After a long day at the beach I began downloading pictures to my laptop. Typically I delete as they download, but as I looked at some (tips #5 & #6) it dawned on me that they made great examples for photo tips. Knowing I was doing a 10 in 10 theme this month, I started compiling examples instead of deleting….tips #7, #8, & #9 were intentional for this post…the rest just real. I primarily used my 50mm and 85mm lenses for all of these.

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  • Christy - Awesome photo tips!

  • Kristi - Thank you for the tips. I am an amateur photographer and I am always looking for more tips and great shots to study! Your photos are wonderful as usual! It looks like you had a wonderful time and I completely understand the unvacation we moms get when the family goes on vacation! I recently took a mini-vacation to my college homecoming with a friend and no kids, just 4 days and it was an amazing re-charge! Hopefully you get some beach & book time soon! I would love for you to check out my photos sometime and leave feedback whenever you get a chance! You know…in your spare time:) On facebook @ Kristi Jernigan Photography, thanks!

  • maria - great tips thanks so much!

  • Lindsay - I honestly thought you had that island to yourself looking at your last few posts! Now I know you just made sure others weren’t in the pictures! CLEVER! Thanks for the tips πŸ™‚

  • Holly - This is great! It’s so nice to be shown what not to do. Great examples! Darn those random people.

  • Alicia Meyers - You’re a photo genius! I wish I could be you πŸ™‚ Or at least have your eye for photography! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with others – it’s really, really great of you!

  • Valerie - what great tips!! and your examples were beautiful. thanks so much for sharing!

  • Hollie - Ok – dumb question? How do I clean my sensor? I have a big squiggle mark but I don’t know how to make it go away. Thank you so much for these tips!

  • Sarah - Thanks for the tips! i thought earlier in the week “i wonder where they were to get a whole beach to themselves! you’re so clever! i’ll be sure to keep these tips in mind.

  • Anna Marie - Great tips!
    FYI: In the “My Lovelies” tab your top two go to the same link. The “addicting” one and the “PA” one. :o)

  • anne c - I’m really enjoying all this pictures! thanks for the pointers and your family is beautiful!

  • ashley jensen - Your tips are so stinkin’ helpful! They have helped me SOOO much in getting some great shots of my daughter. I also had the same though about you having the beach to yourselves!

  • Jane - Great tips Ashley! I’ve been incorporating more and more of them in my photos since the Snap Shop and I’m loving the results! I have to say again that it was totally worth the trip. πŸ™‚

  • giozi - Thanks thanks It was a little difficult to me understand, in fact I lost some words, because I couldn’t use the google translate.
    But I got the most πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing your tips, your experience, and of course your pictures with us.
    I love the first one, even with out hands

  • amy - What a great post – thanks for sharing. These are such wonderful, practical tips.

  • Jen - Thank you. Great tips! Hope I can remember them in the moment.

  • Stacy - Love the photos! Esp. #2! Do you always shoot on Av mode? I have a 2 y/o that won’t sit still for a photo – is it possible to take a good portrait on Tv mode? Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Samantha S. - So now my big question is…. how do YOU clean your sensor? Because {if I remember from a previous post correctly} you have a Canon 20D too which doesn’t have the auto sensor-clean. Mine really {REALLY} needs to be cleaned but I’m baffled how to do it. And a little scared. But I don’t want to pay to have it done or lose my camera for a couple of days. Any tips to share? πŸ˜€

  • joy frameworks - So helpful, thanks! BTW, firecracker’s visor is adorable!

  • Amy - Thanks so much for sharing these tips! I’m learning a lot from your site and am inspired to take more photos of my little one.

  • Caroline - I feel like you have helped me so much with my mom picture-taking skills! Thanks for the new tips! πŸ™‚

  • Dawn Nikol - Thank you!!! I totally need to go to the beach…

  • Rhonda - These tips are wonderful! Thanks for showing the mistakes and fixes. It’s nice to know that people who end up with such wonderful photos don’t always get it perfect on the first shot. I love your blog and style. Very inspirational.

  • Ashley - Am I stroking out or is that font really hard to read?
    Love the pics!

  • Sadie - Thanks for sharing! Love the comment about losing Firecrackers hands! Too funny! I always enjoy your photography skills b/c I am on the verge of learning as well. Thanks!

