Mitten State Hollah

I don’t know where to begin. Especially when I’m, again, holed up in a restaurant (Big Boy, thank you very much) with WiFi for a short time with the pressure of ripping this post off before my pancakes arrive. Needless to say, this disconnect thing has been such a good thing for me. I feel relaxed and present.

And, Lawd have Mercy, did Mother Nature ever deliver.


It snowed all day yesterday–thick white flakes that fell fast and caught the sun as they made their journey to the already thick blanket below them so that it looked like glitter–a unicorn concept I fully appreciate. I guess it takes coming back to realize just how beautiful your home state is because I don’t remember ever seeing it this way. It’s spellbinding.




And now it’s time for the breakdown.

Family time at the cottage was magic, the perfect balance between planned and laid-back with many comedic moments of “it wasn’t supposed to go this way” in between–like when we let a sky lantern loose at midnight on New Year’s and instead of it escorting our 2012 dreams in a graceful float into the black sky, it got caught in a tree and shriveled into ashes. Go 2012. Whoo!


We bundled up for cold morning walks on the lake, returned for hot cocoa and games, watched movies, and perfected the art of nothingness.


Parenting has been effortless as the girls have been scooped up and entertained by so many, the sight of which is always endearing.


My favorites so far…

Fireside hot chocolate.


Practicing our Ice Skating Moves.


We’re taking our doubles routine to Nationals.


Our cottage night time routine.


Finding an abandoned store in Johannesburg and jumping out to model with the creepy mannequins.


Spud Warehouse in Gaylord.


Trains in the Snow.


A sight I rarely get to see: my bundled babies with rosy cheeks.


Tubing at Hanson Hills in Grayling.


This picture.


Having to retake this picture with my sibs five times because it was snowing so hard, we couldn’t keep the lens clean.


This picture.


Watching my brother’s dog run free on the lake.


Our famous quilt being dragged in the snow.


Hats. Sweaters. Colorful scarves. Good Lord, I miss these clothes.


The irony of sun catchers against a snowy window.


Doing Facetime with Daddy. We miss him. We love technology.


Sledboarding in a man’s dress coat. You should try it.


Being with my sister.


The frozen lake.


Michigan holly.


Finding everything is more photogenic against snow.


Taking over the bar at the Lewiston Lodge the last night at the cottage. My dad and Gary watched the little kids while the big kids took off to make a grand finale of our last night. There was a jukebox, a line-up of siblings and cousins…and a whole lot of laughter.


I haven’t written or worked or even checked an e-mail in the last four days and as much I’m beginning to feel a little itchy to start working again, I know this time of family and rest has been so beneficial–like a farmer giving a field a rest before planting a new crop. This next year is going to be a good harvest. I can feel it.


I forgot last Friday’s Phone Dump:

We’re finishing the week off in Houghton Lake with my cousin’s family and will soon be back home.


Have a great week.



Leave a Comment
  1. Had a great week! Love you Kelle(:

  2. This all seems like so much fun to me Kelle, your daughters are honestly so cute. I know you hear it all the time but you guys are exceptionally great parents and truly deserve all the wonderful things in life you guys get. Here’s hoping you and your family have an excellent 2012, you definitely deserve it! :)

  3. Aw – looks blissful! We’re on the other side of the lake in Wisconsin and have had practically NO snow yet! I’m more of a sun and warmth kind of person, but by January I’m itching for a storm and a little white stuff!

  4. Yay! Keep on enjoying!

  5. soooooooooooo stinkin beautiful!!!!! the surrounding and the people! :)

  6. You are an amazing writer, photographer, and mother. I love reading about you and your beautiful girls. Thank you for sharing your life with your readers.

  7. These pictures in the snow are amazing. You inspire me all the time to be the best photographer I can be – and these pics just add to that. Love them all! Glad you got to go back home and have fam time :)

  8. Looks like you guys are having a wonderful time! And all of that snow is absolutely gorgeous! Beautiful pictures, beautiful family, & beautiful girls. Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip!

  9. Houghton Lake is one of my favorite places in Michigan! I’m born, raised, and reside in West-Michigan, and we frequently go north for vacation. Lucky you have snow! We just got our first (small) taste of snow 2 days ago. Before that…brown, brown, brown!! And even now, after my kids have played in the white fluff, it’s a weird combimation of white and with some brown swirls mixed in! Have a great time in Michigan, I love it!
    p.s. And thanks for bringing the snow! I have a feeling it was made just for you and the girls’ visit!

