A day late & a dollar short | Spring

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

ashley jennett

You know when you’re so busy that you have to intentionally carve out time to do things that you want to do (as opposed to need to do) so that by the time you actually clear space to do so you realize you don’t enjoy it quite as much because the burden of having to carve time out to do it has just become another weight on an already full plate? That’s how I’ve felt as of late. With my heart being drawn to this space but other areas in my life proving more demanding; especially this time of year, Mother’s Day being our shop’s busiest time, the culmination of the school year (Hooper’s a kindergarten graduate!), and summer vacations (all good stuff, but still, rat-on-the-wheel vibes).

In any event, time has been moving faster than ever and at this rate and I’m ashamed to admit that it’s already summer and I have yet to blog about spring. Or do about 50 other things on my I-wish-I-had-more-time list. Part of the issue being a cluttered desk which, for me, always brings with it a form of writer’s block; or an inability to figuratively clear my mind when my area is literally, well, cluttered. I’m surrounded this very moment by an office covered with cardboard boxes of varying shapes and sizes, crafting supplies, trash, and a wall hanging that I’ve been meaning to hang but that Jimmie has made his pseudo bed so I can’t bring myself to pull it out from under him cuz, well, he’s my office buddy.

In any event, we spent some time out in the desert. First with friends and then, just days later, back again for a family photoshoot (that’s my reminder to self to start sharing some of my latest sessions, ugh, see, the weight?… it gets heavier). When we went back, we brought just Sonny (my parents kept the older boys) and it was a nice reminder to just how easy we had it when the ratio was two to one. Not that we knew that then because, well, fucking hindsight is a bitch like that. It was calm and quiet and slow. Not to mention more baby safe than our house, which we’ve never been good at baby-proofing; the stairs, in particular, being the thorn in our site (they’re late 70’s and not baby gate friendly). So it was nice to not have to get up off our butts every two seconds. We drove around and looked at land (it’s always been our dream to build a house out in the desert) and came across a desert tortoise, which, of course we took for a sign that we should buy land that we can’t afford and built the house of dreams that we also can’t afford. Because, you know, the tortoise.

Came home for a few days so Hooper could show his face at school and then headed out to Arizona to celebrate the Easter holiday with family. The boys spent time in the pool, which was freezing by my born-and-raised-in-Southern-California standards, spent time with their cousins, and hiked the hills; the Sonoran Desert in full bloom, too, and proving as beautiful as ever.

And, just like that, summer. Or, has been summer… and by the time I actually hit publish on this post, it may very well be fall.

A Road Trip | Arizona

san-clemente-family-photographer-4251 san-clemente-family-photographer-4281 san-clemente-family-photographer-4301 san-clemente-family-photographer-4269 san-clemente-family-photographer-4273 san-clemente-family-photographer-4285 san-clemente-family-photographer-4289 san-clemente-family-photographer-4310 san-clemente-family-photographer-4311 san-clemente-family-photographer-4341 san-clemente-family-photographer-4343 san-clemente-family-photographer-4365 san-clemente-family-photographer-4470 san-clemente-family-photographer-4367 san-clemente-family-photographer-4322 san-clemente-family-photographer-4397 san-clemente-family-photographer-4376 san-clemente-family-photographer-4427 san-clemente-family-photographer-4394 san-clemente-family-photographer-4432 san-clemente-family-photographer-4421 san-clemente-family-photographer-4612 san-clemente-family-photographer-4428 san-clemente-family-photographer-4442 san-clemente-family-photographer-4484 san-clemente-family-photographer-4581 san-clemente-family-photographer-4497 san-clemente-family-photographer-4607 san-clemente-family-photographer-4506 san-clemente-family-photographer-4438 san-clemente-family-photographer-4518 san-clemente-family-photographer-4570 san-clemente-family-photographer-4537 san-clemente-family-photographer-4585 san-clemente-family-photographer-4598 san-clemente-family-photographer-4616 san-clemente-family-photographer-4638 san-clemente-family-photographer-4673 san-clemente-family-photographer-4645 san-clemente-family-photographer-4664 san-clemente-family-photographer-4724 san-clemente-family-photographer-4722 san-clemente-family-photographer-4733 san-clemente-family-photographer-4738 san-clemente-family-photographer-4742 san-clemente-family-photographer-4748 san-clemente-family-photographer-4756 san-clemente-family-photographer-4758 san-clemente-family-photographer-4744 san-clemente-family-photographer-4762 san-clemente-family-photographer-4760 san-clemente-family-photographer-4763 san-clemente-family-photographer-4770 san-clemente-family-photographer-4767 san-clemente-family-photographer-4777 san-clemente-family-photographer-4782 san-clemente-family-photographer-4804 san-clemente-family-photographer-4812 san-clemente-family-photographer-4829 san-clemente-family-photographer-4850 san-clemente-family-photographer-4872 san-clemente-family-photographer-5131 san-clemente-family-photographer-4865 san-clemente-family-photographer-4884 san-clemente-family-photographer-4896 san-clemente-family-photographer-5126 san-clemente-family-photographer-4902 san-clemente-family-photographer-4912 san-clemente-family-photographer-4914 san-clemente-family-photographer-4998 san-clemente-family-photographer-5052 san-clemente-family-photographer-5064 san-clemente-family-photographer-5092 san-clemente-family-photographer-5108 san-clemente-family-photographer-5143

Even three kids deep, I feel like we are still learning so many of the basics of parenthood; like the freedom in forging our own paths and molding new traditions. For the last few years it’s felt like the holidays have brought a lot of fumbles, like they creep up so fast and take over before a plan ever gets formulated. Throw in the unpredictability of my hospital work schedule (I’m required to work one major holiday but do not get the official schedule until the being of December) and it’s easy to let the season grab us by the proverbial balls. So it felt nice this year to try something new and combine a bit of family with a bit of adventure. And so, we hit up a few towns in Arizona before making our way to Willy’s parent’s house outside of Phoenix.

We were able to take off a few days earlier than expected due to a last minute change in my hospital work schedule. So we got the last of our shop orders out, threw the final things in the truck, and headed to the town of Prescott to visit Willy’s old boss who has retired there. We watched the temperature drop from the 60s here in California (which to-be-fair is freezing by California standards) all the way to the low 30s as we made our way into Prescott. We spent time exploring the downtown and stayed at the historic St. Michael hotel, right on the corner at the end of Whiskey Row. If only you could safely leave sleeping children in a hotel room. Despite the cold temperatures, we walked quite a bit; I could feel my jeans get cold each time I took a step as they separated from my body only to return with a cold bite. The boys rocked jackets over t-shirts, refusing to wear any of the adorable knit sweaters I brought for them (luckily I hadn’t removed any tags. Ho hum.) and Sonny stayed bundled up in one of those zip up fleece onesies that had him looking – and I’m sure feeling – like the kid from A Christmas Story. And poor Van, sporting two left shoes for the entirety of our trip. At least they matched.

