I don’t write a lot about how amazing my husband is, but let me tell you – I’ve got it good. Every birthday isn’t a huge deal, but he has come up with some pretty incredible gifts over the years. When I turned 20 he took me skydiving. When I turned 25 he got me trapeze lessons. And 30 is only a couple of days away.

Over the weekend he handed me the following envelope:
1009clues-01

That clue led to several others. One led to my local camera store, where I got into a conversation with someone about blogs (he didn’t know I am a blogger). He said, “Ya know, I don’t know who has too much time on their hands the people who write blogs or the people who read them.” I just smiled. The clue he gave me led the last one:1009clues-02

Which led to:1009plane-01

I have always DREAMED of flying in an old biplane…the kind where the wind hits your face and you can lean over the edge soaking in the beauty of earth below. With tons of phone calling, connection making and time he found a pilot willing to take me for a ride! When I first saw the plane my insides did the happy dance (my insides did, because trust me you don’t want to see my outsides dance!). I was totally giddy…uncontrollable smiling! While we waited for things to get ready, the boys were entertained by the sights – and the only water puddle in sight.1009plane-02

We did a run through over the parachute and boarded the plane. I sat in front – total awesomeness! The pilot pulled out a bag of marshmellows and said if we have to bail the plane and parachute down we’d meet back up at the burning plane and roast marshmellows until someone came to rescue us….we’d roast them because due to our parachutes we’d be fine in a crash. It made me laugh. He also gave me a bag to throw up in if needed. I stuffed it up my coat pocket – no way I’d be using that. Seriously.1009plane-03

My best Top Gun pose. Yes, I know they didn’t fly these in Top Gun, but I felt pretty cool in my mid-century war plane and earphones.

I like it vintage you know:)1009plane-04

And we’re headed to the runway…Biggest Brother ran after the plane. He was pretty excited to see me fly.1009plane-05

After a long flight over the city & surrounding areas we ended the flight with some acrobatics. He said most people don’t really want to do these, but HELLO it was my favorite. He said he’d do a trick and then I needed to give him a thumbs up or a thumbs down so he’d know if I wanted to do more. He started with a barrell roll (not the techinical name). My thumbs were up before he even finished it. Then he did a flip. I can not even put into words how cool it was. Remember I am in the front, so one minute I am seeing nothing but clouds and then BAM the earth is directly in front of me and we are doing what seems like a nose dive into the trees…and then he pulls it up and we are soaring again. He got 2 thumbs up after that – 2 arm-pumping raised high in the air thumbs up. He asked if I wanted to do it again. “YES. PLEASE!!!” Instead of one flip this time he did 2 in a row, I screamed in the middle of the second flip “THIS IS AWESOME!!!!” I could hear him laughing. Then it was time to head back. I like rollercoasters, but this was unreal. Rollercoasters are MUCH faster…just doesn’t compare.1009plane-06

Once back on the ground he told Chris, “She’s a keeper. She’s got game.” Oh yea, I got game. Whoop. Whoop!

My friend Cindy saw me land, she said I looked like Amelia Earhart – happy dance again.

So I know you many of you moms reading this are thinking, “I would NEVER do that, especially now that I have kids.” I know. I know. I’ll admit as I was about to take off and Big Brother was crying that he was going to miss me, it did cross my mind “I really hope I see Chris and my kids again.” However, the reality is I am more likely to die on the highway due to someone texting while driving than I was on that plane with a veteran military pilot/current commercial pilot with 30 years of experience. I could have let irrational ‘mom’ fears keep me on the ground and I would have missed out on one of the greatest adventures I have ever gone on. I have spent most my life in this area and I have taken countless commercial flights to and from it. BUT nothing compares to being in that open biplane flying over the area of the world I call home. We flew over my schools, my friends homes, the reservoir where I hung out with friends, my church, the river, etc… And then we flew over my house. We live on a couple of acres in the smack dab middle of town – so I could spot our yard and house from about 5 miles out. As we flew over and I looked down at where I live and play, it dawned on me that though I was having an amazing adventure in a biplane – that white house below is where my real adventure is. It is a crazy, beautiful and dangerous adventure – and I get to live it everyday!

There is a gazebo and picnic tables near the runway. Chris had planned a big party right there at the end of the runway. He worked hard to get all the details together for my friends and family to wish me a Happy Birthday as the plane landed. Sadly, it was very cold and he had to scramble to move the party to an indoor location. It was still super fun and I felt so loved by all of you that came out to celebrate with me.

