The Love Of A Dog

Girl Talk, Motherhood

Or two…

Have you noticed that a common suggestion for newlywed couples is “Get a dog, it’s great practice for when you have a baby”?  Since I have two dogs and a baby I can say that this advice is only partially helpful. Having a dog helps prepare you for welcoming your first child because it teaches you to think of another living being other than yourself. Other than that, I don’t think anything can really prepare you for those first few months of parenthood. Perhaps meditation, and Xanax, but those don’t mix well with baby-raising.

So you’re basically in survival mode from the moment you leave the hospital with your baby. There are dozens of new worries and responsibilities, even as a dog lover it is easy to see how having a pet can add to those worries.

When I was pregnant with our first child I was too busy working and being super pregnant to “worry” about bringing a newborn home to my dogs. Lucky me, everyone else worried for me. My husband and I were bombarded with the typical questions from panic-stricken family members and friends. “WHAT are you going to do with your dogs?” That was the most common question/concern I heard for 9 months. I don’t judge or blame anyone who asked me this question. Not everyone is a dog lover. And even so, some dog owners asked that same question. And when asked what we are going to “DO with them”, the short-tempered bitch in me always replied with “Umm nothing”.

To be honest I was scared. I obsess over my dogs. I love them. Sometimes I hold them and cry true story. The horror stories I had heard of genuine animal loving, dog owners who had to put their dog down, or give their dog away after terrifying incidents with their newborns played in my mind during the last trimester of my pregnancy. I did some good old internet reading and came  across plenty of positive stories as well. I convinced myself not to spend the end of my pregnancy worrying and instead continued to just hug my dogs.

When our daughter was born my husband made a point of taking a trip home to spend the night with our dogs, exercise them, feed them and bring them home her first blanket, you know, the one the hospital gives you that’s covered in blood and other questionable fluids. He let them sniff it, and sleep with it that first night while Elyse and I were still in the hospital. I would be lying if I said my heart wasn’t pounding when we pulled up in our driveway with our baby the next morning; I knew it was go-time. The two crazies had to meet their baby sister. A friend of mine who also has a large dog and several children gave me some solid advice that I decided to follow. Just put down her car seat and let them lick the crap out of her. Ohh, ok.

Obviously, we know our dogs, they had never eaten a baby before, not that we know of at least. They licked the CRAP out of our daughter for a minute before I decided that’s enough! Since that first day, I would say there has been mutual love between the three of them. The biggest rifts in the harmony of their relationship are caused by none other than our innocent little girl. Nevermind the dogs, they wouldn’t hurt a fly, but our daughter had a lot of learning to do over these past three years.

Don’t sit on the dogs face, don’t bite the dogs tail, don’t eat the dog food, don’t put your finger up the dogs bum, YES that’s where he does pee-pee from, don’t pull it!!! (ughhh).

But her biggest lessons were of tolerance, love, adoration for animals, patience, and selflessness. To love and care for someone or something other than yourself. To wake up early and feed the dogs before you feed yourself, and to be home early so they are not alone for too long. Walk the dogs every afternoon, that has become part of her routine. She now knows how to put their leashes on, she picks which dog goes first, she cleans their teeth with her finger and a cleaning gel (yep she puts her whole hand in their mouth) and even makes them homemade Birthday cards.

A while ago I noticed the first thing she does when she wakes up in the morning is search for both of HER dogs so she can give them each a giant hug. She loves them. It didn’t take very long. I’m glad we didnt change anything back when I was pregnant and asked what we would “Do” with them.

This post is dedicated to Mila Barberi the biggest, best dog lover I have ever known. And our dogs #1 supporter when I was pregnant with Elyse…



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What Exactly Is A Stay At Home Mom Wardrobe?

