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

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!

Ultimate First Trimester Survival Care Package

Enclosed in the box was everything I needed to survive my first trimester – the Ultimate First Trimester Survival Care Package!

My sister is the most thoughtful person I’ve even known. Luckily for ME, she has been in my life since day ONE so I have had to her to guide me throughout my entire life. When we were young, she kept me safe on the playground by making sure my feet didn’t touch the “lava ground”, she led the path for me through grade school ensuring all of my teachers knew who I was because of her stellar reputation, and she warned me of the ins and outs of understanding boys – cooties and all. In our later teenage/adult years, she set the standard by going to college, finding a great job, and getting married to the love of her life. Being the copycat younger sister that I am, I followed suite and did all of these things too (so much so that I even work for the same company that she did)! Her latest remarkable life event was entering motherhood. In November 2013 my niece was born and this past May my nephew was born. Seeing my sister embrace the journey of being a parent is inspiring and the way her children look up to her is endearing. As I now am in the preliminary stages of entering parenthood, I can only hope and pray to be as amazing of a mother as my sister is to my niece and nephew.

I tell my sister EVERYTHING. Bryan and I were going to try to keep our news of being pregnant a secret for a bit until we were at a lower risk stage. That secret lasted one day. I spilled the beans to my sister in the parking lot at work during my lunch break the next day. Even though I was crying tears of nervousness and self-doubt, she was ecstatic and crying tears of joy and completely reassured me that I was ready for this new chapter.IMG_9175

Now back to my first statement. My sister’s thoughtfulness.

Within a week or two of telling her the news, I received a box in the mail with perfect handwriting on the box. That could only be from one person!

IMG_9302-2 IMG_9301-2

Along with the sweet card, enclosed in this box was everything I needed to survive my first trimester. The Ultimate First Trimester Survival Care Package!
IMG_9278-3IMG_9280-2IMG_9281-2IMG_9292-2

At the point I received this box, I was nauseous all day every day and had done little to no research about how to get through all of the symptoms I was experiencing. The items enclosed as well as the customized hand-written notes comforted me and helped me feel like I could get through it! Here is the full list of all of the items (as well as the links on where to find them) that were inside of the box:

  1. Mama Bee Belly Butter
  2. The Belly Book: A Nine-Month Journal for You and Your Growing Belly by: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  3. TUMS® Ultra Strength 1000 
  4. Lifefactory Glass Water Bottle 
  5. Gin Gins® Original Chewy Ginger Candy 
  6. Scünci® No Damage Hair Elastics 
  7. Earth Mama Angel Baby: A Little Something for the Mama-to-be 
  8. Baby Be Mine Belly Band
  9. Preggie Pop Drops: Ultra 
  10. Nerds Candy 
  11. Target Gift Card

Her Survival Care Package helped me through that first trimester, and I am happy to say that now at 15 weeks I am now in my second trimester and have regained energy and am starting to feel like myself again…myself with an ever growing baby bump that is. Updates on that to come!

Two weeks ago, at our 13 week mark, Bryan and I were able to travel to go visit my sister and her family. During this visit my sister had me model all of her maternity wear and pick the pieces that fit to bring home with me, we celebrated her and her husband’s 3 year anniversary, and of course, the absolute highlight of our trip was spending time with my precious niece and nephew. I will leave you with a couple pictures of me with those two cutie pies:
IMG_9642_edits

IMG_9690_edits

love & lots of whit – jen xo