Then and Now: Summer Memories, Hallmark

This post is a Hallmark sponsored post. I am being paid by Hallmark to write it, but all writing, ideas and opinions are mine. Thankfully, Hallmark and I share the same idea–that little moments are to be celebrated and that good people, good efforts and good intentions deserve a spotlight. See Hallmark Life is a Special Occasion for more details, like them on Facebook, and/or sign up for their e-mail messages HERE.

The very first sobering fact of motherhood that I learned just moments after I earned my title was that the unknown–the fear of what we can’t control–can be paralyzing. After finally taking Lainey home from the hospital and receiving the “all clear” for her early health problems, I was relieved yet terrified that our “all clear” was temporary.

And that’s the reality of motherhood–“All clear” is always temporary. No one can guarantee permanent good fortune.

I remember calling my sister in tears on one of those first days, needing to tell someone–anyone–that I loved her so much. “When will this feeling, this worry go away?” I asked.

I’ll never forget her answer: “It never goes away. You just find a place for it.”

I soon found the most foolproof way to soften the fear of what we can’t control. I canceled it out by grabbing the wheel of what we can control and taking that ship to the moon.

We, of course, literally did that these last weeks–grabbing the wheel and driving toward the summer memories we wanted our girls to have, the ones we have from days when our own parents drove toward cottages and landmarks, lakes and campgrounds.


Last week was summer solstice, the peak of childhood nostalgia. There are childhood memories for all of us from which we want to protect our children–divorce and bullying, broken friendships or struggling in school. But summer? I think it brought out the best of many families, and I will make certain it brings out the best in ours.


We repeat history–our favorite parts of it–and add pages of our own family to the greater legacy–volumes of summer memories over generations.




Why else do you think Brett so badly wanted Lainey to catch that fish last week?


He remembers what it felt like.

And I remember the thrill of catching fireflies in jars, making homemade slip ‘n slides with garbage bags and dish soap, cousin Olympics in the backyard, sprinklers, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Tawas rock shops and turning the hatch back of our gold Citation into a bed for long road trips.

Good God–stripe-obsessed, much? Even then.

Our parents passed the torch. We will feed the flames, inspired by the sentimental depth of our own summer memories.



True, there is so much we can’t control in parenthood. But how we spend these next weeks, midsummer–that we can control. Grab the wheel and take this ship to the moon.

Just like our parents did.

What summer memory from your childhood are you most looking forward to passing on to your own children? Are there any summer then-and-now moments you’d like to share, any landmarks from summer vacations you’ll make sure your own family visits? Hallmark and I would love to hear how you plan to repeat your favorite parts of summer history.

To see other Hallmark posts on this blog, click HERE.


Leave a Comment
  1. your an amazing writer! love your blog, so inspiring :)

  2. Stylish, even then…

  3. Love all the pictures depicting the generations.

  4. Such a great post – especially b/c my oldest is the same age some of my own earliest memories are from! Crazy to think about – but so exciting to get to pass the torch of the things I loved and remember from then!!!
    Some of those are: watering down the back yard (and the neighbors field) the day of July 4th – so it didn’t start on fire that night when we lit off all our fireworks, the ice cream truck coming by, and camping out in the back yard!

  5. A-dorable! Love the old and new pictures…so, so sweet.
    Cheers & welcome home!

  6. Generally I can see both you and Brett in your kids. But holy cow right now I think Lainey is a mini you with blond hair.

  7. I love this and do this too! Aren’t we lucky when there is good photographic evidence of the our past?

  8. SO fun! The photo of Nella on the dunes is so lovely, so touching. And, the comparisons are amazing!

  9. Love the comparison pics. I am looking forward to spending so much time in our mountain lakes and park ponds that wrinkled fingers at the end of every night will be proof of a successful summer day.

  10. Love this!! I am 6 months pregnant and dreaming of summers ahead with our little one. We both grew up in beach towns, so I’m most looking forward to long beach days, teaching her how to fish, boat rides around the harbor and swinging into the ice cream shop on the way home, covered in sand with crazy beach hair.

  11. Loved looking at all these pictures! :) Yes…I can so relate. Makes me all teary! :)

  12. There are posts of your’s I particularly love and when that happens I send out a quick text to my husband to stop what he’s doing and read it. This is one of them. I love memory making, my husband does too but not with the same urgency I feel. They just grow so fast…I want everything to be a meaningful memory!

    What I remember from my childhood:
    Splashing in the baby pool with my mom, camping with my dad. Definitely something I want to pass on.

