working on growing

Want to hear a funny story? So Friday night I logged on to the admin area of my blog and saw hundreds of comments. My first thought was, “Woah…I did not expect people to miss my daily updates that much.” Then I remembered it was a giveaway post. I’ll pretend it was just you guys missing me πŸ™‚

So glad you all liked the giveaway. I wish I could give away 4×4 prints to all of you, but the Mpix winner is Shannon (email slm14…..). Shannon, you should have an email from me.

In other news, I’m taking a photography class. In my time off from blogging this month, I wanted to work on growing as a photographer. In recent months, I’ve felt like I was kind of doing the same ole’ thing regarding photography. I want to continue to grow in all areas of my life, but man sometimes it is hard to do anything but status quo when you have little ones and work to do. So this month, I am being challenged and inspired by Kristin Rogers and other students in her The Inspired Home course. The course is part photography and part home. Last week we focused on phone photography, so I forced myself to set my dslr down and capture my days primarily with my phone.

It was a fun challenge, but I am looking forward to being reunited with my dslr this week! With that being said, here are a few iPhone pics from the last week. I’ll begin with Little One’s smile. We are still waiting on the top layer of glue/tape to come off….soon.

Happy Monday evening. This not regular posting has me posting at strange times. I’ll be back in a new groove in February!

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  • Jacci in Ohio - Love this πŸ™‚ You had some gorgeous shots, Ashley! And Little One’s sweet smile… made my day.

  • emmybrown - I’d say all your comments was from missing you too! πŸ˜€ I know I sure do.

  • Lyn - I wish I had an iphone just for the pictures it takes. Such better quality than mine. Glad you are doing something for yourself (that intern benefits your family).

  • Darcy - You capture the best moments whether with your dslr or iPhone. I’d never guess the pics above were from a phone. What a wonderful talent. I love following your blog – it never fails to bring me warm fuzzies.

  • Teresa - I love those toes in the bath water. So sweet!

  • Kristin - Do you have a particular camera app on your phone that you use? Not that fond of my iphone4 camera with Instagram. Hmm.

  • Gaby {} - You definitely got it, Ashley-ann! Gorgeous pictures no matter the camera!

  • the whyte house - i know i missed your posts!

    firecracker…that girl cracks me up.

  • Sandy - Looking forward to a SnapShots course in the future myself. Hope your classes inspire you. I’m a new follower of your blog & have found tons of inspiration!

  • sara - So cool that you’re taking that class. I hope to take one someday. It’s funny, I need to challenge myself to put down my phone, and pick up the dslr and use it on my kids. i’ve been a major slacker with taking real photos of my children. πŸ™‚

  • Lynn - Missing your daily posts alot !!! Love the new pictures.

  • Susan - Love them all! Thanks for sharing your family with us πŸ™‚

  • Tonya - Even with a phone camera you are awesome!

  • carson - greetings from georgia. you have no idea how much you are missed! can’t wait to watch (and learn from) your growth.

  • sara - Well, i didn’t enter your contest…but i do miss all your posting! I’m sure everybody else does too! Every time i find a great blog, soon there’s an announcement that they are cutting back on blogging! I must be a curse! Come back soon!

  • Emily - I am so glad you tagged Kristen in your instagram and I fell down the rabbit hole into the Define school. I plan on taking a few classes this year and growing some more myself.

    Happy Monday!

  • Catherine - I can’t see the pictures, darn! Hmmm, I will reboot and see if that helps.

  • Christina G - I’ve missed reading your posts every morning! Enjoy your time with your precious family

  • Kathie - Love it!!

  • jen - Bwhahaha! That last one of FireCracker ready for battle has me laughing! πŸ™‚ Also, does your studio floor have radiant heat? I see all the kids walking barefoot on it in your pics all the time…even in OK I’d think that floor has to be cold!

  • Lisa - I went through my feed reader several times looking for you. You are my first read! Glad to see something today…no matter the time. πŸ™‚

  • Jay - Do you do post on your phone pics in Lightroom? My phone pics are just never this sharp.

    These are great!!

  • nancy - Well those are some pretty awesome phone shots!!! Can’t wait to see more!

  • amy cornwell - I can’t wait to see photos from your class. You’re so talented, I just can’t imagine what you’ll learn next. Someday I’ll take YOUR class. Someday. (p.s. you ARE missed, giveaway or not!)

  • Jenni - Trust me, we miss you! Lol. My Cheerios every morning just aren’t the same:). Love the pictures!

