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February 2013

My Everyday Style Vol. 4

02.27.13

Have you ever tired leather pants/leggings? I bought these pants last year around christmas time. I have only worn them a handful of times because leather pants and pregnancy don’t really go hand in hand. Then I saw this post over on Say Yes to Hoboken the other day and I thought “Hey! I should try wearing those again.” So, here I am in leather pants. I went for a more casual look though. One that I wore out and about with the kiddos on a particularly mild day last week. Also, can I just say that this jacket is pretty much my most favorite thing in my closet right now (and it’s on sale!!)

Have you braved leather pants?

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OUTFIT DETAILS:
Camo + Fur Jacket: Urban Outfitters (It’s on sale!!)
Leather Leggings: Urban Outfitters (similar)
Flats: c/o Lulu’s
White Tee: Urban Outfitters (best tee in the world)
Necklace: Moorea Seal
Earrings: Target
Hat: Target

Dear Finley James 3/52

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My Sweet Girl.
I can not express what a joy you are to our lives. We honestly call you “angel baby” because that is exactly what you are. I would have a hundred (well maybe 3) more babies if they were all going to be like you. I think you and Rowan are going to be the perfect match for each other. You each have such special personalities. I can’t wait to watch your’s grow and develop as you get bigger! You have been smiling a lot lately. I was always so unsure of what it would be like having a second. I wondered if all the little milestones would be as exciting to experience with the second? Well let me tell you… they most definitely are!! My heart feels like it is going to burst every time you smile. Your eyes light up, your mouth opens wide and you just look so happy. Love is an amazing thing. Just when you think your heart is full, it grows and you instantly can love another like you have loved them your whole life. Your dad, you and Rowan make my whole world go round.

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You got weighed at my midwife appointment last week and you weighed 11.6 lbs! You are growing big little girl. You are sleeping great too. The last 4 nights you have slept from 7-9 hours straight and boy, oh boy it feels good. ha! We are taking our first trip this up coming week to Canada. I can’t wait to show you off to your Great Grandparents and Great Aunts and Uncles. We also took a mini trip this weekend to visit both your grandparents. It was a beautiful snowy weekend. Your Dad and I got to take you out for a fun adventure this afternoon in the snow. You seemed to really enjoy the fresh air. I get so excited thinking about all the adventures we get to take you girls on.
Love you to the moon and back,
xoxo
Your Mama

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A Family Wishlist & Other Favorites

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Rowan: Tunic | K-Way Wind Breaker | Rubber Boots
Kev: Jacket | Watch | Boots
Jen: Dress | Shoes | Rings
Finley: Dress | Bloomers | Saddle Shoes

This week has been a good one in the blog world. I feel like I starred so many great posts. Here are some of my favorites (plus a few drool worth items)…

1. a super touching post about breastfeeding. Way to go Natalie. You are my breastfeeding hero.

2. Can it be spring already. I am pretty obsessed with these adorable patterned flats! (and while we are at it these Swedish Hasbeen heels!)

3. Loving these beautiful family photos. So sweet and so full of love!

4. Mmmm Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts. I would eat like a hundred!

5. Hello, cute varsity jacket! Would you like to come live in my closet?

6. Totally humbled this week by this line from Rachael’s post… “His mercies are new every morning, and my mood can be made new every hour if need be.”

