Entries Tagged as 'adventures'

briar at four months.

Posted on: Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Briar at Four Months | Ann-Marie Loves

As it turns out, everything I’ve heard about parenting is true.

It’s messy. It’s blissful. It’s exhausting. It’s rewarding. It’s frustrating. It’s thrilling. It’s overwhelming. It’s love beyond measure.

But mostly, it’s the best thing that ever happened.

Briar at Four Months | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar at four months is officially my favorite version of Briar. She’s blossomed into a tiny human with very distinct opinions about everything.  There’s so much about her that catches John and me by surprise. As two painfully shy kids-turned-sometimes-still-shy adults, we were positive that Briar would be just like us. Ha! Not quite. She’s a social butterfly who will smile and laugh and cuddle with almost everyone. We also assumed that she would be a bit more on the, well, chubby? side of the baby spectrum. Again, not even close. She’s a peanut of a gal, weighing in at just under 13 pounds despite her voracious appetite. And then there’s the debate over who she resembles more. I see so much of John and he sees so much of me. But really, Briar is her own person with her own beautiful look and we could spend all of our days just marveling at her.

Briar at Four Months | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar is in perpetual motion. She’s a rolling, kicking, grabbing, gnawing machine who shows off her insane baby abs of steel in an attempt to sit herself up (seriously, how are babies so strong?!). She loves toys and books and pacifiers (which thankfully, she’s learned how to pop back into her mouth!). She is almost always smiling and babbling and John and I will do just about ANYTHING to get her to let out a belly laugh. Oh, how we live for those belly laughs.

Briar at Four Months | Ann-Marie Loves

Sleep continues to be a tricky subject. This past week, she began taking long mid-afternoon naps, so that’s been HUGE, but getting her to sleep through the night still feels like a distant dream (cheesy pun intended). Even though she fits in her bassinet, it’s becoming clear that she’s ready for her crib. The only problem is, I’m not ready for her to be in her crib. I love having her in our room and pulling her into bed when she wakes up in the middle of the night. But, I guess this is my first of many lessons in relinquishing control and letting Briar lead the way. Sigh.

Briar at Four Months | Ann-Marie Loves

These past four months have been the fastest, craziest, most fulfilling four months of my life. Briar is growing up so quickly, yet each stage is more fun than the last. And if I think four months is fun, I can only imagine how exciting five months and beyond will be!

That Briar. She’s my favorite.

estate sale tomorrow!

Posted on: Friday, November 21, 2014

Estate Sale This Weekend! | Ann-Marie Loves

My sister-in-law and I are holding an estate sale tomorrow in Ventura County and we will be selling ALL of our good stuff! Like, all of it, you guys. Glassware, linens, wedding decor + supplies (we were married in 2012 + 2013 so it’s all modern!), baby gear, afghans, wall hangings, home decor, women’s clothes + shoes, crafting supplies, and much more! If this sounds good to you, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll send you the address. Have a great weekend!

100 days of briar.

Posted on: Monday, November 17, 2014

100 days of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

Yesterday marked 100 days of life for my favorite sunshine girl! ONE HUNDRED DAYS. The baby that I thought I’d be pregnant with for-ev-er is already well into her third month of life. Whoa.

100 days of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

It’s been:

100 days of changing diapers.
100 days of snuggling her close.
100 days of fragmented sleep.
100 days of balancing work and motherhood.
100 days of sharing her with friends, family, and Instagram.
100 days of being a mom.
100 days of seeing John as a dad.
100 days of nursing.
100 days of wiping down spit-up messes.
100 days of keeping a pacifier (or five) on my person at all times.
100 days of admiring her tiny little features and big blue eyes.
100 days of trying to figure out which direction to comb her hair (the jury is still out on that one).
100 days of coming up with new nicknames.
100 days of swooning over her funny little noises.
100 days of doing load after load of baby laundry.
100 days of wanting to give her the best life possible.
100 days of attempting tummy time.
100 days of swaddling Briar into a tight little burrito.
100 days of watching a newborn turn into a smiling, laughing, always-active baby.
100 days of wondering about her future.
100 days of playing dress-up (except for that whole summer situation when all she wore was a diaper).
100 days of sending John hourly updates on Briar’s activities.
100 days of snapping photo after countless photo of my growing baby.
100 days of being a family of three.
100 days of laying in bed at night and going through all the iPhone photos I took that day.
100 days of feeling overwhelmed with an equal mix of worry and elation.

