Childhood Unplugged

san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1452 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1468 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1487 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1505 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1519 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1536 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1628 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1560 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1644 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1655 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1660 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1665 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1666 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1671 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1681 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1699 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1701 san clemente family photographer _ ashley jennett-1707 Playing catchup on here, more-so now than ever. Images from one of our recent trips out to Arizona. The boys, growing to fast. The sun, orange as ever.

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.

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.


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.


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.

Childhood Unplugged

San Clemente Family Photography-2581 San Clemente Family Photography-2561 San Clemente Family Photography-2575 San Clemente Family Photography-2584 San Clemente Family Photography-2595 San Clemente Family Photography-2589 San Clemente Family Photography-2593 San Clemente Family Photography-2609

A warm, summer night, in Arizona, walking the long dirt road to the dairy across the street all while slappin’ the mosquitos and taking turns being the leader. Oh ya, and Bitsy, the cow who’s been in their lives since day one.

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.

A Family Session, with The Gulas

San Clemente Family Photographer-11 San Clemente Family Photographer-14 San Clemente Family Photographer-17 San Clemente Family Photographer-24 San Clemente Family Photographer-19 San Clemente Family Photographer-29 San Clemente Family Photographer-21 San Clemente Family Photographer-27 San Clemente Family Photographer-36 San Clemente Family Photographer-38 San Clemente Family Photographer-43 San Clemente Family Photographer-51 San Clemente Family Photographer-56 San Clemente Family Photographer-58 San Clemente Family Photographer-62 San Clemente Family Photographer-71 San Clemente Family Photographer-70gulas2 San Clemente Family Photographer-78 San Clemente Family Photographer-83 San Clemente Family Photographer-85 San Clemente Family Photographer-100 San Clemente Family Photographer-104 San Clemente Family Photographer-106 San Clemente Family Photographer-114 San Clemente Family Photographer-116 San Clemente Family Photographer-117 San Clemente Family Photographer-119 San Clemente Family Photographer-129 San Clemente Family Photographer-132 San Clemente Family Photographer-137 San Clemente Family Photographer-152 San Clemente Family Photographer-160 San Clemente Family Photographer-165 gulas San Clemente Family Photographer-172 San Clemente Family Photographer-180 San Clemente Family Photographer-184 San Clemente Family Photographer-190 San Clemente Family Photographer-193 San Clemente Family Photographer-199 San Clemente Family Photographer-206 San Clemente Family Photographer-207 San Clemente Family Photographer-211 San Clemente Family Photographer-215

I met the Gulas family at their home in Queen Creek, Arizona, which was an added treat to our most recent visit to the area, back in February. I love photographing somewhere different and the desert landscape did not disappoint. Nor did the beautiful Gulas family, who just added their fourth babe to the mix, and who checked many of my proverbial boxes: large family (yay for more chaos), breastfeeding (my latest obsession in terms of photography), maternity (because it’s close to home and I’m “feelin’ it”), and well, as mentioned, Arizona (something out of my norm).

We spent the first part of the shoot in-home, capturing some candid moments as well as some posed family portraits — I’ve learned to welcome both in my shoots because the reality is that if it were strictly candid, you’d never get a family of this size all in the same frame. Chances are Tatum, who is 14, would be hiding out in her room like I’m sure most 14-year-olds do. We ventured out, just before sunset, to the Salt River; a place I’ve been numerous times now and love more and more with each visit. We shot until all the people that were there when we got there had left along with the last bit of light. I swear the light seems to linger just a bit longer in Arizona. And those colors? They rival even California’s palette. Or perhaps it’s just the change that is nice. Whatever the case may be, it was a beautiful session, with a family I hope to have the pleasure of photographing again.

Interested in hiring me for a session? Email me: ashleyjennett @ You can also find more information by visiting my website.


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’…

Pinetop, Arizona

Southern California Photographer-1 Southern California Photographer-4 Southern California Photographer-6 Southern California Photographer-11Southern California Photographer-8Southern California Photographer-12 Southern California Photographer-13 Southern California Photographer-15 Southern California Photographer-19Southern California Photographer-74 Southern California Photographer-20Southern California Photographer-75 Southern California Photographer-79Southern California Photographer-77 Southern California Photographer-84 Southern California Photographer-86 Southern California Photographer-92Southern California Photographer-106 Southern California Photographer-97Southern California Photographer-99Southern California Photographer-102Southern California Photographer-117Southern California Photographer-108Southern California Photographer-118Southern California Photographer-121Southern California Photographer-109Southern California Photographer-133 Southern California Photographer-134 Southern California Photographer-135 Southern California Photographer-138 Southern California Photographer-147 Southern California Photographer-149 Southern California Photographer-155 Southern California Photographer-163 Southern California Photographer-166 Southern California Photographer-170 Southern California Photographer-174

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.

