A Family Session | Dori, Adam, Noah

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Family Session | The Potter Family

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There usually is no rhyme or reason to nerves before a shoot; sometimes I feel total confidence and other times I feel timid about knocking on the front door and inviting myself in to take charge in a home I’ve never been that belongs to people I’ve never met. I didn’t have nerves going into this shoot so much as I felt pressure on myself; Kelsey confiding beforehand that she’s followed my work on instagram for sometime and never imagined actually getting a session with me ::gush gush:: . Though, in hindsight, I like the challenge of living up to a perception someone may have of me (when it’s a good one, of course). In any event, any pressure quickly dissipated; the way it does when met with warmth and sincerity. This family, they’re kind and gentle and bashful and humble and yet, somehow, still natural even with a camera in their faces.

We had plans of heading to the beach for the second half of the shoot but given the unpredictability of the beach weather this time of year, the wind had other ideas and we ended up staying at their house for the full session; which I really think was best anyways. Shooting in-home being far-and-wide my favorite location.

Interested in booking me for a session? Shoot me an email: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com.

Portrait Series | December

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A portrait of my family once a month in 2016

Willy: Taught the boys about pulling his finger.

Hooper: Asked if the nipples on Jimmie’s belly are pimples, which led to a conversation about men having nipples regardless of the fact they don’t produce milk. This then led to him inquiring about the two ‘nipples’ (aka moles) on Willy’s head.

Van: Got upset with me for taking a stick away from him after he tried using it as a dart, my face being the dart board. Angry, he told me, “well when you grow up you’re going to be a carrot”. He followed that up with calling me a “pesky squeak”. ::scratches head::

Sonny: Graduated from his helmet that he’s had to wear for the purpose of reshaping his head. He looks better but more than that, he smells better. Also took his first steps.

Me: Tried calling Willy out for using the expression “cat’s pajamas” only to come to find out that it’s a real thing. ::scratches head::

Jimmie: Got to spend the Christmas holiday with my parents which translates to more walks than he’s had in an entire year. Thanks, mom.

Childhood Unplugged

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We’re not big on celebrations over here; well, not in the traditional way, anyway. Take birthdays, for example. More specifically, my birthday. Where the only gift I opened from Willy was a box with a folded piece of paper with a picture of a barn located just outside of Sequoia. Presents by way of experiences, if you will. And some chocolate covered caramel.

We had intentions of making it up the mountain until we saw the outline of the road, which resembled the scribble scrabble of a two year old more than it did a paved path. And given our past experiences with Hooper and his upheavals from the mere turnabouts in Tijuana, we opted to stay lakeside instead. And when taking the majestic sunset each night, I can’t say it felt like we missed out.

I’ll be sharing more from our trip to Springville soon. Still trying to get caught up here with all we’ve had going on as of late.

And on the Childhood Unplugged front, you may be interested in our latest feature of Deborah Parkin, which you can check out here.

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.

 

Portrait Series | September

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Willy: Threw his back out and has set our whole unpacking gig back quite a few steps. At the pace we’re going, it feels like we’ll be moving in for years.

Hooper: Dipped Van’s fry in hot sauce when he wasn’t looking and maliciously threw it back onto his plate.

Van: Got caught with his pants down in the backyard, taking a dump. He didn’t stop or defend his actions but simply said, “sorry, mom”.

Sonny: Now has a ‘hat’ to fix his ‘flat’. In other words, he’s under construction. Also, you don’t want to wake up next to his smelly head.

Me: All the sudden I have to hold the menu (or any piece of paper with writing on it) further away so I can see. Wtf? Like overnight flip of the switch.

Jimmie: Learned how to use the doggy door and followed it up with a butt-scootin’-romp all over the yard. It’s worth keeping him on a diet just to ensure he doesn’t outgrow that little door.

Portrait Series | August 2016

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Willy: Requested a ‘nice shower cap’ for Christmas. Right now he looks like a lunch lady in the shower.

Hooper: Gave himself a wedgie and then said, “Look mom, I got girl underwear”.

Van: Saw a man in a motorized wheelchair in the store and said, loud enough for him and others to hear, “I’m not going to make fun of him because he’s old”.

Sonny: I’m considering holding onto the wax that comes out of his ear and surprising him on his sweet sixteen with a nice candle. Because, ya know, hashtag: organic. Hashtag: homegrown.

