World Down Syndrome Day 2015

Today is March 21st, 2015 and in the community of people who know and love someone with Down syndrome and those who have that 1 extra chromosome it is a special day.  It is a day that  being genetically unique is celebrated. I celebrate with them.  It is funny how emotions go.  It has been a journey since Grace came into our life.  We love her as much as we love all our boys but the extra chromosome that came with her is something that takes time to understand.4Q3B7952 copy 4Q3B7951 copy

Over the years this day has had a lot of different meanings.  In the beginning it was a day that helped explain what that extra chromosome meant to our daughters future.  We felt connected to a community of people who were sharing our journey.  It felt good to have the extra virtual hugs every year on this date.  The virtual, “We get it’s” and “We are here to remind you that everything is going to be just fine.”  Last year I really wanted people to know that “I wasn’t sad” with the hashtag  #iamnotsad because I wasn’t and I am still not sad.  We remain extremely proud of our family and that includes all our children.

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This year has been different for me.  I am not sure what has happened but I have not been interested in talking about Down syndrome.  I have had many conversations with friends about the fact that I don’t want our life to be defined by Down syndrome and that means not talking about it as much as I have in the past.  I guess my heart wants to live outside our house the same way we live inside our house.  That is with our 6 kids not dwelling on the “can’ts” and focusing on the “cans”.

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I also have to admit that over the past year there have been days that I have also said to my friends that our life has everything to do with Down syndrome.  There have been moments when we as a family can not deny that one of our children is different and because of that difference there are opportunities that will be denied to her.  As painful as those moments are they are also reminders of why days like this are important.

So I sit here conflicted.  I sit her wanting my daughter to have the same opportunities as everyone else.  I sit here fueled by those feelings to continue to push for a better future for not only her but all young adults living with a disability.  I have the blinders off and my sleeves rolled up and will let that worry, fear and disappointment fuel something amazing.  I want the bar raised.  I want  opportunities to present themselves to everyone who are looking for them.  I want more young adults with Down syndrome in college.  I want more programs that offer valuable training so that Grace can go out and make a real living.  I want for her what I want for my boys.

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I made a commitment Jan 1st to really live the change I want to see.  That is a big reason you have not heard from me here regularly.   Rest assured I am working.  You can keep up over at changingthefaceofbeauty.org and across their social media channels.  I am proud to say we have 78 companies across 4 countries committed to helping.  Everyone one of those 78 companies are creating and sharing integrated imagery.  Everyone of them is sending the message to the world that they see all people regardless of their ability.   That right there is change.  That is hope and those companies will change the world.

So bring it on 2015.  I am not sure where I will be on the journey next year on March 21st but I sure hope that tiny extra chromosome continues to provide the inspiration I need to push through the fear and uncertainty it brings and ask for opportunity.  I hope it continues to make me weak enough in the knees to ask for change.

 

We love The Mighty and are proud to be part of their #WDSD15 message!

 

Special thank you to Ac Moore for committing to using models of all abilities in their advertising and most of all for making the announcement today!

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If you would like to support the dreams behind Changing the Face of Beauty and rock our cute little logo you can pick up the sweetest shirt from Freckles + Kitty over on Zulily today.  They are available today – tuesday and proceeds will help us continue this mission!  And don’t forget to drop them a line and let them know how much you appreciate both companies committing to Changing the Face of Beauty and including models of all abilities.  We are really proud to have them on board and we couldn’t move forward without brands like this!

Happy World Down Syndrome Day to you and you and you.

OXOX Katie

As the world turns

Last week was a “doosey” one of those weeks where everything goes wrong.  Words come out wrong, scheduling wrong, things were misplaced and well if that is not enough my car broke down – in Michigan.  Yep…..add it to the list gone wrong, my car is sitting in the shop waiting for a part in Michigan.  Doesn’t quite seem right.  I am grateful for good friends who offer to drive you back home and husbands who enlist in a lot of extra drop offs and pick ups this week.

