Entries Tagged as 'life happens'

39 weeks.

Posted on: Monday, September 26, 2016

39 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

“Thirty Nine Weeks” from Baby On Board Digital Brushes

Well, here we are. A few days shy of 40 weeks and absolutely no signs of labor to speak of. I don’t know why I’m even the slightest bit surprised…my babies historically like to stay put! Luckily, this little guy is not as big as they predicted he would be, so as of right now, there’s no reason to rush the process. I had a nice long chat with my doctor (love him) and we both agreed that an early induction was unnecessary and we still have the breathing room to wait and see if anything happens on its own. So we wait.

39 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

39 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

I have been feeling either super exhausted or super energized these past few weeks. There’s rarely any middle ground which makes planning ahead a bit of a challenge. While I’m not exactly looking forward to the delivery /recovery process, I am feeling eager to sleep on my stomach again. And go for walks without my feet killing me. Oh, and WINE. (That’s the only way to do it when you have multiple children, right?) I’m also pretty darn excited to put his wardrobe to use. I hung up all his tiny clothes the other day and now I get excited every time I open the closet doors.

39 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

39 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

I absolutely loved being pregnant with Briar and for the most part, I really enjoyed this pregnancy as well. However, after wrangling a toddler while growing another human these past nine months, I’m feeling very ready to have him on the outside. I know it will be A LOT of work and I’m sure I’ll be overwhelmed most days, but it will be nice to be able to stand and run and get through life without feeling instantly tired. As for Briar, well, she has no idea what’s coming. We talk about “baby brother” all the time and she vaguely grasps the concept of him living in my stomach, but it will be interesting to watch her take on the big sister role. I know she’s going to be great.

This week we have Santa Ana winds rolling through and I’m hoping the onslaught of positive ions that make some people crazy / sick / angry will work in my favor and put me into labor. Wishful thinking, I’m sure ;)

My robe // Briar’s dress

settling in.

Posted on: Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend we moved to a new place and I’ve been feeling all the emotions (as you do when you’re about to pop out another human being). It’s SO EXCITING to have a cute little place to call our own. I am so eager to get everything unpacked and make it feel like home, I just wish my giant pregnant body could move a little faster!

Ann-Marie Loves

John and I have been agonizing over where we wanted to start this next chapter of our lives for months. We both work in Los Angeles but our families live in the suburbs just outside of the city limits so we were torn over what we should do. Was it worth it to have a shorter commute but pay more in rent and daycare (LA is expensive!)? Or was it worth it to be closer to grandparents and pay a little less but spend more time fighting traffic everyday? Trust me, it was a huge debate that I thought would never end. Finally, after a hormonally-fueled meltdown, I decided that we needed to stay close to family at this stage in our lives. John agreed. Once we made our decision, we found a place almost instantly and the two of us breathed a collective sigh of relief. Plus, we have a washer / dryer AND a dishwasher!! Basically, I’m high on rental life right now.

Ann-Marie Loves

I’m already so grateful that we prioritized staying close to grandparents because I want to ensure that Briar maintains the slightest shred of normalcy as we throw curveballs her way over the next few weeks. She has a new home with a new bed and will have a new brother in a matter of days. It’s a lot for me (an almost thirty year old) to wrap my brain around; I can only imagine how overwhelming it is for a toddler! But like every significant change before, I know she will roll with the punches better than her dad or myself! I envy that kind of blind faith that comes with childhood.

Ann-Marie Loves

I’m also kicking myself a little bit for spending so much of this summer feeling stressed about the future and how things would (if ever!) come together. It’s times like these when I wish I had the foresight to trust in the universe and just enjoy each stage (not matter how “imperfect”). Worrying is such an epic waste of precious energy.

Note to self: GO WITH THE FLOW.

hospital bag essentials.

Posted on: Friday, September 16, 2016

Before I had Briar, I spent lots of time researching what I should pack in my hospital bag to make sure I covered all my bases. While I did a pretty good job (considering I had no idea what I was doing), it was definitely way too much stuff for a three day stay in a tiny little recovery room. This time around, I’m much more realistic about what I will actually use. I only want to pack the bare essentials and then if I need anything else, I’ll have my mom bring it to me (that’s what moms are for, right?). Here’s what I’m definitely packing for baby number two:

Hospital Bag Essentials for Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Infant Car Seat. This might be a no-brainer, but having a way to transport the baby from hospital to home is key. John and I just got this new car seat so that we can accommodate both babies in both of our cars without having to do any switcheroos.

