UPDATE: Contest is now over, Heather’s comment will be the last one to count

Did you miss me? “AHHHHHHHHHHH” that is what I have to say about the last few days dealing with this blog. After so many problems with one hosting company I decided to switch hosting companies and hired out another company to do it for me. Obviously, something went wrong. It is fixed now. Thanks for all your emails checking in on me. Did anyone else notice that Google Reader picked up that my blog was gone? Figures.

This makes me happy though.

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I had BIG plans for today’s post and for this week. Chris has been in Haiti since last week and I was hoping to use my evenings for a little blog makeover and writing some fun celebration posts for a BIG REVEAL today. “Celebrating what?” you ask. My 500th post! I had planned for it to fall on today and for it to accompany all kinds of other new stuff on the blog. Well turns out I opted to share Chris’ twitter account on Thursday (which got lost in the transfer mess and I re-posted today) – with no mention of it being my 500th post. So what was suppose to be a fun celebration just kind of got lost in a blog disappearance.

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But that is okay…I used all that extra time to work on the boy’s room…which is now about 6 steps closer to being finished.2.10ZoeLynn-04

So…what to do now? Still celebrate, just a little bit at a time I guess. Instead of a Big Reveal today, I’ll just add a bit each day until I get it all done. Here are some things to look forward to in the coming days….

* 5 Super awesome giveaways!
* Fun pictures of course
* A few new blog features
* Highlights from the first 500 posts
* “What I’ve learned from blogging.”
* Super awesome giveaways

To get this party started, I am bringing back one of your favorite giveaways…Zoe Lynn Designs. This time you don’t have to give it away. The winner will receive a store credit to their etsy shop. Not only does she carry adorable hats for girls, but she also has hats for boys (you can pick the color) and crocheted flip-flops (too cute). So all you mom’s of boys…you can enter too.

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Contest Details:
One entry per person
Ends at 9:00pm US central time Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
Prize is 1 store credit (some limitations may apply) to Zoe Lynn Designs
In the comment section tell me one of your favorite posts from the last 500 (if you are new to the blog just pick today’s!)

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  • Amy - Well considering you are the number one blog I follow, it is so hard to just choose one entry. I look forward every day to coming home after work to see what you have posted for the day. Your pictures inspire as well as point out that life with boys is so much fun. The post that stands out in regards to life with your boys is them splashing in puddles! AS for your beautiful baby girl I enjoy seeing all your day to day portraits. Looking forward to someday having a girl of my own. Thank you for sharing your life you are truly inspirational!!!

  • Amanda - It’s hard to pick a favorite post because I absolutely love everything about your blog… but the post that you did about finishing your 2009 album was wonderful – I get so focused on all the details of doing an album, and I lose sight of the fact that the pictures are what really matters. It’s not the paper or the embellishments that make the album, it’s the pictures. After your post, I finally started my daughter’s first year album (she’ll be 8 months old on Saturday, so I’m a bit behind), and I’m proud of myself for how far I’ve gotten! Thank you so much for being an inspiration!

  • keely - Yeah, that IS a tough assignment! I love your DIY’s, the crafty things you do with your boys and any post dedicated to your lovely home!

  • Theresa - Congrats on your 500th blog post! I have a lot of favs, but the one that got me started reading your blog(& my favorite) was about your daughter’s room. I found the article on design sponge & mosied on over to your blog and have been hooked ever since!! Honorable mentions would be your kitchen remodel & your twisted tea/lemonade concoction. I make it all the time now! Keep up the good work =)

  • Meagan - One of my favorites was the “You’re Gonna Miss This” post. Anytime I hear that song I think of it!

  • Mandy B - One of my favorite blog posts (besides my own family pictures) was the pics you took of Rob and Rachel with their new baby. It was a great celebration of their journey and a much anticipated photo session!!

  • Jeannette Swan - Are you kidding? Pick my favorite out of 500 – I don’t know if anyone could do that!!!! I don’t even know how far back 500 goes…I love all your posst – you inspire me like no one else to “try” to be crafty – I brought my chalk board home from Hobby Lobby today – can’t wait to hang it. I love your posts about making a difference in our world and I love all the amazing pictures of your beautiful family!! You are amazing and again, thank you for sharing your gifts with all of us.

  • Holly L. - I seriously can’t pick just one favorite. This one is one of my top picks though :

    http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2009/10/22/she-left-proof-aleidas-challenge/

    I love all of your photography, and how you just seem to enjoy life with your rug-rats. I love that you are capturing these precious and fleeting moments of having small children. Most of all, you have helped me to see that I need to do the same in my life. Slow down and enjoy my little girls, and remember to catch those moments on camera too!

    I’m so glad your blog is back! I was getting worried I’d lost it and your inspiration forever!

  • Desiree - I’ve been following you since your DIY on the doily canvas bag was featured on Design*Sponge, and I have to say, your blog has awakened my need for creativity! (Which I’ve worked so hard to suppress while I’m in grad school!) My favorite post is the visit to Grandpa’s farm with the baby goat and Big Brother. This post inspired me to take the leap and buy my first dslr (Canon XSi). I wish you had SnapShops in San Diego!

  • haley - there you are!!! glad you are back at being a celebrity to all of us!!!

  • Mandy - I just found your blog a couple of weeks ago and WOW, I’m hooked! I love the pictures of your daughter on a bed with brightly colored Amy Butler-esque pillows. Your photography is unbelieable, and she’s a cutie!! Also the pics of your boys jumping on the bed. Well, I just love it all!

  • Susan - The Stolen hat! It just makes me laugh and it’s a reminder of how to turn a frustrating situation into something good.

  • Michelle - I love all of your DIY projects and also seeing your fun ideas you’ve done with your boys. As a mom of a 1 1/2 year old, it’s given me lots of ideas!

  • Julie - I do love all of your posts! But the one that stands out to me is when you shared how you keep a glass of dirty water out to remind your boys that not everyone has clean water. I’m inspired by the example you set for your children to think of the world beyond them!