The trees in the center of downtown were all lit, a scarf wrapped around the base of most with the sweetest handwritten notes reading sentiments like, “take me, if you’re cold”. A town filled with lovely people, beautiful turquoise, and so much Christmas cheer it was hard to not stay and enjoy what ended up being 6 inches of snow on Christmas Eve.

But alas, we headed through the mountains to the town of Jerome. A super small mining town that boasts having once been the fourth largest city in Arizona but nowadays is more well known for its ghost tours; The Grand Hotel having once been a hospital that served as the end of the line for many of the miners that contracted TB.

We stayed at a historic home that arguably has a more captivating history than the town itself. Built in 1898 to house mining executives, then sold to a family of five who survived the mudslide in the 1950s that completely destroyed the majority of the home. The floor rolled up and tangled with heaps of mud until 2013, when the home was completely renovated back to it’s original glory. And when I say original glory, I’m talking original wood burning stove glory. Complete with the added battle-wound-markers, like the plaques that are found throughout the home to show just how high the mud reached. And heaps of framed photos documenting the restoration process. A process that had to be none other than a labor of love seeing just how difficult it was to drive our pickup truck up its windy steep path, let alone the machinery needed for that kind of construction.

It wasn’t a bad place to be stuck when a stomach bug took a few of us down. The tree swing proving a peaceful retreat during the breaks in the storm that came sweeping through and made staying in, despite illness, somewhat enjoyable. A break in the travel go-see-do mentality.

We spent the better part of a day driving through Sedona and stopped at Arcosanti on the way to Chandler, where Willy’s family lives. And from that point on it’s kind of a blur, with too many Christmas shenanigans to count and the mound of new toys making my head spin. The best kind of blur, I suppose.

We made it back just before the New Year and were greeted with rain, which for those in California is so coveted these days. The perfect way to ease back into the whirlwind that is everyday life. Unpacking, laundry, sorting, donating, regrouping. And, just like that, the calendar flips, one year ends, another begins, and life goes on.

Woman’s March

Processed with VSCO with b6 preset

Processed with VSCO with b5 preset

Processed with VSCO with b4 preset

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Processed with VSCO with b4 preset

Processed with VSCO with 3 preset

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

Hot damn the topic of politics can bring out some rippin’ and roarin’. While the majority of what people posted on social media (and by ‘social media’ I mean instagram because I’ll be damned if I have time for anything else these days) seemed to be with good flavor, I have a twinge of a bad taste left from a few of the comments on one image I posted on our shop feed as well as some of the other less-than-supportive sentiments I came across on the feeds of others. And it’s just like those bad tastes to ruin your palate all together, isn’t it? In any event, we marched the good march; not so much in protest because what’s done is done. But we marched for solidarity.

I had intentions of attending one of the larger marches but having just come back from Arizona the night before after lying Willy’s beautiful grandma to rest, the local march here – in San Clemente – was about all we could muster the energy for. And in hindsight standing amongst our local neighbors and fellow sisters was meaningful in a way that I needed.

It was fast and rather uneventful; the boys chasing their sweet friend Hazel, Sonny drifting off to sleep, and the rest of us walking amongst the honking horns in a sea of homemade signs reminiscent of so many that came before them; we shall overcome, a women’s place is in the revolution, and so on and so forth.

Prior to the march, I spent time talking to the boys about what it means to be a woman, a human, and how we can better support women and each other. For me, it’s not about bashing our new President as much as it is about talking about what’s right, what’s fair, and what equality means. We talked about respect and compassion and what those seemingly cliche words mean. We talked about embracing differences and practicing tolerance. All concepts worth introducing, regardless of the weight they carry.

And so, they carried their signs, they gave some hugs, they marched. But mostly they ran and laughed and played. Because while we’re busy working on their future, they’re busy staying in the moment.


An addendum: I think so many of us harbor good intentions but meet road blocks when trying to transition said intentions into any sort of meaningful action. The sheer volume that turned out to the marches is great, but for many, it ended when the march ended. And not so much out of apathy but out of paralysis; paralysis stemming from just how big the issues we’re facing are. So big that it’s hard for any one individual to conceptualize what needs to be done and so, many of us end up doing nothing.  I’ve been mulling over a few ideas in my head in ways I can help and contribute on an individual level. Aside from the teaching I’m doing at home, because that goes without saying.

How about you? Any ideas of how to take action?

All images shot with my iPhone after taking my camera out only to realize I had no battery life. Ho hum. Long live the iPhone. 


san-clemente-family-photographer-1268 san-clemente-family-photographer-1275 san-clemente-family-photographer-1295 san-clemente-family-photographer-1325 san-clemente-family-photographer-1361 san-clemente-family-photographer-1371 san-clemente-family-photographer-1286 san-clemente-family-photographer-1298 san-clemente-family-photographer-1302 san-clemente-family-photographer-1311 san-clemente-family-photographer-1313 san-clemente-family-photographer-1327 san-clemente-family-photographer-1290 san-clemente-family-photographer-1339 san-clemente-family-photographer-1343 san-clemente-family-photographer-1282 san-clemente-family-photographer-1356 san-clemente-family-photographer-1300 san-clemente-family-photographer-1358 san-clemente-family-photographer-1387 san-clemente-family-photographer-1369 san-clemente-family-photographer-1385 san-clemente-family-photographer-1372I debated whether to title this post ‘Thanksgiving’ or, what I went with, ‘Ventura’, because while both are true, one doesn’t let on to just how late I am in posting. Feeling fortunate to have the time over the holidays to get caught up on a few things here and hoping that in the new year I can continue the jive I’ve got going now that I feel as though I’ve purged the closet. More or less, anyway.

In any event, we spent Thanksgiving in the Ventura area where we met up with my side of the family and enjoyed the company of a cousin I have not seen for 10 years. So nice to reunite and to catch up. I had a family session in the area as well because, well, two birds, one stone (with any luck I’ll find the time to share some images from it soon). Willy met up with some of his friends over the long weekend as well, while I caught up on some work (like I do) and tended to the wild beasts (like I do). And we managed to swing over to a friend’s birthday party where we learned Sonny will fight for balloons and where Van had his head buried in the lap of one little girl in particular for much of the evening. Mark my words, that kid is going to be trouble with the ladies. We swung by downtown briefly in hopes of finding some fabric we need for an upholstery project but couldn’t find a local shop that had any holidays sales, though we did hit up a used bookstore and let the boys each pick a few books (which, if you saw their room, is clearly not what we need more of — the current book situation is near the top of my tending-to-our-home-and-finally-unpacking list). And while Sonny napped in the car and the boys flipped through their new-to-them books and Willy streamed the football game, I jetted in to a few of my favorite consignment and thrift shops and came away for a few finds. Oh yes, and breakfast at the same spot each morning (homemade biscuits for the win).

Minus some rain and some chilly weather, an enjoyable holiday break.

The Speed of Life

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.

