Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii – Traveling with a Toddler

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii – Traveling with a Toddler

I know how lucky we are to travel as much as we do. We’ve been able to make decisions that have helped us pay down debt, and we make choices every single day that allow us to travel fairly regularly. A lot of our travel is to visit family, or is tagged on to a work trip for one of us, but we try to get in one good vacation each year. A few years ago, we realized that the best way to survive the long, dark, and cold winters in Spokane was to get away for a warm weather break. So, when I was pregnant with little miss and we knew we wouldn’t be going anywhere that winter (and it was a rough, rough, winter), H promised me we would finally go to Hawaii the next winter.

Maui was a dream, you guys. I’ve traveled all over and been to tropical islands before, but Maui is like living on a different planet. It was the most beautiful kind of place, and I left a little piece of my heart there. That said, it wasn’t the easiest vacation by any means. N was recently mobile, is a 100% winter baby who prefers snow and cold weather to hot weather and sand, and we made some key mistakes. Oh, and it rained half the time we were there. It was weird. But these photos don’t show that.

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Trip notes:

— We stayed near baby beach in Lahaina and really loved it. We walked into town a couple times and also drove in once or twice as well.

— Places we loved: Down the Hatch, Frida’s Mexican, Maui Brewing Company, the Pride of Maui Snorkeling Tour, the Maui Ocean Center.

— Baby beach was shallow and perfect for littles, but a little tame for our more adventurous swimmers. It’s nice and flat, which I loved. 100% would go back there, and there’s a decent amount of parking by it too.

— Please wear reef safe sunscreen anytime you’re in the ocean. Save the fishes.

 

January + February – The Big Snow

January + February – The Big Snow

I brought a whole folder full of work to do while I was out of town earlier this month, with the thought that between visiting family, adventuring with little miss, and flying here and there and everywhere with a toddler, I would be able to blog like 10 posts. That obviously didn’t happen. Being an entrepreneur means I’m constantly trying to carve out a few more minutes of work time, but honestly, it was fantastic to just be present with our family and I’m so glad I did. I barely took any photos, between chasing the toddler and catching up. It was a good trip!

So, let’s talk about January and February! They are slow, cold months up here. We fought off a couple nasty colds and shoveled tons of snow. I was a vendor at Bride’s Night at Barrister in January, and then did some fun work at the Convention Center in February, but I mainly tried to catch up on a lot of behind the scenes stuff and spent time with my family. Now that spring is on it’s way, I’m ready to look back at the photos of all that snow!

January:

1. I kicked off the month with some DIY projects to get ready for Bride’s Night at Barrister. I haven’t done a wedding show since before N was born and I was kinda nervous and totally had to make a last minute trip to the store and a buy a bunch of stuff and somehow I survived!

2. My booth/table! It went really well and I had a blast. This show was so much more fun and less overwhelming than the big wedding show that happens at the Convention Center. I really prefer the small shows because they allow me more one on one time with people. I’ll also be at Confetti Spokane on April 18th, so if you’re engaged or if you know someone who is, please stop by and chat with me.

3. We went out to breakfast at the Satellite (best eggs Benny in town) and N got this absolutely adorable pig pancake for her breakfast! She surprised us by eating all her eggs and sausage, and most of the pancake on her own.

4. You know you do a lot of DIY when your kiddo has her own tool set and insists on fixing things around the house. She brings it out to work on stuff all the time and always wants to help us.

5. One of the best things we ever did was get an annual pass to Mobius. This year we upgraded to the Childrens + Science Museum, and I love taking N there for a couple hours to play. She loves all the fun toys and exhibits.

6. Fighting off a cold and needed some ring sling snuggles for her nap. She is pretty outspoken about which ‘uppie’ she uses, and demanded her blue ring sling for these snuggles (and for the trip we just took). I was planning to sell it, because we hadn’t been using it, but now it’s a favorite again.

7. We spent a bunch of Alaska miles and went to Mexico without the kiddo for a long weekend AND we flew first class. I took next to no photos because we mostly just spent hours catching up and talking and lounging in the warm weather by the pool, but this was my first time flying first class and it was SO nice. I really enjoyed having a few days without our kiddo to reconnect with my spouse.

