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October 2014

Weekly Parenting Ups & Downs

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It’s halloween!! Yippie. It’s one of my most favorite holidays. I just love dressing up. I am all for a little fun spookiness with cheesy ghost and skeletons but I am so over the gore and terror that has taken over. I tried to find a festive hayride for us all to go on but it was impossible to find anything other than things like “Field of Screams” and other stupid named horror shows. Why?? Why??

How was your week? Have any cool plans for Halloween? We had an overall pretty good week around here. Just thought we’d share a few of our ups & downs…

UPS:

1. SLEEPING!! Can I get a woot-woot? WOOT! WOOT! Remember our “down” from a few weeks ago? Hallelujah we are in a really good place right now. It took a few months of persistence and this lovely clock (and maybe a little of letting Finley whine in the morning before going and getting her) but everyone is sleeping till 8:00am. Seriously, I am over the moon… like jumping up and down high fiving myself!! You better believe I’m not taking this for granted. I know this too is a stage and I am sure something will change (daylight savings UGH!) but for now I am so freakin’ happy.

As of right now our sleep schedule goes like this… Girls wake up at 7:55am. That’s what time I have the clock set to change to let Rowan now it’s ok to come out of her room. She knows she can play or read books if she wakes up before that but I am pretty sure she wakes up to the minute that clock turns. Kids are crazy weird with internal clocks. Finley usually wakes a few minutes before but we won’t go and get her till 7:55am when we get Rowan. She has actually been sleeping till about 8:30!! Rowan hasn’t taken a nap since she was like 2 years old but Finley definitely still needs and takes a nap. We finally hit the sweet spot for the one nap a day. She had a rough go there for a little while with the transition from 2 to 1. But ideally her nap time is 12:30 or 1ish. This doesn’t always happen because of daily plans and things but if we are home this is when she naps. She will sleep for around 2 hours. Then both girls go to bed any where from 7:00-8:30pm. Finley going down first and then Rowan soon after.

2. The age of four. So far four has been pretty good to us. I know we are only a few weeks in, but Oh man! Rowan is just the best. I love that little girl so much. I love four. I love the questions that four brings. Soooo deep and profound. You can just see the wheels working up there as she really begins to process the world around her. Like today she asked me how people know how to read words that go up and down (vertical). Or she asked me the other day if the tooth fairy was real. This afternoon she said to me “I don’t feel so well. I really need some tea because I have the shivers and they are driving me crazy”. Hahaha

3. Finley learning how to tell secrets. It’s just gibberish with a “Roro” thrown in there but it’s about the cutest thing ever. She climbs up on you. Pulls your hair aside, gets real close and then leans in to whisper sweet nothings (literally sweet nothings) in your ear. She then throws her head back and laughs. HEART MELTED THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Downs:

1. Potty training. How are we entering into this stage again? I don’t think Finley is quite there yet but we created a potty monster over the weekend by having her sit on the potty like Rowan. Every second of every day since then Finley has been pulling her diaper off to sit on the big potty. She sits for 5 seconds, doesn’t go potty and then wants her diaper put back on. I know it’s process. I know she is just starting but I am venting because ugh! potty training it just not super fun and we are too busy to spend our entire day taking diapers on and off every second as a big ol’ game.

2. Snacks. Oh snacks are my arch nemesis. I swear the girls are looking for food every minute of the day. Why? Are they really hungry? I don’t know. Do your kids do this? I only give them healthy options (apples, carrots, celery and peanut butter, etc…) and they will eat it all but every.mintue.of.the.day. HALP!

I leave you with the sweetest pictures of little miss Fin to date. She was loving this day with her sister…

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Happy weekend my friends!!

