Over the weekend we celebrated my grandpa’s 90th birthday. In a lot of ways it was a family reunion too. I think it has been about 30 years since most of us have all been together. We were missing one of my cousins and his family, but the rest of us all gathered out under the sycamore in my backyard.

9.16Party-19.16Party-29.16Party-39.16Party-5I might have taken the most pictures of my nephew. Can you blame me?9.16Party-6Boys. BBQ. Boys.9.16Party-7My sister and I told our mom that Grandpa had to have a cake with 90 candles. She, for obvious reasons, was concerned about all the helpers that would be blowing out those candles too. As a solution, she frosted a cardboard box. Grandpa didn’t know until he cut into it.9.16Party-89.16Party-9If I turn 90, I want a bunch of great grandkids to help me blow out my candles too.9.16Party-109.16Party-119.16Party-12We took a lot of family pictures, but I am not so sure everyone wants to be featured on the internets. This is my immediate family – my grandparents, parents, sister and her crew.9.16Party-13My grandparents with almost all of their great grandkids (a few were not able to join us). I would like to point out the preferred methods of posing for pictures by my girls.9.16Party-14I was given the extraordinary gift of growing up close to all four of my grandparents. I miss my dad’s parents tremendously, but I am so grateful for all the years I spent with them. My mom’s parents, well, they are two of the most incredible grandparents and examples a granddaughter could hope for. They have set the bar high and weekly show me the type of wife, grandparent and great grandparent I hope to be.9.16Party-15After I took the picture above, Grandpa kissed Grandma. He told me not to post those. There was a lot of cheering. A lot of laughing. And a lot of gratitude for a couple that shows us what to aim for in regards to a life well lived.

Happy Birthday Grandpa. I love you both.

**I got the “90” balloons from North Star Balloons

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  • Beth - Ashley,
    What an awesome legacy! I have to admit I got 3/4 of the way through your post before I became selfish and jealous. Oh to have just a few more years with MY grandparents! And THEN I started thinking about if I could stick around long enough to see my great grandkids. I loved getting a peek into your celebration. Thanks to you and your family for sharing it with us!

  • Beth - P.S. Your grandparents are super cute! They make a great looking couple.

  • rachelzana - Oh my goodness! Those candle blowing pictures . . . they might be my favorite pictures in the whole wide world ever. I feel like I was right there, even though I don’t know any of you!

  • Beth - I might have teared up a bit looking at this- so much love in one place! I was incredibly fortunate to grow up in the same town as 3 of my grandparents (unfortunately, my dad’s mother died pretty young and I never met her). All three are still alive, but I moved halfway around the world three months ago, and I miss them so much! The pastor at the church I attended when I was away at college often says that she thinks that the love of grandparents is the closest thing to heaven on Earth. I’ve always loved that.

  • Lacey Meyers - Goodness, it doesn’t get any better than this… 90 and surrounded by so many people who obviously adore and admire him in equal amounts. <3 Happy Birthday to your grandpa, Ashley!

  • Debbie H - This celebration has been fun to watch all weekend, but it just occurred to me that the chalk board background was the old chalk board from the living room! lol Does that mean it is gone forever? Things change. . . . I’ll always love the Linger Longer and the humingbird post. Your kids are truly blessed by living with these multi-generational folks!

  • Crystal - AHHHHH! I love this post, you got me crying into my morning coffee and a big smile on my face. Family is everything and you showcase it in the most beautiful way.

  • Diana - I absolutely love this!! How special to have these grandparents around and involved in your life and your kids’ lives. Truly a special thing! Hard to ask for much more than being surrounded by loved ones at 90!

  • Jenn - looks like a fun party and one he will for sure not forget. what a way to celebrate

  • Kari - LOVE!! Happy 90th to Grandpa!

  • Tammy - Pretty sure my heart just melted into a puddle!

  • Southern Gal - All the hearts.

Every now and then I have a melting pot post. It is one of those days – the kind where I have a lot of random things to announce and choose to do it all in one big random-filled post!

