Small Things: A rekindled romance

Friends, thank you so much for your support of Nella’s Pay It 4Ward over the weekend. I love some of the discussion that’s been happening. Prompted by a friend, I called the grocery store I referred to in my last post and talked to the manager, commending her on the way her employees modeled inclusion in the workplace. The phone call took less than five minutes, and the manager was eager to talk about her employees and the way they work together. We need to start these discussions more often. Someone commented on Facebook that she has a friend with several businesses and would love to work with and employ more people with special needs but is rarely approached by anyone. I think we can conclude that a good place to start is Approach. Get these conversations started. I’ve learned so much just from reading your comments and hearing your stories and the ways you are modeling acceptance and inclusion and teaching it to your children.  Please continue sharing–we are so very thankful for your continued support in raising awareness and the many ways you are doing it.  And thank you to the many who have shared Pay It 4Ward on your social media outlets.

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Thank you to my dear friend Kaity Ayres for these pics


If half-consciously tapping out “enjoying the small things” in the “name this blog” window six years ago marks the wedding anniversary for me and Small Things (he’s a handsome one, I tell ya), then consider these past six years our marriage. Just as I’m not frolicking with Brett in a field of daisies talking about our love every moment of every day, Small Things and I don’t constantly make out. Our relationship evolves just as any other relationship does–through good and bad.  The bottom line is, I know I love Small Things–when we’re together and jiving like we should, I’m my very best self.  But six years together also means we get in ruts and take each other for granted sometimes.  And I’ll be the first to tell you that while I wholeheartedly believe in sucking the marrow out of life and noticing beautiful things around me, it’s easy to get swept up in Life.  When I started this blog, it was easy–it rained small things every day.  I was a brand new mom in the honeymoon phase of both motherhood and my worry-free twenties, and it was completely natural to be all, “Look at that sky! Look at this baby!  Look at that piece of fuzz–isn’t life beautiful?”  Life is a bit more complicated now.  With three kids, new experiences, more goals, more worries, new relationships and a few layers of naivety peeled off the 29-year-old girl who started this blog, “enjoying the small things” evolves too.  And I’m glad it does.  I always think it’s funny when people say “your blog has changed” as if that’s a bad thing.  I have a lot of goals in life, but I’m pretty damn sure “staying the same girl and never changing” isn’t one of them.

I started a redesign project of this blog eight months ago.  I paid a web designer half of the project fee up front, hashed out some ideas and then told her I’d get everything together that she needed and send it to her.  And then I didn’t.  Because I’ve been paralyzed in thinking about what I want this space to be. As if I have to have everything figured out perfectly before I can start–as if it can never change after I hit publish.

One of my favorite moments in the movie Bridesmaids is this lady fight that breaks out between Helen and Annie, concealed behind fake smiles and forced politeness.  Arguing over whether their friend Lillian has grown to like sports since childhood or not, they launch into a hilarious dispute of who knows her better.

Do people really change?
I think they do.
Yeah, but I mean like, still stay who they are pretty much.
I think we change all the time.
I think we stay the same, but grow, I guess, a little bit.
I think if you’re growing, then you’re changing.

And this escalates until they’re ready to take it to fisticuffs.

Bizotch!  BOTH are true.

Every experience you’ve ever been through, every person you’ve ever loved, every lesson you’ve ever learned, every trend you adopted, every book you’ve ever read, every life mantra you’ve ever quoted–it’s all part of you.  I don’t look at change as swapping out but rather adding to–we are everything we’ve always been but more with each experience.

I’m rewriting the “About This Blog” tab today to begin shifting things over to a new site, and I’m excited about going into this with no expectation of perfection and with the opportunity to evolve with time.  It’s sort of a vow renewal for me and Small Things, and it comes at a perfect time.  This past week, we recommitted to each other.  More connection, more reading, more music, more quiet mornings, more holding hands, more beach, more reaching toward the things that make me better and distancing myself from the things that don’t.

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I want more drawn-out meal preparations in our kitchen.  With candles and Nat King Cole.

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More reaching out to people I wish I saw more often.

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More making art.

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More Sunday mornings at the pier.

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More assurance that good begets good.

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Framed headline I cut from Darling Magazine.  Have you seen their publication?  So beautiful both aesthetically and in content–truly captures the depth of women and all the different things we can be.

More Table Topics at dinner and Shel Silverstein at bedtime.

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I think we change all the time.
I think we stay the same, but grow, I guess, a little bit.

To everything we’ve always been…and more.


A little lesson in perfectionism, parenting and a new theater class coming Wednesday.

This week, I’m at All Parenting talking about making our family baptism tradition our own and over at BabyZone sharing 10 TLC Tips for New Moms.

And I’m excited to be the guest judge in I Heart Face’s January challenge.  Check it out–still time to enter this month’s photo challenge “Best Face of 2013.”


Leave a Comment
  1. Can you please tell me where you got the little wooden family? I need them!

  2. Oh so true always changing always growing. I’ve been taking more time this year not only to continue on my weight loss journey but also to enjoy my kids more. As well as making the early morning quiet moments with husband to tell him how much I love him and listen as he plans out his work day and the tasks he has to complete.

