Enjoying: Mini Bucket

I do love a good birthday party, a festive holiday, opportunities to pop the cork, blast the confetti and do my now well-choreographed high-on-life dance (in my head, it goes a little something like a kick, step, high kick, twirl, bounce, bounce and jazz hands–subject to variation, of course). But (yes, there’s a but) the best, most contended parts of me purr most during the in between. When, instead of grabbing a megaphone and shouting “Life is Beautiful!”, I whisper it softly to myself.

This megaphone/whisper relationship is part of growing up for me (which, for the record, is a forever process–one in which an “all grown up” stamp is certainly not the goal). When I was a teenager, a friend once told me, “I like your soft smile. Your closed mouth one–the one you don’t do very often.” Which I very well could have taken as “I hate your real smile; you have big teeth,” but I didn’t.

The point is, for every extrovert, there are valid introverted needs too. For me, that means putting the megaphone down, telling my feet to walk a bit between the cartwheels and quietly and calmly enjoying simple moments. Smiling softly.


Post-party, I did that this weekend. And I recognized, time to step back a little bit and make sure I’m doing it more often.



With that said, I am enjoying…

My girl’s birthday, my birth day.


On the actual day, we gave her some options of special things to do. She wanted a Cracker Barrel pancake breakfast with her friend, Aleena.


And pierced ears.


She smiled nervously and sat very still, holding her friend’s blanket. When it was over, she gripped me tightly–no tears–and occassionally turned her head to get a shot in the mirror of her new bling.



I’m finding so many new ways to tell her I love her. The challenge is thrilling.


Five Year Old Things

She brings me a sheet of paper and a pencil and tells me exactly what to write. I carefully follow her instructions. She asks for a strip of tape. She hangs the new sign on her door.



A birthday package with new handmade sweaters from my mama




Finding the girls playing “office” at the toilet in our bathroom



“The Mountains”





Coming home for popsicles afterward.




The return of Woods Picnics

Because they make us all slow down. Because they make me smile–with my mouth closed.




Friday Phone 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 care to follow the feed.



I like lists. A lovely friend texted me this morning with a “Happy Monday, what are you looking forward to this week?” And I thought about it a minute before settling on the fact that I will give myself plenty to look forward to. I will make a list–a miniature week version of a bucket list, full of very doable tasks, and I will cross them off all week long and celebrate on Friday.

My Week Ten (oh, this could very well be a Monday thing…watch out)

1. Text someone randomly every day this week. Pick a person and let them know you are aware of what’s going on in their life; that they are important.
2. Beach sunset.
3. Create a care package for a friend’s child. Stickers, coloring book pages, temporary tattoos, hand written notes, a leftover lei from Lainey’s party. Tell them they are awesome. Get it to the post office by Friday.
4. Wear two french braids. Tie them with ribbon.
5. Put the kids to bed, turn the phone off and watch a movie on the couch with Brett.
6. Bake something new. Take a plate of said sweets to a neighbor.
7. Pick out paint colors for Summer Project Debeigify Everything 2012. Paint big brush strokes of sample paints on wall so now you have to paint.
8. Go online and search Florida getaways for family staycation destinations this summer.
9. Make a Summer Inspiration Board with kids–fill it with things we want to do this summer.
10. Spa Night with the girls. Play music in the bathroom while we paint nails, do face masks and tell stories.


You know how excited I am for this week now?

C’mon. Join in. Can’t think of ten, how about three…or five? Make a mini bucket list–just this week. What are you going to cross off your list? Celebrate with me this Friday. Print off your list, hang it somewhere you’ll see it, and cross things off with bright markers.

And that’s a very good place to say good night.


Insert closed mouth smile. I think I’ll go take a moon walk. Alone. I’m leaving my megaphone at home…but bringin’ my high-on-life dance.

Kick. Step. High kick. Twirl.


Leave a Comment
  1. I adore Lainey’s note <3 to be 5 again…

  2. 1. finish my homework for the two 5 week online classes that started today ( I know…crazy) EARLY so I can enjoy the weekend.
    2. finish my laundry, or at the very least…move it downstairs so nobody knows that it isn’t finished!
    3. go for a walk at least twice this week.
    4. Smile more often.
    5. Don’t let the sun catch me crying…(okay, sorry… couldn’t resist)

  3. Looking forward to:
    1. My boyfriend and I were asked by my former students to be the king and queen of their annual student-produced mime show. We get to knight the new members and be surrounded by all these amazing, creative teenagers. It’s what is getting me through this crazy last 8 days of school. :)

  4. SO wonderful to see the girls SO SO grown up, Nella especially looks like a…well a girl, not a baby! I feel like I was right there with you!

