Tall Mom tiny baby: June 2014

How To Keep Your Toddler Calm While Preparing For A Storm - Thanks To Duracell #PrepWithPower #shop

Monday, June 30, 2014

Southern New Englanders have had pretty rough hurricane seasons in the past years. Prior to this year, I've actually enjoyed the season, but now that I have a toddler on my hands, I need act more responsibly and properly prepare for worst case scenarios. This includes stocking up on non perishables, Duracell batteries, packing my emergency kit, and even preparing for arrangements for our new cat.

Pack your emergency kit. Include the following:
  • diapers & wipes
  • formula, premade non perishable baby food
  • 2/3 sets of clothing
  • Medication that any family members might need
  • Photo copy or scan (and place on a thumb drive) all important records like birth certificates, passports, immunization records, insurance cards, property deeds. 
  • Food
  • Water
  • Flashlights
  • Duracell Batteries 
Don't forget about your pets:
  • Pack an extra bowl
  • Food
  • Leash
  • Blankets
  • a toy
  • scan or make a copy of immunization records
  • Find out where you will have to bring your pet if she isn't allowed into an emergency shelter
Prepare your house and car:
  • During storm seasons, make sure your car's gas tank is never less than half empty
  • Put all outside furniture away and tie it down before the storm approaches
  • Keep extra pillows, blankets or sleeping bags in your car in case you need to leave quickly
  • If you can, make sure you have a landline in case cellphone signals go down
Make your escape plan:
  • Know what roads are safe to drive during emergencies, and always have a backup route
  • Have an out of town contact so if your family gets seperated, you can use that person as a messenger. Or you can possibly use their location as a meeting place.
  • Have a planned meeting spot
So you've got the basic gameplan, are mentally ready and prepared to tackle the stormy season, but how do you make this FUN and not super duper stressful for your kids? Here are some tips on keeping your kids busy and calm while you prepare for bad weather conditions.
  • Take him shopping with you - FAR IN ADVANCE - so it isn't a hectic stressful trip. My kid LOVES going to stores like Walmart. He gets to see all different people, touch all sorts of new things, and has a blast sitting in the cart.
  • Let him pick out a couple of toys that can be included in the kit. Plus, he can hold it and play with it a bit while you shop.

  • Back at home, have him help you figure out which flashlights work

  • Let him bang around on pots and pans while you pack your emergency kit
  • Bring him outside in the fresh air as you pack up your outdoor furniture and batten down the hatches.
  • Find books or puzzles that mention policemen, firemen, storms, rain, thunder, etc. Let your toddler become aware that these people in uniform are meant to help. That way, in case you do need assistance during a storm, they will not be as frightened of these new people. Also find books on storms, rain and thunder. Let them hear you say these words in a calm matter, because if they just hear it in hurried scared tones, or over the news, it might be scary for them. 
  • Include a separate emergency toy stash in case you lose power. 
  • Here are some great examples from Tall Mom tiny baby fans on Facebook:
I love these ideas - especially the glow sticks and glow necklaces! 

 Arts and crafts do not require ANY electricity - so be sure to stock up on whatever projects your kid likes.
I love the idea about having a flashlight at the children's play area. This way, if the power goes out and catches you by surprise, you do not need to stumble around the house looking for your flashlight.

And last, give lots and lots of hugs. Your kids will feed off of your anxiety, and hugging them will make you feel better. Plus it will make them feel better. Play their favorite games, and shower them with love. Let them know that they will be alright.

What did I forget on this list that you would recommend I pack?

#PrepWithPower  #CollectiveBias

What Is Chunky Rocket {guest post}

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Today's guest post is by an Etsy artist and parent who I met online. I fell in love with his artwork, and then even more-so with the story of his family. Please read on to learn more about Josh Dunaway and Chunky Rocket.

My wife and I were like most young married couples in the sense that we wanted to live married life for a few years before we even thought about adding a couple kids to our family. A few years passed by and then all of a sudden we both came down with a terrible case of baby fever.

We moved forward with a if it happens, it happens approach for a full year without anything actually happening, and with the passing of each month throughout that year we started to think that we might need to talk to my wifes  doctor. 

We had never even given any thought to the possibility of us having any trouble getting pregnant, we just always thought when were ready to have kids, well have kids! Simple! The realization that we might require some help to bring a child/children into this world, or worse, that we might not be able to have children of our own at all was very scary. 