  • annie - let’s see, I’m fairly new – my favorite has got to be celebrating boys, brothers and all things male – i have two boys and one girl – the boys are close in age and the best of friends and worst of enemies and everything in between. I look forward to seeing them grow into the men they will become and journey they have together. seeing your boys wrestle in pictures – might as well have been taken at my house -it is the best kind of challenge!

  • miss r - (I’m a newer reader.) I loved the Doily Canvas Bag post. It was a really fun project to do on my own and then again with my niece.

  • linda - My baby girl is 22 so the sweet little offerings should go to someone that can actually enjoy them!

    So glad you’re back, thanks keeping at it to get you, and us, back to normal.

    The pictures of your sweet little girl are BEAUTIFUL, really lovely, thanks for sharing her and your equally adorable boys with the rest of us.

    peace to you …

  • lauren ingersoll - how can i pick a favorite? i just discovered your blog a few weeks ago and become an instant fan. I love, photography, crafts, and cute kids. a perfect combination. one of my favorite finds is the adorable gracious may shoes!

  • Moriah - I love your DIY with the birds on canvas. I just went to the craft shop today to buy materials for my own DIY on canvas. I can’t wait to try mod podge. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Stacey - I don’t really have a favorite post. I just found your blog recently. I’ve read as far back as your announcement of baby girl’s name (beautiful by the way). You have a beautiful family but what strikes me most is the way you capture your family. I love my dslr, but I’ve yet to find a way to capture my family in the way that you do! Your pictures are such an inspiration. So if I have to choose a favorite post, it would be the one with the cat eye glasses onesie…little miss looks precious in those pictures!

  • Carrie - It’s hard to pick a favorite post, since they are all inspiring to me, but I would have to say my favorite was the post on saving your photos. It made me bite the bullet and start burning my years and years worth of pics on to CD’s. It is a slow process, but it makes me feel much better to know that all my precious pictures of my kids won’t be lost forever if something happens to my pc (which is just a matter of time, haha!). Thanks for taking the time to be an ispiration!!

  • JennyB - I love your blog and I am a faithful follower ever since I saw your post on the Doily Canvas Bag-lurve it!

  • Jill J - 500 posts, WOW! I have enjoyed every one (that I’ve read). The first post that I read was the pallet bed you made for your daughter’s room. But, my favorite is either the dirty water that you gave to your kids for dinner…(um, does that make sense?) That one touched me. Or the one where you went flying for your birthday. That one was AWESOME!

    It is so cool that your hubby is in Haiti! Good for you all doing God’s work!

  • dena - I loved your pirate eye patch post.. and the post with the how to modge podge clothes pins.. your craft ideas are great!

  • Melissa - I LOVED the one demonstrating how you taught your boys about other children having to drink dirty water. You put glasses of dirty water on the table and then discussed how as a family you could donate a water filter so that children in other countries could have clean water. Ashley, you are so inspiring how to take your kids on moral/spiritual field trips and teach them hands on life lessons they will never forget. I am storing these away for when my Lily is old enough to comprehend, which won’t be too long in the future!!! Thank you.

  • Mara - All of your posts are so great, the pictures of your kids make it all worth it. But the DIY crafts are what I crave the most. My favorite post is the “Christmas Gathering…My Projects” post with links to all of your holiday crafts… I can’t tell you how many I made and loved. Thanks again and congratulations!!

  • Elizabeth - I loved your post about picking out a christmas tree and each year you had another child!…too cute!

  • Kaitlyn - Yeah for giveaways! I just started following your blog after I found your valentine crayon shavings post. I made it and my son loved it. I would love to learn more about photography eventually and it seems like you are happy to share tips. Good blog. Good blog indeed.

  • ashley - Gosh I love almost all of your posts. I’ve only been following a few months but I really liked your kitchen remodel and the quilt you made to donate. You’re so clever and crafty. I wish some would rub off on me!

  • Cara L - i love the pictures you post of your little girl! she is beautiful and her eyes are just gorgeous! it inspires me to take pics of my baby coming in september!

  • Kari S - I loved the Christmas Gathering post of all your projects! Actually, I haven’t read a post yet that I didn’t like! You do such a great job!!!

  • Amber - I enjoy all your posts for different reasons, especially the DIY projects, but the ones that I admire the most are the ones where you teach your kids about giving to others. Teaching my son (and the ones to come) to love, care, and give to others, is very important to me and my husband, and I like hearing your ideas… it makes me think of new ideas too.

  • Amy - My favorite post? Can I answer ALL of them! I really like the posts with photo tips. If I have to pick just one….I will say todays just to make it easy on me! :)

  • Kim Baker - My favorite was your 30 th birthday post. I think the airplane ride was super sweet and creative, go Chris!!

  • Kaley - Well, I started reading your blog after Ohdeedoh posted the photos of your daughter’s beautiful room, so I’m gonna have to say that was my favorite post! But since then I have loved checking your blog every day and admiring your beautiful photos!!!

  • Lesley - Um, yeah, talk about IMPOSSIBLE! I have favorites in different categories, so here goes!: funny post = baby girl’s hat, oldest nephew = vacation posts, middle nephew = the goat whisperer, youngest nephew = the water boy, baby sister = 6 months or day in the life of, recipe = chocolate bavarian torte, room = nursery and totally random = carrie underwood rock band mic, just to name a few :) I’m sure I’ll have a new favorite, but that will come in the future ;) Love you and congratulations on 500!!!

  • laura - i discovered your blog via your nursery post (was it apartment therapy or design sponge?). i still love it!

  • Margie - Yay, your back! I think my favorite was the post with your boys jumping in puddles….they looked like they were having soooo much fun!

  • Michelle M - I have only been following your blog for about a month now, but I love the adorable librarian onesie you made for your daughter!! I have really enjoyed your pictures! Thank you so much for sharing these bits of you life with us! :)

  • lorae - Favorite was the one that introduced me to your blog. Design Sponge covering Baby Sister’s room. Thank you for all the laughs and sometimes tears.

