Into the New Year

It’s been a week since I’ve caught up here.  Starting this new year for me has been like starting a lawn mower that hasn’t been used in months.  Four false starts.  But that fifth pull, man.  Whew.  Celebration.  We’re running good now.

We enjoyed a short trip to St. Petersburg with friends and returned home to unleash the new year’s motivation on our home as we’ve slowly packed up Christmas decorations and rearranged a few things.  And with two little birthdays coming up and a lot of inspiration and enthusiasm about the new year swimming around, there’s more to come.   Meanwhile, we’re catching up, sorting some ideas out and realizing there’s a big chunk of the States right now expecting tundra temps.

So a little sunshine to warm things up.

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We had one day of beautiful weather and three cold days on our trip, so our photos look like two different vacations.

Hats and cocoa.

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Sand and swimsuits.

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We stayed on Treasure Island which hosts a strip of cute boutique hotels (not to be confused with boutique strip hotels), most privately owned with a nice retro flare.  Treasure Island faves:  the massive width of the beach and the paved path that runs alongside it, perfect for scooters and bikes and strollers.

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A few St. Pete faves if you’re headed there anytime soon: The Bilmar Beach Resort (clean, family-friendly, right on the beach), VIP Mexican restaurant right on Gulf Boulevard (wet burrito!) and Gigi’s Italian Restaurant

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Favorite moments:

A quiet morning alone with this one on the beach.  The best part about early rising babies is the one-on-one time, made more magical by the first bits of sunlight and the promise of what the day holds.  And coffee.

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Sand sculpture gallery. Apparently, there was a big sand sculpture competition held right out front of our hotel earlier this month. And as tempting as it was to crawl under those ropes and further investigate, my kids thankfully held their distance.

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Yoga shadows.

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Ringing in the New Year with beloved friends.

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Hotel shenanigans. Like Beanie Boo baseball.

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Beach cheer routines.  Lainey taught Nella the moves to some of her cheer camp cheers.  This one slays me.

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And spending the first days of 2014 amid the wide open spaces of beach and ocean.  So much possibility, so many different ways to explore–all leading to different, good things. 

I thumbed through She Walks in Beauty in the car while we were traveling and found a little gem by St. Teresa of Avila–just what I needed to read at the beginning of a new year. 

A few excerpts:
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith…
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given you…
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love…

With a world of infinite possibilities and so many different areas of interest and passion for me, sometimes I can feel overwhelmed, especially at definitive “Start Here” marks such as the beginning of a new year:  Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing?  There’s so much of the world that I want to explore and not enough time.  There’s two hundred billion ways to do this parenting/marriage/friendship/talents/sharing/planning/getting older thing–how do I know which one is the best?  But those words up there are true.  Use your gifts, pass on your love, settle into the confidence that we are exactly where we were meant to be.  And most important: sing, dance, praise and love.  I do well with focused lists, and “sing, dance, praise love” happen to be my specialties. 

So this year, I will explore the beach and the wide open spaces and not worry that by exploring the east, I’m neglecting the west. 

I will bring my little explorers with me.

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I will balance the comfort of “you are exactly where you are meant to be” with the excitement and incentive of “the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.” 

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I love the idea of both.  We can be content and restful and yet still be trailblazers, launching ideas and change and growth.  We can be good moms, attentive to our children and families and still nurture our own needs and desires.  We can enjoy quiet yet have voices that echo loudly.  Be confident yet vulnerable and at times unsure.  And occasionally teetering back and forth with balance in these areas is okay, normal, expected.

There’s a giant beach out there with so many opportunities to explore.  We are choosing our own pace for this year–singing, dancing, praising, loving as we go.

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And some beginning of the year catching up with off-site contributions if you’re interested in checking in:

Last week on BabyZone, I talked about teaching my kids the limitless power of love and how we’re explaining family and gay relationships to them with Our Five Grandpas.

And at All Parenting:
* Narrowing down overwhelming choices with kids: “This one or this one?”
* For some kids, big screen movies are just too big: “Reel Life Lessons”
* And some child entertainment ideas for snowed-in days: “Mom, I’m bored”

This one’s having a birthday soon.  Stay tuned for another year of giving back later this week.

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Leave a Comment
  1. I have to chuckle a little at the hats and cocoa picture. I suspect we would have been in swimsuits. We woke up this morning to -16 with a wind chill factor of -45. “Cold weather” is a relevant term. And me? I’m not complaining. We pulled out the puzzles, watched old movies and drank hot tea and made snow ice cream all weekend. Happy New Year.

