Monday, December 26, 2011

'Sup? It's Christmas

It's still Christmas, we are saying--because I need to say that to stave off the blasted decrescendo of post-Christmas let-down. When I was little, I think every year on the night of my birthday, I curled up into a pathetic sulking half-moon on my bed and cried that it was over--all the festivities I had anticipated for so long. Nothing to show for them but some crumpled gift bags, a few deflated "Happy Birthday" balloons and a wilted Christmas tree that only reminded me I had to wait an entire year to feel it again.

And I realize now how silly I was.
There are so many special and celebratory moments and events that are evenly woven into more quiet months, and I'm excited for what a new year will hold for our family. I'm excited about moving forward.

Not quite yet though. Still lingering a little longer right here.

Photobucket Brett's parents got Lainey this campfire. It's the bomb--so much I've played with it myself...without the kids.

We excitedly scurried Christmas Eve, tying up loose ends, taping up the last gifts, and stocking up on good cheese, red wine, and little treats we wouldn't ordinarily splurge on. Like maraschino cherries and bleu cheese stuffed olives.


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Lainey wanted to make cookies that spelled out Santa's name. I went through all the trouble of tediously whittling a butter knife through dough that kept falling apart, and then I burned them later and threw them out. Thankfully, Lainey forgot.

Christmas Eve night? Dreamy, dreamy. Lainey's excitement emanated from her smile, her breathless fast talk, her eyes that got big when she listened to our play-by-play of just what would happen that night.

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We left this little doll next to the reindeer food so the reindeer could have "something to play with while Santa's inside," as Lainey brilliantly schemed.

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Sleigh Runway, courtesy of Daddy

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I wish I could say this candle thing has some deep ceremonious meaning. You can make one up as you see fit. Really, my kid just likes candles and every special event in our home (birthdays, anniversaries, tossing a shirt and having it land in the laundry basket on the first try) includes some kind of lights-turned-off/candles lit/made-up song ceremony.

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This year, we swayed our candles back and forth while Lainey commanded us to repeat after her. Like "Happy Christmas, I love you, Reindeer are coming in the sky, Nella don't touch my candle."

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It was beautiful funny.

I stayed up far too late Christmas Eve--wrapping, rolling dough, making sure everything was just right. And it was so entirely worth it when I finally slipped into bed and kept my eyes open just long enough to take it all in--the twinkly lights above our head board, the babies next to us, the silence in the darkness and the gratitude that engraved a little deeper within. Amidst my exhaustion, I felt content.

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The boys arrived late Christmas Eve and come morning, when Nella was the first to welcome Christmas with her fingers curled over the edge of the crib and her whipered "Hi" to wake me, everything fell into place like snow on fir branches.

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I quietly snuck Nella out to keep her from waking everyone else up, but she spotted the baby stroller next to the tree, and Sister could not be contained.

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So we went and woke up the entire house so we could get on with it.

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Surveying proof of reindeer

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Sister was more interested in helping Austyn with his stocking than digging through her own

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Santa brought her "real pretend" glasses.

Austyn wanted a unicycle, a decision that pretty much made my Christmas. After almost putting a hole in our drywall, he moved his practice from the hallway to the driveway. It's a work in progress, but once he has it down I'm sure he'll be picking up chicks with it. Well, not literally--only one seat.

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Our childhood Chrismases were highlighted by the string tradition--following a string that trailed throughout the house, in and out of bedrooms, up and down staircases until it ended at "the big gift"--the most memorable being Buffy, our childhood Cocker Spaniel. This year's string led to a seat for two because our seat for one was causing too many sister arguments.

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And I always love the way those little gifts become favorites. Like the big girl journal with a feather pen and a real lock. She opened to the first page, prepared her pen to write and asked, "Mom, how do you spell 'NO. This is Lainey's Lock Book.'?"

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My heart is happy. The most important priorites in our life have bubbled to the surface the past few days and are holding steady with no competing interruptions.

