straw, taters & hay…and a very happy new year to you.

I know my last post said something about me learning to stop disclaiming things this year. But listen. I have to give a disclaimer.

Cue disclaimer.

The following post must be read with the understanding that I am high on snow fumes, family, views of chalets and red holly contrasting crisp white snow drifts. If a reindeer married a unicorn, their love child would be this post. That is all. I’m going to proceed now.

Wait. One more thing. I have to set the present scene: I’m in a chalet-looking McDonalds in the heart of Gaylord, MI (the only place with cell phone service or WiFi around here). I’m at “the bar,” if you can call it that in McDonalds–a formica counter with a swivel chair. And, you bet, I am swiveling my heart out. There’s a hot cherry pie next to me. And snow from the window’s view. And Louis Armstrong is belting a Christmas carol because these northern Michigan people know how to do it right–it’s still Christmas here.

On the way into Gaylord, we spotted about 352 picturesque barns, countless fields of sheep and cows and horses, and somewhere in the middle of it all, a big sign that said “Straw, Taters and Hay.” Which is all I needed to see to have a Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday and big fat lovely New Year all in one.

Which reminds me…Happy New Year.

A trip down Enjoying the Small Things Memory Lane of headers this year.

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******

Back to right now.

Oh, I am happy. We are in the middle of nowhere, there is snow, there is a cottage with a wood stove and quilts, and there are two happy girls experiencing things for the first time.

Like building a snowman.

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Or trudging out in the snow early in the morning for a walk on a frozen lake.

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It was hauntingly beautiful–white as far as you could see, and silent except for the wet crunch of boots to snow and the contant scratching of the toboggan as it slid across the ice.

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Last night, we got to see my mom and George (visiting from NY), my grandma, and a whole slew of cousins before we drove North. Such a nice bonus to our trip.

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Blinged out leopard print cane and bigass ring. My grandma is my hero. One of the most amazing women I know.

Then, while babies slept in the car, we drove three hours North to Lewiston, Michigan and arrived late to a little cottage in the snowy woods.

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Gary’s family built this cottage when he was a little boy. I asked my dad for a hair dryer this morning and he erupted in laughter as he fetched me this still-in-the-box Norelco Shape ‘n Dry from the 70’s.

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Dude, don’t underestimate the power of the Shape ‘n Dry. Needless to say, it shapes. And it dries. It has attachments. And this brilliant feature where it shuts off every 30 seconds to prevent it from overheating. And it smells like burning plastic and smoke when you use it. You only wish you had a Shape ‘n Dry.

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No seriously, this cottage is so the bomb. I want to live here. It is so full of character and history and charm.

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Lainey chose one of the rooms to be her play clinic. My dad and Gary and I all took turns today as patients, sprawled out under quilts and following her instructions for M&M and chocolate chip pills.

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Both girls have adapted beautifully to different temperatures. Lainey asks to play in the snow every half hour, and Nella smiles with rosy cheeks and the reflection of snow in her bright blue eyes.

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Tomorrow, my brother and sister and families arrive. And this sentimental mama wants to cry/laugh/do a unicorn dance every hour, on the hour…because I am happy.

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I intended to go back and talk about my favorite moments from this year. But the past is overshadowed right now by this perfect present.

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More from Michigan soon.

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2012 is going to be grand. I’ve been thinking about resolutions–because that’s just what you do this time of year. I want to find more ways to let the people I love know I appreciate them. I want to let go a little more–of fears, of insecurities, ot the things that hold me back. Wild and free, Baby. Wild and Free.

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Tell me, tell me…what are you going to do this year?

Kiss someone you love at midnight tomorrow. No matter where you are in life, know that new years bring new beginnings. Make it grand.

P.S. Someone turns two pretty soon, and I’m comin’ back to ask you to help us make it matter for a lot people that need it. Be prepared. I’m going to need your help.

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Oh, happy happy new year. Big hugs from a happy girl.

Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Seriously? Number 1?

    Awesome post. Awesome snow… Send some to NC please! Missed my white Christmas!

  2. Amazing. So glad you’re there. Happy new year! X x

  3. Just gotta say love the blog, love the pics, and love how positive your posts make me feel. Michigan gal here (born and raised in Detroit) and I just have to say Lewiston is amazing. We had some great family trips there!

  4. Thank you for being such an inspiration throughout the year! Happy New Year!!

    ❤Jodi from…
    ★★The Clutter-Free Classroom★★
    Helping Teachers Get Organized

  5. Kelle I am so happy you got to go home. Your heart must be full! Wishing your beautiful family a very happy new year!

  6. Beautiful post & pictures..Almost makes me wish for snow here.. There is next to no snow in southern Saskatchewan – seriously, it rained yesterday!
    My New Year’s Resolution is to be the best Mom I can be to my 6 month old daughter this year & show those I love how much I love them (make sense?) :)

  7. These pictures are absolutely breathtaking. Thanks for sharing. Your posts always, always make me smile! :)

  8. LOVE it!! I’m So happy for you to be up here!! I read your blog from northern Michigan and am usually jealous of the beautiful weather you and your family enjoys, BUT there is something magic about Michigan in December!! There is no place I would rather be either. I live on Beaver Island…you should come visit sometime. You have to take a boat or plane from Charlevoix. It is a wonderful place!! Jessica

  9. Your joy is oozing out of this post!

    Two main resolutions this year: be more open/vulnerable and wear more lipstick/girly clothes!

    Happy New Year!

  10. My new years resolution? Be a better me. I just want to keep improving on myself as a wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend. Is that corny? :)

  11. BEAUTIFUL. Looks like a dream

  12. Happy Michiganing!

  13. What a lovely post yet again. Enjoy being with your family and make the most of these precious memories. Happy New Year x

  14. What a beautiful post. That one pic of you and Lainey in the snow…with all your furry warmth. lol oh it looks like pure bliss. Glad you guys are getting to do this. Have a happy new year celebration with your family. LOVE all the snowy pics…we are gonna have to visit the snow in Tahoe soon… Loved the look back through headers too. :) Happy New year!

  15. one of my favorite posts!!! enjoy the snow, family and more family :)

    happy new year!

  16. Now that is a fantastic quilt. Does it belong in the cabin? Or is it from home? Either way, it’s wonderful and cozy. Loving your girls in the snow, and wishing I could kiss my man at midnight tomorrow but alas, he is German and residing in Germany. Next year though, next year. I wholeheartedly believe 2012 will kick ass and I strive to be happy with myself, take a walk everyday, and let my creative spirit fly! Happy New Year to you and yours :)

  17. Sweet Heavens!
    Your joy is infectious…thank you for brightening my day.
    Have been randomly surfing the internets for the last hour, looking for distractions, and came across this little bit of loveliness.
    Thank you!

  18. I’m pretty sure I’m the reindeer unicorn child after reading this post. It made me smile and feel bubbly inside!

    You are GORGEOUS! With absolutely beautiful children! And your happiness makes me happy.

    Thanks for making me realize I need to take a minute to stop and look at all the things I am blessed with and just be happy!

    Happy New Year!

  19. Another MI girl now living elsewhere chiming in to say enjoy your visit! (we used to camp up that way at Otsego Lake) I know how a good dose of family time can fill one up!

  20. “””If a reindeer married a unicorn, their love child would be this post.””” Love it Kelle!!!!!!
    And while you’re at it…add a few snowy lined rainbows, some pixie dust & a few fairies sipping honey dew tea coz you truly are experiencing a magical MAGICAL thing there!! What a beautiful place! Your girls are so lucky to have such an adventurous & life-loving Mumma!

