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10 Years of Blogging Anniversary: A Few Words to My Readers

I realized something this week–tomorrow marks the ten year anniversary of this blog. Ten years ago, new to motherhood, I sat down, typed my first blank page and released it to the void with horrible design choices, crappily edited pictures, music that annoyingly auto-played when you opened the blog (what, doesn’t everyone want to be force fed Coldplay’s Viva La Vida while looking at pictures of a stranger’s kid?), a title I chose without a lot of thought but….Passion! Gosh darnit, was I ever passionate about starting that blog.  As I wrote in that first post that I’m not even going to link to because my enthusiasm embarrassingly exposes the fact that I am a 10-year-old secretly living in a 38-year-old’s body (sshhh….don’t tell), “It’s a blank canvas I can’t wait to paint on! It’s a new Hello Kitty diary complete with colored gel pens that I can’t wait to write in! It’s an empty scrapbook that is begging to be filled. It’s a thousand dollar shopping spree to Michaels! So, here it is…a blank page. My hands are shaking! I can’t wait to fill it… with the little things that make me happy.” Perhaps that sums up what admittedly may be on my tombstone someday: “She wrote with exclamation points.” I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but there you have it, how it all began–with exclamation points and reference to the craft aisles of Michael’s. Little did I know my proclaimed affection for Hello Kitty and gel pens would lead to a blog post where I would expose the bones of my soul and admit I was shaken from something that changed the course from the perfect dreams of motherhood I had spent so much time spinning in my head to the heart of real life–you can’t plan it all, sister, but you can paint the feck out of life with the brush you’ve been given. Of course, when I wrote it, I thought maybe twelve people would read it. But more showed up, and if there’s anything I learned from sharing that post that will forever keep this blog close to my heart, it’s that the people behind these screens? They are real, and they are wonderful, and we need each other’s stories.

The world of blogging has changed so much since I started, and while I miss the days of intimate story-telling that used to characterize the mom blog world, I embrace the changes of the Internet, our family and the creative challenges that lie ahead.

(inserting a few favorite pics from the 10-year archives here)

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A few things I’ve learned from writing this blog that I want my kids to know:

1. You Are Not Alone.
What you’re going through, the way your family looks, the things in your mind that haunt you, the way you think, your guilt, your love, your pride, the things you think you’re failing at…you are not alone. You are not the only one who can’t keep the house together or loses permission slips or has experienced pain. There is a community out there of people just like you–rooting for you, cheering for each other. To find your community, share your story, speak up. To be the community, look around, listen.

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2. Put Your Art, Story, Songs, Voice Into the World…WITH HEART.
Don’t wait for an invitation. Don’t wait until you’re “good at it.” Time’s a ticking, get it out. Let your story and song and vision and art seep out of every cell of your body wherever you are. Own it. Share it honestly and with passion. As Hugh MacLeod wrote in one of my creative Bibles Ignore Everybody, “Whether you’re writing to an audience of one, five, a thousand, a million, ten million, there’s really only one way to truly connect. One way that actually works: Write from the heart. There is no silver bullet. There is only the love God gave you.” Give that love to the world by voice, pen, hands. Don’t worry about what the world gives back (although a boomerang of love is guaranteed, eventually).

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3. Make Mistakes.
The only way to overcome the fear of not being good enough which holds so many people back is to just be brave and practice being not that good. Be responsible, kind, thoughtful but know you’re going to make mistakes. Let the little ones go (grammar, spelling, that one time I posted a picture of me wearing the baby carrier wrong and everyone laughed), but learn from the big ones and let them change you for the better.

4. Don’t Compare Your Insides to Someone Else’s Outsides.
You know what happens if you’re driving on a road alongside a cliff and you look too long at the beauty on the other side of the cliff? Your car moves with you, and CRASH, you are dead. Focus on driving your own car. 10 and 2, baby. Your course, your destination is your own. How empowering is that?

5. By Golly, Have Fun.
This is it–the reason I keep blogging. Because I’m having fun. Because there are so many wonderful little things in the world to collect and be inspired by and celebrate, and I love having a designated jar to put them in.

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And then there’s you, the people who take the time to click and read. I’ll take this ten year anniversary as an opportunity to virtually hug you. Thank you for showing up here, for taking interest in things I care about. Thank you for celebrating little things with me but also for embracing the big things–for advocating with us for people with special needs, for donating to the fund raisers we share with you, for sharing your stories in e-mails and comments, for the “me toos” you let me feel. Thank you for high-fiving red lipstick and children’s literature, Midwest summers, stocking stuffer guides and, Dear God, let’s not forget my love affair with Christmas.Thank you for reading about the sponsors we share and allowing us to make them a part of the blog too. I try very hard to let story, love and enjoyment of happy little things guide everything I do on this blog, and I make great efforts when incorporating sponsors to make sure those things stand out and to respect my readers. And when the hard and heavy things come along, I aim to share them too–enough of them to remind us that life isn’t a ride on a Lisa Frank unicorn.