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More candles, I know.

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Annual Christmas swim tonight

I could go on, but I have an entire week of reflection coming. I do a whole lot of "where have we been, where are we going?" this time of year, and I am loving the sentiments that follow.

But tonight, it's still Christmas. Light a candle...or a pretend campfire. It ain't over yet.

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Merry, merry.

137 comments:

jenrobburton said...

So happy to hear your Christmas was as magical as you dreamed. I love the pictures of Nella and the baby carriage. Looks like y'all got some awesome stuff to play with. Happy New Year!

gabbygrace said...

BEAUTIFUL and PERFECT! Love it all, Merry Merry Christmas! :)

Louise said...

Beautiful pictures as always, merry Christmas to you and yours!

Cate said...

you need alphabet cookie cutters. they're fun to use with play-doh, too.

Jennifer from NJ said...

The unicycle is the best gift i have seen this Christmas!!! and i love the doll stroller.Merry Christmas!!Catholics celebrate until the 6th of January- the Epiphany

Sarah said...

So awesome. I love the string tradition, I am a big fan of the pomp and ceremony when it comes to giving gifts. And the candles, don't they make everything more dramatic and significant??? Absolutely the best! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

beautiful imperfections said...

Oh my goodness, the string tradition sounds wonderful!! I bet it is so funny and as you shared it often results in many amazing memories. May your family be blessed through the rest of this holiday season :)

Hazel said...

Thanks for sharing your Christmas with us, what a beautiful day. Love hearing about your traditions like the string. Aren't they the cutest sitting on it together, love that the boys help them with their presents and the girls help them with their stockings.
My heart is full with the hope of our own little bundle in the next year who will add just that special something to next Christmas.
And by the way: never apologise for excessive use of candles! LOL

Beth said...

wow, that was lovely. what great pics. you all had a blast. candles!! so much fun!! i think of all the pics .. my fav would be Nella peering around the chair to look at her loot. to cute! (:

Cheryl said...

I love the campfire! I once made one outof tissue paper for my pre-k students, I think the one lainey has would have been so much fun! My daughter would love it! It Still feels like Christmas to me - I am just not ready for it to be over. We have tons to celebrate this next month so it will be ok. Merry merry to you!

JenandAsh said...

I love those jammies...where did you get them?

I already want them for next year for my girls!

Jorie said...

Looks like the day was a success! Merry merry!

Crystal @ Ordinary Days said...

LOVE Nella's gift and LOVE the quilt on the bed! :)

beth said...

i read your blog religiously, yet never comment, as i'm usually someone mixed in with the hundreds of other comments and well honestly, i feel a bit lost. so tonight i'm jumping in here and just saying hey.
i loved your christmas and i know your new year will be something to look forward to, post wise.

my neighbor is related to nana kate and i find that totally mind blowing. i'm not exactly sure how, but her name is jen and she has 5 kids, in case nana kate asks.

just so you know kelle, i love coming here and seeing what you're doing and what you're writing about and watching the girls grow.

here's to 2012....i think it's going to be an amazing year :)

Gloria said...

I LOVE THE CAMPFIRE!!!!!!!! And the girls' pajamas, and the seat for two, and the monogrammed stockings, and the mailbox, and the "Nella don't touch my candle", and smart Lainey's 'No. This is Lainey's Lock Book', and the Christmas swim, and that you had a great Christmas!!!!

I agree, it ain't ovah yet.

Kristen's mom said...

It looks like you all had a wonderful Christmas. I was hoping you saw a this http://abcnews.go.com/International/hidden-angels-american-families-saving-children-syndrome/story?id=15234109

On ABC news tonight. If you missed it, you should try to watch it. It is such a heartwarming story. My husband keeps watching it over and over. There is a part in the video where the reporter goes inside of an institution, there they show several girls with Down syndrome who have not been adopted and will spend the rest of their lives in the institution. Many of us speak loudly for Reece's Rainbow, hoping that we can save as many children as possible. I just wondered if you have ever looked at the sight. You have a much bigger audience than most of us and we would love to see you say a little something about these children who are waiting for families to find them.

