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Last weekend I saw the film “Everest” to fuel my fascination with the fact that a handful of humans – mostly male – want to scale the tallest mountain in the world. A mere 4,000 people have reached the top since Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first scaled Everest in 1953.


I have often fantasized about following in their footsteps. You know, spend six weeks getting to base camp and getting acclimatized. Then another two weeks, slowly but surely, making my way to Camp 2, Camp 3, and then Camp 4. Eventually entering the “Death Zone en route to 29,000 feet – heights at which the human body cannot acclimatize. That final grueling, half-mile journey taking eight to 12 hours.

Check out this cool graphic about ascending Everest in the Washington Post.

If I survived the experience, I’d join the ranks of the super elite. You don’t need a badge or medal for your accomplishment because regular folks can sense when someone in their midst has climbed Mount Everest. There’s a telltale swagger when you’ve breathed rarified air – especially among those who summited without the aid of oxygen tanks.

If I died, my frozen body probably would remain at the top of the world for time immemorial. Helicopters can’t fly that high; other climbers are preoccupied with getting their own selves down. The face of Everest would be a pretty impressive final resting spot, although it is a horrendous way to go.

Smithsonian Magazine tells how some 200 corpses on Everest also serve as important landmarks and memorials for those navigating the mountain.

When Mountaineer George Mallory was asked why he’d set his sights on Everest, he notoriously answered, “Because it’s there.” Mallory died during his third attempt to summit in 1924. Yet we’ve been quoting him ever since to explain the inexplicable desire to do really daring things.

Do I want to climb as high as the cruising altitude of many airline flights simply because Everest is there? Many people attempt remarkable things run the New York City marathon, walk the Appalachian trail – in honor of their 50th year around the sun and my landmark birthday is on the horizon.

But after seeing “Everest,” the movie – based on catastrophic events on the mountain in 1996 I’ve decided to sit this one out.

The bottom line is that I’m scaling back on fear-conquering events. I’m not even sure how I’ve survived a whole half-century considering some the rocky choices of my twenties. Among them, a wild weekend in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania with a Turkish mobster who looked like George Michael. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in those days, without running water or electricity. Maybe that’s good enough to earn some swagger.

Besides, there are practical issues standing between the summit and me. Starting with acrophobia. Yeas ago, I visited a climbing wall where I lost my mojo as well as my footing. I swung off the wall mid-ascent safe thanks to my ropes and for a brief moment felt as if I were dangling off the face of Everest. My friend down below laughed out loud at my screams before composing herself long enough to say, “Nancy, just step down, you are 6 inches off the floor.”

Then, there’s my predisposition to altitude sickness, which I discovered while walking in the foothills outside Kathmandu, Nepal back in 1989. That afternoon, I took a rickshaw to the doctor and told him that I was dying. He laughed and gave me a pill. I was better by happy hour the next day. But those wretched, retching 24 hours were akin to morning sickness on steroids.

Even if I could overcome my physical limitations, the actual costs associated with scaling Everest are insurmountable. When my son was born 11 years ago, I started putting $25 a month into a college fund. At this point, I have enough saved to either send him to an Ivy League school for a semester, or cough up the Nepalese permit fees for stepping foot on Everest. 

Climbing the tallest mountain in the world has turned into rich man’s sport with total costs in the $100,000 range. Paying an adventure company to go the distance is the new mid-life crisis sports car. But I’m happy just putzing around chilly Burlington, Vermont in my 2012 Mazda 5 – a mini-minivan. I am so done with trying to be cool.

Maybe that’s the crux of the issue for me. Being a parent means scaling emotional peaks and valleys for an entire lifetime. And being a woman means that you have the capacity to grow a person inside your bodies for 9 months. Read what Everest climbers carry in this National Geographic article.

Raising a human being tests the limits of your capabilities beyond what the tallest mountain in the world can offer. You can’t top that.

 

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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We're a busy people, this family of mine. And we like it that way. But we're still always looking for simple ways to reconnect.

And most of the time, those moments happen around the dinner table.

I'm not embarrassed to admit we've become homebodies—we vastly prefer nights in watching movies and meals at home to the stress and cost of evenings out. While my husband and I still try to schedule a few legit date nights out now and then, by the end of our busy days, we like relaxing at the table as a family, then putting our daughter to bed to spend time together catching up on our shows or watching a movie. Most of our dates happen on the couch, and we're okay with that.

Dinner itself is a tradition I grew up valuing. As one of five kids, it seemed to be the only time our family was really all together, catching up on our days, making plans, or even just being physically present together. (This reminds me so much of the table we would gather around every night!)