Me: “I used to only get annoyed when they’d fight. Now I’m annoyed even when they get along”. Said after several hours in the car all together when the boys were playing a really fun game that involved a lot of high pitch screaming.

Jimmie: Got caught drinking out of a big ol’ bowl where yellow was mellowing causing one to wonder just how often that happens, but goes unnoticed.

A Family Session, with The Hodges Family

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There are certain people that you meet in life that fill your cup; some are lucky enough to remain permanent fixtures and provide the refill when needed, others come and go but regardless of the fleetingness of it all you feel grateful to have met at all. That’s what this family was to me: a cup filler. The kind of love that fooled you into thinking emotions are tangible.

Coleen won me over immediately; offering the warmest of hugs and the coldest of beers. And the love affair grew from there. Carefree and full of the kind of beauty that runs deep into the bones. I learned of all the similarities we share, including a love for photography (as a side note, y’all should check out the non-profit she co-founded — Spectrum Inspired) as well as careers in nursing. Never mind the fact we both wait for our toenails to grow out after getting a pedicure in lieu of taking the time to use nail polish remover.

But what really blew me away about this family was the love they had for each other. You could feel it in every little interaction and you could feel the reciprocation of such from their children; something I honestly always wonder about because the good Lord knows my boys tell me they hate me often enough to make me wonder what the hell I’m doing wrong. I’m not sure what it is they’re doing right, all I know is they’re doing it right. And whatever they’re on, I want.

Sure, Coleen earned major bonus points when a huge wave hit and she went lunging for my camera bag over her children, but that’s besides the point. More to the point, I made the drive home – eager to return to my sweet Sonny (who doesn’t hate me) – feeling fulfilled.

Many thanks, Coleen & Scott, for incorporating me into your vacation plans and for letting me take a peek into what a well-run family looks like. I’d be scared to have you witness what goes on in my home and will be consulting the notes I took during our shoot.

Interested in hiring me for a session? Shoot me an email: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com.

A Family Session, with The Fischers

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I met the Fischer family here, in San Clemente, at a home they’ve been renting for the last several months in an attempt to escape the winter in their hometown of Colorado. I suppose I use the word ‘hometown’ freely because if you entered into conversation with these guys, you’d quickly learn that they’ve lived all over the place. All of us here in San Clemente were lucky to have them for the (relatively) short time they were here; myself, a bit bummed I didn’t run into them a earlier in their stay. I mean three kids nearly mirroring the ages of my own not to mention a dog; and an anxious one at that. One that, not unlike Jimmie, you could hear yelping from the window after we left for a walk down to the beach. We actually got the dogs (and kids) together a few days later and despite Van stepping on a cactus, all had an enjoyable time.

In any event, we spent some time playing inside, the boys quick to show off their legos, shoot me with their guns, and engage in a throwing-stuffed-animal fight. It was like I never left home. Later we made the short walk to the beach, the coastline covered in a heavy marine layer with June gloom inviting itself in just in time for this lovely family to pack up their car and make the trek back to Colorado, where hopefully the sun was waiting for them.

Interested in hiring me for a shoot? Send me an email: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com.

Portrait Series 2016 | June

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Willy: Proclaimed that kids are put on this Earth to make us age faster, die quicker, and use less resources. Also proclaims to be MVP of the bachelor party he just got back from.

Hooper: Told me he was bored for the first time ever. So that cat is out of that bag. Also says he wants 150 babies but will settle for just one more. I feel the same way.

Van: Decided to pee in Jimmie’s water bowl and then came and told me about it. Also told me he wasn’t going to marry me after I told him he had to throw his trash away before having his show turned back on (for the record, the marriage was over as soon as he peed in the dog bowl).

Sonny: Found his feet.

Me: Agreed to wanting to poop like a deer (however that is) and stepping in it to make my 5-year-old think I’m cool and then had an existential crisis. Momentarily, anyway.

Jimmie: Picked up kennel cough from doggy daycare. There were nights filled with hacking. Just when you thought having a new-ish-born at night was tough…

Traveling With Kids | Cuba

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I feel like any gosh-I-hate-this-term “mommy blogger” has at-some-point written a post filled with advice about traveling with kids. I’m pretty sure if I dug through my own archives, I’d find one that I even wrote prior. But if time and experience has taught me anything about traveling with kids, it’s that the key – the secret ingredient – is not something you can fit in your suitcase, forget at home, or buy when you get there. What makes or breaks traveling with kids is nothing more than your attitude and the perspective and expectations you use to funnel your travel experience.