Shannon said...

Love it!

our clan said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I am glad your Christmas isn't over!!

Jenne said...

My daughter put the same little elf doll next to Santa's cookies, so he wouldn't miss his elves while he was out and about! Thank you for sharing your holiday with us!

Debby said...

Such fun seeing how your Christmas went. That campfire is so funny. Love the double chair. Keep on celebrating.

Debby said...

Such fun seeing how your Christmas went. That campfire is so funny. Love the double chair. Keep on celebrating.

Life with Kaishon said...

Christmas time is the best, isn't it? I am savoring every single moment. Let it linger : )
I LOVE Brett's lights for Santa! I also LOVE the unicyle and the fantastic reading glasses. Your kids are so cool.

Life with Kaishon said...

unicycle
That would have driven me crazy all night! : )

happygirl said...

A UNICYCLE!!! What a wonderful gift. Your Christmas looked magical. Thanks for sharing.

Little For A Little While said...

I've been waiting for your Christmas post! You always give me new ideas for next year! Looks like it was pretty magical...hope you enjoy this week as you reflect. Thank for your sharing with all of us a glimpse into your world and inspiring so many. Hugs!

Kate and Geoff said...

WHERE are those precious PJ's from??? Love the string tradition- we are going to have to start that next year for sure!!!

Mandi said...

Your girls are so cute!!! Merry christmas xoxox

Mandi said...

Oh, and that campfire is awesome! Off to google to find my own :3

Jen said...

Love that pic of nella behind the stroller!!

Unplugged Mom said...

Christmas is so magical when you have little ones around. I also love to find out what little gift captures their attention. It's never really the big stuff, but something unexpected. I've saved all of my oldest daughter's journals because they are just too precious and funny. The story about Lainey wanting to write "No. Lainey's lock book" on the first page is just too precious (and familiar).

The incessantly warm weather this year has made it hard for me to really "feel Christmas" this year, which has been breaking my heart, especially with a new baby in the house. It makes me smile to see all of your family's traditions, old and new. I hope I do as good a job creating holiday memories for my family as you obviously do.

allison said...

I love your slice of life photography and descriptions :) Merry Christmas to your family!

The Heffernan's said...

I love your traditions as I am sure it inspires others to do the same. I think I would like to be a child in your house!

Amandaxo said...

OMG the Campfire is GREAT!!Where did they get it??! And, I love the "reindeer runway"!! Thank you for sharing your fun traditions with us.
Sounds like you had a magical Christmas, Kelle. I hope 2012 brings your family tons of joy, love and laughter.
xo

Jessica said...

I agree - Christmas isn't over yet. My husband wanted to take down the tree today and I wouldn't hear of it. If it were up to me, we'd keep it up through at least January! I'll be lucky if it makes it to New Years, though.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Happy Holidays to you and your family, Kelle. Your home and its love shine out of every window and into every heart.

Samantha said...

That baby carriage is so sweet!

Meagan Kenney said...

Looks like you had a wonderful Christmas! My six year old got a diary complete w/ a lock and plume-pen too.

Noah's Dad said...

We are right here with you! In fact, I'm thinking about just declaring this entire week Christmas....who else is in?

By the way...I know just what you mean about so many great memories! It makes me a bit anxious to think about processing the zillion RAW files from yesterday.....:)

Hope you and your family had a very Merry Christmas!

Sue (Lee Life and Lessons) said...

I love the string idea and the candles for no reason. May I steal those?

Melina said...

THANK YOU! It aint over till it's over, right? The tree is still up, the leftover turkey is in the fridge, and the gifts are still shining and new so it's....still...christmas...still...oh, I'm sad. I have to say it. I'm sad whenever Christmas day is over. Like, devastated. And I'm 27.

