8.4twoyears-01

Guangzhou, China. August 27, 2014. - still one of my most favorite stories ever.

Truly, we have seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

I’m determined to snap a family photo today and add it to this post!

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Got one…a grainy family ‘selfie’ but it counts!

8.4twoyears2-01

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  • Marie - One of my most favorite stories ever too! Thanks for sharing it today…I so enjoyed revisiting it!
    I look forward to seeing the family photo today!!

  • danielle - YAY! Congrats on two years!!!

  • Meredith N - I can’t believe how much she’s grown! She’s gorgeous. Congratulations! I love this: Truly, we have seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

  • erin - Hard to believe it has already been 2 years! I have loved following her journey and your’s; thank you!

  • Lucrecer - Read the story of when you picked up your little girl and I loved it. I could actually feel the anticipation of meeting her and welcoming her into your family. Truly beautiful. I have enjoyed reading about and seeing your family’s adventures. Continued blessings to you all.

  • Jane - Thanks for sharing her journey! I love seeing how much she has grown and blossomed since joining your family!!

  • Carrie Campbell - Amen and Amen!! Congrats, Ashley and family of Campbells!!! :)

  • Shana - Wow I cannot believe it’s been 2 years already! It’s been an incredible journey and so enjoyable to read! Thank you for sharing your stories and photos with all of us!

  • Michelle Hill - I can read her story a thousand times over. Its simply miraculous and beautiful. What a gift from god you all are to each other. I can’t believe how much she as grown, learned and endured in only two short years. She is one strong being.
    Congratulations to you and your family :)

  • Meg - Happy Day! Blessings to your family.

  • amber - 2 years?! That’s just crazy. Congratulations & what a precious girl. And what a precious family. So honored to know her story. Have a wonderful day celebrating:)!

  • D'On - Loved this so much! Thinking about it gets me all emotional. What beautiful story and what a beautiful journey for your family!

  • Anna @ A Good Home - Oh, what a joy she is. I honestly tear up all the time when you post pictures of her. Her journey to you and yours to her are so, so precious. Thank the Lord for families pieced together in lots of different ways.

  • Susan - So hard to believe it has already been two years since she began to sing her “Song” in your family.
    May God continually bless you all!
    Susan

  • Amy Espinosa @the little farm diary - Congratulations to you all! It’s been such a joy watching little one’s miraculous transformation in just two short years! Such a blessing!

  • Jenni - Thank you for posting this! I saw that photo the other day of the two of you and I went in search for this post but couldn’t find it. I remember that whole trip so clearly and how nervous I was for all of you. What an amazing day:). I can’t believe it’s been two years!! God is good!:)

  • Bek Ryder - It was SO nice revisiting this today! still gave me chills and tears in my eyes. Especially the pic of your husband holding her while she slept, with a tear running down his cheek! When this happened 2 years ago, I loved the story, but now, since then,I’ve had a baby girl of my own, who turned 8 months today. So today I can imagine even more the emotions, the stages little one was at, and just the whole picture is even clearer to me. What a beautiful story! <3

  • Jennifer @ Godstellations - It has been a wonderful blessing to all of us reading and following along with these past two years. I can’t believe it has been that long. May this anniversary grow with blessings year after year!

  • Taylor - Congrats! I can’t believe it’s already been two years! I’ve been following your blog for almost four years now and I didn’t even realize it!

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • Kelleyn - It is hard to believe that it has been two year! WOW! I remember waiting each day for an update and now we have our own China baby.

  • Laura Sudderth - God is good! Little One has come so very far, you all have. Many blessings to you all.

  • kimberly oyler - love sharing my birthday with this day!!

  • Kathleen - Man, I had never read those stories. So glad I spent nap time doing so today. Can’t stop crying:) our awesome God at work, encouraged to think again on how he is showing himself. And I am really looking forward to learning to tell stories in a new way in the Snap shops course. Thanks for being willing to share, Ashley!

  • RaD - I’ll have to make a mental note to come back and see it!

    My how she has grown. And my how time flies! Two years! I remember all the waiting and now it’s been two years!

