Entries Tagged as 'life happens'

how to do disneyland with an infant | part one.

Posted on: Monday, March 30, 2015

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

I know, I know. The thought of taking an infant to an overpriced, overcrowded, overstimulating environment makes some people break out in hives. I totally get it. But I can also confirm that despite all of those things, it is 100% WORTH it. I’m a big believer in taking Briar (almost) everywhere I go, and as a result, she’s become my laid back, highly adaptable co-pilot.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about taking an infant to Disneyland:

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Plan meals ahead of time. Briar is now at a perfect stage where I can alternate nursing with solid foods, which makes the whole day so much easier than when I had to stop and nurse her every two hours. For a half day with a seven month old, I packed one banana (along with a small bowl and a baby spoon) and a Ziploc bag of Cheerios. Both of those foods lasted quite some time and kept Briar thoroughly entertained and satiated. I also packed a sippy cup that I would fill with water so she could take a few sips (slash pour the rest all over the place) whenever she had a solid food meal or snack.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Bring the stroller AND the carrier (and grandma). When it comes to getting around and keeping your baby happy, you need options. Now that Briar is old enough to sit up and face forward in her stroller, it’s like a whole new world for her (and me!). We have a Britax B-Agile which I absolutely love because it’s lightweight, folds up easily, the seat can be adjusted upright or laid down with a simple pull, and the shade is huge (meaning my pale baby is safe from the sun / given privacy during naps). The stroller does the bulk of the work throughout the day, but when it comes to taking Briar on rides, nursing her on the go (it can be done!), or calming her when she’s fussy, that’s when the carrier comes in handy. I usually bring the Ergo, but I also love the Boba wrap as well. However, if I’m being honest, the best transportation of all is in the arms of Nana…always bring Nana ;)

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Skip the tram and walk. If ever given the choice to walk or ride, I always walk, because, well, I just like walking. However, this is particularly handy when you have a stroller in tow. The walk from the parking structure to the park gates is approximately 10-15 minutes and is much easier (in my opinion) than waiting in line for the front seats of the tram and having to fold / unfold your stroller. Consider it your warm-up for the walking marathon you are about to embark upon.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Take advantage of the Baby Care Center. This place is amazing. There’s a private nursing area with comfy chairs, there’s a diaper changing station, there are high chairs, there’s a place to store your pump…Disney has thoroughly thought out the baby situation. I think my favorite part about it is being able to sit in a quiet, air-conditioned space with my little one, free from any distractions. Other great (semi-private) places to nurse: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the train, the back corner of Hungry Bear Restaurant, the Haunted Mansion, or any ride that you can wear your baby in a carrier.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Bring comfort items. Since Disneyland can be incredibly stimulating, it’s nice to have comfort items at the ready for when your little one needs a reprieve. I always make sure that we have several pacifiers on hand (at least half of them end up on the ground), small toys that can be attached to the stroller, and a few lightweight blankets for nap time. Whenever Briar has had enough, I’ll take her to the Baby Care Center for a little peace and quiet or I’ll lay her in her stroller and pull the shades down so some of the noise and lights are blocked.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Ride those rides! There are SO many rides you can actually take babies on. I have had an annual pass for years and I had no idea how many rides babies could board! I’m not just talking about Fantasyland rides, I’m talking about the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and any others that do not have a height restriction. The other great feature Disneyland offers for parents of babies is a Rider Switch Pass. Let’s say you and your significant other want to ride Space Mountain: you simply request a Rider Switch Pass when you get in line and then both of you can alternate riding with watching the baby. Win win, right?

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Pack lightly. Babies require a lot of stuff; the packing list alone can be intimidating! But it’s important to keep in mind that if you bring too much into the park, you’ll spend the whole day schlepping big bags in and out of crowds and lines and tight spaces, and really, that’s a huge buzz kill. After a handful of trips to Disneyland with Briar, I think I’ve finally figured out what works best for John and me: I bring my everyday bag (similar to this) to carry all the immediate essentials (diapers, wipes, pacifiers) and John brings a bigger backpack to carry the less immediate essentials (spare clothes, the camera, a bowl + spoon for Briar). We also utilize the storage underneath the stroller for bulky items, like the Ergo or our sweatshirts. Whenever we need to park the stroller to get in a ride line, we don’t worry about leaving anything behind because we keep almost everything on our person already. If you want to carry even less, you can always rent a locker or store extras in your car for later. (Tomorrow I’ll share all the details of what I pack!)

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Roll with it. I’ve decided that you can look at bringing babies along to Disneyland in one of two ways: you can either look at it as a major hassle OR you can choose see it as a wonderful adventure for the whole family! I choose to view it through the latter perspective. There’s a lot of prep work that goes on, but it’s always worth it in the end! (Plus, babies are free until they’re three!)

why i love babywearing.