I think I'll read this post again. Loved it.

xo
Melina

HellcatJill said...

So funny that Austyn wanted a unicycle. On Christmas morning, a friend on Facebook posted pics of her son's gift--a unicycle. Who knew those things were suddenly so popular?!

Katy Walker said...

Looks like a wonderful Christmas was had by all :)

Daniel said...
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Carly said...

Gosh, Nella's expression in the picture of her and Lainey on the floor with the reindeer food is so great. Merry Christmas. And I love the candles.

Allison said...

That picture of Nella with the baby stroller and Lainey with her new "real pretend glasses" were so adorable! Keep up your fantastic blogging! Peace, Allison

motherhoodandotheradventures said...

Just wanted to say how much I love your blog. I happened to come across another blog tonight that had a post published a few months back about you being fake, etc. That's bull. As the mom of a little boy with undiagnosed developmental delays, I am always inspired by your blog. Yes this road is hard, and I'm sure you cry sometimes. But as another SN mom said the other day, it can be a hard life and a good life at the same time. So kudos to you for being a wonderful mom and reminding us all to "suck the marrow". And Merry Christmas :)

motherhoodandotheradventures said...

Just wanted to say how much I love your blog. I happened to come across another blog tonight that had a post published a few months back about you being fake, etc. That's bull. As the mom of a little boy with undiagnosed developmental delays, I am always inspired by your blog. Yes this road is hard, and I'm sure you cry sometimes. But as another SN mom said the other day, it can be a hard life and a good life at the same time. So kudos to you for being a wonderful mom and reminding us all to "suck the marrow". And Merry Christmas :)

Alzbeta said...

Christmas doesn't actually end until the Epiphany (when the Wise Men arrive) - so we celebrate the full 12 days of Christmas and don't take anything down until the day after.

Bridget said...

Yes, Merry Christmas! The only thing our lovely Christmas lacked was snow, unusually absent in Nebraska. My sister's birthday is today, so we are celebrating still, and my birthday is the 30th of Dec., the day after yours! Happy early Birthday!
The pictures and stories of your Christmas are gorgeous...I'm so excited to read Bloom!

Katherine said...

In the first picture of all the kids opening presents (after the caption "Surveying proof of reindeer") I thought that was Brett on the couch!! I can't believe it's Austyn!
I asked for a unicycle for Christmas one year too. I hope Austyn picks it up easier than I did, ha! It is still hanging in my mom's garage to this day.
Merry Christmas!! I love your family and your traditions. There is so much love in your house.

Lisa said...

So funny, I don't know you personally, but I totally thought Austyn was Brett as well! They look so much alike! Merry Christmas to you all.

Leigh Robertson said...

Merry Christmas! You are such an amazing woman! A gift from God, what wonderful memories you are creating for your family. When I have children of my own I hope I can be even just a fraction of how inspiring you are!

Claire @ Scissors Paper Rock said...

Merry Christmas to you & your gorgeous family Kelle! I have to laugh at Lainey's song lyrics during your candle lighting ceremony....as they sound exactly like something my almost-4-yr-old would sing :) Your Christmas morning looked so dreamy! I'm hoping to getting the chance to blog about our Xmas day tonight....as I don't want to forget any little detail on how magical & wonderful it was :) One of my Christmas-Loving-friends had as their status on Boxing Day: "Yay, 364 days til Christmas!" Haaa I love it!!! Can't wait to see what 2012 brings and then enjoy this festive season all over again :)
xx
P,S, Austin is looking more & more like his Dad every shot!

Emma Kay said...

Kelle, you do Christmas right. Wait, you do Life right. Happy Holidays and I can't wait to keep reading and being inspired in 2012.

Tamara said...

I want to be you, Kelle Hampton. I woke up this morning feeling horribly depressed about Christmas being over, and then, as usual, found comfort in your words. Christmas isn't over. :-) Instead, maybe Christmas is just an annual reminder that LIFE is magical. Similar to Thanksgiving, which is an annual reminder to practice gratitude. You inspire me.

melissa said...