  • Paige - Oh! Happy Little One Day! Your story is just absolutely beautiful. I love reading how Jesus brought your girl to you. It is a massive encouragement and story of HOPE. We are wanting to bring our own little one home soon and you posts make the process seem a little more sacred and a little less scary. Have a beautiful day of celebration (:

  • Laree @ Ever Heard Of Euless - That was really 2 years ago already? Wow, that means I’ve been following your adventures for 2.5 years now. Love it all, and I adore this picture too!

  • Sara W - What a beautiful photo! I love the way Little One is watching her dad. And I love that verse.

  • Brooke - Ashely it’s be such a pleasure to follow your blog and watch this story unfold. I get all teary eye’d when I tell friends about your story and Little One’s big and small moments. I’m SO inspired by you. I look forward to many more years watching your family grow up and celebrating the big and little moments (virtually) right along with you.

  • Jen - How can it be two years already? I remember the posts even before you met her. And now it’s like she has always been a part of your family. I love watching her grow, seeing her and Firecracker together, seeing her conquer each one of her fears. Thank you for sharing your family with us.

  • Katie - Wow I can’t believe it has been two years and your daughters look a lot alike in this picture!! <3

  • gHina - Yaaay..congratulations :) Btw, your two daughters have the same smile! :D

  • Deirdre Humer - Happy Gotcha Day from a fellow Yangxi family that just celebrated 2 years this July. Our daughters were in the orphange at the same time and I recall seeing your daughter when we traveled for our visit. If you ever travel to NYC, we would to love to meet your family and introduce our daughter to your little girl. Continued blessings.

  • Kelsey Kautzi - I’ve read that story several times and I cry every time. We are coming up on 18 months home with our baby girl and it’s hard to read other stories and not be forcibly reminded of the emotions of our gotcha day. Thanks for sharing your story again.

  • Jami - Love it!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh my goodness! Has it really been two years?! Congratulations!

  • Sasha Farina - This make me very happy!

    (ps : i’ve been reading for a while – so glad i found you)

  • Rachel - Such a special, special time for you and your family…do you know what caught my eye in the current photo…your daughters’ faces are a similar shape and their smiles look the same…made me smile!

  • Sundee - What a difference two years makes :) God bless the journey!!

  • Chelsea - So much beauty in that photo, inside and out! Your family rocks, love seeing how little one is thriving and growing.

  • Monica - Beautiful picture! I always hear that adoptive kids look a like the family who adopt them. I guess it is true. Little One has the same smile like Firecracker, the eyes of Chris and the light of your soul. She is beautiful. Your family is beautiful. Your daughter Little One is very special, She is special for me even I don’t know her. Her story is just LOVE! God bless you and your family.

  • Sharla - grainy or not, that is an AWESOME family shot

  • christina larsen - Hope you enjoyed your Gotcha Day!

  • donna - Looking at the picture from 2 years ago and the current one shows your sons becoming young men. You need to take a close up of each child on their birthday to see the ageing you don’t notice, it would make a great gift to them when they turn 21. Just a thought.

  • Diana - Perfect!! What a special day to celebrate!

  • candice - I have been following your blog for a while now. I found it when I was searching for adoption stories….we are just starting to really looking into what that means for our family. I am daily encouraged by your honesty and faith. We also homeschool!!! This post if precious. Adoption is the heart of God and a BEAUTIFUL way to build a family!!!

  • Cecile - How beautiful from the inside and out! :-)

  • Kasey W. - I LOVE this! We have just started the process to adopt from China and this just makes me want to go NOW!!! I love your blog and your story!

  • Josephine - Hi fives, Campbell’s! I can’t know the extremes of the last two years in your family’s life, nor what lies ahead, but it would appear ‘the force’ is strong with you guys. Respect and hugs.

  • Haley - I started following you shortly before you went to pick up Little One and have loved every post since. Thanks so much for letting us be a part of your journey.

  • Riann - God is so good!

  • Holly - Wow! What a difference 2 years makes!

  • elizabeth H - Her story. Your beginnings. beautiful!

  • Caitlin E - 2 years already!? Oh Ashley, I’ve been following your story since before you picked up Little One (and then did a snapshop course!), and this post just makes me cry happy tears! Especially going back to read the original. You looks so happy and healthy today. My prayers are with your family today especially!

  • amy jupin - i almost cannot handle the sweetness in this photo. i instantly cried when i saw it. you have such a beautiful family.

