Alone, Together

I drove alone yesterday—only a half hour to the pottery place downtown to pick up some pieces Lainey had painted and intended to give away for Christmas, but in true Hampton fashion, we forgot about them and they’ve been sitting, homeless, on a shelf since December 21st.

Family, see anything you like? Make your dibs.

Brett stayed home with the girls and I had a small window of time to get there and back as Nella had therapy and I like to be there for it. But traffic was a real rhymes-with-witch-and-starts-with-a-B, so come the third red light on the way home and getting stuck behind some old man who might as well have pedaled his bike along 41, I was tense, tapping the steering wheel and muttering a whole lot of “Oh, Come on”s. Until I realized I needed to chill out. I was alone, and I’m never alone. And though I love tilting the rear view mirror to catch a blonde head behind me to the left and chubby feet kicking to the right, sometimes it is nice to breathe and think and replenish the parts of myself that are separate from the all-encompassing title of Mama that defines so much of me…even though I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So I rolled down the windows, cranked up the volume and sang with gusto Sheryl Crow’s Strong Enough so loudly, I’m pretty sure the old man who should have pedaled his bike heard it too. I know every word to that song. I owned that CD when I was 16. Except a week after I got it, my church youth group said it was worldly and evil and coaxed me into breaking it in half along with the other 12 worldly CDs I had just scored for free from my BMG music club subscription, and I’ve never gotten over it. It makes me sing that song really passionately. Pent up anger.

I want my CD back.

I called Brett and told him I’d be home in two seconds. Which means “I’m going to Dairy Queen by myself and I’m not going to tell you.”


So, while Lainey helped Jonah coax Nella to stand and stay on all fours and Brett waited for me to roll in the driveway in my promised “two seconds,” I hovered over a hot fudge sundae with extra whipped cream under the old red A-frame roof of the Naples DQ and downed my ice cream like a Hoover vac.


I picked a hidden picnic table in the back, but I saw one of the workers watching me eat from a window where he was making a Blizzard or something, and I was embarrassed because of how fast I was eating. I inhaled that poor sundae, scraping the last bits of hot fudge with my fingers and licking them clean. But, oh you have to do that sometimes, eh?

I drove the rest of the way anxiety-free. I waved on anyone who tried to cut in front of me. I smiled. I pulled my left knee up on the seat all cool and casual and heard my driver’s ed teacher yelling in my head. I tried to memorize the words to the new Kesha song on the radio and imagined how I’d bust out the lyrics later when I had it down pat. Maybe I’d throw in some cool moves. Definitely something my old youth group wouldn’t approve of. To get back for all those CDs they made me break.

Oh, but I’m off on quite a tangent. Redirecting…

I returned for the last fifteen minutes of therapy and Jonah joked I should have stayed away. Because my girl is stretching and reaching for me and she’ll have nothing to do with crawling and standing now. I love that my girl stretches and reaches for me.



I missed them. I missed them for two silly hours and though I very much liked my car solo and riding with the windows down and learning the words to the Kesha song (hot and dangerous, if you’re one of us then roll with us cuz we make the hipsters fall in love when we got our hot pants on and up and yes of course we does…okay, that’s all I got and I’m good at botching lyrics)…where was I…yes, though I happily swim in the tranquil waters of my rare alone times, I even more happily cannonball into the vibrant ripples of the good, the loud, the empowering laughter and neediness and loveliness of my family.



Today, we drove again. A different drive. One where I was reaching back to shovel wheat puffs in a little mouth and asking Lainey to stop kicking Daddy’s seat. And after a few errands, I asked Brett if we could just drive.

“You just want me to drive?” he repeated.

“Yeah, can we just drive for fun…like a local road trip?”

And he smiles and turns the opposite direction of home. And I am happy.


We ventured down hidden streets and found secret horse farms and empty lots. And on the way home we passed my favorite tree, and Brett pulled over so Lainey could pick some fallen flowers.



And the funniest part of this story is that A, you should know I’m terrified of cops. Like I think I’m going to get arrested at any given moment. Like I’m not kidding, if I go in Dunkin Donuts to get a coffee and there is a police officer paying for a donut, I am quite certain he is going to think I stole my coffee and cuff me. And B, while we are picking flowers, I see two men on bikes. They are pedaling toward us and they are wearing white shirts and ties. And I freak out and say to Brett, “Here come the cops.” Because I just know they’re coming to get me for picking flowers and they are going to cart me off all cuffed and arrested on the back of their bikes. And I’m not joking. Brett starts laughing and says, “Kelle, I think they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses” and I suddenly see their backpacks with their Bibles and my shoulders drop and I am so relieved I’m not going to jail. Even though I know there is nothing illegal about picking fallen flowers in an empty lot.


I love how Alone and Together live in harmony. Like orbiting planets pulled together by gravity. We don’t have to be defined by motherhood because there’s an intricate infrastructure of talents and dreams and passions that makes us women who are strong enough to stand alone. And yet, ask any mother and she’ll probably tell you there’s nothing more incredible she’d rather be defined by than the amazingness of her littles and her family.

Lovin’ my solar system tonight.



And thrilled to lick and turn the pages of the next chapter, soon to come…spring is on the way. Brett predicts the significant cold fronts are over, and we’re in for the steady incline of blue skies and hot sun. We are preparing appropriately with popsicles and garden hose showers.


Nella’s first popsicle, but you would have never known it. She knew just what to do, thanks to watchin’ her sister like a hawk.


Happy Sunny Skies.


The winner of the Tiny Hiney onesie is Commenter #426, Emily: We curse tile, too (and hard wood, and concrete…the boy has a BIG head!) Beautiful analogies and gorgeous pictures. That Millie is adorable, as are her big sis AND mama! Craving frozen yogurt (and a sunny afternoon to enjoy it!) now…

Congratulations, Emily! Please send your contact info to



Leave a Comment
  1. Kelle- I’m having a really down day, and I re-checked your blog to see if maybe there’d be a little boost of “Damn. Life is SO freakin’ precious! How did I slip and forget today?”
    And then I saw “updated 1 minute ago.” Sigh of relief. And on cue, you came through for me with a reminder of the small things that make life so worth living. Thank you for that today!!!

  2. Not going to lie! I am BEYOND jealous! Our Dairy Queen is still closed for the season, and we have snow everywhere (surely not a good idea for us to run around in skirts & swimsuits just yet!) such a beautiful post darling. ♥ such a beautiful time. I’m smitten. =)

  3. So beautiful. You’re an amazing mom and so inspirational. I want to be the kind of mother you are to my daughter. I am glad you had some time to yourself we all need it!

    keep up the good work and I love all the pictures especially nella’s outfit when she’s eating the Popsicle.

  4. Beautiful words, and I can totally relate to loving the quiet, but at the same time missing them like crazy! You’re girls are beautiful!

  5. Kelle,

    Tonight was just hell for me and I made it that way for my husband too..didnt mean to, just one of “those” nights. We both just went to our laptops and I clicked your new post to hear Sheryl Crow’s song. You know what happened?–We started laughing!! Both of us just cracking up to tears in our eyes. IT WAS PERFECT. Thank you for causing that moment and making us realize to laugh at life when times get rough. Seriously love you and everything you are doing for your family, friends, and followers.

    My quote for the week–to my husband Adam, “Are you strong enough to be my man?”

    Happy day tomorrow!

  6. Your posts are such a treat for me. Just as good as the very first hot cup of coffee each morning. I love how you love your “littles.” You inspire me to live each day brilliantly. You are one amazing mama to two gorgeous little girls.

  7. I love love love the song “Strong Enough” I also belt it out and I have moved from CDS to Ipods iwth it on it. I love your photo documenting. I wish I had the time to take as many pictures as you do and let’s face it you have a beautiful family to work with. I look forward to your blog posts and you are a inspiration to all mommies out there.

  8. Oh I love that you inhaled your sundae! What a great way to carve out a minute for yourself.

  9. I always think I’m going to be pulled over by the cops too. Always. I can be going two miles over the speed limit and following all the other traffic laws, with people whizzing by me and driving distractedly. But I have the beacon that says “she’s right here, she’s the one you want”. I know it’s silly but I honestly can’t help myself. I drive my husband crazy with this too because even if he’s driving I feel like they’ll pull us over because I’m the beacon in the car.

  10. I am loving Nella’s little polka dot jumpsuit (or is it a pair of bathers??) and Lainey’s bathers are too cute for words!
    Fab post – you always make me smile :)

  11. I am so glad you were there to bear witness to that beautiful tree so that I could enjoy it also. It is so vibrant..and those flowers that it just tosses down like it ain’t no thang. Just one of those blossoms could be studied for days…amazing.
    I am having a hard time with our winter landscape lately…even when the 2 feet of snow thaws around the edges all you see is brown mush. Not very inspiring…
    I totally know the embarrassment of greedily sneaking a treat. Girl Scout cookie time comes with lots of turning my back and shoving in cookies and eating them in one bite so nobody sees…love me some tag-a-longs!

  12. Best.Post.EVER!
    This was so good. Seriously, I just ‘got’ it all. Everything down to the chubby little feet kicking in my rearview…

    The only thing I hate about this post?! That you guys are eating popsicles and icecream outside in your bathing suits, while I sit holed up inside cause it’s -40 Celcius. Could you try to make your next post a little less ‘warm!?’ LOL!!


