Tall Mom tiny baby: January 2014

Baby Led Weaning - Avocado - 6 month old baby {video}

Friday, January 31, 2014

Our first Baby Led Weaning food experience?  A Tasty, nutrient rich, messy-as-hell avocado. 

Our tiny baby had previously eaten avocado when it was spoon-fed to him, and he really seemed to enjoy it. So, what the heck, we gave it a whirl!  

I cut an avocado in half,  then sliced that half into four pieces, and kept the skin on so it was easier for him to hold.  The avocado was slightly ripe, but not completely mushy. 
This short video shows you what his first time feeding himself was like.
As you can see, not a whole lot gets ingested - but keep in mind - that is not the goal of Baby Led Weaning.  The goal was for him to work on his fine motor skills by working on holding the food by himself, bringing it to his mouth, and experimenting with the food.  

Itty Bitty did not choke, but did bite off a large piece, which he spit out on his own.  We ate the rest of the avocado that evening as guacamole,  and fed him the other half of the avocado the next day.

If you do not want to keep the skin on the avocado, you can take cheerios - smush the cereal up so its all crumbs - and roll the avocado slices inside the coating mixture.  This way the slices will be easier for your baby to hold!

Interested in more Baby Led Weaning posts and videos? Click Here!

Do you have any questions about avocados and baby led weaning? Feel free to ask below!

What Is Baby Led Weaning

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Just when you think you have a handle on ,how to care for your new baby - suddenly, they're six months old and now you're nose deep in the process feeding them solid foods.  WHAT?!?  You gotta be kidding me, right?  I wish.  

As if finding the perfect bottle, or learning how to breastfeed wasn't crazy enough - now you get to deal with real people foods, and real-smelling poop.  ::gag::

Attractive right? 

But, between you and I, in spite of the real crap smelling crap coming from my baby, introducing solid foods has been incredibly fun for our family.

Since the 1950's or so, parents traditionally have started solids with their babies by feeding them pureed mush via a spoon.  Starting with rice or oatmeal cereal more often than not, moms and dads then graduated their little ones to pureed veggies, fruits, and meats. Naturally, the parents were often in control of how much the baby ate.  Which, makes sense, right?

Think "Here comes the airplane."

Well, much to Tall Dad's dismay, we never do anything by the book in this family.  One of the unconventional (fine, ok, call it hippie if you must) routes we've undergone, is to ditch the purees for the most part, and feed our Itty Bitty mostly by Baby Led Weaning.  Which, of course, is the reason why I said earlier, despite the real poop, giving our baby real food has been a lot of fun.

What exactly is Baby Led Weaning (referred to as BLW)?

Baby Led Weaning (in it's purest form) means you allow your baby to feed him or herself from the get go.


Well around six months or so, babies love to grab things and put these things in their mouths. Instead of just giving them a teether toy, you sit your baby in their high chair, lay out some large pieces of food, and let them experiment.  In the beginning they will not necessarily INGEST a lot of food, but they will get a sense of how food feels, smells, and tastes.  Tall Dad used to hate this - he never saw the point if the kid didn't actually eat all of the food.  "It just causes a huge freakin' mess" he used to say.  And, yes, while it isn't the prettiest of methods, you can take the appropriate measures to mitigate a real disaster. (more on those ideas to come :))

Ideally, you want your baby to be "eating" during meal times with the rest of the family, and even better yet, BLW purists believe that you should be feeding your baby the SAME food that you are eating.

Once again, What?!?

"I won't give my baby pepperoni pizza!" you say!
"There's no way my kids having my $5 Dragon Roll from (insert favorite sushi place here)" you protest!

True. Ok, so, maybe it means you cook some healthier meals for yourself. Or, if you are out, or ordering takeout, be sure to get some steamed veggies or other items your baby can eat.

It's a lot to take in, especially because most people were raised eating purees.  And, let's be honest, purees are easy.  They clean up well, they're quick, and your kid gets most of the nutrition he needs in one quick feeding.  Best of all, purees are safe.  When I tried to explain BLW to my parents, they freaked out.

Their main concern was choking.