Funny how things break down and have the ability to throw us all into a tail spin.  Makes you feel like life is spinning out of control just another reminder of how not in control you are.  It also reminds me of what is right in front of me.  My nucleus family.  I have been taking them in over the past couple days grateful for all the craziness they bring to my life.  So we are on the mend.  Colds tended too, cars being fixed, plans being made and a weather break that is giving us the promise of spring something we are all craving.

So here is a little glimpse into our days.

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Master pieces painted in sunshine.

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A sick dog that continually eats chicken…..off the counter, in the trunk and in the back seat.  If there is chicken she finds it, eats it and poops it.

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Building a snowman in 50 degrees.

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Michigan neighbors.

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Daddy love.

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Family visits.

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Grace was reunited with her 2 biggest fans.

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Couch snuggles with big brothers.

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Homeschool moments where I pinch myself hoping this stuff never ends.

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Sorting.

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Stickers fun.  She shares my love of them.

Today something beautiful happened!  Kelle Hampton teamed up with Rubysrainbow.org and well the rest is magic.  People are rallying with them all over the country and within 5 hours they raised $26,000.00.  They are now up to $34,000.  How amazing is that!?  All to help give more students with Down syndrome the opportunity to go to college.  Ruby’s Rainbow grants scholarships to young adults living with Down syndrome.  For more information on this project and how you can take the pledge of $21.00 for #321pledge please go to Kelle’s blog and read what an impact these college programs are having on these students.

Here is too a better week!

OX  Katie

Peeking out….

It has been a whole lot of crickets over here.  I apologize for that.  We are breaking for the end of winter and I am madly organizing and putting life in order.  It is time to come out of the nice warm cocoon we have been living in.  Before I will allow myself to fully step out I had to cross some tasks off my list and so I have forced myself to really focus on taking care of things.

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It always feels great to get jobs done.  Especially when it comes to make decisions for our future and put them in a document so that our kids are taken care of.  We finished a 6 month process of taking care of our will.  Those conversations are not easy.  I found that getting off the first sentence was difficult, but we did it.  We chose and chose a back up and another backup to hopefully in the midst of all those people our kids will be surrounded by people that love them if we are not here.  Not at the top of my list of things to do but with 6 kids it should have been done along time ago.  Its official we have end of life plans.  That is itself is now something that feels a little more comfortable.

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So with that being said I am back.  I am hoping to start spending more time with my camera.  My first creative love.  It is like getting back on a bike when you have not used it professionally for awhile.  Time to take time to find space in my mind.  I miss spending time with clients and working with commercial accounts.  I have been pulled in other directions and I have decided I need to be present with my creative self. I am realizing how closely that correlates with my personal happiness.

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This is all just in time for all the new beginnings that spring brings.  Green Shamrocks here we come!

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I am super excited about a couple t-shirt designs I made for Changing the Face of Beauty.  I just love them!  Shamrocks and hearts are like the perfect marriage, right?  You can get yours here.  While you are over there make sure to check out the 60 companies globally committed to changing the face of beauty.  It is a beautiful thing to see some many companies come together for on common goal to create imagery that includes everyone.  It is a dream come true.

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Looking forward to celebrating the newness of spring with all of you!

OXO Katie

Teenage Birthday….

Today my first baby turns 13.  I can’t hardly believe it.  When he was born I had a new purpose to who I was.  Life was no longer just about me and everything to do with this new little life that was all mine.  A piece of my husband and I right there, living and breathing.  He has grown into his 13 years, yet unless I look back at pictures I don’t see the changes.  But yesterday while we were cooped up inside I photographed him and saw what everyone else sees every day.  A teenager.

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So today we celebrate everything teenager.  Everything that makes him who he is.  Raising him has and continues to be so scary.  He being the first you just never know.  Is he going to be ok?  Does he know what his values are?  Does he know the right answers in life?  I said to my husband last night the worries we have are so raw because we work on overdrive so that he doesn’t have to feel the struggles with friends, school and overall teenage life that we did but no matter how hard we work he still does.  He continues to teach us that he is his own person and he will make the right decision most of the time.  And when he doesn’t he will figure it out.

