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san diego lifestyle photographer | what being a tourist in my own city looks like | february 2012

I’ve been lucky to have met so many incredibly talented and wonderful photographers during this journey.  People who share the same desire to capture their own families in a real and beautiful way.  I’m teaming up with twelve of these women on a very personal and meaningful project called, “What ________ Looks Like.”

Our goal is to capture our own families in a real and beautiful way.  Some people call it “lifestyle”, some call it “real life”, some call it “unposed”.  No matter what you call it, our desire is to snatch the moments that represent the relationships, the dynamics, the reality, the beauty, the truth, and the life of our families and record them here on our blogs as well as in print at the end of the project.

Each month we will each choose to fill in the blank with our word of choice.  Some of us may choose to use the same word all year and some may choose to change it up each month.  We will each link to the next photographer until our circle is complete.

We hope this project inspires you to take more pictures of your own families so that those unique moments that make your family unique will never be lost or forgotten.Wendy VonSosen.

Each of us will put our own spin on this project, making it more meaningful to us.  I wanted my monthly post to be in the form of a letter to Brooks.  When the year is complete, I hope to compile the monthly letters and images into a book.  My gift to him and to myself.  Here is our story of February 2012.

Dear Brooks,

What a fast and furious month this has been.  If feels like just yesterday that we started February and yet it will be over in just a few short days.  You continue to inspired me with your thoughtfulness and your unbridled optimism.  When I’m tired (or grumpy), you seem to know just what to say or do to bring a smile to my face.  It makes me laugh thinking of the little inside jokes that we share.  You really are a funny boy.

Our after school schedule is pretty busy with sports so by the weekend, we are happy to have at least one pj day to relax and rest.  During these days, you build battle after battle after battle.  Cars, animals, blocks, legos, star wars, and knights are the stars of your battles.  I love listening to you act out the conversations in the battle with enhanced battle noises.  You can also frequently be found building and rebuilding your many lego creations.  It drives me a little nuts when I see a carefully built lego castle (always an important piece of a good battle) fall to the ground and then completely taken apart.  When I ask why you destroy these (expensive and time consuming structures) this way (with just a tab bit of annoyance in my voice) you tell me it’s because you’re just a boy and that’s what boys do.  Boys are suppose to build and destroy and build again in a new way.  Ah.  Yes.  You’re so right.  This is just one of the many lessons you teach me every day.  Thank you.

We recently had a week off of school for what most call ‘ski week’.  Instead of traveling to Santa Barbara, we had a staycation filled with lots of sleep and many things checked off of our to-do list.  On Wednesday, we decided to be a tourist in our own city.  February is museum month in San Diego and the best place to go is Balboa Park.

The day started with a little walk around the park before we entered the Natural History Museum.  We had the opportunity to explore the ‘Titanic Exhibit’.  It was fascinating to see the artifacts from that fateful trip.  At the beginning of the tour we were each given a boarding pass with the name of one of the actual passengers.  By the end of the tour, we found our whether or not our passengers made it off alive.  Sadly, both of our passengers had died.  It was a very powerful tour.  The skull exhibit and the 3D shark film were also so interesting.  You were so fascinated by everything.  I loved watching you soak it all up!

After a delicious lunch at ‘The Prado’, we went to the ‘Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’.  It’s been years since you’ve been there.  The first time we were there, you were 3 and only played in the under 5 section … fun for a short time, but nothing too exciting.  We walked into the museum around 1:00 and you played and explored and laughed and learned and concentrated until 5:30 … and even then I had to drag you out of there.  You just couldn’t get enough!!  The Keva planks were your favorites of the afternoon.  We hung out there for 2 hours.  I loved watching you build and create with such concentration.

On the way back to the car we passed through this darling area overflowing with gorgeous colors!  You found the perfect hopscotch and even asked if I wanted to take a picture in front of the pretty doors.  OK.  🙂

Goofy boy!  Such a silly little thing.  You think it’s so hysterical when you have the remote … love your pose.  And this second image … one other thing that draws squeals of laughter from you … that special little sound you discovered you can make with your hand on the back of your knee.  Really?!   Who teaches you these things?  It’s so not my favorite sound in the world!

The next day we continued our staycation with a visit to Coronado and the Loew’s Resort.  We arrived super early so we could enjoy the day by the pool.  It was such a surprise when we discovered they had upgraded our room to a bungalow suite when they found out we were locals.  The room was huge and had an amazing view of downtown San Diego.  After 4 trips to the pool and 4 baths in the gigantic tub filled with more bubbles  than I’ve ever seen, you begged to stay another night.  We were both in heaven simply relaxing in our own big comfy beds, me reading (finished the Hunger Game series in 4 days) and you happily reading and watching netflix on the iPad.  It wasn’t possible for us to stay a second night this time, but I promised we’ll go again soon.

I loved watching you swim back and forth working on your strokes.  You’re such an awesome little swimmer.  I grew up swimming and it makes my heart sing to watch you.  I especially love your butterfly (even though you don’t believe me that it’s called the butterfly) … cutest thing in the world.  I can’t wait until summer when you get to compete in races!

The view from our room… during the day and night.

Some instagram favorites …

Thank you for being such a blessing to me.  I appreciate how you can so easily make me laugh.

