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

Before….and a few months after

Climbing up the fence was Eric’s idea.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Maike - love the fence picture!

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

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

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

  • Liene - Beautiful picutes! And beautiful pregnant sister!

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

  • Emily - These are beautiful, Ashley!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Before I get to the DIY portion of this post I have to brag on my older two boys. They were very stern with me that they needed to go buy their sister a present for her birthday. Biggest Brother wanted to get “a pretty dress, not a pretty pretty dress like with sparkles and shiny stuff, but just a pretty dress.” I took the two of them to Target and they looked at EVERY SINGLE dress in the baby section. We narrowed the options down to about 6. I hung all 6 from my arms and chest as they stood in front of me discussing the pros and cons of each dress. Eventually they settled on this one. They have good taste. They wanted her to wear it on her birthday. They are great big brothers…they kept telling her how beautiful she looked in her dress. She is loving walking these days (the pic is a bit blurry..she’s on the move now!)

They also wanted to get her a toy and it took them no time to decide on one. They said every little girl needs a doll and a stroller for her doll. I love that they are celebrating that she is a girl. She likes the stroller best without a baby in it. How is she already one? How did dolls and baby strollers end up in my house? When did a cute thing in a flowered dress become more of a toddler and less of a baby?

And IN TOTALLY DIFFERENT news, I thought I’d share a little DIY on a way to customize your swimsuit…since it is summertime!


One cloverleaf shaped swim tube…should hold 4 people with spots for their booties to sit in

4 individuals ages 8 and up (I opted for two 10 year old boys and a 13 year old girl)

Waterslide with a LARGE drop off

Step 1: You need to be visiting a waterpark that is also a hotel. The first step is to get up early and put on your swimsuit. Then rush out of your hotel room (leaving hubby and kids behind) so you can be at the door waiting for the park to open. By being at the front of the line you only have to outrun preteens to be on the adult slides first. Once you make it to the slide, pick three random kids to ride with. They make look at you like you are crazy, but just go with it.

Step 2: Postition yourself on the cloverleaf tube. When the tube begins the giant fall allow your booty to slip through the hole just enough that it hits the fiberglass BEFORE the tube. This step does hurt quite a bit. In fact a week later you may have an x-ray done of your very bruised booty…but don’t worry the x-ray will show you didn’t break anything.

Step 3: After spending the rest of the day walking around the waterpark chasing your kids it will be time to dry off and head back to the room. When you start drying off your booty, you will realize that first slide of the day resulted in a diy customized swimsuit….one that everyone at the waterpark got to enjoy seeing.





Yep, hole in the booty of my swimsuit….and I didn’t know until the end of the day. Nice.

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  • Maike - good taste they have indeed!
    love your DIY, hihi, not sure yet if I will copy it….
    and… time flies, I have also a little toddler (not yet) running around, and because of her long her the babything fell off a long long time ago, and she’s only 16 months old…

  • karen davis - oh my, sounds like my kind of DIY… that stuff always happens to me!

    P.S big brothers have GREAT taste… the dress is absolutely precious!

  • Anna Joy - lol so sorry that happened to you!!! great story telling and illustrations though. :)
    your boys are too precious and they have great taste in clothes!!

  • amanda torres - Oh my! This will top my all time funnies for the day, possibly for the week.

    Don’t worry about Firecracker. My Little Miss got a baby doll, stroller, and doll house for Christmas, and she ended up playing with Little Man’s pistol.

  • danielle - hysterical!
    and i love love love your boys….that is just so cute!!

  • robyn - that is hilarious!
    and mortifying!

  • Shannon - Oh dear! That is absolutely hilarious! And sad! I am so sorry for you but glad you can laugh about it now (hopefully!).

    And what sweet sweet boys. Sibling love is the best and FireCracker is gonna be one lucky girl.

  • Rachel C - Now, that is funny. I’m not sure what is funnier — the hole in the swimsuit or the conversations those teenage boys had later that day about the old lady who rode with them in the tube! :)

  • cassie - Every time my son (4) sees me looking at your blog he says something like, “Mom they always have fun. Can we do that.” Today my daughter (2) was reading with me and said, “I wanna go to her house and play wif her and her babies!”

  • bopha - that is too funny! i love the pics of firecracker. it’s hard to believe how quick our little ones are growing up.

  • Stacey - Well… I guess all those preteen and teen boys got what their parents paid for! :)

    My daughter Lillie just turned 1 in June and I am right along with you. I just can’t believe it!

  • shelly@familyblt - Now that is some DIY! :) Yowza!
    Love that they picked out presents, so sweet your boys are!

