Children and Foreign Grandparents

June 20, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Parenting, Travel

 

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We have been in Poland for about a week, with another week to go. TH’s family is as lovely as ever, and once the (grueling) flight from the States to Poland is over I always feel we shouldn’t wait so long to come back again.

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I anticipated a really awful flight, and the kids actually exceeded my expectations. It was overnight and they slept for a good portion of it. We bought a seat for T2 and put her in a car seat and that made things a lot easier. I also expected jet lag with two kids to be tough, and it was. The kids have been sleeping in the same room for several weeks now, but here we have been unable to get them to settle in and sleep through the night if they are together. I’m grateful that my in-laws are providing us with several days in Berlin without the kids. We are craving some serious re-connection time as a couple.

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One thing I didn’t anticipate was how hard this trip would be for T1. Previously he was very young, either not talking yet or just learning to speak, and he didn’t seem to mind the language barrier so much. All speech probably sounded a bit confusing to him! Now though he seems really thrown by the lack of English and strong accents. I confess I’m not sure how to walk the line between affording him space to be shy and autonomous, and pushing him outside of his comfort zone in order to be polite and attempt to form bonds with these family members who love him so much.

We’ve talked about different options but aren’t sure what will be best. Maybe we keep the current approach, visiting for two weeks every 1-2 years, and see how things develop. Try to prioritize video conferencing more often. Long summers in Poland for the kids at some point? Are there things we can do now to prevent the same disconnect for T2?

It’s been really hard for me to watch all of this unfold, because I feel like one way I can express love and gratitude for my inlaws is to encourage my kids to engage with the in meaningful ways. But T1 is his own person, and I can’t force him to feel and think and act in ways that don’t match with what he wants. I hope this is just a stage, like most other things with kids this young.

Do I have any readers with family who live internationally and speak a language that isn’t spoken by their grandchildren/nieces/nephews/etc? How have you made it work?

One Quick Take

June 11, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Uncategorized

We met some friends at Big Basin Redwoods State Park to take pictures. After I did my thing and we ate some lunch, they were kind enough to turn the camera around and take some of me and my kids.

The picture above is what I would print out and hang up. The one below is what it’s like trying to get the one above to happen.

 

 

One Quick Take

May 29, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Uncategorized

The film version of an Instagram photo that I posted a few weeks ago. I love the “ankle watch” fashion statement T1 is making, even when wearing nothing but a towel after their bath.

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One Quick Take

May 14, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Uncategorized

Creating these shots left me a sweaty mess (keeping two young kids on a white 53″ backdrop is tough!), but the prints I sent my mom as a mother’s day gift this year went over really well.

Mother's Day Gift

 

I think I’ll make it a tradition… though I’m glad I have a full year to recover before I attempt this again.

A Little Bit of The Latest

March 24, 2014 By: Jenna Category: Personal

This is one of those weeks where I open up my calendar and to-do list and feel my heart begin to race as I see how much needs to be done. How do you manage your stress during those time periods? I have a playlist of songs with a fast beat that help me dance around and calm down a little bit. (I’m listening to Daft Punk by Pentatonix as I type this.) Why the escalating stress levels? It’s tax filing season, the time where I curse Jenna Cole and self-employment and wonder why I persist in working for myself (then I file and it’s all over and I love it again).

Also, this Thursday and Friday I’m doing preschool pictures for T1′s preschool. They have two locations, and 120 kids between all of the classes. I’m finalizing my paperwork and plans, and preparing to overdose on coffee so I can bounce around like a maniac for several hours trying to get kids to flash the perfect smile into my camera so their parents will feel they absolutely have to have the shots I present. This past weekend I assembled the backdrop supplement that I invented and I’m really excited about how it’s all going to come together. Here’s a little glimpse into what it’s going to look like, though the actual photos won’t be backlit by the sun, will have a gray backdrop, and won’t have kids with messy faces (I’m hiring someone specifically for messy face and hair patrol!).

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      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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