Yesterday was beautiful! I found myself on the front porch with the girls thumbing through old craft magazines with the wind gently blowing. The boys were off playing. Chris was enjoying a Sunday nap. It felt like a country song. I turned to my oldest daughter and said, “Do you know what this is?”

She looked at me a little confused.

“Front porch sittin’,” I told her.

Front porch sittin’

I need to do more of it.


The girls looked very Norman Rockwell-ish sitting in their great grandparent’s chairs on a warm September day.

I thought…I need a puppy in this picture. It is my goal to add a puppy to as many pictures as possible because she soon won’t be a puppy.

Of course, when you add a puppy to a picture. Dangling feet are soon drawn up because puppies love nibbling on little toes.10.14porch-02The weather is supposed to be gorgeous this week. Like every week, it is full of things that need to get done. More ‘to-do’s’ than I really want to think about. This week I’m going to add “brew sweet tea & front porch sittin’” to my to-do list. What is the point of a great front porch if not for sittin’ and sippin’ sweet tea….

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  • Jolene - Love these pictures!!

  • Dawn - Yes, we all need a little more front porch sittin’ in our lives! :)

  • B Brown - Amen!

  • Amy Espinosa @the little farm diary - Our house is not all that big and the front porch is an outside room for us- my favorite room ‘in the house’ I might add! When I need to find solace in a busy day, that’s where I go. Enjoy all those front porch moments y’all!

  • Babs - I’m hosting my sons backyard wedding this Sunday afternoon.after scrubbing,painting,gardening,decorating and cooking for weeks,I’m looking forward to some of that South Carolina porch sitting!

  • Cathy - This makes me want a great front porch….and a puppy!! :)

  • Christi Smith - One of my favorite things to do, porch sittin’! Especially looking at magazines! Did I spy an old Martha Stewart Kids magazine? just curious.

    You should make sun tea on that beautiful porch!

    Oh and hoping this week is the last 90 degree day we will see for awhile!

    Have a great week!

  • Elisabeth - Front porch sittin’ is one of my favorite things to do! Although, here in New York State, it’s getting a little cool for that- high of 65 this week, lows in the 40s.

  • dana - I used to do a lot of “front porch sitting” with my grandparents. Fond memories for sure. Cheers to bringing back a lost art…slowing down, sweet conversation and front porch sittin!!

  • danielle - I am a cold weather lover so we will just have to agree to disagree on the weather :) That puppy pic though is so great! It makes me want one!

  • Rikki - Love these, too cute! And I couldn’t agree more! We could all use more front porch sitting’ :).

  • Beth - Hi Ashley… I tried looking for an email to contact you because this isn’t even related to this post. I’m not even sure if you’ll notice it.
    BUT…I’m finally at a point to purchase a mid-level DSLR. I reference your guide very often. Before I took the plunge, I just wanted to ask if there was any update in the works (I realize it’s less than a year old). I just don’t want to spend all that money now to see you update it right after the check clears.

    Just curious! THanks!

  • Kristin S - Toes, a puppy, a quilt, and a porch? Wonderful.

  • Kelly - Oh I love this! Have a great week of front porch sittin’!

  • jenny - love it! i hope you actually do check those things off your list again :) i know that when i add them… only sometimes do i truly commit… oh…. i need to make it more of a priority. i need some porch sittin’ too!

Most of these I posted on Instagram, but I kind of like to do round ups every now and then here.

These were all shot with my iPhone…just lots of random!


This girl is playing flag football this season. She’s got a brother on her team. A dad as a coach. And she prefers ‘princess braids’ for the games.

I have two guest posts featured today…

Tips for Capturing WHO your kids are on the Mpix blog:

guest-post-ashley-ann-blog-sept.14A photo essay of our June road trip on America Within


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  • Susan - Wow, a triple hitter! Congratulations! I loved all three!
    Happy Fall Weekend!

  • Laura Sudderth - Love all of these. My favorite is the picture of your daughter and the camera. That picture is priceless. We do mimic our parents.

  • kimberly oyler - that firecracker sure is a beauty.

  • Ruth - I love seeing all of your photos here :) I follow you on Instagram too but have noticed that the news feed doesn’t always show everything that has been posted so it’s easy to miss photos! It might be like Facebook where the more you interact with someone, the more of their photos you see.