Oh well, I was wrong, hee-hee! Enjoy the red wine ;) Cheers to a phenominal 2011 & even grander 2012!

Rebekah said...

I had a great Christmas. Not spent like usual, but still filled with wonderful memories. And as always, I love learning about yours. Thanks for the reminder to keep looking forward.. and boy, I need to get myself one of those campfires!

Sherry F said...

Can you actually ever have too many candles??? :)

Love is all you need said...

What do your letters from Santa entail? I bet They are precious...

Lisa said...

I love this post...I am a Christmas lover, through and through, and we had a BLAST with our girls this year (3 and 21 mos.). Christmas Eve night, after we had everything just perfect, just like you said, I sat in the glow of our tree, with soft Christmas music, in complete awe that I am now the one creating the magic. It's an amazing feeling, isn't it? You write all the time about creating your children's memories...this really hit home for me in the last couple of days. My cheeks hurt from smiling, and my heart is full.
Our 3 year old spotted all of their wrapped gifts from Santa a few days before Christmas. Daddy insisted on re-wrapping every single one in different paper in order to keep the magic for her. I could marry him all over again. :)
Merry Christmas from an avid reader/Christmas kindred spirit. ;)

My Secret Rooms said...

Looks like wonderful times, for you!
The girls are so adorable looking at their gifts with glittering eyes :-)

It's still Christmas, for sure, and having time off - like I have right now - is heaven!! I know exactly what you mean: the most important things are absolutely surfacing these days and that is totally enjoyable <3

Keep having great times!
/Anna

Lesley said...

Gorgeous pictures! I LOVE the string present idea. I may just 'nick' that one...

Aleksandra said...

What a beautiful photos. I see all of you had a great Christmas. Now waiting for New Year Eve and then 2012! love from UK

A Daft Scots Lass said...

You captured your Christmas photos so perfectly.

Your girls are adorable in their matching Christmas jammies.

Sarah said...

Too cute about Nella not being able to contain her excitement! I loved reading this post! xo

kosenrufu mama said...

merry merry christmas to you all!!!!

aprilanecdotes said...

I love the fact that Christmas is 12 days long and actually don't end until Jan. 6h. We used to have a 3 Kings party on Jan 6th with 3 cakes(one for each King), singing and placing the 3 camels with Kings on board in front of our Nativity set. Candles work here too. Love the pic. of Nella pushing her baby doll in the carriage and Lainey playing with the blue mail box...

Team Lando said...

please tell austyn he is awesome. And you all are pretty awesome, too! We're still going strong with Christmas here!

Molly said...

How cool is Austyn? And where'd you get the sweet doll in Nella's stocking? I'm always looking for "cute" (read: not scary) dolls for my littles.

Mary Ann said...

I live in Evergreen, Alabama, and was introduced to your blog by my sister. I simply adore your blog. Your two girls are adorable. Your photos are wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

Hanna said...

Your Christmas sounds like lots of fun!!! Our X-mas celebration in Colombia is all about dinner at midnight the 24th, opening presents afterwards and then waking up really late and being lazy the 25th... different traditions and still the same family spirit, love it!
Enjoy the rest of your holidays! xoxo
P.S Austyn is looking so much like Brett!!!

Dara said...

Hey,
I started reading your blog since I saw it on the Blogs of Note page in Blogger. Ever since, its become my favourite blog! I just find your posts so inspiring and lovely. You have a beautiful family, and I admire you for being so strong throughout everything that you've gone through. I just wanted to let you know :)

Dara, 19, Northern Ireland xx

dldhome said...

Merry Christmas! We celebrate the 12 days of Christmas ending on Jan. 6th, the epiphany - so no it is not over yet, for us, just because the presents are opened. Love the photos! my goal is to take a photo per day for a 365-photo year. :)

Kelley said...