  • MLC - I loved your post about the lady stealing Breece’s hat at Hobby Lobby… not because it happened to you, but because I would have cried too and have been known to go back to every store I’ve been to looking for one of my little girl’s bows! I could totally sympathize with you!

  • Mary Craig - I LOVE this blog. Found it a few weeks ago. I think my favorite is when you showed pictures of your living room and the big picture you took of all the shoes lined up. Loved that. And our baby girls are the same age!

  • Kaitlyn - I don’t comment much but I have followed along with your blog for a while now! I have to say this is my favorite post: http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2010/01/11/gracious-may-designer-feature-session/ because I just love that last picture of all their little feet!
    This one would have to be a close second because it is just so fun and cute: http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2009/07/20/my-life/
    LOVE those new pictures of Breese… she is just beautiful!

  • candace - congratulations! love the black and whites AND her eyes. favorite posts: 1.”she left proof” and 2.”the goat whisperer” because 1.makes me wish i had more pics with my mom and 2. that is so my husband when he was a kid. can’t wait to see what all you have planned this week!

  • Heather King - I love them all… I’m a huge fan of anything featuring the boys being brothers as my second boy is due this month and I am looking forward to their brotherhood, but the one that stands out to me is your kitchen remodel… to see a room that so aptly screams “ASHLEY AND CHRIS LIVE HERE!!” and to know that its possible to do that on a small budget and a little creativity is a great encouragement!

  • Rachel - I haven’t read all 500 posts yet, but I love all the pictures and I must say that the post about how to make that layered cake…I made it and I have to admit that it was hard for me to share it with my husband and daughters!

  • Lindsey Claassen - I love any post that shows your decorating because I love seeing how every woman creates a home that reflects her lifestyle and passions.

  • Christy Pair - My fav post is wehn you announced you were expecting little sister. I am mama to a girl (2.5) and twin boys (8 months). My kids are blessed to have the experience of having brothers AND a sister. I am beyond blessed to have them!

  • ashlee - rice night is my favorite. we are doing our first one this week:) everyday i look forward to your posts!!

  • Dick - I really enjoyed the post and pictures of the boys jumping in the puddles a couple weeks ago.

  • Erica - My favorites are always the ones with photos of your beautiful baby girl! Your boys are adorable too but my daughter (& only child so far) is just a couple months behind yours & she reminds me a lot of my girl. Love your blog!!

  • Kristi - I agree with so many of the comments saying its hard to pick just one. Your pictures inspire me so much to want to learn to be a better photographer. I liked the one recently when you answered the questions we asked you. I love all the ones of the boys and legos too! Glad you are back! Congrats on the 500th post!

  • Allison - One of my favorite posts (hard to pick just one) but was one you did around the Country Music Award time. You had the lyrics of a song with pictures of your family. It made me think of mine and brought a tear to my eye!

  • KTMerl - I would have to say the eyeglasses onesie…love it!

  • Amy - I am a pretty new follower…within the past week or so…but now your blog is one I check almost daily! I love looking at all of your photos of your sweet kids. Makes me even more excited for having my own someday (Lord willing!) :) I love how your posts capture everyday life…and thumbing through past posts I would say one of my favorites is the “my life” post back when you were describing life with a new baby girl. Keep up the great work!

  • whitney freeman - I think my favorite (or one of the many favorites) has to be the one when posted the Christmas ornaments. I did not put up a tree this year for so many reasons. I love the ornaments that you also use for baby showers. Such an amazing idea to share thoughts of love with someone special! I love everyday though….you inspire my craftiness!!

  • Karla - My favorite was your pallet reading bed post. It’s number one on my to-do list – if only I can find such great heavy duty pallets! Love your blog!

  • Jill R - Too many favorites to choose. Loved the post on “rest” a few weeks ago. Love any and all posts with boys playing outside! (and soon baby sister joining them….) Especially if they are with goats. I still get tears thinking about the one of H and the baby goat. ;) So sweet.

  • Holly Todd - My favorite post was the on the day of the CMA’s and we played the game. So much fun!!

  • ~abi~ - since i actually started following your blog, my fave post was probably the one w/ the colored snow in the bathtub…because it was just so cool and fun and creative, like all your posts are! but after digging through your archives, i also love the one showing how to build the pallet bed!

  • Samantha - My favorite posts are the ones that I can “copy”… because, thanks to you, Ashley, Ellie’s announcement photos were darling, I have a pair of pants that both kids wore hanging up in the nursery to remind me to love the normal days, and while I can’t talk Ben into a chalkboard wall, he’s {going to have to} consent to a “chalkboard canvas”. :) So, whether or not I win the prize, I’ve already won!

  • Danielle Townsend - I AM SOO HAPPY YOU’RE BACK!!! What with all my plans to copy your life, I was having a hard time doing so without being able to stalk properly. Seriously. I have big ol’ plans to make a fireplace mantle just like yours (kinda)…. so, I guess your family room reveal is one of my favorites. It is exactly my taste, BUT, not my husbands. Oh well. You’re awesome, sooo glad you’re back. (Did I already say that?)

  • Kaley - I was just reading back over the posts from the last year and I changed my vote, my favorite is from 1/22/09, about the trapeze. I love that you were once offered a job as a trapeze instructor at Club Med, because I actually did that for a few years! Love it!

  • shelby rice - My favorite was the post that had the pictures of your grandfather with your little girl. Made my heart completely melt.

  • Tracy - I just want to say congrats on 500 posts!! I stumbled onto your blog only a couple of days ago and have been reading my way through..slowly though…lots of great inspo and craftiness to digest!!! I LOVE your blog…sooo inspiring!

  • Tracey B - I don’t know if I could pick a favorite post. I get so many ideas and so much inspiration for what to do with my own kids and in photography that I couldn’t just pick one post. My husband I both enjoy checking to see what is new. Happy 500th!