    You’ve also inspired me to get a little more creative with my blog header…as I’ve had the same one for about 18months now….time for a change I say!!!

    May your 2012 be full of love & joy Kelle! Happy New Year!

    I look forward to enjoying those small things with you in the hew year!

    xx

  21. Thank you so much for the retrospective of the 2011 headers! I love them all and mourn the passing of each one even as I enjoy the new one. It’s a little slice of postcard Christmas to see you all in the snow as we bask in the sun on the other side of the world.

    I have one NY resolution to thank you for – take more photos! I have been so inspired by yours. Happy New Year to you and your fanily.

  22. I love the black and white photo of your little girl on tippy toes! ๐Ÿ˜€ *Melt!*

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  24. Enjoy your time there and think about the year later! Or after the girls go down and you have a glass of wine to reflect. Happy New Year to you and yours!

  25. It is just so crazy to me that you’re in Lewiston! I posted on your Instagram photo as well, but my grandparents live in Lewiston and even though we haven’t visited in a couple years (we live in CA) it is near and dear to my heart. Especially the most adorable ice cream shop ever with the plywood animal faces peering over the fence! Seriously love that town. And when you talk about Gaylord I remember driving through there on our way to Mackinac Island (my favorite place ever), and seeing the elk or whatever animal my grandma was trying to show us. :) I hope you’re having a blast!

  26. That looks a beautiful corner of the world. :)

  27. So jealous that you are with that magical love child right now! This year I plan on making a one word goal and each month I will make a specific one to help accomplish that one word. last year my word was focus and every month I challenged myself to focus on something different. Still pondering my word for 2012..

  28. Oh those pictures are amazing. It makes me wish we had snow outside right now. Looks like heaven! Can’t wait to hear what’s up for Nella’s 2nd celebration. Hoping it’s Reece’s Rainbow!!!

    xo

  29. Your pictures make me miss northern michigan. I live in Cadillac, Michigan now, but I used to live further north. We didn’t have any snow here this morning, and we are only getting a little now. Gaylord is one of the best places for snow! My dad works at Walmart there, and always tells me about the feet of snow they have. Looks like your having an amazing time

  30. This post made me tear up! I can just hear the happiness in your voice. I’m from Iowa and I’m always jealous of your Florida pictures especially in the winter. But reading this I can feel how at home you are up north, and darnit your cold snow pictures are just as adorable as your sunny beach pictures. You’re so good at what you do! Enjoy your vacation…looks beautiful!

  31. Is that Latte scurrying around in a jacket too?! That little pup makes me laugh… We have a 200 pound english mastiff and I’m not much for the small dogs but Latte is for sure the exception! Glad you are enjoying your homeland with your girls!!

  32. I just love it! Gorgeous photos ๐Ÿ˜€
    Have à very happy new year, Kelle! Enjoy!!!

  33. This year, I am going to try to stop saying “busy” when people ask how I’ve been. And I am going to try to enjoy every moment-good or bad.

    I love your spirit! It seeps through in your writing and just makes me sooo happy!

  34. I don’t know why but I got emotional at seeing Lainey is in snow with her snowman! It must be so lovely for them to be in that enviroment being that they are children of the sun. Got me thinking how wierd it must be for you when you are in a new place and someone recongnizes you and your family! You hae all these readers, people who are inested in your family and yet you know nothing about them! Anyway, enjoy your happiness. This is your year, my copy of ‘Bloom’ is on pre-order!! I love your writing and I only read 2 blogs. You know the feeling when your monthly issue of your faourite home magazine arrives in the mail? And you just can’t wait for a tea break and a good read? That’s the feeling I get when I see you have a new post! Happy New Year to you all!

  35. Simply precious. Great post and your pics are beautiful as always. My plan for the New Year is to focus more on enjoying the small things. I’m going to “feed the birds” as they say. Enjoy the snow and all the bliss that comes with quiet family time in a far off place.

  36. Simply precious. Great post and your pics are beautiful as always. My plan for the New Year is to focus more on enjoying the small things. I’m going to “feed the birds” as they say. Enjoy the snow and all the bliss that comes with quiet family time in a far off place.

  37. Oh and my new year’s resolutions are to learn how to use my new snazzy camera, take the time to learn how to use my sewing machine I got last year, go to the gym more and lose 10 pounds! I guess just make more time for me as an individual as well as a Mum and to tap into the things that I hae real interest in.

  38. Oh, this post gave me goosebumps! Happy, happy new year, Kelle!

    Cxx

  39. it’s impossible to even read this post sitting down. you just have to join in on the happy dance! :) LOVE!!

  40. Awesome!!! Looks like a blast in a winter wonderland. Love the post!

  41. I love it! So much fun! Happy New Year to you! Hope it is more than you ever imagined it would be.
    I am going to try to read more – A book a month is my goal since really everytime I sit down to read some one starts crying or need me. I want to work out and make sure I am taking time for me too. I want to do more with my kids, give them more experiences. I want to help others – today we sent money we had earned from our Ben Towne foundation bake sale – and got a sweet not back from Ben’s dad – It happens to be the 3 year anniversary of when he died – This day always makes my heart a little sad but I am glad we could give and share a little happiness with them. I am so hopefully that we can make a difference in others lives – we can make things better – even if we are young.
    Happy New Year – can’t wait to help you.

  42. Happy New Year….this past year has been a hard one for me and I am looking forward to new beginnings, a new me, and a new attitude :)

  43. Dangit, Kelle, I can’t cry today, I’m wearing make-up…lol! I love, love, love that you are in Michigan with your family and your other family! The girls are experiencing everything you have wanted them too and loving it, just like you. I can tell by your pictures that it is everything they could’ve imagined and more! Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday and Happy New Years!! Talk about the big finale to a fabulous year! I stopped writting my blog post just now, to read yours…I love it so much.

    Your grandma, we’ll she’s just a rockstar…I love the cane and the ring, I see where you get it from. Just fabulous!!

    This year, I’m going to continue on my journey of being myself and staying healthy. I’m not going to try to diet and not going to try to loose weight….I’m going to be healthy and know in turn the weight will come off naturally. I’m going to be myself and not worry about what other people think. I’m going to embrace my inner beauty and let it shine through by not letting my insecurities get in the way. I’m going to stop beating myself up for not being able to be a stay-at-home-mom and enjoy the moments I do have with Arya and the little things. I’m going to focus more on happiness and worry less about messes. These are the most important things that I want to do. I’m sure there will be more, but I’ll focus on them as they come.

    But before all of the resolutions and New Year celebrations, I’m going to take my Birthday celebration into day 2 and spend a fun filled evening with my family and friends. Tonight, we’re going out for sushi (my fav), then back to the house for some Just Dance 3 and Zumba for the Wii. I’m going to do what I love to do more than anything on this earth….dance, dance, dance….with my baby girl and husband of course! :)

  44. Oh,Kelle, it’s beautiful! And that chair in the cottage is exactly like the rocking chair my mama rocked us in when we were little (except it was green) with the same pattern, skirt and everything. The back support broke and she used an old belt to tie the pad to. We used that chair at our lake house until the early 80’s. I miss it.

    My one word this year is love. Give more of it. Tell more people.
    Happy New Year!