7. I desperately want a full faux leather skirt. This one is pretty awesome!

8. How beautiful is this lovely couple? What a keepsake to have these photos together.

9. I love MiniBoden for kids clothes. Such great quality!

10. I love this lady! Everything about her blog makes me smile.

My Everyday Style Vol. 3

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Let’s talk about those 2 postpartum words that on most days feel more like a 4 letter word if you ask me… BABY WEIGHT. Ugh. I gained 40lbs this time around. I was hoping to stick around 30lbs like I did with Rowan, but that didn’t happen. I started pregnancy 10lbs lighter this time around, so when all was said and done my highest pregnancy weight for both pregnancy was around the same. The day after Finley was born I stepped on the scale and was 22lbs lighter, so weird. Pregnancy is crazy. Over the past 6 weeks another 5lbs has come off. I think that will be it though- as far as loosing weight goes without working out and watching what I eat. I am going to have to work for those last 13lbs. I have been dragging my feet a little, but the fact that I can’t fit into any of my skirts/dresses or really any old jeans is helping kick my butt into gear. I gave myself until March 1st to relax, recover and take it easy. March 1st is right around the corner though! I am ok with the weight I am at the moment, but I know that for me I felt more comfortable in my skin when I was 10lbs lighter. I will never be a skinny minnie. It’s just not in me, nor do I feel that it looks good on my frame. I am 5’9″ and feel my best/strongest at 137-140lbs. I have been looking at marathons to sign up for. I always need an end goal to work towards. I don’t have the discipline to just run to run. I love running but love when there is a race to train for. I’ve been searching for a marathon in September. I am leaning towards the Scotia Bank Waterfront one in Toronto. Home town!!

Anyway, until the I lose the weight, I am trying my best to not get wrapped up in a negative body image. I am proud of this body for giving life and birthing a baby and for that I feel stronger than ever. Now on to clothes! I have been loving wearing ankle boots with a low heel lately. I feel like they are the Mom’s version of high heels. They are easy to walk in, easy to bend down in and super comfortable. Yet, they still make me feel a little fancy. Kork-Ease has to be the worlds most comfortable shoes and these boots are no exception. Love wearing cute socks (like these polka dot socks) and ankle length jeans. It’s kind of my go to daily uniform lately. Rowan’s daily uniform is of course any Minnie or princess dress up costume we have…

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OUTFIT DETAILS:
Chambray Shirt: Madewell
Cream Sweater: Swapped with Julie (similar– this one has elbow pads!!)
Polka Dot Jeans: old (similar)
Brooches: Vintage (how about a vintage style bib necklace instead?)
Polka Dot Socks: Target
Marlo Boots: Kork-Ease (50% off here)

The Birth Story of Finley James

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It has been 6 weeks since Finley came into this world. In a lot of ways it feels like she has been part of our family forever. In other ways it feels like it was just yesterday that I was down on all fours in the midst of labor. After Finley was born I wasn’t sure I was even going to write a birth story. It seemed too raw, too personal and too real to share. I had grand plans of making a video (we took some over the shoulder footage of Finley’s birth) and talk about all the details of our home birth. After it happened though, I just wasn’t sure.

When Rowan was born I felt like super women. Like no matter what life threw at me from then on, I could knock it out of the park because I had given birth to her. In the weeks leading up to Finley’s birth, I held on to that strength. I wasn’t scared. I remembered Rowan’s labor being hard, but I remember feeling strong throughout and digging deep to find strength to get through. As I starting getting closer to my due date with Finley my courage starting slipping. My due date came and went and fear starting creeping in. Going past your due date is a very emotionally tiring thing for most women, at least for me it is. I was tired, anxious and loosing confidence that I wouldn’t be able get through having a home birth. I don’t know why I let it get the best of me. I knew I was stronger than that. Labor is a funny thing though. It really is one of the most life changing moments you experience and you have absolutely no control over when it’s going to happen. Yes, you have a ballpark but being a ticking time bomb really does a number on your mental state.

I am not going to go into all the details of her birth but here’s the quick little story… It was Saturday the 5th. I wasn’t feeling all that well. Kev drew me a bath and then he left to go sledding with Rowan to give me some peace and quiet. I started having some really randomly spaced contractions. Some were a few mins apart, some were 15 mins or more apart. Didn’t think too much about it. About 45mins later- Bam! Contractions were 2 mins apart and consistently 2 mins apart. I called Kev and told him to come home. Home he came. We called our Midwife at 2:30pm. She arrived by 3pm. Contractions were pretty much a minute or less apart. They were right on top of each other, I hardly could get a break. It was extremely intense and I think that is what caught me off guard. I had no time to even gather some strength or dig deep inside. I honestly felt like I was just barely getting by. I cried. I screamed. I wanted to give up. The fact that she wasn’t tucking her chin down and that I had a full bladder left me in some pretty intense pain on top of the contractions. I didn’t even make it upstairs to our bedroom where I thought she would be born. 2.5 hours after it all started, little Miss Finley James was born in our family room as Rowan took a nap upstairs.

