We spend many of our Saturday nights at my grandpa’s house. My parents, aunt & uncle, and sister’s family are usually there too. We’ve gathered there for as long as I can remember…way back in my childhood. Grandpa asked me to bring my ‘good’ camera over to photograph some of his tomatoes. He has 9 growing on one stem (or whatever the proper tomato terminology for that is).

I had my 50mm lens on my camera, a lens I hadn’t used in a while and decided to just shoot a few other pictures of the night. As I started snapping, I found myself noticing all the little details that make my grandpa’s house a special place. Details I don’t want to forget. Saturday nights I don’t want to forget.

As I looked through these pictures later that night, I saw beauty in them that I don’t always notice on Saturday nights. What a gift to spend summer evenings gathered in grandpa’s garden, around his kitchen table and on his front porch doing nothing and everything at the same time.

Grandma & Grandpa R…we need to pick a night to start meeting at your house!

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • Tammy Kay - Love this. I created a mini album of my grandparent’s house. I took old photographs and pieced it together. Photos of places and pieces of their home. Things that made me think of them. I’m so glad I did that now. Their home was torn down years ago. They are both in Heaven now. That album doesn’t really mean anything to my kids because they didn’t know them but to me…its a little piece of childhood.

  • Pamela - Love it!

  • Meg - We live an 10 hour drive from my parents and posts like this make me wish we live closer. I grew up with both my grandparents living less than 20 minutes from our home. You children will cherish the memories of being Grandparents home- I know I do!

  • Seamingly Sarah - How wonderful to be in close proximity to you family and to enjoy it. What a great thing to be grateful for.

  • Lacey - This looks like such a treasured home, filled with memories. I love that he asked you to document his tomatoes for him! <3

  • Alice H - Love that close-up picture of your son. He is gorgeous! You are so lucky to be this close to your grandparents. I know this because I am super close to mine also. And they are so special. I want to remember everything I can about them, I eat up all of their stories, all of their memories, just everything about them.

  • Catherine - What a lovely post. I so wish I had a collection of photos from my grandparent’s house where I spent nearly every childhood holiday. It is gone now and I miss it deep in my heart. Next time I get back home I will do that for my kids.

  • Chantel - These photos are beautiful, what precious memories.

  • Kristin S - I’ll say it again, what a gift your and Lesley’s kids get to be around greats! My last blood grandparent passed away 17 years ago. I can’t imagine them being alive now.

  • becky - now i need to go over to my grandparent-in-laws with my 50mm and take a bunch of shots just like this for my kids/my husband to remember. so many similarities – i’m assuming he is in his late 80′s or early 90′s? :) thanks for reminding me to detail the small stuff, it will important to help us remember all the little quirks – especially in their garden (they have an amazing patch of boysenberries they’ve been sharing with me the last few years).

  • kimberly oyler - this might be one of my favorite sets of photos. so beautiful.

  • Melisa - Ahhh! That garden!! Wish I could visit it! I love seeing other peoples gardens, especially when they are growing food! Beautiful pictures as always!!

  • Janna - Wow, amazing pictures! I really like the one with the two kids hugging each other, lovely!

    I hope you’ll drop by some time,

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Not sure why – but tears are flowing freely. What a blessing to be near to family! Praise God!

  • mandi@herbanhomstead - Being a family girl myself, this just makes my heart burst! To see you and your babies loving on your grandad, and giving him the chance to reciprocate, it is precious.

  • amber - We visit my Nana weekly. We take her dinner, she & my aunts laugh over my kids, & I cherish every day we get to be there. It’s hard work to be in her house with 3 young children, but the fact that my kids have the chance to know such a beautiful lady is more than worth it. She’s my only grandparent left. Thanks for sharing your sweet grandpa with us every now & then. I think I’d like that guy;)…

  • Sarah - this is so sweet. I try taking my “good camera” to our parents’ homes whenever possible, to take as many pictures as I can. We live far, and sometimes you just want to remember the details as much as the big picture.

    I hope your garden is going as well as his! my own is halfway flourishing, haha. :)

  • Erin - Which lens do you find yourself using most often??

