For the Love of Babies

Upon completion of her breakfast this morning, Lainey set out to the bathroom where she carefully prepared the sink for her baby doll’s bath, gathering folded towels for cushion, a bottle of hand soap, a small washcloth, and a toothbrush-turned back scratcher. I watched as she gently submerged her baby and quietly wiped her clean.

You know those moms who don’t offer any guidance in selecting toys and are very careful to let their children be who they’re going to be? When it comes to dolls, I’m not one of them. I love baby dolls. I still walk through Toys ‘R Us and stop to smell that strawberry-meets-baby-powder scent of doll plastic, and eBay quickly predicts Madame Alexander and Lee Middleton in my search bar. My kids had no chance; they were going to play with dolls. Thankfully, it took no convincing.


We have five Barbies in our home–two with their hair chopped off, one with a Sharpie-colored face, all of them naked, and four (one’s banished to the dark, sandy confines of our beach toy bag) living in our bath tub where my girls make them dive off soap dishes and wear shampoo cap hats.

But babies? We are the Duggars of dolls.

They’re everywhere. Birthday gifts, hand-me-downs and the most likely culprit, Brett and Lainey’s “grocery shopping” trips. We’ve sent them to Goodwill, we’ve given them to friends. Strangely, they reappear.

And I’m not complaining.



Nella has picked her favorite–an old doll of Lainey’s with a soft middle and light blue shoes. She totes her everywhere and, after several days of repeating the same thing over and over, we determined she named her baby “Boppy.” To test our theory, Brett and I have hid the doll, made it reappear, asked her who it was, told her to go find Boppy and, sure thing, it’s Boppy.


While we used to joke that Nella bossed her babies around, she has arrived. She is gentle and kind, and I can’t help but smile watching both my girls exhibit characteristics I hope they see in me.





For all the days I rocked my own baby dolls to sleep and for all the moments I witness my girls loving on theirs, I’m so glad I’m not playing house anymore. It’s for real.



Friday Photo Dump:

Friday Phone Dump photos are taken on the Instagram iPhone app (free) and dropped into a 12×12 collage using a photo editing software (Photoshop Elements works). I am @etst (enjoying the small things) on Instagram if you want to follow the feed.


Sponsor, Crystal & Co. is returning to sponsor this month. Texas Native and mom of five boys, Crystal has created a resource site for moms where she shares crafty tutorials and quick & easy meal planning ideas for families. Crystal’s easy recipes and crock pot solutions (including desserts) are sure to help you manage your day a little more easily.


Check her out!


Have a great weekend!



Leave a Comment
  1. “the duggars of baby dolls!” love it, and loved the description of the Barbies! this was fantastic.

  2. Happy Weekend to you!! Been looking for some great recipes, especially when your tomato sandwich looked so good – thanks for posting!

  3. “We are the Duggars of dolls” – LOVE it! I was like you and I so wanted my girl to be, but alas, she is more veterinarian than mama. She has been known to say on many occasion “I don’t like baby dolls, I like AMinals!”

    The photos are all really sweet, as always, but I especially love that one of Lainey feeding the baby in the high chair with the sun coming in. Beautiful!

  4. So adorable. I agree that a doll is a much better toy for a little girl, than a barbie and I hope my daughter agrees.
    Can’t believe that your book will be on my doorstep in a couple of days! SOOOOOO excited!

  5. our day here in MA has been very similar. in fact, as shuffling out of the house with 2 little girls, and 3 baby dolls, my eldest looked at me and said “mommoa – where’s your baby?” the humor was not lost on me. and bringing barbies to the beach is the best thing i’ve ever heard. enjoy your girls, babies, and weekend!

  6. Oh we are the same way over here. My daughter and youngest son play with their dolls all day long. The oldest son, of course, loves to steal them and make them race on his cars.

  7. That last picture is EPIC! My oldest loves dolls of all kinds, 3 inch princess, soft bodied dolls, plastic bath dolls, and her current favorite, her Scooby Doo gang. When her baby sister was born last year I even got her a kids Ergo picturing how cute we’d be with her wearing her baby and me wearing mine (sadly, that hasn’t happened.)

    Her sister turned 1 on Wednesday and is just beginning to have a little interest in babies. This morning I gave her baby a kiss and she copied with a big ole slobbery open mouth. Aw, my heart sang!

    Happy Friday!

