Portrait Series | August 2016

San Clemente Family Photographer-5884 San Clemente Family Photographer-5888A portrait of my family once a month in 2016

Willy: Requested a ‘nice shower cap’ for Christmas. Right now he looks like a lunch lady in the shower.

Hooper: Gave himself a wedgie and then said, “Look mom, I got girl underwear”.

Van: Saw a man in a motorized wheelchair in the store and said, loud enough for him and others to hear, “I’m not going to make fun of him because he’s old”.

Sonny: I’m considering holding onto the wax that comes out of his ear and surprising him on his sweet sixteen with a nice candle. Because, ya know, hashtag: organic. Hashtag: homegrown.

Me: “I used to only get annoyed when they’d fight. Now I’m annoyed even when they get along”. Said after several hours in the car all together when the boys were playing a really fun game that involved a lot of high pitch screaming.

Jimmie: Got caught drinking out of a big ol’ bowl where yellow was mellowing causing one to wonder just how often that happens, but goes unnoticed.

Sonny @ 5 Months

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Growth & Appearance: Your hair is still getting lighter and your eyes, darker. You’re following the same track as your brothers.

You’ll be fitted for a helmet sometime this month to correct the flat spot on the side of your head that resulted from those early days of preferring to sleep with your head only turned to your left. We’re told you’ll have to wear it for 7-10 weeks and we’re all prepared to poke a little fun and move on.

You love to spit and eat your clothes. If you have clothes on, they are soaked after just a few minutes.

I think you caught a slight cold from Van and have been doing this scrunch face and overly exaggerated breath through your nose in an effort, it seems, to get a booger out.

You belong in size 3 diapers but so-the-story-goes I just opened the box of size 2. I’ve been peed on a few times trying desperately to get the size 2 to work. We’ll end up donating them, just as we did the size 1 that we tried to fit you into longer than we should have.

You’re in size 6-12 onesies though really we rarely put you in anything other than a diaper. Overalls, though, are you’re favorite as you like to get the metal latching in your mouth whichever way you can. San Clemente Family Photographer-5641

Sleeping: I’ve finally moved back into my own bed. You sleep next to the bed, in a pack-n-play until we move (if we ever move) and then you will go in your crib. You don’t seem to even notice a change, which is how we expected it to go given your easy going nature.

Since making the transition out of bed and into the pack-n-play, you are now sleeping to the other side of me and, just like that, you now only sleep with your head to the right. Always in the direction of your food, I suppose. In any event, it’s helped significantly with the flat spot on your head, though the flat spot is still there.

We still straight jacket you in your wombie but have added something that prevents you from rolling onto your belly because it’s near impossible to put you down on your back without you rolling onto your belly these days.

We’re trying to get more consistent about putting you down for a formal nap each day. Come about 2pm you’re usually asleep in the pack-n-play for an hour or two. You nap in the morning on-the-go but never seem to get any significant stretch.

Breastfeeding still puts you to sleep. I feed you before I go to bed, around 10pm, and you’ve been waking up sometime in the 5 o’clock hour for another feeding before going back to sleep again. You’re usually awoken by your brothers who come running into the room just after they wake up. San Clemente Family Photographer-5647

Eating: The doc said we can start giving you some rice cereal at your 4 month check up but we have not done so yet. Baby-led weaning really worked well for Van and I think we’re excited to go that route again.

You’ve entered the distracted eating phase and will not latch on until you’ve arched back every which way and fully assessed everything around you.

You love my phone so more-times-than-not I get you to latch by holding my phone to my chest, which grabs your attention and settles you enough to latch while you try to grab the phone.

You take a bottle with ease and can gulp down a number of ounces in under a minute.

If I had to guess, I’d say I feed you about 8 times a day. You’re super efficient at the breast and don’t take more than a few minutes on each side. San Clemente Family Photographer-5714
Development: You’ve found your hands and you love them. We catch you starring at them, mesmerized, often. Your thumb finds your mouth with much improved precision and you suck it often.

You can grab hold of things with better coordination. Where as before you liked to grab hold of a blanket, you’re now able to grab onto things that require more precision, like a  rattle.

You can roll and scoot yourself all over the place and if left unindented for even just a few minutes, it’s surprising to see where / how you end up. The amount of ground you can cover by just wiggling around on your belly is impressive.

You respond quickly to your name.

You grab at everything and suck on anything. You’re entertained by being on the floor with a few toys around you to grab at and suck on. San Clemente Family Photographer-5681

The Bee & The Fox | Shop Updates

Mama Tried _ The Bee & The Fox -12Love Your Mother _ The Bee & The Fox -6Never Underestimate The Power of a Woman _ The Bee & The Fox -8Same shirt different day _ The Bee & The Fox -9Strong is the new pretty _ The Bee & The Fox -3

We’ve added so much over the last few months and have so much more coming (including a new site that’s been in the works for ages) that it’s hard to keep up or keep track. In any event, we’ve added more than what is shown here and if you’d like to take a look, hop on over to The Bee & The Fox. Happy to offer a coupon code for those of you that would like to make a purchase: Use code STORK20 for 20% off your purchase of $50 or more. Code is good for today and tomorrow only.

