For the first time in a while we had a weekend without any plans. Those are usually my favorite weekends. I kicked off the party with the best lunch…the kind that I didn’t make, didn’t share and enjoyed completely alone on my front porch. I ate my cookie before my sandwich and didn’t go in the house and face the other 5 family members until my to-go box was clean. This is a rare event, one worth documenting to remember it actually did take place.

We visited the Habitat for Humanity ReStore…it is a 30 minute drive, which in my book is borderline ‘roadtrip’. Well I am now the proud owner of a Griffin PowerJolt Reserve…so had Chris’ iPhone batteries died again – I would have been set.

The ReStore was awesome….however going with 4 kids was not so awesome. FireCracker was in a carrier strapped to me, which made it difficult to rummage through all that stuff. Next time I’m going alone. Guess I won’t be back there for several years.

There were lots of toilets.

This picture makes me laugh. So very 6 year old boy.

Fake throwing up.

I really love being a mom to boys.

…I will be needing some of these…

She is getting curls. She’ll never have bangs…check out that hairline.

Her hair grows STRAIGHT BACK. It is crazy. The back grows forward, the front grows backwards…they meet in the middle. I have lots of pictures related to her turning one that I want to share this week, so for those of you that always ask for warnings before I do a bunch of baby posts. Here is your warning…this week will be a lot of baby pictures.

It was asked in the comment section if I ‘revealed’ the playroom. Nope. Just beginning to work on it. I had about an hour that all 4 kids were sleeping…I built a shelf, painted a hamper, and painted 3 pots while Chris was at Lowe’s. I am sure I am breaking all kinds of safety codes in these pictures – no need to point them out to me! At least I remembered the safety glasses in my race against naps. I also managed to eat a pint of ice cream by myself in that hour.

After I loaded these pictures on the computer I thought, “I am so odd. Why do I take pictures of myself while doing these kinds of things?” As odd as it is, I am glad I take them. I think my kids will like looking back at them. No doubt they will have plenty of memories of their mom covered in paint and making stuff. I think pictures like these will remind them of their childhood as much as pictures of them fake throwing up in random piles of toilets will.

It was hot outside. I didn’t want any to go to waste due to melting. You would have ate the whole pint too.

We had some crazy rain clouds over the weekend. I love HEAVY rain. It always amazes me how one area of the sky can be clear and blue and right next to it can be dark and pouring rain. You can’t really see the blue area, but on the other side of the car it was a blue, sunny summer day.

All that rain means the ditch in front of our house gets full of water.

Hot glue + Popsicle Sticks = Pirate Ships to float down the raging river

The ships did have sails, but they were destroyed in the waterfall that leads to the raging river.

While crossing the massive raging river his foot slipped on the treacherously steep banks. He was carrying FireCracker. He checked on the iPhone first…they were both fine.

Cleaning off all that raging river rainwater.

Happy Monday. Hope your weekend was great.

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  • Shannon - What a great post. Sometimes it’s fun to sit back and just enjoy family and life, and it looks like you were able. Can I also say I think it’s so amazing that you are all building stuff and painting stuff, very inspiring. I need to get my rear in gear (and buy my hubs some power tools for me to use) and start making!

  • christina larsen - I have been wanting to go to the restore. It looks awesome!!!

  • Elizabeth - I think I see a swing being constructed! For the playroom?????!!

  • laura - I just love the spur-of-the-moment stuff you come up with for you kids….its so inspiring to me as a mom:). thanks for sharing.

  • Jackie McCobb - That lunch looks amazing! I will fantasize about that for a very long time. Glad you had a moment of alone time. :)

  • susie whyte - i love the restore. ours is across town…entirely too far away. yours looks a lot bigger than ours, though!!! my husband came home w that same yellow paint. would’ve been great except i asked for “buttercream yellow”. haha. the huck finn boats are great! how fun. how wet was firecracker?? glad the iphone survived. :)

    on a personal note…my hubby is on whidbey island for 2 weeks for his annual navy training(just NW of seattle)and says it’s so cold there. um, hello! i told him he should have read your seattle post. he would’ve known it was cold!! :)

  • mandi - hahaha! “he checked on the i-phone first” – that is soooooo my husband! love it!

    btw- you really know how to spend an hour! it made me think- the other day i called my husband asking how to work something. he said “just wait until i get home”. to which i replied “i don’t want to wait until you get home, i want to do it NOW!”. to which HE replied “***sigh***…this is why i wish you were just a trophy wife”. HAHA! to which i replied “my boobs are waaaaaay too small for that”.

    hmm… maybe that was inappropriate.

