In The Morning Light

IMG_2916

My girls. I just love these 2 so much! We have our moments but they breathe such life into me. They spent the night at their grandparents house this past weekend. It was something I had been looking forward to for so long. It’s funny though, as my Mom started pulling out of our driveway with them my heart ached. I could feel the tears welling up. At that moment I didn’t want them to go. Kev and I had such a wonderful time together though. We actually got to go to a late movie, to dinner and I slept in till 9:30!! I found myself a few times while they were gone looking thru the camera at these pictures from the other morning. Life with little ones can be very mundane. Same routine over and over. But you know what? There is such beauty in so many of those moments. Last week was indeed very rough. I found such redemption in the morning light though. It’s warmth, the glow, watching the shadows dance around as we got ready for our day. It was what my soul needed.

Just wanted to share a few moments that brought me joy from our Monday morning last week…

IMG_2897

IMG_2898

IMG_2910

IMG_2914

morning

IMG_2935

IMG_2929

IMG_2934

morning3

IMG_2951

IMG_2970

IMG_2977

IMG_2985

morning2

IMG_3003

*always, always, always. At some point in the day the cushions end up in a giant jump pile.

** Umm Blind Melon on the Kids XM station? I don’t get it but it made me happy.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
Lamentations 3:22-24

American Blogger

American Blogger Poster 001 - Casey Profile with Flag WITH CREDITS 4200x6300

As I’m sure you have heard (and seen) the trailer to the American Blogger documentary was released earlier this week. Chris was here last July to film us for only a few short hours. We had such a wonderful time. Kev and I enjoyed some deep conversations with Chris well after the camera had stopped rolling. He is real. He is genuine. And it was clear as day just how talented, passionate and so excited he was about this movie. I have not seen the movie yet, but I’m excited to and I’m proud to be a part of it. Since the release of the trailer, I’ve been appalled by the cruelty surrounding it (listen when I say constructive criticism is valid and warranted) but I’ve actually felt embarrassed to be a part of a community that has been so disrespectful in how they’ve handled their opinions. We’re all entitled to our own opinions for sure. I mean, I get it, I do. Could the trailer have been different? Yes. Could there have been more diversity with people and genres of bloggers? Sure. Should it have been called American Blogger? Maybe not, but I truly believe Chris had no ulterior motives with the name or the movie. He wasn’t trying to exclude people. He came up with the idea based off Casey’s success and the community she had built around it. It’s their family story to tell. End of story. I’m not here to defend Chris’s decisions or who he selected to be in the film. I will let him speak for himself. However, what does have me all riled up are the comments grouping the women (myself included) in the movie as being all the same. That we aren’t “real bloggers”. I’ve been seeing “cookie cutter”, “perfect lives”, etc… This really grinds my gears. I’m sorry but the twitter thread I saw this morning about how they couldn’t relate to any of us because they still had their sweatpants on and hadn’t had time to wash their hair yet. Ummm hello? You don’t think that happens to me too? And I bet you a million dollars that if someone was coming to film you for a documentary you would have washed your hair, cleaned up your house and gotten out of your pajamas. It seems so ridiculous to judge someone for that. I wish we could celebrate each other. I wish we could celebrate that people have strengths where we might have weaknesses. That we’re not all created as an exact copy of each other. We are all different in wonderful ways. I love the positive community I have created from blogging. I find daily inspiration in these women who are passionately and creatively pursing what they love. Whether that is working full time, being an entrepreneur, writer, being a Mother, an artist, a musician, fashion lover, interior decorator, whatever it is. It’s inspiring to read! Especially when it’s in an area that may not be my expertise. I love hearing their stories. And I have my own story I am trying to tell. My journey has been a roller coaster just like everyone else. We have worked damn hard for everything in our life. I juggle all the same life stresses that you do. I have days where I fail completely at everything. I have days when I struggle at being a good wife and mom. And yes, sometimes my kids have cereal for dinner. So it doesn’t sit well with me when the internet is judging these women in the clip saying we are not deeper than what they see. Each one of us is different in our own way. Let’s not make light of that. I am not one who normally writes about controversial topics, I just truly felt I had to say something. Shame on all of you who are minimizing the stories of these women in the movie. They are real bloggers just like all of you are too. We are all bloggers, in our own communities, writing about our own journeys. That’s the beauty of blogging. I am proud to be in the movie. I am proud of the giant under taking Chris and his family took to work towards this dream of his. This was their story.

