Little Changes, Good Changes

Turns out the run the other night was just the beginning, the preview of exorcisms to come.

Last night, it was the toy basket liner–the one that always slips down all cock-eyed every time I throw a toy in, trapping doll shoes and Mr. Potato Head arms so no one can find them. I’d finally had it. I tossed a harmonica and down it went, behind the liner, and I couldn’t untie the little knots that secured it to the basket for the life of me. So I did what any self-respecting mother would do. I lost it. I took the basket and dumped it upside down in a crazed upheaval that sent toys crashing to the wood floor–some I hadn’t seen in years–and I ripped that #@$*!@& basket liner out and threw it away like it was the first step toward a more peaceful future. And it was.

Aw, hell done just broke loose. I weeded out toys. I dusted my coffee table. I assured a group of baby dolls that Goodwill was a great place to live, and when I filled two garbage bags full of things to give away and finally put the kids to bed, I sat on my kitchen counter and convinced Brett to listen to one of my doozies–the once-every-three-month really deep life conversation. And though this all may seem unnecessarily dramatic, I’ve realized this reaction is part of who I am. No matter how many personality quizzes I’ve taken–even if I try and alter the outcome by Christmas-treeing my way through questions, it is inevitable my diagnosis says “Hey, you’re impulsive! Hey, you’re emotional!” If emotions were an English breakfast tea, let’s just say I let my tea steep so long and so strong until just a sip of it demands action: spit it out, throw it out, make new tea, talk about the tea, write a tea thesis. Get a degree in tea studies, start a tea company and change the tea world. I’ve long tried to balance things better–slower, more thoughtful, more analyzed but, at the same time, concentrated emotion propels me into action in some sort of revolutionary way. I’ve been asked so many times if it would have been easier to have a prenatal diagnosis for Down syndrome, and I can honestly say I know myself well enough to believe the shock and heightened emotion of that moment was important for me. Deprogramming, in a way. A distinct slate-cleansing beginning.

I’m all about clean slate beginnings. The important issue, regardless of whether we attend to every quiet emotion the second it arises or wait until things are a great big ball of “you better fix this shit,” is that we attend to emotions at all. Listen to them, learn from them.


There is no life-altering crisis here. In fact, a mind x-ray would reveal things that might be trite and silly to some, hardly reason for a deep life conversation or going apeshit on a toy basket. There are however a lot of little things I can change right now–bad habits, inattentive routines, shift of focus.
For all the times I spent crying on my bed when I was younger because, God forbid, my world was changing a little bit, I’ve realized somewhere around thirty, I developed a healty addiction to the very thing I’ve hated my whole life…change. Change is growth, and without it we are stagnant. Stale. Boring.

Shake it up, Baby.

We talked about change last night. About wanting to be better and making deliberate efforts to deposit time and affection in the family bank. When things get busy, it is so easy to turn on Little Bear for Lainey, serve quick and easy dinners, throw towels next to the bathtub, scratch washing my face before bed. But it doesn’t feel good after a while. And I want to feel good.

So I wrote a tea thesis. Took change to the tenth power and deprogrammed–or rather reprogrammed–little things around the house that seemed symbolic. Rearranged the living room, swapped out picture frames, packed up the 12 month clothes and put them away. No Little Bear today. New accessible book stacks and puzzle piles.


Today was quiet and thougtful and felt a little bit new. I dug up a pair of shoes I haven’t worn in ages. Twisted my hair into braids for something different. Chose an alternate path to the lake.


Seriously, she falls asleep at the lake every time.



I used to think emotional “funks” would just ride out on their own–grab a board, ride the wave. I find more comfort now though in the truth they hold. Funks aren’t the cause of emotions; they are the effect–messages to which we need to listen and respond.


Whether our response is monumental or something as simple as rearranging a living room or cleaning out a toy bin, it’s the action of responding that is empowering–funk-erasing.


I’m finding such clarity in just the initiation of changed behaviors. I moved a poetry book to my nightstand this morning, added a couple new items to my bucket list today, had an ice cream date with new friends.






And I feel invigorated. Ready to take on the tea world.



While new is great, old standbys are comfy and reassuring too.

Like best friends.


Same old park.


Post holiday return to baking.



Friday Photo Dumps.



In keeping with being kinder to myself, I’m excited about taking time for a skincare regimen before bed instead of a splash ‘n go, especially since I have a new skincare set from our latest sponsor Muvazi. Muvazi skin products are paraben free and made with natural ingredients. Their anti-aging skin care system is made up of a cleanser/toner, an oxygentic eye cream, an intra-cellular moisturizer and a hydrating face serum, and I feel like a badass now when I’m actually taking the time before bed to wash and moisturize my skin.


And the best part? Buy a skincare system using code ‘nella’ at check-out, and your $119 skin care system is only $79.95/free shipping, plus $5 will be donated to Nella’s” 2 for 2 fund for every kit sold.


That reminds me. Sister’s got a birthday this weekend.


Since Tuesday’s post, another $25,000 has been raised for Nella’s 2 for 2. We are beyond grateful. Every state has been represented, and over 200 international donations have been made from 15 countries. And Molly Dunn, a reader’s 10-year old daughter we have never met, will once again give up her birthday presents this year in lieu of donations to Nella’s birthday fund (thank you, sweet Molly). I think that the Internet can be a grand place, and you people prove that the world is full of kindness and incredible intentions. With $20,000 to go, the fund is still kickin’.

We are looking forward to celebrating our girl’s memorable entrance into our lives this weekend. There will be cake. And I will cry.

If you feel so inclined, leave a comment sharing any small changes in your life that you’d love to initiate to shake things up. Make new tea.



Leave a Comment
  1. It is so amazing that a little girl gives up her presents, instead to donate! There are some great people in the world. Happy upcoming birthday Nella!

  2. We moved from the UK to Sydney three weeks and two days ago. Still counting. The change is great though and whilst there is a way to go before this is home it feels like we’ve been here three months not three weeks. The big change has sparked small changes too. Living with less “stuff” than we had before and being more reliant on each other – as no external friends to “escape” to yet. But there will be of that I am sure! Happy Birthday Nella! Two already? where does the time go? Have a wonderful party!

  3. With so many big changes on the horizon for our family it’s hard to think about smaller ones. I’ll think on it and get back to you. Meanwhile, I’m living by my mantra for 2012 – “you are exactly where you are meant to be.” It’s not a single word but it get me by.

    We fly from Tampa back to San Francisco tomorrow and will be sad to leave the beautiful weather we enjoyed this week! Have a lovely weekend. Happy Birthday to Nella and happy birth – day to you.

  4. Happy birthday Nella!! Been following your blog since Nella’s birth! Hard to believe she’s going to be 2!!!!!

  5. Great post. I’ve been doing some de-funk-tifying at my house lately, too. Rearranged and decluttered 2 closets, the pantry, and the laundry room this month. Rearranged the playroom/office and feel like I can conquer the world. I keep singing to myself…”Free ya miiiiiind… and the rest will follow.”

  6. It’s not a small change, but it’s a FABULOUS one… my husband started his job this week after being laid off for 19 months!!! I am officially a wife of a police officer again! <3

  7. Love Nella! Happy Birthday to her beautiful soul. When you hug her at her birthday celebration, squeeze her extra for all of us out in the world. And, as always, thank you for your inspiration, I look forward to shaking things up a bit around here, starting with a sleepover in my littles’ room, sleeping bag for three? THANK you for your positive presence in this world.

  8. less TV more reading for the little one. more focus on family and less on the stuff. finish(ok ok…START) the blankets for the children’s hospital that does such amazing things here.

