UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. The last counting comment is Amanda Madl’s.

She is scrumptious. I love that I am her aunt and not her mommy, but I sure wouldn’t mind bringing her home with me for a bit. Some how, some way I have to convince my mom to babysit my 4 kids so I can babysit my niece. Or I have to convince my sister that it is safe to leave her daughter with me…and my 4 kids.

I stopped by (ALONE!) for a visit and found her like this.

And I woke her up for a few pictures. Looking at these pictures makes me miss her.

She got a little bored with me….not sleeping here, just ignoring me already.

I really like these of Lesley. She is a great mom. She’ll be an even better mom if she lets me babysit. I don’t know which I like better: holding my niece or seeing my little sister as a mom holding her daughter. It is a toss up.

So that was Part 1 of her newborn pictures. After looking at them I told Lesley I wanted her to come by my house where there is better lighting. So her little family of three came by. Here is what I had set up waiting for them…my old duvet cover draped over random chairs. Bet you didn’t know I had such a classy natural light studio! And the baby on the floor is technically FireCracker’s doll, but Littlest Brother has adopted her as his own. He carries her around and sleeps with her…and calls her Baby Paisley. His cousin has made an impression on him!

The hairclip on the hat is from TweetBaby Designs…so jealous!

I am crazy about her. I actually cried while processing her pictures…I love her so much and I don’t get to hold her all day…or even everyday for that matter. This is new grounds for me…to deeply love a baby that I doesn’t fall asleep in my arms at night. It is good new grounds, but new grounds nonetheless.

Well enough of that sappy stuff, how about a giveaway?! In the pictures below is one of the first headbands I got for Sweet P….and guess what the talent behind the etsy store Silly Me Baby is doing a giveaway today!

Giveaway Details:

Prize is a $10.00 store credit to Silly Me Baby

One winner, chosen at random

One entry per person

Contest ends Friday, August 6, 2010 10:00pm US Central

To enter leave a comment on this post telling me one thing you want to do before the summer is over…

and feel free to tell my sister how crazy cute her daughter is!

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  • Kirra Sue - Uuuuuuum I think I will be coming back again at least a couple of times today to look at that yummy niece of yours. Oh my. She makes me smile. And the pictures you took are out of this world. Your sister is blessed to have you capture these moments!!!

    One thing I want to do this summer is go for a long bike ride along the lake here in Chicago- stopping on the way to get homemade ice cream at Annette’s.

    Love your blog!! Eek!

  • Shannon - Oh boy! She is a cutie for sure. What wonderful newborn pics. I wish I had some like that of my littles! I love the one of her smiling on the folded blankets (right under the I Love You one), so darling! A framer for sure!

    And one thing I want to do before summer is over? Head to IKEA, one last hour in smaland for the kids, and a little shopping for me! Lame? Kinda…but it’s too hot here to do anything else!

  • maria - The one thing I’d love to do is make homemade ice cream in my new maker!!! I just love this photoshoot, especially the ones of her smiling, what an early smiler!!! such a gift!

  • Erica - I want to take my kids to the beach a couple more times before the summer is over!! And your new niece is absolutly adorable! :)

  • Lanny Stanard - One word… YUMMY :) how cute could just eat her UP!

  • Liene - Adorable pictures, I really love the one where she smiles a little!

  • Mary - Adorably cute niece. It makes me want one of my sisters to have a baby so I can hold one again.
    Before summer is over I want to take my kids to a movie. They’ve been to several this summer with grandmothers but I want to go too.

  • Meredith - She’s just beautiful – I had tears in my eyes, too, before you even mentioned your tears. Babies are so sweet!

    One thing I want to do before summer ends, hmm… I want to take my 2 yr old on a real picnic, with lunch in a basket and kool aid in the cooler – just like when I was a kid.

  • Ruthy T. - Before the summer is over I want to go to the beach again at least once!! Ah such a sweet baby niece!

  • Christine - I would love to go to the beach before the summer is over! Your niece is beautiful!

  • karen davis - One thing I’d like to do before the summer ends, is swim at the beach!

    Your niece is tooooooo cute!

  • Sarah - She is so Sweet, for a second I wanted to add another one to my family….but I will think logical now.

    I would love to take more outdoor pictures and swim again before the summer is over.

  • Heather - She is beautiful! I love the headbands!! I have three boys so looking at precious pictures of adorable baby girls is all I got :)
    Before the summer is over we want to hit up the beach a few more times and we promised the boys a trip to the zoo.

  • Amanda - I want to watch my girls run and scream through the sprinkler in the front yard on more time. Beautiful baby, beautiful family!

  • Cara @ Mischief and Laughs - AWwww…. how precious! Makes me want another baby, although my current baby is still quite a baby!

    What would I like to do before summer’s over? Go to an outdoor movie or concert and sit on blankets and eat a picnic supper.

  • anne c - my oh my sweet little baby girl goodness! I could eat her up!
    …I would love to sit under an umbrella and read a good book on the beach!

  • allison - I want to relax on the beach before the summer is over. And then deliver my baby girl in October. Hope she’s as cute as your niece!

  • Haley - What a sweet and precious baby! I can’t wait to let everyone know that I am pregnant by the end of summer. 7 weeks today so when I reach my 2nd trimester by the end of the summer!

  • Jill - Well summer ended for us today when the kids started back to school. :( I guess I could say that I want to win this headband to give to my friend who just had a baby girl!

  • Donna - I would love to pick fruit before the end of the summer…….strawberries, blackberries, peaches, yum, yum, yum!!
    Baby Paisley is absolutely scrumptious! What an adorable little baby girl. And so blessed to be born into your family. Enjoy every second with her. (And if you find out the secret to pawning your kids off on someone else so you can get baby all to yourself, please share!)

  • laura - her baby is precious and i’m sure she’s thankful that her sister is an amazing photographer! what a gift:).

    i still need to make some key lime pie before fall sets in…

  • andy - take my son to the aquarium
    your niece it precious
    i love the pics

  • Mandy - take tons of end-of-summer pictures – – can’t believe the summer is already winding down!

  • jessica - sweet pea is seriously beautiful…newborns are not always pretty, you know? and she’s so smiley! plus, the widow’s peak is hard to beat. i love it.

    before the end of the summer? hmmm, finish decorating my counseling room!! and give one of my bff’s a supercut headband for her little beauty. =)

  • Anna Marie - The ONLY thing that these pictures do for me is make me want another GIRL!!! She is so scrumptious and delightful!!!

    One thing I want to do before the summer is over is go on a road trip. I don’t think that will happen so I will settle for a dip in a pool 😉

  • Sarah C - I want to take in a few more baseball games in St Louis. Headed there next weekend!

    And these pictures make me want to have another baby. Stat. So stinkin precious!

  • Sarah - I love her little sleepy smile! Too cute. Before summer is over a must to do is FLOAT the river :)

  • Sara - Sweet P is crazy adorable. I’m sure everyone looking wants to give her a little sqeeze….

    I want to take more pictures before this summer ends!

  • Tess S. - i want to put up a big movie screen and rent a projector and have a movie night in my backyard… i swear to you i told my husband this last week and then a few days later you have a post doing exactly that. so weird!

  • LaurenS - dang that baby is ca-yute!!! i just want to keep my tan going through the summer. isn’t that a great goal?? haha!

  • Jackie McCobb - She is one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen! I think I will add “cuddling with a newborn” to my Must Do This Summer list!

  • Taylor - Oh my gosh she is adorable! It seriously makes me wanna have another one, but mine’s only 9 months old! You are so lucky you get to hold her!


  • Gevay - She is adorable and so sweet when she smiles. I would like to finish redoing my boys room before the summer is over. Better get my bum in gear!

  • Marie - What a precious baby!! I would like to exercise/run so I can buy new school clothes!

