Weekly Parenting Ups & Downs


“The days are long but the years are short.”

I am tired. I am very tired. This quote has been ringing in my ears a lot. I’ve also been wearing this sweatshirt a lot lately too because it makes me laugh at how true it is. It’s like a sad, sad joke. After a month of vacation and holiday travel we’ve spent the last few weeks trying to get in our groove at home. That especially means with sleep. We have been neck deep in sleep training with Rowan and well, it just is not going well. She got a little to use to sleeping all together (most nights in the same bed) and doesn’t want to stay in her room. We’ve made a few advances here and there but then something comes up… like more travel. Having 2 kids that are literally up every half hour all night long is wearing. Physically and emotionally. I swear if it’s not one, it’s the other. I can’t even imagine what a full night of sleep feels like. It’s been over a year that’s for sure. I am continually praying that I can find wisdom and have patience over it all. 3 year olds are smart little creatures. Much smarter than we give them credit for. Rowan knows exactly what to say in the middle of the night to get me into her room. I try to resist but then my mom guilt gets me. I start thinking “what if she really is thirsty? What if her poor little throat is dry and I am denying her a drink? I’m so terrible”. Ha! Oh man the inner struggle. I know she’s bested me when I bring her that drink and she throws it to the side without even taking a drink. Then says something like “but my back is so scratchy now”. Oh the excuses.

It’s true. Some days on this journey called parenthood are long. They can be very long. But you know what else is true? The years really are short. When I think back to Rowan being a baby, I really don’t remember the struggle all that much. I know it was there. But where there was once frustration and anxiety over being a first time mom, its now filled with lots of sweet memories that overpower any of the bad. So with that perspective in mind I am whispering to myself with each middle of the night wake up call… “This is just a stage, this is just a stage”. I know this too shall pass. Soon enough (and really it can’t come soon enough) they will both be back to a good sleeping schedule and we will all be sleeping through the night. Until then though, I will try to embrace the tired and keep wearing my sweatshirt as a warning to others.

NOTE: I am currently in a hotel room in Chicago all by myself. ALL.BY.MYSELF! After an extremely long day of a bunch of canceled flights, I am left all alone in a city I wasn’t supposed to be in. I WILL SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT TONIGHT! I am super pumped about it, even with a 6am wake up call. Get this though! It’s almost too quiet. When you are surrounded by chaos all day, everyday, when you get a chance to be alone it’s almost too quiet. Why is that? I am sure that thought will pass in about 2 seconds when my head hits the pillow and I get 6 glorious, uninterrupted hours of sleep.

I miss my babies though.

I digress. Anyway. Whatever your parenting struggle is right now. I hope you can find comfort in remembering it’s a short road on this long journey. It will pass. You will look back on the years and remember the great joys, the struggles will be but a distant memory.








Finley’s scarf from Little Hip Squeaks
My sweatshirt from Hello Apparel
My glasses are from Bonlook

Little Ballerina








I don’t have much to write today. I look at these pictures of the sweet little girl who made me a mother and realize just how much she has grown up. It leaves me speechless sometimes. So filled with emotion, I don’t even know how to get out the words I want to say. I am so honored to be her Mom. She teaches me, stretches me and breathes life into me. I welcome 2014. As much as I want to press the stop button and savor these moments with her. I know that each new year will bring a new journey. A new road to travel together. It will be bumpy and hilly at times but we will hold hands together and see what great adventure awaits us.

Our Ultimate Baby Guide


I am not an expert by any means, but 3 years have passed since I first became a Mom and we have tested, used, returned, and fallen in love with a lot of baby products. When you are pregnant with or adopting your first it’s so over whelming with all the things you “think” you need. See the key word there? Think. Babies really don’t need a lot. Don’t let the hype of buying stuff take over. You will spend way too much money on items that will sit in your closet and clutter your home. A tip I learned is to ask for gift cards for your shower other than some of the basics items. Then once the baby arrives and a need presents itself, you can go buy the item. That way you know you will really use it. I thought I could share the items that we can’t live with out in our household. Over the past 3 years a few of these items have be gifted to us, but I want to make sure you all know this is NOT a sponsored post. I did not have to write about any of these products. They are what we truly use day in and day out. We really do own and love everything pictured in this post.


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

TOYS: I am a simple toy kind of Mom. I don’t like all the hoopla out there. I am a big, big fan of all Haba toys. About 90% of all our baby toys are Haba. They are bright, mostly wooden, cute and well made. We have some great silicone teethers that Finley has loved. Especially the one up there that looks like an empty diamond ring. As soon as she could hold things it was nicknamed “her favorite toy”.