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She was healthy, beautiful and our home birth was more than I ever expected it to be, but I was left feeling really defeated after all was said and done. I hate to admit that out loud, it makes me cry even thinking about it. Her birth really was amazing and I wouldn’t want to change any of it, but for a few weeks I struggled with this feeling of embarassment over how I thought I handled it mentally. I felt like I only got through it because well, there is no stopping a baby once they decided to make their entrance. Then one day as I was holding her, staring at this mini version of myself, it hit me… A wave of emotion came over me and I finally felt proud. In that moment with the sun shining in, cuddling my sweet baby girl, I felt invincible. Who cares how I think I handled it. You are always your worst critic, right? Finley was a part of me. She will always be half me, half Kev. I slowly created her with my heart, soul and body for nine whole months. Psalm 139:13 says “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my motherรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” And here I was stuck on the fact that I thought I did a bad job bringing her into this world. She was absolutely perfect and nothing about how she came into this world could change that.

I was able to have a 9lbs 8oz. baby girl at home, with no drugs, in 2.5 hours and for that I have decided I deserve a jump high five and a piece of chocolate.

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p.s. I think any way you end up having a baby deserves a jump high five!!

p.p.s Having a home birth was so dang awesome! Nothing about me feeling defeated had anything to do with being at home. If anything it made me feel more relaxed, more comfortable and more in charge of what was going on. Let me just say there is no better feeling than going through labor and then being able to get into your very own bed, in your very own pjs and have your mom bring you a home cooked meal and then falling asleep cuddled next to your new little one and your husband. If we are blessed to have any more kids, each and every one of them (Lord willing) will be born at home.

& the picture of all of us the morning after her birth cracks me up. Talk about bed head!

What Rowan Wore | 02.19.13

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I have 2 things to say… 1. Why are kids obsessed with picking their nose? and 2. Rowan has by far the longest eyelashes and plumpest lips ever. Lucky, girl! My Mom got Rowan this cute Jason Wu dress from Target for Christmas Eve this year. I love that it isn’t really all that christmasy and that she has been able to wear it since then too. I kind of wish I had this dress in my size as well.

Ever since Rowan became a big sister it’s been so apparent to us just how big she is. She has always had a big personality but in the last couple weeks I feel like it has doubled in size. The other day she had Kev and I laughing so hard at her silly toddler antics. She is such a ham.

Rowan is becoming very vocal about things she does and does not want to wear. I would have had her wear her chucks with this dress (love a little tomboy thrown in with super girly) but she only wanted her sparkle shoes. She is all girl, all the time. She loves princesses, sparkles, pink, stars and hearts. Ha! It makes me laugh because it’s so the opposite of me, but I love that she is creating her very own style.

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OUTFIT DETAILS:
Dress: Target
Tights: Target
Cardigan: Target
Sparkle Shoes: Payless

p.s. Rowan has the craziest hair. I am not quite sure what to do with it. I want it to grow out so I don’t want to cut it, but it has a life of it’s own. Most days she looks like a cross of a very old school Brad from Home Improvement and the guy from The Honorary Title

Valentine’s Day Service Project

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Remember before the craziness of the christmas season I wrote about starting monthly service projects with Rowan? We took some downtime there to settle in after Finley was born, but I have been anxiously waiting to start. Since January was National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, I decided to use the money generated by affiliate ads and donate to my favorite charity, Love146. If you have been a reader of Jenloveskev for a while you know this charity is dear to my heart. I have run 2 marathons raising money for them. I truly think they are doing amazing things.

