Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Florida Winter's Night

I just walked Nella to sleep under a cloudless starry sky. I wore a sweater, socks and warm closed-toe shoes. She was hugged by fleece pajamas and our favorite quilt, its tattered corner pulled around her head like a hood.

"Cover her ears or get a hat," Brett advised before I slipped out the door. He likes to advise--it's what he does, and tonight I smiled. It's not often we get to do that--talk about bundling babies or covering little heads.

She fell asleep fast, what with the fact that I gripped her tightly, wrapped her securely--she didn't have a choice. But it was lovely nevertheless. Cold air and the thick crescent moon glowing, like an open smile. As her weight fell a little heavier, I slowed my pace and absorbed the moment. A cold Florida night, a crisp clear sky, the distant blinking lights of a plane, skipping across the stars of Orion's belt...and my girl. My girl, almost two, her innocence and perfection and independence and neediness all in one, pressed against my middle where she grew not too long ago.

And now Pedro the Lion is singing about Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men, and I am a little bit in heaven even though I broke an entire carton of eggs (minus one) tonight and Nella dumped a bottle of red glitter onto my office rug.

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The girls and I took a last-minute trip to the beach last night. I love a good Florida winter night beach trip.

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The wind was wild, stirring up so much sea salt that we coughed and cleared our throats the entire stay. Our beaches are quiet when it's cold, calling only the bold, the truly dedicated sunset watchers. They know the secret--that the beach is more mysterious, more beautiful, more sacred when it's cold and vacant. We watched as a small mix of tourists and locals walked along the edge of the tide, huddled in sweatshirts, stopping for pictures right when the sun kissed the horizon. I wanted to walk far; Lainey wanted to sit and dig in the sand. So, sit and dig in the sand, we did.

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And the sea turtle once again made her voyage to the sea. Because that's what sea turtles do.

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The gulf was alive with waves bigger than I've seen in a long time. They crashed impressively, their pools gliding far up the beach where they washed away shells and footprints and teased my girls with their encore of white foam, like carwash soap.

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I miss the snow. I miss mittens, the crunch of boots to packed powder, the way breath spins into white whispy clouds when it touches cold air. I miss electric blankets and the contrast of feet-in-warm-covers with feet-on-cold-floors. I miss that feeling in December when home is a haven, a safe and warm retreat from cold and dark and daunting.

There is an in-between though--the gray area of a little bit cold, a little bit warm, a little bit of a haven and yet a bit daunting at the same time. We find the in-between at the beach, on a Florida winter night.

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My favorite face of hers, ever.

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Kissing is so in right now at our house.

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There's a whole lot of puckering going on. Mama likey.

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This picture? Literally causes heart pain. Like it hurts a little bit.

Beach trips must be followed by beach store trips. You know, for sherbet push-ups and white cheddar popcorn.

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Nella: Hey Lainey, you like sea food? Lainey: That's disgusting.


We left before the sun set which, yes, is like slipping out of a theater right before the sensational final act. But it was cold and we only have so many times we can use that excuse here. So we enjoy it while it lasts.

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A very gifted sponsor joins us this month with his captivating musical talents. Chris Schuette of Indiebear Music composes music for film, commercials, websites and other applications. I have always loved clean and simple piano compositions, and his CD is a beautiful compilation of musical talent--perfect for a dinner party or easy listening.

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Chris and his wife are raising a beautiful little girl, Isla, who is hearing impaired. Check out his story, like him on Facebook or enjoy his music with a CD or an Itunes Download.

Ten commenters on this post will be randomly selected to win a free CD, All You Know by Chris Schuette. Winners announced in Friday's post.

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A smile for you.

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I'll be back Thursday for my last Hallmark sponsored post. It will be oozing with Christmas spirit.

Good night!

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283 comments:

1 – 200 of 283   Newer›   Newest»
Polka Dot said...

that first picture pretty much made my entire day. absolutely stunning!

Small Town Wisconsin Girl said...

Those faces are darling! I am loving your holiday posts by the way!

Lou said...

I so love reading your blog. it makes me smile. Thank you xx
Lou

Courtney said...

Aw, I love that you commented about loving that picture so much your heart hurts. I tell my lidos tht as I'm rocking them to bed some nights . . .'i love you all the way to the moon and back 600 million times, I love you do much my heart hurts so good with love'.

Tara Jeles said...

The picture of your favourite face ever reminds me of my little munchkin...love it so much. :)

Rinni said...

Your littles just make my heart ache!

Shaylynn;) said...

Nella: Hey Lainey, you like sea food? Lainey: That's disgusting.

Oh my hell, I love you. It's okay, I'm allowed to love strangers;)

Ella said...

