Hooper @ 3.7 Years

Growth & Appearance: I put you on the scale the other day and you seem to be about 35 pounds. You hair is blonder than ever, bleached by the summer sun. You’re little bum is white compared to the rest of your body. Your nails almost always have dirt under them.Your hair is long and you’ve started brushing it out of your face with your hand, holding it out of your eyes so you can see better. You have enough hair to put into a ponytail and every now and again you will request one. We ask you if you want us to cut your hair and you say “no”.  
You have a lot of blond leg hair that glistens in the sun.
You have a natural six pack.
You wear size 3 or 4T. Pull ups / underwear size 4. And I think you’re in size 9 shoe; it’s hard to keep track. Eating: You’ve been eating well, for the most part. When you’re excited about what we’re preparing, you rub your tummy and refer to the food as “delicious”, pronounced “de-wish-is”.  
You like to slurp your milk. It’s really annoying. For a short time you’d slurp it and then spit it out all over the floor. It was really fun when Van would follow suit.
You don’t like food getting on your face or lap; you’re a clean eater. If I offer you a bite that’s too big, you say, “that’s too big for my face”, which I think is funny.
Your favorite foods are whip cream, strawberries, hot dogs, and french fries; I swear we give you healthy food most of the time, however. Hot dogs, more than anything else, are your latest jam.
You also love milk (when you’re not slurping and/or spitting it out). And butter. You like to eat butter plain, right off the knife. Gross, I know.
You keep going into the fridge, taking the cap off the juice and hiding it. The other day I found the juice in the garage and the cap in a random basket. Sleeping: You’re back to taking naps. I make it my goal each day to tire you out and it works. You wake up around 7:30 or 8am with your brother (typically he wakes you up, I think). You’re ready for a nap after lunch, around 1 or 2pm, and you usually sleep at least 2 hours, sometimes 3. You go to bed between 8 and 9. 
You still love your blanket, which you call your “dadgy”. You also insist on sleeping with a toy each night; most nights it’s a book.
When you wake up from your nap, we cuddle and you kiss you forehead and tell me, “You make me so happy”. It’s my favorite part of the day. You prefer to cuddle with me over your Papa because you say Papa, “makes you itch” (because of his facial hair). 
Talking: You’re very expressive about your feelings; you say things like “I am too mad” when you’re told you have to do something that you don’t want to do. You’ll also talk back. 
You call me “mom” from time to time and it makes me feel like you’re growing up too fast. Other times you’ll make it plural and call me “mamas” and I’m reminded that you’ll always be my baby.
For a while you were singing a song you referred to as your favorite but we could decipher the words and to this day I have no idea what your favorite song is.
When I scold you, I tell you to “look at my eyes”. I cannot tell you how many times I have overheard you scolding Van, “wook at my eyes, Van!”. Monkey see, monkey do.
You’ve started saying swear words. Specifically “f$#’n shit”; a constant reminder that we need to watch our mouths and that you hear everything we say. You use it appropriately too; like when we were in Hawaii and a lizard ran into our room and you said, “f$#’n shit”.
You say “bless you” after anyone sneezes. It’s a nice antidote to the aforementioned.
The other day you wanted me to watch something you were doing and instead of asking me to watch, you said, “Mama, turn your face around”.
When you tell people your name, sometimes you say, “Hooper, with an H” because I think you’ve heard us say that too many times. You get mistaken for “Cooper” often.
You must ask “why” a thousand times a day. I have been told by numerous strangers that I have the patience of a Saint. I tell them they have no idea. And no explanation is ever satisfactory; one why just gives way to another.
When something goes wrong, like you drop something, you say, “oh dear”.
You saw a blimp in the air and said, “Mama, wook at dat wocket (rocket)”.
You’re into potty talk. You love talking about buttholes and your “dumps”.
When a commercial comes on the TV, you look at us confused and whine about the TV “buffering”. Hash tag: Modern day kids.
