Friday, December 30, 2011

{Fortuna Family Happenings}: Welcoming 2012 with an Update

Ring Ring... It's for you.
I think a baby is calling...
Yep, that baby says they're due mid July!
      And after a good long while of waiting and waiting, we are so very happy to be expecting another baby!!! Coral and Sky are already getting the grasp that "there's a baby in mommy's belly" and we can't wait to see their reactions as the belly grows and grows.
    
     I found out I was pregnant the day before we moved here to Hawaii, so with the big move, a new environment and having a predisposition for horrible morning sickness, the whole transition has been a challenging one for me. I am just now reaching the end of the first trimester, and although the nausea still lingers, I am starting to feel a little bit better every day. Recent visitors and help with dinners has been a true life saver <3 <3 <3
   
     But all in all, we are really and truly ecstatic! We all agree that it will be pretty neat to have a Hawaiian born baby as well :) Thank you so much for following along, and we look forward to sharing this little journey with you.

With all our love,
Maryam, Brian, Coral, Sky and the Little Babe on the Way

A big thank you to Amelia Samari for her stellar photography skills!
My vintage dress is from TOKEN. It's an online shop where 80% of profits go to a charity each month! Read her blog HERE too :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

{Sponsor Highlight}: My Little Mustache



   
    I am so happy to have Jess from My Little Mustache as a new sponsor! Plain and simply, Jess is a true sweetheart and her little man Judah is the cutest little mustache/wig wearing kid around. On her blog, she shares her DIY's, thrift finds, family adventures and of course, adorable photos of Judah adorned in his daily mustache or wig.


{So cute, right?}
    Jess also has some amazing crocheting skills. In her Etsy shop My Charming Colors, she hand crochets adorable hats, bows, booties and more for both kids and adults. I should also mention that they are insanely affordable. You should really check them out and support a handmade shop from another lovely mama. 

    So glad to have you Jess!!

With love,
Maryam


{New Years Eve}: Breastfeeding-Friendly Dress Options

     Oh New Years Eve. It's one of those hyped up nights that's usually more fun to dress up for, than the actual night turns out to be. This year, I'll be doing a whole lot of nothing (Brian's working, so I'll maybe make a special dinner and dessert and go to bed by 9pm.) BUT for those of you who do have somewhere fancy to attend, I thought I'd put together a little NYE dress guide for ya.

    First off, if you're going to be baby-less that evening, I say go all out, live it up and wear something completely milk-unfriendly (ie, this dress). But if you're going to be with the baby, even for just part of the night, I'd go with a dress that is super cute but still gives you some convenient breastfeeding access. I say that because it will just give you some peace of mind and prevent moments where you have to strip down in the bathroom or a dark room to nurse the babe (I try to plan for the worst case scenario.)

     Soooo... the 4 options to look for in dresses are: strapless, wraps, zip-downs and buttons. All pretty explanatory and all milk-friendly. My preference is usually the zipper or buttons just because I don't like pulling and stretching at my garments over and over.

NYE: Breastfeeding Friendly Dress Options




      What's your favorite style of dress to breastfeed in? And if you do have fancy plans, I would love to hear what your night entails :) Also, if you missed the second half of the holiday style boards Morgan and I did on Pepper Design Blog, you can check it out here.

All my love,
Maryam

Friday, December 23, 2011

{Special Dedication}: Dear Little Lady

So I got this email...

How stinkin' cute is that??? So romantic and sweet of him, right?


So NICOLLE (I hope you're reading this because this post is for YOU)

 


A very Merry Christmas from me, all the Milk-friendly readers and most importantly, from your very loving, thoughtful and creative husband, Brian. 



Can't wait to keep watching that little lady grow.

With all my love,
Maryam

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

{Life Factory Sponsor Highlight}: My Search for a Good Sippy Cup


    So this is a little story all about my search to find the perfect kid's cup. I have been looking to swap out all of our plastic cups for glass and finally found a brand that I love.

     For a while now, we have been using those Take 'n Toss sippy cups, you know those super cheap ones? Well, I had originally bought into them because they were BPA free and cheap and easy to use. They did their job, but have you ever tasted a drink of water from those things? Basically, it tastes like you're drinking plastic (yuck) and if I didn't like the taste, then why should I be having my kids drink from it?

     We then tried the stainless steel bottle thing and liked (not loved) them. Then I had heard talk about glass kids cups but I sort of put it out of my mind because they seemed so... so.... breakable, you know? A few of my online BFFs Sher and Brooke raved about the brand Life Factory that they had bought at Whole Foods.. and then... I was interested.

22 oz Classic Cap Glass Bottles


Glass Sippy Cap Bottles


     So it wasn't until I was approached here on the ole blog to try out and review Life Factory that I had experienced these beauties for myself. And let me tell you, I was thoroughly impressed. 