Because what parent is going to forget the bag of snacks or to download their child’s favorite cartoon on the iPad or your iPhone? No one. We all have a similar bag of tricks and there’s no secret trick that you can buy, other than maybe Benadryl – and sure, I recommend that, too – that’s going to make your trip go as smooth as can be. Except, that is, for your attitude.

When we first brought Jimmie home, life sucked. He’s not an easy dog and there were times Willy and I both wanted to throw in the towel. Those that have been reading my blog since the acquisition of Jimmie know that his anxiety is through the roof, so-much-so that he’s on prozac and still looks as though he’s going to have an aneurysm should we even use the word “go” or “leave” in a conversation. In any event, the boys picked up on the tension in those early days and were not so nice to Jimmie. They’d hit him and speak mean to him; behaviors that, in hindsight, mirrored how Willy and I were affected by his behaviors.

Point being, kids notice shit. And they mirror what they see. If you’re calm and relaxed, they’re calm and relaxed.

So how do you keep calm and relaxed while traveling with kids? You take care of yourself and nurse that attitude I’ve spoken so highly of. Little things, like making sure you stay fed and hydrated. Other things that help facilitate a good attitude:

-Realistic expectations. Traveling is never easy. Airports suck. People can suck. Spending money you didn’t expect to spend sucks. Changing time zones suck. So planning on and expecting the worst sometimes makes it so the little victories – like a plane that’s not full and a free seat next to you – really shine through. I set myself up for such grand disasters so that when the plane lands and we’re all still alive, I smile. Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but you get the point.

-Talk with your spouse before the trip about your concerns and fears. When you can know what’s really going to throw a wrench into one another’s trips, it’s easier to navigate and avoid such. For example, I’m not one to make many plans when I travel. Before having kids, I’d go wherever and find a place to stay when I got to wherever “wherever” was. Prior to leaving for Cuba, Willy expressed concern about the potential of running into difficulty finding a place to stay once we arrived in Havana. And trust me, finding a casa particular (home to stay in) before actually arriving in Havana is in no way as simple as booking a hotel. I had made reservations with one only to be told weeks later it was no longer available, with no reason provided. In any event, I found us a home just two days before we stepped foot on the plane. Crisis averted. Fear squashed.

Really though, the point is to be on the same page with one another; to communicate and act and support one another as a team. Because nothing wears you down faster than having children. Oh wait, that doesn’t have anything at all to do with traveling, does it? Are you sensing my point? Traveling makes those little rascals wear you down even faster and to a even smaller entity than you ever thought possible. So build the trust in your partner to hold you up when you need a little lift and vice versa. And if you’re both being worn down at the same time – go back to my hydration plan and grab a beer. Sometimes a little break with a cold one in an outdoor eatery where the kids can run around in circles like crazy lunatics is a game changer, an energy recharge.

-Slow your roll. If you’re the type that travels with an itinerary, loosen it a bit. If you’re a planner, schedule time to do nothing other than relax. Because sure, seeing King Tuts tomb while in Egypt is certainly important, but so is that 2 o’clock nap. And arguably, the former may only be enjoyable if the latter is accomplished. Catch my drift? Don’t fill your plate, fill yo’ cup.

Have other tips you’d like to recommend to one another? By all means, sharing is caring.

A Family Session, with The Inges

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I received an email from Anne-Marie stating that her and her family would be in town to visit friends; they are from back East. My heart was warmed immediately; to be included in a family’s vacation plans? To say it’s an honor is an understatement. We toyed around with meeting up in the desert but Anne-Marie is more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda mama, which I love, and ultimately I ended up meeting them at their friend’s beautiful home in the heart of Venice.

Her husband Jay was equal parts relaxed and kind, their daughter Masie perfectly adapted to their spontaneous lifestyle (they’ve already traveled with her to several countries, which I think is so wonderful). We spent some time in-home, where Masie got some ballet lessons from Willow (Anne-Marie used to nanny Willow in Willow’s younger years, which I also think is so beautiful and added to the richness of the shoot).

We finished the shoot on the beach, the setting sun behind the mountains serving as a picturesque backdrop to their California holiday. Memories I can only hope they treasure for all the years to come in spite of all the new memories they’re sure to make, being the adventurous family that they are.

