Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Last Day

After three weeks away and over 4,000 miles worn on our tire treads, we are now only three hours away from home. That’s three weeks times 4,000 miles plus three hours equals—well, crackers. Crackers everywhere in our car. Smashed into the carpet, buried under car seat fabric, wedged into the plastic grooves of floor mats. We’ve exhausted all road trip games, we’re all ready to be home, and all cries are now answered simply with “Here, have some crackers.”

We’re already talking about how we’re going do the whole walking into the house thing. We’ve been driving six hours, we’re bored, we needed something to talk about.

“I say we don’t carry anything in. We get the girls and go inside and celebrate,” Brett suggests.

“Ooooh—good idea,” I applaud him.

“And let’s video tape it. I think the girls are going to be so excited to be home. It’s going to be awesome.”

I love that he says this.

I’ve never been very good at ending happy events like holidays and vacations, but it’s easy when you slide from happy vacation to happy home. From Chicago adventures and book signings to hammock naps, dune climbs and lake wading, I’ve been deprogrammed, ready to reestablish our home routines step by step—most familiar and well-established but some new, inspired by travel.

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Playing in the city creek at sunset in Chattanooga last night.

The thing I love most about visiting other people and places is witnessing the wonder of differentiated cultures and learning new things—routines and methods that are interesting, most of which are different from ours and shed light on how wonderful it is to be unique and how fascinating different ways of living truly are. I like to see the way people organize their homes, how they relax, how they make time for family, how they experience adventure. I like to see how towns exist and function—what shops are thriving, how they are designed and decorated. Some of the things we learn and see, we take home and implement in our own home. And they can be as simple as falling in love with my friend Rebecca’s wood salt box that her grandpa made her and deciding a homemade wood salt box is a very charming thing to have in a kitchen indeed.

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There's something cozy about giving my girls a bath in someone else's home. I always love it when my friends' kids all climb in our tub. It's very "Mi Casa es su Casa."

The last days of our trip were spent in Carmel, Indiana and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

In Carmel, we reunited with my friend Rebecca and her husband John, who graciously opened their beautiful home to us.

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Lainey's knee-patch leggings, The Measure

Nella liked the carpet so much, she fell asleep on the stairs. She slept there for two hours.

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Downtown Carmel afternoon:

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And last night, we stopped in Chattanooga for sunset and dinner before driving on to Macon, Georgia to sleep off the driving hours.

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Chiseled right into the cement of downtown sidewalks, in front of the Tennessee Aquarium, is a pebbly shallow stream where kids gather in the heat of summer. It curves and staggers into mini waterfalls and calls for little ones to drench their clothes—even if they have no back-up outfits.

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Even if there're no more diapers.

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The Tennessee River sidles right up next to downtown Chattanooga, and the Smoky Mountains rest stately in the background—the grand combination providing an epic place to watch the sun set.

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We did just that, and it was one of those moments—one of many on this vacation—where I stood in awe, in gratitude, in perfect contentment. “I’m so happy to be right here, right now,” I thought.

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Ice cream topped off the evening.

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As well as the sounds of bands that loudly echoed into the streets from bars that were crowded with summer enthusiasts.

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*****

This week's Friday Photo Dump:

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Friday Phone Dump photos are taken on the Instagram iPhone app (free) and dropped into a 12x12 collage using a photo editing software (Photoshop Elements works). I am @etst (enjoying the small things) on Instagram if you care to follow the feed.


And your #enjoyingthesmallthings photos. (If you use Instagram and have a photo that makes you happy, share it by using the hashtag #enjoyingthesmallthings. Yours may be chosen to be shared in a Friday post.)

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*****

And now, I’m publishing this from home, settled in for only an hour but so ready to continue sinking back into our space this weekend.

This is my last vacation post--so bittersweet. What a trip this has been. My girls were so wonderful. Cooperative on the long drive. Fascinated with new places just like I dreamed they’d be. There were a lot of "wow"s.

Find ways to be fascinated. “Wow” is always such a wonderful word to say. And these past three weeks have been just that.

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Wow.

The last day of our vacation, the first day of our summer at home.

121 comments:

April Vernon said...

And I know that you will find many ways to make your summer at home as "wow" as your vacation was! Welcome home!

Ashley said...

ok, seriously love that last picture! Oh to be such a free spirit! Good to hear you had such a good time!

