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Julie in Aust.

Gee Karen...200 comments...dont think you need mine...pretty sure everyone else has already said everything I wanted to I guess all I can say is DITTO.
Karen you are an essential part of my day...I love every moment I spend here on your blog and I dont ever want to imagine it not here. You teach me, inspire me, amuse me, make me cry, laugh and think. And I Thank you.
Stay Karen...stay here...

Julie S

Love you and your Family Karen. Please don't stop writing. Your blog is one that I follow faithfully, cause its REAL! :) You've made me laugh, smile and cry...I look forward to hearing about your adventures daily. Keep up the good work and know that you are appreciated and loved. Hurry home Josh Downs, miss you too and are proud of all you and all the others are doing for our Country. Hugs and prayers.

Leigh Ann Brown

Thank you for always being honest--life is not all pastels and sunshine. You are beautiful, inside and out. Your kids are adorable, but normal--thank you for including the squabbles as well as the smiles. I am praying, often, for you and Josh in this time of separation. My husband was an Army officer when we were first married, so I know how hard and stressful this time is for your family. Thank you for the laughter, the tears, and for not making me feel completely inadequate as a mom! :)


Karen if you become the like the individuals you spoke of, perfect watercolored, highlighted by dewdrops and sunshine I will quit reading your blog. I read your blog because you are you, the best you that only Karen can be. Flaws and all. I have been fortunate enough to take several classes from you in person and online, and I LIKE YOU! I like how real you are and respect how you put yourself out there warts and all. I know that you have spoken often about feeling awkward in social settings, however, if I was ever lucky enough to be in the same setting as you I would go out of my way to seek you out and get to know you in person. Because I am betting that you are even more awesome in real life. Please do not stop this blog, I would feel (and many others too) that we are missing a connection to a wonderfully funny, insightful and real woman who is incredibly brave and talented. And to Josh Downs, if you are reading this: Thank you from the bottom of mine and my families heart for serving our country (my SIL is over there with you too) and providing your wife with enough fodder for entertaining blog posts on a regular basis. Bless you and all of your soldiers for watching over our freedom and the things we sometimes take for granted.


I love this post!! I can totally relate to this!I laughed so much reading this! thank you for your honesty: it makes me feel good as much as looking at yourfantastic phoots and trying to learn thanks to you to use my nex reflex!! merci from france!

Amy G

You don't know me and I don't know you even though I've taken every class of yours & attended every class of yours when you would head down to SoCal (and ordered every kit of yours!) . I would never claim to "know" you or your family. But I've been with your blog for, like, EVER and I've always felt an appreciation for how you keep it honest and real and DON'T make me feel like crap after I'm done reading it. Even through your beautiful photographs there is a realness; I don't feel like you're staging your life like a bunch of other blogs (I feel the same way you do about them). I don't want to come to your blog and read about your neat, tidy life. That's not my life. Or anybody's. I read blogs, especially ones like yours, for a sense of universal connection to other women with our shared experiences. When we don't feel so alone in this world with our struggles, our challenges, our imperfections and our joys, it makes the world a little smaller and our experiences less "in our own heads". Whether you continue this blog or not, please know there are lots of people out there rooting for you, cheering for you, and grateful that you've opened yourself up via your blog. Stay strong. :)


Karen, hang in there and who cares if you can spell crochet! I love reading your blog and it gives me inspiration.


Oh my goodness--- my reason for always taking the TIME to read your blog IS totally because YOU ARE REAL!!! I never ever feel like CRAP after visiting here (except maybe when I put my photos up next to your amazing work) but YOU are so refreshing-- it is soooo good to know the same feelings we all have are happening everywhere -- instead of pretending life is perfect! YOU my dear are being a huge witness to the world-- and I THANK you for making me feel comfortable - and accepted HERE. YOU are doing an amazing job-- I love REAL people.


As u can see from the comment (250+) lots of people read your blog, because it's real, we can relate too and sometimes be inspired. I'm sure we all have our ups and downs (lots of downs maybe), but as long as the family is healthy and live in a safe place, everything else is not that big of a deal.
Side note: Please dont eat from McDonald, nor chicken nuggets!

