Before I even tell you about the Mermade Market, I have to take a moment to talk about the image above. You see, this little world wide web is to thank for many new friendships over the past couple of years. Some I have met in person, some I have not and, sadly, may never. Katherine is someone who I’ve felt connected to for sometime. I’ve followed her lovely blog for years and to this day consider her among my favorites in the photography world. Talent aside, she has a heart of gold and the most intoxicating spirit that translates so vividly in her images. And she’s funny, too. Separated by both land and sea, I’m not sure we’ll ever have the opportunity to meet, but I’ll always consider her a friend.
When I started to work on The Bee & The Fox site, I reached out to her immediately. I was in need of some more, shall we say, feminine images and I knew right away she was my girl. And I’m so grateful to have a bit of her flair connected to The Bee & The Fox. So many thanks, my dear friend. Your images make my heart pound, every time. If you’re on instagram, you can follow her here.
Okay, that aside, I’m going to be selling at the Mermade Market in Dana Point May 7-9. If you live in the Orange County area, you should check it out. Here are the dates and times:
Thursday, May 7th, 10am-8pm
Friday, May 8th, 10am-6pm
Saturday, May 9th, 9am-5pm
I’ve been so busy preparing; making tags, figuring out the display, making new things to sell, folding and counting and sorting shirts and so on and so forth. We’ll be unveiling a few new t-shirt designs too; one more for the ladies, a couple for the kiddos, and even one for the babes. Fingers crossed it can all come to fruition in time and that I’m not just talking out of my butt.
Every now and again I moderate the Childhood Unplugged feed over on instagram and I love it. There are so many wonderfully talented photographers out there and it brings me great joy to feature a small sector of them. Parenthood is one of the greatest sacrifices I’ve made, but when I see my boys engaged with nature or one another, trying new things, overcoming old obstacles, or even just at peace in a moment of time, I sold on the fact that it’s all worth it.
If you’re on instagram, tag your photos with #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured. We’ve also started a new weekly hashtag, introducing a new theme each week in addition to our regular scheduled unplugged moments. I’ll be hosting the weeks of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, so feel free to tag your images with your littles with #cu_mothers and #cu_fathers respectively.
…from a man named Jerry who shares my love for photography (I always email him these photos) and even holds the pose when handing my kids a sucker because he knows that’s a shot worth catching, loves to talk about Cuba, and has a little chihuahua named Princess that will bite you if you go near her.
I’ve always thought of myself not so much as a writer, but as a feeler, and – in turn – a writer because, well, I’m obviously into documenting. I used to feel everything. Lately, all I’ve felt is exhaustion; an urge to do nothing at all – like a depressed person who suddenly no longer wants to do things that once excited them. The difference being that I’m not depressed, I’m tired.
And I’m not quite sure why.
I mean, I’m sleeping. I’m eating. And on most mornings I start the day with an energy that would surely give me an edge in the super-mom competition should it actually last any longer than the fleeting 2 hours it actually hangs around. Yup, two hours in and I’m already staring at a sink filled with breakfast dishes on top of the day-before-dishes that I was too tired to wash the night before. And the thought of doing them all overwhelms me.
I start wondering what the point of it all is; why clean up the floor if 5 minutes post-kids-waking-up-from-nap it’s going to be a disaster again? Why bother washing their hands after they go to the bathroom if 2 minutes later they’re going to poke Jimmie’s butthole.
Some days feel like I’m just repeating shit over and over. Make meals – wash dishes – clean their hands – take dog out to pee – wipe their butts – repeat. So monotonously draining. It starts to feel like I’m just going through the motions.
I start to think of other things that usually drag me out of what-seems-to-be the monotony of motherhood; I think about my photography, this blog, our etsy shop — creative endeavors that give me that pep in my step, and I’m bothered by the lack of time I’m able to give. I get fixated on stupid shit like not a single shirt selling in a day or not being able to write when a wave of emotion hits at seemingly the most random time only to find that when I do have the time, the wave has crashed, the thought fled, the inspiration soaked like water into the sand. That’s just what it’s like — trying to catch water and all I’m getting is wet sand; muddy thoughts.
