over easy.

Thankfully for me, Lainey’s activity of choice lately has been coloring. I like coloring–so much that often, after a while, she runs off to find something else to do and I am left coloring, happily, while laundry waits and kids make messes. I color like it’s my job–shading, highlighting, scribbling flecks of contrasting color into Barbie’s hair or deliberating much too long over Wild Raspberry or Hot Magenta for the stripes in Strawberry Shortcake’s shirt. I am selective in my crayon choice and have been known to choose colors based on their names alone. You would understand this if you’re familiar with Crayola’s Box ‘o 96, featuring Macaroni n’ Cheese, a warm soft orange, or Wild Blue Yonder, a murky mountainous blue.

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I’ve also been known to throw out a perfectly good picture and start over if I’ve colored outside the lines or, God forbid, misjudged the intensity of Jungle Green (which, for the record, is far too vibrant for an eye color choice). So it has been a good parenting exercise for me to encourage the freedom of expression that’s so beautifully demonstrated by Lainey when she colors–sometimes out of the lines, sometimes all one color, but every time, her own style. And while I’m carefully gliding my yellow crayon (Laser Lemon, to be precise) along a flower petal to add depth and she’s decided Shamrock is a nice choice for Bert ‘n Ernie’s faces, I’ve come to the conclusion that not only is it okay, but it’s pretty cool that my girl does her own thing and stands by it. There are no rules to creativity.

But we do draw the line on where you choose to color (although a purple smiley face scribbled on the inside of the girls’ closet door begs to differ).

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Nella breaks the rules.

Weekending
My shattered phone has been replaced but before I synced my contacts, I enjoyed a calm weekend with a quiet phone–which overlapped to a vacant computer and a mama caved-in. Heidi calls it “the cave”–the secret place we retreat to when we’re subconsciously overwhelmed or too busy. It usually involves–without even intention–ignoring the phone, letting e-mails stack up and hibernating to the inner depths of our homes where we bake, read books or, in my case, color. Retreating to the cave is a necessary occurance for me–a replenishing inverse from the go-and-do-and-see times. I like both ends of the spectrum–the thrill of adventure and showing my girls new things as well as the comfort and convenience of routine and feeling settled.

Holidays make me feel settled, and traditions like dyeing eggs connect me to all the puddles of nostalgic happiness that dwell so fondly in my memory and fuel me to recreate them for my own family. So we did. We colored eggs this weekend.

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I love that there is no reason behind this tradition. Or rather there is, but when I Googled the historical explanation, it didn’t excite me the same way that “because it’s fun” did. And I’m totally cool with doing elaborate things with my kids for no reason at all.

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There is something strangely thrilling about dunking these pure and delicate little ovoids (the proper name, I learned) into cups of color and waiting while they transform. Or watching as Lainey leans over to carefully check their color progression, tipping them just above the color line with her spoon and, like a stylist refolding the foil after inspecting unfinished highlights, she says “not quite yet” and slowly drops the egg back down.

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Nella, on the other hand, took every egg I handed her and threw it which, of course, thrilled her sister.

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We had to remove her from the situation as Lainey didn’t appreciate the way she handled the eggs.

Just as in coloring, I held back my dyeing critique and watched, cringing, as Lainey did it her own way–plopping two eggs into one cup, dipping them quickly from one hue to another, mixing dissonant colors, cracking shells and yet completely satisfied with her results.

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Turns out, the splotchiness adds to the beauty of her vibrant little egg art.

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The weekend would not have been complete without the following bit of unearthly loveliness. I actually have to stop and gather my thoughts for a moment because it is quite possible words will not do justice the deliciousness that is–there needs to be some kind of drumroll here–Haagen Dazs Five Lemon (stop, applaud, bow–it’s worthy). Add this to your Bag of Tricks, fo sho.

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My sister’s been telling me about it for a long time and I finally gave in and bought some while I browsed the grocery store waiting for Austyn and his friend to pick out a movie at the neighboring Blockbuster this weekend. You see that little hump of ice cream left in that picture? That’s what’s left after I used my finger as a spoon in the Publix parking lot. Only five ingredients–milk, sugar, eggs, cream and lemon–but more than five non-repeatable exclamations that followed my first bite. And I’m sure it’s like the coolest thing for a sixteen-year-old to have his friend along on the ride where his stepmom is driving twenty under the speed limit because she’s balancing navigating a steering wheel with shoveling ice cream with her finger.

Finally, our “caving it” weekend was completed with pruned toes.

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Like life, we swam both ends of the spectrum. The go-and-do-and-see of adventurous jumps and loud splashes…

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…and the calm repose of tranquil floats and quiet wading.

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Our new $10 kiddie pool makes water play much more fun and accessible for Nella.

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And it’s only April. It’s just beginning.

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Looking forward to some upcoming traveling, out of the cave, and plenty more retreats at home, in the cave, where we belong.

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Congratulations to the winner of the $40 gift certificate from The Meg Shop:
Comment #859, Kim: time. one of the things in my bag of tricks (for myself). observantly spent time. to find out what it is i need. often a couple of minutes is enough. take a breather, have a coffee/tea/wine and enjoy. simple as that. PS: that b/w pic of nella in her pjs has got to be one of the cutest ones ever! what a beauty.

Kim, please e-mail your contact info to kellehamptonblog@comcast.net, and you’ll soon be richer in the jewelry department.

Your “Bag of Tricks” were insightful, funny, and enjoyable to read. Thank you for sharing!

The full moon may symbolize crazy, hectic, frantic…

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Left, Saturday night; Right, Sunday night

…but our weekend was just what we ordered: over easy

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My girl and her kite-tail flowing hair.

