Sunday, January 30, 2011

Love where you live.

I refill my coffee cup this morning and peel off the sixteen Dora stickers Lainey has stuck to the arm of my sweatshirt as I watch my jammied girls roll around on carpet desperately in need of vacuuming. The last of the company has left, the happy whirlwind has ended. George took my mom to the airport and, for the first time, I wasn't sad when she left. Because she is happy, and I didn't have to watch from my car as she turned to wave goodbye, pulling her carry-on behind her.

All is good.

We spent the entire day yesterday ambling along the two-and-a-half mile boardwalk that encircles Cypress trees, Slash Pines and a hidden world of gators, panthers and southern birds at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

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I felt calm and present, converted into a greater admirer of nature, moved by the curiosity of my girls, inspired by the reverence of my mom and her new love who scoped the landscape with his binoculars and knew all the names of the birds like the Pileated Woodpecker and Red-shouldered Hawk.

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I may not know the names of the birds or quite capture them like my father-in-law, but I did my best.

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What?

Moving on.

The great thing about entertaining out-of-town company is that I rediscover the beauty of our sunny place and fall a little more in love, every time, with the elements that make up our latitude when I'm showing it to someone else. The thick humidity, the lush ferns, the tall bare trunks of our pines and the great many palms that accessorize our sun-kissed town.

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And it makes me wish I would have spent a little more time when I lived in Michigan venturing out to see its best more--the dunes, the light houses, the quaint fishing towns hugging the Great Lakes. Because there are hidden best spots in every state, and the challenge lies in finding them. (We get it, right? Bloom where you're freaking planted. I'll stop beating a dead horse). And I'm again thankful that last year I was able to discover a little more about our great America, from the quiet mountains of Montana to the grand snowy splendor of Utah.

Still happy to be right where we are at this moment though.

Home.

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See that one red leaf? That one little speck of red leaf? I imagine he was thinking "what am I going to do with my one wild and precious life?" and he decided he was going to dare to be different. He declared his redness against that mess of plain 'ol green because he's a badass. Look at him rocking out his fabulousness. You go, little red leaf.

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We spotted a smattering of birds, one large lazy alligator sunning his scales on a lake island, a few turtles, and one shy squirrel sprawled out against a pine branch. But mostly, we just enjoyed each others' company amid the warmth and highly-oxygenated latitude of 26.3909143. I looked it up.

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Lainey's shirt, a gift from Dig.

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Lainey's newest is to grab my camera and say "Jump, Mom."

High on plant life, we finally left the swamp in exchange for a rousing game of driveway ping-pong where we cheered Brett and George as they dived and contorted and impressively conducted a steady accompaniment of Ping. Ping. Ping.

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And now we recompose the emotion of our home, straightening the happy messes that arose from complacency and shifting back into our routine. Ebb and Flow, Baby.

We spent the morning lost in books.

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And I'm thrilled to profess my love for one of my favorite children's literature distributors, Usborne Books, and have their Independent Consultant Amanda Collins onboard as a new sponsor.

As a former elementary school teacher, I was quite familiar with Usborne's quality, interest level and way of presenting information to kids in engaging bite-sized pieces. By far, Lainey's most favorite book in the world is There's a Mouse About the House, an interactive funny story that allows kids to hide the sneaky mouse in hidden flaps and slots throughout the book.

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Definitely a must-have for every child's library. Check out the amazing range of age-levels, interests and hobbies available from Amanda's site. Order before March 15th and you'll be entered in a drawing for a $100 gift card.

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A random commenter will be winning a $50 gift certificate to her store, too!

To keep it interesting, tell me your favorite magical place to visit near your home. Where's your Corkscrew Swamp, your Isle of Capri, your latitude that reminds you to be happy in your place? Spill it.

And winner of the Bambaroos Gift Certificate from the last post is Commenter #47, Aja: Major congrats on the fundraiser!!! And how sweet are your mom and George??? I love it!

Aja, please send your contact info to kellehamptonblog@comcast.net. Thanks!

Love where you live, and Happy Monday!

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1,030 comments:

1 – 200 of 1030   Newer›   Newest»
Jess said...

Hello from 40.82°N

It's COLD and getting colder- we've been instructed to stay inside. I'm excited to find our own sanctuary in our living room :) That will be perfect for today.

I love love love the picture of Nella in the trees. What a doll. :)

Moonstonemama said...

Man I wish I could love where I live right now but it is -32 out and my house has been cracking and groaning under the cold keeping me up all night. Mama is tired.

Moonstonemama said...
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Christina said...

My nieces love the mouse book! Such fun!

Jenn said...

Love the bird shots!! They gave me a laugh!! We have a small swampish kind of area call the Sifton Bog. It has a little boardwalk that is great for a little nature hike. I love to go out there and see if we can catch a glimpse of wildlife. I can't wait to head out there this spring.

Stacy said...

I love getting books for my daughter = that mouse book looks really good - i'll have to invest in it! I also have lots of those Usborne Books that you have posted in a pic as well!

Sarah said...

I live in Pennsylvania. There are so many beautiful places to hike around here, picturesque farms, horses, Amish communities just a few minutes from bustling, artsy cities. I love it here.

Michelle said...

Right now my favorite place during the winter is tucked in a corner of the library with my little girl reading Curious George books til we are overflowing with laughter...but her giggles make any place my favorite!

cutebanana said...

Driveway ping pong, how fun. Nexttime you have a big group over, you should try round the world ping pong. Sooo fun!!! Here in TX, we have the botanical gardens. A wonderful place surrounded with a variety of flowers and trees. It holds such beauty.

RunDiRun said...

I love where I live, I just don't necessarily love the temperature all the time.

My favourite magical place is our family cottage. Oceanside...warmest water north of the Carolinas...the stars and the sunsets and the grass between my toes...heaven.

Doobie said...

Enchanted Rock/Fredericksburg in the Tx hill country. If you're ever in the area, it's worth a day or two.

Megan said...

I feel like you always know just when to write a post to me...even when you're not. I'm having "OMG I live in lower Alabama and it's not Hawaii" freak outs a lot lately. July will be 3 years and I'm still not settled.

I love your girls. I remember when my baby girl (who will be SIX on Wednesday) was smaller and how everything was special and new. Now she has a 16 year old's attitude.

Nella looks SO old. Like she turned 1 and decided to just go and grow up.

I love Usborne books! I went to a home party and ordered a princess book and a box of recipe cards for kids. Super fun!

adayinmynyc.com said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful family day! Seeing the beautiful warmth of your hometown and your girls...took me away from the Winter blues for awhile :)

The Bell Family 3 said...

I love our backyard. We have a huge back yard and deck that always has something to do. Our daughter loves to laugh and smile and we always have fun together!

Lindy said...

I love the picture of you jumping. She's turning into a great photographer!

Young and Fabulous said...

Great post! You're state is gorgeous. I think loving where you live is important. Even if you don't grow up there..learning to love it, to find beauty in everything about it..is amazing!