You like to take it upon yourself to give Van a spanking when he does something wrong. You pronounce it “fankin”. 
Development: We call you the bossman because you think the world revolves around you and that everyone is here on the Earth to take orders from you. When you’re overly bossy, it’s usually a sign that you’re tired.
You want to know the name for anything and everything. You’ll see a bird out the window and ask me what it’s name is. You’ll see a stranger in the store and ask me what his name is. You’ll see a dog and ask what it’s name is. You’re eager to identify everything.
You can put your slip on shoes on by yourself. Occasionally it gets stuck on your heel and you get frustrated.
You constantly ask me what all the signs say… the stop sign, the crosswalk sign, the “welcome to California” sign, the handicap sign, and so on and so forth. As I said, you’re eager to identify everything.
You refer to large bodies of water, like lakes, as bath tubs; “Wook at all dos ducks in that big baff-tub, Mama”.
You no longer use the little seat over the toilet, it’s something we abandoned during the move and you’ve adapted to the big boy seat just fine. You have regressed considerably with potty training, however. Prior to moving, I’d say you were 98% trained. Now, you wake up with a dirty diaper a few times a week and have been peeing in random areas all over the house. It was a real treat when you pointed out that you peed on a pile of clothes on my floor. Luckily this only lasted a few weeks.
You are offended when inanimate objects or animals don’t talk to you. You say, “Mama, that rock / bird / crab not talkin’ to me” with a pout and a frown.
You’re able to problem solve. Like if the ball gets stuck under the sofa, you first try to retrieve it using something long like a baseball bat.
You’ve gotten more social and are more inclined to go up to a group of kids and play. You’re not one to wander far or lose sight of me, but it’s obvious you enjoy hanging out with kids your own age and it’s been nice to see you come out of your shell a bit.
You hate getting hurt. You discovered a blister on the back of your heel and spent the rest of the day requesting cuddles and limping around. We’ll have to toughen you up a bit.
You ask about Sarah less and less, but have not forgotten. You’ve settled on the fact that she got hit by a car and is with Sammy. You’re very conscious of street safety as a result and I overhear you telling Van often to look both ways. It’s pretty sweet.
You’re into collecting an odd assortment of toys and things around the house and turning them into, what you call, a fire station. Like the other day when my bed was covered with a tennis racket, a hose for the washer and dryer, a few cars, a tape measure, a plant stand, and other odds and ends. When I started to clean it up, you told me to stop messing up your fire station. You do the same thing with your “office”; you have a plastic cup with some crayons, some coins, and a few allen wrenches set on top of the kitchen bar counter. You add things like junk mail and refer to this space as your office. Again, you get very upset when I try to clean it up. And if I clean it up when you’re sleeping, you immediately notice everything that’s missing when you wake up. You let it all go quickly too, however, and go right back to building a new fire station or office.
You want your privacy when you poop and request that we leave the bathroom. You shut the door behind us and then present your poop to us like it’s a meal you spent hours in the kitchen making.
You play with your dong a lot. I wouldn’t say that here except for the fact that you’re slappin’ that thing around all the time and if (when) it happens with Van, I’d like some sort of documentation that it occurred and did not fall off. Cuz’ right now, I’m worried about that thing falling off.
You’re cautious and caring; you tell me, from the backseat, to watch out for pedestrians or bicyclists or even cars in the distance. 
Favorites: You’re still into your cars. You love building forts that you call your home. You like to throw a random assortment of crap on the bed and refer to it as your fire station (as mentioned). Curious George is still a fan favorite. And as cheesy as it is, I’m definitely on the top of your list of favorites. You tell me you love me several times a day, get downright insistent about cuddling with me, and give me the sweetest kisses all the time. 

