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My grandmother would be 100 this year if she were still alive. I consider myself fortunate that she was an active presence in my life. She got to meet my children and the older ones have fond memories of her.


My grandmother only had an elementary school education. She may not have been the smartest person, but she knew a few things about life and she passed some of these ideas on to me. She truly lived life, without fear and seemingly without regrets.

Grandma used to nag me to wear a hat, but I rarely did. You have to cover your head, she stressed to me.  A hat’s primary purpose is to keep your head warm, but she told me that the hat did more than that, it kept the heat in your body. Science backs up that fact. 

Grandma’s theme song was, “You’re Nobody ‘til Somebody Loves You.”  She lived the Golden Rule unlike anyone else I have ever known. Love others. Period. She had choice words about people from time to time, but she forgave easily, and she was generous with hugs and kisses.

New people in her life were often taken aback by her in-your-face ways, but it didn’t take long to be captivated by this woman. She was obviously a grandma, but acted so un-grandma-like. She drank and swore and sometimes said inappropriate things, but she knew how to make you feel loved and special.

She was unapologetically herself. I am certain she was hurt if people didn’t like her, but it didn’t change how she lived. This may be what drew people to her, her genuine love of life and her willingness to share it with others.

She had no filter. She was generous with both praise and criticism. “You’re an Asshole!” was a favorite line of hers, and resulted in T-shirts, which sold at the kitchen she ran at a local bar. Not only did people love this, there were some people who never heard those words from her who almost seemed hurt.

She didn’t whine about hardships, despite her hard life. She grew up during the Great Depression, the oldest of five. She knew what it was to live without.  This affected her throughout life, but did not diminish her spirit.

After marrying, her life was good for a while. The family moved, and then she became a single mom of three in a time when most women didn’t work. She found jobs, and though they didn’t have much, they managed. I never knew her to dwell on those times, or on what they didn’t have. Her concerns were for others, who had even less.

She held a variety of jobs throughout her life: cleaning lady, clerk, meat packer, nightclub singer, short-order cook, and professional organizer to name a few. She never shied away from hard work, but also demonstrated that what you do does not define you as a person. She worked hard for most of her life until her later years when she decided to work only occasionally.

Grandma worked hard, but she also made sure to take time to play. She loved going to the movies and the boardwalk. She loved to sing and dance. She was willing to try anything, especially if it was requested by one of her grandchildren.

She went on amusement park rides and exaggerated their dizzying effect on her. She loved to spend time with people and hosted frequent parties. She had a juke box in her basement and taught me how to dance the Alley Cat, the Bunny Hop, and the Cha-cha.

She worried about those less fortunate, and throughout her life gave to those in need, even if she had little herself. No one went hungry when Grandma was around and no one spent a holiday alone, which meant that we often had an odd assortment of “new friends” with us for the holidays. 

Some would say that she took chances welcoming some people into her home or that she was being taken advantage of. Perhaps this was true, but these were people who were going through a tough time and soaked up the love and energy she emanated. Her faith in them may have been just what they needed to be better people.

Grandma showed me the value of networking, and she was a pro. She seemed to know everyone. No matter where we went, or how far we traveled, she would inevitably see someone who looked familiar and go talk to them. Perhaps she knew them, or perhaps some people were just being polite, but they always took the time to chat with her.

In my mind I see her smiling, ready to break into a full-fledged laugh. Laughter came easily to her, and she was willing to laugh at herself. Grandma never took herself too seriously. She was willing to get down on the floor and play with her great-grandchildren, even into her 70s. She made them giggle, and would end up laughing herself. Her laugh was contagious.

She is no longer with us, but her spirit lives on in her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and all those whose lives she touched. I catch glimpses of her sometimes – watching my oldest child dance, listening to my two middle children play in a jazz band, or in the voice of my youngest singing with emotion.

I see her energy, her passion, her love, and her smile in my children. I feel her warmth and love when I cook certain dishes, when I hear certain music, and even in her Art Deco lady’s-head-lipstick-holder sitting on a shelf in my bathroom. I miss her. I am so thankful that she was my grandma, who taught me so much about living a good life.

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When you become a parent for the first time, there is an undeniably steep learning curve. Add to that the struggle of sorting through fact and fiction when it comes to advice and—whew—it's enough to make you more tired than you already are with that newborn in the house.

Just like those childhood games of telephone when one statement would get twisted by the time it was told a dozen times, there are many parenting misconceptions that still tend to get traction. This is especially true with myths about bottle-feeding—something that the majority of parents will do during their baby's infancy, either exclusively or occasionally.