OUTFIT DETAILS:

JEN:
Jeans: LOFT (best legging jeans ever)
Button down: J.Crew (25% off)
Coat: H&M (similar)
Boots: Similar
Glasses: c/o Coastal

Girl’s shoes: Vans
Finley’s vest: Target
Finley’s buffalo plaid shirt: Target
Rowan’s Sweater: H&M (boys section)

Family Pop Up Puppets

Tracking

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My girls love puppets! I hear them downstairs all the time laughing as they put on puppet shows for each other. Of course Finley’s version of a puppet show is just shoving a puppet through the curtain and laughing, but Rowan still thinks it’s hilarious. Kev can put on a pretty impressive puppet show too! I wanted to make new puppets for them and thought, what would be cuter than actually making family puppets? I teamed up with Canon USA to create these super cute pop-up family puppets!

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Materials:
Craft Cones (I bought these on Amazon)
Fabric transfer paper
Dowels
Wooden craft beads
Fabric, felt
Paint
Ribbon, trim, buttons
Scissors
Hot glue
Batting

I started with a cute picture of Rowan. I decided to change the color to be black and white and then printed it on my PIXMA MG7520 directly onto the fabric transfer paper. I ordered the transfer paper right from Amazon but you can also find it at any craft store. I cut just her head out and then ironed it on to some muslin fabric.

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I decided to make them sort of whimsical and circus like by adding painted details to their heads. Next I cut out an outfit from my fabric choices. I kept it simple, just freehanding a basic shirt shape. You will need 2 pieces of each shape to sew a complete puppet. Remember to make the bottom of the skirt as wide as your cone. You will be gluing the skirt part to the top of the cone so make sure it’s big enough to fit around.

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I sewed the head, collar and skirt to the front and back pieces of the shirt. Then putting right sides together, I sewed it all together to create the puppet. Here’s the extra fun part… the accessories! I loved picking out fun trim, ribbon and buttons to add to the puppet.

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I added a tiny bit of batting inside of her head to give it some shape. Take a large wooden ball and dowel and hot glue it inside the puppet at it’s neckline to give it the support and stability to pop up. The dowel needs to long enough to go from inside the puppet, down through the cone and attach to another wooden ball at the bottom of the cone.

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Time to decorate the cone! Paint it, cover it in fabric, or leave as is. Totally up to you! I decided to paint ours and to add a felt initial to the top. You can also paint the end of the dowel and the wooden ball that you will be pulling and pushing to make the puppet pop up. Cut the tip of the cone off to create a hole just big enough for the dowel to pass through. Assemble it all together.

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Hot glue the bottom edge of the puppet’s skirt to the outside top edge of the cone. It doesn’t have to be exact, you will be covering the edge with some ribbon to help it have a more finished look. Once it’s glued, add the ribbon and make sure it’s hot glued to half the skirt’s edge and half the cone. Pull the puppet into the cone and you’re ready to play!!

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Living With Kids Feature On Design Mom

What an honor! Today our house was featured over on the totally awesome Design Mom blog. Gabrielle has been running a feature called Living With Kids for quite sometime now and I was beyond excited when she asked if we wanted to be a part of it. You can head on over and read my interview about living and decorating with kids and trying to balance it all. There are lots of pictures over there but here are a few I don’t think I’ve ever shared with you guys from around the house.

IMG_6333^^Finley’s little nursery

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IMG_6327^^Our downstairs bathroom. Instagram prints are from Social Print Studio (they have a super awesome and easy to use app). I just attached them to the wall using these permanent glue dots.

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IMG_6247^^Our bedroom. I love how simple it is. Brings me a lot of peace to be in there.

IMG_6261^^Totally stole that hanging plant idea from ABM. Thanks girls!

IMG_6250^^Hand wrote (with paint pen) the words to the hymn “Be thou my vision” on our wall behind our dresser. Love reading these beautiful worlds everyday.

My Everyday Style | 10.27.14

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Sunday is always my day to dress up. I’ll take any chance I get to throw on some tights, a skirt and make myself feel a little fancier than normal. This cute flippy skirt (not the technical description I’m sure) is probably my favorite in my closet right now (it’s 60% off right now!!). It pretty much goes with everything. Chunky sweater, plaid button up shirt, loose fitting tshirt… You name it, it goes. Today I went with a school girl I guess. Wasn’t planning on it but this sweater kind of makes that happen with out even trying.

