13/52

A portrait of my husband, once a week, every week, in 2013.
Life has been busy, busy, busy as of late. Willy’s been spending a lot of time in Palm Springs for work which means I’ve been single mommin’ it or tagging along and hanging out in random hotel rooms with our members. Throw in the dreaded rotavirus and the fact that I am still (technically speaking) a working mom whether it’s part time or not and you’ll understand why I have yet to post the photos from our trip to Arizona and why there’s laundry spread all over the house and trash in random piles (recycle this, donate that) all over the place. By the time I put the kids to bed, all I want to do is enjoy a glass of wine and unwind but all this ish seems to be starring at me dead in the face and it keeps calling me lazy. I keep telling it to shut the eff up.
Anyway, this pic was taken in Palm Springs. Which reminds me that I’m behind on posting those pics as well. But this wine sure tastes good, so whatevs.
You can check out other posts in the series here.

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Sponsor Highlight

I want to take a moment and thank all of my sponsors. It’s been great working with each and everyone of the kind people behind these stores and blogs. For more about my reason to accept sponsors, click here. For information about joining The Stork sponsor family, email me (ashley {at} thestorkandthebeanstalk {dot} com).
I am so smitten with this company. Their clothes are some of the ca-uttest around. Their models are pretty adorable too. I’m obsessed with just about everything in their store, but I especially love these booty pants, these chino pants, and this little lady dress.  Do you not agree that their stuff is TDF?

I love supporting other bloggers. It’s a community I’ve grown to really enjoy being a part of. Rookies is a blog written by Ama, mama to sweet little baby Lane. She just bought a home and I can totally relate to her new found obsession with list making, says the lady sitting at the computer surrounded by random pieces of paper with grocery lists, to-do lists, blog post lists, etc scattered about. Stop by her blog and say hello.

Sweet Threads has the very best of designer and vintage clothes for the kiddos. If I had a girl, she’d be rockin this little red gem or OMFG this little romper faster than you could ask did she just allude to wanting a third child? They have some awesome items on sale right now too, including my all time fav “Forever Young”  shirt and these leggings I featured in the last Style de Hooper. Sweet Threads is run by the beautiful Sheila and Analie. If you don’t follow them on instagram, you should; their feed is always uplifting with sprinkles of vintage loveliness.

DiaNoche Designs specializes in art by day, light by night. I did a feature on them here. There is still a few days left to enter the giveaway to win a piece of art. Their work is unique and made with the best quality. You can get free shipping with code beanstork321.
This kiddo fashion (and beyond) blog is so lovely and so well done. It’s run by three moms, whom I believe represent the western, central, and eastern parts of our beautiful nation. Pretty cool, no? They have amazing taste and manage to find some real gems.  Every time I visit their corner of the worldwide web, I leave inspired. I also follow them on instagram. Definitely worth a wee peek, but be warned– you’ll be hooked. 
Little Foot Boutique is run by a dear friend of mine, Lisa. She’s ubber talented and not only is everything handmade, but it’s handmade with love. It’s always inspiring to see someone commit themselves fully to something they enjoy doing. Lisa’s constantly adding new things to her store and if you haven’t checked it out yet, you must. I featured her chevron skirt here. I love this skirt for a little lady, this bib and birp cloth set, and these customizable chevron curtains
Joleen is such a sweetheart and has the most scrumptious little boy. She always has great fashion picks, fun DIY and crafting projects,  and sweet posts on motherhood. She’s also a photographer and a self-proclaimed Pinterest addict (you can follow her here). 
Comfy Rumps is the place to go for cloth diapers. Their cloth diapers are not only made with the best quality, but their also the most affordable cloth diaper out there. I did a review on them here. They also have training pants and diaper accessories. You can check out their special promotions here.
I promise you you’ll never find more pacifiers. Babbling Babies has page after page of various designs to chose from. I love the twins pacifier (there’s one way not to mix up your kiddos),  the skull pacifier (this one may make Willy want to try for a girl), and this milk pacifier. There are so, so many to chose from. Check them out for yourself!
Special thanks to all my sponsors and to my readers who support them with me.

