My Mama’s Wedding

The unfortunate part of going home to visit is that once you are there, you begin to remember what you gave up to move away.

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I’ve programmed myself to focus on the fact that we can skip barefoot through sprinklers in our side yard in February or wade the gulf searching for bait fish any time we please. I’ve squeezed my homesick lemons into lemonade that tastes like sunsets, cold sand, palm trees and Sunday kayak rides. And I like that lemonade.

But this weekend, the protective barrier I’ve built of making the best out of raising my family away from those I love began to deconstruct. I felt what we are missing. I watched Lainey find her place in a line up of little cousins tucked under covers and I choked back tears as Nella was cuddled and loved by men who were once just little cousins I used to hoist on my own hip.

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I miss this.

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But let me go back.

My mama got married.

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I’ve been so busy with traveling and getting ready for the trip that I never really thought about how emotional it would be. It’s something we’ve dreamed of for a very long time. And then George came along and my, how we could never have chosen a better man to make my mom happy…to fit in so perfectly with our family.

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We gave our mom away. In a profoundly beautiful moment, my brother and sister and I walked down an aisle, behind my mom–the day before Mother’s Day–and smiled as we answered “Who gives this woman?” with a confident “We, her children.”

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It is slightly ironic–to give your mother away–and yet an amazing opportunity I’ll never forget. Things didn’t go perfectly as planned for my mom. But she’s taught us to find happiness, to be content, to make the best of what we have. And in the end, there is joy…if you look for it. Thankfully, Heidi thought to look for it for her on Eharmony.Photobucket

Photobucket My mom’s sisters (minus one who’s in Nigeria) and my grandma who might as well be a sister.

I thought a lot about legacy this weekend.

Photobucket Grandma’s got bling.

I looked at Lainey less as an almost-four-year-old and more as the girl who will grow up and make her own mark on the world.

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But mostly I just felt wholly present and grateful for family.

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For picking up where we left off.

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For knowing that so much of who I am comes from the grounding roots of where I’ve been…of where I belong.

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We had some good times this weekend. Moments where the stars and planets were aligned and all was right with the world.

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My people.

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I’ve learned never to go too long without coming home again.

And while this great span of family loveliness this weekend had me aching for more of it, I woke up at 4:30 this morning to prepare for an early flight. I peeled the covers down and shivered with the shock of cold air that creeped in overnight, tucked an extra blanket around the girls, and quietly tiptoed through the dark to the cold tile of the bathroom where I showered. I winced through a goosebump shave that will, I’m sure, soon transform into a wicked case of razor burn, and I finished my shower with two towels–double the warmth. Forty minutes later, I blanketed the girls like burritos and hurried them to the car, promising they’d be warm soon. Because it’s only a two-and-a-half hour plane ride that seperates us from our other home–where May means bare shoulders, sun-kissed cheeks and an array of bathing suits drying over the pool fence.

Maybe you can have the best of both worlds. Where sometimes it’s hard, but most of the time you make it work. Where staying home and going home mean two different things but somewhere in between, there’s a happy middle.

We’ll find it, whatever it is.

More of Mama’s wedding HERE.
(doxology is a family tradition)

Congratulations to the winner of a Popina swimsuit, Comment #1042, Kristin: Hands down my least favorite to do is mopping! My procrastinatory weapon of choice is nursing my sweet little baby! Hey, if he needs to eat, then he needs to eat! :) So really it’s not procrastinating, it’s just prioritizing! :)

Kristin, please send your info to kellehamptonblog@comcast.net.

And finally, it’s appropriate timing to introduce two new sponsors as Lainey’s flower girl skirt was designed and created by Bambaroos Boutique. Bambaroos features many styles of fully-lined tulle skirts that work beautifully as photography props or for weddings.

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Bambaroos is joined by its sister shop, Studio Wed, which provides wedding and fashion accessories for women.

Check out my new Studio Wed tulle skirt with satin sash. Love.

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And if you’re still enthralled with fascinators like I am after Will & Kate’s wedding, you’ll have to check out their stunning selection (this one!).

Use Code BLOGS at either shop for 10% off your order.

Two comments will be randomly selected–one to win a $25 gift certificate to Bambaroos and one to win a $35 gift certificate to Studio Wed.

I’m running on fumes–four nights in a row to bed past midnight. To all a good night!

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Check out Babble’s Mother’s Day sentiments HERE.

Comments

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  1. Glad you had a great time. We live on Okinawa and I’m anxiously awaiting our trip back home to the States this summer. I miss our family!

  2. What sweet love!

  3. I love all your pics, a friend sent me over to this blog, so glad she did, really enjoy your posts!

    Sara

  4. What a beautiful post; “home” can mean so many things, can’t it?

    You have a really really good-looking family… in case you were wondering. :)

    And where oh where did you get your “Love” sweater? I think I need it…

  5. These picture communicate such love. I also relate with living in two worlds. We live in China and while life here is amazing and this is our home. Going back home to the US is also home. Each summer as we come back marks a special and bittersweet time with the family and friends we have left there.

  6. i love how all the women in your family have the same generous, mouth-wide-open laugh :)

  7. Oh Kelle….congratulations!!! How beautiful, how perfect. Thank you for the bouquet of photos.

    xo
    Melina

  8. so beautiful, kelle. and congratulations to your lovely mom – cheers!

  9. Beautiful post, as always. Love the pic of all the kiddos curled up. I’m also raising my family far from other family.

  10. Oh, what beautiful photos :)

  11. And one more think, Kelle….being torn between two places is so hard. It’s wonderful to have so much love spread over geography but still so, so hard.

    I’ve squeezed those lemons into ferry rides and rainforests and oceans….but I miss my soft rolling green mountains every moment.

    with love
    Melina
    http://www.thewildercoast.com

  12. This post kind of made me cry a little bit. So beautiful. So happy for your mama.

  13. Great pictures! Your mom is so beautiful, you look so much like her.

  14. So happy for y’all! I think you look like your mom:)

  15. ohhh, I can so relate! Me and my then boyfriend, my now husband, drove cross country from NY to Las Vegas for an “easier living” and its still hard for me! Our families are all on Long Island – and we’re out in the desert! But, its been good to us and I’m so thankful for my husbands job here and me staying home with my babies…that would not happen back home! So, in your words…I am blooming where I’m planted :)
    So happy for your mama and George! Family is so precious!

  16. Alright, you just had me in tears! Your family reminds me of my own and I can see where it would be difficult to be away from that loveliness.

    Your mother, stunning! Congrats to her! :)

  17. I can so relate to raising a child while hubby was in the military, with no family ever around. Now we live in Virginia while everyone and I mean everyone lives in Western NY.

    We visit once a year and it takes us back sometimes we long to be there but it is a nice break none the less.

    :)
    Teri

  18. Home is where your heart is and you, Kelle, have such a big heart your ‘home’ just keeps getting bigger as you roam. Thank you so much for sharing your family’s happiness, reading your words and seeing your photographs are a joy.

  19. I couldn’t help but get teary eyed reading this post! It must have been amazing to be around all of that family! We live only about an hour from our parents and siblings but none of them have any children…our kids don’t have any cousins yet. It kind of makes me sad because I want that for my little ones. And that picture of all of the kids…made me cry. It truly is priceless! Congrats to your Mom!

  20. Tears, tears, tears. Thank you for sharing these beautiful images and memories. I am so thrilled for your sweet mama.

    I just wanted to send a virtual hug and let you know I understand what you mentioned at the top of the post about the unfortunate part of visiting home. I also moved away from my family in Michigan and while I have a great life here in NY, every time I go home there are things I miss so dearly and ache for so deeply, that my heart feels as though it may break open and cry it’s own tears.

    Sending hugs from one Michigan girl to another <3

  21. No matter how cold, no matter how much “better” your climate and lifestyle are, there’s just nothing like running to cousins’ houses or getting hugged and loved on by family. Loved to see the smiles on your faces in these pics. And is it just me or is Nella looking sad/angry at the cousin because her bottle got stolen or what? Marissa

  22. I just found your blog and I’m so glad I did. What a wonderful way to express the joy that family brings! Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  23. Love your blog and everything it represents. You are such a beautiful person and live such a beautiful life.

  24. Seeing your mom with her sister’s makes me so excited to give my daughter a sibling! Thanks for sharing :)

  25. I have always lived near my family and my daughter has never not had them around. But back in August my whole family abruptly had to move back to our home state of AL. There are times, when I am with them visiting, that I miss the chaos of them being around. I miss the love they shower on my daughter. But I also realize how much I’ve grown up and changed with them not being around. I’ve realized how much closer I’ve gotten to my daughter and my husband without my family around to “dictate” how I treat them or act. It’s such a hard place to be – missing family and home but loving the home and family you have created for yourself!

  26. Your mom’s wedding looked amazing!

    :)

  27. I hope you go more often. So happy for your Mama.

  28. Thank you for reminding me what home is!

  29. So happy for you all! Family means everything, and it is so nice to go back where you grew up!

  30. I loved seeing your family photos… next week I leave for a trip to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and my Gma who hasn’t seen my son since he was just a month old has no idea we’re coming! I can’t wait to see her expression. Ahhh family, its the best.

  31. I love how home makes you feel!

  32. Absolutely beautiful.

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

  33. I read your post with a giant knot in my throat. I, too, am away from family, raising my littles. My heart sometimes aches for those family weekends with cousins piled under blankets.

