The Great Merge

Candy wrappers litter the playroom carpet like loose confetti, my Cleopatran dark-lined eyes are now a smudged disaster, and the mess in the driveway echoes the remains of a good time–orange luminaire bags toppled over spilling kitty litter, tipped tricycles left where little legs deserted them, a plastic ghost table cloth torn and flapping in the (gasp) November breeze.

It was a great time.



Girls costumes super easy to make. Hanna Andersson onesies and caps, dyed and sewn with stiff felt ears and terry cloth bellies stuffed with a little batting. And this is coming from a girl who does not sew, so I’m not kidding on the easy.





And I can’t help but remember what a great time it was last year with my big globe belly all painted up having no idea how the little one inside would indeed beautifully transform my world.

We get a two-fer for all the effort of our costumes as our trick-or-treating gets a nice pre-quel with our neighborhood parade and party the day before. Every year, it just so happens that all these costumed littles are marching their fabulousness down the street at the exact same time the sun is falling and spilling its golden rays like a red carpet for the grand parade.







I am a shameless swooner at these things–cheeks aching, camera clicking, heart beating furiously as I catch the wisp of a moment I know is fleeting. And these sweet little grandmas stop you at things like this, with their sympathetic smiles and their eyes that hold memories and the way they pat their chest like it holds a treasure. “Soak it up, Dear,” they say, “I remember those days and they go by all too fast.”

And so I stash. Every thread of happiness and heart-bursting-ness I can manage to scrape up from little whiskered cheeks framed in costume hats, tiny fingers folded over friends’ hands, shy smiles attempting to hide a this-is-really-cool moment, thick tights hugging chunky baby legs that conform to your hip just so.



She didn’t need us this year to help trick-or-treating. She wanted to do it on her own, with her friends by her side. ‘Cuz she’s big.




And this little kitty just purred and went along with it all in her go-with-the-flow style.


I am in love with holidays. I dig the whole over-hype and sparkle of decorations and Target setting up a small city of Christmas aisles the day after Halloween. I buy into the great to-do of kitschy bathroom towels embroidered with snowmen and freaking pinecones, and once one holiday is over, I am settin’ up the excitement shop for the next one around the bend.

I realize there may be flaws to this philosophy and that real life is the in-between and, oh my, what my thirst for stars on my calendar must mean on some Freudian level.

But you know what else I think? To Thine Own Self Be True.

I fly my holiday freak flag proudly and am finding more and more ways to unfurl its enthusiasm on the in-between too.

It is the Great Merge, sewing together the nothingness with the spectacular, the ordinary day with the holiday and letting them seep into each other until you recognize and appreciate the magic of both a quiet cup of coffee on an uneventful Monday morning and the colorful chaos of laughter around a Thanksgiving table right before the gravy is passed.




And the more you appreciate them both, the more of a Master of Merge you become, brilliantly ladeling the fabulousness of holidays onto ordinary days with spontaneous driveway dance parties and pulling out the good dishes for afternoon macaroni & cheese or rocking out red lipstick and two coats of black mascara for a morning of laundry and bathtub scrubbing.


One holds a spotlight to the other. The frenzy of festivities reminds me how I love the calm repose of our home routine and, likewise, the repetition of our beautiful ordinary allows me to plan for the wonder of holiday hoopla. It is a good cycle. It is a grand challenge, that merge.

Looking out at the driveway with its frat party remains that call for a clean-up and hoping for a quick decrescendo for my sugar buzz, I am grateful both for a fun night and the fact that it won’t happen again for another year. That’s the beauty of holidays…absence makes the heart grow fonder.

In the meantime, there’s red lipstick and good dishes and dressing up in tutus on the day after Halloween.


Welcome to our new sponsor, Tutus Handmade with Love.

And ornament winners are…

Commenter #13, Mary: I discovered a gray hair 2 months ago while I was 7 months pregnant. I got highlights 2 weeks later :) I can’t wait to hear my little bug’s first word when he gets older. xx


Commenter #204, Michelle: I am so glad I found your blog! I enjoy reading it, but even more so looking at the pictures of both your beautiful little girls! My baby girl just turned a year old last week and it amazes me how fast the year has flown by!