How was your weekend? Loved seeing everyone’s cute kids in costumes on instagram. I can’t wait for Halloween. I am pretty sure I want to be Wednesday Addams. Kev and I watched The Addams Family last night on Netflix. So good and so terrible at the same time. I just don’t want to scare Rowan, she’s been super sensitive lately to “scary” things. Wednesday or a cat. Those are my choices. We’re definitely keeping it simple around here this year.

Yay! Halloween!!!

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OUTFIT DETAILS:

Skirt: Loft
Sweater: Modcloth (Similar here, here and here)
Button up: http://bit.ly/1wujtIA
Boots: Similar
Glasses: c/o Coastal

Finley is wearing the cutest dress ever from Little Hip Squeaks

When things don’t go as planned

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I feel like the fall brings a lot of expectations of perfect and glorious outings to apple orchards and pumpkin patches. I picture warm apple cider, well behaved kids, magic hour light and a day going off without a hitch. I’ve been planning this day in my head all summer. I wanted to go to this adorable little apple farm we’ve been to a few times before. It’s out in the country, organic, has a bunch of cute animals, a sweet little playground and is called Love Apple Farms. So cute. It’s a bit of drive but it didn’t matter, I knew it would be worth it. I invited a dear friend and her little girl to go last week. We packed up the kids and headed out. As we were driving I realized it was a longer drive than I remembered. When we finally got to the orchard- there was no orchard left. Well the trees were there but the big building and animals were gone. I felt a little embarrassed. I had talked up this place so much and now there was nothing left. There was a lady standing behind a small table who said the trees were all picked over and that the building had burnt down last year. It was very sad. Poor Love Apple Farms. There was no way the kids were going to want to get back in the car at that moment, so we politely asked if we could play on their playground. After some play time we decided to find a restaurant for lunch. Of course we couldn’t find anything and then when we did, one of the kiddos had fallen asleep in the car. It was seriously one thing after another from that point on. We tried another orchard who said they would only let you pick on the weekends. We then tried to find a pumpkin patch but it was the same weekend only sort of deal. We spent most of the day hanging out in random country stores, playing with the kids in parking lots, and driving around. Overall the day was not a success if measured to our “plan” for the day. However on the way home, I just kept thinking about what a fun day it was though. Getting lost, trying to find anything that was open, laughing about all our mishaps… Sometimes even when things go wrong it turns out to be a better day than what you had even imagined in the first place.

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IMG_6467^^ Omgosh. Finley and this face. This is her look about 85% of any day. She is a temperamental little thing.

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StitchFix Vacay

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A few weeks ago I had the honor of flying out to San Francisco to be a part of a fabulous Stitch Fix weekend (#stitchfixvacay). I could write a whole post about how wonderful they treated us, all the great meals and crazy fun we had, but what I really want to talk about is how impressed I was with the company itself. As a business and an employer, Stitch Fix seems pretty top notch. I’ve used Stitch Fix for over a year now. I get a box (or a fix) every month, try it all on, pay for what I like, send back what I don’t. It’s all fun but I’ve never really had any personal connection to the company, or had I thought about how it started, how it runs, or the awesome employees behind each box. What I loved most about the weekend was seeing and meeting all the people who make Stitch Fix so great. I really gained so much respect for the company. What a cool place to work. Everyone seemed so happy and genuine. Cotile and Hege (2 of the most fabulous employees and the ladies responsible for such a wonderful weekend) really listened to suggestions, answered questions honestly and just shined with pride for this start up company that’s really leading the way in their industry. We got to visit their offices, talk with some of their stylists and buyers and had a really fun photoshoot with items from their fall inventory. We also spent a morning in their giant warehouse called “The Hizzy”. It was a whirlwind few days but ooooh so fun!

