Here We Go Again! Mamma Mia! : One MORE Tiny Human

Mamma Mia! Here we go again!

No matter your feelings on ABBA, there is a MUCH bigger announcement to come in this post than just a movie release. When I heard that Mamma Mia! was making a sequel I was honestly pretty excited. Our at home Friday night dance parties admittedly have a pretty eclectic playlist. ABBA’s Dancing Queen is definitely in the mix from time to time. Of course, there is another reason Mamma Mia!  became a favorite of ours recently.

ABBA

One Tiny Human

If you were following us right before One Tiny Human arrived, we were trying to select our parenting 2.0 names– because there was zero chance were we going use the “grandparent” term. I am WAYYYYY too young for that. For the record, we still don’t use the g-word. On occasion, it will slip out for the sake of simplicity when trying to explain the relationship.

We finally decided on Mia and Abba for a number of reasons ( you can read about that here).

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again! at Mom 2.0

I was at Mom 2.0 back in May when I learned of the Mamma Mia! sequel and storyline. I picked up a few promo items, a couple of movie passes to see it opening weekend and made an absolutely terrible boomerang gif that I briefly thought about including here since it was branded with the movie. I reconsidered that because it was so terrible that my friend Vikki would unfriend me if it was ever leaked- yes, it is THAT awful.

In full disclosure, it was also that AWESOME that I still have a printed picture from the aforementioned attempted boomerang tucked away in my dresser that I pull out anytime I need a good laugh. Instead, I wore the tshirt we received as a consolation prize while I typed this post.

Mamma Mia! Here we go again! take 2

I tend to get exciting news at or around Mom 2.0. It’s where I first received the news of One Tiny Human, so it seemed fitting to receive this news the week after getting this year as well. I guess I really should have taken the movie title as a sign.

At the parent’s request, I have had to keep this a secret for a few reasons but I can finally tell you all!!

Are you ready???

Here’s the news… One Tiny Human is going to be a big sister!!

Paul & Sydney are having another baby!

There is going to be one MORE tiny human coming November 2018!!!

  • One MORE tiny human
  • Arrival estimated November 2018
  • SO EXCITED!!!

Here we go again 🙂

Gaining Insight and Elevating Expectations | The 2019 Honda Insight

HondaJet 2019 Honda Insight

Some experiences in life take you by surprise, remind you of what’s possible and elevate your expectations. This was so not the story I was expecting to tell when I first received the invitation to drive the 2019 Honda Insight in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I expected to come back sharing a story of my fondness for thoughtful, hybrid vehicles and their makers, i.e. the 2019 Honda Insight. It’s safe to conclude it became a little bit more.

Remember when you were a kid and sort of had this underlying feeling that anything was possible or something wonderful could happen at any moment? I left Minnesota dreaming a little bigger and reminded that joy is often just waiting to be found. I hope when you are finished reading you come away a little more inspired and ready to dream a little bigger too. ( If you would like the condensed info on the 2019 Honda Insight, check out my latest article at ThrillsandWheels.com)

Arriving at Hotel Ivy

After meeting up with a new friend and my drive partner for the trip at the airport. I arrived at the Hotel Ivy, where I would be staying on this trip. Hotel Ivy features nearly 2 dozen luxury suites, a fitness club and one of the best spas in Minneapolis. The guest rooms were spacious, with comfy beds, a sitting area, and a large desk space. The limestone bathrooms were spa-like with both a glass shower and deep soaking tub. It has some very unique features and history I’ll share with you in a post of its own soon. I’d highly recommend making a reservation for a stay here if you’re planning a trip to Minneapolis anytime in the near future.

Hotel Ivy

After getting unpacked and making myself at home in my room, my new friend and I were off to explore “the tunnels” of Minneapolis. These “tunnels” are really called the Minneapolis Skyway System. They connect various buildings over 80 full city blocks and 11 miles of pedestrian walkways. It’s really quite fascinating even if I did feel a little like a hamster in a cage trying to make sense of them all at first. We spent a couple of hours exploring the skyway system, getting in a count of just under 8,500 steps before dinner.

