Embrace the camera {my five now six year old}

3.19embrace-1Last night I held a five year old in my arms. Today he is six. And he fills my heart and soul with so much joy. I asked him if he would take a picture with me that I could share with you guys here today. He usually agrees only if we make goofy faces. We made plenty of goofy faces, but then he snuck in this sweet smile. I always tell him, “I could eat you up, I love you so.” To which he reminds me he is too big for me to eat. He is all kinds of awesome and my life overflows with goodness because he is in it.

Happy Birthday my brave, strong and hardy one!

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  • Heather Burris - My boy is about to turn 6 as well. He told someone yesterday that he was 5 and 11/12. What a fun age this is. Happy Birthday Brave boy! Happy birth day Ashley <3

  • danielle - Happy Birthday Little Man! Six is a great age! My youngest just turned six a few months ago :)

  • Lisa | Winter Heights - Aw a very happy birthday to your boy!!! My nephew will be six in two weeks, such a fun age.

    I finally took a few pics for the embrace the camera challenge. I know that it really is true, when our boy is grown these photos will hold so much meaning to me as I’m learning how quickly they grow. My photos are on my blog at http://www.winterheights.com. Thank you for the challenge!

  • Avenlea - Happy birthday!!

  • Kari - Happy Birthday big guy! I think your hair is awesome!

  • Stacey - “Where the Wild Things Are” reference – love it. We always use “and now – let the wild rumpus start!”

  • Bird and Bambi - Happy Birthday to you little man!
    so much love and sun for you from Germany!

    Bird and the fatcatconnection

  • carol - Happy Birthday to the most awesome 6yr old I know. I love you!

  • Heather F - I have the exact conversation with my 5 year old son all the time. The pictures you’ve taken this week and shared are beautiful and priceless. Thank you as for always being so inspirational and uplifting and a bright start to my morning. Happy Birthday to your son!

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators - Happy birthday to your boy! Glad he gave you such a sweet smile amidst the goofy faces.

  • Deanna H - A big Happy Birthday from the Land of Oz! Hope your day is chock-full of AWESOME!

  • Olivia - Happy Birthday from snowy Minnesota!

  • dana - Six is such an awesome age! My biggest boy was just 6 a few days ago…now he is 23! How did that happen?!?!? My heart still holds that 6 yr old…but i sure do love the wonderful young man that has taken his place??. I think that is why i love photos so much…they are the only way that we can “stop” time and “capture” these sweet and fleeting moments! Happy Birthday to your little man!

  • Katie - Happy, Happy Birthday Littlest Brother!! Wishing you a great, cake-filled celebration from Ohio!

  • babs - i give all 6′s a copy of A.A.Milne’s “Now we are six”. it ends with,”But now I am six, I’m as clever as clever. So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.” happy birthday from s.c.

  • Emily - Happy Birthday, Bigger Brother! Happy Birthing Day Ashley! Have a wonderful, wonderful day!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Happy Birthday from Arizona!

  • Casandra C - Happy Birthday young man! God Bless you! Casandra from Philippines. :)

  • Anniken - Happy birthday from norway!

  • tina - Ah, happiest of birthdays to your boy! Don’t blink as in a minute he’ll be 16! Enjoy these days!

  • tina - oops forgot…that last happy birthday wish was from Tina in Solvang, California!

  • Karen - Happy Birthday from Tupelo, MS!

  • Anastasia - Happy Birthday From South Jersey!!!
    Ashley, today is my daughter’s birthday as well. She turned 4…
    Today, I am a little sad because time is flying so fast, and the day when she will spread her wings and fly away is getting closer… But I am being positive, and want to enjoy every single moment together that we’ve been given, and make them very special!
    Happy Birthday brave, strong and hardy one! Hope you are having a fantastic day!!!

  • Rikki - Congrats little guy, on another birthday! Time sure does fly.

  • Cathy - Happy Happy Joy Joy! Happiest of birthdays little guy!! I hope he has a super fun birthday!!!

  • Taylor - Happiest birthday little guy from Michigan!


  • Michelle - Happy Birthday from Arkansas! Today is my one and only boy’s birthday too. He’s turning 16 – how it flies by! I was looking back at pictures of him when he was younger – don’t you just want to freeze them? But watching them grow up is a joy too. Have a great day!

  • Anna - Happy 6th Birthday from Germany! Enjoy!

  • christina larsen - Happy Birthday!!! Hope you have a wonderful day!

  • Building Solar Oven’s ~Embrace the Camera « daniellehuddlestonphotography.com - […] out Emily and Ashley’s blogs to see what “Embrace the Camera” is […]

  • Cindi Brumpton - Happy birthday. I hope you are having a wonderful day. How handsome you are sitting there beside you beautiful and fiercely proud Mom! Awesome!!!

  • KimberlyB - The 1st day of SPRING is a great day to have a birthday! I hope 6 is awesome! Today is my husband’s birthday too. KIMBERLY~Buffalo, NY

  • Melissa - Today is a special for us too, my daughter turned 8 years old. I hope you had a wonderful day and what a precious gift from God your little guy is!