     Why do you love them so much, you say? First off, their bottles have those wonderfully colorful silicon sleeves. We can definitely attest to their protective abilities because they have already survived a number of drops on our stone floor. Plus they are great for gripping purposes as well. Everything is dishwasher safe and their adult size bottles have a wide opening so I can clean it out well with a bottle brush (much better than the skinny VOSS bottles that my husband was hoarding.) Their sippy caps are made out of silicon which tastes and is a lot better for you than plastic.


Sippy Cap bottle and my Adult size bottle

     But do you want to know the best part? After a simple preference test (I laid out each of the three past used cups and then asked my kids to grab the one they liked the best) both my boys grabbed the Life Factory sippy cup over the Take 'n Toss and the stainless steel bottles. So ladies and gentlemen, I'd say we've found a winner!

    They also have glass baby bottles with silicon nipples and cute little silicon teethers that can double as bracelets :)

    You can read more about their eco-friendy company HERE, find where you can buy your own HERE and join their Facebook page THERE and their Twitter HERE.


With love,
Maryam

***Just so you friends know, I was given a few Life Factory products in order to review this company, but everything I have written is my own and from the heart. I only accept to review products and companies that I truly love. Kapeesh?***

Monday, December 19, 2011

{Fortuna Family Happenings}: Our Hawaii Move Update

Aloha Everyone!

      I know it has been a while and I am so happy to be back in the swing of things! If you're new here (waving HIII), you might be wondering what the deal is. Well, my family and I decided to make a big ol' move from San Diego, CA to the North Shore of Oahu, HI. We decided this, planned it all and packed up in a matter of one and half weeks. We flew over and had to live in a practically empty home as we waited two and half weeks for our POD to get here. I am glad to say that this place is finally starting to feel like home!!

     Many of you have asked WHY and HOW?

Why.
     Well we yearn to give our boys the opportunity to truly explore and enjoy the environment that they are in. The home we lived in before was up on a steep hill, on a main street and it had no where for the boys to really run and play. Our new place here is on a lush half acre and the boys are constantly playing and collecting things in their "jungle." Not to mention that it's on a culdesac with a tree swing, kids their age next door and the beach is just on the other side of the houses across the street. I'm sure this freedom to play makes them sublimely happy, but I can't tell you how incredibly relaxing it is for me too.

    We also wanted to try this adventure while they were still young. Even though we plan to homeschool, we thought the younger we get them over here, the better, just in case we decide to put them into traditional schooling at some point.

     Brian surfs pretty much everyday. Living in San Diego is amazing, but most of the time he and the boys still need to wear a wetsuit to surf or play in the water. That's not really a problem here :)

     Brian works the moonlight shifts for California time. He's had this job for the past 4, almost 5 years and working all night can take a huge toll on your body. The time difference sets Brian working a few hours back, leading to a slightly more normal work schedule. And this also brings us to our HOW.

How.
     My husband's work is over the internet, so he can be anywhere with high speed internet and do what he does. Same for me, I can still run my business Green Your Air from here as my business partner still lives in San Diego and takes care of all the shipping and delivery.
*****
   All in all, it has definitely been a HUGE transition, especially on me. The boys (including Brian) are in heaven, the boys can play freely and Brian surfs world class waves every single day. My adjustment to the new environment is coming slowly, very slowly. The North Shore is fairly remote. I miss family and friends, places I know and access to things like organic groceries and Chipotle. BUT luckily for me, soon I will have loved ones here! My two sisters, brother and sister-in-laws and my best friend are getting in TODAY. I am hoping 5 minute hugs from them and a good lay out on the beach will give me a new burst of love and vitamin D :)

{A few photos from our mini journey}
Left to Right and Down. Last few moments in our SD place. What I wore on the plane: Button-down maxi dress and an easy-up top. Collecting all our things from the flight over. The first night we stayed in Hotel in Waikiki. 

Arriving at the new place and the boys are immediately enjoying the new neighborhood. Running laps in the new kitchen. Our first rainbow sighting. Playing in their jungle in the yard. 

Coral and his coral. Lonely old coconut in one of the neighborhood's empty lots. Beach boys times two.

Our little papaya tree in the backyard. When I noticed the papaya tree trunk had heart shapes on it. Sky obsessing over his fresh coconut juice. Brian waiting to grab our freshly sliced pineapple from the fruit stand. 


Coral assisting his little brother Sky through the jungle. Desperately trying to climb up and get mommy a coconut. Tossing some Hawaiian leaves. Coral said, "Jump brother Sky, I'll catch you!"


More photos and updates to come soon. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us everyone :)

With Love,
Maryam

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

{Feature}: Adding Holiday Sparkles on Pepper Design Blog

Hi there my Milk-friendlies!

