Learning to Stand

She’s fully capable of standing alone, I just know it. Her legs are sturdy, her balance is unwavering and yet there’s that itty bitty finger grip. She’s not quite ready to let go, and that’s okay.

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You know how many times in life I knew I possessed every ounce of strength and skill to do something and yet I chose to wait, clutching on to the guidance of others for whatever reason, until my confidence grew so strong, it pushed me like a rip current?

While I hold that tiny hand, providing the steadiness she thinks I give her, I know her confidence is brewing like a long-awaited cup of coffee. It will come and, in the meantime, I smile knowing that something as little as my finger–a tiny part of me–is all she needs to feel secure.

*****

It was a homey weekend. We ventured out only to take the crew to the airport and gather ingredients for broccoli soup.

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We crafted. We’re working on switching some rooms just for fun in our house and, in the process, Lainey will get her own. Poking around Ohdeedoh for inspiration, I found a room I fell in love with but knew I had seen it somewhere before. And then I smiled, recognizing it as my blog friend, Meg’s. Meg is crafty, kind, homey and adorable. Her house tour will leave you completely inspired, and we love this room so much, we are incorporating a little “READ” in Lainey’s room too, next to a hanging book shelf above her bed. The room is a work in progress, but we did accomplish finishing our letters this week. I love the work of Eloise Wilkin, and we happened to have two copies of the same book, so we (gasp) tore one up to decoupage onto cardboard letters. Someone needs to pry this damn Mod Podge out of my hands before I start shallacking walls.

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More to come on her room.

*****

We dwell outside a lot these days. Nella cries at the door to go out, cries once we’re out to get down, and cries when we finally come in for the night. She is happiest when she is hot, dirty, and scraping her butt along pavement.

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Sister likes it too. This is her badass cyclist look.

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Last week, a neighborhood cat ventured down to our driveway and decided he’s in love my kids. Now, we find him sleeping in strollers in our garage and hear him crying outside our door first thing in the morning. Lainey thinks it’s the coolest thing that ever happened to us.

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And Nella and Cat are making friends, slowly but surely. There have been stand-offs.

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But Lainey usually intervenes and does some good mediator work and now Cat, Kid and Sister are getting along swimmingly.

Do you see a cat?

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Cat camoflauges himself in our mulch, just like Latte does.

*****

This morning, Lainey and I set out on a much-needed date.

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We drove farther than usual to a hidden Cracker Barrel nestled away from the main stretch, between a Super 8 motel and a storage garage off of CR-951. It made me think of this trip, where Cracker Barrel breakfasts were as common as stopping for gas. I love Cracker Barrel. I like the way their store front smells like licorice and cinnamon and wood floor polish. I like the Smoky Mountain Hymn CDs they sell and their pickle barrels full of Raggedy Anns and sock monkeys.

We played checkers. I let her win.
We ate pancakes. I let her pour her own syrup.
We talked about words, and when she asked “What does p-y-u-b-w-z?” spell (because we’re in that stage), I let her think “pyubwz” was a real word and she was awesome for spelling it.

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And right when I felt like the Cracker Barrel off the beaten path was far from home, we bumped into good friends–right there in the general store next to harmonicas and penny candy.

Lainey’s friend, Aleena.

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The girls were thrilled to see each other, evident by their strange dance moves and endless giggling. They have a secret hand shake, these two. We noticed it a couple times after they received stickers at the end of ballet class. They tap fists in some wonder-twin-powers-activate move and then follow it by wiggling their fingers under their chin and mumbling some Mork-ish babble. It’s inventive and hilarious.

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There’s still more daylight that calls for driveway butt scoots tonight. Nella’s, not mine.

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*****

Winner of $60 gift certificate, courtesy of Oh Ollie: Comment #67, Heatheroo: Yay the oh is back…isn’t it sad when your kids “outgrow” things…but I’m glad Nella still has her oh….it makes me smile! Have a lovely weekend!

Congratulations Heather! Please send your info to kellehamptonblog@comcast.net.

*****

When Brett saw the box from our returning sponsor on our counter this week, he got all excited. “That homemade lotion stuff is back?” he asked. He loved this stuff, and he wasn’t the only one.

Heal My Sole is returning as a sponsor this month. Heal My Sole, a company that began with an idea and some homemade recipes in a kitchen, offers all natural body products. We tried the massage candle (smells amazing), the citrus scrub, and the all natural bug spray which we loved. It’s perfect for kids and works great for beach no-see-ums and post-rain mosquitos.

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Use Code KELLE10 for 10% off your order until 8/26, and one comment on this post will be randomly chosen to win a $40 gift certificate, courtesy of Heal My Sole.

*****

Last week seemed to last forever, but this week I am pushed forward by the current of everything good. My legs are sturdy, my balance unwavering.

We are looking forward to some fun adventures on our calendar this week.

Cat is crying at our doorstep. Must go.

Happy Monday to all…and to all a good night.

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Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. okay, where’s my t-shirt? 😉
    Always love Nella’s pigtails- I wish Lily would leave hers in!

  2. i love the cat vs nella standoff…. where in the world would they be without lainey?

  3. and ps – did 6 photos on the fabric with your inspiration… big hit. props to you.

  4. I love Cracker Barrel too. And Nella’s pigtails are adorable.

  5. That cat is pretty cool. I wish we would have a neighborhood cat to play with. Nella makes my heart happy. Growing up so fast!

    xo

  6. Nella’s pigtails slay me! SO cute! And I love that “your” Cracker Barrel could be any other Cracker Barrel. I love their general store too!

  7. Thanks for the pugspray suggestion! We’re going camping in a couple of weeks and I was wondering what to put on my little one…hopefully they deliver to Canada!

  8. nella is getting so big! …and now i am craving cracker barrel!

  9. LOOK at Nella’s piggy tails!! She is getting the toddler look…love it! (sad mama, I know…I miss the baby stages) My 2 year old is fascinated with our grampa’s cat. She loves him!

  10. Love the “read” sign. I can’t wait to see the rest of the room.

  11. I love the photos of Lainey & her girlfriend dancing up a crazy storm together….FUN!! And Miss Nella is getting so ‘grown up’….and what a gorgeous girl she is!! I can’t wait to see what you do with Lainey’s new room Kelle….and I’d be honoured to create any wall prints for it….just contact me :)
    Enjoy your evening {whilst we’re enjoying our morning coffees here!}!
    xo

  12. Is the cat a keeper then??? I believe it has chosen its new family!

  13. amazing post, as always! love the cat pictures! Lainey and her little friend Aleena are so adorable! :)

  14. hey kelle!

    i saw this project today and thought of you and your old book tearing :)
    http://www.100layercake.com/blog/2011/07/22/diy-storybook-paper-roses/

    happy monday!

  15. I LOVE the cracker barrel. I only wish we had one closer to where I live. Everytime I visit my Grams in Oklahoma, I stop off on the way back to the airport and browse the goodies and indulge in a yummy breakfast. :)

  16. she will be standing, then walking and you will wish for the baby back.

  17. I can not even pick a picture that I like the best, your photo’s and your writing are just remarkable. I would love to win. Also Cracker barrel is my favorite place to eat. Just wish I had one close to our home town.

  18. Loved the pictures of the secret friend dance. And every good neighborhood has a neighborhood cat!

  19. oh what a cute kitty.

  20. Kelly, I love the picture of Lainey in her badass bike helmet. DO you have her pose for you or just get her in deep thought, or just in the moment

  21. We traveled from Pennsylvania to Tennessee one summer and hit every Cracker Barrel. I found something different to buy in every one, which didn’t make my husband too happy, but he enjoyed the catfish dinners and chicken and dumplings!

  22. Cracker Barrel is amazing. Whenever we need a quiet dinner, we always sneak off here. Simple and lovely!

  23. This post made me happily think of summer days in Michigan as a kid. Oh how I miss it there!!

  24. Completely in love with your blog Kelle (and your adorable kids!!)

  25. Go Nella Go!!! I’m rooting for you homegirl! I’m also loving the picture of badass cyclist Lainey haha.

  26. I fall more in love with Nella every day! She is the sweetest! Lainey is always such a great big sister. You are so blessed.

  27. Love that tiny finger grip!

  28. I love the decoupage letters :-) What a great idea!

  29. Loving those cat photos. Laughing hard at the Nella / cat standoff. Thank goodness Lainey is close by!! :)

  30. Don’t you love when cats adopt you, with or without your permission? At least he (she?) keeps your kids happy!! Happy week!

  31. Would you like to put a tutorial on how you made those letters? Please? :)

  32. Loving the spontaneous friend dancing moves and the secret handshake! How cute! We’ve been adopted by a pair of geese very picturesque on our dam- but they are much messier than a cat for sure! Hope you get the chance to relax during the week!

