Entries Tagged as 'baby'

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

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 :)

faux letterpress tray for toddler room.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

John and I are moving this week and possibly having a baby next week, so I figured, what better time to ignore all my responsibilities and work on a project I pinned? Ha! All I have to say is, when you feel the need to make something, MAKE SOMETHING. You’ll feel so much better once you give in to your creative urges. Even if it means ditching your to-do list for a few hours ;)

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

I have been obsessed with the idea of filling a letterpress tray with miniature animal figurines basically from the moment I knew I was having Briar, but I haven’t been able to track down a cool letterpress tray for a decent price. So! I decided to do the next best thing: buy a $6 divided wooden tray from Michaels and paint it myself!

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

This tray is pretty shallow so it didn’t take too long to cover it with white paint. I think applied maybe three coats? As usual, it’s not a perfect paint job but that’s more than fine with me.

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

While the tray was drying, I painted each of the animals’ ears pink and added a little heart to the donkey. Because why not?

Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

And once everything was ready, I styled it up! The animals fit into the slots perfectly, plus a few of the recent Instax photos of Briar make for a fun addition to the overall look.Faux Letterpress Tray for Displaying Miniatures | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m so happy with the way it turned out and I’m already excited to swap out the animals for bottle brush trees in a few months! Yay for procrastination crafting!

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!

diy doll necklace.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 6, 2016

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

Last week, after hitting a few deadlines and finally having a few hours to myself, I felt that old familiar urge to visit Michaels for the first time in a long while. I didn’t have any specific project ideas in mind but after a quick scan of my pin boards and a leisurely (i.e. toddler-free) stroll up and down each and every aisle, I came up with a few concepts that made me excited to get home and start creating.

The first project I felt compelled to take on was a spin on these adorable keychains. I mean, how cute are they?! Instead of making keychains, I decided to try making a necklace modeled after my favorite little gal. Briar is going through a major jewelry phase at the moment plus I knew she would love seeing herself in wooden bead form.

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

To begin, I chose a handful of acrylic paint colors, small round wooden beads, candle cup beads, colorful pony beads, and white twine.

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

I decided that one round bead would make the head and one candle cup bead would make the body, so the first step was to tape off half of the candle cup bead for painting. I wrapped a strip of thin washi tape around the bead a few times as evenly as possible, but as always, perfection is never my goal.

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

Once I had the bead taped off, I painted one side and let it dry. Once that step was complete, I tore off the washi tape and reapplied it over the first paint job so that I could then paint the other half.

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

While the body portion of the necklace was drying, I tackled the heads. I quickly discovered by happy accident that q-tips work perfectly for holding the small wooden beads in place while you are trying to paint. Love when that happens.

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

For the blonde hair, I used yellow paint and for the black hair I used a Sharpie pen. Both options worked really well. Then for the faces, I used a tiny bit of pink paint for the lips and pens for the eyes. Holy moly, I had to hold my breath for that step! Those teeny tiny facial features are just that — teeny tiny!

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

Once everything had dried, I began assembling the necklace.

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

And here’s how they turned out!

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

DIY Wooden Doll Necklace | Ann-Marie Loves

After making these necklaces, I got the ball rolling on a few other wooden bead projects…stay tuned!

what i know to be true | parenting edition.

Posted on: Friday, September 2, 2016

What I Know to Be True | Parenting Edition | Ann-Marie Loves x Ralph's

We’re two years in as parents and while we still have so much to learn, John and I have definitely gleaned a handful of life lessons when it comes to raising a little one. For example, it takes a million years to get a baby buckled in and buckled out of her car seat. I have no idea why it takes so long, but I’m always exhausted by the end of the process. Also, there is no greater gift that a child can give her parents than a loooooong nap — or if you really win the lottery — a full night of sleep. Seriously, can you think of ANYTHING better?

