Category: being a mom

Nuby Product Review

NUBY product review http://chasingayden.com/nuby

Recently, I partnered with Nuby as a part of their Parenting Blogger Program. They are one of the leading baby-swag companies, and I have been asked to review a few of their products. One of the reasons I decided to work with this company, is because they truly value quality, and pay great attention to detail when it comes to the gadgets they make for our littles, and that is really important to me. We have tried each of the items below, and currently are still happily using them all. (I will post links to each item below my reviews. These are affiliate links, which means you help my family by purchasing from the links. ūüôā )

Happy Hands Teething MittenNuby Happy Hands Teething Mitten REVIEW http://chasingayden.com/nuby Nuby Happy Hands Teething Mitten REVIEW http://chasingayden.com/nuby Nuby Happy Hands Teething Mitten REVIEW http://chasingayden.com/nuby

Dear Nuby, This. Is. Genius. This might be my favorite of all of the products I am reviewing! Let’s start with the design. This teether is made of baby paper and BPA-free textured silicone. It velcros on to your baby’s hand, which is great when they aren’t quite able to grab or hold on to a toy. As you can see from the photo above, Frankie¬†loves this nifty little gadget.

Link: Nuby Happy Hands Teether on Amazon

Bath CrayonsNuby Bath Crayons product REVIEW http://chasingayden.com/nuby Nuby Bath Crayons product REVIEW http://chasingayden.com/nubyNuby Bath Crayons product REVIEW http://chasingayden.com/nuby

Any of you who know me personally, know that Ayden has an affinity for drawing on walls. (If you don’t know me personally, you should ask me about ‘the sharpie incident’.) So naturally I¬†had to get these Nuby bath crayons for my girl. And I will say this; they were a hit! I will also say this; Ayden went to¬†town on our bathtub and glass door, but hey! At least it wasn’t sharpie!

Link: Bath Crayons on Amazon

Little SquirtsNuby Little Squirts Bath Toys product REVIEW http://chasingayden.com/nuby

What would bath-time be without bath-toys! We love these Nuby Little Squirts toys! Ayden has hoarded the majority of them because naturally they make great pets for her Barbies, (yes there are Barbies in her bathtub). Frankie basically puts them in her mouth to chew on (hello, teething), but that’s just fine since they are BPA-free. These are a great addition to bathtime; two thumbs up!

Link: Little Squirts bath toys on Amazon

*For your peace of mind, we do actually test out each product that companies submit to us for review. And as you probably have noticed, I rarely dedicate blog posts for product review, so you can trust that I will always give it to you straight. 

xo, Em

30 Day No-Yell Challenge

Recently, my husband (gently) let me know that I am ‘a yeller’. I don’t like admitting this or sharing it publicly because who wants to be a yeller?! (Not me). But the fact remains that sometimes, when I feel frustrated or unheard or backed in to a corner by my opinionated 5 year old, I raise my voice. It is effective in that she typically submits when I reach that point, however, it is also met with fear. And then her fear is met with my own guilt. Kind of an ugly cycle.

If you struggle with yelling at your children, take on this 30-day, No-Yell Challenge with a community of other mamas. http://chasingayden.com/30-day-no-yell-challenge

I grew up in a loud house. There were 4 of us, and we are all talkers. Things often got loud-very loud. It was almost as if in order to be ‘heard’, you¬†had to be loud. No one is to blame for this, it is just the way things were. After Mike pointed out my yell-y ways, I started reflecting on this. I am not in the business of pointing fingers and placing blame, but I¬†do have a genuine interest in understanding¬†why things are the way they are. I find it to be helpful in breaking less-than-desirable habits or patterns.

At a baby shower on Sunday, I sat with a friend I trust, and admitted to her that I am a yeller, but that I no longer¬†want to be a yeller. To my surprise, she disclosed that she too is a yeller. I was kind of relieved, because this is a fellow mama who I admire and respect. I felt like less of a schmuck to be in such good company. It didn’t change the fact that I still had this character defect to sort out, but it did remind me that I am not alone in this. We pinky-promised that ‘just for today’, we would not yell at our children.

