I was born and raised in the South. As much as I am aware of and have experienced other cultures (many of which I truly love and appreciate), I am at heart a Southern Girl. I may not have big hair or fry my food, but I appreciate my southern culture. One of my favorite magazines, Cottage Living, is now out of print and the company replaced my subscription with Southern Living. At the end of the July issue it has a humorous feature on “15 Ways to Charm Her (a southern girl)” by editor Amy Bickers. I was surprised by how many rang true with charming this Southern Girl….funny how most of them I didn’t realize were ‘southern things’.

Here are a few of my favorite:

1.  Stand up for a lady (this doesn’t just involve chairs)

2. Kill bugs

3. Hold doors open

4. Fix things or build stuff

5. Wear boots occasionally (Not the fancy, I-paid-$1.000-for-these kind. We’re talking about the slightly mud-crusted, I-could-have-just-come-in-from-the-field boots)

6. Take off your hat inside

7. Grill stuff

8. Call us (if you want to ask us out, don’t text and don’t email. Pick up the phone and use your voice)

9. Stand when we come back to the dinner

10. Pull out chairs

11. Don’t show up in a wrinkled, untucked shirt (Care about your appearance but not too much. Don’t smell better than we do. Don’t use mousse or gel. You shouldn’t look like you spend more time in front of the mirror than we do)

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  • Rachel - I love this! Kill bugs and build stuff totally resonate with me……

  • Stephanie @ A Fine House - I think these are justs marks of a true gentleman. My guy is born & raised in the Midwest, and still lives there. he passed this test and the only thing I couldn’t check off on the list was the cowboy hat (that’s definitely a southern thing). I love my Ohio guy!

  • Stephanie @ A Fine House - I meant to say “boots”, not “hat”.
    Either way he doesn’t wear either.

  • Heather - OMG – I read this same article and thought it was so funny and so true! I laughed when I saw it on here, b/c it obviously affected others the same way!

    LOVE your pics and your family is beautiful! Thanks for all the helpful hints all the time! I am constantly striving to get nicer, better pictures, and I look to your blog for inspiration and information. I have a long way to go. . but learning! :-)

In an effort to curb boredom when stuck inside due to the heat, the older boys and I made little “ABC” drawing books. It is a super easy and simple idea. I cut 8.5×11 paper in half and folded the sheets into book pages. Each spread had a “big” letter and a “little” letter. C created stories for each letter…”Big D jumping off a diving board while little d went sailing on a boat”. H just circled every letter, but has enjoyed having his own alphabet book he can read by himself. The covers are just folded cardstock paper with stickers spelling out their names. They were so excited to read their books to their daddy when he arrived home….

E is so excited about coloring now…I love his little fingers holding these

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  • Paula Lyon - I am so glad I found your blog this morning! (Restyled Home’s blog featured your new nursery). I always get excited when I find a blog from someone here in Oklahoma and your blog does not disappoint. I am super excited to try the pallet “couch” in my 16yr. old son’s room, is it comfortable at all? When you go back to work I definatley want to book a session, I have so many ideas. Your family is beautiful and I love your baby’s name… so unique, I gave my girls unique names and spellings and told them that they would always make an impression! So nice to meet you.

  • keely steger - Beautiful. My son would love these. He goes through paper like there’s no tomorrow and it ends up all over the floor. I would love something lovely like this to keep it more contained. :)

  • christina larsen - You never cease to amaze me. You just had a baby and you are still creative. After each of my children’s birth, I was doing good to shower everyday; let alone be creative. YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!

  • Brooke - I was just about to tell you how much you rock but Christina beat me to it! But I agree… with only one I was also lucky to have just had a shower!

  • Kenna S - This is a fantastic idea. Owen will love making this book! Thanks for sharing your creativity with those of us who are creatively-challenged!

  • Melissa - This is a great idea for those loooooonnnng afternoons :) I think I may have to make these up today for my girls. You are a clever mommy. Thanks for sharing.

  • jill - Ashley- I loved this idea so much, we did this today! It was PERFECT activity! We sat and thought of things that started with each letter to draw together. We only got through the letter D, so will last us a while! Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  • Jolene - what a gorgeous idea!

  • Craft Project Roundup « Ad Astra per Aspera - [...] Alphabet Book (seeing a trend… inexpensive and kid-friendly. Little Lily needs to learn her ABCs!) [...]

  • A Summer Project Completed | Cupcakes and Commentary - [...] After we finished the project I found that another blog I read (Under the Sycamore Tree) had a DIY for alphabet books, so if you are looking for more ideas you can access it here! [...]

  • 50 Handmade Gift Ideas - [...] DIY Alphabet Books [...]

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Yep, more pictures of my daughter. I know I said I wouldn’t be posting much, but I am taking way too many pictures these days. Since I don’t think wallpapering my house with pictures of B and her brothers is a great idea, I will share them here. What can I say, I am having fun with a newborn. There are benefits of photographing your own newborn verses a client’s. First, you can pick the best time for the baby and the light. Second, you have tons of time and don’t have to leave. However, the downfall is you have to be fast so as to avoid the big brothers that want in every pictures too. I love this first picture. She by far has the darkest hair of any of our kids. I hope it stays dark…like her daddy’s.

