Meet Annie.

I have one amazing lady to introduce you guys to today!! We actually 'met' though my Mom, she told her to check out my blog :) haha. Thanks for pimping me out Mommy! I hopped over to read her blog after she emailed me and I was amazed at not just her healthy lifestyle, but her obvious love and dedication to her family. We are obviously long lost friends, her house is just as full of color and fun as mine, I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!! I hope you all are as inspired by Annie as I am.

Hi Everyone!  I am so honored that Skinny Meg has asked me to guest blog today!  I don't even know where to start so I guess I will spill it all for you!!

I blog over at House That Jade Built.  

I originally became a blogger to share my love all things decorating & to share my house with others, since then my blog has transformed time and time again because in the past 2 years I have turned into a totally brand new person.

I am a wife & Mom of 3.  If you would have asked me in 2010 where I would be today, I wouldn't have placed myself in this position at all.  You see a few years ago I thought I had my life all figured out, when in fact God was about to give me a huge slice of humble pie.

On October 4th, 2010 at 20 weeks pregnant my husband & I found out that our 3rd child had many markers for Down Syndrome & a serious heart defect, which we would have to wait to know the exact details of 3 weeks later.  She actually had what is called an AV Canal which is essentially a huge hole in the center of her chest.  She would need open heart surgery at some point after her birth.  October 4th, 2010 - that's the day our world shattered around us.  Hopes and dreams for our 3rd child were crushed & we were left with the what ifs & scared to death she may not survive heart surgery - so we went home and tiled the tub surround for stress relief.  Yes -that is how we operate around here - when stressed - work it out.

We never knew for certain if our child had Down Syndrome because we never had an amnio, but we were fairly certain she did.  The rest of my pregnancy was a true test of faith and our marriage.  Fortunately, my husband was my rock & my number one supporter.  That time in my life is honestly a blur - I know I put up a really good front during the day & sobbed at night far too often which now I'm slightly embarrassed about but none the less...  

We delivered Ollie Faith February 10th, 2011 in St. Louis at a major hospital because our local rural one in Illinois just was not equipped to handle her.  She was perfect.  I distinctly remember seeing her face, KNOWING she had Down Syndrome, and starting to cry.  My heart was broken all over again for that brief moment in time, and then she smiled.  She honest to goodness smiled at me when I held her for the first time, and it all melted away.  She was perfect.  She was mine.  

The next four days she spent in a step down unit & we were able to take her home on Valentine's day.  The appointments from then on out were endless.  Meeting with her pediatrician, cardiologist, Down Syndrome clinic, endocrinologist, nutritionist, early intervention...it goes on an on.

Within a month she was in heart failure.  She struggled to gain weight, and I was packing it on.  The month before her heart surgery she gained a whopping 4 ounces.  Our only success up until this point is I was able to get her to nurse which in the Down Syndrome community was a huge win in itself.  She showed her extreme tenacity because she refused all bottles until she was 13 months old!  She still flexes this muscle often!!

The day before her 4 month birthday, the day before I turned 29 we handed her over to surgeons for open heart surgery.  It was by far the hardest day of our lives.  I am ever thankful for that experience, but pray we never go through it again.

She sailed through in true rock star fashion.  She was in surgery for roughly 5 hours as they fixed 2 holes and a valve in her strawberry sized heart.  Then we got to see her.  The first day was incredibly hard to watch as we tried to figure out how to manage her pain.  On day 4 she got out of the crib and I was able to nurse her - as good if not better than the day she was born - I'm telling you - it was awesome!  On day 5 she came home on merely Tylenol.

Since then she has shown us so much about life!  She is a fighter, she is special but NOT because she has special needs - she is special because she has the ability to do anything she wants.  When you are around her, it's like she has some extra sparkle the rest of us weren't given - it's hard to put into words honestly.  She is stubborn, and she is just like our other two children.  She is really kick ass amazing.

One month after her surgery I took a good long look in the mirror and saw what was unrecognizable.  A 29 year old Mom & wife that felt young & free, but looked much older than she was.  I was borrowing my Mom's jeans.  I was a size 14 (I was typically a size 8/10).  I was miserable & had clearly eaten my way through her surgery.

