Life in the Home (otherwise known as The Big Fat Post)

Regardless of the presence or type of faith in one’s life, I think Easter simply represents Life. Coming appropriately in spring when things are hatching and blooming and green is finally awakening under blankets of melting snow, it just seems right…to celebrate life in and outside our homes. With traditions and togetherness, family meals that call for the gathering of many bodies hustling over baked hams in the kitchen, excuses to wear pastels even when our skin tones beg to differ, and meaningful ceremonies for littles…like egg hunts and strategically nibbling the ears off chocolate bunnies.

I’m a holiday nut, and I suppose it won’t be long before I’m salivating over the arrival of even less celebrated holidays. Like a family barbecue for George Washington’s birthday, perhaps. We could decorate the place in dollar bills and wear wooden teeth and powdered wigs. It’d be totally fun. I kid and yet there’s something about calendar holidays and the way they offer us a perfectly good excuse to be high on life that lights my fire.

So it began on Easter morning as our strawberry nightgowned one (with the complementary troll doll morning hair) woke up to the realization that the Bunny had been here and it was time to get busy. So she waited, at 7:30 a.m like a pre-sprint Marion Jones at the start line, careful not to cross the carpet of our bedroom door until I had my coffee in one hand, camera in the other, and commenced our indoor egg hunt with a “Go!”

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And off she ran, the crazy-haired one, this time not even attempting to hide her shy smile or mask her excitement. She squealed with delight at each new found egg, popping it open right there on the spot and rifling through the treasures that landed in a happy heap on the floor.

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And we watched and smiled and sipped our coffee and didn’t even mind the fact that our Easter morning included a pile of significantly wrinkled laundry heaped on the left half of the love seat or that last night’s dinner dishes were still sitting in the sink. Easter’s about miracles and I figured there might be a chance in hell the kitchen would miraculously clean itself.

Didn’t happen.

But my girl did love the $7 sandals I scored for her Easter basket.

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Our Easter continued with our first dip this year into the pool…

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The water was too cold for Nella (just a footie dip sent the little Present into the greatest flinch of her life), so she did a little sunbathing.

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…and later, we joined friends and family for a big dinner at the boys’ mom’s house where I watched as another holiday brought about that magical “life” that suddenly awakens in a kitchen on special days like these.

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And I love it. The “excuse me’s” you hear as the day’s cooks bump into each other, stretching to stir the gravy, reaching to turn off the potatoes. The chop, chop, chop of the knife against the cutting board as carrots and onions are sliced. Wet hands being dried on the front of aprons, dishes piling in the sink, steam rising from boiling pots, oven timers dinging and the laughter and chatter of friends and family as anticipation for the big meal slowly grows.

I love holidays and the Life that rises to the surface because of it.

And the dresses. Easter is a perfectly good excuse for pretty dresses.

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Thank you, Nana Kate for our Easter dresses!

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And, let me just add, getting a picture of Lainey actually holding Nella–and by holding, I mean two arms wrapped forcefully enough around her body to keep her from slipping off and yet gently enough to not cut off her circulation–is comparable with capturing Big Foot. And a total bonus if I can get three shots before she decides she’s suddenly done and drop kicks her to the floor.

Nella, fortunately, is very forgiving.

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And did I say she smiles? I love her smiles. They are as gentle as she is. Soft and subtle with a little *wink* of those almond eyes. Like I said…that extra chromosome? Holy Magic, Batman.

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And now here comes the fun of this post.

First, my very good friend Nici at Dig This Chick made my girls some new digs. And let me clarify “very good friend.” Nici & I have never met. And yet we’ve “known” each other for over two years now. I met her through blogging…back when I wasn’t so sure about this whole thing. And then we “fell in love.” We both have two girls, we both love being mamas and we both have this insane need to drink the bejesus out of life and write about it while we’re doing it. Over the years, Nici and I have talked, texted, sent packages, enjoyed Skype chats and she was one of the first I called in the delivery room just ten weeks ago…she was waiting for the call…and although it wasn’t I’m sure what she expected, she was right there with me for the whole journey. She is insanely talented, she is close to my heart, and she makes killer clothes. Like these ones here.

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So glad my little Florida Crackers now have the shirts to prove it!

Nici’s offering a 20% discount for my readers at her Etsy shop! Type in “enjoying the small things” at checkout, and she’ll refund your 20% the same day of purchase.

Soon, I will take my girls to the hills of Montana to meet her and, as much as we’ve already bonded, I picture our greeting totally movie-worth. Like slow motion, hair in the wind, running through a field of daisies with the Chariots of Fire theme song playing. And we will hug. And weave daisies into crowns for our girls and walk hand-in-hand into the Montana sunset. Okay, so real life doesn’t always pan out like that but I do know for sure, we’re gunna dig each other.

So that was Fun #1.

Ready for Fun #2?
Really?

Another Giveaway. But you have to work for it.

First of all, the goods.

I recently fell in love with a friend’s necklace that embodies a mama’s love like none I’ve seen.
Tina Steinberg of Tina Steinberg Designs captures your children’s fingerprints in her beautiful jewelry and puts them as close to your heart as you can get ’em. One reader will receive her 3-print “Mini Loves” necklace seen here: ($200 value)

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(Become a Facebook fan of her work HERE. There’s some great energy on that page!)

So, what do you have to do?

I’ve been thinking a lot about “Life in a Home” and how there are certain corners, nooks, rooms where life seems to evolve a little more beautifully in every home. As I mentioned the hustle and bustle of the kitchen on a holiday, there are others. The magic that awakens in a bathroom when littles are bathed at night, the hum of supper converasation around a dining room table when Dad comes home from work, the creativity that erupts from spools of ribbon and scraps of fabric in a craft room…
where does Life occur in your home?

I’d love to hear in your comments about the lively place in your home. So, leave a comment please. But, if you want to be part of the giveaway, give me a little more. Take a picture of your ‘lively place’ and e-mail it to me at kellehamptonblog@comcast.net. You don’t have to be a photographer, you don’t have to edit it, and I certainly won’t judge on photography experience. Just be creative and capture that feeling of life in your place as best as you can…organically and beautifully–unposed. I will post some of my favorites on the blog for all to enjoy over the next week. Please enter your photo along with a short description of the place in your home you chose before midnight EST on Sunday, 4.11.10. Winner will be announced the following Monday. And if you just want to comment for the heck of it, well that’s perfectly okay. Please keep in mind, if you send me a photo, it may be published on the blog (first names only!).

And I’ll start with a favorite of ours:

Life in our home awakens at the changing table. While some may see it as just a station for a quick change, equipped with a stack of diapers and wipes and an array of creams, it is far more than that in our home. Over the years, it has become the place where we linger after the diaper tabs have adhered and the snaps have been fastened. We linger for coos and goos and little smiles. On that table, tummies are tickled, toes are kissed and Burt’s Bees buttermilk lotion is massaged into tiny cowlicks and cookie-sweet cheeks. The family often gathers for changes, Lainey perched high on her stool, Mama snapping pictures and Daddy coo and gooing all the while. And the sun stretches into the window in the morning just like magic, casting its golden glow onto the black & white flashcards that entertain baby eyes right above that place of Life. No, it’s not just a changing table. In our house, it is where life occurs. Where first smiles are noted. And where the monotony of the day disappears but for a moment.

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I’m so excited to hear about your homey places full of life.

In the meantime, my nieces are in town and there’s some fun to be had this week.

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Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. I didn’t read, I’ll be honest…just skimmed, but I’ll come back I promise! Just wanted to say Happy Easter, and my gosh, could y’all get any more beautiful!!?!?

    xoxo,
    Lori

  2. I just clicked on and heard Brandi C. singing my new jam “have you ever”… Just saw her in concert and I have to say- EVEN BETTER LIVE!!! Great blog- great music! Happy Easter!

  3. Amy from KC says:

    Happy Easter! It was such a blessing to watch my son zoom out to gather his eggs and pounce on his easter basket. It was almost impossible to drag him away to get dressed for church, but the promise of a chocolate chick in the car (and a new car in his pocket from his basket) did the trick. Dinner and laughter with family rounded out a blessed day.

    Again, Happy Easter to everyone!

  4. LOVELY!!!!! Love it all…as usual!!!

  5. Could your “special” area be any more delicious? Gosh! I am more than a tad bit jealous with the swimming in the pool as I look outside to a dreary Seattle rainy night!

    Thank you for sharing and I can’t wait to enter and see all of the fan pictures of their special places!