  • Robyn Farmer - I am a recent follower that has gone back through and looked at old posts and adore almost all of them. I love the cat-eye onsie you made and all the diy tutorials as well as the lego snapshots.

  • Suzanne Green - I loved your recent Q&A about photography. And really any of you DIY projects. You are so creative and generous w/ your talents!!

  • Kate - I was hooked on your blog when you told me the hat lost in Hobby Lobby story. I wanted to run out and find it for you. You rock!

  • Courtney - I LOVE all your creative ideas! I just recreated your baby closet organizers for my little girl who is one the way…so that has been one of my favorites!

  • sirje - my favourite is when the photo albums arrived….I want to do it exactly the same way when I have kids.

  • Lindy - I loved any blog entry that included details of your daughters nursery…I don’t have kids yet, and my husband insists we will have all boys, but seeing the creative techniques you used decorating her room makes me want a girl soooooooooo bad!

  • Alicia - The “straw in yogurt” changed our lives. ;)

  • Erin - my favorite post is the one where you share your photo albums from My Publisher…you inspired me and i am now in the midst of making my first album from that same site! thanks!!

  • Jaclyn - I love your posts about having boys. After having 2 girls who are both very girly. I now have a baby boy and am enjoying all the boy stuff. It is fun to see someone celebrating how much fun boys can be for a mom as well.

  • Brooke Bauman - Who can pick just one? One of the posts that comes to mind is when you were trying to figure out what the mystery black foam was that you kept finding all over the house. Turns out your son was biting pieces off the dry eraser to “hydrate” himself. Love 3-year-old responses.

  • Julie R - I ADORE the hats with little bills in front. Too cute! Your blog is relatively new to me, but I LOVE the DIY doily canvas bag you made. I still have yet to do it, but it’s on my to-do-list!

  • Erin Jones - My favorite was the dresses for Africa post. I thought the dresses that were made by your group of friends and your family were just beautiful!

  • Ruth - My fave is the one about the playdoh and molding hearts…

  • KerriHD - I want to pick the very first post that I came across but I just can’t remember because I once I came, I couldn’t leave – it’s all a blur! But… I’ll pick the post about the canvas doily bag. I made them for my kids teachers as Christmas gifts this past year. The kids helped me with them and they enjoyed it so much. Your blog inspired me to get back to my hobbies of crafting – thank you!

  • Jennifer - I liked the post about your rice dinner that helps the boys collect money and then buy items for people that are in need. This was such a simple idea and I plan to use it in my family.

  • Courtney H - I have too many favorites to pick just one, but I loved the post that you announced you were having a baby girl. That picture of the shoes is priceless!

  • Teresa - I love your blog…you are such a talented lady. My favorite blog is the pictures of the endless fun with snow in the bath tub. I know of 3 other friends that follow your blog and did the same thing.

  • Kristen - I loved the post about all the details in your little girl’s room!

  • Jodi - Not sure I could pick just one entry…. but my favorite part of the blog is your beautiful photos.

  • Erin Kirby - I L O V E D your post on the vintage doily table runner. And the one about the re-do of your daughter’s room. And I *really* love all of your nice tips on slr photography, being a nikon slr virgin myself. Thanks for all of your great tips and for the giveaway! :)

  • Beth - I really don’t think I could pick. I was referencing your recent post about the difference between summer fun and winter fun recently to my husband and just how true it is. I’ll say that one.

  • Amanda Fuentes - When you guest’ed (is that a word?) on Rachel’s blog at Smile and Wave, it linked me to here and I found your blog. I was very excited to see our youngest girls are only 1 week apart, I love seeing other babies the same ages as mine!

  • Jewelle - I {loved} your Wii minutes board. I just gotta get my butt in gear and make my own!

  • Allison - One of my favorite would have to be the quilt you made. It has inspired me to attempt a quilt this year. I have so many favorites, I always enjoy your photos. But the quilt has definitely inspired me.

  • Brooke - Pick a favorite entry from the 500 amazing ones you post! Oh goodness, that is so hard. I will have to go with the post of your pallet bed however, since that is the first post that brought me to your blog (which I have been indulging in ever since!)

  • Jodi - It’s way to hard to pick one so I will pick 2. The two blog posts that made me fall in love with this blog…were your nursery and the felt flower tutorial. I have been hooked ever since!!! Congrats on the 500th win! Both of my daughters have crocheted beanies…..we LOVE them! Thanks for the giveaway. I am happy that you are back on line!

  • Cindy - I love reading all your post, but one of the funiest and my favorites was when you lost the cute hat in Hobby Lobby. I love that you are so hosest and write what all of us are thinking. But especially love that you turned that sad happening into something special with the hat give away.

  • rachel p - I’m relatively new to your blog, but I was instantly addicted! Littlest brother reminds me a bit of my 18-mo old son :) I’ve read back through a bunch of your older posts, and I’d have to say I loved the post about your son and the goat. Totally made me smile & cry & want to give him a great big hug for being so sweet & loving. And it showed how wonderfully loving a mom you are :)

  • Natalie M. - Its too hard to pick one! But I love the posts where you have talked about giving your kids rice to teach them what most of the world eats and showing them the dirty water to help them understand what it means to give towards clean water for others. I think that is such a great way to help them understand what it really means when we give and to make them feel more involved. Looking forward to doing the same with my girls ( I have 3).

  • Jamie - I have lots of faves, but the one that really sticks out lately is the post about the speaking engagement you went to which was inspired by the mom who encouraged everyone stop and take a picture each month with their kids no matter what.