100 days of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

100 days of life with our Briar Soleil.

28.

Posted on: Friday, November 14, 2014

28 | Ann-Marie Loves

Photo by La Rousse Photo

Twenty-seven was full of surprises, some of which were amazing and some of which were challenging. It was a year of tremendous growth on nearly every level imaginable. But mostly, it was the year of the BABY. Such a beautiful, crazy ride.

Here are my favorite moments from 27:

1. Briar Soleil. She singlehandedly made 27 a year that I will never, ever forget.
2. Celebrating one year of marriage and ten years of togetherness with my wonderful husband.
3. An impromptu trip to San Diego.
4. Meeting my beautiful niece Luna just an hour after she was born.
5. Blogging regularly for the first half of the year. (I’m determined to get back on track!)
6. Taking Briar to Disneyland for the first time.
7. Decorating a nursery.
8. My baby showers.
9. Daily walks around town.
10. Enjoying lattes from Float, Copa Vida, Jones Coffee Roasters, and Abricott, just to name a few. (Have I mentioned that I LOVE Pasadena?)
11. Feeling the baby kick. There’s nothing else quite like it.
12. Writing four different e-courses (Styling | Shooting | Sharing is still my fave!)
13. Contributing to Elise’s fantastic podcast a handful of times.
14. Finding out Briar was a girl…!
15. Weaving!
16. Sharing our big news with our families.
17. Reliving our wedding on Green Wedding Shoes.
18. Dying over Parenthood! How had I never seen this show before?! Also, Veep was pretty killer.
19. Having a whole new reason to thrift.
20. Trading in my VW Bug for a family-friendly Honda.
21. Downing watermelon like there was no tomorrow.
22. Reading Money, A Love Story and Great with Child; two books I know I’ll revisit time and time again.
23. Listening to this tiny voice all day, everyday. Music to my ears.
24. Reading about my blog in a magazine.
25. Designing holiday stamps while listening to Anthro’s holiday playlist in October. It’s never too early!
26. Making a tutu for my little bunny.
27. Watching my #briarsoleil hashtag on Instagram grow and grow!
28. Discovering my favorite role yet: motherhood.

I’m so excited to wake up tomorrow morning as a 28 year old with my daughter and my husband by my side. I have a good feeling about 28…

six weeks.

Posted on: Friday, September 19, 2014

Six Weeks of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

Today marks six weeks with Briar and everything has new meaning.

Our days are still punctuated with the standard newborn agenda (feedings, diaper changes, and lots of naps), but at this stage in the game, she’s much more receptive and vocal about these experiences. Despite any sleep deprivation I may have, I’m making a conscious effort to really be present and enjoy each moment + milestone while they’re here. When I went two weeks past my due date, those extra thirteen days felt like an eternity. But six weeks of having her here? LIGHTNING FAST.

Six Weeks of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

Six Weeks of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar’s personality is slowly starting to emerge and it’s such an amazing privilege to bear witness to her discovering the world. I try to remember that life is literally BRAND NEW to her. The other day the phone rang and as she looked at me with wide-eyed wonder, I realized she had never heard such a sound before! There’s so much that I take for granted that I’m suddenly revisiting with new eyes.

We’re still working on balancing sleep with feedings, but lately we’ve been staying up until 3 am. It may seem a little crazy, but I really do enjoy that time with her. We listen to the playlist I put together for her (“Isn’t She Lovely” and “St. Judy’s Comet” are in heavy rotation), we snuggle together, and every once in awhile, she let’s me get some work done! I know life won’t always be this way, so I’m rolling with it.