  6. Anonymous says:

    As always, a beautiful post Kelle! (:

    And I *so* did *not* tear up at the beginning with the new song by Brandi Carlile playing. Nope, not me! *COUGH*

    “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” ~ James Dean.

  7. beautiful Easter photos.

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  9. Love the $7 sandals, such a deal!

    This post is RADIANT!

    Nella chilling by the pool, too ‘ilarious.

    OK, now off to scope out what area of my house to take a picture of… it’s scary messy with the pot on the floor in the living room to catch the rain that CAME THROUGH THE CEILING TODAY.

    Oh well, let that be the worst thing, eh? If I was an 80-year old house, I’d have a few leaks here and there too. Heck, I’m not 80 but as a 2-time non-c-section mama, I’ve been known to have a few leaks here and there. OK, I know, TMI.

    Happy spring!

    – iColossus

  10. Yes! I was staying up for this bit of goodness, as you may have already known. :) The Nella smiles are contagious. THANK YOU!

  11. ha. I love the “troll hair” photo. My daughter’s hair can look really crazy when she wakes up, but I love it…somehow it doesn’t look so cute on me;)

    Anyways, I was wondering if you could recommend any good/inspiring books. I, too, have read “A Million Miles In A Thousand Years” by Donald Miller, and really liked it. I’m lookin’ for a new book, but nothing has grabbed me yet.

  12. Another inspirational post!! And those sweet nella smiles can really make your heart melt! Love how Lainey continues to smile as nella is screaming – that’s so the love of a big sis! Your family is lucky – that’s wonderful that you celebrate the holidays with the boys mom – how special for the kids!! Glad you had a wonderful holiday!!

    Where did you find those awesome sandals for Lainey?! SO cute!!

  13. great pics as usual! Lainey is just adorable and Nella is so sweet! Looks like everyone had a great Easter =)

    I have a “lively” pic to send you!

    happy hugs!
    juli

  14. I just smile when I see you have posted…You make my days brighter, you make the world a better place and you are a gifted writer and photographer…and you NEVER fail to touch my heart…

  15. Happy Easter and omg! Love the pictures of the girls in their pretty dresses. especially love Nella winking! What a gem. Have a wonderful week.

  16. Beautiful post! Such a beautiful picture and display of life!

    My homey place of life would have to be my kitchen. I just painted it bright red, so it’s vibrant. It’s the place where friends and family gathering to enjoy cooking and eating together. And it is also the place of some lively dance parties, where we just let loose and dance like no one’s watching. :)

  17. My girls spend their first 10 – 12 Easters in Kodiak, Alaska where the weather does not usually cooperate for an egg hunt outside, so we did indoor egg hunts. Had our last egg hunt Easter 2007, right before my ‘baby’ got married. (Figured maybe that was an appropriate time to stop, when both my girls were married??!!)

    Anyway, we had some LIFE happening at Easter when my young adult girls and their young adult guys and friends were running around looking for eggs, especially the Golden Egg!!! I always joked I should give everybody some dust cloths so they could get my hidden corners while looking for the eggs!!! Mostly Hubs and I just tried to stay out of the way, especially when there were more guys than gals running around!

    Competition was intense for bragging rights for the finder of 1) the most eggs, and 2) the Golden Egg!

    Everybody loved our egg hunts, even my 30-something nephew who (unfortunately) never got to enjoy egg hunts as a child. If I get my laptop back from the computer hospital before the 11th, I will try and post a picture (not quite sure how to, but willing to try and learn.)

    Our egg hunts never ended on Easter morning either, as I was usually finding a few random eggs long past Easter (Momma Bunny always filled the eggs, but Hubs was the only one to hide them.).

    Even now those egg hunts remain some of my girls’ (and their hubs’) fondest memories!!

    (one thing we did to help identify appropriate baskets, etc.. was to give each girl a color. The purple beribboned items were for T and the pink items were for S. If they found sister’s basket, they knew to leave it alone to not ruin the fun!!

    Glad you had a good Easter with all the family. We have enjoyed holidays with all the splintered- off parts coming back together in a spirit of love and unity. I love families that can do that!!

    Loved the pics of Nella sunbathing!!!

  18. Love it!
    Beautiful post – as always! :)

  19. Kelle, you amaze me a little more with every post you write. I absolutely adore your appreciation for the things many people don’t take the time to notice, instead…you document those little things and turn them into beautiful memories. You have a gift for story telling, and you have inspired me to document my life so my children will have something to look back to when we’re in our golden years.

    In our house, “Mommadaddy’s bed” is the hub and heart of our house. The kids unwittingly came up with the name, and “mommadaddy” is said very quickly like we are one entity. It’s not uncommon for my husband and I to be awakened by little burrowers at our feet, seeking the warmth and weight of our folded comforter. Whispers and giggles fill the room, and our cuddles turn into tickle fests and pillow fights, morning agenda meetings and bird watching through the window. The kids have arguments over who gets to be in the middle, so my husband and I both teeter on the very edges of the bed so we can squeeze three little wriggly bodies between us. During these times, more than any other, we feel a sense of contentment and completeness. Seven years ago, my husband and I had all the room in the world to lounge around in bed. Now, it’s bursting at the seams with the family we created.

    http://howtogrowkids.blogspot.com/2010/04/easter-weekend.html

  20. Anonymous says:

    I love your blog!
    I can see in this post that publicity was to obvious. Please don’t “sell” your blog! we really enjoy it because you never mention facebook or etsy.

  21. I love to wake up in the morning before my girls, sneak down stairs, and drink my coffee while reading your blog. You have a way of reminding me to “enjoy the small things”. It’s so easy to get stressed out by the dishes in the sink or the laundry that my husband threw on the couch this morning before leaving to work. But then I sit back and put it all into perspective while I sip my coffee… I’m happy to have dirty dishes, that means we ate and got to enjoy each other over another meal – something not all military families get to do right now. I’m happy my husband is home and not deployed (at the moment). And I’m happy he has a JOB to go to.
    Now, that I’m feeling the love (again) I can think about where our home comes to life…. And I can just smile thinking about it. There are 2 places that I love. The first is the playroom! Our girls can get on their play phones and call their grandparents who are thousands of miles away. They can pretend to be anyone and anywhere. They can be a mommy and push their dollies around in the stroller. Or, get their dress up clothes on and become a princess. It’s just a magical room and just thinking about the smiles and the laughter that come from that room can instantly put a smile on my face.
    The second place that comes to life is our backyard. On warm nights we enjoy family BBQs back there and the girls make ‘smores and can just make a mess and have fun with no worries. They love to lay a blanket down and just lounge and enjoy each other. Or, pretend the grass is hot lava and they have to stay on the blanket to be safe. The smell of sunscreen and the sound of their laughter while they run through the sprinkler make my heart smile. Or, watching them play together on the swing set while our oldest teaches the younger girls how to swing – “you gotta pump your legs”…. It’s just beautiful. Their grubby little feet & sweaty, smelly, little bodies at the end of a warm day in the backyard are just priceless.

  22. An adorable family holiday! The troll hair has to be my favorite :-)

    In my house, life happens in the den.. the “man cave” if you will. The dreadfully dark room is covered floor-to-ceiling in wood — but it’s the coziest place in the house. Depsite its tacky decor of deer heads and flat screens I have come to love the man cave because it is where I can always find my husband when he gets home after a long day of work on our farm. The minute the temperature outdoors dips below 50 degrees, it is his excuse to light a fire in the wood-burning fireplace. We curl up on his old worn leather chair and cover up in an afghan made by my grandmother. And the cherry on top is when my little chihuahua climbs up and finds a look nook to snuggle in. Pure bliss.

    Though many woman are never allowed in a room as sacred to their husband’s as the man cave, for me – it is where my heart is at home.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Kelle,
    You’re such an inspiration it’s unbelievable! This is such a beautiful post – LOVE the pictures – especially you girls in your Easter finest! Have a great day!
    Sue

  24. Beautiful! This weekend is the Houston Buddy walk and Sara & her buddy will be walking to raise money for the Buddy program.

    Love the dresses and the swim bonnets : )

  25. Love the new shoes Lainey!! Gracee and I looked at some like it over the weekend..we ended up with a pair of HIGH wood bottom glitter sandals. As she begged for them I pictured her first “ankle turn”…ouch! It happened in the parking lot of the mall..so needless to say we walked a little slower from that point on.

