This past weekend my sister and brother-in-law hosted their first Backyard Gardening Workshop. I’m so proud of them. It was incredible to watch them in their element. They compliment each other in the best ways. Eric has so much knowledge and passion for gardening, perma-culture and sustainability. Lesley brings beauty, design, practical advice and wisdom on how to make your garden come alive. And she makes a killer salad. My ‘job’ was just to do whatever Lesley and Eric might need. I probably created that job because I wanted to come. Sisters do that.

The day started with donuts from Livi Lee’s. Since my ‘job’ was behind the scenes, I pretty much walked past the donut table over and over all morning. Grabbing one donut hole at a time. No shame in my donut game. I also helped decorate. That is a fancy description for ‘I loaded my car with all my random stuff and spread it around Lesley’s yard’. Thankfully, West Elm Tulsa provided a bunch of gorgeous decor to add.

So many things about the day I want to etch in my memory. The highlight was at the very beginning. Eric began with introductions and sharing their journey into gardening. As I watched the two of them I thought about how much my grandma and grandpa would have loved to hear them. My grandma would would have just sat back and watched it all, probably a bit surprised. I’m guessing my grandpa would have interrupted Eric a few times – secretly so proud of Lesley and Eric for passing down his gardening legacy. As I imagined my grandparents there, Eric began talking about his memories of watching my boys in the garden with my grandpa. And I was done. It couldn’t pay attention the rest of the day after that…back to the donut table.

I’m sure Lesley will share pictures and details for the workshop. Here are just a few phone shots I took during the day:

7.15gardenworkshop-01

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  • grandma - Very proud of all of you and the joys you bring to our lives.We love you all very much

  • Jenn - such a pretty day.

  • Diana - Hahaha at making your own job to be able to go. Definitely have done that before to my sisters. It’s our job to make our own!

  • Sarah Z - Love the pictures….did you create a custom template to put all those pics together? I’d love to know how you did it…Photoshop?

  • AshleyAnn - Sarah – I re-sized the images in Photoshop. Then I opened one, copied the layer, deleted the original background layer, increased the canvas size to fit them all, moved my first image to the top left corner and just placed the rest onto the new ‘canvas’. If that makes sense! There are grid templates available from different shops, but it is pretty fast and easy to do it that way.

  • Sarah Z - Thanks for the reply…and for the step-by-step! :-) It DOES make sense. Thanks for all that you continue to share. I join the many who feel like I know you even though I only know you through your online presence. Even though I’m not a wife and don’t have kids, I have learned so much from you – about loving your Savior, family, loving on others, and being creative, to name a few!!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh that is just awesome. Love it.

Thank you so much for the comments on the film Amy shot of our family. I’ve watched it over and over again. Such a gift for our family. While Amy was filming, our other friend Shannon was capturing us through photography. Shannon has walked beside us as our family has grown, as my business has changed, as I’ve ventured into homeschooling. She and Amy are rare and beautiful gifts in my life.

Last week Shannon sent over a link for me to view our pictures. I’ve been so anxious for these! Our original plan including camping at the lake, but too much rain flooded many Oklahoma lake campsites. Instead, I decorated our trailer (goodies I had on hand and goodies from Shop Sweet Lulu) and we just hung out. I only wanted a couple ‘look at the camera and smile’ shots…the rest just us being us. My goofy crew – there was a lot of photo bombing, popcorn throwing, 7 year old dance moves and general chaos. Basically, just normal life but with a much cuter trailer in the background! And no basketball shorts.

7.15ImagoVita-01My grandpa’s garden chair. “Weeds” from the side of the road out front. My favorite cookies.7.15ImagoVita-027.15ImagoVita-047.15ImagoVita-057.15ImagoVita-067.15ImagoVita-077.15ImagoVita-08Her favorite thing in the whole wide world is when her brothers give her hugs and kisses. It is not their favorite thing in the whole wide world. I promised them each a Dutch Baby pancake.7.15ImagoVita-107.15ImagoVita-117.15ImagoVita-127.15ImagoVita-13I spend a significant amount of time behind my camera. My kids will have lots of memories of growing up in the home of a photographer. However, I have hardly any pictures of me actually taking a photo. I asked Shannon to capture a few shots of me doing what I often do – photographing my kids.7.15ImagoVita-147.15ImagoVita-15My seven year old has some killer dance moves. He is all kinds of awesome.7.15ImagoVita-16This is his ‘call me’ photo bomb….I keep telling myself it is a phase. He went through a ‘Lightning McQueen’ phase. And then there was the ‘goofy grin’ phase. This is the ‘call me photo bomb’ phase. It is documented well like the rest!7.15ImagoVita-17