  33. Hi Kelle, Is your button new? Thanks for adding it. I love todays photo’s. I think Lainey looks so big today!! Why do they have to grow? Today my son announced that he was going to stop growing for a while. Love it!!

  34. We drove ab 15 miles out of the way to go to cracker barrel yesterday! Love it!

  35. I think the Wonder Twins handshake is standard knowledge for little girls. How could it not be? It’s so cool!

  36. Love that Lainey and her friend have their own handshake! They are too cute!
    Happy Monday to you !

  37. Love the pigtails in this post – first on Nella and then on Lainey! :-)

    Adele

  38. That first pic has me tearing up a bit. Oh how the time has flown!

  39. Yay for Cracker Barrel! Love me some grits!

  40. I love Cracker Barrel too, it’s so homey! We haven’t been in forever…..and my niece just got a cat and named him Latte! So cute!

  41. Cracker Barrels are the best! I love love love visiting them and do so on all my road trips.

  42. nella in pigtails just might be cuter than her “oh” face….maybe! :)

    i love cracker barrel!! what a cute and easy date for you and ms L.

    happy monday!

  43. Love the “READ” sign…can’t wait to see the rest of Lainey’s big girl room!

    My favorite part about going to the Cracker Barrel is shopping in their ” general store”!

    Oh and Nella is SO. DARN. CUTE. With her pigtails in!

  44. I have always felt excited when my children reached their milestones but a little bit sad inside. That just means more and more independence from me…I am excited for Nella to walk but the mom in me is happy she can hold on for just a bit more:)

  45. I know that tiny little grip all too well. My youngest finally just let go a few weeks ago, and now I kinda miss that she doesn’t need my finger.

    I love the “READ” letters and the Cracker Barrel pictures. :)

  46. Love the pic of Lainey at the checker board! Your posts are helping me come to terms with moving back to Florida after two lovely years of seasons, leaves changing, snow and mountains in North Carolina. I’ll just make mountains in the sand. :)

  47. I love the “badass cyclist” look! So awesome :)

  48. my oh my, does nella have the sweet smile! i’m looking forward to seeing the finished product of lainey’s room.

  49. cracker barrel just makes me happy…it’s that wood burning in the oven. nothing like that smell.

    i feel little like nella right now. we just moved and it’s scary as ever. i need someone to MAKE me walk. i just want to curl up and suck my thumb;)

  50. i have BIG decoupage dreams!! and the cat standoff kills me, my in-laws had a cat that was none-too-pleased when i joined the family!

  51. The picture of Nella standing is just breathtaking! Happy Monday!

  52. Good for you, Nella! Way to go :-)
    The girls are so cute (and you’re so beautiful!)!
    Thanks for a cute post!

  53. Those pigtails on little Nella are just the cutest! :-)

  54. The pictures were great! And that citrus scrub sounds downright divine! Just right to soothe and exofoliate for my “summer feet”!

  55. NeVer been to a cracker Barrel before. Must go…..

    Love;
    “last week seemed to last forever, but this week I am pushed forward by the current of everything good. My legs are sturdy, my balance unwavering”.

    Good to hear!

    Happy Monday!!!!

  56. You are very dangerous w that modge-podge!! Love the letters-can’t believe you tore a book. Shame-shame! It was for a good cause tho! Lovely. xo

  57. Your girls are so so gorgeous. They should be baby Gap models. ( : I love looking at the pictures you take of them. Your pictures inspire me to take more pictures of my own girls ( :

  58. Oh, i know my feet would LOVE the foot scrub!!

    LOVE the pics of friends doing their secret little things! too cute!

    nella is adorable…she’ll be letting go before long!!

  59. Love your blog. Love the cat. Would love to try the lotion! Meg is my real life neighbor. Right across the street. :)

  60. I have not been to Cracker Barrel in so long. There’s one not too far from here. I’ll just have to make that an family outing soon.

    Love that first pic.

  61. My feet really need that scrub – they are so gross right now!!

  62. I long for the days my 2 yr old cuddles up on me, pushes his cute face into my shoulder, or needs me to kiss a boo boo.. I think it is great nella still needs her mama!
    Love that you and Lainey still get date time.. and am so excited to see her room. I do use you for inspiration ya know.. even with two boys!

  63. I love your blog. It’s the only one I read all the time — and I get excited when I load the page and see a new post. Thanks for writing it :)

  64. Oooh, you so described my daughter – at 17 months, she was “this” close to walking but held on to that sliver of a finger. Then one day, she up and decided it was time to walk and girlfriend no longer walks, she runs! Low muscle tone, schmlow muscle tone .. my girl did it in her time and she is rocking her own little ‘miss independent’ world (mine too)!

  65. I worked at Cracker Barrel all through college so those pictures really bring me back.
    I love the pictures of Nella holding onto your finger like its a lifeline. It reminds me so much of my daughter Phoebe. And now that she has finally let go she still turns to make sure I’m still there.

  66. Love, love, love, love, LOVE the mod podge letters. Awe. Some. Go, girls! Also, I melt every time I see those piggy tales. Gorgeous. Lots of love.

  67. Great post (as always!). :)

  68. Happy butt-scooting! :)

  69. My mom used to put my fine blond hair into pigtails just like Lainey’s. Adorable! I would beg to have my hair like that every time we went to the roller rink.

  70. I love your ‘dates’ with Lainey. I try to do that as often as I can. My girl has a thing for chick-fil-a. It’s amazing how a couple hours of ‘us’ time puts the biggest smile on their faces!! Makes my heart smile. We’ll need to try Cracker Barrell – looks like a lot of fun!

  71. I think it’s great that Lainey seems to make and have friends so easily. What a gift!

    My daughter did the one-finger thing, too, and now, well, now I can hardly keep up with her when she gets running. The days pass by so quickly! What great photos you have to help you remember and savor….

  72. OMG! My 4 year old has recently started with the spelling thing too. She’ll be all like “Mom, what does g-n-g-y-i-l-p-o spell?” and I try to tell her that it’s great she knows her letters, but that isn’t a word… than I will spell a real one for her. I was starting to think she was crazy so it’s really good to have some reinforcement that this is totally normal. LOL.

  73. Can’t wait to see Lainey’s new room! Love the decoupage letters!

  74. Love that the cat just showed up to say hello, but be careful, that’s how it started for us, an innocent hello, and 7 cats later they are all ours now.We do love them lots!!!

  75. Please tell me what “no see ums” are? My girlfriends and I just saw this on an old bottle of Skin So Soft and none of us have a clue!

    Anyway, love your date photos and wow go Nella! She’s going to be chasing Lainey in no time! Enjoy your week.

  76. I laughed out loud at Nella wanting to be outside. That sounds like our house. We need some of that bug repellent though. The no see ums or something got us last week and we haven’t ventured back to the sand box yet! Happy Day to you.

  77. I love the modge podge letters, I think I might have to steal that…

    Happy Monday.

  78. Ohhh great add another name to the list of places needing to open here…Cracker Barrel, Trader Joes…haha no really I NEED them here! 😛

  79. oh… How you make me wish for a little girl sooo bad!! :( Would love to win this… I would get the massage candle and I might get a little girl out of it!! hahahha Sorry I will go back to PG!!!

  80. I need that bug spray! They are eating me alive! Both girls are gorgeous but I could eat Nella up with a spoon!

  81. We have a cute little kitty too, who belongs next door, but loves to play with my dog, Molly.

    Looks like a lovely weekend. Now to the week ahead.

  82. Haha! I say secret handshakes should be a part of every grown woman’s life! Why do they just have to be for cute kids?? I’m gonna run this by my girl friends and see what they think 😉

  83. i am IN LOVE with that bedroom! so creative. i’ll have my teaching certification next year, and i bookmarked the image for classroom inspiration. framed book covers (SO clever! i love it) + colorful letters that spell read + bright throw pillows = quite the cozy reading nook for an elementary classroom! in. love. :)

  84. Love the pictures as always. Love the badass and the very pout
    Nella. Your husband is so good with his kids. The Cracker Barrel pictures of the little girls are adorable. Good that you can spend time one on one with Lainey.

    Nella will let go. I nannied for a little girl that didn’t walk til she was 17 months. She could but she wouldn’t let go.
    I would like to try these products.

  85. Oh how I miss Cracker Barrel…We don’t have any up here in Seattle :( I love badass cyclist look. She is going to own a Harley one day. Watch out world!

  86. Those letters were awesome! I wish I had those when I was a kid.

    And I love all natural beauty products! :)

  87. Love the badass look Lainey has when getting ready to ride her bike

  88. You take such nice pictures, Kelle! And I love your dates with Lainey; my little girl is three, and I think it’s time we started some one on one dates.

  89. When I saw the post title, I had a feeling I would hear Petty!!!! LOL Like everyone else LOVE the pigtails and love the “Mommy and me” date…Cracker Barrel is a great idea!

  90. go nella go!