  • Amber - Ashley, (do you really read all these comments?) I’m the Amber who is your college roommate’s, Mandy, good friend from high school. You and I stayed together before Mandy’s wedding – when you were pregnant with Big Brother :) – and there were those times I came to visit during college. Anyway, I started kind of following your blog when you posted some pictures of Abby. I think almost in the same post as her pictures you promised something good for the next week, and that became your post on Little Dresses for Africa. I loved that! And I’ve loved the ones where you’re teaching your kids how to have compassion for the world around them. I remember ones about a concert, the dirty water, a little girl you met on a mission trip. They’ve played a part in me working to be intentional in cultivating this kind of thing in my children. We just recently gave our Lilyanna a chance to take money out of her piggy bank to send to Haiti. Anyway, there is something to love about your blog everytime I visit!

  • Trinity - I love all of the posts about adoption/orphan care…I love all of the posts where you tell about life lessons you are learning and how you teach them to your kids…I love all of the posts that give photography tips…BUT I think selfishly, the post I liked the most was the one that announced the snapshop that I quickly replied to and got in! You do a great job Ashley! Congratulations!

  • mrs doodle - I love the rice for supper post. That was something cool to incorporate into my own life. I LOVE you blog and get so happy when there is a new post:)

  • Kara - Well I can’t say that I have just one favorite, seeing as how they are all pretty amazing. But I have to say my favorites are the ones where you show your house redecorating process! We are looking for a new house currently and everyday that I see something chic/vintage/DIY I tell my friends that is totally Ashleyann! I have been hitting estate sales and the flea market and you are my inspiration!!

  • lisa @ ellebows - I just ordered something from this adorable shop :-) Would love to get more though! I love all of your posts, but the most memorable would have to be the one where you gave us a tour of baby girl’s room and that amazing bed!

  • Lucy - I loved your post about making alphabet books for your kids. My girls are all about writing and drawing so this was right up their alley. And so easy for me! You are amazing!

  • Denette - I love your blog! The first post of yours that came to mind, was one where you took pics of your kiddos playing in shaving cream!! I did that with my kids the day after I read that post, and several times since!! One of the many great ideas I got from reading your blog! Happy 500th!

  • Megan H - Hard to choose but the two that stand out the most: seeing pics of Rob and Rachel’s little Griffin and Dresses for Africa.

  • ae - My favorite post was the one where you gave instructions on how to make the canvas bags with initials on them (on D*S)… because it’s what brought me to the blog!

  • Sharee Anderson - It is hard to say I have a fav. because I enjoy all of them… but I loved the handkerchief apron tutorial and even made one to go with a baking wedding shower gift theme-she loved it:)

  • Amanda Mc - It’s too hard to pick a favorite! I love the one about the baby goat :) Makes me miss my childhood growing up out in the country!!

  • Mandi Smith - For me my favorite was all the crafts that you made up for a Christmas Gathering…I moved away this last year to Wyoming and wasn’t able to enjoy it in person, but having your blog was a little way for me to see what went on and all the good ideas you had:)

    I also like just reading the updates on your kiddos, I miss watching them during the Women’s Bible Studies on Thursday mornings…I can’t believe how much H and E have grown…you have such a beautiful family!

  • Teresa B - I’m new here, so I’ll pick today’s :) I love your blog, and your photography. And, my goodness, those hats are adorable.

  • Christina - I absolutely love all of your posts – so it is hard to pick just one. But if I have to pick – one of the ones that sticks out most is when you introduced baby girl to your grandpa. I loved how you wouldn’t share the babies name until you told grandpa first – and then you explained the meaning behind the name. I loved this post :)

  • Alba - I’m really happy that you are back. I considered to email you, but I thought you already have a lot of work with 4 kids. CONGRATULATIONS FOR THE 500 POSTS. Which one do I prefer? I could say any with craft staff, but I’ll take the goatwhisperer because there are a lot of feelings there.

  • Ashley - Oh my word! Pick ONE?!?!?! This is so hard…I think I really loved the one where we got to see the very first adorable pictures of your daughter…this was 2 months before my first was born and as a brand new mom-to-be I was mesmerized by her. They somehow captured the love of a mother and I recieved an inkling what that was like through those pictures for the very first time. It was a lovely moment.

  • Lisa - Congratulations on your 500th post! I am somewhat new to your blog. You have encouraged me with so many craft and photo ideas. I have 3 boys and a girl as well. Our princess is our 2nd and loves her brothers. I would just love to get her one of Zoe Lynn hats.

  • Kelley - Congratulations on your 500th post. I don’t post much, but I read your blog everyday. I also have 3 boys and then I had my daughter. My favorite post would have to be the one about your daughter’s room because it introduced me to your blog.

  • Seamingly Sarah - I’d have to say my favorite post was the one where you revealed your daughter’s room make over. The painted white floors, the incredible amount of detail and memory and love that went into that room is what hooked me. I’ve been reading your blog ever since. And congratulations on your 500th post! What a milestone.

  • Jenna - I love your post with the boys playing in the puddles! Those pictures are so precious :)

  • ~jen~ - i am new to the blog, but the post that meant the most to me was the december post that related to an old post on how to capture christmas morning pics – i found your blog days before christmas and took the advice i read and really enjoyed and captured christmas morning :)

  • jessica ast - I love your faces when your little girl is wearing her girly tutu (August 20th) – and as a mother of two boys, I especially enjoy all your lovely posts about your life with a bunch of wonderful boys.

  • Kellye Pearson - I have about 5 blogs that I read daily and yours is one of them! I know I found you through another blog (I can’t remember which one) but they linked you the day you made the Cat Eye Glasses Onesie. Since that’s the day I fell in love with your blog, I’m going to say that’s the blog I loved the most! Also, recently you commented on something your mother said about how nothing in your house matches and that’s why everything matches–well, welcome to my life!

  • Mandy - To choose one post is next to impossible. I think the one that sticks out most to me though is the Little Dresses for Africa. You challenge me with how intentional you are with your time, and I love hearing how your life revolves around things above and how the Father uses you in so many different venues. The Little Dresses for Africa is just one example of the Light in your life and the difference that you desire to make in other peoples lives because of that hope. Thanks for being such an incredible example to all of us.
    I, of course, love the post from today as well – you saying that you actually had fun in the snow! I KNEW it was in there! :) Keep up the good work girl! Glad you’re back up and running.

