I’ve been away from the online world for the last several days and probably won’t post as regularly this week. Last month I posted about the non-profit Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, a organization that connects photographers to families facing the loss of an infant. In that post, I briefly mentioned that I was preparing for the birth of my dear friends’ son.

On Wednesday morning I stood in the delivery room as they welcomed their new son into the world. For three days they invited me in to capture his sweet life. He was perfect, but his little heart just wasn’t built for this world. I stood at my friend’s bedside as her precious boy left her arms for Heaven. All he ever knew was love. Every mom loves to show off her baby and with her permission I am getting to give you a glimpse at his handsome face. His story is still being written and one day I hope to get to share it with you.

I will never be able to put into words the depth of the beauty and pain of those 56 hours. My heart is broken. This week I’ll be with friends and family honoring and celebrating the life of a boy who forever changed mine.

Heaven can’t come soon enough.

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  • Southern Gal - He’s beautiful. My heart breaks for this family. Praying for them and you as you minister to them through these photographs and your presence.

  • Tammy - This is an unbelievably altruistic thing to do….I can’t even imagine the emotions and strength felt in the room.

  • Kelleyn - How wonderful you were able to be their and capture the miracle he was even if his journey on this life was only for 56 hours. Sadly too many babies are born with Congenital Heart Disease! Praying the Lord will wrap his arms around his parents and give them comfort. He was beautiful!

  • AmyK - I can’t seem to find the words to write. Sending thoughts and prayers to this family.

  • Ashley Green - Praying for your friends!

  • Molly - Heartbreaking and beautiful. Prayers for you and this sweet family.

  • Angie K - My heart goes out to all of you. I tried to volunteer for nilmdts and I didn’t have the strength. I hope you find strength with the love of your family to help you through this insurmountably painful experience.

  • erin - He is so very precious. You are truly a gift and an amazing friend to be there to capture those precious hours that they had with their son. My heart breaks for your friend and her family.

  • Callie - He is absolutely beautiful! What an amazing gift to have these photographs. Praying for this family this morning.

  • Melanie - Oh, he looks so perfect and even happy in your pictures. It’s hard to imagine that he has left this world after 3 short days.
    My thoughts are with his family.

  • Michelle Hill - My thoughts and prayers are with your friends. He is without a doubt a beautiful soul.

  • bethe - What a beautiful baby! I am so sorry for their loss.

  • Shannon - He is so beautiful. My heart is broken for this family. The loss of a child should never happen to anyone. <3

  • Sandy - He is gorgeous. I am so very sorry for their loss. And, so very thankful for your strength.

  • Elizabeth - How beautiful- he is precious! Praying for this family!

  • La Madre Tigre - This might be the most beautiful post I have ever read. My heart just stopped for a second.

    Thank you.

  • tara pollard pakosta - I will never understand why God allows this to happen. What a beautiful baby, just amazing how one can be so small yet touch so many lives. thanks for sharing this beautiful soul.
    tara

  • Cindy Camp - I taught with both of these wonderful people for six years, and they are so precious to me. So many of us who taught (and teach) with this precious couple and and have been praying for months now are grieving with them. Thank you for these photographs (and others) that have reminded all of us how precious life is and how wonderful Heaven will be.

  • angie - What a beautiful gift you were able to give this family. He’s beautiful.

  • Dena - Such a beautiful priceless gift you are providing them with this pictures.
    What a perfectly precious little man.
    My prayers will be with his family and friends at this unbelievably difficult time.

  • Rachel S - He is so stunningly perfect. I just can’t wrap my mind around how perfect he looks and yet how sick he was. Infant loss is such a hard, hard topic. It terrifies me. I’m sure this little guy’s parents will treasure the beautiful memories you captured for them in the midst of all the heartache.

  • AmandaH - Thank you for this gift to this family. My dear friend experienced the death of her babies before delivery and had a photographer there and it was a wonderful gift for their family!

  • Heidi Jo the Artist - So sorry for your loss, their loss, and all that are mourning. It is hard to ever understand why babies and children are taken to heaven, when it seems too soon to us. My nephew will have been gone ten years, this month. Still hard, and still missed immensely. Someone told our family when he died that, “Jesus needs little ones in heaven too.” Praying for comfort for all.

  • natalie - ashley, thank you for sharing this. my heart has been aching for them this week. but oh what a gift that you can share your giftings with them. you are the perfect person to stand beside her bed. love your heart, girl.

  • Sarah M - What a precious soul. Deliver us, Lord Jesus.

  • Chelsea - Handsome and beautiful baby boy! Love his sweet hair! Praying for strength to come alongside the parents and carry them through this.