02. Mints. When you don’t have nurses and doctors all up in your business, you probably will have guests that will want to come see you when, quite honestly, you look like you were just hit by a bus (ha!). Being able to pop mints for all those interactions is a win-win for everyone involved.

03. Dry Shampoo. When you’re in the hospital and you have a baby attached to you almost 24/7, styling your hair is not exactly a top priority. Being able to freshen up your look in just a few minutes with a little bit of dry shampoo is so handy.

04. iPhone Chargers. This is one of those items that might be overlooked, but it’s so crucial to have your chargers on hand! You don’t want to miss a moment of your newborn’s first few days because you ran out of battery!

05. Delivery / Nursing Robe. As soon as I saw this robe from Pinkblush, I knew I had to have it. I wore a plain white robe almost nonstop for the first few months of Briar’s life; this time I’ll have something much more stylish!

06. Nursing Pillow. These kinds of pillows are not only great for those long infant nursing sessions, but they’re also the perfect cushion to sit on after having a baby. Take my word on this ;)

07. Hat, Booties, Outfit. Well, this is definitely the most exciting part of the packing! I love going through tiny clothes and choosing the right look for baby’s first introduction to the outside world.

08. NUK Pacifiers. Before we had Briar and we were in the thick of baby care classes, one of the biggest takeaways we learned was not to introduce a pacifier before nursing was well-established. Well, I’m here to tell you that we broke that rule on night two of Briar’s life when I had my mom smuggle a few pacis into our hospital room. As it turned out, they worked like a charm and we never once experienced any kind of “nipple confusion” during our nineteen months of nursing. You do what’s best for you and your family!

09. Camera. Self-explanatory. Take as many photos as you possibly can! Your baby will grow up so fast and you’ll forget just how teeny tiny he was when he made his debut :)

full term!

Posted on: Monday, September 12, 2016

Full Term! | Ann-Marie Loves

As of last week, I reached the 37 week mark which officially means I’ve made it full term! Hooray!

Full Term! | Ann-Marie Loves

It always feels like a bit of a relief reaching the official “the baby can now safely come at anytime” milestone. It also feels a little bit insane! I mean, the baby could technically arrive AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT. Am I ready? Is John ready? Is anyone ever really ready? I don’t think it’s possible to fully wrap my brain around what lies ahead of me.

Full Term! | Ann-Marie Loves

Part of me is thrilled to meet this little guy and finally see his face, but the other part of me is slightly terrified to begin the newborn phase all over again (and this time with a toddler!). My body is definitely feeling pretty run-down these days. I feel more physically taxed now than I did at this stage when I was pregnant with Briar. Sleeping is also getting to be a much bigger challenge simply because I need a million bathroom breaks in the middle of the night! I’ve also noticed that I’ve been turning inward a lot more than my usual introverted self prefers, which is exactly what happened with my first pregnancy. It’s almost like nature’s way of forcing me to turn off any outside noise and focus on the upcoming task…so interesting! But the baby is constantly moving and grooving, which always gives me pause and makes me feel SO GRATEFUL for what my body can do, in spite of the minor discomforts and inconveniences.

Full Term! | Ann-Marie Loves

I have another ultrasound scheduled to determine just how big this baby is (definitely way bigger than that watermelon above!) and that will be the deciding factor in whether or not I am induced around the 39 week mark. I just realized last night that my little family may only have one more weekend as a threesome before we add another member to the gang…crazy! I’ve been feeling the itch to start nesting, so this coming week will be filled with washing tiny clothes, packing a hospital bag, and getting everything ready for our next big adventure!

instax camera love.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

I recently found my old Instax camera and it has been a blast taking photos of Briar and sharing my love of photography in all forms with her. With the instant gratification of iPhones and digital cameras, the novelty of having to wait and see how an Instax photo turns out is super exciting. As soon as Briar saw the first photo pop out of the camera, she was intrigued. And THEN when it finally developed, well, let’s just say she was pretttttty impressed. (Toddlers make for the best audiences.)

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

This particular roll of film has been in the camera (and exposed to heat and cold) for over two years, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the photos turned out! The only minor imperfections are those three vertical dots on each photo but I kind of love them.