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View More: http://stillbeingmolly.pass.us/stitchfixvacay

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View More: http://stillbeingmolly.pass.us/stitchfixvacay

View More: http://stillbeingmolly.pass.us/stitchfixvacay

View More: http://stillbeingmolly.pass.us/stitchfixvacay

View More: http://stillbeingmolly.pass.us/stitchfixvacay

View More: http://stillbeingmolly.pass.us/stitchfixvacay

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View More: http://stillbeingmolly.pass.us/stitchfixvacay

View More: http://stillbeingmolly.pass.us/stitchfixvacay

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If you don’t use Stitch Fix but would like to try it out, here are some tips for making sure you get the most out of your fixes each month…

1. FEEDBACK

Leave as much feedback as you can. Why you liked it, why you didn’t like it, what you wished it was like, how well did it fit. Be as specific as you can! At the end when you can leave a note to a stylist don’t feel bad writing exactly what you are looking for. They will for sure do their best. I always write things like… I would love a chunky cable knit sweater, a dark high rise denim, a delicate gold necklace, etc…

2. PINTEREST

Create a pin board just for Stitch Fix. Make sure you link to it in your style profile. This is a great place to be extra specific. Especially if you see a blogger wearing something from Stitch Fix that you would love to try. Pin their photo onto the pin board and write “I would love to try this shirt”. If they still have that style and your size they will try to get it for you! Also when you pin fashion pictures be sure in the description to write what you like about it. Every little bit helps the stylist understand what kind of things you are looking for and what your style is like.

3. TRY NEW THINGS

Be open to trying new things. Your stylist will send items they think will be good for you- don’t brush them off before you even try them. They may surprise you!

4. PROFILE

Keep your profile current and tweak it when needed. Have you lost weight, gained weight, or sort of changed your style preferences? Keep your profile up to date.

I had no obligations to write this post for Stitch Fix. All opinions are my own. I was just thoroughly impressed with the company and wanted to share about our time there.

Thanks to Cotile, Hege, Margaret, Alexandra, Veronika, Natalia, Kylie, Molly, Jill and Erin for making the weekend so fun and special. Loved getting to know you girls.

Extra special thanks to Molly for letting me use some of her awesome pictures!

My Everyday Style | 10.20.14

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The evenings have been getting cooler and cooler around here lately. I know the cold weather is around the corner but I am not quite ready for it yet. I even saw someone post a picture of the first snow up in the Adirondacks the other day. Gulp! Living in the Northeast, your winter coat becomes a pretty important piece of clothing in your wardrobe. I always make sure my winter coat makes me feel fashionable, warm and chic. I wear it everyday for about 5 months so I am pretty picky about what coat I buy. Plus I am always cold so most times I don’t even take it off when I go inside. T.J.Maxx always has great designer coats at super awesome prices. Love the variety they carry. I found this awesome black coat and fell love. It has great details that make it just that much more special. I love the leather elbow patches and gold hardware. Kicks up the style of what could be a plain black winter coat. Wearing a warm hat, leather leggings, an awesome winter coat and cool sneakers are a pretty standard outfit for me once the temps start dipping below 40 around here. I love when an outfits just feel like “you”.

Also #bruins4life (unless they are playing the Maple Leafs or any other Canadian team and then of course it’s #canada4life!)

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OUTFIT DETAILS:

Designer Winter Coat: c/o T.J.Maxx
Perfect Grey Tee: Stitch Fix
Leggings: H&M (similar)
Leopard Sneakers: Vans

And we wait…

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The leaves are turning, starting to fall and there’s a chill in the air. Fall is here. Yet we are still waiting. It’s funny how you can have things perfectly planned out in your mind, but so quickly realize it’s just soooo out of your control. It’s hard giving up that control for so many reasons. I am learning, praying and trying to keep my focus on the calling we feel. It’s funny to think I wrote a post in May about being pretty sure we would have our first foster child by the end of June. 1. I can’t believe how fast time has gone by and 2. umm it’s the middle of October?? It’s such a weird state to be in. Everyday knowing that any minute you could be getting a call and there could be a child in your house 30 mins later. Everything we do, every where we go, I am fully aware of getting one of these calls. Do you hold off on planning things, going places, being spontaneous??

