Monday, May 23, 2011

Encore.

The best thing about birthday celebrations around here is that they bring those we love and miss a little closer. Long after the recycle bin towered with crumpled wrapping paper has been dragged to the curb and discarded bandanas have been collected from the yard, there's still the party encore, and it comes in the form of seeing my dad curled up on the couch with my girl or watching my friend torpedo Lainey out of the shallow end with a fit of laughter that's even better than the soundtrack to our big birthday bash.

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Here's what I think about birthdays: Celebrate them. Plain and simple. Whether you are two or forty-two. It's not a promotion. It's not a graduation. It's the anniversary of freaking life. And the older I get, the more I'm not okay with hearing people downplay their big day like it's no big deal. It's a big deal that in one year, we spent a slew of Sundays browning our babies on familiar sand or sorting good shells from broken ones while the tide receded behind us. It's a big deal that we surveyed more sunsets, ate more grouper, shook the sand off our shins at the end of the day...again.

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There may not be grand parties every year, but there will be celebrations--the confirmation that yes, I'm so glad you were born. A cupcake with a candle, a toast with paper cups, a lighter in the air floating to the chorus of a birthday anthem. I'll make it special because it is so worth recognizing. And I'm going to try and do better at remembering others' birthdays too. Less half-ass day-after texts. More showing up at random places with obnoxious balloon bouquets. Yes, that.

My friend Rebecca joined us for a family day at Isle of Capri Sunday.

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I love that, just from visiting several times the past couple years, she has a whole scrapbook of Isle of Capri memories to draw from already. We recalled many of them as we sank our chairs into the shore--until the water swallowed our seats--and we watched as Nella slapped the glassy surface and winced at the salty water that slapped back.

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I met Rebecca when I was twenty years old, when we both volunteered part of our summer at Camp Catch-a-Rainbow, a pediatric cancer camp in Western Michigan. I'll never forget my first day of camp. I drove my teal Ford Escort wagon with the duct-taped fender into the dusty parking lot of Camp Pendalouan, parked it, and timidly walked toward the proverbial A-frame lodge for our scheduled orientation. I knew no one. My throat was tight, my stomach in knots, and I was secretly terrified I had signed up for the saddest experience of my life. Little did I know, my camp experience would become one of the greatest highlights of all my days--a magical event rich with laughter, parties, late-night pranks and lessons about life I'd need twelve years later. That is, sometimes, in the places you'd least expect to find it...happiness dwells abundantly. That and a friend for life.

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We knew we hit it off when we realized we both filled our camp suitcases with crazy wigs for the kids. Our connection grew as camp progressed--dancing, stories, cabin makeovers, huddling on bunk beds listening to fourteen year olds talk about losing their eyebrows and hating the way everyone treated them different. You can't do this kind of camp with someone and not connect in a life-long way. We returned to camp every summer for the following four years. Twelve years and two bridesmaid dresses later, we're still kickin'.

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And, this week it's been dreamy to share coffee with her in the morning, listen to her convince Lainey to put on her pajamas at night, and toast to another Sunday at the beach while the legs of our chairs sink deeper into the sand and the water rises higher on our middles. As Rebecca said right about the time the tide was pulling back and she repositioned her chair to face the sun..."This so doesn't suck."

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Suit from my favorite retro swimwear boutique and sponsor, Popina.

Lainey turned four and suddenly, she eats. My birdy little nibbler devoured multiple helpings of pineapple, grouper, buttered pasta...and finished it off, of course, with cake.

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She thrives on salty mists and sweaty cheeks and never complains about the bottom of her feet meeting the sun-soaked patches of hot dock planks or the jagged bits of broken shell beach carpet.

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We finally brushed off the sand, folded damp towels and drove forty minutes home where we rinsed naked babies in the pool, zipped up stripey jammies and continued the spring lovefest in the driveway.

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This one bestows kisses freely and proudly now. I lean in, pucker up and ask nicely. "Nella, kiss?" And she smiles. Pauses. Slowly leans forward, pressing her forehead against mine and then gives the most gentle, precious little kiss--her mouth open just enough for me to smell her sweet, milky breath. But the best part is when she pulls away. She leans back, impishly smiles and waits for it. The thank you that follows. She knows she's getting a gushy thank you and she works for it.

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How's that for an encore?

Many of you commented on questions re: birthday party details from the last post. I added an addendum at the end of Lainey's Party Post with answers. I hope it helps!

Finally, I'm pleased to have Sweet Seat joining us as a new sponsor. Sweet Seat is a family company that designs and handcrafts beautiful booster seats on their own farm. Since we got ours, we've used it outside in the driveway for play, inside the house for eating, outside at the lanai table, at a restaurant and at Isle of Capri. It's easy to transport, simple to clean, and very nice to look at.

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It makes a great baby shower gift or, even better, a present for yourself. Use Code BLOGS for 10% off your order. One comment from this post will be winning a sweet seat of their choice as well!

