Finally the sun shining was matched with warm weather. Our yard is still soggy, muddy and WET…but it was warm and beautiful outside.

So I had the choice:
1. Keep everyone inside, clean and dry
2. Throw on the rainboots and go have some splashing fun..which would mean early bath times

You know I chose the second – these pictures are so much more reflective of my life than all those sweet baby pictures last week!

Biggest Brother                                                              Big Brother                                                                  Littlest Brother1.10mudpuddle-031.10mudpuddle-05

No diving board…Littlest Brother’s old push car will work.1.10mudpuddle-06

He saw his brothers jumping in the puddles and I ran chasing him to get his boots on instead of his ‘good’ shoes…he beat me to the puddle.1.10mudpuddle-111.10mudpuddle-15

And after all that it just makes sense to go ahead and just sit in the puddle…right? Boys. I love them.1.10mudpuddle-20

For those wondering why Baby Sister wasn’t in the mess…she was sleeping. Her time will come.

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  • Jeannette Swan - You are so fun! Never really would have crossed my mind to let everyone run wild in puddles! I need to get everyone rainboots so they can!!

  • christina larsen - Love the pics, it looked like a lot of fun. However, my favorite pic was the first one. The reflection in the puddle, was amazing. I loved it. Thanks for sharing.

  • the inadvertent farmer - You just made my morning, those have me grinning from ear to ear! Isn’t this just what life with kids is about? Those unscripted filled with pure joy moments? Thanks so much for sharing, Kim

  • ashlee - your such a fun mom!!

  • Kelly - My parents have pictures of my sister & I doing something very similar when we were about that age. And I remember it. It doesn’t rain here often enough to accumulate puddles but when it does you better believe I send my kids out to jump in them! You definitely made the right choice! :)

  • annalea - fun! but i am so desperately craving warm weather now. still 28 degrees here. i will use your photos to dream up playtimes for the spring.

  • elizabeth holder - Just wanted to say I love your photos – and each time I look at your pictures I hope to someday take pictures as great as you do.
    Thanks for inspiring me and sharing.

  • susie whyte - laughing so hard…the older boys huge muddy water splash is perfection. little brother’s muddy, dripping water on his face…classic. little sister really missed out. :)

  • Rachel - Wonderful pictures…just wondering what the settings were on your camera? My action shots always have at least one blurry area and yours were so sharp!

  • Rachel - looks like so much fun!!!

  • emily anderson - just wanted to say how much ya’ll remind me of my lil’ family. i am a mother of 4, aged 5 and under (my newest one is just shy of 3 months). so, it’s always fun to read other peoples blogs who know what your life is like…ya know?
    love the pictures…totally love them.

  • emily anderson - oh, forgot to add that i have 3 boys and 1 sweet girl too! :)

  • Melissa - Ahhhh – I wanna play to
    Super fun!
    Great photos!

  • Shannon Phillips - Nothing like a brood of boys to show that puddle who’s boss. Wear are the photos of your new rain boots Miss Ashley? I was hoping to see a self portrait of you making some splashes. ;) I love your photos as usual.

  • mandi - oh- what fun! you guys found an AWESOME puddle!
    you better believe little sister will be out there- my daughter has always been a mud hound. we are serious about puddle jumping around here!

    side note: when my son turned 2 we had a mud party. hands down, favorite party. all the kids were nakey by the end, rolling around in mud- so much fun!

  • Kristen - I love these pictures! Especially the last one of your little boy sitting in the puddle as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. Very cute.

  • Pamela-Marie - I just found this blog, and I love the way you let your kids have such fun. No fuss about mess etc. Well done you!
    Pamela-Marie from The UK.

“Rest” – do you ever feel like it alludes you? I do. Not rest as in sleep at night…I gave up on that six years ago! I mean rest as in the depths of you. A place where you aren’t anxious…or busy…or trying…or going. Rest. Sometimes we can’t rest because someone or something is keeping us from that. Sometimes that ‘someone’ is ourselves. Sometimes it is someone else…like a mom trying to take your picture.

And then we close our eyes, turn our heads and try to block it all out…and maybe we find rest for a moment….



Part of the Wikipedia definition of rest includes “a pause in a piece of music”. Truly great compositions have moments of ‘rest’. When I consider what I am ‘composing’ with my life…my marriage…my children I realize moments of rest aren’t just nice, but they are crucial. So today I am going to rest…not take a nap…rest…rest in the way that is uniquely me. I am a big fan of Amy Wenzel and her amazing talent as a photographer. She recently wrote the following in a post (I encourage you to read the complete post here…she gave me permission to share a bit):

“…I want my “view of life” to be….Peaceful. Serene. Breathtaking. Filled with wonder and gratitude. Sometimes it seems like those are impossible ideals, or that moments of serenity can only happen when you are on vacation in Africa.  Yet imagine if you could get out of bed every morning and actually choose how you view the world? …..So my question is, how do we choose each day to manifest our own reality?  I say I love dogs, nature, reading, painting.  But do I own a dog?  Each day do I pick up my paint brush simply because I love it?  Do I take the time to read a good book and relax?…I pray and ask God for strength, but then I hear his voice saying, “The reason you are so tired is because you don’t rest.  And then you want me to pump you full of energy like a God sized dose of espresso.  How am I supposed to re-fill your gas tank if you are driving circles round the pump at 60mph?”

