World's Worst!

A few weeks ago my husband and I set out to create the perfect play space for our tiny.
We must have looked at nearly every safety gate, 
and we tired out our brains coming up with the configuration.
We settled on a gate, installed it, and got to work putting everything in it's place.
I was thrilled with the way it turned out...
until I came home to find it had been chewed through by what is LITERALLY
 the world's worst dog!
See for yourself:
I wish I could say this was a one time thing,
but around here he is known for his antics. 
On this day, a thunderstorm rolled through our neighborhood
and although he looks like a wild wolf, he is the biggest baby you have ever met.
At any rate, I was beyond upset to come home to find this.
It didn't take tiny long to realize it made the perfect sized crawl space for her.
(forgive the antique iphone 3 quality photo)
So we set out on another journey, except this time we really had to get creative.
I must say my husbands crafty skills impressed me,
and after much thought and time:
this is what we came up with.
I must say, from afar it doesn't look so bad.
I'll be taking orders all week,
and you don't even have to pay me...we can just trade for a certain furry friend.


Dear Tiny

Dear Tiny,
I often wake up and wonder how we got here. You have now been in this crazy world for just as long as you were growing inside me.
I look at you in wonderment and amazement Every. Single. Day. 
Every day is a new and exciting adventure for both you and I. 
You are becoming your own little being and I can't get enough of watching you grow, change and figure things out on your own.
Our hearts are connected with an intensity of feelings, real feelings. When your mad, watch out. When your sad, my heart aches with you and when your happy my heart is right there with you dancing with joy. 
NOTHING makes me happier than seeing you happy, and that is the way you usually are.
We are trying our best to create a loving, sweet atmosphere filled with laughter. Lots of laughter.
I often think my heart can't love anymore but then it does the very next day. It is continually overflowing with joy.
There are moments I look at you and giggle with delight and then there are moments in which I am on the verge of tears at how quickly time is passing. 
You are full of life. Moving and crawling in every direction. You don't hold back and you teach us something new every single day. You wear your heart and emotions on your sleeve, hiding nothing. You trust us to trust you, and we do. We have the ultimate trust in you.
Trust that you will grow and learn and become the amazing little human that God intended for you to be. 
Thank you for choosing us as your parents. We take our roles very seriously and will forever be grateful that we can call you our child. 
If it's true what they say; that every stage is better than the last...well then I can't wait for the future because the present is perfection.
Love you to the moon and back.


Padalily Giveaway

Ok all you Mama's with babes who are still riding snuggly in their infant car seats. 
I envy you. 
We are getting ready to move on up to the convertible car seat for our tiny...
you know,
 the seat that no longer allows you to bring baby with you wherever you go while they sleep!
We have had a good run with our infant car seat. It's been great while it lasted, except for one small heavy issue:
Tiny is not so tiny anymore,
 and carrying her around is heavy enough but once you add the added weight of the seat, 
It's enough to give you a serious workout, and kill your forearm in the process.
But today, I have the solution for you, and this is a real winner!
Oh how I wish I would have had this product to alleviate all those arm aches.
Let me introduce you to your new best friend-The Padalily.
Check this out:

No longer does your arm have to scream and curse at you
 while you carry your precious little mini me around.
Just wrap the reversible pad around the handle and off you go.
It even has hooks to hang toys from.
I know, genius right?
One Laughing Bellies reader is going to win this adorable, and oh so needed Padalily:
I love that it's reversible. 
And so will your arm.
Truly as a new mom, I say this is an absolute must for any mom with a infant car seat.
Don't have a baby? Know someone who does? Enter.
This is a gift that is SURE to have them saying WOW!
*A special thanks so Marion's once again for offering this wonderful giveaway. Live in St. Pete? You must check out her adorable store!
Ready to give your arm a break?
Here's how:

1. Like Laughing Bellies on Facebook (Already have? just move on to #2.)
2. Like Marion's on Facebook
3. Share this Giveaway with at least 1 facebook friend.
4. Leave a comment telling me where your favorite place to cart around your tiny is!
The winner will be announced on Friday.
Good luck!


Sweet and Sandy

Another Friday is here.
Rather than show you what we did this week,
here is a lil peek at our recent beach getaway.
(and the truth is, aside from putting together tiny's new playroom, we didn't do much...but more on that once it's complete)
 What a sweet and sandy weekend it was.
Happy Friday!


