Ophelia Bloom | a birth story

Ophelia Bloom -- born at home on the most perfect July afternoon.

On the days leading up to her birth, I was starting to lose my cool. I just wanted her here with us already. I was sick of being pregnant and was doing everything I could to coax her out, but nothing seemed to work. She already had a mind of her own -- and she picked the perfect day to come. 

The day before she was born, we spent what was to be our last day as a family of three. We wandered the upper east side,  got lunch at one of our favorite places, afterwards we had ice cream and visited with Michael's grandparents. The perfect summer day.

I was going to walk all the way home in hopes that it would trigger something, but decided against it. I was already tired and didn't feel like exerting tons of energy to only be disappointed. Instead, when we got home Michael and I had a corona and listened to Dr Dre's, The Chronic. We danced and joked and I bounced up and down while eating hot cheetos.

A few hours later, at around 12:30am, my water broke. I was excited - overjoyed and full of so many nerves I felt like I was going to burst! THE BABIES COMING! 

I called my mom right away.

I wasn't having contractions yet so I took a shower and started setting things up just waiting to feel the first one. They did not start. My mom arrived at the apartment and we all went back to bed. Throughout the rest of the night they started coming slowly -- I slept. Only waking up as they came and went.

By 7am they were coming regularly. We filled up the pool. Had coffee and breakfast and waited it out.

By 10:30am I called the midwife.

Olive was wide-eyed and curious with excitement. 

Olive really wanted to get in the pool with me. She couldnt believe it -- a pool! In the living room! As things started getting a bit more intense -- she decided to take a bath. 

When she was ready, she came back out.

Right before the baby came out -- she went into our room and just stood in front of the mirror, looking at herself. I wonder what she was thinking --

Everything's a blur, but I remember her presence -- everyone's presence. Olive was kind and gentle -- pouring water on my arm, wetting a cold wash cloth to drape over my head. My husband was my strength and comfort -- the feel of his skin on my cheek and the strength of his embrace. My mother was my reassurance -- talking calmly and soft. And my midwife was there to guide me. She never interrupted the flow and gave me space so that my body could guide me. 

 I remember my mother giving birth. I remember sitting and waiting. I wasn't afraid. And neither was Olive. I hope that I have given her a respect for birth - respect for the strength of women - and the power of bringing life into this world. Birth is intense, messy and loud but there is so much beauty and power within it. As my sister said "you are moving the earth" The most incredible gift. Life.

Ophelia was born on July 16th at 12:23pm. The homebirth of my dreams.

7 pounds 1 ounce and 20.5 inches long.

All of these photos were taken by my husband and my mother. I am ever so grateful to be able to have these to look back on. Thank you all for sharing in our joy. We are so happy to have our Ophelia here with us.

If you are looking for an incredible midwife and live in New York City, Cara Muhlhahn is amazing. If you are curious about natural birth and home birth, check out this documentary: The Business of Being Born.

A Family Bed

We live in a tiny little two bedroom apartment in Manhattan. So getting ready for the baby looks a little different for us. We don't have a nursery, instead we have a family room with a family bed and our other small bedroom is more a playroom/dressing room for the kids. OMG kids!! I haven't said that yet. Anyway...instead of getting a crib for the new babe, we upgraded our queen to a king, and got a small little moses basket with a stand for when the babe is new and tiny. So now that we have the king size mattress, our room is basically just a bed. But it is SO COZY! I tend to gravitate towards smaller spaces. Especially for sleep. There is something really soothing about being in a simple quite nook...Anyway I have been nesting like crazy. I took all of Olives baby stuff out of storage including her baby hammock and gave it a good wash. I hung it up and pictured the babe resting in it. THINGS ARE HAPPENING!! 

I've been trying to picture how it will be to have a baby in the bed again. We never planned on having a family bed, but when Olive came home we couldn't part from her, and still can't. I remember the first night so vividly. She was so small and I was so nervous. I remember just staring at her to make sure she was breathing. Soon we will have two! So up-sizing was kind of a must. After the new bed arrived, I realized that we had to get all new linens and pillows --I had no idea that anything in King size is like double the price!!  ...even at target! So I started looking all over. In my search I discovered Linens and Hutch where I was able to get down pillows and cotton sheets, their prices are pretty much unbeatable for the quality! Our bed is ready -- just waiting on this baby!!