  5. I have to think of this list and write it on my neglected blog! I love this idea. I also laughed at Lainey’s note, so funny! Love the homemade sweaters… wow, seeing your girls side by side, I can’t believe how much they’ve grown up over these past few years! xx

  6. No way…could it be true??? Me, first? Well, if it is, I’m putting that on my mini-bucket list. Along with tea time, visit to the library and dinner outside. Love the cracker barrel/checker playing breakfast! We have one of those at our Starbucks and I’ll share a secret with you…there is a Chess/Checkerboard House in Central Park in NYC. Yes, that is on my big bucket list! A few years from now…with a little girl and an all day lingering in that happy place. Happy Birthday to Lainey…we have good birthday karma — my sweet miracle just turned 6. :)

  7. My bucket-list for this week :)
    1. Finish slideshow A (very soon to be crossed off).
    2. Participate in my last high school choir concert.
    3. Sing my first solo at said concert.
    4. Visit the orthodontist for one of my very last times.
    5. Go to youth group for the very last time before I graduate.
    6. Finish slideshow B.
    7. Write my speech, blog, and end-of-the-year letter to the next choir president.
    8. Attend my last choir banquet.
    9. Go to high school for the very last time as a student.
    10. GRADUATE

    Lots of lasts, I know :)

  8. 1. I’ve scribbled the header of “our summer list” on our living room chalk board…now we need to fill it!
    2.Run, or walk very fast πŸ˜‰ every day this week.
    3.Start the daunting process of organizing our family photos.
    4.Cut down some wild sunflowers, and put them in a vase.
    5.Write a heartfelt letter to my daughters AMAZING kindergarten teachers principal about how incredibly awesome she is.

    For the record…I love teeth smiles πŸ˜‰
    Happy monday!

  9. Every so often you post a picture that makes me stop and wish that they were my kids and I had taken the picture so that I could have it printed up and hung on my wall. The last one of the girls with the popsicles on your front porch (stoop?) is the latest in my list. Great picture, beautiful kids.

    I hope Lainey enjoyed her birthday!!

  10. WOW!! Your mama should set up a shop and sell those beautiful, homemade sweaters. I WANT.

  11. Oh my..how lucky are you to have a momma who can make such incredible things for you! She needs to make em’ and sell em’ on Etsy.

    Gracee got her ears pierced on her fifth birthday..she was brave and sucked in the tears..until we hit the car and then they flowed and all she wanted was me..funny how they want their ears pierced as a sign of growing-up but when it is all said and done they still need their mommas to comfort them when the pain hits!

    First on my list is to master my speedlight on my camera..dude..it is hard stuff to learn! The next is to get my summer book club figured out because summer is just around the corner. Lastly is I am moving our classes (i homeschool) outside for a day..it is our favorite thing to do these days. ♥

  12. oh!!! I LOVED this post. All your words and all the pictures (especially the toilet office!!). 1. watch youtube documentary on Ansel Adams to prepare me for our upcoming trip to Yosemite, a place we’ve been told we must visit before we leave California.
    2. Create my own pure barre and bar method workout routines and corresponding playlists before my favorite instructor at our gym leaves in June. It’s the best workout ever!
    3. I just turned the last page of The Help, so when the kids are in bed, I will curl up on the sofa, under the old blanket my mom just sent me and watch the movie.
    4. Make cookies with kiddos to give to a co-worker of my husband who was gracious enough to switch shifts and give my man the weekend off! :) **hint**if you throw a package of instant pudding (vanilla) into your regular cookie batter and melt the butter instead of soften it…..yummmmmmmm!!!!!**

  13. Brave Lani not even a tear when she pierced her ears. Love her note, and of course I always love Miss Nella. Pictures of her always make me happy.

  14. Such a beautiful post and even more gorgeous photos
    I cant wait to create a mini bucket list now thanks for the great idea… Hmmm what to put on it πŸ˜‰
    And bless little Lainey and her note so adorable getting so grown up!

  15. 1. Make a summer list
    2. Picnic at the park
    3. plant flowers this week
    4. finish spring cleaning
    5. bake cookies and bring a plate to my in-laws.
    Love this post…I’m going to start doing a Monday list so I have something to look forward to every week!!

  16. Lainey’s bedroom door sign made me laugh out loud. for realsies. not the internet speak: LOL.

  17. For your staycation, have you ever been to the place in Bonita Springs the everglade wonder gardens? It’s a little run down (and a tiny bit creepy) but so much fun in a “this is what vacations were like in the 60’s” kind of way. We always go to Doc’s on the beach after, but I think you’ve posted photos from there. Also, the Lani Kai is sure to bring out you inner Annette Funicello.
    We come visit Florida each year and stay on Venice Beach, and for some reason Florida brings out yur need to search out the cheesiet places. It just seems to work there- must be the change in humidity from Colorado.