  91. does Lainey dress herself? If so, she has fabulous taste! :) She has a good closet of loot to choose from, I can tell, but man, does she know how to assemble an ensemble! 😉

  92. I love the picture of Nella looking too cool in her jean bib shorts….giving you the “peace out” sign on the sly. :)

  93. I was having a bad day and your post cheered me up… your writing is so magical. I am so excited for Nella… I know she will surprise you and stand up all by herself so soon! What a little rock star! He tiny bun is SO precious! And Lainey looks so old… and just like you! I love your mother/daughter dates! I’m sure she treasures them!

  94. Our Grady cries at the door to go outside too, just like a little puppy. It’s a shame we have a yard the size of a small car, so outside trips are usually limited to when we can go to the playground!
    Oh, how I love that peg game at Cracker Barrel! Now I want to take my three year old there for a girly date.

  95. awww! I love that your girls are making a new furry friend. That cat looks exactly like the cat I had growing up. She showed up on our porch on the 4th of July when I was in 2nd grade. Coolest. Pet. EVER.

  96. I so loved it when my munchkin held that *one last finger* and loved even more when she just did it for fun, that little sparkle in her eye. It’s a great feeling.

  97. Can’t wait to see more of Lainey’s new room!

  98. The bug spray really works on mosquitos? The all-natural stuff we currently use smells lovely, but doesn’t repel anything after the first five minutes. I’ll definitely be looking into that, with a big camping trip coming up! Thanks.

  99. It is so exciting when a child is on the verge of letting go and taking off on her own. I can’t wait to see the video when it does happen!

    You amaze me with your boundless energy.

  100. I love going on dates with each of my daughters. I have a pool and ice cream date with my middle daughter tomorrow night. Its so wonderful to have time to slow down and connect.

  101. We had a week that wouldn’t quit last week too…this week is filled with working on the nursery for our new arrival, come October, and defining a fun, creative space in our office! Yay for “the current of everything good”!

  102. Nella’s confidence is clearly percolating! Good for you for letting it brew… it will be nice and strong by the time she’s ready.

    :-)

  103. can’t wait to see her completed room! and nella’s pig tails are so stinkin’ cute. love your post…as always. :-)

  104. That Cracker Barrel is about 5 minutes from my house! My girl (OK, she is 18, but still my girl!) and I love it too!

  105. I can’t wait to see Lainey’s room I bet it’s going to be fabulous!!

  106. I love that you went to the Cracker Barrel. That place reminds me of my dad. So many memories :)

  107. those itty bitty pig tails kill me! Just too cute. Can’t wait to see the finished project. Big girl I bet is dying to have her own space.

  108. I always look forward to your Monday post. It puts a smile on my face & gives inspiration.

    Thanks & have a great week!

  109. how oh how do you get those pigtails in nella’s hair?? my little one has the same amount of hair and everything just slips out. need teh bug spray. the little nats are killing me here in NJ, as i am outside with my 2 kids from dawn to dusk.

  110. Yay for Cracker Barrel

  111. I am *so* copying your READ letters–how fun!

  112. You inspire me how you continue to suck the marrow out of life. I’m trying, through trying times. :) I also love how Nella still turns her feet inward when she sits. :)

  113. I managed to get a good “O” picture from my brother this weekend…so if you want to see a 37 year old “O”…let me know :)

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

  114. My baby girl will be turning 9 next week & although she wants everyone to think she is cool & independent every so often she will reach out her hand to hold mine as we are walking in the mall, or heading out to some new adventure. That quick little hand hold reminds me that although she may be growing up she still needs me. Although she is growing up and will be on her own more often than not those little fingers wrapped in mine are a treasure.

  115. Love those pigtails- they look so happy outside getting dirty!

  116. nella is changing so much! i love nothing more than temporarily being adopted by a neighborhood cat. my own cats, however, have other feelings about it!

  117. Heal My Sole looks amazing – – great products I would love to try!! Also – – love your skirt and shoes in the first picture. Love your style – – it is very inspiring – – even for someone older than you!!

  118. Ahhhh…..my mancub & I love Cracker Barrel dates!!! They are the best!!!!

  119. I know there will be a time all too soon that both of my boys will look up and let go of my outstretched finger that is giving them the confidence they need. Until them, I love every second of knowing I am their rock.

  120. I always enjoy your blog and the pictures of your cute girls. The READ letters are great. My favorite picture of this group is the feet of Lainey and her friend. Nothing is more nostalgic for me than ruffle socks and saddle shoes. My girls wore both, now they’re all grown up.

  121. I think you SHOULD do but scoots on the driveway. The neighbors would think you are even cooler than they already do ; )

  122. My last week was dumpy too…must have been something in the air!

    Love the pigtails, little friends, cats, decorating and your blog.

    Happy Monday indeed – it’s already a better week :)

    ~CC

  123. I love the one finger hold. They just need that support from mama. Love it.

  124. Ah, love. So glad I got to read one of your posts on this dreary, rainy Monday in Alabama. :)

  125. Again, your girls are lovely. I also love Cracker Barrel…very low country and homey, just the way life should be.

    Happy Monday :)

  126. I also have a thing for Mod-Podge. It’s addicting. I LOVE the pic of the girls’ feet hanging off the bench at CB. We love Cracker Barrel, too.

  127. I think it’s sweet that Nella is not quite ready to let go of your fingers. I sure wish my son would have held onto mine just a little bit longer. It seems like every time I turn around he’s growing more quickly.

  128. Ohhh, the “Oh!” The winning comment reminded me that I meant to comment about this last time. My baby boy made the same noise EVERY TIME he sneezed for the first 3-4 months of his life (kind of a contented sigh/surprised “oh!”), and I always wanted to get it on tape because I knew he’d grow out of it. He did, and I never caught it (it’s hard to predict baby sneezes!), but I’ll always remember it.

    yupanothermomblog.blogspot.com

  129. Love transforming a room – have fun, hope Lainey loves it!

  130. Love the photos of Lainey and her friend! Super cute!!

  131. The “badass cyclist look” is soooo cute!

  132. I love your view on the Nella holding on topic. Seriously, you inspire me every day to shift my paradigm when interacting with my 4 and 2 year old. Thank you!!

  133. Oh my heck! My feet literally got all excited at the thought of having the foot scrub. The cracked heels have got to go! By the way, your girls are so cute!

  134. The pictures are just precious. Your family inspires me!

  135. Great post, great pictures, Kelle. Such great shots. Since reading your blog, I have been so inspired to catch the “every day”…to capture my son’s childhood. Even though my pictures don’t seem to turn out as awesome as yours, thank you so much for the inspiration!

  136. LOVE the photos of Lainey and her friend dancing. We all need friends like that!

  137. My little girl holds on to one finger too, even though her balance is good . . . I love it! I cherish walking beside her, while she holds on tight, and looks up at me with her beautiful smile!

    Wendy

  138. oh my… i love the new pictures of “wiser badass” lainey love… she reminds me so much of my petit babe who just turned 5…. we go through daily transformations of “wise and badass” to “sweet and thoughtful” to “contemplative and secure”…. it’s amazing what a birthday will do for a growing girl….

    –ehm

  139. My son did the same thing before he started walking. He was 2 1/2 and I knew he could do it, but he didn’t know it yet so he didn’t. And then one day, with out ever trying it previously, he just knew he could so he got up and did it perfectly. She’ll get there.

  140. How exciting that Nella is so close to walking! :)

  141. This post makes me want Cracker Barrel. My husband and I are living in Indonesia right now, but Cracker Barrel sounds like home!

  142. If Nella is so excited to be outdoors on her butt I can’t wait to see her when she’s walking!

  143. I love the READ letters, so cool!

  144. I love all your pictures of the girls! You are an amazing writer and photographer. You have inspired me to start blogging in the hopes that it will help me understand myself better. Thank you for writing and for being so real.

  145. Ahh! The hand gripping…my 18 year old still does it. Don’t worry…it doesn’t go away! Thank God!!!

  146. Yum! We love Cracker Barrel too! Reminds me of my childhood, visiting my mom’s family in TN. So excited that AZ started getting them a couple years ago. Might have to venture there just for the sock monkeys! Can’t wait to hear more about the “room situations!’ Where is Nella sleeping…and the boys?

  147. Yay! Nella has the little Lainey loopey pig tails! So cute! I love her pouty look in the overalls. Love first-child dates. Excited to see Lainey’s new room. I was just lying in bed with my boys imagining what to do on their wall that is now opened up with a new big bed in there. Happy Monday.

  148. I can’t believe little miss Nella is ready to stand already! Such beautiful little chicks, you have! :)

  149. Thanks so much for being such an inspiration!

  150. New follower here. Your girls are lovely! I really enjoy reading your blog. Hope to read lots more!

  151. enjoy your family & the week

    xoxo
    cathy

  152. Cracker Barrel is one of our favorite places to seek out when we travel. It is always a fun place to stop and eat. Games to play, gifts to look at, and good food for everyone to enjoy.