I did a post on loving where I live a month or 2 back. http://juicylifegirl.blogspot.com/2010/12/i-love-where-i-live.html

Love my state..but also when I visit other states, I see what I would love if I lived there

beautiful girls! glad your mom is happy :)

xoxox enjoy

Tara and Nick said...

I live in Michigan!
I live in a quaint fishing town!
And I read your blog and wish and hope and pray that I could someday live where it's warm all year long! Where the sun shines more!
But today? Today I will go to lake Michigan and stand on the lake (since it's frozen) and LOVE WHERE I LIVE!!

~Debra said...

We live in Japan & right now, I am not loving the weather. Yesterday we got snow flurries. They lasted long enough for the kids to get excited!

I do love the culture here & the amazing things we get to see! I just wish the weather would make up its mind already!

- Jessi - said...

This is a great post. You reminded me of how pretty a place we live. I'm in Florida as well & forget the beauty here. My place would be the beach. I live a mile away from it, but hardly go. I need to make more time to enjoy it. Thanks for the wonderful reminder :)

sara said...

What? Being within the first 20 to comment is a real accomplishment for me! My favorite place to visit.....a place that always makes me swell with pride for my home state (and city) is Churchill Downs. The crowds, the smells, the call to post, the thundering of horse hooves, the mud flying, the cheering, and if you're lucky, a big stack of money at the ticket window! And if it happens to be the first Saturday in May, well...then it's all even better!
You are right....showing your place to someone new helps you recognize the beauty that you sometimes take for granted. We sure enjoyed visiting Naples....it is gorgeous.

The Lemmings' Family said...

LOVE YOUR BLOG!

Becca/Nick said...

I love that last picture!! :)

Favorite magical place near us: Botanical Gardens in Austin!!

Dymbrulee said...

I miss my Utah mountain home so much...but have found a love for the crystal blue waters of Lake Michigan! It stunning on a warm spring day, can't wait for that day as we are currently experiencing "snowmageddon".

Hattie said...

Just what I needed! A new post to read on my lunch break on the first day of a ridiculously busy second semester.
My favorite place? Hmm...I'm in Michigan so I have tons. This place is great all year round. Our family escape place is the Red Cedar River behind Wells Hall on MSU's campus. My husband and I used to feed the ducks there when we were in college and now we take our little boy there when we need a quick getaway.

Robin said...

love the pics..i live in ny on long island... love to visit sagamore hill in oyster bay

MSLibLady said...

As always, your pictures are amazing!

priest's wife said...

the merry-go-round in Salem, Oregon LOVE IT

Happy Birthday to baby!

Kel said...

That question is easy....The Ranch!!! My friend Rebecca has a sweet ranch that is soo peaceful and quiet. You are literally in the middle of nowhere and it is lovely! Crossing my fingers to be picked!!! Thanks
kel
kelwood9 at gmail dot com

Jessica said...

we just had a 2 day break from the 20s-40s weather & took our son to the park those two days! it was so great to just get out & let him walk wherever he wanted to go & just explore! and he finally slid down the slide by himself because he's a "big boy" now. it was so much fun seeing him be more independent! and now that the weather is cooling back down, we will spend time snuggling on the couch in the living room. ;-)

Kathlyn said...

My favorite place is the terribly woodsy, overgrown backyard of my parents house. We live in the suburbs of DC but take a few steps into the woods in back of their house and all of a sudden you can forget that you're anywhere near a city.

Love the picture of Nella grinning her little heart out!!! So amazing that your mom found George . . . I tear up when I think of it!

Ashley said...

I love where I live in beautiful New Mexico!! I'd have to say that my favorite place is in Santa Fe, up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in late September. The thousands of Aspen trees are changing color and the reds, oranges, and yellows make the mountain look like its on fire. I love hiking that time of year, great picture spot too!!

Me said...

Center Hill Lake. We live about an hour and have a pontoon there but haven't enjoyed it since having three small kiddos. Really missing the serenity of it and hoping one day to enjoy it again. Another favorite is Radnor Lake, Nashville, TN. Beautiful nugget in the middle of town.

Random ?...the crocheted diaper cover that Nella wore when she was younger. Did your mom make it? If so, does she have a pattern. I have a few baby gifts to make and would love to make a few but can't find a pattern that I like.

Congrats on the fundraiser! Amazing. I'm hoping you get connected with Best Buddies Florida. We are supporters of BBTN and just completed a fundraiser for them raising $12000 from family and friends. We like the relationship focus of BB.

Thanks for sharing!!!

Andie Zimmerman said...

Kelle, you truly are an inspiration to everyone. I follow your blog. I have been for some time now, and I have to admit, you are the only one who keeps me strong for my second-born, who as of recently, has been diagnosed with hearing loss. I love your little family. I love your stories. You are very blessed in every way. I hope you're enjoying your nice weather! It's freezing here in Indiana! It looks like you guys had a wonderful time!! Great photos!

Andie
http://zimmermanlife.blogspot.com

Melissa & Doug Staker said...

I love how you said you can visit a place so many times, then fall in love again... that happened yesterday as we packed up our 2 kids and drove up the canyon, past the thick Utah inversion, to see some sunlight, blue sky, and tons of snow sparkling in that sunshine that I've missed so much. Loved it!

Alicia said...

I love that Nella looks like she is reading. My niece does that too, I remember a couple of months ago (she was about 13 months) and she turned the page and gasped like the ending was so shocking to her. It's so funny! Love books...and babies

Tequilamama said...

My favorite place is Twin bridges--a place my grandparents took me to from the time I could toddle and that reminds me of the joy of just being.

Kait said...

You live in such a pretty area. We are totally snow covered right now and it is gorgeous. We like to get away to the Jersey Shore, but not the one you see on TV. I live so much farther south and we go to Stone Harbor. Love it there.

karlee said...

I live in Traverse City, MI, where summer cannot be beat. My favorite spots are West Bay, North Bar (our version of the Isle of Capri), and Old Mission Peninsula! I love where I live...just not when it's currently 6 degrees:)

Debby said...

It is cold here today and a storm coming our way. (Ohio) I love the change of seasons.
My favortie place to explore is Dawes Arboreum.
All kinds of trees....nature walks, bord observatory and hands on activities for kids inside the welocome center.
I love Usborne books.

grammypetals@yahoo.com

Jodi Ingram said...

Should you ever come here to visit Colorado, I'd have to take you to my favorite spot in the city of Fort Collins. The city gets its water from a reseviour about 5 minutes up and into the "mountains" (more like foothills), but you can't see the lake from the city so you'd only know its there if you've been there. You drive up to the top and have a beautiful view of the entire city on one side (for about 30 miles or so), and the beautiful lake and mountain ruggedness on the other side. One side urban. One side natural. Both halves of me are at peace there.

Lauren said...

Haha, love the your bird shots. :)

My favorite place around these parts is Zilker Park. Sure we have a park down the street, but Zilker has The Zilker Zephyr and the Swimming Hole and the FREE Summer Children's Theater and...and...well it just has everything.