    I am so excited about taking a photo of the “lively place” in our home…and I am grateful that you gave a week…it will take that long to clean it!!!HA! I love that you can live in it in the condition that it is in..but show it to someone else..I WOULD BE SO EMBARRASED!!lol.. I just love how silly we humans are. You girls are so much fun..you are inspiring us to really think about our lives..I like that. ♥

  26. Just beautiful!

  27. happy easter (late)!
    the girls look beee-a-u-tiful!

    and my alex has the same striped onesie as nella- this solidifies that they should be bff’s :)

  28. Marie in NH says:

    Oh my . . . I love the picture of Nella sunbathing in her sunglasses . . . and the one of the girls in their Easter dresses is just adorable! I love Nella’s headband. Beautiful, beautiful family!

  29. Chloe, UK says:

    Hi, last night I managed to stumble upon your blog, and I thought I’d leave a comment just to let you know that you really do have two perfect girls, they are truly beautiful. Little Nella’s smiles are just like her big sister’s. Her little tiny personality is already shining through.
    Know that you are doing an excellent job.
    Chloe, UK.

  30. Love the Easter dresses…holidays are such fun! Looks like there was some gorgeous weather to enjoy too

  31. Wasn’t it perfect for the pool? We hung out next to the lake at the clubhouse and played w/ the Tweedles at the little playground they have. The Pool was calling me, but somehow I had only managed to pack swimming trunks for for the boys! Haha.

    And I totally caught my eye on your hubby’s “Go Gators” shirt!! I went to FIU, but my heart has a little place for UF b/c I had applied for the nursing program – was accepted and then chickened out! 😛

    I will email you my lively place as soon as I can from home.

    Glad your Easter was beautiful!

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  33. I am a first time post-er but a long time reader. Well, long for me. I started following your blog after the story of Nella’s birth. Down Syndrome also touches my life. My little sister (and I say little, but she is 21) has down syndrome. She is the absolute joy of our family’s life. We even go as far as to call her “the love child.” I remember very clearly all the things that you are going through. Emotions, questions, joy, happiness….our family went through them all. Now it’s nothing but joy (well, and the occasional rolling of the eyes because she has QUITE the personality and is QUITE a handful!)

    But anyway-I decided to do the “place where life happens” in our home. And technically, its not “in” the home but its part of our home. It’s in our backyard in the hammock. It’s my husband’s favorite place to relax with our kids. And I get to sneak a photo or two when they’re all not looking. It’s perfectly quiet, except for little whispers, and all you hear are the creaking of the branches its attached to. heaven.

  34. Kelle,
    I stumbled across your blog from your Aol interview and have been hooked since. I just wanted to say thank you not onlyf for your honesty but for helping me to savor my little boy all the more. My first born, a son, Eli was born a few days after Nella and while of course I am hopelessly in love; I am also dealing with new mommy stress and lack of sleep. Because of your post I find myself slowing down to take more pictures or play on the floor with my little guy more times than not. So thank you for helping me to savor this newborn-ness.

    Abby
    lucyeap@aol.com

  35. I LOVE Nella’s Easter Dress and headband…your so lucky to have girls…not that I’m not lucky to have boys, but I always wanted to buy a little girls Easter Dress!

  36. I have just discovered your blog and have fallen in love with it.

    You gentleness and wonder at life are an inspiration.

    I am at a different spot life than you are. My littles are 20 and 22.

    My bedroom has become that place in our house. They will come in and curl up next me . One will notice that the other is there and will crawl onto the bed too. So we shift and wiggle to make room for another body.
    My husband will hear and feel a little left out so he will come to join the group and more shifting and wiggling will go on to make room for 4 grown bodies.

    It doesn;t happen often, but I think that is what makes it so wonderful
    These are times I know that I have done okay. When my big littles come and snuggle in and share their world with me

  37. Our space is the kitchen counter. I think I have a great picture of it and the “life” that happens there. We all have our own spaces – Mark has his home office, the girls their rooms and tv/game room, my craft/laundry room (yes, laundry is MINE, don’t touch!), and we have a kitchen table and a large dining room table – BUT we all meet at the counter. Laptops, homework, dinner, dogs, you name it we do it all, and do it together at the counter.

    Great post. Full circle for me as I found you through Dig this Chick. I’m not a “blogger” but I am continually inspired by you both.

    Thanks so much!
    Alison

  38. Beautiful pictures as always…you can really see how big Nella is on those pictures of Lainey holding her. I can still hardly get my 2 girls in the same picture, and honestly it’s getting worse now that my 8 month old is developing a rambunctious nature 😉
    I’m already thinking about what photo of my home I’d take, there are so many places we spend lots of time… I def. agree about the changing table, esp. with our firstborn we’d spend hours of each day playing with her there! :)

  39. Anonymous says:

    Kelle, your girls are too precious (as usual!) I know you get a lot of FAQ’s about their clothes, but I haven’t seen you mention WHERE you get those precious bonnets?? And those sandals . . . . LOVE them! You have enough irons in the fire right now, but I swear you could come be the personal stylist for my littles anytime you want to!

    CJ

  40. favorite pic of the post (cuz for some reason now i have to choose one): nella’s foot. her tootsies are just edible! plus the “sent the little present into the greatest flinch of her life” made me laugh.

    enjoy your week with the girls!

  41. Life happens with out coffee maker and back door –

    Love Nella’s smile! Those little baby smiles with the “lovey eyes” are the BEST!

  42. Life happens with out coffee maker and back door –

    Love Nella’s smile! Those little baby smiles with the “lovey eyes” are the BEST!

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  44. Absolutely love the pictures. The first one of Nella’s little crooked smile is my favorite. What a beauty. What I really loved about this post is that you said that you spent Easter at the boy’s moms house. That is awesome. We have celebrated holidays, birthday parties, graduation parties exactly the same way. The kids don’t have to choose sides that way. Not many people make the effort to do that. Just my opinion, of course, but I think it’s amazing.

  45. Really fun easter blog! But then, look at the subject–Family! Can’t ever go wrong with that!
    I’m not entering the contest but I did want to say which room in our house gets the most action…
    it’s the kitchen! And I even wrote my own blog dedicated to it!
    http://momza.blogspot.com/2009/12/sacred-altar-of-home.html

  46. Happy Easter! What a beautiful day and I am going to send you an e-mail very shortly. What a fun contest!!!

  47. Thank you for all the amazing posts. I will admit that every time you post a link for jewelry or clothing I get excited and end up spending more money than I should. I recently got my Lisa Leonard necklace in the mail and I love it so much. I think my son will grow to be embarrassed of me if I keep buying things with his name all over it. :o)

  48. Lainey’s pictures holding Nella! Priceless!

    LOVE Nella’s MAGIC =))

    Do what you feel in your heart to be
    right -for you’ll be criticized anyway. -Eleanor Roosevelt

  49. First off..yet another beautiful post..secondly..when I got to the part of you describing meeting your “blogging bestie” i cracked up! That is so how i feel will happen when i finally see my friends that i’ve not seen in months..and thirdly..just the picture of the thumbprints necklace brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart….ya see i’ve got 4 littles of mine own…(and i swear i’ve never heard anyone else call them littles..i thought i was alone in this) my oldest just turned 11 and my youngest is 4..i feel them growing in fast forward!! thanks for sharing and giving too! you are a gem and maybe i’ll brave a photo for you tonight when i can catch my brood at their best!

  50. your words are so inspirational to this mom here. and the picture of nella by herself with her sunglasses on–it’s absolutely brilliant.

  51. The liveliest spot in our home is actually my office. I work from home out on our little sun porch, and when we moved in, my husband took one look at the room and said, “what the heck are we going to do with that?” Now, we spend all our time in here. The floor is covered with my son’s toys, I have colorful tubs full of sewing and craft projects, my birds hang from the ceiling and decorate the walls, the cats are always found in here, supervising my work, and this is where I write and look out the windows as I do so. Should be writing now, not typing this, but oh well!

  52. Lovely Lovely and more lovely. OMG when I saw the picture of Nella’s foot I swear to you I was salivating onto my keyboard. I wanted to gobble up that foot SO SO bad. Baby toes are my life!!! YUMMY!!!!! I really do want her in the worst way, so if you EVER decide…….nevermind……I’m sure I’m not first in line wanting that sweet precious love muffin!!!

  53. Okay, your two little easter bunnies are gorgeous. I love their dresses.
    Our lively place is our king sized bed! And my favorite time to gather there is after naptime at around 2:30 in the afternoon. My 6 month old son has awoken and I’m nursing him while lying against a big stack of pillows. Then I hear my 2 1/2 year old daughter come pitter pattering down the tile floor hall. She jumps in bed with us and we all just lay there and cuddle while the afternoon sun rays peek through the blinds and the leaves of the trees are whispering outside. We talk about the morning, we talk about the afternoon and we just talk about life. Everyone is calm and it’s heaven!

