There have been a few questions left in the comment sections the last few days, I thought I’d answer some:

* Where is the red visor from that you and FireCracker are wearing? Twirling Betty

* What lens and camera do I use? See the About Me page

* Do you always shoot in Av mode? Nope, I basically never shoot in Av mode…only M (manual)

* How do you clean your sensor? Very carefully! I use a rubber bulb thing (like what you get to clean baby noses). I recommend doing a lot of research online before attempting to clean your own sensor. I don’t feel comfortable posting a tutorial as I am sure I do about 20 things wrong.

* How do you do rounded corners on photos? For individual pics , for lots of pics I use these

* How do you make photo collages? I use Design Aglow templates

* What is that tent thing you have for your daughter? It is KidCo Portable PeaPod Indoor/Outdoor Travel Bed. We bought it when our 2nd son was a baby. If you have young kids and are a on the go family I highly recommend it. It was one of the best baby gear purchases we’ve ever made. We take it everywhere, it collapses small and is very portable. FireCracker used it as her bed at night on vacation and a sun shade on the beach during the day

* Do you have travel tips now? Yes, those will be posted Monday.

* How do you get FireCracker to sleep wherever, whenever? We don’t she sleeps 2 places: in her bed and on the beach. I wish her bed could always be on the beach!


Onto today’s post…while we were gone I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful local for some posed pictures. I had a vision for a picture using my Chalkboard Thought Bubble and my red fabric bunting, but in the rush to get out of our Okla. house I forgot the bunting. At least I didn’t forget a kid. I am sure you are thinking posed pictures in Hawaii…must mean all in white and khaki on the beach. Um, no. I did what I do at home…we went ‘downtown’. I even found a pile of wood pallets with tropical leaves nearby. Score.

A benefit of Photoshop is you can remove things like grass on feet…if you wanted to. I didn’t. It’s her.

The next few were on the other side of the alley behind the buildings. She likes her brothers. They do whatever she wants them to do. I thought I’d add an older picture. She hasn’t gained any weight, but the hair is coming in! I’ll get the most out of this cute dress before she outgrows it.

Camera on timer, balanced on backpack, balanced on a rock.

I am counting this collage as one photo (to fit the 10 in 10 theme I know you all could probably care less about!). I couldn’t pick one because there is not one picture where they are all looking at the camera with a normal face. Oh well. I tried.

So those are my attempts at posed pictures. A couple that I love, most that make me laugh.

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  • allison - Your caption about the karate chop made me laugh! These are all so great.

  • Lexie - I love your blog! Your pictures are amazing and inspiring! I just got an awesome camera and have been enjoying learning how to use it. Thanks for sharing your vacation!

  • Amy - HAHA! I love the write ups on each child, “HI YA” (which after reading almost made coffee come out of my nose). You have such a beautiful family, thank you for sharing.

  • Jill R - Love the pictures. As I was looking at them I had a totally random question – what do you use to fix your boys hair? We are having serious issues with hair that will not be tamed.

  • Joy - I love the one where Biggest Brother is holding Firecracker’s face, trying to get her to look in the right direction!

  • Keri Doolittle Photography - omg, your family is so stinkin’ cute!! Love all of these! How fun!

  • Heather - lol karate chopped the dragon.. awesome. what a great big brother!! cute photos… now i really want to go to hawaii!!

  • Mindy - Oh my gosh I laughed so hard when I saw your son doing the Shaka. My daughter and son do this in pictures all the time and that is what they yell. I have no Idea where it came from? Do you? I thought it was just something that they taught themselves! I love your blog. Your so inspiring! I love how you put mother hood first. You have been such an example to me. Thank you!

  • Shannon - Gorgeous Ashley! These will surely be pictures you will cherish forever!

  • Suzette Mahoney - These photos + pages are so fantastic!

  • Jenna Unruh - I’m loving your blog! I started reading it a few months ago and am hooked! I’m not a DIYer, but love your creativity. I also really value your decision to put your family first right now, regardless of you being in high demand. Kudos to you.
    I’m curious as a photog mom, what you do with all of the photos you take. For instance, in this post you made those cute little “boards” with the quotes on one side and the photo on the other. Will you put that in a book, get it printed? Or is it just for blog/electronic use?
    My son is 8 months and we’re still trying to figure out how to manage all of the photos – what to print and how to organize.
    Thanks for blogging!

  • keisha - LOVE these!!! Those captions are both funny and so special… when you all re-read those in 10 years, it will be so touching. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jaimie - Love this post! I especially love the first ones of your kids. I can’t wait to have that many! Haha!

  • Alice H - So very cute!! All your kids are absolutely adorable. I think my fave is where it looks like Firecracker is smacking Big Brother (I think?).

  • Angie - Cutest family EVER.