So today I may not answer your email so quickly…I’ll be following my daughter’s lead…I am a mom with 4 very young children and I am at rest….


For those wondering the adorable Messy Flower Headband is from etsy seller Joy’s Hope. You can visit her blog here…when you visit take time to read ‘Joy’s Story’.

Google Reader stopped reading my blog…don’t subscribe.

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  • Alba - REST… it sounds good. I’ll take to think about it … next weekend ;-)

  • ashlee - wow…thats exactly what i needed to hear on a monday morning…thanks:)

  • Liz - I love Amy and David Wenzel. They are amazing people with an amazing outlook on life ! While my daughter Allison was so sick I did a lot of thinking about this. We were in the hospital and people were constantly feeling sorry for us and asking if we were tired of sitting there everyday. Amazingly we weren’t because we just focused on her the entire time and cherished every minute with her. It was great rest for us. You get so busy and I think sometimes we forget what is really important. Now I spend lots of time enjoying moments in life instead of rushing on to the next thing. I have also learned to say No so that I am not so over scheduled all the time and that has been very nice!

  • Elizabeth Highsmith - i recently found your blog, it’s delightful. thank you for blessing others with your joy! i totally got and admired your light of the world christmas card and if it makes you feel any better about the hobby lobby critics i’m 28, and would like to make a cat eye shirt for ME! blessings. enjoy your rest!

  • Heather - Why is it that it seems like something catastrophic has to happen in order for us to take a rest? And then later we forget how good it feels when we rested? Not for me anymore. I made a point a few years back after catastrophe to keep the rest in my life and my whole world changed. Now joy is sweeter, life is a tad slower, and my brain isn’t nearly as fried. I think we all deserve rest as much as we deserve happy and active lives, and without one you really can’t have the other.

    P.S. I LOVE Joy’s Hope!! I’m a huge fan…so glad you mentioned her, her fab flowers, and her sweet Joy’s story.

  • Sarah - Today, during my quiet time, I came across this verse which I think fits your day perfectly.
    Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
    Thank you for your encouragement.

  • Jill R - I always feel guilty for “resting” – I too often associate it with being “lazy.” I love how beautifully you have described it here. Not at all that horrible L word. Thanks for that and for the beautiful spring colors in the picture!

  • Cassie - “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
    “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
    Matt. 11:28–29
    Thanks for all your wonderful insight and ability to find the good in every day. I am a single mother and have 3 boys of my own (5, 2 1/2, and 1 1/2). Your blog is a “life line” for me. Seeing you find joy in the every day is huge for me. Knowing that someone else can do it makes it a little easier. I am more grateful for what I have been blessed with because of your light. Thank you.

  • ellebows - oh, rest. sounds fabulous. i could use some of it :-)

  • Ashley - Thanks.I needed to hear that.

  • Jodi - Sometimes we need that little reminder. Thanks for that. And thanks for the link to Joy’s Hope blog.

  • Kate - Thank you. What an amazing message.

    So beautiful and wonderful. I’ll be praying for us both to find rest.

  • Sara W - Oh, I love this post – thank you I needed to read this today! I am a mom of little ones as well and sometimes just keeping everyone fed and clothed feels overwhelming.

  • Christian T - I love Joys Hope blog… When I saw your daughters headband I knew exactly where you got it! :)

….and Friday’s giveaways from Simply Couture Boutique are:


Large Purple Bow Set: “Susan – I love what I do, but it’s so much fun to surprise people with a photograph gift of their kiddo(s)…something to do with photography gifts!”

Small Purple Bow Set: “Amanda Mc – Hard to pick one thing, so here are two. Photography and I’d love to learn to grow organic fruits and vegetables.”

LadyBug Crayon Roll: Sarah – I would probably make cards or wedding invitations; I used to make cute handmade cards all the time but now I don’t have the time.”

For those of you that didn’t win…and you three winners…Simply Couture Boutique is offering 20% discount to Under the Sycamore readers! When you check out just enter the code ‘AshleyAnn’….how fun is that!

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  • Amanda Mc - Thanks! I’m excited :)

  • Sarah - Very exciting… thanks so much!

  • Susan - Woo Hoo! Yay! Thanks!