8. While we were waiting to take off in Spokane, we saw the most beautiful winter sunrise and watched the fog burn off. I am not really a morning person, so sunrise isn’t something I see very often but I do love to see them when I can.

9.  This was my first time flying through San Diego, and we are dreaming of going back with N to explore. We’ve heard great things and it was a super quick little flight from Spokane.

10. A quick selfie after a fancy dinner out where we drank wine and didn’t talk about our kid – but did talk about our house. Hahaha! We had a blast in Puerto Vallarta and even though we didn’t do much exploring, with just a couple short days there, we enjoyed the parts of the city that we did see, and managed to pick up a few new things for our home too.

11. I love lasagna, but it’s such a pain to make, so when I do, I double the batch and make some freezer meals too. I made one full pan of lasagna, two half pans, and this sweet little lunch sized one. We froze these three and ate the full one (again and again).

12. N insisted on having her own fork and knife to eat, and often does now. I’m endlessly impressed by what they pick up from watching adults, and how kids learn to use utensils. Still working on our grip though! [Sources: Milk cup, plate, baking cup as a bowl, 360 cup, silverware]

 

February:

13. We kicked February off with a little ‘happy birthday’ party to our house. We closed on it five years ago! It’s been a crazy, wild, ride, and we love this place so much but it’s also been a lot slower than we expected. This year we are really hoping to do more work on the house, which means less travel, since we only have so much time and so much money. Boo! But for some reason, I was feeling super nostalgic and started an Instagram account for our house and travels. Come find us at @wenzel.haus and see more personal stuff there.

14. This sweet kitty of ours has been slowing down. I’m endlessly impressed by how she handles little miss snuggling her all the time. She gets less love and attention than she used to, but she’s still my snuggle baby and curls up next to me in the evenings or when I’m working at my computer.

15. The sass in this one. Our little miss would play out in the snow all day every day if we let her. I shared some of our winter layering tips on my Wenzel Haus Instagram account, and I have to say, we’ve been out for nearly an hour in 20F weather and she is still toasty warm when we come in. It’s been a learning process over the last two years, and it does require a bit of investing to get good stuff, but there’s tons of secondhand gear out there!

16. During the big snow storm, N insisted on going out and helping me shovel. She also ‘made tracks’ just like her favorite book character, Peter, from A Snowy Day.

17. Shadow is such a snow loving dog that even towards the end of the month, when the snow was so high we were all over it, he was still thrilled. Cold temps, on the other hand? He is not a fan of. He’ll put off going outside all day for freezing temps, but if it’s above freezing and snowing, he’s out there, playing around.

18. My chiropractor has some fun toys for kiddos to play with if they come in with you, which is great, since N comes with me pretty regularly. I try to schedule my appointments for when she’s at daycare, but that doesn’t always work, and I’m super thankful they’re so kid friendly at the chiro! She’s been coming with me since she was just a couple months old.

19. We’ve been doing another round of swim lessons this winter for my two fishes (H and N) and N thought that it was hilarious to wear her papa’s swim goggles around the house. She has loved swim, and it’s been so good to get her more accustomed to the water from an early age.

20. Last fall I picked up an old dresser for N’s room. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with it, but I stripped all the grime off the hardware that was left and bought a few replica pieces to match it for the handles that were missing. It took a lot of work and I might still need to do some more, but for now, it’s living in my office until the weather warms up and I can take it outside for paint and sanding.

21. Miss Lola went in for her annual check up and she was less than impressed with the vet, as usual. We love our vet and their beautiful building here in the Perry District. Cat parents – the Cat’s Meow is pretty amazing and we love them so much.

22. Rocking red lips while working. I’ve been super thrilled to be working with Gonzaga to offer headshots for their students at career fairs over the past few months. I’ve got to update my portfolios in April, but if you’re a small business in need of headshots, or if you’re looking to get some new photos of your business, contact me today.

23. We had a day that went completely sideways and ended up at The Shop for a cupcake and some dino time a few weeks ago. N had a blast putting all the dinos together with their friends and playing with all the toys. Super lucky to have such a kid friendly coffeeshop in our neighborhood.

24. We went to the Spokane Potter’s Guild’s chili feed in February, and N picked out this bowl as her own. She’s getting much much better with normal utensils and I’m grateful to be slowly leaving the era of bringing dishware when we travel because our kid can’t handle anything but plastic. It’s the little things!