Happy Monday.

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Comments

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  1. Love the coloring story…I must say I’m a bit like that as well…and I get so disappointed when Jackson colors on my page :). I know it’s nice to share but there is still a little bit of me that it drives me crazy the picture is no longer “perfect.” :)

    Completely cracked up at the entire ice cream story and LOVED Nella’s pics at the end, standing and in black and white.

  2. I’m a shading kind of mama too, and my girl like to color OVER my coloring… “I like this one, mama.” :) Oh my, we are lovers of in the cave weekends around here. And with the weather in Michigan bringing snow yet again… IN APRIL, I think some cave time is calling our name. Thank you, once again, for a beautiful and inspiring post full of gorgeous pics of your gorgeous girls! :)

    ~Tabitha

  3. I have a 15 year old step son who would super love for me to do that with a friend in the car, in fact I’m sure it would be his favorite thing EVER!!!! :)

  4. I love “accidentally” leaving my phone turned off and letting the computer grow cold over the weekend.

    Love that last, kite-haired picture of Lainey.

  5. I love the use of a well placed “fo sho”.

    Your eggs are lovely!

  6. Oh to be dying eggs- the simple yet fun treat of Easter. But I will settle for Paris this weekend with my husband and mom πŸ˜‰

    April in Paris (plus Easter)…Billie knew what she was talking bout~

    Happy Monday to you!!

  7. Che belle questeb immagini trasmettono una gioia infinita….un abbraccio Anto

  8. Cave in- LOVE IT! I often gently tell my friends and family we are hibernating for the weekend and just be as a family without any of the running.
    So necessary for the soul of the family and the mom!

  9. You are making me so excited about dyeing eggs this weekend! I was wondering what Leylie (13 months) would do when she saw them…and now I’m beginning to suspect she’s going to do exactly what Nella did and maybe we better just leave the two cartons of eggs to the big sisters to dye. πŸ˜‰

  10. Sweeter than ice cream is time spent with your children. Like scoops and dollops of love to fill full your heart–we are fed by their smiles and laughter. Thank you for a post I hadn’t expected. It was my Monday Mojo! Poppa loves those kids…da boys too! Have a great Monday everyone!
    –Poppa

  11. Awwww…your style of writing is amazing and your photos are amazing, too!!!!!!! Nella looks so much like Lainey!

  12. I vividly remember when I was in first grade, we were given cut-out owls to color in how we chose. Everyone else chose brown, black or gray while I opted for a bright teal for my owl’s feathers and a purple for his belly. This was probably the first time I felt creativity and enjoyed that my owl stood out. This was probably also the first time my mother realized she was in for a handful. I ended up graduating from MICA (art college) and I’m happily working as a video editor/animator, getting to be creative every day. You never know what your girls may end up seeing in choosing those crayons so carefully. :)

  13. Look at Nella Bella in her pigtails! I love little girl in pigtails.

    Also coloring is super fun. When I was very little the first thing I opened from my Christmas stocking was a box of crayons and I was done. Happiness is the scent of a new box of crayons. :)

  14. Completely LOVE it all. Can’t wait to dye eggs wit my little one this week. And Nella’s pigtails…..be still my heart!

  15. I love Nella’s little pigtails!!
    I just found my way out of the cave I had been hiding in for way too long… love that analogy :)

    This time next week my car will be loaded up with everything that is important to me andd I’ll be somewhere along the east coast making my way to my new apartment in Naples!! I simply cannot wait!!

  16. nella is even cuter standing up :) she looks so much older too.

    the egg throwing fiasco sounds familiar, i am pretty sure that will be happening with my nieces and their 15month old brother :

    glad you had a fantastic caved-in and out-and-about weekend!

  17. Crayola knows colors – love me some macaroni-n-cheese!!

    Lainey is quite the dye-smith! Love her color combos.

    Nella is getting so big – what the heck – seems like she was just born!

    Much love to you and fam!

  18. I colour the same way. Giggled picturing Nella hucking the eggs haha
    Oh and that B&W of you and Nella is divine!

  19. The eggs are beautiful. Can’t wait to dye ours πŸ˜‰

  20. Those two black and whites of Nella….stunning.
    And I think a trip to the store to buy me some egg-dye is in order, those coloured eggs of Lainey’s are inspiring!

  21. Well lookie here, my comment is in the first 20! A virtual Blue ribbon! I have to say I am SO stealing your idea of the leap frog table in the pool to steady a soon-to-be-walker. I never thought of that….genius!!

  22. My hubs tends to take over coloring on the kids menu when we go out. It makes me laugh and fall in love with him just a bit more. Love that I married a man who is a grown up when it counts but still a kid when I need him to be.

  23. Couldn’t agree more with both ends of the spectrum; I gotta have both!
    Still love your blog posts!!

  24. love the pigs on little miss nella.

  25. where do i start? OK the pictures made me smile….alot. When we lived in Florida and had a pool I would put our baby pool by the big pool and all the older kids would get in with the baby, who by the way is now 14. We have only 6 more weeks until our pool opens here. Have fun in yours…………….susan

  26. Nella’s piggies are killing me!! So excited for next week’s Easter post! XO

  27. Love it! We had a much needed weekend away, but a weekend in the cave sounds equally fantastic.

    Dying eggs and swimming…and a newfound ice cream? It doesn’t get sweeter.

    By the way, I am a fanatical colorer too, so soothing.