Please choose an ornament from PersonalizedFree and send your mailing info over to Thanks!

It’s November, Friends. November. With blessed holidays around the corner and (patting my chest)…beautiful ordinary here right now.



Leave a Comment
  1. Oh my goodness…soooo much cuteness in this post!!! I love it!!!! Happy Halloween to one of the cutest families I have ever seen:) And Happy November!!!

  2. I’m sorry, but how do you see that sweet, cheese eating grin from Nellabean and not smoosh her to bits?! Please stop what you’re doing right now and go give your girls a smooch from a friend in Indiana.

  3. this is soooooo cute– i love the costumes, the merging of holidays, cleopatra, all of it.

    is it too early to listen to christmas music?

  4. I love Lainey’s face in the Halloween pictures- so shy and excited at the same time:)
    I think you should start putting captions at the bottom of your photos like”polkadot tights by Target” or something…that way all of us readers wouldn’t always have to ask “where did you get Nella’s adorable green hat?” ha, just a thought!

  5. Bring on Thanksgiving and Christmas!! I’m a proud holiday freak flag flyer too! HAHA Say THAT 3 times fast!

    The costumes were absolutely adorable!

    Smoosh those babies all you can. I’m only 37, but with 6 kids between the ages of 18 and 5, I can proudly say I pat my chest as I look at the 5 yr old… knowing she won’t be this size forever. Wishing she’d stay that way, knowing the best is yet to come!

  6. I am in love with that quilt – and those baby legs are the perfect accessory!! :)

  7. It’s like dressing up in some elaborate costume in our one-night-stand of being who we dream we might be, then taking off the makeup and uncomfortable garb to realize–it’s just so nice to be who we are! What a fun night; what a fun neighborhood! The calendar dates with bolded holidays and graphics have nothing on those blank dates on which we can write the “holidays” of our making…like Funny Sock Day or Hug a Baby Day! Yes, we are all pretty spectacular even without our masks and makeup! Loved walking through your enchanted night with your photos and narration! Every child…and adult were just wonderful–full of wonder!

  8. love that new header!~ love that hat that miss nella bean is wearing that looks like a frog! here’s to the non holiday-days!!

  9. Dear Cutesy Cleo,
    Your holiday looks a bit like ours… much warmer I bet! Ours had a (gasp) chilly breeze. And since two of mine are boys our had a bit less girlyness but I loved it just the same.

    It was a night of wonder, beauty, some spookyness and sweetness… lots and lots of sweetness… a sugarshock load of sweetness. Thanks, Kelle for sharing yours, it put my over the edge! :)

    Cozy Socks in Nebraska

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  11. What a great time you had, my neighborhood get’s together and we all trick/treat together. Lovely times!

  12. I love this! I too love the holidays…and it makes me appreciate the ordinary more…which makes me appreciate the beautiful chaos of holidays even more. I get ya!

    Is Lainey wearing a Broncos shirt?

  13. Merged indeed. Our holiday’s usually all hype right at the day before and day of. I like the idea of spreading it on a little thicker by getting into it sooner. Hmmm…something to consider.

  14. It looks like a great Halloween!

    I cannot tell you how much your pictures make me want girls!! :)

  15. Yay for Halloween, and the holiday season!! Don’t you just wanna go christmas shopping?!! So the girls looked insanely precious, as always :) and the little Steelers won my heart of course, lol!! Thanks for getting me even more excited than I already was…I think we’re draggin’ out Christmas decs later this week, I just can’t wait!!!

  16. Your posts just make me smile.


  17. all the kids look so adorable in their costumes! and kudos to you for making the girls costumes.. they looked adorable!!! i WISH we had your weather last night.. brrrrrr it was a cold one :(

    i love how festive you get..i feel encouraged by your crazy holiday flag wavin… it gets me more excited about holidays… its easy to fall in the tired traps of the day to day but i too agree adding decor to the house brings the excitment on!!

    and i love the header.. beautiful quilt.. the last pic with nella bean is terrific!

  18. love reading your words, Kelle.
    And the trick-or-treat photos are darling, I love Lainey’s expression and then Nella’s grin on the quilt.

    Also, hello tutus, how fabulous! Loving the tights, too.

