Portrait Series | April

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ashley jennett

A portrait of my family once a month in 2017

Willy: Had me hold a lighter to his butt when he farted and was then surprised when it blew up and singed his butt hair. For a guy that has done all the tricks in the book, it came as a surprise to me that he had a) never done it and b) believed it was a myth.

Hooper: Hard a stomach bug (which started inconveniently on our way home from Arizona). He told me, “Mom, don’t worry, I used the nometer (aka thermometer) and held it to my tummy and it said 99. I’ll bet tomorrow it’s 100, because I’m feeling much better”. As if the reading is in percentages. Bless him.

Also, disclosed that he’s been peeing in a plastic container in the backyard and revealed to us his, um, collection.

Van: Examined my armpit and asked why I have so many splinters.

Sonny: Farted and laughed, which we all translated to mean that he gets what it means to be a part of our family.

Me: Had my electric toothbrush run out of power mid-brush and for a split second thought, “well, how am I gonna brush my teeth now?”.

Jimmie: Got caught one on one with Sonny offering his paw in hopes of Sonny sharing a piece of his cracker.

Portrait Series | March

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A portrait of my family once a month in 2016

Willy: Got put on laundry duty during March Madness and spent a good 5 unnecessary minutes berating me about my underwear, referring to them as homeless looking. Buy me new ones, fucker, buy me new ones.

Hooper: Had so much dirt caked on his neck that I became convinced he developed a birthmark as if developing a birthmark is a thing. I also thought his eyebrows were starting to grow in funny; also, dirt.

Van: Came down in one of Sonny’s shirts compliments of Hooper who had mistakenly hung up Sonny’s shirts with their own. The mid-drift (aka mini-man-drift) combined with the complete lack of awareness made for a good laugh.

Sonny: Pooped out one of the “cuties” stickers found on the little oranges prompting me to consider a hashtag of #thingsfoundinsonnyspoop.

Me: Got distracted the other morning while making the boys breakfast and didn’t realize I left their eggo waffles, which was a huge portion of what we were calling breakfast this particular morning, in the toaster. Came home that afternoon to find two limp, sad waffles. Gave em to Sonny instead. Kidding. But still, Mom fail.

Jimmie: Will be the reason we invent nighttime quiet shoes for dog and become millionaires. His nickname is clink clanks.

Portrait Series | February

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Willy: Celebrated another year of life.

Hooper: Asked why eleven isn’t called ‘one-teen’. Also lost his first tooth.

Van: Saw a Marine walk into Staples and asked if he was the president.

Sonny: Managed to open one of his dirty diapers Willy had tossed to the side and was found playing with a nug of poop.

Me: Hid a pair of Willy’s basketball shorts because they’re gross and no man should wear them only to find out he has an identical back up pair. So I hid those too. And instead of asking where they are, I’m pretty sure he just bought a new pair because they never seem to go away.

Jimmie: Politely got called ‘fat’ by our contractor who hasn’t been here for months (and by ‘hasn’t been here for months’ what I mean is hasn’t finished work he started months ago).

Portrait Series | January

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A portrait of my family once a month in 2016

Willy: Used some choice four letter words to a woman who gave us the stink eye, followed by the finger, after Sonny let out a few ridiculously excited, albeit loud, sheiks at a restaurant we love but will no longer be returning to.

Hooper: Sported pull-ups during his third bout with a stomach bug cuz, hashtag shits, no giggles. Two days after he recovered he made himself lunch that consisted of moldy sandwich meat and proceeded to tell me, “don’t worry, I ate around the dark circles”.

Van: Attests that if you put onion in your eye it makes your eyes ‘sour’.

Sonny: Pooped out a small green lego.

Me: Got hit on at the 99 cent store while visiting a friend in the Valley. It’s worth noting.

Jimmie: Refuses to eat his own barf despite my encouragement for him to do so.

Portrait Series | December

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A portrait of my family once a month in 2016

Willy: Taught the boys about pulling his finger.

Hooper: Asked if the nipples on Jimmie’s belly are pimples, which led to a conversation about men having nipples regardless of the fact they don’t produce milk. This then led to him inquiring about the two ‘nipples’ (aka moles) on Willy’s head.

Van: Got upset with me for taking a stick away from him after he tried using it as a dart, my face being the dart board. Angry, he told me, “well when you grow up you’re going to be a carrot”. He followed that up with calling me a “pesky squeak”. ::scratches head::

Sonny: Graduated from his helmet that he’s had to wear for the purpose of reshaping his head. He looks better but more than that, he smells better. Also took his first steps.

Me: Tried calling Willy out for using the expression “cat’s pajamas” only to come to find out that it’s a real thing. ::scratches head::

Jimmie: Got to spend the Christmas holiday with my parents which translates to more walks than he’s had in an entire year. Thanks, mom.

