Introducing, The Bee & The Fox

Willy and I have frequent conversations about life, our jobs, our passions and how each of these interacts with one another. Sometimes working for the man takes a toll. We both have had times throughout our careers where we’ve wondered if we chose the right path and have been enticed by what another path may offer. I think this is only normal. I felt complete when I started my photography business and I love doing it in conjunction with my career in nursing because they both offer me different things that I need and want out of life. Seeing how much joy having a creative outlet has brought me led to a discussion with Willy on doing things, outside of our careers, that enables us to use another part our brain and allows us to get our hands dirty. Work that doesn’t feel like work, if you will. And with that, The Bee & The Fox was born. It’s a collaborative effort between the two of us (and Janet, who has put together some wonderful designs for us) and it has come together beautifully in both theory and reality. It’s the first project we’ve worked on together, aside from raising our boys, and having something that we can share excitement and pride in has been so fulfilling. It’s also nice to work for ourselves and have creating be primary and income be secondary (because we have careers already, this is something we want to do and that sure helps in the stress department).  
So with no further adieu, we present: The Bee & The Fox; primarily a collection of handmade shelves and children’s t-shirts as well as and a few things we couldn’t say no to over the years that need a good home. It’s been a long time in the making and something that feels great to check off that long term to-do list.  
We would love for you to take a peek.

Van @ 26 Months

Growth & Appearance: You were well on your way to a business-in-the-front-party-in-the-back-also-known-as-a-mullet hair style (we cut it just the other day). We were trying to hold out until Halloween, with plans of dressing you up as either Joe Dirt or Rod Stewart. Your hair is blonder than ever, compliments of summer, and remains thick and oddly kinky.  
We finally found a new pediatrician and took you for your overdue well baby checkup. You weigh 32 lbs (85th percentile) and are 38 inches tall (off the charts, >100%). You feel like a rock, super dense. You have a barrel shaped chest.
Like you’re brother, you’re commonly covered in bumps and bruises. 
Eating: You went from needing a snack first thing in the morning to hold you over while I made you breakfast to being finicky and not eating much at all. You’re now a pain in the ass at the table. You need to be entertained constantly. Just when I thought we could put the grab bag of tricks away. Typically you end up eating, but it’s not usually on our terms. Given that you’re monstrously big, I tend to let it go and cross my fingers that if you skip one meal you’ll eat well at the next, and you usually do.
You do, however, typically try new foods with ease. You ate squash that I made without even pointing it out as something “new”. Same thing with asparagus.
When we go to a restaurant we have to hide the sugar packets. If you beat us to the punch, you usually end up eating the entire packet (paper included).
You still like bananas, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, quesadillas, beans, and an assortment of snack foods like raisins and grapes and cheese sticks.
When we try to feed you and you already have a bite in your mouth, you’ll open your mouth and point to the food that’s in there and make this face that says, “told ya so”. 
Sleeping: You sleep in the same room as your brother, in a twin bed with a toddler rail. You’re attached to your blanket and usually like bringing a couple of books with you to bed. Your schedule is the same as Hooper’s: wake up around 8am, nap from 1:30-4:30, and go to sleep around 8:30pm. You nap in the pack-n-play in the bathroom because napping in the same room as your brother does not work. The other day you climbed out of your pack-n-play after your nap, walked downstairs and found me and said, “me awake”. You still suck your thumb and put use “hand hat” when you’re tired. The best is when you’re riding your bike and have your helmet on; hand hat turns into helmet hat and you put your thumb in your mouth and your other hand on top of your helmet.Talking: You speak in full sentences and mimic a lot of what Hooper says. You’ve taken to his favorite words like “because”. So when I say, “Van, why won’t you listen”, you say, “because”.
Before answering any question, you say “um”. Me: “Hey Van, when’s your birthday”, You: “um, July”. It’s so fast and so subtle that it almost sounds like one word, umjuly.
There was a time when we’d scold you and you’d come crying to whichever one of us didn’t scold you and say, “Papa hit me”, even though the scolding was strictly verbal. It made us happy that you’re not in preschool telling people of authority lies about us. Also makes me question using a child as a witness in the court of law. Clearly, kids are nuts. You included.
You start a lot of sentences with “me”, “me awake”, “me like dat”, “me want that”, and so on and so forth.
“No way!” was your favorite phrase for a period of time. Me: “Van, we’re gonna go to the fair”, You: “No way!”.
You repeat whatever you’re saying until someone validates what you’ve said: “Dat boy wear helmet”. No answer. “Dat boy wear helmet”. No answer. “Dat boy wear helmet on his head”. “Yes, you’re right”. Then it’s quiet.
You understand full concepts and tell me things like, “It smells weird”. You also ask, “Who dat on da phone”, whenever we’re talking to anyone on the phone. It’s hard to know how much is mimicking things you hear Hooper say and how much is just you being you. Whichever the case, you ask appropriate questions and make appropriate statements. Development: You can ride a bike with training wheels. You love riding your bike. You can jump off of high surfaces with two feet. You try to hop on one foot and can just about do it.
You did great in swim class. You’re favorite part was jumping off the ledge into the water. You’re very trusting to the point of carelessness. You’re more of a jump-first-find-someone-to-save-me-after kinda kid.
You’ve gone to the bathroom on the toilet several times but are not near ready to officially start potty training. There was a period where you seemed highly interested, but it has passed. Now I wish you’d find the interest again because you’re in a current state of I-don’t-want-my-diaper-changed and nearly every time there’s a tantrum that ensues. It’s annoying that I have to beg you to wipe your butt. Please remember this.
You make fast friends with kids of all ages; others seem to be drawn to you naturally.You give the sweetest kisses. Your lips and nice and plump. Favorites: You request to watch a spin off of the movie Cars, called “Mater Tales”, nearly everyday. We don’t spend a lot of time watching TV, but when we do, this is what you request. You’re also more into cars and tractors than you’ve ever been. Like Hooper, you like to line them up and take them with you everywhere. For a week straight, you brought a little taxi with you everywhere. You also love playing in the garage and spend most of your free time at home in the garage with Hooper either riding your bike around in circles or building “homes” with Hooper. Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