  • Jackie Walker - My fav is the post on the palette bed because it is the post where I found you. This is one of my top three favorite blogs and I’m so happy to have found it!!

  • Taylor - MY favorite post was “I can break free from my computer now! {and some of your photography questions}” It really helped me take better pictures with my SLR and inspired me a lot more with photography.

  • Jennifer B. - I absolutely love ALL of your posts, so it’s hard to pick a favorite. Because I like to be crafty, but am definitely not crafty by nature, I love all of your DIY posts. I really enjoyed all of the posts from the Christmas Gathering because there were so many great project ideas…some even easy enough for me to do! :-) Thanks for continuing to share through your blog. It’s awesome!

  • trish - favorite- for sure the one of the shoes that announced you were having a baby girl! so so sweet and coolest picture ever!

  • anne c - I love every post, but I got hooked to your blog after seeing your DIY on the Flapper Flower Clip :). Now I’m just completely happy with reading anything you have to say…and of course your pictures are always amazing! lots of inspiration around here!!!

  • Alison R - Okay, I am fairly new to your blog and took a short hiatus to move to Japan and all, but I do know that there are far too many lovely posts to pick just one! You have so much amazing stuff on here! Your DIY’s and photography is inspiring! Congrats on your 500th post!

  • Meredith - I’m new to your blog (as of a week ago), but I loved seeing your pictures of your boys in the snow. Beautiful!

  • Charity - I enjoy all of your posts. It’s such a fun blog to read for entertainment as well as great ideas! DIY projects and photo tips would probably be at the top of the list for me.

  • Christine - I agree with everyone else that it is hard to choose just one, but I like the one about the rice. What a great lesson that you teach your children.

  • amanda torres - My favorite post was the one where you made the garden and Biggest Brother got mad at you. Love, love, love that. It reminds me of my family!

  • Erica Finnan - I’m fairly new to your blog (and I love it by the way,) but I still have a hard time choosing just one. I am new to photography and I love looking at your photos…so I guess my favorite is when you answered some questions about taking pictures. I’m all for learning new things!

  • Stephanie - Because it’s too hard to decide, I’ll choose this one!

  • karen brown - LOVED the serving-rice-to-the-family post! We did it as part of a fast we did with the kids for a week to raise money to give to the church for Haiti relief. (Gave up things like Dunkin’ DOnuts after swimming lessons, a movie rental, etc.) They were a little skeptical at first and my daughter thought that she was for sure going to starve, but came through in the end. We now have a “giving jar” we add funds to so that we can be generous when a need arises. Good stuff!

  • Meredith - Pick one? That’s hard…even though I haven’t been a follower for too long that’s a tough decision. I do appreciate all of your photography posts and tips – I’ve always been a picture taker but after receiveing a great camera for a gift I’m even more interested and addicted! Your post on the My Publisher Book was great and I’m actually sitting down on the 27th with my computer at our church scrapbooking day and getting my book done (thanks to your referrel)!

  • Abby - I loved the post on January 18th about rest–beautiful thoughts + beautiful pictures of your daughter! I also love any post that shows your decorating and DIY projects!

  • Meredith - ALL your posts on photography and the tips! Thanks!

  • Britney B - I am fairly new to your blog but love love love your style! I have a little girl almost the same age as yours and I love to see your beautiful shots of her!! My favorite post so far was about the books your make of your photography every year…so inspiring and your pictures are beautiful! Keep up the fabulous eye candy – it makes my day! Oh and I would LOVE one of those hats for my little one!

  • sarah - My favorite is My Son the Goat Whisperer–the first one I read, and the one that got me hooked!

  • christina larsen - I love ALL of your posts, but the two that stand out today are the ones with the little dresses for Africa, and the lego men one.

  • bopha - what a hard decision because I LOVE ALL of your posts. I think my favorite is when you announced you were having a girl because the shoe picture is one of the cutest most creative heartwarming things i have ever seen.

  • jody - Love your ideas on crafts…love the views of your home…but my fav post that comes to mind is the photos of your boys’ room & wrestling shots….too fun!

  • Casey - I don’t think I have one favorite post, the thing I love most about your blog is the photography that goes along with your posts, it really is beautiful!

  • jade - i love your daughters room! i keep going back to that one.

  • Yuliana - It’s a hard one. I love everything with your kids’ photos.
    Your children are beautiful, and you take amazing pictures of them.

  • Jenna - Oooh. Too touch to choose just ONE! I absolutely LOVED the post showing baby sister’s room, especially the daybed “how to.” I also loved the post when you shared the comment from the super grumpy man who told you to stop crafting. Crazy people!!! From a mom who only wishes she was crafty, please keep crafting!

  • Christy H - My favorite post was your kitchen reveal! I love your kitchen!
    but all of your posts are awesome.

    I am loving those baby flip flops, adorable!

  • Janica - Ooh, I LOVED the post of you letting the kids play with snow in the bathtub! That was truly inspired… Congratulations on 500 POSTS! Keep it comin’:)

  • Lisa Johnson - so many to choose from! Now I’m tempted to go all the way through the archives. Fun! I always love the craft ideas and peeks at your amazing, creative home, but the post that stands out the most to me is when you introduced your baby girl to your grandpa. That brought back sweet memories of my grandparents. Thank you Ashley for blessing us with inspiration and beauty, and most of all, for edifying us to enjoy the precious moments of life.

  • evalina miller - one favorite post? that’s difficult for me. i will say though that i love your posts about how you made the daybed for your adorable daughter’s adorable nursury. i also love what you did to your kitchen. the color scheme you chose is among my favorites. and of course posts like this one, where i get a chance to win a hat for my little baby due 9 days from now, are close to the top of the list.

  • Shanalea - Really, there are too many to pick and choose just one….but I have to say I love the recipe one from two summers ago with the salads. I love to create new things and have enjoyed the chicken salad alot.

