Before 8am {Jennifer – Giveaway Winner & Guest Blogger}

“Life is an adventure, and there is no script. I see something in ordinary moments. I believe that perfection comes not when you are dressed perfectly and wearing lipstick – but in little moments and interactions that make up our days and build and sustain our relationships. Let me show you the beauty in your unscripted moments…”  – Karen Jacot, photographer

Hi! I’m Jen. I cannot tell you how excited I was to win the Before 8am photo shoot with Karen. I have been following the series very closely and have really enjoyed theses glimpses into the everyday lives of all the contributing families. I’ve been so impressed with Karen and her very real gift of being able to capture the beauty in ordinary moments. Ask my husband! I have been telling him all about the series for months. I’ve been hinting {not so subtly} that hiring Karen for our own photo shoot would make for a pretty great birthday or anniversary gift. When I saw the giveaway, I was so hoping to win! And when I got the email from Kelly saying that I did win, I couldn’t stop smiling. We scheduled our photo shoot with Karen earlier this month, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. She took photos of our family that we will cherish forever and ever!

A little about me…  We are fairly new transplants to Houston. My husband Jason is in the Coast Guard, and they moved us here from Boston last October. We live in the Museum District and love it! There is just so much to do, and we are surrounded by a really fun community of neighbors. It has been such a gift to discover Houston Moms Blog with all of its useful tips and ideas for raising a family in this ginormous city. Unfortunately, Jason works about an hour-and-a-half outside of Houston. On his commute days he leaves the house before we wake up, but one day a week he gets to work from home. So of course, we planned our photo shoot on a day that he would be here.

Our mornings start whenever our son, Jack wakes up. {Yep! Jason, Jen, and Jack.} Jack is 4, and he’s an early bird. He has a pretty precise internal clock, so we never have to set our alarm. For the longest time he was waking up at 5:00 or 5:30, and that just wasn’t cutting it! We had to get him one of those “OK-To-Wake” clocks that turns green at 6:00am so he knows it is okay to get up.

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Karen arrived just before 6 o’clock and staked out a prime position to get Jack running down the hall from his room into ours.

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Jack climbs in bed with us every morning to play and snuggle. His favorite game is to “hide” under the covers with Daddy while I pretend that I have absolutely no clue where they are.

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I take a shower first thing, so the boys went to play in Jack’s room. They play a variety of things, but today Jack picked cars.

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All three of my boys playing cars. Our cat’s name is Peeve. Get it? He’s our pet, Peeve! {wink.}

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Peeve is a very sociable kitty, and he pretty much follows us wherever we go.

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Jack decided to check on me {aka jump on the newly made bed} while I was getting ready.  You can see by his hair in this picture that he rarely slows down.

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Peeve came in to check on me too. He loves people, so Karen was able to get some really beautiful pictures of him. This was nice since we do most of our photo snapping of Jack these days.

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Meanwhile, the boys went upstairs to work on a special art project. Normally Jack would have a costume on by now, but he was distracted by Karen being here. Dress-up is his favorite. He has such an amazing little imagination.

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Since there was so much picture-taking going on, Jack wanted in on the fun.

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Eventually, I got them to come downstairs for breakfast. Today it was yogurt and leftover pancakes.

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We try our best to sit down at the table together for most meals.

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Our mornings are a little less hectic when Daddy is home. He and I will celebrate our 11-year wedding anniversary later this month. I feel very lucky to have such a hard-working, loving, and fun husband who is just the best Daddy to our boy.

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Of course Peeve puked on the floor while Karen was here. We convinced her not to take any pictures of that, but definitely the snuggles afterward.

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Jack was still excited about his camera, so we drew a picture on the back that he could show whenever he “took a picture.”

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Shower time! Jack never wants to take a shower, but he always has fun once he’s in.

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It was my turn to take over getting-ready duties while Daddy got dressed.

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Preparing his uniform for later that day. The military life has been good to us, but it means we have to move every few years. I’ll be honest, when I found out we were being stationed in Texas, I was disappointed and didn’t know what to expect. Little did I know how much we would truly love it here.

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Little boy undies.

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I’m so glad that Karen captured this. This is how I brush Jack’s teeth every single morning. He wraps his little arms around me and squeezes.

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With a few minutes to spare, we read a couple stories before heading to school.

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Somehow we were all on the stairs putting our shoes on at the same time.

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Jason’s hour-and-a-half commute is the pits, but mine makes up for it. I’m a research scientist at the medical center, so it’s a quick bike ride through the park each day. And when Jason is home, he bikes Jack to school.

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What a fun morning! Thank you so much, Karen, for this beautiful gift, and thanks to Kelly and the HMB team for the opportunity to share our morning with you.

To see Karen’s perspective from her Before 8am morning with us, check out her blog post.  And don’t forget to check out the rest of the posts within this amazing series as well!



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