Playing House

Every Tuesday after ballet, we go get a bite to eat with friends from class. Sometimes we go to Einstein Bagel because I like to say the word “shmear” when I order, and sometimes we go to Chickfilet because it has the only playscape in town that doesn’t smell like feet. This whole ritual of ballet plus mom convo over coffee feels very “mommish”, the kind of thing my friend Tisha and I used to act out when we were nine and played House. Speaking of, did anyone else ever play “House?” That’s what we called it. Just House. And I guess the rules were simply pretend you have a house and you’re a mom and you cook and stuff. Say “Honey” a lot. And walk out the pretend door with your imaginary purse and tell everyone you’re going to the store.


No more House. I got the real deal.

I like House. And now that playing it has turned into living it, I have these moments of Whoa now and then. As in, Whoa, I’ve arrived. Ballet followed by Chickfilet on Tuesdays can do that to me. It’s just so stereotypical. Until I attempt to take Nella down the twirly slide and get stuck in the middle of the S-curve. And my skirt is riding up and there’s bare skin skidding on plastic and Nella’s crying and kids are rudely yelling “GO” and my body is going nowhere and I am laughing so hard, I’m this close to wetting my pants. Yesterday, it was clearly a moment of “I haven’t arrived.” And, for that, I am thankful. Yes, potential.

Your comments on the last post were thoughtful, honest, funny and heartfelt. I so enjoyed reading them. What a powerful thing–pages and pages of dreams.

A few among many that made me smile:

Pammy K

I want to own a shop – I have a few different versions in mind. I want to live on a boat. I want to own an apartment decorated in all pink. I want to discipline myself to wake up early. I want to have really great relationships with my kids


When I grow up, I want to re-harness my inner diva and sing “Defying Gravity” in front of an audience


When I grow up I want to work at Sea World and swim with the whales, I want to play the violin on the big stage, I want to be an artist who sits outdoors and paints on a big easel, and I want cook, a lot.


when i grow up i want to open a coffee shop with my mom and sisters!!! we have so many great plans!


when i grow up…i want my big family to visit me for holidays at my waterside cottage with the big yard. we’ll all play football and have a talent show just like they did in “Dan in Real Life”.


When I grow up, I am not going to compare my life with others’, and I am not going to care one bit what other people think. The end

The BookSylph

When I grow up I want to be able to parallel park properly, to cook meat without burning it out of paranoia (I’m a microbiologist…I think I know to much :), to embrace frizzy hair, and learn another language

Nella had shots today, is up past her bedtime and is performing a super-charged crawl in the other room. So I’m not going to be long.

Just a few very simple things that, in the midst of a hectic schedule right now, bring peace and happiness to our lives.

Tree Climbing.

My Mowgli is brave and agile.



Sister watches from the ground.


The Return of Blue Skies.


New Ride-on.

I debated buying this for Nella for weeks. Our garage is a cluttered mess of trikes and bikes as it is, and we really didn’t need another ride-on toy. But Nella can’t ride the tricycles yet and Lainey’s old ride-on toy has broken seat belts, and that made me nervous. She gets bored in the stroller when we’re playing outside, and if I put her down she scoots toward the street faster than I can keep up with her. I wanted something low to the ground so she could be part of the play and feel like she was riding toys like the big girls. So finally I cracked and went to buy it. It was gone. At three stores. Until I found it this week at a different Target on clearance for half the original price. Booyah.

She loves it. And her favorite speed is Crazy Fast.


Just like the big girls.


Lainey’s dress, Tea Collection



Summer Fruit.

Peach Pie in the works.



Reading Books Outside.


Lainey currently likes this one.


Sweetbay Seaworld Trips.

You’d think it was a theme park. A trip to Sweetbay, the grocery store with the lobsters. She asked to bring her camera tonight.



They could sell tickets to this show.





The Darlybird $50 gift certificate winners: I usually use, but tonight I was feeling fancy, so I yelled to Brett “Pick two numbers between 1 and 1120!”

“420 and 1070!” he hollered from the kitchen.

Comment #420, Michelle: When I grow up, I want to be the funky, cool Gramma that makes all the other kids wish I was theirs. :)

Comment #1070, Carrie: I want to learn how to play the banjo when I grow up! I imagine baby sing-alongs while I do some fancy finger work on my banjo!

Congratulations, Michelle and Carrie. Please e-mail your contact info to


New sponsor The Devyn Bag joins us this month, a fantastic carry-all option for multi tasking moms. Featured in Pregnancy Magazine and used by many moms on the go, The Devyn Bag is a three-in-one travel solution: purse, laptop holder and hot/cold insulator. Surprisingly sleek and easy to carry, this bag features multiple pockets, a padded compartment for a laptop and a hidden storage area with ice packs included to keep things cold for up to 12 hours. It’s a fantastic solution for nursing moms on the go (no more storing your breastmilk next to Coworker Bill’s sandwich in the company fridge), working moms who pack a lunch, or stay-at-home moms who don’t want to lug around five different bags. Plus, it’s cute.


Use Code “Kelle” for 10% off your order.


I gotta get my girl to bed.




Leave a Comment
  1. Oh my GOSH! I just checked your blog not even two minutes ago and it was Monday’s post. I started to close my computer and go to bed and refreshed your blog again… and there is a fresh new one with “0” comments!!!! YAY! I’m probably not the first to comment now, but here’s hoping! I’m sure this was an amazing post, but I’ll be honest I haven’t even read it yet! Ok, off to read it and I’ll be back to “really” comment! Ha!

  2. Love lainey’s helmet/ dinosaur hat! Wish they made them for grown ups.

  3. Great song!!!

  4. Omg, are you kidding me with nella’s face in the one where u are pusng her in her new wheels. Priceless. Such a good mama.

  5. Ha! My sisters and I, along with our friend, used to always play House. We called it that, too, and I was always the maid. πŸ˜› Lovely post; I’m digging the peaches and reading outside as well.