    Big hugs and love from Hawaii,

  19. Loving the pics of your little string beans! I am also fyling the holiday freak flag – and high! I was ready for Christmas carols on the radio this morning and did go to Target last night to watch them squish all things orange into one aisle and string up Christmas in it’s place…my husband thinks I’m nuts, but you know what I say “It’s magic!”…cause you know it is! Can’t wait to see Christmas “Hampton-style”…I find it fascinating that you bring the Midwest to Florida :)

  20. I’m proudly flying my holiday freak flag right next to yours. I live for them and the American hype seems to reflect my inner feelings, so bring it on! Ignore the bad side of commercialism and bring on the joy, baby! Bring on the joy!

  21. What a fun looking Halloween. Such cute costumes and cute girls.

  22. Oh, I love the blue tutu with the newsboy cap! So adorable! I too, devour holidays and await the next!

  23. Lovin’ your girls in those new tutus!! Of course, your girls would look adorable in brown floursacks!

    Glad you had a great Halloween!


  24. I love the 2 old ladies!!!!!!!! Tell them they looked awesome :)

  25. i didn’t even read the post yet… i had to confess to being a crazy blog stalker…i have been waiting allll day (and checking and rechecking)for this post and adorable halloween pictures…i’m recovering from surgery and was stuck on the couch yesterday so i’m living halloween festivities vicariously through you. i can tell already by the quick scan to the bottom of the page that “we” had an awesome day!
    (also i’ve been leaving your page open just to listen to your play list as i lay here staring at my walls waiting to heal…thanks for my “recovery soundtrack”, as i’ve been referring to it!)

  26. ,,,nella is the BOM,,,

  27. kelle- your blog is so inspiring. you are the BEST blogger EVER – and that is saying a lot (I have really high standards!) :-)

  28. Looks like you guys had a blast last night. The girls looked adorable in their costumes as well as their friends :)

  29. Kelle, I look forward to your blog and your beautiful children. I couldn’t wait to see pics of their costumes and found myself checking back several times yesterday to see if they were posted :)
    Thanks for sharing your amazing family with the world!!

  30. Love the pics of the girls as always and love there costumes :) Happy November!!!

  31. I still can’t believe it has been a year since your parade last year! The whole mother earth thing…..I’m sure that feels like ages ago for you, perhaps! Loved the costumes this year! and the quilt! That was made with a lot of love. My sister-in-law is nuts with the holiday decor and it just makes everything more fun!!!

  32. Hooray for November! I am ready for the holidays too.

  33. Love the tutus! So cute! Your family is adorable! Love it!

  34. Kelle, Your pictures are smashing as always!
    We even had a small Halloween going on in Norway, but it is not nearly as big and nice as in the USA :)


  35. Mercy! So many creative people in your fabulous!

  36. Oh Kelle. You make your world seem so magical. You make life seem magical. Although I know that there are those in betweens where we have spit uppie shirts, piles of laundry, un-made beds, etc. That’s life. and I love how you take all of it in and make it magical. You have made me a better mother, a more in the moment mother and I thank you silently, every time I read your blog.

    Cheers to the magic of holidays, and the not-so-magical in betweens.


  37. Oh my. Those tutus? precious!

  38. beautiful, as usual. and i absolutely love that quilt (and your new header)!

  39. not sure how I found your blog, but I did and it’s beautiful :)

  40. Love the pics! My little guy wouldn’t put on his costume but did go ask the neighbour for candy…oh well there is always next year! I can’t wait to see how you rock the holidays!

  41. Those kiddos are all so adorable! Looks like everyone had a splendid time!! I am loving that quilt of yours!

  42. Love all the Halloween goodness. Looks like so much fun. Kind of jealous you didn’t have to have 3 pairs of pants, 2 sweatshirts, a hat and a pair of gloves on;) Kind of puts a cramp in the costumes a bit.

  43. i love the ordinary. i love the sound of the afternoon. it sooths my soul

  44. What a great time! All about the merge and the balance……

    Love that quilt!!!!! Handmade? It’s beautiful and looks even better with sweet Nella laying on it.
    Lainey is a big girl now…wow!!!