  10. Love, love, love! I went to school at Michigan Tech & my heart always skips a beat when someone mentions Michigan winters… even if not in the UP, you’re “close enough” & I have friends who hail from all of those spots: Grayling, Gaylord.. enjoy! Soak it up! I love your tale-telling! Thanks for sharing!

  11. GORGEOUS post! I adore the pic of Nella on the sled and the pics of you in your Antro sweater right under it. So glad you had a great birthday week! :)

  12. this post made me so happy for you and the girls, brought tears to my eyes! My husband said to me “you love that blog, you act like you know her, you get emotional everytime you read it” and that Kelle is the magic of your blog, thanks so much!

  13. Another awesome post that I smiled through the entire time. Have fun the rest of your week!

  14. God bless Lake Effect Snow. We’re being dumped on as we speak.

    Your week looks like my kind of bliss.

  15. Now I’m getting homesick for SNOW!!!!

    Love the photos!

    Glad you had a blast!

  16. Y’all’s winter attire rocks my world! It’s so cute! We don’t see that side of your wardrobe considering you live in FL. Lol.

    Love, Mere

  17. i’m happy you turned the music back on!

  18. Now come on! Did you really have any doubt that Michigan would have snow? ; ) Don’t they always have snow? Like July thru May, right? : ) I love these pictures. So glad you are having an amazing time!

  19. Gah. I long to be in a place where it snows, WHILE it is snowing. Not afterwards. I long to photograph my son in the snow and all kinds of other things. Snow is BEAUTIFUL! lol.

    Your pictures are gorgeous as ALWAYS.

    Hope you guys enjoyed your new year! :)

  20. Love it. Last photo is simply AWESOME!

  21. Those practicing skate moves photos are AMAZING! Love. We stayed in a cabin in Big Rapids last fall and it was so nice to be disconnected. Also, love Michigan Big Boys! :)


  22. SMITTEN!

  23. what a magical post! love bundled babies in the snow! looks like you guys are soaking in every moment, love how you are showing your children gratitude and joy…just love it!

  24. What a wonderful post and pictures of an amazing time with your family!! I love reading your blog, your zest for life is so contagious, and your pictures are always beautiful! Have a fabulous 2012!

  25. Aww! I’m so glad you’re getting to spend some time with your family :) We had lots of family around this holiday season and it was awesome! Looks like you all had fun and btw, your brother is hot! 😉

  26. beautifully snowy album. Happy New Year.
    Love from UK

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Love this post! I love how you love your family. It’s precious. And that picture of your sister snuggling with Nella made me teary – so sweet & tender.

  29. Happy New Year! <3 you and your family & am so glad to be spending another year following your exciting tales!

  30. Looks so peaceful. I want to be there. Cheers to you and a new year full of possibilities!

  31. Oh gosh! Snow it certainly did last night!! I’m in SW Ontario Canada, and we were green until the 14+ INCHES we got overnight! I’m not feeling so festive this morning.

  32. Looks like such a wonderful time, with family!
    It seems like you have a great time and totally off duty – good for you :-)

    Wonderful winter shots, the opposite of Miami!!!

  33. definitely one of those posts I don’t want to end! Wish you could have kept writing this one for day!

  34. you must have received those same gigantic flakes that fell here. gorgeous.
    and although the crickitycrack of a frozen lake settling scares the bejesus out of me … there is something really special about walking from shore to shore. on water.

  35. i think this is my favorite post you’ve ever done. love the snow, the family time … and pictures are just gorgeous! so glad you got to go home!

  36. I love that you rocked your dress in the snow. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love that part of your post!

    Thank you for sharing your beauty and your family with us.

    I can’t believe that our little ones are turning two this month! Mine celebrated her birthday yesterday and we did it up – two parties in two days just one week after Christmas! Wishing your sweet Nella a happy early birthday.

  37. Oh I am so jealous! I just left Michigan before the snow came :( and now it’s cold in Florida. Go figure :)
    Enjoy it!!!!

  38. When your happy and you know it slap your friends.. Kelle.. it’s so funny… I love you in red and yellow.. love all the snow pictures.. it’s like a great coffee table book full of images I want to pinterest …I love the lantern idea.. sorry it didn’t make it.. but I agree.. this break from technology and letting the farms rest as you put it.. is just what you and your girls might need. Happy New year.. Kelle

  39. Soak it up, baby, soak it up! Love seeing the girls all bundled up ~ looks like they are having a ball! Enjoy the remainder of your trip and safe travels home! Oh, and your pictures: AWESOME.

