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Happy Holidays!

by verdemama on December 23, 2012

Santa w/ Orion & Juna

Goal for 2013: Blog more. Happy holidays! See you next year.

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Service

by verdemama on May 16, 2012

I spent the first eight years of my late teens/early 20s working career as a server in various restaurants, ranging from Podunk greasy spoons to fancy-pants celeb hangouts. Although the scenery changed from year to year, the script remained the same. Take this. Fetch that. Bend over backward to keep the customer happy. Do it with a smile.

Years after I finally hung up my serving apron, I would still have those anxiety dreams where I had too many tables to take care of. Countless, impossible demands to meet. Unhappy customers cursing at me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that being a parent is much like being a server. Take this toy. Fetch that juice. Clean up that mess. And that one. And that one, too. Wipe this nose/butt/etc. Bring a spoon. Whoops, he dropped that spoon. Bring another. Read this book. NO, NOT THAT BOOK. The other one. Bend over backward to keep the kid happy. Do it with a smile. Meanwhile, the kid/customer is mad and screaming and there’s dinner to be made and infinite disasters to clean up and a kid to play with and a diaper to change, and Juna DID NOT just put her hands in the toilet, did she? and AAAHHHHH! The hostess SERIOUSLY just sat me another table?! How will I ever catch up?

I’ve spent the past few months in a fairly dark place and I’m just now beginning to see the light again. Whatever cocktail of postpartum hormones and sleep deprivation is finally starting to wear off and I’m squinting my tired, lifeless eyes as I stare into the light of happier times ahead.

There is much to celebrate here. We recently traveled to Colorado; we’re looking to buy a vacation home in the mountains outside of LA; I had an amazing Mother’s Day; my kids are happy and healthy; my little man is finally in big boy underwear and my little girl is turning one in a few short weeks. So much to be grateful for.

I probably won’t catch up on my tables any time soon, but I’ll always continue trying to keep my customers happy.

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Dust

by verdemama on March 14, 2012

After being MIA from blogging for so long, the hardest part is jumping back in. Do I start with a cute kids post? Or delve into the saga of my paralyzing depression that that’s here one day, and gone the next? (And repeated ad infinitum.) I really want to blow the dust off ye olde blog but I just don’t know where to begin.

Maybe just a quick catch up to get warmed up and back on track?

Basically, we’ve spent past two months (or is it three now?) fighting off various illnesses and generally feeling miserable. We all have had some combination of multiple colds and flu and are now, FINALLY, starting to come out of quarantine.

Over the past few months:

Orion turned three years old in February. Whoever it was (all 546 of you) who said three-year-olds are more difficult than two-year-olds, you were so, so right. (Damn you for being right!) O is the moodiest, cutest, most evil, sweetest, most rambunctious, manipulative, cuddliest and smartest little terrorist I’ve ever met before in my life. I have never been so angry—or more charmed—by another human being, all in the course of two minutes. He tests the bounds of my patience and sanity on a daily basis, but when he is being a good boy I somehow magically forget that just moments before I was ready to rip my own face off out of frustration. He’s still attending preschool three days a week for 3.5 hours a pop and he loves it. (And so do I!)

Juna is now nine months old and growing up so damn fast. She loves to feed herself, including dirt, cat hairballs, houseplants, petrified floor food, cat kibble and anything and everything else that’s a choking hazard or otherwise dangerous and/or disgusting. Her mouth is now home to four teeth, with two more chompers starting to poke through. She’s been crawling like a champ since seven months old and is now pulling up and cruising on any furniture or person that will allow her. She worships Orion and follows him around like a puppy, barely complaining as she endures frequent pummelings from dearest big bro. After months of sleep training, her snoozy time is improving but not yet perfect. One day I’d like to no longer look like the walking dead, but for now, under-eye concealer is my friend.

As for me, I have been battling some postpartum depression but I’m trying to focus on the bright spots. I’ll write more about this later but for now I’m trying to get back into things I know will make me feel better, like reading, exercising, showering, enjoying a bit of alone time (courtesy of the kids’ babysitter) and sneaking in a few Friday afternoon happy hours with the hubby (also courtesy of the babysitter).

Life is good. Seriously. Why the hell do I ever complain?

Pics via Instagram (username: verdemama), which I’m having so much fun with. Instagram users, unite!