  • Mindy - Of course I love all of them, but I love the recent my publisher one. Why haven’t I done that before! I am going to start working on one now! I love your blog. It has changed me.

  • Nicole - I love all of the posts about your boys and their Legos! As a mama to two girls I don’t see a lot of Lego play (even though we have two large bins of them) and it is fun to see all of your boys’ creations!

  • Jennifer Ross - I love all of them, but I’ll pick the post of your daughter’s nursery since that is how I found you (via Design Sponge). You are amazing and so uber creative. I love your style! I want to be you. No really, I do. Remember that I’m that stalker? Don’t be scared. I don’t have time to ever find you(please read the sarcasm here. I realize since I don’t really know you, you may see this as not funny.), but I love everything you post. My project list is twice as long since following you.

  • Callie - I love all the post on your crafty profects and when you show us how you’ve decorated your house – LOVE your style! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  • Nicole - 12.15.09, GRANDPA POST. it was my first time running across your blog and I saw your grandpa playing with your daughter. I had lost a grandpa 4 years earlier (almost to the date) and it made me miss him and wish he was here to play with my kids and new baby. Since then I’ve checked your blog daily and you are my first person listed on my blog inspiration board on my sidebar.

  • Callie - I love all your posts on your crafty projects and when you share how you’ve decorated your house….can’t wait to see the boys room! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Callie B - I love all your posts on your crafty projects and when you share how you’ve decorated your home…can’t wait to see the boys room!

  • Dena - The kitchen remodel before and after pics. But really any are great!

  • Heather - Picking one favorite might be impossible since I like so darn many. I almost had a heart attach this weekend when I tried to view your pretty blog and it was gone! Gasp!! So glad you are back up and running. Happy 500th!!

  • mindy t - Id have to say the valentines crayon hearts..my 2yr old son and I had fun making them.

  • ashley - Right now I’m enjoying a pretty salad! But this morning it was the sun glinting off the fog in my backyard, and the sight of my baby girl feeling much better after being sick for a few days.

  • Melissa - I have been reading your blog since just before your little girl was born.. I love all the posts you have with all the creative things you do.. you are so crafty!

  • Christian T - Hey! My favorite post?? Hummm… Do I have to pick just one? I would say my favorite would be the reveal of your living room makeover. I love the fireplace and the photo on your mantel.

  • Julie B. - There are many favorites, but I love the one with the boys and the goats!

  • Zoe Campbell - I love the December snow pics, inspired me to buy a dslr! Have just spent the weekend photographing our niece and nephews playing away :)

  • Jen - i have to pick 1? are you crazy!? i love to see the things you craft, all the house renovations and of course your precious babes!!

  • Julia - my favorite blog posts are the ones with the camera tips- like lighting, etc. I don’t have a fancy camera, just a point & shoot, but I still get a lot from your tips!

  • Kara - I love the post detailing your baby’s beautiful room – it’s so gorgeous. Lucky girl!

  • Ashley - I am new to the blog, but I loved reading the post about your nursery details – I’m in the planning phase now, just working on ideas, so it was wonderful to read how yours came together!

  • Charla Lane - Well one of my FAV posts, was how you got the headband for little sister and you thought it looked like an eye patch and you jumped out and scared your boys. LOL….. I love how your creative brain works.(I am TOTALLY making those eye patches for my youngest sons bday). I also LOVED when you talked about how God sent an angel for you hubby @ Christmas. LOVE how you make life so FUN!!! (BTW I freaked a couple of days ago when I couldn’t find you blog) Glad it’s all worked out. I have to add that I got some AWESOME Monster truck pics @ the BOK thanks to your tips. I shot manual and they turned out WAY better than last years.

  • Alli - Honestly, it would be your last post because it led me to your husbands twitter account where my heart broke for the children in his pictures. This is by far my favorite. But the best part, seeing those that accepted Jesus as their Savior! Truly inspiring and brings tears to my eyes.

  • Charla Lane - Sorry, One more…I Know it was on here somewhere but I am not sure where…you were talking about how we as moms aren’t in very many pics. It really hit home with me. SO now I am up for the no make-up, crazy hair, fat or thin pics. Thanks for that.

  • Grace - I am new to your blog and I am absolutely in awe of how much you can do being a mom of 4! My mom found your blog and shared it with me. I started looking through it last Thursday and on Friday night it was down. I was so sad that I had to email you and find out why. You emailed me and thankfully you were just switching servers. I am glad that you are back up now! I love that you involve your kids in everything you do. I love your style and that you take so many pictures of your kids. I have to little boys and I struggle to even get one good picture out of them a day. I think that you inspire me and that I will be taking more pictures, and do more crafts. That said, I think that my favorite post would be the short little photography tutorials you have given.

  • Kara - Too hard to pick just one! I LOVE all the diy projects! I am a relatively new stay at home mom and it has been fun to try some of ur crafts!

  • Elizabeth - I love when you show your kids being kids…messes and all!

  • Kristina H. - My favorite posts are the one’s where you answer questions about your photography. I am a budding photographer and I love to learn about what type of equipment you use and how to take such wonderful photographs!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent!!

  • Shelly - I love your blog and the way I found it was through your “entering the girl world (the nursery)” which was featured on OhDeedoh.

  • Ang - Back in the day there was this post about a little guy named Rooke. I liked that one. But of the posts included in your archives . . . I really liked the one about the dresses for little girls in Africa. That seemed to be the epitome of who you are all wrapped up in one.

  • Crystal - I really enjoy any of your photography tips. I wish I lived closer to attend one of your workshops. You are so talented!

  • Stephanie - My favorite blog (so far) is the one that brought me to your blog: http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2010/01/13/diy-paper-bird-painting/ I so appreciate how you make such wonderful things from simple, everyday stuff!

