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In a world where our phones are constantly blasting us alerts about troubling news it is good to remember that there are good news stories happening in our world, too. At Motherly, we like to keep track of these for you to give you a little boost when you need one, mama.

It's no secret that splitting up is never easy or simple—and it all just gets more complicated when there are children in the mix.

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Of course, it reaches a whole new level of complexity when you factor in new partners, too. But blending a family is possible and if you can do it well, it's a pretty beautiful thing. Just ask Madison Holley, a mom who is going viral after posting a truly heartwarming photo of her own blended family.

The post, which was shared to Love What Matters' Facebook page , shows two men walking hand-in-hand with a young boy as one of the men carries a newborn in a car seat. The photo itself is quite powerful, but once you know the story behind it, it takes on a whole new meaning. The guy on the left is my ex, the 3-year-old holding his hand is my first child, Cade, we had together.

Madison's outlook on why this balancing act works is super impressive. Every child needs a mother and father figure and my son Cade just happens to get some extra love. Be civil and co-parent. If you made the child together it's both your job to raise the child. Of course, every blended family's situation is different—and some will have a much harder time with co-parenting than others—but we love this particular dynamic so much. And we're not the only ones: The image and message are going viral, with parents everywhere praising this blended family's ability to embrace one another.


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Madison isn't the only mom out there who has mastered co-parenting, but we are incredibly impressed by her outlook all the same. When Brenda Wetmore Giffen's adult daughter asked her if she could remake her wedding dress into a play tent for her daughter, the grandmother was not sure if it could be done. But Grandma came through and the stunning results have gone viral. Giffen posted her creation on Facebook six months ago, but the internet has been very excited about it this week, giving the story a second life, just like the wedding dress. As Giffen explains in her Facebook post, her daughter asked her if she could make a play tent, memory pillow, and maybe a garter and a tutu for the grandkids as an alternative to just storing the wedding dress.

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But once this grandmother got into the project she found herself loving the challenge and trying to figure out how many new items she could craft from one dress. I made two garters so that each granddaughter will have her own. It's not very likely that I'll be there for their weddings, but I hope they will give Grammy Giffen a thought on that day. I still have enough fabric and tulle to make a tutu for Elena's baby sister who is due in August.

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Jim helped with the engineering. We designed and he built stabilizers for the top and bottom of the tent, so it doesn't collapse on the girls while they are playing.

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It's been challenging, a little scary, lots of fun, and probably the major creative project of my lifetime! With all the attention this post has been getting Giffen added a note to her wedding dress story: She is now creating memory pillows and other keepsakes for other brides through her website.

Think back to when you were a kid. Chances are, you struggled to find a doll that really made you feel like you were accurately represented. Maybe all the toys on the shelf had a different body type than yours, or maybe they were all of a certain skin tone, one that didn't resemble your own. Or maybe you had a challenge of some sort, one that wasn't represented by the dolls you were seeing. Sure, we've come a long way since then: Toy manufacturers are finally realizing how important it is to represent diversity and inclusion in their products A California teacher understands this, and she recently stepped up to do something to make her students feel seen.

Genesis Politron works with hearing-impaired children, and she realized that while many of her students wear hearing devices, there were no dolls on the market that represented this. So Genesis did something incredible: She decided to create dolls that her students could see themselves in Genesis added cochlear implants and hearing aids to existing dolls so her children could see accurate representations of themselves in the toys. The dolls aren't just inclusive, they're also beautiful: Genesis used glitter and puff paint to increase the fun factor.

Genesis tweeted about the dolls and, not surprisingly, her post has gone viral. I wish everyone could see their faces playing with these," she writes. I wanted my students to have the same opportunity, and to be represented in the toys that they play with," Genesis tells CNN of her decision to create these dolls. I wanted to allow my students to see themselves in toys for once, to feel accepted.

The teacher also explains that her children tend to gravitate to the dolls that best reflect their own identities : The students with cochlear implants reach for the dolls with the same device, while those who use hearing aids play with the dolls with hearing aids. As parents, all we can hope for when we send our children out in the world is that someone like Genesis will touch their lives and make them feel special. This wonderful teachers' students are so lucky to have someone like her.