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The responsibilities of the oldest child are held at another level.  I know because I too was the oldest.  They tend to be more mature and always thinking about what is next.  Instead of enjoying the ride it feels more like a race.  A race to independence because so much responsibility is placed on them right out of the gates.  The parenting thing comes with no instructions and we push them and ourselves to get it right instead of letting them get it right at their own pace.

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Today I want that boy of mine to know how proud I am of him.  All the pressure and responsibility I put on him is my own insecurities about this job that I am learning as he is growing.  I savor the time we have left with him at home.  I know that it will come to a close sooner then I would like.

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13 years from now he will be 26.  He could possibly be married  and expecting his own first born just as his father and I were 13 years ago.  Time never stands still and as much as it breaks my heart to loose days and years I know the future is bright for him and he will find his way on what ever path he finds himself on.

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Liam – Happy Birthday.  I love you more then you will ever know.  Take that with you and live big, dream even bigger and use that beautiful ability you inherited from your father to continue to really care about people.  Make others around you feel important because that will make you feel important.  Speak up and love yourself.  That is secret to happiness and something the rest of us learned so much later in life.  You have everything you need to be successful in what ever you want to be successful in.  Take that and change the world.

I love you – Mom

What does Changing the Face of Beauty mean to you?

I am excited to launch a new campaign for Changing the Face of Beauty.  I have been working on it over the past month.  Ordering, printing and setting up a store on our site to purchase t-shirts.  I hope to inspire you to put one on yourself or your child and write about what “Changing the Face of Beauty” means to you.  What does it mean to you?  I think it means something to each and every one of us.  Not just the disability community.  I am talking about the world.  What does Changing the Face of Beauty mean to your world?

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What “Changing the Face of Beauty” means to me……..

That is like a loaded question for me.  I often write about what it means to me as a mother of 6 children.  A mother of a child with a disability.  I rarely write about what “Changing the Face of Beauty” means to me as a person.  Just Katie……so here goes.

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I am the daughter of parents who were married for a very short time.  In fact I can’t remember when they were married.  I can not ever remember my Mom, Dad and I living together.  In fact my first memory is living with my mom and waiting for my Dad to visit.  Those visits were actually at my grandmothers house.  He was young and had really no idea how to take care of a 4 year old girl so my grandmother filled in.  She made the time I spent away from my mom special, with microwave cinnamon and sugar donuts and instant oatmeal.  To this day when I smell a packet of oatmeal I think of her.  Her and I were together a lot and she masked the awkwardness of having parents who were divorced.

My Mom remarried and I attended school where my step-dad worked as the principal.  I remember feeling out of place especially when there were questions asking who my real Dad was and if Mr Beetzel wasn’t my Dad then why did I live with him.  After awhile everything blended together and it became easier to call him Dad instead of fielding questions.  This was 1980 and divorce was not as popular as it is today.  In fact I can not remember another classmate in the same situation.

Growing up I was insecure.  I felt like I was always on the outside looking in.  I had a broken family and I was the only product of it.   I had curly hair, was over weight at times and very little athletic ability.

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As an adult I struggled with the same issues.  When a job presented itself I tackled it.  I worked till I mastered the expectations.  Even when I was performing at the best of my ability I still felt I wasn’t smart enough.  I wasn’t professional enough or capable enough.

Being a wife and a mother are the best things that ever happened to me.  Year after year my confidence grew and I felt a real purpose.  I had a husband and children who needed me.  It was a 35 year journey to get where I am today but I made it.  I am still building the confidence that I should have had years ago but I can finally say I am happy with where I am.

So what does “Changing the Face of Beauty” mean to me?  It means opportunity for my young self to really feel a part of something.  I  feel like imagery dictates to all young people what is beautiful and worthy as well as what is not.  I grew up in a middle class family and  I was never exposed to peers who had differences outside of straight or curly hair.  It was not until high school that I met classmates with a different skin color.  I believe the face of beauty teaches us value in others and in ourselves.  I came from a different background then you but what is considered beautiful dictates value for all of us.