  34. Such a beautiful post! Your Mom was such a gorgeous bride…… most beautiful woman there – hands down!

    And – your Grandma – what a firecracker she must be!

    So happy for your family’s joy.

    Loved your video too – and the doxology…..

    Only thing I want to say is I bow down to you – two amazing posts and a video(!) – and – in less than 2 days…….I’m not sure what well you get your energy from – but, I’d like one dug on my property, please!……….Rosemary

  35. Such a beautiful weekend!
    Congratulations to your mom & new dad.

  36. congrats to all!!

  37. I’m reall happy for yur mom and your family. The pictures are beautiful as always. Get some much needed rest

  38. My mom was a single mom for 15 years before she met Mike. My brother gave her away, and I sang. During the ceremony, we both wept… no, we sobbed. I understand your feelings. My mom’s day was so beautiful and so perfect and so deservedly happy. And, if we knew we’d only have her for 2 1/2 more months, well… well, maybe it was perfect the way it was. :)

    On a completely unrelated note, the picture of your mom and her sisters and mother is the champion of all pictures. I love their mouths! Priceless!

  39. I wonder at the same things, how to balance the life you’ve been given, wonderful and everything, but deal with being far from your family. How to be present in your life and still connected to your roots. Such a balancing act.

  40. Beautiful photos! I know the feeling of giving your Mother away. It’s like none other. Congratulations to your mom and the new addition to your family. I hope you’re able to go back and visit “home” again soon!

  41. you ALWAYS have the very best pictures …full of life and blessings. xoxo

  42. love is so sweet! :) and i love to see all of those cousins together!

  43. What a beautiful time had by all! Your pictures are always stunning. I love the picture collage in the dining room in the background! I moved away from my family, and I love where we live now, but it is at the sacrifice of having family support. My mom talks of moving near us when she retires. That would be wonderful.

  44. Not to sound like a Kelle groupie, but I’ve totally been checking for this post all day! I couldn’t wait to hear about your mama’s wedding.

  45. I love being a part of a big family of women…congrats to your mom on her marriage, looks like a fab day!

  46. congrats to your mom! sometimes there is nothing like going home.

  47. I love the new songs you’ve added to the playlist. Your mom looks gorgeous and SO happy. What a blessing.

  48. What a beautiful trip you had.

  49. Congratulations to your beautiful mom and your entire family. So glad you were able to enjoy time with all those you love. :)

  50. Congratulations to your momma :) I hope my flower-girl is at least half as cute as lainey (next year)!

  51. Beautiful pictures.
    I’m grateful that, at least for now, my husband and I are right next to my family.

  52. Looks like family time got a little more perfect this trip! How wonderful for your mom! I remember when my grandma got married at 68 years old! It was one of the most blissful moments of my life and I am sure hers! I know how hard it is to be away from extended family… oh the sacrafices we make for our own immediate families!

    Ps my son Beckett looked at the pic of Lainey in her dress and said “Oh she is so tuuuooote! (cute)!” He isn’t even 3 yet! But it melted my heart cuz I think your girls are just adorable and sweet and special! He has good taste I guess :)

  53. This post hit home today, as I am also far away from my family as well. My husband and I welcomed our first little baby bundle in September and it’s so hard to be in another part of the country. I’m so glad you and the girls enjoyed your trip…it looks like you have a wonderful family!

  54. looks like you have an amazing family!

  55. Your family is beautiful. I love the pic of your mom and her sisters and mom. Fantastic shot!

  56. You and your girls looked beautiful! I bought my daughter Emerson, my mother (Grammy) and I fascinators to go to tea in NYC for her 1st birthday. Check out the creator on etsy: Amarmi
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Amarmi

  57. I would love to require every woman to wear a fascinator to my wedding. What fun! And those tutu’s? Yes please! I would totally nix my flower girl’s current get-up for one of those bad boys.

    Your mom’s veil is everything. How stylish! I see where you get it!

  58. It looks like you had a great time. Congratulations to your Mom.

  59. You had me at the first line:
    “The unfortunate part of going home to visit is that once you are there, you begin to remember what you gave up to move away.”

    Our family lives between two worlds…one in VA of the USA and one in La Paz, Bolivia….where it’s somewhat harder to bridge the distance…but we do our best…skype, email, snail-mail, and three-week visits when it’s possible (cause when you go that far, you can’t stay for just a week.)

    What a beautiful day for you mom. And she’s lucky to have an amazing photographer to capture the moments.

    Susan

  60. You look like your mom! Good genes all around. Congrats to your family.
    I love all the pics
    How wonderful to find love again.
    Hello from Dallas, Texas! Where it’s warm as well :)

  61. Love all the family pics! Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  62. Congratulations to your mom…..she was a beautiful bride! And it’s always good to go home again, isn’t it? I love the fact that my kids live close to all their cousins and can have that special relationship:))

  63. Absolutely beautiful! Family is so wonderful–and such an important reminder of how blessed we are!

  64. Oh what a precious, precious day to enjoy with your mama! I love that you have this kinda relationship, I can live vicariously through you! You’ve such a beautiful heart girl!

  65. this post made me cry, and it sums up perfectly how I feel about living far from home from my family.

    congrats to your mom! so awesome & amazing. what a wonderful story she has!

  66. Home is home is home. Period. You’re a lucky woman to have 2 homes where many many people love you. I haven’t teared up at your pictures/writing since I first read Nella’s Birth Story, but I can’t help but allow my eyes to fill with tears of happiness. I am so happy for your ginormous family to have celebrated to such a wonderful union. And to give away your mom, words can not express how cool that is! I love how much love oozes from your blog!

  67. Has anyone ever told you that your brother is very attractive? Sheesh!

  68. What a beautiful testament to love. So happy for your mom and the joy that she hasfound. And the fact that you were able to “give her away”, how magical. Absolutely wonderful!

  69. So precious!!!

  70. The picture of your mom, her sisters, and their mom is fantastic. You can feel their love for each other.

  71. That photo of your mom with her sisters and mother is priceless. What a moment!

  72. Oh, KELLE! Tears are in my eyes, and my heart is so warmed and touched. How beautfiful, the photos and words and the FEELINGS that come across about your mom and family and how you miss home. Knowing just a bit of your mom’s story, well, as you said, things did not turn out as planned. I am just SO happy for her! May she have many years of happiness with her groom. I envy your big family and the connectedness; that is something that many of us do not have so much. You are, indeed, blessed. Love to you from your Blog Mama ~

  73. Always love reading your writing, Kelle. Love the picture of Nella snuggling with that guy.

  74. I love the love emanating from your pictures with your family. Simply beautiful.

  75. Stunning!

  76. I love this – It had me in tears. I wish I had that – My parents just sold the last house that I had lived in and it makes me sad. At the same time my grandmas house which had been in the family a long time is being sold since she died in September – I know that they are just houses but it makes my heart ache that I will never go back to these homes rich with memories – to make new ones with my littles.
    Your family looks wonderful and the wedding was beautiful – how special it must have been to give your mom away.Thanks for sharing

  77. I liked your post! I love so much my family too and I like to see them. We don’t see each other often but it’s always fun, like you and your family!
    You took some beautiful family’s pictures! I love the one with Nella sleeping in a man’s arms – his eyes are close too.
    I always like to read you!

  78. Kelle,
    Is Nella crying in the photo of her and all the cousins? her face looks as if she is either sad or either done belly laughing. I hope it was the latter. Congrats Mama to Kelle and Nana to Lainey and Nella!

  79. Beautiful! I can only imagine your pain of leaving your family. Much happiness is wished to your mom and George.

  80. As the photo of Lainey in her princess dress scrolled down, my 3 yr old daughter yelled, STOP! “Her is bootiful. Pincess bootiful.” And yes, indeed she is 😉

  81. Kelle, this post made me cry. It’s just beautiful.

    Family anchors our hearts…my dad remarried a few years ago after Mum died. In my ‘new’ Mum I’ve found a whole new family…as you will too.

    Thanks for sharing the magic of your special day…it made me miss my family across the pond in Australia.

    with love
    Diana x

  82. (sorry if this submits twice… didn’t seem to work the first time)

    BEAUTIFUL! Congratulations to your mama, to your whole family.

    I LOVE the picture of her and George in front of the wooden fence (or whatever it is). I love the goofy family pictures, full of life, love, laughter – the sister picture is awesome! I can’t tell if they all look alike because they have the same features, or if it’s just because of the huge grins on their faces.

    Home is where your heart is, so I think you have little pieces of home all over the place.

  83. I grew up far away from family and I’ve always wished we lived closer. Now that I’m raising my own kids I think I was lucky. Because the moments in those super saturated visits probably wouldn’t happen if you were around all the time. It’s like extra special family time on steroids and I love it.

  84. There often times when reading your blogs that I shed tears because I feel such a connection to you, your family simply because of the stories you share…Today was one of those moments..You look so much like your Mom, who is beautifulbtw and that picture of her laughing is a glimpse into your future I’m sure! I am home in Florida for the first time in a long time and feel so many of those sentiments myself..God Bless you and your family and Congrats to your Mom and George!

  85. you rock kelle! keep smiling!

  86. So beautiful – everyone looks so happy! I love the photo of your mom with her sisters and mother laughing!

  87. I’m a born and bred Michigan girl that lived in Hawaii for three years. There is something magical about the mitten, especially to have such an amazing family!