  6. I love watching/hearing my girls play “House” just like I did as a child. Now, though, I see me in their words/actions as they play house. I called it House. They call it Family.

  7. My girl loves the lobsters whenever we go to Red Lobster for dinner! She would rather stand there watching them instead of going to the table!! Woooohoooo to fresh peaches. On Friday we are going out to our Amish community for some fresh fruit! Your picture of that peach made me twice as excited!!

  8. Love Chick-fil-a. Like a lot. Yay for blue skies finally!

  9. LOVE Nella’s new wheels! Nana bought my 2nd daughter Brianna a similar ride-on for Christmas this past year and we’ve really enjoyed using it this spring/summer so far… except for when purposely drops one foot out the side and lets her shoe drag on the ground. Watch out for that if Nella girl is wearing cute shoes you’d prefer not to destroy. πŸ˜‰

    Aren’t the fish/lobster tanks at grocery stores awesome? My daughter signed “fish” for the first time at our neighbourhood store. I felt like a bit of a ridiculous sap wiping tears from my eyes standing at the seafood counter while my little peanut was signing away, squealing with delight. Ohhhh motherhood! πŸ˜‰

  10. Oh forgot to add, my best friend Jackie and I used to have a variation of House- called Posh Ladies. We pretended we were posh mothers, living in a building with elevators (would step into the wardrobe and slide the door shut!), and talked about our “kids” in British accents. Haha!

  11. Oh and PS – I grew up calling it House also. :)

  12. Loved it! “Shmear” IS a fabulous word… I would definitely agree! Love those blue skies! Looks like little Lainey is taking after Momma… she’s seeing beauty all around her with wanting to take the camera along! :) And DANG I don’t think I would look that cute running behind my baby pushing them in a car! Your hair even looks good mid-air! Again loved this post! Sweet dreams, Nella! :)

  13. LOL!!! “Until I attempt to take Nella down the twirly slide and get stuck in the middle of the S-curve. And my skirt is riding up and there’s bare skin skidding on plastic and Nella’s crying and kids are rudely yelling “GO” and my body is going nowhere.”

    You make me laugh!

  14. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? A PINKALICIOUS BIKE!? Where ever did you get that? My 6 year old is beyond obsessed with Pinkalicious! I have a feeling if she saw that the Disney Princess bike we bought her last year would be history! And I played “house” as a child, although my girls call it playing “family.’ now. And I used to work at Einstein Bagels when I was 16. I was so immature…I laughed every time I asked, “would you like that with SCHMEAR?” Bahaha, still laughing….you’d think I said a dirty word.

  15. This is funny we have the alligator style hat but in the pig version and we just read Charlie the Ranch Dog. Did you know that you can listen to Ree read Charlie the Ranch Dog on the Barnes & Noble site? Check it out it’s fun.

  16. Playing “house” is the best! I still play with my kiddos (: Your babies are beautiful! Thanks for sharing a little peice of your life with us!

  17. They are both gorgeous!! I also almost died laughing reading your description of you sliding! Soooo freaking hilarious!

  18. We have that red car! My son Ethan lovvvvves it! :) We also recently got the Red Flyer wagon with a canopy and it is a huge hit with the toddlers in the neighborhood.

  19. I am so in love with Nella and the pic of her going super fast int he BEST picture ever!!! She is WONDERFUL!!!

  20. I have ELEVEN brothers and sisters, and when we were young we always played House. I catch my younger siblings, ages 4 and 7, prancing around the house in my mothers high heels and chatting about what they shall have for desert. When I was young, it was my grandmothers heels. She would set us up a tea party and invite the neighborhood girls. She even offered to “babysit” our dolls while we sipped lemonade from plastic cups. My childhood just wouldn’t be the same without House.

    Also, we have the same ride-on and my Kadertot simply adores it. He starts jumping and giggling the moment it exits the shed.

    Your girls are so beautiful :)

  21. Our SeaWorld is PetSmart. My son LOVES to go look at the fish, we have spent hours there…. for free!

  22. The lobster’s had me laughing! Our 4 year old Caleb calls the ones at Giant Eagle ‘his friends’ A last minute trip the night before Independence day presented an empty tank.(dinner guests I suppose πŸ˜‰
    ‘Hey,Mom! My friends are all gone! Do you think they left to see fireworks?’

    Maybe next time I’ll let him take his camera :)

  23. Playing House was my favorite game as a child. I still don’t feel like the real deal is real yet, even though I have the hubby, house, pets and child. Maybe it’s real when the mom jeans creep into my wardrobe. Speaking of, where do you shop for your clothes Kelle? You always have the cutest outfits. Love your blog, keep up the good work!

  24. Playing HOUSE freaking rocked as a kid!! My three friends and I would play that for hours. Packing our “kids” around our town on our big-wheels. I do have to say that playing house now is so much better than anything I could have ever dreamed of as a kid.

  25. These photos of your beautiful girls are amazing!!

  26. I bet you’d like “Mutts” comic strip; Mooch likes to say “schnacky”. I remember when Zach was a little guy bout Lainey’s age; he thought lobsters were called “monsters”! πŸ˜‰ Love your snaps too. ♥

  27. Love House. MICAELA – I think that’s great, calling it FAMILY. Love the lobsters! Love from the Blog Mama~

  28. Nella looks so different with the two ponies and without her bangs being pulled to the side.

  29. I remember playing “House”!
    I also remember climbing trees…

    Happy memories!

  30. Can I just say that I l-o-v-e the fact that you take your camera to the grocery store?!?! I need to learn to feel comfortable making my 7D an extension of my body and not care if people stare and wonder if I’m a tourist in my hometown…your every day pictures continue to inspire me.

  31. i LOVE that photo of you pushing nella crazy fast!! too much cuteness!!

    that is funny that lainey brings her camera to the grocery store to take pictures of the lobster–i wonder where she learns that from :)

    have a great night!