  2. We were enjoying your stomping grounds last week… We stayed at Marco Island and enjoyed an afternoon lunch at Capri Fish House. It was awesome!! Thanks for your inspiration via pictures for all these years. It is just as great in person!!

  3. Starting fresh at the New Year is overwhelming but also refreshing. Beautiful pics of beautiful kids, as always! Love the jumping Nella pic! πŸ˜‰ Karen

  4. So glad you are back. Your words were missed! And also your search bar isn’t working! I’m gonna need you to fix that;)

  5. I love the relationship your girls have. Its awesome to see them learn and love so much. Thank you for sharing. BTW your my BFF in my imagination. Cuz your so kick ass.

  6. I love the cheer video. Your article about the movies reminds me of my oldest. Great article. Loved your writing style.

  7. Been missing my daily dose of the world according to Kelle! Love your photos! Love your ramblings! Makes me want to leave the cold of Saskatchewan to try Florida!


  8. I love this and I TOTALLY relate to the lawn mower chugchugchugchug… I feel like I keep pulling that cord and, uh, nothin’s happening.

    On another note – WHERE did you get that aztec print cardigan/sweater?? I love it!

  9. Well just wanted to say I miss you. Thanks for the post

  10. Hi Kelle, I just finished reading Bloom recently and have been reading your blog as well. Your family seems really fun! I watched this video recently about a restaurant owner with Down Syndrome, “Serving Breakfast, Lunch, and Hugs.” I know Nella’s future will be bright as well!

  11. I LOVE Treasure Island. I’m at school in Tampa, and we like going there or Anna Maria for beach adventures. St. Pete is awesome.

    Your pictures, as always, are almost as beautiful as your children! Enjoy the new year!

  12. You made me tear up. I love this : You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

    Thank you for that, words I needed to hear! XO

  13. Yay! Thank you for the post!

  14. Love the video – so cute :)
    Hard to believe Nella will be turning 4 already! They grow up so quick! I have a son the same age (birthday just passed) who also has special needs so its always nice to see her updates and progress

  15. Love your blog Kelle. Very inspirational for a mama of four like me. Great writing, pictures and the positivity I need right now.

  16. True words spoken with the heart! I too feel overwhelmed, so often, by the many possibilities and paths and inspirations that are offered to me…yet there’s a bottomline of love and passion and gratitude, and enjoyment, whatever the choices. There’s good to pick up, whatever way we choose. Can’t wait to see Nella’s birthday photos by the way πŸ˜‰

  17. That video of Lainey and Nella is so cute. Your girls have gotten so big! Thanks for continuing to share some of your family’s special moments with us. :)

  18. I had one of my best friends read that passage by St. Teresa at our wedding in 2001. I love it, and it has often given me comfort when I feel like things are getting crazy and scary in my life. As always, I just love these photos. My dad’s family is all in St. Pete so I am glad you enjoyed your trip there. I love the metaphor of the lawn mower…definitely feeling that way right now, too. I also wanted to tell you your article at BabyZone last week was so beautiful and I shared it with two aunties in our family to let them know how glad I am that they are a part of our lives so my kids grow up realizing love comes in all kinds of relationships. xo, Katrina from California (and Everybody Plays)

  19. love this post! :) Where did you get Nella’s suit in the last picture? Love it as well…

  20. love this post! :) Where did you get Nella’s suit in the last picture? Love it as well…

  21. Shake it out!

  22. lovely. a very happy 2014 to you! may it be full of many moments of spontaneous levitation and wicked merriment.

    cheers, from AZ!

  23. I love your writing. So happy for your perspective. As always, thanks for sharing.


  24. Love her swimsuit! Excited to check out your other articles:)

  25. Love everything you share, thank you! My family loves Treasure Island! We live in Ohio, but have for several generations travelled there and love staying at the Sea Chest!

  26. Kelle, to me you EPITOMIZE someone who’s always pursuing new adventures but also tempers them with enjoying your everyday life. I’m sure it’s not an easy balance to strike, but you do it in a very inspiring way. Keep on keeping on!

  27. I just love Nella’s John Lennon shirt!

  28. Well said – so many possibilities!! Thanks for the warm beach pics – we just received 16 INCHES OF SNOW yesterday and below 0 temps!!

  29. Haha! A 2-footed jump :)

  30. It is overwhelming. I feel the same. So many things I want to see and do. People I want to meet…wink, wink;-) Well no wonder our meet up didn’t work. You were with friends. Next time! We’ll be back. Love you girl. Even though I only know you virtually I believe you’ll give 2014 every thing you’ve got. It’s gonna be good to the last drop.