Hinz fam said...

Sounds like you and your family had a beautiful trip. Thank you for stopping and taking time for the book signings :) it made my day to meet you. Welcome home!

Sarah said...

Nella's biscuts are a great way to say WOW to the start of summer! Glad you had a great trip! Can't wait to see what kind of things all that inspiration and recharging bring forward for you to share with us!

Delhibound said...

you did NOT post her naked arse ...

happy that you're happy to be happy where you are ...

acmeorange said...

I lived in Chattanooga for a few years. I was fresh outta college and starting my career. My heart still yearns for that small town city. I'm just sad I never had the confidence to pull a Nella down by the river. Also, if you ever find yourself back in the 'Noog, go get ice cream at Clumpies. Do it!

Janine said...

LOVE the nakie bootie pic of Nella! I feel like we've had similar experiences this week-your Nella diaper-less in TN, my Ellie getting her diaper changed while hiding out in the middle of an apple orchard while the rest of the family was picking raspberries and blueberries today!

Lia said...

What a cute bum. Welcome home Hampton family.

Christie said...

Welcome Home!!

Jen said...

Feels like i went with you... Sorta. Thanks for the quasi-vacay!!

Jillian22 said...

Glad you made it back safely! I think it's wonderful that you work so hard to give the girls- as well as yourselves- such wonderful memories.

Debbie said...

Still thinkin' about that cop in ALL LEATHER....hot in more ways than one, just sayin'

Aimee Lopez said...

Ok, that last picture made my husband and I laugh so hard. What a pose, haha! I also love the one of both girls eating at the little metal table - excited faces and Nella's pointed toes!

Amy said...

Going home is just as nice as going away. I'm glad you all had so much fun! And, I gotta say, that last pic: priceless! =)

Mrs.Joyner said...

Firstly..I am SO sad that you were only 20 minutes from me in Carmel, it's like the coolest celebrity was in our great state =)

Secondly, you buy the river w/your hair down in the green jeans, carrying Nella, you look smokin hot..not at all like you've been traveling all day.

Thirdly..Ending the post w/Nella's nekkid bum is fantastic. Thanks for the pics and for FINALLY convincing me to visit the water & beaches of "Pure Michigan" My mom has been pushing this for YEARS.

Roy_Lisa said...

Perfect last picture to convey you're at the 'tail end' of your epic family vacation!

Monique said...

Welcome home Hamptons!! Thanks for taking us along for the ride. Your stories and gorgeous photos of your vacation were full of love and amazing family adventures!! Happy summer days to you!!

Monique

precious little bum cheeks...

glutenfreehappytummy.com said...

welcome home! i'm glad you had a wonderful trip! what a beautiful place to watch the sunset! gorgeous photos!

Little for a Little While said...

Welcome home!

MommaMitchell said...

WOW! What a sweet, sweet family you have! Just WOW!

Angela said...

I cannot even say how much I've enjoyed this road trip via your blog and IG feed!!! Sublime. Thanks for including me in your IG phone dump! To say that you have helped me to enjoy the small things would be an understatement. Keep on keepin on, kelle. You rock!

dig this chick said...

Wow! Yes. So fun to follow along on your holiday. It makes me look forward to something similar with my family...just as soon as we finish our home remodel and move in...hmm. Maybe we should just go tomorrow?!

Victoria said...

wow! love it all :)

that little naked butt photo is pretty darn sweet and hilarious!

enjoy your weekend at home and rest up for more Summer adventures!

thanks for always sharing!

melissa said...

LOVE your first paragraph - hilarious and accurate! Cute, Cute hiny Nella! And in Friday's phone dump, you and Lainey look so much alike. Thanks for sharing the fun and the not-so-fun-made-fun.
Goodnight from Tejas,
Melissa

Rachael said...

ooommmggg....that last booty picture is so freaking cute! welcome home...vacations are always awesome but the feeling of coming home can never be replaced!

maryanne said...

Not to be shallow or anything, but how the hell do you manage to look so pulled-together and fashionably cool all the damn time, especially when you are on vacation in different places all the time? I am in awe.

Love is all you need said...

That little tush!

Babs said...