  88. Beautiful. That’s the word that keeps popping into my head…about everything. Just beautiful.

  89. you brought tears to my eyes with this post, Kelle. such a beautiful reminder of how important family is and I love the part about looking at Lainey as a young woman who will one day make a mark on this world. ok, gonna go wipe my tears and peek in on my own sleeping little girl now…

  90. How wonderful for your Mom! I feel lots of those same things when I visit my family. I miss the big gatherings and seeing my mom with my girls. And unfortunately, we are always returning to colder weather when we leave them! Glad you had a great time with your family.

  91. Wow what a big, beautiful family you have! I love your photography so much, and always enjoy reading about your loving and lovely family. Congrats to your momma!

  92. I have a small obsession with that tulle skirt…
    LOVE checking in on your family!! 😉 xx

  93. Oh, my! You all look so much alike – you, your mom, her sisters, your grandma! And beautiful pics, as always! Thank you so much for sharing!

  94. I love that your mom met the love of her life on eHarmony! What a great story :)

  95. Wonderful pictures!

  96. Your mother looks so happy…such a nice story…..hot brother by the way…..

  97. Your mom is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I’m so happy that she has found love again, as I’m sure you and your siblings are! Congratulations for your family! Here’s to many more years of awesome memories to come!

  98. NOTHING like being with family!! lovely family you have!!

  99. I completely understand that inner turmoil of being home and going home. It is about a 20 hour drive to get to all the people I love which totally stinks but I do it time and time again because nothing is like opening the door to your childhood home and being greeted by “your people”.

  100. Your family looks like such good people! Good for your mom for finding love–and speaking of love, I’m pretty sure I love your grandma! She looks to be incredibly awesome!

  101. Oh how I understand the feeling you get when you go home. My home is in Tucson, and each and every time we head back I love it. The grandparent’s. The cousin’s. The aunt’s and uncles and extended family. How everyone welcomes right back in with open arms, and we all talk and play and laugh like we hadn’t be separated 5 minutes.
    Praying for a smooth transition for you guy’s!

  102. Happy Mother’s Day! And, congratulations to Grandma Krissy and George!

  103. Your mom is beautiful and looked radiant!

  104. What a fantastic event to share with the whole family. By the way, I love the sling you were using with Nella! She looks so comfy in it!

  105. Whomever the guy was with his eyes closed holding Nella MELTED my heart… That picture just says so much… We should all have families like yours, just beautiful.. Including Brett. You are truly blessed, Mama!

  106. What a wonderful family you have! I know how hard it is to be away from family. we did it for a couple of years after we married. Thankfully, we were able to come back to be closer to family after we had our babies!

  107. family time is the best time.

  108. Love your girls! L reminds me of my 4 yr old – he has the same hesitant ‘wanting to smile, but hiding it’ smile. From someone who wants to move to Southern Florida away from all of my family here in Michigan, I get nervous about the same feelings you describe. But looking at your pictures in your current home, I think building your own life and your psuedo family is working well!

  109. Thank you for your quote about finding the best of both worlds. I live 3,000 miles away from my family and it’s a decision I struggle with everyday. Thank you for showing that it’s ok to want both. :) Congratulations to your mom. She looked stunning.

  110. what wonderful pictures that capture the joy and laughter and delight that come with family reunions. we stayed close to home, but so many others moved away. the reunions can be hard on those close by, because it seems so natural when everyone’s there, but when the rest of you leave again, you’re reminded that your home is now a place that isn’t (the main) home for so many others….

  111. they say a picture is worth a thousand words. well, they were wrong. your pictures are worth a ba-trillion emotions. you never have to say goodbye with pictures like these. this is a legacy in itself. beautiful. absolutely beautiful.

  112. I love Lainey’s dress + I love the last picture! Your pictures + stories make me thankful that I live so close to my family. I’m reminded again to not take that for granted.

  113. We are also from Michigan and live out of state due to the economy. A 10 hour drive separates us from all of our family. It is so nice to see someone else that realizes that you have to makes choice in your life that work for you, no matter how far away they take you. On a HIGH note, we go back to The Mitten in a month and half for a family wedding of our own and I can’t WAIT to see long stretches of beach and family! Hope you had a fabulous time – it sure looks like you did!

  114. your moms wedding was beautiful! love that tulle skirt! im getting married in key west in december and love those fascinator veils!

  115. I can see why you would miss being so close to your family- they look amazing! Glad you made it home safe!

  116. This post was powerful for me. I left home and often have to remind myself why I left as well. I love and miss my families and enjoy every moment I get to spend with them. It makes me so happy that your mother has found happiness. She sounds like a wonderful woman.

  117. I am so happy for your mom and her new husband. My mother in law who is in her 60’s and lives 100 feet away from our house has started dating again. She’s been divorced for almost 10 years and it’s so sweet to see her smile again and get embarrassed when we mention his name 😉 We hope to celebrate as you did with a wedding in the future. All the best to the newlyweds.

  118. Congrats to your mama!

  119. I get to visit my mommy in 4 weeks. I can’t wait! It’s been over 2 years since I’ve been back to TN where she now lives. Thank you for the joy you for your family!

  120. Such a beautiful wedding….

    Seems to me, your cup runneth over, just as it should.

  121. Beautiful photos! You look like you have an amazing family.

    I’m in Michigan, and super excited that this week it’s supposed to be around 70 all week! Can’t wait for it to continue to get warmer.

  122. welcome home, your other home…..
    xoxocathy

  123. The legacy of love. May it continue through your children’s children. :)

    My favorite pictures were the “busy” ones full of your family: kids playing on the floor, adults drinking coffee, teens trying to get breakfast. I love my home most when it’s full of those I love. Doesn’t it just feel right?

  124. So hard to be torn between two places. :(

  125. I love pictures that make you feel the emotions! Such love and togetherness!! I, too, have struggled raising my young family away from the rest of our family. It’s hard, but I think it helps you to discover more of yourself and YOUR family– In the end, it all works out, and you just have to wait for the sun to peek through the clouds. Although sometimes it’s easier to just dance in the rain!! BTW, my sweet love bug would look amazing in that little skirt :)

  126. I know EXACTLY how you feel! I live in Texas and “home” is England. We go in 4 weeks and I can’t wait. My eyes sting with tears reading your blog tonight because my girls are missing out on all their cousins and the great big family that has 30 people seated round a table for Christmas dinner. I ache for it, but know that here, it’s warm, sunny and the pool is in the back garden. It rains a lot in England, but somehow, that doesn’t seem so bad now.

    I LOVE your tulle skirt/sash. Like a big girl tutu :)

  127. I can feel the emotion in your pictures! Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  128. So glad your mom was able to find her happily ever after. I have a random question, do you plan on having more children in the future? Just curious. Hope you’re having fun back at home.

  129. Your mother makes such a beautiful bride! And the family tree that you had this weekend reminds me of our Christmas time each year when we all gather as a family and what a priority that really is!

  130. Lovely post. I’m big on family, especially big family gatherings too. Though they do come far and in between, we are due for another one in a few weeks!

    Congrats to your mama! She looks so happy with George.

    hugs
    juli

    P.S I saw the wedding video, the date said May 7, 2012!

  131. Loved this post, Kelle. Your mom is beautiful and her wedding looks like it was just as beautiful.
    I got so over the top teary and choked up when I read what you wrote about going home to see your family. Mine isn’t as close or as big as yours, but I get ALL those same feelings. Its hard, but I’m focusing on the same things you mentioned; making the lemonade out of lemons and soaking up the memories I’m making with my husband and kids, here 2 states away from those we love.

    Loved this post. Thank you.

  132. What a wonderfully bittersweet post! I know it’s hard to be gone and to come home, but I’m envious that you were brave enough to try. I was teary-eyed through this entire post. Your mom looked beautiful – your whole family is beautiful (lots of women!). I’m SO glad you were able to be there to celebrate!

  133. Ooooh, tears….I could sincerely feel all your emotions! So beautifully captured.

    Love how your entire family (it seems), smiles with their whole face :0

    Such joy!
    Kelly

  134. I love the picture of your mom with her sisters. It reminds me of my Nana and her sisters. Tears came to my eyes when I saw that picture. What a wonderful wedding. Congrats to your mom and your family!

  135. Absolutely beautiful post.

    Steph

  136. beautiful wedding Kelle :)

  137. I had a weekend that pulled on my family heart too. It’s a beautiful feeling.

  138. Looks like a magical weekend.

  139. I feel the same way sometimes….I left my entire family in Ohio a few months ago to start a new career & life down in Texas. I love bare feet and sunkissed cheeks, but I gave up a lot for it! Balancing the two can be quite difficult.

    Congratulations to your Momma on finding true love and happiness!! She looked stunning in her wedding dress :)

  140. The photos are beautiful~ Your Mom is absolutely glowing. I love a wedding :)

  141. Good for you for remembering. I too live very far away from my family (30+ hr drive) and when I get to see them every few years I remember just as you have.

    You made me tear a bit. Keep your chin up.

  142. Going home is one of the best things ever. It’s so refreshing and wonderful. One of the best vacation getaways ever.

  143. Happy Mother’s Day!!! What a great way to celebrate the weekend!!!

  144. The pictures of your grandma are priceless. :) What a young soul…you can just tell she has a good time!
    My husband and I constantly talk about moving away, and my biggest reservation is leaving family, especially with our two little girls. Decisions!

  145. beautiful!

  146. One of these days I’d love to read a post that doesn’t bring tears to my eyes … however I think that is why I keep coming back to your amazing and heartfelt blog. The video of your mothers wedding was gorgeous, as were the pictures of your breath-taking littles. I know what it’s like to not realize how homesick you are until you come home. I live in Oregon and most of my family is in Wisconsin so it’s not just a weekend trip for us.

