GoPro x FL 2016

G0382817^^hanging out with papa

Kev got his GoPro for christmas a few years ago, we love it but seem to only really use it on vacations. We should change that though because it’s always such a treat to load the pictures onto the computer after using it. It’s always a big surprise what the photos/videos are going to look like. I stayed up waaaay tooo late last night looking through all the pictures from our recent trip to Florida. Here were my favorites…

GOPR2442^^kayaking with daddy

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GOPR2537^^my mom and my sister

GOPR2538^^our disney cruise ship in castaway cay

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My Everyday Style | Surprise Yourself with New Possibilities!

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Soooooooo I wear pretty predictable things. I am ok with that. I know what my style is and I stick to it. I like a more laid back, classic type style with a little bit of edge I guess. Hahah does that even make sense? Skinny jeans, a denim shirt and Vans are where it’s at people. I swing very far from the boho style- I always look at sites like Free People and love how beautiful everything is though. Sometimes I even order stuff but I try it on and then I end up returning it because well, it just doesn’t feel like me. So I was very intrigued when Marshalls approached me to challenge myself to try something new. It could have been with anything and maybe it was the fact that we were on vacation or the fact that everything has been about Coachella recently but I totally tried to go with that boho, flowy sleeve, loose dress sort of thing. Love that you can try out new styles with out breaking the bank. I picked this dress out and wore it on a date night with Kev when we were in Florida. He was very sweet and commented like 100 times on how much he loved the dress on me. It was such a surprise to me that I loved this boho style dress just as much as he did. When I pulled it out of the rack my first thought was that it was beautiful (loved the colors and embroidery) but that there was no way I was going to like it on. When I tried it though, I feel in love with the ease and comfort of it. Set the perfect vibe for a date night by the beach. Maybe it’s good to surprise yourself sometimes. Keeps ya young, right?

What new style would you challenge yourself to try out?

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OUTFIT DETAILS

Sunglasses: LOFT (40% off!!)
Roxy Dress: Marshalls
Steve Madden Sandals: Marshalls
Hat: Marshalls

Thank you to Marshalls for sponsoring this post.

Enjoy!

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Hi Friends! Thought I’d give you something sweet to enjoy on this beautiful Friday morning. Don’t you just want to eat him up? Here’s a list of nicknames we seem to use the most for our little Orion…
Dude
Little Dude
Little Man
Bubs
Bubsy boo
lil’ bud
buddy
Boo
Boo Boo
Honey Boo Boo
Boo Boo Bear
Burp Worm (hahaha don’t ask)

Happy Weekend!

My Everyday Style: Seeing Comfort Differently with Born X Zappos

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Whoa! Can you believe it? It’s a good ol’ fashion outfit post. Woot Woot. It’s been awhile huh? Life since Orion’s been born has been all comfort as far as clothing goes. Jeans, tees and sneakers usually- my daily uniform if you will. So you can bet I was intrigued when my friends over at Zappos challenged me to look at “comfort differently” by trying some super cute and fashionable Born sandals out. I haven’t worn a high heeled/wedged shoe in forever. I was a bit skeptical if I would be able to last longer than 5 mins in them. But let’s just say, I wore these all day, chased around the kids and still felt like they were supremely comfortable at the end of the day. Born sandals for the win!! And of course ordering from Zappos is the best. We honestly order all our shoes from there all year long. They offer free shipping that is super speedy, they have a 365 day return policy, and their customer service is the best!

In case you couldn’t guess we’re not in NY anymore. We hopped a plane last week and headed down to FL for a bit. We’re actually boarding a cruise today to celebrate my Mom’s 60th birthday with my whole family. WE ARE SO EXCITED!!! I am pretty sure the girls are going to explode from excitement when they get on the boat. I bought this dress to wear on the cruise but I loved it so much I couldn’t wait.

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OUTFIT DETAILS:

Sunglasses: LOFT
Dress: asos
Sandals: Born

Thank you to Zappos x Born for sponsoring this post. All opinions and words are my own.