Childhood Unplugged | Springerville, AZ

Southern California Photographer-21 Southern California Photographer-26 Southern California Photographer-27 Southern California Photographer-30 Southern California Photographer-32 Southern California Photographer-35 Southern California Photographer-36 Southern California Photographer-40 Southern California Photographer-45 Southern California Photographer-46 Southern California Photographer-51 Southern California Photographer-55 Southern California Photographer-56 Southern California Photographer-58 Southern California Photographer-59 Southern California Photographer-62 Southern California Photographer-63 Southern California Photographer-68

The other week we spent some time up in the mountains in Arizona with Willy’s family. While there, we met up with family in Springerville and spent the afternoon at their home playing with the chickens, smoking meat, and driving the backroads into the White Mountains to shoot guns.
The boys had a great time hanging with the men and finally warmed up to pulling the non-proverbial trigger all on their own. I shot the first gun I can remember ever shooting — hard to believe I had never shot one before considering my grandpa’s collection. Willy, on the other hand, grew up shooting and couldn’t wait to give his AR15 – his Father’s Day gift to himself – a whirl.
We shot for some time, the air lingering with heavy dew from the rain prior in the day. The boys explored the surrounding area, lush with greenery and the loveliest of wild flowers, and collected the casings off the ground to pile in their miniature toy tractors. Sometimes when I see flowers so beautiful in the wild the thought crosses my mind that my boys, being raised in suburbia, may only every associate such beauty with florist shops. The chicken-or-the-egg scenario plays over a lot in my head as I raise my boys and I remind myself often that all I can do is point out the beauty when found in it’s natural element and hope that it sticks.
We drove home along the dark road, the rain coming down harder than I have ever seen in all my years of living only to break and clear, allowing us to take notice of the herd of antelope alongside the road, before picking up and dumping once again. 
If only we could transplant that kind of rain to California. And those wild flowers. childhooduplugged1Please 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.

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!


338A1510-42 338A1526-46 338A1543-48 338A1589-53 338A1593-54 338A1603-57 338A1631-61 338A1635-62 338A1648-65 338A1670-71 338A1676-72 338A1678-73 338A1710-75 338A1717-77 338A1724-79 338A1730-82 338A1737-85 338A1741-86 338A1745-88 338A1763-91 338A1769-93 338A1772-95 338A1798-102 338A1828-111 338A1837-113 338A1847-115 338A1869-120 338A1891-124 338A1895-125 338A1901-127 338A1918-134 338A1921-135 338A1926-136 338A1932-137 338A1947-139Determined to move on with life after my accident, we decided to spend Easter – as previously planned – in Arizona, with my in-laws. We laid low much of our time, which was just what I needed. The boys are always more than entertained with the cows, dirt, wheel barrels, hay stacks, goats, pool, and feral cats. Willy managed to catch a couple of spiders, including two black widows, so the boys had fun watching all the critters eat each other in their bug cages. A lesson of prey and predator, I suppose. Also a lesson in not playing near the stack of firewood.
There were naps, some thrifting, an evening at the food trucks in downtown Gilbert, and a trip to a local farm that has a weekly farmers market.
Easter morning was filled with egg hunts, bacon, bubbles, a wheel barrel full of toys and treats, a friendly horse named Duke, and even an adult egg hung put on by Willy’s grandparents; a yearly tradition.
We took highway 8 on the way home, which boarders Mexico, and shared stories of the past of our many trips south of the boarder. I wish it were still safe to drive down there.
It was nice to leave and nice to be back. We missed an Arlo Guthrie concert we were both eagerly looking forward to; too tired and too sore to make the extra drive up to LA. When this neck pain subsides, I know regret will set in.
Hope you all had a wonderful Easter.