  • Alice H - Great tips! I have been borrowing a friend’s camera. A really, really good camera. I think it is a Canon Rebel (blah blah blah). I feel as though I have gotten a bit better at taking pics πŸ™‚ hopefully I can use these tips to get even better.

    So where are the “printable” version of these tips? LOL!

  • Susan Caing - thanks for sharing! and for the simple explanations with sample pictures, i understand clearly now without those technical terms. thanks thanks!

  • Natalie - Love your photos and your tips. You are such an inspiration!

  • Karen Aldrin - My favourite post of yours so far.I great help to us people learning photography SOOC everytime.Thanks
    Would be great if you could do more in the future

  • Barb in Palm Beach, FL - FABULOUS reminders! Thank you!!

  • Barbara G - Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

  • Carla - brilliant tips. {and super sweet photos.} thanks!

  • lifeologia - Beautiful shots and great tips!
    And Ashley, you’re actually in some of these shots! WOW that’s great to see πŸ˜‰

  • Vanessa - Thank you for this great post! Very simple but helpful tips.

  • Heather - these are such great tips. thanks for sharing!!

  • rebecca jordan - i’ll second everyone else saying “great tips!” and “thanks for sharing!”

    but seriously…thanks. your pictures are absolutely beautiful!!

  • Leanne - this is a great tutorial! thank you!

  • Jessica P. - Great tips and great photos! I’m glad you enjoyed a wonderful trip.

  • Reidunn - I discovered this project and thought it might fit with your 10 in 10 theme.

  • Kimber - You are just so amazing! Some of the shots I’m like, “yeah that’s how mine turn out sometimes!” These are great tips i will definitely use, thank you so much!

    Also, I was thinking, how DID that plane ride turn out with all those kids? And how’d you handle nap times and stuff? Just out of curiosity πŸ™‚

  • Amber - Happiness is Eva - Wow! Great tips. I can’t wait to try them out.

  • Kim@Living with Little People - Yesterday I honestly thought you were on a private beach. This was a really eye opening post. Thanks.

  • Barbara Wertz - Terrific tips for someone who is looking to take better family photos! Thanks and you have a beautiful family! πŸ™‚

  • patti - great tips! thanks so much for sharing and now I need to go to the beach. hope you all have a wonderful time!

  • jessica h - loved the tips–and loved seeing more gorgeous (and fun) pics πŸ™‚

  • Brooke Whitis - Awesome, really practical tips!!

    Thank you for not assuming that we know this! These seem so simple but they are things I never think about in an intentional way.

    You are awesome. And I love your vacation pictures. It makes me long for a super fun, relaxing vacation. We have been in Europe for three weeks, and I agree that it was not relaxing as I had hoped (I did not sit in coffee shops and read my book, as I had hoped) but I did do a lot of fun traveling, meeting new people. etc. Way to have a positive attitude! I am trying to appreciate this non restful trip for all the awesome memories. I know you are too!!!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  • LesleyAnn Photography - Great Photos
    Curious as to what F/stop and SS you used?

  • Christene {WhipperBerry} - What great tips just for me! I learned so much and I hope to have the chance to go to an island soon and put them to work….or just here at home, I guess. πŸ™‚ THanks so much!

  • Carolyn - I love the second photo of all your kids together – so beautiful!…I also love that you took your chalkboard on holidays too πŸ™‚

  • phyllis - Thanks for the advice!

  • Stephany - Sooooo wonderful!! thanks!

  • Tess - What do you use to clean your sensor?? I can NEVER seem to get it clean enough. Do you have any tips?

  • Jen - awesome, awesome, awesome….thank you!

  • Weekending randomness « Adventure in Faith - […] enjoyed these 10 tips from Under the Sycamore on Vacation photography. I have been enjoying this blog a lot […]

  • The Mango Archives - I think I have been here before! Is this Hawaii? A beach in Kailua?

  • Point & Shoot Tips with Under the Sycamore | Lil Blue Boo - […] are several posts on Under the Sycamore with great photo tips! Ashley just did a recent post, 10 Photo Tips from our Vacation, that’s really great! Check it out along with all of her other amazing posts. You will be […]

  • Blog Tip Thursdays: Photography Talk | Healthy Living Blogs - […] Vacation Photo Tips by Under the Sycamore […]

  • Amateur: Point-n-Shoot Photography » Then Heather Said - […] from Brownies and Zucchini White Balance Demystified from Giverslog Try Something New by Sugar Bee Vacation Photo Tips by Under the Sycamore Photographing Children from Jasmine Star Food Photography Lighting Tips from […]

Well it was close, but this post came out on top (yesterday’s vote)…tomorrow is the photo tips!