  • AshleyAnn - Erin – I typically use my 24-70mm f/2.8. I use it the most because it is versatile and gets the f/2.8 setting. However, it is the original version of that lens and I don’t feel like it is very sharp. I’ve heard better things about the newer version. My 50mm and 85mm are much sharper.

  • Lisa - The rain gauge with the clamp holding it on the post SO reminds me of my grandparents’ farm…that is just the kind of thing my Grandad always had rigged up around his place. I wish I had been old enough to know how to photograph their place before they had to move off of the farm because of aging – even though it’s been 20 years since they lived there and I only had maybe 14 years to visit them there, it still is so vivid in my memory and always where I think of their “home” when I think of them. Great pics and you will be so happy you have them when they’re gone someday.

  • Ashley - These photos are beautiful and I love how you captured the detail so well!

  • Breana Parker - Hi Ashley!

    My name is Breana Parker. I live in northern Virginia, attend a mid-sized Bible church, and work for a nonprofit organization called Smyrna Ministries International. SMI’s purpose is to support the persecuted church — specifically Christians who are persecuted by Muslims in the Middle East and Africa.

    All that to say, I’ve been working on a new website for SMI. Our old website can be found at http://smyrnaministries.org/ –needless to say it needed to be redone!

    Since designing the new website, I’d been looking for a picture to use in conjunction with the link to our blog. one of your pictures from this post was the best that I’ve found — the large one of the tomato vines growing against the white wall. I’m not sure what your policies are for this type of thing, but I wanted to ask if you’d allow us to use this picture on our website. I’d love to show you what the picture would look like on the webpage, if there is a way I can send you an screenshot (our new website is not yet live).

    We’re hoping to go live with our new website by the end of this month. If you could drop me a note within the next week, I’d be so appreciative!

    God’s blessings,

A box of new shirts arrived in the mail c/o Mightee Kids. With each shirt came a postcard….

The older kids began reading to the younger ones the front and back sides of the postcards.  The cards talked about the work of Love Without Boundaries and how the purchase of each shirt also meant a $5.00 donation to Love Without Boundaries. As much as the kids liked the shirts, it was the postcards they held onto and wanted to keep. Love Without Boundaries helps provide all kinds of care and medical treatment for children in China without families. The words “cleft lip” on the back of the card captured my 5 year old son. He gets it. He knows what a cleft lip is and what is involved in having a cleft lip surgery. He has watched his sister heal and change. He gets it. He loves his new shirt knowing that other kids are being provided life changing surgeries.

Mightee Kids aims to help teach kids about others in less fortunate circumstances, and provide a way of helping. Each month is a different shirt and a different cause. You can find out more info by clicking here.

I wanted to share this week’s Sevenly campaign. This week the charity is Sweet Nectar Society. “Sweet Nectar Society is a new organization that brings together a network of talented photographers throughout Central California for one important mission—to capture the hope, courage, and strength of children undergoing treatment for serious illnesses, disabilities and injuries, and provide their families with lasting memories.”

Here are a couple of the shirts for this week, you can see more designs and other items by clicking here.

I was really hoping to get a photo of all 5 kids in their Mightee Kids shirts. But…sometimes my best efforts fall short. I got all the kids in the shirts and then Little One got cranky and went down for a nap. I thought I’d try the other four together. Evidently laying in grass and looking up at the bright sun doesn’t work so well for photos…

And they were ready to go swimming. Maybe next time….


back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • Emily - This Sevenly campaign is one of my favorites! Such an incredible cause and great designs as well.

  • Debbie C - Hee hee…that squinty picture is the best. :) Even if it didn’t “work”, it’s definitely a keeper!

  • Kammie Bryant - I found your blog through the Parents magazine article on you. I read a few posts and was HOOKED! So, I had to go back to the first post and catch myself up. It was a LOT of reading! Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. Thank you for sharing your story and family with us! God bless!!

  • Nicole C - I LOVE SEVENLY! I have a couple shirts of theirs and now that I think of it, they are all from adoption related causes. Hopefully I will get my new hummingbird tank top, from the Sweet Nectar Society campaign, next week.