Tiffany said...

My winter barren view could use a little bit of your sunny humidity...ok, a LOT of it. Here in Minneapolis winter is 8 months long and I still bemoan that fact. When am I gonna just throw up my hands and say, "OK, I am blooming and jack frost can 't do nothing 'bout it!" I love our local flower store...a cafe in the middle of all these huge plants, ponds filled with koi, big animals made out of ivy and delicious smelling candles. Never fails to lift the spirits. Your mom and George look SO happy...it must be so refreshing to be in the midst of new love. There is nothing like it in the world.

Tina said...

I love the water conservation garden near our house.

Brianna said...

My 2 year old LOVES books!! I believe we have a few Usborne books in our library as well! She loves them!! I have a 7 year old daughter too who loves to read too!! Your girls are SO cute! (I just started following your blog and I have to say, it's wonderful!)

Jennifer said...

My favorite place is sitting on an old, porch swing overlooking the waterfront park in Southport NC. Thanks for another great blog post! I wonder how it was that you came to live in Florida and how you met Brett? Seems like a great place to raise your girls! It was an unusual 68 degrees here in NC yesterday, and today is back in the 30's! It was nice, I can't wait for spring now!

Lauren said...

Sometimes when I need to get away from school, I drive over to the lake nearby. I go to school in the Finger Lakes region, and I think we all take our beautiful surroundings for granted. I park at the beach and just chill out for awhile, taking in the lake views and the sunshine.

Aleksandra said...

I live in UK but im from Poland :) I enjoy England but nothing better as my hometown in Poland.
I love your place without snow and all rainy days like here. Would love to see USA one day!
btw photos are great, best one for me - conversation between girls on the bridge

Drvance19 said...

We have a couple of places that we love to visit, hang out & picnic when it is just a bit warmer. Right now, our favorite place is the bath tub. Funny, I know, but our two babies just love the water.

clarita said...

what cute lil' birds you guys have out there in FL ;) books are the bomb...i read library books to my lil' niece every night to put her to sleep...she's becoming quite the bookworm.

Meagan said...

I love Usborne books. Right now the favorite in my house is "That's not my dinosaur". My favorite spot close to home has to be my cottage, just 40 minutes from my place in the city a calm and a sense of relaxation comes over me when I turn down the lane and feel the gravel road under the tires of my car.

Emily Hale said...

I'm jealous of the Florida sun!

Krista said...

Your mom is beautiful just like you! And gosh, your girls are gorgeous! And I love children's books...having been an elementary teacher bf i became a mom, my collection is big but I can never skip the children's section at barnes and noble..haha... :)
Love your blog, found it via Libby's a few weeks ago and stayed up til 3am reading...love it!

Jen said...

My favorite spot is the park down the street from us.....my son has loved going there since he was little! Although it's covered in snow, it's fun to think it will be thawed out (hopefully) soon!

Joy: said...

I grew up on a lake nearby. When I was a child we would gather in the boat with a days worth of supplies and head to the opposite end of the lake. Hidden in the back of a cove was an old rusty tain trussle. Very small. Our small john boat was just small enough to squeeze under it. Once we were through we entered a magical world. I called it Utopia. It was a tiny cove with over grown braches dipping down to the water. The water was still and the sounds of nature were everywhere. We'd unpack our picnic and spend the day in that secret place. Someone hung a rope to swing over the lake and our days were filled with giggles. At the end of the day we'd frantically pack up our fun and memories and race back home in an attempt to beat the sun home as it set in front of us. I have since taken my children there on many occasions. A hidden treasure.

heather said...

We love going for walks, throwing disc golf disc's, kicking the ball in the fields at the park by our house. It backs right up to the house so we can walk right through our little woods and get there and since there are so many fields your almost always by yourself.

Sharon Ankerich said...

We live right on the lake and our favorite place is out on it in our boat~ can't wait for warmer weather and lots of adventures!!! LOVE all your photos of the adventure you had!!!
Blessings and Joy!

Cara said...

We are reading an Usbourne book now :)

Andreea said...

We live in Canada. There is a lush field of green grass across the street. We spent many days walking our boys through it in their stroller last year as they were newborns. I'm looking forward to having picnics with them there this coming spring:)

Erin said...

It's funny how we sometimes overlook the beauty in our own backyards. One of our favourite places to visit nearby is Point Pelee National park. It is the southern most tip of Canada. Filled with wildlife and wonderful trails to walk. It is beautiful! We spend lazy afternoons on the beaches in the summer and bundle up and hike in the winter.

Kelly said...

Just wanted to say thanks for the festive music always playing on your blog. I'm sitting here drinking my tea with my 4-mo-old little gal on my lap and she keeps smiling at the music :)

Caroline said...

Couldn't agree more on the Usborne books -they are great! My favorite Colorado place..oh, there are so many. But I would say the Dillon Amphitheatre during summer. Outdoor concerts in the summer against a beautiful backdrop of the lake and mountains. Where you see generations of people dancing, loving life. To me, that is home and what makes summer. Already a tradition in our family.

Mikaela said...

Your tree photos are beautiful!
My favorite spot these days is in my daughter's walk-in-closet-turned playroom. We sit on her princess couch under hung glittery rainbow cloth and walls decorated with her preschool art and we sing, we read, and we make shadow puppets with flashlights. Pure bliss.

lauren said...

i grew up in florida-- she still holds such a piece of my heart. there is magic down in those wetlands. the frigid snow greeted me this morning but i can still close my eyes and taste winter in florida.. and remember the days when 55 felt cold. :)thanks for the gift of a picture of my memory. :)

MJ said...

Hey - there is nothing wrong with reminding us to grow where we are planted. Sometimes, gentle reminders are just what we need. Still working on growing here in my new Utah environment.

ninesandquines said...

grew up in michigan (b'ham), lived in boston for almost 10 years, moved back to michigan two years ago (holly) and missed "up north", like the keyhole bar in mackinac city (the BEST spare ribs in the entire world!) while i was gone. but now miss martha's vineyard and vermont...trying to find new favorite spots up by where we are and so far, clarkston is getting our vote but we stumbled upon a "new" lake orion yesterday - MUCH more there now than in the 90's when i lived in oxford and there was nothing there!!!! sagebrush cantina by far the best :-)

stephanie said...

As an Army wife, I've made it my goal to always love where I live. It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. Right now I am finding the beauty and loving Ft. Bliss {El Paso} Texas.

AllisonKathleen said...

Those trees are just gorgeous! I definitely wouldn't mind a few more books in my life, either!

Mrs Males said...

Ohhh can I have 2??
The closest would have to be our Town square...pefect for people watching like we did this Saturday from the Starbucks window.

The far one would have to be Lake Geneva, WI.... just a 20 minute drive from us... but we walk the beach and act like tourists!

mathstamp said...

My happy place is my parent's farm, 2 hours away. I live near a beautiful lake, but there is just something special at being at grandma & papa's farm.

Amy said...

