Tuesday, February 7, 2012

(extra)ordinary: Hallmark

I am excited to renew my relationship with a company whose mission I admire--the Hallmark posts will continue this year. This post is another Hallmark sponsored post. I am being paid by Hallmark to write it, but all writing, ideas and opinions are mine. Thankfully, Hallmark and I share the same idea--that little moments are to be celebrated and that good people, good efforts and good intentions deserve a spotlight. See Hallmark Life is a Special Occasion for more details, like them on Facebook, and/or sign up for their e-mail messages HERE.


My grandma was not a sophisticated cook by today's sense of the word. Nothing was "infused," she loved her pressure cooker, and I'm sure she didn't know how to pronounce endive. She used white Wonder bread, considered Heinz 57 a fancy condiment and referred to Costco's vidalia onion salad dressing as "the good stuff." Her meals were, in a sense, completely ordinary--delicious, well planned, but common. But those who sat at her table found them anything but. It was the thought she expended to transform completely ordinary into memorable. Ketchup was served in a tiny bowl with a cocktail spoon. White bread was nestled into a basket and wrapped in a damask napkin. Sweet relish was poured into a dish that held a story of a missions trip to a faraway place and a kind friend who gave it to her as an anniversary present--and as she prepared meals, she'd tell me these stories. There were special juice glasses for the grandkids, the perfect cookie jar for Fig Newtons and, on reserved occasions, the Cryderman plates--fine china saucers bearing our last name, hand painted in Japanese letters.

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I still use my plate today--reserved for special occasions, like an afternoon snack.


Our family remembers the way my grandma turned ordinary occasions into memorable ones, and in motherhood--in life--it goes beyond the kitchen table.


The thing I love about these memories of my grandma, especially now that I'm old enough to understand that grown-up life can sometimes come with a sort of dissatisfying monotony, is that she never expressed discontentment. Perhaps it was her generation when "ain't nothin' but a mama and a housekeeper" was a medal of honor (in my opinion, it still is). She was proud to be a pastor's wife, a faithful housekeeper, a diligent mother to four boys, and she found such contentment in the ordinary--folding laundry, making sandwiches, preparing coffee trays just the way my grandpa liked them. I like to think, though, that her contentment in everyday life went beyond her generational stereotype. That maybe she was content with what some might call an ordinary life because she made efforts to keep things exciting.

Things are different now, yes. Women do more. More is expected of us. That comes with both applause and exhausted sighs. We are powerful, we are tired. We are inspiring, we are overloaded. We are capable, we are stressed. No matter the circumstances though--whether we're changing diapers everyday, stuck in a cubicle, yawning our way through morning carpool duties, struggling to make ends meet, working long hours to stash money for college and yes, enjoying it along the way--we gain the upper hand when we take time to spice things up. When we grasp the perspective of viewing mundane routines as opportunities to transform ordinary into extraordinary. Wonder bread on fine china.

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Rule #1: Wear red shoes. Or red lipstick. Or red underwear. Red is Ordinary's kryptonite.

While the term extraordinary may sound intimidating, it requires only simple attention. You don't have to take your kids to Disney World to impress them. In fact, I was surprised when, after a recent day of considerable chaos and not taking the time to be present like I'd have liked, Lainey asked me at the end of the day, "Mama, can we do something special?"

I immediately braced myself to let her down easy. I was exhausted, it was late, and whatever special thing she had in mind--going for ice cream, building a fort, heading to the bookstore--I was sure it wasn't feasible entertainment.

"What do you mean by special", I asked? "What would you like to do?"

Wide-eyed and grinning, she replied, "Moon walk." As if it really was a trip to Disney World.

That night our long, ordinary day was reframed to include a starry onyx sky and lizards that skittered across the moonlit sidewalk. It was sealed with sweet, quiet moments of my girls snuggled in their stroller and was slowed to the rhythm of my steady calm breaths that were synchronized with my stride. The day suddenly seemed anything but ordinary.

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Last night's Full Moon Walk

The moral of that story? Taking time to reframe the mundane doesn't just benefit our children--it restores our own motivation and perspective. Moon walks have become a special thing in our home. Not every night, but many nights we set out in the dark to count the stars, jump over sidewalk cracks, and hunt for lizards because yes, like remembering my grandma's cocktail spoons and cookie jars, I want my girls to recall my efforts in creating an extraordinary childhood. But I do it for me too. I am inspired when we drop everything and gear up for a walk, and the contrast of night exploration against our everyday routine feels adventurous and special.

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The magnificent thing about all this? It may start as effort but over time, like eating better or exercising, finding ways to create extraordinary from ordinary becomes a way of life. An enjoyable way of life. I don't think my grandma asked herself at every meal, "Now how do I make this special?" It just came naturally because for so long she had practiced finding ways to create memorable moments.

Likewise, I instinctively respond to my appetite for color, for adventure, for something a little bit different among our common routines. Over the years, we've created our own list of simple things that turn monochromatic days into something technicolor.

Like buying balloons...just because.

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Pulling the hose out to create our own storm.

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Or taking the kid cart to the grocery store to make shopping a little more interesting.

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It becomes a delightful challenge--this ordinary transformation, and I find myself eagerly searching for ways to "keep it interesting." In fact, yesterday afternoon, as I was challenged with keeping the girls entertained while I finished some work, I began stretching my creativity, thinking like my grandma--"WWGD?" And when a simple idea came, I smiled in satisfaction. "Lainey, want to get your bathing suit and go swimming in the bathtub?"

She smiled her delight, and Nella pulled at her shirt in response. I made a cup of tea, lit a candle and dragged my laptop into the bathroom where I finished my work while the girls made cakes out of bubbles, washed three Barbies' hair and pruned their skin for an hour. Taking baths may be ordinary, but our afternoon bathroom swim party was not.

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There is a world of extraordinary opportunities that lie in the realm of ordinary, and we all have ways in which we do simple things to breathe more color into our days. I wear red lipstick, use my favorite coffee cup, carry a good pen, light candles ("A candle is a poor man's fireplace," my grandma used to say), make breakfast toasts with my daughters, spray whipped cream smiley faces onto pancakes and take enchanting moon walks when the day is done.

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Under the full moon, last night

What do you do?

Hallmark and I would love to hear about the things you do to reframe the mundane. In your comment, please share any traditions, ideas or simple acts that help you make life a special occasion.



To see other Hallmark posts on this blog, click HERE.

194 comments:

Tara said...

oh, Kelle. This is beautiful. You are so right about all of it. Motherhood is amazing, it's daunting, it makes me feel fierce, and makes me feel small. Enjoying these moments as they come along sure does go along way to shape my memories of the time spent with my kids... i hope it does for them too.

wonderchris said...

Red. YES!!! :D

Love the moon walks...that is too special!

Puddle jumping is what I love. Takes an ordinary rain shower to an extra-ordinary adventure!

YeamieWaffles said...

Hallmark is awesome and I love this post so much Kelle. You guys are honestly amazing, your children are blessed to have a pair of such awesome parents. You guys are amazing.

Meg said...

we cancel our day and get back into our pajamas, make homemade cinnamon rolls, and pretend the to-do list doesn't exist. we kick back and I let the babies lead the way. it never disappoints!

Megan J said...

Friends and coworkers ask me all the time, "Do you do crafts and stuff with your son EVERY SINGLE DAY?!" Well, I try to, I try and do something with him that doesn't involve the couch or the TV. Daddy is away on the road a lot. We have to keep busy. Anymore it's second nature to see an activity and immediately think of two ways to do it different and make it our own. Yes, creating (extra)ordinary moments out of nothing but every day things is magical.

Deanna said...

Sometimes when I'm covered in baby vomit and haven't done much other than change diapers and do laundry all day...I make a pot of coffee and then sip it slowly from a cup and saucer from my fine china set while lighting my favorite candle. It helps. a lot.

Team Lando said...

Love your moon walk. I am going to go photograph the moon, right now. Because I want to, and this teething baby asleep in my lap needs her crib, and I need extraordinary for me!

Love is all you need said...

I hope you blog for the rest of your life, because reading your stuff is like never having to finish the best book ever written!
I do an ordinary days post on my blog every Friday and post pics of everything we did that week. My son looks at it with me so we can be reminded at the end of every week how truly blessed we are to live this life.

Kelly B said...

What you say about mamas, and grandmas, touches me.

We have picnics, in the living room. It doesn't matter what we eat...sometimes grilled cheese, sometimes meatloaf. It's eating together in a 'special' setting that makes it memorable and special.

MamaLacey said...

Great post as always!

I'm wondering when Hallmark is going to make a Mother's Day card for Mother's who've lost a child? I know I & my other "angel mom" friends would treasure cards for that occasion!

Heather said...

Love this post - and the wonderful ideas. Your grandmother sounds like mine! Go Wonderbread! It always inspires me how much fun kids have doing the simplest things. We were checking out the moon last night too as we played outside before supper.

And I adore Nella's T-shirt! Have to find my girl one of those!

Audrey said...

Donut Sunday. Remove a happily sleeping baby boy from his bed so he wakes up snuggling next to Mama and Daddy. Field trips after daycare pick up...it doesn't matter where, anywhere is fine. You're creativity is amazing!

If These Walls Spoke... said...

Red is Ordinary's Kryptonite! Love!!!!!

Knowitall said...

So great!! I remember my grandmothers dinners and how special they were...sweet pickles in tiny crystal bowls with small little forks...she would heat everyone's plate in the oven for a few minutes (just because...our regular Grammie glasses we chose each visit.