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Still Here

by verdemama on February 21, 2012

I’ll admit. I’ve been in a funk lately. I haven’t felt like “me” in ages. Years, even. I’m short-tempered with my kids. (Well, mostly the three-year-old.) My house is a disaster area on any given day. I miss reading for fun (rather than books on taming toddler terrorists). I miss hearing myself think. I don’t talk to/hang out with friends enough. I’ve abandoned my blog. I need exercise. Nature. Free time. Sleep. Self-care. And I’m not getting any of it.

Most days just feel like survival.

I got five straight hours of sleep last night for the first time in ages, and suddenly, I feel life’s positivity and possibility once again. Amazing what a few solid hours of ZZZs can do.

After having not worked in about two years, I randomly (and perhaps over-optimistically) picked up a freelance copywriting assignment. Right now I feel like trying to access the creative part of my brain is something akin to yanking on the chain to a rusty old lawnmower that’s out of gas. Maybe after I blow the cobwebs off and give ‘er a little tuneup, we’ll be back in business.

I very rarely write about myself. I am a fairly private person and I never assume anyone has any real interest in my personal stuff. But. Sometimes it just needs to be put out there. I am so, so ready to get over myself, starting… now.

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Goals for 2012

by verdemama on January 1, 2012

A new year is upon us, and with it comes the opportunity and inspiration to make needed changes in our lives. Obviously we can choose to improve our situation at any time we wish, but I love the gentle nudge the new year offers. We can start a new chapter, or write a whole new book.

Here are some of my personal goals for 2012.

First things first. We need to move Juna out of our bedroom and into the room she will share with Orion. She’s no longer sharing a bed with us, but is now camped out in her crib in the corner of our room while she’s learning how to sleep. So, that’s a step in the right direction, at least. I have a whole post dedicated to her sleep training coming soon, but in a nutshell, she needs to move into Orion’s room, like, yesterday.

I need to take charge of my health. This is always an ambition for me, but this year is the first I’ve truly felt like my health is declining. I’m not sleeping enough, I’m not eating well enough, and I’m not exercising enough. Not so long ago, I was in great shape—I walked two miles daily in addition to doing yoga and Pilates multiple times per week, and hiking and bicycling weekly. But now? I’m a flabby, exhausted mess with 15 postpartum pounds left to lose. My health goals for 2012 and onward include: SLEEPING MORE, eating fewer desserts and empty calories, eating mostly vegetarian, exercising daily, even if it’s just 20 minutes, drinking more water (seriously, I get so wrapped up meeting the kids’ needs that the entire day will pass before I realize I haven’t had a single glass of water), and taking more time for self-care—just a few minutes each night to pluck my eyebrows or do a facial mask or trim my fingernails or whatever little thing that I’ve been too crazed to notice lately. I’ve also recently dusted off my juicer and have been making some potent veggie juice blends to clean out ye olde system. 2012 is the year I get back into kick-ass shape.

Purge/organize/simplify the house. I have been dying to do this FOREVER but haven’t found the time, BUT BY GOD, I am going to go this. Our small, cluttered house is driving me crazy! We moved into our current home five days before I gave birth to Orion and I never had the chance to properly nest. Boxes were hurriedly unpacked and put away—often by well-meaning family members, which was WONDERFUL to have their help, but not everything ended up where I would have put it and lots of junk that should have been purged went right back into the mix. So. I am longing to tidy things up a bit and get rid of the things we don’t need. I know it will take a while, but if I just go room by room—maybe even giving myself several weeks or even a month to finish each room—by the end of the year, it will be done.

Get out in nature more. Last year Orion went through a period of being afraid of our back yard, so we didn’t go out there as much. He’s been over that for a few months now so we’re back outside making up for lost time. I also want to travel out of the city more often and do some camping. I grew up in the country and it blows my mind to think that I’m raising “city kids.”

Less TV, more books. Seriously, I think I read maybe one or two books (other than parenting books) last year. My brain needs exercise just as badly as my body does. I have a stack of books queued up and ready to be cracked open.

Reviving old skills, such as playing piano and speaking French. I studied both for years and I want to resurrect those talents.

Learn more Spanish. I’ve picked up quite a bit of Spanish language just from day-to-day interactions with people here in SoCal but I think it’s time to make a more official effort.

Make more of an effort on my personal appearance. This is way harder than it sounds, considering most days I have zero time to even shower, let alone pick out a cute outfit or put on makeup. If any of you childless folks wonder why women sometimes start looking like shit after they have kids, come over here and I’ll explain to you (right after I punch you in the mouth) how little time a mom has for herself on any given day. Still, I am vowing to try my best to not look like a zombie yoga pants mom in public, when possible.