    Keep up the wonderful writing. I look forward to each new post with a fervor you wouldn’t believe!

  147. love the post. your people are a fine people.

    last snap of Nella crashed…o, the fatigue and heavy-nappyness…i feel it, sister.

    sweet, restful return to the normal ebb and flow.

  148. Beautiful! My most cherished memories are from family gatherings like that. I love the piles of cousins, watching the ease with which others love my kids and the delightful chaos of a house literally full to the rafters with family.
    Congratulations to your Mom & George… wishing them a long & happy life together.
    Cheers,
    Kate

  149. Oh, Kelle–this one hits home for me (no pun intended). My home is in Spain, and my home is in Oregon–across the ocean: my Mama&Dad, all 18 cousins, the uncles and the aunts, and the all the new babies…
    There truly isn’t anything in the world like that feeling of knowing you belong, you belong no matter what. Oh, the warm embrace of family… Every trip there is bittersweet. The goodbyes tear me up for weeks.
    But then there is home, 5,000 miles away. And the love of my life is here, and the beauty of this place is spectacular.
    Ah–I’ve spent many a night trying to figure out how to make it work… one day we’ll have it, both worlds in our one life (personally I’m just hoping my husband starts making a ton of money! ha.)

    Thank you for always inspiring me to “bloom where I am planted,” and find beauty in the now, and in the here.

    xo

  150. this post almost had me crying because i get it. i get what it’s like to be a 2 1/2 hour flight from those you call home. i resonated with this:

    “The unfortunate part of going home to visit is that once you are there, you begin to remember what you gave up to move away…. Maybe you can have the best of both worlds. Where sometimes it’s hard, but most of the time you make it work. Where staying home and going home mean two different things but somewhere in between, there’s a happy middle.”

    and when i go back to my home this weekend for just a visit, i’ll remember that there can be happy middle. whatever it is.

  151. Love this post…love the beautiful pictures…I always love family gatherings, seem those moments are some of my most cherished.

  152. What an amazing weekend! One to be treasured always.

  153. Great post! …being with family is wonderful :) Congrats to your mom!

  154. I skipped through your youtube video, and I watched your little video blurb at the end. I went to a strict, conservative Christian college in Florida, and actually strict is an understatement. Every day, a bell would ring and 6,000 students would stand with theater seats clanking and rocking, and we would sing that song. “Praise God from whom all blesssings flow.” I may not stand and sing it everyday now, but I hope my life still sings it. Congratulations to your mom.

  155. George looks thrilled to have your mama. He seems to know the gift he has been given. So happy for them :)
    LOVE the tulle skirts!

  156. Looks like it was a beautiful wedding, and a wonderful family reunion, too!

  157. That second skirt is GORGEOUS!

  158. Congratulations to your family! You grandmother is the cutest!!!

  159. Missing home is a constant struggle for me… I know the feeling! But I love my family and adore my hubby- so it is a choice I made:)
    Gorgeous wedding!

  160. That photo of Nella all snuggled into that man’s chest? Priceless! Congratulations to your mama!

  161. Your Mama is so beautiful – see now where you get it from! I live in my hometown – never left really other than to go to University, married the boy next door and here I am at 37 in my the town I grew up in. So I fear homesickness – those lemons would be awfully bitter for me. I love that analogy – you write your heart so well. Lou x

  162. Beautiful.

  163. I hear ya on the running on fumes. Moving across the country, away from family and everyone you love (minus your husband-to-be) is emotionally draining, tiring and lonesome.
    Upside? The adventures!
    Love comes first, everything else is secondary.

  164. I can understand that you miss all that and I relate in the sense that Imiss my grown up son so much it hurts, when your photos remind me.

    Still… you do _have_ that to long for and wait for.
    My husband and I don’t have that kind of big families or relationships on either side, that would get together everyone under one roof and that is indeed something to cherish!

    I wish I had a big family like that.
    It looks like a whole lot of love!

  165. Congrats to your mama! Thanks for sharing her special day with us. Beautiful pictures.

  166. Congrats to your mom! What a big, beautiful family!
    Stacy

  167. Congrats to your mom! ANd love the pics, you all look so happy!

  168. I think that’s so awesome that you three walked your mother down the aisle and gave her away — so special. Congratulations to your mom :)

  169. What a great giveaway–we all need a little something pretty in our lives. Especially those of us who are getting married in a year and have barely started planning…oops.

    What a beautiful weekend you had!

  170. What beautiful photos! There is nothing better than family together! Love the dresses tons and tons!

  171. I love the love.. I teared up at the picture of you and your bro/sis giving your mom away. So awesome my little sister is getting married in Aug and that would be amazing to surprise her with.

  172. that make me wanna go back home.
    and i’m a 6th generation native to my home. and no plans on changing that!

  173. Huge congratulations to your Mom. She looked fabulous and the two of them look so blissfully happy. And I love your Grandma’s bling!

  174. Oh, home. My husband and I are heading home to Western North Carolina from Scotland tomorrow for a family wedding, and we are so excited for all the joy, fun, laughs, and love we’re gonna get and give while we’re there. It is important to remember where your home is, and that sense of place that never fades.

    Caitlin

    from black currant thoughts.

  175. Your post is wonderful! Your mother is so beautiful. I love the picture of her and your grandmother.
    It’s hard to live far away from family. I understand what that is like. We live in Australia while our family is still in the States.
    Thank you for posting.

  176. Beautiful photos, and so comforting to know there are so many of us out there that are living far away from our families. But it makes times like that so much more special (if that is even possible!) We are Americans living in Australia and have only been home twice in the past 3 years, it is so hard to be far away, but we just deal with it. Thank you for your beautiful words.

  177. I live in Michigan too. ; ) Glad you had a great trip and made it home safely.

  178. very, very true. there is nothing you can quite “catch” about family. wedding looks so fun and beautiful…

  179. Congratulations to your mom! This gives me hope for mine, haha. I can so relate to this post. I’m in Indiana visiting my family and all my extended family just wrapped my sweet babies up like they don’t live 500 miles away. They loved on them and fed them and played with them and it’s so bittersweet. I’m so grateful for it.

  180. I also live far away from my entire family and one of my biggest fears is our future children not growing up in that tight knit, huge extended family environment that I loved so much. We are slowly building a little “firefighter family” here as many people here have moved from somewhere else as well.
    Your mother’s wedding was lovely

  181. I am enthralled with fascinators-both for big girls and babies! I’m still not sure what to think of those hats they wear over the pond though. Your post made me tear up. I have waved my husband over to your blog a few times to look at what our life could be like in a nice, warm beach climate, but looking over this post I’m glad we moved back “home” for now. Your mom’s wedding was beautiful, and looks like you had lots of fun!!

  182. So wonderful to be able to gather with family for such a special occasion. Your mom looked beautiful! I am sure your girls loved all of the cousin time too!

  183. First of all, your Mother looks so beautiful & radiant! I don’t know your family, but I’m so glad she found happiness! I also met my husband on eHarmony & I’m from (and still live in) Michigan! Your blog is always so inspiring! :o)

  184. Kelle – What a beautiful trip! I, too, picked up and left my family for love. While the rewards are sweet, it’s still hard to be so far away. Cherish every moment!

  185. Happy Mother’s Day to you!!! Your family is beautiful. :)

  186. So glad you had a great time with family. It’s hard to be away from family but so much more sweet when you come home!

  187. Yes, there is something so essential about having family near by. I, too, wish I was closer!

  188. Your mom was a gorgeous bride. Congratulations to her! About the skirts, awesome!

  189. Family is a wonderful gift of life… thank you for sharing yours with us.
    And about that place in the middle, tell me about it… staying home and going home mean two different things to me too.
    Btw, the picture of your mom and grandma of last post brought tears to my eyes, no need for words sometimes! :)

  190. There’s nothing better then watching two people who are in love get married. And celebrating it with family makes it twice the fun! all the pics are wonderful. It’s great to go back to our roots and where we used to be!
    Glad you all had a great time!

  191. I still have an infant seat in my car. There are pieces of Captain Crunch between my seats. I found a few “Bominoes” under the edge of the couch. And in my cupboard, there are a few leftover packets of Peaches and Cream oatmeal for Lainey. But I have memories. Of a sweet weekend invasion. Of photo shoots and memory awakenings. Of laughter and reunion. Enjoy every moment. The span from their exploring crawl to their walking down the aisle is a flash. And then, you will cherish finding pieces of Captain Crunch in your immaculate car. I enjoyed your visit. I love you.

    –Poppa

  192. Congratulations to your mom! What a beautiful family you have!

  193. Beautiful weekend. Oh…to give your mom away – how very emotional. Congratulations to the newlyweds. xo

  194. I met Nella!!! :-) And I met an older Lainey…but you know what, she is still a baby and I love that she is still a baby. That sounded weird, but I’m just kind of loving that Lainey isn’t all grown up yet just because she’s a big sister.

    I am not over-thinking this comment, and I think that might be a drawback this time around everything is coming out weird.

    Anyway, this post — beauty. I read it top to bottom but then I went back up and just scrolled down through the pictures and let them speak for themselves and it just looked like…love. It spills out of the pictures. And your faces at the wedding – wow happiness. <3 love u

  195. being a west michigan girl born and raised, now living in chicago, i know exactly how you feel about going home. soul quenching and bittersweet at the same time. but i never cease to be amazed at how perfect chicago feels when i get back.

    ps GORGEOUS wedding. everyone looks stunning–LOVE lainey’s skirt and yours…and i think i need that blue fascinator for my wedding~

  196. There is truly an unspoken love between cousins…and you could see it in your photos.
    Beautiful post…and beautiful bride!