Goldenmom said...

When I was a little girl, my grandma would take me into the attic....she called it "going to woolworths". She would let me explore her piles of stuff and pick out a trinket to take home with me. Something so simple, but one of my fondest childhood memories. My grandma died last year, but she will live on through memories like this. I wonder if she ever realized what an impression she made.

Taylor said...

love this post- i take my girls for a dinner date (thier choise) once a week. They also get to pick out what they want to wear each day (as long as its weather appropriate) nothing is off limits there are no "special outfits" they all clothe my babies so they are all special!

believinginsomething.com said...

This is probably one of my favorite posts of yours yet. I love this! My grandma also had a gift for making little things extraordinary. In order to put folded clothes away, she would have my brother and I pretend to be truck drivers making deliveries, the hamper was our truck. Things like that. I, too, try to set a pretty table. I turn on music while I'm cooking or cleaning. I leave notes in my husband's lunch box. I try new recipes out every so often. I don't drink, but I have a "bar' at my house. I keep wine glasses and a variety of sparkling cider in it. Every so often, I'll take some cider and a wine glass to the tub with me. My husband just laughs. I think I'll do that tonight.

Little For A Little While said...

Seriously girl, how do you come up with this stuff? You are so inspiring and I love coming here to read your words at the end of a long day. Since we live in MN and can't get outside as often as we would like, we've been having picnic dinners in the living room once a week. My girl is smitten with them. We have a special quilt just for the occassion, and my husband makes up yummy finger foods. I scour the grocery store each week trying to come up with a fun and unique dessert to top it all off with. It's been a blast for all. Can't wait for summer here to get out again and go on moon walks. My kids will love that too. Thanks for sharing!

Hazel said...

They're back, cue sigh of relief, selfishly I'm glad that Hallmark are keen to keep you writing these posts, but it's great for you too, so a win, win situation for us all!
Hear you on the candles, it's funny Rob insists on it! we run through oh so many tea lights but it's a small price to pay to feel special everyday.
We always set the table for dinner and sit up properly, with napkins, place mats, glasses, candles and music (usually Diana Krall). It makes even scrambled eggs on toast seem like a feast.
We always garnish our food too. I don't know why a little chopped parsley, coriander or basil makes such a difference!
Your grandmother sounds lovely. I should write down things that I remember about mine, before I forget. I tried mixing some orange juice with mineral water the other day, and I was taken straight back to childhood when my Hungarian grandmother thought orange juice was like cordial and would water it down with water or lemonade.

Kenny said...

Best post I've read . . . and ALL of yours are GREAT.

Beth said...

i would love to figure out how to take a picture of the moon at night. i keep working on it. but it is always blurry. i love hallmark. keep them in business i do. ha. ha!! i love sending cards for no reason at all. i find joy in the little things. so perfect. (:

Heatheroo said...

I love this post, the beginning reminded me of my grandma,she taught me so much, she always told me, to have the floors swept and the beds made so if company stops by you will never be embarassed. Her gift to everyone was her cooking, it was simple amazing homeade food...I can't tell you how many times I have watched her make noodles from scratch. She now has Alzheimer's and so the tears flow when I think of all she gave me in terms of memories. A sweet sweet post, love the red! Heather

Karen said...

It took me too long to think of a few ways I bring extraordinary into our days. With three girls, ages 2,2 and 4, I'm exhausted in every way. But now you've inspired me and I'll be back on my game again soon! Love your blog!

Katy Walker said...

I am so glad your Hallmark posts are back. I love them.

Fresh Mommy said...

My heart is pounding just a little bit faster in agreement! Like when you know something is right and just hearing it makes you say "YES!" I love bringing beautiful to the mundane... like a special get well tray with flowers and a little bell to ring when my kids aren't feeling well and they need me. Wearing red, um, yes! Having a picnic in our yard, just because. Love this :)

~Tabitha

Erin said...

oh this is lovely and beautiful. such a good reminder and your grandmother sounds like a wonderful woman.
you inspire me and so many others with just being yourself. thanks for sharing your heart :)

Diana said...

You so nailed this! It made me think of a book that I saw at the library, "The Magic of Ordinary Days." I've never read it, but the title struck me because it's true. Some of my most magical memories are rooted in seemingly mundane, or ordinary, moments. I'm 26 and have loads of wonderful memories thanks to my mom and dad's efforts, but my favorite is definitely one of the simpler ones: telling made-up stories beneath a weeping willow tree near the house where I grew up. My mom and I would grab a blanket, some snacks, and go sit in the shade and tell silly stories. I can't remember any specific tales we told, but boy do I remember the feeling of having my mother's undivided attention and love.

RaquelDoesLife said...

See...now this is why I really like your blog. I think so many people get so caught up in the "how does she do it all?" aspect, which results in envy and negativity. This explains perfectly how you do what you do. Your life isn't perfect; no one's is. But it's all of those extra little efforts - all of those small things, if you will - that set you apart and make your life so beautiful. Where other people are envious of you, I am simply inspired. I don't have children, and won't for a long while still, but this is so applicable to anyone. I've found that adding in just a few tiny little special things a day really makes a huge difference. I love this post. I love all of your posts, but this one is definitely a favorite. Booyah, sista. Keep it up.

www.existation.com

Abby said...

Phew, just in time! January really ran me over and February was threatening to do the same. I just refuse. I will enjoy some extraordinary! Thank you, thank you!!!

Poot & Boogie said...

I completely agree with the red shoes! Red shoes make everything better!

Our new way to celebrate the ordinary is to have a glow stick bath! Fill the tub turn off the lights and crack a few glow sticks. We throw them right into the tub, the girls love it! So much fun!

MelissaR said...

Growing up my dad would leave for work before my mom and sister and I woke up. Every single day he would write each of us a special note. He died a year and a half ago and we realized that none of us had saved a single note. I would give anything to have just one of those notes now. I bought a tiny mailbox for each of my kids. Every night I write them a little note and put the flag up on their mailbox. They aren't old enough to read, so I read the notes to them. Then I put each of their notes in a box in their closet, so that when I am gone they will have those notes and know how much I loved them.

B's Mommy said...

Hallmark needs you to create a card collection for them. With your gift for words and mesmerizing photography, they would be a sell out!!!
I have one of your quotes on the wall in my office.
"Have I told you today how much your smile makes me happy?"
Your posts make me happy. thank you

Clutter-Free Classroom said...

Oh my gosh I had visions on you and Lainey moonwalking it Michael Jackson style.

Your method is so much sweeter. :)


❤Jodi from...
★★The Clutter-Free Classroom★★
Helping Teachers Get Organized

maryanne said...

I just bought my first pair of red heels. I don't know where I will wear them, but they called my name in TJMaxx, and they make me smile, especially when my 9-year old daughter is clomping around in them.

Sasha Taylor said...

My girls (all four of them :)) wear their "posh frocks" - party dresses etc regularly. Why not? What's the point in saving them? Then they never get worn! Monday? Yup! Fancy dress day :)

East Coast Contingency said...

Thank you for another inspiring post you adorable, incredible, extraoridary woman!! ;) We just started Sunday Suppers...candles, the good china, dining room, as many manners as we can manage, and whatever yummies hit the plate...but mostly??? Just the good peeps around the table. And watching Star Wars as many times as the kiddies ask, because it is just too darn endearing to watch my little boy dress up in his Patriots helmet and light saber to be Darth Vader or Lucy Starbacher (Luke Skywalker!!) and my little girl dress up in my old maternity sweater and a sparkly belt to be Princess Leia. Seriously. The ordinary really is the extraordinary. Thank you for reminding us. ;) Love you!

Heather said...

I actually thought of you when I saw the moon driving home last night. I wished I was already home with my two kids and love of my life. But, it wasn't just work keeping me late. My youngest,my daughter, turns 4 tomorrow. I was picking up things for her. Anyway, I do a lot of things like you. We go to the park. We have started family movie night. We bake together. We sleep together. It's what's important. It's ordinary and so wonderful.

Thank you for such a beautiful post. Thank you for always inspiring me and reminding me what matters.

Car T said...

I love this post because it is so true! What do I do to put a little sparkle into the daily rut? I write a joke on a post it note and put it in my son's lunch box. I opted for blue nail polish instead of pink this time and I love it! I make my sons' yogurt and cereal "parfaits" in my glass ice cream cups so they look fancy. I love to "toast" a blanket in the dryer and wrap myself in it while I watch TV. Mmmm! Cozy!

Special K said...

Loved it! Special? Dancing! We have a living room stereo and my husband has the best dance music playlists. I have so many snippets of us at different ages dancing away. My 8 year does a mean robot dance and my daughter has rhythm.

Oh, and I let the kids use my navy blue and white tea set I HAD to register for at our wedding 15 years ago. I must have known we would NEED it to make life special so many years later! Once my MIL babysat at our house so I had the kids set up a tea for her and texted her to come hungry. She was crying, she loved it.

karagiselle♥ said...

I loved your post.

But reading too much of your blog makes me feel like I'll never be able to create a great childhood for my kids without living in a house with a garden, bathtubs and sidewalks... Hahaha. My childhood was sad compared to that. x

Shannon said...

