Every spring marked poppies and peonies blooming at my grandparent’s house. They always had a massive garden and in the midst of all the vegetables, there were poppies. Red poppies always remind me of my grandma. She loved them. This past Mother’s Day marked the 5 year anniversary of her passing. That day the California poppies in her front yard bloomed.

When Jessica of vol25 shared her recent Poppy poster with me…I couldn’t help but think how much my grandma would have loved it.
Vintage Inspired Poppy Science Poster c/o vol25

I’ve been purging our house of stuff and came across an old report I did on my grandma. It was 20 years ago and I had to do a big report for a school project. Grandma gave me pictures and keepsakes to include in the report. She also sat through lots of interview questions. As I read all that I had written about her, I was so thankful to have all those stories recorded. I think I am going to have my kids do reports on other family members soon. It is such a treasure to look back on.

In the report she talks about how she was at ballroom dance lessons with a friend. She looked across the dance floor, pointed at a young man and told her friend, “I want that one.” She and my grandpa eloped a few months later.

I miss her. And I miss the funny way she’d thump us on the head with her long finger. And I miss her blackberry cobbler. Mainly, I just miss her and am so grateful for all the memories I have of her.

UPDATE: Vol25 is offering free shipping until June 15th, use the code FREESHIPPINGFORU

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  • Jenn - what a sweet post. grandmothers are so special. you have her smile. :)

  • Danielle - You look like your Grandma… something… is it the smile, the eyes? What a lovely couple & post… so important to remember & share those stories so they are never lost. Thank-you for sharing here… really enjoyed it.

  • Gevay Piercefield - It is sweet how your family is close. Such a gift for your children. You look like your grandma and I can see your grandfather in your boys. Meg at Whatever shared a post today about missing her grandmother. They are both a sweet reminder of my Grandmother Violet.

  • kate - Mmmm, I love my Nan, and I miss her, what a lovely post, and what a lovely reminder of my family. My mum takes personal histories, and when I was younger I used to think it was so boring – but now nothing captivates me more than people’s stories. I think that’s why I like your blog so much, your so great at telling your story and the photos bring it all to life. Thanks for sharing xx

  • MC - You and Meg at “Whatever” both had similar posts today about your grandma and poppies. They were both very sweet. I will say some prayers for you both and your grandomothers.

  • Nicolle - What a sweet post. Thank you for sharing this piece of your life, Ashley. By the way, your grandpa was a hunk! :)

  • Alice H - I never want to know this feeling. But I know eventually it will happen. I would love to know some of the questions so I can do this with my grandparents. I really want to do a video interview with them and make DVDs to give to all the family members. I think that would be neat because I never want to forget their voices, or their advice. You do look a lot like your grandma. Both very gorgeous ladies!

  • Angela A - OHH. I want to have my kids make those for their grandparents! What were the components of the report? I know I can make it up, but it might include something I wouldn’t think of.

  • Kari S. - You look so much like your Grandmother, especially that smile!

  • Danielle - What a great story to have!

  • Bethany - “I want that one”…fiesty lady! I love that idea of having a grandchild write a report on their grandparent….storing away that idea for later days. The poppies this season have taken my breath away. Here’s a few I’ve gotten to enjoy: http://www.againwesayrejoice.com/2013/05/swooning-over-poppies.html.

  • Katie R. - How sweet! Isn’t it neat how loved ones leave such a mark on us? I love the idea of having your kiddos do reports on family members; such a good way to for them to intentionally learn more about where they come from.

  • Lynn - Lovely memories of your Grandma. I really like how she pointed out her future husband…..so sweet!!

  • Angie - Her nose and her eyes!! Genetics are amazing! The resemblance is so strong. I wish we could keep Grandparents forever. :( I wish my kids got to know their wonderful Grandparents. Sigh… Such is this life. They will have to wait until heaven. Can’t wait!

  • Sharon @ Discovering Blog - Aww, Grandmas are the best. I miss mine like crazy, too. She passed just hours after meeting her only great-granddaughter (my baby) and I know it was her time to go, but it still stinks.

    Just think, with 5 babies of your own, how many grandkids you may have one day!

  • Katie - You look a lot like her!

  • katygirl - i miss my grandma too. every day.

