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How to get a Passport for Baby

Flying with baby can be difficult enough as it is, but add in an international flight, and there are plenty more hoops to jump through – the largest being obtaining a passport. Every U.S. citizen, regardless of age, has to have a valid passport to travel to and from foreign countries. With the ever-changing rules and regulations, it can be a tiring process. So, where do you start?

Here’s a step by step look at what you’ll need to do to get baby’s passport:

  • Get baby’s passport photo. Ditch the cute bows and fun props, photo requirements are extremely strict and failure to meet the requirements could cause a delay in receiving baby’s passport. It is suggested to get the photo taken by a professional passport photo service for a small fee; however, personal photos are just as acceptable. If you do choose to take the photo personally, be sure the color photo displays a clear view of baby’s face with open eyes and a visible hairline, all in front of a white background. The photo should be no bigger than 2 x 2 inches with the head being 1 inch to 1 ¾ inch.
  • Fill out the DS-11 form. You can find the form at the Department of State’s Travel site. While filling out the form, be sure to hold off on signatures until you are physically submitting the application at a local passport facility.
  • Gather all necessary materials. Prior to visiting your local passport facility, be sure you have the application, the passport photos (take a few in case one doesn’t work), baby’s proof of U.S. citizenship, photocopies of both guardians’ ID’s, and a certified copy of baby’s birth certificate. Both parents’ must also have photo ID readily available when at the facility. To find the nearest passport acceptance facility near you, click here.
  • Submit application. The U.S. Department of State requires both parents or legal guardians to attend the application process. If a parent cannot attend, a notarized Statement of Consent must be filled out prior to submission. If you are the sole parent-whether by death or through legal custody-you must submit proof.
  • Pay the passport fee. If expediting the application process, the fee will increase by $60.
  • Wait for passport to arrive! Though processing times vary depending on the season, it typically takes around two months.

Safe travels!  For more information, you can visit  the U.S. Department of State Travel website.

If you’re gearing up for a long flight with your little one soon, you may also want to read Flying with Baby: A Go-To Guide for a Smooth Flight.



Elf Sighting: December 6th

Apparently Beartha and her pal, Curious George, were racing strollers through the store!

I’m thinking Beartha won this round…

2012 Holiday Baby Gift Guide

If you’re in need of some gift inspiration for the upcoming holidays, you’re in luck! We’ve compiled a list of our favorite picks for the little munchkin in your life. From cute and cuddly to all-natural and organic, we’ve weeded through our product line to find the best for baby this holiday season. To view any product in further detail, simply click on the link or the picture.

Happy Shopping!

Jacque the Peacock by Lamaze 

The Play and Grow Peacock has multiple sounds, textures, and colors to keep baby amused for hours! ($10.95)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Activity Toy by Kids Preferred

Inspired by Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this elaborately colored, textured, and sound-filled toy will endlessly entertain. ($14.95)

Organic Teething Blanket by Dandelion

This cuddly teether made of organic fabrics is perfect for teething and playing. ($14.99)

 Organic Hooded Kimono by Under the Nile

Made of 100% organic Egyptian cotton, this super-soft hooded terry kimono is the perfect outfit after bath-time or for spending the day at the pool. ($26)

Tranquil Turtle by Cloud B

With a beautiful underwater lighting effect, two soothing sounds, and an automatic shut-off, this Tranquil Turtle is the perfect, and cutest, sleep aid. (Originally: $41.95, Special: $37.95)

 Corn Teething Keys by Dandelion

With no BPA, no phthalates, no PVC, no lead, it’s never been easier to say yes to corn! ($7.99)


Deluxe WubbaNub by Mary Meyer

This cuddly animal and pacifier duo is a must. With countless options, this cutie is the perfect accessory for your cutie’s crib. ($14.95)

Sophie the Giraffe Natural Teether by Vulli

Stimulating baby’s all five senses, Sophie is a lovable all-natural teether and playmate. (Originally: $24.95, Special: $18.95)

Babyprints Holiday Ornament by Pearhead

This no-mess kit is the perfect gift to imprint baby’s prints into a beautiful ornament keepsake to hold onto forever. ($14.95)

 Skwish by Manhattan Toy

Baby’s visual and tactile curiosity will be engaged with this intricate design of exciting colors and textures. ($14.95)

 Funky Farm Activity Mat by Skip Hop

Five detachable hanging toys, engaging activities, and removable arch for more playmat fun make this activity mat one of our top picks. ($59.99)

 Ty Pluffies by Ty

Cute, cuddly, and soft – what’s not to love? ($6.50)

Elf Sighting: December 5th

I was excited to get back to the office today to see what Beartha had been up to throughout the evening. I had an inkling she was in the warehouse. So I went directly there and searched high and low, but no sign of her. I then went over to the store, again, no sign of her. I started for my desk, feeling defeated, when I feasted my eyes upon this display:

Before anyone says anything, yes, my desk is pretty empty right now. I know, I’m working on it. There is just less distraction that way! However, not when Beartha is around…

Lunch with a Dash of Eco-Friendly

Lunchbox is to child as statement jewelry is to women. It makes all the difference. What makes more of a difference though, especially to the environment, is what’s inside that lunchbox. From sandwiches to goldfish to grapes, it’s convenient to place everything in plastic baggies and call it a day. It’s even more convenient to dispose of them rather than deal with the clean-up. However, the environmental impact is great, and with just a teensy bit of extra care, you can truly make a difference.

Whether your bring your lunch to work, pack a lunchbox for your child, or use plastic baggies for snacks on the run, have you ever stopped to consider just how many of those plastic baggies you’ve used and disposed of over the years?

