The Speed of Life

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san-clemente-family-photographer-3365 san-clemente-family-photographer-3369 san-clemente-family-photographer-3371 san-clemente-family-photographer-3379 san-clemente-family-photographer-3404 san-clemente-family-photographer-3387 san-clemente-family-photographer-3416 san-clemente-family-photographer-3388 san-clemente-family-photographer-3409 san-clemente-family-photographer-3435 san-clemente-family-photographer-3393 san-clemente-family-photographer-3428 san-clemente-family-photographer-3467 san-clemente-family-photographer-3483 san-clemente-family-photographer-3496 san-clemente-family-photographer-3507 san-clemente-family-photographer-3517 san-clemente-family-photographer-3523 san-clemente-family-photographer-3525All I seem drawn to write about lately is how fast time is passing. I guess that’s because the entire month of December seems to have flown before I even had a chance to come up for a breath. When we were in the process of moving homes, Willy and I told one another that when we were done and settled, we’d celebrate; because, well, at the time everything was so stressful (selling a home, buying a home – and Lord-have-mercy-with-all-the-extra-shit-that-comes-up-in-that-process – and so on and so forth). We have yet to celebrate and I can attribute that to two reasons: 1. we don’t really consider ourselves done or settled (I mean we still are living amongst boxes and bare walls) and 2. time never slows for us to even consider planning any sort of celebration.

This year has been the busiest yet; the hands on the clock seemingly skipping numbers and yet so many blessings to count. Sonny, first and foremost. Our third boy, a boy I fought long and hard to have (not in terms of conception but rather in terms of persuading a certain someone on the addition of another. Perhaps I’ll share more of that journey in time). Said move to a home, with a yard. A home I just can’t wait to sink my teeth into as soon as I can get a grip on things (I keep fantasying about the new year bringing a slower pace as if the flip of the calendar will somehow change the current momentum). And a fun little side business that has demanded we constantly adapt to its growing needs (getting a handle on the whole world of taxes being our current demise).

And yet, just when I thought time couldn’t move any faster, that things couldn’t possibly get any hairier, December comes around. And perhaps having a school-aged kid now adds to the struggle; teachers gifts, Holiday celebrations, book exchanges, and all these other functions that have me slinging stale french fries off the floorboard of the car and calling it lunch.

I suppose any of these reasons can attest to my absence from blogging this month but I think a lot of it also has to do with so many heartbreaking current events and a resounding loss of hope I think many have felt over the last few months; at least here in America, anyways. Though I think of this space as a keepsake for my boys, it’s hard to recount things from such an isolated perspective; meaning, there is so much more important things going on in the world.

I think we all could use a fresh start. Here’s to hoping that the New Year brings with it a slower pace and some much needed peace. There’s a lot of healing, for so many and on so many levels, that needs to happen. Hoping we can take the spirit from the holidays and use it to push forward in a direction we can all move together.

Happy Holidays, to all.

Thank You cards, via Artifact Uprising

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The Stork & The Beanstalk Photography-13 The Stork & The Beanstalk Photography-4 The Stork & The Beanstalk Photography-10 The Stork & The Beanstalk Photography-25Each December I utilize Artifact Uprising to make an album of all of my favorite images from the year. While I was able to finish books for several family members, I have yet to complete our own family’s album but have plans to do so in the coming days, as looking at “finish AU book” on my to-do list is beginning to haunt me. In any event, I’ll try to share a few pages once I have it in hand. Until then, I have these adorable thank you cards to send out. They have so many beautiful designs to chose from… it was hard to chose just one, but I’m so happy with my selection. Makes saying thank you even better than receiving the gift in the first place. Don’t you agree?