  28. holey bananas! where did you get your suit {please, please, please she says to herself, please say it’s new}

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  30. Hello Kelle,

    I live in England and have been inspired by your blog for some time. I think it’s the most beautiful, warm, joyous and thought provoking blog I have ever come across. I am a college lecturer, married with two grown up daughters and I love reading about your life and looking at the beautiful photography.

    Thank you for brightening my days!

    Happy Easter!

    Bente.

  31. I have always aspired to be that person responsible for naming lipstick and crayons….what a fun gig! Have a great week. xo

  32. I loved the egg dying! Nella tossing the egg was hilarious bc I could totally see my one year old with a reared back (sideways)arm giving an egg a throw just like Nella and her big sister, like Lainey, would have been less than thrilled and whined and tatelled and I would be doing all i could not to laugh! Nellas pigtails are to cute!

  33. Such a cute coloring story–I love your bathing suit. Nothing better than polka dots.

  34. Such a cute coloring story–I love your bathing suit. Nothing better than polka dots.

  35. Julia and Gosfam,
    You too can have a badass vintage suit.
    Rock some polka-dots:

    http://www.popinaswimwear.com/vintage-swimwear-the-grace-red-white-one-piece-bathing-suit-c-65-p-1-pr-300.html

    (they’re coming soon as a sponsor too…can’t wait!)

  36. Beautiful pics as always. Your pool reminds me so much of my grandmother’s pool. They lived in Naples too, so it brings back some really good memories. Good for the soul.

  37. Dying Easter eggs is one of the BEST ways to bring in Spring – I love everything about Easter. Searching for a good idea on something for my teens – I will be holding our first (and it will become annual) flashlight Easter Egg hunt this year LATE on Saturday night! Makes me think of something you would do, so I know is going to be good!

  38. Well Kathryn, I am smiling. Thank you for that. The boys will thank you this weekend as I think I’ll have to take your inspiration and run.

  39. Seeing all those colored eggs made me smile :) I love that you have to make a point to stand back and let your little ones be creative without judgment, this is so important to children :)

  40. I can not wait to move back to the united states of america!

    Seeing the sun, the pool, I need that.

    Beautiful as always. =)

  41. Thanks for the swimsuit link!! :)

    I love coloring. I keep trying to get my little guy (who’s 20 months) to give it a go, but he doesn’t have time for it. He’d much rather play in the dirt.

  42. Maybe we’ll do a midnight egg hunt too! Sounds like great fun – IF we can keep snow off the ground here in Chicago. LOVE the ice cream eating with the finger….made me laugh out loud. I always keep spoons and forks in my glove box for such emergencies. Glad to see you eat too cause you look AWESOME in that suit – jealous.

  43. happy monday , love and blesssings the doughtys

  44. I LOVE the coloring story, because i do the exact same thing. Get so excited when Jaelyn(3 year old) wants to color and before I know it she is long gone and I am still trying to perfect my picture!!
    haha too funny!! thanks for sharing your family is beautiful:)

  45. I came across your blog not too long ago. And I am in love with your pictures and your girls. Lovely. I am too a busy mom. I understand the need for a “cave-in” might do that myself very soon.thanks for sharing your life with us!

  46. Omg Nellas standing pics… GORGEOUS. Your girls are seriously adorable. I eat my ice cream with my finger every single time I get it. Not even kidding. Glad to know I’m not alone in that. Some things are just too good to wait the 10 minutes til I get home πŸ˜‰

  47. Her eggs came out beautifully. As did your cute lil swimmer. The red polka dots are becoming….

    And you must try the coconut, pineapple ice cream too. It is sooooo yummy! And refreshing. Love the finger scoop story…too funny! But they are that good, so I understand. No judging here. Ha!

  48. Love Miss Nella’s piggie tails!

  49. I truly just want to eat Nella up every time I see a picture of her. Thank you for brightening up my day!

  50. Look at Lainey’s hair! It’s getting so long! Prettttty!!!! I am used to seeing her with it up mostly. My fav of Nella is the one of her holding the yellow egg; her lashes POP in that photo! Such gorgeous girls! Thanks for the smiles!

  51. Ok, the lemon ice cream has my mouth watering! I love me some lemon ice cream, sorbet, frosting (but only homemade lemon buttercream–not the fake flavored stuff), lemonaid, you name it–if it’s got REAL lemon in it–I’m gonna love it!

    And Nella’s little pig tails are the cutest thing!!! Love them!

  52. I LOVE coloring, too! More than any of my kids, I think! Although, as I type this my 2 teenage girls are painting a dresser in their newly painted room – it all starts with coloring, we love to create

  53. I loved this entry. I, too, have added HD five to my bag of tricks. However, the Ginger flavor is my particular poison. Ginger ice cream, who-da thunk? Glad someone did.

    I’ll give the Lemon a try on your recommendation, but I’ll cry a little on the inside knowing that it means I have to pass on the Ginger even just that one time. I trust it’ll be an even exchange when it’s all said and done.

  54. I so wanted to dye eggs this past weekend, but everyone was sick and not up for it. This next weekend we shall get our dye on πŸ˜€ That icescream sounds so good, esp b/c I have a killer sore throat right now!

  55. Your pictures are beautiful!!

    bmaryandblessed.blogspot.com

  56. Well, I wasn’t planning on coloring Easter eggs this year, but your lovely pictures have changed my mind. Bring on the Paas!

