She snuck upstairs while there was a Watch Me Whip dance party going on downstairs. Typically, she likes to Whip and Nae Nae with the best of them, but on this day she chose the calm. I would choose the calm with headphones. Also, my kids need a new dance song. Please…give me some new recommendations. I CAN NOT handle any more duffing, legs breaking or superman-ing!

50mm, ISO 100, 1/200, f/2.8

CSDrawing-0150mm, ISO 250, 1/200, f/2.8 ~ 50mm, ISO 250, 1/200, f/2.8CSDrawing-0250mm, ISO 100, 1/250, f/2.8CSDrawing-12These pictures are an excerpt of a new lesson I wrote for the SnapShop site. I’ll be adding several new lessons this month. If you are already a member, you can access it on the homepage. It is a case study lesson on how I approached capturing her…how I thought through lighting, composition, metering, etc. There are several other pictures walking you through it all.

For those that are not members, I will continue to include my camera settings on various posts here as so many of you have told me you like seeing those. Don’t worry, they won’t disappear now that I have a new photography site!

header-01Starting tomorrow morning, I’ll be posting daily for the next week. I’ve been a bit sporadic lately, so I thought I’d give you a heads up to check here daily. My oldest will also be guest posting!

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  • Heather - My kids beg constantly for the song “Shut up and Dance” by Walk the Moon. It has a GREAT dance beat! They also love anything by Pentatonix or Queen and Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond and, of course, Shake it off. It looks like a very strange mix now when I put it down in writing…but we have fun!

  • Rae - Little One’s not little anymore. Bittersweet. <3

  • Emil - I have a playlist on spotify called “kitchen dancing” with some rotating songs and some that have remained in heavy rotation for a while. One of the most recent is “Better when I’m dancing” by Meghan Trainor (?) – it’s from the Peanuts Movie and it’s hard to be still when it’s on. Also popular – “Miss Alyssa” by the Eagles of Death Metal, and of course “Uptown Funk”, which I’m sure you’re familiar with as it was inescapable last summer. Happy Dancing!

  • lydia - My kids have been rockin’ their high tops and boombox to Ashlyne Huff’s Let It Out. I could do without the album cover from iTunes, but otherwise we love it. A loud speaker and disco ball for a kitchen dance party don’t hurt either! 😉

  • lydia - I forgot Shakira’s Waka Waka, This Time for Africa. We do our chores to that one. Everyone picks up the pace and it’s a miracle to get six kids, ages 12 and under to work so happily!

  • Melissa - Different Drum by Blanca is our family favorite song!

  • melissa - My kids are into Go It’s a website with silly songs. They are super silly, but at least it’s not the same song over and over!!

  • Bethany - I second the recommendation for Go Noodle! Cute, fun, funny and quick!

  • Jessica - What about the Cupid Shuffle?

    It’s a dance crazy from a few years ago, but will keep them dancing!

  • the inadvertent farmer - ‘Shake’ by Mercy Me is my kids’ favorite dance/sing song right now! Kim

  • lynsey - The Gummy Bear Song. I find myself singing it all the time. I know the teachers play it at school too.

I am scrambling this week! Thank you for all your encouraging comments on my post about having a rough week last week. Sometimes it is just nice to know we aren’t alone – you know what I mean?! This week has been much better. I’m working on wrapping up some blogging stuff, writing a couple new lessons for SnapShop, putting together school lessons for Chris while I am gone and thinking about how I need to start packing. Scramble to get it done and then collapse in that airplane seat on Saturday – that is my plan.

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  • Heather - Hi Ashley i wanted to tell you that I got Fairy Mail from a link off your blog and my little girl just loves it!. She saves the fairy dust from each envelope and sprinkles it on her hair! I love the little peek she gets into a fairy’s world from these sweet letters and how she smiles as she reads them. Thank you!!

Gymnastics was over and the girls were running around with a little clan of leotard wearing friends. I called them over and we began walking to the car.

“Mom, that was weird,” my 6 year old told me. I asked her what was weird and she began re-telling me the conversation her little group just finished.

“They asked if we got to spend the night together tonight. I didn’t know what they were talking about,” she explained. “Then I realized they thought we were friends! They didn’t know we were sisters! They thought we were friends that spend the night together. It was so weird!” she exclaimed.

Knowing this was the first time my girls were approached by friends not knowing they were sisters, I asked her why she thought they didn’t know. This time both of my girls smiled, “because we don’t look like each other.” They went on to tell me they explained to their friends that they were sisters AND they get to spend the night together every night.