Our favorite place is walking down Main Street in Old Town St. Charles. We just love the cobble stone and old buildings. I wish we were closer to water (other than the Mississippi & Missouri River)We really feel at peace with those beautiful crashing waves and sand between our toes.

Sweet Shots By Nicole! said...

I love the little red leaf rocking out it's awesomeness amoungst the green! The swamp looks like an amazing place to be!

Donovan Doins said...

My favorite get away is the hidden heaven of Lamoille Canyon. It is an oasis in the midst of the desert. With a peak of 11,000 feet, it is an amazing treasure, full of creeks, hiking trails, lakes, and wildlife.

Amber said...

We've got a little 3 mile trail near our house beside a river that is home to many bald eagles. There's a bit too much snow on the ground now, but I can't wait to take my little girl there again for walks. Last time we went we saw 15 eagles in an hour walk!

Jess said...

White Horse Beach, in Plymouth MA... That's my version of Isle of Capri. And no trip there is complete without my Margarita Machine. H-e-a-v-e-n. :-)

Mihaela said...

Beautiful photos, I love your new sponsor!

Shellie Salza said...

As you're reminiscing Nella's birthday celebration...we're starting our birthday celebration this week for my strong, happy, healthy former 1 pound 12 ounce baby! Two beautiful years on Thursday. Two blessed years in which not one day has passed without an overwhelming gratefulness for the miracle of my family of four.

Since our latitude of 35.11N is still very new to us, every outing is an adventure. Our magical place is literally in our own backyard. We stomp in the shallow bed of a creek that runs through, picnic on the banks, climb trees, catch creepy, crawly things, play on the sandy shores (as I imagine warm, ocean breezes)... I never considered myself a 'homebody' but I think the shoe is beginning to fit!

Happy recouping to you and your sweet family!

Mrs. S said...

We've also been instructed to stay inside these next few days and we are supposed to be preparing for the largest snow storm in who knows when. Wish I there!

Might I add the the first picture of your mother and Nella, Nella's smile is fantastic!

Mrs. S said...

We've also been instructed to stay inside these next few days and we are supposed to be preparing for the largest snow storm in who knows when. Wish I there!

Might I add the the first picture of your mother and Nella, Nella's smile is fantastic!

Karen said...

My favorite magical place in Indianapolis is probably not very exciting to most people. It's on a route I liked to run when I was in college on the southside. There is a road leading into a cemetery, and if you look to your left right before you turn in you'll see sheep. A small little farm with live sheep right there in the middle of the city. The cemetery, as bizarre as it might seem, is also part of what I love about that run because it's so peaceful and quiet. The streets are kind of ugly and noisy right there by the university but when you get to the cemetery across from the small farm with sheep, it feels like escaping into a different world.

Kelly said...

In the summer...it is a lake. Any lake. We have tons of them within 1 hr so any body of water with sand. In the winter, our basement or gymnastics! Its too cold here to be taking a 1.5 yr old out and about in the elements:)

Carolyn said...

Thanks for reminding me to love where I live. As my friends and family get hit with yet another snow storm on the east coast, we enjoy and stop to appreciate a beautiful sunset in southern Switzerland. Life is good.

Dandelion Momma said...

We live in a large city whose best kept secret is an urban waterfall. You could be twenty feet from it and still not see it, so it is truly a gem only for those who know exactly where to go. We love to take a picnic dinner and sit on our favorite concrete block so that we are surrounded by water on three sides. It's magic.

libby ryder said...

it was good to read your words this morning and to be reminded of what chesapeake, va has to offer when i so often wish i lived closer to family and friends. but we got the ocean baby!!! beach houses in the outer banks. with the best outlet shopping ever. and lots of places to eat right on the water. a family favorite.

Sarah said...

The most magical place that I like to visit is my parents' "farm". It's a quaint 30 acres with a renovated farm house and small pond and a small garden, but not really a farm because it lacks the animals and acres of crops that define a farm. It's a great escape - you can hear crickets chirping, birds singing, and at night you can actually see constellations. It will get better and better each year as my little ones grow up and creates memories there.

Maria said...

I recently moved to a little historic town in New Jersey. Our post office, volunteer fire dept. neighborhood diner, antique shop, funeral parlour, white steepled church, little red school house, ice cream parlour & local pizza place line our Main Street. It's a place where all of the local vendors dress up for Halloween & hand out candy & apple cider to the kids & steaming coffee & sugared donuts to the adults. My very favourite place, though, has to be our local lake. We have been gathering there every 4th of July, where we sit for hours waiting for the fireworks show to begin. We bring our chairs, our iced coffees, fruit, cameras & we talk, laugh & people watch until the sky explodes with colour. I can't believe that I now live two minutes from there. With all the snow we've been having lately, I am counting the seconds until springtime.

RMAinMD said...

,,,greetings from 39.0838889/-77.1530556,,,with another winter snow storm on it's way (love winter and snow) my "magical place" may be my lil abode where it's cozy inside,,,love the 1st photo of nella and your mama,,,nella's smile oh so sweet,,,

Lauren said...

Nella was so smiley! Love that little face and I love all of Lainey's cute little outfits!

Our little spot is on the greenway about 3 minutes from our house. It makes me feel peaceful and healthy. It's our spring/summer/fall escape. I dislike the winter when it's too cold to go out there!

lala said...

we love to go to oak openings nature preserve. it's a local state park here in ohio. it's a special place to us, because aaron and i got married there. we love taking our daughter and having get-togethers with friends there.

In the Heart of Happy said...

Wonderful post.

I live in a house that was built in the late 1700's, in a neighborhood called Olde Towne in Portsmouth, VA. It is such a magical place to me and while I love to visit other places...there is simply...


No place like home.

Ashley @ The Hillside Home said...

Living in Souther California, I feel like I'm home anywhere near the ocean. Although one of the most beautiful spots in the state is the Central Coast.... stuck right between the ocean and wine country. Yes, please.

Kerry said...

ha ha ha, the first three bird photos made me laugh out loud! That giant blue bird is amazing. Thanks for the book recommendation, I am going to have to get that!

Bulldogma said...

Although I envy your Florida temperatures, I have to say that our VA Blue Ridge Mountains can't be beat! What a wonderful place we have to go hiking, camping, enjoy the view or just take a lazy, Tuesday drive on the Blue Ridge parkway. No matter how many times we go up there, in never fails to take my breath away!

Shari said...

*waves from Latitude: 39.096015 -- Longitude: -84.857783 here In Lawrenceburg, Indiana

One of my favorite little magical place in this Little river town are on the banks of the Might O-HI-O Rivers.

babblebabe0@yahoo.com

the mom~ said...

We live in a small town in MN, about 60 miles east of Fargo, ND. We've lived here about 7 years and we moved from Southern California. We HAVE bloomed where we planted ourselves and it's been wonderful!
One of my most favorite places in the Central Lakes Bike Trail. We spend a lot of our summer on the bike trail, we even had our family pictures taken on it b/c it is so much of our lives.
I am proud of you for making where you live work! And I love to see your mom and George so happy :)

jenniwaka said...