  54. Oh your Easter happenings made me smile…our’s were much the same…egg hunts, first swim (just in Arizona not Florida) and just loving loving my family!! (The bunny even brought my littlest love the SAME bubbles in her basket!)
    May God continue to bless your family!

  55. I love the picture of Lainey holding Nella, and their Easter dresses were too cute for words :)

    I look forward to new postings on your blog. You are constantly reminding me to slow down in my own life and enjoy the small things. So thank you Kelle. You inspire me :)

    I’m glad y’all had a great Easter!

  56. Amazing blog like always :)

  57. Amazing blog like always :)

  58. HI Kelle!

    I am in Montana enjoying my granddaughters, not called “crackers” here….just my Montana “dollies”.! So so much fun….these 4 month in-between visits are for the birds! As usual, one great post! Your little gals are growing up right before my eyes!

    Here’s to great things ahead for you all!

    xo, Bug & Ruby’s Gram

  59. Nella smiles melt my heart. :) Happy Easter, Happy Spring to you and yours.
    I’m excited to play along….I already have my perfect spot picked out…now to take a decent picture. 😉
    xo

  60. BEAUTIFUL!!! I love seeing Nella pics. She is about a month younger then my sweet little Jelly Bean. My baby girl is smiling so much and it makes my heart just melt everytime and I shed little tears of joy. She loves to be meowed at and loves kissy noises. I agree with you as there is magic in the extra chromosome. My baby girl has opened so many doors for not only me, but our wonderful family, friends and co-workers. Its amazing how one little girl can bring some much healing. Luv&Hugs

  61. So precious! I love the Florida tee’s. What a sweet bloggy friend!

    The fingerprint necklace makes my heart melt!
    I WANT ONE!!!

    Sent you an email!

  62. I’ve been following your blog for awhile now (I love blogging – although I have to admit, my words don’t flow nearly as poetic as yours) and I’ve wanted to leave comments on every post, however, I’m a bit daunted by all the other comments! Do you really read them all? Anyhow, love your blog, the photos are amazing, your an inspiration. I’m going to email you my spot, there are so many to choose from! PS. I love Nella’s sunglasses – so cute!

  63. Lovely easter!!
    Can’t wait for our first trip in the pool this year!

  64. Linda R. says:

    I’m super jealous of your pool trip. I can’t wait until it warms up here! You have such a beautiful family!

  65. I look forward to your blog posts. It’s the first one I read everyday. I just love the way you write, your photos are so beautiful!! I am doing a 965 day photo blog, my pictures don’t even compare! I am always thinking of blogging in a different way, more with words then just having the pictures tell the story. Your pictures always tell a story!

  66. Anonymous says:

    just emailed you a photo. you’re right that the heart of the home shifts (we, too gathered at the changing table when the littlest was tiny.). the bed is also a special spot for reading, cuddling, nursing, etc.
    shenais

  67. Life in our home is definatly our family bed. From tickle fights at bedtime, to snuggling together through the night, to waking up and hanging out in bed, cuddling, playing, having breakfast, you name it, all snuggled in together in that bed! I love our bed! When my second baby was born, I was so exhausted when my older daughter wanted to wake up in the morning. My husband would grab her a bowl of cereal and turn on some cartoons on his way out the door, and she’d hang out there eating next to her dozing mommy and baby sister! Sure, milk and froot loops were/are often spilled in the bed, but I wouldn’t give up our lazy mornings cuddling together in bed for anything!
    And now my goal is to capture a picture of my two girls sleeping, snuggled together in our bed, because I often wake in the night and just lay there and admire their sleeping faces snuggled together, but haven’t yet captured that precious moment, and I want to remember it always!

    Beautiful pictures, beautiful blog, I love it, I look excitedly every day for a new post on your blog! You inspire me to be a better mommy and a better person! Thank you for sharing with us!

  68. Our ‘life in the home’…

    Baby Talia has a room. It’s a room all to herself…it holds her crib, a full size bed and a book shelf….and the most wonderful baby smell. It is a small room but we crowded it so it can be cozy and warm and a place for us all to pile in and love her and each other. This is where the morning begins. She wakes up first…babbling to herself and tugging on her toes….and we let her, we don’t run in (she is our 3rd, so we no longer do the ‘baby’s awake dash to the bedroom’!) we let her have alone time to wake up and babble and look around. This only lasts about 10 minutes as her sisters are eager to bust in and sing to her, read to her and bend over and kiss any limb they can get to! The most wonderful sounds we hear as they sing ‘twinkle twinkle little star…’ and she gets quiet.
    This bedroom coincidentally has the most comfortable bed. I don’t know what it is but it just hugs you, relaxes you. Maybe it’s because it’s by a window with a great tree lined view or because of the soft quilted bedding, but it is THE best place to snuggle. Often an escape for the hubby and I before the kids find us and we get elbows, knees and heels in our backs….then is turns into a torture prison and we smother them…and it gets LOUD…tickling, kissing, throwing…oh what fun!

    I love this bedroom…from the smell to the stenciling on the bookshelf glass doors that I did to cover the mess inside even though the they are always open. It’s funny how it’s the smallest room but I can write about it all day.

    Pics are on the way…hope you like ’em! <><

  69. Again, thank you for your blog. I love it.

    I tip-toed into this world of blogging at the beginning of this year to help me remember each laugh, cry, stuck out tongue, walk in the park and all those “moments” in my new daughter’s life. I too have already blooged about the room that holds so much of our life.

    http://georgia365.blogspot.com/2010/01/january-4-2010.html

    My daughter is almost six months old and it feels like that room has already witnessed a life’s worth of memories. I can’t wait to live what it captures next.

  70. dolphin mama says:

    life in our home begins before even entering it. it forms just beyond the pink walls that form our small beach cottage. it grows under the florida sun, in our yard filled with weeds and wild flowers, scattered with faded swimsuits that are drying in the heat, next to the park where we hear brass bands playing every sunday, friendly firefighters playing basketball between calls, and children walking happily home from school. these steps have seen nasty cuts, falls, and countless band-aids, but have also witnessed the warm cuddles, icy cold boo-boo bunnies, and tender kisses that come immediatly after. the steps endure the occasional foul odor of a fat opossum stuck inside our trash bins, or seashells (with a few coquinas that were overlooked before leaving the shore) left in sandy buckets for way too long. but they also relish in the sweet scent of our gardenia bush, the heavenly smell of sunscreen applied before we head off to the beach, and the mouth watering smell of chicken on the grill(-sometimes ours, but mostly wafting over from the neighbor’s yard). we are shaded by sea grapes and protected by palms. we mingle with ants, chat with morning doves, and listen to crickets. here is the perfect spot to sip on coffee or hot cocoa- (often forgotten on the highest step by daddy), and watch the sun both rise and set. it is here my girls have learned their letters, how to draw circles, and play hopscotch- their own rules apply each time and according to my 5 year old “everyone wins”… our front steps are the first to signal the arrival of our guests….as we sit and wait for the arrival of loving grandparents, bearing trinkets from CVS for the girls and crock pots full of bbq pulled pork, happy sisters toting burger king breakfasts in one hand and two toddlers in the other- (seriously i don’t know how she does it), lively best friends visiting from down the street, or across the country, cousins riding up on mini bikes, second hand-scooters, and red sandy wagons…and they are the best spot to catch the first glimpse of daddy riding home from work on his beach cruiser (with the babyseat in the back). these steps are an endless source of fun for my eldest who can now jump safety from the top to the bottom-an accomplishment she will proudly show anyone and everyone who visits, and also for my smiling baby, who still holds on to the side (and equally as proud as her sister) walks down all by “self mama”. the steps are where our new puppy, “the good boy” loves to wait patiently…as pateintly as a 12 week old viszla can) until my preschooler finds his treats and tries to teach him how to sit. our steps make an excellent canvas for our chalk drawings, a perfect tablecloth to catch our popsicle drips, and when we see them we know we are home. this is our nest, this is where we love, live, learn, and laugh, together as a family..we don’t just watch life pass by on these steps, we live it, we embrace it, and we love it. life in our house begins on our front steps but expands even more with each step in either direction…. and that is living.

  71. Looks like you had a great Easter…love the girls so much and Nells’s smiles…wow! 😀

  72. Did Lainey get that yellow egg out of the tall vase by herself? These are some of the best moments, when you let the mundane things go and let the childhood magic take over.