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Post sunset sky encore:

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A great week awaits.

627 comments:

1 – 200 of 627   Newer›   Newest»
Katy said...

Isle of Capri looks amazing right now. Have a great week! :)

Roksalanna said...

Such a lovely story of how you met Rebecca.
Thanks for sharing!

Janelle said...

I love those booster seats! So much cuter than the plastic ones from the store. My son seems to think he is too old for his highchair now days (he's not even 2 yet), so I am thinking booster seat days are in our future!

Stephanie said...

My daughter was born on Valentine's Day this year. One of my favorite experiences so far as a mother-watching my father watch my daughter. I can actually see the love in his eyes and it chokes me up every time. Love the pictures of your dad with Nella! Nothing sweeter.

Mommie B said...

Love the seat! We need one!

Holly said...

I love that you packed your suitcase with crazy wigs! So thoughtful. And the birthday balloon idea...I am so on that!!!

Rheyanan-lee said...

One day i hope to visit your Isle of Capri! Have an amazing week love.

annelise said...

Your girls are going to have the most beautiful photo albums. I imagine them being poured over for generations to come.

Annie Harper said...

Oh man, that booster seat is adorable!! I think I need one. Also, I'm very upset there is no Isle of Capri here in Utah...I could really use one a those right about now :)

Sara said...

My heart just exploded with cuteness!! I love how you described Nella giving kisses! LOVE.

Katie said...

you all look like you had a fabulous time, thanks for sharing! loving your bathing suit and that little chair too--thanks kelle!

Lisa said...

Wow! That seat is super adorable and I think we NEED one. Love that pic of Nella after your story of her gentle kisses for the big thank you. My 19 month old Walter does the same thing.

McMel said...

sigh. i could use some isle of capri right about now.

i'm turning 30 this year, and you better believe i'm going to make a big deal out of it. and you can show up with obnoxious balloons if you'd like!

kyle and robin said...

my son's 3rd birthday was sunday. the party was fantastic and I couldn't stop watching him. he's growing up too fast. he's such a good big brother and I'm so proud of him. I adore reading about your beautiful family and have gotten such great ideas or presents from this blog...LOVING the boosters! thank you for taking the time to share your gift of words.

Ashley said...

The picture of Brett and Lainey looking at each other at the restaurant table is so sweet! I love reading about all of your fun adventures!

Love the booster seat!

Stef said...

Love what you said about birthdays. Such a true statement - don't we want to celebrate a new year of life?!

The booster seat is SO cute! I had one back in the early 80's that looked just like this one in style (with retro fabric) I might have to go buy one if I don't win. Would be fun to see my kids using a booster, just like Mom did :)

Laura said...

I love the beach photos - you make a mama wanna head south! That chair is a beaut - I could use a functional and lovely thing. And Nella, sweet Nella - your descriptions and photos of her just slay me, everytime. Gorgeous.

Lisa @ Heaven Sent said...

"It's the anniversary of freaking life."

Um, totally LOVE that. And I love the idea of showing up with an obnoxious grouping of balloons. So, so fun and an idea I may just have to steal...

I too instantly noticed the look of love on Brett's face in the restaurant photo. Absolutely precious.

Brenna said...

I know it wasnt your intention but the lines about sipping coffee/Laineys Pjs and rebecca brought tears to my eyes. Being so far from home- I long for those days/visits with my best friends of 20 years! What a blessing!

Keshyra said...

Beautiful post, you always tell such a full story with your words and pictures, I luv it! And the pic at the end where Nella dropped her ice cream, with her little patent leather shoes, is so adorable. It reminds me of when I was little and dropped my ice cream and cried and cried. It's funny how a picture can elicit such a long forgotten memory.

Jennifer said...

I already went to bed over an hour ago, cannot sleep. My hubby is in Boston for business for a week, here I am lonely in Texas. Got up to see if anything was worthy online to read and there you were with a new FB blog post. I cried happy tears. I love how you write, from the heart. I love that you share so much of yourself, your family, and friends. I feel blessed to "know" you from your blog. I'd take a sugary kiss from Nella right now and a big 4 year old hug from Lainey and your poppa, just some words of wisdom from him. Glad to see him in these pictures. I just admire your whole family. It is like anyone elses, we all have issues, we all have happy days, sad days, we breathe, live, learn, and wake up and do it again the next day.

God Bless you all.

:o)

Hazel said...

So envious of your beach friendly weather. Looks like the perfect way to wind down after a party for a little lady!

It's great to have the go to friends from a long time- they know everything and understand without even saying anything!

♡ Ambrosia said...

Such beautiful words and photographs and memories!

Tahnie said...

I'm up waiting and agonizing over blood test results that might tell me if I have lupus now on top of all my other health issues. I'm watching my little miss sleep and wondering if i get to be around to watch her grow up. You reminded me there is still so much magic and love even up against crippling, life altering fear.