Posted on: Thursday, March 12, 2015

Why I Love Babywearing | Ann-Marie Loves

Babywearing has been a total joy for me and Briar. I think I always knew it would be a handy, but I didn’t realize just how much I would love it.

When Briar was a tiny thing, I used my Boba wrap to keep her securely snuggled next to me. Not only did the wrap make it easy for me to get things done while holding her, it also facilitated plenty of skin-to-skin time…so amazing! Then, as she got a little bigger and gained better head and neck control (around 3 months), I found the Ergo to be the appropriate carrier since I could put it on and take it off much faster than the wrap.

Why I Love Babywearing | Ann-Marie Loves

There are so many perks to wearing Briar versus buckling her into the stroller or carrying her in my arms. For one, it’s a million times easier to get through a crowded place (Trader Joe’s, I’m looking at you) sans bulky stroller. Then there’s the whole germ aspect. When she’s snuggled against me, I can limit her exposure to other people and their germs (this was especially helpful during the recent measles outbreak!). And then, of course, there are many times when she’s fussy or I just want her near me, so I’ll put her in the Ergo and we’re both happy. It’s amazing how mutually beneficial the experience is!

Why I Love Babywearing | Ann-Marie Loves

Lately, as we near Briar’s bedtime and she needs that extra bit of help to fall asleep, I’ll buckle her into the Ergo as I clean up the house, brush my teeth, and get us both ready for bed. Usually that’s all it takes to put her fast asleep. Those ten to fifteen minutes of quiet time are some of the best moments of my day.

There are so many simple pleasures that I’ve discovered since becoming a mom and babywearing is certainly at the top of the list!

bedside basket for baby.

Posted on: Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bedside Basket for Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

Before I had Briar, I made a huge checklist of all things I needed to purchase and pull together prior to her arrival. There was a crib to assemble. A closet to organize. A car seat to install. A diaper bag to pack. These were all necessities, of course, but the most useful things came as a result of living with a nocturnal, ever-hungry, spit-up baby.

Case in point: the bedside basket.

Bedside Basket for Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

When Briar was a newborn and I had to wake her every 2-3 hours for a feeding, I was a bit of a zombie. I savored any amount of sleep I could get, which often meant we kept weird hours in bed (think late nights and early afternoons…!). As a result, the only way I was able to get up for 3 am feedings was knowing that I had a tasty snack waiting for me…Lara bars and apples were a mainstay. I quickly realized that not only was it handy to have these nearby for late night energy, but they were great to have by my bed for a breakfast snack in the morning (er, early afternoon). I also stashed a handful of burp rags, a few diapers, an extra swaddle blanket, and 5 million pacifiers in the basket as well.

Bedside Basket for Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

Now that she’s six months old and sleeps in her own room (but comes in our room for feedings), the basket contents have slightly changed. These days I keep a video monitor, a couple of quiet(ish) books and toys for entertaining her while I try to sneak in a little extra sleep in the morning, a burp rag or two, a few diapers, a nose bulb, and of course, a small stash of pacifiers. It’s so great having all the essentials corralled nicely within arm’s reach.

Bedside Basket for Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

Getting out of bed is overrated.

workspace wednesday | sharing + boundaries.

Posted on: Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ann-Marie Loves

Last week Elise and I discussed establishing boundaries. Boundaries between work life + personal life. Boundaries between what to share publicly vs. what to keep to ourselves. Boundaries between listening to outside opinions vs. going with our gut. It’s the kind of topic that we could easily have discussed for hours on end! As I re-listened to the episode (and p.s., is there anything more cringeworthy than hearing your own voice?!), all I could think was, no matter how much or how little each person on this planet wants to share, I love that we have the ability to share our stories. I love that we have the ability to determine our own personal boundaries. And I love that as we evolve and grow, we can always change where the boundary line is drawn.

The past year or so has made my head spin and I’ve had one heck of a time getting focused. There have been countless days where I’ve felt completely lost and overwhelmed by all that I’ve taken on and all that I still have ahead of me. It’s exhausting being your own worst enemy, isn’t it? Luckily, just when I think I’m the last person in the world who doesn’t have her shit together, I am reminded that I am not the only one. Far from it, actually. Thanks to people who are willing to share their stories, be it through podcasts, blogs, or books, I find comfort and camaraderie amongst strangers. There is tremendous peace to be found in others’ perspectives.

Right now I’m reading an amazing book called Breathing Room and I find myself taking a screenshot of nearly every single page (Kindle app on my iPhone for the win!). There are so many passages from the book that are like permission slips for me to feel the way that I feel. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

“Letting others in is a better way to live, even though it requires bringing down our defenses and allowing for the possibility that being seen and being known might be more meaningful than being in control.” – Leeana Tankersley

Sharing is caring, y’all. Thank you for letting me share slivers of my story with you. xo

 

briar turns six months old!