Here's a little something to brighten your post-Christmas let-down...in the Catholic faith (and other Christian traditions, I'm sure) Christmas actually lasts all the way to Epiphany, which is January 8th this year. So celebrate away!

Deanna said...

the picture of Nella pushing her new baby stroller is priceless! LOVE! Addison (2) was busy competing with her 4 month old brother for attention...so our Christmas was one more of survival than blessed moments...but we survived. SUCCESS. (-:

Claire said...

How wonderful! I love the string present idea....and I have an exact same pair of those wannabe glasses!

Cxx

Jenny said...

Thank you so much for inspiring me to help me do what is really the most important thing in our family....and that is to create memories. I don't remember the toys I received as a child, or what we ate for every meal, but I do remember the atmosphere that my parents made for us.

And that, is really what is important. =) Thanks for the simple reminders in every blog you post!

Jillian22 said...

Merry Christmas to the Hampton clan! Wishes for a great year coming to you from Illinois. (You're right... Christmas lasts an extra week- at least- in our house.) :) Nothing wrong with extra celebrating!

medina family said...

what a beautiful Christmas!! I have to do more candles!

keep celebrating!

Genia & Shaylon said...

Awesome. Does Nella's little stroller make a loud noise when it is going across the tile! :) Merry Christmas.

Heather Schaffer said...

The one of Lainey pushing her babydoll stroller? Ooooh my gosh! So cute. No kiddies yet for me but I can't wait. You have the parenting thing right. Embrace every moment, small and large :-)

katie said...

Merry Christmas Kelle! You have to let us know where the campfire is from - it's amazing!

Stef said...

beautiful! Merry Christmas!

deanna said...

I got my niece the melissa and doug mailbox and it was a hit at our christmas as well!

Sharmaine said...

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday ! Must be quite a celebration! :D

looooove all the presents!

Vanessa said...

It looks like you had the most wonderful Christmas! I am loving the camp fire...too cute.

Maggie said...

MErry Christmas!! Nella looks so content pushing her doll stroller around!! So cute!

Jessie said...

Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family, Kelle!

carrster said...

Merry Merry Christmas! I absolutely adore the campfire. That is so cool. And the look of Nella pushing the baby carriage is also awesome. Hope you enjoy the rest of the holidays!!

Josh_n_Connie said...

Where did you get the kid-sized mailbox? My 3 year old son would LOVE that!!!

nikkib said...

good luck to Austyn with the unicycle!! my boyfriend works at a bicycle shop and one winter while business was slower he taught himself to ride and now he's an old pro! definitely impressed me when we started dating!

Linda MG in Soquel, CA said...

What a magical holday you had! I always get the warm fuzzies, reading your blog. I wish I was a part of YOUR family! Did I misunderstand? Is it your birthday?? Happy birthday! If not, sorry. Well, I got sick witha flu or such very late Christmas night!! SUddenly hit me. But I am so grateful that it waited til after christmas day! So I could enjoy the day with my family and grandbabies. Trying to put a 'positive spin" on being sick, well at least the timing was better than it COULD have been. I enjoyed xmas day PLUS..well, I care for 2 of my grandbabies part-time while parents work. THIS week, mommy is OFF, so at least my being sick doesnt mess with me providing daycare. I AM thankful for THAT! Anyone who wants to pray..send out healing vibes for me, I would appreciate it. So I can get all better real quick and get back to those littles. thanks. Love, the Blog Mama~

Rosemary said...

I asked for a unicycle for my 15th birthday. Everybody thought it was a weird gift, but I really wanted one. I got it, but 15 years later I still can't ride it. It would probably be helpful if I had good balance just walking. Lol! I found it in storage recently and told my hubby that when I'm not 8 months pregnant that I'm finally going to learn how to ride it.

Merry Christmas for as long as you choose to celebrate! I used my Barnes and Noble gift card I got for Christmas to pre-order your book. :) Can't wait until April!

sarah said...