  13. Oh, Kelle. Your words never fail me. I was just talking to my husband about how I long for alone time and when I get it, I spend it all planning things to do with my kiddos…and then I miss my babies like mad! It’s funny how us mamas are :)

    Your Sweet Nella looks just like her daddy! I love the pictures of Lainey running from her big brother! Your life is beautiful, Kelle! You are truly blessed!

    Happy Wednesday, to you!

  14. oh and btw. Got a first birthday to plan. You up for the gig?????

  15. that was awesome.

    much needed tonight. thanks

  16. Oh wow. Oh, WOW!

    I too broke CD’s because I believed them to be demonic; that the only way to rid them of their evil was to destroy them.

    My then boyfriend (now husband) did it too.

    I broke countless CD’s… probably around 50… And the last to go? My 8 Beatles albums… That was the hardest. And I’m bitter as hell about it still.

    I’m even writing a book. Seriously.

    Anyway, I love to watch your balancing act and I can sooo relate. It’s an art that takes a life time to perfect.

    Beautiful as always Kelle. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Kelle, your post made me smile. Which is a relief after what has been happening in Christchurch, NZ.

    I loved seeing the happiness in all of your photos, rather the sadness in all the photos we have seen in the last 3 days.

    Thank you for that Kelle, it means a lot. Have a wonderful week.

  18. Thanks for stopping at DQ and telling us about it. No DQs here in So.MD. Miss them and I’m jealous.
    And, I know what you mean about pedestrians and people on bikes in FL. Really!?! Do they have a death wish???

  19. Oh – you’re making me wish away the last 16 days till my Naples visit! I can’t wait until my feet hit the sand again and I’m surrounded by palm trees… and the lack of snow covering everything!! I think I’ve been behind that guy driving down Immokalee with a little in the back past her bedtime – as I HAD to witness a sunset that was past her bedtime!!
    Any suggestions on activities I should do while in Naples?? Keep in mind I’m there to watch a two-year-old while her family is on vacation and will have her in tow where ever I go 😉
    Can’t wait to be under your blue skies and soaking up some rays!!

  20. I would like to kiss that Nella, scoop her up into my arms and smooch her like I smooch my own boy (who is growing up WAY too fast I might add). LOVE those girls of yours Kel, thanks for letting me into their world. Tennyson (my boy) and I pray for them (and you) often. LOVE you girls in Naples. Come visit us in Seattle anytime!

  21. “I got Jesus on my necklace…ace..ace…” that is party of that song you were singing by Ke$ha! Love it – my son is almost 10 and got me listening to the pop station and now I put it on when I’m alone so I can sing Ke$ha and Usher at the top of my lungs and my boys don’t think I’m crazy!! Great post as usual Kelle!

  22. Kelle, you are so funny! You brought back my memories of buying CD’s from BMG and waiting anxiously for them to arrive in the mail. I still have my Sheryl Crow ‘Strong Enough’ CD … thanks for the reminder!

    I love the picture of Nella eating a popsicle all alone for the first time and look forward to the summertime when my littlest one can do that too :)

    Loved reading what you had to say today!

  23. Kelle…love your blog! Great post!

  24. I hear you about the cops thing. I pass a cop and think “they’re totally going to bust me” for what, I have no idea.

  25. I could walk to DQ if I wanted. Dangerous!

    Guess what song is going to be stuck in everyone’s head tomorrow??

    God, I feel like hell tonight
    Tears of rage I cannot fight
    I’d be the last to help you understand.
    Are you strong enough to be my man?

    Nothing’s true and nothing’s right
    So let me be alone tonight
    Cause you can’t change the way I am
    Are you strong enough to be my man?

    Jill B (Overland Park, KS)

  26. You always weave everything together : ) Kesha and the Dairy Queen and the therapist and the dinner and the drive to no where and the cops (aka Jehovah Witnesses). I am glad you are a word weaver. And I am so glad I get to come and read your weavings.

  27. just have to say that lainey’s pottery is quite whimsical and perfect in an imperfect way. it’s something i would want to buy. i go bananas for the mismatchy wonderful childish things in life.

  28. Thanks for this post, you always put things so well and cheer me up everytime I read!

  29. 1) I came back from church camp with the realization that New Kids on the Block’s music was wrong and was ready to get rid of all of my buttons, pillowcases, posters, etc. I no longer desired to be Mrs. Joey McIntire.

    2) I also belonged to BMG and had hundreds and hundreds of CDs!

    3) Ah, sweet alone time! My children are 18 months apart so it is just too much to grocery shop with both of them by myself. I go at night when they are in bed. I loathe Wal Mart, but I walk as slow as I possibly can, just trying to savor the moment of being alone with my thoughts and taking my sweet time.

    Thanks for tonight’s post, it made me laugh and I could so identify with it!

  30. these girls just slay me!

    i always miss my boys when i take a kid-free trip to target and i see all the moms and kids there together. it’s uncanny, every time.

  31. I can’t stop giggling at those CUTE Popsicle pictures with Nella!! PRECIOUS!

  32. Most likely those two young men in white shirts on bikes were Mormon missionaries. They have a wonderful message to share if you ever get the opportunity to listen.
    I’m a grandmother of an amazing, darling little boy with DS. Your blog is inspiring, uplifting and a boon to all families so blessed.

  33. Beautiful post and pictures, as always.

    I share your fear of the po-po. Which is funny considering that I was raised by a cop and grew up surrounded by them.

  34. Beautiful pictures, lovely words!
    Oh how I love the feeling of driving alone with the windows down & butchering lyrics at the top of my lungs. Makes me feel young & alive & happy. Loving that Florida weather too… am hoping that Brett is right & that the sun will continue… as we will be there in a week for a family reunion.
    Life is as delicious as a DQ hot fudge sundae!

  35. Very interesting…. I just recently pulled out that same Sheryl Crow CD & was just listening to “Strong Enough” myself this morning.. After dropping off 15 1/2 year old (smartypants) who grumbled, “I don’t wanna listen to Fork-Knife-Spoon CD..” I’m a couple of years older than you so have different and happier memories tied to those songs… A road trip to a fun, drunken houseboating weekend (Sheryl Crow, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Greatest, Bob Marley) when I had no boyfriend, no babies, 100% free to have all the fun I could cram in to a hot, sunny long weekend :-)
    I need to go back & read whole post, start to finish, but had to comment on the soundtrack of the solo car ride. I get far more solo moments now that boys are older… But I still treasure the alone time (& whipped cream on a mocha or vanilla latte is frequently involved! 😉
    P.S. One of our old neighbors is Sheryl C’s tour mgr; she’s still going strong!! 😀

  36. The sun looks so nice! (It’s snowing here in Washington.)

  37. You can do so much better than Kesha music!

  38. o, be still my freakin’ heart…Nella babe. angel kissed cheeks and eyes that smile for days. and if pictures do not lie, and they rarely lie in my book, then the tale they speak of Lainey is one of a soul sister down deep, with a heart that feels things on a vibe soft and wise.

    the flowers are divine…orange is my favorite-y color. happy sunshine, indeed.

    lay down the rhythm, sister girl. the base is bumpin’ and we’re doin’ the window-down-hand-rollin’-on-a-Sunday-drive-breeze.

    big love.

  39. I love the stolen Mommy moment spent singing loudly, gobbling up sundeas, and missing littles! The missing makes the together that much better! Love it!
    p.s. Can you send some of your sun up to Indiana?I could go for something warm on my face right about now:)

  40. Lovely pics, as always!
    I envy your sunny, warm days..!
    Love, Anna

  41. nella & her popsicle. wow. love it.

  42. Loved today’s random thoughts as you made me laugh!

    I went to a Christian campe one summer in the 80’s and they were breaking their cassett tapes. I didn’t bring mine. Funny the memories you have.

    Boys in white shirts, black ties are the mormon ones! :o)

  43. A beautifull post, carefree mamma, enjoying life and her littlies. You are an inspiration to so many mamma’s out there.

  44. …Don’t mess with us…got Jesus on my neck-a-lace…

    I love that song so hard right now.

    I also love DQ. Blizzards are my fave.

  45. Probably Mormon Missionaries. They are all pretty nice and have a great message to share.

    I hear ya on the cops though! As soon as I see one, I hit the brakes. And I got pulled over for drunk driving. Yep, me, Mormon, sober, little old me. I was delivering and went a little too much on the wrong side of the road. Called my hubby and just about died laughing. Him, not so much.

  46. Loving the pictures of Nella with her popsicle!

    I totally know how you feel about wanting to carve out time for yourself, and then missing them like crazy once you are away. I’m good for a couple of hours sometimes, but mostly I miss them after about 30 minutes, haha.

    Hmmmm its been years since I’ve been to a Dairy Queen …..

  47. When we were little we would “sniff” out the Dairy Queens. And if it was someplace we knew we’d be driving by one our sniffing started early, until the driver would get tired of the noise and stop! It sounded like someone was hauling a bunch of pigs!
    Miss Nella makes me smile.
    Miss Lainey makes me giggle, I loved how her blue sucker peeked out againet the orange flowered tree. COOL.

