was a selfish young adult, and that wasn’t the best quality. So, gaining the understanding of not being selfish, I feel, has made myself a better person in general.

Having my children has made me a better person.

What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

How to accept your mistakes and learn from them.
How to never give up when things get hard.
How to constantly want to improve and grow as a person.
How to always reach for your best and challenge yourself.
How to never stop being about family.
How to understand that being a stepparent is just as important; to be a parent to all the children.
How blood doesn’t make you family, but if you have step siblings, they are your family. How to protect each other as they grow up together.
How to be strong and independent people.

Mom of Fame – Brooke: Girl Mom of a Toddler & a Teenager

Brooke is another amazing mom that we are lucky enough to add to our Mom of Fame. She is a *girl mom* of a toddler and a teenager (and she is still alive to talk about it!) She tells us about the overwhelming moment that finally made her ask for help, what losing her sister at a young age taught her and how becoming a mom made her love herself more than ever. Please show Brooke some momfaming love!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I am a Health, Wellness and Life Coach. My husband is a therapist, we live in Rochester Hills and have 2 Daughters Gabriella (14) and Paisley (4).  My husband and I love to spend our free time with the kids, either going to the park, to the local hot spots or travelling up north. Gabriella plays Club travel volleyball and that takes up a lot of our time as a family traveling to support her at her tournaments. We enjoy family game night and Friday Pizza nights. Our youngest is obsessed with dance and we enjoy watching her nurture and develop that. We try to have a date night twice a month so that we stay connected, because if we are in sync everything else sort of falls into place. We are just your typical family of girls, all things pink.  We really try to have fun as a family and laugh as much as possible.

What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

The best piece of advice I was given about motherhood was to be like water and go with the flow [and to] remember to enjoy the little moments because in the end those are the biggest moments.

I continue to take this advice, I’m not perfect at it but having kids whose ages are farther apart I see the value in it.

I give this advice to any mom who asks for it.

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

Motherhood is a thousand percent different than I imagined it. I think when you are pregnant with your first you sort of start planning things out and imagining how they will look. Then when baby comes it’s like WOAH, this isn’t what I signed up for! HAHA. But, It ends up being everything you never thought you needed and more; truly incredible. Even on the most challenging days, the love you feel and the connection is more amazing than anything. At least for me, that’s how it has been.

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

I’m caring and loving; I lost my sister when I was 13, so I really show my kids how much I love them and make a point to tell them daily..

I would say I encourage my kids to be uniquely themselves and independent, by showing them in my actions.

I’m pretty good at making them laugh either with me or at me and we love an impromptu dance party. I really try to be fun but with a side of responsible.

Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

A time I was completely overwhelmed as a mother was when I was sick with gall stones and a blocked bile duct. I had multiple outpatient surgeries with a baby and tween. I was sick and I was in pain and exhausted. I felt guilty for not being able to keep up with either kid’s schedule and I had an emotional melt down. This forced me learn how to ASK for help and receive it. Something I don’t think many of us are very good at. Learning that has been monumental in my ability to feel confident reaching out to family and friends when I’m in over my head.

Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

I would say I lost some of my feisty free spirit; but, what I’ve gained is so much more than what I felt I lost. The beauty about motherhood is that things about yourself can be lost, but they can also be found again and when those things come back it’s better than you remembered it. I learned unconditional selfless love because of being a mom and it is what defines me now. Honestly, the thing I am most proud of today, is being a mom and my kids.

What do you want your children to learn from you?

I want my kids to know that they can be anything they want to be, and not to dim their light for anyone. I really take to heart that kids will do what you do, not what you say, so I just try to show them that it’s never too late to do the things that light you up.

Surgery and Being a Mom Don’t Mix

This past Monday night was a pretty scary night for me. It had been a full weekend of family (between a family cook off and baptism)! My brother from California and his family were in town and the fun was just beginning.

Well, around 7:00 pm (while we were bathing the kids) my chest really started to hurt. I’ve had an attack like this before and just went downstairs to take some tums. A couple hours later and it still didn’t go away. I took a strong antacid and tried to sleep.

Around 1:00 am, when I still couldn’t sleep, I woke Adam up and he urged me to go to the ER. I declined for a bit, but thought it may be in my best interest. I drove myself to the ER and upon getting there and walking in I vomited three times. I checked myself in and all the tests began. They ruled out a heart attack (which I didn’t think it was), but wanted to check my gallbladder.

Ding ding ding! That was it. I had gallstones and needed to get it removed. Usually this is outpatient, but my blood was telling them that my liver enzymes and bilirubin was high. This told them that I most likely had one stuck in the bile duct. I had to wait a FULL 36 hours in the hospital before I was able to receive the test needed. I was PRAYING I didn’t have one stuck as this would have led to another procedure to take the stuck one out. They told me that if they had to do it there was a 1/20 chance that I would develop pancreatitis (due to my age). Let the praying begin.

Another 12 hours to get the results, but the stone passed and all I needed was the gallbladder out. Woo hoo!

