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PS: More Italy Photos

by verdemama on October 11, 2011

Usually my favorite photos of our world travels aren’t the many awe-inspiring landscape shots (although though are many, MANY of those). Rather, my very favorite pics end up being the snapshots of people. Specifically, my favorite people—my kids. My family. Occasionally, even, me. (Although in these shots I look as tired as I feel. Damn you, sleep deprivation.)

I was overwhelmed with the prospect of narrowing down the 1,300+ plus photos from our Italian adventures to share here on y’olde blog, but I did pick out a few that made me smile for one reason or another.

Exploring the “streets” of Venice.

I think what really makes this photo awesome is Orion’s finger up his nose.

Mother and daughter at a Venice cafe.

There was a 200-step climb/descent from our Cinque Terre cottage to civilization and Orion wanted to walk (or run) it himself every. single. time.

Poor us. We had to look at this every day during our Cinque Terre stay. (That’s my stepdad in the lower right corner. Hi, Dick!)

One of many, many pizzas devoured during our two-week trek through Italy. See also: sleeping lap baby.

More sleeping baby. She’s just so awesomely transportable and adaptable.

Just plain cute.

See above caption.

Sprinting down the streets of Lucca.

This pigeon in Venice’s San Marco Square thinks my head looks like a nice place to hang out.

The cutest accessory. (And some random guy. Sorry. I probably shoulda cropped him out.)

Three generations.

Outside our B&B near Siena. We didn’t spend nearly enough time at this stop. The landscape was beyond gorgeous.

Blending in with the scenery in Siena.

After almost two full weeks of scorching 90+ degree heat, the weather cooled tremendously during our stay in Siena and we got to break out the handful of warm clothes we brought. (Sadly we didn’t get to use that gorgeous pool in the background. Next time, Siena. Next time.)


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I May Or May Not Have Had a Birthday Today…

by verdemama on October 5, 2011

But I definitely did spend time with these amazing people today.

Eatin’ my homemade jam.

 Playin’ in the activity thingamabobber (aka the “UFO”)

 Lovin’ on each other.


Ciao, Italia

by verdemama on October 3, 2011

Yes, I know. I’m a terrible, terrible blogger. We packed up and went on a two-week Italian vacation, and I didn’t even bother to say goodbye.

We are back (we have been for over a week, actually, but I’m having a hard time coming out of vacation mode) and readjusting to preschool, work, baby sleep schedules (or lack thereof) and fighting colds, to boot. I’m still sorting through over 1,300 DSLR photos, but in the meantime, I’ll share some iPhone pics.

In brief: We had an amazing trip. My parents came along, we rented a giant nine-passenger van and cruised the Italian countryside, spending time in Rome, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Lucca, Sienna and Venice. It was WONDERFUL. It amazes me to think about how worldly, cultured and open minded our kiddos are going to be. They did great, by the way (Orion is already a seasoned world traveler) and I’m so excited to have a lifetime of these fun adventures together.

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Vignettes #4

by verdemama on August 24, 2011

Lots of great things going on here at Casa Verdemama. We received a big, wonderful surprise last week when the preschool that Orion has been on the wait list for since he was four months old called to say they have a place for him. (Yes, in California cities you have to put your babies on multiple years-long waiting lists for good preschools. It’s crazy.) It’s an amazing school AND it’s literally right down the street from where we live, so we are over the moon excited about this big change about to take place. More on this later!

I’ve also been super busy planning for our upcoming European adventure, obsessively searching for the perfect apartments, villas and B&Bs to stay in while we traipse across Italy next month. (More on this soon, too! ) I’ve devoted every spare moment I’ve had to this cause, and now that everything is booked, I can breathe a sigh of relief and give ye olde blog a little attention.

So without further ado, I bring you cute photos of my kidlets.

Safety goggles are a must while playing with daddy’s tools.

Do not disturb.

The fastest race track in the ‘hood.

A rare moment of calm in her car seat.

This is what weekend mornings look like.

Plotting. Hopefully for good and not evil.

Toddler yoga. Now with more trucks.

This is how we roll.

Sunday morning tradition.

A happy ending to a very long day.



Giveaway || Gia Breastfeeding Pillow

by verdemama on August 14, 2011

GIVEAWAY CLOSED: Congrats to Nicole R!


In my recent write-up of new mom essentials I purposefully omitted nursing pillows for several reasons: there are only a couple of options out there, everyone knows ‘em and they’re pretty much all the same. I should know, because I’ve tried them all. (Pan to the piles of nursing pillows scattered around my house.)