I know it was just the first of many similar conversations they will have in the future. We talked about how lots of siblings don’t look alike. We talked about how there will be days they might be sad about their different appearances and how there will be days that they love their differences.

They make a funny pair.

1.16sisters-011.16sisters-021.16sisters-031.16sisters-041.16sisters-05I have a feeling these two might use not looking alike to their advantage in the teenage years…I can only imagine all my sister and I would have tried if we didn’t think people would guess we were sisters!

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  • janet @ the ordinary life of jannybean - They are so sweet.

    My sister and I also look nothing alike (she is tall, pale, curly red hair – I am short, dark & brunette) and were often commented about when people found out. Many in disbelief, especially when my best friend ended up also being tall, pale and redheaded. I often looked like the “friend”.

    But then those who watched us engage, laugh, mimic and joke would easily smile and say “nevermind, you are DEF sisters!”

    Even though I often coveted my sister’s gorgeous hair and height, I don’t think I was ever sad that we didn’t look alike. I honestly don’t know what it is like to resemble my sister. But NOT looking like her has always been interesting. And a great conversation starter.


  • Brit Chambers - We had our first experience with this over the summer. At the park, my daughter was swinging on the swings, and I overheard a little boy ask, “are those your brothers?”

    She said yes, and he asked, “so I guess you’re adopted, huh?” I started making my way closer to intervene, but I’m so glad I didn’t make it in time… He finished with “you know, that makes us super special!”

    It was a super sweet moment that meant so much! I’m so thankful that the two of them were able to minister to each other with such few words. Funny thing, her brothers are adopted too!

  • Danielle - That is pretty cute. Adults don’t seem to handle it with the same tact as kids though. Oy.

  • kaitlin - not quite the same………but one time my best friend and I were out and about with friends and ran into some of her co-workers. When I walked into the bathroom two of her co-workers were gossiping about my best friend and another co-worker. It was awesome to ease drop on their conversation because they had no idea who I was. It was all harmless speculation about whether or not they were dating, but it made me laugh and a good story to share!

  • Sarah - I love seeing/hearing about these two! They’re just lovely together. I’ve been wondering for a while, since you wrote a bit back that Little One was signing, but then there’s been reference to things she’s said: is she speaking now? If so, how did you do that transition? If she’s signing, have you taught some of her friends signs as well, or does Firecracker “translate”? Forgive me if these are dumb or misphrased questions, or, don’t respond if not up for sharing of course! Just curious. (I was born with hearing loss, but my parents brought in a speech therapist so that I learned to speak, and I didn’t learn to sign, though people approach me signing when they see my hearing aids – so this particular facet of your family’s journey with Little One is esp. fascinating to me.)

  • Carrie - My sister is biologically my cousin. My parents adopted her when we were both 4, so we grew up as twins-ish. People either thought we looked ‘exactly’ alike, or didn’t believe we were sisters, just best friends. I think my favorite part was that she was 4 months younger than me, and when we told people that we’d just say ‘science can do amazing things these days’ just to mess with people. :)

  • Marsha - Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. And wise and wonderful young ladies!

  • Aimee - Sweet girls!

  • kimberly oyler - that second picture is cracking me up!!!

  • April - How special it is that children see their friendship!

  • Kara M - We are starting to get comments from little kids and I love it! They are so kind and curious.

  • Dana - They look like perfect sisters in these pictures.

  • Marie - This was such a sweet post. My little girl could have all this to come to with her step sister , it just shows how great of a relationship they have together. The pictures are so sweet :)

  • X - This made me smile! I’m adopted, and dark, middle-eastern and Italian. My sister is fully white and blonde. When we were younger people always thought she was my babysitter and I got to proudly correct them that she was my SISTER – she wasn’t rented, she was for KEEPS! Ha! But now – when we travel people think we’re a couple. Just us and our kids on vacation barking orders? Can’t blame them. Too funny.

    Rarely someone will say we look or sound alike and that mystifies us. Are they being polite? Are we kind of morphing due to time spent together? Who knows. I doubt it. But one funny little twist of fate – our daughters somehow look like they could be sisters :) Your girls will have a unique lifetime of experiences that not every set of siblings gets – lucky chicks!

  • X - However, I will say that when I was younger and watched my sister’s kids people often took me to be their nanny, or a mother’s helper when she was around. Being called “your girl” and other tasteful terms – barf. I never, ever assume anything about a group’s relationships based on appearance, and that’s a life lesson I’m thankful for!