Completely legitimate in their fears, choking is totally scary.  But, I learned that babies need to experiment with food in their mouths, and that they have a great natural instinct to gag and spit out any pieces of food that are unsafe for them. Babies who learn to eat solid solids (not pureed solids) from a younger age actually learn how to chew and break apart food into safe pieces much earlier than those who slurp purees for months.

I know, I hear the outcries of "BULLCRAP!" reigning down from all over the world as you read that last paragraph.

Seriously, I do.  In fact, I was of the same opinion, until I saw my tiny baby, without any prior experience, gag out a giant piece of mango and be totally fine.   Granted, I nearly had some crap smelling crap come out in my pants as I watched him figure out how to get the mango out of his mouth, but he did it and has done it multiple times since then.  Best yet, because of his experience with BLW, he now honestly knows to take smaller, easier to handle, bites, chews, and swallows.

Alright everyone, say it with me now, "SCHOLARSHIP!" No, seriously, say it.  He's wicked smaht :)

There are BLW purists, those who do hybrid versions along with some pureed foods (like myself), and others that dabble in BLW without even knowing it.

I hope this helps clarify what Baby Led Weaning is all about. I'll be posting some more experiences, recipes and videos for you to help you see how we have been feeding Itty Bitty all of these months!

I'd love to know if any of you have had experience with BLW.  Please leave a comment below :)

Peter and The Starcatcher Comes to PPAC #Giveaway

Monday, January 27, 2014

Time certainly seems to fly by, especially if you are a parent of a little one.  I often find myself looking down at my nine month old son, wishing he could just stay this age for a little while longer.  Why does this tiny baby insist upon growing and growing?  Why can't be just be like Peter Pan, The Boy Who Never Grew Up?

Well, speaking about growing up and the original Fly Boy, I wanted to let you know that Peter and the Starcatcher, a grown up's prequel to Peter pan, is coming to the Providence Performing Arts Center in just a couple of weeks.
Here's a little preview:

The innovative and imaginative musical play is based on the best-selling novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, and won five 2012 Tony Awards - the most of any play of the 2011-12 season!

PETER AND THE STARCATCHER is suitable for younger audiences but most enjoyable for those 10 and up, and additional show information can be found at www.peterandthestarcatcher.com.

The show will be in Rhode Island February 25- March 2, 2013, and tickets can be purchased through PPAC's website - here.
If you're a theater/musical theater fan, like myself, then you will certainly want to check this show out while you can! I am so excited that Peter and the Starcatcher is coming to our Creative Capitol!

Would you like to bring three of your friends or family members to go see the show? Well you can!  Just enter the giveaway below to enter to win a 4 pack of tickets for the performance on Thursday, February 27 at 7:30pm.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Male hair time

Saturday, January 25, 2014

One of Tall Dad's favorite parts of the day is when he brushes Itty Bitty's hair.

The Snowy Day

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Neither Itty Bitty nor I changed out of our pajamas. We ate warm oatmeal for breakfast and grilled cheese for lunch. We sang songs, hammered away on the drum, and chased the Roomba around on the floor while it cleaned up our mess. 

I told my tiny baby all about the snow outside, and apologized that we couldn't go on our daily walk due to the cold. 

We sat up high on the couch and watched the first snowflakes fall to the ground. 

He was captivated.

It was a perfect winter day! 

Were you snowed in at all?

Moms Night Out At StyleWeek Northeast #SWNEJan2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It was our own version of Mommy's Night Out at StyleWeek Northeast last night!  My friend Jamie and I got dolled up and headed to the Biltmore in Providence.  We had a great time catching up with friends, and checking out the work of local up and coming designers.  Both of our baby boys were snug and safe in their beds, hers being watched by her husband and mine with my best friend.  While they slept - we delved into a delicious cocktail (a perfect Manhattan) and enjoyed the fashion from the runway!
Here were my favorite three looks from the night:
by Carissa Lynne Frazier
by Meghan Doyle
by Shalyn Webber
StyleWeek Northeast is going on this entire week, and tickets are still available. Just head to their website for more info!

Which of the three looks would you most like to wear?

9 Months {video}

Monday, January 20, 2014

Our baby at nine months old!

A fountain of drool

Friday, January 17, 2014

Why does teething bring about so much drool?

I Went In For An Ultrasound

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

It started off as a pretty crummy morning.

