The Dog (and Toddler) Friendly PetSmart Patio at Chase Field

This weekend, we had the opportunity to check out the PetSmart Patio at Chase Field for a Diamondbacks Game. With Summer on the horizon, I've been hunting for fun (and air conditioned) activities to do with the whole family and thanks to the PetSmart Patio at Chase Field, they've created one of the coolest ways to enjoy a MLB Baseball game. Yes, you can bring your dog to the ballpark! Baseball, Dogs, and Balls--these are the things toddler dreams are made of. We loaded up Brody, my brother, his girlfriend, and Chance (Brody's favorite pup), and headed to cheer on our Diamondbacks.

How To Bring your Dog To A Baseball Game at Chase Field

I'm now convinced there is no better way to watch the Diamondbacks play (especially with a toddler). The PetSmart Patio is made up of 30 dog friendly suites. Each suite is gated in and has a table, four chairs and all the dog supplies you pup may need---you even get to take these home with you. I have to admit the view above left-center field was pretty great as well. Brody had the time of his life. Rather than being confined to a seat, Brody was able to roam around with Chance in our suite the entire game. For a toddler and pup who rarely sit still, this was such a great way for us all to enjoy our afternoon. 

PetSmart Chase Field Diamondbacks Game
Dog Ice Cream at PetSmart Patio
Puppy Ice Cream at PetSmart Patio

I think Chance's favorite part was the all-you-can-lick dog friendly ice cream. With toppings like chicken flavor, bacon, or turkey sweet potato, what pup could resist!

PetSmart Dog Friendly Patio at Chase Field

Brody is obsessed with dogs, so it is no surprise that his favorite part of the game was wondering around the PetSmart Patio petting and pointing at the dogs in each of the suites. The indoor and outdoor doggy play areas were also a fun place for Brody to play fetch with Chance. Who needs a 7th inning stretch when there's a whole dog park to work off some of that energy!

PetSmart Patio Dog Suites at Chase Field
Diamondbacks Baseball Game Style with PetSmart at Chase Field

If you are looking for a fun activity in Arizona for the whole family this Summer, the pet friendly suites at Chase Field are a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Thanks for having us, PetSmart!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PetSmart. The opinions and text are all mine.

6 Things You Need To Know About Weaning

A few weeks before Brody's first birthday, I found myself mentally over breastfeeding. My body would tense up when it was time to feed, my mind would wander to a world where we were no longer nursing. Brody started to become more aggressive with the feedings--yanking at my shirt in the middle of the day and becoming upset immediately if I didn't give him the boob whenever and wherever he wanted. My milk supply was dwindling and I felt like I was becoming a human pacifier. My body was craving to be mine again. 

And so we began weaning. We slowly started cutting back on feedings and changing routines. Some days I would feel like we were making progress and then we would regress into our old habits once again. I began to second guess myself a few times--thinking Brody and I would lose this special bond we had developed and then a few hours later, I would be pleading for my body back. Like all things motherhood, it was a time filled with contradictions. It took time to accept that weaning would be a process. It took time to realize that it was just as much up to Brody as it was to me.  It took time to understand that our bond would change, but it would be just as strong. 

Below are some of the discoveries and tips I learned along the way. 

6 Things You Need To Know About Weaning | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

The right time to wean is different for everyone

Your mom, your friends and the books you read--everyone has a different opinion and story about when you should wean. From my experience, I firmly believe that you and your little one will know when the time has come. Maybe it's 10 months, maybe it's 2 years, just trust your mind and body. I knew my supply had drastically begun to drop. I had also set a goal for myself to try to make it to one year, so as Brody's birthday began approaching, I mentally began to feel satisfied with how far we had made it. Weaning is one of those instinctual feelings.