  • jodi - praying comfort for all of you today and in the coming days and weeks. My heart breaks knowing the loss that has been suffered. Grateful for the gift you were able to give this precious boy’s family!

  • sarah k - Many tears as I look at the pictures of that beautiful boy, and remember my own beautiful boy we said goodbye to just over a year ago. My heart aches for his family. It is a long, dark, hard road. I’m so glad they have you to love them. From my experience I would say, just love them, and be a safe place for them: no “right” answers, no expectations, just love. I’m sure that’s what you are doing.

    And you are so right, heaven can’t come soon enough.

  • Laura J - Sending prayers to everyone that loved him. It is a Holy thing to be with someone when they die. It is very hard, but it feels like a tremendous honor.

  • Megan - This post touches me and I am looking forward to reading the entire story.

  • Emily - Such an amazing thing that you have done. There are too many parents with empty arms, and I’m tucking these two into my heart. <3

  • Casey - A little over a year ago I lost my baby boy just 15 minutes after he was born. I am so grateful for the pictures I have. Your friend will cherish these forever.

  • sue - Prayers for this family…I can’t imagine having to say goodbye to that sweet, perfect face. Cannot imagine.

  • Jill - He is absolutely beautiful. The pain in their faces is heartbreaking. Sending lots of prayers for strength right now.

  • Patty - What a priceless treasure these pictures are to this family. God bless you for being there for your friend not only to capture his little life in photos, but to comfort them and be there for the family. These photos brought tears…we just welcomed a new baby boy into our family 2 1/2 weeks ago….perfect and healthy. Makes me so sad to think of what this family is going through. Praying God gives them comfort during this hard time. What a great friend they have in you.

  • Kelly - He’s a beautiful boy. What a gift you gave them. Praying for all of you near the situation. I can only imagine how overwhelming the grief must be.

  • Marcie - “Heaven can’t come soon enough” — beautifully put :) What an angel, many prayers for his parents.

  • Addie - Oh he’s just perfect. Wonderful work that you did. So sorry for this family.

  • Karen - Praying for your dear friends!

  • Betty - Love and prayers to you from Alaska. I Praise Jesus that you loved and cared for this child for months plus days. Glory to God.

  • AndreaB - What a beautiful, perfect, whole baby. My heart is shattered thinking of his parents both celebrating and mourning his short but perfect life. Ashley I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult this was but ohh gracious how treasured these beautiful photos will be.

  • sherry - He is absolutely beautiful.

  • Laura - He is beautiful. This makes me so sad. He is just perfect and innocent. My love and thoughts go to his family and friends. Aroha nui xx

  • Shanna - He is beautiful. I don’t know what to say except that I’ll think about him and his family tonight.

  • Kasey W. - My heart just breaks for this family. What a beautiful little boy! I am sure that his parents will treasure these photos forever. What a wonderful gift for them! I am so sorry for their loss. I cannot imagine how they feel, but I will be praying for them.

  • Tonya - I saw this on your Instagram feed. It about killed me to read but such a wonderful way to capture such an emotional time. My heart breaks for them. It made me squeeze my kids that much tighter.

  • Cassandra - instantaneous tears & heartbreak…his family & friends are in my thoughts & prayers

  • Rachel S - I have a feeling someone may have already shared this with you but if not, you might want to pass this video on to your friends. It is a Christian couple who just lost their daughter who also only lived three days, due to birth complications. They offer such a raw, real perspective on the suffering they are going through.

    http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/davis-family-fund/184064

  • Holly - My heart aches for this family. What a beautiful little boy. Praying hard for them…

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I’m so sorry Ashley. Please let me know if there is anything we can do

  • amanda - What an amazing gift you have given this family. I have thought many times about volunteering for NILMDTS and am reduced to tears every time I think about it. I am sobbing at my desk right now looking at this beautiful baby. My heart goes out to them.

  • Christina - Absolutely beautiful images. I’m sure they will treasure them. Love his blonde hair. Prayers

  • Megan - Those are so beautiful yet so hard to look at and think of what was happening in real time while those were being taken. He is beautiful — perfection. Praying for your friend. My mind can’t even let me go to a place to imagine what she must be feeling. I just can’t.

  • Nicole L. - What a sweet little face! It’s so wonderful that all he ever knew was love. Such a bittersweet thought, though.

  • Rachael - What a beautiful, sweet little boy. I’m truly sorry for their deep loss. Praying they feel God’s love, comfort and peace all around them now and in the years to come.