  9. Kelle,
    I love this post because I so know this every 3 month emotional over spill.I reassess and change things up and it feels so good to run my life for a bit before losing it again and having my life run me.
    I particularly love this post because it’s not all sunshine and roses ( not that I don’t wish you sunshine and roses) but I feel like we are getting to see another side of you.A very real mom , just like the rest of us and that is AWESOME. Because I;m usually just in awe of everything you do.By knowing that you too get overwhelmed on occasion, I feel like maybe we are all a little amazing and a little flawed simultaneously and THIS is the very thing that makes us human. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Happy Birthday to your precious Nella and big hugs to you mama. Embrace the change!

  10. lovely :)

    just what i needed to hear tonight.

    thanks kelle. you’re a wonderful writer and an inspiration.


  11. O my goodness – I literally laughed out loud, so hard, at the picture of Nella in the sunglasses. My husband thinks I’m crazy over here at the computer! SO ADORABLE!!!! My change has been getting my house organized and I have been making a mad go of it! I hope I can continue until it is done! Although with 3 little ones, I’m not sure “done” is in our vocabulary!!!!

  12. Seriously, you hit home so often with me. This post feels so relatable. I find myself snapping and cleaning outbuckets of old unloved toys. It’s cathartic. So many things I can’t control, a clean/organized house is my domain. My world. Thanks for brining it home. You always do.

  13. Happy birthday Nella! I would love to be able to change my procrastination habits when it comes to cleaning the house. I want to stay on top of things and not have laundry piling up waiting to be put away. I hate cleaning. I wish there was a fairy that did it for me. :0)

  14. i need to remember not to just ride out the bad days, but to maybe change something so they are fewer and far between. Love the picture of Nella standing in the pink pants!!

  15. Happy Birthday Nella!

  16. Happy Birthday Nella! I also started following your blog after reading her birth story. Have a great birthday weekend :o)

  17. Lainey’s eyes in the last shot are just killing me! What a pretty girl you have on your hands. This post so hits home right now. I tore apart my pantry and redid the whole shabang this week, the office closet isn’t far behind. I also changed out picture frames and now my baby girl is having a blast pointing out the new pix to me : )

  18. We are in for a big shake up, we are currently looking for a new home. When we bought our first home, we only had on baby and now there are three. We have outgrown this house which is bittersweet because all of our memories are here. We brought two babies home to this house but in the end, we need to expand and grow and even though it will be sad to leave…there are so many more memories to be made!! I can’t wait!!
    Happy Birthday, Nella!!! Hope she has an amazing day :)…

  19. P.S. I posted your 2 for 2 video to my blog. Fingers crossed it helps!

  20. It sounds like we have very similar personalities. I get so settled and comfortable in my routines, and then BOOM I need to make a change. It usually ends up being something drastic with my hair, or a new fashion statement. Still, change is good, and I think for me, the urge to change things up is here to stay :)

  21. Oh Kelle, we are so in the same boat! I had my basket dumping tantrum as well {yesterday actually} and then after a long conversation with my husband {poor fella, always having to talk “non-emotional” reasoning to me} — I dusted myself off and said — it’s time for change. So we made a list and broke down how we could make things less stressful.

    I too, admit to being impulsive, but you’re right — sometimes that impulsivity is what sparks the greatest thoughts and changes. Changes we wouldn’t have decided to make, had the “you better fix this shit” moments not occurred. HA! 😉

    These days — not only am I trying to shake things up a bit by pledging to blog more about my girl, but I’m also trying to do some more things for myself. That mama time alone is so important, yet so difficult for me to take. That being said, this week I started a photography class — one I’ve had on my wish list for far too long, yet after a basket liner toss, decided it was time to make a priority and do it. {Check!}

    Wishing you loads of FUN at Nella’s 2nd birthday celebration this weekend! So much to celebrate! Seven years into the world of down syndrome (though really, only 2 for me as her step-mama) — I feel like I’m finally grasping the meaning of it’s presence in my life. And it’s all good things — no matter how hard some days it might get. My girl brings me perspective. The good, refreshing kind I need.

    XOXO, Katie

  22. Great post. I have three little boys – 4, 2, 6 months. I have been trying to be much more intentional with them. Not just surviving motherhood with toddlers. But rocking motherhood with toddlers. It’s not always easy. But I am trying!

  23. My husband has a new job and now works from home. Love it! He takes our daughter to school in the morning. That is a nice change! H has to travel more and that change I do not like. I don’t sleep well and worry so much.

    I would have gone postal on the liner too! My tree is still up and I need to get it all put away. And my daughter is turning 14 and is having a bedroom make over. Gonna get busy around here soon with new things, cleaning and purging.

  24. what is it about approaching 30 that makes us more introspective to realize that change is the only constant in our lives?? Ahhh…… so I am learning too. Happy Birthday to sweet Nella. I have been reading your blog since she was just weeks old and I just love reading about all of you. Funny how thousands of miles and worlds apart, our lives seem so similar.

  25. Hot damn girl, this was like looking in the mirror. Funny thing though, since my breakdown happened last week when I purged just about everything, and came up with new traditions and began rearranging and reassessing everything–it occurred to me that I felt the exact same way-same time-last year. And the more I think about it the more I’m convinced its our maternal instincts kicking in knowing a new year is a new start. I think it’s time for a tea party :)

  26. I love, love, love this post Kelle! Some times we need change. It feels good to shake it up every now and then! I am going to go “shake up” a few things in my bedroom and re-arrange stuff all over the house!

  27. Can totally relate with the need to purge and pare down and focus on more intentional family moments… Always the intent and desire is there but sometimes the exhaustion takes over, at least for me, leaving my “intent” short of what I had hoped. …your last two post have inspired me… ready for a few little exorcisms of my own… starting with the &%# Christmas tree that is still up staring me in the face. Your words pumped me up and this sister is not going to bed tonight until every last precious ornament is nestled safely in their boxes and stored securely in the attic, and in it’s place will be treasures of books and games upon the table that has been waiting to gain its rightful place back again. …it will be like Christmas all over again, but without the #@$ tree! 😉 … Thanks for the jolt!

  28. You and your girls are so beautiful! Your blog is so precious and I really look forward to reading it.

  29. We have the same living room rug! BooYah!

  30. Happy early Birthday Nella! Love the pic of her in the glasses! Priceless! :)

  31. Thank you! This post is just what I needed. I’ve kind of been in a seasonal funk with the cold weather and rain we are having in NC. As I was reading about you rearranging furniture and the picture of your living room, I really noticed the color and how alive your house looked. It makes me want to make some changes in my home…little small details…to bring some color and life back into mine. It might be dreary and rainy and cold outside, but my house is going to be colorful and warm inside. Thanks for helping prompt me to make some changes in my life.

  32. Shaking it up is what it’s all about! It’s what life is about! My Kylie shakes it up everyday, of course being just shy of 4 there are very many shakes. My little Ella is pushing every bit of her 5 months on this planet….so many changes in each of their worlds. So many changes in mine. As for me, my running shoes have been on since day one of this beautiful year, because I plan to shake the 2012 sugar tree until the cows come home!
    Keep shaking it up Kelle! Keep inspiring us to do so as well! Beautiful post, yet again!

  33. Oh so thankful that I’m not the only crazy person who sees tea that way!

  34. I struggle with this on a daily basis! There are so many things I want to do, need to do…but with two little ones at home they always come first. Sometimes I get crabby that I have NO time for myself, but then when I remind myself that they are only little once and won’t always need me, I feel guilty. So in short, I would like to be more present when I am with them. Soak them in and enjoy them, letting the ‘to do’ list go. It will always be there, my babies will not. Happy birthday to sweet Nella!