Before we left I had visions of sitting on the beach with a book and a cold drink….relaxing. In fact I bartered with Chris. For every hour he spent surfing I would get an equal amount of time completely alone on a beach. Not a kid in sight. It didn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time at the beach. We dug in the sand. We threw sand. We buried eachother in sand. We chased waves. We swam. We played. We did not relax (with exception to FireCracker).

My oldest and youngest have NO FEAR. The middle two like to wander. Being at the beach with a 1, 2, 4 & 6 year old is loads of fun, but not relaxing. The picture below makes me laugh every time I see it. Chris took it one day without me knowing. I look like I am about to kill someone. I certainly don’t look like I am kicking it back on the beach with a book. This picture pretty much sums up my role in Hawaii RESCUE. I can’t count how many times I grabbed FireCracker when she run into the water and let waves crash over her.

Here are 10 pictures of my kids on the beach – the 4 reasons I was more in Rescue mode than Relax mode.

Granted there are none of FireCracker underwater because it is a little too hard to rescue her and photograph it at the same time.

I didn’t get to read a book, but I did get to watch my son relish the joy of sand everywhere. Awesome.

I didn’t bathe in the sun, but I am still finding sand in her hair at bathtime. Perfect.

I didn’t lay on a towel oceanside, but I watched his confidence around the water grow each day. Priceless.

I didn’t spend hours daydreaming, but I did watch dreams I didn’t know I had come true. Incredible.

My toes didn’t casually play in the sand, but I did build some pretty amazing sand piles with a two year old. Cherished.

I didn’t fall asleep to the sound of ocean waves, but I watched my daughter fearlessly follow her daddy. Beautiful.

There were no moments of quietness, but my 4 year old did a lot of rock and roll. Funny.

See ya mom – I’m off to explore, again. Proud.

I thought I wanted to be alone on the beach. I was wrong. I would have missed so much while I was reading that book and relaxing.

They were all going all different directions most of the time. I still long to get a few moments alone on a beach with a good book (I’d even settle for a short magazine). I figure one day my beach memories will include relaxation and I will probably get bored and want more action. So I didn’t get to kick it back and soak in the beauty surrounding me. I did get to cover every inch of my body in sand and soak in the beauty of my kids in God’s glorious creation. It was awesome…

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  • Amy - Looks like you guys had so much fun!! These memories will last all of you a life time, where as you probably would have forgotten the name of that book after a couple of weeks. Great post and I love the shot of you ” I look like I am about to kill someone.” LOL!!

  • Shannon - Love it! And you know, I have learned that vacations with littles are only vacations for THEM! We are always ON as parents, but you gave them the best thing ever. A Mama and Daddy who love them and memories to cherish for the rest of their lives! Very lovely!

  • stephanie - Love all those pictures and the incredible memories you made…and do I recognize Ke’e beach in one of those pictures?

  • Jaimie - Incredible! I am so so jealous- I could really use a beach vacation right now, even if it was with my 2 year old!

  • Alba - water+sand+kids = fun&watch, no relax possible. fantastic pics as always

  • RachelC - Sounds perfect.

  • Orkanda - I really love your posts because I am a mother of four so I have a huge affinity with all your words. Through your eyes I see motherhood in a different perspective…In your place I would have just stayed in a bad mood because I could not relax … but you make me see everything I would lose if I had relaxed…And I was not even on the beach..Thanks for sharing all of this with me… By the way, I love your DYI projects !! Love.

  • Sadie - Beautiful. Your outlook on life never fails to amaze me. I love your blog and you are an awesome mother! Thanks for sharing! I am really looking forward to the next few posts!

  • amy - oh, wow. looks gorgeous and beautiful and stressful and fun.
    i watched dreams i didn’t know i had come true…i love that so much, ashley. perfect.

  • Jill - I love your photos. Thank you for sharing your vision and love of your family and life!

  • Angela Carter - you are an incredible mom! i long to take my 2 to Hawaii…someday!

  • Shea - Great outlook! I know how you feel and I only have two littles. And you look like a young Swoosie Kurtz in that photo.