Speckled And Watercolored Easter Eggs

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You know what I love? Bright, colorful, messy, painty pictures. Nothing better! The girls and I went to Target the other day to pick up some plain white eggs to hollow and paint but we ended up finding these plastic eggs in that section in the front of Target that steals all your money with out you knowing. Bahahahahaa. You know, the “$1” section. These weren’t a dollar but I think $3 which is still pretty good. We bought 2 dozen and decided that since we actually don’t have a kitchen at the moment anyways, plastic eggs trump real eggs this year. Plus! These ones will last year after year. We skipped the dye and brought out the craft paints this year instead. I showed the girls how to use an old toothbrush to create speckled eggs and how to take a painted paintbrush, dip in into the water to create a more watercolor look. It was a fun, simple way for them to create some really beautiful eggs. You should give it a try!

Happy Easter Everyone!

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Our Everyday Style | Getting Ready For Easter

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It’s Easter Week!! Yay! There are 2 special occasions every year I look forward to buying a new outfit for the kids. Christmas and Easter! I try to not go crazy and keep it to a reasonable price but I am always on the look out for really special and cute items. It’s an extra bonus when those things go hand in hand! That’s why I love T.J.Maxx and Marshalls. They have the cutest Easter dresses for the girls (and outfits for the whole family!)- like we could hardly narrow it down. Rowan had a bit of a meltdown because… “I can’t choose between all the beautiful dresses” she said. hahaha. Poor girl. Plus! Look at our handsome little Easter man. He kills me in that outfit.

We are laying low for Easter like we usually do. I have to decorate for Good Friday and Easter services at church. We have been making time to do a special Holy week devotional with the kids this week. Today we made a cute palm Sunday craft (even though it was yesterday) that the girl’s hung up in their room. I am also hoping to make them something for their Easter baskets. We don’t do a lot of candy- just a few items. This year I got them a book, a new Klean Kanteen, some Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops and fingers crossed, a homemade stuffed bunny. Butttttt realistically not sure that will happen. I can dream right?

Happy Easter!

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OUTFIT DETAILS:

ROWAN:
Dress: Marshalls
Sandals: Salt Waters
Hat: Marshalls

FINLEY:
Dress: Marshalls
Shoes: Disney Store

Orion:
Plaid One Piece: Marshalls

JEN:
Linen Top: Marshalls
Jeans: Madewell
Clogs: Swedish Hasbeens

Thank you T.J.Maxx and Marshalls for sponsoring this post.

The Birth Story of Orion David

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I am not even really sure where to start this. I’m pretty positive that no matter how good you are at writing (which let’s be honest- is not my strong point) you can’t really express in words all that you feel about the birth of your children. I’ll start off by saying that I was very, very scared about Orion’s birth. The weight of what was ahead (you know the whole labor thing) really weighed heavy on me the last few weeks before his birth. I don’t really know why. I love birth! I love the strength, power and beauty behind it all. I trust my body and what it has to do but something about Finley’s birth really had me full of fear of how this one would go down. And especially how I would handle it all. Finley’s birth was such a whirlwind. Going from nothing (no early signs of labor, no beginning contractions, etc..) to everything (hello transition!) and having a baby in 2 hours really had me feeling completely out of control during the whole thing. The only thing that made me feel in control was being at home. In reality though, the whole labor was very much in control but I felt like emotionally, I was alway a few steps behind what was happening. Never really ever being able to ground myself. In the end I was left with a “what the heck just happened?” feeling. I never felt that empowered feeling that I felt after Rowan’s birth. Which is ok. Sometimes labor doesn’t happen how we pictured and really, once our sweet babies are here none of that matters anyways right? However, I spent a lot of time praying that no matter how Orion’s birth was to happen that I would feel confident, in control and full of peace.

I chose to have a home birth again because honestly, I can’t imagine it any other way. I have no judgement on other’s choices but for me (as long as everything is going well with the pregnancy) being at home is the only way I would want to give birth. I love it with every fiber of my being. Like seriously guys! It means so much to me and has brought me so much joy to bring these babies into the world in our own loving space. If it’s ever been something that has peaked your interest, I recommend whole heartily to do some research on it and see if it’s the right fit for you. It’s so magical!

Anyway, on to the little guys birth! I figure since it’s such a personal story between Orion and I would would write out his birth story in a letter to him. I hope one day he will read this and know just how special this day was for me.

Dear Sweet Orion.