  • giozi - The best. Your father in law’s pic ha ha ha is funny. NOOOO the bes is your little boy, how big eyes.
    All your boys are so handsome, and your babygirl is adorable.
    My chubby is turning 3 next friday ๐Ÿ™‚
    I spent all next week doing craft :D.
    Your crazy kids arte fantastic.
    Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeee do the online class please please please please ๐Ÿ˜€
    Now I have to prepare suitcase. My chubby and me going to a christian camp for all weekend. My little boy is going to stay with daddy :(, I’m going to miss him a lot. My husband is not christian and he doesnt want to go, so for me is difficult go alone with both.
    Happy weekend to you Ashley a big kiss.

  • andy - love them all
    especially the ones of your kids where your little girl i leaning into her big brothers
    that is great

  • Lesley - Hey Ashley,

    I love all your beach pictures! I live in Florida and long to capture my little one enjoying the beach, but I’m always scared of bringing my DSLR and nice lens on the beach for fear of sand getting inside and ruining it. How do you protect your camera on the beach?


  • elizabeth - love, love, love the pictures of each of your children and the “commentary” that goes with them. absolutely adorable. and what a great record of your wonderful vacation. thanks for sharing you pictures. kauai is my favorite travel destination. can’t wait for the travel tips.

  • Jane - I was expecting you to show all pictures with kids running in different directions. But you got some super cute ones! Love your family pic! You’ll have to share some tips on the the whole balancing your camera on a backpack/rock and poses that go with that. I always feel like the camera is going to crash down to its death. I can never prop it pointing in the direction I want. Please share!

  • RachelC - Great pics! Love the surf board background. Also, love the new “You Might Also Like” section.

  • Heather - i love that you still kept to your photo taking style while in hawaii. and i really love the individual pictures of the kids. they seem to capture each one of them perfectly.

  • Gevay - Too cute! I love it!

  • Kate A - I loved the picture + write-ups for each child – especially little brother! TOO FUNNY!

  • bopha - i love the post! everything about it.

  • Jess - So sweet! All the pictures are awesome Ashley. Your karate chopping four year old cracks me up. That’s hilarious.

  • Desiree - Beautiful family!

  • Sarah - I am glad you posted this, I love the action shots, but I want one posed picture from the event. Just a picture of them actually looking at me I would take! It is so so hard! Love the write-ups! Great way to keep memories.

  • Shannon{photos by shannon} - Love them!

  • jessica h - …those made me laugh, too!!! I love all of the personality your family has ๐Ÿ™‚ You really ‘capture’ it in your photos! thanks for the tips, as always.

  • Natalie - So, next year, get Firecracker some black leggings and she can wear her dress like a tunic (just like momma). My daughter is 2 and she’s still wearing 6-12 month dresses! Love the shots, have dreamed of going to Hawaii…one day!

  • Nicole - Thank you so much for sharing these tips! I was *just* looking for a tutorial on rounding corners!

  • Vy - My daughter has that dress too and I just love it on her. She’s got a ton of clothes, but I keep putting her in that one since it’s so darn cute. Grey! Who woulda thought!

  • Valerie - Your kids are awesome! They totally make me want to have a whole bunch of kids. Just afraid I’d go crazy. One at a time, I guess! I love Firecracker’s dress, btw.

  • Danielle - LOVE these!
    what a beautiful family ๐Ÿ™‚

    just used your fabulous idea of a yardstick backsplash on our kitchen remodel…. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Leanne - pictures that make you laugh are great too! they are so full of personality! I love your captions on the kids’ posed ones. so cute.

  • Jules - what beautiful work! love what you share on your blog!
    I had to come over and check out the fun! thanks for the link to the mad hatter!

  • Harriet - I LOVE this post! Your family is beautiful. I love all the differnet photos and all the different faces. It made me smile thinking of you all sitting down in the middle of the shopping area to take a photo! Hope you had a wonderful time!

  • Jamie - This post may be one of my all-time favorites! Cracks me up. I love the dragon-karate chop the best. Sounds like a mini Chuck Norris. Thx for the laughs ๐Ÿ™‚

  • amac - LOVE this ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Nicole - These are great – love them. Love the write ups for each of the kids – hilarious!

  • Lanny Stanard - You are such a cute family… LOVE IT ๐Ÿ™‚

  • amy j. - I LOVE these pictures! Every single one!! You have an adorable family!

  • Laura - I’m a new follower & love your blog. You have a beautiful family! As the oldest of 4 children I remember family vacations w/ my mom snapping photos non-stop! What fun memories =)

  • Candice Forte - Love them, Ashley! What a beautiful family!!! great shots!

  • Lindsay - Maybe this is a dumb question, but why didn’t you just have you father-in-law take the picture instead of balancing it on a backpack? ๐Ÿ™‚ Just curious if there’s a reason I’m missing.

  • tamara - Loved this post. Very creative with it all! Loved the anecdotes on each photo.

  • Darcie - Your little firecracker has got to be one of the cutest little girls I have EVER seen. And I have a pretty cute 2-year old daughter! She looks like she’s going to have a great personality, and great brothers to keep her in line. I had 3 brothers and I loved it!

  • Mirys - Hi Ashley!