<3 that photo of Nella and Lainey leaning in for a kiss! How sweet! I can see that photo making the rounds for many years to come!

kelly said...

the smoochy pictures made me cry, and their not even my babies....
bless their sweet little hearts....
kelly xoxox

Erin said...

your posts are nothing short of enchanting.

love your family and now i want to move to florida to that gorgeous beach!

XO

erin

sweetnessitself.blogspot.com

Katy said...

This post made me laugh. Thank you it was very much needed today. Love the pictures. :)

Brenna said...

Love the sun-kissed kissing pic. Beautiful moment!

Anneliese said...

i defiantly lol'ed at nella & her "sea food" joke. hilarious.

Nic said...

Oh I love winter beach trips!

And that puckering up photo makes my heart smile.

Monique said...

..after a long night of editing Christmas photos I craved a little inspiration from my favourite blogger...and girlfriend you delivered!! I loved it all-your way with words is simply magical-a true gift!!
My favs are Nella the sea turtle making her voyage to sea-the photo just comes alive!!
The puckering lips-so scrumptious (I miss those days when my littles did "a whole lot of puckering"-now it's a whole lot of wrestling-that's what you get with 7 & 10 year old boys)
And the one that still has me cracking up- "Hey Lainey, you like sea food?"

Many more Happy Florida Winter Nights to you Kelle

Monique

Patti said...

i loooooove clean and simple piano. will check him out for sure! love the smooch pics too- lily just started giving kisses but hers are more of the...french variety ;)

Alzbeta said...

Lovely :). We're working on transforming our little space into a magical advent/Christmas place. We didn't really get to do much our first two Christmases (I was pregnant and oh, so sick the first and we were away from home for the second), so I'm excited for the magic.

Mama Quail said...

Thank you for being you and for sharing your well written words and beautiful photos and family. I really enjoy reading your blog and my heart does a little leap when I see you have a new post.

dig this chick said...

We are so on the same page today...love that.

Three wonderful phone conversations and then online flurry at the same moment. Chilly Florida beaches, cold Montana mountains. Not so different, really.

Love those smooching shots.

x

Alicia said...

Kelle,

I want to thank you for your blog. I've followed it for over a year and it is so uplifting. It is by far better than any book I've ever read. I was 39 when I gave birth to my first child 2 years ago. Knowing all the statistics about genetic diseases, I was fully aware that my odds were a bit higher for Trisomy 21 and was absolutely PETRIFIED about having a child with that extra chromosone. I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but yes, I was. Two and 1/2 yrs later, I now have the love and experience as a mother inside my heart and now know there are things worse, much worse in life. The photographs of your precious girls and your heartfelt posts have changed my mindset completely.

I recently found out I'm pregnant again and honestly, my attitude this time around is full of kick-ass excitement. I'm like come on fate, give me what you got. Come what may, I'm going to love this baby. I am no longer AFRAID of having a child with Down Syndrome. Your daughter Nella is a gift. Her smile, her big blue eyes and that angelic face call more attention...and in a good way. She makes us LOOK and really notice. I don't see down sydrome in children with that extra chromosome anymore...now I only see children of God that deserve love and opportunites like all others. Thank you for taking away the fear and making me a better person.

Heidi said...

Kissing is in at our house, too. It used to just be blowing kisses, but now it's puckered lips and a big wet one:).

Beautiful Mess said...

I can't explain how much I LOVE your blog! You wrap your words around me like my favorite book that I never wanna put down. Your a great photographer and your girls are ADORABLE! I love the sissy kisses picture.

Hope you have a great day!

Remaliah said...

Beautiful post. Love the winter beach fun :) Your make-the-most attitude really encourages me to do the same when I miss my familiar-summer-BBQ-on-the-beach Christmas' that I grew up with :)

Laura said...

Love that last pic... the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! lol

Lesli Temple said...

Nothing sweeter than sibling kisses! Heart-stopping for a second, in a good way;)

kosenrufu mama said...

i love your post, always amazing, your pictures make me dream warmer evenings, i love the wheather over there, here in Italy is cold now.
thank you for sharing, as always

Kristie said...

I am just new to this blogging world and am so glad that yours was the first...yes true...the very first one I stumbled across. I love reading your stories and looking at your pictures. Your daughters are just georgous. The picture of them both puckered up brought tears to my eyes. I hope I am blessed enough to have another little munchkin so my daughter can share in a relationship just like your girls have. Thankyou.

YeamieWaffles said...

I love these photos, your girls are truly blessed to have such excellent parents, it seems like you guys had a lot of fun!

mamasurfs said...

Ohhh love me some calming music...would love to check Chris out :)

Claire said...

