Dating Your Kids and Favorite Rowan Things.

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Do you date your kids? Hahahah- that sounds kind of funny, but do you? Kev and I try to make it a point to go on dates with the girls. Life is busy and it doesn’t happen a ton but at least every month we try to go out with Rowan or Finley individually and then switch kids the next month. The girls love it! They always look forward to it- I also use it as a gauge as to how the girls are doing attention wise. I know if Rowan starts asking for it- it means she definitely needs the dedicated one and one time. Not that you can’t give that to them at home but this is just a little extra special. In the summer the New York City Ballet always comes to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for a week of performances. It’s something I look forward to every year! I get so excited to bring Rowan but also to get to see Justin Peck’s newest ballet. Ooh it’s always so beautiful, I just love him! Anyway, Rowan is always more interested in getting dressed up and doing all the activities they have for the kids than seeing the actual ballet but that’s ok with me. She’s 4 right? I can’t expect her to sit the entire performance. On family nights at SPAC they have all kinds of fun things for the kids. They had some of the ballerinas (and male ballet dancer? he’s not called a ballerina is he?) come out and teach the kids some of the steps from the ballet and talk a little about how they got started in their careers. There was balloon animals, free ice cream, photo booth, instruments you could try playing, and lots more. It was a great night to spend with my sweet little Rowan.

I had a mini break down in the car the other day when I was driving. It totally hit me she is starting kindergarten in a few weeks. Ahhh!! It wasn’t so much the kindergarten that was making me cry- I mean she is just going for like 2.5 hours every morning- more the idea that this is the start of her not being with me most of the day, all year long for…like… ever (insert all the crying here). She has always been with me. My little buddy. My sidekick. Then all the sudden she is just gone for 18 years of her life. I know that is being dramatic but Waaaaa! It makes me feel so sad. Now don’t get me wrong, most days I am ready to ship her off somewhere (I kid, I kid) but even on the toughest of days I wouldn’t change her being with me. We are taking each year as it comes with school. We loved home schooling last year but we just felt like this year with the new baby coming maybe it wasn’t a good idea. Who knows though, maybe the school she is going to will be such a great fit we won’t home school anymore. I don’t know. It just feel like such a big change this year.

Rowan at 4 years 10 months:

1. calls funerals sad parties
2. loves to give run hugs
3. tries to put air quotes around words when she talks- hasn’t quite figured out the appropriate use but it sure is funny when she does it
4. jumped off high dive at the pool
5. only likes peanut butter on her sandwiches
6. comes up with the best, most creative drawings ever
7. everyday wants to be something new when she grows up (latest as of the last 3 days: zoo keeper, model, hockey player)
8. best big sister in the world
9. loves to retell the plot from movies to people who haven’t seen them yet. Current favorites… Big Hero 6 and the new Annie
10. belts out Tomorrow from Annie in the car when she thinks no one is looking
11. has a very particular, super nervous laugh she does when she is actually scared but trying to pretend it’s really fun (Like petting animals and swimming in the middle of the lake)
12. says underwhener instead of underwear
13. loves to come into our bed in the morning and fall back asleep cuddled up to me super close
14. LOVES and I mean LOOOOOOOVES to go out to eat. I think she suggests it about 2 times every day.
15. always wants someone to play with
16. learned to swim in 2 swim lessons
17. Rowan is super excitable. We’ve noticed when she is doing something especially fun for her she act this certain way that Kev and I call “captain papa”. We call it that because the first time we noticed it she was on my Dad’s boat in FL walking around shouting “Aye, Aye Captain Papa”. It’s this very sweet, over the top, making silly jokes, talking nonstop, everything makes her giggle in almost a fake kind of way sort of thing. I don’t even know how to describe it and I think it’s only something Kev and I would really pick up on but we love it to pieces and I also love the little inside joke Kev and I have about it now. What a doll she is!

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Maternity Style | Week 28

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We are at the tail end here of week 28. Hello 3rd trimester! Boy, oh boy! The summer is getting’ HOT and I am feeling like a stuffed sausage in most clothing. It’s funny when you get to this point and you think “there is no way I can get bigger than this” and then you realize you have like 12 weeks left and you better believe you are getting bigger sister. Ahh! Before this pregnancy I was in a very happy routine of pant wearing bliss. Jeans were my best friends. Pregnancy on the other hand is not and jeans, shorts or any pants for that matter that are not these leggings drive me crazy (although I did just found some pretty awesome jeans). I’ve been wearing a lot of dresses and well, this skirt. It just feels so much more comfortable to me. Plus hats make any frizzy, humid bad hair day better.