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My dream for “Changing the Face of Beauty” is that it grows into something really realistic. That everyone wakes up in the morning and feels like they are seen in this big world.  I want insecurities to turn into possibilities.  I want people to be able to over come feeling inadequate before they are 35.  I believe “Changing the Face of Beauty” provides that possibility and that is why it is so important to me personally.

As a Mom of 6…….I had a conversation with a good friend of mine recently.  We were talking about how it feels to put our feelings out there and really write about the truth.  To put away the “sunny side up” and tell a story honestly.  We both concurred that its hard.  Almost too hard.  At times we feel like others might think we are weak or not good enough which can be scary for anyone.  But I said to her,  ”I am petrified sometimes of writing or being in positions where I am expected to speak on the behalf of my children’s  future or anyones future for that matter.  Sometimes I don’t want to say what I really feel for fear of being judged or saying the wrong thing.  The one person that grounds me is my daughter.  I know that every time I am feeling uneasy or scared of not being liked I remind myself of my daughters future and how she will have to over come those perceptions every single time she steps into a new social situation.”

My daughter will be judged every time she walks into a room and some day she will feel that.   With that thought “Changing the Face of Beauty” will always have a broader meaning.  I will work diligently to make sure people see everyone clearly so that when a young women with almond eyes walks into the room she will be looked at with optimism and the uncomfortable space will be filled with a hand shake and an everyday conversation.  ”Changing the Face of Beauty” to me can offer that to all of us.  The more we see diversity the more comfortable we become with everyone.

2015 is different.  Thousands of families across the world called out company after company asking for their loved one, friend or neighbor to be seen.  They stood up and said #imready.  Because of them marketing firms are listening, 37 companies have committed to using models with disabilities in their advertising and big box retailers are discussing what is next.   Its exciting and it is needed.

I hope “Changing the Face of Beauty” can continue to push the envelope, but not without your help.

I am asking you to continue to ask your retailers to include everyone in their future advertising.  I also hope you take the time to share with all of us what “Changing the Face of Beauty” means to you.  Why it is important to your future?  Your child’s future?  Your neighbors future?  Why is it important to have a realistic beauty all around us?

Please share here or on any social media platform and tag us at #changingthefaceofbeauty.  We can’t wait to hear your stories!

Lets make this happen!  Lets remind ourselves and our friends how important this is to our world.

To purchase a “Changing the Face of Beauty” shirt you can check out our shop.

OXOX Katie

History was made

We are back from NYC and stuck in a snow drift.  Well not really, but it is super cold and there are drifts of white stuff everywhere.  There were lots of oooo’s and ahhhh’s while we watched the snow fall last night and it felt good to know we are safe and sound, surrounded by good friends and lots of food….necessities right?   As I replay the memories  made over the past week.  It’s all really really good.

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We arrived in NYC to meet my Dad and head out to the hotel to meet the lady of the week!  Yes, Ms Jamie Brewer and her Mom were staying in our hotel to make things easier to connect.  We all had butterflies.  Looking forward to spending time with a real celebrity.  It was amazing to watch my son Liam ask her about the show she is an actress in American Horror Story as well as asking her about who she knew and what it was like to be a famous.  Jamie’s personality is peppy and she is so gracious.  She and her Mom made us all feel extremely comfortable and welcome.

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Thursday we arrived early to the show and made sure we were settled before everyone hit the runway.  What an experience to be there during fashion week.  Chatting with photographers and press waiting in line to get into one of the hottest shows of the week.  That moment when you walk in with 200 other people and see Carries logo at the start of the runway with huge video projection on the wall was mind blowing.  It was all happening.  We were really going to witness the first young women with Down syndrome on the runway and better yet we KNEW her.  That moment is one I will never forget.