A Bath

san-clemente-family-photographer-0015 san-clemente-family-photographer-0021 san-clemente-family-photographer-0024 san-clemente-family-photographer-0017 san-clemente-family-photographer-0026I haven’t been picking up my camera for the sake of purely picking up my camera lately. It’s easy to feel inspired when we travel or celebrate but the everyday gets so hectic, now more than ever, that I’m shooting less. I suppose that’s complicated by the fact we are still unpacking and getting situated and the environment I live in at the moment doesn’t lend itself to the inspiration I need to feel motivated enough to actually pick up the damn camera. It’s a work in progress though and if I’m being honest it’s more the everyday mess that makes me turn the other way as opposed to what sits unfinished or in progress.

In any event, I stuck Sonny in the sink the other day and captured these images, which proved a more  dangerous endeavor than I anticipated. And more wet than I had hoped for. But, alas, a clean baby, clean counters and floor, and these images to look back on. Dedicating myself to revitalizing my love for shooting in-home, starting with my own in my own home.


san-clemente-family-photographer-8165 san-clemente-family-photographer-8174 san-clemente-family-photographer-8186 san-clemente-family-photographer-8200 san-clemente-family-photographer-8212 san-clemente-family-photographer-8248 san-clemente-family-photographer-8254 san-clemente-family-photographer-8194 san-clemente-family-photographer-8337 san-clemente-family-photographer-8339 san-clemente-family-photographer-8342 san-clemente-family-photographer-8349 san-clemente-family-photographer-8351 san-clemente-family-photographer-8355 san-clemente-family-photographer-8377 san-clemente-family-photographer-8590 san-clemente-family-photographer-8399 san-clemente-family-photographer-8402 san-clemente-family-photographer-8379 san-clemente-family-photographer-8419 san-clemente-family-photographer-8425 san-clemente-family-photographer-8436 san-clemente-family-photographer-8449 san-clemente-family-photographer-8455 san-clemente-family-photographer-8481 san-clemente-family-photographer-8476 san-clemente-family-photographer-8457 san-clemente-family-photographer-8497 san-clemente-family-photographer-8540 san-clemente-family-photographer-8500 san-clemente-family-photographer-8577 san-clemente-family-photographer-8518 san-clemente-family-photographer-8563 san-clemente-family-photographer-8583 san-clemente-family-photographer-8585 san-clemente-family-photographer-8598 san-clemente-family-photographer-8648 san-clemente-family-photographer-8653 san-clemente-family-photographer-8660 san-clemente-family-photographer-8667 san-clemente-family-photographer-8716 san-clemente-family-photographer-8721 san-clemente-family-photographer-8691 san-clemente-family-photographer-8731 san-clemente-family-photographer-8744 san-clemente-family-photographer-8753 san-clemente-family-photographer-8785 san-clemente-family-photographer-8777 san-clemente-family-photographer-8780 san-clemente-family-photographer-8786 san-clemente-family-photographer-8788After booking fall sessions, it’s always a bit daunting to look at the calendar leading up to the holidays; the little weekend boxes more or less filled in. My life, for the remainder of the year, more or less scheduled. It’s a love, hate thing for sure. In any event, we noticed we had a free weekend and opted to book it down to Mexico. The big Mexican flag, visible from San Diego, waving with the wind as if luring you south of the border. Not that I need to be lured, the promise of salt rimmed drinks, a cheap kitschy place to stay on the beach, and undoubtedly the best churros I’ve ever had in my life each, independent of one another, a reason to make the short trip. Much like Cuba in that it’s so near, yet so foreign.

The border crossing was our most eventful yet. Flooding the border were hundreds of Monguls, the border police scampering to herd them like cattlemen corralling sheep. Only the cattlemen had assault rifles and the sheep were anything but, well, sheep. And for whatever reason we got lumped in with them, Willy’s tattoos – perhaps – causing concern enough to subject us to a thorough search. If you saw my post on Instagram, you know Willy’s balls took a few days to recover. I asked to take Sonny out of the backseat so I could feed him and a few of the border policemen actually made a barrier to protect me while I opened the door and took Sonny out. As if there was going to be a gun battle. It was crazy. After some questioning they realized we had no affiliation and basically told us, nicely, to get lost. And we did.

We visited our regular haunts, returning to the same restaurant we frequented the last time we were in the area; the waitress as happy as ever to scoop a not-so-little Sonny back up into her arms to parade around the restaurant as if he were her own. The boys, impatiently waiting their turn for the pool table where they crash balls into each other and where we buy a round of beer for the few patrons that have to put up with such. Where the fish is fresh, the drinks strong. And where one night we forgot to bring cash (because, Mexico) and had our bill taken care of by two nice gentlemen we had seen eating there the night before.

We spent one afternoon just driving and exploring, making our way down dirt roads and pot-hole-ridden back roads, weaving in and out of the outskirts of downtown Ensenada. Trying our best to teach the boys that there are so many different ways to live. That while some are poor and live without many of the niceties they’re used to that there’s still life and love and happiness. Hoping that one day they will feel the gratitude I know Willy and I both feel for the lives we live. That they will feel and experience the same warmth from giving.

Sunsets on the beach turning the wet sand into glass, their little shell-collecting-bodies reflected so beautifully. Days spent at a pace slower than we’re used to, the door open, flies roaming in and out as if invited, and Sonny – sweet Sonny – happy as pie to be anywhere we are all together.

We’re hoping to do another trip south of the border soon, adding a few more stops and towns along the way.

You can view images from our last trip here and the family video I made by clicking here.

Finding Peace

san-clemente-family-photographer-0077 san-clemente-family-photographer-0086 san-clemente-family-photographer-0088 san-clemente-family-photographer-0092 san-clemente-family-photographer-0096 san-clemente-family-photographer-0107 san-clemente-family-photographer-0133 san-clemente-family-photographer-0116 san-clemente-family-photographer-0134 san-clemente-family-photographer-0136 san-clemente-family-photographer-0138 san-clemente-family-photographer-0172 san-clemente-family-photographer-0167 san-clemente-family-photographer-0176 san-clemente-family-photographer-0179
Most days it feels as though my entire mornings are spent feeding Sonny; breastfeed first thing in the morning, then again before breakfast, then solids for breakfast, then breastfeed again before his morning nap. Throw in the usual distractions: butts that need to be wiped, gun holsters that need to be fastened, and the gazillion relentless requests for more Halloween candy and it’s easy to see why I no longer get any real work done in the morning. No shop orders filled, no emails replied to, no dishes cleaned, no moving boxes emptied.

Trying my best these days to cram in whatever work that needs to be done, rooms that needs to be cleaned, and dare-I-say, any time for myself into the couple hour window in which Sonny is asleep and – fingers crossed – the older boys are playing nicely (or in school). The struggle is real and it’s reflected in my absence here. A guilty pleasure I yearn to indulge but typically sits at the bottom of any to-do list, if it even makes the list at all.

The other week was especially grueling; a week loaded with appointments / check-ups, a bad case of the barfs for Van, and then Hooper, Halloween festivities, birthday parties, a bedridden sick husband, and about a thousand loads of laundry that are collecting wrinkles and so on and so forth.