    Angie from Ohio/angiepics

  13. Nice to see you’ve changed your haircut since 1983!!! 😉 still looks great

  14. We’re hoping to achieve some new ones this summer. My 5 yr old is still waiting to catch his first fish too – if the lake fails up north, I’ve got a nearby trout farm for backup. I have many of the same memories as you that I want to pass on – swimming, boating, grilling, etc. at the cottage (already well established with my boys), canoeing, biking, getting ice cream, camping and summer sports. Now, I’m going to have to raid my mom’s pictures to see any then and nows :)

  15. Kelle-

    I read your blog every week – and have for over a year now – and I must say that this is one of my very favorite posts! so beautiful.

    I spent a lot of time in MI growing up (Grand Rapids, Newaygo, Traverse) and can’t wait to look back on pictures of such a beautiful state and still see the lakes, dunes, and landscapes preserved and beautiful as ever.

    Lainey & Nella seem like such angels. Keep up the great posting.


  16. I can’t wait to take my Lainey (15 months) to the beach this week and watch her run around the beach when all she could do last year was lay there. (I’m already tired thinking about it!) But I absolutely can’t wait to the day she wants to go to summer camp…the best part of the summer when I was growing up!

  17. Camping in the backyard with friends! That was always so much fun! It was just so much fun staying up late chatting with friends. Ah, to be a kid again… :)

  18. Kelle, these are great pictures of you and Brett, and the girls! Love them! What great memories… We too have a lot of memories from the summertime, and just got back from making them in Surfside Beach, SC with our kids!!

  19. Beautiful comparison photos…what a sweet post! My summer favs were chomping fresh corn on the cob, kickball games in the street, and ungodly amounts of RC Cola at baseball games. I might rein in the amounts of cola, and the kickball game has moved to the front yard, but we’re definitely living down some of these memories already.

    P.S. Stripes are fantastic in any decade. 😉

  20. Following your vacation the last three weeks, and reading this post, makes me even more excited about making lasting summer memories with my kids. Growing up, the only trips we really ever took were usually with my grandparents to western Kansas (approx 5 hour trip) to my great grandparents farm. We have VERY fond memories of those trips and it was a thrill for me two summers ago when I traveled with my husband and two kids, and met up with my mom, brother, sister-in-law and their 4 kids, and got to show them what was remaining of the farm (mostly destroyed by a tornado in jr high, but cousin lives there now). Unfortunately, with a single, working mother, those were about the only trips we ever took. While they were good, I look forward to making new ones with my kids. Camping with friends, cabin at the lake with friends, swimming, day trips to beautiful gardens, etc. I thank you for constantly reminding me to live in the moment, make memories with every moment, and not to take life too seriously. I’m excited to see what this summer brings!

  21. Love this post!

    Can’t wait to share more time at the lake, skipping stones, hunting for tiny shells, twirly slides and swings, sparklers at night…so much fun!

  22. My family and I are fleeing the Mid-West and moving to the West Coast. I’m going to be a stay at home mom for the first time to my sweet boys and I’m so excited to make new memories with them. You’re an inspiration. Thank you!

  23. I mostly want to come up with our own traditions and memories for our daughter. My parents worked a lot and we didn’t have a lot of activities going on in the summer. I do remember going to my grandparents a lot in the summer. They lived close by so it was a lot of staying over on weekends. I want to try to make more time to give my daughter memories to have when shes older. I’ve been following your blog and other blogs to get inspiration and ideas of things to do with our daughter.
    I love all the side by side pictures of you and Brett and the girls.

  24. Crazy! I was at Big Twin the same time you were and I didn’t even know it. I feel like my family was following the same path as yours. We were in Chicago days after you. We were in traverse city days after you. Now to see you guys were at twin lake!?!? Who freaking woulda thunk it? Weird. Oh well there’s always next summer!

  25. I would spend the summers at my Grammy & Papa’s home in South Carolina so my mom (a single mother) could get a break from me and my big sister. Every 4th of July my Papa would go out and buy a large paper grocery sack full of fireworks and set them off for us. I can still hear him telling me to stand back and I can still picture him lighting the fuse and running back to me so we could watch them together.

  26. what an awesome post! those photos are so fun! I love lake memories:)

  27. Kelle – Lainey is a spitting image of you, circa 1984 canoing!!! I’m sure you’ve already noticed it, but I couldn’t help but point it out! :) Such beautiful girls, no doubt due to their beautiful mama (and daddy too!) ~ Lexi

  28. I remember going to visit my aunt in North Dakota, going to Florida with my mom and step-dad, spending a couple of weeks with my godmother and the road trips with my dad. I can’t wait to bring Arya to Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park. I want to show her all of natures beauty and let her see wild life in it’s natural state. They (my parents) tell me that they want to take her without me to do all of these fun things, that I will need a break and it will be fun, but at this moment in time I can’t imagine doing any of it without her. I want to see and feel what it’s like for her to experience it all for this first time.

