She’s my new favorite subject. But I think you already knew that ;)
Good news, guys: the nesting instinct is still live and kicking! (Insert a million “thumbs up” emojis here). My free time may be more limited these days, but I am still very much obsessed with making this house a home for my little family.
The other day, I decided to take advantage of one of Briar’s midday naps and paint the back wall of our dining room hutch. It was a simple project that took maybe an hour and only required a single bottle of Martha Stewart craft paint + a paintbrush. As a new mom, I’ve learned that any kind of task that can be started + finished in a single stretch is a major victory!
How it looked before painting the back wall.
The back story behind this hutch:
A few weeks after moving to Pasadena, I spotted it abandoned on the curb and instantly knew it had to be mine. I had SO MANY pieces of glassware from our wedding just sitting in boxes…needless to say, the timing could not have been better! Sure, the hutch wasn’t perfect and the brown paint job was, well, not exactly my favorite. But the price point! (Or lack thereof.) It was truly meant to be. So I convinced John to help me lug it in the house and it’s been sitting in our dining space ever since.
I still have grand plans of painting the whole thing white + then wallpapering the back wall, but in the meantime, the bright pop of aqua is totally filling that void. I love the color that it brings to our dining room and I am so thrilled with the way it showcases my glassware!
Nesting instinct, feel free to stay forever.
Before I had Briar, I imagined that packing a diaper bag for a Trader Joe’s run would mean packing her entire closet and a whole case of diapers. You know, just in case. Fast forward to the first time I left the house with her in tow and I instantly realized I really only needed a handful of essential items. This is part of the reason I switched from using an oversized bag like this to a striped canvas purse that I’ve had for years (shown above). Not only is this bag smaller and easier to throw items into, but it also fits nicely in the compartment under the stroller or hanging from a Mommy Hook. GAME CHANGER.
Briar’s diaper bag is always packed and ready to go with these essential items:
Diapers. Obvious choice, yes. I still don’t have a particular brand that I buy from consistently, but these adorable Honest diapers get the job done pretty well. I always keep at least three on hand for short trips.
Wipes. When we’re at home, we use soft paper towels and a small water bottle to clean Briar during changings, but for on-the-go purposes, we use travel-size packs of Honest wipes. The resealable packaging makes it perfect for diaper changes on the fly.
Portable Changing Pad. Since we’re not always near a restroom, I pack a portable changing pad for clean-ups in her stroller, on the ground, in the trunk, or anywhere else, and then throw it in the laundry when we get home. (P.S. plastic bags are perfect for storing these kinds of soiled items in the diaper bag until you get home!)
Hand sanitizer. I think hand sanitizers are pretty self-explanatory but such a crucial part of the diaper bag experience ;) This travel-size option from Babyganics is my favorite.
Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets. I am POSITIVE that one can never have enough of these swaddle blankets! We use them for everything from swaddling to draping over the car seat to protect Briar’s eyes from the sun to covering up while nursing to keeping her warm when we go out on evening walks. The versatility factor is top notch.
Squeaky toys. Typically Briar is NOT a fan of diaper changes, unless we can distract her with a noisy toy, such as this adorable squeaky elephant or anything with a chime inside of it. Distractions are KEY.
Cloth rags. Given the fact that I have a spit-up baby on my hands, I could really use a lifetime supply of these cloth rags. I have them stashed all around the house and keep at least two in the diaper bag at all times.
Pacifiers. This is the one item we don’t DARE leave home without. Against the advice of our baby class nurses and everything we read about newborns, we introduced these NUK pacifiers on day two and haven’t looked back since. They calm Briar down in an instant which makes for one happy family ;)
Change of clothes. My poor summer baby still has yet to experience cold weather, but for chilly nights + overly air conditioned public places, a light sweater is important to have on hand. This particular sweater was a Baby Gap find and I will most likely cry the day that she outgrows it…that’s how much I love it! I also have two onesies in my bag because this girl is the queen of multiple daily wardrobe changes!
What are your favorite items for your little one(s)?
Adding: more craft supply grab bags to the shop. I have waaaaay too much stuff! More stuff than I will ever use. Take it off my hands and put it to good use, would ya? :)
Putting: Briar in this ridiculously cute onesie from Baby Gap (shown above), even though it’ll be months before she really fits into it.
Watching: Jimmy Fallon every night.
Feeling: more scatterbrained than ever before. Note to self: write things down.
Spending: weekends with family, where there’s no shortage of people who want to hold the baby. Thank goodness for them!
Loving: every single page of this book. The styling, the crafts, the colors…spot on.