Ah! Love Nella's shirt! I try to do something special with my kids every day, and if its one of those days were needs came before pleasure, we push back bedtime, lay out the "specail" camp out blanket, pop a bowl of popcorn and watch a movie. We have a very low exception for whats special in our house, so that makes pretty much anything other then sitting on the couch special :)I only have so many years to be whats special in my kids life before someone else takes over, so I best use my time wisely. Great post, Kelle

ashmaster3000 said...

i've been feeling a lot like this lately...

http://momastery.com/blog/2012/01/04/2011-lesson-2-dont-carpe-diem/


have you read this?

i'd be interested in your comments.

jrosie said...

ohh, this post about your Grandma made me think about a silly thing I do!!! My Grandma was the queen of good deals and couponing. For some reason I have the little card from her funeral in my little coupon holder. I often forget it is even in there and then I'll notice it in a store or when I am stashing my coupons. It always makes me smile.

HJM said...

I'm so glad you're able to bring the Hallmark posts back! Yay! And I love curling up in bed with a magazine at the end of a long day - no matter how late. Looking at the images and reading the articles really helps me unwind and breathe a little "relax" into my day.

scgrits said...

We also take our cart to the store! Thankfully many stores have those now, which makes me feel less goofy. I also believe it doesn't need to be a big deal to be special, especially when they are so young. We picked up "hot taco" (chocolate in two-year-old speak) and looked at decorations at a local university rather than spend a ton of $ on holiday light shows this year. The memories will be the same...maybe even better!

Carol said...

When my children were little, Saturday nights were always date nights. We would cook dinner, set the table with the good china, dim the lights and light the candles. Music would be playing and we would talk about our week while just enjoying each others company. My daughter is now in college and recently commented on our Saturday night tradition and it totally brought back memories in my heart and tears to my eyes for days gone by. Keep up the good work. I love your words, they are magically.

Sarah said...

"red is ordinary's kryptonite" LOVE IT!!! We too spend many an afternoon playing in the tub. We also take night walks, although here in KY, they are more of a seasonal thing.

Sandy said...

we have picnics. inside, outside, wherever, whenever. and they're simple. but the kids love 'em. and sometimes we have family video time: popcorn, a short video, and cuddling together on the couch.

Jill said...

great post! bathtime is usually an hour long over here too!

Jennifer said...

We:

*bake gingerbread men in January.
*drink grape juice from wine glasses.
*use a cloth tablecloth.
*set up the tent in the living room.
*let the big boys camp out in a sleeping bag on the floor in our bedroom.
*let dad practice his preaching skills on us come Sunday.
*wear our dress up clothes to go to Wal-Mart.

among other things that makes the rest of our family look at us like we're weird...ha ha!

Kelle said...

@ashmaster 3000: yes! I thought it was a brilliant and valid perspective. I so respect Glennon Melton as both a writer and a mother, and I applaud her honesty in that piece and the underlying message that we don't have to enjoy EVERY SINGLE SECOND of every day to love our kids and be good, caring, grateful moms.

GraceesMommy said...

This post was wicked wonderful.

When things get mundane around our house we put our boots on and explore on the farm..we find flowers in the pasture and fish in the pond. If the weather is bad we head to a lovely victorian tea room called The Strawberry Tree and enjoy all the special little treats that they create! ♥

aimee jones said...

I didn't even read, just looked at the pictures. They are amazing, as I am sure are the words.

Enlightened Mama said...

My grandmother had similar skills in the kitchen; she too prepared a basket with three little jars of ketchup, mustard, and relish with their own individual spoons. She always made the most delicious oatmeal raisin cookies to which we could never get the recipe! Even my grandpa who lived with her while she baked them for 60 years didn't know the recipe, until one Christmas. She gave my cousin 2 tins. One held her famous cookies, and the other her famous recipe.....a bag of cookie mix. Man, I love that woman

Janita said...

Kelle,
Oh, how I needed this post today. I've been attempting to do too much lately - you know those days. My neck is pinched, my back hurts,the groove between my eyes looks like a trench and I'm about to Google "how many Motrin is considered too many". Before sitting down to read this, I had just told my husband that I need to calm the hell down, quit taking on so much, enjoy the moment. This post had me in tears...it was the reminder I needed that it doesn't take much at all to make every day count, and rather than reaching for the stars every single day, just reaching over to put ketchup in a funky dish is enough sometimes. I love your perspective...in case you don't know this already, you've enriched my life in so many ways. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Oh, and Boogie, I'm totally stealing your idea of glow sticks in the bath-tub...that's for us, not the kids, right? ;)

Janita said...

Kelle,
Oh, how I needed this post today. I've been attempting to do too much lately - you know those days. My neck is pinched, my back hurts,the groove between my eyes looks like a trench and I'm about to Google "how many Motrin is considered too many". Before sitting down to read this, I had just told my husband that I need to calm the hell down, quit taking on so much, enjoy the moment. This post had me in tears...it was the reminder I needed that it doesn't take much at all to make every day count, and rather than reaching for the stars every single day, just reaching over to put ketchup in a funky dish is enough sometimes. I love your perspective...in case you don't know this already, you've enriched my life in so many ways. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Oh, and Boogie, I'm totally stealing your idea of glow sticks in the bath-tub...that's for us, not the kids, right? ;)

Rebekah Wallace said...

I find that having a baby gives me more excuses to make the days special because now I have someone to share them with. We sit by Reeds Lake when the weather is right in Michigan and walk the clearance aisles aimlessly at Target, just because we can. I also find that even baking something on a quiet afternoon, just because, brightens my day. Our best adventure so far was taking the bus when we could have driven somewhere.

Janita said...

Oh, and what do I do? Take Motrin.

Madster said...

We would walk to the small provision store nearby just to buy a loaf of bread. Or go outside (we live in a flat so there are no garden/ yard)in the hallway and blow bubbles.

posted by the Bogdanoff family said...

I am so inspired by your blog. I love what you do with your children to make them feel so special and to give them memories. Here is a fun thing my parents started when we were little. It is called PAJAMA NIGHT! Have the kids go to bed. Then go in the family room and yell PAJAMA NIGHT! The kids coming running out and you load up in the car and go do something special...get ice cream, play at the park, etc. One pajama night my parents turned onto the freeway (a 30 min. drive) and we ended up at my grandma's for pie! We still call up each other (I have 3 sister) and meet for pajama night!

Mrs. Mazzei said...

I l-o-v-e-d this post. Probably one of your better written ones in my opinion...either that, or it just struck a cord with me...because I want to be the mama who makes ordinary extraordinary every day. My son is only 3 months right now, so we're still in the practice stages of extraordinary, but he's definitely challenging me to get out of the house every day and do some thing "special". THANK YOU for the inspiration.

Life with Kaishon said...

I write notes to people.
I buy the most beautiful note cards I can find.
When I am most stressed and most overwhelmed, I race to my note card stash and I write words.
I say thank you.
I say I love you.
I say you are beautiful.
I say it to my best friends sometimes, to my Mama and my sister...and sometimes I say something very nice and special for the garbage man. Whoever I can think of : )
That is what I do.

Tina said...

Yeah for Hallmark posts..it made my day!! My kids also hang out in the bathtub alot...give them a pile of shaving cream and they are having a blast!! In the summer months we put a pile of quilts and pillows on the trampoline for a campout under the stars!! And a big bowl of pudding is great for body painting...just run through the sprinkler when done!! :)

Tina J

Linda MG in Soquel, CA said...

You so rock, at this Momma business! I love that you are back to Hallmark. I am still mending from car accidnet and will be for a while. But there is much improvement! It may not be the same as what you write about, but usually, I spend one one one time with my 3 yr old grandson, Ryder - away from his little sister. He LOVES that I take him to a coffee house where HE gets juice and banana bread. The place is called Norma Jean's , like Marilyn Monroe. He just thinks it is SO great and always asks, "Mammaw, can we go to Norma Jean's?" Love from your Blog Mama~

jenrobburton said...

One of your most inspired and inspiring posts! Love it.

I find that I need these extra boosts of goodness more when life's volume is turned up really high or really low. When I'm frazzled or having a blah day, they help pull me out of the stress pit. When I'm on a roll or having a great day, they feel like a natural way to celebrate.

Squeezing out the extraordinary moments in life might include heading to the playground, stopping for a picnic, throwing pennies in the fountain or visiting the bog garden. We grab ice cream or a cookie (or a Starbucks for Mama).

I find that following my son and slowing down enough to watch the natural joy that toddlers find in the mundane stuff (oooh, a pine cone!) always brings me back to a happier, more sane place.

jenrobburton said...

Also love Nella's hair down and her adorable shirt! Too cute.

OnCallMom said...

My in-laws passed on the tradition of lighting candles with dinner. It definitely adds that 'extra' something. :)

Bea, OT said...

This was just what I needed. Thank you!

My son suffered a stroke on the day of birth so it's been a crazy fight to help him reach his potential, though he has made so much progress.

I try to imagine him older and how I would feel about our time now. How I would miss being able to carry him and comfort him with a simple hug and kiss. What would I tell him about this time?

So I try to do special things that would be lovely to relate.

At night while I'm carrying him, I waltz with my son in the dimmed lights. I hold his tiny hand in mine and we do the waltz. It puts him to sleep and fills me with joy.

Melanie Anne said...

Dear Kellie,
You probably will never see this comment among your gazillions:) BUT man you completly spoke to me tonight!!! You are an inspiration and I love your beautiful words of wisdom and truth! Thank you so much!! I LOVed this post and I love your blog! I completly agree with making everyday life special and happy that is what our children will remember--that is what makes them feel special and loved and makes life happy! Bless you for this fabulous reminder:) xo

Kammy said...

