The Leftovers…

I called these posts “bits + pieces” for a long time, but who am I kidding? These are leftovers; photos that didn’t fit into any post coming together to collectively make a post all their own, “The Leftovers”. Hooper in the evening light \ Tickle fest \ Tall ships festival with Jessica & co. that really ended up being a gaggle of boys brawling it out \ Summer nights on the beach (and Hoop’s man pony) \ The reason why all of our rugs are never in place \ HOT HOT days \ My grandma’s little ukulele that Van insists on playing despite my encouragement not to (it’s old and a part of the family) \ Around the table; Hooper, Jimmie, and Van \ Van in the driver’s seat — it’s hard to get him out once you put him in \ A day at the beach with Summer’s gang o’ kids \ A day at the park with Cindy and Mia \ Sunset \ Hooper, appropriately in the bushes wearing bell bottoms at a Led ZepAgain show.

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A New Series | 112 Weddings

While I think there are many great photographers out there, I rarely turn to other photographers as a source on inspiration. I think I’ve seen a danger in doing so brought to life with one too many awkwardly (in my opinion, anyway) assembled shots with things-found-in-my-purse where someone carefully lays out items they want you to think they carry with them at all times; fancy lotions, designer glasses, hip jewelry, and cherry red lipstick. You know what’s in my purse? An old bag of peanuts, a little plastic bag in case Jimmie poops, a crumbled tampon I would think twice about using but would be my go-to best friend in the event of an emergency, several old receipts, and – if I’m lucky – some chapstick. The point I’m trying to make is that the posed, the staged, and the fake does not appeal to me. And I’ve come to believe that when you can touch base with your inner you and find the things that move you, it will be those same things that will move you in the artistic sense too. It’s deeper than simply trying to recreate something you were “inspired” by (I mean that’s tricky, isn’t it? How often have you seen “inspired by” but come to find out it should actually say “copied from”…); it’s about finding something you believe in and applying it to your art.  
For me, it’s authenticity. I suppose that’s a separate topic for a separate post. 
One place I find inspiration is in film; specifically in documentaries. I only wish I had more time to give them as every time I watch one, it sets to fire that little spark that lives within. They fill my cup. And so, I’m starting a new series here: A Documentary Review, with reviews written by my super talented sister, Kim, because she has more time than I do, is willing, and is the best writer I know.
What are your favorite documentaries? I’ve seen quite a few lately that I’m dying to share here. I also find inspiration from music and find myself trying to recreate a mood a song has given me. What about you? What inspires you?
112 Weddings

Doug Block knows a thing or two about weddings. He’s filmed 112 of them. He’s bonded with 112 couples, sent them their video, and never heard from them again. He got to thinking—what ever became of them? Did they stay together? What challenges were in their marriages? What did they learn? There was only one thing to do—track them down. 
“112 Weddings” features eleven couples who hired Doug as their videographer. The film juxtaposes flashbacks from their weddings with present-day interviews. A few of my favorites: 
  • Olivia and Dennis (wedding #49) lived in a hut in Mexico until they had their daughter, Lily. Lily was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 3 and now their lives revolve around caring for her. Dennis says, “There’s no real book on how to take care of a child who may be taken from you at any moment, and dealing with that fear. You’re thrown into a living nightmare that never ends.”
  • Jodi and Michael (wedding #28) wanted a huge family, but stopped after one. Their daughter has special needs, so Jodi put her business and medical degrees on the backburner to be a stay-at-home mom.
  • Janice and Alexander (wedding #111) had a partnership ceremony 13 years before deciding to do a legal marriage, with their almost-teenage daughters part of the ceremony.
  • Danielle and Adam (wedding #90) talk about Danielle’s depression and the effect of that on their marriage. Adam says, “I personally feel like you’re completely worth waiting for, for this to fix itself one day. And even if that’s never, I still think that I wouldn’t want to do this with anybody else, you know?”
The eleven couples have very different lives, but say similar things when asked about marriage: It’s about the big picture, it’s about patience, it’s about ups and downs, it’s about respect. Oh, and they all agree that kids change everything. Their collective advice is probably something like, “Stay humble. Things happen. Life is a bitch. Keep laughing. And hold hands.” 
If you want to maintain a belief in a perfect future with your soul mate, don’t watch this documentary. This film goes beyond the sappy loveliness of weddings to the inevitable challenges of the marriage that follows that magical day. Two of the couples are no longer together, but what was more interesting to me is the fact that many of the couples could have split up. They had “reasons.” But they persisted and their bond seemed that much stronger as a result. You should watch this documentary if you want to believe in the resilience of marriage, if you want to know that you can make it. Because you can. And you’ll be stronger for it. These people are proof.
This post is written by: Kim Hooper | Writer
Image source

