life right now

I took this shot yesterday afternoon with my phone while sitting on the couch. I know it will be one of my favorite pictures in the years and decades to come. It speaks so clearly of life right now.

Feeding the youngest.

Laundry piled on the unofficial laundry chair.

Oldest pulling younger siblings across the floor.

Wonder Woman tshirt and a bib.

Orchestrated chaos.

Loud laughs.

Bottle – only a bottle.

Chair by the tv because none of them are tall enough to reach the power button.

Littlest observing it all.

Everyone ending up in one room.


Some days I long for quiet, calm, order. I have a feeling one day I long for this chaos.


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  • Pamela - It is awesome. Such a “real life” picture.

  • Ashley E - Such a wonderful shot! Love how much fun your family has all together. 🙂 On a side note–I saw a Wonder Woman Little People play item at Target yesterday and thought of your girls!

  • Laura@Ms Smartie Pants - As a mother of 4 grown children, I promise you that you will long for the chaos again, drink it in, take a big old full gulp of it now!

  • Katie M - LOVE this!

  • Stacey Thacker - The view from here is similar!

    I love “laundry chair”…..

  • Candace - I need to do a better job enjoying the chaos in my own home, thank you for the reminder Ashley 🙂

  • Reesa Heilaman - As a mother of five grown children, I say “Embrace the chaos”!!! It is over way too fast and I miss it so terribly much. Being a grandparent is beyond description but you miss having them under your roof sharing every aspect of their journey! I love watching your family, Ashley, brings back so many memories of those crazy days and all that love gathered in one room! So glad you understand to enjoy them and to live each day to the fullest! Have fun, sister! Love you!

  • Sarah Karlsen - I hope you don’t mind me posting this here for you. It was sent to me when I had my fifth baby.

    Song for a Fifth Child

    by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
    Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
    Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
    Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
    Sew on a button and make up a bed.
    Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
    She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
    Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
    (Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
    Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
    (Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
    The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
    And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
    But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
    Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
    (Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

    The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
    For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
    So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
    I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

  • Melissa - “And holding Little One’s hand watching it all”

  • Angie @ - Last night we had terrible storms in our area. The power was out and all four kids were lounging on mattresses in the den with no television. The teens were not holed up in another room in another part of the house. The littles were snuggled in close, not running around leaving tiny tornado disasters in their wake. All six of us together, in one room, the rain falling on our tin roof and it was perfection. Absolute perfection. I am not even sure that in the last 19 months, since my youngest child’s birth we have had such a moment! My heart was truly happy!! Those are the moments God intended for our families. I love this post!

  • Necole @seriouslysassymama - Looks like someone was looking through my window minus the baby. I love a little chaos. Yesterday though, we kept the TV off and my three girls sat on the floor in the living room and drew pictures while I folded laundry and cooked dinner. It was so peaceful I loved it. My girls verbalized that they could not believe how nice it was. After dinner back to the choas, which was not that bad since I had a margarita in my hand.

  • Tiffany - Oh, how I love this! My life right now consists of a 7 month old, 2, 4, & 7 year old. It is wonderfully chaotic. I constantly remind myself just what you said at the end because I know for a fact that I will crave this chaos one day. What a blessing to have a house full of lovely chaos!

  • maggie - I miss those days…with little ones running about~ on a funny note, I have a similar round vintage chair and it ALWAYS has piles of laundry…never ending pile, now with teenage laundry. 🙂 love the post

  • Katie - this is the perfect visual description of ‘Home’ 🙂

  • Carrie - What a gift that you have to sit and can see this perspective as you feed your Little One. You echo my own sentiments and I am sure the hearts of many moms… that balance of nearly going crazy with it all now while knowing that some day it will be quiet and you will long for the crazy.

  • susie - same shot for me too! At least your house is clean… I can enjoy it when my house is clean. we went out of town last weekend and it took all week to get it back together somewhat and I can enjoy the kids a lot more!