  45. This year I want to listen more and learn more from other people. I want to acquire new talents from my friends and family. On the flip side I also want to share my talents with others. I know a while back you took a stab at cloth diapers or you took a stab at looking into them. We happen to be a cloth diaper family and we LOVE our cloth diapers, if you get a chance check out my recent post about them and if you are so inclined, share with others. http://jamonwilkes.blogspot.com/2011/12/going-cloth-is-easy-and-inexspensive.html

  46. Those snow pictures are awesome! I’ve never been in that much snow! What a great birthday present to you! Happy New Year Kelle!

  47. Welcome to the midwest Kelle! Jealous you have snow, almost none here in MN, the little we did get today is supposed to melt tomorrow. Tear. So happy you were granted such a wonderful birthday gift, can’t wait to see more of your beautiful pics! Have a ball, I know you will!

  48. That picture of Nella sleeping on your dad’s shoulder made me cry. My father died just before my first child’s second birthday. She doesn’t remember him. None of my children know what they have lost, but I do. I’m so very glad your girls have that. It is beauty at its most precious.

  49. How thrilling it must be to watch your girls in the snow. I’m in Northern Ohio with no snow, just wet, wet rain. I am so happy for you to be able to feel so free and alive on this night :) Happy New Year, Kelle.

  50. Those hauntingly serene snow pictures remind me of Robert Frost’s poem – Stopping by Woods on a Snowey Evening.

    I am working on my resolutions – haven’t fully defined them yet though. They center around growing in grace and giving it to others.

  51. You ’bout made me poop my pants again (you have a way of doing that :) when I read that you “drove 3 hours north to Lewiston”…..oh, Michigan that is. Maybe someday you’ll be in Lewiston, Idaho!!!

    So, so, so very happy for you!!!! And LOL….the blow dryer…hahahaha!

    I’ve been thinking today about what I want for this next year (probably right about the same time you typed the question).

    *I want to be better at following through with my good intentions. I always think of nice notes, little gifts, acts of service, a random phone call or text that I want to surprise people with. But I rarely follow through with my plans…maybe partly, but not fully. They would never know, but I do. I want them to know how special they are. I think it’s important to let people know how you feel about them :)

    Happiest of Happy New Years, Kelle!

  52. Kelle- Makes me smile, my family lives in Lewiston Idaho.:) Love it! Resolution? Get my body back to pre baby! Have fun with your fam!

  53. Looks wonderful! I just love your blog. I, too, have been thinking about resolutions. I haven’t nailed them all down yet, but my word for the year is going to be “challenge.” I want to challenge myself everyday to be better, healthier, nicer, etc…
    2011 wasn’t my best year. 2012 is going to be great!
    Love from Cleveland

  54. How far is Gaylord, MIchigan from Port Huron, Michigan? I only ask cause I grew up in Sarnia, Ontario, which borders Port Huron… and I love the parts of Michigan I have seen!

  55. so beautiful, those photos! i wrote my post today from a mcdonald’s and might have dropped the word ‘sentimental’ a time or two myself! happy new year; excited for your book in 2012! xo

  56. It’s wonderful that your little sun babies get have the experience of being snow babies! What a treat for them…snow can be so magical, especially when you don’t get to play in it every day! Looks like you’re having a beautiful post-Christmas/Birthday/almost-New-Year’s time at the cottage.

    My New Year’s resolution is to be the best mama I can be by being more patient, more fun, less fearful, and more healthy. Cheers to a fresh start :)

  57. happy happy new year! i’m not normally a resolution girl but this year i feel like i’m evolving and there are things that need noting – mainly in the areas of “more patience, understanding, and positive thoughts” and more adventuring with my little family. Time to stop thinking and start doing, yeeee hawwww. I’m loving all of your snowy pictures! Oh that picture of mittens drying flooded by brain with memories of growing up. <3

  58. What can I say……You, your family, your posts…..All PRICELESS…..You, young lady, have a beautiful soul.

  59. Such beautiful photos – it’s been a pleasure reading your blog this year.

  60. Happy New Year!! I love that you are in your perfect present!! Let it snow, Let it snow!!

  61. Love these pictures! The cottage looks soooo cozy! I’m so glad we were able to get some good pictures of the boys in the snow last winter – we had no idea we would be leaving it behind (for the most part) to come to NC. While I hated driving an hour in it each way to work, you can never take away the beauty and wonder of it when you’re sitting inside with a cup of cocoa wearing sweats :) enjoy!

  62. I am just speechless over the magic that is this post. every image demands a minute to drink it in. Happy new year Kelle can’t wait to hear about Nella’s birthday plans.

  63. All I can say is…

    “Fill me up o’lord, FILL ME UP”

    A chalet, babies, family and friends…just fill me up!

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    PS. Do you want to be my Holiday Planner?

  64. Being from Minnesota, it’s nice to see someone’s perspective who MISSES snow and cold! Thanks for the reminder of how much fun and what a treasure it really can be.

    Now, I’ve got to go out and break the ice on my sheep’s water bucket and give them some more hay…

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Happy New Year!

  65. Looks amazing! I can see why you miss it there, especially this time of the year! Enjoy girls!

  66. Love this post and all the pictures of the girls enjoying the snow:) We are in southern mi and no snow here just rain. Happy New Year!!

  67. Hi Kelle! I’ve been following your blog for awhile, love it! Pretty sure we could be friends, I like the way you think. I’m in my cottage in South Haven, MI. 42 degrees and raining. Wish someone would send me to Florida please and thank you. I do a gingerbread party for my kids every year that would be perfect for you! Your kids are a great age. I wrote about it on my blog, not as professionally documented as your pics are! Enjoy your time here!

  68. I read often, but comment little. What can I say…Google Reader makes me lazy. But that close up picture of you and Lainey in the snow with your fuzzy hats on is breathtaking.

    As for my 2012…to remember to be thankful for and enjoy what I have: family, happiness, health. Sometimes, in the business that is life, I forget that. And if some other life changing things happen in the middle of it…well that’s great too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Happy Happy New Year

  69. Happy New Year to you and you’re beautiful family!!
    You’re blog has changed my life this year, thankyou SO much for the inspiration and the wonderful posts. The true highlight of my day :)
    Along with of course my two gorgeous people.

    Have a great stay :) x x

  70. I LOVE the photo with “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” on the wall. And seriously, do you ever not look AMAZING in photos??? Even in the snow. Fabulous. You totally rock bangs and I’m thinking about copying you….. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Happy day before day before the NEW YEAR!!!!

  71. So happy for you that you get to spend this time with family in such a majestic setting – and keep with the “still Christmas” trend!

    This year, I am going to: make friends with my sewing machine (instead of letting it collect dust and intimidate me), do one Pinterest craft a month (b/c what is the point of oohing/ahhing/pinning and not following through?), and honor each family member’s birthday in a timely and thoughtful manner (I am astonishingly bad at this). Oh, and because of that awesome scarf I saw in this post, I now feel the urge to knit something too. Basically, this year I am going to single-handedly keep Joann/Michaels in business. And work full time, and raise a child, and be a wife. Happy New Year!

    Can’t wait to see what your New Year brings, but I am sure it will be amazing!

  72. You are just so lovely Kelle. I want more people with large, overflowing hearts like you in my life for 2012. I loved your other post also about missing the brokenheartedness of the early days with Nella. That really resonated with me. It’s the perfect time for growth. Lately I have been teary from being so overwhelmingly thankful for my kids. Vivian is 3 1/2 and doing great. She also has Ds. We have a house in Tahoe and my husband took her skiing for the first time. At first she was not loving it, but she rallied and was laughing all the way down the slope! She continues to make my mama heart well with pride. We really hit the jackpot is how it feels. My son Tommy who will be 2 on 1/16 pushes her along and they are the best of friends, so great. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  73. Saw this on a blog.