    I love looking at your pictures, so fun and it gives me ideas to try of my own. Thanks for sharing.

  153. I really enjoyed the photos of Lainey and her friend by the coca-cola machine…so retro, but fun!

  154. Would love to win the gift certificate! Looks like yummy stuff!

  155. Sometimes it feels like we lack some bits of old Americana out here in the islands. We relish in the feel of our own Hawaiian history, but I wish we could hit up a roadside Cracker Barrel, too!

  156. Nella’s looking so grown up these days – especially in her pigtails. Lainey’s secret handshake is so adorable…oh to be so young and imaginative. Good job mama!

  157. That Lainey is getting so big! Her pig tails are getting much longer these days :) Loved what you said about your little finger being just what Nella needs…great words.

  158. Awe, I just love it when I am dog tired and I haven’t read your blog in a while and I just leave the dinner cooking and I sit down and am instantly lost and caught up in your kids and your photography! Love it! I too, love Cracker Barrel! Unfortunately, or fortunately, there aren’t any out here in CA :(. Hope your week is fantastic!!!

  159. you two look like the coolest parents ever… The memories you are making with these children will be forever etched in their minds.. How wonderful.

  160. I love your blog, Kelle. Please promise to always post stuff. The Internet would be dull without you.

  161. Oh my!! The shoes!! Adorable!!!!

  162. I love following Nella’s progress, because my little, though due to prematurity, also moves at her own little pace. Today, she let go of my hands and stood all by herself just long enough for me to snap a picture! Oh, my heart just leapt. Oh, happy days :).

  163. Oh my gosh I LOVE Nella’s pigtails! They are way too cute! And Lainey’s badass biker picture is perfect! I always love reading your posts, and I am pretty sure my sons (3.5 and 19 months) think your kids are their friends/relatives because they love looking at all of the pictures and asking me about the girls. Happy Tuesday!

  164. Those dancing photos! Love! They remind me of me & my sisters at a much younger age… so so so cute.

  165. i love the photos of lainey in from of the coke machine. how precious!

  166. :) Love it! Your pictures make me smile. . . and Lainey & her lil friend crack me up! And love the cat – we have 2 cats and one (Carl) loves my daughter. The other one (Roscoe) and her have had too many stand-offs to count. I always say that I think he thinks Addy is the devil. But they are slowly becoming friends. Could of used Lainey’s help!!

  167. When my youngest brother was little, he asked my mom..”what does jyhgyub spell?” My mom (probably in the middle of something important) said “I dont know, its jibberish” to which he replied “oh cool! I spelled jibberish!!”

  168. ok miss skinny… do it all:) … super cool mama… love ya!

  169. It must be a week for letting go… last night it was me, with my girlfriends and lubricated with 4 bottles of wine. But know that my girls love me, flaws and all, makes it that much easier to take steps on my own to get repaired.

    Oh, and secret handshakes rock. I think I need to have one with someone.

  170. What a funny cat! I’ve never seen them take such a liking to neighbor kids like that.

  171. I like the thought of our children needing one little part of us to make them feel secure. So many people push their kids to crawl, walk, etc. and I personally like it when mine take a bit longer. My 8 month old is at a stage where it’s mama or no-one. She cries even if someone holds her facing me. She just wants me. And even though it’s tiring carrying her 21lb body around all day – I absolutely love how needed I am to her :)

    And I SO want to win that GC for that stuff. I’m all for natural things – especially bug spray!!

  172. I love that you don’t urge Nella to let go of your finger. Sometimes I wish I still had somebody’s finger to keep me steady…

  173. Ah Cracker Barrel. It holds a special place in my heart. That is where my husband and I met. :) Sometimes we go there for Anniversary dates. Maybe we will go there for our 15th in November.

    Looks like you guys had a great day. How fun that Lainey ran into her friend!
    Kim

  174. I love your skirt in the first picture!So summery! Your blog is so inspiring! <3 it.

  175. I’ll be learning to stand on my own tomorrow. I will be spending the day putting the finishing touches on a musical with 32 teenagers and I’ll be doing so without my co-director for the first time.
    She’s having her baby. I can’t wait to meet him.
    I’ve never run our week of church-camp without her so tomorrow will be new for me and I’m really wishing she’d left me a finger to hold on to!

  176. The butt scooting of this post had me LOLing.
    I love your posts, pictures and kids, Kelle!

  177. I started reading your blog just after Nella was born and I’ve shared it with everyone I know. It’s inspiring, real and encouraging.

    I’ve never commented until now.

    The Eloise Wilkin caught my eye. I named my daughter Eloise (5) after her. My mom must have bought every single book she ever illustrated and has now passed them onto us. People often wonder if we named her after Eloise at the Plaza. Nope. Just the beautiful illustrator of long ago.
    I support the mod podge. I’ll even send you more books rebuild your collection 😉

  178. LOVE the “READ” letters! I might have to steal that idea for my daughter’s room.

  179. 1. Modge podging is therapeutic. I decouphaged a whole wall once with antique book pages.

    2. Badass biker pic rocks.

    3. Grilled chicken tenderloin plate at cracker barrel is yummy. Wish I could make chicken so tender.

  180. Laughed out loud at the sign on Lainey’s door and your interpretation! Too funny. And Go Lainey! PYUBWZ. Spell it, girl!

  181. I think our cat has found a second home to visit, I just hope she’s as loved as your guest kitty is by your girls!

    Jess
    http://www.norrisfamilyboise.blogspot.com

  182. Do you really realize what a great mom you are?! Each blog I read I become more proud of you and the job you do! In a grandmotherly kind of way :) Keep up the good work!

  183. My favorite quote from this post? “I smile knowing that something as little as my finger–a tiny part of me–is all she needs to feel secure.” – That was so precious! Melted my heart because there is nothing else on this earth like that feeling of being needed as a Momma, as a comfort to your babies! Loved this post and those darn Mod Podge letters are SWEET! Can’t wait to see Lainey’s room! Ps. Out of the three items you listed… What was Brett’s favorite product from Heal My Sole… like which was it that got him excited when he saw the box on the counter?

  184. I love the letters for her room. They are so cute. I can’t wait to see what else you do to the room.

  185. Looking forward to reading about Nella’s upcoming standing/walking mischief! :o)

  186. DANG IT!! I want that coke machine on my back porch REAL BAD!

    And, oh sweet love! Looking down at Nella’s “itty bitty finger grip” makes me wanna caress her silky threads!

    Ooohh, and playing “Go Fish”….sniff, sniff….realizing my boys are growing up. It used to be a pre-naptime ritual.

    I MUST research this Eloise Wilkin gal. I tried for months to find a vintage illustration to adhere to Nora’s birthday high chair I painted. And I even bought my first bottle of MOD PODGE!!! I’m glad I didn’t settle for anything. I’m feeling hopeful about Eloise :)

    Cracker Barrel looks like it’s right up my alley. I.Must.Find.One!

    The last pic of YOU….Oh my stars!!! Gorgeous. A little Audrey Hepburn-esque. She is my all time favorite actress (well, BOTH of the Hepburn gals, actually. “Audrey Katherine” was another front runner for Nora’s name :)

    Much love to you ~
    Kelly

    p.s. Still feeling on cloud nine over Nora’s party….it was “peaceful” and perfect!

  187. Laineys badass biker chick look is BAD.ASS. Love it. And our littlest is in the hold-onto-our-finger-and-not-quite-ready-to-let-go stage too. I love it. I dwell in it. Have a great week!!

    You inspired me to get outside with my kidlets tomorrow instead of staying inside during this horrible heat wave. Thanks!

  188. So glad you are enjoying these times with sweet Nella and such poignant words to describe her wonderful current stage. And when she gets to the next one — just wait! I will never forget when my little Casey finally started walking. It was so scary to her and exhilarating all at the same time, at least that is what her facial expressions seemed to be saying. I can still see her sweet face when she finally did it and I still cherish that moment!

  189. mmm, cracker barrel. hard to find here in illinois. :(

  190. Oh how I miss Cracker Barrel. It was one of our favs before moving from FL to up North. Eat some hash brown casserole for me, pretty please!

  191. I love, love, LOVE Eloise Wilkin!!!!! Since I was small, I can remember reading Baby Dear…..

    I am inspired to make some R-E-A-D creations for my friends children….until I have a little girl of my own!

  192. Love the story of the cat! How awesome for your girls… Well, Lainey more I guess. Are you feeding that cat or does he have somewhere else he goes to eat?

  193. I LOVE Cracker Barrel too! It’s a must whenever we are on the road. I love it almost as much as Nella’s pigtails… can’t wait for my little one to have enough for that!
    Stacy

  194. I love Cracker Barrel! We have one a couple of miles up the road from us, but in the almost-five-years my husband and I have been together, we’ve only gone there twice. He thinks it’s overrated. Freak.

