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What went viral this week: Glow in the dark pajamas + a beautiful blended family

In a world where our phones are constantly blasting us alerts about troubling news it is good to remember that there are good news stories happening in our world, too.

At Motherly, we like to keep track of these for you to give you a little boost when you need one, mama.

Here are the stories making us smile this week:

This viral photo shows two dads who are committed to co-parenting ❤️

It's no secret that splitting up is never easy or simple—and it all just gets more complicated when there are children in the mix. Of course, it reaches a whole new level of complexity when you factor in new partners, too. But blending a family is possible and if you can do it well, it's a pretty beautiful thing.

Just ask Madison Holley, a mom who is going viral after posting a truly heartwarming photo of her own blended family. The post, which was shared to Love What Matters' Facebook page, shows two men walking hand-in-hand with a young boy as one of the men carries a newborn in a car seat. The photo itself is quite powerful, but once you know the story behind it, it takes on a whole new meaning.

"This photo was taken 24 hours after I gave birth to my second baby boy, Waylon.The guy on the left is my ex, the 3-year-old holding his hand is my first child, Cade, we had together. The guy on the right holding my sons' right hand is my fiancé, and the newborn baby boy is our child," the mom writes.

Madison's outlook on why this balancing act works is super impressive. "Just because a relationship doesn't work out between two people DOES NOT mean the relationship with the child shouldn't," she writes. "I would never take that away. Every child needs a mother and father figure and my son Cade just happens to get some extra love. Be civil and co-parent. If you made the child together it's both your job to raise the child."

Of course, every blended family's situation is different—and some will have a much harder time with co-parenting than others—but we love this particular dynamic so much. And we're not the only ones: The image and message are going viral, with parents everywhere praising this blended family's ability to embrace one another. Madison isn't the only mom out there who has mastered co-parenting, but we are incredibly impressed by her outlook all the same.

"It made me really happy," Madison tells Good Morning America of the viral photo." "It's two people that I guess mean a lot to me. Both of them are the fathers to our children. The fact that they can get along and all four of us could sit in the hospital while I have another child with someone else was just really amazing."

Viral craft: This grandmother turned her daughter's wedding dress into a play tent 

When Brenda Wetmore Giffen's adult daughter asked her if she could remake her wedding dress into a play tent for her daughter, the grandmother was not sure if it could be done. But Grandma came through and the stunning results have gone viral.

Giffen posted her creation on Facebook six months ago, but the internet has been very excited about it this week, giving the story a second life, just like the wedding dress. As Giffen explains in her Facebook post, her daughter asked her if she could make a play tent, memory pillow, and maybe a garter and a tutu for the grandkids as an alternative to just storing the wedding dress.

"I was honored and surprised that she trusted me enough to do this," Giffen wrote. "I let it just hang there for a few days before I got the courage to take apart the dress she loved so much."

But once this grandmother got into the project she found herself loving the challenge and trying to figure out how many new items she could craft from one dress.

"The fabric for the necklace was the first cut and came from the spot above Robyn's heart the day she got married. I made two garters so that each granddaughter will have her own. It's not very likely that I'll be there for their weddings, but I hope they will give Grammy Giffen a thought on that day. I still have enough fabric and tulle to make a tutu for Elena's baby sister who is due in August. Jim helped with the engineering. We designed and he built stabilizers for the top and bottom of the tent, so it doesn't collapse on the girls while they are playing. It's been challenging, a little scary, lots of fun, and probably the major creative project of my lifetime!"

With all the attention this post has been getting Giffen added a note to her wedding dress story: She is now creating memory pillows and other keepsakes for other brides through her website.

Kindergarten teacher goes viral for making hearing aids for dolls 

Think back to when you were a kid. Chances are, you struggled to find a doll that really made you feel like you were accurately represented. Maybe all the toys on the shelf had a different body type than yours, or maybe they were all of a certain skin tone, one that didn't resemble your own. Or maybe you had a challenge of some sort, one that wasn't represented by the dolls you were seeing.

Sure, we've come a long way since then: Toy manufacturers are finally realizing how important it is to represent diversity and inclusion in their products...but unfortunately, we still have a ways to go.