    The world according to Michigan. (Fellow Michiganders will chuckle:)

    http://downwithdetroit.spreadshirt.com/the-world-according-to-michigan-A8634463/customize/color/1

  74. how do you do it? how do you go from uber hip and adorable beachwear to amazing and gorgeous snow gear literally over night? if i didn’t love every single one of you so much i would have to slap ya! lol! these pictures are incredible, INCREDIBLE!

  75. Love it! I miss snow. We are stuck in El Paso, TX (thank you Army) and it has been in the 60’s with sunshine. :) Have a beautiful time with your family!! XOXO

  76. Happy New Year Kelle! I love, love, love this post! It is so wonderful to see the look on Poppa’s face when he looks at Nella…sweet adoration. It reminds me of my own gruff father when he looks at my Emme, who also has designer genes. So precious. I have been reading your blog for almost 2 years now and have enjoyed it so much. The words, the photography, everything! Thank you.

  77. I’m an OB nurse and will be spending New Year’s Eve taking care of New Year’s miracles! This coming year I want to love more boldly, spend more time writing, and invest more deeply in the lives around me. Thank you so much for your blog–it inspires me so much!

    Susanna

  78. ~SQUEAL~ I am SO excited for you! And seriously green eyed! We don’t have squat for snow south of Grand Rapids!

    What am I going to do this year? Love BIG TIME! We have 4 huge blessings and we’re adopting 2 more from China and we can’t WAIT to bring them home!

  79. I want to send a card to Nella (would you email me your address? patton_ellen@hotmail.com). Happy New Year!

  80. Wild and Free – Sounds GREAT to me!!!! I need to let go of those exact things that you said – things that hold me back. Happy Days to you!!! Heather

  81. Yes….I had the same hair dryer…only blue….I can still smell it …..thanks for the walk down memory lane girlfriend!

  82. I love your grandmother. THE END!
    Have a wonderful time in the snow!
    xoxo

  83. Awe, it is so awesome to see you so happy. I mean, you always look happy, but you have that Michigan twinkle in your eyes ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a great time with your family and friends! I look forward to reading your blog again in 2012. Happy New Year, Kelle~

  84. i’m from grand rapids…LOVED your “return to michigan” post. enjoy your time with your family. cherish every moment. i am wishing we had snow here but i’m sure we’ll get slammed soon enough. happy new year!

  85. Lovely! i think this may be my favorite post this year! Happy New Year!

  86. You have the best IL’s ever for making this happen for you.

  87. Happy New Year Kelle!!!!!! Glad you’re livin’ it up in MI!

    In 2012 – I’M GETTING MARRIED!!!!! On June 30th to be precise. And I’m pretty darn pumped about it!

    Here’s to a stellar 2012!!!!

    -Shelley
    http://simply-shelley.blogspot.com/

  88. So beautiful, you must have visited somewhere near me because we are heading 3 hours north to see my parents in Gaylord tomorrow and you just answered my question about how much snow there will be. My kids will be in their glory.

  89. I’m so happy you have your time in Michigan! Happy happy joy joy! Is that the grandmother you lived with while you were in college? Your mama looks so happy too! xoxox

  90. Kelle, youlook like you’re having such a wonderful time!!
    This year, I hope to take the kids to church occasionally, ship out some creative projects on my sewing machine, and try really hard not to let insignificant things bother me so much.
    xo

  91. I owned that toboggan when I was a kid! You are due east from where I grew up. I got teary-eyed reading your post. I would be all unicorny if my family was all together in northern MI right now, too. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Enjoy! (and go to Hartwick Pines if it is open)

  92. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing sweet Nella cuddled up sleeping so peacefully- made me cuddle my little 8 month old a little tighter tonight:)There is nothing like it!!!!

    Happy New Year!!!!

  93. Kelle- you’ve got to be kidding me! Gaylord was my Up North summer spot and have spent a few new years there as well. I wonder how many times we crossed paths when we lived in Michigan and never knew. The fudge from downtown Gaylord. Enjoy some for me.

  94. Ahhh!! I want to say a big THANK YOU to whoever it was that surprised you with a trip home for your birthday. Was it your in laws?? If so.. Thank you Kelle’s in laws! I am the commenter who asked on the FAQ post when you were going to get to go back to Michigan?! And look!… There you are! Under a quilt, wearing a scarf, in the snow, in Michigan!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ I feel like I just got a birthday gift along side you because your happiness is radiating all the way down here to Arkansas! Soak it in girl! Happy New Year!

    P.s. L•O•V•E your grandma’s cane and bling ring!

  95. It looks like so much fun- we had very good times, too

    Happy 2012!

  96. Welcome home to Michigan!! Glad you have snow…down here in Zeeland we got nothin..and my kids are just begging for some snow!! But this weekend sounds very promising for some snow..finally!! We are so ready to get our snow groove on!! Gaylord is so awesome…spent many good times up there!! And for the new year…I just had my 37th birthday a few weeks back and made myself a list of 37 things to do and work on for 2012…and giving back is at the top of the list!! Have a fantastic weekend in your cozy cottage with those cozy quilts and enjoy every minute being back in the mitten!

    Tina J

  97. Thanks for the smiles today Kelle. They helped the tears for friends that are struggling.

  98. I love that you took the dog with you too. Hope she has a coat. Happy New Year to you and yours xx

  99. Wow, what a gorgeous snow break. I can imagine it will be a super fun New Year’s Eve with all your family there! The cottage looks super cosy and I love the girls’ hats.

    My birthday is the 29th too! I had a fun day with my hubby and 17mth old son. I turned 34 so am a year older but not wiser! haha!

    This year I plan to lose some weight and eat healthier or have another bubba, hmmm will see what happens!

  100. i think you & the kids are loving the snow. love your snow hat. you look so pretty. hope you are celebrating your b-day to the fulliest fun that you possible can. wonder can you send me some snow to VA? that is only fair… we could so use some right about now… ha. ha!! you all enjoy. Happy New Year! (:

  101. Beautiful Pictures. Can’t believe all that snow! I am about less than two hours west of you in Traverse CIty, and we literally have NO snow on the ground!

  102. I’m in Gaylord tonight too–running between my parents house and my inlaws house! Have a fabulous, snow weekend with the fam!

  103. Since I became a Mommy 10 years ago, the meaning of NYE changed drastically for me. I would rather be at home with my loves then out on the roads. We will one again indulge in pizza, oreo balls, chips, soft drinks, chips…all those things that are bad for you but, taste, oh so good!! Endless board games and laughter on the Wii and end our night snuggled in my bed, watching the ball drop and calling my hubby at work, wishing him a “happy new year”

    may god bless you with lots of health, happiness and his abundant blessings in 2012

    keep blogging sister….we love it and live vicariously thru you and your stories

  104. im a new follower of yours…. and i am in love with your words, photos & adorable daughters. you are beautiful & so is your life. so much warmth & light comes from your sweet family. i love reading your blog and i am so happy i found it.
    x
    cassaundra

  105. what am I going to do this year? have another baby, naturally! baby #3 is due june 5th, so that is the BIGGEST thing i am doing. the 2nd biggest thing, a goal really, is getting my family financially staright- so can at leats cut some horus at work, to be at home with my kiddos more. i want to stay at home….someday, that will come.

    happy birthday to you, btw! glad you got to enjoy some snow in mich.! im jealous- NW Ohio isnt getting shit for snow yet! its so weir dhow the weather has changed- we always had a white christmas gorwing up…now i dont remember the last one?? but i had a few years where i hated snow too- the years before kids when i preferred a teeny weeny bikini instead. *sigh*

    my daughter brynn turns 2 tomorrow-NYE baby! :) so hard to believe. please say a quick prayer for her, her health has been awesome most of this year, but shes currently on some eardrops that are pretty painful for her. the side effects listed are “pain, discomfort and itching”…yep pretty sure those are correct! also, please keep a family in your prayers i just met, a patient of mine whose son has a form of muscular dystrophy and was recently diagnosed with a terminal heart condition related to the MD. he is 11. his mama was very proud of him and calm when she told me. theyve been weighing on my mind the past few days.

