Letting Go and Going Forward

Letting Go and Going Forward

Our lives are defined by a series of moments. A flip book of little snapshots that make up a whole life. Blink and the years fly by. That’s why I became a photographer. To define those moments in the flipbook of people’s lives.

All my life, I’ve wanted to tell stories. Stories have shaped me into who I am today. My great-grandma’s stories of leaving Switzerland as a teen. My grandfather’s stories of serving in World War Two. My mama’s stories of visiting her grandparents’ store as a child. As a nerdy, artistic kid who never fit in, books were my best friends. I laughed at the escapades of Anne of Green Gables. I dreamed of magic with Harry Potter. I fell in love with Elizabeth Bennett. I drew and read and dreamed and wished for a place where I could sum up the world in a few hundred pages. I traveled the world to find something that I couldn’t define. I went to college to study history because I needed to know why those stories were so important. I saw how stories could shape the world. I learned to use my skills as a photographer to capture other people’s stories.

As I get older, the stories I read and want to tell are changing. Last year, I cut way back on shooting weddings, and recently, I realized, it was time to put aside that story. I won’t say that I will never shoot another wedding, because I might change my mind in a couple years and miss weddings. For now, I want to focus on other things, on other stories. I’m not sure what will happen with the website or the blog, but my goal is to catch up on my backlog this year, and enjoy these last few weddings. I’ve been shooting a lot more families and small businesses, and I’m not sure what the future will hold at this moment. I know I’ll always be a storyteller, and I’m opening my heart up to the next chapter of stories.

I’ve got some ideas, and I hate to be vague, but first, I’m going to enjoy the last bit of this season of my life, and spend some time trying new things, before I make any announcements.

Wedding portraits in a field in the Methow Valley

July Recap — Summer Living // Personal Post

July Recap — Summer Living // Personal Post

I was pulling all the photos together for July’s post, and I kept saying to myself, there’s no way we did all these things in July! And, wait, did I not get photos of XYZ thing either??? Haha, I guess it was a busy month. It feels like just a couple days ago, we were in Portland at the end of June, but now it’s the almost the end of August and summer is basically over. This is a long post, because it was SUCH a busy month. Not sorry!

If there is any downside to my job, it’s that summer is my busiest season and I don’t have enough time to enjoy every minute of the summer. But, as you’ll see, I managed to squeeze in a little hammock time last month.

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1. I got these adorable glow stick ears at the conference in Portland, and little miss wanted to wear them around. Of course, she won’t ever wear a headband…

2. Walks with the family. With it being light so late, we try to get out for a walk and sometimes a little playground time after dinner and before little miss goes to bed. Sometimes we just play in the garden, but basically we’re doing everything we can to soak up every ounce of sunshine this summer.

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

3. We made it up to Greenbluff for a family day and picked a load of blueberries! Someone had a blast picking them and shoving them in her mouth, and we even convinced her to put a few in the bucket. However, I think the highlight was getting bounced around in the wagon. She kept squealing with glee.

4. An inflatable pool, the greatest swimsuit ever (thank you, baby Gap), and a sunhat have brought us hours of fun this hot summer. She loves splashing around in the pool, and then running throughout the yard to dry off a bit before hopping back in. Maybe next time we visit the ocean, she won’t be so against going in?

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

5-8. The biggest thing we did in July was get the floors refinished upstairs. It’s something we’ve dreamed of since moving in and finding out that two of the three bedrooms had original hardwood underneath, but we met with a contractor a while ago who told us it wasn’t worth doing, and then never sent us a quote. So, thank you to our friends who had some work done on their house recently and recommended I reach out to their floor guys. I would 100% recommend them, and if you’re looking for someone in Spokane, drop me a message and I’ll get you their info! They were fast, kind, and let me hop up to take photos as much as I wanted (which was a lot).

Freshly sanded – the first coat going on – after the first or second coat dried – all done and furniture starting to come back in (before we put the rug back down).