    Love the bonnets, and baby toes, and bright almond eyes.

    And here’s our favorite spot:

    It’s so hard to narrow the liveliness down to just one room, but if I had to pick, I’d say the living room. It’s the central area of the home, everyone gathers there. We end up reading stories and playing with blocks and dolls and castles. I love to surrepticiously watch my daughter while she’s in the midst of her pretend play, the silliness she makes up and the props she picks and the random locations you might discover one of her plastic animals or tiny dolls or pretend food. After a couple hours there’s a multitude of books and toys and miscellany strewn all over the place, and by day’s end I can’t believe how many times I’ve picked up the same things over and over. We watch movies and listen to music and dance; Daddy takes the kids for “blanket rides” and chases his little girl around the furniture as she screams for more and asks to be tickled. The baby gets put on a play mat, in the swing, or – as is usually the case – in my arms in the rocking chair I got for Mother’s Day a couple years ago. We watch the birds out the window, change the window clings with each season, wait for the sound of Daddy’s diesel truck coming home so we can run for hugs the moment he arrives. We don’t have a big table, so when company comes over we eat in there, have important dicussions and play card games. When we celebrate a birthday, the cake is lighted and displayed on the coffee table, the presents opened nearby. Some of the furniture came from my grandparents, both of whom passed away a few years ago, so the room is filled with many memories – some long gone, and many new ones in the making.

  73. ,,,as my ritual would have it i skip over the text of the message to get swiftly to the photos,,,its my favorite part, like the favorite part of the chocolate easter bunny or delicious piece of cake,,,my eyes go slowly over each photo taking in the smiles, the winks, the pursed lips, the bows in the hair (or sometimes not) the sweet, adorable girly clothes (because clothes matter) and the shoes, from the wellies (for the spring rain or the beach because they come in handy there too) to the white saddle shoes, to the ever so cute summer sandales (purchased no-less on sale) to “the present’s” carefully crocheted white ballet slippers (a girl never has enough shoes). i take it all in , i comb the entire photo as though i’m seeking something that is hidden,,,then i often hear “are you peeking at the photography mom’s girls again”? “he” gently reminds me baby bunny nella and lainey are the children (girls) that i never had,,,thank you for sharing your adorable “bookends” with us (“he” peeks too!)

  74. You have the most ADORABLE little babies:)

  75. You have the most ADORABLE little babies:)

  76. Beautiful pictures as always! We just celebrated our first Easter with our daughter Emily, and it was glorious.

    Our special place may not seem so special at first, but it hold the hard work and tears and cheers of Emily’s hard work: our living room floor. Every day she works every part of her little 10 month old body, trying to sit unassisted, roll, learn to kneel…and someday crawl, and hopefully take steps down the line. That floor is converted to something magic every inch of success she makes!

  77. SO FUN! i’m gonna start paying attention to where our fun life moments happen in our home… hmmm

    i’ve been following nici’s blog dig this chick for a while now too! love the clothes she made the girls…

    and i LOVE how your nellabean just worked that camera with those 4 pics in a row and yes, that magic smile…

    thanks for reminding me to stop, catch my breath and choose my moment… you’re awesome kelle.
    xo

  78. I’m such a geek about your blog. It’s so refreshing. I always want to cry after I’ve read it. Your photos and your words make me happy. Thank you.

  79. So I just emailed you pics of my favorite spot in our home…the front door. Love it!
    Krista

  80. OH my! You do it to me every time…..

    The way you write, the music you choose for your blog…….put it all together with those GORGEOUS pics……and I feel it. Like I am right there. The fun, the excitement! The joys, the pains, the sorrows…..the every day life.

    Motherhood is AWESOME!!

    Thanks for another FUN giveaway. Fingerprints on a necklace to wear around your neck and close to your heart??? What a GREAT idea! There is so many wonderful talents out there.

    I will be emailing you soon the pics of our lively place here in our home…..so glad you said we could send them unedited and nothing professional….cause that I am NOT for sure. : D But I was JUST thinking of this the other day……about the place in our home that seems SO magical….it’s where we all gravitate and where we hang out the most. IT’s the place where no matter how rough life is at that moment, that it brings out the laughter, the humor in us all, and no one ever wants to leave, cause they know it will be back to the “rough” again once we leave that room. ; D

    Thanks for another fun idea. I can’t wait to see some of your readers lively places in their homes too.

  81. Ahhhh, the changing table…so cushy and soft. We have all been there. Nella led us there. And we…”changed” as we celebrated her as Nellalicious and perfectly ours. And we “tabled” all our fears and worries as we learned to savor unexpected, unchartered joy. Little Nella has stretched our hearts and helped us to know what we didn’t know we didn’t know. I can almost smell the Burt’s Bees shampoo on her soft hair. I can almost hear Lainey’s giggle as she rises to keep up with her big lovey cousins. Hug Savannah, Sydney and Somer for me this week–my heart is full of them all. It is like spring seeing them…fresh, beginning, unscathed and unblemished by the world. I want to look at life through their little eyes..even almond eyes…and catch their sense of wonder and awe. Old eyes see too much…or maybe they just focus on things that should remain peripheral. Little eyes look for bright eggs in ordinary places…and in the finding, smile from the deep corners of their hearts. Thank you for brightening my day. Loving you in Michigan.

  82. Kelle, first I just want to say that I’m a new follower and inspired by you in so many ways! Keep up the beautiful writing and photos.

    For us, Life happens at the kitchen table. I actually just included a post about this last week on my own blog, so I’ll keep it simple by cutting & pasting :) As we wrapped up dying Easter eggs, my oldest turned around from her window seat at the table, and hollered through the screen to her little friend she spotted outside.

    “…But my favorite photo of the night was not a holiday snapshot; instead a moment where Charlotte was in conversation with her friend across the street. It tells the story of great neighbors, of lazy Friday nights around the dinner table, of windows open and easy-breezy spring air. More importantly, it tells the story of our little fashionista: sporting not 1 or 2, but 3 swimsuits, layered overtop her freshly grass-stained play clothes, and underneath her pint-sized strawberry apron. These are the moments that a studio or professional photographer cannot capture for us. The times when f-stops and shutter speeds don’t matter much. This is our Charlotte, Age:
    (in her own words) ‘o-most free and a half.'”

  83. where the life is in my home?
    i’ll be spending the rest of this first-day-back-at-work thinking about it.
    because i just don’t want to think about being here. it sucks. bigtime.
    and that necklace is so BEAUTIFUL.
    i also love how you and nici have bonded. i’ve got one of those bloggy friends too. we’re meeting at the end of the summer. i cannot wait.
    and and and … i’ll just stop now.

  84. The hub of life in our home isn’t in our home at all – it bustles on the deck from our back door. We built it together as a family (or perhaps Daddy was humouring us?) so the structure, itself, will always hold a special meaning to me. And this is the place where we invite extended family to mix and mingle as we BBQ in the Virginia sun. This is the place where our own little family spontaneously gathers for toasty fires in our little “stand alone pit.” This is the place where tiny fingers carefully craft mud pies and tiny toes pedal tricycles for the first time. Where teenagers gather and giggle. Where school-age boys gleefully toss plastic parachute men over the edge. This is where we all rock together on our porch swing and hum along with the morning choir of birds – or evening chorus of tree frogs. When “we need to talk” – it almost always takes place in that very same swing. Our deck is replete with light, laughter and love.

  85. Did your Mom make Nella’s little Easter shoes or did those belong to Lainey? Regardless, they are super sweet.

  86. My 12 year old daughter with DS just looked at the picture of Nella on her changing table and said “She loves her Daddy” :-)

  87. I read your blog and your challenge this morning and I’ve been thinking about it all day.

    I deleted my first reply, it was way off base and even a tad arrogant. I’m sorry for that.

    I hope you like what I came up with.

    http://meagain-alifeofgratitude.blogspot.com/2010/04/day-93-my-favorite-spot.html

  88. Oh! I finally linked to Nella’s Story today. FINALLY! The post is soooo long, but it came around to thanking you at the end! So, THANK YOU!!

  89. In our home, life begins with music. Not necessarily in a particular room or area; but anyplace where music is heard, played, or sung: Our living room with the stereo on, our sunroom around the piano, our son’s room at his drumset, or the family bed when little Cal wakes up every morning dancing to the music in his head. With two musician parents it’s no wonder our firstborn has an affinity for music. What we couldn’t have known is how the shared experience bonds the three of us. Music truly is the universal language!