  18. I love your posts and your beautiful pictures. You have the sweetest girls!

  19. I loved Lainey’s sign! The Mini-Bucket List is such a good idea. I’m going to write one after work and put it on the fridge :)

  20. 1) Get to the gym more than once
    2) Color with my girl
    3) Blow bubbles
    4) Start reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (saw the movie – doing this bass ackwards)
    5) Have coffee with my BFF
    6) Start my staycation with my sister who will be visiting from out of state
    7) Spa day with said sister
    8) Have a party
    9) Hug my girl
    10) Be grateful

  21. I absolutely LOVE the idea of the mini weekly bucket lists! My version wouldn’t be as long or as creative, but it sounds like fun! I love the idea of sending a care package to a friend’s child, just to say they are special. And I think we are going to have to do the summer inspiration board.

  22. I laughed out loud at Lainey’s list! I adore your blog and check it every day in hopes of a new post. You are very inspiring and make me want to do so much fun stuff with my kids!

  23. *OH! I used to love taking dictation for my Eli’s notes & signs! I saved every one :)

    *MORE than drooling over some pretty hand-made sweaters…..your mama sure is somethin’ special.

    *My husband looked over my shoulder and gave one of his breathy laughs (& closed mouth smiles :) when I showed him the last pic of Nella with her hair down & looking so grown up, beautiful, & resembling our girl. He does that when he’s holding back tears.

    1. Learn some crazy Thriller moves and practice the hoola hoop for our last day of school teacher skit.

    2. Finish painting & antiquing a hutch so that we can get our garage back!!!

    3. Clean the guest room for my dad when he comes to stay overnight on Thursday :)

    4. Water my Mother’s Day Hydrangea.

    5. Sort through a bazillion photos to load on Facebook.

    6. Get final grading done on 5th grade social studies projects.

    7. Finally hang a few pieces of decor I painted (including Nora’s name in wooden letters).

    8. Have coffee with a friend & give her the birthday gifts I’ve had for her since March.

    9. Color my gray streak before I start looking like Cruella Deville….hahaha!

    10. And celebrate in a big way on Friday with my boys…..their (& my) LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!!

  24. Your smile makes me happy either way. You are so happy it’s infectious, in a good way. Lainey’s hug after her ear piercing nearly made me cry, cause she was being a big girl about it then wanted the comfort of her Mama! But her sign? That made me smile big, my things! Oh little sisters and brothers can be pesky (I know I had 4 of them!) with your things.
    Your Mama is one very special and talented lady.

    My week five

    1. Switch the phone off and leave it out of the bedroom I’m so bad at this, we both sit in bed with our phone and Ipads next to each other but not really talking, (originally I wrote connecting, but I thought that sounded wrong, I meant it innocently though!)

    2.Hug my little niece and tell her I love her on her 1st birthday.

    3. Walk the perimeter of the block with Rob and the dogs one morning.

    4. I’m stealing your texting idea!

    5. I’m joining you on the debeigify project, we bought 3 dining chairs and they are so beige and vinyl. But they are made of the most beautiful blackwood timber (a native Tasmanian species). So we are going to take the beige vinyl off those suckers and recover them with red.

    Dang- I’m going to do it by Sunday as it’s halfway through Tuesday by now!

    Goodnight Kelle, high on life dance- jazz hands!

  25. Your smile makes me happy either way. You are so happy it’s infectious, in a good way. Lainey’s hug after her ear piercing nearly made me cry, cause she was being a big girl about it then wanted the comfort of her Mama! But her sign? That made me smile big, my things! Oh little sisters and brothers can be pesky (I know I had 4 of them!) with your things.
    Your Mama is one very special and talented lady.

    My week five

    1. Switch the phone off and leave it out of the bedroom I’m so bad at this, we both sit in bed with our phone and Ipads next to each other but not really talking, (originally I wrote connecting, but I thought that sounded wrong, I meant it innocently though!)

    2.Hug my little niece and tell her I love her on her 1st birthday.

    3. Walk the perimeter of the block with Rob and the dogs one morning.

    4. I’m stealing your texting idea!

    5. I’m joining you on the debeigify project, we bought 3 dining chairs and they are so beige and vinyl. But they are made of the most beautiful blackwood timber (a native Tasmanian species). So we are going to take the beige vinyl off those suckers and recover them with red.

    Dang- I’m going to do it by Sunday as it’s halfway through Tuesday by now!

    Goodnight Kelle, high on life dance- jazz hands!

  26. It comes as no surprise to me that for as long as I’ve been reading your blog — oh, say for the last year or so — I have loved every single one of your posts. But for some reason, this one has touched me the most. Perhaps it’s seeing your two beautiful girls in so many photos together, and hoping my girl loves her unborn sibling just as much {five weeks to go!}.