  45. It’s so nice to see that you had such an awesome halloween. Your girls look so sweet in their costumes. You also look very beautiful.

  46. your girls are so adorable and nella is looking more and more like lainey! such a lucky mom you are..and those costumes came out amazing! love love love it…you sure know how to cherish the small moments in life :)

    xoxo follow my blog!

  47. Happy Thanksgiving! I always wished I was better at decorating for the seasons, so you go on with yo’ bad self and enjoy it! I think my Elise and your Nella would be good friends – same age and same lovely sparkle. :)

  48. Love your post. No big shocker there. But had to say … loved seeing Nella in the same green cap that Laney wears on your photography blog. Love sisterly hand-me-downs.

  49. Love your blog and your girls.

    Btw did you see the movie Monica and David? It’s excellent and I think you’ll love it too.

  50. Love the costumes :) Too cute!

  51. The picture of the four kids in front of the house, with Lainey’s cute little mouse tongue! Precious! I am now one of those grammas patting her “treasure chest”. It’s so true, darn it! Those years go by too fast. Hubby and I started out at age 19 with our first, had 3 of our own and then I became a surrogate mom and had 5 more for couples who couldn’t have their own children. I love the quote “children are drawn to gentle souls…” and I can see how your life reflects that through your blog…thanks for sharing it with us…

  52. Your girls are beautiful.
    Made your pork carnitas tonight for dinner-we all loved them and they will become a regular part of the rotation!
    A note on your obsession with red doors. They originated in the south on churches. They were meant to represent the blood of Christ and when you walked through them you have been through the blood and are cleansed. (part of my colloquium project on the psychology of color)

  53. Hello Kelle! I absolutely adore your blog. I look forward to reading it all the time! I just wanted to let you know that I’m a special education major at the University of Oklahoma, and my professor handed out copies of your article from the magazine tonight in class. She told us all that your story would be the best view we would ever get from a parent who discovers their child has Down Syndrome. I was proud to introduce everyone to your blog and I can only hope that they will be transformed by your words like I have.

    Kelly McAlister

  54. I love the new header! All the Halloween pictures are beautiful. Lainey is growing up so fast.

  55. AMen Sister! Holiday Freaks unite! Had a big blow out bash last night myself, with tons of friends and kids and chili and Sangria. Trick or treating all around the neighborhood did not take as long as we expected, so we did it again. And the kids amazement and sheer joy and yes THANKFULNESS at being allowed something so out of the ordinary, was worth the time I spent hosing Hawaiin Punch off my patio this morning. Blessings to you!

  56. I’ve always been one to live for the holidays and squeeze every ounce of “holiday-ness” out of each one. I can’t help but still feel like a kid…getting all excited for what’s to come; even though it always goes by too quickly.

    We only had two groups of kiddos come trick-or-treating at our door, and my favorite costume was of two brothers…the youngest, probably about 3 y/o was a dinosaur, and the older (maybe 5), get this- a volcano! Too precious for words. I love Lainey and Nella as cat and mouse…there’s something for siblings and having them compliment one another, no? 😀

  57. I too am in love with holidays since I live in Canada we have already had out Thanksgiving so I’m ready to get the Christmas tree up and rock the Christmas season, however, my hubby likes to remind me we just did Halloween lets wait a bit. Love the pictures your girls looked so sweet all dressed up.

  58. Very well said! I couldn’t agree more, lovin the costumes, and of course the pictures!

  59. *love* Nella’s quilt!

  60. Love! You said it perfectly! The holidays are amazing…wonderful…truly special…but the everydays can be just as perfect!

  61. Holding my holiday freak flag right next to you! Halloween is the start of all the decorating for us. Can’t wait to packup my witch and ghost towels and pull out my turkeys and leaf ones:-) Also, don’t know if you will read this but where did your friend find those Steeler knit caps…what a cute costume, we are BIG Steeler fans, I would love to find something like that for my son. Thanks for sharing all the fun times!

  62. I am so jealous of your wonderful and YOUNG neighborhood! We have many older people in our neighborhood and there aren’t parades or dancing in the street. We did have a ton of trick or treaters though.

    Always enjoy reading what you are up to!