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a HouseLiving in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

9. THIS rarely happens anymore, but getting your floors refinished is hard work and sometimes you just wanna nap on mama. I’m trying to enjoy these moments instead of stressing out about all the things I needed to do while she napped. I know before I know it, she’ll be off to school and I won’t have these snuggles anymore.

10. I stopped by the beautiful library at UW after a meeting and had to snap a photo of this bookshelf. Remember: divided we fall. We are stronger together, we are a common people who should all want the same things – life, liberty, and equality.

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

11. The stairs at the library at UW are so good. This building is beautiful and it almost makes me wish I had actually transferred to UW. Almost. #gozags

12. The green was gorgeous on such a beautiful July day, and it was calm and fairly tour free (the same could not be said for other areas of campus). College campuses just fill me with so much hope and energy. And make me want to buy school supplies – haha!

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

13. One of the strange perks of my job is getting to do crazy things, like climbing up on a rooftop to photograph the street fair. It was both exciting and terrifying, climbing up a ladder to a roof with my camera in my hands, and then making sure I wasn’t too close to the edge. I could even see my house from the roof (not pictured).

14. Hammock time to recover from shooting street fair and then an event in the same day. I was exhausted, but hey, this little lady was around to keep me company and play peek a boo while I recovered.

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

15. I’m super thankful for a sweet husband who says ‘you go alone to pick berries, we’ll do stuff at home’ and then I can pick tons of berries for us to make jam and freeze them because our toddler is a blueberry monster and we go through so many of them every week.

16. Out of focus and I really don’t care. She’s gone through a phase again where she’s not a fan of babywearing, but that day she wanted up with me. And then proceeded to blow raspberries on my back and giggle while we made lunch. That dimple gets me right in the feels.

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

17. I shot an elopement up at Mt. Spokane and it was so dang pretty! Right after I packed all my gear into my car, it started raining! And it was only like 72 out. By the time I got back to my house an hour later, it was 93 and sunny. So crazy that it’s so much cooler up at Mt Spokane!

18. If you’ve ever wondered what the best thing you can buy for your kid/spouse/yard/house is, it’s a hammock and a hammock stand. We use ours nearly every day from May-October, and the since it’s been so smokey and we’ve been inside more, we’re all a bit cranky. I’ve napped in it, read stories in there, and snuggled this silly kid (and my husband).

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

19. Remember those blueberries I bought? Yup. Getting ready to freeze them with my favorite kitchen assistant. Who’s wearing an apron that once belonged to my grandma or great-grandma.

20. And…boom. It was a busy month and sometimes you just gotta crash out in the back of the car with your bunny.

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

May & June – Living in Spokane // Behind the Scenes Recap Post

May & June – Living in Spokane // Behind the Scenes Recap Post

I got taken out by a late spring cold in early June, and I just haven’t been able to catch up. Life is completely bonkers right now, but as my blogging backlog just grows and grows, I know I need to try and catch up a little bit!

It’s funny to look at this photo first photo, because it’s so dang hot out right now, but I do remember that May started off cool. I really miss those 50 and 60 degree days now! This spring, little miss has been a lot more insistent on going outside. We spend a lot of time out in the yard now.

In early May, we were able to get out and go to Cirque du Soleil‘s Crystal, which is Cirque on Ice. It’s been a dream of mine for ages, so I was thrilled when my husband surprised me with tickets. My mom came to watch the kiddo, and we go to go out for a nice dinner beforehand too. It was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen! I wish I could have gone twice!!

Cirque Du Soleil in Spokane on Ice

We did another round of swim lessons in the spring (and we’re doing another round this summer too!) and little miss was one of the best swimmers in her class. I can’t be surprised, because she takes after her dad, who is totally a swimmer too. She was aces at jumping into the pool with him.