A California teacher understands this, and she recently stepped up to do something to make her students feel seen. Genesis Politron works with hearing-impaired children, and she realized that while many of her students wear hearing devices, there were no dolls on the market that represented this. So Genesis did something incredible: She decided to create dolls that her students could see themselves in...and she did it with her own hands.

Genesis added cochlear implants and hearing aids to existing dolls so her children could see accurate representations of themselves in the toys. The dolls aren't just inclusive, they're also beautiful: Genesis used glitter and puff paint to increase the fun factor.

Genesis tweeted about the dolls and, not surprisingly, her post has gone viral. "I teach preschool and kindergarten for Deaf/Hard of Hearing kids, and my students never see toys that resemble their hearing devices (Hearing Aids/Cochlear Implants),so I added some to our new baby dolls on my own. I wish everyone could see their faces playing with these," she writes.

"I thought of all of the times that I played with my own dolls as a little girl, and how I'd always reach for the doll that I identified most with. I wanted my students to have the same opportunity, and to be represented in the toys that they play with," Genesis tells CNN of her decision to create these dolls. "No child should ever feel as if they aren't 'normal' or as if they don't belong. I wanted to allow my students to see themselves in toys for once, to feel accepted."

The teacher also explains that her children tend to gravitate to the dolls that best reflect their own identities: The students with cochlear implants reach for the dolls with the same device, while those who use hearing aids play with the dolls with hearing aids.

As parents, all we can hope for when we send our children out in the world is that someone like Genesis will touch their lives and make them feel special. This wonderful teachers' students are so lucky to have someone like her.

This mama came up with the cutest trick for bedtime relaxation 

Jessica D'Entremont got 15 minutes of fame this month after her trick for getting a few minutes of quiet time before bedtime went viral.

As she told Today, she came up with an innovative way to transition her daughters, Emma, 4, and Hannelore, 3, from playtime to bedtime. "Buy them glow in the dark pjs. Tell them they have to lie really still under the light to 'charge' them..." she wrote in a now viral Facebook post.

She first pulled this "trick" on a day she knew her kids were super amped up and were going to have a hard time with the transition. "They laid there for 10 minutes and I had to actually stop them to continue with bedtime," D'Entremont told Today. "I then transitioned them to their bedroom by turning off the lights—the pajamas really do glow! They loved it and thought it was great fun because they aren't quite old enough to grasp that we could see them due to the glow, even though they couldn't see their dad and I in the dark."

Kristen Bell's daughter sings Lizzo in the car 😍

We all know Kristen Bell has musical talent (Frozen, anyone?), but now we know her daughter does, too.

This week Bell's Instagram Stories spread all over the internet after she captured one of her daughters singing Lizzo's "Good as Hell" in the backseat during a school run.

Bell, in the front seat, doesn't look back at the little Lizzo-impersonator, but the sound of her daughter singing made her smile and it made us smile, too.

Reporter's son interupts news report + goes viral (and we all relate) 

Live TV is full of surprises and this week NBC News correspondent Courtney Kube's son stole the show, coming into frame with a smile while Kube was live on MSNBC from NBC's Washington bureau. He tries to get his mom's attention (and might have even been trying to crawl onto her lap) but Kube recovered quickly.

"Excuse me, my kids are here. Live television," Kube, who has twins, said when the child unexpectedly appeared on screen.

We don't know what was happening off-screen (maybe a coworker helped?) but Kube continued her report on air strikes in northern Syria like the pro she is.

Kube later told NBC: "Breaking news in Syria didn't line up with preschool drop-off, so he and his twin brother were with me."

We get it Courtney. We so get it. Sometimes there's just no choice but to bring your kids with you to work. Childcare emergencies happen to everyone and breaking news doesn't wait.

Maybe this little boy will follow in his mama's footsteps when he grows up. He's already very comfortable in a TV studio.

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As much as I love fall, it always feels like the season when my family's routine gets kicked into overdrive. With our oldest in (homeschool) kindergarten, my youngest on the brink of entering her twos, work, housework and *all the things* filling my day, it's hard not to feel a little overwhelmed sometimes. Did I mention we're still in a pandemic? (Yeah, it's a lot.) And while I try to take a positive view as much as I can, now more than ever I definitely jump at the chance to take anything off my busy plate.