All this to say, I’m still here. Juggling. Like we do. Setting aside to-do lists and finding peace – or trying to anyway – with slower, unproductive mornings in the hurry-up-and-get-shit-done-American-way-of-life sense. Enjoying these boys; all three of them. With vinyl spinning in the background, the occasional lashing out – like siblings do – and a busy little baby that really just wants to be in the mix.


san-clemente-family-photographer-6230 san-clemente-family-photographer-6480 san-clemente-family-photographer-6474 san-clemente-family-photographer-6240 san-clemente-family-photographer-6486 san-clemente-family-photographer-6260 san-clemente-family-photographer-6252 san-clemente-family-photographer-6269 san-clemente-family-photographer-6278 san-clemente-family-photographer-6280 san-clemente-family-photographer-6297 san-clemente-family-photographer-6481 san-clemente-family-photographer-6337 san-clemente-family-photographer-6358 san-clemente-family-photographer-6315 san-clemente-family-photographer-6234 san-clemente-family-photographer-6360 san-clemente-family-photographer-6361 san-clemente-family-photographer-6413 san-clemente-family-photographer-6436 san-clemente-family-photographer-6329 san-clemente-family-photographer-6447 san-clemente-family-photographer-6451 san-clemente-family-photographer-6459 san-clemente-family-photographer-6482

My heart is here, in this little corner I’ve carved out on the inter webs, always. Finding the time, however, is always a struggle. Perhaps more now than ever. But I’ve kinda just succumbed to the fact of it and get in when I fit in. Trying to find peace with a to-do list that shows no mercy. Life slows for none of us.

And so, some pictures from our last trip out to Arizona. Over a month late, but who’s counting. A trip where we tried desperately not to melt; where the only time I had any energy to capture anything through my lens was in the comfort of air-conditioning. Or a setting sun. Where the boys left with a hue of green in their hair from the pool, which truthfully did little to quench the heat.

In any event, it was a nice time spent with cousins, grandparents, great grandparents; the boys enjoying their rides on the tractor and collecting bugs in the yard. I was able to score some nice things for the house as well, including an old wooden dresser and an antique mirror.

Hoping we’ll make it back out this fall, when the weather has cooled.

The Long Beach Folk Festival

san-clemente-family-photographer-6535 san-clemente-family-photographer-6546 san-clemente-family-photographer-6563 san-clemente-family-photographer-6576 san-clemente-family-photographer-6587 san-clemente-family-photographer-6540 san-clemente-family-photographer-6588 san-clemente-family-photographer-6596 san-clemente-family-photographer-6605 san-clemente-family-photographer-6612 san-clemente-family-photographer-6631 san-clemente-family-photographer-6638 san-clemente-family-photographer-6645 san-clemente-family-photographer-6755 san-clemente-family-photographer-6651 san-clemente-family-photographer-6655 san-clemente-family-photographer-6663 san-clemente-family-photographer-6669 san-clemente-family-photographer-6679 san-clemente-family-photographer-6689 san-clemente-family-photographer-6705 san-clemente-family-photographer-6706 san-clemente-family-photographer-6713 san-clemente-family-photographer-6739 san-clemente-family-photographer-6742 san-clemente-family-photographer-6743 san-clemente-family-photographer-6746 san-clemente-family-photographer-6761 san-clemente-family-photographer-6765Do you ever have that feeling where you’re torn between truly looking forward to something and yet dreading it at the same time? I’ve felt that a lot, lately. Like when we bought tickets to ‘Oceanfest’ (primarily so we could see Eddie Vedder) only to sell our tickets the week of; the thought of finding childcare for the older two and having to schlep Sonny along with us proving to be our demise. I’ll be the first to say that sometimes staying home sounds more appealing.

I felt the same way leading up to the Long Beach Folk Festival… questioning, once again, if we should have bought tickets and if going to the full day event would even be enjoyable with all three hooligans in tow.

And we had the best time ever.

Kids were free, there was plenty of room for the boys to run, we caught the banjo contest, had great burgers at one of the food trucks, listened to incredible music, and even got to hang for a few with Chuck Ragan, who truthfully was the main reason we bought tickets. We’ve seen him play several times and he always proves to be approachable and down-to-earth, so it was no surprise to find him enjoying a beer before his set, by himself, watching the band before him right there along with everyone else. Willy and I made a few babbling idiot comments, “I love your fish”, stumbled its way out of my mouth (in reference to all the fishing he does). We were like dyslexic teenagers at a Justin Bieber concert.

To our surprise, the boys watched his entire set right there on top of the speaker box. It’s an incredible feeling to watch your children enjoy something you love so dearly. The way music can bring strangers together strengthened further by having the boys there and entertained. There were several moments where I felt like they were feeling exactly what I was feeling; that feeling you get when you’re in the presence of something so much larger than yourself. But who knows, maybe the volume being put out from the speakers they were sitting on was just enough to keep their (at times) incessant whining at bay. Or maybe they were daydreaming of legos. Whatever the case may be, we actually got to listen to the entire set uninterrupted; no fights to break up, no trips to the portapotty, no whining because they were hungry… just pure music bliss, compliments of Chuck Ragan and his crew. Sonny slept through much of it. The icing on the cake.

We hung out for a bit afterward, caught some of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, watched the boys flirt with two dotting older girls who enjoyed the giggles the boys antics produced, ate dessert, and then called it a night.

We’ll plan on attending next year. And I probably owe Oceanfest an apology and perhaps a second chance next year. Because sure, it ain’t ever easy with the kids but days like this one are to blame (versus credit) for the hope I hold onto for future events to run just as smoothly.


san-clemente-family-photographer-5449 san-clemente-family-photographer-5398 san-clemente-family-photographer-5419 san-clemente-family-photographer-5416 san-clemente-family-photographer-5410 san-clemente-family-photographer-5408 san-clemente-family-photographer-5367 san-clemente-family-photographer-5361 san-clemente-family-photographer-5330 san-clemente-family-photographer-5055 san-clemente-family-photographer-5318 san-clemente-family-photographer-5299 san-clemente-family-photographer-5277 san-clemente-family-photographer-5263 san-clemente-family-photographer-5252 san-clemente-family-photographer-5248 san-clemente-family-photographer-5243 san-clemente-family-photographer-5240 san-clemente-family-photographer-5239 san-clemente-family-photographer-5232 san-clemente-family-photographer-5217 san-clemente-family-photographer-5205 san-clemente-family-photographer-5190 san-clemente-family-photographer-5188 san-clemente-family-photographer-5181 san-clemente-family-photographer-5175 san-clemente-family-photographer-5172 san-clemente-family-photographer-5170 san-clemente-family-photographer-5153 san-clemente-family-photographer-5141 san-clemente-family-photographer-5133 san-clemente-family-photographer-5127 san-clemente-family-photographer-5126 san-clemente-family-photographer-5084 san-clemente-family-photographer-5075 san-clemente-family-photographer-5117 san-clemente-family-photographer-4868 san-clemente-family-photographer-4852 san-clemente-family-photographer-5060The other day we had one of our neighbors over for dinner. He and Willy engaged in a conversation about watches, prompting me to do an exaggerated eye roll. He scoffed, pointed to my wedding ring – a ring Willy’s friend made with Willy’s mom’s diamond – and tried making the comparison that I, too, desire nice things. Willy gave him a quick glance, motioned to cut it, and explained that material things are of little importance to me.

