November + December Recap – Low Key Holidays // Behind the Scenes

November + December Recap – Low Key Holidays // Behind the Scenes

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.

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

April Recap – The Pacific Northwest with a Toddler // Travel & Lifestyle Photography

April Recap – The Pacific Northwest with a Toddler // Travel & Lifestyle Photography

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

March Recap — Prague with Kids // Travel & Lifestyle Photography

March Recap — Prague with Kids // Travel & Lifestyle Photography

Slowly but surely, I’m catching up on blogging and recaps. I feel like March just happened, but I blinked and now it’s May. Aaaah, Bloomsday is this weekend, and we missed it last year because we were in Germany, so I’m excited to have family in town for it and take our girl to watch it. She’s going to love checking out all the runners!

Excuse my partially demo-ed, partially reno-ed house, but these two are so adorable. They were playing in my office while I worked one day, and then heard dad come home. So they ran to the gate to sit there and wait for him. Right before this photo, little miss was standing up at the gate shouting Papa! Papa! but I couldn’t get to my phone fast enough.

Behind the Scenes with Emily Wenzel Photography

I can’t believe it’s been a couple months, but in early March, I took little miss down to Nordstrom to get her first pair of real shoes…and she got a balloon too! If you want to make my kid happy, give her a balloon. Later, we swung by Rockwood Bakery for a mama daughter date, but she had more fun climbing under the table and playing peekaboo with the other people.

Behind the Scenes with Emily Wenzel Photography

In March, I got to do some new work that I’m hoping to showcase later this year. I’ve been working more with companies to do branding and commercial work. It’s got me flexing different muscles, and makes me really appreciate my wedding and family work even more. This is a preview of a book I helped shoot for a preschool.

Behind the Scenes with Emily Wenzel Photography

This girl and her piano. I love how much she loves music. She loves hanging out and playing the piano, so we tried using our Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair to have her play. It worked!

I had a commercial shoot with some building shots in March, and they wanted exterior shots. What do you do when you don’t have anyone to take care of your kid and you can’t drop them at dad’s office? You pop them on your back and take them with you. She was a total champ and had a blast giggling at the cars going by.

Behind the Scenes with Emily Wenzel Photography

After our photography adventure, I took her out to a nearby walking trail and we went for a short walk in the sunshine. Her favorite thing is to be outdoors. She really doesn’t care how bad the weather is. She’ll go out in the rain or sunshine, and she almost always gets mad when I bring her back inside.

We got some new swim gear for swimming lessons and summer time at the lake, and she adores this suit. In fact, we packed it for a recent trip, and she stole it out of the suitcase and ran around the house asking to go swimming.

Behind the Scenes with Emily Wenzel Photography

Sneaking up on Mama and her Aunt is harder when Mama sneaks in a selfie. We had a long layover in Seattle on our way to Prague, and we used the time to head to grandma’s house. Some lunch, and lots of running around and playing with family (and a trip to the Seatac play area) wore this girl out before our international flight.

Behind the Scenes with Emily Wenzel Photography

This recent trip to Prague was with British Airways, and they have these great carrycots that fit larger lap infants! I was so excited to try them out, and it worked pretty well. She slept in it most of the way over, but spent more time in mama’s arms on the way home, because she was having a rough day getting over a cold she caught while we were traveling, and needed extra snuggles.

Behind the Scenes with Emily Wenzel Photography

Two of the things that have changed now that we travel with a kid is where we stay and what we do. On this trip to Prague, I booked us a family apartment in Prague 6 near Stromovka park and we spent our first afternoon just wandering the trails, getting some fresh air, and exploring the neighborhood. It was an area of the city that I’d never really been to before, and I enjoyed seeing a different side of the city. Unbeknownst to me, this area of the city is also home to nearly all the embassies and residences of the foreign diplomats. The American Ambassador’s residence was just down the street from our Airbnb.

Behind the Scenes with Emily Wenzel Photography

Little miss slept through our trip to Prague Castle (that’s the cathedral on the castle grounds on the right), so she’s slept at every castle she’s been too, although she was awake for our walk around Old Town Square.

Behind the Scenes with Emily Wenzel Photography

The view from Prague castle’s overlook. If you can find the tower in the distance, that’s near my old apartment on the other side of the river. We had some pretty nice weather for a couple of our days in Prague, although it wasn’t nearly as nice while we were in Olomouc.

Behind the Scenes with Emily Wenzel Photography

The best thing about traveling and staying at family apartments? Most of them have cribs. We brought our own for the days we spent with my family, but it was so nice to have this one in Prague.

Little miss went on her first train ride, and as you can see, she was thrilled. She spent most of the two hours looking out the window and exclaiming how excited she was. The trains and trams were a big highlight for her.

Behind the Scenes with Emily Wenzel Photography

The metro, however, was less impressive. We learned a lot about navigating the metro and trams and I think I’ll blog about our trip to Prague in detail later. But needless to say, I am glad that we were both there to haul the stroller down the stairs. I think I would have had to get an umbrella stroller if I had gone on my own!

Behind the Scenes with Emily Wenzel Photography

I forgot to bring an extra sippy cup for our girl, so when she demanded a taste of my tea or soda or whatever, we discovered that she was quite adept at drinking out of espresso cups. And, as a bonus, you can find them in nearly every home in the Czech Republic. Although…I’m not sure I know any Czechs who drink espresso.

On our last day in Prague, I snagged a bag of my favorite cinnamon sugar almonds. To me, cobblestones and roasted almonds are two things that really make a European trip feel like Europe.

Behind the Scenes with Emily Wenzel Photography

Helping mama with laundry in her new favorite shirt. We had to do a lot of laundry after our trip. And, I was thrilled to find this shirt in the girls’ section at Target!

After a long month of traveling, wrap snuggles were pretty much necessary to help us adjust to the jetlag. She did one better, and pulled her arm out so that she could hug me while wrapped up on my back. What a silly, sweet kiddo!

Behind the Scenes with Emily Wenzel Photography

 


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A Little Redecorating // Behind the Scenes

A Little Redecorating // Behind the Scenes

It started off innocently enough. Last year, I launched a new look and website. I worked on them for months, and wanted to love them. But they were always a little bit…off. I’d try to fix things, but I couldn’t quite get things to work how I saw them in my head. A chat over lunch with an industry friend who I consider a great mentor lead me to really looking at my website and branding. And then resulted in my messing with an idea, checking in with some of you via Instagram Stories (thank you!!) and then I just…made the site. The site came together so easily, that I couldn’t believe how much I’ve struggled with the previous design(s). It is perfection. Well, almost.

I still need new head shots, but those are in the works, and I really need to catch up here, on the blog. I’m sure there are few wonky things around, so if you find something, please drop me a comment or email. In the meantime – THANK YOU.

This job is something I love with all my heart, and I am eternally grateful that I get to do this. I’ve got so many things to share, but if you don’t follow me on Instagram and Facebook, I do share there regularly, so please follow along and let me know you’re there. I made an announcement a few weeks back, and I want to talk about it more on here, but I’m offering up to $100 for referrals, because you – my friends and followers and biggest fans – are really better marketing than any website or bridal fair. Although, I like those too.

Spokane Wedding Photographer // Historic Davenport Hotel Emily Wenzel