H, my mom, and a few of our friends ran Bloomsday again this year. We missed it last year, because we were in Germany, so it was great to see everyone running again this year. H didn’t have the best time this year, but he’d been dealing with some injuries and wasn’t able to run as much as usual in the spring. Little miss had a blast watching everyone and cheering as they ran by!

Swim lessons and watching bloomsday // Spokane with Kids

With all the construction downtown this year, we had to take a slightly longer walk around to the finish line this year. The bonus was that we got a great view of the falls!

Last spring, we had to cut down the huge maple tree in our back yard. It was a total bummer, especially because it left us without half of our hammock “stand”. After a year of debating what to do for a stand, I snagged this one on sale at Lowe’s. It’s the favorite place in our yard. N will sign “please” and ask ‘ammock? ‘ammock? Up?! because she wants to get in.

Hammock Stands and Spring Adventures // Spokane with Kids

We’re still doing monthly photos each month, although I’m not as good at getting them right on the 8th each month. Oops. In May, I finished up, and turned around to find her checking out my camera. I also find a lot of random, blurry, photos and selfies on my phone!

Little miss is currently not a huge fan of being worn right now. With as hot as it has been, I don’t really blame her. But I do feel a bit bummed when I see these photos. Please let me snuggle you again soon, kiddo!

I have to laugh looking at this photo, because back in May, we were planning to plan paint the floors. A while back, we’d had a contractor out who said they weren’t worth sanding and refinishing. But, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that we met with another contractor who said it wouldn’t be an issue and they’ve been sanded and refinished and are currently ready to have furniture put back on them.

If you’re planning a wedding, you need to chat with the lovely ladies at Nic Nac Nell’s! They’ve got the most adorable collection of vintage things that will take your wedding from ordinary to extraordinary. Look, I’m a huge huge fan of DIY, but there’s also something to be said for letting someone else doing the hard work, and you’ll still have plenty of variety to choose from at their showroom.

Painting hardwood floors and touring Nic Nac Nells

We finished off the month of May with a Memorial Day hike with this crazy crew. We’ve been trying to get out more, and while we were originally planning to go to Bowl & Pitcher, we’d heard there were a bunch of mosquitos, so instead, we went over to Post Falls and Q’emiln Park. In Wenzel family tradition, we grabbed donuts on the way home.

I’m pretty sure I’ve posted similar images before, but our dog is seriously the most chill dog when it comes to our toddler. She is constantly sitting or climbing on him, and he never complains. But he is also super protective of her and any other kiddos who come to visit us.

Hiking in Post Falls with Dogs and Babies // Spokane with kids

I’ve been trying to grow radishes for nearly every year we’ve lived in this house, and I’ve had a terrible time of it. Every year it’s been something different. One year, the slugs got to them, another year I planted them too late and they bolted. This year, they were beautiful. Finally.

I picked up some rhubarb at the farmer’s market in early June and whipped up this Rhubarb Cake from my favorite German Baking Book. It was tangy and sweet and paired perfectly with whipped cream.

Little miss is the best shopping assistant, and she was helping me get some photobooth supplies in June for Pride in Perry. She had a blast waving the flags around, and then had even more fun hanging out at the booth during the event.

We’ve reached a stage where N is quite stubborn about what she wants. She picked out this outfit, and then insisted on boots, even when it was 80 degrees out. [Oh, do you see those trees in the back??? They are peach and plum trees. I’m so excited!] I had to hide her boots so she wouldn’t try to wear them this week when it’s 90+.

Little snuggles with my girl are the best, even if they’re usually happening when she’s tired and cranky.

I am so so thankful for family who watch our girl so that we can sneak off on dates. H’s mom came to town for a few days, and we got to see a movie together.

Road tripping to Portland with this girl and we packed up our snack pack to fit all the fruit and veggies in it. This girl is all about her produce. Fingers crossed it stays that way, although, I may need to have a bigger garden soon!