  • emily - the goat whisperer, for sure. if only i was close enough to take a snapshop workshop…

  • Ashley SP - Wow, five hundred? I love quite a few of your posts but I have the living room one bookmarked for inspiration. =D

    Yay! I’ve been trying to convince my sister than one of the Zoe Lynn hats would make a perfect auntie gift.

  • Beatrice Killam - One of my favorite posts? That’s a tough one. I guess the recent one about the myPublisher album. It gave me such a good idea to do the same instead of doing scrapbooks for my kids anymore.

  • Crystal - I love all of your posts! If I had to choose a favorite, it would probably be the one about the pumpkin patch visit and Hudson with the goat. Adorable!

  • Caitlin - I loved the post that had the tutorial for the fabric birds on canvas that are above your fireplace. I am going to make those one of these days!

  • Ali Richardson - I love the post where you show pictures of the nursery. It is the most beautiful nursery I have ever seen!!! White floors, oh my!! Don’t even get me started. LOVE IT!!

  • Holly - I love-love-loved seeing what you did what baby sister’s room. It’s so gorgeous!! That was my favorite post =).

  • Rachel - The rice dinner. That was my favorite.

  • Emily - I love the post where you posted the pictures of you holding baby girl up with her tutu on. Congratulations on 500 posts.

  • Suzanne - I enjoyed your posts about your photo books. I made those for my parents for Christmas from a different website, but I like the look of yours better. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Tessa - I found your blog a few months ago and I ABSOLUTELY love it! Your blog is by far one of my favorites. I can’t even imagine trying to pick a favorite post. Some of my favorite things about the blog are your amazing photos, the fun you have with your kids, the cool projects, creativity, and the colors. You also inspire me with your faith and pure heart. You are awesome!

  • Amanda - I am relatively new to the blog. But I really liked the post you did recently about melting crayons with your son. I actually did an activity similar to that with my neices and nephew when I was babysitting after I read it. We melted crayons in a muffin tin in the oven and used a heart cookie cutter to cut them out. Then we poked a hole in the top before it got too hard and put a string through it to make Valentine’s Day necklaces. They loved it. They each made two and kept one and gave one to their mom, teacher, grandma, etc.

  • maegan - I love all your posts. So hard to just pick one- especially between all your great craft posts. I think I would have to pick the one about Rice Night. It is such a great idea and challenged me to think of more ways to intentionally teach my children lessons.

  • star3night - my favorite post? I love your blog, it would be impossible for me to pick a favorite! Although, those photos of your boys stomping in the mud have stuck with me since you posted them! I love that you were able to keep shooting after the little one jumped in wearing his shoes.

  • Heather - it was what the blog post that introduced me to ashleyann! It was of baby Beam in the special care nursery at St. John’s, I was working that night and you came to take pics and after you left Mandy told me all about you! Every since most of St.Johns nursery girls have become addicted to your blog!

Did you miss me? I’ll be back soon to write more….yeah my blog is back up!!!!!

Got to go get Biggest Brother from school, until then check out what my amazing husband is up to in Haiti!

http://twitter.com/christophobu

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  • Lauren Roberts - Yeah!

  • Meagan - I know! I friended him the other day on facebook and have been enjoying his status updates! It’s really awesome! I have always wanted to do missions. Sounds like they are really doing good work! I bet you miss him, though—and miss his help with the kids!!!

  • candace - Yay for amazing husbands in Haiti! Looks like yours is working hard and changing lives. Mine returns this Friday. Glad to see the blog back up and running.

  • Jill R - So glad you are back!

  • Brooke - You know you’re pathetic when….
    You have nightmares that you will never get to see the adorable kids room for inspiration again…
    You think about the crate (rolling) bed (to lounge on in your kids’ room) when you pass by the back of buildings, and see their loading docks..
    You think about writing Meg (from Whatever) to ask if she knows where you have gone…and where I can find you…
    You were missed, don’t you worry!
    Glad you’re back…and happy 500th post…

  • Katie - I loved the one about rice night!

  • Shauna - I just read your husbands tweets and couldnt stop crying, especially when I saw the pics of the kids and their stories. Makes me want to adopt them all….

Well there won’t be a post tomorrow or Friday, but be sure to check in on Monday and all next week. The blog might be down for a couple of days, but it should be back up and running shortly. I have some celebrating to do and some exciting news. At least it is exciting to me. No I am not pregnant. Enjoy the rest of your week & weekend and I’ll be back on Monday!

Get ready for it….ready for it….ready for it….I HAD FUN IN THE SNOW! Shocking, I know. We made it through a whole 15-20 minutes without one boy crying! The snow was coming down hard and it looked like something out of a holiday romantic comedy. Beautiful. The boys were happy – which makes for a happy mommy. Later the big boys got to go sledding and I was stuck at home with the little ones. I look forward to when the kids are old enough to leave at home so Chris and I can go sledding to all go sledding together. To top it off all those dripping clothes and wet boots in the kitchen forced me to mop…so my floors were beautiful for all of 5 minutes!

Serious cuteness going on here.  This little guy brings so much laughter to our home.2.01snow-012.01snow-042.01snow-022.01snow-03

2.01snow-05

Now, to address the remaining questions from a bit ago (I think these are the last questions):

Suggestions for snow pictures?

For the pictures above my camera settings were: 85mm lens, 1/400, f/2.8, ISO 100. Sometimes in those conditions it is easiest just to switch to automatic…I do increase the contrast in the post processing to make the darks darker and not washed out looking.

Do you have a blog button?

Technically “no”. I have a jpeg image, but haven’t figured out the button thing yet. Do you have a suggestion on how to make them? I hope to get a couple of options made soon.

Will you offer online SnapShops?

Honestly, it never crossed my mind until recently and especially after so many of you asked about it. Part of the fun of SnapShops for me is the ‘real life’ interaction and the practice photoshoots. However, if I can figure out a way to offer them online in such a way that reflects all that I would want….then “yes” maybe one day I will offer that. I will say it won’t be anytime in the near future, maybe next year? I am open to it, so we’ll see.


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