So off to the doctor it was!

My wifes doctor put her on Chlomid for a few months and when that still didnt help we were referred to the ART Fertility Clinic in Birmingham, AL. to start fertility treatment. 

Fertility treatment can be a very difficult, long and draining (emotionally, financially, and physically) road to travel for a couple. We were lucky that we only went through treatment for 9 months, but for us it was still 9 agonizing months of heartache and disappointments each time we had negative results.
The day we found out that we were pregnant (with twins!) it felt like the earth actually stood still us in that moment and that we could finally just breathe a sigh of relief and rejoice instead of cry. 

That sigh of relief quickly turned into us once again holding our breath as each day slowly ticked by of the first trimester of her pregnancy. We prayed daily that nothing would happen to our precious baby boys.
Im a web and graphic designer by profession so to help take my mind off of worrying that something might happen to them, I decided to occupy my time with creating some original artwork for their room

Their nursery was going to be decorated with Little Monsters so I started drawing up some sketches of monsters and then finished them up in Illustrator. I posted the finished designs to Facebook and they received a lot of interest. 

The seed had been planted.
Fast-forward a couple of months and our boys were born 2 months early and had to have a 2 1/2 week vacation stay in the NICU at UAB in Birmingham. They were in good health and doing fine, they just had to get over a few of the hurdles of being premies before we could bring them home.
A year later I started thinking back to those Monster art pieces I had made our boys and I started throwing around ideas in my head of more pieces to make. Things kept coming together and before I knew it, I had enough pieces to start a store. Now we just needed a name. 

I wanted it to be fun and quirky, but also somehow included my kids (since they were my inspiration in the first place). I chose to use their middle initials, C & R, and after brainstorming a tons of combinations we came to Chunky Rocket and thats what stuck!

Around the time of us starting our Etsy store there was a family that we knew in our area that had lost a 2-year-old boy to kidney disease the previous year. We had followed his journey his whole life and it absolutely broke our hearts when he passed away. 

March was National Kidney Month and it also marked 1 year since his passing, so I contacted the boys mother to see if I could design an art piece to sell and donate the money we made off of it to the Alabama Kidney Foundation in his name and she loved the idea. 

We were just starting out and trying to really define what Chunky Rocket would be as a company at this point, but this had sparked a new idea. From that point on we would donate a portion of all art pieces sold to a brand new charitable organization, every single month. 

I could do what I love (design) and help others at the same time. This is what Chunky Rockets about.
Chunky Rocket started out as a way to help me get through a worrisome time. Now we want to produce products to help make people smile, uplift them, or inspire them, all while helping others with every item we sell.

My name is Josh Dunaway and I’m a part-time stay at home geeky dad to twin 18-month-old boys. I’m a Web & Graphic Designer, a music junkie, an avid movie watcher, and a huge Apple Fanboy. I’m so thankful that my wife and I both have jobs that allow us split the week down the middle and have our individual days home with our boys, making sweet memories with them every single day. There’s nothing in this world that I love more than being a daddy.

Josh's Social Media Links: 

Etsy   |    Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Pinterest   |  Blog

How The Movie Philomena Frightened Me

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I never realized how scared I would become by being a parent. Chest seizing almost overwhelmingly scared that something could happen to my child. Last night I watched the movie Philomena, and it kept me up all night, and still haunts me this morning.

Philomena isn't a particularly scary movie. The "bad guys" in the film are actually nuns, and the gut wrenching horrors of babies and toddlers being stolen from their mothers happened in the 1950's in Ireland.

It's now 2014, I live in a safe tiny apartment, with no nuns. Nobody, thankfully, has ever tried to steal my child away from me, and for the most part, aside from eating food off of the floor every now and then, he lives a safe life.

But movies like Philomena frighten me, and make my heart ache. It took me deep into the shoes of this mother, who at a young age found herself pregnant, and at the mercy of an Abbey and the nuns who took her and her son in. Forced to work day in and day out as payment for a roof over their heads, Philomena loved her son, whom she was only able to see for an hour each day. She lived for that one hour.

I knew about the plot line before I watched the film, and the sad truth that Philomena's son would be taken from her. The movie was about her great search for him 50 years later. But knowing what was going to happen didn't stop me from being devastated for her during the scene when he was being driven away by his adopted parents. Her tears, agony, and desperation pulled at my heart strings, as I pictured what it would be like to watch Itty Bitty be taken away by another family.

