07 Oct

One Quick Take

Posted by Jenna, Under Uncategorized

It’s October and it’s still hot! When I get the kids dressed in the morning I find myself gravitating toward my favorite pieces of summer clothing. They grow so much in a year that I know this will be the last time they wear whatever I put them in over the next few weeks.

Saturday and Sunday are supposed to be in the upper eighties, and so I’m thinking we are going to do one last warm weather hurrah. What are you planning for this weekend?

02 Oct

Cookies for the Neighbors

Posted by Jenna, Under Uncategorized

In our continuing quest to befriend our neighbors we decided to make cookies. The kids got into the Learning Tower and helped me bake three dozen, which took so long that we didn’t deliver them until right around bedtime. We had the phone numbers for most of the neighbors we delivered to and chose to ditch the cookies on the porch so we didn’t have to ring any doorbells (which might cause kids to jump up from storytime to fight for the privilege to opportunity to open the door). [Addendum: I didn't realize it wasn't clear that we used the phone numbers of the neighbors so we could text them and let them know they should check the porch when bedtime was over. I also forgot to mention that each plate had a handwritten note saying that our kids would love to get together with theirs, or that we would be happy to get together one evening for a glass of wine.]

So far it doesn’t seem like we yielded much. One family didn’t acknowledge the cookies at all, one sent us a text, one waved at us from the window. I was hoping it would encourage someone to reach out and ask us to spend time together in some way. I think we’re going to have to throw some sort of neighborhood cocktail party for that to happen.

My sister and I used to fight for the opportunity to lick the paddle after the cookies were made. My mom figured out that she could give one of us the paddle, and one of us the spatula. Personally I think the paddle was the better end of the deal.

Even though our gifts didn’t lead to any friendships (yet) I loved the whole experience. Sharing my love of food and the kitchen with my kids is such a gratifying experience, I hope both of them pick up a love for that in some way.

29 Sep

The Loneliness in Motherhood

Posted by Jenna, Under Parenting

There are weeks where I go for long stretches of time without seeing anyone except my children, husband, trainer at the gym, and the preschool/daycare staff. On Monday morning I tell myself that this is what I want (so much to do and look at all that time I have to be productive!), but by Friday evening I find myself feeling melancholy and rather lonely.

I wonder how common this loneliness is among mothers, especially in the early years when it’s so much work to get the kids from point A to point B. A few weeks ago I tried to address this by posting on Instagram that I was looking for someone to meet up with in my area, someone who would be interested in looking for a nice spot and taking pictures in the sunshine. I left late (sadly, a standard practice for me) and then took a detour because I saw the clouds rolling in and I so desperately wanted to find a spot that wasn’t overcast. I really crave that golden light of the morning and evening.

 As I wound my way back toward our meeting spot I started to cry. I was crying about the gloomy weather, but even more than that I was anxious thinking that I had missed the chance to make a connection with someone that could turn into a genuine friendship. And then I cried even more thinking about how strange it would be for her to meet up with some woman from Instagram who showed up 45 minutes late with red rimmed eyes and flimsy explanations about what was going on.  Read more →

25 Sep

2014 Family Pictures with Samantha Kelly Photography

Posted by Jenna, Under family, Photography

We haven’t had an official family photography session since Kelli Nicole (Houston) photographed us in our Chicago apartment before T2 arrived on the scene, and since that time my ideas about photography and my dream family session have changed a lot. It’s less about the perfect posed portrait with everyone looking into the camera, and more about trying to capture who we are and what we are like at this stage in our lives. The kind of thing I want to provide for my own clients.

I tried to fly Samantha Kelly (Utah) to the Bay Area by recruiting one of you to hire her as well, which I didn’t make much progress on. But then I lucked out and she was able to squeeze us in for a session during a romantic getaway with her husband. We talked about a few different settings, but I kept coming back to the beach. I wanted something that documented the glorious beauty of the California coast, and would capture how much we love living in an area that looks and feels like this. We don’t make it to the beach very often, but when we do T1 can chase the waves for hours. It took a lot of tricky maneuvering to keep him dry as long as we did!

After I decided on Cowell Ranch Beach for our location (crossing my fingers that it would be one of those rare sunny days in Half Moon Bay) I poured far too much time into putting together our outfits. I actually put together two separate combinations for each person because I wasn’t sure if it would be warm or cold, and it was a top priority for me that everyone be comfortable and relaxed. I didn’t want “props” to pose with, but I did want to bring a few things that would keep the kids engaged and distracted (before we turned our oldest loose in the waves). I packed a quilt from the thrift store, a few different headbands for both kids to play with, a cupcake sand set for pretend snack time, white and dry snacks that the kids could snack on without dirtying their outfits (tip: clear gummi candies allowed TH and I to get a few photos alone while the kids took a little snack break), and a dozen mini beach balls from Amazon.

One really important thing to note: We told her that we didn’t care if there was a single photo of all of us looking directly into the camera and smiling. That’s not what this is about for us (and it probably won’t be what any of our photography sessions are about from now on.) If you’ll allow me a moment to get on my soapbox – in the age of Instagram and Facebook, our nearest and dearest know what we look like. They see our selfies and snapshots all throughout the year. The best photo, in my opinion, is the one you look back on 50 years from now and smile on because it shows what you were really like at that stage in your life. A slightly happy polished version, but still, reality.

Samantha shot the entire session on film, and returned so many amazing photos that I had a hard time narrowing them down for this post! I can’t believe how spot on her exposures and focus were as we dashed all around the beach. We picked up the film photography bug around the same time and I’m in awe of how fast her skills are developing. I can’t recommend her enough if you’re looking for someone to photograph your family. She’s based in Utah but I know she’s interested in traveling sessions as well!

We don’t just love the result, we loved the process. Even That Husband said he is looking forward to doing this again next year. (I promise you guys, he said it and meant it.) Taking these was as enjoyable as they seem. There’s something about the bond between the people you feel the most passionate about that is hard to capture, but I think the images below come as close as I dreamed they would.
The family of That Wife Blog, photographed by Samantha Kelly Photography (Utah) at Cowell Ranch Beach in Half Moon Bay, CA. The family of That Wife Blog, photographed by Samantha Kelly Photography (Utah) at Cowell Ranch Beach in Half Moon Bay, CA. The family of That Wife Blog, photographed by Samantha Kelly Photography (Utah) at Cowell Ranch Beach in Half Moon Bay, CA. The family of That Wife Blog, photographed by Samantha Kelly Photography (Utah) at Cowell Ranch Beach in Half Moon Bay, CA. Read more →

23 Sep

Mini Golf

Posted by Jenna, Under Adventures

This weekend we found another family activity that everyone enjoys – mini golf at Golfland! The location had three courses and was completely empty when we showed up, which allowed T1 to move ahead of us as he pleased while I attempted to best TH. I started things off with a hole-in-one, but it was beginners luck and it all went downhill from there. I can’t tell you the final score because the kids didn’t last that long, but I was happy to have an easy morning where everyone got to do something they liked. For T2 the thing she liked was holding a ball in her hand, sometimes putting it down and attempting to whack it with a putter sized for adults and taller than her. It would be a little out of our budget to do this full price on a regular basis, but maybe we can make it a Saturday morning treat, and I’m sure they run promotions in the winter months to try to keep business up.
mini golf mini golf mini golf mini golfT2 still has enough of her baby fat that I can’t envision her future self very well, but T1 has reached an age where I feel like I can glimpse what he’s going to look like as an adult. Kapow! Our genes mix well, don’t they TH?

 

      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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