What you ask is a couple of days away? The CMA Awards! In honor Wednesday’s show I am doing an ode to country music post…well kind of. I realize that after reading that sentence there are a few for sure responses:

1. My good friends rolling their eyes thinking, “Is she really doing a post on country music?”

2. Excitement from all you other country fans

3. “Country music? She likes country music?”

4. “Country music? I thought she loved Jesus.”

Thank you Trace Adkins for a great song…

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I’d invite you all over to join me for a CMA watch party, but I have an aversion to large crowds and I am guessing there aren’t that many of you that would want to come!

For those wondering, these were taken at Redbud Valley.  Last time I was there I was a senior in high school and I went with two friends…Kevin and Judson. I was the yearbook editor and they were the photography editors. We went out in an attempt for them to teach me to shoot my film camera on manual instead of automatic. It was a very frustrating experience and I got about 2 pictures that weren’t completely black. However, trying to hike with a baby in a sling while also taking pictures was about just as hard.

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  • Shannon Phillips - Yes! I LOVE you for this post Ashley! Unlike you, I am normally a cryer so, this one brought tears to my eyes. I know, I’m a sap. Thanks for the country music post. It was one of my favorite posts of yours. ;)

  • christina larsen - So where is Redbud Valley? I have only lived in OK for 2 yrs. My family would love to go there, it looks amazing.

  • Rachel C - Hooray for country music! Looking at your picturees along with Trace’s lyrics …. GULP. I am bursting out in song right now….Nothin’ better than a little chicken fried and a big green tractor. BTW — did you know that Taylor Swift is dating “Jacob” from the Twilight series? Yeah, that’s right…I like country music AND vampire books. :)

  • AshleyAnn - Here’s a link to info on Redbud Valley
    http://www.oxleynaturecenter.org/redbud.htm

  • Meagan - Awww, such a sweet song, and so true! I didn’t know you were friends with Judson! I should have known that though, duh! I’ve known Judson for a long time—we grew up together at church! He’s such a sweetie pie/goofball!

  • Jennifer Williams - This was an incredible post! More people might like country music if they would listen to the words and realize how much it can relate to your life.

  • amanda torres - Not a huge country music fan anymore, but it still plays in the car sometimes. I’m so glad you are super stoked about this event! Very cute post.

  • Susan - LOVE that song! LOVED the pix!

  • Trina - i love your last photo with you and your gang in single file

  • christina larsen - Thanks Ashley, I had been to the Oxley Nature Center; I didn’t realize they were the same thing. Oh well, thanks for the help.

  • bopha - Wow, loved that post. This is going in my top 10 Ashley blog moments.

  • Ashley - Ashley – Thank you for this post. I don’t have kids but this sure brought tears to my eyes. I like to imagine we all go through life with a personal soundtrack playing and I can see you hiking carrying a baby snapping pictures of all the brothers and dad AND I think this is the appropriate song for that. Great post!

  • meg duerksen - i was singing it loud while reading this amazing post!
    love country music. :)

    we have tim mcgraw, taylor swift & brad paisley all coming this winter to wichita. i hope we get to one of those.
    tim mcgraw preferably.
    i wouldn’t normally watch the CMA’s but maybe this year i will. :)

  • PamperingBeki - So precious!! That’s a really good song.

    The one that chokes me up every time, though, is Let Them Be Little. I bawl like a baby when it’s on.

  • the inadvertent farmer - OK…wiping a tear away. Love that song, country music melts me every time. I have on ‘two wooden crosses’ as I type. I’m off to get a really big hanky.

    I will certainly at least have it one…not sure I’ll actually sit down to watch but will be listening for my faves!

  • Jill R - We are looking forward to the CMA’s as well! I love this Trace Adkins song. I sang it to both of my boys as newborns in the rocking chair at 2 am on many nights…..okay, maybe more singing it to myself as a reminder that this to shall pass and I will be able to sleep again, someday…..

  • Jen B. - Could you possibly do a teaching here on shooting in manual mode in low light situations? Thank you!!! I’ve been practicing, but I just can’t figure this one out.