  32. cora has a sweet little friend that she plays house with … all. the. time.
    i love that he (yes! he!) plays it with her. and they are sweet and lovely and have oodles of babies. and they act like life is crazy busy with all those babies!
    and then it often ends with someone turning into a superhero. but still.

  33. When I played house I always had to give my kids shots. Now I’m grown and have a little boy who needs nightly shots. Strange how sometimes your childhood self seems to have known what’s to come.

  34. That lobster thing seriously cracked me up. I’ve always wanted to call PETA or something when I see those. Maybe that was just because the funky smell weirds meout. But when it’s like a real field trip, now that is an event! I’d never seen it in that light. SO maybe now when I see them, I won’t be disgusted. In fact, maybe I’ll take some of my own pictures. Thanks, Lainey! Marissa

  35. The picture of you pushing Nella in her new toy is absolutely priceless! If that look on her face doesn’t mean pure JOY, I don’t know what does. :)

  36. Oh yeah, we played “HOUSE” all right. Hours of it, and we were Avon representatives who worked at home. We’d take orders by fake phone and hoist cabbage patch babies on hips…or where hips would later be anyway. As for me, it wasn’t all fantasy. I was all about having a really bad baby that cried all the time….which kind of came true with my first born!

  37. You are cooler than cool :) Thanks for inspiring me!!! There are moments when I SERIOUSLY think… WWKD???? :) We are coming to Naples in August – our favorite family vacation. This will be our 6th visit in 7 years. It is h e a v e n on earth… I’m so jealous that you get to live there all of the time. Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog. You are SO kind. Is it totally weird that it made my day???? Hee Hee. Have a happy one!!!! Heather

  38. That first paragraph totally has me grinning ear to ear. House? Yep, we played it. I had brothers so I always got to be the Mom, too :) And yes, I definitely have the “woah, I *am* the Mom” moments. Usually when I am up to my elbows in dirty dishes or diapers but it still makes me giggle :)

  39. I definitely played “house” and I called it that too. My kids play it all the time but they always say that they are playing “people”…too funny!

    Oh and we LOVE the Push Buggy…great toy! And yes, crazy fast is the only speed for my kiddos too!

  40. #420, huh? Hmmmm…….

  41. We played House too … and my littlest little does now as well — the only thing is it makes me cringe because their “House” is injected with what they hear from me … OUCH.

    Too much negativity, hollering at each other and hands on the hips.

    I gotta work on that. For real.

  42. Love it.
    And Nella’s face in the Ride-On picture is PRICELESS!!
    You are an inspiration, Kelle :) I want to be a mom like you some day. For now, I’m a 20-something just graduated college gal working as a nanny. I’ve seen that moms like you are rare!


  43. What a great photo of you running along with Nella and the ride on! Who took that one?

  44. I too loved playing house as a kid! And playing school teacher- I would set up a whole classroom for my younger siblings… complete w/a pencil cup and I would wear a pair of my mom’s glasses with the lenses popped out of them. Oh to be young again. I can’t believe I am playing house for real now either! Whenever I get into my ‘soccer mom SUV’ I am reminded that I have arrived to adulthood. So crazy.

    Loved your story about getting stuck on the the Chick-fil-a slide -seriously your writing makes me laugh all the time! The gorilla gone bad was hilarious!

    Kelle- What kind of camera does little Lainey have?? I am wanting to get one for my little bug. Is it a real working children’s digital?

  45. I gotta say: Lainey’s too cute on her bike!!!! My gosh :-)
    I love the photos, love the mood in the post.

    I’m starting, ever so slowly, to finally feel that I’m actually on vacation….!

  46. i had a moment bast night of, “wow, i’m mom, and in charge of this little person.” love the shot of you pushing nella!!

  47. I love that Brandi Carlisle song. This post made me remember my sister and me playing house and Barbies. So long ago yet just a memory away. Nella looks like she’s having the time of her life in that wild ride you’re giving her.

  48. Haha…that’s exactly how I played house (: And “fast” is always the best speed!

  49. I always adore your beautiful pix and lovely words! My girls ( and two nieces down the lane) always play POOR. They just walk around our woods looking sad. They love it. I was sick of it and told them they couldn’t play anymore. I then told them about Swiss family Robinson, and and gave each girl a job…hunter for food ( ummmm… Vegetarian), food prep, cook and home maker. They love it. It’s so much nicer to see them beating old branches apart than wandering aimlessly looking sad and hungry! Hahaha!

  50. Oh, I SO played “House” growing up. And maybe I was a bit of a bully and always made my neighbor friend be the Dad. And maybe I dressed my little brother up as a girl on more than one occasion. And maybe I also used to make that same neighbor girl be Tonya Harding to my Nancy Kerrigan when we ice skated in the backyard in the winter. I should call her and apologize…

  51. Love your shoes in the pic with the bag. I always love your posts and the way you enjoy life.

  52. Dinosaur hats, cherries on baby shoes, peaches, lobsters, books, playing House, ballet…what a fantastic post. I have been a reader for over a year and we are planning to start a family of our own. The more I read, the more I am ready and the more I would be ok with 2 girls. Your babies melt me all the way from FL :)

    Happy Day~CC

  53. For the entire first year after I had my first baby I was in disbelief. I felt like I was playing house. Now my baby is 11 and she’s almost as tall as me. She wears my clothes and it’s just surreal. Today we move. We pull out of the drive…so much emotion. Changing our path and their path forever in one fell swoop. Keep reminding myself to just breath.

  54. In the midst of getting ready for our farm party this weekend to celebrate my now 2 and 5 year old boys…crossed my fingers when I woke up this morning there would be some good old fashioned Kelle inspiration and you did not disappoint! My 2 year old saw Nella’s beautiful face and said MY FWEND! Thank you for all you share with us MY FWEND! And yep, played house, the prized role was always whoever got to be the Momma! And it is still is!