    Proof of such has been emailed under separate cover. :)

  90. We have a craft room/office/laundry room that is the room where the magic happens! I am a working mom and miss my kids terribly throughout the day. I created this room around them. A place for us to recap our days, a place for them to sit face to face to work on homework, while I work on laundry. It’s a family space. Dueling computers, too! Me on my iMac, Noah on his laptop. It also is highly organized chaos. They boys have special places for schoolwork, shoes, etc. They call it Momma’s Room, though it is just as equally Noah and Gavin’s too! We let Daddy in too on occasion! I will email you a link to it and some pics!

  91. We have a craft room/office/laundry room that is the room where the magic happens! I am a working mom and miss my kids terribly throughout the day. I created this room around them. A place for us to recap our days, a place for them to sit face to face to work on homework, while I work on laundry. It’s a family space. Dueling computers, too! Me on my iMac, Noah on his laptop. It also is highly organized chaos. They boys have special places for schoolwork, shoes, etc. They call it Momma’s Room, though it is just as equally Noah and Gavin’s too! We let Daddy in too on occasion! I will email you a link to it and some pics!

  92. Anonymous says:

    you’d think that the magic would unfold in our living room or kitchen, but nope, in our house, its the bathroom. our little 8×8 bathroom is where everyone gathers around in the morning while i pile my make up on. i use the mirror to apply the lovely shades of m.a.c. makeup, while the kids come in one by one, a little quiet morning knock on the door, to tell me what they dreamt about. “good morning sunshine,” i’ll say to them, and invite them in. mind you, i have 4 children, so there we all are, me and my 4 kiddos ages 12-3 boys & girls, enjoying the morning together. we might talk about what we have planned for the day, how we slept, what we’re going to wear…but its almost like the bathroom is our sanctuary because its, for some reason, its a trusted environment where my kids feel they can confide in me. and whenever we are in there, and they really “let loose” and we can talk about whatever, it takes me into the future, and brings reminds me that we are creating everlasting bonds…all in our lil bathroom.

    Jessi Six, Idaho
    email: jessica_411@yahoo.com

    (p.s. I didn’t think it’d be appropriate to attach a picture…the one i have that was taken spur of the moment was my 3 year old taking a picture of me on the toilet…’cause there reallly isn’t any privacy when your a mom.)

  93. Love the wink and the crazy bedhead that my little girlie has too! Happy Belated Easter and thanks again for the smiles get from your sunshine!

  94. This comment has been removed by the author.

  95. Dear Contest Contessa Kelle,
    If you want to make this a little easier on yourself to do a photo related contest you can make a group on Flicr. Then everyone can load their entry on there and it would be easier for you to browse through them.
    Love,
    Just A Thought In NE

    P.S. I am amazed again at the beauty on this blog.

  96. I love your blog and your beautiful pictures of your gorgeous girls!
    Our change table is also a magical place in our home. We love to talk with and play with our little girl while she lays there and laughs, but we have another place we spend even more time and more experiences.
    We have a well worn, fairly small living room where we spend all day every day. We have a larger family room which will probably some day be the main play room, but for now we have our living room. We have the comfortable couch which is used for nursing a beautiful girl and because of this use every 3 hours for the last 5 months has numerous holes worn into it. We also have the wood floor, which you can not see much of as it is covered in the large coloured foam tiles to keep it soft for the baby girl. We have a ton of toys in there for the baby, but her favourite thing to do, not to mention mine and daddy’s, is to lie on the floor, staring into our faces and squeezing our noses, tongues, ears, and trying to pull off our lips. She inspects our faces like she is worried we will leave and she must remember them. She and I cuddle up on the floor every day and play, we talk and, just today, roll! We play all day laying on the floor and when Daddy comes home he joins us or takes over while Mommy cooks supper. It is a magical place for us and we spend most of our time together there, (soon we will be able to go outside too), and it is a wonderful place to have. It is slowly getting more and more taken over by the foam tiles (soon the coffee table will get kicked out, we are rolling now afterall!) and we would not have it any other way!
    I will email pictures by the end of the week, it is currently the baby girl’s laying naked place to heal a diaper rash so I will wait for clothes :-)

  97. The older kids come pouring down the stairs, giggling as they squeal their morning hellos. Mommy and Daddy carry the teenies and we ready ourselves for our morning feast. Every day truly begins in our kitchen. There are few things in life that my 4 little noodles enjoy more than eating. Whether it be a morning full of eggs, bacon and Nutella covered toast or a late-night ice cream sundae, there really is no place in our home that is homier than the kitchen.

  98. kelle-

    i’ve been searching old posts for when you found out you we’re pregnant with nella but can’t find it? help!

  99. Ayslinsmommy says:

    Gotta say, this is one interesting contest!

    Our Homey Place
    The coat hooks. Nestled beneath our chalkboard calendar filled with life’s appointments and important dates and phone numbers, you’ll find the place where outside life is abandoned and home life commences. At 3:25 on a weekday afternoon coming in from school or 6 o’clock on a Tuesday coming in from ballet or varying times throughout the week coming home from work you will find us filing through the door filling each other in on our day as we hang up our purses and backpacks, drop our bags, fling off our shoes and sigh “It’s good to be home”. Spring is upon us and as the warmer days multiply and the cooler breezes make their way out we find our well loved hooks piled with fewer coats and more light sweaters and thin jackets. Raincoats, rain boots and umbrellas replace snow boots, hats and mittens. And the shoes! Oh the shoes. Flip flops and flats. Slide-ons and wedges. Oh how I love spring. Everything feels lighter and airier. You can almost hear the hooks heave a sigh of relief that winter has taken with it all those hefty coats and snow drenched mittens. And at the end of the day when I look at the untidy ocean of shoes and row of jackets piled atop umbrellas and sweaters I can’t help but be thankful for everything these items bring with them. Sun kissed cheeks and freckled noses are on the horizon at last.

  100. Aw, drats. Once again I am moved to do something after reading your posts. A couple of weeks ago it was the necklace…Betsy dropped it in the mail today by the way…I can’t wait! Last week it was the camera I bought. Well, today I decided to polish off the latest movie of Bernie (has DS, now 2.5 and starting to walk) and our new neighbor Hattie (also 2, has DS, and learning to walk in her walker). What are the chances!?!The sparkle in those little almond shaped eyes, the magic, and the KARMA. It’s nearly impossible to even document appropriately, but you’re off to a great start. Enjoy the indirect fruits of your blogging labor…Missy

    http://www.onetruemedia.com/shared?p=a9d7573e89dfc368cd0d75&skin_id=1602

  101. I love your blog. I will be emailing you shortly. Can we have multiple rooms that are special? We have a small house so it seems like single moments have a tendency to occur in several rooms. hahah! Thanks again for the great photos and stories!
    Christi

  102. I just have to say that I am happy to see the Gators were represented in the Easter Morning festivities!!

  103. For us it’s our kitchen table. Almost everything happens here. The day begins with breakfast together. Those of us around during the day check back in at lunch and a lot of nights we eat here too…even though we have a dining room that I love.

    The table is where homework happens, pictures are drawn, playdough is molded, cookies are iced, eggs are dyed, blessings are said and conversations occur.

    And in the rare moment that I’m inside alone and the kids are all out in the back playing, I will just sit and watch them. I sit there because they don’t notice me and I can observe their imaginations in action.

    I love that table, but more importantly I love everyone who sits at it with me.

  104. You take amazing pictures. Thanks for sharing!

  105. Anonymous says:

    …loverly…

    xo
    c

  106. I’d just like to say that it’s stories like Nella’s that inspire me to go on and do what I want to do. I’m going to be going off to college within the next year, and I’d love to major in Special Education. I’ve been reading your blog for a little bit now, and I’m so thankful that you’re willing to share your heart, your story – your Nella. She’s so precious, and, to me, it’s lives like Nella’s that make life all worth while.

  107. Your blog is incredible – lovely pic. And beautifuls girls :-)

  108. Awesome post…thank you, thank you! I sent you an email linking you back to my “where is your home” post I added to my blog!

  109. Beautiful as always Kelle!

    Our family place is “our family bed” – I will email you the pick and short description :)

    I have to say I am loving life so much more since ive been reading your blog – i could never thank you enough for that :)

  110. Beautiful as always Kelle!

    Our family place is “our family bed” – I will email you the pick and short description :)

    I have to say I am loving life so much more since ive been reading your blog – i could never thank you enough for that :)

  111. I think our life starts in the bed. I am surrounded by my two favorite guys in the world, my husband and son. We have some snuggling and mommy endures some crawling all over her. I’ll send a photo during the week.

