Entries Tagged as 'baby'

diy fairy wands.

Posted on: Friday, February 10, 2017

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

This past December I nearly lost my freaking mind when I stepped foot into the new Cotton On Kids at one of my local malls. I walked through the store with my eyes wide open and exclaimed “oh my gosh!” every thirty seconds because I wanted to buy ONE OF EVERYTHING. (I honestly don’t remember the last time I felt that excited? Maybe when I was in my scrapbooking heyday and took a tour of American Crafts’ showroom for the first time…now that was a happy day.) I ended up buying quite a few things for my kiddos, including an adorable fairy wand for my two year old. When it came time for her to open her gifts on Christmas morning, she was just as enthused about her new fairy wand as I was about shopping for it.

Since she loves it so much (despite snapping the stick in half in a moment of intense princess playing – ha!), I decided to try making her a few new wands myself. Here’s how I did it:

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves


Felt Sheets

Heavy Duty Straws

Sharp Scissors

Pony Beads

E6000 Glue (or other heavy duty adhesive)

Multicolored String or Yarn

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Apply the E6000 glue to a small portion of the straw and begin to wrap it with the string. Continue to add glue and more string as you work your way down and let it dry. This is definitely the most tedious (and least fragrant) part but it goes by pretty fast.

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Next, cut out different shapes from felt and layer them together to the front and back of the straw to create the topper. I freehanded these floral shapes but feel free to measure or map out your design first.

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

To create the strands that hang down from the top of the wand, cut a 12″ strand of string and add pony beads to both ends. Knot each side and place a little adhesive inside the bottom beads to secure them into place. Then tie the string to the top of the straw in a double knot. Finally, when the toddler wakes up from her nap and is overjoyed to see what you are working on and eagerly wants to “help,” have her sort the pony beads by color ;)

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

The entire project took about thirty minutes and it was so much fun to make!

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Fairy Wands for Toddlers | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar is quite the dichotomy as she is equal parts tomboy and girly girl. She’s fearless and seldom shies away from a physical challenge or a tall play structure (much to my terror). She loves playing catch and splashing in puddles and digging in the dirt. On the other hand, she’s also a sensitive soul who idolizes “Princess Minnie and Princess Daisy” and never leaves the house without her jewelry. She loves wearing pretty dresses and baking cookies (real and pretend) and showering her loved ones with spontaneous hugs and kisses. I adore these opposite aspects of her personality and am making a conscious effort to let her be herself without imposing too much of my own judgement on her. I want Briar to be as authentically Briar as she can possibly be without feeling like she needs to ascribe to any stereotypes placed on girls. I am a big believer in the fact that the future is most definitely female :)

mom style | the second time around.

Posted on: Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

There have been some new additions to the family since my sister-in-law, Jamie, and I last made a Mom Style post!

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

I had Landon in September…

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

And Jamie had Laith in July.

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

Needless to say, we’ve doubled our group of kiddos! With new kids means new challenges and time constraints for us, so we thought it would be fun to show you all of our favorite products that we turn to these days now that we are moms of two.

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

Ann-Marie’s Picks:

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. I was first turned on to this product by a random beauty product video I watched on YouTube and I instantly added it to my Amazon cart. (Clearly I am a sucker for video tutorials.) I usually wear this mask about once a week and I love the way it makes my skin feels so smooth after I wash it off! I tend to have very problematic skin except in the early postpartum phase when my hormones actually work in my favor. Right now I’m in a good skin season of life, so I’m trying to stay one step ahead of the curve by treating my face to some TLC with gentle cleansers, moisturizers, and this mask.

Oversized Hat. I’m a hat person to the very end. They make me feel sleek. They make me feel pulled together. They make me feel like the designer / photographer / blogger that I am. Sometimes I wonder if I wear hats too often (is that such a thing?), but then I stop caring about what others think and just wear the damn hat for the millionth day in a row. Getting older has it’s perks…

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. I’ll be honest: there’s not a lot of hair styling going on over here these days. In fact, I consider it a successful day if I get around to brushing my hair…! But every now and then when I actually want to look slightly put-together, I’ll use this amazing texturizing spray on the ends of my hair and rub it in with my fingers until I achieve the right amount of body and shape. It’s a bit pricey but seriously worth every penny if you want killer results.