It got me thinking about what I do value. Not that I hadn’t evaluated such prior to now, but in that moment I couldn’t think of what my equivalent to his Rolex would be. I thought about the things I own and the price tags attached and all I could come up with was camera equipment, which truthfully speaking is an avenue of income and therefore doesn’t really count.

And then I thought about what I asked for for my birthday because surely birthdays are special and gifts for such are typically heartfelt. I asked for a trip; nothing fancy, just a weekend away with all of us together. And on my birthday I unwrapped a little box that contained a folded up piece of paper with a picture of a renovated barn on it.

Experiences, memories, and even the hard, trying times that come with traveling with littles are what make my heart pitter patter. And so, over summer (man I’m reminded of how behind I am on sharing stuff here), in celebration of my birthday, we loaded up the van and headed up to Springville, at the base of the Sequoias, with no plans in particular because, well, itineraries – and the people who make them – scare me.
We stopped at Walmart once we got into town, stocking up on breakfast items, a few snacks, and some fishing rods for the boys. Fishing rods we’d grow to detest in due time. I met Willy and the boys in the store after having fed Sonny in the car and upon walking into the ginormous store, I heard Willy screaming for Van. A few seconds after that I heard the announcement that a blond boy, in a black shirt, was lost and to keep an eye out. There is no feeling that can adequately describe the feeling of potentially having lost your child or, worse yet, having your child taken from you. I made a dash for the exit and frantically scoured the parking lot. I came back into the store, heard “code Adam canceled”, and found the boys; my heart trying hard to settle back to it’s ordinary position in my chest.

Down a dirt road, past a field of cows, we came up on the barn; the outside adorned with cobwebs and scorpions, the inside eclectic and kitchy.

We ate that night at a roadside dive bar; the kind of place you have to poke your head in and ask if kids are even allowed and when they tell you they are you’re directed to a table, the only table, in the corner of the bar. A bar filled only with locals. A bar we entered knowing no one and left knowing everyone, thanks really and truly to Willy, who is always the social butterfly of our clan. Not to mention the parting gifts we received, including fresh grapes from someones local vineyard and a tip on the trees the neighboring llamas enjoy most. We fed the llamas before heading down to the lake, the sun setting just behind the mountain as we got there.

We returned to the lake the next day, the 110 degree weather causing us to want to turn around nearly as soon as we got there. We settled in anyway, a few cold beers and some good tunes allowing us to sink our feet into the mud and forget, momentarily anyway, about how miserable triple digit weather can be. Unphased by the weather or the muggy water, the boys broke out their fishing poles, played with the worms, and practiced their casting. A thousand tangled lines and hundreds of lost bait later had us questioning Walmart’s return policies. And truthfully I thought it was all fun and games until Hooper came running up from the shoreline, a small fish dangling from the end of his line. Pride beaming from every orafice of his being and jaw dropping bewilderment on the faces of Willy and I. And tears, oh the jealous tears, streaming from Van’s eyes. Willy has the best picture on his phone of Hooper holding his treasured fish and Van, in the background, crying a cry that would lead one to believe a shark bit his hand off. Classic moments in brotherhood.

We returned to the lake later in the evening; the boys with a new found excitement about fishing and a new found determination to catch another. Chasing the dragon, if you will. Which, as life would have it, didn’t work out a second time. But there were frogs and they proved to be a welcomed distraction.

The following day we had intentions of making the short drive up the mountain and into the Sequoias as, truthfully, being amongst the trees is more what I had envisioned when we initially planned our trip. The road up the mountain, however, looked more like the way a drunk man would draw a straight line if blindfolded and using his non-dominant hand. Point being, it was a super winding road and given Hooper’s history with yacking – the latest culprit being the mere turnabouts in downtown Tijuana – we opted to skip the trees and head for another body of water instead.

We’re not the best planners and by the time we got out the door the following morning, it was verging on nap time, aka our-saving-grace, and so leaving when we did truly was a gamble. There were more tangled lines, this time accompanied with more tears and whining from Van (who needs a nap like a banker needs money). Not even a small catfish found on the end of his line, that Willy caught in an attempt to level the I-caught-my-first-fish playing field (and much to my dismay because hey, you win some and you lose some / life lessons) could brighten his day. We hung on for as long as we could before packing up and keeping our fingers crossed that we’d make it back in time to at least get an hour of downtime. And we did. Actually I found Hooper (who thankfully agreed to a nap despite it not being a part of his regular routine these days) curled up in the pack-n-play we brought for Sonny. Oh my mama heart…

That evening we returned to the same bar we had fell in love with prior; the food nothing to write home about but the faces familiar, the welcome warm, the beer cold, and the tunes spot on. We got to talking to two young cowboys and the boys were all kinds of impressed to see the videos of them riding bulls. Hooper requested a picture with them and of course I obliged. We hung with the locals, mostly transplants from other areas of California, while the boys flung the pool balls about and attempted to befriend the llamas out back.

We left in the morning. Our last adventure before the dreaded, though not-so-dreaded, start of school. But more dreaded than not dreaded because summer has our hearts.


San Clemente Family Photography-1146 San Clemente Family Photography-1158 San Clemente Family Photography-1161 San Clemente Family Photography-1167 San Clemente Family Photography-1170 San Clemente Family Photography-1185 San Clemente Family Photography-1191 San Clemente Family Photography-1199 San Clemente Family Photography-1228 San Clemente Family Photography-1260 San Clemente Family Photography-1269 San Clemente Family Photography-1271 San Clemente Family Photography-1286 San Clemente Family Photography-1325 San Clemente Family Photography-1288 San Clemente Family Photography-1312 San Clemente Family Photography-1337 San Clemente Family Photography-1351 San Clemente Family Photography-1373 San Clemente Family Photography-1332 San Clemente Family Photography-1382 San Clemente Family Photography-1409 San Clemente Family Photography-2205 San Clemente Family Photography-2221 San Clemente Family Photography-2246 San Clemente Family Photography-2248 San Clemente Family Photography-2268 San Clemente Family Photography-2350 San Clemente Family Photography-2371 San Clemente Family Photography-2375 San Clemente Family Photography-2382 San Clemente Family Photography-2399 San Clemente Family Photography-2415 San Clemente Family Photography-2439 San Clemente Family Photography-2440 San Clemente Family Photography-2443 San Clemente Family Photography-2448 San Clemente Family Photography-2483 San Clemente Family Photography-2500 San Clemente Family Photography-2504 San Clemente Family Photography-2516 San Clemente Family Photography-2567

We typically try to avoid Arizona in the summer months, the desert heat being the obvious deterrent. But with Sonny relatively new, it only made sense to get out there while we can. With Hooper starting Kindergarten, our days of picking up and leaving for a week at a time are more-or-less a thing of the past; a hard pill to swallow considering that we’ve worked so hard to avoid the 9 to 5 only to be imprisoned by a different kind of normalcy. In any event, luck was on our side and in place of the standard summer heat we were greeted by storms that left the sky overcast and the air moist enough to only flirt with being uncomfortable.

