Houston New Moms Blog

 

Mom's One Line A Day baby memory book

The Mom’s One Line A Day baby memory book is a great choice for new mothers.

When I found out I was going to be a new mother five years ago, there were a lot of things I knew I wanted to do right – including recording all those memories I knew we’d be making with our little bundle of joy.

Like everything baby-related, of course, the options were endless — put “baby journal” into Amazon’s search box, and more than 10,000 options come up! Lucky for me, I knew what I didn’t want. I didn’t want a big, traditional baby book that needed to be filled in every day or week or even month — that just wasn’t going to work for me. I’m both forgetful and a perfectionist, so knew I’d beat myself up if I didn’t keep on top of such a monumental task.

I needed something manageable, something less stressful and less intimidating. More momma-friendly.

Enter “Mom’s One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book” available thru Amazon.

A journal for busy moms

This was a journal I could keep up with. And — almost five years and three kids later — I do, at least for the most part.

Each page has five sections — one for each of Baby’s first five years. And each section has just enough space for a one or two-line description of what happened on that day. For me, it provides the perfect space to record the often mundane things which make up life, while forcing me to really think about what happened during the day instead of just filling up page after page every night.

But, here’s the thing I love most about the “Mom’s One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book”: Those first few weeks after bringing a new baby home are a blur of activity and pain and uncertainty and sleeplessness and total adoration and love. While it’s easier to remember the big events, the little ones can get pushed aside and forgotten.

A book that holds memories

This book helps with that. It holds some of the most precious memories I have since becoming a mother.

Bringing Big Bear home seems like a lifetime ago. I remember that first bath was a nightmare with him screaming bloody murder. I remember my husband and I looking cluelessly at each other while Mom stood back with a big smile on her face. But I don’t immediately remember that my first-born refused to take a bath for months unless he was wearing a swimsuit, or why we started having a picnic on our living room floor every 4th of July.

But the book does.

Each entry is short and sweet, just enough to conjure an image or a smell or a memory. They are the perfect snap shot of my intimate motherhood experience — some are sweet, some are messy, some are frustrated, some make me laugh and a few bring tears.

A place to find reassurance

As our family has expanded, I’ve added two new “Mom’s One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book” books to the mix, and, although I still flip through them to remember the small, special moments in my kids’ lives, I’ve come to realize they’re also a place to find reassurance.

Your Mom’s One Line A Day baby memory book will soon become a treasured keepsake.

I can look back and see that it’s perfectly normal for me to be getting two hours of sleep at a time at seven months because Little Love is right on track for the never-ending sleep regression we’ve been rocking of late. And I know this too shall pass. Because it did. Twice. And the proof is right there on the page in both his older brothers’ books.

I’d be lying if I said I spend time every night filling in all three books. That’s just silly! But, no matter how far I get behind — which I am now, btw — I always get back on track, which is a whole lot easier and less intimidating when I’m just writing a quick sentence or two instead of an elaborate essay on Little Bit’s first haircut.

A thoughtful gift for new moms

Like I said, I seriously love the “Mom’s One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book”, and often give it as a gift to new moms. It’s durable, it’s portable, it’s simple to use and, because it includes a little something from every day for the first five years, it offers a picture of authentic motherhood and childhood. that few other options do. If there’s a complaint, it’s that there’s not much room for recording every detail of monumental events like a first step or taste of avocado. Let’s just say I write pretty small on those days!

The “Mom’s One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book” is just over $10, but the memories it holds when used are priceless. If you’re a new mom, know a new mom or are just looking for that perfect must-have gift for a baby shower, this little purple gem is the ticket.

What’s your favorite way to record memories?

Disclosure: This post includes an embedded link to Amazon for which we may receive compensation. At HNM, we only endorse products we like and have tried ourselves —  Mom’s One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book is one of those products. Trust us, it’s awesome!

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Hey Ladies!

This is Amanda and Lori, the new mother and daughter team behind Houston New Moms, the on-line destination for new moms in Greater Houston, moms of children 0-5 new to the Greater Houston area, and moms of Littles everywhere.