  29. Those are such awesome then and now matchups! And Lainey is your spitting image.

  30. Every picture made me smile.

  31. Rockford, Il??? Is Brett from there? Me too!

  32. love, Love, LOVE!!!! Every bit of it.
    Most looking forward to this summer…big family picnic coming up soon. A perfect setting~beautiful park, lots of trees for shade, a bonus water fountain, wide open space for running, paths for bike rides, homecooked picnic food, cold drinks followed by a dip in our community pool, chilled fruit, red, white & blue desserts, big soft towels to dry off & cuddle the littles, a few quilts under the arbour where we will wind down & watch the sun set.
    Beyond excited!

  33. Fabulous post!
    My parents used to take me and my sister to Colorado every summer. I can still picture it so clearly that I can smell it.

  34. These photos are magic!
    Thank you for sharing.
    No wonder your littles are so beautiful, Mumma and Daddy sure were as kids.

  35. Summer, to me, is the smell of hose water, and running through sprinklers. When we were living in Tennessee when I was a kid, we’d drag the sprinkler into the driveway and just run and jump and play. That’s what I want for my kids. I want them to know the simple joy of a hose and a sprinkler.

  36. I loved the comparison pictures! Those are so great! :)

  37. … this was fantastic. and wonderfully true!

  38. Love it!!! Just bought your book and can not put it down!

  39. I loooove these pictures!! You and Lainey look so much alike in so many of the pictures!!
    I want my daughter to experience a full day at the beach, where you nap on your towel, eat a delicious Mom-packed picnic and spend most of the day in the water. I want her to experience a 2 day road trip to Florida, like we always did when I was little. With fun stops (like the Watermelon Princess we ran into in Georgia, and were given free watermelon slices), and yummy hotel breakfasts. I want her to feel grass stains on her knees, taste fresh peas and carrots from the garden, strawberry picking, laying in the hot sun to warm up after swimming in a cold pool. Everything is better with kids…and I can’t wait to live vicariously!! :)

  40. Oh Kelle,
    I LOVE this post.
    It’s winter here at the moment {in Australia}, so seeing this summery goodness was LOVELY!
    Summer here…is during the Christmas / New Year period, and that is when we have our 6 week school holidays. I have SOOOO many wonderful summer memories from my childhood that I strive to re-create & build upon for my own children. Little things like stickey ice-cream messes, long beach days, camping, insect bites & fishing on the jetty in our back yard…to the bigger things like holidays with cousins up the coast, hot sticky Christmas Eve nights & long days of freedom & fun in the sun. I cherish it all…and hope my kids do too.
    In fact, you’ve inspired me to blog about it :)
    You’re an amazing lady Kelle Hampton.

  41. Can’t wait to take my son swimming in the pacific ocean like I did as a kid!

  42. My family and I take a trip to Okoboji Iowa every year for a family reunion of sorts. (I’ve been going every summer since I was 4 months old) We meet up with all the aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, and friends.

    My most vivid childhood memories come from jumping off docks, catching tadpoles, the sound of the tent opening in the morning, and getting hurt somehow every single year. I can’t wait for my kids to be a part of it too!

  43. I LOVE the pics of you and Brett, as kids! And I love how you enjoy summer, and LIFE! Hmm…my childhood memory I want to pass on to my kids? Well, my family used to go and spend time at my Grandpa’s. I see my grandbabies some now. But I hope that, as they grow, that continues AND maybe they come stay with us in the summer! Love, Linda (your Blog Mama)

  44. Love, Love every word of this :-).

    I normally would not even point this out, but because it’s a HM post I thought you might want to correct : cousin Olympics, right?

  45. We’re doing it already – rereading bedtime stories my parents saved of mine – every single night.

  46. I love the comparison pictures!! I’ll have to remember to do that!
    I’m 5-6 weeks away from having my first little one, and the memory I really can’t wait to pass on to baby is going to my family’s cottage on a little lake in NY and spending time on the lake on the boat. It is seriously my favorite place in the world, and I can’t wait to my baby there! I’m hoping that maybe I’ll get the baby there before this summer is over!!
    I’m so excited just thinking about this – thanks for that!!!!!

  47. my parents didn’t take many pictures at all when i was growing up. have very few. my girls will definitely not have that problem;)

    let’s see…things i want them to remember. sitting in church with me. taking walks and talking boys. winding down on the porch swing. cuddling up before bedtime watching our favorite shows. fun vacations. i could really go on and on.