We went to Portland so that I could attend WDS for the third time, and it was wonderful to see old friends, to hear some fantastic speakers, and to run into people I wouldn’t have expected to see, like my friend Sachin, who is a wedding photographer out of Vancouver, BC. I am endlessly thankful to WDS for giving me the courage to step out and live the life I have now. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it back next year, but I really hope it works out!

Whew! And that’s that. Technically, that last photo was taken on July 1st, but whatever. Next time I do a recap, I’ll get to share my new floors! I might drop down to doing these every other month and doing two posts? What would you all prefer? I know these are mostly for myself, but a lot of you love these posts. WDS has given me some great ideas, and I’m trying to carve out time to develop them and share them with the world.

February Recap — Maui Family Photographer // Personal Post

February Recap — Maui Family Photographer // Personal Post

Okay, I know I’m way behind on these, but combining two months makes these posts ridiculously long and then I get overwhelmed by all the stuff that has happened. Maybe this is the month when I catch up?! A slacking blogger can dream.

So, February. We went to Hawaii. The weather was bonkers, Maui was still beautiful, and of course the weather was fine while we were gone but snowed when we came back. NOT funny, Spokane. Sadly, our kiddo was not as big a fan of the beach as we were, so I guess we’ll have to try this again next year and see if she does better? I’ll be hunting for more plane deals.

Related: anyone want me to blog more about traveling with a kid? I feel like this isn’t the space for that, but I have a lot to say about traveling with a kid and home reno and life as a small business owner, so maybe I need to step it up and have a personal/home blog too? Or maybe just a personal Instagram? #toomuchtosay Tell me what you think!

Back to February!!

1.  This is bunny. Bunny is a lovey we picked up on an adventure (we have a backup, don’t you worry) who goes basically everywhere with our girl. She sleeps with him now, and loves to give him kisses, so of course, he protected our snacks for the flight. He’s a good friend!
2. I picked up this Yumbox a while ago for days when N needs to take a lunch to the nanny. It was a bit more expensive than some of the other ones we looked at, but I can attest to it’s leakproof status! We’ve packed yogurt and applesauce in it a bunch, and once, canned peaches without leaks. We took it with us to Hawaii, and it was nice, because N knew that it was her lunch box for days when we went to the beach. Also: we spent a lot of time hanging out together on the beach, because it turns out my kid didn’t like sand and thought the ocean was too big and scary (fair point, kiddo). Our trip didn’t go exactly as planned!

Travel with a baby to Hawaii toddler in Maui

3. Someday I’m going to start a blog that is basically a journal of our adventures in traveling and renovating. And then I’ll really talk about how we ended up with seats for our lap infant on 3 of the 4 flights we booked. Here, N and I sat together on the short hop to Portland (it’s a Q400 plane, so 4 seats in a row, with a single aisle, H sat ahead of us).
4. Here we are on the long haul flight from Portland to Maui, where we ended up with an empty seat. Since we were already bringing the car seat, we planned to gate check it for any flights that we didn’t have a seat. We had a seat for all but the last flight, which was from Portland back to Spokane. She fell asleep shortly after the plane took off when we flew from Portland to Maui, and napped for a couple hours. Then she slept basically the whole way home (we were starting our descent) from Maui to Portland. I always pack her a couple books (a bedtime book and a couple favorites for her to read) plus a small bag of toys. I try to find something small and new for each trip, and hope that she’ll love it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. As you can see, bunny was our faithful companion here too.

Travel with a baby to Hawaii toddler in Maui

5. The one thing we really screwed up on was naps. N still naps with a sleepsack, and it was just a tiny bit too warm in Hawaii for her “isn’t it February still?” body, especially since we goofed and brought her winter weight one. The temp was only 2-3 degrees warmer than it is back home, but that couple degrees plus the humidity was all that she needed to be miserable. She napped and slept really poorly the whole week, and slept best in a baby carrier or on my chest. I did get some good reading in while she napped on me, but it ruined my plans to sneak off to doze on the beach while she napped at the house.
6. The start of a nice sunset over Lanai from the restaurant we ate dinner at one night in Lahaina (which was okay but not great). I will say, our kid was a champ at eating out and hanging out, and she got her first taste of ice cream that night. It was almost worth the dozen mosquito bites I ended up with.