  48. Popsicles in February? I’m rather jealous, we’re expecting snow tonight! As always, I feel encouraged by your words and inspired by your photos. Xo, Katie

  49. I love your new blog header!! And the pictures of the flowers on that tree – and the popsicles – and the girls – sigh!! We are at -33 degrees C (that’s -25 degrees F) with the windchill and the snowdrifts are mid-thigh :( We’re along ways from hoses and swimsuits – so I’ll be living vicariously through your blog. Thanks for posting such happiness so often – and enjoy those alone moments and stolen sundaes!

  50. I really enjoyed your blog tonight, reading about Lainey’s love for flowers brings me back to the first time Kora held one and much like your cop story she was terrified on the flower. I’m serious!!! She thought that flower just might jump up and bite her. I remember it like yesterday… she screamed!!! Dropped the flower and crawled away as if it were chasing her 😉 She’s two now and I know I’m so blessed, reading your blog puts me at peace like no book you could ever read.

  51. Although I don’t have kids attached to my hip, or much of the duties of a busy mother, I totally understand that need for solitude. There is something about being alone with your thoughts and being able to quick do something with just yourself to tag along that is refreshing. I love being near people- they fuel me. I thrive off of laughter and happiness and being with those I love. But sometimes there is nothing more I want than just to be alone with myself for company.

    That guy watching you was probably just envious because you were alone eating an awesome ice cream and he had to be at work making them all day! And sing that song as loud as you can! I love singing in the car…after college I put in my favorite CD and blast it all the way home. I can’t hear myself singing it’s that loud. Love it. Music can be such sweet sweet therapy.

    Nella is so freaking cool. I’m just throwing that out there. Look at her rocking that popsicle!! Everytime I look at a picture of her she’s always either got a pensive thoughtful look on her face, or a smile, or she’s laughing. She is on her way to being one adorable sweet toddler, just like her big sister.

    and, I must point out that I am the same way with cops. On my way back from my date today there were cops behind us and I was just thinking “any minute now they’re going to turn on their lights and ask us to pull over” even though we weren’t doing anything!

  52. I am so grateful I am not the only one who secretly loves Kesha and some others, cough cough…eminem. When I drive alone I love to crank it with them and feel like I am young and careless…lol. But on the flipside I love being with my family, and can appreciate a long drive to unknown destinations. I love this post, everything about it is what it is like to be a girl, and a mom.

  53. “I called Brett and told him I’d be home in two seconds. Which means ‘I’m going to Dairy Queen by myself and I’m not going to tell you.'”
    Goodness, I really thought I was the only one who does this to my husband, lol! Right here, guilty as charged, I have done the exact same thing, be it coffee, ice-cream, etc. Not sure why, because if I told him, he’d surely be okay with it, because that’s the kind of sweetie I am married to. He also knows me too well because when I do get home, he busts me with a warm hug and an ‘uh-huh?’ LOVE my man and love your blog!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU KELLE!!! (Tell Brett he’s not alone!)

  54. All growing up we used to go on “rides.” We never went anywhere in particular. We would just drive around. My grandparents would drive out to the country so I could see cows and farms. They would remark at how the houses were crawling further and further south. My parents would drive us around after church on Sunday. We’d eat donuts in the car and then hit all of the model houses in the new developments pretending as if we were going to move. Now my husband, baby and I drive. We look for cool new restaurants or shops we haven’t seen before. Such an adventure, and an easy one at that!

  55. I have that cop guilt, too! Haha.

  56. Oh my gosh… I’m pretty sure we went to the same youth group! lol Except they got to me early enough to prevent me from actually buying any of the cds… I make up for it now, though, and dance extra to songs like My Humps. Yikes… I just admitted that I dance. I am totally going to hell, right?

  57. In love with Lainey’s skirt!! I want it for my daughter!!

  58. My husband bought me an 80s CD this Christmas so that I could enjoy all the songs my parents and youth group wouldn’t allow!

    The WORST religious ruination is having people who believe in divine health and wealth telling us that we need to pray in tongues more and stay at the altar until we figure out our sins, repent, and get our healing for our boy with cystic fibrosis (genetic). Took me years to reject that and be as loving, positive, and life-enjoying as you, Kelle. Our boy is now 16, we have 6 kids, and have made our peace with CF. Life is still good ~ actually, better, even with CF!

  59. HAHAHA!! I laughed so hard about your Jahovah Witness story. Just the other day we were driving and we’re coming up behind a couple of J.W. boys on bikes… and my husband says “you can always tell that they’re Jahovah Witness’s because they wear helmets”… I was like, “really? It’s not because they’re the only ones that wear full suits while riding their bikes? It’s because of their helmets???”

    That’s soooo funny that you thought they were cops. :)

  60. You said it perfectly in your first paragraph! The other day, I was alone in my car driving to Target, and it made me miss my pre-mommy days, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Beautiful post as always.

  61. Sheryl Crow…Strong Enough…BMG! Ditto. :) Only my youth group didn’t convince me to snap all my “secular, worldly” CDs…otherwise I would probably have the pent up anger you have too. Sing it loud and sing it proud, girl- Jesus still loves you!

  62. Thanks for the reminder about Sheryl Crow!!! We have her blasting on the i-pod and the girls and I are dancing around on the deck before I head out for some “alone” time with the girls from my Mum’s group for dinner!!!

    I love you blog and suggest it to heaps of my friends!

    Keep up the amazing work! xox

  63. Love doing random car rides. Having no where to go and just driving for the hell of it is the best.

    Oh and you had the Ke$ha lyrics right :) I was singing along as I was reading your post haha.

  64. Haha…I’m a cop. You don’t seem very arrestable to me. (Is that a word?) :) Come to Phoenix…you can do a ride along with me or my hubby (both cops) and you can meet my incredible little sis. She has D.S. and she is amazing. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. :) xoxo, Randi

  65. Quite certain those cute boys were Mormon missionaries. (Yes, I am assuming they were cute.) Cuz we’re the ones who ride the bikes and are young. 19-21 years old.

    Laughing about your BMG subscription. Oh, the good ol’ days of getting 10 CDs for a penny! I always had a hard time fulfilling my part of the contract and then they started sending me stupid CDs that I would’ve never chosen but still had to buy.

    Miss you!


  66. I read all your posts but don’t usually comment – you get so many… but I am in earlier today! Just want to say thanks for cheering my days with pictures of your gorgeous girls. I don’t think I have ever seen a more lovely smile than Nella’s. It makes me want to gaze at her, just like I gaze at my own daughter. (She’s 28 now and I still gaze!) And though I’m old enough to be your mum (probably!) I can still relate to your hopes and concerns. Your posts make me laugh and touch me to my depths in equal measure. Thank you. Every blessing to you all.

  67. Hi Kelle,
    I like your suggestion to Brett of going for an adventure drive in your own area! Such spontaneous fun!

  68. great post as usual! I also enjoy the solo drives once in awhile. But I seriously thought I was the only one in the world who did the left knee up, foot on the seat deal :) No matter how wrong it is…its my favorite way to drive on a road trip!

  69. Oh I am just ending myself at this post!!! The cops thing is just so me, I read it out to my hubby and he was laughing too! I am always sure that a police car us going to u turn as it drives past me!! My husband works in forensics so he thinks it is hilarious!!

    Also , I went to the supermarket alone yesterday and loved it! It just never happens! I am a bit jealous though, I can’t hear your music :-( it says it’s not available in my country! I always want to listen when people comment on your song choices!

    Thanks for starting my day with a smile on my face! xx

  70. Always love your posts. My 4 year old daughter has both the skirt and the swimsuit Lainey was wearing. Gotta love Target. I think the boys on bikes were Mormon missionaries too. Years ago my husband was a Mormon missionary in Naples. One of the many reasons I love your blog. Fun to see a little bit of where he lived.

  71. Kelle.. I work with a whole mess of cops everyday.. sometimes I think they are going to do that very same thing to me. And I work with them! Natural feeling I guess. But I’ve never met more loving fathers and mothers than my officers.. Just the sight of your littles would probably get them to come over and want to help them pick those flowers.. :)

  72. you are gorgeous Kelle, just gorgeous!

  73. I love that you have a favorite tree!! I have one too, in every place I reside long enough. And here I thought I was the only one so attached to the fellas.

  74. Kelle, your words move me like few writers do these days. Thank you. You are so eloquent and have a way of expressing emotions that so many of us share, and yet cannot describe. I too love my solar system, and wouldn’t change it for the world.

  75. Such stunning shots, so crammed full of life and love. I’m loving the sunshine you’re having, the polka dottedness, and your infectiously fun twist on life. Thanks, Kelle!

  76. I’m with you on the irrational fear of cops. Yesterday I saw lights up ahead on the other side of the divided four lane highway, that had already pulled over a huge truck. And although I saw they had already pulled someone over, something in me had a minor freak out, and pulled over, too.

  77. This post is so much fun!! I was laughing, and smiling, and laughing out loud.
    I love the Nella and the Popsicle date, so sweet!
    And I love Laney’s all dressed up picture jumping under the blooming tree, so very sweet!

  78. We use to take my grandma out for dinner on Friday night and then for a drive on back roads. She would tell us who lived here and there. I miss that. I was happy to read that other people take those random drives too! Love your blog!