However, I’m here to tell you—despite being clearly jaded on this subject—there is one pillow that actually does rise above the rest: the Gia Angled Breastfeeding Pillow (by Simplisse ).

The Gia is different from other pillows in that it’s angled to promote digestion and reduce reflux for our boob-loving babes. Basically, it had me at hello.

My straight-haired boobie double. Okay, not really.

In Juna’s first month or so, she had a very hard time keeping her milk down and her weight gain really suffered because of it. (Cue panicked mama!) So when Simplisse offered me this pillow to review, I jumped at the chance. I’m not one to review products just for the sake of getting some complementary samples, but the Gia honestly piqued my interest. Sign me up!

And the verdict is… I love it! Its thick-to-thin angled design really did help Juna keep her meals down while she grew through those early nerve wracking, spit up-soaked weeks.

Other plusses: the pillow’s surface is larger and flatter, creating a safe and comfy platform for her to stretch out on, even as she grows. The shell is anti-microbial, and resistant to stains, spills and odors (although I did end up purchasing a cover for mine). It’s also thicker than my other pillows, meaning it puts her head right at boob level, which makes for truly hands-free nursing, even for my long-torso’d bod. In fact, I’m nursing right now! As I type with both hands! Without hunching over!! WHEE!!! This may just be my favorite feature.

I never touch my other pillows since discovering the Gia, and I don’t think you will either. Here’s your chance to score one for yourself!


Leave a comment below telling me what your biggest challenge or triumph has been with breastfeeding. Or tell me anything, really. I’m easy!

For additional entries:

~Follow verdemama on Twitter.

~“Like” Simplisse on Facebook.

~Share this on your Facebook page (using the button below).

Leave a comment here for each action you take.

The contest closes at midnight on Sunday, August 28th and the winner will be announced the following day. Best of luck!

This contest is open to US residents only.

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The Long-Awaited Juna Update

by verdemama on August 8, 2011

Why, hello, Internet. It’s been a mighty long time since we’ve had a few moments together. I think I promised a Juna update a week or two months ago, and OHMYGOD, it’s been 10 weeks already. I can’t believe it. Needless to say, caring for two small children while my husband works long hours and travels for business takes up literally all of my time and energy—which is why you haven’t heard much from me lately.

I like to smile!

Anyway, on to a few words about my little snuggle bear, Juna. This girl is all sunshine and rainbows and happy little ponies. How so? For one thing, she sleeps through the night. We co-sleep—something I was afraid to do with Orion when he was a tiny baby, and greatly regret—snuggling all night long and nursing as needed, which is only once or twice a night at this point. She’s been able to differentiate day from night since birth—all thanks, I believe, to co-sleeping. We’ve been lucky enough to skip right over the sleepless-zombie-parent-of-a-newborn stage (unlike our experience with Orion at this age) and feel so blessed that Kid #2 is an awesome sleeper. Yay Juna!

See, sleep makes me happy!

She’s also turning into one cute little marshmallow. (More to love! I love this stage!) She clocked in at 11 lbs. 4 oz. and 22 inches at her two-month checkup early last week, putting her in the 75th percentile for weight and 50th for height. I’ll take it! It’s a huge relief for me because in the first week of her life, she lost a lot of weight—more than the typical 10 percent drop that’s accepted as normal post-birth weight loss. (She was 7 lbs. 11 oz. at birth.) Then in the next two weeks of life, she gained weight very slowly and was thisclose to be labeled FTT (Failure to Thrive). I think it was because she was a very sleepy newborn and simply had no desire to nurse in those early days, plus what she did eat, she spit up like a geyser. Her pediatrician wanted to start her on formula but I stuck to my guns (or boobs, I should say) and now she’s beefing up quite nicely, thank you very much. YAY JUNA!

I like to make a lot of silly faces.

She’s just an all-around easy baby. She doesn’t protest too much when Orion jumps on her, headbutts her or bites her toes. Personally I think she’s just silently plotting revenge for when she’s mobile… only time will tell. My one complaint is that she HATES riding in the car and lets everyone within earshot know it. (You live in LA, little girl. You best get used to riding in a car!) It’s really the only time she cries. We drove down to San Diego for BlogHer ’11 on Saturday and she shrieked the entire way down… and the entire way back. And there was traffic, so the drive was almost twice as long as it should have been. We’re all a little traumatized from that experience.

But I have a serious side, too. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT put me in the car seat.

