H O M E | July in Review

Goodbye, Arizona!

After being in the desert for three months, we packed up and hit the road. Homeward bound!

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It took us four days to get from AZ to MN.

Traveling at 22 weeks pregnant with a 1.5 year old that doesn't like his carseat and a small chihuahua that shakes and whimpers when he gets nervous... I really wouldn't recommend it to anyone! Those four days tested every ounce of our patience... but can you imagine the relief we shared as we drove across the Minnesota state line??

Excitement, relief and a huge exhale.

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After arriving in the twin cities we moved into a temporary townhouse. Did I mention we had a huge change of plans at the start of the month?  My hubby had a job opportunity that he just couldn't pass up and it landed us in the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

So now we're here, half unpacked and we're house hunting in a crazy way. I think we've seen close to 10 homes so far! The market in this area (I guess all over!) is just bonkers. We're close to finding "the one" though and I hope to have a super positive update next month!

Between the madness we've spent a lot of time with our family that lives here, it's truly been the biggest blessing. Oh, and the park. Clockin' hours in at the park!

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My last bump picture of the month catches me at 24 weeks pregnant. Unreal how fast this pregnancy has gone... but I guess I'm not too surprised! We're all set up at the birth center in Woodbury for our first appointment and excited to be working with a midwife again!

We got the gender in an envelope this month and within a couple days opened it. I can't WAIT to share... we just have one more set of grandparents to tell first so definitely next month!

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Thank you guys for reading. These photos are a part of a 365 project I'm participating in and we're already past day 200! What a year... so many celebrations and challenges, for all of us! The July round up is Kris and I. I love her perspective -- you can check it out HERE.

I feel a shift coming, yet again when it comes to this online space... but I'm not sure what it is quite yet. I think when things slow down enough, it will all fall into place. Photo journal, motherhood... excited to get writing again.

Wishing you all many blessings, always,

Elyse'

 

June in Review | Al... most... there!

I thought maybe I'd be starting this month's review with news of a home purchase or a move to Minnesota, but we're just not quite there yet. I am certain though, that July will be our month to shake things up. This could truly be the calm before the most hardcore storm yet!

Things in Arizona have been hot but good. We've truly adjusted to the mainland well and I'm so grateful for that... that doesn't mean we haven't been antsy. I know I am going to look back at this time and wish maybe I would have just relaxed and enjoyed our down time a bit more. We're just so incredibly ready to unpack our boxes in a house and start getting settled. So ready. Patience, Elyse'.

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My last bump photo of the month was at 18 weeks. I've reached the point in my pregnancy where although my bump is growing rapidly I feel pretty normal. I have energy again and that has been the best gift. Almost halfway to baby! Gender appointment is coming up... the question is, do we wait or find out!

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Our little George has been keeping us on our toes this month. Besides being incredibly curious and absolutely adorable.. his temper is emerging and do I dare say a glimpse of the terrible twos? Melt downs for no reason, hollering at the top of his lungs when he wants something that just isn't possible.. stuff like that. My patience is being tested in so many ways this month! Add pregnancy hormones and I'm telling you, I have moments that I am just getting by!

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We've never been closer to being home... or having a home. I know that the next life stage is right around the corner. We're opening and closing chapters (MN, AZ, HI, family growth etc.), exploring all opportunities (job changes, location changes etc.) and having some tough conversations along the way (maybe when things didn't play out as we first expected).
It's not always easy but it's growth and no matter what I know we'll make it through.

Thank you guys for reading. I'm so grateful for the gift of photography and this 365 group that I'm a part. It forces me to pause along the way during a whirlwind of a time.
As you know, I'm part of a blog series of talented photographers all over the US -- please click through to see their work and what they've been up to this summer. Up next is KRIS!

First Trimester -- Baby J #2

 8 Weeks Pregnant! Kailua, Hawaii

8 Weeks Pregnant! Kailua, Hawaii

It just feels crazy to be writing this -- didn't I just write a first trimester post? I did! This time, however, it was an entirely different experience.

We found out really early we were pregnant with baby number two. According to the app on my phone I was only 3, almost 4 weeks pregnant!

The day I took the test, other than my boobs hurting, I felt pretty darn normal. I decided to enjoy it because I knew what was coming.

I found out with George at about 5 almost 6 weeks. Not long after I found out, I got so sick. I only ran to the toilet a couple times but I had full day nausea for 9 straight weeks. 

With baby number two, I prepared myself for the worst..... but it just never came! (Praise the Lord, dance, shout and sing hallelujah!) 