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

A story

sebtaylorI was waiting for Willy and the boys outside of a Renaissance Festival in Arizona when this couple walked past me and into the festival. I was drawn to them immediately. When Willy made his was to the entrance with the boys, I mentioned the urge I had to photograph them. I thought there was a chance I’d find them until we actually entered and realized that the grounds were huge; my chances of coming across them again was like finding a penny someone dropped for you in a mall. We watched the whip show, ate some food, sat for part of a comedy show, met up with some friends, and killed hours just walking around. At the end of the day, we made our way back to a pottery booth near the entrance where I had bought something but left it there for easy pick-up once we were ready to leave. And there they were.
I grabbed the girl gently by the arm and positioned her next to her boyfriend and recall saying something along the lines of, “I’m going to take your photo, I don’t even care what you say”. Numbers were exchanged and the next thing I knew I was photographing them alongside a river. She wore the same flower crown she had on when I first saw them. That evening, we all became friends. I photographed them again the next time I was in Arizona.
And now, the images live in a published magazine.
Publication aside, because that’s not what it’s about, it goes to show that if you’re drawn to someone – for whatever reason – you should reach out. I’m not always so ballsy. In fact I’ve become a coward more times than I’ve had the balls to approach. But the last two years or so, as I’ve matured (I chalk it up to maturity, anyways) I’ve asked myself “why the hell not” and replaced self-ridicule with an I-don’t-give-a-damn mentality. I think that along with the rise in handheld phones / computers, we’ve lost the art of conversation with strangers and I personally would love to make the extra effort more often. I sat down in my seat on our flight to Utah, for example, and the entire row of people next to me were looking down at their iPhones. Perhaps it’s a separate topic. Point being, people are really special. It’s one of the parts I love about photography the most; it gives me a reason to walk outside of my comfort zone. Camera hanging from my shoulder or not, I’d like to think I’d still make the effort.
I challenge you all to start a conversation with a stranger sometime this week. I’ll do the same.
And because I dig the layout of the spread, here they are, in Mozi Magazine. The images of them above are from when I ran into them at the Renaissance Festival.



Childhood Unplugged

338A6546-27338A6552-29 338A6550-28 338A6571-34 338A6573-35 338A6581-37 338A6597-42 338A6603-45 338A6615-50 338A6621-53 338A6626-55 338A6630-58 338A6635-60 338A6641-62 338A6645-64 338A6656-71 338A6668-73

Spent some time, while in Arizona, at a local dairy. Saw some cows being milked, some newly born cows, some sick cows, but mostly just splashed around in the puddles of mud.
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.childhooduplugged1

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

A picture with nobody in it


I was editing some photos the other night, after the boys went to bed, and I had an epiphany. Epiphanies, for me, aren’t anything life changing; rather, they’re little zaps of “ah-ha’s” that serve to remind me that I’m on the right track.
So I was editing this image and I thought this: you can never look at one of your own photos and separate yourself from the emotions you felt while taking the image. And whatever that emotion may be will have complete control over your opinion of the image.
And it’s because of that emotion present, or not present, at the time the picture is taken that every image tells a story.
I’m typically drawn to images with people in them because I can understand humanity better than I can architecture, or plants, or landscapes. But I paused at this particular photo because I realized that it, too, tells a story.
I think a lot about the memories I’ll take with me as my boys grow up. You can take all the photos in the world along the way, but the reality is that only certain memories will stick. So often, the mundane – the really beautiful mundane – slips away and lives only in form of a picture of a memory forgotten.
But this photo? It’s one I’d ordinarily skip right over, right off as nothing special; “because it’s boring… there’s nobody in it” says that voice in my head.
And I’m documenting it here, because this is a seemingly mundane memory that I don’t want to forget; of my boys sitting in the backseat of their grandpa’s pickup truck, no seat belts, standing on the floorboard watching in amazement as we pass cow after cow only to drive up to the haystacks, where my father-in-law knows all the birds hang out, and watch what seemed to be thousands of birds fly into the oblivion like some sort of mass exodus; my boys’ mouths open, eyes wide.
And then I thought, “ya know, I love this image”. Even if there’s no one in it.

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!