The Guthrie Theater

The Amber Room

photo credit: plsn.com

Dinner that evening and our official introduction to the 2019 Honda Insight would take place at the Guthrie Theatre. After reading the vision of the Guthrie I couldn’t imagine a more inspiring place to partner with for this occasion.

The vision of the Guthrie is this:

“to create transformative experiences that ignite the imagination, stir the heart, open the mind, and build community through the illumination of our common humanity.” 

Sold. You had me at transformative experiences and talk of community building.

The Amber Room is Solid Gold


Along the top floors is a viewing area called the Amber Room. This was our space to mingle before the event introduction. The room is made of glass that is tinted in a yellowish tone that is best described as a living Instagram filter. From this space, you can take in a panoramic view of the river and the surrounding city that is no less than breathtaking and a perfect place for gaining a new perspective. This is definitely a place I would consider making an entrance because I’m creative and fancy like that.

Honda Insight Introduction

Taking New Roads in the 2019 Honda Insight

The next morning was breakfast, presentation, and drive day. I actually look forward to the presentation portion as much as the drive time. I was always a really good student in school. The Honda team always has an exceptionally well-prepared presentation in all forms of communication- kudos to them for that.  There are usually really nice pens involved too (I love nice pens almost as much as nice flowers)

Honda Insight Presentation

It was finally time to drive. Like everything in the Honda line-up, the Insight is a great car. It doesn’t immediately make you think hybrid, no dramatic exterior or colors that give it away. I like to think of it as the Clark Kent, just waiting to save the day. It is the perfect vehicle for anyone interested in making the first transition to hybrid life.

You guys know I like nice things and behind the wheel, I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing anything. Driving the Honda Insight at Touring trim level carries many features I look for with larger 17-inch wheels, navigation, a power moonroof, dual-zone climate controls, leather-trimmed and heated power front seats and a large 8-inch HondaLink infotainment system all at an affordable $28,985.

In addition to features of comfort, you will also find the full range of safety and driver-assistive technology. Honda Sensing is standard on all Insight trims. It fully met my requirement of non-negotiable features at an incredibly reasonable price point. (For full details on the LX/ EX/Touring trim levels and pricing click here)

We Found a Beach!

Honda Insight New Roads

Did you know that there are beaches in Minnesota? Are there beaches in Minnesota?? Actually, I’m not really sure. This was my first time visiting. We may have crossed over into Wisconsin. We were thoroughly enjoying the drive and may have missed a turn here or there. Although we were off-course a bit, it didn’t feel like we were completely lost.  Sometimes the wrong turn is exactly where you are supposed to be.

At this point, we were definitely off course but had reached the “let’s see where this road goes” phase of our adventure.  Imagine our surprise when at the end of this beautifully shaded, curvy road was a totally empty beach! It was really like stumbling on a movie set or something. We opted not to worry about getting sand in our shoes and pulled over to explore. 

2019 Honda Insight Beach

It was super peaceful and totally unexpected. We took a few pictures and then headed out. I could have probably spent the rest of the afternoon there and been completely happy but I definitely didn’t want to miss out on what was coming next.

Honda Insight Beach 3

Living my best Top Gun life in the HondaJet

Honda Insight Friends

We headed immediately over to our lunch destination at Holman’s Table located in the Downtown St Paul Airport. We dined on the patio, enjoying our lovely meal while we waited for our scheduled flight time in the HondaJet to get an aerial view of Minneapolis—St. Paul. HondaJet is the fastest, highest-flying, quietest, and most fuel-efficient jet in its class.

HondaJet Collage

When it was our time to board, I had the opportunity to sit with the pilot. Of course, I said yes! I so wish I could tell you I played it cool but the ear to ear smile could literally be seen across the tarmac.  Basically, I was living my best Goose-Maverick-Top-Gun-aviator-wearing life that day.  It was an awesome, multilayered experience that I will not forget. It is no exaggeration to tell you I can feel my entire face light up every time I think or talk about it. I will never be able to play it cool. This smile will give me away every time.

