The Deuce

Time for an update:

Christmas, New Years, got Covid, started moving.

Okay, now that we’re up to speed, it feels too late to do a holiday post so I’m going to blow right by Christmas and New Years and the fact that I woke up at 3am on Jan 1st with a Covidfever (we all recovered), and just get to what’s happening now.

My lovely family and I are in the process of packing up everything and moving into my mother-in-law’s place. We are so beyond grateful that she is letting us stay there for a few months, because I hate paying rent and she lives in a country club with 6 golf courses. So yeah…pretty hard to beat that as we start rounding the corner into Spring (hopefully). Despite how excited I am to live there, here comes one of the worst tasks ever: moving.

Moving absolutely sucks. The fact that moving exists makes me question why I have things. Every time I move, I end up throwing out so much shit, then I accumulate more just to throw it out again when I move out of that place. All I really need is a mattress, TV, Xbox, grill, computer, 9 outfits, a chair, and my golf clubs. That list has grown to include Jenn and Emily’s stuff, but I think I could legitimately live with just those items. Anyway, moving sucks, but it sucks more with a baby. Since we aren’t moving into an empty apartment, all of our big stuff needed to go into storage. Luckily, I have a free storage facility known as my parent’s basement. So, we had to rent a UHaul and bring most of our big items and boxes of non-necessities to my parent’s place. Not too bad since they came to help but moving furniture in the snow with a baby isn’t fun. Plus, we’ve gotten all the big stuff out and we still have a bunch of shit to deal with by either donating or getting to New Jersey. Thank goodness Jenn’s grandparents have a truck and a trailer.

I didn’t write this just to bitch about moving, here comes the unsolicited advice you’ve all come to love: ASK FOR HELP! As a young father, I want to be the man of the house. I have the picture in my head of what the ideal father is, and it’s really just my dad. My dad is a worker, and he works harder than anyone I know. He is getting something important done seemingly 24/7. Obviously there are breaks for meals, walking the dog, and Jeopardy!, but even his leisure activity is running. The man is a goddamn machine and also an amazing dad. This is the man I want to be. So, when it comes time to move, or budget, or make a big decision, in my head I am going to solve it on my own and get it right the first try. But that is complete and total bullshit. Despite my gut feeling that I need to solve every problem on my own, I constantly ask for help. I have had a lot of practice. You don’t get 5 years sober alone, and early sobriety has taught me that I need to ask for help to survive. This is something that has made its way into every facet of my life. I ask my parents, my friends, and my wife for help all the time. This was something that I struggled with for a while, but it is something that I feel so strongly about now. Asking for help is critical, whether its help with a diaper change, moving a couch, or needing a basement to stay in, you can’t get it if you don’t ask.

Losing It

I am 4 months and 4 days postpartum.

Since having Emily, I have lost my baby weight, making it back to my pre-pregnancy weight… and then I gained it all back.

I gained back 12 pounds in 4 months.

That is NOT a good feeling. I am not carrying it in my arms, or legs, or butt… but in my GUT. My belly is a foreign country compared to the rest of my body.

Yes, I grew a human. Yes, my body went through severe trauma with having a c-section. Yes, my body will never look the same as it did prior to delivering Emily. And I don’t want it to… but I am not happy with the body I have now.

I am proud of what my body went through to bring our baby girl into this world, but that doesn’t mean I am okay with the number on the scale. It doesn’t mean I am okay with my diastasis recti or my mommy fupa. I don’t hate my body- but I want to make it something that I can look into the mirror and say, “This body delivered a baby. This body is strong. I can play with my daughter. I won’t get tired running around at the park or going sledding. This is the body that I am proud to show off.”

It has been well over a year since I have done any strenuous physical activity. This month. February. I began my workout with Blogilates.

I have NEVER been one to sway from workout classes/trainers. I cannot go to the gym and create a workout on my own. I need motivation. I need someone pushing me to do the last squat or pushup. I mean, I was a dancer for 18 years, competitive for 12 of those. I know a thing or two about structure.

Cassey Ho is INCREDIBLE! I had never done a pilates class before, and LET. ME. TELL. YOU. 4 months postpartum or not, she KICKED MY ASS!

I started last week with a quick tone challenge from her as I awaited her February workout calendar to drop. I swear I thought all of my limbs were going to fall off.

At one point during her No Weights Arm Sculpting challenge, I took a wine break… have I reached peak mom? Pilates and wine…? Send help.

I am so excited and proud of myself for deciding to truly get back into shape. Connor and I have changed our eating habits tremendously and now it is time to incorporate physical activity. I want my daughter to be motivated by her mothers motivation. And I truly believe that she will.