If you’re new to HNM — welcome! We hope you find our small piece of the World Wide Web helpful, inspiring, informative and uplifting. Be sure to check out our directory, where you’ll be able to connect with everything from art classes for kids under five to upcoming kid-friendly events, medical professions, mommy care specialists and even the best playgrounds in your area.

If you’re a regular visitor to HNM, you’ll be noticing some changes in the coming weeks and months as we expand our coverage to reach more moms in more places, and give them and you more of what you’re telling us you want.

Our most popular feature — the directory — will be growing to include more of the wonderful mommy resources outside of the Loop, and our daily content will reflect this change too, showcasing folks in our Greater Houston neighborhoods who support mothers, great family outings, product reviews and of course, plenty of wisdom, humor and real-life sharing from moms just like you.

So, however you found HNM, we’re glad you’re here, and excited to continue this fabulous journey called motherhood with you!

Come back often, and join the conversation here on the HNM blog, and please bear with us as we play around with this blog and the HNM web site to accommodate all the great new features headed your way!

Amanda & Lori

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We’ve all been there — mid-diaper change, one hand holding up those squirmy little legs and the other, covered with sticky diaper cream residue and grabbing at a fresh nappie. It’s frustrating. It’s messy and it’s not all that safe or sanitary either, right?

Swipensnap™ to the rescue.

A solution to an everyday hassle for moms

Invented by Houston native, Alina Kravochenko, Swipensnap™ One Hand Cream Applicator is an innovative solution to an age-old problem.

And it’s easy to use. Simply attach the BPA-free applicator tip to your favorite brand of diaper cream, squeeze the cream from the tube and swipe the cream on to Baby’s bottom with the soft, flexible tip. No mess, no cross contamination and no frustration.

When you’re finished, snap the cap and the whole applicator stands its own.

And did we mention, Swipensnap™ is dishwasher safe?

Swipensnap™ has quickly gained an audience among moms, dads, caregivers, bloggers and pediatricians, who agree it’s worth every penny of it’s $10 price tag.

This nifty little applicator is only available on Alina’s website (https://swipensnap.com). Hop over and buy one now!

And, if you don’t mind, let her know Houston New Moms sent you 🙂

 

 

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Not all playgrounds are created equal — especially when you’re looking for a playground for your new crawler. Some are designed for more active visitors, some don’t provide the soft surfaces needed for those tender little knees, and still others don’t offer any shaded areas for taking a rest from all that activity.

Fear not!

After reviewing dozens of playgrounds in the Greater Houston Area, here are our top five picks for Houston’s littlest players (in no particular order).

 

Playground at Church of the Apostles

The Playground at Church of the Apostles is a small, fully-gated playground in the Heights with astroturf for crawling and shade to spread a blanket. While your crawler might not be able to take advantage of the entire play structure, enough of it is close to the ground to keep them occupied.

Herman Park Playground

Most playgrounds have a structure for big kids and one for toddlers. Hermann Park Playground is one of the only places in Houston with a third, tiny playground that’s just for babies. It looks like a little town, and nearly everything is low enough for crawlers to explore. The toddler and big kid playgrounds are located some distance away, which minimizes the chances of big kids stepping on your baby. And, there’s a low wall around the perimeter perfect for mamas to perch on and chat.

 

Judson Park

Judson Park is another fully-gated, astroturfed piece of baby heaven. It features a super-cool log to crawl through, a small play structure, and baby swings. The big kid playground is on the other side of the park, so you’re unlikely to run into them here.

 

Boundless Playground at Eastwood Park

Boundless playgrounds (aka “playgrounds-for-all”) like the one at Eastwood Park, are a natural fit for babies: all the ramps designed to make them wheelchair-accessible do double duty as great crawling surfaces. The problem? Big kids love them too, leading to collisions in which your baby is unlikely to emerge as the winner. Well-known playgrounds like the ones on West Gray or in Memorial Park are often overrun with older kids. This is why Eastwood Park is such a great find – we’ve never found it busy, which means you can let your crawler explore without fear. The equipment is new and far back from the road.

