Vegas Confessions: Feeling like an adult again.

Monday, December 15, 2014
So if you are one of my loyal facebook friends, you know that Ryan and I were just gone for a week in Vegas. He had a work conference Thursday-Saturday, and we had me tag along, making it a week long getaway. We hadn't been on a vacation together, sans kids, since I tagged along on an LA trip back in 2012. You know, when Claire (the 3 year old) was just barely crawling.

To say it was overdue was an understatement.

To say we let loose and had a fabulous time is an understatement.

It was a blast and I already told Ryan we should just make it an annual thing since this conference is in Vegas every year.

Now, of course, we were in Vegas. It's an automatic assumption, I'm sure, that we partied hard. (We, indeed, may have). But after returning home, I found myself reflecting a little deeper down than the bottom of the two bottles of Jack honey we enjoyed carrying around in my purse. (I'm super classy like that.)

Most days, I really don't feel very adult like. I don't HAVE to get out of my pajamas if I don't want to, I sometimes eat a chicken nugget for lunch, the only deadlines I have are the ones I impose on myself, and the big greatest source of adult interaction on a typical day is through texting and facebook. So this trip. It was a big deal for me. I got to step away from reality and really feel like an adult again.

First of all, my husband is brilliant. If you know him closely or have worked with him, you surely know this. I myself have known this for a very long time. What's odd about it, unfortunately, is that his work life is very separate from his home life. Sure, I know a handful of people he works with, and we are good friends with a number of them, and I have a basic idea of what his job is, but what he actually does at work often just feels like a very separate world to me. I can tell the average person what he does (in very average terms), but I can't pretend to truly understand it.

But even though my understanding only scrapes the surface, I do know, deep down, how incredibly important and life changing his work and device is. I know how brilliant he is, and I know he has a very game changing attitude and out of the box thinking that sets him apart from the average Joe.

So what was completely awe inspiring to me on this trip was to watch him talk about what he does with the people who understand it. The people that do know exactly what he does. There was no "Jenna filter", just me sitting on the sidelines and watching him "work" even if it was in just casual conversations over more of that Jack honey stuff. I finally felt like I was "in". Like I was finally hearing the real deal and truly seeing the work side of my husband for the very first time in his 8 years of real world work. And I was impressed all over again. And more proud than I could possibly put into words to shake people's hands as I was introduced as this man's wife.

It hit me hardest when the Senior Vice President of his division (a man Ryan speaks incredibly highly of, who I'm sure, and has likely seen his fair share of great and horrible engineers in his days) shook my hand. As he introduced himself, he turned to Ryan and asked me if I knew how awesome he was. I was partly floored to even be speaking to this man, and even more impressed when Ryan turned to me and said "I've never ever heard him talk about me like that."

My man is impressing people and I know he's going to do great things. And he's all mine. :)

What's that all to say? It made me feel like a real adult. Sure, I'm a momma. It's a pretty adult thing taking care of three young non-adults. But I spend my days doing laundry, dishes, eating chicken nuggets and wiping poopy butts. Not only did I spend an entire week NOT doing any of those things, but I got to hang with people a lot more important than I probably really realize, and hear the majority of them admire the work that Ryan has done. And I got to be a part of that. Because I'm a part of Ryan. And I get to call myself his wife.

But as I listened in on more of these conversations, the more I began doubting my own self, however. Yes, my job as mother is more important than anything, and duh, I'm the best one for this job; but that's not what I was doubting. I started doubting the work that I do for money (because, let's face it, no one's paying me for those poopy butts I'm cleaning.)

This photography gig. As we sat listening to random "important medical conversations" over coffee, I found thoughts running through my head like

"Is this really it? This is what I'm doing with my life?"
"I'm smarter than this, right? Should I have applied myself to something more "important" in college?"
"Was I smart enough to be some high exec business woman? Did I f-up what I could really be doing?"
"Was the teacher-turned stay at home mom-turned work from home photographer really my calling?"
"What I do is no where near as important as what these people around me are doing, right?"
"Is what I do really sustainable long term? What will I be doing in 10 years?"

