Observance and Writing

I wasn’t a very observant person in my early twenties. I thought about what my hair looked like, if my skin was broken out or not and what people were thinking about me. And that last one? One of the most powerful realizations one can come to in life is accepting that people are not thinking about you. They’re thinking about themselves. That sounds harsh, but it’s true. If you only realized how much people don’t recognize your hair or your skin or your jean size because they’re worried about their own hair, skin and jean size–well, it takes a lot of pressure off. Thank God.

I’ve always thought about people in an “Are they hurting?” kind of way because I believe that’s a special gift I was given. My parents say when I was very young, on more than one occasion, I asked to leave my family’s table at a restaurant to sit with elderly who ate alone because it made me sad. My presence could have very well annoyed these poor grandmas who, for the love of God, just wanted a chance to be alone, but that gift of knowing when to butt out of people’s lives and let them be hadn’t yet been bestowed. I’m still waiting for that one.

So I thought a lot about myself. And I thought about people who were hurting–at least the ones in my direct line of vision. But that was about it. The rest of the world, the lessons hidden in my environment, the way light hits the trees late in the afternoon or how, if you look closely, snowflakes aren’t just flakes but intricate symmetrical crystals–I didn’t take the time to really notice.

It used to drive my dad crazy. We drove to work together during my college breaks, and he’d point out everything on our hour drives–flowers, houses with cool front doors, new coffee shops with eye-catching signs.

“Did you see those hostas back there? They were huge!,” he’d exclaim. And I’d answer “What hostas?” because I was too busy thinking about how my thighs looked huge when I wore hospital scrubs or how poorly my dark hair took the latest blonde dye job.

He’d scold me. “You don’t notice things.” And I’d argue “Yes I do,” quickly covering my lack of observance with the first hint of beauty I saw out the car window. “Those tulips–yes, I saw them.” He’d laugh and remind me of just how oblivious I was to my environment, digging up the Proof of All Proof stories–that one time when I was pulling out of my friends’ driveway, unaware of the three bags of garbage directly behind my car. The story goes, as my friends jumped up and down, waving and shouting, alerting me of the garbage, I waved back thinking it was just an enthusiastic goodbye. And I kept driving and waving, ripping garbage bags to shreds and dragging pop cans and milk jugs and moldy paper towels down the dirt road. Still waving. Still smiling. Because those sweet friends were giving me the enthusiastic goodbye of a lifetime. So, I guess I couldn’t argue with that story. Yes, I was oblivious to a lot of things.

A lot happened in the ten years that followed. I became a mom which is huge. You suddenly notice everything–tiny toes, new teeth buds, the first red dot of a diaper rash. You write sonnets about your kid’s eyelashes. You study the way their chest rises and falls when they sleep.

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I think, for me though, observance of the world around me truly took a new meaning when I started writing and taking pictures.

I’m speaking in Dallas next month at a photography conference. I felt completely intimidated at first because I don’t consider myself an expert in photography, and when it comes to complicated technical camera knowledge, I feel small compared to many of the great minds in the photography world who study and teach these things every day. I am confident behind my own camera though, and I have learned a lot from others–things I’m willing to share. The more I thought about it though, I realized I can share the story of why I take pictures–how photography changed me in a lot of ways and makes me more aware of everything the world has to offer. It plays an important role in my life, and my journey behind the camera mirrors my personal journey closely, especially the last few years. I am excited to share this journey, and the scattered notes and favorite photos (okay, embarrassing over-edited ones too) that are piling up as I prepare can attest to my excitement.

Similarly, writing has made me more aware of everything–not only the world around me, but my own feelings and judgments and opportunities for improvement as well. Writing almost every day naturally stimulates these “What am I going to write about?” receptors. And while I cannot go about life searching for things to write about–life needs to happen first–I do find that since writing, I think a little more deeply. I let myself become more vulnerable, I push myself to discover more, to read more, to fill up the wells within so that I have something to write about (which translates to “something to think about,” “something to live by,” “something to make me change” or fill-in-the-blank as you wish). It’s a complicated, wonderful cycle of input and output, and these two principles depend upon each other.