  79. This is so well written. I love this line.. I happily swim in the tranquil waters of my rare alone times..

  80. Oh Kelle…your post made me bust out and laugh this morning…I’m just a mama in love with my girlies and and capturing them through my lens…oh yea-I’m a cop too:) And believe it or not-some of us are nice…heheh *hugs* thanks for making my smile…you almost always do:)

  81. Hi again, this day!

    I only had a minute to myself this morning and just hurried in for a quick refill of energy. Which, of course, I found in your always amazing photos!

    Now, during lunch by the computer at work, I took the luxury of reading the words also. How great to see that we’re so alike all over the world: women.

    I too went “just for a ride” recently with hubby and son and how exciting it was, finding new places!

    Thanks, as always, for brightening up my day!

  82. You made my day with a BMG reference! I am totally smiling this morning while I dig through my patient’s chart and am swamped by paperwork! LOVE that “Strong Enough” song!

  83. Ok…I of course loved this post, and it was written so lovely, as always. I laughed with each inner thought of yours. I just had to say that although I love that Ke$ha song, try Katie Perry’s Hot and Cold…I ALMOST HAVE THAT ONE NAILED!!!! Nella is so adorable with her popsicle. And Lainey with those flowers…GORGEOUS! Thanks for sharing~Laura

  84. Ha! I am the same way with cops. lol. I love ‘just driving’ too. I always do that in the summer. Me, my hubby, and my boys. We like to just drive for FUN. :) Love your post today. 😉

  85. every.single.time i read your blog i think how amazing it is that you write about our lives (i say “our” in the sense that we are both moms to little ones and our days are spent doing similar things) and with your words and photos, take the simplest things and make them beautiful. your words are so touching/fun/interesting/meaningful to read, and your photography inspires me in my quest to capture the special, small moments. just wanted to thank you for sharing your gift of loving life with us.

  86. I, too, fear the cops. i thought i was the only one with this little quirk. :)

  87. Whew! Glad you didn’t get arrested by those Jehova’s Witnesses!! LMAO!!!!!!!!!!! Great post Kelle! No favorite picture this time – love them all. xo

  88. I had to laugh at the “I’ll be home in two seconds” I used to do that quite a bit when I needed some momma time :) I’m slightly jealous that you are able to eat popsicles in February. we are expecting another 4-8 inches of snow tonight. Have a great week Hampton family.

  89. Dairy Queen! We had a hint of spring weather this week so we walked down to Dairy Queen just to see if maybe they would open for ONE day because it was so beautiful out but,no. Still closed until the end of March…I love how you think that you are going to get arrested at any given moment.I am like that as well.Its like in school when the teacher asked who stole the chalk ,and I know it was not me,but I feel all panicky and my face starts to flush and now I am starting to look like the guilty one..It never fails..Anyway,moving on-I love Lainey trying to get in on the action in the car picture! so adorable.There really is nothing like having a few moments out for yourself.Even if it is just to drive to the corner store to get some milk. But when you get home having your baby stretch and reach for you well,that is pure heaven:)Love it! Happy one day until friday and then it is the weekend day!

  90. Oh you are cracking me up, my husband tells me that I have a fear of “Authority” that’s why I don’t trust cops or have a healthy fear of them. :)

    I know I have found myself lately when without anyone in the vehicle reaching for the volume knob turning it up ever so slightly. The past 2.5 years I’ve been toting around a little lady in my vehicle. She’s a treasure to have with me but she has taken over the selection of music, dvd’s playing in the back seat while driving. It is great! It is those moments when I’m alone that I drive in silence for a while before I realize I’m the only one in my car then the knob just starts going up, up, up!!! By the time I am at my destination and returning home I will sometimes find the longest route to take but then also feel a bit of urgency to get home as I miss that little lady that takes up my days. :)

  91. Oh the good old BMG music club…thanks for making me smile!

  92. Totally know what you mean about learning to enjoy those little moments when you can be YOU and not mom for a minute…but also when you get home just how good it feels to be there! Love this blog so much. Thank you

  93. Your youth group wasn’t the only one that encouraged the breaking of music. I still haven’t wraped my head around the whole thing.
    Should I be happy for the guidance or resentful, after all music expresses so much of life and I live in this worldly world.

    So as for now keep singing outloud it renergizes the soul.

  94. Ah I wrote my college entry essay about my memories of that Dairy Queen. Thanks for the visual and all of the memories it stirs. Headed to Naples next month and will have to bring my kids for a sundae.

  95. I love this. Thank you for inspiring me on a day when I can use some inspiration – I’ll either be having my baby girl (with DS, who I hope and pray is as beautiful as Nella) tonight or next Thursday! I’ve been in waiting mode for weeks, as they thought she’d be a premie and now they have to induce. Thank you for reminding me to enjoy NOW.

  96. I claim the green mug!!! :)

  97. Love this post. I get antsy too when I leave on an errand until I remind myself to chill out and enjoy the quiet or loud of a very fun new song. You’re lovely and so is your family.

  98. Nella and the popcicle is the cutest thing ever, totally made my day!!!

  99. BEAUTIFUL again!! Love it!!

  100. oo i love thiS!


  101. …we runnin’ this town just like a club, and no you don’t wanna mess with us, got Jesus on my neck-a-lus-us-us… 😉

  102. This post has me cracking up! LOL I can relate to so much. Enjoying my few free moments, but missing my family too. Getting rid of cd’s at church that I wish I would have kept and a freaky fear of police. I am always sure I am going to get pulled over, even though I drive like a grandma and have never done anything illegal in my life! Well, nothing I could actually get arrested for ; )

  103. LOVE THIS!! Too many broken CD’s to count, adding in the Hell-e-vision and the Hell-e-phone From looking through the prior comments, there should be some sort of therapy group for us!! HAHAHAHA
    I will have to take a road trip with my family this weekend… and not go far at all..
    Thanks Kelle.. a new favorite post!

  104. What a beautiful tree/flowers!!! What kind of tree is that?

  105. So much awesomeness….where do I begin? You have made me so excited/impatient for the warmer weather to GET HERE! We have a DQ in walking distance from our house, but it is closed for the season. I can’t wait to walk over there this summer with my little Mags and share the wonder of some delish soft serve. Nella’s bathing suit is A-dorable, love it! And can I get an AMEN for having a Mommy alone minute…

  106. I love my kids but I also love Wed. afternoons when my son’s in school and my Mom takes my daughter for a couple of hours. I try to use it for me time but honestly a lot of it is used for errands and cleaning.

    When I was a kid my parents would take us for a drive almost every Sun. I think it was a way to unwind. I loved it. When I talk about it my husband looks at me like I’m nuts. I’ve been known to take off for a drive when things get crazy or I need a break.

    When my son received early intervention therapy my husband had to be here for his sessions. If I was home, he absolutely refused to work. We never figured out why but it made me a little sad to miss out on things. But, I knew if it meant he was making progress then my hurt feelings were worth it.

  107. The only personae I fear more than police are clowns…clearly caused by the movies where they stop by your house and kill you. Yes, Kelle, many of us are renewed by being alone–I am quite sure you are renewed by immersing yourself in the loud frenzy of the masses. I am pleased you appreciate the singular slice of life known as “Me Time.” And I too was raised in a culture condemning dance and any music that had a beat our parents thought satanic…like once we heard it, we would sell our souls. I loved Abba, The Village People, Donna Summer and so many other forbidden voices. I somehow can hear a vibrant beat for heaven’s reception hall. Please remember your father in Michigan, bracing for yet another round of snow tomorrow. I can identify the blizzard flashcard if you hold it up. Love u!


  108. I’m cursing your youth group right now! Seriously ….

    And those red shoes are adorable … where’d you get them? :)

    Adorable pics as usual!

  109. Love that DQ in Naples! We’ll be there in April. Maybe we will be scarfing sundaes together.

  110. I am amazed at how Nella is changing. She is growing! (I’m sure too fast for you.)

    As for ice cream and cops; it’s all a time issue. I’m sure many moms have been seen inhaling ice cream (or chocolate) at astounding speeds considering they will have to attend to someone else’s needs soon thereafter. And why does our heart race when we see a police car sitting on a side street? Dunno. Maybe ’cause we’re high tailing it home to our bugaboos. :)

  111. The worst thing about your blog posts are when they END!! seriously! It’s such a tease when i see the cursor is tiny so I’m like Oh yes it’s a long blog post! (come to find out a lot of the tiny cursor indications are all your comments! haha) I truly love reading your blog

    This was a great post and it makes me long for spring. Here in Boston it’s still 30 degrees and I’d die for a blizzard from DQ but they are not open!

    xoxox enjoy the warm weather and your amazing family :)

  112. I think we went to the same youth group except I hid my CD’s :) But I still carry the guilt of it all. AND I am terrified of the cops too, just like what you said, John is always laughing at me for it.

  113. I have to tell you, as much as I crave alone time away from my mom world, sometimes I don’t know what to do when I do have it. I kind of aimlessly wander around the local shops, or stumble in to the magazine section at the book store, but I miss my kids so deeply when I hear a baby crying or laughing.
    I think it is primal or instinctual to be distracted by that gravitational pull home. I too swoop by the Starbucks as I am 2 seconds from home. It is a dreamy few minutes where nobody is kicking, hitting, looking at, and or touching/not touching each other, but I always love coming home to see those small faces and hearing those small voices YELL Mommy! It is good.
    Boo on youth group property destruction. I wish I could rewind that moment for you… devastating. I married the man my youth leaders said was wrong for me. They said someone else would be better. I disagree. 9 yrs and 2 babies later I would say they were wrong. xo

  114. I think there is a link between your childhood experience with church groups and your current fear of cops not wanting you to pick the flowers off the ground. But nothing like a hot fudge sundae to stave off church-group induced paranoia.

