WEverb11: Befriend

December 05, 2011 By: Jenna Category: lovely

Have you heard about WEverb11? It’s a site started by some of my online friends, and you can read a full description here. To summarize, WEverb provides a prompt, and then you write about it. I like the idea because it’s not only fun to see how many interpretations there are for the prompts (endless), but also because the prompts tend to be geared toward introspection and reflection. You can even include badges like this one in your post or on your site.

I wanted to kick off my participation (no guarantees on how frequently I’ll join in) with today’s prompt because I so appreciated Mandy’s Thanksgiving shoutout to me. I want to spend some time spreading the love as well.

 Befriend

Did you meet any new friends this year? How did they impact your 2011?

First shoutout goes to my in-person friend Paige. Iv’e mentioned her a few times. She lives 4 floors below me, has two kids (one who is T1′s age), and a husband in business school like mine. Somehow I don’t have a single picture of/with her, something I need to fix ASAP. We can talk for hours, and I really don’t know how I lived without her for an entire year. She’s passionate about natural birth (is currently 8 months pregnant with her third), teaching a Chicago Hypnobabies course and also somehow finding time to make and sell baby wearing wraps as well. We do babysitting swaps constantly and I’ll be sad to leave her behind next year when business school is over. Paige taught me that now matter how awesome my online friends are (so many of you are so incredibly dear to me) having someone in real life to depend on, laugh and cry with, is essential.

Recently I started emailing back and forth with Grace. Her blog title, Opinionation, fits her writing style and personality perfectly. She lives in Southeast Asia with her husband and baby girl, which of course makes for some really fascinating posts about culture, but what I love most are her thoughts on motherhood and marriage. Her writing style is  frank, extremely pragmatic, and at times brutally honest. I know at least once she has written a post in response to mine, directly contradicting what I said! At first that kind of annoyed me, but now it’s one of the things I love most about her. She probably doesn’t even know how much I love her blog since I never take the time to comment. :) I was going back through to try to pick out a handful of favorite posts, and ended up opening like 30 tabs. Hand down my favorite is Sexless Marriages, but I also highly reccomend Marriage Is Not “Hard Work”, What I Don’t Like About MotherhoodI Love My Husband More than My Child, and My Parenting Style. She makes me think.

Emily Kate of Second Story Window lives in Las Vegas. We do most of our talking on Twitter, and I’ve told her several times I want her to become best friends with Mandy because they both live in Vegas. Apparently I have an interest in matchmaking friendships with my favorite internet ladies. I have a post filled with pictures of activities/games/toys I’ve been using with T1 lately sitting in my drafts folder, and most of them were inspired by her. She has several really fantastic Pinterest boards filled with baby and toddler activities if you’re looking for ways to entertain your kid. Interacting with Emily has caused me to think about new and different ways to maximize my one-on-one time with T1.

Danielle of my dear hearts loves food like I do. In an all-consuming “I’ll-devote-any-extra-money-we-have-to-ONE-unbelievable-dinner” sort of way. She taught me about Chowhound and drank single sourced cocoa bean hot chocolate with me in Boston.

Jackie of Blueberries for Me and I have one really unique thing in common. We both have been diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis. I haven’t dealt with any symptoms since my surgery in high school, but whenever she tweets about her struggles I feel her pain. We certainly aren’t the same though, as she is Catholic and writes about her faith similar to the way I use my blog on Sundays to share more about mine. I always enjoy her comments (she’s like Grace in that she’s not afraid to disagree with me) and when I think about her blog two posts in particular come to mind: Good food: how much more does it cost? and this supremely awesome one titled Ten things to donate to a homeless shelter besides your old socks that absolutely everyone must read (teaser: stop giving away clothing that is covered in stains or filled with holes, even the homeless don’t want to wear stuff like that).

Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point has written several books, runs a website that has inspired an entire movement toward more self-love, blogs what she eats on a daily basis (she taught me about chia seeds!), and is a great resource whenever I have questions about running. Because she’s so busy I find it extra-special when she’s willing to email back and forth with me about the highs and lows that can sometimes come with blogging. I thought I was over pregnancy updates for the time being, but she’s expecting her first in June and I love the way her updates facilitate discussion on a range of topics.

I almost feel a little bit bad writing this list, because I’m of course going to leave people out. Please don’t think you mean any less to me if you aren’t mentioned here (especially long time friends like Sophia, Katy, Erin, Cristin, Janssen, Lisa, Christiana, EmmieKelli, Natalie, Nodakademic, and so many others who didn’t technically fall under the umbrella of “newly befriended this year”. I’ll stop because now I feel guilty thinking there are others I didn’t include in *this* list). I love you all (both listed and not listed*).

Are you going to participate in WEverb11? Don’t worry if you didn’t start at the beginning. You can either go back and catch up, start with today’s prompt and move forward, or just write about the prompts that interest you most.

*Seriously, last time I will ever clarify that I can’t possibly list everyone. I promise.

 

Boise With My Besty

July 12, 2011 By: Jenna Category: Adventures

An entire weekend with my best friend Heather (who happens to have a daughter one month younger than T1) means a LOT of pictures of them doing pretty much the same thing over and over and the two of us thinking it’s the cutest thing that has ever happened in the history of the world.

In the third picture T1 is letting me know he wants me to sing “Itsy Bitsy Spider”. I started singing it to him regularly after Kimberly Michelle wrote this post. Now he wants me to sing him nothing but that song over and over!

Of course we dumped them in the bathtub together.

And they chilled in their carseats together.

Sharing? Not so much.

We spent a few hours with another college friend, Amber, who just bought a house in the area. I’m so jealous that Heather and Amber get to live next to each other and raise their babies together.

The highlight of the trip was the photo session we did on our last night there.

Shortly before we started taking photos I handed the camera over to Heather’s sister and gave her a little mini lesson on composition. She caught on really quick and I was able to actually be in some nice looking photos, which is a very rare thing.


Our dream was to put these two in the shot together in somewhat coordinating outfits and get them playing together. Unfortunately they spent most of the time ignoring each other.

T1 did attempt to teach her how to eat rocks (look at her reaching for a rock in the picture on the right, haha).

He also took  the toy recorder, hit her on the head with it, pulled her pigtail, then looked away and acted like nothing happened.

This allowed me to get some shots of him all by himself while she was crying in pain (sorry Heather and L!).

See it there? Itsy bitsy spider once again. We taught him to cheer when the song is over.

One last attempt at them playing together and… still not working out.

A new location (patch of weeds that I know Heather thought I was crazy for trying to shoot in!). Heather always talks about this adorable cheesy grin that her daughter flashes, and I didn’t really get it until I met her in person. She flashes that face at pretty much anyone and everyone when she wants to charm them. And she has Heather’s slightly-winky right eye which is just too stinkin’ adorable.


A baby sandwich made up of mama and gramma.

Another attempt at a photo with all four of us smiling and looking right at the camera. Another no-go.

As they rushed L to the car to get her away from the bugs and mosquitoes, I handed the camera over to Heather’s sister one more time. LOVE THESE!!!


I am for sure getting T1 out into a field in his bare feet and blue jeans. A shirtless baby makes for great pictures.

I hope to make the Boise trip an annual experience (if I visit my parents like this each year). Heather and I were able to reconnect, and we realized that our friendship picked right back up where we left off. Thanks again to the B family for hosting us that crazy weekend!

2010 in Review

January 01, 2011 By: Jenna Category: Personal

I’ve seen a few bloggers do posts like this in the last few days, and I love it for a few reasons. It’s a great way for me to look back in a few years and remember what my year was like. It’s also a great way to point out some favorite posts from the past year to any new readers!

January

I wrote about my struggle with pregnancy weight gain and accepting my new body shape. I started eating in the style of the Real Food movement, something I am still doing today. I started answering questions on Formspring, and kept doing so even when it felt like everyone else was dropping out. To date I’ve answered almost 3500 questions! That’s a whole lot of talking about myself :). Baby was going to arrive in a few moments and I knew the time would go by in a blink, so I started thinking about the post-partum period.