Now that I'm my family's connector, I make sure to prioritize that time (even if most nights it's all I can do to get my wiggly toddler to sit still long enough to get a few bites of her dinner).



Whether we're relishing a home-cooked meal or simply noshing some pizza (because mama is tired, folks), nothing can replace the feeling of reconnecting—or leaving the table with satisfied bellies.

Because something strange happens when you have kids. Suddenly, time seems to enter a warp. One day (usually the days when nap time is short and the tantrums are long), time will drag on endlessly, making each minute feel like an hour until my husband gets home and can help with the kids. But most of the time, when I stop and really think about where we are in this busy season of life, I feel like time is flying by.

I look at my daughter, and I feel like someone has snuck in during the night and replaced her with this big-little girl because I swear she was just born a few months ago. I hug my son, unsure where the time has possibly gone because didn't I just take that positive pregnancy test yesterday? And I marvel at this rapidly growing family my husband and I have built because, really, wasn't he just asking me to be his girlfriend a year or two ago? (Try 10, self. That was 10 years ago.)

But as fast as time races by, I don't have any answers for how to slow it down. If anything, the pendulum seems to swing quicker and quicker as our days fill with new activities. With jobs and responsibilities, with more and more activities and play dates for the kids.



But at the dinner table, I feel like time slows down enough for me to pause and look at this little family. I imagine us two, five, 10 years down the road (gathering around a table just like one of these). More little (and then not so little) faces peering at me over the table, asking for another piece of bread or more milk as my husband makes them giggle with a silly face or story.

I imagine them as teenagers, telling me about an upcoming test or asking if they can borrow the car after dinner. I even see them as adults, coming back to visit with their own kids for the occasional family dinner. (Hey, a mom can dream, right?)

No matter where life takes us—or how quickly—I'm grateful for this time and this place where we can always come back together.

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


Jessica Alba's Honest Company has joined forces with Rosie O'Neill of the candy company Sugarfina to create some adorable candy-themed limited edition diaper prints, bibs, and gift sets that include a little something special for mom. [Update: And they're now available outside of the gift sets and subscriptions!]

Seriously, Sugarfina and Honest are a match made in heaven. The Honest Company is known for its cheerful prints and Sugarfina is known for its gourmet gummies, and the combo of the two is super adorable. Alba tested the prints on her baby boy, Hayes.

"It's so cute when he just crawls around with the little gummy bear diaper and the matching bib. It's really sweet. That's what's great about our diapers—they just look so cute on your baby, even when your baby's in nothing else but just their little diaper," she tells Motherly.

There are two prints: Boo Bear (the gummy bears Hayes wears) and Sweet Thing (modeled after Sugarfina's popular baby butterfly gummies). The prints are available in diaper cakes and bibs separately on Honest.com or packaged alongside a cube of matching candy on in the gift sets available through Sugarfina.

As Motherly previously noted, Alba feels it's very important for her company to work with fellow women entrepreneurs, which is how this partnership with O'Neil and Sugarfina was born. Alba's been a fan of the candy company since it launched, and often adds a little Sugarfina to gifts she gives.

"I was just thinking that, wouldn't it be cute to do a collaboration with them and have that ultimate baby shower experience? So that you have the diaper cake, and you could even do a themed baby shower around our diaper cakes." Alba tells Motherly.

Alba and O'Neil both wanted to create some surprise and delight for mom by recognizing that when people are giving gifts to a new mom, the presents are often actually for the baby. With these gift sets, mom gets to enjoy a grown-up treat while also enjoying the incredibly cute baby gear.

"Obviously the diapers are for the babies to wear, but there's something to be said for making sure that the product that we're going to use for our babies are relevant, and enjoyable for us too, and they bring us joy," says O'Neill. "We wanted to make it so the box was really beautiful, and you felt proud to give it as a gift and also there's something for the mom."

Alba agrees, adding that pairing some Sugarfina candy for mom with the matching prints for baby also makes for a great gift not only before the baby is born, but after, when mama probably hasn't had much time to treat herself.

"I know, after having three kids, how important it is for you also to be considered and pampered a bit. So yeah, it is definitely a really sweet gifting moment when you can show up, whether you're meeting the baby for the first time, and you have the diaper cake, and you have a little sweet something for Mom. And if she has multiple kids, it's always nice to give something that another sibling can enjoy as well."

Discount code for Motherly readers 

When we first told you about this launch back on October 2 these limited edition prints were exclusive to the Honest diaper bundle subscribers and the diaper cakes (meaning you couldn't yet buy the candy print diapers outside of the the mini cake, the regular diaper cake and the gift sets available through Sugarfina).

