Category: lifestyle

25 Life Lessons For (My) Daughters

25 lIFE lESSONS FOR DAUGHTERS HTTP://CHASINGAYDEN.COM/25-LESSONS

Dear Beautiful Daughters..

There are so many things that I hope to teach you and instill in you, in order to empower you to live your most fulfilled lives. These are some lessons I have learned along the way, some through great heartache and pain, and others through great mentors and teachers. As is always in motherhood, this journey is an imperfect one, but at the end of the day, the most important thing I hope you will remember, is how very loved you are. It is every parent’s hope to lead by example, but I know I fall short sometimes, so I am putting pen to paper, for when I do.

  1. Accept compliments by saying ‘thank you’. To reject a compliment is not only insulting to yourself, but to the compliment-giver.
  2. Never apologize for your talents; don’t play small to appease others.
  3. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand in class. Whether it’s because you know the answer or have a question; your voice is important.
  4. Go where the love is. Find people who lift you up, and accept nothing less from friendships.
  5. Always have your sister’s back. Family first; the end.
  6. Look people in the eye when you are talking or listening to them This is a beautiful part of human connection, and to look elsewhere is to miss out on an opportunity to relate.
  7. ‘No’, is a complete sentence.
  8. Forgive often. Holding on to a resentment is like taking poison, and expecting the other person to die.
  9. Treat everyone with the same kindness. You never know someone’s back-story, and you never know who you might be talking to. The person you piss off today could be signing your paychecks tomorrow.
  10. Never cut your own bangs.
  11. Don’t be afraid to be the first person on the dance floor. Life is too short not to dance.
  12. Be your own hype-girl. Always speak well of yourself–don’t put yourself down. You are your best advocate.
  13. When it comes to dressing yourself (when you get older), always leave something to the imagination.
  14. When it comes to makeup (when you get older), less is more.
  15. Another woman’s beauty /intelligence / talent can never take away from your own. Don’t compare, and never feel less-than because someone else is also beautiful / intelligent /talented.
  16. The most beautiful quality a woman can have, is confidence.
  17. You are the company you keep, so associate with people you respect and admire.
  18. Being kind will always be more important than being ‘cool’.
  19. Other people’s opinions of you, are none of your business. More important, is what you think of other people. Most important, is what you think of yourself.
  20. Make a daily gratitude list. No matter what is going on in life, you can always find 10 things to be grateful for.
  21. When it comes to romance, water seeks its own level. So does sewage.
  22. When speaking of others, ask yourself these 3 questions: ‘is it kind?’, ‘is it necessary?’, ‘is it true?’
  23. Trust your gut. That is your God-given GPS.
  24. When you are a guest, always ask the host(ess) if you can help with anything. Most of the time they will say ‘no’, but the gesture is always appreciated, (and you’ll probably be invited back).
  25. Always be unapologetically You. Own your opinions, beliefs and values no matter what.

xo, Mom

*Did I miss some important ones? I’d love to hear how you would add to this list; your feedback is always welcome. Follow along on Instagram, where the conversation continues.

2017 Holiday Gift Guide (With Discount Codes)

It’s that time of year again, friends; when we all scramble around looking for the perfect gifts for our loved ones. And if you’re anything like me, (a career bargain-hunter), then you’re also on the hunt for the best possible prices on said gifts. I decided that this year I would ease some of the burden for you, and save you the trouble and time of sifting through endless marketing emails and such. So without further ado, I present you with an epic list of mama-must-haves, complete with oodles of coupon codes. #yourewelcome

2017 Holiday Gift Guide with lots of coupon codes. Perfect gifts for every mom, kid, baby and family. Click here to get all the best deals: http://chasingayden.com/giftguide

 

Throwback Calendars

I have a confession: Every year, I gift all of the grandparents photo-collage calendars from us. I have a love/hate relationship with making these calendars. They take a long time to make (sorting through EVERY picture from the year), but they turn out so cute and the Grandparents LOVE them. Throwback Calendars makes this super easy, by compiling your Insta-photos and creating the most adorable calendars. The can start from any month, and give you an entire year!

