Entries Tagged as 'california'

backyard camping + kohl’s giveaway.

Posted on: Friday, July 22, 2016

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

I grew up camping fairly often, both with my family and with Girl Scouts, and I have incredible memories of sitting around campfires, sleeping in tents, and waking up to fresh air. There’s nothing quite like spending time in the great outdoors, yet for some reason I’ve become that person that values warm showers and air conditioning over tasty s’mores and sleeping under the stars. However! I am determined to give camping another go simply because I know Briar will absolutely LOVE it. That girl has never met a pile of dirt that she didn’t love and I owe it to her to give her as many outdoor experiences as possible.

So while I warm up to the idea of spending a few nights in nature, I’ve decided we can tackle the next best thing: backyard camping! In partnership with Kohl’s, we pulled together our camping essentials and “roughed” it in the backyard for a fun-filled adventure.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

First things first: coffee!

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Using the impossibly cool blue enamelware percolator + mugs from Stansport, I was able to enjoy a fresh batch of coffee while Briar enjoyed a cold mug of milk.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Things were off to a very good start.

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We put together a little dining area and enjoyed popcorn made with Stanley’s 13-piece prep and cook mess set. Briar was all about the popcorn situation. She loved sneaking in bites and scooping spoonfuls back and forth between the bowls using the big ladle (which she quickly adopted as her own).

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Cheers to dining al fresco!

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

The ciao! baby portable high chair proved to be super helpful when it came to feeding this little gal. The cup holder kept her water bottle close at hand and the easy-to-clean surface was perfect for quick clean-up after polishing off a whole bowl of popcorn!

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

In addition to acting as the perfect makeshift table, the Stanley 30-quart cooler kept our beverages nice and cool during a blazing hot summer day.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Okay, how awesome is this tent?! I love the retro feel and was pleasantly surprised with how roomy it was inside! It felt very Moonrise Kingdom. Briar was also a big fan of turning the LED lantern on and off, on and off…

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

We quickly made ourselves right at home and read Briar’s favorite stories by the light of the lantern. It was such a relaxing evening and I loved having that cuddle time with my girl outside while a cool breeze blew through our tent.

Ann-Marie Loves x Kohl's Camping Collaboration

Our first camping experience was a success! I’m feeling a little more confident now about taking our adventures on the road to a more remote destination. Three cheers for the great outdoors!

 

Now it’s your turn to stock up on camping goods! Click HERE be entered to win a $50 Kohl’s gift card! NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends 8/1/16 at 11:59:59 p.m. PT. Open to legal residents of the US/DC who are 18+ yrs of age. For full details see Official Rules. Good luck! Winners will be contacted on or about August 8th.

Thank you to Kohl’s for collaboration on this post. I was compensated and received products from Kohl’s Camping department for my review, but all opinions and experiences are solely my own.

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those other websites, so I encourage you to read their privacy policies.

santa barbara museum of natural history.

Posted on: Monday, July 18, 2016

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend was one for the books! On Friday, my mom and Briar and I took our third trip to Disneyland for the week (had to maximize my annual pass until it expired!). Then on Saturday we went to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (more about that below!). And finally, on Sunday my mom and I saw the final showing of Beautiful at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Whew!

Now onto the museum. First of all, I have no idea what it is, but the lighting in Santa Barbara is always incredible. Every time we’re there, I can’t help but stage a photo shoot. My mom and brother came with, so it was extra nice to pass the camera to them and sneak in a few family photos. Here are some of my favorite captures from the day:

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

I was more than happy to let John chase the toddler around while I took photos ;)

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Not too shabby for a 29 week bump photo backdrop, eh?

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Briar was not so sure about the real-life dioramas – haha!