  48. I love the side by side pictures. That would be a great idea for a framed wall.

  49. I so loved seeing the pics of you and Brett! Also, at first I thought the picture of you from Sleeping Bear Dunes was Carin’s youngest daughter.

    Gotta run and grab the wheel.

    Jill B (Overland Park, KS)

  50. When my parents met my father was a swim instructor. I think his full-time job as a science teacher was a convenient way to support a beach bum lifestyle in the summer months. Long summer vacations bring to mind one thing for me– swimming in the lake by my parents’ home. My father taught my brother and I to swim in that lake. I can recall him throwing us high into the air and catching us just as we splashed back into the water. It was scary fun- like a roller coaster or one of those really steep water slides that takes your breath away. We played on that beach, in that lake water for hours.
    Last weekend was my daughter’s first adventure into the same lake. It was a hot day- at least by Maine’s weather standard- and we were all in the water. My dad turned to me and said, “Let’s give Violet some fun!” We began a game of splashing back and forth with Little Miss, each time a little further apart- a little more for a splash. The look on my daughter’s face went from questioning, to a little fear, to sudden delight! She squealed with each splash, screaming, “Yeah!!” (her new favorite word)
    As was stood thigh-deep in the cool lake water it was like I was a little kid again and my dad was throwing me into the air, splashing back into his arms. I knew exactly what Violet meant when she screamed, “Yeah!” She meant “This. Is. Aweseome.”

  51. Oh Kelle, what a beautiful post, it actually made me cry teeny weeny discrete (I’m at work) happy tears.

    Your blog kills me with cute. When i think you’ve reached the peak, you post something even cuter. That double-shot of you outside Hotel Iriquois and Nella outside the white house just slays me with cute.

    And then further down, you’re on the Lilo as a kid in dotty bathers (what do Americans call them? togs? swimming costume? bathing suit?) and 2 pics later Lainey is in almost identical bathers!!

    Here in Australia, Christmas is in summer so all the memories you listed…. add in CHRISTMAS and NEW YEAR and that’s our summers growing up!

    And cousin Olympics… does every child in the world play Olympics with cousins and friends? I think it must be!

    Laura x

  52. So exciting reading this post and seeing you at The Iraquois Hotel on Mackinaw, which is where my husband proposed to me (he is also from MI)! We haven’t been back since then and it reminded me that we need to go back & take our kids! Loved seeing all the comparison pictures too!! Great post!

  53. LOve the then and now pics!! I just had to share with you that you have gotten me so excited for road trippin’ it this summer, which we are about to do! Except our family is going to MICHIGAN from kansas instead of florida. 13 hours in the car but soo worth the memories, we’ve never been to Michigan and are going for a cousin’s wedding :) Happy summer to you and yours.

  54. I worked at the Iroquois Hotel many moons ago – so fun to see it in your photo!
    Summer to me is Michigan, and I’m loving watching my son figure out that summer means Michigan to him too. He’s already figured out how to stay in the cold lake water until his lips turn blue and to throw rocks into the lake to watch the splash. When he’s a bit bigger, I look forward to reliving the fun of riding bikes to the general store for Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream cones, to family picnics on the beach where one of the littles almost always ends up skinny dipping after dinner, to his first jump off the end of the dock. I love re-living my best summer memories as we create his.

  55. This is such a beautiful post and a wonderful idea! I love summer time and I hope that my kids will too! :)

  56. Beautiful post,

  57. Although tawas doesn’t really have rock shops anymore…..we will venture there this summer and explore the beaches, the docks, and all the little mom & pop shops that this little town has to offer. So much is different from when I was growing up there as a kid, but all of the little treasures remain the same :) I can’t wait to experience it all with my two babes!

  58. I love this post, and for that matter your blog in general :) I’ve been reading for quite a while now. Your daily adventures and memories in the making really inspire me and make me think about all the things I want my son (and twin girls, tho they’re still on the way!) to experience growing up. It’s such a magical thing, isn’t it, to be playing such a part in creating our kids’ childhood memories!

  59. Hmm, my childhood was a bit…much…so my memories are hazy. But I will always remember my dad and his (temporary) fiance driving my 2 brothers and I from Tennessee to Michigan for a summer vacation.
    I was maybe 13 and, being from Florida, could not understand why anyone would go to Michigan for a vacation. But it was beautiful. The weather was amazing. I remember clear skies, puffy clouds, my Dad made fun of me when I told him the sky was different there.
    I adored that I could swim in the lake and there was nothing but water and sand, no weird seaweed and living things like in Florida. The sand was so soft. Mackinaw Island was a fun oddity. I still couldn’t figure out why so many people were there but it was fun…That is the only vacation I’ve ever been on with my father. Thanks for reminding me of good times : )

  60. I think catching lightening bugs in the summer is my favorite memory growing up… and now I get to watch my son do it. He absolutely LOVES it like I did growing up. It seems so magical :) And it sure does bring me back.