  • Marie - What a precious baby! I would like to exercise and run so I can buy new school clothes!

  • Kristi - She is beautiful! I need to reorganize my office and go grocery shopping before I have to go back to school in a week. Ahhhh! Summer where have you gone?

  • Courtney - She is so beautiful!! One thing I would like to do before the summer is over is get a slip-n-slide for my son.

  • Allison - She is beautiful!!!! Makes me want to have a girl of my own….or be an aunt to a girl!! ;-). One thing I want to do before the summer is over is to spend some one on one time with my oldest who will be going off to preschool next month!! I know he will love it, but I will be sad and will miss him so much!!

  • Maggie - Beautiful baby girl! dreamy little smiles and peach fuzz soft skin~ delicious! Wonderful photos as always, love to Lesley from me! so happy for all of your family :)

  • Lisa S. - Adorable!! And great shots as well:)
    This summer I plan to finish building our deck and have a big BBQ after to celebrate!

  • Maggie - oh, and I would love to read the stack of books that were intended as “summer reads”!

  • Stephanie - I think Sweet P is precious! Love her little smile! I want to clean out my spare room before summer ends as I just found out I am going to be a mommy for the first time!!!

  • Channing - I would LOVE to do a DIY a day until school starts back.. I have already done one everyday for the past two weeks. My twitter followers look forward to seeing what is next!

  • Maike - oh my, isn’t she adorable! wish she was mine and you too, so you could take lovely pictures of my little one.
    So what I’m doing before the end of the summer??? Make my own baby…
    if it only was that simple, I really did….

  • kassondra - i really want to take my daughter put-put this summer shes five and i know she will love it!

  • Valerie - I want one! :) There is nothing like a newborn and to say she is crazy cute is an understatement! So precious.

    Gotta hit the Oregon coast before the summer is out… so beautiful.

  • Mandi Smith - Some thing I need to do before summer is over is take my kids out to a random field and get some great pictures of them. Good weather doesn’t last long here in Wyoming so I better get on it :)

    And your niece is absolutely adorable!

  • Mary Beth - She is absolutely beautiful and perfect!! Love the photo studio. :) And one thing I’d like to do before the summer is over? Get wet in the pool or at a beach!

  • Kimberly - I want to take a trip to Chicago and get some shots of the city!

    Your niece is simply ADORABLE! You can tell how much you LOVE her!! Your sister is very lucky to have you capture all these wonderful photos.

  • Kristina - I would LOVE to get a good nights rest….that’s right I just want to sleep 😉

  • Karen - We will have a new baby girl, Addie Grace, in our family in Oct. My baby brother is going to be a first time daddy. It is gonna be so awesome. I one thing that I would love to do this summer is be able to spend some time outside with my kids. Here in MS when the heat index is 117 you don’t get alot of outdoor time.

  • Erin - She is adorable!!! I would love to go to a baseball game, drive-in and eat homemade ice cream!!

  • Camille - I want to go camping! I haven’t been yet, and its killing me. Also… that baby is incredibly cute… kind of makes me want one :)

  • Becca - The pictures are fantastic!

    ~ I want to get a snow cone before the summer is over. I haven’t had one in three years ;o

  • BriBedell - One thing I want to do before summer is over..is too finish all my sewing project for a wedding in 2 weeks!!

    Miss P is precious for sure!!

  • Robin - I would love to better enjoy the summer before its too late and I start missing it during January. P looks soo snuggly!

  • Elisa B. - One this to do before the summer … so many things I want to do but GET A TAN is one! :)

  • Hollie - I’d like to make new curtains and paint my living room. The photo shoot is adorable, totally and completely!!! What a doll.

  • Michelle Gray - We definitely are going to hit up the pool as much as we can before summer is over!!! Oh WOW…these pictures are SO adorable…she is so cute!

  • Joa - Great newborn pics~ nieces are so special.
    ~I want to start bedtime early (for once) and take time cuddling and falling asleep with each one of my children (3), staring at their sleeping face and quieted still bodies. Summer is so fun – our family kind of rushes around, doing all KINDS of fun things, to enjoy it. I want to SLOW down and enjoy it before school starts- ugh!

  • Megan - Beautiful Baby, Beautiful Mommy, Beautiful Photos! I have a huge “to do” list to take care of before the summer ends – But let’s start with getting OUT of this Oklahoma heat for a weekend getaway to Seattle for a photog workshop!!!

  • Alina - She is absolutely gorgeous! Such a beautiful baby!
    I’d love to go camping this summer with friends and family before summer’s up!

  • Misty - I want to go to the pool before the summer is over lol and your niece is adorable!

  • Savannah - I would love to hold this little girl I’ve been carrying for the last nine months for the first time!

  • Nicole - Lovely pics! One thingI want to do this summer is potty train our two toddlers while on maternity leave. Too ambitious?!?!

  • kristi - I want to go rafting down a river.
    and she is adorable!

  • ria - Lay in a hammock and drink lemonade is one thing I would like to do before summer’s end. Love the baby pics. Isn’t being an aunt the greatest?

  • Christy - Cute hair bands!! One last thing I want to do is slip away for a weekend giveaway with my hubby.

  • Jen V. - She is so exceptionally beautiful! Gosh, those pictures are not helping my baby fever one bit! Thank you so much for sharing with us

  • Rena Frey - Baby P is soooooo precious! This summer I would like to make some homemade watermelon popsicles, but really being honest I’d just like to have this baby (who is five days overdue). Yikes!

  • Dena - Want to spend more time with my kids…….hard working full time :( Baby P is delicious and Ashley your pictures of her are precious!

  • bopha - those pictures are adorable and lesley looks great! P is lucky to have an auntie that loves her so much. So, what i want to do this summer (i noticed someone else does to) is head down to ikea and get some things to finish our craft/play/computer room.

  • Andrea - Before the summer is over I’d like to make strawberry jam! And send some to my little sis who lives in Charlotte with her hubby. You’re little niece is super cute. Love those pics!

  • julie - Go swimming! Need to get my kids back to the pool before summer is over.
    Your niece is adorable! I love the love you have for her. I was an aunt long before I was a mom. It’s neat to hear your experience the other way.

  • susie whyte - so sweet!! i just took pics of my 5 lb great nephew(i’m not even 30 yrs old yet and i’m a great aunt to 3 kids!! :))and i was wishing the whole time that someone else would take my camera so i could hold him. haha.

  • Stephanie - I want to get some more sun! Get to the beach!

  • Carrie Sowell - I can totally identify with how you feel! Seeing your sister hold her own daughter brings joy like no other (on earth). Then you would just like her to leave for a bit so you can spoil her rotten!! SCRUMPTOUS!!!

  • Madaline Meatte - i wish i was your sister so you could take pictures of me and my family. you are such an awesome photographer and it never hurts to have such a beautiful little girl to photograph!

  • Karen - your niece is a sweetie! there are loads of things I want to do before summer ends…go to the beach again, finish the final touches on my kiddos rooms, take a day trip with just my hubby and I, and wade in the river with my kiddos.

  • Amy - I love that she smiles, even if she doesn’t know it!
    I want to get my garage cleaned up! Probably won’t happen but that’s the goal!

  • tammy Kay - she is so beautiful. I love her eyes! ?

  • Nancy - Ha, I have the same studio set up at home. Love the picture of Sweet P in the bucket. Makes me want to have another! This summer my goal is to buy a new home (seriously, move out of the big city) and take your decorating ideas to make it a cozy, totally cool place to live. Wish I could have a big ‘ol tree too. You’re so lucky!

  • stacey B - Before the summer is out I would like to go on a road trip with some friends! AND win this giveaway. Those headbands are killer cute on your niece.