  • Laura@Ms Smartie Pants - Oh how I understand that feeling, my husband passed away 8 months ago, you just want to be with them again! When my son was in 5th grade his teacher had them all send a letter to 10 friends and family asking them to send a letter back and tell about their Christmas memories. Each child made a book of all those friends and family that participated. We have these beautiful handwritten letters from grandma’s and grandpa’s and even our pastor asking them if the did had a real tree or a fake one, what did they get in their stockings, did they open their presents on Christmas eve or morning. What was the best Christmas they remember, who did they spend their day with and so on and so on. My son is now 22 and every Christmas he goes back to that book, all my children do, it’s the first gift we place under our tree every year. This year being the first year without my husband and their dad, made the book even more special since he had a beautiful story of Christmas’ past. Yes have your kids write down the stories of their family, you will treasure it always!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh goodness. What a beautiful lady! My grandmother is still living. She tells me all the time that she is ready to go see her Savior. I’m not ready for that :) but I’ll be so happy for her when she does!

  • Fee ist mein Name - I love the story about your gran and the report you made. But I also love poppies and the poster. So in love with everything here.

  • Ria - You look like her.:)

  • Renae - I know that feeling… It has been a year this month that my grandma passed and there are so many things that remind me of her, she was such an amazing woman and the best grandmother I could ever imagine. She is dearly missed, but am I also relieved that her suffering is over. This post brought tears to my eyes this morning. Thank you for sharing.

  • Seamingly Sarah - That is so sweet!

  • TMB - You look like her! I too am missing my Grandma, she left us 2 years ago. I miss her and her biscuits and gravy. What is it about Grandma’s and amazing food?

  • karen - i love poppies too! my new house surprised me with a bunch.
    isn;t that funny about your’s and meg’s post! :)

  • Jen - Beautiful. You look a lot like her.

    I lost my grandma when I was 7- I am amazed at the impact she had on me and I think of her so often. Especially now that I have kids of my own. On days I am not sure what to do with my 3, I wonder how she got through the days with her 13!! I so wish she was here to talk to yet.

  • Sara - Thanks for your words.
    I lost my granma more than two years ago and I miss her every single day.
    I am grateful to God for giving her to me and for all the beautiful memories I kept in my mind & soul.

    Regards from Rome, Italy


  • Pip - My Nan died 4yrs ago in February..my heart still aches like it was yesterday. It’s unfathomable to believe I’ll never see her at our Christmas dinners or sitting in the garden in summer, again.
    I know she’s still with me and was a large part in shaping who I am, but I’m selfish and want her with me forever.

  • Caoimhe - I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now but never commented. This post made me beam. Grandmothers are so special. My granny died about 5 years ago too. She was soft and warm and smelled like fresh baking. The picture perfect grandmother. But underneath all that, she was a spitfire of hilarious stories, wild adventures and a mischevious soul. I remember everything about her. Her wrinkled skin, her delicate hair and most of all, the love that oozed out of her every pore for all 9 of her grandchildren.
    I am not sure if you know this already, but your daughter “Firecracker” looks just like your grandmother!

  • Mareen - whenever the peonies in our frontyard bloom i have to think of my dear grandma too. these where hers. she planted them. she loved them. they are almost blooming. she would have been excited for tham to bloom. i miss her a lot.

  • Heather - “I want that one.” I love it! What a sweet post!

  • Aunt Sandy - Well, you did it again. Yet another amazing post about Mom, Grandma to you. It’s still so hard to believe it’s been 5 years, since she pulled any of her special pranks on us. Or, should I say, pranks we pulled on her. She was such a little spitfire. I miss her each and every day. Thanks so much for sharing her with your bloggers. I loved reading all their comments. I agree, both you and firecracker remind me of Mom in so many ways. But, the comment that Dad was a hunk, that cracked me up. Don’t think I will tell him that, it just might go to his head. But, I have to agree with them, he was/is a hunk.

  • Ashley - What great memories you have of her! That poppy poster fits so well in your home – what a special reminder!