I’m assuming I’m not alone. Tell me I’m not alone.
Photo by Tish Carlson
Willy: Was golfing when I took these photos. Ya snooze, ya lose.
Hooper: Asked if it’s going to be Christmas soon. Twice. He says he wants a new dump truck (the wheels on his old one fell off). Also refers to a roly poly coming out of it’s ball as a roly poly ‘hatching’.
Van: Suddenly became interested in potty training and likes to pick out his big boy choines on his own. He refers to the small slit in boys underwear as a ‘pocket’ and makes his selection based on the biggest ‘pocket’ and then proceeds to stick his toy cars in the slit. Also, told me he was going to fart on me and then – sure enough – turned around, put his butt on my leg, and farted on me. Twice.
Me: I have too many sunglasses, really, but my favorite pair are the cheapest pair and the only pair that essentially cannot be replaced. I bought them from the Melrose Flea Market years ago. They have gone missing several times; like the time I couldn’t find them for months, blamed it on our move, and begrudgingly accepted the possibility of never finding them again. Only then they turned up in the undercarriage of the stroller, that we never use. Well, on Monday, I stepped on them. Gone for good.
Determined to move on with life after my accident, we decided to spend Easter – as previously planned – in Arizona, with my in-laws. We laid low much of our time, which was just what I needed. The boys are always more than entertained with the cows, dirt, wheel barrels, hay stacks, goats, pool, and feral cats. Willy managed to catch a couple of spiders, including two black widows, so the boys had fun watching all the critters eat each other in their bug cages. A lesson of prey and predator, I suppose. Also a lesson in not playing near the stack of firewood.
There were naps, some thrifting, an evening at the food trucks in downtown Gilbert, and a trip to a local farm that has a weekly farmers market.
Easter morning was filled with egg hunts, bacon, bubbles, a wheel barrel full of toys and treats, a friendly horse named Duke, and even an adult egg hung put on by Willy’s grandparents; a yearly tradition.
We took highway 8 on the way home, which boarders Mexico, and shared stories of the past of our many trips south of the boarder. I wish it were still safe to drive down there.
It was nice to leave and nice to be back. We missed an Arlo Guthrie concert we were both eagerly looking forward to; too tired and too sore to make the extra drive up to LA. When this neck pain subsides, I know regret will set in.
Hope you all had a wonderful Easter.
We spent one night in Palm Springs before hitting the road to Arizona so that Willy could finish up some work out there. The weather was perfectly warm and we spent much of the time poolside; the boys in the pool and Jimmie hanging poolside with me while I rested my sore neck. The night was rough, with Willy snoring, Hooper kicking, and Jimmie randomly barfing, but we packed up, hit the pool one last time, and got on the road.
I’ll be sharing a few images from Easter in Arizona tomorrow.
I never tire of shooting my boys, but when given the opportunity to shoot other people – especially when it means getting us Mamas in the frame – I’m so grateful. So Mamas, this one is for you. Tell your husbands, tell your friends. Feed my hunger (figurative hunger, but let’s not kid, literal hunger, too). Mother’s Day sessions, $595, Price includes approximately an hour of shooting in or around your home and all edited high resolution images.
And to sway you a bit more, a recent testimonial: “Ashley did not just take our pictures; anybody can do that. She captured exactly who we are as a family. She has a magical way of highlighting the idiosyncrasies and quirks that make us, us. She took the time to get to know us and was so incredibly patient with our boys, who are not always easy. Looking at our images brings tears to my eyes every time because she saw all those moments that so often go unnoticed; my hand in my son’s hair, the way our boys make my husband laugh, the Cheerios required to keep them still. These are all the things that make up parenthood that we so often forget as the days pass hectically, and Ashley has frozen these moments in time for us. We could not recommend Ashley enough, she is the best investment you could make for your family’s memories”. – Amy Bell