Stoney Point

When Marge texted that her and the kids would be in town, I suggested we meet at Stoney Point. We watched as the kids climbed on top of the rocks, played with red fire ants, said hello to the neighboring horses, and collected sticks. I always enjoy observing a mother with her children and the way Marge comforted and cared for her kiddos so tenderly was really beautiful.
And kudos to Marge for putting up with Hooper smearing butter all over her face when we went out to eat afterward. She might have had butter on her face, but she’s far from a but-her-face. She’s the champ of the champs, she really is.

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What I share on my blog is never forced; I write what – in my mind – needs to be written to either save my sanity, document for my boys, or enable me to move on with a clear head. That’s why it may come as a surprise to some that we moved. I shared little bits here and there on my instagram account, though I did refer to it often as “spring cleaning” and that’s because there were so many question marks. Would we get the house? Would we be able to sell ours? What will happen when I return to work / will

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I need to find a new job? Will Willy be able to work remote? and so on and so forth. So, you see, until each of these questions had an answer attached to it that I felt comfortable with, I kept it all to myself.

But, lo and behold, we got the new house, our old house sold very quickly, I decided I would commute to my same job so my parents can still take care of the boys on those days, and Willy got the a-okay to work from home.
Settling in has barely begun and is moving slow as molasses due to my physical limitations and those little leaches I sometimes admit to as being my children. I kid. They’ve been incredibly ::cough cough:: helpful. Okay, so they are pretty much as helpful as a drummer who bangs his drums while you’re trying to go to sleep. But what they are is easy going and adaptable. There have been some outbursts that I correlate more with the move than their ages, but all in all they seem to be better at this whole moving thing than I am.
It’s been a long road. We’re tired emotionally and physically from all we’ve been through over the past six months. And so, today we leave for a much needed vacation. I have loads of catching up to do on here, so while I’m gone I’ll be sharing some of our Arizona adventures as well as some photo sessions. I have portraits for this weeks portrait series, but will not be sharing for the following couple of weeks until we are back and settled, again. If you want to follow along on IG, you can find me @thestorkandthebeanstalk. Feeling grateful.

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A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: “Hand hat” has made it into this portrait series two weeks in a row, what?! Until we have actual furniture in our house, he has been enjoying riding his scooter indoors. I watched the clock the other day while he sat at the bottom of the stairs for about 30 minutes trying to maneuver the thing upstairs. He got it up the first step.
Hooper: Found a vintage tennis racket I found at a thrift shop in Arizona. I plan on using it as decoration. He plans on using it as a baseball bat. We will fight over it. I will win. I will also buy him a baseball bat. So, I guess we’ll both win.
Click here to check out the series, in its entirety

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I spent the weekend, a couple of weekends ago, in Ojai with my sister and her best friend in celebration of my sister getting married in the very near future. Some may call it a bachelorette party, but it was a far cry (It reminded me more of my own pre-wedding celebration when Janet and I took off for Joshua Tree and drank and played pool with the locals at the Joshua Tree Saloon). We ate until we could eat no more, drank wine and whatever it was that that manager from that one restaurant served us, listened to live music, got massages, walked through the local Farmer’s Market (which had the best tangerines) and hit up some of the local thrift stores (I scored a gorgeous skirt and some other knick knacks for the house). We stayed at the Ojai Rancho Inn, which was very unassuming and easily missed when coming up the road. It was quaint and cozy, with lovely character and a horse next door that we had the pleasure of watching from our bathroom

window. I hope to return again soon with Willy and the boys in tow.

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The New Digs

Our new home was built in the 1970’s and given the fact that it’s a condo, with shared walls and a homeowner’s association, we have some limitations and restrictions. What we had in our first home wouldn’t fit, style-wise, with our new home. So, as they say, out with the old and in with the new.
I’ll share some of the renovations we’re doing here and there but given the fact that the boys and I have not been staying in the house during the renovations, I’m not able to see much of it myself.
Above are some glimpses of inspiration, via my pinterest. From top to bottom, left to right: one | two | three (would you believe that I thrifted an awesome hanging plant macrame nearly identical to the one pictured?! All I need to do is find a glass or mirror base for it) | four | five| six | seven
Here’s a little glimpse I shared on instagram of a little corner in our bedroom that I snapped on the first night I slept here. Can’t wait to dive right in to making this house a home.