    PS: This my baby boy’s first Easter and I’m a huge sucker for holidays. I’ve always done an egg hunt for my nephew and nieces and this year I had my own little one. We hunt for some eggs (really just for the sake of daddy’s camera because I “helped” the Easter Bunny to hide the eggs and there was a conflict of interests). It was a really special moment.

  112. I think our life starts in the bed. I am surrounded by my two favorite guys in the world, my husband and son. We have some snuggling and mommy endures some crawling all over her. I’ll send a photo during the week.

    PS: This my baby boy’s first Easter and I’m a huge sucker for holidays. I’ve always done an egg hunt for my nephew and nieces and this year I had my own little one. We hunt for some eggs (really just for the sake of daddy’s camera because I “helped” the Easter Bunny to hide the eggs and there was a conflict of interests). It was a really special moment.

  113. Hi,
    I’d have to say that your blog is so inspiring and so addictive. I live in Ontario and came across your blog just after the birth of Nella. You have a beautiful family. I love your updates and all your pictures. I come on here every few days to read it. Your choice of music is perfect (and very calming) … I like to “listen” to your blog.:)
    Enjoy your day!

  114. My lively place is our back deck! It is the place of new awakenings in the Spring full of things to explore and uncover! In the hot summer it is a place to cool off in the pool or lounge in the shade with a Popsicle. It is a place to be free and have fun full of laughter and singing to the radio in the background. In the Fall it is a place of colour and wonder. The leaves changing and blowing and a place to sit and take it all in. In the Winter it is a place to be excavated and reclaimed! Perfect for tunnels and snowmen and the perfect snow angels. We love our deck and live on it all year long. It is the place of family BB Q’s and the meeting spot for the neighbour kids, the place for twilight cocktails and late night star watching, it is our place!

    I love you post and follow it regularly, it has given me energy and inspiration!
    Thanks again,
    Stacy Laureano
    London, Ontario, Canada

  115. I am absolutely in love with that photo of Nella sunbathing! :) Cuteness overload right there! :)

    So glad you had a wonderful Easter. :) I wish I was a good enough writer to participate in the give away, but I don’t think I could do it justice. ^^; So I’ll sit back and read what other people write… and sip my coffee, and watch my baby boy pivot (instead of crawl) across the room and tip over my knitting yarn pile. :)

    Have a great week Kelle! Have fun with those fabulous nieces of yours!

  116. Our dining room table is the center of our “lives at home”. It is where we laugh and chat. It is where we wake up and color. It is where we have had a food fight and dyed eggs. It is where we sing Happy Birthday and pray at meal time. It is where we unite with old friends and family. It is where Santa writes his magical Christmas letter to our girls and where the Easter bunny lays the baskets. It is where my kids sit together and play board games, eat their snacks and do their homework. It is where the sun shines in so brightly in the morning and where we can watch it go down so beautifully in the evening. It is where I sit and watch the girls play right out the back door. It is where we talk about our plans and where we plan our lives. It is where I pay the bills and relax on the computer. It is where our day begins with breakfast and our day ends with bedtime snack. Our life is at our dining room table <3

  117. So happy to see that you all had a wonderful Easter! How exciting that your nieces are in town, it must be so much fun to have all of your girls together, playing & laughing!

    Oh, and another thing..Poppa so needs a blog, I’d read it, I’d subscribe, and I’d smile from ear to ear anytime there was a new post full of his delicious wisdom!!

    p.s. the photo of Nella sunbathing…too, too cute!! :)

  118. Anonymous says:

    Kelle thanks for your posts! I love reading them and I love that you share neat things that you stumble across now and then with us. I’ve spoken with you a few times hoping to get some photos done…hopefully, we will some day. Thanks for sharing with us!

  119. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Kim D…Poppa needs to start his own blog…because I too would look forward to soaking up his “delicious” wisdom.
    Kelle, thank-you for sharing your stories, your own wisdom and the art of appreciating the “littles” in our grand world…you have certainly made it a happier place with your sunshine spirit!
    I have been following your blog since my girlfriend sent me your breath taking birth story of your “little
    present”..Nella…an amazing gift…especially those sweet smiles and almond eyes that one can look deep within and see her soul shining! When I first read her story, my tears were bursting out as I could feel your pain, your why me? moments and then your loving acceptance of her. Your raw honesty moved me! My 5 year old son came up to me as I was reading, noticed my alligator tears and ask me “Are you having a happy cry Mama?” I responded “Oh yes I am, a very happy cry!”

    I’ve been wanting to respond to each entry because your words are so inspiring…and one day I will..but for now I just wanted to say my first Hello and thank-you for sharing your “littles”

    I will send my homey place full of life soon, but now I’m about to embark on a pirate adventure with my littles…
    Monique
    Calgary, Alberta
    Canada

  120. Wanted to tell you for weeks that I love the music selections you have here on the blog. You have given me a lot to buy off of iTunes.

    Great pics, inspiring thoughts, cute kids- real and relevant. Add some awesome music and this blog is the full package!

  121. Great Easter pictures, so adorable!

    For us life happens in a small, oddly placed space between our kitchen and family room. It is maybe supposed to be an extension of the kitchen or maybe an eat in kitchen area. I don’t really know but for us it is a play area. I have a cubed shelf overflowing with toys, a fun colorful rug from Ikea and a small wall covered with chalkboard paint. My 18 month son sits and drives his cars all around or builds great towers while our 4 month old lays on his playmate cooing and smiling. For my husband and I we find ourselves on the floor in the middle of it all! We laugh, play and hug daily in this small, odd space. To most this space would be an annoyance or area to be changed but for us Life happens in this space and it is perfect!

  122. There is a place in my home that I use after the children are squeaky clean and sighing as they slumber in warm fuzzy pajamas. Cold mommy drinks are made, hot baths run with sea salts to assure a goods nights sleep, Cosmopolitan on hand for something to read while I soak away the aches of chasing 4 kids around all day. My children come first, but it’s always good to make sure we as mothers are taking care of ourselves as well. This is the best of both worlds.

  123. Yep, poppa needs a blog. :)

  124. Sheree Flippin says:

    I absolutely LOVE diaper station time! I think once babies are clean, clothed, and dry they give some of the best expressions, smiles, and reciprocated love right back to you! Your blog has truly changed my perspective and priorities in my little life of 2 little loves and an amazing husband! Love from Virginia!!!

  125. A chance to be high on life!! I love it!!

  126. stl1974 says:

    Kelle: Every time I read your blog I am inspired to make more of my life. To stop & savor every moment. I have twin 11 month old boys, so my days are pretty much go-go-go from sun-up to sun-down…and then some! Still, your words, your story, your beautiful pictures remind me that even the crazy busy, hectic days are days worth cherishing — simply because they are days spent with my boys. Oh, how I love them.

    Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. I hope you never stop!

  127. Oh my, precious Nella – son visage ressemble a son coeur :) She is getting more and more beautiful by the day!

  128. Thanks for reminding me to, daily, celebrate the small things in my life.
    Way to go for showing Dig’s awesome t-shirts. She’s one talented mama for sure. Our men are childhood friends & I’ve had the pleasure of knowing this talented lady for some time. I hope she’s knee deep in thread from the exposure.
    I’ll be in Naples for the next two weeks. Maybe my little ladies will run into your little ladies on the beach..

  129. you take the best pictures I’ve ever seen!

  130. I am new to your blog, someone sent me a link to Nella’s birth story and I have been enthralled ever since!! Both your girls are beautiful, and I love the pic in this post where Nella looks as though shes about to wink at you!

  131. Lexi L. says:

    Well my easter wasnt as fun as yours looked(: haha. I keep on craving that double dose of perfection each and every day! I want to see Miss Laineylove and Miss Nellabean again… (scratch out want… I NEED to!)Give Nellabean and Laineylove a big hug and kiss from Lexi! Mwahh!

    PS. What cam. lens do you use most often? And how is Lainey’s party planning going?

  132. Lexi L. says:

    Well my easter wasnt as fun as yours looked(: haha. I keep on craving that double dose of perfection each and every day! I want to see Miss Laineylove and Miss Nellabean again… (scratch out want… I NEED to!)Give Nellabean and Laineylove a big hug and kiss from Lexi! Mwahh!

    PS. What cam. lens do you use most often? And how is Lainey’s party planning going?