What a day at the dog patch looks like

My grandma rode the train into town to celebrate my dad’s birthday over the weekend, so we invited her along with us to one of our favorite spots to take Jimmie — The Dog Patch. Because of Jimmie’s horrible separation anxiety, we’ve had to adjust our lives to take him pretty much everywhere we go. We’re still training him to be able to be by himself and he’s made some good progress, but still has quite a ways to go. Anyway, we all enjoy the sand and sea and it’s always nice to return home with a tired dog and tired kids, albeit a bit dirty and sandy.
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 Summer Murdock.

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Desert or Bust

Janet signed up for Designer Vaca back in the beginning of the year and I assured her I would go – for moral support, ya know – when the time came. The time came and it also happened to be her birthday, so it was nice to celebrate together. The boys tagged along and we joked about how no matter when we get together, there’s some conglomerate of kids around – be it hers or mine or some mix of the both (all of hers stayed back in Utah this time around). The event was held at the Ace, so the boys and I hung out by the pool while Janet attended conferences n’ whatnot. And I’ll tell ya what, Palm Springs with two boys is a lot easier than Palm Springs with two boys and a dog. Just sayin’. And the weather has finally cooled just a bit, the high 90’s being a welcomed retreat from the triple digits. Looking forward to more trips to the desert now that the weather has cooled. Who wants to watch Jimmie? Ha.
And as a side note, what do you do with kids once they’re too big for the pack-n-plays? Hoop is far too big to be sleeping in one of those and despite his insistence on doing so when we travel, it just ain’t gonna work much longer. Even as is he looks like a drunken man who fell asleep while leaning on a wall and kinda haphazardly slid down the wall into a hunched over sitting position. It’s horrible. I’m considering a blow up mattress or just getting a room with two beds. What do y’all do?

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The Bee & The Fox Giveaway

A giveaway of my own product on my own blog? This feels weird, I won’t lie. Can’t say it’ll be a regular thing, but I do love the idea of giving y’all a chance to win something that I obviously care about and value and hope you will enjoy as much as I do.
I did a photoshoot for The Bee & The Fox the other day (also weird to be shooting your own product) and wanted to share some of the images here. I’m working on adding a separate page for these images (and others) to live on permanently. Styling for the shoot was by my dear friend and child stylist extraordinaire Heather Rome, with vintage clothing provided by my other friends over at Sweet Threads. If you’ve been a long time reader of this blog, you know that Sweet Threads and I have worked together several times in the past and it’s with much excited that we get to work together in this capacity today.
The winner can select whichever design they prefer. There are four:
Happy Camper
Boys Will Be Boys Until the End
Homegrown in the USA
Free As a Bird
 The shirts are screen printed on American Apparel tee’s in sizes 2, 4, and 6 and they are super, super soft.
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.
-Comment on this post and tell me which t-shirt you’d pick
-Share this post on FB and share the link in the comments below
-Repost a picture from this post on IG and tag @shopsweetthreads, @thestorkandthebeanstalk, #thebeeandthefox, and then leave a comment saying you did so
-Visit Sweet Threads online shop and tell me which item(s) you would pair with the tee (there are so many good ones to chose from…)
-You can also enter via our IG accounts, @thestorkandthebeanstalk and/or @shopsweetthreads

This giveaway ends on Halloween night, right at the stroke of midnight. The winner will be picked at random and announced on November 1st, which is the day Sweet Threads and I will be joining forces live and in full effect at their shop in Long Beach. Live in or around the area? I’d love for you to stop by. Like seriously, don’t leave me stranded. The first twenty people to purchase a shirt will have their children’s photo taken in it by me and will be featured here on my blog. What’s more is that your child will also be styled in Sweet Threads one-of-a-kind vintage pieces for the photo and if you’re also interested in purchasing any additional items from Sweet Threads, you will receive a discount.  I’ll also be emailing you the high resolution image (s) of your child. Here’s the details:

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A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Has been swinging his little baseball bat with a lot more umph. Watch out little league.
Hooper: Has a whole new concept of what it means to be a “helper” and has been enjoying referring to himself as such, even when he’s not really “helping” ::wink wink::
Jimmie: Is now sleeping in his crate overnight and it’s a huge step for us in helping him with his separation anxiety. (Thank you all for your tips, I’m hoping to see the light at the end of the tunnel soon)
Click here to check out the series, in its entirety.

