Entries Tagged as 'life happens'


Posted on: Thursday, December 15, 2016

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend we joined John’s family up in Solvang for a little day trip and we had so much fun! The weather was total perfection: cloudy, cool, and feeling like Fall. I’ve been to Solvang a handful of times but this was the first trip for Briar and Landon. It’s always a treat to experience familiar things through brand new eyes…it’s easily one of the best parts about being a parent! Briar had a great time running around, marveling at the Christmas lights, and sharing an ice cream cone with her cousin Luna. Landon spent most of his time sleeping in his bear suit (which instantly puts him to sleep??) in the stroller. And Mama Bear had a great time drinking wine and taking tons of photos ;)

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

Day Trip to Solvang | Ann-Marie Loves

That night, my heart felt very full as I sat in the passenger seat next to my husband as we drove along the cloudy coast back home with our two sleeping babies in the back seat. It’s rare when I feel like I can just sit still and quiet my inner to-do list but something about that moment put me at ease and made me so grateful.

the grass is greener where you water it.

Posted on: Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

2016 has been quite a year, no? I was reading an article that listed the worst years in human history and this past year made the cut…YIKES. Personally, it wasn’t my finest hour on record but it also wasn’t my worst. A lot of really great things happened to me in 2016: I got pregnant, I found a nice rhythm with work, Briar turned two, we moved into a cute place, I had Landon (!), and I came to the startling realization that the grass is greener where you water it.


I’m sure you’ve seen that quote floating around on Pinterest many times. In fact, I’m sure I’ve pinned it at least three times, but it took until recently (when I really needed it) for the words to hit me over the head and finally sink into my consciousness. The grass is greener where you water it. So true on every single level, right? So what if I don’t have everything that someone else has…look at all the amazing things I do have! After years and years of comparing myself to others, I’ve learned the comparison trap is just that — a trap! — and it never fails to make me lose confidence in who I am and what I have.

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

My life may look pretty small on the outside: I spend most of my days balancing two babies with freelance work. I don’t drive a fancy car and I can’t quite afford California real estate just yet. I don’t take many fancy trips. Half of my wardrobe still doesn’t fit me as I maneuver my way through the postpartum phase of life. I spend many days wondering what in the world am I doing?! But in spite of all these perceived shortcomings, I find so much joy in my everyday when I focus on all that I have instead of all that I don’t.

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

It’s the simple things that really make life so rich: Drinking coffee from a French press in the morning. Listening to Briar’s little voice tell me stories. Going on adventures with my two babies. Shooting and editing photos. Listening to my favorite podcasts. Decorating my tiny but cozy home. Target runs (especially of the solo variety). Long conversations with my husband. Shopping with my mom. Drinking wine. Dancing until my feet hurt. Making things with my own two hands. Crawling into a warm bed at night.

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

One of the easiest ways for me to focus on how green my own grass really is is by writing down memories in my kids’ individual baby journals. We started a journal for Briar before she was born and we continued the tradition with Landon. I don’t write in them everyday or even every week, but whenever I carve out a few minutes to reflect on their milestones and how proud and in love I am with them, my sense of gratitude spills over into every aspect of my life. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more I express gratitude, the more things I have to be grateful for!

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It | Ann-Marie Loves x Cross Pens

It only took thirty years but I’ve finally seen the light.

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

december daily 2016.

Posted on: Friday, December 9, 2016

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

Every time we move, I curse myself for having so many scrapbooks and craft supplies. They’re so much fun to play with but good lord, they are such a pain to move and find room for. That being said, I decided to take a more practical approach with my December Daily this year. Instead of starting a new album, I am just adding a December Daily portion to my ongoing 2016 album. I figure that this will be the easiest way for me to stick with it AND save some space in the closet. Additionally, Briar loves paging this particular album so I know this will get a lot of attention long after December passes.

Here’s the first spread:

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

It wouldn’t be complete unless there was a ton of color!

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

For the introductory page, I am using one of my all-time favorite papers from Amy Tangerine’s Oh Happy Life collection. As soon as I saw it, I put it aside for this particular project knowing that it would be the perfect palette for my version of Christmas. I also used a die cut tag, a Crate Paper pinwheel sticker that I’ve been hoarding for years, and Amy’s holiday stamps.

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

Instead of doing a strict daily format, I’m doing an “almost daily” format. Basically, I’m too scatterbrained at the moment to be that disciplined with documenting everyday so I’m just going to wing it and call it good ;) For this page, I used three different photos and added the “love,” “merry,” and yellow paint swipe using my Hand-Lettered Holiday Digital Brushes. I only had about an hour to pull all this together so using the brushes on my before I printed helped to bring in fun design elements without having to dig through my stash.

December Daily 2016 | Ann-Marie Loves

I woke up this morning excited to look at what I made last night. I’m eager to add more to this album! Stay tuned.



as of late | december edition.

Posted on: Thursday, December 1, 2016

As of Late | December Edition | Ann-Marie Loves

Feeling so excited that the holidays are officially underway! Christmas with little ones is MAGIC.

Taking the babes for walks in our new double BOB stroller and zoning out with a podcast while all three of us get some fresh air. It’s one of my favorite simple joys in life.

Putting together a Spotify playlist for Landon that makes me feel all mushy inside. My favorites on the list are St. Judy’s Comet, Beautiful Boy, and Sweet Baby James.

Treasuring these early infant days where I can put Landon in one spot and know that he can’t go anywhere or get into anything!

Pining after this gold swan wall decor piece! It would be so cute in Briar’s room.

