Happy New Year…2014!

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Welcome, Jan. 1st …we’ve been expecting you. 2013 was a crazy year as Antonio became mobile, turned 1, went to table food (and sadly, french fries), dropped the pacifier and moved into a big boy bed.

All in one year, my baby became a big boy. This year we look ahead to the twos, talking, utensils, toddler classes and potty training. Here’s to making each day count!

Cool Coloring Books for Kids

Now that Antonio is almost a year and a half, I’ve been trying to teach him how to color. So far he taps the paper, inspects the crayon and then, tries to eat it. Pretty soon, he’ll get it, and I’d like to get him something artistic and non-gender specific to color on.

Here’s a few of my favorites (that don’t involve princesses, talking cars or angry birds)

amo021-patrick-hruby-natural-wonders-coloring-book

here’s the inside pages…3122-natural-wonders-ammo716_8charley harper cover

the inside of Charley Harper…I’m always curious at what the inside looks like.
charley harper pg

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this is Washington Square from the NYC book

WashingtonSq

eric carle……..

How to Upgrade Your Baby’s Library

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The first baby books on our shelves were books we received during out shower – Goodnight Moon, Brown Bear, the Hungry Catepillar and most of the Seuss collection. Those were the days…when other parents passed along books that were age appropriate for our little guy.

Now that he’s 10-months, those same picture books don’t ignite the same excitement. It was time for a library upgrade. We upgrade his clothes and toys every few months…and now, his books. So, why did I return from the bookstore empty-handed and feeling like a bad parent? And why did the clerk laugh at me when I said I was looking for baby flash cards?

I made the rookie mistake of going to the bookstore and expecting to find the right books just by going to the children’s section. I wanted to find a section that said 9-12 month books, just like clothes shopping. Instead I found piles of books about colors, shapes, going to the potty, things that George did and so on.

I used to work at a bookstore. I love bookstores, but experiencing a bookstore for a baby is a totally different experience.  Baby book shopping left me so  overwhelmed that I ran home to Google with a million questions.

How much can he understand? Should I get a book of first words? What’s too young for him?

Before this happens to you, i put together a guide to help you navigate through the children’s sections when it’s time for your library upgrade.

Things to considered when book shopping for your baby:

• Age-appropriate subject matter with uncluttered illustrations

• Easy physical manipulation of the book, as well as book durability

• Text, illustration and design aimed at children 18 months and younger

So, here’s some book suggestions to according to age:

0-3 months: lots of contrast, vary the pitch of your voice, at this age you can read anything since baby likes the sound of your voice yet doesn’t understand the words

The Tana Hoban contrast series white on black

3-6 months: choose books that are highly tactile or textured, books that make noise, and books that feature realistic images of every day items

Lorena Siminovich does great tactile books with strong illustrations that also help teach colors (as seen above – I Like Fruit )

i like toys

6-12 months:  choose board or plastic books that will end up in baby’s mouth, books with flaps that lift, books with playful rhythms and phrases, keep it small for baby to hold.

Nina Laden’s Peek-a-Boo bookPeek-a-Who

Rod Campbell’s lift-the-flap book Dear-Zoo-Chinese-L

1yr-2yrs: Still stick to books with few words and great illustrations, everyday images, point while you read and keep these interactive

Sandra Boynton series are silly and sound great out loud

moolala

Start introducing art with the interactive art seriestouch the art

mona lisa

Other sites to check out:

www.fredrogers.org – every year they post the best books for babies chosen by a committee of child and literary experts

www.parenting.com – 25 Must-Have Books for babies first library

Happy Groundhog’s Day…, the wind, a dog and a onesie!

It’s Feb. 2nd, and according to the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, it’s going to be an early spring.    Doing some groundhog shopping, I came across this Bill Murray onesie from the etsy shop, Truly Sanctuary. I have to say…I love this shop! Run by Ron and Beth Remsberg, they describe themselves as an offbeat couple that escaped the rat race. Now living in Nashville, TN, they share their lives with two little ones, Truly and Normandy.

If you really want to support this shop, read their story first. Their shop truly started (pun intended) when Beth made a ‘Cheer Up, Daddy’ onesie to cheer Ron up when he had to work instead of spend 4th of July with his family. 

The Bill Murray onesie inspired me to look for other Phil-inspired stuff. Here’s looking forward to an early spring.

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This Little Pinterest

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This weekend gave me some time to unwind and build This Little Nine’s Pinterest site. The goal to pin things that are modern, eco-friendly, affordable and available.

If an item sells out or is out of stock, I’ll make note on the item, but leave the pin for inspiration. The same goes for items that are from foreign shops or just crazy expensive. Think of our boards as an easy place to shop.

I’ve placed the boards into the basic categories…Sleep, Play and Wear, but I’ve also started theme boards such as Robots, Dino and Mod boards. Once the current holiday passes, boards like our Valentines and Presidential boards will go away until next year. My favorite board so far is the Easter board. Start pinning…Enjoy!