  61. Lovely pictures!It is nice how pictures can tell a story of your family. Childhood memories can be stored this way. Continue making memories!

  62. I LOVED this post. Your writing is magical. I am in the middle of vacation up north and I am treasuring these days with my three little ones. We watched the draw bridge go up in charlevoix today and you would have thought Santa appeared! It’s the small things :)

  63. I LOVED this post. Your writing is magical. I am in the middle of vacation up north and I am treasuring these days with my three little ones. We watched the draw bridge go up in charlevoix today and you would have thought Santa appeared! It’s the small things :)

  64. Beautifull post, k

  65. This is our first summer with our little one. I can’t wait to re-create some of our childhood memories with him as well as make some new ones for our new family.

    This post was adorable and made me very excited for the next few months….heck- the next few years of memory making!

  66. incredible post!!! i am so going to do some scrapbook pages like this!!

  67. I love this post! Just when I started thinking Lainey looked like you, you show pictures of Brett at her age and she is the GIRL VERSION of him! So precious! And Nella looks SO MUCH like YOU! I love that you sported polka dots and stripes and bangs back then and still know how to do it today. It’s awesome. To thine own self be true all the way! While I enjoyed beach trips and trips to Louisiana to see family in the summers, what I really remember as fun was DRAMA camp at our local rec! My siblings reluctantly came along just to get out of the house, but I LOVED it. And swimming at the rec pool…and the 10 cent tootsie pop we always got afterwards from the concession stand. And cooking classes, vacation Bible school (and yes, we lived between two churches so I totally invited myself to those, too), and my absolute most impressionable summer memory each summer was this awesome summer camp I went to for a week every summer from kindergarten through 10th grade. I cried every year when I had to leave. I cannot WAIT for my boys to be old enough to go, and I talk about it all the time to them sharing stories of archery, sleeping in cabins, s’mores, water slide, canoeing, walking on trails, ropes courses, mazes, etc. I learned and grew more in that week than the whole year.

    When we got a little older, Dad planned more adventurous vacations I’ll never forget- St. Lucia, Bermuda, BVI, NAPLES–I had a tumbling clinic there called “The Florida Workout” that I will never ever ever forget it was amazing. We can’t really afford to travel, but I’ll be darned if my kids don’t have a darn awesome summer full of fun and creativity and amazing memory-making!


  68. The kidlet loves running around naked in the backyard. Story has it I did the same – only I took my naked behind outside the safety of our Northern California front yard with our family pooch and wandered the mean streets of my hometown before my folks caught up with me. Heh.


  69. I love this post

  70. Great lakes summers…your photos and ours have many of the same backdrops. Our family went to Rock Island at the tip of WI jutting out into Lake MI every summer. I wrote a research paper on the place in college and put together photos of the island’s owners’ kids in the 1930s before it was a state park with my parent’s honeymoon photos (they camped there) and our summer camping kid photos. They capture the feeling of nature rubbing on your skin…water, leaves, dirt, sand…your blog is so human, thanks for sharing!

  71. My husband and I recently found out we are pregnant for the first time. He surprised me yesterday by saying he was looking forward to introducing our child to the old disney movies we watched as children. He is not your typical “Disney” guy so it was fun to hear him say it was such an important part of his childhood that he wanted to pass on…

  72. So sweet! Thanks for sharing!

  73. Love this post and all the shots of you and Brett when you were little. Lainey does look so much like you and the picture of Nella on the Dunes is amazing.
    The worrying might never go away but you are so right about grabbing the bull by the horns and making sure that fear doesn’t stop you from creating the best childhood they can have. Summer is our favorite time of year too. Camping is a big tradition. Our boys love it and I hope they continue that tradition as they get older. We have so much fun hiking, fishing, going to the beach, and of course the campfires with smores!

  74. I love my home because I was homeless for 2 years with my oldest daughter. We lived in a tent for a while, and she’d have to stay nights with my MIL and I’d cry because I missed her so much.

    I couldn’t not appreciate my home after going through all that :) x

  75. Like the other Aussies, summer has a very strong link with Christmas. My parents were both teachers so they had the same holiday as us. Going to the beach early in the day to beat the heat. Coming back for breakfast. The paddling pool in the back yard. Icy poles in plastic tubes, that you push up.

