20 Aug

Dust So Thick You Can’t Find Your Shoes

Posted by Jenna, Under Adventures

I forget how dusty Royal City is until I go back during the dry months and watch the dust devils swirl across the fields and into the yard. When my aunt and uncle built a house they designed a special mud room specifically for stripping down the kids and getting them clean without bringing the mess into the rest of the house. Buckets for dirty shoes, a shower, laundry chute to send dust-covered undies straight to the washing machine. My mom could have used a room like that the night I took the kids out at sunset and let them throw dirt at each other. They loved it, and neither of them cried (to my surprise), even when their eyes and nose and mouth were thoroughly coated toward the end. I’m so glad my city kids get to have experiences like this.




Portra 800, Pentax 645, theFINDlab 

14 Aug

One Quick Take

Posted by Jenna, Under Uncategorized

Portra 800, Pentax 645

It was a happy happy scan day yesterday, the kind that helps me see how far I’ve come as a photographer. This shot is T1 with his best friend at their preschool graduation from ABC Magic Moments in Fremont, California.

Want to really see how much my skills grew in a year? Here’s the shot I did with T1 and his friends the year before at their graduation ceremony. Read more →

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10 Aug

Buon Viaggio with Minted

Posted by Jenna, Under reviews

When I started researching coding bootcamps I saw the same warning popping up over and over – “Clear your plate entirely. Email all of your friends and family and let them know you won’t be returning phone calls, emails, or text messages. Set up an auto-responder for your email accounts. Set the expectation with everyone that during this period you are doing one thing, and one thing only – coding.” It’s going to be nine weeks of coding and kids and not much else.

Part of our plan for making parenting and family life better in the years to come is establishing stronger connections with friends in the area. That portion of our plan-of-attack is going to have to wait until 2016 to be carried out, but I thought we could set a nice foundation by throwing a Bon Voyage party before school starts. Bon Voyage Summer of Growth! Bon Voyage TW and TH! Soon our life will be all about work and kids and squeezing in enough time to get a decent amount of sleep each week.

Enter Minted, with their perfectly timed pitch to partner up with That Wife Blog and explore some of the options for party decor for this end-of-summer party. I’ll use some credit they provide me in exchange for this post to hang Minted party decor for our Bon Voyage party, and then fingers crossed they’ll be interested in working with me again in January for the Graduation Celebration soiree I’m hosting to re-introduce our friends to the idea of hanging out with us again.

Expo 2015 in Milan had an entire section devoted to cacao beans and chocolate, and I stocked up on a variety of unique chocolate bars while I was there. Carrot chocolate, pineapple chocolate, hemp chocolate, fennel chocolate, and some beautifully-packaged bars with flavor combinations unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I’m going to chop those bars up into little pieces and host a chocolate tasting that allows everyone in attendance to have a small taste and vote for their favorite. We’ll continue the Italian influences with a spread similar to what my sister and I had during antipasto hour at a bar on our first day in Italy. Actually, now that I’ve added in all of these Italian details I think we’ll make it an Italian party (the house we’re living in now was built by the elderly Italian owner!) and call it the Buon Viaggio Party. Buon Viaggio old life! Hello new That Wife!

We don’t have all of our decor up on the walls yet, but the house is unpacked enough to host and certainly some bunting and signage will help bridge the gap until we get our hammer and nails together for the long-term look.

On the front porch we’ll have an ice cream and lemonade station where kids can stop and fuel up as they run around the front yard.

I only have a black-and-white printer, but that’s all I need to make these black-and-white ice cream cone wrappers from the Julep blog.
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09 Aug

Amalfi Coast on Acros 100

Posted by Jenna, Under Photography, Travel


Acros 100, Canon AE1

A roll of black and white came back from Italy showed up in my inbox late last night. Each time I get a new set of scans it’s a mini trip back to paradise. Love love love.

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08 Aug

The Days After

Posted by Jenna, Under Parenting, Uncategorized

T1 had been sleeping on the couch during his stay with Nana and Papa, but asked to sleep in the same bed as me and T2 the first night after our reunion. It’s a king-sized bed and there was more than enough room for me to have my own sleeping bubble, not touching anyone while I slumbered, while listening to his breathing deepen as he drifted off across the mattress from his sister. Little kids are so generous, so tender, so ready to love and be loved in return. I’m grateful I had the chance to work through some of my own shit before they are old enough to to start stressing about their own and realize what I mess I’ve been.

I watched their chests rise and fall, thinking about my last post and how they had reacted exactly as anticipated. It’s me who is unpredictable, sweet and patient one moment and snapping the next. How unnerving that must be for the little ones who crave stability and a knowledge that their caretaker will always be there for them. I see T1 seeking assurance that he is loved and accepted less often now that he’s had this month with Nana, which is one of the reasons I did this break, because it was killing me how often he told me he loved me in an attempt to hear that I loved him back. I could see what I was doing, but each day I tried to do better I slid back into the same old patterns. Self-awareness does not always go hand-in-hand with an ability to solve the problem at hand. I needed to be stress- and anxiety- and depression-free in order to understand how to address the stress and anxiety and depression in my life. If I can’t fit it in between my child-free hours between 9-5 M-F I’ve got too much on my plate and need to look into simplifying somehow

On the second or third day I opened my to-do list app and that’s when the regression into old patterns was stark. I was frustrated with them, short because it’s hard for me to be interrupted in the middle of a task once I start. That’s why a crucial part of our plan going forward is a combination of outsourcing and family time that forces me to set boundaries for when I’m in to-do list mode. 

I think my favorite day in Royal was the morning  we rode horses with the neighbors. The kids were delighted, we were able to connect and bond in meaningful ways with the sort of people who remind you how good humanity can be, and I was completely present with no worries about what came next or what I should/could be spending time on otherwise. This is the feeling I want to replicate over and over throughout the coming months. This is what I’ve been missing.

      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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