    I don’t know, but this post? It just made my heart smile. Thank you.

  27. I love this post. period. :o)

  28. LOVE Lainey’s sign :) Made me laugh… out loud… at work. Thank you!

  29. I love number 9 on your list! A summer inspiration board! That’s going on my list too :) xx

  30. I’m debeigifying my dining room right now… white dove… and it looks so fresh!

    My bucket list:

    1. Go to bed before 11:00 one night
    2. Spend the day at the zoo with my kids
    3. Put out the tchotskes that makes me think of summer and the beach
    4. Read poetry
    5. Scavenge, buy or make chocolate chip cookies

  31. Love the weekly bucket list. You’ve got some great ones. Can’t wait for my random text. :) But really I wanna do the bathroom spa date with my girls. They would love that. Sometimes I just need a good idea to get me going. Thanks!

  32. lovelt idea the list…
    1 bake bread
    2 running in a green and fresh field
    3 paint some paper
    4 meet a friend!
    5 have a wonderful week!!!

    thank you as always to be so inspiring!

  33. about to make myself a bucket list for the week, great idea kelle :)

  34. I love the mini bucket list idea Kelle :o) Way to make room for celebrating life and beautiful moments. I also love Lainey’s door sign :o) Thanks for inspiring!

  35. Normally my bucket list consists of staying up-to-date on my DVR’d shows, cooking at least once, and playing Scrabble with my husband a few nights per week, but this week is not typical because we’re going on vacation! Woo! So my list is as follows: 1. Don’t get puked on while riding rollercoasters (this happened on the Teacups two years ago), 2. Be selected as a contestant on The Price is Right and win somethin’ amazing! (no, for real this is on my actual bucket list), 3. Make a baby (por favor send up a high kick/twirl/jazz hands to the fertility gods for me…tmi?). Have a fantastic week, Hampton house! PS…Lainey’s sign ca-racked me up.

  36. I LOVE this idea. I love a list I can cross things off before I’ve even started, so task focused am I!

    1. get to the gym three times this week.
    2. email my buddies back in the UK.
    3. eat more fruit (and not the crushed grape of the pinot grigio tree)
    4. leave work before 7pm

    Oops better get going its nearly 7 here in Sydney! Have a great week xx

  37. 1. Finishing my home exam on Emerson and Sarah Orne Jewett
    2. Laying in the grass, celebrating the sun that has finally chosen to grace us with its presence.
    3. Making a final decision on which teaching position to accept.
    4. Finally having the time to read “To Kill A Mockingbird” that’s been on my shelf for an eternity.

  38. I love Lainey’s ‘keep out’ note. I used to have similar ones hanging on my door.

    My list for this week:

    1. Eat lunch outside every day in the sunshine
    2. Bake bread so that the whole house smells of it
    3. Make some biscuits for a friend. I’m thinking orange blossom and almond flavoured ones.
    4. Get started on some sewing I’m itching to do
    5. Pick pea shoots from my vegetable patch and eat them on the lawn
    7. Have a long bubble bath
    8. Curl up with a good book
    9. Get in touch with an old friend
    10. If I can get out the house, go to my favourite spot by the river and watch the local children swim there

  39. My sweet girl’s tenth birthday this week. I actually felt so relieved reading your words and remembering her special day five years ago…that girl is SO still there and will always be part of her. Beautiful blog!

  40. 1. Finish my masters class work before the weekend.
    2. Spend every last possible minute outside enjoying this beautiful summer weather.
    3. Find a sweater pattern like the one your Momma made for the girls and start one for my little girl.
    4. Put the phone down and be present with my kids.
    5. Breathe deep and somehow make it through the last full week of school.
    6. Smile big, laugh a lot.
    7. Find a fun new station on Pandora.

    Can’t think of anything else. Love this idea!

  41. I love Lainey’s note!

    And also, my bucket list has ONE big item this week – Meet my friend’s new BABY BOY!

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. Destin, FL….if you’ve never been there, go. Now. :)

  44. Lainey looks so grown in these pictures for some reason. Surely she didn’t change overnight, but it seems she did.

    My list?
    1. finish school with my 4th grader!
    2. enjoy watching him as he begins swim team this week
    3. take a care package to a friend’s child who has had minor surgery.

    Can’t wait to see the paint colors!


    Love how BIG Lainey looks in those mall pictures! She is really getting to be a “big girl”.

    Love that you pierced her ears as a special treat. I had to wait until I was 10 and only got it then because my friend gave me a gift certificate for my bday (mom was making me wait until 12)

    LOVE the picture of Lainey & Nella on the porch with their Popsicles. What beautiful girls!

    Love that you don’t hold back (though I know you keep some things for yourself) your life allowing us “strangers” to gain a new perspective and appreciation for our own.

