National Audubon Society’s future President & CEO

Hey bud, what do you want to do?

“I want to draw. With you.”

And so we draw. And draw. And then I move on and he keeps drawing.

It is always some kind of nature scene. Friday it was the layers of the rain forest complete with plants and animals

Saturday it was the woods buzzing with life.

Yesterday it was the desert….brown with creepy, crawly things.

He uses Google Images to search. “Rainforest canopy animals”, “Red Admiral Butterfly”, “Flowering cactus”……then he draws what he finds.

In the time he draws, usually other siblings come and go. It is a beautiful thing to me to watch them randomly pull up a chair and create.

When I step away from drawing with him, I’ve been trying to work on my own random projects. I bought an old hutch…it is taking me SO LONG to paint it. It seems like every time I get the brush out, someone comes behind and gets paint on a shirt and then begins the process of cleaning up paint. I think I might need to figure out a way to get a spurt of energy after kids are in bed so I can paint at night….

Too many projects started. Too little time to finish!

Just a little note to say the February/March SnapShop course is full. Registration opened on Friday and the course was full within 30 minutes. I will be doing another SnapShop in the late spring and then two more after that in 2013. I will announce new dates here and on the SnapShop site in March.

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  • Gina | Listening in the Litany - What a talented little artist you have there…and what a bright, happy space! I love all the color. It’s so nice to meet you.

  • Luciana - I love Firecracker’s concentration face.

  • Mara Evans - Such dedication and concentration are almost as wonderful as the artwork itself. I’m sure you’ve seen the beautiful art of the Sibley Guide to Birds, and the geometric nature art of Charley Harper. The field sketches that your son is doing suggests a natural historian in the making. That makes me happy!

  • Pamela - his drawing is beautiful!

  • Alice H - His artwork is AMAZING! How old is he again? I hope he enters all the Reflections contests and that he wins first place!!

  • Emily - I love that he is a lefty!

  • danielle - Such a beautiful thing! Love his drawing and the mandarin written on your chalkboard wall πŸ™‚

  • Tonya - He looks so serious! You have some budding artists on your hands.

  • Juliana - Hi Ashley, I have been a quiet observer of your blog. I love all your pictures and crafts. Basically everything you do. I thought of you today because my husband, who is a youth minister, is on a ski trip and I got the whole weekend with three little ones (5 years, 3 years and 6 months) by myself. I don’t know how you do it. Some days are just hard. Thank you for the inspiration. Have a nice day!

  • Monica - Such a nice pictures of him drawing! πŸ™‚ I think is a wonderful thing to do what you really enjoy and make you happy , and he seems he enjoy to do that a lot! Firecracker looks so big and so cute like always. I know what you mean, I would like to have a lot of energy after the kids go to bed and I only have 2 girls, but by then is already 10 pm so the only thing I want to do is going to bed to , but I have too many projects that I want to continue doing, many are copy your ideas :)some other are just from pinterest that seems really cool and easy . I just need time :S. Hopefully one day. I really hope before the year ends I can take one class with you. How was teh clas that you took? Did you like it? Did you learn good stuff? Thank you and talk to you soon!

  • Caroline - Hey Ashley, this is really really awesome!
    and as a chinese myself, it’s so nice seeing those hanyu pinyin on your wall!
    mom, dad, older/younger brother, younger sister, cat, sun, grass…
    did you miss out older sister? it’s ji? jie.
    Firecraker is Little one’s ji? jie. πŸ™‚

    Really love how you always encourage creativity in all your kids!

  • Aimee - you are homeschooling beautifully πŸ™‚

  • Caroline - opps, the characters didn’t come out.
    it’s jie3 jie.


  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Oh! I love it! Have you guys seen the book The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon? I just know he would love it! Or any of the Burgess animal books? A perfect match, I do say!

  • tanpopo - What a lovely slice of life. Thanks for sharing !

  • natalie - What amazing drawings your boy is doing! I love this book about Audubon… have you seen it? The Boy Who Drew Birds A Story of John James Audubon By Davies, Jacqueline. xx

  • Emily - His art is amazing!

  • maggie may - i am in awe of his talent! my boys play with action figures all day long, karate-chopping the poo out of each other. my boys are lovely just the way they are, but if they started diversifying their interests into things like nature and drawing, i’d pee with excitement. i just said the words pee and poo in one comment. apparently i’m a mom.

  • Jennifer Monroe - What an amazing artist your son is!!

  • Rhonda - Hi Ashley,
    I’ve wanted to sign up for the photo classes but I’m always too late. What time do you open the sign up on the day you designate to sign up? I’m soooo disappointed I was unable to sign up again.

    Blessings to you and your beautiful family.

  • Susannah - Your son is quite the budding artist! His pictures are increadible!

  • AshleyAnn - Rhonda – send me an email at ashleyannphotography at yahoo dot com

  • Tiffany - Congratulations on the full Snap Shop Course! So cool!
    I love how you tell the story of your kids. It has really inspired me to do the same. This year I started a memory a day on a notecard. My boys are 2 and 4 and everyday presents a sweet story. Today I had mine before 7am when my son, upon being asked where he found something he had been looking for responded with, “Next to your princess stuff” and he grabbed my hand to show me that he was referring to my jewelry box. I love how children think! I want to capture that and I appreciate the inspiration on how to do so!