Six Weeks of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

Six Weeks of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

At six weeks old, she’s staying awake much longer and learning new “tricks” seemingly overnight. For instance, on Tuesday she could only hold her head up for a few seconds without falling back down. By Wednesday, she could sit upright for long stretches without any additional neck support from John or me! Proud parent moment right there.

Her brown hair is starting to fall out and is giving way to what appears to be blonde roots. It’s hard to tell which parent she looks more like, but with blue eyes, incoming blonde hair, and a fiery temper, I think she’s officially my daughter :)

Six Weeks of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

Six Weeks of Briar | Ann-Marie Loves

Babies, you guys. Such a wild and wonderful adventure.

how i imagined it to be.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 19, 2014

So much about these last few weeks did not go as I had envisioned.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that my baby would come early. At 41 weeks and 6 days, she certainly had other plans.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that the doctor I had seen my entire pregnancy would be the one to deliver my baby. She was not (even doctors need to take family vacations). Instead it was the most amazing, encouraging doctor who totally went above and beyond to make sure I was taken care of. He’s truly the best (and definitely the person I want to deliver all my future babies!).

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that I would go into labor naturally and John would have to rush me to the hospital in the middle of the night. Instead, I was induced in the middle of the afternoon on a random Thursday. I had a doctor’s appointment at 11 am and by 2:45 pm, I was hooked up to pitocin and starting my 17 hour labor.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that labor would be blindingly painful from start to finish. While it was painful at times, the rest of it was amazingly peaceful and relaxing thanks to the dream drug known as the EPIDURAL. I was able to sleep and allow my body to do what it needed to do without my interfering. The craziest thing is, while I remember certain parts being excruciating, within hours of giving birth, I couldn’t even tell you what the pain felt like. The amnesia is REAL.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined I would burst into tears of joy upon meeting my baby for the first time. While there was certainly intense joy, I was primarily overcome with a different emotion: RELIEF. I remember seeing Briar as they placed her on my chest and saying “OMG! It’s a baby!” and feeling so relieved that she was finally out. It was a magical moment, tears or no tears.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that staying in a hospital would be scary. Instead it was completely mundane, if not boring. All of my nurses and doctors were incredible, but being stuck in a cramped little room for two days was enough to make John and me go stir crazy.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that John and I would have a black-haired baby. Ha! Not quite. Briar was born with light brown hair and a full head of blonde highlights. With each new day, her hair gets blonder and blonder. Look at my pale genes go!

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that the recovery process would be brutal. Periodically it’s super uncomfortable and inconvenient, but for the most part, it’s completely manageable. P.S. I discovered that Boppy pillows aren’t just useful for nursing, they’re also the perfect shape and size for new mamas to sit on ;)

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that the exhaustion of caring for a newborn would render me useless in all other areas of life. Thanks in a VERY LARGE part to my doting husband, I’m tired but not entirely beat. By alternating nursing with pumping, I’m able to split the workload with John and get in 3-4 hour stretches of sleep at night. Whenever I find it particularly hard to get out of bed for another feeding, I remind myself that this phase is short-lived and eventually I will sleep again.

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that breast feeding would be painful. I was totally right…and wrong. The first few days were rough. I started to dread feeding time as I braced myself for the pain of the baby latching on. But after strictly pumping for a day or two and giving my poor chest a much-needed reprieve, I was ready to try traditional feeding again. And what do you know…it wasn’t painful anymore!

Thoughts on Having a Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

I always imagined that I wouldn’t enjoy the newborn phase very much. Instead, I love love love it. I want to keep my little one a tiny seven pound human as long as possible! ;)

P.S. Thank you so much for all of your well-wishes! John and I are having the best time being parents to our sweet little Briar!

she’s here.

Posted on: Friday, August 15, 2014

Baby Announcement | Ann-Marie Loves

A week ago today, this little one was placed on my chest and our lives changed forever. John and I are overwhelmed with love — serious love — for our Briar and are enjoying every beautiful, magical, exhausting moment as a family of three.

the week of my due date.