  • Jessica R - The difference in LO is striking! She looks healthy and… peaceful. Content. So happy for your family :)

  • Amy C - Wow, she’s grown and changed so much! You have a beautiful family!

  • Ashleigh - Wow! 2 years has gone by! And how quickly it has!
    Thanks you for sharing as your do! You and your family are a beautiful inspiration.

8.4table-01

We started school back up last week. And I built two new tables. The two go hand-in-hand. We had a cute 4 person table and 4 cute kids doing school work around that table. It was only a matter of minutes before the elbow shoving and arguing over space began, so it was time for a bigger table. Our kitchen table seats 8. We are a family of 7. I’ve wanted more table room for when we have company over for dinner. A little while back my mom picked up some Lerberg Trestle table legs from IKEA for me and we finally got around to building our very simple tables.

We used two pieces of plywood cut down to 3ft x 6ft and some boards for trimming the edges.8.4table-028.4table-04

The table legs do not have holes to attach them to the wood. Instead of drilling holes, we just made simple little braces to hold them in place. This allows us to take the tables apart quickly if we need to move them outside or just stack them against a wall for more space. Next, we added boards around the edges to finish it off.8.4table-05

A little wood putty & sanding.8.4table-06

I decided to go for white chalkpaint. I use DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint and have always been pleased with it. FireCracker is always nearby if painting is involved.8.4table-08

After I painted, waxed, and sanded the table I decided it wasn’t quite right. I painted the trim boards pink – random decision. Knowing me I’ll repaint it before the end of the year.8.4table-09

We can comfortably fit 12 when the tables are together. 16-20 when we pull the tables apart. Now I have to find more chairs!

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We were going the most affordable route, so I knew I would be painting the table top. I also knew we needed a very smooth top with no cracks for art stuff to get stuck in by the kids. I wanted a white table top for pictures….I take a lot of pictures and I sure like white! The more white the better.8.4table-12

See, isn’t that white background just perfect?!8.4table-14

I don’t have detailed step-by-step instructions because it was a pretty simple project. Cut the boards. Nail them together. Fill the holes. Sand and paint.

Have friends over and enjoy dinners with more space around the table!

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  • Debbie C - I love your huge white (and pink) tables! Lots of space for creativity is a must. I have an old Ikea desk/table that my hubby wants us to give away so we’ll have more room but I refuse. I like to spread out when I work. :)

  • Brandi - We are going to be a family of 7 soon, too, and this idea is incredible! Pulling the tables apart for company seating…just love it!

  • Andrea - Your new tables are beautiful.

  • Katie - Your studio space amazes me each time that I see it! The new tables are simple and sweet – and very family friendly. Great call with the whitewashed tops – perfect background!

  • Sprite - Oh, how perfect! The tables are lovely!!! Your studio shelves are organized so beautifully, too. Every time I read your blog I’m inspired to organize or decorate my space. :)

  • Diana - I totally agree about needing a white table top for pictures! I take waaay less than you but I still think I need one. Table looks great!!

  • Natalie - You should build a couple long benches for the ends!

  • Lisa M. - So funny! I am literally sitting in IKEA contemplating picking up a pair of these legs! After seeing your post though, it’s a no-brainer! Thanks for sharing your beautiful tables with such perfect timing!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Just perfect!

  • kimberly oyler - i knew you’d go with white. smart decision. annnnnd you know i have to ask. what chairs are in the kitchen now? so much change!

  • Chiara M - It’s so exciting to have enough seating for guests and big get togethers. I hope the tables inspire some great gatherings. I’m just wondering about the shelves in the studio. They look like Ikea, but I would love a source. I really like how they’re a combination of book shelves and cupboards. We’ve got a long wall in our new house I want to fill with shelves, but it would be nice to have some cupboards to hide things in too.

  • AshleyAnn - Chiara – Thank you. Yes, the shelves are from IKEA. You can purchase the doors (wood and glass) from IKEA too!

  • AshleyAnn - Kimberly – no chairs in the kitchen when we need to use them in the studio! We carry them back and forth until we can find affordable ones to have enough for both rooms! Chris did pick up two more school chairs for $10.00 each today. Only have to find 10 more affordable chairs!

  • danielle - Those are great! We are starting next week! Eek! I can’t believe summer is almost over.