  • Victoria / Justice Pirate - I love BOTH of these sooooo much and have been very into Sevenly since they started with their first shirt (for International Justice Mission). . I always wish I can buy ALL of their products, but I do own a bunch. I saw Mightee Kids a couple months ago and even posted about them recently as well and think it is awesome!!! Yey!!! When I’ve seen the Love without Boundaries features I think of your family. ;)

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I love how you open our eyes to new things with purpose!

  • Lyn - Love this shirt. Love the cause. Bought 1 for my 2 yr olds birthday. Thanks for posting.

  • Joanne Friesen - I recently found your beautiful blog, but had time today to read through some of it, especially your adoption story of your daughter. My husband and I have 2 boys already and have made the decision in the last year to pursue, specifically a special needs adoption from China, and we’re praying for a little girl too. So many of your blog posts regarding her and your wonderful adoption journey hit home and brought tears to my eyes, even though I don’t know you at all. We’re waiting a few more months before we start our own journey for a few things to fall in place and for God’s timing for us, but the desire is so deeply in my heart already and the anxiousness is hard to put aside for now. So, I read blogs and find other people’s stories to read about in hopes that one day, we too will be in your shoes, and will be able to add a sweet little Chinese addition. I pray for your Little One, as she grows and overcomes her challenges with having had a cleft. My 2nd son was born with a cleft lip and palate, so we’re very open to adopting a child with the same challenges. We’ve already been through 4 years of surgeries and speech therapy with him and know we can do it again. I want to encourage you also, as your Little One gets older and starts to speak more, with no doubt needing her own speech therapy and help to find her way in the talking world we live in. Sometimes its hard, especially those days other people will ask what she said and only you as her mother, will know that slew of words meant exactly what she had on her mind. Its one day at a time with all things, but especially with helping a little one with extra special challenges.
    Anyways, thank you for making your story available for people like me to read and be encouraged by. On another note, I very much loved your Mightee Kids post and ordered t-shirts for my own boys and can’t wait for them to get them in the mail too. It is such a wonderful website and idea behind it all. Take care.

I was in the house cleaning (because that is all I do when I am in the house) and my seven year old ran in the house yelling, “Mom, get your good camera and come quick!” When he wants me to get the ‘good camera’ instead of my phone it usually means there is a bird on a branch and he wants a picture. I grabbed my camera and headed outside.

He had a bag of dried mealworms I had bought the day before for the chickens and was having fun watching his chickens jump. He was very clear he wanted me to take pictures of them in the air.

It is crazy how much we are enjoying our chickens. We would have got them long ago if I had known how easily they would fit into our family and lifestyle. So far it still looks like we have 6 hens. They haven’t started laying eggs yet, but it should happen in the next month or two. We are going to add a bunch more this year and then probably some more chicks next spring.

It is fun to see the kids personalities come out regarding the chickens. My seven year old likes to give them treats just because he likes them. My oldest thinks we should only give them treats after they do a task. He has been watching YouTube videos on training chickens to do tricks, so if he sees his brother giving out mealworms for fun, he puts an end to it. Then out come the markers.

If the chickens peck a certain color marker, they get a treat. And, thus, I have one son who is a chicken farmer. One who is a chicken trainer. One son who doesn’t care. And two girls that just want to hold the chickens.

Little One can often be seen running circles around the coop with three chickens in front of her and three behind. She is always trying to catch one, but is never fast enough.

Photo tip: the settings for all of these images were ISO 100, 1/640, f/2.8.

In a few of the shots you can see the coop in the background. I finally finished painting it last weekend. I have a few more things to finish up on it and then I’ll do a tour of it here and links to the resources we used.

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • Natalie, the Chickenblogger - The phrase _’shopped_ came to mind, with a smile, when I saw those mid-air chickens!
    It looks like a bit of magic! It makes me happy when I read about another family enjoying their chickens, realizing how fun and easy it is to have them. I am looking forward to your coop tour!