We’ve had 5 calls so far. The first time I was in an Old Navy changing room. The girls were fighting over who knows what and I was quickly trying to find a pair of pants that actually fit for a trip to San Francisco the following week. My heart sank and bubbled with excited nerves all at the same time. My phone was vibrating and flashing the words “Foster Care” across the screen. It’s a moment I will remember forever. In that moment (and I am sure every time they call from now on) you are on one hand excited at this opportunity to open your home and to love on and support a child, yet at the same time want to break down and cry over the brokeness that has lead to this phone call. It’s very strange to have such mixed feelings. Anyway, I sat there in my underwear, shoving snacks at the girls trying to get them to quiet down and I listened. My voice was shaking and head felt foggy, yet I heard every word. I hung up and I knew in my gut that this particular situation was not for our family. We were pretty flexible with the parameters we put in place as far as placements go, but this? Not sure I would’ve been able to parent effectively to all needs involved and the large sibling group that would’ve been in the house (including Rowan and Finley). I wanted to say yes. I wanted to scream YES, but I knew we had to say no. Ahhh it was so hard. Kev and I talked and prayed over it, we knewn though. I called the next morning and told them we just didn’t think we were the right family. The other calls have fallen through for one reason or other. Usually we get the call, we say YES! and then we wait for a court hearing that afternoon. There’s usually been a relative that’s come forward or there’s been a change of arrangement though. Of course we’re so happy that the child can stay within their families when a relative steps up but it’s hard emotionally preparing all day for a child to arrive and then last minute hearing they’re not.

Again in all of this we know it’s not really about us or how hard it’s been. The children are what matter. So please don’t take any of this as a “woe is me” type post. I am just sharing my heart and our journey thus far. We’re learning so much and trusting in the Lord through it all. Having faith in his perfect timing. Just spending a lot of time in prayer over every situation for our family, the child and their own biological family.

Who knows what this week might bring…

Our Everyday Style | 10.10.14

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How’s everyone’s week been? Thank you to everyone who left a comment about their kid’s sleep habits on the last post. Loved reading everyone’s stories. Made me feel better about my early risers. Counting it a blessing they at least both finally sleep through the night. Lord knows we had a good almost 2 years of at least 3 wake ups from each of them through the night. Well, Finley finally (finally!) slept through the night at about 14 months. Perspective! Am I right?

I had a hard time narrowing down these pictures. I know we all think our kids are cute, but DANG! MY.KIDS.ARE.CUTE! Finley cracks me up. She is either laughing or hates life. For every one of these smiley pictures, there were about 15 where she looked like she wanted to hurt someone. That child. This is totally off topic and totally random but I just sneezed like 30 times in a row. What is happening? Do people have allergies in the Fall?

OK. Back to the pictures.

The girls are so fun to dress. I really quite enjoy myself getting them dressed every morning. I feel like boys would be pretty fun though too. More like a fun challenge- you know, trying to dress them cute without always having them in shirts with balls, trucks or dinosaurs on them. I keep thinking, what if we get placed with a boy? It all happens so quick, I would have nothing for them to wear at that moment. It’s such a silly thing to worry about but just something I thought of the other day. I mean my girls have their fair share of items from the boys section but… Where are your favorite places to shop for little boys?

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Jen’s Outfit:

Coated Denim: Madewell
White Lou & Grey Tee: LOFT (even all the Lou & Grey stuff is 50% off!)
Denim Shirt: LOFT (50% off!)
“be thankful” Necklace: Jess LC
Glasses: c/o Coastal
SK8-Hi Slim’ Hi-Top: Vans

Rowan’s Outfit:

Be Rad Tee: Geo Fox Apparel
Cardigan: Gap
Skirt: RUUM
Tights: H&M
Checkerboard Slip Ons: Vans

Finley’s Outfit:

Checkered Shirt: Gap
Cardigan: H&M (boys section)
Jeans: Gap
Leopard Half Cabs: Vans

American Flag: Urban Outfitters

p.s. when your hair is dyed lighter at the bottom it will always. always. look like a taupe (or in my case, a birds nest) on top of your head. What are ya going to do about it but embrace it? #birdsnestforlife

My Weekly Parenting Ups & Downs

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It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these posts. Trying to make it more of a regular kind of thing. I really like them. I also really like hearing from all of you as we share stories in the comments section. Nice to know we’re all going through this crazy motherhood journey together!

