Hooper @ 6 years

san clemente family photographer-5409Growth & Appearance: Your hair is blond, with some brown roots. Your eyes are light brown and your skin olive. At a checkup a few months ago you weighed 42 lbs (31st percentile) and were 46 inches tall (76th percentile). You have a natural six pack and are tall and thin.

You’ve been claiming a loose tooth for months now. It’s slightly wiggly but not about to go anywhere anytime real soon. You’re excited to lose it. Not sure why.

You’ve taken a new-found interest in your appearance and take pride in dressing yourself in the morning. It’s not uncommon to see you come out of your room with pants that are way too short and a button up shirt buttoned incorrectly. We encourage you to rock it all the same. You also like going into the bathroom and putting water in your hair as if it’s gel and slicking your hair back with my brush. This is new and you’ve done it several times a day for the last week or so. san clemente family photographer-5384

Eating: You’re a better eater now than you’ve ever been. You’re not great at trying new things but you also don’t need a lot of coaxing to eat what we put on your plate. Your favorite meal is chicken, macaroni, and peas. You say you like broccoli and will eat a few bites, but you never finish it.

Favorite foods: hamburgers, macaroni, salmon, eggs, bacon, pizza.

New foods make you gag and you spit things out that you weren’t excited to try as soon as it touches your mouth. That said, you’re much easier to have at the table and you eat well. You also seem to self-regulate well on all fronts, even on the sugar front.san clemente family photographer-5389

Sleeping: You still sleep with your blanket but not usually anything else. You love surrounding yourself with pillows. You sleep on the top bunk but aren’t opposed to sharing the bottom bunk with Van; the two of you can be found sleeping together every now and again.

We make you take a nap every now and again, but it’s rare; I’d say once or twice a month but some months not at all. You’re quick to fall asleep in the car though.

You go to bed easily and even ask to be put to bed when you’re tired. san clemente family photographer-5376


You are into girls and have a grasp on what ‘love’ means. You’re fond of one particular girl in your class and come home often and tell me about all the girls that chase you during recess. I remind you often that you can be in love with boys or girls, but thus far, you’re all about the ladies.

I’ve caught you several times outside practicing your golf swing. Your g’pa takes you to a golf class once a week and you’re into it. You swing both right and left.

You can write your name with ease and are curious about what signs say. You’re getting a hang of your ‘sight words’. Your teacher says you’re a delight to have in class, which is definitely a step-up from your reported behavior last year, where your transitional kindergarten teacher described you as ‘impulsive’. You’ve grown up a lot since then and seem to have better self-control…

…Except for when it comes to your brother. You’re incredibly impulsive when it comes to acting out and are quick to hit and slap and spit before you think. It makes for a lot of time outs and a lot of apologies and a whole lot of whining from your brother.

You love being a big brother to Sonny and are eager to help. In general, you’re happy to help with lots of things around the house. Even more so now that you’ve learned that chores can potentially earn you money. You have 16 crumpled up one dollar bills in a toy ATM machine you got for Christmas and you count your money often. Chores I’ve had you do include hanging up laundry in your closet, cleaning up toys, vacuuming, emptying the dishwasher and setting / clearing the table. I also pay you when I need you to model a new shirt for the shop, something I try not to do these days after having more incidents than I can count of having our product (and images) stolen and posted on other sites. But that’s a separate post altogether. And not one I want to write.

On the same tip, you like having your photo taken and as you’ve gotten older, I feel you really ‘get me’ as a photographer. You’re not always in the mood and I respect that, but when you are, you always quench my creative thirst.

You have a kind spirit and are sensitive to others feelings. That’s not to say you’re always perfect, you’re not, but you have a good soul, a warm heart, and an empathetic nature. Hanging an ornament with a picture of Sarah on the Christmas tree brought you to tears and you spent some time afterward talking about how much you miss her. You also cried at Nanny’s funeral. And it brings you a great sense of pride when you’re able to help me out in times that I’m clearly struggling. All things that make me so proud. And appreciative.

You’re strong and can do legit pushups with perfect technique. san clemente family photographer-5398
Favorites: You love building things; forts, legos, blocks, etc. You have lots of projects in the yard; as of late you requested some ‘carrot seeds’ to plant and made your own swing out of a dog leash, handcuffs, and a wire basket. Your backpack is always filled to the brim with your most treasured items and sometimes when you’re at school I take a little peek and have a good laugh; crumbled up pieces of paper, a magnifying glass, fortune cookies, handcuffs, legos, and other random trinkets.

You and your brother have discovered the Ernest movies and those are a hit these days. We think that’s where the slicking your hair back comes from (bad Ernest in ‘Ernest goes to jail’ has slicked back hair).

You have a ‘Ninjago’ book that you ask us to read often. You also love the Ninjago show on Netflix.

