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.

October, November, AND December — Recap // Spokane Lifestyle Photographer

October, November, AND December — Recap // Spokane Lifestyle Photographer

Oh hi. When I fell off the blogging bandwagon, I’d try to start back up, and then I’d get overwhelmed, or the baby would wake up, and I’d just…put it off for the next day. My backlog is SO crazy, but I think I should start small, and maybe it’ll be easier with a few behind the scenes photos? Plus, I gotta get to it, because I gave myself a 2018 post goal, and I love love LOVE crossing goals off my list.

So, here’s a recap of October, November, and December. It’s a long one – and I can’t believe how tiny my girl looks in some of these photos!

1. Like I mentioned in the September recap, we started off the month of October in the Methow Valley, hiking up at Blue lake. It was cold and beautiful and already fall while the leaves still hadn’t started to change back in Spokane.
2. We spent a lot of time at the park in October, getting as much fresh air as possible before it was too cold and dark after H got home from work.

North Cascades Hiking with Baby

3. I did a lot of wrap trading in the fall! It’s so fun to see all the different wraps I used. :) I can barely remember these beautiful days when I went outside without a sweater.
4. N loves her Clek car seat (she is not so much a fan of the lightweight travel seat we use when we fly) but she really loves when we take selfies while we’re waiting for dad to gas up the car.

Babywearing and Travel with Baby in Clek

5. We took N to her first Sounders game in October and it was so much fun! Some of H’s extended family was in the US, so they got to go to their first MLS game as well. And the Sounders won! It’s always more fun when they win. :)
6. A long weekend of travel means that someone crashes HARD for naps when she comes home. Usually I can’t sneak in and photograph her (the door squeaks – old house problems!), but I got in for this snap that I love so much.

Baby at Sounders Game and Sleeping Hard

7. Little miss found my stash of Halloween candy and was pulling all the milky way bars out of the bag. She was a little bummed when I wouldn’t let her open any of the noisy plastic!
8. We were pretty regularly getting out for our weekly hikes at Manito back in October (we fell off the wagon in November when we got sick). I’m looking forward to getting out again soon!

Hike It Baby in Spokane, WA9. My grandma passed away in October and it hit me harder than I expected. Processing her loss took more time and space than I had thought I’d need, and contributed to my radio silence on the blog and social media. Long walks with my girl helped a lot.
10. So bored by mealtime, he didn’t even notice the chunk of rice that landed on his ear!

Fall at Manito in Spokane

11. My husband tells me I set the bar too high, but this costume was a dream to make (hat from an Etsy shop that is now closed) and we got so many compliments. I loved my little Hedwig the Snow Owl! Yes, I am a nameless wizard. I should have put a scar on my forehead. Fail. :(
12. Checking out her Halloween loot. Of which she got to eat approximately…none. Maybe next year, kiddo!

Hedwig the Snow Owl Halloween Costume


1. This girl loves to “help” me while we work on house projects, like measuring for a new dining table.
2. What do you do when your laundry basket is empty? You pretend it’s a boat and row it around the living room!

Home Renovation with Baby in a Laundry Basket

3. Unless we host Thanskgiving, we’ve been given the duty of making pies. This was my pecan pie, which is H’s favorite. True story: I can’t stand nuts or corn syrup based pies! I’ve never even had a slice of pecan pie, but I make it every year and everyone who has it swears its one of the best they’ve had.
4. Apple pie. Now this is my go to. I use the Streusel topping from Classic German Baking and it turns out fabulously every year.

Pecan and Apple Pies for Thanksgiving

5. More wrap snuggles. N hasn’t been as into wrapping the last few weeks, and now I’m really missing it. She’s too busy exploring right now.
6. We saw a rainbow on Thanksgiving morning, which almost made up for the fact that I felt like death warmed over.

Back carry in PN wovens wrap Eastern Washington rainbow

7. I was taken out by a nasty bug the week of Thanksgiving. I’m still not sure if it was the flu or a cold, but I threw together this leftovers busting turkey noodle soup and it made me feel a little better.
8. I was sick and she was teething, so we did lots of snuggling that week.

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Soup Wildbird Snow Owl Ring Sling


1. I finally got all the things together to make this more modern Advent wreath for our table. I’ve been dreaming of it for a few years, and I really liked how simple it was!
2. N was thrilled and confused to find chocolate and an orange in her boots on St. Nikolas Day! I had so much fun watching her reaction.