  197. Just beautiful! I think it must of been you that brought the sunshine here. Last week end was the first sunny/warm weekend in a loong time. Thank you !

  198. Tutus and weddings? Could it get any better?

  199. I live away from family as well, but try to follow my mom’s advice over the years-
    “Enjoy every stage of life”
    Maybe one stage will be moving back to Florida to enjoy family or maybe family will move here- but through all the changes of life, I try not to wish it all away and just enjoy it in the moment. You seem to be pretty good at that….

  200. Well, I cried through this one! Your mother’s wedding was beautiful, as is your family. I also found my husband online…despite formerly believing that I couldn’t actually find someone to spend my life with on the internet.

    My family also lives far away, so being home and going home are two different things. We live where we live for the jobs we found, and we’re always finding new reasons to love it here, and we do, but MAN, how I miss getting together with my extended family. I grew up with close relationships with grandparents, aunts and cousins, and my sister is my best friend, and I ache for them. And I yearn for my children to have that same feeling of family, to think of a cousin as a sister and a grandmother as a best friend and an aunt as a partner in crime. I worry they’ll miss that.

  201. OH how I’m looking for the perfect facinator for my upcoming Fall wedding on the beach in Savannah!!!

  202. soo beautiful!!
    i have read your blog from the FIRST post and i cant get enough!
    truthfully, my one wish these days is to actually meet you- i mean, i live in miami, it shouldnt be that hard, eh?? :) :)
    thank you for sharing all of it!!

  203. What a lovely post.

  204. so true, so true. i also moved away and although I know I did it for better opportunities and a better job market (and resulted in so much more, amazing friends and a job i truly love) I know what I gave up and I feel it at times. Like recently, I had my second daughter, now 2wks old, and luckily my 2hr travel home is just by care and so my parents were able to be here for her birth, they could only stay a short while. even going home once a month or so is not enough. luckily, i truly believe in the creation of family wherever you are, it helps sustain me between my times of “going home”.

  205. My Mom, too found a George (his real name) after 27 years of being widowed and alone. He has completed our family and brought SO much love into our lives. I didn’t realize how much I was missing not having a Dad to go to and confide in until George came along. We all fell in love with him. I love the tulle both in baby and adult – thanks for the chance to win.

  206. I know exactly how you feel, I moved to the US five years ago. I adore and miss my parents with every bone in my body. When we are able to go back it somehow makes me whole to see my girls with MY family.
    I am happy your mum found happiness, congratulations to her!

  207. Oh how beautiful and way to make me cry!
    The Hubby and I are packing up our home right now to leave Toronto, Canada and move to LA. The LA.
    So tears over what I will be losing for what I am going to gain are a daily thing and you brought it all back. Thanks 😉 It’s nice to know there can be lemonade in two places….

  208. In tears because I completely understand – my entire extended family is in Ohio, and i’m in NC – everytime I go, I can’t bear to leave, I miss them so much! Congrats to your Mom and new step dad!

  209. Love this post Kelle. Your mom looks SO happy, and your grandmother- gorgeous!!

  210. I don’t get to visit as often as I’d like, but when I do, you provide such an enjoyable read!

  211. Such a beautiful wedding and beautiful pictures. What an honor it must be to be there to give your mother away! Looks like a good time was had by all! Hope you enjoyed your mothers day, happy late mothers day to you!

  212. Congrats to your Mama! I agree that no matter what, going home is always wonderful!

  213. I have been getting up for the past two morning at 4 am to go to a bootcamp and seeing Little Miss Nella sleeping, makes me long for my bed and for the sweet dreams that I know she must be having. BTW, your Mom looked AHHHH-Mazing!!! I am so happy for her.

  214. Congrats to your mama and george…are they taking a honeymoon??? Lainey looked precious!

  215. Very rarely do I read your blog and not have tears, but they are good tears! The way you describe and photograph life is incredible you have a gift!

  216. Beautiful family, beautiful pictures, beautiful wedding. I know how it feels to be far, far away from family and to savor each visit, and then to build that barrier back up when you leave. It is so, so hard. Visit lots!

  217. Looks like it was a beautiful wedding!! You came home at the right time, we had awesome weather this weekend!!

    PS ADORABLE girls 😉

  218. How precious these memories will be for your family! Thanks for giving us a glimpse.

    Esther Dush

  219. This is the highlight of my day most days… hopping on Blogger to see if you’ve posted! LOVE your blog! And you’re so very right. Family is everything. And you have a beautiful one!! :)

  220. Everything about this post has made my heart happy!!!! You are Beautiful, your girls are Beautiful, your mama was a Stunning bride, your family is Beautiful, the love in every one of these pictures is Beautiful….. I had tears in my eyes as I watched the video of your weekend, priceless!!! Family….the most important thing in my life.
    Also, always love reading Poppas comments as he is so very very sweet!!!

  221. beautiful. I was just over when you talked about Lainey being big and having her own legacy. I need to go home and hug my baby and make plans for trips home…

  222. Another absolutely beautiful post. Your writing, the photos, the music — amazing! Gave me goosebumps…

  223. I can’t take my eyes out of your pictures…so lovely, so full of emotions. And you’re lucky for such a beautiful family. Congratulations! :)

  224. This makes me excited for the family reunion that will be my wedding next year!

  225. Being away from family is never easy. My parents moved halfway across the country nearly three years ago. There is definitely a balance in staying home and going home. You state it all so eloquently!

  226. Oh Kelle, how this post came at such a great time. I have posted I moved from Michiagn about 18 months ago. Now set to deliver baby number 4, our new home in New Jersey feels like a forigen country. Alone. Isolated. Without the confidence I had with friends back “home”, I have been struggling. But the post reminds me to look at the good. That glass isn’t half empty but half full.

  227. The pictures with Nella snuggling with her Uncle just melts my heart!

  228. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Your photos are beautiful! CONGRATS TO THE NEWLYWEDS!

  229. Everything you wrote, about making your lemonade–completely and totally resonates with me. My entire extended family lives in Oregon and Utah, but I love my life in S. Carolina. I will go back this summer and have these same feelings.

    The wedding looks gorgeous and like a fun reunion of family.

  230. Congratulations to George & your Mama! What beautiful wedding photos and a beautiful family! I so understand your need/desire to be with family 😀

  231. Isn’t family the best for making memories and reliving memories.

  232. What beautiful and cherished memories you were able to make! I’m glad you and the girls were able to attend the wedding of your mother and that you and your siblings were able to give her away. So neat! :)

  233. I am loving all things wedding recently, considering I will be married in eek less than 8 months! This is a beautiful post and I will be sure to check out those sponsors :)

  234. My Mom has been divorced for 10 years now…Your Mom looks so happy! Congrats to them!

  235. Loved this post!!!

    I have given up so many things to be with my people all the time, and I LOVE MY FAMILY and my life. Kudos to you for finding balance.

    And congrats to your mother! Does George have a younger brother? My mom is free. =)

    Super sweet post, girlie. Check my blog out sometime when you have time. (ha!!! Mothers never do!)

    EJ, http://www.thesearemyreasons.blogspot.com

  236. What a beautiful post full of such love for your family!!! I love what you wrote “my people” I love the whole post like always and the video was amazing.

  237. Your mom’s wedding was just beautiful!

    I too moved away from my family and of course things are fine but when we go to visit it brings tears to my eyes that my kids don’t get to grow up surrounded by the love of their cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Of course they feel the love in other ways, but it just kills me sometimes!

  238. OMG you had me crying on paragraph 3! It struck a chord with me, all my family is back in England and haven’t got to go home in over a year. I miss ‘my people’ everyday.

    Congrats to your mama, the picture were she is throwing her head back laughing could be you in the future! A word about the facinators…I have 3 weddings to go to in July! Now I must find a tissue…

  239. I can relate to the emotions you’re feeling. I live in Michigan and my family lives in South Carolina. You expressed it beautifully.

  240. As we will be giving away my mom soon also, I can only imagine the emotions!!!

  241. So sweet, the pics of your moms wedding! That proves that joy can be found at any age!

  242. My sisters and I stood up with our Mom on her wedding day when she married this great guy she met thanks to my middle sister who set them up on a blind date….I held my four month old son, the first grandchild, and we welcomed Randy into our family. He became a dad and a grandpa at the same time, and we have been so blessed! Randy fills a spot in our lives we didn’t know we were missing. And he’s made our Mom pretty darn happy, so that puts him at the top of our list of favorite people! Reading about your Mom’s wedding brought back some great memories. Thanks!

  243. Thank you for this. We are going “home” tomorrow for my littlest sister’s wedding. I am so excited, but worried that I will come back to our home wanting to move back down there. Which is not an option. I love our life in our new home, but always am reminded how much I miss being near my family after being down there. Sniff, sniff.

  244. Thank you for writing about two homes. I live in Chattanooga and love it, but I’m from Colorado and miss it terribly. My parents live there (in the house my sister and I grew up in!) and so do my sister and brother-in-law…and if we lived there we would be at each others’ houses all the time. Anyway, thanks again for writing about two homes. I needed to read it! We’re getting ready for a trip home, and I know visiting will be hard because I’ll remember how much I miss it. Thank you again!