Your connection changes

My biggest fear with weaning was the fear of losing the special bond Brody and I had created. Those late nights when he would drowsily stare at my face and smile, holding his warm little body against mine, snuggling up together--I was scared to lose these special moments. Brody was never one to cuddle, so I feared that I was going to lose the one thing that bonded us together. The one time of day where he slowed down and just laid with his heart against mine. Much to my surprise, since weaning, Brody has become so affectionate. Maybe it's his age or maybe it's our new connection, but I will never get sick of the slobbery kisses, hugs, and cuddles he now gives out freely. There is no sweeter feeling in the world.

6 Things You Need To Know About Weaning | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

Sleep can improve when you wean

With the teething madness of the past couple of months, I had gotten into the bad habit of feeding Brody a couple of times during the night. I knew he didn't need to eat, but it was the easiest way to put him back to sleep and most nights I was too tired to try anything else. I worried that without nursing him back to sleep in the middle of the night, he would stay up and cry. Visions of a 10 year-old who didn't sleep through the night danced through my head. But once we slowly started to cut back the feedings, Brody started to sleep through the night again. It took a couple of weeks of tearful nights, but it was worth the peaceful nights of sleep that resulted. Try enlisting your partner when you are night weaning. My husband would offer Brody a sip of water when he would wake up in the middle of the night during our transition.

Don't overthink it

It's not unusual to feel sadness during or after the weaning process. After all, Oxytocin is the hormone that causes the milk let-down and it's the same hormone that gives you those feelings of euphoria. It is no surprise that a decrease in Oxytocin could result in some less than euphoric feelings. What I found to work best was a slow weaning process. Rather than going cold turkey, we cut back feedings slowly over a period of 6-8 weeks. I also never told myself "this is the last time I will nurse Brody", as I had a feeling that would trigger some sadness. I tried not to think of weaning as a monumental event--for me, the monumental event was our heartwarming year of nursing. 

6 Things You Need To Know About Weaning | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

Having your body back feels good

It seems selfish for me to say this, but it feels amazing to have my body back. To be in full control of my body. To pull those non-nursing bras out from the back of my closet. To be able to have a margarita (or two) and not have to plan it around when I would be feeding Brody. I loved pregnancy. I have been amazed by my body during postpartum. But having my body back to myself has been the final piece of the puzzle to feeling like the old me again. 

Your Long Lost Friend Will Return

Remember that pesky Aunt Flow that used to come around every 28 days or so? If you haven't seen her in a while (ahem, two years for me!), she's likely to make a quick return. Make sure you have a stash of panty liners or tampons on hand. Oh, how nice it was to not have a period for two years!  

As our year plus of nursing has come to an end, I am so grateful for my body and its ability to nourish Brody. It is something I never once took for granted--knowing so many mommas that wish their bodies would have been able to do the same. It had a huge learning curve and challenged me in many ways, but what a blessing to have been able to share this experience with Brody. 

I would love to hear your weaning experiences in the comments. Did you slowly wean or go cold turkey? What was the hardest part for you? 

How to Keep Babies and Toddlers Cool in the Heat

As the temperatures are starting to quickly creep past 100 degrees here in Arizona, keeping Brody cool in the heat and protected from the sun have been heavy on my mind. From little tricks to cool off after the car has been baking in a parking lot, to products that have been a game changer for hot days (like the Noogle), below are a dozen of my favorite ways to beat the heat with a little one. 

12 Must-Haves to Keep Your Baby and Toddler Protected from The Sun | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

One: Babiators Sunglasses | Nordstrom $20 | Why I love them: Flexible rubber frames (safe for baby to chew on), shatter-proof lenses, and a guarantee that they will be replaced if they are lost or broken. This is what sunglass dreams are made of when it comes to baby and toddlers. 

Two: LILLEBaby Airflow Carrier | Target $125 | Why I love this: In the realm of structured carriers, I have fallen in love with our LILLEBaby Airflow over the past couple of months of use. We are prepping for a hike through the five towns of Cinque Terre in Italy this Summer, so the mesh exterior was a big selling point. It allows for air to flow through the carrier for both baby and parent. It also has a hood that can be used as a sun cover. 