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

The reddish photo in the middle is of Briar’s thumb – ha! I tried to set up the shot and just have her press the button but clearly she had a different idea for the art direction ;) I can respect that.

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

This past Sunday was a particularly rough day in the land of raising a two year old, but the minute I busted out the Instax and let Briar play with it, both of our moods changed for the better. She toted the camera around, pretending to take photos of her toys and of plants and of mama, while I got to use the big camera to capture her in all of her adorableness. I’d say that’s a win-win.

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

John and I have talked about buying Briar her own camera one day soon. Nothing too fancy or expensive, just something that could capture the way she sees the world and foster her creative spirit.

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

Instax Camera Love | Ann-Marie Loves

Cheeeeeeese!

easy toddler meals.

Posted on: Friday, August 26, 2016

Toddler Foods | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar has always been a great eater. She’s taken everything from breast milk to formula to cow’s milk to just about every food you can imagine with no problems at all. I thought we were in the clear when it came to pickiness…that is, until recently. (Mom Lesson #235: Never assume you’re in the clear.) Over the past two-ish months, Briar has grown very particular about what she will and won’t eat. One day she will favor a food and then the next day she wants nothing to do with it. Needless to say, mealtimes have become a bit of a challenge.

Toddler Foods | Ann-Marie Loves

But after much trial and error, I’ve figured out that the best way to get her to eat is to offer her a wide range of simple foods in small portions. That way, we don’t waste too much and I can gauge what foods she is digging on that particular day for future meals.

Toddler Foods | Ann-Marie Loves

Using our beloved multiportion serving tray, I will fill up most of the slots with a rotating mix of tried-and-true finger foods: berries, cheese slices, Goldfish crackers, turkey, graham crackers, broccoli, bananas, beans, pasta, avocados, eggs (hard-boiled or scrambled), tangerines, pancakes, bananas, and occasionally a few chocolate chips (or “chips” as Briar calls them). She never eats everything that I offer but at least it gets her to eat something. And at this stage in the game, I’ll take something over nothing.

Toddler Foods | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve also found that if I offer her a utensil to eat her food, she’s much more likely to dig in. I’m keeping the faith that this too is just a phase (pleasepleaseplease) and eventually Briar will go back to being an adventurous eater. But until then, I’m trying to stay patient (keyword: trying) and following her lead.

Any tricks for combatting toddler pickiness?

 

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34 weeks.

Posted on: Thursday, August 25, 2016

34 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

34 weeks! This is insane, you guys. I think I say it every week, but seriously, where has the time gone? At this stage in the game, I’m feeling alllllll the feelings — excitement, nervousness, delight, overwhelm — sometimes all within a few minutes of each other! The emotional roller coaster is real.

34 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

My body is feeling stretched further than it felt when I was pregnant with Briar. I wake up at least three times a night to use the bathroom. I don’t go anywhere without the antacids within arm’s reach. I am forever out of breath and am shocked at how tired I feel after performing the simplest of activities. But the strange thing is, I love it. I love being pregnant and I know I’ll miss it as soon as he’s here. But I also know that it will feel amazing to sleep on my stomach and drink wine and wear my wedding ring again. So there you have it. Pregnancy, much like every other facet of motherhood, is a mixed bag of tricks.

34 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve made it almost 35 weeks before I really gave any thought to the birth process, but here I am, feeling a bit nervous about doing it all over again. I can’t decide if the second time around is easier because you know what to expect or if the second time is harder because you know what to expect? I know it’s going to hurt like a mother but I can’t remember exactly what it feels like. It’s all worth it, of course, and clearly I wasn’t scared away after having Briar, but the fear of the unknown has been slowly creeping back into my subconscious. Especially in the middle of the night after getting up to use the bathroom for the umpteenth time. #pregprobs

34 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

There are lots of things that need to get done before baby arrives (i.e. packing a hospital bag, reinstalling the infant car seat, washing tiny clothes), but there are also a few fun things that I want to do while I still have the time. Like reread Dad Is Fat. And take lots of naps. And go places by myself. And shower Briar with my undivided attention for a few weeks longer.

34 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve begun daydreaming about all the fun moments to come and that always helps to quell my nerves. I’m excited for the weather to cool down a bit so I can take my two babies on long walks! I’m excited for Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas! I’m excited for all the photo ops! Heck, I’m even excited to run errands with them just so I can prove to myself that it can be done! I know it’s going to be a ton of work but I feel up to the challenge.