Jessica D'Entremont got 15 minutes of fame this month after her trick for getting a few minutes of quiet time before bedtime went viral. As she told Today, she came up with an innovative way to transition her daughters, Emma, 4, and Hannelore, 3, from playtime to bedtime. Tell them they have to lie really still under the light to 'charge' them She first pulled this "trick" on a day she knew her kids were super amped up and were going to have a hard time with the transition.

They loved it and thought it was great fun because they aren't quite old enough to grasp that we could see them due to the glow, even though they couldn't see their dad and I in the dark. Coffee is a wonderful thing. So are naps. But, ever wonder what would happen if you combined the two? A group of researchers in Japan did just that and found that coffee naps were more effective at combating daytime sleepiness than non-caffeine naps. Basically, when you combine coffee and a nap—you drink a cup and then get quick shut-eye— you can complete the first two stages of the sleep cycle in the same amount of time it takes for caffeine to be absorbed by your body.

The caffeine acts as a natural alarm, waking you up refreshed with more clarity and energy, ready to focus on the next activity. That afternoon slump you feel? It's real. Your blood sugar and energy start to dip after lunchtime. So does your core body temperature, triggering the release of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin.


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  5. This is part of your body's circadian rhythm that responds to environmental cues, like daytime and nighttime, and tells your body to feel sleepy or alert. The National Sleep Foundation says the optimal time for most people to nap is five hours after waking up. So, if you rise at 7am, your ideal nap time is 1pm yep, right after lunch. When you're awake, the neurons in your brain produce adenosine , a byproduct of brain activity that is constantly monitored by your nervous system.

    When high enough levels are reached, adenosine plugs into receptors to make you feel tired. Caffeine is chemically similar to this compound and fits into the receptors that are normally filled by the adenosine, effectively blocking them and tricking your body into thinking that it's not yet time for sleep. A sleep cycle is comprised of four stages and takes about 90 minutes to complete, making that the perfect amount of time for a nap.

    Pilates is also effective in easing chronic lower back pain and preventing future back pain and injuries. The mental benefits of Pilates include an increase in the ability to focus. It takes a great deal of concentration to coordinate your breath and body position during workouts. A clear mind also reduces stress levels, which translates to an improvement in your overall health. Pilates is great for individuals of all fitness levels. People who enjoy yoga but may be looking for a more vigorous core workout can benefit from Pilates, as they both incorporate similar mind-clearing techniques.

    Pilates is great for people who desire a full-body workout during each class. Though an intense fitness method, Pilates provides an effective workout with minimal impact on the joints.


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    A popular workout program that is rapidly gaining recognition and followers is the barre method. This fitness program is essentially a mixture of ballet-inspired exercises, yoga and Pilates. Barre derives from the Lotte Berk Method founded in in London by its namesake, a German dancer looking to stay fit while nursing a back injury. While an intense and effective workout method, no previous dance experience is required. The barre method is accepting of all fitness and ability levels.

    Muscles are worked to the point of fatigue, and then stretched for relief. Proper form, body alignment and posture is stressed, which in turn leads to an overall strengthening of core muscles and the appearance of an aligned, lean body. It can be quite intense, with classes lasting on average 60 minutes. Increased stamina is achieved by allowing very little rest between activities so muscles stay engaged. Barre workouts require minimal equipment. Sometimes a soft exercise ball may be used during leg workouts.

    If you are taking classes in a studio, the required equipment will most likely be provided for you.

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    If you are working out at home, bars can be purchased for home use. You may prefer to be barefoot or purchase socks with grips on the bottom. As with all other workouts, having a water bottle and towel nearby is helpful. It incorporates the use of upbeat music and engaging choreography. When working out is fun and enjoyable, your chances of staying with the program greatly increase. The barre method also offers quick results. Barre helps strengthen and tone your muscles without increasing bulk, and it improves your posture.