And just like that, we flew through February and into March! We spent most of March traveling, so when I finally get around to recapping March and April, you know there will be some pretty travel photos!!

 


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Portland Street Photography at WDS

Portland Street Photography at WDS

I haven’t been blogging because I haven’t been able to work up in my office the past two weeks, thanks to a plethora of illness and snow days. But, today I’m dreaming of the beautiful sunshine we had in Portland last summer for the World Domination Summit. I know, the name sounds crazy and strange, but the people there are some of the best people I’ve ever met. They are kind and strong and adventurous. The first year I attended WDS, I was recently married and I was working a day job. I was dreaming of quitting and going full time as a photographer. I got to meet a bunch of people I’d only been internet friends with, and not only that, they gave me the support I needed to take a big leap. I took a few years off (after attending two years in a row) and last year I was able to go back. I’ve been feeling a bit stuck in life since having N. I love being a parent but it’s been a new adventure that has brought up more questions than answers. To be honest, I don’t have many more answers, 8 months later. But I did have some great conversations with people that have had my gears turning and given me new inspiration. One of my favorite parts of WDS is all the attendee-led meet ups and adventures. I even led my first meet up this year on traveling as a family and with kids, which is something I’m super passionate about. My good friend Dustin Main, leads a photo walk every year, and I really enjoyed myself. I don’t normally shoot much on the street unless I’m traveling, and I don’t ever shoot with other people (unless I have a second shooter) so this was really fun.

November + December Recap

November + December Recap

Hey all! Now that we’re skating on into February, I think I’ve got a minute to give you a short little November and December Recap. When I went through the photos, I ended up pulling a lot of them out, because as N gets older, I’m trying to be more mindful of what we share about her life on the internet. She doesn’t need to have her entire life broadcast everywhere, and so except to see a little less of her face, and I’ll probably keep her details even more vague for a while.

That said, we tried to keep the holidays really low key this year, and in the end, I’m really glad we did. N had some unexpected health issues in December, and we ended up spending quite a bit of time at the hospital and at doctor’s appointments. Now, nearly two months later, I’m so happy to say that she’s healthy and it looks like it was just a total one off thing, but I’m so glad we keep things pretty chill for the holidays and tried to focus on spending time together.

1.  N loves our piano. I’ve been playing piano for a long time, but I’m a true dabbler at it. I can play scales, read simple music, and plunk out a few tunes. In the past few months, H has started learning more, which has lead to N wanting to play quite a bit too. She had a blast, and I’m so glad that we are raising her with music in her life. I’m also glad that this piano (which we inherited from H’s family, and the brought over during their move from Germany) is electric and has a headphone jack. That may come in useful in later years. 😉

2. We had an early snow in November and N was so excited. Shadow was probably more excited, which is why I don’t have any photos of him, since he was running all over like a crazy pup. We thought it’d be the first of many many snow days, but it looks like it was one of the few we’ve had so far. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a bit more snow in February before spring comes along in March. [Let’s be honest: a March snowstorm is not unheard of here in Spokane, so I wouldn’t be surprised by that either.]

Music and Outdoor Fun with Toddlers in Spokane

3. My in laws hosted Thanksgiving this year and my job was to take care of dessert (as usual). I always make a pecan pie, even though I can’t stand the idea of a pie made of corn syrup and nuts. Why? Because H loves pecan pie. Mine is based off this Pioneer Woman recipe, but I’ve tweaked it quite a bit over the years so it’s not quite the same.

4. At the last minute, we decided to make a pumpkin pie as well (this one from Smitten Kitchen) and HOLY SMOKES. First off, I love any recipe that my toddler can help me with, and this one was pretty simple (she doesn’t stir on the stove yet, but she’s aces as mixing on the counter and helping add ingredients), and it uses heavy cream (a staple in our house) instead of sweetened condensed or evaporated milk. Second, it was possibly the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had. Even my poor husband, who dislikes pumpkin pie, had a slice. Winner winner, this one got saved to our cooking binder.

Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving

5. N’s second birthday was in December and we celebrated it…in the ER. It was a really rough week, with us going to urgent care first and being told that she was fine, to ending up in the ER after a couple of rough days and nights. We are so so thankful for the amazing people at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, who let us snuggle her close during all the scary stuff and found out what was wrong with her.