St Nickolas Day in the US // Modern Advent Wreath

3. Little miss helping me bake cookies. We usually back carry while I bake, but she wanted to sit next to me for a bit. I’m planning to make her a learning tower this month, so she can help me in the kitchen.
4. I was able to borrow this beautiful handwoven wrap from River City Weaving for a week and it was a dream. My Instagram Husband is better as a non-IG husband, alas.

Baking with baby // River City Weaving Wrap

5. Visiting Christmas Tree Elegance at the Davenport! We didn’t win anything, but we had fun looking at all the trees and supporting a good cause.
6. Another carry with this dreamy wrap.

Christmas Tree Elegance Babywearing River City Weaving

7. Since N is a December baby, we don’t get a tree until after her birthday. So, the day after her birthday, we went up to Greenbluff Christmas Tree Farm and found a beauty. N was a little unimpressed and almost fell asleep sitting in my seat while Dad strapped the tree on the roof.
8. I am a (Christmas) minimalist, and I love keeping our decor simple. Lots of lights and greenery and simple decorations. The added benefit is that the decorations take up less space, although we had to get another bin this year because we got a bunch more decor. Oops.

Christmas Tree from Greenbluff Spokane WA

9. Like mama, like daughter. This one loves her water bottle, so we got her own for her birthday.
10. Pretty impressed by my bunte teller (colorful plate) skills this year, although some of the credit goes to my Aunt, who sent me a tin of cookies for Christmas. Yes, that makes her my favorite.

Toddler water bottle bunte teller Christmas cookies

11. Post sledding and snow hiking, she was playing with her mittens!
12. It became an unofficial thing that I would take photos of H with a beer and N, starting in February. This was at South Perry Pizza on New Year’s Eve.

New Years Eve Hike and Beer with Baby

Boom! Three months of random stuff. My kid got huge, my house got decorated for the holidays and is now undecorated. We got sick. We got healthy. Then we got sick again. Ugh.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

It’s that time of year. Hannukah has passed, Christmas is nearly here. Our tree is up, I’m in awe of all the beautiful lights, and yet, I dread going out because everyone is just rushing faster, faster, faster.

Time for a deep breath. Ready? In. Out.


Thank you to everyone who was a part of my business in 2017. Words cannot express how much I love each and every client who took a chance on a new mama and her sleep deprived brain. I’ve missed blogging this year, and I have so much to share on here in 2018.

Until then, I’ll be spending some time with my family over the holidays, while drinking some mulled wine and eating some Christmas cookies.

Picking out a tree at Greenbluff Christmas Tree Farm in Spokane Washington

Christmas Shopping for Photographers & Creatives // Personal Post

Christmas Shopping for Photographers & Creatives // Personal Post

I’ve been working on getting my Christmas shopping all done early, since I’m not sure when baby Wenzel is arriving — it’s officially baby month as of today. Oh gosh, I really need to pack my hospital bag. Haha! I’ve been seeing a bunch of cute stuff that I want to buy for me. Some of it, I’ve picked up for my friends and family too, but it’s been hard not to Christmas shop for myself too! If you’re shopping for a photographer, creative person, entrepreneur, or my doppelganger, you might want to grab some of these fun things.
Gifts for Wedding and Portrait Photographers // 2016 Christmas Gift Guide

  1. Like most photographers, I’m a sucker for silly gifts that remind me of my business. So I love this sweet camera ornament from Old World Christmas. Bonus: Old World Christmas is based in Spokane, and they have an outlet store here. We’re planning to check it out this week!
  2. It’s common knowledge that I love cake, especially wedding cake. So when I saw this shirt from Strawberry Revolution, I knew it was going on my wishlist. I love all the styles, but I think the sweatshirt will be perfect for lazy days with baby Wenzel this spring. And #weddingphotographer, so perfect. I want to be clear. I don’t really do this for the cake, but it’s a great bonus! [PS – just to be clear, I am “pro baked goods” and do not discriminate against cookies, pies, cupcakes, tarts, or other desserts either.]
  3. I’ve said before how much I love my fitbit Alta, and I especially love that I can change out the bands. I’ve got the teal band and a grey leather one, but I’m eyeing this bracelet style band, or maybe the tan leather one too? I need one to go with every outfit, of course!
  4. I don’t wear much jewelry, but I stumbled across these really neat necklaces made out of old lenses in this Etsy shop, and I immediately added one to my list. How cool are these???
  5. My office keeps moving around the house as we renovate – as of right now, my desk has been in five (or maybe six?) different locations throughout the house – and I’ve learned that having a few things up on the walls makes it feel much less temporary. Right now, I’ve got some files and my wall calendar up, but I think I might need to find a space for this cool camera chart or this beautiful vintage camera print in the spring.