(BlogHer, by the way, was an amazing experience and I’m so excited to really “DO” the conference next year in NYC. Like, go for the whole weekend, hit the parties, the whole shebang.)

PS: I'm so strong I can hold my head up during tummy time.

Other than being anti-car (which maybe isn’t such a bad thing, actually—perhaps we have a young environmentalist on our hands), Juna is just the happiest, cutest little thing ever and I just want to gobble her up she’s so adorably delicious. I can’t wait to watch her grow and get to know the unique little soul that she is.


BlogHer: I’m Going, But I’m Not Sure Why

by verdemama on August 2, 2011

I’m attending my very first BlogHer this year, and while I should be super excited—after all, I’ve been dying to do this for a few years now—in reality I’m actually feeling a tad ho-hum about it right now. But that’s okay! I’m considering this my “starter” BlogHer, which allows me to keep my expectations low and not put too much pressure on myself. This is awesome for a number of reasons.

1.) I’m driving down to San Diego from my LA-area home, which means I don’t have to shell out dinero for a hotel, and I can hop back in the Prius and head home whenever I’m ready. Hooray for getting to sleep in my own bed! (God, I’m such a loser.)

2.) No wardrobe freakout necessary. Considering I’m still packing 20 extra post-pregnancy pounds, I’m not even gonna try to squeeze into something cute. I’m wearing one comfy, spit up-friendly outfit for the day and calling it good. Elastic waistbands are my friend and what I don’t care what you think.

3.) My nine-week-old bambina is tagging along with me. This fact alone lowers the bar substantially considering blowouts, baby barf and meltdowns are all but inevitable. I’m just going to roll with it.

4.) I downloaded the BlogHer ’11 app for iPhone, which will hopefully make up for the fact that I haven’t so much as glanced at the schedule yet and probably won’t until the day before I go.

So there you have it. I offer no real tips or tricks for attending BlogHer, because I’ve never been before and I have no idea. That, and I’m lazy, er, busy lately. I just wanted to put this out there in case anyone wants to connect.

If you’re looking for insight into what to expect at BlogHer, check out some of these posts:

10 Things You Should Do Before Attending BlogHer

Things I’m NOT Doing for BlogHer

10 Similarities Between Sorority Rush and Blog Conferences

How to Stay Sane at BlogHer

Obligatory BlogHer Post

Anyway, if you’re going and you happen to see me there juggling a laptop baby and a laptop computer, come say hi!


Vignettes #3

by verdemama on July 22, 2011

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by verdemama on July 13, 2011

I’m a big advocate of attachment parenting and babywearing. I did it with Orion and I’m attempting to do it with Juna. My trusty Ergo has been a constant companion for O and I on our many adventures, and I am hoping it will be the same for Juna. Just one problem. Orion FUH-REAKS when I wear Juna. I start putting on the Ergo with the intention of wearing Juna, and Orion starts shrieking and insists that I give him a “ride” first. So, while Juna cries, I strap on Orion and give him a quick trot around the house in an effort to stave off a full-fledged lunatic toddler meltdown—which is WAY worse than a baby crying.

Orion also believes in attachment parenting. Only the best for his little Cookie Monster.

(I’m still laughing at my former self for thinking life with a newborn is hard. Life with a toddler is way, WAY harder. What a rookie I was.)


Many of my parent friends who still have only one child are always asking what it’s like having two kids.

Here’s the scoop.

Having a toddler and a baby means having to constantly do triage. Who needs what the most? Baby is crying? Hold the baby. Toddler is shrieking and threatening to throw pea soup all over the dining room rug? By all means, put the baby down and attend to the toddler.

Uh, hello? What about me?

As a mother, I am—of course—overcome with guilt that it’s come to this. I just can’t seem to give each of them what they need at the same time. Not yet anyway. (Hopefully I’ll be able to pull this off someday. It gets easier, right?) Attending to one seems to inherently mean that the other is being ignored. I’m bouncing back and forth between the two of them like some un-showered, frizzy-haired crazy woman whose only refuge is a beer and an episode of Glee at the end of the night before having to wake up and do it all over again. .

Some days, like this one, are all about survival. Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart.


Vignettes #2

by verdemama on July 12, 2011

I’m not going to beat around the bush: I have zero time to blog these days. Taking care of two tiny people full time kicks my ass on a daily basis, which doesn’t leave a lot of time or energy for creative endeavors. I have tons of ideas for this blog, but no time to implement them. So, in the meantime…

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