I’m headed to Click Away today.

I can’t decide if I am excited or want to run the opposite direction of the airport. Probably a little bit of both if I am honest.

If there is one movie I find myself quoting on a regular basis, it is You’ve Got Mail. As I’ve been preparing to head to Click Away this week I keep saying to myself, “I’ll win them over with my cute outlines and vintage sheet scraps.” Anyone know the line I’m referencing?!

Anyway…I have cute outlines. Millers (the pro branch of Mpix) is sponsoring me. This is my first time to be ‘sponsored’ at anything. I’m not sure what proper sponsored speaker protocol is, but is makes me smile and laugh when I think about it. A big perk of being sponsored by Millers is I got to print up some goodies to go along with my session. If I bomb the speaking part, at least those that attend will leave with some cuteness. I’ll show more next week, I have to surprise the attendees a little bit.

When I should have been packing or going over my presentation…I was distracting myself with these goodies. (Millers did the printing, Katie Daisy created my blog artwork that is used, my sister sent along a goodie too)

I’m feeling way out of my league as I look at the speaker list. Thankfully, all my sessions are on Thursday so I can soak in the rest of the conference without all the nerves. Chris is joining me – having him by my side makes all the difference.

Maybe I’ll just ask him to do the presentation…he likes the stage:)

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  • Carmen - wow, those parcels look adorable! So clever and talented you are. I’m sure you will be amazing, wish I could go to hear you speak!!

  • Rhonda - Good luck, Ashley. I wish I could be there but will be praying for peace and wisdom as you tell your story. Hugs!

  • Signe - Good Luck Ashley!!! I know you will do amazing!

  • Nikki Toth - I’m so excited to meet you at the meet the speaker event! Your online class was what ignited my love for photography and I’m forever grateful to you for sharing your passion and expertise!

  • jenn - I bet you will do great. I understand though. I think speaking would be low on my list of things I would want to do but high on my list of things would be hearing you speak. I have enjoyed the encouragement and fun you bring to your blog and life. Prayers for safe travels and an awesome time. You will rock it I’m sure

  • Lacey Meyers - You are going to do so awesome, Ashley! You could stand up there and tell stories about your life, smile, and you’d have EVERYONE won over. These cute hand outs are the icing on the cake! I really wish I could attend your presentation, but have to work in another program…. But I’ll see you at our panel! And I’d love to snag one of your handouts if you have any left! :)

  • Ujjaini - Adorable. Good luck to you!


  • Emily - I just watched You’ve Got Mail last night! Such a good movie (and you are definitely more Shop Around the Corner than Fox Books when it comes to charm and loyalty.) Have fun this weekend!

  • Samae - Good luck, Ashley! I am certain you will do a fantastic job.

  • Sue - Oh, such a quotable movie! “Square footage, discounts, and deep armchairs…”

  • Loan - You are going to ROCK it! Can’t wait to hear all about it and see the rest of the goodies you’re giving out!

  • Valerie - You’ll be great. I would like to have heard your presentation. Have fun!

  • Leiann - Go to the mattresses. –You’ll do great!

  • Sara - I’ve been reading your blog for years….and years. I rarely comment (although I shall now start!) and enjoy seeing how you let God use you. I believe whole-heartedly in you! You will do amazing at this conference! I’m praying your brave will be braver than ever. Go get ‘em! :) :) :) (I’m cheering you on from Arkansas)

  • Cara williams - You are going to do amazing!!

  • kelli - You’ll do great! Can’t wait to read about it! :)

  • Christy - That is my favorite movie! Is this the line?
    “Do you know what? We are going to seduce them. We’re going to seduce them with our square footage, and our discounts, and our deep armchairs, and…our cappuccino!”

    That is the best movie to watch in the fall. It makes this country girl want to move to the big city (or maybe just visit..)

    “I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

  • kimberly oyler - look at you! these are so cute! i guess i need to watch you’ve got mail. i’ve never seen it.

  • AshleyAnn - Kimberly – we need to change that! ;)

  • Angela Ellsworth - Can’t wait friend!!