Navigating that postpartum limbo where my body is stuck between where it was and where I want it to be.

Discovering YouTube in a major way! My all-time favorite videos are from Claire Zinnecker (whom I recently found out turned thirty on the same day I turned thirty!). Her style speaks to me in a MAJOR way and I can’t wait to see more from her.

Feeling the pull to clean up my eating habits and taking inspiration from Nutrition Stripped. I love her videos (and her cute kitchen!) and I’m adding her cookbook to my Christmas list.

Writing down lots of blog post ideas (okay, more like e-mailing them to myself).

Starting my December Daily album today. Yessssssss.


Posted on: Tuesday, November 15, 2016

This is 30 | Ann-Marie Loves

Today I turn thirty. Whoa. As I’ve been reflecting back on all that happened during my twenties, I came up with a list of thirty of my favorite things from the past decade:

Becoming a mom. Biggest (and best!) challenge in my twenties, for sure.

Living in four completely different cities.

Seeing my work in print for the first time.

Feeling baby kicks. There’s nothing quite like them!

Moving to Utah on a whim and working at American Crafts. What a cool experience.

Marrying John in a DIY backyard wedding!

Learning how to meditate.

Dancing like a maniac at every wedding I attend.

Falling in love with scrapbooking and turning it into a career path.

Getting to know Briar + Landon.

Decorating a double nursery.

Listening to countless podcasts and even attending a live recording of Bitch Sesh!

Living in the snow for two winters (and deciding that I never need to live in it ever again).

Graduating college.

Instagram and Pinterest. I can’t remember life before them!

Blogging. I really, really love this creative outlet.

Going on long walks in Pasadena.

Taking a full moon chair lift ride with John in Sundance.

Long bike rides with friends.

Discovering scrapbooking. Not only has it been a fun hobby but it’s also been a career and the key to so many open doors in my life!

Spending my 29th birthday in Santa Barbara with John (my first night away from Briar!).

Bingeing on Parenthood. Best show ever.

Getting engaged in Yosemite a few days before Christmas.

Finally figuring out that photography is what I want to do with my life.

Going on a major thrifting spree for my wedding.

Honeymooning in the Pacific Northwest with my new husband and drinking allll the coffee.

Honeybee lattes at Lavender + Honey.

Having annual passes to Disneyland for almost the whole ten years.

Various workout obsessions: Tae Bo, Turbokick, spinning, and my most favorite, Zumba!

Ending the decade with realization that the grass is always greener where you water it. I can’t wait to see what my thirties have in store for me!

family of four.

Posted on: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Life around here has been an adventure, to say the least. Having twice as many kids as we did six weeks ago is challenging but so rewarding.

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

I remember feeling very overwhelmed during the first few months of Briar’s life and now am wondering what in the world was I thinking?!  Infants are a piece of cake! Ha! Actually, I know why the first baby is so hard: it’s the sudden loss of independence, the need to be hyper-vigilant about somebody else’s needs, oh, and the sleep deprivation (that one is still a doozy) that throws you for a loop. At least it did for me. I know a lot of new moms struggle with a sense of isolation and while I didn’t feel that emotion too often, I definitely felt a constant flood of other difficult feelings. I felt overwhelmed. I felt exhausted. I felt like I should have been enjoying every single moment when in reality, I loved my baby but I wasn’t in a permanent state of bliss. I desperately wanted to “enjoy every moment” like I was instructed to do, but as a first time mom, I always had my eye on the horizon for what was coming down the pike.

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

This time around, I’m not trying to enjoy every moment (is that even possible??) but as a result, I am enjoying A LOT more of the everyday experience than I did with Briar. I am loving this delicious newborn phase when all Landon does is eat, sleep, and poop. When he gets fussy and doesn’t want to be put down, I pick him up and cherish those snuggles instead of feeling overwhelmed and frustrated like I did the first time. Or better yet, I’ll get him in the wrap or Ergo and savor the closeness. (P.S. I tried to convince Briar to let me wear her in the Ergo to see if she still fit and she politely declined with a “no thanks.” Ha! When did she turn twelve?!)

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

This time around I’m also much more patient with how my body adjusts back to it’s normal self. When I had Briar, I was so concerned that all the postpartum discomforts and awkwardness would be my new way of life. With this second experience, I’m completely fascinated by how fast my body is healing itself and how quickly I’ve been able to jump back into normal life. I actually have much more energy now — sleep deprivation and all — than I did while pregnant! I am definitely nowhere near where I started and I may not get back there for awhile but I promise you, I am 100% okay with that. I plan on rocking my maternity clothes well into Landon’s first (second, third…) year of life! ;)

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

Family of Four | Ann-Marie Loves

This past weekend I decided that we needed family photos, so with a little bribery for the two year old and a lot of sweat (why is so hot in November?!), I got my photos! As I go through them, I can’t help but smile over the tiny little people I get to call my kids. Motherhood is a wild ride.

three years.

Posted on: Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Three Years of Marriage | Ann-Marie Loves | Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

Photo by Katie Pritchard Photography

Today marks three years of being married to my best friend.

Marriage has been challenging and rewarding. Frustrating and wonderful. Monotonous and full of excitement. It’s all of those things rolled into one and I’m so grateful for the big and small things we’ve experienced together over the past three years (hello Briar + Landon!). Yesterday I went through all of the glassware that I collected for our wedding tablescapes and it took me on a happy little trip down memory lane. I can barely wrap my brain around the fact that we’re three years removed from that special day…it sure feels like it just happened!

Now excuse me while I put on some Al Green and reminisce about our wedding

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!

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