I am sensing a Hampton Family Circus under -the -big -top birthday party....complete with a unicycle performance for miss nella!!!!

Merry merry happy Christmas! Keep the magic all year!

Wynn_Anne Sibbald said...

Nella with the wee carriage is just exquisite. Merry Christmas!

Keshet said...

Looks like a great holiday:)

Wade's World said...

Merry Christmas!

Michelle@gigglegumgirls said...

I teared up a little at the runway. The girls Christmas memories are going to be so full. I love how your photos tell a story. I hate looking at old pictures my mom took of us opening presents. You know the whole open it, ok let me see.....click, and they all look the same.
Your composition is phenomenal. I just got my first dslr for my birthday and I can't wait to figure it all out.

Whitebite said...

MERRY X-MAS to you over there!
Looove your photos.Just love them.

hugzzz

Sarah RDH said...

I love that you're swimming outside on christmas!! bahaha thats funny to an Ohio girl! (I know youre a Michigan girl, you understand why this is hysterical!)

Alsgal aka Kristy said...

I can't get over how much Austyn looks like his father!

The campfire was an awesome gift, so many fun things to do with it.

I may have to do the Santa Runway with my son when he is older.

Evelyn Louise said...

Beautiful... as usual.

Question - at the breakfast table... is Austyn wearing an "I <# Boobies" bracelet? Just wondering...
If so, awesome kid!

Midwestgirl said...

I am SO digging on the fact that in one of the photos I spy a "I heart boobies" bracelet on one of the boys! Totally awesome!!

thethinkingmom said...

So excited to see you Christmas post :) Where is Nella's sweet little doll in her stocking from? I love it! And how about her wooden stroller? Merry Christmas!

thethinkingmom said...

So excited to see you Christmas post :) Where is Nella's sweet little doll in her stocking from? I love it! And how about her wooden stroller? Merry Christmas!

Raegan said...

I love the pic of Nella pushing the stroller....what I love even more are the little finger prints on the morror beside her!!! I also spied the I heart boobies bracelet...awesome!!!

The Keatings ... said...

Merry Christmas!!

Happiness is... said...

How wonderful. Austyn is ready for a real work-out - our neighbor got one just to accentuate his training. Holy it's hard. He now wears wrist guards as a precaution. Yes, he will pick up chicks like he has a puppy at his side; but without the puppy and the second seat!

I love how you paint these memories for your children and yourself. We had a big conversation around the table that was brimming with left-overs and multiple generations. "What was your earliest Christmas memory?", "what rituals did you love the most?" and "what was your favorite gift ever?" Oh the conversation was rich and thick! Really a joy.

And remember, 12 days of Christmas sister (not just one)…and your birthday. So party hearty.

Merry Christmas!

Jennifer

songskatesang said...

Merry Christmas dear friend. I want to thank you so much for being such a great part of my days. Hugs and Hugs to you!

Shel said...

a unicycle! Freaking COOL!!! Happy Holidays to your family! You make me smile and want to be a better parent :)

Kristen said...

Beautiful. You have to tell us where you got that campfire from! I want one for my son. :-D

Wheaty said...

The look on Nella's face in the picture of her pushing the baby carriage is so incredibly precious. You are one lucky mama.

Athena Zoe Hogue said...

where oh where did you get those pretend glasses??? :)

Ingrid said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family, Kelle! Thank you for all the inspiration you give me, the topics to ponder, the photography lessons and being an authentic voice and an advocate for the belief I hold dear: What matters in life are the people you love and how well you love them.

I have two questions for you, photo related-
1) What kind of camera bag do you use, when you have one?

2) What kind of photo strap do you use?

Thank you so much, and Merry Christmas again!

Maria said...

Beautiful post, Kelle. Looked like a magical Christmas.
Happy belated Birthday to you! Hope you had an incredible day.
Have a very Happy New Year!!!

aprilallard said...

Does Austyn's bracelet say "i heart boobs"?? hahaha. lovely documentation of your holiday celebrations.