  46. Love it Kelle! :)
    A great way of starting a week.
    Way to remember to stay present and get inspired…purposely!
    Beautiful pictures

  47. Love this. Might have to be a Monday thing for me too! And…that picture of your girls on the steps eating a popcicle…my first thought was WOW they look SO much alike! They are just beautiful! Thank you again for your inspiration!

  48. Yes, yes, a small do-able list, I do like it :) Loved all the birthday moments, luckily I could follow along on instagram! The photos are beautiful, as always :)

  49. I just have the one thing on my list:

    1. Leave a comment on my favourite blogger’s site to say Hi (hello, Kelle!) and to finally tell her how much I enjoyed reading Bloom! Beautiful and inspiring. So proud of you.

    Love to you all from across the pond!

  50. The sweaters are gorgeous! Does she have a link for a pattern to share?

  51. If you haven’t been to Weeki Wachee springs your girls would love it…they have live mermaid shows! it’s a bit north for naples and a bit trapped in the past! but it is a Florida must.

  52. Mini Bucket List=
    1.Wake up early and make a big, warm breakfast for boys before work/school.
    2.Go for an evening walk
    3.Set aside time and paint both my toe nails and finger nails
    4.Find the PERFECT gift for hubbys bday.
    5.Find the PERFECT lipstick to wear to meet Kelle Hampton on June 6!!!!!!!! πŸ˜‰

  53. I mean June 7th!!!!!!! haha

  54. That picture of them sitting on the front stoop. LOVE.

    And I love love love Lainey’s list. Hilarious.

    Bucket list for this week. Let’s keep it simple. I want to work on Landon’s baby book (he’s almost 4, mind you) and finish painting my grandma’s old desk. It’s only been setting in my garage for a year. Professional procrastinator here.

  55. lovely pics***

  56. I Love this post.The happy, simple, everyday moments are the beest. Lainey’s party looked awesome!

    Enjoy your week!

    P.S. you have beautiful teeth!

  57. The toilet office is so funny! And I love the mini bucket list idea! I’m going to have to think about mine, but just reading your list made me excited. :)

  58. Love all the photos…and I have to say, the photos of Nella on the bed, drinking her bottle…peace and quiet…sweet times…mom and daughter…those are the days I miss most with my kiddos…when dad is gone to work…just me and my babies…they are growing up on me so fast. Everything changes Kelle and they just don’t stay small for long….. Grab these moments, store them in your memory, and don’t let go…xo

  59. Thanks! Just thanks!

  60. I love the weekly list. And, what a great it is! I immediately texted a friend to let her know that I was thinking about her. I just love your heart, Kelle!

  61. Thank you for the reminder to be intentional with my time. I just moved to Africa for the summer and sometime I feel more like I’m just trying to get though my time here and not really live it. I’m in AFRICA for goodness sakes. I’m making a list today.

  62. What a wonderful post! I am closed mouth smiling right now.

  63. LOVE this post! Brought a smile to my face!

    And I made my mini bucket list:

    1. Keep up with #SheReadsTruth and share/tweet twice
    2. Go on a picnic
    3. Big hat, tanning lotion, bikini & the pool on Saturday
    4. Pray daily that my eyes will be fixed on Jesus
    5. Paint my nails a new color
    6. Send 2 people an e-card
    7. Watch a movie in bed w/Matt (have popcorn)
    8. Read myself to sleep one evening
    9. Coffee & Bible on the porch one morning
    10. Go for a morning walk or run

  64. Oh, I LOVE myself a list! This week is easy, because we get to see my new nephew over the weekend.
    1. Get the final gifts for my sister’s ultimate gift basket – a special tea container and my favorite Sleepy Time tea. And a frame for the awesome card I got her so she can enjoy it forever and it won’t end up in a drawer somewhere.
    2. Fill that card with love, love, love.
    3. Pack myself and my three kiddos for the long weekend – my husband will take care of himself, which includes his bike and his bike shorts, period.

    Kelle, I’m an introvert and it was something I struggled with for a long time. I wanted so badly to be an extrovert, and still do sometimes. Those moments you described come very easy for me, it’s other high kicking that doesn’t (high kicking on the outside.) See, I think introverts high kick on the inside quite often. And your blog certainly puts a spring into my step. Thank you. And consider yourself lucky that the high kicking (on the outside) comes easy. :)

  65. Lainey’s note is hilarious and adorable and she is so serious putting it on the door. :)))) hugs. xoxo

  66. Loving the weekly list idea, here goes!

    1. organize preschool and kindergarten graduation celebrations.

    2. invite friends for a cookout on Friday night to kick off the Memorial Day weekend.

    3. bake a festive treat and decorate it for Memorial Day.

    4. finish organizing my 100 days of summertime plans and post ebook review on my blog.

