Ho Ho Ho

I’ve been losing sleep over this vision I have of capturing a family picking out their Christmas Tree; the kids zig zagging their way through the rows of trees, dad comparing the Christmas Tree height to his own, the steam coming off the hot chocolate mug, the tree being tied to top of the car while the kiddos sit on the hood, and so on and so forth. Sometimes ideas torment me and this idea is tormenting me. So I thought I’d offer it as a session and attach it with some in-home shooting, as well. So, here’s the details: 
Price: $700 weekdays / $800 weekends
-2 hours of shooting (first hour in-home, second hour at the Christmas Tree lot)
-All high resolution edited images on disc with print release
-Limited availability due to holiday time constraints 
Please contact me via email to book today: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com
Know someone who might be interested? Sharing is caring.
I’ll be taking the next few days off blogging, so I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. Hope y’all enjoy the day with the ones you love. But do be sure to check back on Friday for information regarding Small Business Saturday and a special sale over at The Bee & The Fox!

What the beach in November looks like…

It’s funny how easy time can get away from us. We’ve been in our new home since April but still have tons of stuff to discover. Lucky for us, summer weather is still lingering around and has provided us with ample time to visit new-to-us beaches. Last week, we checked Baby Beach off our proverbial list. The boys had a great time running in the water and playing with the sand and we vowed to make more frequent trips. We also walked around the harbor, climbed some rocks, and checked out the old ships.  
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 Amy Grace.

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A Birthday Recap

I tend to lose my mind sometime around this time of the year for the last few years. It starts with Halloween, which always sneaks up on me and makes me feel like a piece-of-shit mom for never having the energy to make some handmade clever costume. It’s quickly followed by Hooper’s birthday; a day that, for the past three years, I’ve haphazardly thrown something together at seemingly the last minute writing off the lag time by reminding myself that he’s too young to really care anyway. But this year, he knows what’s up. I still lagged, but I did manage to get an email invite out to a few friends and family.  
No crazy decorations, a last minute pizza order after we decided a BBQ would be too much work, a pinata stuffed to the brim with leftover Halloween candy, some very special out-of-town guests, and enough wood to keep a fire blazing; the most perfect contradiction to the crisp autumn air. 
All in all, a success.

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Ramblings on being a parent of a preschooler

Ramblings on being a parent of a preschooler: 
-We showed up to the first day of school, as a family, for the first day meet-and-greet. As we were getting out of the car, I noticed the chaos; kids and parents everywhere. I suddenly had that feeling of what it felt like to be a student, on the first day of school; the excitement of pulling out brand new folders that I picked out in the back-to-school section at Office Depot, the outfit I so carefully coordinated to go with with my new shoes, and that nervous – almost panic – of wondering who would be in my class, who I would have lunch with, and if all my friends from the previous year (::cough cough:: that ended just 3 months ago) would still be there. And now as I walked into the school gates as a parent, I saw one mom decked out in high heels and so much make-up you would need a garden rake to remove it and realized that the first day of school is a “thing” for parents too. It made me giggle with a confidence I only pretended to have as a kid.
-Once in the classroom, I noticed that several of the parents were already familiar with one another because of older kids they have that attend the elementary portion of the preschool. When one said, “I’ll see you at pick-up”, I realized that “pick-up” is also a thing; I mean these parents see each other twice a day, nearly everyday. I was reminded, again, why my mom always told me my friends would change throughout my life depending on what I was doing in life. So I introduced myself to a few other moms.
-My firstborn, my more timid and cuddly and dependent son left my side immediately. Toy trucks take precedence these days. He didn’t even take his backpack off. I had to ask for a hug and kiss. I called my sister on the way home. She asked if his independence made me sad. I felt nothing other than pride.
-Entertaining  a second born while the firstborn is away is hard work. It’s like my little babysitter disappeared and suddenly it was just he and I. Made me realize just how strong their relationship is.
-As soon as Van and I pick Hooper up, Hooper attacks. It’s like he has all this pent up maliciousness that he’s (hopefully) held in all day (I mean all three and a half hours ::cough cough::) and so he just unravels as soon as he sees Van. We’re working on it.
-Papers. Oh dear Lord, the papers. Everyday there are new papers. It’s like the junk mail followed me from the mailbox. Information on this and information on that, I can’t even say what all the papers are about because I haven’t even begun to look at them. After only a week I felt as though I was drowning in them. And, of course, there’s the lovely* artwork that I can tell Hooper spent so* much time working on ::wink wink::. Am I a bad parent if I throw that stuff away? Rhetorical question because, well, I’m gonna throw it away anyway.
-For the first three school days I noticed, in hindsight, that I never put the right time on the sign on sheet. I was off by an hour one day and thirty minutes another day. I was worried about having to wake Hooper up so early to go to preschool but I think it’s me that could use the extra rest. Ha.
-He’s made a friend. I caught them as they locked eyes after school and they gave each other that look of oh-my-gosh-I-know-you-and-I-like-you-but-what-are-you-doing-here-look (as soon as they’re outside of the classroom it’s like a whole other world). The exchanged the cutest wave and both went on their way with an occasional glance back to see if the other was still looking.
-I knew seeing him go to preschool would make him appear all the sudden more wise, more grown. What I didn’t expect is that I’d have a mini teenager. He’s how our post-pre-school conversations have gone:
Me: “What’d you do at preschool today?”
Hooper: “Nuffing!”
Me, trying to take a different, more open ended approach: “Tell me about your friends at preschool”
Hooper: “Nuffing!”
Me, thinking okay then, he must be hungry, “What would you like for lunch when we get home?”
Hooper: “I don’t wanna talk right now”
… two minutes later he transforms from pumpkin to fancy horse carriage, asking about the tractors and road construction and telling me how much he loves me. So, ya, he’s like a teenager. A split-personality teenager.

