In an attempt to win the battle against my email inbox, I am going to try to share more ‘behind’ the pictures every now and then.

Top Picture: 1/250, f/4.0, ISO 100, 50mm lens, edited with Totally Rad Actions

font (get it free here); flowers on picture (Design Aglow); rounded corners tutorial (Happy Web Diva); tutu was a gift

Bottom Pictures: 1/200, f/4.0, ISO 100, 50mm lens, edited with Totally Rad Actions, hat (HeartSmiles)


Thanks for the sweet comments on yesterday’s post, I had fun taking them…not so much fun trying to remember to take them! I also got a lot of comments and emails recently about how I take photos of myself on the self timer and get things in focus. I will try to answer that in a post soon. I have been updating the My Lovelies tab on the far left of the blog. You should check it out. I especially want to call attention to the River to Well photo competition. All proceeds from the contest go towards building a well in South Africa. Check out the blog and send in a picture. You don’t have to be a pro photog to enter…and you get to help build a water well. Go check it out!


and just to keep it real….she can swing a sword as good as the big boys

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  • Christy - So cute! She’s adorable!

  • Christine - She is adorable….it is a good thing she has 3 brothers to look out for her :)

  • Shannon - At the risk of sounding like a broken record….A-dor-a-ble! She is just too precious and those are great “frame worthy” pics of her! she will treasure them, as I am sure you will too!

  • Gevay - So cute! Love that belly-just want to blow some raspberries on it!

  • Tonia - Thanks for sharing your camera settings! That is always so helpful!!!

  • Liene - Very cute pictures! I love picnik (you probably know it) which is free online photo editing tool. Great to experiment with. I am going to check out the URLs you mentioned.

  • Raquel - which TRA actions did you use? I love the effect!

  • amanda gibson - Oh, what a cutie! Love the hat and the tutu. And that sweet little belly!

    Quick “behind the camera” question – I have the Totally Rad Actions and I love them – I’m wondering, which did you use on your photos?

  • Dinah - I recently came across your blog and am totally hooked! I just LOVE your photography, your cute commentaries, and interesting stories about your family. Your little girl is just adorable in her little tutu! (And your boys are just precious — I’m partial to rough and tumble boys, since I have two of my own (3 & 6)!

    As someone who has just recently attempted to try manual mode on my SLR (and am very GREEN at it right now), I LOVE that you post your camera settings for your photos — that’s so helpful to us newbies. I must ask though (and this is probably a really dumb question), but what is the first number in your camera settings referencing? I get the f-stop, the ISO and the lens size, but didn’t know what the first number was? Thank you!

  • Mara - Love them and your blog! Thanks in advance for letting know the secret to getting self-timer pictures in focus! Also, similar question to others, which TRA actions do you like?

  • emmylou - It’s amazing how you somehow end up a little more girly when you have a daughter. My boys love seeing their little sister all pretty, even if they like to behead her dolls! Your family is adorable!


  • shelly@familyblt - I think you need a pic with the tutu AND the sword–beware pirate firecracker–arrrgghhhh!

  • Kristy - You’re fantastic! I’ve been following your blog for a long time and am too far away to enroll in a SnapShop. Woo-hoo, so excited to hear that you may be doing online SnapShops in 2011! If I had your address, I’d send you an Etsy gift card for advice. I’ve been shooting manual on a Canon XTi for over a year, and it’s time to upgrade. 50D or 7D…or something else? I have a 3-year old that is the subject of most of my snaps, and my passion for both her and photography grows every single day. Thanks in advance if you have time and energy to give free and specific advice. If not, I understand and look forward to every new post and an online course. Take good care!

  • Megan - She is absolutely precious!

  • emily anderson - she’s so sweet :)

  • Brooke - I love it! You turned me into a total baby shower star…giving the gift of the adorable hat with flower :) I fell in love with baby sister’s hat when she was a couple months old. My friend and I made your cateye onesie…I mean really…that is exciting.

    I won’t lie. I am also excited for an online snapshop. but maybe if I’m super lucky I’ll make it to a real one :)

I will not take credit for this idea…however I can’t remember where I first saw it either.  There are a billion and two ways to do monthly pictures. I have done them differently with each kid. I think these are my favorite. They aren’t all perfectly the same. Nor were they all actually taken on the 7th of the month..eventually I was 2 weeks behind each month and just kept it that way…and I missed month 6 because I took so many other posed pics that month. Oh well. The first collage is the more of what the original idea was. The second collage is some outtakes from the process. I love them both. To top it off when I was 9 months pregnant with her I went looking for one of these big calendars -thinking I’d have to buy 2, one for 2009 and one for 2010 . Well TARGET is awesome. They had a July 2009-July 2010 calendar. Score.

Some outtakes.

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  • Susan - SOOO cute! Love the idea on recording her first year and watching her personality develop!!

