simple summer

One of our crafts/activities this week was to go on a nature walk. My idea was to walk around our area and each kid fill a bag with items they found. Then we were going to go home and create a picture using the found items and glue. Well, we decided to do the nature walk at their grandparents. My four year old decided to stay inside with his grandma. And, we never did the art project. However, the whole point of the idea was do get out and do something different. Mission accomplished.


My kids really enjoy their grandpa’s goats. And, I must admit the goats have grown on me too.

The boys wrangled the goats from a few acres away and led them to the ‘barn’. FireCracker is….well a firecracker.

Aside from chasing goats and taking pictures of turtles, the boys have been playing in the mud. I know dirt and mud drive some parents crazy. It makes me so happy to see them in swimsuits covered in dirt. It is such a simple childhood joy. I would much rather see them covered in mud than find them with their fingers tapping a video game or their eyes focused on a tv. It just makes me happy to watch them find such fun in something so simple.

He has the best eye colors all combined.

The other girl in this house very much DOES NOT like to see them in the mud. She either begs them to clean off or runs far so she doesn’t get caught in the middle. Where did this daughter of mine come from? Goodness do I love her and all her pink sparkly girly self.

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  • Big D & Me - Saw a shirt in Children’s Place yesterday that said, “Little Miss Forecracker.” I immediately thought of your daughter 🙂

  • Big D & Me - Ummm…that should have said “Little Miss Firecracker”

  • steph - How perfect are her little curls!! They are all so cute having a blast, do you ever take little videos to keep? Not to share but just to have of them shrieking and laughing. Also you always find the best light and are quite brave bringing your camera into the fray!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - I’m like you- covered in mud, glitter, paint, whatever- just get them outside! And you’re right- your oldest son’s eyes are so beautiful!

  • Amy - Beautiful pictures as always, and looks like a fun time!!

  • tammy kay - They are adorable Ashley. Firecracker looks so cute in that swimsuit.

  • sarah - i am like you; get them outside! and i love kids covered in dirt. i always tell my son the dirtier he is, the more fun he has had! but i gotta ask, you always have a pile of dirt at your house. is that a pile that is always there? a simple pile of dirt that turns to mud has entertained your kids for years. that is awesome!

  • Robyn Farmer - Amen on playing in mud instead of with electronics. Once I get over the initial idea of the kids getting dirty it makes me happy. For some reason I have to know that they will want to be dirty for longer than 5 minutes to make it worth it to me.

  • Alice H - I love mud also! The best part about the swimsuits and mud, they are easy to hose off before coming inside!! He does have some great eyes! And Firecracker is a mess!! LOL!

  • MixedMolly - Once I went to pick my son up at a friends house and they had been playing outside all day. The friend’s mom seemed embarrassed that they were all so dirty, but I couldn’t have been more pleased. They all looked well played to me!

  • Alma - I love your joy for the simple things and how the kiddies enjoy it.

  • christie - Looks like so much fun!! Beautiful place, fun mud and goats are my favorite!!

  • Asha - I can’t wait until she gets her sister and she has someone to be girly with!

  • meg duerksen - yes…green eyes are the best.

  • Sara - You’re a good mom. 🙂

  • Amanda Torres - I’m stealing the nature walk art project. Thanks for the idea.

  • Patti - Ashley, so glad simple summers are still going on! This so reminds me of my childhood, running around with my brother!
    I raised two (post college/grad school) who I delight in, but they only got the mud/exploring/outdoors freedom when we camped for one week each summer. Otherwise they were at summer camp/daycare (excellent programs, don’t get me wrong….lots of outside mud and crawley bugs) or in organized programs (soccer/swim team) while I went to work. Too much structure for my taste.
    You are giving them an incredible gift.

  • Natalie - Biggest brother taking after his mama! Love it.

  • Chrissy - Oh my…my heart jumped a little when I saw all that mud! As a mother of three boys, I so admire and connect with all of these beautiful messes. Yeah for boys! And sweet smelling, clean and neat girls:)

  • elizabeth - “I would much rather see them covered in mud than find them with their fingers tapping a video game or their eyes focused on a tv.”

    AMEN!!!! our first is on the way and i couldnt agree more. the fact that your kids are constantly outside doing awesome kid stuff is one of the main reasons i cant stay away from your blog. i see pictures of your kids doing things i used to do (and thats not even that long ago). i cannot wait to climb trees and make mud pies with my kids!!!!

  • Sarah - Your son does have some very pretty eyes! 🙂 I want to me the type of mom who lets her kids get muddy and dirty, and have them spend more time outside than in! I had that growing up and I think it’s the best way to grow up.

  • Kate R - I must ask, however do you get the mud out of kid’s clothes? I wouldn’t know where to begin other than a garden hose. What is your secret?

  • ranee - love the goats, the mud, the eyes, and that adorable little lady!

  • ko - Those eyes! Oh those eyes! They will melt girls heart’s one day 🙂 And Firecracker as usual always brings a good laugh into my day! So cute!

  • susie - you are lucky to have all that land! we live in town and I wish we had some land to run on…

  • Kathy - I want my kids to play and get dirty and have fun, but I have to fight against my desire for clean clothes….so I echo someone else’s question, “How do you get the mud out?”

  • hydeeann - here, here!!! on mud vs. electronics. the mess x7 can make me crazy, of course, but its better than the alternative.

  • Bethanyblntn - FireCracker sounds just like I was when I was little. I loved going out, exploring, going down the marsh and catching fish or picking wild blackberries but mud. OH NO! They are all so sweet and Biggest brothers eyes are AMAZING! I so am with you on the tv thing, in fact, my husbands and I chose to never even buy one OR game systems. There is so much life to be lived that it would be a shame to wast it away viewing someone else fictional life. You rock!

  • Jen - I am so jealous of your mud! We are a little too urban for much mud here. But we find some on occasion at the park 😉

  • Jessica - I’m with ya on the mud! Shaving cream is a beautiful thing, too… Enjoy your summer! It will be fall before we know it.

  • AshleyAnn - Kate & Kathy – swimsuits & a garden hose…no secret. I don’t buy white swimsuits (or light colors) and I hose them down before they run inside for a shower!

  • Jen - I love what you wrote, “I would much rather see them covered in mud than find them with their fingers tapping a video game or their eyes focused on a tv.” A MUCH needed reminder as we head into summer. Let the messes and fun happen!

  • Kathie - Oh my goodness!!! That close-up picture of your oldest boy is absolutely amazing – no shirt, the mud, the mouth, the eyes! Perfection. I would be framing and hanging up that one. God has given you such a gift in your eye for photography! You are a good momma.

  • Annie - A silly question maybe, but how do you deal with keeping your camera equipment clean and safe in the middle of all that mud and water? I’d be tempted to leave my DSLR home on an outing like that because I’d be worried about it getting messed up, and then of course I’d miss all the great photo opportunities.

  • stacey - *fist pumps* we LOVE mud at our house! woot! 🙂