Thanks babe – you know me all too well.

For those of you with time on your hands here is a little YouTube video I found with the type of plane I flew in. The first roll he does is the one we did. We also did the flips…the other stuff I am hoping he’ll do with me next time. I got game:)I am not sure what the smoke is on this video, I think it is just something for the air show. My plane didn’t smoke – at least I couldn’t see any smoke!:)

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  • amanda torres - Awesome post. Awesome adventure. Awesome husband. Congratulations on turning 30!

  • Ryan - That is so awesome! I tend to think the other way: I think you owe it to your kids to live life to the fullest. You’re setting an example they’ll learn from, and they’ll hopefully seize the day as they grow too. We’re only here for a short time, so make the most of it! :)

  • Jeannette Swan - Happy Birthday!! What an adventure!!

  • Tess S. - What an amazing gift! And i started crying when i read about your “real” adventures. It’s oh so very true.
    Happy birthday!

  • Shannon Phillips - You are freakin’ AWESOME!!! Happy 30th lovely!

  • joyce - That was exciting,sorry we missed it. Have a great day on Wed.

  • Lori Danelle - That is much cooler than what I’ll be doing for my 30th! Not sure what I’ll be doing quite yet, but I’ve got a couple of months yet to figure it out.

    Happy Birthday!! (early :) )

  • Mandy Metcalf - SO stinkin’ cool Ash!!! I love it and I can just see you riding in that plane shouting at the top of your lungs and enjoying every minute! Would have loved to have been there to celebrate your upcoming bday! Good job Chris!!!

  • Rachel - Oh, girl, you DEFINITELY have game! How AWESOME. I felt exhilarated just reading that post. Happy birthday (well almost) to the spunkiest person I know!

  • Jackie - Happy Birthday! I’ve been wondering…who takes photos of you? My husband is afraid of my camera and quite frankly I’m of afraid of him using it.

  • Liz - What an swesome way to spend your 30th birthday! Happy Birthday Ashley!

  • AshleyAnn - Jackie…Chris takes photos of me. I sat down with him to teach him to use it and I continue to give him pointers (which he just loves :) ) Really, he does a great job and I am thankful he endures my critiques.

    Rachel…you called me ‘spunky’ I don’t think I’ve ever been called that before, made me laugh!

  • Valerie - That is the coolest ever!!!! I am now wishing I had paid the $50 or so bucks at the Biplane Show this summer in B’ville to go up in one (minus all the tricks and cool vintage headgear, which might have set me over the edge to actually do it!). I loved reading all about your adventures, and I love the fact that you were willing to go up there as a mama of four with hardly any reservations. Life is meant to be lived! (Can’t wait for SnapShop this month — I’m dropping my check in the mail today…)

  • bopha - very, very, cool! Hope you have a great 30th birthday, better you than me!

  • Jill R - Amazing! You remind me of Snoopy (which is meant as a compliment). Maybe we have been watching too much Peanuts at my house….it is Great Pumpkin season. ;)

  • pamela - HAPPY BIRTHDAY! this post made my day. your kids will look back and think, wow my mom was so brave! i remember when she took an airplane ride and did flips in it! i took a sea plane all around the island of Tasmania and it was so fun. your husband is a good man! i turn 28 in 15 days and doubt i will do anything that fun, maybe i’ll drop some hints : ) good for you!

  • christina larsen - Wow, what a way to spend a birthday. Happy Birthday, by the way. This post reminded me of my grandmother. My grandmother was one of those pioneer women who was a pilot. During WWII she worked at an airplane factory and took flying lessons. She would have been a pilot, had the war not ended. I like to think of my grandma as Amelia Earhart. I know you don’t know my grandma, but she would be proud. WAY COOL!!!

  • Meagan - WHOA!!! Awesome! You made me tear up…Life’s too short…I probably wouldn’t have been brave enough to do that…

  • Ben & Noel - Happy Birthday, Ashley! Your Top Gun pose is really cool!

  • meg duerksen - my stomach hurt just reading about htis! i am so scared of new fast high dangerous stuff! i would have thrown up and been crying like a crazy woman.
    but i am SUPER proud of you!
    way to go! how awesome that chris did that for you…and that you loved it that much!
    AWESOME!!!
    i was also smiling reading about this. good for you!
    happy birthday old lady.

