baby bison | newborn photos

When a dear friend has a baby, you can’t help but celebrate it with as much excitement as if it were your own baby!

There are some people in this world that change your life for the better. Shaina and Jason are two of those people. They radiate happiness, adventure, love, and kindness and their virtues and values are stronger than anything.  I have been blessed to call them my friends for many years now. Last year, I cried happy tears when Shaina told me they were expecting as I couldn’t imagine two people who were more ready to become parents. As you will see below, I had the joy of capturing their baby announcement photos last fall. They have a wild sense of humor and I couldn’t think of a better announcement concept than these clever mugs that Shaina created! Hill Annoucement-5586Hill Annoucement-5538Hill Annoucement-5531-2Hill Annoucement-5325Hill Annoucement-5444-2Hill Annoucement-5380-2As fall ended we fell into the long winter and we all waited and prayed for the safe arrival of sweet Baby Bison in the spring. Baby Bison is the adorable nickname Shaina and Jason referred to their baby as during pregnancy and you will see why when you see the amazing nursery they created for him. I counted down the day’s until my dear friend’s due date like a small child waiting for Christmas and then finally in the middle of April, baby Silas was born! As you scroll through these dreamy pictures of the new perfectly complete family, please note the INCREDIBLE Bison mural featured in Sila’s nursery which was handpainted by Shaina’s talented brother, Zak Parsons.

Now to the moment we have all been waiting for, photos of the sweetest new arrival, Silas.Baby Silas-1613

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Swooooooooon. That little FACE!

Welcome dear friends to the most incredible journey of all time, parenthood – and welcome baby Silas to life with your fantastic mommy and daddy.

love & lots of whit – jen xo

Rubber Ducky You’re the ONE

Highlights from sweet Lucy’s first birthday party, quack quack!

Lucy is ONE! How is this even possible!!?!

When deciding on her first birthday theme and after months of trying to rack my brain for something super creative and unique, it all just hit me one day – this party is for HER not me, and what does Lucy like? Ducks of course! Besides mama and dada, the only other REAL words in her vocabulary are duck and quack quack. She literally can’t get enough! From her ducky bathtub, to her ducky books, to her ducky toys – her face immediately brightens up when she see’s a cute yellow duck! With help from my amazing sister the theme was set in stone, “Rubber Ducky You’re the ONE.”

To start, I knew an invitation had to be created. I found an adorable ducky costume and put my little Lucy duck in the bathtub and viola – her invitation was made 🙂

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With help from my family and friends, this party came together and Lucy had such a blast! Bryan’s amazing friend, Amanda, made us the most perfect ducky cupcakes and smash cake. It was as delicious as it was adorable, and Lucy LOVED getting her little hands into that cake. We had wonderful food catered by JB Seafood, and my sister created amazing signs to play off the theme and name all of the foods (my favorite, the Quack-N-Cheese)! We had ducky beach ball party favors for all of the kids and set up a bubble machine outside in the park for them to play in! Please enjoy some pictures from Lucy’s big day!

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A huge thank you to all of my family and friends that helped make this party so fun for sweet Lucy! She is growing into such a loving, silly, beautiful little lady!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!

How are there only 4 more days until Christmas?!

It is hard to believe that at this time last year I was 6 months pregnant and now (fast-forwarding to this year) I have a 9 month old baby! Bryan and I are so excited for Lucy’s first Christmas! We are looking forward to spending time with our family, all of the delicious holiday meals, and even though Lucy doesn’t understand much this year – she is just the perfect age to be showing interest in toys. It also doesn’t hurt that we will be off work through the new year, which will mean so much more time with our sweet girl.

I must admit, the past two years I have been a slacker on decorating for Christmas. Last year we set up only the tree (no decorations), and two years ago we didn’t even put up the tree. It’s not even that I was a Grinch about it all, per se, I just ran out of the time and energy. I know, I know, no excuses! This year and hopefully every year going forward, I knew the slacking had to stop and I finally decorated the house for Christmas again. It’s a Wonderful Life is not JUST my favorite Christmas movie, but my favorite movie movie, and it played as inspiration for part of my Christmas decorating this year. I also had the cutest little photo subjects to snap some photos of in front of our tree, enjoy!