6. Oh, and then we went back two days later to find out that she wasn’t getting worse, but had also caught a really nasty stomach bug (which she shared with me). She got her first ultrasound (and xray, and then a second ultrasound at a follow up.) and she did a pretty good job, but we were so so tired. And oh man, you guys, I’m so thankful for good insurance as we’ve been getting the bills for all these appointments. Ouch.

Taking your child to the ER if they're sick

7. We kept our Christmas decor pretty simple this year and stuck to a zillion lights and a tree that N was completely enthralled with. Thankfully, my mom passed down her collection of non-breakable ornaments and we used those on the bottom of the tree, and saved a few super precious ones for the top. Our pets have always been pretty good about the tree, although Lola (the cat) has been known to knock some of the stuffed ones off the tree when we’re not around!

8. A couple days after our trips to the ER, we were both feeling better and I bribed her with park time in exchange for a trip to the grocery store for provisions. The park was dead. Totally dead. No worries, we had a lot of fun until I dragged her to the store where she ate like three samples of zucchini (thanks, Trader Joe’s) and got a zillion stickers.

Simple Christmas Decor and Outdoor Fun in the Snow

9. H had a work party that happened after hours at the Carousel, which was basically N’s idea of a dream come true. Since we first rode the Carousel last spring, N has been asking for a return trip. She rode it over and over and over with each of us until we dragged her out for dinner and then bedtime.

10. We have the world’s most patient dog and I really just needed to share that with you. Shadow is a saint, and he will put up with so much insanity. But then when she’s done giving him pretties, he shakes them off and gives me sad faces. Love you, puppy!

Holiday trip Spokane Carousel

11. One of our family holiday traditions is that we have a class Bavarian breakfast on Christmas morning. Well, the German Deli in town (Alpine Deli, it’s amazing) is no longer able to get the same pretzels that they’ve been getting for the past few years. So, instead of sourcing them from another bakery or whatever, I decided to make them from scratch. Which includes using lye (a “very nasty” chemical) to get the crunch. I used a couple different recipes, and while they still need some work, I was pretty impressed. I made three rounds of them over the holidays before tossing out my lye solution and seeing this photo has me itching to make them again.

12. All the heavy eating of the holidays makes me crave my favorite simple foods, like fried rice. It’s my favorite of all the ‘clean out the fridge’ meals and it only takes a few minutes to whip up so I can even make a single serving for lunch.

Baking German Pretzels from Scratch and eating Fried Rice

13. This year, we had a fancy Davenport Hotel brunch with our in laws while they were visiting in December and now N insists that the Davenport is their house. Haha! When we arrived, N climbed up on this chair and then proceeded to point out every tree in the lobby, which saying hello to everyone who looked by. This is the second time we’ve taken N to the Davenport for a Sunday brunch, and both times the staff have been amazing. Brunch buffets are a great place to take a toddler, because there is going to always be something they like. I can’t remember what she ate this time, except that she stole all my strawberries (the usual) and last time we went, they had this adorable smoothie shooter and she drank like 5 of them. Pro tip: snag a dessert plate for your kiddo or bring one from home if your kiddo can’t handle actual silverware and plates. We’ve done both things.

14. Found this little art while wandering downtown and it made me smile. Love this city we live in!

Sunday Brunch at the Davenport during Christmas

15. Every year we exchange an ornament, and this year I lost my freaking mind and decided to design and make a custom cross stitched ornament. Here’s the first part I did, in November.

16. I then procrastinated (because I can only work when everyone is busy elsewhere) and had to rush to finish it. And somehow only have this one, kinda crappy, photo that I snapped. It’s a suitcase with flags for each of the countries we visited (Czechia, Germany, and Austria), as well as a pineapple for our new state of Hawaii. This will be a one of a kind thing because it was hard and tedious and I’m not doing it again.