I loved Nella's naked on the river sunset! Glad you're home; sorry I missed you in Carmel yesterday...but I don't have my copy of Bloom right now anyway...sharing is caring, and I finished it quickly. And you weren't there to sign books anyway (but I probably would've asked.)Happy homecoming!

meghan said...

I loved this post. I'm from Chattanooga and grew up there, and now I live in Tampa and am getting married here to someone from here so I'll probably stay here (here...). Reading your post about Chattanooga and seeing that little city through someone else's eyes made me realize how much I really do miss it. I grew up on one of the mountains that you see from downtown. Almost where the sun is setting in that one picture. Hope you enjoyed! Carmel looks cute too. The statues look like a lot of fun hanging out around the city.

Katy said...

You have me so inspired to take a long trip with my family! Looks like you had an amazing time :)

Rachel said...

These are some of my favorite pics that I've seen on your site. Just beautiful, Kelle. Thank you for sharing your talent with us. Looks like a wonderful vacation!

Hazel said...

I've loved your holiday posts, welcome back home. Thanks for making me fall in love with your country. Michigan, Georgia, Chicago. Love the Brett had the perfect way to end your holiday sorted.

Carrie Scharf said...

Lovely pics! ! Looks like so much fun!

justadrienne said...

You have the most gorgeous girls ever!

heather said...

Welcome home! I loved following you on vacation. Felt like we all got away these past 3 weeks. I love the crackers everywhere comment. So true. After so many hours no one cares about the damn magnet dolls. This is a trip you all will always remember. Three weeks away together is a dream. One year, I hope to rent a cabin far away somewhere (like South America) and spend a few months of summer away from all the usual busy stuff that takes up our time.
xoxo

Grammy Braxton said...

Love the last pic of Nella's cute little bum. Your girls are the cutest things and I so enjoy all your posts about them and your family. Great posts of your vacation. I thoroughly enjoyed them. I live about 2 hrs northeast of Chattanooga and have always enjoyed that town. Welcome home!

Meagan Kenney said...

Oh, I love TN! My parents grew up there and we go back every now and again. It seems like such a wonderful place to raise a family. Glad you're home safe and sound Kelle! Hopefully you don't have TOO much laundry to do. That's always my downfall after a vacation...

Reenie said...

Oh my gracious....I was going to say my fav pics this time were ~ Brett and the girls holding Nella and holding Lainey's hand; and you and Nella, the one with you looking down.....but the end pic....oh so cute!!!

I'm glad you had a fantastic vacation~ but you're right ~ it's oh so good to be home.

Thx for taking us along for the ride =)

anne. said...

Oh, what a beautiful vacation it was! You inspire me to take a vacation with my sweet husband, and just set out on the open road and see where life takes us. I am encouraged to live my life with my gratitude and more wonder in the world when I read your posts, so thank you. Life can be so troubling and so down sometimes, but we can make it a bit brighter if we choose to. And I want to choose to. You rock, Kelle!

Rebekah said...

One part of my current vacation is coming to an end, the other just beginning. I am going to miss spending time with my family so much, but this post is perfect to launch me into my 30 days of exploration of the west.

Rebekah said...
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Kelly Sheehy said...

What a wonderful holiday! Gorgeous pictures! I hope you're enjoying the cozy feeling of being home again! :)

Heather said...

A - freaken M E N !!! :)

Life with Kaishon said...

Wow is a wonderful word to say for certain : )
I am so glad your trip was filled with wows!

Lacy Hope said...

I just made my husband jump a mile, when I screamed, "They were in Chattanooga!" haha We were out for a date night last night in Chattanooga. We live an hour south off I59 around the Fort Payne, AL area. There's not much to do around here, so we always make the hour drive when we get a night out without the kids. How awesome it would've been if we had ran into y'all! I would love to meet you, Brett, and the kids. You guys are like celebrities now. :)

Virginnia Elaine said...

Your daughters are so precious. They are beautiful.

Liane said...

After three weeks away I imagine your eager to get back to some normal routines!! Love that Nella fell asleep on the stairs! So cute :)

Welcome home xx

Glenda Quiring said...

oh, I can say "wow" too.
so so good to see Chattanooga.
i recognized it from the first photo.
my grandkids live there, I went to college there, my three kids went to college there, my step son went to college there, my step son and his lovely wife ( the ones with the grandkids) live there.
i can hardly wait to get back.
thanks for sharing.
your trip brought back such warm memories of our family trips across the states to some of those places.
love seeing all the photos.