  106. I had a shape and dry. I was blue and white…with a brush and a (wait for it) COMB attachment!!

    I think this year, I may, just may buy some fire engine red lipstick. Have fun in Mi. Your pictures are making me cold!

  107. Your happiness oozes through this post and had me smiling so much!
    So happy you’re all enjoying the snow and cold.
    I live in Northern Vt and so many times hear people complain about the weather and cold and reading these posts just reminds me how Lucky I am to have this experience!!!

    (plus I came to Florida this summer and about fainted from the heat! haha)

    So enjoy it and have a wonderful New Year!

    This is the very first year I’m making a resolution and it’s a family one. We’re going to work harder at eating better and healthier so we can prepare to try for another baby!

  108. Continue to be inspired by your blog — your words, your photos, your life. Thanks for sharing 2011 with us all and I can’t wait to see what’s store for 2012! (Especially what’s involved in celebrating Nella’s 2nd Birthday! I have a suspicion it has to do with Reece’s Rainbow??!! Our family sponsors children on RR each year, and if you ask our kids, they’ll tell you “we’re helping the kids buy a Mom and Dad!” Gotta love it! Happy everything… Happy Birthday & Happy New Year!

  109. Love love love Michigan—Grand Haven is our home away from home. I read your blog all the time but, I confess, comment every little. But please know that I am grateful for you—your words become a part of my days and years. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us!

  110. Love love love Michigan—Grand Haven is our home away from home. I read your blog all the time but, I confess, comment every little. But please know that I am grateful for you—your words become a part of my days and years. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us!

  111. Aw, I grew up in MI and know Gaylord well! Looks like a fabulous time!

  112. Happy snow! We are in the Midwest & expecting 63 degrees tomorrow. Not that I am complaining! I know the snow will be here soon enough! Happy New Year to your family. Enjoy everything your charming winter getaway has to offer!

  113. I thought you looked stunning on the beach…but holy cow! You rock out the snow as well. Happy New Year Kelle.

  114. The snow suits you.

  115. I am so happy for you! I know you are lovin’ life right now! Enjoy!

    My fave pic is the one of you & Lainey in your fur hats.

    This year I intend to live with more purpose. I want to be more deliberate in how I go through my day. My passions and values need to be planned into my day so I don’t feel empty after checking all the other stuff off my list.

  116. You look so utterly happy. Good for you.

    This next year, I have a small list of easily doable things:

    Listen to one complete album in my iTunes library every single day (already started, 3 days down)

    Take my kids on vacation, even if it’s only 4 hours away and a two day trip.

    Go back to IA to see my family

    Make it to my best friends twin daughters high school graduation in IA

    Get back to Vegas (lived there 5 years), and visit a dear friend that I miss so much sometimes that it really physically hurts.

    Write letters to all of my closest friends…..not an email, an actual real old fashioned letter

    Take a class in something new, be it Zumba or bread making. Whatever strikes my fancy.

    Quit smoking……again

    Love my kids more and more.

    Happy New Year!!!!

  117. Love this Kelle! Glad you all got to play in the snow :)

  118. So jealous!! I live in Northern Ohio and it was 43 degrees today with rain..it’s December and I want snow, dammit!:) Enjoy your time at home–there’s no better place to be this time of the year!

  119. oh your pictures look magical. enjoy the snow:)

  120. happy new year! its so nice to be surrounded by family in these happy occasions. enjoy:)

  121. I soooo miss snow!

  122. My New Year’s revolution is to be limitless in 2012. Not let anyone keep me from my greatness and to get out of my own way.

    Also, happy birthday, Kelle! Thank you for bringing your light to shine on the wide world!

  123. My New Year’s revolution is to be limitless in 2012. Not let anyone keep me from my greatness and to get out of my own way.

    Also, happy birthday, Kelle! Thank you for bringing your light to shine on the wide world!

  124. The hairdryer situation cracked me up! Too funny! :)

  125. despite the fact that I am turning 34 tomorrow (yes, on New Years Eve!) and my life is nothing like I thought it would be I am going to learn to be content, because I have an amazing and super handsome husband, two beautiful children, lovely friends, great parents, and new Tory Burch brown flats, oh yes indeed 2012 is going to be grand even if my life is often upside downs and not how I thought, I am the author of my book, and Kelle you taught me that, thanks for your beautiful blog and inspiration!

  126. UHHHHMAZING!!!! i am in love with all the pictures! i told my husband a few months ago i wanted to move to Michigan coz it’s so beautiful and it actually had seasons….so i showed him your pics. :) hope it works! :)

  127. Welcome “home!” You look genuinely happy and your girls look like they’re enjoying our Michigan snow, as well. So glad you’re getting to welcome in the New Year with your dad, Gary, brother and sister (and their families). Always enjoy seeing what you’re up to and wishing you a bright and wonderful 2012 ~

  128. what a beautiful photos and post. I hope you will welcome 2012 in a lovely spirit and all the best in 2012. And what I wish for 2012 for myself “more patience” ๐Ÿ˜‰ and I hope mother nature will be more kind to all of us.
    Love from UK

  129. my husband just got home from Iraq, after a year tour. So i plan to thoroughly enjoy this next year making up for all the days we spent apart :)

    i’m so happy to see you’re enjoying the final days of 2011 in a beautiful cabin in the snow! so lovely.

  130. Man, once again I end up sort of envying you andyour life..heehee..You SURE sound happy and look happY! What a magical place that looks like. No snow here in Calif. SO glad you got to see your mom and George. For the new year, hm..I, too, want the people close to me to know how much I love htem. I want to be more alive and fully present in the now, the moment..and i want my dtrs and their babies to be safe and healthy and happy..I want to always remember that my most important relationship to be attentive to is that with my hubby of 34 years. HAPPY NEW YEAR to you, Kelle, and all of your family – and to everyone here who comments. Love, the Blog Mama~

  131. Wonderful pics as always. My discovery of your blog occured around the same time I was anticipating the arrival of my second child, my baby girl. I’ve really been ENJOYING motherhood this time around so much more, all the intensity of the first time has been replaced by simple joy & realisation to just trust my instincts. And I really enjoy reading your blog. It’s really made an impression on me. You’ve got in my head to just enjoy this time and be mindful of what I say and do because I have two small treasures watching and learning.

  132. I love the pictures! But, I especially love the one of you pulling the sled in the slow. You’re truly beautiful! Happy New Year!

  133. I ADORE the photo of Lainey on the side in the midst of a blanket of white holding the little dog. Its the most beautiful pic I’ve seen anywhere all year! So many good photos though! What a dreamland!

