Enjoying: Balloon Dogs and Malls

We went to the mall yesterday.

For some reason, I feel like that sentence needs to stand alone. I’m not terribly fond of malls. I worked at a mall for years when I was homeschooled, and my weekly dose of The World then (proper noun for all that is ungodly and burning to the ground after the rapture) came from Seventeen magazine and whatever was happening in the halls of Genesee Valley Mall. There’s a small chunk of my life characterized by Auntie Anne pretzels, spritzing perfume at Hudson’s on my lunch break and inhaling the brain-programming scent I’m convinced Abercrombie pumps through their air vents–the stuff that makes you want to buy too-tight clothes and make out with cute guys. I did neither. But I wanted to. I don’t know what it is about malls now, but they make me feel a little claustrophobic.

So when Lainey wanted to go to the mall to ride the carousel horse yesterday, I convinced myself that at least it’s air-conditioned, we have an H&M now, and I’m a grown woman who’s built up immunities against the evils of the Abercrombie fumes.

I forgot how cool the mall can actually be when you’re a kid.
But yesterday, I remembered.

The pet store was a hit.

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And the giant ride-on animals.

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And the $3 balloon dogs I have to thank for my deepened smile lines. You would have thought I gave Nella a real puppy.

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In the spirit of balloon dogs and mall pet stores…more little things enjoyed this past weekend:

Okay, one big thing..
Brett turned 50.
And today we celebrate eight years together.

We had a friend bash Saturday night…
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And a family huddle Sunday night.

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He gets a trilogy of holidays in one month–Father’s Day, birthday, anniversary. So he’s loved up real good come July.

More random happies…

Little bugs.

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Rain dances.
And temporary tattoos that are never washing off. Ever.

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New projects.
I finished a wallpaper project this weekend as part of our musical rooms adventure. The girls are moving in together, and Dash is getting his own room. I’ll post the finished rooms when they’re all done, but I have two things to say about our new *cough*fake*cough* brick wall. A: I love it. And B: Those YouTube wallpaper tutorial people who smile through pasting and smoothing and lining up edges, talking about how easy it is? I hate them. In all fairness, the first half was awful, but once you get a rhythm going, it gets easier.

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She loves watching the bottom of her dresses swish while she runs. So much we have to remind her to look up. Sister gets a little distracted enjoying the small things.

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Fixin’ Stuff.
If you’re looking for a good mechanic in Collier County, Dash will be opening his garage soon. Still working on a slogan, but in the running is: “If it’s broken, he’ll try to fix it. And if it’s not broken, it will be when he’s done with it.”

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Hand holding (she forced him, but still…cute, eh?)

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Trike practice.
He’s already a hard core biker with his “get your hands off my bike” attitude.

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Hair stylist.
She invents new styles and does them herself every day.

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(shirt from The Measure)

Boat watching and shell shopping.

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He’s practicing his mall walk.

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(Bill Murray tee, Passive Juice Motel)

Hope ya’ll are finding lots to enjoy this week!


Over at eHow this week, sharing 10 ways to celebrate July 4th with your family–without leaving the house.


Leave a Comment
  1. if you need to hurry up a temporary tattoo rubbing alcohol does the trick!

  2. Nash is a very cute car mechanic and I like the photo of your kids playing in the rain, and that motto “tho she be little, she is fierce.”

  3. ((Smiling at Dash’s candy cane jammies in July))

  4. I have been following you for a long time and don’t think I ever commented. From one blogger to another…you have a real gift of capturing your family’s beautiful spirit. I am in awe every time I visit.

  5. thanks for sharing your day in the life…love to see their sweet personalities shining through…

  6. Happy birthday to Bret, and happy anniversary to you both!

  7. They’re getting so big! Bret looks like he’s very well loved.

  8. I’ve missed the super long posts, stuffed to the brim with pictures! I’m always inspired to take pictures of the day-to-day stuff, as opposed to events, after looking at your blog. Thank you for propelling me forward, once again! (And can’t wait to see the finished room.)

  9. The Bill Murray shirt……dying!

  10. One time I, very intelligently, put a temporary tattoo on my face, so after rubbing and scrubbing my skin raw, I tried make-up remover and it slipped right off!

  11. Your kids are so darn cute! And that wall is amazing–nice job! Love me a good accent wall :)

  12. your kids are so adorable! my heart melted when I saw the girls wearing saltwater sandals & Dash wearing red tennis. I don’t comment on blogs often, but your recent post(s) have really touched me… your kids wear age-appropriate clothes & shoes. None of the stuff that makes the kids look older than they need to be. I LOVE that about your parenting style!

  13. Happy Birthday Brett and Happy Wedding Anniversary to you both.

  14. What a beautiful family you have. There is so much love. I see it in every picture. I read it in every sentence.

  15. Happy birthday to Bret, and happy anniversary to you both!

  16. I wrote a really funny comment on my phone and then my phone sucked.

    Anyway, thank you for the advice for where to watch the game. Sadly, Ellie decided to time her nap badly, and I was checking the score from the Children’s Museum and then streaming or some such, while Ellie screamed at the computer “KICK THE BALL!”

    Hope to see you soon!

    And if we get this rain, I may just take E to the mall…

  17. Happy 50th to Brett!! That’s so funny bc my husband has the same June trifecta – birthday, fathers day and anniversary all within 2 weeks of each other. Im all like “Enough about YOU already!” LOL!
    Hope you are having a great summer :)

  18. I haven’t stopped by your blog in awhile ! So glad I did cause your little family is beautiful !

  19. Happy Birthday Brett!!
    Happy Anniversary Kellie & Brett!!

    Love ~ Love ~ Love these photos…. all of them.