  63. :)

    xo, Bug & Ruyt’s Gram

  64. I could comment on oodles of things in your post but 2 things stand out most:
    1. GORGEOUS quilt!! I love the new header on your blog and the quilt in the posts… I am such a sucker for cozy quilts!
    2. I too am a holiday freak and I love that you embrace everything about them. I can’t wait to plan for all the holiday stuff this year!

  65. Oh my stars! You and your family are FREAKING ADORABLE!! The gils are just precious!! My little Adrianna got a kick out of the fact that you and she wore the SAME COSTUME
    :) you were both beautiful as Cleopatra!

  66. GREAT posT!

  67. It is ALWAYS a great day to wear a tutu!

    Enjoyed your photos, Kelle. Your littles are just beautiful.

  68. great job on the costumes, very creative! and I just have to say, your friends little girl looks just like a baby Reese Witherspoon playing Elle Woods from Legally Blonde! ~just sayin’ :)
    Let the holidays begin, the season is upon us!

  69. I’m so happy…Wonderful news…Nella is saying mama…the most beautiful music to your ears. :))

    Loving your new header, your Halloween costumes, the pictures of Lainey and Nella enjoying their beautiful tutus and Little and Ashley’s Stole My Heart!

    “Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.” ~Lady Bird Johnson

  70. TOO CUTE! What cute DIY costumes! Lainey looks like she soaked it all in :)

  71. So proud that someone is Florida is supporting my hometown with the Steeler costumes! :) Is that a pink Steeler jersey Lainey is sporting?
    Love your blog, love those girlies of yours!!

  72. Hey babe! Nella looks GREAT!!

    where did you get the quilt from by the way?:))

  73. Absolutely adorable!!!! I have always been a holiday lover, but I think having a child really intensifies it. Once again you get to experience all the wonder and merriment through the eyes of a child. What could be more enjoyable?!?!

  74. omigoodness, i think I’m gonna DIE from cuteness overload! Kelle, I want your life! (and your photography skills, i’m gonna work on that!)

  75. I’m with ya on lovin’ the kitschy. And you’ve inspired me to not be ashamed of it anymore. Gracias!

  76. The girls are adorable, as usual. I thought of your earth belly last night as a friend of mine had hers all done like a pumpkin…and I LOVE Hannah Andersson so very much. I could do a commercial for them…they’ll last forever and a day and look the exact same. Did you see the 20% sale that started this week? Be careful…it’s dangerous, so be warned. 😛 Marissa

  77. I have fallen in love. And it is with your blog and sound track. Thank you for sharing your life and love with us all :)

  78. looks like you had an awesome halloween! love the costumes, and nella sleeping away in the stroller:) i took your idea and had a little pumpkin party last week, we painted pumpkins and i made a scavenger hunt! thanks for inspiring me:)

  79. Love the quilt! So vibrant…and that sweet big-smilin’ Nella bean on it…ahhhh just wonderful. I love the picture of Lainey posing like a mouse in front of the scare crow. She’s too cute!!! I can’t say it enough: thank you for the inspiration.

  80. Congrats to the winners! I am gonna order some ornaments. Oh, Kelle, as always, you all sure KNOW how to have fun and celebrate!! Thanks for sharing.. From your blog mama

  81. Love the tutus, especially Nella’s with the rainbow style.

    The costumes turned out just purrrfect!


  82. Your night was just as good as I hoped it would be. Glad you got to live it up and enjoy the beautiful ordinary. Blessings to you!

  83. Fly that holiday freak flag girl! I have mine waving proudly already! Love the pics & wonderful words as always!

  84. So true about the merge..I look forward to holidays like nobody else & I enjoy all of the crazy preparations & everybody talking at once & the laughter & chaos & the exhaustion & the gratitude of being in the company of those I love most in the world. But once the last of the loved ones leave, after a well deserved rest, I love nothing more than sitting with a hot cup of coffee & looking at the last vestiges of holiday mess, grateful for a quiet day to clean up, scrub floors, vacuum, dust & admire the peace & stillness of an orderly home until the next time..the sooner the better. Happy Holidays!!!