Amber said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous bottom, Nella-girl!! xx

Claire said...

Oh, your posts give me the happy sighs! Jealous of all the sunshine - grey and gloomy here in London!

Baby Momma said...

This post warms my heart and made my cry. My husband is in the military and our time in chattanooga was priceless. Seeing those memories through you now that we have moved North was precious. Thank you for sharing and always inspiring!

Tonya said...

Your vacation was so sweet! What a memorable experience for your girls! I love their little outfits! I also love going to people's homes and figuring out how they live in them...

Hazel said...

I'm back, the last photo didn't show up the first time I read this post. Oh Nella, you made us both smile. Love the photo of her asleep on the carpet too. Such gorgeous girls you two have.

Ági said...

Nella is so cute with the Mickey mouse tattoo. :) It's really fit for her. Like a little rebel. :D And the last picture is hilarious!

genderist said...

Welcome back home!

I, too, love friends in our bathtub - mine in theirs. And we always take pictures. Important things must be documented, as you well know.

The bare bottom in the last picture was priceless.

Never heard such a nice review for Chattavegas. Glad you found the perfect spot(s) for some needed play time.

Kelly said...

Really loved following your road trip and all of the wonderful memories you made! We leave for our roadtrip tomorrow!!! Virginia to Massachusetts, a 4 & 5 year old and a packed full car!

Hannah said...

It's so great to see Chattanooga through the eyes of a visitor. I was just downtown on the riverfront last night, sitting outside a restaurant, admiring the beautiful pink sunset. I've grown up in Chattanooga, and it wasn't until recently that I've realized that this is a pretty awesome place to live! Thank you for sharing your trip and your life with us. Love reading your blog!

Hannah said...

It's so great to see Chattanooga through the eyes of a visitor. I was just downtown on the riverfront last night, sitting outside a restaurant, admiring the beautiful pink sunset. I've grown up in Chattanooga, and it wasn't until recently that I've realized that this is a pretty awesome place to live! Thank you for sharing your trip and your life with us. Love reading your blog!

Debby said...

What a cute picture of Nella's and her bum, hah.
Love the picture of her nose smashed in the window with her daddy and sister.
The one of Brett and the girls walking is precious.
And you......even making faces, you are so beautiful.

Jennjilla said...

Aww! I love nakkie Nella! Great trip, it almost feels like I went on vacation, too! We are headed to Chicago in a few weeks and I can't wait to experience it for the first time!

Benay said...

Love that last picture. Perfect!

mare ball said...

What beautiful photos! I love the girls' faces against the window in the ice cream shop - just precious. Looks like a wonderful time!

Jamie Campbell said...

love Nella's face all smushy! so cute.

homeiswhatyoumakeit said...

I bet your own bed felt so great!
It was fun to follow you one your adventure.
Also good to know you had some downtime with family and friends...we all need that.
I'm glad you liked my yellow dress...thanks for sharing my photo!
Welcome home.

figwittage said...

lOVE the photos, Kelle! I wish we could find more hidden gems around us. Where to visit, what to eat... I'm always curious about what other states have to offer. I know I make fun of the southern states (hey, it's so easy!) but settling into Atlanta doesn't feel like it. & there are some lovely places to visit in the surrounding states. My heart stills yearns for Wisco though... I've said this many times. So happy you had safe travels and many new lovely memories. xx

Cheryl said...

I love this! My parents are getting home today from a 3 month road trip to see a baseball game in every ball park -they went to that park in Chattanooga on their adventure. We are so excited to see them and I am so happy that my dad got to do this trip that he has dreamed for a long time. I loved seeing your road trip, we used to go when I was a kid and it was so much fun and it is such a great way to see our great country. I am amazed at all the things my parents did on their trip, crossing things off the bucket list - my dad sends weekly e-mail to update everyone and sends pictures - my favorite is the one of him at Lambeau field he looks like a kid - he is living a dream seeing where is favorite foot ball team since he was a kid played - walking where those he admired walked. So happy you had a great time and are home safe!

Karissa Ancell said...

What a great vacation you guys had! I love your blog and the way you write. You have such a joy for life that is so inspiring. I hope to one day have the success from blogging that you have. Enjoy getting back into the routine of being at home. Love all your pictures!

