Christmas Cards and Cookies

Can I just use these photos on the rest of my Christmas cards for the rest of my life? Not sure I can get any better than this!

You guys. This was officially first year that I was A.) on time with sending out Christmas cards and B.) had a real family photo on the card.

I have my friend and fellow photographer Tammy to thank for that. She captured these super fun Christmas pajama photos for us in her NEW home studio. If you are in the northern, VA area and need any photos Tammy, owner of Berks Nest, is where you need to go. The kids felt right at home in her studio and you can see evidence of that with their huge smiles below!

View More: http://berksnestphotography.pass.us/pajamaminis_whitfieldView More: http://berksnestphotography.pass.us/pajamaminis_whitfieldView More: http://berksnestphotography.pass.us/pajamaminis_whitfieldView More: http://berksnestphotography.pass.us/pajamaminis_whitfieldView More: http://berksnestphotography.pass.us/pajamaminis_whitfieldView More: http://berksnestphotography.pass.us/pajamaminis_whitfieldView More: http://berksnestphotography.pass.us/pajamaminis_whitfieldView More: http://berksnestphotography.pass.us/pajamaminis_whitfieldView More: http://berksnestphotography.pass.us/pajamaminis_whitfieldView More: http://berksnestphotography.pass.us/pajamaminis_whitfield

For any of you wondering….how did I get my husband, Bryan, to wear these coordinating family pajamas? Simple. He had no idea until the morning of the shoot. Once the car was loaded and we were ready to go I hopped in the car with mine on and his and the kids in a bag. Not enough time for him to try to get out of it!

#whenmomishappyeveryoneishappy

Merry Everything!

And so I’m offering this simple phrase, to kids from one to ninety-two – although it’s been said many times, many ways, Merry Christmas to you!

This year feels a bit different, I felt a sense of completeness as I hung up stocking #4 for the first time. Lucy & Conor truly make this holiday (and every holiday) feel magical. It’s like I relive my own childhood as I see the wonderment in their eyes.

Reflecting on the past year, I still can’t believe we have TWO kids. Conor has been such a blessing to our family this year, and I was so excited to show him his very first Christmas tree. I am a bit obsessed with the teal and red bulbs we have on our tree this Christmas. While the kids are small, hanging anything too fragile seems a bit risky, so instead we used mostly stuffed ornaments and I just love how whimsical it is!

As much as I love the idea of making our own memories and traditions, there is nothing like bringing back the best ones from your childhood. When we were young, my dad always put a huge model train under the tree. This was no ordinary train, it had real sounds, lights, smoke puffs, you name it! We even would set up a little village with homes and tiny people in fake snow. I haven’t quite made it to that level yet, but in the meantime we have a beautiful little train set by FAO Schwarz that simply mesmerizes the kids as they watch as it passes by.

Christmas2018-9725Christmas2018-9726Christmas2018-9729Christmas2018-9921Christmas2018-9955Christmas2018-9954Christmas2018-9967Christmas2018-9745Christmas2018-9713Christmas2018-9817Christmas2018-9824Christmas2018-9853Christmas2018-9837Christmas2018-9767Christmas2018-9868Christmas2018-9895

And although it’s been said many times, many ways…

I feel like i’ve hit the jackpot with these sweet & silly kids.

Christmas2018-9903

Masha and the Bear

To say Lucy loves Masha is an understatement. And, as proof, Bryan, Lucy, and I can recite every single word of every single episode verbatim.

If you have little ones, there is a good chance you know about the Russian animated series called Masha and the Bear. To say Lucy loves Masha is an understatement. And, as proof, Bryan, Lucy, and I can recite every single word of every single episode verbatim.  I am pretty sure every polite thing Lucy has learned has been from her incredible daycare, and every naughty thing she has learned has been from Masha. For Halloween this year, Lucy wanted to dress as Masha, and Conor – by default – well…you guessed it…will be the Bear. It is going to be a sad, sad day when I can’t match these two cutie pies costumes together.

mashaandthebear.jpg

This past weekend, I dressed Lucy in her adorable handmade Masha costume made by Anna Fanosyan, owner of AnyutasCouture. She loved her costume so much that we left it on for half of the day, including our trip to find a pumpkin and our stop to the bakery (cake pop stains may or may not be a part of her costume now). For the past month and a half, Lucy has been asking me, “Is it Halloween yet?” so I am delighted to finally have her wake up tomorrow morning and say YES, it is Halloween!