34 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

These next few weeks are going to be crazy!

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life with a two year old.

Posted on: Monday, August 22, 2016

Life With a Toddler | Ann-Marie Loves

I realize we are only a few weeks in, but life with a two year old is…so much fun. So much work, so much frustration, so much to learn, but so much fun. I swear Briar woke up on her second birthday and was suddenly a new person. She speaks in full sentences, she says words I had no clue that she knew, she is starting to count and recognize letters, and she can throw one heck of a tantrum ;)

Life With a Toddler | Ann-Marie Loves

How cute is this cape??

Briar and I spend most of our days together and although there are (many) moments that I envy those with full-time jobs away from home, I wouldn’t trade this time with her for ANYTHING. Someone that I love and respect as a mother recently told me that even though I often feel like my life is a mess and I have no idea what I am doing, I’m right where I need to be when it comes to raising Briar. She encouraged me to view all the time I get to spend with Briar as an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I’ll never get back, so I might as well enjoy it and not wish it away. That simple shift in perspective has really changed my mindset for the better and gotten me through a lot of looooong days. I know Briar better than anyone else and it feels incredible to be the one (along with John) that she turns to when she needs comforting. John and I make plenty of mistakes but when I see Briar’s face light up when she sees us, I know we must be doing something right.

Life With a Toddler | Ann-Marie Loves

The other day as we were walking up stairs, Briar pushed on my legs and said “quicker Mama, quicker!” Quicker? No idea where she learned that.  When she colors with markers and inevitably gets ink on her hands, she demands that I take her to “wash your hands!” as soon as possible. She has definite opinions about her wardrobe (and the wardrobes of others) and often exclaims “cute!” or “pwetty!” when a certain look agrees with her. The best is when she loves something that Dada is wearing (“Cute, Dada!”) – ha! Every morning when she wakes up, she likes to run through the roster of her family members / animals and their whereabouts (“Dada is at work? Uncle is sleeping? Mac is at his house?”). Briar is now a fan of accessories (hats and glasses are her favorites) and will finally let us put her hair in a ponytail. Running errands with her is getting to be a little bit trickier and a little less frequent because she would much rather walk (read: run) than sit in a cart. But most importantly, Briar has been saying “I love you, Mama!” out of the blue, and THAT makes every difficult moment totally worth it :)

Here are a few of our must-have toddler items that we use on a daily basis:

Life With a Two Year Old | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Camelback Kids Water Bottles. We’ve tried a lot of different water bottles over the past two years, but this specific brand and model works perfectly for little hands and never spills! Plus, Briar loves pushing the button and watching the spout pop out!

02. Beaba Multiportion Serving Tray. So I bought this back when Briar was an infant when I had high hopes of making her homemade purées. But as it turned out, Briar was never much for being fed with a spoon by others and instead took to baby led weaning so she could feed herself. However! All was not lost with this tray. In fact, it has become my favorite way to serve Briar meals because the serving sizes are perfect for toddler appetites and it allows me to offer her a wide range of foods in one container.

03. Honest Company Conditioning Detangler. Having a daughter with wildly curly hair has proven to be a bit of a challenge. Not only is it tricky to style but it tangles so easily. Everyday we spritz her hair with Honest Detangler and carefully work out the knots with a soft-bristled brush.

04. GoGo Squeeze Applesauce Packets. Okay, these are not only great for stashing in my backpack and passing to Briar in the backseat to quell any hangriness but I love them too! Even in her pickiest moments, I can almost always get Briar to eat applesauce.

05. Kindle Fire + Kid’s Case. Say what you will about screen time but it has proven to be a very helpful asset to have in our back pocket. Not only is it handy for moments when I need Briar to calm down and stay in one place for a few minutes but I know she has learned so much from the shows we let her watch, especially Sarah + Duck! We bought Briar her own tablet and kid-safe case a few months ago and she can navigate Netflix with the best of them (Sarah + Duck, Clifford the Big Red Dog, The Hive, and anything with Mickey Mouse in it are her faves).