  • Rebekah Jean - Awesome post. Great song…and I love the way you depicted it with your pictures! It’s a great message…sometimes we just need to slow down and take in life a little more! :)

  • Alba - I’m not really into country music, but I’ll make a search to find out what are you talking about. Amazing pictures, as always, the last two are wonderful, a little foot there, these small hands, the pack,… Thank you for postins things like this, it makes my office mornings better.

Post Update 11.13.09

It seems like I am quickly losing the battle with my email inbox…I overlooked a couple of the girl’s emails from the last SnapShop. Here are a couple more student pictures…

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Thanks for your comments yesterday…I really am not a crier…especially over something so trivial….it is usually over Johnson & Johnson commercials:)

Well it has taken me a bit, but I am finally posting some of the pictures from those that attended the last SnapShop (not everyone sent me some). Keep in mind these great ladies came shooting on automatic and at the end of the day I forced them to only shoot on manual for this practice session. That outdoor session is pretty fast-paced and they were dodging 10 other ladies…the fact they got anything in focus makes me proud….but they did so much more than that. Check out how great their pictures turned out!
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I did want to share a link to a post Valerie wrote on her SnapShop experience. SnapShops aren’t meant to be a dig in the books technical photography class, but more a practical class to learn how to get the most out of your investment in a dslr….and to capture the beauty of your everyday life. Thanks Valerie for the super sweet words!

Over the course of the last few months a few SnapShop attendees have started photography businesses of their own.

Check out their websites! (If I am missing someone, please let me know!)

Revolutions Per Minute – This talented gal already had quite the foundation before coming (still wondering why why she came!)…she could really teach me a lot!

Jenny Collier Photography

Andrea Jett Photography

From Moments to Memories Photography by Serena Lowe

MNix Photography by Megan Nix

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  • Beth - Have you ever given thought to doing a class or even just a post on the business of photography? Where to start, etc…

  • Andrea Jett - Thanks Ashley! The biggest things you taught me were Godly passion and confidence! And I am forever grateful.

  • Trinity - Ashley…you must feel like a proud mother with all of her little snap shop children doing it on their own! The pictures are great girls and the websites are awesome! Here is a comment I got from someone the other day…”your pictures are great…I love how they tell a story and capture who the person is, not a pose.” I thought, oh Ashley would be proud! Thanks again for using your talents and investing in other people. I don’t just learn lessons on photography from you, but on life…how you treat others, teach your kids, and invest your talents in others. Thanks!

  • amanda torres - Great shots. I love to look at those kids. B-E-A-U-tiful.

  • Melissa - Ashley, Did you get my pics? I sent them either Sunday or Monday this week . . .

  • Julie W - Ashley, ditto…I sent my pics on Friday, 10/30. Just don’t want you to think I blew you off! Let me know if you would like me to forward the email.

  • Jill Curry - Ditto… I sent my pics on Oct. 28th. No big deal, just wanted you to know in case something weird is up with e-mail. :)

  • Valerie - Thanks for the mention on your blog! Makes me feel like a superstar, haha, since I am a big fan of yours. And I’m so glad my comments made you smile!

First, let me say how much I loved reading your comments on what you believe. Some were so beautiful, some memorable and some flat out hilarious. You should take time to read them all! I was tempted to list some of my favorites, but there were too many. Thanks for playing along…we’ll do it again soon. And now….

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Congratulations Abbey…send me an email!

So this is going to be a bit of a random post…do you remember this ADORABLE hat?
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A few nights ago she was sporting her cuteness in it while shopping at Hobby Lobby with me. It started to fall down over her eyes, so I sat it on her lap in the stroller. A couple aisles later I realized it had fallen off her lap. Now it was about 30 minutes before close and there were only a couple other shoppers in the store, so I was confident I’d walk back and find it on the floor…but I didn’t. Now here is the crummy part…in the area I was at was 2 other moms pushing strollers with daughters close to the same age as mine. In a matter of minutes they were gone and the hat was no where to be found. I contacted the manager and in minutes most of the store staff was looking all over for the hat. Most knew what it looked like because they had noted how cute she was in it earlier. When it didn’t turn up I started crying! Can you believe I was crying over a hat in Hobby Lobby! Embarrassing!! I was bummed that we lost my favorite hat from a dear friend, but more than that I was disturbed that someone would basically steal her hat. Who takes a baby’s hat and shoves it in their diaper bag instead of turning it in? Who puts a ‘stolen’ hat on their own innocent baby? I couldn’t help but think about what that mom will be passing on one day to her daughter…I guess a belief that finders are truly keepers.