Anyway, every February I help do all the decorations for a Valentine’s Day Charity Banquet for Love146. It’s always such a wonderful night. Live band, dancing, delicious dessert, good beer and a fabulous raffle. This year I took Rowan on a little field trip to the art store to pick out some new supplies we could use to create a piece of artwork together to donate to the raffle. We bought a new screen and some screen printing supplies. We created a mixed media collage with a bible verse that speaks about Love and Justice. We were able to create the piece together and then donate the rest of the money to Love146.

So here is my BIG THANK YOU to you guys for clicking any affiliate link/ad on my site and purchasing things. You have successfully helped donate and make a big difference in the work that Love146 is doing in the awareness, aftercare and prevention of child trafficking and exploitation.

If you are going to be shopping online at stores like J.Crew, Modcloth, Madewell, asos, etc.. I hope that you remember our service projects and click through the ads on my site first- so we can continue to donate and give to worthy charities each month.

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Here are the decorations we set up for the banquet. I really liked how they came out!! It was like a grown up candy land…

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my partners in crime that night (couldn’t have done it without them!)… http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/8485885832/

p.s. the sale section at Urban Outfitters is crazy awesome right now!! Plus, all sale at J.Crew is additional 40% off and 30% off over at Madewell.

My Everyday Style vol. 2

02.13.13

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Things have been pretty casual around these parts lately. I haven’t really figured out this whole nursing + fashion thing yet. For the most part I had sworn off dresses. Anyway, as I was rearranging my closet the other day I pulled out this dress and thought “HEY!” I think I could actually nurse in this dress. I wore it today and it was great. It was super easy to pull down and nurse Finley out and about as we went to Mom’s group and out to lunch. Thank you stretchy cotton fabric.

OUTFIT DETAILS:
Dress: H&M (Similar)
Jacket: c/o Lulu*s (Similar)
Riding Boots: Zappos
Necklace: Moorea Seal on Etsy

p.s. Have you checked out the sales over on Urban Outfitters lately? I just ordered a bunch of awesome stuff all on sale. Plus my favorite BDG high waisted skinny jeans are on sale for $39 bucks. You can’t beat that!

It’s the small things…

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I’ve sat down to write a handful of different posts in the last week and time and time again I’ve stuck them in my drafts folder. I’ve wanted to share so much about motherhood and adjusting to having 2 but everything I’ve written just hasn’t seemed right. I can’t get the words out. Hence, the silence. My mind has been else where. We got some pretty devastating news last week and my heart has just felt broken. It has put a lot of things in perspective. Things that I would have wanted to say last week are seen in a different light now. So tonight even though I don’t have the words to say all that I want, I want to leave you with some moments that really have meant the world to me this past week. In the end it’s really about the small things in life anyways, right?

1. Putting Rowan to bed tonight- we spend like 15 mins laughing with each other as we tickled each others cheeks with our eyelashes. She thought it was about the funniest thing ever.

2. Listening to Rowan sing the Yo Gabba Gabba song “don’t be afraid” to Finley when she cries. Or when she tells her “don’t worry baby Finley, Mommy is right here.”

3. Friends that are really there to “do life” with you. That no matter what they have going on, that they are there to help, love, and have fun.

4. God’s grace. That in the midst of a storm he is there to comfort and give peace.

5. Texts from Kev telling me how much he misses us during the day and random calls asking if we want to meet up for an unexpected lunch.

6. Rowan coming up to me throughout the day, giving me a big hug and saying “I Lub you Mommy.”

7. A warm cup of tea and a sweet little treat

8. Watching your little baby smile for the very first time.

9. The cutest, over the top, babbling sentences that come out of Rowan’s mouth. Oh goodness, the things she says crack me up.