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Wishing you all a VERY Merry Christmas and a beautiful New Year!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

 

 

tammy | maternity photos

A GLOWING mommy-to-be awaiting the arrival of her sweet, sweet, baby!

When I was pregnant I was very hesitant on getting maternity photos taken. Luckily, my friend Tammy offered to take some for me and now in hindsight I couldn’t be happier to have her beautiful photos to reflect back on that very special time. A few months after Lucy was born, Tammy announced she was expecting a little sweetie pie of her own and I was absolutely over-the-moon thrilled to hear this news! This time, it was my turn to offer to capture HER special maternity moments. The Corduroy book that you see pictured was significant to her as it was given to her by her husband on their first wedding anniversary (aka the paper anniversary). Please enjoy these photos of this gorgeous mommy-to-be!

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love & lots of whit – jen xo

Recap: Months 4-8

Reflecting back on month’s 4-8 of Lucy’s life and also highlighting some of the products that have made mommyhood so much easier!

It is no surprise (to me anyways) that I have only had a few blog posts since my recap of months 0-3! There is little “free time” being a working mom. When I am at work, its non-stop go-go-go meeting my customer’s needs. The “free time” that I do find at work is used to pay bills and keep up with my to-do list in my planner (shout out to Erin Condren’s amazing LifePlanner that I couldn’t live without). When I am at home, from the second I pick up Lucy from daycare, I obviously want to spend as much time as possible with her. Our current routine is this: pick her up from daycare, come home and play for about 15 minutes, feed a jar of veggies while listening to music, dance to said music with Lucy around the kitchen (lately its been christmas music!), go upstairs and play with, talk to, and tickle her, read her a book or two, bath time, watch one episode of Ruff Ruff, Tweet, and Dave, feed her the last bottle of the day, and finally put her to bed by 7:30. As you can see, it’s VERY jam-packed from the second I get Lucy, and it’s my absolute favorite part of the day. Once Lucy is in bed, my “free time” quickly becomes my spend time with my husband time. We eat dinner, I beat him in jeopardy, and then we just relax after a long/hard day. One of these days, I will figure out how to incorporate more “me” time in my day – but for now, this schedule is working just fine for our family.

Over the past 4 months, Lucy has grown SO much and her personality is just so beautiful. She is a happy, energetic, and strong baby girl! She is not quite crawling yet, but she sits on her own and can scoot around to get where she wants to go. She says mama and NEW she says dada (and won’t stop saying dada), has the most wonderful laugh, and loves being silly. Here are her monthly photos from 4 months to 8 months!

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About Lucy this month (4 months):

Lucy LOVES to “talk” and smile, likes to chew her thumb, giggles, likes to pretend shes bashful when people talk to her and bury her face in mommy’s shoulder while smiling, holds her bath toys, prefers to sleep on her side at night, has finally met all of her grandparents, watches Rooney at all times, can put her pacifier back in her mouth, mimics noises, makes raspberry sounds, can make consonant letter sounds, gets very cranky if she is tired, loves getting her lotion massage after her bath, likes to play while drinking her bottle and hit it out of her mouth and then spit out her milk, sleeps 6-7 hour stretches at night.

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About Lucy this month (5 months):

Lucy tried her first food (sweet potatoes!), likes to suck on her bottom lip, makes grunt noises and MMM sounds, LAUGHS when mommy tickles her,  got her ears pierced (daddy picked out her pearls!), had her first road trip (PA to attend her first family reunion), smiles at Rooney and is obsessed with him, likes watching Ruff Ruff, Tweet, and Dave, gets a kick out of when her jumper speaks in French, tries SO hard to get her toes in her mouth, can roll from front to back and back to front, likes to try to hold her bottle herself, can take out her pacifier and then put it back in her mouth, loves shaking her rattles, likes licking stuffed animals, has transitioned out of her rock n’ play and into her crib (most nights!), sleeps 6-7 hour stretches at night.