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It’s monkey see, monkey do around these parts as of late with Van being the monkey that sees and then the monkey that does but probably shouldn’t have. Like the day Hooper kept kicking me in the leg and you, Van, came up and started doing the same. Or when I scold Hooper for spitting only to turn around and find saliva catapulting out of your mouth. 
You still have a “hands-on” relationship and though the fighting has lessened to some degree, it definitely still exists. And whether it’s intentional or not, you both have battle wounds to show for it. Like the day you, Hooper, were running behind Van and accidentally sent him flying forward onto his face resulting in a nice size scrape next to his left eye. Or the other day when you both met around a corner resulting in your first shiner and a little bruise on Van’s forehead as well. 
You do like one another from time to time. The other day you, Van, brought Hooper his sippy cup and every now and again you, Hooper, will help your brother down from a step on the playground. These moments are few and far between, but ya know, they are there.

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Mothers & Daughters

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” -Roald Dahl
Interested in booking a  mother | child session? Shoot me an email for information on my special Mother’s Day package: Ashley {at} thestorkandthebeanstalk {dot} com.

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A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Still sucks the thumb on his left hand and uses his right hand for what we’ve coined “hand hat”. I’m filing it under “things I never want to forget about my children”. I miss the days Hooper used to suck on his two fingers, so I’m savoring these days – while they last – with Van.
Hooper: Waiting for his turn on the tractor. He seemed content with his initial tractor ride until he got down and Van climbed up, at-which-point he solemnly waited for another turn. Oh, brotherhood.
Click here to check out the series, in its entirety

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Bits + Pieces, from my Parents' house

There are some things that go on at my parents’ house that I hope the boys always remember; like the fact that my dad gets up everyday before them to hide two strawberries in their strawberry plant, one for Hooper and one for Van. And there is amazement every time they search that plant and find that ripe, red little berry. As if it were planted there just for them (::cough cough::, it was). Or the fact that my mom hides little plastic Easter eggs, well before Easter, with a piece or two of candy so the boys can hunt around the living room to find their treats. Or the way Hooper stands at the kitchen sink to watch the birds eat from the bird feeder he fills with the help of my mom; asking what each bird’s name is (my mom actually educates him about the different types of birds, whereas I just give each one a human name for him to call it, “Oh yes, that bird, Hooper?… It’s name is ‘Spencer’…”).  
Oh yes, and they have their very own playroom at my parents’ house…. which is something they had at our old house for the blink of an eye (just before we put our home up for sale) and will not have at our new pad. In fact, they will be sharing a room and it will double as a playroom. So, ya know, the list of perks at g’mas and g’pas house is long.
These days, it takes a village and each member of the village has something to give; a new way to show love, new traditions to add, patience to give when mine is exhausted. Being between homes has not been easy, but I’m grateful for everyone in our lives who have worked so hard to make it as easy as possible.

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His & Hers

Never has there been a more dynamic duo. Well, in my book anyway. I suppose Simon & Garfunkl and, perhaps, Cheech & Chong may say otherwise but Jimmy Marble and Amanda Jasnowski go together like peanut butter and jelly. Everything these two touch turns to gold. Jimmy’s style is reminicent of a contemporary William Eggleston and when mixed with Amanda’s out-of-this-world relationship with light, these two can do no wrong. Take a look for yourself.
HIS @jimmymarble
HERS @hokaytokay
Wonder what a collaboration between these two would produce? Wonder no further. They teamed up last summer for ReForm School’s summer catelogue. Check it out:
Now if that ain’t eye candy, I don’t know what is.
And, seriously, all this isn’t enough, Mr. Jimmy he-does-it-all Marble also sells banners
I mentioned the Like Knows Like project in my last feature of his & hers, long ago. Recently featured was Amanda (@hokeytokey). You can check it out by clicking here.

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It's so hard to say goodbye

Our first home was built in the 1950’s and we did all we could to keep it to that era. We put in parquet floors, hunted down an authentic eichler door handle, painted our front door bright orange, ordered vintage concrete blocks for the fence we put up in the side yard, and filled our home with as much mid-century furniture as we could. 
Having put so much of our blood, sweat, tears, and style into it makes leaving it hard. Not to mention that I can’t return to the place without Sarah’s accident invading my every thought; a horror movie that just won’t quit.  
But alas, we’re moving on; pouring more blood, sweat, and tears into a new place we will soon call home.
I’ll share what I can of the renovations and, if you’re interested, some style inspiration as well.

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A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014

We (well, the kids and I) are back in Arizona this week as things with the new home remain unfinished. So it goes, right? Fortunately we have lots of family that welcome, and then re-welcome, us with open arms. Through all of the chaos as of late, family has been our saving grace.