  8. Awwww! We love us some dollies in our house too! One of my favorite acquired toys is a wooden doll cradle our neighbor gave us when her daughter grew out of playing with dolls. I promptly painted it deep purple, made a little satin mattress for it, and it is home to our baby doll quadruplets, who don’t look anything alike, but all have that sweet plastic-doll smell.
    Nella looks just like Lainey in that last picture! Happy weekend. :)

  9. I have read hundreds of your posts. This one however, was the sweetest one of all. That picture with Nella and the bottle… Phht! Tell Brett, “Hells yes Brett, she’s going to be SUPER SMART!!!”

    xoxo Happy Friday. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I swear, Nella and Lainey get prettier every day (how is that possible?) They make my day.

  11. This might be one of my FAVORITE posts of yours yet. Seeing Nella ‘mommying’ her baby… brought tears to my eyes. I am positive they are only doing what they have learned.. from you! You are an awesome mommy. you should be proud.. these girls are mimicking you!!-Big Sis

  12. I was a doll loving little girl too. At one point, I had 20+ Cabbage Patch Dolls. My girls are into “babies” already at 15 months :)

  13. I read you everyday, but rarely comment. But today, I must. I sooooo agree with you. I have had dolls forever, in one form or another. I went from dolls, to babysitting, to adopting my own, and then to fostercare for newborns. I’ve had 128 babies that didn’t belong to me except for the beginning of their lives.
    I have young friends who don’t believe in dolls. I disagree. I think they teach little children how to love and how to care for someone littler than they are. Granted they can learn those skills other ways, but dolls provide the best imaginative play for mothering.

  14. Cute post! And when did Lainey’s hair get so long?? I love Nella’s little white dress she’s wearing in the first pictures. Have a great weekend! :)

  15. What a sweet post! Love Lainey’s careful bath time care for her baby, but Nella takes the cake. The photos of her patting the doll’s back and feeding the bottle? I die. So precious.

  16. Either dolls are better constructed or your girls are gentler with their dolls. I remember beheaded dolls, dolls missing appendages and dolls with crayon and felt marker “tatoos.” Your dolls look pretty good–naked, but good. They certainly have a mentor in mothering and they know how to melt a baby into their arms. Always happy to see my littles.

  17. Very sweet!

    I just wanted to thank for for introducing me to Honeysuckle Road. I ordered and just received my “Live What You Love” bracelet and I love it!

    Happy Friday :)

  18. we have a doll just the same as nella’s sweet boppy. it was one of twins, my girls used to only want the pink one. until after much convincing, since mommy’s favorite color is blue, they now love them both. haha

    LOVE baby dolls!!

    And love your girls…and the way they mother their babies. So sweet! Have a great weekend!

  19. But babies? We are the Duggars of dolls – Love this!

    I have a lot of childhood memories of playing with my dolls.. I had one particular one that went everywhere with me. I have no idea what happened to it, but like you, I am so glad that I don’t have to play house anymore. Thanks to my son I get to do it for real, every day!

    I just need a little girl now so I can have an excuse to buy lots of dolls!

    Have a great weekend!

  20. I often tell myself as well, how blessed I am that I am no longer playing house, but actually living it! How grand it is!

  21. I loved baby dolls when I was a kid! Sadly, my 4 year old doesn’t have much of an interest. I have tried, I really have, to get her to play with them but she rufuses. So I’ve stopped pushing and am letting her be. Maybe one day she’ll show an interest.

  22. This made my whole day. Thought I was the only one who is like this with the baby dolls :)
    Nella is beyond precious with her babies!

  23. You need to get all of the dolls in the house together and throw the girls in the middle of them for a pic. My parents did that when we were little & we did the same last fall (honestly as a plea to the grandparents for no more stuffed animals).

  24. Love this! My 3yo DD has a number of dolls but they rarely get played with. Her stuffed toys are another story.

    I keep her baby dolls out in hopes that one day she’ll play with them more.

    Precious moments!

  25. Sweet! My daughter never really took to dolls, she was more of a stuffed animal girl. I loved dolls as a little girl.

  26. Awww…with two boys in my house, I am so jealous of all the doll-play. Although they do play with my old Cabbage Patch occasionally and they are very sweet with it. Mostly just put it down for naps and feed it Lego food! :)

  27. I get so much joy out of watching my daughter with her dolls! She uses the doll cradle that my grandfather made me when I was 3 and my heart swells!