  • Dana at Happy Little Lovelies - Oh, this looks like so much fun! What a great gift younger given your kids! My husband and I are talking about getting them and checking or county ordinances right now. And I’m so glad you mentioned your coop! I was looking for the finished pictures to show my bro in law whose getting ready to build one, but couldn’t find them. Can’t wait for the tour. :)

  • Dana at Happy Little Lovelies - *sorry for the typos. My phone is challenged. :)

  • Monica - Wow, how big your chickens are! :) I love the different personalities of all your kids. You should take another picture session “the kids with their chickens” to see how big they have grow. Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy to see your pictures, make me happy and make me think besides to be cleaning the house there is a lot of things to enjoy with the kids. I only have two girls well and two dogs and always think how you do it with 5? because with two sometimes I feel overwhelmed.

  • Katie - This is totally unrelated to chickens, but at Sonic they have superhero toys. Do you all have Sonic there? One of them is a Wonder Woman crown!…which my husband informed me is a “tiara of truth”. It is really cute. Sonic is not a great meal choice, but the tiara is pretty adorable!

  • Tonya - Thanks for sharing them with us!! We have chickens about the same age as yours…”the three girls” as we often call them. They are wonderful to have around and very easy to keep!

  • angie - Your girls are so big now!

  • Brianna Wilkie - I love this. My mom has a chicken named Martha, she jumps for bananas. It’s quite a sight to see…

  • Danielle - So cute! Almost makes me want to get some!

  • amy cornwell - Thank you for putting the camera settings info on there – I’m still learning manual! You guys make me want to get chickens :)

  • Sarah - That is so funny how they are each relating to the chickens! What a wonderful experience for your family!

  • Lacy - This is so awesome. We are brand new to chicken farming. Our girls are just a few months old. Can’t wait for more adventures like this :)

  • Debbie C - Wow, those chickens got big fast! And I just noticed how much your kids have grown too. Can’t wait for the Coop Tour! :)

  • Jennifer@Godstellations.com - Oh,I can’t wait to get chickens for my kids soon. I love seeing both your broods in action.

  • mandi@herbanhomstead - Oh I am so happy you are enjoying your little flock! I love mine, and couldn’t imagine ever living without them. I had a sweet elderly man come up to me a few Sundays ago at church and tell me how he’s kept chickens for 50 years and wants to come visit mine. Because, well, he just likes chickens. We are chicken people!

  • Nelle - I laughed at the picture of the chickens just standing there looking at Firecracker, when they jumped for your son. Did they jump for her?

  • Anna @ A Good Home - What fun! I’m pretty jealous, I have to say. I’d love some chickens :) Here’s my question. How’s the smell? How often do you have to clean out the coop to keep it from stinking up your entire property? We have a fairly small backyard, and I don’t think our neighbors would be too pleased if we made the whole cul de sac stink!

  • Mandie - We got our chicks a few weeks after you guys got yours, and I know exactly what you mean. We love ours and they do fit in perfectly- even living in the city, they’re perfect! We love to watch them roam the yard & it’s fun seeing them get more comfortable with us. :)

  • Jen - Oh how fun!! Thanks for sharing! :)

  • ali thompson - these photos are hilarious! love that your fam takes such interest in the chicks ;)

  • Seamingly Sarah - Okay, the jumping chicken totally made my day!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Personalities… i love it! My oldest is currently sitting at the table writing down our schedule – because she likes to know what is next. Middle is fixing beans for everyone for lunch – and making little bowls of things for each person – he loves to serve.

  • Melany - Those jumping chickens are so hilarious! Perfect reason to grab the “good” camera.

  • Stoich91 - This is hilarious! Love your kids, your chicken, your too-sunny backyard…perfect beautiful thanks for sharing! xoxoxo

  • MrsFun - Our young chickens will do tricks but the older ones are lazy. And I see you have a Hawkin too, weirdest chicken ever. Looks more like a hawk than a chicken. I hear they lay colored eggs.

  • Megan - When I saw that picture of Little One (second to the end) I thought of how amazed her birth mother would be to see her there. She looks so happy, so at home. <3

  • Lacey - We think watching our chickens jump (especially Ross, our rooster) jump is the funniest thing! It’s jut hilarious and I’m so glad you captured yours doing it. :)

  • Lynnie B - OH MYLANTA!! I just giggled out loud at the “Matrix” pics of the chickens!! Soooo cute and funny!! Just adore you and your kiddos! Thanks for the daily fix of fun and inspiration!!