  245. Totally in love with the last pic of Nella – sweetness :)

  246. I miss my family too…especially on mother’s day and my mom’s birthday which is today! :)

  247. My daughters sat next to me and read this post, asking a million questions about the family they saw. We got so far into the story, I had to go take them all the way back to Nella’s birth story. Annika fell in love with Nella and wanted to see every picture of her.

    What a magical weekend for you!

  248. thank you for sharing these special family moments with us. your mom looks so happy :)

  249. Congrats to your mamma and her new hubby! They look very happy together! It looks like you had an amazing week at home!

  250. I was married 8 years ago today – gave my mom her first son-in-law on Mother’s Day weekend. It is all about love and gratitude. Looks like you had a perfect weekend. Here’s to having it both ways…and enjoying it all!

  251. Kelle, I simply love the picture of your mom and her sisters and her mom. What an amazing keepsake to capture that legacy (and such happiness) in a photo. Take care on your travels home.

  252. i totally understand the sentiment of being away from “home” & family.. but coming back to your own home. i just recently went back home to visit family & enjoyed it so very much. probably my favorite trip back. we had more relatives together & it felt like old times.

    congrats on your mom getting married. i absolutely adore the picture of your mom, sisters, & grandmother!! they are too cute!

  253. Your mama looked stunning. Love the family pics. So fun to be surrounded in that kind of love.

  254. Sometimes, at Christmas, with all the cousins around, I feel the same way.

    LOVE those skirts!

  255. Crying! Thanks for a great post. Will and Kate have nothing on your Moms glow :)

  256. It is really hard to live away from home, and those you love… I related so much to this post. I always think that I miss home, and then realize how much I REALLY miss it when I get there. Everything is right at home. I think that the bright side that I try to see, about living away from home, is that missing home makes it absolute magic every time I am there. I really soak it in… every moment is everything.

    (I was just home this past weekend to, and I am trying very hard to remind myself my bright side of being away… sometimes it is easier said than done.)

  257. This comment has been removed by the author.

  258. What an inspirational story that your Mother holds. & her Mother is just too darn cute!! As always – your photos are breath taking!

  259. This comment has been removed by the author.

  260. awesome pictures, you can feel the love jump off the screen :)

  261. What a lovely wedding!!

  262. This posting is beautiful, you can feel how much you love your family. How lucky you are to be only a two hour flight away. I’m lucky to have my family here with me in the same town, but your post has made me want to reach out more often, to make the most of being so close together. Thank you for your constant inspiration and beautiful photos.

  263. I’m obsessed with fascinators ever since the Royal Wedding! Every time I go home to Florida it makes me miss my family even more too. So glad to hear your Mama is happy!!

  264. Congrats to your mom and your family! I’m glad you were able to have such a wonderful weekend. In awe of your pictures, as usual.

  265. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and am just now commenting. You have such a beautiful family, story and talent. Thank you for sharing your life and helping me appreciate the little things as well.

    Your Mother’s wedding was beautiful!! You all look so incredibly happy!

    From your neighbor in Fort Myers, FL,
    Carrie LeighAnna

  266. this looks wonderful

    what a sweet time.

  267. Oh it looks like such a beautiful wedding. I’m moving across the country soon. Thanks for reminding me to enjoy this home while I’m still here.

  268. Love the wedding pics! Congratulations to your mom! <3

  269. Beautiful wedding and pictures. Your mom looks so happy. Congratulations!

  270. Your family is beautiful and your Grandma looks like the funnest grandma around! You have a line of beautiful women who you can look up to. How blessed are you.

  271. What a lovely post and a beautiful family weekend! I’m sure your family is happy to have you “home” whenever you can come…but I understand how bittersweet it is for you!

  272. You have a wonderful life and a beautiful family. Your video was beautiful and it made me cry…there was so much joy. Times like those are precious treasures, memories to go to on a rainy day. You are TRULY blessed.

  273. I love that picture of Nella and your mom! Such sweet love!

  274. Even though you don’t live at “home” anymore the visits often with the kid’s cousins will bind the family tightly together. We vacation together with all the cousins so they will know each other and grow up with our children with special needs knowing they are just like everyone else. susan

  275. Home. Now that I am a mother, I am the most aware of home and what it means to me than I ever have been…I want my daughter to know “home” as her safe haven, where openess and trust intertwine with creativity and freedom, where judgment is left at that door, shoes are not required, and love reigns. And where, no matter where she goes in this grand world, she can always, always come home. Her mama will be waiting.

  276. Fairy tales do come true!
    And they lived happily ever after…

  277. I’m crying… how sweet and happy your momma looks!! Too precious.

  278. Going home and staying home mean two different things… love that and so true. I miss that home, but yet am always excited to be at this home.

  279. So happy for your Mom…and happy for your time home! Hugs!

  280. Congratulations to your mom on her new marriage. You look just like her : )

  281. HI!!!
    I so loved your POST as nothing makes me happier then a big family,The love your family shares is so evident, perfect family…no there is none, but a group of people who share so many things and being together is the Best togther ever!!!
    I was crying as I looked at the pics, as I have so many family members spread out all over, to get us in one place, who knows if that will ever happen???
    hugs 2 U,
    jamie

  282. This post brought tears to my eyes.. I’m lucky that after 2 years of living away from my family that we got to move back home last year.. I dream of a close family but unfortunately that’s not what I have, so I’m making my own with my Husband & Son.. :)

    Gorgeous photos as always! x

  283. I cried. This post about family made me cry. I love that Lainey found a place with her cousins…(though she was eyeing those baby bottles, hmm??) But, that she found one of her “bigger” cousins who tucked her beneath her wings of protection. The wedding photos are gorgeous! Welcome back Home! ~ Hugs ~ Jo

  284. What a sweet, sweet moment to give your mother away. The pictures are beautiful!

  285. Your mother looked breath takingly beautiful. What gorgeous weather she had for her big day. What a blessing!

  286. What a beautiful post!

  287. Looks like such a special time for your family!!

  288. Your mum looked radiant & her mum too! Lovely, lovely photos… especially of that man holding Nella! I love going home to Wisconsin, it feels like I never left… and I always feel really sad turning around and headed ‘home’ to Alafrickenbama. I hate that my little guy can’t be around his grandparents and family :(

  289. Beautiful post. We moved back a year go after being away from home for two years! Love the pictures of all the cousins!

  290. Every day your blog makes me smile. I just love it. I can’t imagine being so far from family. Glad you’ve decided to visit more often. :)

    Do you ever shop at Janie and Jack? The new girls’ line is called “Taste of Capri” and I thought of you and your two girls. Here is the link: http://www.janieandjack.com/shop/dept_mixandmatch.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374303718609&bmUID=1305053151250

    Jessica

  291. What a touching post! Your Mom not only looks beautiful, but more importantly…happy! Congrats to the newelyweds!

  292. Kelle, I love the photos of your moms. I realized looking at them that you look like your mom and her sisters so much. Especially your laugh and smile. Beautiful post yet again. Love coming to your blog with my cup of coffee and just read.

  293. I love big families. Your family picture reminds me of when we used to sweat in the middle of the summer tampa taking 500 pictures of my 15 cousins, 10 aunts and uncles and two grandparents. i love those pictures now, but then, they were torture! beautiful family!

  294. This made me cry. Twice!

  295. Love your mama’s dress and the picture of her with her sisters! So cool.

  296. I love this post. Thank you for letting us see inside your life!

  297. This post makes me homesick, too.

  298. My husband is finishing his PhD this August and that means we have no idea where we will end up. We are currently a 3 hour drive from ‘home,’ and my biggest fear is being so far from home that we only get to see family a few times a year instead of the usual once a month, this post makes my heart ache for my families home to be close to our ‘growing home.’

  299. What a beautiful wedding! That skirt looks fantastic.

  300. Oh families-far-away. So tough. Enjoy the downtime after such a high.

  301. Your mother is beautiful! Every time I see a picture of her I think , wow, she has such a beauty and grace to her. I hope I can be that way when I am her age!

  302. Okay… what is the song at the beginning of your mom’s video? Love that!

    Love that you gave your mom away… how very special.

    Oh, and the women in your family all have amazing smiles! That picture of your grandma and (most of) her daughters is just beautiful!

  303. gorgeous. obsessed with fascinators now, too!

  304. Beautiful post and beautiful video. The year date at the beginning is wrong just fyi. I love your posts.

  305. I know how you feel. My sister just left today after a 9 day visit. I miss Wisconsin, but I love Portland, OR, but I miss Wisconsin and my family. It is an interesting battle one faces when apart from loved ones.

    I am getting married in October, and would LOVE to order from Studio Wed!!!

    I am glad you were able to have such an amazing time back “home.”

  306. What a beautiful family….I see you in your mama!

    xo,
    Bug & Ruby’s Gram

  307. Wanted to say THANKS so much for the apples w/peanut butter and sprinkles snack idea. My daughter (and husband) LOVE IT!

  308. I watched the video of pictures and when it got to the Doxology, I naturally chimed right in. It’s just deep within you when you’ve been raised with it.

    What a wonderful, emotional, joyful event for you and your family. I just love how the three of you gave your mom away.

    Peace,

    Jennifer from Annapolis

  309. Congratulations to your Mama!

    I hear you about family and *home*, England is a long way away and with 5 siblings and nephew and nieces missing out on the latest addiction to the family… heartbreaking.

    Family is where it is at. Whether it is your precious little unit or the siblings and those friends that have become the new family.