  85. squeeze the life out of those moments….. My littles are 26, 23 & 19 year old young men —Two of them we we diverted to China and Sweden.
    It was many years ago, but they are thriving……

  86. I had to comment on your costume, I sported the same one this year, only backwards and without the spangly-but-super-scratchy shoulder thingy, so my wee littlest gal could nurse while she rode in her sling! Also I love the quilt, it makes me think very much of one I made for my older daughter :) Love the pics, you and your littles look like you had a great time!

  87. It’s late and I need to find my bed … but, I wanted to send you some November love …

    Happy November, friend!

  88. The great merge. That is perfect. I tell you, me & you…..we’re like 2 peas…..except that you’re glamorous and I’m not. And I live in Utah and am a Mormon. But still, the whole celebrate-every-single-thing especially while living an extra-special life with an extra-special child? We got it, sister.

    Love, Bree

  89. Okay…love the quilt. I know there must be an old quilter in the family or circle of friends. Your quilt looks like one my Great Grandma made me out of old clothes and whatever fabric scraps they could find back then. They are so comfy and loved so much. I was only 7 when my great grandma died and when I was 23 and getting married my mother brought that quilt out with a card that my Great Grandma had written to me. It said she knew she wouldn’t live to see me married, but wanted me to know that she had thought of me getting married one day and wanted me to know that. What a treatsure. I am now 43 and still love my quilt. Does your quilt have a story?

  90. Thank you, Kelle!

    Love your story about your quilt! I am so sentimental…aren’t grandmas and great-grandmas the best?! This quilt story is just precious…and congratulations on 20 years of marriage!

  92. loving…
    the new header
    how festive your neighborhood is
    your cutie pies
    I love how your cup runneth over just as much for a holiday as for any random tuesday.

    you inspire!

  93. I was waiting all day for this post and it was well worth the wait! Loving the Halloween photos :)

    also loving the new header x

  94. I love, love, love that pic of Nella in the tutu and green hat. She’s already practicing!!

    Thank you for the wonderful words and wonderful pics of your beautiful girls!!

  95. Hi Kelle & family,
    You all look fabulous! Looks like it was a great time.
    I really like the positive attitude you have Kelle of wearing mascara and lipstick for cleaning, the idea that the everyday can be amazing. xx

  96. I figured it out. I cry over your blog not because of how beautiful your pictures are and how wonderfully you write.. although, those things are absolutely incredible. I cry because everyday I try to love life as passionately as you do.. and to cherish my two little ones with all that I have in me.. and everyday, I fall short. I keep getting caught up in the housework or the things I “need” to get done and out of my frustration of “falling short”, I yell. I don’t mean to, but it ends up that way almost everyday and I hate it. How do you do it? How do you keep up on laundry and dishes and vacuuming and BLOGGING all while photographing and playing with your adorable littles??? I’m not trying to be a downer… not in the least. I just desperately long to have the passion of life like you do. HOW??

  97. Mama-in-training… I think every woman has those feelings at some point or another. They are normal and shared. I always use the analogy of juggling for motherhood/wife/housekeeping/ blogging/insert-various-hobby-here. It’s a constant state of throwing balls up in the air, and while three balls might be circluating quite impressively, there are always another few falling on the ground. They never all stay up at one time, but you can’t beat yourself up about the ones that fell or you’ll drop the ones that are in the air. For every ball that falls, there will be a day where that one gets thrown back up there and another one falls. And believe me, there are days where the balls that fall are the parenting ones when I’ve let myself get impatient or booked too many things to really let me spend time with the girls like I want to. You learn and move on and make up for it the next. xo

  98. kelle,
    i am so one of those grandmas.
    all babies and children are just so precious.
    i cant help but want to squezze em and nibble their toes.
    your halloween looked super you have a pic of your dad and gary in costume. if so please share it with us!
    i like others here cant wait to see your christmas!
    have a beautiful day!

  99. Adorable pics! I love merging the ordianry and spectacular! Halloween is always fun – getting to pick out a costume and pretend you are someone/something else for an evening of candy filled fun!

  100. Love the costumes – I am jealous though that it looks so nice and sunny and warm…in Canada, we dealt with rainy/snowy cold and damp conditions so there were snowsuits under the costumes!