20% OFF; Use Code: CHASING20

L’ovedbaby

I used to think that all onesies and baby pj’s were created pretty equally. That was until I put Frankie in a L’ovedbaby Footed Overall. L’ovedbaby makes the softest, coziest, organic cotton basics for your babes. Your baby will be thanking you with all the heart eyes for this holiday gift.

25% OFF; Use Code: THANKFUL

Ellylu Organics

These stuffies are seriously adorable and also happen to be eco-friendly and organic. You can feel good about purchasing from this company because they donate $1 per item sold to charities from around the globe that focus on helping children or threatened and endangered animals. We are currently obsessed with Norman the Narwhal.

15% OFF; Use Code: CHASING15

Kind Hood

We are currently obsessed with our Kind Hood poncho towels. If you are a beach or pool-goer, then you will absolutely need one of these for each of your kiddos. These towels are not only super thick and absorbent, but they are freakin’ adorable. Seriously. Trust me when I say, this is a must-buy holiday gift.

15% OFF; Use Code: MCALLISTER15

Joovy Spoon

I’m just gonna say it; Joovy is genius. They make the most ergonomically designed products, and this walker is no exception. It is an absolute baby-gear staple in our home. It has a simple and modern design, but it’s the functionality that I love so much. Frankie loves this contraption, and I love it because it folds up so it takes up barely any space.

Shop Joovy

Once Upon a Farm

I’ll be honest; I am better about the foods I feed my kids, than what I feed myself sometimes. I have a real fear of hormones and GMO’s in the foods I feed my littles, and do my very best to never feed them food with those additives. Once Upon A Farm is an amazing local company that makes super fresh, organic, cold-pressed fruit + veggie food packets. BOTH of my kiddos love them and they are delivered, cold-packed, right to your door!

Shop BLACK FRIDAY SALE here

Oneberrie

Ready for bathtime to be easier? Oneberrie has answered all of your bath-time prayers. These towels are seriously smart (and cute). Frankie was never a fan of going from nice, warm bath water to abrasive, cold air; and this towel provides a solution to that problem! We have become completely dependent on our Oneberrie bath towel, and I am totally ok with that.

20% OFF; Use Code: CHASINGAYDEN

Binxy Baby

Another super frustrating experience for mamas is what to do with baby whilst shopping. Do you force your baby to stay strapped into their car seat, do you wear your baby (which can get heavy), do you bring the stroller in and try to juggle the cart and stroller? Binxy Baby is a baby hammock that straps across the shopping cart. The best part is, it takes up very little space and can fit in your diaper bag.

10% OFF; Use Link: https://go.referralcandy.com/share/VH6V468

Dockatot

If you haven’t heard of Dockatot yet, you might be living under a rock, (or you don’t have kids). These contraptions are meant for teeny babies to sleep in, however we didn’t discover the DockATot until Frankie was a bit passed that stage. Lucky for us, DockATot created a Grand Dock for bigger babes to lounge in. This has become an awesome play-space for her, and even Ayden.

$10 OFF; Use Link: https://go.referralcandy.com/share/VH6V468

Lillebaby

Not all carriers are created equally and for that reason I am obsessed with my Lillebaby Complete 6-in-1 Airflow. The mesh lining makes it super breathable, (which is great for Southern California weather), and unlike other carriers, it offers really good lower back support.

$10 OFF; Use Link: http://lillebaby.refr.cc/emilymcall

Twist and ShakeThese products are super convenient, and have become diaper-bag staples for me. They make sippy cups that allow you to create your own fruit-infused water for your littles, (wayyy healthier than juice). I am also obsessed with their stackable snack containers, which are awesome for packing poufs or Cheerios on the go!

30% OFF; Use Code: CHASINGMCALLISTERS30

Jord Watches

These watches are made from wood and are really beautifully crafted. My husband is a bit of a minimalist when it comes to accessories, and he really loves how lightweight and comfortable his watch is to wear. With all of the rad styles (both for men and for women) these unique watches make do an awesome gift.

