Well we sure had our white Christmas. The snow and ice were fun for about 5 minutes.  The large amounts of time together as a family made up for the craziness outside. If you are wondering about all the mattresses in the living room…well every Christmas Eve Eve we all sleep under the Christmas tree (got that idea from our friend Mary). The boys basically wrestle all night. I am pretty sure Christmas Eve Eve living room wrestling matches will be a big part of their childhood Christmas memories.

Here’s a few peeks at our Christmas (no crazy ice will keep my dad from grilling the Christmas ham):


I do want to point out one of Baby Sister’s Christmas presents. 3 of her cousins (girls 9, 11, 11) worked together to make her this hat. So thoughtful of them and I am pretty impressed by it. Thanks girls!


On Christmas Eve blizzard conditions hit our state. I left my parent’s and headed home with the kids. Chris headed to the church for our Christmas Eve service. After the service ended he called to say he was headed home. At this point it was dark out, windy and snowing hard. About 5 minutes later he called to say he slid off the road, was stuck and the tow company said due to the weather it would be at least 8 hours before they could help him. (Both of our cars decided to stop working last week, he was in my grandparent’s SUV and I was left without a way to get to him). Did I mention this was Christmas Eve? He hung up in order to save his phone battery and I gathered the boys. We prayed and asked God for someone to be kind enough to stop and help daddy get home. Fifteen minutes later the phone rang again. “Jim” saw Chris stranded, pulled his truck over, unwrapped a brand new tow cable and helped Chris get back on the road. I told the boys what happened and Biggest Brother exclaimed, “God answered our prayer! He sent an angel named Jim!” So to Jim and his family – thank you for getting out in a blizzard to help my guy get home. Thanks for being a little late to celebrate the evening with your family, so that my family could be together. Thank you Jim.

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  • Shannon Phillips - I am so glad that you were able to be together on Christmas eve. What an amazing God we have. I love your sweet 16 Christmas photos. I did the same exact thing for tomorrows post with the circles! Tell your Dad that I would love some of that ham. :)

  • Brooke - Just wanted to say thank you for the comment on my blog, and your children are precious! I love little sister’s hat! What a wonderful gift. So glad to know you were all safe and able to be together Christmas Eve!

  • christina larsen - What a wonderful story. We slid all the way home on Christmas eve, too. Was wanting a white Christmas, not an icy Christmas.

  • Emily - So glad to hear how God took care of Chris & got him home safely! I love your Christmas collage, and Baby Sister’s hat is just precious!! Her cousins did such a great job!

  • Kate - Yeah, Jim!

  • amanda torres - Love the mattress idea, and your Christmas Eve miracle!

  • Steph - Very sweet! Last year Utah was hit with a huge storm on Christmas Day. As nice as it is to have a white Christmas it sure makes traveling anywhere a complete nightmare!
    I’m so glad your hubby made it home quickly & safely!
    It looks like you & your family had a wonderful Christmas.

  • Georgia - I just want to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I check it every few days if not daily, and it is a little treat for my day. You have a craft project which I love seeing or a great story and/or pictures about your precious children. Thanks for taking the time to share your life.

  • Georgia - PS We had a Christmas Eve miracle, too. We left that morning to drive to my parents’ house in West Texas. Four hours later we were back home after a round trip to Oklahoma City. (the first miracle, we were so thankful to make it home safely) We weren’t going to be able to pick up our dog until Saturday because the vet had closed at noon, 1 hour before we got back. But since we drive right by there, I decided to try. It was dark, no one visible but I knocked on the door anyway. Josie’s sweet vet, Dr. Hooley poked his head out of the other door, and let me in to get our mutt. He had come up that moment to check the doors before leaving for the day. I know it seems dumb to want your dog at home, but it meant so much to us and just a little “hug” from the heavenly Father.

  • Lisa - Wow, I have goosebumps. Thank heaven for Jim!!! What a scary 15 minutes you must have had, but everything turned out ok :-)

  • ashlee - Isn’t God so good!!!

