I train astronauts.

It started in the back of a van. I was sitting next to Amy on our way to a big ole’ barn in Kansas.  We had met for the first time the evening before and I was looking forward to getting to know her a bit better.
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I asked her what she does (in regards to a “job”) and she answered “I train astronauts.” I am pretty sure I giggled and then asked her what she REALLY does…thinking I need to remember that response next time someone asks me if I have a job. BUT…she sweetly confirmed that she does in fact train astronauts. Pretty sure that was the coolest answer I’ve ever heard to “What is your job?”

I proceeded to tell her how my childhood dream was to be an astronaut. I still remember exactly where I was and the emotions I felt watching the Challenger take-off and explosion. I was 7 years old. Amy answered all kinds of crazy questions I had – it was kind of like talking to a rockstar for me. She was so nice about it all. She told me she’d gather up a few NASA things and send my way..Yeah!!!

Well that package arrived. Inside were 3 Lego Astronauts. Are you kidding me?! Perfect. NASA and Lego have recently begun a new partnership “to inspire children to build and explore the future.” I gave the boys two of the Lego astronauts to share and I kept one for myself (mind is the one that doesn’t look like it collided with space rocks.)
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My little Lego Astronaut is proudly displayed in my room.

It reminds me of my childhood dream, but also how that dream has changed to involve Lego loving boys.
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There were also tons of other goodies from NASA.
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Along with those goodies came tattoos that say “Future Engineer * Scientist * Astronaut”. I was the first to put one on. It’s on my upper arm. I’d post a picture, but all those Body Pump classes I’ve been attending are paying offand I don’t want to intimidate you with my guns.

FireCracker saw mine and wanted one on her foot.
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I’m pretty confident she thought it was a sticker. Later that day I thought it would be fun to get her bangs wet and attempt to blow dry them forward. That didn’t go over too well either. People say she is tough because she has 3 big brothers picking on her. Really, she picks on them….and I pick on her.
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Happy Friday!

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  • Lindsay - OH MY WORD! Check out that bottom lip! Fabulous photos :)
    She is SUCH a cutie!

  • Mallory @ R. Simple Life - What a cool job! I’ve always secretly hoped a bother/sister/child of mine would be an astronaut. I’ve never wanted to, but I always have wanted to see into that life.

    And I LOVE the pictures of Firecracker. She’s so cute and embarrassed.

  • Rebekah @ It Only Gets Better - Oh my goodness! This is one of the BEST posts EVER! Her expressions are killin’ me! Those NASA Legos are awesome! I want some to keep me inspired to reach for my dreams!

  • Vy - Oh my!!! Those last few pics had me laughing out loud! I’ve never seen her so unhappy in all of your pics! Too funny and cute :) I love it!

  • andy - cool lego men
    love her reaction to the tatoo
    and her pouty face in the last pic

  • Erin - She has the cutest! most wholly dramatic facial expressions. It’s so great that you’re able to capture so many of them!

  • amanda lester - random question but what kind of flash diffuser do you recommend for a pop up canon rebel flash?

  • Michelle - Oh my, those pictures are hilarious to me because my recently-turned-one year old makes that exact same pouty face :) I don’t think she likes when I giggle at her when she’s mad…

  • Jess - fabulous…sitting here LOL. Thank you for that.

  • Leah R - How cool with the NASA stuff!! I’m crackin up about the FireCracker pictures =) Too cute!

  • Yuliana - LOVE Firecracker’s pictures. She is so cute!!!!

  • Courtney - Thanks for the photos of Firecracker’s bangs! I want my girlie to have pigtails and she pulls them out and makes the same faces…have a great weekend!

  • Lesley - Those pictures of Fire Cracker are AWESOME!!

  • the whyte house - Astronauts, eh? Well don’t I feel boring. ;) very cool. My bff from Oklahoma and I are actually talking about going to Marion to the barn. I’ve wanted to go forever. Firecrackers series of faces are the best. I laughed out loud at the last one. I torment my daughter, too. :) she loathes the blow dryer.

  • Kellie - LOL!! That last photo made me giggle, my son makes those pouty faces too! :)

  • Jenny Joy - Astronaut Lego men? *swoon*
    The lurve the temp tattoo progression of pictures. Oh. My. Goodness. That amount of cute really ought to be illegal.

  • lauren - oh my word. she is a crack up!!! :) i actually watched the challenger blow up! so sad… i think i was 9… so sad. can nt WAIT till april 30!! okie or bust!! :)

  • Danett - Oh my goodness. Firecrackers face is priceless!!!

  • Cory - Oh my goodness…those pictures of firecracker are AWESOME!!

  • maggie McKenney - OMGosh, that last photo….reminds me of when I curled emma’s hair when she was 2…so funny….firecracker is hilarious! love the post~ thanks!

