The 6th Anniversary

My mom has told me several times that she thinks years 5-7 are the hardest in a marriage, and I always took that to mean it would be the years when we, as a couple, have to work the hardest to like each other. I used to be a Marilyn Monroe fangirl and thought it would be a seven year itch type situation with one of us questioning exactly why we chose the other as a life partner.

But that isn’t it at all, at least not for us. If anything my attachment to TH has deepened over the years, and the more time goes by the I wonder how I was able to get it so right when I was as immature as I was. However, I would rate these years as the hardest yet because of the circumstances of our life right now. I picture our situation like that of a garden, filled with flowers and weeds. Some things we love, and want to keep, and that means we have less time together because we need to tend to other responsibilities. Other things are noxious, uninvited and unwanted, but need to be taken care if we want to clear the path between us.



The new job is not quite what we thought it was going to be. Not bad, just different. Certainly more working hours than we anticipated. As I think about moving through year seven I’m working to set realistic expectations and thinking about how we can nurture our relationship even if we can’t physically be together as much as we would like. We’ll be in the same plot, sifting through the dirt and the worms. And even if we aren’t doing it side-by-side we’ll still be working at it together. What we’ve grown together is pretty freaking magical if you ask me.

I still choose you, Favorite.

The 1st Anniversary
The 2nd Anniversary
The 3rd Anniversary
The 4th Anniversary
The 5th Anniversary

The 5th Anniversary


The 5th year saw dramatic changes. We’re settling in a new place, literally and figuratively. I’m discovering new sides of him, he’s becoming acquainted with new sides of me (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse). If I’m being completely honest, I will admit that I struggled to find a wedding picture to share. I’m having a hard time separating our wedding day from our Mormonism, and there are a lot of feelings to sort through in that area. One thing I do know – I would never wish away a path that led me to him. Whatever forever means, I’m so glad we are sharing it with each other.

The 1st Anniversary
The 2nd Anniversary
The 3rd Anniversary
The 4th Anniversary

Making Amends

I’ve had this post on my mind for a long time now, but I felt I couldn’t write it until I revealed the enormous shift I’ve made over the past year. If you didn’t know that I had left Mormonism how could what I am about to say come across as anything other than pandering? I needed you to know that I am in a different place so that I could atone for my past mistakes. I choose the word atone carefully, knowing that my recent declaration could make it sound as though I am trying to be clever. But I know of no better word than atone to convey a complete cleansing, which is what I need. Some of the things I’ve said in the past hurt people in really deep ways and I want to shed the baggage that comes along with realizing that. This does not mean I recognize all of the mistakes I’ve ever made or will continue to make, or that I have the ability to own up to each and every one of them. I am deeply flawed, and within that bundle of flaws comes pride and shame, both which prevent me from being all that I want to be. I’ll keep chipping away at those stones that burden my progress, but for now I hope those I have hurt will accept the apologies I am offering up below and know that they come from the truest part of myself that I am mentally and emotionally able to lay bare.

fire sunset chicago eclipse

Most of these apologies are related to my Mormon mindset, but I will start with one that has no relation to the faith of my childhood. While I was pregnant I wrote a post called I’m Gonna Climb That Mountain (those who were hurt by this post have requested that it be made unavailable to the public so that the hurtful messages I voiced within it can’t be spread any further). I’m not sure anymore what I was trying to convey, but reading back over it I can see that it was a terrible post and I said a lot of hurtful things. I’ve been ashamed of that post for a long time, but haven’t allowed myself to take it down because I didn’t want to hide behind my ability to make posts private or delete them altogether. I think women should birth how and where they want. I am sorry that I made any woman feel like her birth plans or birth experience weren’t good enough. I think mothers should have every opportunity to choose the birth experience that leaves them feeling empowered and triumphant, because that is how I felt after the births of my babies and that is what I want every woman to have as well. I think that some women do everything they can to give birth a certain way and it turns out to be something else entirely. Those women should have the opportunity to grieve the loss of a great dream while they simultaneously celebrate the arrival of their little one(s), and no one should ever criticize them for doing so. There is no mountain. There’s just a pregnant woman doing her best for the life she carries inside of her, and then there is a beautiful mother doing her best for her child.