Megs said...

I've loved these vacation posts. When I was in college, my crew team rowed multiple regattas in Chattanooga each year. I grew to know that riverfront and those concrete bleacher steps very well. It's strangely emotional to see your family, whom I've been following for so long, at that same place.

Chante said...

Wow! You are so right. Wow is a great word. I will pay close attention now to the times that deserve a "wow".

Thanks for sharing your vacation with us all.

LoriAngela said...

I almost felt bad to be homesick and happy to be in our home in our beautiful Fraser Valley after a one month trip to Cape Town and Zimbabwe National Parks.
Sometimes I wonder why I leave.
Love the "matching" red gingham outfits. I dressed my son and daughter in complementary clothes and could always find them in a crowd.

Taleia said...

This is gonna sound SO weird and SO stalker-ish, but I was at that very spot in Chattanooga several years ago, with my best friend and her beautiful, beautiful son, whom I love whole-heartedly, and I had that exact same moment of in-the-momentness, being so thankful to just be here, now (and those memories have given me a boost several times since then)... for some reason it made me so happy to see you having so much fun in a place that made me so happy, too. :)

Emily said...

Do tell where you found your awesome typewriter shirt....

kera said...

i live in chatt....i was following you on instagrm the entire night and can i tell you it took much restraint NOT to come stalk you down! do you feel like a celebrity?!! cause you are one to many people!! you hit some greats spots in chattanooga....we love it here! such a great mix of many things!! thanks for the great review!! LOVE your blog....have never commented but i visit here daily!! xxx

Myranda Su said...

You are so blessed to be able to take such a lengthy trip with your beautiful family. I hope you enjoyed my sweet little state of Michigan : ) Oh and Nellas little naked behind in the sun light, how stinking precious!! I love the sentiment about the word wow, so true!

/myrandasu.blogspot.com

Anke said...

I can't believe this, we were in Chattanooga last night, too. It's a wonderful town, isn't it?

likeschocolate said...

I love the last photo! So happy you had a sucessful book tour! Once when we were away and came back to the house my son was so excited to see the cabinets in the house. He kept going over to the cabinet and touching it!

Linda MG in Soquel, CA said...

WOW!, indeed..Sounds like great fun and great family times. I just love you and your family! I, too, love that your husband says the things he does. It's always good to be back home tho, right?? Our oldest dtr and family just left, after a visit. I miss them so, already. We are expecting our fourth grandbaby in November! Yay! ANd I have healed, almost completely, from my awful car wreck, Kelle. Have a great summer! -Linda, Your Blog Mama ~

The Beauty In Me said...

lOOK AT THAT NAKED BUTTT!!!



WWW.STAYYOUNGFOREVER.BLOGSPOT.COM

Amy Cornwell said...

I love those statues in Carmel...the policeman is right in front of our fave restaurant (Bubs). They always get me when we're biking the Monon because I think they're real. I hope you enjoyed my part of the country :) Great to see all of your pictures. Thanks for sharing with us!

Anne Cunningham said...

what is not to love about this posting, every word, every inch, every photo ...

Jodi said...

I live 1/2 hour from Carmel, Indiana and I am moving to Chattanooga, Tennessee in two weeks! What a coincidence... how lovely it would have been to unexpectedly run into you and your precious family! I'm glad you made it safely home!!

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

that pic of the two girls in the tub...AMAZING! The older is slightly out of focus and the younger takes the spot light. Super Special. LOVE IT!!!!!
Rosemary

Charla Liedahl said...

WOW= World Of Wonder! Glad you had a special time away with family and friends.

Meg said...

Well hot damn! You were in Chattanooga, the biggest small town in the world. I'm bornnraised Chattanooga native, and I'll tell you right now: that river passage and water front? sooo-Chattanooga. That's our scene for tourists and locals. Wish I could have met you in person, but just as happy to know that you met Chattanooga and she showed off a little.

Leslie&Michael said...

Awww I love that you were in Chatt. We moved here just a little over a year ago, and we are in love with this town. We live about a mile from the aquarium! I am glad you guys had fun along the river...and like everyone else, the bum picture is by far amazing!

Jane Goergen said...

Glad you could visit Carmel, IN. I grew up in the town next door and still live in Indy. Great town! I've been an avid reader of your blog. Welcome home and I hoped you enjoyed some Hoosier hospitality!