Yes, she does open her eyes….mainly between the hours of 9pm-12am….

She did “break in” the quilt her great-grandma made during these pictures (if you know what I mean).

And here’s a few of what was really happening between all the sweet photos above:

Don’t you just want to smother her in kisses…I do. I pretty much never put her down. She is either in my arms or in my baby wrap – I don’t think you can hold a newborn too much. I don’t mind if she needs to be held to fall asleep. These days will pass all too quickly and I just can’t get enough of her sweet smelling self.

My 15 month old’s hands gained about a pound each in the last week…

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  • Beth - I don’t think anyone will mind all the pictures! She’s adorable, and they give everyone else out there with a baby on the way ideas for when they’re taking pics of their own. :-)

  • Charissa - I had to chuckle at the cars being held in one of the photos. She is absolutely precious Ashley, I don’t blame you for not putting her down! I would do the same!

  • lesley - She’s just gorgeous. I first pics my fave and man o man does Rett look like Hud in the one where he’s kissing her head! Love them all.

  • Emily Beaty - How sweet! I love that quilt, especially with such a beautiful baby on it. Your sons are so sweet to her, too. Love these! :)

  • amanda torres - So precious!

  • Carissa - Ashley she is SO precious. You are making me want another girl…STOP it! :)

  • Trinity - I LOVE seeing pictures of her……..so cute! I love those pictures with the quilt.

  • meg duerksen - i want one.
    so bad.

    she is just yummy.

  • Samantha - I would have a hard time putting her {and my camera} down too! She’s darling, the boys are too cute, and I love each and every photo! Your photos make me even more excited for little Miss Ellie to get here!

  • bopha - I love the pictures and I don’t think you can cuddle them too much. Now that I am back at work I am getting nothing done because I just want to hold him and squeeze his chubby cheeks.

  • Kari - Love all the sweet pictures! The first one is my favorite- she looks like a sweet lil’ angel! (Congrats to Bopha too!)

  • Shannon Phillips - Oh Ash, these are so sweet! I can’t wait to meet her! I love all of these photos and I as specially love that quilt.

  • Amy - She is so precious! I LOVE the quilt!

  • Serena - Keep this pictures coming! I love them…and the quilt too!

  • patti - beautiful baby. beautiful photos. that’s all there is to it! thanks for sharing with all of us!

  • amy stamm - TOTALLY PRECIOUS!!!!! OMG love the PICS!! Bring em on!!!
    ENJOY that sweet little girl. Love the pics with the boys –I can only imagine!!!!!

  • Jeannette Swan - You are giving me baby fever!!

  • christina larsen - Just precious. Thank you for showing off your new girl; she is beautiful. Newborns are great.

  • Sarah - This will sound cliche, but the pictures you’ve been posting literally take my breath away. There is just something so special and captivating about your daughter, Ashley! She is such a blessing and so peaceful in her love-filled home and family. I really hope to meet all your kids in person some day (maybe Hawaii!) :)

  • Emily Lusk - The pictures of her are great!! You can never take to many picures! Sounds like she has already learned how to deal with her big brothers– just sleep until they go to bed! :)

  • Julia Leinen - She’s beautiful! I love her little rolls on her belly in the pic with her eyes open. Hope you are recovering well!

  • Liz - Precious!!

  • Juliann Brenner - I found your blog through my friend, Megan Duerksen. I love your pictures! Congrats on your little girl. My oldest are 15mos. apart; boy, then girl. So hard, but so worth it! They are the best of friends now at 5 and 4.

  • stephanie - Love the picture where your youngest boy was giving her a kiss on the head.

    Babies are absolutely precious, and my heart is actually aching a little bit because I miss my baby being a newborn…she just turned 7 months.

  • Lisa Keen - those pictures are great! They remind me of Kolbi trying to attack her baby sister! Gotta be quick :)

  • Kenna S - Breese is so precious. She makes me realize how much my little Kate has grown in the past 5 1/2 months. Seeing pics of her already makes me want another newborn to cuddle and hold. That time is so very precious and so very fleeting. So hold her as much as you can and take in that sweet newborn smell! I always say that someone should learn how to bottle their sweet smell.

  • Leigh Ann - Ashley, congrats. I missed two weeks of posts and wow your baby girl arrived. I’m so happy for you guys.She’s a doll and that name is P.E.R.F.E.C.T. Love it.

  • wendy - She is adorably beautifully sweet! Congratulations!

  • ashlee - so darn sweet!! i agree that the time passes so quickly so hold her as much as you can:)

  • Christine - Found you on Ooh Dee Doh. Beautiful website! I adore the quilt your grandmother made! Any chance you can relay where she got all the gorgeous fabric? Many thanks…