Oh my goodness, the puckering. I love it!

Cxx

MonaBL said...

The beach... Ahhh! It's been a while... These days we're raining and blowing away. Hoping the snow will get here SOON!!

The girls looks fab! Love the expressions in their lovely faces.

Nicole {Miss Mommy} said...

Mella is the perfect kissing lips. EVER. And that last picture of you and Lainey is to die for!. I've followed you for a while but this is my very first comment. Each one of your posts moves me to the core but this one has taken my breath away. Your spirit and love for your family is touching.

alisha said...

Oh man, those kissy sisters are too cute! What gorgeous little ladies. I love love love the photos.

Lovely Love said...

it's always nice to see your face up in the mix. almost like where's waldo haha. like "oh look! we get to see kelle this time yay" well at least i feel that way. u have such an amazing smile i can't help but smile back!

Sandryte said...

As one can see - in the most uncomfortable and hardest time there lies a biggest beauty (when it's cold and windy - it's the best feeling you get to be on the shore; and the best photos!)
And Chris Schuette music - so spiritual, so powerful!

Hazel said...

Ah, love a beach in winter, Lainey pulls the best faces (she always has, she must have a great sense of humor!) my grandmother always pulled funny faces, especially if she thought we were taking ourselves too seriously. You couldn't help but laugh. The kissing, sea turtle and see food photos are priceless. That's the point really, you can't put a price on having captured all those moments, the fun, tears, smiles, the kisses, nothing on earth could be as precious.

Team Lando said...

Kelle, I bet Nella was just flying HER holiday freak flag with the red glitter :)

Love the girls together!

Dot said...

Tell the girls to pucker up for me...it's almost Friday :D

Rocksee said...

Nella and Lainey are like sunshine on the page! Love the shots of the beach.. Here it is dark, cold and full of snow.. Noooo beaches for many miles. It was -40 last week and we have lost all but 4 hrs a day of light.. 20 hours of dark.. I need some warm beaches in my life! Thank you for your post!

Nf1andprek-whisper said...

the smootching shots... melt my heart too.. I don't have a girl...

Kimberly said...

The kissing shots are adorable! beautiful family and I always look forward to reading your blog.

Babs said...

Ha ha Kelle, you got me! I was savoring your words & pictures, recalling my time in South Florida (and yes, missing it as our temperatures in Indiana get into the 20s)...and anticipating the picture of the sea turtle...and...scrolling down...it was precious Nella! I had to laugh out loud! Love, love, LOVE the picture of the girls enjoying their beach store treats! Thank you so much for your conversations with us. We love you!

Michelle said...

How cute! I love Florida in winter for the simple fact that days like that can still happen. Nothing beats a cold beach day playing in the sand. And the kissing pictures are the cutest!!

Cary said...

Just listened to ThroughthePark on his FB page and loved it! Love your beach pics and your adorable girls!

Beth said...

love all the photos ...my favorite is "seafood" photo ...the look on their faces is just priceless. what a cute little sister pair. makes me smile. thanks!! (:

Heather Bird said...

I don't know why the "warm blankets, cold floor" portion of your post struck me but it did. Yesterday morning one of my 2 year olds hopped out of bed and the warm blankets and followed me to the cold tile bathroom floor. He started giggling and jumped to the rug telling me it was "warm." Then jumped back to the tile telling me it was cold. Sitting on the toilet, I sat amazed that my little man was so brilliant and knew the concept of opposites already. Only wish I could write about these simple experiences like you do. I anxiously await your blog posts all day. :)

Debbie said...

I literally have tears in my eyes. Your words and photos are so beautiful and touching. The sisters puckering up for kisses? Framer!

GraceesMommy said...

I usually think Lainey looks like Brett. But in the kissy(the really kissy lips)I thought she looked like you...was it the lips?? Why yes it is and your last photo proves it. Again those Pippi Longstocking pigtails that Nella sports so well..get me everytime! Wish I could send you the warm feet to cold feet on floor contrast..shocking and at the same time so revitalizing! I experienced this morning and there is nothing like it! ♥

Leah said...

Beautiful pics of beautiful girls as always!!! The beach is amazing, too! :)

Chanalesings said...

Gorgeous. I miss the beach! I'll trade u this winter for urs! Great ocean photos.

Laurel said...

Your pictures inspire me to take more of my kiddos, as usual. Thank you!

FlowerLady said...

Your posts and photos are always such a joy to read and see. You write about living life to the fullest with each moment that we are blessed with. I enjoy seeing Nella and Lainey growing in the love that you and Brett share and surround them with.

Have a wonderful, joyous Christmas holiday season.

