Brain Dump

Remember these? I’m looking for ways to pass the time until baby comes, and writing feels like the most appealing thing at the moment.

1. Pregnancy Weight Gain

I hit 50 lbs gained. Boo. Not what I wanted, but I gained so much while I was sick during the first trimester (no throwing up + constant nausea + desiring nothing but carbs = rapid weight gain) that I knew it was going to be somewhere in the 40-50 lb range. Doesn’t this picture make it look like I’ve gained several of those pounds just in my lips? They’re huge!


2. Candy Crush

This is a game you can play on your computer or mobile device (search for it in the app store, if you dare) and it has been my late-pregnancy-get-this-baby-out-of-me-I’m-tired-of-waiting saving grace. Is the day dragging? I whip out the ipad and play until I run out of lives and life is good again.

3. Helmet

Thanks for all of your advice regarding helmets on my post yesterday. Growing up in the country meant we were kind of laid back about wearing them (at least from what I remember). Or maybe that was just a 1990’s thing? I ordered this one from Amazon yesterday.

4. Weight Loss Rewards

Speaking of weight gain, I sat down yesterday and set rewards for every 5 pounds lost. Weight loss is hard work, but I think this motivation is really going to help. I won’t share the whole list, but it has things like a bluetooth scale, cooking class, and a few weeks of buying fresh flowers at the farmer’s market. I tried to structure it so that the rewards become more and more exciting (and yes, a bit more expensive) so that when I’m starting to burn out, and weight loss becomes twice as difficult, I want to keep going. Toward the end I earn a family photography session with a photographer I really love, which I’m already so excited about! Is this something you’ve done in the past? It was surprisingly difficult to come up with rewards that weren’t centered around food (which seems like it would be the opposite of helpful 🙂 ).

5. Paleo

And on one more weight loss note, I’ve had a few questions about why I chose to do the Paleo menu for my most recent Once a Month Cooking day, because Paleo is kind of the opposite of being a mostly-vegetarian. I really love eating as a vegetarian, and when I go to a restaurant I find myself gravitating toward the meatless options. My conscious feels better knowing I’m eating less meat, as I think truly humane options are incredibly difficult to find (as well as expensive).

Over time I’ve realized though, that low-carb, and specifically Paleo, is the most effective way for me to lose weight. I’d still like to have a whole foods based diet, but for the 75 pounds I’d like to lose, I’ll focus on a diet heavier in meat and vegetables. Paleo is a term I can use that best describes what that approach will be (though I’m still thinking over my personal approach to dairy, as I have a hard time imagining life without it!). In the long-term I’d like to be in a place where I go back to eating mostly-vegetarian because I think it’s going to be possible for me to maintain my weight while eating that way. I know it’s very controversial to talk about going on a “diet” in a way that sounds like anything other than a permanent change, but I see this as two different approaches to eating whole foods. I’ll start with one, and transition to the other. That’s my plan for now, and it might change as I learn more about myself and what works best for me.

6. Jenna Cole in Palo Alto

I’ve gone back and forth a hundred times. Do I want to launch Jenna Cole in this area? It looks like we’re going to stay here for a lot longer than we stayed in Dallas or Chicago, so I wouldn’t have to go through the painful process of building up a clientele and leaving them yet again. With That Husband working so much, will I have time to give my business and clients the time they need while juggling the demands of two young children? I love photography though, and I miss it. Now that I’m done with school and done settling in to this new area, I think it’s a real possibility again. If I do it, I’m going to have to work to be very, very disciplined because time will be limited. No more Candy Crush I think.

Who else is self-employed with young children at home. How do you make it all work?



Brain Dump

1. 2 Months Left

We now have less than 60 days in Chicago. Some of you will be shocked to hear I”m drafting a post on things I love about this place and will be sad to leave behind. 🙂

2. BookSend

Some friends at Harvard are launching a site called Book Send. You sign up, they do the research, each month your child receives two books. I think it’s a great option for grandparents (especially those who live far away and feel a little out of touch concerning their grandchild’s needs, because you can never have too many books!)