  • shelly@familyblt - I just love those pics! Love! such a sweet little baby p!
    by the end of summer, I’d like to make a rainbow cake! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Jeannette - Are you kidding? Crazy cute doesn’t even begin to describe how cute she is – what a blessing!! Baby fever here, Hello!! I was thinking I want to take the kids out to breakfast before summer is over and I think I owe them a trip to the aquarium too. I had better get moving since summer is over in a week!

  • Tysha - Before the summer ends I would really really like to take my husband on a date – a real date where the kids are left at home. We haven’t been on a real date for 6 months – since our second child was born. Your niece and your sis are very lucky to have an amazing aunt nearby who offers (begs?:) to babysit!

    Oh, and what a cutie pie!!!

  • Jessica Janes - I would love to take a small vacation!! My daughter’s first day of third grade today and we didn’t take any kind of vaca all summer! Bums me out.
    Cutie patootie!!!!!!

  • Jenny - Oh my, what a beautiful, precious little sprout. Your pictures are amazing.
    One thing I want to do before summer’s end….go to the beach just one more time (we are less than 2 hours away so hopefully this is attainable!)

  • Jodi - Oh those pictures are painful. They make my ovaries scream for more babies! She is simply beautiful. The little smile pix is my fave.

    I want to see a Baseball game!

  • Siew - How lucky is she to have such a talented auntie to take such great pictures of her. Those will be ones she will love forever.
    Before the summer is out I need to make some blackberry jam. They’re ripe for the picking today!

  • Suzy - one thing i want to do before the summer is over is get pregnant and try to produce a baby as cute as your neice!!!! i have a 4 yr old and a 2 yr old and i now i definately have baby fever after looking at these picture :)

  • Angie M - Make home made ice cream with the kids. Cute, Cute Baby.

  • Jill R - I want to introduce my boys to water balloons before the summer is over. but this heat is too much even for water balloons!

  • Pam - One thing I want to do is slip cover some pillows, I would say chair but that’s a long shot since I am an amatuer at this. Your niece is crazy CUTE! My womb is aching at the site of those pictures. I can just smell her or what mine used to smell like. :)

  • crystal - I’d love to be able to sleep in…just ONCE!!! It’s been a crazy, busy summer and I’m feeling sleep deprived!
    And Sweet P couldn’t be more adorable!!!

  • Ellen - I bet your sister is so grateful to have a photographer in the family to capture the moments of her daughter’s littleness.

  • gina f. - aahh.. that wrinkly newborn phase passes so quickly! Baby P is Precious!!! We would like to go out on the boat a couple more times before summer ends! Thanks!!

  • Shauna - That is one cute little girl, and so lucky to have an aunt who takes awesome pictures. Congrats to your sister!

  • Chelsea - i want to go camping before summer is over!

  • Crystal - I want to take my family and hike Multnomah Falls in Oregon.

    Paisley is so cute! Have you seen the new video on Youtube of the baby inside of a watermelon? Just take the melon and cut out a hole in one of the ends, clean the fruit out…You could get some really cute pictures of Paisley hanging out of it! :)

  • Jennie Frake - Ahhhhh! She is precious!

  • Kellie Ann - Yes, Your sister’s baby is SO CUTE. She is very beautiful for a newborn- she will be so gorgeous. Then again, your kids are gorgeous so it must run in family :) I hope my kids are just as cute someday!

    I hope to go on a hike with my husband and dogs before the summer is over.

  • Sydney - Sweet baby Paisley! I could eat her with a spoon. A precious gift from God she is!

    Before summer is over I want to have one day of relaxation. I have been going, going, going all summer long, and when school starts back things will be even more hectic!

  • Megan A - Take a day off and just relax at the beach! And she is sooo cute!

  • Courtney - I would like to take my kiddos to the beach before the summer ends.

  • Karen DeMamiel - I would love to take my kiddos to the beach one more time before summer ends!

  • Abby - Such great photos…such a beautiful baby!
    One thing I would like to do before summer is over is to finish my kitchen makeover project that has been started for quite some time!

  • Amanda - She truly is adorable!

    One thing I would like to do before the summer is over is to sucessfully plan and carry out my daughter’s one-year birthday party! (Happening this Saturday!)

  • Lia - That baby is delicious!!! Her skin looks so soft. Before the end of the summer I want to sit outside by my pool with a book and not move for like 5 hours.

  • Amanda - All I have my eyes set on is having a baby! I’m due in 3 wks. Your little niece is so precious! We decided not to find out if we are having a girl or boy so I’m excited. The thought of the possibility of a girl in cute ribbons and flowers and dresses makes me happy… and your pictures aren’t helping! :-)

  • Samantha - Oh. my. goodness. It makes me ready for #3 and my youngest is a couple months younger than B! :) And I am definitely looking forward to hosting a “Make-a-Blanket Weekend” for Project Linus this coming weekend! Can. not. wait!

  • Danielle - Hmm…one thing to do before summer is over. I want to finish a book series that I have been reading by Francine Rivers.

  • Leah Zion - my oldest is starting school again in a WEEK :(. I want to take him bowling and to play miniature golf before he goes back!

  • Julie B. - She is adorable! I’d like to go back to our local farm and pick rasberries. They were all gone by the time we got there earlier this spring!

  • Hayley - I’d love to make homemade ice cream!
    Adorable baby photos – my sweetie is 4 months this week.

  • Stoich91 - See my plants live to the start of winter. And also, did I mention what insane levels of cuteness are protruding from that baby? Whoa, Imma gonna havta eat some brownies now…you know, to complement the sweetness! :) LOL Great pix, too!

  • Becky - She is precious!
    1 last thing I’ve been dying to do before the summer comes to a close is going to my old “home away from home” – Glacier National Park… I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but I sure hope so!

  • Jamie - I want to make homemade ice cream before summer is over. The summer always flies by way too quickly. I love the pics of Sweet P, the one right below the “I love you” collage is PRECIOUS!

  • Desiree - She IS beautiful! Someday these kids will know how blessed they are to have Daddy’s that, not only stick around, but who love them deeply and take care of them. In our world today, not everyone is so blessed.

    One thing I want to do before the summer ends is take my daughter and my nephew on a play date to the park together. It sounds simple, but it just hasn’t happened yet.

  • Mary - What a BEAUTIFUL baby niece. Gorgeous little girl! :) And what a loving mama and aunt she has! <3 love them!

    Before the summer is over we're hoping to do a road trip from Las Vegas to Yellowstone! <3

  • Sarah - One thing I’d like to do before the summer is over is go to New Mexico to camp with my little family. I think it’s gonna happen, so I’m pretty stoked.

    When you said you cried processing the pictures, i felt only slightly better, cause i definitely got teary eyed looking at the pictures and reading through the post. But you are her sister, and I’m just a stranger who follows your blog, so it’s a bit silly for me to get teary eyed.

    She’s beautiful!!!

  • Erica - Before this summer is over I will give birth to twin girls!!!

  • ShelbyA - I want to wake my kids up in the middle of the night to watch the lightning. I love all of your pictures–you should tag them all “how to make someone baby-hungry”.

  • lisa - She is so adorable!! Before summer is over I want to take my kids to the beach for the first time!

  • margaret - I want to head to the beach without the kids and actually sit, lay, nap, read and rest! And your new little niece is so precious, such beautiful pictures! Our family welcomed our first little niece (amongst many, many boys) just last week, we’re all just tickled pink!!

  • Sarah - I would like to get my kids to behave and take pictures of all three of them, haven’t done that since we brought number 3 home… 6 months ago!

  • robyn - great headbands, adorable baby :) before the summer is over, i would love to take my kids for a canoe ride on the lake.

  • Schaneon - She’s such a little doll, I really miss that age.
    I want to go to Disney before the summer is over, which I’m doing in a few weeks! Woohoo!