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

A Family Session, with The Streets

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When I arrived to Jamie and Ben’s home, the screen door was shut and I locked eyes with the most welcoming and brilliant smile from sweet baby Townes. He’s seven months old and apparently is stoked by the idea of strangers showing up on his doorstep. Scratch that, this baby is stoked on life in general because I got nothing but wide eyes and smiles for my entire time there. I’m sure Jamie and Ben could tell you about the sleepless nights and other hardships that come along with an infant, but you won’t get anything but good cheer out of me. Seriously, how cute is he? Rhetorical question because I’m pretty sure he’s cuter than my own kids.

I met the Street family in their home in San Diego, a quaint bungalow-style home decorated beautifully. We spent most of the time indoors, catering to the typical needs of two youngsters: snacks, favorite records, pillow fights, breastfeeding, and some good old-fashioned cuddles, along with some time in their backyard, where Henry was hard at work gardening. And when I say gardening, what I really mean is destroying plants because that’s what little boys do, right?

The entire shoot was perfectly carefree, an ease that comes when photographing another photographer, I suppose (you can check out Jamie’s work here and find her on instagram here).

Interested in hiring me for a session? Shoot me an email: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com. You can also check out my website for more information.

A Family Session, with The Gulas

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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 @ gmail.com. You can also find more information by visiting my website.

A Family Session, with The Records

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I photographed the Record family last year, when they lived literally just down the street from me. This go-around I had to make the still-short 10 minute drive to your new home and meet their newest addition, June. Sara delivered June with the same OB as me which, at-the-time (being pre-Sonny), offered me all sorts of reassurance following her smooth delivery. And seeing that sweet little girl sent me home with all sorts of anticipation that, sure, I had all along but made it all a little more real.

I also got to hang with Hazel, who is closer to a ball full of energy than a fairy princess; my kinda girl is what I’m saying. She’s got spunk like you wouldn’t believe and is fulfilling the role of big sister like one bad mamma jamma.

I’m always impressed with the growing number of animal friends within this household; last year I met their horse, this year we played with their bunny and Henry, the poodle, with the poor bearded dragon being left out, somehow, of any photos.

In any event, this family of four is one of my favorites; easy to photograph and having ended the session with a cookie and a glass of milk, they definitely solidified their place on my list of favorites. So much love to the Records and many congrats on their new little girl.

Interested in hiring me for a session? Shoot me an email: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com. You can also check out more information on my website by clicking here.

Cuba | The Good

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Let’s be honest, traveling with children opens the door on lots of shit potentially hitting the fan. I mean sometimes simply making the mile trip to the grocery store and back can be a f’n nightmare. Throw in long flights, delayed flights, missed meals, changed time zones, water you can’t drink and puddles that ought not to be jumped in, not to mention entirely new surroundings and I think it’s fair to drop children from the equation all together because that shit ain’t easy for even us adults. If it weren’t for my whining children (and, at times, husband) I know I would have gladly worn the whining crown, but someone’s got to carry the team and dammit, more times than it, you better believe I throw on my big girl jeans. Albiet reluctantly. Because dammit, I wanna whine too sometimes.

In any event, this post isn’t about what went wrong – I’ll save that for a follow-up post. Instead, right here and now, you’re going to hear about what went right. Because with all that can go wrong and with the limited bag of tricks you seem to have when away from home, it’s pretty amazing – to me anyhow – that anything goes right. Or even close to it, for that matter.

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We were sitting in a restaurant in Havana, nearing the end of our stay in Cuba, when I turned to Willy and said, “Taking everything into account, I’d give the boys an ‘A’ for this trip”. He scoffed, nearly spit out his food, and said “I’d give them a ‘C’, at best”.

It’s always interesting to me how two people can experience the same event so differently. His reasoning for his ‘C’ grade had to do with things like their (at times) constant bickering. Sure, they’re at each other constantly, but that’s pretty much the norm. I had no expectations of them sitting quietly anywhere. So, when they sat relatively quietly throughout the flight, you better believe I was throwing some proverbial gold stars next the mental image of their names I held as a pretty little chart in my head.