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I looked down at Grace as she was jamming in her chair to the music being pumped through the room.  She had no idea what this moment meant but I was taking mental notes so that I could explain it to her some day.  I want her to know that moment and really feel it when she is older.  I want her to know that in the moment a beautiful young women that happens to have Down syndrome walked the runway as an equal.  She walked with other beautiful women who were equally as successful as her.  This moment had nothing to do with Down syndrome and everything to do with “role model”.  She is a “role model” to every young women, girl and baby in this world with one extra chromosome.  They can all now aspire to be a runway model.  They all know now that it is possible.  Anything is possible and that feels really good.

NYFW from katie driscoll on Vimeo.

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I met up with a wonderful friend on Wednesday evening.  My friend Becky also has a disability.  As we were talking about what this show might bring the next day I flat out asked her if she every felt the under represented in the media growing up.  She told me thinking about it now she never even expected to see herself in advertising because she knew she was not going to be seen there.  As I heard her say that it confirmed how important it is to change this.  It is almost a feeling of not being worthy of being seen, a fear I have had for my daughter since the beginning.  It is now not ok to continue  to not represent everyone.  Because of Carrie Hammer the decisions of inclusion will be easier.

It was pretty difficult to read through social media this week and not see articles about the history made at New York Fashion Week.  That means advertising executives have been influenced.  Company owners and marketing departments are reconsidering their role in this media inclusion and I am pretty confident you are going to be seeing a whole lot of change over the coming months and beyond.  People are waking up to a new challenge to provide representation to all families, to all people.  There is no one size fits all here.  That is what makes our world unique.

I will be dwelling on the moment Jamie walked on to that runway for along time.  The moment she threw her arms up and really owned the moment for herself and everyone else living with a disability.  The moment was hers from the beginning.  She was the one who was supposed to charm the crowd and the press.  She is the future and I am so so proud to know that she will carry a little piece of Grace in her heart as she changes perceptions in everything she does.  I talk about game changers all the time, she is a game changer and there is a new standard for people with Down syndrome because of her confidence and grace.  She is a role model to not only my daughter but to me as well.

I have said it over and over the last couple of days but “Go Jamie Go”!  Get out there and grab the opportunities presented to you and show them what is possible.   As for Carrie Hammer I send so much gratitude to you and your team for providing a platform for change.  For recognizing now only people living with disabilities but all women who walk with confidence and work hard to change the world every day.

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I hope you take the time to let them know what this moment meant to you.  You do not have to have a disability or even know someone with a disability to really appreciate what happened this past thursday.  Change came for everyone and the standards of what is beautiful are now just a little more realistic.  All because Carrie took that chance on “Role Models” and not “Runway Models”.

OXOX Katie

NYC Fashion Week here we come!

Bags are packed and there are butterflies swarming in my stomach.  Liam, Grace and I will be heading out for a quick but meaningful trip to the “Big Apple” for Fashion Week.  I am honored to be attending Carrie Hammers runway show.  You might remember her from this show she held just one year ago.  Since then Carrie has continued to use “Role Models” instead of runway models.  This year is extra special because she picked a beauitful “Role Model” for my daughter Grace.

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Jamie Brewer from American Horror Story will be walking the runway wearing one of Carries custom fit 2015 designs.  All sounds like no big deal right but it is a very big deal because  Jamie shares one thing in common with my daughter and that is an extra chromosome.  Jamie also has Down syndrome.  So that means history will be made Thursday morning as she steps onto that runway.  She will be the first and only young women with Down syndrome to walk in New York City Fashion week.  Pretty amazing right?Untitled-1 copy 4Q3B7076 copy

This show is so much bigger then my daughter.  Carrie is giving thousands of young women with Down syndrome or any disabiltiy something to aspire too.  She is giving them all a “role model” reminding them once again that anything and everything is possible.

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You might be wondering how this all went down?  Well I will tell you.  Shortly after Dr. Danielle Sheypuk who happens to be in a wheelchair hit the runway I reached out to Carrie.  That moment was a game changer for me.  I knew in that instant that change was possible and there were a lot of people working to bring that change about.  Here is what I said.

“Hi Carrie!