  57. Oh Kelle, your pitures (as usual) are beautiful! We are coloring our eggs tonight and I hope to get some cool shots.
    I love the picture of Lainey floating on her back in the pool, eyes closed and top half of feet sticking out of the water! What a great shot!
    So jealous you’re swimming outside in April…I live in the northeast (western PA) and we’re LUCKY if we’re in the pool by end of May! Oh well! Soon enough!
    Thanks for sharing…

  58. Holy cow! The black and whites pics pics of the itty bitty pigtailed Nella…L-O-V-E!

  59. Your post was a good reminder for me too. As I get older, I am trying to embrace imperfections more. I am starting to see they are beautiful too. (Like Lainey’s splotchy, spotty eggs… they are unique… and she loved them.) Thanks for the reminder. I wonder if I can find beauty in splotchy, spotty skin? haha!!!! Can’t wait to read about your week’s adventures.

  60. This is my first Easter as a Mama. Can’t wait to dye eggs with my son…even if he is only 9 months! We’re going to have a blast!

  61. HA! Love the pigtails, the ice cream story, and knowing that you love to color, too. I used to scout the stores for the best price on a 96-er in high school, and my siblings and I would often color together on vacation… even post-high school, I do believe. : ) Purple Mountain’s Majesty? Heck, yes.

  62. so i am dying to know where you got that cute bathing suit!!! oh, please tell me, i won’t buy the same one πŸ˜‰

  63. I saw Lainey’s wand in your last post and right away went and ordered one for my Zoe Bug! I know she is 6 and quickly outgrowing such things but I could not stand just how adorable it is and am so happy you posted about it! Thanks for all you share!

  64. Awesome Monday post, thanks for sharing! makes me want to color :)

  65. Loving Nella’s pigtails!

  66. OMG those last photos of Nella, standing with the pony tails : ADORABLE!!! Waw!!! So cute πŸ˜›
    I used to LOVE colouring eggs too!!! And I STILL love colouring too (colouring drawings that is). I can’t wait to have kiddos to be able to colour without feeling weird πŸ˜›

  67. Lovely post! I love that you let your girls be creative! Being a type a personality, creative person and coloring fanatic myself. I know this is a lesson I will have to learn as well.

  68. SUPER cute swim suit! Where is it from? Also, I want your pool.

  69. I love visiting your blog, it makes me happy!Hugs and I hope you’ll stop by and enter my latest giveaway to win a gorgeous dress!

  70. Oh how I love this post!

    When Gabe was three years old, we invited our next door neighbors over to color eggs with us. In one instant, a boiled egg, was backhanded by Gabriel and our neighbor laughed and laughed over that. We realized then that we may have a pro pitcher on our hands. Your recounting of Nella’s throws made me smile and remember…

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  72. I love the colours you capture—those pool pictures look like such an oasis. And, celebrating for no reason? Awesome.

  73. LOL!! i love the title “nella breaks the rules” and that she THREW the eggs! LOL! my harry is 20 months and boy, he and nella would BOND :) and lainey and my truman would have a LOT to say about how pesky their siblings are and how they do NOT know how to handle eggs. CRACKED ME UP. needed this today.

  74. Oh my heart. Nella has turned into such a lady all of a sudden!

  75. isn’t dying eggs the best part – with the stained fingers and the pride of the result.

  76. If ever I forget why I love blogging, I’ll come here. Your posts are always so beautiful and real and inspiring. :) Each post is a celebration of life. I love it.

    ~Kendall

  77. I love those pictures of Nella standing, she is getting so big!

  78. what a great weekend you had! the pool is a bonus, i’m sure :) i’m excited to dye some eggs this week too.

  79. I just absolutely *LOVE* this blog. I too have a daughter with DS and I LOVE looking at your pictures and seeing what you have to say about life – so it is…AMAZING!

    Thanks for your blog – I hope you never stop!

  80. Nella’s pig tails!! LOVE them!!

    I am exactly the same with crayons. In fact, I am so bad that I have my own separate crayons for just me because I can’t stand when the crayons snap in half. My kids have their own boxes and they can snap them, peel back the paper and sharpen them to their hearts content.

    And OH MY GOSH! Haagen Dazs Five Lemon…heavenly!

    I love the pic of Lainey in the pool. She looks so relaxed and content. Have a great week!! :)

  81. Kelle- I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now, and know enough about it to anticipate the change of color and texture as the seasons change. Bring on the pastels- pale yellow lemon ice cream, pink easter eggs, aqua pool water. It’s spring and I am so excited to see what you dish us up…!

    xoxo
    Melina

  82. Off to the craft store to get some of that moss to make Easter egg bird nests..what a darling idea! I notice Nella’s teething necklace is still in place…is it helping? My sixth month old is making me a bit nuts in the teething dept….

  83. “Perfect” “Typical”…all so relative. God bless!

    Brooke Annessa
    http://www.theannessafamily.blogspot.com

  84. Love it!

    I REALLY wish we had your weather!!! We bundled up, here in Ontario, all day long! I am super jealous of your tank tops, and swimming… I cannot wait until summer.

  85. I love coloring! I always buy myself a new box and coloring book for the holidays…and I don’t share them…thats a dirty little secret. I always buy my girls there own crayons…but new box at Christmas? well, that one is just for me…I actually hide it and don’t use it when they’re around…oh gosh…that sounds so mean! I just like sharp, new, neat crayons : )
    I love Nellas pigtails and the ice cream sounds so yummy!!

  86. Your girls just keep getting cuter and cuter!!

  87. I too love nice & easy weekends. They are the best! There’s nothing like spending some ‘down’ time with the ones you love. Everything is so fast pase lately, that I enjoy time with no place to be, no phones & just ‘being’ with the ones we love. Enjoy your quiet time…

  88. Your photos make me so happy!!

  89. The dairy and citrus mix? Dude, I’m skeptical for myself but respect your right to love whichever ice cream flavor you choose.