Family Video | December

December came and went faster than I can remember any of the Decembers past. A combination of having a school aged kid and a retail shop both in conjunction with holiday travels and other get togethers that seem to trump ordinary life, like doctor appointments, that typically fill the little ol’ boxes on the little ol’ calendar. A whirlwind that has me wondering how it’s January and I’m still standing.

I remember writing a post about Christmas cookies that I never got around to making when Hooper was a toddler. The post spoke to the infamous ‘mom guilt’; how in an instagram snap-happy world of decorated mantles and garland-line banisters I couldn’t even manage to put some damn cookies in the oven. Fast forward to present day, where we had dinner with friends with intentions of having the kids all make cookies; ending instead with a big mound of dough, an unhealthy serving of sparsely spread out large groupings of sprinkles, and a few contaminated droplets of wet sneeze all to prove that no one cried over cookies that were imperfectly perfect and questionably editable. That despite long to-do lists and short days the magic of Christmas runs in a child’s bloodstream the same way liquor seems to take over ours.

And so it goes; what is a whirlwind for us is a wonderland for them. Christmas cookies, two visits to Santa, an evening at zoo lights, way too many presents (it deserves a post of its own, but seriously, how do you combat the amount of toys and stuff people get your kids for Christmas… it’s insane), a road trip through Arizona, a load of celebrations with family and dinners with friends, and so on and so forth.

And now, in January, nothing but a shit load of pine needles I recruited Hooper to help me vacuum up the other morning and a fake Christmas tree stuffed back into the top cabinet it came out from seemingly yesterday.

Entire seasons coming and going, kids growing and maturing. All of it way too fast. And so, I record what I can, write down the tidbits I want to remember, and suck up the fact that it’s not at the speed that I want but it is, indeed, everything I want.

Baja | Video

I’m falling far behind over here and just haven’t been able to give this space the attention I crave so deeply to give it. Such is life. I have a dirty diaper I just remembered that is still in my purse from Sonny’s doctor appointment this morning. That’s how life has been these days. I have so many posts I’m waiting to finish, photos that need to be culled and edited, and – oh ya – a house that needs to be unpacked… not to mention a certain six month old (how did that happen) that still feeds nearly every couple hours and two boys that are enjoying their newfound backyard freedom but have been tracking mud in the house incessantly. Needless to say, I purchased a handheld vacuum. And yet, it’s still in the box. “Box” is a nasty three letter word around here. No, no, no, ya perverts, not that kind of nasty… I’m referring to all the moving boxes that are sitting, some more haphazardly than others, waiting to be unpacked. I suppose the woes of moving are better suited for a separate post. In any event, here’s a video from our trip down to Baja, Mexico that I finished sometime ago and just got around to finally uploading. You can read about our trip and view the photographs by clicking here. Images are images and I’m grateful I have them, but these family videos are what keep me up late at night feeling all nostalgic and wondering how they grow so fast.


Going through video footage and piecing it together is a lot like editing images from a wedding; by the time I’m done I know every image – all footage – better than I’d like and I’m not pleased with any of them… a direct result that comes with looking at anything too long. In any event, I’ve started and restarted the making of this video more times than I care to admit due mostly to user error, followed in a close second to user dissatisfaction. I’m happy with the final result, but it’s hard to view it without knowing the downright struggle, errrr challenge, it was to make. In any event, here lies a small glimpse into our time in Cuba… A place that’s unlike any other and is changing in so many ways. I have a few more posts on Cuba to share but if you want to see what I’ve already shared thus far, here’s some links:

Cuba, The Good

Cuba, The Bad

Cuba, Part I

Cuba, Part II

Childhood Unplugged, Cuba

An Interview, with Van

Just as the interview with Hooper, I don’t expect anyone other than family to make it all the way through this interview, so here are the highlights: he doesn’t want a baby sister because he doesn’t like girls hair and because he had some bad experience I’ve never heard of before where some little girl put his face in his face, he desires to be a cowboy when he grows up, and apparently a shark bit his arm off.

An Interview, with Hooper

I have to be honest when I say I don’t expect anyone to watch this the whole way through who does not know and love Hooper personally. But, alas, it’s these little interviews that bring Willy and I so much joy to look back on.

The highlights: If Hooper could go anywhere in the world, he’d chose Italy… even though I’ve been trying to sell him on Egypt. Also, the only take-away from our trip to Cuba is that he reluctantly gave a very select few of his toy cars away to the kids there and despite having seemingly enjoyed the act of giving in the moment, clearly has some regrets; regrets he’s holding hostility against me for. He values chocolate over money, wants two babies to magically come out of my belly instead of one and can’t wait to “love on” the new baby, and has wheels spinning in his little five-year-old head that wonder how – in fact – “papas give mamas babies”.

Love this kid.