Honda Insight Friends

It really is the little things

As if the day couldn’t have gotten more magical, this happened. When I exited the building, I could swear I heard the sounds of an ice cream truck.

Guyssss…. THERE WAS AN ACTUAL ICE CREAM TRUCK WAITING OUTSIDE AFTER OUR PRIVATE JET RIDE! Was this real life?? 

I could pick any kind of ice cream I wanted. Childhood dreams becoming real.

I selected my ice cream bar and enjoyed it next to a friend sitting on the steps outside the airport in the warm breeze. In case you were wondering, I got the Strawberry Crunch Bar, obviously.

Honda Insight Ice cream

In summary

Remember in the beginning when I said: Some experiences in life take you by surprise, remind you of what’s possible and elevate your expectations?  This entire trip was a series of moments that reinforcing all of that. Living a joy-filled life is all about the sum of moments like this. They happen all the time if you look for them and expect something wonderful to happen. Here are 3 life lessons I will be taking away from this adventure :

  • Be open to adventure and don’t worry too much about taking a wrong turn. Trust your path, even if it looks a little different than everyone else’s.
  • A new perspective can make a situation look entirely different. Make sure you have looked at what you are working on from all angles. MSP looked entirely different through the yellow tint of the Amber Room than it did flying overhead in the HondaJet or even driving it at street level in the Honda Insight.
  • Remind yourself each day that anything is possible. Don’t limit yourself. The potential for your dreams really is unlimited. You never know when YOUR ice cream truck is going to be waiting outside after a private jet ride.

I want to say a HUGE thanks to Honda for making this trip possible. As is common in the industry all travel, accommodations, etc were provided for.

Going Big and Going Home

VW Atlas front

Thanks to VW for loaning us the 2018 VW Atlas this week. It’s spacious interior, panoramic sunroof, and easy handling made our move-in week nothing but smooth. It was the perfect fit for the theme of Going Big and Going Home.

This last 12 months have held a lot of change for the Chase family. There are a number of stories I’ve been holding onto. It’s been a big season of learning, feeling, and letting go. Seasons like that are awesome. There is so much growth that happens during that time but it can also feel like just SO MUCH. It’s messy and it takes time to process. Kind of like cleaning out a closet or kid’s room, it always looks worse before it looks better, ya know? Well, that was our life but man, do I have stories. It’s going to get good around here. (*insert shameless plug to ask you to subscribe to our newsletter in the upper right hand corner of the home page* so you don’t miss anything) It’s finally time to release a few of those because there is a lot of new stuff coming up too. Stuff I think we’re all going to be pretty excited to talk about! Let’s get on with it….

First thing first…the BIG news…… Are you ready?

WE MOVED!! And we are loving our new home! We are seriously in love with our new setup. After months of renting, temporary living, being the weekend wife etc- we finally have a home we love being in. We finally feel settled. I can’t tell you what a good feeling that is.  We are in the same city right outside of Dallas but in a more permanent home.

Leaving Austin was really tough, mostly on me. Randall LOVES his job. The kids are doing well in their new school. I do still miss living in Austin. When I go back to visit, it feels like “going home” more than any other place I’ve lived. Maybe one day I’ll live there again but for now this is where we are making a home.

Soooooo…… Who’s ready for the NEW HOME TOUR???

Going Big and Going Home: The Outside

Our new home has approximately 1000 more square feet than the home we were previously leasing so we knew we were going to be working with more space but didn’t know how much happier having more space would really make us feel. We have 5 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a three car garage, half basketball court and a yard with enough space for Kaitlyn to build a garden. We totally made due in the space we had before but there is just so much more we can do now.

The same week we were moving into our new home Volkswagen generously offered us the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas to drive for the week. It was the perfect theme to add to complete ” Going Big AND Going Home”.

VW Atlas front

The Atlas is a three row SUV with an incredible amount of headroom, legroom, and cargo space. Now that our kids are bigger we need the most room and if One Tiny Human is coming along the Atlas still has trunk storage for her stroller, highchair, play-yard, or ANYTHING else we want to bring along.