Well I got home and was obviously upset. I laid in bed that night thinking about it and what I was going to do with this experience…and I remembered the night before Biggest Brother had found a dollar the park. We made him walk around to see if anyone was around that might have dropped it. Since there was no one to be found we told him he could keep it. As a mom I think just about everything in life can be used to teach my kids something – the next morning he and I had a talk about what to do when you find something. He was upset to know someone kept his sister’s hat instead of trying to find her to give it back.

I told him that instead of staying in a place of anger I am choosing to respond in a positive way.  I am choosing to give out of the recognition that God has given me….He has given me SO MUCH. I ordered another hat, but this time I ordered two. So in a couple of weeks when my daughter gets her new hat, so will another little girl. Maybe it will be a blog giveaway or maybe I’ll stalk a mom at Hobby Lobby and gift her with it. Who knows. I also chose to make my girl a new flower for one of her other hats…because making something always makes me feel better! When Chris saw it he said it looked “vintage”…mission accomplished!

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Not only did I make her a new flower for her hat I had an all day craft vacation….getting ready for my seminar at A Christmas Gathering! There are only 1000 tickets for each night. Thursday is sold out, but you can still get a ticket for Friday! Here’s sneak peek on what I have in the works! I’ll be posting tutorials on everything the week of Thanksgiving…so those of you that can’t come in person can still see it all.

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By “craft vacation” I mean the older two kids were gone most of the day, Littlest Brother was gone in the morning and I only had Baby Sister around….so it was a mini-vacation for me. Littlest Brother came home from his nana’s for his naptime. He was supposed to be sleeping (he goes back and forth between his bed and crib depending on how tired I am), but I heard laughter coming from his room. I grabbed my camera (laughter usually indicates a fun picture) and walked to his room. Evidently he thought it was a good idea to pull his curtain down and try to climb out of the crib. I snapped the picture, then headed back to my craft vacation…he eventually fell asleep.

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P.S. The “stolen” hat is pretty unique for around here, so if you are local and you see another baby girl sporting it feel free to tackle her mom and get it back for me. Just kidding…well really I’m not kidding, but it makes me look better if I pretend I am!

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  • Alba - It happened the same to me a year ago with a little toy from my second child, in a beach. It was a gift from my brother, and it was important to me. Anyway, you can be as upset as you want.
    How easy is to run after someone when you see they have forget something on you side? At least for me.
    She looks so cute with her new hat, really 20′ (1920)

  • amanda torres - You are so funny (referring to your last comment)! I am seriously cracking up. So sorry about the hat. I would be just as upset.

  • sheridan - Oh that gets me HOT! YOu can bet if I see that hat on another baby I’ll be sure to hound her mama w/ questions as to where did she EVER found it. I’ll kill her w/ kindness and compliments on her style and choice of hat. So sorry this happened but thankful you are a mommy who looks to goodness and blessing out of a bad experience. I’m super excited to see what you come up with for the Christmas Gathering! Be sure to give Carrie a shout out from the stage she’ll love it and feel like a rock star.

  • Michele V. - I had a girls weekend this past weekend with some cousins and
    aunts and mom and sisters. We found a woman’s wedding band and a bracelet left in the room we were staying. We couldn’t imagine what the owner of it had felt like when she realized she lost it and probably didn’t know where. Apparently the last group to stay there were military wives. We turned the ring into the office hoping they could track down who it belonged
    to. The day we left there I realized I did not have
    my anniversary ring on and must have lost it there. Of course we were already an hour and a half away coming home when I realized it. It made me think about us doing the right thing and when I got home I found my ring in the top of my suitcase.
    Whoever found your little girl’s hat will reap what they sow. It’s just sad some people don’t understand that.