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

COZY THINGS: I LOVE Aden and Anais. Best products ever. I mentioned before in my nursing post my obsession with their swaddle blankets. They are the #1 item I would recommend for a new mom. You can’t have enough. I seriously use them for everything- burp cloths, nursing cover, swaddle, blanket, etc… They are soft, light weight and perfect. Aden and Anais also has other great products. We love like their Dream blanket and crib sheets. I don’t think there will ever be a cuter doll for kids than blabla dolls. We have quite a few and every time they make new ones I want those ones too. Rowan was obsessed with “hootsie” when she was younger. She lost it and we had to quickly replace it with a copy before she noticed. I know everyone and their mother has the Pia Wallen cross blanket but truth be told it really is a great blanket. The perfect weight for cold weather and don’t get me started on the adorable patterns over at Little Hip Squeaks.


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Carriers: We love baby carriers. We have a good assortment because some are better than others for different situations. We love our Deuter Kid Comfort hiking backpack. This thing is legit for hiking. We have 2 Ergos. They are the best all round carrier. You can hike with them (the performance one) or travel easily with the travel series. For slings you can’t get anything better than a Sakura Bloom sling. So awesome! When Finley was little she lived in our Solly Baby wrap. So comfy for both you and baby.


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BATH TIME, SOAPS & LOTIONS: There are a lot of baby products out there. Not all are created equal though. Our hands down favorites are The Honest Company, California Baby, Burt’s Bees and Mum+Bub (made by Aden and Anais). All of them smell great, work great and have ingredients you can feel good about putting on your little one. I am particularly fond of the tooth paste and sunscreen from Honest, the bubble bath and hair conditioner from California Baby, and the soothing ointment from Mum+Bub. 4 Moms has this awesome faucet cover that tells you the water temperature as it comes out. At first I thought it would be totally novelty, but it actually is really awesome and we use it every time. I have found numerous occasion where it was quite helpful in keeping the girls safe. Such a great safety item to have in the bathroom.


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STROLLERS: I’ve become mildly obsessed with strollers. In my mind you can never have enough but obviously you don’t need your garage looking like a stroller parking lot. The first stroller we bought when I was pregnant with Rowan was an Uppa Baby Vista. I still to this day LOVE this stroller. My favorite part is hands down the basket. It is HUGE! Like you could go grocery shopping with it. The child seat can go forward or backwards. There is a basinet and you can add a double seat or scooter board. It’s a tad wide in the back wheels but it turns and moves so well- it’s totally worth it. We now also have the 4Moms origami. Man, Oh Man this stroller is great. The convenience of pressing that button and having it open and close on it’s own it pretty darn awesome. It also charges your phone and has lights on it. For running we have a Bob Reveloution Duallie and it’s pushes like a dream. We have logged countless miles running with that thing. We have survived pushing 13 miles runs with the kids sitting comfortable in there. That says a lot. I am still on the look out for the perfect lightweight, compact double stroller. I am thinking either a Phil & Ted Dot, Maclaren Twin Techno or Twin Triumph. We need something that travels really easy.


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OTHER ITEMS: Here are a few other things that have gotten a lot of love in our house. Our 4Moms Breeze Playard is so easy to set up and travel with. Great for trips to Grandparents house. We also LOVE our Angelcare video monitor. It comes with a movement sensor helping relieve those “oh my gosh are they still breathing?” panics you have with newborns. Finley slept in our 4Moms Mamaroo for weeks when she was first born. Whatever works right? We also love our glass Life Factory bottles.


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CLOTHES: We aren’t all that fancy with clothes. Babies grow fast and are kind hard on clothes, especially when they start crawling. I do like what I like though. I think both our parents would call me picky about what I like to put the girls in. I don’t like overly girly, covered with cheesy animals, carter’s matching playsets kind of things. No offense to anyone else, it just isn’t for me. I love mixing and matching from all different stores, from both the girl and boys sections. My favorites are H&M, Target, Old Navy and my hands down most favorite is the Gap. Oh, Baby Gap can do no wrong in my book. I kind of hoard their velour one piece jammies. Seriously, these are the best. They are thick, warm and oh so cozy. BEST PJS EVER! I am a really good Gap sale shopper. Their regular price items are still hard to swallow sometimes for a baby. Other than basics from those stores, I like to support our friends who have online shops. Our favorites are Of One Sea, Hello Apparel, el Sage Designs, Mamacase Prints and of course Little Hip Squeaks. I am one of those people that think baby shoes are silly on babies. They are adorable and all, but they never seem to stay on and end up being more annoying than anything. Have you tried a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins though? AMAZING! They stay on, keep socks on, don’t have hard soles so they don’t look weird on a baby and the color choices!! Oh, the color choices!! Other than socks, they are the only thing I will put on Finley’s feet.