3. PinterestFail

I just put up two new posts. Check it. Subscribe. Submit.

4. Pogo

We love him. His remixes of sounds from popular TV shows and movies like Lord of the Rings, Fresh Prince, Up, and a Disney Princess mash-up have been played in our house dozens of times. He takes existing sounds and layers them with the sounds of drums and electronica sounds to make something… unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. He’s also launched a project called World Remix. He wants to go around the world to different cultures and record the sounds of that particular place, creating a song that reflects who they are in some way. He has one example of this up already called Kadinchey. Isn’t that beautiful?

One warning though, I wouldn’t show the videos to your toddler. They move quickly from one colorful scene to the next, and they are addicting. T1 will tell us he wants more over, and over, and over. Now we just play him the MP3s.

5. CPS

I decided not to renew my membership with Canon Professional Services, which I now realize was a huge mistake. One of the pins in the card slot of my dSLR ended up bent all the way down after my last wedding and so I was forced to send my beloved 5Dmkii off for repair. I was curious to find out what it was like to send it off to Canon without CPS membership, and I didn’t have any shoots scheduled between my wedding in March and my wedding in April, so I sent it off to test things out. I’ve now been without my camera for two weeks (!), and it looks like it will be close to three before I get it back. The repair cost me over $200 and I think I have to pay for shipping both ways.

CPS is definitely worth it.

6. TWLC3

Have you signed up? If not, what’s holding you back? I have a really good feeling about this round. Do it here!

7. Instagram

I am in L-O-V-E with Instagram lately. Are you using it? I didn’t really get into it until I started a 365 photo project (it’s simple, I’m just aiming to take at least one picture a day and upload it to Instagram to document our life). I love the challenge of trying to create art with my iphone (some days I do better than others).  My username is ThatWife. Here are two recent favorites:

This window washer was 30+ floors up and leaned back to give me a better shot. Those guys are amazing!

Brain Dump

The list of things I’m constantly thinking “I’ll post on this soon” is growing. Time for a Brain Dump.

Jenna Cole

My Aspirations full day session is approaching capacity. Anyone else out there who might have been putting off finding out more? Email me! And in the spirit of my latest post on Jenna Cole, I decided to cancel the half-day session due to lack of interest. Whew! That was hard for me to admit, but sometimes we try things and they don’t work, right? I think I’m ready to keep trying new things, even if it means failing sometimes.

Try This

I discovered a fun new game. Put your camera on the floor and teach your toddler how to push the button. Do all sorts of crazy things in front of the lens while they peer at the screen on back. Laughter and smiles will follow.


I am currently allowing myself to write this post as a little pat on the back for making it through two whole sections of Statistics today! I’m on track to getting to where I need to be. To fill you in since my last psot on this topic, I decided to take Calculus online, but first needed to bump up my math skills to the algebra level. After almost a decade of no serious math classes, my skills were rusty, as in write 2x+2=10 on a piece of paper and I will rip that paper up and tell you it’s impossible for me to figure it out. After dedicating myself to Khan Academy for two months, I was working with linear equations once again and felt ready to give Calculus a try. Before I could start on the course material, I had to take an algebra pre-test to prove I could handle the course.

I opened up the open book pre-test, and within 10 minutes had giant tears running down my face because even with Google’s help I had absolutely no idea what they were asking me for. Khan Academy had been (and is) great, but once you rephrased the questions into a different format I felt lost, confused, and frustrated that the last two months I had just spent were a waste of time. And if the pre-test was this hard, how would I ever make it through the actual course?!?!?!

Within the last week I switched to Statistics and things are much, much better. This stuff is interesting to me, much more applicable to my normal life, and so far I’ve been doing really well on my Speedback quizzes. I have to have the class finished by the end of March if I want to have time to finish my other online course, Brit Lit, so That Wife posting should continue to be sparse (if I’m posting everyday again, feel free to remind me of my responsibilities).