Get To Work Book. I could go on and on about how much I love this planner and how much it has revolutionized the way I approach my days. I not only use it for planning out the logistics of daily life, but I also use it as a notepad for creating shopping or packing lists, too. And that pink highlighter art on the cover is courtesy of Briar ;)

Wrinkle Releaser Spray. Okay, this is a recent discovery of mine and I don’t know how I was able to ever leave the house before I had this spray! A few quick spritzes to a wrinkled item of clothing, a little tugging, and your outfit is smooth as can be! Who has time for ironing? Just get this spray and get on with your life!

Suede Ankle Boots. I don’t wear heels very often but when I do, I always feel polished and put-together. These lace-up ankle boots instantly take me out of mom-mode and straight into date night! Plus the thick heel makes for (relatively) comfy walking.

Sculpting Brow Mascara. I’ve mentioned this product in past Mom Style roundups, but it’s worth mentioning again. As long as I have this eyebrow mascara and a little foundation on, I feel like I can greet the day with confidence. I’m telling you (especially my fellow blondes!), defined eyebrows make all the difference on a face.

Gold Sunglasses. These glasses are borderline tacky and I think that’s why I love them so much! I adore a little unexpected kitsch in my life and I feel like such a cool mom while heading into Trader Joe’s with a baby in the Ergo and a toddler holding my hand. You have to find those little things that make you feel like the best version of yourself and these glasses totally do it for me.

Essential Oil Diffuser. Quality time to myself is far and few between these days, so one of my favorite parts of the day is when I can sneak away for a shower. I grab a glass of wine, I turn on my new oil diffuser, and I enjoy the five minutes of peace and relaxation before I take on the real world again.

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

Jamie’s Picks:

Facial Serum. My morning facial routine goes as follows: Honest Company body wash to clean my face, blot dry with towel, apply a few pumps of this facial serum to my face, spray with rose glycerin water, then depending on how dry my face has been I’ll apply a small amount of coconut oil as well. If I’m going to wear a light tinted moisturizer for a more even look I skip the coconut oil and apply the tinted moisturizer. This serum works well as a primer, too.

Chivas Lip Balm. I’ve been leaning more towards organic, cruelty-free, and locally made products. This lip balm comes from a goat farm in Ventura County here in Southern California. Most of the ingredients are organic. The light scent and smooth texture feels and smells delicious. With our home heater set on high lately my lips should be chapped, but this balm has kept them silky smooth.

Rose Water Spray. My cousin introduced me to this product in November and I’ve used it daily ever since. This comes with or without glycerin. I prefer the glycerin for the moisturizing benefit. I use it every morning and often throughout the day to refresh my face (with or without makeup on). Three sprays gives me just the right amount of moisturizing coverage. Anything more I feel the glycerin weighing down on my skin. I will apply heavily at night when my skin is extra dry.

Candles. If I could cover all the surfaces in my home with candles, I would! But for a certain little two year old’s safety, I cannot. Candlelight has a very calming effect on me. I’m always on the hunt for a good smelling, clean-burning candle. Any candle that will make my house smell like cookies or pies baking will make it’s way home with me.

Robe. I have three of these light cotton robes in rotation. They are scattered through out my house…in the bedroom,  bathroom, laundry room. If I’m not leaving the house, you can bet money I’ll be wearing a robe all day long.

Turkish Coffee. I love my coffee! This year for Christmas my husband bought me this Turkish coffee pot. Up until now, we have only enjoyed Turkish coffee while on vacation or when visiting family so it’s been a treat for us to have it at home whenever we want. My husband makes better Turkish coffee than I do and he will tell everyone the same. Sipping a hot cup of Turkish coffee in my home is a double treat. My love language is Acts of Service, so when my husband brings me a steaming, freshly-boiled cup of Turkish coffee, my heart overflows with love.

