Dinner out back

We had a very full weekend of soccer games, a parade, coop building, and other stuff. Good stuff and exhausting stuff. Yesterday the weather was gorgeous! My dad and I worked on the coop…that is getting closer and closer to being finished. Yay. We also had our families over for a Mother’s Day dinner. Our picnic tables are hands down the most used furniture we own.

FireCracker and her cousin had their own special table. The boys hid out and ate in the teepee (c/o Playhaven). Little One wandered around the table and pretended like she was going to eat. She likes the idea of eating…not so much the actual food in the mouth part of it!

My mom has been asking for a photo of all her grandkids. Seven kids: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9….a bit impossible to get an “all smiling sweetly” shot. This was the one we settled on for Nana’s canvas. The lighting is splotchy, which was driving me crazy, but the kids weren’t about to make it if I tried relocating them.

Here’s some of the others we had to choose from…

I might need a canvas of this one. Oh my girl…she is a mess and a half.

The contrast between the excitement of my oldest son and my oldest daughter cracks me up.

My sister, Lesley and her family *** and Chris took this one of me and the kids.

the little girls * me & my sister * my mom * my grandma – 4 generations

I am so thankful for my mom, my grandmas and my mother-in-law. I have some truly wonderful women in my life. It is always wonderful to have them all together at my home, in the midst of the craziness of the kids, chickens and fiesty cat.

Little One and I ended the day together, keeping with a tradition I started last year when we were still waiting for her to come home. A letter. A balloon. A prayer.  A heart full of gratitude for her first mom.

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  • kate - The picture of all the kiddos is so hilarious and adorable. and that tradition… I’m totally going to have to steal it:)

    you know, the creeper (haha, follower) that left the accidental awful comment on your IG, who prayed late in the night you wouldn’t hate me, and is thankful that you left a sweet returning comment on IG, and that whole miss communication is cleared up:) phew. I was panicking there for a moment.

    Thankful for you!

  • Stoich91 - How super sweet! I love the pic with all of your kiddos and you…so rarely get to see you all together! They love their mom! 😀

  • kimberly oyler - your hair is getting so long! also the very last picture of you and little one just kills me. gosh, she is getting so big.

  • Kelly - 4 generations-precious!! Firecrackers polka-dot dress-adorable, please share!

  • Sarah - Ashley – that picture of all the women is amazing. Four generations is amazing. Everyone is so happy and beautiful. That one needs a permenant spot in your girls room!!

  • Laura - Hi Ashley!

    Yesterday I saw this documentary:


    And thought about you and your Little One. It’s called “Between two worlds” and it’s about chinese girls that were adopted by americans and the questions they face about their origins when they grow up. Four girls speak about their feelings, you see that some of them really need to find their biological parents, others don’t feel that need… Some of them still feel the pain of being abandoned when they were just babies for the only reason of not being boys. I think you should see it!

    The only problem is that it is translated to spanish! I don’t know if you speak spanish… Anyway, I just wrote them an email to ask if they can send it to me not translated buy I’m not sure if they can do it.

    I’ll tell you!

    Kisses and blessings,


  • Nicoline Bingham - Love your tradition of honouring little ones birth mom. We also have one adopted child that is 2, and just this Mother’s Day I was thinking I would love to encorporate her first mom into that day especially…..any thoughts or ideas, or can you share what you guys do a bit more?


  • Katie @mummydaddyme - I have been following your blog for a while now but I don’t actually know if I have commented before. For that I am sorry. I just wanted to tell you that you inspire me with your photos and the way you write. It’s beautiful. You have a gorgeous family.

    From Katie all the way in the UK.


  • Jessica - Firecracker is so, so amazing.

  • April - Ashley – C and H are getting so big! I cannot believe that they are 9 and 7 already. They look like they are growing into sound young men.

  • Molly - Beautiful! I love how you share the not so perfect pictures….because those are the ones that really tell the story! it is a good reminder for me not to worry about getting the perfect picture….just take the pictures.

    and the tradition. oh so precious!

  • maggie may - what a fun day!
    seeing that teepee made me think: what would you say your top 5-10 toys are for the kids? your kids’ kitchen set is adorable and the teepee looks like so much fun, i thought i’d ask!

    AND: what are your favorite kids’ stuff sites to shop on for things like that?

  • Lynn - Love all the wonderful pictures of your family. Thanks for sharing and hope you all enjoyed your day together !!

  • Denise - Such lovely photos, as always. Would you consider a post on the coop when you complete it? I’d be interested in measurements, pics galore, and anything else. Been enjoying my way through A Chicken in Every Yard per your suggestion. Now I have chickens on the brain! But the coop is hardest to imagine…

  • Helen - It looks like you all had a wonderful day. I think the shot with all the kids with their backs to you is fantastic.
    Although I am more than happy with just my one, whenever I see your five together I yearn a little.

  • donna - You are like the Martha Stewart of Bloggers.LOL Can you be any more perfect? What a lucky family you have.

  • kelleyn - I like that tradition of releasing a balloon for her bm. How sweet! It looks like you had a very happy weekend!

  • AshleyAnn - Kate – you are cracking me up. I’ve read worst comments…thank you so much for caring enough to clear all that up. Congrats on your adoption!

  • Lia - I love Firecracker. She makes me laugh!!! When I have kids I’m kinda hoping for a super spunky girl like her. I think it would be a blast!

  • Nicole C - Oh I was doing just fine until those last photos! Goodness, I got all teary eyed, what a beautiful tradition. I love things like that (you know that, after the whole fresh prince/mom comment haha). The last photo though is a total keeper!

    Your oldest son reminds me of myself in photos, FireCracker takes the place of my brother. We have the same type of photos. One, where it looks like I was ready for a good photo and then, in steps my brother..and steals the show. It’s always been that way. 🙂

  • Sally - Great pictures!!

  • Victoria / Justice Pirate - These are so cute!! Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Reese - I love it: a heart full of gratitude for her first mom.

  • Courtney - wow. all those pics are great. i love the from behind shot! and firecracker is awesome. i wish i had her courage when cameras come out! good job lady!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I really love that tradition. Beautiful.

  • Carla - Great Mother’s Day post @underthesycamore! We took a four generation photo as well with my daughter (who is 15), myself, my mom, and her mom (my grandma). Love that you honor your daughter’s first mom too!

  • Meg - I don’t know if you planned it or not but the cousin photo clothing choices are spot on! I love how they coordinate and not match and that everyone’s personality is represented without pulling focus.
    As always beautiful photos. I have learned so much from reading your blog. You inspire and teach daily.

  • elizabeth H - these “cousins” pictures are PERFECT!! Little One looks so comfortably at home in these group pictures.
    i love how almost all the kiddos are barefoot ~ that’s my love language :0)