With that said… You can have your opinions of course. You can disagree and you don’t have to watch the movie. But think about what you are going to say before you say it. Let’s not spew hate.

*just a note: there is a big, big difference between difference of opinion/constructive criticism and being rude and hateful. I never said we couldn’t share our opinions. In fact I welcome the discussion. I’m not asking for people to have the same point of view. I am talking about being respectful in how we write them.

*also. No ones comments are being deleted so you don’t need to re write a comment accusing me of this. Comments are set to be moderated and sometimes I am just not at the computer to approve them all at that moment. All comments will be approved at some point.

An Ode to our Car

IMG_2867

IMG_2868

IMG_2884

I’m about as far from a “car person” as one can be. I never dreamt of owning any certain car, nor do I really know anything about them if they break. I am however, a very sentimental person. Not so much over things but people, places, and memories for sure. I love traditions. I love nostalgia. If the house was burning, I’m not sure I would grab anything other than my kids and Kev and run out the door. I do love pictures, but I have a blog so there is no panic to grab photo albums. Then 2 weeks ago we decided we needed to get a new car and I realized just how attached I was to our car… like I sobbed at the thought of having to get rid of it. Oh the Ellie (as we like to call her). We have owned a Honda Element since well before Kev and I were even married. It was the first “big” purchase Kev made in his adult life after college. We drove all over the place with that car while we dated. So many late night adventures, listening to music and holding hands. We drove my sister to her wedding in that car. We drove off after saying goodbye to our parents to move 6,000 miles away. We drove cross the US, shipped it to Hawaii on a freight and then lived out our Hawaiian adventure with that car. It also got shipped back to Seattle and driven back across Canada when we moved home. It’s the car that rushed me to the birth center when I was in labor. It was the car we brought Rowan home in. It’s the car that holds every major milestone in our 10 years of being together. Kev loves that car. I love that car and this past Tuesday we said goodbye (insert every cry face emoji).

After we got married and left for Hawaii my Mom gave us the cd single of Steven Curtis Chapman’s The Great Adventure. It’s since then become our family adventure song. It’s cheesy for sure but whenever we head out on a new adventure we put that cd on and listen to the song. That cd, that holds that one single song has stayed in the car for almost 10 years. We may or may not have made up actions to go along with the song (if you want to stop reading my blog I don’t blame you. hahahaha!). I emptied the Element on tuesday as we waited for Kev to get home. I took that cd out and I placed it in my purse. For the last time we loaded up the girls in our beloved car and headed to the dealership to trade her in. Our new car (or should I say Van- don’t get me started) is super nice. All decked out, leather seats, seat warmers, bluetooth, back up camera, sunroof. It’s all great but it doesn’t hold anything to my memories in the Element. Anyway, when we drove home in the new car I took out the cd and put it on. Kev looked at me and said something very thoughtful and profound- I won’t do it justice so I am not going to try (it made me cry) but this is our new chapter. A new vehicle to fill with adventures and memories. The girls are over the moon about the van and seeing them happy makes me happy (plus who can complain about side doors that open and close themselves). I see your ways mini van… I may be changing my view to the darkside.

“Saddle up your horses
We’ve got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder
Of God’s amazing grace

Let’s follow our Leader
Into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other
This is the great adventure…”

4606588744_8a6cf153ae_o

DSC_0034

DSC_0148

DSC_0190

DSC_0234

DSC_0240

DSC00387

DSC_0085

DSC_0177

DSCN1546

DSCN0944

5078920602_9ceb366b9e_o

*Mark this as one of the cheesiest posts on jenloveskev. If you are curious we ended up getting a black XLE Toyota Sienna. We are basically these parents now.

Monday Morning Favorites…

Untitled

Happy Monday Friends! It’s going to be over 60 today!! Hip hip hooray. We are super pumped, so I’m closing my computer for the day and we’re hitting the park. Of course not before we all admire how adorable Rowan is in her first school picture. Omgosh. I die. Hope you all have a great day!!

Here are a few of my favorite items and posts from around the internet this past week…
1. Dresses that must get in my closet for the summer. White, Red and another white. Plus, I think it’s meant to be- just look at the name of these sandals.

