It is so wet here. Standing water covers large portions of our yard. It is wet, but it is also warm. The boys contemplated digging a pool, but my oldest informed me it would take too long so they settled for a hot tub.

5.15mud-015.15mud-02The hot tub also came with a slide/diving board. I mean, who doesn’t want to slide into a pit of mud? My oldest called the slide “luxury”. Well, son, that is one way to describe it.5.15mud-03“Hey mom, do you dare me to drink this?” No. Please don’t drink that. I double dog dare you NOT to drink that.5.15mud-05I’m still learning these boys. Every day is a wrestling match. Every day someone takes something too far. Someone gets hurt. Someone gets mad. Someone storms off. Every day. I asked them to make it one whole day in total peace and harmony for Mother’s Day. It didn’t happen. I figure it is worth it though. In the midst of all that rough housing and competition a bond is being forged that I can’t even fully grasp or understand. They fight like brothers and love like brothers. No one better mess with one of them, that is unless it is one of them.

My boys. Chris bought an outdoor shower head this weekend….5.15mud-065.15mud-075.15mud-085.15mud-09I’m going to hang one of those in their bathroom or laundry room. It just seems appropriate. And it would make me smile…I rarely smile when I walk into the laundry room or their bathroom!

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  • Southern Gal - You’ve captured boyhood perfectly with your words and those photos. I would hang one of those up in my living room!! Great capture. I love the first and last one. They are so tickled with themselves.

  • Tracy R. - As a mom to all girls, I love the glimpse into your boy world! It is heartwarming and makes me laugh!

  • meg - LOVE this! I’m so glad you spoke on how they fight hard and love hard. That’s my boys, although they’re smaller! And I have photos of my boys in the mud in the laundry room too!

  • Bryony - When me and my four brothers ended up like that (too often) my mom would hose us down outside and then we would take a shower while stomping on our clothes—give them a pre-wash of sorts. Loads of fun.

  • Jessica - These are just awesome. I can imagine them laughing at these together in 10 years! So well done. From one boy mama to another…the beauty of embracing the crazy and the dirty is a glorious perk of raising boys.

  • Itzi - I can totally relate to that. I have two sons. They love each other, the adore each other, they can spend hours hugging each other and telling each other how much they love one another. But when they fight, they fight like brothers. As heartbreaking as it is sometimes, it is lovely to see that bond growing and strengthening with the years. I hope they will always be best friends.
    Beautiful photographs by the way. Just gorgeous!

  • Dawn - Love! So fun

  • Kelley - So fun! I honestly think I would just throw those shorts away. Ha!! And I think I’m going to need an outdoor shower head also.

  • Aunt Sandy - Oh my goodness, that is priceless.

  • Jessie - These are some of my favorite pics on your blog now. I absolutely love these!

  • kaitlyn - I love this. I asked for peace on mothers day too and it didn’t work. Oh well. Through the insanity we all make it and inside our hearts are forever grateful for fighting and all.

  • angie - These just might be my favorite pictures of your boys.

  • Diana - Oh my gosh. These are perfect. Looks like the best fun. Must defenitely go up n their room and the laundry

  • Emily - This is my future!! I have 3 boys and they are an animal all their own! Amazing bond between the 3 of them though. Love to watch the fierceness of it!

  • amber - I love this. They are so happy! Perfect way to make laundry/terrible bathroom cleanup feel a little more worth it;)!

  • Tia Mirck - Have been following you for a couple of years now and just love your blog, and your kids and all your quirkiness!
    I live in Sydney, Australia, and if you ever come this way, do come and visit. You can stay in my spare room with its two beds, so you’ll have to work out who you’ll bring with you. Don’t wait too long though, I am getting a bit long in the tooth, but still do a lot of knitting and crochet for charity (blankets for poor people in cold places anywhere in the world mostly) and little fun things for kids.
    Anyway, just wanted to say ‘hello’!
    Love, Tia :-)

  • Jenny - You are an awesome Momma! I love seeing boys being boys! And an outdoor shower head… smart! :)

  • Corey - Best photos ever! That is awesome!

  • Caroline - WOW!! This is so so so awesome!!
    So awesome that they are having so much fun in the mud and get THIS awesomely dirty!!
    And it’s even more awesome that they have a momma like you who allows them to have this kinda fun and instead of freaking out, you are snapping away on your camera!!
    I would so totally do this when I am a mom, but unfortunately in Singapore, we dont really get mud around us. not like the ones you have.
    Stay awesome boys and momma!!

  • Meredith N. - Those last few pictures are so so great!!

  • Shannon - Wow!! I mean really WOW at those photos!! Worth every little speck of mud for those smiles and that happiness!!

