A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about dreaming of what my backyard could be one day. I wrote about the struggle between my outdoor pinterest boards and the reality of budgets and a small picnic table. I also shared about how my boys wanted to use their money to buy my big tables for hosting and make my some of my backyard ‘dreams’ come true.

I was grateful for our one picnic table and the struggle of never having enough room at our table for all those that find their way to our yard.

Chris and the boys decided to take matters into their hands. With Lowe’s giftcards in hand, they set off to start building me tables while I was at my sister’s Backyard Gardening Workshop. Thankfully, they didn’t get too far because building something makes me so happy and I got to join in the fun.
7.15building-16My dad and grandpa have always welcomed me to join them when they build. The smell of sawdust always brings back fond memories of my grandpa’s woodshop. My dad is still teaching me how to use new tools and build new things. I am so grateful that for as long as I can remember they brought me alongside them. Instead of deciding I was too young or something was too dangerous or I would just make the job take longer – they taught me. They let me join them. They flamed the fires of building and working with my hands in me.

I’m so grateful for that legacy.

It is a legacy I hope to pass down in the same way to my kids.7.15building-017.15building-037.15building-05I can’t handle her. Safety googles and filing her nails. There are not enough words to describe her personality. Delightfully surprising.7.15building-077.15building-097.15building-18The tables still need benches and paint. We salvaged wood from an old fence for the legs, so I’m definitely going to have to paint that part. My ‘dream’ backyard involved tables out in the field under some kind of twinkly light structure. Chris pushed me to go ahead and start creating a space on our porch. He pushed me to use what we have available and make it work. He hung lights, used gift cards, found old wood and started creating a space that would make me smile.

The best part of our new tables…when friends and family gather around them for years to come, my kids will remember building them. A legacy of building and a legacy of gathering others. So much better than pinterest.

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  • Southern Gal - I can’t wait to see your vision played out in your yard. And the picture of that girl filing her nails? Priceless.

  • Sarah Card - This is so special. I hung onto every word as it brought back memories of being in my grandpa’s wood shop as a little girl. xo

  • Lorraine R. - That is too sweet!!! What a precious family the Lord has blessed you with and what precious gifts you are filling their lives with!! I can’t wait to see the end result <3 Your family is such a blessing – thank you for giving us a glimpse into your world!
    God Bless you and yours <3

  • Angela - I have tears welling up right now. I’ve wanted a bed for our guest room, but finances are limited. Out of the blue, my husband challenged ME to make a bed… I come from a family of carpenters and most of my home furniture has been hand crafted by a loved one. However, I haven’t made anything larger than a birdhouse… ? With my husband’s encouragement and a Lowes gift card, I did it! I’ve been sending photos to my family and my mom said my dad has been walking around on cloud nine. It means more to me than making the bed in the first place! ?

  • Paige E - What a family. Lov’in their mama. So blessed.

  • Sara - I love this! The story and look both. :) Do you mind to share where your lights are from? I’m an Arkansas gal and also have twinkle lights hung but they never last. I need something pretty hardy to hold up to spring storms.

  • Kelly - I asked for strung lights for my birthday present from my parents. :) And we have a twinkly set wrapped around our one tree. I am on the hunt for a swing and a picnic table on craigslist. Yes, being patient, using what we have, making it happen little by little so the dream can begin to come true is important and fun. Enjoy!! Kelly

  • jenn - I just love this post. thank you for sharing it. your ig post of you and your son building was an inspiration for me to remember to include my kids in the things that I am doing. they are never too little that they can’t help and learn. I love it. thank you. curious about your patio lights. I have been wanting some for our back yard space but all the ones that I end up liking have bad reviews. where did you find yours and do you recommend them? thank so much

  • Ingela - It’s wonderful!

  • Emily - So much better than pinterest! I can’t wait to see what you create!

  • Melissa - A friend gave me the idea of letting the kids write and draw underneath our dining room table. Another way to creat warmth and memories around the place we spend a majority of time together already :) can’t wait to do these things with my littles!

  • amber - I love this! And that’s the kind of stuff we usually end up loving most. Yes!

  • Dawn - The tables look great! Can’t wait to see how the space evolves! Love when we can phase big projects in such a way that we can enjoy them as we go :)

  • Lindsey Muecke - SOOO much better than Pinterest, for sure! Love this – thanks for sharing!!

  • Courtney - would you share the plans or where you got them?? i’m building a picnic table right now with my kids…and we are LOVING it, so i think we will be building more in our future! i’d love to see other plans that work well!

  • christina larsen - I love them Ashley!