Thank you, Kelle.
Thank you.

Meagan Kenney said...

Arizona needs an Isle of Capri! What a wonderful weekend celebrating life!

My Secret Rooms said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely!

The way Brett's t-shirt got wet, sitting in the ocean: THAT'S summer to me and it looks heavenly!
Wonderful soft days for you.
And I got my fix for the day - for this I thank you!
:-)

Have a fab, fab, fab week!
/A

Ky said...

Gorgeous post. I can only imagine what a sweet kiss from Nella would be like.
I love, love, love those photos of her sleeping with your dad. She's so precious.
Happy birthday Lainey!!!!
Bless you for sharing your family and your thoughts with the world, Kelle. You bless so many people.

Ky said...
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Kel2531 said...

Nella and the dropped ice cream cone is just priceless. Thanks for putting into perspective what is important in life....you made my day!

Ky said...

Btw, you made me cry when you wrote this on one of the last couple of posts...

If there is a heaven, then someday when I cross over there, I'd like to think my moment of entrance will be experiencing again those precious minutes when I became a mother. To do it again--to transform from wanting, hoping, and trying to imagine what it's going to be like to actually experiencing it--reaching out my arms to cradle her perfect body, pulling her in to kiss newborn skin, feeling this gutteral lurch of a new love I couldn't quite explain--I'd go back a trillion times to feel it again if I could. I'd take the pain, the pushing, all of it just to remember again what it was like to be changed so instantly. To be overwhelmed by love in that way.

I'd go back to that moment a trillion times too if possible. So unbelievable magical. A tiny taste of heaven. x

GreenMama0609 said...

loving the booster seat! wonderful photos as always and beautiful memories for your family!

Love Being A Nonny said...

I call it *I love this green* is what I read about that booster seat....and I couldn't agree more! Cutest seat ever! How fitting that the precious, outside the box seat would be in a post of yours. Your children, your pictures, your gift of words...all outside the box and precious. I love this green....and this blog!

Shayne said...

Most. Gorgeous. Booster. EVER!!

Another lovely post :) Being in the Southern Hemisphere I'm a little jealous of all the sun & sand in those pics - but happy you are all enjoying it!

krayzid0rk said...

I love that picture of Nella and the dropped ice cream cone. Too precious.

I wish I lived near the beach so my baby could experience all of that all the time. Growing up with all those memories will be so much fun for the girls.

Derek & Julie said...

I love the part about the sweet, milky baby kisses. Made me tear up a little bit. I miss the open mouth kisses that are freely given!

Jen said...

Happy Birthday to your sweet little girl!

Team Lando said...

I love the first photos of Nella asleep... And I SO want to go to the beach!

Jo said...

My son-just turned 1- has started to communicate in cool ways, like Nella and her kisses. He squeezes his eyes shut, then waits for me to do the same, then laughs like crazy when we both open our eyes. And at night, he'll just squirm over until he's lying on our faces, then he'll smile and fall asleep.

Rhiannon said...

Just wanted to say what a beautiful read your blog is. I love to see the stunning photos that you manage to capture, creating such wonderful memories.
Rhiannon
www.lovewisdommotherhood.blogspot.com

julia said...

I have to plan a trip to Zisle of Capri - it looks like bliss!

I love the pic of Nella in the booster with the ice cream. So funny!

themarkfamily said...

totally inspiring as usual. A friend was looking for inspiration for her daughter's first birthday. I sent her links from birthdays past on your sight and said, "This chick does it right." ... but I think the birthday/any holiday encore is some of my favorite stuff too :)

Alissa said...

Birthdays are a huge deal at our house also.....bigger than any holiday and my kids always count down for months to their special day!!

Ashley said...

Oh I bet those Nella kisses are magic!

Melinda said...

I agree. I don't like it very much when people say, "The older you get, the less you should celebrate your birthday." What the heck?!? I love to celebrate life! Besides, we never know which breath could be our last. I want to cherish every moment I have with my family. Live it up! I love your photos, as always. I love that seat too! Very cute! :) Have a blessed day sweetie!

Heather said...

I adore the way you keep the party going. It inspires me.

Nella and her Poppa are to sweet for words, all little girls should be so blessed.

Lainey and her daddy, oh man nothing gets to my heart more than a daddy who knows how to love his kids. Bravo Brent!

Super cute booster!

J.Mo said...

I love celebrating birthdays. Its a day to celebrate YOU. The day you were BORN! I mean come on people!! Lets party! :)

Kristi said...

That seat is adorable....

Erin said...

I need that booster seat!

A said...

those booster seats are precious! way cuter than the one i sat in 30 years ago ;-)

Ellie said...

We are having our fourth, perhAps on my own birthday. I have to continually remind myself if someone wishes to celebrate him, its no embarrassment. He is just as special as the unique baby we welcomed 6 years ago and his birth, and life is just as special. Thank you for affirming my belief.