Posted on: Monday, July 21, 2014

Caioti Pizza The "The" Salad | Ann-Marie Loves

Signing the book at Caioti Pizza.

Well, I’ve finally made it to the week of my due date. And by finally, I mean ALREADY?! I swear this has been the fastest pregnancy of all time. It feels bizarrely surreal, but at at the same time, incredibly exciting! John and I keep looking at each other and saying “yeah, so we could totally have a baby this week.” W H A T.

In an effort to move things along, I tried the famous “labor-inducing” salad at Caioti Pizza in Studio City last night. It was awesome and even if it doesn’t do the trick for me, it was wonderful to squeeze in last minute one-on-one time with my husband. There are moments that I temporarily mourn the loss of our lives as a twosome, but after almost ten years together, I am SO READY for the next chapter in our ongoing adventure. John is SO READY. And hopefully, sometime this very week, the baby will be SO READY.

P.S. As I head into full-on baby mode, my posts here may get a little infrequent. Once the baby arrives, I plan on popping in sporadically, but not on a regular basis for at least a few weeks OR until I figure out what in the world I am doing. (Whichever comes first.) Stick with me. I promise it will be worth the wait ;)

maternity shoot | style me pretty.

Posted on: Friday, July 18, 2014

John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography

It’s always a surreal experience to see your own face on a well-known blog and yesterday was no exception, thanks to this little feature on Style Me Pretty.

John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography
John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography
John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography

Last month, John and I had the pleasure of being photographed by Nicole of Sorella Muse Photography for a maternity shoot and it’s so much fun to finally go through the pictures and marvel at this fleeting stage of life. I remember thinking that I looked huge a month ago. Ha! Try 39 weeks, Ann-Marie ;)

John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography
John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography
John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography

We started the shoot by letting Nicole work her magic in the nursery and our bedroom (who knew our early evening light could be so magical?) and then strolled along picturesque Green Street, followed by a trip to City Hall (of Parks and Rec fame) for the ultimate Pasadena photo. I have no idea where we will live when future little ones come along, but I’d love to get an iconic shot of each city that we have babies in.

John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography
John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography
John + Ann-Marie Espinoza | Maternity Shoot | Sorella Muse Photography

It’s a crazy thing to watch your body grow and change as each week goes by. I will readily admit that I don’t always love the way I look while pregnant, but I am so grateful that my body is doing what it’s doing, even without my consent. There are much bigger things to worry about than puffy cheeks and swollen feet. Like, for real…when is this kid coming? ;)

thoughts on diy weddings.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thoughts on DIY Weddings | Ann-Marie Loves

I’ve always known that my wedding would be comprised of handmade details. It’s who I am, it’s what I do. That being said, I had no idea just how much work those handmade details would take. Hours, days, weeks, months of work. But was it worth it? 100 PERCENT YES.

Thoughts on DIY Weddings | Ann-Marie Loves

Katie Pritchard Photography

John and I decided to tackle as many projects ourselves as possible, for both creative + financial reasons. Many things were never even a question of asking for others’ help, including our paper goods (save the dates, invitations, menus, place cards, etc). In the end, there were many projects I didn’t get around to (wine labels, programs, paper flowers, the list goes on…), but really, no one but me knew the difference. I had been told this by various people throughout the whole planning process, but of course, I didn’t listen. Some things you just have to learn for yourself!

John + Ann-Marie Espinoza's Wedding | As seen in Wedding Magazine

I will admit that seeing our hard work pay off in the forms of a wedding blog feature and a magazine spread were pretty awesome, but seriously. As cliche as it sounds, the best part of all was that I walked away with a husband at the end of the day. He’s the best and I couldn’t be happier that he stuck by my side despite all my crazy wedding ideas and late night crafting and art directing. We managed to pull off the wedding of our dreams, which was topped only by the honeymoon of our dreams.

Thoughts on DIY Weddings | Ann-Marie Loves

Katie Pritchard Photography

And now…we’re having a baby and the DIY madness has been reincarnated in a brand new, equally as passionate form. Once a DIY’er, always a DIY’er!

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