  • Carla - how very incredible! what a sweet husband.. and i love when bdays are celebrated in a huge fashion. i’ve got plans up my sleeve already for the husband’s 25th…

    happy celebrations and good luck {not that you need it} in your 30s!

  • Mirys - Dear Ashley:

    What can I say?…
    Im just crying… more and more…

    My husband used to be like yours: handsome, darling, sensitive, caring, loved. What you said summarized it: he knew me all too well. Enough about me, though!!!

    I did think it was not a coincidence that your day (October 12) is the kids day in Brazil!!!!! Happy birthday, little lucky girl!!!

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

  • thrill seeking is her game » ashleyannphotography.com - [...] For those that are wondering about that plane picture, you can click here to read that old post. [...]

  • Chocolate Bavarian Torte {and getting stuck in a graveyard} » ashleyannphotography.com - […] of Treva and I from my 30th birthday in October. Ignore my lovely hair – I just returned from my Amelia Earhart adventure! We both now have 4 kids. […]

A friend called the other day and asked what I was up to. I said, “You’ll laugh when I tell you….I am making a hair bow.” Yep, never thought I would be saying that! I have a favorite felt headband from etsy seller Lou & Lee, well their shop was closed for a while and I thought I’d try to make something similar to attach to some of my daughter’s dresses. First let me say Lou & Lee’s are incredible, I would like one of each one in their store. They are works of art! Anyway,  I ordered a small packet of pre-cut felt flower pieces from Kutz (another etsy seller). The pieces came in lots of different colors and shapes. As I began playing with them I thought it would be funny to make a felt flower bow for a friend of mine who is expecting her first daughter. She is from a different area of the country and apparently in that area hairbows on babies are somewhat odd. So to give her a hard time, I thought I’d make one and send her way. Well, it turned out so cute and since I know she wouldn’t actually like it I decided to keep it.:)

Here’s a little tutorial on how I made mine:

Step 1: I played with lots of combinations of colors and lace, tulle until I found what I liked.1009bow-01

Step 2: After picking the colors I wanted I hand sewed the felt together, using small beads for the centers. I also cut some tulle and tied a knot around it to gather it.1009bow-02

Step 3: I cut a round piece of felt to act as my base, then hot glued the tulle to it.

Step 4: Apply hot glue to the flowers

Step 5: Glue all flowers down in layers on top of tulle1009bow-03

Step 6: Apply glue to hair pin (I already had one that was covered in a small ribbon on one side)

Step 7: Glue hair pen to felt base1009bow-04

I pinned my flowers on a headband I already had (thanks Lisa!). It can also be pinned on a hat or clothes. Next time I’ll make my base smaler so you can’t see it.1009bow-05

Hello cuteness!1009bow-06

**Please note that obviously this would not be safe for a child that could pull the flowers off and put it in her mouth. It would be a choking hazard…

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  • amanda torres - Hello cuteness is right! She is so precious. So are the hairbows like dirt clods now, or just adorable hair accessories?

  • AshleyAnn - Amanda you crack me up. No the hairbows are not a daily occurrence like dirt clods. Maybe one day, but I’ll have to work myself up to that. Right now it is more of a once a week thing…still easing myself into this girl world stuff!

  • Shannon Phillips - SOOOOO CUTE! That is so weird, I just bought a bunch of felt at the craft store to make these for gifts. Yours are way cuter than mine probably will be. ;)

  • Jeannette Swan - It couldn’t be cuter or modeled by a more adorable baby!

  • Ang - Hmmmm . . . I can’t help but wonder . . . it’s hard not to love those bows (or clips!) when such a precious model is showing them off. If all little girls will look that cute wearing one, I’m sold!

  • Emily Lusk - Oh my gosh that is so cute!! I just love it!! It makes me want to go to Hobby Lobby and make one right now! Or did you say you are going to sell some?!?! Hahah! Very cute thanks for the idea!

  • Lisa - She is so beautiful!! You did an amazing job on the felt flowers! I have tried my hand at felt and it’s always a fail. Hmmm, I think you need to go into business :-) You are fab!!

  • Christian T - I just ordered a headband for myself from Lou & Lee! I love them… Yours looks great also! :)

  • Amber Lee - oooh. it turned out so beautiful!!

  • christina larsen - So cute.

  • Catherine - This turned out so beautifully!! I will be keeping these pictures for inspiration for sure. I will have to check out those gorgeous felt cutout flowers. Much easier (and better looking) than trying to cut them out yourself.