Molly said...

I am a new follower... love wht you said about birthdays... my son died before he was born last august... been struggling with what to do on that day, but the bottom line is that I am glad he was born, so I think I'll take you advice. Love all of your pics... the girls are beautiful!

Mallory Davis said...

I'm still waiting to meet my forever friend... cherished ones are so hard to come by it seems. But I'm putting myself out there again, I feel like I'm back on the dating scene but this time I'm looking for friends! HAHA.

Housewifespice said...

Im going to show up with more obnoxious balloon bouquets too! What a great idea!

Missy. said...

great seats and perspective on birthdays. ~mis.

Rachel said...

Another beautiful post as always - I LOVE the chalk stencils!

Southern Gal said...

Those kisses are to die for, no? Sweet post. My granddaughter is 11 months old now (wow) and I sure could use that booster seat. Lovely.

Caseybumpinalong said...

Oh I just love this post! You are so right about birthdays and I'm inspired to make a bigger deal out of them. Thank you. And I love your beach pictures - nothing better than hanging out at the beach with friends and family - and you captured the moments so beautifully well, as always. And of course, the pics with your daughter and her grandpa sleeping are heart-melting. Love coming to your blog to read about your beautiful everyday adventures.

And that booster seat is tooooo cute!

Jenae @ Wildflower said...

what a great post!! and I so agree about always celebrating your birthday and others! and loving your swimsuit!!!

Margaret B said...

Wow that is a "Sweet" seat. I've been mulling over whether or not to buy a booster seat and now I think i know my decision!

Isle of capri looks amazing as usual. Makes me look forward to vacation even more!!

~Shari said...

Hold those memories close. They do grow up fast.

Lacey said...

This blog post was so appropriate for today......my Uncle Matt's 38th birthday. He and I are 5 years apart and pretty much grew up together. He was in a devastating accident (a bus pulled out in front of him) 2 months ago and his future was uncertain. Miraculously, he is healthy and well and back to living his full, amazing, busy life. Words can't express how grateful we are to celebrate his birthday today!!

MrsA.Woods said...

...and what an encore it was!

Jennie said...

I live in Virginia and we always head to the East Coast for fun in the sun, but I see a vacation at the Isle of Capri in our future! Sweet, sweet pics of Nella with her grandpa.

mama marchand said...

That first photo of Nella and your dad is absolutely precious. :) I need a beach like yours that's close enough to drive to! Have a wonderful Tuesday.

Lindy said...

It's like a vacation every time you go to the Isle! Poor Nella & her ice cream. It made me smile!

HollyMarie said...

We are finally getting in some beach time here in N. Michigan... finally! (not sayin' we're swimmin' yet... but never the ness... ) Love that pic of Nella and the icecream cone... priceless!

Anne said...

I am so with you on birthdays! It drives me crazy when people don't like to celebrate their life! I know getting older sucks sometimes but it is so much fun to rewind the last year or even years of your life and see how far you've come, where you have been and maybe even predict where you will be!

Tracy Williams said...

That seat is adorable!!! Okay, first things first...thank you for changing the way that I am going to look at my birthday. A celebration. Perfect. Thanks for always inspiring.

Angela Bowden said...

That Nella- I could just eat her up! So glad you guys are enjoying so much wonderful family time. Your posts make me wish I lived next door :)

Erica @ All About Aleigha said...

Happy Birthday to that precious girl! They are adorable!

Annie said...

Wonderful encore. Those kinds of friends are amazing to have. And the initial meeting might not seem like much at first, but now thinking back it was a wonderful moment.

savannahgirl said...

Kelle, I'm loving what you said about birthdays! The Isle pics are ahhhmazin', enjoy your week :)

Lisa Hewlett said...

I love those booster seats! And love the story now Nella kisses :-)

Bulldogma said...

I absolutely adore your Isle of Capri posts! I can almost smell the salty air and feel the ocean breezes through your photos. *sigh*
And oh, those sweet kisses from Nella! How I love my own kids' kisses :)
Hugs!

Elisabeth said...

Nella's smile is just the sweetest thing ever. Her kisses must be so precious.

And oh my goodness, those booster seats look amazing! I am always looking for something to help my Wesley sit still, and these look like just the thing!

Jackie said...

What a great summer camp experience. I had a similar life changing summer break when I went on two seperate mission trips to work in a children's orphanage. I still remember all of the names and faces of the children who forever have a hold on my heart!

Love love the picture of Nella's dropped cone!

Lindsey said...

I totally agree with you on birthdays! I think people should always recognize those they love on the day they were born.

Lollipops & Pig Tails said...

Beautiful pictures!
Counseling at a kid cancer camp is amazing and can only pray my daughter would volunteer her time for such a wonderful camp.

Megan said...