What was your number one pregnancy clothing item?

OUTFIT DETAILS:

Leah Maternity Top: c/o Isabella Oliver
Striped Skirt: Old Navy (similar)
Sandals: old (similar)
Hat: He>I

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Exploring The Great Wolf Lodge

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Have you ever visited a Great Wolf Lodge before? I had actually never heard of the hotel before until about a month ago. We are always looking for new places to go as a family. Vacation criteria has really changed for us over the last few years. It’s hard to avoid when you become a parent. We still like to take the kids to visit new cities and foreign countries but there is also something so wonderful about bringing them somewhere that is totally geared towards them. It makes for such a fun, family experience. This is 100% the Great Wolf Lodge!! What a blast we had! We headed down to the Pocono Mountains location a few weekends ago to visit and celebrate the grand opening of their new Slideboarding water slide (which Kev thought was super fun!). The week before we left I showed Rowan the website and all the fun stuff she was going to get to do and let’s just say she did not stop talking about it all week. She told everyone she saw that week about it. We arrived late on friday night and were greeted in the lobby with a full on kids dance party going on. Rowan was in heaven! Our room was large yet cozy and cabin like. They had a packn’play already set up for us with our own diaper pail to use throughout the weekend (so thoughtful for a traveling family with small children!). There was also a whole s’more smorgasbord for us to snack on and heat up in the microwave.

The hotel had daily activities going throughout the day for the girls to be a part of like facepainting, story time, kids games, etc… There was a huge, I mean HUGE indoor waterpark that was beyond fun for the kids and even us (well Kev- dang pregnancy!). I don’t think Finley has ever been so happy. She loves, loves, loves the water!! They had a great toddler kids area! They also had their own Build-a-Bear type store in the hotel that allowed the kids to pick out stuffed animals and outfits based on the hotel’s themed characters. There’s this really fun interactive scavenger hunt that involves the stuffed animals that takes you all around the hotel the girls loved playing. We played lots of rounds in the mini bowling alley, went glow in the dark mini golfing, and took Rowan to the kids spa where she was treated like a little princesses. We ate lots of ice cream, enjoyed a HUGE outdoor ropes course, and played games in the giant arcade. Someone asked me on Facebook if there was enough stuff from smaller kids to do and the answer is YES! Holy cow, YES! We didn’t even get to everything our day was so filled to the brim.

My favorite thing about the weekend was sitting down with the staff of the Great Wolf Lodge and hearing about the importance they place on the food they serve. I am super nerdy about that stuff and it’s something that is really important to me. I always feel like I have to compromise how I feed my family when I go to places like this. The Great Wold Lodge goes out of there way to accommodate allergies, food restrictions and tries very, very hard to serve lots of organic, healthy, clean eating options for people who want that. I really, really appreciate that about them. Something that I feel sets them apart to other family resorts out there.

We had such a fun time and the pure joy that just beamed from Rowan and Finley the whole weekend will be something I won’t forget anytime soon. We want to say a big huge THANK YOU to the Great Wolf Lodge team for inviting us to come share this special weekend with them. We will definitely be back!!

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It’s a big ol’ Baby Sale!!

Have you ever really shopped online at Target? I don’t normally buy a lot of stuff online at Target because duh! I am there basically everyday. Anyway, they’re having this crazy awesome baby sale right now and for the heck of it I went online (sale is in stores as well!) and looked around at the baby items and holy cow! they have even more awesome stuff online then in the store. I found so many of my most favorite brands and filled up my cart real fast of things we needed to get for the baby. Now until July 11th spend $200 on baby gear get a $40 gift card (or spend $125 get a $20 gift card). Also all Graco stuff is 10% off and then there are handfuls of select items that just straight up give you gift cards when you buy them! Hello money for diapers! Target you have my heart for sure.

Here are a few items that ended up (or would have if we didn’t already have them!) in my cart…
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1. Ergo 4 Position 360 Carrier: We LOVE Ergo! One of our favorite ways to carry our babies and with this purchase you get an extra $30 gift card! How awesome is that?

2. Toys!: I love the online selection of wooden toys for kids. How cute are these blocks?

3. 4Moms Breeze Playard: You know we love 4Moms in our household. We have this playard already and it’s about the easiest, most awesome packn’play there is out there. I think it’s funny hearing stories from Moms about their horror stories of trying to set up the packn’play late at night in the midst of their travels and the sides wont stay up (why is there some weird law about which sides need to go up first for most packn’plays to even work?). With 4Moms you just press the middle down and you are done! PLUS!!! Free gift card with purchase!!