  310. Congrats to your beautiful Mama! And thanks for your beautiful words from another who understands being happy at home and missing home at the same time.

  311. Kelle,

    I am so happy for you! Your family is so beautiful and your mamma makes the loveliest bride!

  312. What a beautiful family you have! Congrats to your mama :)

  313. beautiful pics! your sentiments on being home and going home ring very true to me…. glad for you and your girls to have that time with your family!

  314. This post hit home with me! All of my family is in Texas, where I was born and raised, but my new and more immediate family lives in Nebraska. Quite the change and I get homesick all the time. Glad you’re making lemonade. :)

  315. Very sweet pictures. Family is such a gift! I love my kids to be around extended family as often as possible

  316. Looks like it was a beautiful day. You do look so much like your gorgeous mom! I’m a Michigan girl too and whenever I get home the memories just flood back. Whenever my cousins and I get together we have SO much fun…..glad you had such a wonderful occassion! (ours are usually funerals these days!)

  317. What a wonderful post. Your family looks like a fun group. Congratulations again to your mom. She was gorgeous on her wedding day!

  318. Beautiful! simply and amazingly beautiful! My sister and I had the honor of giving our father away almost 2 years ago and it was an incredible experience! i love that your blog posts remind me of all i have to be greatful for in life!!

  319. Beautiful! simply and amazingly beautiful! My sister and I had the honor of giving our father away almost 2 years ago and it was an incredible experience! i love that your blog posts remind me of all i have to be greatful for in life!!

  320. Kelle, this post is just oooozing with love. I feel like I was there. Your mama looks so beautiful and happy. Such a sophisticated looking lady she is. You both have the same smile and laugh. And your grandma? priceless. Love this post :)

  321. I cried from the beginning of the post right to the end. Family is everything to me, and although I am surrounded by my immediate family on a daily basis there is no feeling that can explain being surrounded by all the extended family too. What a beautiful wedding, a beautiful celebration, a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing Kelle. Happy belated Mothers Day to you too!! x

  322. My family lives far enough away that we can’t visit more than once every other month and it’s so hard, but so amazing once we finally can get together. My daughter loves going to my grandma’s house for the weekend and I love watching her play with the same toys I played with and snuggling with my Grandma while we all watch old episodes of Doctor Who on DVD, just like when I was a kid, except the DW episodes were on PBS. :-)

  323. Such a beautiful wedding! Congratulations to your mom and George. :)

  324. You have such a beautiful family! I’m leaving mine in 2 weeks to move to sunny Florida…oh how I will miss the 4 seasons and even more, my Mom and 6 sisters :( Praying it’s only a season, but looking forward to a new adventure with my own family.

  325. So happy your Mom found the one who makes her happy! It looks like it was wonderful, much needed family time!

  326. She looks so beautiful sleeping in that last photo! What a wonderful post. So meaningful and touching.

  327. Kelle – your words on the time spent with your family made me teary-eyed. Such amazing pictures from what I’m sure is an unforgettable weekend. I don’t have an inspirational mother, but I know that will never stop me from being one myself. Reading your blog is inspirational to me, one mother to another.

  328. The joy and togetherness in those pictures give me hope. Dude, I almost cried.

    Maybe a little past almost. Nobody was here to testify.

  329. Congrats to your beautiful mama and Happy Mothers Day to you both!
    your mother looks so enamored in those photos, I can see why you teared up.
    I, too, live away from all my family and being home that one time a year when we can all be together – well it makes my heart hurt – but in a good way.
    P.S – in love with the photo of your mom, aunts and grandma. has any picture exuded such happiness? gma rocks.

  330. Loved this post! I don’t have much of a family, so posts like this make me jealous! (And determined to create family for my daughter). I just had to say though, that Nella looks SO much like your grandma to me.

    Congratulations on your mom’s wedding.

  331. Did I notice that you’re wearing TOMS shoes in one of your photos?! (The red shoes that you can slightly see in the family picture). If I did, awesome! If they’re not, I have a pair of red shoes similar that I LOVE.

    I’m glad that your mother was able to find love an happiness in someone who obviously fits in with your family well. I hope them the best. Congratulations!

  332. Your grandmother looks like so much fun. Congrats to your Mom.

  333. I love weddings, how lucky your Mom is to find true love!!

    Love the pic’s, Nella is so tiny!

  334. love me some Michigan! Moved away 12 years ago, while the ENTIRE family remains. Have you heard or seen any of the “Pure Michigan” ads? Be still my heart, they make me weepy for my home. What wonderful memories from a wonderful weekend!

  335. Congratulations to the newlyweds!

    I am also fascinated by fascinators, I hope they catch on in the US…

    Maura

  336. So happy for your mom that she found happiness! Michigan is awesome (although that may be biased since I’ve lived here my whole life!)

  337. Love your mom’s sisters! they look loud and fun!!!

  338. To E – OMYG, I LOVE your definition of HOME! It should be framed! I see tht many weere moved to tears, like me. So much love and beauty in this post. I, too, love the wording, “my people”. So much happiness coming thru this post and the photos! Love from the Blog Mama~

  339. Ahhh, there’s no place like home. I love, love, love having a houseful of family with many having to sleep on the couches and floor. For some reason that’s the best, even if I wake up with a sore back and stiff neck! Your pictures are beautiful as always!

  340. Gorgeous Kelle. Love, love, love the photo of your mom with her sisters and mother…simply beautiful.

    I too, am far from home, raising my LO. My DH and I moved to Tulsa, OK from Northern California in 2008. I am from San Francisco and all of my family is still in the Bay Area, including many cousin, aunts, uncles, my twin brother and younger brother, tons of “chosen family” and some of my DH’s family too. Gratefully, my mom moved out here in 2009 after she lost her job and heard we were starting a family. We could not be doing this here, without her.

    At least you have palm trees and sand and sea to sweeten the deal…I’ve got wind and rain and tornado sirens. But we’re here for a good reason, and when that changes, we’ll move on…hopefully back to sandy shores and crashing waves!

    For now, we try to make an annual or biannual trip back “home.” It’s been 9 months since we were there and we’re not too sure when we’ll be able to go again. So we post TONS of photos on Facebook and Skype with family when we get the chance.

  341. Congrats to your mama and to your family!! Looks like an amazing weekend <3

  342. I love family get together’s. And for a wedding…that’s all the more awesome!

  343. Your thoughts on home (South Africa for me) are much the same as mine – only far more eloquent! Thank you for putting my thoughts into such beautiful poetry.

  344. Nella and Lainey will be homesick one day.. when they get married.. or move… and live some where other than FLORIDA>>>What a great memory you created..going home…. it’s bittersweet.. with all it’s familiar things… and all the things you miss when back at home…
    I love facinators… I am facinated by them…

  345. Congrats to your beautiful Mom! And your Grandma looks so cool!! Loved the video!

  346. Congratulations to your Mom and George! Your Mom looks stunning! These photos with four generations of your family are absolutely beautiful…I love the one with your Mom and her sisters and your lovely grandma. Lainey looks like a fairy princess and Nella is as gorgeous as always.
    Thanks for sharing this with us Kelle.
    xxoo

  347. I can relate to this post in so many ways… My family is in Minnesota- I’m in Colorado and I miss them dearly. Your talk of legacy had me thinking of my granny who passed away just before thanksgiving last year and what she left behind for her daughters, granddaughters, and great granddaughters who all turned into amazingly strong women with her help.

    Your post has lifted my spirits and brought (good!) tears to my eyes :)

  348. beautiful captures. and hello Ikea house

  349. What a beautiful bride your Mama is…And how lucky you were able to share her special day with her and your whole family. LOVE those skirts!

  350. I know exactly what you mean by staying home and going home. All would be right if you could have mama and home all in one place.

  351. Wow. What an amazing day! Your Mom looks fabulous and young and so very happy! I just love big family events that bring everyone together to celebrate life! So exciting!

    Those dresses are amazing! Thanks for a great giveaway!

  352. Kelle – such a great bunch of memories/photos! Thank you so much for sharing. I love that your family has singing the Doxology as a family tradition – it is our family’s tradition as well! We often sing it when together sometimes to onlookers amazement! The last time we sang it was in March when my beloved Mother-In-Law passed away. At the very end of her service we (the family) stood up and sang as a testimony to her. It was beautiful – as was your Mother’s Day rendition. Thanks again for sharing!

  353. So I just have to say I love your pictures every time. I ecspecially like this time the picture of Miss Nella sleeping on Vince Gills chest as it looks like he is swaying and dancing with her. (okay so maybe it isn’t vince gill, but I sure thought he looked like it and wondered if you really might be related to him :) )

  354. We have that same picture of all the cousins – 13 as well – in front of the brick wall. You have a beautiful family. Congratulations to your mother!

  355. i do believe your mom just married johnny carson…looks just like him! congratulations to all!

  356. Thank you always for the breath of fresh air and good perspective. :o)

  357. There is just something about being home. The happiest moments of my life are spent being with my loud and wonderfully hilarious family.
    Thank you for sharing your family weekend with us. Your mom looked beautiful!

  358. What a beautiful family you have….I can see where you get your pizazz from. :0)

  359. As always a beautiful, inspiring post. LOVE Lainey’s wedding skirt. What a sweetheart.

  360. I know exactly what you mean. ‘my people’ live too far and I’ve let a year slip by without visiting. *sigh*

  361. Beautiful! You can just see the love pouring out in your photos from the weekend! Just beautiful to witness! (even through a computer screen!)