  133. I desperately want the grown-up sized version of Lainey’s Easter sandals!

  134. Nella is just so beautiful :) She makes my heart smile…I have been reading awhile, but have never commented, I just needed to let you know how gorgeous I think your little Nella is :)

  135. I must start by saying over the past 6 months I had some changes at work which had started to suck the life out of me. One of the main things affected was my passion for photography. I have two of the cutest subjects living in my home and I had almost completely stopped taking pictures of them…that is until I came across your blog. It started with Nella, as most of us have, and has just continued from there. Seeing how you use your camera to document the ‘small things’ in life sparked something in me and I picked up my camera again. I have taken SO many pictures over the past few weeks…and I think I have made up for lost times. So, for that, I thank you.

    Now……where does Life occur in your home?

    I have been focusing on my life with my husband and two boys over the past few weeks…the way we are as a family…who we are as a family…where we love to spend time as a family. The kitchen…and more specifically…the kitchen floor.

    It starts first thing in the morning…cuddly animals being dragged behind sleepily waking children…crumbs from breakfast falling from the table, with the dog anxiously cleaning up behind them…Daddy’s slippers softly scrapping along the floor on the way to the coffee pot.

    Once we all wake up, while Mommy is putting away dishes and going through mail…the floor transforms into a busy highway for speeding Hot Wheels cars. Soccer fields. Of course there is plenty of room for my 17 month old to help reorganize the cupboards, especially all the Tupperware.

    During the midday things quiet down…Shoes piled up on the rug…coats thrown over chairs…nap time…ahh…

    But dinner time sparks up the most action. While cooking dinner, the music is on and the boys are DANCING!! These boys know moves that have never been seen before! Hopefully our song will come one…Smile by Uncle Kracker…and a Mommy can’t just hold one of her boys…nope both boys are in my arms, holding on tight! ~My heart melts ~My mind fast forward 20-25 years on their wedding days when I am dancing with a grown man…ugh! But as the night moves on…we sit on the floor…talk about our day…cuddle up tight…sing patty cake our own special way. The yawns begin…they start fighting sleep. Then those same loved animals are dragged across to the sleepy little ones beds. Another day is done.

    In our home life occurs in the kitchen…on the floor.

    Thanks for taking the time to read about my life. ~shannon

  136. sent the email of the favorite place…. cant wait to see some of the pics that others send in!!! Our homes are such a special place that hold the very heart of each member that lives there…. if walls could speak…. they would say that love lives here! Sometimes a witch shows up at about 5PM (witching hours, at the end of a long day when I just need there daddy to walk in the door!) but other then that I would be proud of what these walls hear!

    Love the blog. love the girls. love that you make me want to be an even better mommy with less nights with the witch!

  137. I’ve been keeping up with your blog lately, you have a beautiful family.

    The deSERVE team would love if you’d help the CF Foundation, as you know what it’s like to be affected by a genetic disorder.

    We dont ask for money, just awareness! Thanks for keeping our hearts warm with your family’s stories and pictures.

    deSERVE Team Memeber

  138. Anonymous says:

    I have read I think every bit of your blog, Every evening I stop in to see if theres more. This is my me time and I so enjoy reading your blog and seeing those beautiful girls of yours. I just love their little bonnets, and have been wanting to get some for my Grandbabies. You have a beautiful family.

    Deb from OH

  139. Anonymous says:

    I have read I think every bit of your blog, Every evening I stop in to see if theres more. This is my me time and I so enjoy reading your blog and seeing those beautiful girls of yours. I just love their little bonnets, and have been wanting to get some for my Grandbabies. You have a beautiful family.

    Deb from OH

  140. I know you love.love.love shopping at Esty…not sure if you have visted this store, but I thought of you and your pips right away……..enjoy!!!!!!

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/imomzi

  141. I saw a bumber sticker over Easter weekend that said, “My Child has More Chromosomes than Yours” and thought of you! Awesome, right? What’s Honor Roll compared to the genetic marker for pure sweetness?

  142. I just wanted to say that I love your blog your pictures are amazing. I was wondering how you find the time in the day to take all of these pictures (and then edit them) my hubby has a nice camera but I find it hard carrying it around while caring for 2 little kids and how do you get the pictures with you in them?

  143. Hi Kelly,
    Your blog is amazing! You truly inspire me to become a better mother :)
    I will send you an email with the place that promotes life in our home :)

  144. Kelle,

    What a small world it is! I have been reading your blog for sometime, and I actually live in the same town as Nici from Dig This Chick. I’ve actually never met her either, nor made the connection between both of your blogs.

    Anyways… make time for the trip to Montana. Your little sprite will fit in perfectly with all of the mountain fairies.

  145. Kelle,
    I’m sitting here catching up on your AMAZING blog and my little 4 1/2 year old son came in the room just as I was passing over a photo of Lainey. His words exactly “Oh Mommy, she is a beautiful little girl. And so cute too!”

    Perhaps in 20 years we can arrange a marriage?

    Love your blog :)

    Lisa in Phoenix

  146. Julieinky says:

    A friend just sent me a link to your blog and I am so thankful. I am scheduled for my c-section April 17th and we found out in December that our baby has DS. I am so very scared when the time comes because I don’t know how I will handle it. The reality will set in. Your words typed here are so inspirational and I know will give me strength that I am going to need.

    THANK YOU
    Julieinky2@yahoo.com

  147. Love, love, love your blog! I’m new to the blogging world, someone just gave me the “sunshine award” and now I’m giving it to you! Details are on my blog at
    http://tamaramodernmommy.blogspot.com/

  148. Anonymous says:

    would you post some wedding pics of you?!?

  149. Krista Specht says:

    Another inspirational post. It has definately made me think about where the life in our house is, I am tempted to say it is anywhere my kids are at the moment but I think I can do better than that!
    As always, beautiful post and lovely pictures!
    Krista Specht

  150. Anonymous says:

    Kelle:
    I’ve been hooked on your blog since part 1 of your story ran in the Naples Daily News. You have such a beautiful family. I LOVE seeing miss Lainey and all her daily adventures (that tongue sticking out is the cutest thing ever) and lil sweet Nella….My arms just want to hold her. You are so very blessed. I have 2 girls myself and it really is so much fun…I really feel they are my best buddies.
    Thanks for doing what you do :)
    -Heather in Naples

  151. I love your blog. as I struggle with my life as an empty nester, i love to read a have the memories flood my mind. where in the heck did the years go. my midle daughter jumped in the car to move some 3 hours away to move in with her sister. my son is 3 1/2 hours the other direction. wow. my head was swimming as i climbed in my down comforter and wept. i love that neclace, so as my extended family gather tonight for my dad’s 70th Birthday, i will try to make the deadline for my lively place….. thanks for getting my mind to think about something than my babies flying out of my little nest!!!!!

  152. Our book nook is located in my 1 year old daughters bedroom. It is a place where we (Including Jake Dog) gather to begin our days, prepare for quiet time and to say goodnight to the moon and that little mouse. Gathering in the book nook sets the pace for a peaceful transition to nighty-night-beddy-by-time as my oldest girls, Molly and Emma always make sure that little Tess is sent off to sand man land with a sister huddle good night reading ritual…they’re afraid that Tess will feel left out as she has an earlier bedtime than the “big girls”. I have the best seat in the house….our rocking chair that is nestled in the opposite corner of the book nook. That rocking chair has earned every little squeak and has made its mark on the wall behind it as we all know that your “hand me down great Nana wooden rocking chair” does a slow dance into a new position with every rock until you realize that you are sounding off a rhythmical knocking on the wall behind you. From this VIP seat, I witnesses so much. I witness peaceful silents, contagious laughter, and most of all, a full circle among us Dunn girls. There are books in that nook that have been a part of each of my daughters bedtime rituals. The binding on those 8 year old books have exposed wounds, crusty leftover snack autographs and pages that naturally fall open to favorite passages that are read repeatedly because it’s just not enough to read that page and move on. These books are now being read by my oldest daughter Molly to her little sibs. The very same books that I, her mama, read to her when she was just my little baby of firsts. the full circle. my full life….all in that little nook in my littlest’s bedroom.

    The Book Nook….our lively place.

    Kelle..two simple words. thank.you. you are the bees knees. xoxo

  153. i’d really love to know exactly how it works that you and brett’s ex get along so well. i mean i see how easy YOU are to get along with… but i’ve never seen anything like this-where you can go to HER HOUSE for easter??? that’s just amazing to me (a child of ugly divorce). i mean, was their split just totally amicable and there were no hurt feelings, no bitterness, no anger? how does that happen??!!!! you have the most beautiful family, inside and out.

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