  • Eva - Happy Birthday, precious boy! What a beautiful smile you have! Sweet sweet shot of the two of you.

  • Sarah Pratt - He shares my baby boy’s birthday. How wonderful! Mine turned 5. It’s amazing how much these little men just steal your heart. Happy Birthday!

  • Tiffany - Happy Birthday to your birthday boy!! :D

  • elizabeth H - {sniff,sniff} my youngest boy is five too!
    I don’t want him to get a single day older!
    His smile lights up the room & His joy is happiness to my soul.

Embrace the Camera {boot camp}

Last year I began doing ‘boot camp’ with the kids. Shauna Reed of The Reed Life inspired me by getting glimpses of the things she did with her kids. Our boot camp isn’t all that serious. We usually run/walk a little and then take turns being the ‘trainer’.  The kids get a lot more excited about it when they know they get a turn to tell everyone else what to do. We usually do push-ups, burpees, lung walks, jumping jacks, handstands, cartwheels, mountain climbers and whatever else they come up with that day. It doesn’t last too long, but just enough to encourage them to try hard but still have fun in the process.

This guy by far has that fire inside him to keep trying and keep pushing himself. He likes to race me and he is going to beat me very soon.

I never bring my camera out when we do our boot camp because it isn’t very practical. This week I decided it would be a fun thing to document for Embrace the Camera. I figure there will come a day I may not so easily win the handstand contests, so I might like having a little proof of the good ole’ days. (Chris took one with the phone too that I posted on Instagram yesterday, all the legs flying everywhere in that shot is hilarious!)


While the other kids just ran around on their bikes and scooters, she wanted to be held. She also REALLY likes having her picture taken so posing with her is easy. She also likes to make faces for the camera and then immediately wants to see the picture, laughing at herself. She is so silly and funny.

This is one of the funny faces she likes to make.3.18embrace-33.18embrace-43.18embrace-53.18embrace-6If you are sharing Embrace the Camera photos on your blog, leave us a link in the comment section so we can see them. If you are posting on Instagram, be sure to include the hashtag #embracethecamera

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  • Avenlea - I love all the pictures!

  • Mornings, Pipe Cleaners, and Embrace the Camera « daniellehuddlestonphotography.com - […] Ashley and Emily are doing the Embrace the Camera challenge this week, go check it out. […]

  • danielle - That is so awesome! We hike, walk, and run with our boys and now at 6 and 7 they out pace me! I am trying to get in better shape just so I can keep up! Here is my embrace the camera http://daniellehuddlestonphotography.com/mornings-pipe-cleaners-and-embrace-the-camera/ thanks!

  • Amanda W - Little One is never going to doubt the love your family has for her. No one else in your family will ever either. Reading your blog makes me hold my own family closer when I get weary. Thanks Ashley!

  • kimberly oyler - the pictures of you and little one made me cry. sweet girl.

  • Taylor - I love this fun idea of a boot camp with your kids! My boyfriend & I do our version of boot camp at home, but I can’t (but can at the same time!) wait for our own little ones to join us one day.



  • Marissa - Hi Ashley! As always love the pictures of your sweet family! I am embracing the camera this week too! Thanks for the encouragement to do so! Here is mine http://allingoodtwine.com/2014/03/19/embrace-camera/

  • Haley - I LOVE THESE! I’m very impressed by the handstand.

  • Casandra C - Wonderful! I’ll try your handstand and make a bet with my bro as a way of our bonding. And hopefully I can have a pic of that! :)

  • Laura - I absolutely adore these photos. mmmm Beautiful.

  • Hayley @ Grey House Harbor - While I rarely post comments, I have followed your blog religiously for 5 years now! Thanks for challenging us to join you in Embracing the Camera… I’m linking up!

  • Amanda - Ashley,
    Little One looks like your daughter. She looks as much like your daughter as Firecracker. I know some people don’t understand how a child that doesn’t share your DNA could look like you. It’s an adoption thing! But in these pictures of the two of you, it’s so obvious you’re her mom. I don’t even have to know the context. She looks like you!

  • jessica Reese - I was wondering were you found the wallpaper just outside your bedroom. I really really like it. Thank you.


  • Stoich91 - Adorbs! And seriously!? You have 5 kids and can still do a headstand/splits/raise chickens somebody send HALP you are amazingggg!!!

  • reyanna - Oh, she is SOOOOOO cute! :) I used to read your blog every day. Then I had my 2nd baby, and I haven’t really had time. :-( So I was just checking in to see what’s new with you. The kids have gotten so big! And Little One… wow, she has blossomed! Love. :-)

  • Soojin - like devouring a good book, i spent the past week reading and viewing your entire blog! i don’t recall how i came across your site exactly, but just wanted to say hello and thank you for inspiring me on so many levels. i’m currently in process of adopting as a single parent and just love how you connect with, value and encourage each of your kids’ as individuals. btw, there is too much cuteness in that household!! i am barely managing my own life, can’t imagine caring for and nurturing the lives of 5 little ones! appreciate your example of intentional parenting and making space for what is of most importance. also love seeing how you continue to dream and express your own talents in your daily life. sounds kinda funny, but your blog was food for my soul :) thanks again and all the best to you and your family!