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About Lucy this month (6 months):

Lucy sits up on her own!, LOVES carrots, belly laughs, loves playing in her jumper, sleeps in her crib for half of the night, knows how to whine and uses this new technique on mommy and daddy, its such a happy girl, reaches when she wants you to pick her up, loves visiting all of her grandparents, loves any and all dogs, sits in restaurant high chairs, likes napping in the car, has cut out one of her naps from her day and only takes two now, loves grabbing her feet, loves eating her hands, holds her bottle by herself, tries to grab everything, loves hugging daddy’s neck!

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About Lucy this month (7 months):

Lucy celebrated her first halloween and dressed up as Lucille Ball and then a polar bear when she went trick-or-treating, loves eating food (3 jars a day!), loves watching her friends play at daycare, loves peas, likes eating her stack-able ring toy, her favorite stuffed animal is her Clifford the Big Red Dog from her Grandma, jumps like a maniac in her jumper, still likes taking some of her naps in her swing, sleeps THROUGH night most nights!

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About Lucy this month (8 months):

Lucy enjoyed her first thanksgivings (3 total!), was fed her first real food by her Pup (a tiny piece of spaghetti that she hated), is cutting her FIRST tooth, transitioned from her infant bathtub to her more grown up rubber ducky tub, can now say da-da, switched from wearing onesies to shirt and pant separates, started wearing 12 month clothing, likes to hit herself on the head with her hand, likes pinching faces and pulling hair, drools excessively, still loves veggies the most but is finally starting to enjoy fruits without scrunching up her face, wakes up 2 times a night again to eat (but mommy and daddy are hoping she starts sleeping through the night again soon!). 

In keeping with tradition from my last recap post, here are 12 items that made these past few months easier for us!