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26/52

A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Spots playgrounds a mile away and says “pay — gown’d”.
Hooper: Started a little gym class and after a trial run that involved tears and screaming, this week was picture perfect.
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Conquering Routine

Even though I have yet to be cleared to return to my “day job” as a RN, my life as a stay-at-home-mom still runs on a very routine Monday thru Friday schedule; mostly because it’s all on me as Willy works most of the day. I thought that being home so much would be freeing; that a schedule would not be needed and that the possibilities would be endless. I was right, to some extent. We’ve gotten to go on lots of little day adventures, which is something I didn’t always have the energy for having worked a grueling 12
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hour shift the day before. Also, the boys are older now; I mean, Van can walk. But come evening, when Willy is done with work, it’s back to the monotonous turn-on-a-cartoon-and-get-dinner-ready-routine. It’s been eating at me. No pun intended.

We have a sliver of a view out our window of the ocean and watching the sunset while Cat-in-the-Hat plays in the background has been torturous. So, I proposed that we make dinner a little bit earlier than usual (sometimes we don’t sit down to eat until almost 8pm) and get the heck out of the house.
And, we have.
And, it’s been great.
I’m trying to sell myself on the idea that you have not squeezed everything out of the day until you get into bed dirty, with sand in your hair and dirt on your toes.

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Summer

It’s funny, no matter how many years removed I am from my school days, the first days of summer feel the same; like the end of an era. Longer days and warmer nights. Gitty excitement and swarming butterflies in your stomach; like a schoolgirl crush. Only it’s not a boy I’m crushing over, it’s summer. And it’s only the beginning…

