I’m a spring and summer girl, but each fall I begin to think I like the fall. Well, I do actually like the fall – at least when the low is above 60. I like how cute my boys look in jeans and clothes…as opposed to going shirtless in swimtrunks all summer long. They look cute dressed. But the pile of laundry from all those fall clothes is not so cute.

We ventured over to grandpa’s ‘farm’….1009goats-1

Biggest Brother protected me from the goats with Grandma’s stick.

If it had been summer I would have let him strip down to his undies and fully enjoy all that great mud. Another downfall of cold weather – can’t hose them off.

Always climbing on something.1009goats-2

The real reason we were tromping around was to find the baby goats. If this ‘smile and say cheese’ picture was the only one I had of Big Brother with the goats I would have missed pretty much the whole story of his time there.1009goats-3

I would have missed his tender, tender heart towards this baby goat.1009goats-4

I would have missed the joy of when Grandpa placed the goat in his arms and the contentment he had just cuddling it.1009goats-5

I didn’t know baby goats were so cute.1009goats-6

I also would have missed the way his little heart broke when that baby goat was crying “MAAAA, MAAAA” for its mommy.

(Yes, I am making that goat noise aloud as I type:))1009goats-7

And I would have missed him singing, “It’s okay baby goat, I have you. It’s okay.” And the goat calming down in the arms of my son, The Goat Whisperer.1009goats-8

He cried the first time I told him he couldn’t bring the baby goat home. I asked him where it would sleep. He said, “In my bed cuddled with me.” The other times he has gone to visit the babies they have been asleep in the hay. He climbs up and lays down with them…and would stay there for hours if I let him. I asked him if the baby goat was cuter than his baby sister. He said “Yes, the baby goat is cuter because it is smaller.” Gonna have to work on that.

Photo Tip: Don’t get so caught up in trying to get your kids to look and smile at the camera….you might just miss the best pictures.

Post update:

For some great DIY projects visit the link below…I added my felt flower headband there today.

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  • amanda torres - That is the sweetest thing EVER!

  • Jeannette Swan - Ok. Everyone knows I’m not an animal fan, but HELLO – how sweet is that!?!

  • christina larsen - Who knew that baby goats were so stinkin’ cute. Absolutely precious.

  • bopha - how sweet, i think he needs a goat at home.

  • lesley - Love the photos! Looks like you guys had a good time and looks like Hud needs a goat. Goat whisperer, love it.

  • Trinity - Ashley, in the first picture, what did you do post-processing to get that effect? Just curious. Great pictures. You have a lot of patience to wait for the right moment to click. Your a great teacher….I love the tips!

  • rachel denbow - Such a precious set of images and I’m sure even better memories for your son! Does everyone want a baby goat now? I’m thinking I do.

  • the inadvertent farmer - Absolutely priceless…brought tears to my eyes. Then again I’m a sucker for kids with animals! Thanks for sharing, Kim

  • Sophie - Oh my goodness. Your son and that goat are the best thing since Batman and Robin.

    So adorable!

    (Batman and Robin weren’t adorable but you catch my drift…)

  • meg duerksen - annie’s preschool usually has someone bring in a baby goat every year and it kills me not to bring home with me. i have this crazy urge to go buy a goat afterwards. they really are adorable. i think it’s the little wobbly legs. :)

  • Jill J - Boy, isn’t your last statement the truth! Every time we go somewhere with my mom, she is always stopping the fun to have us turn around and smile… so contrived!

    On a lighter note, :) the baby goat photos were so precious! And I actually said “MAAA MAAA” out loud too. No, not really, but I could see myself doing it if I were writing it. He he!

  • Meagan - Oh, so precious!!!

  • Meagan - Thanks for the link to that craft blog, BTW! Love it!

  • Rebekah Jean - That is so sweet…and you are so right! There is so much more meaning behind photos when you go past the ‘say cheese’ part. What a great post this is! It should go in the best Ashley Ann posts hall of fame. :)

  • Shannon Phillips - Oh man! Your boys are just so stinkin CUTE!!! I really needed some cheering up today. Thanks for making me smile!

  • Georgia Davis - I agree, summer laundry is much better than fall and winter. Oh, how I miss those summer days of no socks and onsies.