4. LifeFactory Bottles: Our bottles of choice! We’ve used them for both Rowan and Finley and they are by far my favorite. I didn’t know Target sold them until I looked online. Added a few more to our collection! They aren’t necessarily on sale but totally contributed to my $40 gift card for spending $200.

5. 4Moms Rockaroo: We have the Mamaroo but I love this smaller verison. It was such a life saver with Finley. She pretty much took all her naps and slept nights in that thing for the first few weeks of life. With other kids to take care of what a life saver that was!! We can’t wait for the newest to get all cozy in it! And GIFT CARD!!!

6. Honest Diaper Bag: I always try to get a nice, new diaper bag for myself whenever we have a new kid. This is the lucky winner for baby number 3! Love everything from Honest!

7. Orla Kiely by aden + anais Swaddles: Umm? How amazing are these patterns? We have a ton of these swaddles already and they are seriously in my top 3 must have items but I coulnd’t resist adding these new patterns to the mix. The boy patterns are just as awesome!

8. Graco Umbrella Stroller: We have a garage full of strollers we love but I was on the hunt for a simple single umbrella stroller and with 10% off all Graco products- this works out prefect!

9. Honest Diapers: When you buy certain packs of Honest diapers you get a free $10 gift card. How awesome is that! It’s like free money on products I already buy!!

10. 4Moms Infant Tub: Let me gush on 4Moms again! We have the 4Moms faucet spout but for new baby we are definitely adding this tub to the mix. Love the design and function of this tub!

*This is a sponsored post by Target. However, all opinions and products were hand picked out by myself. These are products I actually use and stand behind. Thanks friends!

Our Weekend in PA | Bushkill Falls

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We packed the car up and headed south on Friday into the Poconos. The lovely folks at the Great Wolf Lodge invited us to come spend the weekend with them to celebrate the opening of their newest waterslide. The large amounts of fun and pictures of our time there is coming up tomorrow but today I wanted to share some pictures from our day at Bushkill Falls. On Sunday we were lucky enough to get to meet up with Julie and Chris! It was so fun to be able to see them so last minute. We decided to explore Bushkill Falls together. It’s always kind of a bummer when you have to pay for a hike but you can’t really deny the beauty and easy walking paths (especially for the girls after an already long weekend for them). It had been raining non stop all weekend so the trails were extra magical looking and green. Total Middle Earth #lordoftheringsnerd. We had a great time hiking, taking pictures and just catching up on life with our sweet friends. Can’t wait to explore more in and around the Delaware Water Gap area. So beautiful!

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Weekend Favorites

Happy Friday Everyone! Here are a few favorite things from around the internet this week…
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1. T.J.Maxx asked the girls to participate in their Maxx Kids Art Contest. The campaign want kids to get involved with helping others and learning about caring for our communities. 25 winners will be selected to receive a $250 savings bond and the chance for their artwork to be featured on products sold in T.J.Maxx stores that benefit organizations who help children in need, like Save the Children. Download your entry form here and drop off at any T.J.Maxx store until July 11th. Rowan told me her favorite thing in the whole world is “making homemade lemonade together and then making a lemonade stand to give out to all the people in the neighborhood who are thirsty”.
Finley told me her favorite thing was “going hiking with Meme and Papa…and butterflies”.

2. Have you browsed through this summer sale? Nordstrom has some great items on major sale forkids!! Love all the swimsuits. Plus these shoes and these shoes for me!

3. Doesn’t Julie look so beautiful in this outfit?! Love the whole look!

4. This was by far my favorite father’s day post from around the internet this past week!

5. The LOFT is kind of killing it right now. They’re lucky (well my wallet is lucky) I am pregnant right now. I desperately want 1. this gingham top 2. this gingham top 3. this flow white top 4. this jumpsuit 4. this dress 5. I am totally tempted to just buy these to wear next summer- soooo on sale! P.s you can get $25 off your order today!

6. Pinch of Yum is one of my most favorite food blogs. Don’t these look so dang good?!?!

7. Still the very BEST basics out there. An easy way to look effortlessly cool this summer!

8. Indiana is back at it!! This time her and her husband Chris are making awesome and hilarious podcasts. I was honored to be one of their very first guests. We talked about trends we wish we could try and how our style has changed since becoming a Mom. Go give it a listen and then subscribe to their new blog!

9. Going to try these (here and here) easy breezy non maternity dresses! I think they will work with or with out a baby bump!

10. I am pretty sure I would dip EVERYTHING in to this yummy dip. Love this blog so much!

11. My all around favorite fashion blog. Always so classy and chic!

Stocking up on some adorable baby basics from J.Crew this weekend. All on sale for 30% off!!