  • jenn - He is beautiful. So special that you got to capture his life. Hugs

  • merideth altom - i keep coming back. he is so beautiful! and the pictures are treasures. and i love that you share your talent. what a blessing!!

  • Kirsten J - Oh my heart…..I wish there was never a need for those tiny caskets. Truly the toughest funerals I’ve ever been to. You honored that family so beautifully. Hugs.

  • Kim - My little girl would have been 8 yrs old in just one week. It still makes me cry when I see others go through the same thing. It’s the hardest thing for a parent to ever do. But I’m so grateful that I have the promise I’ll see her again! You do a great service!

  • Julie - Praying for this dear family tonight. I cannot imagine……

  • Julie - Such a beautiful boy!His parents are so brave!I will pray for them…

  • Rossella - What a beautiful little baby… I pray for him and for his family. A big big big hug from Italy

  • Carmen - My heart feels heavy to think of the pain of those who love him. What beautiful photos you have captured, full of love. Prayers for all who have said goodbye to a precious little one, xx

  • Steffany - Prayers and love to that beautiful family. And prayers to you and yours for being the woman who captured their baby boy for them. All of you have a strength that is immeasurable and a heart larger than life. Hugs from Texas…

  • Sarah - My heart is breaking for you, for their family…. How could such a perfect looking boy have to leave this earth so soon? I am grateful, especially at times like this, that through Him, things can be right, death will lose it’s sting and families can be together forever, even beyond the grave. My sister lost a baby in a similar situation just over a year ago, and something she said really cemented into my mind. She said, at the funeral, how a spirit must be pretty strong and pretty valiant to only need to be on earth for just a few hours. That those little spirits must have a far greater work to do in a phase of eternity we are not yet ready for. She said she was humbled to be able serve as a vessel for that little body, because that is something no one an do alone. Thank you for sharing their story. I feel like my life has been changed as well.

  • Laura - Beautiful pictures. I can only imagine the wounded hearts of your dear friend and her family. What a blessing you are as a friend to be there and support them in this time. Prayers for your friend and for you also.

  • Darcie - He is precious and so handsome. Hopefully his life will be able to tell a story that is as beautiful as he is. So sorry that you had to walk through this with a friend, but I know they are thankful you were there, just for that.

  • Marsue Fields - Thank you for the priceless pictures. You are an amazing friend!

  • Caroline Gillentine - You just have to know that you are a role model for me in so many areas of life…you are genuine, you are a faithful follower of Christ, and you are one of the absolute best photographers I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying, and a wonderful wife and mother to boot. On top of it all, you go and do things like this- spending your time serving others, giving back to others in need or pain. I will be taking your August-September SnapShops course, and cannot wait to study under you! You are a blessing to me and so many others- thank you for sharing your life, your heart, and your amazing talents here with us! Much love!!!!! xoxo

  • Kelly - September 15 2013 my sweet friend held her precious son Uriah in her arms as he entered the precious arms of Jesus. his five days here on earth changed my life. It was the best and worst wrapped so delicately together. Praying for you ALL! May His parents feel Gods arms wrap around them ever so tightly!

  • Amanda - I am so incredibly sorry for the pain of that sweet baby boy, his mommy, daddy, and everyone that loves him. Lifting them in prayers.

  • Sarah - I work at an elementary school with a multiple disabilities class. We had a student who passed away during her time with us. I am not sure of her exact disability but it was severe-she was in a wheelchair, could not speak, etc. Recently, on an anniversary of her death, her parents put a memorial piece in the paper with her picture and name. And all they wrote was “She taught us so much about life.” I feel that is appropriate with this sweet baby boy as well.

  • Melissa S. - He’s perfect. Bless him and bless his family.

  • Kaylan - Oh, my aching heart! He is so handsome and precious! This breaks my heart!! I will be praying for this family. Please, Jesus, come back!!

  • Jolene - Such adorable photos! Prayers for the family!

  • Kym - He is such a sweet boy. I hope you & his family are comforted in the fact that through our Lord babies are never lost! He is perfect and waiting for his Mommy & Daddy in Heaven!

  • Cathy - this brought tears to my eyes. praying for that sweet family.

  • Marjetka - My heart is broken over this family’s sadness. Such a perfect little boy, a sweet little angel.

  • Debi - My heart goes out to them and I will be praying for them and remembering their sweet blessing… what a beautiful baby. -debi

  • Marilyn - My deep heart’s prayers go out to this family. He is breathtaking. My heart hurts for them. I thank Jesus for holding our babies who were not called to be here for very long. I long for heaven to hold mine.