Love you to Tatooine and back,


This month I’m so happy to continue with my talented, dear friend Becky Earl with What Family Time Looks Like.

If you missed the beginning, you can catch up on…
What Responsibility Looks Like
What the Last Days of Summer Looks Like
What Almost 7 Looks Like
What Making Memories Looks Like
What December Traditions Looks Like
What The Magic Of First Grade Looks Like

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February 27, 2012 - 7:18 am

MomMom - This is just wonderful. Your stacation looks like the most perfect way to spend a week.
Since we could not have Brooks here in person, I loved seeing all his happy smiles and enjoyment during your week. Loved it all.

February 27, 2012 - 7:34 am

Amy - Any vacation is perfect when it is time spent with your best companion in the world! It looks like you had a fabulous time. How I miss San Diego. Love all your photos but the big air blast might be favorite!

February 27, 2012 - 7:38 am

shalonda - un-be-leive-able….i am in love with this series this staycation and of course the way you captured it….WOW!!!! love that yall got upgraded for being locals that is awesome!!!! but for real the hair blowing series cracks me up!!!!

February 27, 2012 - 10:31 am

Tree - Wow, simply wonderful images. The one of your little man with the wind/fan blowing up his face — OMGsh PRICELESS!

February 27, 2012 - 11:17 am

Jasmine Sargent - What a fabulous week together! Looks like you had so much fun together!

February 27, 2012 - 11:22 am

leah - what fun shots, it looks like such a great time. beautiful photos of the most beautiful boy!!! you have made me what to take my kids there–looks amazing!

February 27, 2012 - 11:41 am

brenda - You are such a wonderful Mommy Jules! I adore all the adventures and fun times you two have and how you capture them! These are going to be memories you will always have and be able to look back on!! I have to say the one of him in the tub with the bubbles is my fav… goofy Brooks!! And he’s such an engineer at heart, he’s always building something. 🙂

February 27, 2012 - 12:15 pm

yan palmer - what great images. the shark photo and the face in the bubbles have me laughing out loud. they are similar in some odd way…

February 27, 2012 - 1:10 pm

Sarah Cornish - Wow these are amazing Jules!! I LOVE how capture all those sweet details. Really adds to the story and seriously these would make for an AMAZING photo book!!! Love the bath time photos too. Those are always my fav of my own kiddos!

February 27, 2012 - 4:33 pm

Gail Pomare - I remember playing tourist in my own hometown when I was there last (3 years ago) and I had to wonder why I hadn’t done it earlier. It was AMAZINGLY fun to enjoy my own city in ways I’d not taken the time to do before. I loved SD, I thought you guys had some marvelous things to explore so glad you and Mr B had a wonderful staycation. You are the supreme record keeper of your fabulous days…. your boy will treasure all the amazingness you captured for years and years to come. Love this Jules, love it to the moon and back!

February 27, 2012 - 5:55 pm

Jill VZ - Wow Jules — what a fun vacation in your own town! Of course it helps that you live in such a cool place. You did a great job of documenting the fun and adventure with your camera. Brooks is one lucky guy!!! Love the view out your window!

February 27, 2012 - 10:55 pm

Wendy VonSosen - Oh my adorable freckles!!! These are wonderful. I love the shot of B in the movie theater, the images of B’s hair blowing straight up, and those skyline shots. Wow! So much fun. So glad you had a relaxing vacation. 🙂

February 28, 2012 - 6:23 am

Andrea - Most of us have to go on vacation to san Diego!! This is just perfect.

February 28, 2012 - 10:10 am

Marla - I love reading about the fun times that you and Brooks share. You two have such a special relationship! This is one of my favorites. You have totally inspired me to be a tourist for a day! Xo

February 28, 2012 - 11:15 am

Rachel C. - Jules, I can see your love for Brooks in this fun-filled and thoughtful set of photos. Thank you for sharing your day and your son with us.

February 28, 2012 - 1:18 pm

deb schwedhelm - oh jules —
love these so, so much. it always seems that you do so much fun stuff with your son. and these so make me miss san diego. hope to connect with you when i’m out there in may.

March 1, 2012 - 6:02 am

san diego lifestyle portrait photographer | San Diego CA Child, High School Senior & Family Portrait Photographer | Jules Trandem Photography - […] I have some instagram fun from an outing we took last week.  You can see more of the outing in my lifestyle post from Monday.  We spent a fun filled day at Balboa Park exploring a couple museums!  Such a wonderful […]

March 4, 2012 - 7:02 am

Jobrina Hofleit - Aw Jules…you get me EVERY.TIME with these posts and these letters to B! I just adore how you give B all these AMAZING adventures and that you capture of them… are the BEST Mommy!!!!!!! I love everything about your staycation and am partial to the pictures of B and the hopscotch images, especially him and the remote, too dang cute! 🙂

March 9, 2012 - 1:25 pm

Stephanie Moore {Tucson AZ Photographer} - You always do such an amazing job of capturing Brooks. I love the bathtub shot, it’s my favorite!

March 26, 2012 - 11:12 am

Deidra { Las Vegas Photographer } - Such awesome pics! The bathtub pictures are great. I love taking days to be a tourist here in Las Vegas.