    Your pictures are gorgeous, as always!

  195. I love random visiting animals. We had this squirrel that stopped by and fed peanuts to out the window, after our dog died. Now he’s a regular visitor. Oh the things that keep me happy. Happy Monday!

  196. My kids would be over the moon if a cat adopted us:)

  197. love that little bit of hanging on…my littlest bug who will be 2 (sigh) in 22 days (not counting or anything) proved the other day at nap that he still needed a little momma lovin’ when he couldn’t quite settle himself down. just a second little snuggle and hum was all he needed! makes my heart melt!

    loving the pigtails and the biker stare too!!

  198. Love it all, especially Nella’s finger grip, and the cat…Love to all from the blog Mama

  199. I love the room you’re using for inspiration, but i REALLY LOVE the “read” letters you mod-podged :) amazing. I might have to do the same for my girl’s room some day!

  200. I can’t believe Nella is almost walking on her own :)

  201. I love that Cracker Barrel, I always feel as if ineed to stop there because it’s the last chance for food before 100 miles of alligators.

  202. I’m off to check out the new sponsor because one of my littles ones has been plagued by mosquito welts this summer but I hate the idea of her wearing chemical repellent every day. Thanks for attracting and assembling such an awesome group of businesses. I’ve had great experiences with those that I have used so far but I guess that is just the law of attraction right? An awesome person like yourself would naturally attract more wonderful people :)

  203. LOVE the pics of the girls from your little get-A-way! Isn’t it amazing how going a few extra miles away from home can cleanse you and make you feel like you had a mini-VaCa? LOVE it!

  204. I love Cracker Barrel too! Took my 3 year old granddaughter, Violet there to find a dress she could wear for the July 4 neighborhood parade. As we walked in and I steered her toward the clothing, she whispered to me, “but Grammy, you know, I wike toys too!” Of course I did! So, we came home with a red, white & blue dress and a cute little yellow truck. I LOVE being a Grammy!

  205. LOVE the READ letters!!! Can’t wait to see the new room!

  206. The girls are getting more and more beautiful each day. Thank you for sharing your photos- they always bring a smile to my face.

    I love Eloise Wilkin. I always wanted to grow up to live in one of her illustrations. Her images of “home” are so comforting. My mother bought my little one the Eloise Wilkin Little Golden Books collection and it is her favorite. She is obsessed with the pictures from What Does Baby See and We Help Mommy (?).

  207. I love the stories of ‘date’ days with Lainey. Brings back great memories and also makes me want to go call my mom right now for a coffee date. Loved this post and the thoughts it created on making your house your own with how you furnish/decorate it. Thanks so much!

  208. That looks just like our cat!! We found her as a kitten under our porch…not sure where she came from but we kept her. She acts quite like a dog…that cat seems playful, too. Ours has learned to keep her distance from the two-year old who likes to sit on her.

  209. I don’t mean to put a sad spin on your beautiful post and blog but if you and any of your readers could say a prayer for my little boy. He is the same age as Nella and just got diagnosed with lead poisening. Probably due to some renovation work done our house and neibors house. Lead tests can be bought in any paint store to prevent exposing our young ones to this toxin. also check online for the long lists of toy, craft etc. recalls.

  210. please pray for my 19 month old who has lead poisening.

  211. Wanna come decorate my house, too? Love your style! :-)

  212. Amazing how much strength we all gain from just an itty bitty finger grip of support from someone we love. I don’t think that changes whether you’re 1, 31 or 81!

  213. A sad and happy day coming soon… walking!
    Happy Day!

  214. Oh I love your inspiration bedroom! I am doing my 3 year olds room and may have to steal some ideas.

  215. I could use some that there bug spray in MN! Then again, being a Michigan gal you know what that’s like!

  216. Oh the pigtails are adorable. Love the letters!! Can’t wait to see the changes. Another good post. Happy Week to you!!

    Amy

  217. Sounds like you all had an amazing weekend! the “nothing” weekends often create the fondest memories :)

  218. One of my favorite things (or 2 things I guess) about your blog are Nella’s pigtails! My daughter is only 8 months old and although I am cherishing every minute with her, I do look forward to the days of pigtails.

  219. Favorite picture this post is the stand off between Nella and the cat! Love it!

  220. Thanks for another great post. Now I’m in the mood for some eggs in a basket!

  221. I wanted to let tell you that I am using your splendid idea for photos with the fabric background for a Trash The Dress Wedding session I did. I took part of her beautiful wedding gown (that she trashed)home with me and I am using that as the background so that she at least has a piece of her gown for memories. I am using one of the photos from TTD before it got trashed. Thanks so much for the inspiration!!!

  222. I wish we were able to spend evenings outside…hopefully this heat wave will leave soon so that we can!

  223. Love your blog and photos! I have 4 little girls of my own (all under 4!) and I’m so inspired by all the photos you take of your girls and how you document their lives.

  224. Its hard when children reach the milestones that encourage them to let go. Once they reach that point I have a hard time not saying, “No, not yet my little one. Please need me a while longer.” Yet I know I cannot hold on and realize if I do, I am holding them back.

  225. yah for weekends at home and the time to recharge. And great that this sponsor is back. I have been looking for a more natural bug spray for my little guy. I will have to check this one out!

  226. Last week drug on for me too, but this week is full of hope and courage!

  227. I love all of Nella’s scooting pics!

  228. That cat looks just like my cat. Are we neighbors??!?

    Just kidding unless he scurried from PA down to sunny florida. haha

    Have a great week.

    Melissa

  229. I love your weekend recaps and I love me some Cracker Barrel too! I hope you have a wonderful week and I look forward to seeing pictures of your fun adventures! :)

  230. I just love the picture of Nella holding onto you by one finger. I can remember when my little man was like that. It is def. more of a security thing than a balance thing. There are days when I read your blog and look at the pictures of your daily adventures and I want to be there to join in the fun you have! So happy Nella is about to take a big step! GO NELLA!

  231. Your daughters are so lucky to have such a talented Mother. You capture them in photographs in a way that just warms my heart and I’m sure will do so to theirs as well when they look back someday. Lovely photos! I especially love the ones outside Cracker Barrel by the old soda machine. Classic! :)

  232. we went to Cracker Barrell yesterday, too, and met an elderly couple there, but I like it too! Anna Cate often hears she looks like Shirley Temple and we found a box set of 3 of her movies nad 11 short films for $8 and of course, I had to buy it. I forgot how much I love “the little princess”! :)

  233. I love her bad ass look! It makes me smile to see kiddos have so many expressions…. and nella and her butt scoot, that seriously melts my heart!

  234. Just the beginning of knowing when and when not to give that extra little push. Sometimes the hardest thing we have to do as mamas. But for now, hold on tight! You’ll both know when the time is right.

  235. I just learned a trick not too long ago for my little bug…he was learning to stand/walk too…anyways, someone told me to give them old-fashioned clothespins (the non-pinchy kind) to hold on to, it is about the same size/shape as mommy’s finger…it worked like a charm for us =D

  236. How about a giveaway of those READ letters? I love them! I might just have to learn how to craft one of these days afterall. Have a great week Kelle!

  237. I love Eloise Wilkin too! What an awesome idea.

    Your girls have so many cute crocheted items. Does your mom make them? Love the green sweater on Nella.

  238. Welcome cat to the most wonderful, fun family ever!

    Esther Dush

  239. Love the READ craft! So cute. What a great way to use duplicate books (with all of the books in the world it is amazing that a family can have two – but we do too!)

  240. As always….SO BEAUTIFUL!!!

  241. looooove cracker barrel too, yum :)

    you never cease to inspire me to cook/bake/craft/change a room/take a photo/justbeabetterperson.

    love ya kelle

  242. Lainey is looking more and more like you these days. Both of your girls are so beautiful.

  243. Oh Nella you are oh so sweet!

  244. I have an “almost walker” too. And that paradox between wanting him to go & needing him to wait gets me everyday!

  245. so you like their natural bug repellant? my Lainey is allergic to mosquito bites and I hate having to douse her in chemicals all the time.
    also, great pics!!

  246. Kelle – you make me smile.
    That is all.
    Happy Tuesday!

  247. keep the mod podge…its amazing stuff…

    and Cracker Barrel is the coolest restaurant

  248. From Nella’s pigtails to Lainey’s secret friend handshake, I don’t know how you handle all the cuteness in your household!

  249. Love Cracker Barrel! When the boys were little we would go often, and on soccer weekends. Not so much anymore.
    Now it is a special breakfast date place for my husband and I.
    The years go by in a flash!!!

  250. Our new neighbors have a pack of outdoor cats–maybe five cats total–and their garage remains open about a foot so the cats can get some shelter if they need it. My little munchkin is absolutely IN LOVE with those cats! We have an indoor cat that doesn’t venture out from under the bed when my son is awake very often, but these outdoor cats are oh so friendly, and my son is amazed that they just run free all over the outdoor jungle. (AKA–our cul-de-sac) Such a highlight of the day to hear him squeal and chase after those kitties!