  • Marty Ann - Oh please do have your kids make those reports!! I too miss my mom and dad, and I wish I had some of the stories down on paper. I do have some in my memories (and should write them down)They were gone before I thought to do such a thing. I did however get to have my husband’s parents and his grandma write down some things. i had actually found a booklet that had some questions written in it for them to fill out. It’s so much fun to read the answers to some of the questions now. Grandma or Great Grandma as we called her was of a different generation and some of the questions she felt were too private, like did you have a boyfriend before grandpa. lol She would just write ‘that’s my business” or you’ll have a secret one day too. Sweet sweet lady. Love your blog.

  • Cindi Brumpton - That was truly lovely!

  • Meagan - Love old pictures like this. I can definitely see the resemblance between you and hr! Also, you can’t blame her for pointing him out. What a handsome young man!

  • Weekend Reading - [...] the Sycamore // I Miss Her (and oh, how I miss my Gram [...]

  • Stacy Olson - Sweet story. You can see the resemblance between you and her.

My father-in-law has a Zebu farm…also known as ‘mini-cows’. A new baby was born this week, so we went over to catch at glimpse at the cute little boy or girl. Each new baby cow is named after a grandchild. Firecracker is really hoping this baby ends up being a girl and gets her name!

The baby was less than 24 hours old, so we stayed a good distance away and tried to be quiet so as not to worry the momma too much. It was so wobbly on its legs. Cutie.

Little One has been making the silliest faces to get us to laugh lately. Her favorite is to close her eyes and walk…

We had such a busy Memorial Day weekend. Lots of time with friends and family, which is always good…and includes lots of good food. Little One’s palate repair surgery was supposed to be next week, but we’ve postponed it until July for a few reasons. I’m thankful for the extra time to prepare for it…and to celebrate both girls birthdays before surgery. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend….

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  • EclecticE - So was the calf a girl??

  • AshleyAnn - We can’t get close enough to tell yet…

  • Nicole C - Oh that made me laugh seeing Little One walking with her eyes closed. So sweet.

  • the inadvertent farmer - I did the eyes closed walk…actually run, as a kid and still have the scar from the stitches in my forehead! I’m hoping for safer passages for little one. Love the rope ladder from the tree, does it lead to something? Kim

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Praying for you and hoping all is well for the surgery. Hugs.

  • RaD - Oh great! Now I have that song stuck in my head! :)

    (“The Song of the Cebu” by Veggietales)

  • Natasha Metzler - There is something so wonderful about visiting new animals. :)

  • Amanda Keeys - I didn’t even know there was such a thing as mini cows! How adorable.

  • Lisa M. - I just recently joined Instagram and am having a really hard time navigating in it. Is it just me?? I don’t understand the app at all. I’m following two of you now (you and Edie Wadsworth, Life in Grace) and, well, I can’t even explain the frustration. Guess I’ll have to google it and get some instructions.

  • fran luxton - Loving the pictures if your beautiful family x

On loan for the summer from friends: One Huge Super Fun Water Slide!

4 out of 5 kids are fans. 1 is not so sure.

Photo tip: I find it too hard to try to take a bunch of shots of moving subjects and hope for one to be in focus. When I am trying to capture the kids moving I usually do one of two things. One – I use the AI Servo mode, which tracks a moving subject. Two: I wait. In the slide shots below I didn’t have enough room to track them. Instead I picked the middle of the slide, focused and waited for the boys to come down the slide in that spot. The picture on the left shows where I got him in the right spot. The picture on the right shows my other son just past the area that I was focused on – so he is out of focus. I was shooting at f/2.8.

Not sure why she wanted goggles, she makes me laugh. I also feel the need to say I did not cast a vote for that swimsuit purchase.

Photo Tip: If you are learning photography, don’t always be caught up in a technically great photo. Since I teach others the basics of photography, it would be easy for me to want to always post technically great photos. But, to me, photography is part technical and part capturing something I love. I want to know the techniques for using my camera to the fullest, but at the end of the day I am just a mom taking pictures of her kids. In the photo above, my girl is not super in focus. I should have changed my aperture to get a better, more focused shot of her face. BUT – as her mom, I love this shot. Total keeper – half blurry and all.

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  • Pamela - Awesome!! So jealous, we are just going into winter. Although with days like we have had this past week you would never say so. It is 24degrees C here today – felt like we needed one of those slides.