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Sping Is In The Air

It’s been a long time coming, but Willy and I spent the best small chunk of change the other day when we got our house cleaned. And by clean, I mean professionally cleaned. Willy suggested some time ago that we get a house cleaner. I refused for a long time because I tend to be frugal with money and couldn’t justify paying someone else to do something I insisted I could do on my own. Two kids later and I humbly admit I can no longer do it all.
It took me what felt like forever to get someone to return my phone calls but now that the wait is over I have this to say: Best. Decision. Ever. Even if it only lasted a day, our home is/was spotless. Then we started living again, and well, living is messy when you have two kids. But there is so much piece of mind in the fact that it’s a mess on top of a clean floor.
Looking to improve your marriage? Get a house cleaner.

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It's a Pleasure to Meet You.

I’m not quite sure if it’s related to motherhood or simply the fact that I’m getting older, but where has March gone? I used to plan my life on a day to day basis; I couldn’t see a week ahead of me. Then I became a mom and suddenly, in the midst of planning out the entire year, these seasons are just flying right by me.
Dear Spring, your sun feels good and your flowers are more beautiful than the first day we met. This week of posts, I’m dedicating to all your splendidness.
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Hooper came down with a bug so our laundry smells like barf and we’ve put potty training on hold because we’re changing diapers too frequently, if ya know what I mean.
Not sure where the image of the chick came from, but if you know, let me know so I can give proper credit.

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Bits + Pieces

We never pass up a carnival // Sarah was begging for food last week but this week she’s begging for the mother of all ear scratchers to come visit her; she has “raging” (doc’s word, not mine) ear infections in both ears following our weekend road trip to Arizona (this dog needs to live in a bubble, I’m tellin’ ya). Anyway, I think we barely escaped it turning into a hematoma and minus the fact the meds she’s on make her incontinent, it’s improving. Now I’m just hoping the pork chop bone she inhaled after Van threw it on the ground last night passes through her delicate little body without causing any anal damage. I wish I was kidding // Oh Hooper, you’re such a sweet big brother; most of the time, anyway // Sisterly love: Hooper & Van, take notes.
Happy Friday!

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A Sponsored Giveaway (CLOSED)

A story about being afraid of the dark: We transitioned Hooper to a “big boy bed” pretty early on. We would have liked to keep him as a prisoner in his crib, don’t get me wrong. But, with Van on the way, we also didn’t want to buy another crib. So a few months before Van was born, we moved Hooper into a bed. The transition went surprisingly well, considering, except for the fact that he kept waking up screaming in the middle of the night. It finally dawned on us that he was scared of the dark. We black out the windows in his room and cross the fingers behind our back in hopes that he’ll sleep longer. And, sure enough, he’s a fantastic sleeper. I digress.
A light bulb went off when we discovered his fear of the dark, no pun intended. We bought a night light and we all slept soundly during the night.
Enter DiaNoche Designs, the night-light geniuses. DiaNoche translates to Day and Night; artwork by day, artwork and light by night. BOOYAH. I love the versatility in their product; it can serve as a night-light for the young and night-art for the… uh, I dug myself a hole here… old. er. Older. As in adult crowd; not denture enthursiasts.
The artwork is all made by hand in the good ol’ USA. You can read more about how the product is made here. I can attest to the quality of their product and the versatility of their design. 

DiaNoche Designs also gives you the option to design your own light using your own art, photo, or company logo. A custom work of art? Not too shabby.
one: SF golden gate bridge, photo // two: daydream, photo // three: guardian angel, photo // four: jimi hendrix, photo
DiaNoche Designs is giving one beautiful piece of wall art (APR $149) away to one lucky winner. You can enter any of the following ways (be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry to increase your chances of winning).  
Visit DiaNoche Designs and tell me which light you would chose and where you would put it.
Follow DiaNoche Designs on Facebook.
Follow DiaNoche Design on Pinterest.
Follow The Stork & The Beanstalk on Facebook.
Follow The Stork & The Beanstalk on Bloglovin‘.
Follow The Stork & The Beanstalk on Instagram.
Follow The Stork & The Beanstalk on Pinterest.
So many ways to enter. Best of luck, and thanks for playing and supporting my sponsors.
Interested in making a purchase? DiaNoche Designs is also offering 25% off your order with coupon code beanstork321 (expires 4/20).
The winner will be announced in two weeks (4/3/13). This giveaway is open worldwide, however outside of the US must pay shipping.
Want more information about sponsoring The Stork and/or my decision to accept sponsors? Click here.