So this morning as I went through my weekend photos and sat down to write, I couldn’t help but notice how much easier it gets to put something on paper because I am learning to observe, to listen, and to be aware. Yes, there will always be writer’s block and periods of quiet inspiration. But I wait–because there is always something to write about. There are always moments to capture. The things we choose are just a fraction of the things that await our attention.

*****

Little words and lots of photos from this weekend:

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Our kids learn this whole input/output thing too. Lainey asked if she could take a picture with my camera because she saw a bird. I handed it to her, Sister clicked the button and then smiled when she saw her capture on the screen.

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And Little Sister thinks walking Latte on a short leash is very funny. Especially when she stops walking and Latte doesn’t and is thus startled when she has to stop short (sorry, old Sunday School days–I love a good “thus”).

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I love to know readers have a heart for my girls that makes them concerned of safety, and I take safety comments to heart! But I assure you, we are aware of dog leash dangers and are very mindful and–well, observant of how and when our girls periodically take hold of the leash.

And a Family trip to Sweet Treats last night. They actually like throwing pennies in the fountain more than the ice cream.

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*****

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Left: Small Coral Felt Bow , Right: Small Purple Rose

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I love their snug-fitting violet cluster collection for little babies and their large gardenias for bigger girls.

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*****
A week of observations await. What will you notice?

For the record, I haven’t dragged a bag of garbage since. It happened once, okay?

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Comments

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  1. I love that you’re writing more. You have such a gift. Actually you have several gifts. cheers to you!

  2. love love LOVE reading your shared words and thoughts and Just the DEAREST girls, you have. THank you. any chance you’ll share where and when you’ll be speaking? or email me if you have a spare moment… mritchie2(at)gmail. thanks Kelle!

  3. I still am not very observant. Me thinks its the self diagnosed ADD. Yes, I will use that excuse. It’s NOT because I dont really care, no, its not that. #honesty

  4. OMG those pictures of Nella and Latte are absolutely PERFECT!!!

  5. I have found that blogging and writing has helped me notice more. The photography is just starting to take off. Hopefully that helps, too. I feel like sometimes I get so busy that I go through life with blinders on.

  6. Love the picture of Lainey with her legs crossed by the fountain!

  7. Nella’s face while walking Latte– I can hear the giggle! SO dang cute!

  8. I backed into some garbage cans once (while a neighbor was watching, of course). I got out of the car & picked everything up…AND BACKED INTO THE SAME GARBAGE CANS AGAIN!!!! Now that is bad!

    I remember reading once that you can reduce stress by engaging all of your senses. When I am outside with the boys & start stressing over all I need to get done inside, I smell the sunscreen in their hair, feel the sun on my skin, and try to soak in observations thru my 5 senses. It really works!

    Great post! I love the pics of Nella laughing & the ones of the girls at the fountain.

  9. Hey, Kelle! Just stopping by to read and soak up your girls. You and your family make me smile. I would love to be able to sit down and write and get back to picture taking but a new job and masters thesis call my name this fall. maybe someday I’ll restart my blag and learn to use the camera I bought 3 years ago. Have a great, sun-shiny day!

  10. Is there any chance at all of you doing a book signing in Dallas? I live in Austin and would gladly drive the 3 hours to meet you.
    AND- the picture of Lainey with her legs crossed while Nella is looking into the fountain? PURE gold. love it. but then again, i loved the similar shot on IG. :)

  11. For the record-the pictures of Nella taking the least are so adorable! I love reading your posts, and have really made an effort in the past year to stop and notice more-and to take more pictures:)

  12. I have the same red shoes as you and my daughter has the moccasins Nella is wearing. Great minds think alike! Your blog has really inspired me to “enjoy the small things.” Thank you and please keep it up.

  13. Kelle I’ve been commenting on your blog for over 2 years now but I wanted to be sure to comment today to thank you! Yes -thank you! YOU have given me such a grand appreciation for the little things in life -and the precious things to enjoy in my own little one (just a few months younger than Nella).

    I recently read your Bloom book and hope to see you in SD at the book signing! In reading reviews of the book I was very surprised about how many people must be hurting with jealousy, and worried about themselves, and snubbing noses and pointing fingers to you.