February

I talked about Good/Better/Best, and I’m still working to do better each day. We stressed about what we would name T1. I admitted that I pee my panties a little bit sometimes. We had a snow day in Dallas (very rare) and I went exploring in a wooded area near my house, coming frighteningly close to getting lost!

March

I gave you a tour of our apartment at Villa Miranda in Dallas. I made baklava for the first time, something I would most definitely like to do again. My stomach exploded with stretch marks, a part of my pregnancy that is still with me to this day. I had maternity photos taken by my friend Bethany! I devoted a post to my caring and devoted husband. I was showered with love at my baby shower. This was an exciting month, but the highlight was most definitely finding out that we were moving to Chicago!

April

I wrote about how I had been preparing my body to have a baby. I tried live blogging general conference, something I’d like to do again in the future but probably won’t happen now that I have a baby to entertain! I was getting so little sleep that it started to consume my thoughts, which of course led to a post here on That Wife. I wrote one final letter to T1 in embryo. Finally, T1 arrived! I wasn’t producing enough milk, which starved our son, and so I started supplementing with formula and wrapping him in a biliblanket to treat the jaundice which resulted.

May

I posted the story of T1′s birth, and tried to answer your birth questions. I wrote about how we are paying for our expenses while at business school, even though TH isn’t currently working. Stopped breastfeeding. Ignited a whole lot of controversy why I wrote my interpretation of the LDS views on mothers working outside the home. Highlighted ways that blogging had made me a better person. I had the first of many awful OBGYN appointments. My diet changed once again as we drastically cut back on the amount of meat we consume.

June

We used cloth diapers! I wrote candidly about what post-partum recovery is like. Let’s stop using “retard” and “gay” is derogatory terms! We buzzed T1′s hair, which made you all a little crazy. I realized that mommy blogging kind of sucks sometimes. Yet another sucky OBGYN appointment. That Food Diary was launched. I showed what it’s like to take care of a 4 month old. We had a little family outing at the Dr. Pepper Festival in Dublin. I took a little break from blogging.

July

I fed the missionaries, which was a big deal because it was my first experience trying to cook a meal for guests and manage a baby at the same time. I caught on to the idea of voting with my food dollars. We flew to Washington for T1′s baby blessing. T1 had two notable firsts, swimming and laughing. I became obsessed with the farmer’s market.

August

I’m a baby-wearin’ mama, and changed my eating habits even more drastically. We found an AMAZING apartment. Sadly, this caused us to give up cloth diapering. I spent time with e-friends at a pool party at my apartment building, a soda shop in Dallas, and in Boston.

September

We moved to Chicago and suffered through weeks and weeks without internet. I was able to spend some time with long-time reader Sophia and the Chicago bees. I attempted to save money and dye my hair myself, which was most definitely not a good idea. I grossed a whole lot of people out by creating a placenta print and posting pictures of the process. I came to terms with being a self-taught photographer. That Wife Book Club was launched! We struggled with juggling our baby at church, and I talked about postnatal cuddling. No internet was stressful, but TH not having a passport weeks before we were set to leave for Europe was most definitely a low point for us.

October

We went to Europe!!! (A trip I still need to post about in full.) I stressed about greeting my in-laws with a kiss, they introduced T1 to solid foods. I advocated for less helicopter parenting. T1 dressed as the Sleep Bandit for Halloween. My parents came.

November

T1 gained two teeth. I dressed up as the housing bubble and TH was a mortgage backed security for a University of Chicago MBA party. I officially lost 25 pounds. I attempted to go to Ikea alone with a baby, which was a very bad idea. We spent Thanksgiving in Washington after the wedding of TH’s best friend brought to the Pacific Northwest.

