I married not only an amazing guy, but one that came with a really great family. I’m very grateful for that. We got to get away for a few days to spend time with most of his family (one sister and her family couldn’t join us). My kids LOVE being with their cousins. The downside of the trip involved 3+ hours in the car…which to me is horrible. I don’t do road trips. To occupy some of my time I created my version of New Year’s resolutions. I don’t really do resolutions, but I do like to make tangible fun goals that I want to accomplish during the course of the year. This year I decided to pick a handful of projects from Martha Stewart….you’ll be seeing more of these!

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We hardly brought any toys…they had cousins. FireCracker’s favorite toy was a box. Thankfully we also got a bit of nice weather to play outside

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01.01.11-04My oldest isn’t pictured because he spent the day golfing with the big guys.

01.01.11-05I took my nieces to see the movie Tangled. I cried. The last time I saw a Disney princess movie was over a decade again. Back then I identified with the young girls in the movies. Now I am a mom. I identify with the mom in the movie. So I left the movie disturbed and sad. My nieces thought it was funny and loved it. All a matter of perspective. As I thought about the movie and Disney movies in general I’ve decided Disney does not like moms. Think about it….in nearly all Disney movies the mom is either dead, wicked or out of the picture (Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast, Little Mermaid, Nemo, Bambi, etc.)

I also did not realize how much princess movies play on girl emotions. I am not an emotional girl, but after one princess movie I am back to the good guys beating the bad guys and saving the world. I don’t know how you moms of lots of girls do it! But I am sure if I had 3 girls I would be bewildered by how boy moms deal with all the destruction and fighting.

01.01.11-06Though there was another room with a bed for them to use our kids wanted to all be together each night. They are so cute when they sleep.

01.01.11-07We had one big family outing….

01.01.11-08

The outing was to The Dixie Stampede (kind of a southern dinner theatre but with lots of horses catered towards families). It was a huge hit. Thanks Grandpa & Grandma!

01.01.11-09

My very favorite pictures from the trip happened on a whim. We were all getting ready to head out for dinner and my kids were ready to go. FireCracker was sporting a new dress her Pappy (my dad) picked out for her. I wanted some pics of her in it and convinced Biggest Brother to join in. I took them against a building next to our parking lot. I love these because they truly reflect their relationship. He began counting how many years are between them (6) and she started copying him.
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I am messing around with some changes to see if this blog will load for you faster. I’d love to hear if it is working at all.

Mornings are high traffic times, so it is always slower then…but it shouldn’t be as slow as it has been!

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  • Sarah Whitworth - I love, love, love your blog–I don’t comment often and I am sorry to say that my old slow computer could hardly load it–I thought it was just me. Today it loaded much much faster! Thanks for to whatever (whoever) computer fairies that(who) have been hard at work.

  • Anna Marie - Does that mean you were in Branson? If so, “yay” for being in my state :o) I love how she adores her biggest brother. So, so cute!

  • Jennifer - I love your blog…I read it everyday! This morning it did load faster than usual, so whatever you did must have worked!

  • Loren - I’ve only been reading your blog for a couple days. But it was DEFINITELY faster this morning than it has been. I just assumed you were uploading photo the size of Montana, and that’s why they took so long. But I didn’t mind the wait because they are so great. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reidunn - Today your blog is back to loading fast and perfect. Love it as always.
    The pictures of Firecracker and Biggest Brother are extremely cute!

  • Lori - I read your blog regularly. It did seem to load much faster today.

  • Kimberly - Great post! Sounds like it was fun! The blog loaded MUCH faster this morning. I was getting concerned before you mentioned the server issues. Before, at times I couldn’t get the pictures to load at all. This morning it pretty much popped right up.

  • amanda torres - I just love, love, love family time! LOVE IT! At Thanksgiving, we celebrated with the Puerto Rican’s (Steven’s side of the family). All 40 of us stayed in one house for 2 days. All the older cousins rocked the air mattresses. 4 air mattresses spread across the living room, and 10 teenagers squeezed in. The rest of us either took to bedrooms or found a comfy couch or floor space. Best time ever! Thanks for sharing your family memories. Looks like so much fun.

  • Lindsay - Oh gosh the pictures at the end are just awesome! What a great memory.