  28. Oh, my girls love them some dolls too!!! Everyday is filled with them playing “mommy and baby” and I so enjoy watching them. It reminds me of my childhood playing “house” with my sisters all the time.
    I also want to say thank you…your blog has been so inspiring to me and I have always written, but just for myself. Your blog gave me the courage to start my own and it has been very exciting. Also…thanks for the tips on what to do in the Naples area. (I emailed you this winter because we were coming to visit and you responded with great suggestions.) We just got back a couple weeks ago and had an AMAZING time and took several of your suggestions!! You live in a beautiful place…so beautiful it got us thinking maybe we should move from the mountains to the ocean! So-thank you!!

  29. This is when a Momma feels like everything she has done for/with her babies was worth every second. It is so precious to watch them treat their babies like a real baby. It is their way of letting you know what a terrific Mom you are.

  30. funny that’s exactly how our house is! my girls at 12 and almost 11 STILL play dolls or AMerican Girl Dolls, but even still baby dolls! I was going to give away their bitty babies and bitty twins recently but they said NO! so happy! I LOVE dolls! now I want to go back and do a blog post about them with all the pictures I have of them with their dolls! I only wish I had been doing digital when they were 5 & under ugh! All film back then!
    love all of these photos!

  31. I remember playing house- such fun! Now I’m doing it for real but no kiddos yet. I can’t wait to be a Mom. Your family is beautiful & inspiring. Thank you for continuing to share your journey with us!

  32. Nella is so so sweet!!

  33. What a compliment to you, seeing how well they treat their babies. I am trying to get my girl to love dolls…. We have several from PBK and the adorable pink and white polka dot pram, but so far it’s been short lived. She and her brother are more likely to ram the strollers and pram into walls to watch the babies go flying than they are to rock them gently to sleep. Luckily for them, they didn’t learn that behavior from me! :)

    Have a great weekend, Kelle! I am soooo looking forward to your book next week, as I dvoured that first chapter sneak peek. Can’t wait!

  34. love your photos, love your words. I copied your idea of the phone photo dump, hope you dont mind. Happy weekend from France.

  35. My girls alternate between dolls, Care Bears, princesses, fairies, etc as the favorite toys of the moment. But I brought home their new baby sister yesterday, who brought them each a “present” of a new baby doll, and the baby doll frenzy is on! And they are absolutely amazing with their new real baby too. Makes me so happy. So, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post :) – Amy

  36. Such a sweet post! And the Duggars of dolls thing totally cracked me up!

    My daughter’s doll phase was sadly pretty short-lived and never very intense, but I treasured every moment. And her arty persona totally rocks too :)

  37. duggars of dolls. too funny! this might be your cutest post yet!!!

  38. These photos are beautiful, especially the top two. I hope my baby girl likes dolls too, I always had such fun with them when I was a kid.

  39. Nothing sweeter then babies playing mommy. I love it.

  40. this is just the sweetest thing. ever. happy weekend!

  41. What did you have your camera set on for the first two pictures. I LOVE the soft look! It’s just beautiful!

    Baby dolls are the best. I remember having a life size baby that people thought was real. I really like the feel of a baby in my arms. There is something so sweet about a baby snuggle.

  42. I love seeing pics of your girls with their babies:) My daughter is 3 and prefers exotic stuffed animals (parrots, peacocks, gorillas…) but there is something so heart-warming about the gentleness they exhibit when caring for them. Thanks for making me smile!

  43. So adorable! I can’t wait till my little girl is big enough to play with dolls :)
    That last pic of Nella, oh my word! Her and Lainey have the same smile!

  44. I love that you wear red lipstick to play dolls! I might have to try that sometime! (Though at our house, we play dinosaurs…. :) )

  45. Cute cute cute pictures!!! I adore watching my daughter play with her baby dolls. She actually has more ‘stuffies’ than dolls, but the love she shows them is the same as you have captured in your pictures!

  46. Kelle, I thought you and Brett were walking in front of me at Aventure Mall on wednesday……but when the dark ponytail turned my direction I saw it wasn’t you….I was disappointed….I would have said Hi and invited you for cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory….because that is the way us Midwestern girls are when we are on vacation. 😉

  47. So Sweet!! Have a wonderful weekend :)

  48. sweetest post! <3
    that picture of Nella patting the baby’s back? oh. my. goodness. I die!!!

    Happy weekend to you!

  49. My daughter loves her dolls, too. She has a beautiful American Girl Bitty baby, and she loves her. But her very favorite is a poor little orphan she found forgotten in a box at a garage sale. She was promptly rescued by my daughter, who makes up for the doll’s homeliness with lots of love and devotion.

    It’s a beautiful bit of true love, I think. Loving deeply those who need us most.

