new year featured


Happy New Year! I’m hoping your new year opened like a box of new crayons or a fresh jar of peanut butter…promising, with colorful sharp points and a delicious buttery swirl. (If not–no worries. Nobody tells you this but, psssttt….the broken crayons color just as good and the bottom of the peanut butter jar holds treasures too.)

The speed of which January arrives never fails to amaze me. In fact, I’ve enlisted Dash to demonstrate my feelings on December 1st – December 31 with a photo I’ve titled “Whee! That was fast”  He was all in.

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Thank you, Dash. That was beautiful. Now go play with some trucks, and I’ll be with you in a minute.

Our tree is still up and the mantle garland is twinkling away. Normally, I’m itching to get everything cleaned up and out of here come January 1st because wreaths and bottle brush trees feel like depressing clutter after the new year, but this year? I’m grabbing this whole thing by the reins and showing it who’s boss. Here’s how it goes now:

1. I’m in charge of my feelings. I say what’s cozy and what’s clutter, not the last person who told me she just cleaned her entire house and threw her tree out to the curb because “NEW BEGINNING” and definitely not that 99 cent plastic tree collecting dust.  I can do what I want, I set the tone and that tree in the corner there is smiling at me. Besides, National Treasure is on T.V. and I don’t really feel like wrapping up ornaments tonight.

2. The twinkle lights stay. Somehow, some way. We’ll weave them into spring decor, summer decor, fall decor. But I need them. So they stay.

Now that that’s out of the way…we went on a trip. It’s become an annual thing now with our neighbors–our way of ringing/wringing–ringing in the new year together and wringing out every last drop of the holidays, plus Brett’s end-of-the-year time off. I look forward to it all year long. It’s short–three days–and it’s woven with lots of very unmagical realistic moments. But there’s something about it that’s really special. It’s both the epilogue trip of a closing year and the prolgue to a new one, and somewhere between leaning back to pass another fruit snack on the way up in 2015 and pulling that car seat strap back to nipple-height on the way home in 2016, I tie up the strings to a full year in my brain. This is it, man. These loose laces on scuffed shoes passed down from your sister, this cracker-littered van, that graying hair, those sun-kissed shoulders, the hands on that steering wheel–the ones that still make me feel safe and secure, that little footprint in the sand–filling twice the space it did two years ago, that attitude, that vocabulary, that look in your eyes that brings me to my knees, that cowlick in your hair–same as the day you were born, this aging skin, this feeling of your hand in mine, this head on my shoulder, these friends, this toast, this year, this trip, these plans, these memories, this shredded patience, this hope, this grateful heart, this perfect moment…this is it. Another year, and I’m so thankful to have lived it messily and fully.

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We went to Orlando this year with our hotel reservations our only confirmed plans. Maybe we’ll check out Disney, maybe we’ll hit Universal, maybe we’ll go explore the city. We ended up never leaving our resort as it had a built-in water park, playground, restaurants…and everyone was happy.

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One of my favorite vacation rites of passage? Mini cereal boxes. Every time I pack food for a trip, I splurge on the tiny cereal boxes. My kids think they are about the most precious things in the world.

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Other big and small things enjoyed…

Gold & Sparkle.
Nella’s dress is a $12 women’s tank, and I added a tie-on Peter Pan collar that we already had. She puts that tank on now every day. Dash said “Happy New Year” to every person we encountered on the trip.

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Hand holding.
The sight never gets old.

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Lainey needing to carefully watch me go down the water slide three times before she decided she can do it too.

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These face coasters that instantly up the fun factor.

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One of my favorites.

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Love captured.

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Love turned down.
(He didn’t give her the kiss).

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Backwards flip-flops in the wrong toes.
The stamp of childhood.

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This mop of curls that I never know what to do with but love anyway.

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My classy friend who complements my beer bottle with her champagne glass just right.

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His smile during our “Hide from the dinosaur” game.

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The decision to throw the bikes in the car last minute before we left.

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A good hiding spot.

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How many times our kids said “Again! Again!” to being thrown in the pool.
…and how many times our friends obliged.

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My personal suncatcher.

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Jumping on hotel beds.

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Half-moon eyes…
…that turn into little love ladles when flipped upside down.

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An almost six-year-old…
…whose celebration of birth is so perfectly timed following new years, new beginnings and big hopes.

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Finding out yesterday that the kids don’t go back to school today like I thought.
We have two more days of vacation.

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And there you have it. An epilogue, a prologue. Now it’s time to write the book.

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Happy New Year!


Leave a Comment
  1. Hey Kelle – Happy New Year!!! Love love love your posts. Always…. So so good. ❤️ Can you share the source for the puzzle of your kids in one of the pics above? Thanks so much!

  2. First I’d like to say I love reading your blog. I LOVE how you dress your children! I so remember the days of “Justice” but when my girls were growing up it was Limited Too. Would you mind sharing where you bought Nella’s puppy swim shirt? Thank you for brightening my day.!

  3. kristine quick says:

    Gorgeous and fun! thanks for sharing. Can you also share the resort name that you were at? thank you!!

  4. When I was a child, Santa always left us a package of mini cereal boxes! One for each of us…there were 6 kids so that was a big deal. We would keep them in our rooms, under our beds, or trade with our siblings :) One of my favorite memories.
    My own children are all grown up and out of the house…but Santa still brings them their own mini cereal boxes every year.
    Love your blog….Happy New Year!

  5. How fun!! Happy New Year!!

  6. Nella’s NY pic is the cutest thing I have seen♥
    love seeing her clothes..such pretty girls and boy..and all happy.
    PS her French braided head is beautiful.