Custom designed Cross stich for travelers

17. Winter walks and I love how pretty our neighborhood is. South Perry District, I’m so glad we live here.

South Perry District in Winter

18. Half of N’s Christmas gifts this year helped get her outside, and her two faves are from small shops! She’s rocking a Skida hat that is her new favorite, even over her fave wool beanie from Everlane. These pajamas are made from merino wool, so super soft, and N wants to wear them 24/7. I’m already planning to buy another pair from Simply Merino. And these gloves she insisted we pick up in Germany are huge but she loves singing us baby shark while wearing them. [Socks are smartwool, boots are Kamik]

19. We closed out the year with a trip to the hospital for some follow up lab work, and she did such a good job even if it was hard for both of us to handle. All these hospital appointments were hard, but we’re down to just one follow up and I’m so thankful my boo is healthy again! I have a lot of respect for families with chronically ill kids, because it is hard to watch your babies go through hard stuff and not be able to make it better. Lastly, a huge thank you to all the wonderful people at Sacred Heart. N had to get her first blood draw, and the techs let her stay in the sling so I could comfort her, and were so gentle with her afterwards.

Winter gear for outdoors with toddlers and making hospital visits easier

Whew! And that was that. A (somewhat forced) low key holidays and too many doctors visits and we’re head on into the tornado twos.

September + October Recap

September + October Recap

When I made the (very long) list of all the posts I wanted to catch up on for the blog, I almost crossed off these monthly recaps. They’re not the most popular posts on the blog, they don’t bring in much traffic, and they’re kind of a pain to put together. But I love them so very much, and I really enjoy looking back on these for my own sake so here goes. Trying to catch up though, means I’m hoping to blog two long posts for September + October and November + December all in January. Or maybe I’ll make these a two month thing for 2019?

Here goes!!

September 🙂

1.  We had family in town for parts of Labor Day weekend (and did some actual work on the house then too), which means we made sure to take time in the evenings for fire pits and s’mores on the patio. Looking back at this summer and fall, I think we actually got a good amount of patio time in. I’m advocating for a patio heater for 2019 so that we can use that space for even more time. Anyone have one and love it?

2. We used to travel almost every year during Labor Day weekend but I put my foot down and insisted that we stay in town this year and go to Pig Out in the Park. It was a little crazy because of the construction, but it was really fun to try all the different foods and have N try them too. She had a blast and loved people watching.

Pig Out in the Park with a Toddler

3. We went out for a family dinner as well, and went to Clinkerdagger. Bonus points to them because we always love their view and they have good food on their kid’s menu (N had salmon) instead of just chicken nuggets and plain pasta. My kid would rather eat artichoke dip than chicken nuggets.

4. Running errands in the fall and getting some wrap snuggles in.

Fall Days Babywearing Spokane Falls Clinkerdagger

5 + 6. We always try to squeeze in extra time in the Methow Valley, and when we went up for Jessi + Tim‘s wedding, we managed to get lots of hiking in. We took a short stroll on one of the cross country trails by the river, then while I shot the wedding, the other two did a hike near Winthrop. Both of these photos are from our short toddler stroll.

Methow Valley Visit Mazama with Kids

7. Our last family hike in the Methow Valley before we headed out to drive home was to Cutthroat Lake. This was a beautiful hike and I was really bummed that, unlike the other family we ran into up there, we did not pack a picnic lunch to enjoy by the lake. Next time we’ll plan ahead!

8. After getting home from Mazama, we enjoyed a fairly low key family dinner out to celebrate our SEVEN YEAR anniversary. I feel like it was just yesterday that we got married, and I’m so shocked it’s been seven years (and more than a decade together). We’re taking a kid free trip later this month as a gift to ourselves so that will be nice. 🙂

Cutthroat Lake North Cascades Anniversary Dinner

9. Sometimes working from home with a toddler is easy. She naps and plays independently and it’s great. Other times she doesn’t nap and then crashes on you as you’re trying to make dinner.

10. Or, she insists on you sitting in her room while she plays with you and you try to work. Toddlers are funny creatures that I will never begin to understand.

Working from home with a toddler

11. When I drove down to Tekoa for Katie + Seth‘s beautiful wedding, the winds were howling. But they calmed down right as the ceremony started and rewarded us with a beautiful sunset that this panorama does not do justice.

Thompson Barn Tekoa Sunset

12. N has been super into helping us in the kitchen lately. It’s been messy, but she loves to stir whenever we are cooking or baking things. She asked to help us make pumpkin muffins, and so H and N made them while I was working one evening.