On Monday I realized I hadn’t raised my voice once, on Sunday. It got me thinking about the power of accountability. It also got me thinking about how I was going to potentially break myself of this yelling business. I started thinking of ways I could divert myself from yelling. Here are a few ideas I have come up with:

  • When I feel like yelling, I could actually say “I feel like yelling”. Sometimes labeling the behavior takes the power out of it.
  • I could find ways to be accountable to my family, by letting them know that I don’t want to be a yeller anymore. I could employ them to help me break the habit.
  • I could sing out instead of yelling–like¬†literally sing. (A suggestion from my fellow yeller mama on Sunday).
  • Instead of repeating myself to the point of anger, I could set an immediate consequence for my child, thus averting the need to yell.
  • I could employ other mamas to take on a 30 day, no-yell challenge with me. ūüėČ

So this brings me to that final idea… After learning that a mama who I have often placed on a pedestal, was actually struggling with the same issues as me, it made me realize there are probably a lot of us who don’t like how we feel when we raise our voices in anger.¬†I heavily rely on my mama community for so many other areas of support; why not this too?

‘They’ say it takes 30 days to create a good habit, so I have decided to challenge myself to a 30 day no-yell challenge. And I am inviting anyone who wants to, to join this challenge. My only rule for myself in taking on this challenge, is to forgive myself when I fall short (because it is bound to happen), and to continue with the 30 days no matter what. Awareness leads to willingness, and willingness leads to the ability to change. If this speaks to you at all, I hope you will join me!

See you on the quiet-side!

xo, Em

 

Discovering I Am Not Less of a Mom; PART 2

Hello my friends! I had to write this post not only as a necessary update to you, but also so I never forget this special time in my life!

Let’s see… last we left off, I was discovering that I am not less of a mom raising an only child. I was totally blown away by the incredibly loving¬†and overwhelming response to that blog post. Writing about such a vulnerable subject left me feeling a bit exposed, and open for judgement. However, your comments, feedback, re-pins and all around support made me feel like that post–my story, had a real purpose. You reminded me that I am not alone, and reading your stories in response to mine, left me feeling totally connected and inspired. So THANK YOU for receiving my truth so lovingly.

Discovering I Am Not Less of A Mom; Part 2 http://chasingayden.com/part2

Writing that blog¬†post was therapeutic for me. At times I have gone back to re-read my own words. Not in a¬†self-obsessed kind of way, but so that I could remind myself of my own strength (and yours), in a sometimes challenging situation. But since then, some things have shifted and changed, and I just couldn’t keep this to myself, after you replied with so much of your own beautiful honesty. So here is the next chapter of that story, and a reminder that there is almost always a¬†next chapter, even when it seems like you’re at a dead-end.

In regards to coming to terms with having an only child, where I landed was in a place of acceptance, (for the most part). This may have not been ‘my plan’, but I have come to learn and know that life unfolds in unexpected ways, and often results in better outcomes than I could have imagined in the first place. So I backed off of the argument with my sweet husband, and refocused my energies on creating a beautiful, fun and meaningful childhood for our Ayden-girl. I looked for opportunities to be grateful for our little trio. And life sort of just resumed.

A year and several months passed, when (literally) suddenly in one week, I found out 10! – Yes, 10! friends were newly pregnant. Some with their first, others with their 2nd and a few with their 3rd. This put the count of currently pregnant friends up to 14, and counting. I was genuinely happy¬†for each friend, however many of the feelings I had struggled with before, resurfaced. I did not want these feelings¬†to resurface, in fact I tried to push them back down. But there they were, staring me square in the face. It felt very selfish to make anyone else’s pregnancy mean anything about ME, and I tried not to judge myself for it. But, I am human. And sometimes I am selfish and self-centered, and I knew I needed to address these feelings once again. (Cue eye roll).