10. A new sweater that feels like a giant hug.

11. These 2 girls…

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Getting Back In The Game…

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We had promised Rowan for months that when Baby Finley was born she would get to play soccer. It was our special “You have a new sister” treat. Those first few days after Finley arrived I was positive I was never going to leave the house again. The thought of doing anything with 2 kids seemed daunting and impossible. We took our first little family outing (My mom included!) 4 days after Finley was born. It wasn’t too bad, but there were 3 adults and only 1 toddler and 1 newborn (who slept the whole time anyway). As the days went on and Kev went back to work, I started to go stir crazy. I had made it a goal to get out of the house at least once a day when it was just Rowan and I. I learned after months and months of being lonely that first year, that the best way to survive any day as a stay at home mom is to put yourself out there, to get out of the house, to meet other moms and to go find some adventure. Yes, it will always seem easier to make an excuse to stay at home. But for us, at the end of the day it will always be easier to be out. Home gets boring and too predictable. So after about a week of being scared of going out with Finley and Rowan by myself, I took the plunge. We started taking daily trips. Off to Soccer we went, to gymnastics, to Moms group, to story time, to even just walk around the mall (ugh! Is it warm out yet?). One of the things I am most proud of with Rowan is how flexible and adaptable she is. We keep a very loose and easy going schedule with her. She takes a nap everyday but sometimes it’s in the car, sometimes it’s at 1:30 and sometimes its at 4:30. Finley is now part of our daily craziness. She is a trooper just like Rowan. I know it’s different for each Mom out there. I’m sure some love a strict schedule, but for us I wouldn’t want it any other way. I have been blessed this past year by becoming close friends with someone who shares these same parenting philosophies. She is just as easy going as I am and our girls have become the very best of friends. I know whatever the day might hold, that she will be up for doing something with us, even if that is just going to run errands together.

Now, if it could just be April already so we could go outside and play…

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If you’d be so kind… Please Vote for us for best Family Blog over on Apartment Therapy!

Boobs & Hooter Hiders

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My personal journey with breastfeeding.

Ha! I am seriously sitting at my desk giggling like a 5th grader over the fact that I just typed the word “boob” in the blog title. I wanted to share a very candid post today about my thoughts, fears, joys and struggles with breastfeeding. This is one of those topics that I mentioned in a past post that has so many moms up in arms with each other. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, so this will not be a post that condemns anyone. Just my personal journey.

Let’s go back 2.5 years shall we? Right before Rowan was born, I had my hopes set high that I would breastfeed Rowan for at least a year. In fact they were not hopes, I “knew” I would breastfeed her for a year. Looking back now I can see how naive I was. I had no idea what lay ahead of me. Sure, breastfeeding comes easy for some. For me, I was not that lucky. Rowan was born and I tired nursing her right away. It seemed fine at the time but what did I know? I was hopped up on endorphins from just giving birth. A few hours later when the visitors had gone for the night and we were left alone in a dark room, the fear set in. Rowan was super, duper sleepy in the hospital. She wouldn’t eat. As soon as she would start nursing she would fall asleep. The nurses were getting concerned for her blood sugar levels. They first had us strip her down so she would be cold. That didn’t work. Then they were rubbing her with cold, wet wash cloths. That didn’t work either. All that did was make her scream bloody murder and left me in tears and full of stress. We didn’t have the best lactation consultant there either. We left to go home still not really knowing what the heck to do, but in my head I still “knew” I was going to breastfeed for a year. The days that followed are a blur now. They were filled with tears, toe curling pain, and lots and lots of guilt. The pressure I put on myself to breastfeed weighted heavily on my heart. My year mark started dropping. First it was 6 months, then I told myself 5 months, then 16 weeks, then 14 weeks, then 12 weeks. I was so consumed with just trying to figure out how to adjust to being a Mom, I really couldn’t handle the extra stress of breastfeeding. I know I should have reached out. I should have found a better lactation consultant. I was scared though. I felt alone and I didn’t know what to do other than to stop. At 10 weeks I just couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to feel that bond that so many women talk about. That bond that is full of love, warmth and rainbows but it wasn’t there for me. I cried endlessly for a long time over it. I felt like a failure, but at that moment to be a better (more sane) mom & wife I had to stop.