Crystal said...

That last picture is priceless!

And I love the pic of Nella pressing her face against the glass. It looks like she has a big man hand... but really it is Brett's hand holding ice cream. Great shot!

Loved seeing pics of your vacation and your fam.

Mom said...

Kelle, I'm so GLAD I found your blog. Time spent with you is pure joy. You spirit me away to peaceful places and new experiences. I thoroughly enjoy all you have to offer! You have blessed my life in ways you'll never know. Thank you for being you.

SuperMilf said...

Love the pic of Nella's little face smashed against the window while eating her ice cream! SO cute!
What an awesome vacation...can you adpot me please??
*Jazzmine*

Madre desesperada said...

What beautiful girls!! What a pitty! The last day of holiday.

Leah said...

Kelle, I've truly enjoyed all your vacation posts! :) Your pics are stunning as always! Wonderful family, wonderful memories! Hope you have a Summer at home full of many more!

Therese Steinhoff said...

Kelle, I just read your book. It was given to me by an incredible mother who also found out her son had DS at birth. Her son Sam is always so joyful. Even when he had his tonsils out his mom said that he smiled and hardly ever cried. I am a better person for having met her and Sam. I feel lucky like you said your friends feel lucky to have Nella in their lives. Thank you for your inspirational book. I appreciate that you opened your heart and spilled out your feelings for the world to see. Life is so good!

Vanessa Miller said...

Your kids are just so adorable. I love reading your posts because they just seem to be filled with so much love. The picture of Nella asleep on the steps...priceless!

Genia & Shaylon said...

Wow. Fun times. I like how you roll with it. I would probably get uptight about wet clothes. But the beauty of it, it doesn't matter if a 2 year old runs around naked in public. :) Precious memories you've made. As always, thanks for sharing. Welcome home.

Unknown said...

Can you give recent tips on how to capture your pictures. I have tried to create the same look, yet have been unsuccessful. What settings do you use. I know you do manual alot, yet do you sometimes you portrait?

Ellen said...

Ummm, I hate to spoil all the fun here, but you have a ton of traffic on your blog, and I wouldn't want you to attract the wrong kind since so many of your comments have mentioned words like "naked" and "bum." My hubby prosecutes child predators as part of his job, and I don't want any of them heading to your website. You might want to consider taking these bottom pics down. Sorry to mention it, but I don't want your precious girls to get any bad attention. I'm a mama, too....

dede said...

Thank you!!! I HAD THE BEST TIME ON YOUR VACATION - via your blog!!! can't wait until the next one!!!

idiosyncraticeye said...

What a perfect holiday! Travel is a beautiful, enriching thing but so is learning to be content, satisfied and enjoying whatever the moment presents, wherever that is. Home or away. Chattanooga looks a great city to vist. Thanks for sharing and taking us all along. :)

Meredith said...

The stair sleeping shot is hysterical! I can't believe she was that tired--what a cutie! :)

Katrina said...

Hey! You visited my city! I LOVE Chattanooga and I'm so glad you got to experience a little of it on your way back home! My friend and I actually just took our kids to the Aquarium on Thursday and it was such a fun day out.
I hope you get some good rest now that you are home from your vacation, and thanks for taking us along! :)

6512 and growing said...

all cries are now answered simply with “Here, have some crackers.”

Love that.

Penny said...

Hi, this is Penny (the winner of the DIG giveaway). I emailed you my info, but got a server notice that the message did not go through. I even sent it again today~ same thing. Please email me at plcraft@bellsouth.net. Thanks!!!
Love the picture of Nella running naked. lol

SusieQ said...

Sorry you had to come back to this dismal tropical depression - we've been here in Naples since last week and it's been raining every single day! A good time, I suppose, for you all to catch up on your sleep!! Glad you all made the trip safe & sound! Nothing better than being back home. In your own bed!

Lisa said...
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Lisa said...

Ditto Ellen. The kids are adorable, but naked pics are probably best kept for friends and family. Pedophile sites often will list blogs that post such photos (or so I learned in my forensic science class).

Honestly, I would probably be a little wary about letting my children run naked in such public spaces, as well.

Sorry to be a downer, but the world can be a scary place and you are very high profile online.

Julie said...