The Square at Memorial City Mall

If you want to combine outdoor play with some shopping or a meal out, look no further than the Square at Memorial City Mall. Set back in a corner of the mall’s new green space is an adorable little outdoor playspace for babies. There are three little baby-size structures, and, of course, astroturf!

 

So there you have it, HNM’s top five playgrounds.

Are there any playgrounds in your area that are just right for crawlers? We’d love to share them with other readers!

 

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Autumn has always been my favorite season. Along with much longed-for cooler weather, it brings some of the year’s best holidays, fun harvest-themed farm activities, and the fresh start of a new school year.

But along with all that good stuff, autumn also shares less pleasant gifts: germs, viruses, and the dreaded flu. Never fun, these illnesses are especially miserable with small children in the house, whether it’s you or the little ones who get sick. While it’s impossible to escape every little cold, now is the perfect time to get flu shots to protect yourself and your family against the flu.

Why getting the flu shot is important

If you’re on the fence about getting the flu shot, consider this: Babies and toddlers are more likely than adults to suffer complications from the flu, leading to hospitalization or even death. So, even if you’re young, healthy and not worried about getting the flu yourself, think about the little people in your life. And, not everyone who carries the flu virus has obvious symptoms – so, keeping the kids away from ill friends and relatives isn’t a foolproof way to protect them!

Where to get your flu shot

Urgent Care for Kids is one great place for families to get their flu shots: it’s family-friendly, affordable, and ensures that all staff have pediatric training. Urgent Care for Kids offers short wait times and online check-in, which helps you get in and out quickly even when wrangling a kiddo or two. With four locations across Houston, there is sure to be one close to you. And, they’re offering a special discount for Houston New Moms readers: $10 for children and $15 for adults!

Now’s the time to get your flu shot

When to get the flu shot? With flu season already upon us, the simple answer is: the sooner, the better. Don’t forget that the vaccine takes up to 2 weeks to become effective, so time is of the essence. But, it’s never too late, says Urgent Care for Kids’ Chief Medical Director Dr. Kristi Whitenton. “Flu season usually concentrates in the late fall and winter, but it can pop up year round. The best thing to do is get the vaccination before flu season hits, and that is around November in Texas.”

So go ahead – give Urgent Care for Kids a call ahead of time to ensure that your insurance will be accepted and use their easy online check-in features to make your family’s appointment today. Don’t delay – get those shots, and give yourself some peace of mind.

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It’s officially October, which means I can start my month-long countdown to Halloween! Halloween is one of those holidays that becomes twice as fun when you have a kid. But, as I found out when my daughter was born, it can also get twice as complicated to plan your Halloween fun when you have a baby or toddler in tow. To help you get the most out of your spooky celebrations this year, here is our guide to Halloween in Houston with your little!

The Best Costumes for Tiny Houstonians

With so many adorable choices for baby costumes, it can be hard to know what to choose. After much costume experimentation with my 2-year-old, here is my Halloween mantra: Not too heavy, not too uncomfortable, not too long.

On Lana’s first Halloween, several little friends were dressed in adorable, full-body animal costumes. There were bears, lions, and elephants. Unfortunately, it was nearly ninety degrees outside, and the poor babies were sweltering. Before long, the costumes came off. Chances are, it’ll still be hot in October, so think twice before buying costumes that will envelop your little in heavy fabrics.

The other frequent error of first-time costume buyers? Assuming your kid will wear that uncomfortable-but-adorable top, mask, or hat. I’m guilty of this one – I bought Lana a super-cool witch costume last year, and, of course, she refused to wear the hat. So instead of a witch, she was a toddler in a cute orange-and-black dress. In my experience, most littles will put up a fight against headgear, wings, and most other accessories. Clothing that itches is also a no-no.

And finally, if you have a walker, make sure the costume is not so long that he or she will be tripping over it! Costume sizes can be different from sizes in regular clothing brands, and a toppling toddler could put a real wrench in your trick-or-treating plans!

If you’re still looking for your baby’s costume, check out the funny, spooky, and simply adorable choices here!

Trick or Treating, Baby Style

Speaking of trick-or-treating, here’s how to make your first outing with baby a success.