    For the record, I think Publix should provide spoons near the exit to avoid the use of the finger as a utensil. It’s really a matter of public safety, if you think about it.

  90. NELLA STANDING!!!! Beautiful, amazing girl! What a joy to see her standing. And Lainey’s hair is gorgeous!

  91. Oh, your girls just get cuter with each passing day!

    We too, dyed easter eggs this weekend. It was one of my favorite childhood activities. And my daughter has those same oshkosh pink striped overalls…too cute!!!

    I have a GREAT giveaway going on at my blog…you and any readers are welcome to come check it out :)

    http://www.lovingthelittlethings.com

  92. Hey there, I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and I figured it was high time I said “hi”! Your homegrown photography is inspiring, your writing is soul warming, your life perspective uplifting and I literally visit every day to get my daily fix of it all (and so I can dance to your ever groove-worthy playlist)! Thanks for all the inspiration… from where I’m sitting, you are DEFINITELY “rocking the hell out of it.”

    Love, Jen

  93. Um, can I just say that the only thing better than those pigtails is their counterpart– the wet pigtails. Those just slayed me.

  94. I love your blog…I hate that that I can’t listen to your playlist anymore because for some strange reason it isn’t available for playback in my country! So sad for me…especially because your playlist is what I listen to when I am doing my laundry, ironing or spending time on the computer, or stamping some cards…I am so sad I have nothing to listen to…maybe I should start my own playlist?!?! Listening to your’s was just a lot easier! LOL!
    Thanks for blogging, your perspective on life is uplifting and a wonderful example for all of us to follow!
    Thanks!
    Julia

  95. The ice cream story is HILARIOUS. And those two pics of Nella in the dress? TDF!! Love.

  96. Love your pictures and your sweet kids! It is so fun to watch kids dye eggs and see their personalities come out.

  97. I just love this post Kelle! I love the ice cream picture and the new pool. I love the baby pigtails and the happy smiles. I love the eggs and the cracks and the colors and the crayon names. I love it all.

    Thank you for being so ever inspiring. Happy Easter! Love, Becky

  98. Good one. We had a weekend like this last week but it looks much different in Winnipeg Manitoba (Canada). We still have snow kicking around so swimming is out but puddle jumping is in full swing. Love your little ladies, especially that Sweet Nella. Her spirit really comes through in the pictures and makes me want to hold her little hand.

  99. Yay! I love all of the color/coloring references. Haven’t decided if we are going to color eggs this year with my 2 year old or wait til next year. Have already been playing “egg hunt” with plastic eggs. She wants to “hatch them”.

  100. Love the pic of Nella standing at the wall and LOVE LOVE LOVE her pigtails. ADORABLE!

  101. I could not stop my 1 year old from SQUEEZING the eggs, that first year.. finally, I put one in a zip-lock bag and let him have at it. He enjoyed that egg to death. Maybe Nella would enjoy a baggied egg?

  102. I so love(d) the reverie of coloring with my head on the table next to the paper and actually love the smell of crayolas. Is that weird?
    I’m no spring chicken (a grammie)- so I get to enjoy it all over again with my baby’s babies.

  103. Look at how long those piggies are getting! Nella makes me smile every time. She is too precious.

  104. Oh those shots of Nella standing with her pigs, summer dress and sandals – she’s growing up fast mommy! And Lainey’s long hair.

    We had my brother’s family and his 2.5 year old twins in for the weekend, so besides sporting cameras, it was an unplugged weekend for all. Ended the chaos with egg dying, painting bird houses, and making bird nest marshmallow treats w/ shredded wheat. I can tell you that a 6 year old neighbor did not appreciate the random dying qualities of 2 youthful 3 year olds; oh, his frustration was dripping more so than the eggs!

    Funny that you go the lemon ice cream b/c I bought the milk chocolate and the coffee versions on Friday. Both of those with crushed oreo cookies. Damn good!

    Wishing you a great week.

    -Jennifer from Annapolis

  105. Lainey’s Easter eggs are awesome! The cracks really add character. We’ll probably wait and do dyed eggs next year with our son. He’s barely 1 yr which means it would be utter disaster! Your close up of Lainey in the pool is amazing! Girl has gorgeous eyes and lashes! Lucky. I have a cave too. Sometimes I just like to stay in and relax. I totally get you there! Enjoy your week!!

  106. If I had to pick a new mom, it would be you :-) (Even though I am much to old for you to be my mom).

    LOVE your bathing suit!! Retro!!

  107. Love.love.love…..feeling so much love over yonder for you and your family! The pigtails! Cute suits! Baby hands! Lemon ice-cream…slurp, I’m drooling!

    Chartreuse….yes, I think I feel like a chartreuse shade of green today….very cheery :)

    Blessings,
    Kelly

  108. I love lemon.

    I love Easter.

    Lainey looks inexplicably like my big brother in one of these shots.

    I love coloring.

    I love lamp.

  109. LOVE LOVE LOVE dying Easter Eggs! We dye every egg in the house. Even the raw ones, because really, how many hard boileds can you eat? It always makes me smile when I am making something a few days after Easter and open the carton to find the bright and cheery little things!

  110. Coloring is one of my very favorite things about being a mom. AND- I’ve been known to buy new crayons far too often.

  111. I love that you share your difficulty with Lainey’s creative freeness… I am just starting down that path with my one-year-old and am constantly fighting the urge to say, “No, not like that, like *this*…” but look at what they teach us when we let them lead!

