Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mom goes to Utah.

Long ago, I lived in Utah while I attended school at Brigham Young University. That's where I got the broadcast journalism degree that allowed me to later become Mom, the (News) Intern.

While I lived in Utah, I despised about 80 percent of it. I hated the winters. The unapologetically careless drivers. The potholes all over the roads and the trench-like gutters that line the streets of Provo. I-15. The nasty industrial areas that are completely unhidden and provide a ghastly contrast from the beautiful mountain scenery that surrounds them. The plastic Barbie doll culture. The abysmal customer service at any and every restaurant.

I did enjoy MOST aspects of BYU, and the summers in Utah were glorious. But when my time came to be done, I was outta there in a hurry. I missed Arizona something fierce and didn't even care that it is literally Hell on Earth from mid-May to late-September every year. That's why air conditioning was invented, people. And tell me, have you ever had to scrape sunshine off your windshield?

I stayed far away and hadn't been back since the year I graduated, which was 2009. And then, I finally had cause to return last month. It was for a concert tour and album recording with Millennial Choirs and Orchestras, of which I am a part and have been for six years. We performed in several concerts at the Mormon Tabernacle and recorded an upcoming album at the University of Utah.

Those experiences alone were incredible. But just getting away from here, by myself, was something I needed. I just didn't know it.

I flew into Salt Lake on a Tuesday and didn't have any choir commitments until the following day, so I was free to do whatever I wanted. This was also the first time I had ever rented a car for myself. I was so nervous about it, but of course it was totally fine. I ended up loving that little Chevy Sonic with its fancy back-up camera and screen that told me the artist and title of every song played on the radio. And I loved the freedom having a car provided me.

As I pulled away from the airport and headed downtown where my Airbnb was located, I actually started to tear up. I was in Utah again! And I was glad about it! The weather was great, the scenery is just breathtaking (there was even still snow on the mountains! In June!) and the happy memories flooded back. See, when you've been away from something for a while, you tend to forget the bad and remember the good. Thanks, Brain, for that helpful evolution. Were it not so, the human race would cease to exist because CHILDBIRTH.

I arrived at my Airbnb a few hours before check-in, so I decided to hit up City Creek. What a lovely mall! It felt a bit too fancy for me, but it was a nice place to hang out and also very close to where I stayed. I liked that it had an actual creek running through it. For lunch, I ate at the small Red Iguana in the food court there because I was starving by that point. It was actually pretty decent! I called Dillon while I ate and remarked how every person I saw looked like someone I know. I guess we Mormons tend to resemble each other.

After that, I shopped a little, and then made my way to my place. It was right in the Avenues just off of South Temple. I had never stayed in an Airbnb before and didn't know what to expect. It turned out to be a really positive experience and I would definitely do it again!

When I walked in, I was greeted by original hardwood floors, a beautiful fireplace and mantle and lovely white built-ins and moulding. The bedroom was comfy and inviting with curious little furniture pieces. The kitchen was quaint but stocked with all the necessities. It was SO CUTE and looked exactly like the pictures in the listing. Behold:





I looked forward to coming back to this place at the end of each tiring day. It felt like a little sanctuary where I could be alone with my thoughts (I know that sounds scary but trust me, I needed it) and just unwind without the needs of others weighing on my mind.

My sister Mariah lives in Provo so I also got to visit with her on several occasions. We did have our mandatory sushi date at Tsunami and it was SO GOOD. You guys weren't kidding!

sushi, Salt Lake City

We also went to Music and the Spoken Word on Sunday morning, and then Mariah showed me around BYU later that day. It's changed so much since I was last there. It's beautiful!

byu

That last picture is the brand new Life Sciences Building on the south end of campus. The coolest thing about it was how they used a ton of living plants and taxidermy to decorate it inside. It felt so swanky and it made me want to go back to school and study biology or something.

Singing in the 150-year-old Tabernacle was an incredibly moving experience. Those Mormon pioneers built it with their bare hands. The pipe organ was magnificent. I can honestly say performing with so many accomplished musicians and beautiful human beings on those hallowed grounds was a spiritual highlight in my life. I wished my mom could've been there in person, but I have no doubt she was there in spirit.

temple square
The whole MCO crew packed into the Assembly Hall. Photo c/o Steve Porter

Libby Gardner Hall was an absolute joy to record our album in! The pipe organ was beautiful to behold, which is good because I got to stare at it for about five hours. I'm definitely a Cougar for Life, but hanging out at the U wasn't all that bad (though I was concerned about bursting into flames while walking around on campus, and y'all got some scary-steep hills).


