We’re Ready for Anything with the Britax B-Ready Stroller

{I was so excited to partner with Britax for this post! I received a sample of the B-Ready stroller to use and test in order to provide my honest feedback and share my thoughts with you.}

When there are six years between your second and third babies, there are no baby items left in the house to pass down. We got rid of all that back when we hadn’t had any babies for five years and assumed we were all done.

When you’ve been a mom for almost a decade and that third baby comes along, you have a more laid back approach to collecting all the baby items you literally just sold at a yard sale the year before.

Your sweet new baby ends up with a collection of pre-loved car seats, cribs, and clothes. And you’re thrilled because baby is dressed, strapped in, and doesn’t really sleep anyway.

So when Britax gave Abby the chance to ride in style in her very own brand new stroller? I was thrilled! And so was Abby!britax-post-1

Then when the 2017 B-Ready stroller arrived and I started reading about all the features? I was almost jealous. This thing is a nicer ride than any car I’ve ever owned.

Thanks to a fun meet-up hosted by Britax, Atlanta Area Moms Blog, and Squash Blossom Kitchens, we got all the details for the bells and whistles. Plus, delicious snacks and adult conversation.

With tons of cool accessories and twelve different seating options, you are literally ready for anything life might throw at you. This could very well be the last stroller you will need to buy.

With a few pops and clicks, you can face your child forward or backward. Have two kiddos with you? A second seat attachment is super easy to slide on and you’re ready to go. Baby fall asleep in the car seat? Just pop off the seat and pop on the carrier.

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Photo courtesy of Britax

Being a sleep-deprived and slightly clumsy gal, I was very impressed with the safety features. The five-point harness is super secure. Abby can try as hard as she wants, but she won’t be able to unlatch herself. And that’s a definite win for mom.

With our previous strollers, the basket has been a pain to access. So I tend to hang my diaper bag on the handle, which is a big no-no. Because we take five years’ worth of stuff with us to go to Kroger for ten minutes, the diaper bag is super heavy and can make the stroller tip over. Britax is looking out for moms like me and has made the stroller basket totally roomy and easily accessible. No more stroller tipping!

In my permanently exhausted state, I have been known to press the brake for one side of the stroller and forget the other side which sends the baby in a spin. Again. Britax cares for the absent-minded mamas. The B-Ready stroller has a one-step brake with green/red indicator to make it clear whether it is set or not. Abby sends her gratitude and love.britax-post-4

Besides being reassuringly safe and totally convenient for seating arrangements, Britax has used the B-Ready stroller to just show off a little bit with all the unnecessary awesomeness.

The handle has several positions to adjust to your comfort level.

The seat reclines almost flat for maximum napping potential. You know. If your baby sleeps. britax-post-3

The canopy is huge and can keep your child from permanently squinting in the hot Southern sun.britax-post-2

The foam-filled rubber tires and suspension system make for a ridiculously smooth ride.

Even the foot rest has several adjustable positions to make sure baby is as comfortable as possible.britax-post-5

If you’re in the market for a stroller, I definitely recommend you check out the B-Ready. It might just be the last stroller you’ll ever need to buy!

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Photo courtesy of Britax

Check out the B-Ready stroller and more amazing products from Britax at their home on the web.

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So You’re Thinking Your Kid Might Have Autism?

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So you’re thinking your kid might have autism?

Okay, mama.

Deep breath.

It can be overwhelming, I know. Seven years ago, I was right where you are now.

At first, I thought it was an adjustment to his new baby sister. Then, I thought maybe it was a lack of experience, so we enrolled him in a part-time preschool class. It only took two days for his teacher to see what I couldn’t.

I will never forget that conversation. His sweet teacher was loving and gracious and could not have handled it better. But still. My stomach sank to my toes. For the entire ride home, every time I glanced in the rearview mirror at his sweet three-year-old face, the tears came hot and fast.

We wrestled with the idea of an official evaluation. We resisted the idea of a “label.” We didn’t want this to change our kid.

But here’s the thing, mama, an autism diagnosis is not the end of the road. It’s just the beginning of a new path.

Actually, it’s not even a new path at all. It’s just a signpost for the path you are already on.

Because a diagnosis cannot and will not change your child. Your kiddo is still the same awesome kid, fearfully and wonderfully made. The only thing that changes is your filter…

I’d love for you to continue reading this post and join the conversation at Atlanta Area Moms Blog. Click here: So You’re Wondering if Your Kid Might Have Autism? Share it with a mom (or dad) you know who might be going through the evaluation and/or diagnosis process. Let them know they are not alone! 

10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Motherhood

10 things in 10 years motherhood

My first baby just had his tenth birthday. He was just born five minutes ago. And then I blinked. I can definitely testify to the truth of that old saying: “The days are long but the years are short.” I’m no expert, but I have learned some valuable lessons along the way.