FlowerLady

Jen said...

I am missing the snow too! It is getting closer to Christmas and we don't have any yet and we should. Hopefully, it will come soon!
Beautiful beach pictures!

Maria said...

Oh, Lainey has her Mama's lips & boy does she have those pucker shots down..gorgeous! And Nella..I feel your pain..lol. I want to eat her up!
I'm surrounded by cold & Christmas prep frenzy up here so to see those beach shots was like a mini vacation. Heaven!

J Scheppl said...

That puckered up picture is so adorable!!!! What fun you have with those 2 darling girls!

T. Nelson said...

Love your "seafood" caption. I can just hear them saying it to each other! :)

Stacey said...

I am so glad I read your post this morning. We had a chaotic and stressy morning with our three munchichis this morning... This post was the reset that I needed to calm down and focus on what is important again. Deep breaths.

Stacey said...

I love the "seafood" pic. Priceless!!!

Kristi said...

the smooching pictures are priceless..just priceless!!!!

Judy said...

I live in Michigan not too far from where you grew up. We just had 4 inches of the white stuff dumped on us - the really pretty variety that makes everything look like a Currier and Ives card.

Summit of Glory said...

First let me say you are some kind of rock star to casually mention breaking a carton of eggs and spilled red glitter in one sentence without using the screaming CAPS!! Hilarious. Beach pictures are fab - even tho I said I luv/hated it on InstaG...I'm just jealous that's all! Dualing puckers is very painful indeed! xoxo

Jenn said...

The kissing picture melts my heart!

Blake said...

I love the "I miss electric blankets" I live in Michigan and we just got ours out! My favorite is when you preheat it and then when you get in bed it burns our legs :) Great post - Where is Nella's cute little striped jacket from?

Alissa said...

Love the kissing pictures....thanks for your frequent reminders to enjoy the little things:)

A to Z said...

Snow is overrated. I miss the sun :)

Ashley said...

Nella's pucker! Adorable! Our boy, Carter, has been home from Ukraine for 2 weeks, and he just learned how to pucker up. Love, love, love!

April Vernon said...

Does it creep you out that last night I had a dream that you had a new blog post (complete with new header), and I was the first to comment? Hilarious! I cracked up when I saw a new post from you first thing this morning. Your writing was poetry today. I sunk into my office chair and leaned forward as I hung on every word.

I haven't heard of Chris Schuette but LOVE piano solos (I'm a big George Winston fan), so I am excited to check him out.

Love your bangs in the pictures! Letting them grow out?

Marghy said...
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Rebekah said...

Love all of this. I live in DC area and it has been in the 60's for the last few weeks.. though it was nice for a time, I am really ready for cold and snow and bundling up in the house. Hopefully that will come soon. :)

irishmaji said...

Love Love LOVE the kissing pics!!! I have a two year old that is also big time into kissing and hugging and man isn't that the best!!!

Marghy said...

This post is supercute!!! Love sea in winter!! Love also piano music, it relaxes and inspires me a lot when I write poems. The last photo of Nella is ^_^

http://ilvolodelfalco.iobloggo.com/

Jen said...

Maybe I'm immature, but your comment when Nella was showing Laynie her food made me laugh out loud. They are SO cute.

mamaoftwo said...

Happy days. The kissing picture makes me smile. Thanks for sharing.

Amanda said...

Kelle - the picture of Lainey & Nella puckering up at each other brought me back to my childhood when my sisters and I would do the same thing!

Gina said...

I love how the girls seem to really be best friends. I hope my boys are like that!

j210209 said...

Just love the kissing photos! Cannot wait for your Hallmark post later today xx

The Ehlkes said...

I really enjoy reading your blog, seeing your beautiful pictures and mostly hearing your optimistic take on life! It's very uplifting! When reading through it today and seeing the new sponsor, Chris Schuette, it really hit close to home. My husband just got his first cochlear implant last month and seeing that Chris' daughter has two implants it amazed me! People are so strong and hearing other people's stories always makes you put life in perspective. Thanks for sharing!

The Livelys said...

I adore your little family and I don't even know you. Your blog opens a window into your world and I love peering through! Thank you thank you for your gift with each post!

shanjol23 said...

Love the seafood/disgusting pic! Those girls are awesome! :)

Kathleen said...

Enjoying your beach pictures from our haven up in the north. It's December 1st - let Christmas begin!!

Farmgirl Paints said...

i can tell you were all content and happy when you wrote this post. it just oozed contentment. thank you for taking me to the beach with you. i could almost feel the cool sand between my toes and hear the roar of the majestic waves.

SallyGirl said...

Heart-renderingly endearing, as always! Your girls are the CUTEST!