25% OFF; Use Link: http://www.jordwatches.com/g/chasingayden

Neni & Co

With two daughters who both came into this world with full heads of hair, you better believe I have an arsenal of hair accessories for them! Neni & Co makes the most beautiful and adorable bows, bonnets and lush blankets. This shop also happens to be mama-owned by my dear friend Shanna, who hand-selects the beautiful, fun and often vintage-inspired fabrics.

10% OFF; Use Code: CHASING10

Tubby Todd

Speaking of bath-time, Tubby Todd made a fan out of me the moment I cracked open their sweet quince & honeysuckle bubble bath and smelled the yummy goodness. I am a total ‘smells’ person, so the scent of something can make or break a product for me. Also, Tubby Todd is another great non-toxic, all natural company–score!

Shop Tubby Todd

Pink Blush

Do any other moms have a hard time shopping for themselves? I often get overwhelmed, and wind up shopping for my kids instead. What I love about Pink Blush is how versatile their clothes are. They provide great staple pieces for your wardrobe, and the buttery-soft material is perfect for any mama on-the-go, (especially if you are nursing!)

40% OFF; Use Code: BLACKFRIDAY

Baby Bling

Speaking of soft fabrics… Baby Bling makes the softest, stretchy headbands for your littles. They are always coming out with seasonal new prints and colors, and are super soft to wear. These are definite must-haves for baby girls.

15% OFF; Use Code: CHASINGBB15

Rookie Humans

I am a sucker for a cute crib-sheet, and these are the cutest. Not only are the sheets themselves made well, but they provide for an excellent photo-opp. Rookie Humans may be taking over Instagramable photos, one sheet at a time.

20% OFF; Use Code: GIVETHANKS

Lollipop Baby Camera

This company combines beautiful design with innovative technology. These baby cameras are made from beautiful, soft, pliable silicone, and bend to shape right onto the crib. (The can also be mounted). You download their app, and you can monitor your baby right from your phone. We are obsessed!

Shop Lollipop Baby Monitor

Zaq Diffusers

Essential Oils have become a household name around here, and among the mama-community in general. I am all for anything that helps promote good health and quality sleep, (especially sleep), in my kiddos. Zaq Diffusers combined aromatherapy and the most epic night-light with their Sky diffuser. (They also have beautiful diffusers for grownups).

25% OFF; Use Code: HOLIDAYS

Freshly Picked

I will forever be a loyal Freshly Picked customer. By now, most people know that the name Freshly Picked is synonymous with high quality and on-trend styles. But what you may not know, is how friendly and personable the Freshly Picked family is. We love our FP mocs, and our FP community!

25% OFF Sitewide: No Code Needed

Huxen and Co

This is one of the cutest shops around. The sweet and talented owner, Jessica, makes beautiful and adorable knit goods. But this ain’t your granny’s knitting. Huxen and Co makes the sweetest bows and faux air plants. These are perfect stocking stuffers; go get you some.

25% OFF; Use Code: HUXENFAN

And with that, I will let you all get to your shopping, but make sure you check back as I will be updating this list and who knows… there may even be an epic giveaway in your near future, so make sure you are following me on Instagram! Happy holidays, y’all! Sending big, bargain-shopping LOVE to you all.

xo, Em

There’s Enough Room For Everyone

'There's enough room for everyone': a post about pushing through fear to live creatively http://chasingayden.com/enough-room  Is there something that you love to do that feels uniquely yours; almost like it is a part of your very identity? Perhaps it is a skill or a craft that you have honed for many years, and most likely a source of confidence in yourself. Only to find out there are other people out there who feel the exact same way about the exact same hobby or craft? And to make matters worse, they may actually be quite talented in these areas. It can be a deflating feeling, almost as if you have lost something–a piece of yourself. And then in waltzes fear in one of its many ugly forms, encouraging you to just give up and quit; or arousing jealousy and insecurity. I want to tell you; this is a very human experience, but I also want to tell you that this fear-voice is full of crap.