  • ashley jensen - I have to say I like FireCracker’s hair the natural way. She looks like a baby version of Chris Farley in the middle picture!

  • amanda torres - I haven’t laughed this long in a l-o-n-g time! Those pictures of Firecracker are beyond priceless. And, the bangs. She really is sporting the late 80′s early 90′s bangs look. Full and forward.

  • Holly - You always manage to bring a tear to my eye and a smile to my face at the same time! Love starting my days reading your blog!

  • Lori - that is so funny…her faces when she can’t get the tatoo off…I love it. Lego’s & Astronauts…perfect…great story – greater job.

  • Molly - The pictures of Firecracker are Priceless!!! Gave me a good laugh!

  • colleen - So cool! My hubby is a high school teacher who has a masters & Phd in engineering from Duke (yeah we lost miserably last night): The best part is that he is a high school teacher. He has a 4 year engineering academy in a public high school here in Birmingham, Alabama. Lots of his kids dream of working for NASA, especially since they have a center in Huntsville. I am amazed at their dreams and how exciting it is for him to help them find their way on this part of their journey to achieving them. http://www.eahoover.com is their website if you want to see what some future astronauts might be doing in high school!

  • Pamela - I absolutely love that last picture of her. Gorgeous!

  • ashlee - oh my word! her face in that last picture is the best!!!!!

  • Emily Langston - Oh my word…. the last picture is just pitiful!
    Made me smile and cry all the same!

  • Betsy G - Ok…had to comment on this one. I had a total laugh-out-loud moment with this post. Firecracker is priceless in the last series of shots. My sweet Avery has a mullet right now so I can totally relate to the baby girl hair woes.

  • LeAnne W - I keep saying it, but Firecracker reminds of my little girl. How can little toes make me smile so much! I see mine in yours. The last 3 photos made my day! I laughed out loud! Thanks!

  • Erin - Sweet 80′s bangs and tat! ;)

  • Vénusia - Your daughter is cute even when she is angry. All your kids are !!!

  • sarah - those little faces! So great that you got it on film!

  • Kimberlee J. - How nice of Amy! I love that she sent you that stuff!!!
    When are you going to Adult Space Camp? :)

  • Meadowlark - awww….. stop torturing her with the blowdryer. She’s sweetie-cakes personified as she is. MEAN MOM!!!!! :)

    Thanks for always giving me something to smile about.

    Much peace.

  • The Old Block House - So wonderful that NASA and Lego are working together. So generous of your new friend to take time to share with you and the kids.

  • Caroline - Priceless!!
    Those frowns and unhappy faces are way too cute!
    She definitely look better and cuter with her fringe up. that’s her! :)
    I’m in Singapore so it’s already 9pm by the time i see your new post daily. So it gives my day a good wrap up.
    your blog is a MUST-READ everyday!

  • Jessica - Oh my word. Those pictures just made my crazy morning all better. Simply adorable. :)

  • Katie - oh.my.goodness! Those last three pictures are absolutely precious!

  • Laurie J - oh, ashley! my daughter has 3 older boys and is about to turn a year old. somehow when I see pics of Firecracker…..I feel like I am looking into the future of my Charity! <3

  • Mandy - Totally cracking up over here at the last 3!! Love Love Love them!

  • Amber - love love love the last photo of firecracker. made me laugh out loud! my daughter just asked me last night if she can go to the moon when she’s bigger. guess i need to feed that thought. :)

  • tiffani - what a great story! about meeting amy! and those pictures of F.C. are stinkin hilarious.

  • Lacy M. - Oh those last pictures are a killer!!!! How stinkin cute!!

  • Jenn - Good way to start the day…always puts a smile on my face.

  • Chelsea in MO - Awesome, just awesome, I laughed pretty hard at both of your inserted captions, LOVE it! A good way to start my Friday.

  • Reidunn - Awesome post!

  • Chelsea in MO - Awesome, just awesome. I laughed pretty hard at both of your captions. LOVE that FireCracker, she is so CUTE! Thank you for the fun start to my Friday.

  • katie - Before I die laughing at the last two pictures, I wanted to say my dad used to work at NASA writing the manuals the astronauts used on the shuttles. One of my favorite stories is how he almost crashed the lunar rover the astronauts used to train with because he was horsing around. Ok, now I can resume the laughing fit. PS: Her sweater is all kinds of awesome. I love dressing my daughter in dark blue and grey. As a result, I’ve been known to scour the boys’ clearance racks at babyGap as well as the girls’ b/c they don’t make enough dark neutrals for the little ladies.