    Favs…. Lainey’s hairdo; Nella & Dash dancing in the rain; Dash’s mall walk. (love his lil red tennies!)


  20. I’ve tried to avoid the mall too but my kids always want to go…perhaps we will also take advantage of the a/c and spend some time there. Your pictures make it look like to much fun! Love your post, as always!

  21. Lainey seems SO confident. I love that. And Nella’s hair is getting dark! My second daughter (who is also 4) is showing the same signs of her blondeness going brown. It’s fun to watch them change and grow!

  22. I’ll be happy when balloon puppies are the only ones available at the mall…most pet store puppies come from commercial breeders and deplorable conditions.

    I chuckled at “Abercrombie immunity”.

  23. Those balloons are the bomb. So stinking adorable. Your blog is my happy place Kelle. I leave feeling lighter. Thank you:-) Looks like a full week. Oh and Nella with the twisty hair… She’d be in awe over my big chick. She’s got some mad skills in the twisty hair department.

  24. Gorgeous, gorgeous…all your pictures are gorgeous!

  25. Nella’s haircut is so cute!! LOVE Dash’s slogan, “If it’s broken, he’ll try to fix it. And if it’s not broken, it will be when he’s done with it.” Totally get it, I have 5 boys:)

  26. I too kept thinking ‘it looks like Nella got her hair colored’, till I saw one of the above comments. Suddenly seems to be growing in brown? Sweet.

    (said the adoring mother of a brown-haired girl) :-)

  27. oh my gosh, love – love – love this post. :) :)

  28. Hi

    You’ve probably been asked this (and answered it) elsewhere, but I was wondering how you came to choose the children’s names and, also, that you named them before you saw them. Could you elaborate?


    Love the picture of Nella and the balloon though!

  29. Love this! The pictures of Nella make me smile. Glad that the A&F fumes didn’t overtake you!

  30. Where did you buy the brick wall paper? Looks great!!

  31. 1) baby oil is quick and magic for temporary tattoos but half-rubbed off grubby-looking tats are a rite of summer so no hurry.
    2) I love love love Dash’s hand being held by Brett in the cake picture — you can see that he is just seconds from grabbing a handful of that cake and I really hate that we eventually learn to hide that impulse. Next time I’m at a birthday party I will need somebody to grab my hand and keep me from just clawing a handful out of the beautiful cake before the candles are out. That was weird but I’m not going to edit.
    3) Lainey’s ‘do is awesome and that is an art.
    4) Michael was always unscrewing things around the house and once I went to open a cupboard door and it just ‘clunk’ fell off in my hand because he had removed the screws. I love that built-in boy urge that some boys seem to have. I know there are some who reject gender roles, and I guess I also reject “roles” of any kind, but still, I love seeing those little boy and little girl things that just seem to emerge from them naturally – it’s so cool.
    5 or 6 I can’t remember what number I’m on) Kara just left on a road trip with two friends, a boy and a girl, and they had to take a ferry to get to an island where they will all 3 sleep in a pup tent and I’m scared to death but she is texting me every few hours and this is a weird scary/exciting time – where she is half-mine, half-leaving, and I can’t explain it, but someday you will write about this too, and I’m telling your future self right now: it’s really not a bad thing at all, it’s a good thing that you will be able to embrace and experience as deeply as what you are experiencing in their baby days. But don’t think about it now. Also, don’t see World War Z because then you won’t be able to sleep and you might spend the next day in a fog and write long rambling comments on your cousins’ blogs. I love you and you inspire me even though my babies are growing up, you remind me to soak up the moments. <3

  32. Oh, good grief, I’m dying at Nella’s tattoos. First thing that popped into my mind: “prison ink.” Maybe I just need to get going on Orange Is the New Black season 2.

    All the kids are still so stinkin’ cute. And I love Nella’s hair! She got a haircut, right? And it’s darker. Hair that pretty is wasted on the young.

  33. I smiled out loud when I read “Hudson’s.” My sister-in-law and I just talked about Hudson’s over the 4th. If you’re from Michigan, it will always be Hudson’s. Love the balloon dogs…sometimes I think I should have gotten one of those for my daughter instead of a real dog. She’s 20! :) Happy 4th and Happy 50th to Brett…I can relate!

  34. *I* used to hang at “The Valley,” too! COOL! My grandparents lived in Flint; we live in Port Huron and at that time, there was no mall. So, anytime we went to Flint, we went to “The Valley!” Granny and her sister were part of the crew that would walk laps around the mall for exercise…and then go have breakfast at Big Boy’s or the nearest Coney Island. Such good memories…oh, Hudson’s!

  35. The dress swoosh enjoying was a lol. D’s room is looking cute!

    I also did a lot of living vicariously through seventeen mag. My dad was so protective I wasn’t allowed to drive and he’d have never let me work at the mall! Although I loved the mall– I still kinda do (in small doses) I love the nostalgia. Although I wish we had a San Rio Surprises here to take my boys to. (‘Member that one? With the teeny tiny stationary and pencils?!)

  36. This set of pictures was the best! The pictures of Nella with her balloon dog are just awesome. She looked SO happy!

  37. Where you get those darling chair clips for you daughters? I would love them for my little girl.

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