I had the chance to visit the Salt Lake temple during some of my free time and I also got to see the new Provo City Center temple! Wow. I remember when it was just a wee tabernacle. We used to have church meetings there, and I even performed there as a BYU student. Amazing that they were able to restore it to a temple after it burned down. It is truly magnificent!

Provo City Center Temple, Salt Lake Temple

I ended up dining at some of the places that were recommended to me by everyone -- THANK YOU! -- but I didn't get to try them all, unfortunately. Sometimes, I only had a minute, or I was in a different part of town, or it was more convenient to eat somewhere else than travel around. However, I got to try some really yummy food at some unique places, and it was a ton of fun!

L to R: Rockwell's Ice Cream (Provo), Sodalicious (Provo), Cafe on 1st (SLC)

L to R: Pig and a Jelly Jar (SLC), The Pie (University of Utah, SLC)

Going on this trip ALONE was something I desperately needed. There were a few times I wished I had Dillon, my kids or a close friend with which to eat a meal, go to the temple or just hang out. I did meet up with several people as I had the time, which was a lot of fun. But for the most part, I was by myself. And I needed it, especially when I became vocally fatigued and had to rest my voice. It was really healing to just think and process things, too. Plus, I only had to worry about myself, which is unusual. I am always thinking about my family, my kids and others and my own needs tend to slip by the wayside.

The best thing I could have done at this particular time in my life was spend a week rediscovering myself. Having just lost my mother, I was swallowed up in my grief. I had begun to forget who I was. I lost my sense of joy and wonder. I was just going through the motions of everyday life. I needed respite from the horrid storm.

But this trip to Utah was more than just a getaway. I learned that it's okay for me to feel sad, but it's also OK for me to feel happy again, too. I learned that it's okay for me to be alone and it doesn't make me a bad person for enjoying it. I learned to appreciate my musical intuition and skills that I often discount. I learned that people are mostly kind and often misunderstood. I learned that God loves me.

I am so grateful to Dillon who took an entire week off work to be with our kids, and not just "watching" them, but taking them on so many fun adventures while I was gone. He is such an  involved father and a phenomenal husband. I am grateful for that time all those months ago when my mom was dying and he told me if I needed to go on a trip by myself, he would fully support it. My heart leapt. I knew this trip was coming up and I held on until then.

I am so glad I did. I feel refreshed. I feel ready to take on whatever life throws at me. Like the Provo Tabernacle-turned-temple, I feel like I am being rebuilt into something amazing.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday Favorites: CommercialSilk.com

Prior to last year, I had never had a live houseplant that survived for more than a week or two. But death has a way of bringing plants into your life. Did you know? No one had ever warned me about this. Let it be known: if you lose someone close to you, you'll probably become the adoptee of many green children. It's both heartwarming and also a little frightening.When Dillon's grandfather unexpectedly passed away last year, we inherited his corn plant. It is quite a mature plant and is about five feet tall now, more like a tree. At the time, it was fairly neglected, but I could tell it had some life in it and that it would make a lovely addition to our home, so I accepted it with open arms. It happens to be one of the most low-maintenance plants on earth, requiring only about two cups of water every few weeks and very little sun. And it really does liven up its little corner of the house.

Then, my mom died six months ago, and many people gave me lovely houseplants as bereavement gifts. As such, our plant family size tripled in a few days. This was an unexpected aspect of bereavement that I hadn't anticipated. All these plants are beautiful, and keeping them alive is like keeping Grandpa's and my mom's memories alive, in a way. Actually, when I think of them wilting and dying I feel the beginnings of a panic attack so I guess you could say I'm doing really well these days hahahaha

It's fine, I'm fine.

Anyway.


The plant-growing has been going so well, I decided to add a few more live plants of my own -- a small cactus with an orange ball on top, and a spiky, tall-ish thing from IKEA which we named K.K. Slider. All are currently alive and thriving, and I am officially a Crazy Plant Lady.

I have spoken to many people over the years who say plant husbandry (?) is just not for them, that they have a black thumb and a real knack for killing houseplants of all kinds, even succulents. And to you, I say, know your strengths. Don't force it. Just invest in some quality artificial plants. No one will care. But people WILL care if you boast about how you ruthlessly kill plants, so going the silk route is a smart move if you want to protect your reputation, too. Wink, wink.