 

Making a list

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For all the years I’ve been a mother I’ve felt that the holidays have got the better of me. In fact, it was during my last family session (that included a 2 year old and a 5-month-old) that it dawned on me that I’m (I feel like it’s only safe to say what I’m about to say in a wee whisper) out of the, um, danger zone (side note / hashtag: not for long). Meaning, shit has been hard for the past few years. And by past I mean 5 years and by hard I mean two babies relatively back to back followed by a thirteen level spinal fusion that pretty much erased nearly an entire year of my existence. I remember the one year I never got around to baking Christmas cookies feeling like some kind of colossal defeat. Well, the other day, we made those damn cookies and it wasn’t even the center-focus of the day.

Perhaps it was the two days I had all to myself while Willy took the boys out early to Arizona the week of Thanksgiving that allowed me to get a good jump on things; the boys returned home to stockings already hung, a small tree in their room already decorated, and scented candles filling the rooms with an aroma only the holidays can bring.

We’ve baked cookies (and even have plans to bake more so that Santa can have ‘fresh’ cookies), I’ve ordered all the gifts that I needed to allow enough time to receive, I’ve addressed the holiday cards and even thought ahead to pick up some Christmas stamps the last time I was at the post office (I take no responsibility for the fact they were all out), and I’ve even managed to pull the handful of children’s Christmas books from their bookshelf to have on hand to actually, well, read (what a concept, I know). I have some eucalyptus that I bought at the local florists in a vase, for goodness sakes. Who am I?

There’s no doubt I’ll be bit in the ass at some point. There’s still plenty that needs to be done and plenty that I know I’m forgetting all together. But the fact anything is done or remembered at all has me feeling a little jollier this season; it’s a nice breath of fresher air before things start spinning out of control once again (side note / hashtag: baby on the way).

A reminder that the boys are getting older (and easier-ish) and that while there is plenty that makes you want to turn back the clock, there is also plenty in the here-and-now to celebrate.

Bits + Pieces

A couple shots of Carla, I miss her already // Gotta make use as much as we can of dem rain boots before they grow out of them // Christmas morning and Christmas day // A rare family pic where both of the boys have their eyes closed // Baby Leo at the Andy Warhol exhibit at the MOCA // My grandma’s 85th birthday // Various snapshots of Hoop // The way Willy works in a mid-day nap for himself // A few more of each of the boys // And the sweetest Van I ever did see.

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A Christmas Tree

It’s never exactly how I envision it to be. I have delusions of grandeur; of us trekking out into the woods and actually finding and cutting down a tree — much like the Griswold’s. Then I’m reminded, immediately, upon entering the lot that we live in California; where we wear t-shirts in December and deck our trees out in some fake white shit we desperately try to pass off as snow.  
Nonetheless, the wood chips under our feet, the complimentary popcorn and hot chocolate, and the smiles from all the kind workers made – more or less – for a festive and successful outing. And with that, I’ve added “vacuuming pine needles” to my daily weekly to-do list.

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Christmas Cookies

Two years ago (wow, where does the time go?) I wrote a post about baking Christmas cookies. Well, not actually baking them… because we never ::cough cough:: got around to actually making them. They sat on my counter and taunted me, “hey you piece of shit mom, why don’t you forget about those dirty dishes and bake me already”. I swear they gave me a complex; so-much-so that it’s been two years and I can still remember writing that post and the feeling I felt by never getting around to baking those cookies. 
I giggled to myself with the thought of that post in the back of my head as we went into the store, once again, to buy cookie-making ingredients. I tried to move through the aisles as quickly as possible for fear that Van would forget he didn’t have a diaper on. I was imagining the stream of urine falling off the cart like a waterfall. We made it through with only a few items torn from the shelves from happy little grimmy hands that don’t like to keep to themselves. We bought two packages of sugar cookie mix (ya, that’s right — I’m a-good-for-nothing-mom-that-makes-nothing-from-scratch-and-I-don’t-care), some icing, sprinkles, a couple cookie cutters, and some butter. 
The boys were a bit disappointed when we got home and they asked for the cookies and I revealed we had to actually make them before we ate them. Next thing you know, the counter that I had just cleaned that morning was filled with flower and small globs of cookie dough and the happy-to-help (oh he’s so happy to “help” these days) hands of a two year old would not stay out of the raw egg batter. There were tears and, obviously, a mess.  
I had to ask a neighbor to borrow a rolling pin. Mom fail. Then I couldn’t get the batter not to stick to the rolling pin despite the amount of flour I used. Mom fail times two. 
The boys were over it at this point anyway, so I made the executive decision and said screw the cookie cutters and opted instead for little round balls because let’s face it — shit tastes the same. When the cookies were done, there were more tears because they could only have one. Then there were spilled sprinkles. 
And the moral of the story is this: Buy Christmas cookies from the bakery for $5 and go home and eat them. Making those damn cookies was the only thing I’ve ever had on a list that didn’t feel so good to scratch off.