  35. I’ve been feeling like this has been a grand season of change. We, for the first time EVER, have done resolutions and have actually stuck to them: Exercising at least 3 times a week, dessert only once a week (the thing i thought was going to be the hardest but ended up being the most empowering and now I’m not craving it at all), more quality time with the kiddo, etc.

    But, I’m learning to change who I spend my time with and my time worrying about as well. It’s not worth it to be surrounded by people who are judge-mental and and not uplifting.
    It’s been a hard process as I’m a people please and don’t want to hurt any ones feelings but a girls got to do what a girls go to do (in a loving manner of course). I am shutting down my FB account for a few weeks. Dropped out of a few things that were taking up too much of my emotional time and energy. It’s freeing! Hard, but wonderful.

    I hope you have the best BIRTHDAY WEEKEND ever!

    Such a precious time.


  36. Also, been cleaning, organizing and rearranging! So fun. Plus I just got some awesome Norwex cleaning products in (never heard of them until a few weeks ago-now I’m hooked) and it’s making cleaning so much more fun!!!!

  37. I go on rampages every couple of months to purge STUFF. Stuff that we trip over but never gets played with, stuff that litters the kitchen counter but doesn’t get used, stuff that has been sitting so long in that one corner that I’ve actually forgotten that it’s not part of the woodwork. It feels SO GOOD to fill the back of the SUV and hightail it to the Goodwill before we can change our minds about the crap in all the garbage bags.
    We have been stuck in a snow storm for four days, and I’m too big of a wimp to run in it (I’d slip and break something for sure), and I feel gross, bloated, and unmotivated. Tomorrow we should be good to go, and I will feel a lot better once I get that fresh air. :-)
    Thank you for this post :-)

  38. i feel like you read my mind. thank you. thank you for putting into words what i couldn’t. for verbalizing exactly how i’ve been feeling. thank you. sending love from AZ. stacey

  39. It is seriously so funny that you talk about change in this post. My husband was just saying to me yesterday that he hates that I always try and push away change. I have never thought that if we don’t have any change that life gets boring…but it is so true and so when there is change in my life I want to embrace it more like going dairy free for my little girl and her exzema if it will help why not? I like to think that there HAS to be a easier way…thanks for this!! by the way your girls are absolutely adorable!! HAPPY B-DAY NELLA!! Have a good weekend!!

  40. I went batty on Wednesday…and we are shakin it up and mama’s gettin her groove back!!! Gonna do some home re-organizing and life re-organizing to focus on the here and now and not the what i wish there was. Good for you shakin it up too!!
    And Happy Birthday Sweet Nella!!!

  41. Beautiful post.

  42. Just found out we are getting a baby! Not such a small change, but I have been doing small things to prepare myself for much love.

  43. Well…I did a small thing. Foolish maybe. I signed up for a ballet class. I’m 2 months post-pregnancy and I signed up for an adult ballet class. That was the small thing. The big thing was that I actually drove myself there. Even bigger was that I loved it and gave it my all. And I wasn’t the worst one there. I’ve always wanted to do it. I needed something to help me feel like I still had it. One ballet class down, 5 to go. Mama’s still got it.

  44. Your words, your photos, your one wild and precious, emotional, life! I LOVE IT! It is that emotional gift you have that started the Oneder fund, Nella’s RockStars, and Two for Two just remember that. It is GREAT to have passion because it changes the world.

    I’m working on implementing my first ever, New Year’s resolutions, have less stuff by the end of the year, go out to lunch less and meet friends or my Sweetie for Happy Hour more and I’d like to enhance my photography skills. I just bought my first DSLR; your blog is inspiring me.

    Happy Birthday to Nella!

  45. That last pic of nella just kills me.. so CUTE I think my fav of late.

    I love this post.
    Im ready to shake things up this year.
    Time to get healthy. Time to start study. Time to learn to love myself more.

  46. Happy birthday to beautiful sweet Nella!!! i have so enjoyed reading your blog:))

  47. Kelle…..I love reading your blog and always look forward to new entries. I love the way you tell stories. I am always pulled in and can put myself there. Your girls are so sweet and beautiful.

  48. I hope I can learn to embrace change like this. I am still the girl that cries on my bed whenever something changes…a new semester is always traumatic and overwhelming, no matter how many times I’ve completed that routine. A change this semester is to give more of myself and to be ok with my inevitable busy schedule.

  49. It seems like change is in the wind! I know I need to change the way I care for myself so I don’t burn out. I like the idea of re-arranging things for access and spending more time doing things together.

    Your girls are absolutely gorgeous! Of course, they have good genes!

  50. I love love LOVE Nellas smile. The picture of you and her….sooooo great!

    Also, the sunglasses picture……frame it. It is the best pic on today’s post.

    People like you, Nella, my niece……remind me why I am in my profession. I’m helping others little Ava’s and Nellas grow into beautiful, smart people who make the world a much better place.


    You are Gods beautiful creation and He loves you so.

  52. Changes I’m working on:

    Cleanse, tone, moisturise.

    Listen more, write more, move more.

    Be more attentive not just to the needs of others, but to my own needs too (I’m a run yourself into the ground so long as everyone else is okay kinda gal!).

  53. Wonderful post as always Kelle. Thank you so much! I am struggling with a big family move and all the changes that brings at the moment – but came across this quote which you might like:

    ‘Change is the nursery/ Of music, joy, life and eternity’
    – John Donne, Elegy 3

    Big love to Nella and all the Hamptons this weekend x

  54. Insightful post. Thank you for it!
    I recognise myself in a lot of what you write: impulsive, emotional: spot on!

    Change is good. Sometimes scary, but good.

    Apart from changing my eating habits I’ve taken steady steps towards changing a “hellish” worksituation and most of all: how I let it affect me and my wellbeing.
    Mind over matter.
    Easy? No but I’m up for the challenge!

    Thanks Kelle for all the things you are!
    You mean a lot :-)

    Happy b-day Nelle!!!!

  55. …..NellA!!!!

  56. I am about 41weeks pregnant and inspired. This snow day I’m funk fighting and attacking that closet I’ve avoided for the past nine months.

  57. ::sigh:: so many things! eat out once a week instead of three (but i love finding new hole in the walls and eating yummy food) still it needs to be done. less tv time for Dom. Getting better about the meals i cook. making even more of a stricter budget for ourselves so we can use the money we scrounge to go out and do cool things like visit museums and things like that. yup those are some of them.

  58. So much to say… THANK YOU MOLLY (from all of the kids with DS and their parents and friends.) The new header is gorge. So are your girls. And it musta been in the air yesterday, because I started a binder of ALL Ellie’s early intervention/medical stuff, started working on my teaching portfolio (last time I got a teaching job, I had no portfolio… or experience!), and made a homecooked meal with my husband.

    Oh, and decided I wanted to tell the world about a woman with DS training for a FULL MARATHON. Booyah. I just need to track her down.

    And more teaching Ellie, more laughing with Matt.

    I think that’s a good set of weekend goals.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NELLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  59. Happy birthday to sweet little Nella.
    Change, hmmm … I’ve hated change through my twenties and dreaded the coming of my thirties but as of last weekend, my 30th birthday, I feel different and easier about it all, more go with the flow and learn from it rather than resisting and fighting against it. I’m making personal changes like totally switching jobs … from corporate buyer to carer – it has meant by day I’m a SAHM, a blessing, and I can still earn and work by night. It isn’t a change I’m entirely comfortable with, being away from the nest at night is unnatural but the decision is one that allows me to be more of a mum by day, more balance in that respect – a sacrifice that for a few years, will do.
    Much love x

  60. Since hitting absolute rock bottom a few years ago, I have been clawing my way back to the surface by changing just about every single thing in my life and now I’m here. Today I applied to be a foster carer… I’m suuuper excited about it!