But by the end, I had a pretty big smile on my face...

Here's how it all went down:

First, I forget that I had an appointment. I tumbled out of bed, threw on jeans and an only slightly smelly t-shirt (that may, or may not have been covered in baby puke and dried food) and ran out the door at 6:30 am.  My cold car frantically sped through the city as I made my way to Women and Infants.

Yes, Women and Infants. 

For an ultrasound.

No, silly, not THAT kind of ultrasound.  (Holy crap, Tall Dad and I would be in trouble.) 

 No, I was there for an ultrasound of my breasts.

Before last month, I didn't even know ultrasound machines were used for anything other than pregnancies. I know, I'm naive.  But after a little research about breast exams for breastfeeding mommas, I learned that women who are unable to get mammograms can get ultrasounds of their tatas instead!

My mom is a breast cancer survivor, which is awesome, but it also means that I need to take my breast health seriously. So, I marched into the breast imaging center ready for business.  But, as it is with the tragedy of being a new mom, I had to made a quick stop at the bathroom. 

After washing my hands I realized my morning was getting worse by the minute.  As you can see from the photo below, I was wicked smaht and placed my jacket underneath an automatic soap dispenser. Now it had slime all over a sleeve. Nice.
My soap spattered jacket and I went back into the waiting room, where I filled out some paperwork, and was brought to a changing room where I was to slip into a johnny. 

As I began to undress, I was horrified, mortified, petrified and pretty much any other "fied" word about which you can think. Why?  Well, it's a small detail I suppose.  It's just that I hadn't showered (In what may, or may not have been a couple of days...) and that meant my armpits hadn't been shaved. NBD, right? Good lord, my technician's first morning appointment was going to be with a stinky, hairy, stressed out beast-of-a-mom.  Raise your hand if you're Sure! 

Plus, the johnny they gave me had an awkward gap in the middle. One could say it was a trendy cutout circa Felicity in 1998 - but, alas, it was just a stupid loose gaping hole. I swallowed my sexy gal pride, and walked back out into the waiting room, albeit 20 degrees colder. 
After thirty minutes inside the examination room, I left with a completely different mindset. 

Sure, I was stinky, hairy, chilly, and an overall hot mess of Lucille Bluth proportions. But I also had perfectly healthy and normal breasts, and was told that I have nothing about which to worry.  I  just have to keep up with my regular visits  and undergo a mammogram next year.

Tall Dad tiny gym - P90X3, Muscle Acceleration, And Getting P90X Ripped In Just A Half Hour {Guest Post}

Friday, January 10, 2014

*Disclaimer - I am not a certified P90X trainer, and I am not a Beachbody Coach. I am not being compensated for this blog series.  I just really like the idea of embarrassing myself publicly.  Mary Larsen is not liable for any of the opinions expressed herein.  Don't blame her for what this knuckle-head says.

 It's finally that time ladies and gentlemen:  

  So, what's the big fucking deal, right?

Well, in part, Tony Horton has taken everything (good and bad) that he learned from X1, and X2 (in both scientific advancements and practical application) and put it into the giant soup of P90X3.

Medicine balls, stability ball, dumbbells, powerstands
pull up bar, pull up assist, yoga mat and Rumble Roller.
All required for X2.
We've already discussed some of the downsides of X1, and, by now, you also know about my inappropriate obsession with X2.  Despite my man-love of X2 however, I will admit that there are some drawbacks to that program too. 

The hard truth about X2:  The routines were long and required a lot of equipment (if you wanted the proper workout as it was intended.  See picture).  To be honest, I couldn't give two shits about the added apparatus (because they only enhanced the workout).  It is, nonetheless,  a valid complaint.  Well, there's a little Hater-ade going on by the X1 snobs there too.  But,  hey, I'll go along to get along.

What Tony did about it:  X3 is a program that incorporates the raw power and Muscle Confusion of X1, with the complexity and Muscle Integration of X2, but the only equipment you're gonna need are a pull up bar, dumbbells, your arms and legs, and gravity.  Nothing else.  Best of all: instead of the standard hour, now you only need to spare a half hour of your day for the workout!  How is this all possible?  

The BIG fucking deal: Muscle Acceleration.  