Colleen Barron

Karen, I think you are incredibly awesome! Please continue your blog...I read it daily...and miss it when you don't blog. You help make me feel like maybe my life isn't so bland and maybe I am not so bland and we're all in this together (so to speak). Sounds like you are incredibly close to the joy you're speaking about.


***** sigh *****
thank you once again for perspective. you rock.


you inspire me! please dont go girl.

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita

If you found Him just when your life started to fall apart, you know you are in good hands. Be yourself, and be happy. We'll happily follow along. But I really hope you keep blogging, because we'd all really miss you and those cute kiddos if you stopped. hang in there Karen. Better days are on the way.


I could have written this piece. Except the McDonald's part. After the entire family got food poisoning a few years ago from that place, we stick to Friendlys, though I do miss the cheeseburgers. You know me so well, and that's why I like you! Even though we've never met & maybe I commented once ever before. I hope you keep this blog. It never makes me feel bad. It makes me happy! BTW, I recently ditched Face Book because it ALWAYS made me feel like crap and started a blog just so my out-of-state family can see updated photos of my kids. Much better.


Since many years your blog is part of my life. I never write any comments, but now I have to.
I love your blog. I never expect anything from you, I just love reading your blog.
Please continue to write it. I would miss you and your family terribly.
You are great the way you are :)
Greetings from Germany, Andrea


I know you, and I love you, Karen.


PLEASE don't quit blogging!! I LOVE to read your blog. Your pictures are real....not those washed out, distressed, crazy posed ones that everyone else is doing. Your stories are real & sometimes funny too. I never come away from here feeling bad about anything. The things you do with your kids have inspired me to do more like that with mine. Your ability to have a camera on you anywhere for random shots has shown me it's ok to tote that huge camera anywhere and nobody is going to care. I love antiquing so seeing your antiques mingled into your decorating is fun, even though I don't have the right kind of house to make mine look like that. Your antiques also make me want to plan a road trip to Oregon for some antiquing someday! When it's cold and snowy in my neck of the woods, I can visit your blog and see your kids outside wearing just a sweater with some pretty green trees behind them....another reason I'd love to visit your state. I guess what I'm trying to say is that your blog is perfect the way it is, even if the life you post about isn't perfect. Another poster said perfect is boring and they're right. I've run across blogs here and there that have people who live in huge new houses or they take spectacular trips every other week or they make these crazy, fancy dishes that make me wonder if their kids actually eat that stuff...and those blogs get boring after a week or two. I've been reading yours for I don't know how many years now, checking in about every other day. I've looked for other blogs like yours to add to my reading for those days when you don't post, but nobody else does it like you. Please don't quit blogging!

And for the grandma crocheted like crazy all her life and tried to teach me numerous times and I STILL don't know how to crochet.

And also for the record...even though YOU think McDonalds is a bad thing, your kids probably thought you were the BEST mom in the whole world for taking them to McDonalds. I know this because mine told me I was the best mom one day when we had Dairy Queen Blizzards for supper.


Love your blog because you keep it real. And while I envy your pictures (how do you get the lighting so beautiful), it is your words that I appreciate so much more. We can feel your happiness and your sadness. I'm at a strange crossroads in my life now and it helps me to know someone in the seemingly perfect world of blogs, is a real person too. And my 4 year old is rotting his brain watching SpongeBob while I write this. Off to rescue him!


Karen, are just that. In reading this post, I thought of another I read:

It leans more toward Pinterest but her point is the same and she's a Christian and she loves ALL the words. Even the bad ones. ;) I think you will enjoy.

I blog to remember the kairos moments. In the hopes that my children, all four crazy punks, will remember we DID have happy moments inbetween Mom's screaming meltdowns.

Your blog has NEVER once made me feel crappy. It beings me joy and smiles. It makes me wish I was closer so we could run and hate it together. lol

My family is also a blended one and sometimes it sucks big donkey balls and I'm glad that some else out there "gets it".

I'm not sure where I'm going with I guess it's this: The flowery crocheting girls fart. They poop! AND have bad hair days too. I promise. ;)~


You are too cool! I like you!


I love, love, love your honesty. I've always wondered if I'm the only one who wasn't fitting into the Stepford wife blogger role so well. I guess if that's what we have to be, I'll join you in the circus as well. Because, you are awesome. And your family is lovely. :-)

Chris White

All of the previous comments have pretty much said it all, one more thought. Yours is the FIRST blog I followed, and the only one I STILL follow because you are REAL. I will respect your choice if you stop blogging. I will also feel like I have lost a friend. Take care of yourself and thank-you for sharing your real journey through life!

p.s. I cannot crochet or knit, for that matter.