  • Jamie - Great table!
    I would love to see a couple ‘home school’ blog posts. I am starting to home school with my Kindergartener this year. Good luck to both of us!

  • Russett - I keep meaning to ask you about your floors and although your post is about the tables, I’m asking now – is there any type of stain or paint on your cement floors (they are cement, right?). I love them and hope to achieve the same look in our basement.

  • Bethany - Hi! Just wondering what color is on your walls? I’m looking for a nice white in my kitchen and this looks like just the ticket!

  • AshleyAnn - Russett – they are just poured concrete. We haven’t sealed or stained them. We probably should, but it just hasn’t happened yet!

  • Rhonda - Looks awesome!!! I love this space!!!

  • Melinda - I love the art supply tray. Is that DIY or did you buy it somewhere?

  • Sarah - Have you shared yet about the great bookshelves/storage system in the background of these photos? Ikea?

  • Sarah - Oops, just saw that someone already asked. They look great!

  • Andrew - I know this is old, but how sturdy are the ikea table legs? I’ve been thinking about getting a pair for myself.

    Thanks!

  • {bits & pieces} - […] What I love about Under the Sycamore is Ashley Ann’s hacker vibe. Everything is pretty but she doesn’t make me feel like doing her projects would be impossible or expensive. If you need some work tables fast, here you go! […]

  • Se7en's Fabulous Friday Fun Post #236 - se7en | se7en - […] never thought I needed a school room, but I have to say… Under the Sycamore’s new table is just so […]

My friend Shannon is a phenomenal photographer. Over the weekend she held her second workshop for photographers and I had the honor of hosting. When Chris and I started building the big extra room I affectionately call my “studio”, we did it with the hope and intention of sharing with others often. It made me so happy to watch Shannon share her talent and wisdom in my home. What a gift she shared with my family by letting us host.

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During the workshop, I  spoke briefly about blogging and social media. I feel like I was all over the place. Hopefully, the ladies walked away with something! Later in the afternoon our mutual friend Loren came to prepare our model. Loren is the sweetest. On a semi-regular basis she cuts off all my split ends and tries to teach me how to fix my hair. The girl is so patient. My oldest daughter LOVES Miss Loren. When she found out Loren was doing hair and makeup – she was there.8.4imagovita-03

My trailer was made all cute for the practice photo shoot!8.4imagovita-048.4imagovita-05

Flowers everywhere. Flowers in tins everywhere!8.4imagovita-078.4imagovita-088.4imagovita-098.4imagovita-10

Shannon is surrounded by so many friends that love and support her. She has built a successful business, but she has also built so many beautiful relationships within the industry. The two go hand in hand for Shannon.  I’m so thankful to call her my friend. I’m a better person because of the influence of Shannon in my life. She is a treasure (with crazy awesome hair).

Imago Vita Photography

Contributors to the workshop:

Jessie Leigh Photography

Happy Situated

Ann Bennett Photography

Robyn’s Flower Garden

Livi Lee’s Daylight Donuts

Little Big Photography

The Vintage Comb

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  • natalie - ashley, oh my word! this is such a beautiful event. what a gift to open up your space to teach & host others.

  • Michelle Hill - Your trailor is a dreaaammm!! such beautiful scenery for photos :)

  • Ashley E - Such a fun group of girls! My daughter loves Loren too…especially whatever candy treat she has at the end of the haircut. ;)

  • Izzy - This looks like a such a helpful and practical weekend. Love the flowers everywhere!

  • Amy - I love the shot of the flowers on the chair. The vintage tins are such a neat idea! Your idea and arranging?

  • Jennifer - Absolutely beautiful! Wish I had just a smidge of the photo talent you ladies have. Gorgeous!

  • Ujjaini Lahiry - I love the tin plant pots. Beautiful!

    http://imyownmuse.blogspot.com/

  • Mrs. H - I have that same Ladies Home Journal tin! Dewey, OK is even where I bought it. It’s current use is for cookie decorating sprinkles.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh those flowers in tins! It makes me want to run out and buy flowers and decorate :)

  • Shannon Phillips - Oh my word Ash! You bless me so! Thank you will never even come close to an appropriate response for all you did and for all of your kind words. I love you sweet friend. Thank you for sharing your home and your wisdom with all of us.