The week in the hospital was rough. My mind went everywhere. I hadn’t eaten since 6:00 pm on Monday and I didn’t get out until 4:00 pm on Friday. It was rough. I missed my kids an insane amount and my breastmilk supply dropped.

Cece had to have formula. I know this isn’t a big deal to most. Fed is best and I understand that, but this was taken away in a very awful manner for me. I didn’t have a choice. I am working an insane amount to get it back. Right now she is a 50/50 baby.

I thank god I married the man that I did. He stepped up like I never thought possible. He was dad, mom, homemaker, provider and still came to see me everyday. He was and is being a wonderful man.

Recovery has started. It’s almost like I have to bond with my baby all over again (cue the tears). I can’t pick her up for four weeks and that’s going to kill me.

I count myself as one of the luckiest people on the planet though. I have an incredible husband, parents and in-laws that have gone out of their way to help and stay with me and wonderful friends who have checked in everyday and even brought over fun goodie bags (thanks, Erin!).

I now need tips and tricks to get my breastmilk supply up and running. Please help!!

Mom of Fame – Krystal: Surviving a Car Accident & Thriving as a New Mom

Krystal is another amazing mom we are excited to introduce you to. She went from surviving a very serious car accident to thriving as a new mom to a beautiful 5 month old baby girl. She talks about how her accident changed her outlook on life, what it’s like to have your baby in the NICU, and how working with children for over 14 years helped (and sometimes hindered) her role as a mom. Please help us welcome her into the Mom of Fame!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I am a stay at home mom, and my boyfriend Curtis owns his own IT business. We have a 5 month old baby girl named Aria and a Yorkie toy poodle named Charlee. I was in a horrible auto accident last March which resulted in a lot of injuries to my pelvis and ribs, a shattered femur, TBI (traumatic brain injury), and a broken arm. So right around the time I was healing we unexpectedly found out I was pregnant (after being careful). [I was] on many medications still from the pain of the accident and had an upcoming surgery; I was terrified. But fast forward a year later and I still have an upcoming surgery, but we are learning to be parents regardless of my injuries, and I have learned that momming isn’t for the weak! Lol!

What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

The best advice was in the beginning to give myself some grace. I had an awful pregnancy surrounded with all day sickness for the whole 9 months (I only gained 12 lbs)! Everyone was saying to enjoy being pregnant, but I couldn’t; I was in bed all last year [between being] pregnant and still healing from my accident. My birth went about as smoothly as it could go. I did hypo-birthing, had a doula and a midwife.  I also got chiropractic adjustments twice that week which I think all that combined helped, but overall God cut me a break on her birth after 41 weeks of being bed bound and not being able to eat chicken, smell food and living mainly on broth, toast and cheez-its for that whole time. 

I was exhausted during pregnancy and people’s advice was to sleep, and boy did I ever! So my biggest advice to any new mom would be sleep as much as you can, go on a baby moon with your spouse, have meals prepped for about the first 2 weeks, give yourself some grace in the beginning and ask and plan for help for at least 2 weeks (hire someone, your mom, sisters, aunts whatever you got to do). You’re gonna wanna shower, sleep and eat in peace and have a moment to yourself and they can help!

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

Honestly it’s a wild thought. After a horrible pregnancy, but a great birth I was given this beautiful human. And on no sleep, I was expected to know how to nurse, and/or learn ( learning anything on no sleep is real fun) and know her every need because I am her mom. It was very overwhelming for me. And on day 2 my baby girl was whisked off to the NICU for monitoring because of the medication I was on when pregnant (that I couldn’t stop taking or it risked miscarriage).

The NICU is a whole new beast. Even though she was the biggest and one of the healthiest ones in there, my heart broke leaving her and seeing all of those innocent babies in there. Leaving your new baby and going home without her is a pain I can’t describe; it was really hard. So ultimately she was home after 72 hours and bringing her home was terrifying. People just expect because you gave birth you know how to care for this little person.

It’s a huge adjustment period, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of my mom and Curtis. I was always so jealous of moms, and I thought I would know right away. But the sleep is the hardest one for me. Being expected to heal yourself, sleep when the baby sleeps, (which is awful advice and makes you feel like a living cow whose job is to feed and be a robot for your babies needs ONLY).

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

Honestly I am not sure, I just try to take everything day to day. After my accident I really learned tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. So I would say I have a strength in wanting my daughter to experience life; every aspect of it. And to not be afraid but be prepared, smart and fearless. 

Describe a time when you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

A time? It’s not supposed to be all the time? Lol.

Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

I feel like when you become a mother, the old you dies in a way and a new you is born. The struggle begins when you’re trying to learn your baby, your new life, routine, relationship with your partner, and just survive. All while you’re fragile emotionally and physically and all of the same expectations stand as before–such as the home, work, friendships, life. How do you get to know your new self when your baby comes first?

I think I struggled for a while with the old me and new me. Every small task is harder once you’re a mom. The newborn days feel like never ending and it’s overwhelming getting adjusted. But the light at the end of the tunnel is that beautiful baby who thinks you’re the world. She is my miracle baby, and God gave me her for a reason and had me live that awful day, I know now, for her. And that’s all in the world worth gaining.