    ; )

  • ashlee - most of the time i have to take the kids with me to the restore, aka the junk store, but this last trip was worth it because they found an old working typewriter for $5!! Its certainly more enjoyable without them though!

  • shelly@familyblt - Looks like a super fun weekend! Your restore is so nice, ours is much smaller with an inventory to match. Love all the pics!

  • Martina - First: I love the picture of you and firecracker. So sweet! Second: I think you’re the coolest mom ever and an inspiration. Third: Love the last photo in the bathtub. Baby in the tub shots are so common but this one is so beautiful. I love all the white. I love how she’s looking down, playing. Your blog is such a treat every morning!

  • Yanet - Remember the post you did a while back titled “I a am Superwoman”? Or was it Wonderwoman? Anyway, that’s a title for this post too on the part of taking the kids to the ReStore. I was in the one in our area recently (I found some old-time electrical fuses I turned into kitchen cabinet knobs) and I would NEVER think of taking my kids with me if I wanted to stay sane. Imagine a Firecracker that can walk! And my final comment, I have 3 boys so I can totally relate to the toilet pic!!! :)

  • Kara - Those pics of the boys with the toilets are hillarious! Boys! I have been wanting to go to that ReStore…afraid I would just get overwhelmed though! Ha

  • Shannon Phillips - So glad you were able to enjoy your weekend! I enjoyed mine too! Mine also involved rustoleum sunburst yellow spray paint.

  • the inadvertent farmer - I’ve been going to our local reStore in hopes of finding a cool old bathtub…for our ducks!

    Thanks for the warning on the baby pics…I’ll have to visit 2x a say now, lol! Kim

  • Sarah - If I put your daughters hair and my daughters hair together we would have a one year old girl with great hair (she grows a mohawk and just turned one a month ago).

  • Amanda - My little ones hair grows exactly like Firecrackers. He is 4 years old and blonde. Everyone we meet comments on his major cowlick. It’s just too cute!

  • Kimber - I just LOVE this post! like always, INCREDIBLLY beautiful pictures of normal not so incredible things. you inspire me ashley! you really do :)

  • Heather - love the toilet pictures and that shot of firecracker in the tub, but mostly i just loved this whole post. what a fun look into your weekend and i love that you share real life things with us.
    that’s why you’re one of my faves. happy monday!!

  • Dick - Great pictures as always. I like the safety shoes you’re wearing while using the mitersaw.

  • Jill E - what a fun weekend. i am glad you take photos to show all the hard work you do its very inspirational and awesome.

  • LauraT - I wish, i wish, i wish…i had one once of your creativity! Your my mom role model!!!

  • Jeannette Swan - I went to Restore once after Clean Slate. I made a tray from a cabinet door ($.25) with handles ($1.00). I also got a great piece of crown (5ft for $2.50) that I made into something to hang pictures from. I have been wanting to go back really bad – I just don’t know how to get a trip there without kids! Love the pics.

  • Ryan - Know what I love about the last few posts? You’re actually in the pictures too. :) It’s nice to see you popping up in photos now and again!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh dear… be still my heart. Window frames… Lovely, lovely.

  • Mary Lou - I love your post and your blog. Every detail.

  • Nikki - I would love a DYI on how you get your camera to have good focus while you doing a self timer getting shots for you doing projects. May sound geeky, but I have a Canon 5d, three boys and am not able to master mind the autofocus with the self timer while I am doing things around the house.

  • nori - your son’s face is priceless with the pirate ships… pure enjoyment! :o)

    i have to ask… how do you take the photos of yourself? i just bought a dslr and it has a timer, but when i take a pic of myself it comes out fuzzy because it focuses on other things and not me since i’m running back and forth pressing the button. LOL

  • Lisa Johnson - Love this post! I can’t wait to see what you are doing in the playroom!

  • libby - love your blog so much! i really enjoy reading. you are a very talented photographer.

  • Amy - Where is the HFH Restore in the Tulsa area?

