29/72 + 30/72

A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014 (playing catch up here…)
Van: Keeps picking at the scab on his forehead when he’s sucking his thumb, and so, it’s still there.
Hooper: Is a mean stick collector.
Click here to check out the series, in its entirety.
A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Is entertained by hay.
Hooper: Wants his window down.
Click here to check out the series, in its entirety.

Two.

Another year, another reminder that I have not finished your baby book. And in looking at your baby book, a reminder that you are far from the baby I held for the first time in my arms two years ago.
You are charismatic, almost always happy. Tantrums never last long despite their fierce and seemingly ominous presence. Though you’ve grown a little more finicky over the last month, you still love your food; so-much-so that I must give you a snack while I’m making your breakfast to stop you from whining. Usually it’s a banana and you like for me to leave the peel on the bottom and cut off any brown areas. Balls are your jam, you find them, borrow them, or steal them no matter where we go. Your favorite birthday gift was a helmet. You spent the rest of the afternoon on Hooper’s bike with your helmet on. You have not yet figured out how to pedal. Hooper is your idol and mentor, your best friend and worst enemy.  
You changed our lives the second you entered this world. And today, because of you, we are happier, more fulfilled, and devoted wholeheartedly to raise you with intention, humor, and a love only a parent can give.
Happy birthday, Boots.
Also, you ate part of your birthday candle.

A Sponsored Giveaway

Today we have an awesome giveaway from Sugarboo Designs. I was familiar with Sugarboo Designs prior to them contacting me, but did not know they had a kids line of t-shirts. That’s because they didn’t, they’re brand spankin’ new and super cool. I’ve always been a fan of their prints and I love their jute plant hangers. Today they are offering one lucky reader a t-shirt (winner can pick design and size). 
I chose the “It’s a wonderful life” and “lucky duck” shirts. The shirts are printed on American Apparel tee’s, so remember to size up. Hooper is wearing a size 6 and Van is in a size 4 and both have plenty of room to grow. Here are my favorite designs:
This giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry) and there are numerous ways to enter. Please leave a separate comment for each entry to increase your chances of winning. The winner will be chosen via random.org and announced here in two weeks.
-Visit Sugarboo Designs and tell me what design you would choose.
-Become a fan of Sugarboo Designs on Facebook.
-Follow Sugarboo & Co. on Instagram, @sugarbooandco.
-Follow Sugarboo Designs on Instagram, @sugarboodesigns.
-Become a fan of The Stork & The Beanstalk on facebook.
-Follow The Stork & The Beanstalk on Bloglovin‘.
-Follow The Stork & The Beanstalk on pineterst and/or instagram.
Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry. Best of luck and thank you for supporting my sponsors. Remember to check back here in two weeks to see if you won. Winner will also be contacted via email, so make sure your email address is valid.
There is still time to enter the giveaway to Urban Baby Bonnets too. Click here to enter. 

