Thursday, January 31, 2013

baby play

francesca is starting to pay attention to me more (hurray!) and i've been borrowing elodie's finger puppets and singing silly songs to her which makes her smile gleefully. i don't remember using finger puppets as early with elodie but they sure are fun and easy to bring along. we have a ton of the bla bla ones but a friend had ones similar to these - pretty much the cutest ever!

Friday, January 25, 2013

francesca at two weeks old

i just got back some sweet photos that jesse took of baby francesca when she was just shy of two weeks old. i am so grateful she captured all of the tiny details of her so new in the world. her skin still peeling and downy hair like a baby bird. i am so in love with my alma.

i remember singing this to her during the shoot...

photos by jesse chamberlin of our labor of love

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

taking care of baby

i came up with a list of the things that made life easier during the past few weeks. like i said before, i definitely prepared less this time but also had a few tricks up my sleeve since this was my second baby.

there is really no need for stimulating toys. the analogy of the new world being like a moroccan bazaar is a good one and the idea of waving one of these hideous things in front of her face makes me cringe. i love giving her tummy time or quiet time on a sheepskin. we have one we love from the new zealand company ecowool. i did a lot of research and it is much better to have a real one versus a sythentic from ikea (and, surprisingly, not much of a price difference.) i place her on a blanket on top of it and she'll intently watch the shadows on the wall or elodie running about like a little monkey.

this is a fact of life. babies like to be held a lot. the sooner i surrendered to this with elodie, the sooner i was able to really enjoy every moment. that being said, i am a bit of a baby wearing fanatic with francesca. i use the moby wrap when i know i'm going to have it on for a while (so much fabric!) - it's great for breastfeeding and really lets you feel hands free.

the sakura bloom does all the things the moby does, adds a bit more style to your wardrobe, and is easier to put on.

i use my ergobaby when i know i might be in a big crowd or for long walks or hikes. i definitely wear it the most (so much easier on the back) and couldn't have survived these first few weeks without it.

i introduced a night time bottle of breast milk at five weeks so that michael would have some bonding time with francesca. we have tried a few different types but really love the ones from life factory.

i would say my best soothers (besides the breast) are wearing her in the ergo and giving her a pacifier, putting her in the swing (a crazy contraption but so worth it!), or playing her music. the minute she hears the first chimes in the hushabye baby version of johnny cash she immediately quiets. this has worked wonders during car rides!

my husband is the swaddler in the family. i'm horrible at it. he uses an aden + anais muslin swaddling blanket and then a velcro swaddler (summer or miracle blanket) over the top. whenever she is feeling a little frantic or it's the witching hour, we wrap her up and you can almost visibly see her sigh. it's a miracle in the first few weeks.

i either bathe with francesca or give her a bath in sink. she loves when i sing to her and wash her in warm water. it's one of the things i look forward to the most. i immediately wrap her and give her an infant massage. i use warm calendula oil from weleda as it smells lovely and isn't too greasy. i also use organic coconut oil sometimes for variation.

i've been re-reading books that i loved from when elodie was a baby. two standouts are the happiest baby on the block by harvey karp and gentle first year by dr. gowri motha. her infant massage instruction is tops!

i'm a sucker for petit bateau's sleepers with the cute back opening and anything by nature baby, especially their drawstring booties. a friend gave francesca a few pairs of these and i've since become slightly addicted to them.

i had already passed on so many things from the first baby so was grateful to friends for hand-me-downs and use of some big items like a bassinet. i'll definitely pay it forward when francesca gets bigger (although i can't bear to think of that yet!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


jessica alba's honest company named the littlest one of the top ten blogs to follow in 2013. this means a lot considering how infrequently i've been posting. sigh. at any rate, i'm honored. they also sent me a sweet care package for francesca and now i'm hooked. i have tried every kind of natural diaper imaginable (including cloth) and these are amongst my favorite and the only that has eliminated the dreaded back poop (sorry, too much information.) i love supporting a company that strives to create products that are better for baby and the environment. the fact that they are also adorable is icing on the cake. thanks again honest!

Monday, January 21, 2013


it's been 80 degrees here. the air feels like floating in bath water. it's been nice to have some time to ourselves in our new backyard.