Seeing: more of my friends now than I ever did while pregnant! So much fun. Getting out of the house takes forever and a day with a baby in tow, but it’s totally doable (and totally necessary).
Thinking: that Emily Henderson + Target = the best collaboration EVER. I love the first video in her styling series!
Using: my Boba Wrap nonstop so the dishes can be cleaned while the baby can be snuggled and the mama can feel good about her life.
Rejoicing: in the return of daily walks. Even though it’s still way too hot here, walks are the answer to early evening fussiness for Briar and stir craziness for me. Plus, having a stroller to haul all my stuff (water, keys, iPhone, baby) has taken my walking game to a whole new level.
Pulling: the trigger on this lens as soon as I finish this post! It’s been in my cart for weeks, but something about this moment feels like the right time to go for it. Just in time for Briar’s first trip to the pumpkin patch!
Becoming: adept at nursing while walking around the house, while making breakfast, while answering e-mails, while packing orders, while eating meals, while cleaning up, while doing just about everything. It’s crazy for me to think back to the first few days when breastfeeding was SO HARD and involved approximately 36 pillows to get just the right position. I’m beyond grateful for how it all worked out.
Trying: to wrap my brain around the fact that in just a few weeks, John and I will have been married for a whole year. W H A T ?! Excuse me while I replay our wedding video four million times…
Watching: Jimmy Fallon every night.
Taking: steps towards a new career path. It’s been a dream of mine for years, but something I haven’t had the guts to really go for…until now. Eeek!
Collecting: recipes for my new crock pot! Any suggestions?
Trying: to decide what Briar should be for Halloween! Gah! The pressure is on!
Moving: in slow motion (or so it feels), but enjoying the change of pace. October, I love you.
There’s a mix of everything, from Halloween (guys, what should Briar’s costume be?!) to my favorite phrase to general sentiments that are perfect for all kinds of paper projects! Here they are:
During the great “I’m going to be pregnant forever so I might as well organize this house” situation in early August, I put together fifteen grab bags stuffed with paper craft supplies. Now that I’ve finally figured out how to balance a baby in my arms while I work (literally!), these bags are now in my shop! I hope they bring you many a happy crafternoon :)
Whenever I’m asked to package my blog into a neat little description, I always struggle a bit. I mean, really, what is this blog about? I talk about everything from wedding planning to productivity to crafting to having babies. There’s no single topic that drives my blog; it evolves as my life evolves.
Blogging is like exercising: the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Coming up with things to blog about is definitely the hardest part of the process, but also the most rewarding. I can’t tell you how good it feels to finish a post that I am proud of and then wake up excited to go look at it again the next morning. 2014 has been a good year for me, blogging-wise. With the exception of an informal “maternity leave,” 2014 has been the year that I committed to posting on a daily basis. It has been the year that I’ve found my blogging stride + style. It’s the year that I’ve pushed myself as a creative, both through photography + writing.
Even though I have been blogging in various capacities since I was in college, I feel like I am just now getting started.
You can read more about my thoughts on blogging in the Autumn issue of Artful Blogging magazine :)
P.S. Today is OFFICIALLY the last day to stock up on my August limited edition stamps. Yes, I realize I totally skipped over the month of September (whoops!), but a certain little someone was stealing my attention away. Plus, I wanted to give you extra time to snag my most favorite stamp I’ve ever designed ;)
The first few days after Briar was born, the two of us struggled with nursing. Oh man, we struggled.
My tiny little peanut of a daughter turned into a ravenous piranha anytime she sensed food was close at hand, leaving my chest a little (read: A LOT) sore. Then we began having latching issues. Then John and I found out that Briar had lost nearly 10% of her birth weight and we were instructed to chunk that baby back up…STAT.
Enter: my Ameda pump.
Talk about total game changer.
Suddenly I was able to feed my child on a regular schedule. I was able to measure just how much milk she was consuming. John and I were able to alternate middle of the night feedings since he could give her a bottle of pumped milk. And selfishly, I was able to take a break from painful feedings for a moment while still keeping my milk supply up.
Within two days of every-two-hour feedings, we plumped our Briar girl up another six ounces. S I X. I’ve had many proud moments in my life, but hearing that number as the pediatrician laid her on the scale is a top contender for proudest moment. When the doctor left the room, John and I high-fived. Teamwork! Thanks to the pump, we were no longer in the scary red zone of infant weight loss. I now had a little more wiggle room to regroup and give nursing another shot…
Fast forward six weeks and we’ve got a pretty solid rhythm down. Nursing now feels like second nature, but I still pump a bottle every single day for John to give to Briar before he heads off to work. This not only allows for some important father / daughter bonding time, but it also lets me get in a 6-7 hour stretch of sleep! (Unheard of, I know!) I’m not exaggerating when I say that pumping has truly been the key to surviving the newborn stage.
