Tall Mom tiny baby: October 2013

Halloween Costumes For Families With A Baby

Thursday, October 31, 2013

It's the spookiest day of the year for some, but for kids and parents - it's also one of the highlights of the year - Halloween! In the spirit of this most fantastic holiday, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite family costumes.

Are you generally wearing your baby in a carrier? I sure love it!  Well why not wear your baby as part of your costume?

Or do you prefer to roll with your baby in a stroller?

If you don't mind carrying your tiny baby, try out some of these geek-tastic family costumes!
Superhero family!
Pirates and their tiny mermaid
New Englanders and their lobster!
Obviously one of my favorite family costumes EVER! Harry Potter themed, with the baby as Hedwig the owl.
How precious is this Alice in Wonderland themed family?
UP is one of our family favorites, and I'm not gonna lie, we might recreate these costumes next year!
Who doesn't love zombies right now?  This zombie baby costume is AMAZING!
Dedication at it's finest!  A whole Star Wars themed family!
Have you ever dressed up as a family? What did you go as?
Have a very Happy Halloween

Baby Essentials: Places For Baby To Sleep

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Where does the baby sleep?

One of the top three questions I get asked as a new mom is - how does Itty Bitty sleep?

My response is the following:

...like a baby.

Translation: Itty Bitty doesn't sleep at all well-thank-you-very-much. He has never slept well.  Well, there was that one night when he slept for eight hours straight at two months old.  But that is very much the exception as opposed to the rule when it comes to Itty Bitty.  In fact, that night, Tall Dad and I didn't sleep at all because we kept waking up out of fear that our tiny baby had stopped breathing.  Yes, our paranoia and shock over his sleep filled night was so extreme that we thought our child was dead.  Suffice it to say, however, we have not been blessed with another full night's sleep like that since that stressful night.  The sleep gods tease us with a bit of irony every night.

That being said, we have gone through an assortment of items in which to place our lovely non-sleeping cherub. Some have worked for us, and others were more or less a joke.  Since that night, Itty Bitty has had the mantra that sleep is for the weak, and refuses to visit the sandman for any more than two hours at a time.

If your baby sleeps throughout the night, good for you. (Part of me seriously dislikes you because of my insane jealousy.  But, seriously, good for you.  The sleep gods like you.)  If your child doesn't sleep through the night, however, I promise that you're not alone.  But, you know that already right?  We can smell our own kind.  Trust me, I know.  Between colic and teething, Tall Dad and I have had so little sleep that we could be sho-ins as zombie extras on The Walking Dead.

Baby cribs can be ginormous, and you may not end up using one for a super long time. Our gorgeous dark wood baby crib has currently acted as our baby jail. I place Itty Bitty inside of it when I need to use the ladies room. Eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later,) he will be sleeping inside of this crib.
Here are our favorite noncrib baby beds:
1. The Rock n Play: Our Itty Bitty hated sleeping on a flat surface for the first five weeks, so we went out and got the Fisher Price Rock n' Play. Most moms that I know swear by it.  In my case,  I love it because it keeps the baby up in an angle, makes him feel cozy and secure, and it is super light. I would bring the Rock n' Play into the bathroom while I showered so I could still speak to him, or I would pull it into the kitchen while I made dinner. It can go with you anywhere - is super light - and totally convenient. Oddly enough, this is one of Tall Dad's overall top ten must haves too!

2. The Co-Sleeper: If you are hoping to keep the baby in the same room as you, or do not have a lot of space, I recommend getting a co-sleeper. It attaches to the side of your bed - yet makes sure that your little one is in their own secure little place. This has been great for nighttime feedings, since I can just reach over and take the baby out of his bed and place him into mine.
3. The Swing: Itty Bitty hates napping, but when he does, he prefers to be carried by me or in someone's moving/bouncing arms. In light of this, we are now having him nap inside a baby swing. For the first four months he hated being in the swing, but now he takes 1-2 daily naps inside of it. He won't be in the swing forever, but it has truly been a game changer for us. If you have a babe who wakes up outside of your arms, or just has mini twenty minute naps like mine did - try them in a swing! He now takes naps up to an hour and a half!

With so many options for sleep, you'd think our little guy would be snoozing all the time! Here's hoping he starts to like sleep a little more in the future!

Day 298: costumes and a corn maze

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Best Baby Friendly Places in Rhode Island - The Rhode Island Festival of Children's Books and Authors

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Living on the East Side of Providence, I walk past The Lincoln School almost on a daily basis. I'm quite familiar with the all girls private school, and have conducted a few songs on their performance stage.
I, however, had never attended their famous Rhode Island Festival of Children's Books & Authors...not until this past Saturday that is!

This annual event is open to the public, and will surely be on my calendar for years to come!