Portrait Series | November

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Willy: Earned the title of ‘piñata king’ at Hooper’s birthday party after arguably having more fun manning the piñata than the kids did trying to hit the damn thing and then promptly fell backyards over the grill, landing flat on his back and proving that it might be best to limit your alcohol intake at your kid’s birthday. Or not.

Hooper: Turned six and is all the sudden so grown up.

Van: Protested, “My legs are too tired. I can only walk to my candy”, said after we requested he work for his candy by doing a little jig.

Sonny: Like both of the boys that came before him, found the dog food and liked it.

Me: Hid in the shower after asking Van to close his eyes and count to five. We weren’t playing hide and seek. Catch my drift?

Jimmie: Isn’t a fan of the gates we put up on the stairs and can be found whimpering at either end whenever the dreaded separation from one of us occurs.

Portrait Series | October

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Willy: Turned Van’s sour-morning-mood with a game of pull-my-finger. Also spent last night watching rats in the backyard and is gloating over his homemade rat trap.

Hooper: In recognition that I could do more at once with more hands, told me he wished I had 100 hands. Also confessed that he’s been hiding candy in his underwear.

Van: You could measure the fun he’s had in a day by how much pee you can ring out of his pants. Hashtag: pee breaks are for losers. Also called me a punk and then proceeded to ask if punk is a bad word.

Sonny: Has replaced his morning whale flaps with the cutest raspberries. And manly farts.

Me: Got called out by one of Hooper’s little friends who told a uniformed firefighter that I allow Van to have soda, pointing out the fact that soda ‘has sugar in it’ and is ‘bad’ for you.

Jimmie: Has taken to spending most nights alone in the spare bedroom. If you knew how dependent he was you’d understand why this is so perplexing.

Portrait Series | September

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Willy: Threw his back out and has set our whole unpacking gig back quite a few steps. At the pace we’re going, it feels like we’ll be moving in for years.

Hooper: Dipped Van’s fry in hot sauce when he wasn’t looking and maliciously threw it back onto his plate.

Van: Got caught with his pants down in the backyard, taking a dump. He didn’t stop or defend his actions but simply said, “sorry, mom”.

Sonny: Now has a ‘hat’ to fix his ‘flat’. In other words, he’s under construction. Also, you don’t want to wake up next to his smelly head.

Me: All the sudden I have to hold the menu (or any piece of paper with writing on it) further away so I can see. Wtf? Like overnight flip of the switch.

Jimmie: Learned how to use the doggy door and followed it up with a butt-scootin’-romp all over the yard. It’s worth keeping him on a diet just to ensure he doesn’t outgrow that little door.

Portrait Series | August 2016

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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.

Portrait Series | July 2016

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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.

Portrait Series 2016 | June

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Willy: Proclaimed that kids are put on this Earth to make us age faster, die quicker, and use less resources. Also proclaims to be MVP of the bachelor party he just got back from.

Hooper: Told me he was bored for the first time ever. So that cat is out of that bag. Also says he wants 150 babies but will settle for just one more. I feel the same way.

Van: Decided to pee in Jimmie’s water bowl and then came and told me about it. Also told me he wasn’t going to marry me after I told him he had to throw his trash away before having his show turned back on (for the record, the marriage was over as soon as he peed in the dog bowl).

Sonny: Found his feet.

Me: Agreed to wanting to poop like a deer (however that is) and stepping in it to make my 5-year-old think I’m cool and then had an existential crisis. Momentarily, anyway.

Jimmie: Picked up kennel cough from doggy daycare. There were nights filled with hacking. Just when you thought having a new-ish-born at night was tough…

Portrait Series 2016 | May

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A portrait of my family once a month in 2016

Willy: Had a meal he bought for a homeless man rejected because he said he was going vegan. He gave him $5 instead.

Hooper: Said he wants another baby and asked if he can give me his ‘seed’ instead of ‘papas’.

Van: Threatened to kick me in the penis if I didn’t give him a dollar.

Sonny: Finally took notice of who has been breastfeeding him. You know when they lock eyes with you and gently release your nipple from their mouth and smile as if to say ‘I see you now’.

Me: Dreading the biweekly shower I take because I’m starting to notice more hair coming out. So much for encapsulating my placenta.

Jimmie: Room clearing gas.

Portrait Series 2016 | April

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A portrait of my family once a month in 2016

Willy: Has unexpectedly had to travel a lot for work, suddenly making life a lot harder and more stressful.