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Ann-Marie Loves

The highlight of Briar’s day was definitely exploring the “Museum Backyard” where she was able to play with dirt, rocks, and water to her heart’s content. I loved watching her get down and dirty in her dress and I really enjoyed this sentiment that was tied to a tree:

The Backyard is a space for children to learn. Expect trial and error. Give your child a chance to meet challenges and assess risk. This is how kids develop self confidence. Let them figure things out for themselves. Problem solving is good for kids. It’s another way to develop self-confidence. Your choice of words can make a big difference. Instead of “be careful” which expresses your fears, tell your kids to “be smart” or “be aware.” Cuts, bumps, and bruises are a normal part of childhood. If your child has an accident, don’t panic. Children read you! When the child is calm, ask “what did you learn?” They will tell you. Expect children to learn from their mistakes. Don’t pass your fears on to your kids. Nature is amazing and kids are naturally curious. Allow them the experience without your judgment. Relax and let your kids decide what they want to do. Kids that experience non-structured play in natural settings are smarter, happier, and healthier.

YES. YES. YES.

summer in the pool.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

With summer in full-swing here in Southern California, we are spending our days underwater. If you’re a long-time reader, then you already know that summer is, well…not exactly my favorite season. It’s especially tricky to get through those endless heatwaves while pregnant and constantly sweating. Speaking of sweating, I have a theory (and please chime in and let me know your thoughts!): people that DON’T sweat tend to love summer while people that DO sweat tend to despise the summer. I mean, it makes sense right?

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

But I digress!

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

All of this is to say, Briar and I are living in the pool. We wake up, have breakfast, and then immediately throw on our swimsuits and sunscreen and head outside for a dip. I am not usually a huge fan of hanging out in the pool all day (I always feel like I could be doing something more productive), but Briar’s infectious love of swimming and my need to cool down + let my pregnant body feel weightless for a bit is really turning me into a regular pool-goer! We did mommy + me swim lessons in May and while I wouldn’t say she is a proficient swimmer just yet, her skills continue to grow and impress me everyday! It’s so awesome to watch these tiny little people morph into capable humans.

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Summer in the Pool | Ann-Marie Loves

Plus, the very best part of all is that the time spent in the sun + the water almost always leads to Briar taking a looooong nap in the afternoon (sometimes she will sleep as long as 3.5 hours…!). And that, my friends, is the REAL gift that keeps on giving.

Briar’s Swimsuit // Briar’s Sunglasses // My Sunglasses

travel town.

Posted on: Monday, July 4, 2016

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

After talking about taking a trip to Travel Town for months, John and I finally took Briar yesterday and had so much fun! It’s a free open air museum situated in Griffith Park with lots of old trains and plenty of land to explore. Briar was beyond thrilled to be out of the stroller and able to run herself silly and I was more than happy to capture every moment with my camera!

Like I mentioned before, John and I are trying to squeeze in as many adventures with Briar as our only babe before the next one arrives in a few short months. She has thankfully turned out to be an amazing little travel companion (knock on wood that the second one is just as laidback!) who is at the perfect age for really appreciating new experiences. Of course we will continue to go on fun day trips when the little guy makes his appearance (mama bear needs to get out of the house!) but we know it will never be the same as it is right now.

We had the best time at Travel Town and can’t wait to go back when the weather cools down a bit! Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip:

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

Travel Town | Ann-Marie Loves

summer living with munchkin’s step diaper pail.

Posted on: Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

I’ll be honest: I am in no hurry to potty train Briar.

I know a lot of people cringe at the idea of having two babies in diapers but for some bizarre reason it doesn’t bother me (joke’s on me?). Sure, diapers are definitely an expense, however, the idea of constantly having to run to the bathroom with a toddler or clean up inevitable accidents on the floor…well, let’s just say I am more than happy to let her make the call as to when she is ready.

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

This is especially true as the weather heats up and we spend more and more time outside, either swimming or lounging in the kiddie pool or splashing around at the water table. The last thing I want to do is repeatedly shuttle her in and out of the house in her wet bathing suit to use the bathroom. I mean, I barely want to do that for myself! (Is there any grosser feeling than peeling off a wet bathing suit? Blah!)

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

Because of this, I’ve set up a little changing area for Briar on the patio, complete with Munchkin’s new STEP diaper pail and a basket full of swim diapers, wipes, sunscreen, towels, and a few other necessities for outdoor water play.

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

I think my favorite part about the STEP diaper pail (aside from the fact that it eliminates odor better than any other trash system we’ve used!) is how sleek this thing looks! Baby products tend to be hit-or-miss when it comes to aesthetics, so to be able to reap the benefits of form AND function in one product? Well, consider me sold.