  251. As a New Yorker, it was amusing to run into friends in Disney in Orlando (they are also New Yorkers!) The kids ended up having even more fun With their friends there!

  252. I LOVE Mod Podge!! I decoupaged a whole coffee table in clippings from The Onion. It was the coolest table ever and everyone loved it. Now I’m going to have to decoupage some letters this weekend and hang them up in my kitchen. Thanks for the idea!

  253. I love Nella holding onto your hand in the first picture. So sweet. I can’t believe today is only Tuesday, this week is already a long week.

  254. Yay for Nella. My little guy just started walking and oh, the joy!! We rejoice in all their accomplishments.

  255. Love the lazy days of summer. The room looks like its going to be great, I am in the process of maybe switching rooms around too. A very daunting task.

  256. love Lainey’s badass cyclist look…..my son has a similar one….and it makes me smile every time.

  257. I can’t wait to have dates with my daughter. I have been tucking away ideas (some borrowed from you) and can’t wait to try them out. Thanks!

  258. I’m a fan of Cracker Barrel too. My daughter loves it there.

  259. I just love the picture of Lainey and her friend dancing in front of the coke machine. SOOO cute!
    I neeeeed the gift card to heal my sole…I get eaten by mosquitoes during the summer. I’ve been wanting to try an all natural bug spray!

  260. so funny that brett showed excitement over lotion – love it!

  261. Love the vintage Coke machine. That photo backdrop is worth a trip to the off-the-beaten-path Cracker Barrel all on it’s own!

  262. Can’t wait to try out a Cracker Barrel! I love the idea of switching around rooms just for something fun! You have such beautiful girls :)

  263. what a fun lil girlie date :)can’t WAIT to see more of laineys room…those letters are A.dorable!

  264. beautiful words & pictures…..
    hope she holds onto that finger a little longer, because once they let go, everything changes!

    xoxo
    cathy

  265. I love Cracker Barrel too. When we went on road trips (when I was little) my three siblings and I thought the 10 cent candy sticks were the best thing ever. My mom would buy us each 3 and we would be happy for the next five hours. It was a win-win situation :)

  266. I can’t wait to see Lainey’s finished room. I love Meg’s house, so you picked a good one to inspire you.

    My kids are always happiest hot and sweaty too! :)

  267. Those pictures of Lainey and her friend at Cracker Barrel are PRICELESS. So funny and adorable!

  268. Just loved that picture of Nella gripping your finger. Knowing that you are always there for her will help her reach her potential and go far in life. Look what she has achieved already!

  269. I look forward to your posts everyday! Your pictures (and words) are inspiration for me to take more pictures of my son before he grows up too quick! My son has a rare skin disease and I’ve been nervous about using bug spray on him so the all natural bug spray from Heal My Sole would be the first thing I purchased!

  270. Oh my goodness, THANK YOU for sharing the link to Meg’s house! She is so talented! I can’t wait to get started on my house. Off to the hardware store for paint!!!

  271. Your pictures amaze me every time I stop by your blog! I have been inspired by you to take pictures of the everyday things and see if I can make them look as beautiful in photos as they do to my naked eye.

  272. Love the friendly kitty hanging out with your little ones! And I love that Nella is such an outdoors-y girl.

  273. Don’t we all need a tiny piece our moms to feel secure! Exciting! It won’t be long and she will be walking! Go Nella!
    Lainey is looking so grown up!
    Thank you for sharing! Beautiful pictures!

  274. Love the letters. I may have to steal that.
    Also, waking up to a cat sleeping in a doll stroller in your garage would have to be right up there in cool for anyone — not just a four year old!

  275. Nella’s almost walking! You go, sweet girl! Love those knots. And the butt scoots.

  276. OHHHH!!! Feet stuff, I’m in need of some feet stuff, this would be amazing!

  277. Oh yum — lotions and other body products. Perfect any season!

  278. I love the Cracker Barrel, though it does pose a bit of a sore spot for my family!

    Once, on an extended family vacation that included 6 suburbans and one of those super RV’s with expandable rooms traveling from MN to FL, we stopped at a CB in Illinois for breakfast. We all loaded up and hit the road with full bellies, only to be stopped a half hour later by a state trooper, letting us know that we had left my little brother behind. He apparently told my parents he was riding with Grandpa, when REALLY he was heading back in to the store.

    True story, and I still love the Barrel:)

  279. I love how how grown up Nella is looking! Both of your girls are just beautiful!

  280. Love the fingertip hold. Reagan was like that about sitting last week. And then Monday-poof- she could sit all by herself with a proud little smile on her face. :)

  281. Oh. My. Goodness. Nella’s little fold-over pigtails? Wonderful. She’s looking so big! Especially with all that hair pulled back so you can see her face. I remember my husband getting all sad the first time I pulled my daughter’s hair back, because it’s such a huge change from the baby-fat-emphasizing hair down stage. I don’t know why, but those little fold-over pigtails caught my heart even more than usual.

    Thanks for the smile!

    -Lela

  282. I love Cracker Barrel! Also love the picture of Nella holding onto your finger…so true how as adults we still need the “little finger” to hold onto until we feel strong enough to do something on our own. Some things just never go away. :)

  283. Love the finger hold!!! I can’t wait to see more updates on the new rooms.:)

  284. Cracker Barrel – yum! Nothing warms the soul like good ole home country cookin!

  285. So excited to see what you come up with for Lainey’s room, and to see Nella walk soon. I’m sure it will be mere days!

  286. You have such an AMAZING way of “seeing” things. Awesome!

  287. Love the R E A D letters. Wondering where I could do something like that. COmbined with some Ikea (which I’ve never been to) spice rack/book racks. Hmm…

  288. Love Nella’s pigtails. I remember how happy I was to finally “do” my little girl’s hair! It’s definitely a milestone.

  289. Love the R E A D letters. Wondering where I could do something like that. COmbined with some Ikea (which I’ve never been to) spice rack/book racks. Hmm…

  290. Can’t wait to see the room redo!

  291. Cracker Barrel, I really do love that place! Being in Vermont, we experience Cracker Barrel very seldomly. It reminds me of trips to Port Charlotte/Fort Myers to see my grandmother!

  292. I am “borrowing” the covered letters for my sons room! I have the word laugh and was wondering what to do to jazz it up!

    I am now going to check out Heal my Sole, because we have a ridiculous infestation of Mosquitos here in Slberta Canada, and they favor my butt. :/

    Have a good week

  293. I love the inspiration room you’re building Lainey’s new room around. So cute! Go Kelle Go! Mod Podge away! You’re doing a fantastic job! :) Also loving your Cracker Barrel date with Lainey & the new addition of the neighborhood cat! My favorite picture is the one of Lainey laying down with it. She looks so happy having it around. :)

    First comes neighborhood visits, then comes “Can we keep it?”. 😉 Oh and does “Cat” have a name yet?

  294. Oh I would love to try out the all natural bug spray! The no-see-ums are horrible here in Virginia! Headed to their site to check it out now! Thank you for sharing!

    mkdaiger(at)gmail(dot)com

  295. I love the girls’ impromptu side-by-side dance… I had lots of those with my sisters growing up. Lainey looks so happy and un-self-conscious. :)

  296. I love the idea that your one little finger is all the reassurance in the world that Nella needs right now. It makes me want to relish every single second that my little boy still needs me! :)

  297. We had a neighborhood cat that adopted us as well. Unfortunately after a couple months of my daughter getting attached to him, he got hit by a car. We don’t have a Cracker Barrel here in California, will have to try it when I go back east next time.

  298. I Love Love Love the pix of Lainey! She is too cute! Nella is going to be off and running before you know it! Precious post!

  299. So cute her gripping your finger..I remember those days. All of a sudden they let go and are all over the place :-) Your girls always make me smile. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  300. I work in a historic government building and got a kick out of a little girl who, like Nella, came in and scooted her butt all over our stone floors. Totally cute!

  301. Cracker Barrel looks UBER fun! We don’t (not that I’m aware of) have that in NY! Next “road trip” I’m gonna find one! 😀

  302. A new room for Lainey-how bittersweet! Can’t wait to see pictures! Yay for Nella’s standing!

  303. Isn’t it fantastic when your children are on the brink of something new and exciting? Love those moments.
    Lainey’s biker bad ass look made my day! Also, I need to find a Cracker Barrel somewhere near me.

  304. Love it.
    Just ordered some bug spray too. I see other things in her shop that I would love to have. Thanks.

  305. Cracker Barrel has always been one of my favorite places, too. My grandparents used to bring me there when we would make breakfast stops on long road trips in their Pace Arrow motor home going cross-country. My favorite thing to do was try to leave just one peg on that triangle puzzle at every table!

