Sonny @ 12 months

the stork & the beanstalk photograhy

 

Growth & Appearance:

Your teeth are starting to make their way in. Your one fang is still the most prominent but you have it’s opposite as well as your top two front teeth also just starting to poke through. Otherwise, not much change; your hair is still a light brown, eyes still grey, same size 4 diapers, and same size clothing (12-18 months).

Your hair grows by the second is most always in your eyes. We’re letting it grow out and I joked to your Papa that we should just dress you as a girl for a few months solely for the purpose of using a clip to keep it out of your face.

ashley jennett

 

Sleeping:

Much the same as last month as well; you’re awake from about 7-10am, then again from 2-4pm, and again from 6-8pm. The rest of the time is spent napping or sleeping through the night. You sleep in your crib, with your blanket, which you don’t show any real obvious signs of attachment to. I try to keep the blinds open for your afternoon nap so as to not create any sort of consistent sleep environment, the hope being of course, that you will nap anywhere and everywhere. You go down without a fight, ever. Nursing rarely puts you sleep except on the rare occasion.

ashley jennett
Eating:

You’ve spent the last month throwing the majority of your food on the floor. With less time to give it much attention, I’ve wrote it off as part of teething and am leaning on a hope and a whim that you will eat when you need to. Somedays it feels like you hardly eat anything at all. You’ve even thrown some of your favorites, which makes me think it’s your teeth causing you pain. You had a fever for at least a week and seemingly a cold for several weeks. You were on antibiotics, which helped, but then you got another cold soon after that. So, eating has suffered this month.

I refer to crackers as my ‘shut-the-fuck-up-biscuits’ and they’re my go-to when you’re losing your shit at the table.

That said, nursing has been easy. I’m ready to be done with it and have weaning in the back of my head, but we’ll get there little by little. I cut out your late night feeding so I am no longer waking you up to feed you before I go to bed. I’ve been going to bed earlier because of it, which is a nice reprieve. I’ve also started giving you some cow milk during the day just to give you a taste and get you used to taking a bottle from me. You don’t drink more than an ounce or two from it, but you seem to take to it well enough. You breastfeed 6 times a day.

ashley jennett

Development:

You figured out how to get off the bed all by yourself by turning over on your stomach and going down feet first. You fell face first off a rock at the beach the other day and I watched as you climbed right back up it and tried again, using your getting-off-the-bed technique. You were quite proud of yourself.

You say ‘thank you’ and you use it appropriately; meaning you aren’t just repeating it back at us but instead you will say it after I give you a cracker.

You’ve fallen off your ‘ut-oh’ kick; meaning you’re only saying it a few times a day, which is a dramatic decrease from the nearly 100 times you were saying it last month.

You can blow and make the cutest pursed lips when we put a candle in front of you.

You attempt to jump but your feet don’t actually leave the ground.

You scream at the top of your lungs when you want something. It’s the most piercing and gut-wrenching thing. You’re the worst to bring to restaurants and you shrill turns the head of any guest we invite into our home.

You love the beach and will wander off on your own and entertain yourself in a way that makes me think we need to spend all 7 of your waking hours at the sea.

You play quite well by yourself in your crated off area in the morning but after that you get kinda pissy about being pushed off to the side. You’ve actually started moving the entire contraption; using it like an old man would a walker. It’s quite the scene to be doing the dishes in the kitchen only to be interrupted by you turning the corner pushing a five foot long plastic crate full of toys. the stork & the beanstalk photograhy
Favorites:

You’re quite in to the mini hand sanitizer bottles as well as the kids medicine bottles. I think the ridges on the tops of the medicine bottles feel good on your teeth; in any event, they are strewn all over the floor in numerous rooms of the house.

You also love being outside.the stork & the beanstalk photograhy

Time and the way it flies…

san clemente family photographer-6797Everyone talks about how fast life seems to go, perhaps even more so when you’re a parent and you can see all these little (big) changes that when juxtaposed to the same time just the year before point to how things change, seemingly overnight. The start of kindergarten already pressing down of the culmination of such. A single tooth sitting in my medicine cabinet because the sentimentality of throwing something away that’s been with him for six years feels strange (and yet, so does keeping it). A mouth full of others starting to wiggle, they way he has to bite down on chips out of the side of his mouth a staple for this phase of life. Excitement over new a new toy now giving way to periods of boredom. Tantrums, that we thought were behind us, rearing their mean head; “I hate being a kid” and “I want to make the rules” being my two (least) favorite mantas. And yet, sewn into all of it such innocence and tenderness, am empathy that’s always been a part of who he is; the pare I treasure most about him. From baby, to toddler, to boy all in the blink of an eye; and now, from boy to, I dunno, kid. I can’t think of a guest more uninviting than time. 