Conor Boy’s cuddly bear costume makes him the perfect Bear to Masha and he was more fascinated with playing with the grass and mulch than taking photos. We are so excited for Conor to experience his first ever halloween and push him around in the stroller as we trick-or-treat through the neighborhood tomorrow night.

MashaandtheBear2-9290MashaandtheBear2-9296MashaandtheBear-9420MashaandtheBear-9432MashaandtheBear2-9381MashaandtheBear3-9299MashaandtheBear3-9302MashaandtheBear-9440MashaandtheBear-9447

Wishing all of the little trick-or-treaters out there a happy and safe halloween!

baby noelle | newborn photos

Can we talk about the sheer joy you get while holding a perfectly new little newborn in your arms?

Baby Noelle-0189

What comes next in the series…one adorable baby boy…two (identical twin!) adorable baby boys….

If you guessed three adorable baby boys – you are incorrect – and I think Nikevia and Julian are breathing a sigh of relief that their 4th child was not in fact triplets, but instead one beautiful baby girl, sweet Noelle!

Baby Noelle-0169

When Nikevia contacted me about doing a newborn shoot for her daughter, I felt like I was counting down the days till her arrival just as much as she was. Her and I went to school together and not only did she excel at everything – sports, academics, heck she was even our homecoming queen – she is honestly the nicest person on the planet and someone I am lucky to have stayed in touch with over the years. Spending time at her and her husband’s house taking photos of their family was such a fun experience…and also a challenge! Do you know how hard it is to try to get a photo of three little boys three and under all smiling and looking at the camera? Throw a newborn into the mix, and its darn right impossible! Despite the challenge, I was able to capture some real candid family moments, and I hope they treasure these photos for a lifetime!

Baby Noelle-0227Baby Noelle-0233Baby Noelle-0236Baby Noelle-0253Baby Noelle-0353Baby Noelle-0349Baby Noelle-0279Baby Noelle-0419Baby Noelle-0450Baby Noelle-0474Baby Noelle-0553Baby Noelle-0627Baby Noelle-0618Baby Noelle-0624Baby Noelle-0605Baby Noelle-0598
cinnamommy
Fun fact: Somehow between juggling 4 kids under 4, Nikevia owns an incredible business called Cinnamommy. If you are local to western Maryland, you need these in your life!

Bello Bambini

Twice as much to love – my beautiful cousin is having TWIN BOYS!

This past weekend I had the honor of attending my beautiful cousin Daneda’s baby shower for her TWIN BOYS! The thought of her being a mother brings happy tears to my eyes, and I know that she will not only have her hands full, but her heart will be even more full. Daneda’s mother (my Aunt) planned the most beautiful baby shower *side note: the nicest I have ever attended* for her daughter and her soon-to-be arriving grandsons, and I had to share some of the exquisite details with you. The venue was a log cabin out in the woods which she completely transformed with such care for every detail. In addition to the decorating, she cooked a delicious five course meal for the guests. Being surrounded by Daneda’s guests (much of it my own family) brought such joy to my heart. These two babies are going to be surrounded by LOVE!

DC_Baby Shower-4896DC_Baby Shower-4898DC_Baby Shower-4935.jpgDC_Baby Shower-4900DC_Baby Shower-4919DC_Baby Shower-4916DC_Baby Shower-4917DC_Baby Shower-4939

During the dinner, a very pregnant Daneda and I ventured off into the woods for a quick mini session. Even though I was a bit nervous that I might put her into labor with all of the walking, I wanted to make sure I captured my stunning cousin in all of her soon-to-be motherhood beauty.

DC_Baby Shower-4974DC_Baby Shower-4971DC_Baby Shower-4959-2.jpgDC_Baby Shower-4964DC_Baby Shower-4968DC_Baby Shower-4972

She is absolutely glowing ❤

I cannot wait to meet those two very lucky baby boys!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

 

Little Man

Choo Choo – all aboard the Conor express!

I cannot believe Conor is already 7 weeks old! The time is flying by and we are loving this new life with our little man.

This past month has been BUSY! In between bottles, naps, and diapers, Bryan and I have officially set up Conor’s nursery. We decided to do a train theme to celebrate our town’s history. We live a few miles from the C&O Canal and train tracks and the town itself is known for being the “Home of the Railroaders”. In addition to setting up the nursery, I decided I would take Conor’s newborn photos myself! With Lucy’s newborn shoot, we used the incredible Annette of  Stadkind Photography, but this time around I wanted to take on the challenge myself (but we SO look forward to having her take family photos of us this spring).

I used Conor’s train nursery theme as inspiration for his shoot. Below you will see his nursery, lifestyle photos, and some up close and personal portraits of our little man!