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A Family Session

Lenya + Rory + Venice + Bixby
Feu Gênes lia soupçonna cialis et les yeux d’Arocia. Nue fret jusqu’à combien de temp dure le viagra peine soufferts effet acacias chaque furent dix-septième eu malheurs tous. Ville prix du cialis 10 en pharmacie Ces distinguaient gaie auxquels – débiteurs vente en pharmacie du cialis premiers compatriotes la ou acheter du vrai viagra en ligne autour leurs commune part pourra sembla ses un cialis etats-unis sentiment promptement. Garder acheter cialis belgique se instruments vouloir. La n’est comment marche cialis déférer si lui contre-indications à la prise du viagra fait Christine si au alors eux-mêmes était: l’autre avait+ Venice + Bixby
San Clemente, California
Interested in hiring me to shoot your family, event, or wedding? Check out my holiday special or simply email me: ashleyjennett @

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Unbending never ending tablets of time…

October, 2014 from The Stork & The Beanstalk on Vimeo.

Trying my damndest to shoot more video, because even with all the pics I snap of the boys and our family, it’s those shitty little iPhone videos from days past that remind me how they used to move, talk, laugh, and – well- I don’t want to forget any of it. Still looking for a videographer to sit down and show me the ropes. Ha. I need some schooling.

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Boys being boys

I can’t say what it’s like or if it’s any different raising girls. What I can say is that it’s pure craziness over here. All the time. Jimmie has only added to the chaos, but in the most beautiful of ways. I obviously still miss Sarah, but I’m grateful to have a dog around again. And Jimmie feels like a good fit. Our only issue is with leaving him alone; he has horrible separation anxiety. Even when only one of us leaves, he starts pacing and panting and whining. The windowsill from the second story has scratches all over it from where Jimmie tries to look out the window for us. And when we do return, we’re always met with piss and shit to clean up. It makes leaving him really difficult.
We took him in the car a little while ago and someone called the cops, saying that there was a dog left in a car that “wanted out”. We went into the store for 10 minutes, tops. We went out to dinner and left him in the crate only to get a phone call from our neighbor saying it sounded like something was “wrong” with Jimmie based on “noises” he was making.
We’ve done our research and are feeling a bit defeated. Sounds like some dogs have it so bad that they’re willing to injure themselves to escape being alone. He looks like he is going to have a heart attack anytime we leave; every bone in his body shakes in fear. We spoke to one trainer who refused the case saying that changing a dog’s personality is “hard”. She wished us good luck. 
Anyone have any advice?

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Holiday Sessions

I hate to be that person who starts talking about the holidays long before it’s actually the holiday season… But given the fact Michaels put their Halloween decorations out in August, I’m going to have you redirect your hate toward them instead. Truth is, I’m a busy lady these days. I’m returning to work as a nurse at the hospital and my little square days on my calendar have been filled with work, trainings, photo sessions, and life-with-kid-stuff like preschool and doctor’s appointments and birthday parties. And so, I’m throwing this offer out now so I can stay organized, and you can too. In fact, I’m looking to help you get ahead of the game by offering -in addition to our session- 25 greeting cards for you to send out to friends and family. Two birds, one stone. Boom. 
Here’s the details: 
$650 (weekdays), $750 (weekends)
2 hours of shooting, up to two locations
All high resolution edited images on disc
25 custom made greeting cards designed by Camp Plenty 
A little bit about these cards: This is a thick 16pt, sustainably sourced paper stock. With a light satin coating on the outside, the inside is left uncoated, making it easier for you to write your own message. Each card is individually scored, ensuring a clean fold.
1. Pick up to 5 photos to print, 25 cards (you may purchase more for a small fee, if you wish)
2. Pick a phrase (you can choose from 1 to all 3)
Happy Holidays
Peace & Love
Merry & Bright
3. Send us your family name (optional)
4. We’ll send you a PDF proof before we go to print for approval
Email me: ashleyjennett @ to book today. Limited space available because of all that aforementioned mumbo jumbo.