We spent much of the mornings in the pool, where the older boys are finally getting more comfortable and where sweet Sonny floated as though he was born with the notion of what it means to relax engrained in his bones. I used to dread having to travel with a little one in tow, but he’s proven to be adaptable and thus far has skipped that whole 4 month sleep regression thing that I remember experiencing all too well with Hooper and Van.

The boys caught some spiders, rode around on the tractor, and spent some time with their cousins. Zoe, who is just about a year younger than Van; close enough in age that the competition – in Van’s mind anyway – is fierce.

We ventured into the Tonto Forsest, one of my favorite places to visit when in town, where we came across a dead dog (it looked as though it were a fighting dog that someone ditched on the side of the road) and wild horses; the wild horses, of course, being the highlight. We also made the drive up to Prescott for a rodeo which, for me, was more successful in terms of people watching than in terms of barrel racing. In fact, the whole event had me scratching my head as to why animal rights activists aren’t all over this shit. My mother-in-law and I dodged at least half of it, opting instead for the 50% off sale at the thrift shop across the street, where I scored a pencil sketch drawing of a Boxer I’m still salivating over.

Trying, already, to plan a few ditch days so we can head out to Arizona again. Summer has come and gone too fast; the start of school seemingly bringing an end to a season – my favorite season – despite the heat and orange sunsets that have all of our minds still in a summer trance. Because, really, it is still summer. Damn education.


San Clemente Family Photographer-1 San Clemente Family Photographer-6 San Clemente Family Photographer-7 San Clemente Family Photographer-26 San Clemente Family Photographer-37 San Clemente Family Photographer-23 San Clemente Family Photographer-28 San Clemente Family Photographer-31 San Clemente Family Photographer-36 San Clemente Family Photographer-48 San Clemente Family Photographer-50 San Clemente Family Photographer-51 San Clemente Family Photographer-55 San Clemente Family Photographer-62 San Clemente Family Photographer-65 San Clemente Family Photographer-69 San Clemente Family Photographer-70 San Clemente Family Photographer-76 San Clemente Family Photographer-79 San Clemente Family Photographer-81 San Clemente Family Photographer-91 San Clemente Family Photographer-99 San Clemente Family Photographer-105 San Clemente Family Photographer-109 San Clemente Family Photographer-117 San Clemente Family Photographer-121 San Clemente Family Photographer-123 San Clemente Family Photographer-125 San Clemente Family Photographer-128 San Clemente Family Photographer-137 San Clemente Family Photographer-144 San Clemente Family Photographer-151 San Clemente Family Photographer-156 San Clemente Family Photographer-168 San Clemente Family Photographer-171 San Clemente Family Photographer-178 San Clemente Family Photographer-180 San Clemente Family Photographer-183 San Clemente Family Photographer-184 San Clemente Family Photographer-186 San Clemente Family Photographer-188 San Clemente Family Photographer-199 San Clemente Family Photographer-203 San Clemente Family Photographer-207 San Clemente Family Photographer-208 San Clemente Family Photographer-223 San Clemente Family Photographer-227 San Clemente Family Photographer-228 San Clemente Family Photographer-229 San Clemente Family Photographer-231 San Clemente Family Photographer-245 San Clemente Family Photographer-252 San Clemente Family Photographer-258 San Clemente Family Photographer-259 San Clemente Family Photographer-266 San Clemente Family Photographer-267Mexico. It’s like Cuba, so near yet so foreign. Even the smell changes as soon as you pass the border. And leading up to the border you’ll find gas stations that carry pinatas (which in hindsight we should have snagged because it’s the only thing Van has really requested for his birthday). I joked the entire time we were there that Baja is like a poor man’s Big Sur. Just few hours drive from our home and $100 per night kinda made me wonder why anyone makes the trek up the coastline to drop dollars in Big Sur; never mind the beauty and tranquility. I mean, you can’t buy Viagra, a taco, and a poncho in Big Sur. Ok fine, you can probably find a decent taco. But not for pesos on the dollar and a side of diarrhea.

In any event, we nearly opted not to go two hours into our drive when we realized we left our passports at home. Passports, that in all fairness, were not needed years ago when trips down to Baja were our summer norm. Before, you know, you heard stories of families being carjacked at gunpoint, the mother raped in front of her children, and the family left roadside with no means of getting home.

Willy and I gave each other pep talks on the way back home to retrieve our passports, taking turns calming one another down and promoting all that good attitude shit that’s really the last thing you want to hear when you’re sulking in your own despair and watching minutes turn to hours all the while questioning the safety in Tijuana after dark. Especially when one member of our gang whines a whine that makes even a desert lizard’s skin crawl about having to pee. Roadside piss stops in Tijuana after dark? Let’s just say we were happy to have crossed the border and made it through Tijuana while it was still light. Never mind the other member of ours that hurled all over himself and his carseat, the mere turnabouts in Tijuana causing whatever food we had thrown back at them to quiet them on a drive that turned out to be double the amount of time we had anticipated (all because of said passports) making its way back up. And out. And all over.

It was only after cleaning up the barf that we could begin to tackle how to get to where we were going. There was added frustration having had no address for our destination provided and instructions that included “turn left at the Cali-Mart”, only there were several Cali-Marts, and “turn right after the first speed bump”. Fortunately we were able to laugh about most of it because, well, Mexico. It’s all part of the experience, verdad?

The next day was a bit of a debacle. With the loan on our new house (we’re moving at some point this summer) closing, there were documents that had to be signed. Time sensitive documents. We spent the day with broken cellular connections trying our best to figure out a plan with our loan officer who ultimately, bless him, met us – well after dark – on a secluded road outside closed businesses, halfway between where we were and the border. We signed those papers in the back of his car with nothing other than a lone street light making the dotted line visible. We turned down a street vendor selling some stale shrimp on a questionable wood platter (because, Mexico), took a picture with our loan officer (because, memories), and headed back on the road in search of that damn Cali-Mart we missed the first time we passed it.

And from there, it was smooth sailing. We ate dinner at the same roadside restaurant, nestled amongst dilapidated homes and stale stagnant run-off outlets from the ocean, each night. It was the kind of place where everyone learned your name and our waitress, Brenda, traded me a margarita for Sonny as soon as I stepped foot in the door each night. The boys hung out in the room adjacent to the bar, crashing balls on the pool table into each other. And no one even gave us stink eye. Because, well, Mexico.

We had hoped to ride some horses along the beach but Willy veto’d that idea, questioning the safety of the boys on horses we didn’t know in a country with a less-than-desirable reputation. And truthfully, when I saw the state of the horses available for riding, I too agreed — more for the horses sake than for the safety of our kids. It seemed abusive riding horses so weakened and dismal appearing.

