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This About Sums It All Up…

by verdemama on July 5, 2011

I actually had five minutes to shower and put on makeup yesterday so I asked Erik to snap a few photos of me and the kids. He snapped about a hundred pics of us, and yet NONE of them had that magazine-y family vibe I was hoping for. Either Juna was screaming or Orion was screaming or goofing off or stomping around the room or demanding a snack (etc. etc.).

But you know what? This is far more the reality than some super posey glamour shot. This is LIFE, and it’s fabulous. As is.


One Month

by verdemama on June 27, 2011

Here we are, coming on one month of life with Ms. Juna, so you would assume I might want to go on and on about how sweet she is, or what a great sleeper she is, or how my heart has quadrupled in size since her arrival. (All that is true.) But, no. Orion is still the sheriff in this neck of the woods. And he doesn’t want anyone to forget it. <Insert tantrum here.>

Orion’s interest in his sister is… How do I put this? INTENSE. I’ve heard from other parents of two-plus kids that often the older sibling will ignore the younger sibling, but that is NOT the case with Orion. He is always wanting to touch/kiss/hug/play with the baby. (“I touch Baby Juna now?” is his mantra these days.) Unfortunately his affections often come out a tad, uh, aggressive, I guess. Needless to say, we have to keep our eyes glued to his every move, because even the most brief and well-intentioned kiss can turn into injurious headbutt. Most of his interactions with the baby result in screams from Juna and reprimands from mama and dada. Poor lil’ guy just can’t win these days.

He loves his sister so much, but he’s also incredibly jealous and vies for our attention in maddening ways, such as whining, flailing, shrieking, throwing things, generally misbehaving, testing boundaries, etc, etc. We feel badly having to scold him so much lately, because he’s clearly feeling insecure, but he has some moments of extreme acting out that we can’t just let slide. Hopefully we move through this phase quickly, because I miss my sweet little guy who I know is still in there.

He’s had to grow up a lot this past month, for better or worse. Part of me is quite sad because it feels like we’re having to say goodbye to baby Orion to make room for Orion the kid, all while he’s stuck in this weird limbo between the two worlds. I’m sure all parents go through this when they have second children, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

In other news, Erik went back to work today after taking a full month off. The past few weeks we’ve been enjoying some family time together, taking field trips around LA—things he usually doesn’t get to partake in because he works so much. It’s been great having him around, especially for Orion’s sake. And who am I kidding? For my sake, too. Juna is a piece of cake but as mentioned above, Orion has needed some extra, uh, attention lately.

And of course, I can’t not mention Juna. I’ll be back with an update on her soon; she is doing great, and finally coming out of that newborn coma and spending more time alert and interested in everything going on around her. Plus, she’s a total doll, no?



by verdemama on June 26, 2011

New car (the all-electric Nissan Leaf) + new baby + dada’s last week of paternity leave = fun times.


(Mostly) Eco New Mom Essentials

by verdemama on June 21, 2011

Every new mom has a list of must-haves; I’m going to skip all the obvious stuff, like breast pumps and nursing pillows, and go straight to some of my fave eco finds that make being a new mom (even for the second time) that much easier.

Nursing pads

I didn’t even know these were something I needed until my mother-in-law brought a box of disposable nursing pads to me in the hospital after I gave birth to Orion. Good thing she did; otherwise I would have always been parading around with leaky boob stains adorning my shirt.

Eventually I realized I didn’t need to use wasteful throwaway pads when there were some really nice reusable options available. (Not to mention those disposable pads contain the same toxic absorbent gel found in disposable diapers and maxi pads. Not exactly what I want my babies putting their mouths on.)

Happily, I discovered Bamboobies—super soft breast pads made from bamboo and other natural fibers. These heart-shaped babies are luxuriously soft, thin and oh so cute. Your boobs will love you for using these. (Disclosure: Bamboobies sent me some samples of their awesome pads last year.)

Nipple Cream

And while we’re on the subject of boobies, nipple cream is an absolute must for breastfeeding moms. With Orion I started out using a tube of Lansinoh the hospital gave me. It’s a decent product, but its main ingredient is lanolin, which can be highly allergenic, not to mention a bit gross considering it’s harvested from the sebaceous glands of sheep. After ditching the Lansinoh I ended up switching to Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Natural Nipple Butter, which I love. I’m a huge fan of EMAB and have sung the praises of their products here before.

Another great product (discovered courtesy of the Natural Products Expo, where I received some free samples) is Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream, an all-natural, food grade cream that, unlike the EMAB Nipple Butter, comes in a handy-dandy pump so you don’t have to keep dipping your dirty little fingers in the tub. It may just be my new favorite!

Maternity Pads

If you’re a mom, you already know this, but if not, here’s a big-time TMI alert: new mothers bleed and dispel other uterine fluids for up to six weeks after giving birth. It’s like Aunt Flo comes to town and never wants to leave. I’m not a fan of conventional pads, because a.) they’re wasteful, and b.) they’re full of chlorine, dioxin, fragrances, plastics, and other gross stuff that can be irritating and unhealthy for sore postpartum lady bits.

Luckily Maxim Hygiene (also discovered courtesy of Natural Products Expo) offers super comfy 100% natural cotton maternity pads that won’t piss off your battered nether region. The company sent me some to try out and I can’t say enough good things about them. These are pretty much the only thing you’ll want touching you down unda in those first few days after childbirth.