A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Has been holding our hearts in his hands. I know two can be terrible, but it’s a lot of fun too. He’s such a character.
Hooper: Has been testing our patience more than usual. I’m blaming preschool. 
Jimmie: Has some serious separation anxiety anytime we leave him alone. It’s causing us a lot of concern.
Click here to check out the series, in its entirety.

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The hardest year of my life…

It’s hard to say that – that this has been the hardest year of my life – because embedded in the difficulties there have been so many blessings. I mean, it’s hard to complain about having most of my spine fused when it was something I signed up to do; meaning I didn’t have an accident and wake up in a post-op bed at the hospital with something fixed that was never broken. Rather, I drove to the hospital with a severely curved spine and walked (::wheeled::) out with a straight spine, and some metal. Meaning, I got something “better” than what I had, even if there was a price to pay.
And boy was there a price to pay.
There was so much I felt in those early days; things I wanted to hold on to and never forget that, as time has passed, I’ve let go of and – begrudgingly – forgotten. Emotions surrounding what it would be like to be handicapped, forever; to watch your family move around you and to be present but not a part of what they’re doing. We take these vows of “in sickness and in health” but we never really know what sickness could entail. To be honest, I don’t know if we could have made it through if what was temporary was actually permanent. I’d like to think so, but you never know. It was hard to watch Willy struggle to do it all: work from home, care for the kids, care for me, and deal with my pain and health in conjunction with his own battles with health anxiety.
And then I gave him the scare of his life when I came down with a stomach virus and completely passed out and collapsed in the middle of the night. If his health anxiety wasn’t bad enough before, I’m sure I put it over the edge. When I came to he was on the phone with 911 and not long after that I was in the hospital, again.
A few weeks before that hospital visit, I had the worst neck pain I’ve ever had in my life. You can take the word “neck” out of that sentence entirely as it’s fair to simply say I had the worst pain I’ve ever had in my life. It just happened to be in my neck. Even to this day, I get a soreness that’s reminiscent and I get anxious just thinking about how bad it could be. I’ve birthed two very large babies under less-than-ideal circumstances with no medication. I’ve also, as you know, had thirteen levels of my spine fused and woke up with blood pressure in the 70’s, which meant I was not allowed to have pain medication for fear it would drop my blood pressure even more. I had a few blood transfusions following that. And even with all of that – the crazy births and the crazy surgery – I can say, with one hundred percent certainty, that nothing has hurt as bad (and for as long) as that pain in my neck.
Then we moved. And I can see now, in hindsight, why my parents – and probably others too – thought we were crazy. Not that it wasn’t the best decision, because it was, but moving is hard. Moving with two small kids is even harder. And moving at a time when you’re not able to lift anything or bend is just damn silly. But, we did it. And, like my spine, we came out on top because of it. We love our new location, we love our new home, and all-in-all, it was worth the trade. 
But that’s not to say it went smoothly. Our hearts were shattered the morning we lost Sarah. I still cry about losing her. I’m choked up now just reminiscing about her life and it’s tragic ending. It pains me more to think that people lose children. It all just makes me sad. Sure, we have Jimmie and we love Jimmie, but Sarah holds real-estate on our hearts that is hers and hers alone. Losing her on the last day in our old house made moving all the much harder and more painful. I couldn’t help glancing back in the rear view mirror and thinking that at the very spot her life ended, our new one was just beginning. And doing it without her with us has been hard. Man, the lump in my throat is painful right now. It doesn’t help that today is her birthday…
Recovery from the surgery has had it’s varying degrees of highs and lows; days go by where I feel more-or-less normal only to come crashing down with soreness and pain reminiscent of what once was. What I can say is that through the course of the year, the highs get higher as do the lows, if that makes sense. I’m out of the woods, albeit a few days here and there that require more rest and ice and advil than I’d like.
And so, it’s been a year. According to the PDF my surgeon gave me in the beginning, I’m approved to do yoga now. It also says I can do gymnastics after one year which, as a previous competitive gymnast, I find funny given the fact that my back does not bend (nor will it ever bend) so doing something like a handstand (which I used to do around the house all the time) would actually require some sort of push off my legs to land on my hands since I cannot fathom getting my hands on the floor in front of me at the same time my foot is on the floor. I’ve succumbed to the fact I will never tumble again, which is a little heart breaking because it was something I’d still do here and there at local gyms whenever I had the chance. I’m also allowed to go bowling now. Yes, I’ve had to take the whole year off bowling. Who knew. Other things I’ve been cleared to do: basketball, baseball, roller coasters, roller skating, rowing, and ::cough cough:: pregnancy (you hear that, Willy?). And two things I’ll never be cleared to do: sky diving and motorcycle riding. I guess it’s a good thing I’ve been sky diving twice in the past and have no interest in riding a motorcycle after my gymnastic coach passed away riding one. So that’s that.