  3. Lovely post and inspiring words. I love that a “comedy” like “Bridesmaids” can lead to so many thought-provoking questions, too! (Love that film.)

    Can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Small Things — I’m sure it will be wonderful!

  4. I’m so excited for your changes. Growing is the coolest/hardest part of life. Can you do me a solid and tell me who did that pencil drawing of you and the kids? I’d love to get one!

  5. This is a great post. Well said. I look forward to see your changes after 4 years of watching your blog “change” yet stay the same wonderful, inspiring blog to read.

  6. This was beautiful. I have been thinking about how much I have changed a lot with our 10yr anniversary coming up. We were out hiking by ourselves over Christmas and it was one of those perfectly flawed beautiful moments. I had wondered what we would do when our boys are grown and in that moment I knew it would be amazing because I had him.

  7. So get this, SO feel this. We are fluid people. We ebb and flow. Big shocker that our blogs do, too! I hope your blog never goes away, but even if it does, I’ll love knowing that you’re still here, rocking this planet, being complex and compassionate, and holding a corner of joy even on the bad days.

  8. You are in a word…inspiring!!!! From this (older) mom who reads your blog…you make me think more after I read your writings and I too feel more the need to connect better with my family…Thank you Kelle, Thank you!!!!

  9. In regards to the disability employment discussion, I agree the first step is the approach. But I think it’s so important for employers to know that they themselves can take that first step. There are so many organizations they can contact: state vocational rehabilitation programs, local Arc chapters, the DOL’s VETS program. There are a lot of great resources at

  10. Oh Kelle! It’s so funny you mentioned evolving on here today. I found your blog over Christmas break last December. I went back to read all of your blog posts and just fell in love with your family and your outlook on life. Since then, I’ve continued to go back and reread your blog month by month. So this month I go back and reread all your January posts through the years, and just yesterday I thought to myself, I love how her blog has evolved. I’m younger than you, but my kiddos are in different stages, somewhat. I used to get a tight chest when I think of how I didn’t grasp life the way you did with Lainey when my firstborn was a baby. How could I have? I was a senior in high school. I hadn’t planned for her or longed for her the way you had, and yet here we are, loving our littles the same way. I just want to say thank you for continuing to be you.

  11. Change is good, right?
    I think life is pretty darn beautiful all the time.
    Even on terrible days when your job is rotten, and your kid acts rotten and your car breaks down.
    It’s still beautiful.
    That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.
    I am so glad you are over at I heart faces this week. It’s the best site online : ).
    Happy Tuesday, Kelle.

  12. I can’t believe I’ve been reading this blog for 4 years…dang. I’m just a regular mom, special ed teacher, living my life. I read several blogs everyday and yours is one of them. I’ve always enjoyed it, never commented.

    Also as a special ed teacher I would like to say to anyone looking to hire people with intellectual disabilities, a good place to start is at your local school district. Our district has a transition program for graduates and I know they are always looking for great places for our students to work.

  13. So beautiful and inspiring! I have been embracing the idea of leaning into change (ie things I should do more of), but I love your thought of change being just things we add, not replace.

    As always, Thank you for sharing your sunshine <3 I love your photos!

  14. GO, GIRL!!
    I have to say my heart skipped a beat when I saw the framed page from Darling magazine. My sweet eldest girl got me a subscription for Christmas. LOOOOOVE. I fully support the gals that started this publication. I’ve known one for a little while and she is the best!

  15. Change is hard but what and where would we be without it. Feels good to move on and just flow …

  16. “I don’t look at change as swapping out but rather adding to–we are everything we’ve always been but more with each experience.” <<< So profound…love this. Beautiful, inspiring words, as always.

  17. Good luck on rekindling your blog-mance. :)

  18. all of us bloggers go through these stages. It’s inevitable. It’s human. keep on keeping on Kelle. grow evolve overcome change learn. all of it. xx

  19. Hi from California! We have a GREAT program in Sacramento that employs people with special needs. The coffee shop I get lunch from almost daily has several fantastic employees with DS..I love them. I love to see them shining so brightly in roles that bring them purpose. Don’t we ALL need purpose in our work!? Here’s a link in case you’d like to check it out. It’s awesome.

    I wish there were more foundations like this.


  20. Yes as we go through life we will definitely change, as long as we are growing and changing for the better than life is good.

  21. Another inspiring post. Love your perspective on growing and changing “I don’t look at change as swapping out but rather adding to…” YES!! Our experiences add more colour , more insight, encouraging growth . Expanding the gifts we already have. But you have to make it happen!! And you make it happen (so proud you made that phone call) and you inspire others to do the same. Soak it up and keep on “adding” to an already beautiful life!!
    Looking forward to what you will add to Enjoying the Small Things!!
    Cheers to drawn-out meal prep with candles and Nat King Cole!

