how to sleep when you have a newborn (and a giveaway!).

Posted on: Friday, October 24, 2014

How to Sleep When You Have a Newborn | Ann-Marie Loves

My biggest fear about having a baby (aside from, ummm, how the heck is she going to come out?!) was that I would never sleep again.

You see, I come from a family that fiercely guards their sleep. And when I say fiercely, I mean fiercely. On weekend mornings, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Morris family will be sleeping in as long as possible. There’s no way we willingly forgo an extra second of our precious sleep for anything less than a life or death situation. (Kidding!) (Kind of.). So needless to say, I was a little worried about what would become of my tried-and-true sleep habits.

The first few nights after Briar was born, there understandably was not a lot of rest going on. Between a hungry baby and a sore mama, those two nights in the hospital were the exact opposite of restful. Then we got home and that first night was utterly exhausting. I was having one heck of a time getting comfortable with nursing and being that Briar was underweight, I needed to feed her every two hours. It seemed like as soon as I fed her and climbed back in bed, it was already time to get back up and repeat the cycle again. I began to worry that this phase of life was going to be the death of me.

But ironically, the struggle with nursing totally saved me. Since I needed to plump up an underweight baby and I really wanted to let my body heal a little bit, I pumped exclusively for two days straight. It was a lot of work, but man, it gave me a sense of freedom knowing that John could give Briar a bottle and I could get a little extra sleep. We alternated middle-of-the-night feedings so that we both could be semi-rested and present for our new baby. We fell into a great routine that kept my sanity intact (and my eyeballs open).

When John had to go back to work a week after Briar arrived, we came up with a nice little feeding schedule: I would handle the middle-of-the-night feedings and he would give Briar a bottle before heading to the office. Since I work from home, it didn’t matter how long Briar and I slept in in the morning. I soon realized that it was easier for me to stay up late (2 to 3 am) and then sleep straight through until 10 or 11 am than it was to wake up every couple of hours in the middle of the night and feel groggy. So that’s how we do it: stay up late + sleep in.

The main reason I do it this way (aside from the fact that I’m naturally a night owl) is because John feeds her between 6-7 am everyday. If I were to go to bed earlier, it would defeat the whole point of having my husband take a feeding. I’ll admit that there are days when Briar and I don’t get out of bed until noon, but maui wowee, I’m a much better mom + wife when I have a nice chunk of sleep under my belt.

How to Sleep When You Have a Newborn | Ann-Marie Loves

Here are the keys to my personal sleeping success:

Let someone else feed the baby. Pumping has been a LIFESAVER for me. Not only did it help me to plump my tiny little newborn back to a healthy weight, but it allows me to get a longer stretch of sleep than most new moms probably get. Pumping a bottle every single day takes a little extra effort, but being able to sleep 6-7 straight hours? WORTH IT.

Learn to nurse while laying down. Oh man. Once I realized that I didn’t actually have to sit up to feed Briar, I felt like I had a new lease on life. After John leaves for work in the morning, he lays Briar next to me in our bed and I sleep until she wakes me up for another feeding. Given the convenience of already having her in bed, that morning feeding is a breeze! Of course, I still have to get up to change the inevitable diaper, but it’s much easier to go right back to sleep afterwards.

Find good TV shows to watch. The secret to being able to stay awake until 3 am? Jimmy Fallon. Parenthood. Gilmore Girls.

Have breakfast ready to go. When I get out of bed in the morning, Briar is usually hungry again, so I’m left with only one free hand to make breakfast. (Have you ever tried to make oatmeal + coffee with one hand while nursing a 10 pound baby in the other? Not so seamless.) Thankfully, I just discovered the wonderful world of crock pots, so I’ve been finding all kinds of awesome breakfast recipes that I can put together the night before and eat as soon as I get up. The same thing goes for my coffee. A little prep work goes a loooooong way.

Keep a bedside basket of necessities. I keep a small basket on my nightstand that contains burp rags, extra pacifiers, and snack foods, so I don’t have to get out of bed to grab these items.

Go with the flow. While I would love to have a more conventional sleep schedule, I know that these odd hours won’t last forever. So I’m doing what works best for myself + my daughter, right here, right now. I feel incredibly lucky that Briar is an easygoing babe (for the most part ;)) and that John is a hands-on dad and that my work schedule is super flexible. The combination of those three things makes my life so much easier.

How to Sleep When You Have a Newborn + a Breast Pump Giveaway! | Ann-Marie Loves

In the spirit of getting some shut eye, one lucky reader will win an Ameda Purely Yours double electric breast pump! Even if you’re not currently nursing, this would be a great gift to a new mom who could use an extra pair of hands to feed her babe. To win, simply leave a comment below letting me know what kind of baby-related posts you’d love to see here in the future. The winner will be announced next Friday (October 31st). Good luck!

briar’s name.