  • danielle - I have pics of my boys covered in mud in their bathroom. It always makes me smile. Boys are great at getting muddy :)

  • Debbie - I love the pics of them being so dirty. I have two grown daughters so I can’t relate. However, I do have a two year old grandson that will probably teach me how to relate. Hope you have a great day!

  • Emily - I asked for the same thing for Mother’s Day! (but of course did not get it, although I must say they tried!) These are pictures to be treasured forever. Love the joy that comes when boys are muddy and messy. :)

  • ranee - i LOVE these photos…so great to capture these moments of crazy and happy and messy!

  • Betsy - I have three boys. This was so encouraging for me to read today! LOVE these photos, and just the whole story!!

  • kathy tillman - As the mother of three boys myself, I love this!

  • CassM - I have 3 boys … now 6, 5 and 3. And I’m so very happy I do. They are spectacular. And I can’t wait for the day when they’re all standing together for one of the others’ wedding, looking immensely handsome. All those “3 boys??” commenters will be laughing then! :)

  • Rachel - Those last few pictures are just awesome!!!!! You must frame one. (I like the last one the best 😉

  • Julie - Oh heaven! My oldest boy still doesn’t like to get dirty, but the for the youngest 3 it is game on! Beautifully captured. We have moss growing on the lawn it has been so wet! I kind of like it though. I’m sure I will miss all the rain when it’s 100 degrees. That may be the best part about OK, if you don’t like the current weather just wait an hour it may be totally different!!

  • Amy - Those last 4 pictures of your boys are priceless! I don’t have boys, but strangely this makes me want some!

  • angie - I LOVE these photos of your 3 amazing sons. I follow your journey daily and I so appreciate seeing their huge laughing smiles in one shot. The love simply oozes off of the page. Simply precious photos. And it doesnt’ hurt that they are captured in a lightness of childhood that involves a good coating of mud!

  • Crystal - That is definitely a framer!!! I love the first group shot at the bottom!!

  • Emily - every time I get a little freaked out at having only boys, you remind that it’s pretty awesome to see brothers grow up. Thank you :-)

    (and yes – make your laundry room someplace you don’t hate to be. Lord knows we do so much of it that the room should be inviting!)

  • Emily - PS, my 5yr old just walked in and saw the pictures and declared that all of your boys look like Mud Monsters, then he laughed so hard he snorted. Boys… 😉

  • Erica - That is awesome! We are preparing to move across the country from New Mexico to small town New England and I dream of rural space around our home for our children to explore and get dirty! What a great childhood. And yes, boys will be boys. I don’t think we’ll ever fully grasp it all but they are unique and beautiful and wild all in one! Good job momma!

  • Jamie - I can hear the laughter just by looking at their faces in those last pictures. Awesome.

  • Elizabeth McDonald - That is perfect..hang it in their bathroom..I love that!!

  • Tanya - I absolutely love those last few pictures — the joy on their faces is priceless!!! Yes, please hang them in one or both of those rooms! Just perfect!

  • Brandi - These are awesome–and would be so great displayed in bath or laundry room! I have one in the laundry of my daughter covered in ice cream…so I smile when I see it, but then I want to go eat something sweet! 😉

  • Cheryl - I love these photos so much. My youngest son died on January 20th, and I am just now able to look at fun photos like these and not fall apart. The bond between brothers is unique. I realize that now more than ever as I watch my oldest struggle with the loss of his little brother. Among my many regrets is not taking more pictures. There are a lot of them, but now that there won’t be any more, it doesn’t seem like enough. Thank you for sharing the wonderful photos and stories of your beautiful family.

  • Amy Cornwell - I want to be the kind of mom you are…no scared of messes and dirt. They have such fun. Love these pictures!

  • Cindy Steffan - My favorite post ever!!!

  • Victoria / Justice Pirate - Oh man this looks like a lot of fun. My sons aren’t really into getting too dirty. one is and the other hates being outside (drives me nutty because I’m outdoorsy and have to split my time indoors and outdoors to appease each child and myself haha). I would LOVE to go in the mud with my boys! I love these photos so much!!! They look so happy!!!!