A Family Session | Dori, Adam, Noah

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I snapped these images of Dori and Adam, with sweet Noah, on the brink of the end of one chapter of motherhood and the start of another. The decision of when to ween a breastfed child is so individual, the signs of such different for everyone.

Just the other month we were out to lunch when I took Sonny into the restroom to breastfeed; the distractions at the table proving too much these days for his little wild grabby hands to settle down long enough to get him to latch. Another mom walked in and said, “aw, you shouldn’t have to do that in here”, insinuating that I was in there for privacy reasons instead of trapping a child that’s not as interested in nursing as I’d like him to be sometimes. After explaining this, she said, “maybe it’s time to start weening him”. The words stung because, well, at that time I was not ready to stop nursing. And truthfully, I knew it was just a phase he was going through.

My sessions with Dori and Adam are always natural, centered around conversation first and shooting second; which is truthfully how I prefer to shoot. We talked about the plan to ween and it was evident in how often he made his way back to her breast that Noah was aware of the plan, too.

The closing of some chapters of motherhood are more painful than others. Even when we know we’re making the best decision for us, there are always seeds of doubt, always a grieving period even when the decision is within our control.

So much love to Dori, Adam, and Noah for inviting me in to capture the end of this chapter. Wishing you guys the best on the pages that have yet to be written.

Past sessions with Dori can be viewed here, here, and here

First Birthday

San Clemente Family Photographer-1490 San Clemente Family Photographer-3557I can’t even remember what my official due date was, I believe it was the 5th, all I knew is that it came and went and I felt this rush of urgency over a bomb I had no control in the detonation of. Waking each morning and wondering if today was the day; my concentration on minuscule things like the weather or what astrological sign he (though we did not know it was a ‘he’ at the time) would be born under.

All the anxiety and anticipation bounding inside me, like water on the brink of boiling. So that when it did happen, it happened without question, an audible pop from inside me like the cork flying out of a champagne bottle.

Our only planned hospital birth and as irony would have it, he was nearly born in the car. Forty-five minutes of complete surrender to a pain that left no room to even will it’s disappearance. A few minutes collecting things at home, a 25 minute drive, a 10 minute transfer up to a room, and five minutes total in a hospital bed. And there he was, in my arms, all 10 lbs of him. Another boy. But more importantly, another healthy boy.

My sweet Sonny, I fought for you. You are the third I knew I always wanted well before you were even you. I had no hope of who you’d be or what you’d be, I just knew I needed you. And now I know why. You are potentially (I mean, I can always hold onto hope, right?) the last piece to the puzzle. You are so loved and you have protection built in for life by way of two older brothers that adore you but hate when you touch their legos. Happy first birthday, mi amor.

(Sonny’s birth story can be found here).

People Who Knew Me

No matter the size of the audience, I think anyone that posts anything these days does a second peek back to see how it was perceived; to see how it was accepted or liked or if it proved relevant in the lives of others. And that’s just social media. Imagine publishing a novel. I suppose others aren’t privy to the process; the time, dedication, push and pull that is the publishing world. My own knowledge, limited, even as a sister to a published author. But witness, I have. The highs, the lows, the triumphs, the defeats. It’s such a ruthless industry. In any event, I mentioned it here before that my sister is now a published author. Her book has been out for coming up on a year and if you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. You can read the reviews and purchase it here.

Sonny @ 11 Months

San Clemente Family Photographer-6286

Growth & Appearance: You finally have your first tooth and it’s neither your center front nor bottom but instead your right lateral incisor. The same tooth on the opposite side is making it’s way down as well so I suppose you may look a little vampire-ish here shortly.

You have lots of hair, so-much-so that it could use a cut but we’re opting to let it grow out. You get called a girl every now and again and we think* that’s why. In some photos your hair looks blond but I’d still call it a light brown.

We weigh you on our shipping scale and last I checked, you’re still 22 lbs. I suppose you’re growing in height but not weight, which is typical to your brothers’ growth pattern.

You’re in size 4 diapers and size 18m clothes.San Clemente Family Photographer-6294

 

Sleeping: It’s easier to calculate the hours per day that you’re awake, which is about 8. You wake up with your brothers around 7:15am and go down for your morning nap at 10am. I wake you at 2pm if you’re still sleeping and you’re ready for a nap, again, at 4pm. Once again, I wake you around 6pm so you can eat dinner and then you play for a bit before going down, with your brothers, around 8:30pm. I can’t remember the last time you woke up during the night.