  • amber - Oh my goodness. I love baby eyes, how they stare at you. I love her wrinkly little skin. I love that she’s being called sweet P (we have a sweet P too- Parker- & it seems like yesterday she was that teeny). And, I’m getting my 1st nephew from my little sister TODAY! I can hardly wait to lay eyes on him…until then, I’ll refocus & say: I want/am going to the beach before the summer is over.

    These are dangerous pictures…. :)crazy what a precious new baby can do to a mama.

  • Abby - So tell me, would you like to babysit your beautiful new niece? Understood, however. My sister is due Aug. 24 with her daughter, and I can’t wait!

    Before the summer is over I plan to take lots of new photos of the new baby in my family! This post is great inspiration.

  • Jill - Oh she’s SO cute!
    And so is the Silly Me Baby stuff!
    I’m going to soak up my kindergartener-to-be as much as I can before the summer is over…it seems like she was the size of that baby just DAYS ago!

  • Tracy - I want to go to the beach with my whole family and get icecream!! Your niece is beautiful!!

  • Jill E - its kinda lame, but i work full time and live in flordia so summer is not the same as a kid in the northeast nonetheless i would like to make progress into working part time and doing photography part time

  • heidi - i want to buy a fancy trailer and go camping one last time this summer…
    and your baby neice is dariling! love love love the pics you took of her.

  • Courtney Connelly - Paisley is so sweet! Lesley and Eric…enjoy every moment with her and I hope to see her very soon!!!

  • Laura - I want to have a backyard camp out with the family on the last night of summer!

  • julie - I am looking forward to my baby boy’s first birthday party at the end of summer. Baby girl is too cute, my cousin is due with her Paizlee any day now.

  • Courtney Connelly - Ash,
    Being an aunt does truly capture your heart in a very intense way, so special!
    Love ya,

  • Holly T - I want to go back to Texas, when school starts I might not be able to see everyone till Christmas.

  • Eva's Mama - Sweet P is such a perfect nickname. Your niece is incredible! And my one thing I’d like to do before summer is over? Get pregnant with #3 :)

  • Leanne - I want to go camping before the summer is over! We still haven’t had the chance! That baby is seriously gorgeous, and makes me hope that my next one is a girl!

  • Katie M - Amazing pics…as usual! Aaahh…missing that newborn stage. One thing I would love to do before summer is take a VACATION! (But i don’t think that will be happening) :) Thanks Ashley!

  • Trudy - Oh yeah that baby is cute and well loved! She has her Daddy’s eyes. I want to finish my book before the end of Summer.

  • Sophie Lee - BROODY ALERT!!! Thanks for sharing those gorgeous pictures, what a stunning little baby!

    Before the summer is over, I intend to take my husband and little girl camping, as she has never been (she’s 1!) and do absolutely nothing but drink in the countryside around me, and rest in the presence of those dearest to me! x

  • Susan Holmberg - I just love these pictures! It’s winter here… but one thing I want to do before winter is over is finish making my daughter a new quilt.

  • Kristin Eldridge - So Precious.

  • Amber Nicole - Wow your niece makes me want another baby. And a cute headband to put on her!
    After reading your blog I really just want to take about a thousand pictures of my son enjoying his first summer with his mommy!

  • Jodi - Um, such cuteness, and those eyelashes already!

    I would like to finish sew a bonnet for my baby girl before summer ends!

  • Steph - That is the cutest baby! So sweet. I want to take some time off this summer which doesn’t look like it is going to happen!

  • Jamie - Cute! I want to take my girls to the zoo… I don’t know about before summer is over, but definitely before it gets too cold out here in Colorado!

  • sarah - I want to finish every project I’ve started this summer :) Love your site!

  • Mandy Jones - Your niece is absolutely precious! These photos brought tears to my eyes. There is nothing more preciousand unspoiled than a brand new baby.

    My personal goal to be met before the summer is over (which is sadly only a couple of weeks from now for me), is to actually learn how to use the sewing machine my husband bought for me three years ago. I am so ready to get crafting! :0)

  • Stefanie - I want to take my kids to the park for pics with my new lens!!

    That is one beautiful baby!! My sister recently decided that she doesn’t want to have kids. It was so hurtful that I cried (which she didn’t understand). I pray that she changes her mind. Have fun!

  • Nicola - take a NAP!!!!

  • Kendall - She is beautiful! I love being an aunt, too! And, before the summer is over I would like to start exercising again, to counteract the 300 pounds of frozen yogurt I’ve probably eaten! (Who am I kidding?)

  • Jess - Oh, she is a little doll!!! Ok, so i live in New Zealand, and it is WINTER here right now!!! Before the end of winter i want to have finished the baby quilt i have on the go!

  • Kristin - We need to go camping! Baby is so sweet. :)

  • michelle - Such a sweet heart. . .makes me so excited for my little girl on the way! Before the summer is over I want to take on some major organizational projects in my kitchen!

  • Jen - Goodness, I was almost in tears just looking at her picture! What a cutie! (Don’t tell my hubby but that’s making me want another…) I would really like to take my three boys to the zoo!

  • Kristi - Your niece is simply beautiful! One thing I can’t wait to do before the summer is out is order Photoshop Elements so that I can begin learning how to use it! I love taking pictures and have recently taken a class and will be taking another in Sept. I enjoy reading your blog and looking through your photos! Very inspirational! Thanks!

  • Laurie - What a little cutie! The pictures are adorable Ashley. :) We really want to go to a rodeo before the summer is over. Only a couple more weeks to squeeze it in.

  • Jenn - On our summer to-do list… we still have to go horseback riding… it’s like record heat here in Florida and I am hoping we can push this to a fall break item! LOVE the baby pics… my own sister is about 30 days from her first due date… that means I am 30 days away from my first niece on my side!!! Can not wait to be Auntie Jenn!

  • Rachel W. - Oh my goodness, you are a wonderful photographer. I love little Paisley and can’t wait to meet her. She is such a doll!

  • Brooke - There must be a problem if your pictures made me SAPPY. Oh goodness, those might be my favorite newborn pictures ever. And the duvet. Really? I love it. It looks like pottery barn SERAFINA fabric, but I know it’s not. I adore it. You probably don’t feel like answering, but should you want to, I would love to know.
    Hope you are having a great week.

  • Shea - Oh you so didn’t even have to tell me to comment on how precious and adorable your niece is. Wow! I’m about a month away from having my second daughter and these photos just break me up inside. So precious!
    So, I guess the one last thing I would like to do before summer is over is have a healthy natural birth for our second daughter.

  • Megan - I would love to finish my diy sanding/painting outdoor shelf project before the summer is over and I start back to work… don’t know if it will happen though! your niece is precious! congrats :)

  • Jamie - Yes, she is BEYOND crazy cute and making me want another little one!!! Before the summer ends I would like to enroll in a photography class at the local community college. I would really love to take your class Ashley… but I live in Maryland : (

  • Erin Kirby - i would LOVE to go camping!! I miss it.

    And she is SUCH a beautiful baby!!

  • MGF - OMG, I shot a newborn last week and it was so much fun. I ran home and asked for another child. I am sure that my hubby has better sense than I. He of course said no way

  • emily - eat more popsicles!

  • Holly R. - Since I have been stuck inside with this pregnancy for most of the summer all I’m dreaming about (aside from having our little girl HERE and not wreaking havoc on my insides) is to put my feet in cool running water. I haven’t had major food cravings during my pregnancy but I have been craving tactile experiences, and driving the 2.5 hours to the nearest creek so I can dip in my bare feet in fresh water is all I can think about!

  • Kember - your niece is super precious!

  • Delecta Rollins - First things first…that Sweet P is ADORABLE! It makes me miss my sisters so much when I read about yours. Your relationship is so special!

    Before the summer is over – want to:
    (1) Win a giveaway!

  • kribss - go to ikea. and i think your sister should let you babysit : )

  • Lacey McKay - She is precious! And the images you captured of her are amazing. My favorite are the ones in black and white of her parents just admiring her.