July 2011

On July 11th, 2011 I took my life back with the help of a dear friend & my fitness coach.  I joined a group of ladies on facebook in a private accountability group & got started.  I won't lie it was hard some days & I was full of excuses.  One morning the light bulb went off in my head & I realized Oh My God - only I can do this!  Eff!!!!!

That was the day it changed.  I got serious about my workouts & I got serious about my nutrition.  I started eating clean, and I worked out daily.  I tackled TurboFire then P90X all home programs through Beachbody.  In six months time I went from a size 14 to a size 6 and my after pictures blew my mind.  I was so mad at my husband for not telling me how great I looked - seriously husbands - you need to tell us - how else do we know!?  

January 2012

So I kept going, and kept going.  Today I'm going on 2 years of fitness & nutrition.  I am down to a size 2/4 which I NEVER dreamed would be possible after 3 babies so close in age!  I have lost 38 pounds!  And I'm not just skinny, I'm fit, I'm strong, I lift weights!  I entered my before & after photos in the Beachbody challenge & now I am up to win $100,000!!  I actually find out on May 16th if I am a finalist!

These are my newest photos that were taken for my Beachbody submission!   If I can do it anyone can!!

I now pay it forward & help others get started & reach their goals by coaching others for free.  If you are interested in learning how email me at areid54@yahoo.com or friend me on Facebook 


  1. Thank you for sharing your amazing story. Proof that we can get through anything.


  2. Wow fantastic, you have done great. You have a beautiful family. You are now one of my inspirations, of course Skinny Meg is too :).

  3. What an inspiration!! Thank you for sharing her story!

  4. WOW! Just WOW! Totally inspiring. I want to go workout right NOW!

  5. What a great guest post!! She is soooo inspiring!!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Great post, Annie! Your daughter was actually born a day before mine. I had my daughter, Mia, on Feb 11, 2012 at 4 in the morning. This just goes to show how strong you are. Even though you were going through all of the tests and everything with your daughter, you were changing yourself as well.
    Thanks Meg for sharing Annie with us!

  7. Wow! What an amazing transformation but even more amazing is your faith in God. What a sweet little blessing you have there! I hope you win!!!

  8. OMG!!!! Thanks Skinny Meg for sharing. I just joined her FB page and sent her an email! Just another person to keep me motivated. Thanks again! YOu Rock!

  9. WOW!!! What an amazing transformation. LOOK AT THAT BODY!! Also, amazing story with the baby girl. So thankful it turned out how it did. Almost couldn't bare to read it dreading the outcome but glad I did.

  10. Oh man...this post brought me to tears. This woman is so amazingly strong and she looks so great! Her and her family are exactly the reason why I want to go into medicine...these little babies are miracles and the special needs babies really do have that extra sparkle. They force us to pull out all our strength and become more than we thought before.

    Wow. Just wow. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Oh, yeah and she helped her mom lose 45 lbs. and go from a fatsize 14 to a 6. Thanks Annie and Beachbody.
    Annie's mom

  12. Amazing story. Annie looks wonderful and I am so happy her baby is ok.

  13. Holy shit!!! Im sitting here fighting back my tears because my hubby is sitting next to me & he'll ba all like....really, babe, really. Lol. You look amazing! And to me, you weren't that big. I am you...who you USED to be & I want to be where you are NOW! I just spent all day trying on size 12s &14s & wanted to puke. My baby is 7 months old. I'm working my butt off.....well kind of....I get serious for a week or two & then fall down & then get up again. Two weeks ago I ran a straight 2.5 miles without walking & I bawled my eyes out. You can read about it on my blog browneyedgem.com. I had the "high!". It was the best feeling in the world.....like I can do anything. I want that feeling every day.
    What a great guest post!! Can't wait to get to know you!!
    Brooklyn @ Brown Eyed Gem

  14. What an amazing story! I now follow her on Bloglovin! Love that she's a Central IL girl like me!

  15. Amazing transformation!

  16. Thanks all for your comments & support - I have been loving the emails & can't wait to chat with you all!

    *skinny meg - please note my Mom is now on your page pimping me out some more*

    **I think our Moms may also be long lost bffs**

  17. What a great story; how inspiring!! Annie you look amazing & deserve your results!!


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