  • ashlee - lol…i would so call her out if i saw your hat!! i love love the flower, it is so elegant! so do you live in an old house with fabulous moldings (in little brothers room) or did you add it? i love the turquoise trim! is it on the base boards and crown as well? Im excited to get to take your class! i cant wait to see your projects…enough rambling for now:)

  • Trinity - When I was reading the story, I really thought it was going to end by you getting home and finding that you put it in your bag or something….that sounds like something I would do. I admire the fact that you can turn your frustration to something positive. I also admire the fact that you don’t hide things from your kids. I think it is good that they see our frustrations and they see us angry, then what we do with it. I think it helps them learn how to get through life.

  • bopha - I’ve got your back, or at least Breese’s cute little bald head. You might check but I heard they added more tickets for Thurs night.

  • Holly - I’m so sorry! That just plain sucks! Just think about the karma, and maybe that will make you feel a bit better!

  • Mara - What a bummer about the hat. I have been known to go back and look for the smallest little hair clip. I just can’t stand to leave anything behind. I am very inspired by the lesson you took from the experience. Thank you so much for sharing the story and I really CAN”T wait for the tutorials and pictures to come. I just love your blog!

  • Liz - I’m so sorry that happened! I love the new flower for her hat that you made. Would you share how you did that? I have bee wanted to make some for the girls but wasn’t quite sure what kind of flowers to use.

  • Jill J - The person who stole the hat needs Jesus. (I’m not saying this in a sarcastic way either.) I try to talk to my boys about things just like this. I talk about praying for people who steel and to think that they probably need the stolen object more than we do anyway. I’m sorry this happened to you, but I really appreciate your attitude about it! And I love that you turned it into a lesson for your kids about being kind and considerate. I am convinced that those lessons stick with them!

    p.s. I live in CO but I am totally going to come out and take a class from you… when I get a better camera. Maybe I’ll steel it. Kidding! :)

  • Meagan - Oh, that is just awful! I would have cried too. It was such a cute hat…

    Hey, I think all of us Ashley blog followers should get together at the Christmas Gathering! That would be fun to meet each other in person!

  • Jeannette Swan - I had been wondering if you found the hat…guess not, but, I’m glad you have another one coming!

  • AshleyAnn - Ashlee…nope the house is only about 5 years old…but was built like an old farmhouse. We added the trim in his room, just around the windows and up high. Eventually we’ll add crown molding I hope.

    Lisa, yes I’ll post a tutorial on her bow. I might try to do that next week.

  • Melissa - I am totally cracking up right now, because I would so have felt the same way, down to the very last “PS” comment you made. :)

  • rachel denbow - No fun. Thanks for sharing how you are working through it in a positive way, though. It’s so easy to forget how our children pick up on those things and how we can use similar experiences with them to shape their character. GREAT REMINDER!

    Sebastian saw Breese’s pic and said, “What a cute little baby!”

    I’d say gorgeous!

  • christina larsen - Sorry about the hat. If I see it; I’ll get it back for you.

  • abbey - HI! I am so excited to have won the necklace! Thanks so much. I am sad about the hat as it was adorable, but so glad you found the good in it both in your craft afternoon and buying a gift hat. Thanks for happy thoughts and pretty pictures. (Oh and the lovely necklace!)

  • Michelle - I would love to know where you ordered the hat from? That is the prettiest hat I have see for a baby. Thank you!

  • AshleyAnn - You can get the hat here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/zjohnson

  • Tess S - I love your kids rooms. My husband and I are building a home and are currently living in his parent’s basement until it’s finished. I’ve been scouring the net for ideas for their rooms. I’ve decided to make your “pallet” bed as a reading nook in the new playroom. I’d love to get more inspiration from you. Would you be willing to post some shots of your kids rooms?

  • Valerie - Woot! I am excited because I have a ticket for the Thursday night Christmas Gathering!

  • Alicia - Where did you get her cream colored hat?