Depressing, I know. But Ryan put me in my place by saying the grass is always greener to everyone, no matter what they are doing, and that there's no way I'd enjoy what these people are doing more than what I get to do.

And then I had a conversation with one of his closest co-workers that really snapped me out of my funk.

This man knows his shit. He's passionate about what he does, travels frequently and does really love his work. He has what sounds like a pretty high stress job that demands a lot of time away from his family.

After we told him I had had these previously mentioned thoughts, he said things to me in a way that no one has ever said. And it hit me so hard, because I know where he's at in life.

"Listen. I'm gone a lot. I've traveled a lot. I've missed some stuff. Boom, the kids are 8+ now. That time from when they were your kids' age? It's gone. The pictures are all we have left....

I'd argue that YOUR work is more important than any of this."

"What? I say to myself. These people are saving lives and making medical advances to improve quality of life. How could what I do be more important??"

"I love my job. It's a huge part of me, but at the end of the day, our kids are all we leave behind. It's all we got."

And MY job is to preserve that for families. Sure, I don't get to go on fancy business trips, talk to important doctors or be behind new medical advancements that change lives, but I AM preserving lives in a very different way.

That newborn photo I took for you. That's it. That time is gone, literally after you walk out my door. The newborn phase is so fleeting that it's "technically over" after 2 weeks.

I am an adult, with an adult job, because I preserved that moment for you.

And then I slap myself in the face and regret all the dumb thoughts I had and realized, yes, I DO do some pretty important work. I'm just really f-ing lucky that I get to do it in the comfort of my home, in my pjs half the time while sipping coffee and jamming to Pandora. And no meetings to interrupt it (just a 3 year old that comes out of her room every 10 minutes asking for water instead of napping.)

So alluding back to the title of this post, I truly did feel like an adult again for so many reasons on this trip.

We love our kids with all our being, but it had been a couple of rough, draining months. Business for me was crazy for months, then the kids get sick with puke for a week and throw in your every day whining, we NEEDED this trip. Not just as husband and wife, but to recharge as a mom and dad too.

We got to eat wherever we wanted. We didn't have to pick restaurants out based on whether or not they had French fries on the menu (well, except for that one night, where I pleaded with Ryan and the cab driver to find me French fries at 2am).

When we got to eat wherever we wanted, we got to take our time. Our food was HOT, there was no food to cut up, no cups spilling, no ipads fought over, just adult meals and adult conversation and it. Everyone kept asking how it was being away from the kids/how was vacation etc, and literally, just being able to eat out was amazing. It really was.

And then I got to dress up. a lot. I LOVE dressing up. If we go on a date here at home, I typically go all out. And I pulled out all the stops just about every night in Vegas. Dressing to impress made me feel like an actual adult woman again, a stark contrast from the stereotypical yoga pants and dry shampoo washed hair this mama usually dons back at home.

I got hit on. More than once. And, honestly, it was kind of awesome. Ryan's ok with this, because I'm his. and he knows this. and the guys were nothing to write home about. But the fact that this mama of three has still got it? However vain that may be, it does wonders for the old ego and confidence.

We partied like we were a little younger than we actually are most nights, and it was fun (we even had our first legit nightclub experience at the ripe old age of 30 and almost 30...did you see that bill?!?) And I learned that I can hold the liquor pretty well. And I didn't have any hangovers. and people are thoroughly impressed I drink straight whiskey, including Ryan's boss. And I may or may not have been forced to jump up on the bar at Coyote Ugly and dance my little heart out. I fought this hard. I really, really did. I thought it to be a terrible, terrible idea. But then when I got a fist bump from Ryan's boss, and I knew it was ok.

Oh, and the very, very, very best part? Being there at the same time (in what was a complete random coincidence) as our long distance best friends/next door neighbors. I'd give anything to have Chris and Kelly next door to us again, but getting to live it up in Vegas for a few days will just have to do. Miss you two already.

There was no alarm in the morning (well, at least not for me any of the days--Ryan had one on those work days), and no reason to call it a night by 10pm because the kids would be jumping in our bed at 6am. For one entire week, we got to just be Ryan and Jenna. If it's been over 2 years since your last trip as adults, I beg you, even make a weekend getaway happen.