Dee said...

Reading your blog makes me wish my children were little again! I will make a snowball today in honor of you missing the snow. Yesterday, no coats. Today, snowboots. Crazy!

Neala n Dave said...

Just love your blog. Thanks for sharing.

Danyiel said...

Smoochy faces are adorable, but the Sea Food picture takes it today. I must need to work on my arm muscles because I think I might pull something trying to take a self portrait with my DSLR. How do you do that?

Ali's Mom said...

Love the captions!! Too funny! Love all the kissing too - tis the season!

ashpuck said...

I recently met a couple who live in Ft. Lauderdale, when I asked if they visit the beach often they said "NO!" I couldn't believe it! She said it becomes just something that is there after a while. It made me sad. I love the posts about you and the kids visiting the beach, it's almost like I can feel the sand between my toes and smell the freshness of the breeze. Thank you for the little trip to heaven this morning.

kelly c said...

cozy nights are by far the best.

Danielle Pearson said...

Your blog inspires me with every read....Thank you! And please keep doing what you do!

If These Walls Spoke... said...

I love the kissy pic! :)

Corky805 said...

That last pic, of you and Lainey...it is absolutely sublime!!! It made me gasp out loud! GOL!!!

The Annessa Family said...

You are blessed.

Brooke
www.TheAnnessaFamily.blogspot.com

The Lady said...

Oh Kelle, This post was awesome. I grew up spending a few winter months in Ft. Meyers every year, so your pictures of the beaches speak to me. Once my father died we sold the FL house and have been missing it ever sense.

cakebake said...

I have a picture of my 3yr old girl singing to my 6 yr old girl as she's sleeping. Priceless, I tell you!

I'm in central Florida and you make me wish that we lived closer to the beach! (it's about a 2 hr drive)

Grace like Rain said...

Trying to get my 4 year olds to appreciate classical music! Would love to add to my inventory.

amanda said...

Loving a good piano solo too...and those beach pics!

Laura said...

I'm a relatively new reader of your blog but I LOVE it!! Today's post was great and made me laugh out loud multiple times...I think my favorite picture is the "sea food" one haha such a great shot with some humor!

I love your blog! Thank you for brightening my day!

Cheri said...

Beautiful post. Your words and pictures make me smile. I try to capture memorable moments from my kids each day and only wish I had your talent. (And camera!) Thank you for sharing!

Life with Kaishon said...

Those girl are pure perfection ; ) Glad you could have a fun winter beach trip! So much fun!

Annie said...

We just got a fresh layer of snow in MN last night and it is beautiful. However, standing in the cold sand watching and listening to the waves sounds wonderful too. Thanks to your pictures I experienced a little of florida in the winter!
Fun music from Chris. I've listened to quite a few and I am really enjoying listening to his songs.

Debbie said...

This will be my first comment after about a year of stalking your blog! Love, love, love, the sea turtle comment and pic of Nella! It actually made me LOL! I have to get my "Enjoying the Small Things" fix every couple days! Thanks for sharing your family!

Alicia said...

the beach on november 30th is such a crazy concept for me!! but you rock it, girl! i'm a midwesterner turned southeasterner, so beaches + november doesn't make sense yet :)

christa said...

Adorable photos, I love the "see food" one!

Laura said...

You are the best photographer ever! Love the pinks with the sand and Lainey's overalls are the bomb. Super cute kissy faces. *love it all*

Jane said...

Loved the music samples and I always love your pictures of your girls!

LWD said...

Love the kissy-face pictures; kissing is very "in" in our home right now, too (along with reeeeally big hugs)- absolutely loving it.

p.s. totally snagging your smores gift box idea :)

Jennifer said...

I love that you love the beach in winter...when it is cold and quiet. Our neighborhood park is the best when it is miserably cold out and only the brave are out. It is so still and beautiful....
The "sea food" picture almost made me spit coffee on my computer screen!

Dawn said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the picture of Lainey and Nella puckering up for a kiss. So sweet!!!

Debby said...

It is so sweet that you take the time you do to make such memorable experiences with your little girls. Love that you walked
Nella to sleep. Cool days at the beach.....I love Ohio but that would be so fun. Love the sea turtle.....of course I laughed outloud. The smoochy kisses are adorable. I have been showing my husband your pictures. Love love Lainey's owl hat.

Anne said...

I am so glad that "Old Man Winter" made a cameo for you in Florida.

Rach said...

Wow, what an amazing beach trip. That first picture is to die for!!

Susan said...

I loved the kissing photo too- it's wonderful when our children love each other!

Elizabeth Mae said...

I love the kissing photo. Just makes everyones day happier.

vermonter said...