    5. finish lemonade stand plans and order supplies (lemonade days for Alex’s Lemonade Stand are June 8-10).

    6. sip my morning coffee on the porch after the kids are off to school and start soaking up the summer.

    7. take lots of pictures at the baseball games this week.

    8. plan Memorial Day cookout.

    9. start summer bucket list with the kids.

    10. welcome the summer season with open arms and a grateful heart!

  67. I absolutely ADORE the first and last pictures of Nella! I understand what your friend was saying – I think Lainey’s the same way. The pictures where she just has that sweet peaceful look on her face (in the chair waiting to get her ears done, at the picnic table playing) are breathtaking!

  68. I forgot to tell your mom what beautiful sweaters she crocheted! And wow, can I see the love that went into them. I crochet, but nothing like that – yet. And yes, love is in every hook.

  69. Oh holy cow. Lainey’s note is awesome! What a good Mom to write it for her as well. I love it! My niece is 5 and I can totally see her doing something like that! LOVE!

  70. I am a list-on-a-sticky-note type of gal. My list for this week:
    1. Celebrate the end of another successful school year for my kiddos roasted hot dogs and marshmallows)
    2. Buy new sunblock, towels, swimsuits, and shoes for summer
    3. Pack for camping trip this weekend (where we will have more hot dogs and more marshmallows)
    4. Wash the car (it really needs a bath)
    5. Try real hard not to have some sort of emotional break down :)
    …have a great week!!!

  71. SHUT. THE. FRONT. DOOR. Pierced ears — wow, Lainey is so brave, no tears or anything! She is growing so much. I found that the transition from 4 to 5 with my son was pretty dramatic too — he really started to express his individuality and fight for his independence. Good post Kelle :)

  72. Also, I’m kind of dying to know where you got that red shirt for Lainey, and who is printed on it?

  73. Just LOVE Nella’s sweater! How cute! I have one thing on my list this week. I have a special frame with 4 openings that I have had for 5 yrs. I am going to put pics in it of my mom, in sepia tones. I promise!

  74. I noticed Lainey had pierced ears at her party, and was puzzled b/c I had never noticed those sparkling before… now I see it was a big 5 girl birthday present :) That picture of Lainey totin’ Nella in her bike bucket is to die for.

  75. Love this post. Your blog posts always make me yearn to not be working outside the home. I think my list could be so much longer that way. Either that or I could just not sleep….

    1- Help out at two tball games
    2- Write two new blogs
    3- Create a 6 year old’s birtday invite!
    4 – Take an hour three nights to paint

    My list isn’t really exciting – more of a to do πŸ˜‰ Help!

  76. Lainey’s note is simply perfect!

  77. Laughed so hard at the bathroom office pic!!!

  78. I LOVED the office picture! And it might be kinda weird, but I love seeing pictures of your girls wearing some of the same cute clothes and playing with the same toys that my girls do. Especially since you have such great taste! :) Love the mini-bucket idea, too.

  79. that note is the most precious thing ever!

  80. List will come later…for now I ponder the possibilities.

    A thought, though, on the bathroom office. We have many things happen at our toilet. A surprising amount of eating is done (by the 2 yr old) on the toilet lid. Good thing I am an extreme stickler for toilet cleanliness!

  81. Love the pic of you holding Lainey after she got her ears pierced….

    And her note….too cute!

    What adorable sweaters your Mom made for the girls.

  82. 1. Make a sign and hang it on my door for James (boyfriend) “Don’t come in unless you plan on leaving the room as clean/neat as you entered it. If you need socks or something, ask me, I’ll get them for you, but don’t come in.”
    2. Attempt some form of exercise every day before or after work.
    3. Pack a lunch and stop spending money at lunch.
    4. Paint my fingernails.

  83. Wow 5! Loving your mini bucket. We just finished our summer fun jar and we draw out 7 adventures to do during the week and put them on our board.
    this week we have
    1. sidewalk chalk games
    2. the zoo
    3. Write the entire alphabet
    4. Get out the slip n slide
    5. Door bell ditch a neighbor with a treat
    6. Learn about the phases of the moon with oreos
    7. Play balloon ping pong.

  84. I was sitting reading your blog with my soon to be 3 year old son sitting on my lap. “Look” he exclaimed,as he pointed to a photo of Nella, “a baby, an angel like me.” I smiled and agreed.

  85. Oh my gosh I absolutely ADORE that sweater your mom made for Nella (and Lainey’s, but I really love the fun colors of Nella’s).

    Love the weekly bucket list idea, sounds like a great way to start my first week of summer.
    1. go star gazing with friends
    2. write a letter to someone I haven’t seen in a while
    3. paint nails with some friends
    4. dance party while packing

  86. 1. Finish final History paper!
    2. Paint my nails a pretty bright colour.
    3. Have a dance party with a friend or two in our upstairs hallway.
    4. Organize and declutter my room!