  76. I read your blog all the time and often wonder if you have the time to read all the comments, and must you think about them. Some feeling as though they know you, connected in some way (your writing definitely pull you making a person feel right at home)because I catch myself feeling the same things you describe in your writings. I will say that I am the mother of a 26 year old son who does not have Downs but is mentally challenged he has proven to be a blessing from above, even with that said that is not the reason I read your blog. I read it because of your writing and I love the way you photograph your family, I love your honesty too. Recently I have been going thru a terrible time with a custody battle over my 4 year old granddaughter, I found myself so sad this morning that I can’t imagine being happy again, my friends have rallied for me, I feel their love, I do, however this morning has been one of the most difficult so far. I got in my car, drove to work early thinking about all this, catching myself wishing bad things on someone but praying that the need to feel that way goes away soon, kinda numb, I got here and realized I left my computer on and your blog was on it, I don’t even remember pull it up yesterday and so I began to read, and then cry and then pray and then feel that little spark that all isn’t lost that maybe I can still create those summer memories dispite evil ways of another. I don’t leave comments often, today I am, and as you can tell it’s more of a ramble than comment. Thanks for reaching out and pulling me from the cliff edge (so to speak) this morning.

  77. The memory from my childhood that I look forward to passing on someday is a road trip across Canada. I remember SO many things from doing that when I was young and hopefully in the next couple of years, we can do it with our own girls. The roadside picnic areas, new sites and sounds, fresh food native from each province, seeing the rocky north of Ontario, the prairies, the foothill and Rockies and finally the Pacific! Fresh crab, and walking those beautiful beaches were the final reward. SOON!

  78. Last week I was supposed to return to work from maternity leave with my 2nd… instead we went strawberry picking & made jam with our strawberries (my first time without my grandma supervising me!), went to the county fair, went to San Francisco, and went on an over-night for a wedding!

    In 3 weeks we meet up with our family for a week in Tahoe at a cabin (we spent summers and winters there as a kid), and in 2 months we will spend a week camping in Big Sur- This particular campground was once owned by my great aunt and great uncle. My mom, her siblings and cousins all grew up at this campground in the summers- and working there when they got old enough. Now we have 4 generations there every summer!

  79. This has to be one of my favorite posts of yours. I love the pictures!!! My son is 3 and I have been wondering a lot lately what his first memory will be. I am hoping it is from the trip we just took.

  80. Oh how I just love this post – the shots of you and Brett as children paired against your own girls. Oh, your images just accentuate your words like a pair of the most awesome shoes to an outfit!

    I know that nothing quite tops the traditions from holidays like Christmas, but oh how summer is a extended holiday. Popsicles on a hot day, making smores, camping out in the yard, fishing, chasing fireflies WAY beyond bedtime, slip and slide rides, spending time at the Vineyard with family and friends, jumping waves at the beach, blowing and chasing a lot of bubbles, lying down in the grass and looking for faces/shapes in the clouds.

    Thanks for making me smile. My head and heart are filled with lots of happy thoughts.


  81. I have been blessed to be part of a family that has one of the longest standing family reunions in America. It started in 1890 and has continued every year since without fail. We camp by a river and bring in our own refrigerators, stoves etc and literally LIVE down there for a week. It is a very unique experience. I have WONDERFUL memories of that reunion as a child and my mom always talks about how I would cry at the end of the week because we had to go home. It isn’t always easy camping with kiddos… it is usually blazing hot and because of my husband’s work I often have to go by myself but I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I wouldn’t want my girls to miss it either. My oldest has that same love and passion for it that I have. She is only 4 but still talks about the cousins she met and the things she did. I hope that both my girls will always treasure that time together as family… canoeing, floating the river, cooking, talking and laughing late into the night. The 122nd reunion is just around the corner and our anticipation and excitement is growing every day.

  82. Kelle,

    I love how you compared images of you and Brett with images of the girls. That is so sweet, and something I must remember to do when I have Littles of my own one day :)

    My favorite childhood memories of Summer include, beach trips to Nags Head with the entire family (That’s Mama and Daddy, Six siblings, significant others, and a slew of neices and nephews), floating in the pool with Sisters, catching lightening bugs, and sitting on the front porch and watching Summer Storms roll in.

    These are still my favorite things about Summer, to this day.


  83. You really had a gold hatchback Chevy Citation? We did too. It was a beauty. Haha, funny memories. I love summer. Where I grew up we would go to the drive in movie, 4th of July parades, riding bikes to wherever, swimming in the “pit”, sleeping on the trampoline. Summer really is a wonderful time.