    I think we have done a pretty good job of soaking up every bit of summer as we can this year, but before summer officially ends, I would like to take an inter tube ride with Abbey behind a ski boat! I should be able to check that off the list sometime next week at Grand Lake!

  • Rachel - She is gorgeous and I love her sweet name! One thing I will do before summer, is enjoy one last camping trip with my family!!

  • Janica - So many sweet smiles for a TINY little sweetheart! She’s is too scrumptious! I love the doily on her back Ashley:) And the thing I want to do before summer is over= take advantage of the local ZOO! “We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo… how about you?”

  • Ali - Such an adorable baby!! I want to squeeze her (but not too tight, ha ha).
    Before the summer is over, I desperately want to take a road trip with my family. With work, swimming lessons, sister’s wedding etc, it may be tough. Hopefully we can make it happen :)

  • Jaclyn - Your niece is adorable-beautiful pictures! One thing I definitely want to do before summer is over is take the kids to the water park.

  • Sarah - What a DOLL! She is so tiny. I barely remember mine that little! I would love to make an eventful weekend to remember with family yet this summer. To the Dells in WI!

  • Joy Andrews - Ashley-by the end of the summer I want to finish redoing my older boys’ room-I am makin’ it a tween room ooooohhhh!
    Lesley-babies…hmmm…I have 4 although they are not babies anymore…10…9…2…and 14 mos…its ok to jus stare at them…watch them breathe…watch them make lil faces as they sleep…enjoy it…it goes by waaaay to quick…take advantage of your sister’s wonderful God-given talent and let her take lots of pics…

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh ~ I am utterly and completely melted.

    I want to go for ice cream just one more time!

  • giozi - could be sweeter?? impossible. Adorable.

  • Great Aunt Foo Foo - Dear Ashley: I’m sorry I’m just now gotten around to your wonderful website, but my uncle became critically ill and Mother had to be organized for a trip to Lawton. So, we’ve been all up in the air. Your pictures are priceless!!! I love every single one of them. I think the one with that beautiful headband is my favorite, or maybe the ones she’s awake in. She’s beautiful in all of them. Shouldn’t you arrange to have YOUR picture made with your brand-new niece? You could get a pretty frame and put it up with her four cousins’ pictures. I got a kick out of reading your posts, too. It sure sounds like the “Aunt Bug” took a giant bite out of you! In fact, I’d say you were a terminal case, but don’t worry…there’s no danger of a cure in sight! Isn’t it fun being goofy?! Enjoy! I know I sure do/did.

  • Ernie Treu - Before the summer is over I’d like to have a backyard water park day with my boys, ages 2 and 1!

  • ashley gee - I would love to get out of the desert heat before the summer is over… maybe go to europe. That’s just something I “want” to do. Your niece is such a cutie pie. I love her smile. xoxo.

  • Lisa - Before summer ends I just want many days to laugh, play, read, romp and have revery with my four (three boys and a girl!). And your niece is just precious. My daughter is 6 and my heart skips a beat as I remember her baby smile. thank you

  • Anna - Hi Ashley!
    Over here in Holland, the great heat has already passed and we’re up to some more garden parties in august. A lot of friends are coming over in two weeks time, and I want to make that night a special one – a fire in the garden, some lovely (and surprising) fresh salads (with lots of fresh herbs), maybe a game during the night, a ‘morrocan corner’ (let’s see how to realize that!)- and we’ll of course enjoy to show off our 10 months old daugther Lena as well! I adore your niece, actually I got quite emotional when I saw the pictures from the hospital (reminded mye of my own labor). The pictures are marvelous. when she smiles… heartbreak!
    Thanks for your blog!

  • Kristen - Oh my. That wrinkly skin kills me. She is soo sweet! I would love to hit up a few splash parks…

  • Candy Foster - Wash and wax the truck and car by hand!

    PS. Yep, she is very cute!

  • amy - what a gorgeous little peanut!!! i remember that feeling when my nieces were born…

  • Genevieve - Newborns are so sweet, and this little one is no exception! Lovely shots, just precious :)

    Before the summer is over I’d like to go swimming a few more times, I’ve only gone once but it was so nice!

  • rachel - hoping to get to the beach!! the pics are AMAZING!!!!!

  • Daniela - oh, what wonderful pictures!!! Makes me “babyhungry” ;-))))
    But my husband says, 4 are enough!!!! I like your blog. Beautiful photos!!!
    Greetings from switzerland, Daniela

  • Lisa Johnson - just beautiful. Newborn pictures get to me! :) She is a little beauty.
    What a want to do is see my husband! He’s been traveling and he gets home tomorrow and I can’t wait! I’m surprising him with a night to ourself without kids.

  • leslie@jarofvintagebuttons - I’ve been reading your blog for a long time ever since I was pregnant and looking for inspiration for my daughter’s bedroom and I came across your blog, thanks for your amazing inspiration :)

    Love these headbands and love your niece! What an absolute doll! I have a niece and feel the same way about her. My niece and my daughter are also “sister cousins” at 21 months apart.

    Anyway, before the end of summer (actually this weekend) I am going to hit the Route 127 World’s Longest Yard Sale from Covington, KY and head south until we get too tired, hot, or run out of money, whichever comes first!

  • Ryan - You always know how to make me smile Ashley! Your sense of humor and huge heart always add a little cheer to my day.

    Congrats again on the new baby. How cute is she? Seriously.

  • Jen - i don’t even know what to say…those pics are SO sweet. SOOOOOOOO sweet. i love when she wrinkles her TINY little forehead and that one near the end with her eyes closed but she’s smiling. PRECIOUS!

    I’d love to win the giveaway but I really just had to comment to sing precious baby praises about your neice!

  • Carol V. - I want to have family and new grandbaby photos taken here at our house. This will be quite the task as we have 5 children, 3 of which are grown and moved out so getting everyones schedules together will be fun!

  • Casie B. - I really want to have a full on craft day before summer is over, I have so many things I want to make! It’s hard to sit at work and dream about crafting…

  • MelissaM - First of all, baby P is absolutely beautiful, just like her mommy & auntie! Before summer is over, I want to take really great pics of my newborn & two year old. I love all the inspiration you give for amazing photos!

  • Carlina - First off I’m due in November and the pix of your niece made me tear up. Yes I’m very emotional lately. I hope my little girl is as adorable as her.

    My one thing I’d love to do before summer is over is take a long weekend in Vermont with my hubbie and our dogs. Basically a baby-moon.

    Tell me did you use your 50mm lens for these shots? LUV Them.

  • Lisa Keen - She is so cute!! Love the pics! I want to do lots more swimming with the girls before summer is over!

  • Jen - I’m making your bleached tshirts today!! I’m so excited. Your newborn photography is beautiful!!!! My personal favorite is the one where she is snuggled up on a quilt and asleep but smiling. Melts me.

  • Danielle - I want to go to a state fair before the summer is over! And I love the pictures, makes me want a little girl so bad!

  • Ranee - Absolutely adorable! make a vinyl chalkboard for my fridge from your DIY week!

  • Callie B - I wish I were your sister so I could have such amazing photos taken of my kids this often! Simply beautiful!!!

    I still want to make homemade ice cream! Yum!

  • Krista H - So cute! One thing I want to do before summer is over is take my two kiddos to the fountains at the park. Gotta beat the heat somehow…..fountains seem like a fun way to do it:)

  • Lynnette - That is a really sweet baby! I have niece #3 arriving in a couple of weeks. I am super aunto to all my nieces and nephew. Can’t get enough of those wonderfully fun and funny kiddos. Before summer ends, I need to finish handquilting my new niece’s baby quilt (It must have been the summer heat that led me to volunteer for that!) and start digital scrapbooking for real this time.

  • Kate - Hold my daughter tomorrow for the first time!!