I love the Hallmark posts--glad you'll be doing them again this year!
Oh how I wish my kids were more into going for long walks. We take walks to our neighboring park often and that is pretty special to them, even though we've done it a billion times. At the end of the day...if they eat all their dinner (or most of it, anyway)...they like a good old-fashioned ice cream sundae--with whipped cream and sprinkles and the whole bit. Who says you can only have ice cream sundaes on special occasions? :)
One of my favorite things to do is plan last-minute beach trips. We live so close and don't do it often enough. Sometimes we'll even just race down to see the sunset...maybe grabbing some burritos on the way to make it into a 'burritos and sunset' kind of night.

EmilyMichele said...

I am a nanny for a two year old and every few weeks (depending on the weather) we go to the "special playground". Her mom is a preacher so I found a playground that was not at the church and close by! She loves it and it makes the day so much better to see her smile when I say we can go to the special playground!

joellybaby said...

This reminds me of one of my favourite songs. It's by a little indie band called Linus back in the 90s, and was on the first compilation tape my husband made me so many years back when we were teenagers. It always struck me as important.


Don't Forget

When you drink your coffee

Don't forget to add the milk Oh I love coffee and milk When you're eating cereal Don't forget to read the box Oh I love to read the box Don't forget the extra things in life
When you play a record

Don't forget to sing along And get all the lyrics wrong When you're riding the bus Draw faces on the glass And don't forget to wave back to us Don't forget the extra things in life
I love you

When you're going out

Don't forget to tell your friends Oh I love all of my friends When you're close to breaking Please don't forget to bend Oh I love all of my friends When you move away Don't forget to say goodbye Oh I hate to say goodbye When I'm old and lonely I'll still remember you And the stupid things we do Don't forget the extra things in life
I love you

Lyrics by Andy and Tammy © Copyright Rough Trade Publishing 1998

Awww, I feel all soppy now! I think my parents were (still are) both quite good at this. Here's some things they did or still do, I remember them clearly:
- chopping up an apple or orange to eat rather than just biting the whole thing - they did it in different ways so i remember asking for them done 'mummy's way' or 'daddy's way'
- printing out day to day photos and putting them on the wall
- taking photos of me in the same hollow in a tree near my grandparents' house a few times over the years and looking back to see how I grew
- bonfires and red wine at the bottom of the garden (that's sitting with my dad and step mum as a teenager and now, when my brother was little they'd take the baby monitor out with them after he went to bed)
- drops of lavender oil in the bath or on the coals in the sauna we used to go to sometimes
- trips to the ball pool in the carpet store (no indoor play places in those days!)
- flasks of hot ribena
- school packed lunches with carrot sticks and a little film canister of ketchup to dip them in
- pancakes when it's not pancake day

April & Michael said...

I grew up in a very rural area where the houses were small and far apart. When I would visit my grandmother in town she would take me riding in her big car around in the "nice" neighborhoods so I could look at all the big "rich people" houses. I have always loved looking at houses and houseplans since I was little and she was just content to drive me around and drive slow and listen to me "ooh" and "ahhh."

Heather and Eric said...

I have never commented before, but truly love your blog. I love the line about life as an adult being having monotony. I think it's awesome to blankly point that out. To show people that it doesn't mean you are lonely or boring...it's just life as an adult & it's important to add your own flare to spice it up. I recently read The Happiness Project, which talks about this....using the good dishes, etc. Keep up the great stories and thank you for sharing your family.
Heather M. (Wisconsinte recently relocated to Saskatoon, SK Canada)....expecting a baby & relating a lot to your stories of missing your family.

Brooke said...

Moon walks! What a good idea. My kids would love that. I can't wait to try it. Lately we have been making things interesting by eating otter pops-- even though it's February. Nothing brings a smile to my almost 3 year old's face like a popsicle. It's basically heaven in a piece of plastic.

Des said...

We put on the record player and dance to old favorites. A little skip to my Lou and The yellow rose of Texas. Nothing like skipping around the living room like crazy people. The kids think this is the best!
Great post.. I love them!
Thank you..

Life in the 40's said...

Such a true post. Through my children's lives I have worried about the little things I have injected, hoping they catch on as something they will look back on when they are adults and remember that I made it special for them. I worry that I haven't done enough, or I could have done it differently, and always get sweetly surprised when one of them comments on an event/gesture showing me that they have picked up on that extra effort I have made to make it memorable. Just the other other night, Superbowl Sunday, while at the grocery store, my middle child said, "are we having a smorgasbord tonight," and I smiled, realizing, he remembers--began a few years ago, superbowl Sunday dinner consisted of an assortment of snacky, appetizers (probably typical for many homes). But it went a little further while I was laying out the dishes, some made from scratch yummy dishes, and others frozen, ready to bake treats. My son asks, "where's the shrimp," darn, I do typically have steamed shrimp, not sure how I forgot, but maybe it was the idea of making my delicious creamy crab dip that made me forget about other seafood. Then, while filling her plate, my daughter says, "did you get the pound cake for the chocolate?" Ugh! I usually do a fondue tray for the dessert, how could I have forgotten something else I have always added to the affair to make it special. I know one thing for sure, shrimp and fondue will definitely be back on the menu next superbowl.

Amanda said...

"Reframe the mundane.." That is SO my favorite quote of the week Kelle :) And I am SO in agreement!

Christa said...

WWGD? ahh I love it.

Also, totally agree with the red thing. I'm not yet bold enough for the red lipstick, but fully half my shoes are various reds!

cade said...

what a great post!! so glad I have pre-ordered Bloom!! we are just now starting to do "extraordinary" things with our daughter, as she is getting to the best age for it. it is the best part of my days watching her little imagination grow. she drags me in her tent, her tent that is in her room, every day now and pulls me down to lay down and look at the "stahs" {stars} with her. i taught her how to catch one, and i love it when she reaches up and yells out "i got one!!". i love reading about your wonderful girls, and i know you said you weren't angry at that commenter a few posts back, but i just wanted to let you know i am angry enough for the both of us. you've done such a great job raising nella, and i know you will continue to do so in the years to come. i never get tired of reading your posts. ok, sorry this is so long. i hardly ever comment so i had to bunch all of my comments up into one post.

Belinda said...

Love the moon walks, the afternoon swim parties...

1. After a rain storm, there would always be two huge puddles at the end of our driveway. A box of plastic dinosaurs and a lawn chair for Mom and my boys were happy for an hour or so.

2. I loved taking the kids on rainy day walks when there was no thunder. With or without an umbrella... it was just fun.

3. On cold days, I would clean off the bathroom countertop and fill the sink with soapy water. Again, a box of pastic dinosaurs or jungle animals and a stool for my guys, and they were happy.

4. When my daughter would have a guest, they would dress up in Disney Princess costumes (crown, shoes, sceptor AND dress). After careful application of make-up, we would head to the local McDonald's to dine. Many times, the employees would serve the princesses so the royalty wouldn't have to wait in line.

5. When my boys were in school and preschool, I would pack a book, two drinks, a snack and a blanket. My toddler and I would walk to the end of the street and into the woods behind our neighbor's house. We would spread the blanket, lay on our tummies and read and giggle and snuggle until naptime.

6. We would watch Bonanza as a family once a week... all wearing boots, hats and holding toy rifles. Dinner would be something like Hoss Hamburgers and Little Joe Jelly Beans.

Making "ordinary" events "extraordinary" is so worth the time!

booksatthepaperhouse.com said...

The post just knocked my socks off ... my (ahem) RED socks off!

Bravo on another beautiful and inspiring post!

Cheers ~
Devon
Reading with Joey

Heather Lindquist said...

This is one of my favorite posts! Thanks for inspiring me to step out from under ths grey cloud I've been standing under lately, I needed some kind nudging! My mother was a lot like you....always making something special out of the ordinary, and it's something I want to do for my children too. Some things we like to do to spice up our days lately: going to the beach on cold winter days, taking walks in the rain, and spending an afternoon at the library.

The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Mother said...

Kinda funny...my little unknown blog is called "The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Mother". And that's just what I am...an ordinary mother, who does her best to make my life with my husband and 4 kids extraordinary. I am a working mom...a teacher, who comes home, not as exhausted as I should, but ready for round two of my job...motherhood. I find my extraordinary through the little things like cooking with the kids, crafting/art and yes, lots of singing, dancing and laughing at our house!

Candice said...

You just explained (very eloquently) what I LOVE to do! I enjoy making life extraordinary. Like last week, when I had a long hard week and I just didn't want to put away the large mound of laundry... until, I decided to make a game out of it! I opened the drawer, and tossed the socks in from a few feet away. Boy, that got a lot of giggles out of me as I missed or got it in.

Brandi said...

I love your blog Kelle! I love how you through everything into being a mom to your beautiful girls! I try to make the most of every situation and take time to play with my kids and use our imagination as often as possible! We also love spontaneous trips to a playground or swimpark

motherhoodandotheradventures said...

I feel the exact same way! I always try to make our days special and tune into what my son wants to do, whether it be going to the park on a rainy day and splashing in puddles afterward, pausing to watch the birds while we're out on a walk, or creating holiday craft projects (today we made Valentine's salt dough ornaments). I love being a mom and am always amazed by the people who get "bored" when they're with their own kids. If you focus on your kids you're never bored!

Ashley's Ramblings said...

I take the mundaneness of swimming laps and pretend I am in a fight to save my life. I'm overweight, so really, I am. But, I just imagine that every lap is better than moments spent watching tv where cels could form to give me cancer. Dramatic? Yes. But, it helps me remember why I am swimming and inspires me to, as Dorie says, "just keep swimming!"