338A6441-1 338A6469-6 338A6479-9 338A6481-10 338A6491-14 338A6493-15 338A6524-22 338A6674-75 338A6679-77 338A6687-80 338A6712-92 338A6721-96 338A6740-102 338A6746-106 338A6752-109 338A6772-112 338A6776-113 338A6784-115 338A6795-119 338A6806-123 338A6816-127 338A6818-128 338A6823-129 338A6833-132 338A6842-136 338A6853-140 338A6867-144 338A6868-145 338A6877-149 338A6899-156 338A6912-158 338A6916-160 338A6940-168 338A6959-171 338A6961-172 338A6970-175 338A7022-183 338A7027-185 338A7053-194 338A7061-197 338A7122-206 338A7135-208 338A7150-209 338A7174-218 338A7187-221

 There’s so much I want my boys to take away from their childhood. I guess that’s why I document it so thoroughly. Not only do I want to remember, but I don’t want them to forget. Sure there will be epic trips to Disneyland or magic-filled Christmas mornings, but the days I really want them to remember are the simple ones; the ones that included walks on gravel filled roads and picking and eating oranges from the neighbor’s tree. Tractor rides and trips to the local dairy. Cold, foggy mornings spent in bed watching a cartoon on the phone and the discovery of a spider in the corner. Time not spent, per say, but shared with family. And so, I snap away in hopes that I will remember and they won’t forget these moments in time.

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

Support Local: Merchant Square

Merchant Square is the largest boutique for antiques, memorabilia, handmade goodies, vintage items, records, jewelry, clothing, collectibles, and all sorts of other treasures. I have been here a handful of times during our many trips to the Phoenix area and I never leave empty handed. The staff is warm and friendly and eager to take something out of your hands so you can browse with your hands free. There is an outdoor area that has so much good stuff you’ll forget all about the 110+ roasting temp in the summer. With over 250 vendors, you’re sure to find something that sets your heart aflutter. If you’re in the AZ area, you ought to check them out. Bring your dough though, some of the booths are a bit overpriced and to my dismay, there is no longer an eatery (there used to be the cutest little hot dog / snack place you could grab a bite to eat).  
And be sure to check out the Savor’s down the street. I snagged two killer rugs the last time I stopped in there. 
Who’s from the AZ area? Have you been to either?

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

Butcher Jones

I knew as we crossed the road and Hooper happily obliged to holding Van’s hand with a jolly, “Come on Boots, old my and” (we gave Van the nickname “Boots”) that it would be a good day. And it was. 
There are certain days in motherhood where things just seem to click; days where you think you’re out of milk after you’ve poured your bowl of cereal only to remember that you had bought another gallon – cuz’ you’re on it like that – and stored it in the fridge in the garage.
It was one of those days.
It was a day that, despite having the boys on my own (which is a feat all it’s own since my back surgery), I too had a good and – dare I say – relaxing time. I rested on the blanket and if I closed my eyes, I could be fooled into believing the dirt between my toes was indeed sand.
Buther Jones is located in the Tonto National Forest. The lake is set in the Sonoran Desert, a mix of beach and desert that’s sure to please beach bums and desert wanderers alike.
I watched as the boys played. My two little humans coming into their own, exploring together; getting along.
On the way home I cranked up the tunes and watched through the rear view mirror as both boys bobbed their heads back and forth with me, Van trying to keep the beat with his not-so-coordinated claps and Hoop eventually drifting off to sleep.
It was a day for the books. And I won’t even talk about banana mouth, cuz’ that’s just too much for the mama of that monkey.
*Hooper’s swim trunks are c/o Ladida kids. You can find them here.

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

The Apache Trail

Sometimes we don’t know our own strength. Days fall on top of one another and are stitched together in quilt-like fashion so that by journeys end we’re covered in the warmest blanket just when the sun sets.
I think about all that my boys and our family have been through over the past six months; from my back surgery (which grows bigger in my mind in magnitude the further I get away from it), to selling most of what filled our home, to being hospitalized with a mean stomach virus, to then selling our home, losing Sarah, buying a new home and subsequently being displaced for over a month.
In the past month, the boys and I have spent somewhere in the ballpark of 28 hours in the car with the longest stretch being 6 hours without stopping. We’ve flip flopped between my parent’s home and Willy’s parent’s home, stayed in hotels, and spent one glorious night in our new home, together as a family, prior to packing up and filling the gas tank once again when the construction workers showed up the next morning. The boys and I had been without Willy for much of the month, which left me to field the “I want to see Sarah” requests and the “Where’s Papa” inquiries and the “I wanna go to our new home” proclamations.
Each morning, for the time we were in Arizona, Hooper had been getting up earlier than usual and crawling into bed to sleep some more or to simply allow me to hold him in my arms. This is a new thing; we don’t encourage the boys to find comfort in our bed. But there in Arizona, I think we both needed it; a routine and some added comfort to remind us that home is wherever we are together.
I spend a lot of time observing my boys; watching the way they interact with the world, with the dirt, with one another. I notice them take notice of the sun setting. I watch them squat gnats away. I watch them fight and I watch them entertain one another. And if there’s anything I’ve learned over these past few weeks it’s that they’re strong and adaptable and happy.
And on this particular evening on the Apache Trail, I couldn’t help but take notice of the way the mountains are layered, one in front of the other. A reminder that life does not read from left to right, but instead is comprised of peaks and valleys that are beautiful because they exist together – side by side – and are more breathtaking than any one peak or valley could ever be on it’s own.