We stopped to get gas one evening, however, and adjacent to the gas station were some horses that I told the boys we could go look at. Next thing ya know some sweet Mexican man is lifting Hooper up on a horse and giving him a tour of the questionable surroundings. I posted a picture of him on the horse on instagram and practically spit out my margarita when someone commented saying that they too were offered a ride on a horse in Mexico and when the woman asked the man the name of the horse, the man replied, “I don’t know. It’s not my horse”. Oh, Mexico.

Thinking back, I can’t even recall the boys fighting much. I’m sure it happened, but it’s amazing how something that can downright ruin your mood in the moment it’s occurring can all be but forgotten some weeks later… after the stiff margaritas have worn off, I suppose.

In any event, we made it back – albeit a two hour wait at the border (during which I took Van to pee three times) – sans barf, with some homemade tortillas, some salt still on our lips, and plans to return again. Hashtag: poor man’s Big Sur.


San Clemente Family Photographer-9650 San Clemente Family Photographer-9652 San Clemente Family Photographer-9670 San Clemente Family Photographer-9937 San Clemente Family Photographer-9985

Posting anything after all the tragedies that have taken place as of late feels inherently wrong. I get stuck in a sulking rut, feeling a bit down, burdened by the lack of motivation to move onward and trying to balance moving onward with making sense of all that has occurred in our troubled world. Thinking hard about the future and the children I’ve brought into this world who hopefully will shape it to be better than it is today. My heart goes out to all the families who are suffering because they’ve lost someone dear to them. Trying hard to hold onto hope.


I spent a few days visiting Janet in the beginning of June. In so many ways, it feels like yesterday when it was just the two of us, kicking cans on the side of the road in a town we didn’t know; when adventures of the like were’t so well documented and, well, cool. Fast forward a few years and six kids (between the two of us) later, not to mention moves beyond state lines and, well, it’s hard to get any sort of quality time these days. And by quality time, I mean slowness that allows for silence only the closest of friendships can feel comfortable with. With her husband and kids back in Utah for the week, it was just us girls (and Sonny), working side by side (so many new shop updates to come), mostly, drinking beer and ordering take out and catching up on all things big and small. Just what I needed, just when I needed it. A thirst only a best friend can quench.

Hoping to make it back before Summer is over and the rain rolls in; If you’re in the Seattle area, I’ll be offering a few sessions during my next visit. You can read the details here.


San Clemente Family Photographer-4896 San Clemente Family Photographer-4903 San Clemente Family Photographer-4899 San Clemente Family Photographer-4909 San Clemente Family Photographer-4912 San Clemente Family Photographer-4916 I remember summers during childhood lasting what felt like an eternity; the summer vacations, annoying my sister, complaining about complete and udder boredom, laying out poolside, stalking summer crushes at the beach, and putting off whatever summer reading that was assigned, opting instead for the cliff note version in the week preceding the fall return to school.

Summer now seems like a blink of an eye, with school seemingly getting out later and starting earlier. I feel this newfound pressure to pull out the calendar to schedule adventures for the sole purpose of assuring at least a few get snuck in there and that the entire summer doesn’t pass without any of the quintessential memories only summer can deliver. And yet scheduling anything seems to steal the spontaneity that summer alone seems to promise. It’s a catch 22, isn’t it?

Throw in a scheduled move and, well, I’m feeling kinda robbed of this summer already. Screw that, throw in the speed of life these days and I’m feeling a bit robbed of life in general. Who’s with me? I hold no answers to the slowing of time but hoping that with this summer freedom we can schedule some time to be bored. And maybe an adventure, or two, that don’t break the bank because dammit, moving is a money suck.

Bits + Pieces

Orange County Photographer-13 Orange County Photographer-7209 San Clemente Family Photographer-25 San Clemente Family Photographer-48 San Clemente Family Photographer-52 San Clemente Family Photographer-49 San Clemente Family Photographer-100 San Clemente Family Photographer-1229 San Clemente Family Photographer-1230 San Clemente Family Photographer-1241 San Clemente Family Photographer-2138 San Clemente Family Photographer-3990 San Clemente Family Photographer-4722 San Clemente Family Photographer-6292 San Clemente Family Photographer-6301 San Clemente Family Photographer-7381

A little slice of summer

Early mornings

Family meeting Sonny for the first time

The only part worth sharing of my work space

Van getting a hair cut

Dangerous Women, a part of my collection

Van in the garage when the garage had space to actually be in

A few shots from trips to the desert past

Legos, legos, and more legos

Willy and Sonny, who is quite content to cuddle with anyone, anytime

A visit from my most favorite friend and her family

And the result of ignoring quiet children during a playdate

The Desert

San Clemente Family Photographer-6346 San Clemente Family Photographer-6358 San Clemente Family Photographer-6361 San Clemente Family Photographer-6359 San Clemente Family Photographer-6372 San Clemente Family Photographer-6380 San Clemente Family Photographer-6392 San Clemente Family Photographer-6396 San Clemente Family Photographer-6400 San Clemente Family Photographer-6402 San Clemente Family Photographer-6406 San Clemente Family Photographer-6496 San Clemente Family Photographer-6524 San Clemente Family Photographer-6530 San Clemente Family Photographer-6512 San Clemente Family Photographer-6555 San Clemente Family Photographer-6586 San Clemente Family Photographer-6589 San Clemente Family Photographer-6569 San Clemente Family Photographer-6351 San Clemente Family Photographer-6604 San Clemente Family Photographer-6613 San Clemente Family Photographer-6616 San Clemente Family Photographer-6635 San Clemente Family Photographer-6651I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as enjoyable trips with kids. And before you get all don’t-be-so-cynical on me, let me expand upon that negative nancy statement. Traveling with kids is the pits, but deep down buried in that pit – if you can tolerate the stench – are a few noteworthy good times, like little stubbles of hair that the razor just couldn’t cut. I’m talking about the kinds of times that are memory builders, so that years later you forget all about tantrums and the fighting and the whining and the late nights and early mornings only to recall not even a particular good moment of the trip but rather the feeling that good moment gave you, even if it only lasted a hot fleeting minute. Nostalgia, working its magic.

That’s what photos do for me and I suppose that’s why I do what I do; I like to replicate feelings so that more than just the moment is captured… I seek to hold on to feelings.

I digress. This last trip to the desert was the pits in so many ways. It started with the stress of leaving and preparing the house for some showings we had scheduled (we’re planning on moving this summer). Do you know how difficult it is to turn a home kids live in into anything other than a junkyard? I must have removed at least 5 partially eaten squeezable yogurts from under the sofa. And that was just the beginning of what I found under there. In any event, thanks to friends we were able to pawn Van (aka Mister-asks-a-thousand-questions-an-hour) off for the morning and by the time we left in the afternoon, the house was in an order we’ve never been lucky enough to enjoy it in. Meaning it was clean. And organized, albeit haphazardly.

Not long after arriving, we hightailed it for the pool; the hundred degree weather leading the way. And not long after that, Hooper ate it… The sound of his head hitting the wet concrete piercing the ears of everyone who happened to witness it. I held him in my arms as he cried and cried. It wasn’t until he started throwing up that Willy and I started to really worry and so we gathered our things and decided it’d be best to get him checked out. Jimmie peed on the way out, right there on the concrete by the pool. Because – you know – that’s how shit goes down sometimes.