  40. This post just radiates joy, sweet girl! Have a brilliant week!


  41. I love that your phone dump grid goes from sunny t-shirts to snowy cottage; what a wonderful week!

  42. So glad your winter wonderland delivered! I seem to remember a post from last year(?) where you wished for just such a trip… love it when wishes come true.
    Hope this is the first of many for a very happy 2012.

  43. Beautiful pictures, beautiful post :)

  44. *You are gorgeous as always…no matter in the sun or snow, swimsuit or sweater (or a man’s dress coat ;).

    *Your quilt sure has a lotta love wrapped up inside it….so sweet you took it with you!

    *That mannequin pic is so COOL… in a creepy way–hahaha!

    *What a dreamy get away for you and your family. Thanks sooo much for the glimpses…..we would have really missed you, otherwise. Glad you were still at east a little plugged in :)

  45. Magical.. your pictures are simply magical!

  46. What wonderful memories! And a gorgeous family! Thank you for sharing these!

  47. Beautiful post! My family & I just moved from the Johannesburg/Lewiston area in July & we really miss it! Loved seeing all of your pictures. A little bit of history~that building in Johannesburg was a general store back in the day. So happy to hear you enjoyed your time.

  48. You guys just have so much fun, all the time :-) I like that!

    Also, you are gorgeous, as are your girls!

  49. Just Lovely!! MI holds a special place in my heart too. My family has a cottage on Lake MI (by Silver Lake if you are familiar with that are). I’ve been going there every summer since I was a baby. I can only imagine how incredible it would be in the winter time! Happy New Year Kelle!


  50. looks like SO much fun. living in utah you would think we would have snow to play in but we haven’t had any this year

  51. Un-Fab-believable! Great pictures. Sounds & looks like a lovely time. Gorge gorge gorge. xoxo

  52. I’ve never commented before (yeah, I am a stalker like that), but I just had to when I read where you were! My parents have a cottage in Lewiston (East Twin) and lots of my family live up there year round (my uncles on the True Value)! What lake were you on? Did you have a Tally burger while you were up there???

  53. I don’t know if you noticed this, but your scrabble tile pieces spell out “healing”

    Appropriate, no?


  54. I have never ever seen the snow (I live in West Australia) and my god does this post make me want to…oh so bad! Nice to see you back to your roots enjoying some snow time Kelle.

  55. Kelle I look forward to your blog posts more than you know. They inspire me to live in the moment and just plain have more fun.

    Have a splendid 2012.

  56. Such fun pictures. The love shines right through my computer screen. And that snow! It makes me miss my mountain. Have fun!

  57. It looks like you had a beautiful time! Happy 2012!

  58. the bathtub. I die. Beautiful pictures, all of them!

  59. Hooray! I love all the pics & know this trip was a dream come true for you. My faves are the pics in front of the abandoned store with the mannequins. Too cool!

  60. Absolutely wonderful! I have tears of joy for you streaming down my face. I love that you are having such an amazing time with your family in your home state.

    Happy New Year to you!! This will definitley be a good crop, I can feel it too! :)

  61. Your happiness reaches out and slaps me from your photos…you’re happy and you know it. Stay wonderful. xo

  62. Beautiful!! Makes me miss the snow a little tiny bit, as we moved from the midwest to Georgia. I guess our hearts never change. Enjoy every minute of it!

  63. Love the pictures! You look great in hats and boots! Happy New Year!

  64. I love the pictures and the snow. i really wish some snow would fall around here!

  65. I just wanna say, WOOOOOHOOOOO! That post just radiates happy! Thanks so much.

  66. Holy snowin’ smackerel!
    Beautiful shots, beautiful family…beautiful snow…you and your girls have captured that unicorn magic and bottled it…looking through your photos it feels so effervescent, sparkling, floating, magical, larger than life itself……right there in the snow, in the place that was home…….you seem as if you belong there, like a long lost friend calling you up to say “HI! I’ve missed you, I’m glad you’re here”…….

    What an unbelievable close to the year, and a beautiful beginning for the new one. WOWZA!!! Be safe in your travels…xo

  67. This looks so awesome. Glad you had a wonderful time with your family. :)

  68. West Michigan just got their first good snowfall! It was about time.

    My family has a lake house in Houghton Lake…what a beautiful place to be during the winter!

