So…I’m having hosting issues. I know the blog is loading slow and sometimes not at all. It is frustrating for me and I am sure it isn’t much fun to read for you. If it is loading slow today, I’d just click off and try again next week. No point in spending your precious time waiting for my blog to load. We are working to get the issue resolved. Hopefully it will be sooner than later. Thanks for hanging here with me.

My youngest nephew will be turning 1 in a couple of months. He is such a happy, scrumptious little guy. While my mom and sister took my boys to play laser tag this week, I had the 4 girls and the littlest guy. I forgot how busy a crawler can be and my house is no longer baby-proofed. He kept me on my toes. Parenting is exhausting. Parenting little ones take tremendous physical endurance. Parenting bigger kids takes mental and emotion endurance! Both require grace – for ourselves and our kids.

Little man and I were hanging out downstairs when my daughter arrived with a bag declaring it was time to give him a makeover. This poor guy…four girls that all think he is their doll/baby.

8.16littlest-18.16littlest-28.16littlest-38.16littlest-48.16littlest-5And I’ll state what many are thinking… THE CHALKBOARD IS GONE?! Yep, if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know this wall is always changing…my house is always changing. My friend stopped over and helped me to freshen things up using what I already had on hand. I’ll post more about that soon.8.16littlest-6“Save me Aunt Ashley!”8.16littlest-7I tried to force him to lay on my chest and take a nap. He wasn’t for it. Bummer.8.16littlest-88.16littlest-98.16littlest-10I told her, “I wouldn’t do that. He has teeth now.” You can guess what happened next.8.16littlest-118.16littlest-12I eventually landed on the floor and stayed there.8.16littlest-13I absolutely LOVE the stages my kids are in now, but I sure am thankful for a little guy in my life too. Parenting felt simpler then – love, feed, play, hold. When I really step back and think about though – those are still the things my kids need most. Love. Feed. Play. Hold.


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  • Kate - Hi Ashley!
    Oh my GOSH, this post is adorable! Thank you for sharing it! I am really looking forward to future posts about your living room and painting projects! So fun! I do have to ask though…in the last frame…weren’t you afraid of getting drooled on?? haha!!! Teething babies are usually pretty wet!! 😉 Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Southern Gal - Cuteness overload!

  • Ashley - LOVE the new living room makeover! Looks so great!

  • Amy K. - eep! Your words and photos bring back the baby experience full force! So cute, and so exhausting. I’m glad to know that it’s not just me who’s having trouble with your site loading. Rather than click away and try again later, I’ll be clicking and then messing around somewhere else until your site loads. =)

  • Stephanie - I love how you ended this post. Sometimes we become so nostalgic for when our children were babies. But it is true that when we take a short break from the homework, errands, and extracurricular, all our children really still want is to be held, play and have snacks. It’s the simple necessities and they are still just as sweet.

  • Tessa - I would love to know details on your rug! :)

  • Kimberly Oyler - my sister’s baby napped on my chest for over an hour yesterday. it was THE BEST. until i was hungry and had to pee. then i was like, get this baby off of me. 😉

  • carrie Campbell - He’s sooo cute. And I like your new art wall behind the couch. One of the pieces reminds me of DIY you did years ago that was paint by number over a painting you thrifted. (I think… :) well, anyways some DIY showed up on Pinterest 3 years ago and it brought me to the blog and I’m still here 3 years later.) :)

  • Byron - You are a kid magnet! Then again, kids love homes with other kids in them and yours is pretty full (cool Moms help with the allure too).

    As, apparently, the only guy who posts here, I have to ask: what is it with women and hanging plants? I honestly don’t get it. Oh well.

  • AshleyAnn - Come back to Crossfit and I’ll explain why hanging plants are wonderful in person :)

  • Mel - Did Firecracker take the last image? She’s talented for sure!

    Greetings from Germany.

  • Anne Marie - Totally worth waiting for it to load up! :) I’m always inspired by your posts… And pictures of your home!

  • Halas Tida - Woow you have amazing Kids, Love this room looking Wonderful :)

  • AshleyAnn - Mel – she did. When she sees my camera not in my hands, she is off taking her own pictures.