I don't know how these mothers went on with their lives. I don't know how they kept functioning, and were able to keep on going.

And I don't just get this way by watching Philomena. I feel pain from parents in all sorts of films, in TV shows, and even from newscasts. I feel their pain from a child's first trip to the emergency room, the awkwardness about having the first talk about sex, and the sense of lost when their child goes away to college.

True tears occur from reading Facebook statuses from people I know who have lost a child, either in the womb, shortly after they were born, or even as adults. I admire these parents for having the strength to carry on.

All of these varied situations which have tugged, pulled, or yanked at my heart strings have just made me love and appreciate all the parents that I know. We have all gone through different battles and struggles, and have lived to tell the tale. Some of you have gone through much more difficult heartaches than I, and I want you to know that I think about you, some of you daily.

Though I do not know of anyone who had their child taken from them in a way like Philomena, I do know of parents who made difficult decisions during pregnancy, lost an unborn child, lost their baby, or lost their child/teen/adult.

I may not tell you enough in person, through texts or Facebook messages. But I'll let you know here. I love and admire you, and my heart aches for you. Movies like Philomena give me a glimpse into the pain that you must feel, and it makes it more real to me. Know that even though we may not be particularly close, that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.


Summerize Your Leg Care #SummerizeYourLegs #shop

Monday, June 23, 2014

I feel like I should be prancing through a beautiful field of grass, singing lyrics to Disney's Frozen. "When life gets rough, I like to hold onto my dream, of relaxing in the summer sun, just lettin' off steam." But before I relax in the sun, I need to prep for summer.
This pale Tall Mom has some serious issues when it comes to showing off my legs for three reasons:

It's Time To Celebrate #CelebrateEveryGoal #shop

It's been a long past few months,  both emotionally and physically. My health has been sub-par, and I've seen my doctors more frequently than I've seen my best friends. But this past weekend, Tall Dad and I decided to cast away the gloom and crabbiness. It was time to celebrate summertime, and all of our accomplishments this past month.
So what were these accomplishments?

Well, for one, I've started to get better. I'm not back to fully being myself, and some days are harder than others, but I know I am well on my way to recovery.

Our second cause for celebration is the fact that Itty Bitty started walking!!! He went straight from crawling to being a walking little rascal. I really didn't expect it to be happening this soon, but he sure is a confident little toddler.  Here's a cute video of his first steps.  Warning, it will probably make you squeal with delight.

So to celebrate our kickoff to summertime, I decided to take Itty Bitty on an adventure.

We stopped at Walgreens to pick up some healthy essentials - Band-Aids, Neosporin, and of course - some Neutrogena sunscreen. 
Both Itty Bitty and I need to be incredibly  careful of the sun's rays - and I also wanted to make sure that his legs would be protected in case he tumbled and fell.  
We grabbed a huge bottle of bubbles - because it's Itty Bitty's favorite activity. We were prepared to have fun in the sun!

I packed our diaper bag with diapers, our healthy essentials, snacks, grabbed my kite, and drove us to India Point Park in Providence, Rhode Island.  

The park sits right along the bay, and boasts shady grassy patches which are perfect for picnics. It's also a dynamite spot to fly kites.

The only problem...there was no wind. 
Cue sad trombone. But only for one second.

Because, one thing that I've learned as a mom is that you always need to improvise! Luckily I had a bag full of tricks. 

Itty Bitty was perfectly content blowing bubbles, eating snacks, and pointing at dogs for an extended amount of time. We giggled, and played in the grass, and said, "hi" to all of the people walking by. 
Then we heard drumming in the distance. Itty Bitty stood up and started walking towards the sound.
It was two drummers!!! 
I couldn't have thought of a better way to end our celebration!  Itty Bitty loves music, and danced with delight as the drummers played their rhythms. 

Other kids came by to listen to the music, and Itty Bitty played with them - even passed around a soccer ball for a little while! It was like a toddler version of The Big Game! 

The sunshine hit our faces, and seemed to melt away all grumpiness from the past few months. Our tiny baby is now a walking toddler, and I'm on the road to recovery. 