Kelle,
Ocean Foam, Sand Castles, Sea Shells to the cutest little sea turtle making her way to the ocean before December approaches. You always have us wanting more. Then you post the little sea turtle showing her (Sea)(See) food, HA!. What better way to leave us with the cutest little lips puckering for a smooch. Priceless...

rameelin said...

Ahhh! It's 32 or colder every day in Illinois now. Enjoy the beach, friend:) Winter has officially tucked us in the house--a place of security for me after the year we've had with Mabel. Love this post!

Talia said...

Your posts are always a gentle reminder to stay in the now, love your life and family.

Melissa said...

I am in Wyoming and I miss the warmth of summer! I long to come stay a while in Florida! I love the pics. You always capture such beautiful moments!

Karen said...

Love that you are still going to the beach (although strangely warm here in NH for this time of year). I can't believe how big Nella is getting, and totally love the kissy face :)

Elaine said...

aww...Loove the kissy faces!! That one is worth framing...then again, all your pictures are!!

Theresa said...

Once again, fabulous. I'm inspired. To be with family more. To take time to do fun things at night. Thanks!

Amanda said...

You're such a fun mommy! I really think that Lainey and Nella will have incredible memories of their childhood and all of the unique things that you girls do together.

Stephanie said...

Love the puckered lips. :)

Glad you're getting a little winter where you are. I grew up in warm Arizona, but I have grown to love these snowy nights when we hunker down in our little house, just my family and some hot chocolate and Christmas lights and Christmas carols. It makes this time of year feel so homey.

Katie said...

I love Nella's crab walk, SO adorable! Thank you for your beautiful description of cold and snow....living in Idaho I have seen too much and felt too much of the cold and snow, I don't appreciate it very much. After reading your post, I think it's time to see the beauty in the season and embrace the climate change as something new and exciting, to experience that safeness that a warm, loving home offers. Bring on the snow Idaho!

Kate and Geoff said...

I so look forward to reading your blog everyday:) Your pictures are beautiful and your words inspire me:)

Barb said...

Love, love, love your posts and pics. So beautiful!

DeborahJoy said...

We're a long way from the beach, but my favourite thing to do on holiday is to go down to the beach really really early in the morning, when the sand is all washed clean, and just enjoy the space and emptiness before it fills up for the day. Thank you for the reminder to appreciate what I have in abundance.

Griz said...

I miss the beach in wintertime. I tried to explain it my wife, who is from Ohio, that I used to go surfing at New Smyrna Beach on Christmas afternoon every year after we had our family time together. Your photos are a great reminder of how fun it was to have an entire ocean almost entirely to myself.

Sheila said...

Love those "fish lips"!
We just got our first dusting of snow in the night....thank you for reminding me to enjoy it....because I really would miss it if I lived some where else.
And thank you for the CD plug. :)

My Secret Rooms said...

thanks for yet another piece of heaven!
I am so envyous of your fantastic Miami-warmth, I can't tell ya!

Inside our ever-too-hot house we like to make believe we are in Miami, sometimes. It's that hot! And that alllllll right :-)

Those kiss-pics are down right gorgeous!!!!

mistene said...

The pictures of you and the girls are STUNNING. Beautiful natural pictures, perfect setting too! I definitely share your holiday freak flag. I cannot wait until Saturday when I decorate! I make a deal with my husband that I will wait until Decemeber!

Crystal said...

When you say Florida is cold enough for hats, I sort of don't believe you. :-)

Courtney said...

The picture of the girls kissing is too much! That is the kind of love that only sisters know.

Molly said...

Grass is greener and stuff. I'll trade you my Missouri winter for your Florida one :)

Ben and Jessica Buehner said...

We had our first snow of the season Tuesday night and my little one (almost 2) ran to the door saying "'no 'no 'no" (snow snow snow). At first we thought he was saying no because we didn't think he would remember what snow was, but when he turned around and I saw the huge smile on his face I knew he knew what was going on :-)

Unknown said...

I love the picture with Nella showing Lainey her "seafood"! Made me lol. I love your bolg and pictures...makes me appreciate everything so much more!

tracyallegre said...

The kissing, the sunflare....be still my heart! That needs to be on canvas!

For the Love of Naps - Sarah said...

kicking off December with a dusting of snow. Christmas music keeps me sane during the witching hour. Pick me!

tracyallegre said...

As a xmas present to your readers, would you please give us a tutorial on how to get a sunflare picture like that??? ;)
That would be the best gift ever!

Loresa P. said...

Love puckered lips! :-*

Jessica Smith said...

I literally laughed out loud at the picture of Lainey and Nelly, and the caption below "you like seafood?" HAHA.