  • AshleyAnn - Soojin – thank you for that sweet encouragement….and, wow, that is a lot of reading to cram into a week!!! Thank you :)

Embrace the Camera {writing time}

Yesterday for Embrace The Camera I set my camera up across the room and used its timer. We are only all at the table doing school for about 20 minutes each day – everyone spreads out later. I don’t have any pictures of this time of our day with me in them. Chris wasn’t home, so I couldn’t ask him to take any.

On the counter across the room, I stacked two books and a canister with a flat lid, topped with my camera. I focused where I would be sitting and then turned on the timer and jumped back in the shot. I put my camera on silent so I couldn’t hear when it was taking the picture; it helped me try to keep the shot a little more natural. Oddly enough my kids never skipped a beat or asked why I was running back and forth between helping them with their work!

3.17embrace-13.17embrace-23.17embrace-3That last photo made me laugh when I saw it. My girl tells some wild stories. She’s is always making me laugh.

You can read more about this week’s Embrace the Camera challenge on yesterday’s post.

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  • Lesley - I love that she is wearing a princess dress while doing her schoolwork!!!

  • danielle - Great shots!!! I love the idea to put it on silent! Mine still makes some noise when it takes it but not knowing would work well!
    I am not sure if we are sharing links to our images like last time but here is mine! http://daniellehuddlestonphotography.com/saint-patrick/ Thanks for doing this!

  • Amber - Sweet idea! Will have to try it!!

  • jenw - That expression on your face in the last one is pure FireCracker! I’ve seen that in so many photos you’ve shared on the blog over the years. Now we all know where she gets it from! Thanks for sharing your days.

  • Emily - These are seriously the kinds of photos I cherish from my childhood, so happy to see Embrace the Camera back again!

  • Izzy - What beautiful pictures, your homeschool looks so fun! Is it snow outside?

  • creole wisdom - I love these photos and the whole series you are doing!

  • Anastasia - Great great shots! Best pictures are the one that have been taken without much preparation! Naturally Beautiful & Fun!

  • jenn - These are some of my favourite pictures you’ve ever posted. That’s real life right there!

  • Melissa Tedesco - These are so great. I think I am going to try the timer on my camera today. I started your challenge yesterday, when (Luckily!) my husband had an unexpected day off, and he took pictures our our reading time. I’m not going to lie; I was surprised by how well they turned out. I can’t wait to share them at the end of the week.


  • Kris - Hi! I’ve been following you on IG for a while (butterbean10) and am embarrassed to say that I didn’t realize you had a blog. Thanks to the IG friend who pointed that out to the clueless follower.( that would be me )Anyway, I’m here and am enjoying your beautiful photos, adorable kiddos, ( i have ONE…how you do all you do with your crew just amazes me!)and phenomenal projects! Really excited to follow along here.
    xo Kris

  • Renee - You might consider getting a remote for your camera! I bought mine on Amazon for super cheap and it has helped alleviate the “posed” look in my photos because I snap the shot right when the moment happens that I want to capture. We don’t have to repose the memorable scenario!

    Lovely photos!

  • Tanya - I love these photos! How wonderful that you snapped that 20-minute period!

  • Hanna - You nailed it!

  • Eva - That last photo is awesome!!!! I think I have just a handful of photos of me schooling the kids. And since we spend a good part of most mornings together doing that, I might wanna capture a few more. I have many more of just them. But that’s not gonna cut when they’re older. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Laura - Brilliant!!! I really have to try getting in the shots more…it’s hard though!! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • allison - awesome!! i love the candid shots. you have inspired me to get in there too. i don’t have very many of myself with my kids and the everyday. i’d sit at the table too if there were cookies! boy # 3 is always eating(always growing)!

  • Alix - I checked out #embracethecamera tonight on instagraming. It was beautiful seeing mother embracing their calling and love of motherhood. I loved seeing happy families in ordinary life. Too often we think Pinterest is real life- but it’s not. The common life is so beautiful and one that I love to remember and capture. It’s the simple moments in life that really are the most important.

  • Katie - Beautiful pictures, Ashley! Your home is so bright and cheerful, I just want to curl up with a book by the window!! :)

  • La Verne @ hopeandsalvage.com - Love the realness of your school-room. Can’t help but notice Little One’s learning stool. I refinished one a few month’s back. [see blog post] It would be fairly easy to take her seat off and give her a little padding. If I lived closer to Texas, I would do it for you in a minute!


  • Taylor - I love the way these pictures turned out! I would really love to get a timer for my DSLR so that I can try and get more shots of me as well. I think you and your kids will cherish these pictures and the memories of spending time during homeschool together. Awesome!



  • Wendy - Love your images … that Fuji looks AWESOME! Wish I could say I’ve embraced the camera, but the sad truth is I look like a hippopotamus in pics.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - OH, that last picture!!! I love that face.

  • Jamie - Your hair looks so pretty long!

  • Jackie - I want your table! I have craved a table like that for sooo long!!

  • meg duerksen - missing you tonight!!! and this beautiful ever changing room – my bedroom! ;)
    these pictures make me want to home school.
    i am kidding.
    but you make it look appealing for sure.