Posted on: Monday, February 9, 2015

Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves
Briar is Six Months! | Ann-Marie Loves

WOW. Time is flying. I can hardly believe that it’s been half a year since I met my golden girl for the first time. We’re only one day in, but I can attest that six months is the best age! Briar is a smiling, giggling, rolling, babbling, napping (!) machine and I am so in love.

as of late | february edition.

Posted on: Tuesday, February 3, 2015

As of Late | February Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up after a big move and feeling inspired to part with half of our belongings. Insta-sale, anyone?

Loving my new wash-and-go haircut. Getting ready in the morning has never been easier!

Watching Briar sleep in her own bed in her own room (at last!), thanks to the magic of video monitors. Even though the night vision is a little (okay, a lot) creepy-looking, I sleep better knowing I can see her sleep better with the click of a button.

Thinking that this is the greatest gift a child could give their parent.

Enjoying this unseasonably warm (even for Southern California) winter. It always feels good to roll the windows down in the middle of January.

Already dreaming of the day I get to decorate a big girl room for Briar. How amazing is this room by Joni of Lay Baby Lay?

Looking forward to Valentine’s Day! Sure, it’s a made-up card holiday, but it’s a holiday nonetheless!

Feeling better and better now that I’ve rejoined the gym and can take my favorite Zumba classes again!

Wishing this insanely cute dress came in my size!

Wanting to try out this edamame guacamole dip.

Spending waaaaay too much time on my phone these days. I need to hide my iPhone from myself…

Mourning the end of my favorite TV show of all time, Parenthood. Anytime I want to feel all the feelings, I’ll re-watch the finale. Holy moly, what an ending.

Thinking that I will never tire of “Uptown Funk.” I said the same thing about “Treasure” and I could still listen to that song on repeat (number 20 would probably agree).

Putting my 2015 printable calendar and holiday stamp digital brushes on deep discount!

daily coffee routine.

Posted on: Thursday, January 29, 2015

Daily Coffee Routine | Ann-Marie Loves

Aside from wanting to pay off bills, get back in shape, and be the best mom that I can possibly be, my big resolution for 2015 is to drink good coffee. Like, really good coffee. And given the fact that I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since August, I feel like my hipster coffee habit is more than justified…it’s essential.

When I told John about my resolution, he listened and signed me up with a craft coffee subscription. (What a guy, that John.) I’m still on my first installment and it is exactly what I was hoping for! Ingredient wise, I like my coffee to be pretty simple: just coffee + 2% milk. But thanks to a few awesome tools and tricks, I’ve learned how to take a regular cup of joe to the next level. Here’s what my morning coffee routine looks like:

Daily Coffee Routine | Ann-Marie Loves

I start by filling the bottom of my stovetop coffee maker with fresh water. Then, I place the hole-y filter (proper term, I’m sure ;)) on top and fill that with coffee grounds. Finally, I screw the lid onto the base and place it on the stove over high heat to boil.

Daily Coffee Routine | Ann-Marie Loves

Once the coffee begins to boil, it’s ready to be taken off the burner.

Daily Coffee Routine | Ann-Marie Loves

Next, I pour approximately one quarter cup of milk into my mug and foam it up using a handheld milk frother. I’ve learned that the secret to making it work is to hold the frother at an angle just below the surface of the milk and only use it for a very short amount of time (maybe ten seconds?). The longer it froths, the more bubbly and flat it becomes, which defeats the whole point of using this tool in the first place. Truth be told, I’m still learning how to finesse it to perfection.

Daily Coffee Routine | Ann-Marie Loves

Once the milk has been frothed, I pour my hot coffee over the center, grab my breakfast, and begin my day.

(P.S. If you use the code l9b-ye8 at checkout, you can save 15% off your first craft coffee subscription purchase!)

How do you like your coffee?

pasadena.

Posted on: Monday, January 26, 2015

Moving On | Ann-Marie Loves

A few weeks ago, I posted about my dilemma over staying put in Pasadena or moving closer to family.

Even though we’ve only lived in Pas for a little over a year, I feel like so much of my identity is tied up in being a resident. Not only have I wanted to live here for years, but this is the first place that John and I lived together as a married couple. This is the town in which I was pregnant and had a baby. This is the only home Briar has ever known. Needless to say, the sentimental value of this city had me in a freaking headlock.