  • Stephanie - Beautiful Pictures of a Beautiful baby. I can see why you love her so much.

  • Amber - Your niece makes me want another baby!
    Before summer ends, I would love to go on a real date with a handsome man. I better hurry though, there isn’t much time left. :)

  • Julie - I just stumbled onto your website today and it’s lovely! I also spent hours looking at Silly Me Baby headbands! I’m in love! We are expecting our 1st baby in October (yippie!!!) and I would love to see her in one of these! Your sister’s baby is absolutely beautiful! SO- what I want to get done before summer is (start) finish the baby nursery. I live in Houston and it’s too hot to be outside so it’s a perfect time to get the nursery ready! Thanks for the chance to win!

  • shelby - before the end of summer I want to go back to the beach!

    oh and Paisley is SO cute…makes me ache to have another baby girl!

  • Mariana d'Eramo - First of all, congratulations aunty! She’s absolutely.adorable! I found you blog a couple of weeks ago and haven’t been able to stop reading it and I just fell in love with your photos!
    Anyway, it’s winter in Argentina so before your summer is over I hope my daughter calls me mum for the first time, she’s my first and she’s 8 months old.
    Thank you for sharing such inspiring bits of your life.
    With love, a reader from Argentina.

  • Jane - Your niece is truly an adorable baby. I see hundreds and hundreds of newborns every year and, believe me, although they are all beautiful in their own way, not all of them a super cute. And your niece definitely meets the super cute criteria. :)

  • jessica - Paisley is absolutely precious!!! Isn’t being an Aunt amazing!? I think so too :)

    [SIGH.] I would like to get a few more crafting projects in before summer is over. Oh, ya – and to finish my book, Crazy Love by Francis Chan!

    Summer, please don’t go!!

  • evalina miller - go on a picnic.

    very cute baby and very good pictures.


  • monique - your niece is adorable – i love how she is smiling dreaming of more milk! I hope to teach my daughter how to ride a bike before the summer ends. thanks for your daily inspiration.

  • Tara S. - I want to make a watermelon margarita and enjoy it on a warm summer night as the sun is setting.

  • Karen - What a beautiful beautiful child of God… She is also so blessed to have an auntie that takes such great photos of her.. and I’m sure many more to come! 😉

  • Teresa - Summer for me ends in a week and a half…I would like to finish unpacking boxes from our move, but it is websites like yours that keep me from doing it. Not complaining!!

  • christen krumm - before summer is over i would like to do a fun photo shoot with my baby girl.

    and yes, miss p is beautiful!!


  • Kelly Beane - I have to do a fun summer shoot with my children before it’s all over. Yeah, we’ve gotten some great shots of our summer adventures, but as a professional photographer, somehow I’ve failed of doing an actual summer session of my kids… dang all those weddings. Anyway, I’ve got two weeks… better get to work. :) And Baby P is pure sweetness! In the next 6 months we will get 3 new nieces/nephews :) (and my brother just had one in June). Yay for new family members!

  • Jennifer - First of all the baby is beautiful- what precious baby smiles like that this early??? Also- been looking at photos and Firecracker is a clone of her beautiful mommy. Now down to the nitty gritty- the thing I want to do this summer is to end it with a BANG! I am hosting a 2nd annual Evan Bradford Wade Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit the March of Dimes. We set a modest goal of $10,000. If we reach it our little town will have surpassed all others in the East Texas district (larger ones included) to raise the most money for such a great cause. I can’t think of much more to do to honor the memory of a precious soul who changed my life in such a short 7 months on earth.

  • Tina - “Sister”-your baby is SUPER CRAZY BEAUTIFUL! Now I’m said because my first baby starts kindergarten this year *sigh* I want a baby.

    What do I want to do before summer is over…throw a smashing party for my almost 4 year old, go camping, travel to tx and have some “me” time…I’m pretty sure only 1 of those things is actually going to happen…hehe :)

  • Megan - She is beautiful and makes me want another. Before summer is over I want to hike to Mohawk Lakes near where I live.

  • Sara - Adorable baby! Love the pictures. Last thing I want to do before summer is over is take the kids tubing. They are doing their last all night fish outing tonight.

  • Brooke - One thing I hope that we get to do before the summer is over is take Daycen to the beach. He’s always been a fan of pools & such, but has never felt the sand between his little toes. So, to see him experience that would be breathtaking.

    Your niece is adorable! Makes me wish November was here quicker so I could meet my little princess. :)

  • Angela - I want to have a family “beach” day (we have our own version up there!) once we get home!

  • mary - I have to say that I have had a fulfilling summer already! Maybe the lake one more time. Your niece is adorable!!!!! I love how the first couple of weeks, babies change so fast!

  • Amanda Ciskowski Madl - Ashley – these are beautiful pictures! The baby is so precious. I can’t believe that your sister is a mom either! Please give her my best. That baby is certainly blessed to have such a close and loving family. :)

  • Wendi - Did you help your sister decorate her baby girls room? It looks adorable! I’m sure all your followers would love to get a better look!

    Oh and thanks for inspiring us!

  • jessica h - PRECIOUS! great job capturing sweet P, auntie!

So as promised, I have a few details of the ‘how’ behind some of the aspects of our book party….

1. The invitations: I used one of my favorite Design Aglow templates for the base design (adding the Joyful Life Library logo). The invitations included a main invite page, a letter to parents explaining the ‘why’ behind the party, and a book plate for each child to include on the inside cover of their donated book. I wrapped the three pieces together with a strip of scrapbooking paper and sealed it with some masking tape. You can find colored masking tape on etsy…look for ‘japanese masking tape’.

2. The movie screen: We made this up as we went. Originally we borrowed a basic projector screen, but it just wasn’t big enough. We needed it to be cheap, so this is v1.o our screen. I bought two paint drop cloths for $5.00each from Walmart. We layered those drop clothes and stapled them to two 2x4x12 boards. We then stood the boards on one end and used tent spikes and rope to secure it. Chris tied some slip knots and the stakes were hammered into the ground – the boards were not in the ground at all. Being married to an Eagle Scout comes in handy when you need a good knot! It wasn’t windy, so that saved us from a lot of headache. We did grab some chopsticks and poke holes all over it to help a bit.

Our next version is going to be with cloth and nicely cut holes to help with wind.

3. The food: Popcorn in cute boxes from Hobby Lobby.

4. The bugs: My dad has a fogging machine, so we fogged the whole area several times before the event started. I think a lot of the guests still used bug spray and there were still some bugs.

5. Book reading: We read books for a little over 30 minutes. Chris read some and a few of our guests read some as well. 30 minutes was too long, I think the kids got a little restless…at least a lot of the boys did!

6. The movie: A classic 3o minute Cat & The Hat

7. The projector: We borrowed it.

I think that sums up most of it. It was pretty simple and required very little planning. Hopefully everyone had a good time.

And just because….my niece. Sweetness.

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  • Stacey - This is so great. My mom has always wanted to do something very similar at our farm in Kentucky and that screen seems like a snap to pull together. I’ll have to let her know and maybe we can get that done before the summer is over.

    AND I love the idea of doing a book drive like this… My friend works at Children’s Hospital and they can always use books and toys for the kids there. Always. Great job!

  • annie - So sweet- I just love how you take care of all the little details – I am very envious. It all turned out so well AND for such a wonderful cause. Wonderful!

  • giozi - You did a really good job, wow.
    And yes your niece is sweet

  • Shannon Phillips - I love this so much! We are already dreaming up a outdoor movie party to have out at our in-laws house when fall hits and the weather cools down a bit (I mean…a freaking lot!) 😉 Thanks for the amazing idea and I am so inspired by the way you made it for a great cause.