  101. Keep unfurling the freak flag. It makes for a great post. Susan

  102. Mama-In-Training, I could have written the exact same thing you have…you’re not the only one honey. It’s something I wrestle with everyday too when I need to get things around the house done and my two little ones are left to entertain themselves. I look at them over the top of my laundry or dishes or insert-task-here and feel both guilt and yearning to scoop them up and just sit and play with them.

    Kelle’s right, it’s something most mamas feel (for me at the moment, with an 8 mth old daughter and a 3.2 year old daughter, it’s daily). I think we all need our own wife too haha!

  103. Such adorable pictures and so colorful. Can’t wait to be in your spot.

  104. I am so with you on the holiday love! Christmas is my absolute favorite! I am so excited that Target has been setting up their Christmas stuff…I can’t wait!

  105. Mrs. Hampton, is it silly that I get excited when I see new title at the top of the page? It means more pictures of your sweet girls, more love to soak up through your words, and more dreaming for me to do of the life I want when I “grow up”.

    And of COURE to thine own self be true–I’m a holiday freak too, and my boyfriend has to rope me in. Don’t care about your level of excitement…there are others of us out here too. :)

    Have a great week!

  106. I’m in love with that blanket! Did you make it?

  107. tears…you make me want family.

  108. Great post! My favorite holiday is next…getting together with family and eating our faces off. It doesn’t get any better than that!

  109. Crying through the post, again. My lovey has the same pumpkin trick or treat bucket as Lainey!

  110. Damn you Kelle Hampton! Why must you make me cry every day? (Such happy tears though…)

  111. I’m soaking up life over here too, the in between as well as the over the top Holidays! Your such an inspiration, keep sharing your beautiful life and all those fantastic holidays..I just love it!

  112. Kelle,

    I’ve been reading your blog since just after Nella was born. I read her birth story and I was hooked. I then read everything you ever posted. So inspirational. Reading what you write, the way you love your little ones and your family…your life is just beautiful and it has changed my outlook and the way I go about my days with my kids, my husband, everyone! I’ve taken more pictures, written letters to my kids and thought about starting my own blog…but not for anyone to read, that scares me to death! But to document our lives. I don’t want them to ever forget how we loved. I read your blog and never looked back. And I just thought computers were for email and facebook…and maybe searching for cute boys shoes in extra wide if I was feeling savvy (my 3 year old has some seriously large feet!). Since that February day my life was changed. Now I follow Heidi, Dig and your sister. Who knew all these great inspirational mamas were out there!

    This is what I’m really curious about…how does it feel to watch your blog comments go from maybe 10to well into the 100’s and even the 1,000’s?? I wish I was a follower back then. To feel like you know ME like I feel like I know YOU. And how many followers do you have now?? 8,000?! How does it feel to touch the world like that? Forget Madonna, Bono, Angelina…I wanna meet Kelle Hampton! Which leads me to wonder…when does one drop their last name and become known as only KELLE?! I’m sure it’s soon :)

    Anyway, you are awesome. I’m a huge fan and I wish you all that’s good in this beautiful world! Have a really great day :)

    P.S. My husband thinks I’m crazy for following a blog of someone I’ve never met…I just laugh and tell him if Tiger had a blog he’d be all over it!

    And I sincerly thank you for helping me along this mama path. My kids (Isaac 5, Gabe 3, and Selah 1) thank you as well. You’ve made me a better mama.

    Angie from Ohio

  113. I LOVE THIS:
    “I fly my holiday freak flag proudly and am finding more and more ways to unfurl its enthusiasm on the in-between too.”

    LOVE IT!!!

  114. Angie, thank you for such kind words. It feels like such a supportive community here, and it is so inspiring to know there are so many mamas out there, all living life to the fullest and passing on the torch to their littles. Thank you!

  115. The blanket that Nella is sitting on in many of your pictures is adorable! Did someone make it for you? So gorgeous!

  116. The girls, and you, look absolutely adorable!! I made my girls tutu dresses for their costumes… a peacock and a pumpkin :) The little mermaid was super cute, too!