  • Lacey - Your blog is totally worth waiting around for it to load! 😉 And my goodness … he’s nearing a year already?? Watching other people’s baby’s grow online sure does make time fly!

  • Gretchen - Where did you get the beautiful rug! What a fun way to add lots of color!

  • AshleyAnn - Gretchen – it is from World Market

  • Julie - Your new wall collage looks awesome!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I am so with you. I love how Mary Alice makes us all slow down.

She always wants to help. Cooking. Cleaning. Organizing. Party planning. Hosting. My little sidekick.

Chris recently began showing her the ropes for how to make a latte using our espresso machine. Almost every morning she grins at me and asks, “Do you want a coffee?” She hasn’t quite mastered the whole process on her own, but she’s pretty close.

50mm, ISO 400, 1/125, f/2.8

Typically, she is facing the machine when she makes coffee. I have several pictures of her from behind, but I wanted one capturing her face. I asked if her if she would pour the milk at the table this time.

50mm, ISO 200, 1/160, f/2.8barista-0250mm, ISO 200, 1/100, f/2.8barista-0350mm, ISO 200, 1/100, f/2.8barista-0450mm, ISO 250, 1/100, f/2.8barista-0550mm, ISO 250, 1/100, f/2.8barista-06There are times that I hope to capture an everyday moment, but something makes it difficult. For these pictures, I wanted to capture her face but that was not possible without stepping in and asking her to move. Her face didn’t change and the moment was no less authentic by directing where she stood. There are times I can’t step in because it would completely change the moment. When I can help get light to my subjects’ faces, I take advantage of the opportunity.

You can find more simple photo lessons on the Photo Tips page. To dive in deeper to learning how to use your camera (DSLR and phone) you can register for my online photography courses ~ SnapShop Photography.



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  • AndreaB - I love this! such treasured, day to day memories. I cant wait to train mine to do the same for me :)

  • Bonnie - I love her dress! Can you share your source?

  • Mel P - Very sweet! I also love her dress! It reminds me of the dresses I buy in Monsoon in Europe. That is my big splurge when I go home – a dress or two for my girls there.

  • AshleyAnn - Bonnie – it is from Target

  • Yen - Hi Ashley,

    I adore your blog. I love the way it serves as a catalog/collection of lessons and memories with your family. As I start my own little family, I really want to be able to do the same thing. However, with the way the internet is nowadays and pictures are often taken from websites and used for other purposes, my husband is wary of having pictures of our family on the Internet. My question for you is, what steps do you take to protect the pictures of your family&loved ones so that they don’t get used inappropriately? Hope to hear from you, Yen

  • Cynthia - Just LOVE this story! When my daughter was around this age, she used to do the same for me. Sweet memories! 😉

I don’t remember the last time my sister, mom and I had a few days together. My mom wanted a girls weekend with her daughters, so we headed to Texas for a few days. It is funny how some things never change. Those two kept me laughing and when they got us lost, I got us back on the right road (I am writing that for them!).

Waffle Champion. Listening to corny jokes coming from the front row of the car. Mexican. Coffee Shops. IKEA. World Market. Mom’s favorite nearby winery. Good times with two of my most favorite girls.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

In other news, yesterday I shared a boomerang video on Instagram yesterday. Since not everyone is on IG, I thought I’d share it here too…

I told my almost-teenager that I added a saying to our Letter Board for him. He told me it was slightly inappropriate 😉

“Why be moody when you can shake your booty”

I saw the quote on Pinterest. Posted with permission because he is awesome, thinks I’m strangely funny and is equally baffled by me as I am of him. #choosejoy #momlife

(click on the picture to see the video)



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  • Byron - Funny video!

    Living in the same town as my sister and Mom, we see and talk to each other often (at times, too often!). Sadly, only Mom was ever interested in road trips and then only to Texas to see her sister(s). Still, always nice to hand out with them.

  • Laura Y - Wow! This is the best. Thanks for the video. I love checking your blog in the morning. Always helps me start my day on the right note.

  • Cathy S. - Love the look on his face! He is totally trying to ignore you.

  • Cathy S. - Love the look on his face and how he is obviously annoyed and trying to ignore mom.

  • Ethel White - I don’t know how he can keep a straight face, little momma has got moves!!!!