    Enjoy your time and safe travels back home.

  69. Love the frozen lake, creates quite the scene. Looks like the girls love it warm and sandy or cold and snowy, what fun for them to experience both.
    Have a great trip home!

  70. Wow props to you for writing your post in a Big Boy lol. I would be so distracted. As I type right now I have a 1 and a half year old pounding n the key board! I loved the post =)

    – Sarah

  71. Just beautiful! Love everything about this post!

  72. Love this post.

  73. Looks like you guys had an amazing time. Disconnecting from the world, but really connecting with the people that matter…. Always a good thing. Thanks for the music….my little one was getting down to “Streets”….LOL. As always, your pictures are beautiful!

  74. beautiful pictures. Love your yellow sweater. And everything else!!!!

  75. hmmm…I think you should leave your job as a blogger and become a fashion consultant. I could seriously use some of your style tips! Especially the red dress…LOVE!

  76. Beautiful photos. I just Love Lainey’s hat and coat on her ~ too cute!!

  77. LOVE the photos! Snow does seem to make everything look better :)

    Glad you gals are having fun!!

  78. Oh Jeez, you’re getting this super cold weather then! The past week has been great temperature-wise! My happy place is my family’s cottage at Houghton Lake :), although part of the “happy” is summery 85 degree weather!

    Glad your girls are getting to experience snow – especially with the lake effect we got up north (while here in the burbs of Detroit, we only have a dusting).

  79. i love hearing about your adventures. smiles are contagious!

  80. LOVE, love, love these pics. The girls surely do “pop” against the snow. I know what you mean about it not being as pretty when you see it for 9 months out of the year and it causes you to be 2 hours late for work…but everyone needs a little snow in their winter. Just long enough to love it, adore it, play in it, and then bring back the warm :)

  81. We are looking at your pictures missing MI. Every summer we go and enjoy a month at my husbands family farm and my kids and I Love it. I do miss MI in the winter as we now live in Florida. We always have a blast when we are MI because we also get to see my sister in royal Oak and my parents in Windsor Ontario. You should bring your kids to Torch Lake in the summer…it is beautiful. Happy New Year to all!

  82. Oh my gosh – I love this post. I can just feel the happiness radiating! Here’s to a fabulous 2012!

  83. Beautiful moments of your life and amazing pictures as usual.Happy New Year to you Kelle and your family :)

  84. How amazing. I have been eagerly awaiting this post. I too, love to get me some home time. I didn’t get to go this year for the holidays, but there will be more trips in 2012. Happy New Year and travel safely.

  85. Looks gorgeous!! Way to represent MI. Looks cold too. Brrrrr….

  86. 17 more days till we head up to Michigan for a long weekend. Its been three years since I’ve gone back when there is snow on the ground. Your pictures are making me more and more antsy for frost kissed cheeks and crisp cool air.

  87. As I was reading your post I was thinking of how it reminded me of our winters at Houghton Lake (my grandparents lived there and had built a house.) Then I got to the end of your post and you were actually heading to Houghton Lake – how funny! It really is beautiful. Glad your girls got to enjoy the snow. Your pictures are wonderful – such great memories for your family!

  88. please tell me that’s true…that everything is more photogenic against snow…cause all those photos are breathtaking!!

  89. WOW! Beyond beautiful photos of your home & family. Amazing actually! Thank you for sharing your piece of heaven with us. The frozen lake shots are my favourite. It’s important to unplug and spend magical moments with family…it refuels the tank!! Enjoy the rest of your time in Michigan!

    Happy 2012


  90. FANTASTIC! Happy new year!

  91. What to say, so many memories for you and your girls. Looks like you’re all having THE best time. I’ve never been near that much snow, we get some here in Tasmania, but it is usually nowhere near that deep, and frozen lakes. Your brother’s dog is gorgeous, but then I may be just a tiny wee bit biased having two German Shepherd’s ourselves.
    Glad that you’re switching off and being present, but bet you miss Brett!
    Can’t wait to see the final mitten state hurrah post.

  92. Happy New year!!! Yaaa your in MI we sured did get a ton of snow:)

  93. So glad you got to go home! The snow looks so beautiful. I’m in SE Michigan and we don’t have any snow. I kind of miss it! Love your blog and your girls are beautiful!