    Angela

  362. Okay! I cry at every single blog you post. The pic of your mom and Nella is amazing. For lack of a better word.

  363. love, love, LOVE the last picture of Nella in your post!!

    I get homesickness like mad and we only live an hour and a half away!

  364. What a beautiful family pictures, it is so precious!.

    Your mother looks so happy, and how wonderful is it that her children gave her away.

  365. Seeing all your family together makes me miss mine! I love summer get togethers and see how everyone has grown so much.

  366. Love the pictures! Everyone is beautiful!

  367. Your music selection always matches the feelings in your posts! I love it :)

  368. What an amazing time at home with all of your family! The dress you are wearing towards the end is adorable!

  369. beautiful words and pictures. you made me cry about giving your mother away. so moving. everyone looked beautiful. family is the best thing in the world and it is so hard to be away from it.

  370. I moved from Indiana to Texas 11 years ago and I still feel the tug of loving where I am, but missing where I am from. I long for my children to have a daily relationship with their grandparents, know the joy of seasons and be able to experience the love of so many people that made me who I am, and love my children because they are mine. I guess the truth is though, our visits give them a hint of this and there is never, ever a shortage of people to love them here or there.

    Love the wedding photos, your family looks like a blast!

  371. Wonderful pictures – congrats to your mama!!

  372. The pictures of your mother’s wedding are beautiful. Bless them during this chapter in their lives

  373. What a lovely occassion. Your grandmother looks like quite the sprite herself!

  374. What a beautiful wedding! I love seeing families happy like that, just hanging out. I’m an only child so I don’t know what it’s like to have brother’s and sisters but I have very fond memories of going to my grandparent’s houses and hanging out with my cousins. I only hope that one day my house will be the one filled with family and love like that.

  375. I feel as if I know so exactly how you feel that my heart ached reading this post. I am raising my little girl far from my very large and loving family as well. I know the joys of going home and feeling like you belong, and seeing your baby find her place as well…
    Not that I don’t love being home, as opposed to going home. But trips home make sure that I never take for granted my wonderful family, and being a part of something larger recharges me like nothing else can.
    Treasure the memories.

  376. These photos are so beautiful and… significant. You have reminded me why I would love to live near family someday (even if it is a less-than-desirable location) and why I want a large family because, really, it’s the people that count. The people make the place.

    Your mother looks stunning. Love love love.

  377. This “Where staying home and going home mean two different things but somewhere in between, there’s a happy middle.” so resonates in my heart. Those tulle skirts are totally awesome as well.

  378. I can feel the warmth from your family. What a blessing.

    I love the pic of Nella cuddled up at the wedding with the gold flower in her hair. Adorable!

  379. I just have to say – I am in love with your family. I only wish I had the closeness you all so evidently share. All the best to your Mommy and George!!

  380. If only there were more ways to wear tulle in my daily life. Those skirts are fab!

  381. Isn’t family great?!!! Glad you had a great time! Get some rest now!

  382. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful personal day with us. Your photos are so special and the video of your mom and stepdad’s wedding brought a tear to my eye. You captured everyone so tenderly. You amaze me! Now time you rest :))

  383. My heart grows seeing so many people happy. =)

    Love is wonderful

  384. LOVE the photos and was moved to tears…! Love the photo of your mom and her sisters and her mother! So sweeet. I am so happy for your mother and wish her the best.
    Thanks for sharing!
    PS the tulle skirts are gorg! Love your black dress, it’s a perfectly proportioned tulle skirt that the little girl in me wants, just right for this grown up girl! I am dying to buy my daughter a tulle skirt but want to wait until she can stand/walk!

  385. You’re grandma- SIMPLY AWESOME <3

  386. Ohhh – I want to know more about your aunt in Nigeria!! I was there for 5 weeks back in November with my two babies. My grandparents are missionaries there so we went to visit them. Life changing!

    Beautiful wedding!

  387. Beautiful pictures and family!! I can feel your pain of being away from family but it makes that time together that much sweeter!!

  388. I am in awe of your photos… I’m studying them trying to figure out why mine aren’t quite there. Anxiously waiting for Mamarazzi to come in the mail!

  389. What beautiful images and words. You have a true talent for both. Thank you for sharing your family with us. And congrats to your mom for finding love again!

  390. I know just what you mean! All of my extended family is on the east coast and my immediate family is smattered from California to Louisiana. It’s so incredibly special when we are all together. Congrats to your mom! She looked so lovely and so happy!

  391. I am so happy for your Momma and George! What a sweet blessing!

    LOVED all the pictures and yes I had tears streaming for joy! Your Grandma is SO CUTE!

    Beautiful Doxology they sang!

    Kelle, will your family adopt me?

    :o)

  392. Your mom’s dress was so beautiful!

    You rock a grown up tulle skirt!

  393. I so love reading your blog, it’s one of the “small things” I enjoy and it always makes my day.

  394. What beautiful pictures that I can feel the overflowing love pour out from. I adore the ones of your family holding Nella and Lainey tucked in with her cousins. So happy for your growing family!

  395. Looks like such a fun family. It’s so nice to be able to be with family, but I totally know what it’s like to shave with goosebumps. NOT FUN. :)

  396. I can relate to this post since I am also a plane ride away from family. It is so true that even if you cant stay home, you can still go home again.

  397. What a beautiful wedding and family. My daughter is going to be a flower girl this summer for a niece I will have to check out the tutus.

  398. I just wept reading this entry. I’ve been an avid reader for years. You don’t know me from anyone, but I feel like we’re cut from the same cloth. My mom lives in Michigan as well, although the UP not the main land :) and I couldn’t help but think of how happy I’d be if she found someone special like your Mom did. I’m so happy for her. What a beautiful writer you are and what a gorgeous family as well. You must feel so blessed. All the best to you!

  399. I love, love, love the picture of all the cousins lined up in the bed. So CUTE!

  400. It is really hard to be away from family! We used to live by my husband’s family and I missed my family so much! Now we live by my family and we really miss them now. I cannot imagine being away from everyone. I am sure that will happen one day but for now I am just enjoying them and trying to not let the family drama get to me!

  401. Oh, I love these photos! Seeing the happiness your mother found gives hope to the young single girls like me. :)
    Those SKIRTS! Yours is beautiful – very feminine and not too poofy. I browsed the Etsy store and loved nearly everything there!

  402. I’m so happy for your happy moments with your family. I, too, live away from family and miss them dearly. Your post had me weeping for what I’m missing back “home”, and yet remembering what is so heartbreakingly sweet about living some place I love so much I can’t bear to leave. Thank you for sharing your life, your loves in life, and your passion…you are truly beautiful.

  403. I so know what you mean about going back and seeing what you miss but coming back to the other home is good too. I am a hour and a half plane ride away from all of my family but I love where I live now too. Congrats to your Mom. May they live a happy life together.

  404. You can never replace home…love the feeling you get when you go back home to visit family! It is hard to be 3 hours away. Love your post and pictures. Beautiful!

  405. seeing your mother so happy and getting married gives me hope that my own mother will meet someone to share her life with. you all looked so beautiful!

  406. I just found your blog! Your little girls are absolutely precious! I love finding blogs that inspire me, and yours is definitely a new one to add to my list. Have a great day!

  407. Your brother is a cutie! Haha – with that said, the wedding looked BEAUTIFUL and your mom looked so happy. I wish her love and happiness with her husband forever!!!!

  408. Your Mom is such a beautiful lady! Your family looks perfectly wonderful..I can imagine that it is hard to leave them. LOVE all of the pictures.

  409. I really, really love the spirit of these photos. I look forward to meeting your fam some day. It’ll happen. x

  410. Such beauty in those photos of your mother’s wedding. Everyone looks so happy and grateful.

  411. love family, love going home…love that sweater (that we both have;)!! you’re mom was beautiful…she just glowed. what a special day.

  412. Here’s what’s weird about blogging, Part V: I was in FL while you were up in my neck of the hood. (ish) I thought about you, while I was down under those palms. Your FL is good stuff. It made me introspective. I felt extra wise. :)

    So, here’s to going home! And Being home!

    ps – I love those faux angsty (fangsty?) teenaged girl faces!

  413. What an amazing wedding and trip home…I hope I can give my mom away one day to a worthy man.

    Hope you are enjoying be back in FL. I will back in my home in 11 days. Cannot believe it! :)

  414. Your posts take my breath away.

  415. Just found your blog yesterday and am all caught up now after a few hours. I just love the pictures you have been able to capture! How do you do it??

  416. I LOVE the picture of the handsome man (with his eyes closed) holding Nella (with her eyes closed)….it just RADIATES serenity and love….Beautiful, each and every one of you. Congrats to your mama….

  417. I am currently in Greece and my baby in Iowa (okay, she’s 2 1/2 but still my baby) and I’m missing my little. I had tears in my eyes sympathizing with you in the powerful moment you gave you Momma away. So wonderful. I love the shot of the family where Nella is clearly after, and jealous of, her cousin’s bottle. So many blessings and love.

  418. I am OBSESSED with fascinators. I made my own for a tea party, but would love another!

    Dawn in NC

  419. Lainey looks very much like you. I was thinking that all last week…and you have your mom’s smile

  420. Oh Kelle! I hadn’t been to your blog in a while, (or any blog for that matter.) I had no idea your Mom was getting married! She looks so beautiful and happy and incredible. Love is pretty amazing like that. So happy for your family!!

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