Posted on: Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Briar Soleil | Ann-Marie Loves | Photos by LaRousse Photo

John and I have been together for almost ten years. TEN YEARS. That decade includes high school, college, post-college, marriage, and now parenthood. In that time, we’ve had maaaaaany a disagreement, but the one thing we both wholeheartedly agreed on? Our baby’s name.

Briar Soleil | Ann-Marie Loves | Photos by LaRousse Photo

Given the fact that naming a human is, uh, a big freaking deal, we had to set some ground rules early on. Any name that we chose had to meet the following criteria:

- phonetic spelling
- absolutely no symbols or punctuation marks (trust me, the struggle is real!)
- had to pass the coffee order test (would a barista be able to understand this name instantly?)
- had to be somewhat unique

Briar Soleil | Ann-Marie Loves | Photos by LaRousse Photo

My favorite girl’s name over the past couple of years has been Soleil. I love the sound of it, I love the spelling of it, I love the meaning of it. But after running it by my friends and realizing not everyone immediately knew how to pronounce it, I decided it would be far better suited as a middle name. Luckily, John’s favorite name, Briar, complemented Soleil perfectly. The name Briar was unique; it felt modern and classic at the same time. It was unlike anything we had ever heard before, but not so outlandish that it would haunt her forever. We were both in agreement: if we were lucky enough to have a daughter one day, her name was going to be Briar Soleil.

Briar Soleil | Ann-Marie Loves | Photos by LaRousse Photo

So when I found out I was pregnant last November, I not-so-secretly hoped for a girl. “Please please please let it be a Briar Soleil” was all I could think (aside from “OHMYGODWHATAMIDOING?!”). We had our girl’s name on lock.

Briar Soleil | Ann-Marie Loves | Photos by LaRousse Photo

Ever since the night that we knew the baby was a girl, we referred to her as Briar. We spent countless hours throughout my pregnancy dreaming out loud about what she would look like, what she would sound like, what she would be like. She was such a mystery to us and all we could do was hope that her name would fit her well.

On August 8th, after going two weeks past my due date and feeling like we would never meet her, we finally locked eyes with our daughter for the first time and we knew: she was our Briar Soleil.

Photos by the amazing La Rousse Photo

this girl.

Posted on: Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ann-Marie Espinoza | BasicGrey Second City Line
Ann-Marie Espinoza | BasicGrey Second City Line

She’s my new favorite subject. But I think you already knew that ;)

 

Supplies: Second City 12 x 12 Patterned Paper // Second City Die-Cuts + Transparencies // Fiskars Large Circle Punch // Fiskars XL Circle Punch // Dimensional Adhesive

glassware hutch makeover.

Posted on: Monday, October 13, 2014

Glassware Hutch Makeover | Ann-Marie Loves

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!

Glassware Hutch Makeover | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

Glassware Hutch Makeover | Ann-Marie Loves

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!

Glassware Hutch Makeover | Ann-Marie Loves

Nesting instinct, feel free to stay forever.

diaper bag essentials | infant edition.

Posted on: Friday, October 10, 2014

Diaper Bag Essentials | Infant Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

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:

Diaper Bag Essentials | Infant Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

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)?

as of late | october edition.

Posted on: Wednesday, October 8, 2014

As of Late | October Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Dying: to make my own pompom rug. P.S. I totally love Liz’s blog!

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.

october stamps!

Posted on: Thursday, October 2, 2014

October stamps are now in the shop!

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:
October Limited Edition Rubber Stamps | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

01. Happy Halloween | 02. Trick or Treat | 03. XOXO | 04.You’re Amazing | 05. Hi, Hello, How Are You? | 06. October | 07. Good Vibes Only

Grab Bag

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 :)

Stamps + grab bags here!

artful blogging.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ann-Marie Espinoza in Artful Blogging Magazine

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.

 

Ann-Marie Espinoza in Artful Blogging Magazine

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.

Ann-Marie Espinoza in Artful Blogging Magazine

You can read more about my thoughts on blogging in the Autumn issue of Artful Blogging magazine :)

August 2014 Stamps | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

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 ;)

 

pumping for the win.

Posted on: Friday, September 26, 2014

Breastfeeding is a Learning Curve | Ann-Marie Loves + Ameda Purely Yours Pump

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.

Breastfeeding is a Learning Curve | Ann-Marie Loves + Ameda Purely Yours 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…

Breastfeeding is a Learning Curve | Ann-Marie Loves + Ameda Purely Yours Pump

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!

diy gold fringe mobile.

Posted on: Thursday, September 25, 2014

DIY Gold Fringe Mobile | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

DIY Gold Fringe Mobile | Ann-Marie Loves

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!

DIY Gold Fringe Mobile | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

DIY Gold Fringe Mobile | Ann-Marie Loves

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.

DIY Gold Fringe Mobile | Ann-Marie Loves

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!

 

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