  • rachel marini - hah! wow that’s really funny. i really thought you were going to share how to make a bathing suit, but this was so much better!

  • candace - hilarious! well, i sure hope you are laughing as you are healing. sweet big brother stories….

  • the inadvertent farmer - Hahahaha…I’m so sorry…but that is too funny!

    With 4 sons myself and only one daughter I too look around and wonder who let the pink sparkly tutu fairy in my house! Kim

  • Crystal - Ok…I’m literally LOL!!!!
    That’s hilarious only because it wasn’t me!!
    Love the dress…and the dolly and stroller-they grow up so fast! Cherish it…my little girl is 16 and I only wish she still wanted to play with dollies:)

  • Jamie - I luv the story of Firecracker’s birthday dress and how her bros chose it for her. The pics of her with her baby stroller are so sweet; it’s quite different to see that kind of stuff on your blog!

  • Sarah - So funny… I got my laugh in for the day.
    Do I see curls on Firecracker? :)

  • Emilie F. - that dress is super cute!! i wish they made it in big people sizes….and that it made us big people look as cute as little sister!

  • jo - that is hilarious! it might be your best DIY to date!

  • Jodi - I love when I really laugh and this was one of those moments! And firecracker looks adorable in her dress. YOur boys are the sweetest!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Ok ~ First of all, brothers are precious. Her dress is beautiful and the stroller is precious. So sweet.

    And awesome job on the DIY… I think this is one that I can do!

  • ria - Thanks for the laugh. I loove the way you decorate your home. It is so happy. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • rachel denbow - Yes, Ruby has that same beautiful dress from Target and yes, Sebastian picked it over another one with some crocheted stuff on it. It’s interesting to me how kids at such a young age can form opinions on clothing and design. I know there are days when Sebastian has said he wanted to wear the olive green shirt with the olive drab cargo shorts because ‘they match’ but mostly we’re on the same page about what looks good on the ladies in the house!

    Her curls are killing me! Has she learned how to share yet because I know Ruby would appreciate some hair.

  • Heather - you crack me up! that was so stinking funny i had to read through twice.

    i think there is something magical about the big brother/little sister relationship. i knew nothing of it until our daughter was born, but now i’m convinced it is a.mazing. something really special to see.

  • Erin - Hahahahhaahahah….that’s all I got 😉

  • Christina - Wow- your boys picked absolutely the perfect toy for a one year old girl! That’s impressive. She is adorable.

  • patti - i haven’t laughed this hard all day…thank you! (i’m laughing with you of course…)

  • Brooke - Good Job Big Brothers!! I love hearing how sweet and kind they are to their sister. I’m sure (maybe) not all the time, but those are some sweet moments. Your sister is adorable too…looks a lot like you!!

  • emily anderson - this is ridiculous.

    i’m loving the drawings.

  • giozi - No No No I want to see the real hole, ha ha ha

  • summer - ha, ha! 1) your boys are phenomenal, I absolutely love that:) 2) your illustrations are something to be reckoned with…along with that hole!

  • jessica - Thanks for making me laugh out loud with the bathing suit story – tee hee. Your boys are so sweet. That is so sweet and kind of them to compliment Firecracker in her dress. Sounds like you’re raising little southern gentlemen :)

  • Lacey McKay - I almost bought that same dress for Madison the other day! But I already had way too much stuff in the cart so I put it back. She has far too many dresses already! But I do love seeing it on Firecracker! Great job boys!

  • Kaylene - how cute is she?! Funny, my daughter just got 2 of those dresses and a baby stroller for her birthday( the 2nd). I agree the stroller makes them seem less baby. My Fi likes hers better w/o babies also, she takes them out and tells them ” no no”.

So I went to visit the Domestic Ease post and was SHOCKED at all the comments. That was crazy…then I realized you all were leaving comments in hopes of winning the $500.00 Pottery Barn gift certificate…ya I’d like to win that too!

As promised, here are few tidbits on how I made some of our party decor. I probably spent less than $10.00 on all the decor. I basically bought a bit of scrapbooking paper and tissue paper…and took advantage of things I already had on hand. You don’t have to spend a ton to create a beautiful party.

First, her headband.

Basically I covered a plastic headband with ribbon & hot glue. You could do this in a much more professional way, but I was limited on time. For the rest of the headband I just gathered random items and hot glued them all together. At the end I made a base out of brown felt and glued the felt to the headband. I wouldn’t let her have this without an adult around – since it is just glued together she could chew it apart. If I had more time I would have stitched it. I ended up using ribbon, lace, feathers, silk flowers and ribbon flowers.