Sensory Overload

I have been reading more and more about the Montessori approach to learning.
It really makes sense and it has me feeling like I have completely fallen victim to the:
"you're a new mom and you need every plastic gadget out there" mentality.
Though I can say we loved the swing and bouncer seat, I can also say that they weren't necessary.
Perhaps tiny would have been more at ease moving on her own?
At any rate...we are surely not 100% Montessori around here. 
We still get giggles out of our beloved plastic toys that move, shake, dance and sing.
But I also want tiny to understand that not everything is such instant gratification and entertainment.
I want her to use her beautiful little mind to figure things out.
So as we slowly transition from stimulation overload...
I came across these sensory bottles, (if I could actually remember from where I would give due credit) and thought I would give them a try.
First off they are literally the easiest things I have ever made.
It's simple: 
  • Drink a lot of water to collect your water bottles
  • Hunt around your home for items. I found pennies from the hubbies change jar (sorry love), glitter, fabric flowers, food dye, pasta, and some sand and shells from our recent beach vacation
  • Fill up the bottles with your treasures
  • Watch in delight as your baby discovers 
Here they are in all their glory. 
I left a few without water so she could really hear what happens when she shakes them.
Here she is trying to decide which one to investigate first. 
 It was a hit!
I don't have to listen to a little weasel sing "weeee" all day long,
and tiny gets to enjoy a new, free, mind growing toy. 
Give it a try!
And best of all, this can be modified for many ages.
Got an older one? Fill a bottle with magnetic items and hand over a magnetic wand.


Diaper Free Baby-Almost

Last week, I posted a picture of tiny using her very own potty.
No I'm not crazy.
 Though I would have called myself crazy months ago.
It's commonly referred to as elimination communication or infant potty training and it is fascinating.
To be totally honest, I had heard about it shortly before I had Lucia and it sparked my curiosity.
But I was new to this motherhood thing and potty training my infant sounded like an undertaking,
I just wasn't ready to deal with. 
So like any new mom, I had tiny, we put her in diapers, we washed diapers (we use cloth), we put them back on her, and the cycle simply continued for 8 months.
But the poop forces are strong.
8 months later, I came across another mom who was practicing EC (yes, there is even cool short term lingo) and I was feeling much braver this time around,
so I decided to give it a go. 
After reading Diaper Free Baby it all seemed to click,
and visions of a post graduation trip to Africa came flooding back.
 I remember at the time thinking...these poor people, they don't even have money for diapers,
 but after learning more about the process...I think I was the naive one. 
Babies have been communicating their needs with their caretakers in other countries for years. 
Just as a baby tells you it's hungry or tired, it also can tell you it needs to eliminate itself...if you are paying attention. 
All these past poops and pees, I had simply looked at tiny and watched her go in her diaper. 
Why I had never thought to set her on a potty of some sort is beyond me. 
I guess years and years of diaper advertisements had me believing that there was no other option.
Really, in theory the practice is simple. 
According to diaperfreebaby.org, one can observe their baby for signs and cues such as fussing, squirming, and tensing and when you feel baby is ready, hold them over the desired elimination area, prompt them with the cue of choice and watch the magic happen.
I think if starting from the beginning, it may be easier to clearly see the cues, 
but because I waited until she was 8 months and curious to discover EVERYTHING around her...reading her potty cues, at least pee cues has been tricky. 
But we have adapted, and after going diaper less around the house, I have come to learn her schedule.
Now, I can usually set her on the potty, make the "sssss" sound that I have been making every time I see her go, and low and behold the flood gates open.
Do I catch every single time?
I wish!
Do we still use diapers out?
But many times and with enough "pottytunities" it stays dry (yup that's another cool term).
If you're interested in giving it a try, I highly recommend reading Diaper Free and visiting the 


Let's Get Sandy.

This weekend marks the beginning of what I hope is an annual tradition.
A weekend where memories are made, laughter is heard and feet are sandy.
A weekend where flip flops and bathing suits are the only attire needed.
(which has me baffled at how much stuff we have loaded in our car)
The Beneroso family vacation has kicked into full swing.
Yesterday morning we loaded up the car:
 2 dogs, 1 baby, 2 sleep deprived parents,
and headed south to Sanibel for a long weekend getaway.
 We had all intentions of getting everything packed the night before,
with dreams of waking after a peaceful nights sleep as we leisurely hopped in the car.
Of course as any parent can tell you, 
reality usually looks a little different.
Ahhhhhh. Now this reality is more like it. 
We arrived safely and for the next few days this is where you can find us.
None of life's little interruptions to get in the way.
 Just pure, raw, natural beauty.
And since I left my toiletries bag behind with everything from deodorant to a toothbrush,
that is exactly what kind of weekend it will be. 
Thankfully my husband loves me just the way I am!
I Hope your weekend is just as beautiful.


Wordless Wednesday

Who knew an apricot could be so exciting.
Happy Wordless Wednesday!