  • Liz - Those are precious!!! I think little brother needs a goat!:)

  • Holly - That is the cutest thing I have ever seen!

  • griswold fun - Those pictures are absolutely adorable!

  • Jasie - i totally cried while reading that. sweetest thing EVER!

  • AshleyAnn - Trinity…I ran a texture over the top of it in Photoshop.

  • andy - my father in law has goats and i have some pics of my son with them too. he’s not as taken as yours and doesn’t hold them like he did but they are cute pics. i need to get the posted on my blog. your’s are great

  • pamela - seriously making me want a little boy, or two or three : )! those pictures are priceless. i love littlest brothers face in the background!

  • kylesmom - So sweet! Corbett was just telling me yesterday that his grandpa has goats. Corbett is such a good story teller, I love him!

  • julie - Whatevs. Didn’t really plan on crying today.
    His heart! Melt.
    Love the tip. So very, very true. I am trying to take this to heart. My oldest just isn’t comfortable looking at the camera. Ever. When she does it is weird and forced and so not her. Now I let her just be. The pictures of her looking down or looking to the side are so much more real. So much more beautiful because they are who she is right now. Sweet, gentle, shy. I am embracing it.

  • Dacia - Ok, I had to tell you how I cried when reading this!!! Obviously, I am reading through some of your favorite posts, because I’ve read all the recent ones. I absolutely love your stories- my other favorite so far is about how firecracker got her nickname. :)

I try to keep up on the questions posted in the comment sections. If you ask a question, typically I will respond to it in the comment section of the post you asked. I know there have been several questions posted over the last few months that I never got around to answering…I apologize. I try my best to stay on top of that and emails, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. If you are still waiting for an answer, just leave the question with this post and I’ll try to get to it. I did answer several of today’s questions in the post below. Thanks! – Ashley

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  • Sarah - I plan on using your Bob Stoops onesie idea! I hope you don’t mind!! I thought it was wonderful and hilarious!!!

  • Allison - Where did you get your camera bag, the messenger one? I really would like to have one like that when I am just walking around and need to carry a couple of lenses. I have seen a bunch on etsy, and was wondering if you had a recommendation for a particular designer on there. Thanks!!

  • ratna - Hi Ashley! How do you keep your children AWAY from the camera and let them do things they do? I have 2 toddlers and everytime I took out my camera they would come running to me to play with the camera. I already have 1 camera broken because of that. I’d love to picture them when they do their own thing.

  • Laura - Every time I see you at church I have been meaning to ask you where you got your baby sling/carrier that you carry your daughter in? It looks like you like it and not too mention it is adorable!! What are your thoughts about it?

  • Jennifer B. - What photo editing program do you use? I’m looking into buying one and would like to know what to get. I have a mac, and have looked into Aperture, but am really feeling lost. Thanks for any advice you may have!

  • AshleyAnn - Allison: I is called a ShootSac by Jessica Claire. It is NOT a camera bag, but just used to hold lenses, batteries and memory cards while shooting. It will not hold a camera.
    Ratna: My kids have just grown up with the camera in their face all the time, so I think they are just bored with it by now!
    Laura: It is a baby wrap from the etsy seller “LoveyDuds”. I love it and use it everyday. The sling didn’t work for me when she was a newborn, but I am thinking of trying one now that she is bigger. Jennifer: I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I’ve heard good things about Adobe Photoshop Elements too.

Growing up I always wished for a summer birthday so I could have a pool party. One year my parents let me celebrate early and I got that pool party. The other years my parents got creative and helped me enjoy my October birthday. In 3rd grade they closed off the kitchen and filled jars with eyeballs (peeled grapes), brains (spaghetti), and much more. Then my friends and I came in blindfolded and guessed the contents. Obviously I had fun with it…that was a long time ago for me to remember it so clearly. Another birthday we had a costume contest and my mom sewed me a 1/2 man, 1/2 woman costume. It was pretty cool. In college Chris would drive me out to random small Oklahoma towns to visit the coolest pumpkin patches for my birthday. I have always loved pumpkin patches…especially those small Oklahoma town ones that don’t have all the commercial aspects to it. However, with 4 little ones driving that long just isn’t fun….meeting up with friends at a great local patch is much better at this stage of life.