Aromatherapy Essential Oils. The kids and I have made it a nightly routine to add lavender or eucalyptus to the bath water. Aromatherapy is good for the soul, good for the whole family. When the oils come out, I know bedtime is near.

Organic Cotton Pads and High-Waisted Underwear. First, let’s talk about the cotton “boobie pads.” I am so happy I found these shortly after my first baby. I have tried disposable nursing pads and have hated them every time. The synthetic materials are not breathable and chafe my skin. The cotton pads are thick, extra absorbent, and are easy to care for. I’ve used the same batch for over two years. I put them in the washer and dryer with the rest of the clothes. If I’m on top of my laundry game, they all make it into a garment bag for washing. Secondly, I’d like to talk about my newfound love for high-waisted panties. My last baby was born via c-section. It was an amazing experience: no post-surgery complications, manageable pain, and a smooth recovery. The only thing I have been struggling with are the nerves that were severed at the c-section incision. It’s the strangest sensation; sometimes painful, sometimes numb, sometimes it doesn’t feel like a part of my body. Needless to say, I’ve been very sensitive to touch in that area. Waistbands are uncomfortable when worn over my incision. I’ve found higher waisted jeans, work scrubs, and underwear to be most comfortable. These underwear are my favorite! They are silky smooth, breathable, and super stretchy. The waistband comes nowhere near my incision!

Dr. Bronner’s Soap. My husband and I both use this for body wash. I prefer the eucalyptus scent but he prefers the lavender scent. Since I love him so much, I always pick up his favorite. Nothing feels better at the end of a long day than a hot, steamy shower with a sea sponge lathered up in fragrant suds.

Mom Style | Second Time Around | Ann-Marie Loves

P.S. More Mom Style posts here!

toddler art table.

Posted on: Thursday, January 12, 2017

Toddler Art Table | Ann-Marie Loves

(Bed head in full effect ;)

Admittedly I’m an impulsive person. Once I get an idea in my head, there’s no stopping me until I can scratch that itch (just ask my husband). In this case, I had been on the hunt for a little table for Briar to use with the mini chairs that I thrifted a few years ago. Then I remembered the simple eight dollar side tables that I had used in former apartments and knew they would be the perfect size and color for the art station I envisioned. So on the day before Thanksgiving, I packed up the kiddos in their car seats and braved the holiday traffic, all in the name of IKEA!

Toddler Art Table | Ann-Marie Loves

I always get a little tooooo ambitious at IKEA and think that I can fit more in my arms (and my car!) than I physically can, but since I had two babies in a giant stroller with me, I was forced to keep my priorities straight. This impromptu adventure was well worth the effort because that eight dollar side table has not only been great for meal and snack times, but it has allowed me to live out one of my wildest dreams: watching my own child color and create.

Toddler Art Table | Ann-Marie Loves

You know the saying “out of sight, out of mind?” Well, that’s definitely the case with toys and art supplies. I have a basket filled with art supplies in Briar’s closet that I often forget about so I am making a much more concerted effort to bring it out and set up an art station everyday. If Briar can see it then she’s much more likely to pull up her chair and start coloring instead of begging me to turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. (Although, God bless that Mickey Mouse and the wonderful babysitter that he is ;)

Toddler Art Table | Ann-Marie Loves

Typically Briar likes to rope others into coloring with her (“draw a mommy triangle! draw a baby triangle! draw a Nana triangle!”), and even though I don’t always want to join in, I inevitably feel better if I do. It’s like when we go to the park and she wants me to play in the sand with her. I mean, I don’t really want to be a sand monster by the time we leave, but there is something incredibly therapeutic about these simple childhood pleasures. When it comes to coloring, I love to use the multicolored heart-shaped crayons that I made for Briar this past summer. They’re so satisfying!