My new favorite is the view from the cottage we just moved into (upstate NY)...we're elevated so our view of the mountains and woods is spectacular, especially as the sun goes down and the light line moves up the mountains. Can't wait til spring so we can run around out there!

learning table said...

We have a creekside nature trail in our neighborhood, and we love to explore and look for animal tracks in the sand. Our temps were in the 60s yesterday, and it felt like Spring when we headed out to the trail.

Krysten said...

I LOVE where I live. Ironically, I saw a video posted on Facebook today about why people in Minneapolis, Minnesota LOVE where they live! I happen to live in the Twin Cities and I truly LOVE where I live. Watch http://vimeo.com/19115634 to see why Minneapolis and Minnesota are so GREAT!

Much love from MN.

Krysten

Becca said...

Samantha also loves the Usborne books. :-)

I love the photos of Nella and your mother! That child's smile could melt polar ice caps.

Loving where you live is so important - your environment is what you make of it, and what you teach your children surrounds you. We love the changable nature of the Mid-Atlantic weather and wouldn't have it any other way.

The Zarecor's said...

I live in West Tennessee and one of my favorite places to visit here is Reelfoot Lake. This Lake was greated by an earthquake. It caused the Mississippi River to run backwards and when it returned to normal flow left this big lake. There is amazing wildlife and it reminds me of the pics you took. It is also home to laods of Bald Eagles. My favorite time to visit is when they are nesting and the little babies are hatching. Amazing that God created such beauty!

I am loving your blog!!!!

marcy said...

Our fav place to visit is Playa Linda out at the Canaveral National Seashore. Unfortunately, life gets in the way of us getting out there as often as I want. You can see the launch pad from the beaches that are nearly deserted every day and see the Manateees by taking a short drive.

Jackie said...

My magical place is Isle of the Palms, SC. On weekends, I spend hours upon hours there, just watching my baby girl dig in the sand and let the salt water tickle her toes. It's the greatest.

B's Mommy said...

Baby it's Cold Outside!! Snow in UTAH today and tomorrow. Happy Monday! Happy Week! Enjoy!!!

Gina said...

It's so cold and snowy here - sometimes it's hard to love NY in the winter!

One of our favorite spots here in burbs is a little place called Muscoot Farms. A Farmers Market, live stock, pumpkin picking, hayrides - it has it all! We've brought our 2 year old there numerous times and can't wait to bring our new arrival there in the spring!

Megan said...

My most favorite place to take my daughter whose almost 2 1/2 is our "secret" path behind our neighborhood that leads you to a tiny little wooden bridge that weebles and wobbles each time you take a step. We climb down to the little creeks edge and have picnics and throw pebbles in the water. She/we get more fun out of that than anything else, we have made some pretty amazing memories down there!
I love your blog so much Kelley, you always inspire me with your words and beautiful photographs! Happy Happy Monday to you too!

Jaquie said...

It's pretty chilly out right now, so my babies and I stay inside and snuggle with fire, books, and hot cocoa. :) Can't wait for Spring to be here...

Lacy Hope said...

I am about to move with my husband and three children 9 hours away from my home in Alabama to Myrtle Beach,SC. While I am super excited, I am now noticing all the little things about our small, unknown town that will be missed. Breaks my heart, but I can't wait to discover little things to love about our new home. Awesome post!

leemeandthegirls said...

Oh my stars at the smile on Nella's face in the pic. where your mom is holding her. Love it. And my Isle of Capri takes the shape of a little beach, of sorts, on our local lake. Love, love, love it and all it represents to us.

Candace said...

I love Usborne books too! As a former kindergarten teacher and now homeschoolers, we love books and could definitely put that gift certificate to good use! :)

One of my favorite local spots is a state park just about 10 miles from us...great creeks to play in, camping spots, a lake to hike to, which we did yesterday. :) Lots of beautiful trails for walking and hiking!!

Kristi said...

The changing of the seasons is my favorite, here in Nebraska. Even though winters can seem long, we do have fabulous seasons. Would definately love to experience a winter in a warmer climate though. I bet it's fun to be swimming outside in January.

The Chancy Family said...

St. George Island. It is located in the panhandle of Florida. The island is comprised of beautiful, powder white sand, the gorgeous blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a few businesses and homes. Not only does the lull of the sea itself bring much peace to me as the gentle waves dance over my feet, but it is a place where at least once a year six sisters come together for our own "net" time. We catch up, cry, laugh, eat, share, love, support, advise and enjoy every single, God given moment.

shanjol23 said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE Usborne books!!! I can't get enough of them and have been wanting to order more!!
Our magical place...probably the park near our house. It over looks the river and has storybook sidewalks and what I like to think are European-like lamp posts. As much as I appreciate the snow (really for only about a month out of the season) I'm dying for it to be spring so we can get out and enjoy the parks.

Chrissy said...

My "Isle of Capri" is a lovely park we call "The Iron Gates". My boys and I hike there as often as we can!

Alzbeta said...

That magical place for me is nearly anywhere in the mountains here. I didn't grow up here (CO) as my husband did, so despite the fact that it is beautiful it took a little while for the state to grow on me. But, honeymooning in the mountains with a sprinkle of stars and crisp fall air? Yep, that did it.

ms.ricka said...

I'm hopelessly in love this cute park in downtown St. Paul. Shhhh, it's a secret, but...I don't even know that name of it. The park is right on the Mississippi river and the other side is flanked by the hum of downtown. It is always decked out in Christmas lights and my husband proposed there almost two years ago. I can feel the magic every time I drive by!

Cassi said...

Thanks for sharing. I look forward to your blog every day when I sign on.

Bearden 365 said...

That processing on the last photo is delicious!!

I'm outside Portland, OR and my favorite place around here is the Columbia River Gorge, rich with waterfalls & incredible color everywhere you look.

Jacie Saltzman said...

i love this post! i am a california girl through and through, and when i had to relocate to utah with my husband, i thought i would die. but 4 years later and im absolutely in love. and we agree, every state has amazing places, you just have to find them and learn how to love them. i just wish i hadnt missed out on all the fun utah has to offer when i first moved here. making the most of it now though!

Rachael said...

Love the Ping Pong game! Especially outside. You never see that.
Love Lainey's shirt! Really cute. The one with the monster, or creature, holding the balloon.
Also love your 'Jump' photo!

ashleyenfrance said...

My place would be breathing in the Pacific Ocean air from a beach in Santa Cruz.

Sigh. I love your photography. I need to practice more. Every time I come to your site I tell myself the same thing!

Thanks for the book idea. I live in France with a French husband and our daughter. I worry about her English being up to par, so reading is a must for us! I have a whole big list of books to get on my next trip to the US. :)

Laura Gattis said...

Our magical place is Cypress Point Park. We love bringing our 11+ year old dogs there and letting them act like the puppies they think they are. Chasing each other in the ocean wake, weaving in and out of the mangrove channels. It's simple, but it's magical.

unicornpara.de said...

