Guess who really likes her mommy? We are out of the phase where I have to make tons of faces and noises to get one little smile…we are now in the phase where she can just lock eyes with me and that is enough for a smile. I love it. I LOVE IT.

There are still server/hosting issues I am dealing with…is anyone still getting error messages when emailing me?

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  • Amy - She is so gorgeous!!!

  • Lori Danelle - I adored that age! All you had to do was walk in the room and you’d get the biggest smile and laugh—like you were the most important person to her ever and she had been waiting her whole day for you to walk through that door—even if you’d only been gone 5 minutes!!!

    She’s absolutely stunning. :)

  • Shannon Phillips - She is a gem! She looks oh so snugly in these.

  • amanda torres - precious!

  • Casey - how sweet :)

  • christina larsen - Love baby smiles.

  • Mandy B - How is it that she keeps changing so much? She looks a lot like Corbett in that middle picture. She is so sweet!!

  • rachel denbow - What a beauty!

909sensor-02909sensor-03909sensor-04Well I am STILL having server issues….emails still with error codes and still unable to upload. My free Photobucket account is getting full, so I am waiting to post vacation pictures until my hosting company gets my account back up. So until that wonderful day, I’ll just wait for big photo posts…

I shoot fully manual 99.9% of the time. I also tend to shoot wide open (small f-stop #, open aperture). Shooting at a small f-stop number means that dirt on my sensor doesn’t always show up. Well during our vacation the boys were playing in full sun and my light meter was acting funny so I switched to full automatic. When I got my pics on my computer and looked through them I realized just how nasty dirty my sensor is. How did I know this? Well if you look at the pictures below you will see spots in the same location on every photo…see below:


Every time you change your lens on a dslr camera you let dust into the camera, which can settle on the sensor. Some people avoid this by never changing lenses. I change my lenses all the time. I try to be fast and point my camera down when changing lenses, but dust inevitably will still get in. I clean my sensor myself because it gets expensive at a camera store…though I am trying to get into the habit of taking my camera in for a professional cleaning once a year. You can find info for cleaning your sensor by doing a Google search. Many of the new dslr cameras come with built-in automatic sensor cleaning. Here’s some steps for checking how dirty your sensor is:

1. Set the aperture to f/16 or larger

2. Take a picture of something plain white (ceiling, wall, posterboard). You might need your flash on for this.

3. Look for grey spots…that is probably dust on your sensor

Just curious…are posts like this helpful?

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  • Ryan - Of course they are! :)

  • Serena Lowe - I love post like this. I was just wondering how often I shound take my camera in to be cleaned. I try to change my lens fast and carefully, but I know those little particles can creap in there! Thanks for the tip….!

  • crystal - Very helpful! I need all the help I can get!

  • Mandy B - Hello, YES this is helpful….I am always thankful for advise from the expert!!

  • Becca - I love posts like this!! thanks for sharing!

  • Lauren Roberts - I’m SO HAPPY you did this post! I’ve been debating on taking my camera in to be cleaned. I’ll try this first. Thanks Ash~

  • Heather - YES! this post was very helpful! I always appreciate your tips! Thank you!!

  • Sara - Definitely! Thanks for the info.

  • Elizabeth - Very helpful!! I was just thinking about this yesterday and couldn’t remember what the camera store told me. This helps a ton! Thanks!

  • Jenny Lynn - YES! Being a new dslr owner i need all the tips i can get :) thanks!!

  • meg duerksen - i assumed the spots would from my lens…interesting.
    yes. helpful.

  • Nikki - I am a “lurker” on your blog, but I have seen the issues you have been having with your server. I am a website designer and I use to host every site. In 8 years we have never had an issue. Another thought – use When you upload photos you can send them directly to your blog pre-formatted. It is so easy, and a great place to store your photos. E-mail me if you need any assistance, always happy to help out. My husband, Mickel, says he was your intern in youth group. He is friends with John. I stumbled on your blog through a blog when you posted your “slat” daybed. Anyway, let me know if I can help. It is crazy that they have left you hanging so long!

