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June 2012

A Struggle…

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If there is one thing I hate writing about on this blog it’s posts about the downfalls of blogging. We all know them. We’ve all read hundreds of posts about peoples thoughts on them. I just don’t like focusing on such a negative topic. For me what I struggle with has changed over the years, what use to bother me doesn’t so much anymore. There will always be haters. That is just life. People can criticize, I am ok with that. I will never get how someone who doesn’t know us at all can make such outlandish judgements but that is besides the point. I have moved on. To each there own… You will never make everyone happy.

Over the past year I have changed my perspective on blogging a lot. I dropped all sponsored ads, almost all sponsored posts and my least favorite of all… giveaways. I stopped looking at any stat tracker I had because well it didn’t really matter anymore. Every since Rowan was born I’ve felt like I’ve been stuck in this limbo of fashion and mom blogger. Not really sure where I belonged. I built up a lot of fear and stress inside over finding the balance between the two. Not wanting to tip the scale to far to one side. Over the past few months this has been weighing heavily on me for some reason. I started doubting all kinds of stuff, feeling like because I am not straight one thing or the other I get looked over for a lot of stuff. Again, not sure why I even care but just being honest.

I am a big huge perfectionist. I will not put up a post unless I am 100% happy with it. I don’t like half-assing anything. As Rowan is getting bigger, needing more and more attention and a very close watchful eye, I find that I don’t have the time to create posts to the high standard that I like. I see bloggers who I love, love, love creating such amazing content and realize I don’t have the time to create posts like that anymore. Sometimes sure, but on a daily basis no. That is hard for me to swallow. It is not a jealousy thing or a competition thing, it is a personal realization over my own time and blog. It’s a weird cycle. I have so many ideas, but because I don’t have the time to do them the way I want, I lose all motivation to do it at all. I know my blog posts have been few and far between lately and this is why. If I can’t do it right, it makes me not want to do it at all. I don’t have time to take outfit photos with Rowan running around everywhere. She gets into everything and I don’t have nanny’s or babysitters to help, so there are no elaborate craft projects laid out all over my living room. What I do have time for most days are posting pictures of what we do day to day. It’s easy. It takes little time, but I am plagued wondering if readers will get bored of that? I know this is a stage and it will pass. Soon enough Rowan will be able to entertain herself more, will listen to direction better and maybe, just maybe I will be able to leave my sewing machine out without finding the thread unraveled all over the floor. For now though, things like that aren’t possible. In all honesty I have thought about giving up blogging more in the last 4 months than I have in the past 4 years.

I struggle to find the balance between real life with Rowan and having time to create something I am truly happy with for my blog. When I think of my blog I have such high goals for it, but slowly I am wondering if those goals are holding my back from really making it something special. I want it to be a casual place, a place that is fun, light hearted and truthful. I want it to be more.

I am just not sure what more is yet?

I don’t have any answers yet for this rambling post, just thought maybe if I got it off my chest I could move on, move forward. Whatever the answer is, my first and most importabt priority is always Kev and Rowan. They will aways be more important to me than this blog. I am curious though, how do you deal with losing motivation? How do you handle the time management of blogging/and/or life? I know most of us work full time, are stay at home moms or even both. I would love to hear how you handle finding time for it all…

xoxo

p.s. these pictures don’t really have to do with anything. Just liked looking back over a teeny tiny (well she was never that tiny) Rowan.

A 4th Kind of Outfit…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/7461226512/

SUNGLASSES | TANK TOP | NECKLACE | SHORTS | SANDALS | HANDBAG

The 4th of July is coming up next week! How much of a bummer is it that it lands in the middle of the week? Ruins all kinds of cool plans. Anyway, I love dressing casual and relaxed on the 4th with just a touch of patriotism. I have this shirt from Modcloth and it has been worn about a million times already this summer. It’s breeze, cool and super cute! We have plans to spend the day outside, have a big picnic at the park, and then head to Empire Plaza to see the crazy awesome fireworks. Rowan didn’t love the fireworks at Disney so much, but my fingers are crossed that she warms up to them next week.

What is your perfect 4th of July outfit?

A Few Grown Up Days…

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This past weekend our parents offered to take Rowan over night for us so we could head to my half marathon with our friends and focus on the race. It sounded like a great idea to me! Then my mom called me and said “how about I keep Rowan until Tuesday?” “Tuesday?”, I thought. That was a long time but the idea of having a little break intrigued me. We don’t have family around us in NY so we rarely get to have a break. We hardly even get a date night. Kev and I decided to take my mom up on her offer, even though we were a little hesitant to be away for that long. It’s a weird feeling to want so badly to have a few moments to yourself, but at the same time not want to be away from your little one. I decided to make the most of it and really try to enjoy myself and my time with Kev.