  55. i have wanted a quilt like yours ever since you debuted it last year in pics. this week, i will get one.

    i also pine for a trip to target, and this post was just what i needed. we don’t have one around us and have to drive 45 (!) minutes to get to one, so today is the day. i am showering right now and making our way there! thanks for the inspiration and awesome score on the new wheels!

  56. Lauren, I am dying laughing at your girls playing POOR and walking in the woods all sad. The visual is killer.
    Farmgirl, left you a comment three times on your blog but Blogger’s being all grumpy old troll and won’t let me pass. Girl, you pack up those memories and take them with you. I’ve thought so many times how emotional it would be to leave our home, even if we were leaving to move into our dream home. You will make new memories and I’m sure that new house is just dying for some good dents in the walls with stories. xoxo

  57. I love all your pictures. And it made me smile that the book Lainey was reading was by the woman in another blog I read. (o: It’s a small world after all.

  58. Playing “house” was my favorite! My girls have now started playing and it’s very hard for me to resist the urge to jump in instead of just observing them. I’m sure if I did join them, I’d be doing it wrong anyway. πŸ˜‰

    Love Nella’s new wheels! My Stella would love that!

  59. “House” was second only to “school”. I was always the teacher, of course. Then I played both for real.
    Kelle, you are digging up so many priceless memories….I’m on sensory overload!

  60. I played house with my best friend next door. My 6 year old does this now too and I have heard the word “honey” murmured sometimes. Sweet. :)

  61. Wow, my two sisters and I always played house too and called it that. I never really thought about it though, until your post. What a funny thing that we were content to just play “house”. We took our purses to go to the store too…but we had a store. We would save old boxes and cans from mom’s kitchen and put them on tables and shop like we were at the grocery store. It made a huge mess but we loved every second of it. I hope my kids have memories of games they played like “house”, someday.

  62. Oh, we played House for HOURS. Always made my brother be the “dad” and he HATED it. We had a trunk of dress up clothes.
    We also played School, Grocery Store, and Officer/Prisoner using my mom’s shower as the jail! πŸ˜‰ Oh fun times. I hope that my children use imaginary play in the future and not just sit on IPODS/video games/computers!
    You have inspired me to take my camera more places and not be embarrassed if people think I’m weird with the big ‘ol bulky thing. These are moments frozen in time, people!! Grocery store, Wal Mart, here we come…
    Sweet Serendipity

  63. Nella looks just like you in the picture on the right of Lainey pushing her. And if those push/ride on toys don’t go “crazy fast” what’s the point really? :)

    My daughter has a cat hat similar to Lainey’s dinosaur hat. (From Michael’s) It cracks me up so bad when she wears it.

    Your pictures are beautiful all the time.

  64. ,,,are you kidding? play house?,,,of course!,,,but not with an imaginary purse, i donned the real thing and my room was my “house” and all who entered had to ring the bell (that sat outside my closed bedroom door) before entering,,,and YES “honey” was always referred to for “him” and i would pucker up my lips and close my eyes and *kiss* my husband good-bye as he walked out the door on his way to work, but not really a husband at all rather an imaginary husband that my small child imagination dreamed of,,,house and school were constant when i was growing up and they remain constant today even when there is just “him ‘n her”,,,

    ,,,the photo of you pushing nella “crazy fast” makes me smile,,,look at her!, she has two hands on the wheel and a big ‘ol wide-open smile upon her face!,,,she’s so stinkin’ adorable! i could play “house” with her all day!,,,

  65. OH it made me laugh. I cannot tell you how many times the twins and Jazzy when she was younger too have asked to go see the Lobsters at the “SuperStore” which is the grocery store which houses the magical draw of the Lobsters.. The last time we were here the man behind the counter even took one out to show the girls up close and you would have thought they were getting to swim with Flipper or something!

    A great lesson to be learned!

  66. I used to play house! It was one of my favorite games growing up..and when I learned to make ramen noodles, “restaurant” was born.

  67. My Lainie has that car, too, but the pink one. She loves it! :) My husband likes to push her in it while he Rollerblades. (Yes, people still rollerblade… or at least my husband does!)

    Love your blog!

    BRH in CT

  68. 1 amazing bag on its way. Perfect timing. I am returning to work 1 day a week shortly and will need to pump and store milk. Therefore I NEED this bag.
    (practicing the justification speech to hubby)

  69. House! God how I love to play house. My neighbor and i would take towles and clothes pins and pin them to the porch railing to make our “house” and school was another big one.

    I love the baby carrier attached to the back of Lainey’s bike. I wish I would of had one when I was little. :)


  70. Gonna check Target clearance for that ride on. My girl would love it!

  71. My brother and I used to love going to Meijer with my mom just so we could go see the lobsters.

    I used to play house too. I wouldn’t leave to go to the store until I had a grocery list written out and ready for shopping!

  72. ahh! I so remember staring at the live lobsters at the grocery store. It was the coolest thing in the world!

  73. Every post is a joy. Love your blog.


  74. I LOVE the picture of you pushing Nella crazy fast!! The expression on her face is priceless!! I love reading your blog! you are such an inspiration. And you have a beautiful family <3

  75. My kids love, love, love the “lobster show” at our grocery store, too! Every time we are in there they beg to see the lobsters! I love how you capture these moments and share them with all of us.

  76. Playing house was definitely part of my childhood! I remember hanging blankets down from the top bunk of my brothers’ bunk bed and pretending our house was the bottom bunk :) I would be ‘married’ to one brother and my sister would be ‘married’ to our other brother. We were the Cowboys and my sister and brother were the Indians :) Fun memories I had forgotten all about that until this post…thanks for the memory reminder :)

    And because I didn’t have time to type my “When I Grow Up” list, here it is…

    1. Live in a log cabin
    2. Win a Tony for my amazing performance on Broadway
    3. Write books
    4. Buy a Winnebago and travel across the country with my entire family..all 8 of my brothers & sisters and their kids, dad, step-mom and grandparents!
    5. Backpack through Europe with my husband and 3 kids
    6. Learn to surf
    7. Learn to play guitar
    8. Cook really well and have dinner parties

    Angie from Ohio

    P.S. I LOVE the smile on Nella’s face in the picture where you are pushing her really fast on her new bike! ADORABLE!