Love love love your Isle of Capri posts.Whatever it is they are about. I also agree about the birthday thing,I was born on Leap year so I only have a birthday every 4 years, unfortunately people tend to forget b/c its not a day every year. I take that in stride and make every "birthday" that much better! Happy Tuesday!

Tiffany said...

what a lovely post! Love the booster but can I say I just ADORE the first pic! how sweet is that!!

Lacy Hope said...

Thank you for always reminding me to slow down and enjoy life, to celebrate life. You are amazing Kelle! And my, what adorable little chairs!!

Adventures in our army life said...

I love your pics from Isle of Capri! What a special place to form so many memories your little ones will cherish for years to come! Love the booster seat..how adorable!

The Annessa Family said...

Your posts are always a joy to read! We're working towards our adoption and we'd love a little seat for our new little girl:) Thanks you for letting us share your beautiful family.

Brooke Annessa
www.theannessafamily.blogspot.com

Nikki @ Saving For A Rainy Day said...

This post reminds me of my goal this summer- to create wonderful memories for our family. And to take pictures! Lots of them!

Laura Harfield said...

Oh Em Gee... your bathing suit! Want!!

Your life is beautiful.

Kelly said...

Open-mouthed kisses are the best! I am a newbie to your blog but am almost totally caught up. ;) I can't stop reading. You inspire me! Thank you for that.

Lola said...

- Love the pictures of Nella and Poppa!!!!
- Love your story and description of your friendship with Rebecca.
- Love the story of Nella's kiss and how she waits/work for the thank-you.
- The pictures of Isle of Capri are beautiful!!!!!!
Have a great week!
XOXO

Lindsay - Mama to Preschooler Logan and Twin Babies Cooper and Parker said...

"celebration of freaking life" - you are so right on. This is what I am going to tell my husband when he tells me I am crazy for the big deal I will be making about our twins's first birthday. For two babies that were miracles... we will be celebrating their freaking lives. You rock.

Anne Marie said...

What exciting weekend!!! Gotta say you have inspired me with your camp story...still so impressed by you.

Mrs. Schwartz said...

Loved this post. It is so special to have friends that can love on your babies as much as you do.

Jessica said...

Such a sweet post. Lovely pictures and words. I agree whole heartedly about celebrating life. I love love love birthdays!

Brooke and Eldon said...

You really know how to throw an after party! That seat really is sweet. I have a spunky little two year who promoted herself from the high chair to the regular table. So we are needing something just like that seat

Erin said...

I love how you celebrate your family in big and small ways. And those booster seats? To DIE for! Love, love, love.

Deborah said...

Love the beach photos....Makes me eager for our beach vaca in August!!!! Love the part about Nella's kisses...their is nothing sweeter in life tha baby kisses :)

Chris Steele said...

I love best friends. And celebrating birthdays. And the beach.

Marti said...

I almost feel like I should stand up and clap after that encore and maybe scream for another.

My favorite part - "It's the anniversary of freaking life.

The Halbert Home said...

That chair would be perfect at grammy's house!

stephanie said...

baby kisses are the best!

I like it, I love it! said...

Every time I read one of your posts I seem to cry. Your girls are going to have such amazing memories of their childhood. Sweet family.

megandcalconner.blogspot.com

The Thebeaus said...

What a wonderful weekend!! Happy Birthday Lainey!
That chair would be most perfect for my little man!

Adrien said...

Aww, love your camp story!! I have memories like that as well. :) Your girls are gorgeous, as usual!

Beans said...

I can barely handle reading your posts---the music, the words-leave me in tears (happy tears that touch my heart) and my jaw on the floor about your amazing photos.
Nella, ice cream cone, Sweet Seat......ADORE.
Your story about Rebecca is so special-you are truly blessed.

Leah said...

Your posts always make me wish I was on vacation. Love that booster seat! So much cuter than my plastic fisher price chair.

Angela said...

Friends are one of lives best blessings! ;-)

thelifeofananny said...

Birthdays, Best Friends, the Beach, what more could you want in a fabulous weekend!
Sweet Seat's are just adorable. Where have they been all my life? Thank you for always bringing something new! The B&W Houndstooth is stunning

Betsy said...

I love to check in with the Hampton family everyday! I have two little cherubs of my own and can't get enough of them and reading your blog helps me "enjoy the small things" everyday. Thank you! And my girl loves anything girly and would LOVE a pretty booster.

Jillington, a.k.a. the Polack said...

You make me so jealous I don't live near Capri. But we all have out own 'Capri' eh?

athena said...

That's it! I'm putting the Isle of Capri on my bucket list. You've convinced me!

Ani said...

a. I wish I was at the beach right now. b. I'm totally going to call my best friend from way back tonight. c. super cute booster seat. d. fabulous encore!

Eva Marie said...

How wonderful is that! Wating to swim in the ocean with my girl and have an encore of our amazing weekend!

How cute is that chair?! Seriously!