Emily said...

Does Austyn look like Brett or WHAT!

Jill said...

Merry Christmas, Hampton family! Looks like a wonderful celebration and excited for you that it sounds like a bday trip to Michigan is coming up (saw your FB post). Enjoy!

Jill B (Overland Park,KS)

Erin said...

Loved all the pictures. It was a fun peek into Christmas with little ones around. My husband and I just enjoyed our first Christmas as a married couple- it was perfect. I look forward to celebrating w/ our own little babies one day!

stefanie.ann said...

What camera settings did you use for the photos in the dark with the candles? Thanks!

Stefanie
stefanie.schofield@gmail.com

Krysie G said...

I started reading your blog about a month ago, and I loved your words so much, that I actually went to the beginning and read every post you've written. I think you are an amazing mother, writer, and photographer. Can't wait for the book. Also, I love your Christmas traditions. I'm going to have my nieces for Christmas next year, and I will be using your reindeer food idea for them so that "santa knows where to find them". You really are an inspiration. I only hope I can be half the mother that you are when I have children of my own. Hope your family has a wonderful new year!

Simply Shelley said...

Kelle - all your pictures are beautiful!!

And check out this link when you're sad that Christmas is over -

http://youtu.be/Sd5PEVKuAro

- Totally one of the best Christmas Specials ever!!

Heidi said...

Beautiful Christmas, thank you for sharing with us! And you know what? It totally IS still Christmas because we're now within the 12 Days of Christmas. Heck, the Epiphany's not til January 6 so milk it until then. Enjoy!

Kelly said...

The girls gingerbread Pj's are soooo cute! I love the pic of Nella pushing her baby stroller, she looks so happy :)

And "Santa" broght my kids that melissa and doug mailbox last year...we have gotten ALOT of use out of it. They even write on some of the mail, lol! So cute :)

Christal said...

I noticed your art work behind one of the couches in the photo below "surveying proof of reindeer" 6 squares on the wall behind Lainey's head and it just really seemed to me that in your ever encompassing Christmas spirit that it could be fun for you to wrap them up with Christmas paper/ribbon. You could also make a surprise behind the paper/back ... like a Christmas coloring book, or felt paperdolls, or a Christmas music CD... and then unwrap open one a week and 1 on Christmas eve & 1 Christmas Day (or just leave wrapped w/o surprises for the fun of it). Wouldn't it be fun to tear a corner so the girls could see a bit of holiday glitz but not know what is there ... like photos of Mrs Santa, Santa Claus, #1 elf, Rudolph, group hug picture...

Kat said...

Your two little girls are absolutely GORGEOUS! Merry Christmas!

Wendy said...

Love the pictures and love the string tradition!

We have a 2 year old daughter and this year we put out reindeer food for Rudolph and the other reindeer...Zoe was SO excited! And the look on her face when she ran in the room Christmas morning...I'll never forget it!

Thanks for reminding me (and all of your readers) to look for all those great moments and remember them.

kancell24 said...

Merry Christmas.
Nella looks so cute wanting that baby stroller.
Austyn looks a lot like his dad.
Glad your day was so magical

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ArtsyMagnet said...

I love the wooden doll stroller! Great gift.

CTownsley said...

Where did you get the darling stroller for Nella? Would love to purchase one for my little one. She is 14 months old and needs something to "push". She is at the very very beginning stages of walking. Think it will be awhile yet. (She shares Nella's almond eyes)! God bless!!

Daytime Stories said...

I hate the day after Christmas...the worst is when you see someone's Christmas tree on the curb the day or two after. So sad to take it all down! Do you have secret elves who prepared that wonderful food for you and decorated like that? Very Impressive!

Tracy said...

Send him over to the east coast of Florida and I will teach him how to ride the unicycle! They are lots of fun. I learned to ride one when I was about ten. Bought one for my 13 year old about two years ago, but her interest waned before she totally mastered it.

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