    Beautiful post. Thank you!

  115. I always swoon over your pictures of your little ones but today it was the family picture in the car that got me. I really enjoyed seeing a picture of all of you together in the car…it reminded me of my family. It helped me remember that you’re just a normal mama like me (and not just a famous, kick ass blogger-not like me) getting after your kids for kicking the back of the front seat or reaching around to grab a toy that was dropped.

    Thanks for brightening my day :)

  116. My girl has just started reaching for me when I pick her up at night. The first time she did it I got in the car with her and just cried. It might be the happiest I’ve ever been :)

    I was going to tease you about being afraid of cops – until I got on your blog (I read your blog on my google reader) and saw your new header. With a seagull. I’m terribly afraid of birds. (Especially birds that aren’t afraid of people – seagulls, pigeons, etc. It’s UNNATURAL!) So I guess I shouldn’t make fun of your irrational fears when I have such a prominent one of my own.

    So you keep hiding from those cops. Remember: Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you :)

  117. Kelle- i have been reading your blog for a while now. I just adore it! So inspirational! Some of my favorite parts are your little tid-bits of Naples. I grew up there and now that I have been away for 10+ years . . . seeing the Naples DQ again makes me smile!

  118. Awesome post, I laughed so hard imagining you snapping all your CD’s in half. Cute cute pics.

  119. My 3 yr old sings that Kesha song haha…and for her it goes “Tonight we’re gonna da- a – a- a- a -ance….and we’re gonna lo – o – o- o – o- ve…and we’re supa star – ar- ar-ar -ar -ars…
    She just loves doing the whole repeated vowel thing and makes up her own words…love it :)

  120. “I even more happily cannonball into the vibrant ripples of the good, the loud, the empowering laughter and neediness and loveliness of my family.”

    There’s nothing sweeter……….. beautiful :)

  121. love those stolen moments ALONE! even if it is to the grocery store or the gyn! And that song is played so much I think I know the lyrics and love them!

  122. Those flowers are awesome. Tell us what type of tree that is??? I can see why it is your favorite tree!

  123. I HAVE A POLICE PHOBIA!!! i am a rule follower- to the extreme. and if one drives by I am sure they are going to pull me. and lots of times they do- once for my windows being too tinted. AND once ON FOOT while running. I was pulled bc it was hot and he was worried about me. But for someone with a police phobia that is uncanny. to be pulled on foot. Also was once incorrectly identified by a Rite Aid cashier as a shoplifter. so … i think that stuck with me.


  124. haha! love this so much.

    my youth group had a cd burning party as well….”burn” as in putting all that evil in a big fire and actually believing that was what worship looked like. I lost some of my classic Mariah Carey cds as as Dave Matthews that pitiful night.

    I also share your fear of getting caught for doing nothing wrong. Although mine is not particularly with cops, one time it really reveals itself is when I’m looking at jewelry at a big department store. I feel like 100 secret cameras are zooming in on me and ALL the eyes of the ladies working at the booths are zoning in on me…so I purposely always keep my hands in awkward places so they can see both of them. haha. The only thing I ever store was a Bon-Bon’s lipgloss in 5th grade. I guess I’ve never healed from that. :)

    beautiful pictures, words, & music. your sharing of stories & photos brightens the days of many.

  125. *stole

  126. I read your blog and can so relate about the feeling of rushing to get back home to your girls. It’s funny hearing you say how you were only gone 2 hrs. I have felt the same, like I need to get home, but then when I tell myself to chill, that I need “me” time, too, then it is so relaxing in that short of time. 2 hrs. Ah. What did we ever do with all our “free” time before kidlets? Thanks for the wonderful warm photos of sprinklers, popsicles, and blue sunny skies while I sit here in frigid Wisconsin :)

  127. Wow, do you know what kind of tree that is? I want to plant one! Orange is one of my favorite colors. Also, Nella Bean eating her popsicle is super cute!

  128. Each time I open your blog I get an extra boost of happiness, usually through your stories and pictures. Today one simple picture did it for me. Your DQ! I LOVE that DQ! It is very close to my aunts house I just love it! And it makes me sad ours is still closed for the winter. I think you should go have a chocolate blizzard with m&ms. YUM!

  129. Lainey playing with the water and Nella with her popsicle are adorable :))). xox

    “In the dew of little things, the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” ~Khalil Gibran

  130. Poor Kelle about your CDs! I don’t see how most churches can complain about music when their stuff sounds EXACTLY the same! My church talks about the evils of certain types of music, but at least the music they play is very hokey :-P, so it’s OK! I’m glad you got that alone time just to come home to Nella abandoning everything else just to hold you! That’s the kind of thing that reminds us why we’re in this business of mommy-hood! Enjoy those flowers!

  131. I am a new visitor to your site and I would love to keep coming back…but

    The face that your site loads music automatically is a problem. When I click on the link to your site the music starts before I can mute it because I cannot scroll down fast enough due to all the pictures loading.

    Can you please fix that?

    thank you

  132. Oh, and I would looooooooooove one of those large coffee mugs!!!

  133. I have never left a comment here…but that was one of my most favorite posts of yours. I love your pictures, your thoughts, your take on things. Beautiful! And your attitude about cops is so amusing. Thank you for the time you put into this blog, I am loving it, as are a whole lot of other people.

  134. Still loving every single post on your blog nearly one year later. Your girls are so precious and getting so big.

  135. The youth group story was priceless…I totally did the same thing with my Mariah Carey CD when Bill Gothard decided music with a beat was from the devil. Hahahaha. If only Bill knew I also enjoy me some Kesha these days!

  136. ohmygod. that tree.
    and your cds … seriously?
    and your moments alone and realizing how precious that is.
    and asking your amazing hubby to turn the other way.
    i love everything about this.
    now … wanna go get another sundae with me? because dude. that looks SO good.

  137. We visited that DQ every night on our recent trip to Naples! Nella looks like she was enjoying her first popsicle. Yum.

  138. Love your blog. I would like to be your best friend 😉

  139. Love this post. It’s the rare alone moments that help me to appreciate the together moments. I love being alone, because nothing is more awesome than missing them and then coming home to them. Driving alone is a rarity for me too (our kids are really similar in age!) and I do treasure it…..but Oh, I love coming home!

  140. A couple of things…

    1. What the bleepity, bleep, bleep, bleep?? How is it fair that you get to eat DQ and look amazing and I’m here finishing up my egg whites and flax meal?? No fair I tell ya!!

    2. It was a year ago Feb. 16th that I found you for the first time. And let me tell ya, you’ve made quite the impact on my life. I’m definitely a more patient, loving, fun mama but it’s more than that. You awoke dreams and desires that had been sleeping inside, waiting patiently while the busy-ness of day to day life took over. I wore lipstick for the first time (seriously, the FIRST time), I watched sunsets, read books for enjoyment, played WITH my kids instead of watching, made up stories to tell them at bedtime, took my youngest for walks before the others woke up just for alone time with her, dressed up for my husband..and the list goes on and on. You reminded me that I matter. Yes, I adore my sweet peas. So much. But I was losing a piece of myself along the way. You reminded me to do things for me. Thank you ever so much. Really. And Happy Anniversary to us :)

    Angie from Ohio

  141. Can I just say that I want to just gobble up Nella’s feet?? Her little legs & feeties are SO cute! My Ava has some thunder thighs, and chubby feets, but man, there is something about Nella’s little feet that are stinking cute. :)

  142. Thank you, thank you , thank you. I have been running around like crazy this morning trying to get everything that needs to be done, done. I am waiting for the car to warm up since it is only in the 30s here, and I figured I’d check in on your blog quickly. And yes, a new post! It made me slow down and chill out and know that I’ll get it done…eventually! Thank you Kelle!

  143. Just reading your blogs makes me feel more positive. You’re amazing!

  144. Love the Sheryl Crow song!! Though it is rare, I do love an alone drive. I bust open the sun roof (which my son complains about because the sun hurts his eyes) and lean back in my seat and jack up the radio. I think I’m all cool in my pimped out mini van and then realize I’m belting out the words to Raffi. Reality sinks in again…LOL. Being gone is wonderful but returning home to Wyatt’s “Mama” with arms stretched is even better!! Happy Almost Weekend!

  145. Oh how you had me laughing when you brought up smashing satanic CDs in half… my youth group convinced me to throw away some classics too. Now I look back and laugh, and continue to dance to those same CDs now on my ipod! :) Haaa! I can see why that is your favorite tree… it’s breathtaking! That bright orange against the beautiful blue sky. Precious picture of Nella holding her first popsicle like a pro! And just have to mention how envious I am that you are wearing cute little ruffled skirts with sandals! Yummy! I can’t wait for Spring to appear up here in Michigan! :) Thanks for this beautiful post today!

  146. I think that Dylan and i need to come and play with Nella. Nella could tach my Dylan a lot. She is not progressing very well and I am having a hard time with it. Congrats mom for working so hard with Nella.