I hope this space is always a place where you feel welcome, supported, inspired and connected; and as I continue to write here, my goal remains to create an inspiring space that feels a little bit like home–or a colorful classroom where Mrs. Frizzle is wearing a weird outfit that is both questionable and cool. New goals for this space for next year are coming, but for now, let’s toast to ten years. Thanks for coming along, friends.

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Comments

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  1. I’ve enjoed every post of the last ten years. Thank you for sharing a piece of you. Your words have blessed me and I’m grateful.

  2. Happy 10th! It takes grace and skill and commitment and balance to blog well for a whole decade. All the best to you and yours..

  3. I’ve been inspired by you for years! Thanks for sharing with us.

    Quick ?- Did you pay for kellehampton.com for life? I mean, do you ever worry that your words could get lost and not last 1000 years? I recently started thinking about that with my own (new) website. If I want to keep it alive, I have to BE alive, and keep paying for it. Is that a dumb question?

  4. Jennifer B. says:

    Happy anniversary. And thanks for taking us along for the ride. I’ve enjoyed following you for close to 8 years now (I started some time in the year after Nella was born … my son is just a few weeks older than her), and I have have learned so much, laughed a lot and been inspired often.

    It’s strange feeling like you know these people whom you’ve never met, never spoken with. And yet, that’s how I … and I’m sure many other readers … feel.

    I see things every now and then in a store or a great vintage thrift shop and I think, “Kelle would love this.” And I have to remind myself that I don’t actually know you.

    I think that’s probably a sign of an excellent blogger. You’ve brought us into your world, your home, your family, your heart … and you’ve made us all feel like there’s a fellow mom out there feeling all these same emotions, a virtual friend who alternately has everything together and everything going haywire … just like we do.

  5. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! I’ve been following you since a little while after Nella was born, before I was even a Mom myself (I have a 5 month old). You’ve given me so many ideas to incorporate in to traditions with my family, and I love your creativity and beautiful pictures. Cheers to 10 years, and here’s to many more!

  6. I can’t tell you how much you have inspired me since I found you! You making me want to be a better mom, be more creative, be more thoughtful, be more accepting of the good and bad, be funny (or at leased try to be..), be strong when life is messy, and while doing all of that… never forget that, I am not alone! You inspired me to start sharing my story! I have a long way to go with that… but I have put my pen to the paper! Thank you for creating a space where I feel loved, accepted, and encouraged! You make me cry, you make me laugh, and I look forward to every post! Can’t imagine my life without you in it! (Even if it’s just through the internet!) Love you Mrs. Frizzle!

  7. Yay! Happy ten years! I started reading sometime around Nella’s birth, and yours is one of my very favorite blogs. Love reading your thoughts and life stories…thanks so much for sharing your pictures and words!

  8. NiKe Peterson says:

    I found your blog six weeks after Nella was born and have read this little space in the web from cover to cover. I found your site while randomingly searching for blog tools to update my little blog for our family. Finding Nella’a birth post (and so many of the posts since) has had a profound effect on my family and how we live our lives: I picked up a camera, I starting telling our story and when hard, painful moments found us, I shared them. Those pictures and stories have become my legacy as a mother, and I return to them often to relive those moments, share the smiles and remember the pain. I think I told you thank you when we Skyped after Bloom came out, but if not, “thank you, Kelle.” What you began for your family has blessed mine.

  9. Congrats on 10 years! Your blog inspired me to start mine about 7 years ago now, and I still love your space so very much!

  10. I love your blog! I will forever be grateful for the day I decided to click on the link to your world. Thank you for sharing yourself with us!
    Merry Christmas!!!!!

  11. Krysta nYmark says:

    I discovered your blog by chance in 2011… And into 2012 I was born with a child that had a craniofacial abnormality. Your words helped me process. Now six years later I still look forward to every new post and always leave feeling inspired to bring a little creativity, color and spontaneously into our family! ❤️

  12. Thank you will never be enough Kelle. When we had our prenatal diagnosis with our little Harry I would pour over your blog, I went back to when Nella was a baby and would just read and read it. It gave me hope and joy and excitement. It truly turned what could have been such a dark time into a joyous one. I write this with tears pouring down my face because I know that my words can’t ever truly express how much of a difference you made.
    I often imagine what I’d say to a Mum who had just been given a diagnosis and I know that all I need to do is say read Bloom and Kelles blog then you will see that life might be different but it will be beautiful. Thank you for sharing that beauty xxx