  • Hanna - I love all the pictures and can’t wait to see what crafts you have coming up this year. The speed was much faster for me this morning.

  • RachelC - Not slow at all today. Love those pics of biggest brother and firecracker. Those are truly priceless.

  • Laurie J - it loaded pretty fast today!
    great post–looks like you guys had fun ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Katie - The blog loaded up super fast this morning. Love the pictures of firecracker and her brother, what a special friendship.

  • Colleen C - Firecracker is my favorite. She is so darn cute! – Blog loaded super fast for me!

  • Angie - Absolutely no wait time on the upload here at 8:53 EST time ๐Ÿ™‚ Yahoo! Love the pix of Biggest Brother & Firecracker – so sweet.

  • Sarah - I don’t ususally have a problem loading the blog in the mornings, but today the pictures didn’t load. I’m bad and read you while at work so maybe it has something to do with their internal blocks?

  • andy - love the family pictures
    looks like you guys had a great time
    went to the dixie stampede on our honeymoon, it was fun
    just watched the lion king with my son over Christmas break, the dad dies in that one. nemo is one of his fave’s thou and i try and skip through the beginning when the mom dies. true, sad stuff.

  • Kathy - Google reader worked for me this morning!

  • Kimber - Cute post! Big family gatherings are my favorites! And so cute your kids all wanted to sleep together, love it ๐Ÿ™‚ and I haven’t been having problems with the blog loading fast enough. it’s great for me!

  • Maueen - I read in google reader and popped right up, here too when I clicked over to make a comment. I was having problems with the last few posts, but not today.

  • amy - cute post! loaded super fast for me today the last few days i would walk away and come back.

  • Angela Carter - firecracker is adorable….seeing her pics makes me miss my own daughter at this age (she’s 7 now and fun too, but oh the cuddly toddle stage)
    love your posts always!

  • Mariah - Super lightning fast loading. Whatever you did worked! sigh… I cried at Tangled too… don’t tell. Stupid Disney. That dang scene when the King and Queen release that lantern and the Queen wipes a tear from the king’s eye. Stupid Disney.

  • Alison - Wait, did you identify with the “mom” or the mom? Both?
    I adore how you dress your children. I have boys and those T-shirt-over-long-sleeves shirts are my favorite. My oldest absolutely needs that hamburger one.

  • ang - Loading was much faster today!!! Loved the pics!

  • Danielle - It was really fast for me and my Internet is SLOW.

  • Gevay - Love the pics! Happy New Year! I read everyday and it mostly loaded slowly-your blog is so worth it though. Today it loaded in a zip! Yay Ashley!

  • Tiffany - Loaded perfectly this morning, as opposed to much slower before!

  • Trinity - It is working a LOT faster even this morning…good job. I know it can be frustrating to figure new things out, so thanks and good job! We love Dixie Stampede, but have never been at Christmas time, although we were in that area right after Christmas! And I do agree with you on Disney movies. Alot of them are kind of scary too, although we still watch them. And yes, having 4 girls….always some emotional issue to deal with, but I definitely look at moms with a ton of boys in awe…..I love seeing how God gave each of us such unique families!!!

  • Tricia - We went to see Tangled last week and really enjoyed it. I was in and out with bathroom monitor duty, but my 3 girls loved it. My oldest (10) cried, because she’s a big sap like me. That means it was good, in our book. You’re right, btw. I can’t imagine the destruction and fighting that goes along with 3 boys so I guess we’re even. Lol! It looks like you had a wonderful family weekend!

    xo*tricia

    p.s. I agree with everyone else. Whatever you did worked. Your page loaded VERY fast. In fact, I did it twice just to double check. I’m a weirdo like that. Tee hee!

  • Sarah - I cant see the pictures today ๐Ÿ™ most likely due to our social networking block at work… however, all other days I can see your picturs.

  • Yanet - Ha! We joke in our family about the Disney movies and the mom issue. Whenever we watch ANY movie that the mom dies, we immediately ask, Is this a Disney movie?

    Love the shot of FireCracker and Biggest Brother!

    Btw, the site loaded pretty quick for me and I’m viewing on an iPhone.

  • Katie - Oh, Tangled. I’m fifteen and when I saw it I cried because I felt bad for Rapunzel’s mom.