  147. ahhh, alone “me” time. I know I need to take more of it but then I feel like I am missing out with the kids…the tugs! But I remind myself that just a little time here and there renews and refreshes myself thereby making me a better and more present mamma!!

  148. I love this line: “I love how Alone and Together live in harmony. Like orbiting planets pulled together by gravity. We don’t have to be defined by motherhood because there’s an intricate infrastructure of talents and dreams and passions that makes us women who are strong enough to stand alone.” Exactly what I needed to hear today!

  149. I am same way about running errands by myself, I love having my daughter in the back seat, but there is nothing more freeing than doing something out alone. I always treat myself with Starbucks but next time Dairy Queen sounds good!

  150. I love looking back in the car and watching my little ones….sometimes I fix the rearview on them the whole time, which is certainly not safe and I would probably get taken away in cuffs if the cops came (I have the same reaction by the way!) I love when my husband and I just drive…for no reason at all. Appreciate the beauty that surrounds me in one of the most beautiful places in the world that I have the pleasure of living in. And on a tangent, I need to get those cards for my boy….I love watching the video of Nella picking out the baby. It amazes me what they are capable of at this age…I forget to often to challenge my baby. Cheers to a great weekend.

  151. Kelle- you are the kind of mom that I dream of being for my kids in the future! I love how you capture the little things in life…. that’s what I try to do too. Have a great day!

  152. whew… i know what you mean… totally… i used to feel guilty about being away from my petit babe… it took me almost two years to take that first leap out the front door without dragging her along… and boy did i leap… 5 hours away… to visit some friends and unwind and see a Built to Spill show… it was glorious… and when i came back it was even more glorious… sometimes we need to leap out the front door… remember that part of us that gets lost along the way…

  153. I’m gonna quote a snippit of your words on my blog because… well, you just say it so damn well! I’ll let em’ know it comes from you. Because really I think EVERYONE in the world would benefit from reading your words!!!

  154. I really loved this post!
    Loved the pictures! You have such a beautiful family!
    And I loved how you just decided to go to Dairy Queen, because you did have two seconds to spare, and woofed down your cone! Funny.

  155. Seriously cute shoes, where did you find them?!

  156. I love that you are paranoid about cops… I am too! I’m always overly careful not to have things like unwrapped packages of gum in my purse when I run errands. Because you never know… if I got stopped at the door on the way out of Target with a new package of gum in my purse and no receipt, there’s no telling what kind of trouble I can get in!

  157. I so needed this type of reminder today-the sun is shining and it’s school vacation and life is good :-).

  158. This post made me happy. Actually, all of your blog does. :)


  159. Nella and the popcicle… the BEST!

  160. Headed to Dairy Queen this afternoon. Maybe between therapy and ballet I can squeeze in my own heavenly Chocolate Sundae :)

  161. your words, your images, your blog, all of it, i’m so in love. not in a stalker weird way but in a completely in awe inspiring way and trying to figure out why you aren’t super famous yet because you are so amazingly talented. thank you for your blog. you help be become a better person, a better mom. oh, and if my 4 1/2 can learn all the words to those kesha songs just from hearing them on the radio in the car every now and then, so can you!

  162. I love that Brett wanted to keep driving. I always ask my Hubby to keep driving and he thinks I’m crazy! Sometimes he does but he has this painful look on his face and keeps asking if were done yet.
    I live in the deep cold of Canada and I live vicariously through your family – beaches, bathing suits, and ice cream in February! Thanks for the post today. It warmed me up.

  163. Someone’s probably already said this (I’d guess you have quite an LDS following…) but those bikers were probably LDS (Mormon) missionaries! You should wave them down next time and chat for a minute, it’d make their day.

    And seriously, what is it about a DQ stop during some alone time? Balm for the soul, no matter how quickly it’s inhaled.

  164. I needed this blog today. It was so timely and so perfect and just what I needed to hear.

  165. Thats so funny, I just blogged yesterday about being alone for once too,even if it was just to shovel the snow off the driveway!
    Love that tree, love that last picture!

  166. Dang it!!! This makes me want to karate chop youth groups that make kids break their CDs….and wishing I could send you a new Cheryl Crow :)

    And Nella licking the popsicle makes me wanting her licking my cheek… that weird? Hahahaha!

    Much love,

  167. I liked this post so much, well I like all your posts but this was funny. I so know exactly what you mean about cops and I’ve passed it to my daughter, she’s scared of cops too, LOL.

    Oh and those were Mormons, I had neighbors that were Mormons and they wore white shirts and ties and rode bikes with backpacks, usually young. Jehovah Witnesses usually go door to door walking and in a group that sort of splits up.

  168. Ha! Finally, I don’t feel so alone in my absolute cop-phobia. Seeing a police car send my blood pressure through the roof, for absolutely no good reason whatsoever.

    I absolutely love the Nella-holding-popsicle pictures – she just looks so laid back, like “Yeah, a popsicle, so what man…”

  169. I, too, am guilty of the pit-stop at DQ when (rarely) I am out and about all by myself. You gotta do what you gotta do.

    And I LOVE Nella’s blue suit! Adorable! xo

  170. I was victim to breaking my cds, too! More than once. So, yeah, I re-purchased my cd collection 3X, because I was re-convinced & re-guilted into a 2nd round of breaking the (mostly) same cds. I feel the anger on that one!
    Glad you were able to take a local road trip, those are my absolute favorites!

  171. Grew up in Texas… that sign that perches proudly above a Dairy Queen is known as a Texas stop sign. Just sayin’ :-)

  172. Laughing out loud at your fear of cops (maybe not nice of me??) and singing to Ke$ha now too! Just what I need to keep going today at work!

  173. you, my friend, wrote a beautiful- heartfelt essay that have SOME voice- you’re something! xo

  174. OMG I DROVE ALONE TODAY, TOO!! I know I’m yelling, but sometimes it creeps me out how you just happen to always say exactly what I need to hear.
    and p.s.-your youth group would love Kesha. She’s got Jesus on her neck-uh-lace 😉

  175. That cd story just PAINED me. (Why aren’t comments deserving of italics??)

    But anyway, it really did. What was up with church people, back in our day? My best friend’s sister was grounded once for writing I (heart) Madonna on her Trapper Keeper. It still cracks me up to think about it, but seriously, People!

    The best SC song I know to sing at the top of my lungs is “If It Makes You Happy”. Have mercy, she is good.


  176. I hope Brett is right about the weather! We’ll be splashing on your shores before we know it and I am craving sun, sun and more sun. It is rainy and cold here.

    I LOVE Nella eating the popsicle, too cute.

  177. ,,,dq’s are yummy, sing-a-long music is often necessary, and time alone renews the spirit and soul,,,these events reacquaint us with the “off” button,,,love photos of nella enjoying her orange popsicle,,,

  178. I love to just get in the car and drive too! NOthing is too far away!

  179. THe flowers on that tree are beautiful!!! I’m sitting here watching the snow fall, wondering if we will get the predicted 20cm of it tomorrow. Oh to have the nice weather you do!
    I love the pull of family. I am so sad to have to return to work in a couple months. Who would ever have thought these little ones would be the sun in our own solar systems? Always pulling us in and around them. Such a beautiful analogy.

  180. Hehehe… Your issue with cops cracks me up. I might not have the same issue to the degree that you do and I truly love those who serve and protect, but I have this little, fleeting in-my-mind freak-out when I see cops. (-; I have no criminal history of any kind and am not a wild law-breaker, but still… I’m not sure why.

  181. Forgot to say Kelle, maybe you and I should go on a ride-along w/a cop together. That would be too funny! (I actually did a few ride-alongs a few years back and enjoyed it a great deal. Go figure!)

  182. Loved the paragraph describing your fear of cops! I am the exact same way about authority–I am certain that one of these days I will be arrested and jailed for looking at a police officer the wrong way!

    Thank you for another beautiful post, I’m am so inspired by you and the way you live your life–and those girls of yours could not be more adorable!

  183. I am not going to lie I snuck to McDonalds on my way home from a parenting class and got one of those delicious hand dipped cones! It was amazing and I deserved it :). I had a few CDs my youth group talked me into getting rid of as well! They were random burned CDs with some pretty good songs on them (Wasn’t me by Shaggy and what not). We had to pin them up on a wall. I want my CDs back too! I love your blog and the warm fuzzies it gives me. Your girls are just presh.

  184. My family is in Naples & I must admit, that is the best DQ anywhere! I love old fashion-ness of it, but it’s always so crazy busy!

  185. OH this made me laugh.. it was freezing out the other day (well almost every day and we are gearing up for a crazy 50cm of snow tomorrow possibly) but I put the window down, turned my heated seats on and cranked the music up as loud as I could handle at my ripe age of 33.. I peered into the back seat where the three pink car seats were empty and full of cracker crumbs and I drove slowly home… probably annoying the teenager behind me wondering who this old person was in front of them doing the the speed limit and enjoyed the 15 minutes or so I had of silence.. No requests for Mary Poppins music, or Anne Murray music… No cracker requests and no dropped stuffed animal… I enjoyed those few minutes without guilt… without regret and when they were over I entered the house as happy as ever to be greeted by many mammas and hugs! Isn’t being a mother wonderful that it teaches us that 15 minutes alone is a wonderful thing to enjoy! How often did we do that when we were single and without children???