Toddler Art Table | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m always looking for toddler-friendly crafts I can do with Briar, especially anything that requires minimal set-up and clean-up. Any suggestions?

want, need, wear, read | baby + toddler gift guides.

Posted on: Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Celebrating the holidays with little ones is a million times more fun that I could have ever predicted. I’m pretty sure that I will be the one who can’t sleep on Christmas Eve because I’ll be too excited to see Briar’s reaction to everything in the morning! But since my kids are still little and don’t have any concept of what to expect, I feel like it’s the perfect time to institute the notion of buying items that fit the categories of “want, need, wear, and read.” Here are some of my favorite things that I’m considering for Briar and Landon this Christmas:

Want / Need / Wear Read | Infant + Toddler Gift Guides | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Toaster. One of Briar’s longstanding favorite toys is her play kitchen (or “chicken,” as she calls it) so this wooden toaster would be a welcome addition.

02. A-Frame Dollhouse. An A-frame dollhouse! I mean, come on…this is beyond.

03. Rainbow Puzzle. Briar’s puzzle skills are growing by the day and this rainbow one would be challenging enough for her to for the next few months.

04. 360 Degree Toothbrush. You can never have too many toothbrushes…especially ones that my toddler will actually use!

05. Snack Catcher Bowls. We have a few of these already and they are so handy for car trips, stroller rides, or even while watching one of her favorite shows.

06. Unicorn Backpack. This little backpack would be perfect for the days she spends with her grandparents.

07. Denim Jacket. Denim jackets are such a classic piece and this faded color matches the one that I have in my size.

08. Printed Leggings. Leggings are such a toddler wardrobe staple and I adore this floral print.

09. Tutu Dress. This tutu dress is so sweet and easily lends itself to playing dress-up!

10. My Dad Used to Be So Cool. I saw a flip through of this book on Instagram and thought it was so clever and so apropos for John’s number one fan.

11. Dragons Love Tacos. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this story!

12. My Quotable Kid. Briar is now speaking in full sentences and has so many cute / funny things to say on a daily basis…I don’t want to miss a thing!

Want / Need / Wear Read | Infant + Toddler Gift Guides | Ann-Marie Loves

01. Triangle Clutching Toy. As the second child, Landon doesn’t need too many toys or books since we already have so much, but it’s always nice to get a few new things that are just for him.

02. Wubbanub Fox. The jury is still out as to what Landon really think about pacifiers but I’m thinking this cute fox will sweeten the deal.

03. Rainbow Stacker. Stacking rings are always a hit and this wooden version is just so beautiful.

04. California Baby. California Baby is the mainstay in both kids’ bathing routines. It’s especially gentle on Landon’s super dry skin.

05. Black and White Swaddle Blankets. Swaddle blankets are my number one suggestion for new moms because they are not only great for swaddling but they’re light and soft enough to use as a nursing cover, as a burp cloth, or as shield from the sun.

06. Water Wipes. Maybe wipes aren’t the most exciting gift but Landon’s at the perfect age where he doesn’t know the difference ;)

07. Plaid Shirt + Pants. I adore this two piece set because it reminds me so much of John!

08. Black and White Striped One-Piece. One can never go wrong with black and white stripes.

09. Blue Jacket. I love the fleece lining on this jacket.

10. Firefighter Fred. Soft books are always a safe bet for introducing babies to reading.

11. Baby’s First Year. I haven’t purchased a traditional baby book for Landon yet but I am eager to get one going! This particular book has darling illustrations!

12. Farm Tails. The interactive flaps and textures are sure to be a crowd-pleaser among the infant set!

family of four.

Posted on: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Life around here has been an adventure, to say the least. Having twice as many kids as we did six weeks ago is challenging but so rewarding.