  134. This post brought a smile to my face more than once. How special that your girls are seeing snow for the first time! They are beautiful and you are beautiful, inside and out. I wish your family incredible new memories in 2012.

  135. I am so happy for you. You finally get to experience the snow and the north. Have a great New Year’s
    Eve tonight.

  136. So much snow! That’s a ‘proper’ Christmas scene. For 2012 I’m going to be more intentional about allowing myself to feel joy…having Joy as a middle name has often felt like a bit of a woeful irony, but this year, I’m going to be brave and feel that joy. Happy New Year!

  137. Glad you could make it to the north! So fun. Too bad you’re not in Traverse City…we could have one heck of a play date! Girls galore! PS Bernie is diggin’ Nella’s piggie tails lately.

  138. We have a cabin on Higgins Lake. My mother-in-law has that SAME Shape & Dry in the bathroom vanity. I always laugh when I see it.

  139. Wow, these pictures are thrilling! Here’s to Michigan!!

  140. Welcome home to Michigan, Kelle! Wish Gaylord were closer to Grand Rapids… I’d love to have coffee with you and laugh/cry/unicorn dance about all the wondrous things you’ve shared with us this year. I hope 2012 brings all the joy of 2011 and more! HUGS AND KISSES!

  141. Forgot to say also, your grandma looks fabulous! I feel better just having seen a picture of her. It seems that joy in life is completely hereditary in your family. Love Lainey’s styling in this post, I need a hat like that.

  142. Oh, Kelle. It just looks perfect! Like a dream! I think the fun fur hats help :)

    A very Happy New Year to you. I think we all know this is going to be an amazing year for you with Bloom coming out in April. I can’t wait!

    As for us, we’re saying goodbye to debt in 2012 so we can live how we want to live. And maybe, just maybe, I can quit my job and stay home with my boys!

  143. I’m going to spend this year enjoying my little man and family even more than I already do. Also going to try and get in shape in this new year. For the first time, I’m excited to do this, LOL.

    Super jealous of all of that snow. We’re in Chicago and all we’re getting is rain, rain, rain!

    Enjoy your time with your family. :-)

  144. I think you nailed it with the Reindeer marrying a Unicorn idea! You always look pretty happy in your pictures, which is one of the many reasons I read this blog (besides of course, our common blessing of having a child with Down Syndrome) but I tell you what Kelle, in these pictures you are positively glowing!! A little snow in Michigan can do that to a girl! My intention for 2012 is to show my kids a little more of our beautiful home state of Michigan. I have been in love with NYC all my life and that’s always the focus of my dream travel plans, this year we are going to stick around and see “Home” a little bit more!

  145. Wishing you could send some snow my way right now…

  146. My parents left today to go home to beautiful Maine -my home state so this morning I’m so filled with melancholy and also holding onto the glow that resides from being with them. I am so missing the white snow, the winter hats, the quiet the snow blanket brings and seeing my sweet boy play in the snow for the first time. Seeing your kids loving it made me so happy for you guys! My New Years resolution is to have fresh flowers in the house at all times. Forget the promise to workout everyday which will inevitably end in February and the vow to give up chocolate – what a silly one that is! So flowers, at all times, it is!! Happy New Year to you all!

  147. Dude, I’m soooooooo over the moon for you! Wow. What a gift. I loved seeing the photos of your wonderful family but my fav? The one of you looking in the mirror with the Shape ‘n Dry…in my head, it’s a French advertisement that goes like this: “Oooooh la la! C’est tres bien, ça, la Shape ‘n Dry. Vive ma cheveux. Le smell, n’est pas bien mas, mon Dieu, c’est bon bon bon!!!” Please note, I’m not French although I totally pretend to be when called upon in situations such as these. xo

  148. sharing this with you because you inspire me to live a richer and fuller life!

    my family’s year in photos video: http://vimeo.com/34389718

    thank you kelle for always reminding us to savour each moment and capture it in our hearts.

    happy new year, hamptons!

  149. My resolution??? You know the song “Dancing Queen”? Well….this year I’m gonna dance. In the living room-in the shower-in the car with my kids-in the backyard- anywhere there is music! I’m gonna be “having the time of my life” this year! Yay for 2012 and for celebrating the new year to come!

  150. My resolution??? You know the song “Dancing Queen”? Well….this year I’m gonna dance. In the living room-in the shower-in the car with my kids-in the backyard- anywhere there is music! I’m gonna be “having the time of my life” this year! Yay for 2012 and for celebrating the new year to come!

  151. I love that you are writing from the McDonalds in Grayling – I have sooo been there to use the WiFi! lol. We have a family cabin in the U.P, so we go through Grayling annually. Have you been to Dawson and Steven’s 50s Diner there? My kids love to stop there after a long day in the car, and get grilled cheeses and giant ice cream sundaes at the ice cream soda bar.

  152. That hairdryer was fantastic.

    Don’t you miss your husband? I would hate spending New Year’s without mine.

  153. What an amazing landscape, I’ve never seen anything like it! I just love your blog I enjoy reading it, so much. Your girls are precious.
    Sarah
    Nittygrittymom.blogspot.com

  154. My grandma has the same hair dryer! My grandma has the same hair dryer! I use it when I go to visit her in IN :)

    that made me smile big time! happy new year to you & your family!

  155. SO glad you guys have snow where you are at. I live near you home town in Flint and we have NO SNOW! It has been soo depressing this year! Have a great time!

    Karidan

  156. That cottage IS the bomb! And that hair dryer? Oh my goodness, that’s hysterical!! Yes, I do believe I could live a happy life there. Super duper happy for you, Lainey and Nella. I just love that you guys are gettin’ all loved up from your far away family. Oh, and I must say, being from Ohio I’ve been trained to dislike all things Michigan due to the whole Ohio State/ Michigan rivalry but you are fabulous and this post has won me over, it’s gorgeous there!! Enjoy, friend. Can’t wait to hear “more from Michigan soon.”

    New Year’s Resolutions:
    1. Stop saying “hold on” and “just a minute” to the kids.

    2. Read more.

    3. Write more.

    XOXO,
    Angie from Ohio

  157. best post ever (if that is possible)…so happy you are back with family in MI…the snow looks beautiful…my kids are hoping for snow soon although it’s 60 degrees Dec. 31 (but I’m not complaining.)
    Wild and free…I want to see more of that…you are the wildest and freeest person I’ve ever seen!
    Happy New Year. Loving the perfect present, too.

  158. Your happiness bubbles over from my computer. Thanks for the sharing your beautiful world.
    This year I will try to open myself more to bravery, colour and craziness and continue nurturing forgiveness.

  159. that’s funny- you visited Lewiston Michigan and I live in Lewiston MAINE! Although, your Lewiston looks far more snowy than mine. It’s raining here right now and washing away my white Christmas :(.

  160. all I can do is SMILE SMILE SMILE this post is amazing!!!

    happy new year to you and your family!!!

  161. OMG! I had a shape and dry hair dryer in the 70’s!!!!! Made my bangs and long long hair very smooth and shiny! Enjoy your holiday.

  162. You all look so happy and relaxed in the cabin surrounded by snow…hmmm.
    I vow to be a better mother this year and stop micro-managing my childrens lives. I have to accept and appreciate them for who they are as individuals. I started my resolution at Christmas.