  • Jodi - I love your DIY ability, I love the shot of your son and the boat in the water, and I love this HRH store! I have to find one near me! Thanks for another great inspired post.

  • Nicky - We have a salvage place out here in CA that my friends and I like to call “House Heaven”—where houses go when they die! :) Oh and what I would do to have even a smidge of extra space for all the DIY projects hiding in my heart! You can come help create a “playroom” for me!

  • Irene - I LOVE your power tools – what I would not give to help you with all that cutting, sawing and stapling :)

  • tamara - loving reading your posts and that you include yourself in all the great in action shots with your projects!!

They make me laugh. Have a great weekend!

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  • cassie - firecracker + watermelon= way cute!!

  • Melissa W - All SO cute! Love the watermelon photos! :) My Rachael loves watermelon too! Must be a sweet baby girl thing! 😉

  • Emily - Your family knows how to have a great time! Love these, especially the watermelon. :)

  • jenny - SOOOOOO Cute! I love to see little boys getting dirty and having fun! And your little girl going to town on watermelon is too fun! :)
    Ok, so what is the brightly colored, swirled stuff in the pan? I am always looking for new things, crafts, projects, etc to do with my children. I have a 5 yr old, 3 yr old, one that is almost 2 and one on the way! My brain just goes blank sometimes when I try to think of crafty and creative things for them to do. I have no problem thinking of things for me to make. help!

  • Tracie - I love the picture of your girl with the watermelon. I have several like that of my kids.

  • Shannon - The one thing I don’t like about living in the city…no real place to get down and diry!

    Lovely pictures!

  • Cate O'Malley - Love the watermelon pics!

  • Stacey - Can I just say that you look like the most fun mom. I know this blog is just a window into your life, but your kids are lucky to have someone so creative keeping them busy. Kudos!

  • shelly@familyblt - Ohhhh, they are soooo funny! Happy weekend back :)

  • Jessica - The watermelon pics were my favorite. She makes me baby crazy. Not good!

  • Auburn - Ashley! Those watermelon pictures just may be the cutest thing I’ve EVER seen. It’s so good to watch your little ones grow up!
    much love, Auburn

  • Erin - The look on Big Brother’s face in the second pic is priceless. He’s so serious…

  • Katie H. - E & H are looking so much a like that its becoming hard to tell them apart. Looks like a happy bunch of kiddos!

  • Jackie McCobb - I love the leg covered in glitter. What fun!

  • Danielle - love your blog! i have been reading it for a while, your kiddos are to-die-for cute and i even made that beautiful wreath you did a DIY on a while ago. the last picture is my favorite of your sweet baby girl! too funny, and i can’t get over how much your two younger boys look alike!

  • Anna Joy - they make me laugh too! love the pics!!

  • stylefyles - hhaha the watermelon photos make me laugh too. Your little firecracker is so cute. I’m always so amazed to see how much personality these little humans can have…isn’t it just nuts? Your photography is so well done, I could just look at it for days (it doesn’t hurt that you have cute subjects and always seem to be doing fun an colorful crafts either). Have a great weekend and thanks for sharing!

  • Marci - I bet your kids love their lives!! I would if I were them!!


  • Heidi - Oh my goodness that watermelon baby is way too cute!!!!

  • Ingrid - very cute pics – the watermelon are my favs!

  • Heather - me too!! have a happy weekend!

  • karen davis - I want to be around your place!! I’d have so much fun jumping those dirt mounds with your boys, but I’ll keep my shirt on, thank you!

  • Jodi - Oh my, firecracker LOVES that watermelon! I love it! I appreciate her determination!

  • nori - love all of those pics… espthe pics of your lil girl… kids make food look so good! :o)

  • giozi - Ha ha ha your bbgirl with the watermelon ha ha ha I love them

  • Brooke - You do such a great job capturing the moments. That is my main motivation for understanding photography before I have children :) These memories are so special!! (and boy are they cute!!)

  • Esther Nelson - I’m always scared for your laundry machine! Love the summer pics!

  • Katrina - i love his blue eyes. so cute.

  • pamela - your kids are going to appreciate these photos so much one day, if they don’t already!! i am always trying to capture images of my daughter like this and it is truly difficult for me! you are so talented, your kids are lucky to have you for a mom : )

  • emily anderson - the pictures of her eating a watermelon are perfect!