Here's what you really need to know about bottle-feeding facts versus fiction.

1. Myth: Babies are fine taking any bottle

Not all bottles are created equally. Many parents experience anxiety when it seems their infant rejects all bottles, which is especially nerve wracking if a breastfeeding mom is preparing to return to work. However, it's often a matter of giving the baby some time to warm up to the new feeding method, says Katie Ferraro, a registered dietician, infant feeding specialist and associate professor of nutrition at the University of California San Francisco graduate School of Nursing.

"For mothers returning to work, if you're breastfeeding but trying to transition to bottle[s], try to give yourself a two- to four-week trial window to experiment with bottle feeding," says Ferraro.

2. Myth: You either use breast milk or formula

So often, the question of whether a parent is using formula or breastfeeding is presented exclusively as one or the other. In reality, many babies are combo-fed—meaning they have formula sometimes, breast milk other times.

The advantage with mixed feeding is the babies still get the benefits of breast milk while parents can ensure the overall nutritional and caloric needs are met through formula, says Ferraro.

3. Myth: Cleaning bottles is a lot of work

For parents looking for simplification in their lives (meaning, all of us), cleaning bottles day after day can sound daunting. But, really, it doesn't require much more effort than you are already used to doing with the dishes each night: With bottles that are safe for the top rack of the dishwasher, cleaning them is as easy as letting the machine work for you.

For added confidence in the sanitization, Dr. Brown's offers an incredibly helpful microwavable steam sterilizer that effectively kills all household bacteria on up to four bottles at a time. (Not to mention it can also be used on pacifiers, sippy cups and more.)

4. Myth: Bottle-feeding causes colic

One of the leading theories on what causes colic is indigestion, which can be caused by baby getting air bubbles while bottle feeding. However, Dr. Brown's bottles are the only bottles in the market that are actually clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to an ingenious internal vent system that eliminates negative pressure and air bubbles.

5. Myth: Bottles are all you can use for the first year

By the time your baby is six months old (way to go!), they may be ready to begin using a sippy cup. Explains Ferraro, "Even though they don't need water or additional liquids at this point, it is a feeding milestone that helps promote independent eating and even speech development."

With a complete line of products to see you from newborn feeding to solo sippy cups, Dr. Brown's does its part to make these new transitions less daunting. And, for new parents, that truly is priceless.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Jessica Simpson celebrated her baby shower this weekend (after getting a cupping treatment for her very swollen pregnancy feet) and her theme and IG captions have fans thinking this was not just a shower, but a baby name announcement as well.

Simpson (who is expecting her third child with former NFL player Eric Johnson) captioned two photos of her shower as "💚 Birdie's Nest 💚". The photographs show Simpson and her family standing under a neon sign spelling out the same thing.

While Simpson didn't explicitly state that she was naming her child Birdie, the numerous references to the name in her shower photos and IG stories have the internet convinced that she's picking the same name Busy Philips chose for her now 10-year-old daughter.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to name nerds and trend watchers.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

Simpson's older kids are called Maxwell and Ace, which both have a vintage feel, so if Birdie really is her choice, the three old-school names make a nice sibling set.

Whether Birdie is the official name or just a cute nickname Simpson is playing around with, we get the appeal and bet she can't wait for her little one to arrive (and her feet to go back to normal!)

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Mamas, if you hire a cleaning service to tackle the toddler fingerprints on your windows, or shop at the neighborhood grocery store even when the deals are better across town, don't feel guilty. A new study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School shows money buys happiness if it's used to give you more time. And that, in turn could be better for the whole family.

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As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

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This month isn't just the start of a new year, but the start of a new life for those due in 2019. If you're expecting a baby this year you've got plenty of celebrity company, mama.

Here are some fellow mamas-to-be expecting in 2019:

Alexa and Carlos PenaVega 

The Spy Kids actress and mom to 2-year-old Ocean will soon have to get herself a double stroller because PenaVega and her husband Carlos are expecting again.

"Holy Moly!!! Guys!!! We are having another baby!!!!" captioned an Instagram post. "Do we wake Ocean up and tell him??!! Beyond blessed and excited to continue growing this family!!! Get ready for a whole new set of adventures!!!"

Over on Carlos' IG the proud dad made a good point: " This year we will officially be able to say we have 'kids!' Our minds are blown," he write.

Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald

In January Counting On Jessa Seewald (formerly Jessa Duggar) announced via Instagram that she is pregnant with her third child with husband Ben Seewald.

We love that she was able to make the announcement in her own time, not worrying about speculation about her midsection. She's been over that for a while.

[Update: January 18, added PenaVega]

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