  13. I secretly miss the auto play music!

  14. Ten years! Congratulations! :-) I’ve been reading here since Lainey wasn’t yet a big sister … time certainly is spinning away …

  15. I found your blog shortly after your Nella Birth Story post, and I was pregnant with my second daughter. She is now 7. Your blog is one of very few places on the internet that I have consistently checked in with. Sending much love to you. Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration! :)

  16. Literally the most heart wrenching words I’ve read on your blog: ‘life isn’t a ride on a Lisa Frank unicorn.” WHYYYYYYYYY. Your blog has always made me feel all the feels but that was the saddest. 😉

  17. Congratulations on your 10 year anniversary! I have also been blogging for 10 years (to a very small audience), but am currently 6 months behind. “We need each other’s stories.” Amen, sister! I am a feels all the feels person and even though I love and adore my “real life” family and friends so much, I also love and need reading other’s stories online for that “You are not alone” connection. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog these past few months and look forward to reading more in the next ten years.

    Great list of why you blog too, love it!

  18. I’ve been following along for the last several years and have loved watching your family grow up. It’s always surprising how much you can feel connected to, and root for, someone you’ve never met in real life, but feel like you have a weekly coffee update with. Thank you for the blogs that I read on Saturday mornings while my baby takes a nap. I grab myself a cup of coffee and settle in for the first real “me” thing I do to recharge on the weekend.

    Cheers to the next ten years.

  19. I love your blog! I think I’ve been reading for most of those 10 years :-)

  20. Congrats on the 10 years of blogging! Hope all is well in yall’s world!

  21. I LOVE your blog! & I loved the music that played whenever you opened it up! ❤

  22. Mary Playter says:

    I started reading your blog after Rosie O’Donnell said to check it out, right after Nella was born. I have always wondered – how many followers do you have? All the best to you and your family. xo

  23. Thank you for your blog – your beautiful pictures and words. I’ve always enjoyed and appreciated your perspective on motherhood, enjoying life’s simple adventures, and the embrace of it all not needing nor wanting it to be perfect. I can’t tell you how many times that your blog brought a smile to my face, inspired me to take better pictures than the crummy iPhone pics I’ve currently snap, or reassured me that…thank GOD someone else in the universe also has a weakness for back to school supplies and Christmas decorations. Merry Christmas to you and your family, from a family in Berkeley, California

  24. I have followed you from a world away – Norway to be precise, for the last five years – and I look forward to the years to come.
    Merry christemas in advance. :)

  25. Thank you for this blog !
    Your stories, pictures and ideas open up our hearts and minds !

  26. Congrats! I agree wholeheartedly with all of them, but #5 in particular. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong. I probably heard that somewhere else, but I claim that philosophy as my own.

  27. Chana Fellig says:

    Long time fan. Love you Kelle, thanks for sharing so much of your beautiful life with us. xoxo

  28. Happy 10 years! I found you shortly after Nella’s birth and then went and read every single post you ever wrote. It took me a loooong time to read through it all, but it was like reading through everything in my own heart and head. I’m so glad you are here, you’ve made such a difference in my parenting and seeing myself as a woman who is allowed to have feelings and needs. Thank you for continually putting your heart out there…you make us all a little more brave when we read along.

    XOXO,
    Angie from Ohio

    P.S.
    I miss the music!

  29. Alla Umanskiy says:

    I’ve been a reader of yours for about 7 years, since Nella was born. You are a beautiful writer and photographer, and a beautiful human in general. Congratulations on this milestone!

    Keep it up!

  30. Ten wonderful years! I’ve been reading since Nella was born and love every post. I’m trying to enjoy our first big snow here in New York… I’ll do it for you!

  31. Congratulations on ten years! I stumbled on your blog after it was mentioned on another blog eons ago (ok, well more like seven years). I recognized your story instantly though as I’d remembered reading your story in Parents magazine. Anyway, I continue to enjoy your blog after all these years and appreciate the zeal for life you share here. Here’s to another ten! And really I appreciate how even with all the other social media outlets your blog lives on. It seems so many others have dropped off in favor of another outlet (boo!). Again, congratulations and thank you for sharing your journey with us!

  32. The first two points just hits home! Thank you for sharing a part of yourself and reassuring that no one is ever alone out there. Kudos to 10 years!!!

  33. I found your blog probably about 6 years ago when I myself started blogging. I came because of your photography and the Florida connection, I stayed because of your words. There’s nothing better then a cup of coffee and one or two, of your posts!
    Congratulations and here’s to the next ten years!!! 💕

  34. shannon brown says:

    10 years!? I can’t believe it! I am so grateful to have found your blog~I love it SO MUCH!

    Also…#5…YASS!

    Congratulations!!

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