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

Mountain Top Small Destination Wedding // Emily Wenzel PhotographyMountain Top Small Destination Wedding // Emily Wenzel PhotographyWedding Portraits with PersonalityBabies at weddings are a good thing

Mountaintop Wedding Ceremony in the Methow Valley

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Stew Dietz Catering Winthrop Wedding

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Balancing a Business and a Life as a Small Business Owner

Balancing a Business and a Life as a Small Business Owner

Hey there.

Does anyone still read a blog? Like, really read them? Besides me? I love blogs, I’ll never pivot to video, and while I know 98% of you are just here to look at pretty pictures, sometimes I need to talk too.

So, here’s a post to say that, once again, I dropped the ball. Despite my best intentions (and my goals!), I am woefully behind on blogging. But still using words like woefully, because ya’ll, I’m a bookworm and a nerd. Not because I haven’t wanted to blog – I have so much to share – but because now that N is here, I don’t want to spend 12 hours a day working. I want to spend time with my kiddo and our family. So, while I love blogging, it’s not the highest thing on my priority list (that would be client emails and editing).

I thought about just jumping back into content – but instead, I wanted to say first that life is busy, life is hard, and it doesn’t matter what you’re doing in this world, there are always more things on your to do list than you have time for. And in this season of life, I’m prioritizing time with my kiddo and our family. So that means working crazy hours and long international flights to visit her great-grandparents. It means late nights, early mornings, and less blogging during the busy season. It means dreaming of a few things I just don’t have the bandwidth for right now.

So, if you’re struggling with balance. If your emails, laundry, friendships, trips to the gym, or whatever your to do list item is, are falling behind, I just want to say it’s okay. In the end, if the important things are getting done, then you are doing enough.

Family Photos in Munich // Emily Wenzel

August Recap Post

August Recap Post

August. The month of smoke, blistering hot days, and more smoke. Oof. I pitched taking our big vacation next year in August, even though I know that doesn’t work with my business, because I didn’t want to deal with another smokey summer. It’s so bad!

Because of the nasty weather, we spent a lot of time indoors and I had a pretty cranky kiddo on my hands. We could not have survived the month without babywearing, and I wore her A LOT.

1. I finally figured out how to back carry in a ring sling and N thinks it’s the best. It’s not my favorite back carry, but in a pinch, it’s nice to know that I can easily give her front snuggles or toss her up on my back.

2. Babywearing is the only way we survive, especially when someone skips her nap because she’s too excited about going to grandma and grandpa’s house.

How to travel solo with a toddler // Adventures in Parenting

3. On the days when it was hot – but not yet smokey – we spent a lot of time hanging out on our patio in the evenings after N went to bed. I’d curl up in the hammock and we’d stare at the stars. I also found out that I can do longer exposures on my phone, which was fun. Still perfecting them, but I was pleased with this first attempt.

4. More babywearing, in a new sling, after a trip to Mobius. We would NOT have survived smokey days without Mobius. Best money we’ve ever spent.

How to travel solo with a toddler // Adventures in Parenting

5. Tomato haul. We had some good producers this year, and we also ended up with a glut of tomatoes while house sitting for a neighbor. One day, I picked nearly two pounds of just cherry tomatoes! And then I did it again the next day…! Most of them were made into tomato sauce, which will be amazing on cold winter days.

6. Very very rarely does this girl need me for naps anymore, but after a busy morning, she woke up from her short nap only to cuddle me up and pass out again. I decided to soak up the snuggles because when did she get so big?!?! Aaaaaahhh.

How to travel solo with a toddler // Adventures in Parenting

7 and 8: N and I took a day trip to Seattle to visit a friend of mine who was in town from Czechia. He was passing through on his way to run a relay race, and so we decided to fly over for the day and hang out. This is me on the way to the airport, and on the way home. It was a looooooong day, but it was also a really good day. She didn’t nap well, but she was still a pretty good kiddo for me. We’re planning on doing more mother-daughter solo travel next year, and this gives me hope that I can do it all!

How to travel solo with a toddler // Adventures in Parenting

9: While in Seattle, we decided to visit the aquarium. N is absolutely obsessed with fish and anything in the water. She was in heaven, and I had the hardest time keeping up with her. She flat out ran from tank to tank to point out all the fish, adored the sea lions and the otters, and then properly collapsed in my arms on the train back to the airport – where we of course ate some mac & cheese while waiting for our (delayed) flight home.

10. We tried to put in one of those in wall tunnels for our tv cables, but ya’ll, old homes are strange and we ran into some obstructions in the wall. In order to properly skim the patches, I decided to skim the whole area. It’s now painted and I even moved the TV over above the piano (we don’t watch TV that much). I need to get an updated photo, because we’ve hung a bunch of art up on the walls now, and it’s looking so good!!

How to travel solo with a toddler // Adventures in Parenting

11. We had one morning where it maybe dropped into the 60s? And N insisted on wearing her boots, jacket, and wool beanie when we went out to pick the garden. She’s been my little garden assistant this summer, helping me pick all of our produce, and I can’t wait to have her help me plant the garden next spring! [Also: one of our trees! That one is a peach tree]

12. One of the varieties of tomatoes we planted this year ended up growing HUGE tomatoes. This wasn’t even the largest one we picked, but here it is against a toddler for scale. It’s basically a pumpkin, haha! The variety is an Italian Heirloom, if you’re interested. We liked them, they were good to eat and didn’t have too many seeds, which I love since we mainly harvest our large tomatoes for making sauce for the winter.