This is my ridiculously cute sister and her family…in their backyard…smack dab in the middle of town. My friend Jessie Leigh took the first two photos (and the last one) in this post. You can see a whole shoot Jessie did in their garden at

zellers6Eric and Lesley are gardeners. They have a passion for growing their own food, but also for sharing the joy of gardening with others. I’m not sure you could be around them for longer than 15 minutes without something related to gardening coming up. I love that about them.zellers4When I refer to myself as the family ‘reject gardener’ it is because of stuff like this:

zel1I can’t even stay on top of laundry for a week. Their garden is a wonderland. The pictures really don’t do it justice. Lesley is on Instagram @lesleyzellers and has a few hashtags that she documents their garden story. One of my favorites (or least favorite because I feel like a gardening failure) is her weekly photos. It is amazing to see how much their garden changes from week to week…here are some examples:zellersgardenShe also shares peeks at the salads they make. Typically, I am eating leftovers off my kids’ lunch plates when I scroll through instagram and see some amazing salad she has created. I need her to live closer.zellerssalads

I share all that to say….she and Eric are teaching their very first gardening workshop! I am so excited. Eric is a natural teacher. When you get him started on gardening, he comes alive and shares with passion. Lesley laughs and giggles a lot at him, which is pretty cute. She is also so gifted at communicating all she has learned as a gardener.

The workshop will be in Tulsa, Oklahoma on July 11th. Registration begins today at 9:00am US Central and space is VERY limited. The workshop will take place in their garden!

You can find all the details on how to register on her blog www.recipeforcrazy.comzel3Lesley and Eric spent years soaking up gardening wisdom from my grandpa. Like Lesley and Eric, he didn’t live out in the country. He lived in the middle of town, only miles from the heart of the city. In his tiny little backyard he used every square inch to provide food for family and neighbors. He left a legacy that Lesley and Eric are continuing.5.15grandpa-015.15grandpa-03He had two chairs in his garden. One now sits in my garden. The others in the Zellers’. He would be ridiculously proud of Lesley and Eric. I wish he could see their garden and hear their stories, it would have made him so happy. When I visit their garden, it feels awfully close to visiting his…zellers5

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  • Dawn - So neat! We recently moved to a house with a much smaller yard but have hopes of putting in a garden. I do follow Lesley on IG and am so inspired by her garden.
    So, I don’t know your children or Lesley’s children’s names but I really hope someone is named Corbett after your grandfather! I love that name!! I know he was very special to your family! :)

  • Amanda - I love following your sister’s instagram feed! She is a true gardening inspiration to me! And I’m sure your grandfather is watching from above with pride & love! ??

  • Jenn - love her ig and her awesome garden. great post
    how do you set up the little photos like you did?

  • Carrie Campbell - This is awesome!!! I wished I lived closer so I could hit up this workshop, such a good idea. :) I’ve got a green thumb, but it’s still learning the ropes. Sweet memorial of your grandparents too. :)

  • Jenny - I sooo wish that I had a green thumb. There is something so peaceful about being in a garden or a greenhouse.

  • Jme - Soooo cool! Wish I could go. I love the pics of them and the ones of your grandpa. So proud of them

  • Tiffany LaBelle - Thank you for sharing your family and your extended family with all of us. What an inspiration you all are in gardening and craft and art…all things creative…and of course, your love for your family. It warms my heart to read your blog and I am very excited to check out your sister’s. I too wish I lived closer to attend a workshop! Thank you, Ashley Ann:)

  • Amy Cornwell - This is so sweet…what a legacy he left to his grandkids. I love that. Such a great example.

  • Emily - Her salads!!! I literally can’t get them out of my head most days!!
    I have a tiny one… a few tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and herbs.
    I dream of having the room to do ALL sorts. There is something about having dirt under your fingernails that makes me feel so very productive!

  • Jessica R - I love her IG posts. So wish I could attend the workshop but too far from Atlanta! Following her posts has made me more brave with my own garden :)

My peonies are blooming. They always pop out around Mother’s Day. My Grandpa would give each girl in the family a peony on Mother’s Day. I can’t see a peony without thinking of him.

Lots of things remind me of grandparents – so many sweet memories of them. There are pictures floating around in our family from Canton, Texas in the 70s. My parents were rocking the 70s look and I was a baby. There are also pictures from the 80s, as we all grew up a little in that place. My grandparents had a booth among the hundreds of vendors selling everything and anything. Canton is a different place these days – a massive outdoor flea market with old and new. I remember running around the dirt roads, the hike to the one bathroom and the way everyone seemed to know my grandpa.

I also remember running to their booth and right away asking Grandma for a hard boiled egg from her cooler. She always let me put my own salt and pepper on it. I had to be pretty young. To this day, when I eat a hard boiled egg, I think about my Grandma.

5.15remember-01Funny the things that remind me of those I love. Peonies and hard-boiled eggs. I’m guessing Grandma would have never thought that eggs from her cooler at the flea market would be something I’d always remember.  I was so young and yet those memories are vivid and strong.

In fact, most of my childhood memories are of seemingly random things instead of the big events. I don’t remember very many birthday parties or vacations. I remember Grandma always having an egg for me and letting me put the salt & pepper on by my big girl self.

Grandpa made me feel special with a peony. Grandma did the same with hard boiled eggs. As I wonder what, in these seemingly routine and small days, my kids will remember, I sure hope it involves making them feel loved and special.