    Me? No, I thank you for ALWAYS being kind. You reflect the kindness and beauty that I want to show to my own children! You have offered me incredible perspective in my own life and I read your blog because I love the way you make me think and feel.

    You have a gift. Thank you.

  14. Kelle, thank you for all you share. I felt like you were writing my story. In my younger years, I thought the world was looking at me. How very liberating that I have let go and learned to love myself and the world around me. It is so refreshing to read often of your caring heart. When I was younger, I was often made fun of because I feel down to the bottom of my toes. I have learned to embrace it and share it. May we all observe the world around us with caring hearts and outstretched arms. There is beauty all around!! Xoxo

  15. I love how you say that writing has made you more aware, notice more. I have found the same to be true for me. I had really come to a low point in life, when everything just seemd to be a part of the mundane, routine of life. When I decided to start writing again, it opened my eyes to all the things I had been missing, that, although a part of my routine, really weren’t routine at all. Great insight!

  16. My husband bought me a nice camera two years ago. From the moment I started using it, I started noticing everything. Through the past two years my love for photography has grown and developed into a thirst for knowledge. I am excitedly attending my very first photography class tonight and I absolutely cannot wait to see where it goes from here. I finally feel like I know what I am supposed to do with my life and I have my husband, my boys, and my camera to thank for that.

  17. I completely agree with what you said. Blogging helps me to be more aware of everything; little moments, what I’m thinking, things around me.

  18. Hi Kelle!
    I am so disappointed I missed registration for the photography conference. I live in Grand Prairie, TX. I follow your blog and absolutely loved your book! I have a 11 year old step son, 2 year old daughter, and twins on the way! (boy and girl). I take a ton of pictures and I am always wanting to learn how to be a better photographer. I did put myself on the waiting list so here’s hoping!!!
    Love reading your blog :)

    Jill Akens

  19. I was just so taken with Brett’s attentiveness with Lainey at your school lunch on Friday. What a sweet moment. What a great dad!!

  20. That first comment really struck me. I am fairly observant, but I absolutely 100% as an early-20 something, worry more about my skin and hair and jean size than anyone else. Thanks for reminding me… it’s never too early to stop worrying about those things. Xo

  21. I am so psyched for the conference next month, I can’t wait to hear what you have to say! I also find that taking photos, as well as journalist, helps me be more observant. When things get crazy, and I don’t write or pick up the camera enough, I feel like I miss things. And they disappear too fast.

  22. Do you have any plans to do any photography conferences or other speaking engagements back home in Michigan?

    I’m always behind my camera taking pictures of my 4 yr old twin boys & my baby girl but would love to learn more. I really enjoy reading your blog and watching how your photography skills have morphed into what they are now – breathtaking! As always, thanks for sharing;)

  23. Ever since I bought a good camera and started writing more regularly, I’ve noticed so many of the same things. As I go through my day I’ll have a thought or an experience or take a good photo and my mind will start going into a story to tell about it. I love that. Thanks for sharing so much. BTW – Lainey is looking so grown up all of a sudden! Both of your girls are just beautiful. – Amy

  24. Beautiful photos and words as always! Because of your blog (words, photos, ideas, etc.) I have been inspired to really be more aware of the little things in life. Thank you for helping me to be a better photographer, writer, and creative Mom. You’re awesome! :)

  25. I love this post. I love writing too, but some days I don’t feel good at it or I have anything to write. Thanks for the reminder that beauty can be found in everything.

  26. I have a little story that will make you realize how unaware I was in my twenties, I was on my way home to get ready for a date with my (no husband)boyfriend and I stopped to put gas in the car, I was not thinking of anything eles except our date and I drove off with the nozzle of the gas pump still in the car. HA I have to admit that was one embarassing entrance into our little town store to let them know what I had just done. It is very important to stop and observe things around you. HA

  27. I too am noticing how writing and looking at life from behind a lense makes me notice the little things.

    The fountain photos are gorgeous :) xx

  28. Just a week ago I spent some time with a very wise man and teacher who has taught me so much about Pilates as he has done of life itself.
    He happens to be an amazing observer, just as you mention your dad is, and he kept pointing out hidden beauties in my own city, that I did not see in my entire life!!! I have walked the same streets, same gardens, same buildings so many times, and I never saw things that thanks to him now appear obvious!
    I had that realization, just a week ago that if you get out of your own mind, you will get a chance to discover an amazing world!