The reasoning:   Muscle Acceleration is defined by the intensity, and application of your workout.  Many studies show that most people push their hardest within the first 30 minutes of a routine, and, because of that, their most powerful transformation happens during that short time frame.  

The goal of Acceleration: Instead of doing sixteen different moves in sixty minutes - like in X1 and X2 now you're doing those same sixteen moves within thirty minutes. 

A shorter workout with the same results? WTF!?

Damn straight. You read that right.  It's possible because:

1. In-workout breaks are shorter 
2. Moves are vastly more concentrated. 
3. Tony makes your lazy ass move A LOT quicker. 

The science behind Acceleration: Quickly push a targeted muscle group to it's extreme integrated limit, and then back the intensity down to regroup.  In order to maximize your results, you must let the muscle recover during a small break of about fifteen seconds.  Then, rapidly change the integrated move, and push the aforementioned muscle group in a completely different/intense manner to another extreme limit.  

Rinse, lather, repeat.  

Get to the point, Tall Dad: Ok, fine.  Don't be so damn rude about it.  Ugh, dick.  Anyway, why make X3 when the first two ruled in the first place?  Well, as with all sequels,  I'm sure the impending truck loads of money didn't hurt the equation.  But, there is actually a legitimate reason behind the third iteration of P90X.  

Tony and his crew did a TON of research on the viability of X1 and X2, and they found most people quit those programs half way for many reasons - most of them also being why I too failed - initially. They got bored. They thought it was either too hard, too long, or too much as regular people have day jobs, three kids or whatever hundred other reasons ::cough:: excuses ::cough:: they could find.  Pick your poison.  So,  having Tony discover a way to trim his program down to a half hour made sense.  
The real life sense: Beachbody (the owning company of P90X, and other fantastic programs like Insanity, and TurboFire) engaged in many test groups to prove the theoretical results of X3.  What they found was pretty remarkable.  The average fat loss for the X3 test groups were an impressive 34%!  

Why did it work so god damn well? 

The test groups highlighted the importance of one crucial fact: they had to work their hardest for only a half hour.  Even from the very beginning of the workout, there was the proverbial, "light at the end of the tunnel," always staring them down.  So, inevitably, they worked harder in what is already established as the most important part of a routine: the first half hour.  Mindful of the oh-so-fucking-close finish line - they pushed harder to get there.

The supposed final result:  X3 is a faster, grittier, and more intense program than either X1, or X2. 

Thus, the supposed beauty of X3.  Tony wanted to to find a way "to get people ripped - P90X ripped - in just a half hour a day." With Muscle Acceleration, he may have done just that.

 Let's see if he did....

Next post:  Week 1 of P90X3

Do Your Best And Forget The Rest
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***Many special thanks to Tall Mom for helping me edit this post, and getting it to make sense to normal people.  It was a complete mess before she got her hands on it.

I've Got Issues - Postpartum Issues

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Let me preface this post by saying two things:

1. If you dream about being pregnant one day, and haven't gone through it already, you may want to visit this post some day in the future.  Bookmark this page.  Now.

2. If you currently are pregnant - know that some women do not have any postpartum issues (lucky devils.) Others do, and sometimes (ok, most of the time) they suck, but, no matter what,  I promise your baby is worth it. 

Ok, on with the show...

Pregnancy, for me, wasn't terrible.  It wasn't, however, a walk in the park either. I had a hell of time with acid reflux, broke out with acne like a fifteen year old, and ended up having to turn my baby around while in the middle of my long, long, oh so long,  labor.  True, there was the bleeding, and having a red swollen angry vagina...because that's what lady parts are after birth - angry. I made and used padsicles, sat on an inflatable doughnut, and took it easy for a while. The pushing, the sweating, the pain, all of it.   

I was prepared for those things.

What I wasn't prepared for was what happened to me after I had the baby. 

I wasn't mentally or physically prepared for some of the ailments and issues I would have for the months after birthing my darling tiny baby. Now that time has passed, I figured I would let you know about some of them. They aren't fun or beautiful, but I want to be honest, and let other moms or moms-to-be out there know that these things happen, and they are not alone.  No matter how gross. 