Now though, you can get the limited edition Honest x Sugarfina diapers even if you're not a bundle subscriber (or don't need a whole diaper cake) and Honest has offered Motherly readers a 20% off discount code!

CODE: HonestXSugarfina20

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Eligible for Honest Sugarfina diaper shop purchases only on honest.com. Eligible on order subtotals up to $500 maximum. Limit 1 promo code per person/household. Offer expires at 11:59 p.m. (PST) on 10/31/2018. Promo Code not valid on Bundles or Trials. Code must be entered into "Promo Code" section at Checkout. Discount applied before taxes, shipping or surcharges. Cannot be applied to previous purchases, Gift Card purchases, Gift Bundles or Add-On items. Cannot be combined with any other promotion or redeemed for cash, unless required by law. Certain charges for return shipping may apply. Note, Promo Code will not apply if there is a Trial in your cart. Terms subject to change at any time.

[Update, October 18, 2018: This post was originally published October 2, 2018. It has been updated to reflect the new availability of the diapers outside the bundles and gift sets, and with the discount code.]

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Hamburgers are a favorite food for kids (and mamas, too) and a bag of fast-food burgers is something many parents reach for when the days get busy and cooking dinner isn't in the cards.

But a new report by Consumer Reports suggests that while quick-service restaurants have been doing a pretty good job of getting antibiotics out of chicken dishes, antibiotics are still finding their way into most beef-based burgers kids love so much, and this could make antibiotics less effective when our kids need them.

Giving healthy cattle the same antibiotics that we need to treat illnesses in humans is "a major contributor to antibiotic resistance," Consumer Reports notes. It's totally possible for beef producers to raise beef without antibiotics, but because the antibiotics are used to combat the effects of crowded feedlots and non-grass diets that are pretty standard in the industry, it is a challenge.

Two fast-food burger chains have managed to find producers who are up for that challenge though, and are able to provide the restaurants with antibiotic-free beef.

Where to grab an antibiotic-free burger

Shake Shack and BurgerFi both got Consumer Reports' highest scorecard rating. The chains earned their A ratings because their sourcing policies mean 100% of the beef served in those restaurants is raised without antibiotics.

In a statement to Motherly, Jeffrey Amoscato, Vice President of Supply Chain and Menu Innovation, says Shake Shack has always been committed to making sure the ingredients it sources come from suppliers who don't use antibiotics.

"Our beef, chicken and pork are all 100% all-natural—no added hormones or antibiotics ever, vegetarian fed, humanely raised and source-verified. It's something that's very important to us so we're thrilled to be recognized for our efforts," Amoscato tells Motherly.

It's not easy for chains to find those kinds of suppliers though, BurgerFi CEO Corey Winograd points out in a statement to Motherly. BurgerFi only uses beef with "no steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals or additives" and "only about 1% of the beef produced in the United States meets the strict BurgerFi standards of quality."

In terms of scale, BurgerFi is a pretty small player in the quick-service world, with over 100 locations. McDonalds has more than 10 times that many locations in the state of California alone.

The big burger chains scored poorly

With almost 14,000 restaurants sprinkled across America, a significant number of quick-service burgers consumed by American kids come from McDonald's, which received an F rating from Consumer Reports for its use of beef treated with antibiotics.

And McDonalds wasn't alone in this. Most of the big drive-through chains we pass by every day got an F rating. Wendy's stood out for its D- because it has committed to "sourcing a small percentage of beef from producers who minimize (but don't eliminate) the use of medically important antibiotics in their cattle," Consumer Reports notes.

Motherly reached out to McDonald's and Wendy's, as well as Whataburger, A&W, Carl's Jr., Burger King, Five Guys, Jack in the Box and other restaurant chains but has not heard back as of this writing (we will update this story if we do).

Change is needed

Of course, it would be hard for a chain the size of McDonald's to source antibiotic-free beef, but experts suggest that if the big chains tried, consumers would be willing to pay more for those burgers. Plus, if a major player asked suppliers to go antibiotic-free, it would change the industry. It can and should be done, Lena Brook, M.E.S., interim director for food and agriculture at the Natural Resources Defense Council told Consumer Reports.

"The fact is, Shake Shack and BurgerFi have managed to eliminate antibiotic use entirely in the beef they purchase," Brook says. "Imagine the impact if McDonald's were to do the same."

Non-burger fast food

While there was a lot of bad news in the burger category, mamas who need a quick dinner for the family (without antibiotics) don't have to avoid fast food chains altogether if that's what they want to eat.

Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, and Panera Bread all got an A from Consumer Reports. Most of the meat and poultry ingredients at Panera and Chipotle are raised without antibiotics and Chick-fil-A is taking steps to ensure its suppliers do not use antibiotics by the end of 2019.

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You don't have to tell a mama just how irresistibly cute her baby is—we get it. There is just something about that feathery hair, those teeny fingers and their precious outfits that make babies completely magnetic, even to strangers. The problem is that strangers can bring along some strange germs, which is no small concern this time of year.

Now, some parents are going on the offensive against people prone to ohh-ing and aww-ing in dangerously close proximity to babies without getting a parents' permission. With some brilliant (and creative) signs that can be affixed to strollers or car seatsand even a onesie that spells out "Please, don't touch me,"it's easier for parents to send the message that their baby should not be touched.

With yet another cold and flu season upon us, keeping babies healthy is top of mind for just about every mama—especially those of us with the tiniest babies. Last year, as we were going into one of the worst flu seasons on record, I welcomed my second child and quickly had to learn how to speak up to the people in grocery store lines who would try to shake my baby's hand or touch her cheeks.

Harsh as it may sound, if someone was offended when I (kindly) asked them not to touch my baby, that was a worthwhile tradeoff for keeping my infant healthy. I just wish I had one of these signs to do the hard work for me!

As Tracy Lapointe from the Etsy shop Little Love Canada says, her pediatrician approved and recommended these signs for use during a baby's first six months of life while their immune systems are strengthening.

"Just one well meant cheek pinch or hand rub can transmit harmful germs to an infant," Lapointe says. "This tag will politely let others know that you would rather not have germs spread to your child via physical contact."

Considering most people mean well, these cute and creative signs are an easy way to give everyone a refresher on best practices around babies.

[Update, October 18, 2018: Added onesie to slideshow.]

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You don't have to spend a lot on holiday gifts; sometimes the smallest items are the most memorable. Our 20 under $20 picks offer something for every kid on your list this year!

1. Eva & Elvin Knee Socks

Comfy, adorable, and super on trend, these critter-inspired knee socks couldn't be cuter.

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2. Holztiger Little Brown Bear Toy Figure

These timeless and beautiful wood figures will capture your child's heart and imagination.

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3. Meri Meri Liberty Alphabet Stickers

Spell out your message in style with these classic floral alphabet stickers.

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4. Seedling Star Wand

Turn any day into a magical one! This princess wand even glows in the dark.

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5. Tattly Tattoos

These skin-safe, non-toxic temporary tattoos are fun for all ages.

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6. The Nutcracker: A Baby Lit Dancing Primer

You're never too young for the classics. This board book version of the classic Christmas ballet will quickly find a place in your holiday traditions.

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7. Petit Collage Pop-Outs: Winter Wonderland

Let your little one create her own holiday decor with these easy to assemble, sturdy winter-themed pop-outs.

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8. Mudpuppy Puzzle To Go: Animals of the World

This travel-friendly puzzle will makes its way over the river and through the woods this holiday season.

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9. Uncle Goose ABC Blocks

You can never go wrong with blocks, and these handcrafted solid wood ones are some of our faves.

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10. Boon Building Bath Pipes

These colorful pipes suction to the wall and can be used individually or as a set. Bath time has never been so much fun!

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11. Tegu Travel Pals

A perfect non-tech toy for travel, these magnetic puzzle blocks can be arranged in lots of different ways for endless fun.

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12. Marcus & Marcus Learning Chopsticks

Start honing those sushi skills early with these modern, stylish learning chopsticks.

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13. HABA Shakin' Eggs

Rattle and jingle your way through the holiday season with these bright, colorful egg rattles!

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14. Green Toys Submarine

Dive deep into bath time with this super fun submarine made from 100% recycled milk jugs.

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15. Yellow Owl Workshop Unicorn + Rainbow Small Stamp Kit

Stamp your way to a magical day with this kit perfect for craft time, or any time!

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16. Peg People Family

This Waldorf-inspired set of hand painted wooden peg dolls will spark the imagination of any pretend play-loving kiddo.

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17. PlayTape

Let your little one build his own road, highway, or race track! (And yes, it's totally safe for rugs, floors, and painted surfaces. ?)

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18. Manhattan Toys Skwish

Just as fun to play with as it is to say!

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19. Baby Sew Lovable Soft Sensory Block

Stimulate baby's senses with this hand-sewn sensory block, packed with features like a grasping ring, crinkly sides, and high contrast black and white imagery.

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20. Montessori Wooden Elephant Puzzle

Little hands will love fitting these handmade elephants together from smallest to biggest, learning size, color, and spacial skills along the way.

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Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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