  29. I am more mindful of how I take my photos after looking at your photos. Years ago my photos were just people standing in the middle of the viewfinder. Now I take note of the small details.

    Photography is more about the art than the technical!

    Ann

  30. You make me really look forward to being a mom. Which is kind of a huge deal. Motherhood has always terrified me.

    I learned recently that your brain isn’t considered completely developed until you’re about 25. That makes me feel better about how very self-centered and unaware of my surroundings I’ve been until only recently. Sometimes I think back on my life (and things I’ve backed into in my own car) and wonder, “what drug was I on?!”

    Thank you for writing. It helps my work day go by a little faster.

  31. And that’s why we love coming here Kelle, because you have made observing an art form. And you observe beautifully, in both words and pictures :)

    Kids and blogging have made me more observant. And is also (I feel) slowly, but steadily improving my writing and photography skills. You can’t help but get better at something if you do it regularly and somewhat mindfully.

  32. You always seem to capture beautiful moments in ALL your photos! I wish mine were as great ! Im sure you will do great speaking at the conference.!

    BTW – know you may not reply because you always have TONS of comments….but just curious…what do you use to edit your photos?

  33. My growing belly :)

    misseszee.blogspot.com

  34. I am observing your type writer tee shirt and it is calling to mind the Wilco song ‘War on War’ and the line- ‘You are not my type writer.’ I’m still not sure, after years of listening to the song, what it is intended to mean but to me it always meant that you can’t truly live a full life if you are living fearing death. So basically, in that way it reminds me a lot of you- your courage and your ability to live life to the fullest.

  35. Sometimes you blog makes me smile. Sometimes it makes me really think about life, kids, family. What’s important. What’s not important. Sometimes it makes me teary-eyed. But today, it make be crack up laughing over the garbage story.
    Your words and writing are always meaningful and inspirational and are touching others lives. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing with others.

  36. You aren’t the only one to run over garbage. My 2 year old fears garbage pick up day because the teenager across the street has a habit of crashing into the garbages cans at the base of his driveway. This Mama doesn’t let her kiddos near this driveway especially since all 3 of my kids are shorter than the average garbage can!

  37. This was such a beautiful post but the first paragraph really rings true for me. It has taken me the better part of 9 and a half years (I’m not quite 30) to realize it!

  38. This was such a beautiful post but the first paragraph really rings true for me. It has taken me the better part of 9 and a half years (I’m not quite 30) to realize it!

  39. Hard for me to believe you would ever struggle with writing. It’s obvious you are amazingly gifted in that area. And taking pictures…get out. You are THE best photographer I can think of. And I know quite a few. You see the real, the candid and it blesses everyone who looks at them. Just statin’ the facts!

    I’m not into details like names, dates, numbers…even stories people tell me. For some reason they are lost to me 5 minutes later, but I try. I am in details when it comes to those little things your dad pointed out. I see beauty everywhere! Grateful for that.

  40. 2 things…
    1-the circled bird picture made me laugh out loud. too cute and funny all at the same time.
    2-i think it’s laughable that people give you a hard time about safety issues…the lease never even crossed my mind as a safety issue! i guess i should be more observant… 😉

  41. I observe that you, Mama, must be feeling more like yourself, as your writing is back! Hope those pesky headaches leave you soon.
    I think, although I admit to a fair bit of self absorption, I do notice things, part of it is the science training (and having 2 science teachers for parents). It is second nature to look for changes, register new patterns, my favourite bit of botany was examining the tiniest flowers, and how they are designed to attract pollinators.
    Whilst I notice people, and empathize, I often don’t know what I can do to help. The dreaded shyness prevents me from it.
    Thanks for once again making me think. I’ve missed it. Xoxo

  42. Oh your photos… you have a gift. You always capture such happy and beautiful moments with your family. I hope that in 4 weeks when we have our first that I can do the same.

    Happy Monday!