Hooper: Found a hermit crab at the beach, brought it home, named it ‘Strong Claw’, suggested that we sign him up for ‘pinching lessons’, asked that I hire a babysitter to watch him while he’s at school, gave him grass to eat, and surprisingly didn’t shed a tear when Strong Claw ‘slept’ all the next day. Strong Claw has been replaced, via the good ol’ pet store, with ‘Giant Claw’. Ya…aayyy for another mouth to feed.

Van: Spent a day throwing up. Initially we worried it was the stomach flu but when it quickly passed we placed our bets instead on the fact that the day prior we caught him licking Hooper’s butt.

Sonny: Came with me to sign Hooper up for Kindergarten and was quite the hit in the school’s office. He came home smelling how I remember my first grade teacher to smell. Also, seems significantly bigger than the day he was born but still throws newborn gang signs like it’s going out of style. Who knows what I’m talking about?

Me: Quickly came to realize just how much I yell after losing my chops to this awful cold / sore throat bug going around. Perhaps a megaphone would make a great Mother’s Day present. Or just a warm cup of tea.

Jimmie: Successfully licked the spit up stain that has been on Sonny’s bouncer for weeks, cleaning it better than any washing machine around. And for that alone, I love him.

Portrait Series, 2016 | March

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Willy: expressed a desire to have his hair grow faster and asked if men can take prenatal vitamins.

Hooper: Reached full blown kid status after naturally ripping holes in two pairs of his jeans within the same week.

Van: Has been so strong willed as of late he has be wondering if the Leo within has surfaced or if the middle child phenomenon really is a thing.

Sonny: Consistently thinks my nipple is on my arm no matter how many times I direct his rooting mouth back to the center of my body.

Me: Combating some serious feelings of baby fever already… Wondering if I’ll ever be content calling it quits on this baby making gig.

Jimmie: Lost some degree of interest in Sonny just as soon as his smelly umbilical stump fell off.

Portrait Series, 2016 | February

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A portrait of my family once a month in 2016

Willy: Celebrated turning another year older this month. We drove to LA to see Kris Kristofferson & Merle Haggard only to walk up to the concert hall and learn that the show had been rescheduled. Ho hum.

Hooper: Has started leaving his dumps in the toilet so that others, namely Willy and I can find them. When we asked about this new habit he said, “I wanted you to smell it”.

Van: Has a new found interest in Wonder Woman, namely because he “likes her boobies”. Also asked what would happen if his “peep” (boy parts) grew as big as a tree.

Me: I’ve been a snoring machine, according to Willy. I’ve also woken myself up due to the amount of drool coming out of my mouth. 39 weeks pregnant, you sure are becoming on a women. Okay, the drool may not be related. But whatever.

Jimmie: First thing he does when getting into the car is to scour the boys’ car seats for leftover or discarded food. He also celebrated his second birthday this month. Hooper asked if we were going to be having his dog friends over to celebrate and was a bit disappointed when all we gave him was a new bone.

You can view this ongoing series by clicking here

Portrait Series, 2016 | January

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Good golly miss Molly, talk about waiting for the last minute. Here I am lowering my expectations of myself — having dedicated myself to “a portrait a week in 2015”, which quickly turned into “a portrait a week, most weeks, in 2015″ and ended with “a portrait a week, some weeks, in 2015″ — and still, this go-around giving myself an entire month to snap a pic and here I am just nearly missing the cut off or making the cut off for all those optimists out there. Yes, let’s start this new year off optimistically. I made it! It’s still January, dammit.

Willy: Literally stopped and pulled the car around to show us all the biggest tumbleweed any of us have ever seen. Sometimes the little things really are the big things. No pun intended. But seriously, if you live in Southern California, helllllllllo El Nino.

Hooper: Came home from school and told me he kissed a girl two times (once on the elbow, I might add) and followed it up with, “Mama, I realllllllly like girls”.

Van: Has reestablished the familiar scab between his eyebrows, which happens when he sucks his thumb and uses his adjacent index finger to simultaneously pick at that area. For the record, that means he’s got his thumb in his mouth, his index finger picking that area between his eyebrows, and his other hand on his head, playing with his hair. Hashtag: multitasker.

Me: Have been googling “how many weeks pregnant am I” more and more because I still forget, but also because the countdown, when on my computer screen in terms of days instead of weeks makes it all feel closer. Thirty four days until I reach my due date… never mind the fact I’m destined to go past it.

Jimmie: Remains in these portraits, whether he’s invited or not… The most cooperative member from 2015 starting off 2016 with the same agreeability. Hashtag: he goes where his people go.San Clemente Family Photographer-9191 San Clemente Family Photographer-9192 San Clemente Family Photographer-9197

Fifty Three

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A Portrait of my family, once a week, most weeks, in 2015

Willy: Finally emptied his suitcase from Cuba. I’d like to think it was an attempt to hold onto memories he didn’t want to forget, but it’s pretty consistent with his track record. In fact, the majority of the days of the year you’ll find a half filled suitcase next to his bedside.