    Sarah xxx

  61. I read this post over an hour ago Kelle & clicked on the LEAVE A COMMENT link….but then suddenly felt urged to shut the laptop screen & be totally present with my children before tucking them into bed. Not sure exactly what in this post made me feel like that….but I felt empowered & inspired to be ‘there’ for my kids in that moment!!! But not, I’ve bathed them, played with them, read them a story & tucked them in. I laid with my girl until she fell asleep & now I’m back to comment :)…..
    Oh I hear you on the toy cull state of fury :) I did the exact same thing only 2 weeks ago! It felt good!!!
    As for small changes occurring around here…..we’re still thinking a house move is what is right for our family at this present time. We need more space, more room & a little more convenience…BUT….both my Hubby & I’s hearts are set on a seachange move!!! It’s only a 1.5hr drive from here & we would be living in some of Australia’s most gorgeous coastline. BUT…we’d be leaving our families & friends, our support network & comfort zone! It’s not even interstate but I feel scared of what the move could do for my almost 4 yr old girl {who starts Kindergarten this week & is also VERY settled in our local ballet school!!}. I know I think too much…but my kids are my number 1 priority & I want to do whats best for them! However, I also have some agreeance that what’s best for Mummy & Daddy will be what’s best for the whole family??!!! Quite a big change….but one that requires a shit load of new tea rituals :)))
    I’ll keep you posted on our decisions :)
    Happy Birthday to sweet Nella! WOW…the big 2….that’s cool! Can’t wait to hear about her BIRTHday celebrations. I’m off to blog about my girl’s b’day party now :))

  62. I so need to take better care of my skin. Totally feeling guilty at the moment. Scratch cleaning has gone on for far too long.

  63. You put the emotional energy to work and that’s important. I think sometimes we do our best work when we seem to be an emotional ball of energy. Afterwards that emotional drain leaves us tired but renewed.
    Happy Birthday to B’Day girl Nella.

  64. Hehe, I’m just wondering if it’s ‘proper’ for that baby doll to be out in public without any knickers! Life keeps changing here too, I’m learning to shift with it but I haven’t yet lost my fear, dread and hatred of change, but then I still have another year or so to go apparently! :)

  65. Hehe, I’m just wondering if it’s ‘proper’ for that baby doll to be out in public without any knickers! Life keeps changing here too, I’m learning to shift with it but I haven’t yet lost my fear, dread and hatred of change, but then I still have another year or so to go apparently! :)

  66. As I sit in my cozy armchair reading this post, I glance guiltily up at my cluttered table and shudder at the thought of the playroom. Where to start?! I guess the point is to start. Right? Right! Table, here I come. Playroom…look out!

  67. Fact: This post simultaneously gave me an urge to drink tea and make a change in my life in any way I possibly can. I have a change addiction too. It feels so good.

  68. Today I asked my husband to take our 5 children out for the day. I never ask this. I like having them home, but I needed a change up myself. It was a gorgeous few hours of just me time.
    I may ask him to do this more often.
    To beautiful sweet cheeks Nella, happy birthday my love, I hope you eat lots of cake, and get spoilt on your special day…
    from kelly in Australia
    p.s the photo of Nella in her sunglasses, cracked me up…I actually laughed out loud..she’s adorable Kelle…

  69. Happy Birthday Nella Bean!

    I am trying to focus on myself more too…in the constant day-to-day that goes on with the kids, I loose myself and I too let it go too long and I boil over, having to step away, not realizing, I need to take small moments each day for myself. I also skip washing my face each night because 5 more minutes of sleep are so enticing (we have a 15 mo old non-sleeper and my husband works 3rd shift – I’m tired!). I have been on a mission to give myself more time, even if it means catching the news and knowing what’s going on in the world, it’s important for me to feel connected and take care if myself. Mostly each day I can find a million things to do for my kids that seem more important for me, but I’m important too :)

    I just wanted to say that I read your posts as I’m nursing my little guy to bed each night and loving reading them!

  70. Dear Kelle,
    we’re Catia and Luca writing from Milan, Italy.
    We’re really happy to give our small contribution for the 2for2 found.
    “Richness among difference”
    This quote is ours since we can remember but moreover since 30th September 2011, the date when our 9 yo daughter has been diagnosed with a dyslexic syndrome. her brain is “arranged” with different pattern and in this lies its beauty, it’s uniqueness. Thanks to her we’re learning different ways of learning, absorb information and elaborate data and thoughts…so “Richness among difference”
    A kiss on the tip of the nose to your wonderful daughters and a special hug to a special mom

  71. Kelle- I just can’t get over that photo of you and Nella in the chair. It is absolutely, positively breathtaking.

    I don’t even want to write anything else, because I want you to know just how special I think that photo is.

    Have a great birthday celebration!
    Happy 2nd Birthday Nella.


    Lisa (from Chicago)

  72. The last 3 years have been…crappy. Lost jobs, several moves, a baby with health issues in the middle of it all. I think we’re finally settled, but we find ourselves longing for “the way things used to be.” You are SO right, change happens and we deal with it. Make the best of it. ROCK it. Make lemonade. Or, better yet, a margarita. Starting now. Ready, set, go!

  73. Happy 2nd Birthday Nella! You are so precious! My little change this year is doing my best to adjust my expectations of myself. I have always expected too much from myself and this year I’m going to expect less and see where I land.

  74. Love your post as usual. I have just emerged from a season of patient waiting in my life as I figured out next steps. The waiting was not easy and by the end, things were feeling stagnant and old; a skin that didn’t fit right any more and the colours had all faded. So I’m diving into changing life up, crossing things off my bucket list and having a ton of fun! Started violin lessons (first time ever), set up a 30 gallon tropical aquarium (and am loving the serenity of watching the little fish swimming around), started screen-free Sundays. Life is good.

  75. Your blog is so great because I could have written every. single. word. myself (even though I cant write worth beans). Right down to Nella’s birth story, Down syndrome and all. I dont think a prenatal diagnosis would have been better for me either, I too needed the all at once shock and reprogramming I think. That was almost 6 months ago and life is good now. Although I could do a number on that darn toy basket liner…

  76. I am really going to try to just stay on top of things…I am so good at being organized, as in everything has a place, I just get lost in the crazy of life and don’t put things back. It leaves me feeling overwhelmed all of the time.

    OH, and are those cookies? They look sooo good. Would you post the recipe???

  77. I hit the “things have to change” wall last week. Dumped it all on my hubby. Made some changes, myself: getting up earlier, going to bed earlier, and taking a “just do it” attitude about my house. My mindset has been so much better! Sometimes change needs to happen.

  78. This has been making the facebook rounds lately, its a girl from Ontario and her 18 year old brother who has DS.

    I i thought Id share it here.

    No matter how much I organize my house is always in a state. I dream of having a professional organizer come to my home and somehow make me that woman who has a place for everything instead of the woman who has kne drawer where everything goes.

  79. OMG Kelle – I’m in the middle of a major paradigm shift myself. Can’t explain it, but things are shaking up over here too. Happy Birthday Nella. You’re an amazing little darling. xoxo

  80. Hmmm. Changes usually terrify me; however, one change has me feeling free and hopeful. Our sweet little blessing was born October 1, 2011. This sweet babe has changed my life. I never imagined the fierceness of the love I have for someone so small. I am a teacher and a mommy. Teaching is taking a backseat this fall as I have decided to stay at home with my little one! This ONE BIG change is one I know I will never regret!!!