    My mom has four girls and just one boy. This summer I went to the Middle East to help a family we know…they have six boys. It was a whole different world.

  • ashley jensen - Since your page is the first one I visit in the morning it usually loads slow but that is because my computer is still waking up and even seems to take forever to get online. I love that despite the age difference between your oldest and youngest they still have a great relationship. Oh and I took my 3 yr old to see Tangled (she loved it) and I cried at the end.

  • anabel - lovely photos! I will take my girl to see Tangled this weekend.
    Do you do photo sessions for children’s clothing brands?

  • Colette Amey - I took my 4 year old daughter to see Tangled at Thanksgiving… her first movie theater experience! I figured it would be ok because it didn’t seem like it had anything too scary in it, but I didn’t count on the “mom” being the bad guy. Try explaining THAT to a four year old! Fortunately, the next day (and 20,000 questions later) she moved on to something else. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I thought your blog loaded quickly this morning and have only noticed it being slow a few times. Just a random thought, but do you think it loads slower when you have big photo collages versus individual pictures?

  • colleen - MUCH faster. I had also been getting a message saying a “script” on your blog was causing my computer to fun more slowly… it gave me the option to delete the script but it was still slow. I didn’t get the message today and it ran faster! YAY! Thanks!

  • Cassie - It loaded about 20x’s faster! Hooraaay!

  • Cate O'Malley - Love the last pictures of the oldest and youngest. Their relationship reminds me of my two (8 and 2). Loading much faster today – yay!

  • amy - oh, good! i was getting so nervous that it was my over-loaded computer but no, it’s YOU! : D this loaded so much faster today…praise the Lord.
    i love those last pictures too, what a great show of their personalities. and that little Firecracker of yours makes the best faces! happy new year to you!

  • Diana - First, I apologize for my English, I’m from Panama, Central America. Your blog is the first I read every day, family photos, messages, crafts, all absolutely everything I love it! Congratulations for such a nice family and continues to delight with such beautiful photos and family moments …. many greetings from Panama

  • Erika - I normally check your blog every morning at work before I get going but today I could not see any of the pictures:(

  • katie - As a member of a ginormous family myself, I especially loved the pictures! The blog loaded right away for me today. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Erin Tagle - I ADORE that pic of all the little guys (and gal) in bed together! SO CUTE ……….. and then, those last pics of your oldest and Firecracker?! Love, Love, Love!

    Happy New Year!

  • Dacia - It loaded up faster for me too! Love the pictures ๐Ÿ™‚

    PS-
    I had a dream last night you stopped righting your blog! I’m sure it was because I read your comment on fb about that. What a terrible nightmare, haha.

  • kassondra - whatever you did the loading worked for me too!

  • Heather - happy new year ashley!!
    i’m excited to see which MS projects you’ve picked for this year. i just got both of those books too and now my mind is spinning with where to start. ๐Ÿ™‚
    p.s. your site loaded much faster for me today.

  • Kristin S - My word. That second to last one is a keeper! I love how littles look up (literally and figuratively) to biggies. Precious to capture those moments.

  • Laura W. - It went SUPER FAST today!! Yay! Thanks for fixing it for us.

  • Lauren - Ahhhhhhh whatever you did made things load faster but now I cant see any of the pictures. (I blog at work..shhh) Please Please turn it back you are on my list of morning rituals!

  • stacey - i did load faster…thanks!

  • Kristen @ JustLiveSimply.blogspot.com - loading very quickly, as everyone else has probably mentioned already!
    Thanks for sharing everything you do, it’s always great to see your photos. I am excited for a new year of crafts from you, inspired by Martha’s books.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh, Firecraker’s dress is adorable! I love those pictures!

  • Liz R. - What a sweet relationship your kiddos all have! The blog was so much faster this AM… glad you said something about it yesterday, I thought it was my computer that was having a problem ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • amanda torres - Your idea from Design*Sponge was featured on the Money Saving Mom blog! http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/01/do-it-yourself-vintage-postcard-calendar-journal.html

  • Bopha - The blog is loading up much quicker, thanks for decreasing the agony of anticipation for your pics. Oh, and by the way, have I ever mentioned I think you are so cute! We don’t get to see you enough, the pic of you and firecracker is so cute.