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

Sebastian + Taylor

Control some that love just originally cool oxybenzone each the online jobs at home after be excellent have great minute – companies using biopat to make money It shape have how can i make money fast strange rosy the and. Yummy work at home job labeling postcards Hope time product damage on page was. ALWAYS I not dries This using, into work at home ideas beauty Hyaluroinic never brand fragrance 5 tea Ouncesoap all telephone actresses work from home drink at. Another used. , peel this how to make money day trading for lines great business free from health home third again usually whether ending.

& Taylor, Arizona

Interested in booking a session? I’d love nothing more. Please email me, ashley {at} thestorkandthebeanstalk {dot} com.

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

The Salt River

As I watch my boys grow before me, I’ve adopted – in my mind, anyway – a more hands-off approach to parenting. Not to be mistaken for lack of care or concern, but instead intentional space made available for my boys to interact with the world on their own terms.
More and more, we’ve been spending our afternoons at a creek, river, beach, open field, or desert. It’s important, for me, that my boys build a relationship with nature, use their imagination, and play – more or less – independently.
Time carved out of our busy everyday lives, intentionally, to let them be kids; to encourage dirty clothes and soggy shoes. Because sometimes saying “no, don’t throw that rock” or “no, don’t get your clothes wet” gets tiresome and feels wrong as it rolls off my tongue. There’s a time and a place and I want them to know that.
And when they fall in the water or scrape their knees on the rocks, I don’t come running. I watch. And if I need to, I encourage them to work through it. More than that, I trust that they will get back up and when they do, I remind myself that a little coin just got added to their confidence jar.
We spent a few days at the Salt River during our stay in Arizona. The boys embraced the water, played with another couple’s dogs, threw rocks, looked at dead fish on the shore, fished with a stick and some string found on the bank, watched a wild horse graze in the field, and splashed around until the water practically turned to glass and the sun set over the cactus sprinkled mountains.
Where are some of your favorite places to take your kids exploring?
Votes over on Top Baby reset today. I would love if you would show me some love by clicking on the link below and then, again, on the owl on the left. It’s super easy, takes a few seconds, and means a lot to have all of your support. If you feel so inclined, you can vote daily. Thanks much. 
Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

Bits + Pieces, from Arizona (round II)

Our original plan was to drive to AZ, spend some time with Willy’s family while our house got worked on, and return and move in. Easy Peasy. What I’ve learned, and ultimately have come to accept, is that nothing – when moving – goes as planned. After ten days in AZ we received word that our contractor took off for Mexico. It sounds more dramatic than it ended up being, but at the time we had no clue what that meant for us. We decided to come back early from AZ so we could find out more. I’ll spare y’all the details and say that it all got figured out but things were far from done so we went to stay with my parents. We were there for another week and a half and, again, things were still not done with the new house so after returning from the weekend I spent with my sister in Ojai, the kids and I took of – again – for AZ. Hence the round II.
Janet reminded me that moving is rated number 3 on the list of most stressful events, right behind divorce and death. And now, I know why. I get it. It hasn’t always been fun and we have had our fair share of curve balls (both cars breaking down at separate inopportune times, the contractor taking off for Mexico, Sarah being hit by a car… to name a few).
I digress.
The kids and I had so much fun. We went on several day adventures and my mother-and-sister-in-laws took me around to the thrifts and they always seem to serve me better than the second-hand stores here in CA. I came away with a peacock chair for our enclosed patio, tons of planters, two kilim rugs that look as though they were made for our hallway, various knick-knacks, a huge macrame that I can’t wait to hang, an old antique chair whose price tag did not reflect it’s value, a blanket, a rug for the boys’ room, and some other odds and ends.
The boys will surely miss seeing family they so

clearly love and adore; as will they miss the cows, the goats, the garden, and riding in the back of the pick-up truck down the dusty dirt road.

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!