You NEED this. Yes, I'm talking to ALL OF YOU reading this. As was stated earlier, our kids are all of our worlds, and they are, at the end of the day, the best thing we can leave behind. But don't completely lose yourself in them. A husband and wife who place just as much importance on themselves as a couple is one of the best thing we can do for our children. Make the time for yourselves. It's not selfish. It's necessary. You NEED to get out and be an adult. Especially if you are like me and spend the majority of your time without any adult interaction at all on a day to day basis (no, the Target cashier DOES NOT count).

That being said. I missed these littles. I had tears in my eyes at the thought of not seeing or hugging them for what was like 3 more days at that point when I got really weepy. It was no doubt, a very necessary week away, but a week was still a long time. It seems Henry aged a few years in height, Claire is speaking like a 6 year old, and Norah's hair grew a few inches. All in a week's time that we were gone. The hugs this morning compared to nothing.

I bet you read the title of this and thought I was going to spill all the really crazy shit we may or may not have done. ;)

But, hello. What happens in Vegas...definitely stays in Vegas. Some of it, at least, anyway :)

Happy Holidays with Little Tikes!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
I have been looking forward to this blog post for a long time! A Little Tikes representative contacted me to do a winter themed shoot with select Little Tikes products. The kids had so much fun with this and were so excited to test out all the new toys!  It was quite the feat trekking all these goodies to our session location, but I love how these all turned out and can't wait to hang a few up on the walls! They would be a great addition to our playroom I think!

Miss Claire, of course, loved the Princess Cozy Coupe because she loves all things pink.

Henry, of course, equally loved the brand new Sport Coupe. This is the newest version of the coupe Little Tikes has released  and I'm sure it'll be a big hit. I especially loved the handle that pops up for pushing the car!

Norah had the most fun, as she was excited to try out everything! Big sister wasn't too keen on sharing the coveted pink coupe, so Norah spent a lot of time in the standard red Cozy Coupe.

We've owned this model for a while and I've always loved how it (as well as all the other models features here) have the removable board available for younger little ones.

Henry enjoyed using the trailer to transport his sisters. Norah wasn't a huge fan of that. I'm sure the kids coupe think of plenty other things they could haul with it though! No telling where their imagination will take them.

Finally, the last item featured here is the explorer wagon. I especially loved this because all three kids could sit in it together. It also worked great for loading up presents, a little tree, and even a big brother!

The best part of all of this is my lucky readers have a chance to win one of these great prizes! All you need to do is::

1. Go to and become a fan!
2. Comment here on this blog post which prize you'd love to win and why! What you do you see your child having the most fun with!
3. Share this post on your facebook wall to help spread the word.

Giveaway runs from now until next week, December 18. Must be U.S. resident. All prize winner will be randomly selected.

Questions, email!

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For the 3rd Time in Forever, it was Claire's Birthday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Since someone over at Little Tikes has found this blog and has now commissioned me to do a holiday shoot and giveaway for them, I figured it was time to update! I'm starting with the best thing I have right now, and that's Claire's party from back in October!

Finally getting a chance to sit down and sort through these photos! Is Frozen over the top and over done? Maybe. But it's what the princess wanted and boy did mommy have fun with this one.

This party sparked my very, very, VERY basic sewing skills. I can do a straight line folks, and that's about it. But at least (thanks to my handsome hubster), now know how to thread it, turn it on, and use the pedal! The invites required sewing so I finally bit the bullet and bought a very inexpensive standard machine to start learning on.

Thankfully Hobby Lobby puts out their Christmas d├ęcor about 6 months early, so I had no trouble finding anything I needed.

Full disclosure for those who weren't here or don't remember:: I DID NOT MAKE THIS CAKE. I repeat, this cake WAS NOT MY CREATION. I had the completely genius idea to trade it out for photography services, and the cake accolades go out solely to the fantastic Cakes by Emily  . She captured my vision perfectly and I didn't have to shed tears over 9+ hours myself on this cake. The Monsters Inc cake and humidity in July ruined me for a while from the last party in this household.