  163. I grew up in Gaylord…I can picture where you were sitting. I love the pictures, glad the girls enjoy the snow. Happy new year to you and your family (:

  164. I’m so happy for you that you are so gloriously happy! You deserve it! Love the winter wonderland pictures. I’m in WI and we have nothing here. :-( At least we got a slight sprinkle on Christmas Eve, though. And I’m right with you on resolutions….letting people know more often how much I care, being more fearless with my hopes and dreams, just basically taking life by the cahones! I also want to be more hands-on with my kiddos, treat my body with more respect (AKA – exercise and stop eatin junk), and spend more quality time with friends. Love your holiday posts…..have fun the rest of your trip and a safe journey back!

  165. My mother is from Upper Michigan (go Yoopers) so I can picture that McD’s without a doubt. Beautiful, peaceful, and quiet there – took my hubby up there for the first time last year and he fell in love with it as well. Your blog is amazing and inspired me to start my own – imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right? Sounds like you and your family are having an amazing holiday!

  166. Happy Birthday – have a grand time for us all. I miss the snow so much. Please make a snow angel for me. And throw a snowball. And kick it with your boots. And turn around and see your footprints in the snow. And on, and on and on! Thanks for the beautiful pictures! Oh, how I wish I was there. Enjoy!

  167. Happy New Year to you and your family, and a big thank you to you for your inspiring life perspective. Finding your blog this year sparked a flame in me to become a better version of myself. Seeing the positive, being more thankful (and expressing it), and letting things go – I am happier and more content than I have ever been. The biggest lesson I have learned this year (again, sparked by your writing) is that negativity sucks the happiness out of you. My resolution this year is to continue on this quest of becoming the best me and furthermore, to share these things with others in hopes that they can benefit from it, too. Thank you :)

  168. Happy New Year to you and your amazing family Kelli – May this year hold all the things you wish for and more. I have a feeling that this year is going to be a cracker of a year for us – big changes are coming our way – new little counrty town, new house, new baby and new adventures and boy am I excited!

  169. Happy belated birthday K, and happy new year Hamptons & Crydermans!! So happy you got to shimmy up north for the new year!

    Hugs,
    Nicole

  170. Great photos!

  171. Kelle,
    Isn’t the sight of mittens drying endearing? I love that moment, when all bundled up (to the point of waddling) I walk over to the heater and put on those warm, damp mittens! They feel icky, but I’m brought straight back to when I was 8!

    A few years ago, I was offered a well-paying job which entailed spending the winters in Florida! The thought of spending my young adult winters without ice skating and snow flakes made me cry…seriously! So, here I am, in northern Minnesota. There are snowflakes the size of grapes catching in my hair on my way out tonight! :o)
    Glad to hear you are savoring your time in the northland!! ~Elisa

  172. It looks so beautiful and serene in your pictures.
    Strange for me, as being in Aus means summer weather at Christmas and new years and time spent on the beach.
    You sound and look delightfully happy. keep enjoying the special moments spent with family.
    Oh your baby girl is almost two!!
    Is she still breastfeeding? What a fab thing if she is.
    I am going to join you on letting go of fears and insecurities.
    It would be nice to let those go and be more vibrant and happy in day to day life with my hubby and 4 kids.
    Wild and free baby, wild and free!
    Love it!!

  173. OH.EM.GEE. Gaylord, Michigan? You are in there… right there where I grew up! Don’t you absolutely love it?!! I so love it… and I am jealous that you are there and I am not… but am so glad that you and your beautiful family and enjoying ALL of it!

  174. Long story short: I woke up super anxious in the middle of the wee hours of right now. Reading this post totally soothed and calmed me down. I actually think I can sleep now. A big fat THANK YOU is required. Loved it.

  175. Long story short: I woke up super anxious in the middle of the wee hours of right now. Reading this post totally soothed and calmed me down. I actually think I can sleep now. A big fat THANK YOU is required. Loved it.

  176. I love snow. Your writing makes me want to be there. I’m getting married this year. :)

  177. Look heavenly up there!!!! Send some to NC!! I love how your dads mouth is open as he is feeding Nella. How cute!! Love the header of Nella’s feet walking up the stairs and her laying on the beach. Very CUTE!!!!!

  178. kelle, In all the years I have followed you.. I have always wished to see pictures of your girls in real snow.. but I knew it was a long shot.. but hey I got my wish and you got your times 10. What a great present gift…. happy New Year Kelle

  179. I’m so glad you are having a wonderful time in Michigan! I won’t lie, I wish I could meet you ๐Ÿ˜› I live in MI, but I live far away from Lewiston. Knowing my luck, I would probably fall over and scream or something weird if I did meet you because I think your awesome and I adore your blog ๐Ÿ˜€

  180. Beautiful pics. It’s a nice contrast from your sandy beaches. On a side note, you had a lot of legs as headers this year! They’re irresistible!

  181. Beautiful pics and post. As much as I don’t like winter (living in Toronto, eh?), I was immediately inspired to go and experience winter cottage life.
    My 2012 resolutions:
    to be me, to spend quality time with people I love and to be happy no matter what.

  182. Wow…sitting here reading your post as I listen to the wind begin to whirl and the snow about to arrive and realizing how I take for granted what you long for in your heart. Enjoy that snow…enjoy your loved ones and Happy New Year to you too Kelle!!

  183. Oh.My.Gosh that place is heaven.

  184. It looks like a fairy tale! I am super jealous of the snow, the cabin and the amazingly warm and snuggly quilts! It looks like you have a bunch of very happy girls and Mama looks super happy too! Hope you had a wonderful New Years’ Eve and wishes for an amazing 2012!!!

  185. This post makes me giddy! In 16 days, I will be home in Wisconsin and my brother and his wife are flying in from Maine! I haven’t seen them in two years and they haven’t met their nephew who is 15 months old! SO excited to see them! I hope it snows in Wisconsin!!! I lOVE snow! xx

  186. Thank you so much for that.

  187. oh this is amazing. you’re such a great mama. happy new years!
    -N

  188. As always your post leaves me speechless; such beauty in your pictures! My resolutions this year were to lay off the booze and reclaim my back yard from prickles and weeds, but as of Boxing day it is to nurture the little one growing in my belly. So really, laying off the booze will be my most successful resolution yet.

  189. I love everything about this post. Your positive attitude is inspiring! The girls look like they are having a wonderful time in the cold. I can’t wait to read more about the adventure soon. Have a WONDERFUL time!

  190. Happy 2012 to you all, Kelle. Thank you for all the smiles and giggles that you have given me this year…always right when I need them. xx

  191. Just wanted to say hi and Happy New Year! Very cool that you’re here in Michigan. That’s where I’m from! Such a chilly, windy, January 1st kind of day today – hope you are having fun at the cottage!

  192. Well your Michigan looks heavenly!!! I am jealous….My Michigan…here in Memphis Michigan is raining and mud. We have not seen snow yet. Could you send some our way. Love the pictures…beautiful.

  193. Happy new year! LOVE the trip down memory lane with the headers

  194. Hey Kelle! I was actually coming to your blog to ask what program or how you make your headers and saw this post… Can you email me and let me know, jenmb123@aol.com

    Happy New Year!

  195. Hey Kelle! I was actually coming to your blog to ask what program or how you make your headers and saw this post… Can you email me and let me know, jenmb123@aol.com

    Happy New Year!