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  • Kass - Your recollections remind me of my grandparents. My Grandad grew sweet peas and I remember my Grandma making posies of them for the ‘over sixties’ in my village. You’re lucky to have such sweet memories ????????

  • Tessa - I completely agree! I believe that most of my children’s memories are going to be completely unintentional on my part. It takes a lot of pressure off to “create memories”. Instead, life itself will do that for us. I also happen to love hard boiled eggs with salt and pepper too – yum!

  • Aunt Sandy - I love your post, and, your memories. I remember Canton like it was yesterday. So, so, so, much fun. Mom, and, Dad loved it when you girls came to Canton for the weekend. They sure loved to show you, and, your sister off to all his friends. They loved their grandkids that’s for sure. My favorite times at Canton was when your Dad would fire up the grill, stack ribs a foot high, cooking them to perfection. YUM, YUM!! His homemade BBQ sauce, Grandma’s potato salad, and, feeding so many around Grandpa’s booth. Yep, those were some of the best times with Mom, Dad, and, your family ever. Memories are so precious. Thanks so much for sharing them with all of us.

  • Jenny - Sometime after my grandparents both passed away last year, I remember opening up the freezer and seeing a frozen ham. I burst into tears. Grandpa loved when I would make ham and bean soup. Seeing that ham, I remember thinking, I would give anything to be making him another bowl of soup. Even then I laughed that a stupid chunk of ham could bring me to tears. So many simple and sweet reminders of them everywhere I look.

  • Reem - I love this post! Every time I see apricots I remember my grandparents. It’s amazing to have sweet memories, isn’t it? We would shake apricots down from a tree into a shawl.

    I love your blog and reading about your family! I don’t comment much. Your words and photos soothe me:)

  • Jessie Dewey - There are so many things that remind me of my grandparents, very random things too. Things the remind me of my grandma are the hardest, the kind of things that cause that lump in your throat because every memory means so much. She was practically my mother. Mangos were my treat with her. Every time I would go to her house there would be a freshly peeled mango waiting for me. They are my favorite fruit but no one else would ever buy them because they are such a pain to serve, not my grandma though, she did it with a smile. Thanks for the post :) I loved it so much

  • Helen - Sweet.
    For me it was marigolds for my grandma and peeling an apple around and around with one long peel for my grandpa.

  • Cathy - This is so sweet and beautiful. It made me tear up and yearn for my grandparents. My grandma had Alzheimers and was diagnosed when I was seven, I only have a handful of memories of her, one is she always had mints and butterscotch in her purse. Probably why I love wintergreen mints so much. My grandpa I had much more time with, many, many things make me think of him…I miss them so…I lost my great aunt earlier this year, she took on the role of grandma when mine got sick, she always had pink mints and jelly beans. I can’t eat either without thinking of her.

  • SueY - Thank you so much for sharing your sweet memories. My husband recently passed away and I am hoping my 5 young grandchildren, the oldest being six will have some everlasting memories of their Papa too.

  • Jamie - I think of this a lot too! Like, what kinds of random things will my kids remember when they’re older. I can’t see a bottle of pink nail polish without thinking of my precious Aunt Barbara. As a kid she’d babysit me and she had every shade of pink all lined up beside her recliner and she’d let me choose which one I liked and she’d paint my nails. We also recently inherited the “egg sandwich dish” from my husband’s family. He said growing up, that dish was always used to microwave a beaten egg because it would cook it up in the perfect square size needed for a sandwich; he said it was used his whole life. LOL I LOVE stuff like that. I am a nostalgic person, though. :)

  • Analene - That’s fun! Just this morning I was peppering some scrambled eggs and discovered a smile as I thought of my Grandpa. He is the only person I’ve ever seen pepper hamburgers, and he’d pepper everything else too. I don’t use black pepper often, so when I do I think of Grandpa.
    Like you, I wonder what things will stick with my children :-)

  • Krystina - My childhood memories are of pretty random stuff too. Making luminaries on my grandma’s porch. Picking blueberries on the side of the road (it was a lightly traveled road…but I still felt like a rebel when grandma pulled the car over and told us to jump out and grab a handful), and catching fireflies on my grandma’s farm… I think that’s what childhood is though. Sporadic memories of moments that aren’t spectacular but still cling to a special place in our heart.

  • debbie - Reading this lovely post just triggered a flood of memories that have been apparently tucked in a well archived segment of my mind. The words grandma & eggs triggered vivid images of my grandmother picking eggs in her coop (I can smell the warm air of that red coop) and then washing them inside at her sink. I can see her hands, arthritic and well used on her Iowa farm, and the unique motion she used to clean each egg. Grateful for this trip down memory lane…