When I was in elementary school, back in the Iron Age, our book fair consisted of tables of books, bookmarks, and fun shaped (and totally impractical) erasers - all stacked up in neat piles in our cafeteria. My parents would give me ten dollars, and I would go hog wild!

So - take fond memories of book fairs like mine, and now multiply it times a million. The result, my friends, is the Rhode Island Festival of Children's Books & Authors.

Lincoln opens its vast facility to host not only a pop-up shop style book store, but also forums where you can meet and listen to presentations by nationally acclaimed authors and illustrators.
For example, this year's guests were:

Avi (The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle)

Sharon Creech (Walk Two Moons)

Kimberly Newton Fusco (Tending to Grace)

Adam Gidwitz (A Tale Dark & Grimm)

Daniel Handler (AKA Lemony Snicket)
Bill Harley (musician, author of Lost and Found)

Laurie Keller (Arnie the Doughnut)

Jarrett Krosoczka (Good Night, Monkey Boy)

Kate Messner (Over and Under the Snow)

Gregory Mone (Fish and Dangerous Waters)

Susan Rich (Editor-at-Large for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Susannah Richards (professor of reading and language arts at Eastern Connecticut State University)
Dan Santat (author and illustrator of Sidekicks and the illustrator of many books, including Because I’m Your Dad, Oh, No! and Oh, No! Not Again!, and Crankenstein at the Zoo. He is also the creator of Disney’s animated hit, The Replacements)

Chris Van Allsburg (The Polar Express, Jumanji)

Festival goers were able to listen to each author and/or illustrator give a 30-min presentation, and also meet and talk with them - as well as have their books personally signed!

Parents, kids, babies galore - everyone wanted to meet and greet their favorite authors!

There were the most interesting signs created by a parent, Anne Carty, which not only had the author's name, but had it designed to showcase some of their stories!

Below is a pictures of two enthusiastic youths having their books signed by Kate Messner!
My favorite signature of the day was by Jarrett Krosoczka!
Students' artwork hung on the walls as we waited in line for signatures.
Itty Bitty made friends along the way, lost a sock, and drooled all over our carrier. He had a grand old time!
A character from Where the Wild Things Are wandered the rooms!
The highlight of my day was having one of my favorite stories - The Polar Express - signed by Chris Van Allsburg
Seeing how Itty Bitty loves to eat anything in his grasp - especially tasty books, my newly autographed Polar Express, and copy of Jumanji I also had signed at this event, are going to be put away for a year or more. Rest assured, I'll purchase a backup set to read to him for now...but I'll be saving the signed versions until a later date when his appetite for paper an ink has lessened.

There was a musical performance by Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys, craft making areas, and lunch from the fabulous food trucks - Hewtin’s Dogs Mobile by Chez Pascal, Fancheezical Grilled Cheese Truck, The Gilded Tomato, joedega, and Like No Udder.

Be sure to follow The Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books & Authors on FACEBOOK and TWITTER so you can have information for next year's event! It's something your entire family will enjoy!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend this event for free in exchange for a blog post. All opinions expressed in this article are mine and are wholeheartedly true :)

Day 290: toes are a toy

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How To Conduct A Self Breast Exam While Breastfeeding

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New mothers, whether nursing or not, should conduct monthly self breast exams


I hated not having breasts when I was 14.

Then I hated them when they arrived - loathed having to wear two sports bras and they got in the way of EVERYTHING. 

I've never really appreciated my breasts until this year, when they were finally put to good use because I have decided to breastfeed my son.  

I also fear them.  

My mother is a breast cancer survivor. She has been in remission for 22 years. 
I also lost someone I love this year to breast cancer.   She had breast cancer as a younger woman, and it came back last year, eventually taking her life. My heart aches for her and her family every day.

I know that my youth will not protect me, and even though I am breastfeeding (which may or may not reduce one's risk of breast cancer),  I need to be proactive. My first mammogram was supposed to be last year, but I was pregnant, and had to cancel the appointment. Now that I am breastfeeding, I am still unable to have my mammogram.  I was told that I would need to wait until I had finished breastfeeding and six extra months have passed before I can be seen. An ultrasound is available as a secondary option, which is better than nothing. 

I need to make sure that I continue to do a monthly self-breast exam - even though I am breastfeeding.

To be honest, I haven't thought about a breast exam since I found out I was pregnant. It wasn't until I turned my calendar page to October that it struck me  - I needed to start doing my monthly self-exam again. 

So I hit up good old Google for some information, and found out that MANY (if not most) woman skip their self breast exams. The biggest reason seems to be because they forget, but others think they are in the clear because they are breastfeeding. 

The truth is, even if you choose to breastfeed, it will not make you immune to breast cancer. 

