My Ideal Vacation with Young Kids

November 19, 2013 By: Jenna Category: Adventures

My trip to Texas taught me a lot about how I’m going to approach travel with young kids for the next few years. There are people who take their children to Disneyland, and talk in glowing terms about nothing but the smiles and laughter and first encounters with characters who previously existed only in a virtual world. I know that a trip I took to Disneyland with young kids would not be summarized with a Pollyanna attitude. There would be meltdowns and missed naps and obscene amounts paid for messy popsicles in the shape of Mickey’s head. I don’t generally consider myself to be a negative person, but when it comes to parenting I have a hard time managing my expectations and the trying experiences are what often stick in my memory.

Speaking of managing expectations, I didn’t manage mine very well for the first portion of our trip, spent in Austin. I was meeting my parents there while they were on a business trip, and staying with two young kids by myself in a hotel (my parents were in a separate hotel, a 5-minute walk away) was a lot harder than I thought it would be. T1 saw his first 3D movie with my parents and I’m happy about the little bit of time they were able to spend together, but that’s something I won’t be repeating again until both children are self-sufficient.

Traveling with young kids means making-do without the arsenal of resources that helps make parenting manageable and enjoyable. After two days I left Austin and drove over to Houston to spend a week with our closest friends from Chicago. When I got out of the car and hugged Paige it took a lot to hold back the tears – I was overwhelmed with relief to be in a kid-friendly environment with my friend who I can 100% be myself with. We didn’t have anything except the mundane planned for my stay. We went to the gym, made meals from scratch, traded off childcare responsibilities as we ran errands, and stayed up late into the night painting our nails and talking about our husbands.

Read more →

Instagram Friends

May 04, 2013 By: Jenna Category: blog

I’ve had lots of meetups in the past with people I don’t know in real life. Weddingbee friends, Facebook friends, and blog reader friends. So why is it that making new friends via Instagram feels a bit strange?

It’s not strange Jenna. It’s awesome. I know this because I mentioned on one of my Instagram photos that I was itching to take pictures of someone other than my family, and a woman in the area whom I had never met before spoke up and said she would be interested in getting together so our kids could play and I could take pictures. I took her up on her offer and had a great time. And now we are meeting up at an amusement park (tomorrow) as well!

Moral of the story: Making new friends via Instagram is not weird. And I want to keep doing it.

Hosting Friends

May 03, 2013 By: Jenna Category: Adventures, family

As soon as we knew were moving here (and had a spare room to host people in) I started telling all my friends that they were welcome to come stay with us and explore the area. No one had taken me up on the offer until mid-April, when I had friends come for two weekends in a row! The first weekend was spent with a college friend who is having her first baby this summer (she was going to stay with me, but ended up staying with another mutual friend in the area which worked out really well because I get boring and tired at around 8:00pm each night). [Side note: They told me that they went out clubbing one night and I believed them and was so jealous! They laughed and laughed at the idea that my almost-30-week pregnant Mormon friend would go out clubbing in San Francisco late into the night and that I was gullible enough to think it actually happened.]

My two college friends and I drove down to Carmel on Saturday, which is one of my new favorite places because the light was stunning and the white sand makes for gorgeous pictures. I’d like to find the perfect spot (with closer parking) and come back on a regular basis.

Read more →

OMGMom Meets TF

September 10, 2012 By: Jenna Category: Personal

See what I did there with all of the acronyms in the title? This weekend I spent a few hours with Mandy of OMG Mom (we’ve met before) and her adorable daughter, whom I was meeting for the first time. Mia and T1 are about 9 months apart I think, so they’re close enough in age to make it work, even though I could tell that Mia was a bit bored with T1 at times. I tried to choose my outfit carefully, because I knew Mandy would look awesome, which she did, and I think I’m going to have to give it another try next time we meet.

We spent some time at my place and then went to the park where they shared snacks.

And went down the slide. (T1 tried to tell me that Mia’s pink sparkly shoes were his and tried to convince me to put them on him).

And scaled the monkey bars. Look, T2 is making an in-utero appearance as well! I look so different in pictures than what I see.

I would have fed them lunch, but I’m not sure they wanted to eat it (my hummus was a bit overpowering on the salt and garlic although I did really like this recipe and plan to use it again) but they had to head out for family stuff. Mandy is so much fun to spend time with, and T1 loooooved her. She was constantly scooping him up and playing with him and telling me how great he is. (She’s right, he’s one of the coolest kids ever.) She was also very gracious and refrained from commenting on our inability to be proper hosts since we have almost no seating downstairs (we had to drag kitchen chairs out on the porch to talk). Stylish Mia was not at all freaked out by the fact that I acted like I knew her already, waited patiently for T1 to stop hogging all of his toys so she could try them as well, and did a great job posing for pictures. After they left, T1 kept talking about his “friends” and the “park” and I realized Mandy is right. It is time for me to get some regular playdates scheduled. If only these two lived closer!

And just for fun, a picture of T1 on his new toy. That Husband took this because T1 went outside, came back in, and told him that he wanted him to take his “pitture”. He smiled and posed for several shots all on his own. He’s made so much progress over the summer! (And of course I am delighted that he wants to have his picture taken. I dream of pictures documenting our life similar to what The Image is Found creates.)

Finals Are Over, Christmas Celebrating Begins!

December 12, 2011 By: Jenna Category: Personal

Finals are over, thank goodness, and it’s our last looooooong Christmas break we’ll probably ever have. A 3+ week Christmas break is the best part of being a student, and we’ll be celebrating ours in Washington with my parents (we leave today). We’ve been spending time with friends before we leave, and Saturday was our most jam-packed day yet. I woke up, did Ripped in 30, showered, put my swimsuit on (and the baby’s too), we went down for family swim time, came up and made Mexican Wedding Cookies (a big hit) and we spent the rest of the day/evening at a Mexican fiesta hosted by our favorite friends. We really just ate Mexican food and our friend wore a sombrero, but it was the best kind of party to have with 4 kids under 5 present.

I haven’t been photographing much lately, and between this day and the pictures I took the next day of my pregnant friend, I’m feeling renewed. Something about photography, this craft I’m so passionate about, rejuvenates me and helps me feel excited about life. I hope my family is ready for me to have a camera pointed at them all the time over the holidays. :)

When we went downstairs for our family swim time, our favorite friends were there as well! T1 LOVES these two. The little girl, B, is like a big sister to him.

That Husband took this one of me, and I’m so proud of him. Look at this framing! Multiple action layers going on, great lighting. I have high hopes for our vacation photos in the future.

A few hours later, our fiesta began. Matt kicked it off, and told everyone present they had to dance if he was going to play. It was awesome.

While we finished preparing the food, the kids ran around being rather crazy.

After dinner we had hours of fascinating conversation topped off with some snuggling whenever the kids wandered near.

T1 has a new love. The flash on my camera (or my iPhone).
When the babies were tired and it was time to go home, we wound down with some Christmas carols sung by the light of the tree.

It was the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. I’ll check back in as often as I can while I’m living with my parents for the next few weeks. I’m considering a Day in the Life over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Wouldn’t it be fun to see in detail how other people celebrate Christmas? Maybe we could turn it into a series, and have other people submit their Christmas experience as well! I’d love to feature posts like that.

      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.
  • Archives

That Wife
All rights reserved © 2008-2014

I am a HowJoyful Design by Joy Kelley