I assume, you have an iCloud account.
Then the easiest way to get your photos back, would be to save them to the Camera Roll on your iPad. This way, they will not be accidentally erased, if you sync with iTunes. You can import them from your iPad, when you directly to iPhoto, when you connect your ipad, and also, they will be added to the PhotoStream (My Photo Stream) and you can import them from your Photo Stream.
Or if you want to transfer in a more organized way, create a shared Photo Stream for each event/album and share the individual streams with yourself and your wife. Then you can download from the individual streams.
Ways to share photos (how to add a photo to the Camera roll)