  50. Oh, Kelle, those girls of yours, they are showing every loving ounce of you, that you show us. I love seeing them so sweet and loving towards those babys, at such a young age. I also love that Nella named her baby, Boppy. She is a smart one, that girl of yours.

    Have a wonderful weekend!! :)

  51. what an awesome post!

  52. quanta dolcezza in queste immagini!!!!

  53. As a mom of three boys I’m sad to say that I don’t have a single solitary baby doll. I think I need one even if it’s just for me! :) I’m getting so excited about the approaching arrival of your book on my porch!

  54. My daughter is turning two on Saturday and she is just starting to get into her babies right now. She has three that she sleeps with every night. Last night, I just ordered her very first Madame Alexander Huggums baby doll and I can’t wait to give it to her. My Mom collected Madame Alexander dolls, and I still remember the day I got my very own. I’m so thrilled to be carrying on the tradition with my own daughter.

  55. Love the one where you think she is burping her baby…but I think she might spank her bum instead…too cute!!

  56. I am the same. It was so important to me that my daughter had baby dolls. She has two favorites now, creatively named Old Baby and New Baby and she loves and cares for them in a way I so hope she learned from me. So very sweet.

  57. oh! How u capture the BEAUTY of your girls….the motives blows on me with their silence and joy and toughtfullness…and BEAUTY..og small girls, and of nella- WOW! And THANKS!!!

  58. Oh, I can’t wait until Ellie is loving on her dollies! So sweet!

  59. Growing up, I loved my dolls. I named them, celebrate their birthdays, had my mom make them new outfits, hit fourth grade and made them outfits myself, set up beds out of whatever I could find in my room, brought them to church and the library and the woods, pulled them around in a wagon, pushed them in a stroller. . . my life revolved around them.

  60. Love the picture of Nella laying down in bed holding her baby. Love.

  61. What a lovely blog you have. A true inspiration! A big fan in Norway x Siri

  62. Those first three photos: oh my! The look on her face at the baby doll on the ground; her patting that baby-oh my! And the one of your oldest feeding her baby-an every day sight around here & you captured it so magically. You inspire me to take more photos of every day moments & facial expressions that I don’t want to forget.

  63. Fiona is a baby doll girl too. She lives the mini Target dolls, the ones that are $3.49 and are all the same doll but have different outfits. She picks them up, hugs them with one arm and then holds them out for you two kiss. We have at least seven of them and I am sure we will hoard more. Anything she wants ( that I can afford) she gets :)

  64. So funny, how different kids can be. Ada wants little to do with dolls in general. Though there is one doll she has taken an interest in recently.
    Yesterday in the car I asked her what makes her happy. At 2y and 9 mos old her answer was fairly simple, “Cars, trains, bicycles, motorcycles, homes…[pause] and presents. [long pause] …and Sarah (her BFF).” I’m a little surprised that planes and helicopters didn’t make the list since she is obsessed with them. It’s just who she is 😉

  65. I LOVED babies and so far my girls, ages 5 and 2 want nothing to do with them! It greatly disturbs me! In fact my mom wanted to buy my 5 year old an American Girl doll and I told her, “Don’t bother, she’ll go to the bottom of the bin like all the rest of the abandoned babies!” Then I said, ” But you can get me one!” Yes, I am 37 and yes, I still love the smell of a new baby, fresh from the box!!

  66. Awww, so adorable! :)

  67. Awww, so adorable! :)

  68. “We are the Duggars of dolls” cracked me up! What a beautiful post though. I used to, and still do sometimes long for another daughter…three boys and a girl here….ahh..sweet sweet girls and there baby doll lovin’ ways!

  69. When I was a little girl I always chose a dolly over a bicycle… looking at your girls makes me even more excited to have another girl… when the day comes – how great!

  70. Thanks for giving me a big ol’ Nella smile to start the weekend with! Cheers!

  71. We have precious few dolls…we make each one special and each one must be special…or it doesn’t make the cut. We have 4 going on 7 children so extra toys mean less room for other things….and NO, we’re not trying to be the Duggars in real life. We just love and adore children!

  72. The photo of Nella giving the bottle to the doll, is precious. We love baby dolls too. Happy Weekend.

  73. I saw a mom in Target today buying a little doll for her son. The son looked to be about 18 months. The mom asked him what the doll’s name was. He said ” HIS name is…..”. The whole exchange struck me as wonderful. First, that the mom had no qualms when it came to buying her son a doll and secondly, that the little boy identified it as a HE. I just thought that was one cool mom. As the mother of three teenage daughters, I wish life could go back to the simplicity that was of my girls playing with dolls. Now, we deal with big scary toys like Facebook, phones, texting, peer pressure. Appreciate the doll playing days as much as you can.