In fact, even though I do pretty well with houseplants, I still own several fakies that get the job done. So when CommercialSilk.com reached out and asked me to review a 3-foot Sansevieria, I couldn't pass it up. I've been looking for one of these for a long time! The usually don't look real enough for me, but this one definitely passes the test.





As you can see, the light even passes through it in a realistic way! And it feels soft and rubbery to the touch, too, as a real snake plant would. I also like the way they styled the mulch so that it hides the fact the plant is fake but it isn't overdone.

I could see this plant really classing up a boring office space, too. And CommercialSilk.com definitely has that arena covered! They've got everything from small tabletop plants to full-sized trees. So, if you're a business owner who doesn't want to deal with watering and cleaning up after plants (YES THEY CAN BE SO MESSY, WHO KNEW) in addition to your numerous responsibilities at the office, definitely consider checking this site out.

Alright, dear readers. Do you own any live houseplants? Do you sing to them? Have you named them? Do you consider yourself a Crazy Plant Person? Should we start a support group?

This post was written in exchanged for product. All opinions are mine, as usual.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Return of the Intern.

Do you remember when I graduated from BYU in April 2009? I blogged about it here, in case you need a refresher.


That was the last time I set foot in Utah.

Crazy, right? The place of my birth, the place of my people, the place of my alma mater and yet I haven't had cause to return for the past eight years. Until now.

And, I'm pretty stoked about it!

The choir I sing with (Millennial Choirs and Orchestras) is performing in six (SIX!!) concerts at the historic Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City this week, and as such I am hauling myself to Utah to join them. ALONE.

Yes, a trip for me, by myself, no spouse, no kids -- just me, navigating the Beehive State like the legit adult I supposedly am. I'm also renting my first AirBnb (LOOK AT HOW CUTE IT IS!!!) and my first car. Which kind of makes me nervous, but I'm sure it will be fine, right? Please tell me I can't screw this up.

Aside from enjoying SLC, I'm excited to see my sister Mariah and take a gander at the BYU campus because I hear it's changed a whole lot since I was there. And, let's be honest -- I miss BYU. Sometimes, I long for the sunny, pristine atmosphere of BYU. It's like the Disneyland of college campuses. Everyone is nice and good-looking, the landscaping is perfection and it's not uncommon for a group of students to bust out in song, Broadway musical-style.

(A lot of people there also live in Fantasy Land, but that's another gripe for another blog post.)

Anyway, I am excited to report back about the AirBnb experience and tell you all about my travels, but I need some help from you! I'm going to be eating out a LOT during the week, and I value high-quality food experiences, so give me your dining suggestions from Provo to Salt Lake City! Especially sushi, because Mariah and I have this tradition where we get sushi together any chance we get, and we're definitely going while I'm there. Fire away!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Favorites: Basic Invite

Last year about this time, I was helping host a baby shower for my sister, Sarah, who was welcoming her baby girl, Ivy, into the world. I was in charge of the invitations, which is fine because I know my way around Photoshop. But, I soon realized designing the invitations myself was a bit of a time-suck and I wished there was a web site where I could order something cute, modern and affordable that would be sent right to me, envelopes and all.

Enter Basic Invite!

invitations, printables, stationery, baby shower invites

This site has it ALL. Not only are their templates beautiful, but you can customize the color of any element to your liking! With over 180 color options to choose from, you can't go wrong with the design of your invitation or announcement. This is HUGE for me as I have very particular tastes and sometimes, though I might adore a specific template, I might not be crazy about the default color scheme. Problem solved!

Speaking of colors, Basic Invite also offers 40 different colors of envelopes you can choose from! Say, what?! I don't know about you, but when I get a bright aqua or coral pink envelope in the mail, I'm super-excited to see what's inside. Plus, these envelopes are peel-and-seal, so you don't have to lick any disgusting adhesive. And you know it's going to stay shut!

Also, if you're skeptical of your computer monitor and want to know exactly how your invites will turn out, you can order a sample. No need to doubt how the finished product will look when you can see for yourself ahead of time! By the way, Basic Invite is one of few online stationery companies to offer this service.

The last (and probably coolest) feature of Basic Invite I want to mention is their free address collection service! Request your addresses with just three simple steps -- share a link with your recipients, collect their addresses, and get free envelope printing, too. Nice!