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

This little watermelon is allllll about outdoor livin.’ If she could stay in that kiddie pool forever, she would be one happy camper. The only way to get her out of the water with minimal tears is to promise her that we will immediately put her in the bathtub…girl knows what she wants!

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

I’m pretty sure this is exactly what the coming summer is going to look like: my naturally tan baby living it up in the sunshine and her pale mama hiding under several layers of sunscreen and a giant hat (ha!).

Ann-Marie Loves x Munchkin | STEP Diaper Pail

If your babe is currently in the diaper stage of life, you can purchase the Munchkin STEP diaper pail at your local Target. And best of all, for every pail purchased, Munchkin will plant a tree! Win win.

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

weekend trip to san luis obispo.

Posted on: Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

There’s nothing quite like a physical change of scenery to boost my mood and give me a fresh perspective. This past weekend, John and I spent a night up in San Luis Obispo and we had the best time. We’re both big fans of the central coast and SLO is the perfect mix of relaxing and stimulating.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

On the way up the coast, we stopped off in Santa Barbara for a quick coffee break at The French Press. I love having a running list of coffee shops to visit everywhere I travel! (What’s your favorite coffee shop? I want to add it to my list!)

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Scout Coffee is a must if you’re anywhere near San Luis Obispo. It’s nestled in the perfect spot downtown and has the cutest decor and some of the best lattes I’ve tasted! I kind of want to move in.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Apple cider at the Apple Farm…it tasted just as good as it smelled! It was a pretty chilly weekend up in SLO so a warm drink hit the spot.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

John and I have been on a major pot pie kick lately so it was a no-brainer that I would order one at the Apple Farm. Oh man, it was good. 

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Coffee, coffee, coffee.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

So happy to travel through life with this guy. We were reminiscing about different memories throughout our relationship and we came to the (startling!) realization that this year will mark twelve years together. TWELVE! I have no idea where the time has gone but it’s been an amazing adventure.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Spring in SLO is gorgeous. Everything is in bloom and it’s not too hot yet and it makes me want to move up there ASAP! We saw a young family of four going for a bike ride around town (mom was towing the baby and the dad was sharing a cool tandem bike with the little girl) and I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. I suddenly had serious aspirations to BE them one day soon! Now I just have to convince John to move with me to a cute small town where we can live out my bike riding dreams…

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

We stumbled upon Avila Valley Barn while driving around and it was such a good find! I stocked up on fresh peaches, John picked up a chipotle ketchup, and we ordered an olallieberry-flavored lemonade to share (so good!). I always feel like spontaneous detours make for the best memories.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

slo-Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Feeling large and in charge these days. This striped maternity dress from Target is getting lots of mileage! And of course, I can’t seem to take off my denim jacket either. Basically, I wear some version of this outfit every single day.

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

Weekend Getaway to San Luis Obispo | Ann-Marie Loves

One night away from Briar is the perfect amount of time to reconnect with my husband and make us miss that little bub! Thank goodness for willing babysitters (aka Nana + Papa) who take such good care of Briar so we can enjoy our trip worry-free :)

happy place | lavender + honey in pasadena.

Posted on: Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

Whenever I’m in the vicinity of Pasadena (which, between doctor appointments and looking for a new place, means quite often!), it’s pretty much a guarantee that I will make a stop at Lavender + Honey. There are so many great places to get an excellent cup of coffee in Pasadena but this one takes the cake. It opened in August 2014 — the same month Briar was born! — but I didn’t actually stop in until a few months later. With this next baby, I won’t be making the same mistake. I’ll definitely be stopping in on the regular to take advantage of their delicious caffeinated beverages!

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

My standard order is an iced honeybee latte and L+H toast (goat cheese, lavender, and honey on bread). You guys, I’m not joking when I say that I dream about this meal. Briar had her first taste of the toast the other day (in between sneaking sips of my coffee) and she was just as hooked. I guess that means I have to share with her now?

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

The decor and the lighting are a photographer’s dream come true.

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

When I’m in the mood for something more savory, I’ll order the Pasadena toast (avocado, lemon juice, and red jalapeño on bread). So good.