    And speaking of letting go – I can’t believe you put your LeapFrog musical table in the pool! You’re such a cool mama… another reminder that I need to loosen up a bit!

    Cheers!

  112. love the photos as always! we colored eggs this weekend too and when my son asked “why do we color eggs” my response was “Its easter, we just do” lol I had no idea so proud of you for looking it up momma!! ALSO just wanted to warn you about the amber necklace, we use them as well and they have always worked wonders BUT if they get a soap or sunscreen or lotion buildup I have heard it can reduce their effectiveness so I always take it off when I apply sunscreen and put it back on after the lotion has soaked in. Hope it works as well for Nella!!!

  113. Love your blog! Oh and can totally relate with completely getting lost in the world of crayons and paper :)
    By the way your suit is so so so cute!

  114. This can’t be the first round of Nella piggies- for sure there would have been a bigger fuss made?!?!?! Precious! Those shots of her standing- you can so see the little kid in her! Where did the baby go!!??!

  115. I LOVE Nella’s pigtails! :)

  116. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! Love all the stories and pics. Just what I needed!

    BTW–Love your swimsuit! You look fantastic!!

  117. Nella with pig tails!!! I can’t stand the cuteness!

  118. loved this post. I love all your posts. the coloring thing is totally me. my daughter will ask me to color with her, i’ll hesitate and think about all the other stuff i’ll put on hold to do that with her… then i cave. because her cute face, high pitched ‘asking’ voice and sweet (getting excited) look in her eyes is too hard to pass up.
    then i end up being the one who can’t be torn away from the coloring fun. ‘come on, mommy! we need to go outside… we colored every page!” and i’m still meticulously coloring the one i started with :)

    anyway, that was kind of a long comment.
    when kara (my 2 1/2 year old) saw the pic of nella coloring ON the table, she said “oh, no… Nella is gettin’ a time out for that one.” :)

  119. wow, i won. thank you so much. i can’t wait to shop and meg’s. knowing me, i’ll spend well over the 40$ but my bag of tricks also contains retail-therapy with pretty things for myself so it’s all good :)

    again, thank you SO MUCH! *doinghappydance*

  120. My 2 year old son’s favourite thing about colouring is snapping the crayons in half and then saying “uh-oh, I broke it Mama!”

    I’ve never dyed eggs before.. My Mum never took part in holiday traditions because it was ‘too messy’ or took too much time but in determined not to be like that with my son.. As I type this we have eggs soaking in food colouring! And after his nap I will let him paint them any way he wants! Thanks for the inspiration! x

  121. Looks like a fun weekend!!!
    I love your swim suit! Very Retro. :)

  122. Your post is beautiful. You have a zest for life that comes across loud and clear. :)

  123. looks like a gorgeous weekend! Love the eggs, and Nella’s treatment of them!

  124. It’s so fun to be your daughter. :)

  125. I love reading your blog, as a Mom, I can totally relate to your stories! Thank you for the chuckles, and tears and for being so real!

  126. (I wrote a message that never showed here and will try again, hopefully I didn’t double post?)

    I usually comment here every time there’s a new post, because I’m sincerely thankful for what you do and how it contributes in so many ways.
    Besides being an inspiration in how to notice even more in everyday life, you also are the gem of the evening (or treasure on the other side of the rainbow) of those treasured days that you write!

    Your blog has had an even bigger effect on me than I would have ever have imagined and I find it really hard putting it into words, but here goes, a try at least:

    I had a son (my beloved firstborn) when I was 20, in an abusive relationship. I managed to get out alive, bringing the son. I always thought I’d never have another child, because if I should, it would have to be in a great marriage and that didn’t seem likely to me at that point (struggling with the son’s father who wouldn’t accept being out of the picture).
    And then, at 34, I find myself in a happy marriage and a mother of another son and of course the joy was total.
    By then we were done, we said, and there would be no more kids. My husband had three coming into our relationship and I had that one firstborn son. We were content.

    Following your blog has meant a slow, soft, warm change in me.
    Your wonderful photos, the “lyrics” that go with them and the love in them has changed my wants and has put me in touch with emotions I didn’t know was there.
    All of a sudden I realized: I want another child!
    I want my youngest son, who loves little kids, to have a little sibling. I never even thought in that way before. It was as if I was supposed to feel and act “how I was supposed to”.
    Now I realize that I don’t care what I’m supposed to: I feel, I long and want!

    It turns out hubby isn’t even against it, as I thought…

    I don’t know if I managed to sum it up? I once wrote here that I’d share one day and this is a small part of who I am.

    Thank you Kelle. Without your blog I wouldn’t even give it a go, being 40 years old as I am since December 29:th 2010.
    Thank you. What a gift you have, influencing human beings in such a lovely warm way.

    Sincerely, A

  127. best color name ever? purple mountain’s majesty.

  128. Your blogs are wonderful! I could literally sit and read from the start to the end. Your family is just so dang cute!!
    I’m hooked on “Enjoying the Small Things”

  129. Where ever did you get your adorable bathing suit? It looks like something one of the Andrews Sisters would’ve worn! L-O-V-E it!!! And I love you…you are just a doll :)

  130. Though my three boys are teenagers, we are lucky to spend such special time together. We still color tons of eggs, just for the fun of it. Have you heard the song “Colors”, by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals? It has that mellow vibe and sigh we feel when we come together at the end of the day. I love reading your blog and feeling the love of family and especially your little angels! I do miss holding those little tiny hands the most! enjoy them~

  131. Is that an amber teething necklace Nella is wearing? Does it seem to be working?

  132. Okay, you made me laugh out loud about the colouring. I read your post just after I had finished preparing my activity/craft for teaching Easter Sunday school. I spent half an hour colouring the example … for 3-5 year olds who won’t even notice or appreciate my deliberate, careful choice of easter green or dandelion … not to mention to the fact that my own kids were not even colouring with me, but were all sound asleep in bed. My husband even commented on my thorough preparation to teach this week. Love your blog – you are blessed and I love that you know you are blessed!