Let’s start with a super fun announcement…..Mother + Daughter Be Crafty is coming back to Oklahoma! Registration is now open. You can find all the details on the Be Crafty website. This workshop filled within a day last year. I expect it to fill really fast again. To top it off, this year it will be held at Restore House in Broken Arrow! Click here to register. You can see what last year was like, but checking out last year’s post.

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Next up….there is a new SnapShop lesson! My friend Ruth Simons (Gracelaced) let me interview her regarding how she uses her iPhone to promote and grow her business. Ruth is sharing a special discount today. I am not sure if it will be on her blog or Instagram, but check those out today for a discount on your registration!

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This year I partnered with Sseko Designs. I was excited to share about the company, but was not planning on modeling for any pictures. Well, they asked me to send along a picture of me in my Brave necklace with my definition of bravery. If you could have only seen the effort it took between my 7 year old with the camera in her hand and me squatting by the living room window to get this shot. You can also look forward (or not look forward) to a whole week of pictures of me as a fake fashion blogger – my mom & sister should get a reward for struggling through that with me! #NotAFashionBlogger

You can visit Sseko on Instagram for my definition of bravery. You can also use the code “underthesycamore” for 15% your purchase until 9/5/16.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThis weekend we will be celebrating my grandpa. He turned 90 years young yesterday. We started the day surprising him at the donut shop. Yesterday Chris and I also celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. Clueless kids then. Clueless bigger kids now. I’m so thankful for laugh lines and getting older next to him. If we turn 90 and find ourselves surrounded by great grandkids at a donut shop, well, I’d say our dreams came true.

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  • Cara Yeh - I hope you guys bring Be Crafty Mother/ Daughter to Southern California, soon!!!

  • Tiffany A. Nelson - 90 years is no small feat!! That’s awesome, lovely photo too.

  • Byron - Random answers:

    I am neither a mom nor a daughter. πŸ™ Oh well, go have tons of fun anyway (as I’m sure you and everyone else will)!

    You be modeling!

    That’s you and Chris? I was trying to figure out who that was in the picture and why you posted them for a minute there! The hair (on each of you) threw me. Happy Anniversary and God bless!

  • Diana - How awesome for your Grandpa and for your anniversary! My Grandpa’s 90th was last year and it was so wonderful to celebrate his life while he was still with us (he died 9 months later). Definitely life goals there.

Our school year has officially begun. We started back at our Classical Conversations homeschool community (kids meet once a week with their peers in a classroom setting). This year we are tackling K, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th. My oldest started back about 3 weeks ago and was already on campus when we took the picture below. I’m sure he didn’t mind.

To make the morning go smoothly, I told the kids to lay their clothes out the night before. My eldest daughter put her outfit out in the most organized way. When I asked the boys where their clothes for the next day were, they responded they had them on. They go for efficient and less effort. I kind of miss the days they let me dress them in super cute outfits to mark the first day of school…it is gym clothes 24/7 around here. Not a battle I’m going to fight, know what I mean?!

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The longer I am a mom, the more I don’t care about some things and care far deeper than I dreamed about other things. When my boys were younger, it drove me a little crazy when they wanted cartoon everything…backpacks, shoes, shirts, pajamas. My oldest has always preferred plain stuff – just a gray tshirt for him, but then my second son came along. He wanted Lightning McQueen EVERYTHING. I would avoid shopping with him just so he wouldn’t ask for one more Lightning McQueen shirt..I mean c’mon son let’s try Baby Gap.

When my third son arrived, I had loosened up quite a bit. I was learning there are far more important things to help my kids avoid than a shirt with an animated character on it. My youngest son was a superhero fan. He liked the costumes and all the shirts. Then all the sudden he didn’t.

Moms of little ones – it happens fast. One day they are running around the kitchen in an Ironman costume with fake muscles, the next day they are in the kitchen eating their 5th bowl of cereal with actual muscles popping out of their arms.

One minute they want all the Lighting McQueen things and the superhero backpack.

The next minute they sweetly ask for a new backpack…just a plain black one. And your heart might break a little bit. At least that is the way it felt for me this week.

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I’m going to miss that superhero backpack, but goodness do I love the 8 year old carrying the plain black one. One day I’ll probably miss these days – where my boys could care less what they wear (or if it is even clean). Kids grow and change and we grow and change alongside them. What an extraordinary privilege it is to be a parent or one involved in the life of a child!