A friend suggested I write my feelings down in the form of a letter, to my husband. It was a great solution and really took the drama out of an emotional situation. It had been a long while since we had even discussed the possibility of having another baby, and at this point I just wanted to share my truth that deep down, buried under a lot of soul-searching, I couldn’t deny my heart’s true desire. I typed the letter out, without trying to make it sound ‘good’. I didn’t care if it was well written, even though I am a total word-nerd. It just had to be honest and loving. I hit the ‘save’ button, and decided not to read it to him for a few weeks; when my emotions weren’t so intense.

Here is where the magic happens. Mind you, I never read that letter to Mike. I never even mentioned that I wrote it. The following week, on a Tuesday night, he came home from work bearing flowers for both me and Ayden, (he’s a keeper!). One of my love-languages I have discovered, is gifts, so this token of thoughtfulness was beyond appreciated. At dinner he made a strange comment to Ayden about becoming a big sister. I teared up, because my husband is not careless with his words. In fact, he is quite intentional, and wouldn’t dare to bring up such a sensitive topic if he couldn’t back it up with some action. Coupled with some other non-blog-appropriate actions earlier in the week, I knew something was up. I decided to let him broach the topic, in fear that perhaps I was imagining it all. Later that night, my amazing husband went on to tell me.. “So, I have been thinking…” I immediately interrupted, replying, “–Are we trying to have a baby!?” ¬†And you guessed it, ladies and gents, after all of this time, something–God; the Universe; All that is, had changed his heart. Prayers that I was afraid to say out-loud, had been answered.

I almost didn’t want to write this post, because I didn’t want to take away from my original post. I still firmly believe that even if Mike hadn’t had a change of heart, I wouldn’t be any less of a mom. But my hope is that this post–our story, might give someone else hope,¬†who is struggling to trust that there is a bigger plan for them in life, than merely what is in front of them at this moment. What I have learned from this journey, is that while I claim to be a spiritual person, I had created a limit on the capabilities of my god / higher power. I trusted in some areas, but not in the area of growing our family. It’s been very humbling, actually. It has forced me to go back and re-examine my relationship to my spirituality.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say is that we are expecting baby # 2 in March of 2017, and I can’t wait to document this epic journey, (morning sickness and all).

Discovering I am not less of a mom, PART 2: Our journey from being a family of 3 to a family of 4

Your thoughts and feedback are always so very appreciated, and welcomed. Join the convo below!

xo, Em

 

Mommy Super Powers

If there is one thing that I can say about motherhood, it is that it really allows you to experience your own resilience. When you enter in to motherhood, a warrior-woman ninja from within emerges.

Mommy Super-powers // A blog post dedcated to the AWESOMENESS of mamas everywhere - http://chasingayden.com/mommy-superpowers

As parents, we have all had some really tough moments, but I think it is safe to say that we have also all had those really proud moments. You know the ones I mean. The moments of  super-heroism, where there is no one else there to witness your true greatness but you and your baby/child, (who is completely incapable of understanding your awesomeness in said moment). 

I took to my amazing ladies in The Mama Support Forum, for some Mama Super Hero moments. Here is a compilation of some of my favorite Mommy Super Powers:

1. We have 4 hands:

Stuart and his feet

Anatomically speaking we may not look any different from your average human, but tie a mommy’s hands¬†up with a baby or kids? And¬†she will quickly learn that her feet work as well as hands, (with a little practice).

2. We have a 6th sense for trouble

Mommy Super powers // http://chasingayden.com

You hear silence and think ‘ahhh, time to relax’. We hear silence and immediately know something is being destroyed.

3. We are car contortionists

source: tintworld.com
source: tintworld.com

If you have ever experienced the incessant whining of a toddler who desperately¬†needs a toy / snack / doll / drink / etc while you happen to be driving through traffic, then you¬†understand the¬†urgency one might experience to make the¬†whining¬†stop. I have literally made body parts stretch in Gumby-esque ways, (while driving) to reach objects wedged between hard-to-reach spaces, all in the name of a few moments of silence. (I hope you are getting a good mental image, because it’s as awesome as it sounds).