 12 Weeks Pregnant! Mesa, AZ

12 Weeks Pregnant! Mesa, AZ

Other than feeling like a total slug in the evenings and having some foods just not "look good", I felt pretty ok! I was shocked.. so VERY different. Opposite first trimesters, that's for sure!

- The best best part of the first trimester, again, is telling people! Everyone cries! We had fun calling our family and friends to spread the news. I also blogged about our positive test because I can't NOT tell people. It's hard for me to keep it to myself once I know. We shared sooner this time around.

- I didn't have any real cravings with Thomas George... but that was not the case with this pregnancy! I've had quite a bit of cravings. I like HOT & SPICY! (I hope this isn't a sign of what this baby is going to be like, lol)
Seriously though, I am taking hot sauce down like it's going out of style. I've been eating more bagely type foods which I'm not stoked on but I'm just so happy I can EAT during my first trimester at all! I'm hoping to move to more fresh kind of foods soon!

- We're sort of in between home right now so when it comes to maternity care I'm doing my best. I did my first appointment at Castle Medical Center with the midwife that delivered Thomas George. We got to see the little bean and hear it's heartbeat. My first question was: Is there only one in there? Phew, ok.
Now we're in AZ and I might have to do one appointment here. I am hoping to establish care with Robin, a family friend and midwife back home in Hibbing, MN!

- Hormones have been pretty up and down. I cry for some of the weirdest reasons. One day I asked Tom if he thinks TG will want to go to Hawaii when he gets big because he was born there. Then I thought, what if he wants to move to Hawaii and I cried. I cried and cried thinking of him leaving. He's 1.5 years old.
Things like... seeing a beautiful dress online in an instagram ad and crying because I would never fit into it right now as my body gets bigger and bigger. Just weird things like that. Just cry. LOL

- Bring on the maternity clothes. I started wearing maternity clothes right at the end of the first trimester. No shame. Comfort number one!

 7 Week Appointment!

7 Week Appointment!

Baby is the size of a: LIME
Length & weight: 2.13 in. & .49 oz.
Mama's cravings: HOT SAUCE and spicy foods! Cold apples. 
Weight update: < 5 lbs. ~ I didn't actually weigh myself until later in the second trimester in which I had gained 5 lbs. so I had to have gained less in the first trimester!
We're feeling: Excited, ready to settle into a home, happy for TG to have a sibling and we are dying to know if you're a girl or a boy!
Highlight of the first trimester: Once again, telling our family!!
Energy levels: TOTAL SLUG!! 
Habits: Long morning walks, legs up the wall every few days, prenatal vitamins!

What It Takes | Story of an Ironman

It starts with a decision. You make a commitment to yourself backed with discipline, determination and grit.

For the past two years, my husband Tom has trained at an Ironman level. Not only have I seen him at the finish line wrapped in glory, lights and a cheering crowd but I've also seen him in the trenches. The grueling hours, weekly sacrifice and that early morning wake up 6 days a week.

I'm excited to share a sliver of his story with you. This is what it takes.

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When I got the final assignment for my Visual Storytelling class at the Define School, Tom came to mind right away. He does this day after day and I wanted to help him see it from an outside perspective.

I'm so proud of him and he truly inspires me to do what it takes to make my dreams come true.

Anything is possible if you're willing to put in the work.

Lots of love and Aloha,

Elyse'

Living in Limbo // May Recap

It's been a nice first month back on the mainland! I thought for sure I'd be having Hawaii withdrawals by now but I'm doing pretty good!

On May 1st I found myself making the drive up to northern Minnesota. We were only home for 6 days and our main focus was house hunting! It was so hectic and went by quickly! This past week we were signing a purchase agreement so as long as all goes well we just may have found a home!

 TG loving life on the trampoline with is cousin Coco Mae! The air was crisp, the sun was shining and being surrounded by family felt  so right!

TG loving life on the trampoline with is cousin Coco Mae! The air was crisp, the sun was shining and being surrounded by family felt so right!

Our little chia seed is now the size of a pear and this pregnancy is flying by! At the end of this month I'll be 15 weeks pregnant.
When I was pregnant with Thomas George it felt like it took forever to get to this point... but right now I feel like I just found out.
Yesterday I asked the hubby to dig out my maternity clothes. Does it get more real than that?

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 A little piece of Mesa, Arizona

A little piece of Mesa, Arizona

I'm so grateful we had the opportunity to slowly transition to the mainland. This time in AZ was relaxing and allowed me to gather myself before making our (hopefully) final move.
But I'm ready.
I'm so ready to unpack and get settled.
The road life is starting to get to me, starting to get to all of us!