  81. Happy Birthday Nella. my favorite photo of the post. i love them all but my fav is Nella in her sunglasses. she looks so cool!! i love change. it makes the world go around. enjoy your time of change. (:

  82. Kelle,
    I LOVED this post. . . well I LOVE all your posts but this one really resonated with how I have been feeling lately. My sister (who is 11 years younger than me) was home from college and left 2 weeks ago to head back. Since then I have been in a bit of a funk, cold weather in the midwest wasn’t helping and it seemed like I was just floating through from one day to the next. But I have a new change coming to and I have decided to take charge! My husband starts a new job Monday where he will travel 4 days a week and while I am a bit scared I decided to be a kick-ass mama while he is gone:)

    On another note. . . do I sound stalkerish (I may have made that word up) if I say I wish I lived in FL so I could be your new friend;) Have a great birthday weekend Nella!!

  83. I love this post, and I am amazed at how our lives are often in sync even though I do not know you. I went through a similar tea moment this week. I have to feel like there is a sense of organization in my life, especially as my sweet Ethan has started new private therapies, which have shaken up a bit of our schedule. So, on Sunday, we were in the middle of the floor with toy boxes poured out everywhere, going through bins, and organizing a new book shelf. I cannot tell you how many times I have walked into that room and smiled this week. Yes, it is all about the little things in life that often bring us the biggest smiles.
    Happy Birthday, Nella! You are beautiful, you are amazing, and you have made such a lasting impact in two small years. I cannot wait to see what you accomplish in your sweet life.

  84. I cannot believe Miss Nella is turning 2. AMAZING! I don’t comment much but I do follow your blog every day and love it. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NELLA! AND-Lainey, I think you are the best big sister anyone could every have!

  85. I read your posts and am just in awe every time. How is it that this person whom I have never met knows exactly how I feel. And most importantly knows how to put it in the best way… to write how I feel has always been a huge desire but the lack of knowing how to do it well is my hold back.
    Thank you for putting in words your feelings. You inspire me daily. Your music choice is my daily backdrop… lulling in the background. I couldn’t have picked a more perfect playlist.
    You seem like such a wonderful mom, friend and inspiration to so many. Thanks for keeping so many of us inspired!

  86. You always inspire me Kelle…. you and your amazing ability to write… a true gift. My small change is that I’ve actually started to drink hot tea, yep. Never been a tea drinker, always coffee. But as of late, I find it helps at the end of the day to wind me down a bit. Happy Birthday to sweet Nella girl… a true little beauty…a gift.

  87. little changes for me this year, I have decided to make an effort to take better care of my nails I know this may sound trivial….but my hands take a beating and I look down at them and wonder who’s hands are they? Our grandchildren have even mentioned that I don’t have polish on them anymore. So this year A little pampering is intended. it is the 21st today and no polish yet…but it’ll happen.Smooches and hugs and wishes for a beautiful weekend xo

  88. Love the photo of Nella in the sunglasses! And Lainey dressing her little sister, that’s just awesome.

  89. I don’t have to read the tea thesis to know what’s in it – I remember. I once had two small daughters and a teenage son. A husband and a house and all that comes with being 30. From the vantage point of 51 – I mean – 40 something – I have a hard time not wanting to be back in that moment. The thing I would have done differently is EXACTLY what you are doing. Taking bubble baths in the middle of the day and taking the girls to the beach. Baking and doing crafts with my girls. They grew up so quick. I’m still in a state of shock at how fast it happened. In retrospect – I would have let the house go to hell. I would have thrown a lot more fits. Sorry – I’m writing a dissertation. From where I’m sitting – I think you’re doing a Pulitzer Prize winning job of it :)

  90. Oh my gosh, Lainey is getting so big, Nella’s going to be two, already – time goes so fast, the girls are just beautiful!
    Happy Birthday Nella!

  91. Kelle- Focus on the reset button of family time. Snuggle a little deeper in the covers, breath a little deeper, enjoy the now and not rush so much! Happy birthday Nella.

  92. I cannot believe that Nella is going to be 2! It seems like only yesterday I discovered your blog and sat reading, in tears, her birth story.. Look how far she has come! She has no idea the impact she has made on the world!

    I hope that you all have a fantastic time celebrating her special day! xx

  93. Love this post!! I go through these deep conversations too…sometimes we have to make some big changes to make things better. It is a constant sturuggle to find the balance.

  94. Be present with my children..take risks….limit TV…photograph more…start writing in my blog more…read again…love the hubby more…read your blog more…love it so much…you are an inspiration. Thank you. Happy birthday sweet Nella…

  95. Morning, Kelle… I sit here with tears rolling down my cheeks.. I so get what you shared here.
    O my gosh. I so needed this post this morning. Thankyou.
    Yesterday was a closing of a chapter for me in my own life as a first step to restoring peace in myself and therefore in my home.
    I feel like I am in the same space.. have the same tendencies of picking things apart and analyzing.. totally lol’d at that! And the big hunch inside my heart is to just start clean.. be kind to myself, choose quietness more often, and just be.

    BIG hug.


  96. you are an amazing mom. with beautiful children, a nice kitchen and the sweetest most genuine thoughts

  97. Oh Kelle you speak my language sister. I am 31 and pregnant with my first and I am all sorts of OCD about feeling the need to organize, change, get our life ready for baby. The pic of Nella in the sunglasses was hysterical…good luck with the change and happy birthday to Ms. Nella!

  98. I’ve decided that every month I will donate some money to a different charity. January was to NDSS in honor of Nella and my best friend from Jr. High’s adopted daughter Eden.
    February will be to the local Christian Radio station-even though I’m not a churchy/religious person… It’s listener supported and I really value the upbeat music and DJ’s who are kind to each other and their listeners.
    I’m excited to see what other charities present themselves the rest of the year!

  99. Oh yeah…and Happy Birthday Sweet Nella!! and Happy Mamaversary to you, Kelle! <3

  100. I LOVED your tea analogy!! Beautiful! I think it’s a good sign that the lake is such a comforting place that Nella feels she can really let her guard down and get her sleep on!!

    We’ve got some big changes coming in the next few months. We’re planning some career changes, some location changes and perhaps turning our little family of three into a little bigger family of four!

    All the best in all your little, but awesome changes!!

  101. same sort of feelings over here, friend. shakin’ u pthe tea world and all that. kindred.

    lol. it’s nice the way you write about getting frustrated and just doing something about it finally. sounds poetic. nice job.

  102. As a direct result of this post, I am skipping my Usual Saturday work-out & we are going to make pancakes!

  103. Your dance shadow pic is fab. And Nella zonked under the tree is great, too. I wish mine slept soundly enough for pics.

  104. Quote of the day: “you better fix this shit”. Dude, you nailed it! It’s so true how we can wander through life thinking funks cause us to go batshit, when really, it’s the effect of something bigger. Thank so for writing this!! My tea thesis? Relax more and let go of things that won’t matter when I’m sitting alone in this house one day – crayon on the wall, laundry that needs to be done, that list of stuff goes on and on – and focus more on reading to my kids when they want to, playing with them right away, not AFTER “my list” has been completed, because in truth? It’s a list that will never end. Balance, babe. I’m on it. xo
    ps. Happy birthday weekend, Nella! Shine on, little bean.

  105. Thank you for this post – it wonderfully expresses how I’ve recently been feeling about change and life.

    A beautiful birthday weekend to you all!

  106. In the past change has been hard fir me to accept. I like and even thrive on the stays quo and routines of life. However, something about me switched late in 2011 and a determination that 2012 will be a year of change in all aspects of life. I am beginning with me, changing how I view myself, changing how I take care of me. Well, in all honesty making myself a priority again. I embrace the challenge and the wake up each day knowing that the day, no matter what it brings, is going to be a great day.