  • Krista Lund - You did a fantastic job and I enjoyed meeting you! Thank you for the photo :)

  • Stacey Petersen - Ashley- Your class was hands down my favorite class of all 3 days. I’m serious! I’ve been constantly thinking about my thieves of joy and working hard to get over them the past few days. I took out my camera and kids to the fair yesterday and actually had fun shooting them, when typically I would never touch my camera unless it was for a paying client. I truly believe that your class has changed my photography forever. Thank you!!

This summer an email from Budsies landed in my inbox. I was asked if I’d be interested in trying our their product – custom toys made from children’s artwork. Ummmm, yes. Immediately I though about my 8 year old son and 5 year old daughter. They are constantly creating anything and everything. I asked them draw something they would want to see as a ‘real life’ toy. They went through a couple versions until they both settled on their drawings.

She drew an Elsa doll. He drew a 9 legged cheeseburger with its tongue hanging out that was holding hands with a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich, both covered in hearts – for his sisters. I love that kid.


We sent them off. A few weeks later a box arrived….
9.14budsies-019.14budsies-029.14budsies-039.14budsies-04I don’t think any of us could believe how cool they turned out. My son was especially surprised. I think he drew his with a little bit of a challenge in mind and they met his challenge.9.14budsies-069.14budsies-059.14budsies-089.14budsies-079.14budsies-099.14budsies-10It was pretty fun watching them open the box and see their creations in a form that they can hold.  My son is already trying to figure out a way to create more, order them and start selling…along with how he can publish and sell all the books he has been writing. I love that kid.

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  • Sarah Pratt - That is too cute! My nine year old would absolutely love this company!

  • jenw - Wow! That’s is super awesome. And I love the kids drawings. I especially like how I’m sure the Budsies folks noticed the drawings were inspired by certain movies yet the creations do not look like the movie characters. I’m sure that’s for liability reasons, but I think it’s pretty awesome too!

    Am I the only grownup wanting to draw my own creation and have it made?? LOL!

  • Amy - So phenomenal!!!!

  • steph Griffin - Oh my goodness. I’m with jenw…Totally want to draw something just to have it made into a plushie.Those are incredible!

  • Paige - What a cool idea! Christmas!

  • Megan Romer - Um, wow. Thanks for sharing!

  • Marda - Well how cool is that?? Thanks for sharing!

  • Stephanie - That’s just awesome!!! I love it!

  • Laura Sudderth - That is the neatest thing ever!

  • Haley - I saw your Instagram of Firecracker taking a picture of the cheeseburger/octopus and ice cream sandwich creation. I was wondering what was going on with the stuffed creature. Now that I know, I love it even more. What a fun idea!

  • Emily - That’s so cool! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh my goodness – it made me laugh out loud! I love it!! Great job, kids!

  • Kelleyn - very cool!

  • Diana - Those are awesome!!

  • Hilary Barnett - Amazing!! And so, so fun. My daughter would love these!!

  • Jenny B. - Oh my word! Those are the cutest!! I love that they didn’t just make a stuffed version of the picture, if that makes sense. I’ve seen some like that, and they are really neat and cute also, but these are like they actually interpreted the child’s drawings and created what maybe they were seeing in their minds. I love it!

  • kimberly oyler - those are so cute! and i have to admit, as sad as i was to see the fabric wrapped bed go, i think i really like it green.

  • SophieBugsMom - Oh my gosh!! They are SOOOO awesome!!! I need to look back at some of my big kids artwork from when they were little and make this one of their Christmas presents! Love it!!

  • SophieBugsMom - I just saw that they posted your cheeseburger holding hands with an ice cream sandwich on their August 22nd FB post too!!

  • Amy Espinosa @the little farm diary - Oh my goodness! Who knew? Thank you for sharing!!

  • Luisa - This is the sweetest thing!

  • Steph - Too funny to see this here, I knew the founder of Budsies in high school and a close friend works for them now. Genuinely kind, good people you are supporting by working with this company!

  • Tiffany - I second what L.S. said: “…neatest thing ever!” !! :D *I read the title of this article to my husband and showed him the pictures, and my 5yo daughter was also tuned in– she ran out of the living room, returned a minute later {literally!} w/a drawing of a puppy that she wants sent in, stat! ;) Lol, love it– really, too CooL!!!~! :D *Thanks for sharing {my little artiste appreciates it, especially}!