  133. I just have to add another rave for 5 Lemon. I love, love, LOVE that stuff. And last week when I went to the grocery for a run of what I could possibly get a sick kid to eat that was certainly in the cart for me. Yay!

  134. oh and re: nella’s teething. here in germany one thing we like to use is “iris root”. you buy it at a pharmacy or organic store here and it usually comes on a string/necklace so the baby can chew on it to relief pain from teething. everyone with kids i know LOVES it and it works wonders. the only somewhat “good” english link i found is this here. let me know if i can get and send you one for nella. i’d love to.

  135. I love dying eggs for Easter!! Although I don’t like getting my fingers stained. Small sacrifices.
    Love your post. As always.

  136. Nella is too big standing up by the wall, can’t accept that!

  137. love this post! made my day a little brighter on this dreary cold wisconsin day..it is april right!? anyways, your girls are beautiful as always, i love how long lainey’s hair is getting and nella is looking so big, in a good way! I think I will dye some easter eggs tonight, maybe pick up a coloring book as well!!

  138. Awww….look at her little piggies:) So cute!!!!

    I love that you ate your ice cream with your fingers…awesome:)

    And I laughed at Nella throwing her Easter egg…that is totally something Nelia would do:)

  139. I have such good memories of dyeing eggs with my mom when I was growing up. But we always drew on the eggs with crayon before we dyed them. My mom was a great artist and always did an egg with each of our faces on it. Including the dog! :-)

  140. sounds perfect- love the black and whites of Nella

  141. Where did you find this little swimming pool for kids? I’d like to find one as large as this!
    Thank you!
    Véronique

  142. I love coloring eggs! It is one of my favorite things about Easter. :)

  143. the eggs came out great!

    and i have to say, i love your moon photos!

  144. Holy Wow! Those two little pictures of Nella with her pigtails, standing against the wall just blow me away. She could NOT be any more precious!!

  145. Hey Kelley! I just started a blog myself and I wanted you to check it out at couturethrifting.blogspot.com. If you like it please tell all your friends because we would like it to get really popular.

  146. The black and white pictures of Nella by the wall are SOOO cute!!

  147. I’m new to your blog and completely in love. I feel so inspired when I come here and look at your pictures, your girls, your words. I admire that you appear in almost all of your posts. I have no problems posting pictures of my girl, but pictures of myself are often hard to come by (I’m usually the one behind the camera and haven’t mastered the art of self-timer). So, I have to ask, do you use your self-timer, or does your husband, or someone else, take those gorgeous shots of you?

  148. Oh gosh, I sound so sarcastic in my earlier comment. At work so I was probably just in a serious mode but taking a breather. I should be mindful to add some exclamation points or smiley faces or something! Glad you like the ice cream and I do wish Publix put spoons near the exit as I’ve been known to eat ice cream and yogurt the same way you did the other day. It’s messy!

    A little story:
    Today I saw a cat on recheck after a severe dental procedure. The client was so grateful to me for helping both of her cats that she gave me two Mark Poulin necklaces: Space Cat for me and a little Space Cat for Ada. I love getting happy mail from thankful, happy clients but this present takes the cake. I cried during our appointment! I couldn’t find your original post from when he was a sponsor but I had to mention that the necklaces are super cute. I guess that M. Poulin is just across the bay in Oakland! Small world…

  149. Omigosh, Kelle. I’ve been following your blog for quite a long time, but never wanted to come across as one of those “weirdo blog-stalkers”!!! BUT…can I just say, your family is absolutely B*E*Y*O*N*D B*E*A*U*T*I*F*U*L??? You are, without a doubt. Enjoy your cave, your travels, the adventures that await at your “Isle” this summer, and most of all, each other!!!

  150. Ahhhh, dyeing eggs, drips and dots of pigment all over hands and tables and toes. My middle child, a classic middle child is dramatic in every single way. He had to ahead and be horribly allergic to eggs, not just itchy or anything…we’re talking Epipen here! So, for the last four Easters, there have been no dyed eggs. Oh yeah, he also had to be allergic to nuts, and I love me some Mr. Fruit and Nut bunnies.
    Also sad, apparently your playlist is not licensed for Canada and all your hardcore Canuck fans miss the music!

  151. Nella looks so grown up with her piggy tails and I love the picture of Lainey with her hair blowing in the wind.
    xo

  152. Oooh I LOVE colouring too! So much so, that I’ll purposely buy a colouring book and crayons for a niece or nephew as a present and colour a few random pages before giving it to them! :)

    LOVE the pics of Nella standing by the wall, totally gorgeous!

  153. I had a little giggle to myself with the Nella breaking the rules picture. I have a little inkling that Miss Nella is going to be allowed to break many rules due to her gorgeous-ness!

  154. So glad I found your blog. It has inspired me to start my own! As a mother of two, I’m also very inspired by your two daughters and how you are raising them — to appreciate the beauty in the everyday things we are surrounded by. Keep up the great work!