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Shit, I was just grateful they never drank the water. Because who wants to deal with cholera ever, let alone in Cuba… where locals have a hard time purchasing tylenol. Tylenol. Minus a lingering cough that, sure, made a few nights of sleeping all in the same bed (errr, two twin beds pushed together) absolutely sleepless and miserable, no one required any real medical care. And for that, more gold stars. Especially when considering a wet soccer ball hit my leg and the next day I had a small itchy rash in that area. Point being, it wasn’t the cleanliest of places and our boys are definitely of the let’s-touch-and-step-in-everything variety.

San Clemente Family Photographer _ Cuba-106 San Clemente Family Photographer _ Cuba-116Speaking of cleanliness, let’s talk for a moment about stray dogs. Because here in America if you see a dog loose on the street the better human beings will pick that dog up, take it to some vet clinic or shelter, and hope that said wandering dog has a chip inserted somewhere under it’s skin to solve the mystery of who it belongs to. A chip, people. Strays in the States are unheard of. Perhaps we have Bob Barker to thank for that. And going back to the fact our kids are of the let’s-touch-and-step-in-everything variety, let’s just say they came away from the trip knowing what a street dog is, learning to both look for a collar and/or leash before reaching out an all-too-eager petting hand and learning to navigate the streets by making quick maneuvers that included fancy footwork and/or strategic skips and hops to avoid the plethora of stray dog excretions. They also learned that stray dogs are not necessarily best described as male or female, but more accurately characterized as mamas or papas; perhaps my favorite quote from the trip being, “Mama, dat doggie has a lot of peeps”. And by “peeps” he meant penis’ and by penis’ what he was actually observing were nipples. And to think Hooper’s teacher sent along a school packet of schoolwork for him to work on… the lessons are in the nipples lady, the lessons are in the nipples. I kid. Kinda. In any event, gold stars to us for always having hand sanitizer on us despite being the parents that don’t typically regulate the cleanliness of their kids’ hands as well as they should.

San Clemente Family Photographer _ Cuba-162 San Clemente Family Photographer _ Cuba-174Did I mention we slept in two twin beds pushed together? Oh, I did. Well, it’s worth mentioning again because, again, it worked out. The boys fell asleep each night just a bit before us and, to our never-engaged-in-co-sleeping surprise, actually stayed asleep while we watched something on the iPad or took a shower or cleaned up. And Hooper, who dropped his nap sometime ago, chose to nap most days in the same room – in the same bed – as his brother. Sure they share a room at home but never, ever, have I ever had the luck of getting them to nap in the same room. Not even when Hooper was still napping. If that’s not some sort of miracle, I don’t know what is. More gold stars. And lots of them. Because we all needed that afternoon break / rest / regrouping.
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We flew to Cuba via Miami and flight times were never in our favor. It was impossible, for example, to get a flight into and out of Miami the same the day. So we spent one night in Miami on our way there and one night in Miami on the way back, which – sure -was far from ideal from the travelers perspective but worked out wonderfully in that we got to stay with my friend Carolyn. Carolyn has two boys as well and I’ll be honest when I admit there were times both boys were disappointed with the, um, lack of toys in Cuba and downright demanded to go back to Carolyn’s house to play with the ‘bad boy toys’. Just yesterday, in fact, Van mentioned it again and we’ve been home from Cuba now for months. Needless to say, it was the perfect place to leave from and to return to and I think that speaks volumes when all you want to do after traveling hard is walk in the door of your own home. It was nice for all of us and I really enjoyed the short time we got to hang.

When I mention to people that we’ve gone to Cuba the most common question (aside from how did you get there, which is asked by people more-or-less up-to-date on their political or global issues) is “was it safe?”.  And the answer to this remains a big huge YES (albeit my follow-up post will highlight some of the annoyances and depending on how you rate your annoyances, some may verge on the line of safety to some degree). Kids walk home from school independently, they play in the streets independently, and all-in-all there is a great sense of community. We made several friends on our block alone (and by “we” I mean Willy because truthfully he’s the social butterfly between the two of us) and were invited in homes; the boys loved playing with the boys next door, which I spoke to briefly on the post I wrote for Childhood Unplugged. The people, in general, were incredibly inviting; the boys’ blond hair drawing much attention and walker-by comb-throughs by hands that just couldn’t resist to determine if it felt as different as it looked. And the boys’ embraced it, all of it, and took to giving their “free hugs” (something they took to doing this past summer but has weaved it’s way into our lives so that oftentimes we are stuck at a restaurant because Van has not yet hugged every patron in the establishment). Even Hooper, who tends to be a little bit more on the reserved side volunteered to join in the free hug movement. They clearly felt the warmth and reciprocated it appropriately and watching them interact and trust made for more-than-enough proud mom moments (insert gold stars here — five of them, to be exact).

