Remember THIS POST (click here)…well do I have exciting news! With about 36 hours of notice that they were becoming first time parents – Robert and Rachel welcomed Griffin into their arms, hearts and families. He is one of the cutest baby boys and has the greatest head of hair. His parents are completely smitten and are some of the most at ease, natural first time parents I have ever met. They had a really good thing going as a couple and it is SO MUCH fun to see the great thing they have going now as a family. This tiny guy has one incredible story of love both from his amazing birth parents to his mom and dad – it is just beautiful! Rachel told me a month or so ago that our kids could be in the same grade – she was right, they are about 4 weeks apart.

I have gotten several phone calls, emails and in person questions asking when Griffin would be making his blog debut…here you go:

These next 3 are my favorites. The night before she had him, Griffin’s birth mom packed this basket full of essential items for Robert and Rachel. She knew they didn’t have much time to prepare…how incredibly strong, beautiful, and selfless is that! I so hope to meet her one day…

I love baby yawns!

He likes me. He really likes me.

Yeah, it didn’t take long for him to realize how cool his Aunt Ashley is (Rach says I need a new name b/c that is hard for a kid to say).

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  • Rachel - Ash — They are beautiful! They definitely capture all of the “griffin-isms” we’ve come to adore — like those pouty lips. The smile picture at the end is hilarious….and, you are right, Grif definitely loves his Aunt Ashley. Thanks so much for EVERYTHING. We are PARENTS, can you believe it?

  • Kristen - Hooray! He is simply beautiful! My dear friends that I commented on your blog about when you posted their amazing story adopted a precious boy about 5 weeks ago. GOD.IS.GOOD! Congrats to you all!

  • Lisa - Congratulations to the new parents! Such a beautiful baby and such a blessing. The pictures are amazing.

  • Courtney Connelly - The pictures are just precious and Griffin sure is a cute little guy! You all are PARENTS and it is so WONDERFUL!!!

  • christina larsen - Congrats Rachel and Robert. He is precious; and could a baby have anymore hair. Both mine were baldies. Enjoy him, as I know you will. So excited for you ALL.

  • amanda torres - He is so ADORABLE! The whole adoption process always makes me cry. The selfless act of love by the birth mom. The trust and faith of the parents…gets me everytime. What a blessing!

  • lesley - Congratulations to the new parents! He’s beautiful. Amazing pictures Ashley.

  • Mandy B - Rachel and Robert, he is absolutely beautiful….how could you not want to is those lips all the time!!! I can’t wait to meet him face to face – CONGRATULATIONS!

  • Shanalea - Congratulations Rachel and Robert. What a blessing this little one will be in your life. Boys are fun as Ashley can share as well. Enjoy the newborn moments because before you know it they are crawling around and doing all kinds of crazy things.

  • Trinity - I was just wondering the other day if they had gotten a baby yet. Then I just started praying for that family instead of just wondering. I am so glad for them….Griffin is so cute with all of that hair! Congratulations!

  • Jeannette Swan - Congratulations Robert and Rachel!! I cried when I saw him yesterday and I’m crying now!! How amazing and wonderful our God is!! I’m touched by the birth Mom’s thoughtfulness and kindness too – I pray God’s blessings on her and her family!

  • Katie H. - YAY Grif!!! I LOVE these pics they are so great! Now we need some Cousins pics to go with them! Hmm…Carter will be 3-months next week that sounds like a good time to take them to me. ;)
    Great job Ashley!

  • Bobbi - He is soooooo Cute. Congrats! You two are going to be such good parents! Welcome to this crazy and wonderful world.

  • Brandy - Awesome Pictures! Rachel and Robert, you have such a beautiful little boy; how can he not take cute pictures? :) What a wonderful blessing. We are so happy for you both and know that Griffin is so blessed to have you as his parents. Can’t wait to meet him! – Brandy and Joe Jack

  • Allison - I have been anxioulsy awaiting this post, and of course Ashley you don’t disappoint! Griffin is beautiful and the family together is even more beautiful! Congrats to Robert and Rachel, welcome to the club!!! ;-)

  • Jill R - I don’t think I have ever seen a more beautiful little family! Griffin is so adorable. I love the yawning picture, and of course the big smile. I can’t believe it – he already looks older since I saw him last!! Congratulations Rachel & Robert. Enjoy every precious moment!

  • Emily Beaty - How exciting!!! I LOVE the last one!

  • meg duerksen - that is so cool!