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Breastfeeding

Before I gave birth, I had a warm and fuzzy vision of what I imagined breastfeeding would be. I learned a lot about the benefits of breastfeeding in nursing school and wondered why anyone would chose anything different for their child. I combined the benefits with the earthy notion that breastfeeding would build a strong bond and I’d be like a fairy in the woods, naked amongst nature, bringing my lovely baby to my bosom every now and again to soothe a hunger for nutrients and connectedness.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that breastfeeding is hard. Here’s why:
You alone are your child’s food source. This means you must always be close by. Imagine how difficult it would be if you kept your refrigerator a few miles away. With this reality comes other realities: You alone are responsible for keeping your child alive, for getting up in the middle of the night, and for being close to your baby constantly.
Sure, being close to your baby constantly may not seem like such a bad thing. And, don’t get me wrong, it’s not. I love being with Van and clearly if I wasn’t happy breastfeeding, I wouldn’t do it. But this post is not about the great things about breastfeeding, it’s a reality check about why it’s a challenge. Back to the challenge.
Think your time alone gets drastically diminished when you become a mom? Being a breastfeeding mom diminishes your independence even more. Every now and again, Willy and I will designate time for “papa time” or “mama time” or dare I say “papa and mama time”. He’ll spend his time golfing or going to the horse tracks or going to a Laker game. I spend my time returning something I bought at Target. That’s because, unlike Willy, my “mama time” has constraints. I have just a couple hours before I need to be back to feed Van. Which begs the issue of resentment.
I came to resent Willy when I began breastfeeding Hooper. It didn’t seem fair that I was the one who had to make so many sacrifices while he got to get on with his relatively regular life. It bothered me to see a sink full of dishes while I sat on my ass breastfeeding Hooper and Willy sat playing games on his phone. I would daydream about how clean the house would be, how all the laundry would be done, how I’d put on some makeup, etc, if only I wasn’t breastfeeding. We’ve resolved this issue this time around because I’ve come to see breastfeeding through his eyes and realize that it sucks, for different reasons, for him too. What’s that you say? That’s a separate point? You’re right. Excuse me while I give that it’s own one liner.
Breastfeeding is a challenge for your husband too. Don’t believe me? Check out this post I wrote on breastfeeding from a father’s perspective. It made it easier to cope with the resentment I had the first time around when I was able to put myself in Willy’s shoes.
If I spend any length of time away from Van, not only do I have to work out how he is going to get fed but also how I am going to get empty. Breastfeeding works like a supply and demand system. Ideally, if you are away from your baby, they should be consuming the amount you are pumping. So if I pump every three hours and get 3 oz, 5 oz, and then 4 oz respectively, then Van should also be eating every three hours and be offered the same amounts that I’m putting out at those times. This keeps the system in check. If he consumes more while I’m gone, then our system is out of check. Sound complicated? It is. Which leads me to my next point about why breastfeeding is hard.
There’s a lot to learn. And it’s not all intuitive. Thinking that you should wait to feed your baby until your boobs feel full, for example, is a very common misconception. It too will throw off your supply. Which leads to one of things I hate most about breastfeeding…
Worrying about your supply; Wondering how much your baby is getting and questioning whether it’s enough and worrying that your supply is diminishing. I’ve never been an anxious person, but breastfeeding has made me more anxious than anything before. It’s a big responsibility to make sure your child is growing and thriving.
I won’t even touch on issues of painful engorgement, or cracked nipples, or dare-I-say, mastitis.  And pumping, oh the dreaded pumping.
My next post on breastfeeding will be positive, I promise.
You can read other posts in my breastfeeding series by clicking here.

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Mama's Corner

Wearing: Black tank, chevron skirt c/o Little Foot Boutique, skinny belt from UO, shoes from Target (a few seasons ago). I didn’t photoshop a bruise off my leg, no I didn’t. Okay, I did. Whatevs.