Motherhood, Style

I’ll let you in on a little secret, we don’t sit around in pajamas all day eating bonbons. But that doesn’t mean we get to wear what working moms wear. To illustrate the perils of the stay at home mom wardrobe,  I’m going to share my wildest fantasy…

Sometimes I imagine going back to work for one day. Wild, right?

I wake up, wash & style my hair, put on clean pants, a pair of heels, and drive to work. Once at work I drink my morning coffee. Ahh yeah, I drink it while it’s really hot, so hot I almost burn my tongue. No, no, I actually burn my tongue. That’s hot. During lunch hour I do that thing I see a lot of employed folks do on their breaks, where they bring a book and sit on a rock in the sunshine. As I do this I am not only reading but drinking another coffee, and it DOES NOT spill on my pants! P.S my pants are probably silk. I know, I know, I’m getting excited too. But just when you thought this fantasy couldn’t get any better, I go home at the end of the day, 9 hours later and my entire outfit is still CLEAN!

If you don’t know any better, aka you don’t own a child, you may be thinking, “But Jen, you don’t have to be employed to be able to wear silk pants and drink a hot coffee without suffering 3rd-degree burns on 85% of your torso.”  Listen, it’s not like I can’t wear nice clothing anymore, it’s just that I don’t want to! I wouldn’t want to risk losing a new pair of pants to paint, mud and human feces (cause these WILL end up on you if you hang around a toddler long enough).

So what does one wear while cleaning, cooking and chasing a shoeless child through the grocery store? I’ve compiled the following list of practical yet chic mom essentials that can withstand the daily mess of mommyhood but also keep you feeling good about your appearance!

Mom Wardrobe Essentials

1. Jeggings or super-stretchy jeans – If you don’t want to be a full-time tight wearing mom go buy yourself a decent pair of jeggings. High waist is best, to avoid plumbers butt when you bend over 67645 times a day to pick up your child. The best pair for hiding a bit of belly is Madewell High-Rise Women’s Jeans 


$135, Madewell

2. Great fitting tees in black, gray, and white (depending on the age of your child) – PROTIP: white hides newborn spit up, black hides post baby belly, gray hides nothing, and can show pit stains, basically wear gray when you’re not around your child. My favorite simple round neck tees are from Gap.



$24.95, Gap Fitted Tee


3. Knit sweaters and oversized cardigans – Make you look put together. Also most popular during the fall aka back to school, aka when you may have a few sacred hours to yourself. Wear that sweat, drink a latte, smile. Farfetch has a great selection of high-quality knits for those days when you want to throw on something special.



MSGM Oversized Knit via Farfetch


4. Ballet flats – No stilettos ever. Nope. Don’t be that mom. Thanks. Pretty Ballerinas makes a wide range of SUPER COMFY ballerinas every season in many different pretty fabrics and patterns.



Pretty Ballerinas 


5. Stylish sneakers – This is the perfect time to try out jeans + sneakers because they are very much in style. This look works best with skinny or cropped jeans, see #1.



Vans Old Skool Lite Sneakers


6. Comfy ankle boots – This is where a wedge is acceptable. But be wary of rolling your ankle. You can also get a fun pair of boots to dress up any outfit. I love Ninewest for booties, they always have a wide selection and are very affordable.



$180, Ninewest


7.Cross-body bag – LOOK MA, NO HANDS!



Mansur Gavriel





8. Chic shades – Cover under eye bags. Enough said. P.S this is a good item to invest in, a good pair of sunglasses usually lasts me three years.



Fendi Eyewear


9. Jersey dresses (maxi and knee length) – Don’t be afraid to wear jersey, it can be very flattering and some styles hide post baby belly very well. Especially if there is any ruching along the sides or in front. Choose white, black and gray, your staple colors.



Iro, Bias Cut Cold Shoulder Dress


10. Cool hat – Great for bad hair days or for making any plain outfit a bit more stylish. I love anything wide brimmed, or cute beanies like this one with every moms favorite day of the week (leave the kids with daddy day).



Saturday beanie hat