Christmas Card 2014

December 25, 2014 By: Jenna Category: family, Holiday

 

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I am tempted to write that this has been a year of change and transition, but I think that’s probably every year for everyone. It has required some twisting and bending, as we encountered situations we didn’t expect, but we are wrapping up this year in a really good place.

I am chugging along as the family coordinator, chauffeur, rule enforcer, babysitter arranger, cook, expense manager, picture taker, blogger, and anything else that has to do with running a household and portrait photography business and multiple websites all at once.

TH switched from one Bay Area firm to another this summer, giving us the gift of even more time living in this wondrous place. He works a lot.

T1 is four-years-old and wakes up each morning with a new arsenal of stories to tell. He is observant and kind, frequently going out of his way to “fill the bucket” of those around him. He wants all the blue things, unlimited amounts of electronic time, and any food that passes his lips to be white and cheesy or filled with peanut butter.

T2 hit her baby peak at eighteen months, and we are shoring up to weather the slide into toddlerhood. We adore her kisses, baby talk, and attention to detail. She wants nothing but milk, baby dolls in her bed, endless renditions of the ABC song, and shoes on her feet.

We have a lot of good things in our life, and all those who receive this card are a part of that! With love to our family and friends,

TH,  That Wife, T1, T2

Samantha Kelly Photography-9041

Christmas Cards from 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008

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My Kid Chose Santa Over Mom

December 23, 2014 By: Jenna Category: kids, Parenting

We are a household that doesn’t buy into the cult of Santa, which until now has only meant that I write on my blog about how we aren’t doing Santa. Previously it hasn’t mattered to T1, but this is the year that playground gossip started shaping his worldview, and around this time of year talk of Santa is all the rage around the sandbox.

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We were snuggling in my bed a few weeks ago, just the two of us, when four-year-old T1 said something about Santa. I knew that this was my chance to let him in on the Grownup Secret. I don’t mind if he believes in imaginary figures (if he references Mickey Mouse or mermaids I don’t go out of my way  make sure he knows that they are make-believe) but it is important to me that he doesn’t think that he is a naughty kid and therefore didn’t get any presents delivered via flying sleigh (can mom’s gifts wrapped in brown kraft paper really compete?). I’m not sure what the other kids are saying exactly, but it’s possible that he is absorbing messages that communicate he will get whatever he wants from Santa as long as he is on the nice list.

I leaned over and told him that I had a very special secret to tell him, a secret he gets to hear because he is so very grownup. I emphasized how important it is that he keep this secret to himself and not tell any of the other kids. When I said that Santa isn’t real, and that it’s a game that parents play with their kids, he smiled really big and immediately embraced the idea that he was very mature and able to handle the information. Throughout that night and the next morning he kept telling me that we need to make sure his little sister doesn’t find out the Grownup Secret because she isn’t ready for it yet. I smugly patted myself on the back and figured this meant one child down, another to go in a few years.

The next afternoon Santa came up in the car again, and I was informed that the man in the big red suit actually is real (along with the tooth fairy), and that he has proof. Obviously the secret my son and I shared was not kept close to the vest and was the topic of some intense playground discussion. T1 told me that Cora said that she wanted a unicorn for Christmas last year, and she never told anyone about it, and still it somehow found its way under her tree, so obviously Santa is real. There was also lots of talk bout teeth and the tooth fairy.

And so, this year when I was selecting the ornament I would give to T1 for 2014, I chose Santa and a small boy, skating off into the sunset together. To represent this year as the one where my kid chose a mythical Santa Claus figure over the being who actually has the power to hear and deliver on his heart’s deepest desires.

Think that next year T1 will also be choosing Santa Claus over his mommy? Tweet with me, @jennacole, or leave your thoughts on the That Wife Facebook page.

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One Quick Take

November 05, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Holiday

Mario and Yoshi. BFF Foreverzzz.

DIY Mario and Luigi Halloween Costumes

T2 is 1

February 06, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Personal

Dear T2,

It’s been a beautiful year with you. Below, a favorite photo from each month of the first year of your life.

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From day one you have been a sweet baby. I claim you are the easiest baby in the world, though I haven’t been around enough babies to know for sure that you can claim your spot in the Guinness Book. I sleep trained you to sleep through the night before five months, and you often take a 3-4 hour nap in the afternoon. If you decide to have children of your own you will understand why parents talk so much about sleep when they want to relate where their baby sits on the ease-of-parenting scale. You may also seem easier to me because you are my second, and I’m getting a little bit better at this parenting thing as the days go by.

I’m finding it difficult to write this without thinking about the ways that you differ from your brother. Growing up I did that to myself, comparing myself to my sister and judging my strengths and weaknesses based on hers. I was the singer, she was the photographer. She was good at math, I was good at public speaking. She was tender and sweet, I was outgoing and passionate. I can see now how I limited myself because I believed that the areas where she excelled where the areas where I would always be sup-bar. As though there was some sort of finite limit on math proficiency in the family. Almost a decade after she started, I bought myself a dSLR and found myself wanting to take pictures of people as a profession. But that was her thing. Could I?

Don’t limit your life with comparisons and doubt. I don’t want you to do that to yourself, and I don’t ever want you to feel like I’m doing it to you either. You may not be a special snowflake, but you are one-of-a-kind with a potential that astounds me. At this age it is easy to imagine that you can do anything.  Read more →

Christmas Card 2013

December 25, 2013 By: Jenna Category: family, Holiday

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We made it! With the birth of T2, yet another move, demanding work schedules, and the Thunderous Threes all happening in the same year we are breathing a big sigh of relief as we think about 2014. We are still in the San Francisco Bay Area, but I’m drafting this letter from a different home address yet again. (I’m keeping my fingers crossed that 2014 will be the year with no moving.) We loved our East Palo Alto house, but made the decision back in June to move to a new rental in Fremont. A big thank you to my parents for hosting us for 6 weeks while we waited for our new place to become available (and watching our kids so we could have an adults-only weekend getaway in Portland!).

We like our new neighborhood much more and are using all sorts of methods to meet our neighbors (the most out-there attempt involved nailing an introduction letter to the tree outside our front door). The population in this area is very diverse and it’s been fun to explore the multitude of Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, and Mexican restaurants in the area. Turns out T1 is not a fan of the bubbles in bubble tea but he loves Chinese donuts.

TH and I are busier than ever, juggling two young children along with work. It’s a lot harder than we thought it would be. Thank goodness for babysitters and preschool! TH travels for work Monday-Thursday. While he’s gone I care for the kids and work on a growing number of projects – www.jennacole.com, www.pinterestfail.com, and www.thatwifeblog.com.

T1 is thriving in his fantastic preschool, attending full days every weekday. He loves making friends, starting every sentence with “Ma”, and exploring his ability to exercise his independence. Between the passionate outbursts his tender side shines through – when we caught a bug and looked at it under a microscope he begged me to set it free so it could go back to its mommy.

T2 has started digging through my kitchen cabinets and walking along the furniture. She’s a resilient little girl who survives being sat on and dragged around (literally) by her brother on a daily basis. When I say “It’s time to go get brother from preschool” she flaps her arms and waves excitedly. He is her very best friend and I love to listen to them babble and interact on the drive home from school every day.

This year we are particularly grateful for technology and the ways it keeps us connected. Social media that fosters connections with friends who live far away from us, video chats with family as we’re making dinner, Skype with family in Poland (who we, sadly, didn’t get to visit this year), screen time that gets us through the littles witching hour in the evenings, and phone calls between husband and wife as we live apart each week.

Thanks to all of you who make our life better in some way being being in it.

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Christmas cards past: 2008, 20092011, 2012

      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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