It has been a while since we were in front of a camera other than mine. I have so many thoughts and emotions about how our family has changed in the last three years. Too many to put into intelligible words. So for now…this is us. Three years as a family of 7. Three years of growing, laughing, crying and healing. Three years of change and leaps of faith not knowing where we’d land. Looking at these, I see we landed in a pretty great place. Thank you Shannon!

Shannon (Imago Vita Photography) offers a few family sessions each year….you have to be quick to contact her and book her!

My Sources:

Balloons, glass jars, straws, yellow streamers, napkins, popcorn bags – Shop Sweet Lulu

Cookies – my favorites from Merritt’s Bakery

Happy Camper green t-shirt –  Honey Bee Tees

Little One’s dress – my mom made this for Firecracker’s 2 year old pictures

Firecracker’s dress – Target

 

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  • Tiffany - What a beautiful place you have made for your family to relax and enjoy eachother:) Did you make your white top? If not, will you tell us where you found that as well? Thank you!

  • Carol Van Boening - SO PRECIOUS!! What beautiful memories!

  • Jenn - these are so great. i love every bit of it
    my almost 8 year olds phase is to hold up his two fingers in a peace sign in pictures. like almost all of the pictures. :)

  • Anna - I LOVE these! So beautiful and inspiring:-) My boys just photobomb with the craziest faces they can make, and I SO SO understand the basketball shorts!

  • Alice H - Love all of these! The video was great too.
    Did you ever recreate the picture with the empty chair? I can’t remember if you did or not.

  • Carrie - I might have to start doing the ‘call me photo bomb’. :) Hilarious.

  • AshleyAnn - Tiffany – it is a dress from Target!

  • AshleyAnn - Alice – We didn’t. We had great intentions to do that, but it just never worked out. Maybe one day :)

  • cathy - Shannon, I am not sure how I found your blog other than the hand of God. It is BEAUTIFUL, words, photos, e v e r y thing! LOVE.
    Read about Morning star, the Love Project, turned me inside out.
    How can I help???????????
    Thanks for the inspiration, sweet stories and precious words!
    Cathy
    chinahill.blogspot.com

  • Emily - What is it with boys and basketball shorts? My sons would live in them if I let them!

    This is a great series — are you going to frame and hang any? I’m curious how you display portraits…it’s one of those things I struggle with in my own home.

  • suzy - Wonderful pictures! Your family is so amazing, and thanks for sharing your life with us!

  • Elizabeth Highsmith - So much joyous life and the video made my heart happy! This is an odd ball question, As much as you all enjoy the outdoors do you not have Mosquitos in Ok or do you spray? They’re miserable in GA or they just love me. I’m always curious with those who spend loads of time outdoors.

  • AshleyAnn - Thank you Cathy – here is a link for one way to help The Love Project http://morningstarproject.org/love-project/shop/

  • AshleyAnn - Elizabeth – we do have mosquitos…not sure how they compare to GA. We are usually in areas of low grass and they aren’t too bad at our house. I think the chicken help. If we are in areas with tall grass and lots of mosquitos, we use bug spray/oils or candles.

  • Sarah - These are so fun! I wish we had a trailer like this instead of the crappy double wide we’ve got now. It’s not as pretty in my pictures. :(

    So glad to have found your blog!

    Sarah
    http://www.fromdogwoodstomagnolias.com

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Those are the BEST cookies!

    Last time I was there, I drove to Merritt’s Bakery and the location that I knew about was closed. I was so sad. I’m so excited to know they have other locations!

    When we would stay with Brian’s grandma, the kids and I would wake up early and drive to Merritt’s and get donuts and cookies for everyone. So many good memories.