I used to feel this way pretty regularly, and it was uncomfortable (to say the least). Living from a space of fear (that something was going to be taken away from me), was the perfect recipe to invite exactly that. But the Universe didn’t bless you with a skill or talent, so you could sit around and compare it to someone else’s skill or talent. You were given an internal GPS guided by positive and negative emotion, so that you would know exactly what to pursue to make you feel fulfilled. And if that is the case, then someone else’s GPS can never infringe upon our own route–truly.

On a pretty regular basis, people will randomly reach out to me because they are wanting to start a blog and they want some advice or encouragement. A fear-based version of myself would have balked at these inquiries, but I have come to really love them for a few reasons. First of all, every inch of my blogging ‘career’ has been 100% self-taught, with the help of endless Pinterest articles, Google searches, the kindness of other folks willing to kick me down some of their knowledge and good old trial and (many) error. I have learned so much over the past several years, but it has been and continues to be a process. Secondly, when you operate from a space of abundance (instead of fear), you attract more abundance. So it feels very full-circle that I could be in a position to help someone else start their blogging journey. I also appreciate it because I get to put into practice a creative mantra that I adopted years ago; there’s enough room for everyone.

When I started this blog, I did so because I was searching for a creative outlet (and writers gonna write!) But I also did so with plenty of apprehension, because let’s face it, there is an abundance of Mommy-bloggers. Initially it felt so big and I wondered, ‘where will I fit into this giant blogosphere–how will I stand out and not be buried among the thousands of others’? But then there was this knowing and peace deep, down in my gut: my voice is my own and can never be duplicated; I don’t even need to try to stand out, because me being uniquely me is what sets me apart. Call it a moment of clarity or a message from my higher self, but with that, I took a leap of faith and forged on.

So here’s the thing you guys, whatever it is you love to do or are wanting to try or are too afraid to even think of attempting, there is space for you in this creative universe. There is literally space for every single creative being. And here’s a big spoiler-alert; we are all creative beings.

If you’re feeling afraid, or threatened, or less-than, or like it’s too late, or like you aren’t good enough or unique enough, or just plain stuck; I hope you will accept this as your moment of clarity, take your own leap of faith and trust me when I say, there is enough room for everyone!

xo, Em

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. 🙂 )

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

You Can Sit With Us

‘Love my tribe’, ‘squad goals’, ‘good vibe tribe’, ‘girl squad’, ‘wolfpack’… Sound familiar? It should, because it is literally everywhere these days; on t-shirts, prints, coffee mugs, hashtags and so forth. The influx of these cute little catch-phrases are here to stay, it seems.

Motherhood can be lonely when you don't feel like you have a 'tribe'. But we are all in this thing together, so lets smash the idea of exclusivity in the mama communnity. #motherhood #tribe #squad http://chasingaydencom/tribe

I honestly wouldn’t have given it a second thought until a recent conversation I had with a new mom, who expressed that she was having troubles finding her ‘tribe’. This appealed to the codependent in me, and it got me wondering if this whole ‘tribe’ business felt like the new ‘you can’t sit with us’, to some people. I am a person who by nature, wants people to feel included; maybe because I know how terrible it feels to be excluded. Ahh the woes of an empath… But I digress. As a person who has often referred to my community as my ‘tribe’, mostly for lack of better word, I certainly do not want to perpetuate an idea of exclusivity, (especially in the mama community).

So then begs the question I have to ask myself, what exactly is my tribe?

In all honesty, I have never really felt ‘a part of’, when it comes to groups or cliques or ‘tribes’. I am sure there is a deep, psychological reason for this, but let’s not hijack this post with that business. What I do feel ‘a part of’, is individual relationships and connections; In fact, I thrive in those types of settings. When I really examine this whole idea of a tribe, what it boils down to is not so much some imaginary boundary of a select group of people. It is intended to be inclusive. It is meant to refer to the connectedness we can all share through relating honestly.

So if you’re struggling to feel a part of, (especially you new mamas), know that you are a part of my tribe, and you can most definitely sit with us.

xo, Em

‘Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.” -Oscar Wilde

The Truth About Baby Weight

Baby Weight. I’m just gonna leave that right there for a minute, so we can all marinate on those two infamous words.