After a few months had passed and I became more confident as a Mom, I realized I didn’t have to beat myself up so badly. It didn’t break my child. Rowan was healthy, thriving and no worse than any other kid out there. When I found out I was pregnant with Finley, I decided that of course I wanted to try breastfeeding again. This time however, there would be no time limit set. I would take everything day by day. I had heard from a few women that the second time around is so different because all the stress from the first is gone. You can focus more on breastfeeding. Since Rowan was born, I have also been blessed to meet and become friends with some super awesome Moms. I have a support team this time! When I use to breastfeed Rowan, I felt like I had to hide. I would sit in another room for 45mins to an hour every time we had friends over. It was lonely and it made me feel uncomfortable. During pregnancy I read this post over on Natalie’s blog- I have seriously read it like 10 times since. It was so encouraging to me. I am a super modest person, but reading that I didn’t have to hide and could still not flash my nipple to everyone was so encouraging. By the time Finley was born, I was almost excited to try nursing again.

So here we are, 4 weeks in. To be honest it has not been the warm, fuzzy, experience I hoped it would be, but I can honestly say I see glimmers of it. I am still encouraged to continue. It really, truly is different and more relaxed the second time around. I have asked for help multiple times and I am not scared to continue to ask if I need it. There has been for sure moments of anxiety when I knew she was going to wake up and want to eat again. The pain can haunt you. It can hurt like hell. When I hit the 3 week mark, it all started clicking a little. The pain suddenly disappeared (well greatly, greatly decreased). I can see the light at the end of this starting out tunnel. I see how women can love it. I am not completely there yet, but I sure am optimistic. There have been some real precious moments shared with Finley over breastfeeding though. Holding her little body close to mine, knowing that I am the one giving her the nutrition she needs is a very powerful thing to experience. Her cute little noises, the way she roots around until she is latched on and the way her hand holds my shirt sometimes are all things I will remember if and when I chose to wean her. I know this is a journey and I have only scratched the surface in 4 weeks, but I am trying my hardest to enjoy all of it.

The one thing I am super proud of is the confidence I feel with nursing in public this time. I really hate using one of those cape (hooter hiders). Sometimes I do use one because it’s easier with certain types of clothes (hello, button up shirts!). Although, I really just love wearing a loose t-shirt that can be pulled up and will cover my boob with out the cape-it really does work awesome! It certainly draws less attention that way than when you are covered with 2 yards of ridiculous patterned fabric. I have nursed her in the mall, in the car, in multiple restaurants, in front of friends and family, at Yo Gabba Gabba Live, etc… It makes a world of difference when you don’t feel like you have to hide away in a corner or a different room to nurse.

So that’s where I am at the moment…
I would love to hear your stories (good or bad) with trying to breast feed! Did you love it? hate it? When did you feel like you finally got the hang of it? Do you have a favorite nursing bra?

p.s. We are honored to say we are up for the running over on Apartment Therapy for Best Family and Kids Blog. I know we won’t win, but it’s an honor to be nominated for sure! Thank you to whoever signed us up!!! xoxo. If you do want to vote for us– head on over and give us a vote!

We Survived Month One…

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4 WEEKS! We survived the first 4 weeks!! It was tough, but we did it and if I do say so myself, we did it with flying colors! If anything it has brought us all closer together. I really feel like Kev and I have grown even stronger, tighter, and more in love as we worked our butts off adjusting and taking care of our girls (and of course Kev taking care of me!). There has been tears (mostly me- ok,ok Rowan may have me beat there), laughs, sleepless nights, lots of cuddling, tantrums, sleepy babies, silliness, time outs, working from home, special trips, lots of help from family and friends, photo shoots and snowy days. With all the ups and downs the first month can bring, I can happily and confidently say that most of all there has been a lot of love.

Here are a bunch of pictures from our first month…

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Finley’s Headbands are from my favorite etsy shop Little Hip Squeaks
Bike Sleeper from the talented el Sage Designs
Baby Wrap from Solly Baby
Baby Swing is a MamaRoo by 4Moms
Pia Wallen Cross Blanket from Story North

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!

  • Theeeeeee best motivator to get all our school work done in the morning ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™Œ #afterlunchswim ...
    posted 17 hours ago
Jen Loves Kev
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