  • bopha - that turned out so cute, madden’s hair is awfully tempting, kidding, totally kidding….maybe

  • meg duerksen - i love it!

  • Liz - Ashley, I LOVE that! I wanna make some for my little one now! :)

  • Meagan - That’s so weird…I’ve started trying to make them too! I made a felt one a couple of weeks ago to match my daughter’s dress for some church pictures and, in fact, I’m making one right now (as I type) for some family pictures we’re having made tomorrow! I’ve been gathering info on how to make the cute little fabric rosettes and thought I would take a break and check out your blog…

  • Samantha - I love it! The funny thing is, I just crocheted and attached a felt flower to a hat for Ellie’s announcment pictures after seeing the headband you had for Breese! Having a girl to “decorate” is so much fun! ;)

  • Carrie Sowell - You amaze me! She is very cute in her new super cute and super trendy bow!

  • pamela - once again!! and i honestly don’t know how you do it… i’m looking around my house and all i can think is what a disaster! i only have one child and i feel like i get nothing done, nor have any time to be creative : ( i think it’s just been one of those weeks. i always come to your site for a little pick me up though!

  • patti - absolutely adorable. just love it! well done!

  • Mara - Thank you so much for your great DYI tutorial. We tried it out and came up with a cute headband for my daughter. Did you use precut felt flowers?

    http://web.me.com/josh.wolff/Adoring_Audrey/Blog/Entries/2009/10/27_Felt_Flower_Headband.html

  • New Adventures: Craft Show « paintchips & cupcakes - [...] DIY: Felt Flower Headband Tutorial [...]

  • Jodi - I just wanted to say thanks so much for an absolutely fabulous tutorial! Your pictures are worth a thousand words! I love your blog and love your photography. Thanks for all the inspirations!

  • Meg - What a beautiful baby!

  • new adventures: craft show » paintchips & cupcakes - [...] DIY: Felt Flower Headband Tutorial [...]

  • Cassandra - I LOVE this!!! You are a very creative woman and great photographer! Wish I lived closer to take your class!!

  • Headband » paintchips & cupcakes - [...] Under the Sycamore with Ashley Ann [...]

  • I need 200 Headbands for Korah Girls!! | My Crazy Adoption - [...] DIY Felt Head bands- How-to-ideas!! [...]

  • patricia elena agudelo uribe - me parecen fabulosos, muchas gracias por tenernos en cuenta, pues es una gran ventaja aprender a elaborarlos.

  • Lots and Lots of Felt Flowers! « thelifeoflulubelle - [...] Pink Flower Headband by Ashley Ann Photography 2. Teal Felt Flower from LollyChops 3. Flower Garland by Big Brown House 4. White Flower [...]

  • Inspirational Monday – Do it yourself (diy) Flower series – baby headband | mypapercrafting - [...] Hello! I am back with another Inspirational Monday on diy flower series. This month is all about using felt to make into headband /pin/clip for your kids. I found out this here. [...]

When Biggest Brother was 18 months old we took him on a trip to China. Prior to that trip he slept in a crib, but we couldn’t really carry a Pack-n-Play to another continent (not to mention fit it on the train we rode once the plane landed). Once we arrived we figured we’d make due with whatever we had available in regards to where he would sleep. We stayed with some great friends and jimmy-rigged an area for him to sleep…nothing like a crash course in sleeping outside of a crib. So Chris and I held our breath with each nap and he made the adjustment. Once we returned home we threw a twin mattress on the floor and said goodbye to the crib. 2 years later Big Brother was introduced to his first bed and this week Littlest Brother was introduced to his. I always look forward to moving the boys to big beds – it is much easier to cuddle with them than cribs are! No, it is not a toddler bed. I am too cheap to buy a toddler bed and then buy a twin bed later, so we just go from crib to twin bed. I took advantage of the older boys being gone to let him take his first nap in his new bed….

1009nap-011009nap-021009nap-031009nap-041009nap-05

With each of my kids there has always been something that stands out about them from the day they were born. For this guy it is his eyes. I love how he smiles with his eyes…oh those eyes get me everytime. I think when he becomes a teenager I’ll make him wear dark sunglasses – at least when teenage girls are around.1009nap-06

1009nap-071009nap-08

Notice the little scab on his forehead…one more facial wound in our house. When it happened Biggest Brother came running to me yelling, “It’s an emergency. AN EMERGENCY. There is blood EVERYWHERE!” There was blood everywhere, probably holds the current record for most blood from a wound in our house…only to be outdone in the future I am sure. Why do the smallest cuts produce the most blood?