Here are ten things I’ve learned in ten years of motherhood.

  1. Expect the unexpected.
    From minute one, motherhood has been full of surprises. Our firstborn was named and the room decorated in various shades of pink just as soon as we left our gender-revealing ultrasound. The kid was five minutes old before someone thought to tell us that she was a he. Our poor ultrasound tech must have had an off day. Oops.
  1. Haters gonna hate.
    No matter what we choose for our children, there will be plenty of people who passionately disagree with us. Breast or bottle, cloth or disposable, free-range or Pop-Tarts. I’m still somewhat shocked at how freely people will shame a mom for her choices. After ten years, my skin has finally thickened up and I’ve learned to own my decisions.
  1. Coffee and wine.
    The only two things I can think of that I get to enjoy on my own without sharing with my kids. They don’t even ask anymore. Cheers!
  1. This, too, shall pass.
    Whether it’s teething, potty training, or the crazy drama of threenagers, there are seasons of motherhood. I thought I would never leave the house without packing for a three-day safari. And then suddenly, I was carrying a cute purse again. (Would someone please occasionally remind me of my own words because we started over with a new baby last year. Ahem. See #1. Also, #3.)
  1. Choose Laughter.
    When they draw whiskers on their faces in permanent marker the day before family portraits. When I drop the diaper and the contents fall out in front of a crowd. When I’m carrying a screaming kid half my size all the way through Target. These are the moments that could easily send me into a mommy meltdown. It took some practice, but I learned to laugh. Especially when I realized these are the stories I’ll get to tell at their rehearsal dinners…

To read the remainder of this post and join the conversation by sharing your lessons and tips, please click through to visit Atlanta Area Moms Blog. While you’re there, check out some of the other great posts by some amazing mamas!
http://atlanta.citymomsblog.com/mom/10-things-ive-learned-10-years-motherhood/

And Then I Blinked: 10 Years with Caleb

I was a week past my due date. It was mid-June in Florida. My ankles and feet could have matched a sumo wrestler whose dinner was a little too salty.

It was a full moon.

There was a tropical storm coming.

And yet this baby girl was in no hurry.

I walked. I ate the magic eggplant parmesan. I walked some more. I tried a little glass of wine and a bubble bath. I walked again.

I did all I could to get things started.

Everything was ready. As soon as we left our gender-revealing ultrasound, we’d named her and decorated her room.

We were ready! For labor, for the baby, for parenthood.

23 hours of induced labor. Three hours of pushing. All four pages of my birth plan had gone out the window at about hour seven.

The baby was five minutes old before someone mentioned that she was a he. Oops. Big, big ultrasound oops.

From that moment on, he’s been surprising us.

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When he was 18 months old, he could point out about half the United States on a map. His favorite shape was an octagon. He was absolutely fascinated by windmills.

Then he discovered trains.

Yes, there was the token Thomas the Tank here and there. When someone would ask him about his favorite engine, they would expect a short answer about Edward or Percy or maybe even Chuggington. What they got was 15 minutes of dialogue about the Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 and how it compares to the Union Pacific 4-6-6-4.

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Thomas episodes were quickly replaced by hours-long documentaries about Amtrak’s Sunset Limited or The Era of Steam. He could hold his own in conversations with the old pros at the Model Railroad Show.

When he was four years old, he became interested in the human body and decided he was going to learn all about it. So he did. He pored over anatomy books. When someone asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he’d answer, “A train engineer for my job and a pulmonologist as my hobby.”

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This kid.

He is one in a million. He has changed my life and molded me into the person I am now and will continue to change me as we each grow.

I became a mama when he was born. I became an autism research professional when he was two. I became an advocate when he was three. I became the proverbial firewalker when he was four.

There have been some long, hard days. When his little body just could not handle the barrage of sensory input. When the world was overwhelming. When every transition was so very hard.

And yet.

This kid.

He has pushed through. He has shown up. He has kept trying.

He has overcome so much in his ten years.

He has taught me more about love, courage, and perseverance than I even knew there was to learn.

I could have never imagined the crazy ride parenthood would take us on when we were waiting and waiting for him to get here.

I wouldn’t trade a single minute of it for anything in the world.

He was so worth the wait.

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5 Ways Moms Are Total Ninjas

5 ways moms are total ninjas

To celebrate the beginning of summer, I took my kids to Family Night at our favorite chicken restaurant. The place was absolutely packed with kids hyped up on the promise of freedom. The play area looked like a giant ant bed that had just been kicked over and sounded like the 10th circle of hell that Dante could never have imagined in his worst nightmares.

Let’s just say it was a long night.

Once we got home, after I finally got the kids in bed, I sat on the couch and held my breath. I didn’t want to do anything to wake them up. I knew if I so much as twitched, they’d wake up. A few minutes later, I needed to walk past their bedrooms to check the laundry. Halfway there, I realized if anyone happened to see me, they would worry about me. Each step took all kinds of planning and I was hopping all over the hallway, avoiding those squeaky spots.