San Clemente Family Photographer _ Cuba-225The people made the streets come to life. In fact, the street life is the very thing that drew me back to Cuba and helped me rationalize staying in Havana for the full duration of our time there (last time we traveled around to numerous cities and towns). It’s one of my absolute favorite places to photograph (before having kids, travel photography had my heart) and minus the few that yelled at me or the little old lady that gave me the finger, all were keen to having their photos taken and excited to get a glimpse of themselves – stopped in motion – on the back of my LCD screen. I couldn’t always give it the attention I wanted as I usually had at least one kid’s hand wrapped in mine and one eye on oncoming vehicles, but I’m happy with the shots I did get and grateful for having a second chance at photographing such a dynamic country. 
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Other things that went right:

-You could walk out for what felt like miles in the water at the beach we frequented. It’d have passerby’s think our boys were water babies and they are, well, not. It was the perfect reprieve from city life and a nice break from having to watch their every move and step.

-We returned to our favorite pizza joint that was off-the-beaten track five years ago when we visited and is still off-the-beaten track today but just as yummy and with a newly adjacent makeshift zoo (insert question mark) that consists of a caged ferrets, iguanas, chickens, rats, and other sort of odd pairings. An old man that worked there took the boys to look at the animals while Willy and I enjoyed complete peace and quiet, so that was an additional highlight and I swear made the pizza taste even better.

-Considering traveling anywhere while pregnant can be a bit of a risk, nothing of concern occurred while in Cuba. And that counts for something when prior to leaving it felt as though my entire insides were going to fall out of my vagina. I invested in a female jock-strap of sorts and am only willing to admit it because I never ended up needing it as the pain and swelling seemed to go away after my OB suggested treating it as a yeast infection despite any of the typical symptoms. But, lo-and-behold, it worked. And if bringing a female jock-strap that you didn’t end up needing doesn’t count for something, then I’m done keeping track all together.

-The second Cuba more-or-less succeeds at beating you down, a perfect stranger will hand your kid a banana from his fruit stand and you’ll hate yourself for even thinking what he’s going to ask for in return when he instead says, in broken English, “On me, enjoy your holiday”.

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More, from Cuba, to come…San Clemente Family Photographer _ Cuba-270

A Family Session, with The Capeners

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Please excuse me while I use this time to get caught up on sharing a heap of sessions… photos from Cuba coming your way as well…

At the end of this session I said “the images may not be perfect, but they’ll definitely be honest”. I felt like the kind of real estate agent that refers to a home that’s much too small and needs some work as having “character”. And yet, when I went through and edited what I captured, I feel nothing of the chaos that comes with two young boys; it’s a chaos I know well. And in the end, I’m quite happy with how these turned out. A pleasant surprise when given the fact none of my regular “tricks” (or who am I kidding, errr, manipulation) seemed to work. In any event, the take home message is that they’re not perfect, I mean check out that last picture of all of them with little Theo basically pulling his eye out. But I’ll be damned if they’re not honest. And that’s what I strive for anyway.

Elise, Drew, Fin, & Theo, captured in their home in Dana Point, California.

Interested in booking a session? You can check out my website by clicking here and email me at ashleyjennett @ gmail.com.

 

A Family Session, with The Pughs

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I met the Pugh family through another family I had photographed. You would think referrals would be a photographer’s bread and butter but to be honest, I get a bit nervous when someone hires me simply because I shot someone they know. I always prefer for my clients to have some knowledge of my work and style, if for nothing else than to have some idea as to what to expect.

The Pugh family instantly erased whatever fears I had and, as luck would have it, were a perfect fit. I met them at their home in Aliso Viejo and captured some family portraits as well as some lifestyle candids before heading out to the Newport Beach Civic Center.

I absolutely loved capturing the sister relationship and having two beautiful girls was a nice change from my everyday wrangling of boys. A beautiful family, indeed, that made every second of the shoot enjoyable and fun.

Interested in hiring me for a session? Shoot me an email, ashleyjennett @ gmail.com.