Plastic baggies may seem inexpensive, but they eventually add up-both in your bank account and in landfills.  Save your money and help save our planet. Choose reusable containers instead. For your little one, consider the Boon Snack Ball for a fun and eco-friendly spin on a snack container or the Bento Lunchbox 2.0, which comes with a lunchbox and multiple containers that fit snugly inside!

The Elf on the Office Shelf?

As anyone who has ever visited Pinterest knows, “The Elf on the Shelf” is steadily becoming a beloved Christmas tradition throughout the nation, if not the globe. The children’s story, “The Elf on the Shelf” by Carol V. Abersold and Chanda A. Bell, has introduced the elf tradition to the world, and it’s taking off like Santa in his sleigh on Christmas Eve.

I’ve seen countless pictures of silly, mischievous elves getting into all sorts of trouble in their assigned home, all the while keeping tabs on their respective family’s behavior to report back to Santa. However, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine an elf would show up here in the office! But boy, was I wrong.

It all started on Friday evening, the night before December 1st. I was rummaging through my bag to find my keys towards the end of the day when “there arose such a clatter!” I looked up to see a tiny red blur scurrying along my desk. I quickly grabbed my camera that happened to be in my bag and was only able to capture the tiny elf behind my computer before I lost sight of her. Odd way to start the weekend…

I didn’t really think too much of it though; I figured maybe it was just really obvious I needed a weekend to mentally recover. However, when I came into work on Monday, December 3rd, I was startled at what I found!

Apparently the transit from the North Pole to our BabyEarth office was a bit too much for her, or maybe it was just a case of the Monday’s… Hey, we’ve all been there.

So anyway, yesterday morning we all gathered around the Fisher-Price Zen infant seat she had hunkered down in and decided to officially adopt her. Everyone, meet Beartha! Sounds like Bertha, but we wanted to have ‘earth’ in the name so we included the ‘a’!

We are so excited that Beartha has chosen us to visit, and we can’t wait to see where she shows up next!

Today, December 4th, I walked into our lounge to grab some coffee when I found Beartha coordinating story-time with some fuzzy pals!

Apparently, we all need to be on our best behavior around here. I guess I better return that pen I “borrowed”…

Stay tuned for more Beartha sightings throughout the lead-up to Christmas!

*”The Elf on the Shelf” children’s story kit can be purchased at many chain retailers as well as online.



Tips for Handling Toddlers in a Crowd

With new-found independence due to their discovery of running, the need-for-speed phase can be a parent’s worst nightmare, especially in a crowded space. Particularly around the holidays, community events, bustling shopping centers, and zoos harbor larger than normal crowds.  So how can you manage your little ones and still have fun?

Here are some tips to keep your toddler safe in crowded areas:

  • Hold on tight. In the running stage, simply keeping an eye on them isn’t going to cut it while in the midst of a thick crowd. Give them options: “it’s either you sit in the stroller or you hold onto my hand.” They may put up a fight initially, but if you continue to only give them two options without negotiation, soon enough it will become commonplace. There is also the controversial alternative: the child harness, aka the leash. The verdict on this tactic is skewed across the board. Some find it a useful aid and a necessary safety measure for their little runner; others find it to be a cruel mechanism for the parent unwilling to teach their child boundaries. Regardless, as a parent, it is your job to decide what’s best for you and your toddler to keep them safe.
  • Show your tot where he/she can move about. Stick to the outskirts of the crowd and allow your child to run around in a specific area. Toddlers need to move, so to help exhaust their pent up energy, take breaks from the crowd to allow them to let loose for a little bit before it’s back to holding hands.
  • Identification. To offset the dangers of losing sight of your child, it is crucial to provide some form of identification and a way in which you can be contacted somewhere on your toddler’s person. There are many avenues for this method, but here are a few options:
    • Buy a nice ID bracelet. Inscribe your number on it (as well as any other medical information if need be) so that someone can contact you if your child is lost. It may not be wise to put your child’s name on the bracelet, as this could cater to a stranger calling the child by their name, which naturally makes a child feel more comfortable and secure if they think the person knows them.
    • If possible, look into buying a box of hospital ID bracelets to slip your name and cell phone number into the bracelet. As many of us may know, those things are impossible to get off without scissors, so you can rest assured that your information will not fall off, even if your toddler is some sort of squirmy magician.
    • Place a current family photo in their pocket with your information on the back. Not only can someone find your contact information, they also know who to look for in the crowd.
  • Dress accordingly. Those color-coordinated families at the theme park may not seem so laughable now. There is reasoning behind it. Though a tie-dye uniform for the entire family may be a bit much, make sure you do put thought into the clothing you and your family wear to crowded events. Don your little ones in bright colors or memorable outfits so that you can keep an eye on them through a crowd. Prior to leaving the house, have your toddler study your clothing so that they know what to look for should they get lost. Something bright works best so that you can be easily spotted.
  • Role play. As soon as your toddler is old enough to understand, it is important to begin role playing scenarios so that they can always be prepared. For example, if the family ventured out to a theme park, and the child found he was lost, where should he go? Who should he look for? Who should he approach? *When you do arrive at a large event, point out the people who work there and what they are wearing. If your tot does find himself apart from you, hopefully this will assist him in finding his way back.
  •  Choose to avoid the crowd. Sometimes there are events that are worth the hassle, but some events are too crowded, too late, or just too difficult to bring along your little one. Consider whether or not the event will be worthwhile to your toddler, and you.
  • Know when to call it a day. Toddlers can become easily overwhelmed by huge crowds. If you feel a meltdown coming on, it may be time to call it quits. Come back another time when the crowds are lighter.

What other suggestions do you have for handling your toddler in a crowded area?