VW Atlas Cargo storage empty

Let’s talk about that cargo space though, shall we? With the 2nd and 3rd rows folded down, the Atlas has 96.8 cubic feet of cargo space. What exactly does 96.8 feet of cargo space look like? We needed a new sofa for the formal living room and 96.8 feet of cargo space WILL successfully move a 6 foot sofa and allow the rear door to close completely. I was stunned. I seriously felt like I could do anything in this vehicle.

VW Atlas Cargo storage

Going Big and Going Home : Inside

You guys probably want to see where that sofa went once we got it home right? I can’t wait to give you the full tour!

The entry way and staircase to the second floor bedrooms: Right as you enter our home your can either go upstairs, turn left into the formal living room or go straight to the formal dining. Upstairs there are the kids bedrooms, 2 guest rooms, the study/library, and an open living area where we watch movies. We’re not really big TV watchers so having one television centrally located upstairs works well for our family.

New House Staircase second floor

The Formal Living room : This house has THREE Living areas! At first it seemed like overkill but I am really loving it. I cant wait to have people over and the formal living will be perfect for holiday pictures and entertaining.

New House Formal Living room empty

Remember that sofa we packed in the VW Atlas? here it is all set up in the formal living room. We’ll be getting a new rug but keeping Doug. She’ll probably be in that same position when you come to visit.

New House Formal Living room

The Kitchen: This kitchen is awesome. Granite counters, plenty of cabinets for storage, great bright backsplash and stainless appliances.

New House Kitchen

Second living room: This living room is more casual and we spend almost every evening in this room. We have a smaller dinette set up on one side near the kitchen and a small apartment sized sofa/sectional near the fireplace. It’s perfect for the kids to hang out pre/post dinnertime and if they have guests over ( since we don’t allow mixed company upstairs without an adult. Sorry, but we are totally those parents.)

New House Second Living room

Master Bedroom: Ahhhhh, THIS is one of my favorite rooms in the house and the next few photos will show you why. I have always wanted a bedroom I loved and  this one is pretty fabulous. Guysssss, I HAVE A FIREPLACE IN MY BEDROOM!! And a jetted tub for two! AND wait there’s more….DOUBLE VANITY!! Our last house was a mid-century build but the master had not yet been updated. One vanity nearly wrecked us getting ready in the morning. It was like dorm life all over again. No longer! You get a sink and you get a sink….

New House Master Bedroom

Jetted tub for two…c’mon. It’s perfect, right?

New House Master Bath

His and hers sinks. Also the height difference was like it was built for us.

New House Master Bathroom double sinks

There is a lot more I want to show you so maybe I’ll do a facebook live once more of the boxes are unpacked and we’ve decorated. I’m just so in love with this place it was made for our family during this season. Here is a quick peek at the upstairs: A guest room and library. Randall is in love with the study/library. He’s talked about having that in our house for-ever and now that he’s talking about possibly working on his doctorate, I’m glad we have the space for him to do that.

New House Guest room

New House Library

We’ve live in a lot of houses/apartments together in the sixteen years we’ve been together. The truth is the building or location is never what makes a “home”. It’s the people. It’s the way you feel when you are there. The warmth, the love, and the memories that are made.  I hope we get to make a lot of wonderful memories here. Maybe you’ll even get to come and visit sometime. We’d love to have you.

The BEST Baby Shower Gift We Ever Gave

Whether you are a brand new parent or have just welcomed a new baby into your family it can be difficult to select the right products from what can often feel like an ocean of options. Our journey with our new #OneTinyHuman introduced us to a lot of new infant products and we are so fortunate to share the ones we love with you. This January Philips Avent launched the NEW Philips Avent Anti-colic bottle with AirFree vent. The AirFree vent is truly innovative but I also want to share with you about the best baby shower gift we ever gave.

Avent AirFree

I planned to help a lot with planning Bella’s baby shower but when it came to the gift we would present I struggled. Of course, there was a well curated registry of things her parents had picked out but I wanted to select something REALLY special. Something that would be as much of a gift to them as it was for the baby. I watched the registry options dwindle down as we got closer and closer to the date of the shower.