And now for the opinions and thought processes that were a product of my personal history and religious tradition. A wonderful thing to note is that not all of those who come from my community or belong to the Mormon faith think or act the way I did; they are much better people than I. But when I shifted away from Mormonism and a worldview shaped by my youth I left old hurtful attitudes behind and I can’t untangle where these attitudes began and how much of a role my past played in nurturing them. All I can do is acknowledge that they were a part of the Jenna of the past and that I want to leave them behind forever and move toward the better Jenna of the future.  Continue reading

A Delightful (Really!) Bridal Shower Game

I feel kind of ambivalent about showers. As the guest of honor, it’s overwhelming to have so much attention lavished on you (and I’m obviously someone who likes attention.) The games are usually cheesy, although I always like the food.

Last week I attended the shower of this lovely friend of mine (the girl planning a grey and yellow wedding in a month!) and my mom was asked to organize the game portion of the evening. My mom asked me to do a little brainstorming, and so I turned to my Weddingbee friends to ask what shower games they had experienced and loved.

I decided to try out a game that incorporated the story of the couple.

I emailed the bride and asked her to write up their story as a couple. I then rewrote it, adding in as many “rights” and “lefts” as possible. If I was writing out my own story with That Husband, I would write something like this:

That Wife was starting to think that marrying That Husband would be the right thing. Unfortunately he had already left for Dallas! She made a decision right away that she wanted to fly down and visit him as soon as possible. That Wife wondered how long it would take them to get married, because she had right around 30 credits left during her time at BYU.

My mom wrapped up 5 different prizes, and we passed them out to different people in the circle. We directed those holding a present to pass it right or left every time they heard the word “right” or “left”. I stood in the middle to read the story, and just before I started we decided that any time I said the name of the couple, the gifts had be tossed across the room to the person opposite.

This was the winning element to the game! As you can see, the gifts were flying, everyone was laughing, and those present learned a few things they didn’t know about the couple when they walked in the door.

When I finished the story, the person holding the gift unwrapped it and kept whatever they found inside.

I plan to use this for any and all showers I host/come up with games for in the future. And I think I’ll brainstorm a way to tweak it for baby showers as well.

Are there any other shower games I should consider adding to my arsenal?


Grey and Yellow

You guys.

I’m helping my friend plan her wedding (she is doing it all in one month, ONE MONTH) and I’m in heaven. I forgot how much I loved this! Can other people in my life please get married and ask me for advice? Also I now know that I *have* to have a daughter.

Back to my friend.

I’m looking for your favorite grey+yellow inspiration photos, as well as things that incorporate wildflowers, lace, burlap, twine, childhood photos, cupcakes, or twinkle lights. That’s about as far as we have made it in terms of things she would like to incorporate, and I’m doing my best to act as inspiration gatherer and filterer. She has an extremely limited budget and not enough time to get too wrapped up in insane details, but I want to help her personalize her wedding as much as possible.

The wedding itself will be at the Seattle temple, the same temple I was married in, on a Friday afternoon. They’ll spend time with family, and the next day then will come back to my hometown for a simple and sweet backyard style reception. Right now I’m urging her to figure out things that she and her groom share a love for (she said they love exchanging mix tapes, and she wrote him letters for two years while he served a mission in Japan) to see if there is an inexpensive detail we can flesh out and utilize throughout.

I’ve started a Pinterest board that I’m going to try to edit down as our ideas develop. If you’d like to start one and send me the link I would love to follow it (Lisa made one which you can see here!)

Sadly I won’t be here for the wedding (I have a wedding in New Hampshire that same weekend), but my mom is the photographer and I plan to bug her for the photos so you can see how it all comes together.