  196. I love the pictures in the oval frames on the wall of Lainey’s doctor room.

  197. Not completly on or off topic of this post, but I just had to share with you that I just found out that my husband and I are about to start a new adventure this Jan! My husband just got a new job that is relocating us to Iowa. Which means these two born and raised Floridians are going to figure out what winter really is. I just thought it was ironic that we are kind of in opposite situations as far as relocating. Happy 2012 wish us luck :)

  198. Mum has a shape n’ dry still in the box too! I laugh at it every time we visit her and see it in the drawer there. Next time, I will use it. :)

    My resolution is to knit a sweater for each of my family members… two kids, my husband and me :)

    As well, I vow to finish next year’s Christmas shopping by September. ๐Ÿ˜€

  199. I found your blog by chance and I’m hooked! I’m currently working my way through old posts. You described Nella’s birth so truthfully which is refreshing and wonderful to read. You could’ve just said she was born and all was great but you let us, the readers into you very real fears. I thank you for that. It was hauntingly beautiful to read.
    Down Syndrome has touched my life forever as my friend had twins, the first born, Freya, had Down Syndrome. Tragically she died aged 21 months as she had very serious heart complications. She survived two bouts of open heart surgery when she was no bigger than a bag of sugar then got a chest infection that her little body just couldnt cope with. While s he was here, she was amazing and she lives on in her sister Imogen (Immy). Her mum is the bravest woman I know.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your life, and your beautiful girls and family. I wish you a wonderful 2012. It’s. Big one for me. Baby due 10th May. We lost one in a previous pregnancy so this one is even more precious to us in some ways. All seems fine so far and I’m 21weeks now so fingers crossed!

    Lots of love, Laura xxxx

  200. I love the year in review where you share your headers. Reflecting is good and I love to see how much the girls have grown.

    Have a great time with family. I love the getaway house. Quaint.

  201. Love Lainey’s coat!!! Please tell me where you got it!

  202. 1. Hope you’re enjoying the snow! As a South Dakota girl I’m not sure how to handle this snowless winter we have had so far

    2. Nella’s hat is way too fricken cute! She’s a doll!

    3. What do you use to design your headers? I’ve been trying to make one for my blog for quite sometime and needless to say, i fail.

    Blessings to you and yours in this New Year!

  203. So envious, though it has been pretty chilly here in FL. But oh how I would love to see my boys in that snow. Looks absolutely wonderful!

  204. Skip the resolution, decided on just a one word motto this year that I will filter all that I do through, LOVE. I want to love big, love sacrificially, love without restrictions, love like Jesus would, love whole heartedly. My motto: LOVE

  205. A friend told me about your blog and it’s wonderful — thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us all!

    My old stomping ground is not far from yours — I grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario — so I’m really enjoying your gorgeous winter photos from Michigan! I live an 8 hour drive away from “home” now, and I dearly miss being close to my family, too, as well as the natural beauty of the north. Thankfully we still get some snow and some winter critters in Southern Ontario where I live now: http://pocketfulsoftreasure.blogspot.com/2011/12/oh-deer.html

    Hope you continue to have a wonderful holiday up north!

  206. Seriously?!? You, snow, and a cabin stuffed up way up north where the snow falls down. What a spectacular gift. Enjoy every moment. Breathe in that cold air until it makes your lungs burn. Find. Some. Skates. Now.

    Happy New year to you and to all of your family.

    This past year had many a surprise, but the cup is half full, not empty. I don’t just love making plans, I love changing them too. So I’m going to learn how to crochet while my husband pursues his new career in nursing. Wild and precious, right?

    -Jennifer

  207. Funny how us Michiganers want to get away from the cold and snow… Yet, you make it seem so lovely, almost mystical! How do you do that!? Always a Michigander at heart and I love it! If you’re coming back through Lansing and coming to see Heather, I’d love to meet you! Maybe I’ll text her to find out! I so enjoy reading the blog! May 2012 be absolutely wonderful for you and your family! Hugs ~ Cammie

  208. Where ever did you get those fabulous boots & what shade of red is that lipstick?

    Jealous of actual snow for the holiday. I did get a reprieve with a brief experience with cooler weather in North Carolina. Alas, we had to return to our real lives in the Bay Area of Florida.

    Thankful tonight for the cold snap that has descended into the local area. I so miss having four true seasons.

  209. I love this post! If you’re still there, you are only about an hour or so away from where I live – and you got a LOT more snow there than we got here!

    Enjoy your time in Michigan – I enjoy reading your blog! :)

  210. Thank you for writing such inspiring posts and for reminding me of what it is to be a mum. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous photographs. Thank you for always appearing so positive to uplift your readers. Thank you for reminding me to enjoy the small things!

    I hope that 2012 is full of love, laughter and happiness for you and your beautiful family.

  211. HAPPY GIRL!!! One of my favorite unicorns over the moon happy songs and perfect for you while you are home.

    Yeah yOU!!!!

    http://youtu.be/2QhWevCpbSY

  212. I always read, but hardly ever comment… just had to this time!
    I’m so happy you got to go home to winter AND your family (you know what I mean!) for your birthday! Yay!
    I know you and your girlies will be enjoying every second of it.
    Happy Birthday, and Happy New Year!
    Donna from NZ

  213. What great memories you are making with your girls. Love Lainey’s hat and coat…and the pic of her carrying the lil dog. Love Nella’s hat too. Such cute cute pics. Enjoy the rest of your vacation. :)

  214. This made me smile and made my insides go all warm, fuzzy and mushy…

  215. … I forgot to share my new year’s resolution with you! I had just written post on it, so I forgot to bring it here, too :-)

    I will/shall “show myself the way I AM” (at work) and stand by it, firm and steadily.
    May sound easy but facing own fears when it comes to having to do so at work, as a leader, is not an easy task for me. I will prevail though!
    This, I hope, will lead to an even happier, jollier and wilder me – as a private person, ‘cuz I refuse to let work steal all my Joie De Vivre ๐Ÿ˜€

    So, be me, stand up for me and be jolly good – is what I aim for!!!

  216. Hello from Melbourne Australia, where my baby boy who’s about to turn one experiences his first 40 degree (104 F) day!
    The heat makes me love your photos all the more.

    My resolution is to keep learning how to sit with uncomfortable and painful emotions and just let them be without trying to push them down, hide them, be ashamed of them or be scared of them. Because, this too shall pass.

    Happy New Year, your blog, insight and compassion really touches hearts all over the world

    xoxo

  217. Seriously?!?! This is crazy. I was at the McDonalds in Gaylord, MI on Friday December 30th too! :) We have a cabin in Waters. When I read that I was kind of sad I wasn’t paying more attention! I love reading your blog!

  218. The trip to Michigan was a perfect gift for you. Loved your 33rd birthday post too, just read it again…What you wrote about the “raw emotional state” is so true…and that is why is also beautiful…a time when our soul cries out for help…also…when support comes our way…then…we begin to feel we are not alone…and…”know” everything is going to be okay.

    Best Wishes for 2012! A year to celebrate, every day, who we are and all we are.

    Ox. Joy and Laughter~

    “All that we have ever been is totally present now, coded within us.” ~Jean Houston

  219. I love seeing all these pictures of you Florida gals in the snow!! Hope you’re having the time of your life.
    xo
    Kris

  220. All of my resolutions have to do with eating healthier, exercising more, sleeping more, getting rid of clutter and organizing. I am going to be the healthiest me that I can be because I’ll be homeschooling my daughters this semester, reveling in having just the two of them for now, and welcoming a new baby into our little family in August. My daughters will be almost 11 and 7 1/2 years old when August arrives, and I’m thrilled and a little scared at starting all over again with a new baby. This year is going to rock!

  221. The trip down header memory lane was fun!
    A wonderful present indeed.
    This year? I’m going to remember to breathe and be present with my children more often.

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