The Ultimate Online Baby Shower – #UOBS

 

 

Last year Club MomMe participated in the first ever Ultimate Online Baby Shower. This year we are thrilled to bring back the most fabulous two week long online baby shower you have ever seen. Scratch that, there hasn't been one until NOW so you know it's going to be amazing! 

Because this mother of all baby showers is two weeks long there are plenty of important dates for you to remember, starting with RSVPing today. So, here's a breakdown of what you can expect during the #UOBS and how you can be one of the lucky MomMes to take home one of the most awesome giveaways yet! 

THREE IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW FOR WEEK ONE 

1. RSVP TO WIN - Want to win one of two gift baskets filled with over $375 in fabulous baby gear? It's pretty simple, all you have to to is RSVP on Club MomMe's Facebook page or by clicking here and you'll be entered to win! 

Curious as to what's inside that gift basket? Let's just say there might be a few things from My True Nature, Ella's Kitchen, Boppy, DaddyScrubs, HABA, Dapple, ODIZ Baby Supply, Colief, MAM, Pediped, JP Lizzy and MORE! 

Haven't heard of these brands? Check out our review of some of them here! 

2. FLASH GIVEAWAYS -  These start tomorrow and we can't still the beans on what these are, but we can tell you that we are partnering with Thrifty Nifty Mommy, Viva Veltoro, Everythign Mommyood, So Easy Being Green, Median Mommy, ConservaMom, The Naptime Reviewer, Mommy's Craft Obession, Gator Mommy Reviews and Mommy Guru

If you're not already following them, do it now. You don't miss out on one of the #UOBS Flash Giveaways on their page! 

3. WISH FOR IT - This Friday we will reveal the remaining #UOBS calendar and by "wishing" for a product you can let all of your friends know about #UOBS we are hosting through Sampler. 

What's Sampler? It's a pretty cool Facebook application that let's you send product samples to friends. We highly encourage you to "buddy up" with another Facebook friend so that both of you can receive product samples. 

If you read all the way through this blog post you're awesome and  here's a little bit of what you can look forward to during #UOBS week two.

Sampler events from all of these brands ..... Dapple Baby, Colief, My True Nature, HABA, Ella's Kitchen, ODIZ Baby, JP Lizzy, Hyland's, Daddy Scrubs, Born Free, Summer Infant, Fruit.0, Chewbeads, Boppy, Pediped, Nuby, Bamboosa, Me4Kids, Ciao Baby, Ubbi, Caden Lane, Monkey Mat, Half Popped Children's Book

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Infant Sleep Solutions

A very big thank you to Linda Szmulewitz from Slep Tight Consultants, Chicago’s resident sleep expert, for presenting last week’s discussion at our Infant Sleep Solutions event. Linda provided our MomMes with excellent tips and tricks for ensuring everyone in the family is receviing a good night’s rest. All of our MomMes went home with a fabulous product from The Gro Company and EcoSTORE USA.

Here are a few tips for our MomMes from Linda:

  • A good day’s rest is imperative for a good night’s rest. Make sure your little one is napping adequately during the day.
  • Establish a bedtime routine early on. This may evolve over time from just chaning of a diaper, putting on pajamas and nursing an infant to sleep to bath time and a book before bed. As your child becomes a toddler he/she will thrive on that routine at night.
  • Introduce a “lovie”, “security blanket” or other item to your child that he or she will associate with sleep. Make sure this item is replaceable (not a family heirloom or one-of-a-kind item) and washable. Sleep with the item for a few days before giving it to your little one. If you decide on a larger blanket, knot it up in a ball or tie it to the crib railing so that it’s secure and won’t become a sleeping hazard for younger babies.

For more advice and tips, check out Linda’s blog, especially this post for 5 things that kept your child awake last night.

Linda will be hosting two more talks with Club MomMe Chicago this week!

Join us on July 18th at 9:30 am for Toddler Sleep Solutions and on July 22nd at 2:00 pm for Infant and Toddler Sleep Solutions. We hope to see you there!

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Club Daddy – Words of Advice as the Husbands of Club MomMe’s Founders Celebrate their First Father’s Days

Club MomMe would not be here today without the support, love and encouragement from two great men – our husbands! As we embarked on the adventure to launch a new business when our little ones were less than six months old, we relied a lot on our husbands for advice, help with our little men, a shoulder to lean on for the hard days and someone to celebrate with on the good days.

Today we celebrate these men, these fathers, on their first father’s day. As our boys were born in the same week a year ago in less than two weeks, our husbands just missed father’s day last year.

They have the unique perspective of being able to celebrate their first father’s day with almost one year of fatherhood under their belts, and they share their wisdom and experiences with us today.

Nathan is Rachel’s husband and dad to Grayson. Joe is Lane’s husband and dad to Harrison.

What is your favorite thing about being a dad?

Nathan – Having Grayson in my life.

Joe – Making Harrison smile.

What were you least prepared for?

Nathan – The time commitment, both physically and mentally. It consumes you.