We had such a fabulous weekend! We stayed in a hotel with friends, I ran my race and we even enjoyed a lazy afternoon by the hotel pool. Our trip home was even fun รขโ‚ฌโ€œ making random stops to get ice cream, see a circus, eat dinner. There were no melt downs, no buckling a kiddo in and out of the car seat and there was no stress. You forget how easy it is to do things when you’re on your own. On Monday, I got to sleep in next to Kev, wake up slowly and eat a lazy breakfast. We got to see a house (which we put an offer on) without having to say “don’t touch please” a million times. We had a relaxing dinner with friends at a fancy restaurant and then Kev and I got to hang out just the two of us.

It was a fabulous few days but it’s funny what started happening. As much as I loved everything we got to do without Rowan, I slowly realized how much more satisfying doing things with Rowan were. She has grown to be such a huge part of our family. She is 100% an extension of Kev and I. Life without her just is not the same. I laid in bed Monday night aching to see her little face, hear her cute voice and smell her sweet baby smell. I could not wait to go pick her up today.

I will always be able to enjoy sometime away from her but I will always, always be so excited when she is back home. It’s true what they say… Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Strawberry Fields Forever

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When I was pregnant with Rowan I created a small list of things in my head I was extremely excited to share with her for the first time. I have talked about a few of them before, like her first hockey game and how important they are to me. Strawberry picking has always been on that list. I think it is because I have so many memories of going when I was a kid with my sisters and cousins and having so much fun. I couldn’t wait to bring Rowan this year, besides Strawberries are about the 1 constant thing I can get her to eat. I am surpirsed she is not one giant strawberry already.

I got her dressed up in a cute little dress Punky sent her, meet our friend Lacey and off we went. The farm we went to was great! They had tracker rides, horses, ducks and lots of goodies in their bakery. Let’s just say there was lots of eating on her end and not so much picking…

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SHOP MY CLOSET

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I just updates my Shop My Closet with some new items. Lots of cute dresses!! All perfect for summer. This will probably be the last time I purge my closet for awhile so head on over and grabbed your favorites.

Happy Shopping!
xoxo

Parenting Ups & Downs…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/7188241133/

Fishing on the Dock with Papa

Ups:
1. Rowan has gotten really good at sensing peoples emotions or what’s going on in a situation. It is so dang cute when she thinks you are upset and gets really concerned and kisses you. She is always so “oh no” in this really concerned way when she thinks something wrong is happening. It just kills me.

2. This kid loves to dance. There are instant break out dance parties in our house all the time. Rowan has got the moves. She was in heaven the other week in Downtown Disney when there was an actual kid dance party with a dj and everything. Her hips start moving, her arms going up and she gets so excited.

3. I am really proud of how tough she is. This may be a silly thing to be proud of but Rowan is no baby. Of course, I wouldn’t care if she was but I just think it is so fitting to her personality to be a tough go get ’em little girl. When she falls she gets right back up, she is not afraid of things (well most things- wait till our Disney post), and she honestly hardly cries over anything involving getting hurt.

DOWNS:
Oh boy! Have I been saving some dooseys. Let’s just give this weeks downs a theme: Poop!

1. Think about how lovely it would be to wake up to your sweet little baby calling your name only to go in and find that she has taken off all her clothes including her wait for it… poop diaper. She has then smooshed it into the corner and is standing there waiting for you to take her out. As soon as Kev opened the door she let us know in her cute little voice… “poop”

2. After I gave Rowan a bath the other day, I let her run around naked for a minute while I put away some laundry. I walked into our closet to see her hunched over with her hands straight in the air saying “Oh Nooo” in a very concerned way. I realized she had something all over her hands. Then I realized she had poop all over her hands. Ugh! I did a quick scan and realized she had pooped in my shoe and had stuck her hand in it and was now very upset over what had happened. I scooped her up under her armpits to bring her back into her bathroom. I was about to stick her back in the tub (I hadn’t drained the water yet) when it dawned on me that was totally gross. I didn’t want her floating around in poop water. I then scooped her back up and brought her into our bathroom because we have a shower with a detachable shower head. By now she is very upset and me standing her in the shower and spraying her with the shower head made her 10x worse. She is screaming, crying begging for me to pick her up. I am now drenched with spayed poop water and am trying to be quick, water is going everywhere. It was quite a disaster. Oh Poop! You won this battle but I won’t let you win in the end.