  306. How I love your blog. Fills my heart with joy, joy, joy!

  307. I love the green jacket/overshirt Nella is wearing, so precious! Can’t wait to try that bug spray, will be nice to use something that feels a bit more organic and not full of things I probably can’t pronounce….

  308. That cat looks almost like my cat Darby. We also have a visitor cat that likes to just flop at your feet for attention. As always I love seeing pictures of your darling girls!

  309. The Cracker Barrell shots are great.

  310. Stray cats are the best thing ever. They are lovey and weird and stalkerish and then they go home for the night. It’s awesome! I’m glad they are experiencing it!

  311. We also have a neighborhood cat that my daughter loves going to see. I’m lucky that it hasn’t followed her home yet or it might never be able to leave.

  312. I love how positive you are. I know how much you have going on in your life yet you still manage to keep everything positive. You are a great example to us all.

  313. I’m LOVIN’ your shoes in the first picture! Are those heels? I need to see more!!

  314. YAY! Homemade kid safe bug spray..now what’s better than that!!

  315. Love the “in”, slow, quiet weekends sometimes. Can’t wait to see the “READ” and maybe get some ideas for when my book-lover is a wee bit older!

    …and my feet got so excited at the pic of the foot scrub, they ’bout knocked my fingers off the keyboard :)

  316. I have more pictures of my husband and son on the Cracker Barrel rocking chairs than I do of most any other object. It’s sad. I actually wanted to register for one of those for our wedding a while back. We didn’t get one…

    One day, I will own a cracker barrel rocking chair…

    Glad I’m not the only one with a CB guilty pleasure!

  317. The Read letters are awesome! And I love the cracker barrel date. Kids are amazing.

  318. Love the Cracker Barrel! They have candies that I remember I had growing up and I can’t find them anywhere but there :) Love your blog!
    Melissa

  319. Wow! The letters you mod-podged are adorable! It is perfectly alright to use a duplicate book for a craft you’ll enjoy for a long time! :)

  320. I really love that your posts make me want to be a better mother. To turn small things like “spelling” a word into a great accomplishment. Thank you!

  321. I love Eloise Wilkins! We have “We Like Kindergarten”, and my daughter loves that book, even though she’s nowhere near kindergarten age yet! Such adorable illustrations!

  322. LOVE the photo of sweet Lainey playing checkers! And I love the “Read” idea too- may have to come up with something like that to incorporate into Henry’s room. Hope you’re having a great week!

    http://ramblingsfromtheanimalfarm.blogspot.com/

  323. I love the idea that you ripped pictures out of a book and made letters out of them…I am wondering if I could handle doing this!?

  324. OMG…you will love that cat! That is the best breed ever. When our kids were little we adopted a stray one that looked just like that. Someone told me at that time that “M” cats are the best (see the black “M” on the forehead)and they were right. Our daughter named her Tic-toc and she gave us many years of joy. She and our other cat had kittens within one week of each other. “Tic-toc” had 4 kittens, “Sugar” had 6 kittens! After a few weeks “Sugar” decided she hated her kittens and wouldn’t let them nurse anymore. So Tic-toc nursed all 10 kittens until they were weaned even though she looked miserable and rarely got a break. Such a good mama! I did daycare for years and Tic-toc would actually come in when babies were crying and try to console them. If kids fell asleep on the couch, Tic-toc was right there curled up with them. I’ve never known a “talkative” cat before but she actually talked to us with her meowing. Tic-toc has moved on after 17 years and we will forever miss that cat…you are blessed to have this “M” cat in your life…enjoy her! :) Jan

  325. It’s amazing all our kids can accomplish when they know we are there to hold their hand and support them, always.

  326. I’ve never been to a Cracker Barrel before, don’t even know if there is one nearby. It does look like one cool place though.

  327. Where is Nella’s beautiful sweater from? Love it!

  328. How I just adore the pictures of Lainey with her girlfriend!!!!!! Such sweetness. And butt scoots? Who doesn’t love {to watch} a good butt scoot!?!

  329. manitoba = mosquitoes. i’ll have to check out some of that all natural bug spray for my little people!! :)

  330. hope you have the camcorder ready that baby is going to be taking her first unassisted steps before you know it- and then the fun begins (or should i say starts over since you went through it with lainey) my 3 year old listens and is very cautious with rules but my 1 year old- watch out- she could care less if she barrels off towards the street!

  331. Reminds me to set up a date with my son who is 5. We have some blueberry picking on the docket.

    Every time my daughter wants me to pick her up, even though she can walk, I love the opportunity because it won’t last long.

  332. love that stuff.

  333. This reminds me of the time as a little girl, we had a neighborhood cat that found solace outside our doorstep. We named him, fed him milk and food for weeks, and offered much love till he decided to head back home. What great memories!

  334. We have a Cat that just loves my girls too. We have no idea where he came from, he spends most of his days on our porch and greets us when we come home.
    P.S. I love Nella in her overalls :)

  335. I can not wait to see the pctures of Nella’s first steps!! Which look to be just around the corner!!

  336. i love lainey’s badass cyclist face – it looks like a roller derby girl in the making!

  337. lovin the songs to this post :)

  338. I just love Nella’s tiny pigtails! Adorable!

  339. By moving to New York, I’ve, too, had to learn how to stand and I found out I can on my own!

  340. she will walk soon and it will be GLORIOUS!

  341. You had me at “no see ums.” Gotta get me some of that bug juice for our annual August trip to Sanibel. (I know, who the hell goes to Sanibel in August, right? It’s our end-of-summer tradition, before the kids go back to school up here in Massachusetts.

  342. I kiiiinda love the badass cyclist look. :)

  343. gorgeous photos and post…and once again my ‘rescue remedy’ that is your blog has done the trick. today was quite simply just a bad day. and it happened to include an incident that shook me to my core…but this has helped set me back on track.
    counting my blessings and looking forward tonight…thank you.

  344. Can you tell me how the heck Mod Podge is supposed to work? I got some to try to put some cool greeting cards onto a canvas, but it didn’t make ’em stick. Do you use glue to stick the pics down first, then smear the Mod Podge stuff on top? I cannot figure it out.

  345. Can’t wait to try mod podge…just ordered some! Excellent post, as always!

  346. “I smile knowing that something as little as my finger–a tiny part of me–is all she needs to feel secure.” What an amazing feeling! My Asher is in the same hanging onto my skirt phase, and I LOVE it!

  347. You find the “funnest” back drops to take photos of your girls… Beautiful!

  348. That’s a hairstyle I haven’t seen! Cute! And I’m always loving those hairbands. (:

  349. Very cute cat.. I love it when animals adopt us!

  350. We have a duck that comes to our house every morning for breakfast and every night for dinner. I named him Ralph and then realized (after doing some online research) that she is really more of a Rachel. Oops.

  351. You make me wanna come to America!
    Photo of Lainey and her girlfriend doing the “Thriller” move, warms my heart.

  352. I so love reading your blog Kelle! I am a 60 year old “Nana” who loves staying @ home 3 days a week to care for my precious grandaughter, Ellie! If you could only see her, you would agree, she is so wonderful to all those who’s life she has touched! As for your wonderful daughter’s~~~you inspire me every time you blog! Thank-you so much for sharing your most personal moments with all of us who follow your blog! Love you! sweetie!

  353. Love the bad-ass bicyclist look! :-)

  354. Can’t get over the tiny little hand grip!

  355. Kelle, I’ve been reading your blog for a year now and I just love it. Thanks so much for sharing your life with us. It is such a joy to see Lainey and Nella grow. Thanks for your honesty, energy and enthusiasm which is very inspiring.xxoo

  356. Random comment I know, but did you used to be blonde? I noticed a wedding picture in the background with the candle & I thought it looked like your husband so I assume that’s you with blonde hair, but couldn’t tell since the bride is in profile.

    Just curious. Would love to see pictures…you look so great with the really dark hair and I love it when people can pull off more than one look like that!

  357. I would love to win! I so enjoy reading your blog!!

  358. I am so stealing the READ idea for our playroom!!! We have an empty wall over the bookshelf and this is perfect! Thanks for sharing!

    Go Nella…one finger away from independance baby! :)

  359. First of all – Megan(!) – a “no see um” is a little tiny fly (black in colour)……so tiny that it’s not all that easy to see – hence the name, “no see um” – cuz you often can’t see ’em! :) But – don’t be fooled – they are mean little critters – and when they chomp you, you know it! Apparently, Skin So Soft is a great bug repellent (who knew!?)……which is most likely why you saw that comment in connection with SSS.

    Kelle – your posts warm my heart! That first picture of sweet little Nella holding your finger is heart-melting. She’ll let go soon enough…..I’m glad you’re in no hurry to rush her!