I also want to share some solutions that have helped me out along the way - with hopes that some things I have learned can help you or someone you love, as well.

What the heck was/is wrong with me? Here's my laundry list....

1. Sweating
 photo tumblr_me6np9Yf2x1ry10fwo1_500_zps82db4136.gif
2. Number 2, and I don't mean this guy...

3. Hungrier than when I was pregnant
 photo tumblr_mxa8mvjmnV1smcbm7o1_500_zpsc48869e0.gif 
4. Emotions like:
5. Dryness (yeah, you know what I mean.)
6. Ever changing breasts
7. Hair Loss
 photo tumblr_lkgzk0MVos1qe5h74o1_400_zps983ad432.gif
8. Urinary Incontinence

9. Hemorrhoids. Yup...
So you've been warned, some upcoming posts will be a little less glamorous than I may like, but they are real, and if having a baby has taught me anything - it's that moms are a lot tougher than they think. 

Tall Dad tiny gym - Peyton Manning, P90X2, And A "Fire In My Buttocks!" {Guest Post}

Monday, January 6, 2014

*Disclaimer - I am not a certified P90X trainer, and I am not a Beachbody Coach. I am not being compensated for this blog series.  I just really like the idea of embarrassing myself publicly.  Mary Larsen is not liable for any of the opinions expressed herein.  Don't blame her for what this knuckle-head says.

Before we get into the pain and suffering of P90X3, you have to understand it's origins. Without this basis, it would be like me trying to explain the rationale behind naming a kid North West, without knowing how her parents are so incredibly asinine.

There is no denying P90X kicked my ass.  It was remarkable. Proud of the twenty five pounds I had dropped, I decided to do another round of that glorious program.  

Tall Mom and I after Round two of P90X.  Yikes.
But, it pains me to admit one important fact about my second round of P90X: I got bored with it.  What's worse is that, deep down in my fat kid heart, I know that I didn't work as hard the second time around.  It's probably just an affectation of human nature to slack when one isn't as motivated in their endeavor. But, because I didn't work as hard, I didn't lose anywhere near the same amount of weight as I did before, and it really bothered me.  Discouraged, dejected, and pissed off, I gave up. Looking back, I was such a pussy.  I was about as mentally tough as Peyton Manning in an playoff game outdoors. The weight back came back on, and I succumbed to my old habits of eating Gregg's Death By Chocolate Cake for dinner,  shotgunning beers with my idiot friends, and spending an obscene amount of time playing Battlefield on XBOX360.

But, this is the most important question: Why did I get bored?  

Well, first off - it's easy to be lazy. There is NOTHING on this planet like Death By Chocolate. Nothing. If anyone tells you otherwise, they're lying.  God, I get shivers up my spine just thinking about that coma inducing chocolate goodness.  

Secondly, and more importantly, there's actually some legitimate science behind my failure. Even though the idea behind X1- Muscle Confusion - (click the link for a brief 30 second video explanation of what it is) was innovative, and worked fantastically, it was, by it's very nature, oddly limited.  Yes, the workouts changed often, which prevented the dreaded "plateau" effect.  But, even though they literally "confused" my muscles, each P90X routine only focused on one or two specific muscle groups at a time.  For example, Legs and Back, or Biceps and Triceps.  So, back to my original point - why is that boring? Look at this way, during a P90X routine, you are going to work a muscle group (e.g.: biceps) really hard, but you are going to work on only your biceps. Trust me, one can only do so many Congdon Curls before they lose their mind.  It's probably not fair of me to say this, but, gradually, I began to feel P90X was only good for making one's muscles look bigger.  ::in my best Arnold impersonation:: Look at how awesome my chest looks!  Behold the glistening 20 inch pythons of my arms!  I lift things up and put them down....

Were my hopes dashed? Had Tony Horton created a glamour routine as opposed to a fitness routine? Ugh, this was bad. 

Just as I was about to hit the depths of being Ryan Reynolds depressed again, something special happened.  During Christmas of 2011, my dad gave me the gift of Tony Horton.  And, sure as shit, Tony had killed it this time.  My hopes were back.

Cue the trumpets - enter stage right - P90X2.  