This summer I’ll be taking Managerial Communication, American Lit, and the class I’m most looking forward to… women’s culture, women’s folklore as my senior course. If ever God gave me a sign that I was headed in the right direction, this is it. I cannot imagine a class that’s a better fit for me, as the Intro to Women’s Studies class and multiple Folklore focused courses at BYU were my very favorites. SQUEEEE! I’ve actually had the professor before (in one of the aforementioned Folklore courses) and I really enjoyed working with her.

House Hunting

We want to live somewhere along the peninsula south of San Francisco. I thought we had a great lead on a house, but it’s not the right situation for us. We’d really like to rent, but I can’t seem to find anyone to advise us on when we actually need to be digging in our heels and trying to find a place if we are moving in this August. Everything on Craigslist right now is listed as available immediately.

T1’s Therapy

We’re still loving our speech therapist, and haven’t sought out a new developmental therapist. He keeps having these wonderful mini-explosions which are delightful to hear. Last night it was the word “cracker”. He used it over and over and over, and we kept giving him crackers until he stopped asking for them. This morning on the changing table he tried out poop, diaper, pants, cup, up, and down. We’re making progress!

Weight Loss

Are you a part of That Weight Loss Challenge Facebook group? Because I haven’t been doing a good job of checking in here regularly regarding my weight loss efforts, but you’ll find all sorts of motivation and support over there! To try to summarize where I’ve been, when TWLC2 launched I weighed about 155 lbs. I went all sorts of crazy eating truffles over Christmas and when I came back to Chicago I weighed in at 160 lbs. Of sugar and refined-carb induced bloat. After a week of drinking my calories, mainly via fruits and vegetables, and a few more weeks of really trying to limit carbs, I’m back down to my pre-Christmas pants again. My plan is to continue limiting carbs and drinking lots of soup/smoothies to get where I haven’t been since my wedding day… below the 150lb mark.

As far as exercise, I’ve fallen hard for the Ripped in 30 workout DVD by Jillian Michaels. Remember that time I said I wouldn’t Shred? Well I still won’t Shred, but not because I think Jillian is a hypocrite selling diet pills and making unrealistic weight loss claims (she is) but now it’s because I like her other DVD better. Ha! After almost 3 months of doing the Ripped in 30 DVD an average of 4+ days/week, you can actually see my biceps when I flex. I don’t know that the rest of me looks any different yet, but my biceps are significantly bigger than they were in this photo. (A note to say that I’m working out to build muscle, not to lose weight, as I think that’s where diet comes in). We’re probably about halfway through, right? I should do some progress pictures.

Brain Dump

I’m feeling like a Brain Dump today.

1. We are back in Chicago again. I miss my parents, not just for the free babysitting but because they’re really fun to be around. I’m not sure when we became friends (and not just relatives) but it’s a nice place to be.

2. T1 visiting That Husband at my dad’s office and showing off his new hat.

3. We came home just in time for them to start drilling and working on the apartment above us. This means 8 hours a day of buzzing, banging, and noise pollution and I feel like I”m going out of my mind. They offered up free membership to the gym and pool for those affected (which I already have) or access to the club on the top floor (which I can’t visit with a baby) so I’m stuck here wondering why That Husband and  I are bickering about things that are no big deal. (Oh yeah, it’s the constant kerfluffing going on above us.)

4. Today I’m ordering a Fitbit, an Ergo, and I started testing out the No ‘Poo method. I also started my personal training today. I’m a fan of all those things.

I probably should have noted why I’m getting the Fitbit. Mrs. Penguin wrote some posts about it, which got me interested. I like that it updates wirelessly, has an iphone app, tracks your sleep, AND doesn’t mean a big black band on my arm!

5. We’ve started brainstorming how to get our unruly toddler over the Atlantic ocean to Poland without losing our minds. Anyone done a cross-continental flight like this that has any tips for me?