Art and Sand said...

The stress is on the (extra)ordinary. It is ...eating dinner every night at the dining room table using cloth napkins and candles...using the "good" dishes every day because every day is a special occasion... fresh flowers on the table... handmade cards addressed in calligraphy...the little things that show you took a little extra time.

Lori said...

Spicing up "ordinary" can be a challenge, my kids love pancakes the size of a quarter each with one chocolate chip melting on top. My husband questions "why?" but I say "why not?"

Lynn Richards said...

LOVE Nella's t-shirt, my daughter would be so excited to have one as well, where did you get it?
Our reframed moments are picnics on the floor, walks with the flash light, and singing to Justin Bieber on the way to school together.
It's harder when they are older (my girl is 17!!) but I'm thankful that we still have the spirit of making things magical in our house!
xo
lynn

Me said...

Maybe I'm just emotional with an under-the-weather babe, but this post made me teary - remembering all that was so special and so loved about my own grandmother. Red shoes were her thing, and one of the last memories I have of her was her noticing my new red shoes and my sad eyes taking in her hospital bed and beeping machines. She told me, "It's impossible to feel blue in red shoes."

This Valentine season, I have started cookie-cuttering my daughter's morning PB toast into 3 hearts. "Howts" are now the first things she asks for in the morning, and I've found I can get her to eat anything on bread by cutting it into "howts".

Elizabeth M. said...

My grandpa used to do this. Toasted bagels with butter and peanut butter cut up into little pieces and served with shrimp forks:) I still can't make bagels that taste as good as those did!

Linda said...

Great post! It made me want to step it up a bit turning ordinary into extraordinary. We love to do window stickers, swim in the bathtub, living room picnics, chocolate-chip heart-shaped pancakes, dressing up in mommy's clothes. The other day it was snowing like crazy- we were actually in the middle of a blizzard-and Lila wanted to play in the snow. We got two little buckets, filled them with snow, and put hats on with their pajamas. Lila and Lexi sat by the front door watching it snow outside, making little "snowmen" inside. They loved it.

Laura @ SpottyOwlDesign said...

Yep, definitely, totally agree.

I don't like to paint by numbers, I like to colour outside the lines ;o)

We have lunch or breakfast in different places (lawn, coffee table, park), cut our toast in different ways, make signs for silly little things.

My family used to do penny hikes on cool summer evenings and I still remember the buzz of excitement nearly 20 yrs later!

Claire @ Scissors Paper Rock said...

Kelle, Have you heard the song: Life Less Ordinary by Carbon Leaf? Head over to my blog coz it's playing on there when you come visit :) It's from the Curious George movie soundtrack & as soon as I heard it when my daughter first watched the movie a few years ago, I fell in love with it.....listen to the lyrics :) This post by you, reminded me of the lyrics in that song :)
Motherhood, adulthood...life in general can be very mundane & repetitive, so finding the beauty in our everyday & making an effort to mix it up & make it special is SOOOOO important! As a stay at home Mummy, I try to make everyday different, full of new experiences or magical memories for my kiddies. You inspire me & a lot of other Mothers to do this Kelle.
AWESOME post full of so much love!
x

Cynthia said...

This is beautiful, Kelle! It gives me so much motivation to be reminded of these simple, yet needed things in our everyday. Plus, your grandmother sounds so much like my own. I admire and look up to her. What wonderful women!

Ali said...

In our house, we are all about dance parties. My two boys (3 & 1) love to dance. I can tell when the babes are getting stir crazy so I step away from the cleaning or cooking or whatever, turn up the tunes and we all let loose! There is something about singing at the top of your lungs and shaking what your mama gave ya that is liberating. And the sounds of my boys giggles when I am dancing with them is priceless.

Jannice said...

We craft! We craft and bake cookies.

I loved reading this tonight!!! Totally needed it! Such an inspiration you are :)

Richlyn said...

My sons and I (4 years and 11months) love putting up our tent in the living room~it turns an ordinary afternoon into a camping adventure. Add comfy blankets and pillows and it even makes nap special!
I also think simply eating outside "dining al fresco" as my son has learned to call it, makes mealtime so much more fun and memorable!
Kids are natural helpers, its just difficult for us adults to have the patience to let them "help". Cooking and cleaning is not only a necessity for the household, but it can become, dare I say it? fun! My son and I play catch with the items as we transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer. Sure it takes for ever but he loves it~
We also love night walks, especially around Christmas with all of the lights~pure bliss. Night swims in the summer are also so fun/special.
The last thing our family does is watch movies outside. We have a projector and we do "movie night" with popcorn and blankets on the grass.
You are so inspirational as a person, mom, and a photographer! I try to do the same in regards to trying to create a memorable and special childhood for my children....

shell said...

You're grandma is wonderful. I sharpen all my favorite pencils and use them to doodle with. The kids and I also ride our bikes to walgreens to buy a treat! It's special and sometimes we stop by my sister's house to tape hearts all over her car. So. Much. FUN.

Rose said...

Afternoon tea parties in the bath are our favourite thing, especially when I've worked a night shift the night before - we take the whole tray up to our tiny bathroom - milk jug, tea pot, vintage cups the lot.
And your Grandma was right about candles - we don't have a fire place but when I remember to keep a candle burning all day long the house feels homelier and warmer.

Much love x

Liane said...

I love how your words inspire me.. The past few weeks I've been struggling with everyday life and finding time to fit everything in but after reading this it has motivated me to find the extra in ordinary!
This morning my 2 year old woke up an hour early, screaming his head off and refusing to go back to sleep.. Instead of feeling frustrated that I'd lost an hours sleep I gathered him up and we had snuggles on the couch.. I decided to swap frustrated for grateful.. Grateful that I've got a little one to snuggle and grateful that I get an extra hour with him!

Then 15 minutes later when he drew all over himself with a marker pen instead of feeling frustrated I decided that I'd just switch the water on to heat and we'd have a Morning Bath instead!

Thank you for everything you do for Mummy's all over the world! xx

medina family said...

ditto to this comment:
"I hope you blog for the rest of your life, because reading your stuff is like never having to finish the best book ever written!"

My grandma was just like your grandma. An amazing generation.

I'm not such an (extra)ordinary mom. But lately, we've been having nightly fires in our fire ring. Gazing at the flames, watching the sparks float up to heaven, being outside together, talking about whatever...that's the life.

New goal: put the extra back in ordinary. Thanks, Kelle.

Becky said...

(@luandboo) Amazing Kelle...I have been reading your blog for just shy of Two years and am terrible at leaving comments but have wanted to with each and every one!!! This one is no different! So inspiring! I come from a line of women who go beyond to make the moment special. I'm so lucky to have experienced it and to now be doing it with my own Babies. I feel like these moments weave magic around all the other bits and hold them all together. Thanks for the inspiration to be intentional!!!! You rock!!!!

Claire said...

Oh how I love this!

Sheebies said...

This post has me reading with tears in my eyes - good tears! I am so touched that others also try to find extraordinary in an ordinary day. I love setting the mood in my house with music and lighting. Wearing red? Magical! My version of wearing red is to put a flower or headband in my hair, wear different (even not-so-appropriate!) shoes to work, bring out a piece of clothing that hasn't seen the light in a looong time. Rediscover well-loved books. Start writing lists in a new pretty notebook. Buy a new pair of earrings. Change it up!

Love it. I am so inspired now to look for ways to bring the extraordinary into mine and my family's life.

Thank you for writing your blog. It is my sweet indulgence during my "me" time when the kids are in bed. Bliss!!!

My Secret Rooms said...

Great! Love it (of course)!!

What do I do?

-I let my boy have surf-party in the tub with a big ole surf board almost as big as the tub... But, boy, does he love it!?!!

-I light the fireplace way too often but, hey - that makes me utterly happy!

-I listen to certain music, close my eyes and pretend I'm in Miami and this I do on a weekly basis, all because it makes me happy, makes me feel glmaorous.

-I have coffee out of my NY-mug, all for the same reason!

-silliest of all: I light every darn candle in the whole house, come Saturday 'cuz I love to walk into a room and find candles burning in there all because it is out of the ordinary and feels special.
Lainey sure says it so well: it's "special". Special is so good!

Yeah, good thing you brought this topic up, 'cuz I'm good at this.
Guess who inspired me?
:-D

jerik said...

Love, love Nella's shirt. Your girls will have so many memories and touchstones in the future when difficulties appear. Wish you were blogging back when my son was small so I would have remembered small things are often best

Lizzy C said...

you are such an incredible inspiring woman xx

Sadhbh said...

When I'm feeling overwhelmed by my (almost 2 year-old) twins - I stop everything put on some music and we have a disco in the kitchen! We often go fairy hunting too. It's so important to have a bit of magic in your life. Gorgeous post Kelle. x

LeShayne said...

Love this reminder how adding a little extra to ordinary is not always that hard! In our house we picnic in the living room, celebrate EVERY holiday (Chinese New Year, Cinco de Mayo, etc), and play pickup baseball afterschool to make magic!

Nykki said...

We have carpet picnics...which basically means there are several blankets down on the floor to have dinner and watch a movie together. The mamas cook and create a fun feast while the big kids set up the scene and watch the babes. The ironic thing is...with 3 dogs and 2 babies the older kids and the mamas end up on the couches away from the chaos that is on the floor below us.

Sophie said...