Blowin' in the wind

“Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is a way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples, and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.” -William Martin
Goodbye summer, hello fall.

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Nahanni Reforestation

As a photographer, I rarely turn to the work of other photographers for inspiration. But there’s something about old photographs that I’m so drawn to. I guess it’s because it better suits my style in that there is a documentary aspect to many of the photos from decades past.
When I stumbled upon the work of Daniel James I was filled to the brim with nostalgia. So many untold stories seep out of his images. These images were taken over the span

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of a decade, from 1977-1987, while he was working as a treeplanting contractor.

Years later, his daughter (Nahanni Arntzen) – who he helped deliver in a teepee on a sandbar – requested some photos from her childhood to share with her own daughter. It was then that he dropped off a large bag filled with trays and trays of slides. And so the story goes.
I pledged $45 to their kickstarter campaign which not only helps back this awesome book, but also secures me a first edition copy of ‘Nahanni Reforestation’. I hope they meet their goal because it’s work like this that I love to have around.
You can learn more about the book and the story behind the images by checking out their kickstarter campaign here. Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

What Fall looks like

There were a few days (and by days I mean weeks) that had me wondering if summer was ever going to end. In a fit of hot rage and impulsiveness, Willy jetted out and bought an air conditioning unit that looks like some version of how ET phoned home. It’s sitting in our bedroom as I type this and I’m desperately hoping for some cooler weather so we can move that monstrosity to the garage. I can’t blame the guy; Target, Walmart, Lowes, and Home Depot were all out of fans and AC units. Sweating in your own home ain’t fun. In any event, it’s cooled down a bit. And with the crispness in the night air, we have a small taste of what fall is going to feel like. I love the change of seasons; probably because I love beginnings.
This post is in conjunction with the “What ____ looks like” blog circle. How it works is simple; we each link to another photographer’s post until the circle is complete. If you’d like, you can check out their work by following the circle starting with my dear and talented friend Summer Murdock.

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A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: I think we were all happy to see the rain that came hard and left so suddenly, but Van was especially into it.
Hooper: Has been mistaken for a girl a few times, but the man-pony is staying; I don’t care what they say.
Click here to check out the series, in its entirety.