3. Sharing with friends. ‘nough said. How do you handle sharing with your kids/kids friends.

Style File | 06.20.12

I tried to pack super light for vacation. I put together very simple outfits that I could wear andthen mix and match. Besides, when it is like 100 degrees who wants to get dressed at all? I made this blue skirt so long ago but it still remains one of my favorite items in my closet. I really want to try to make some more skirts this summer for myself. They are so easy (I just need to find the time!).

The count down till my race has begun. We leave Saturday afternoon to head down to CT for the night. My half marathon is on Sunday morning. I will be glad when this one is over. The training has been a little harder than all the other ones- although the company has been amazing!

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Outfit Details:
Skirt: Handmade
Tank: Walmart (long ago)
Worishofer Sandals: c/o Modcloth (so dang comfy)

A Father’s Day Hike…

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We got home late Saturday night from Florida but that didn’t stop us from packing up the next morning and heading north to Lake George. I had ordered the Deuter Kid Comfort II for Kev for Father’s Day. I was super excited to give it to him. I knew he would love it. I love giving him gifts that he will love but is something that allows us to go enjoy all together as a family.

I am a lake girl through and through. Growing up in Ontario and spending my summers as a kid on a sailboat in Georgian Bay or at the many cottages my relatives had it is easy to see why. Lakes are hands down way better than the ocean (although, I do love the ocean). I could not get over how much where we were on Lake George looked like Canada. So many feelings and memories flood over me when I am in a spot like that. Kev and I are now convinced we need to buy a boat and spend as much time there as possible. New Goal.

What a fabulous day we had all together!

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6 Years of Marriage…

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Holy Cow! We celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary on Saturday. I can proudly say that after 6 years I love Kev more than ever. Our relationship is even stronger than when it started and that he still truly is my very best friend. We have definitely had our ups and downs and we still have our ups and downs but that is what marriage is. It is something that needs constant love and attention. When we forget that we seem to find ourselves in a lot of downs. Our marriage is our top priority. I will honestly say it even take priority over Rowan. That doesn’t mean we neglect her in anyway, but that we both understand that to us a strong, healthy and loving marriage is the best gift we can give her. We value our alone time. We know as a couple we need that. Not every second of the day needs to be swept up in our parenting roles. I put Kev first in my life (although I fall short all the time) and I know he does the same for me. With God’s grace we work on daily showing each other our love for one another and try not to take each other for granted. Marriage is serious to us. It is something we do not take lightly, but through that has come my greatest joy and my closest companion. Kev is my anchor and my sail. His sense of humor is beyond ridiculous and makes me laugh all the time. He is kind, caring and hard working. He is the most wonderful husband, father, friend a girl could ask for.

Cheers to you my sweet Husband! Praying for a million more years as wonderful, challenging, adventurous and loving as these past 6 years have been.
xoxo

Here are the last 5 photos from our silly little anniversary tradition…
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A Canadian Goodbye…

Oh Canada! Our home and native land…
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Sorry the insane amount of pictures. I couldn’t narrow them all down because I wanted my mom, dad and sisters to see them all. We all piled into my Dad’s big truck the other weekend and headed up to Ontario to say goodbye to my sister Carrie and her husband Joel. They decided to make the big move to British Columbia, so we went up to see Joel’s last show with his band and spend the weekend all together before they took off. While we were up there we got to see lots of cousins, Aunts and Uncles and my Grandparents too. Going up to Canada is always a jam packed weekend trying to fit everyone in but it is always so much fun. We got to eat at Cora’s right before we left which is always a crazy breakfast treat!! Mmmm so much fruit. Also, no trip home is complete with out lots and lots of candy from the bulk barn. Mmmmmmmm Smarties!

Father’s Day Ideas

Father’s Day is right around the corner (a very quick corner) and I was a little late ordering some things for Kev and our Dads. I wont be able to share the goodies I ordered until after Father’s Day but I wanted to share my top picks from my favorite place to get gifts. You guessed it… Pinhole Press. How cool are these Father’s Day ideas…

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Softcover Photo Book| Beer Labels | Signature Photo Book

It may be a little too late to order in time for Father’s Day, but if you are like me and nothing is ever on time anyways, get on that computer and personalize some stuff!! You could get it shipped directly to your Dad!!
xoxo

Flying with a Toddler…

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I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how we handle flying with a toddler. We are no experts but we have flown quite a few times (even a few by myself) with Rowan. I thought I would share what has worked for us and give you a little peak into what our carry-on bag looks like for her.