  186. Those Ke$ha songs are strangely addicting, aren’t they? I liked your “secret sundae”. I always get sneaky hot chocolates!

  187. Y’know–when I get some time to myself, I like to grab a bite, too–a few moments to chow down on grub without toddlers interrupting or babies swiping it from my hand. Usually, it’s a quick fast-food option just because I’m in such a rush to get back home–even though I’ve only been gone an hour. And, I still find myself heading to McDonald’s–not because I want anything in particular there (in fact, I’m not even that crazy about McDonald’s!), but just because I know bringing home the Happy Meal toy will make my daughter’s day! What we wouldn’t do for our children, eh?

  188. I just love your blog. Too funny. The way you write with words.

    I had to laugh because one……my baby brother is a cop. The most friendliest teddy bear you will ever meet. ; D And two….those were most likely Mormon (LDS) Missionaries. Also the most friendliest guys you will ever meet. My son is currently on a mission and I got teary eyed with your little reminder of him being away from home sharing a really great message. Hope you will have the opportunity again sometime to run into them. ; D

    Thanks again for being you! Your little family is awesome.

  189. Love the picture of Nella licking her popsicle, soooooo cute!

  190. Ah, the new Ke$ha song. You and I were in a similar place today (or maybe you were there yesterday, either way). We broke down on Monday and purchased a minivan – we had to do it since baby girl #3 is only weeks away and baby girl #1 just turned 3, but it was still a hard, “wow, I’m really a mom” moment. Today I drove it for the first time and after dropping my older daughter off at pre-school, I blared that Ke$ha song on the radio – it felt like I was proving a point 😉

    As always, the pictures are beautiful. We can’t wait for those blue skies to reach Chicago!

  191. AAHH!! I had to throw away The Beatles because they were evil! How sad! I’m glad you got your cd back.

    And that picture of Nella with the popsicle is outrageously adorable. :)

  192. Do you want me to burn you a copy of the Sheryl Crow album? My youth group never made me break my cd so I still have it and occasionally rock out to it just like when I was 15. Also, now I have an intense craving for Dairy Queen even though there’s about 3 inches of snow outside. Thanks for that :)

  193. Your “Here come the cops” story made me laugh out loud…for real.

  194. Beautiful children and beautiful pictures. You have great blog. Greetings from Norway
    Anna Lisa

  195. I totally felt it.

    When you were talking about that feeling around cops in Dunkin’ Donuts’ and the boys in ties near your favorite tree. I’m totally THAT way. I don’t know why. But whenever there is *that* type of authority around, my body almost goes into this weird paralytic state.

    Baffling. But I’m glad there’s two of us. I don’t know if you’re a first born…but I think it’s the first born in me.


  196. I was a mormon (female) missionary in Germany back in the day. It was awesome. You should flag them down next time!

    They will tell you something like this:

    Your family can be together forever, even after this life.

    It’s amazing & beautiful & true!

    Just sayin’.

    Loves! xoxo ~Bree

  197. “sometimes it is nice to breathe and think and replenish the parts of myself that are separate from the all-encompassing title of Mama that defines so much of me”

    Thank you for helping me return with that delicious tidbit of wisdom. Lately, I feel like I’m crumbling under the combined pressures of Mama-ness and Housewife-ness. Reading the above, and all of your posts for that matter, help reaffirm that I need time for ME. So now, the baby is going to stay with a sitter. The dishes are going to wait. And I’m going to drive off to a yoga class belting “I’m Every Woman” a la Whitney Houston.

  198. Nella is too cute with that popsickle

  199. ahhhh, a breath of fresh air… i love reading your blog… you inspire me to just take in every single moment.
    AND you have me CRAVING summer and DQ!!!

  200. I just love the way you write! Thanks for having a blog and doing such an important thing in showing the world the beauty, worth and love a child with Down syndrom has! Hugs from Norway

  201. there is really nothing more precious than Nella and her first popsicle and my own sweet girl smiling and dancing to your music :)

  202. Nella and that popsicle made me smile!!

  203. I have the same fear of cops! Even when I know I’m doing nothing wrong, and even though I’ve never really been hassled by cops, I always think they are going to hassle me for something or other. GAH! It gets me all worked up in a tizzy.

    Also, always have loved Sheryl Crow’s Strong Enough. Sometimes I pull out my guitar and jam it loud, over and over!

  204. Ha! I bought that CD from BMG, too :)

    What were the other 12?

  205. LOVE “Strong Enough”!!!! I sing every word (badly) everytime I hear it. Also love your “Here come the cops” story. Too funny. :)

  206. good to know I wasn’t the only one who had to destroy perfectly good CD’s. But kinda sad that it wasn’t just in backasswards GA.

    Suck the marrow my dear. get every last drop!

  207. Ahhh…I could use some alone time today…Id kill for a sunday from DD! Our is still closed for winter:(

  208. Love that “spring” is on it’s way for you guys!
    Great pics. Love the car jamming outbursts throughout the post. It’s hard to stay focused when you’re thinking of rocking out in the car isn’t it? Love it!

  209. I have the same cop phobia. I think it stems back from when I really did things I could be arrested for. Nothing more serious than jaywalking…*swears*….anywho-my son saw the pic of Nella eating her popsicles and asked who that was and I said “That’s Nella. She’s a little baby just like Brynn.” And he said “HOW DOES SHE KNOW HOW TO EAT A POPSICLE???” lol

  210. Loved this and I can relate in more ways than one. A dose of solo-ness is great once in a while but being a mom totally rocks!!!

  211. We must have gone to the same youth group…I thought my youth leader was going to start an exorcism when she found out I listened to Kiss and that I loooovvved Gene Simmons..I wanted him sooo badly!!! He is a tad creepy looking now but it has not changed how I feel about him..I ♥ him..I swoon when I watch him on his show….my hubby thinks I have really bad taste in men..HA!

    Your photos are so springy and warm and it makes me want to find a flower in this wintery gray mess we have going on. love. love. love. the popsicle picture..she is pure loveliness. ♥

  212. my daughter loves that song by kesha!!!! and the pic of nella eating her popsicle so cute and lainey is getting so big.

    i love to just drive…..except GAS keeps going up around here. my hidden gem when im alone which is very rare is getting a caramel frappe from mcds!!!

    love it and i hope brett is right about the weather .

    love and blessings the doughtys

  213. You have 11111 followers :O
    I won’t follow you, because I like that number, but it doesn’t matter because I check your blog for new posts nearly every day (:
    You’re amazing, and you really inspire me to be a better mum, a better person.
    Thank you.

  214. I teach English to Refugees in my city. Today I was teaching them the idiom “Hit it off”. As in, I met a new gal today and we really hit it off. I just have to say, if I had just met you in person today, and you started telling me about your fear of cops and how they are just about to catch you doing something bad at any moment, I would say to myself, “Wow, we are really hitting it off”, because I would quickly and excitedly reply that I feel the exact same way and every time I share that feeling with someone I fear they think I am a closet klepto or something. Glad there is someone out there who understand you can be a good honest citizen and still think you might get arrested at any moment :)

  215. I can relate to alone and together 150%!

    Sometimes when I have had a really hard day with the kids I will make a trip alone to Target or Walmart late in the evening when my husband is home and kids are getting into bed.

    Generally I’ve had my fill when I make one of these alone trips. I am frustrated from all the craziness of the day with kids and I just think I can not do this mom thing anymore. (Which is so crazy ’cause being a mom is what I love and what I do.) I think what if I just had my own place in downtown, a loft. A nice spotless loft with just my things in it. I could spend hours sipping coffee and reading books. Finding myself again and focusing just on me.

    Then after I’ve been at the store for 45 minutes to an hour getting bread, cereal and papertowels I always hear a baby cry or a toddler laugh and I miss my kids like crazy. I go home, put the groceries away and adore my life again.

    Sometimes, we just need a little break. A trip to Target or the A frame DQ- alone. It replenishes us. It is our fuel.

  216. Kelle! I thought I was the only one that did that sort of thing! When girl scout cookies come out, I would buy two boxes of thin mints and put one box on the table, instructing that we each get half a tube of cookies. Then I would settle the kids with a video and take my second secret box of cookies into my bedroom with a tall glass of milk and eat the ENTIRE box of cookies in one sitting. LOL I thougt I was shameless!
    Thanks for the joy you bring to my life!

  217. xoxo, Bug & Ruby’s Gram

    ps….Nice mugs by Miss L….if I were your family I would pick the short one up front… is better in smallish cups!

  218. Do you know what kind of tree that is? It’s amazing….

  219. I hear ya on the alone time: if asked, I would always choose to be in the company of my daughter and husband, but there are times when I dash out to run a quick errand by myself and I feel a little sigh of *Ahhh*. No squishing a fussy girl in a down coat into a carseat, no realizing the stroller is in my husband’s car not mine, no other mini-dramas that mamahood can bring. Kudos to you for stopping to smell the hot fudge – what a great way to recharge!!

  220. My fave line in that Kesha song? “Got Jesus on my neck-a-luss-luss.” And yes, I had to spell it that way because that’s how she sings it!

    Love your little stolen ice-cream alone time. Something we all need now and then.

    And I REALLY want a hot fudge sundae now…

  221. Love to your reminiscing of BMG Music Club free CDs. Definitely made me smile about the good old days. I also love the 2nd picture of Nella with her popsicle; so nonchalant, like she does it every day! Such a sweet family!