When you hear from me next month, I hope there is a photo of us standing on the stoop of the new Jokinen house -- ready to be made a home.

Fingers crossed.

The photos in this post are part of a 365 project that started January 1st. I've taken a photo a day, every single day. I could never have stayed motivated doing it on my own and have relied heavily on the support of the brilliant group I'm a part of. You can click here to see some work of the other talented photographers in the group starting with Alyssa!

That Positive Test | Round 2

It was March 8th, 2018.

I was laying on the couch in all my grumpiness when my boobs started to hurt again

I was dozing in and out, thoughts whirling through my head when my eyes shot open. 
It was like a scene out of a movie.

Ten minutes earlier I was raging at my husband about seriously who knows what when grabbed my pillow and blanket and stomped into the living room. 

Just that morning I posted a question to my mom group on FB asking why on earth my boobs were feeling achey when I quit nursing the month before without any pain?

Then it hit me.

I was pregnant.

I was freakin' pregnant. Now it all made sense.

I tip toed back to the room, slid under the covers and did my best to stay calm. Butterflies were dancing in my chest but I didn't breathe a word to Tom. I knew, deep down I knew, but I needed confirmation.


After Thomas woke up from his nap the next day we took a casual stroll to Target. Laundry detergent, birthday card, avocados and a box of pregnancy tests.

I got home about 2:30pm and although it was 6 days before my missed period and it wasn't my first pee of the morning I took a test anyway. It was a pack of three, what did I have to lose?

Peed on the stick, placed it on the counter and glanced at it back and forth as I saw the test start to read. The first line showed up right away.. my heart was seriously pounding.

And then there it was. The second line, although faint, was very much there.

"Oh dear. Oh dear goodness. Oh my. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear goodness. Oh. Oh my. Oh my gosh." I said aloud over and over for what felt like 10 minutes.

We were pregnant. Three weeks pregnant according to the Bump app on my phone.

I couldn't wait to tell Tom.

I have to admit. I've been hesitant to grow our family. Between Finn and Thomas I feel like there isn't any more of me to go around!
But Tom? Tom's ready. Tom's been ready since Thomas George was 3 months old!

He got home from work and I ushered him to the couch. I had my phone hiding strategically on the TV stand, recording it all.

I sat him down and gave him a long sappy love note that I wrote early that day.

I apologized for raging the night before, reminding him that I'd love him forever, through anything.

When he flipped to the back my heart started to race.

I could see his eyes scanning the words: "Today I took a pregnancy test, sweet thang... and it was POSITIVE."

He instantly lost it. He cried. I cried.

Just blubbery, slobbery messes.

This family is growing.

A blessing. This little chia seed is already such a blessing.

And now I say, with much excitement, here we go again!

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I started a pregnancy diaries series with little George. I pretty much documented it all but missed the third trimester. I'm going to try to do a full series with baby number two! You can read George's series here.

On The Road // April Recap in Photos

April began as a total whirlwind. We were wrapping up our last days in Hawaii -- packing, shipping, selling, planning and saying our good-byes.
Each moment of each day we were knocking the to-do list -- gearing up for the biggest move of our life.

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Mid-April we boarded a plane to Phoenix, one-way ticket in hand. There were times it never felt like we were going to make it to this point, but we did!
It was a grueling 6 hour flight. We had a crying, tired baby and an upset dog but as soon as the tires touched down we let out a sigh of relief. We made it!

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Since we arrived in Arizona, we've been completely taking it easy and enjoying our time with family. From the chaotic start of the month to these quiet moments of blogging and doing puzzles. A welcomed 180°.

When it comes to my creative work, I feel like I've lost my footing a bit. I'm excited to be diving into a class at The Define School in May, ready for a spark.

We're 1/3 of the way through our 365 project! Up next is Alyssa Kellert. Such an amazing photographer. Please check out her photos!

Thank you so much for reading and I'll see you guys next month!

 

You want to be WHAT when you grow up? // Life Stories | 1

During my senior year of high school there was a display in the commons that shared what each student wanted to be after graduation.

I shit you not, when I filled out the form, I put, "Roller coaster tester."

So now that we all know where my head was at in 2006, let's move on!

No, but in all honesty, what did I want to be?

At that point in my life I truly had no idea.

I knew I wanted to get the heck out of the small town I grew up in. 
I knew I wanted to enjoy what I was learning.
I knew that I could never fit into any kind of box.

I can't lie to you and tell you college was ever something that interested me, because it wasn't. In fact, it was the last thing I wanted to do and just flat out refused.
Not because I didn't want to learn, I wanted to learn!
Just in a different way.
Plus -- there was a lot to see and a lot to do out there in the world and I was aching for experience!