  • Sarah - That picture of FireCracker with her goggles is PRECIOUS~!

  • Amy @ PaintWineRepeat - That looks like so much fun!!

  • Danielle - That looks like so much fun! My boys would love it!

  • Kate - ohhh That looks so Awesome, have you been on it yet? I love that you take blurry photos and still keep them <3

  • Natalie, the Chickenblogger - Your place is the place to be this summer!
    I am still trying to learn how to use my camera…
    I love your reminder, and I agree, in the end it’s
    all about capturing the moment!

  • Natalie - How do you ever get them back inside to eat, sleep, bathe, etc.?!

  • Debbie C - That thing is awesome. Hee hee…you made me laugh about your need to comment on the swimsuit…I’m also not a Disney Princess fan. But we got some Disney books for Christmas and guess which books she always wants to read at bedtime? Sigh.

  • Kimberlee Jost - I love it that you say that you love that blurry shot of Firecracker. I have a tendency to not love a shot that I’ve taken that is out of focus even though I love what my kids are doing in the shot. Note to self: quiet those perfectionist tendencies or you might miss the moment.

    See you soon!!!!! ;)

  • Christin - They look like their going to have a blast this summer! Just wondering what was your aperture set at in the photo of firecracker and the goggles and what would you have changed the setting to?

  • Corrie Anne - Amazing waterslide!!!!!!!

  • Sarah - first of all lets take a moment and hug your friends. how generous. AND who just had a huge blow up slide/pool? amazing!

    I am terrible at deleting photos right off if there is a twinge of bluriness but i love what you said about the picture of firecracker. I will definitely take a second look before cutting blurry pictures loose.

  • Travis - Wow, you could charge admission on that thing. That is awesome.

  • Susan Blunden - your photos are always lovely to look at…I so need to sign up for your next course!! But I was just thinking how lovely it would be for little one’s birth family if some day they could have access to all these beautiful photos of her growing up with her brothers and sisters.

  • Nicole C - Oh the last one, I love it.

  • Kara M - WOW! That looks like a lot of fun…especially if mom gets to watch from the shade with a glass of lemonade! :D

  • Traci - That slide is…..a-maz-ing. I need one. I need one like now!

  • Kristin S - I really hope that close up goggles shot will be blown up and framed at her rehearsal dinner. Darling. Perfectly imperfect.

  • Maloree - I love how Little One just runs! What a testimony!

  • bethblntn - I ama self taught photographer. Nowhere near as good as you are and though I want so badly to take your calls I lack the funding (not that its terribly costly or over priced because I KNOW its not… I’m just broke -.-) so I am ever thankful that you post side tips like this and list your ISO and lines information and such on your post. What a blessing you are to people like me. Thank you for having such a caring, teaching heart. <3

  • bethblntn - class*

  • RaD - I hope you remember to move that thing around this summer. It looks like a grass killer indeed, LOL! :0)

    That being said, I am so jealous of your kids!

  • Taralynn Dixon - Hahahaha my daughter has a very similiar bathing suit but in light blue, and I feel the same way about it! HA! So not my choice :) But she loves it. Part of letting go right:) ?!?!

  • Sarah - That is one epic slide! I bet it’s like Christmas in May for them!

  • emily anderson - ummmmmmmmm. we’ll definitely be stopping by on our trip to KS this summer! the kids will have a hay day.

  • Kristina - I love your blog! My friend Cara told me about it because of my work as a pediatric feeding therapist (SLP) and I couldn’t wait to check it out. I’m trying to find some posts that you may have specifically journaling life with feeding challenges! Glad to “meet” you! Your family and pictures are beautiful!

  • Andrea - How fun!! I love this reminder that photography is part technical and part capturing something you love. I have a tendency to get so caught up in the technical part of it and needed this reminder :)

  • Kelleyn - A perfect place to spend summer!

  • amber - Awesome. Princess swimsuit & all. Haha!!

  • Karla Swalve - what a fun summer! I was cracking up at your dislike for firecracker’s swimsuit ;) I’m with you in not being a fan of character stuff and of course the kids love it! I try to keep the characters to pajamas and underwear, lol :) In any case, she looks adorable no matter what!