Finally it came to me!

I remembered being so exhausted the first time I was a parent. Feeding the baby every two hours takes a toll, even if you are taking shifts with your partner. There were times where I didn’t just want sleep but I wanted the comfort of my husband next to me. You know how you just sleep better knowing your partner is there? We decided our gift would be an invitation to take the overnight shift with Bella a few times a week so they could get a full nights sleep TOGETHER.

Sleep is so precious when babies are small. It’s precious to watch them sleep and treasured because those first few weeks because sleep is in such limited supply. The quiet hours rocking her and keeping her on a feeding schedule while they rested allowed them to have a very solid start as a family. It also gave us some of the most precious memories and bonding time we could have dreamed of.

Avent AirFree fuss free

Allowing Bella to take a bottle during these late night hours was the key to making it all work. Selecting the right bottle was not as easy as we thought it. So much changes in a product industry that with each new baby it really can feel like starting all over again. Starting with brands that are recognized and trusted was important to us. For more than 30 years, Philips Avent has been listening, learning and innovating in partnership with parents– all with the mission to help give babies the best start in life. There is a tremendous amount of security there.  Bella took to a bottle with ease and with a few hours of uninterrupted sleep her parents were refreshed and ready to start another day of work and nurturing.

Philips Avent recently introduced something new to help with colic and reduce fussing: The NEW Philips Avent Anti-colic bottle with AirFree vent.

NEW Philips Avent Anti-colic bottle with AirFree vent

 

avent bottle airfree vent with milk

Stays full of milk, not air

The bottle with AirFree vent is designed to help your baby swallow less air as they drink by keeping the nipple full of milk during feeding. This reduces the amount of air your baby ingests helps with common feeding issues such as colic, reflux & gas. It makes feeding time more comfortable for you and baby. The nipple says full of milk, not air, even when the bottle is horizontal. The unique AirFree vent helps the baby swallow less air by drawing air away from the nipple. The shape of the nipple allows for a secure latch, and the ribbed texture helps prevent nipple collapse, for uninterrupted, comfortable feeding every time.

This means fussing at night is significantly reduced. The nipple is clinically proven to reduce colic and fussing due to the valve to prevent vacuum build-up. As your baby grows there are different flow rates to keep up with your baby’s growth. The Philips Avent Anti-colic bottles can be used with or without the AirFree vent. The AirFree vent is compatible with all of the Philips Avent Anti-colic bottles. This gives moms the freedom of choice to pick what is best for their baby. Moms always know what’s best for their baby.

avent bottle air vent

Easy to clean – wide neck & few parts

With its wide neck and fewer parts, the bottle is easier to assemble and to clean quickly and thoroughly. The bottle design is easy to mix and match tops and bottoms. This way you can progress easily from bottle, to training cup, to sippy cup, with fewer parts. This makes the minimalist part of ME very happy. Fewer things to clean and parts to keep up with mean getting back to snugging your baby or even having a moment to yourself.

Avent AirFree

You can keep up with everything that Philips Avent is doing on their website and social channels here :

• Twitter: @Avent_US
• Facebook: @Philips.AVENT

Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by Philips Avent via Momtrends.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Philips Avent or Momtrends. 

The Day Before my Father Died

Barn Door and Pine Cones Strawberry pinesTwenty years ago, I slammed the door and walked out in a frustrated whirlwind way that only a teenager can. I can still feel the vibration of the door hitting the frame.

“You are going to regret all this work one day. You need to pay more attention to us! You need to pay more attention to ME.”

Those were the last words I would ever say to my father. It was less than six months before I would graduate high school.  I had never spoken to him that way before. He was my hero. I was frustrated that I had discovered a fatal flaw. All heroes have them but this was shaking my world. I was frustrated that he couldn’t do it all. I was more like him than anyone else on the planet. This was a mirror of my own humanity. I didn’t know how to process it. As teenagers, many of us say things we regret. None of us expect those words to be the last and we certainly don’t expect them to be foreshadowing.