Weekly Parenting Ups & Downs

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Popping in for another installment of my weekly parenting ups & downs. We all have them! Why not share them!

OUR UPS:

1. Strawberry picking. It’s always one of my most favorite outings every year (sort of like apple picking). The girls totally got into it this year too, Rowan really loved finding all the perfectly red and juicy ones and Finley just eat any strawberry she saw for the whole 2 hours we were there. We drive about 40 mins to a farm out in the country that is a low spray, surrounded by mountains and so sweet and cute I can’t stand it. I will admit that strawberry picking while pregnant is not the most comfortable activity in the whole world, especially when it’s super hot out. We made the most of it though.

2. Potty Training: This will also be on the down list. We woke up the other morning and it was as if all the diapers in our house magically got sucked into a diaper vortex over the night. We realized there were absolutely NO diapers left in the house. We’ve been here before but there is always one more in the car, or my purse, or in the pool bag or somewhere. This time there were NONE ANYWHERE. We have been super casual with potty training Finley but this was the nudge (or well shove) into potty training that we needed. Anyway, we just went full force into it. We’ve been diaper free (other than at nap and bedtime- she’s not there yet) for 2 days. She is stubborn!! But she has peed on the potty 2 times. I feel like is a big giant win for a girl who will hold it all darn day because she isn’t wearing a diaper. Onward and upward!

3. The amount of excitement that Rowan has for doing things is about the sweetest, most heart-warming thing ever. She just finds so much joy in even the smallest things. It’s no joke that she yells “this is the best day ever” like everyday. So when we are actually going to do something exciting she gets all crazy silly and it makes me laugh so hard. She cracks me up! We are headed to the Poconos this weekend to go to a waterpark and other things and she has had her suitcase packed for about a week.

4. Finley has been talking up a storm lately and her little smoker voice is so sweet I can’t stand it. It’s deep and wraspy yet so baby like at the same time. She always copies what Rowan says so half her sentences are much larger than any little girl her age would normally be trying to say. They get all jumbled, with words mispronounced and ohh I could listen to them all day long.

5. Rowan last night said “Hey Mom! You know what? It works out good with the baby in you belly because when we read stories it’s like they get to listen too.” awwwwwwwww

OUR DOWNS:

1. Potty Training: Ugh! Oooh there isn’t much I dislike more than potty training. The constant asking if they have to go, the potty books, the bribes, the constantly looking for every bathroom in every store you go to, the germs in public restrooms, the planning your day around how long you can be in the car, out, doing errands, the extra clothes you always have to carry around, convincing them that pooping in the potty isn’t scary, the puddle of pee on the floor of old navy you are trying to clean up before someone sees. The list could go on and on. It’s a stage I know and in the scheme of things passes very quickly but yuck! it’s a gross stage. Remember our potty adventure with Rowan when we tried to get the Christmas tree? Oh man! That makes me laugh now. We had a similar one out strawberry picking the other day- except I totally had the little potty in the car for Finley this time.

2. Rowan’s hair is a little wild. It always has been. I cut her bangs because her hair could never decide on a part and it was always in her face. The bangs are cute, like super cute. BUT her hair is so curly and wavy that they take some care in the morning (especially after sleeping). Care she has no interest in waiting for. Most days her hair is this wild, curly, 80’s sort of do that of course looks adorable on her because she is 4 and what doesn’t look cute. I do try to get her to let me straighten them every once in a while. When we went for a walk the other day, we noticed her look at her reflection in the car and say “ooh I should have brushed my hair before we left.” Ahhh it sort of broke my heart. Did I create come kind of complex in her over her hair? I mean we NEVER say anything negative or degrading about her hair. And of course I do feel like there is something to be learned about taking care of yourself and learning we need to brush our teeth, brush our hair and not wear pjs out of the house sort of thing BUT… it sort of made me want to cry that she looked at herself and thought that. I just want them to have such high self esteem and not be concerned about outward things like hair, especially at 4. I don’t really have a conclusion to this, just wanted to share my sort of #momfail and to remind myself how much of a sponge they are. They’re aware of so much more than we realize sometimes.

3. Oh the Drama! We have a household of girls with LOTS of feelings. Always knowing how to best parent those feelings is tough. I want to allow them to feel those things but there is also a balance to becoming a little over dramatic and whiny. It’s tough being a parent- you want to do your best for them at all times but sometimes you just don’t know what that is. It takes time to figure each other out, what works and what doesn’t.

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Feel free to share your own in the comments!

Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev
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