  77. I definitely remember playing House. I loved pretending to be all grown up and having it all together, with my purse, my stuffed dog (that was real in my head, of course!) and whatever else I was lugging around as I walked out the pretend door to the fabulous life I had outside of House. While my man made dinner.

    Ahhhh…. House.

    Lainey’s hat is awesome!

  78. Playing house was a favorite past time for my sister & me during the summers! We’d line up lawn chairs in the back yard & pretend it was our mini van…load up our dolls, and head out! LOL!
    I miss those days, but love them for real with my boys :)
    Our weekly summer rituals include $1 movie days on Tuesday or Wednesday & free bowling on Thursday!
    I love that bag (and your sandals!)…would be a great teacher bag for me during the week when I start back in August…not looking forward to it, but it might get me motivated?

  79. I remember playing house with my sister. I’d even make houses out of fallen leaves in the yard. Just the outline of course but we’d have a big square house with rooms, door openings, and hallways. It’d look like a blueprint when it was done. We’d also play store where we’d set up a cash register and pretend to check it out. Maybe in my other life I was a cashier because I loved it then and I still love using the self checkouts at Walmart.

    The picture of you pushing Nella on her new ride on toy is priceless. Her smile is so big, you can almost hear her laughter.

  80. Loved playing “house” and “school” as a kid. Love lobster. Love Ree Drummond. Love crazy fast. Love peaches (just got a new recipe that involves peaches & cream cheese–I’ll let u know how it is). Love tree climbers & blue skies. Lovely. xo

  81. Love the pics of Lainey in the tree! It looks like she’s sitting in a Baby Bjorn! Happy Thursday!

  82. House and Barbies owned my childhood. House converted on occasion to “Daycare” to make better use of the dozens of babydolls in our midst. Loved it! It continually kept my mind on the goal of being a mommy someday.

    And, agreed, the face on Nella zooming down the street is incredible!

  83. So the three blogs I read every day are my sister’s, yours and Ree Drummond’s “The Pioneer Woman” so I love that your kids are reading her children’s book: Charlie the Ranch Dog!
    btw, you might like my sister’s blog:

    Have a beautiful day!

  84. Yes! My sisters and I played house also. Must have been a girl thing, because I asked my husband if he played house and he gave me a look like I was crazy. We also played Store. Love this post and the photos as always.

  85. The picture of little Lainey taking a picture of the tank at the grocery store–oh my! That was delightful. I can just imagine my boys doing something exactly like that!

  86. Just don’t tell them what happens to those lobster! My mom waited tables at Red Lobster when I was a child and I loved the lobster tank! Until I found out where they went after the tank and I was horrified! πŸ˜‰

  87. Playing house? Yes, I did. In fact it was basically a carrer for me when I was 12, 13, and 14. (I am 17 now :) My friend and I had an entire “house” set up in one of the rooms of her house. And no one else was allowed in unless they were considered “guests” We played every afternoon as soon as our school work was done, and basically until dinner. We had 4 real infant car seats, 2 convertible ones, and 4 strollers (all from flea markets) we also had about 20 baby dolls, and zillions of real baby clothes. We were serious “house” players.

    I now am joyfully awaiting the day when I can have one of the whoa moments too.

    P.s. I love that picture of Nella in the striped vest. Her hair is getting so long!

  88. AHH! LOVE the “Shmear” We have an Einsteins on post here and it is YUMMO! Nella’s hair is getting long!! She is sweet with her little piggy tails.

    Lainey, and that helmet… :) NICE. My firstborn loved the lobster tanks in the grocery store as well. Love it.

    My cousin & I played house… we were pretending we were rich ladies, with fancy clothes, and we held up our pinky fingers when we would drink our tea. BAHAHA!!

  89. I know I’ve told you before, and it has nothing to do with this post, but my favorite thing you’ve said is that in order to really love on someone, you should super love on their kids. I’ve really taken that to heart. Thank you. Also, I’ve been really wanting to hear your love story with Brett. Have you already posted it? I’d love to read it!

  90. Would love to know where you got your shoes from in the picture of you holding the bag. LOVE them. And LOVE your blog :)

  91. i totally played house all the time… just house. :) my sister used to get mad because playing barbies was nothing out of the ordinary of playing house other than we weren’t the people, the barbies were. i guess she wanted them to have more adventurous lives and do crazy things. i’m still dreaming about the day it becomes reality for me :)
    i love, love your blog and reading stories about your life… i feel like we would be great friends

  92. I guess every little girl played “house” growing up-my sister and I had a whole daycare/house with our baby dolls. So many good memories!!

  93. ok that picture of you pushing Nella really fast and that huge smile on her face just made my day!!!

  94. Oh I always played house growing up. I had about 10 different babies that I would trade between being their mother. But I had one set of twin babies, Maddie and Andy and they could really sit up. Plus I could carry two babies on my hips and they wouldn’t flop around like the cloth body babies. I did not discriminate at night though, I would kiss each baby good night and whisper to each of them that they were my favorite so they’d feel special. I think every moment of everyday growing up was me playing house.

  95. I love Lainey’s dino helmet!
    House, I used to play house, and school, and restaurant, and I used to pretend I was an orphan. My son likes to pretend to go to the store for us and bring us back “yummies”
    I also love saying the word “schmear”.