I had to write! Thank you for being the change that is long over due. I could literally cry every time I read an article talking about your decision to include a model who just happens to have a disability! YOU are what this world needed!

I am a mom of 6 children 5 boys and 1 amazing girl. 4 years ago my daughter was born with 1 tiny extra chromosome and because of that she has a diagnosis of Down syndrome. I made a decision to change the perception of beauty when I as given the gift of Grace. I taught myself photography to not only share my daughter but others who happen to be living with a disability in hopes that designers and advertisers like yourself would notice and make a change through inclusion of all people regardless of their diagnosis.

A friend of mine and I co-founded a campaign called changingthefaceofbeauty.org where we continue to write and encourage advertisers to take the chance. You have just made our job so much easier. Now I can reference such an amazing event as the 2014 NYFW where Carrie Hammer included a model who just happened to be in a wheelchair on the runway along side everyone else.

Thank you for changing perceptions and opening eyes to see the beauty in your products and people. You have opened up new opportunity for my daughter as well as all people who are living with a disability. I believe to my core that these decisions have a direct impact on the communication needed to show this world that the disability community is capable. Once people realize that acceptance will start to grow and foster opportunity and employment. Something we desperately need.”

Carrie and I have exchanged many emails since this one and I am happy to say we have become friends.  I am sharing this for a lot of reasons.  The first would be that I am extremely proud to make this memory with my son and daughter so that I can remind them to keep dreaming their dreams because sometimes they do come true.  The next reason is a reminder that all it took was one email.  Sometimes words on a computer screen can bring people together from across the country and completely change perceptions.  The third reason is that I am so proud of the community of women I work with every day to really bring media and advertising inclusion to the forefront.  Each and everyone of them are a huge part of this amazing story.

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So I am signing off……I will be posting on Instagram over the next couple of days!  I hope to keep you all in tune as Jamie prepares to WOW the crowd!  So excited and thankful for her and her family.  Thursday this young women will make history.  Thank you Jamie for giving us all someone to look up to!

OXO Katie

Its the little things…..

So Chicago is covered in a beautiful blanket of snow, DEEP snow.  It has required “over time” on snow removal and my husband and boys have thankfully taken the lead on that.  The weather makes you want to click the door lock and do a whole lot of baking cookies and laying around in an afghan neither of which should I be doing.  I have felt quite hermit like, which isn’t really unusual so I should say I have felt a little more hermit like this week.

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Anyway I had a meeting yesterday.  One big boy home sick (or we could say with morning sickness because all was fine when the bell for school rung) so I could scoot out with just Grace for an afternoon meet and great that was long over due.  I have been searching for the right person to help me with some set designing for some shoots and well I came across the sweetest flower shop and the rest is history.  So I trudged out through the snow with my girl.  I thought about texting to see if I could bring coffee but with the weather I didn’t have time.  So off we went, a little off kilter, I must say because this lady (me) rarely leaves the house without a pass through McDonalds for a large coffee with 2 creams but I decided it was ok to take this trip with an empty hand.

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We arrived to the most beautiful little spot and Grace proudly walked in, waiting for us was the person I have been looking forward to connecting with.  As we walked in she greeted us and invited us back to this big old table covered with beautiful spring blooms, gorgeous vintage green glass bowls and vases soon to be filled with her creations.  ( You had me at hello)  She pointed to a cozy chair with a cup of hot vanilla chi tea.  Yes, made especially for me.  So we chatted about what I needed, her flowers and how we might be able to help each other out.  All of it.  I am going to be honest here.  I could have stayed all afternoon.  My girl climbed up next too me and we poured her a couple sips of the same warm tea…..you see where this story is going don’t you?  I am talking about the feeling you feel when someone does something so personal just especially for you.  Like brewing you a warm cup of tea just because she thought you could use one.  That.  I felt it.  A feeling I haven’t felt in along time.