This post was sponsored by Ameda, but the ideas + opinions are all my own. Ameda + United Healthcare have recently teamed up with Target to offer moms the ability to pick up their breast pump at their local Target pharmacy! You can find out more about this collaboration here!
One of the most surprising things I’ve noticed since having Briar is that although my roles + responsibilities have changed, I still feel like myself. For some reason, I had assumed that being a mom would essentially turn me into a brand new person with brand new likes + dislikes, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Instead, I’m still the same ol’ Ann-Marie, who wants to make stuff and decorate my home and go thrifting for treasures, just with a lot less time (and no free hands!) to actually do those things. If anything’s changed, it’s that I’ve learned to seize those short bursts of free time and get things done as fast as possible. They may be infrequent but they’re perfect for squeezing in quick projects that satisfy my need to create + make my living space a happy place for the three of us.
One of my recent projects: a gold fringe mobile to hang over Briar’s crib!
The gold fringe was leftover from our wedding and I had no idea what to do with it until it hit me to cut it into 3 foot increments and turn those pieces into tassels. Then I stapled each tassel along a lengthy strand of baker’s twine and somehow managed to fold it in half enough times to create this cool chandelier shape.
The best part of all (aside from the fact that I was able to incorporate my beloved GOLD into the baby’s room) is that it’s super lightweight, making it both easy to hang from the ceiling with super tape AND earthquake-safe.
Briar is still sleeping in a bassinet in our bedroom (where she will stay until she’s at least 18), but we spend a lot of time in the nursery / office. As the sunlight shifts throughout the day, the golden light reflecting off the mobile bounces around the room like a disco ball, completely captivating both the baby and myself.
Long live gold fringe!
Today marks six weeks with Briar and everything has new meaning.
Our days are still punctuated with the standard newborn agenda (feedings, diaper changes, and lots of naps), but at this stage in the game, she’s much more receptive and vocal about these experiences. Despite any sleep deprivation I may have, I’m making a conscious effort to really be present and enjoy each moment + milestone while they’re here. When I went two weeks past my due date, those extra thirteen days felt like an eternity. But six weeks of having her here? LIGHTNING FAST.
Briar’s personality is slowly starting to emerge and it’s such an amazing privilege to bear witness to her discovering the world. I try to remember that life is literally BRAND NEW to her. The other day the phone rang and as she looked at me with wide-eyed wonder, I realized she had never heard such a sound before! There’s so much that I take for granted that I’m suddenly revisiting with new eyes.
We’re still working on balancing sleep with feedings, but lately we’ve been staying up until 3 am. It may seem a little crazy, but I really do enjoy that time with her. We listen to the playlist I put together for her (“Isn’t She Lovely” and “St. Judy’s Comet” are in heavy rotation), we snuggle together, and every once in awhile, she let’s me get some work done! I know life won’t always be this way, so I’m rolling with it.
At six weeks old, she’s staying awake much longer and learning new “tricks” seemingly overnight. For instance, on Tuesday she could only hold her head up for a few seconds without falling back down. By Wednesday, she could sit upright for long stretches without any additional neck support from John or me! Proud parent moment right there.
Her brown hair is starting to fall out and is giving way to what appears to be blonde roots. It’s hard to tell which parent she looks more like, but with blue eyes, incoming blonde hair, and a fiery temper, I think she’s officially my daughter :)
Babies, you guys. Such a wild and wonderful adventure.
To say that I like to experiment with my living space would be an understatement. I LOVE to experiment and play and tinker my life away with all of the big + small pieces that make this house a home. But because our budget for decor is, oh, next to nothing these days (hi, scary hospital bills.) (p.s. did you know that an epidural costs three thousand dollars? THREE THOUSAND? I mean, money well spent, but whoa there.) (p.p.s. in my next life, I’m becoming an anesthesiologist.), I have to get resourceful and only invest in pieces that will work in any room, in any season, in any home.
Case in point: the Vibrant Diamond pillow from Tiny Prints.
When Tiny Prints approached me about putting my own spin on their new customizable home decor line, I jumped at the chance. Not only am I a huge fan of their products, but having the ability to personalize them? Icing on the cake.
I decided to go with the Vibrant Diamond pillow and put my favorite phrase, “XOXO,” on it, since it would lend itself perfectly to any room in my home. Here I have it styled in our master bedroom, but you can see how it works just as well in Briar’s nursery too!
This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints, but the opinions and ideas are all my own.