The truth about baby weight, and what you might be doing that's keeping the weight on. Read more: http://chasingayden.com/baby-weightThe post-baby body is a curious thing, and really seems to be glossed over. In fact, if I were to rely on my social media feed, I might be led to believe that I am the only woman who has struggled with post-baby weight. Thankfully I have learned that if I am experiencing a struggle, chances are so are other mamas out there. So I am going to delve into this not-so-instagrammed-topic of baby weight, and what it all means.

Now I do realize there are some genetic lottery winners out there who walk out of the hospital in their pre-baby jeans, and to you I say, congratulations on life. Seriously. I don’t even hate you; I marvel at you. But for this (late) 30-something, 5′ (almost) 4″, short-waisted mama, this has not been my experience.

As with other topics, I am going to try to be an open book here, albeit not the most comfortable subject to shed light on. I think this might have to do with what I–what society even, has made weight-loss troubles mean. What does it mean? Some things I have made it mean in the past are, ‘I am not where I should be’, I am somehow ‘less than’, ‘I am no longer attractive’, ‘I am stuck with this weight’, ‘I am failing’, ‘I am weak’, ‘I am not valuable’.

What does it actually mean? It actually means nothing. It means none of these things; it says nothing of my worth, my beauty, my intelligence, my strength or my value.

I really struggled with this type of negative self-talk after my first baby was born, and I’ll tell you what; it really hindered me from losing weight. Enter double-edged sword. So the more I thought about how I-wasn’t-losing-weight-and-I-couldn’t-lose-weight-and-I-was-stuck-with-this-weight-and-it-meant-bad-things-about-me, the more I held on to the weight! Luckily, I had a nice 5 year gap to work on this, (cue sarcasm), and things feel quite different this time around.

Like I said before, this has always been a bit of a taboo topic for me, but if I hold on to that idea; the idea that weight-loss is a forbidden conversation, then I am holding on to that old thinking. And that would be completely inauthentic to who I am and who I want to be, today. So I am going to go ahead and take a stand for myself via this post, and take the shame out of discussing what has in the past been a huge struggle for me.

There is really only one traceable thing that is different this time; my thinking. What I have learned is that my thoughts have great power. I create my entire reality with my thoughts, and if you’re in to the whole law of attraction thing, you already know that ‘like attracts like’. What ever we focus on gets bigger. So in my case, ‘I can’t lose weight’, was creating a space of not losing weight, and everything I did was stemming from that thought-point.

So here I am at almost 5 months post-baby, and I have lost the weight that I put on from baby number two. I am currently chipping away at the residual weight from baby numero uno, and here is the absolute crazy part; it isn’t a struggle. Let me clarify… I am doing my part as far as what foods I consume and trying to stay active, but with the absence (most of the time), of that awful negative internal dialogue, it doesn’t feel dire. It feels slow. But it doesn’t feel hard. Is it challenging at times? Absolutely. However, since I have let go of that damaging way of thinking, it’s an entirely different experience. And I share this not to brag, but rather because it’s a freakin’ miracle. And even more than that, I want to start an honest conversation. I want to create a space where we can talk about our baby-weight (and non-baby-weight) woes, without the attachment of shame or inferiority.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might notice that I at times post in my stories about my weight-loss journey. It’s not as prevalent as me stalking my children with my phone, but in order to stay honest and accountable even, I’ve been trying to include this very real part of my Motherhood journey. In the past I never would have done this, out of fear. Fear of judgement, or fear of ‘jinxing’ myself. But then I get to remind myself that I don’t believe in ‘jinxing’; that it’s a self-created belief system to keep me from being happy and enjoying my victories. And as far as being judged goes; who does someone else’s judgement really speak of? It speaks about the judge-er, and how they feel about them-self, (at least this is the advice I would give a friend.) And if my experience can help another person who might be struggling, then judge away!

So in conclusion, (I know, this was a long one), if you are struggling with weight, I encourage you to work on the thoughts behind the struggle. I encourage you to give yourself grace. I encourage you to remember that your body, your dress size, the numbers on the scale say absolutely nothing about your value as a beautiful, magical human.

xo, Em

Breastfeeding Month: Part Two (The Importance of Self-Care)

This is a topic near-and-dear to my heart, and it extends far beyond the parameters of breastfeeding. Let’s talk about the importance of self-care.