    How do you do this beautiful “collection” of photos (6 or 8 photos and a message like “my crazy kids”)?

    Iยดm thinking about going back to the “taking pictures love” that I use to have. Lots because of your blog and photos!!! Thank you so much!!!

    Iยดm even thinking about being in FRONT of a camera and have some pictures of the “3 mosqueters” made, by this end of the year. Like a message for all of us: we survived!!! And life is that! And live is beautiful!

    So… waiting for your tips.


    PS: I have some posts in English (in case one of your readers wanna to read anything in our blog).

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

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  • Christy - Awesome photo tips!

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

  • maria - great tips thanks so much!

  • Lindsay - I honestly thought you had that island to yourself looking at your last few posts! Now I know you just made sure others weren’t in the pictures! CLEVER! Thanks for the tips ๐Ÿ™‚

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

  • Alicia Meyers - You’re a photo genius! I wish I could be you ๐Ÿ™‚ Or at least have your eye for photography! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with others – it’s really, really great of you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Jane - Great tips Ashley! I’ve been incorporating more and more of them in my photos since the Snap Shop and I’m loving the results! I have to say again that it was totally worth the trip. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • giozi - Thanks thanks It was a little difficult to me understand, in fact I lost some words, because I couldn’t use the google translate.
    But I got the most ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks for sharing your tips, your experience, and of course your pictures with us.
    I love the first one, even with out hands

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

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

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

  • Samantha S. - So now my big question is…. how do YOU clean your sensor? Because {if I remember from a previous post correctly} you have a Canon 20D too which doesn’t have the auto sensor-clean. Mine really {REALLY} needs to be cleaned but I’m baffled how to do it. And a little scared. But I don’t want to pay to have it done or lose my camera for a couple of days. Any tips to share? ๐Ÿ˜€

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

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

  • Caroline - I feel like you have helped me so much with my mom picture-taking skills! Thanks for the new tips! ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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

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

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

  • Alice H - Great tips! I have been borrowing a friend’s camera. A really, really good camera. I think it is a Canon Rebel (blah blah blah). I feel as though I have gotten a bit better at taking pics ๐Ÿ™‚ hopefully I can use these tips to get even better.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Barbara G - Thank you so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

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

  • lifeologia - Beautiful shots and great tips!
    And Ashley, you’re actually in some of these shots! WOW that’s great to see ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Also, I was thinking, how DID that plane ride turn out with all those kids? And how’d you handle nap times and stuff? Just out of curiosity ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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

  • Barbara Wertz - Terrific tips for someone who is looking to take better family photos! Thanks and you have a beautiful family! ๐Ÿ™‚

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

  • jessica h - loved the tips–and loved seeing more gorgeous (and fun) pics ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Brooke Whitis - Awesome, really practical tips!!

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

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

    Have a wonderful weekend!

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

  • Christene {WhipperBerry} - What great tips just for me! I learned so much and I hope to have the chance to go to an island soon and put them to work….or just here at home, I guess. ๐Ÿ™‚ THanks so much!

  • Carolyn - I love the second photo of all your kids together – so beautiful!…I also love that you took your chalkboard on holidays too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • phyllis - Thanks for the advice!

  • Stephany - Sooooo wonderful!! thanks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • RachelC - Sounds perfect.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Your children are beautiful and I love how fearless you are about raising them! I have two and often forget to relax..enjoy there tiny faces and run-on sentences ๐Ÿ™‚

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

  • giozi - Ashley the first one is like and Charlie’s Angels ad ๐Ÿ™‚
    Your chubby is to eat ๐Ÿ˜€
    Your big boy, nex year to Australia to a competition ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jessica - ah yes family vacations. not to be confused with vacationing as a couple. LOL
    looks like you had a great time. and you’re more brave than I! although I do have over double the amount of kids that you do. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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

  • Shanalea - First of all, I am so jealous that you have not only lived in Hawaii, but have vacationed there as well. I can also empathize with your desire to be on a beach with a book and a drink basking in the aloneness and glory of the moment. I have come to realize much like you though, this season in my life is not about being alone, but about investing the future, my four boys. I want them to see mom connected with them, playing with them, and enjoying the moments of togetherness. So again it can be frustrating to not get a moment of relaxing, but you know you will someday. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • lifeologia - Fantastic shots and what memories to watch your kids enjoying themselves in this beautiful place… it is priceless & incredible ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Krista Lund - this is such a sweet post. dh is planning my birthday dinner and asked his parents to watch our girls so we could go alone, but the more we thought about it, the more we wanted the girls with us ๐Ÿ™‚

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

  • Kirra Sue - Awesome, awesome perspective.

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

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

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

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

  • Laurie J - welcome back, Ashley! I’ve missed your posts….the guest ones were good, though ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Jenny B. - Beautiful… words and pictures! I love digital scrapbooking, and this post could so easily transfer to a big ‘ol scrapbook layout – or a little photo book. Awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚ And I love your attitude about your non-relaxation.

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

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

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

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