  96. Okay I have to tell you that I LOVE the picture of you pushing Nella…you both look so genuinely happy that it just brought a smile to my face. And I also loved the picture of Nella and Lainey reading books together. Reading is my favorite down time activity and since the summer started me and Jeremiah (my 5 yo son) have been taking weekly library trips…It makes me happy he has a love for reading and a passion for books just like me. So, it makes my day to see other children enjoying books.

    And yes I played house and I remember it being a blast.

  97. I just want to say I love reading your blog. And yes I did play “house” quite a I have a bit, but we also played “school” a lot.

    But, I have a son who is 17 mo. and whenever I am reading and he sees a picture of Nella he gets SO excited and then when she was the cover for Mamalode he would just carry the magazine around. It is so cute. If I can catch it on video oneday I wll have to share!

    Hope all is well and thanks for the great reads!


  98. By the look on Nella’s face, Crazy Fast Speed looks fun!!!!!!

  99. i love love love Nella’s sweet little happy face going crazy fast on the ride on toy! that little girl just makes my heart smile!♥

  100. i used to LOVE playing house with my little sister.with our “cabbage patch” dolls and “my child” was my favorite!! and fyi i still say i was the first to debut credit cards with your picture on it…even if it was a crappy self portrait drawing done construction paper im taking credit πŸ˜‰

  101. My friends and I played “House” and also M.A.S.H. – do you remember that game? Mansion, apartment, shack, house…and you pick your husbands, cars, # of kids and so on…it was an endless supply of entertainment!

    Love that photo of Miss N whizzing by on her new wheels – we had the same ride-on for our middle one and he loved it!

  102. Kelle,

    I LoVed to play HOUSE when I was growing up. And this is really dorky…but I played with my younger brother and sister. I was the mom, “Johnny” was the “dad” and Joy was our baby.

    The funniest part…we were a “traveling” family. We had this giant red Radio Flyer wagon with wooden sides (it came as a gift with the giant wooden-sided station wagon my parents had bought!). We would load up baby clothes, blankets, kitchen items on top of my sister and pull her around in our “giant” ranch house basement. My brother wanted to be a truck driver when he grew up, so that wagon was our 18-wheeler!

    BTW…Johnny grew up to become an automotive technician for BMW…still doing what he loves…working on cars and trucks! πŸ˜‰

    Have a happy Thursday!

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  104. Loving your summer posts more and more each entry!! Your playing house memory reminds me of how much my boys love to “play school”. My favourite memory was when my 9 year old assigned himself the role of the teacher (which he always does…probably to avoid the “homework” assignments lol) and during the planned “recess” time, he walked around our backyard with his orange winter vest on and drank from a coffee mug supervising me and my younger boy as we played “recess”…love it!!!

    And, (because I didn’t comment on your last post…computer malfunction the last few days) when I grow up I want to be playing the guitar around the camp fire with family and friends, I want to be a great photographer and I want to take any kind of dance lessons my husband would agree to take…oh that would be funny!!
    Thanks for always making us reach deep inside ourselves to search our potential…potential is very “euphoric”…loved your post on “When I Grow Up” I SO related to it!!
    P.S Your photography is rich with beauty and love!! Each photo comes to life!! You are very talented!!

    Happy days to you

  105. Charlie the Ranch Dog is my niece’s favorite book too! I love Ree!

  106. Oh.. the years of playing House in my playhouse out back. My poor mother lost so many dishes into that playhouse and never knew where they went. Even though I don’t have little ones yet, I still feel like I am ‘playing House’ with my new husband and we laugh at how grown up we are, even though we don’t feel it. I often wonder if I will ever REALLY feel like a grown-up.

    Thank you for bringing up such good memories and for the lovely words and pictures. Your posts always brighten my day :)

  107. With my two boys (2 & 4) a trip to our local grocery store is never complete without a tour of the cake display counter and a trip to the lobster tank. It’s great how kids put a fun twist on otherwise ordinary tasks.

  108. Hi Kelle! I anxiously check your blog hoping for a new post… it is so refreshing. I love your photos and having 2 littles now I desperately want to take better photos of my kiddos. Yours are inspiring and motivate me to get better with my camera. I took the training wheels away and am only allowing myself to shoot in manual and went out and bought a 50 mm lense too. I’m anxiously awaiting your photo tutorials if that is still on your agenda – as if you don’t have enough going on! Thanks for sharing little bits of your life… so fun to read what’s next!

  109. We just listened to that same book on Barnes and Noble story time online. The author is reading it. my 3 year old little man laughed so hard!

  110. My daughter loves the lobster tank at the store! It’s our own personal aquarium!

  111. Love the lobster pics! I totally remember looking at those in grocery stores when I was little. I think I wanted one as a pet. HA!

  112. we played house non stop. It was super cool because my grandmother had a huge house with an “apartment” upstairs that no one lived in. The wholething was our play house!!

  113. darn, i missed the last post in the midst of moving! yay for me! but when i grow up, well I don’t want to grow up (ask my husband). That means getting older and being mature and i like throwing mud and making faces at my kids when they are being serious. I want to stay young like my dad did/is. He still squeezes the shampoo bottle in our face when we go to the grocery with him. We still play football in the papertowel isle. i’m 34 and he’s 57. It’s wonderful.

  114. She will love the push car! Our daughter 2 months younger than Nella and loves hers. She was in the hospital for 3 weeks earlier this year(her appexdix ruptured and needed surgery) and this is one of the toys they had. We went around the nurses station more times than I could count so we had to buy her one when she came home. Now we take it around the block, around the house and even to the store!

  115. House…That brings back so many memories…I loved to play house when I was little but I have to agree, Now that I have a home filled with my three sons, it is so much better than I could have dreamed it would be. I love being a mom and a wife…
    My boys have that same car. It has been a lifesaver… It definitely has seen its share of miles.

  116. Kelle,

    Your place looks like so much fun!!!!!!! Those babies of yours could not, it is simply not possible, be cuter!