A Video

It’s always my intention to shoot more video but frustrating when I can’t make the time to go through all the footage, edit the clips, and compile them together. It’s rather time consuming, in a good way, but nonetheless in a way I simply don’t have these days. So I worked on this on my birthday; a day declared as my own and it was actually nice to revisit our trip to Maui sometime later and to relive it all in a new way. I had intended to use the original version of this song but after much delay and lack of motivation, I’ve left it as is. Sometimes things are close enough. Ha.

Read More “A Video”

5 Minute Project

I joined the 5 Minute Project and am excited to challenge myself in a new way. I love capturing everyday life and moments and hope that doing so in a small 5 minute timeframe will force me to think more creatively. My first post is this video of Van; 5 minutes of our morning together while Hooper was at preschool. I sure love this time with him.
You can check out the 5 Minute Project by clicking here and follow along on instagram by clicking here.

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We’ve been to Disneyland twice with the boys despite swearing that we would never take our kids to Disneyland before they were old enough to ask. That was before we had kids, when we made all sorts of declarations that were based on no experience.  
Our neighbors dog got loose the other day and was missing for two days. They were out of town and had hired a dog watcher to watch them. You can imagine the stress this poor girl was under when she came home to only one of the two dogs. To make a long story short, Willy and I ended up locating the dog and to repay us, she asked if we’d like to go to Disneyland (she works there). Because we know the value of the many bucks it costs to get into that joint, we figured it’d be dumb to turn it down. So we went. 
We got there early in the morning and before we even made it on the tram, Van biffed it on the stroller and fell face first onto the concrete. It was a fall that made us cringe and elicited that silent cry that transitioned into a full blown try-and-catch-your-breath kinda cry. In that moment, we felt we were doomed for the rest of the day.
But alas, we weren’t. We rode Mr. Toads Wild Ride, the carousel, Pirates in the Caribbean, The Haunted House, and the Jungle Cruise before sitting down for lunch. We didn’t wait more than 10 minutes in any of those lines, which was awesome. The line for the Jungle Cruise was a bit longer and getting Van to move with traffic was like moving a limp sack of potatoes up a hill. We hit up Toon Town after lunch and felt like we just about met our max. We inquired about where we could buy some beer, were told Disneyland is “the happiest place on earth”, and decided we would start heading toward the exit.
That’s when we learned that California Adventure does in fact sell alcohol and much to our surprise, our tickets were good for both parks. So we crossed over, filled our tanks, and lasted – with new found patience – all the way through the light parade.
All in all, a successful trip. And I even managed to put a little video together, which was no easy feat in the midst of switching over computers and all the technological bulls#$! that goes along with that.

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An Interview

Dear Hooper & Van,
My days with you two are rarely easy. You both have a ton of energy and when you’re going, you go non-stop. And yet, I don’t want these days to ever end. I want to remember everything about them. Here’s a small attempt at doing so. I hope one day you will enjoy these videos.

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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

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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An Interview

It’s always my intention to do these more often because they grow and change so fast. It’s not easy to get them to sit still and it takes some time to edit the pieces together, so despite the fact Hooper answered so many questions wrong to questions he normally knows the answer to, I decided to post anyway. I’ll force myself to do another before Summer is over. Hope you enjoy.
The Stork & The Beanstalk on Vimeo.

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An Interview // Hooper & Van

My dad used to ask my sister and I questions when we were younger and record them on a cassette tape. I remember it distinctly because I was around 14 or so and questions like who I had a crush on was beginning to embarass me. He doesn’t have any recollection of where these tapes are but someday, when I have the time, I’d like to dig through his drawers for that buried treasure.
My dear Hooper & Van, I hope one day you look back on these and chuckle. I love you like you’d never believe.
You can check out other videos by clicking here.

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Spring/Summer 2013 from The Stork & The Beanstalk on Vimeo.
A true family photo, Sarah included. And a video from

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our trip to Palm Springs / Arizona a few weeks back.

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Seven Hundred & Thirty Days of Life

Dear Hooper,
There’s a lot to be said about becoming a mom. For me, it happened two years ago. I vaguely remember who I was before that day and part of that girl still burns deep inside me. But today, I’m mom. Your mom. And I couldn’t be more proud. But today is not about me, it’s about you. Happy Birthday, Hoop. This sure is a fun journey. Thanks for the ride.
I love you,

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San Francisco

As promised, a wee little video from our first family road trip to San Francisco. Hope you enjoy. I think I enjoy making these videos a little too much…

San Francisco from The Stork & The Beanstalk on Vimeo.

San Francisco from The Stork & The Beanstalk on Vimeo.
And in case you missed it, we have a giveaway from etsy seller Truly Sanctuary going on now! You can enter by visiting their online store and leaving a comment on yesterday’s post. They are also offering a 15% discount off your entire purchase with promo code STORKANDTHEBEANSTALK. I’m told this promo code is good for a while, but don’t procrastinate, the holidays are a’ comin’ (just hear sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting-tingling).