I'm lucky enough to live in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, a whole magical city. My favorite place is the Seawall- it stretches all the way around the downtown peninsula where the city meets the Pacific Ocean. I winds past parks and neighborhoods I usually don't visit, along sandy beaches and around Stanley Park (our 1,000-acre urban park).

My Secret Rooms said...

Your blog keeps making me feel very good inside, so that is my magical place on the web!

IRL this is my magical place, and my entire family's magical place since we said the last farewell to both my grandparents here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ale%27s_Stones

It's five minutes from our home and you would love it and it ought to be on that bucket list ;-)
Love, Anna

Jami said...

I wish your mom and George the best! Its always great to see mom's happy and in love.

I'm just outside Chicago bracing for a winter storm. I say bring it on!

Sky said...

We have Wintergreen Gorge. A huge creek in a gorge with waterfalls and rocks to climb on and trails to hike. Oh, and I got engaged there :-)

Katy said...

Okay, this is cheesy and probably doesn't count - but our favorite magical place near us is truly the most Magical Place on Earth - Disneyland!! We have season passes and go constantly. Grant (our one with DS) absolutely loves Mickey Mouse and has passed that love onto his younger brother!

Of all the things I will miss about Southern California when we move this summer (to Wrigt Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio), the one that makes me the most sad is Disneyland. We are a Disneyland loving family right here.

Abilew-who said...

I didn't do it once - not ONCE last summer and it has me bummin'. But in Chicago, we have beautiful Millenium Park, and they have free concerts on Monday nights. You can pack up your kids, your picnic basket, and sit on the lawn while the babies dance - drinking wine with the city lights of Chicago for a backdrop. Lovely I tell you. And that's officially what I will be thinking of as we prepare for what Al Roker says could be one of Chicago's top ten worst blizzards. Ever. Man, that's a lot of pressure.

And Usborn's "That's not my bear" ? Loves it.

Daniela said...

Hello from Italy!!
(I adored your story of the little red leaf!!!)
My own sanctuary is the little river around our little town here in the mountains..now covered of snow.I really like my little town in the Alps mountains but I would really enjoy your war weather right now..here we are freezing in winter!! :-)
Daniela

The World of the Wacky Wombles said...

My favorite place in the world? It would have to be my Grand Dad's farm. He's been gone for 5 years now, but everytime I go back I smell the dirt and the oil and feel like he is standing next to me!

The Gustafson Family said...

I wish I had more places like that, but it gets hard in MN winters! We do love to go to the park in the summer and the Children's Museum in the winter. Excited for summer to explore more places around here! Oh, and I love Usborne books!

Laura said...

Just bought that same shirt from Dig for my daughter. So cute!!
Laura

Ange said...

On cold or rainy days, our favorite spot is a nature center about 10 minutes from us. It's quiet, it's free, it's perfect. Thanks for being an inspiration to a mama who longs for "home", but is trying to make the best of right now. :)

Michelle said...

We've been going to Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island for years and years. It doesn't matter what kind of weather, we love it any way we can get it! We've picnicked in the car, hiked in the rain, explored the rocky beach and basked in the soft sunlight. When my husband was deployed, he drew a stick figure family walking on a beach and sent it home to the kids with the promise "This is us at Ebey's Landing when I get home".....It was one of the first things we did after he got back. Eight years later that drawing is still on display on the fridge.

Brandi said...

your first pic is awesome! i wanna take pics like you when i grow up! :)

Kristi said...

Love starting my Monday with you Kelle. Usbourne books are the best too!

Willis said...

My absolute favorite place here in Seattle is Discovery park! Lots of trails, a bluff overlooking the water, and our glorious lighthouse!
http://www.willisfam.com/life/photo-session/

Thanks for the book recommendation! I'm always looking for new books to read with my girls :)

Kristin Branem said...

I went to visit my parents this past week...and my favorite place now is a family friend's farm where I brought my boys and cousin sledding for the first time, my 3 year old got to operate a back-hoe, and we were able to see llamas, chickens and goats.

Kristine said...

love walking down to Lake Michigan, to this cozy little spot that many people have yet to find.

Kelly B said...

I'll give you a two-fer. I'm replanted in Delaware, but from PA. My magical spot back home? The roof of the living room addition at my parents old house. I had the attic bedroom and would sneak out to that roof many a nights, looking at the stars and feeling like I was living in a universe all my own.

My magical spot in Delaware? We, luckily, are still in the exploratroy phase. But there's a Children's Museum up the road that has the magical ability to not only exercise the minds and imaginations of my one and three year olds, but turns all adults into really big kids as well. Dig it.

Amy said...

I love your pictures in this post! My magical place...probably when I was a child it was my grandmother's basement (where her kitchen was) - it smelled of her wonderful cooking/baking all the time. She has since passed and a new family is living in her home, but it is permanently in my memories.

Amy

Abby said...

Kelle, your mother is gorgeous! I now know where you get your beauty from... And George is oh so handsome and they make a beautiful couple.....
We love Usborne books too! It is funny to see some of the same ones we use.
Oh, my favorite place close to me here in Wyoming is Devils Tower, we are 45 minutes away and it is lovely and a landmark of the West.
Blessings this week Kelle!

e.m. said...

A place I call home, but is kind of far from my current home, is Shell, Ecuador. It is a little town in the Amazon jungle. I gave birth to my first baby in this beautiful place. It was here that I found myself. That I embraced myself. That I finally felt comfortable loving myself. It was here that we became a family. That we grew. That we learned to love so much deeper. A little bit of my soul will always be deep in the jungle of Ecuador.

Andrea said...

You always come up with the most interesting topics! You can make some of the most simple things fantastic! I wish I had that quality! I live in IL and sooo wish that I had an Isle of Capri, but nothing even close! We do have a beautifully scenic place tho. It's called Starved Rock. It's a state park and really is beautiful. Look it up online, it has a neat story! Oh, and I'm gonna buy some of those books soon!

Heather said...

I live in south-central PA. I love that we are within driving distance of so many interesting places (DC, Baltimore, NYC, Philadelphia, the beach, etc.), we have great schools, an awesome 30 mile bike/walking trail that runs right behind my house, and a neat small-town feel.:)
Your girls are so, so beautiful!

The Hun Fam 5 said...

Oh where do I start... I started my own blog! Never thought I would, but we have been going through a little struggle, and I find it to be a bit helpful. :) I am going to aim to be POSITIVE. YOU have inspired me to focus on this, Kelle. Even through what we may perceive as some "tough sh#T" we can stay up beat and muddle through and come out a bit tattered but yes, OK! Was that a run on?
Okay, I digress... My favorite spot... We are in Batavia Il, the riverwalk hear is gorgeous, we even have a bear cage you can picnic in. My 3 kiddos LOVE it.

RORYJEAN said...

I love living in the Seattle area- my favorite spots include many of the beaches, hiking trails, and a place in Everett called Jetty Island that has free boat rides in the summer to a kid-friendly man-made island.