12 Items We Couldn’t Have Lived Without: Months 4-8

  1. Munchkin Ice Heart Teether: Now that Lucy has started cutting teeth, she loves to chew on this cute heart teether that we keep in the refrigerator.
  2. Fisher-Price Go Baby Go! 1-2-3 Crawl Along Snail: This toy has been one of her favorites now that she can sit on her own. When she is sitting she loves hitting it to make it laugh, play music, and roll. When she is laying on her back or doing tummy time she likes to look at herself in the mirror!
  3. Large quilts made by family and friends: There are no links for these treasures! At our baby shower we were gifted several homemade quilts that we use so much. From taking them to wineries and laying them down with all of Lucy’s toys under a nice shade tree, to bringing them with us when we travel to other peoples houses for a blanket for her to play on – they have all provided a comfy, safe place for her to be placed on, plus the colors and patterns are all so beautiful! The one pictured was handmade with love from her Great-grandma Sandy!lucy-christmas-2016-1549
  4. Beanie Boos (small size): Even though her Clifford is her favorite stuffed animal, these little perfectly sized Beanie Boos are a close second! They are small and fuzzy for her little hands. She currently has two, her Lion from daddy after getting her ears pierced, and her giraffe from her cousin.
  5. Baby Jumpers (pictured): Lucy LOVES going wild in her Baby Einstein Neighborhood Friends Activity Jumper. Her favorite part of it is the little red bird that spins. She also several other different versions (including this awesome ExerSaucer) she gets to jump on at her grandparents houses and at daycare. Since Lucy is no longer to be trusted on a lay down activity mat if mommy or daddy are trying to do some chores, the jumper is a perfect place to keep Lucy contained and happy!6-months-5062-copy
  6. Nuby Hot Safe Feeding Spoons: After experimenting with so many different types of baby spoons, I have found these Nuby spoons to be my favorite. The dip between the spoon and the handle makes it easier to navigate the food into her mouth past the flailing hands and squirms. I also appreciate the heat safety sensor which makes the spoon turn white if the food is too hot.
  7. Nuk Learner Cup: Similarly to the spoons, we tried several different sippy cups before my sister recommended this one for Lucy. The soft spout on this cup made the transition of drinking from a bottle nipple to drinking from a sippy cup much easier unlike the hard spout on the other brands we tried. Though we only drink water at dinnertime, Lucy enjoys learning how to drink from this sippy cup.
  8. Oxo No-Spill Formula Dispenser: These compartmentalized no-spill dispensers make traveling with pre-dispensed amounts of formula so simple! Whenever I am packing the diaper bag for a day trip, I measure out three servings of formula, and place this container into a bag with three bottles (that already have water in them). Another use for these is for middle of the night feedings when I am half asleep. I pre-fill them and place a bottle or two upstairs in the bathroom next to Lucy’s nursery.
  9. Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Liquid: Finding this dish liquid was a game changer for me! Before I found this odorless, non-toxic liquid – I would find Lucy’s bottles smelling like soap from the fragrance that was in the other dish liquids I would use to clean her bottles. This in turn would make her milk have a slight taste of soap. Before I found this one, I switched to another brand that was all natural but still was “scented” with lemon which gave her milk a lemony taste – ew! This Free & Clear soap is completely scent free and does not affect her milk in any way.
  10. Pampers Baby Dry Diapers: Now that Lucy is sleeping much longer stretches at night, having her wear these night-time diapers at bedtime keep her sleeping peacefully. They are 3X drier than a normal diaper and the liquid is quickly absorbed and pulled away. A quick note, these diapers run a bit smaller than Pampers Swaddlers.6-months-5187
  11. MAM Pacifiers 6+ Months: Even though Lucy loved her Avent Soothies pacifiers, we had a scary encounter one night when she got her thumb stuck in the pacifier leaving it red and swollen. This was due to the fact that those pacifiers are only recommended for babies under 3 months. We panicked at the thought of having to try another pacifier because Lucy couldn’t live without her Soothies, but thankfully my sister came to the rescue again and recommended these MAM pacifiers that her son uses. She took to this new pacifier instantly and we haven’t had to use the Soothie since! The one linked is the glow-in-the-dark version which we use in her crib so that she is able to quickly find it in the night.
  12. Munchkin Farm Bath Toys:  The thing I love the most about these fun little squirting toys is the fact that I can create a learning environment while she is taking a bath. I make the noises of the animals, sing a different song for each one, and tell her the colors. Even though she is still too young to really make animal sounds, I love trying to incorporate learning into our limited time together during the week. Her favorite? The rubber ducky!

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Again, I must state that time is FLYING by. I really cannot believe that the next time I do a recap post, our sweet little girl will be ONE! Excuse me while I go cry in my pillow at the thought of that!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

Happy Halloween from the Ricardo’s

“He’s baba’d his last lu!”– Lucy Ricardo

Dressing up for halloween has ALWAYS been a highlight in our family. When my brother, sister, and I were young, our Dad made us our costumes by hand and he would take us out trick-or-treating till the last porch light in the neighborhood went off. Over the years, i’ve tried to think up fun and creative costumes for myself (i’ll admit there were definitely some dud years: last minute cowgirl anyone?). Ever since our frenchie, Rooney, joined our family, it has been customary that he and I have costumes that go together and this year was no exception:

Now this year someone else joined the family – and let me tell you, the thoughts and anxiety of: “WHAT WILL LUCY BE FOR HER FIRST HALLOWEEN???!” hit me as far back as mid-June. It turned out her costume came naturally to her…from her name, to her red hair, baby Lucy was the inspiration behind our family costume! This year I am proud to say that I will carry out my dad’s halloween spirit in my own family – check out the adorable mini Lucy and Rooney Ricardo!

Rooney’s adorable suit and tie was from Petoga Couture and his Ricky Ricardo style hat was found on amazon. I made his little bongo drum out of a cardboard flower pot and a canvas bag. Lucy’s sweet “I Love Lucy” dress and my matching apron (below) was purchased from LoverDoversClothing.