Compression Garments

Unfortunately for me, I’m not one of those women whose abs instantly snap back into shape after giving birth. In fact, at three weeks postpartum, my uterus is still not completely shrunk down to its usual size, meaning… I still look a little pregnant. Sigh. Belly binding is supposed to help to shrink the uterus and help the skin return to some semblance of normalcy.

Immediately after delivery and throughout the first postpartum week or so, I wore a Bellaband, which technically isn’t a compression garment but it helped to comfortably hold everything in so it didn’t feel like my guts were free-floating around my huge, now-empty abdomen. Next I moved on to the Belly Bandit (leftover from my first pregnancy) which, I must admit, I slacked on because it’s just not that comfy to wear. And now I’m rocking ab-compressing nursing tanks such as this one. Hopefully any day now people will stop asking me when my baby is due. Especially when I’m holding my three-week-old.

Swaddling Blankets

There are a million swaddling blankets on the market but I really do think Aden + Anais are the best of the best.

Their bamboo muslin swaddlers are soft, beautiful and incredibly versatile; I use mine as lightweight nursing covers, tucking one corner under my bra/tank strap and tenting it around me to keep out wind, sun and prying pervy eyes.

Instructional DVDs

I don’t know where I would be without these two very important and informative videos.

Dunstan Baby Language teaches new parents how to translate baby’s cries using five distinct sounds that all newborns, regardless of nationality, “speak.”

The Happiest Baby on the Block is another must-have tool to understanding and dealing with newborns. Dr. Harvey Karp = a friggin’ genius.

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Juna Katrien’s Birth Story

by verdemama on June 16, 2011

I’ve been trying for days (weeks?) to carve out time to write Juna’s birth story, but it seems like every time I end up with five minutes I could spend writing, there’s a toddler to contend with, dishes to clean up or laundry to fold. Such is my reality right now. I’m going to continue to chip away at writing this story, even if I only have two minutes a day to give. If this doesn’t get posted for a year, you’ll understand why.


May 28th was a typically beautiful SoCal day—the sun was shining brightly and blossoms from the Jacaranda trees lining our neighborhood’s streets were gently scattering in the 70 degree breeze. I woke up feeling a bit, hm, fuzzy, I guess, that morning, and I had an undeniable inkling that something was about to happen.

Sure enough, over the course of the day (TMI alert) my mucous plug started to make its escape, and by the time early evening rolled around I was enjoying some steadily increasing contractions. They started showing some signs of organization around 9pm, and I put Orion to bed that night with tears in my eyes, knowing it was our last evening of him being my only child. I sat in his darkened room timing my contractions—about seven minutes apart—as he drifted off to sleep.

Here’s the part where I admit I did absolutely nothing to prepare for this birth. I half-packed a hospital bag, but I hadn’t written out a birth plan, and I never got around to reviewing the Hypnobabies techniques that I used (or attempted to use, rather) with Orion’s birth. But I was at peace with that. I trusted that my body knew how to handle the work that lay ahead, and if it was going to be like many of my past major life experiences, the less I prepare and stress out, the better I do. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this approach for everyone, but since I had already been through the experience once, and read all the books the first time around, it worked for me.

So after I got Orion off to dreamland, I pounded out a super succinct half-page birth plan (and had a good chuckle thinking about the winded two-pager I had written for Orion’s birth). I finished packing my bag, showered, and headed off to bed to try to catch some zzzs before showtime. [continue reading…]


This is Why I’m Not Blogging Much Lately…

by verdemama on June 8, 2011

…because I’m too busy gazing at this gorgeous face.

Be back soon. xo

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Getting to Know Each Other

by verdemama on June 8, 2011

And just like that, a lifelong friendship is made.


Pretty Girl

by verdemama on June 5, 2011

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The First Week

by verdemama on June 5, 2011

Amazing things can happen in a very short amount of time. One week ago today I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and life as I knew it is forever changed. Juna Katrien has slipped rather seamlessly into our day-to-day family life and I am bursting at the seams with joy and gratitude.

Two days old

Juna is just the sweetest little thing. She loves to nurse and cuddle, and she cozied up in her sling today like a true pro. She seems to be figuring out this whole day vs. night thing, which took Orion ages to understand. Last night, for example, she only woke up once in the night to nurse, and went right back to sleep when she was done. So don’t hate on me, new moms, but I’m actually feeling fairly well rested these days. I’m trying not to get too cocky, seeing how she’s only a week old, but if she keeps this up I’m going to have to buy her a pony.

Six days old

Other than being a champion sleeper, she’s incredibly strong. Girlfriend can already hold her head up to look around and she can roll from side to side like she’s been doing it forever. (Which she has, actually. She was a very active wombmate as well.) She’s probably going to be an early mover and shaker who will try to keep up with her active big bro.

Today at the farmers' market/seven days old

Orion is adapting very well, too. In the week or so before she was born, he would ask me every day, “Baby out?” He was crazy excited to meet her for the first time and now that she’s here he loves to hold her and kiss her and hug her.

Unfortunately he also occasionally likes to throw a toy or cup at her, so we have to keep our eyeballs glued to his whereabouts 24/7. But hey, he’s two years old. What do you expect?

This is our new reality, and it’s pretty much the greatest thing ever.



Introducing Juna Katrien

by verdemama on June 1, 2011

Born May 29, 2011, at 2:08pm.

7 lbs. 11 oz.

20 1/4 inches

Her birth was an amazing experience, which I’ll tell you all about soon.

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