Ups:
1. I really feel like we are in a good groove lately. It’s a nice feeling. Of course, there are crazy moments (see “downs” below), but really, I know in the scheme of things they aren’t all that terrible. Everyone is at a super fun age (when they are in good moods, of course) and they make the best little buddies. They entertain each other like crazy and it makes my heart explode every time I hear them laughing together from another room. Siblings are seriously the best thing ever! I know some parents choose to only have one child and I totally think that’s great but I could not imagine our family with out these two. I can’t help but think about how differently Finley gets to grow up because she has Rowan around. I guess there is good and bad to that but the first person she calls for in the morning when she wakes up is “RORO”. Finley is fiercely loyal to her. Whenever Rowan leaves the room, within seconds Finley is searching for her saying “where RoRo go?”. Finley is also in a pretty intense Daddy stage. I don’t mind β€” there is nothing better than seeing your children madly in love with their Daddy.

2. Homeschooling is going so great. Of course, we are still working it all out and getting into the swing of it but each week is getting better and better. Rowan loves learning and it warms my heart to hear her tell people about the things she learned that week. Now, whenever she comes across something she doesn’t really know much about, she asks if we can learn about it in school. Umm? So Cute! She asked me the other day if we could learn french. We have a little learning area set up downstairs so that when we are working on school work, Finley can be down there with us playing in the play room. I am really, really loving it so far. We’re going to be taking it a year at a time but I am excited about the possibilities for our family to grow, learn, and hopefully travel together more often if we continue to homeschool.

3. Finley has been soooo into books lately. I LOVE it so much. As soon as you mention nap time or bed time she goes running to her room. She’ll grab her blanket, giraffe and then pull out piles of books. She laughs at every page, no matter what the book even says. She’s just over the moon sitting together and reading books. When we picked her up from the nursery the other day after church, one of the volunteers even said she just wanted to be read to the whole time she was in there. I hope we can continue to foster her love for reading as she gets older.

Downs:
1. Finley. hahaha. This girl is seriously the craziest little child I have ever seen. She is hilarious and so in love with her family but… If she doesn’t know you, hasn’t had a nap, or is in a mood. Oh boy. Watch out. I use to think Rowan was active but whew! I was wrong. Rowan is totally a first born (ever read one of those birth order books?). She loves to follow rules, gets very upset when she realizes she has done something wrong and has to take care of everyone. Finley on the other hand LOVES to cause trouble. And she does it with this mischievous little smile on her face that you can’t help but laugh under your breath at. She keeps me on my toes thats for sure. I’m not wishing away this age but I am looking forward to her being able to communicate just a little bit more so it’s not so frustrating for her. Almost 2 is a tough one.

2. The morning time. I am not a morning person. I’ve tried to be one for years, but I’m finally accepting that I am just not cut out for it. I’m a night owl through and through. Why don’t children sleep in? I’m not even talking super late. I would kill for like a 7:45am wake up time. I hear Moms saying they have to wake their kids up because it gets too late… Ahhh teach my your ways!!! No matter what time my kids go to bed, they wake up at the same exact minute every morning. If we get them to bed early that’s fine. They’re mostly rested and ready for the day (it’s still too early…) but, chances are we’re not getting them into bed at 7pm though. There is always stuff going on, or it’s just hard to rush through the evening when they don’t get to see Kev till like 6:00. They want to play with him and he wants to play with them. Rowan is finally at an age where I think she would sleep a little later but Finley is up at the crack of dawn screaming and crying for her. She always wakes Rowan up. They both have fans in their rooms for white noise and both the doors are closed but their rooms are right next to each other. Then Rowan is upset because Finley woke her up but won’t go back to sleep and Finley is tired and cranky because she still needs another hour as well. BUT NO ONE WILL GO BACK TO SLEEP. Why?!?!? Please tell me what time your kids go to bed and what time they get up. I am dying to know what everyone does.

