Merry Christmas! | Our 2016 Christmas Cards

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Hey guys!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! We headed south yesterday and are spending 2 weeks down here in Florida with my family. We’re super excited to escape the cold for a bit and get some vitamin D. As usual I was waaaaaaay late to the game with my cards this year. And so it goes every year but at least I got them out and they are so cute! We teamed up with Minted again this year because we just LOVE their choices and quality. I honestly can tell every Minted card I get it mail from friends before I even turn it over. If you ran out of time this year there is always 1. New Years cards. We did that one year and I really loved sending out a little surprise after christmas to friends and 2. next year, right? Don’t let yourself have guilt over it. Some years it works out and some there is just no time. I hear ya!

We’ve done little booklets in the past but this year we went with the standard card format. I love the foil-pressed options Minted offers. They’re so festive and pretty! We left a blank spot inside the cards so that we could write a personal note to everyone. At first it felt totally overwhelming (and like the wrong choice) when all 125 cards showed up with that blank spot starring at me. But a few good christmas movies later, I was so glad we had taken the time to write something to everyone that means so much to us. And let’s talk about how cool it is to create your own personalized stamps!!! The girls thought that was by far the coolest thing ever. Thanks Minted for making ordering Christmas cards a breeze and even letting me keep my entire address book online and print out all the address right there on the envelope for me. Boom.

Sooooo a little story about our pictures. I drive by this abandoned tiny, old church when I drive Rowan to school. I’ve always loved it from a far as I drive by. When we were deciding where to take out pictures, I was all like “what about in front of that church?” The bad part is it’s obviously on someone’s property and there are no trespassing signs up. However, it’s set off the road and no one can really see if you drive up there so… shhhhhh don’t tell anyone. Rowan, our dear first born, extreme rule follower did not like this idea. She had to be bribed out of the car and even then was on high alert for getting caught and in trouble. NO harm, no foul though, right? I did picked up the trash around the church before we left.

Well, we wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy holiday! Merry Christmas from us to all of you!!
xoxox

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A Birthday Weekend in Montreal

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Back in October, we headed the quick 3 hours north to Montreal to celebrate Kev’s birthday. This was our 3rd time visiting and every time, we fall in love a little bit more. What a crazy cool and beautiful city. There is soooo much to see and do! We never get to do it all, but it always makes us excited to come back the next time. Whenever we travel with the kids, we pack the stroller and just walk around as much as we can. The kids are pretty used to it by now, and have become quite the little explorers as well. We do cycle through the stroller quite a bit. Each one getting a little rest while the other one walks or gets held. It’s a big team effort!! The bummer was that it was pouring rain one of the days we were there. We made the most of it though and checked out the Biodome (is anyone thinking of Pauly Shore now?). It was such a cool place! The kids had a great time! You get to walk through all these different ecosystems and see animals and really great exhibits about each one. Totally worth a trip if you are visiting!

The fall colors were really putting on a show for us that weekend. It was gorgeous! I could wander around all day there. Every turn is another charming little street to walk down. Have you ever been? What are you favorite places to go, see, eat?? Always looking for recommendations for the next time!

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15 Books That Spark Curiosity In Children

When we started homeschooling this year, I knew our library needed a good jump start. I went on a hunt for all the beautifully illustrated, full of information, awesome kid books. I wanted to fill our school room with books that sparked their interest and imagination. I wanted to have books there and ready when they asked questions about all the different things we would be learning. Oh man, there are sooooo many wonderful books out there!! My amazon cart is always full with new ones but here are our top favorites so far this year. If you have any in your own collection that aren’t on this list, please let us know! I would love to keep adding more!

books

1.Smart About Sharks by Flying Eye Books
2. The 50 States by Wide Eyed Editions
3. Cabinet of Curiosities by Gordon Grice
4. Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska
5. Timeline: A Visual History of Our World by Peter Goes
6. The Big Book of Bugs by Yuval Zommer
7. Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders from Nature by AJ Wood and Mike Jolley
8. Beautiful Birds by Jean Roussen
9. Wild Animals of the North by Dieter Braun
10. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
11. Atlas of Adventures + Atlas of Animal Adventures by Rachel Williams
12. Animalium + Botanicum
13. Diary of a Time Traveler by David Long
14. The Wonder Garden by Jenny Broom
15. Nature Anatomy, Food Anatomy and Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothman

My Everyday Style | #StepForward

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I’ve always been a bit of a fitness hopper. Never really finding a perfect match that I felt super passionate about. Yes, I run (ran) a lot, but it’s mostly just to complete races. I love the accomplishment of finishing a race. I love that medal, but the training is always challenge. I would feel so exhausted by the running schedule, that I wouldn’t put any other effort into cross training. My legs would feel strong but nothing else. After Orion was born, I really wanted to find something that helped me feel like my best self. I didn’t have a weight goal in mind but just wanted to feel healthy and strong. In between my pregnancies with Finley and Orion, I started going to a hot yoga studio. I had enjoyed it but hadn’t been very consistent. I figured I would start there!