    Love Lainey’s ‘bad-ass’ look – it might actually be a ‘bad-ass’ look, if it wasn’t so darn adorable! :)

    Take care & thanks for brightening our day!………Rosemary

  360. I love Nella’s minnie mouse pigtails!! presh!

  361. It’s fate that I should win this. I just ran out of my foot scrub less than 20 minutes ago. It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

  362. I just discovered your blog and is just wonderful. Your two girls are beautiful and your photos amazing. A new follower.

    x
    Michelle
    http://www.michellesstylefile.blogspot.com

  363. My little one took awhile to walk…I knew she could also but she waited until she was ready. Now she is running full time and smiling the whole time. Enjoy the next step. Christina

  364. Love that you went on a date to Cracker Barrel! I almost took myself on a date there last night as I’m out of town for work and there is one .5 miles from my hotel.

  365. Wish there were Cracker Barrells here in WA state! My best friend who lives in FL talks about them all the time :) Love your blog and your cute girls.

  366. Your girl dates with Lainey are so cute/awesome!

  367. first of all, i could move into a cracker barrell!! so many fun memories from my childhood on road trips to florida :) second i am going to check out that bug spray, i am tired of mosquitos in the woods in canada.

  368. Love the pic of Nella holding your finger! Exactly the kind of pic that’ll bring smiles and happy tears and make your heart swell for your babies in 20 years.

  369. I can’t be the only one thinking of that Boot-Scooting-Boogie song while seeing pictures of Nella on the driveway!

  370. nella is getting so big.Your girls are so seet :) love you”r blog!

  371. I LOVE Cracker Barrel– reminds me of summers in IL with my grandparents. My sis and I would play the triangle/peg game all the time while we waited for our yummy food :)

  372. They have Yuzu- I love it!

  373. Thanks for the Heal My Soul link- we need some beach bug spray! :)

  374. Cat stand offs are the best! Julian who is 14 months recently discovered Flip & Flop, our two cats (names inspired by our summer when we lived on Cape Cod and adopted them there).

  375. i wanna just eat Nella up – so cute in her little piggie tails!!

  376. Wow! Love the READ modge podge! What an inspiration!

  377. Love the kitty pictures. And I love Nella’s pigtails!!! I have to go check out that shop . . . I need some care for my poor little tootsies!

  378. I just had to let you know that I finally am ‘getting’ it! After years of reading your blog, I always try to appreciate the little things, but get so caught up with the mundane, I usually fail.

    But, today, by the pool with my kids and letting the dogs swim with us, I felt it. We enjoyed the fact that this kind of day only happens in the summer. It was just a small moment where it hit me that today was awesome, for no special reason! THANK-YOU!

  379. We’re headed towards England for vacation with my best friend. How shall I manage without my Kelle-input?!! 😉
    Something to look forward to, coming home!!!!
    <3

  380. It’s so sweet how you have your special days with just Lainey =) I am looking forward to a laid back weekend this week – gotta have the ebb and the flow…

  381. Your girls are absolutely adorable. Loved the trip to Cracker Barrel. You are so blessed!

  382. Cute post…as always!!!
    The thought about walking on your own is absolutely captivating and makes you think too.

    PS: I might have missed it but why does Nella always have a yellow necklace on?

  383. that modpodge looks like a lot of fun!! I am in the middle of re-doing my toddlers room as well thanks for the picture ideas!
    Rosa

  384. Kelle! I’ve been stalking your blog for months now and I’m finally leaving a comment – just want to THANK YOU and let you know that reading your blog inspires me to focus on the positive in my everyday life. It reminds me life is beautiful and you get out what you put in – not matter what you’re going through on any given day. Thanks for being my daily dose of inspiration & my ‘outlook’ adjuster!! Much love & peace to you and yours.

  385. This blog has become like therapy for me – when I’m sad or scared I come here and every picture of Nella makes my heart lift until I’m not so sad anymore. Someday I hope to be able to tell her what a difference she makes.

    thank you!

  386. Foot scrub? Please send some my way..this momma’s feet are sore!!!

  387. Kelle, your babies are the sweetest! Nella is getting so big so fast and Lainey is getting tall, wow! I’ve been following your blog for quite some time and I enjoy reading at night after my babies are in bed. I especially love your free spirited personality and the way you enjoy, well, the small things a lot of people take for granted. I’ve been photographing my children for years and it has always been a passion of mine. I never thought I would ever become a photographer but reading your blog and seeing your photos has given me the boost in confidence I needed to pursue my career in photography after all and to also not be so afraid to put myself out there by blogging a bit. If you ever get a moment I would love for you to stop by my blog and say hi! ~Jessica http://jessicawhitephotography.wordpress.com/

  388. I just had to tell you…I love your blog for the pictures and your words. You have a way with both. But you also always have the perfect music! :) I love it!!

  389. I love Cracker Barrell! On November 23, 2007, my husband and I had Thanksgiving dinner there, just the 2 of us, because on the 24th, we were going in to have our baby girl and couldn’t travel with the rest of the family! It was wonderful and a memory I will never forget! :)

  390. Cutest girls ever! Well next to my darling nieces… I can say that cause I only have boys :) Love the sunshine you bring to my house when I read the posts!

  391. I also love the little grip! Those tiny little hands grasping onto one finger is adorable. My LO has just started walking while holding my hand. As soon as I let go, she sits down. She’s gotten really good at standing on her own without holding onto anything, but will still reach out to hold onto my skirt for safety. I know one of these days when she has mastered walking and stading, I will miss her little hands reaching out for me. Priceless moments!! :)

  392. I don’t know you at all, but your words inspire me everyday! P.S.Thanks for introducing me to Darly Bird- it is my new love and it just so happens I live in the same town as her! Small world.

  393. I’m adventuring into natural soap and body products and i love trying new brands! i am also loving little Nella’s look in the photo of her on the grass in overalls. I could die.

  394. Love that room too and I can’t wait to see how Lainey’s turns out.

  395. One more reason I love those girls…..they are cat lovers, just like ME!! :-) Meowwwwwwwww!

  396. Lace up those running shoes. When Nella decides to let go of that finger…READY, SET, GO! My little guy makes sure we all get several good runs in per day. Store trips are much more fun these days :) Can’t wait to see the bouncing pigtail pics.
    Looking forward to the decorating pics too… can’t wait.

  397. Super cute room theme! Can’t wait to see more deets!

  398. MMMM Cracker Barrel, takes me back to traveling a ton as a kid. I might have to look for one around me now. The girls are adorable, and the stare off between Nella and cat is too funny, thank goodness for Lainey!

  399. I’m looking forward to having “dates” with my Lainey one day (she’s currently 8 months old)! Thanks for all of the awesome Mommy ideas! :)

  400. Don’t you love bumping into friends where you least expect to? Butt scoots are the cutest thing on the face of the earth. Wish my little buddy still did them.

  401. This comment has been removed by the author.

  402. Those girls of yours are just precious! I still just want to squeeze Nella! :)

  403. Thanks for posting the pictures of the cat – looks just like my beloved cat that I had in the late 90s. Those photos brought back good memories! I hope cat, Lainey and Nella continue to get along well.

  404. Love the pictures of Nella almost on her own! My little coconut is 5 weeks today and I can’t imagine him being that big so soon!

  405. Thanks for yet another inspiring post — I find myself reading them over and over! Looking forward to buying some stuff from Heal My Sole.

  406. ooh Random, pick me, please! I love to read Kelle’s blog!

  407. I love homey weekends! They’re delightful. The READ sign you made is AWESOME! I want to try that for my son’s room, since he now loves reading.

  408. I am enamored with Eloise Wilkin, and I don’t think its ever been mentioned among my friends! As about many things, I love that “me too!” feeling when I read your blog.

  409. Okay, I feel like a stalker because I comment way too much. First of all, I love Lainey’s sandals and I love that they are navy because I have been debating handing my son’s navy salt waters down to my daughter. Second, I have a source question. Music…where do you find your music? You have introduced us to so many new artists. Thank you!

  410. This comment has been removed by the author.

  411. Love love love the pic info on the picture of the girls sleeping. More please!!

  412. I look forward to walking in the house and hearing the scream of my little girl happy to see me. She went from taking a few steps to running into my arms when I get home. We will fill the pool on the deck, slather on sunscreen and play the day away. Romp in the fountains at the park and eat ice cream.

  413. ‘While I hold that tiny hand, providing the steadiness she thinks I give her, I know her confidence is brewing like a long-awaited cup of coffee. It will come and, in the meantime, I smile knowing that something as little as my finger–a tiny part of me–is all she needs to feel secure.’

    I think you just defined motherhood. Beautiful, as always.

    And Laniey’s badass look… I love it!

  414. I super copied your READ letters idea for my son’s room. We’re halfway done with them and I’m so excited to hang them up! Thanks for the inspiration! I’m also in the middle of re-doing stuff in his room and I look forward to seeing Lainey’s new room. :)

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