  43. I love these latest photos of the girls! I can’t believe how grown up Nella is looking these days! She’s so beautiful, and her hair is getting so long!

    Kelle, I’m half way through Bloom and its such a wonderful book, I don’t think I can get through more than 2 pages without crying! I am so glad I found your blog!

  44. K, before I even start I want to assure you that I’m not some scary weird stalker person. But I have been following your blog for forever and have been dying to meet you. You can totally check out my blog (http://lisa-marie-johnson.blogspot.com/) to see I’m normal. I graduated from BYU (where you had that awesome experience back in Dec 2010) and I have a cute little 5 year old that I just know would be great friends w/ Lainey if they ever met.

    Anyways, all that was to say I’m sure you already have a lovely hotel all linged up (I totally had to sit and figure out how to spell linged…n before g, g after n??) for your speaking engagement in Dallas next month. But, if you don’t you are welcome welcome welcome to come stay at my house which is just 30 minutes north of Dallas for FREE. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Uh, no creepy weird stranger lady. Stranger danger.” But, I figured what’s life w/ out taking a little risk and the worst you could say is no.

    If you do already have a swanky fun hotel linged up, would you be up to meeting for dinner after your speaking engagement? I know a whole group of gals that would love to meet you and treat you to dinner. Just let me know! :)

    I’ve challenged myself to be more outgoing and adventerous this year, so I’m going to hurry and hit “Publish Your Comment” before I chicken out and talk myself out of being so bold and sending this to ya. ~Lisa

  45. Kelle…I have to tell you that I think that photo of Lainey’s crossed legs and Nella leaning over the fountain might be my all-time favourite picture of yours. Not sure what it is about the photo but it is so striking…really hit a chord with me.
    As for being more observant…that is good advice for everyone to remember. I find it so easy to get caught up in my own thoughts and miss amazing things around us.

  46. I love your pictures. If you ever do get writer’s block and it sticks around, just a post filled with pics would rock. I could look at them all day.

  47. I super super SUPER love this post!

  48. I am so, so excited to hear you in Dallas! I’ve been bragging big time!

  49. I have noticed (and I’m sure I’m not the only one), that Lainey has a new look since she began school. I see a different carriage and poise about her that is breathtaking, undoubtedly because she is hurtling toward Grownupville at a great rate. I can see a teenage Lainey in many of her expressions. A bittersweet reminder of how fast childhood goes for Mommy, I would venture to say.

  50. Those are such gorgeous pictures of your gorgeous girls. I love the shoes that both of them are wearing! Where did you get them? I want to get some for my girls. I know they’d love them!

  51. YOUR writing has made ME notice more….to look for more beauty in the world and people around me. You are an inspiration!

    I just burst out laughing at Nella’s face walking Latte…..she has an infectious smile!

    Andrea x

  52. I loved this post. It was just what I needed after a few dramatic and stressful 24 hours with my own family. Thank you.

    Also, I had dream in which Lainey was tragically blinded in the fight against Voldemort. She was quite a trooper about it. I’m sure it’s probably not normal to dream about people you don’t actually know in real life, but I’m just going to chalk it up to your fantastic writing and photography worming it’s way into my heart.

  53. i can practically hear nella’s laugh in those photos of her walking latte,LOVE IT!!

    great fountain photos too :)

  54. i know i should be commenting on the inspiration here but i can’t get over nella’s outfit and that smile!!!! lainey looks older, she looks wiser.

  55. Hi Kelle,
    I’ve been following your blog for a little while, but today looking at the photos of your girls I am momentarily startled by how grown up they are! Nice work there mama.
    X

  56. You will do great at I heart faces. Everyone loves you Kelle. Seriously. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t : )
    I am glad you have brown hair now. I think it looks nice. The girls are adorable. I always love watching them grow! Happy Monday night.

  57. I always love when I have a chance to catch up on your blog. Your girls are still gorgeous and your writing always keeps me engaged until the very last word. I have been feeling so annoyed at myself for letting the garage I spent 3 hours cleaning get cluttered again the last few weeks of summer but, when I see your garage in the background filled with tons of riding toys…..well, it just looks cozy and homey. I smiled when I saw it because it made me see my garage in a whole new way so thank you. :)

  58. Oh man, I thought I was the only one like that. I was totally not observant and still am not sometimes. I have found since I started writting, I notice more around me and think a lot deeper than I used to. Writting is such a great outlet!