  74. beautiful pics! :)

  75. This comment has been removed by the author.

  76. This is the sweetest post ever! I love baby dolls. All of my boys had one when they were about Nella’s age. Unfortunately they quickly outgrew them BUT I know they helped in some small way to teach my boys how to be kind and gentle and nurturing. We have another (real!) baby in the house now and they’re so good to him. It’s really amazing to see.

  77. I’m a Speech-Language Pathologist and love, love, love seeing the pretend play that Nella is demonstrating :) Looks like she’s doing really well. You must be super proud :)

  78. Boppy. What a lovely name for a baby. :)

    So sweet!

  79. have you noticed that there is more variety among baby dolls lately- so we have all the colors and variations-just no American girl baby dolls….yet

  80. I LOVE Rachel Naomi Remen!! I saw your quote from her in an earlier post. She is amazing. I am so inspired & amazed by her insight and her writing is exquisite. So is yours Kelle! You build beautiful sentences! I look forward to reading your book!
    Maggie Ellis – PA

  81. Oh so beautiful! Adore the moments you have captured in these photos! My two year old is in love with her baby doll, tucking her into bed, and pretend breastfeeding her baby doll when I breastfeed my six month old. It’s so precious to see, and I look at her and think, wow you’ll be the most gracious and loving mum one day. Love your post! thank you xx

  82. Great post! I played with dolls until I was 12…My friend from around the corner and I would carry a garbage bag full of our big dolls to each others houses (I’m sad, now, to say we didn’t want anyone to see us with dolls at 12!). I LOVED playing make believe with dolls and I am loving watching my 4 year-old Maeve play with her dolls and other little characters. Her favourite doll is the plastic kind with the stuffed middle. She’s usually naked, except when she’s wearing outfits made by my Mom (sometimes to match Maeve’s Grandma-made clothes)….and her name is Baby.

  83. I am the same way about babies. I keep buying them for my granddaughters. I am not a Barbie fan. I only had one Barbie growing up. It was the first edition and worth tons now, hah.
    Just love your baby loving girls. So sweet. Nella looks treats them like they are real….so sweet.

  84. Kelle, I loved this post and I can totally relate! We have so many baby dolls that I’ve lost count… Playing house and having baby dolls is such a huge part of my childhood and I am so very thankful that my Emma loves them, too. She can be rough when she wants to be, but not with her babies. I especially love watching her rock them to sleep… She has twins, like Bobby that are favorites, too. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures of your darling girls! Happy weekend!

  85. She’s got an amber bead necklace. :)

  86. This could not be a sweeter post! I agree with you on the whole baby dolls thing…my kids are going to play with dolls too! And my little one LOVES hers. Nella and my little one would be such good friends. So precious!

  87. The last photo definitely sets a mood for a great weekend!

  88. What a very good line : )
    I love that Brett gets her dollies. Brett is a keeper for sure.

  89. Kelle, I love it all – Nella being such a good “mommy’. I love it, the Duggars of dolls! Maggie, I also love Rachel Naomi Remen, have read her books and she is so amazing. RIK! Just fyi, I am slowly feeling better, but have a long journey here. I was LOL, with your words about headless dolls! Yah, are dolls just made better now? My girls, when younger, all their Barbies ended up with no heads and drawings on them. Oh my..Too funny! BTW, our older daughter just found out she is pregnant with 2nd child and due in November. That brings me joy these days. Love from the Blog Mama~

  90. This post is incredibly sweet. One of my favorites in the 2 years I’ve followed your blog.

  91. I’ve been reading your blog since dear little Nellie arrived in your life and this is the first time I’ve commented. I just wanted to say that the photo on the left of Nellie holding her baby fiercely protective is my FAVOURITE PICTURE EVER of her, and there have been many awesome ones. There’s a wee Chinese girlie at church with downs the same age as Nella, and I always think of you when I see her.

    Seeing as I’m writing here, I’ll just mention that I parent a child with special needs, and many many times your words bring tears to my eyes and nods of understanding, so thanks, I appreciate it, a lot.