  • Jeannine - I have a sister that died three days after she was born from trisomy 13. I am only two years older than her. I have no photos of her and no stories. I think this is lovely what you are all doing. Don’t let him be forgotten. Remember him with joy and think of him often.

  • Rikki - He is just so perfect. So perfect.

    Bless you Ashley, trust and know that you are a gift.

  • Kristin - What a gorgeous baby, and what a heartbreaking story. And how wonderful that you got to be a part of his short life, and to take such beautiful photos for his family.

  • elizabeth H - I cannot imagine the sadness and sorrow for your dear friend.
    I am praying that “She feels the loving arms of the Father surrounding her during this time.
    Even in the midst of this valley of shadow…He is the Good Shepherd, carrying them in the pain.”
    What a treasure you are to capture the moments of his beautiful life!! You’ve given them a treasure. a complete treasure.
    blessings.

  • Kristin S - What a gift that you could serve your friends that way. So intimate. He was beautiful.

    Just this week I’m visiting a friend in Texas. I come twice a year to the Dallas area. 20 years ago in April, I came to visit another friend who lost her 8 day old son and had a one year old. This time, 20 years later, I visited PJ’s grave in Ft Worth. I never met him this side of heaven, but I did go to his grave this week. “Babyland” at a cemetery is sobering. Far too many families with dreams and hopes dashed. God knows. Their stories are written. It’s still sad.

    My friends have photos of those 8 days with PJ and they are treasures. You are blessing these families more than you’ll ever know.

  • Tiffany - He is beautiful. Praying for this special family.~

  • Ada - there are parts of this world so unknown to us, so hard to fathom. But God knows, He has even these darkest days that seem unfair. What a beautiful son you have. To know he had love only to be taken into perfect love in heaven is the only comfort. I can’t imagine. I can’t empathize. But I can pray. Lord, be present in their every thought & assure them your plan. We know it is good, we just need a glimpse.

  • Delia - This family is in my thoughts and prayers. What a beautiful little boy!

Two weeks ago I shared some simple photography tips for kids on the Mpix.com blog. It was a two part post. Part one was the tips. Part two is an art project using the photos your kids take.

Here are links to both posts (click on the titles):

Part One: Photography Fun for Kids – photo tips

Part Two: Photography Fun for Kids – art project
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These two are two years apart….and looking more and more alike each day, especially with their summer haircuts.5.14mpix2-25.14mpix2-35.14mpix2-4

This was his face when I told him his artwork would be featured on a big photography company blog.5.14mpix2-5

And then his face turned into a big smile.

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  • Wendy - Oh, I LOVE this idea! I’ve had the kids do this with pictures I’ve cut out from magazines, but never thought to do it with pictures! This is definitely on our summer “to do” list.

  • Jody - Love love this. Thanks for sharing!!

    More art/photography ideas for our kids please!!!!!!!

  • Seamingly Sarah - Oh my gosh! I’ve never really looked at them side by side like that. It looks like one of them is a time traveler who came to visit himself in the future. It’s amazing to see all of the possibilities that exist within each child.

  • Tonya - That face he is making in the last picture….cracked me up!

  • Southern Gal - I missed the second part on Mpix. I love that face!

  • Taylor - haha! I love that last picture! Kids are seriously too funny!

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • RaD - Mmmm…. I still think your youngest son and oldest daughter look the most alike. :0)

  • Elisha Wolter - Hi Ashley! This is such a great idea for kids to do! I think I’m going to give it a try with my kids, they will really enjoy it! I’m going to go and read the first post now, thanks for sharing!

  • Irene Wiranata - Thanks for the great idea for the projects (for future kids!) :D By the way, I am just wondering what are your kids’ rules on using technology and do you give them limit on how much they can use in a day etc.. (ipad,iphone,tv etc)

    Have a fabulous weekend! :))

Disclaimer: there were no crustaceans, felines, boys or girls harmed in the making of this post

If it rains, we are guaranteed to find our yard full of crawdads. Evidently, we must have a river running under our property. If anyone wants to come drill a well for us – the invitation is open. We know after a good rain, we can take a few steps outside and find a dozen crawdads crawling around the grass. We’re slowly becoming crawdad experts, spotting their holes from a great distance away. My eight year old naturalist examines each one and studies how they interact with different things. In other words, he tries to get them to grab various items, just not his fingers.

*the aperture setting for all of these was f/2.8, I was using my 50mm lens

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(don’t worry there was a little boy right behind the crawdad in case it decided to jump, which I am pretty sure it can’t)5.14crawdad-45.14crawdad-55.14crawdad-65.14crawdad-75.14crawdad-8

The crawdad won.