The importance of self-care in breastfeeding and in LIFE http://chasingayden.com/self-care

Between working PT from home, entertaining my 5 year old, keeping my 4 month old alive, making sure the dog gets walked, the laundry, the dishes, feeding my family, gymnastics, dance class, soccer and just plain life; finding even an hour a week for me can feel impossible at times. But, I am well aware that taking care of me not only preserves my own sanity, but also makes me a much more enjoyable wife, mother and human to be around. Additionally, it is directly related to my milk-supply, which is the current life-source for baby Frankie. This is a biggie for me, because the one time I offered her formula, she wanted nothing to do with it, (unlike Ayden, who I could easily supplement).

I recently experienced a drop in my supply due to a ‘fun’ combination of lack of sleep, change of diet and not taking the time to really care for myself. I have been working–yes, it is work, rigorously to get my supply back up to where it needs to be so that I can continue to breastfeed Frankie. So this post comes right on time, for yours truly.

We have compiled a list of 10 ways to practice self-care, for the people who don’t really have time to practice self-care:

  1. Take ten deep breaths every day.  Inhale counting to 4; and exhale counting to 4.  You can do this while you are nursing.  Oxygen is like a light switch for stress release. (Thank you @cherishedlifeyoga for this amazing tip!)
  2. Acknowledge your feelings and talk about them. Bottling up feelings (especially feelings of stress or loneliness), helps no one–especially you. Your body, mind and spirit are all connected, and allowing yourself to become emotionally backed up or blocked, can translate quite literally in a physical way. So find a pal, and vent when you need to!
  3. Sleep as often as you can.  I know, I know… You’re a mom; when is there time for sleep? But seriously, even if you can go to bed 30 minutes earlier, or skip folding Mt. Laundry, try and rest your eyes just a little more.
  4. Exercise, exercise, exercise. 20 minutes a day any way you can get it in, is totally sufficient. Hey, you can even use your sweet babe as a weight and do some squats and lunges!
  5. Do something you enjoy.  Even if it’s watching trashy tv and eating popcorn in your bed, try to find a bit of time in your week to do you.
  6. Find your mom tribe.  Remember tip number 2? This is where a mama-tribe can seriously save your booty. Side note; a ‘tribe’ can be a couple of close friends who you trust.
  7. Eat properly. It is oh-so important on so many levels that you are nourishing your amazing body! Remember… body, mind and spirit!
  8. Get some sunshine. Get outside and soak up some of that glorious Vitamin D; it’s amazing what 10 minutes in the sun can do for your mood!
  9. Ask for help if you need it.  You can’t save your ass and your face at the same time. Swallow that mama-pride, and ask for help! #noshame
  10. Be easy on yourself.  GIVE YOURSELF GRACE. You are nourishing another life. You are raising tiny humans. You may not be perfect, but there is NO ONE more qualified or the job, than you.

Make sure you head to my Instagram page for your chance to win another giveaway!

xo Em

Breastfeeding Month; Part One (Healthy Foods to Boost Milk Supply + a GIVEAWAY)

National Breastfeeding Awareness Month: Healthy Foods to BOOST Your Milk Supply + A GIVEAWAY! http://chasingayden.com/breastfeeding-one

It’s National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and to be honest, I had no idea this even existed until I was approached to be a ‘Breast Friend’, alongside some other fab mommy-bloggers (in partnership with Happy Mango). What that means is, I get to give you free stuff (yay!), and learn / write about all things breastfeeding. I want to preface this by saying fed is always best, and I am in no way anti-not-breastfeeding. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and I appreciate that, but being that it is National Breastfeeding month, this is a celebration of that.

