Meet the Contributor: Jennifer Shinaman


Family: My husband and I met while attending NAU. Back then we just ran in the same circle of friends, it’s funny to look back at those memories being clueless that one day the guy who owned the “pre-party house” would someday become my respectable husband. Life paths led us both to Colorado after school and it was there we really started our relationship. We were married in Costa Rica in 2015 and our roller-coaster of fertility issues started shortly after that but our healthy son was born in 2017. We are excited to announce, we are expecting our second son this June. 

Job: I worked as an Elementary school teacher (which I greatly loved doing) for almost a decade before the arrival of our son Ashton. Now, I am primarily a stay at home mom but also work as a BARRE3 instructor here in town. If you haven’t tried it yet you should it’s incredible and childcare is available. 

What brought you to Flagstaff: Though my husband and I are both NAU Alumni we moved to Colorado for awhile (at different time periods), him for more snowboarding opportunities and myself because a teacher living off a single income was getting a little too hard for me here (pay teachers more!). Once we became serious in our relationship he was given a great job opportunity in Phoenix. We relocated there for a few years where I continued to teach. Then he was offered an opportunity to transfer to Flagstaff and we jumped at the chance to raise our son back in our sweet mountain town. 

Early Bird or Night Owl: 100% A night owl by nature but jobs and parenthood make me bat for the other team often. 

Hobbies: Traveling, camping, enjoying the outdoors, working out, blogging and happy hours (when not pregnant of course haha).

Favorite thing to do with your Family: We like getting outdoors, enjoying the occasional meal out and just cuddling up on the couch to a movie. 

Kids Age Difference: Our Son Ashton will be about 2.5 when our next son is due. 

Coffee or Tea: Don’t make me chose between two of my loves! My usual go to (before pregnancy) was a dirty chai tea latte. 

Favorite/Least Favorite Household chore: Everyone has a their “thing” a dirty house stresses me and my husband out so we clean daily. A made bed and a vacuumed house just feels nice to me. My least favorite is definitely putting away the laundry, the chore that never seems to end and just feels time consuming, am I right? 

Going back in time, one thing you would tell yourself right before you became a mother: Struggles don’t equal failures. Don’t forget you are human despite the desire to be a supermom and for the love of all things good, please remember that self-care is NOT selfish! Show the same kindness to yourself as you do for others, keep the self critic at bay whenever possible and just soak in the moments with your child(ren) they go by too fast.  

Something you are looking forward to: Becoming a family of four, a dream that has taken a lot of loss and struggle to achieve. I can’t wait to see his sweet face! (and if I’m honest happy hours with my girls again…mama’s got to have some girl time!)

Favorite Thing to do in Flagstaff with/without kids: With kids it’s getting outdoors when the weather is nice either camping or just bike riding to one of the many beautiful parks here in Flagstaff. Without kids…this is usually crammed into the two hours after my son goes to bed and we get to laugh and enjoy each others company or watch a movie not dictated by our toddler. Although the rare date night out is always appreciated too, we love the Cottage Place for a romantic dinner. 

Best Mom Hack: I’m a huge advocate for vitamins and minerals to keep little ones healthy. Mary Ruth’s Organics makes my favorite ones! 

The greatest challenge you’ve faced: The loss of our son Greyson when I was 6 months pregnant. It was not the beginning or end of our fertility issues but it gave us many answers for them. Our son Ashton was given the middle name Grey in his honor and our next son will share Greyson’s middle name. (Side note: if you face loss, tragedy, guilt etc seek professional help, I’m not ashamed to say it saved me in many ways).

Something you love about yourself: My eagerness and willingness to learn from others who have succeeded. In teaching, instructing, parenting I am always looking to experts whether in person, books, podcast, etc we live in a world where the collective knowledge of others is more attainable than ever! If I don’t have the answers someone else probably does, or at least has more experience than I.

Favorite thing about being a Mom: There is no love like a mother’s love. Being a mother makes me strive to be better when I would otherwise get complacent. I love that even on the hard days, those truly exhausting ones there’s a moment of laughter or a sweet hug from them that reminds you, “I would do it all over again tomorrow.” Motherhood is a gift.

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I'm Jennifer a FMB Contributor and I live in Flagstaff with my nearly perfect Husband and our energetic Son. I attended Northern Arizona University where I receieved my undergard in Elementary and Special Education as well as a Masters in Early Childhood with a focus on reading. I taught for almost a decade before staying home to spend more time with my son. These days you can find me working as an instuctor at the BARRE3 studio in town (come sweat with me!) spreading my joy of the beauty of movement and what it does for not just physical health but mental and emotional health too! I openly share my TTC stories and want women to feel less alone in that area! Join me to indulge in yet another cup up of coffee, a hike, or a happy hour around town!


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