  • LauraC - First time commenter, long time lurker because I love your photos!

    I live in North Carolina and we had been DREAMING of the beach trip where we would actually get to relax. My twin boys turned four this year and we did a week at the beach this year. We spent an insane amount of time just sitting on the beach, reading books, drinking margaritas and watching the boys swim and surf.

    The keys were they can swim now and they are finally at the age where they will play together.

    It was still only a couple of hours a day relaxing but it was more than enough to recharge us to spend the rest of the time building sand castles and body surfing and picking up sea shells.

  • Sarah - what great memories. i miss hawaii so much.

  • Yanet - Just when I think your photographs can’t get any better, you post these!!! Beaches make the best backdrop ever, don’t they?!

  • marcy - Yup! That first picture cracks me up! LOL

  • amanda torres - Your words are so true. We so want to relax, but not at the cost of missing anything our kids do. I think I’ll just wish for our next vacation to be one where my almost 4 and 2 year old sit next to me quietly and ‘read’ their books while I do mine. Yep, not gonna happen. I’ll keep dreaming and just enjoy the moment then.

  • Lindsay - I love this post. Your pictures are awesome. Thank you for sharing!

  • megan - Love this. What a great picture of your calling. And an excellent example of contentment. Thanks.

  • Susanne - Isn’t it nice when we don’t get what we want but instead get what we need.

  • Kara - ha my husband and I were just talking last night about how vacations with kids are SO different than vacations before kids!

  • Heather - so beautiful. the photos AND the words!

  • BriBedell - I was very blessed and was able to go to Hawaii a little over three years ago. While there I married my husband and expirienced some of the most beautiful things it had to offer! Your pictures make me miss it real bad LOL

    Your children are beautiful and I love how fearless you are about raising them! I have two and often forget to relax..enjoy there tiny faces and run-on sentences πŸ™‚

  • Natalie - Beautiful indeed! Photos are great (as always). What lens did you use for them?

  • giozi - Ashley the first one is like and Charlie’s Angels ad πŸ™‚
    Your chubby is to eat πŸ˜€
    Your big boy, nex year to Australia to a competition πŸ™‚

  • Jessica - ah yes family vacations. not to be confused with vacationing as a couple. LOL
    looks like you had a great time. and you’re more brave than I! although I do have over double the amount of kids that you do. πŸ™‚

  • Dacia - I think this is now my favorite post of yours. Although your son with the baby goat (if I remember correctly, it was a goat?) is pretty up there. It made me cry, just like this one nearly did. The pictures are beautiful, as usual, but your captions are so refreshing. Your outlook on everything is so admirable!!! It would’ve been really easy for a Mom of 4 to whine about not having a relaxing time on the beach in Hawaii- but you truly appreciate your family. *tear*

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh, these are great pictures!

  • Shanalea - First of all, I am so jealous that you have not only lived in Hawaii, but have vacationed there as well. I can also empathize with your desire to be on a beach with a book and a drink basking in the aloneness and glory of the moment. I have come to realize much like you though, this season in my life is not about being alone, but about investing the future, my four boys. I want them to see mom connected with them, playing with them, and enjoying the moments of togetherness. So again it can be frustrating to not get a moment of relaxing, but you know you will someday. πŸ™‚

  • lifeologia - Fantastic shots and what memories to watch your kids enjoying themselves in this beautiful place… it is priceless & incredible πŸ˜‰

  • Krista Lund - this is such a sweet post. dh is planning my birthday dinner and asked his parents to watch our girls so we could go alone, but the more we thought about it, the more we wanted the girls with us πŸ™‚

  • Susan - i love your blog. your pictures of your trip are priceless

  • Kirra Sue - Awesome, awesome perspective.

  • Amy - The photo of you is FIERCE! I love it! I don’t think I could have done this trip with my ONE child. You’re awesome.

  • Jodi - Amazing! The whole trip (no relaxation or not) sounds heavenly! I am glad you had such a great time.

  • Vanessa - I love your perspective and writing on life. Thanks for sharing.

  • Laurie J - welcome back, Ashley! I’ve enjoyed your guest posts, but I enjoy yours more! Love the pic of the boys playing together in the ocean. You can’t ask for more as a mom, can you?

  • Laurie J - welcome back, Ashley! I’ve missed your posts….the guest ones were good, though πŸ™‚

  • Leanne - sounds like a lot of fun to me, even just chasing the kids around. nice and warm, no?