  31. I’m glad you showed another picture of Nella jumping so no one can say you were lying. Looks like you had a great trip.

  32. Yes! The Aztec cardigan is wonderful. Where’s it from?!

  33. Kelle, As always great post, great pics. Loved them all, had to chuckle about the one with you and your friend that someone gave the rabbit ears in but are not able to be seen in the pic. Love it😀

  34. Yes. Yes, I’m officially jealous of the weather. While not as bad as some the “high” being -9 today is crazy! While I usually get a little irritated with too much weather related complaining….thinking and saying, we ARE in WI here people. Did you not expect the snow and cold? I do feel like that to an extent but am starting to feel more and more jealous of the idea of “warm in the winter”. One of my favorite lines to say when we are outside running to our car/house/store etc. is, “What kind of insane person would choose to live in a place like this?!” Or something to that effect. Thank GOD in heaven for our beautiful beach (that takes nearly all summer for the water to warm up)….we love spending time there and it’s a treasure. It does make me look forward to and appreciate the warm weather to go through these winters I’ll tell ya!

  35. Hi!! I am testing to see if I can comment on people’s Websites as there has seemingly been a slight change with Blogger. Tag!! You are it!! Do not mind me!! πŸ˜‰

  36. “Definitive ‘Start Here’ marks”. I have been trying to explain why I feel a bit anxious at the beginning of this new year. I will be re-reading this post.

    Feeling thankful for word smiths like yourself to help the rest of us put our feelings into words!

    Happy New Year!

  37. This may be your best writing yet. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  38. I LOVE Nella’s expressions!!! Great post, yet again. Your words are inspiring. Keep on, keeping on.

  39. LoVe the CHEER! Also LoVe pic of Lainey chasing Nella across the beach (Nella’face…pure joy!) Can’t wait to hear what we’re doing to celebrate Nella’s life this year!
    Happy New Year to the Hamptons!

  40. I know that you said some really powerful, profound thought provoking things in this post, but I find myself just LOVIN’ on Nella’s swimsuit. I forgot about it while reading the middle of the post and then of course you had to throw that last pic in there of the suit and the girl and well…I just couldn’t think of anything but that swimsuit by the time I went to write my comment πŸ˜‰ Happy New Year!

  41. I love your sort of 5 grandpas. I think it’s wonderful. My kids have a plethora of grandmas and grandpas and 20ish (i lost count) aunts and uncles and a step sister and isn’t it just wonderful to have a bigger family. more people in your corner cheering you on.

  42. I love your post! I always do. But, I just wanted to say that the picture you have labeled “sand and suits” of Nella is absolutely breathtaking. I think that’s my favorite I have seen on your blog. And, all of your pictures are gorgeous. But, there is just something about that one.

  43. Great advice. Love where you are, live in it fully and don’t fret about where you’re not. Now that’s a life resolution!

  44. I could almost feel the breeze blowing in your pictures. Looks divine!

    Thank you for sharing the book recommendation. I saw that Instagram and wondered what book you had gotten it from. Definitley adding to my wish list!

  45. Kelle….
    Alright, now I can actually read/comment on this post!! I am looking forward to it!! πŸ˜‰
    The stark difference in your “cold” pictures and “warm”!! Crack. Me. Up!! ;-D
    “A quiet morning alone with this one on the beach. The best part about early rising babies is the one-on-one time, made more magical by the first bits of sunlight and the promise of what the day holds. And coffee.”. This brought a smile to my face!! πŸ˜‰
    “May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
    May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith…
    May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given you…
    Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love…”. Very good!! I liked that!! ;-D
    “Use your gifts, pass on your love, settle into the confidence that we are exactly where we were meant to be. And most important: sing, dance, praise and love.”. I. Needed. Those. Words!! πŸ˜‰

  46. I swear you live in paradise. So beautiful!


  47. That quote by St. Teresa of Avila spoke to me so much I have written it down in my journal, emailed it to myself, and wrote it in my notebook I carry in my purse. I always have such a hard time determining what direction I should go and feeling like I am not doing anything right. Thank you for sharing, it too was exactly what I needed to hear in this new year.

  48. What a coincidence that I should be sent a link to your blog, the birth story in fact, on Nella’s 4th birthday. It was sent to me by a friend because it so resembles the email I wrote about my only little lady’s arrival in the world, just shortly after Nella, on 20th March 2010. She missed the 21st by 5 mins, but of course we didn’t know the significance of that at the time. I look forward to reading more of your story which so mirrors ours. Best wishes to you all. Sarah, Charlotte (5) and Zoe (almost 4)

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