  • Melissa W. - How awesome! LOVE the astronaut “Lego guys” as my three call them. :-) And firecracker is SO cute, as always. :-)

  • natalie - I love the wall paper. What a fun background for your photo shoot! Wow- she actually really DID train astronauts? That’s so cool.

  • Abby P - Love the pic of firecracker in the middle in the last set of pics….Her face is SO adorable! Happy Friday to you too!

  • Saundra Fowler - Firecracker is hysterical!! I laughed and laughed!

  • Desiree - I love that pouty face! How nice of your friend to send those things for you. I used to dream of being an astronaut. It must have been fascinating to listen to her tell about her job.

  • meg duerksen - have you ever been to the cosmoshpere in hutchinson ks? it’s a huge space museum. we just went on wednesday. :) AMY rocks.

  • Lisa J - Happy Friday indeed! That is a wonderful way to kick off my day. You crack me up Ashley, so funny. Firecracker is such a rock star…I love her sulky face. Awesome. I’m pretty sure I still pull that face when I don’t wanna do stuff & I’m 30. Have a lovely weekend! x

  • Mallory - HA! Love the pictures of your daughter!

  • Sherly - Firecracker’s last photo really made my day! I love it!! :) She’s so adorable!!!

  • Mirys from Brazil - Cool!!!!!!!!!
    Super cool!!!!!!!

    I´m so lucky I´ve found great friends on the internet too!
    It´s amazing the size of the world today: like a petite poire!!!
    Everybody can get in touch with everybody and get to know the most amazing people! Fantastic!

    Mirys
    http://www.diariodos3mosqueteiros.blogspot.com

    PS: but, in my case, I´m the one sending gifts by ordinary mail and fedex. ;) Just love it!

  • Kristin Bommer - i could just look at pictures of her all day. her little face makes me smile :)

  • Elizabeth - Hysterical! Love that last picture of her with the bangs :)

  • {amber P} - Oh my gosh, Firecracker is soooooo adorable! These pictures are so hilarious! Her expressions remind me so much of my 20 month old son. SUCH a FUN age!

  • tasha roe - this is such a fun post!! my boys are crazy about NASA! like crazy!! I have a funny story for you –
    I have a friend that use to travel all over for her job. She never talked about her job (kind of hush-hush) so I never asked and never knew – like Chandler on Friends. She invited me over to her house for the first time and showed me her craft room/office. I walked in and her walls were COVERED in FRAMED, AUTOGRAPHED & PLAQUED pictures of different NASA missions. I looked at her and said “wow! kind of a SUPER-FAN I guess!” She looked at me and said “i work for NASA organizing the missions.” Holy cow! It was pretty cool. I wouldn’t have had the appreciation for it if it wasn’t for my boys.
    oh and those pictures of Firecracker are too much! I want to squeeze her.

  • Alice H - Oh my goodness…could Firecracker be any cuter?? LOVE her pouty face!

  • mariagiovanna - Oh my goodness, that is so incredibly, beyond-adorable! I just love the photos of your little girl…too cute!

  • Ali Harris - What great photos! My daughter is almost 20 months and reminds me so much of your daughter. Firecracker is adorable and those pictures made me laugh out loud. :)

  • Jerri-Rae - I love the pictures of her bangs!!! too cute!!! Firecracker is the cutest thing and I love her bangs and the fact that they grow backwards is precious! these pictures made me laugh out loud!!!

  • Amanda D - How old is Firecracker? My youngest, Colton, is 20 months. They make some of the exact same expressions. I can picture the whiny sound or grumble or laugh when I look at your pictures!

  • Lisa Pummel - I love her face in the last picture. So much personality!!

  • giozi - OHh poor chubby. In the last photo is like my son.

    I went to Cape Canaveral Kennedy when I was a child. 6 old. wow archaic age.

  • Jen @ zeelah - so cool. so, so cool! i LOVE the series of firecracker with the tatoo– those are just pricless.

  • Julie Thacker - I can always count on your blog posts to make me smile. Thank you for that. Have a great weekend.

  • Emily O. - My 2yo got some temp tattoos with his valentines from daycare classmates and I was pretty sure he’d have the same reaction as Firecracker if I tried to put them on!

    Love the LEGO astronauts! Am I the only one who thinks that the unhelmeted astronaut looks like James Lipton from “Inside the Actors’ Studio” and “Arrested Development”?

  • christina larsen - Cool job!!! Cool legos. My son loves Legos. :)

  • Jenny B. - I have tears coming out of my eyes I am laughing so hard at those last two pictures of Firecracker. I keep scrolling up and down, and it’s cracking me up every time! :D

    SO cool about meeting the astronaut trainer and all the NASA goodies! I wrote a blog post about my memories of the Challenger a while back. I had the intention of recording lots of old memories like that, but I only finished a couple.

