Entries Tagged as 'life happens'

pumping for the win.

Posted on: Friday, September 26, 2014

Breastfeeding is a Learning Curve | Ann-Marie Loves + Ameda Purely Yours Pump

The first few days after Briar was born, the two of us struggled with nursing. Oh man, we struggled.

My tiny little peanut of a daughter turned into a ravenous piranha anytime she sensed food was close at hand, leaving my chest a little (read: A LOT) sore. Then we began having latching issues. Then John and I found out that Briar had lost nearly 10% of her birth weight and we were instructed to chunk that baby back up…STAT.

Enter: my Ameda pump.

Breastfeeding is a Learning Curve | Ann-Marie Loves + Ameda Purely Yours Pump

Talk about total game changer.

Suddenly I was able to feed my child on a regular schedule. I was able to measure just how much milk she was consuming. John and I were able to alternate middle of the night feedings since he could give her a bottle of pumped milk. And selfishly, I was able to take a break from painful feedings for a moment while still keeping my milk supply up.

Within two days of every-two-hour feedings, we plumped our Briar girl up another six ounces. S I X. I’ve had many proud moments in my life, but hearing that number as the pediatrician laid her on the scale is a top contender for proudest moment. When the doctor left the room, John and I high-fived. Teamwork! Thanks to the pump, we were no longer in the scary red zone of infant weight loss. I now had a little more wiggle room to regroup and give nursing another shot…

Breastfeeding is a Learning Curve | Ann-Marie Loves + Ameda Purely Yours Pump

Fast forward six weeks and we’ve got a pretty solid rhythm down. Nursing now feels like second nature, but I still pump a bottle every single day for John to give to Briar before he heads off to work. This not only allows for some important father / daughter bonding time, but it also lets me get in a 6-7 hour stretch of sleep! (Unheard of, I know!) I’m not exaggerating when I say that pumping has truly been the key to surviving the newborn stage.

This post was sponsored by Ameda, but the ideas + opinions are all my own. Ameda + United Healthcare have recently teamed up with Target to offer moms the ability to pick up their breast pump at their local Target pharmacy! You can find out more about this collaboration here!

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.

dear lizzy projects.

Posted on: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

DIY Geometric Banner | Ann-Marie Loves

Before Briar arrived, I went into serious laser focus mode and cranked out as many projects as I possibly could. In fact, the night before I was induced (I didn’t know I would be induced), I stayed up late mopping the whole house, deep cleaning the kitchen sink, reorganizing the coat closet, and crossing items off my to-do list like nobody’s biz. I don’t know if I’ve ever been (or will ever be again!) so productive in my life! Now I’m thanking Pregnant Ann-Marie for plowing through those projects because lord knows that Mom-of-a-Newborn Ann-Marie considers having her coffee before 4pm a major accomplishment. But it’s all good, I promise :)

Some of my favorite projects that I managed to eke out pre-Briar were these three tutorials:

DIY Ribbon Weaving | Ann-Marie Loves

Woven Ribbon Wall Hanging. I think we all know by now that I love a good weaving project. Using ribbon instead of yarn was definitely a bit of a challenge, but with colors like those found in this ribbon set, it was well worth the extra effort!

Clothepin Wall Decor | Ann-Marie Loves

Clothespin Wall Decor. Decorating Briar’s nursery will forever be one of my all-time favorite ongoing projects. I love adding new touches here and there, so when I saw these adorable clothespins, I knew they would bring in a little playfulness to the spot above Briar’s changing table.

DIY Geometric Banner | Ann-Marie Loves

Geometric Banner. When it comes to pretty patterned paper and my Cameo, I simply cannot be stopped. I found this awesome shape designed by Amy Robison in the Silhouette store and had to give it a whirl. Now the banner hangs in my office (next to the much-asked-about bunny vase!) and makes me happy :)

as of late | september edition.

Posted on: Wednesday, September 3, 2014

As of Late | September Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Hi! Hi! Hi!