First, know where you’re going. Don’t just assume that a neighborhood is going to be a great spot for candy – check with more experienced parents. On Lana’s first Halloween, we made the mistake of assuming that our apartment building, which has a fair number of families, would be a nice, compact spot for trick-or-treating. Alas, it was dead on Halloween night.

In addition to choosing the right neighborhood, make sure you ask veteran parents what specific streets are best (have sidewalks, good lighting, lots of houses participate, etc). And find out when the fun usually starts. On our second Halloween, we checked out the Heights, known for great trick-or-treating. But, we came too early and started on the wrong streets. It was only after we met up with a friend who lives in the area and waited for it to get dark that we found the great trick-or-treating streets that everyone talks about.

 

Once you’ve found a great spot, your little superheroes and zoo animals will probably not last very long walking from house to house. A wagon, stroller, push car, or whatever mode of transportation they prefer is essential for keeping them happy and getting to more than 2 or 3 houses over the course of an evening.

The Trunk or Treat option

Finally, if you’re not from Houston, you may be wondering about the pros and cons of the “Trunk or Treat” tradition. Coming from the Northeast, this was totally new to us. Here’s how it works: a bunch of people park their cars next to each other (often at a church), and each offers candy from the car’s trunk. It’s a much more compact version of traditional trick-or-treating. We checked one out, thinking that short distances sounded perfect for a toddler. And, indeed, Lana enjoyed going from car to car and getting candy. The biggest downside? It was over in 10 minutes! So, if a trunk-or-treat is on your schedule, be aware that this is not all-night entertainment.

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Working out is important. As a mom of two busy toddlers, it’s more than important, it’s critical to my well-being.  Unfortunately, taking time out for a great workout often falls by the wayside to the competing demands of school, schedules, and parenting.

And, since having kids, I’ve know I’ve become more lax about my training schedule, even though now is the time I need to be in the best shape and health possible. Motherhood takes a lot of energy!

But how does a busy mom fit everything in? Enter Kanthaka, an app that does for personal trainers what Uber did for personal drivers. With just a few clicks, you can book a workout session of your choosing, when you want it, and where you want it, and with the personal trainer you’ve hand-picked. It’s seriously that easy.

How it works

I downloaded the Kanthaka app from the Apple App Store, set up my account in seconds, and scrolled through the training offerings. I was looking for circuit training, so chose “General Training”, but other options included yoga, Pilates, boxing, or pre/post-natal.

I chose my trainer based on her profile and philosophy, and set up the session at the park next to my house. I picked a time that was convenient for me after school drop-off. I had a small technical issue, but  it was resolved really quickly by the IT team, and I was able to continue with my booking.

 

My Kanthaka experience

When I arrived at the park, the trainer was already there, scoping out the location and setting up props. She brought a mini-gym with her (weights, foam tiles, cones), plus water for me.

Our time together started with an evaluation of my functional abilities, and a review of any physical limitations. Then came a really satisfying and fun workout.

My Kanthaka trainer was very knowledgeable and generally awesome, and I really liked her style and attitude. I appreciated that she took the time to evaluate my personal situation, and didn’t simply dive into a canned routine, plus the exercises were great.

On demand = flexibility

I didn’t have my kids with me, but I can see how a Kanthaka session would work with children and babies in tow. You could pop your baby into the stroller and they would have free entertainment while you get in your workout, or your toddler could play at the park during the session. The trainer could even come to your house! There are many variations of what might work, which is the great thing about an “on demand” personal trainer.

I loved the flexibility Kanthaka gave me with timing and location. I did find one caveat specific to my situation. I often need to do training outside of my home since at least one of my children is usually at home, and I work from home so I don’t have an office per se, and I don’t have access to a gym where I could bring an outside personal trainer. This leaves the park, which I love because I really enjoy the outdoors, but this is Houston. It’s hot, there are mosquitoes, and it rains a lot. Luckily, none of these things were an issue during my session, but I could see how it might be during the heat of the summer if you don’t book during the early morning hours. With fall and winter ahead of us, this shouldn’t be much of an issue, though.