  • Charla Lane - I was @ the Christmas Gathering and have been following your blog. You take the most extraordinary pictures. I was especially excited to see your pirate patches, then noticed the Christmas pic with the pirate hat and patch, I have two boys they are both into pirates, one is having a pirate b-day and I wanted to know where you got the hat it is EXTRA cute.

So I was checking out Meg’s blog and saw she was nominated for a “homies” award on Apartment Therapy.  I headed over to Apartment Therapy to cast a vote for her. While I was looking over the other blogs listed in the Kids at Home category…what to my wandering eyes should appear? My blog listed as a nominee! I actually doubled clicked on it just to see if it was in fact my blog and not another Ashley Ann Photography (there are others out there). My blog has never been nominated for anything, so THANK YOU to those of you that listed me as one of your favorites. As the site says, it isn’t so much a competition as it is a celebration of great blogs. I don’t really know how the favorite voting and top nominee voting works, but I’m really just so excited that some of you thought of me. Thanks…it was a really fun surprise on a cold, stuck in the house day!


There are some really great blogs listed in every category. I didn’t get very far down the lists, but maybe I can visit more later.

I’ll be back Monday with some Christmas pictures.

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  • meg duerksen - :D
    you are my favorite!

  • pamela - that is SO cool! you are famous! seriously, there are some popular blogs on there! what a nice christmas present :) good for you!!

  • Jess - Whoa. So I’ve read your blog and Meg D.’s blog for a while now…love ‘em. But totally excited that you commented on my blog! You’re like a big deal in my book and I have NO idea how you found me since I’ve only been a stalker of yours and not a commenter! Woohoo!

  • ashlee - yours is my favorite too!!

  • Jennifer B. - I added you as my favorite, and will vote for you on Wednesday. Love your blog!

  • Candace - I added you the other day too. You and that first commenter up there are my favorites!

  • Brooke - You deserved the nomination! I think you should have been in the finals :)

A highlight of my day during December is checking the mailbox for Christmas cards. I love that so many people are doing cards with photographs on them. It is always so fun to see how families grow and change. We put all the cards on our living room chalkboard. Yes, there are only 3 stockings (mine & Chris’ are on the fireplace). Every time I found one for Baby Sister (online), it would end up being sold out.  Inspired by these stockings on MADE, I think I am going to make one out of a sweater and tatting. That won’t happen before Christmas…she won’t know the difference.


The chalkboard is full of cards from this year and old pictures from winter’s past…and 4 large SUMMER pictures of my kids. I keep thinking I should replace those shirtless outside pics for something more winterish. However, I am not a fan of winter and those pictures remind me for every dreary, cold winter there is a hot and splashing fun summer.

Chris got a card from Dave Ramsey this year. I added it to our chalkboard it makes me laugh each time I pass it because you know we are so tight with the Ramseys. Oh no! I forgot to send them ours! I am sure they are checking their mailbox daily in anticipation for it to arrive.


And here’s our card:


I thought I was being clever with the globes and strung lights for “Light of the World” (another name for Jesus)…however, several friends didn’t get it and said, “Oh, that’s fun you took pictures with your globes.” I’m not as clever as I think at times!12.09card12.09card2

As I am writing this I noticed “Indiana Jones” is spelled as “Indian Jones”. YIKES! Just checked a real card and it was right there…I must have messed it up when saving it for the web.

Before you pack away or throw away this year’s Christmas cards I thought I’d share a few ways to re-purpose them…

*For photo cards, turn them into a Kid’s Prayer Journal

*Make a Circle Garland from CraftStylish

*Cut apart the cards to use as tags for gifts next year

*Make clothespin magnets or scrap paper magnets to give away next year

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas…see you next week!

Google Reader does not pick up this blog…so don’t subscribe!

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  • Susan - Love the “Light of the World!” Merry Christmas!

  • Melissa - Merry Christmas Ashley Ann – may your day be filled with laughter and love.
    Thanks for the really fun card ideas – I adore your chalkboard, what a great idea to use it for your cards.

  • Charity - I love the back of your card. Such a fun and creative way to tell about each of your kids. The recipients will love them!