For some reason this picture makes me think of what they will look like as teenagers…puffy jacket vest and fleece pullover. Gosh they are so handsome!1009pumpkin-01

This is the best picture from the day.  Littlest Brother had just fed a goat from his hands. He liked it.1009pumpkin-02


Later that evening Biggest Brother decided he was ready to paint his pumpkin. I admit I tried every excuse and great idea possible to try to convince him to wait until the next day…when there would be plenty of natural light flooding through our windows. He didn’t buy it and I conceded…and used my flash. I wanted one picture of all four together, so Baby Sister got plopped onto the table. She liked it. It is surprising no one tried painting her.1009pumpkin-051009pumpkin-06

A work of art. Not to be too sappy (that’s Chris’ job), but nothing reminds me of God’s creativity more than looking at my kids…works of art.1009pumpkin-07

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  • Alba - littlest brother is a potential artist, either with the yogurt either with the colours.

  • Jeannette Swan - The pumpkin patch is one of my all time favorite things to do!

  • Trinity - We love the pumpkin patch! Too bad we didn’t see yall there this year. Have you ever been to a corn maze? The boys would like it…there are some great ones around here, but the drive is kind of long.

  • bopha - very cute! we love the pumpkin patch too, the picture of rett is priceless.

  • Trina - So cute! I love your photos. Just curious – what sort of paint do you use for little kids – I have a 2 year old and would love to try this!

  • Rachel - That’s funny that you always wanted a summer birthday….I always wanted a fall birthday….I guess it’s the classic case of “the grass is always greener.” Little sister looks just like you and Leslie in the picture where she is on the table….wow…first time I have seen that in her. I love the pumpkin painting assembly line…

  • amanda torres - I love looking at pictures of your family! Everyone is so stinkin cute. You just want to jump in there and squeeze the fire out of those cheeks.

  • Megan Anderson - I love your pictures and was wondering what actions if any that you use in photoshop. I’m looking to get new ones and like the coloring in your photos. So if you wouldn’t mind shoot me an email and let me know! Thanks in advance. Megan

  • Megan Anderson - Oh especially your black and whites!

  • Jennifer B. - Did you happen to knit or crochet the hat that your baby girl is wearing? If so, could you possibly share the pattern? It’s so adorable! And as always, the photos are amazing.

  • Colette Amey - Your pictures are all so great! How do you avoid getting the shadow behind people when you use a flash? It seems like whenever I use a flash inside I get the shadow. Maybe I just don’t have bright enough lights in my house? Any tips? I’m also curious about your photoshop actions. Thanks!

  • AshleyAnn - Trinity…nope, no corn maze visit yet…maybe soon

    Trina…this is just acrylic paint which was a battle to keep out of Littlest Brother’s mouth, they do make edible paint which is less worrisome

    Megan & Colette: I use some Kevin Kubota actions and Totally Rad Actions. Usually several mixed together. The Black and Whites are usually with a Kubota warming B&W conversion. For inside flash I bounce it off the ceiling to avoid the shadows.

    Jennifer: The hat was a gift from a friend. She bought it off etsy, but the link to the store doesn’t work. I’ll try to have my friend find it again. A lot of people ask about that hat.

  • alli magee - I have to say this, nothing makes me want to have more babies than seeing the photos of your family. I have a little 11 month girl and she is a full time job these days (crawling!), I have no idea how you manage with 4, but you do and you do it beautifully. how old is little brother? I adore all the pictures of his belly, it’s the best!

    Thanks for sharing your family with us, and making my ovaries ACHE!

  • Meagan - Don’t you just love Carmichael’s???!!! (I assume that’s where you were…) That place makes for some great pictures! It’s my favorite punkin’ patch! I admire so much how you let your kids get so dirty and make such a mess. I wish I could relax and let go a little more…kids need to be creative…and messy…

  • Julia Leinen - love the pumpkin patch pictures! It was great to see you and your family there. I only wish my pics could turn out as great as yours! : ) it was very sunny that morning and my kids are both squinting- how did you avoid that?

  • AshleyAnn - Julia: To avoid the squinting I had them look at me if their faces were shaded or if the sun was in their eyes I just took candids where they weren’t looking at me. You can tell in the first pic that they are squinting a bit…

  • AshleyAnn - Alli: Littlest Brother is 19 months old…I love his belly too!