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

I happened to catch the cafe at the end of the day when there weren’t too many people…definitely a rarity! Whenever there’s a seat available, I love to take advantage of the upbeat, inspiring energy of L+H and get a little work done. You know how there are some coffee shops that make you feel somewhat inferior? Like you’re not cool enough to buy an overpriced cup of coffee? This is not that place. In fact, Lavender + Honey is the exact opposite! Everyone I’ve come in contact with — from the patrons to the baristas — is so friendly and inclusive.

Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

And THIS is why I’m obsessed with Pasadena: preserved old buildings given new life by modern establishments. Plus, L+H is a bit of anomaly in LA in that it has it’s own free public parking lot with plenty of spaces!
Lavender & Honey | Pasadena, California | Photos by Ann-Marie Espinoza

If you’re ever in the neighborhood, I highly recommend stopping in!

Lavender & Honey | 1383 E. Washington Blvd, Pasadena, California 91104

it never rains in california.

Posted on: Thursday, January 14, 2016

Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves

Last week we were lucky enough to enjoy a handful of storms that brought some much-needed water to our dry state of California. Given the fact that we rarely see rain in LA, I knew I had to seize the moment and let Briar experience a little weather in her life! So after breakfast, I put her coat and her shoes on over her PJs (no time to waste!) and we headed out back to find some puddles. And find puddles she did! Girl ran straight into the heart of the downpour, giggling and tilting her head back to catch rain drops in her mouth (I swear I didn’t teach her this!). Then she found some lemons and watched as the rain quickly washed the dirt off of them.

Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m so proud of her curious, adventure-loving nature. Her fearlessness may make me nervous from time to time, but it really is such a treat to watch her explore her world with such abandon. I wish I was as bold as Briar!
Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar in the Rain | Ann-Marie Loves

We played outside for about ten minutes before I brought her in and gave her a nice warm bath. I’ve always thought that rainy days were special, but now that I have a water-loving daughter, they’re downright magical. Bring it on, El Niño!

P.S. We ordered rain boots for the next downpour, should we ever see rain again ;)

birthday weekend in santa barbara.

Posted on: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Birthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

For my birthday, I only wanted one thing: a trip away with my husband sans baby. As much as I love Briar, I hadn’t spent a night apart from her since she was born so the thought of being baby-free was, well, all too appealing. And guess what? It was wonderful! Actually, it was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. Just me, my husband, and one of the prettiest cities in  the world. Briar spent the weekend with my parents and while John and I missed her terribly, it was exactly what we needed to reconnect as a couple.

Birthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBLOG3Birthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie LovesBirthday Weekend In Santa Barbara | Ann-Marie Loves

Some of the highlights include: coffee at The French Press, hot chocolate at Handlebar Coffee Roasters, seafood enchiladas and margaritas at Cava, shopping on State Street, brunch at Scarlett Begonia, and sunsets over the Pacific. If this weekend was any indication of what 29 will be like, then I am READY.

pumpkin patch at underwood farms.

Posted on: Monday, October 19, 2015

Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

This past weekend we ventured out to Moorpark and visited the amazing pumpkin patch at Underwood Farms. I had a feeling that Briar would enjoy it a lot more this year at the age of fourteen months than she did last year at two months (obvious statement?), but I had no idea how much more I would enjoy it, too! Since the farm is humongous, there were plenty of things to do and it was a blast seeing it all through Briar’s eyes! She and her cousin Luna were especially fond of grabbing fistfuls of hay, which they passed back and forth to each other (ha!). My favorite part was definitely the tractor ride around the farm at dusk. Not only was the sunset lighting PERFECT, but the sweater-worthy weather and the cool breeze made it feel like our first real taste of fall this season…exactly how I like my pumpkin patch experiences.

Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

Her little baby chambray shoes paired with those chubby legs. I can’t even.

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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
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Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography
Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

Here’s a little pumpkin patch #tbt for you: Briar and Luna at fourteen and thirteen months, respectively (above), and Briar and Luna at two months and one month, respectively (below). HOLY MOLY, TIME IS FLYING.

Pumpkin Patch at Underwood Farms | Ann-Marie Espinoza Photography

P.S. Our visit to Underwood this past summer!

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