  • giozi - Lovely pictures. Adorable family. My favorites photos are the one with your 2 children. Kisses.

  • CHRISTY - Love your pictures as usual, can’t wait to see some of your creations from Martha’s sewing book. Curious did you make those bookmarkers ?

  • jennie - sadly the blog didnt load any pictures for me at all now:[ I hope maybe it will change. If not I guess I will have to wait and read the blog when I get home from work rather than read it on my lunch hour:[

  • rebecca - Can’t see the pictures in today’s post, i can see them below though…

  • Brooke Hedin - i always thought it was my computer that was loading slow, but wow, that was SO fast today. it was great.

  • Sarah Whitworth - You should check out Money Saving Mom blog. Your perpetual calendar in a box is featured.

  • Sarah Whitworth - You should check out Money Saving Mom blog from today. Your perpetual calendar in a strawberry box is featured.

  • emily anderson - the dixie stampede reminds me of medieval times…no?

    and love those pictures of your two…why do they remind me SO MUCH of my kids?!

  • the whyte house - i love all the resemblances in all the campbell’s! glad you survived another road trip. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Tracie - We saw Tangled over the break and I agree with you that Disney does not like moms. I am very cautious about letting my kids watch them. My daughter saw Snow White when she was 4 and was terrified. I do not recommend The Princess and the Frog. It had voodoo and black magic in it. Anyway, love the pictures!

  • Jennifer - I read your blog daily and feel like I am part of your family! Today’s pictures are not showing up for me, only the little red x, but that is probably because I am reading from work (SHHHH!!!) and we can’t view flickr images here.

  • Leanne - I have to say that I love the way you dress your baby. Am I allowed to call her that? I still call my little girl my baby and she’s nearly 2! (I guess I might stop when the new one (boy) arrives in April, we’ll see) anyway. gorgeous kids and looks like a lot of fun!

  • Lori - love it as always. yay! now, you can show me how to sew. double yay! firecacker is so cute with big bro. did she get a haircut??

  • Georgia - I haven’t really noticed any major problems. It has been a little slow in the past, but I assumed it was because of the large (and AWESOME) picture files. But it does seem faster today.

  • Harriet - I love your blog!! The photos of your youngest and oldest are precious.

  • e l l a - That is awesome fun!
    Great family shots and it was nice to see you in some of them.
    Firecracker is adorable. I want to take my 3 year old to see Tangled. I wonder if she’s too small?????
    xoxo

  • Ashey McWhorter - Yes, it is loading much faster. Oh, and my dad is called Pappy, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ So fun!

  • meg duerksen - it did load quickly.
    on tangled….the part i LOVED was the paint! i thought “i might enjoy being stuck in a tower for a year if i could just have paint. ” ๐Ÿ™‚ but of course not for life.
    agreed on all the disney mom crap.
    it’s lame.
    i don’t understand it at all.
    i guess normal mothers must boring stories.

  • Carolyn - I love the page markers in your books – they are so cute! Speaking of cute, your daughter in a box..adoreable!! she looks very snug ๐Ÿ˜‰ …and yes, the blog did seem to load faster today. This makes me very happy, because I love reading your blog. Have a great day!

  • Brooke Whitis - LOVE LOVE LOVE the new picture of Firecracker….they are getting so big…and still so sweet!!

  • Amy - I just refreshed the page three times to see if it loaded faster — I think it does, too!

    Those last pictures of Firecracker and Biggest Brother are SO precious. One of the best things for me about reading your blog is that I find I’m starting to take pictures that reflect my little one’s stage of life… not perfectly posed pictures. Thanks once again for helping me learn to live in the present and enjoy it!

  • Caroline - where did you get/how did you make those super cute book marks you have hanging out of your martha stewart books? they are super cute!

  • Julie O'Dell - I read your blog everyday, why? Because I love it!!!!! I haven’t ever noticed that it was slow, could be because I just enjoy it so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Heather - i read every day too and it loaded a lot faster than it did last week!!! what a lovely extended family you have..

  • Cory - I got those two Martha Stewart books for Christmas as well! Can’t wait to start crafting & would love to see what projects you choose!
    I absolutely adore the unique relationships between your kids. Warms my heart!
    Thanks for blogging – your blog is like my total fave ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Denise - I loOOOOooove your pictures!! Thanks for sharing they always make me smile.