We spent a few hours in the ER, Willy juggling Van, Sonny, and Jimmie in the car while I waited with Hooper in the waiting room. We left after 11pm, never ate dinner, and waited another hour at a 24 hour pharmacy for a medication that cost $60 and that we only gave him one time. And then he barfed in the car, on the way back to the hotel, for good measure.

We got back to the hotel after midnight, realized the air conditioner in our room was not working and had to pack up everything we had unpacked and switch rooms to a smaller room where any sort of pathway or empty space quickly got eaten up by rollaway beds for the boys. Willy and I slept on and off because there’s nothing like worrying about a child to keep a parent up at night.

The following day we split forces; Willy stayed in the room with Hooper and Sonny to rest while I took Van to the pool. A better day when compared to the night prior which would have made many of the days in our shit-hit-the-fan parenthood capsule look more desirable.

We ventured out to The Salton Sea that evening and enjoyed dinner at our favorite dive bar in the area; also-known-as-the-only-restaurant-for-miles. We left with lifted spirits, the kind that only an adventure that didn’t end with a trip to the ER could bring.

We returned home the following day; the clean house we left unraveling faster than a ball of yarn rolling downhill. And so it goes, right?

Another trip to the desert, albeit our costliest yet, in the books.


San Clemente Family Photographer-1 San Clemente Family Photographer-4 San Clemente Family Photographer-102 San Clemente Family Photographer-105 San Clemente Family Photographer-23 San Clemente Family Photographer-35 San Clemente Family Photographer-42 San Clemente Family Photographer-46 San Clemente Family Photographer-55 San Clemente Family Photographer-67 San Clemente Family Photographer-68 San Clemente Family Photographer-80 San Clemente Family Photographer-84 San Clemente Family Photographer-86 San Clemente Family Photographer-87 San Clemente Family Photographer-110 San Clemente Family Photographer-112 San Clemente Family Photographer-114 the stork and the beanstalk2 San Clemente Family Photographer-116 San Clemente Family Photographer-119 San Clemente Family Photographer-147 San Clemente Family Photographer-148 San Clemente Family Photographer-151 San Clemente Family Photographer-169 San Clemente Family Photographer-177 San Clemente Family Photographer-190

Everything feels like it’s being crunched in before this baby comes — one last business trip to the desert, one last trip to see Willy’s family in Arizona, etc, etc. And while the phrase “crunched in” kind of insinuates that there’s not room for it, it’s quite the contrary; a welcomed reprieve from the ever-present “how many weeks pregnant am I” google search from home. I used to google it because I didn’t know; now I know how many weeks I am (due to the ease of simple subtraction from my due date, which is – good golly – today or tomorrow or yesterday…) but had been taking advantage of the countdown they also provide in terms of days… I swear they’re determined to pull you in one way or another.

So in February we took a final trip out to Arizona to visit with family. We spent lots of time relaxing, I hit up a few thrift stores, the boys discovered a dead hawk (we came back with a few tail feathers), Willy shot his guns, and we all enjoyed Superbowl Sunday just as we did last year, in the backyard with family friends; the boys and I more entertained by the horses than the game and the horses more entertained by the carrots we had to offer.

I had a photoshoot that I’m in love with and will soon be sharing, the icing on the cake to an already great trip.

Wondering how that 6-7 hour drive will fair with a newbie in tow… the times, they are (soon-to-be) a’changin’…

Childhood Unplugged | The Salton Sea

San Clemente Family Photographer-1950 San Clemente Family Photographer-1955 San Clemente Family Photographer-1961 San Clemente Family Photographer-1973 San Clemente Family Photographer-1984 San Clemente Family Photographer-1986 San Clemente Family Photographer-2007 San Clemente Family Photographer-2023 San Clemente Family Photographer-2032 San Clemente Family Photographer-2038 San Clemente Family Photographer-2039 San Clemente Family Photographer-2044 San Clemente Family Photographer-2056 San Clemente Family Photographer-2060 San Clemente Family Photographer-2062 San Clemente Family Photographer-2074 San Clemente Family Photographer-2078 San Clemente Family Photographer-2100 San Clemente Family Photographer-2101 San Clemente Family Photographer-2119 San Clemente Family Photographer-2124 San Clemente Family Photographer-2127 San Clemente Family Photographer-2128 San Clemente Family Photographer-2144 San Clemente Family Photographer-2151 San Clemente Family Photographer-2161 San Clemente Family Photographer-2168 San Clemente Family Photographer-2170 San Clemente Family Photographer-2181 San Clemente Family Photographer-2184 San Clemente Family Photographer-2186 San Clemente Family Photographer-2199 San Clemente Family Photographer-2213 San Clemente Family Photographer-2235 San Clemente Family Photographer-2237 San Clemente Family Photographer-2246 San Clemente Family Photographer-2257 San Clemente Family Photographer-2292 San Clemente Family Photographer-2293 San Clemente Family Photographer-2294 San Clemente Family Photographer-2303

Before we dropped Willy off at his meeting he told me, “Just don’t let the boys touch the fish or go in the water”. But within minutes, fish were touched and there wasn’t any winning that battle; pieces of fish bone crunching beneath their sledge covered shoes and falling through the crevices between their fingers. Holding up varying degrees of rotting carcasses, “Mama, is this one okay to pick up?”, proving needless to answer given the fact whatever fish they were inquiring about was already in their little grubby hands. “Van, keep your thumb out of your mouth” the only request I could muster at that point.

The Salton Sea; so beautiful on the eyes, so hard on the nose. This trip, however, proving not so bad on the ol’ sniffer. Not one complaint from the boys, actually, who – in the past – have been turned off by the stench of those rotting carcasses.

They climbed rocks, fell on rocks, made footprints in contaminated mud that made me cringe about the thought of those shoes later having to come off and me, invariably, having to touch them to do so. But as the sun fell and the water turned to glass I opted to rely on a faint hope that I would find some hand sanitizer in the car and with that hope I let go of whatever reservations I had. I suppose that’s what happens when in the presence of beauty. We watched the birds fly overhead, a line of other photographers slowly lining the shoreline and mimicking the arrangement of the flying birds themselves; one evenly spaced, straight line. Reflections of wood posts that used to anchor yachts that have since left for other waters, cleaner waters, mirroring the reflection of the mountains and making it all look like a Salvador Dali painting leaving one to question which end is up. Fish carcasses tossed back into the waters that have discarded them – killed them – breaking the glass-like appearance and sending ripples outward, stillness turned to movement; the silence broken. The color palette of the sky subtly changing.

We made our way back, the nights sky illuminated by what appeared to be a full-moon. The water turned back to glass, silence reigning once again in the wake of the exit of two little boys who did their damnest to return those dead fish to their home in the sea, the Salton Sea; ever beautiful, ever polluted. One of life’s most interesting conundrums. One of my favorite places.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.