Van: Is determined to throw a wrench into my recovery. His defiance wears on me physically and chews up and spits out any amount of patience I have left. He listens, eventually, but it’s always on his terms and on his time. I was trying to get him to follow me to the car when I snapped this picture.

Hooper: Insisted on taking off his shoes because they were “dirty” but is apparently not bothered by bare, dirty feet. Also, he can run across a field full of sharp rocks without wincing; soles of steel, I tell ya.

Click here to check out the series, in its entirety

Bits + Pieces, from Arizona

We arrived at Willy’s parent’s house in Arizona beaten down from the physical and emotional stress of moving and saddened after losing Sarah just a few days prior. We always brought her along on our trips to AZ, so there was that sobering reminder when we didn’t have to push her off my lap and into the back seat like we usually do.
To make matters worse, our truck broke down early on and as if luck were teasing us by slapping us one minute and then kissing us the next, we happened to be a few miles from my sister’s house where our second car sat until we returned. So we swapped cars, repacked all our stuff, switched the car seats out for the umpteenth time, and made it to Joshua Tree just in time for a family session I had booked prior. So ya know, the take home message is that it all works out. One way or another.
With no further bumps in the road, we arrived in AZ. We enjoyed warm days and cool nights, Lucky and Moocher (the new pet goats), the Renaissance festival, a wild cat that just gave birth to kittens, an Irish band that did a Bob Dylan cover that felt like it was just for me, a trip to an old gold mining ghost town, some thrifting that landed an old peacock chair in the back

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of our car and some other treasures for the new home, and enough laughter with family and friends to fill our empty tanks.

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The Ace Hotel | DTLA

Willy and I have always been fans of The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. Willy does a lot of work out in the desert so we find ourselves out there often; so-much-so that we refer to the Ace as our second home.
That’s why when The Ace built a new hotel practically next door, I had to go check it out. And it did not disappoint.
Have you been?

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Longing to be settled

Long before we actually moved we started preparing. The story of how we transitioned from one sleeping arrangement to another is enough to either make your head spin or make you believe we’re a family of goldilocks’, or both. We listed our bedroom set on craigslist and when we sold that we moved Van’s full size mattress into our room and moved Van to the bottom bunk in Hooper’s room. The full mattress was too small for the both of us, so Willy slept on the sofa. Then we sold the sofa so we added a blow up mattress in our bedroom for Willy to sleep on. And then the bunk beds sold, leaving Hooper bed-less and Van in a pack-n-play. So I made a rash decision and went to a chinsy little place in the more ghetto area of the Valley and bought them each a twin bed that came with a twin mattress and they slept on the mattress, on the floor. 
What I’m trying to say is that it’s been a while since we’ve felt settled. And truthfully, it will be a while before we are settled again. We ordered a sofa online that is on backorder and have plans on building our own kitchen table even though I know we don’t have time to do so anytime soon, at least. We have a trip planned at the end of this month and another one just two days after we get back. Fun stuff and much to look forward to, but no real help in our quest to be settled. But, ya know, I hear settling in with a base tan is much easier anyway. 
I digress. 
I long for days like this day; no cares in the world, jumping on blow-up beds together as a family. Soon enough, I suppose.
And also, I miss Sarah. These photos were taken the day before we moved, the day before Sarah left us and it pains my heart to know that this is, I believe, the last picture I have of her -and us- together. Insert lump-in-throat-here.

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The longest way home

Oh the joys of moving. From hotels, to staying with family in Arizona, to separating from Willy (he was in Orange County staying with my sister and her fiancé so he

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could work on the new place while the boys and I were back in the Valley staying with my parents), to a move-in weekend that happened to land on the weekend I was in Ojai for my sister’s bachelorette party, to one night (one night, people!) in our new digs, and now, back in Arizona while some foundation issues and flooring and all that other miss-mosh gets handled at the new place. Life just doesn’t slow, does it? Moving is the pits.

It’s the long way home, indeed.

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A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Has been sleeping until 9 am.
Hooper: Has a black (or green, as he calls it) eye compliments of his brother, whose forehead he met around a corner. Willy laughed, asking me, “Remember getting black eyes as a kid?”. I had to remind him that I’m a girl.
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A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Has been in a very contrary mood as of late, with his favorite word being “no”.
Hooper: Has been very difficult to keep clothed.
**I got behind on posting the series here due to computer issues from the move. I’ll be posting again tomorrow and will hopefully be back on track. Fingers crossed.
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