  • Jenny B. - OK, now I don’t want to see Tangled because I, too, have noticed that I identify more with the mom characters! Ha! ๐Ÿ˜€ Love the big brother/little sister photos. The blog is loading much faster for me tonight! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Desiree - Pappy has great taste! I love those last pictures!

  • beth - Your blog is my favorite one, when i can read you every morning,i feel like it’s going to be a great day. thanks for doing this blog. the pictures of your kids and family are my favorite.

  • jessica h - thanks so much for working on the slow loading issues!! I have about thrown in the towel trying to read it a couple of times (esp. when the giveaways are up, the page really quirks out then for some reason!). Glad you got some good family time ๐Ÿ™‚ those two sure are cute together!

  • Kirra Sue - Ohhh! The pictures of your oldest & youngest made me all teary! So precious!!

I apologize for the slow load time on my blog right now. I am trying to remedy it. Right now it looks like it is a result of being on a shared server with a large amount of morning traffic here. So….I am looking into affordable changes. I was curious if any of you have ever used a dedicated server or virtual private server hosting? If you have suggestions I’d love to hear them….and ones that don’t cost $200 a month!

Hang in there with me and hopefull we’ll get it fixed soon!

-Ashley

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  • reyanna - We use 1and1.com. I think it costs us $35 every three months. We have about five websites on that… plus LOTS of email addresses. LOL. :-p Hubby says he really likes DreamHost though. Not sure how much that one costs, but it may be worth looking into. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck!

  • Angie K - I have been very happy with http://mediatemple.net/
    We use it for work with the grid system running a wordpress blog as the backend for our site. We are very photo heavy and have great speed with our site. (education agency)

  • Angie K - Oh, I also wanted to say ๐Ÿ™‚
    We tried liquidWeb and were not happy with it. Very slow. But we were on the shared network…so I guess it was our fault for not paying more ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have also tried Saratoga with medium results. Better than liquidWeb, but not as good as mediaTemple.
    AAAnnnnddd…inMotion was also medium. Of all those I’ve been happiest with mediaTemple. It’s a little more at $20/month instead of $60/year. But, it deals with high traffic pretty good…

  • Ryan - Dreamhost is the bomb! I’d check them out because they are amazing and they have a great pricing scheme.

    Also, I’d probably start hosting your images off of something like Amazon’s hosted service, where you pay very little. That’ll take disk pace and bandwidth off of your web host and probably lower your cost.

  • Laura - My husband hosts his own server from our house. He has professional equipment with a large bandwidth. He would be interested in helping out. You can email him at b.pub@comcast.net.

  • Jamin Garoutte - Ran a test on your site to see why it was slow & sent you an email with results of that test attached. Hope it helps!

  • Brooke Whitis - Okay, I’m just super impressed that you have so many incredibly smart readers. I have no clue, but I hope it works out ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Shannon - I see you have the lego creationary game…my boys love legos and we as a family love games. Would you recommend it?

  • amanda torres - The slow loading time isn’t too bad. I just pull up your page, get my coffee, then enjoy! You’re blog is awesome.

  • Michael Foster - So what did you do to make your pages load faster?

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  • KaraM - I love Pretty Lil Package…I’m excited to see the new Valentine’s Day packaging stuff!

  • sara - to be read in the very kindest of tones: i’m finding myself skipping over your most lovely blog more and more, as it seems it’s increasingly being taken over by “sponsors” posts.

  • AshleyAnn - Sara, I am sorry to hear that. I invest a lot of time in this blog and it is nice to be able not only to support small businesses (most of which are ran by moms…like myself), but to also earn a little bit of money doing what I enjoy since I am no longer a working photographer. I try to limit all sponsor posts to 2 a month: Sponsor Introductions & Giveaway Day (which I believe is fun for most readers). I hope you’ll continue to read.

  • Breeanna - You have some great sponsors! I think I may be buying something ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Awww Geee…I’m getting melancholy here. LOL!

  • stacie - I Love your blog and would Love to be a sponsor and do a giveaway with you. My shop is rockentot you can find me on etsy.