*Jess* said...

those are adorable boosters! :) Normally I would say I didn't have a use for one with my kids being 6 and 9 now, but we just found out we are expecting :)

abbey said...

Your Isle of Capri posts always start my day off well! totally want to be at the beach right now...

Mrs. Buckingham said...

Flawless, as always! What an inspiring story of how you and your sweet friend met! Love your description of how Nella kisses! Precious. Love the way our littles begin to give back the love they've seen demonstrated! And Sweet Seats... OMG! SOO stinking CUTE! :) Thanks for the lipgloss info... your lips were killer! :)

Allison said...

Ahh you make me want to move to Florida, and I don't even like the heat! But I'm 9 months pregnant and want to swim so bad, that water looks so inviting!

StarMommy said...

Oh how I crave to be near my very own Isle of Capri. The midwest just isn't the same when the water options are chlorinated or Lake Michigan. I love the feeling of salt water and I can't wait for my sweet baby girl to experience it for herself.

Katie said...

I love those boosters! My 8 month old Abrielle is far too much a body in motion to use one safely now, but I love non "baby" baby things!
As an aside, the story about your experience in the pediatric camp really touched me. When I first started working on pediatrics, there were a lot of situations and patients that I shied away from because I was a bit afraid.
I can now say with confidence that everyone should barrel forth into what scares them, because those experiences are by and far the most rewarding.

Maureen said...

Oh no! Nella lost her ice cream cone :( Super cute seat, and beautiful photos.

Megalamode said...

Your pictures are so beautiful! And I am soooo with you on the birthdays, sister!!

Suzanne said...

I agree! Celebrate everything! I just celebrated "42" last week and it was fabulous!! :)

Ben & Jess Buehner said...

Watching you all play at the beach makes me soo excited for our vacation to myrtle beach this year!

TRB Holt said...

I'm so glad you were born too.....
xoxo,
Bug & Ruby's Gram

About Us: said...

Yes, celebrate indeed! I love birthdays. Thanks for the gentle reminder to always celebrate them!

wardie's mom said...

Beautiful, as always! Thanks for another lovely glimpse:)

E- said...

I LOVE what you said about birthday celebrations....and completely agree. I love to surprise my fiance', my family, my friends with random gifts and fun plans for their birthday. I don't care how old we are turning, I love to celebrate LIFE with people I love :)

Samantha said...

Those seats sure remind me of the one my grandparents had when I was a wee little one. Beautiful pictures!

Amanda Buck said...

I agree, birthdays should always be a BIG deal! And those are the cutest boosters I've ever seen!

Mikaela said...

I still cant get over the birthday party, i had to check back in today just to ooh and ahh over the pictures again. Ever think of being a party planner? Love the sleeping Poppa and Nella pics, can't you just imagine her treasuring those pics when she is older? So sweet!

Kristine said...

i love the seriousness of lainey in the chalk shot. is that chalk paint? so cool! and how do you get nella not to eat the chalk. my 15mo son eats everything artistic.

Cathy said...

What a beautiful family you have!

Lindsey said...

I love that you think that all birthdays need to be celebrated..I agree. I can't stand when my 20 something friends say "we are too old for birthdays!" I love that seat!

Lovely Lindsay said...

the pictures of Nella with your dad are so precious! i have a feeling you and Nella will both treasure them for a long time! :)
and that booster seat is ADORABLE! much better than the tattered, old brown ones they provide us at resturants. i think i may have to get my daughter one of the fancy ones! speaking of which, i LOVE that picture of Nella with the fallen ice cream cone! poor girl! but too funny! :)

littlelola said...

Glad the weekend continued with great friends and fun! Love the story behind meeting your friend at a camp years ago

Gina said...

Beautiful post & pics as always!!

~Gina

Liesel said...

The beach looks amazing since we're still experiencing temps in the 50s up here! Someday soon it will be summer for us too.

Fletchymama said...

Love the one of your Dad and Nella.. So sweet and so special.

tracyallegre said...

Yay, you shared your lipcolor :) see, it is the small things that make me happy. I just have to say that your family is so lucky to have you. I really wish I had a mom who was as loving and accepting...and as positive and happy as you are. That is going to make a world of difference to your girls. So I guess I'm asking you to adopt me ;) Have a fantastic day Kelle - I just know you will!

Adri Hunt said...

You all have the cutest swimming suits! I looooove that seat!!

melifaif said...

The pics of your poppa and Nella sleeping stole.my.heart!!!! I always enjoy reading....and those boosters ARE TOO CUTE!!!! Perfection.

Jose and Candice said...

Sweet Nella kisses! We need a picture of that. Love the boosters. Like it, love it, want it!

Amy said...

I love the way you talk about Isle of Capri... sounds so... um, perfect!!

Christa Forsythe said...