    One of those pictures of Nella walking Latte…..she looks just like you, Kelle!! She totally has your smile, I love it! And I swear Lainey looks so grown up now. Like now that she’s a Kindergartner, she’s this total big kid.

  59. PLEASE tell me that you will be doing a book signing while in Dallas!!!!!

    And the little note about leash safety made me giggle as did the trash story.

    But back to Dallas… PLEASE!

  60. OMG! I have always told hubby that me and ‘blog mom’, as he calls you, are alot alike. And when I read how you feel sorry for older people eating alone, I just started laughing, yes, out loud! I will find an excuse to walk by and say something to that elderly person. Hubby just laughs at me but I can’t help it. Bleeding hearts unite!!

  61. I just have to say Nella is so darn cute…I love the pictures of her and Latte – makes me want to jump in the picture and play with her. Lainey is really growing up and looks so mature. Would love to see a picture of your baby bump. LOVE LOVE FOLLOWING YOUR STORY. Thank you so much for allowing me to!

  62. I guess I’m not too observant, either. After I got my license and was driving at night for the first time, I couldn’t believe how nice everyone was being to me – the biggest waves. I finally got pulled over and the cops told me I only had my parking lights on. Ooopsy daisy! No wonder everyone was trying to flag me down :)

  63. Your girls’ eyes have such tremendous depth and beauty. And I love that they have a mama to appreciate and capture this photo after photo.

    And I laughed out loud at Nella’s delight over the dog-walking trick. That’s just hilarious.

    And Lainey looks so very old in the fountain pictures. So precious.

  64. oh my goodness, love these pictures. Especially the ones of Nella with Latte. Hilarious. Her joy is so infectious. And Lainey is suddenly looking so grown up and quite the image of you! Thank you for your blog. I always look forward to a new post/pics.

  65. I have always enjoyed your writing and lately there seems to have been a slight shift or change in your writing and I have been enjoying it even more! I cant exactly explain what the difference is but it’s there and it’s wonderful (not taking anything away from your other posts of course!). I think you can longer say that people aren’t thinking of you though because I think you cross a lot of Mamas minds throughout the day because you inspire us all to take notice of the small thing and how we are interacting with our babies. And as always amazing photos!
    Ps. Gotta hand it to you, you take the critique of other mamas on safety a lot better than I would. Its annoying seeing everyone dissecting all your photos on IG “you’re doing it wrong” “that’s not how it goes” etc. You always take it graciously and thats admirable.

  66. I’m almost ultra-observant…to the point where I can walk into a room and see what’s different and use my detective skills and know exactly what went on. Great when you have kids. (Also comes in handy when you can spot a spider on a wall a mile away.)
    But definitely blogging has helped me observe life in more detail…taking pictures, then writing the story…and in the end it’s a wonderful scrapbook of our family that never fails to bring a tear or a smile as i look back and read our memories.

  67. Wow, Lainey looks so grown up in this post. Is it possible she’s aged 5 years since kindergarden started?

  68. OMG I can just picture you backing up over garbage bags and reading your friends waves of “STOP” as an enthusiastic good bye because that’s how you see life…full of goodness energy love and laughter. You may have not noticed the interesting things your dad pointed out but you do have a gift of seeing the hurt and beauty in others and wanting to wish them well and celebrate life with them…and that is observing with the heart!!! And you have just become more observant as a mama because the heart grows that much more when u see things through the eyes of your children. You are an amazing photographer- your photos tell stories that need no words. And yet your words are always so beautifully written inspirational humorous and enlightening!!

    I lub your blog!!

    And I lub Nella with Latte- her laugh is contagious…it’s like a can hear her giggles right through the photos!!
    I wish I was going to that photo conference. All the best to you!!!

    Monique

  69. i love the pictures of Nella with Latter (milk so cute :). i am observing every move of my daughter and i want to use my lenses creatively to capture the beauty i am surrounded by

  70. oh my word. that picture of nella walking the dog where she is wide-open-mouth LAUGHING warmed my heart and made me grin. love her.