Tales from the 'hood

Willy and I have never prided ourselves on our old neighborhood. We knew when we moved that it was what we could afford and not where we’d always be. Over the years, we invested time (and money) to turn our old house into a home and, as a result, it wasn’t easy to leave.
But there are a few things that happened along the way that I thought would be fun to share.
It started a few months before we decided to put our house on the market when a home a couple houses down from us went up for sale. Next thing you knew there was a pickup truck parked in the driveway filled to the brim with shit. We figured someone had moved in and we were, uh, right. As in, a squatter moved in. It was some homeless lady and her dog. Someone called the cops and she left and the house sold.
Then the house across the street went up for sale and that homeless lady, her dog, and her truck filled to the brim with shit returned. The cops were called again and, once again, she was asked to leave.
Then there was the time I was playing with Hooper in the front yard when a cop car went zooming down the street. And I mean zooming. I walked to the street to see if I could see what direction he went and noticed that there was another cop car parked at our neighbors house getting some sort of report from the people that live two doors down. It didn’t look like anything serious, so I went on playing with Hooper. That’s when a helicopter appeared overhead and started circling right above our house. Then cop cars flooded the streets. I mean flooded. I’m talkin’ there were motorcycle cops driving down the sidewalk. Come to find out the guy two doors down had been beating his pregnant wife and fled the scene when the cops came to get the report. We heard from other neighbors that they found him in the alleyway and he was yelling at the cops to just go ahead and shoot him.
The guys at the end of the block drove a donk. If you don’t know what a donk is, you’ve never lived in the ‘hood.
Back to the house that was for sale. It eventually got taken over by other, more sophisticated, squatters. These squatters drove fancy cars and were arrested the other day when it was discovered they had turned the house into a drug house.
Another neighbor admitted he owns an AK47 and offered to sell us one. We considered. I joke (about considering, not the fact that he has a felony-possession firearm. In fact, I’m glad he has it. He was on our team and would have protected us if shit ever went down).
The same neighbor (the one with the AK47) witnessed a gun deal going down in the wee hours of the night. He states he came across two cars, each filled with 4 guys, making a deal. Instead of calling the police, he states he went inside, grabbed his strobe light, and sat outside with his rifle. I suppose it was good to know he wouldn’t bring out his AK47 for just any occasion.
And yet, none of this really weighed on our decision to move. We enjoyed our home and the characters in our neighborhood. But here now, in our new digs, we couldn’t be happier. We’re really enjoying the change of scenery.
What’s your neighborhood like?

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Photography

Live in the Southern California area? Want to have an evening on the beach captured so that the memory of the warm sun and the salty sea can be remembered forever? Let me capture it for you. Here’s the details:
-One hour of shooting, from 7 to 8pm
-Approximently 50 edited high resolution images
-Can be used for anything you’d like, including family photos or Holiday cards
-Weekdays preferred
Email me: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com for pricing information

Bits + Pieces

If he covers his eyes with his hands, you have to pretend you can’t see him. It’s our game // Afternoon bike rides // My go-to for inspiration as of late // Handmade shorts from talented friends // Play on the patio // “Not Yet”… // Feathers bathed in soft beautiful light // Evening light // Dirt & grim // Lines & shadows // Bribery // Portrait outtakes // Some dream of Genie, I dream of Cuba.

 

 

A Sponsored Giveaway

Today we have a wonderful giveaway from the kind mamas over at Urban Baby Bonnets, aka UB2. At UB2 you get an honest product – mom designed, kid tested – that is handmade right here in the good ol’ U S of A. 
The bonnets are reversible, offering the best bang for your buck. They also snap under your child’s chin so wish your I-don’t-want-to-wear-a-hat little tykes good luck. This also means that you can conveniently breastfeed with the bonnet on, not to mention that your child can sit comfortably against the back of the car seat without the cap causing any discomfort. And perhaps the cherry on top is that they come in loads of different prints and sizes, all made from organic fabrics. 
The bonnet pictured is size 2-3T and fits both of my boys (age 2 and 3) perfectly. A hat they can both wear? Two thumbs up.

You can read more about the company and the product here.
In addition to bonnets, UB2 offers dresses and accessories. I love this dress, which is on sale, paired with some Saltwater sandals. 
UB2 is offering one lucky winner a $36 credit to their store. This giveaway is open internationally and there are numerous ways to enter. Please leave a separate comment for each entry to increase your chances of winning. The winner will be chosen via random.org and announced here in two weeks.
-Visit Urban Baby Bonnets and tell me what you would purchase with the $36 credit.
-Become a fan of Urban Baby Bonnets on facebook.
-Follow Urban Baby Bonnets on Twitter.
-Become a fan of The Stork & The Beanstalk on facebook.
-Follow The Stork & The Beanstalk on Bloglovin‘.
-Follow The Stork & The Beanstalk on pineterst and/or instagram.
Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry. Best of luck and thank you for supporting my sponsors. Remember to check back here in two weeks to see if you won. Winner will also be contacted via email, so make sure your email address is valid.
Interested in making a purchase? Use promo code thestork for 15% off your purchase (code expires in one month).
You can enter my other giveaway for a t-shirt from Sugarboo Designs by clicking here.