YOU. ARE. MY. FAVORITE. MOMMA.... I have learned so much from you. I love your zest for life and your creativity... it really, really, really helps me stop and enjoy my kids... to make moments special and not feel guilty for just being a momma... ENCORE to you!

Lisa Johnson said...

My favorite part of big celebrations and family get togethers is after the food is put away and everyone is just sitting around and talking b/c the hype of the day is over and we can relax and be ourselves. Thanks for such a great givewaway! :)

Melina said...

Hey Kelle! So many beautiful sentences swimming in this post:

"...and we watched as Nella slapped the glassy surface and winced at the salty water that slapped back."

"ten years and two bridesmaid dresses later..."

And my favorite photo? The one of Lainey and Brett sitting behind the screen eating, and Lainey's face is in the foreground and she' looking up to the right....it has a beautiful just...essence to it.

Awesome post.

xo
Melina
http://www.thewildercoast.com

bubblytoes28 said...

That booster seat is absolutely adorable!

aimee said...

Still dying to make it to Capri :) The sweet seats are amazing! What a cute idea!

Regina said...

Poor Nella's ice cream:( Hope there were no tears. I love the chairs!

Wade and Tara said...

Looks like the perfect ending to the week! Have a good week.

HarkysCindy said...

The camp story was beautifully written. Nella is getting so big!! It's good to know that when my little hits 4, that maybe, just maybe she might eat better.

Annie said...

Those booster seats are ADORABLE!!!

WHERE is Nella's sun bonnet hat from????!!!! It is so amazing!

Danyelle said...

The pictures of Nella and your dad are precious.

Kelsey said...

Love all your photos! I feel like your words are an extra bonus because your photos already speak so much!! That chair is to die for! Supper cute, I think I will have to get one...if the hubs will let me ;)

Jessica said...

i wish i had an isle of capri here.. or we were anywhere close to a beach! i absolutely love the picture of your daddy with nella. so sweet. i love seeing my daddy with my son.

Smaychel said...

Oh I would love to live somewhere so gloriously warm and sunny. It's sunny in Scotland just now, but it's also blowing a gale! The beach looks so beautiful.

Heather said...

"there will be celebrations--the confirmation that yes, I'm so glad you were born"

I love that! I'm going to do that better.

Dear Grandma said...

I love little Nella's waiting-for- a-thank-you face. She's beautiful.

Jolene said...

Mmmmm, I'm loving this! My husbands birthday is July 1st so we'll be getting our party-selves going celebrating Daddy and then 4th of July! So much fun this Summer in Michigan!

Laura Paulk said...

love everything about this post. friendships, sweet babies, birthdays, and those too-cute booster seats. love watching your baby girls grow!

Brittany said...

What a wonderfully inspirational post! I love Lainey's swimming suit! WHERE is it from?!?

Brenna said...

One of my favorite things about expecting the unexpected baby #5: all of the fun new baby things out there! LOVE that booster seat! : )

Erin said...

Gorgeous post as always! The photo of Nella and the dropped cone made me think of my emotions over the past few days - a big messy mess! BUT, you are so right -life does go on and we should always celebrate another day! Love, love, love the beach photos!

Alzbeta said...

I love sweet encores :). What a happy thing life is.

Rojas Family said...

When I entered my 20's, I realized the older you get the less people seem to care about your birthday. It's sad that we've become that way.

But lately I've had this desire in my heart to really start celebrating birthdays for what their are, a celebration of life. My husband tries to play his b-day off like it's just another day, but I tell him, "I'm glad you were born. I want to celebrate it." And it just so happens his b-day is this Friday. My brain is storming up ideas on how to celebrate him.

MomOF2GrtKids said...

Happy birthday to Lainey! I just sat here reading your post with my little Emmy and she just loves Nella!! She points and says Baby over and over! Thank you for the beautiful Post!

Jennifer said...

I just have to say that I LOVE your blog. Everything about it.

Cynthia said...

Ah, I just love reading your blog. I used to live in Florida...and watching (more like reading) your sentiments on sand and the waves makes me a little homesick ;^) You have such a beautiful family, Kellie!

MCH PHOTOGRAPHY said...

love those Capri photos! I have drooled over your island of capri photos for so long. It's definatly on my bucket list to visit! Thanks for sharing!!

Dena said...

I just love your blog. Definitely one of my top favorites. That chair is adorable! Would make a a great photo prop. I want one!

bobbers119 said...

Your Isle of Capri trips look so fun! The booster seat is super stylish and cute!!!!

Joedee Robinson said...

You have the best sponsors. I need that seat!

Seelife3d said...

My little ladies are still too small for a booster seat, but they could have something so sweet looking to look forward too :)
Your Family Sundays make me strive to bring in simple family traditions here in my own home. The ladies are just now turning 6 months, its time to begin :)

vintage girl at heart said...

love the love in your family!
you have a way of spinning words into stories that i've never seen before.
blessings!

B's Mommy said...