I so hope you don't stop writing your blog. I love reading your blog and have ever since I found it several months ago.

Laura M

The blogs I follow can fit on one hand...I don't spend a lot of time reading blogs because I agree that most of them are a waste of time. Your blog does not fit in this category at all!

I love reading your blog because you seem like a real person to me, you could be one of my girlfriends. You're not hiding behind the blog showing a happy face of a perfect life. I'm not interested in that...just like you if makes me feel like crap. 2011 has been the hardest year I've had in a long time, there were many time I wished the ground would shallow me whole. I've had a really hard time finding joy...I'm hoping 2012 is better. I'm telling you all of this because I think as women we try to put our best face is refreshing when you find someone who isn't creating an illusion of a perfect life. I guess what I'm trying to say is your honesty is what brings me coming back to your blog, when you are so willing to share your struggles right along with your joys it makes me feel better. We all struggle and I'm not the only make me feel normal and not alone.

Your blog has made me laugh as well as cry but the most important thing is I can relate to you and your struggles. I hope you don't retire this blog but if you decide that closing it down is best for you I wish you the best in your life.

Jo E

Never,ever, feel like your life is anything but normal. I read your blog because you make me feel normal and real and sane and better about real life. You tell things as they are and as your want them to be and we are with you every step of the way. Where do I sign up for the circus coz if you Re going I'm coming too!!

Debbie Donovan

I love reading your blog it makes me smile! I love it that your family has a blast when you are all together. We all have an Uncle Brad in our lives.. Thats what makes your blog so fun to read... its real life the kids aren't perfect, the house isn't spotless, you get mad at each other, but at the end of the day all that matters is the love that fills your hearts and home!

Thanks for keeping it real Karen.


I love your blog and I've commented before that I wish you were on the East Coast and we could be friends!! And I love that you will say life's not perfect and not pretend. I can not imagine how tough it is without Josh Downs but I know you're doing a great job. The kids look happy and VERY well taken care of! Keep pushing forward; you rock!!

Heather V

Today, I logged into Blogger to check out my daily blog reads. You see, I'm kind of a sucker for punishment... even when the playing-in-fields-with-hazy-dust-motes-dancing-golden-and-lazy-in-the-sun-perfectly-dressed-and-accessoried-bloggers-in-perfectly-decorated-houses make me feel bad about myself and my life, I read them anyway. After going through a few, I stumbled across a link to your blog... and read the first few posts... then read some more. I really needed the breath of honest, fun, messy, real-life, tell-it-how-it-is, imperfect fresh air that your blog provided.

I actually stopped blogging a few months ago because a former friend of mine made me feel so bad and question my life so much. (I've since stopped reading the former friend's blog - one too many "Meat should NEVER touch a microwave - not to defrost, reheat, NEVER!" and "I SCOFF at watching television" posts for me). I never wanted to make any of my readers feel like that!

Anyway, sorry for the long-winded comment. Just wanted to tell you how glad I am that I found your blog. Thanks for being honest and real. Please keep blogging!

Lori Craig

I love your blog, Karen. When I don't have 3 hours to dish out for google reader, I skip all the papercrafty for you, sister. Thanks for keeping it real!


". . . in order to really 'love' people, you have to be transparent - even at the risk of being hurt or having the things you share used against you later."

That is me. I worry about sharing things about myself, as it will open myself to judgement and commentary. And I should know--I do the same thing. I need to open up more, if only to remind myself not to harshly judge those in my life who have opened up to me.
Thanks for that line. I know that you wrote it for me.


I just found you! Don't stop now. You feel the same way the rest of us do. Parts are really good, parts are really bad and family makes it all ok. Thanks for your honest writing and every-woman perspective.