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A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: And just like that, the stutter is gone. Kids change too fast.
Hooper: Has been eating so well — Must be growing.
Jimmie: In true houdini fashion has found a way out of his metal crate. We came home to an entryway full of shit and a loose dog. Grrr. Two steps forward, two steps back. 

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The Pop-Up Shop Recap

It means so much to me to work with people that I genuinely like, respect, and care about. I was pretty nervous leading up to the pop-up shop event at Sweet Threads because putting myself out there like that isn’t normally my jam. But Shella had donuts, and macaroons (which I tried for the first time ever. I know, I’m lame), and having her by my side made the day dare-I-say fun and enjoyable. She has some awesome customers that are super loyal and incredibly inviting. There were also a few familiar faces that came through the door and their support leaves me speechless.  
I had anticipated setting up a small area outside the shop to snap some photos of the kids in their new tee’s, but the rain had other ideas so we had to move the whole shindig inside. It all worked out and I had a blast photographing some of the cutest kiddos and enjoyed my time behind the camera — my happy place.
I left with a box of shirts that had less in it than when I came, so that was good. I’m trying my damnest to move these suckers out so I can get to work on some new ones. I have a few ideas that are literally burning holes in my brain. Ha. I also left with two bags filled with new-to-us clothes. Shella always has the most awesome collection of vintage clothing. I came away with a few new pairs of pants, a suede vest, a couple vintage baseball shirts, and a sweater I’m practically making Hooper wear despite the 80 degree November weather because it’s that stinkin’ cute. I felt like a hoarder, secretly adding things to my pile behind the desk before someone swept in and beat me to it. But whatever, I’m not above hoarding.
Special thanks to Shella & Paul at Sweet Threads for hosting and making me feel at home and many thanks, as well, to all who came out to show love and support. I have so much appreciation for y’all.
This post is in association with The Bee & The Fox.

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A Mother's Worry

It’s only normal for mothers to worry. Given the fact Willy suffers from such horrible health anxiety, I find myself often in the it-will-be-okay or it’s-no-big-deal role. So the other night, when Van could hardly talk and was breathing heavily, I assured him it was the same cold Hooper had and not to worry. I went to bed that night, unable to sleep, questioning if I even believed myself. I do this play-it-off-like-it’s-no-big-deal-in-front-of-Willy routine often, especially when it comes to the kids. But when Van woke up crying at 2am with audible wheezing, I agreed that we should probably take him in. Nursing 101 – Don’t mess with the airway. Van and I spent four hours in the ER getting numerous breathing treatments and a steroid injection. We left around 5:30am with a probable diagnosis of croup and instructions to keep an eye on him, especially overnight (when croup worsens).  
So for the next three nights, Van slept in our room; a welcomed change. My not-so-little boy surrendering into my arms, accepting all my cuddles and comfort.  
Happy to say it is now behind us.
Do you worry excessively about your kids? How about your significant others — same same, or different?