6. I tried to make granola and tasted it right before it went in the oven to realize that the coconut oil was rancid. I think that jar was like a year old, maybe 2 or 3. Smell check your ingredients before ruining an entire batch of goodies!

7.  I’m leaving for Boston on Thursday! I have a weddnig in New Hampshire and while I’m there I plan to hang out with my Weddingbee friends, and help a friend of mine with some unpacking before her husband starts the MBA program at Harvard. You guys know I love food like no other, any suggestions for a must-visit spot while I’m there? Vegetarian friendly and seasonally focused if you please. 🙂

8. I went to the dermatologist, oh, about 8 months ago, and she gave me a cream to use on my face. She also may have mentioned that I was supposed to come see her again in something like a week or two, but I chose to ignore that. 6 months later and I can’t go even a day without using the cream before my rash comes back. Turns out the cream was steroids and my face was addicted! The new dermatologist I went to said I am not allowed to use that cream again and gave me something else. This means my face is hideous and itchy and all-around pretty gross looking. The point of me telling you this is to warn you that you might see that hideous rash pop up in pictures and that you should probably schedule a follow-up when your doctor tells you to do so.

Brain Dump

Remember these? It’s been too long and my list of lings is overflowing once again.

Birth Plan

I know I have a lot of pregnant girls reading. I came across this birth plan by Rixa and it’s my favorite ever. It’s something about that first plan, that’s so simple and straightforward.


I think I didn’t link to this here yet, only on my Formspring. The LDS Church is anti-pornography, and I am as well, and this is one of those rare situations where a woman is able to write publicly about her story of finding out about a pornography addiction and her decision to stay with her husband. When Pornography Hits Home. A few weeks ago our bishop met with the men in a special meeting where he talked about pornography and told them to repent and get things taken care of. He is meeting with the women this week and I hope he is talking about the same thing. It bothers me that the Church so far only focuses on men, acting as though women have no addictions, and that men’s pornography problems don’t involve them. It involves us. It involves us very much!


I am not a fan of Babywise. Here is a very good reason to stay away.


Kelli Nicole sent me this video a long time ago. Watching it makes me really happy.

Avoiding Farmer’s Market Scams

It’s almost Farmer’s Market time here in Chicago once again! I hope some of you have never been to one before will think about finding one near you to visit. I know some people are nervous about having an experience like Mandy, showing up and buying a bunch of stuff that someone bought at the grocery store that morning and then marked up by 200% while lying and saying it’s organic, but I think if you use a few of the tips in this article you’ll be able to find some honest-to-goodness organic farmers out to sell the lettuce and tomatoes they harvested that very morning. The “check to see if it’s all uniform” tip is my favorite one. And paying attention to whether one stand has something no one else does (like tomatoes, when no one else has tomatoes) because that is a good indication that they didn’t come from the area.

Utah Portrait Locations

If you’re in Utah I’m jealous of you. Though it’s no longer updated, this blog is a great resource.

Yellow Pages Opt-Out

How is this still a viable business? I have no idea. But if you haven’t opted out already you should do so.

7 Things You Really Don’t Need To Take A Photo Of

Haha, I have broken every one of these “rules”. 🙂

Wedding Photography Done In The Worst Way Possible

Part 1.
Part 2.
Read them both and then when your friend says she’s going to “hire this one girl” remind her why that is a very bad, bad idea. Hire someone who knows what they are doing, has back up equipment, has networked with other photographers in the area that they can count on in case of emergency.

T1 and his “lovey”

I’m not sure if this qualifies as an actual lovey, since most kids seem to need theirs and would cry and cry if they didn’t have it, which doesn’t describe T1. But lately he’s been a little obsessed with this soft rag, often doing what you see pictured in the second photo below. He particularly likes it if I mimic him and shove the rag in my mouth as well.

My favorite is when he carries it around in his mouth hands-free, like a dog.