Other new additions:

Shits & Giggles

Here Comes Trouble

Free As A Bird

Papa Bear, white

…and a whole slew of vintage and home goods

Many thanks to my girl Nichol for always standing so pretty in-front of my lens.

Hashtag: Normalize Breastfeeding

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I had a post written, ready to share, about the good that has come out of social media in terms of breastfeeding and the whole ‘normalize breastfeeding’ hashtag that may better be classified as a movement; because hot damn there’s a lot of moms out there sharing – what truthfully is – a significant part of any new breastfeeding moms life. Breastfeeding an infant is pretty damn close to a full-time job. But then I was talking to a friend who confided that she shared different feelings about all these moms sharing about their dedication to breastfeeding and flashing images left and right of them feeding their babies; an over-saturation of sorts with a message that may have gotten lost in the abundance, the point – possibly – distorted. Where perhaps an innocent message of comradery somehow started to translate into a ‘my way is the best way’ message of inferiority. Hard to say if seeing it in a context such as this is produced from the images themselves or through the eyes of the one viewing them. I thought it was an interesting debate so I figured I’d bring it here, so others could weigh in.

How do you feel about moms sharing images of themselves breastfeeding their young? Do you feel that the message ever gets misconstrued; that perhaps some of the authors of these images have a pretentious air of inferiority? Does the author behind the images you see impact the meaning you derive from the image’s content? In other words, maybe it’s not the subject matter at all but perhaps the voice behind an image that may lend to a less-than-desirable translation?

Seeing so many images of moms openly breastfeeding has made me less shy about breastfeeding – especially in public – this third time around. I stressed much more about breastfeeding when Hooper, and then Van, were babies. Staying home felt most comfortable in terms of avoiding having to feed them in public. I remember wandering the flea market with Hooper as an infant and asking a vendor if I could use his car to feed him in. I was there the other month with Sonny and I fed him on the stairs in the middle of the bustling food court. It wasn’t that I yearned for anymore privacy when I chose to use the vendor’s car with Hooper, it’s more that it simply felt more socially acceptable; I wasn’t doing it for myself, I was doing it to protect everyone else.
I can’t say for certain whether it’s different because Sonny is a third-born and my cares have gone with the wind or if the movement of normalizing breastfeeding has spread visually so abundantly that I feel, well, comfortable. I’m even comfortable with others feeling uncomfortable.
I used to think of breastfeeding as such a huge commitment and, sure, it is. But this third time around it doesn’t feel like such a ball and chain; it feels like a privilege. Maybe that’s because I know it may be the last baby I breastfeed. I’d like to think it has at least something to do with this “normalize breastfeeding” movement because, dammit, I need to feel there is some good coming from social media and not just one rolling instagram feed of picturesque kitchens, sponsored posts, and curated mumbo jumbo.

Anyway, curious to know your thoughts. And for those that don’t breastfeed or didn’t breastfeed or aren’t going to breastfeed – for whatever reason – do you feel like an image of a breastfeeding mother is a back handed judgement on you? Do you take images like that personal? I suppose ‘fed is best’ could be a separate post on its own, but worth a mention here anyway. Because, really, fed is best.

Images by Tish Carlson

Home Inspiration

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We’re hoping to move soon though it feels like we’ve been saying that (to one another, anyway) for months. Not looking for more interior space, per say, but definitely some outdoor space for the boys. Townhome living has been great for us in so many ways; we’re in a great community, where everyone knows everyone and our next door neighbor is as top notch as they come. But we’ve been longing for some outdoor space to call our own and with it now in site, we’re dreaming of how we’d like to make it our own. I’ve been consulting my dear friend Kate on all the design dilemmas I’ve had because damn all the decisions that need to be made. Anyway, I love her and her sweet clan (you can check out their airstream renovation progress by clicking here) and so I’m grateful to have her a mere text or call away when I’m frantically deciding between semi-gloss versus matte or 5 inch versus 9 inch (get your minds out of the gutter). We’re finding, like everyone, that the money left in our pockets may afford us nothing more than a nice potted plant from the downtown nursery but I suppose dreaming is the best part anyway.

Arizona

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We typically try to avoid Arizona in the summer months, the desert heat being the obvious deterrent. But with Sonny relatively new, it only made sense to get out there while we can. With Hooper starting Kindergarten, our days of picking up and leaving for a week at a time are more-or-less a thing of the past; a hard pill to swallow considering that we’ve worked so hard to avoid the 9 to 5 only to be imprisoned by a different kind of normalcy. In any event, luck was on our side and in place of the standard summer heat we were greeted by storms that left the sky overcast and the air moist enough to only flirt with being uncomfortable.

We spent much of the mornings in the pool, where the older boys are finally getting more comfortable and where sweet Sonny floated as though he was born with the notion of what it means to relax engrained in his bones. I used to dread having to travel with a little one in tow, but he’s proven to be adaptable and thus far has skipped that whole 4 month sleep regression thing that I remember experiencing all too well with Hooper and Van.