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44/53 & 45/53

A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: His mind is moving faster than his mouth and he’s developed the most awesome stutter. I remember this phase distinctly with Hooper and it’s been quite entertaining the second time around.
Hooper: Appears as if he’s grown overnight; longer limbs, less baby fat (not that he ever had a lot) — a real boy.
Jimmie: Spent a few hours in his crate while we went out to dinner. No one called the cops, no call from our neighbor, and no poo or pee when we got home. A huge step in battling his separation anxiety. 
A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week in 2014
Van: Spent Wednesday night, with me, in the ER. He was having trouble breathing and was diagnosed with croup. We’re all exhausted.
Hooper: Is getting stoked for his upcoming birthday. I can’t believe he’s going to be four (says every parent of a four year old).
Click here to check out the series, in its entirety.

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I’ve been a mom now for nearly four years and have yet to be on the ball of Halloween (and other things, like birthday parties but let’s just take things one step at a time, k?). It seems to sneak up on me every year. I have major delusions of all of us dressing up or of turning the entryway into a mini haunted house for the neighborhood kids, which, in hindsight would have been a bad idea anyway given the fact we only got two sets of trick-or-treaters. What happened to neighborhood trick-or-treating anyway? Guess it depends where you live. If it was hoppin’ where you are, invite us next year, ok? 
Hooper requested to be a cowboy, which was the same thing he was last year. Last year, however, he didn’t care and dressing him as a cowboy was our choice. This year it was his, so ya know, it didn’t really feel like a repeat. Plus his cowboy costume was something my in-laws splurged on and given the cost, I was happy to use it again. If it still fits, Van will be a cowboy next year. Ha.  
I put Van in a Fred Flinestone costume I had made for Hoop a few years back. He got it so dirty at lunch that I opted to turn him into a firemen for neighborhood trick-or-treating. It was cute and simple and he was pretty stoked about it. 
What did you guys do for Halloween? What’d your kids dress up as?

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A Cup Full of Sunshine

I reached out to my friend Anne a while back about letting me shoot some video of her in an effort to document her macrame making process. Anne is one of those people that you can’t help but love; she’s got a giggle that I’m head-over-heels about and the sweetest family ta boot. Her style and artistic abilty is top notch and I hope all of you will head on over and check out her store. I recently purchased one of her fiber art wall hangings and it is legit. I asked her to answer a few questions so y’all could get to know her a little bit better…
How did you get into Macrame?
About 3 years ago I was at a rummage sale and someone had donated all their macrame books, hoops and rope. I had been interested in trying it and when I had all the necessary items in front of me at once I figured it was meant to be. I got home and made my first plant hanger and was hooked! After I understood the basics I was able to come up with my own designs and have since created pieces with more of a modern take on the classic 70’s styles.
Tell me about the other items in your shop.
I also sell vintage clothes. I have been wearing vintage clothes since high school and have developed a deep love for thrifting. I’d always find amazing things that didn’t fit me and had such a hard time leaving them on the rack. Now that I have a shop, I don’t have to abandon them! They get to go to new home and keep living.
How do you best balance your etsy shop with raising your children?
I try not to put unrealistic expectations on myself. If I have free time I’ll work on a new piece or list an item. Sometimes I’ll just photograph everything and then list on different day. When it comes to anything creative it can be tricky, I never know when I’ll get inspired and often times it comes at a terrible time. A lot of times I’ll just write down my idea and accept the fact that it will have to wait.
Quick, three random things about you.
When I was in grade school I wanted to be an animator.
My favorite decades for music and style are the 70’s and 20’s.
My favorite book is East of Eden by John Steinbeck.
What influences your art?
Nature, 70’s fiber art and the challenge of trying to create something unique.
A Cup Full of Sunshine, the shop  |  A Cup Full of Sunshine, the blog

Childhood Unplugged

I think every mother out there would agree that getting out the door is the hardest part of getting out. But every time we do, I’m reminded that sometimes unplugging can be as simple as a car ride. Willy and I refer to the boys as “car dogs” because they love the car; if they could hang their heads out the window, they would. They love pointing out “old” cars, beatles versus bugs, cement trucks (and any truck for that matter), and the train that runs along PCH. On this evening, we stopped off at a park that overlooks the ocean and spent the last minutes of daylight running around and watching the sun go down. Outings like this are good for the soul.
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.

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