VLOG: How I Take A Picture

I thought an interesting vlog might be a demonstration of the thoughts that go through my head when I want to take a picture of T1. I’m still new to this and I realize I need to work on looking directly into the camera when I’m talking, otherwise it looks like I’m being interviewed by someone off screen a la Michelle Bachman.

Would you like to see more vlogs where I talk about photography? I have a hard time understanding how to translate things to a 10 minute vlog. What are your suggestions?

Vlog Friday: The 3 Guest Dinner

I always tell myself I’m going to do these, and then it never seem to work out. This week though I decided to postpone editing and email-answering in favor of vlog recording.

The question posed by Marsh Mellow Goodness was: What 3 people from history or your life would you invite to dinner? Why?

One of my invited guests would be this lovely lady.

Watch my little video to learn who the other two are.

Visit http://www.marshmellowgoodness.blogspot.com/ to see the guest list for the dinner parties of a few other bloggers!

Polish Wedding Traditions Video

Only one more post on Europe 2010 after this one! We leave for Europe once again 4 months from now so it won’t be long before I’m recapping once again. 🙂

I took several Folklore classes in college, which I loved, and it sparked an interest in traditions and customs in different cultures and regions. I wanted to put together a video from the wedding that shows some of the unique traditions that Polish weddings have, but I was restricted a bit by the groom who insisted that his face not be shown online. Some tricky editing helped cut him out or focus on other areas when he showed up in the frame, but there are definitely clips from the video below that are much more beautiful when they aren’t cropped in. The video is also quite long, but it was hard to eliminate things! I’ve placed subtitles throughout that help explain what is going on, but do keep in mind that these explanations come from my experience (remember I don’t speak Polish!) and may not be the full story.


Polish Wedding Traditions from Jenna on Vimeo.

If you are Polish and have some experience with Polish weddings I’d love to hear your comments below!

Operation Documenting Mothers and Babies

A huge welcome to the Operation Beautiful and Healthy Tipping Point readers who are visiting for the first time today! I’m extremely flattered that Caitlin decided to make me a stop on her Virtual Book Tour this week. I hope you’ll take the time to join in the conversation that develops in my comment section below. My readers are known for being honest, forthcoming, and often prolific! To help you get oriented, I’m Jenna, I call my husband That Husband or TH, and I refer to my baby boy as T1 which stands for That 1.

Loving your body after baby is a difficult thing to do. I didn’t really get it before, but now I understand what they mean when women say their clothes fit entirely different than they used to. It’s not just because I’m heavier, my body is actually storing fat differently. Things were rearranged a bit while I functioned as an incubator for my little one, and most of it was a change that I would gladly reverse if I could (but let me reverse the changes and keep the baby, I like having him around). With all of this adjusting I’ve had to do, the request from Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point to be part of her Operation Beautiful Virtual Book Tour could not have come at a better time. Have you heard about the movement Caitlin started with Operation Beautiful? Women write down inspirational messages on sticky notes, with phrases like “You are Beautiful” and “Smile! You look great!” and post them on mirrors, windshields, and inside of books, among other things. It reminds me a lot of Operation Nice, another fantastic movement working to spread a little more love and acceptance throughout the world. This is something I definitely want to be a part of.

Caitlin’s movement has grown so big that she’s even published a book! She sent me a copy, and if I had a coffee table, the Operation Beautiful book would be sitting on it. What I like most about Caitlin is that I interpret her message to be “Stop picking yourself apart. See the beauty in who you are now. Work to change your habits to become the person you want to be in the future.” She is helping so many women banish those icky bad body thoughts and seek a new direction in their life. You can see that she is living that message through her personal blog, Healthy Tipping Point. Her posts are full of delicious looking (healthy) food, notes about her fitness adventures, and the happy musings of someone excited about the direction her life is heading. It’s invigorating to read!

A friend of mine once posted about another movement she had read about on the blog of a friend of a friend. (So many wonderful movements out there!) It was a crusade to get more women in front of the camera with their babies.

How many photos do you have of you and your mom together? Laughing, sleeping, cuddling, crying, kissing, hugging, smiling.

I recently visited home and finished up sorting and labeling thousands of childhood photos. Out of all those pictures, there are only a small handful of my mom and I together. What a shame! I had 4 whole years of  just me and her before my sister came along, but there are very few of me with her when I was a baby. Granted it was a different time, when cameras were loaded with film and each picture cost something to take, but I would trade a few hundred of cute little me all by my lonesome to see more of how I looked up to and loved my mom when she was the center of my world.

I was pretty cute when hamming for the camera all alone.


I want more photos like these!

I asked Caitlin if she would be willing to send me a photo of her mom together.

I hate the idea that people hide away from the camera because they are ashamed or embarrassed by the way they look.  I post photographs of myself on the blog all the time with messy hair, no makeup, looking my “worst.”  Sometimes, I pause before publish but then I realize this is ME – me, me, me.  I don’t need to look “perfect” in every photograph because that’s just not reality.  And in real life, the people who want to take pictures of me do it because they love me and want to have those moments documented.  That’s why I take pictures of my mom, dad, friends, dogs – because I love them and want to remember them in that moment.  Photographs are such a precious gift and reminder of the WONDERFUL life you lead – don’t hide from the shutter! Caitlin-Healthy Tipping Point

Last week I decided to post a video of T1 taking his first swim, and I deliberately left in the part of the video that shows me entering the water (because I liked showing his initial reaction) even though you can see what a mess my body is after baby. You know what though? T1 isn’t going to care about what I looked like when he watches that video years from now. He’s going to be focusing in on the way I smiled at him, held him close, the way his infant self delighted in being close to me.