Rowan: I am only good at one hiya ninja move
Me: What is a hiya ninja move?
Rowan: HIIIIIIIYAA! (as she jump and kicks her leg out).

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^^playing hide and seek in the maze garden at the park

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Living a Simple, Intentional Life | Pt.3 Clothing

I will be the first to admit I am a clothes hoarder. I love sales, the clearance rack and I keep clothes forever! I still have (had- just got rid of them) clothes in my closet from when I was in college (10 years ago). I just don’t like to let go of things. My closet started getting out of control though and really, I only wore such a small fraction of what was in there. I started questioning what I was keeping and why? My style has changed so much since becoming a Mom. Most of the stuff just sat in there because it was too dressy, to busy for my tastes now a days or I thought it had some sort of special meaning. My closet did not reflect the person I felt like on the inside. A girl who is much more confident in what she wears then her closet let on. I think if someone that didn’t know me opened my closet doors, they’d think the owner was all over the place, not knowing what she really liked at all. When I started cleaning out all our drawers, pantry, cupboards, basement, toys, and things else where in the house, my closet was no exception. I felt like Stacy and Clinton. I didn’t have anything that was terribly out of fashion like in that show, but I was harsh and got rid of everything that I didn’t currently wear. Have you read 7 by Jen Hatmaker? I just kept thinking of that chapter over and over. We really DO NOT need thousands of items in our closets. Next time you say “I don’t have anything to wear” go count how many items of clothing you have. I bet the number will make you cringe a little.

With a pretty much empty closet staring at me (I either donated or sold all old clothes), I decided it was time to invest in some good pieces to fill it partly back up. Pieces that would last more than one season. Pieces that could be mixed, matched and worn a hundred different ways. Pieces that wouldn’t go out of style in 6 months. No fast fashion. Every one is talking about a “capsule collection” in the blog world these days and I love the idea behind it, I do. I personally didn’t want to set up any strict rules for myself though. I want this to be something I stick with. More of a lifestyle change than just a season or say 40 days. I also wanted to be able to wear whatever items from my closet that I hadn’t gotten rid of. I made a list of items I thought I needed to add as we head into the dreaded Northeast winter. I told myself after I found those items that was it though, no more spending on random things here and there. I needed to know/believe I didn’t need anything else. It’s fun to window shop for sure but there is a difference between looking for fun and feeling like you need things when you don’t. I want to find that balance.

I saved up the last few months to invest in some of these items for fall/winter. When you aren’t buying clothes all season long, it allows you to save up and then wisely make choices for new items when the next season rolls around. Having a plan it key. Then you don’t end up with tons of random items that don’t match and you only wear once. Here are some items that will be getting me through this up coming winter.

Sweaters:

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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Sweaters are a big one for me. It’s so dang cold, for so dang long here that it’s worth the money to buy some nice sweaters. I love cardigans because you can layers all your summer tees and tanks and make them last into the winter. Still obsessed with Everlane’s u neck white tee. I love thin slouchy sweaters that you can half tuck in the front of your jeans. I hand wash all my sweaters and line dry them so they keep their shape and don’t get all pilly.

Shirts:

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Keeping it simple here. A cream silk blouse, totally cool to wear with a pair of jeans and ankle boots. Can’t go wrong with a chambray shirt and ooooh I could have a hundred buffalo plaid shirts and it wouldn’t be enough (jk) but I kept it to two different colors this winter. Love the simple striped cotton tee from J.Crew but making it a little more interesting with 2 shoulder zippers. The ottoman striped popover from the Loft will definitely be my most worn item. I’ve already worn it like 2 times this week.

Pants & Jeans:pants

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I swear these are not all black. The coated racetrack jeans from Madewell are amazing! Oh Man! Such a good purchase. Love the high waisted grey BDG jeans from UO. I have them in ankle length and the longer length. Grey jeans are where it’s at this year. Goes with everything! The black ponte pants from the Loft are my alternative to leggings. I am just not a girl that feels comfortable wearing leggings out in public. They are pjs in my head and I feel weird wearing them out. So these pants are great. Soft, stretchy, but have butt pockets and a button to make me feel like they are actually pants. Cranberry colored cords just scream fall and winter to me. Love the fit of these ones. Also, the legging jeans from the Loft are amazing. Extra skinny, perfect rise, great color.