  • danielle - I love this idea so much. Great, now I have to have another baby!

  • Sarah - oh my! those chunky little rolls! don’t you miss those?! She has turned into such a beautiful lady! it’s great to have these pics to see just how much she’s changed from month to month. love the outtakes!

  • Shannon - Oh Ashley! She is an absolute joy! I just love waking up and having your blog to read first thing every morning, and these pics of FireCracker are too much fun! She is GORGEOUS and so expressive. Love it! i love the November “outtake” and the one of her sitting right next to it. They are just delish!

  • Jodi - What an incredibly-amazing-original idea!!!! I love it. This kid is over the top cute!!

  • margaret - What a great idea! I wish I had done something like this for my son’s first year.

  • christina larsen - So cool. She is precious!!!

  • karen davis - hahahahah LOVE November in the out takes!

  • Nicole - Love this idea – heading to target as our own ‘Baby Sister’ is coming any day now!! Thanks!!

  • Meagan - Awesome idea! She is so cute! I’m glad to see that she pulls her headbands off too!

  • Yanet - Why couldn’t you have been around when my little ones were ltiny??!! This is a super cute idea!

  • Shauna - This is definetly the coolest idea Ive seen for monthly pictures!

  • Lisa Johnson - Brilliant! Absolutely Brilliant!

  • giozi - Ha ha ha is really really good, you’ve maked me smile

  • shelly@familyblt - I love this! love! totally unfair though, because it makes me want to have another bambino. I still love it though 😛

  • elizabeth - she is SO cute I can’t stand it! what a wonderful way to document the first year. thanks for sharing such a fun idea.

  • Kate A - Oh, goodness, I LOVE this!!! By far the most creative idea for monthly pictures – love how it tracks her growth, too.

  • bopha - i love it!! i will definitely have to try this, my monthly pics were always weeks behind with Madden.

  • Heather - so fantastic! i just love this. i didn’t do anything like with with either of my kids and now i wish i had.

  • ria - I love this idea.

  • Karli - This is one of the coolest ideas I’ve ever seen! My youngest of 3 is already one – rats!! AWESOME pics!

  • angie - Best idea. Ever.

  • Allison - I love this idea! And your baby is just SO stinkin’ cute.

  • Kristi - That is the cutest idea! Now I cant wait to have another baby to try that out! But besides that idea she is so cute!! The bottom left picture on the last line she looks so much like the Gerber baby!

  • Vicki - What a great way to try and bottle up that most important first year…great stuff!

  • Crystal - Great idea! Precious baby girl!!!

  • the inadvertent farmer - Miss November is hilarious! Kim

  • Casey - oh how I wish I could have another baby! such a fantastic idea :)

  • Jeannette - Are you kidding? Those are awesome!!! I need the chance to try that out!

  • Jen V. - What an adorable idea. The outtakes are ridiculously fun as well. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Emily - LOVE this idea…couldn’t do it as cute as you, but I love it!

  • Derek Henderson - This is amazing. My wife talks about your blog all the time, and thought I would check it out…this series really hit home with me because we just had a baby. She is very pretty. :)

  • Sophie - This is SUCH an adorable idea! I have to use it one day!

    I also read the blog of a couple who’ve just had a baby girl and on a weekly basis they put her in a white onesie, lay her on a pretty piece of fabric and photoshop the number of weeks onto her chest. Looks like customized onesies for 52 weeks of the year!

    And this means that I’ve been reading your blog for one year now! Doesn’t seem like that long, though. I started reading just before you gave birth (:

  • lifeologia - Oh I love this idea. What a great prop and to see what she does with it.
    This makes me want another baby to do this idea. ;D
    Well done. As always Ashley. When do you find time to go through your photos????

  • emily anderson - i am loving the out-takes!

  • Abby - She’s so CUTE. But you already know this. I did month-to-month photos with my little guy, too, and love how they came out. This is an awesome idea to keep in my back pocket should ever need it!

  • Kristin - That is such a cute idea!!! And all of the pictures are adorable!!

  • Kara - Such a cute idea! And relatively simple! Love it!

  • Jill E. - I just started working with a family doing a monthly shot for their newborn and i think this could really be a great end result. thanks so much.

  • patti - what a great idea! thanks for sharing!

  • robyn - i LOVE this idea. my friend is about to have a baby and im going to share this with her!
    so adorable!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh Ashley! I love the bottom left! She is beautiful!

  • Desiree - I LOVE it! I’m definitely stealing that idea next time!

  • Lacey McKay - Ooooh! LOVE IT! I wish I’d thought of this for my girls! So fun!

  • Carissa Miller - LOVE IT! Darn it! Now I am going to have to have another baby just so I can use this idea! :)

  • Tysha - I am going to have another baby just so I can do this! Awesome idea! I love how it illustrates her growth and development over the course of the year…such an amazing course of events, that first year :)

    Thanks for sharing! Each time I look at your blog it lifts my spirits!