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Van @ 23 Months

Growth & Appearance: Your hair remains oddly thick and coarse. We stopped shaving it in the midst of moving and have agreed to let it grow out mostly by default. As it’s grown out, it’s gotten blonder and blonder. It’s almost white now. A friend of ours said you look like Rod Stewart and your Papa and I agree. I mean, look. We’re considering a Rod Stewart costume for Halloween. Sorry.  
You have scratches on your face and neck constantly from your brother, who likes to choke you. You have one running down your entire forehead and a matching one on your temple. You take many beatings from Hooper.
You feel like you weigh a thousand pounds. You’re dense. You’re in size 5 diapers and wearing 2 or 3T sized clothes. You appear enormously tall next to other kids your age.
We refer to your feet as potato feet; they’re round and chubby. The bottom of your feet are black, always. You downright refuse to keep your shoes on. As soon as we get you in the car seat, you fling your shoes off. I don’t even put them on now until we get where we are going. I don’t even know what size you wear. I think it’s a size 7.
You have a diaper tan.
Both of your two year molars on the top left and bottom left are in. The bottom right should be popping through soon. It’s more apparent when you’re teething now than it was when you were a baby; you’re grumpier, more volatile, and you don’t eat much.  
Eating: There is no manipulating you at the table; you will either eat it or you won’t. When you say you’re done, you mean it. Sometimes this means you’ll eat all of one thing and nothing of anything else on your plate and I’ve simply learned to let it go. You eat a lot so it’s easy to let your phases of finicky eating go. And for the most part, you’re only finicky when you’re teething. All in all, you’re still a championship eater.
You can fit a ridiculous amount of food in your mouth and it’ll be gone within a couple seconds.
You love water bottles but haven’t figured out how to conquer that whole back-washing bit. When you’re done with the water bottle, it looks like a dirty fish tank. You can drink out of a cup but we still use sippy cups because we’re lazy and hate cleaning up more than we have to.
Your favorite foods as of late are bananas, peaches, zucchini, pasta, but you’ll eat most anything and everything. You tend to favor watered down juice over milk, but you still drink a lot of milk. You love snacks.
You ask for utensils but more often than not end up using your hands.
Sleeping: You and Hooper are sharing a room. You are sleeping in a twin bed with a toddler rail. You wake up around 7:30am and nap around 1:30 for about 3 hours. You go to bed around 8 or 9pm.
You sleep with your blanket but don’t seem overly attached to it. We also allow you to pick a toy to sleep with each night; it’s usually a different toy each time and more times than not it’s a book.
You do well with sharing the room with Hooper but you two are not able to nap together. Instead, we put you in the pack n’ play either in the spare bedroom or in the bathroom. I hear you guys each morning “pwaying py-rits” (playing pirates) over the monitor.
The other night I awoke to hear you yelling and found you covered, head to toe, trapped in your sheet like a ghost. 
Talking: When you want some of whatever we are eating you say, “sch-um” (aka, some) varying degrees of urgency depending on whether we give it to you right away, or not.
You’ve also started putting words together. It started with an abnormally long pause between the words; like if it’s cold outside, you say “coh’d”—–“side”. Then you started saying the words without the pause and now you’re stringing together three or more words.
Your first complete sentence was clear as day, “I want down”. And down you went.
You say “yes” very distinctly. We ask you a lot of questions that we know you will say “yes” to because we love hearing it.
You are your brother’s parrot; whatever Hooper says, you too try to say.
You have tons of words in your vocabulary and while it’s more or less easy for us to decipher what you’re saying, you still speak a foreign language to others.
Your laugh is deep and hardy and comes straight from your belly.
Development: You love to spray things with a water bottle but you cry when someone turns the water bottle on you. 
You’re interested in potty training. I’ve put you on the toilet several times and you’ve peed successfully. You’re also starting to hide when you poop, which I think means you’re getting closer to being ready for official training. We haven’t dove in head first, but we’re splashing around. We’re rewarding you with a tic-tac. You request “tac”—“two”. As of late, you wake up with a dry diaper and go to the potty first thing in the morning. You don’t ask to go during the day.
Anytime we ask you a question that’s answer is a numerical value, you say “two”. So how old are you, how many fish are there, how many grapes do you want… the answer is always two. No matter what.
Same goes for colors. The answer is always red, regardless of whether there is red or not. We try to set you up for success and only ask you what color things are when we see something red… like fire trucks.
You can jump off of a higher surface. In fact, without fail, each time we get to the last step of whatever staircase or stairwell, you insist on jumping off. You throw the biggest tantrum ever on the beach in Maui because you did not want to leave a rock you were jumping off over and over.
You ask to hold our hand when you’re going downstairs but are able to do it by yourself without a problem when we’re not around.
You can catch and kick and hit a ball. Papa’s pretty impressed with  your drop kick.
You’ll sit and watch a cartoon, which is new. Bob the Builder is your favorite.
You’re scared of monsters. When we need you to listen, we tell you a monster is coming so you better “X”. It works 90% of the time.
You are destructive; you like chewing things up and knocking things over and taking things off and throwing things all over the place.
It’s obvious you’re a younger sibling; you’re obsessed with things being yours. If you get down off the sofa to go play with a toy and your Papa and I take over sitting where you were once sitting, you will come up and insist we move, declaring the seat yours. You get things taken from you left and right, so I get it.
You’re not much a cuddler. When you get hurt, you run to me but within a second of being in my arms you’re off and running as if nothing happened. I don’t think you’d even come to me for comfort if it wasn’t something that you’ve seen Hooper do; I think you’ve learned it from him but don’t need it whatsoever. 
Favorites: Balls. Oh my, you have a ball in your hand almost constantly; tennis balls, soccer balls, basketballs, golf balls, bouncy rubber balls, beach balls… it matters not. You love holding the tennis racket over your shoulder and using it as a baseball bat. You also have a mean drop kick and some pretty good ball-catching skills. No matter where we go, you seem to find a ball. Within seconds of arriving at a park, you will have a ball – that does not belong to you – in your hands. We went to an open field the other day and you found a golf ball in the dirt. I’m convinced the balls find you just as well as you find them.
You love picture books and request to read the same books over and over and over again.
You also love riding on your Papa’s skateboard. Somehow it made it’s way from the garage to the family room. You like to sit on it or lay on your stomach and push around on your feet. Sometimes you’ll come up to me and ask to hold your hands so you can stand and try to balance.