  107. Oh my gosh, I could have written this post! Some little helpers have actually dumped their toy baskets all over my sewing room, so whether I want to or not, I am gonna have to clean that crap up *sigh* OH, and I had a basket with a liner too, I threw that shit away long ago LOLOL We have had some big changes in the last few weeks. My littles started school after having been home schooled and I am trying to adjust. No more big changes for me right now, maybe just clean up the mess in my sewing room, so I can enjoy my hobby again.

  108. Before I shake things up I always try to pay close attention to how things are. In the spirit of developing a deeper awareness of my life, I bought a small, black leather journal. It fits comfortably in the palm of my hand and I keep it closed with a flowered, bejeweled scunchy from my favorite boutique. And everyday I write something in my little journal that I become aware of in my life. Yesterday’s entry: I love l’heure bleue, the dawn and dusk of each day.

  109. I try and be mindful that in everything I do, I am making memories for my kids. I have a son who has a very hard time with change. Everyday I am assuring him change is good and is what makes us grow.

    Happy birthday Nella <3

  110. Wow, I feel like this post was written for me to read following my major meltdown last night about how I can’t stand the funk I’m in! LOL Did my husband call you and request the topic? :-)

    Yeaaa, Nella!! 2 years old!! Can’t believe I’ve been reading for 2 years and I still get excited when I know its time for a post. LOL Thanks for sharing, Kelle.

  111. I am ready for a change. Perhaps lots of changes. I love my life, but you’ve got to shake it up from time to time! The biggest change, I am ready for? SPRING! Winter can end already!

    Happy birthday, sweet Nella! You are so loved.

  112. I need make more of an effort at staying on top of the darned kitchen! It’s my least favorite chore and it always seems to get away from me.

    This year I’m going to make a stride at changing that. Kitchen is gonna sparkle.

    Happy Birthday Sweet Nella!

  113. Oh, my goodness. Have I ever been in a rut lately. I agree that we can change things up and pull ourselves out of it instead of waiting it out. My big change has been exercise. Not being a morning person, my new year’s resolution was to hit the gym three mornings a week before work. I haven’t made it three times a week yet, but I have made it a few and I’m not letting anything hold me back this week. Yes, I’d love to lose, oh say, 15-20 pounds, but when I wake up in the morning that’s not how I get myself out of bed. I have to tell myself that I’m doing this for my mind. Another great/inspirational post. And HAPPY HAPPY birthday to sweet, sweet Nella!

  114. Kelle,

    I read your blog often and sometimes I feel like I’m reading my story when I read your writing sometimes. I also have two little girls your daughters’ ages, have been in such a “funk” lately and have been using that exact phrase to describe it lately, and my daughter is having a second birthday party this weekend. I really appreciate your optimistic attitude on life as it encourages me to do so too. There are many changes in store for my family and I’m excited to embrace them. Happy Birthday Nella!

  115. Wow, just what I needed to read today. I’m in such a huge funk in my relationship with my boyfriend. Changes need to be made for sure.

    Love love love that picture of Nella with the sunglasses on! Happy Birthday, sweet girl!!!

  116. My Cup Runneth Over… Truly I can say (and many) you Kelle have changed my life in many wonderful ways.
    May all your birthday wishes come true Sweet Nella. oxox <3

  117. I loove Nella’s picture with the shades, so super cool! I adore her…
    Something I really want to change: I want to get out, make some friends, make cool plans, do and learn new things, get out of my comfort zone, out of my shell… I guess I need to work on my social skills

  118. Since I live in Michigan, I always get a little itchy this time of year for a little change. The weather right now is frigid and it is forcing me to take a long look at what clutter’s our lives on a daily basis. I see alot of organization about to take place. Thank you for your post and the inspiration to welcome change. Happy Birthday sweet Nella! It’s been a gift to share in your adventures and to watch you grow.

  119. Molly Dunn here….Thanks for the shout out Miss Hampton! I can’t wait to shout about NDSS and Miss Nella again! I have been really excited to plan my birthday. I think it is so amazing how so many people are helping to make a difference in this world.

    Happy Birthday Nella! Lainey-you are an AwEsOmE big sis (I’m a big sister too).

    Peace, Love and Happiness Molly “NDSS ROCKS” Dunn

  120. I am laughing so hard about the basket liner. Right before I read this post my best friend and I devised a plan to re-paint my living room and even paint my boring white pantry doors black. As she walked out the door she said, “you are going to feel so good once we change this room” and I know she is right. Change is good and it makes you feel new again!!! Happy Birthday Nella!

  121. Kelle, I stumbled upon your blog a little more than a year ago and I’ve been captivated since. Both of your girls are incredibly precious and Nella’s birthday is very close to my Grandson’s so I love all that you share in pictures and stories. I remember as a young Mom feeling the same pressures you do but let me reassure you now that I am in my fifty’s and I look back at those years of raising my family which I truly loved that you are doing an amazing job. I know that because I can see clearly that everything might not be perfect or right but you do it intentionally with a heart that only wants the best for your family. Somehow that basket episode reminds me of my monthly tangents(is that spelled right?) which I refer to as my burst of energy…that somehow is insink to a certain cyle!!!!! Continued blessings to you as you seek to be the best you can be each day without the pressure.

  122. I am traveling like crazy this spring. And while I am really looking forward to going to crazy-cool places like Hawaii and Aspen, the trade of is that I won’t be spending more then two weeks at home until summer. So while I am preparing for a crazy spring, I hope to enjoy my time at home these next two weeks before all the traveling begins. Thanks for inspiring me to enjoy the small things :)

  123. Happy Birthday sweet Nella!!!

    Things I’m workin’ on:

    1. Be a better friend…the first to help, the first to make the phone call, the first to make a meal, the first to celebrate the good and cry with when the bad comes…that sort of thing..

    2. More playing with the kids, more cuddling with the husband.

    Angie from Ohio

  124. one year and two and a half weeks ago today began the breakdown in my life where i spent both days and nights crying in my dorm room bed at the changes life had thrown my way. it took months and the help of so many that i love to get through such a trying time. i used to feel such hatred for that time in my life, but i can proudly say today that i am thankful for each and every tear that stung my eyes. i look at my life today and realize that it has come full circle. without that time in my life, i wouldn’t be the strong and independent person i am today. i am with you and realize now that change is a GOOD thing. it is such a powerful force that brings about so many great things. i so loved your post today, for it made me reflect on all the good that came of such a sticky situation. thank you for sharing!! :)


    PS. Happy birthday to sweet Nella!!

  125. My change is trying to get the cats to stay off the kitchen table.

    Happy Birthday to Nella Sunshine.

  126. Oh sooo many things…..Less computer, more reading, be completely in the moment with my girls more often, exercise more….the list could go on. I love change and am so inspired by this post that I can’t wait to get up and get the day started!
    Before I do though I must wish the sweet Miss Nella the happiest of happy 2nd birthdays!! What a joy and privilege it has been to watch you grow, have a wonderful day sweetheart xo

  127. PHEW! That post felt good!

  128. More hubby/wife time sounds fantastic to me… now I need to make it happen :) Happy Birthday Nella!!

  129. Thanks so much for sharing your story about losing your $hi+ over a toy basket liner. Really. Because all moms lose it but we feel this shame about having intense “i can’t stand it anymore” moments. It really isn’t about the toy basket liner at all, but instead the culmination of little things that frustrate us, that leads us to a passionate moment. And from that comes change. Change because we don’t want to be losing our shit again over the same stupid thing. And that’s ok. It’s good. So thanks for being transparent on that. We moms need to hear about the imperfect moments, too. 😀 It helps us all feel more real.