Ok, check out some of these adorable customized baby shower invitations. Sure would've come in handy for me last year! Remember, you can change the color of any element, as you can see in this screenshot:



If you want to keep the invitation gender-specific, you can search the templates for baby boy shower invites or girl shower invites. Save you the hassle of having to sort through yourself! I absolutely adore these.


And you'll definitely want to check out the luxury birth announcements for when Baby makes his or her debut! Stunning!



Of course, a year later, you'll be needing those 1st birthday invites for Baby's 1-Year Bash! Some of those are just too cute for words -- check them out for yourself! And on that note, I can't believe my sweet niece Ivy already turned 1 this week. Where does the time go?!

Hurry on over to Basic Invite to see the rest of their beautiful designs. Use code '15FF51' to save 15% on your order!

This post is sponsored by Basic Invite. As usual, the expressed opinions are 100% mine.

Friday, May 12, 2017

To the motherless children on Mother's Day -- I see you now.

First Mother's Day without my mom.

I've tried not to think about it. Tried to busy myself with other things. Tried to play it cool.

But last Sunday, as I listened to the children in my church congregation practice the Mother's Day songs they will be singing to the whole ward in two days, I felt that familiar lump rise up in my throat, the burning tears forming at the corners of my eyes. Look down. I tried to breathe calmly, but the breaths became faster and more frantic, like I was smothering. I felt like a child myself.

How am I going to get through this day?

Last Mother's Day is not a fond memory, either. My mom had just been through a week of radiation and had lost control of her bowels, couldn't keep any food or water down, and was an emotional wreck. We brought her gifts of pajamas and a "grabber" she could use to reach objects on the floor since she couldn't bend over anymore. My dad compiled a nostalgic collage of photos of us with our mom -- a collage that we'd later see again when she died.

Things looked grim last year, and I found myself knowing deep down it would be the last Mother's Day with Mom.

2016 was a year of "lasts," and 2017 is a year of firsts. First Easter. First birthdays. First Halloween (her favorite holiday). First Thanksgiving. First Christmas.

First Mother's Day.

Without her.

My past self honestly (and shamefully) never considered how the motherless must feel on this day. I was blind to their pain. But this year, it's all I can think of. The day hasn't even come, yet I'm agonized already. I regret that I ignorantly went about my life before, not stopping to think about those who struggle on Mother's Day.

If you will be motherless this Sunday, just know I see you now. I see your trepidation as you enter the chapel at church, avoiding glances and dreading conversation. I see that single tear rolling down your cheek during the Mother's Day song. I see you wanting nothing more than to run away. I see the forced smile as your kids shower you with breakfast and handmade gifts. I see the memories behind your eyes, the ones clawing their way out as you will them to stay away, at least until you can be alone.

I see you now, and I know it hurts. If you want a hug, I'm here with my arms open. If not, just know that I'm in the boat with you -- the boat no one wants to be on. You can take comfort in my company.


This photograph features two objects that have provided me with peace lately. The first is the vase of pink carnations -- my mom's favorite flower. A friend brought them to me yesterday. She knew the upcoming holiday would be tough for me and thought of this easy yet profound way to let me know she cares. In my grief, I have appreciated the outreach of others more than anyone will know. Even the simplest gestures are incredibly helpful in healing my broken heart.

The second item is a print called "We Are All a Part of God's Family" by Caitlin Connolly. It depicts our Heavenly Parents and all of their beautiful children. I have found comfort in believing that whether my mother is on earth or beyond, she is mine for eternity, and that all of us have a Heavenly Mother who loves us beyond measure.

When I look at this gorgeous print, I think about how much my mom would've loved it. She is the one who taught me of Mother in Heaven as a child. It was her confidence in that doctrine that allowed me to never question it, and to never question the divinity within myself. Because of my mom, Heavenly Mother is as real to me as the rising of the sun.

Sunday is going to come and go. It will be painful in some ways and surprisingly easy in others, I'm sure. (These "firsts" are also kind of unpredictable.) I will honor my mother and the motherly figures in my life, both living and deceased. But I will also hold space for those who are hurting, because sometimes these wonderful days of celebration are painful. I've only just begun to understand. I just wish it hadn't taken 30 years.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Book Review: Worth the Wrestle

You may be wondering where I've been lately. Truth is, I've been struggling. I have never suffered a loss so impacting as that of my mother, and I am currently deep in the trenches of the grief experience.