I went to my grandmother’s house to cry. She listened and tried to explain the pressures of being an adult and being a parent to me. He was raising two daughters the best way he knew how. “None of us have done this before. We’re all going to make some mistakes” she told me. I listened and tried to absorb all that she said. I stayed until the tears had dried.  I was as smart and self-aware as any 17-year-old girl could be at that time in life. I couldn’t tell the future though. Most of us can’t. I had no way of knowing that the heavy workload my father choose would be the death of him.

The next morning I got dressed for school and quickly paused to consider knocking on the closed bedroom door to say goodbye. I don’t know if I was worried he would still be upset for the way I spoke to him or if I was still a bit upset that I didn’t feel heard. I quickly decided against it. If I had known how the day was going to go, I would have knocked on that door. A few hours later I stepped off the bus into chaos. There had been and accident and my father had been rushed to the hospital.

The next few hours were such a blur that none of the conversation that happened the evening before seemed to matter. There were waiting rooms, surgery, and the worst phone call I’ve ever had to make. “There’s been an accident. You need to get on a flight right away. He’s in surgery. We don’t know if he’s going to make it.” There’s no manual for telling someone their spouse may not live. Especially when that someone is your mother. Especially when you are a teenager.

“None of us have done this before. We’re all going to make some mistakes.”

My mother’s flight arrived to the hospital before the doctor came out of surgery to announce that he had not survived. Everything was a blur from that moment forward. We were all in shock and the conversation from the night before didn’t seem to be the most important thing to bring up then. I guess so many other things avalanched in the days, weeks, and years that followed it never seemed like the most important thing to bring up. Yet it has has shaped so many decisions in my own life the past twenty years. The career path I chose, the number of overtime hours I would accept, how far we are willing to commute all played into the always analyzed work-life balance.

In hindsight, I would have chosen different words that night. I would have been more understanding. I was wise enough even then to never make myself feel guilty. I loved my father and I know he loved us. That’s why he worked so hard to show his love and why I was so jealous for his time with us. Some people show their love through gifts, some through actions, some through words, some with a hug or holding your hand, and some with their time. If you have never read the 5 Love Languages I HIGHLY recommend it.  I’ve always been pretty proficient at self-therapy and I knew that a relationship is defined by more than a singular moment or conversation. We are not our successes or our tragedies. We, and our relationships, are the culmination of so many moments that matter.

My father will always be the caretaker who sat me on the hood of his truck and pulled glass from my knee when I ran too fast down a giant hill. He will always be  the first man who put on a suit and took me to dinner.  He was my Mr Miyagi who frustrated me with simple tasks that fine tuned my work ethic and muscle memory into skills more valuable than gold. He made me attend college meetings alone, knowing I was terrified because “In life there are a lot of intimidating situations you will have to face alone. Get comfortable being uncomfortable now.” On Sundays, he taught me to drive fast on back country roads and calculate clipping point. The words of “I’m proud of you” still play on repeat. He taught me a lot of life lessons:

  • A half-truth is still 100% a lie
  • Sometimes our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses
  • If you are at 90% there is still 10% you can strive to achieve
  • You are the only one who has to approve of your life
  • You can have anything you want in life depending how hard you are willing to work for it.
  • Never be afraid to speak your mind respectfully. Once you become disrespectful you forfeit your right to dialogue.

As an adult with four children of my own, I now know what an immense struggle work life balance is for most of us. This week, I’m looking forward to spending a few days in New Orleans with Dad 2.0 Summit, a community of fathers and brands who spend their efforts telling authentic stories of fatherhood. Some are balancing a traditional workplace and fatherhood. Some are solely working from home. The commonality is that they have all made a commitment to make fatherhood their business. We support the successes, struggles, and importance that fathers have. This is the community I want every father to have access too. The stories that are being told here and the community that exists for support is so valuable. It’s not that any of us have all the answers. The truth is “None of us have done this before. We’re all going to make some mistakes”. The comfort comes knowing that in community we are not alone.