A Week Off

October 27, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Travel

Morning faces in Houston, 2013

We are spending this week in Houston, staying with our friends from our time at business school. We have boys the same age, and our youngest kids are only a year apart, which will matter less with time. I’m most looking forward to the feeling of absolute acceptance and comfort whenever I spend time with them. We make dinner together, clean up together, stay up too late together. Moving around a lot makes it hard to make it to that point with people, the point where you aren’t putting on a performance at all and are able to fully be yourself.

As I mentioned in a previous post, TH is working a lot more than we thought he would (even more than his last job) so these trips are chance to deepen connections with people I love, and have a fantastic time eating and exploring and photographing with some really fabulous people. I don’t know if we’ll be able to make this trip next year, when T1 is in kindergarten, at least not for this long. I’m not sure what the policies are in our school district where we live now, but I’ve heard that the schools can be pretty aggressive about pursuing parents who don’t have their kids in school enough. A friend told me about being reported to the police when she went out of town for a week, and then kept her daughter out of school the next week due to illness! What’s that like in your area?

If you’re in Houston, I’ve mentioned before that I’m interested in doing a Jenna Cole photography shoot while I’m here! Send me an email or comment below if you’d like to learn more.


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

      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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