Skirts & Dresses:skirts+dresses

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Amazing all around. I can’t wait to wear all of these with thick tights, ankle boots and warm sweaters. Love the cranberry cord mini- so many outfits to make with it! I’ve been looking for a “leather” mini that is stylish with still being ladylike. This one fits the bill! Not to short, but with cute elastic waist and exposed zipper detail. I wore this striped black and cranberry dress to the conference this weekend.

Shoes & Boots:shoes

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I am kind of obsessed with my Vans high tops. LOVE THEM! Sneakers and ankle boots. My go to for everything.

You can read Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 of this journey here.

Loft is 40% off right now just so you know!

Stranded in Indianapolis

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I was supposed to hop a plane Sunday morning and be back to my family as soon as they had finished church. Unfortunately there were some very crazy/sad events that happened at the Chicago airport earlier in the weekend and basically shut it down. Doh! Thousands of flights were canceled and no one was going anywhere. Lucky for me, my roommate and dear friend Monica was also stranded for another night. We made the most of it and had the most wonderful day sleeping in, eating, shopping and exploring downtown Indianapolis. We had the most delicious breakfast (ok it was lunch time) at Cafe Patachou and some killer tacos and margaritas at Bakerfield’s on Mass Ave. We climbed to the top of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument- which my legs are still sore 2 days later. We hit up the 40% off sale on the LOFT (and they let me use my LOFT cash cards on top of that- it was like I hit the jackpot!). We also went to the coolest and I mean COOLEST toy store ever. Thanks to whoever recommend it on my instagram feed. It was called Mass Ave Toys. I got the girls all kinds of neat treats to bring home.

It was sad to be away from my family another day but I really loved the down time and quality hang out time with Monica that day!

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^^this guy was making a really awesome (wink, wink) music video

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IMG_6238^^not going to lie, this ridiculous traveling bar that you had to pedal all together looked like a lot of fun!

Till next time Indianapolis!

Influence Conference 2014

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^^a sunset bike ride with the fam a few weeks ago.

Hi Friends! It’s been a little while hasn’t it? Lot’s has been going on over here the last few weeks! We’ve had 2 birthdays, started home schooling, 4 foster care placement calls, traveled to Massachusetts, San Francisco, Indianapolis, had an art show, filled 3 large wholesale orders for necklaces, painted a wall mural at our church and worked my butt off for an hour long workshop I gave about working with brands for the Influence Conference. Whew! Not sure why things all come at once for me, but feeling like I am slowly coming up for air after a few very busy weeks.

I have lots of posts to share but today I am just trying to process thoughts from this past weekend at the Influence Conference. What an amazing weekend! I’ve been to blog conferences before and I’ve been to christian women’s conferences, but this 2 in 1 deal sort of blew my mind. These are women who love God and love the internet! All the speakers where so heartfelt and genuine. I felt like both Jess and Haley were speaking straight to me, even in a room full of 300 women.

It’s time to build.

That was the theme of the conference. It’s a sentence that can be very scary or very freeing. If you let yourself, it can be one that sweeps you up in what needs to be done and what you should be doing or even not doing. Even with the best intentions you can make it about yourself very quickly. That’s not the point though and the women at the conference spoke with such wisdom and truth to that. The work has already been done. God paved the way for us already. Our value is not in the things we do or the kingdoms we build for ourselves. Our value comes from Him alone. Why are we building (our blogs, our presences, our influence, our homes, or well kept lives, etc..)? For our own glory or Gods? Because if it’s for ourselves there is no lasting satisfaction in that. It’s a kingdom that won’t last. There will always be someone/something bigger, better, more beautiful out there. It will leave you feeling like you are not enough. But hear this truth… YOU ARE ENOUGH! You are enough in Christ.

So let your kingdom be built for Him. For His glory to shine . Let’s make more of our lives be less about ourselves.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

What are you making your treasure today?

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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