Gifts for Creatives & Home Renovators // Christmas Gift Guide 2016

  1. I came across these bar necklaces on Etsy while looking for a gift for my mom, and I love them. I’m debating what I’d put on one: the date of my wedding? Maybe the longitude and latitude of our wedding venue? Baby Wenzel’s birthdate or name? So many options!
  2. Not only do I love these cutting boards, and I want both the Washington and Germany one, but I think these would make an awesome wedding gift. It’s so beautiful though, would I even use it?
  3. I checked this book out from the library a few months back, and I absolutely adored looking through it. It’s a great book for anyone interested in old homes, architecture, or if you’re renovating. I feel like I know a lot more about the style of my home (and other homes I see around town) now that I’ve looked through it. Now that our bookcases are more or less finished, I have more space for books – and this one tops my list!
  4. If we’ve met in person, I’ve probably raved about my love of Stitch Fix. It seriously has made my life so much easier, especially because I’m terrible at shopping and I hate the mall. They even have maternity clothes, and yes, about 90% of my maternity wardrobe has come from them. If you’re going to shop for someone else, grab them a gift card to Stitch Fix (or uh, sign up yourself using my referral code) so they can snag some cool new clothes in 2017.
  5. Last year, I stumbled across Skida, and promptly fell in love with their hats. I ended up ordering a few for us last winter, and to give as Christmas gifts. I love that they’re made in Vermont, that by using this code, you can donate a hate to a cancer facility when you buy one for yourself, and that they’ve got amazing customer service. They accidentally oversold the hat my husband wanted, and were so sweet about calling us and figuring out a replacement solution. H wears his all the time for running, and I live in mine when walking the dog. We’ve got the Nordic hats, but I’ll probably be adding an Alpine hat or two to my winter wardrobe this year.




*Note: This post contains affiliate links, but I would never, ever, recommend something I didn’t either want myself, or already own. Got questions? Feel free to drop me a message or leave a comment, I’m more than happy to help out in any way possible!


Hello, December // Personal Post — Spokane Wedding Photography

Hello, December // Personal Post — Spokane Wedding Photography

I sat down to write this yesterday morning, but it never happened. So I’m up early today, watching the snow fall outside my office window, and reflecting on the fact that it’s December.


November was a crazy whirlwind. November is usually a whirlwind – finishing up wedding season, squeezing in a few family sessions (which I had to turn down this year, boo!), and getting ready for the holidays. But add in renovating our living room, adopting a puppy, and hosting Thanksgiving, and it turned in to quite a crazy month.

— We got to the part of renovation where we were painting – yay! It’s been a long, long journey to get here, and we still have a few things to finish before I can show off some before and after photos (built in bookcases, we’re coming for you), but it finally feels like we have a room in our house that reflects our style and personality. With no beige. And an overhead light. It’s the little things, you guys. My younger brother came up for a weekend and helped us out, and I have never been so grateful for family as I have been this past month.

— We adopted a puppy, which saw me laughing, and crying, these past two weeks. Lola still isn’t completely on board, but she’s coming around and there is more harmony in the house.

— The power went out! Except, it didn’t for us. It was a strange situation, since H works with a utility, to have power, but see him working long (and crazy) hours in order to get people their power back. I am in awe of what he can do, including working crazy overnight shifts, then waking up after only a few hours to help me cut down branches that fell in our yard.

— We hosted Thanksgiving for our entire (US based) immediate families. We had 12 people in our house for Thanksgiving, and while that probably doesn’t seem like a lot to some people, it was huge for us. And it went amazingly well, and we had a wonderful time. There was a moment, when we finally all sat down to the table, and I looked around to see all the people we love, who haven’t all been together since our wedding (four years ago!), and it felt amazing. Plus, I took my sister in law’s advice, and turned the leftover turkey into turkey enchiladas. So good!

— I was able to assist Matt Shumate at an Indian wedding last weekend, thus crossing a big wish off my photography wish list. The DJ was another WDS alum, and although I felt like sleeping for a week after it was over, I can’t wait to shoot one again. I must be a glutton for punishment.

Wenzel Haus Christmas 2014 // Emily Wenzel Photography

What do you have planned for December? I’m looking forward to Christmas, to sending out holiday cards, to eating lots of cookies, and to more walks in the snow with my pup. I’ll be prepping for the January Bridal Festival too, which is January 9-10. November, you were good. December, let’s do this.