338A0291-1 338A0298-3 338A0301-4 338A0305-5 338A0350-20 338A0315-7 338A0317-8 338A0325-10 338A0329-11 338A0339-15 338A0348-19 338A0371-24 338A0386-31 338A0382-29 338A0394-32 338A0414-39 338A0417-41I’ve come to learn that evenings spent with Tara are evenings where time is well spent. She radiates beauty and there is so much love in her relationship with her kiddos. When connections are felt so immediately and so deeply, I trust them and feel gratitude wash over me. Feeling grateful for this one. And my boys are pretty head over heels with the “big kids”. Some sweet connections going on right there. Now who wants to watch said children so that Tara and I can have an adult beverage together?

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Summer in winter

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It’s hard to decide whether to frolic in what feels like summer weather as if it actually were summer or to swear off the warm weather and beg for the crisp autumn air that makes you long for – and eventually appreciate summer all the more – to come back. For now, we frolic.

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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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What a day at the dog patch looks like

My grandma rode the train into town to celebrate my dad’s birthday over the weekend, so we invited her along with us to one of our favorite spots to take Jimmie — The Dog Patch. Because of Jimmie’s horrible separation anxiety, we’ve had to adjust our lives to take him pretty much everywhere we go. We’re still training him to be able to be by himself and he’s made some good progress, but still has quite a ways to go. Anyway, we all enjoy the sand and sea and it’s always nice to return home with a tired dog and tired kids, albeit a bit dirty and sandy.
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 Summer Murdock.

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Conquering Routine

Even though I have yet to be cleared to return to my “day job” as a RN, my life as a stay-at-home-mom still runs on a very routine Monday thru Friday schedule; mostly because it’s all on me as Willy works most of the day. I thought that being home so much would be freeing; that a schedule would not be needed and that the possibilities would be endless. I was right, to some extent. We’ve gotten to go on lots of little day adventures, which is something I didn’t always have the energy for having worked a grueling 12
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hour shift the day before. Also, the boys are older now; I mean, Van can walk. But come evening, when Willy is done with work, it’s back to the monotonous turn-on-a-cartoon-and-get-dinner-ready-routine. It’s been eating at me. No pun intended.

We have a sliver of a view out our window of the ocean and watching the sunset while Cat-in-the-Hat plays in the background has been torturous. So, I proposed that we make dinner a little bit earlier than usual (sometimes we don’t sit down to eat until almost 8pm) and get the heck out of the house.
And, we have.
And, it’s been great.
I’m trying to sell myself on the idea that you have not squeezed everything out of the day until you get into bed dirty, with sand in your hair and dirt on your toes.

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Long Live Summer

We’ve been spending more time than ever at the beach. Partly because we now live closer and partly because it’s the one place I can take them where we only have to walk a mere twenty feet from the car and I can give my back the break it asks for often, but rarely gets.
The boys love it too. Collecting rocks and throwing them into the water, using their dump truck to transfer sand into buckets, building forts with random pieces of bamboo and seaweed; it’s play at it’s best — imaginative, entertaining, and the kind of dirt-under-your-nails fun that makes you feel most alive.
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If I’m granted enough time and patience by the I-will-prevent-your-kids-from-driving-you-insane fairy, I pack a lunch and snack for the boys beforehand; it makes it so that we are one step closer to nap time (aka mama-needs-a-break time) when we get home.
Hoping that by the end of the summer they’ll be more into the water. Hell, I’ll even be happy if Van would let go of my hand by water’s edge.
Long live Summer (never mind the fact it’s not technically Summer. If it feels like Summer, it’s Summer. Right?). Not sure what we’ll do come Winter…

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Childhood Unplugged

He claimed to have taught the seagulls how to catch bread mid-flight. I know enough not to argue with a man who comes to the beach on a weekday with a bucket full of baggettes to feed birds he seems to know on a first name basis. It’s my hope, in fact, that one day I too will have time to sit with the birds and take my boots off.
We all have a cause
Worth waging war
Worth making peace to keep
We all have a love
Whatever that is
Or whom is thee to seek
There comes a day
If we’re lucky enough
And the cards fall our way, I pray
To sit with the birds
And take the boots off
-Chuck Ragan, “Congratulations Joe”
Please help me in supporting my fellow photographers who are also participating in the childhood unplugged movement by visiting our collective monthly submissions here

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A day with my best friend, part II

It surprises me every year when we find ourselves at the beach in the “dead” of winter. This day was particularly beautiful; a warm 70 degrees and no wind. Sometimes the elements just come together when your soul sister is in town. After the beach, we grabbed a bite to eat at my of our favorite local joints. It was a day for the memory bank for sure; all of them, with her, are.
You can click here to see a little video Janet put together of our time at the beach. It definitely brought me through some dark days of recovery.

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“Now then, Pooh,” said Chirstopher Robin, “where’s your boat?”
“I ought to say,” explained Pooh as they walked down to the shore of the island, “that it isn’t just an ordinary sort of boat. Sometimes it’s a Boat, and sometimes it’s more of an Accident. It all depends.”
“Depends on what?”
“On whether I’m on the top of it or underneath it.”
-A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Side note: Votes are reset over on Top Baby Blogs. The Stork & The Beanstalk finished this last round in 3rd, thanks to all of you who vote daily. Would really appreciate your vote today! Voting is easy… simply click on the button below and then again on the owl on the left side of your screen. Check out some other blogs while you’re there. Some of my favorites are: Oh Dear Drea, Inked in Colour, Lamb Loves Fox, and Hello Sisilia. What other blogs from TBB do you follow?