  • Georgia Davis - I have been waiting to see these pictures. He is so beautiful. I can’t wait to meet him.

  • bopha - He is adorable and I am so happy for the 2 of you. I knew that God would bless you with a sweet baby, enjoy parenthood!

  • alex himaya - Absolutely some of the best pictures I have ever seen!
    He is so adorable!
    Praise the Lord for Griffen.

  • amy stamm - sweet!! CONGRATS TO YOUR FRIENDS! THEY SEEM SOOO HAPPY! ENJOY THAT LITTLE GUY–YOUR PICTURES ARE BEAUTIFUL AS ALWAYS!!!!

  • Heather Stauffer - Rachel and Robert, I am SO happy for you guys! Your new little family is just perfect! I am sitting here in tears of joy for you guys…so that alone shows how well Ashley captured that story for you…

  • Megan Hubbard - I love the last one of his smile. These are precious. Congrats Robert and Rachel.

  • Jennifer K. - OMG! I had no idea! Rob and Rachel – He is BEYOND precious! You are so blessed! But more than that, HE is so blessed!! Congratulations!!…Ashley- Great job, as usual!!

  • Jamie - Look at that hair. He is gorgeous. I can’t help tearing up at every adoption story. This one is no exception. Such a powerful demonstration of love all around (birth mother, adoptive parents, and our Father in heaven). Thanks for sharing.

  • karla stroike - Congratulations. He is precious. I am so happy for all of you.

  • Emily - I LOVE this and I’m so excited for Rachel and Robert, what a blessing!

  • Hannah - Even though no one will ever see this comment bc it’s literally 2 months late…. Here it goes:
    love the pics of griff! I’m absolutely obsessed with all of them. Ashley, you couldn’t have done a better job!
    Ps… It was great seeing you at Ikea yesterday! :)

  • Helen + Bill + Mirys from Brazil - CONGRATULATIONS for all of you!!!!

    I¬īm in tears! What a beautiful love story!

    Keep send news from this extraordinary family!

    Mirys – http://www.diariodos3mosqueteiros.blogspot.com

I get asked all the time about post processing/digital editing/”photoshopping” and what I recommend. There are so many options out there is it difficult to make recommendations. Most cameras and computers come with software. I’m a mac girl, so I don’t really know anything about software that isn’t mac friendly. I had heard a little about Picnik.com for free online editing so I thought I would give it a test run for you. I played with the free version, but they have upgrade options for an affordable price that allows for more customization. I was pleasantly surprised with what it could do for being free. If you haven’t played with digitally editing your photos before I recommend trying it out. Here are some of my “before” & “after” shots.

picnik_logo

Biggest brother (and Big brother) in Hawaii…3 years ago

Biggest brother 3 years ago. The skin tone came out a little too warm, but I could have played with it more.

Biggest brother learning to walk…the vignette is a little strong for my taste

For the record, I use Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop

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  • Rachel - Thanks for the website. I have been playing around a lot with photo editing lately. I am also a Mac girl and have been looking for good software, that is cheaper than PhotoShop :-). I have LightRoom but have not played around with it enough to get the best use out of it. It’s a little complicated. :-)

  • becky - I have a free software called GIMP that I use. I don’t know what most of the things are but it’s a good program.

  • Faith Buss - What are some of your fav actions/presets? (If you use them…)

  • Serena - Picnik is easy and nice! I use it too, but looking for something else!

  • Emma - Ashley, I was just wondering if you did a course to learn how to use Photoshop?

I survived the first day of kindergarten…I’ll be honest it was horrible for me, but he loved it. He said, “Mommy, it’s like a birthday party, but it’s not.” Our original plan was to homeschool this year, but a great opportunity came up and we’re trying it out…

I saw this idea in Family Fun magazine and have been waiting for a day that my hubby was home to help us with it. The basic idea is to use PVC pipe, PVC connectors & adaptors and tubing to construct a ‘water park’. I used all 3/4 inch tubing and PVC pipes. We cut the pipes down using a saw and drilled holes in the pipe, tubing and caps. We really needed more “T” joints and smaller pieces of pipe….next time I am at Lowe’s I plan to pick up more of those. We didn’t use any glue to hold it together…which allowed us all to take turns taking it apart and builiding our own designs. Chris, Biggest Brother and I all enjoyed the building aspect. Big Brother and Littlest Brother loved playing in our creations. This was a really fun family project.