Aside from those little nuggets of wisdom (or were they?), I have teamed up with Ralph’s Grocery to share a few things that I know to be true about parenting babies from birth to two years:

What I Know to Be True | Parenting Edition | Ann-Marie Loves x Ralph's

Invest in lots of sturdy and safe tableware. We introduced Briar to solids at the age of four months so very early on in parenthood we were already using bowls and spoons (not to mention tons of bottles!). Once she learned to crawl around, her favorite activity became pulling out all the plastic bowls and plates from low cabinets. At the age of two, we go through several bowls, plates, cups, and silverware on the daily since it always seems like meal or snack time. I can only wash so many dishes in a day (before losing my mind) so it’s nice to have more than enough serve ware on hand. We especially love these divided plates and colorful plastic silverware made from recycled milk jugs by Re-Play!

What I Know to Be True | Parenting Edition | Ann-Marie Loves x Ralph's

Stash wipes everywhere. I have wipes in the car. I have wipes on the changing table. I have wipes in the bathroom. I have wipes in my bag. You never know when you’ll need to change a diaper or clean sticky hands or quickly mop up a spill (I’m amazed at how effective they are with treating spills!). We really love the Water Wipes and the Simple Truth brands.

What I Know to Be True | Parenting Edition | Ann-Marie Loves x Ralph's

You can never have enough snacks. My backpack might as well be a lunchbox because it is always chock-full of squeeze pouches, Goldfish crackers, apples, and water bottles. When Briar and I are out and about, I know that I can calm any sour mood instantly with a quick snack.

What I Know to Be True | Parenting Edition | Ann-Marie Loves x Ralph's Grocery

Stock up on medicine before your little one gets sick. During Briar’s first year, she had all the standard baby ailments: colds, teething pain, gas, fevers, and a few ear infections. The problem with these ailments is that although they are to be expected, they always seem to flare up in the middle of the night when you’re unprepared (why is that??). Through trial and error we have built up a nice stash of home remedies, so now we are ready to ease any toddler or infant discomfort at a moment’s notice (i.e. 4 AM). Some of our must-have items are Baby Tylenol, gripe water, Orajel, Boogie Wipes, and of course, a reliable thermometer.

All of the items that I mentioned above (plus so much more!) can be found in the Baby Care aisle at your local Ralph’s Grocery!

This post was sponsored by Ralph’s, but as always, all opinions, ideas, and photos are my own.

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diy magic foam.

Posted on: Thursday, September 1, 2016

DIY Magic Foam | Ann-Marie Loves

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt like I exhausted every one of my tried-and-true toddler activities by early afternoon. We played with play dough. We watched many an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. We read several of her favorite stories. We went to Gymboree and Target and Starbucks. We did just about everything (including her taking a much-too-short nap) But nothing seemed to hold her attention long enough for me to get a little work done. So! I finally realized that I needed to call for backup and consult Pinterest for new ideas. Lo and behold, I spotted a recipe for creating amazing colored magic foam and knew we had to try it!

DIY Magic Foam | Ann-Marie Loves

The ingredients are pretty basic: 1/3 cup of water, 1/3 cup of Dawn soap, 1 tbsp of cornstarch, and a few drops of food coloring mixed together at a high speed. I used a KitchenAid stand mixer but I know that a hand mixer would work just as well.

DIY Magic Foam | Ann-Marie Loves

With Briar as my trusty assistant, we made the first round of magic foam. I’m not sure who was more impressed: the toddler or her mom! It’s so much fun to watch simple ingredients turn into such a cool sensory experience.

DIY Magic Foam | Ann-Marie Loves

I made about four batches which was enough to create a shallow layer around Briar’s water table. She had a blast playing in the colored magic foam with her water toys. That is, until she got a taste of it. I should warn you that this is a very cool diy just so long as your child knows not to put it in her mouth. Just ask Briar ;)

DIY Magic Foam | Ann-Marie Loves

Luckily, her first (and hopefully last) taste of soap was not enough to deter her from playing. This simple activity proved to be a big hit (minus the minor taste test snafu) and it bought me a nice chunk of time to get a little work done. It’s all about the small victories, right?

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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