Guys! I can’t not express how much I LOOOOOOOOOVE going to my yoga classes. You can totally do yoga at home but there is something so rejuvenating about getting out of the house by yourself, to a dark, hot room and sweating it all out. Ahhhh my soul! I count down the days until I get to go again. It’s been such an awesome journey to work towards. At first I know it can feel so awkward! You don’t know the names of the moves or the flows and you may feel super inflexible (hand held high here!) or even the teacher may not be a great fit. I challenge you to stick with it! To ttry different classes, teachers, etc… till you find something that fits. Every week I am trying to step forward, to dig deeper, to stretch further (I want to do the splits!) to be open to correction and to learn more. Step by step, right? I love it so much that I’ve even been thinking about taking my instruction training certification. 

No matter what the scale says (I say we all throw our scales out!) if you feel strong and healthy on the inside, I promise it just oozes it out of you. Confidence flows into every part of your life. A bonus for me is that I can model joy, passion and a healthy relationship between food and exercise to my girls. 

Where are you trying to #StepForward in your life? Exercise? Eating? Organization? Minimalism? Patience? Generosity? There are so many areas we could all be working on. I would love to hear about it in the comments below or over on the Famous Footwear Instagram

OUTFIT DETAILS:

Adidas Women’s Neo Baseline Sneaker : Famous Footwear

Black wide leg pants: Madewell

Plaid Jacket: ASOS

Crop Top: Madewell

Hat: Target

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Famous Footwear. All opinions are 100% mine.

Orion’s Birthday Party | It Takes A Village

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When I had Rowan, I had this mentality that I could do it all. I didn’t need help because I was super mom. Whatever the situation, I could handle it by myself. Dear new Moms or ladies nearing this stage of life. THIS.IS.A.LIE! Looking back now I think, why did I do that to myself? Why have we made it so that Mom’s need to feel like they have it all together, all the time?? That we shouldn’t ever need to ask for help. Why??? Why do we feel like this? Why is help seen as such a negative thing nowadays? I know I felt like if I asked for help I was somehow not as good of a mom as other women? Ladies! This just isn’t true. You know what is soooooo freeing? Breaking from this cycle. I was at an Ergo Baby event over the summer and the swag bags were in these awesome tote bags from Savage Seeds that had screen printed on the front “It takes a village”. I started carrying it around as my purse these past few months and the more I noticed the saying, the more those words have struck a cord with me. It takes a village. It.takes.a.village. Let’s say it one more time… IT TAKES A VILLAGE!!

Raising kids is no joke. It’s beautifully hard in the best kind of way but we don’t have to feel like we have it all figured out. I’ve been realizing more and more this year just how grateful I am for “my village”. The women that pour into me, that do life with me, that encourage, that love, that speak the sometimes hard truths, that are the extra ears, eyes, hands helping, watching and loving over my children. This is what it’s all about. Close, dear friends that are there to be your village through the thick and the thin. Who see you in your best motherhood moments and the worst. Who have your back and are there to help in any situation. I am beyond grateful for the ladies (and their kids and husbands) I call my friends. I see our kids playing together as we share tears and laughter and joys over motherhood and it just warms my heart.

I promise this all has to do with Orion’s birthday party! You see, the first birthday party is really much more for the parents then the baby in my opinion. I see it as a celebration of your village. The people that surrounded you in the first year of that littles ones life. Whether it’s your 1st, 3rd or 5th the first year is all kinds of tough. So we invited all our dearest of friends and we partied to celebrate our friendships and our sweet little Orion a few weekends ago. It meant so much to have everyone there, they all have made such an important impact on our lives. We couldn’t do this without them. Thank you dear friends, you know who you are. XOXOXOXO

I went with a woodland theme for the party since we call Orion “Boo Boo Bear”, but also because Orion is a hunter in Greek mythology. We kept it as simple as we could so we could spend more time hanging out. We had it at a local park, ordered pizzas, played games, sang happy birthday and even had a sweet “after party” at a friends house. It was a great, great day!