The boys caught some spiders, rode around on the tractor, and spent some time with their cousins. Zoe, who is just about a year younger than Van; close enough in age that the competition – in Van’s mind anyway – is fierce.

We ventured into the Tonto Forsest, one of my favorite places to visit when in town, where we came across a dead dog (it looked as though it were a fighting dog that someone ditched on the side of the road) and wild horses; the wild horses, of course, being the highlight. We also made the drive up to Prescott for a rodeo which, for me, was more successful in terms of people watching than in terms of barrel racing. In fact, the whole event had me scratching my head as to why animal rights activists aren’t all over this shit. My mother-in-law and I dodged at least half of it, opting instead for the 50% off sale at the thrift shop across the street, where I scored a pencil sketch drawing of a Boxer I’m still salivating over.

Trying, already, to plan a few ditch days so we can head out to Arizona again. Summer has come and gone too fast; the start of school seemingly bringing an end to a season – my favorite season – despite the heat and orange sunsets that have all of our minds still in a summer trance. Because, really, it is still summer. Damn education.

TGIF

 

vivianI would say I’m thankful it’s Friday, though really I have a work-filled weekend and with the first day of school on Monday – for both Hooper (hello, Kindergarten) and Van (another round of preschool) – I kinda wish this week would slow. It’s been quiet here all week for the first week in a long time and while my heart is here, I just haven’t been able to find the time to blog. Hoping with the older boys in school a few days I’ll be able to sit and complete a few posts I’ve been working on. In any event, I wish everyone a good weekend and for those who start school next week as well, can we all mourn together? Long live summer.

Travel Dates

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I’ve opted to push off all my travel sessions until next year, much to my own dismay. I think we all have a knack for putting more on our plates than we can consume. My back and neck nearly started screaming at even the notion of me traveling anywhere, on my own, with all my gear and a baby in tow. I figure next year, when Sonny doesn’t require feedings every couple of hours, will be better. Thank you to all who reached out, I think I’ve sent each and everyone of you personal emails but if I missed someone, my apologies. Please keep an eye out next spring or summer, when I hope to give it all another go. And if you’re local to Southern California and looking to have your family photographed, by all means, shoot me an email: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com.

A Family Session, with The Hodges Family

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There are certain people that you meet in life that fill your cup; some are lucky enough to remain permanent fixtures and provide the refill when needed, others come and go but regardless of the fleetingness of it all you feel grateful to have met at all. That’s what this family was to me: a cup filler. The kind of love that fooled you into thinking emotions are tangible.

Coleen won me over immediately; offering the warmest of hugs and the coldest of beers. And the love affair grew from there. Carefree and full of the kind of beauty that runs deep into the bones. I learned of all the similarities we share, including a love for photography (as a side note, y’all should check out the non-profit she co-founded — Spectrum Inspired) as well as careers in nursing. Never mind the fact we both wait for our toenails to grow out after getting a pedicure in lieu of taking the time to use nail polish remover.

But what really blew me away about this family was the love they had for each other. You could feel it in every little interaction and you could feel the reciprocation of such from their children; something I honestly always wonder about because the good Lord knows my boys tell me they hate me often enough to make me wonder what the hell I’m doing wrong. I’m not sure what it is they’re doing right, all I know is they’re doing it right. And whatever they’re on, I want.

Sure, Coleen earned major bonus points when a huge wave hit and she went lunging for my camera bag over her children, but that’s besides the point. More to the point, I made the drive home – eager to return to my sweet Sonny (who doesn’t hate me) – feeling fulfilled.

Many thanks, Coleen & Scott, for incorporating me into your vacation plans and for letting me take a peek into what a well-run family looks like. I’d be scared to have you witness what goes on in my home and will be consulting the notes I took during our shoot.

Interested in hiring me for a session? Shoot me an email: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com.

Portrait Series | July 2016

san clemente family photographer-4775 san clemente family photographer-4776A portrait of my family once a month in 2016

Willy: Started making the best homemade pancakes. I told him he better be careful or else breakfast is going to become solely his responsibility.

Hooper: Is becoming the master manipulator, like when he knew he wasn’t allowed to watch TV so he had Van bring the remote control to Willy and have him ask instead. When questioned about it he replied, “I have Van do my jobs for me”.

Van: Looked at Willy, mid sword fight (because, boys… errr… men), and asked, “Papa, how’d you get such big balls?”…

Sonny: Hs been so slobbery. He looks like an angry crab blowing spit bubbles.

Me: Returned to work as a RN in the hospital and took care of a patient that served as a reminder of why I became a nurse in the first place. He hasn’t left my mind.

Jimmie: Peed on a lot of people’s shoes this month. Hashtag: you must ignore him entirely when entering our home.

Childhood Unplugged

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A warm, summer night, in Arizona, walking the long dirt road to the dairy across the street all while slappin’ the mosquitos and taking turns being the leader. Oh ya, and Bitsy, the cow who’s been in their lives since day one.

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.