So I wanted to share with you the tips that I found for breast exams (mind you, I'm not a doctor).  If you are NOT currently nursing, you just get the skip the bullet points that are about milk. 
  • Conduct your regular self-exam one week after your period - if it has arrived
  • If your period has not come back, check your breasts twice per month 
  • Nurse or pump fully on both sides before doing a self exam - you want to be as "empty" as possible
  • In the shower - use the pads of your fingers and move around your entire breast in a circular pattern, moving from the outside to the center - checking the entire breast and armpit area. 
  • In the mirror - with your arms by your sides, inspect your breasts. Look for any changes - swelling, dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples.  Do this again, with your arms overhead.  Last, place your hands on your hips and stand like your are Wonder Woman - flexing your chest muscles.  Look for changes, but know that your breasts will not match one another! 
  • Lying Down - place a pillow under your right shoulder and have your right arm behind your head.  Yes, you will feel a bit like Rose from Titanic.  You can wear the Heart of the Ocean if you'd like. 
  •  photo tumblr_mu0v4xISAm1sgcug4o1_400_zpsa7e71272.gif
  • Anyway, using your left hand, move your fingertips around your right breast gently, in small circular motions covering the entire breast and armpit area. Use light, medium, and firm pressure - and check the nipple for discharge and lumps.  Repeat on the left side.
  • If your breasts are leaking, make sure to have a burp cloth nearby to help with any milk issues. 
  • You should examine every area from your armpit to your sternum, and from your collar-bone to your lower ribs.
  • If you find a lump, see if it is there again later, after you have nursed again or pumped.  These lumps are quite often plugged ducts in nursing women. 
  • If the lump continues, do not be alarmed, and know that your body is still going through an incredible amount of changes. Call your doctor to be on the safe side, and he or she can advise you on what to do next. 
Remember, self breast exams are all about KNOWING and LEARNING what is normal for your breasts. 

Try to pick a date or dates each month to conduct your self-exam. Write it on your calendar, put it in your schedule and have an alert go off.  Make the time, not just in October, but for each month!

Do you regularly do a self breast exam? What are your tips or tricks so that you do not forget?

Day 285: Shoes

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 284: Sweet as pumpkin pie

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tall Mom tiny kitchen: Carrot Ginger Soup

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Healthy, Low Fat, Vegetarian, Easy, Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup

My Itty Bitty has already sunk his gummy toothless chompers into some perfectly pureed pear, some squishy avocado, and now we are moving onto one of my favorite vegetables - carrots!

This soup is gorgeous, and the perfect way to serve up a great serving of vegetables for your family. Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup is gluten-free, can be lactose and vegan by using tofu sour cream, and is freezer friendly.  

I've made this soup a couple of times before, and found it incredibly simple.  The one thing I am doing differently this time around is using large carrots, rather than a one pound bag of baby carrots.  If you're trying to keep this recipe more on the simpler side - skip the peeling and cutting and just stick with the baby carrots! 

Recipe: Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup via Skinnytaste

Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 3 cups low sodium fat-free vegetable broth
  • 1 lb baby carrots, peeled (or one pound peeled and cut carrots)
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream (tofutti sour cream if vegan)
  • salt and white pepper to taste
In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, and cook & stir until onions are soft - about 5 minutes.  Add broth, carrots, and ginger.  Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are soft - about 30 minutes.  

Add sour cream, and then, using an immersion blender, carefully blend until smooth. 

If you do not have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender - but I would let the soup first cool.  The heat of the soup and steam can cause a blender explosion. Trust me, it happened to me!  If you'd like to steer clear of carrot-mount-vesuvious then let the soup cool for a while, and blend it a few cups at a time in your regular blender.  Just reheat before serving.

For more Tall Mom tiny kitchen recipes - click here!

Day 281: Picking apples

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 280: Fall knit hats

Monday, October 7, 2013

Souvenirs from Baby’s First Year: Creating a Time Capsule {guest post}

The fantastic Rachael McAdams of @livealittleNYC is sharing some fantastic ways to document moments in your tiny baby's life!  Rachael is new to the SAHM community but she has been a writer for years. Rachael enjoys writing about various subjects, but especially enjoys providing advice to new moms. Rachel is also an avid runner, and enjoys photography and cooking when she’s not chasing around her twins. If you’d like to follow Rachael, you can find her on Twitter at @livealittleNYC

And now, without further ado --- take it away, Rachael!

Souvenirs from Baby’s First Year: Creating a Time Capsule

Remember being a kid and creating a time capsule in school? You gathered little mementos from your life as it was at that moment, and wrote a note to your future self. I remember having this project in my fourth grade history class; I took my assignment so seriously at the time! Recently, when my mother was cleaning out an old closet in the house that I grew up in, she came across my old time capsule, and returned it to me. It was an amazing feeling, being able to peek into that tiny little time in my life, and it got me thinking, how great would it be to do a time capsule for your child on their first birthday? Here are my five fun ideas for creating a time capsule with souvenirs from your child’s first year.