How to travel solo with a toddler // Adventures in Parenting

13. Another cool morning, another use for a sweater (knit by my grandma for my cousins when we were kiddos) and her hat. She only wanted to walk, so we did and she had a blast watching all the trash trucks come through the neighborhood before playing on the slide and swings.

14. Helping me unpack some new memory cards. This girl is my big assistant in my office, and while that sometimes means I can’t find what I’m looking for, I love that she comes in and plays so that I can get a bit of work done while I’m home with her!

How to travel solo with a toddler // Adventures in Parenting

Whew! And that was that. August was a bit of a slower work month for me, which was nice because I had a bunch to catch up on from July and now September and October are really busy too. I can’t believe it’s almost the end of the month and it’s FALL!!

July Recap Post

July Recap 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 Recap Post

May & June 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.

April Recap Post

April Recap Post

I’m looking back at April, and I don’t feel like I took many photos, because the whole month felt long. And it seems, a month when my girl changed a lot. The last few months have been pretty rough on me, I’ve been dealing with some things behind the scenes and I think I’m going to take a while to step away from social media and maybe even the blog. My mental health hasn’t been what I need to to be to be the best version of me.

1. When you don’t want to wear pants, but it’s still too cold to go without? Leg warmers. And then she pulled up her shirt and started dancing. You’d think that our kitchen was a scene from Flashdance.

2. We picked up a double layer ring sling from Wildbird in early April, and as soon as I pulled it out of the box, she was demanding snuggles. It’s been in heavy rotation the last month or so. We’re fans of the bright blue!

Babywearing with a wildbird sling to making working from home easier

3. Walking home from the park with Grandma, in the sunshine on a beautiful spring day. We try to get out to the park almost every day, although now that the garden is coming together, we spend more time playing in the backyard.

4. Sometimes when I work, this lazy bum hangs out in my office and naps while our girl naps too. Here I was all bundled up in a sweater and a scarf because the heater in there was broken. It’s fixed now, so of course is 80+ outside. I’ll need it again in the fall, right?

Grant Park in South Perry Spokane with a rainbow in the Spring

5. I got N this rain suit from Oakiwear, and the first time I put it on her, she had an absolute fit. But then I shoved her out in the rain, and she ran around an empty park until her little legs didn’t work anymore. And now she loves her rain suit. Basically, she’ll do anything to be outside in any weather.

6. We went to Leavenworth for a few days to join H while he was at a work conference. They did a little painted rock scavenger hunt, and it turns out, my toddler is amazing at finding rocks. I’m not surprised, but she kept bringing them to me, including this beautiful heart rock.

Hunting for rocks and playing in the rain is easier with an Oakiwear rain suit

7. There is a goat behind a fence in Leavenworth (not this fence) and so N had to peek through every single fence to see if she could find the goat again. We wandered all around downtown, checking out the toy shop and having lunch outside while dad worked.

8. Hmm, should I do a spa day, or go golfing while I’m here? We stayed at Icicle Creek, which was a great place to stay with a kiddo. We opted to stay in a suite, so she could have the living room and we had some privacy in the bedroom (so I could work while she napped). Icicle Creek also had an arcade room, mini golf, and a small playground. We watched the big kids play in the arcade room, and spent a lot of time playing at the playground, as well as just walking all over the grounds there. Everyone was super nice, and even though it was slightly out of town, I’d stay there again. Although, the covered pool was a bit too cold for her, I think it’d be great in warmer weather.

Traveling to Leavenworth with a toddler can be easy with these few tricks and tips

9. What do you do when your toddler has had enough of being in the stroller and you’re walking along the side of the highway? You toss them up in a back carry so they can snuggle you and see all the big trucks go zooming by while you walk back to the hotel, of course.

10. I had a sweet little wedding at Gonzaga, and I had such a kick being back on campus when school was in session. The guys of DeSmet saw us, and started playing the wedding march through the (always present) speakers. Some things never change.

Babywearing in Leavenworth and at Gonzaga University for a wedding

11. I also got called for jury duty in April, but luckily didn’t get chosen to serve. It was an interesting experience, and someday I would love to serve, but maybe when I’m not juggling work and a toddler at the same time? Luckily, there was wifi and I had my laptop, so I was able to get a decent amount of work done while waiting to be called.

12. That tired toddler crashed out in her new ring sling, so I covered her up and pulled out my laptop to answer emails. Working from home is always an adventure, and whenever I figure something out, our status quo changes. It means I no longer get to work for hours and hours (unless she’s gone!) and instead, I work in short bursts of time whenever she’s napping, or otherwise occupied destroying my office.

How to juggle jury duty in Spokane with being a work from home mom

13. More sling naps. She’s getting so heavy, this really isn’t comfortable anymore, but I love the snuggles too much to try and transfer her or wake her up.

14. Now that spring is here, we’re spending lots and lots of time in our garden! I can’t wait to have help picking tomatoes and peppers and all our other veggies all summer long. My mom got her some tiny gardening tools, so she likes to “help” me weed and plant and water everything.

Keeping a toddler entertained and safe while gardening