Conor Newborn-4385

Conor Newborn-4369Conor Newborn-4360Conor Newborn-4345Conor Newborn-4348Conor Newborn-4407Conor Newborn-3542Conor Newborn-3670Conor Newborn-3530Conor Newborn-3562Conor Newborn-3519

Conor Newborn-3545Conor Newborn-4202Conor Newborn-4213Conor Newborn-4025Conor Newborn-4057Conor Newborn-4038Conor Newborn-4044

Conor Newborn-4194Conor Newborn-4192Conor Newborn-3988-2

Conor Newborn-3961Conor Newborn-4105Conor Newborn-4096Conor Newborn-4093Conor Newborn-4081Conor Newborn-4098-2Conor Newborn-3878-2Conor Newborn-3863Conor Newborn-3914Conor Newborn-3233Conor Newborn-3854Conor Newborn-3766Conor Newborn-3765Conor Newborn-3846Conor Newborn-3222Conor Newborn-3102Conor Newborn-3367Conor Newborn-3265Conor Newborn-3324-2Conor Newborn-3133Conor Newborn-3355Conor Newborn-3131Conor Newborn-3197

Photo overload! I just cannot get enough of him ❤ I hope you enjoyed these photos. A huge thank you to my brother for taking the photos with me in them.

As to keep up with tradition – our photo wall in the morning room has been updated as well! I love seeing our family photo wall finally complete.

20180309-IMG_4326.jpg

love & lots of whit – jen xo

Crib & Dresser: Baby Cache Harbor – Navy Mist (BabiesRUs)

Glider: KACY Collection Madison Glider – Ash (BabiesRUs)

Accessories:

Personalized Hat (Etsy seller: All Aboard Whistle)

Swaddle (Etsy seller: Sweet Lullapie)

Bedding: All Aboard Crib Bedding (Crate and Kids)

Paint: Cathedral Gray  (Behr)

 

Conor’s Birth Story: Emergency vs. Scheduled C-Section

Our son has arrived! This is our birth story and an article for expectant mothers to hopefully help ease any fears about having a scheduled c-section.

He has arrived! Our family is complete.

ConorBryan_Newborn-1

Introducing Conor Bryan Whitfield, 7 lbs. 5 oz. of adorable, squishy, squirmy, baby boy!

ConorBryan_Newborn-7ConorBryan_Newborn-5ConorBryan_Newborn-4ConorBryan_Newborn-3ConorBryan_Newborn-2ConorBryan_Newborn-8ConorBryan_Newborn-6ConorBryan_Newborn-9

Our sweet little sleepy baby boy has been in our lives now for exactly three weeks.  Today, February 16, is technically his due date but due to complications from Lucy’s birth we knew that any future child would need to be born via c-section at 37 weeks. What did this mean for us? Three BONUS weeks with our son in our lives!

I now want to talk about Conor’s birth story and address expectant mothers who may be going through the same thing I did. Knowing that my baby had to be born at 37 weeks via c-section, I had many fears and uncertainties, especially after Lucy’s birth which was a very traumatic failed induction turned emergency c-section [Lucy’s Birth Story]. I remember looking online for answers, only to be utterly terrified at some of the horror stories I found. Bryan tried to ban me from googling everything, but Jennifer the worry wart was in full force. Many questions swirled in my head: would my incisions from my previous delivery rupture, how would a scheduled c-section differ from my emergency c-section, would he be fully developed, is he really ready to come out,  would I recover well, what else might go wrong?

But this is a happy article.

This is the article I wish I would have read before giving birth to my son to ease my mind. While every birth is different, I want to share my personal story and the answers to all of the questions I had about having a scheduled c-section at 37 weeks.

Would I rupture?:

The main reason why I was told that I would need to deliver any future kids via c-section at 37 weeks was the risk of a uterine rupture. With Lucy’s birth, the emergency c-section consisted of two cuts internally instead of the typical one (called a T cut). This meant that if I would go into labor on my own with a future pregnancy, that there was the potential that the contractions would cause my uterus to rupture which could have been deadly for both the baby and myself.

Thankfully, I did not end up going into labor on my own. The original plan was going to be to wait about 5 days longer than 37 weeks to let his lungs develop more, but due to an unforeseen liver condition that arose during my 36 week mark, we ended up scheduling the c-section at exactly 37 weeks.

What would a scheduled c-section be like?:

Comparing this scheduled c-section to my last failed induction turned emergency c-section is like comparing apples to oranges. It was so completely different in the most positive way imaginable.