  • Robin L. - I soo miss your everyday posts!! Glad your little girl is doing well. Your family is so beautiful!

  • Amanda Brooke - Just wanted you to know I’m a loyal reader, and incredibly inspired by even your iphoto pictures. They make me want to learn how to take better photos (and to babysit your kids!) πŸ™‚ Thank you.

  • Debbie C - I love the pics of your eldest by the window! I sort of like these surprise “pop-up” posts. But I’ll be glad when February comes along. πŸ˜€

  • Jill - I DO miss your posts! But I’m proud of you for taking time off πŸ™‚

  • Jackie - Well I for one sure miss you blogging as much! But COMPLETELY understandable. I have ONE baby and I don’t get on the computer as much (but granted, when I do, I check your blog right away!)

  • AshleyAnn - Jen – no radiant heat on the floor, just a bunch of hooligans that dress like it is summer when it is very much winter!

  • Wen - Wow which iPhone do you use – any tips on getting the best photos with an iPhone? Love them all especially the little toes in the bath and the one with your son in the window with the bright sun!

  • jenny - totally missed your posts! πŸ˜‰
    love my camera but i have also been having great fun with my phone! Do you have Hipstamatic? I love that app!

  • AmandaH - I miss your daily updates a lot! but I am also glad you are taking some time to focus on your family while your little one heals!

  • Sarah - love the pictures!!
    and I would looove to take a photography class as well! lucky you!

  • Holly D - Missing your daily posts…a lot! How wonderful that you are taking a photography class! Enjoy it! Love the new pictures!

  • giozi - Beautiful collage. Yesterday I purchased my first blurb album. I did it whit his program but I din’t know how to put a big photo to 2 pages, maybe I need a design programs, well for the next πŸ˜€

  • emily - Your phone photos are so good! I wish I could take a SnapShop class from you someday! So glad Little One is doing well.

  • Tracy - Oh we do miss your blog posts! We are just being patient while you are on your much deserved blog break! πŸ˜‰

  • Monica - I really miss you posts… But I am happy that you still do it when you are really busy taking care of your little ones. Like I said before I don’t know how you do it. Tell me your secrets. πŸ™‚ I love your pictures! I love Little One’s smile, she looks so sweet. God Bless your family. Have a great day! Enjoy your learning about photography , always is good to learn something new! I try to take pictures everyday but my problem is when I get home is 6:30pm by that time here in Chicago is too dark , so I have to use flash and they don’t look so great. I really like pictures with natural light. I hate WINTER! well I just don’t like that last too long in here. SO far haven’t snow that much but has been freezing! some advices for me how to take pictures when I don’t have good light during the week? Thank you. I can’t wait for spring. πŸ™‚

  • amber - Oh man, status quo, story of my life these days. I’m so tired of feeling behind. Working on it. But it’s hard to get motivated:/. So good to see those happy faces, especially Little One. Super sweet.

  • rachelzana - I DO miss your daily posts that much! You are always a blessing to my day!

  • Christina - It’s funny to say I love all your children when I’ve never really met them, but I do. You are all such a wonderful family. But I have to say, Firecracker is a girl after my own heart. I can tell there is probably challenge to every day with a spunky one like that (she reminds me of my 4-year-old son so much) but what a joy to have a daughter that wants so desperately to keep up with the boys yet keep her girly side intact. I look forward to every post.

  • Shannon - Your family is a joy to watch!

    (Also, I got your email and I’m SOOOOO excited to have won your giveaway. Thank you times 100 for the opportunity!)

  • Laree @ Ever Heard of Euless - I actually did laugh out loud at that picture of firecracker on the stairs with both a gun and a sword – and the utility belt to complete the outfit. I love it!

  • jennie sanders - I miss your daily posts:)

  • Jessica - Oh, how I wish thousands would reply so you would know your absence is felt! (because it is!) PS, check your email for a starbucks card…

  • Shelby - The beginning of your post inspired me to drop a line letting you know that I’ve checked your blog daily for over a year now and can’t wait to hear your positive and inspiring perspective on all of the up’s and down’s of life. I hope to create a home/family/future that follows many of the same paths, and reading about the joy of the little things every day helps me keep that future in sight. Thank you. I hope you’re thriving on the time off with the little ones and photography but I selfishly can’t wait until you resume your daily posts! Thanks πŸ™‚

  • Kelly - I so understand the break….but I love your blog so much. Heal, bond and learn….then please come back to your loyal and rather needy follower! My niece is delivering her baby tomorrow am. This sweet gift from God has a cleft lip and palette is unknown. Can not wait to kiss three lips. Thank you for helping me to help my sister through this unknown time as she waits to be a grandmother. I have shared your story with her and it has helped. But most it has helped me. I just have a different look at all kinds of gifts of God. Thank you….

