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Up Close and Personal with Amy Lou Hawthorne - Bannor Toys

Up Close and Personal with Amy Lou Hawthorne

We have declared that this year is about you, our customer.  We want to get to know you, and we also want to introduce you to some of the most amazing women we have the pleasure of knowing and working with.  Women who have offered to open their hearts and share their experiences with us. Today we are so excited to introduce you to Amy Lou Hawthorne.  A wife and a working military mama of two beautiful little girls, this party planning extraordinaire's brutal honesty will have you wanting to grab a coffee and roam the aisles of Target with her.  Friends, let's turn it over to Amy...


Beautifully imperfect motherhood. Hard and easy. Up and down. Painful and joyful. Beautiful and ugly. Perfect and imperfect. Motherhood: beautiful and imperfect in so many ways.

I’ve thought about what to write in this blog post for over a month now, and as I sit here in Starbucks with my newest little lady asleep in the stroller next to me, I realize that the reason it’s been so hard to figure out what I want to say is because there’s so much to say. I was asked to write about “love.” One of the most powerful words in existence that is only multiplied a million fold after you add “mother” to your resume. Love and motherhood are nearly synonymous and that feeling of love for your children begins long before conception.


Amy Lou Hawthorne for Bannor Toys


For many, loving children began when you were a little girl. How do I know? Because I’m watching my oldest daughter Everly, at the tender age of 2, longing to comfort, protect and nurture her 2 month old little sister, simply because she knows that’s what mothers do. But it’s not until you’re going through the beautifully imperfect days, nights, weeks, months and years of motherhood that I believe you fully understand the depth and vastness of that love. That same love you felt as a 2 year old little girl.

It’s that spilled grape juice all over your new white rug, but the hug and “I sawwie” that follows that makes you forget. It’s that terrible night of sleep with a newborn who won’t stop crying, but the first smile in the morning that rejuvenates you for a new day. It’s that worry that they may not be developing fast enough, but then the first “mama”, that first giggle, that first step that reminds you that all kids grow up at different rates. It’s that Target tantrum that boils your blood, but the kind lady that says you’re doing such a great job that reminds you- it’s all for love. It’s all for those tiny little humans that break you down to your lows and bring you up to your highs, because we just want to do our best and love them well.



Blake and I knew we wanted to have kids when we got married in 2011. What we didn’t know is that in December of 2012 we’d be faced with divorce papers at our kitchen table. The same table we imagined to one day sit at on Christmas morning as a family with kids of our own. When we were at our rock bottom, one thing kept reminding me to fight for our love. I wanted to see him as a daddy. I didn’t want to lose the chance to mother his kids. I wanted to have Christmas morning with him as a family. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to our forever. By the grace of God and our willingness to fight for the love we promised to one another, in August of 2013 we renewed the sanctity of our vows in a quaint, beautiful ceremony in Fiji. Since then, we have continued to rekindle our fire and we continue to fall more and more in love with each other every day. He’s now the father to our two beautiful girls, and I get to watch him rock this daddy thing like a king. He’s so good for my soul, and I’m so grateful we fought for our love.

I always knew he’d be a good papa bear and that I’d be a good mama bear. I never questioned that. But the moment we drove away from the hospital with our first (Everly) fear set in, and the realization that Blake and I had no idea what we were doing came over my body. While I felt more prepared for my second (Hadley), the fears this time around were “Am I doing the right thing in taking away all of Everly’s attention and giving her a sibling?” “How am I ever going to love Hadley as much as I love Everly?” You always hear, “love doesn’t divide but it multiplies”, and to be brutally honest…I didn’t know if I fully believed it. These are all common thoughts, and I share this to say it’s okay if you have these same thoughts. I won’t share what’s right or what’s wrong or how you can make it better, but I will share that the same love that’s gotten you through all of those hard times before will get you through these hard times of uncertainty now.

I want my girls to see a mommy who doesn’t lose all her marbles at the drop of spilled grape juice. I want my girls to see a mommy who even after a night of no sleep still wakes up with a smile on her face. (just after a cup of coffee). I want my girls to see a mommy who doesn’t compare her kids to others and embraces our families’ development journey. I want my girls to see a mommy who disciplines her girls in Target the best way I can, just knowing I’m trying my very best.

 Amy Lou Hawthorne for Bannor Toys


We are their biggest role models. We are who they want to be. Our children are growing up in a difficult generation. The added pressures of social media and continuous technological advancements can lead us down the wrong road to our future if we aren’t careful. It’s these developments that take away from the genuine sincerity of a hand written letter and face-to-face conversations. It’s these developments that take innocent kids away from handmade, beautiful wood toys and turn them towards cell phones and tablets. It’s these developments that can make my little 2 year old girl care more about the things of the world than watching mommy and daddy and learning how to love in her future.

 I pray we make love a priority. I pray we work harder to teach our children what matters most. I pray for simplicity in the midst of this complex, continuously advancing world. Now more than ever, the way we parent our tiniest little humans will shape their future.

I’ll be your biggest fan if you’ll be mine. Let’s stop comparing and stop reaching for Pinterest worthy lives. Let’s cheer each other on and rock this beautifully imperfect parenthood thing together. Let’s smile. Let’s dance. Let’s laugh. Let’s love. 


 See, we told you so!  Amazing, right?!  You can catch up with Amy and her adorable family on her Instagram page (@amylouhawthorne). 💗

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Brittany - February 13, 2017

Love Amy H! Have been following both ya’ll on IG for a while now, what a great pair. Her girls are darling!

Sarah H. - February 13, 2017

Such sweet and true mama words, thanks for being real Amy.

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