Parenting is hard. The laundry doesn’t end. The constant need meeting can be overwhelming. In the midst of all the hard, there are so many incredibly awesome moments. I think those are the moments that often keep me going and bring the beautiful balance to the difficult. Some of those moments are nestled in deep meaning and significance. Other moments are just pure simple fun. I’m pretty boring, my kids bring the fun and whimsy into my life. They bring humor and laughter to my all-too serious personality.

Last week I took a few photos to remember a conversation I hope I never forget. It was one of those “my kid is so awesome I can’t believe I get to hang out with him all the time” moments.

I was getting ready for the day when he walked into my room.

“Hey Mom, the hole in my mouth looks just like the Batman symbol!”

12.14batman-0112.14batman-0412.14batman-0612.14batman-0712.14batman-08Not only does his hole actually look like the Batman symbol – he noticed it on his own. I can picture him in front of the mirror. He was probably flexing his muscles and making funny faces. Then all of the sudden he saw it – BATMAN! It is so like him to notice the unexpected, to bring laughter and fun into my day in the most random of ways. I’m kind of dreading his teeth growing now….good thing I have a camera. Long live the Batman hole.

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  • tricia - So adorable! His happy face brought a smile to mine.

  • jen - too funny!!! it does look just like the batman symbol. As I am reading and the pics are scrolling on the instagram feed on the side bar, I see it in his other pics too :)

  • danielle - That is so cute! It totally looks like batman! My boys would be so excited! My oldest had a “superman curl” in the front of his hair for a while and was so sad when I gave him a haircut!

  • Kelleyn - It took me a second of looking before I saw it, but how cool!

  • Elke - I cannot stop laughing!

  • Meredith N - This is so awesome. lol :)

  • Sandy C - Holy mouth, Batman! I would have never noticed it- but once it was pointed out- it’s a perfect Batman symbol & you can’t be unseen.

  • Seamingly Sarah - This is so totally awesome!

  • Tammy Henderson - That is so totally awesomw!! Love it, and yay for cameras to capture such fun. :o)

  • KSuddeth - That’s just awesome!

  • Bek - this is so freakin funny! As a step mom to 3 boys who all love Batman, i saw this immediately and showed my boys, who all agreed that it was super awesome!

  • debbie - I love that he can see that (like the classic: do you see the old or young women optical illusion). I can’t believe he can see in reverse at his tender age. AMAZING!

  • Heather - Life is so hard. This made me giggle. Long live darling kids and happy hearts!!

  • Crystal - I just said to my husband jokingly that “no ever said parenting would be hard”. then I opened this post and saw the tittle… this one really spoke to how I have been feeling with two teething babies and a laundry pile so large I may lose one under it… haha. Thanks for this.

  • Clare - Hahahahahahahaha!! Awesome!!!! Was not expecting that so just splurted my tea everywhere laughing. Nice one! x

  • Angela - Ha! He’s so right. It totally does!

  • Christine - De-lurking to LAUGH OUT LOUD!

    Thank you for sharing that!

  • Ang - Holy holes, Batman! I LOVE this! What a fun guy. He looks like his oldest brother in the third shot. Handsome boys. =)

  • marie - Definitely a moment to remember…and a lovely chuckle for me!

  • Amy @thelittlefarmdiary - Ashley, I’m so proud of you that you are able to take a much needed break from “life” and SEE these precious moments. So many would miss them entirely! What a blessing!

  • Natalie Lacy Lange - This is awesome–and he is hilarious. Kids are too funny!

  • Caroline - It’s hilarious to me that you consider yourself ‘serious and boring.’ You’re the most creative, whimsical person on the internet!

  • Christina - My son walked up while I was reading this and said “Whoa!” to the first photo. I told him he had lost his four teeth and they were growing in (my 6.5 year old has only lost his bottom two so far, and only just). I asked him what it looked like, and without missing a beat he said: Batman. Kids are awesome. :) What a great conversation to remember when he’s older!

  • Erin - that is awesome! totally made my day and he’s not even my kid :)

  • Jenny B. - That’s hilarious. I will have to show his picture to my boys. They will think that is awesome. :)

  • Crystal - This is definitely pure awesomeness and made me laugh out loud! That had to have been the coolest discovery for him! :)

  • sunwooc - Awesome! My 5 years old son said, “I wanna be like him when I grow up. How can I have teeth like him?” My son is big fan of batman. :)

  • Krystin - That is the cutest thing ever!

This month a lot of gift giving will take place, which means a lot of purchasing done. I’m going to highlight a few different companies today and next Friday. Today I’ve partnered with three companies that ‘give back’. They are also three companies started by women with a vision and passion for making positive change in the lives of others. It is often hard to know the story of the things we buy – how the workers were treated, the ethics of the business, or even where the product came from originally. These are three companies that we get to get a little more of a glimpse into those things and use our buying power with more of the story. Each company provided the items I used for the photos in this post.