Hi Baby. You’re here! You are growing and you are wonderful! What a day we shared together as you came into this world. I hope I can express how much love surrounded you (us) that day! Let’s start the day before you were born. It was a Monday. Just a regular ol’ Monday. Dad was at work, Rowan had school, Finley and I were hanging out like normal. I’ve never had any feelings about when your sisters were going to be born. They both just sort of came. Bam! like that. For some reason though, on that particular Monday I knew you were coming soon. It was 2 days before my due date and normally I go very late but I knew it wasn’t going to be like that this time around. Well, maybe it was just some serious wishing on my part. We went about our day and around lunch time I called your Dad. I asked him to cancel bible study on Tuesday night because I just felt like you would be here. I wasn’t having any contractions or early signs of labor but let’s just call it Mama intuition. We picked Rowan up from school and headed out to meet up with Meme who had just come into town. She always comes right around mommy’s due dates and then just stays and hangs out and takes care of us all. She is such a good Meme!

That night I think we all went to bed thinking that you were going to be born that night. I don’t know why I have this idea that all births happen in the middle of the night. The only activity that happened that night was that Rowan came into our room like 5 times saying her tummy hurt. Which ended in her throwing up all over our bed at 5am. Not a great way to start the day of your birth! But in a way it helped us savor the day. Slowed us down. Kept Rowan home with us from school. She was only sick that one time and then really was fine the rest of the day. I love the pictures we took that morning at home. The light pouring in through the windows. I feel like we all knew it was your day.

I started having mild contractions that morning. They were inconsistent and not too intense, I figured it was just 3rd baby preterm labor that would for sure go away. I think I was trying to not psych myself up too much incase it wasn’t going to lead to anything. It lasted through out the day but never really turned into anything timeable. They would get close but then fizzle out. Mommy way able to take a nap, go for a nice long walk with Daddy and just relax as much as I could at home. Around 3:30 I decided I would call our Midwife Kelly just to let her know. She had told me to keep her in the loop even if I thought it was nothing because of how fast Finley came. She was just finishing up with another birth and then was going to head over and see how I was doing. She got there about 30 mins later and by the time she got there I was pretty sure things were starting for real. I had started to pace. Hahah. Daddy and Meme always say I have this pace thing I do- walk back and forth and keep pushing my hands down or something.

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IMG_4907^^barf bowl. hahaha.

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We had set up the whole sun room like a little birth sanctuary. The pool was inflated, the chaise lounge was out there, there were candles and lights strung up and music all ready to go. Something that was really, really important to me was having some of my favorite bible verses up around the room. A few days prior to you being born I had worked on drawing out some of them and hanging them around the birth pool, so that I could focus on them if things got really tough or out of control feeling during the labor (5 months later they are still hanging up out there- I can’t bring myself to take them down). I was so excited to have a water birth! When kelly came she was like “ok, lets check things out and see where you are at”. As she was checking things out down there, a look came across her face. I thought for sure it was a look of “oh honey, this is just the beginning”. I was waiting for her to say that it was early labor but I still had a while yet to go. She looked at me though and said “I don’t think you are getting in that pool”. I was confused at first. I didn’t know why I couldn’t get in there. It was all blown up ready to go. She then said… “You are fully dilated, this baby is coming!” Haha omgosh. There was not going to be any time to fill and heat the tub. Out the window went that birth plan and we kicked the pool to the side and mentally I switched gears. I thought that would have rattled me. I had really put a lot of hope in the warm water helping me feel grounded in a fast labor. God had another plan though…

Kelly’s assistant had called her right after. She had stopped for coffee (no one had realized it was go time yet) and was calling to see if Kelly wanted anything. I remember Kelly on the phone like “everyone needs to get here now”. Kelly calmly hustled around getting everything ready and I paced and breathed and it quickly, quickly escalated into go time. Contractions were strong but the music was playing and I was praying over the verses I saw around the room. I was still standing, walking around but after awhile the pressure and intensity brought me to my hands and knees. It was a good position. I felt strong, powerful and in control. When a break would come I would lean back into child’s pose, the stretch always felt really good. Your Dad was at my side, holding my hand and whispering prayers and encouragement in my ear. Kelly was at my back at this point rubbing all the right pressure points which helped so much. The room felt light hearted and warm. There was laughter and talking and sounds of your sisters in the other room with Meme. I had struggled with how involved I wanted your sisters to be. Rowan is such a sensitive soul (as I am sure you will find out), she is very aware of people’s emotions so I didn’t want it to be too much for her to see me in labor. It all played out perfectly though. Meme had them in the kitchen which is right next to the sun room. She’d made cupcakes that the girls were decorating for you. As I was pushing, I could hear them giggling and making videos to welcome you to the family. All of us in the other room were laughing at the sweet words they were saying. Mommy couldn’t have felt more in love- being there working hard at bringing you into the world, holding hands with Daddy and hearing your sisters making videos saying they loved you in the other room. My whole world right there.