  • Melissa - Those last pictures are absolutely wonderful. Love them!

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators - Oh my, those photos of Firecracker just cracked me up. What an unhappy little girl in her poufy bangs.

    Can I tell you I love how you capture these tiny moments and love that you share them with us? Your blog is a joy to read and always brings a smile to my face.

  • Ami - Awww she’s so adorable. I wanted to go to Space Camp and become an astronaut so bad when I was kid. Love, love your blog. :)

  • caro - jajaja, what pictures and the gift is awesome!!!!!

  • Jill - oh my gosh, i want to eat her up. absolutely hillarious.

  • Leanne - oh my! that last photo had me crying I was laughing so hard. my little girl does that very same face. She would be mad too about the “sticker” not coming off. Priceless!!!

  • Kimber - Oh.My.Goodness.

    That last pic of firecracker has to be the funniest thing ever!

    props to you for trying the bangs and props to her for letting you do it! I’m still laughing inside thinking about that picture!

  • Irene Wiranata - How can she be soo cute? You’re so blessed, all your kids are full of expression, surely that would make you happy looking back at the pictures. Have a nice weekend there! *Irene, NZ*

  • joan kimball - I know I keep asking graphic and photo stuff, but how did you make the captions over the photos? Cute!

  • Jess H - too cute!!! I don’t know what else to say :)

  • Micki - yes…i was laughing out loud too

  • heather - peeing my pants laughing over firecrackers expressions.
    pee-ing.
    you, my friend, crack.me.up!
    happy weekend!!

  • Brooke Whitis - i love seeing how big sweet little Firecracker is! She is getting to be such a big girl! :)

  • Tamara - Ha!! I laughed so hard at this! (unfortunately my daughter had just fallen asleep on my lap…)

    This is my first time commenting, just wanted to let you know that
    I am addicted to your DIY section, and am constantly being inspired by them! Often times after I tell my husband an idea I have for a project (and that list is very large) i have to preface with the phrase “so, I was reading Ashley Ann’s blog today…” It’s gotten to the point that even he feels like he knows you.

    Thank you for the inspiration, and for all of your adorable blog posts!
    God Bless!

  • Kate - I love the picture of firecracker finally giving up on getting the tat off her foot! How fun to have a friend who trains astronauts.

  • OrangeFarmhouse - Maike - OMG she is getting cuter every day! love the serie of pictures!

  • Katherine - love this! Firecracker is darling… She is beautiful, and I LOVE her hair! What a blessing to have it out of her eyes all the time!
    You’re such a great Mommy and inspiration to me :)

  • Carissa - I seriously laughed so loud that I’m pretty sure I scared my children at the bang picture of Firecracker. That last picture on the bottom right of her “pouting” is a classic. And just so you know…I am a total tomboy, always have been, and I can not for the life of me figure out how to fix my daughter’s hair or dress her. Our college babysitter always comes up with these adorable outfits from her closet and I am always like, “Why couldn’t I put that together?!?!”

  • Jessica P - I. Love. Your. Daughter.

  • Tracie - I just laughed out loud at the pictures of her at the end! How funny. My 4 year old son is super picky about his hair. I love to brush it after his bath and brush it the “wrong” way. He gets really worked up.

  • Zhanna - goodness gracious!!!!!!!!!! firecracker is awesome!!! I cant get enough of her face expressions! she is beyond precious!

  • Kelly - I’m glad you weren’t an astronaut.
    Honey, when they start terraformin’ the solar system, they are going to need to to decorate!

    What is in that frame next to the cool potted plant? Could we see, please?

    And of course that firecracker – hilarious!

  • Tonya - I absolutely love that last photo! Makes my heart giggle :)

  • Stephanie George - ohmygoodness, I loved this post. I was laughing out loud. I can totally picture all of this happening with my 18 month old.

    On a side note, this is the first time I’ve posted, but I’ve been reading your blog for a month or so now. My family and I live in Seattle, but I grew up in Edmond, OK so I felt a connection with you when I realized you live in the midwest. Love your blog and your photography. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  • Brooke - HI! I love your blog! How do you get your pictures so big?

  • Lori Anderson - That series of pictures is too cute for words.

  • cailan - These are just the best pictures ever. I love how you capture her puzzlement and frustration and ultimate pout – so precious. And adore your wallpaper in the background! :)

  • Erin - The Smallest Sparrow - Those bang pictures are hilarious!!!! What a great capture!!

  • annalea - wow. i am jealous of that package. my childhood dream was to be an astronaut too (and when i retired, i wanted to run for president).
    my 4yo hated tattoos at that age. she would want me to scrub them off after a few minutes.
    and i think i need to snag some of those legos for our home!

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