Three: Sunnylife Icypop Molds | Nordstrom Rack $12.97 | Why I love these: Popsicles are one of Brody's favorite snacks, but they melt fast and I end up holding the stick for him the whole time. The silicone exterior of these molds is perfect for little hands. Try freezing light colored fruits and juices to avoid mess. Coconut water blended with honeydew is a refreshing treat in the heat. 

Four: Portable Sunshade | Buggygear $20 | Why I love this: We use a sunshade in the car window, but the sun still peeks through at certain angles. This portable sunshade can be maneuvered to fit any angle. It's perfect for the car or attaching to your stroller to keep the sun rays from your little one's eyes or skin.

Five: Baby Sunhat | Etsy $28 | Why I love this: This sun hat is about as cute as they come. With little bear ears and a classic shape, it's perfect for those trips to your favorite sunny spot. PS: How cute is the confetti print?

Six: Clip on Fan | Amazon $12 | Why I love this: When we are strolling outside, Brody is usually rosy-cheeked and sweaty. This portable fan can clip onto a stroller for a little air flow. The fan blades are made out of a soft foam, so you don't have to worry about your little one hurting themselves if they touch it.

Seven: Instant Cooling Towels | Target $14.99 | Why I love these: We do an outdoor bootcamp every evening, even during the Summer when it's 110+ degrees. It's one of Brody's favorite parts of the day running around the park and hanging out with mom and dad. We have a stash of these cooling towels on hand and they are amazing. We wet them with the sizzling hot water from the drinking fountain at the park and they magically chill. I usually throw it around Brody's shoulders as he's running around to keep cool.

Eight: Noogle Air Conditioning Extension | Amazon $45 | Why I love this: A flexible extension that brings air from the vent to the back seat? Sign me up! I'll admit I was very skeptical on whether or not the Noogle would help Brody, but after raving reviews from friends, we finally decided to buy one and give it a try. It has been a game changer! Our car has vents in the back seat (behind the center console), but the air struggled to reach Brody in his rear-facing car seat. The Noogle has solved that problem. If you don't have one of these yet, I highly recommend it. 

Nine: Baby Pibu Sunscreen | $20 | Why I love this: Sunscreen is one thing we can't leave the house without this time of year. Baby Pibu is one of our favorites. It's a thicker constancy than other brands and takes some rubbing in. When you are chasing a squirmy toddler around trying to apply sunscreen, the white color it leaves behind actually helps me know where it has been applied. 

Ten: Inflatable Pool | Amazon $10 | Why I love this: For those afternoons when Brody is begging at the door to go outside, the inflatable pool on our patio has been the perfect distraction. He cools off and has a blast splashing around and we get a little fresh air despite the soaring temps--a total win!

Eleven: UPF 50 Striped Blanket | Nordstrom $50 | Why I love this: This super soft blanket has built in sun protection! I can think of so many uses for a blanket like this. Falling asleep on the beach just became a whole lot safer. 

Twelve: Cooling Carseat or Stoller Liner | Amazon $30 | Why I love this: The buckles on our carseat are so hot when we leave the car in a parking lot. This cooling mat can be placed in the carseat or stroller seat to cool it off. We haven't tried it out yet, but the reviews are great!

Peach Picking at Schnepf Farms

When I think back to my pre-motherhood days, I start realizing how much I have changed. How my outlook on life has changed. How my priorities have shifted. How my urge to make memories has increased tenfold. 

Picking Peaches at Schnepf Farm | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

I'm realizing how much more time there is in a day when you wake up early. More opportunities for adventures. More opportunities to spend time together. More opportunities to make memories. So when we were up at the crack of dawn this morning, we decided to head out to a local farm and celebrate peach season. 

Picking Peaches at Schnepf Farm | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

Our first stop--the bakery, where the three of us split a giant peach cinnamon roll for breakfast before hiking over to the peach orchard for picking.