Babymoon | W hoboken

Babymoons...Its like, you don't feel like you need it, but once you're there, relaxing and enjoying the end of pregnancy, you realize that...yeah I NEEDED THIS!! We decided we wanted to stay close by the city so that it was an easy trip there and back. We thought about a few different options like going to the beach, Bear Mountain or Cold Spring, but now that Im in my final weeks, everything just seemed so hard. So we went with the W hoboken! Ultimate relaxation!! The rooms are so cozy, the views of the city are amazing, its a 1 minute walk to the water and playground and 5 minute walk to the main street where there are tons of restaurants. Or if you're feeling like you don't want to walk at all to get some food...there's always room service =)

The best part of our short stay was the prenatal massage I got at Bliss, which is  a spa that is attached to the hotel. It was by far the most amazing prenatal I received during both pregnancies! When I thought it was over, the masseuse told me it was time to turn over for the second part of the massage. I nearly died of happiness!

Celebrating Olive | 4!

Our girl will be 4 in a week -- feels like time has taken off and left me in a tail spin. My first born. I try to picture her as a big sister -- i know she will be gentle and kind. I try and picture how life will feel in September when she starts pre k. I try and imagine what kind of girl she'll grow up to be like...what do i want her to be? I can't picture specifics. I just want her to be happy, kind, intelligent, thoughtful and full of grace. It's like this summer is a celebration of how life is with just the 3 of us. I am excited to welcome to new babe into our family, but I think i will soak up every last day of just us three. Here's to you my girl!! 4! I love you!! 

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday — many many happy returns! Happy birthday, Happy Birthday — sun and moon and stars rejoice upon your birthday! Upon your birthday, while we join hands in a ring and sing!
— a birthday song

Santa Monica

Anytime we visit somewhere new, we always fall so deeply in love with it. Santa Monica is up there at the top of my list. We were out in California for just a short trip, and while most of the time we were working, we still found time to soak in all the beauty. The sun is warm and there is a cool ocean breeze when you are in Santa Monica. Olive kept telling me how much she loved it. But seriously, what's not to love? On the boardwalk, there are these amazing outside gyms set up on the beach and you can watch people practicing tightrope walking, high bar and more. There is also a beautiful classic carousel at the end of the boardwalk which Olive really enjoyed.

I am in that stage of pregnancy where everything is a little harder and takes a little longer. The 3rd trimester. I find myself getting frustrated that I cant move as fast as I did pre pregnancy especially during a shoot -- but I have to constantly remind myself to SLOW DOWN. Take it all in. Relax. Magic is happening and I don't want to let it pass by without embracing it. I just have to figure out a balance...Ill keep you posted (throws up hands, where's the freaken emojis on this keyboard??)

Easter | DIY real easter grass

Holidays in general are just so much fun with kids. There are so many ways to help build the excitement during the days leading up to them. I grew up planting my own Easter grass every year and was so excited to pass the tradition down to Olive. This year we made an extra basket for the baby, I wanted her to get used to the idea that she will be sharing her holidays with someone else very soon.

Scroll down for a "how to" plant your own grass!

DIY Easter Grass

You'll need:

-Wheat Hard Red Spring Wheat Berries, you can find them at a healthfood store or online here

-A basket, pail, terracotta planting pot or even a watering can, you can really use anything! If you choose to use a basket, you will need to line it. We used a plastic bag and just trimmed off the excess plastic so it didn't show.

-Potting soil

-And about 7-9 days of growing time

-A spray bottle for misting the seeds

Step 1

After you have selected your container, fill it with potting soil to 1/2 inch below the rim.

Step 2

Sprinkle a generous amount of seeds on top of the soil

Step 3

After you have made a nice even layer of seeds, mist very generously with spray bottle and find a bright window to place your potted seeds.

Step 4

The seeds need to be kept moist until they sprout, so mist them generously with water about 3-4 times a day! Once they have all sprouted, you can reduce the amount of watering to 1-2 times a day. 