  117. Yes, we also played House and called it called it such. Did you play Office too? We used my Mom old typewrite and steno pads.

  118. Just giving you a bit more blog love. I get so excited when I see a new post. I love starting my day off here… it reminds me what is really important before I get started.

    PS do you “pin”?? as in pinterest??

  119. Yes, we played “House” too…. and yes, it was just “House”. I agree, the real thing is pretty amazing! And, your sliding story is pretty funny! haha!

  120. but i bet no ones played house on a stack of 20 suit cases with old pictures. i wish i knew what we did with those. if i remember i think we wrote on the backs what each did.

    we should have played more with having sons…lol.

  121. That picture of Nella on her new ride along is priceless! That looks like SO much fun for her. I’m going to have to remember the grocery store crab/lobster tanks as a fun outing. Kids are amazed by so many things that us adults usually look past. Thank you for sharing your amazing stories. As usual you made me smile and tear up all at the same time. Playing house was great as a kid and now that I’m living it, I enjoy it just as much!! :)

  122. Isn’t it funny how we all just “play house”? It is like playing dress up. I don’t think anyone had to teach us, we just did it. Part of being a woman, I suppose.

  123. Oh, yes…..for sure played “House”. We called it that, but it was more like “Neighbors.” My sister and I would call each other up, “Ring, ring…” We had names, too: Sharon & Barbara. We still call each other that when we talk on the phone…hahaha! My older sister just recently said she had a name as well: Vickie. We must not have invited her over too often. I don’t remember Vickie. Sharon and I would change our babies diapers and smoke our candy cigarettes. LOL!

    Love, Barbara

  124. We played “House”….yes! But we also played “School”, which I really only enjoyed if I was the teacher. Since I had an older sister she was mostly teacher and I had to do a lot of crappy work for her. I don’t think I cared that much because I totally looked up to her and wanted her to like me. Now that I think about it, making her bed TOTALLY isn’t school related at all!

  125. I so miss Einstein’s Bagel and the ‘schmears’ I recently moved and my new city doesn’t have one :/ The hubs and I used to go for brunch on Sundays.

  126. HOUSE- That’s what we called it too! We used to declare before we started:
    “My name is __________, but I LOOK LIKE ________.” Mine combinations varied.
    “My name is Amber, but I LOOK LIKE Aunt Becky from Full House.”
    “My name is Kristy, but I LOOK LIKE Kelly Kapowski.”

    it also worked with fake Husbands.
    “My husband’s name is Jeff, but he LOOKS LIKE Jordan Knight.”

  127. Okay, I finally have to comment. I’ve been reading and admiring your blog for a couple of months. You had a friend named Tisha?! My name’s Tisha. I believe Nella and my Nora are the exact same age, too. Oooo. *shivers down my spine*

  128. My son is 2.5 and we L-O-V-E Charlie the Ranch Dog, we read it at night before bed. Ree is my hero! Her blog got me hooked on blogging and eventually led me to your blog! :)

  129. I love Laney’s hat and that she has a carrier for her baby. My kind of girl. I think
    Nella likes her new ride, so funny.
    Now those lobsters, Laney doesn’t know they will be someone’s dinner, does she.

  130. The pic of Lainey with her camera cracks me up I love that. My youngest daughter is about the same age as Nella and we have gotten so much use out of that car is is unreal. And she loves it most going FAST down a big hill. Great post. Thanks!

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  132. HOUSE! Oh my gosh, the memories! I used to play it all the time with my best friend when I was little. We would strap baby dolls into an old car seat with my friend, as if that was one of the “essentials” to know how to do when being a mom. Know how to strap your kid in a seat — check! πŸ˜‰ Funny as you get older, how you learn there’s SO much more to it than that!

    This post is again, perfect timing. Given that I came into Chloe’s life when she was 5 years old and she had no idea what a “mom” did and well, I was a “first timer”, we sort of just learned together how this dynamic works. Now, almost two years later, we’re like peanut butter and jelly — you can’t have one of us without the other. :)

    And funny enough, just yesterday I was driving home from our speech therapy session and I thought to myself, “Wow, I’m a mom.” One day I’m asking my sister if the pants I’m wearing make me look “mommish”…and the next I’m trying to dress myself to look older and saying to my husband, “I look like a mom, right?”. Hello motherhood, nice to meet you!

  133. Awww – we called my daughter Mowgli when I was pregnant :)

  134. When I grow up I want to have a blog like yours, and have patience like you. You are such an inspirational mother. You have also made me aware of downs syndrome which I did not know much about before. Thank you for teaching us new things and giving us a blog to read that I’m sure puts a smile on every readers face!

  135. how FUNNY with the lobsters!! As soon as we get to the grocery store that is the FIRST thing the kids insist we must go see :)

  136. Aw man, we played house all day long, lol. I always hated it when I had to be the Dad. All he ever did was stand around stiffly and be gruff. Being the mom rocked! We got to ‘cook’ and give ‘medecine’. ROFL. Thank you for taking me back for a minute! :)

  137. The pictures in this post are incredible. And I think you are an amazing mama. You can tell the girls are sooooo happy.

  138. kelli, i loveddddddddd the girls hair in these photos! nellas little piggy tails- so sweet and lainey’s sound of music braids! too great~

  139. the pic of you pushing nella is killer! i love lainey’s old fashioned braid over the head trick! you must post a tutorial on how to do that! and the pic of lainey taking pics just like mom, priceless.

    i have recently connected with a mom i used to babysit for on facebook. i used to dream i was like her with my house and babies! i know how you feel. the real thing is just as magical as playing!

  140. I loved playing house as a kid!!! I have memories of walking over to a friend’s house with my dolls (the life-size child kind who would play the children in the house) stuffed in a black garbage bag – because I was embarrassed to be carrying dolls through the street at 12 years old. And now my daughter plays with those same dolls (at 3.5 years old).

  141. Played House all the time.

    Played School too.