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Most of the time we ask.  Can I help you out?  Is there anything I can do?  Can I pick you up a cup of coffee?  Sound familiar?  She took it to the next level and just did.   If someone asked me if they could get me a cup of coffee I would come up with every reason why I don’t want to put them out.  All the way down to I am not worth the $2.50 a cup might cost.  At the end of the day that feeling of someone just doing something special and unexpected for you, that is where the feeling really is.

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So I took my own advice.  I paid the feeling forward.  I myself got caught up in the “hey can I watch your kids or bring you anything” when my own friend was in the hospital.  Since I hang in similar company of course she said “thank you so much for asking but I will let you know.  I will be ok.”  So the week went by and she was on my mind but until that cup of tea I didn’t realize how much she too needed to feel that “your important to me” feeling.  Everyone needs it.  So last night I went to the store and packed a bag of all my favorite things.  Things that make me feel like all is well and going to be ok and I dropped it by her house.

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Selfishly I probably got more out of the gesture.  The feeling of giving that feeling that I felt back to someone else.  I just wanted her to know that I get it.  I am a mom too.  If you have not read this essay read it.  It stands for so many situations in life.  We as moms, daughters, sisters and mothers get it.  Even when we don’t think we do.  We really have it.

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I have come across a precious girl who is fighting for her life after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  I can’t spot thinking and praying for this beautiful girl and her family.  If you are on Instagram check in with them and if you feel comfortable let them know you are  sending healing thoughts as well.  She is the only sister to a slew of 5 brothers.  Everything was alright and then everything wasn’t.  Life is short, quick and scary sometimes.  It goes by too fast not to make sure that everyone in your life feels how much they matter to you.  You can find them here.

TGIF friends.

OXOXO Katie

 

Its easy to give up….

I decided to really take my health and put it in the forefront this year.  Maybe it is a New Years resolution and maybe not, but one thing I know for sure is it needs to happen.  40 years are catching up to me.  I am tired, the glow in my skin is…..well not glowing, and my midsection is quite a few inches bigger then it used to me.  All those things equally frustrating.  I have tried different diets, exercises, and google searches to get to the bottom of it.  I even have the greatest friend who literally takes time out of her day to evaluate exactly what I am putting in my mouth. Don’t laugh because I need all of these things to get off home plate.

So with all that and along with a fitbit logging 15,000 steps a day you would think I am on the road to success and that would be incorrect.  I am failing miserably and I am frustrated with myself and the process.  Geez….I don’t ever remember having to work this hard and I had 6 kids.  Honestly I have thought about throwing in the towel but I know long term it won’t work for me.  I feel better when I take care of myself but for some crazy reason I won’t carve out the time to make sure taking care of myself is successful.

So I am not throwing in the towel (yet).  Atleast not this week.  I logged my steps and paid attention to what I put in my mouth all day.  I am mentally exhausted thinking about it but tonight I am patting myself on the back.  It is kind of like quitting smoking.  (Yes, I did that too) I would tell myself that today there would be no smoking and then I would tell myself the same thing the next day and if I fell off I would go right back to the beginning and it worked.  So tomorrow is a new day.  Tomorrow there will be no candy bars or chips…..ok well there won’t be those extra snacks and and I WILL log those steps even if I am tired.

I am going to take the road of, I believe in myself.  I can do big things.  When I am rocking that one piece this summer it will feel good. HA or at least it won’t feel bad.  New Years resolutions are not for me.  I think I need daily resolutions, I mess up and I need the motivation to get right back on and try again.  So anyone out there with good advise outside of counting your calories (my dear friend helps me with that) send them my way.  There is always strength in numbers and I need more strength.  What are your tricks?  I probably know them but it feels good to hear them from others.  Oh and don’t forget….you are worth it.  We are all no where without good healthy bodies, that is what I am telling myself!

This past week a foot of snow was dumped on the midwest which resulted in a snow day perfectly placed right after super bowl sunday!  More time to recover from a long weekend and spend time running up and down a sledding hill.  Here is our weekend…..

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eating apples brings JOY to all of us.

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snow day and donut day are the same thing in our house.

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Graces 2015 ride down the snow hill.  She’s good until next year.