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Hooper tells Van to put his finger in the fan. He’ll do almost anything Hooper tells him to do. He’s touched several cacti around the house, per Hooper’s request.
Dance parties. They involve both boys hopping around on one foot and pumping one arm up in the air like a monkey.
They get upset about imaginary things that don’t even really happen, like when Hooper pretends to poor water out of an empty tube and Van comes crying to me about Hooper dumping water on him. Or when they’re strapped into their car seats and Hooper says, “Van, I’m going to hit you” even though he can’t even reach him and Van cries and tells on Hooper for hitting him.
They get asked often if they’re twins. It’s hard for me to see; they’re so different developmentally.
They spend the majority of their time at home in the garage, where they ride their bikes in small circles or build forts or play with dead cockroaches.
The other morning I heard Hoop say, “Van, your hair is so awkward”.
Both ask to see their poo. If I’m changing Van’s diaper, Hooper wants to see it. If Hooper takes a dump in the toilet, Van wants to see it. And Hooper wants to tell everyone all about his dumps.
Along the same lines, Hooper prefers that Van take him to the bathroom. Willy and I are always asked to wait outside, but he’ll pull Van by the hand and ask him to take him potty. I can hear them whispering to one another about really random things through the door.
They’re both eating a lot of raspberries because they like putting them on their fingers and eating them off. They giggle at one another the whole time.
Van is only bothered by a toy being taken from him half of the time. Unfortunately, this happens 1,000 times a day which means I’m guaranteed to referee at least 500 fights.

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Our newest member

Meet our newest member, Jimmie. We adopted him from a couple of college students in Riverside. He’s 8 months old and all kinds of sweet and playful.   
Some ramblings on Jimmie thus far:
-He has an affinity for woven baskets. I’ve lost one thus far.
-We almost enjoy when he gets in trouble. He cowards down by your feet and ultimately curls up into a little ball on your feet and looks up at you with the most pleading puppy dog eyes. He then proceeds to roll over into total submission. And so, a basket – here and there – has proven worth it.
-He has mad hops. His trademark move at the dog park is when he pushes off of all fours and literally hops entirely over another dog. It’s insane. A show stopper, to say the least.
-He poops and pees a lot. But has not made an accident indoors. So yay. This is excluding his “excited pees”, which is when he just can’t help himself because his butt is wiggling so hard that he dribbles, just a little.
-Notice a close resemblance to Sarah? We do too. It’s bittersweet. Bitter because it feels like we’ve simply replaced her in this weird cloning type way and sweet because he is totally his own person (er, dog) and fills some of void left behind from Sarah’s early and traumatic passing.
-I think Hooper remembers Sarah being all up in his space and he seems fine with Jimmie doing the same. In fact, the other day we were scolding Jimmie for jumping on Hooper when Hooper said, “It’s okay Papa, he can jump on me”. Van is not as cool with his personal space being invaded, but is getting used to it. Van likes sitting on him.
-There are three of us in bed now. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but he sure does look comfortable at night. So… whatever.
-We have taken him everywhere we’ve gone since we’ve got him. He’s been alone only twice; once for an hour and once for a half an hour. He’s ridiculously attached to us and will sit by the door and groan anytime one of us leaves.
-He came with the name “Cooper”, which didn’t bode well with “Hooper”, so we renamed him after his previous owner: Jimmie. The nickname game has already begun, starting with Jimbo, Jimmie Boy, Jimbo Slice, and Jimmie Jonkers.
-He needs to be fixed. Otherwise all the lady dogs in the area better watch out. My sister just adopted a new female pup and Jimmie is, um, very fond of her. So much so that they can’t be in the same room ::cough cough::
-I feel grossly outnumbered.

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A few days away…

Before I had my surgery, we used to go to Palm Springs a lot. Willy works out in the desert often, so we’ve always tagged along when we could. It hasn’t been until recently that we’ve had the opportunity to go and that I’ve been able to care for the kiddos on my own, which is typically the case when we go out to the desert and Willy works. It’s been nice to revisit my life that once was and now is, again.  
We spent the mornings at the pool while Willy went to meetings, Hooper insistent on keeping his inner-tube on, Van jumping into the pool only to sink like a stone and trust that someone will be there to scoop him up. They can be so different and yet so similar at times.
We added an extra day onto the trip and went out to Joshua Tree and The Salton Sea. I’ve been to The Salton Sea many times in the past and something always brings me back. It’s hot, it’s sticky, it smells like crud, and there’s a thousand flies, but I can never get enough. And so, we drove the hour and a half from Palm Springs to have lunch at my favorite rundown dive bar / restaurant. It’s the only place to get a bite to eat in Bombay Beach and, for me, it never disappoints.
We took a new way home, through mountains and towns we had never seen, and it was beautiful. Life, albeit busy and chaotic, is more-or-less back on track. Can’t believe it’s almost been a year since my surgery.