Instead of putting emphasis on a specific muscle group, P90X2 took X1's foundation of Muscle Confusion and transformed it into Muscle Integration.  Integration revamped X1's traditional moves into routines that were exponentially harder and more complex. Ok, what does that mean, and, what in the fuck is Muscle Integration, right
Doing Crane on two medicine balls is hard

There is only one word to describe P90X2's, Muscle Integration: instability.  For the most part, all the X2 moves are done on an unstable base such as one foot, or on a ball. In other words, you know those push-ups you mastered in X1?  Try them on four medicine balls now. King of the 40lb curls?  Do them balancing on one legYou can hammer out 20 chin-ups?  Ok, do a chin up with your body shaped into an "L."  Try and see if you can even do one "Impossible Possible."   Essentially, the unstable balance work means you have to use all your muscles to remain stable, actually do the move, and not smash your face - all at the same time.  To hell with working just your biceps, now you're engaging your biceps, legs, core, and pretty much every body part about which you can think.  This wasn't glamour training anymore.  It was athletic training. 

 As it was with X1, numbers and reps were important. But now, in X2, each of Tony's routines emphasized the importance of performance, form, and application of the exercise to the entire body.  This was fitness for being better in your every day life.  Functional fitness.  I was in love.  Seriously, my man crush on X2 is a little inappropriate.  But, I have good reason.  Tony gave my boredom a giant middle finger. Training like an athlete, performing at an elite level, and refusing to ever tap my foot on the ground during a balance move were always on my mind.  At random times of the day I'd yell out many of Tony's lines from the routines at Tall Mom like, "there's a fire in my buttocks!" and, "close the gap!" or, Tall Mom's favorite, "engage your core!"  As you could imagine, with all this "engagementation" going on, it may have gotten a little hectic in the Tall House, but I'll tell you what -  I got in the best god damn shape of my life using X2.  By the time I was done with my second round of X2, I went from being 225 to 195.  A total of 30 pounds!  Best yet, because I was so motivated, I made a specific choice to eat better and focus on keeping as close as possible to a set, and consistent, workout schedule.  Naturally, due to my dedication, my results were way better than I intended.  I worked seriously fucking hard for one hour per day - five days a week - and muscled that bad boy out over a total of one hundred or so days.

Which is why I'm a little skeptical of X3.  Getting that good of a workout in a program that utilizes only half hour workouts?  I don't know. We'll see. My next entry will formally introduce us to P90X3, and Tony's new focus on something he calls, "Muscle Acceleration."

Tall Mom and I after round two of X2.  Now that's better.

Do Your Best And Forget The Rest.
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Pics of the Week

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Top Left: @corey3711
Top Right: @jeisikah
Bottom Left: @dmeegles182 
Bottom Right: @jeme0425
Center: @sarahe09

Join in the fun by participating in the January 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"

Traveling On Snowy Streets in Providence

Baby's First Sled Ride {video}

Friday, January 3, 2014

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found? - J. B. Priestley

Tall Dad tiny gym - A Tub Of Lard, Jonathan Papelbon, And A Pain In My Ass {Guest Post}

Thursday, January 2, 2014

*Disclaimer - I am not a certified P90X trainer, and I am not a Beachbody Coach. I am not being compensated for this blog series.  I just really like the idea of embarrassing myself publicly.  Mary Larsen is not liable for any of the opinions expressed herein.  Don't blame her for what this knuckle-head says.

I am neither now, nor have I ever been, in awesome shape during my life.  I've always kinda had man boobs, scrawny arms, and little chicken legs.  Even when I was younger - and a poor to mediocre athlete - I never had a body over which the girls went wild. (Let's be real, they still don't.) But, to be honest, until recently, I never even cared about being fit.

My body, and, inherently, my health,  were never at the forefront of my everyday life.  For me, going to the gym was like the human race traveling at Warp Speed - it was something that was just never going to happen. Full disclosure here: even now, I'd rather hang out with my friends, play Madden 25 on PS4, or pretend to be Freddie Prinze Jr. in She's All That.  Unfortunately, in my youth, I lacked any real discipline to get my ass off the couch to do the right thing. So, instead of exercising the way I was supposed to, I constructed the most dominant franchise the NFL had ever seen (even if it was only on Playstation.)  I didn't waste my time paying attention to what activities I was (or, more appropriately, wasn't) doing, or what kinds of foods were going in my mouth.  My diet consisted of things like steak, Munchos, Honey Buns, potatoes, Rolo's, chocolate cake, and Pepsi.  As you could imagine, this was a colossal recipe for disaster.  And this was all BEFORE college.