Wow, I feel totally inspired, thank you Kelle! I want to start thinking more creatively and out of the box about the ordinary to make it extra! I think I'll start with a moon walk tonight! With my kids I often feel inspired by them- like yesterday when I collected my daughter from school she said that we were going to a fairy moon picnic, and I played along, which made the walk home more than just a walk. We also love to light fires and eat toast and cakes on Sunday tea times on our laps around the fire or pretend we are in a rocket or a boat at bedtime under the duvet! xoxox

jenniwaka said...

I'm a recovering 'save-the-good-stuff-for-a-special-day' type personality. Becoming a mom (and a stay-at-home mom) has done wonders for me in this regard. Now I do things like put my little girl in a fancy dress just because, decorate our entryway differently for each little holiday, put fruit/crumbled cookies/whipped cream in a wine glass and call it a parfait, etc. You often inspire me to do more, so thank you!

P.S. Not to be a buzz-kill, but your plate is upside down in the first picture. The character that looks like a "greater than" symbol is the first sound of "Ku-ra-i-da-a-ma-n" (how Cryderman would be pronounced in Japanese) :)

pakosta said...

your grandma sounds like a special lady..
LOVE the photos of Nella with the hose!
I love your ability to play, be a kid and bring out the best for your girls. such an inspiration!
tara

Bikini By 30 said...

My husband and I love to order sushi take out. We have a lovely Sushi for Two set a friend gifted us and I love to artfully place take out sushi on it. The small change from plastic containers to sleek sushi plates makes take-out night fancy.

heather said...

i swear your post always want to make me become a better person. instead of telling my son mommys tired or i have to clean we go outside and play past dark or play dress up. i want to make special memories for him too. but those dang disney commercials (that only seem to come on when he's in the room) always kill it. "mommy i want to go to mickey" my response, after the new baby arrives and daddy get back from afghanistan. thanks disney.. but i try to make little trips fun for him while we wait. make things special. thank you for that.

Delgado said...

For my little girl, I need to get better at this- I need to reframe the mundane much more often.

Just last night I took my little one with me to fold laundry- she LOVED shaking out the shirts and passing them to mom. Even giggled when she decided it was much more fun to lay in my lap making folding near impossible. It definitely helped break up a task.

I don't own red shoes- or anything red...it's on my "to do" list for this month- a red accessory or two will be entering my wardrobe soon!

Thank you.

Party of Ten said...

Thanks for the reminder :)

SallyGirl said...

Lovely pictures of your girls, as always. Love that idea of creating your own storm - I don't have kids, but I'd have fun just doing that for myself! Anyway, I like to start my morning with tea in my special Peanuts coffee cup; on the inside rim it says "Life just doesn't get any better than this." Its a great reminder to start the day with!

Emily said...

Love your posts! You are an amazing person!

Creating extraordinary moments consists of letting my son (17 months) have the stage while he is awake. Whatever he plans, that's where we head, and it always ends up making me feel refreshed and energized... to see the world through his eyes. When we are home, all adult things wait until he is asleep.

Meghann said...

When we need a break, I use roadside attraction websites to find some random oddball within an hour or two of our house. We have seen giant chairs, roaring dams, the birthplace of Johnny Appleseed, among many others. That's what I want my daughter to remember when she grows up.

Michelle said...

Breakfast picnics: started when our son was a baby and I'd had so many rough nights with a backwards sleeping baby (day=sleep, night=awake). One morning my husband said lets go. Go where? Anywhere, he said. We put the sleeping baby in the car, hit the convenience store, got doughnuts and really bad coffee, and drove to a park high up on the bluffs. Sitting on the damp grass, watching the ocean, breathing the fresh morning air, made all the difference to me. We've continued breakfast picnics through the years, a spur of the moment-any day of the week-got an urge to breath deep-moment and I hope it's a memory our children carry in their hearts. I know I do.

Kelly Jo said...

Love your blog, love your posts, Love your family!!! You are so inspiring to me and many others as well!! On Friday nights my husband takes our son Coon hunting!! Yes Coon hunting, the boy loves it, so that is all that matters and my daughter and I lay on the couch and watch movies while they are gone! She is 4 and always ask when movie night is! We also build forts out of quilts and chairs!

Shea Family said...

Love your blog. REALLY love this post. As a mother of a 1, 3, and 5 year old it is easy to get caught up in the stress of it all rather than the simple joy. It is always amazing to see how something so little can light up my kids faces. That is what is amazing, it doesn't take much to excite and inspire a child. All it takes is a little effort and imagination. Thank you for the inspiring words, yet again.

Anne said...

The patchwork shorts Lainey is wearing in the storm photos... They are extraordinary! Where did you get them?

The Pagnozzi Post said...

Your blog makes me smile everyday! Thanks so much for sharing!

{annie_loo} said...

Dang it. You have the answer for everything! It truly is finding the LITTLE THINGS. And I love it! You are such an inspiration!!!! Keep up the good work momma!

Runningmama said...

I loved this post, it reminded me of my own grandma who eats her breakfast every single morning off of fine china (the really, really expensive kind!). We love having carpet picnics for lunch...it is super messy but the kids love it and it's so easy!

PeggyMomma said...

I seem to have alot of regrets from raising my 2 "kids". Since they are now 28 & 25 I guess I can change that allll around once I am blessed with Grandbabies?! When my kids were small, I felt mostly like just getting thru the day was an accomplishment. I have tons more patience now and with blogs like yours to read, I am more inspired. I just worry that maybe they, too, feel like they had a boring childhood. I sure hope not! My Grandma was special, too! She seemed old ever since I met her, but we DID hang out alot it seems. My Mom is the youngest of 9, so maybe Grandma WAS old from day one :) We would drink tea together, gather eggs from the chicken coop, have "TV" dinners and eat them while watching her idol, Lawrence Welk. She had a pickle fork that she used for EVERYTHING. Later I learned that it was a wedding gift to her (she was married in 1910!). I cried when she gave it to me years later. I still use that pickle fork alot - and you know that I think of her every time I pull it out of the drawer.
Love, love, LOVE your blogs Kelle!

The Dimas Family said...

What is it about grandparents and those little special dishes that just feels so special? I used to make pudding with my Granddaddy and we would get to eat it in the special glass dishes- on trays in their back room which was so thrilling! And she used to give us Yoohoo, but we had to split it 50/50 with real milk :) I'll be they never thought that was a big deal. I can' think of anything like this that I currently do... but I bet my kids would be able to list some in a few years. You just never know :)

Lovely post. A beautiful reminder that even the slightest little addition to a day can mean a special lifelong memory.

Alicia said...

I love your grandma's comment "A candle is a poor mans fireplace." its my current facebok status.
And I love how your grandma did the same for you as mine has done for me. She is absolutley my favorite person in the whole world. We had dinner with her last night, just because she felt like makeing a new recipe that would feed an army. So without hesitation, I comitted us to dinner with her. It was so nice, and relaxing, and awesome. Just to hang out with her for 1 night

Julia said...

Loved today's post.

Lindsay said...

I LOVE this post! You have inspired me to push past my feelings of tiredness and create a special moment for my girls. You are so right- the more I think about it, it is the small things in life my girls enjoy most. Thank you for reminding me of this!

Jill said...

I love your Hallmark posts and glad you are continuing to work with them.

I know I have mentioned before -- I worked at the Hallmark headquarters (in KC) for almost 10 years. They were a fantastic company to work for! When our daughter, Lexi, "surprised" us with having Down syndrome, Hallmark (as a company) and co-workers were extremely supportive. I was allowed to extend my maternity leave longer than planned to deal with Lexi's medical issues and appointments.I worked a fabulous flex schedule which granted me the time to attend Lexi's therapy sessions with her in the mornings before I dropped her off at daycare. Then, at 9 months, when Lexi needed open heart surgery, I was allowed a leave of absence and to work for home as needed. When I decided a part-time work schedule would work best, they worked with me once again to find the perfect position in which I could work from home!

Anywhoo, all this rambling to say....we are so thankful that Hallmark celebrated Down syndrome with our family and also went out of their way to make sure we I found the perfect work/life balance.

Jill B (Overland Park, KS)

Apey Lee's Homespun Designs said...

My friend sent me your blog and I love it - thank you for your perspective as posted on my blog here: http://apeyleedesigns.blogspot.com/2012/02/live-life-to-fullest.html

1 Plant Strong Mom said...

I try hard not to have life be mundane... But I tell myself I am not less of a mother... if I don't find enjoyment out of everything... I love the pic of you and the moon.
captivating.

kate said...

Just yesterday, my daughter and I were discussing a friend who had called to ask about a book suggestion. I marveled with my daughter at how I couldn't believe having to call someone to hear about a certain type of book. My own daughter reads CONSTANTLY, and, of course, had 6 titles at the ready when asked. My daughter smiled at me and replied: "Mom, she wasn't read to as a child! When I have kids I am going to read to them every night."

OH HAPPY DAY! All those nights of being so tired and wishing, just a little, that I didn't have to read that night, well, they paid off!

At this point in the conversation, I told my daughter: "There are going to be nights when you are tired and reading doesn't seem like something you WANT to do ... but, you know what? You will feel great once you get in there, snuggle with your littles, and enjoy a book together! It will be SO worth it!!"

I can't say I've been the "best" mom ... there are so many things I don't do "right." But I read to my kids EVERY night ... and they are both SO smart and know SO much and have such GREAT vocabularies.

I've been a good mom to MY kids!

Lisa said...

I dance with my girls, to any kind of music. :) There are many more ways I could make myself more extraordinary, but I love that my girls love to dance and will shake their booty to anything!