  • jo - very helpful, thank you so much!

  • Rachel - Definitely helpful….It’s also really helpful when you show us what settings you took your pics on.

  • Trinity - Posts like this are SO VERY HELPFUL! I love getting tips from you.

  • Angie - Very helpful! I love your tips!

  • Stacey Zahn - SO HELPFUL!!! Thanks so much!

  • Jurga - Hello Ashley,

    Would you mind reminding us what company did you use for camera cleaning? I am trying to find someone and haven’t had any great luck.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond!

    Jurga :)

  • AshleyAnn - Jurga – I used Tulsa Camera Clinic


The photo above is my favorite one out all of all the 100s I took on our vacation. It sums up Littlest Brother and our vacation to me.  His sole objective in life right now is to play with his brothers and do what they do.  If it is playing ping pong he doesn’t let a little thing like being shorter than the table stop him.

As I thought about this picture and how much I love it, I also thought how often we miss pictures like this because we get so focused on faces. So, I thought I’d do a post about our vacation from that perspective. I have other pics with faces I’ll share later.

A sans-face version of the story of our vacation:


She basically lives in this wrap, so why not hike in the cold rain in it too?


That is an entire Indiana Jones story board…no he hasn’t seen the movie, only the LEGO wii version.


If I only look at this picture I can dream we were back living in Hawaii…instead of a sandy Oklahoma lake beach…


I wonder at what age my boy’s feet will stop being so cute to me? Probably when they get hairy toes.


That is a real caterpillar crawling on the LEGO man, not a LEGO size coon-skin hat.


Do you think my daughter will have an obsession with all things creepy and crawly too? I hope not, I need someone on my team.


Look closely and you will see Indiana Jones running through the Temple of Doom


Best Friends


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  • Jeannette Swan - What a great story these pictures tell! Love it!

  • keely steger - Great pictures! I always get flack from my family when I take “artsy” photos and cut off my boys’ heads or focus on something else- so I’ll send them your way and you can explain the reasoning! ;)

  • Susan - Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!

  • Kari - These photographs are so neat!

  • Lacy - I love this! So beautiful!

  • christina larsen - great pics.

  • Trinity - I LOVE these pictures! Of course I love face shots too, but these kinds of pictures tell the details of the story we often miss……LOVE IT! I just love the picture of the two boys….best friends….it makes me happy to think my girls are best friends too!

  • bopha - those are my favorite kind of pics, your pictures are awesome as always!

  • Becca - What an adorable/great post and idea! I love everything about it!

  • Amy - I love your wrap!!! Is it a woven? (I loved my moby but once E hit about 15 pounds, it was just too stretchy and we were delegated to the mei tai only.) Where did you get it? I must know for whenever I get pregnant again! :)

  • Rachel - I love that ping pong picture. Looks like a great vacation….creepy crawlies, legos, temple of doom…..a little (and big) boy paradise. Let me know when little sister is ready to go to the spa….I’m totally in on that vacation! :)

  • grace - hi ashley!

    i’m trying to contact you about featuring your before & after project in a book i’m working on. could you drop me a line when you get a chance? i tried your email but it bounced back…



  • andy - love all the pics
    they are so great
    you take really good pics
    i love the one of you little boy standing on the platform with one shoe off and one shoe on

  • amanda torres - How fun! Love Biggest Bro running through the Temple of Doom. Sooooooooo brave!

  • Susan - I tried to email you back… Let me know if you didn’t get it. thanks.

  • brittany - I loved this post – I got a little teary… the fact that mine are getting bigger has been hitting me hard lately. You do good work girl!

  • lesley - There are so many things I love about this post, the first pick of Rhett, the coonskin lego hat and temple of doom…how fun!

  • Jennifer Campo - I love the last one! You should get a poster size canvas of it and hang it in their room!

  • elisa - I mean really….how do you come up with such a creative way to take pictures? Love your blog. Have a great day.