  • AshleyAnn - Maggie May – he does a lot of karate-chopping the poo out of his siblings too πŸ™‚

  • Jacci in Ohio - He is such a sweetie. I think he and my Samuel would get along so well. Legos, StarWars, and birds ;D

    It does take *forever* to get big furniture painted, doesn’t it? Like… it takes me about 2 weeks to paint one thing. But, then it’s done, and you know you will LOVE that thing when it’s finished.

    I just want to say again how great SnapShops was… mostly talking to other readers now. Ashley already knows I loved it. I hadn’t taken any other courses online when I took SnapShops last fall, but now that I have, I can honestly say there is SO much detail in Ashley’s class… so much information. And she is such a kind, gentle guide. I cannot recommend SnapShops enough!

  • Nicole - He draws better than I do on my best day.

  • Sarah Wolfe - That drawing is amazing! What a great hobby! Surely better than I could do. All my boys draw are baseball fields. Hmmm. How can I talk them into drawing nature?… it’s a little more frame worthy:)

  • Crystal Prychidko - I love the bird in his rain forest…very talented!!!

  • kiley - I’d echo the comments about the book “The Boy Who Drew Birds.” One of my boy’s favorites when he was on a bird drawing kick! “A Nest for Celeste” is a great fiction about a mouse looking for a home who becomes an inspiration for an apprentice to Audubon (if you’re into reading children’s novels to your kiddos) For quite some time, m son wanted to either be Audubon himself or Joseph from the novel πŸ™‚

    Hope all is going well with your sweet family! Blessings!

  • Izabela - Oh my…his talent is amazing, and I found such peace and love in your words. Beautiful.

  • stephanie - these are so beautiful.

  • ari - He’s so cute, and really talented!!!

  • Anja - It’s crazy! All the last few weeks I was completely overwhelmed with everything. Daily routine, school-stuff, puberty’s worries, angry and grumpy kids, kids totally resistant to everything I say, I really felt like everything was going totally wrong and I could barely keep my head above water. After reading your post, its waaaays better – I’m really encouraged in doing fun stuff with my kids! I really didn’t feel like this the last days but now I’m really looking forward to this afternoon with them. Thank you very much! This is not the first time your post kicks me out of a very strong motivation- and mood-down – you’re magical ?.

  • Jules - Talent! Inspirational. Amazing. I sure hope you’ve saved these and will photo/bind them one day. What a treasure!

  • amber - I am seriously impressed by your son’s artwork!

  • amber - I love it when kids have such simple, natural, real interests in things. God is so cool. Also. 30 minutes?! I’ve got to make sure I’m on it when the next snap shop comes around! Bummer. But, I can’t complain too much…I was on the road headed to Colorado that day. The mountains & snow made me feel better:).

  • Deanna - Ahh! Snapshop is already closed. Is there a way to get a notification when you open up a class because I REALLY want to take this? I have been casually reading your blog for a few months now after finding you randomly on Instagram and the other day I had to go back and read some of your past posts. Love seeing all your beautiful images and hearing wonderful stories of your family. I hadn’t realized you worked so closely with mpix and this winter as I was ordering Christmas cards, I said to my husband, ah…this is that cute family I was telling you about! He agreed that you have a stunning family and such a talent in capturing those precious moments. Hope that I can learn a few of your tricks if I am able to get into a class πŸ™‚

  • Karen Schouten - What an fun room to be inspired in! Question for you: How did you hang up your fabric garland hanging over by the lockers? Is it tape? Push pin? I’ve tried it at home, and it always looks really silly.

  • Melissa - I love your blog. I actually found it while looking up Spica Cast care (We have joined the club). Your love for Jesus just oozes out of every post. I love it! Your adoption story made me cry. Your family is truly amazing, and I don’t even know you.

    I also love your blog lay out. I love it’s brightness, and how you do a cluster of pics, and then a giant pic. Everything is different. How in the world do you make that happen? When I try to do different things with my pics it end up being distorted and odd looking in the post.

    Hope you’re having SUCH a good day.

  • Leanne - I too always miss out! I was so excited about finally being able to do it. I will just have to watch your blog like a hawk in Feb!

    I also have a little man who loves to draw, he is teaching me this year, I have decided it is time to unlock more of my creativity and drawing is something in have always wished I could do.

    Thanks for sharing with us Ashley

    Leanne xo

  • Nichole Young - What a cool son you have. Your parenting shines thru…

  • Rhonda Merry - Crafting for an hour or so after the kids went to bed was the only way to get projects done around my house.

  • Merry - Thanks for posting this! It sparked a great drawing time with my son!

  • Emily S - I love the creativity! He is a good little artist too!

  • Julien - I love the posts that feature your boys. So sweet!

  • Kimber - I love how two of your littles are lefties! And precious little artists! Bravo for learning Mandarin!!

  • alex - hi ashley, i just started reading your blog and i just wanted to tell you that you are such an inspiration! i am a full time working mom of 3 with a 4th on the way, always searching for the perfect life balance. i wanted to thank you for sharing your stories with me.

  • Michelle - I see Chinese is being learned around here! Love it! πŸ™‚