  92. Oh, how I pray Nora becomes nice to her baby dolls. She’s so rough. It scares me 😉

  93. I’m very much the same with baby dolls -my daughter, too! I love babies! There is this Little Golden Book called “Little Mommy,” it’s written in the 50’s and published in the 70’s so the picture details are amazing -about a little mommy playing house all day. And the last line after she rocks her babies to sleep “we mommies have a lot to do. Good night dollies, I’m sleepy too.” I LOVE IT!

  94. hey! Where is the instagram photo of the bathtub drain reflection?!


  95. I just found your blog and read both birth stories. Your girls are beautiful, and special, and so loved. I’m looking forward to following you in your journey with your beautiful family.

  96. oh these photos are too delicious! I have one girl and two boys and my boys love playing with the babies just as much as my girl. new birthday and christmas gifts are played with for a while but the old faithfuls are always returned to, to wrap and swaddle, bath and feed (breast of course, even my 2yo son does it!) and comfort and sway when they are ‘ready for bed’. so adorable. your girls are divine x

  97. these pics are so sweeeeet
    u r blessed with 2 daughters
    lucky u

  98. be blessed always

  99. Precious tender photos to be treasured always.

  100. Aww, how sweet and nice it seems! :-)
    Being the mother of two boys (real boys-boys) there has never been a doll, in this house.
    Well, one – since I one day I realized we didn’t even buy a doll. So I did and it just lay there without being played with 😮 😉

    Your girls are so cute with their dolls.
    I vividly remember my doll-playing, seeing them <3

  101. Kelle, I won an early copy of your book on, and I devoured it in 24 hours. Such a beautifully-written story. Each page was a gift, and I couldn’t wait to see what was on the next page, and the next. I didn’t want it to be over! Thank you for teaching me so much and for being Nella’s mother.


  102. “We are the Duggars of dolls.” LOLOLOL We actually got to meet the Duggars last week at our church. I don’t necessarily agree with everything they stand for, however they were a lovely family. The girls are absolutely beautiful. My kids love to watch the show because they want me to have that many kids! Um no, I think 8 is enough for me lolol This mama is too old and I am no where near as calm as Michelle Duggar. Anyway, babies and barbies rule at our house as well, we have a Boppy too : ) And what is it with Barbies never having clothes on? Sophia, my 2 year old, will have me dress the Barbie just so she can take the clothes off lol

  103. Love your little nurturing mama’s. Especially the pic of Nella patting her baby on the back…so adorable! Laineys hair is getting so long :)

    P.S. Our barbies are all naked too

  104. My mom always tells me, if I want to see what my girls think I do… just watch them play. Children seem to replicate the actions of those closest to them. I love sitting and watching my girls play with their dolls. They will be wonderful mothers one day… as will yours. Love your blog. It is always inspiring and uplifting, so thanks!

  105. I love this. We have two girls (two and three), so our home is littered with baby dolls as well.
    They do treat their babies as we treat them. Not only do I love watching their gentleness and caring, what a perfect reminder that we are teaching through modeling, whether we like it or not. I have found that this is the scariest part of parenting for me! 😉 My girls are generally kind and gentle to their “little ones” (with the occasional time out given ;-)), so I’d call that a success!

  106. Part of my comment above doesn’t make any sense, but I’ll go ahead and leave it :)

  107. Nella holds that baby doll and bottle just like a good NICU nurse! I speak from experience. :-) Cute post.

  108. Kelle, in the 8th picture down. Nella’s smile is exactly like Lainey in this photo.

    Too precious.

    sending love from Liverpool UK x

  109. Ah, the love of baby dolls! SO SWEET! AWESOME pictures of the girls and their babies! One of our favorite baby dolls, Baby Stella! Both my girls love her!!

  110. I loved playing with my dolls when I was younger….to be honest, if it were socially acceptable, I would still play with them! You should check out American Girl, I had so many of those dolls and I played with them for hours.

  111. Glad to hear ours are not the only Barbies who are always naked. Why is that? :)

    I’m in love with Nella’s white dress (or is it a nightgown?) in the first few photos. Mad sweet!

    Have a great weekend!

  112. For whatever reason it brought tears when I read “so glad I’m not playing house anymore. It’s for real.” I love that. I’m so glad its for real for me too :) and i have a 9 month old baby boy, so i hope one day i have a little girl that loves her dolls like i did! Can’t wait to have your book! Ahhhh

  113. My almost 2 year old calls his blanket “Boppy” too!!!! Glad to hear that’s a favorite nickname among that age group!

  114. Awww. I love the pics of Nella feeding and burping her baby. So sweet.

    And she looks angelic in that white dress.

    Baby dolls are such a foreign concept to all the boy stuff at my house … trains and baseballs.