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

the first eight weeks

it's true what they say. time really does fly. the eight week post-partum period went especially fast this time as i had family in town and a four year old to care for. our last out of town guest left this past weekend and now i can really reflect on how transformative the last 10 weeks have been for me. i mentioned this post i wrote on the post-partum period before. it's interesting for me to read now, after experiencing two different types of birth, and to think what differed in my healing process this time around. the first year of motherhood you are so filled with aches, pains, and strange changes. whether this is the first or fifth time, we are not our old selves anymore. we are new mothers and our post-partum period is a singular experience. i kept in my mind that i would not remember the things i "missed" by slowing down and allowing myself to laze about with my little one (besides, there is nothing lazy about caring for a newborn, right?)

a few days before francesca was born, i arranged to have my placenta encapsulated. some of the purported benefits of doing this are to balance the hormones, increase milk supply, increase energy, prevent/treat the baby blues, and shorten postnatal bleeding time. i feel like it did that and then some. on the recommendation of a few friends, i used mommy feel good. sara made the process so easy and i know i reaped huge benefits because of this practice. i kick myself for not doing this with elodie. 

in the first few weeks, the only time i had to myself was in the shower. i would dry brush or use origin's salt scrub and then do a self massage after with weleda's arnica massage oil. since i had to have a c-section, i would massage the scar once a day with cold pressed wheat germ oil as well. 

once i was able to take baths, i started putting a few drops of frankincense in the water or kneipp's warmth and energy bath. showers and baths are still my favorite way to reset.

as soon as i was able, i made sure i walked, walked, walked. getting outside for a bit of fresh air every day made a huge difference in my body. i didn't walk more than a mile until she was eight weeks old. now that i am feeling a bit better, i have resumed yoga and cycling. i am going to start wearing her for hikes in the next few days. i'm so excited to start exercising again!

i still struggle with breastfeeding and had to consult a lactation consultant to work on francesca's latch.  i keep lecithin, a heating pad, and medela nipple cream on hand as i am prone to mastitis and plugged ducts.

i bought a belly bandit as i'd heard so many great things about wearing a binder in the postnatal period but always forgot to wear it.

i was fortunate to have so many dear friends bring me food for the first few weeks. i made sure to drink a load of water and to take vitamin supplements (floradix iron, calcium, DHA) to help keep my immune system strong. this was the first holiday season that i escaped a cold, most likely due to staying in my bed with baby!

next i'll share the things that have been the most handy with francesca.

image by jesse chamberlin of our labor of love

Monday, January 14, 2013


iPhone photos will just have to do this week!

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Monday, January 7, 2013


it's hard to say when i first came across che and fidel. definitely while jodi was pregnant with poet but the spirit and beauty of her posts quickly made her a favorite of mine. i love her 52 project and am moved to also join. francesca is just shy of twelve weeks old and i've been slow to pick up my "real" camera, only really posting on instagram, and this is just what i need to document how quickly it is all happening. thank you for the inspiration jodi!

i need to catch up but here is my first in the series. it perfectly captures where my two little ones are. one stationary, one mobile, both moving me in totally different, amazing ways! i'm going to be using the term "portrait" loosely and picking the image that most reminds me of them.

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Friday, January 4, 2013

a few days in the desert

leaving is always so bittersweet...

i recently contributed one of my favorite travel gifts on condé nast traveler's website. an underwater iPhone case is a must!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

a new year's resolution

i celebrated the new year out in palm springs with my family. friends of mine from nyc, seattle, and london also happened to be there which made it even more special. the end of 2012 was filled with the normal hullabaloo of the holidays but also tension (mayan prophecy) and sadness (the newton shootings) and it felt good to unravel myself in the desert and reset my intentions and focus for 2013. before i went out to ring in the new year with the adults, i lit a few sparklers with elodie and our friends and made a silent wish, almost a prayer, for the new year.

the yoga practice of svadhyaya - or self-study - is all about checking in, taking ourselves of auto-pilot, and really figuring out why we do what we do, and perhaps figuring out how we can improve. this is so important to me right now. i have a two month old baby. a four year old who is testing boundaries and trying on new words. i'm at a crossroads with what i want to be doing professionally. my body is still healing from my recent birth experience. i'm a wife, mother, sister, daughter, granddaughter, friend. i always feel guilty that i'm not in touch. i want to be more in touch.

my friend paige wrote her resolution for 2013: "just be conscious, honest, thoughtful, slow, silent, better, wiser, stronger, diligent, forgiving, and grateful." that summed up all that was on my mind. how to do all of this? by checking in, slowing down, focusing on what is most important, which shifts from day to day. it is so exciting to know that we are just barely scratching the surface of our potential here!