Warning: by clicking the video link at the end of the post you will hear Little One’s super adorable laugh. It is just too much. You’ve been warned.

Last fall I was working on a project that included video – something I rarely do. As part of the project, my friend Amy of Happily Situated Photography captured a little footage of me and my oldest daughter. I have a lot of photos of me with my kids, but hardly any video. As I watched the short clip she captured of my interaction with my daughter, I become captivated with moving pictures. I wanted more – more moving pictures that captured the things a still photograph cannot.

Last month Amy and my friend Shannon spent a little time with us – creating video and photographs. I’ve been super anxious to see the video and pictures. It has taken everything in me not to annoy Shannon and Amy for peeks of our time together. Well…to my surprise Amy posted the video yesterday. We’ve watched it over and over.

Though we did more of a ‘stylized’ session as far as props go…the interactions were just us being us. I am amazed at how she was able to so perfectly capture the personalities of my family. It is just so very us and I will treasure it all my days on this earth.

Some of you have been following this blog for nearly 8 years – wow! I think you might have fun seeing us beyond still pictures. Amy did an amazing job.

Here is a peek at 4 of my kids watching it for the first time:

7.15happilysituated--27.15happilysituated--37.15happilysituated--47.15happilysituated-

Click on the image below to visit Amy’s blog and see the entire video (and a few pictures)happily

Months ago, Amy sent me a text. She said she found the perfect song for our family. She couldn’t have picked better.

“Let’s Go” by Handsome and Gretyl

Let’s go
Doesn’t even matter where or when we’re coming home
Let’s just go

Let’s fly
Go and get your wings on, run until we lift off
Oh we’ll fly

Everyone needs a little adventure in their lives

Let’s be wild
Make a little mischief, get little muddy, oh my
Like a child
I’m a little carefree, I’m a little happy, my oh my

And everything’s alright, ooh
Not a worry on my mind
Ooh
When I have a loved one by my side

Let’s go wandering
Didn’t bring a map, we’ll have no use for that this time
We’ll be wandering

Doing what we like
Don’t have much money but what I have money
Waving my cares goodbye

When everything’s alright, ooh
Not a worry on my mind
Ooh
If I live to love and I love my life
Gonna be alright
Be alright, right, right
Gonna be alright, be alright right

Oh and everyone needs a little adventure
Needs a little spontaneous adventure’

So let’s go, let’s go, let’s go
Come on come on let’s go

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  • Oceana - Wow. This is so visually beautiful, as well as so full of family love. It reminds me of the chaos of growing up in a big family, only prettier! And yes, that laugh is adorable!

    O.

  • Candy - So heartwarming and incredible. Adore the way you fix the girls’ hair! Loooove the laugh… looove the dog! Love the love that is so evident in your family! :) Thank you for sharing!!

  • Molly - Soo good! Thanks for sharing. Despite our distance and differences, our oldest daughters are about the same age and seem like kindred spirits. So fun to see your sweet family this way!

  • Laura - so lovely!

  • Susan - Stunning. It is as though that tune was written for your family and it is perfect for this beautiful video. What a treasure for your family!

  • Rebecca W - Ahh, that is beautiful!

  • Laura - Awww, that’s the most perfectist video!! I love you guys! And what a talented photo/videographer! Memories for life. :)

  • Tamara - Loved to see you “live” – a wonderful video clip!
    Be blessed, greetings from Austria!

  • Denise L. - Wow! What an incredible gift this is. And the music is just perfect – that Amy, what talent! And to hear it from her, she is just as blessed by your family as you are by her. The best part? That you all share with us! (It just tickles me to see your beagle and her antics.) Now, I think I may getting a Handsome and Gretyl album for my summer-music-in-the-truck!

  • AndreaB - That truly is the most wonderful video! Oh what a treasure it will always be. And that song! Well, it was meant for your family. Amy did an incredible job linking the two so perfectly. Yay for you guys :)

  • Julie W - Love, love, love the video!! What a beautiful memory you have for your family…a keepsake to cherish forever. And that laugh…so precious! The song was perfect too; love it all!