06. 360 Degree Toothbrush. I don’t know about you but it’s hard to brush baby teeth! Briar either flat out refuses to have her teeth brushed or she chews on the brush as we try to work it around her mouth. Luckily, this particular brush has bristles that go all the way around the handle which allows us to reach her top and bottom teeth in one fell swoop. Such a genius concept.

simple activities to keep toddlers busy.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Simple Activities to Keep Toddlers Busy | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m always on the lookout for simple ways to keep Briar entertained, especially during these insanely hot summer months when the last thing I want to do is go outside. After a little trial and error, I’ve come across three foolproof methods for keeping Briar occupied for short periods of time and thought I would pass them along to you!

01. Crayons. I turned a pack of basic Crayola crayons into hearts recently and they have been in heavy rotation around here. Briar loves to color and often summons those around her to help her draw “apple, nanas (bananas), and duck!” (Always in that order.)

02. Stickers. I’ve been obsessed with stickers as far back as I can remember (Stickopotamus, anyone?), so it comes as no surprise that I’ve passed my love on to Briar. These neon dot stickers from the office supply section are less than two dollars and make Briar just as happy as any Disney or animal-themed sticker. Of course she loves to stick them to walls like any other toddler, but when I’m on top of things, I’ll redirect her sticker-ing to scratch pieces of paper or notebooks.

03. Pompoms. I picked up a pack of pink, orange, and red pompoms from Target and they have been some of the best three dollars and ninety nine cents I’ve ever spent! Briar loves to sort them into small bowls or the multi-portion silicone container that we use for snacks.

32 weeks + pinkblush giveaway!

Posted on: Friday, August 12, 2016

32 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

32 WEEKS! Okay, that feels insane typing out that number. Life feels like such a blur these days, I kind of just want to freeze this moment so I can catch my breath!

I had an ultrasound on Tuesday and it was estimated that he’s currently about five (!) pounds! Everyone seemed a little surprised by how big he is at this stage, but no one more than me. Thankfully my doctor reassured me that all will be well and if he’s starting to get too big, we can induce at 39 weeks. I have to say, the idea of knowing I might have an induction date is a relief to me. I was induced with Briar and it went swimmingly (despite my former fears about the process). So who knows what will happen? I’m trying to relax and trust that it will all work out. Easier said than done, of course ;)

32 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

This baby is definitely much more up in my ribs and my hip bones than Briar ever was, so the sensations are totally new to me. I woke up yesterday with my stomach completely shifted to the left side…so crazy! I’ve also noticed a shift in my energy for the better after my last blood test signaled my iron levels were low. Thanks to the combination of prenatal vitamins and iron supplements, I’m feeling much more energetic these days than I was before.

32 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

In terms of dressing this ever-growing bod, well, it’s all about the maxi dresses. I now have four dresses from Pinkblush (including this one that I’m wearing in the photos!) and believe me when I say they have been my best pregnancy investment. Not only are they super comfy and easy to wear but they don’t scream maternity so I know I’ll continue to get plenty of use out of them long after our bub arrives. Being massively pregnant at the height of the summer is not exactly a walk in the park (in fact, there are no walks in the park happening because IT’S. TOO. HOT.), so keeping my wardrobe simple is a huge help.

32 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

I keep wondering what, if anything, I’ll want to do differently this time around and all I can think is that I want to ENJOY more.

The hardest phase with Briar was definitely the first few weeks. In hindsight, I wish I would have relaxed and enjoyed those early days where she just wanted to sleep, eat, repeat. I remember having to set my alarm in the middle of the night so I could make sure she was being fed every 2-3 hours (per the pediatrician’s orders) and it felt so counterintuitive. She was nearly impossible to awaken and I was a zombie myself, so I’m honestly not sure if much was getting accomplished. However, once Briar began steadily gaining more weight and the doctor was pleased with her progress, things got a little easier. Breastfeeding became second nature, getting things done while holding or wearing her started to feel normal, and I began to grow my confidence as a capable and loving mom. I’ve also seen the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to sleep deprivation. It took over a year to get Briar to sleep through the night but now she can easily put away ten glorious hours and I barely remember what life was once like! I know it will be challenging. I know I’ll feel the same frustrations I felt the first time around. I know there will be growing pains and lessons to learn and adjustments to make. But I’m not stressed about it.

32 Weeks | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m well aware that these last few weeks are going to fly by, so I’m doing my best to enjoy every moment + milestone!

P.S. Leave a comment below to enter to win a $75 gift card to Pinkblush!

UPDATE: The winner is Nicole Norman! Congrats! E-mail me and I will get you squared away with your gift card! xo

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