One thing first in line at the chopping block? Cooking. To be fair, I like cooking. I cooked most of our meals long before I had ever even heard of social distancing. But there's something about the pandemic that suddenly made cooking every single meal feel exponentially more draining.

Enter Daily Harvest. They deliver nourishing, delicious food right to your door. Daily Harvest's mix of smoothies, bowls, flatbreads, snacks and more provide a balanced, whole food options that are as satisfying as they are nutritious. But my favorite part? When we're ready to eat, I simply pull the food from the freezer and it's ready in minutes—without any chopping, measuring or searching for a recipe. Even better, they're incredibly tasty, meaning I'm not struggling to get my girls to dig in. Not cooking has never felt so good.

Here are my 8 favorite products that are helping to lighten my load right now:

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

One thing that actually helps break up the monotony of quarantine? Trying and introducing new ingredients to my family. I love this overnight oat bowl (add milk the night before and let it set in your fridge overnight—easy-peasy!) because not only does it not compromise on nutrition, but it also helps me bring new whole fruits, vegetables and superfoods to the table with ease.

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

I kid you not, these taste exactly like a mint chocolate chip milkshake. (Just ask my 4-year-old, who is constantly stealing sips from my glass.) What she doesn't know? She's actually getting organic banana, spinach and chlorella with every sip. #momwin

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Our family's eating habits have been leaning more plant-forward this year, which often means a lot of veggie washing, peeling and chopping every time I cook. That's why these flatbreads are my new best friend come lunchtime. This Kabocha + Sage Flatbread is made with a gluten-free cauliflower crust topped with kabocha squash, fennel and sage for a taste of fall in every bite. (Missing the cheese? You can add it before baking for more of a pizza feel.)

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

There's something about the combination of sweet potato crust topped with red cabbage, organic greens and an herby-cilantro sauce that is so delicious… like surprisingly delicious. I polished off this bad boy in seconds! And unlike other "veggie" crusts I've tried, these are actually clean (AKA no fillers, preservations, partially-hydrogenated oil or artificial anything). Plus, it couldn't be easier to throw in the oven between conference calls and homeschool lessons.

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Any time I get to serve a breakfast that tastes like chocolate, it's a good day. (That goes double when it's *my* breakfast.) This rich, chocolatey smoothie is packed with organic zucchini, avocado, pumpkin seeds and pea protein for a nourishing mix of healthy fats and muscle-building protein so I can carry that baby all day long. And did I mention the chocolate?

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Maybe it's just me, but after a long week of cooking, the last thing I want to do on Saturday morning is...wake up and cook. That's why these one-step breakfasts are saving my weekend. I simply add our favorite milk the night before and store the bowl in the fridge overnight. Come morning, I have a nutritious chia bowl that powers me through even the busiest day of errands. It's also Instagram-ready, which makes me feel like I'm out brunching (even if I can't remember the last time I was in a restaurant).

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

My kids have turned into snack monsters during quarantine, and I'm often struggling to find a wholesome option (that doesn't require a lot of extra cooking or else I resort to something ultra-refined and shelf-stable). These bites are the hero I never knew I needed. For one, they taste like cookie dough, but they're actually packed with chickpeas, pumpkin, dates and flax seed (among other whole ingredients). But unlike actual cookie dough, I don't have to go anywhere near my mixer to whip them up—all I have to do is pull the container out of the freezer, let them defrost a bit and we can all enjoy a treat.

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Sometimes I have a little more time to cook, but I still want a quick, stress-free solution. (Especially because it always feels like I just cleaned up from the last meal.) I love these Harvest Bowls because they warm up in under five minutes on the stove top (or microwave!) but pack tons of flavor. The Cauliflower Rice + Pesto bowl is one of my favorites, with basil, olive oil and nutritional yeast for a hearty dish reminiscent of a mouth-watering Italian meal. When I'm feeling extra fancy, I add leftover grilled chicken or a fried egg.

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Who doesn't want to end the day with a little something sweet? This creamy and decadent frozen treat from Daily Harvest is swirled with sweet berries and tropical dragonfruit for an antioxidant burst you'll feel good about—but that your kiddos will just think is ice cream. Go ahead, take credit for being the best mom ever.

Want to try it yourself? You can get $25 off your first box of Daily Harvest with code MOTHERLY.

This article was sponsored by Daily Harvest. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas

Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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