This will be my first post in a 4-part series, and this first topic couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Recently I began modifying what I am eating, in order to shed a few pounds in a healthy, slow way. What I noticed, however, is that my milk supply started to drop, and as a mama of an exclusively breastfed baby, this is no bueno. So we are going to talk about foods that promote a healthy milk supply; and specifically foods that are lower in carbs. (I am not promoting low/no carbs, however, this is what fits my current lifestyle).

Almonds

Almonds aren’t just packed with protein; they’re a good non-dairy source of calcium. And the every little bit helps. Breastfeeding moms should take in 1000mg of calcium per day. That’s because the milk you make is high in calcium, and if you don’t get enough in your diet, your bones and teeth could be robbed of calcium they need. (Yikes!) So go nuts, and eat your almonds! (Get it? nuts..?)

Salmon

This tasty, fatty fish might be the perfect meat for breastfeeding moms. It’s high in protein, and also contains large amounts of DHA, a type of fat that’s important to the development of baby’s nervous system. Wild-caught or farm-raised salmon are both good for you. If you don’t eat dairy, you can eat canned salmon, which contains tiny salmon bones, to get some extra calcium.

Spinach

Actually, pretty much any dark green, leafy veggie is a breastfeeding super food. That includes broccoli and Swiss chard. They’re all-around nutrient-dense and even high in calcium. (This one’s for you vegan moms!) So you can get a veggie serving and a calcium-rich serving in one, delicious, leafy food. So make like Popeye, and eat your greens!

Yogurt

Stocking your fridge with yogurt is smart because the creamy stuff has got both protein and calcium. Plus the active cultures are great for feminine health.

Sesame Seeds

Who knew? Sesame seeds are packed with calcium, and are a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. Toast them and sprinkle them over a salad of dark leafy greens, or add some to your veggies.

Water

Drinking 8oz of water every hour can help to increase milk supply. Plus it will give you a beautiful, glowing complexion, and who doesn’t want that?

Now… for the GIVEAWAY!

Once you have read this post, head on over to my Instagram feed, and ‘like’ the corresponding post and comment that you read this blog post, for a chance to win a $25 E-giftcard to Milky Mama Boutique. (This would also make a great gift for your favorite mama, if you happen not to be one!)

xo, Em

Your Baby Is a Good Baby

Your Baby is a GOOD Babyhttp://chasingayden.com/your-baby-is-a-good-baby

Motherhood is a strange place, (yes place), that truly cannot fully be described to someone who hasn’t experienced it. You cross over, not only in to this incredibly life-altering new role, but also in to an alternate Universe. In this Universe there are all sorts of opinions and ideas and expectations orbiting around you. This isn’t like a gradual immersion in to a new lifestyle, either; oh no. The moment that baby is birthed, there is a shift and you are now a permanent resident in this new world.

A protective, mama-bear-esque instinct accompanies this new territory, and your baby cub is instantly the most beautiful, incredible and precious creature you have ever laid your eyes on. So naturally, you want the world to receive this tiny being with the same adoration.  I think this is especially true for first-time moms.

After I had Ayden, I remember people asking me almost immediately, ‘Is she a good baby?’ My knee-jerk response was, ‘yes, she’s soo good’, subconsciously validating myself via my newborn.  I then started to notice more and more, other moms praising the ‘goodness’ of their babies, but not talking so much about common hardships that accompany the arrival of a newborn.

I struggled with postpartum anxiety, and found myself often comparing me (and even my baby) to others, especially via social media. I started to experience the woes of a baby that liked to party throughout the night, and who almost instantly fell asleep while nursing, thus rendering me a human pacifier. Sleep deprivation had me in its death-grip, and slowly but surely, I started questioning the ‘good-ness’ of my baby, and in turn myself. It wasn’t pretty, but it’s what my truth looked like.

6 weeks post-baby, I finally had enough of my noisy head, and called my OB, who without hesitation offered a remedy for my PPA (postpartum anxiety), and almost instantly, sanity returned to me. This is when I had an ‘a-ha’ moment that would shift my perspective in a much-needed way.

All babies are inherently good. The idea that a baby could not be ‘good’, (regardless of how much or little they sleep, cry, nurse, barf, fuss, fart, spit up, etc), is absurd. The question itself, ‘is she a good baby?’, is kind of ridiculous if you stop and really think about it. Does anyone really ever answer, ‘no! She’s a terrible, bad baby!’ So why then do we continue to ask and answer this question?