I really threw the Lowe’s guys for a loop when I went in asking questions about what adaptors I needed. They kept wanting me to draw out my plans for what I was building and I kept telling them there were no plans and I just needed to know what connected my hose to a PVC pipe. They were gracious, though I know I frustrated and confused them. They really wanted me to buy glue and bury my PVC to create a real sprinkler. I guess they don’t get many women with babies coming in asking for PVC pipe and so on to build a toy with…

Baby sister chilled out in her leg warmers (they actually have pink bows on them, but you can’t see them in this pic). Cracks me up everytime I put them on her:)

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  • Andy - What an awesome idea! We get Family Fun, but I missed this one. It’s going to be my project for this weekend, the kids will love it. Our baby (14 months) will love it too, just like when I sent him down the slip and slide.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kriebela/sets/72157621830574564/

    I really enjoy your blog!

  • Jesse - Great idea.

  • Trinity - looks like a ton of fun!

  • Whitney - I ? your punkins leg warmers!!!

  • Whitney - What!!! that ? was suppose to be a heart….dern computer

  • Kelly - LOVE this idea! Thanks for sharing my little dude would love this, I’m sending my husband to the store this weekend.

  • Carrie - Your kids are going to grow up and be engineers!

  • trish - i SOOOO love leg warmers, i need to just give in and order some online. i’ve looked EVERYWHERE for some and can’t find any. what a fun idea with the pipes! my boys would love to live next door to you guys, haha!

  • Lisa - this is fabulous!!! I love it!

  • Jeannette Swan - Are you kidding me…you made your own water park…if you didn’t have pictures to prove some of the stuff you do, I just wouldn’t believe it. Not that you aren’t capable, it’s just that I don’t know how you find the time, energy, brain power, etc to do some of the things you do!! You are awesome!!

  • Ayesha Riaz - first things how cool is a water park i need to come live in your kneck of the woods lol and i love baby legs its so ad we dont get them here

  • PamperingBeki - This is such a cute idea!

  • ҆krabalica » Privatni vodeni park - [...] u upotrebi pogledajte na Ashley Ann Photography, Pickard i White Picket Fence. [...]

  • Shantel - So, what DOES connect your hose to the PVC pipe? You never gave us the answer to that questions. This activity looks awesome. I made my own floor gym for my baby out of PVC floor pipe, so I love your idea. Let me know what connects the hose and pipe. Thanks.

  • jackie - so cute!

  • Heather - I wanted to do this last year but didn’t really have the money in August and then couldn’t remember how to do it this year. I found your blog along with the Family Fun article though. I was in Lowe’s today asking the same questions about how to connect the PVC to the hose. I got a couple of funny looks and a friendly, albeit skeptical, “good luck!” The guy showed me a brass fitting that would connect the “male” end of the hose, which apparently has different threads than the PVC threads. What did you end up using to connect the hose? Should I return my brass do-hickey? I know it would work, but it was nearly $5. I can’t wait to get this up and running! Thanks for showing your “real life” application of this project!

  • Grace - I’m not the builder here, but have done similar work in home plumbing and barn plumbing. One idea is to skip the screw connector – and cut the hose – how you have 1/2 inch rubber flexible line – and you use clamps to make the transition to 1/2 pvc water line.

  • Jodi - Leg warmers are my MOST favorite thing right now!! I’m expecting my first girl (after two boys) and I am SOOOOOOOOO excited!! I just found your site after searching for baby girl nurseries. I absolutely LOVE what you did in yours. Did you end up keeping it that way? You had said that you might change it. It’s fabulous.

  • DIY « Tied Up With String - [...] summer a week away, this¬†PVC Water Park¬†looks easy and fun for people with children who love having fun in the [...]

  • Uri - Wow! So fun! Sure you’re the best mom ever! You have a beautiful family, when your kids grow up they will remember everything you did for them to have fun and how much you love them! I hope to be so when I have children.

    Greetings from Mexico

  • Una - I really like your idea.It is so amazing!

  • Summer Fun List 2012 | Cooking for My Kids - [...] ¬†Have a homemade water park day….or just have a sprinkler [...]

  • Water Fun | Vera Christian | Mom University - [...] Wash“: now this looks fun! Who needs to go the water park? Here’s another one from Under the Sycamore¬†¬†that shows how she used Family Fun’s idea with her [...]

  • The Importance of Sensory Play and the Games to Go With It | Kathy Gruhn's Blog - […] PVC water park, PVC sprinkler -¬†http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2009/08/13/diy-pvc-water-park […]