Sarah said...

Oh man, the pic of your girls kissing...so perfect. They are so beautiful!
Sarah
Nittygrittymom.blogspot.com

Lisa Jacques said...

Reading through your blog was a delightful break in my morning, thank you. And a big thank you to Mr. Schuette for directing me to it

LauraH said...

I can't help but crings reading about your love of winter -- Denver is a snowy, icy mess this morning! I wish it would only snow on weekends when I can sit inside and look at its beauty instead of driving to work in it!

Kaitlyn said...

Your blog just makes my heart happy. I love you all!

Lynn Richards said...

oh, the kisses.....i so remember my daughter's first kisses. wet, sloppy, like a fish gasping for air. but they were the BEST. EVER. we all still talk about them.
xoxo
lynn

Trini said...

NELLA IS SO CUTE!!!!! And I'm SO digging the cold Florida weather!

Jess said...

Your blog makes me catch the Holiday spirit. Thanks.

Lindsey said...

Loving the kissy faces! My daughter hasn't quite figured out how to pucker her lips. She sort of just presses her lips to your face.

Just a girl said...

It takes a lot of courage to post your whole life on a blog like you're doing with such pictures.

But, I am glad you do. It is uplifting and nice to see that there are good people out there and that there are good things going on out there.

Sometimes its so easy to see only the bad and your blog make it so that we all know there is good, and we can see it from your posts.

Well, thank you for writing what you do. It always makes my days :)

Jaclyn Hicks said...

The love between Nella and Lainey is too much for words. Thank you for sharing your world once again.

Charlee said...

I LOVE the "pucker" picture! Such sweet sisters you've got there!

House 54 said...

I am in love with the girls kissy faces and your words this week that read off like poetry.

Great post, Kelle! I enjoyed reading it so much!

Kathleen said...

Reading your blog makes me want to live in Florida. Thanks for sharing.

Leslie said...

Lainey and Nella are such sisters - I love it!

WhatDoesTheFutureHold said...

I love the last picture. It's so naturally beautiful. Have a great rest of the week!

Melissa

Victoria said...

beautiful beach photos, your girls are just precious!

i can't wait for your hallmark post :)

Love is all you need said...

The whole kissing thing your girls have going on? Uh how would you put it in words? "Be still my heart!!"

Jen B. said...

You take such amazing photos. Do you edit them? What kind of camera and lens do you use? Absolutely gorgeous!

And I love Lainey and Nella puckering :)

Cheryl said...

I wish I could take self-portraits like you do. They never turn out well.

Denise said...

All your pictures today were amazing!!!! Happy December to you Kelle!

Kelley said...

The kissy faces are adorable. It's so amazing when your kids love each other :) My oldest (now 25) loves piano music

Christi said...

I am not a blogger myself and I usually don’t read blogs, but I came across your page by accident a few months ago and it is fantastic. I look forward to reading each post you do. I just wanted to let you know that you are an amazing writer and your daughters are beautiful. I have a 2-year-old daughter and reading your blog makes me want to be a better mom and enjoy each and every moment with her. I also have a brother with cerebral palsy (clearly not the same as DS) but I love him more than life itself and I love to read your openness and honesty about special needs. Just wanted to say thank you.

Heather said...

The memories you're making with your children are amazing :D

Pinky said...

Kisses are so in at your house too expect he can't quite pucker yet, but they are the slobbery, open mouth, making the kiss sound kiss. Those to me are even better.

KatieKakes47 said...

That kissing picture is one reason I am SO excited for my #2 baby girl to get here next month. I love seeing the bond your girls have. It is beautiful beyond words.

MindyWilson said...

I giggled like a 12 year old at "Hey Lainey, you like sea food?" Their expressions are hysterical!

Macey Gaumond said...

Your daughters are adorable. Seeing their joy and love for each other make me wish I had a sister. Happy Holidays!

Caroline said...

I adore the beach in winter!! so beautiful! love the pictures of the girls eating together, with their little bare feet swinging :)

Sue (Lee Life and Lessons) said...

Here in SoCal, we don't have the cold winters either, but I love that we can hit the beach year-round too. Lovely photos and lovely writing!

Alicia said...

Ahhh the beach when its cold. There isnt much quite like it. Its invigorating, exciting, and relaxing, all at the same time

psalm117ptg said...

I love little peoples excitement over the small things such as sand between there toes. Up here in Maine my almost two year old is overjoyed with the introduction of snowballs.

Hillary said...

Love the kissing pics - "you have to pucker your lips, like zeese..."

emmanuel said...

love your post! amazing pics! The smiles of the children are so precious, that's happiness!

emmanuel said...

love your post! amazing pics! The smiles of the children are so precious, that's happiness!