Oh my gawd am I in love. I promise if I could sing like this you would not be reading this blog. I can’t help but dance to this song. And I mean that in the most literal sense… as in both kids are napping (let me pause for a moment: BOTH KIDS ARE NAPPING) and I am straight rockin’ the fuck out by myself. Seriously. This chick gets in my bloodstream. Her voice commands me to sway like the ocean commands its waves to break.

This is not to say I’m not enjoying some of the 80 degree (25 celcius for the other siders) days of “Winter” we’ve had… But nothing screams beach like Summer. Sorry Winter, Summer owns me.
This book features some of my favorite photographers. When coupled with the fact I really enjoy photographing my own children, it’s a must have.
I suppose, come July, I can do all three at the same time: Drive down to the beach, set up my iPod, and flip through tips on photographing my little monsters while my little monsters are most likely busy shoving sand in one anothers mouths. Oh what a glorious day it shall be.
Photo sources 1 // 2 // 3

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Bits + Pieces

Hooper leading his Papa // Van staring at food he longs to try, while Hoop piddle paddles around with it // A lunch date with my first little love, ending with a 75 cent ride (what a cheap date) // Brothers, always and forever, yo // Hooper leading Sarah// Hooper sitting at the table // Van sitting on the table // Wiping away snot. We’ve done a lot of this over the past few weeks // Van, always reaching for his Mama when he’s in his Papa’s arms // An outtake from week 10 of my 52 week project (same ears, no?).
Happy Friday, ya’ll.
Side note: Feel like voting? I’ve dropped to the sixth spot and would love your support to get back into the top five. You can vote by clicking on the link below. Easy peasy. In other news, congratulations to Brandy Fisk for winning the Comfy Rumps giveaway! And thank you to all who entered!

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Van Eats.

I can brag about Hooper’s sleeping habits until you feel like punching me in my face, but rest assured he makes up for it with his ridiculous antics at the table. Broken record here: Feeding him is terrible. We still have days where feeding him makes me want to stick him out on the curb with a sign around his neck that says “free”. Lucky for me, I can regroup while he naps.
I’ve quoted Maya Angelou before, but once again her words ring true: “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better I do better”.
I refuse to allow Van to become the same nuisance of an eater. And by using the word “allow”, I am indeed owning my part in molding Hooper into the horrible eater he is today. This time around, I’m turning to baby led weaning (BLW); something I don’t even remember hearing about when Hooper was a baby. Even if I had, I’m pretty sure I would have shrugged it off as some ridiculous theory to achieve something all babies surely do: EAT.
But now I know the truth: not all babies/toddlers eat without persuasion or threats or ultimatums or distractions or long drawn out sessions of sitting at the table while the hands on the clock advance one painful tick at a time.
I’m not one to jump on parenting bandwagons but I am one to jump on the easy train; careful, of course, not to mistaken ease with easy-way-out. But when something is easier and better for your child, it’s worth taking a moment and smacking a 4×4 over your head to pound the question and resounding regret of why you didn’t do this the first time around into your head.
So yes, we’re Van-Led-Weaning over here. Removing myself from the equation and letting Van lead the way is incredibly freeing. Truthfully, he’s the one that made the decision. I started with the purees and he was more interested in grabbing the spoon than swallowing the food. Then he’d grab my plate with his death grip and move my plate toward him. It become obvious that he was more than interested in food, but not interested in being spoon fed. So I put a few peas in front of him and next thing I knew he was entertained and we were having a peaceful meal. The peas disappeared, Sarah ate the ones that fell on the floor, and we all ate in peace.
I’ll keep ya’ll updated on our BLW brigade. So far, the only con I can attest to is the mess. Some meals require a bath afterward and all meals remind me that having a dog is completely necessary when having children. But I’ll bathe my child and allow my dog to eat off the floor all day everyday if it means a different outcome at the table.
Have you tried BLW? What’s your experience been like? 