  117. Your costume answered a question that I had on Halloween night when I took my daughter and her best friends (who are identical twins) trick or treating. One of the twins was wearing your costume and I said “if only they made that in an adult size because it is beautiful and I SOOO want it for me next year”. And I guess they do!! =)

  118. kelle, I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago and cannot tell you how much I love it. As a mom of two boys a little younger than your girls, I too want to capture and freeze the moments of their childhood. Dancing in the kitchen, days in the park, giggling in bed together…they remind me how the ordinary days are the biggest gifts of all. Your girls are beautiful and your writing is beautiful…it makes me cry in a good way. Thank you for inspiring me.

  119. I love the quilt your little darling is laying on. Did you make this? Or can it be found somewhere? Love it!

  120. I love how colorful your life is! Looks like you guys had a blast! :)

  121. Great post, Kelle…I like your philosophy on the “merge”. The girls’ costumes were adorable! Is little Nella always happy? It sure seems that she is!

  122. What a fun Halloween you all had. And how much excitement for the upcoming holidays?! I’m right there with ya waving the holiday flags. So happy we get three more consecutive months that bring the grandest of celebrations with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Can you believe you’ll be celebrating Nella’s first year thrown in there?! Keep waving the flags!

    Much love.

  123. Use your imagination not to scare yourself to death but to inspire yourself to life.

    – Adele Brookman

  124. OH MY GOSH Kelle!!!
    you are just AMAZING!
    love your photos!!


  126. Hi Kelle…Where did you get Nella’s knit rainbow leggings pictured in the final picture of this post?? I need to get some for my little one :) I agree with the other poster that posting where you got clothing (though it might too arduous, it would be helpful to us mammas) 😉

  127. Great Halloween pictures!

  128. I’m crazy about those polka dot tights! I hope one day I have a little girl that can rock some awesome tights like those. I just don’t think that my little man would appreciate them…

  129. I’m crazy about those polka dot tights! I hope one day I have a little girl that can rock some awesome tights like those. I just don’t think that my little man would appreciate them…

  130. I love the polka dot tights! I hope one day I have a little girl to rock awesome tights like those. I just don’t think my little man would appreciate them…

  131. Love the canvas idea Kelle! I have just recently a)bought a new camera b)started a blog c)started organizing my photo wall. All things I have had on a list for a long time now but needed a kick up the butt to get going! Your beautiful blog inspired me to JUST DO IT!! Thanks for the kick chick!!! BTW, check out my blog and let me know what you think….you’ll see my Ruby Dubes there (she is 4 with DS), she is truly AMAZING and your little Nella brings back those incredible memories of that magical first year!! Check it out….

  132. ok this year i dove head first into halloween, embraced it with open arms.

    my parents out of the country. bwahahaha!

  133. i love your photos! and i especially love that quilt!

  134. I’ve borrowed this and tucked it into my journal, for easy reference and refreshment during the upcoming wonder of the holiday season.

    It may make its way onto the fridge at some frenzied point in the festivities, where it will soothe and smooth the way back to ENJOY.

  135. i’m right there with you on the holiday love, and halloween is by far, my fave…or is it valentines? or easter? i went to target this morning, got a big bin and went through the halloween on clearance leftovers to stalk up for next year, because yes, i DO need those hand towels with skulls and yes i DO need a bright orange glittery pumpkin.

  136. I love all the Halloween pictures but as someone who grew up in Pittsburgh and is a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I absolutely adore the two little Steelers.

  137. Kelle,
    I just love reading your blog. Each post brings a smile to my face or a sweet tear to my eye. Thank you so much for putting it all out there. It means a whole lot to a whole lot of people, including me. :)

  138. I love your blog!!! You and your family are an inspiration to moms everywhere. I am a new mom and when I read your blog its like reading my own thoughts on the computer. I often wonder is it really possible to love this tiny person so much, I feel like my heart is going to explode with so much love. Keep on enjoying the little things (I know I do)!

  139. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your blog makes my day. And sometimes I just open up Firefox to your blog site and let the music play – my kids love it! And woohoo!!! I shamelessly bring out my Christmas finger towels with embroidered red bows and candy canes too (although lately I have occasionally used them for burp cloths)!!

  140. Halloween! One of my favorite holidays =). I love reading your blog and sucking in that awesome positive energy you shove at those reading it. You seriously brighten up my day! Love Always

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