     I wanted to direct you to the lovely Pepper Design Blog. If you don't already know, I am now a style contributor for her Wardrobe Style Boards, and this week I talk about adding a little (or a lot) of sparkle to your holiday ensembles. Morgan also added a few of her fab sparkle boards too. You can read all about it HERE.
Holiday 2011: Subtle Sparkles




   
    And then if you haven't already entered, we have a giveaway going on this week! Who doesn't want to win something for FREE in the midst of holiday shopping?? Click your heart out here and enter to win this vintage and breastfeeding-friendly dress from Desert Gypsy Vintage!


With love,
Maryam

Monday, December 12, 2011

{Giveaway Goodness}: Win a Breastfeeding-Friendly Dress from Desert Gypsy Vintage

     So...We've made the move to Oahu, unpacking our PODS and we are starting to get back into action! It has been full of ups and downs and I look forward to sharing it all with you as soon as the dust settles a little bit!

     In the mean time, I thought I'd kick it off with a giveaway! One of our oh so lovely sponsors, Desert Gypsy Mama is offering somethin' somethin' for you this week. Remember when Katie did that amazing tutorial on how to sew buttons into a dress to make it breastfeeding-friendly? Well...she opened up her new vintage shop on Etsy and to celebrate, she's kindly offering that very button-down dress she made for a lucky Milk-friendly reader!


Here are the stats on the dress Measurements:
Bust- 36"
Waist- stretches to over 40"
 Length of skirt- 19"
It fits a medium to large

Don't you love the way Katie styled it? And in the colder weather, it would look adorable with some tights, boots and a long sweater. Problem is: I WANT TO WIN IT!

*****GIVEAWAY RULES******
 
PRIZE
*This lovely breastfeeding friendly button-down dress pictured above.


 TO ENTER
Go to Desert Gypsy Mama's Etsy shop, pick out your favorite item, come back here and leave a comment on which item you'd love to have. Make sure to leave your email address too. 

This giveaway is open to all :).



 ADDITIONAL ENTRIES


4 MORE WAYS TO ENTER:

1. 'Like' Desert Gypsy Vintage on Facebook and tell her Milk-friendly sent you.

2. Follow Desert Gypsy Mama on her Blog via Google Friend Connect.

3. Become a fan of Milk-Friendly (this can be done here, on this page by clicking the 'like' button on the left hand side)

4. Join Milk-Friendly's followers via Google Friend Connect.

***Be sure to leave separate comments on this post for each of the additional entries you've done and make sure to include your email address if it is not easily visible on your profile***

 
ENDS this FRIDAY DECEMBER 16th
@ 10pm  PST

Winner will be chosen by random and will have by 48 HOURS to respond (or another winner will be chosen). The lucky winner will be announced the following Monday.


GOOD LUCK LOVELIES!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guest Post: The Breastfeeding Bond with Soul Singing Liv

While we are packing up our lives and moving across the ocean to Hawaii, you get to have some amazing guest bloggers, who've kindly offered to keep you (and me) entertained. I am so thankful to have such a supportive community of moms who are willing to help out in times like these :) I hope you enjoy it!
*****