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25/52

A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Has the worst scratch right down the center of his forehead from Hooper, who clawed him for no apparent reason.
Hooper: Finally wore a hole into the bottom of his moccasins. I had bought them used and they’ve lasted forever and I’m bummed that they might have met their final days…
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Father's Day

Any day that starts with donuts, ends with burgers, and has worms in between is a good day in my book. We, and by “we” I mean Willy, gave fishing off the pier a go. The boys had a blast watching the surfers and were mesmerized by the occasional fish that made it’s way onto the pier. We didn’t catch anything this go-around, but I sense there will be many more days in the future sitting, wishing, hoping, and reeling. Hope everyone had a wonder Father’s Day.

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An Interview


It’s always my intention to do these more often because they grow and change so fast. It’s not easy to get them to sit still and it takes some time to edit the pieces together, so despite the fact Hooper answered so many questions wrong to questions he normally knows the answer to, I decided to post anyway. I’ll force myself to do another before Summer is over. Hope you enjoy.
The Stork & The Beanstalk on Vimeo.

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On Routines…

Before becoming a mother, I never really kept to a routine. I did what I want, when I wanted, and prided myself on the freedom that came with not owning a home. Life changes people, or so they say, and I’ve had to adapt to prevent from falling on my face in this whole motherhood business.  
We, as a family, have had to adapt a lot over the last few months. First with my back surgery, which rendered me completely useless up until just recently (I would now characterize myself as “not as useful as I appear”). And second, with the move. Whatever we knew in terms of a routine beforehand has changed several times.
I read once that children thrive in a routine environment; that they rely on schedule and knowing what to expect. I can see how that may be true for some, but I think it’s more or less a blanket statement and, as with most things in parenting, cannot be applied to all children. Reminds me of this beautiful post by Sash.
I digress.
I got to thinking the other day while I was in the shower. As I reached for the bottle of shampoo, I realized that I have a shower routine; an order to which I shampoo, wash, condition, and shave. I started to question whether I’m as anti-routine as I thought. And then I got to thinking about all the little routines I have, like getting the kids in the car; I do it the same way every time.
Most of our days follow some sort of a schedule. What each slot gets filled with may change from the day to day, but there are slots to fill (the after breakfast slot, the nap time slot, etc). Of course there are days, even weeks, where all caution is thrown to the wind and you better believe these are some of the best days; I love breaks in routine.
I snapped these photos the other day on one of our typical morning outings.
How routine are your days? Do you enjoy throwing caution to the wind or does it make you anxious? How do your kids handle a change or routine or, better yet, a lack of routine all together?
And can we talk about that last picture… brother helping brother, at it’s finest.

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24/52

A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Is obsessed with balls. No matter where we go, he finds one. And he never puts them down. He has a mean drop kick.
Hooper: Wore his
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bike helmet for 5 hours straight. He never actually got on his bike. It was a “safe” morning.

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A Photography Series: See it through your own eyes

I find myself often thinking either during a shoot or after a shoot how someone different may have shot the same scene. Was the lighting actually poor or was I not exposing the available light correctly? Would someone else have positioned a couple differently that would have been more flattering? Questions and doubt flood my mind until I have a harsh conversation with myself and tell myself to STOP IT already.  
The thing I’ve learned is this: You can never duplicate. Not how you indended to, anyway. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been nervous heading into a shoot only to quickly look up other photographer’s work for a quick burst of inspiration or even a mental cheat sheet only to walk in to the shoot and find that duplicating does not work for me; it feels more like the first time I made out with a guy: awkward. 
Before I crossed over from hobby to business, I used to ask my friends who allowed me to photograph them to send me ideas for their shoots. They’d send me images from pinterest, mostly, and I’d do my best to give them what they wanted. It didn’t take me long, however, to realize that it wasn’t me. I didn’t really want to be told what to do nor could I find inspiration in the images I was looking at. In hindsight, I had the vision but not the confidence. As I shot more, I gained more confidence and now, finally, I’m able to allow my own visions to come to life.
I could sit here in regret that I didn’t trust my own insights sooner, but we all travel a different road and so long as we get to a place where we trust and have faith in ourselves as artists than who cares?
I no longer ask my clients for ideas and find, more often than not, that they’ve hired me because they like my vision. And nothing feels as good as that. 
“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.” -Steven Pressfield