Life is good my friends. Life is good.
Remember to stock up on all sorts of items for summer at Walgreens. Don't forget, Balance Reward Members can earn 3,000 points when you buy  $15 of select Johnson & Johnson products. This promotion runs from June 6 - July 26, 2014. 


What reasons do you have to celebrate this month?

Tall Mom on The Rhode Show The Rhody Roundup

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Yesterday I was called in to be a special guest on The Rhode Show and be on the panel for the Rhody Roundup. We talked all about the World Cup, new emojiis, and Taylor Swift. 
Check out the clip, and let me know what you think!

Itty Bitty's First Steps {video}

Friday, June 20, 2014

Our Itty Bitty is officially a walker! Our 14 month old toddler took his first steps, and I was fortunate enough to capture our baby walking on video. 

I'm so excited that we were able to document this milestone in his life :)

Mom and Toddler Fashion - PVD Lady Project Summer Style Video

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Itty Bitty and I had the awesome opportunity to be models for the PVD Lady Project Summer Style video made by Brittanny Taylor. You can find us at 2:59! Let me know what you think.

I think my little guy did a good job, especially considering he was a little cranky :)
Many thanks to the PVD Lady Project and Brittanny for putting this together! 
Such a treat :)

What's your go-to summer fashion?

Our Trip To Mystic Aquarium

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Every night our family goes through the same routine. 

It starts with Itty Bitty eating dinner, then said dinner being flung on the ground as a sign of being all done. After that, it's bath, brush teeth, pajamas, dim lights, read books, sing songs, and finally (more like, hopefully) sleep. 

ParentCast: Episode 16 - Tips On How To Keep Friends With Kids And No Kids

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mary and Blake are back with the 16th episode of ParentCast.  This time they discuss tips on how to maintain relationships between people with kids and no kids.

The cool thing about this episode is that the topic was voted on by our freakin' awesome listeners!  It's what you wanted to hear!  So, ask and ye shall receive.  In this episode you'll learn why Mary is Playboy hott, why being friends with kidless people is a lot of pointed hard work,  why something Blake says in this episode will piss off literally half the world, and why there has been 274 straight days of agonizing torture in house Larsen.

We were so happy with all the listener feedback in this episode.  Everyone really pitched in and made it a fantastic show.  More importantly, we realized that keeping your friends who don't have kids is a lot of hard work.  You really have to make sure you make time for them.  Unfortunately, we are culprits in a lot of the tips and topics we discuss that you should not do.  Not only can this episode be a great learning tool for parents and non-parents alike, it was a great self assessment for Mary and Blake.

Ice Cream On A Summer Day {video}

Friday, June 13, 2014

Click the picture to watch the video!

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Baby eating ice cream tall mom tiny baby


Our Porch is Our Sanctuary

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I finally tackled one of my spring goals. Sure, my hands and car were an absolute mess, and my bank account was sporting $25 less dollars than it had previously, but to me - it was worth it.

I assembled (with great assistance) my first container garden for our front porch.

ParentCast: Episode 15 - Dental Health Tips For Babies And Toddlers

Monday, June 9, 2014

Tall Mom and Tall Dad return for episode 15 of ParentCast to talk all about dental health for babies and toddlers with Dr. Mary Jane Miranda of SouthCoast Smiles and Perfect Smiles.

Dr. Miranda was very light hearted, warm, and funny during this interview.  She also gave a lot of great pertinent information on when, and how, to start caring for your new child's teeth!  Tall Dad and I quickly realized that we are pretty much doing everything wrong. In this episode you'll learn why Rhys is a huge fan of salad bars at the supermarket and when you should start bringing your baby to the dentist & how to best care for their teeth as they get older.  You'll also learn about the one thing Blake hates more than dentists and why Mary has made one small step for mankind Neil Armstrong style.

Tall Dad and I really have no idea what to do about Rhys' teeth.  And as they started coming in, we realized that we needed to learn about how to care for them.  Thus, the idea behind this episode.  It's for parents who have no idea what they are doing, and will receive a baseline knowledge on what to do, and where to begin as it relates to their baby's dental health.  Luckily Dr. Miranda was super patient, and very willing to walk us along her practice.  Have no idea what to do with your kid's teeth?  Check it out here!

10 Nerdy Father's Day Gifts

Whether you need to purchase a gift for your dad, or for the father of your child, please make sure it's not another tie or boring card. Make your Father's Day gift awesome, and possibly nerdy.
Father's Day t-shirt - this awesome personalized (any year) tshirt is perfect for a father-to-be or a first Father's Day!