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  • Bonnie - Oh, I love the cat pictures! It’s like the cat is saying, “Whatever, dude. You’re not worth my time.” Haha!

  • Tiffany - Thank you for the giggles this morning. Too funny.

  • stephany - I love this.
    One of our favorite things to do as a family is to go down to the river near our house and fish for crayfish…thats what we call them.
    We caught 3 on Monday!

  • Alice H - those things creep me out! Great shots though.

  • Tonya - I had a rather unpleasant experience with one of those things when I was a teenager. It involved washing my hair in a creek bed (we were camping) and a crawdad getting stuck in my hair. The pictures made me laugh!

  • danielle - Those are great! We have a dry creek bed that overflows when it rains but no crawdads! Now I want to find a crawdad!

  • Jenn - growing up a cajun girl we boiled those up by the pounds and ate them with potatoes, corn and sausage. not sure what your naturalist boy would think about that but they are pretty yummy. they are frequently called mud bugs, we call them crawfish but lots call them crawdads too. my kids won’t get close to them. my son ate some as an 18month old but now calls them red bugs and says he doesn’t want to eat those red bugs.
    in fact we just ate some this past weekend. i was planning on posted them on my blog later this week. glad your kiddos had fun with them. love the disclaimer you made. i’m sure your brave boys were ready to grab up that crawfish from little one.

  • Christy - That’s crazy. I didn’t know the left the water long enough to just go walking around. We have an Australian Blue Crayfish as a pet. He lives in an aquarium, I don’t know how he would feel about walking around in the backyard!

  • Kellilu - What fun! The photo of Little One and the crawdad is marvelous.

  • Michelle Hill - I can’t help but get the heebie jeebies thinking about a back yard crawling with crawdads…gahhhh! Especially thinking about that picture you posted a while back with a pregnant crawdad…double gahhhhh!!
    the pictures are beautiful, however :)

  • Shevaun - We call them Yabbies in Australia. :)
    So did you eat them?

  • heather - Thank you for making me laugh out loud today. Those pictures are fantastic!

  • Susanna - These pictures totally made my morning! What great stories you tell with your camera.

  • Anna @ A Good Home - These are definitely some of my favorite pictures you’ve ever posted! I just love them!

  • Amanda - All I could think was collect them and boil them. Yum!! Where I’m from a crawfish boil with friends is a favorite way to spend an afternoon.

  • Amy Cornwell - I love the curiosity of the cat! So cute!

  • anastasia curtin - Super funny :) my daughter always chases sand crabs on the beach, no luck catching one yet though :)

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - LOL – the cats and crawdads crack me up!

  • Taylor - I seriously love those last pictures with the cat. That interaction is hilarious!

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • Bri Schaaf - Oh my goodness..Cracking up! That poor kitty! What fun!

  • Julie - Love the curiosity of the kids and the cat! We went camping in Oklahoma over the weekend and saw quite a few crawdads in the creeks where we were.

  • Meg - Oh my gosh! These are so funny! What is that crawdad thinking? Apparently he was thinking right to make the cat leave!

  • Jo Moseley - Okay, this made me laugh out loud, too! I think the photo of your Baby Girl & the crawdad looking at each other, is The Best!
    Thanks, for making my day!
    Hugs, Jo

  • Jenny B. - Love it! My 9-year-old son was looking over my shoulder, and thought the first picture was of himself. He said, “I held THAT!?” Hahaha. My kids are the opposite of naturalists. :) So glad you’re having fun with your big camera! I am sooooo wanting to get a new one. :)

  • jay - Wow that’s thin DOF at 2.8….!!

  • Heidi Jo the Artist - Such fun!

  • Kates - How fun for your kids to have these little creatures to enjoy! I’m sure they aren’t too upset when it rains!

  • Christine - Such a cute story through your images!

  • Elisha Wolter - This gave me a giggle! I like their ‘studying faces’! I love that your kids have such individual interests. I remember the post where you showed the handsome little man above’s bedroom with his nature pics on his wall. I was inspired by that as I have an ‘animal lover’ here too! Although, he likes snakes … eeewww! but,there are snakes on his wall! Among other animals! I love how you capture the big and little moments of life. You’re a real blessing!

  • kirsten - this series of shots is AWESOME. tells such a wonderful story, and i love the angle/DOF. thanks so much for sharing!

  • debbie Schaefer - Brilliant capture… the wonder, the awe, the personality of these critters and your adorable children. When I schooled and arrived at the image of the cat… OH my, just brilliant! I love your shares on what happens in your yard! I bet you could write a post on mosquitos and I would be in awe!

  • holly - fantastic photos!