Hooper @ 4 years, 8 months

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You insist on sleeping in your underwear. Anytime we’d put you in actual pajamas, you’d wake up in the morning with them on the floor. It’s made getting ready for bed that much easier, so cheers to that.
You’re more rambunctious than ever. Sometime within the past few months the top of the energy jar just flew right off. You’re like a bull in a china shop these days. The thought of getting anything done in the hours that you’re awake has become a joke.
With that said, you’re no longer napping. I wrote about it here. We’re still adjusting…
You started at a new school. When asked about your day, you said, “Felix (your best bud from your old school) wasn’t there, but I didn’t cry”. You seemed to enjoy yourself and participated right along with everyone else.
Disciplining you has been a challenge. Most of the usual techniques have zero impact on you, some you even find humorous. It can really make my blood boil. The other day you spit in my face. Another time you threw a rock at me that landed right on my jaw bone. We’re still figuring out this parenting thing… Times like this make it very trying.
When writing your name, you almost always leave out the ‘e’ and the ‘r’, so it just reads “Hoop”.
Even with that, you’re equal parts sweet and sour. You still love to cuddle and if there were cuddling competitions, you’d certainly have a shot at winning. You can curl your body into the smallest, most fetal position while on my lap. You caress my arm often and tell me you love me numerous times throughout the day.
You can take your clothes off but haven’t figured out to put them on. You’re like a slutty teenager.
You write mostly with your left hand and strum the guitar with your left hand, too.
All things associated with your butt are humorous. You think it’s funny to back up into us with your pants pulled down just enough so we can see your crack. You also like taking off all your clothes and referring to yourself as a “poo butt”.
You tell lots of stories and have a great imagination and a noteworthy memory. You were able to direct the babysitter all the way to Nina’s house.
Books about reptiles, dinosaurs, or sea creatures hold your attention most these days. You’re not particularly into sports, but you like climbing and digging and building.
You go to bed around 8:30pm and wake up anywhere between 7:15 and 8:30am.
You have a natural six pack and can do push-ups with impressive technique. The other day I punished you by making you do 10 push-ups. It felt good.
You’ve switched from hating swim lessons to loving swim lessons. Probably because you now know how to swim, though I’m not sure you’re entirely pool safe yet. And some days you get asked to leave class for not listening.
American cheese is your jam. You ask for the individually wrapped kraft squares constantly. You pronounce it “‘merikan”. It goes without saying that a grilled cheese sandwich is the one thing I can serve you and not have to hound you to sit down and finish your food.
Other things I love that you say: Popsicle is “pa-sickle” and lobster is “womp-ster”.
You’re in size 4T clothes but can still fit into size 2T underwear.
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The Bee & The Fox

The Bee & The Fox-43Not much happens too quickly around here these days, but I have finally managed to add another shirt to our Etsy shop and in celebration of doing so we’re having a sale: Use code BIRD15 for 15% off your purchase of $50 or more. Code expires 8/28. Hopefully no one minds about me posting this here… I’m always so appreciative of any and all support you guys show. And many thanks to my beautiful friend Cindy for modeling for me. Ain’t she purdy?

 

 

 

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A Family Session

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San Diego, California
Interested in booking a session? Shoot me an email: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com.

 

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Thirty Four

Southern California Photographer-1147 Southern California Photographer-1152A portrait of my family once a week, most weeks, in 2015
Willy: Stepped in dog poop. It wasn’t Jimmie’s.
Hooper: Killed a moth, by accident, then sadly said, “I’m gonna put him here on the rock so he can grow back”.
Van: Learned how to use a pencil sharpener and referred to his pencil as “getting a haircut”. Speaking of haircuts, he needs one.
Me: Gosh it’s hard to write about yourself without saying how much you have to do or how tired you are. Who’s with me? My heart is happy, my desk is messy. How’s that?
Jimmie: Has the fastest tongue in the west, no doubt. Also is able to lick his butt. You do the math. 52weekproject-b

 

 

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Life

Souther California Photographer-54Souther California Photographer-338I wish you could see the very scene that surrounds me at this very moment — it’s the scene that in hindsight is responsible for much of my exhaustion as of late, my inability to get anything done, and the end of whatever alone time Willy and I once had. I’m referring to this high-energy child of mine that is currently running circles around me, chasing Jimmie – who is terrified – with a water gun… simultaneously making a mess of the house I just spent the last day cleaning.
I’m referring to the fact Hooper is no longer napping.
Sure, I’ve mentioned it before… but when I mentioned it before I didn’t quite understand the full ramifications. I didn’t directly correlate the unanswered emails, the unwashed dishes, the unfinished blog posts, not to mention the sanity that comes with even just 30 minutes of peace and quiet.
We had a good run, I know. I realize he will soon be 5 and that we are just now giving up those solid couple of hours of afternoon delight. No pun intended. Or maybe there was, you be the judge. All I know is that at this moment I have a confiscated leaking water gun on my lap that’s making it look like I’ve pissed my pants, a dog at my feet hoping to find some safe haven, and a wide awake 4-year-old that desperately wants to wake his sleeping brother and is determined to occupy me with 10 silly demands until that time comes. And then that time will come and soon enough they’ll be fighting.
It baffles me that my blog has survived having my first child, then my second child, and even my 13-level-spinal-fusion, only to go dark – or darkish (there was a time I used to write everyday)- when one of said children has stopped napping.
Such is life. In any event, I’m having to figure out new systems for getting shit done. I’ve yet to solve the catastrophes of my inbox. But shit, I have yet to solve how to stop a 4-year-old from squirting a water gun at an overly anxious dog. First things first. And so, the emails pile.
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Three