Stay tuned each week as I update you on my weight loss journey!

February 2nd, 2021: 163 lbs and change.

Goal weight: 130 lbs.

Let’s go.

Ringing In The New Year… With COVID

What I’m living off of….

We have a 3-month old. We were so careful. We go to the grocery store, the doctors, and have only seen immediate family (sisters and parents) since September. In fact, the last people we saw had tested negative 2 days prior.

So how did we contract COVID? The truth is, we don’t know.

2020 was the absolute best year for Connor and myself. I know we can’t say the same for many other individuals across America, but we had a banner year. Getting engaged, finding out we were expecting, moving across the country, getting married, and giving birth to our beautiful daughter- nothing could top 2020.

Well, the universe decided that the Whiteley/Dupre household needed a wrench thrown into our life.

On New Year’s Day, Connor and I woke up with sore throats and stuffy noses. Now, we both have seasonal allergies and we’re overdue for colds, so we didn’t think much of it. We went about our day. The next morning, around 3:30am, I got up to feed Em. Connor woke up with me asking for an extra blanket because he had the chills… uh-oh.

After I fed Em, we took his temperature and saw he had a fever of 101.2. I didn’t have a fever. Well, fuck.

I put Em back in her room and retreated down the the living room.

Since Saturday, Emily and I have been living on the first floor of our house, and Connor has been living in our bedroom. Since the only out of the ordinary symptoms I had were a stuffy nose, we didn’t think I’d have COVID… but we’re certain he did. Fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, and a dry cough encompassed Connor as we went through the weekend.

On Monday, we drove to CVS to take COVID tests (sent through the lab for near accurate results). I’m still with Em downstairs.

Wednesday morning, results come in. Connor: Positive. Jenn: Negative. What? How could that be? We live together. Breathe the same air. Slept in the same bed up until 3:30am on Saturday. There was no way.

Well, Connor was still having the same symptoms, minus the fever, and I had only developed more congestion. It felt like a sinus infection.

I called my OBGYN yesterday and scheduled another COVID test. If it was indeed negative, Em and I were packing up and heading to my moms for a few days (she had COVID last month, and is no longer contagious/able to get it for 3 months).

Well, plot twist. I woke up this morning, Thursday, with a little more congestion. Took some Advil, nothing to worry about. Then, my beautiful daughter pooped. Unusual for first thing in the morning, but an impressive size.

I was laughing at how much she pooped, when I realized… I couldn’t smell it. I couldn’t smell my 3-month olds breast milk/formula poops. Oh FUCK!

Upon further investigation , I couldn’t smell or taste my morning clementine or tea.

The loss of taste/smell is one of the last and newest symptoms of the beloved COVID.

The worst part of all? Here is what we did last week: went to Emily’s doctor for her 3 month checkup. Went to the grocery store. Wore masks. Umm… what, COVID?

We are going on day 7/8 of symptoms, which means we only have about another 5-7 days of quarantining in our own house.

Thank you to our wonderful mother’s for doing our laundry and bringing us groceries. We couldn’t do it without you.

I know there are so many families who didn’t have the COVID that we do. We are so lucky that we have mild cases, the worst symptom being Connor’s fever. As long as Miss Emily doesn’t develop a fever (which I would think she won’t this late in the game) we are on the road to recovery.

Thank you for reading! Wear your masks. Be safe. It’s all going to be okay.

Fall Haul 2020

It’s almost the best time of the year… FALL!

Fall is my absolute FAVORITE season. Not only was I born in fall (September 28), but literally every detail that is associated with Fall excites me beyond belief! Hot chocolate. Pumpkin pie (making it AND eating it). Warm apple cider. Warm apple cider donuts. You name it, I love it! Coincidentally, most of my wardrobe consists of Fall colors, too.

It is looking more and more like Emily is going to be a Fall baby too- or at least right on the cusp!

Her due date is Saturday (September 19), but it really doesn’t look like she will be arriving any time soon. In order to self-soothe from not having a baby here, I did a little retail therapy and bought justtt a few Fall decorations to make the house look a little more festive and not so… mixed.

I went to both Target and Michaels for these decorations, as they are both the best stores to go to. Michaels is having a wonderful sale on Fall decor (40% off everything!) and Target has amazing clearance or small items that are perfect to place around the home.

TARGET FINDS

I found these ADORABLE plush pumpkins and acorns in the back corner of Target today. They are the perfect decoration to put in our little glass display vase from Threshold! I couldn’t find the exact vase I have, but I linked a smaller one above!