  • chantelle - ha! I try tomake bargains with my hubby like that all the time but I too can never make myself stay at home or miss the action! (we’re Mommy suckers!)

  • Leah - hahahaha at the summersault in the sand. I hope the rest of the vaca was alittle more relaxing.

  • tara pollard pakosta - this is the way to look at life!
    I found that the more time I took away
    from my kids, the more I wanted it!
    when I took the time to actually just enjoy
    my girls, now I never have the craving to leave at all!

  • Julie A. - Awesome post Ashley! Thanks for such an up lifting view of motherhood when we mostly hear about how unrewarding motherhood is. Moments away are nice but the time together is what we’ll cherish.

  • mandi - YES! I love this!
    I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in mommy-hood. How some like to brag about what horrible moms they are. We need more moms saying how they love being with their kids.
    The best advice I was ever given, from a mom of 10, was “just enjoy your kids”. If we are in a moment that I’m feeling stressed I know we need to stop and just enjoy each other.

  • Kim@Living with Little People - Fun with these little gems has to be better than a book. The fourth photo down of Firecracker belongs in a tourism ad. Its just perfect. I can’t wait for the photo tips tomorrow.

  • christina larsen - It still looks like fun, even though you didn’t get to fully relax.

  • Ashley Smith - Your face in the top picture absolutely cracks me up. You look like the mean Mom at WalMart. Which is funny because it is so not you ;). Looks like so much fun and exercise, glad you had a great trip!

  • Betsy - Ok, I’m new…only been reading since your diy doily table runner was featured somewhere. Yall lived in Hawaii? What?! When?! why?!

  • Jenny B. - Beautiful… words and pictures! I love digital scrapbooking, and this post could so easily transfer to a big ‘ol scrapbook layout – or a little photo book. Awesome! πŸ™‚ And I love your attitude about your non-relaxation.

  • Aubrey - With four of my own (17 months, 3, 4, and 6), I discovered some of the same things this summer. When I would have loved to read, my time was filled with my children’s constant desire to do or need something. But I wouldn’t have traded it for anything! The beach is definitely the cheapest and most fun time we have had as a family of six. LML.

  • Dinah - What wonderful pictures! I think that this is one of my favorite posts on your blog, as it gives a great mix of both technical advice as well as great tips on things like composition, cropping and just managing young children in photos! I have never heard the rule “don’t crop at the joints” — awesome tip! I would also love to hear more about how to photograph the sky, ocean, etc. during the different times of day (how to make the sky read “white” on purpose when photographing something where you want the subject to stand out, and other times how to photograph it to capture the gorgeous blues, clouds, etc.) This is exactly why I’m looking forward to a possible online photography course in the future!:)

  • Christy - I love your attitude. As a mom, it’s hard to make that adjustment sometime, but in the end everyone is happier. Love.

  • Brittany - I especially loved how you added a word at the end of your title that tied in with it. Really great pictures!!!!!

OOPS….jetlag got us and we all slept in this morning…mad dash to get kids to school.

Well I’m back…I fought it kicking and screaming. Oh wait..that was my 1 & 2 year olds. Well they were just doing what I was too mature to do. We spent 10 days in Hawaii. We started in Oahu as a little family of 6 – taking the kids to some of our favorite local places from back in the day when we lived there. After a few days there, we met up with Chris’ family on Kauai. It was a needed break for our family and we are so grateful for the opportunity we had to go. I miss it. I need to go back. I need to go now.

I took a lot of pictures. Shocker. I know. Well I am dividing them up into several different posts. Today’s is just a random overview.

Now I can’t decide what to post next, so I am going to let you pick. Here is a list of 5 posts…leave a comment to tell me which one you want to see next. The one with the most requests will be posted tomorrow, the second most on Thursday and so on.

1. A four year old making the 8 hour time adjustment

2. 10 pictures of why I couldn’t relax on the beach

3. 10 photo tips based on pictures from our trip

4. Our attempt at posed pictures in downtown Hanalei

It is good to be back….

For the photo collage I used several templates from Design Aglow

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  • Jane - Oooooh! Love the preview. Can’t wait to hear all about it. I’m glad that you’re going to post about all four topics because that would be a tough choice. But, since I can’t ever get enough of your great photography tips, I vote for #3 to be first!

