Three Months in Our New Midwest Home

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve blogged when we got this our newest website up, so we thought we’d update you a bit on what’s been going on.

We left off on our last blog post showing and telling you about our move and 8 day cross-country move from California to the Midwest that happened the first week of September. During this drive/ move Jenny turned 29 and saw 3 new states and Jason for the first time in his life moved out of California and saw 4 new states! It has been a whole 3 months since our epic trip and we want to update you on our lives since then.

The first week of us being in the Midwest (week 2 of September) consisted in a lot of intense editing, paperwork, publishing a thesis book, and having Jenny officially graduate her MFA in Fine Art Photography for the summer semester. It was a chaotic week, but Jason was extremely supportive as always and even helped put together the layout of the book! Three or four copies of the book were ordered and sent to the school along with 5 other documents for the degree to be finalized. Even though this was almost 3 months ago, Jenny just got her personal copy of the book 2 weeks ago!


Jenny with her completed Culminating Document

Jenny with her completed Culminating Document

The second half of September was spent unpacking all of our belongings and spending warm days in Michigan. Jason had just quit his California stock photography desk job a couple weeks prior, so relaxation for the first time in his life (since age 16) was well deserved! We made a few dinners for Jenny’s immediate family, went to Amish Acres, grilled a lot, had teeth cleanings for the first time in a long time, edited engagement photos for clients, and met with a couple friends for the first time since moving.

Dr. Johns has made the claim many times that he "has retired from dentistry".  Anyone who knows him knows that this is far from the truth.  While he may have retired from his own practice, he can still be found performing a procedure or two at his old office.  Here he is, doing some repair works on his wife Rose.

Dr. Johns has made the claim many times that he "has retired from dentistry".  Anyone who knows him knows that this is far from the truth.  While he may have retired from his own practice, he can still be found performing a procedure or two at his old office.  Here he is, doing some repair works on his wife Rose.

September had many firsts for Jason: his first visit to Michigan Dunes & Lake Michigan, his first college football game ever (Notre Dame game), first tailgating ever, his first port-a-pit Nelson’s chicken, and his first time dealing with the insane weather transitions a day near Lake Michigan can bring: from literally 96 degrees one day to a mere 53 degrees just 2 days later.

October brought us partially back to reality. In the first days of October we participated in a 3-day family yard sale in order to make some cash and get rid of things we don’t need then going to First Friday at the museum. Jenny hadn’t been back to Ohio (her home of 7 years) in over 2 years and we wanted to scope out some cities to figure out where we’ll move & settle down in the midwest, so a 1.5 week trip ensued!

We first visited with our friends Carrie & George in Columbus for a few days. It was special because we had our first double-date with them last September (’14) when they stayed with Jenny in Santa Barbara, California for a couple days during their honeymoon road trip. In Columbus we were able to eat delicious, cheap things as well as visit with 8 of Jenny’s friends and enjoy their live music gigs.

We then moved on to Cleveland (around Cleveland) where we spent a whole day at Cedar Point. Luckily it was a weekend in October so we were able to experience the fun, scary haunted park! After Cedar Point we went to visit Jenny’s college friend and spent a day with she and her husband (and cat Amore) eating amazing oxen at a fun Oxfest, also went to an Apple Butter festival held by the amish, and then she and her husband made Jenny & Jason a wonderful Italian meal.

After fun days with friends, we camped near Jenny’s alma mater for a couple days. We had meant to camp a day during our cross-country move, but things hadn’t worked out then. We had a great time living simply and grilling on the campfire for a couple days.

After that we went to Cincinnati for a few days. Night 1 we visited her friends Gina & Andrew who took us to an amazing, laidback outdoor BBQ and music venue which was wonderful. On night 2 we visited Jenny’s best friend from college and were able to hang out with her daughter at their house. On the last day in Ohio we checked out an amazingly huge International Food Market, walked and ate on the bridges of Cincinnati, then spent our time with another college friend of Jenny.

All-in-all our trip to Ohio helped us realize that friends are some of the best things in the world, that Ohio has a lot of amazingly cheap & delicious food, and Jason was able to experience Ohio’s 3 major cities as well as the best roller coaster park in the land.

When we returned from Ohio it was mid-October. We attended Jason’s first college football game/ ND game with Jenny’s parents and the next day took them to the airport so that they could get back to their new house in Arizona. October also called for switching states for and re-setting up insurance and all of those good things, so there was a good balance of friend fun and horrible hours on the phone with corporations about all the different insurances.

November: Our most productive work month yet! Our month of November started out with 4 separate product photo shoots & the edits were sent out to the company our first week of November. We curated from literally thousands of photos what would go on our website, got this (our newest website) up, got our Facebook fan page created, invited thousands of people to like our page, created an instagram page, and invited thousands to follow that as well. We created content and began promoting our Holiday Mini Session portraits. We shot 2 Christmas photos and contacted several potential clients about wedding photography. 

In the midst of all of that, Jenny also threw her 10 Year Reunion for her high school, we caught up with 4 of her other friends, Jason witnessed his first non-California fall as well as first snowfall, we attended Jenny’s aunt & uncle’s 32 family member Thanksgiving party/ dinner, and went Christmas Tree shopping with 18 of them on Black Friday. Jason has learned a good portion of the 30 names on Jenny’s mom’s side of the family and a handful of the 50 friends she’s introduced him to (no pressure or anything), so some progress has been made.

We are about 1 week into December and the chaos still ensues. This month we attended a holiday market at Notre Dame and handed our promo cards for our Holiday Mini Session family portraits while buying Christmas gifts for our loved ones from local artisans. We spent a couple days paying for marketing online and going around physically putting up posters we’d printed for promo. We also attended the Humane Society’s Christmas Party and bought about 6 holiday garage sale items whose profits go directly to the Humane Society. We loved the Humane Society and wanted to take home all 60 animals. We’re in the midst of volunteering at the Humane Society to photograph ALL of the animals well so that we can upload the images to Facebook so that the poor pets can have the hope of being adopted this holiday season. The same day we attended the Humane Society event we also went to my cousin’s huge 30th birthday surprise party roast. It was amazing and there were at least 100 friends and family in attendance. We laughed harder than we had in a while and are absolutely floored at how amazing friends & family are. At this point we’ve gotten some great reviews of our business on our Facebook Fan Page and we are very happy with our revised Wedding Packages packet.

The rest of December looks to be just as crazy. We have Instagram posts to make, client Mini Session Holiday photos to take, more fliers to post, etcetera as WELL as going to the west coast for a very hectic 5 days. We will be visiting Jenny’s immediate family, her dad’s side aunts/ uncles/ grandma, and her sister’s boyfriend’s family in the 1.5 days we’re there. We then drive 6 hours over to California to visit with Jason’s immediate family, grandparents, uncle, and his sister-in-law’s parents for a day or 2. We then drive to Santa Barbara about 2 hours away so that she can return the 12 books (due in Feb ’16) that she had used to write and edit her 60-page MFA thesis up until mid-Sept. THEN drive the 7 to 8 hours back to Arizona in order to fly back to the Midwest on Dec 28th.

Needless to say, the past 3 months have been absolute chaos, travel, photography, family, friends, and work, but it’s all working out slowly but surely. We couldn’t have done this without each others’ support and the support of our friends and family. We even just got a Christmas card from my cousin & 2 huge boxes of Christmas gifts from Jason's grandparents and mom! We are still feeling very thankful even though we are well past Thanksgiving. We just got our wedding photography banner, so we can’t wait for 2016 and all it has in store for us! Maybe we’ll just spent the night quietly for new year’s eve, though… maybe.