  • Randi - This is theeee coolest!! How fun!! So great how you captured their faces once they opened them. I’m totally going to have to check this out :)

  • Candice - This is awesome! My son is always trying to make toys from his drawings!

Dirt and brothers go hand in hand around here.

The girls like the dirt for a bit…until they decide they are done being dirty and want clean hands.

The boys don’t understand why I would ever make them wash the dirt off.

They can play for hours in a big pile of dirt. I have to hose down their clothes before putting them in the washer, but it is totally worth it. I want them to have childhood memories full of just being brothers, making up games, getting dirty.

ISO 125, 1/400, f/3.2 85mm lens

9.14dirt-01ISO 100, 1/1000, f/1.8 85mm lens9.14dirt-05ISO 160, 1/2500, f/1.8 85mm lens9.14dirt-02

Notice the girls in dresses in the background…always in dresses, even in the dirt.

ISO 250, 1/4000, f/1.8 85mm lens  ~  ISO 160, 1/2500, f/1.8 85mm lens9.14dirt-03ISO 160, 1/1600, f/3.2 85mm lens9.14dirt-06ISO 500, 1/640, f/4.5 (not ideal settings, I was shooting fast) 85mm lens9.14dirt-07ISO 500, 1/1000, f/4.5 (not ideal settings, I was shooting fast) 85mm lens9.14dirt-08

His brothers were taking too long to bury his legs.

ISO 500, 1/1000, f/4.5 (not ideal settings, I was shooting fast) 85mm lens9.14dirt-09

They are so crazy awesome. Sometimes I just sit back and watch them – baffled and in awe. Growing up with a sister, I had no idea how much fun comes with boys. I just can’t imagine life without 3 young guys and 2 little girls. I’m so, so grateful I’m the one they call mom….even after 500 million loads of laundry and never getting to buy them white shirts!

And just for fun….my oldest in our front yard when he was 4.9.14dirty*If you are interested in learning more about how to use your DSLR (what all those camera settings mean), registration is open for the last SnapShop of 2014. Click here for more details.

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  • danielle - Ha! So true! Mine are perfectly happy with being dirty the rest of their lives :)

  • Paige - Oh my goodness how fun! I watched my two knuckleheads put plastic coffee buckets on their feet and pull each other around the kitchen last night. Who needs American’s Got Talent?

  • Michelle Hill - They made a slide out of a pile of dirt?! They are too cute for words!!

  • Kristin - Thank you so much for bringing back memories of my kids playing in the dirt! One summer our neighbors built an addition, so we had an amazing pile of dirt in their backyard, and the kids spent hours on it. We just left their “dirt clothes” in the garage & didn’t bother washing them everyday…the clothes…we did wash the kids!

  • Ilse - I am kinda depressed right now and looking at those photo’s I’m just thinking… Will you be my mom?

  • Jenny B. - It’s great that they enjoy that stuff! My boys are so different from yours. I often wonder if I’ve done something wrong because they are scared to death of pretty much everything outside and do not like to get dirty. My youngest son announced the other day that he is afraid of butterflies. Seriously. Oh, well… :)

  • Debbie H - I LOVE the last photo. Same cute little face but hair darkened up so much, he looks different now. His expression is pure joy and delight. What a great shot. I’m sure he LOVES seeing this photo of himself.

    My Mom never stressed about dirt when we were growing up, but not all Mothers are like that, Ashley. My Mom used to say “they’re all washable” Your kids are lucky that you do not stress about white staying white. Good for you and them. I love watching your life unfold. Thanks so much for all your sharing.

  • Amy Espinosa @the little farm diary - Being a VERY girly girl growing up, that dirt thing just escapes me! Now, the mom of two boys and two girls, I had to get used to letting them just be free to wallow in the dirt and mud. Boy was that challenging!

  • Ksenia - I totally agree — letting kids get dirty is a must (there are also studies about how it’s really good for their immune system). I’m relatively new to your blog and have binge read a lot of posts (I got here due to my interest in adoption). Do you share anywhere your photo editing process? Thank you!

  • Tracy A - Wow! Look how light big brother’s hair is!!