  94. So glad you’re having such a fantastic time up north! Thanks for sharing that very precious family time. Oh, and I LOVE that Carin hacked your facebook account.
    Wish I had a sister…

  95. Beautiful pics!

  96. Truly beautiful pics! We live on the east side of the mitten state and didn’t get the snow. Love your blog.

  97. So THAT’S where all the snow is :). We were in Ludington this weekend and didn’t have any! Gorgeous pictures, and I’m glad you enjoyed your time mittening it up :)

  98. what wonderful memories! Beautiful pictures!!

  99. Family. The best. For connecting, for sharing, for playing, for relaxing.
    Love the updates from MI!

  100. Kelle……seriously. you are so flippin gorgeous. And I am so glad you are soaking up your vacation! What a wonderful gift.
    Can’t WAIT to see what Nella’s 2nd birthday brings!!!!

  101. How awesome that you were in Gaylord. My grandma lives there and we used to visit all the time but I haven’t been there in over 10 years. I miss the far north and the family time. Have fun.

  102. I love the picture of your niece with her insulin pump out!!

  103. All I can say is Wow. Wow! Amazing.

  104. I think this is my favourite post from you.. Your happiness is so evident through your words and photos..

    A few of my new years resolutions are, to be more optimistic, to stress over little things less and to pick up my camera more.. I think I need to take a leaf out of your book! I love your outlook on life!

    Also loving the photos of the girls bundled up! x

  105. Being spoiled by living nestled between Traverse City and the Sleeping Bear dunes, I forget that there are other beautiful spots in lower Michigan too. 😉 Glad you enjoyed your Michigan get-away. Homecomings are always sweet.

  106. I’ve looked at these twice! Love them all! So glad you’ve had a time of rest and fellowship to refuel and prepare for the year. Looking forward to seeing what 2012has in store for your precious family.

  107. Wondering when that snowfall is gonna make it’s way to me in Utah. Happy new year!

  108. this post made me so happy :) and jealous. like, really really jealous.

  109. You look so happy. How fun!

  110. Love the wintery pics! We are just north of Port Huron and still have just snow sprinkles. Can’t wait til we go full on! Looks like you are having a wonderful time!

  111. Cute cute cute!

  112. I LOVE your LOVE for the snowy weather! I wish East TN would get a big snow! Everything is more cozy and quiet with snow! I just LOVE your blog and it always warms my soul to read it!

  113. That outfit on you in the last 2 photos, FAB! I want every piece! Nice work.

  114. i love how the pictures tell the story.

    looks like so much fun!

  115. Loved this post, Kelle. Wish I could have made it up there to be with the cousins!! I feel a sick day coming on…

    Oh…phone dump…Nella in a black and white chair. Where was that? I need that chair something bad. Gorgeous!!

  116. Kelle,
    As I was reading the post, I thought for sure it was somewhere close. I live in Houghton Lake and hope like heck I run into you and your girls while you are here!

    Happy New Year and enjoy your time in Michigan!

  117. Beautiful post, I can feel the happiness – and so many absolutely stunning photos. A very happy new year to you and your family!

  118. Loved this post… as usual it made me feel happy and inspired to make great memories!!

  119. Those pictures of snow are the reason I love it so much. There is something truely magical about it. Even though images lifted my spirits and made me wish for snow again.
    Glad to see you guys are having an amazing time 😀

  120. I love it!! Everything is SO beautiful!! Certainly a fabulous way to start the new year…busted lantern or not!

    Angie from Ohio

  121. After someone pinned the “North Pole Party” on pinterest….I got here and got hooked quickly on the stories of your family. There is so much going on in the world that is unsettling….reading your blog makes me happy and is just a fabulous reminder to do more to fill my kids childhood memories with magic. As I’m sure so many others surely have, I went back to the beginning in 2007 and for several weeks I have been clicking “newer post” again and again…..joyfully reading from the bottom up… everything is in order. I’m up to the point where Nella is six months old……I love finding little bits of time to read and feel happy, inspired, sometimes teary. Feeling like your blog just might be one of the most important things I’ve read for many reasons. Can’t wait for your book! Anyway….a newer reader just wanting to say THANK-YOU.

  122. Oh Kelle, I’m so happy for you! Your last two posts have oozed with happiness and unicorn like joy. I can tell this is so special for you and I think it’s a great way to kick off the new year!

    I wish you a wonderful last few days! Soak it up, take many more pictures (like I know you will), and enjoy! Enjoy every moment!