I am not even sure I have an answer to this question other than humans really like to categorize things as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. And I am not in the business of making people wrong for being human. All I am saying is that language is a powerful thing, and whether you are on the asking or receiving end of this question, it’s something to consider. You don’t have to take in and digest things that don’t fit for you. You do not have to categorize your baby, unless you want to. This is something I think I might have appreciate hearing when I was a new, first-time mom, so here I am passing it on.

This post felt important for me to write for the new mom out there, who maybe feels less-than, because her baby isn’t living up to the unrealistic, (often posed/staged) baby photos that flood our social media feeds. This is for the mom who when asked, ‘is he/she a good baby?’, thinks about her sleepless nights and fussy baby, and begins to question the very good-ness of her baby and herself. I want you to know, deep down in the pit of your soul,

your baby is a GOOD baby. 

 I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with this; your comments and feedback are always welcome and appreciated!

xo, Em

Things You Might Learn About Your First Child, After Having Your Second Child

Hello my beautiful friends! As most of you know by now, we welcomed our sweet baby girl in to the world on March 30, 2017. Frankie Grace is made up of the purest form of sweetness you could ever imagine. We are all so very smitten with her; no one more so than her wonderful big sister, Ayden.

I knew that adding another member to our family would come with some changes and even some growing pains, but all of the anticipation in the world couldn’t have possibly prepared me for the explosion of love that has happened in our family. It’s seriously a beautiful thing. However, and this is an AND statement, bringing a new child in to the mix, definitely came with some fun(ny) discoveries about our first child. Maybe you can relate:

Child #1 Suddenly Has an Instant Growth Spurt

My first born baby-child was a cute little 5 year old the day before I gave birth to #2. But somehow in the span of 24 hours, she became a Giant KID. I am being 100% serious. Her face changed, her eyebrows changed, her hands grew–everything! 2 months later, and I am still staring at her trying to figure out who she is.

Child #1 Becomes Louder than LOUD

Have you always been this loud?! Seriously, child. Why must you YELL when you speak? Why must you speak at such volumes when the itty bitty baby is asleep? In fact, why must you speak at all? Just kidding… sort of.

Child #1 Does Not Know Her Own Strength

Do you remember Lenny from ‘Of Mice and Men’, when he loved the baby mouse so much that he actually squeezed it to death? Yeah… Fortunately my first child loves (and I mean LOVES), the new baby. Unfortunately, she hasn’t quite figured out that she’s got a good 35 pounds on her baby sis. Can you say aggressive hugging?

Child #1 Has an Incredible Capacity For Love

I knew this kid was a lover, but this new baby sister unlocked an entire new world of feelings for our first. It is quite miraculous to see the instant love and care that our oldest had for her baby sis. Cue allllll the feelings.

Child #1 Wants to Help with Everything

And I mean EVERYTHING. Only it’s not exactly helpful to have an extra little body and set of grabby hands, trying to assist in every little task.

Child #1 Becomes a Monkey Gymnast

Suddenly, every baby contraption and piece of furniture in our home has become a potential jungle gym. I honestly don’t remember if my first born was climbing the walls (quite literally) prior to the arrival of numero dos, but I am sure as heck aware of it now.

Child #1 Has Way too Many Dolls

Speaking of baby contraptions… I am pretty sure that my oldest thinks that all of the baby equipment and swag is for her baby dolls. In fact, I did not realize just how many dolls this child even had in her possession. I can tell you that there are enough to occupy every single baby chair, swing, car seat, basket, bassinet, carrier and changing table, simultaneously.

Child #1 is Incredibly Resilient

As with most things in life, no one can really prepare you for monumental changes, like adding another human to your family dynamic. There will be a transitional period, and it will  make you question your life choices. The good news is, it passes. Child number one will not only survive it, but might just knock your socks off with her resilience through it all.

Does any of this ring true for you? I’d love to hear about your experience!

xo, Em

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