Otherwise? I made everything else. The party favor bags, the printable signs, the crepe streamer backdrop, the cupcakes, the toppers, the wrappers, etc. Really, this party came together pretty quickly in just under a month, just as busy season was starting to get underway with snapberry.

The best part of the party? The unofficial appearance of Elsa and Anna. I won't go into the travesty that ordering an adult Frozen costume via ebay from China is, but lets just say Ryan had to "fix it" for me. Again, thankful for hubs' sewing skills.

So, yes, my wig isn't so hot. Unfortunately, no one bothered telling me until AFTER the party. When I dressed up again for Halloween, the whole thing looked much better. Anyway, just try to ignore the wig, ok?

I really had no idea how Claire would react. I mean, she KNEW the princesses were coming, but it had been awhile since she'd seen a "character" and I didn't know if she was in the "happy and hug them" stage, or the "scream, cry and get away from me" stage. Thankfully, there were no meltdowns since she appeared to be in the middle "I'll stay quiet, but I kinda like this" stage.

Henry, of course, had me right away and kept trying to confirm, way too loudly, "That's you in a costume, right mommy? Right?!"

We had storytime, made snowglobes, danced, and ate food and cake. It was a blast and Claire loved it.

After I decided Anna was going to "leave" I came out and gave Claire a hug. What followed was the sweetest, and yet, somewhat, most heartbreaking thing ever.

"Mama, you missed the princhessssses!!"

Not only did she believe that Elsa and Anna were there, she was sad that mommy missed her party. Oops. It was the cutest thing ever that she somehow, seemingly, didn't get that it was just me the whole time.

Thankfully, I'm on a party break for a long while. The Mr. doesn't have a milestone birthday this year (but THIS girl does!!), and it's smooth sailing until the big one and littlest's summer bdays.

Enjoy the photos! Most were done by my new friend Whitney (another fantastic idea that I actually got to ENJOY the party and not worry about pictures).

Nap time is over, so of course, this post is too. :)

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So Long Diapers!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
After a few attempts at the potty in 2014, none of which were successful, we are FINALLY here.

She pretty much had herself potty trained by day 3.

We did the whole, "no more diapers, throw her in underwear" plan, and she finally caught on with the right incentive.

Princess roller skates didn't work 1 month ago.

Plush princess dolls didn't work 2 months ago.

This time, Disney Princess Palace Pets were the trick.

They make them in all sizes at Target, and after realizing how much she coveted the two random mini ones I had bought her on a routine Target trip the week before, we ran with it.

Thursday morning, I knew we'd be home all day that day, Friday, and Saturday---we were going for that 3 day potty train method.

I made the chart all up. She'd get 1 sticker for peeing, 2 for pooping. I spaced out her reward squares periodically throughout the chart, and each time she hit one, she'd get another mini pet.

Only, based on previous failures, I wasn't hopeful for much success. So I didn't even have any new princess pets on hand to reward her with.

After plunking the little potty in the middle of the floor (after rolling up our brand new rug), throwing Frozen in the DVD player and filling her up with water and milk, we waited.

And we waited.

She willingly sat. Getting up and going back to try again and again.

Finally, 3 hours after waking, she peed.

Within 3 hours of that she had earned two princess pets. Crap.

It was either wait until after 6pm for daddy to bring them home, or run out to Target quick and pray for no accidents.

It went off without a hitch. (Seriously, likely fastest Target trip in my history). I even got her to SIT ON THE BIG TARGET POTTY! That, my friends, was a huge win. She didn't go, but she sat.

By Saturday, she pretty much had it. Since beginning on Thursday, she's only had four accidents total, with none yesterday or today.

At the end of her chart (about 40 boxes, I think?), she decided she wanted the big Treasure plush you can make at Build a Bear (big big thanks to my friend Kate for cluing me in to this!). Every time she got closer to the end of the chart, and when she finally put that last sticker on last night. Oh man. Her face.

So, to Build a Bear we went today. So proud of you, big girl!

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The little things in life are so awesome.
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