  • Kari - Oh heck, just combine all of them and post one big one! I enjoy looking at your Hawaii pics…it will be the only Hawaii I’ll ever see besides on tv.

  • Danielle - You moved from Hawaii to Oklahoma? That is a big change!

  • Danielle - I have missed you!!!! Welcome back! I love the new pictures of your vacation. What a great time away! I would love to hear about #4 — your attempt at posed pictures. But who am I kidding? I’d love to hear about all four!

  • Shea - I adore all of these photos! We took our 14 month old this time last year and it was a trip of a lifetime. It was definitely a different experience with a child. And now we have another baby and we can’t wait to go back. I hope to island hop next time.
    Oh, and I say go with number 1 first. Or any advice you have on traveling far distances with littles would be great too. Specifically island hopping while in Hawaii.
    Thank you for sharing your vacation with us!

  • giozi - Welcome Back dear Ashley
    Is great have your pictures again.
    These are fabulous like always. Your boy with the stones, your girl with the flower, your baby sleeping into her portatil crib.
    Welcome back again.

  • Shannon - Ha! I vote for number 4. And you are aware that you are Mommy to the cutest little girl ever, right? Just making sure. She is precious! The boys are sweet too, but something about FireCracker just gets me right in the heart!

  • Sadie - I would have to say I want to see a post about #4. Mainly b/c you used the word “attempt”!!! LOL!

  • Miss Kris - What amazing pictures! Firecracker is just a doll. We’re taking our sons (ages 1 and 3) to Hawaii in February, and I’d love your photography tips, as well as tips on enjoying Hawaii with little ones. Your sage advice is always appreciated πŸ™‚

  • cassie - I vote: 1, 2, 4, 3. Can’t wait!!

  • christina larsen - Welcome back, I wouldn’t have wanted to return either. πŸ™ BEAUTIFUL. I choose the one with why you couldn’t relax on the beach.

  • Kristin - photo tips! And posed attempts. Sounds fun. πŸ™‚

  • Dawn Nikol - Love the pics!! Makes me want to pack up my husband and baby and go. Now.

    I’d love to see all 4 of those posts, but my preference would be:
    Photo tips, Reasons you couldn’t relax, the time adjustment, and then attempt at posed pics!


  • amanda torres - I vote for #2. It will make me feel better.

  • rachel denbow - 10 reasons you couldn’t relax on the beach. I can only imagine and want to be prepared for the next time we plan a beach trip. What to expect and how to prepare for it. Or at least how to deal with it and know it’ll make for a good blog post. Because that’s sometimes how I get through the day! ha!

  • Elle - I’m SO SO SO jealous. It looks like an amazing time. One of my former students recently relocated to Haiku, Hawaii (the coolest name for a city EVER) and her pictures are amazing.

  • Heather - i vote for the posed pictures one. πŸ™‚

  • Jessica P. - Oooh…that’s tough. I’m going with #2 though. Sand in uncomfortable places? Sunburn? Fear of Firecracker finding the ocean? I must know.

  • Effy - Well, that settles it. I’m going to have to go to Hawaii one of these days. πŸ™‚ Gorgeous pictures! Y’all look like you belong there!

  • jessica h - #2!! sounds interesting!!

    GORGEOUS photos! Looks sooooo amazing! oh, and I’m very curious: what does Chris’ family do in Hawaii, or was he born there?!

  • Katie M - #3 photo tips please!!

  • Robyn Farmer - My vote is for #2. I figure if the adjustment didn’t go well it will be addressed somewhere between 1-10.

  • Brittany - I vote for #2! The preview photos are beautiful πŸ™‚

  • Barbara G - I vote for #4. I’ll be looking forward to the other posts a lot too of course.
    Those pictures you already showed us are simply amazing. They make me want to go to Hawaii even more. My grandfather went there some years ago and sent us a postcard. He wrote: “Start saving money. You really should see this place.” And not a single word more.

  • Haley - Hanalei πŸ™‚ Just returned from our first vacation to Hawaii (Kauai) last month!!

  • bethany - So jealous! I would love all of those posts. Of course the whole not relaxing on the beach or attampted photos sound hilarious!

  • Raechel Myers - Those pictures of Firecracker on the beach are fantastic. So many that are just PERFECT!

    So, my vote may not be the popular one, but I enjoy your sense of humor and think that your take on a 4-year-old making a time adjustment could be pretty funny.

