Entries Tagged as 'baby'

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

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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