  • Cecilia - The Google gods must have heard you. I stumbled across your wonderful blog site just surfing Google, so it seems to be fixed. Truly enjoyed everything. You really are resourceful. Aren’t imagination and inventiveness just the best things in the whole world? :) Carry on Girl! Cece

  • the inadvertent farmer - We have looked into purchasing a projector for outdoor movies but they are all quite expensive…I need find someone that I can borrow from.

    You did an awesome job, thanks for the tips! Kim

  • Shannon - How fun! I love how you took extra details to make it special! I have gotten a lot of ideas for an upcoming girls night IN shindig I am hosting. I can’t wait to put some of these fun things to good use!

    And now I am wishing for a field!

  • lifeologia - I love this movie night and ooohhhh that last picture – what a bundle of LOVE.

  • Casey - I had to link this story on my blog. The kindness in your heart to always do for others is nothing short of amazing. I think you are a incredible woman and mother. How awesome would this world be if we were all half as great as you!


  • Anna - This is just amazing! You did such a beautiful job and everyone is better for it! Thank you for sharing.

  • teaworthy - I have wanted to do this for years. I LOVE IT! So happy to have discovered your blog.

  • Books and a Movie Party : Multiply Delicious- All About the Kids - […] savour the last nights of summer, I’m loving this amazing and thoughful outdoor movie party idea that Ashley Ann and family of Ashley Ann Photography hosted recently at their Oklahoma […]

  • Cheryl - Can you tell me what kind of projector was used? And also…what about sound..how did you work that?

  • 12 Things I Love… « Live Freely - […] 9. This movie night. So fun! […]

  • Muna - wow! this is such a great educational yet fun party theme for kids. i would love to have this for my own party too! hehe :)

  • Last Day of Summer! | feathersofinspiration.com - […] do if I live in a warm country one day! They celebrated the last day of summer with this fantastic outdoor movie party! And not only was it a fun night, they also connected it with charity giving of books for children! […]

  • Jamie - i realize this was about a year ago, but…
    u mentioned u’d use ‘cloth and nicely cut holes for the wind’…do you have any more details to that? or any other suggestions to add?
    …we’re attempting an outdoor movie this weekend, and would welcome ANY helpful suggestions ~ thanks so much for the great ideas!!!

  • Jamie - i realize this was about a year ago, but…
    u mentioned u’d use ‘cloth and nicely cut holes for the wind’…do you have any more details to that? or any other suggestions to add?
    …we’re attempting an outdoor movie this weekend, and would welcome ANY helpful suggestions ~ thanks so much for the great ideas!!!

  • katie - love the movie night idea!! i think we are going to have a lot of wind, do you think the drop cloth way will hold up? and as far as cutting holes how big should they be? look forward to hearing from you.
    thanks so much!

  • To DIY For: Outdoor Movie Theater @ That Blogger Gurl - […] drive-in movies. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this a billion times already. So when I saw a post about an outdoor movie party, I instantly fell in love. The idea of watching a movie in the park or in a backyard just sounds […]

  • Danae - Hey there, I own a cafe and was looking for cheap ways to do a projector screen so we could have outdoor movie nights. How did your screen turn out? I was reluctant to buy anything just yet because I was told using simple sheets would not work. I would love details about your projector screen and how the picture turned out.

  • My Perfect Summer Party | Home and Heart DIY - […] 9. Movie Screen  […]

  • Stef - Can you give a few more details on how you built the screen? I’m planning on doing some visual art at a 5-day outdoor festival; I have found a white polyester fabric in a 12′ x 9′ size, but am worried about cutting wind holes, in case it tears up. Also, how were you able to stand the screen up without driving the wood into the ground? Just by staking the ropes that were tied to the top? Do you think that’d be stable enough to stand for a few days? Sorry for all the questions….just been searching the web a lot for easy solutions and this seems to be the best choice so far 😉

Last year I had some girl friends over for a Little Dresses for Africa party. That party was one of the highlights of 2009 for me. It was so fun to hang out with close friends and do something both creative and meaningful. It was a great day. I knew this year I wanted to do something similar. I thought about another Little Dresses party, but I also wanted to do something with the boys this year. A little while back I was reading Heather’s blog Blessed Little Nest and came to the page about her precious son Samuel. Samuel lived 6 weeks on this earth. To celebrate Samuel and honor him, his family began The Joyful Life Library. The Joyful Life Library has been established at the hospital that cared for Samuel. The goal of library is to make sure that all the children and their families have access to books during their stay at the hospital…and even a brand new book to take home.

My boys love to read. As a mom I know the joy that reading brings to my kids. Hospital stays are rough and the simple act of reading a new book can bring so much joy to a child and a parent. After reading Heather’s blog I thought my boys could get really excited about having a party to collect books for children in the hospital. So that is what we did.

We sent invitations to some of the older boys close friends. The party included a movie outside so the time was pretty late….too late to invite our younger kids’ friends. It was a little late for everyone, but we encouraged the kids to come in their pjs and bring a blanket.

The kids got bookplates with their invitations. The bookplates were signed and placed in the donated books.

Our evening included reading books and watching The Cat & The Hat.

Disclaimer: There are laws concerning showing movies…there is a difference in public and private viewing. You will want to read on that before you show a movie to a large group. You can do a basic search on google for more info.

Cute girls ready for a movie. I kept asking them if they wanted to take off their fleece robes since it was 90+ outside. Fashion before comfort.

Checking out all the books that were donated. I really love that this little guy’s book is upside down.

We had a bag with extra bookplates in case guests brought more than one book to donate.

A few bedtime stories before it got dark enough for the movie.

The sword made more than one appearance. During the movie I saw it on the screen…he figured out how to block the projector with it.

It was a good, hot, Oklahoma night. There are things I’ll change next time, but for a first run I think & hope everyone had a great time. I’ll post some details on the “how” of everything tomorrow. Sometimes I think we assume that doing charitable acts requires great personal sacrifice or is just hard. Really I think it can be as simple as knowing what you enjoy and using those things to benefit others. Having a bunch of friends over to eat popcorn and watch a movie in our field was far from a personal sacrifice or some kind of big great deed – it was a fun night with friends.

When the idea first popped in my non-stop brain I ran it by a few friends. I even picked the date based on when they could come, just to be sure someone would be there other than just my family. I have such great supportive friends. I am thankful for girlfriends that encourage me in my random ideas and show up with their families to support mine. I want my kids to grow up with it being second nature to combine what they love with ways to help others, but it starts with me being intentional to demonstrate it…and having supportive friends makes that possible.

So THANK YOU to those of you that came, endured a little too many bedtime stories, and donated books. We are so grateful.

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  • Maike - what a lovely idea! It looks great, so I would not change anything at all…. except inviting me?

  • amanda torres - I love everything about this! Fabulous idea!!!

  • christina larsen - What a great idea. I have a friend who’s little boy has been in and out of the hospital with brain cancer for the past few months. That’s a great way to get kids involved. :)

  • colleen - okay! I am inspired! I have a friend who is a neuro-surgeon at the children’s hospital here in Birmingham, AL. Think i will give him a call and ask about donating books for some of the waiting/children’s areas there! Would love to know how you went about picking a hospital, getting permission, etc. Thanks Ashley Ann, you have encouraged me to try something like this with my big (8 & 10) kids!

  • Jeannette Swan - Ashley – I hope you know how much we appreciate you and all that you inspire in us!! I am blessed by your willingness to allow God to use you to greatly enrich the lives of so many people! Keep the ideas coming since I don’t have original ones of my own!

  • Chrissy - I love this idea… we had a movie in our backyard a couple of weeks ago. I wish we would have done something for others too! I think we will have to do this again:)
    Thanks for your heart for others… it’s contagious!

  • Mandi Smith - So awesome Ashley! I love all the ideas that you come up with and how creative you are to show Christ’s love to people around the world!