Picking Peaches at Schnepf Farm | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

Brody was so excited once we showed him how to pull peaches off the tree and drop them into the basket. He mostly opted for the low hanging fruit (ahem, smashed peaches on the ground). But regardless, it was so fun watching him walk through the orchard on his own. During last year's peach picking, he was just a few weeks old and snoozed in the Solly Wrap the whole time. Oh, how time flies!

Picking Peaches at Schnepf Farm | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |
Picking Peaches at Schnepf Farm | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

With the scent of sweet peaches billowing through the air and the sun beating down upon us, we snuck in a few juicy nibbles as we wandered through the orchard. We left with sticky fingers, a dozen decadent peaches, full hearts. 

Picking Peaches at Schnepf Farm | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

The first signs of Summer are upon us and I cannot wait for the memories we will make in the months ahead. Now who has a good recipe for peaches!?

The Best Baby Spoons

The recent obsession in our home has been baby spoons (or "goons" as Brody likes to call them). Every time Brody spots a spoon he has to hold it. Big, little, plastic or metal, we've become a bit of spoon hoarders. 

The Best Baby Spoons | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

Since we've tried nearly every spoon out there, I decided to do a little round up of some of our favorites---why we love them and what they work well for. There really is a perfect "goon" out there for everyone and each stage of self-feeding seems to require a new spoon.

The Best Baby Spoons | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |
The Best Baby Spoons | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

Silikids Silicone Spoon This spoon is shovel-style. I love that it is completely made out of silicone, so it is flexible and soft. The slightly raised sides keep the food on the spoon and the handle has a fun texture.

B.Box Toddler Cutlery Set My favorite part of this cutlery set is the little fork. It's designed with a prong-like end that traps the food and helps grasp it. Brody has gotten the hang of getting food on his spoon or fork, but it often doesn't stay in place long enough to make it into his mouth. The little fork in this set is great.

The Best Baby Spoons | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

Ooga Ooga Baby Weaning Spoon This is the spoon that I highly recommend for starting to feed your little one solids/cereals/purees etc. The shape works so well in jars of baby food or bowls. It is made out of a soft silicone and the shape of the spoon fit perfectly into Brody's mouth. We used this spoon set exclusively for our first couple of months on solids.

The Best Baby Spoons | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

Ooga Ooga Airplane Spoon The airplane spoon is made by the same company as the Baby Weaning Spoon and it is such a fun dinner accessory. The portion of the spoon that goes in the mouth seems to be a slightly different shape than the Baby Weaning Spoon. This spoon is definitely geared towards toddlers and will probably become Brody's favorite in the months to come. I foresee a lot of airplane noises at dinner in our future! 

NumNum GOOtensils After hearing about the GOOTensils for a few months from momma friends, we recently tried them out. Let me tell you, they live up to the hype! This spoon is perfect for the little one who is just beginning to self-feed. It has become our go-to spoon for yogurt. One thing I really love about it, there isn't a wrong way to hold it because the front and back work just as well. It serves more as a dipper than a spoon and is the perfect utensil to start teaching your little one to self-feed.

The Best Baby Spoons | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

Gerber Graduates Nuk Spoons This spoon may be one of the most common spoons out there, but it is a good option if you are at your local big box retailer and need to pick up a spoon. The head of the spoon is smaller than most, but I like that the back has a rest built into it so you aren't spreading food all over your table when you set the spoon down. A good option to keep at Grandma's house for the occasional use.

The Best Baby Spoons | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms |

ZoLi Fork and Spoon (part of their suction bowl kit): The fork and spoon that come with the ZoLi suction bowl kits are a good size for little hands. The spoon is a little wide for an infants mouth, but the fork had been handy for self-feeding. Since the fork is styled more like a spork, it helps keep the food from sliding right off. 

Have you tried any of these spoons? What have been your favorites?