And that’s when it hit me. Moms are total ninjas. Need more proof?  Read on…

 

To read more about the ways moms are total ninjas (including stealth, speed, endurance, unagi, and wisdom), please visit Atlanta Area Moms Blog:
http://atlanta.citymomsblog.com/mom/moms-a-ninja/.

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Connecting with God When All You Have Is a Moment

dawn-nature-sunset-womanOnce upon a time, I was an adventurer. I was fearless. I lived each day to the fullest. Carpe diem and all that. I climbed mountains and flew across oceans. My passion to share Jesus was a fire burning, and I wanted to spread it across the world. I prayed aloud all the time, whether in the arms of my dearest friends or with complete strangers at the next gas pump.

As time passed, though, that fire died down until it seemed only embers remained. I think I got lost in the haze of day-to-day life. Over the last decade, my adventures have consisted mostly of navigating Walmart with three kids without causing a major public incident. The only mountains I’ve climbed have been the lofty peaks of laundry I step on to get to the dryer.

When I became a mother, I think I hit a pause button on being me. I think this self-imposed hiatus is something to which all caregivers can relate. It’s in our nature to give and give and give to our families. That’s part of what makes being a wife and mom so fiercely beautiful. This system we’ve set up seems to work–until the time inevitably comes when we have nothing left of ourselves to give.

That’s where I was just a short time ago. Drained. Short-tempered. Exhausted. Spiritually parched. Easily frustrated. One day, I suddenly realized I couldn’t remember the last time I’d prayed aloud. There were the bedtime prayers and meal blessings with the kids, but other than that, it just didn’t happen anymore. I’m not sure why. With church and small group and Bible study and MOPS meetings, there were plenty of opportunities. I would just sit there, though, with the weight of the pause pressing on my shoulders and the heat of the moment burning my cheeks. It’s not like I thought my friends or church family would jump to their feet, laughing and pointing at me. Why was I so self-conscious? I realized it was because I was out of practice.

I was disconnected. In my frantic need to take care of everyone else, I wasn’t making time to connect with God, and that disconnect was spilling over into all the other parts of my life. My identity is found in him. Unless I am spending time with the One who created me, I am bound to lose myself…

This post was challenging for me because it felt very vulnerable. Vulnerability is scary but authenticity is so worth it if even just one person is encouraged or says, “Me, too!”

To read more of this post, please visit The Glorious Table:
http://theglorioustable.com/2016/06/connecting-with-god-when-all-you-have-is-a-moment/.

To the Parent Whose Kid Didn’t Get Any Awards


to the parent whose kid didn't get any awards

I saw you over there from my seat on the back row.

We stuck it out, you and I. Two tedious hours of an elementary school awards ceremony to acknowledge all the hard work throughout the year.

Two hours of a seemingly endless list of names called out, a few over and over and over again.

I saw you clapping for each and every one of those names. Even when the same name was called out for the 17th time. I saw you smiling congratulations to the parents tripping over themselves to get the good photo spot in the aisle.

I noticed your smile grew a bit tight as the long minutes passed. I’m sure mine looked exactly the same as we waited, you and I.

The number of awarded kids grew and grew while we waited and waited for our kids to have their names called.

We knew going in that our kids probably weren’t the top grade earners in their classes. We knew they weren’t the captains of any sports teams. But surely there would be something. Some reason to hear their names called and to feel a bit of pride to be ending well.  Something.

I saw you look over to where your child was using empty hands to cheer on classmates collecting handfuls of awards. I saw you quickly wipe away that tear. My heart hurt with you.

We’re stuck in this gray area, you and I. There’s a tug of war between the two sides. One says, “Give every child a prize.” The other says, “The world is a tough place that makes us earn it and so should they.”

We’re torn. We understand both sides. We’re the ones in the middle.

The children who won all those awards should absolutely be celebrated and acknowledged. They worked hard. Their parents should be so proud.

But we should be proud, too.

While our children might have come home empty-handed, feeling embarrassed and left out, we still have so many reasons to celebrate.

Because there are plenty of achievements that don’t come with certificates.

He always showed up, even when it was hard.

She often shared lunch with a friend who had none.

He could be counted on to encourage classmates who were sad.

She worked harder on that project than she has ever before worked on anything else.

He invited the whole class to his party, even that one kid no one likes.

She is that one kid no one likes and yet she didn’t give up.

Make sure they know that what they accomplished this year is worthy of celebration.

Because the world is tough. It wears on our souls.

And this tough world sure could use a few more people who are compassionate, kind, and determined to make it a better place.                        Tweet: This tough world sure could use a few more people who are compassionate, kind, and determined to make it a better place. via @ashleydpooser