What's in the baskets

Maileg baby bunnies, Micro Pram,  Bessie Bunny, The Flower Festival, Micro Crib by Maileg

What Olive Wore

Blue Checked Dress, Bow


Hawaii | The Big Island

Take off your shoes, put down your hair — Come baby, come, let’s dig some holes. You’ll find it’s heaven with sand on your soles.
— Elvis Presley, Blue Hawaii

Hawaii is one of those places that takes ahold of your soul and steals your heart. If you are looking for somewhere to fill you up with magic -- book a ticket and stay awhile. The air is light and smells of the sea and flowers, the sun is hot and the water is warm. We drove around with the top down and music up -- By far the most memorable of trips for us all I think. 

Things to see on the Big Island, Kona side:

Manini beach & tide pools- Manini Beach is a small beach on Kealakekua Bay just opposite  from Captain Cook monument. Most of the park is covered by a grassy lawn
and it has a few picnic tables. There is a nice amount of shade so it is a great place to bring a picnic lunch and some beach chairs and just hang. The tide pools are located on the shore towards the back of the park.

The Red Road - Also called Kapoho Kalapana Road, is a 15 miles winding one lane road that takes you on a journey along the coastline of the lower Puna District. It is one of the most scenic roads in the state of Hawaii. Absolute MAGIC!!! The road brings you along the coastline, sometimes it curves close to the edge of the cliffs formed by lava and sometimes it leads you through a dense tree tunnel where dangling vines reach the floor. I suggest renting a convertible and driving with the top down while the sound track of Elvis's Blue Hawaii plays in the background -- you'll feel transported in time. Just unbelievable. (There is absolutely no cell service or gas stations, so plan accordingly)

Hapuna Beach- Part of Hapuna Beach State Park and located on the Kohala Coast, this is one of the larger, more sandy beaches. There are bathrooms, food and parking. Really great for kids and families. Pack a cooler for the day with lots of drinks and snacks and spend the day enjoying the sun and sea!

Kukio “keiki” beach- This is where we saw the turtles! It is just north of the Kona International Airport, and is part of a the private, gated community, of Kukio so you have to check in with security guard to enter.  The swimming area is ideal for babies and toddlers, because there is no waves, as part of the swimming area is enclosed by lava rock. There are also bathrooms available but no food, so bring snacks and lunch. ALSO. There are VERY limited parking spots, so go early. And by early I mean 8:30am! We got there at 9:30 am and got the last parking space!!

Mauna Kea beach- Another beach great for families and it has good access to facilities! The beach is about half a mile long and the waters are generally calm. There are also two small coral reefs on the sides of the beach. If youre in the mood to sunbathe and chill - this is the perfect place. This is my favorite beach I think...hard to say because they are all so vastly different from each other. The beach is part of the Mauna Kea hotel, so if you get hungry or crave a nice drink, you can walk over to the hotels restaurant. AGAIN. Parking is super limited so you need to get there by 8:30am, we got there late and missed our chance this time =(

These are just a few things that the island has to offer. If you're a family traveling with children, these are my top 5 things we have done so far -- we have been to the big Island three times now and still haven't been able to see everything! 

Helpful tid bits.

Sunscreen: We always put spf 50 on Olive, but Michael and I usually use spf 30, I suggest starting with 50 for the first few days (esp if you're headed there with east coast winter skin) The sun is crazy intense!

Baby Powder: If you follow my blog you might have seen that I shared this before. But I'm sharing again because it is the best trick!! Bring a little thing of baby powder and a clean dry wash cloth. Apply baby powder to any area of your kids skin or yours where you are extra sandy, then wipe off sand and powder with washcloth. THE BESSTTT. No sandy bums for the car ride home!

Island Naturals: A healthfood store and deli. If you're staying in Kona, this is the spot! Our go to for beach snacks and lunch. They make sandwiches and have a delicious hot bar for breakfast and lunch! 

Snacks: load up on snacks and beverages when headed to the beach or doing a road trip. Esp if you have kids. Alot of the beaches are a drive away from food and once you're there and all set up, you arent going to want to leave!

Local goodies: TANGELOS. the juiciest most amazing orange ever. They aren't meant to be peeled. you just tear the top off and suck the juice out -- or if you're like Olive and cant deal with a little mess, insert straw. LILIKOI, or passion fruit, cut open and eat the tangy fruit covered seeds or just try lilikoi juice or lilikoi ANYTHING.