Amanda said...

Kissing is so IN right now at our house too! Your pictures made my heart smile.

carrster said...

I love the "heart pain" photo. How sweet. I love how the little ones can absolutely clench our hearts with a simple act.

Kristen said...

I love that winter in your part Florida is so much like winter in Southern California!

And I can see why that is Lainey's favorite face...EVER. Adorable!!

kalah said...

love those kissing pictures. adorable!

Jan said...

In Michigan this week, it snowed. And iced. And looking at your lovely Florida beach pictures, I'm thinking you really didn't miss a thing.

Anna said...

I totally understand the heart ache of looking at a photo or at the people you love so much.

I'll trade you a day in the snow here in Minnesota for a day on the ocean in Florida!

Meredith said...

Love the bit about the eggs and red glitter...so my world right now!!

Rebekah said...

I feel like "MwAh" should be the caption on that final pic...

Shauna said...

Oooh I need to check out Chris' story! Reagan had pretty significant hearing loss when she was an infant and that was actually harder for us than her Ds since we are a family of musicians. My husband is a film composer too :) And I teach piano and voice lessons (at least I do when I haven't completely lost my voice like has currently happened)

AJD ∞ said...

I love reading your blog during this time of year. While I'm living in the north, I have discovered that the Pacific Northwest does not have any snow... If it ever DOES grace us with its presence, it's fleeting. Coming from MI, I'm really missing my white Christmas. Thank you for writing, it's nice knowing I'm not the only one who misses that freezing white stuff.

Erin said...

I just love your writing and pictures! You should really think about writing a book.

Jo's Corner said...

Sweet Sisters Smoochin'! Love those little girlies of yours! ~ Jo

Hanna said...

The sea food joke cracked me up... so funny! so perfect for that picture... I am so going to live close to a beach like you do, really soon... you'll see!

Jessie said...

I love the kissing pictures...and that you are still loving the beach in its chilly state. I so love the ocean and wish I could share that with my kids more often than just a few-day vacation now and then. I love your "traditions" with them....and can't wait til the next Hallmark post!

Abbie Johnson said...

How could your heart not melt watching those two cute girls look at each other all puckered up. So stinkin cute!! Love your blog.

ama de casa said...

Like I always say! I love love love your blog!

nancy88 said...

Gorgeous post! I'm so glad my sister pointed out your blog to me! I'll be a new follower shortly! :)

JoeNatSamsMom said...

I completely understand what you mean when you say that picture of the girls about to kiss causes you heart-pain. I get that feeling about my kids when they do something over-the-top cute also. Beautiful photos, and as a Michigander, I wish for a night at the beach sometimes instead of these dark, cold evenings.

Sharon-The OKI StampQueen said...

Cold day today at this (NC) beach, too! Right outside our door across one street-we often see dolphin swimming by from our bedroom window. Wanting my warm socks-wishing we had a fireplace! Beach or no! LOVE the girls! It always, always, always makes my day when you have new pics up! THanks for sharing! Blessings, Sharon
(former floridian)

Kelly B. said...

Found your site today when I visited Chris' site and heard about cd giveaway. I had to go and click on "Start Here If you're new" and then read Nella's birth story. You are truly inspiring with your honesty, beautiful pictures and great writing. I think I'm hooked.

Tela said...

i love the contrast of the sky and the ocean in the first shot!

Genia & Shaylon said...

Ahhh, I love the pictures showing the love between you all. You are such an easy person to connect to even though I've never met you. :)

catherine.elizabeth said...

See Kelle, the sorbet push pop thingy? we don't get those here in Canada. or going to the beach in November. Wanna trade houses for like a week or two? I promise if we do it in the next 4 months you will get snow!

~Daisy~ said...

I literally laughed out loud at the "Hey Lainey, you like sea food?" picture. My little mancub LOVES to say "That's disgusting" to EVERYTHING. You caught that moment so perfectly. I am still laughing.

Love it *smirk* Nella is a pistol! ;-)

Jen said...

i love the picture where the girls are eating and nella is showing lainey her food - reminds me of me and my sister!
and thank you for introducing me to chris schuette! i am also a musician (cello) and a composer, as well as a music teacher - and i just happen to be deaf in one ear. i just read through a lot of his blog, and when he mentioned that his daughter would now be able to hear in stereo, i have to admit, i was a little jealous!
love your blog so much - and now that we're expecting our first little one, i can't wait to experience some of the things you write about!!

Tina said...

Love reading about Nella falling asleep under the stars...we can't get enough of the stars!! Love being introduced to new music..thanks!!

Tina J

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