Aside from the normal necessities (diapers, wipes, sippy cups) here are the special goodies I include to help pass the time with Rowan. I find the hardest time is that 35+ min. window when you get on the plane till just after you take off and you can’t get up and you can’t turn on electronics. It feels like eternity. That is when you need all the small toys. I feel like I go through all my tricks in a matter of 30 mins and then have to start repeating. Once we are up in the air it goes smoother. You can turn the Ipad on and you can get up and walk if you really have to.

Tip: I don’t let Rowan sit near the aisle. She sits on my lap in the middle or next to the window. The temptation to get up and run the aisle every two seconds is too great when she sits on the aisle.

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1. We never give Rowan candy EXCEPT when we fly I bring nerds. Judge me if you want but someone gave me the tip a few trips ago and it was awesome. The little halloween packets work the best. It takes her 10 mins to open the thing then 20 or so mins to eat each individual nerd. In all honesty she doesnt even end up eating very many. They make for the perfect distraction. Tiny, easy to eat, tastey. I can’t blame her. I love nerds. She eats each one individually. I just give her a few at a time. This time I brought our super handy little Boon snack catepillar holder. It stacks snacks! (Say that 10x fast!) The top one I left open for nerds, then I filled the other ones with goldfish, fruit and raisins (her more normal snacks).

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2. Rowan loves stickers. I went to the dollar store and loaded up on stickers I knew she would like. Plus some other brand new little toys to bring. New and exciting really help engage them on the plane. The pipecleaners worked great. We made little bracelets.

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3. We brought her favorite books that I know when we read at home catch her attention for more than a few mins. Very handy

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4. These magic Crayola markers are awesome. The color only shows up on the special paper. Perfect for a kid that draws everywhere. Also great to use with the stickers. We drew little pictures around the stickers and drew lots and lots of kitties. We also brought some cute Sesame Street flash cards to play with.

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5. When all else fails and the screaming starts and the evil looks start glaring the iPad works wonders. Rowan isn’t allowed to watch much tv at home so getting to watch any show she wants on the plane is pretty darn special. If it means we can all sit in peace for a while than I am ok with it. We just loaded it up with some of her favorite shows from itunes and we’re set to go.

Have any special tricks that work good for you? Leave a comment and let us all know!!
Later this week… Traveling with a toddler: Staying in a Hotel & Eating Out.

Blogs I Love to Love…

I thought I would start a new little feature sharing some of my all time favorite blogs. They will range from fashion, food, art, mommy, lifestyle, etc… I love a lot of blogs. I feel like it is easy to get caught up in the competition of blogging and not give the love where it is due. I want to take a moment each week and let these ladies know just how much they have encouraged, inspired and made me laugh over the past few years. I will keep these posts going as long as there are blogs I want to share (which could be for a very long time). Some I am sure you will all know and some maybe not, but all are very close to my heart in some way or another.

OFF OF BROADWAY…
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Off of Broadway is one of my very favorite fashion blogs. I have gotten to meet Amanda twice now and I just love her to death. I love her sense of fashion- she seems like she has so much fun getting dressed. I love her cute family. I love that she is a runner. I love that she loves the Patriots (I don’t even watch football but I do have hometown pride). I just love her overall outlook on life. She is pretty top notch if you ask me.

The Haps…
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Mandy, Mandy, Mandy. Where do I even start? This lady makes me laugh so much. Reading her blog and tweets just brighten my day. Her expressions over things just kill me. I love her real life take on things- always with a bit (ok a lot!) of sarcasm and wit. That is my kind of humor! Her instagram food pics could make any mouth water and her daughter Harper is pretty much the cutest dang thing ever. Seriously! Look at this video.

Love these ladies!

(all picture used are original content from the respective blog to create my collages)

Vacation According to Instagram

Here are just a few of my favorite instagram pics from vacation so far…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/7167701063/
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Playing at my Aunt’s pool | Beach bums | Pool | Kid dance party | Avocado Egg Toast | Little Mermaid | Glass Bottom Boat | I’m on a Boat | Key West Pool | Brevard Zoo

You can follow allow with both our (Kev + I) instagram feeds on our family tumblr page.

Vacationland…

Hi Friends!
We left for vacation on Friday and have 2 weeks of fun in the sun planned. Posting will be a little spotty over that time, but I do have some posted scheduled along the way. I’m sure I will be popping in to share pictures here and there too.

We’ve only been here for 2 days but I think it’s safe to say that Rowan is having the time of her life…

FL2012

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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