Southern California Photographer-1079I’m not sure how I recognize the pattern of birthday parties sneaking up on me and still have not seemed to conquer such by planning ahead. I suppose it’s just not a huge priority of mine and I’m getting more comfortable with admitting such.
After a week in Arizona, where for much of the time I felt under the weather, we returned home to the usual chaos that seems to greet us each time we leave only to return again: the piles of laundry, the house that smells because of some yellow that got left and mellowed too long, the empty fridge that refuses to let us break the cycle – thanks to traveling – of eating out, and the children that – despite the long haul – are still raring to go at all hours of the day.
We planned on hitting up Baby Beach and I hung to hope that there might even be an open picnic table, in the shade, that we could inhabit into the afternoon. But when we couldn’t even find parking, we quickly circled back around and planted ourselves at Doheny Beach instead, where we had a table, the shade of the empty lifeguard tower for Jimmie, and enough sand space to call our own — all going to show that you can’t always get what you want, but oftentimes you still get just what you need. We spent the morning with family swimming in the sea (well, the guys anyway), drinking lemonade, and watching the boys enjoy themselves. Having had to work the entire day before, I owe thanks to my mother-in-law for there being cupcakes to eat and a candle to blow out and to my own mom for providing refreshments and snacks. I suck at this stuff, I really do.
There were a few moments of ‘good-lord-I-didn’t-raise-him-that-way’ that are sure to come on a three year old’s birthday; moments of tears over the promised skateboard that had not yet been purchased but was planned for later in the day being the main culprit of impatience and whining that seemed to quickly disappear upon unwrapping a basketball, a transformer, a toy motorcycle, and a shirt with a baseball on it — all things his little three year old mind could think to ask for, and then some.
We returned home for midday naps, something I too partook in only to wake up a few hours later and find the guys on the sofa downstairs asleep as well. Everyone but Hooper, who refuses to nap anymore despite days where I know he really could use the pick-me-up. I woke Van, who was snuggled in bed with all of his new loot – his basketball next to his pillow and his motorcycle in his arms – and we took off for the skate shop just down the street.
He held his new skateboard in his lap all the way to dinner and then downright insisted to sleep with his helmet on, his skateboard lying adjacent to him.
I’m not really sure how the years go so fast, but I didn’t find myself dwelling on itt. Instead, I watched my youngest push himself along on his skateboard and felt proud of how independent and strong he his. No need to stay a baby forever when this stage, too, provides so much to be proud of.
Happy third birthday, Van. You are my everything.
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Pinetop, Arizona

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When you’re not feeling well, it’s really hard to snap out of it. As we drove up the mountain, following the bends of the road through old dilapidated mining towns, all I could think of is how badly I wanted to have the energy to take my camera out of it’s bag; how badly I wanted to piss Willy off by making him pull off the road as I do so often on these long stretches of road we seem to find ourselves on often. Feeling tired, rundown, with what felt like a knife stabbing me in my throat, I sat quiet and had no choice but to sit back and take it all in; mental snapshots clicking constantly in my mind making me feel as though the whole ‘take it all in’ phenomena is grossly overrated.
We arrived in Pinetop, a place Willy has more or less grown up through the years, and stayed at the cabin that has been in his family for three generations.
The cabin was everything a cabin should be; creaky doors, the smell of old wood that greets you like an old memory, and the lack of natural light that only a cabin in the woods should be able to pull off. The boys spent much time riding their bikes and skateboards on the porch, collecting rocks, digging holes, and more-or-less earning the bath they never got. I spent much of that first day in a lazy boy chair, with my feet up, wishing I felt better and cursing that voice that says “at least you’re in a beautiful place” because who can enjoy such beauty when you feel like shit?
I spent much of the night swallowing relentlessly; trying ever-so-hard to clear my throat and gagging in such a way that I’m sure had Willy’s blood boiling with annoyance. In any event, I felt better after a few days but not before gaining that appreciation for health that always seems to come perfectly packaged after not feeling well.
Everyone else arrived the following morning and we spent that afternoon and evening in the neighboring town of Springerville, where we met up with more family.
The following day the majority of the group went fishing while Willy’s mom and I hit up some of the thrifts; something that despite my own overflowing closets and cycle of donation, I cannot seem to pass up. I found a gorgeous red dress, a wood-framed mirror with a wooden cactus overlying the mirror section, and some petrified wood bookends. That evening we took off for the X Diamond Ranch to celebrate Willy’s Dad’s 60th birthday. The boys had a great time with the horses and exploring the grounds, which are nothing short of breathtaking. A place we’ve added to our growing list of “must visit again” and given the fact they have affordable cabins  you can rent, I’m sure one of these days we’ll do just that.
After a long weekend at the cabin, we drove back down the mountain and relaxed for a day in the quintessential Arizona heat that can only be cured by submerging yourself in water; water that has itself been tainted by the heat and provides the same kind of relief that a pixie cup filled with sugary lemonade provides when you’re dehydrated.
Nevertheless, a nice getaway that ended with me feeling better… Just in time to unpack the car and start the never-ending loads of laundry.
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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.
I’m off to Seattle today, trying to check all the last things off the to-do list so I can sit and relax on a plane – by myself – and enjoy some quality time with Janet (and shoot a few family sessions, too). Hope you all have a good rest of your week.
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