  7. Happy New Year, Kelle.
    What a fabulous ending.

  8. YAHTZEE 4-EVER!!!!!
    I would crush you.


  9. What a wonderful way to end the year + begin a new one.

    Also, I just can’t believe Nella turns 6 this month. That means I’ve been following your blog for 6 years. Surreal.

    • FarmhouseHeydon says:

      My thoughts exactly, Diana! One of the few blogs I’ve followed – thanks Kelle, I’ve learned a lot about motherhood from you!

  10. Kelly Henrichs says:

    I have been feeling exactly the same way about the holidays being over! Not quite ready to take down the tree & feeling like it all went by way too quickly. Your son going down the slide was the perfect analogy!! Happy New Year! I so enjoy your blog & your photography. Oh, and I happen to love the small cereal boxes too!!!:)

  11. Happy New Year! Where are Dash’s alligator shoes from? I would love them for my little boy! :)

    • Hi Kaydee,
      The alligator shoes are by Converse. Search “Converse Creature Shoes” and you should find several (I think they make sharks, giraffes, puppies too)

  12. Angie Knopp says:

    Love this! I also love your cream sweater with the bell sleeves! Where did you find it?! Such cute shoes too! #wardrobegoals
    So glad you had a great trip!

    Angie from Ohio

  13. I love your posts Kelle! Love your language describing nella’s eyes- love ladles! Have a beautiful new year:)

  14. Kelle, you are an inspiration. Love your posts/pictures and keep sharing your blog with my friends since I truly enjoy them – they add me energy and ideas for the day. Can’t wait to read your new book. Wishing you a wonderful and successful New Year! Thank you for all you do and please keep sharing more posts;) have a quick question on Nella’s soon to be six year old picture – what is the brand of this beautiful white/red plaid blouse with a white collar? It is adorable, I used to own one when I was a small child and would love to get one for my daughter;) thank you in advance. Keep doing what you do. You are amazing and a role model to many of us, moms…wifes…;)

    • Hi Aggie (love your name!),
      Nella’s red check blouse is from Vindie Baby. I think it’s still on the site if you look under tops/shirts at

      Hope that helps!

  15. Hello there, You have a beautiful family and I always enjoy visiting here. Can you share where you got your daughter Nella’s hair barrette? Thank you so much, tara

  16. Beautiful. I bet you WILL write (or finish or whatever) that book this year. Wishing you all things wonderful.

    We still have our tree up, too. I am thinking we’ll enjoy it until Thursday or so. As for my twinkling lights? They stay up until after the cold, dark days pass. Those lights are one of my winter lifelines.

    Happy 2016! I am feeling optimistic :)

  17. Happy New Year!! And I love mini cereal boxes too :-)

  18. Lauren wool says:

    All of your writing and all of your pictures are consistently stunning and a true joy to scroll through. I don’t get much time on the computer (two girls, 4 and 6) but when I do, I thoroughly enjoy your blogs.
    But I just have to say…Nella takes my breath away.
    I think all of your children are remarkable and precious but that Nella. Wow. I get chills when I see your pictures of her and hope to meet you all some day!
    Our 6-year old is every bit as doting as Nella’s big sister … and our 4-year old has Down Syndrome. She is extremely difficult to photograph but we have a few gems that capture a tiny thread of her inner/outer beauty.
    Thanks for your beautiful posts!

  19. Your family, your writing, and your photographs are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing them with us.

    A small request … Could you darken your font slightly? For me, it makes reading paragraphs a strain.

    Enjoy your twinkle lights.
    Happy New Year!

  20. As always, I love reading your words. And today, I also declared the twinkle lights are staying up year ’round in my house. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  21. This is great! My sister had a gold sparkly NYE tank back in the day and she gave it to my daughter when she was 4. All my girls have worn it proudly like an evening gown:)

  22. This post actually made me cry. Kelle, the first post I ever read was Laneys fairy birthday in the woods. I remember waiting for Mondays and Wednesdays for your next post. I think you switched the pattern lol. To see your growth, the kids growth physically just melts my heart. You live your life in little ol naples but you touch so many lives across the globe. I once remember my NOW EX HUSBAND questioning me on why I read your blog? Did I want your life because it was so perfect? and I clearly remember telling him no. She is not perfect she is real. Very shortly after that I left him. Surround yourself with people that help you grow and inspire you, and that I did.

    Thank you Kelle for being real. xoxo

    • This made me smile. Thank you, Lori. Your all caps NOW EX HUSBAND made me laugh too. And the last part: “Surround yourself with people that help you grow and inspire you, and that I did.” You go, sister. Proud of you!

  23. The past few years I’ve found I no longer have the itch to take the tree down the day after Christmas & I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying it. I’ve also been trying to figure out a way to incorporate a way to keep my twinkle lights up – trying to work them into the mantle decor somehow lol! You’ll have to let us know if you figure it out :)

    • I saw a picture the other day of a beautiful simple mantle display–several terra cotta pots with cactus, plants and a simple string of twinkle lights tangled around the pots.

  24. Thanks for sharing pictures. Your family so fun.

  25. Mollie MArshall says:

    HI KELLE. HI NELLA. HI DASH. HI LAINEY. HI BRETT. I hope you’re all enjoying your week back at school :) Come back to IL soon. Much love.

  26. I know I say it practically every post (or at least I feel like I do) but Nella oozes pure joy right through every photo on the screen. So much so I’m always reading your blogs through blurry tear-filled eyes! Happy New Year to you all. Much love. :)

  27. Our tree is still up, and I’ve decided to keep the ligĥts up until the sunlïght returns…. so there world!

  28. I love how Dash jumps on the bed with such Gusto!

  29. Yes! write another book. I truly enjoyed Bloom. I can’t believe Nella is almost six. You have 3 gorgeous kiddos. Happy New Year!

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