We LIVE here.

When we decided to gut our house, we put a lot of thought into the materials we would use to re-build it in terms of both textiles, flooring, and furniture. Because, you know, we have two boys and sofas get peed on and stairwells get grimy from tiny little hands that have been sweeping through the dirt like a broom sweeping the floor.
And, in the end (though it’s hardly the end, it’s actually the beginning) it didn’t matter anyway. Shit’s already damaged.
We opted for a leather sofa and we spent a pretty penny to get the one we had our eye on. We justified it because it’s leather and therefore indestructible. Only, that’s not true. Soon after it’s placement in the family room, it was covered with dump trucks, monster trucks, tractors, race cars and those little wheels on those little plastic toys started leaving tracks. Our sofa started to look like a heroin addicts arm. I cleaned it off, made a no-toys-on-the-sofa rule that has miraculously been followed, and called it a day. Until the day, that is, Van found a pen and put his good ol’ John Hancock on one of the cushions. I swear fire came out of my ears from overheating internally.
We found the perfect coffee table at the Rose Bowl flea market and purchased it from the guy who made it. We had a glass top coffee table before and swore we’d never get glass again because, um, hello dirty kid hands all over it. Somewhere between transferring the new wooden coffee table from the market to the house, a divot was made on the wood. And then we had something resting on it and I noticed several other small scratches on the wood. Then I took my finger nail and realized that my own nail could scratch the wood. Thanks a lot Mister-I-make-my-own-furniture man.
Our toilet is clogged. As I type this the plunger is sticking halfway out of the bowl, a memento of our tireless efforts to unclog it to no avail. Starting to wonder if the kids threw something down there.
There’s a roly poly in a cup by our sink that Hooper insists on keeping there. I have intentions to free it while he’s napping but I’ve forgotten for two days in a row. I’m not sure how it’s managed to survive.
Sand has taken over my life. There is sand stuck to the bottom of the bath tub. There is sand that falls out of my beach basket like a shaker of salt every time I pick it up. There is sand stuck on Van’s scalp despite washing and scrubbing. There is sand in their shoes and therefore every time it’s time to put shoes on there is a tantrum because they don’t like sand in there shoes. I won’t even bring up the sand in the car. What I will say is that if I die tomorrow, I might as well come back as a crab.
Putting the boys in the same room is a decision we’re happy with. Insert asterisk here because there’s an exception: nap time. Naps with two boys in the same room does not happen. So we set up the pack-n-play in the only available space: the bathroom. It’s a tight squeeze when you have to pee and given the fact the other toilet is clogged…
We met another furniture maker at the Long Beach Antique Market and had him make us a kitchen table. It arrived an awkward 4 inches higher than a standard table so – given the fact we have yet to buy dining room chairs – Hooper sits on an antique chair meant for decoration on top of his little toy suitcase (also known as his “tool box” from time-to-time), I sit in a rocking chair, Van is awkwardly low in his highchair, and Willy awkwardly high on a bar stool. He’s remaking us a suitable table.
And though I suppose it’s all a nuisance in some sense of the word, I also suppose that that is how a house becomes a home.

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The Ma Books

The Ma Books: A collective effort of women sharing pieces of their stories, simple craft ideas, respected product picks, favorite recipes, personal advice and honest trials on a weekly basis. Overall, embracing the highlights, the downfalls, the humor and humility involved in raising children. 
Have you had a chance to check it out? If not, you should. It’s best to start at the beginning. You can check out a post I wrote here.

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Conquering Routine

Mid-week evening outings are my new jam. It feels so good to break up the week and to get outside and take in some fresh air. We’ve been going to Casper’s Wilderness Park to BBQ and it’s quickly become one of our favorite activities.
When the idea popped in my head, I thought I was in over my head; I hate having to bring boat-loads of stuff and try my damnest to cut down on how hard I have to think and plan beforehand. But, really, we didn’t bring or need that much. Some meat, some corn, silverware essentials, drinks, tablecloth and our Bose speaker (which we love and take with us everywhere). It was so easy and carefree.
How do you like to break up your week?