  130. Happy birthday sweet Nella. You don’t know it yet but you have changed many people lives! You have made us see different =)

    I can relate to your story of losing yourself over a toy basket!!!
    Can’t wait to see pictures of Nella’s birthday party!

  131. you guys are so adorable!!

  132. Happy birthday, Nella! We’re looking for a new house, trying to sell our current house, and your kitchen pictures are making me droooool!! It’ll happen when it’s supposed to! Have a great weekend.

  133. I signed up for my first 10k and started my official training today! And I hope Nella has the sweetest birthday!

  134. Oh. My. God. YOU rock. Molly Dunn rocks.
    Lainey sure is getting big…is she taller? She looks taller to me! Maybe it was because I looked through some older posts, but, I think she might have grown an inch or two since Christmas photos! Can’t wait to see photos and hear about Nella’s big 2 day! She’s a precious one for sure.
    Take care, Tea Thesis girl…..xo

  135. Happy Birthday Sweet Nella!!

    Thanks for your always inspiring words Kelle. I hope to get things reorganized in my home very soon too!

  136. Small changes? Nah. I’ve gone straight to the big one. Our life, my life will never be the same again. We hope.
    Happy Birthday Nella! Hope you enjoy remembering that special day, even if there are tears.

  137. Small change with a big return-turn off the TV!! Happy Birthday Nella!

  138. It is amazing to me how your posts always seem to match perfectly with what is going on in my life and mind that week. We have some great shared wavelengths going on, Kelle! I definitely want to make some new changes, new goals for the year and for my life. Exercise is a big one. I want to make my body look and feel as good as my mind and soul does. It’s going to be challenging to stick to it, but I hope to be successful!

  139. I’m going to talk less and listen more. Preserving my thoughts.

  140. I hope you don’t mind I posted a link to your blog and to your fundraising page on my blog
    I figure it is the least I can to to help. Your words and pictures continue to inspire me every time you post.

  141. I would like to find the balance…if it’s even possible. I work full-time as a teacher, and have 2 little ones at home. I feel stretched, I am stretched. But, I am working to find the happy balance to keep us all pleased. Time for the kids, time for my husband, time for work, time for friends, time for our home, and if there’s any left- time for me! I set the bar high, but I’m determined to find that balance!
    Happy birthday to your beautiful little girl!!

  142. This year I just want to be better and try harder. Turn the TV off and break out the paints, head out doors, do something fun every day. We’re losing our best friends this month (we are military and such is the life when your friends PCS and you stay behind). I want to use this opportunity to be more open to making friends and not closing myself off to just the comfortable one or two that I have. You can have more than 1 close friend, right?!? LOL! But I definitely admire you and I know that you’ll take whatever goals you have for this year and rock them just like you did with your goal to run every day for a month. You are inspiration! Happy birthday to sweet Nella!!!

  143. After what seems like weeks of indifference, I finally found some motivation today to tackle my “catch-all” bedroom mess. Now I actually have that retreat and sanctuary that your bedroom should provide. I’ll be sleeping well tonight!
    And Happy Birthday to Miss Nella!!

  144. we did the same thing yesterday and today…..painted our “green room” two shades of green (i used to hate green), cleaned out drawers and closets and actually scrubbed my shower (can count on one hand how many times i’ve done that) i feel exhausted but proud of our little house changes. loooooove nella sleeping on the blanket…i want to just kiss her sweet cheeks! can’t believe she’ll be TWO!!!!! i remember where i was standing when she was born. (making mac and cheese btw hehehe) ps. love the story of the little girl that gives up her birthday presents…beautiful. xo

  145. I’d really like to leave the car at home more and use my bike for travel.

    I want to swim weekly!

    I want to get out of this house more! :)

    I want to be more thoughtful with my words.

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  147. We rearranged our living room furniture to accommodate guests at my husband’s Birthday party today. I like the new configuration, so I think we’ll keep it this way for a while. I changed the decor on the fireplace mantle, put a new fragrance in my candle burner and am repainting my nails. I put pepitas in my trail mix instead of cashews and used quinoa instead of oatmeal for breakfast. These have all been small, yet refreshing changes.

  148. Happy Birthday Sweet Nella. Your pictures always warm my heart. I hope your birthday brings you yummy cake, fun presents and lots of (((((HUGS)))) and kisses. You are loved by so many, including me.


  150. I also think that I LOVE change! Even big changes like moving to a different city. I crave it and sometimes that makes me a bit of a dramatic crazy person (just ask my hubba). I love it when change and need co-inside (sp?). Like today, my pregnant girlfriend had bad pain (kidney stones) and I raced over, grabbed her kids, made a dozen phone calls and made sure she got to the hospital safely. Now I hate that she had an emergency illness but my lifeline was lit! I got to say, YES! Here I am! Use me!!!! It felt good to be needed for something than other than wiping messy poo poo and turning on Diego. I just loves your blog, I mean, I really ENJOY it- thanks!

  151. I loved this post! I can so relate to it! Makes me feel that I ain’t a little crazy when I throw a hissy fit when I can’t untangle a knot or find matching socks!

    Happy Birthday to your sweet little girl!

    Your photos are magical xx

  152. My main change is gonna be a new job. Somewhere, somehow, someday (hopefully soon). Went on 2 job interviews Friday. Told them both that I am the person they should hire… but I really want the 2nd job… 30 hr work week leaves 10 more hrs for school!

    2nd – lose the weight… gradually okay… but steadily…. I don’t like it. I don’t want it. I don’t need it.

    3rd – Finally clean out 2 drawers in my dresser and my side of the closet.

    4th – Make more time for the me stuff that I like to do.

    5th – See how many Little
    Dresses for Africa and Britches for Boys I can make. I felt very guilty when I realized my dogs have more clothes than some children.

    I’d also like to donate to Nella’s 2for2… but payday is Wednesday, so please leave it open a bit past Nella’s birthday. There were a few out of the ordinary expenses that demolished my budget this month. (Like new pants that fit for the job interviews. It was so bad to realize I had no dress pants that fit & the 2nd hand shops had none in my size…)

  153. Just like you, I’ve learned to appreciate change. I moved from Peru to the States when I was 15 and my hormones were going crazy, that really made a big impact on me, and ever since I changed my middle name to “change.” I’m not gonna say it’s been easy, but one thing I know is that it’s been great. I’ve grown to be a strong woman, with firm ideals, and values. I’m still learning to stop and smell the roses, to stop being busy all the time and do something for myself, and most importantly others.
    Once again. I love your blog, I read it all the time, and I learn a lot from what you write too :)

  154. Hey Kelle,
    I have been reading your blog for a few short months after a friend of mine from work told me about you and how inspiring you are. I just have to tell you in the spirit of Nella’s birthday weekend (btw Happy Birthday Sister!) that I am a nurse in the NICU and we have a baby in our unit that was born with down syndrome and is very sick(which happens from time to time but not since I started reading your blog) and I found myself drawn to her, just wanting to hold her, snuggle her, love her as much as I can when her mommy can’t be with her 24/7. You have changed completely my outlook on a wonderful group of people that used to slightly intimidate me because I was afraid what to say. I just want you to know what a difference you make in so many people’s lives and mine by sharing your story and your sweet Nella (Lainey too). Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  155. My changes are to make the time to read and to get the laundry folded and put away. I managed to get on top of the laundry over Christmas and it made everything in our life so much easier but we are back to living out of the laundry basket again. I get very frustrated that I can manage so many things but not that so I’m really trying to get on top of it.

    I’m going to ad in skincare too :)

    The photo of Nella in the sunnies is to adorable!