Sharmaine said...

thank you for writing this and reminding me that the little things can be magical.

Susan said...

Love the post, thank you!!

A lot of our simple things happen outside. Looking at rainbows, tracing around each other with sidewalk chalk, jumping in each other's shadows. My favorite thing that I feel like I invented (ha!) --I have stood outside with the boys waiting for a storm to come. Just before it starts raining we lie (or is it lay?) down on the driveway and stay still while the rain begins saturating the driveway around us. All at once we hop up and look at our "rain people." (It's pretty difficult to get a picture of this, but I think I tried the last time. :)

Lisa said...

Love.This.Post.

I try to make the ordinary more fun...we only use cloth napkins and the girls love picking them out for our meals. We wear tu-tus on our walks and fancy necklaces (mardi gra beads) to fold laundry together. Hot chocolate or tea isn't always served in a leak-proof toddler cup, but in our their choice of mommy or daddy's coffee mugs. Sometimes after baths instead of their Aveeno lotion, they get to use mommy's lotion to lotion up pruney fingers and toes.
I totally needed this post as a reminder to continue with our special traditions and keep coming up with new ideas (their ideas) for other things to bring bigger smiles to their little faces.

Liz C. said...

I love this! In college, my roommates and I would celebrate "Mimosa Mondays" because...we liked them. Every Monday night we would sip on orange juice and champagne- sometimes while doing something fun and sometimes just while doing our homework. But it made every Monday- no matter how crazy or mundane- special.

Daisy said...

my 3 are 15, 13 and 10 and a spontaneous game of hide and seek still hasn't gotten old!

ArtsyMagnet said...

I love that you wear red lipstick. It inspired me to buy a few dark shades to try. Plus, my grandmother always had bright lipstick on and I loved it.

Julie said...

I realize, reading this blog, that I don't do enough of making the ordinary special. I'm inspired to look at the simple things and change them up!

Monique said...

I so wish we lived somewhere it was warmer at night so we could do moon walks. Such a lovely idea. I agree it is the little things we do that are most memorable for our children. Thank you for sharing with us as always.

KWQR said...

At our house we add music... the dishwasher dance party or shakedown shuffle are regular events!
Love your Hallmark posts...
xo
Kate

Heather said...

I've been reading your blog for about a year now. I find inspiration in all of your words but this post really hit home. Thanks for reminding me what's most important :)

cakebake said...

If we have nothing to do on Friday night, we have a "sleepover" in our living room. We carry out 3 twin mattresses (3 kids) and lay them out on the floor (after moving furniture) and we watch movies, play games, eat popcorn or icecream, stay up late, and all snuggle together. We've been doing this for about 7 years now and my 9 and 10 year old still ask for it every Friday when I pick them up. I figure we'll continue to do it as long as they keep asking!

Rik said...

Because the Grandma Kelle speaks of was my mom, I would remember a few more things she did to make the ordinary extraordinary and the mundane magical:

* the dreaded chore of drying dishes beside her was made a happy task simply hearing her say, "I'm thinking of something blue..." and a game was begun.
* the boredom of long sermons at church were transformed to joy when, with no words spoken, she would take two small pieces of paper from her purse, draw a little scribble on each and give one to my brother and one to me and ours was the challenge to make something beautiful out of it. And after all, isn't that really what a visit to God's house should do--make something beautiful out of the scribble of our lives?
* cold mornings were warmed when she put our clothes in the dryer for a few minutes and gave them to us all toasty!
* The assignment of after dinner chores were done in a creative way. She would bake muffins and in one she might put a marascino cherry, in another a walnut, in another a raisin, in another a marshmallow. She had prepared a little key and kept it by her place setting. Dependent on what you found in your muffin determined what you had to do after--like clear the table, wash, dry the dishes...or sometimes nothing at all!

Yes, simple things can be spectacular.

--Poppa Rik

Andrea said...

That was a beautiful post and describes exactly how I want to live life. One of my favorite traditions is after Christmas the kids help un-decorate the tree, and then have an indoor campout next to it. Some times we have a movie theater in our house, and the kids make tickets and everything. Also, when I'm washing the floors I put all the chairs in another room, and the kids arrange them to play bus and they take turns being the driver.

Just Glory said...

We like to walk to the elementary school in our neighborhood just before school lets out because there's an ice cream man with a push cart who has THE best popsicles (even if we already have some in our own freezer).

We also like to go every once in a while to the candy shop in town that has a REAL soda fountain and let the kids get candy, ice cream, AND soda all in the same day.

Sometimes just walking the dogs in the rain with umbrellas is extraordinary to my youngest daughter.

We paint toenails and curl our hair for no reason.

And we drink apple juice out of fancy wine glasses.

Natalie said...

I love this post and do my best to live it's message every day. I work full time, so the time I have to spend with my children is precious. One of our favorites is to have "Dinner on the grass" aka, picnic in the backyard. It's usually nothing fancy, but something about eating sandwiches, grapes, and cheese on a well worn blanket in your own back yard is sort of magical.

jennyfreckles said...

I had such fun reading this - wish I'd done more for my girl when she was little to make things extra-ordinary. Now I have a grand-daughter so it's not too late!

Kelly Cach said...

Uh oh! I'm feeling the need to use a lot of words.........

*The image of your Grandma is just PRECIOUS!

*The pics of the girls & their rainstorm...ACK! Too much cuteness!

*I also have pics of my boys scuba diving in the tub...in the middle of a scorching summer, complete with snorkel, mask, & fins!

*Every Saturday we have available, my husband makes Dutch Babies, German Apple Pancakes, or Swedish Pancakes with our boys....and they all wear chef hats & aprons :)

*During the winter I usually try and make a trip out to our local State Park. If it's good weather, I pack snacks & hot chocolate, pick the boys up from school, and head out to choose our picnic table for homework. Which is exactly what we got to do just yesterday! It was beautiful and sunny & the boys got to run around! Good thing we did it then.....it's back to extremely chilly weather today...Brrrrrr!

*And just one more: We've designated Friday as "Family Night" for NetFlix & popcorn. My hubs & I choose a series from our childhood to introduce to our kids. So far, we've made it through Daniel Boone, The Hardy Boys, and The Brady Bunch, and right now we're in the middle of The Six Million Dollar Man!!!! Hahaha....so much fun!

Reading back through this makes it sound like we're always having fun.....so not true, but we try to fit it in whenever we remember to....even if it's decorating a bowl of oatmeal :)

Erin Beaudette said...

We have family camp outs in the livingroom! We set up the hide-a-bed (which is perfectly placed in front of the TV), watch a movie while eating popcorn and then all sleep in the livingroom. We all sleep on the floor in our sleeping bags. My girls love our spontaneous camp outs (in Montana those are required to be indoors this time of year :)

idiosyncraticeye said...

It's all about perspective isn't it? And actually accepting to find satisfaction and even contentment in our lives rather than always trying to find that mysterious something more, something better. I want to take a moon walk! :)

Mama Mel said...

"...she found such contentment in the ordinary--folding laundry, making sandwiches..." ME TOO!
It is so cold here right now, today's high is 35 degrees, so we don't spend very much time outside each day. To enliven the day we head up to my bedroom each evening for our daily after-dinner dance party. Both girls (ages 1 1/2 and almost 4) boogie across the room with us, sometimes in the dark and we wave flashlights around.

Car T said...

This post inspired me. The boys and I usually eat our after school snack at the kitchen table every day. Today I made it special (per your post) and got out our picnic blanket for a "snack picnic." I packed our snacks in a lunchbox to make it easy to move and clean up. My son got home from school and was a bit grouchy. When I told him we were having a snack picnic and he could choose anywhere in the house to lay down our blanket his mood changed in a snap from grouchy to happy. So cool!! We agreed that we will all take turns choosing which room in the house for our after school snack picnics. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ali's Mom said...

Great to hear some more stories from you Poppa Rik - your mother sounds truly extraordinary! Thanks for the beautiful post Kelle - you really do inspire! LOVE the new header!

tatì said...

I am a brand new reader of your blog. I simply love it! thank you for make me thinking about my ordinary/extraordinary days. You are right. Every day has something special. One of these is when we simply order a pizza and have a family chat . Love it !
thank you again and BTW I would love to meet a person as your grandma was.

The McNelis Family said...

The post is beautifully written, however,I LOVE your new February header! As the mom of three girls I love the display of sisterly affection. Your girls are BEAUTIFUL!

KyrBeth said...

Love this post, Kelle! LOVE the red shoes picture! I wear my wedding day pearls with my jeans... Makes normal mommy days extra special. Also, we let our toddler eat on our best dishes. They're there to be used and what's not special about our sweet little family? I completely understand your grandmother. My mom has taught me the same things. Always treat your family like they're royalty... why wait for guests? It comes very naturally now, once ingrained.

Mrs. B said...

What beautiful words ...

So many memories came flooding through during this post.

Whenever we would go visit my Grami she always hid a tiny trinket under our pillows the first night we stayed there - it was always SO exciting to discover...
She would open her closet and dress my little sister and I in "princess/fairy" costumes made from her collection of scarves ...
We would play "beauty parlor" and she would exhibit incredible patience as we dolled her up in her own makeup and hair accessories ...
We had shampoo hairstyle contests in the bathtub ...
Plastic colored ice cubes made every drink at her house that much more special ...
After decorating the Christmas tree every year, my parents, little sister, and I would have a "slumber party" underneath it and fall asleep enjoying all the decorations ...
We had a special music for our Friday cleaning chores...
Special weekend candles on the dining room table ...