What do you want your child to learn from you?

I want her to be able to be strong, hardworking and know that life doesn’t give handouts and anything will and can happen. So always be ready for a curve ball but be able to land back on your feet. 

You were a nanny and a teacher for a long time before you became a mother. How do you think that changed your approach to motherhood? How would your approach to teaching or nannying change now that you’re a mother?

I totally thought that working with children for 14+ years I would be equipped in every way for motherhood. When, in fact, it made things harder. I had so much experience that I had unrealistic expectations for myself and my child. I knew what she should be doing, what I was “supposed” to be doing and I was harder on myself when things didn’t go as desired. Every child is different. And I had to remember I was taking care of those kids on a full night’s sleep, and I could check out and leave.

However it also, I believe, made things easier then if I didn’t have that experience. I knew what I needed before she was born, and it wasn’t wipe warmers, and frilly clothes it was jammies, Binky’s and baby wearing. It helped me be realistic. I know she’s gonna throw tantrums, not sleep, and get sick eventually. I knew what teething would be like, and I was calm about all of the normal things children go through because I had dealt with it before with other people’s kids.

My biggest advice is to have help ready, and don’t be afraid to ask for it, you are only human. Also, sleep when you can, love your kids, love your relationship and get away for a break when you can for your sanity. Because your sanity makes you an amazing mom. Don’t judge any other moms; we all are just trying to survive and love our kids and learn our new selves while doing it. 

Mom of Fame – Alis: Twins and a Singleton

We are so excited to highlight our next mom! Alis is a standout mom that is strong, kind and honestly, one of a kind. Her and her husband had a harder road to getting pregnant, but were blessed with twins and a few years later a baby girl.

Please welcome her to the Mom of Fame!

Tell us about yourself and your family!

My name is Alis and I have been married to my husband Darrel for almost 11 years. I have 8 year old boy/girl twins and a 6 year old daughter. We tried for 2 years to get pregnant and during that time I was diagnosed with PCOS and we ended up needing fertility treatments which gave us the twins. All 3 kids have completely different personalities and keep us on our toes.


What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

When I was pregnant so many people said “take the help you are offered”. I didn’t realize what that meant until I had kids and learned quickly that it truly takes a village. My immediate family is amazing, and I always knew they would be there, but those outside supporting roles were crucial. I am glad I kept that advice in mind and definitely pass it along with a little more elaboration. It’s hard to admit that sometimes we feel under water and invite people to take things off our plate. We feel that accepting help is admitting weakness, but in reality we have so many people put in our paths to not just make us feel better but to add to our children’s lives. Our children’s lives have been changed because we took the help offered by their teachers, principal, school district, their friends’ parents, and our own friends. It really does take a village!

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

I am an over researcher; if I am going to do something you better believe I have obsessed over it for some time. During our fertility journey I was on every article, blog, forum, website you could imagine. I had this wonderful plan that I knew was perfect, until I was handed my babies (and yes you think you can make a plan no matter how many you have). I didn’t realize that in spite of your best efforts your plans will fly out the window and that you will probably go against every rule you set for yourself at some point in time.


What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

My sense of humor in most situations. If I didn’t laugh I would probably cry, a lot. Plus my kids have very tough skin because they have learned to laugh at themselves. What is life without laughter?

My ability to not be too high strung. I know my kids will be kids and that means they will get dirty, they will get hurt but they will learn and it’s okay. I can’t teach them some things, only living life can do that.

My ability to apologize. It’s hard being a kid just like it’s hard being a parent. Every stage of life is new to me as a parent. Sometimes I get it wrong and I am not too proud to tell my kids, “I am sorry, I was wrong, can you please forgive me?” I think it’s important for them to know it’s okay to make a mistake but also to own up and apologize no matter who you are.

Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

It’s always overwhelming, I don’t think you are doing it right if you aren’t overwhelmed. This is the hardest job on the planet and we do it everyday with no breaks, even when we aren’t with them our minds are.

I will say my most overwhelming experience, specifically, was when my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD. This was when taking help was crucial. We went through some really trying times during that period but her school stepped up in a big way and has gotten her so much help. She has adjusted beautifully but that almost broke me.

Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

I don’t feel I lost anything in a bad way. I think that before kids my sense of accomplishment was so different. Instead of measuring success and life goals by money and material things (although I wouldn’t turn down winning lottery numbers) my success in this world is my children.


What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

To laugh – always to laugh, it will make your life so much richer.

To be kind – be kind when no one can see you and be kind when you know you can never be repaid.

Always do your best – even if you fall short, no one can ever ask you for more than your best.

Finally, to love – love yourself, love each other, and love those you don’t know. Love without bounds and love unconditionally.

Can you tell us some of the differences in pregnancy and motherhood (in general) that you have experienced with having twins vs. a singleton?

I think I got lucky having twins first because I didn’t know the difference. They were my baseline for pregnancy. When I was pregnant with my singleton I was amazed how much easier I could breathe and move. Looking back at pictures now and how big I was with twins I have no idea how I did it!