Circle Garland

I used a 1 1/2 inch circle punch. For paper I used notebook paper & scrapbooking paper…then just stitched it together. Easy Peasy.

Random banner (don’t know what to call it!)

For this I used Treat boxes from Walmart. They come as a pack of 8 for $1.50. I decorated the outside and glued stuff to the inside of each with tissue paper and some of the circle garland. I then used masking tape to connect it to a string.

Cherry Blossom branches

I already had the branches decorated with pink tissue paper (left over from my son’s kindergarten classroom). I just added some red tissue to make it match the party better. To make the blossoms I cut tissue paper in squares and folded them in half twice. Then I used hot glue to wrap it around small branch stubs.

Table Cloth &  holder

It was windy on the 4th, so decorating the table was hard. I used an old white sheet for the base. The blue fabric is actually a sheet that was sewn into curtains in Biggest Brother’s nursery years ago. To keep them in place I used a circle of scrapbooking paper pinned down with a tack.

Table Decor

The napkins were wrapped in scrapbooking paper. I filled several mason jars with sand and “firecrackers”. The firecrackers are just kabob sticks with tissue paper taped to the top. I had several sitting on the table and the wind knocked them over. I scooped up all the sand and put it in the big jar…and wrapped some circle garland around it to make it cuter. I got the sand and firework idea from Martha Stewart.


Our highchair is getting gross…guess that happens after 4 kids. I didn’t want to drag it outside, so I made a little cupcake stand for FireCracker to stand by while she ate her first cupcake. The chair was orange, I spray painted it the day before the party to make it match. The cupcake toppers are just tissue paper cut and taped around toothpicks.



Someone always asks how I do stuff with 4 kids. Well this time I decided to buy them their very own Tilt-A-Whirl for the playroom to keep them busy while I crafted away. They spun and spun and spun….and went to bed complaining their tummies hurt. I figure if they spin long enough they will throw up enough times on the carpet that Chris will give in and put painted wood floors upstairs.

I’m a genius with a master plan.




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  • amanda torres - Great thinking on the spinning!

  • Kari - Happy Birthday lil’ Firecracker!!

  • anne c - you are so crafty! I am in love the tissue paper branch for some reason! Happy Birthday little firecracker!

  • amy - love all your simple creative ideas ashley!
    but most of all, LOVE your master plan! : D

  • Melissa W - Her party was beautiful! It’s so nice to see another Mom who believes in throwing parties and focusing on the fun, the memories, the guests, and the birthday girl – not just spending money on over priced decorations! This is one of the best decorated and fun parties I’ve seen and cheap! :) Gotta love it! :)

  • christina larsen - So creative.

  • Kara P - Yay!! I am so glad you finally got your hanging chair!! Where did you find it?

  • Katie H. - I never thought about sewing paper….hmmmm the things I am going to create now!!

  • CharlaL - you are amazing. I LOVED everything for the party. I still have my circle punch I bought to make the magnets from christmas. I will be grabbing it to make decorations for the next birthday!!!
    p.s. over the weekend we made the bubble soulution! They were epic bubbles!

  • shelly@familyblt - Love it all! the garland/treat box set-up is awesomesauce! Actually it all is :)

  • Anna Joy - you are so stinkin’ creative! i love this DIY and im bookmarking it to steal some ideas for my son’s bday in a couple of months!!!

  • Shannon - Super cute ideas, love that dotted garland! It’s funny that people ask how you find time, either their kids are crazy or they don’t have any (i kid, I kid) 😉 because I can always find time! I think if you want to do something enough you will find time to do it! :) Now that my kids are older they play longer together without fights. Of course I have to be prepared to stop what I am doing to fetch water/snack/such and such toy from the closet. I also craft a lot after they are in bed!

  • ashlee - oh i love love the chair! my parents had several of those in the house when i was younger, i would love to score one of those!

  • Crystal - Absolutely LOVE all your DIY projects!! You are so crafty!
    I plan to incorporate many of these ideas in the very near future!!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Heather - I popped over here from my life in grace. Your party looks so festive; I admire that you took the time to create a special feel for your event. The blog is lovely and I am looking forward to exploring more.

  • Maike - Thanks for telling! Already looking forward to my daughters second birthday in march next year. I can decorate the inside of our house too then. lovely ideas!

  • giozi - Fabulous.
    Thank you Ashley for the tips and share them with us. Last year I made a garland similar like your, but I used cicle sticker :)
    This year, my daughter party is going to be too in red, black and white, it will be the subject of Minnie.
    I just bought the punch.
    I think I’m gonna keep more of your tips.
    Thanks again.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Ah ha! I was wondering how you did the circle garland! Very, very cute!