  123. you’re gorgeous you know that right?? and i’m coveting the crispness of your photos. shame on me. so glad you got your snow fix. looked awesome!!

  124. Brrrr. But it looks soooo fun. Everyone seems so happy, and you look fabulous! You are always so well put together.

  125. Have you seen this???? LOVE!

  126. I live in Michigan (and love it!)! And my boyfriend is from Alba (Gaylord-ish area) He took me to the Old Spud Warehouse for the first time last month and I wandered for HOURS. Lovely place. I finally settled on a peacock-printed scarf. :) *Heading up north this weekend… and I’m planning to go back.* :)

  127. BEAUTIFUL! It looks like you guys are having a wonderful time. Isn’t facetime great though!!! We use skype pretty much everyday. Got to be thankful for this technology.

  128. You should definitely post more pics of your brother ;o) lol

  129. and to think you photos couldn’t be more breathtaking!! wonderful memories made and captured :)

    enjoy the last but of true michigan fun!!!

    love it all!!!

  130. I’m so glad you found winter clothes for the babies, but you didn’t tell about your sister jacking your phone :)

  131. Things I love right now…Nella’s necklace she wears, her precious owl hat and your polka dot sweater!

  132. Beautiful pictures! I’m so happy you had this time with your family!

  133. Beautiful. thank you for sharing your joy.

  134. 1. how is it that i live in ohio and have never gone tubing?? i need to change that this year…

    2. im watching the sugar bowl…GO BLUE! i heart michigan!!! :)

  135. Lordy. Lordy. How amazing. And you make those mannequins look smoking! (really reminds me of an Anthropology add).

    It’s a high of 27 here and I drove through 2 snow showers. Ah, if it’s going to be THAT cold, bring on the beauty.

    You make me jones to go tubing. Looks like a freaking blast!


  136. I love all your yellow sweaters. But sweet Nella’s face is even better! I am so glad you had this time of refreshment!! :0)

    – jen

  137. As much as I love hearing my 8-year-old’s laughter and singing, I’m beginning to regret showing her the pic of the sign: “If you’re happy and you know it…”. Great post once again!

  138. I’m jealous. I have been wanting snow for weeeeeeeeekkkkks. Please send some of your beautiful flakes my way! (east!)

    Looks like an amazing time. I have fond memories of spending time in a cabin with my family when I was a little girl. They were some of the best times. Hopefully Lainy will remember these times the same way!

  139. Big Boy! Houghton Lake! Another Michigan-born gal here, loving your pictures as our 36 hours in MI were too short!

  140. I just love your pictures! Looks like you guys had a great vacation!

  141. Great photos! We are still waiting for snow in Wisconsin but I am more motivated to appreciate it with your fun mitten state photos. Love it! What an incredibly quaint and gorgeous cabin to soak it all in.

  142. Rebecca from Houghton Lake,
    Kelle’s cousin is the principal of Houghton Lake High School–Brent Cryderman. Great guy–my nephew. I’m very proud of him.

  143. Love it!! I’m a fellow Michigander and it’s fun to hear such enthusiasm about the Mitten. Wasn’t that snowstorm crazy beautiful? So glad you’re enjoying your family — great, great, great pics.

  144. It sure looks like some great old fashion fun. When I was little we used to vacation at Houghton Lake in the summers. Looks like more fun in the winter. Such beautifu pictures of your family. Wonderful memories.

  145. Looks like you guys are having a great time! The snow is so much fun with little ones, nothing like it!


  146. I’m not sure whether it’s the way you write, your photographs or the places themselves, but it seems that every place you visit is so magical! Love the pictures! :)

  147. It’s funny, but out of all those gorgeous snow pictures and the vibrant colors against the white and the environment and the happy family… my favorite picture is the bathtime one. I scrolled back up to look at it three times. I couldn’t move on! Adorable. The kind of pictures I want to take!

    Also, I thought of another FAQ- I’ve been following you for over a year now (minus the three or so months after I had my son and lost track of everything but my kids), and I’m still wishing for a cast of characters. Besides the people who live (at least part of the time) in your house, I don’t really know your family. Who’s Gary? Do you have just the two siblings? Do you see them/talk to them much? (I do remember you mentioning talking to your sister occasionally.)

    Enjoy the end of the snow, Kelle! And then enjoy Brett and getting back to the warmth, which has its pluses, too. Thanks for sharing!