The pumpkins come in a pack of 8 and are tweed with a lovely stitch design. They are currently both in store and online for $8.00!

The acorns come in a pack of 8 as well, and are made out of felt. They are both in store and online for $5.00.


I think a good holiday doormat can brighten up any entryway! Our front porch has had the same doormat for the past 5 months, and I figured it was time to get a new one- what better time than a change in season?!

I found this punny doormat by Threshold for only $12.99, both in stores and online. It’s the perfect addition to the porch and is one that I will be keeping around for a while!


MICHAEL’S FINDS

First off, let me preface by saying that Michael’s is currently having a SALE on all of their fall decor! Both in-store and online, decor and foliage is 40% off. THAT’S RIGHT! 40%!!!

What a steal.Michael’s is honestly crack for me. I can get lost in that store for hours and end up spending WAY more than I thought I was going to… which is usually $0. My husband has needed to literally hold onto my shirt when we walk in there so I won’t wander off and buy unnecessary items.

I’ve been seeing a lot of people decorate with garland more and more, so I decided to give it a try. I found this adorable Gold Print Maple Leaf Garland for $14.99 ($8.99 after discount) and wrapped it around the railings on our front porch.

Each garland is about 6′ long, so it was the perfect for the railings. I bought 3 sets (not sure why I didn’t just go for 4) but I was able to use the 3rd garland inside on our stair railing.

It’s the perfect decoration if you don’t have a lot to spend and you’re looking to just spruce up your home for the new season/holiday.


I found this adorable sign, “Welcome to our Patch” for only $16.99 ($10.19 after discount). You can choose to either hang it or stand it up on a flat surface (it comes with the stand already attached). We don’t have a ton of (useable) surfaces in our house, so I chose to put it in the corner of our stair landing! This way everyone can see it when they’re in the house, AND I don’t have to worry about it taking up surface space!

This exact sign isn’t available online, but I am linking a similar one here.


How CUTE is this sign?!

My husband and I absolutely love pumpkin pie. Last year I made my first homemade pumpkin pie and it turned out delicious. Walking up and down the aisle at Michael’s I found this sign (along with a pecan pie one, but we aren’t fans of pecan pie). I thought this would be the PERFECT wall hanging in our home. It’s festive and colorful enough to bring the fall colors into the home without screaming FALL!

This sign was priced at $16.99 ($10.19 after the discount). It is not available online, but IS available in stores- while supplies last! Since this one isn’t available, I am linking another sign that I fell in love with here!


Who said scarecrows had to be scary?

This little lady was found in an almost sold out section of the fall decor. Her pumpkin was almost falling out of her hands, but I did a little hot-glue surgery at home!

I haven’t named her yet, but she is a CUTIE! She was only $26.99 ($16.59 after discount) and can only be found in store. Go snag her or her siblings while they’re in stock!


Even though we are on such a tight budget due to Emily being born ANY DAY, I was able to splurge and find awesome deals on the cutest fall decor. Just the smallest things make the biggest difference in our home.

Happy Fall!

Favorite Quarantine Finds

For much of the world, especially the United States, the past 5 months have been something straight out of a Hollywood film. Literally. Ever seen Outbreak? Highly recommended.

Being unemployed and pregnant during this pandemic, all while moving from Los Angeles to rural Connecticut, has been quite the doozy and has at times left me feeling alone and sad.

While I could sulk for myself all day long (and have at times), I took advantage of the move and of the pregnancy (and my bank account) and gave our new home a much needed interior facelift. Check out my favorite quarantine finds below!

PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box– My husband HATES cleaning the cat’s litter box. The smell, the pee, the doo-doo. The litter used to track all over our upstairs floor and we would need to sweep 2-3 times PER DAY. We were floating around the idea of getting a self-cleaning litter box but were pretty skeptical of it. We eventually caved and bought the PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box. It was a hefty investment- $125 for the model with the hood (lid) and $50 for 3 tray/litter refills, but WOW is it worth it. Every 7 days, we remove the cardboard litter tray from underneath the litter box and replace it with a brand new one. With the crystal-like litter, there is minimal tracking-almost none! The litter box pushes the solid waste into a cardboard trap while the wet waste dries to the bottom of the box (the litter does not clump). A few sprinkles of ARM & HAMMER Cat Litter Deodorizer to help with the smell, and you’re ready to go!