Pro-Choice from a Pro-Blogger

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One of the reasons I started this blog was to comment on conversations affecting mothers/women of today. Motherlode is a NY Times parenting blog I follow…not because i like it but because I like the topics. Yesterday, Motherlode’s post tackled a subject I’ve often wondered about…prochoice from a Roe vs. Wade, activist era point-of-view.

In my early 20s, I was dubbed a feminist because of my prochoice views and told I would feel differently when I became a mother. Now that I’m a mother, I’m still prochoice, but pregnancy news feels different now. It’s not a political statement, it’s a new life. Here’s the quote that drew me into Motherlode’s post…

“But something changed once I became a mother. Pregnancy went from Scarlet Letter to the Holy Grail-something deeply desired and no longer feared”

Somewhere in your thirties or when you decide you want to be a mom, pregnancy is no longer a stop sign but rather a green light. Motherlode’s post describes mom-friends that turn to abortion as a choice and the emotions that accompany wanting more children. Check out the post here.

Top Baby Names of 2012

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I am a person of many lists (grocery lists, to-do lists, wishlists, books-I-wanna-read lists), so I love the end of the year when people come out with their Top lists. I just caught wind of the Baby Center Top 100  Baby Names of 2012, and I’m kind of proud to say that my son’s name did not make the list.

Antonio was born in April, and he’s named after my husband…that makes him Antonio Blanch V.  I’ve never known a fifth generation anything, so I knew this was my future son’s name when I signed my marriage license.  My husband goes by Tony and so does his dad and grandad, but I wasn’t keen on calling my son ‘little Tony’ or ‘baby Tony”. I grew up with a nickname and know firsthand that nicknames NEVER go away.  My older sister dubbed me ‘Sissy’, her sister.  Now in my thirties, even my husband calls me that, because he thinks it’s funny.

I will say that my girl name, Emma, is #2 on the list, but I still like it. I know, it’s a contradiction. My sister was flipping through a magazine and saw a designer ad with Emma Watson and then a Covergirl ad with Emma Stone when she suggested, “Emma!”. That night I imagined the name ‘Emma’ embroidered in green on a Pottery Barn Kids quilt. So the next go around…it’s still Emma Blanch.

How did you come up with your baby name? Anyone’s name make the list?

My little nine…

First post! This blog has been an idea since my little guy, Antonio, was 6 weeks old. Now, at  7 months, it’s finally happening.

How It Happened…

I was up late (or early) at 4:30am helping Antonio through a gassy night when he finally fell asleep on my chest. Lying there on the couch, I looked at the clock and knew that I wasn’t going back to bed anytime soon. All I had next to me was my iPad, so I occupied my new waking hours by searching for mom blogs. Being a new mom made me want to know about and connect with other moms.

During my first few weeks of motherhood, I quickly learned that my only waking-hours of pure, me-time would be when Antonio fell back asleep but before my husband left for work. I started taking the hour of between 6am-7am and searched for other moms to relate to…Mom*tog, Camille Styles, Hello Jack, Bluebird Vintage, Bluebird Kisses and Cheap & Chic Nursey…to name a few.

The Glow…

While I was pregnant, a friend had sent me a link to the Glow. Since I was her wedding photographer, she thought the Glow was a perfect mix of my current life, motherhood and photography. This was the first mom site I started following, and I fell in love with it. I felt connected to the moms featured and saw the blog as a glimpse of my future with Antonio.

Cup of Jo…

As a photog, I followed Joanna Goddard’s lifestyle blog, Cup of Jo, because she was connected to my favorite photographer, Max Wanger. Following Joanna’s blog led me to follow the birth of her son, Toby. Joanna has this great feature, Motherhood Mondays.  At 6am, I felt like Cup of Jo and I were friends, and if I needed any mom-advice, Joanna was just a blog comment away.

This Little Name…

In my head, I pretended I already started a blog to pass the time as I fed Antonio. In my daydream, all I needed was a name. Little Star was a contender, because “Twinkle, Twinkle” was a song Antonio liked, but it was taken.  ‘Thislittlemine.com’ was my next option, but it was unavailable by the time I finally worked up the nerve to buy it. The domain site actually suggested ‘thislittlenine.com’. It made perfect sense, because my photography site is Number 9 Photography.  Number 9 is an ode to my favorite Beatle, and it takes 9 months of pregnancy to become a parent.  The number 9 is my number , and in a sense, Antonio was my ‘little nine’.

And here we are…

Antonio’s 7-month birthday is in a couple of days, so it’s fun to think of how far I’ve come since those first few weeks. Looking back on the last months, I would not have bought certain items (the Bjorn, the Bumbo) and would have invested in other items sooner (the jumper, a sling). Antonio has made me lean towards a more natural, organic and recycling lifestyle. Keep in mind normal me is a junk food junkie who would call the new me a hippie in a heartbeat.

On this blog, I’ll share firsts, milestones, sites, stores, products and of course, photography in this new phase of life. I’ll leave you with a quote from a person I never thought I would quote, but it means something to me.

When I became a mom, I finally became the person I am, that I always should have been,” -Jessica Alba (founder of the Honest Company)