    I’m looking forward to this week! πŸ˜€

  87. Oh, how I love the pierced ears! Looks like she had a great birthday celebration. I always love seeing your post after parties, you rock it girl! You could so be a party planner. I love your creative ideas.
    My weekend was so bittersweet, my baby girl turned “21”, I think I took it harder than my 40th. They grow up so fast.

  88. We are in our last week of school so this week I will:

    1. Chaperone pool party for my first grader
    2. Chaperone pool party for my third grader
    3. Help out at field day
    4. Eat lunch with my kids at the school cookout
    5. Go to all three honors ceremonies for each of the children
    6. Make a graduation cake for a dear friend’s daughter who is, gulp, graduating from high school
    7. Take the kids out for something fun to celebrate the beginning of summer break
    8. Put my feet up Sunday night and recover from the week

  89. Your photos are so inspiring, I am attempting to practise and try new things – thank you! :)

    Gorgeous sweaters! I love the playing office in the bathroom photo, and the trike ride photo, and the forest picnic photos. Beautiful!

    I finally managed to find a copy of BLOOM in stock, it is amazing! :)

  90. Lovely post <3
    I do like your bucket-Monday-thing!! Exciting and the stuff you put on yours? Fab!

    Here goes my five:
    1. Have glorious time for only me and buy myself new sunglasses!
    2. Get re-started (if only just for three minutes) on writing my novel.
    3. Light loads of candles (even though it’s crazy hot here these days) come Thursday when The Boy and I have a postponed Tuesday snuggle…
    4. Take time out for a foam bath with music and candles…
    5. Light candles for the upcoming breakfasts ….
    (I must really miss wintertime candles, I see here!!)

    I’ll be sure to celebrate with you, Friday :-)

    have a gorgeous week!

  91. I cannot believe she is 5! I’ve been reading for a couple of years, and I don’t believe I have ever commented! Hope her day and her party were wonderful!

    Will we see her photo book? Love seeing those photo books!! Love your blog and just bought the book today! Can’t wait to dig in!

  92. OMG – Lovely post & pics!! I ♥ Lainey’s note…and those sweaters for the girls are adorable (tell your mom!)…and and the pic with Lainey hauling Nella in the little trike – super cute!…and I, too, got my ears pierced on my 5th birthday! I don’t remember how I reacted – if I cried or held it in or what I did – but yeah for turning 5 and for a lovely post!

  93. Lainey is growing so fast. She was so brave to get her ears pierced, and the way she held onto you afterward….Priceless! I love the idea of the mini bucket lists. Thanks for sharing :)

  94. I was 9 when allowed to get my ears pierced and I so remember the twinkly feeling of “accidentally” catching a glimpse of my grown-up, beautified ears.

  95. Oh, the pierced ears. What a big step in a little girl’s life… Her earrings look so cute! :)

  96. I love your life and that you share it with us, thank you! BTW, is it just me, or are your girls growing up way to fast? <3

  97. love love love nella’s sweater!!!

  98. I’m learning so much about juggling two kids from reading your blog. Our #2 is en route.

  99. So glad to see an entire post devoted to Lainey! I see so much of myself in her and worry about her getting overshadowed. Thanks for calming my fears! Sounds like she had a great birthday!

  100. Kelle, you used to drive me nuts. I admit it – I was one of those “How can she be so happy all.the.time?” people. I checked your blog from time to time when friends raved, but I was always a little… annoyed. Until I found myself in a rather dark place and instead of being annoyed by your blog, I found myself waiting very impatiently for your next posts – because your optimism and ability to find joy in little things helped me get through to lighter days. So THANK YOU. And thank you for this post about a weekly to-do list. I always have two lists – one for work and one for housework. I need three now – and the third one should be the most important.

  101. I ordered a copy of Bloom for my cousin. She is finishing her jr year of college, majoring in special education. She finished it just last week and texted me to say she loved it. Then I got another about an hour later. Her professor told the students to check out your blog, that he would be including some questions about Nella and you. She was beyond excited!

  102. 1. Pay for someone’s order behind me in the drive through line
    2. Take pictures of my girls with a ton of flowers.
    3. Spa time with Ruby (thank you kelle!)
    4. Hide a love letter in Dave’s shoe before work.
    5. Start “pinning” inspiration and ideas for the man cave/office we are decorating in the fall.
    6. Pull out my scrapbooking supplies and SCRAP like I’ve nevered SCRAPPED before during naptime!
    7. Make a well thought out list of all the ideas I’ve been thinking of for work then take a deep breath and remember it will all get done in due time.
    8. Make a care package for my Grandma and Gramps. They both went through scary medical situations recently and I want them to know they are loved.
    9. Burn music cds for our little friends.
    10. Play DJ Mix-a-lot and burn summer cds for my lady friends and pass out this weekend.