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Sunsets and sleds make for a perfectly happy family. 

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Afternoons in our house are my absolute favorite.

Heres to looking out for ourselves.  Taking time to eat well and take care of our bodies and to not give up. (I am not giving up, today!)

OX Katie

SUPER BOWL EXCITEMENT!

TGIF! in all caps! That is how I feel this friday morning as I sip my coffee and prepare to inspire my 3 home schoolers.  I had to stop in and let you all in on some major excitement!  I had to let you know that a sweet little friend of mine and her family will be in a McDonalds commercial this Sunday during the 2nd quarter of the SUPER BOWL!

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I will back up!  Months ago a friend and I were talking about big wins in the advertising world and she blurted out…..”Commercial during the SUPER BOWL, imagine how amazing that would be!” What Kelle was talking about was how cool it would be to see a child with a disability in a Super Bowl ad.  To clarify….. not an ad promoting an organization or a certain disability just an ad with ordinary people of ALL abilities.  The type of commercial you really have to look at.  Like hit pause and go to the screen and say to yourself is that a leg brace or wheelchair?  Or wait does that child have Down syndrome.  You get where I am going with this right?  An ad that communicates the, “Hey we all living in this world together.”  That ad.

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So as Sunday was approaching I started thinking about that ad and how we missed the mark this year but there is always next year.  I had put it on my bucket list the second she said it.  I assured myself that THIS would happen, next year.  So yesterday as I was minding my own business painting my living room I get a text from my friend Holly who happens to be Graces Mom.  She said,

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“Wanted you to be the first to know…Gracie, my son and husband are gong to be in a McDonalds commercial Super Bowl Sunday, second quarter of the game…how crazy!! Long story but they went to mcdonalds one day for breakfast, dinner can’t remember and mcdonalds was there filming. Only 13 families picked out of a lot…so excited!”

Yes…..that!  It still gives me goosebumps to read.  It happened all by itself.

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I immediately FLIPPED!  Paint dried up as I texted back and forth, announced on social media and told my husband about 100 times, “OMG Tom, this is it, the Super Bowl!”

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There are so many reasons this is awesome.  The first of course would be that I KNOW THIS FAMILY and I have had the opportunity to photograph this gorgeous girl.  I know first hand how beautiful she is and can 110% understand why they chose her and her family.

The second reason would be the MOST amazing.  You see she was picked out of a crowd standing there with her burger or pancakes.  Mc Donalds saw the perfect “hamburger and fry eating girl”.  This had nothing to do with that magical extra chromosome she happens to have.  This had everything to do with her and her brother just being kids.

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The third reason!  ahhhhhh……this commercial is about the customers that go to McDonalds!  YES!  The people who walk through their doors every.single.day and order up a coffee or a big mac and eat!  Through this commercial they are telling their consumers that they really see ALL of us.  None of us are invisible!  We are there, we are represented, because  Grace is there.  She stands in for one of the largest minorities in the world.  McDonalds is telling the world through their imagery that they value the 225 BILLION dollars that is spent yearly by people living with disabilities.

This is such a breath of fresh air.  This is where advertising is going and should be going.  A huge win for the world.  This is a perfect little step in the right direction.

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So I for one will be GLUED to the TV this sunday celebrating with my family and friends but I will be that person who will freeze that commercial and confirm my friend Gracie is on that screen.  I will be replaying that commercial just to relish in that huge win for all of us.  I will be the one sending a thank you note to McDonalds to let them know that I noticed and I appreciate them not ignoring the thousands of people living with disabilities eating at their restaurant.

I encourage you to do that same because guess what they READ them!!  You can reach them right here. or better yet TWEET them during the game! here

How fun would it be to see people from all over the country Tweeting McDonalds in honor of Grace and her family! LETS DO IT!

Have the most wonderful weekend you guys and I hope you are all playing the air guitar and doing some high kicks with me in celebration of a little girl and her family who are “changing the face of beauty” just being them!

And here they are! McDonalds Commercial!

OXOX Katie

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