Missing: blogging! I feel like I have so much to say and share and I’m eager to jump back in on a regular basis. Bear with me if things get a little baby-centric over the next few weeks / months / years ;)

Feeling: so inspired for Autumn after seeing Anthro’s Fall merchandising this past weekend. It makes me want to bake blueberry muffins, knit a blanket (maybe finish this one?), and wear oversized sweaters. If only California Summers would get the memo…

Loving: being a mom. I love it, I love it, I love it. I worried that these first few weeks would do me in, but I’m happy to report that in spite of the exhaustion (oh, it is REAL), they have been downright amazing.

Taking: daily walks, tidying up the house everyday, keeping Larabars at the ready, basking in air conditioning, and letting John take the 6am feeding so I can sleep a longer stretch = the keys to my sanity.

Enjoying: my new lamp from Target. I had my eye on it for awhile, so when the perfect storm of store credit + a 20% discount arose, I jumped on it! It’s always the little things that make the biggest difference, no?

Doing: more laundry than I’ve ever done in my life. Who knew a seven pound baby could fill an entire laundry basket in less than a day?!

Listening: to lots of podcasts, as always. (Are there any good mom or baby related shows I should check out?)

Trying: to decide what’s next for me, career-wise. I definitely feel like I’m at a crossroads and I’m ready for a BIG change.

Itching: to learn how to sew baby clothes! Dresses, rompers, vests…I want to make everything! See Kate Sew’s tutorials have been fueling this desire like nobody’s business.

Dreaming: of the holiday season. So many crafts I want to make! So many photos I want to take! So many places I want to go! Having a little one makes everything more exciting.

Strangely: fascinated by all the surfing videos from the giant waves that hit the California coast last week, especially this one!

Getting: my money’s worth out of my 50mm f/1.8 lens and my new iPhone 5s (first upgrade in three years!) as I photograph Briar’s every move. The kid’s less than a month old and we already have hundreds of photos of her…!

Designing: new stamps for September. I’ll be taking the August edition stamps down on Friday, so get them while you still can!

Wondering: what kind of posts you would like to see on this blog? Any specific topics or tutorials in mind? I would love it if you could help me build my editorial calendar (my brain is just a wee bit fried these days ;))!

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.

august limited edition rubber stamps.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August 2014 Limited Edition Rubber Stamps | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

So much of these past few weeks have not gone as I had anticipated, but I’m making the best of it! My house is cleaner than it’s ever been, I’m getting as much rest as possible, and I’m still burning through my to-do lists on a daily basis. So really, win-win ;) Thanks to the extra time I was given, I was able to put together five new limited edition stamp designs for the month of August:

August 2014 Limited Edition Rubber Stamps | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

01. Hip Hip Hooray | 02. August | 03. This Is the Best Ever | 04. Hello Sunshine | 05. I’ll Drink to That

You can find these stamps + more over at my shop! xo

in my bag | hospital edition.

Posted on: Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Now that I’m convinced this baby is going to happily inhabit my body from now until the end of time, I thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase what’s in my hospital bag. You know, just in case it ever gets put to use.