  • Casey - love the chalkboard over your couch and the way you’ve displayed everything! Also, I really love how you have little snippets about your kids on the card

  • Rachel - I love your giant chalkboard and how you’ve displayed all of your holiday cards. Have a wonderful Christmas!!

  • georgia davis - No worries, my card said Happy Holidays 2010! I think it was snapfish error. But, it still made my upset.

  • Shanalea - I love the light of the world idea…I might just steal it :) We used our cards last year as a prayer journal and the kids really got into it. We will be doing it again.

  • Luisina - Hi! Mery Christmas too! I love your blog :)

  • Teresa - I see you got a card from the McKay Family. I have Abigail McKay in my class at Rejoice Christian School in Owasso. Sweet family and mom and dad always take great pictures.

  • Christina - Merry Christmas

  • Lauren Roberts - Merry Christmas to our dear friends!

  • Jill R - LOVE the card! Merry Christmas!

  • Crystal - Your card is great! Even if people didn’t get it, I think it’s very clever. Merry Christmas!

  • Jaimie - i’m obsessed with that chalkboard. did you make it or buy it? what a great idea- love the size.

  • sbj - Just curious where you made your cards. They are beautiful. Did you make them online?

  • jokemijn - you make lovely pictures! i discovered you through ffffound. Have a nice christmas-time.

  • lea helmerich - i absolutely love your blog! my daughter referred me to it, and i am so glad.

    come visit my letters to young mommies.


  • Holly - What a great card! I love all your pictures on the chalkboard. I’m trying to figure out exactly I’m going to do on our wall in our living room, and that’s a great idea! And I’m super impressed that you got an actual card from Dave Ramsey. We got the same one, only it was an e-card. Not quite the same!

  • Janica - I LOVED the Christmas card photo! Such a fun idea. I was just wondering what you printed them on and where you got them printed. Is that a weird question? Sorry. Love your website; it’s so inspirational and the pics are INCREDIBLE:) Thanks. Merry Christmas

  • AshleyAnn - I designed the cards…customizing a template I had. I printed them at White House Custom Color and added the ribbon ties myself.

  • Trina - LOVE the stockings!! Where are they from??

  • AshleyAnn - Trina – the cards are from Pottery Barn Kids…over the course of 3 years.

  • Emily - I LOVE your card – what a great idea!! I also love your ideas of what to do with Christmas cards!

  • Katie - Where did you get that chalkboard, or did you make it and if you made it how?

  • AshleyAnn - Katie: We made the chalkboard. I cut a piece of hardboard to size (it runs about $7.00 a board and is near the pegboard at most lumber stores. It is lightweight and thin). Then we cut a groove in some 1×3 boards. I painted the hardboard with chalkboard paint then slid it in the grooves. We nailed and glued it in place. I banged up the wood frame using chains, nails, etc. to make it look old then wiped on a bit of wood stain.

  • Heather - Hi, I am a new reader, found your blog through ohdeeoh and wanted to know where you got your daughter’s headband in the Christmas card? It is darling! Love your blog.

  • AshleyAnn - Heather – it is from Lou and Lee on etsy. If you do a search on this blog you can find some links to their site.

  • Lacey McKay - yay! I see my card up there! How fun! That board is so cute! You are so creative! Can you tell I’m getting caught up on your blog? I keep forgetting that I can’t get it through Google Reader and I figure you just haven’t updated lately! I loved your card too. I didn’t see the light bulbs, but I did get the gist of it!

  • Sandy - PLEASE tell me where you got that adorable chalkboard. I am so in love with it and the whole idea! You are an inspiration!

  • this is it!!!! « simple intrigue - [...] because today I found this jem of a magnetic chalkboard featured on Odeehdoh today! Ashley at Under the Sycamore is my kind of girl! Not only is she an amazing photog – she had exactly the same idea I had [...]

  • Margie - I LOVE this chalkboard! I saw it on Ohdeedoh, which brought me to your blog and I am loving your crafts and photo taking tips! I am inspired to be more crafty and master my new dslr camera, not to mention talking my husband into helping me make the chalkboard!

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