  71. Your writing is great but oh I so love your photos , I credit you with my urge to pick up the camera more and look for new perspectives. Now I feel I have outgrown my current camera , can’t wait to get a better one and play some more.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  72. I’d like to see you write more about the world around you – but not, typically, how it affects YOU. Ever try fiction? Now that’s a challenge – give it a whirl.
    Rosie

  73. I love that you are so confident in your creativity. I am confident in real life, but when I put myself out there with photography or painting or writing ohh it makes me hurt inside b/c I’m exposing myself so much. I read recently on a seasoned photographer’s blog that the biggest mistake amateurs make in not having enough confidence in themselves. That surprised me, but that’s exactly the advice I needed.
    What will I notice? Ugh, I shouldn’t say this probably but its semi-anonymous so I am noticing anything that might resemble lice in my house. We found some in my oldest’s hair last weekend, and thank goodness none of the rest of us had it. So since Saturday I’ve been on an insane cleaning spree and scouring my children’s heads. Next week I’ll be back to noticing the beautiful things in life.

  74. Seriously? Readers actually give you a hard time about safety? Delete them. How dare they. You are the best mom I know and they need to butt out.

    Although I don’t comment much anymore, I am always catching up and reading. I love you and miss you.

  75. Adorable photos….w/Lainey sleeping and hugging Latte & Nella sleeping; Nella with Latte ~ so cute.

    xo

  76. Nella laughing with Latte……makes me laugh out loud. I love that dog……and your girls.
    Lainey looks so grownup. Such a pretty girl.

  77. I made my 13 year old daughter read your first paragraph….I hope it means something to her coming from somebody else. I almost died a thousand deaths the other night when she told me she was secretly wishing that, one, just one boy would like her instead of them all ignoring her. And they all like the same girls, and she doesn’t know why and maybe she is just not pretty….(my girl is absolutely gorgeous!!!) I don’t even know how to attack conversations like this, ugggggh!!! I hope your writing gave her a little persepective….If anyone has a magic way to boost a teenage girls confidence please let me know, I had horrible confidence and it kills me to see my girl going through it.

  78. You have me cleaning closets and writing again…thank you, Kelle.

    http://leapdaystudio.blogspot.com/2012/09/letter-to-you-for-me.html

  79. I have been reading your blog for several close to a year now. I found it after someone else posted a link to it on facebook. I read it once and was hooked! Now, I check every day to see if there is a new post. I decided recently that I have a bad attitude towards life and I don’t like that about myself. I have decided to change that. I want to be the kind of girl that enjoys life, her children, and the small things(including all the unpleasantness!) each day. Today I decided to take a picture every day of something that makes me happy that day and post it on facebook. As soon as I wrote this on my status on facebook, I came to check your blog and your story today just reaffirmed that I made the right decision! Your blog is happy and upbeat and I truly enjoy reading it! Thanks for the inspiration to bring more happy into my life!

  80. I’d love to know more about your editing process (especially for your blog). Often times I don’t blog as much as I’d like because I haven’t edited my pictures (and I’m afraid of over editing and/or doing TERRIBLE edits that will make me cringe someday!) Do you do much to yours before posting?

  81. I have a paper route and once my mom was rushing to go somewhere and she drove over my papers sitting on the driveway.

  82. What a great post. I was very interested to see you are speaking in Dallas and about photography. 2 things we have in common. I live near Dallas and love photography. How could I find out the information to possibly attend?
    Your photography is just amazing and your blog is too. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Huggs,
    Brenda

  83. I love love love the picture of Nella and Latte. She is so enjoying herself, you can’t help but share in her joy! :) Your girls are so beautiful, inside and out and you capture it so well in your pictures and writing. Thanks for sharing your world with us Kelli!

  84. I am in love with the photos of Nella walking Latte. Her smile radiates through the screen, so much that it’s like we can hear the laughing and giggling! And how cute is Lainey sitting with her legs crossed, just like a little lady? VERY CUTE. Your girls are beautiful!