  • Emily Lusk - You should send this idea in to Family Fun magazine!! Or you should put all your ideas together in a fun book! I know I would go out and buy it!! I guess I am going to have to print off all these fun ideas you have so that I can remember them for when my kids get a little older!! What a great idea and looks like the kids had fun!

  • Anna Joy - That is such a great idea!! That is something the kiddos will never forget…getting to give something away that they love to someone who needs it and then getting the chance to hang out with friends and watch a movie outside! you’re such a genius! :)

  • Evie - That may be the cutest thing ever! Working in a hospital I know how much that would mean to family and patients… and staff that are taking care of the patients!! LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea… thank you for sharing!

  • Nicole - another wonderful idea!!

  • andy - what a great idea
    love it

  • megan - This is an amazing idea. Not only the charity, but the movie night as well. What a fun way to get people involved and wanting to give! And your words on how tough hospital stays are totally struck a chord with me. It is so hard, and I know from experience how just one nice thing that someone does for you or your child when you’re in there makes such a difference. It really does.

    I am completely inspired by your idea and I am ready to start planning my own party asap! Thank you for being so generous and inspiring!

  • Abby - Ashley, this is fantastic! What a fun way to give something back and get kids involved. Really lovely.

  • laura - there’s evidence of grace in your life…i just love it! i am INSPIRED….

  • giozi - Wonderful idea. I only can say that God is big and he put you in the way that a lot of people as face to face as online. I feel love in your pictures, in this party.

  • Yanet - What a cool idea! Ilove how you incorporate your entire family in your good deeds and make it so super fun for everyone. I wanna be like you when I grow up!

  • ~abi~ - i am always impressed by your ideas–but especially the ones that help others and teach your kids to help, too! :)

  • Cate O'Malley - Sounds like a wonderful night! We have a Back to School Rainbow Cake party in a few weeks that I want to combine with a little bit of charitable giving; I’m thinking either PJs to go to the pajama program or books. It really does take so little to do so much. Wonderful example, Ashley!

  • patti - so awesome! thanks for sharing!!

  • Heather - the party looks like such fun! we are truly so grateful that you felt a connection to our project and used it as a way to help teach kids about helping others. those books are going to be loved by so many kids and their parents. thank you! thank you! thank you!

  • Amanda - I LOVE LOVE LOVE this! How fun! I might even think about doing something like this as well! I love what you said at the end about how it all begins with you being intentional about doing things for other people and setting that example for your kids. It’s so true. Seeing the example by someone they love and respect is probably one of the best ways children learn!

  • Donna - I LOVE this idea! We have been hosting backyard movies every summer for 4 years and we have guests bring pantry items for a local food bank. For every item they bring, they get a raffle ticket to win giant boxed candy to eat during the movie. I linked your post to my blog.

  • tamara - wonderful idea!!!!!!!!!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh Ashley, what a beautiful idea! Really sweet. Great job.

  • Kristy C - What a great idea! I definitely would have been there to support such an amazing cause that would have been close to my own heart. Thank you for being such a giving person.

  • Liene - What a great idea! Very fun pictures! And I love the cat in the hat although I am from Holland and I am not brought up with books from Dr. Seuss. My boys have books from Dr. Seuss in Dutch and English. Great pleasure to read them in both languages!

  • the inadvertent farmer - We have seen this done by our neighbors at our cabin and would love to try the whole movie sheet thing…can’t wait for details.

    Thanks for being an intentional person…if we are purposeful in how we live our lives we can indeed make a difference in this world. Kim

  • Brooke - Really, really fun ideas. Who doesn’t love an outdoor movie, even if it’s super hot? I think that is a wonderful idea to do something great. Way to go :)

  • sandi - What an awesome idea! Love it!

  • meg duerksen - this rocks.
    we made our invites today…..noe we have to figure out the details :)

  • candace - as a teacher and wife of children’s hospital employee – i am absolutely in LOVE with this idea. trying to find a way to do this here!

  • Cassandra Marie - How wonderful is this?! Such a good idea…I’m sure the kids loved it 😀

    Well, I wanted to stop by and let you know that I’m hosting a really great giveaway on my page, just in case you wanted to enter!



  • Jenn - What a wonderful party!! I love the movie night idea!! hm… wheels are turning! =) My little girl and I have hosted a few charity parties…tying fleece blanket parties and a sewing feelie hearts for Children’s hospital… they are fairly easy to plan… so fun and so rewarding… and the kids learn about helping others… beautiful beautiful! I Love Heathers blog and her story of strength and choosing to help others in memory of Samuel is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing!! I am off to read your post about the dresses!! =)

  • Linda - Such a great idea! I may have to borrow it.

  • shelly@familyblt - Love your party and idea! Those books are going to be great :)
    love Heather’s blog too!

  • kristine - thanks for supporting samuel, heather and the library! you do great work!!

  • emily anderson - oh ashley, this is an amazing idea.

    i loved that you got the boys involved too. great job.

    also, we finally let the cat out of the bag about our adoption! posted it on our blog today!

  • Kelly Beane - What a beautiful and inspiring idea! Love all the little details as well!

  • Regina - what a fabulous idea! i’m trying to figure out a way to do it in our last few weeks of summer.

  • Jess - What an awesome idea Ashley. I love everything about your movie night. When Levi gets older we will have to plan a movie night at our house…a Kansas movie night.

  • Casey - Ashley
    You are such an inspiration to others. I love your ideas, your posts, your skills and your mothering antics…

    The story about samuel made me cry. I had to link this post as well as blessed little nest on my blog to bring readers here.. I hope thats okay.

  • Joy Andrews - Super fun idea! I think I will try it in our neighborhood!
    thanks! again!

  • Chuck Duffie - I want to try this on our block. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful idea in such a wonderful way.

  • julie - Simply beautiful. Thank you for your big heart and thank you so much for doing this for Samuel. Thank you.

  • Vikki Kast - Your blog is amazing! I enjoy it so much:) Your talent is endless!!!

  • Charissa - You are so creative and fun!

  • Weddinic – Wedding Articles » Blog Archive » A Book Party - […] about our shared love of literature. With that said, I was incredibly inspired when I saw this book party hosted by Ashley Campbell of Ashley Ann Photography and the incredible blog Under the Sycamore. […]

  • Jess @ Pen N' Paperflowers Studio & Design - I’m so inspired by your “parties with a purpose”. This book party turned out adorable and with the sweet meaning behind it – well, it’s just all the more darling. I’ve shared your inspiration on my fb fanpage…http://www.facebook.com/pnpflowers THANK YOU!!

  • erica922 - wow such an inspiring event dear
    tfs such wonderful act!

  • Books and a Movie Party : Multiply Delicious- All About the Kids - […] party and all for the best reasons.  Please stop by Ashley’s amazing blog to see more of this party and just to be amazed.  Her site is beautiful and her photography breathtaking.  Thanks […]

  • gathering event inspiration - […] 2. Children’s party inspiration, a party filled with special meaning as books are gathered for a hospital library at Under the Sycamore […]

  • A Book Party | The Sweetest Occasion - […] about our shared love of literature. With that said, I was incredibly inspired when I saw this book party hosted by Ashley Campbell of Ashley Ann Photography and the incredible blog Under the Sycamore. […]

  • Blessed little nest shoot » Lauren Jean Photography - […] knew when I read about this project I wanted to help. In addition to wanting to throw my own awesome book party for the cause I also knew that  what every awesome blogger needs is some rocking pictures […]

  • Evy M Tofte - Hi can I blog about this? I will surely reffer to your blog, and use some pics from your site :)

  • And Now the News… - […] Ashley Ann Photography Watching movies outside under the Oklahoma stars? Now that’s a play […]

  • blogger summer faves: parties « - […] { Via Under the Sycamore } […]

  • 30 Block Party Ideas - The Dating Divas - […] Book Party – Do some charity work while having fun with your friends.  Invite everyone over and bring […]