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Long Live Summer

We’ve been spending more time than ever at the beach. Partly because we now live closer and partly because it’s the one place I can take them where we only have to walk a mere twenty feet from the car and I can give my back the break it asks for often, but rarely gets.
The boys love it too. Collecting rocks and throwing them into the water, using their dump truck to transfer sand into buckets, building forts with random pieces of bamboo and seaweed; it’s play at it’s best — imaginative, entertaining, and the kind of dirt-under-your-nails fun that makes you feel most alive.
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If I’m granted enough time and patience by the I-will-prevent-your-kids-from-driving-you-insane fairy, I pack a lunch and snack for the boys beforehand; it makes it so that we are one step closer to nap time (aka mama-needs-a-break time) when we get home.
Hoping that by the end of the summer they’ll be more into the water. Hell, I’ll even be happy if Van would let go of my hand by water’s edge.
Long live Summer (never mind the fact it’s not technically Summer. If it feels like Summer, it’s Summer. Right?). Not sure what we’ll do come Winter…

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Then Comes Marriage, with Kim & Chris

I’ve known her through all of stages in life, but never this happy and never this complete.
Kim + Chris
Married May 24th, 2014
Interested in booking a session? Contact me: ashley @ thestorkandthebeanstalk dot com.

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Three

If you’ve ever spent time with a three year old, you know that they can flip faster than Evel Knievel. Hugs turn to slugs, “I love you” ‘s to “You make me mad“, kisses to bites… you get the idea. 
When Hooper was 2, I feared 3. I have heard from many moms that two is overrated in being described as “terrible”; that three, instead, is where the real fun begins. And I agree, to some extent.
Some of my favorites ::cough cough:: ::nudge nudge::
Occasionally he’ll get upset if I stick a spoon full of food in front of his mouth because he’s “not a baby” and can “do it myselph”; though what he really means is I can do it by myself but by the time I finish it may be time for the next meal, or perhaps, I may have already died from old age.  
“I’m da boss man” or, better yet, “I’m da po-eece (police) man”. He uses these phrases when he decides reprimanding Van would be better coming from him than me. At times I truly believe he thinks he’s the one in charge of both his brother and me.
The fact he will not let me help him out of his car seat so I have to wait what feels like a thousand years for him to get out of the car (seriously, it involves him looking in his cup holder to assess what “treasures” he’s leaving behind, then holding on to his “fireman” handle, then asking repetitive questions about something totally unrelated to the matter-at-hand, followed by bossing me around and telling me to take the hand off the door as if my hand on the door is assisting him in some way and preventing him from doing it all by himself). My back thanks him for his independence, my patience wants to push him out the door and blame it on his brother.
And then there’s the other stuff that prevents me from pulling my hair out from the aforementioned…
Like when I tuck him into bed and hold his head in my hands, caressing his face. He stops my hand when I get to his cheek, caresses my hand and strokes his fingers along my forearm and tells me he loves me. And when I say “I love you too”, he tells me he loves me more.
Or when I sneeze and every time, without fail, he tells me, “bwess (bless) you, Mama”.
Or when I yell at him for something he shouldn’t have done and for the next hour he follows behind me repetitively asking, “you mad, Mama?” with such genuine and sincere concern that he has upset me in some way.
Or when I get mad at Van for doing something wrong and he comes and apologies, on his brother’s behalf.
Or the way he compliments me when he likes my dress or necklace, or the fact alone that he even takes notice.
Oh three… you have your ups and your downs.