2. How super cool is this?!? So excited for Rubyellen.

3. The most worn item in my closet. So simple, yet so awesome.

4. Not gonna lie. Ohdeardrea is probably one of my most favorite blogs. Ever. Love her. Love this post on blogging.

5. What color Saltwaters would you choose for yourself? I’m partial to the tan & the red.

6. How delicious does this drink look? Strawberry blood orange limeade! Love the photography as well.

7. The absolute most perfect spring coat! Love the hood.

8. So happy to hear the news about baby number two for Sydney! Also, so excited for Indiana and the birth of Lucy. Love reading her birth stories. I’m always crying and laughing all at the same time.

9. Did you know the LOFT carries swimsuits? They are totally adorable and flattering for ladies (me!) who don’t want to try to wear a teen suit from Target. Also, I’m kind of obsessing over this romper. I always forget how much I like the LOFT. I got all of my summer shorts there last year. Love them.

10. 2 of my favorite fashion posts over the past 2 weeks. Always love Julie (duh!) and love Bridget’s large red beads.

11. This blowup donut pool float is about the cutest thing ever!

12. Totally touched (and a crying mess) by Mandi’s heartfelt post about having cancer. What a journey! So much love for her.

13. How pretty is the back of this sports bra? Love the straps on this purple one as well- perfect for low impact exercise. When the temperatures change I start itching for some new running gear. Aren’t these shoes and running capris awesome?

14. Totally inspired by Lauren’s meal prep posts! So helpful for eating healthy for the week.

Clean Eats | Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

IMG_2823

After getting tons of questions about what I’ve been eating this month (and lots of jokes about twigs and berries), I decided I would start a series called “Clean Eats”. I hope to share some yummy, clean (nothing processed), and filling recipes you can easily make at home. Last fall Panera had a limited time Squash soup. Oh man! It was so yummy. I am assuming it was high in calories with cream and sugar. It sure was delicious though. Since I stated this cleanse, I have been craving some sort of warm “comfort food”. I decided to try my hand at making my own squash soup that would fit into the restrictions of the cleanse. This soup is hands down one of the best things I have ever tasted. It is so yummy! I have made it every week for the past 4 weeks. If the cold weather keeps sticking around here in the northeast, you can safely assuming I will keep cooking this soup. I made some homemade tortilla chips as well for something to dip in the soup. Super easy!

Ingredients:
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 large apple, peeled and diced (i’ve used a few types of red apples as well as a granny smith one time too)
1/2 onion, diced (I used a purple onion, yellow would work well too)
2 cups water
2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp salt
Cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 425
2. Spread out butternut squash on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon. I sort of use my hands to toss them around to coat evenly.
3. Roast in oven for about 30 mins.
4. While butternut squash is roasting, add coconut oil to a large pot and heat on medium-high heat. Add onion, apples and curry powder. Stir to mix and sauté together for about 10 mins, or until soft.
5. Add water and almond milk
6. When roasting is done, add butternut squash to mixture. Stir to combine. Add salt.
7. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until creamy and mixed well. I am sure a blender or food processor could handle this step as well.
8. Serve topped with some fresh parsley and pepitas.

For the tortilla chips:
We used Ezekiel tortillas (found in freezer section). We love this brand because their breads are made with only whole ingredients and use sprouted grains.
1. Cut into triangles. Line on a baking sheet. Dust with a bit of salt and spices of your choice. I usually add a bit of chili powder and cumin.
2. Bake at 350 for about 8-10 mins

IMG_2822

I think Rowan has taken notice to all the cooking going on around here lately. She has been wanting to help a lot and asking to bake or “make soup” almost everyday. I love having her help out. We got these awesome (awesome!) foam blocks/step stools that the girls can’t seem to get enough of. They are the perfect height for Rowan to reach the counter, and the most fun toy in the house right now. I wish we had a whole toy room full of bObles. Thanks ModernMini!

IMG_2828

IMG_2848

IMG_2800^^ Rowan making “soup”. This game entertains her for like an hour. I just give her a ton of little dishes with random ingredients and of course some pink water and she cooks it all up into a very yummy soup.

IMG_2857^^ and a picture of Finley just ’cause.

Finley’s overall are from Target | Highchair from Boon | Moccasins from Freshly Picked | Headband from Little Hip Squeaks | Llama by Jellycat (gift from Auntie Amy)

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