I didn't realize it until now, but grief actually gets harder before it gets easier. A few months after the loss, you actually experience more pain than you did initially. I know this because not only am I living it first-hand, but I'm also currently in therapy where a professional counselor has helped me attach a name to what I'm going through and elucidate the whole process.

Side note: Psychological therapy is wonderful and everyone can benefit from it. I highly endorse it.

via

The first phase of grief is shock, and you tend to feel more numb than anything. You lose your appetite, you have emotional outbursts, but you're mostly in denial. It's a protection mechanism.

Once all the dust has settled, you're left in the protest phase, and that's where I am now. It's exactly what it sounds like. You are angry, you yearn for what is lost and you can barely think of anything else. You experience an increase in the shock symptoms mentioned above as well. On top of it, the physical effects of grief begin to take their toll. You feel extremely tired, you are in physical pain and you have a constant headache. You move into disorganization, and you can see above just how fun that phase is.

So, if you're wondering where the heck I've been, the short answer is at the bottom of a deep, dark pit of despair.

Naturally, a trying experience like this can easily result in a questioning of faith. I'm about to get real honest here, so be prepared.

Spiritually, I have felt torn between wanting to be my very best and continue to do all the right things so I can be centered with my Savior, who can continue to carry this burden for me. Also, there is a motivation to one day be worthy of being with my mom again, because there's no doubt she made it to heaven.

But another part of me -- the depressed part -- is too tired to go on. This part doesn't see the point in studying the word of God, attending church, praying or anything "churchy." This part of me is so exhausted, she just wants to cry, sleep, feel angry and do nothing. And often, this is what happens.

When a representative from Deseret Book reached out to me to review Sheri L. Dew's new book, Worth the Wrestle, I was hesitant to accept. Don't get me wrong -- I love Sister Dew and her inspired, prophetic words, and it seems like they always find their way to me whenever I need them. But I could tell by the title that I would feel moved to make some changes once I finished the book.

Problem was, I didn't know if I would be physically able to act on my impressions. See, depression is a tricky thing in that it immobilizes you from doing even the simplest tasks. So, I didn't want to open myself to receiving a spiritual prompting and then find myself unable to follow through with whatever it would require. Something to do with my perfectionism and fear of failure, I guess.

A little over a week ago, leaders of our stake came to our congregation to deliver sermons and lessons specifically targeted to our needs. I had been so frustrated with this new depression, as I drove myself to church that morning, I lamented out-loud. I said, "God ... I am going to church today, even though I don't want to. Please send me some comfort, peace -- anything so I  can know that this is all worth it."

I've found in my life that when I am very sincere in my prayers, I get answers. I know others may not experience this and I don't intend to pass judgment on them for their struggles. I can only speak for myself and for me, this is true. I consider it a spiritual gift, one I honestly do not tap into enough.

Within hours of asking, my prayer was answered. What topic did the stake president choose to address with the adult Sunday School? Was it something to make me feel even more inadequate, like the importance of scripture study, service, church and temple attendance, fulfilling callings -- all the things I had been struggling so mightily to understand their value?

No. His lesson was about depression. And not how it's some shameful, hush-hush thing tied to unworthiness, but how it's actually a common, widespread issue many people suffer with and how we need to be more open, understanding and loving in how we accept and manage it in our families and congregation.

We watched the video below and discussed it. Many people shared their personal experiences. I wanted to, but I couldn't. I could only sit with tears streaming down my face, fully knowing that God is aware of me and loves me.


Later, my mom's cousin Kimberly, the stake Relief Society president -- she leads the women's organization -- presented a lesson to us about the very concept Sister Dew addresses in her book. And actually, she specifically mentioned Worth the Wrestle, which was a big fat sign from God that I needed to just buck up and read the book.

So, I did. Amazingly and miraculously, I did. The book is short and written in a conversational way that makes it quite easy to read. You can just imagine Sister Dew sitting across from you in your living room, holding your hands and talking to you in a direct yet loving way. It feels like conversing to your best friend as you take in her poignant words.

The premise of the book is simple -- no one is going to pass through life without ever questioning what they believe. No one. Life is just hard, and the things we encounter will often confuse and deter us. But, it's what you do when you're in the midst of the refiner's fire that makes the difference. Do you acquiesce to your doubts, or do you wrestle with them? Wrestling requires humble seeking, studying and praying in earnest. It's difficult and uncomfortable.