13. September sunsets are stunning and here’s another one just from my backyard. I miss fall.

Cooking with Toddlers, Fall Sunsets

14. Sometimes, you end up near Gonzaga on a crazy morning when you haven’t had breakfast so you can have a fasting blood draw and you snag a bagel from Ultimate Bagel and bring it home and it’s the best fuel for a long day of editing.

15. We bought an old dresser that had some really tarnished hardware and I used <science> to clean it off. Looks like it’s brass, but sadly, there aren’t enough handles for all the drawers. Much to my husband’s annoyance, I’ll probably keep them for some mythical future project.

Ultimate bagel and refinishing hardware

16. Cooler fall days meant the AC was finally off and this girl has gone blanket crazy. She was running all over with this one, giggling while we made lunch one day. Shadow was unimpressed.

17. Some days, when she wakes up from a nap, she asks for snuggles and keeps me company while I answer emails.

Working from Home with a Toddler in your lap

October 🙂

18. Early October was insane, but I took a morning to do some self care and got a haircut and did a few things that helped me stay sane through most of the busy month. By the end of the month, that morning felt like a long lost dream.

19. I got to shoot an event at Gonzaga in October and help a bunch of their students get great new head shots. It was fantastic to do, and so fun to be back at my alma mater. I remembered why I loved campus so much too. It’s strange, because I thought when we moved back to Spokane five years ago, we would spend more time there, but we don’t spend much time on campus. Maybe now that the bridge is open we will ride our bikes over there!

20. The view from my last wedding of the year, Sonja + Phil‘s day at Badger Mountain. The clouds went away and the sun came out later and it was an absolutely perfect fall day.

21. How do you manage a dog and a toddler at the vet? Very, very carefully. It isn’t always easy, but somehow we all survived.

How to manage a dog and a toddler at the vet

22. Right before we flew off to visit family in Germany, we went to this small pumpkin patch in Spokane Valley. There were no hay rides or pumpkin donuts, but there was also no traffic and it was easy to park. We found our pumpkins and did it all without (major) tears. [Minor tears due to falling down and getting dirt on our hands – the horror!]

23. Once we got home, someone delighted in pointing out her tiny pumpkin to us over and over and over.

Pumpkin Picking in Spokane

24. The last time we flew long haul with N was in March, when we went to Prague. We flew British then and had the bassinet and so this was essentially our only true lap infant trip in her two years. We got lucky on our flights to Hawaii, and scored an extra seat for our lap infant, if you remember from February. It wasn’t easy and the seats on Condor are small. But she still got a good amount of sleep in. More than both her parents.

25. She was so tired though, that she completely passed out in my arms before we arrived in Munich, and I handed her to H, put the ring sling on, and got her in it without her waking up. It was hilarous. She woke up just as we were heading out to get the rental car.

Flying with an older lap infant

26 & 27. We spent most of our time in Munich with H’s family, although we did go into the city a couple times (and we took a last minute trip to Innsbruck). N’s favorite thing was this forested area near his grandparent’s house, and the awesome playground that I forgot to photograph in the neighborhood. She keeps asking to go back there and play more!

Munich Forest Walks with Kids

28. We did escape Munich for a short weekend trip to Innsbruck, and stayed at a lovely Airbnb in Oberperfuss, a village like 15 minutes from the city center. The view of the mountains was amazing, and they even brought us fresh eggs and milk in the morning. I would 100% recommend this Airbnb for families. They had a small play structure, a pack and play we could use, and if the other apartments are anything like the one we stayed in, they’re perfect for families. Uh, don’t ask me how good their English is, we spoke all in German.

Airbnb near Innsbruck

29. We decided on this last minute trip to Innsbruck because I wanted to see the alps. So we went up the Nordkette, which was very cool but also…foggy. Dang it. However, the cable cars were a blast for all of us, the restaurant was pretty good, there was an awesome Tyrolean band playing (because it was Saturday), and N loved listening to the music. This was the trip where we really learned our lesson about ordering kids food. See, we ordered her this typical German kids’ meal (Frankfurter und Pomme Frittes – Hot dogs and french fries, because she loves both these things) but she took one look at H’s Kaesespaetzle and demanded some of it. Which is what she’s eating in this photo.

30. Downtown Innsbruck was adorable, we strolled through the beautiful buildings and tiny side streets and fell completely in love with the little city. It’s smaller than Spokane, and we loved all the mountains and the river. Bonus: it’s only 2 hours from Munich in good traffic (ha!). We’re dreaming of heading back soon.