Hello, my name is Liv and I am a free-spirited, new experience craving, music loving, 
peace seeking, soul singing butterfly. My blog is a special place where I store away all of 
my treasures, a place where I record our daily adventures and reflect on the simple 
blessings in life. I love writing, learning new ideas, making music, taking photos, 
and collecting sentimental pieces. I spend my days balancing my time between working 
as a nurse and building a career I am passionate about while also being a wife and mama 
to my precious family. Together, we spend our days striving for peace in our hearts, 
kindness in our words, and adventure in our souls.
This is my personal testimony of my experience with breastfeeding.  Brees and I have been on an amazing journey this last year, learning and growing and perfecting the fine art of nursing.  Of all the elements of motherhood that consume my heart everyday, breastfeeding is the bond I hold closest, the gift I feel the most blessed for. To nurture my child from my own body, to be the source from which she is strengthened, it is truly amazing to me.
I was fully determined to breastfeed Brees, as I did with Isabelle, from the moment I found out I was pregnant.  I set a goal for one year: ONE year of exclusive breastfeeding, ONE year of making it work no matter the obstacle.  I knew that, as a working mother, achieving this goal would require preparation, organization, and an unbreakable determination.  I knew that the entire family would have to be onboard, I would need the support and encouragement of Shawn and Isabelle to get me through the hard times, the inconvenient moments.  But, most of all, I knew that I wanted to ENJOY this process, to appreciate what an amazing experience breastfeeding can be.  For my first baby, I was nervous and anxious, recounting every horror story I had ever read and heard about, panicking every time a feeding didn't come naturally to both of us.  It took me a while to learn to relax and let nature take its course.  This time, I would remember to breath, I would remember to stare into my baby's eyes and breath in her smell and trust in what I was meant to do.
I talked with my doctor about my wishes well before my due date.  I met with my lactation consultant and we developed a plan before Brees was born.  I wanted to nurse her as soon as possible after birth.  I did not want the nurses to offer her a bottle for any reason, she was to be nursed exclusively from day one.  Our hospital practiced "rooming in", meaning I labored, delivered, and recovered in the same room and Brees never left us.  Unless medically necessary, she was to stay with us at all times and would be nursed on demand.  We were to have as much skin to skin contact as possible.
Our lactation consultant was amazing, making herself completely available and lending a hand whenever and however needed.  She helped me to identify a proper latch, showed me how to readjust when she was not latched on properly.  We brought our pump with us to the hospital so that she could show us how to use it.  She gave me all the supplies I needed to make pumping a part of my daily routine, read more about that journey here.  When I developed a blister due to Brees getting the hang of latching on, she gave me nipple shields to protect me from any further soreness or sensitivity.  After I nursed Brees, Shawn burped her and changed her.  He brought me water and kept me fed, rubbed my back and whispered words of encouragement.  Having this support system made me feel confident and sure of myself, they carried me through the long and tiring nights.
The women in my family believe very much in spending your first few weeks postpartum tucked away in your home with your new baby.  My mother would throw herself in front of a moving car before allowing me to take my newborn out in public for anything other than an emergency.  And so, upon arriving home from the hospital, I propped my feet up and held my baby close.  Skin to skin, nursing on demand.  We slept together, rocked together, started our new life together.  The "euphoric" feeling that breastfeeding advocates talk about: it really does exist.  Your body releases surges of oxytocin, a hormone that makes mothers feel relaxed, content, and less anxious, when your baby is kept near and your let-down reflex occurs.  It is the body's most natural anti-depressant/anti-anxiety drug.
We followed this routine from day one, allowing it to change and grow with our baby. We faced several challenges along the way like an overabundant milk supply.  So many of my friends and family have struggled with a low milk supply, making nursing difficult. Our problem, on the other hand, involved my body making so much milk that Brees often became choked and winded while nursing, she developed reflux and frequently spit up because she was too full too fast.  It took us several months to figure out how to control this issue, resulting in us have to do smaller feedings more often, using the side lying position as much as possible, and treating her reflux with prescription meds for several months.  For the first few months, I had to wear two layers of breast pads to absorb my swollen, leaking boobs.  I had hot flashes throughout the day and my blood sugar frequently dropped to dangerously low levels, making me hypoglycemic.  But we kept at it, using every resource available to us and crossing each bridge as we came to it.  Both my pediatrician and  my lactation consultant were on speed dial and I even befriended the president of the breastfeeding coalition through Isabelle's Girl Scouts troop.  And I remembered to breath and enjoy the process.  For that's what it is: a process, a learning experience.
I felt embarrassed and insecure about nursing in public.  I got over it.  I was late for everything, all the time, because I could never time her feedings correctly.  I got better about it.  I held her all the time and never wanted to share, wanting to keep her all to myself.  I eventually did and her first word was, of course, "Dada".  I had to pump several times a day when I went back to work.  I learned to love my pump and appreciate it, regardless of how inconvenient it could be because it played an important role in the success of our breastfeeding experience.  I sometimes felt isolated and exhausted. I learned to rest whenever possible and ask for help when I needed it.
One year, that was my goal.  And here we are, Brees is one year old and I see no reason to wean her.  Our breastfeeding experience has been amazing, rewarding, and soul fulfilling.  I have grown as a person in patience and strength.  She has been given the gift of nature's most perfect nourishment.  And so we shall continue, with no deadlines this time.  Brees will make the decision when she is ready.  Shawn is not only supportive and encouraging, he is PROUD.  "Keep at it, babe,  I think you're amazing".
When people ask me for advice on breastfeeding, I tell them those same words: Keep at it. It gets easier, after several months it does begin to feel natural.  The awkwardness, the readjusting, it becomes second nature.  The feedings that used to take 30 minutes at a time, the engorged breasts, the uncertainty: it gets easier.  Keep at it.  Formulate a plan, surround yourself with supportive, encouraging people who will cheer you on, be prepared for the unexpected, and keep at it.
When Brees was 8 months old, she started saying "mama".  When she was hungry, she said "mama".  When I pulled out her nursing pillow, she said "mama".  When she was close to the breast, she said "mama".  Brees associated the word mama to nursing, her voice warm and her hand patting me gently on my chest.  The bond that began from the first moment she was placed in my arms, Mama.
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