  115. You had me at “you are the Duggars of baby dolls!” Crack me up. What a wonderful bit about your girls. BTW, thought of you the other night when 2 Barbie dolls made it into the bath and they ended up in all sort of incriminating poses. Actually, I’m feeling a bit inflexible now!

    Have a rocking Easter-ish weekend. :)


  116. This post makes my heart ACHE for a little girl (I have two boys) The pictures of your girls loving on their baby dolls is unbelievably sweet and tender.
    You are obviously an amazing mom who has taught her girls how to be loving and sweet and tender. And I truly admire you.

  117. Dear Kelle,
    They are both such wonderful girls and it’s touching to see them play such a timeless role in life… little girls loving their dolls the way their mothers love them.

    My daughter has loved her dollies too and I have been helping her along in that department as well… I love dolls, always have and I still hide the doll catalogs when they arrive until I get a chance to look at them first!

    And more importantly, when she announced she wanted a “rock-star” party when she turns 8 I said, “sorry, I’ve already started the ball rolling on your American Girl doll birthday we talked about a while back… I guess rock-stars will have to wait for next year!”

    I am so not ready for the dolly stage to be over… I’m sure I played with them much later than 8 years! I’ll have to ask my mother!


  118. OMG – – LOVE Baby Teeth – and Nella has a mouthful!! Beautiful little mammas, loving their “babies!” You’re doing something right, Kelle!

  119. Love this…and the pics…especially Nella patting her baby’s butt….and Lainey feeding her baby in the yellow high chair :)

  120. omg that last photo of nella.

  121. I have read your blog for ages now and never left a comment… but I laughed at Nella’s choice of name for her doll. My younger cousin had a beautiful doll when she was little – very prettily dressed, lovely hair etc – when she received it, she asked what her name was and one of her older brothers cheekily answered “Pon”… well, the name stuck. I can remember laughing until I cried so many times at the looks on people’s faces when they asked Hayley what her doll’s name was and she’d answer “Pon”…

  122. I love the images with the girls and their dolls- beautiful images but also shows their inner nurturing and beauty too.Rx

  123. I loooove Nella’s dress on the first pics!! Lovely :-)

  124. I absolutely adore my two boys (same ages as your daughters), but I definitely long for a little girl to love baby dolls as much as I did (and still do!) These pictures melt me! You are so blessed!

  125. Melting over Nella with her babies. Even my husband said, “Awwww.”

  126. there is nothing sweeter than your baby being a mommy to her babies!

    my 2 yr old also likes to ‘mommy-around’ her giant minnie mouse plush. often times, minnie mouse misbehaves though…minnie gets shes bad quite often, and gets sent to time-out…that darn minnie!! idk what shes doing thats so bad, but clearly, she is not acting as she should!

  127. I have been away from your blog for much too long, but the photos of N playing with those dolls just drew me in tonight and I’m so glad it did! My nearly twosie, Avie, adores her babies, too. We have about a dozen of these bald beauties, perched on beds or poking out of toy bins, and like her big sister, Avie is constantly toting them around in her stroller or putting pacifiers in their lips or trying to attach tiny newborn diapers to their chubby legs. But, her favourite baby activity? She especially likes to put them to bed. Loves any kind of basket or box that she can line with tiny pillows and blankets atop of which she can lay her little sweetie down. Lately, she has taken to using a doll’s bath as a bed for her baby. So this afternoon, while the girls were at Grandmaman’s, Hubby and I went and bought her a bassinette/rocking cradle for her birthday in a week. She will love it!

    And FYI–I squeezed all those rubber babies and sniffed ’em too. I sooo wanted to buy a lifelike water baby just for me….

    Love my babies and love my babies’ dolls….

  128. I really liked this post!
    I never really played with dolls, I didn’t like it. My son and daughter have some though. And it’s a funny coincidence that tonight, my son asked to take his bath with a baby who goes in it. My daughter liked to wash herself with Bath Baby, but since this doll is her favorite, she was disapointed to have to sleep with another friend.
    (Our dolls are all called “Baby”. My children don’t name them yet.)

  129. so so sweet. i have a little girl who just turned 1 and I can’t wait to watch her play with her babies like this! :)

  130. We have “Boppy” only he’s a boy. My daughter got him for Easter several years ago and gave it to her then 2 yr old brother…not like she had a choice. He named the doll Kevin after the tatooed Harley riding neighbor across the street.