Throughout the book, Sister Dew shares many heavy questions she's had regarding Church doctrine and history, and how she humbly searched, studied and prayed on repeat to get a personal witness from God on these matters. It's humbling and also encouraging to read how such a spiritual giant as Sheri Dew can have struggles akin to my own. It gives me hope that I can also find reassurance.

Chances are, you are also going through something that's causing your spiritual foundation to shake. Maybe it's a death, or divorce, or a health challenge, or a loved one who is causing you pain. If you're not struggling with something, you will be. It's just the nature of life. And when those storms come, you can be prepared. Worth the Wrestle asserts that not only can you come to grips with your faith amidst a crisis, but that it's worth it to hold onto it. It just requires you to do some serious legwork.

I now feel empowered to slowly but surely take those steps back toward God, back to those things that once brought me comfort and strength in difficult times before. I know I can do it, and I know my questions have merit. God is ready to answer them if I am willing to do the work.

I believe it's worth the wrestle.


This post is sponsored by Deseret Book. Expressed opinions are, as usual, 100 percent mine.

Friday, February 17, 2017

When breast ISN'T best: our baby formula story

“This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal, with a prize of a gift certificate."

*CLOSED*


Before I had my first baby, Audrey, I was certain I would do everything right. I would have a non-induced vaginal birth, I would never put my baby to sleep on her stomach, I would use all-natural soaps and detergents and I would for SURE breastfeed until she was at least year old.

Well, right off the bat I ended up with an emergency C-section. I should have known right then to scrap all my carefully-laid plans, but I clung to the rest of them. I truly wanted what was best for my baby, and I was determined to make it happen!

Within the first few weeks of Audrey's life, it became very apparent that my daughter wasn't tolerating my breast milk at all. Each time I would feed her, it would only be about 15 - 20 minutes before she would start screaming her head off in pain. She also threw up a LOT. I mean, Exorcist-style projectile vomiting every day. I couldn't keep up with it all.

In addition to the cracked, bleeding nipples and latching trouble that accompany newborn nursing, I was also recovering from a C-section and couldn't easily hold Audrey in the traditional cradle hold. That little problem further complicated things for us. She seemed to only want to eat from a bottle, so I started pumping a lot and this reduced my milk supply. Plus, she was still crying and throwing up frequently.

All these issues led to crying spells, exhaustion and immense guilt on my part. So, it wasn't long before we decided to switch Audrey to a non-lactose formula. As soon as Dillon and I made this choice for our daughter, things started looking up. My baby was suddenly happy and stopped upchucking every drop of milk she ate. She slept better and cried a lot less. And we all began to bond so well! It was clearly the right decision for us. And although I did breastfeed my next two children (and I LOVE breastfeeding), I am so glad baby formula allowed Audrey to thrive.

bottle feeding, formula feeding, baby formula

Since that experience, I have made a point never to make a mother feel guilty for choosing to formula-feed. It turns out, sometimes breast isn't best.

Of course, in theory it is. According to this WebMD article, breast milk contains "a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat -- everything your baby needs to grow." La Leche League International's Web site also asserts that breast milk is full of antibodies which allows it to support a baby's developing immune system. The human body is a living miracle!

But for some families, breastfeeding is either too difficult on the mother and/or the baby, or it's not possible due to food allergies, adoption, low milk production and a host of other factors. Thankfully, scientists have developed a solution to these problems -- baby formula! It really is a healthy alternative to breastfeeding and nothing to be ashamed about. (Also, science is cool, am I right?)

Today, there exists a wide array of baby formulas for a variety of needs. I remember staring at the massive wall of baby formula at the grocery store and having no clue where to start. It's always a good idea to consult with a pediatrician on matters like this, but Diapers.com is also a very thorough resource for helping you select the best baby formula for your child.

Speaking of Diapers.com, they're giving away a $50 gift card to their Web site, which you can use to purchase diapers (duh) as well as just about any other baby-related doo-dads! Serious when I say they have everything. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment telling me your favorite part of parenthood or taking care of babies. It's that simple! You can also earn an additional entry by sharing this post on Twitter. Please use the Rafflecopter widget below! The giveaway starts TODAY and ends in one week, on February 24 at midnight!

a Rafflecopter giveaway