Travel with a baby to Hawaii toddler in Maui

7. The view from a late lunch/early dinner at Frida’s Mexican Beach House in Lahaina. Which I would hands down 100% recommend. My husband ordered octopus, which I think is gross. I’ve tried octopus a half dozen times and never liked it. But this octopus was tender and perfect and I would order it. [In case you’re wondering, I had the tacos with the catch of the day and something else that I can’t remember, our friend got the Diego’s plate, I think, and we also ordered the corn cotija and the ceviche. All of it was amazing!] Seriously, best meal we had on Maui. Well, except for that Loco Moco I had at Down the Hatch. Those were probably the best two meals I had that entire week, although a lot of it was pretty good. Which reminds me that I need to try making some Loco Moco at home, because N was also a huge fan!
8. I successfully transferred N from a back carry in the Tula to the bed for a nap and I was so proud of myself. This kiddo was not a fan of the beach (she did much much better in March when we went to Prague. I guess she’s a city girl!) and yet, she was still a total trooper.

Travel with a baby to Hawaii toddler in Maui

9. N and I had our first shave ice at Breakwall Shave Ice – next door to Down the Hatch – and while she wasn’t a fan, I could see the appeal – especially after a long hot day in Maui!
10. On our last day in Maui, we were on an overnight flight (but had to check out before 11am), so after lunch, we went from Lahaina down towards the road to Hana. But by the time we got to Big Beach, N had woken up and was not happy to be stuck in the car any long. So we turned around and were going to head to a beach to hang out near the airport. Instead, we realized we were only a few minutes from the Maui Ocean Center. A couple turns later, we were inside and she was enthralled. From the jellyfish tank to the huge aquariums with living coral, this girl was oohing and aahing for almost three hours (we had to leave because they were closing). Plus, after running all over the place, inside and outside, she was beat.

Travel with a baby to Hawaii toddler in Maui

11. Back in Spokane just in time for it to snow. I took advantage of fresh snow and hit the dog park with Shadow one afternoon while Natalia was at the nanny.
12. Jet lag is rough, and sometimes you need a mama snuggle and a cat nap right before dinner.

Travel with a baby to Hawaii toddler in Maui

13. Leftover rice and eggs in a bowl I picked up at the Spokane Potter’s Guild Chili Feed. I’ve been loving this bowl, it’s the perfect size for a small lunch or leftovers.
14. My girl and I rocked the stripes together and she loved watching me put on my red lipstick.

Travel with a baby to Hawaii toddler in Maui

15. We took N to her first hockey game, and I think she’s a fan! She alternated giggling at the ladies behind us and watching the puck go from end to end, pointing it out to me. Although, if she could talk, she’d tell you that the highlight of the game was seeing Boomer as we left the stadium. She was in love with him, and it was adorable!
16. My little assistant and I on the way to a meeting with a couple vendors about Spokane Headshot Day.

Travel with a baby to Hawaii toddler in Maui

And, just like that, it was March! February flew by – and I’m not just saying that because we racked up some miles and it’s the shortest month – because it was so full of stuff going on. We snuck in a trip or two to Mobius as well, but I never have a chance to photograph her there anymore because she just goes and goes and goes!

 


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January Recap – Personal Post // Spokane Lifestyle Photographer

January Recap – Personal Post // Spokane Lifestyle Photographer

Oh my gosh, January feels like it was FOREVER ago. I think it’s because the weather was decent in January, and then got to be so nasty in February. I feel like January was last fall, instead of just two months ago.

Real talk: I was going to lump January and February together, but then I started looking through our vacation photos from Maui and I just wanted to post them all and this post was getting long. So…here’s a long, Hawaii-less winter post! Hahaha, I’ll get to February soon!