Get back into paid writing and editing. In my past life, I made my living as a writer and editor. After I was laid off from my gig as a web editor for the healthy living giant Gaiam in January of 2010 we decided I’d be a SAHM for a while… and here I am, two years later, feeling very disconnected from the working world and wishing I could slowly—gently—make my way back into it. Maybe 2012 is the year I start earning a real paycheck again.

Other odds n’ ends include being kinder and less judgmental, learning to use my DSLR better, spending less and saving more money, being in the moment more and looking for the magic in everyday life.

I’m putting these goals out into the universe to create some accountability on my part. Now that I’ve shared them with the Internet, I have no choice but to follow through, right?

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A Very Belated Holiday Post

by verdemama on December 28, 2011

I should back up a bit, considering I haven’t written in weeks. First of all, check out these cuties:

Last year I couldn’t get Orion to sit on Santa’s lap, but this year? This year the kid is ALL ABOUT SANTA. It took all of .5 seconds for Orion to jump up on Santa’s lap and start rattling off all the trucks he hoped to find under the tree. The kid was beaming from ear to ear and even sat still for a few photos. Santa has become a popular fella around these parts.

We also decorated a tree, of course. This is some of Orion’s handiwork right here. I like how he hung 17 bulbs one small area.

We checked out some local Christmas lights with friends.

And then we spent the week preceding Christmas in Ohio visiting my family in their amazing new house. It was cold, so we got to wear hats! (But much to O’s disappointment there was no snow on the ground.)

We played outside in my parents’ amazing yard, threw sticks into the ravine and ran the dog ragged. I can’t wait to visit here in the summer, because their yard is so incredible. It’s a wonderland of rocks and leaves and trees and running water.

And as if that wasn’t cool enough, O discovered my stepdad’s riding lawnmower tractor and his little mind was officially blown.

Juna practiced crawling, but so far can only travel backwards. She kept getting stuck in the same corner. Poor lil’ cutie.

We made cookies for Santa, which were all devoured within hours. Santa almost didn’t get any.

We feasted on live Maine lobsters purchased out on a random country road.

And mostly just hung out and did all those things you do with your family during the holidays.

(Please excuse my horrible ‘do in the above pics. Hair-pulling baby = 24/7 bun.)

We arrived back home on the 25th, and had Christmas II: The Return of Santa. Orion has become a gift-opening professional and/or addict and is currently dealing with the post-Christmas blahs that come once there are no more gifts to unwrap. With Erik being off work this week, we are having a very lovely staycation and enjoying some fun field trips around LA with the kidlets.

Today we took all the ornaments off the tree and carefully tucked them away in their boxes. They’ll live in our attic until next year, when we unearth them once again from their dusty storage spot. 

Now we’re looking forward to all the good things that 2012 has in store. Happy New Year, everyone!

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Juna || Six Months

by verdemama on December 1, 2011

Wow. Here we are already. Juna turned six months old on November 29th and, as usual, I’m floored by how fast time is zooming by us. It was my humble intention to document her every milestone on this blog, but of course that hasn’t happened, because—thankfully—I’d rather live my REAL life than my online life. I do jot down all her developmental deets on my iCal in the hope that someday I’ll have a spare moment to add her impressive (to me) list of accomplishments to a baby book or to this here blog.

So, to you six people who are interested in my lil’ bebe’s development… without further ado, here is a snapshot of Juna in her first six months of life.

First, the more mundane details: She’s a big girl for her age—about 90th percentile for weight and 75th for height. Her eyes are big, beautiful pools of serene blue, and her hair is recently turning patchy, with a cute little curly Mohawk on top. The hair she was born with is brown but it’s now growing in white blonde. That should make for an interesting reverse ombre look when it gets a bit longer. (So trendy, she is!) She got her first teeth—her two bottom central incisors—when she was four months old and judging by the way she’s been chomping on me lately there’s something new brewing in there as well. And her fat little arms and legs are so yummy I just want to nom on them all day long.

Juna is crazy strong, which is a good thing as it allows her to withstand daily pummelings by her dearest big bro. She started rolling over at three months old, and sitting up solo by four months old. She’s now starting to get up on her hands and knees, so crawling may or may not be imminent. (Orion didn’t officially crawl until 10 months old—he was pretty satisfied with the army crawl for several months—so I wouldn’t be surprised if she makes us wait a while for crawling. Or not. Who knows? These kids always keep us guessing.)