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23/52

A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Took a pen to our brand new leather sofa.
Hooper: Dumped all the potting soil all over the patio and wrote it off as “making compost”.
Many thanks to my friend Tim, with Skrunky Threads, for the “Fresh” & “New Generation of Rad” t-shirts. You can find them here
Click here to check out the series, in its entirety

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Settling In

Technically speaking, we’ve been in our new place for a few months. Did I really just say that? Where does the time go? It still looks more or less like a disaster zone and it will still be sometime before we can actually fit a car in the garage. But mentally, we’ve settled. 
We have yet to purchase any blinds so while the boys reap the benefits of black trash bags over their windows, Willy and I are awaken each day by a soft morning light that gently fills the room. The sun slowly moves over our house and come late afternoon, the most beautiful light falls through the window, the outline of the window frames lie softly on the wall moving slowly with the setting sun until both the shadows and the sun disappear completely.  
Life feels fuller. Change is good.
I’m getting stronger everyday and the promise of a new day and a new adventure is just enough to invite in that early morning light and put off buying blinds for another day.

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Mother + Son Session, with Paty & Paulo

I’m all for unplugging, but it’s pretty cool when you find yourself three thousand, four hundred, and thirty three miles from home meeting up with someone who found you on Instagram. Just saying.
Paty + Paulo
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Interested in booking a mother | child session? Email me: ashley@thestorkandthebeanstalk.com.

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Puerto Rico

We came to Puerto Rico on the dime of the company Willy works for; a celebration for his success – and the success of others – over the past year. It is a huge accomplishment and I’m so proud of him.
Nevertheless, it was hard the leave the kids behind. It was the first time, ever, that we’ve left the boys for longer than a weekend. Rewind to a few weeks before, when we were in Hawaii, and I would have paid someone – anyone – a large amount of money to pawn those rascals off on someone else. Especially on the flight. But we dealt with it, reaching deep into our jar of patience with the reality that we would soon get the break we needed when we left – alone – on our trip to Puerto Rico.
I tried not to think about the boys in a way that would take away from my treasured time with the man who helped me create them. And while we both spent time scrolling through photos of them, we did relax, unwind, and enjoy the time away.
I read a few words of advice to new moms somewhere recently and it hit home. I’m not one to usually shell out advice to new moms because I think there’s too much of it that gets floated around and – at times – can lead to an unhealthy standard of parenting. But that’s another topic. What this mom said rung so true, she said: Take time for yourself. Do enough for yourself. Treat yourself well. Because if you don’t, you’ll end up resenting the ones you love most.
I think it’s important for parents to relinquish any guilt they have in doing things for themselves. We all need – and deserve – not only time away, but time to nurture our relationships with our spouses and with ourselves. I broke out my favorite book, “The Fountainhead” and started to reread it. We listened to music. We sat in our rooms and did not a damn thing; it didn’t even bother me when Toddlers in Tiaras came on TV. There was one day that Willy didn’t get out of bed until 3pm.
It felt good to look at the man across the table from me, and him alone. No distractions. Next on the list, find a new babysitter in our new town.
*Also we got to take a short 8 minute flight to the island of Vieques where Willy met up with an elementary school friend who sailed from Texas to the tiny island 10 years ago, opened up a restaurant, and has yet to leave. Willy hadn’t seen him in 17 years so it was pretty cool to meet up with him and his beautiful wife, and son. Good
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Childhood Unplugged

Most of our unplugging this month was done in Maui. And, to be honest, I’ve wanted to do nothing other than plug-in since we’ve been back. It’s been such a challenge to get moved into our new place and sometimes it’s easier to just turn on a cartoon so one of the many boxes can get sorted. But, alas, we made it out of the house the other day to check out the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. It was a hot day and the boys were hot on the trot of finding shade so we spent a lot of time under trees and bridges. We did the Barbara Lake trail (part of the way) and surprisingly, both boys did pretty good. There was some whining on the way back, but given it was lunch and nap time, it was not unexpected. All in all, they enjoyed chasing all the lizards, smelling fresh sage (my favorite), collecting sticks, and watching the squirrels run around.
Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged, I had a blast moderating last
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