  84. omg, i love this so so so much!!! you and brett are doing wonders for lainey and nella! that is so precious!

    memories that i want to pass on to my kid? i can’t. :/ unless i move back to the philippines! but its okay, we’re making new memories right here in california! :)

    thanks for being an inspiration!

  85. I never realized how much Lainey looks like you until I saw the picture of you smiling at the river in Michigan! Carbon copy smiles :)

  86. I love that you have all these photos, not only from your childhood, but the corresponding girl’s photos. Is the polka dot suit in your childhood photo the same one as Laineys!? Holy vintage awesomeness if so.

  87. You’re the best, Kelle.
    Do you think it would be ok for me to bring my 3 y/o to a Phish concert next year? Ha.
    Enjoy the small things… home.

  88. I remember picking strawberries at a strawberry farm with my mom and then coming home to make jam. I love that memory, so this summer we went to a local farm and I did the same thing with my children. It was on the top of our summer bucket list and we were able to check it off! And the bonus is now we have the strawberry jam that is so delicious to eat for the rest of the summer!

  89. I was excited to see the last picture because I live in Rockford :)

    I am looking forward to taking my son to concerts when he is a little older. I loved going when I was a kid!

  90. There are lots of childhood memories that we recreate for our kids. We still go to the same beach in Delaware that I went to with my family for 30+ years. My kids love it for the same exact reasons I loved it when I was a kid: waking up to watch the sun rise over the ocean, sandcastles, saltwater taffy, renting bikes and riding on the boardwalk, Grotto’s pizza, sunsets on the bay…
    Then there are the simple tractor rides with Grandpa, reading books with Grandma, and sleepovers with cousins.
    LOVE making these memories!
    This is one of my favorite posts of yours…the photos truly capture the recreation of memories from your past :)

  91. This is such a cool post! Thanks for sharing some Little-Kelle and Little-Brett photos – both of you were cute kids (which further explains the adorableness of your babies). I don’t have any kids yet but my childhood memories of summer were all about the endless trips to the park. Twice a day, every day. My mom would pack a lunch. Sometimes, we would find a tree and have a picnic under it. Other times, I’d take bites of my sandwich in between going down the slide over and over again. When I have my own kids, I know the park will be a frequent spot for us. I still love the park.

  92. Kelle, you are such a gifted writer :) Your words touch me and remind me to remember so many of the important things in this too much “other things to do” time we are living in. This post brought happy tears to my eyes, remembering what childhood is really about. Taking the time to create memories. I am so very blessed to be a stay at home mama, and I want to create the same memories I have of summers at the lake, playing with cousins, and Sundays at Granny’s house eating watermelon. Yes, this is what life is about! The circle continues! Happy summer to you all and keep the wonderful posts coming! Now I’m gonna go grab my little Rosebud and go for a wagon ride 😉

  93. Wow, I loved this post! I have a lot of good memories of my childhood and I hope my children will have a lot too!
    What I repeat from my summers as a child is that we make one travel each summer. I liked that a lot when I was young and I like it today with my children!

  94. Oh my word, I love all these pics! I see SO much of you in your girls! And I love the McDonald’s cup in Picnic with Friends 1982 :)

    Not a lot of fond memories from childhood summers (other than my dad teaching us to skip rocks :). So, for my kids, no matter what we do together, whatever new memories we create, I want them to remember how much we WANTED them there!!!

    We are getting ready for a 14 hour car ride on Sunday for a family reunion on Jim’s side. We’ll be visiting some dunes ourselves on this trip :) We are also renting a minivan so that I can lay down in the back with my leg propped above my heart the whole way. Now THERE’s a memory in the making—hahahaha!

  95. All of those pictures are so neat! What fun memories to look back on:) I love how you posted old pics of you and Brett side-by-side with newer ones of Nella and Lainey. It’s as if the good times of summer never truly passed. Love it!

  96. Kelle- Somehow you seem to string the words together for the very way that I feel.
    One of the best summer memories that I have (and it’s something we did all the time, every summer) is taking trips to “Dad’s Beach”. It’s the beach my parents met at when they were in high school, my dad purposed to my mom there, babies were brought there and then when my dad passed away his wish was to have his ashes spread into the water of that beach. Bring my own baby there really feels like the cycle has come full circle.

  97. Family vacations. :-) Every year my parents saved up all of their money so we could take a big vacation in the summer. We’d pick a bunch of states to visit and then drive there. Along the way, we’d stop and camp and see whatever landmarks were in the area. Those are some of the best memories I have from growing up, and I want Dylan to have that too.