  156. Dear Kelle, my sweet little last daughter turns two on January 27. I will be thinking about Nella so much on her birthday. I am sending you and your beautiful family many, many happy thoughts for the day itself and the whole wide year beyond.

    Your tea thesis paragraph was perfect and sums me up just right! Yesterday my husband treated me to a session with a reflexologist which revealed that my left foot (which represents reason and the quest for search) was a rigid as a plank of wood) whilst my right foot (which represents the emotional state) was supple and happy. If my right foot is that supple it is surely because I let it all out when things begin to pile up emotionally! I too at the grand age of 43 try to be calmer and more rational but it just aint gonna happen!


  157. I have to tell you that I googled your name and I was shocked at some of the negative things that were pulled up. So, all I can say is Congratulations!! You have arrived. I read some of the petty criticisms and it came across loud and clear that the people were very jealous of your success. I just want to thank you for being a positive person and sharing your positive energy with all of us. I enjoy your blogs, reading it makes me happy and encourages me to see how much fun being a mom really is even when the house is a mess and I am exhausted your blog always reminds me to enjoy this time. I LOVE your pictures. I know you can not and should not respond to the haters but they really are just jealous of your wonderful life and success. So enjoy yourself. I love your blog and appreciate that you share yourself with us even though that means dealing with criticism. You rock!!

  158. I agree with Kimmy. I have just cently starting reading your blog. It is so real and I love it!

  159. I’m a new reader, and I’m loving your blog! Thanks for everything you share to keep connecting to your readers, and all that you do to make a change in this world–the actual, entire world! :)

  160. make me cry, make me laugh, how i love to hear the tales of your sweet sweet lives.

  161. That is So. Me. I think that’s probably why I’m always trying to organize and reorganize and clean out nooks and crannies – it makes me feel more in control when things are out-of-control. At least having something *clean* makes me feel better. :)

    I lost it today when my 2-year-old knocked over his very full cup at lunch, sending it across the table and all over the floor. *sigh* I’m glad my kids don’t hold grudges… yet.

  162. LOVE love love the ice cream picnic shots with the dolls. My sister, friends and I grew up with those dolls when they were brand new and that photo brought me such a lovely memory. Thanks

  163. I’ve been trying to write a script for myself for a long time, but could never move forward. I was introduced to and have been trying to write at least 750 words a day of something. It’s quite a challenge!

  164. Great post.

    This year, I want to read more non-fiction – no more parenting books or how-to only. I need to make that time for myself. I miss disappearing in a book.

    I also want to travel into cities more by myself. I’m not a city person by nature, and always enjoyed going to cities but with the comfort of friends and family. I spent the weekend in DC with my best friend and our 3 kids. It was wonderful and invigorating and I think that I can do it with my girl and not get us in a bucketload of trouble. The fear of failure has more to do with safety than getting on the wrong train. Baby steps.


  165. I get it. I feel like I’ve been in a funk for the last few month…not listening and obeying. My word for the year is to rest. I’m shaking things up by learning to trust and let God take care of things that I don’t know how to make possible.

  166. Happy Birthday, Nella! You are a little doll!

  167. This spoke to the very core of being today, thank you for making me sit up and take notice.

    I used to think emotional “funks” would just ride out on their own–grab a board, ride the wave. I find more comfort now though in the truth they hold. Funks aren’t the cause of emotions; they are the effect–messages to which we need to listen and respond.

  168. Ok, so my assessments of me are always that I am not void of emotion but suppress it. So, my challenge to myself (aside from actually completing laundry and doing more than clearing walking paths in my home…seriously making a chore chart for myself so I can get my s$%* together) is to go to the depths and dig up everything that I haven’t been able to or have refused to express….and then deal with it! The good, the bad, the ugly! I’m going to be a new woman!

    Pray for my husband. And children.


    This post was very timely and just what I needed. Many thanks.

  169. My favorite pic? The last one of Nella standing at the wall in her RED pants…OH!!!! Such a Little Tiny :)

    *I hate personality tests…no more for me.
    *The image of you dumping out the toy basket….hahahaha! Me toooo…..every 3 months or so when “I’ve HAD IT!”

    ***For me:
    1. Less time on the computer…it”s sucking me dry (my fault!)
    2. Sit Ups!!! The 3rd baby really did my tummy in….but I’m actually pretty okay with that :)
    3. Finally learning to crochet….I’ve been wanting to do that for 3 plus years now! It makes me feel like I’m actually creative, which makes me feel proud of myself, which is something I’ve needed for MORE than 3 plus years. :)

  170. How do I plan to shake things up…I am having a hard time writing about this one without it being misunderstood. I do know this – I plan to BE exactly who I am meant to be and enjoy living it!

  171. My new tea will include getting unplugged more often and doing community service WITH my 4 year old. Thank you for all your inspiration always. AND…I know Nella will always be able to sleep peacefully by a lake. What a fabulous unintended gift….

  172. I love your blog and you inspire me so much! I am so excited when there are new posts and I eat up every picture but I have to say….Lainey looks like a kid in that last picture! Not a baby or a toddler but a full blown kid! I love watching your beautiful family grow up but man that picture surprised me! Caught me off guard. Beautiful as always!

  173. Such a fantastic and truthful post – I SO get what you mean. You have inspired me to get to work this week! Get things done and pull out of thi new year funk I have been in. There is always something so theraputic about rearranging furniture. I think I will start there.
    Happy Birthday Nella!

  174. I don’t think I have been on your blog in about a year, since Nella’s last bday post and then months before that, after her birth when I was introduced to your blog through my friend Molly Keene. I don’t get on many people’s blogs much because I am trying to keep up with so much of my own stuff. But I LOVE your writing style, your eye for pics, your emotional fits, your sense of family… it is ALL my same passions. I am an L&D nurse I wrote almost 2 years ago. Just moved to Hawaii. Just made my blog private last night and not sure why that bothers me soo much but it does. I am an open book like you. But my husband is in the army as a criminal investigator and has been bugging me for months to do so due to his knowledge content of what is out there. Maybe I need to start another blog. My goal is to reach sooo many people in some form or fashion about something… like you. It has always been a dream of mine. Just have to find out what that is. Why am I going on and on to you? Because I feel like I KNOW you and your precious family after one post. Thanks for the tea 😉 (And I don’t even drink tea!)

  175. This post about change is just what I needed to hear. I have been stagnant in my life for years and have known it’s time for change. Last year I set out to reinvent myself, with little to no results; I set out to do too much, too soon, too fast, and didn’t end up where I wanted to be. This year, I’m looking at things differently. Slow and steady is what will do me good. I can’t be superwoman and do everything perfectly every time all the time. So I’m taking baby steps. I got cast in a play for the first time in 18 months, and I couldn’t be happier to return to the stage. Acting is my passion, and having this passion return to my life is just what I need. I’ve been eating better and packing my lunches at work instead of eating fast food. I’m writing more, and taking more pictures, too. I feel my creative self coming out again, and it’s so great!!!

    And I want to say, I love that picture of Nella wearing the sunglasses. Adorable!

  176. Happy birthday to your littlest of littles. Her birth story two years ago was the fist post of yours that I read. Hooked, heart, line and sinker…

  177. I’ve often had those ripping-out-the-basket-liner kinds of moments, too — they’re so liberating! Here’s a reflection on some changes I’ve made in my life recently, ones that were much-needed and have given me a prettier view of the world:

    I’m so glad to see sweet Nella had a wonderful birthday! Hope you’re enjoying your time away this week.

  178. speaking of rocking the tea world, i’ve been making hot yogi tea every morning… there are sweet little musings on the tea tags and i take photos of them to share with my friends… its been a great start to my day!

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