Joe – How tired I would get chasing him around, and the amount of preparation it takes to go anywhere.

What has surprised you most?

Nathan – Grayson, he surprises me nearly every day. I feel so fortunate to have such an amazing son.

Joe – Seeing how fast Harrison grows(he’s huge) and how quickly he learns things.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything right before you had a baby, what would it be?

Nathan – That I should go out with my guy friends more… because it isn’t happening after.

Joe – Enjoy the quiet while you can.

How has being a dad changed you?

Nathan – I used to be very much a carefree person. Now I am totally over protective and so conscience of every move I make, Rachel makes, Grayson makes, etc..

Joe – I hope it hasn’t changed me too much, but I worry more about safety and things I never thought about before.

What advice would you give new dads?

Nathan – Soak it all in, be patient and level.

Joe – It’s a lot more fun than your friends make it out to be.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share with new dads?

Nathan – Move as close to your in-laws as humanly possible… trust me.

Joe – Remember those old pictures of your parents when they were young and how strange you thought they looked? Well, they didn’t have a clue either and they got through it just fine.

What does fathers day mean to you?

Nathan – Honestly, I think it will mean more to me as my relationship with Grayson evolves and as our family evoles. Right now every day is Father/Son/Mother’s day There is always something new and I appreciate every moment. That said, I am going to use Father’s Day to get breakfast bed.

Joe – Growing up it always meant family barbecues where the Dads all drank more beer than usual. Now that I have a son it reminds me how lucky I was to have a great role model in my dad. That and no diaper changes!

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All I Want for Father’s Day by Dr. Elliot Berlin

Today we are excited to share a guest post from Dr. Elliot Berlin, Founder of the Berlin Wellness Group in Los Angeles and Orange County on Father’s Day:

All I want for Father’s Day is time.  More time with my wife.  More time with my kids.  More time away from my kids.  More time for work.  Time to read Time.  Just Time.   As a kid, I remember the older folks talking about how life tends to move faster as the years go by.  I must be getting older because right now life is flying by at a million miles and two tweets per second and I’m struggling to hold on for dear life.

Father’s Day Card for Rachel’s Husband

Being a dad is amazing and difficult and interesting and different than it ever was before.  Just 50 years ago, dads role in having a kid was minimal.  After conception we’d go back to hunting and gathering and mom would handle nurturing the growing bump, delivering the kid and taking care of it.  Him.  Or her. During childbirth, for example, our role was to pace back and forth in a remote waiting area, nervously smoking cigars since we didn’t have wifi to keep us plugged in and distracted.Father’s Day Card for Rachel’s Husband

Times are changing quickly.  Today, dad’s are getting more involved.  We are going to those interesting prenatal visits and taking childbirth education classes together.  We have been invited into the delivery room and some of us don’t even pass out.  We are bonding with our newborns kangaroo style and changing diapers now and again.  For some dads these paternal bonding rituals come naturally, but for many of us it doesn’t.  I remember the first time my wife left me home alone with our one month old.   He was well fed and wide awake and I had no idea what to do with him.  We had a starring contest for 25 minutes and then he drooled and made baby noises while I answered some emails.

Four kids and eight years later, I am finally getting the hang of being that hands-on dad who is more involved.   And I really truly love it except for the few times that I absolutely hate it.  I just wish I had more time to juggle all of the responsibilities of home and work.  I sometimes get so busy and focused on work (which is natural for guys) that when I finally come home I find that my two year old has turned seven and can beat me at basketball.  This Fathers Day I look forward to spending quality time with my wife and kids and giving my android phone the day off (product placement, sorry).   While I can’t buy more time, it’s completely my choice to make the time that I do have count.  Uh oh, I smell a poopie.  Duty calls.

Dr. Elliot Berlin is a prenatal and family chiropractor and founder of Berlin Wellness Group bringing prenatal and family wellness care to four Southern California locations.  Through his Informed Pregnancy Project, Dr. Berlin is empowering new and expectant parents to make informed pregnancy, postpartum and parenting choices through projects such as Dr. Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy Guide, Boobie-Palooza, Ultimate Prenatal Date Night and the upcoming launch of his Daddycast posdcast this summer.  Dr. Berlin lives with his wife, Dr. Alyssa Berlin, and their four kids in Los Angeles.

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Pregnancy Envy

I had lots of meetings today. Four out of those five meetings were with Moms. Collaborating with Moms is one of my favorite things to do, except when they are pregnant. Meeting with Moms who are pregnant is distracting. I sit and stare at their expanding waistline trying to size it up and wonder if they are in their second or third trimester. I wonder if they are having a boy or girl. Single, twin or high order multiple pregnancy? Does her stomach look like a watermelon or a basketball? Throughout these distractions I smile approvingly and give appropriate congratulations. After all, I am a Mom.

I am a Mom who has a beautiful and precocious 11 month old son. But, I am a Mom who wants more than that. I desperately want more children and that takes me back to something I never thought I would feel again: pregnancy envy.