  222. What a sweet post – I laughed right out loud at your “worldly CDs” story – I’ve SOOO been there but mine was after summer church camp! A couple years ago I re-bought my Madonna and Prince CDs – and I LOVE them! :-)

  223. I find myself visiting this page more and more often, looking for a new post to brighten my day and make me realise, life with a child who is ‘different’ doesn’t have to be nothing but negativity. I’m trying. And getting there one step at a time :)
    So thankyou, and your beautiful children

  224. I love to read your blog, and when I see a new post, it is one of the most excitin’ moments of my day. Not even lying! I so enjoy how you write, what you write and the beauty you catch in your photos. Thanks for sharing them and inspiring those who read!

  225. This comment has been removed by the author.

  226. I am so sorry they made you break your cds :( I know without music I would be lost…in 1996 I found Oasis (saved my life!) and haven’t been the same since!… I have been listening to a new album that reminds me of your blog..its actually by one of the member of Oasis (they broke up in 2009) called Different Gear, Still Speeding the band is called Beady Eye. Its happy, uplifting and sometimes fierce. Check it out if you can its comes out March 1 in the US :) Keep writing you are awesome! 😀

  227. Ha! BMG…I had totally forgotten about that. My parents would get so annoyed when those CD’s would come in the mail that I had forgotten to opt out of. And I LOVE “Strong Enough.” It’s a good thing my my youth group didn’t try to tell me to break my CD’s or I would’ve run screaming! Never did like to be told what to do. 😉 I was a good Christian girl, but I needed to be so on my own terms, and who doesn’t need some good ‘worldly’ music to get them through the teenage years?

    I totally have that fear of cops. And I don’t think that picture of Nella with her popsicle could be any more adorable. Loved everything you wrote about alone/together. So basically, I sure do love your blog! :)

  228. I LOVE being in the car alone listening to Howard! Can’t do it with Lillers anymore because she’ll say “why that man so mean?” when Howard gets going about a topic that fires him up! lol

  229. I LOVE that I am not the only one scared of cops. I am such a rule follower…well, besides speeding, of course. If a cop is anywhere in the vicinity, I turn into a stiff. It’s hilarious. I’m glad we recognize our quirks.

  230. where did you get Nella’s swimsuit? Sooo cute!

  231. Pretty sure those jehovahs witnesses were probably mormon misionaries….on bikes with backpacks wearing white shirts? hahaha

  232. I LOVE that DQ. I love that is so “old school” and not all sterile and modern. Makes that ice cream taste better IMO

  233. Kelle, I’m glad you had some time to enjoy some ice cream. I love DQ. That is all. =)

  234. Thanks for the post! I love Nella and the popsicle! Adorable!!

  235. There is so much reading I’ve gotta catch up on. But until then, your new header makes me smile!!


  236. haha. did we go to the same youth group?? 😉

    love your posts, kelle~

  237. No lie- I was just thinking today about how many times I broke my CD’s in my high school youth group! My first one was Tori Amos….and then Violent Femmes…and then Tori Amos again. Oh Tori. Beautiful words about the duality of alone/together, woman/mother…thank you for your gift of gratitude.

  238. I’m dying over Nella with the Popsicle. So freakin cute. She is rockin it like it’s something she’s always done. ROCKSTAR baby!

  239. Hahah. This was…hands-down my fav post you have ever written! why? I have no idea but I laughed my ass off

  240. ok I’m gonna add to this long list… I love the photography in this post. Amazing shots.

  241. i just had to say that I have the same exact fear of cops!!! i have since i was little. especially when they are in their cars and I’m driving. I KNOW I am doing nothing wrong but I have an uncontrollable fear that they are going to pull me over and arrest me for something. funny because I am a rule follower to a fault. imagine me now living in Dubai and I see the police here. I am not only afraid I will be arrested for something that isn’t even illegal but I am afraid they wont speak English and will misunderstand. i am crazy! lol! just know you aren’t alone. xxo

  242. sigh, i loved this post. all feelings i’ve felt- the guilt from being away, yet wanting to revel in your alone time. secret dq trips (my fave- and luckily there’s one nearby that doesn’t close for winter). the ke$ha (don’t forget the important dollar sign…) lyrics- that my husband (and i) like to quote at random… wish i could say the cold was gone here, so i live vicariously through your early spring.

    btw, love the pic of nella laying on her back- giving you the dreamboat eyes and clutching the strap on your shoe. adorbs!

  243. I love the post today. I have to laugh at your last line, “Happy sunny skies”, because I’m reading this while I enjoy my coffee having just come inside from an hour long “shovel-session” on the ol’ driveway. Seems that the “sunny skies” you speak of have yet to reach Northwest Ohio. But, alas, I am home from work and I have three littles of my own to enjoy along with my beautiful wife. Come to think of it, I really don’t care what it’s like outside…inside my skies are a brilliant blue. Enjoy the day.

  244. Love that last photo of Lainey. It’s gorgeous. Well done. It’s starting to feel and look a little more like spring over here in Edinburgh now, and your photos of sunshine and warmth don’t make me as jealous. :)

    from black currant thoughts.

  245. Commenter #426: Emily, I love that you called your son out on having a BIG head! :) my husband and his brother both have HUGE heads which give me nightmares about child birth. I plan to have an entirely natural birthing experience for my children meaning no drugs but, girl, if that first kid has a head like his/her father/uncle the rest with be coming out with mommy on some serious drugs! Cheers to BIG headed boys! I also have to mention that my husband weighed 12 pounds at birth and his brother weighed over 10!!! OUCH!

  246. I love this entry. It is so perfect.

  247. My wife just read this post and now she’s gone and left me at home with our 7-month-old. She didn’t even say how long she was going for or where was going… oh my!

    She loves your blog!

  248. I love this post. When I was in 8th grade, my church camp convinced me to throw away my CD collection too. I still miss my Nirvana, Green Day and Blink 182 CDs to this day.

  249. Secret Sundae! Ha! I once called in a steak dinner to Saltgrass, swung by on my way home after work and secretly drove to the park and ate my dinner there alone! Ohhhhh it felt SO good 😉 No sharing, no cutting meat for little people. PURE BLISS!

  250. With the sounds of my 3 year old triplets in the background (one on electric guitar, one jumping on the couch and the other coughing madly) I know there is no other place I’d rather be!!! Alone, together…is so right. While I cherish my alone time…quiet in my own thoughts…they all usually bring me back to home…my babies and my hubby!

  251. That last picture is incredible! I would love that printed BIG! (Like BIIIIIG! :))

  252. your house looks so clean!!!!!!

    and, Lainey has her daddy’s smile. sweethearts…

  253. I find myself just pausing and smiling at Nella’s pictures… she is just SO SWEET!! And that big sister is adorable too :) Love this post and your words. SO true.

  254. ahhh yes, the cds. My youth group actually had a bon fire when we came back from church camp one summer. Lost a few good cds. *sigh* The things we do, when we’re young and trying to figure out God. Heck, when we’re OLD and trying to figure out God! I wonder, maybe, if God laughs a little, and smiles at the heart behind our often misguided actions.

  255. I´ve never seen your blog before until today, and I just have to say I LOVE your beautiful pictures!
    And your way of telling the story of your life is just amazing. I couldn´t stop reading :) You are truly a warm and good person.
    Your girls are both SO cute!!
    I wish you and your family all the best <3

  256. We went to that DQ this summer while in Naples- cutest every!! And we are from DQ Country- so you know I know a cute DQ when I see one! I have photos from it but It was night and they didn’t turn out just great. So funny, when I saw it I had to show the kids.

  257. love it, I too roll down the windows & blast music whenever I am alone in the car… as much as I do love looking in the mirror at my lil man. ( him & Nella are only a few weeks apart) as a mother & photographer I come to your blog for inspiration… yet I alays find myslef goin “how does she have the time to do this” for real- you take your camera everywhere. I need to. thanks for the inspiration.

  258. Love, love, love xxx
    ruthey Cleaver

  259. Beautiful post, as usual. It cracked me up too, because I used to go to a youth group that talked me into breaking my CDs, and I’m still bitter about it…

  260. I’m starting to wonder if I should email you instead of leaving 4 page comments…but anyhoo. So, I almost went to Spring Arbor college. Actually sat through an Orientation there. Then, I was signed up for Rhema Bible College in OK…then I met my husband, and well, let’s just say I went a different route :) What church did you go to? Did you go to Acquire the Fire before burning the cd’s? Did you watch the movies that taught you that AC/DC was evil and if you play Beach Boys music backwards you’ll hear subliminal messages? Oh, we could probably talk for hours about all that! And the jelly shoes, they were sooo ugly, but I always had them too..and a hat. I LOVE the pic of Nella and the popsicle! The cop thing? Hysterical. Ok, I think that’s good for this post.

  261. Just saw this tree yesterday! Captivating…do you know the name?

  262. Just saw this tree yesterday! Captivating…do you know the name?

  263. The cops things hit me square in the gut. I can relate. I’m terrified. I honestly think they are always after me! Right after I read this I was on my way to pick up my son from preschool when a cop turned around after passing me and rode my butt! I was terrified! Then I remembered that I left my wallet at home!!! I was FREAKING out! Thank GOD he didn’t pull me over. But seriously, I can relate.

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