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GWYNETH & APPLE
Being a mom has taken top priority for Gwyneth Paltrow since daughter Apple's birth on May 14, 2004. So when Paltrow (watching husband Chris Martin's Coldplay at London's Live 8 concert on July 2) recently went back to acting, in the drama Running with Scissors, she felt mixed emotions. "I hope that I'll not judge myself too harshly and just embrace the fact that I'm feeling the need to work," she says.
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KATE & RYDER
"It's the most incredible thing," says Kate Hudson of being Mom to son Ryder Russell, born on Jan. 7, 2004. "But nobody ever tells you how hard it's gonna be." Luckily, dropping the 60 lbs. she gained during her pregnancy wasn't nearly as difficult. "I did lose the weight pretty fast," says the Skeleton Key actress (in Malibu on July 4). Her secret? Three-hour daily workouts and a 1,500-calorie-a-day diet.
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DENISE, LOLA & SAM
One baby is enough to keep most new moms busy, but Denise Richards is juggling two: Lola, born on June 1 (left, in Santa Monica on June 22) and Sam, born March 9, 2004 (in Malibu in February). Raising them while divorcing actor Charlie Sheen adds to the challenge. "I can't worry about being a single parent," says Richards. "I just want to be a good one."
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ANGELINA & ZAHARA
Since adopting son Maddox, 4, in 2002, Angelina Jolie knew she wanted to one day add to her brood. She got her wish when on July 6 she became mom to Zahara, an Ethiopian baby girl orphaned by AIDS. "It's a dream come true. She's always wanted to extend her family," says a source close to the actress (in Malibu on July 27).
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JULIA, PHINNAEUS & HAZEL
Having twins Phinneaus and Hazel, born on Nov. 28, 2004, has definitely agreed with Julia Roberts (in Venice, Calif., on July 16). "Since these babies were born, she's never been happier," says a friend of the actress's. The Oscar winner, who's taken to knitting clothes for her kids, is also trying out another new role: Broadway actress. She'll star in the play Three Days of Rain in March.
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HEIDI & LENI
Supermodel Heidi Klum is waiting for the arrival of Baby No. 2 this month while tending to daughter Leni, who turned 1 on May 4. "If you like what you do, you can juggle everything," says Klum (in Malibu on July 17). "And I love being a mom." Says Klum's dad, Gunther: "She feels great and is deeply satisfied with her life."
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LIV & MILO
One thing Liv Tyler has noticed about being a mom: "What they say about your brain cells going out the window when you have a baby is so true," she says. "You get really flighty." Still, Tyler (in New York City on Aug. 1) wouldn't trade having son Milo, born Dec. 14, 2004, for anything. "You are so in love with your baby that when you go out, you're like, 'Oh, I miss him!' "
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VICTORIA & CRUZ
With the arrival of third son Cruz on Feb. 20, Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham (in Nice on June 28) and soccer-star husband David Beckham are on their way to having their own mini-football squad: He joined big brothers Brooklyn, 6, and Romeo, 2. And Beckham hasn't had trouble getting back to her fighting weight: Soon after Cruz was born via Caesarean section, she regained her famously trim figure.
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RACHEL & ADELAIDE
Six Feet Under star Rachel Griffiths's daughter was in a hurry to meet Mom: Adelaide was born June 23 after only an hour and a half of labor. Griffiths (in L.A. on July 19), who also has 20-month-old son Banjo, says motherhood has taught her to live in the moment. "Kids remind you to stay in the now. If you've never had a reason to, you do now."
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CATE & ROMAN
Aussie actress Cate Blanchett has found that being a mom has given her a reserve of energy she didn't realize she possessed. "I often think the more you take on, the more capacity you find within yourself," she says. The Oscar winner (in Marbella, Spain on May 9) has been raising her two sons – Roman, born April 23, 2004, and Dashiell, 3 – while juggling roles in movies such as the upcoming thriller Little Fish.
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COURTENEY & COCO
What's the toughest part of motherhood? "The hardest thing when you have a baby is keeping up with your friends," says Courteney Cox (in L.A. on June 30) of daughter Coco, who turned 1 on June 13. Yet one friend Cox – who's starring in the indie film November – hasn't lost touch with is best pal Jennifer Aniston, who's Coco's godmother.
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CARNIE & LOLA
"This little angel, this little Dunkin' Donut has changed my whole life," says Carnie Wilson of daughter Lola, who was born April 22. And though she battled postpartum depression and is still working on losing her pregnancy weight, the singer (at home in L.A. on July 6) feels optimistic about the future. "I have a child to feed and a spirit that can't be crushed," she says.