    Thanks for sharing! Good to have you back!

  • Natalie - #2! And the shots of firecracker asleep on the beach- especially the one under the palm tree- are amazing/beautiful!

  • kassondra - 3,2,4,1

  • ~abi~ - i vote for #4 πŸ™‚

  • Carrie Rosalind - They all sound great but I wanna see why you couldn’t relax on the beach! Lol! I’m also interested to see your photo tips. Welcome back to the mainland! πŸ™‚

  • Brittaney - Oh my lord- I need to be there now!
    I’m voting for the 10 reasons you couldn’t relax on the beach. I’m sure it will be humorous!

  • Cassie - Ooooo, looks so relaxing!

    Where did you get that little tent for FireCracker on the beach?

  • Lins - Definitely #4!!! I keep threatening to do a “keepin it real” Christmas card with all of our failed shots (like the one where the wind blows my hair into my lip gloss after hiking halfway up the Kalalau trail with 3 kids for the perfect shot)! πŸ™‚ Glad you had fun!

  • KaraM - #3: Photo Tips, of course!

  • Ranee - Can’t wait to see #4! Looks like you had a great trip! Good for you for being so brave!

  • Juliana - Fantastic pictures… ohhh Hawaiiiiiii! How do you get your pictures to be in that shape with the rounded corners?

  • Kelly Clarke - 4. Our attempt at posed pictures in downtown Hanalei

  • ashley jensen - I vote for #1. I am curious how the kids handled the flight since you previously asked for suggestions on keeping them occupied and happy!

  • Joy - The 4 year old adjusting to the time difference!

  • Keshet Shenkar - Did you use to live in hawaii? I lived there until I was 12! These pics make me homesick:)

  • Melissa Stover - beautiful shots! i can’t see relaxing on the beach for quite a few years as long as i have my kids with me. but it sure is pretty to look at.

  • gina - I vote for #2 As a mom of 5 who went to Kauai this past Easter it is one that i can totally relate to! Glad you had a fun and safe trip and relaxed as much as a mom of 4 could!

  • Alice H - Wow, I love the pictures. Hawaii sounds heavenly, one day I would love to go there. Glad you guys got to get a way for awhile!

    I vote for 2, 1, 4, 3.

  • Gina - I would like to see a picture of your luggage pile. We have 4 kids and I feel like we are bringing out entire house when we travel!

  • Christie - Oh, Leonard’s! Another mark to your “good tastes”! My husband is from Oahu and it’s almost always breakfast the following day.

    And I want to see the “bad” first, so #1 or 2!

  • Allison - attempt at posed pictures

  • Natalie - I grew up in HI so it is so wonderful to see you enjoying all of our favorite places. I can’t wait to see them all, but am most excited for #3 & 4. Can’t wait! Love your photos!

  • s - I vote #2 but I imagine #1 may be one reason you can’t relax at the beach!!

  • Brandi - Looks like you had a GREAT time. I would LOVE to see your photo tips!!

  • Lacey McKay - Oh how fun! I vote for #2 because I’m sure it will make me laugh.

  • Amy - Gorgeous pics! I vote for #4

  • Julie B - Oh #4 most definitely.

  • Anna - I vote for #3!!

  • Trinity - I want to see photo tips definitely!

  • Allison - I vote for #3! I always love when you post photo tips. They are so helpful!

  • Kristin E. - #2

  • Jamie - I can’t wait to read all of them, but I’m going to vote for #3 just bc your pics always tell stories and I want all the tips I can get my hands on! I love this collage.

  • andy - love all the pics
    especially the one of your girl drinking out of a coconut

  • Susan Williams - I say #4. Love your collage of pictures. beautiful, and i caught a glimpse of your chalkboard thought bubble in one of your posed pics, so i thought it might be interesting to see how you used it in others.

  • Becki - #3! #3! (And then, of course, another link to where you got that fabulous red hat, because I’m too lazy to go back and find it.)

  • bopha - love the pictures, looks more fun than anything i did over the past 10 days. i vote for #2, those should be the most amusing pics.

  • Flier Judit - I vote for number 2!

  • sarah k - I vote for the pics of why you couldn’t relax on the beach! πŸ™‚

  • Mara - My vote is for #2!! I think my most fav from your photo collage is the one of your two boys DIGGING into what looks like a shaved ice! So cute!!!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Dear Ashley, so glad you had a great time! You were very missed, but your guests were amazing!