Dude, college.  College was just brutal for my health. Between the keg parties, late night Taco Bell runs, Madden marathons (now on PS2), eating buffalo chicken calzones with a bleu cheese dipping sauce almost every day, no gym time, more keg parties, and constantly stuffing handfuls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (or, more preferably, Cocoa Pebbles) in my pie hole, I created such a problem for myself that I am still, to this very day, trying to work my way out of it.

Intentional fat face.  But, clearly huge. 
After graduating from St. Anselm College in '05 (Go Hawks!), and by the time I met Tall Mom in '07, I had ballooned to a gargantuan 243 pounds.  I was a tub of lard.  Seriously, and I'm not even being funny about it, I still don't understand how Tall Mom was ever attracted to me.  Well, besides my superior intellect and uncanny natural good looks of course; but, you get the idea. The picture you see of me here is what changed all of my bad habits.  

One day I saw this idiot staring back at me in a tux with that dumbass face and wondered, "what in the shit happened to me?" I was befuddled.  Out of nowhere, I turned into Ryan Reynolds in Just Friends.  So, as I trembled in disgust while looking at myself in this living tragedy of a picture, I saw how fucking awful I appeared and decided to make a change.  Tight fitting size 38 jeans weren't gonna cut it anymore.  Instead of feeling tired, lethargic and unable to walk up a decent flight of stairs without having to take a mini-break, I chose to seriously change my life.  No longer would I be the poster boy for the route to Type-2 Diabetes. Fuck Ryan Reynolds. (Yes, he's funny. But, he's the same god damn guy in every movie.  Am I right?). Yes, oh the time's they were a changin'.  But, what the hell was I going to do?  I'd never been to a gym.  Jesus Christ, a diet?!  Please.  Where was I supposed to begin?  Oddly enough, my salvation came after Jonathan Papelbon blew a save and caused the Red Sox to get swept out of the 2009 playoffs.

It was a perfect day for October baseball.  A bright and warm day game.  The Sox had the lead, and the eponymous Boston closer just had to come in, do what he always did, and shut the lights out on the Angels. But, Papelbon didn't the have stones to strike out Erik freakin' Aybar and close out the game.  Ultimately, the Sox got swept, and, in turn, I decided to have a few pops.  Of course, a few pops turned into many pops...and then, many turned into too many pops.  The next day, I woke up on the couch in a booze riddled haze, realizing that I had drunkenly (and angrily) watched the pitiful recap performance on NESN's Sox-In-2 the previous night.  Unfortunately, I awoke to some informercial.  "Ugh.  What the hell?", I thought.  "Where's Sportscenter?  Let's go watch the highlights again and torture myself some more."  But before I could make out what was the clicker to change the channel, I saw some dude CAAWWWING like a moron, and banging out these crazy god damn pull ups with a towel.  He was spouting off about this thing called P90X, and Bring it, and how it was time to change my life.  It was Tony Horton.  Fittingly enough, in addition to using footage from the P90X DVD's, the infomercial utilized home videos submitted by regular people to exhibit their personal transformations and experiences.  Their results were undeniable.  Shit, ninety days of bustin' my balls, having a personal trainer in my family room, and I could have this kind of transformation? This was my chance.  Hey John Papelbon, thanks alot.  Seriously. You helped change my life. But, go screw while you're at it.

Best day of my life.  But, still a little heavy.
Out came my wallet - P90X was purchased, and I muscled out one round.   Yep, six days a week in a span of 110 days (I missed a few days here and there). I sweat my balls off, but it paid off. Twenty five pounds later, I was into shit like Yoga, Plyometrics, and German Potato Soup. It was one of the hardest things I had ever accomplished in my life and it was a literal pain in my ass.  Oh my god, the soreness.  Damn you, mother-of-all-moves: Jump-Knee-Tucks!  