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

I remember feeling very overwhelmed during the first few months of Briar’s life and now am wondering what in the world was I thinking?!  Infants are a piece of cake! Ha! Actually, I know why the first baby is so hard: it’s the sudden loss of independence, the need to be hyper-vigilant about somebody else’s needs, oh, and the sleep deprivation (that one is still a doozy) that throws you for a loop. At least it did for me. I know a lot of new moms struggle with a sense of isolation and while I didn’t feel that emotion too often, I definitely felt a constant flood of other difficult feelings. I felt overwhelmed. I felt exhausted. I felt like I should have been enjoying every single moment when in reality, I loved my baby but I wasn’t in a permanent state of bliss. I desperately wanted to “enjoy every moment” like I was instructed to do, but as a first time mom, I always had my eye on the horizon for what was coming down the pike.

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

This time around, I’m not trying to enjoy every moment (is that even possible??) but as a result, I am enjoying A LOT more of the everyday experience than I did with Briar. I am loving this delicious newborn phase when all Landon does is eat, sleep, and poop. When he gets fussy and doesn’t want to be put down, I pick him up and cherish those snuggles instead of feeling overwhelmed and frustrated like I did the first time. Or better yet, I’ll get him in the wrap or Ergo and savor the closeness. (P.S. I tried to convince Briar to let me wear her in the Ergo to see if she still fit and she politely declined with a “no thanks.” Ha! When did she turn twelve?!)

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

This time around I’m also much more patient with how my body adjusts back to it’s normal self. When I had Briar, I was so concerned that all the postpartum discomforts and awkwardness would be my new way of life. With this second experience, I’m completely fascinated by how fast my body is healing itself and how quickly I’ve been able to jump back into normal life. I actually have much more energy now — sleep deprivation and all — than I did while pregnant! I am definitely nowhere near where I started and I may not get back there for awhile but I promise you, I am 100% okay with that. I plan on rocking my maternity clothes well into Landon’s first (second, third…) year of life! ;)

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend I decided that we needed family photos, so with a little bribery for the two year old and a lot of sweat (why is so hot in November?!), I got my photos! As I go through them, I can’t help but smile over the tiny little people I get to call my kids. Motherhood is a wild ride.

family trip to underwood farms.

Posted on: Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Underwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie Loves

John took three weeks of paternity leave and it was GLORIOUS. I’m not sure who enjoyed his presence more…me or Briar (she has become a major daddy’s girl)! While he was home, we went on a few little day trips as a family of four and even though it was a lot of work, it was SO worth it. That’s pretty much my motto for for life with kids: get out of the house. I go stir crazy if we can’t leave at least once a day so no matter how much chaos might ensue once we are out in public, it’s always worth the fresh air and the change of scenery.

Underwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie Loves

When Landon turned a week old, we celebrated with a trip to Underwood Farms. (I may or may not have purposely timed our trip around sunset when the lighting was killer). Briar always enjoys the farm experience but she really loved it this year. Landon, of course, slept through the whole thing in his wrap (living and dying by that wrap these days!). And as for John and me? Well, we were (and still are!) in disbelief at how obsessed we are with these two tiny people! They make life so crazy and wonderful.

Here are some of my favorite moments from our adventure:

Underwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie LovesUnderwood Farms Pumpkin Patch | Ann-Marie Loves


landon’s birth story.

Posted on: Thursday, October 20, 2016

Landon's Birth Story | Ann-Marie Loves

The day before I was induced with Landon, I had a regular doctor appointment at which my blood pressure was a little too high for the doctor’s liking. He calmly reassured me that he didn’t think the baby or I were in any immediate danger but he wanted to rule out the possibility of preeclampsia. So, I was admitted to the hospital for testing. I definitely started panicking…I was nowhere near ready! I didn’t have a bag packed, our house was a freaking disaster, and I worried that Briar would think I had abandoned her. As soon as I got settled in the triage room, my blood pressure returned to a normal level (of course) and stayed that way for a few hours so I was sent home. The next day I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor and yet again, my blood pressure was high. This time I was much better prepared for what was in store. My bags were packed, the house was in better condition, and I had given Briar extra love and attention that morning. My doctor asked me how I felt about an induction now that I was 2 for 2 in terms of high blood pressure and I was totally game. He called the hospital to confirm the details and within a few hours, I was hooked up to pitocin and feeling eager to start the process!