Promptly Journal– I have always been absolutely TERRIBLE at journaling. I would get a brand new journal, use it for maybe 3 days, and then leave it to never be written in again. During my pregnancy, I found that it was easier to write when I was writing TO someone- Miss Emily Ruth. I am currently on week 6 of that journal- the longest I have ever kept one. I have also found that guided journals with prompts keep me honest and going back to write day after day. I was scrolling through Instagram one day and found an ad for Promptly Journals. Their journals are centered around family life/memories and personal care. They have journals pertaining to grief, postpartum, marriage, childhood, and more. I ordered the Childhood History journal in Dusty Rose. This journal I keep up through my childs’ 18th year. Inside, it has a full page on a family tree, first through third trimester, thoughts and feelings, and different prompts and stats for every year of your childs’ life. It is a wonderful way to keep memories, especially if you’re bad at remembering to write things down.

Bamboo Cheese Board Set– I knew when I was preparing for my baby shower that I wanted to make a charcuterie board for the occasion. I was looking in Target for good boards to use, but couldn’t find any that spoke to me. So, I took to trusty ol’ Amazon. I found this Bamboo Cheese Board Set that came equip with a 4 cheese-knife set and a built-in tray for crackers, grapes, or whatever else you want to add to your board! I paired this board with a Terracotta Pinch Bowl Set, perfect for honey, almonds, olives, and more! I find peace in creating cheese boards, and this board really helped me find creative ways to display fruits, cheeses, and meats.

Well, there you have it! My favorite quarantine finds. Don’t get me wrong- I have ordered a LOT more than just these 5 things. They just happen to be my favorite!

All of these products I give a:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Every single one of them is 100% worth investing in!

If you have any of these products, or are interested in buying them too, I would love to hear from you and hear your thoughts! Don’t forget to subscribe to get these posts right in your inbox.

Cheers!

Our Happy Place

When you think of your happy place, what do you picture? White beaches and crystal blue water? Rows and rows of books featuring that new and old book smell? Ferris wheels and funnel cake? When I think of my happy place, I think of Cape Cod, and more specifically, our cape house in Dennis, MA.

Growing up in New Jersey, our summer vacations took us to Wildwood and Seaside, not straying far from the miles of boardwalks and beaches of the Jersey Shore.

Fun Fact: First opening in 1870, New Jersey’s Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world, tapping out at a whopping 5.5 miles!

Atlantic City Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ

After going away to college, I didn’t frequent the Jersey Shore much, if at all, anymore. Dance competitions had ended in our family and I was working every summer, including my final 2 college summers where I was at a residency in Maine. Summer vacations just didn’t happen anymore.

That statement is only even more true for the summer of 2018. This was the first summer I visited Cape Cod! My boyfriend at the time (now husband) invited me to stay the summer at his familys’ cape house in Dennis before I left for graduate school in California. I immediately took him up on the offer and began looking for theatrical work on the Cape.

I got hired as one of the 2 stage managers for Cape Repetory’s 2018 summer season. This allowed me to live on the Cape for the entire summer while working and prepping for grad school.

Now again, I had never even stepped foot on the Cape in my previous 22 years of living (I don’t count Martha’s Vinyard as a true part of Cape Cod). I was excited to start this new journey with my boyfriend, but also excited to be living in a place that seemed so out of reach for me.

Fun Fact: No county in the COUNTRY has more lighthouses than Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Cape Cod, specifically our cape house in Dennis, MA, quickly became my sanctuary. From the moment we walked in the door, I fell in love. So much so that to this day we are trying to convince my in-laws to sell the house to us so that we could live there! The house is homey, featuring gorgeous natural wood panneling and beams, a large brick fireplace, built-in bookshelves, and just the most wonderful aestetic (all thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law).

Our gorgeous house!

When I think of my happy place, I think of our cape house. This secluded, quiet, quaint little house in Dennis, MA is what I think of when I want to get away. It’s where I can sit on the couch and read without getting distracted by outside forces. It’s our cats’ FAVORITE place in the entire world (thanks to the sliding doors leading to the deck). It’s where my relationship was pushed and prodded and solidified after working with my husband for an entire summer. The Cape is the place I think of when I think of home.

Story Time with Jenn

Hey there! Welcome to Story Time with Jenn. Every week, I will be creating a new video showcasing and reading a children’s book.

I started Story time with Jenn after I learned that my future baby girl, Emily, can recognize my voice in the womb starting at around 20 weeks. I thought it was SO cool! I wanted to bond with her while she floats around in there and get her used to my voice before she enters the world. With all of the baby books coming in as gifts to her, I have chosen one per week to read aloud to her and to all of you.