  • Kristin S - That top left Firecracker pic? Totally looks like Lesley’s girls there.

  • Amy - Where did you get the “I’m not here to be average” poster? I so want one of those!

  • Danielle - Two great posts! You always encourage me to capture moments!

  • Michael - This is a great collection of photographs. You captured each scene so perfectly. You capture scenes in photos like a painter does on a canvas.

  • Paige - As always your photos and blog are like a deep breath to me. For some reason they just speak to my heart like breathing mountain air on a hike. Thanks so much for sharing your family. My favorite in this series is the dirt pile! Unrestrained, unscripted, pure kid fun. Like watching my boys on a Sunday night play flag football in my living room with socks tucked into their shorts. Knowing someone is going to crash into the cedar chest, but unable to stop the fun because its just so freeing to watch!

  • Laura - I’m with Amy! Where’d ya’ get the I’m not here to be average poster?

  • Amber - I need that “I’m here to be AWESOME” poster too and Google is failing me. I must know. :)

Thank you for your comments early this week about our new puppy addition. It was good to read the wise words of those of you that have had beagles. Basically, the consensus is beagles aren’t the brightest, they are easily distracted but they are really wonderful with kids. So far we know she is great with kids and easily distracted!
10.14arley-0110.14arley-0210.14arley-03So in the last week with our puppy Arley, I’ve learned one big lesson – puppies are IMPOSSIBLE to photograph unless they are sleeping. I can predict the movements of my kids. I don’t chase my kids with a camera, I usually can wait and anticipate what I want to photograph. Not with Arley. She goes 110% and then crashes randomly somewhere. If I think she is going to chase a boy, she goes after a girl. If I try to get a low angle, she tries to lick my lens. But she can nap with the best of them, so it looks like lots of napping puppy pictures are in my future. Or a really wet lens.


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  • Southern Gal - Oh, how precious she is! We had a beagle, Annie Rose, for over 11 years. She was my son’s 7th birthday present. She was the sweetest dog. I know Arley will bring much joy to your household and lots of smiles to those faces!

  • Ilse - Awww, so sweet. I really love beagles, looking forward to a lot more napping pictures!

  • Julie Moore - Do you know about #theoandbeau from @mamasgonecity on Instagram? It’s a whole series of her son sleeping with their puppy – in fact I think she’s turning it into a book! I’m guessing she had the same problem when they first got him ????

  • Susan - Ashley, Our Jethro is four and he is still hard to photograph! Devin has been able to get a few good ones when they go walking, but most of ours are still with a sleeping beagle!

  • Suzanne - So I made the mistake of showing my 3 boys the picture of Arley. Huge mistake because now they all think we need a playmate for Ruby, our beagle/border collie. And somehow, someone told about 3 baby beagles at our local shelter whose mother was killed by a car. Do you think I am getting any rest? Oh no……please is a constant word/song in this loud, crazy house of mine. Trying to think of another distraction but I am such a sucker for those adorable puppy moves,etc. As my mom told me, every family needs at least one animal around!!

  • Janice - LOL I have a lot of extreme closeups of my dog’s nose from when he was a puppy!

  • Christine {Pure Joy} - Guineas pigs are the same way — they won’t stay still for more than 10 seconds. Gotta be fast!

  • Renee Johnson - Keep the cute puppy photos coming! Arly brightens up my mornings :)

  • Michelle Hill - Your family is overflowing with cuteness!! I absolutely love close up photos of puppies and their little noses :)

  • Emily - I think Beagles are very smart! I do agree that they need stimulated, but a great job for your boys to teach obedience and work with her! There are many activities they can do to help her scratch that instinctual tracking itch. I have never owned one myself, but I have worked with animals all throughout my college and adult life. They do have the most annoying bark of all the dogs, though!!! But oh… they are the cutest puppies and are the most loyal to their kiddos! Arly is adorable and Im sure she will be a great addition to your clan!

  • Butterfly Mama - I have been toying with the idea of getting my son a beagle pup! Is Artley a full size beagle? Ive been eyeing a breed they call ‘pocket beagle’. Your sweet pup seems smaller then usual beagle pup. Congrats!