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A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Has been puttin’ the terrible in the terrible twos.
Hooper: Had his first two days of preschool this week and is all kinds of growing-up-way-too-fast.
Jimmie: Our newest addition, as those of you who follow me on Instagram already know. He deserves his own post, which he will get just as soon as I can. But, he’s lovely. Having another boxer weighs heavy on my heart in the best and the worst kind of way. It’s hard to explain.
Click here to check out the series, in its entirety.

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A Family Session, with The Horanyi Family

Kim, Danny, Ben, & Jac
San Marcos, California
Interested in booking a session? Email me: ashley @ My Fall special ends tomorrow, details on my post from a few days back.
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I haven’t felt like blogging much lately. Actually, that’s a lie… posts pop in my head all the time but the time that I have to sit in front of the computer does not seem to be coinciding with the time when I’m inspired to write something. I have a slew of posts in my drafts folder, I guess it’s just a matter of finding the right time to finish them.
I’ve been posting here and there over on the Ma Books, which I really enjoy. I hope some of you have had a chance to check it out as it’s something I really believe in; I love the community aspect of it and I love the realness in the posts.  
I’ve also been trying to get this photography gig up and running, as it will be a very necessary supplementation income for us. I hate financial stuff, don’t you? I started my official business just about a year ago and though I’ve done a lot within that time, it’s no where near where I want it to be. The thought of getting it from where it is now to where I want it to be can be paralyzing at times, but I tell myself to keep on truckin’. And so, I do.
Summer has yet to give way to Fall down here in Southern California and our air-conditionless house is hot enough to put just about the happiest of people on edge. We’ve all been snappy and I have no doubt it’s the heat. Hooper woke up in the middle of the night last night complaining of being hot. Not long after getting him back down, Van woke up. We played whack-a-mole a bit before everyone was back to sleep, albeit sweaty and still hot.
I’ve been attending physical therapy. I go three times a week and though I know I need it, I really want to tell it to kiss my butt. It’s crazy how one hour, three times a week can more-or-less destroy any chance of adventure for that day. It just throws off our whole schedule. On the flipside, I’m getting so much stronger.
The house is a disaster. I cleaned the stairwell banister the other morning and felt good for the two minutes it stayed clean. There’s nothing like moving into a new-to-us home, remodeling it, and then watching as it slowly self-destructs.
So, I guess I’ve been overwhelmed for a number of reasons. Sometimes just putting them down on paper, or typing them into the weird ol’ world of the worldwide web feels better. Because, ya know, I doubt I’m alone. I’ll post more when I can catch my breath. Until then, I hope you don’t mind me invading this space with some recent photography sessions. Which begs the question of what kind of blog this really is? Ha. That’s been bothering me too. But, I’ve always shared what’s important to me so if what’s important to me grows and changes and looks different than before, so be it. Right? I hope you all don’t mind.

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Here’s the details: $400, 1-1.5 hours of shooting at an outdoor Southern California location, weekdays only, includes all edited high resolution images on disc. Have a friend that may also be interested in booking? Receive a $100 discount when they book as well. This is the best deal I have ever offered and probably ever will, so get it while it’s hot! Email me: ashleyjennett @ to book today. Offer expires at the end of the week, so don’t wait!

Lucy Hilmer

*Warning, this post contains one awesome topless chick*

I love Lucy Hilmer. Every year, since 1974, she has been photographing herself topless and the images are out-of-this-world great. You can learn more about her series, “birthdy suits” and see more of the images by clicking here.

Childhood Unplugged

We finally got around to purchasing blinds for some of the rooms in our new place. Sure beats the black trash bags we had haphazardly taped to the window frame before. We purchased the Levolor blinds from Lowes, which were super affordable and easy (for Willy) to install. It’s made for some fun afternoons playing with the boys in their room. Before it was a dark dungeon and now it’s like a whole new room for them to clutter and destroy.
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) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.