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The Tree

Shopping for

a Christmas Tree in Southern California is always a little under-whelming, in my opinion. I mean, if walking down aisle after aisle of Christmas trees in your mall’s parking lot in 80 degree weather is your thing, then please forgive me. Something about the fake snow blown on to the trees made me yearn for some real cold weather; they kind where you need some hot cocoa to warm your hands just as bad as you need it to warm your belly. I’m longing to see my own breath in front of me and it’s just not happening this year.

What is happening is picking our nose and eating it. So, there’s always that.

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Twelve Days O’ Fun

1 toy gun // 2 christmas record // 3 dum dums // 4 tattooes // 5 cars // 6 stickers // 7 harmonica // 8 plane // 9 crayons // 10 pocky // 11 animal figurines // 12 book
This year is the first year Hooper kinda gets Christmas. He doesn’t grasp the concept of Santa or reindeer or lights, but this boy is catching on quick to the concept of prizes. I did a modified version of the advent calender this year and it’s proven to be just as much fun for Willy and I as it is for Hooper. Each day we put a little prize in a decorated, easy to open, paper bag under the tree. The boys eyes light up when he notices that little green bag under the tree. Last night, he squealed, “new pie-z” (new prize)! His favorites thus far have been the lollipops (he is my child after all) and the little animal figurines. I’m short on prizes, so I even wrapped up some toys he’s forgotten about. He’s two and not the genius he will be one day, so whatever.
Did you do an advent calendar? I’m already looking forward to doing something more elaborate next year!
Side note: Special congrats to Janine for winning the giveaway from Little Foot Boutique. For those that are still interested in making a purchase, you can use promo code STORK15 for 15% off. 

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A California Christmas

I woke up early Christmas morning. I suppose there was a smidgen of residual excitement left over from childhood. Anticipation of pulling back the covers, feeling the cool winter air, and stepping out to the family room with bed head intact to admire all the packages awaiting to be opened under the tree. Only this year we don’t have a tree. Not a real one anyway. A tinsel tree. Because we have a one year old that will grab, pull, and potentially eat all those tiny pine needles. And also a dog that’s scared of just about, well, just about everything. There was no cool winter air either, I think it was in the upper 70’s here in sunny SoCal.
Back to waking up early.
It was 7:30am and I peeked over at Willy. I saw him itch his chinny chin chin and thought ah-ha!, he’s awake!… So I gave his shoulder a little tickle. He pulled his pillow over his face and gave me a sarcastic and ever-so-cute buh humbug. I chuckled, laid there for a few more moments, and reflected on just how lucky I am.
This Christmas I am incredibly grateful for this little family we’ve made. A loving husband and an always entertaining little boy. They are my purpose in life. My constant reminders of what’s beautiful and meaningful.
There may not be a real tree, but there is real love in this little home of ours this Christmas morning.
Here’s a few photos from our day, though it should be aforementioned I’m not the best at photographing holidays. I like to enjoy them :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side note: I know you’re wondering about those festive sneakers. Those are my grandma’s and they are nothing short of ffffaaaannnntastic. She’s upset because they “don’t make them anymore”. My Christmas gift to her next year: a recreation. I’ll be stocking up on snazzy jewels and glue. 
How did you spend your Christmas?