  103. PS Thank you sooooo much for this inspiration! I needed this right about NOW! I appreciate you sharing:) Maria

  104. Thanks for the bucket list idea, I like lists also since they keep me on task a bit! Going to start a summer bucket list since we have so much fun free time ahead of us and my 2.5 year old girl is full of energy and exploration! Some things I’ve already done this week and still have to do:
    1-Took my BFF to lunch to celebrate her birthday which was in January!
    2-Playdate with my two college girlfriends and their daughters tomorrow-trying a recipe I’ve never made before for them-hope it’s yummy!
    3-Planning for my stepsons upcoming Graduation party-trying to be creative can be hard when we are talking about 17 year old boys!
    4-Got in touch with a cousin who had a sad day today-hoping my words made him feel better.
    5-Relax for memorial day weekend, and reflect on how much I have to be thankful for!

    I love the picture in the Friday Dump of Nella with her legs kind of turned sideways-such a huge, happy grin on her face!

  105. I never get tired of coming here. The sweetness of your girls just bless my heart. That note Lainey had you write was hilarious. My girls should have notes like that plastered on their doors. That’s what they argue about the most…their space. It’s late and my brain is fried. Love the mini bucket list idea. I’ll have to sleep on it.

  106. Hi Kelle! I am the list maker to end all list makers and I love the idea of a weekly one! I will try one next Monday, for sure. I am working on my summer list too, which is always great fun. I was going to tell you that I decided a while ago that I won’t call it my “Bucket List” anymore, but rather my “Life List”. I want the amazing big and little things on my list to be done full of life and not with a fear of death (as so many do!) Just my attempt to keep a more positive spin for myself!
    Happy Tuesday!

  107. It’s amazing to see what we thought were little babies transform into young girls. I remember a lot when I was five, and you are giving her the best memories of her life.

    I’m only 21 now, but I still remember my childhood years like they were yesterday. I’m sure there is nothing more fulfilling then knowing what you do for your child will be remembered even when they grow older!

    Thank you SO much for sharing. I read your blog before I go to bed to put me into a cheerful mood!

  108. Oh, I love that hug that Lainey gave you. Precious.

  109. I didn’t get to read this post until today (Wednesday), but I love the mini bucket idea. Definitely must do this! :) Lainey was such a brave girl when she got her ears pieced! Wow! :) Love the precious sweaters from your Mama, and I think big smiles are awesome! :) Happy week to you!

  110. Your mama sure knows how to crochet a sweater! I’m jealous! My daughter is turning 4 July 1st and wants to get her ears pierced πŸ˜‰

  111. LOve it! You’ve inspired me to make my own list!

  112. Love the ears! A sweet little lady indeed! :)

  113. LOVE this post Kelle… as always amazing pics but the concept, the inspiration, the spontaneity… THANK YOU for this!!! Hope you are enjoying crossing things off your list, right now. :)

  114. Kelle, definitely check out St. Augustine FL. Have you ever been? You will absolutely love it! Its so charming with lots of fun stuff for the girls to do.

  115. I’m sure you are well aware, but pandora has an excellent spa chanel for bathroom spa services. We find cucumbers and candles make it ever more special.

  116. Awesome post.

    1. Make a painted vase for my best friend in her favorite color – pink.
    2. Visit my new baby cousin for the first time.
    3. Have dinner with a friend I haven’t seen in weeks.
    4. Celebrate the end of finals week for my boyfriend. Probably in the form of popcorn and catching up on Modern Family.
    5. Watch I Love Lucy with my parents.
    6. Buy a maxi dress!
    7. Remind myself that every day brings a fresh start. Relax, and enjoy the little things.

  117. Love this idea!! I am going to try and get my friends to do a mini bucket list with me! :) great idea
    -Abby (a fellow extrovert)

  118. Please oh please do this every Monday, I will do it with you! With family visiting this week I got behind on my blog reading and found this too late! I <3 this idea :)

  119. Mini bucket list for Memorial Day weekend:
    1. Eat “clean” from tonight through Monday night
    2. Take my kids somewhere outdoors (besides my yard). Anywhere, even if it is the local park.
    3. Plant the flowers that are still in their Lowe’s packaging in my backyard
    4. Watch a sunset
    5. Read for at least 30 minutes each night instead of watching TV

  120. I just had baby girl #3 and seeing your sweet girls reminds me so much of my 2 older girls (not old at all, 2 and 3!) I love to see your girls pictures of them playing and just being ‘sisters’. How lucky they are to have each other! Thanks for sharing them with us :) Oh, and I might add that I am currently reading your book each time I sit down to nurse my sweet ‘little’ πŸ˜‰

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