1.  Little miss got these Mega Blocks for Christmas and they’re a huge hit. She plays with them almost every day (and loves to Duplos at Grandma’s house just as much). I love that they’re in a bag that she can’t *quite* open on her own yet.
2. I bought another baby carrier. Yes, it’s a problem, and no, I don’t care. This is a wrap conversion Tula, for those of you who care, and it’s so soft and cuddly and worth every dang penny. Also, I’ve sold two carriers this month, so I am doing my best to keep it down!

3. This was the first time we ordered her a meal. And she ate almost all of it. I’m always impressed by how much she tucks away, but then again, I’m also impressed by how she never stops moving during the day. Toddlers have so much energy!

4. The power went out one night – of course right during dinner. So instead of making dinner, we had cheese and crackers by candlelight (and construction flashlight – thanks for the Christmas present, dad!). Then, since the power was off and the temp kept dropping and dropping, we brought little miss into bed with us. Oh, boy. First, we made the rookie mistake of forgetting to check which lights were on, so they all came on at like 3am – haha. Second, we’ve more or less never coslept, because our girl likes her space, and none of us slept very well that night. It was an adventure!
5. When you open the wipes container in your diaper bag and pull a bunch out, and then decide to clean your mama’s desk, you get photographed. Also: I wish I could take credit for those baby blues. #getsthemfromdadsfamily

6. Someday, I’m going to write a post about self care and self employment and motherhood and balance. Until that day, I’m going to try and squeeze in an occasional night out with girlfriends where we eat way too much sugar and laugh so much and dream up crazy plans for businesses and vacations and homes.
7. We got a Mobius membership in January, and we’ve used it a bunch. [Stop taking photos, ma, and just let me rock this seesaw.] I love having a membership because we just pop in for an hour or so, work out some energy, and when she gets cranky, we bounce. And the mess of a water table or rice table doesn’t come into my house. Win!

8. Sometimes I can’t believe how well these two get along. It’s absolutely adorable. She loves to climb into his dog bed and play with him and his toys. Or just climb all over him like a jungle gym.
9. January had a few nice, clear, days, and with next to no snow outside, we took our walker toy out and ran around on the patio with it in the rain chasing the dog.

10. Hikes! You’d think I snapped this photo a couple days ago, except for the fact that my kid is bundled up like crazy. We took a lot of nice, long, walks around the neighborhood in January, trying to get our HIB30 miles in. We did okay, until I got sick and just stopped caring.
11. My friend wrote a play! And it got published! So, I bought a copy. One of my goals this year is to support my friends who create things by buying their work. $$$

12 & 13: Asleep & Awake. I seriously could write a long song to our Clek carseat. N has been in it since birth, she’s rarely hated the car (and the worst trip we ever took, she was in her cheap-o travel seat), and she naps like a boss on road trips. She loves this seat and is always happy to be in it. I also feel like it sits up a lot higher than our other seat, so she can see out the window!

14. We stopped at a toy store and they had GIANT versions of our Jelly Cat bunny and N was in love. She was so bummed when we left without getting her one. Sorry, kid. She kept pulling them off the display and full on body hugging them on the floor. I don’t know why, but this kid loves her bunny!
15. We’ve had Shadow for more than 2 years, and this is one of the first times Lola has slept in his bed with him (she regularly poaches it when he’s not around). It hasn’t happened again since then, but I’m still holding out hope that they will become BFFs.

16. This one is blurry because I was laughing so hard when I took it. N has taken to poaching my scarves, especially my infinity scarves, and wearing them. She then crawled under my desk while I was working and started chatting away while poking at my computer. Luckily, she didn’t turn off my power strip (that time. She’s done it since and now doesn’t get to go near there).

And that was January! I can hardly believe we’re more than halfway through March now!! I need to get the February post up too. Haha, maybe I’ll get it done before April?!?!