No more room for excuses

With Kanthaka, I don’t have any excuses for missing a gym or personal training session. I can open the app and find a trainer who can come to me, wherever that might be (home, park, gym, office), at a time that works best for me. The rate is also the same rate I’ve paid personal trainers at a gym – a good value considering all the extra flexibility. A nice bonus: the company is donating $10 of each booked session to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts during the month of September.

Check out Kanthaka’s website and download the app to see for yourself!

Dislclosure: This is a sponsored post, and HNM has been compensated for sharing it with our readers.

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This post is brought to you by Back After Baby, a one-of-a-kind postpartum rehabilitation program designed by physical therapists just for moms. And the best part? It’s 100% online – no need to worry about scheduling, traffic, or finding childcare!

Hello! We are Hallie and Ingrid – two moms and physical therapists on a mission to provide women with the knowledge and resources they need to properly recover and get back after baby! We developed this 3-phase program after years of treating women with back pain, urinary incontinence, shoulder pain, neck pain – should we continue? The common denominator? They were all moms – some two months postpartum, others 10 years – who never properly retrained their muscles after having a baby.

The importance of retraining muscles

Most postpartum programs emphasize weight loss over of muscle recovery, underestimating the importance of retraining your muscles. The suggestion is often to just go back to a pre-baby routine, and everything will fall back into place.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The changes that occur during pregnancy to your joints, muscles, soft tissue (ligaments), and spine – not to mention the weight gain, water retention, crazy hormone fluctuations -are significant. These affected pieces  don’t just rebound and go back to normal. Well maybe if you are that 1%, then it does, but for all of us other women- what do we do? How do we get those stretched, weakened, traumatized muscles to work for us again?

A tried and true method

After facing that question countless times in our own clinical practice, we came up with the  Back After Baby program.

In this one-of-a-kind program, we guide members through various phases in the same way we would progress a traditional physical therapy program. Before entering each new phase, we take you through a complete assessment, testing things like core stability, strength, endurance and flexibility.

Back After Baby is tried and true, and addresses the whole body. And it’s completely unique from any other so-called workout or fitness routines you might find online because it’s assessment-based, and customized to each member.

We create a  playlist of recommended exercises, then teach you how to do each exercise properly, including what you should and shouldn’t feel, and when to stop.

As a member,  you’ll have access to powerful resources including anatomical illustrations for each exercise so you can picture the specific muscles being targeted. We also include training in body mechanics and positioning strategies to help with proper form when sleeping, lifting, breastfeeding, along with a host of other physical activities.

We know this program can be life-changing but don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what one of our members has to say:

“Back After Baby has given me hope that I will be able to restore my body to a pre-baby level and potentially even better. I had so many muscle imbalances that I would injure myself when working out or would get pinched nerves in my neck and shoulders just from sleeping. As I’m progressing through Back After Baby, I feel myself getting stronger, having better posture and in less pain.” ~ Cristy

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The last week has been tormenting. No one has been unaffected. We have watched family and friends escape their homes by boat/kayak/helicopter at the last minute before flood waters overtake their home. Our newsfeeds have been flooded with harrowing images and videos of our friends and loved ones sharing their stories of devastation and heartbreak. We all hurt for each other.

Those of us fortunate enough to weather Harvey without damage are itching to help others. There has been an outpouring of donations to the victims living in shelters in the form of volunteer hours, supplies, and love, but it is so hard to know where to start. Who needs what? Where should I volunteer? Where should I donate cash that will go directly to the victims and not to overhead? How can I help these distraught families begin to rebuild and recover?

All of us want our donations to go to good use, not into a warehouse as surplus. It takes manpower to sort through clothing donations and match to someone in need. Our efforts might be better used by donating time, money, or very specific items requested by a shelter or family in need, so we’ve created a short list as a starting place. This is by no means exhaustive, but a wonderful place to start. For those generous hearts from out of town who want to know how to help us, this list is for you, too.