Photo tip: I really wanted pictures of his first nap in a bed, so I waited until it was time for him to start waking up and I quietly opened all the blinds in the room. Then I got some shots of him still asleep, then slowly began waking him up to get some of that as well.

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  • christina larsen - Precious. I love that bed, it’s from IKEA, isn’t it?

  • Alba - waking up my boys is one the marvellous things in my life. the little faces half sleep, the peace they carry, those chubby fingers,… don’t let the girls go around him ;-) beautiful pictures, as always.

  • Kellyk - I am curious about the bed as well!! I see the slats on the IKEA site but I am not sure what they are sitting on or supported by! Great pictures! Any chance I get I try to take a picture of my little boy napping.

  • amanda torres - So adorable. By far your 3rd boy has my heart. From that pouchy tummy to those beautiful eyes to those precious lips. He is a little stud!

  • Martina - I have a scar in that same place on my forehead. I was having a pillow fight with my neighbor and one of the pillows had a zipper … I don’t remember if it bled a lot but I do still have the scar. Head wounds always bleed a lot, don’t they?

    I love the idea of not wasting money on a toddler bed. Don’t most cribs convert to toddler beds? I like the room for cuddling aspect, though, too. Things for me to keep in mind for my future babies.

  • mary - these are so precious…he is just an absolute Lovie.

  • meg duerksen - so cute!!
    makes me feel sleepy….

  • AshleyAnn - Yep…it is an IKEA bed. The slats are supported by the wire frame underneath…it was $40.00!

  • LoRae - HELLO, Handsome! If the eyes are the window to the soul, then you have one beautiful soul there. I love how you appreciate each child for who they are and make each one shine in your photos. Oh the joys of a good bargain from Ikea or any place for that matter.

  • Amnah - Wow, those eyes are pretty amazing. He should probably start with the shades in preschool. So cute. By the way, any quick tips on how to become such an amazing photographer as yourself? Haha, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

  • the inadvertent farmer - I follow a lot of photo blogs and this series is my favorite I’ve seen in a long, long time. Something about the big ‘firsts’ that just melt my heart…not to mention those eyes. You are a wise mother, dark glasses are truly in order! Thanks for sharing you made my flu weary brain smile, Kim

  • Ang - The pack-n-play might actually have fit on the train (although I laughed out thinking about the five of us trying to get through the train station with everything!). I think the real reason you didn’t have room to bring it was due to the extra suitcase of stuff you trucked over for us . . . I’m remembering something about an OBU commemorative plate?!

  • Tiffany - What a great idea to capture this “first.” I love it! And I love the orange and gray bedding and polka dot pillow! You have such a way with colors that I just adore.

  • emily - these pictures are beautiful! all your pictures are so amazing. wish i lived closer to attend a snap shop. ever think of doing some sort of online class? so, once the blinds are open, what do you set your camera to? just wondering…

  • andy - those pictures are great
    he is precious
    love the bed too

  • casey - I love that bed where did you get it?

  • dana - man, pictures of your kids almost makes me want to have another. That’s a scary thought. Maybe I need to look at blogs with pics of kids whining and crying and moms pulling their hair out. :)
    kidding aside, your children are beautiful. And your blog reminds me why motherhood is wonderful. I love seeing my kids smile and enjoy life.
    I seriously love coming to your site!

  • Stephanie May* - I LOVE that bed as well – how do the wood slats stay on the frame? Are just sitting on top of them? Also, did you use a regular twin size mattress for it?

  • AshleyAnn - Stephanie,
    The slats are VERY secure. There are little holes drilled into the wood that fit over metal balls on the frame and then also little screw type things that you hammer in. The mattress is just the one from IKEA that went with it…just b/c I didn’t feel like shopping around. I think a regular twin mattress would fit, but I am not sure. The IKEA mattress was under $80.00.

  • Stephanie May* - Thanks so much for all the info! I love your blog – you inspire me so much! I am a young mother of three kids (ages 6, 4, and 2), and it’s such a blessing to read about your creativity and home life. Thank you! :)

  • Mirys from Brazil - Great pics!

    As usual! rsrsrsrsrs

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