  22. I can really relate to this post. I have noticed a change within myself this past year. I can’t figure out if it has something to do with having three kids now or just growing older, but I’m definitely not so “yippee skippy” anymore. I feel the weight of responsibility for three children and am more conscious of how short and precious life is. I worry more. I have also noticed that our family’s needs are changing. My eldest is 7 and asks so many important questions. The experiences we create within our family feel so much more substantial because I know now that they will be remembered by him as his “childhood” and will shape the person he becomes. I am now approaching the sweet spot, where all three of my children are at great ages and everything is more manageable. We can just relax into it a bit more and savour it. For a while I worried that I was becoming depressed, but a friend of mine who also has three said that she felt the same… and then I started to notice that the tone of your posts had changed too. So now I think that it is a normal transition but it is a little bitter-sweet.

  23. Kelley, I get so excited when I see a new post is up, but after reading the first few parts of this post fear crept in. Is this good bye? Is she ending her written journey? My head screamed “she can’t, she can’t.” Luckily I kept reading…your not ending, you’re just beginning… a new phase within the life journey of bloging. Yay! Keep growing as a person, mother, wife and writer. Things only get better from here.

  24. A friend of mine sent me your blog recently. I read your birth story of Nella and other blog posts and I have been encouraged and inspired.
    My friend sent me your blog because I have been given a 1 in 55 chance of my 4th child having DS and your stories are what drive away the fear of the unknowns.
    Thank you for your birth story…the rawness and the honesty and the transparency. Keep blogging! Love your photos too!

  25. Nailed it.

  26. How perfectly you put all of that into words!

  27. Love this! I’m so excited to see the changes you’re making to the blog. I have been a reader for almost two years now and have loved “watching” you and your family grow and change. ETST has been my favorite way to start the day with a cup of coffee :) Also, thanks for mentioning Darling Magazine.. Gorgeous site and content, I can’t wait to subscribe!

  28. This is a beautifully written post. It sounds like you are trying to get your spark back. I’m all for that. I’m struck by how many times you use the word “more” in this post. You have such lofty expectations. The things that are supposed to relax you shouldn’t sound like they will run you ragged. It sounds like you are trying to keep up with this image you have of what sounds like a meaningful life. Just reading it makes me tired for you. Connection is great, but obsessive connection creates the exact opposite. You might find people are overwhelmed by it. They need their own space as well. You can’t create the “perfect” life for someone other than yourself. If you don’t let others create their own “perfectness” you don’t allow them to become their own true selves. Good luck.

  29. I just saw this line from an awesome Judge being sworn in in Atlanta – “no one wants to die with the epitaph “He kept his options open” on their gravestone.

  30. Kelle I love your blog and am excited about any changes that you decide to make. Because they come from you and its you that brought me to this space in the first place. I say Bring. it. on! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  31. With your recent talk of inclusion, I thought you might like to see this if you haven’t already!

  32. I love your blog and look forward to seeing all the changes and staying the same!! I hope you had a chance to read the blog post by Beck Gambill called Be The Tour Guide. I think you will really like it, beautifully written.

  33. Hello.
    I believe that no matter what we do to better ourselves and how much we grow -if one doesn’t have God in their life I think there will always be a void. One may be successful, content, outgoing but there will be that emptiness. I’m seeing that all around me. With family, friends and in the blogging world. I guess one way God makes himself known to all is by giving each of us challenges so He can humble us. To have us reflect on what’s important, to slow down and to let us know who is in control.
    I personally like the route you’ve taken. Accepting God into your life once again and I applaud you for that.

  34. Excited to see the new site, and I think taking time to express your gratitude to another person, when you don’t have to… is to be present, in the moment and thoughtful. We should all do it more often, we need all the kindness in this world, more praise. I think it’s awesome you called.

    And, ditto on being paralyzed when it comes to change, I was the same way with my photography site, but when I sat down and thought about what *I* wanted and what represented ME… it came so easily.

  35. The picture of the frame…with the people on top of it..where did you get them from? My aunt follows your blog and she got them for my cousin I’d love to get them for my nieces…

  36. I am really short of words, can’t finally believe i got my boyfriend back this is my testimony about the man that brought back my man dr Lawrence he gave me the heart and confident to trust in him within the period of 3days right now we are living happily and getting very ready and set for our wedding, i am so much happy knowing full well there are real, true spell casters who can really make things happen within the shortest possible time.

  37. I think that life gives us the opportunity to evolve, and some of us embrace it consciously. But where ever life takes us, it’s important to make sure that we are growing together with those we love (spouses and friends) instead of in opposite directions. There’s so much negative in the world that can attack our souls and make us doubt – we really need those loved ones to support us through the rough moments and those moments when we are just rough on ourselves.

    I love the honesty in your post.

  38. you are so right we always change but stay the same a little bit. Also perfection is not all in life, life is the simple things that makes our heart laugh.

  39. I also love this post! And I keep checking back so I will know where to get that little wooden family for my grandchildren. Please do tell. :)

  40. Hey Kelle! A friend of mine recommended your blog to me and I’ve been loving reading it! Your kids are so adorable! I was also interested in your blog because my husband and I are in the middle of the adoption process and I am looking everywhere for inspiration as I think about my future family. Your blog is it! I have just begun to blog about our journey and I hope you have time to stop by and say hello! PS #honoringmaura it is!

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