  • bethblntn - As a nanny to four, these were the moments I lived for. As a now mother (and no longer a nanny), these are the moments I long for and hope to make. This is why i just smile when people call me crazy for wanting such a large family. What a gift God has given you. <3

  • celia - Your last sentence is my favorite….

  • Susan - As a 50-something who is finally an empty-nester after 29 years of active mothering, I agree with Celia. That last sentence is very, very true.

  • nancy - Laudry in a chair waiting to be tended to? I have NO IDEA what you are referring to! None!

  • drea - Precious. I have 4 kids, 2 girls, 2 boys. This year, for the first time, I had only boys ay home. After dropping my 2nd daughter off for her first day of kindergarten, I came home and gave my boys a snack…I noticed how quiet it was and went to my room and bawled my eyes out. I realized that my daughter’s incessant chatter that drove me crazy was the very thing I missed that morning. Good reminder to appreciate these crazy times!

  • Sellersatlast - I love pictures like this that show “real” life. Just wished my photo looked as beautiful!

  • Marie-Eve - L O V E it!

  • Nuria - I´m sure you will! Looks like a wonderful chaos 🙂

  • Kimberlee Jost - I love it!
    So much blessing in this one shot.

  • Deb - Thanks for a wonderful “pick-me-up!” I remember those days with five children all about the same age and me having the same observation. I would blow this pict up and frame it. Rarely do we catch life as it is happening except through serendipitous shots like this one. You have captured the beauty of family life. Kudos on a job well done. And, by the way, cherish moments like these. Our children grow up too fast. Mine are now all grown. Whew! Where did the time fly? Take Care!

  • kelleyn - That is what they tell me, but I am in your boat. I think quiet is probably overrated.

  • Raimie @ Joyfinders Path - Dear Ashley,
    Beautiful! I need to remember how blessed I am to be a big part of this kind of daily chaos. The three-ring circus gets loud but it’s only going to last so long!

    Life is a Limited Edition in NE

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Today was a day I very much longed for some quiet, but you are sooo right – I will long for the craziness one day.

  • Mel - RE little one’s feeding. You hold little one close to you as you feed her her bottle.
    Just a suggestion (which you have probably tried) have you tired holding her the same way when you try to give her food to try? Even if it is just what you would normally put in her bottle but on a spoon. Also give her a spoon to hold at the same time.

    Good luck. You are an amazing woman.

  • tara - I think you’re right…I think we’ll all long for the chaos we’re in right now in a few more years.

  • elizabeth H - somehow a picture can instantly transform “the beautiful mess” all about me into a moment you want to remember forever.

  • Kimberly Dial - Ashley, yes, I promise you that one day you will long for these days. My sons are grown and if I allowed myself I could wallow in the memories of days gone by. Occasionally I still run across a hot wheel that I find buried while digging in the flowerbeds and it makes me smile and tear up at the same time (I always wash them off and display them on a shelf 🙂 The good news is that there are different days to come in your role as a grandmother – years away I know – and believe me, it’s a wonderful thing and there is much more time to relax. I can only imagine that with five children they’ll be lots of grandbabies to fill up your home with loads of laughter in the years to come!

  • jennycain - I just got done reading through this blog post, and then found this in my Craftzine feeds.

    How to make superhero cuffs! Made me think of you and your “Wondergirls”.

  • Tracy a - This is one of my favourite posts!

  • Sarah Chen Lin - Just wanted to express how much I admire you for the strong and caring woman that you are. I wished the world was filled with more people like you. Never falter, never doubt yourself, and keep your head high no matter where life takes you =]

  • Courtney - I love how much of your life you’ve captured in this one shot. It’s so easy to gloss over these details because we see them every day. But this is a book’s worth of memories right here in one photo.

  • Cristina - Reading all your posts and looking at all your pictures makes me want to have 5 children as well!! Where do you get the energy?
    I love your style btw!