  148. Kelle,

    You are KILLING me & making me SO homesick!! lol! I grew up in Michigan & I know ALL of the places you’ve mentioned! Gaylord, Houghton lake…all of it! I’ve lived in Texas now for over 20 year & I want my children to experience a winter/Christmas like this SO bad! We’ve started a Christmas in Michigan 2012 piggy bank & my girls are SO excited! Love seeing all the pictures..getting a little bit of a fix through you. :)

  149. Oh girl. This Texas girl wouldn’t have the slightest clue what to do with that much snow, ice & Brrrrrrr!!!

  150. Fellow Michigander here(only about 10 minutes from your hometown)and so jealous that we only have a dusting of snow!!! Your pictures are beautiful, memories are making, and the mannequins…well, they are just a tad bit CREEPY!!! Have a safe trip back <3

  151. oh my word…the first photo looks like a painting. this post so makes me want to have a white christmas. it was 79 degrees in cali today. ha.

    p.s. your brother is very handsome. don’t tell my husband i said so though. Lol!

  152. Your brother is VERY good looking :)

  153. That photo of you with your siblings, worth every moment I say. Brillliant.

  154. Rik,
    I know Brent through a couple of differnet organizations – and you are right, he is a great guy! Talk about a small world.

    How long are you in Houghton Lake?


  155. Looks like a dream!! So fun :) That quilt is like that little gnome on the travelocity commercials now!!! :))))

  156. Love this post! In Kansas, we haven’t had much more than a dusting of snow. I find myself saying out loud that I’m thankful for the mild winter but I’m fibbing.

  157. Great post! Love the pictures too. Where did you get that mustard color sweater? I LOVE it!!

  158. i just wanted to share a blog post where i have mentioned you :)


  159. I’ve read it twice and looked at the pics twice. Oh, how I’d love to see some snow. Thanks for ‘bringing me home’ for a few minutes!

  160. First, I love your blog. I love the beautiful pictures. The girls are more than a little precious, too.

    I shared the link for your North Pole Party on my blog during December, and there were several people who couldn’t wait to throw this party!

    I am so happy you are getting to spend time in the snow with your sweet family. Enjoy this time with them! I know you will.

    P.S. I even got a little chill in Alabama looking at these wintry pictures. I had to look around for a sweater!

  161. What a beautiful, beautiful post. It warmed my soul and made me wish for days that you can never, ever get back…thank you, thank you for such a wonderful blog.

  162. Where do you get those lanterns?!? That’s what I wanted to do on New Year’s Eve, but sorry yours didn’t turn out as expected…

  163. Started this blog with hearing U2’s Where the streets have no name. Awesome song to accompany this post! The lake looks gorgeous. Glad you having some nice quality time with family.

  164. That is the best looking cup of hot chocolate ever – Fo’ real!! Glad you and your little ones are enjoying time in your home state!!


  165. No way you finished that before your pancakes. But kudos if you did;)

  166. Dear Kelle…

    Seems like you’re pretty S’mitten!

    he he.


  167. Oh how wish it would snow here. What a fun time for you and the girls. Everyone looks like they are in heaven.

  168. Love it!! Makes me want hot chocolate and a heavy quilt just looking at the pictures.

  169. Another Michigander here :). I actually drove past those mannequins this summer (on our way from grand rapids to Alpena) and pointed them out to my hubby!!! You taking pictures of them makes me realize how small of world we live in :).

    I love your blog… You inspire me to be more creative with my family!

  170. Wow, looks fantastic! You and your girls are simply adorable and so photogenic.
    I love love your snow pictures and dream of a White Christmas one year ( from Australia here).

    Happy New Year

  171. It’s just not winter until you make a snow angel! So happy you got to enjoy the winter wonderland. Snow came and went here and I miss it. The tourism is slowing and Sundance film festival is just around the corner. Every morning I ask did it snow? O wove the snow and snow is expected for all of the theater goers. Hoping it’ll be back soon. I love having four seasons. Hugs

  172. The observation about the paper lantern…hilarious!

  173. I’ve checked your blog periodically over the last year or so and always enjoy your beautiful photography and your amazing little girls. I just had to drop a line this time and smile at seeing your family in Johannesburg and Lewiston. My grandfather was born and raised in Lewiston and went to high school in Johannesburg. To this day our family keeps a cabin in Lewiston. Nothing quite like being Up North, is there? All the best to all of you in the new year!