Some people love them but I think those people statues in Carmel, IN are creepy! I can't tell you how many times I have driven or walked by one and thought, for a second, that it was real and they were staring at me! Too bad you didn't have time for the Children's Museum in Indy. Not far from my house and your girls would have loved it.

Great vacation...I remember our 3-weeker when my youngest was about Lainey's age...not as many miles but just as many memories!

AC said...

I personally love the nakey photos... AND I love the sleeping photos. TWO HOURS on the stairs! That is amazing. I remember another photo you took of her asleep on you in the bath, and I often think of that while I'm reclining and my daughter is pouring cold water on me. Ahhh...

CoronadosDeModa said...

Do you know thta nella will hate u for the last pic??!! hehhe, Se look adorable!!!
Great pictures of your summer!!!
Kisses from Argentina!!!
Memi

CORONADOS DE MODA

kriggers said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful vacation. I SO enjoy sitting down and reading your blog. It is a mini vacation each time I get to check in and see what is happening in your part of the world. Such beautiful pictures and what a precious family! Thank you, again. Oh and I LOVE your red saltwater sandals.

Heidi said...

Beautiful photos and words from your trip, Kelle! We were planning a road trip to Montana this summer, but decided at the last minute to stay home. However, we we went to "Montana" in the backyard, and it was fantastic! Thank you for inspiring me to look for ways to make the little things special. Welcome home!

Taylor said...

my two year is looking at this with me and said "I see dat baby's booty" meanwhile she is chewing something and when I asked what was in her mouth she said "pull-up" "it taste like gum" (and yep, she had the cottony part of a pull-up in her mouth)- nice!

Kristin Hackman said...

Wow - you were in Carmel, IN - that is our HOME! So sad you didn't have a gathering...would have loved to meet you.

Thanks for the gift of a few pics of Carmel - it looks even more lovely through your lens.

As always, your pictures make me want to jump out of my seat and go "get livin'"

Kelly said...

I'm a yankee (Pennsylvania) girl that transplanted to Chattanooga about 18 years ago. I love this city and the beauty that is here. What great pictures...especially the Nella-bum picture. So happy you enjoyed "my" town. One day I will have kids and will have pictures of them enjoying this city and their one wild and precious life.

So glad you made it back home safely. So glad the girls had the experiences they did.

Kimberly said...

Kelle

So happy that you had a wonderful vacation! Chattanooga is my home and I too went to visit last weekend and stood right where your pictures were taken. It is a beautiful place.

I LOVE the last picture of Nella. Perfect!!!!

Happy Summer!! :)

Ky said...

How can nude Nella not make someone giggle?

Happiness is... said...

There's a great motto - find ways to be fascinated.

I'm so glad that you can remove the bitter and find only the sweet to the end of your three week vacation. You have so many memories from this summer and it's not even July. Perspective is powerful.

I'm thinking about you these days as I slam out page after page of photo book pages. (I'm temporarily living on our boat while we do house projects and living without a TV!). You inspired my best friend and me to take on designing our photo journals all on our own. And now, after completing almost 200 pages in the past 2 years, I find the process to be pleasurable and less daunting; and it's been a great way to stitch the memories and photos.

Warmest Wishes,

Jennifer

Faye said...

Hello, I have been a massive fan of your blog for ages now and I have finally decided to pluck up the courage and post! I just have to say you have 2 beautiful daughters and I can not get over how much Nella looks like you! Honestly she is a little you but with blonde hair!
Much love from the UK!

Vi said...

Chattanooga has a special place in my heart. I'm so glad you got to enjoy it with your family and make some wonderful memories.

Aysha said...

Looks and sounds like an absolutely brilliant road trip Kelle! I adore your writing and photography. You have made me so excited for all my summer plans with family and friends to start happening.

But ... we need the sun to come out. It has been our coldest/rainiest June on record :(

Jamie Ann said...

I live just a few blocks from the TN Aquarium. Love that you loved it. I'm a big cheerleader for this town, and so glad you felt the same that we get to feel everyday. If you're ever in the area again, let us know. We'll show you the best trails, pancakes and sunsets in the world.

nest of posies said...

i live in chattanooga! to know you all experienced our fun downtown area makes me happy.

love seeing how you captured it on camera. as always you didn't disappoint.

happy summer!

kellie