This Sunday I was taking pictures of him looking adorable in the pants That SIL sent him, when I realized that T1 and I still don’t have enough pictures together.

So I turned the camera on the two of us.

I bought a wireless shutter remote for my camera back when I was pregnant, and it’s time to start using it more often. We can capture all sorts of adventures on film with this in my hand!

It’s not just photos that are important. If you have the equipment to do it, get some video to!

P and Jenna 7-25-2010 from Jenna on Vimeo.

My photos and videos are the product of expensive equipment and some knowledge regarding how to use it, but you don’t have to have that to capture the time you spend with your baby. Get out your point-and-shoot! Or even your phone! (Although I will caution you to avoid using your phone to document your whole life, the quality just isn’t that good… yet 🙂 )

Thinking about the Operation Beautiful mission has reawakened this desire to step out from behind the camera and prevent my own children from wondering where their mother was when they were young, no matter how full my face looks right now. For me, the missing photos wouldn’t come from lack of access to a camera. I’m a photographer, so photos aren’t the problem. I’ll be in more photos when I make it a priority. When I use the messages that the Operation Beautiful book contains and banish those threads of self-doubt from my life, and revel in the moment. I can make changes today that will lead to a happier and healthier tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean I should be putting my life on hold until that better tomorrow comes. The first step to a better me is to Change the Way I See, Not The Way I Look (yet another movement of Caitlin’s that you can join in on, details here!).

When I was at the gynecologist’s office this week  (everything went awesome!)I posted my first Operation Beautiful notes. It was so fun to think about what the reactions might be when they were discovered.

In some fashion magazines.

And in the bathroom. I’m not sure the doctor would be excited about me posting these notes in her bathroom but I went for it anyway!

And with my new mission of documenting life with baby in mind, I turned the camera on T1 and myself for a few frames.

I feel so excited about this idea, the idea that we should be celebrating those mother-baby moments through pictures, that I’m offering up a free mini mother and baby session with 3 5X7 prints to one woman who is interested in documenting the smiles and huge she shares with her baby. Read the post below for details on who is eligible and how to enter!

Thanks again to Caitlin for inspiring me to be in more photos and videos with T1 and future babies to come! She’s offering up a copy of her Operation Beautiful Book to one person who comments below ( I know, two giveaways in one day!). To enter, comment below by Saturday, August 7, 2010 11:59 PM CST and answer one of the following questions:

Do you have a link to a favorite photo of you and your mom? I would love to see it if you do! What about a favorite photo of you with your baby (if you are a mom yourself!)? If you can’t paste a link, can you tell me one of your favorite childhood memories that includes your mom?

Winner must provide an address in the Continental US for the book to be shipped to.

Baby Wearin’ Love

I love wearing my baby. I’m actually not sure how there are mothers out there who never do! I can have T1 close and keep him from spending the entire day in his swing or wiggling on his back in the floor and still have two hands free to get things done. Even TH likes to wear T1! He was caught on camera doing so on my 25th birthday (Please note that it is dangerous to wear your baby down around your hips that way, and we hate that carrier and only used it two or three times. It’s called the K’Tan and we never could figure out how to use it correctly).

One of the carriers that I use frequently is the Bjron. I’m going to have people asking in the comments, so I’ll say outright that I haven’t read anything convincing about the Bjorn being dangerous or harmful when used correctly. There are models that have been recalled due to safety issues, the biggest happened in 1999 on models manufactured from 1991 through 1998 due to infants slipping out because the leg holes were too large.  I hear lots of people talking about it being awful because of the way baby sits in it, but I’ve never seen any scientific data to back up the claims. I’m just not big on the “would you want to dangle this way” argument, because the majority of the things I do to T1 I would not want to have done to myself (would you want a big giant person to lift you up by your armpits and carry you around on their hip while holding you by the crotch?).

I was previously borrowing a Bjorn from a friend, then another was selling hers for super cheap so I bought it. I wear it when we go for walks because it gives him more air flow, but I won’t be wearing it once he gets really heavy because heavy babies in the Bjorn = really sore back. My next carrier purchase will probably be an Ergo. I’ve only heard good things about it, and all of my friends who used to have Bjorn carrier have sold theirs and switched to the Ergo. Again, I own it because it’s cheap, and because I only wear it for at most an hour a day a few times a week. If this is how you plan to use yours and you can find a good deal, I say go for it. Otherwise look into the Ergo or the Mei Tai.

The carrier I love most is the Moby. I did indeed pay $40 for a piece of black fabric that I wrap around my body in a criss-cross pattern but I don’t regret the choice to do so.  It allows T1 to snuggle in nice and close, and gives me two hands to get things done around the house. I can wash the dishes, fold laundry, and of course, write posts for That Wife. The photos below were taken when he was something like 4 weeks old.

I have a knock-off Moby that someone gave me, and I don’t like it as much.

Awww. I like how old he is now, but I do kind of miss these snuggly moments.

A shot from the back to give you an idea how it wraps in back.

The way the Moby works can be a bit confusing, so I made a video to show you how it works. And yes I’m wearing the same dress in both the photos from many weeks ago and the video I made this week. Ralph Lauren, $20 at TJMaxx! I realize the intro is awesomely awkward and a bit cheesy. I still need to work on feeling a bit more comfortable in front of the video camera. 🙂

The Moby from Jenna on Vimeo.

Are you using a carrier? What kind and why did you choose that one?