So many more happy memories ... Thank you for your lovely post!

Suzanne Loveland said...

I always love reading your posts Kelle but this would have to be my new favourite! Has really got me thinking about how I can (and already do!!) make things special and extraordinary each day.

Suzanne Loveland said...

I always love reading your posts Kelle but this would have to be my new favourite! Has really got me thinking about how I can (and already do!!) make things special and extraordinary each day.

Kristi said...

I stay at home with my girls (ages 1 and 2) and constantly try to mix it up. Thanks to you and everyone who posted their awesome ideas! Here are some of the things we do:

-juice boxes in the tub (no clean up after the inevitable squeeze!)

-umbrellas and rain boots in the shower

-bought 200 ball pit balls, threw them in a huge box, and put it at the bottom of a slide

-have a parade with pull toys and throw fruit snacks at the kids

-fill a plastic tote with water, get out some bath toys, and play with it on the kitchen floor

-poor 10 pounds of rice into a plastic tote, get out your sand toys and dig

-read to them under the covers with a flashlight

-bring your plastic tea set to a restaurant and have a tea party while you wait for your food

-warm up pajamas and blankets in the dryer

-special breakfasts out with daddy (gives me 2 hours to myself, and the three of them some good dad time)

-when our daughter was REALLY into salting our food, we let her take the salt shaker outside. She salted all of our bushes and the driveway.
(the plants survived!)

-I will randomly buy a cake at the store, look up famous people's birthdays for that day, light birthday candles, and sing happy birthday to the lucky stranger.

Yes, some of these are weird, but not ONE was unappreciated!

homeiswhatyoumakeit said...

Oh, how I love this post. I try to make things extraordinary for my kids.
Special...like going to IKEA today, and while we waited for it to open we watched the airplanes fly overhead...I even let them climb all oner the display furniture, push the wobbly carts, and climb in the beds...that's what they are there for, right?
Sometimes, the most important thing is to forget about "what the other people will think"...yeah, my kids were crazy, but IKEA is a big place and there is plenty of room for fun!
We also have picnics in their playhouse, color new scenery on our outdoor chalkboard, make our own rain showers, leave christmas lights and birthday decorations up way past the holidays...
and, one of my favorites from Christmas was to make a fort we left up for days...and one day during nap time some elves came and put up twinkle lights in the fort!
some of our photos from last week are here...
http://homeiswhatyoumakeit.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/photos-from-mi-phone/
thanks for sharing!!
you are always inspiring...

Denise said...

Awe, Kellee, you have done it again! I love this post. Every word, so very true. I loved the plate with your name in Japanese. . . so cool! I am a teacher and try to avoid the monotonous and mundane. Some of the things I do to keep ordinary away can transform a normal school day into something that boys and girls will remember forever. . . I know this to be true because I am old enough now to have them come back and say. . . "Remember when you made us pretend like we had no electricity for the entire day and gave each of us a candle by which to do our classwork?" I think my favorite thing to do to keep away the ordinary is to have my students take their shoes off and chew bubble gum. So simple but so unordinary! I love traditions and memories!

gina said...

CAN I GET AN AMEN, SISTA!!

Hallmark, you did well choosing Kelle. She speaks the truth, the most beautiful and indeniable aspects of truth. And Kelle you get a virtual high-five from me. Moon walk is genius, and I'm stealing it.

Our tradition? A word-of-the day. We learn it, we tell a story about it and we draw about it. And I get to keep the evidence forever :)

http://miabellavida.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-of-living-dead.html

Ingrid said...

love this post Kelle!

I light incense, burn essential oils, light a candle.

Rachel said...

http://thebaxternews.blogspot.com/2012/02/pressing-restart-button.html
This was our ordinary to extraordinary the other day:)
Thanks for your inspiration and encouragement as always!

RobandKathy Gandy said...

A shoe salesman in our town used to say, "Red shoes ALWAYS fit!". He was right! They simply MUST fit!! ;o)

Jennifer said...

I wake up and make a quick batch of muffins each morning for school lunches. And they never know flavour they will be.

My teenagers bring home new muffin suggestions from kids at school who I don't even know. And I always send an extra muffin in for that kid when I make their choice.

Inspiração Inesperada said...

What an inspirational post... I definitely need to put more extra in my ordinary :)

Leisa said...

When my babies were littles and I was at wits end, I would loudly say, "You know what time it is?!?!" And all three of us would scream "SNUGGLE TIME!!" and run waving our arms like lunatics, screaming "YEA!!" and pile on top of my and my husband's bed. We'd grab the soft blanket I kept across the bottom of the bed and cover up, including our heads. We'd giggle and snuggle for few minutes. I can still remember the feel of their sweet little bodies smooshed up next to me, the smell of their baby shampooed hair, and the air inside of our little cocoon slowly growing warmer from our breath. My kids are teenagers now, and they still sometimes talk about how much they loved "Snuggle Time."

Melissa said...

We play Super Spy in the grocery store....sometimes we even bring Walkie Talkies and have code names.

We build small forts in Gracie's bedroom and do our bedtime routine in the tent.

We pull out the telescope and look at the stars and moon.

We have dance parties. Grace got a colorful disco ball for Christmas. We turn off the lights, turn on the disco ball and crank up the music.

We bake a lot. Easy stuff. But it's all stuff she can help with so it makes it all the more fun.

We go on lots of trail walks through the woods in the spring, fall and summer and collect everything that might be a "treasure."

We throw pretend birthday parties for each other. Eat fake cake. Open fake presents. Balloons, streamers and party guests (aka all of Gracie's stuffed animals)....

Grace marries her daddy on a regular basis. They both get dressed up. Walk down the isle. Exchange rings, kiss and have their first dance.

Family game time at Starbucks. We bring board games and card games, order drinks and sit for hours having fun!

Sam said...

I know I'm a bit late on comment on this post, but we love to have candle lit dinners… it even makes those nights of PB&J's special. Everyone is more quiet yet, talkative at the same time… one of my favorites.

Emily said...

Kelle, will you please do your loyal readers a solid and make a post of your entire list of "special-but-ordinary" day brighteners? Pretty please?? :)

I love these kinds of things and try to incorporate as many as I can in our days. (Esp. in these long, cold months.)I have several lists pinned on Pinterest full of these and always love hearing other mommas' ideas.

Ours include: library trips, walks, puddle jumping, colorful baths, baking, going to pick out donuts, living room picnics, making art projects out of nothing, dance parties, fort building...

Manda Lytle said...

Wow. That's all I could say after reading this post.

I am not sure what I personally do to reframe a mundane day but I do know that I try my hardest to make sure that my son goes to bed happy and knowing that we love him (me & his daddy).

:D

nightwillow said...

I wonder how much Hallmark pays you to spew out sugar sweet bullshit on your blog. It's sickening and your site has become nothing but a big advertisement for them and every single company on Esty that sends you a box of free shit.

swimjimspha said...

Love the new pic of Lainey and Nella in the menu bar - super sweet!

Jason & Cynthia said...

Beautiful! My grandmother and mom also always used special little dishes for everyday occasions. Also, my mom was always making up stories on our walks about fairies, elves, or other fun little characters that would make each day magical.

Abby said...

My five month old is young yet for big adventures, but tonight, after nursing and then just cradling her sleepy self in my arms... I saw the beginnings of a sleepy smile when I kissed her little fingers.

And instead of just packing her off to bed and starting on my to do list... I kissed her hand again and again, with loud smacking noises, bringing bigger and bigger grins. Until she lurched up into a sitting position, ready to play.

I lifted her to stand, and it was like a scene from a bad Harlequin romance... she grasped my face passionately with both hands, leaned in gently, her open mouth seeking mine... and then I burst out laughing, and her tiny (nearly) toothless gums curved into a smile.

Bedtime delayed for kissing practice.

That's what made my day.

Isabella's Mommy.... said...

Lately, I've been thinking about this very thing. I so very much want to make wonderful memories for my little one and I sometimes feel like I fall short of that. Either I'm too tired, or just not present, but I am determined to change this and live in the moment & try to make it something special. Thanks for your post, it's exactly what I needed. ;-)

Jennifer said...

I love your blog - - you've inspired me to do more for my child, like your moon walks!

Stragoz said...

I do handcrafts when I want to make life more extraordinary, I also like to take pictures of strangers on their every day activities. It's not stalking, it's fun!
http://engallophotography.blogspot.com/

Katie said...

Thanks for the reminder of making ordinary things "special" for the kiddos! I absolutely hate this time of year as it's cold and we're indoors more than I care for. For the kids though, it's about the little stuff but it becomes big to them. You constantly inspire me...thank you :)

Jessica said...

That little girl is so cute!!!!!!!

Bananagirl75 said...

For me, whose not a mommy [but I'm the BEST Aunty Anna around], just having my favorite little neices sit in my bathroom and talk to me in the morning while I get ready to go to work (you know, when they come to visit). The questions about "why does your hair stuff smell different than mine?", "will you put my hair up like yours?", and "are you staying home today?" are a sweet reminder of how special the mundane can really be:-) Thanks KH!

Kate Giovinco Photography said...

Picnics in the living room, going out for ice cream in PJ's after bed time, movie camp outs in the living room with popcorn and m&m's.

Lots of extraordinary in the ordinary.

Unknown said...

My friends and I leave little notes in each other's lockers a few times a week before school. It brightens up our days.