1. Create a Custom Photo Book

Try browsing Shutterfly. Their large and customizable selection was perfect for helping me to find a photo book that went with my theme of photos as seen through an Instagram filter. I really like the idea of being able to play with the colors, and text, as well as the ability to add cool borders to give my time capsule a vintage effect.

Photo Via Shutterfly

2. Save Mementos From Special Moments

Find cute ways to save little pieces of your baby’s first year that won’t take up too much space. Something like this this
cute keepsake bag from Etsy lets you stash a curl from your child’s first haircut without taking up too much space in your time capsule. Another cute idea is to save a pair of your child’s smallest shoes. They’ll fit perfectly, and remind you all of how much they’ve grown!

Source via Etsy

3. Write a Note to your Future Child

After the first year of your journey together as a family, you and your significant other will probably have many great memories to recount. Tell your child the story of your first year together, and outline hopes and dreams for the future. I used personalized stationery, also from Tiny Prints, and had it laminated. Your note will be a cherished keepsake that your child can always keep with them. 

4. Find a Cool Capsule

Once you’ve gathered all of the contents, it’s time to choose your capsule!  You can either look online for a custom time capsule, or make your own. I chose to repurpose an old wine box I found at my local antique store.  If you go this route, you will want to look for something weathered, but sturdy. If you are particularly handy, add your own embellishments with a wood carving tool, and some paint!

Photo Via Etsy
5. Set a Date

With your time capsule complete, all that’s left is to choose a significant date for you to open the time capsule as a family. A milestone birthday, like your child’s 18th or 21st makes opening it a rite of passage, and even more special. Make sure to tuck your time capsule away somewhere cool, and dry so that it won’t be damaged, and to eliminate the temptation to peak! Make sure to continue this tradition for all of your children; it’s something they will cherish always!

Pics of the week

Sunday, October 6, 2013

This week's #tmtbphotoaday pictures were FANTASTIC!   Two particular themes really rocked instagram this week - SLEEP and CHANGE.  Feast your eyes on some of my favorites:
(above - all themed SLEEP)
Top Left: @corey3711
Top Right: @martinkadeluxe
Bottom Left: @jilldewes
Bottom Right: @ jennyq711 

(below all themed CHANGE)
Top Left: @jdipietro627
Top Right: @girasol729
Bottom Left: @brunette_mama 
Bottom Right: @semmett82

Join in the fun by participating in the October Photo A Day Challenge
Share your photos on Instagram, and add the hashtag #tmtbphotoaday
I will pick 4-8 pictures to highlight and share each week as "Pics of the Week"

Day 278: Change

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Itty Bitty: 0 months old - 6 months old

Tall Mom tiny kitchen - Cooking Adventures

Friday, October 4, 2013

My not so tiny baby is turning 6 months tomorrow.


*insert minor freakout/where has the time gone/he's getting so old comment*

Aside from a brief trial run with rice cereal, Itty Bitty has had nothing to eat besides breast milk. My goal was to keep him clear of regular solids until he was old enough, and was showing the appropriate signs. Now that the time has come, I'm ready to start making his baby food.

The only problem is, aside from frequenting my microwave or eating cereal, I really haven't seen my kitchen in six months. Colic has kicked my butt, we've had too many sleepless nights, and Itty Bitty doesn't really believe in naps. I've had little to no time to spend in the kitchen, so Tall Dad and I have been the king and queen of takeout.

So I've made a deal with myself. If I want my baby to eat healthy food, then I need to model healthy eating. If I expect to cook for him, I better be cooking for myself.
By talking to other new moms, I've found that this is a common problem. So here's my plan:
  • If Itty Bitty takes a nap, I will take time for myself: shower, eat, clean up a little bit, brush my teeth, or possibly nap myself.
    • Why take time for myself you ask? Because if momma isn't happy, then nobody is happy! I don't care if there is food on the table if I am stinky or cranky.
  • If Itty Bitty takes two naps, I will cook during the second nap.
    • Even if you just get the PREP WORK out of the way while the baby sleeps, you are a step ahead! When the baby wakes, bring the baby in the kitchen to finish the cooking (hopefully the baby is happy after the nap.) Or, put the food in bags, place it in the fridge, and finish cooking it tomorrow. This is all about baby steps!
Sounds do-able right?

I'll be posting some of the successful recipes on the blog - and would love to hear some of your favorite recipes. I'm especially looking for ones that are seasonal, and might include an ingredient or two that would be suitable for baby food - that way if I'm already shopping for, say, butternut squash, I can put it to use for both the grownups and our Itty Bitty!


Is it just me, or have you ever taken a hiatus from your kitchen?