    As much as your photos stand out, so does your writing. It’s inspirational and insightful, and always makes me think about things I’m not sure I would have otherwise. Makes me smile just to see a new blog post! :)

  85. Hello, I think this is the coollest blog I`ve seen. I really like your theme.
    Laser Tysons Corner VA

  86. I could so see myself in your story about the garbage! I love to see Nella’s enjoyment of walking the dog.

    Do you have any plans to do a book signing while you are in Dallas? I would love to meet you.

  87. The photo of Nella on her toes to see into the fountain and Lainey sitting on the edge with her legs crossed is possibly one of my favorite photos I’ve ever seen of yours. I love it!!

  88. I feel so uplifted every time I visit your world! I feel the same way about elderly people sitting alone. Especially if there’s an older man at a coffee shop who isn’t sitting at “the liar’s table” with the rest of them. I always wonder why. I was on my way to a local county fair with my grandpa this summer and he said, “Look at that field over there. The last time I drove by it was turning brown from the drought and now with a little rain it’s greened back up. Isn’t that beautiful?”. And it was! I would never have stopped to notice that beauty had it not been for him :) Thank you for your words and pictures, I’m hooked!!

  89. The pictures of your daughter walking the dog are just too delightful. You capture the vivacity and joy in your girls so beautifully, as always.

  90. Seeing that picture of Nella laughing so hard brings happy tears to my eyes!!

  91. Those pictures of Nella walking the dog are the cutest ever! Also- because I am also unaware of my surroundings/or was before my two girls – I once filled up at a gas station and drove off with the pump still attached to my car. SO, there’s that.

  92. So, so true. And maybe that’s why I miss writing when I don’t make time for it? Because I’m also missing a lot more? And the same for photography – although I don’t really know what I’m doing in either genre, I’m being more aware, summarizing what’s important in my mind, and honestly, letting the rest go. As always, I enjoy hearing your perspective, realizing others have similar views of the world, and gaining inspiration. Happy Tuesday!

  93. Here’s the first of my noticings:
    1. The picture of Lainey grabbing the apple makes her look like she’s dressed like Snow White…a little bit!
    2. The picture of Nella busting out laughing with Latte looks just like you…but with blond, wispy hair.
    :) Love your blog!

  94. My observation……Nella looks like Strawberry Shortcake….only cuter!!! 😉

  95. I came across You,your Writing,your Photography in a magical way…just a mummy from the other side of the World who’s looking forward for your posts to reach her with a 10-hour delay(time difference between Athens and Florida!)Thank you so much for the inspiration,keep painting pages with wonderful moments…

  96. Can’t believe you’ll be here in Dallas – wish I was a photographer, so I could meet you. :) Hope you enjoy the Big D!

  97. I always start my day with you. Even if you haven’t posted I look through the pictures and get a smile on my face to start work. Thank you!

  98. Kelle please tell me the specs on the Lainey outfit in this post!! It is TDF.

  99. I absolutely love this post. I have been a reader of yours for a couple years although have never commented. Shortly after I came across your blog i begged for a dslr of my own, I fell in love with your pictures and I wanted to be able to capture special moments similar to yours with my little girls. I honestly can say that photography has altered my view of the world and has made me notice the itty bitty things. I still have so much to learn but its something I truly enjoy. You have inspired me in so many ways, from photography to celebrating life the way it should! And I thank you!

  100. Thank you for being my “I can’t believe you need to eat AGAIN” late night/early morning feeding blog. You’re an inspiration with the way you capture love and beauty in such a pure and simple way. You really are making a difference for us. Also, Lainey looks like she matured by about oh, a millennium! She looks so grown up in these pictures! Keep posting and keep happy, sending you hugs and dreams of unicorns :-)

  101. Holy adorable pictures Batman!! I literally laughed out loud at the ones of Nella and Latte on a leash. SO CUTE!!!!!

  102. Observance and writing has been shared on the post here. Read all about it

    Salon

  103. I love that you loved that dress of Nella’s so much that we now see her wearing it as a shirt! Some beauties just shouldn’t make it to the “no longer fits” pile.

  104. I love that you loved that dress of Nella’s so much that we now see her wearing it as a shirt! Some beauties just shouldn’t make it to the “no longer fits” pile.

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