There are some things that are simply better left unsaid. 
Things that you may think, but would never dare say...
except for some reason people forget this rule with babies.
I can't tell you how many times we have been out and someone has called tiny a "healthy" baby.
Just this weekend at the mall an older couple came up to us, tickled her toes and said to me
 "well you can tell she likes to eat".
Of course at the time I smiled and laughed along but inside I was thinking:
And this is not the first time I have heard that. 
I will admit that she isn't a petite baby and tiny was never really that tiny,
but she her mother still has feelings.
So I've come up with a list of things that for whatever reason are cute to say to a baby (and I assure you we have heard them all) but please never attempt to say these to an adult!
  1. You really like to eat don't ya?
  2. Look at all those rolls.
  3. Look at those chubby cheeks.
  4. You sure are healthy looking...ok well this could be nice but not if you are using it the way others have used it with tiny.
  5. You are very well fed aren't you?
You can thank me later for steering you clear of any possible confrontations.
And don't forget...babies have feelings too! 


Forgive Me

To say life has been busy would be nothing short of a lie.
But it's not the busy I once knew.
The word "busy" seems to have evolved into a new definition for me.
Tiny started crawling and though I knew at some point she would get here, I guess I didn't really prepare myself for how I would feel.
She seems so much more independent. 
She scans the room, finds her target and crawls over with sheer delight twinkling in her eyes.
It is a joy to watch!
And yet my heart is torn between bursting with joy and shedding tears at how she is growing.
I struggle to find any time to do anything but play with her, watch her discover the world.
Cleaning, cooking, sleeping and blogging all seem to be put on hold, shoved to the corner until we aren't so "busy".
I know it's just a stage and like all things in life, it will come to an end and greeted by a new stage,
but until then:
 Forgive me readers.
Forgive me darling husband.
Forgive me sweet friends.
If I seem to be missing or too busy,
well I guess I am.


Wordless Wednesday

Yes that's our tiny using the potty.
We are practicing EC or Elimination Communication.
But more on that another day,
Happy Wordless Wednesday!


A New Olympic Medal

The Olympics have geared up into full swing lately,
and while I usually stare at the TV in awe of their athletic ability,
lately I feel like I've been racing in my own Olympic event.
Tiny must be going through a growth spurt which in a way excites me,
but getting up every 2 hours for the past few nights has become exhausting.
Honestly, I think I deserve a medal.
Not because I'm doing something no one has ever done before,
but because it is a true talent to sleep so little and still function throughout the day,
and lately I have truly surprised myself at how little sleep I can survive on.
Last night, however if must have caught up with us. 
After tiny fell asleep we decided to check into our own sleepy slumber,
before the sun even went down
It might have been a first, but it felt Oh-So-Good!
And don't worry if you can't see the image on the TV...
as we fell asleep, neither did we.


Week Peek

Oh another week filled with life's adventures. 
Here's a peek into our week.
  • Tiny LOVES her new Healthy Times Maple Teething Biscuits
  • The Hubs spent extra hours working this week, and our house was left looking like a war zone.
  • A trip to the park warranted for some swing time contemplation.
  • Papa Grew a moustache...is it weird to say I don't mind it?
  • We found our miracle potion for tiny's incredibly tangly hair situation.
  • And the Hubby and I actually had a nice dinner together.
Here's to another beautiful week.
Happy Friday Friends.


The Whole Experience

I am a strong believer in eating healthy, natural, preferably organic foods.
Now don't start judging me right away. I don't eat this way 100% of the time. 
I still love a corn-dog from the fair,
 and when desperate times call for desperate measures,
I'll indulge in a soda.
But most of the time, like the other 89% of the time I try and eat delicious, healthy foods.
Foods that I know will nourish me...and since I'm nursing, will also nourish tiny.
What I can't seem to wrap my head around is that now-a-days, locally fresh organic food is a delicacy usually enjoyed by those that have a few extra bucks to spend,
and unhealthy, nourishment stealing foods are cheap...like 2 for $2 cheap.
It's seems so backwards,
and I can't help but feel like we have made steps in the opposite direction as a society.
But I am ever so grateful for places that do strive to offer the best.
A place in my opinion that should become the standard in grocery shopping. 
Sure I love Publix but it's got Nothing on Whole Foods!
It never ceases to have an abundance of fresh, organic fruits and veggies,
overflowing off of every display,
 and the explosion of colors is enough to make you want to stop and just take it all in for a moment or two.
The veggies always seem to be at the freshest, peakest moments of their lives,
and they have an uncanny appearance as if they were just picked straight from the garden.
The variety is even more amazing. Mushrooms of all sorts of shapes and sizes,
many of which I had never even heard of...and that is what I love!
Finding something different and rare.
 We spent nearly 2 hours there, perusing the aisles, in awe of the many different options...even shoes!
We literally could not stay another moment due to lack of space,
not that you couldn't figure that out by our overflowing cart.
We thought about piling around tiny but figured she had seen enough for one day.
And so we checked out, left, and headed home happily knowing that we were stocking our home with sweet, healthy, whole foods!