Sheila said...

On cold winter days - the local golf course to sled ride down the hills! On warm days our local park to walk, swing and soak in the sun!

GradysMom said...

Camp Long - a park on our little island west of Seattle. A wonderful little break from the 'burbs...winding trails, tall trees, moss-ridden bridges...the one place where if we go early enough I let the dog off-leash and let her "herd" us here and there - as her genetics beg her to do!

Multifaceted mother.... said...

Our Magical Place is simply the zoo. Here is Southeast GA, Northern FL we have a wonderful zoo in Jacksonville that we love to shared with everyone. I have been going there since I was a toddler and I love experiencing it through my sons eyes!

Alissa said...

Our magical place in Iowa (that my boys were just talking about this morning) is down a nature trail a few miles from our house. There is a marshy area that the kids love to go to and watch the frogs jump and throw sticks in the water. Can't wait til it's warm enough to go back there!

The Fischer Family said...

Our favorite place in our hometown is a wonderful park called Sawyer Point. It's a downtown park, not quite as large as Central Park in NYC but with the same feel. We love to pack a picnic lunch, take some kites and spend the afternoon playing and loving along the Ohio River. I can't wait for spring so we can start spending lazy days there again!

Dawn said...

My 13 month old loves, loves ,loves books!!!

Taylor K said...

I am finally moving out of hot Phoenix and back to my home state, CA. I cannot WAIT to discover fun new places to visit and to re-visit old ones. It will be so much easier to bloom there!

JennaLynn said...

I just recently moved to our beautiful Nation's capital and have fallen in love with the city. My weekly visit is just below the Washington Monument. It is impossible not be reminded of our freedom, blessings, and patriotism. I feel inspired and determined to make a difference.
Quite different from the beaches of Florida and the farms of Kentucky that I am used but it brings me to a place of calmness and simplicity just the same.

Monica said...

Petoskey!
That's my jewel of Michigan. Winding down to it thru The Tunnel of Tree's, soaking up all the charm and swank of the area. It's a special place for us, and my wonderful Hubby chose that spot to ask me to be his Bride. It's our get-A-way, our time-doesn't-matter,our sure-I'll-have-another-ice cream cone! :)

MonaBL said...

Wish I could post a photo here to show you my favorite place. I realize that the most beautfull places are close to home. We never go abroad for our vacations anymore, but try to explore our own contry and its treasures. And I tell you, Norway is full of them. Thank you for the inspiration I get from your photos and your beautifull girls. I'm about to buy a new camera, to capture my three kids in action. Looking forward to your next post. :-)

Dawn said...

Oh my magical place is the hiking mountain about 20 driving minutes from our house. So beautiful with a lake on top of it. Pure heaven!

The girls said...

Seaside, FL is the place that I love to go to with my family. It's such a perfect place; it reminds me of what it must've been like in a different time. It helps that the temperatures here rarely drop below 60 in the winter.

Jessie said...

This is one of my favorite posts more recently. I really laughed out loud when I saw the bird stickers.

Our favorite place to go is a park about five minutes away. It has a couple of large ponds and lots of scenic trails. It also has an amazing playground. We've found out recently just how fun a playground can be in the winter. You don't just slide.... you fly!

Jen said...

Wish I could say I love where I live right now!! My best friend and her husband just got back from Hawaii... yeah! We have managed to pull out of single digits temperatures here, and now we are getting inches of snow! Thank you for the beautiful pictures to warm me! Love the picture of you, your mom and Nella!

Krista said...

Easy to say when you live in a place that isn't -35 degrees. But thanks for the uplift.

Angelina Taumaoe said...

my family just (sadly) moved to las vegas from san diego, CA. I am still looking for a place like that... but there is a park called Sunset that keeps my mind off of missing home. It has a little lake with geese, ducks and turtles, a huge playground for my little, and a beautiful walkway that winds around the lake, swings, and through the big beautiful pine trees.

PS. can I just say that it is not fair that you are still skinny after two children!!! ahh!

Rojas Family said...

I used to hate FL and in some ways I still do. But I'm learning to love it and appreciate it more. Escpecially when I hear people up north with temps below 0.

One place that holds dear to me is the St. Pete Pier. There is something about that place that is so magical to me. It holds a lot of special memories for me. Times with my grandparents who are now passed, my sister, my husband before he was my husband, and with my 2 boys. Yeah, that's my Isle of Capri.

DMK said...

I appreciate this message because we recently moved from California to Austin, and I miss the ocean so much. My favorite thing about here is the cold winters!

Gwen said...

Right now is not my favorite time to live in Ann Arbor, I admit. We're expecting a blizzard tomorrow, and a foot of snow. There's a good chance I'll be snowed into my house with three little girls under 4 years old, and daddy will spend the night nearer work to avoid a dangerous commute. I'm stocking up today on library books, milk, apples, and ingredients for homemade scones.
All that being said, we have lots of places we love right around us. One of our favorites when the weather is nice is the Diag, on campus at the University of Michigan. My husband and I met as students, had some great years at school here. Now we take our girls to Diag to run around in the grass, step on the M, soak up the fun student energy. We especially love it in the spring, it's so alive on the first warm days when everyone is thrilled to get back outside. Soon. Soon. Soon..

Staci said...

My kids love books and unfortunately I have never tried Usborne books. Our favorite place to go is a little place called Wheeler Farm. The kids love all the animals there and it is always so pretty!

Janna said...

We moved to Georgia 2 years ago - and discovered Amicalola Falls. Truly awe inspiring! I'm also looking forward to discovering St. Simons Island on vacation in June. Can't wait!

Jessica Larson said...

Our getaway is my family's cabin at Lake Kachess, about an hour from home. It's the perfect weekend destination, just on the other side of the mountains and usually out of the rain that plagues the Seattle area. Unfortunately, it's buried in snow this time of year...we're anxiously awaiting May when we can get back up there again.

Janna said...

We moved to Georgia 2 years ago - and discovered Amicalola Falls. Truly awe inspiring! I'm also looking forward to discovering St. Simons Island on vacation in June. Can't wait!

Jenn said...

Love the mouse book! We're obsessed with books around here. Like you, I've really been appreciating the area I live in lately as well (N Cali)

Aja said...

Thank you thank you thank you!!!! I'm soo excited to win! I can't wait to pick out some adorable little headbands for my baby girl!

Loving the "jump" picture Lainey took of you!! You guys will have a whole collection of jump pictures soon!

Aja

Jessica said...

My 'Isle of Capri' is most def. Grand Marais, MN. Or any part of MN would be it. The fresh air, the scenery, the people, the small shops and the festivals! Oh my! Worlds different than here at home in Dallas, TX. Unfortunately I only get to experience 'second place heaven' once a year!

Wendy said...

My favorite magical place to visit near my home is called the "mommy beach." It's a little beach on the inlet, just big enough for young kids to make sand castles. It seems like we have our own little private beach and the waves wash our worries away!

Wendy

Rik said...