  • Heather - so fantastic!! i just love the aqua blue w/red.

  • Kristy - I love your blog! Your pictures are so beautiful, adorable family. Would love to know where you got your hanging chair….fun!

  • mandi - HOLY COW!!! This party was beautiful! Way to go, Mama!

    I also have to add- I am bananas over your couch. It’s so cozy looking, and then bam, the wooden sleigh arms. I just made that up, I don’t know what arms like that are called, but it’s simply lovely!

  • Haylee - I would love to have all of this on hand too so I could only spend $10 in making a beautiful party too but I am really really inept when it comes to organizing it all so I prefer to not have it in my house period. It’s sad really, there is so much fun stuff out there that I would buy just to look at and touch every once in a while, even if I don’t craft all that often. Anyway….. to cut to the chase LOL… I would love to see how you organize all of your fun stuff. Maybe I can get some inspiration and start collecting myself. thanks much Ashley!

  • the inadvertent farmer - We have one of those chairs…my oldest son’s best friend ate too many cherries out of our orchard and then played in the chair. He proceeded to throw up red cherries in a big circle all around the chair. So you plan for painted wood floors just may work! Kim

  • Yanet - Have I told you lately you’re amazing?!
    Ooh, a little sneak peak into the playroom!

  • Emily Lusk - These are some really fun and VERY cute decorations!! You could sell these!! I know I would buy them! I know that I will be looking back on this post when it is time for me to plan the next birthday party!

  • Katie - i LOVE your blog – it’s the first thing i check when i come online in the morning and it often encourages me for the day to laugh and craft and photograph and spend the most quality of time with my family.
    i couldn’t resist commenting on this post because this is the colour scheme of my 4 month old daughters nursery and i’m definitely going to put some of these decorations into practice in there – thanks for your fantastic ideas!

  • lifeologia - I love the decorations and LOVE the genius plan with the swing.
    Where did you get it?

  • Ana - Great b-day decor- I love using paper to craft.
    Did I miss the playroom unveiling? :)

  • Lesley - Happy Birthday Breese!!!

  • Kristin - Such a pretty party. I love what paper can do – especially in the hands of a fun genius! The headband is beautiful, too. You’ve inspired me to make lots of flower clips for my little girls, and take lots of pictures to go with. Love them. Thanks!

  • tasha roe - stunning! amazingly stunning!!

  • Sarah M - such awesome ideas. every single one of them. your parties always look so dang cute *
    Sarah M

  • Jolie - lol I am guilty of developing the same type of master plans (but am yet to get a hanging chair – I want I want!)…I call it the long term strategy play!lol

  • Kelly Beane - Genius… and so pretty! I love every little detail and look forward to putting some of these awesome ideas to use myself for next year’s birthdays.

  • Chelsea McAuley - Thank you so much for this idea! I’m having my 18th birthday party in one week, so I decided to make the garland for my party! I turned out SO cute. :) I don’t sew, but this was incredibly easy to make. I took some pictures of making mine, you can see them at http://www.thedwellingplace-chelsea.blogspot.com. :) Thank for the inspiration!

  • michelle Monk - Okay. I’ve lurked here for a while now and I LOVE everything you post! :) This was especially awesome! I went to WalMart looking for the treat boxes for my daughter’s bday party this Saturday, but I couldn’t find them. Do you mind telling me what section of WalMart you found them in?? Thank you so much!!!

  • giozi - Me again.
    I’m here for inspiration. I bought a black bottle and I would like to do (I hope) some paper blossom. I don’t know how to do cupcake, I’m very sad about it. I bought some cupcakes red polka dot liners, but I think that I don’t going to use them :(
    At the end I think that I have to buy some cupcake :(
    I’ve bought some red polka dot doodles too and some white bags to use as wrapper favors. I did some headband, at least :) for the girls and I have a little notebook and mickey pencil for boys.
    I have many little things but I don’t know very well how to decor, and specially will be a shame if my pictures go wrong. Please if you can share some tips to take photos at home in the afternoon. :)
    I must to use camera flash.

  • Tania - great colours, love all the small detail!

  • Bal Cesitleri - Sitemiz de bal çe?itleri’nin tamam? ve kestane bal?’n?n en kalitelisi mevcuttur. Her türlü hastal??a ?ifa niyetin de tüketebilece?iniz kestane bal? hakk?n da detayl? bilgi için balcesitleri.com u ziyaret edin.

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