You sleep and nap in your crib, which is in your brothers room. We have yet to buy you blanket of your own, but it’s been on my list of things. (Well that was a time suck because after I typed that I went off into the internet dark hole of blanket shopping and now have over $600 worth of blankets in my cart to chose from. And the good Lord knows we need two of whichever one we by because, gross. Anyway, still haven’t ordered one but I think I found the ‘one’.)San Clemente Family Photographer-6278
Eating: You’re far more particular these days and know exactly what you want. If we’re eating one thing but offering you something else, in general (unless it’s a banana), you’re skeptical. If we’re having pancakes for breakfast, for example, I have to be sure to give you your delicious mix of oatmeal and spinach and fruit before the pancakes hit the table because as soon as dem pancakes hit the table, the oatmeal gets wildly pushed away, hands start flailing, the screech hits a piercing level, and your highchair starts moving from the momentum of your feet kicking so hard.

That said, you eat well enough but your preference, much like your mama, is for the carbs. Anything bread related is a thumbs up. Your favorites from day one, however, are still your favorites today: banana and avocado and sweet potato. Nearly everything else goes through phases; one day you love blueberries and eat the whole carton and the next day you’re throwing them on the floor.

You breastfeed 7 times a day and the distraction at the breast seems to have faded, thankfully. You’re super efficient and don’t take long to eat but feeding you in public is still not a possibility. I’ll be happy to hit the one year mark so that I can take it all a bit easier and try to worry less.San Clemente Family Photographer-6282
Development: You no longer crawl and are walking with confidence, your little scapula pinching together while your back is arched and arms are out like chicken wings. It’s my favorite stage, hands down and most days you’re making my ovaries beg to have another.

You can squat down and pick up a toy and continue walking without falling but haven’t figured out going down steps, but you’re studying them for sure and contemplating the plunge.

You make it hard to go out to eat as you’re still doing the excited scream that’s sure to make even the nicest of patrons skin crawl.

You said your first word, “doggie” last month but no longer say it so I’m not sure whether to count it or not. You do say “ut-oh” on the regular and use it correctly, so I may change that to your first word instead. You love to drop something for the mere sake of being able to say “ut-oh” and, once again, the ovaries… they hurt.

You entertain yourself much easier now and are find being in your fenced in area under the stairs. We find you often with your basket of toys emptied and you sitting in the middle of your basket like an egg in a nest.

You prefer toys that play music and boogie often to the beat.

You point a lot and make baby sign language seem silly simply based on how much you’re able to communicate through pointing. And screaming.

You’re super playful and have a great sense of humor. You’re always looking for something to laugh at or someone to chase you.

Changing your diaper is the pits; you’re super squirmy. But you don’t mind your nose wiped. Makes not sense.San Clemente Family Photographer-6289

Favorites: You love any toy that makes music. You also love eating the wax out of the candle by my bed.

A friend in need…

The house I grew up in backed up to several hills. I remember the FBI was there once because they found some ‘women’s articles’ down one of the trails. I also remember there being an obvious camping spot someone was using down the same trail, at the creek bed, where there was hardly ever any running water because, well, California drought. Up above our house, on another trail, was the foundation of a house that once was; the kind of abandoned land that raised more questions than answers, starting with the fact there was no road that led to it. We had cats, outdoor cats at that, and I’m not quite sure how they survived given the amount of coyotes. At least once there was a bobcat sighting. And I distinctly remember driving home late after a party in high school only to see a bear in the middle of the road. To this day my parents presume I was seeing things and after all these years, maybe they were right.

But the biggest threat of all was the Santa Susana winds. Kinda like the way grey skies from afar paint an ominous scene those winds, on those hot days, brought with them a certain degree of dread, of fear. Because we all knew that with the winds came the threat of fire. We’ve packed up the cars several times. I remember bringing fire fighters powdered donuts. I also remember looking out the window and watching my dad hose things down with water as if a little water here and there would do the trick, lessen the risk. We were kind of in the boonies and for a long time, with not many homes around us, we weren’t really a priority of the fire department. Especially when neighboring hills were so much more populated. In any event, I can still remember the fear of losing our home; the fear of having to reevaluate our lives in the absence of the stuff we’ve collected and built and saved.

All this to say that when my sweet friend Kate shared the story of her friend Sunny (@buffaloargosy), a fellow airstream renovator, my heart sunk. A week or so ago, while Sunny and her sweet boy were away from their home, Sunny’s parents’ home caught fire and it spread to their airstream. Her folks and Sunny’s nieces and nephews barely made it out of the house and a beloved pet was lost. A GoFundMe has been set up by Sunny’s sister and while the goal has been met to fix the actual house, the left over money is being given to Sunny to repair her home, the airstream. Every little bit helps, even the love and prayers. If you feel inclined to donate, you can so by clicking here.