  • Kimberly Oyler - I would like to see some pictures of you chasing the puppy around please.

  • Bernadette - In my experience with our beagle, she was the smartest dog that we have had in the family. That dog knew so many words and could follow instructions such as if she would get tangled in her leash/lead around a tree or pole, we simply said go around and she would figure how to get herself unstuck. She always was a tracker but was well trained to “leave it” if told. As far as the howling/bark, she didn’t to that until my brother taught her how she should sound but before that it was regular barking – yeah I still owe him for that. We had her from puppy until she was 17 years and had to say goodbye. Still miss her to this day. Have fun with Arley. Treasure these bonding times of a family and a dog.

  • Kristin - Oh goodness, Ashley. She’s adorable! I grew up with beagles & there is hardly anything cuter than a beagle puppy. I tend to disagree about the smart-factor… Of course each animal is different just like people are so different, but for the most part, ours were very smart – which also made them very stubborn at times. So training is key – and lots of love & playtime (which I’m sure she’ll never suffer for). Congrats on your new baby. Looking forward to all the new, fun posts ahead. xo

  • candice - We also got a puppy last week, a hound mix. We rescued her from a local shelter. I am so encouraged by your blog. Really, thank you

  • O'Neill - These are GREAT pictures!!! She is most definitely the cutest puppy I have ever seen. Enjoy!

  • Megan - Love the puppy pics!!! I just wish I could smell that puppy smell through the computer. :) She’s so cute. Our beagle is very smart, but dopey at the same time if that makes sense?!! Like smart when he needs to be but very dopey and happy and good to go as long as we’re there for him to sit/lean against. A great porch dog for sure too!! Very loyal, but very much a slave to his nose! From what we know a nice walk and daily attention are the key, so I’m guessing the playing w/ your kids will kill those two birds with one stone. :) Enjoy!!!

  • Lisa - The are runners when they catch a scent. She is sweet.

  • Kim Gordon - Ah- Arley has fooled you!
    We have a beagle, too. Molly was a puppy for the first, oh, seven years of her life. At twelve, she is finally slowing down. It it true that beagles are great with kids. And yes, beagles are easily distracted. If Molly is going one way and catches the scent of something else, she automatically changes gears. But… beagles are much smarter than we give them credit for! Molly had us fooled in the beginning. She had us thinking she wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. However, when we get out a treat, she suddenly remembers everything we’ve ever taught her. Sit, roll over, shake hands, etc. When we don’t have food for her, she remembers nothing. So, when Arley has you thinking she isn’t so bright, get out a treat and she will blow you away with her brilliance!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Why do puppies make me so dang happy? So awesome!

  • Maria - I have a labrador, not a beagle, but my camera is also filled with “outtakes”.

    On a good day I’ll get her to look like this: But for every photo like that, I will have about ten that look more like this and this

    Basically, welcome to the family of owners of dogs who won’t stay still! =)

  • Nancy - “a really wet lens.”
    You’re funny sweet thing!

  • Kaitlyn - Haha, this is so cute! I know there are only a handful of pictures of my pup Lola from our first few weeks with her, and she’s sleeping in all of them. Try using a treat as a bribe to get her to stay still, as you teach her stay and sit she’ll become easier to photograph. Start training early! I know a lot of people wait (we did) but then I regretted it. You can put puppies as young as a couple months into training and it helps tremendously with their socialization. Good luck with her! She’s adorable. :)

  • Lorna - Hello :) I’d recommend teaching puppy to wait/stay as soon as possible, obviously it’s useful for lots of behavioural reasons but I’ve also found it makes taking photos a lot easier because you can tell them to stay when they’re in a particularly good position/light etc. it might not be the most natural pose because they’re looking at you but I’ve got some lovely photos this way :)

  • Debbie - Unless you got a dud, beagles are wicked smart! By the time Camper went to puppy school he knew: sit, down, stay, come, roll over and he was potty trained. That was by 16 weeks. :) good luck and enjoy every minute!

  • AshleyAnn - Debbie – I want to change our dog’s name to Camper now! Such a great name. So far Arley seems pretty smart too…and sneaky!