My favorite book when I was growing up and discovered the joy of reading was THE BOXCAR CHILDREN. Looking back, I cannot fathom why the story of children whose parents had either died or disappeared, leaving them to live on their own in an abandoned boxcar would be a delightful fantasy--but it was. Books are cheap trips to wonderland! I love seeing them in your girls' hands!
One of my favorite places to find solace and feel connected with the universe here in Michigan is a piney woods up north--like Hartwick Pines near Grayling, or any pine forest where the trees were once planted in perfect rows and appear like columns building a sanctuary, holding up a frescoed ceiling of green needles. Yes, that would be it. We are bracing for, what our weathermen hope to be, the big storm of the season. Children are praying for a snow day and adults for a day where we are unable to come to work--but working in a hospital, we shall make every effort! Enjoy where you are...every one!

(and no one smiles more with your mother's happiness than your dad!)

--Poppa

J and A said...

What a magical place, such amazing pictures as always! :)

lacynichole13 said...

So happy your mom has found happiness! Our special place is Carolina Beach! We love the beach and will be moving to FL this summer!

lacynichole13 said...

So happy your mom has found happiness! Our special place is Carolina Beach! We love the beach and will be moving to FL this summer!

lacynichole13 said...

So happy your mom has found happiness! Our special place is Carolina Beach! We love the beach and will be moving to FL this summer!

alirae said...

I can't pick one favourite place near "home" because my home is a big, white ship that sails into a different West African port every year. Two of the best secret spots? The rooftop restaurant at the Bamboo Bar, downtown Monrovia in Liberia. I fell in love with my husband there, dancing to Bob Marley covers sung by an old man named Danny. And Robertsport, a tiny fishing village on the border of Liberia and Sierra Leone where the stars come right down onto the beach and I knew I'd marry him.

Yours Truly said...

I love this post. I think we all need to embrace the beauty of where we live! I am moving to UTAH soon, and your post reminded me that it is beautiful too! and I LOVE love MOntana. Your family is so adorable.

xoxox
www.stephanieandsuch.blogspot.com

jen said...

i just love the "bloom where you are planted" quote. i am a missplaced Philadelphia native now living in the great plains of oklahoma (my husband's miltary career moved us here of course!) and there are days when i really miss home. i begin to loathe the tall grasses and intense heat that have replaced my beautiful pine trees and winter snow . thank you for the reminder to find the great things about where you are. life is too short to sulk! you are amazing kellie. thank you! :0)

- jen
jehling2 at gmail(dot)com

HDW said...

I LOVE children's books! I need to sit down and just make one because I have had so many people tell me that I should.

We love to visit the dog park by our house, it's on a lake and it's so fun to watch our dog run all over. I can't wait to take my baby girl there this spring!

Wade and Tara said...

It is very cold here today -27..Just staying in the house. There is going to be a lot of cuddling today around here! LOVE the books by the way!

Nikki James said...

Love Usborne! My girl's favorite is the ballerina book with the CD. I get a million recitals!

Lesli Temple said...

OMGosh! Priest's Wife commented: "the merry-go-round on Salem, OR"! This is where I live and it is our favorite place to go too! My daughter gets so much joy and excitement from this simple, inexpensive little treat! We talk about the names of the horses in the car on the way there, and pick which one we want. It is so cute! However, we have only lived here since the end of summer, and are still searching and exploring the many great things in the area!

Nicole said...

we just moved here, so I'm still searching for a sanctuary outside of our home.... but for now, our bathtub is a great sanctuary! rubber duckies and bubbles overflowin'!

I grew up in FL, and never found the beauty that you do. Thank you for opening my eyes to it!

Laurie said...

I love the Usborne books too....I love to teach with them and to give them as gifts!
My favourite place lies along the same Great Lakes that you mentioned. Long Point juts into Lake Erie. My daughter and I love to camp there among its dunes. We listen to its lapping waves as we read and relax in our tent :)

KK said...

Thanks for the fun. We are enjoying some warmer weather in south Texas and thankful for no snow. Although just one snow day would be fun.

New books would be fun, too! Those look great!

Tiffani said...

About 2 hours from our house is Petit Jean State Park. On their most popular trail, you end up in a canyon in a mountain with the most beautiful waterfall pouring in from above. I could live in that very spot!

Amy Jackson said...

I live in Central Kentucky. Whenever I need a pick-me-up I can always drive a scenic route. There's just something about driving through the rolling hills, passing pastures of green grass speckled with horses and elaborate barns, and the white fences that will transport me to a better mood.

Valerie said...

Brown County, Indiana is gorgeous in the fall!

Rachel said...

I so needed to be reminded to "Bloom where I'm planted" today. Thank you!

Our favorite place to visit near our home is Coronado Island. The place where my husband asked me to be his forever while the sun set and we watched fireworks explode over us. We've spent many lazy days walking the beach and making plans to save up for a room at the Hotel Del Coronado on the anniversary of the day he proposed. It's our Isle of Capri.

Shannon said...

My favorite place is my parents' backyard. It just seems miles away from civilization and I love watching the dogs frolic and chase each other!

BLOOM - Parenting Kids With Disabilities said...

I live in downtown Toronto and every week I go to Cherry Beach, which is on Lake Ontario. It's about a 10-minute drive. I love watching the changing seasons there and this year made a calendar of them all (I got really cool icicle photos). If you look in one direction, you see the Toronto skyline. If you look in the other, you have the water and the islands. I like taking pictures of trees, bark, ice formations (got a really cool one of ice on a stone shaped just like a heart).

Kelle -- I think you would enjoy this blog:

http://bloom-parentingkidswithdisabilities.blogspot.com/2011/01/growing-up.html

My son also loved There's a Mouse about the House! Just don't lose the mouse!

Sarah McK said...

Frick Park in Pittsburgh. I love how easy it is to completely forget that you're in the city when you're surrounded by trees and grass and trails. One of my favorite places to lose myself for a few hours.

Shilo and Jason said...

Up here in Northern California, we've got the beach on one side and the mountains on the other. I'm not sure I could choose one single spot ;-)

A said...

My magical spot is on the top of a high rock outcropping that overlooks our entire valley.

I just found out today that we are pregnant after trying for more than three years. I would LOVE those books! And to be honest, today's magical spot is the bathroom counter where my positive test rests...

Erica @ All About Aleigha said...

We live in the city and my parents live about 15 miles west in the country so i would say that is our favorite place to escape and spend the day.

Hot Hot JJ said...

Utah girl here that LOVES books. My son just can't get enough of all the books in this house.

Went snowshoeing this weekend and enjoyed the fresh air, the birds, and the sun. Very different from your weekend in Florida, but glorious all the same.

Dee said...

I love my own backyard. Its woodsy and I sit in my hammock chair and dream.

TheBlissfullyBlessedWife said...

My magical place has actually been on the backseat of my husband's motorcycle while cruising on a winding road a few miles out of town where there is hardly any traffic. We can enjoy the wide open space of Kansas.

I would love these books. We are expecting our first, a son, in May. :)

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