4. We have a bionic sense of smell (for poop)

Mommy Superpowers http://chasingayden.com

You think I’m joking, but I’m not. We can smell poop from three rooms away. It is an¬†acquired¬†skill, and while we are slightly grossed out by it, we are equally proud. (We can also identify our own kid’s ‘brand’, if need be.)

5. We have catlike reflexes

When it comes to our children, we can move thousand pound cars, if we have to. But what you may not realize, is that we possess the ability to catch our little ones mid-catastrophe, from precarious positions and/or situations, (averting imminent crisis.) Go-go gadget arms…

6. Ninja style nursing

Mommy Superpowers // htp://chasingayden.com

We are capable of nursing our babies while doing any of (but not limited to) the following: walking, cooking, eating, peeing, conversing, cleaning, baking, exercising, etc. We can even nurse in such a manner that you might not even realize that it’s happening right in front of you.

7. We are baby-wearing bandits

Mommy Superpowers // http://chasingayden.com

There is very little that we can’t do with a child strapped to our bodies. We clean entire houses with tiny humans strapped to our chest. And let’s not forget the mamas who wear two children at once¬†tandem-style, (one on the front; one on the back).

8. We can cook with one hand tied behind our back

Mommy Superpowers // http://chasingayden.com

This is a mommy super power you may not be aware of, because typically meals make it to our table looking and tasting pretty darn good. What you missed is the behind-the-scenes madness that most likely preceded the food-fest before you. This might entail wrestling with tiny humans, holding one or more kid while cooking, allowing child to ‘help’ cook, breaking¬†up toddler sparring matches or¬†just saving the world in general.

9. We can turn off our bladder

Mommy Superpowers // http://chasingayden.com

Sometimes stopping to pee is not an option. We talk ourselves through the pain of really¬†having ‘to go’, by reminding¬†ourselves¬†that we survived child-birth. (Maybe this is why I have to involuntarily pee every time I try to jump rope).

10. We can outwit the flu

Moms get sick too. But what we don’t get? Is to lay in bed and¬†be sick, (especially if there are other family members who are also¬†under-the-weather). Enter the mommy superpower that allows |forces|¬†us to rise above said sickness.

11. We have mad multitasking skills

Mommy Superpowers //http://chasingayden.com

 

It’s truly frightening how accurate this picture is.

12. Sleep? We don’t need no stinkin’ sleep

Mommy Superpowers // http://chasingayden.com

 

Normal humans need anywhere from 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night to properly function; not us moms! We can get by on as little as 2 hours of sleep. 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep is a luxury; 6 hours in a row is pretty much a vacation.

13. We can fix anything

Mommy Superpowers // http://chasingayden.com

 

Broken toy? No problem. We¬†will find a way to rig it back together. Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation that allows¬†us to think outside of the box so freely, or maybe it is an aversion to crying and whining.

At the end of the day, we are all super heroes to someone, (whether you are a mom or not). It is easy to get caught up in our short-comings, but today let’s all celebrate our mini victories. And hey, if no one told you yet today, you’re doing an awesome job.

xo, Emily

7 Moms That I Love

7MOMS THATI LOVE

                                                   (Photo source: Babble.com)

I recently read a hilarious blog post from Scary Mommy, called ‘7 Moms That Drive Me Crazy’. The article was not only funny, but had some real truths in it. I also related to some of the moms that she poked fun at, and she even admitting to the same. The article was clearly written in good fun.

When I went to comment on the post, I noticed a comment-war going on. There was a lot of criticism about not being supportive of other women/moms, and some people felt personally attacked. I found this strange since it was written in such a general way. I have learned that I have to be able to laugh at myself, otherwise I will become miserable. But this also got me thinking about the flip-side of this article–it got me thinking of the kinds of moms that I love and appreciate. And since I am really in to the whole law of attraction thing, I figured I would write a response article about the kind of moms I adore.