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We headed down to Duke’s the other night for dinner and ate at their barefoot bar. After dinner we went down to the beach to watch the sunset. It was a bit cold and Hooper pissed his pants but the sunset was nice and our bellies were full.
Also, Hooper’s poncho came c/o of Lishyloo. And my apologies for the Spring/summer video that keeps coming on automatically. I tried to turn it off, but have had no luck. It should be gone tomorrow. Sorry for the annoyance. Ho hum.

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A Birthday Recap

We celebrated my birthday by heading to the beach, again. Minus the influx of teenage girls in scantily clad bikinis talking about making out with boys*, it was a b-e-a-u-t-iful day. Nothing beats a good day at the beach, right? And Van seems to be transitioning out of the shoveling-sand-in-his-mouth-phase, so that’s cool too. We headed to Neptune’s Net for a bite to eat afterward and then drove home along PCH admiring the view. Sometimes another year older doesn’t feel so bad…
*and then some

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Three Days O' Fun: Day 3

We spent our third family day at the beach. It was a lovely day but we didn’t stay as long as we would have liked. Van was not a happy camper. We took him to the doc the next day and found out he has ear infections in both ears. Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason, other times there is. He’s off the hook this time…
As a side note, I became an Aunt yesterday. My sister-in-law birthed a ten pound baby girl and I can’t wait to meet her.

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Is It Summer Yet?

We showed up to the beach the other morning totally unprepared. There’s a lot I’ve learned since becoming a mom, but one of the most important is this: pack the night before and think ahead. I did neither. Thus, we arrived at the beach Monday morning looking more like we were going to play at the park on a cold winter day. Clearly I had delusions of grandeur thinking I could handle both babes and Sarah. We met a friend down there with her two boys and their dog because it’s always better to have a friend that has delusions of grandeur as well. In any case, we came with pants and sweaters. Then Hoop rocked the t-shirt and diaper. Realizing I didn’t bring any Kleenex, his shirt quickly became the snot rag and when Van spit up, I used it for that too. So Hooper ended the day in his diaper, which he really shouldn’t have had anyway because we’re trying to do the whole underwear thing. I ended the day feeling like a lazy and unprepared mom. How do so many do this motherhood thing? And how do so many do it so eloquently? Hash tag: Still learning.

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Last Days of Summer

Last week it was still in the triple digits here in Southern California. I had already turned the calender page and welcomed October into our lives with hopes of fall joining the pumpkin party. Summer had other ideas and I’m not one to complain about the sun wanting to hang out a little while longer. So I packed up the boys and headed to the beach, in October, to properly thank summer for lingering around. I had the radio on and the Rolling Stone’s “Miss You”, one of my favs, blared through the speakers. I turned it up. Hoop bobbed his head in the back and I dedicated the jam to summer, knowing fall would be gracing us with it’s presence soon enough. It was a perfect day at the beach. A week later and it has cooled down to a comfortable 80 degrees. With a visit to the pumpkin patch in the near future, we’ll have to replay our wee little video to remind us of the last days of summer spent with sand between our toes and white water crashing at our ankles. Dear Summer, thanks for lingering.

Last Days of Summer from The Stork & The Beanstalk on Vimeo.
You can check out my other videos here and here.

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A Family of Three.

Sunday was my official due date. I picked the latest due date based not on dates (which gave me an earlier due date) but instead on ultrasounds done at seven and eight weeks, which apparently are more accurate. I stuck with the latest date possible for my own piece of mind. I’ve read that second babies typically come earlier and by allowing myself a longer cushion of time it seemed like I was providing myself with the best of safety nets. Though I mentally told myself I needed to prepare to go past my due date, honestly speaking, I didn’t think I actually would. But, here I am with a baby still bakin’ in my womb. Must be a pretty posh life in there.
We spent Sunday on the beach as a family. A family of three. And it dawned one me that even though it feels like this pregnancy is going on forever, Van will be here any day and then we will be four. My midwife said something to me at my last appointment that I truthfully hate to hear. She said, “You know, life is going to get very busy, even hard at times, once Van gets here. Try to relax and enjoy this time with Willy and Hooper”. I say I hate hearing that because it’s so easy for an outsider to say. So easy for an outsider to think logically. I remember people saying the same thing to me before Hooper was born and I vowed never to advise anyone expecting a child to make the most of the time before their child arrives. That’s because once you find out you’re pregnant, you spend the whole pregnancy adjusting your mindset and skillfully planning for the addition. It’s not like you start racing to cross things off your list once you become pregnant… If you planned for it, you do that stuff beforehand and spend the pregnancy, especially the end of the pregnancy, anticipating what’s inevitably going to come. It’s almost impossible to enjoy your time as just a couple because you really have no idea what you’re about to lose.
So as I sat there on the beach with my two guys, it dawned on me that there is a difference between this pregnancy and last: I am able to live in the moment and, as a result, I truly enjoyed our time as a family of three. The thought of it being my due date hardly even passed through my thoughts. I’m trying my best this week to find peace in the wait.

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