  • Kendra - What an awesome idea! It almost makes me want to try for #3 — almost! She’s adorable.

  • andy - love the idea
    mine is now 6 weeks and i don’t have a big cal like that
    maybe next one (hehe)
    we are taking them on her changing table for now

  • Lesley - Okay, so it looks like I’m going to need you help in brainstorming ideas for P’s pics! These are awesome!

  • renata Moore - I Love it! My baby boy is 11 months and we’ve being doing a little felt crown with the number for the month on it. We also missed a month (2nd, I guess was a busy one) The latest one is him chewing on the crown, hehehe… love how simple the calendar idea is! I may use it for the next baby!

  • kate - I’m new to your blog, and I love it! I just found out that I am pregnant with my first (!) and I can’t wait to do something like this, starting next March. :-) Thank you for sharing!

  • Danielle - Awesome Idea! I am so excited that I found your blog!

  • Jill - Amazing idea…and adorable! My sister is having a baby next month and is all over this… I’m not sure my 12, 14, or 18 year olds would go for it, but I might try anyway! :)

  • darcy jerome - Oh how I wish I would have done this with my little gal! This is so fun! I shared this blog post on my FB page (along with several of your other posts) and now I am helping a friend do this every month with her new little man! Thank you for posting this and all of the other fun things! Your blog is on my daily “must read” list!


  • Jen - I’m just getting ready to start monthly pictures for my daughter and I stumbled upon this from a google search. I LOVE it! Can’t wait to go buy some calendars tomorrow. Thanks!

  • Tweets that mention her first year {an idea for monthly baby pictures} » ashleyannphotography.com -- Topsy.com - […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nicole Balch, Lauren D.. Lauren D. said: RT @makingitlovely: Cute monthly baby photos with calendar pages: http://tinyurl.com/4zn8qky […]

  • 8 Best Monthly Baby Photo Ideas | Being Pregnant - […] 2. Ashley Ann Photography […]

  • Baby photography ideas – A real baby date calendar « PhotoideaShop - […] collection. We do not use photographs directly here – to view the original photo – please visit http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2010/07/13/her-first-year/ You can also visit our pinterest collection for many more handpicked baby photography ideas. A Real […]

  • Best of Pinterest: Decorating, Recipes, Photo Ideas & More - […] ashleyannphotography.com via Susan on […]

  • love. « city mama - […] one month down…a zillion to go! we are documenting jack’s first 12 months with these fun calendar pics. i found the idea here. […]

  • Kate - This is such a great idea! I featured it on my blog today.


    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Adrienne - Hi, Ashley. We’d love to feature your monthly photo idea in an up-coming post. I didn’t see another contact method on your website, so please e-mail me and I will send the details.
    Administrative Assistant,
    I Heart Faces

  • Jessica R - I did this! Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Capture Your Baby's Growth in Monthly Photos | I Heart Faces - […] Ashley Ann Photography  We love that Ashley included a collage of outtakes on her blog Under the Sycamore!   […]

  • Recording baby’s first year (and my very first give away!) « - […] And this idea from Under the Sycamore […]

  • Recording baby's first year (and my very first give away!) - […] And this idea from Under the Sycamore […]

  • Emery’s First Month » Katie McCaw Photography - […] saw this monthly picture idea on one of my favorite blogs and I knew I was going to use it when I had my own baby.  Then, about a year later, Pinterest […]

  • The first 12 months | Mum the Photographer - […] is an awesome prop idea by Ashley Ann, using a calender in the photos to keep a record […]

  • Janet - What an awesome prop … I am inspired. I have told others about it today on our blog. Thank you!!

  • Capture It – Take a Photo Series to Chronicle Your Child’s Growth - […] Ann laid her baby girl on top of an oversized office calendar, capturing both the actual date and her daughter’s […]

  • Forget the baby book: 6 creative ways to document baby's first year in photos. | Cool Mom Picks - […] Photograph baby on a desk calendar Turn the page to another month and just plop your calendar girl–or boy–on top. These month by month baby photos from Imperfect are so darn sweet in black-and-white, plus the overhead angle is great for getting big eye contact and toothless grins. (via Ashley Ann Photography) […]

  • 5 Creative ways to Document your Babys First Year (& 0 giveaway with Carters) - Lynzy & Co. - […] Black & White on a calendar // LOVE this one! Come see how Under the Sycamore created this beautiful black and white collage of […]

  • Monthly Baby Photo Ideas - Track Your Baby's Age in Photos - […] this monthly milestone progression, lay baby on a calendar each month like Ashley Ann […]

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

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

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

There were lots of toilets.

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

Fake throwing up.

I really love being a mom to boys.

…I will be needing some of these…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleaning off all that raging river rainwater.

Happy Monday. Hope your weekend was great.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    hmm… maybe that was inappropriate.

    ; )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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