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IMG_3307^^an epic game of sharks and minnows

Orion Turns One!!

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If I am honest, this birthday was a hard one for me. I think when there’s a greater chance that it’s your last baby, everything feels so final. It’s the last this, and the last that and the last little baby who will turn one (sad face). I am definitely looking forward to all the new stages in our kids lives as they get older. However, something about the baby not being a baby anymore had me very emotional on his birthday. We started the day off with a bang! (or maybe a pop!) by filling his crib with balloons. He loved it, then wasn’t sure, then loved it, then his sisters got in and he wasn’t sure again and then he loved it again. Typical baby style. The kids played in his crib with him forever! I love the pictures we captured of them. My favorite thing this past year has been to watch all their relationships grow. Siblings are the best! It’s just the sweetest thing a mama can witness. Going from 2 to 3 was an adjustment for sure! More so than I thought but once we got there and things felt like the new normal… Oooooooh it’s been such a sweet spot to be!! I love having 3 kids.

For Kev’s birthday last year we got him a Micro scooter, then for Christmas we got each of the girls one as well. For Mother’s Day guess what I got from the kids? You guessed it… A Micro scooter. Soooooooo it only seemed fitting to get our little Boo a scooter for his big day. He loves it!! Micro scooters are the best!

In the afternoon, we decided to bring Orion to get his very first ice cream! Yay, for ice cream! We headed to the playground from there for some family fun before Rowan had gymnastics. Everything was going great, lots of laughs and games until well, Orion had an accident that left us at the ER (he is totally ok! I’ll just put that out there first before I continue). But, Oh man! Poor dude. Not the way you want to spend your first birthday. There were plenty of tears from everyone that afternoon. We were all pretty scared there for a moment. It was the first time one of our kids have gotten hurt so badly that an ER trip was needed. It was definitely not something I enjoyed or something I will look forward to happening again that’s for sure. Whew! Totally made me realize how in control I think I am of everything, especially my kids. I’ve never been a parent that’s been overly protective. Kids will be kids, right? After we got home though, I felt so full of fear over what could happen next to one of them. Ahhh, what a terrible way to live! I spent a lot of time that night praying for peace and that I could trust that my kids are also God’s kids and that He is in control. He has a purpose and a plan for each and everyone of them. That doesn’t mean there won’t be anymore ER trips (my friend texted me that night and said “welcome to boyhood” Hahaha!!) but knowing God has a greater plan definitely gives me such reassurance.

Ok, back to our little Starman (you can sing David Bowie now if you would like). Orion you have the best personality. You laughter is contagious! You love to laugh at your sisters, to push cars all around the house, to hear the sounds of big trucks, to climb the stairs, to crawl through small spaces, to go down slides, to get into allllll the trouble, to push your scooter around, and to eat snacks. I never knew my life was missing a little boy until you showed up Boo Boo. Everyday you have spent with us has been such a blessing. We can’t wait to find out what this year has in store for us all!! Love you!!

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Orion’s Scooter | Rowan’s Scooter | Finley’s Scooter | Jen’s Shirt | Similar Shoes | Jen’s Jeans | Jen’s Watch

My Everyday Style | 10.24.16

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I kind of thought this day would never come!! Buuuuut at the moment, I am siting at my kitchen island watching the girls through the window play… Star Wars! Yes!!! I am so much more of a Star Wars fan than say, Sofia the First. So this is a pretty exciting day. The neighbor boys are over as well. We have Yoda, Rae and the Bounty Hunter all running around with lightsabers. It’s pretty stinkin’ cute. What are you guys going to be for halloween? Do you do the family costume? I love themed family costumes.

So here is an outfit. hahahah! I love posting outfit photos but I never really have anything profound to say about them. I woke up, I got dressed and this is what I wore. Inspiring huh? It was a very warm and lovely fall day and I was glad to get to wear these mules another time before I’d have to put them away for the winter. Can you believe they’re Toms? Way to go Toms!

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Outfit Details:

Jacket: Older from Abercrombie (similar here or here)
Mock Turtleneck: Madewell It’s on sale and then another 40% off!!
Jeans: Urban Outfitters (I added the rips)
Toms Mules: Zappos
Glasses: Bonlook

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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