  155. I can’t even describe the happiness your blog brings me. Thank you for writing.

  156. Another “Kelle As Usual” post & pics to brighten your readers’ days & bring smiles to our hearts. L-O-V-E the colors in these pics.. The magical “comfort food” Crayola colors, the Easter eggs (even the triple-dipped ones πŸ˜‰
    My boss told me he’d read a study about the calming effect of the smell of Crayolas… They were recommending crayon aromatherapy as a method for soothing road ragers in commute traffic. I bought myself a box recently (only 24 tho!) but not to combat road rage… Just to have around in case I get the urge to scribble in technicolor :-)
    Love your “techniques,” btw.. The shading & highlights for Barbie…
    Must say I’m a teensy bit jealous of the pool time… It’ll warm up here soon (we already got a taste of low 80s in early Feb… “premature Spring” in NorCal).
    P.S. Nella’s piggy tails are the best! And I adore those shots of her sitting against the wall (& the close-ups of Miss Lainey w her big beautiful eyes).

  157. I was going to talk about how Crayola can brighten anyone’s day if you let it, and how I am longing for your warm weather and blah, blah blah. And then I read My Secret Rooms comment and was astounded. It is always so easy to forget that people have history and I always love how in your lovely little blog we are reminded how connected we all are. Our thoughts and actions are meant to inspire others. Beautiful!

  158. P.S. LOVE the picture of you kissing Nella in black and white. Another poster worthy shot…rock on.

  159. Love the pictures as always, Kelle. Nella looks like she’s having tons of fun in her paddle pool!

    To keep that free-spirited creativity going, check out the Anti-Coloring book line of books. There’s a ton and they’re fantastic. They include part of a picture for you to color but leave sections blank for the artist to draw in her own touches too. I’m an art teacher and I love them for free-time drawing. Most of the line is geared for 6+:

    http://www.amazon.com/Anti-Coloring-Book-Creative-Activities-Ages/dp/0805068422/ref=pd_sim_b_2#_

    but I think there’s one for preschool too:

    http://www.amazon.com/Young-Art-First-Coloring-Preschoolers/dp/0671496492

    And I’ve had that ice cream and it’s F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C!!!

  160. Okay, I just had to stop by again and look at Nella’s pig tails and the black and white standing photos….just want to squish her!

    And I have to say, I laughed out loud at the ice-cream pic…..hahahaha….I TOTALLY do the same thing…can’t wait to dig in. Picturing you driving slowly, with your knee, with boys in tow….LOL! Love the kind of laughter this evokes from my stomach….hardy giggles!

    I also love this image of you much better than the one of you crying in the parking garage….so sad :(

    Okay, bye for now ~
    Kelly

  161. I LOVE me a new box of crayons!!! And my older child can totally sympathize with Lainey’s frustration over the thrown eggs…my middle child must have broken a dozen eggs last night when he “Beer ponged” them into the dye!

  162. beautiful beautiful pictures, as always! and I absolutely LOVE your sandals you are wearing in the pic with the colored eggs. I want them!!

  163. Your gorgeous photo of the eggs with the three mugs of dye triggered the thought that I must. have. a cup. of hot tea. right now.

    And so, I am.

    Hot tea on a stormy day. One of my favorite small things.

    Merci beaucoup.

  164. My dear piece of Florida sunshine, I really wish you would blog today:) Terrible damn day.. I’ll keep you as my favorite anyways.

  165. Frame that b/w picture of you kissing Nella’s cheek. The love is radiating.

  166. pigtails.
    pigtails.
    pigtails!!!!
    oh happy day!

  167. I wish I could comment on every picture but I know I cant, they are just all so amazing. The picture of Lainey with those peircing green eyes by the pool, just pure perfection. And the picture of Nellas little black and white photo shoot at the end. PRECIOUS. The best is the one of you and her at the end, its shows your true bond, the love, the thing you have that most people crave.

    I am ready for the day for my daughter to be able to play with crayons. Right now at 3 she is still eating them and throwing them in every which direction, mostly mouth though. And I can NOT wait for hotter weather and a warmer pool. My girl LOVES the water.

    THankyou for sharing this.

  168. This comment has been removed by the author.

  169. I felt like it was me writing this post. The more I read the more I gasped and said, “Ohmigosh that’s me!” to my finace… I LOVE coloring… almost in a sick way. I admit it. I’m 27 years old and I look for every chance I get to color. I teach kids with autism and when they do coloring sheets Miss Jana joins right in… totally get you girl. AND I love ice cream. I discovered the Haagen Dazs Five ice cream last summer. I’ve only had the vanilla (weird… I’m totally a chocolate girl) but I’m addicted. I really want to try the other flavors but my love of the vanilla is too strong right now. Maybe someday soon….

    Also, my favorite crayon from the Crayola box you mentioned… Robin’s Egg Blue:)

  170. it snowed here today. Just sayin’

  171. LOVE coloring! I resorted to getting my own set of crayons that the kiddos can’t touch, because I have to have the points “just so” and want to actually be able to read the label on the crayons!

    I haven’t colored eggs since I was a kid. That might be on tap for the next day or so!

  172. Lainey has your eyes… so pretty. Love the egg coloring and the black and whites of Nella standing.

    Love the fact that you have so many looks. I have always wanted to find the perfect lotion or perfume that I “always” smell like so one day my girls will smell it and think of me, but I haven’t. I have 6-7 perfumes in my drawer that I love, and buy a different lotion every time I go to the store… I feel differently about this issue now. Thanks for the insight!

  173. so while at the grocery store today, I bought the haagen dazs five lemon on your recommendation…let me just say, it is just as fantastic as you said it was. the first bite was actually more ‘lemony’ than i thought it would be, but after the second bite it just became more fantastic and delicious. so thank you, and your sister, for the wonderful suggestion!

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