Innsbruck and the Nordkette with a toddler

31. More food with this kid. On one of our last days we were in the city center doing some shopping and meeting up with old friends (H), and I didn’t want to eat in one of the cheesy tourist trap “German” restaurants around Marienplatz. So we found this adorable little Italian restaurant, La Valle, tucked away on a side street. N was in love with H’s pasta and the waiter who quickly switched from German to Italian to English and back again. I had some amazing ravioli that I’m still dreaming about.

32. Obligatory Rathaus photo to prove that we did in fact visit Munich proper and see something touristy.

Eating with a toddler in Munich

33. The drive to the airport was far too stunning and it made me wish I’d spent more time demanding we drive around and just pull over for me to take pictures of the fields and the perfect Bavarian blue-white skies on this trip. The weather was mostly amazing and beautiful with a few rain showers, and we were feeling bittersweet about heading home.

34. On the way home, N decided that she didn’t want to sleep across both our laps, but instead wanted to use me as a pillow and steal H’s seat. So he stood for about 6 hours on our flight. We had a long, late layover in Seattle and we were thrilled to be home and sleeping in our own beds by the time we got back to Spokane.

Mornings in Bavaria

35. A little out of order, but N’s hair was long enough while we were in Munich for me to french braid it one day. She sat still while papa distracted her and it lasted all of an hour before slipping out. It was fun to practice on her, although it’s been years since I’ve done French braids regularly.

36. N decided she would help me with my overflowing inbox when we got home and answer all my emails. Thankfully, no emails were sent on my behalf – this time. 😉

Working from Home with a Toddler

37. This silly girl! She wanted to be a superhero in her car and borrowed my scarf. She was zooming all over and the light was pretty so I took a picture.

38. With travel right before Halloween, we didn’t have much energy for costumes. We threw together these Rosie the Riveter outfits for a quick walk around the neighborhood and reused last years’ snow owl costume for a trunk or treat at her daycare.

Toddler and Mama Halloween Costume - Rosie the Riveter

And then boom! It was November and we were off running towards the end of the year. Hopefully I’ll get all caught up with these soon!!

Heather + Craig’s Mountain Top Wedding

Heather + Craig’s Mountain Top Wedding

This beautiful wedding has been next in my editing queue for quite a while. It was equal parts being busy and being tempted to share basically every single photo I delivered to Heather + Craig last fall! This wedding, these people, were so sweet and kind, and I went home with a sore face from smiling the whole time I was there.

This wedding was more about the people than the details, and the couple stressed to me that they wanted photos of their guests having a blast and some awesome portraits for themselves. They made my job super easy too, because Heather and Craig were married on her parents’ property on a mountain just outside of Winthrop. The ceremony was followed by a mountaintop toast, a musical processional down the mountain, and a reception at Cub Creek Ranch. Not only were these two some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, they planned all of this wedding long distance and it was the most magical kind of day. Their vows had everyone in tears, the toasts gave us all belly laughs, and when you see all the processional photos down the mountain, you can see that nearly every guest traipsed down the mountain in the wedding finery while dancing and singing. This was the first wedding where I’ve worn my actual running shoes (which were covered in dust by the time we got down the mountain) and the first time I’ve hiked down a mountain with all my gear.

During the reception, we did sneak back up to their parents’ property for a few more portraits and some quiet time for them. Which included lots of snuggling, a decision to climb a huge rock in a wedding dress (they are both climbers), and the most beautiful light. Stew Dietz Catering, as usually, was on hand to make this one of the smoothest wedding days of my year. Not only does Stew make amazing food – with no kitchen! – she and her team keep the day running smoothly. They handled cocktails on top of a mountain and the dreamiest crab cakes that I am still drooling over more than a year later. At the end of the night, the coats came off, the dancing started, and the guests all had pie and coffee under the twinkling lights while a local band played music.

Heather + Craig, thank you for including me in your wedding day. Your beautiful hearts make my job so easy.

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Mountain Top Small Destination Wedding // Emily Wenzel Photography

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Mountaintop Wedding Ceremony in the Methow Valley

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Stew Dietz Catering Winthrop Wedding

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