It has finally struck again! Now that I know what I am missing, pregnancy envy is twice as strong this time around while we are trying to conceive (TTC for those of you who are new to this whole infertility thing). This envy is consuming me and causing me to lose sight of the fact that I already have a son. I should consider myself lucky, but I don’t. I am greedy and I want more children running around my house. I miss the newborn cry and reminisce for the time when I saw a first smile, heard a belly laugh or saw those adorable dimples.

Pregnancy envy makes me want all of this again. It makes me miss my swollen ankles and not being able to sleep on my stomach. It makes me miss wearing full panel maternity pants. (I finally admitted it! I am still convinced that none of my friends read our blog so this will be a true test of that.) I would give anything to look at the clock at 7:30 pm preparing for “morning sickness” to strike or wake up most of the night because my little one has the hiccups. Pregnancy envy makes me want every single symptom that I loathed while pregnant, even the unspeakable ones!

I am taking this month off of fertility treatments. After a very rough course of side effects and a near mental break down last month, I need a break to regain my composure, gather my emotions and come up with a battle plan.  I need to tuck the crazy lady away and come up with a practical plan to defeat her. Let’s be real, I need a break from Clomid and lots of Cabernet (click here). This is no longer a game. We’ve up the ante and are going to battle to win. Come next month I will win. I will not waive a white flag!

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Banana Pudding Reminds Me Of Granny

Magnolia’s Famous Banana Pudding reminds me of Granny. At each family gathering of our large extended family, Granny (my great-grandmother) would whip up a large pans of banana pudding. This happens to be one of my favorite desserts (next to King Cake and McKenzie’s cinnamon rolls)! A few weeks ago a friend came by to watch a movie and sip on red wine. When she pulled out banana pudding from her bag I immediately thought of Granny and felt a tiny bit of New Orleans here with me in Chicago.

I have the fondest of memories growing up in my great-grandmother’s house. That’s right, she raised me! I didn’t go to daycare or two-year old preschool. I grew up in a house with plenty of other grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We picked vegetables in the garden with Papa, sat around her kitchen table everyday for lunch with our grandparents, aunts and uncles, played outside in the yard and were yelled at my Uncle Medric (Granny’s cranky old brother who lived next year). Have you seen the movie, “Grumpy Old Men”? Yes, that’s exactly what it was like spending our days next door to Uncle Medric!

The best memories I have of Granny all go back to being in the kitchen. She made the best white beans, chicken stew and every other down home dish that you could think of. Her recipes were not fat free, but they were made with plenty of love. The only picture that I have of Granny in our house is proudly displayed on the side of our refrigerator as inspiration and a reminder that we all add a bit of love to our recipes. I have one of her aprons that I keep in my kitchen draw and hope that one day I can pass that along to a daughter or daughter-in-law who shares the same passion for bringing love to her family at the dinner table.

Here’s the recipe for Magnolia’s Famous Banana Pudding that I made this weekend for my family. I hope it brings a little happiness to your table!

Magnolia’s Famous Banana Pudding

One 14-ounce can sweetend condensed milk

1 1/2 cups ice cold cater

One 3.4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)

3 cups heavy cream

One 12-ounce box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions)

4 cups sliced ripe bananas

In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5 quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping in necessary, the one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refirigerator for 4 hours – or up to 8 hours, but no longer! – before serving.

Serves 12-15

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Mother’s Day Reflections

Mother’s Day is a celebration. A joyous occasion of bringing life into this world and coming together with family to give thanks to a woman (or women) in our life who have molded us into the person we are today. This is how we celebrated Mother’s Day. As we walked around Chicago together as a family of three I looked the part of the doting parent. What on earth could be wrong on Mother’s Day? What couldn’t be? Thanks to Hallmark, all Moms are supposed to be happy and give thanks on Mother’s Day.

ImageWhat others couldn’t see this past Sunday was that I was mourning. I mourned the loss of a child just one week before this holiday, the slim prospect of having another and, yet another uphill battle with infertility to conceive again. And, an uphill battle it has been. Although we are only on our third round of treatments for baby number two (the first was eleven rounds) it has been significantly harder emotionally and physically during this second course of treatments. I feel guilty taking time away from a son we worked so hard to conceive to try to have another. Is this fair to him? Is this fair to me? What about my husband? He is an integral part of this and what are these treatments doing to our relationship?

You see, the decision to try to have another child and our failed attempts at it Imagehas affected us all in different ways. But most importantly it has shown me that mourning the loss of a child and the yearning for a sibling for our son are all natural emotions that women feel. These emotions make us stronger, bolder, more confident and more loving. They make us compassionate and understanding. They make us grandmothers, mothers, wives and sisters. They make us. They make me.

I have not figured out how to manage and balance the grief and yearning that I feel. But, I have come to understand that life is simple. We live and we die. In the process we all become mothers along the way. Some may be later than others and not through the most conventional ways. Do not give up hope. Until that time, celebrate the women in your life. Teach your nieces and daughters compassion and how to love. A special woman in my life did and I am ever thankful for her grace and patience. Without her I could not have celebrated Mother’s Day.

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