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Kelly brought 2 assistants with her, both of which I loved so very much. Everyone in the room felt like an extension of our family. Shelby was right there with me and Kristen was my knight in shining armor taking pictures for me. I had been so stressed out about getting a few pictures to remember the moment. You will learn very quickly how much Mommy loves photos. You are going to have a camera in your face most of your life. Just learn to love it kid! I can’t express how much I love the pictures that were taken. I LOVE the one of your sisters peering around the corner for the first time as they came out to see you moments after you arrived. I also love the one of your Dad holding you with wide, teary eyes. Oh my heart! I pushed only a few times and out you popped about 45 mins after kelly had first arrived at the house. You were placed right on my chest and our hearts exploded all over the place. Hahah. Seriously though. What is it about boys? Everyone had told me, but oh man! You are something special little dude. That hour or so after you were born was pretty magical. Everyone helped me up off the floor and onto the chaise lounge and then the midwives and assistants kinda quietly disappeared into the kitchen for awhile so we could spend some alone time together. The girls brought out gifts and kissed your head. I sat there holding you, unable to stop crying over the joy I felt. You came as fast, if not way faster than Finley (but in a way not at all because I was really in labor all day) but you had redeemed so much about birth for me. God had guided that whole day to be a complete answer to prayer. I can honestly not express how wonderful it was.

When I was ready, we headed upstairs so I could take a shower and then we all climbed into bed. We took guesses at how much you weighed as Kelly did your first little exam. I love the picture of us all on the bed. Papa, Meme, Rowan, Finley, Daddy, you and Mommy. It’s like a perfect picture of the love filled chaos that our family just entered into. hahah. Finley also looks like she just got a rose from The Bachelor. Yes, Mommy likes watching The Bachelor don’t judge. Well, that’s pretty much it Orion. You won us over instantly. These past 5 months have been about the craziest, most fun, exhausting moments of my life. You are like a ray of sun- your face lights up whenever someone smiles at you. God has shown me more about who He is and His character and love for us than I ever thought through my pregnancy with you and by naming you Orion. There’s a song called Orion by a band name Ghost Ship- crazy huh? A friend sent it to us after you were born. The words have been hanging heavy with me lately (in the best possible way!)…

I look at the deep dark sky,
mighty throne of the Most High.
I’m aware of my true place,
won’t You come and save me?

Still I know that You are near,
speaking comfort in my ear.
God, I long to see Your face,
won’t You come and save me?

I was answered by my Lord,
“Can You bind Orion’s form
or guide his path?”
I looked up and answered, “No,
but You can, so I will hold
in Your strong hands.”

The hands that own the stars above,
will never let me go.
The one who holds the heavens up,
in Him I put my hope.

Yeah, who am I that You should love,
and bind in Your embrace.
Well, God is this who holds the stars
and guides me in His grace

See? Oh man. So Good. Amos 5:9 says “He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is his name” Nothing is too big for God. He will meet you in every situation, every doubt, every trouble, the good, the bad, whatever. There He is. He created the heavens but he also fearfully and wonderfully made you. There is no limit to His love for you11 I pray daily that you will know that love.

I love you sweet boy!
Mommy

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IMG_5121^^My AMAZING birth team. These ladies are rockstars! So much love for them!!

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SOOOOOOOooooo here is the exciting part! I recorded a podcast with Bryn from The Birth Hour and it just went live today! Good timing. You can pop over there and listen to me talk about all my births and especially Orion’s on the podcast. I promise you will become obsessed with every episode Bryn puts out. Love hearing such empowering stories of ladies from around the world! Go check it out!! If you are new to podcasts this is a helpful page to get started.

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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