Get to know a local mama: Meet JEN

Welcome mama JEN.

Born?

I was born in Cork, Ireland. We lived there until I was 8. I still have aunts, uncles and cousins there!

Raised?

My family moved to a northwest suburb of Chicago when I was 8. I graduated from Jacobs High School in Algonquin.

University?

I got my bachelors degree in Elementary Education from Bradley and my masters in Reading and Literacy from Benedictine.

Meeting hubby + settling here?

I met Michael when I was a senior at Bradley and he was a freshman. We were given such a hard time! He is the best guy. His family owns a business here in Peoria so there was no question where we were going to settle. I have learned to love Peoria! It really is such a great place to raise kids.

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Children?

Nora is (almost) 6, Aidan is 4 and Emma is almost 5 months.

Passions, career?

I love teaching. When I graduated, I taught kindergarten and first grade before having my babies! I took some time off, and then was given an amazing part time opportunity to teach preschool. I teach at St Philomena and it has been such a blessing to our family - the perfect balance for me of being able to work with littles and to have time with my own kids! I also work as the Social Media & Events Manager at Communication Junction. CJ and Abbey were pivotal in the growth of my littles’ ability to communicate.

Summer or fall plans for the family?

We have spent lots of time outside — swimming, biking, scooter-ing, golfing — we truly to take advantage of the nice weather while it’s here!

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Helpful activities to keep you little ones active, to pass along to other local families?

The Rock Island trail is so great! There are also so many fun parks and playgrounds in the area. Another favorite is Matthiesen State Park - our kids are still pretty young and are able to handle the trails and hiking there.

Best part of being their mom?

It’s hard to choose just one — I love seeing my kids learn to do something independently and feel pride in themselves. It is amazing watching them grow and mature into strong, confident little people!

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