My dearest JuJu started out as the world’s greatest sleeper for about the first three months of her life, and then the four month sleep regression hit, which happened to coincide with our trip to Italy and suddenly she no longer held the title of sleep champion of the world. We’re still recovering from that so we’re now attempting some sleep training. To make matters even more complicated, she’s currently sleeping in our room—sometimes in her co-sleeper, sometimes snuggled right up next to me in bed. The end goal is for her and Orion to share a room, but in order for that to happen, both kids need to be sleeping reasonably well (and up until five seconds ago, Orion has NOT been sleeping well due to scary dreams. These two-year-olds and their budding imaginations…). I do enjoy snuggling with her at night and will certainly miss that coziness, but I also miss getting a solid night sleep and I’m ready to start feeling human again.

Juna first tried solid food around five months old, but she didn’t really dig it. So I backed off for a few weeks and re-introduced it just a few days ago… and she’s still not really into it. So far she’s tried homemade organic butternut squash, yam, banana and avocado purees but nothing really excites her save for maybe banana. Maybe purees just aren’t her thing. Maybe she’d enjoy Baby Led Weaning more? I’m curious enough to give it a try. Regardless, I’m going to keep offering her a little food with each meal but I’m not going to push it. Obviously breast milk is working out just fine for her.

She seems to have overcome her sensitive digestion and reflux issues she had as a baby and is now a healthy, happy little lady who is head over heels in love with her brother, no matter how much he beats up on her.

She is mellow and curious (she gives a fierce raised eyebrow when she’s thinking deep thoughts about life), but she has a lighthearted side as well. And my two kids together? Well, they are the most fun… and the most frustration… I’ve ever had. Such is the life of a parent.

Considering this is probably my last baby, I am soaking up every. second. of Juna’s delicious babyness.

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To TV or Not TV? That is the Question

by verdemama on November 13, 2011

This is a child’s brain on TV

I used to be one of those people who thought when I became a parent I’d never allow my child to watch TV. Fast forward a few years later, and once again I’m laughing manically at my former idealistic (and cluelessly judgmental) self. The reality is, I do let Orion watch a little bit of television—usually in the form of educational videos, sometimes in the form of whatever the hell happens to be on Nick Jr. at the time. But never more than an hour, and not every day. Just enough to make me feel super guilty and wonder if I’m ruining my kid for life.

Orion is not the kind of toddler who likes to hang by himself—he always wants me to play with him and partake in whatever activity he’s into at the moment. Which I enjoy… to an extent. (I mean, I can only play with trucks for so many thousands of hours before I start to go a little nuts.) But it’s also nice to have a few seconds to tend to my own needs—you know, little things, like peeing or brushing my teeth. Watching TV is the one thing he doesn’t mind doing alone and I always pounce on the opportunity to either a.) shower, or b.) make dinner. Frankly, he enjoys TV, and is learning his letters and numbers thanks to educational videos, and I get a few moments to do what I need to do. It’s a win-win situation. Except it isn’t.

Our problem is, when it comes time to turn off the TV. He freaks out. FUH-REAKS. Not every time, but often enough to make me really question allowing him to watch any TV at all. It’s like a drug, TV is, and he’s a two-year-old junkie. Now he asks to watch “TD” almost every day, and can turn into a screamy crazy monster if I say no.

So, what’s a parent to do? I try to limit the tantrums by only allowing him to watch DVDs—which have a definite end, as opposed to Nick Jr., which airs one show after the other forever and ever and ever. The finiteness of a DVD makes it easier for Orion to transition into the next activity without making a fuss.

Other than banning television altogether, which is pretty unlikely now that it’s been introduced, what are your tips for taming the TV monster? (Full disclosure: my child spends 99% of his day playing, often outside, and is by no means a couch potato TV zombie. Just so you know.) We’ve tried setting timers, etc., which sometimes works.

What are your thoughts on this? How do you handle TV watching (or lack thereof)?

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Halloween: A Preview

by verdemama on October 30, 2011

Why, hello, my little lady bug.

 She’s not so crazy about her costume.

 Orion, on the other hand, loved wearing his costume. After a little coaxing, anyway.

And daddy did, too.

Juna is still contemplating just how much she hates this darling ladybug costume.

Maybe sitting in the grass is better? Nah.

Almost got a smile here.

Out of the costume = much happier.

Sitting and playing? Even better.

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Vignettes #5

by verdemama on October 18, 2011

I’m still enjoying this open-ended blogcation I’ve embarked on  — I’d rather nurture my real life even if that means my online life withers a bit. Even if I don’t have much to say, I always have a few images to share.

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