December

We want to shave T1′s hair yet again. I finally finished revamping my Jenna Cole sites. I pulled off a holiday party for That Wife blog readers, with about 10 people in attendance, and vowed to do that no more than once a year. I posted my thoughts on motherhood so far, T1 started crawling, I spoke in church, we joined some CSAs, and I showed what it’s like to run around after an 8 month old all day. We didn’t buy T1 anything for Christmas, and we decided we won’t be telling him Santa is real. We flew to Utah for 7 days and spent some time at a house in Heber City with my parents, we were spoiled by the amount of gifts we received and I felt a little guilty because I am so fortunate. Our entire family loved this way of spending Christmas enough that we’re considering repeating it next year.

You know what? After going through all of these posts and reviewing the past year, I realized that I really, really loved 2010. I feel like it’s an appropriate time for a little letter.

Dear 2011,I bet you can’t beat 2010 on the awesomeness scale. But why don’t you give it a try?

Love,

That Wife

Happy New Year friends!

Sophia

September 04, 2010 By: Jenna Category: blog

Some things about Sophia:

According to my Top Commenter widget she is the #1 commenter on That Wife

She is one of my favorite readers

I’ve told TH many times that I think she’s brilliant and I can’t understand why she’s still reading my silly ramblings after all this time

Her comments are some of my favorites, always relevant, always detailed, and always incredibly logical

She has commented on this blog over 500 times

Sophia is not her real name, but even when we met in person I still called her that. It confused TH and he kept asking her if we should call her Cortney (her actual name) but I think she knows that by now she will always be Sophia to me!

You can find her very first comment on this post

She used to live in Dallas and we met for the first time right after T1 arrived

She just spent a week in Chicago so we were able to meet in person again this past aweek

I liked taking pictures of her pretty smile and naturally curly hair (yes her hair just “does” that without any work on her part)

This is her blog

The two photos above were taken in my new apartment! The light is just amazing, but the color is a bit wonky so I need to get a gray card.

The photos below were taken in this super special (somewhat secret) garden that’s right outside my building and only accessible to residents. I suspect several of my Chicago photo shoots will take place here.

Not that I wouldn’t love to meet all of you, but frequent, long-time commenters definitely hold a special place in my heart. Some of you have been reading and contributing for an impressively long time, and even if you don’t have blogs of your own, I feel like I’ve been able to get to know you (through your  many many many comments).

The more time I spend on this blog, the more my e-friends become just as important to me as my IRL friends. When I was a crying, sobbing mess due to problems with breastfeeding who did I get in touch with? An e-friend who had a baby boy just a few months before I did. Her emails and IMs meant so much to me and without this lovely little blog of mine I never would have made that connection.

I’m getting all emotional and teary-eyed as I write this. 3 years ago I never could have guessed at the ways blogging would change and shape my life. I feel like we’re all in a big blogging sorority together and I just love you ladies (and the few guys who are reading-I love you too!)

Texas Bee Pool Party

September 01, 2010 By: Jenna Category: Uncategorized

Right before I left I hosted a Texas Bee pool party at my apartment complex! I was so happy to have so many people agree to come. I don’t have time to comment on every photo, so those who attended can feel free to leave their thoughts below :)

Baby BoP and Baby Avo. T1 has such a HUGE head compared to her! They are only 5 days apart. I remember when BoP went into labor and I was so mad because she was due after me and I was so ready to have the baby out of my belly!

Hydrangea, BoP, Mouse, Avocado. TH came after we took this picture, and Fro-Yo was there as well but she wasn’t in our group shot because she was mistakenly at the wrong pool for a little while!

Baby Hydrangea is on the way.

Those swim trunks are for a 12 month old. He looks ridiculous in them.

I brought my waterproof camera down for some shots in the pool. Fro-Yo’s nieces had so much fun playing with it.

I am most definitely NOT good at being in underwater photos.

Fro-Yo is really good at it though!

Isn’t she darling?

Can you find Mr. Mouse in Mrs. Mouse’s glasses?

If any of the bees present would like a copy of the photos they are in send me an email! I’m exciting for our Chicago Bee get together this Saturday :)

      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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