Landon's Birth Story | Ann-Marie Loves

My labor was a dream (seriously!) I made sure to get the epidural before they broke my water and it was smooth sailing nearly the entire thirteen hours. I felt a lot of pressure in my back but nothing too painful until the very end. Just the week before, I had an ultrasound that showed that Landon was sunny side up (head down, facing my stomach) and I was pretty sure he was still in that position based on the location of the pressure. About two hours before the pushing phase, the epidural had mostly worn off and I could really feel the contractions rolling in. While it wasn’t the most enjoyable part of the experience, I remained in control of my mental state and trusted that my body was doing what it was designed to do. I did my best to relax my body (softening my jaw, letting my limbs fall limp) and envisioned the contractions not as painful but rather as “sensations” that would pass just as quickly as they came. I knew I had to get through at least an hour of constant contractions before my doctor would be there and this mindset totally worked. Finally, it was time to push! The delivery was challenging but very relaxed and calm. After 45 minutes, the doctor handed him to me and I was instantly in love. He was perfect! All those days of worrying about what it meant to be having a boy instantly disappeared. I was completely and utterly smitten.

Landon's Birth Story | Ann-Marie Loves

Sadly, the delivery was much harder on Landon than anyone could have guessed. He came out at an awkward angle, thus creating a large hematoma on the right side of his head which eventually lead to jaundice. He was also in respiratory distress and needed to be on a CPAP immediately (hence the NICU admittance). John and I had no idea what was going on. It was very disorienting as we watched the delivery room immediately fill with nurses and doctors and then saw our baby being whisked away.

Landon's Birth Story | Ann-Marie Loves

The hardest part of the process was not knowing what to expect. Despite nearly every nurse telling us that he would be going home soon, no doctor was willing to sign off on him being discharged. In the grand scheme of it all, we were the lucky ones. As I looked around the room of incubators filled with babies much too young to be in the outside world, I knew Landon was just fine. At 9 pounds, he certainly was the biggest — and only full term — baby there. But still. It was hard to go back to our rooms without a baby nestled between us. It was hard to hold him while he was tethered to wires. It was hard to leave the hospital without a baby in my arms. It was hard to be away from Briar for so long since she was too young to come visit him in the NICU. It was hard to reconcile with my vision of how the first few days would look. I felt so guilty about the delivery: what could I have done differently to avoid this situation altogether? This was all my fault! I was a mess, to say the least.

Landon's Birth Story | Ann-Marie Loves

The recovery process is uncomfortable at best. Sitting down, walking, and — god forbid — sneezing are suddenly big productions. If there was a bright side to having Landon in the NICU, it was the fact that I had to get up and walk quite a bit starting on day one. There was no time to focus on my own discomfort. I was much more concerned about my baby’s well being and doing everything in my power to bring him home.

Landon's Birth Story | Ann-Marie Loves

There were also many other were bright spots amidst the stress of the situation. We were given the best care possible by the kindest nurses and doctors who treated us with the utmost respect and sympathy. After Landon was born and taken to the NICU, one of my nurses and my doctor made sure to find out was happening so they could come back to the delivery room and hold my hand and reassure me that everything was going to be okay. They didn’t have to do that but it meant so much to me. There were moments where John made me laugh until I cried. We were able to get a lot more rest than we would have if Landon had been in the recovery room with us. We learned a ton about babies and I had a wonderful meeting with a lactation consultant whom, despite my nineteen months of breastfeeding Briar, still opened my eyes to different ways of overcoming nursing struggles.

Landon's Birth Story | Ann-Marie Loves

Nursing has been a breeze, THANKFULLY, in spite of the obstacles it took to get him home. I wasn’t allowed to nurse him on the first day and that was one of the most heartbreaking aspects of the whole situation. I feared that he wouldn’t be receptive to breastfeeding after being on bottles from birth but I was happily mistaken. Landon took right to nursing and I savored every opportunity I was given while he was in the NICU.