  • Lisa - This post really hit home! I love it. 10 years ago when I got divorced, I bought a house that needed a lot of work. I had no idea what I was doing and my teenage boys protested and grumbled their way through kitchen renovation, 700 sq ft of tiling, hours of painting, stripping wall paper, laying bathroom flooring and building a beautiful out door oasis out of a pile of dirt. It’ll never be done, but it’s now proudly their home, even though they are on their own now. They both are very handy adults, who can fix anything, work on their on cars etc and one became an engineer.
    They resisted the lessons but in the end it was a great gift for all of us.

  • AshleyAnn - Courtney – we didn’t use any plans. Chris built it more based on the wood we had…I will say there were a few times we should have measured before cutting!

  • Ilse - My grandfather and dad were also very handy, between the two of them I think they could make anything. Unfortunately I wasn’t very welcome to help since I was a girl and would ‘slow things down’ anyway. Whenever I insisted I got something to clean.

    Luckily I did not give up and learn a lot now with the help of youtube, my boyfriend and just getting started. I am sure your kids will love you for teaching them once they grow up!

  • Julia Cox - That is awesome! Such great memories. Congrats!

Baby tooth grins. When I hear there is a loose tooth – a first loose tooth – I feel the very urgent need to document those baby tooth grins. I have hundreds of pictures of my kids, but there is just something about knowing the baby teeth will soon be gone that makes me need just a couple more. My kids know this. Last week my oldest daughter came to me and told me I better get pictures right away because she was about to pull out her tooth. I grabbed my camera and we ran outside – immediately.

7.15firsttooth-017.15firsttooth-027.15firsttooth-047.15firsttooth-05Her younger sister followed us out and wanted pictures of her ‘lost tooth’. Part of a cleft lip/palate is a gap in the gum line (until it is later surgically corrected). She proudly shows her ‘lost tooth’ to everyone…7.15firsttooth-06We finished up pictures and went back inside. About 15 minutest later she asked me what to do to pull out her tooth. I told her to twist and pull. She did.7.15firsttooth-08I keep finding her in front of the mirror grinning at her new smile. The constant joy in growing older and getting bigger seems to be a hallmark of childhood. She is relishing this new-found bigness. I’m celebrating with her…while I ask her if I can glue it back in!

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  • Southern Gal - Love it!

  • Dawn Ritchie - My oldest daughter turns 6 in November, she just lost her 6th tooth last night. It’s so bittersweet.

  • Brandi - Sitting here reading this and I can imagine in my head the pictures I have of each of my children with their first tooth out. Such an exciting moment. And the front teeth out. That’s just as good!

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators - Oh Firecracker is growing up so fast! When the first tooth falls out, it’s like all the baby-ness disappears too. A bittersweet memory, for sure.

  • julia-tagandtibby - Our little girl just lost 2 this summer. She was SO excited (mom was sad!)

  • Kate - Look at that twinkle in her eye, she is so excited about that tooth! She is growing up so fast!

  • Sandy C - Lovely grins and so bittersweet :)

  • Kelly - Those sunkissed cheeks! Se is so pretty!! Kelly

  • Tanya - That’s the fastest “before and after” ever! :) My daughter lost 2 back to back right after she turned 5. Now (she’s 5.5) she keeps asking me, “Is this tooth loose yet? How about this one?” I love this milestone, albeit a little bittersweet to cement the fact that they are growing up so fast! Great pictures, as always, and thanks for sharing!

  • allison - these pictures are just precious. i remember seeing the ones of your other boys and their baby teeth. i relate so much to documenting their baby teeth before they turn into something else.

Thank you for all the comments on my post about the final SnapShops! It has been fun to read notes from past students and I’m excited to get to know those of you that are jumping in on the last course. It is exciting to do the last classes with so many excited students. Thank you!

With blogging, I’m thrilled for the chance to learn about companies and continue to work with others over the years. I would like to introduce you to this month’s sponsors/affiliates. Several post sales and promotions on instagram, so be sure to check those accounts too!

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flourishHappy Friday – enjoy your weekend!

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  • JA - Hello! I know this is an unrelated comment, but I was wondering if I could ask you where you got your daybed in your living room? I’ve enjoyed your blog and instagram for a while. You have wonderful style! Thank you very much.

  • erin - Ashley, I think your decision is so smart, good for you for recognizing the imbalance that was happening, no regrets we only have one shot at this game of life and cherishing your family is what your legacy will be, and one to be proud of!

  • AshleyAnn - JA – my dad made it for me based off a Pottery Barn daybed!