But. The thing about Pasadena is that it’s juuuust far enough away from family + friends that I can’t utilize their help with Briar. And man oh man, do I need help. Don’t get me wrong…Briar is an easy baby (relatively speaking). She loves people, she can take formula just as well as breast milk, she’s an excellent traveler, and most importantly, she’s a happy + healthy little girl. But at this stage in the game (oh, hi hospital bills), John and I both need to be working. And that means I need to pass the baby off for awhile each week so I can do my part to contribute.

So, we have moved.

And as sad as I was (am!) about leaving, I’ve already had a taste of what the next few months have in store: me time. I’ve been treating myself to solo coffee dates. I’ve listened to several podcasts back to back without having to stop. I’ve been catching up on work + e-mails. I had my neglected hair trimmed and styled. And best of all, I’ve been able to hear my own thoughts and and get some mental clarity! For the first time since Briar was born, I’ve been able to breathe easier knowing that it’s not all on me to keep things going. And it feels good.

Whenever I feel down about that chapter closing, John reminds me that we can always move back one day. Preferably to a house on El Molino ;)

as of late | january edition.

Posted on: Wednesday, January 7, 2015

As of Late | January Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Beyond psyched to see my wedding rank number two on this list and my bouquet rank number eleven on this list…! That crazy labor of love has officially paid off :)

Rewarding myself with a well-deserved Blue Moon after purging the fridge of expired food. #worstchoreever

Deciding that the best shoes are the ones I don’t even notice I am wearing all day long. I found these booties at Target (after coming to terms with the fact that my post-pregnancy feet are too wide for Sam Edelman beauties) and they are incredibly comfy. Maybe even comfy enough for a Disneyland trip!

Needing a new haircut, like, yesterday. My hair has gotten super long and I’ve lost a good chunk of it thanks to postpartum hormones (ay papi), so needless to say, Mama needs a new look. Any suggestions?

Mapping out weekend getaways with my little family. San Diego, Portland, Santa Barbara…

Stocking up on adorable plush ornaments from Anthro’s post-holiday sale. I have a feeling that our 2015 Christmas tree won’t have any breakables on it, thanks to a certain future sixteen month old ;)

Looking forward to trying out some new-to-me podcasts as recommended by Clementine Daily.

Thinking that a half birthday party for my soon-to-be six month old (!!!) would be so much fun. Now if I could just figure out how to make one of those colorful layered cakes…

Dreaming (literally) of the day that Briar sleeps through the night. It’s got to be one of these days, right?

Loving Sollybaby’s Instagram feed. Elle’s tips for everyday babywearing are so inspiring, plus, her photos are just gorg.

Marveling at all the beautiful sunsets I’ve seen lately! What is it about winter that makes sundown so dramatic?

Laughing my head off over this Jimmy Fallon / Nicole Kidman interview! O M G.

Realizing that I need to back up all the photos on my phone as I have sadly run out of space. Five months with a 32gb iPhone and a baby and I am MAXED OUT. #dontknowifishouldbeproudorembarassed

Anxiously awaiting the return of Parenthood! I swear, if they kill off Zeek…

Feeling SO PROUD that I got my best friends hooked on the Joy the Baker podcast. I’ve been an avid listener for years and I am so pumped to finally have real life friends to share it with!

Retiring from the rubber stamp game and moving in a new direction. Yep. It’s time. (P.S. if you’ve been eyeing my holiday stamps, you have until Thursday to stock up!)

hello 2015.

Posted on: Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hello 2015 | Ann-Marie Loves

The more years I see, the more I realize that I can’t put a blanket statement on any particular year. Or anything, really. (Except cookie dough. I am ALWAYS down for cookie dough.) Each year is filled with it’s own share of victories and losses that help to mold you into your future self. But if I’m being honest, 2014 was a DOOZY. It was more powerful and life changing and terrifying than I ever could have predicted. I don’t think I’ve ever been more stressed out in my life. Needless to say, I’m happy to put it in the past (insert peace sign emoji here).

My families rang in the new year in a beautiful home in Cambria overlooking the Pacific Ocean…all while the majority of the group battled various flu symptoms (I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere). Despite our rocky entrance into 2015, I’m already feeling a sense of lightness and peace for the new year. There are big life changes on the horizon, but my main focus for 2015 is to stop and  savor the little things that make life so wonderful. I spent way too much of last year in a state of panic over the unknown that I often lost sight of all the amazing things that were actually happening. This year, I have grand plans of enjoying craft coffee everyday, taking tons of Zumba classes, finding any and every excuse to meet up with friends, allowing others to help me, taking more photos, sleeping in if it feels good, working on more “just for fun” projects, and getting down on the floor and playing with my baby as often as possible. Ever since Christmas, Briar has been hitting milestones left and right (rolling all over, grabbing at everything, sitting up) and it’s been a huge wakeup call for me to enjoy each and every moment, not just of her life, but of mine as well.

It’s gonna be a good one. I can feel it.

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