1. Texas Diaper Bank

  • Volunteer: Texas Diaper Bank (@TXDIAPERBANK on Twitter) NEEDS volunteers in San Antonio to count, sort, and send out donations.
  • Donate items: Any brand and any size baby diapers, pull-ups, adult diapers, formula, and wipes. We need primarily the larger sizes of diapers, pull-ups, and adult diapers.
  • Donate money: If you’re not local, you can help by donating money: 100% of every donation will go to disaster relief efforts along the Texas coast. Diapers and other items will be distributed to shelters in the affected areas over the course the next several weeks. Donations will continue to go towards post-recovery efforts to families that have been displaced long-term.

2. Houston Food Bank

  • Volunteer: Please register first
  • Donate Food and Supplies: Drop off curbside at 535 Portwall, now through Saturday, September 9. Check here for drop off times and “Most Needed Items.”
  • Donate Money: The best thing you can do to help the Houston Food Bank right now is to make a donation of money designated for disaster relief. Our neighbors urgently need assistance. The Houston Food Bank’s greatest need is for funds that will help us provide relief and continue recovery efforts. Donations will be used for disaster relief until this year’s needs are met, and the remaining funds will support ongoing hunger-relief efforts.

3. The Humane Society of the United States

  • Houston animals are lost, cold, and suffering too. HSUS relief workers have airlifted over 100 dogs out of Texas amid Harvey’s catastrophic flooding, and have waded in deep flood waters to save many more. They are on the ground saving our most beloved companions.
  • Give to HSUS Disaster Relief by following the hyperlinked text OR text LOVE to 20222 to donate $10. This is the best way to help.

4. Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston

  • IM is a wonderful organization. Their main purpose is described here: “At Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, we believe that, through service and dialogue, it is possible for very diverse people to know one another and find common ground, while still embracing our personal beliefs and cultures. We celebrate the strength of our shared beliefs through four areas of service to the greater Houston community:
    • Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston delivers more than 1.5 million meals each year to seniors in Harris and Galveston counties.
    • Refugee Services, in conjunction with the U.S. State Department, resettles thousands of refugees in Houston each year.
    • Interfaith Relations provides a safe harbor for greater Houston through its many interfaith programs and dialogue efforts.
  • In Harvey’s aftermath, Interfaith Ministries will be focusing on helping homebound seniors who receive Meals on Wheels and refugee families – vulnerable populations who will need extra resources after the storm.
    • Donate Money: Please give via phone by texting the word Interfaithhelp to 243725.
    • Please visit their official Facebook page for latest information and updates.

In my long tenure of reviewing parks and playgrounds for Houston New Moms, West U has never disappointed either me or chief playground tester Lana. This week, I’ll be taking you on a little tour of my latest discovery in the neighborhood: Colonial Park.

Colonial Park has a truly impressive number of different play structures / areas to explore. Its other claims to fame include being fully fenced and proximity to an awesome, kid-friendly pool (alas, open only to West U residents and their guests – so make some local friends and maybe you can check it out one day!)  This park is partially shaded, but there will definitely be  some sun on a sunny day. (You will see evidence of aforementioned sun in my photos — apologies in advance for the questionable photo quality!)

Here’s the little-kid play structure. It’s definitely geared toward older toddlers, with challenging climbing routes and several places to fall. We did see a couple of families with pre-walkers exploring this structure, but they definitely had to stay close to the babies at all times!

The big kid play structure also offers climbing, sliding, and running, on a bigger scale and located at a good distance from the the little kid area, which I always like to see.

While the main play structures are nice, you could spend your entire visit here without approaching either of them, instead choosing among a half-dozen other entertainments. Three of our favorites were the swings for babies and big kids, a sandbox, and little wooden houses to explore, which even pre-walkers can access. We also loved the various ride-on toys scattered throughout:

The set of musical instruments in the corner provided some amusement as well:

And, finally, we enjoyed jumping and climbing on these little hills in the ground – it the first time we’d seen this kind of playground feature!

One final note: in case you haven’t figured it out from the photos, this park is totally covered in wood chips, so watch out if you have a little  wood-chip eater! If not, definitely come check out this park – with so much to choose from, you’re sure to find something to entertain the kiddos!

If You Go

  • Address: 4130 Byron St, Houston, TX 77005
  • Parking: Small lot or free street parking