Let’s Make Homemade Baby Food


I’ve been mildly obsessed with making Finley food lately. I really enjoyed it when Rowan was little, but since Finley started eating solids I had just been giving her those organic packets. They are pretty darn convenient on the go (especially when your little one learns to suck them out themselves!). Anyway, they are sort of pricey when you think about it. I decided I would just make some food a few weeks ago and I totally forgot how much fun it is. I have the Beaba Baby Cook, which I LOVE so much!! I think it’s so fun because anything goes. You can really come up with any combination you want. Fruit, veggies, spices, grains, the possibilities are endless. All you need to do is fill the streamer basket full and you are on your way. I try new combinations each week. I make a ton and then freeze them all in these containers. Perfect to bring with you on the go.


Here are a few of the ones I made this week…






Add ins:

Apple & Cranberry: Just add some multi grain oatmeal to it as you blend. I also added some chia seeds, cinnamon and blended with coconut milk.

Quinoa, Cauliflower & potato: Add already cooked quinoa when you blend. I also added some parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Blend with formula or breast milk.

Sweet potato, apple & carrot: I added some ginger and cinnamon to this mix. I always want to eat it when I heat it up for her.

Nothing is an exact recipe. I just cut a bunch of stuff up and throw it in the steamer. Don’t be nervous! Just have fun!

My Journey with Nursing pt. 2


As I sat down to write this I decided to reread this post from a month after Finley was born. Boy! Have we come a long way. I can honestly say I’ve learned to really love breastfeeding since then! It was not a quick or easy road by any means. I hope I can give some hope to even one mama out there that you can make it to the other side if you were like me. Not everyone gets it right away and not every one loves it right away. That’s totally ok. I was one of those ladies. Over the past 9 months though, we’ve become a well oiled machine (or milking machine?). We both know what we are doing and we do it well. We’re still going strong with no plans to stop anytime soon either. Actually the thought of stopping stresses me out. Ha. who am I? Again, it’s not for everyone and that’s ok. Whatever your choice is there should be no guilt attached to it. Be confident in what you need to do for your baby.

It took us a while to get here that’s for sure. The pain really didn’t stop at 3 weeks like everyone told me it would. Her latch was right, but it was just plain painful. It did get better over time and slowly but surely we found our groove. I would say like 7-8 weeks the pain starting going down. I’ve still stuck with the no hooter hider thing like I mentioned in the other post. I hate them. If my shirt is loose I usually just lift up and cover boob parts that way (babies themselves really cover more than you think) but if I am in a particular situation that I feel I need a little more cover you know what has been my life saver? The aden and anasis swaddle blankets. We literally take those things with us every where. They are my number one recommended baby item. You can pretty much use them for EVERYTHING.

I was super stressed at one point when we had to leave Finley for 5 days to go to the conference in TX back in August. I was scared she wouldn’t want to nurse when I came back. I pumped like a mad women out there. At least 5x a day, took fenugreek daily and drank a crap load of water. Let’s see… I pumped in the airport, on a plane, in a moving car (no, I wasn’t driving), during a cocktail hour, in between sessions at the conference, almost in a Savers but I just couldn’t get comfortable enough, the list goes on and on. Thank goodness for battery powered pumps and public restrooms. It all worked out though! Thank you Shaynah for your helpful tips! It was an awkward minute or two at the beginning when I got back, but she latched right back on and it was like we both sighed in relief. She is quite the Mama’s girl so I think that was to my advantage. She refused to take a bottle or sippy cup the entire time we were gone. My mom had to feed her milk from a cup. Silly Baby.

Nursing Finley has really helped slow life down a bit for me. You have to stop periodically through out the day and just be there with your little one. I actually really look forward to it. As easy as it is for me to grab my phone and start doing a million things like checking emails, twitter, etc… When I nurse her I try to enjoy her. To watch her. To breath her in. She won’t be this small forever. I use the time to pray for her, for our family. To thank God for all the he has blessed us with. I love laying in bed in the quiet of the night and nurse her there beside me. All cuddled up under the blankets. What a blessing it has been. I am so very thankful to have had his chance to nurse her. I hope that if we ever have another baby that maybe, just maybe I will have an easier time now that I’ve made it through with one.

I’d love to hear your journey. Please share below!

Dear Finley James


My sweet, sweet girl.
I haven’t written very many public letters on the blog lately because I just haven’t been able to truly articulate all that you mean to me. I feel like words fail in comparison to who are. You are what we call in our family the “gateway baby”. A baby so sweet, so happy, so easy that you make us want to have a million more like you. How are you 7 months old already? I have loved this baby stage so much. You are making a liar out of me. I’ve written previous blog posts about how I wasn’t a baby stage kind of person. Well you my dear Finley, I could eat you up with a spoon. This new perspective you gain from having another kid is about as wonderful as having another kid. I know how fast it all goes now, how each and every tough stage is just that… a stage. So I hold you a few minutes longer, the laundry gets put on hold for a day or two more, and I just enjoy you. I breath in your sweet baby smell and I try my hardest to just be with you. This baby stage passes all too quickly.