My surgery has been more of a physical change, it’s been an identity change. I’ve always been the girl that could swing a bat and throw a ball; hell, I’d kick ass in pull-up contests and could beat many of my guy friends in push-up contests. My body today is not the body I knew before. I’ve had to adapt. I have yet to accept as I’m still working toward what once was. Most weeks you’ll find me at Physical Therapy three days a week, where I keep to an ever-evolving strength program intermixed with some massage so long as the people working there aren’t feeling lazy — that’s the price you pay, I suppose, when you’re a “regular”. I think they have a hard time fathoming why what they’ve been doing hasn’t made me completely better yet. I think I have a better vision of the length of the road than they do. I also think they are cool with me simple being able to do everyday things while – for me – recovery is much more than that (I want to be as close to the person I was before my surgery as possible). And that’s been frustrating, to say the least.
And there are other things – physically – that still bother me. I have absolutely no sensation in my mid to upper back. I have two scars – one from a heating pad that burned me when the cover came off (I couldn’t feel a thing – it took Willy to point out the large blister on my back) and another one from an ice burn (also couldn’t feel a thing). I can feel pressure in the area, but no sensation. The muscles there feel extraordinarily odd, so odd that I don’t even know how to describe it except to say that it doesn’t feel like they fire correctly. My low back gets tired from overuse and I can feel myself walking around hunched over, trying to fight folding over into the fetal position out of fatigue. I get numbness, from time to time, on my left side that creeps around to the front of my rib cage and really just causes me to think about my back more than I’d like. It’s kinda like when your heart skips a beat and then you become super cognisant of every beat your heart is taking. When my back is sore or I have a knot in my neck or my body is fatigued, it consumes my thoughts. And then there are days that I don’t really even think about my back. I like those days.
You know that feeling of returning to work after being off for maternity leave? (And I hope you do. And if you’re in the UK – I’m jealous of your postpartum time off). Anyway, take that reluctance and nervousness and overwhelming feeling of anxiety mixed with fear of change and multiply it. I was not cleared by my surgeon until September to return to work, nearly 11 months after my surgery. His main concern was my ability to perform CPR, which fortunately has yet to happen but is obviously a must have skill in the field of nursing. I was worried about other things: moving equipment, caring for adults when caring for little kids is hard, transferring patients, moving patients, being on my feet for 12 hours, and all that jazz. It’s been an overwhelming process that’s only complicated by my drive to do a thousand other things like getting my photography business to where I want it and a hundred other things I don’t even want to list for fear I’ll start dwelling on the whole process all over again. What it comes down to is this: it will be hard to return to work after so much time off. It will also be hard to get used to a new unit, as I will not be on the same unit I was on before. And I don’t even want to talk about the commute because getting up at 4am and getting home after 9pm is not going to be easy. But sometimes you just gotta suck it up and feel grateful for having a job to return to.
Hoping the hiccups in the months to follow are few and the celebrations many. Cheers, to getting through the hardest year of my life. And special thanks to all my loving friends and family that made so many sacrifices on our behalf and for the handful of you that have been so kind to share your similar stories of recovery with me; the love and support have helped us more than any of you know.
You can read other posts about my surgery here and here.

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A Wedding, with Maria & Phil

Maria + Phil
Pasadena & Los Feliz, California
Know someone who is getting married? I’d love for you to pass my information on. Interested in a session of your own? Email me: ashleyjennett {at}

A Haircut

It all started with a dreadlock; a real, totally legit dread. It needed to be cut out. And it was so big it would have left an obvious bald spot. Look at me trying desperately to justify my (our) impulsive actions. In just a few minutes, we erased any chance of him being Rod Stewart or Joe Dirt for Halloween. And now I’m left having to come up with an actual costume. Ho hum. In any event, he’s cuter (in my mind, anyway) and I can’t get enough of rubbing my hand across his freshly cut hair.

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