  131. We have a (and yes, these are their names) “purple baby”, “baby” and “baby doll”…She calls ’em like she sees ’em, I suppose :) Secretly, I LOVE it!!

  132. oh my gosh! All these pictures are so great but that last one of Nella is PRESH!!!

  133. “We are the Duggars of dolls.” That just cracked me up. So funny! Your girls are beautiful. It’s nice to see little girls playing with dolls.

  134. photographs are absolutely amazing and melt my heart!!! i just want to hug you all!

  135. tomorrow is your big day that your book is available!! congrats!! can’t wait to get my pre-order!!! :) enjoy your special day!

  136. My almost 2 1/2 y.o. Annalisa has the exact same baby doll as Nella’s favourite, we got ours for $3 in a second-hand shop! Love watching my girls play mummy and baby games. Have a wonderful Easter :)

  137. Also, I can’t wait to receive your book, I per-ordered it through Amazon because we are in Australia… Won’t be long now :)

  138. omg so cute with the girls & their babydolls. I just want to eat them up!!!

  139. Just another lovely post! I got my kindle copy of the bloom this morning and I can’t wait to indulge in it!!!

  140. This is one of my most favorite posts ever… maybe because my 2 year old loves her baby dolls so much. The pictures are priceless.

    You are such an awesome writer. Thank you & keep it up!!!


  141. As a fellow babydoll lover I am so glad that your girls are getting such joy from them! I had one favorite doll that went with me everywhere until I was at least 9. My mom always had to have the plastic head/arms/legs reattached to the fluffy cotton body. I still have that doll to this day, I just can’t bear the thought of throwing/giving him away

  142. I love Nella’s name for her baby! We went through the same thing with my daughter. Her babies names are Gavin (for her cousin who was the first real baby that she got to see, even if it is a girl baby), Lizzie (sister bears friend from the Berenstien Bears), and Balloon (cause who doesn’t like balloons?)

  143. Made a special trip to Target this evening to buy Bloom! I have my “Bloom” evening all set up with fresh flowers, a candle, white wine, and of course your book! Now if only my daughter would fall asleep, but I guess that’s part of living with special needs… finding the beauty no matter what, even if it means sharing my “Bloom” evening with my daughter. Congratulations!! All of my “special” mommies are buzzing about it on Facebook! :)

  144. I have my Bloom, and I am breathless….thank you for these words….

  145. Hi Kelle!! I bought your book on my e-Reader and am loving it!! Halfway through aready – beautiful story, beautiful family, beautifully captured. Congratulations:-)! Madeleine

  146. My daughter never was too interested in baby dolls and my brother still does an impression of Emily twirling her naked barbie by her hair and flinging her into the swimming pool. Emily is now the gentle, loving mother of 2 so I guess it worked out. My son was the one who wanted a baby doll so we got him one (against wishes of almost all relatives). He took such good care of his baby for years. Now he is a police officer and one of the most gentle, compassionate men in the world. I want to tell my relatives, see it didn’t hurt him to have a baby doll.

  147. Girls + babies = priceless! I love the names my daughter makes up for her baby dolls: Munchkin, Amy, Cupcake, etc.
    I also love to see her “nursing” her baby like mama! I can’t wait to read your book… exciting!

  148. I can’t wait to read my new book!!

  149. I can’t put your book down, Kelle. I can’t wait to read the whole thing but I also don’t want it to end!

  150. I’m so behind on reading so sorry for the late comment but I LOVE that your girls love their dollies! I have the same feeling about my little girl, she will play with dolls no matter what. Actually my little 2 year old boy has been known to play daddy with a baby doll we have. changing diapers and washing her face. I LOVE IT!

  151. I LOVE seeing my kids love on their ‘babies’. I love the clothes, but my daughter insists the babies be naked, something I chose to let go : ) What great mama’s your girls are!
    Those meals look great, I’ll have to try some out – I need easy and tasty right now too.

  152. I received email notification from Amazon that my order of Bloom has bee shipped out! I’m really looking forward to receiving my copy on May 16 (I am residing in Singapore)!

  153. The pictures of your baby girls lovin’ on their baby dolls really warms my heart.
    It reminded me of a book I have on my list to buy when the budget is there {Besides Bloom that is. ; ) }
    I thought you might want to check out this book too for the girls.

  154. All kids love to play with toys.Because of being a soft plush toy, kids can throw this Angry Birds Plush Pig at each other without danger of anyone getting hurt.and serves as a good companion to your child. This fantastic plush toy is simply adored by anyone who is an Angry Birds fan.

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