The first company is Noonday Collection. I am sure many of you are already familiar with Noonday. “Noonday Collection uses fashion and design to create economic opportunity for the vulnerable.” They provide dignified jobs at living wages, no-interest loans, scholarship programs, emergency assistance and long term trade. Supporting adoption is also a core value of the company. Noonday Collection has everything from jewelry to home goods – all so beautiful. Below is the Darjeeling Necklace (which can also be converted to a bracelet!). || || ||



The next two companies are Sseko Designs (booties) and Swell Forever (blanket). “Sseko Designs partners with artisans in Ethiopia to create beautiful products crafted from leather and cotton sourced locally from Ethiopian family farmers. In addition to generating revenue that allows Sseko Designs to grow their social impact programs for women and girls, their partnerships are creating dignified jobs and building sustainable economies across East Africa.” Sseko Designs products include footwear, accessories and leather bags. Below are the Caramel Nomad Bootie (size 5! It is so hard to find size 5 shoes!!) || ||  ||

Swell Forever’s founder hopes that the 100,000 children in the US foster care system would find a forever home. Swell Forever products include heirloom blankets and baby/toddler clothing. For each product sold, a contribution is made (in various ways) to financially assist adoptions. Below is the Carolyn Forever Blanket. || || || @swell.forever.founder on IG



My oldest daughter is always up for having her picture taken, so it was easy to get her to snuggle with me in our blanket. It was just an impromptu moment, but Chris captured some of my favorite images of us. The boys were playing soccer next to us and my youngest daughter was napping…next time I’m going to have to try to get them all in some snuggle shots with me.

I’ve received several inquiries recently about a Best of My Days 2015. Yes, I will make one and have it ready next week for you to download and gift! I love that so many of you faithfully use those! Happy Friday and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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  • kimberly Oyler - oh those last 2 pictures kill me!!

  • Lisa McCracken - I am a faithful reader of your blog and I have never seen the “Best of My Days” post!! What a nice idea. Looking forward to trying it this year. Thank you!

  • Brooke - Love these photos!!! Thanks so much for sharing Ashley!

  • Amy D - Love Noonday and Sseko! Are the booties comfy and do they fit well? I’ve had my eye on those.

  • Jolene - Love the last 2 shots!

  • Emily Collins - i love this!! I’m an Independent Ambassadior for Noonday, here in Tulsa, and I’ve been wanting to connect with you, but I couldn’t find an email. I’d live to share more with you, and talk more about Noonday, especially their heart for adoption and orphan care!! Would you email me, sometime when you gave a minute!?

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh she looks so much like you in those shots!

  • Rachel - Snuggle photos are the best!

  • wynne - love it! thanks for sharing girl! love seeing some noonday love on here! and to be introduce to swell forever!

  • Natalie - Those last two photos are absolutely gorgeous! What did you do to edit these?

12.14phonecase-1Last week I shared a few fun DIYs related to phones. Two of those projects involved clear phone cases (a scrapbook paper case by Amanda Rydell and a Pressed Flower Case by Claire McGibbon). Those projects got me wanting a clear case that I could change out often. I like change! I ordered a basic clear case off Amazon (recommended by my super awesome friend Brian J. Barki, MD).

Once my case arrived, I started looking around for scrap paper in a print I liked. I had one “A” card and envelope by Rifle Paper Co.. The card is one of my favorite designs, so I started with it.

12.14phonecase-01First I traced the case, then cut it a bit smaller. I traced the camera hole and cut it out with an X-acto knife.12.14phonecase-02I wanted to add more of the design, so I opened an envelope and cut out the biggest section that would fit the width of my phone and trimmed it to fit the case. Finally, I taped the two pieces together and put them inside my case. The case stayed this way for the first two days.12.14phonecase-04One day three, I decided I wanted to see more of the gold of the phone. On day four, I started cutting up some scrapbooking paper.12.14phonecase-06I cut two designs out of scrapbooking paper (Amy Butler paper) and added them to the Rifle Paper I previously cut. I was trying to cover the apple on the back of my phone and still leave a little gold showing. I taped the three pieces together and put them in the case.12.14phonecase-08It has been nearly a week and I am still sporting this design. I think it will hang around for a while.12.14phonecase-10

I posted about my case on Instagram over the weekend and my friend Emily pointed out she has free downloads to use on clear cases. Click here for a link to her designs.

Yay for cha – cha – cha – change!

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  • Megan CC - I got the same clear cover when I saw your instagram post about it, perfect timing since I just got a new phone and was looking for a cover. Emily’s downloads are really cute! Hope she makes some for the iPhone 6 soon. :)

  • Renata - Brilliant! Such a good idea.

  • Paige - I love these kinds of posts that show how to got from here to here. Its not always having the final picture in mind at the start, is it? And I love how to mashed together two favorite designer paper. What a cool case.

  • Bekah Decker - I need this. I am insanely picky about things like phone cases and I want to change them constantly. The clear case is so cool!

  • Erika - Love this! Is it possible to email you? i can’t figure out how to make that happen and wanted to send an advent thank you to your family…

  • kimberly oyler - you do this just to torture me, i know it.

  • Amy @thelittlefarmdiary - Oh Ashley, what a wonderful idea! Those cases can be so expensive and now thanks to you, I can make my own! Thanks for sharing the steps!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - These are so cute! Now i might just need a clear case :) I love how you made it look 3D!