  • Melanie - Wow, although I normally prefer pictures to video it is something really different to see you all moving, running around etc. for the first time. And little ones laughing is beyond words.
    Greetings from Germany!

  • beth p - LOVE this!

  • Tanya - This is absolutely beautiful! The video itself is done so well and the family it contains — It captures such wonderful interactions and you can just feel the heart behind everyone. I love, love, love it!

  • Southern Gal - I was about to ask about the song after watching on instagram! Thanks for posting it.

    And that video is epic. Such a sweet capture of you and your loves. Just precious.

  • Alison - I’ve been reading for a while (not quite 8 years!!) and this was fun to see — glad I’m not the only mom who spends time tucking loose hair behind ears :)

  • Ruth - LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! So beautiful :) Oh to be a guest at your table one day :)

  • Amy - There are no words to describe how much I LOVE this!!! And that giggle….. Just plain adorable :)

  • Stephanie - What a treasure!

  • Terry Hodges - So special! The Lord has truly blessed you and your family?

  • Amy M - That was wonderful. The song is perfection. Thanks for sharing.

  • Ranee - beautiful and lovely in every way!

  • Tiffany - Some pretty sick dance moves by the Campbell family :) Great video. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kathi S - This.Melted.My.Heart!
    Thanks for letting us see (and hear!) the Campbell’s in action!

  • Leslie N. - Beautiful!

  • Meredith - Beautiful video!

  • Alicia B - OH MY! This is beautiful!!!! And the song. LOVE!

  • Windie D - what a wonderful video! A treasure, for sure. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • carriej - DARLING!!

  • Kristen - That is the sweetest video ever! You are such a beautiful family!

  • Jill Stansell - Beautiful!

  • Steph - Why am I crying?? Aaahhh!! That was really beautiful. Your family looks even more loving and goofy than I already thought. Kudos to Amy, Shannon and you! A beautiful shoot that evoked really warm feelings; I can’t imagine how special this is to you.

  • amber - This is so much fun! So many sweet kids. The kiss from your firecracker girl to your oldest boy & his reaction…perfection. Haha!! I just love this.

  • Moriah - I have been reading your blog for a long time and sometimes I feel like we are friends. :-) Love this video, thanks for sharing it with your readers. Adorable!

  • Debbie - So special! She did a great job…..something to be treasured for years to come!

  • Caroline - Oh my Ashley!
    it was so so so lovely, i teared at the end of the video!!!!!
    So much love in your family!
    thank you for sharing this!!!

  • donna - Thanks for sharing. Looking at your husband playing his guitar he needs to have some nice round glasses like John Lennon, they would fit the image of the free sprit.

  • Lisa Miner - LOVE THIS! It could be a commercial for having a family!

  • Kristin S - Oh, Ashley, thanks so much for sharing this with us! Now every single family needs to do this. What a gift you have.

    I love your holding your “baby” boys.

  • Adrienne - ashley, I don’t usually comment but I’ve been reading your blog since right after Firecracker was born and your blog has always been such a joy to me. I’ve enjoyed the way it’s evolved over the years as your life has changed with your kiddos. I know your family isn’t perfect (and I appreciate your discernment in what you share) but I do hope to have the type of relationships within my own soon to be growing(first due in October) family as well. It was so fun to see this video and see you all in action:) anyway, I just wanted you to know that you are a source of joy and encouragement to my days just to read what you have to say!

  • Meg - This is precious! Thanks for sharing. Love love Little One’s laugh- such joy!!!

  • Rebekah - Love your sweet family!!! Wonderful pictures and adorable video. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Kathie M - What a wonderful video and session!! Truly something to treasure for many years to come!!

  • Rosalind - What a beautiful keepsake x

  • Amy - That was so great! What a treat to see your family in action. And yes, her laugh is incredible. My husband wants to know what you were making in the pot. :)

  • Lisa K - Absolute perfection!!!!

  • kelli - This is fantastic! SO FUN! Y’all are such a special family. I feel the same way – I have a million pictures, but not nearly enough video. This is a treasure! Oh, and Little One’s laugh! LOOOOVE!

  • Melanie - What a treasure!! Such a sweet window into your lives. Just curious…what were you cooking over the campfire?