You and me are quite the team. That’s how I like to see it anyway. One superhero, attached at the hip kind of team. You sure do love your Mama. I am not going to complain though. As we get ready to send your big sister to preschool this year, I know it won’t last forever. Besides, I do very much enjoy that you seem to love me most over everyone else. However you did just start saying “Dada”. I won’t hold it agains’t you though. He is a pretty swell guy. I can see why you want to get his attention. He sure does light up when he hears you say his name. You have just the sweetest little voice. You smile with your whole face. Almost everyone that meets you calls you “bright eyes”. I think it’s a pretty fitting nickname.

Just so you know, you are quite the stubborn little girl. I like the spunk you have. We went away for a few days and you refused to take a bottle for 5 days. 5 days! I thought for sure you would crack. Your Meme had to give you your milk from a big girl cup. You drank it like a champ but boy, oh boy you would not give in for your Meme. I don’t blame you though. We worked so hard on nursing. Just you and me. Tears, late nights and lots of persistency. Here we are 7 months in and neither one of us are ready to be done. You held on for me to come back. I have gotten to a place where I really love that time together. It was slow coming but I couldn’t be more proud of us.

p.s. You seem to really love crossing your little feet together when you sit up. It’s about the cutest thing ever.
p.p.s. 7 months later and we are still obsessed with Little Hip Squeaks headbands! A Finley staple.






Weekly Parenting Ups and Downs


We got a trampoline last month and it is so fun! Rowan and Kev have the best time out there together. Can you believe growing up they sold those things without the nets? So bad. I remember jumping on ours without the padding even on it -with dish soap and a sprinkler no less. Here are my weekly ups and downs…

1. Seeing the two of these sweet girls play together makes my heart want to burst. Finley is so in love with Rowan. It never seems to fail that just as I am about to tell Rowan to be gentle or to give Finley some space, Finley will burst out laughing. She can not get enough of Rowan. I love that she can sit on her own now and interact a bit more with Rowan.

2. Speaking of sitting up on her own… Don’t you just love that age? The age where they are a bit independent but not mobile yet. You can sit them on the ground with some toys and know they will be entertained but won’t be getting into trouble somewhere? I love it. Finley has been all smiles lately (well, as long as I am near her. see below). Her 2 little teeth are about the cutest thing ever. Always peeking out as she smiles.

3. Rowan is like the best little buddy. She is so entertaining lately. A real little lady. The things that she comes up with crack me up. Always making jokes and saying ridiculous stuff. This age is hilarious!

1. Holy Cow! We’ve had 2 major melt downs this week. I honestly have never dealt with them to that magnitude before. It was embarrassing because of course they happened both times in a store. I think Rowan has been a little over tired lately and it all sort of came out these past two days. We ended up having to leave the stores and head home so that Rowan could have a time out/nap. She would wake up in a better mood, ready to carry on the day, but yikes!

2. I have been so anxious about our trip to Austin this weekend. My mom is coming to our house to stay with the girls which is good. I like the idea that they get to stay in their house, with their things but oh man! it is hard to leave. Finley doesn’t take a bottle great and I wasn’t able to pump enough milk for the entire time gone. I’ve been trying to introduce a little bit of formula just to supplement until I get back. It is slow going but I know she will be ok. My friend is letting me borrow her hospital grade pump and I made a batch of “Milk Cookies” so hopefully I will be able to keep my milk up. I’ve gotten a bunch of helpful tips and tricks that we are going to try. I will be glad to share them all when we get back in a blog post. I know I could just take her. I have literally flip flopped on the idea like a billion times but I think reconnecting with Kev and having sometime away together trumps all else at the moment. Some may disagree but that is the decision I think we are leaning towards. I still have 5 hours until we leave though. Which leaves me 5 hours to flip flop a 100 more times.

3. Rowan has always been very independent. She never had separation anxiety or got upset when we have left her. She always ran ahead of us never looking back to see if we were there. Finley on the other hand… What a little mama’s girl. I need to be holding her or with in 3 feet of her at all times. As long as one of those 2 things is happening she is the happiest little baby around but if not- watch out! We have been trying to work on it a little. We bring her to the gym with us and put her in the kids corner area. She last about 20 mins before we get the page to come back and get her. She does love her Daddy and her grandparents though too. It’s funny how different she is than Rowan.








Rowan’s adorable jewelry was a gift from Juniorbeads (she is obsessed!)
and Finley is chewing on pretty jewelry that Moms can wear and toys from Chewbeads.

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