Like last time, it was nice walking into the hospital not in labor. It created a calm, laid back experience. The biggest difference was not having to go through the induction process first. With Lucy, I spent 2 days getting pumped with Cervidil and Pitocin and had nothing to eat and very little sleep. This was the recipe for failure. It meant that even if the c-section would have gone smoothly (which it didn’t) I would be two days behind on sleep, weak from the little food, and completely swollen due to all of the water and medications being pumped into me for two days straight. Enough about that first experience though, like i said this time it was a HAPPY story.

The scheduled c-section could not have gone any better. It started with me getting checked in, and then getting hooked up to the fetal monitor and IV. My early morning 7:30 AM surgery ended up getting pushed until 9:00 AM due to an emergency birth coming in before me that required the surgical team. This was fine with me because Bryan and I were able to relax a bit – this meant Bryan getting a nice breakfast and coffee and me watching I Love Lucy. It was then time to go into surgery. The team of nurses, my doctor, and the anesthesiologist were all incredible and put me at ease. The only minor freak out moment I had was when they prepped me for surgery. Unlike with my induction, I had to be in the surgery room without Bryan when they administered my spinal tap (numbing medication). Between the numbing of my entire lower body, and not having Bryan by my side I soooorrt of had a panic attack. BUT, as I said the team was amazing and they helped me through it by forcing me to talk about something completely irrelevant and taking my mind off of the situation. I ended up talking about Bryan and I’s trip to Boston BEFORE we started dating, so that ended up being the topic of the entire c-section. Who knew talking about gelato in Little Italy could take your mind off of being cut open?!

Once Bryan was able to come in, we were able to hold hands and I was instantly reassured. A few non-painful tugs here and there, and all of a sudden I could hear the most wonderful sound in the world, the sound of my sweet son crying and a declaration that it was 9:46 AM. Unlike last time, I was alert the rest of the time we were in the surgery room. I got to cry my happy tears. I got to listen to the NICU team check baby. I got to listen to the surgical team talking about how smoothly everything went. I got to talk to Bryan as he held our baby next to my head. I was able to see the first moments of my son’s life. It was the experience I wish I would have had the first time.

Is he really ready to come out at 37 weeks and will he be fully developed?:

The answer, thank God, for us was yes. I know there are many babies born at 37 weeks that may require a few days in the NICU due to lung development or other complications, but Conor was completely healthy. We required no time in the NICU, and it was only shortly after the surgery that I was able to have skin to skin contact with him and nurse him. He is a great sleeper and eater, and is constantly meeting his developmental and weight goals at his follow-up check ups. We are extremely blessed.

How would recovery be?:

I am officially three weeks out from having my c-section today and I can say recovery has been incredible. There has been little pain and I have been able to carefully get back into the normal routines of life. I am trying to be as careful as possible to not over-do it because I find that on days that I pick up Lucy or try to clean too much I feel worse. Overall, I cannot complain though. My body is healing, my mental state is positive, and my little boy allows me to get the sleep I need at night.

What else may go wrong?:

Ah, the question I had after one week postpartum. It almost seemed like everything was too good to be true and we kept finding ourselves saying things like “for now” when we talked about how great a sleeper he was. Like I said, Conor is a healthy baby, a great sleeper, and a great eater. I am able to carry out a routine during the day with him that leaves both him and I relaxed at the end of the day. On top of that, Lucy has completely adapted to her new brother – which was something I really feared. Before having him, I felt like I was almost betraying her. I felt like I was cutting off the special one-on-one time with her as an only child. If anything, it only makes me put even more of an effort into carving out special mommy/daughter time and including her in the day-to-day activities with her new brother. She loves giving him his pacifier, kissing and tickling his feet, and attempting to feed him his bottle. On top of that, Bryan has been a phenomenal Daddy to Lucy these past three weeks (and of course for all time). He has completely taken over some of the things I usually had done in the past while I recover and Lucy couldn’t be more excited about all of the extra-special time with him.

So instead of worrying about what else could go wrong, I have decided to embrace the fact that everything is going well and live in the moment. There is no sense in worrying or dreading the possible issues that may or may not arise during these first few months. Yes, it is an adjustment for all of us – but with Bryan by my side I know we will get through it all and time will continue to go by too fast. Before we know it, Conor will be as big as Lucy and we will miss the time when they were so little.

And there you have it, Conor’s birth story! I am hoping this article was able to reassure anyone with an upcoming scheduled c-section that they can go very smoothly, and soon enough you too will have your sweet bundle of baby in your arms!

To close, here is a photo collage of our hospital experience and first few days of Conor’s life:

love & lots of whit – jen xo