  174. Ciao… ti scrivo dall’italia e ti ho conosciuta ieri leggendo un quotidiano online (che fortuna!)… il tuo blog è molto bello, le tue foto meravigliose e la tua vita davvero colorata… complimenti
    a presto, Paola

    Hello … I write from Italy and I met you yesterday, reading a newspaper online (how lucky !)… your blog is very nice, your photos are wonderful and your life seems very colorful … compliments
    see you soon, Paola

  175. Makes me smile. :)

  176. Thank you so much for sharing these pics of Michigan. I am from MI but live in AZ. I miss it so :-) Happy new year to you and your beautiful family!

  177. I have read your blog for sometime but have never commented. When I saw where you have been the past few days I couldn’t help but comment. We have a cottage on Douglas Lake (Old State Rd.) in Johannesburg. Those mannequeins freak my kids out, so funny. The Old Spud Warehouse is fun. You should also check out Glenda’s behind the kitchen shop in town. The restaurant attached to the Spud is pretty great too. So glad you got snow. There wasn’t much snow when we were up there after Christmas but I am hoping there is some when we are up there next time. Enjoy the snow!

  178. I read your blog (I love it!) and I live in Michigan. I was scrolling through your post and was shocked to see your photos of the Lewiston/Gaylord area, because my family has a cottage there, on Big Bear Lake! I recognize all of those places and I spent a huge part of my childhood there! I love it,but I never go in the winter. It’s pretty!

  179. Loved seeing the pictures of your niece (I’m guessing) with her diabetic pump. My son wears the same one in the same spot. Looks like it was a great trip!!
    Jane (Sara Floyd’s friend from Louisville:)

  180. I am a native Michigander and we had a similar experience this year. We went home. Finally. We went back to Michigan after five years and Ann Arbor was even more awesome than I remember. We’ll never wait that long to return again (maybe even permanently). As always, love the pictures.

  181. Lainey+ Nella= Bathing Beauties 😀 te he

  182. Fabulous pics. Totally reminds me of winter in Ontario. I miss snow.

    Great scrabble letters too… you can spell HEALING. Bingo! :)

  183. love the falling snow pics. awesome post. (:

  184. Such happy memories you are making with your girls and such inspiration you are giving me to enjoy my girls! Happy new year to you all!

  185. Hi Kelle, this is Phebe all the way from Singapore :) Just want to say I love your blog. Your pics tell a thousand stories. Love them!

  186. I’ve been reading your blog since earlier this fall. First time to comment. Which is weird, because I like to tell people my opinions.

    So here is what I have to say:
    1. You are so beautiful. Inside and out.
    2. Your kids are so beautiful. There is something about Nella that frequently brings tears to my eyes. She is so precious. It might be because my baby is about the same age. So when I see pictures of Nella, I see my darling Kaija.
    3. I hope this isn’t creepy in stalker sort of way. It is kinda, isn’t it?
    4. I live in Michigan (for not quite two years), but I moved here from New Mexico. I can relate to you and the way that you feel about your two “homes”. I lived in MN before that, so MI climate isn’t a huge shock.
    5. Your words and pictures are captivating. The one of Nella and your sister!? brought tears to my eyes. So sweet.
    6. I really don’t stalk you. Don’t call the police. 😉
    7. Your brother is smokin’ hot. Too bad he appears to be taken. Oh, yeah. And I’m married. Almost forgot that part. 😉
    8. You seem like a really great mom. I wish I was as good as you. You are inspiring.
    9. I think that about covers it.

  187. It looks like the girls loved the snow! The photo shoot of the sisters was amazing! I haven’t been able to take snow photos in YEARS and after seeing your gorgeous ones, I’m itching to! Isn’t it the weirdest feeling to be home but be missing home too? It happens to me all the time with my home in Maine…Hope you feel better soon!

  188. I’ve been listening to your playlist all day! You’ve listed some of my favorites – especially Sufjan – he graced my wedding day with his musical presence. :)

  189. dang girl…your pictures are just stunning. I always find myself pausing a bit here and there and lingering a little longer on certain shots because you have such a creative eye and your light is so right on. What a fabulous post capturing your family time. I felt like I was there!

  190. snowy pictures, so pretty!

  191. I hadn’t visited your site in a while and was pleasantly surprised to see some lovely posts on my home state, Michigan. I too spent many winters (and summers) near Gaylord in East Jordan, a place that is very near and dear to my heart.

    Always a pleasure to read what you have to say.

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