  • Trina - It always looks like your family is having so much fun. Love it

  • jlyn - ashley, this post just about did me in. i’ve been emotional all week (for who knows why–nope, not preggo)…& i can’t believe i’m admitting that i teared up looking at these photos. you know why? because they capture kids being…well, KIDS. all your photos do, but this just screams SUMMERTIME! and in this fast-paced, video-game, tv-babysitter, fast-food world, it is SO REFRESHING to see kids being kids. :) thanks for that!

I thought I’d brighten my sister’s day at work and give her a peek at some more of the maternity photos I took. She is gorgeous.

Before….and a few months after

Climbing up the fence was Eric’s idea.

Hanging a wooden letter from his ear was also his idea. I usually avoid ‘cheesy’ pictures, but I couldn’t help doing the heart with the hands on the belly. What I love most about these two pictures is Eric and Lesley’s faces. In the first one Lesley is laughing at Eric, which I love. He makes her laugh a lot. In the second I love how Eric is looking at her. She gets that look of adoration a lot from him. They are good together. They are going to be phenomenal parents.

Now I love my sister & Eric, but I sure hope the next time they make an appearance on this blog it is with my niece in thier arms!

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  • Jackie - She is beautiful! What a sweet round tummy. I love all the photos, even the “cheesy” ones. :)

  • Shannon @ What's Up Whimsy - Awww, these pictures make me want to be pregnant again. But I didn’t have a cute tummy like your sister’s – mine was nicknamed “The Torpedo”

  • Erin - Such great pics! I love the last one, just really sweet. Can’t wait to meet Miss P.

  • Maike - love the fence picture!

  • Deanna - Love the “If mama ain’t happy…ain’t nobody happy” sign and ALL of the wonderful pictures. What a beautiful mom-to-be.

  • Mandy - I love these! Les, you look fantastic pregnant! Can’t wait to see pics of your new little one!

  • Danielle - Oh, Ashley! What a gift. Thank you so much for sharing! I know these brought a smile to my face.

  • Liene - Beautiful picutes! And beautiful pregnant sister!

  • amanda torres - With all that lovin’ going on in the kissing picture, she might give you a run for your money in the kid department.

  • Emily - These are beautiful, Ashley!!

  • Sarah M - The piano/bike background is SO great. I love it. Where did you find that sign “If Mama Ain’t Happy…” that makes for a PERFECT maternity picture…LOVE IT!
    Sarah M

  • Lesley - Thanks, Ashley!!! I LOVE them!! You take the most flattering pictures. These are so fun. Thank you blog people for all your sweet comments too :)

  • shelly@familyblt - What a pretty preggo lady she is! The pics are beautiful!

  • Kristin - I love the heart, too. It’s sweet and eye-catching against her blue shirt. Cheesy can be fun. :)

  • Shannon - Wow! Those are really stunning. Very nice. and they do look so happy. What a beautiful shoot.

  • stephanie - In your sisters smile (the hanging P and the heart pict) I see Firecrackers smile…so sweet to see family resemblences!

  • susie whyte - okay, i know you’re not tall(since i’ve seen pics of you next to chris and i know how tall he is!), and i’m assuming she is clsoe to your height…but her hubby is super tall!!! they are so stinkin’ cute together!! little p’s shoes are so sweet, too!

  • giozi - Congratulations for you and your sister. She looks like you very much. Both of you have same smile :)
    Pictures are beautiful. I love the one about hands, and the other wher he looks her so sweet.

  • Sarah - They are all beautiful shots! Congrats to the soon to be parents!

  • bopha - so cute, never seen the heart made with mom and dad’s hands, so no cheesiness there great pictures that she can treasure forever.

  • Kari - I love the heart picture! We can see now where Firecracker gets that ornery smile at! So cute!! Sister/Cousin & Firecracker are going to have a blast growing up together!

  • Anna Joy - what sweet pictures!! can’t wait to see the baby!!

  • Jodi - What an exciting time for them! Their first born baby! I love the fence picture with the P! They are a beautiful couple, congrats to them both! Looking forward to you capturing little P on camera!

  • Carla Benitez - WOW these are beautiful pics!!!