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28/72

A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014 (a few days late…)
Van: His hair is looking more and more like Rod Stewart everyday.
Hooper: Watched one episode of Cops and has been referring to himself as a “po-ece-men” ever since.
Click here to check out the series, in its entirety. And here’s a little jammy jam to get your weekend off to a good start.

Summer

The boys and I had so much fun at the beach during the day that we grabbed Willy and came back in the evening to BBQ
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dinner.

Dear Summer, you have my heart.
Happy Friday.

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An Instameet + Play Date

I have met so many new-to-me friends through Instagram. It’s been especially helpful with meeting new moms in our new area and super fun connecting
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with other photographers and creative
s.

My girl Cindy (@butmomma) and I hosted an instameet the other day at the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and it was a blast. Meeting other moms, watching all the kiddos play, and even spotting a couple sting rays and a baby shark; it was good time, indeed. We’re hoping to organize another one at some point in the future.

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A birthday recap

I spent my birthday more or less in a funk. Willy and I were awoken several times throughout the night by Van, who threw up multiple times and required several diaper changes. Willy took care of all of it and come morning, I felt like no having to care for and clean up after Van was my birthday present. That and the half finished list of things I wanted done around the house. Yes, you read that correctly. For my birthday I gave Willy a list of things to do around the house; things like “clean out the garage”, “add shelf to closet”, and “put toilet paper holder in downstairs bathroom”. And when I woke up in the morning to a sick baby and a garage we still can’t fit a car into, I was a little… I dunno… funkdafied. Oh snap, did I just quote Da Brat? I did. Whatever, it is / was my birthday.  
With no real plans, we spent the morning into the afternoon waiting to see what Van had in store for us. I got some terrific massages from Willy (my back, and body for that matter, has been sorer than usual since I started physical therapy a few weeks ago, which makes me grouchy and on edge and is really a whole other blog post in itself), my sister brought me a grilled cheese and fries from Denny’s (cuz’ I eat like a child), and since Van appeared to be back to normal we headed to Crystal Cove beach for dinner. We waited an hour and a half for a table at the Beachcomber, but waiting for a table with the great big Pacific Ocean in front of you really isn’t waiting at all. In fact, it was perfect. I got to shoot a couple of my favorite little people in the most perfect lighting and when I met Willy at the table barefoot and complaining of my last sandals, he miraculously went out and found them sitting by there lonesome in the sand. It was as if the day had said, “don’t judge me so soon”. And then we saw dolphins. I know, I know, it was cray. Shoot me now for saying “cray”.  
The garage can wait until Christmas, I suppose.

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Scenes from the 4th

I had so many nice and beautiful things to say about our 4th of July until someone delicately pointed out that Van has probably been throwing up and poopin’ over the past two days because of playing with (and drinking) the reclaimed water from the showers. Without thinking, I even went so far as to wash off his sandy watermelon under the faucet. Total mom fail. Nothing can make you feel two feet tall quite like motherhood. Well, motherhood and those silly mirrors in the fun houses at the county fairs. In any event, I wasn’t going to include that photo of Van under the shower in this bunch, but it’s clearly part of the story. As is the Oreo that seems to be in his hand in just about every photo. You know what they say about shit water and shit food…  
That disastrous can-we-move-forward-now moment aside, it was a wonderful day. It had been overcast in the days preceding but the sun was out in full force and the boys’ bums are now whiter than ever. Good company, cold drinks, and more-or-less happy kids (albeit a few rock and sand throwing moments I later had to apologize for on Hooper’s behalf and that time Van tried to pee on Anne’s leg… but such is life. Life with these two anyway). 
Hope y’all had a fabulous holiday for those of you in the good ol’ USA and thank you to all the men and women who fight (or have fought) for our independence.

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