What's in My Hospital Bag | Ann-Marie Loves

  • Faux Leather Bag. I found this bag months ago at Forever 21 knowing that it would make for a stylish diaper bag. Turns out, it’s also been a great bag for weekend getaways, overnight stays at my parents’ house, and now, a place to house all of the items I think I will need during my (hopefully!) short stay at the hospital. This is just my personal bag; John has his own and the baby has her own. Clearly we don’t mess around when it comes to spending a few nights three miles away from home ;)
  • Electronics. Camera, iPhone, chargers. All the important things we will need to document this exciting time!
  • Nursing bras. I picked up a few soft nursing bras at Target that were relatively cheap and can translate from daytime wear to sleepwear easily.
  • Nursing-friendly tops and nightgowns. Apparently, easy access is what this whole postpartum fashion situation is all about! Luckily, I found some pieces that are super comfy AND cute, whether or not the rest of me looks like a hot mess.
  • Granny Panties. I’ll admit that I resisted spending money on giant undies for quite some time, but once I got home and gave them a whirl, I was kind of in love. They’re so comfortable!
  • Bathrobe. This item was a tip from my good friend Elise and I imagine it will come in handy long after we leave the hospital. I found mine at Target for a great deal, so I won’t feel bad about getting it dirty and throwing it in the wash on a regular basis.
  • Gap Supersoft LeggingsI know I keep mentioning these leggings over and over again, but seriously, they’re the best. This particular style is perfect since the waistband is low rise and won’t get in the way of lingering baby bumps.
  • Toiletries. Deodorant, makeup, toilet paper, lotion, several tubes of Carmex, shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, razor, toothbrush + toothpaste, etc. All the key ingredients to making a sterile hospital room feel more like home.
  • Snacks. I really love the team of doctors that have been taking care of me these past nine (or in my case, nine hundred) months for countless reasons, but one of the biggest factors is their forward-thinking approach to labor and delivery. They buck tradition and encourage moms to stay hydrated and energized during the whole process through easy-to-digest food and drinks. I eagerly took their advice and stocked up on lollipops, granola bars, mints, and gum for John and I to snack on as the hours roll by.
  • Domino Magazine. To be honest, I have no idea if I will have the time (or the energy!) to read a magazine during my hospital stay, but I thought I would bring it in case Instagram can no longer hold my attention (as if!).
  • BoppyEveryone needs a Boppy, right? Mine is currently sitting in the backseat of the car, decked out in the cream + gold cover I purchased off Etsy.
  • Etc. Hospital registration forms, insurance card, birth plan, pillows, car seat…all the fun stuff.

Now if we could just get this party started…

ready as we’ll ever be.

Posted on: Monday, July 28, 2014

Thoughts on Being Ready for Baby | Ann-Marie Loves

Getting way more than my money’s worth out of that Anthro tank top!

Aside from “when are you due?” and “you’re taking the drugs, right?”, the most common question I get asked these days is “are you ready?” AM I READY? Is anyone ever ready? Sure, we have all of the necessary baby gear. The car seat base is secured in the backseat. My hospital bag is packed. We have attended all of the birth / baby classes and taken copious notes. We have mapped out the fastest route to the hospital. But are we READY? Oh gosh. I don’t think we will ever be fully “ready.”

John and I are both going into parenthood with a healthy sense of fear. We have no idea what to expect and we’re not even trying to pretend like we do. But ironically, I feel confident in our lack of total self-assuredness. I know that it will keep us on our toes. It will push us to expand beyond our comfort zones on a daily basis. It will require us to grow not only as parents but also as a couple and as individuals. It will reshape our lives, but in the very best way possible.

Here’s how I know we can do this (whether or not we feel 100% ready): we already love the heck out of this little girl. We haven’t even met her yet, but we are already determined to do everything in our power (and then some) to give her the best life possible. I always thought it would be difficult to give myself entirely to another person, but after being pregnant, I have no problem putting this tiny gal’s needs before my own. It’s not even a question. It’s just a way of life.

We’re ready when you are, little one.

workspace wednesday | tying up loose ends.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Workspace Wednesday | Ann-Marie Loves

So as it turns out…I’m still pregnant! Ha! The salad didn’t work, but that’s okay. I’m more than happy to take advantage of a few extra days of sleeping in, cleaning this house from top to bottom, and tying up loose ends on the project front. It definitely feels counterintuitive to be cutting back on my workload and allowing myself to take a little bit of a break. I can’t remember the last time I did that since graduating college in 2009…!

While I wait for this baby to make an appearance, I’m magic eraser-ing the heck out of every surface (what is in those things, anyway?), trying to figure out where I want to hang these prints, learning awesome ideas for kids’ crafts (I can’t wait for her book!), writing the last handful of thank you notes, going on short power walks, squealing over these adorable mini TOMS that my friend Sarah gifted the babe, and trying to wrap my brain around what’s to come. It’s a good week, baby or no baby. Hope yours is going swimmingly as well!

Follow on Feedly

Theme by Blogmilk   Coded by Brandi Bernoskie