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Now on to some more fun! Since Bryan and I’s halloween celebrations consist of changing diapers, putting a baby to bed by 7:30, and diving into the bags of halloween candy that are supposed to be for trick-or-treaters, I was able to really admire what creative friends/family I have! I want to highlight my favorite halloween costumes that I saw over the weekend and today from some of my favorite people! Enjoy!

Groups/Couples

Sesame Street Martians: Aka the Yip-Yips

SO lets just start out strong. This is by far my FAV group costume ever. My friend Ashley (the blue yip-yip in case you couldnt tell ha!) goes all out with her costume on halloween, so much in fact that I look forward to her costume every single year. This year was definitely not a let down, I present the Martians…BONUS: watch them in action in the video below!

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Hey Arnold and Helga G. Pataki

Our friends Danielle & Dillon are the first of the awesome couple costumes I want to highlight. The cardboard head, locket, pigtails, and that unibrow of perfection makes this such an amazing costume!

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Marv & Harry from Home Alone: Aka The Wet Bandits

Next on the awesome duo costume, my friend Jess and her friend Chantal knock their Marv and Harry from home alone costume out of the park! The details are spot on, from the feathers to the awesome iron imprint on Harry’s face!

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Wayne and Garth: Waynes World

Another couple whose costume I always look forward to our are friends Tim & Chelsea. This year’s Wayne’s World get-up was totallyyy tubular! Party on, Garth! Party on, Wayne!

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Kids/Family

Baby Bee

Little Jasmine is making the cutie-pie meter go off through the roof in her sweet bumble bee costume. Jasmine is celebrating her very FIRST halloween and couldn’t be more beeeee-autiful in her costume!

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Paul Revere, Hollywood Starlet, and a member of the Rockford Peaches

Hello there adorable neices and nephew of mine! These three cutie’s always go all out with their costumes! From the adorable lantern and tri-cornered hat, the satin gloves and sparkly dress, and the amazing League of their Own uniform, these kids (and their super crafty/creative mom) always have the perfect accessories and costumes!

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The Cast of Little Red Riding Hood

Remember how I said my sister, brother, and I always went all out on Halloween when our dad took us out trick-or-treating? Well, my sister has been carrying on the tradition with her family for years now and this year her whole family looked as if they came straight out of a fairytale with their adorable Little Red Riding Hood costumes. Is that not the most fierce Big Bad Wolf you have ever seen and the sweetest Little Red Riding Hood? Melting.

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Raggedy Ann

Can you spot the real baby? Another first halloween for this sweet little rag-doll, Cora. Cora’s mommy and daddy are OBSESSED with halloween and always do-it-up with their own costumes and house decorations. Baby Cora is in for a lifetime full of great costumes, that is for sure!

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The WINNER of Halloween

Girl with the Pearl Earring

Remember my post about having some amazingly talented classmates in art school? Audrey has won halloween. When I was scrolling through my feed I almost skipped past this photo thinking it was an actual painting! Audrey, who is an incredible fine artist and graphic artist, was able to so perfectly transform herself into Johannes Vermeer’s famous painting of the Girl with the Pearl Earring. Prepare to be amazed…

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And with that, I bid you all a Happy Halloween! Tonight we plan on passing out candy to the neighborhood kids and/or eating all of the rest of the candy we bought for them. Hope you all have a spooktacular and safe halloween night!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

 

Our Little Pumpkin

‘Tis the season, fa la la la, FALL!

Bring on the perfect weather, pumpkin spice everything, and autumnal decor. As you can see below, the house is slowly but surely making its way to the orange spectrum. Even Rooney is getting into the spirit with his pumpkin sweater!

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It’s hard to believe that this time last year, I was sporting a little pumpkin growing in my belly, and this year that little pumpkin is sitting up all on her own and calling me Mama! Another perk of fall is the constant reminder to stop and think about what you are thankful for, and this year my thankful meter is going off through the roof! Lucy is our absolute JOY and I hope these sweet little pumpkin pictures below bring you some joy as well! Happy fall, ya’ll!

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love & lots of whit – jen xo