Amazement: San Francisco

November 13, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Personal

Day 13 of NaBloPoMo 2014: Married to Amazement

My great-grandma once played the song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” She was so sentimental, and I didn’t get what was happening. I get it now. My other grandma told me about dancing on the pier with Lawrence Welk, but that may have been in Los Angeles.

Back to San Fran! This place, the entire San Francisco Bay Area, is my first choice for location to live. I think in the entire world. The opportunities, activities, food culture, proximity to forest and ocean, unique city culture, and access to cool new services are enough to fill several lifetimes. All of that comes at a significant financial cost though, and so I’m mentally prepping myself to leave this perfect place* behind and start over again somewhere new as early as 2016. Each time I think about leaving I feel a renewed dedication to make space for more beach trips, more redwoods, more Ferry Building, more hiking, more single-origin pour-over coffee, more wine tasting in Napa, more hilltops, more Karl the Fog, more conventions, more random nudity in downtown SF, and more of everything techie geeky hipster chic.

I could go on, but I’ll stop. And if you are one of those people who know me in real life and have been saying “I really want to visit you!” – DO IT! You can sleep in the boat bed** and fall in love with this place, just like me.

*perfect in all aspects except cost of living

**My son sleeps in a boat bed every night, left here by our landlord. What a cool renters perk, right?

Amazement: Working From Home

November 12, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Personal

Day 12 of NaBloPoMo 2014: Married to Amazement

I’m going to veer onto the highway of Schmaltz for a moment as I gush about how grateful I feel to be able to work from home, now with both kids in care for at least half the day. I had T2 at home with me all day up until this summer and at some point I told That Husband it was time to look into outsourcing some care for her to give me some time for work where I wasn’t juggling two things at once at all times. Even naptime work could bring on stress if I was in the middle of a project and not quite sure when she might start to wail. I like to finish each project in the same sitting I start it in, when possible, and the morning care has allowed me to do so much more regularly. I know it’s a luxury that many would love to have, and I’m very grateful that we’re able to make this a priority. It also allows me to make appointments without scrambling to find a babysitter after the appointment is made. I can schedule phone calls and guarantee their won’t be a child in the background! I’m very happy with the arrangement.

What am I doing during this working time? All the things on my list. It varies from day to day, with most days spent at the computer answering emails or editing photos or prepping posts for Pinterest Fail. Owning my own business means the list of things to do is never ending. I’ve even started breaking my lists down into “Stuff to do right away” and “Stuff to do eventually, in that mythical time when I have time to do them.” I’m working hard to let go of work at preschool pickup time, accepting that the day is over and I’ve done my best and I’ll have to try again tomorrow. I’m not very good at that, and sometimes I’m anxious and huffy with the family as I stew over all the things I didn’t get done that day. Several talks with That Husband have helped me see how toxic it is for me to act that way, and I’m working to eliminate that as much as possible.

Even though I would benefit from the adult interaction found at a “normal” job, I’m not ready to give up on my photography and blogging and other endeavors yet. Working for myself, writing, setting my hours and schedule, incredible flexibility, developing and achieving my goals, and most of all, taking pictures are all things that I’d like to keep doing indefinitely. We’ll see if I’m able to scale my profits up from where they currently sit ($24,000 for this year) in order to justify me doing this long-term.

I’ll end with one more expression of gratitude because that’s how much I feel it deep down in my bones: I’m really grateful to work for myself, doing what I love, from home.¬†

Amazement: Day Care

November 11, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Personal

Day 11 of NaBloPoMo 2014: Married to Amazement

Without realizing it, I scheduled this topic for a holiday, when both kids are out of their respective care centers. It is a nice contrast for a normal weekday, and put me into a nice mindset for writing this post. I enjoyed waking up and getting ready for the day at our own pace, meeting friends for a picnic lunch at the park, an afternoon of naptime for baby girl and show time for T1, some Super Mario with my boy who managed to lap me once or twice, and dinner with dancing around the kitchen.

It was a day I really appreciated, partially because that’s not what every day is like. I know there are some mothers who want all of their days to look like that, but I’m not one of them. Regular daytime weekday childcare allows me to experience flow, and after a nice dose of flow each workday I’m able to excitedly greet my kids when their school/daycare ends. The time apart from them is what I need to be the best version of their mom.

As I was typing up this post T1 was dancing around the living room, during the space between when his sister goes to bed and when he gets his story and lullaby. I looked up and smiled at him and he came over close to get my attention and said “Mommy, we smile at each other because we love each other.” So true. I’m lucky because statements and moments like that aren’t rare with him. We’re in a good place. I’m in a good place too.

Amazement: Creative Outlets

November 10, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Personal

Day 10 of NaBloPoMo: Married to Amazement

When I started this project I was writing my posts a day ahead of time. Only a week in I’ve already moved to writing them the same day, and this one is hatching at 9:35pm, with me mentally counting down how many seconds I’m shaving off my sleep time before I wake up at 5 and go visit the Stairmaster. I need to be patient with myself and allow that sometimes a project isn’t going to go exactly as planned, and that it can still be worthwhile even if it’s slow.

Hardly Sweetened is an example of that as well. I have more drinks to share, but right now my focus is on Jenna Cole and getting images out to clients before the holiday card ordering deadline. The Pinterest Fail makeover needs my approval, and then the site will be ready to be installed and made live for everyone to oooooh and ahhhhh over. ¬†Jenna Cole is actually in the makeover process as well right now, and I would say after this year that I wouldn’t advise making over two websites at the same time. The planning phase of a makeover is a lot of work! There are close to a dozen Womanhood Beyond Motherhood portraits that need to be edited and posted. I’ve got another very exciting endeavor, a group collaboration, launching in 2015. My days are full, and this fullness has filled something in my life that needed filling.

Those are my creative outlets in 2014. I tell myself regularly that it might work for me to do them all, but it won’t work to do them all at the same time. Fall and early winter are the time to focus on my photography clients, and personal projects will have their chance to shine in 2015. I’d say I won’t launch any more during that time, but who can say I can hold myself to that promise? There are so many ideas to execute, and if I can just squeeze a little bit more time out of each day…

Amazement: Muscle Sculpting

November 09, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Personal

Day 9 of NaBloPoMo 2014: Married to Amazement

I had been writing these posts a day ahead of time, but a party-hard sort of weekend has me pining for my bed. I’ve recently written about this part of my life, my prep for Dirty Thirty. I’m working really hard at this, using up a lot of resources, and each day I feel grateful that I have the time and ability to work at this goal of mine. I deeply admire women who push past this plateau like the one I’m experiencing using home workout DVDs while juggling their kids. That’s commitment!

Speaking of commitment, I’ve got to get my oldest in bed so I can get in a full eight hours of sleep before my 4:30am alarm goes off. I’m switching my Monday-Friday workouts to 5am to get it out of the way and maximize my childcare time for work. It’s brutal to switch ot waking up that early, but I think it will be a good routine.

(If you’re wondering, two months into my program I’m up a few pounds, but have a smaller waist and rounder behind. Progress is slow but I’m getting somewhere!)

Edit: I was writing while tired and should have clarified that I’m working to figure out how to take in the idea that the number on the scale is going up, and I don’t fit into smaller pants, but my body is changing for the better. I can feel that I’m stronger and firmer. The program is working, it’s just working in a different way than what I’ve experienced in the past.

      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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