Landon's Birth Story | Ann-Marie Loves

When he was finally discharged on day four, we excitedly headed to my parents’ house to introduce Briar to her new brother. I had planned out both babies’ outfits, I had the camera charged, and I couldn’t wait to capture the big introduction. But by the time we got there, the sun had gone down and as luck would have it, the power had gone out on their street! So yet again, I had to laugh at the irony of the situation and embrace the fact that Briar and Landon were meeting for the first time by the light of iPhone flashlights. Ha! Life, you guys. That’s what I get for making plans!

P.S. As soon as we left the hospital, I had that crazy feeling of “I can’t wait to do this again!” that I had after Briar’s birth. I mean, it’s the craziest, most painful, most emotionally-charged experience on the planet but there is NOTHING like it. When I told John, he looked at me in horror. Ha! Don’t worry guys. If there’s a baby number three (which I think there will be), he or she won’t be here for a few more years ;)

he’s here!

Posted on: Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Landon Phoenix is Here! | Ann-Marie Loves

He’s here!

Landon Phoenix arrived two weeks ago today at 7:07 AM and life has been a whirlwind (the best kind, of course!) ever since! My labor and delivery were relaxed and wonderful but my poor baby ended up in the NICU for four days, beginning just a few minutes after his arrival. It was certainly not how I envisioned things going, but thankfully those four days flew by and now we are making up for lost time by showering him with nonstop kisses and snuggles. I am also happy to report that any doubts and reservations I had about having a son disappeared the second I laid eyes on him; I fell madly in love with my little Landon instantly!

P.S. I’ll be sharing more about his arrival and how we are settling in to life with two kids very soon! xo!

diy polka dot wallpaper.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 27, 2016

DIY Polka Dot Wallpaper | Ann-Marie Loves

There’s nothing quite like the threat of a new baby arriving at any time to light a fire under your butt and compel you to NEST SO HARD. Two week ago I had one of those days when I woke up feeling so invincible that I loaded Briar up in the car and headed to IKEA where I proceeded to wrangle her and a huge bag of unwieldy items for two hours. In the back of my head I knew I was pushing my luck but when the desire to take on IKEA appears (even at 38 weeks pregnant), you don’t ignore it! It was definitely an adventure complete with sweat, tears, and a $2 plate of macaroni and cheese. So overall, a success!

DIY Polka Dot Wallpaper | Ann-Marie Loves

Well, once I got a taste of the nesting bug, I decided to tackle another semi-big project that I have been thinking about forever: DIY polka dot wallpaper! I’ve had my eye on removable wallpaper for months but decided to do the next best thing and make it myself. I was really inspired by these loose, freeform dots and was determined to try it a different way! I figured, if it’s a total bust, I can easily remove it. But if it’s a success, I could revel in my crafting glory until the end of freaking time.

DIY Polka Dot Wallpaper | Ann-Marie Loves

To cover this long wall, I picked up three rolls of black vinyl and freehand cut out circles. I had thought about using my Cameo to expedite the process, but I kind of love the look of the imperfect circles. So scissors it was! Sometimes low tech is the best way to go.

DIY Polka Dot Wallpaper | Ann-Marie Loves

The whole wall took about 4-5 hours from cutting the vinyl to applying the last dot. Not too bad! I had many podcasts to keep me company and a wonderful father in law to entertain the toddler while I got to work.

DIY Polka Dot Wallpaper | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar’s room (that she will eventually share with her brother) was the very first room I tackled when we moved in. I wanted to make sure she had a fun and welcoming place to play and read and get acclimated to her new surroundings. Somehow it has ended up being the room that all three of us love to hang out in! It sadly doesn’t get great natural light so we have filled it with warm lamps (including this heart-shaped beauty!) and lots of bright, happy colors to make up for the void. I’d say she’s pretty happy with the results :)

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

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