1. The Supportive Stranger

When Ayden was around 4 weeks old, we started venturing out in to the world, and by venturing out I mean taking trips to Costco or Target. (Trust me, this was no small feat for a brand new, first-time mommy). Inevitably, she would cry at some point. Being that she had a dry diaper and had just been fed, I was at a loss. I was also bursting at the seams with hormones, and felt √ľber self-conscious about having that baby–you know, the one that cries in public. It was at these times that I experienced the kindness of The Supportive Stranger.

Sometimes it was a simple nod of understanding. Other times it was small talk about how babies just cry sometimes. Regardless, it helped me to not feel so alone in my scary new role as someones mom. I love these women. It may seem like a small act of kindness, but it carried me through many a day.

2. The Sharer

You’re at the park, the petting zoo, the trampoline place–wherever. You suddenly realize that you forgot to pack a snack for your little, who is eye-balling (if not actually attempting to swipe) another kid’s stash. It’s embarrassing. You swear you feed your kid. You swear you usually pack snacks. And then it happens. The nicest, most prepared mom in the world pulls out a spare pack of fruit snacks or pirate’s booty or raisins or goldfish, and offers it up.

She doesn’t look down her nose at you, she simply smiles and says “I’ve been there”. Thank you sweet supplier of toddler snacks! Crisis averted, all because this mommy was taught to share.

3. The Truth Teller

One thing I have learned as a mom is, things are not always as the seem, (especially on Facebook). Social media would have you believe that having kids is a breeze. In fact, social media would have you believe that babies and kids are always having fun, always smiling and always dressed well. Not true.

What I really appreciate, (possibly the most), are the moms who tell the truth. I appreciate the moms who are honest about the stresses of having kids, the pressures of being a wife and mom and the realities of perfectly imperfect kids.

As moms, I think we tend look at other moms and compare ourselves. In the past I always came up short, in my mind. Knowing that the other seemingly ‘perfect’ moms have the same struggles as I do, has really helped me to be kinder to myself. Plus, you never know who is looking at you, and admiring your own mom-skillz. So I say, pass on the honesty, and help other moms let themselves off the hook!

4. The Hand-me-downer

The hand-me-downer rules so hard. These are the amazing mamas who generously provide you with entire wardrobes at any given time. I love these women! I love the unexpected Christmas in July, when a giant trash bag of cute (often times brand name) clothes appear on our front step. And it feels just as good to return the favor to other families. This is one of those unspoken exchanges that go on in the mom world, and I am ever so grateful for this.

5. The Back-patter

Let’s time travel again for a bit, back to when I was a brand new mom. I vividly remember talking to other moms purely for moral support and hearing the words, “You’re doing a great job”. Simple words, right? Those words literally stopped me dead in my tracks. They were the best words I had ever heard. Those words allowed me to breath for a minute. I needed those words, and didn’t even realize it. Those words are our code.

Most likely those moms had heard those exact words just at the time they needed to hear them, too. Those moms knew I needed a verbal pat on the back, and provided just that at just the right moment. I am thankful that I was taught that early on. It helped me pat myself on the back, when no one else was there to do it.

6. The Baby Holder

I love the moms who want to hold your baby for you. I love them. A few minutes to go pee by yourself, to eat a sandwich, to do the dishes, etc can be life-changing in that moment. So thank you, moms, who have ever offered to occupy my child for me for any amount of time.

7. The Mama in Need

The mama in need is the mama who saves my sanity. You know what feels even better than being helped? Helping someone else. At least that has been my experience.

When I get to utilize all of the wonderful things that other moms have taught me along the way, I feel a part of this incredible mama community. I feel useful. I feel like a real mom.

It is a give-and-take system. And while we may not always see eye-to-eye on hot-button topics, we are all just trying to do the best we can with what we have. I appreciate all of the mamas out there, whether you vaccinate or don’t, cloth diaper or don’t, breast feed or don’t, co-sleep or don’t, spank or don’t, etc, etc. At the end of the day, you are doing a great job.

xo, Emily

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