  • MC - This is so beautiful!!

  • Diana - Oh my goodness…what a special treasure!

  • Amy D - Love this Ashley! Your family is precious!

  • Kassie - This is totally embarrassing to admit but i was tearing up watching this. You have a beautiful family.

  • suzy - Truly an incredible family! You guys brought me so much joy just watching you! Thank you.

  • mandy - Oh my goodness! I LOVE this! Amy captured each and everyone of your personalities perfectly! So great to “see” you guys! Just made me smile. Is that the cobbler that we made in front of Raley Chapel that you are making at the end?! This is a treasure for sure!

  • Emily Betzler - This is wonderful!!!! Love it.

  • Debbie C - I loved it! Your family is the bomb and I wish we were neighbors. ;D Thanks for posting such a beautiful snapshot of your life.

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators - I have been reading along for almost eight years so this was a delight. Your family is as full of love and laughter and tenderness and fun as I imagined. Thanks for sharing!

  • Andreea - Dear Ashley, thank you for sharing this. I love your video and am moved to tears of joy seeing you with your beloved ones. Your lightness, tenderness and blissfulness inspire me. And I love the popcorn and your hat and the dress your mom made for Firecracker and now Little One is wearing. I don’t know when or how, but keep dreamin that we’ll meet someday, somewhere in person. Love, Andreea

  • Shannon - Oh! What a treat! That was adorable, and it was fun to see all of you in action. I can’t believe I’ve been following your story for so long, I think I found you when you first did firecracker’s pallet bed! I even had my shop featured on your blog ages and ages ago (the purple bib/cheerio shoot). What a fun journey it’s been, thank you for sharing your sweet family with us! Love your voice, it’s always a calming influence on me, and reminds me to be more intentional with my own kids!

  • Holly - Just beautiful!

  • angie - What a treasure!

  • Angie - It’s not long enough!!!! AGH!! I never wanted it to end. Your family i so beautiful and that laugh almost did me in. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing!

  • Ellen Tillery - That is absolutely stunning, what a treasure for your family for years and years to come! Little One’s laugh is so sweet and beautiful. Perfect!

  • Lacey Meyers - How amazing … I’m already thinking and thinking as to how to have a video done of my family now! What a gift to have this, Ashley! And thank you for sharing it with us. :)

  • Romy - I cried!!! This is just lovely!!

  • Rebekah - Oh my word, what a fun video!!! The popcorn throwing… so fun and funny!!!

  • Bek - awwww that video is awesome! I want a video like that for my family. What a wonderful way to “get portraits” done! And little one’s giggle is the. best! I cant wait to see my daughter and make her giggle! *hugs*

  • Leslie - This was absolutely beautiful. The love your family has for eachother is so obvious, so tangible. This video is such a treasure. I check your blog each day for updates because you and your family are such an inspiration. I don’t know you, but I feel like you are such an amazing mom and I look up to you and so look forward to the wisdom and stories that you share. I’m in the midst of raising 3 of my own and they’re crazy, wild, beautiful monsters that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

  • Kate S. - LOVED that! It was so wonderful to see your family in action after years of looking at your beautiful photographs. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Amy jupin - LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this! And I miss you so much!

  • Nicola - Lush.

  • Suzanne - Love, love, love! Precious memories captured with the treasures of your life. Thank you so much for sharing….my eyes are misty!

  • Arlene - Pure joy. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jenny B. - That was so sweet! Thank you for sharing it with us. :)

  • Caroline - Memories are made of this.

  • Kelli - Wow, what a beautiful treasure!

  • Jacci in Ohio - That video made me cry! Ha ha. I’m such a sappy dork :) You all are lights. Praising God for His faithfulness in and through you. And sweet Little One’s laugh? It is too much. You were right! xo

  • Cassidy - Oh Ashley, it’s such a lovely video! And HER LAUGH OH MY GOSH! Thank you for sharing a little bit of your sweet family.

  • Angela - I could just eat your boys up! They seem just great. ???? And that giggle! Little One is such a doll. You all are. ????

  • Cass - Awww her laugh is the best! Love this video so much. ????

  • ellen patton - there is a lot of love in this video.