So? One month after graduation I packed up my car and headed to a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul. I moved in with my aunt and started to job hunt. 

Not long after moving to the cities I enrolled in cosmetology school. Honestly, it was fun! I had so much fun and I loved learning it. It felt creative and I met some great people. Afterwards I got a job at a really cool salon (Coles) and began what I thought would be my career. (Ohh boy.)

During my first few months at Coles, the CEO gave us a book, Play to Win. It was the first inspirational self helpy type of book I ever read. The pages sucked me in.

It talked about taking risks and following your heart.

Not long after I began to get restless. Although I worked with some of the coolest, talented people in the industry, I couldn't help but wonder what else was out there. 
I remember one day specifically finishing up with a client and as he left all I could picture was myself standing at the same station having the same conversations -- 30 years later.

For a lot of people that would be great and I would never knock it... but for me? Well, I was 20 years old, spirited and feeling inspired. I had to hit the road.
The very next week I sold my car, packed up two little pink suitcases and bought a one-way ticket to Hawaii.

I said goodbye to Minnesota, got on an airplane and flew 3,000 miles landing on the island of Maui. I had never been to Hawaii before but nothing felt so right.

My life as a roller coaster tester was just beginning.

 MSP circa 2008? Holding my first of many one way tickets!

MSP circa 2008? Holding my first of many one way tickets!

CHANGES // Some Big, Gnarly Ones

I'm thinking I could label each month as CHANGES but I've been feeling it in March more than ever before.

Our Tommy George had his very first haircut last week. Dad really wanted to grow it out and I was ready to cut it. We both ended up loving the cut but did find a little compromise by leaving a rat tail blonde curl in the back. Man, it was emotional watching my baby turn into a little boy. So handsome.

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This month, Tom and I made one of the hardest decisions we've ever had to make.
We're moving home!
We will be heading back to the mainland mid-April. I can't believe it. Even typing it here I can't believe it.
The pieces are divinely falling into place and I sure can't wait to share more. Until then, I've been trying to document this beautiful town of Kailua, Hawaii that I've grown to love so much.

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Alright, I've got one more big one for you, you ready? If moving over the ocean wasn't change enough for us, we're adding another little human to the mix. That's right, this family is growing! It's still really early and our first appointment isn't until the first week of April but I just can't hold stuff like this in. Ever. So here it is!

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It's been a month full of big decisions... lots of packing, shipping and selling. I've got a bit of pregnancy brain going on and it feels like there are cement blocks tied to my feet making this whole experience really fun. LOL

I see the light at the end of the tunnel though... there's nothing like being closer to family and we're almost there!

I'm so excited to be in a 365 photo project, especially right now. A chance to document this special time in my family's life is something I know I'll forever cherish.

I'll be linking this post to the talented photographer, Laura. I really admire the light and composition of her work. Also, Laura and I are both in the first trimester of pregnancy which make it even more fun! 

Aloha friends and thank you so much for reading. 

See you next month!

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High Above the Chimney Top // January 2018 Recap

January was a crazy month, you too?

Among the madness, I've been participating in a 365 group. I wasn't so sure I'd be able to keep up with it -- taking at least one photo a day for the entire year. I have you tell you, I love it, and it's something I look forward to each and every day.

Learning from incredible photographers in the group, stretching to see the magic in the mundane and doing my best to hone the craft I've truly come to love over the past year.

  Hubby Tom. I took this photo a few hours after we received a false missile alert on his phone. I saw him differently that day. A scare like that can shake you in so many ways. I sure do love that man.

Hubby Tom. I took this photo a few hours after we received a false missile alert on his phone. I saw him differently that day. A scare like that can shake you in so many ways. I sure do love that man.

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  My Toms ~ some days are hard, real hard but the love I have for them comes effortlessly.   Most days I can't believe they're mine.

My Toms ~ some days are hard, real hard but the love I have for them comes effortlessly.
Most days I can't believe they're mine.

  Thomas George, king crazy hair,&nbsp;is one year old this month. We made it! :D

Thomas George, king crazy hair, is one year old this month. We made it! :D

Honestly, these were the only 5 all month that I loved. I'm looking forward though, with excitement and determination. I'm working on bring more of what I see in my head through my lens and it's so exciting to do that a little more with each and every shot.

Grateful to have you here, reading my posts -- thank you! 

Up next is Carissa DeAngelis's January Favorites >> please if you can, follow through the circle to see photos from talented photographers all over the world!

Aloha and thank you!

Elyse'