    That book (love languages) is amazing! My two are so different, it really gave me awesome reminders on what they need as individuals!

  • ashley gee - number two.

  • Angee C. - I like option number 3. And after looking at your pictures I now totally want a snow cone. : )

  • Sarah - I’d say 2,1,4,3!!! Its good to have you back

  • Megan - 2, 1, 4, 3. can’t wait to see all your pics!

  • Jenna - Love the pictures! I’ll go for #1 – sounds a little scary…

  • RachelC - Oh, I definitely vote #1!! Also, what does the sign say in the big family pic?

  • Brooke Whitis - Let’s be honest, we’re going to eventually hear about all four…but the ones I am the most excited about it the 10 reasons why you couldn’t relax on the beach πŸ™‚ I would like to hear this. Glad you were able to get away!

  • Rachael Schepemaker - Can you tell us how you make those awesome photo collages? What program do you use — Photoshop?

  • Seamingly Sarah - #2 first please! I want to know why you couldn’t relax!!!

  • Monique - Lovely and I’m slightly jealous as I’m in Canada… very far from beaches! I vote #3 πŸ™‚

  • shelby - these are such great pictures! I bet this was an awesome trip. I cant wait to see the other posts!

    I would like to see post #2!

  • Shelly - ADORE the pic of firecracker tipping over…
    loved the book you were reading “love languages for kids”
    if you have not read the one for you and your spouse, you should… it is awesome
    My vote is 10 reasons you could not relax on the beach
    Good to have you back!!

  • Emily Lusk - I would like to see them all so it does not really matter to me…. Looks like you had a great time! Two questions for ya…. what did you end up doing on the plane ride over? And how in the world do you get your little girl to sleep like that… wherever and whenever! Love it!

  • Sarah - Your pictures make me SOOOO homesick, Ashley. I bet Song and Wang were beside themselves with joy meeting your adorable clan. I’m curious if your boys just loved the huge cockroaches… for some reason I think biggest brother would find them fascinating. I pick #3 (photo tips) because our Hawaii pictures never turn out this nice… ever!

  • Caroline - I am excited about all of the coming posts! But, since I am traveling with my 10 month old this weekend, I guess I will pick #1. πŸ™‚

  • mandi - I vote for #2!

    love that picture of firecracker all tuckered out on the beach.

  • Kimber - The tips! I love when you do that!

    Also, what program do you use to make all your collages? I just love the way you them!

  • lifeologia - I vote for the 10 photos why you couldn’t relax on the beach ;D
    I won’t be surprised why πŸ˜‰ But I will love to see your kiddos going crazy.

  • Sara Beth Johnson - 10 photo tips! Also, would love to know how you made your collage. love it!

  • Lindsay - #3 photo tips!!

  • Jenny B. - I gotta go for the photo tips! πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to see them all, though!

  • Lois Victoria - I love your blog and as a resident of Kailua this post really excites me! Can’t wait to see more of the places I know documented by you with your adorable family!

    PS. I have Leonard’s Bakery once a week and love it! πŸ™‚

  • Carol V. - 2 please. And then 3!

  • Stephanie - I’d love to see more of any but I’ll pick #4 randomly because I don’t remember which was which. I used to live in Manoa Valley at the YWAM base there. I know what you mean about missing it. It’s been over 10 years since I left. I’ve been on that very same trail to the falls I went so many times in the 7 mothes I lived there. Ahhhhh Hawaii will forever be my home.

  • Mariah Milan - Jealous!!! I want to go back home to Maui sooooo bad!!!

  • Jill R - What an adventure!! Firecracker’s car seat happy hour is hi-larious!! Looks like you had a wonderful time.

  • MelissaM - is that pic of the boys eating shave ice at Keneke’s on Waimanalo beach? Thats where I lived & worked for two summers. πŸ™‚ Miss it sooo much.

  • Karla (LaPine) Swalve - so fun to look at your pictures! I miss Hawaii. Hopefully I can one day bring my husband to visit-glad you could take the kids and share it with them!

  • Family Love | the Chaseys - […] saw this photo layout on Under the Sycamore and thought it would be a fun way to post some recent pictures of our […]

  • Taneka Froberg - I have been going about clothes wrong…………hopefully i will comprehend an improvement now!!!