  • Mary Pat - Well, I certainly miss you, but didn’t want you to feel pressured to post. Since you invited us to leave you comments though, I had to respond πŸ™‚
    Someday can you do a post about what you’re using for the collages? Like the circle one, I love that. I use Instacollage on my phone, but haven’t found anything as convenient for SLR pics.
    Miss you tons! Loving the instagram posts πŸ™‚

  • Kimberly Oyler - we do miss you! don’t even try and think otherwise. πŸ™‚

  • Sadie - I don’t normally comment, but I do want you to know I have TRULY missed your posts! It was my morning routine. However, I totally get why you are taking a much deserved break! ENJOY! But hurry back soon! πŸ˜‰

  • Theresa - I DO miss your daily updates. You are the first and only blog I look for first thing in the morning, before I get ready and leave for work. Sigh. January – long month.

  • Theresa - But I am so glad you can spend time with your Little One (and the whole gang) ~ I had only two children (would have loved to have a football team), and there werent enough hours in the day – I am always so inspired and energized reading your posts!

  • Amy @ Fig Milkshakes - Man, Ashley – it is so inspiring to me that you are this revered blogger/photographer – already (seems to me) successful, and you are still looking for ways to grow (and as you said, still raising a family).

    That is just encouraging to me, and makes me feel like it can be done.

    Yeah, yeah, me too. I gotta go make a list now! πŸ™‚

  • Amelia - Take as much time as you need, but know that we really DO miss you!!! God bless.

  • Joanna - I think all the post were from missing you…I know I do. Glad Little One is doing so well. The pics are adorable as usual πŸ˜‰

  • maggie may - hey girl.
    i wanted to let you know i gave your blog and your sister’s etsy shop some love today on my blog. just thought you might wanna know.
    hope the family is well!

  • Alida - Your pictures look so nice:) Would you share the recipe for your cookies? I have been trying different recipes of late but they keep going flat. I am determined to make cookies, though.

  • Jocelyne @ No Textbooks Required - Can I ask a question not related to this post πŸ˜‰

    I have been inspired by your lovely photobooks and am in the process of getting started on a Blurb book right now. One thing that is bugging me is what to do with all the times I have just ONE photo, and not several to make a nice spread with. Do you just put a few of them on the same page? I think my book would become HUGE it I only put one per page. But my anal self can’t make myself put photos together that don’t go together πŸ™‚ I’d love to see some of these pages if possible. Or at the very least, hear how you solved this problem since I am sure I can’t be the only one who has several ‘only one photo’ moments.


  • Sarah A - Love your pictures! Always have. You have the cutest kids and the most creative angles. I only have a point and shoot (I KNOW… one day we’ll be able to upgrade!!) but my photography skills – and the resulting photos – have gotten so much better just since reading your blog. I am definitely missing your daily posts! Good for you for doing something to better yourself during your break. “Life is a learning experience” as my Mom always says! Now I say it to my own kids… πŸ™‚

  • Gina - Hi Ashley!! Hope you are having a good week! I meant to drop you a note yesterday but some how I thought it was Tuesday yesterday so the week is flying by and I lost a day somewhere!! Have been faithfully keeping you and your family in my daily prayers!! Have fun!

  • tb - Finding your website and filled my heart with joy… the beauty in your adopted daughter is amazing… your words are heartfelt. Your family is beautiful, your home is fab and well did I mention that adopted beauty of yours… you will never forget your kisses and touching her little tooth but you my friend have forever changed her life… having your blog and writing your true, raw, straight from the heart words will always let her know where she came from and your bittersweet struggle to do the right thing… what a blog. I am so happy I found it. Please kiss that little girl right now for me… tell her so many just love her to pieces – she is so fortunate, oh so very fortunate. You must have a husband with a very big heart to share your love for life.

  • Lucinda - This is amazing beyond words. Every part of it. God is good!

  • Mary - Beautiful pictures and perspectives! I am just learning photography now and these types of warm, candid, and creative images are what I aspire to.

  • Homer Basso - I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that too few people are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy I stumbled across this in my hunt for something concerning this.

  • sprz?tanie biur cena - Howdy! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the excellent work!

  • Pizza Ok Gorzow - Simply a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great design and style .