Standing "O"!! Bravo! Bravo! Encore! Encore! Kelle!

I love my life! said...

I just love you all!!! Love those booster seats too!

CodynStacey said...

I love what you said about loving birthdays...I have a super huge fear of turning 30...and I'm only 24. I need to work on that, and loving birthdays more. I used to LOVE my birthday and would drag it out as long as I could...now, not so much. I think I need to start that again!

Tristy said...

My heart swelled reading of your amazing friendship with Rebecca.....sometimes friends are found in the most unsuspecting places. And what a blessing that is.....I want to come to Isle of Capri with you. That's my dream. ;-)

KaitlinCole said...

I LOVE that you celebrate your girls so much! And, those are way cute sweet seats :)

Erin said...

Looks like another great beach trip! LOVE those booster seats. Oh, and since I live in the Portland area, a trip to Popina is a must!

Libby said...

The Isle of Capri looks beautiful. And I love your philosophy towards birthdays. It's lovely.

Claire said...

Because of your Isle of Capri posts, I swear, this Rocky Mountain girl has a move to somewhere near a beach in her future. Grew up in California and so want my girls to experience those long days at the beach with mom!

Love love love that booster seat and hope I am the lucky draw!

Love, Chelsea said...

I love the sweet milky kisses!

Josh and Emma said...

you are very good at summer livin!

and i looooove that booster seat! hope i get to see one in person! :)

Kaylin said...

9 times out of 10 your posts bring me to tears and that was BEFORE I found out I was pregnant!! I have such a deep appreciation for your love for your family because it reminds me so much of mine! I talk to my husband often about Nella and Lainey and show him pictures. He finds your story remarkable. I love your pictures of the aisle of Capri! I am envious as I sit here in a chilly house in San Diego. We have our beach escapes every now and then! Check out my blog to see some of our fun times! <3 happy late birthday to Miss Lainey!

Kaylin said...

on a small side note The Promise is one of my favorite songs of all time...whenever I used to visit my mom when I was a kid (i lived in Italy with my dad) she used to go on the longest drives in her old Honda. I can almost smell the inside of her car when I hear that song. Thank you for the trip down memory lane...i miss my mommy =D

Miranda said...

It is such a joy to watch other people enjoy our kids as much as we do, isn't it? I'm so glad that Lainey had a wonderful 4th birthday.

Rachel said...

I (big, pink puffy heart) encores!

sharalyns said...

Oh, I adore the booster seat! It looks like an updated version of the ones my Grandma used to have at her house.

LaughingthruLife said...

I love it. I love it all. Your blog, your pictures, your stories, that lovely chair. I'm sure I've embarrassed my husband by my absolute love of birthdays. But you're right, celebrating LIFE is so important.

HPTeach said...

The time at the beach with family and friends just seems delightful. I fully agree how important it is to celebrate each and every birthday!

wonderchris said...

Nella in Poppa's arms - so sweet!! What a great capture.

katieandjeremy said...

Thank you for another inspiring post. I LURV that sweet seat! I have a sweet little bum (not mine ;) ) that could use that up to perfection!

Heather said...

I want to live with you. Gorgeous sun, beautiful beaches. Thanks for sharing your photos.

I *adore* that seat and had to come out of lurkdom to enter.

Gina said...

What a wonderful encore! :-)

Rachael said...

I would love a little Nella kiss! Kid kisses are the best!!
Great weekend you guys had!

Grace Happens said...

what beautiful photos! and that sweet seat is so genius. i would love to have one for my little boy! xoxo

Mary Thomas said...

That was a fabulous post! Oh how I wish I were there, I would love a Nella kiss and the seat of my chair in the water, listening to Lainey laugh. PARadise. Its pretty stinkin great over here in Cali, too. The weatehr is still pretty cool here in Pismo Beach, but its nice, and the house is getting clean and the baby is getting bigger. Life is just super super good.

Nicole said...

I have to admit, I am a bit jealous of Isle of Capri these days given the gloomy, no where near beach worthy, weather we've been having in New England!

Nicole said...

I just wanted to tell you that my son (21 months) saw pictures of Lainey in this post, pointed at her and said, "Oh, wow!" He thinks she's cute.

Ford and Jenn said...

Beautiful pictures! Some of my favorites are of my father and daughter.

I love the booster seat. Very stylish. We need one of those instead of the plastic ugly one we currently have.

Cherylmommyof2 said...

Oh how I wish I could have a day at the beach. It looks so warm and relaxing - here we are back to rainy and cool.
It is amazing how they grow and change. My three year old daughter snacks a lot - she just seems to eat so little but I am sure that will change.
I can't wait to read the addendum - I want to make my kids parties great and now that I have two I have twice the fun to create - just wish we had warmer weather in January and March when my kids birthdays are, I need some create indoor party ideas.

Amy said...

The photo of Nella with the upended ice cream cone is too cute. Love your blog :)

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