  98. These side by side photos are awesome! I need to do this. I love the comparison of Brett’s fish haul and Lainey’s. So great. Oh, and we totally had a Citation in the 80’s! Ours was blue. And we camped out in the hatchback for drive-in movies. Ahh…childhood.

  99. Great post, Kelle!
    I love the photos.

  100. Love, love, love this post. Love the photos.

  101. Oh the lake……our sweet cabin by the lake! Warm Lake Idaho! LOVE!!!!!!

  102. The pic comparisons are to die for…

    My summers were filled with too many of my little brother baseball tourneys but most of that travel got me near water and boy I love water. I am hoping and praying my little is a water baby like me and cannot get enough be it the pool, sprinkler, lake, ocean, stream, etc.

  103. Design your own bracelet with ULINX fashion jewelry APP.

  104. I love all of your posts, but this is by far one of my favorites! :)

  105. I’m a new reader to your blog after reading your book…so beautiful I have no words. We are starting to introduce our little man who has Cerebral Palsy to some of our childhood traditions, for his birthday this year we got the FL resident passes and spent a three day weekend at the Disney resorts. He is now just as infatuated with Mickey Mouse as my husband and I were at his age. As he gets older and a little easier to travel with we are planning trips up to spend time with my family in the Panhandle and take him to all the places I went when I grew up, especially Panama City Beach.

    I love your blog just as much as Bloom. Please continue to keep up the good work :)

  106. I needed this so badly today. We can’t control everything and it’s terrifying, but it helps so much to focus on everything that is positive and building wonderful memories for our children.

  107. I needed this so badly today. We can’t control everything and it’s terrifying, but it helps so much to focus on everything that is positive and building wonderful memories for our children.

  108. You’re doing an awesome job at writing the memories for your girls.

    I think back at my childhood summers and I remember random bits of camping, KOA campgrounds, traveling to BC, Canada by way of Oregon and Washington. I recall perfecting slapjack in the kitchenette at the lodge we stayed at near “The Russian River” just north of San Francisco.

    I remember going to camp for 10 days 2x one summer. (Mom/Dad had to work and that sounded like a good option for kid’s summer vacation, right?)

    I will write the memories for my daughter and she will get to experience camp, family outtings, Camping, traveling and knowing that there’s an adventure out there to be had. Just put down the iPhone, turn Justin Bieber down and look out the window!

    Thanks for making me think about this. :)

  109. One of my favorite places in Michigan is Ludington. As a kid and even into my teenage years we would meet mom’s side of the family there and stay in a cute community of cottages on the lake called Epworth. It had everything, the lake, the ice cream/candy store within walking distance, frog toad and turtle races, sand dune, I mean everything a kid could think of.

    I would love to show my husband and future kids this special place one day……

    One day.

  110. Brilliant!

    Camping. I *adore* camping. I loved camping as a child, with my parents and siblings, and I LOVE camping as an adult, a wife, a momma. I love how we all relax, sit, stay outside and just *BE* with one another. It does such good things for our hearts, our family, ourselves.

  111. haha I can relate to it. . Love the idea, so cute :)) SEO Philippines.

  112. Oh. My. Lord. Absolutely LOVE the flashback pics! Totally awesome!

  113. I love this post! And my blogging soul KNOWS what a labor of love this was…piecing together those perfect then-and-now images. Bravo, mama. xo

  114. Another great post!! Thank you! This is for you!
    You’re welcome!!

  115. I grew up in FL so we took at lot of beach trips over the summer…little weekend ones as my parents both worked full time. But we loved it. I wish I could do that with my little monkey but we live in WA state and no where near the “ocean” and no $$ to get to one so instead we hit up Carey Lake weekly and pretend it’s a beach (w/ year round freezing cold water) and instead of building sand castles we trail walk through the woods, picnic by the lake, collect little shells, blow bubbles, play frisbee and soccer. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

  116. There is so much joy in the pictures you take! Love them all.

  117. I love this post. On that photo of you canoing and Lainey kayaking it becomes clear how alike you two are. I wish you the best!


  118. Kelle…I just love your blog so much. It is so lovely. Truly. Your photography and writing make my heart happy.

    …and I see you were rockin’ the blunt cut bangs even in 1982. So marvelous. Then and now.

  119. what a wonderful post…you can smell the memories and hear the sweet noises…

  120. I love this

  121. OH MY WORD!!! I loved getting to see all the places you’ve taken your girls, as well as comparing them to places you went as a child. Quite a few of the ones I know of, because I myself am a Michigan girl. I’m glad to see that people don’t have to be from a state to enjoy every joyful location there is.

  122. Love to read your blog. You can write a book with all this texts, a pdf format please!!!!!!

    see also my blog

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