I F*cking Hate Cats {guest post}

Friday, June 6, 2014

*Disclaimer: This guest post is written by Tall Dad. The following article is Rated R, and is not representative of Mary Larsen’s thoughts or values.  She is not liable for the views expressed in the following commentary. Chances are, however, that if you're reading this, regardless of your tastes, we probably have at least one thing in common - we're both parents. And you know, just as well as I, that being a parent, either new, or grizzled veteran, is tough on anyone. So, take whatever you like from this article – good, bad, or ugly – and try to enjoy.
I fucking hate cats.  

Hate them.  Hate them like Niki Minaj hates Mariah Carrey.

Someone once shared a very wise saying with me, "dogs have owners and cats have staff."  And they're right.  Cats don't give two shits about you.  They don't give back. They're happy doing their own thing while dogs are loyal, loving, and most of all....obedient.

But I bought a cat - cause I'm an asshole.  Well, I bought it because it made my wife happy.  But, mostly, because I'm an asshole.

Adding To Our Family

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Our family is about to get bigger.

Christmas cards will have not just 3 Larsens, but 4.

ParentCast: Episode 13 - How To Juggle Family And Work

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

So - I kinda forgot to post Episode 13 here.  I am totally sorry.  Episode 13 had a very special guest in Audrey McClelland, the founder of momgenerations.com.  We asked Audrey to come in and talk about how she juggles her large family and runs her extremely successful blog at the same time.  She was very funny, personable, and lent a lot of great insight on he she manages it all.

In this episode, you'll also learn about Blake's new favorite term, "man-genuity," how a blog can be just as good and useful as a baby book, why the internet is a blessing, but also an extremely scary place for moms, and why Rhys is definitely going to Harvard.

Click here to listen to Episode 13 - How To Juggle Family And Work

Everybody, I don't care who you are, always runs into the same problem of balancing work and maintaining their family life.  Moms especially.  We have to be mom, employee/boss/owner, wife, chef, housekeeper, and we actually have to carve a little time out for ourselves too!  There doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to keep it all together.  This interview, with an expert in the topic of being a busy mom and entreprenuer, is a great first step in trying to find a foothold in the crazy life of being a working parent.

Wordless Wednesday

ParentCast: Episode 14 - Things Parents Need To Stop Saying To Non Parents

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

ParentCast is back with episode 14.  Based on an article written by John Kinnear of AskYourDadBlog.com, Tall Dad and I discuss the top five things parents need to stop saying to non-parents.

This episode was a lot fun because we brought in good non-parent friends Erik & Jim who took a lot of pleasure in turning the tables on us parents for once.  We ask Jim & Erik to rate each phrase on a Hate Scale of 1-5. You'll also learn why Blake thinks he's married to Kevin Costner, why some people need to be condemned to a minivan for the rest of their lives, why there were special appearances by Penelope The One Upper, William Wallace of Braveheart fame, and Alvin & The Chipmunks, and why Mary spent the day in bed eating a pint of Phish Food while watching re-runs of Game Of Thrones.

A lot of the time, parents do say these things without really knowing it.  Blake has a sudden realization midway through the episode that even he says most of these things.  Whether we are cognizant of it or not, I don't think we say it coming from a bad place in our hearts.  Rather, it seems like we can't help but talk about our major life change.  Regardless, it's good to know that there is a barrier that we shouldn't cross sometimes and this is a major tool to help in that cause.  Check it out!

Ultimate Guide To Baby Led Weaning

Monday, June 2, 2014

Congratulations! You have decided to learn more about Baby Led Weaning!

BLW has been one of my favorite parts about being a new parent. At first, Tall Dad was incredibly weary of this style of eating. "What if he chokes?" was his main concern. So I did lots and lots of research, read books, blogs, and watched tons of videos on Baby Led Weaning (otherwise known as BLW.) I knew that the first step to feeding my baby solid foods was to allow him to explore. I thought back to the olden days, before Targets and Dunkin Donuts, before purees. What did civilization do before purees? 

Most likely, parents did some form of Baby Led Weaning.

Have no idea what Baby Led Weaning is? Have no fear, I already wrote a post giving you a nice and easy introduction - click here.

Now, without further ado -