    Thanks for the laugh, the cry and the vision tonight.

    Crazy fast is so much fun. And they SHOULD sell tickets to the lobster show. My kids would buy a ton!

  142. I played House. and School. I also played Peach Pit, bc I was obsessed with 90210 at a young age, and I pretended to make out with Jason Preistly, but it was really just a tree. Ha! Nella’s hair is getting sooo long! Adorable! I can’t wait until my Brynn is old enough for ballet!

  143. OMG don’t get me started on House…our all-time favorite and I was heartbroken when it was decided we were “too old” to play House anymore. Thanks for heat memory flashbacks!
    And the red buggy? Um, in our top 5 kid purchases, beloved by all 3 of our kids- thing is like crack to kids, so watch yourself bringing that thing to parks, kids swarm that red plastic ride. Enjoy your buggy!

  144. My brother and I loved going to the grocery store to look at the lobsters! One time my dad actually bought them for dinner and before cooking them, he took the bands off of their claws and let them loose on the kitchen floor!!! It is one of my prize “dad is the coolest” childhood moments!!

  145. I love the big smile on Nella’s face as she enjoys her new ride-on.
    The photos of Lainey tree-climbing are great.

  146. LOVE that Chickfila story about the slide!! Laughed out loud and had to read it to the hubby. He smirked but apparently mommy humor is different than daddy humor. Whatever. Lainey’s biking picture is great too. From the training wheels to the baby seat with babe to her lizard (?) hat. Just awesome!

  147. LOVE the ‘speed’ photo of your little one with you pushing! Well done – looks like quite a work out πŸ˜‰ !!

  148. My son LOVES his little red car too! I broke down and bought it back in March…we were in Babies R Us and we put him on it and I never saw him smile so big. Its been the best purchase so far! He now is big enough to climb in it himself and looks at me with this like look like “Mom, lets go!” :) So glad Nella is enjoying hers!

  149. OH… forgot… I played “House” All the time too :) Did you have a pretend name too? Mine was “Stacey” and then changed down the road to “Angie”, lol!

  150. Hey, I love your blog and your photos. LOVE. Speaking of things to love, I bet Lainey and Nella would enjoy “The Hound from the Pound” by my brilliant friend Jessica Swaim. The poems are genius and the illustrations by Jill McElmurray are marvelous. As Blue the Basset says, AROOOO.

  151. Oh my goodness! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve visited and all I can say is WOW! How they have grown!

    Nella is absolutely gorgeous! Love her expression while rocking her new wheels πŸ˜‰

    And Lainey…that face makes me smile!

  152. I totally played ‘house’ growing up. It’s one of those things my sister and I could play for hours, then pick up the next day exactly where we left off. Loved it.

    And I know what you mean about some moments that make you feel like you’ve arrived. And I love that it’s house with two real babies. Yet… I don’t remember teething, spit up, blow-outs, or tantrums when playing before!

  153. I miss listening to your playlist…the songs don’t load for me in Canada – something about licensing restrictions…it makes me sad. Love the Devyn bag…it looks great!

  154. My baby girl got shots today as well. She only cried for a minute. I cuddled her close, and she instantly quit crying knowing that mama would protect her. Hard to see them cry like that, but so rewarding to watch as your children trust you wholeheartedly and unconditionally.

  155. I used to play house with all my little friends….someone always had to be the daddy though coming home from work with a briefcase. Ah the memories….I can’t wait to have my own real “house” to play.

  156. Love the excitement of the ‘seaworld’ trips :) And Lainey photographing them…trying to capture the maggic & fun of the visit :) It’s funny what kids notice & how their amazing brains & imaginations work! Love it!

  157. The picture of you pushing Nella at lightning speed and that glorious smile on her face is so close to my heart. My own sweet girl loves to go fast. Every time we leave a store with her in the cart, I can see the hint of anticipation in her face and I know it’s time to run like the wind!

  158. Oh yeah, playing “house” was so much fun! We also played “school” and “library” and when we were in Wheaton, “pioneers” with our neighbors. Fun memories!!

  159. My kids STILL love the lobster tank at the grocery store. And they’re 10, 11 & 14!!

  160. I think one of my favorite memories when I was young was watching the live lobster tanks as well at our local grocery store, Howards.

  161. I just had to say about the picture of your girls in the shopping cart, the look on Nella’s face is awesome!!! I love the “nom nom, good cookie” face!!! My girl has perfected it, lol. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!!


  162. Hi, Kelle! I love your blog and your photos. I thought the slide story was funny, too, but just had to write in a friendly word of caution: many infants and toddlers suffer a broken leg when going down playground slides on the lap of a parent or older sibling. It seems that the sole of a little shoe can get caught on the slide alongside mom’s leg while the twosome continues down the slide, causing a fracture.

    I’ve seen that little Nella is often barefoot, so maybe no such advice was needed in this instance, but this recently happened to a dear friend, and I just thought maybe I might help someone else avoid the same situation.

  163. My girls think the lobster case is the coolest thing EVER, too. We spend several minutes there any time we pass through that part of the store.

    Wobstews are cool.

  164. I absolutely adore your blog. Your perspective is so fresh and genuine…never pessimistic or jaded, but realistic and hopeful.

    I’m getting ready to take the Bar Exam (test after graduating law school that allows me to actually practice law) on Monday. It’s a grueling 18 hour test over 3 days. The examiners try everything they can to shake your confidence and make you feel dumb. Study as much as you want, but you will never know all of the answers.

    Any advice on keeping confidence, good vibes, and basically just resisting the urge to fall into a weeping ball of tears in the fetal position on the floor? You always seem to know how to put in all in perspective, pull it together, and go forward.

  165. I love that little car for Nella – I had one just like it and all 4 of my boys loved it! The best is playing “roller coaster” with it. Find a hilly driveway, start them up at the top and run to the bottom to catch them. They wanted to do that over and over again.

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