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  • Jessica - Thanks for such a sweet reminder. I have 3 tiny boys and my oldest wore a ninja turtle shirt and backpack to his first day of pre-school. It kinda killed me among the monogrammed everything, but he was so proud. I love these posts, reminding me I don’t have to be scared of the future!

  • Phyllis at All Things Beautiful - Beautifully written. And yes, I do miss those days, but I can say (now that my kids are 12-24 years old) that each stage and age is precious and beautiful. I love where they are all at right now, too.

  • Phoebe Koehler - Thanks for the reminder about what’s important.

    After I read this, I got online to buy my daughter the Frozen backpack she loved in Target yesterday. I discouraged her in the store because I didn’t care for it and I should have let her get the one she wanted. I’m sure I’ll be missing the days when this was our biggest disagreement soon enough!

  • Chandler Divers - A random comment but I can’t believe how grown up your youngest daughter looks in this photo! You have a beautiful family (regardless of what clothes they wear πŸ˜‰ )

  • Brady W. - I’m getting there…..trying to remind myself that ninja turtles and batman EVERYTHING is not going to matter in the end. It’s the ‘Kingdom things’ that matter and as long as he loves Jesus, it’s okay for him to look a little nerdy in his Star Wars light up shoes (it almost KILLED me to buy those) and carrying his Star Wars lunch box with wings that fly up when you squeeze the handle. I try to remember the silly things I insisted on when I was a kid and how good and confident I felt in my gray sweater with bunnies on it that had pom-poms glued on there as the bunny tails. I want my son to feel that sometimes too—and we compromise πŸ™‚ He knows when it’s picture day or we have church, he has to dress “fancy” (as he calls it). Otherwise, he gets to choose. Thanks for the reminder of what’s really important!

  • Kate - So on point! I always love hearing your perspective. It has helped me so much over the years – to be intentional and think about the important things to focus on as I raise my two girls. A heartfelt thanks for sharing your insights and for making me a better Mom! xoxo

  • ranee - such a good reminder! thanks for this post. (and we are totally in the gym clothes 24/7 phase here, too!) πŸ™‚

  • Sarah Wolfe - That superhero backpack on the chair!! So sad and lonely! I get sad at the end of any phase. My youngest is really the only one who still plays with toys on a regular basis. I can’t remember when they stopped playing with them, but the playroom stays pretty clean these days. I guess I can’t complain about a clean playroom, but I do miss those little boys all playing (and bickering) in that room. These days are good too, trying to treasure all of it, even the non-stop athletic clothes πŸ˜‰

  • Byron - Great pic with the kids!

    Great to see your oldest in CF this morning! He will now learn what it is like to try and keep up with Mom (if he doesn’t already)! πŸ™‚

  • Laura Piersall - One of your son’s graphic tshirts was the reason I came back to your blog for the first time, for real. I’ve never been a blog follower, but seeing such beautiful photos that expressed your kid’s likeness… I was sold and I also learned a valuable lesson: my kids don’t have to be wearing babyGap to worth photographing and sharing! Thank you, Ashley! This lesson has definitely eased my current Spider-Man phase of life. πŸ™‚

  • AshleyAnn - Byron – it is only a matter of time before I won’t be able to keep up with him. I’ll enjoy this season while it lasts though!

  • Karen D - Ahh this makes me smile so much as my 2 year old has recently become OBSESSED with everything lightening McQueen. I know too soon he will be over it but it’s so cute seeing how excited they get over every tshirt, plate or toy they find with their favorite characters. They grow up too fast for sure!

  • Nadia North - My son is always in gym clothes, but then again so am I whenever possible! Beautiful post and pictures.

  • Debbie C - It’s so funny, the timing of this post. We just received the Superman backpack that I ordered from Pottery Barn. It’s my 3-year-old’s first backpack and he’s excited to have one just like his sister! There is even a cape you can pull out if you feel like saving the day. Reading this post reminds me to cherish these (superhero) years!

  • Haley - I love this! My daughter is just staring to have an opinion on her clothes, so I’m having a little fun with seeing what she picks (even if it’s pink and glittery).