Obviously, being physically tough is important to P90X, but it became clear to me that being mentally tough is paramount to finishing the program.  Anyone can start it, and do a couple of weeks.  But, the mentally tough people finish it, and get the results they want.   My transformation wasn't so drastic as many people (because I still ate like shit), but I actually looked like a relatively decent human being for my wedding in 2010.  But, I knew I could do better.  I could do more.   More importantly, I wanted more.  I was totally hooked.  Tony had me.  "I can't," was no longer part of my vernacular.  It was replaced by, "I presently struggle with."  And, then, P90X2 came out....

More on that later.

Do Your Best And Forget The Rest
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Happy New Year

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

 “I have the opportunity, once more to right some wrongs, to pray for peace, to plant some trees, and sing more joyful songs.” —William Arthur Ward

January Photo A Day Challenge

What is a photo a day challenge?

I will post some photo suggestions or themes for each day of the month. Post a photo of what that suggestion means to you.

Join in the fun!
Share your photos through social media platforms like InstagramTwitterPinterestFacebook, etc.
Add the hashtag #tmtbphotoaday so the rest of us can see your fun photos.
Feel free to tag me @tallmomtinybaby or @mary__larsen on your social media sites as well so I can see what pics you are sharing :)

The photo does not need to actually be taken that day.
Feel free to raid your photo library, or save a certain photo for a day later in the month. It's all up to you! Get creative, and interpret the theme however you'd like.

How can you see other people's photos of the day?
Simply click of search the hashtag #tmtbphotooftheday - and you will be sent to a results page full of other people's photos. Feel free to like & comment and share the love!

Play whenever and as often as you like!
Seriously, you can post a pic a day, a couple of times a month, or as often as you'd like. Knowing my crazy life, I'll most likely be missing some days ;)

Feel free to leave your Instagram name in the comments so I can follow you!
You can find me here:
Tall Mom tiny baby on Twitter @mary__larsen
Tall Mom tiny baby on Instagram @tallmomtinybaby or @mary__larsen

Baby Essentials: Born Free Glass Bottle Gift Set {review}

For eight months I have almost exclusively breastfeed my son.  But, despite my best efforts, I've come to grips with the idea that I cannot always be by my Itty Bitty's side. Sometimes I have to leave him with someone else - a sitter, a friend, grandparents, or even ::gasp:: Tall Dad :)
But, um, Houston, we've got a problem - my baby has become a food snob, or more appropriately, a BOOB SNOB.   He doesn't like to drink out of bottles for anyone - sitters, friends, family members or even Tall Dad himself.  Sometimes, he will go on a food strike, and wait for me to come home to satisfy his snobbery.

We have tried several different types of bottles over the months, and didn't have success until we tried the new glass bottle from Born Free.  Maybe it's the size of the nipple, or the special device inside the bottle that helps control the flow, but whatever it is - Itty bitty now drinks from a bottle when I am away.
Born Free is a sister brand of Summer Infant - a Rhode Island based brand who's products I already love and trust!  Born Free is also the first of its kind to design a line of BPA and PVC-free products!

The Born Free Glass Bottle Gift Set includes bottles and nipples in various sizes, a bottle brush/sponge, a nipple brush/sponge, and a formula dispenser.  Each bottle comes with special venting pieces, which are clinically designed to help with colic and gas.  It feeds the baby and creates a steady flow of liquid only when the baby sucks - just like breastfeeding!  

This gift set comes with two silicone sleeves to add a bit more grip to it and make it a little bit more safe for Itty Bitty. In regards to the cleaning system - it's a sponge rather than a bristle brush, which is great because I feel like it cleans the bottles much better than any brush. There is even a separate sponge brush only for the nipples! For convenience sake, all bottle pieces are dishwasher safe, but I often wash the bottles and nipples by hand because its quick and easy. 

I would certainly recommend Born Free Glass Bottles to all my family members and close friends.  So, in an effort to benefit my awesome readers, I've teamed up with Born Free to host a giveaway for the same set that we have!  Just enter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 
Disclosure: I received a Born Free Glass Bottle Gift Set for my consideration while writing this review. No additional compensation was received for this post. As always, you have my promise that all the opinions written above are 100% honest - and I will only recommend products or services that I feel are a benefit to you - my reader!