Thank you to those who come back week after week to join me in our readings. This page will be the archive of all Story Time with Jenn videos! you can scroll down and find each one below. or you can head on over to my YouTube channel, Jennifer Whiteley, and subscribe to receive the latest videos straight to your device.

Story Time with Jenn- Goodnight Moon

Happy Monday!

Thank you for coming back for week two of Story Time with Jenn! It means you must have enjoyed last weeks! It was really fun reading The Cat in the Hat to you all… and to Emily, of course! I haven’t read childrens’ books, probably since I was a child. Actually, the last childrens’ book I read was Wacky Wednesday, which is my personal favorite Dr. Seuss book. We will be reading that one in just a few weeks!

I am excited for this week! We are going to be reading a book that I have actually never read before. It is a staple of many peoples’ childhoods, including my fiancè Connors’. I thought this book would be a great way to ease back into week two of our vlog.

Today, we will be reading Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. If you have your own copy, grab it and find a comfy spot on your couch or floor and read along!


Story Time with Jenn- The Cat in the Hat

Hey there! Welcome to Story Time with Jenn.

I created this channel because my baby girl is currently 22 weeks, just growing along in there, and I wanted to find ways to read stories to her while she’s still in the womb. And I thought what better way then to just read them! I wanted to create this channel to share them with all of you. I thought this was a really good way to both read her stories and share my newfound passion for being a mom!

I’m really excited about this channel and to get started, and I hope you come back every week for a new story. Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button below, you will see it in the right-hand corner of the video as well as at the bottom of this page. That way you can follow along and stay up to date on all with all of the new books we will be reading every week.

We are starting off this channel with a classic: Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat. It is a staple of every childhood- all Dr. Seuss books are, really! I thought what better way to kick this off with one of my favorite books. If you have a copy of it, get it out and follow along! If you don’t, no worries. I will be holding the book up to the screen so you can follow along with every page, every picture, and every word.



The LifePlanner ™

As a lover of stationary and as someone who had a dream last night about which pen at Staples is the best, I thought I would share with you what I choose to plan my life in!

There is a wide variety of planners and schedulers out there, and I have probably tried half of them. They vary from a Moleskin weekly planner to an average, but colorful, planner from Staples. You can buy a set 12 month planner at the beginning of each year, or you can stick with your trusty Google Calendar to keep all of your affairs in order. There is no shortage of scheduling helpers out there, and each one serves a different purpose.

About 4 years ago, I discovered Erin Condren. Erin Condren, a real woman, started off working in the apparel industry and left in 2001 when she had her twins. She began a stay-at-home business creating thank you cards, birth announcements, gifts, and more from the comfort of her kids’ playroom! Erin quickly developed her business from cards and gifts to stickers, planners, and more. She has been in the business for almost 20 years and it doesn’t seem like she is slowing down any time soon.

As a mom to be, I admire Erin’s passion and drive to create something that can fulfill her desire to work, but also tap into and remain in her creative side.

As I mentioned before, there are countless planners out there. If there are so many planners, why would you want to listen to the advice of one individual? You don’t have to! I adore this line of planners so much that I want to share my experiences with you. If Erin Condren isn’t for you, that’s alright! But it is 100% for me.

I have had 4 planners from Erin Condren over the last 4 years. I started off with her LifePlanner for 12 months. What’s amazing about her planners is that they are completely customizable. Erin Condren offers a wide variety of covers, including ones where you can add your own quote, add your own photos, and even include your name! You are also able to choose the color of the coils (silver, gold, or rose gold), and the internal layout (hourly, horizontal, or vertical).

Erin Condren planners also allow you to add in accessories such as Snap-In StylizedSticky™ Notes, stickers, bookmarks, to-do lists, and more. I use the Snap-In Monthly Bill Tracker Dashboard which you can find here.

I was teaching a few stage management courses at California Institute of the Arts over the last year, and decided to branch out and order the Teacher Lesson Planner. You are still able to customize the cover and colors of your teacher planner, however the inside is stagnant. You receive a monthly spread, weekly lesson plan, student checklists, and notebook pages. I LOVED the teacher planner, but of course didn’t each enough courses to get the full effect of it.

The newest planner debut is the New LifePlanner! This planner debuted about a month ago and features new cover designs and colors, as well as accessories that match the new designs. I recently received it in the mail and am making my way through, decorating and filling out my future months. With the quarantine still in effect, my days mostly consist of cleaning and grocery shopping, but I am able to mark off events such as my wedding and the birth of my sweet baby girl!

Whatever your planner preference, whether it be paper, electronic, travel sized, or large enough to fill a whole wall in your house, be sure to choose the one that’s right for you!

The NEW LifePlanner