Hooper: Requires a napkin with nearly every meal for even the slightest bit of yogurt or sauce that lands outside the perimeters of his mouth. Quite contrary to Van who sits across the table using his strawberry yogurt to make a red nose, “wyke roodof”.

Van: Used my belly as a pseudo ski jump for his army man. Apparently my boobs are too saggy to be considered good jumping off points.

Me: Neck pain. That’s all I can say about myself and the last week or so. As a side note, I love that the setting for our family portrait is flipped… a mirror image, if you will, offering just the hint of foreshadowing needed to end the year (we switched things around in this room to allow for a more inviting space for the new baby’s crib).

Jimmie: Seems to have transitioned from sleeping the first few hours of the night on our bed to sleeping the entire night (and most of the day, really) on our bed. In the beginning, he was quick to move with a little nudge but lately it’s like moving a boulder. My feet are extra warm and my legs, extra cramped. But look at him… always with his family… perhaps the only member that never needed a formal invitation to show up to one of these family portraits.

Weekly (errr, not really though) recap: This is my third consecutive year doing a weekly portrait of some kind. I held myself to no true commitment in terms of it being weekly or monthly and I think that helped save some sanity for all of us. I’m happy to have completed the year and to have stuck with it. We dropped the weekly resolutions that started along with this project at some point, I suspect out of fear of pulling that ever-looming “no TV for a week” written note from the jar. The moral of the story is this: sure, there are things we could improve upon… having our bed made daily, for example, would be phenomenal. But all in all, we’re happy and in the end having our bed made or not made doesn’t really have any hindrance on that. So ba humbug to resolutions.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Years. And if you care to check out this series in it’s entirety, you can click on the icon below. Not sure I’ll be doing a 52 week project for 2016 as I’m prepping to lessen some loads 😉52weekproject-b

Forty Five

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A portrait of my family once a week, most weeks, in 2015

Willy: Tried blaming a fart-in-public on me but both boys called him out and said, “but mama doesn’t fart that much”.

Hooper: Made a necklace for a little girl in his class and actually gave it to her. He’s colored many pictures for her too but none have made it into her hands. Can’t believe this crush thing happens so early.

Van: Insists on wearing this sweatshirt despite the still-summer-like weather (minus the cold front that seems to have just rolled in). He asked me to take his shirt off yesterday, claiming he was too hot and thus needed his sweatshirt. His love for the sweatshirt is real but his reasoning is a bit skewed.

Me: Was coasting through what quickly became the second trimester only to now feel like all of my insides are going to fall out of my vagina at any moment.

Jimmie: Barfed but then cleaned it up himself. I told the boys to take notes.52weekproject-b

Forty One

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A Portrait of my family once a week, most weeks, in 2015

Willy: Has begun asking me if he’s having good hair days. It’s awkward.

Hooper: Came upstairs to request a new shirt because the one he had on was soaking wet. When I inquired about the wet shirt he told me, “it’s a very, very, very, verrrrrrry long story”. Apparently I’m pretty good at summarizing long stories because I can tell this long story in just one sentence: I was playing with the water in the downstairs bathroom.

Van: Spun around in a bunch of circles and then told me, “Look Mama, the house is tipping”, expecting me to be just as dizzy as he.

Me: Stood up on the bed only to be hit by the blades of the fan, which are spinning quite fast on these hot summer (I mean fall, hashtag: ?) days. If parenting alone doesn’t kill a few braincells, the fan definitely did.

Jimmie: Had an upset stomach and shit on the rug I bragged about thrifting for $35. It wasn’t the kind of shit that could be cleaned off, if you catch my drift. Y…yay. 52weekproject-b

 

Thirty Seven

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A portrait of my family once a week, most weeks, in 2015

Willy: Tied for MVP at the bachelor party he attended in Austin last weekend. The person who returned to me resembled anything but an MVP.

Hooper: Pointed out that ‘P is for penis’; a celebration in sorts for tackling the ol’ alphabet but a defeat when you consider parenting styles, I suppose.

Van: Held up four fingers requesting four Mike & Ikes but when I asked him how many that was he said, “I dunno”. Made me want to go to my employer with my arms stretched out to my side and say, “I want this much of a raise”.

Me: Swallowed a little bit of Listerine during a failed attempt at multitasking; a reminder to self that you cannot sustain a good enough gurgle while attempting to return emails. Filed that under ‘regrets in life’ right behind accidentally using shampoo to clean my face instead of face wash… cuz’ that happened this week, too.

Jimmie: Hangs out with whoever is furthest from the front door. Allow me to translate: has major separation issues, still.
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