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Hooper & Van

Dear Hooper & Van,
We’ve been working on sharing and this last week I think you’ve finally grasped the concept. You started by sharing germs and both battled a husky cough, fever, and a runny nose that reassembled a leaking faucet. It landed you both in the doctor’s office: Hooper first and Van two days later.
It started with germs, but the sharing has reached the voluntary realm as well. Yesterday, I sat you down, Van, on the floor next to me. I put a modest pile of toys in front of you and got up to use the bathroom. When I came back, Hooper had nearly buried you in puzzles and coloring books and cars. Hooper, you proudly replied, “sharing”, and proceeded to gently rub your brother’s fuzzy head. That’s your new thing, by the way: Rubbing Van’s fuzz head.
So it’s not all ominous. Your budding relationship is looking upward. My black and white vertically striped top and whistle hangs neatly in the closet. Lets leave it there for a bit.
Love,
Mama

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I've Fallen in ♥

When you become a mom for the first time, it doesn’t seem like any love could ever match it. I worried what it would be like to love another when I was pregnant with Van. I worried about how it would affect Hooper and I anticipated losing the undivided attention I was always able to give him. I figured all this would go away when Van was born, but it didn’t; not entirely, anyway.
I spoke briefly on how loving a second has been different than loving a first (You can read that post here). It’s not more or less, just different. I’ve been waiting for Van to blossom ever since he was born. Maybe I’m alone on this one, but newborns aren’t really my thing. I enjoy ooing and ahhing when meeting other’s newborns, but when it comes to my own, I kinda want to press the fast forward button… and then, in what feels like overnight, the pause button.
Van is seven months old now and, for the first time, I can claim him as a human. He has spunk. He has preferences. He has, dare I say, a routine.
But these days, it’s not about the toys or the solids or the bouncer… no soiree… it’s all. about. mama.
This kid loves me. He really loves me (Said with tears streaming down my face as I take a bow).
The other morning I walked in on Hooper asking Willy to hold him. It doesn’t happen often enough that he lets us hold his little body next to ours, so we both relish in these opportunities. Willy had that look on his face as if to say “ne-ner, ne-ner, ne-ner”. I came over and reached my arms out to Hooper, thinking surely he’d chose me, and he retracted his body back toward his Papa. Then he swiped his hand across my face and the moment was lost when Willy had to take him to time out for hitting me.
So while I can’t say I’m a huge fan, per say, of the newborn phase, what I can say is that -at six months- things started looking up. Willy can relish the moments that Hooper chooses only him, because this little boy Van only has eyes for his mama.
Hey Willy, score is tied sucker.
Side note: The Comfy Rumps giveaway ends today. I’ll announce the winner on Friday. 

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Mama's Corner

Wearing: This sweater from Target, gray skinnies, these sandals.
Swooning: See that little wave in the pic above on the right? Melts my heart.
Getting out: Some times one day starts to feel just like the day before. Willy was in Huntington Beach for work so the munchkins and I decided to drive out and meet him for dinner. We drove around Newport Beach and dreamed about living in homes we can’t afford. It took well over an hour to get down there in traffic, but with the kiddos secure in their kiddo seats and with some tunes I had prepared beforehand, it was actually a nice break; even if it meant starring at the brake lights in front of me.
Cleaning: Has the Spring cleaning bug hit you yet? I emptied out our entire refrigerator and scrubbed that sucker clean. It feels so good.
Searching: I would love to invite this Andy Warhol print into my home but can’t seem to find it anywhere. I have a feeling it’s pretty pricey anyway.
Recovering (again): Willy, Hooper, and Van all got bit with the germ bug this past week. It’s been tough to kick. Not sure how I managed to escape it, but mother earth must know the house would go to shambles in the absence of a healthy mama.
Listening: Audioslave, “Doesn’t Remind Me”. It’s a rare to find a song that both Willy and I can enjoy. I like the acoustic version.
Rejoicing: Van is sleeping 10 hours straight through at night and napping, on a consistent basis, for a couple of hours during the day. I feel like a new woman. Now I’m ready for a third. I joke.
Redesigning: Notice the facelift? What do you think? When it’s complete, I’ll share the beauty and brains behind it all.

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10/52

A portrait of my husband, once a week, every week, in 2013.
This guy has the hardest time when the littles are, well, little. Van is all about me; as soon as I hand him off he’s throwing himself back in my direction. But apparently when I’m out of sight, I’m out of mind. I caught these two sharing a moment before his bath and I grabbed my camera and hung out outside the door, out of sight. This may be my favorite picture of these two. He may love his mama, but as Willy said the other day, “When he’s sweet, he’s really sweet”.
You can check out other posts in the series here.

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