Your blog Karen is my #1 favorite. Really. If I could only follow one blog it would be yours. Now, that sounds all stalk-ish like, lol, but really!!! I can't remember how I stumbled upon your blog but am so glad I did. It's real, just like you. It sounds silly but it's great to hear about other moms going through the drive through, slipping a cuss word, and just not feeling like you are doing a great job (you are, btw). It is great becuase it's relatable, and that's what makes a writer/blogger great. To connect to total strangers that you will never met, that takes talent.
Ok, I admit it...I have at (many) times been totally jealous of the kick ass life you lead. But that's the thing, you lead it and createad it yourself....and I'm inspired to try to build my life up to what I want it to be.

Keep it up, your blog is sky high above all those perfect little blogs you speak about.

Nicky H

I just want to comment quickly to say that I love reading your blog- maybe for different reasons than some of the others. I love your photography - my pictures suck compared to yours but are awesome compared to some others. :) I do crochet, but don't want coffee cup cozies. lol I love that your blog is real. And the "different" reason is because my husband is in the Air Force and will be going on his first deployment in May or June. And your little notes to Josh make me feel all warm inside- and give me hope that it won't be all bad while he's gone. Sending love your way. :)

Lisa Christenson

Delurking to say that my heart dropped when I read your last post. Don't stop your blog... it's so great the way it is... I have four blogs that I have marked as a favorite and yours is one of them. I've loved the glimpses of your life that you have graciously allowed us to see. My computer crashed and it was the worst week trying to remember the real title of your blog and googling for it... because all I've come to know is Karen, Josh, Annie, Cole, Courtney, Ross.... lol...Keep talking about it all... so real, so refreshing.


i'm sure i'm going to be lost in that sea of 200+ comments of people who adore you.. but here's 200+1 saying please don't stop blogging. your blog is the one i've been following the longest in my small collection of blogs i visit. that's.... 6 years maybe? (i know i was following before you found out you were pregnant with miss annie...) in those blogs there are some crafty ones with the billowy bedspreads & cleverly mis-matched household decorations.. and the never ending fairytale bokeh lighting... but those are the ones that when they post about their lives, i just sorta click through. i'm not interested. while i'm sure there are aspects of their lives that are wonderful, the sunshine & happiness seems put on. so when it's not a crafty post, i click through.

but your blog... i stay because i admire you. in all your quirks & flaws. you are real. you are someone i can relate to. you are someone who acknowledges they scream obscene things at their children when they have hit their wall... and then you are the same someone who, like me, recoups in solace & then apologizes feeling like the WORST.PARENT.EVER. but you know what... i'd still like to be your friend in person. because the flawed are fabulous...

and i should tell you... you are responsible for the way i changed my approach to punishing. reading about how you've let your kids make poor choices so that they could see the results vs. just fixing it for them.. it was a real eye opener.

i know i'm rambling.. but please, please, please don't stop blogging karen! we all LOVE you.. and we will take you just like you are.. who the hell needs a crocheted coffee cozy anyways?! :)


I laughed so hard reading your blog right now. You crack me up! (I know all of it was not intended to be funny) You are genuinel Karen Russell, and that is why I LOVE your blog :)

ady abreu

I have a similar confession. I don't leave comments here at all. I read your blog religously because you have the best real life stories to tell and your photos are amazing. I hope that you don't stop blogging because what would I do with those 5 minutes a day that I read your blog and admire those amazing children you photograph and the funny stories you tell about them. We all have good and bad days.. Just take it one day at a time. My blog was initially intended for scrapbooking only but it's evolved into a bit of my everyday life too. Especially because I'm too lazy to photograph my layouts to post... LOL I sure hope you'll stay on board...

jill e.

just so you know karen russell, if you stop blogging I WILL go off the deep end! please don't ever ever ever stop blogging. i mean it. really. no i'm serious. do it for my husband and children if you have to. no really.

jill in mn


You are my first and favorite blog that I check, so you'd better not stop, missy! I've been following your blog for a couple years now and I love the stories you post and the honesty in your posts. You are my inspiration to continue blogging because you post often and you post LOTS of pictures. You're the real deal, Karen!


Hi Karen-You don't know me but a dear friend of mine referred me to your blog. May I just say, you are simply amazing, real, down to earth and I love your tell it how it is style. I sincerely hope you don't stop blogging, but totally understand how much time it does take and sometimes how much it takes out of you emotionally. Please know that you have touched so many lives with your blog. You are such an inspiration and you make me for one feel so much better knowing that's it's aok that life doesn't have to be perfect!! Thanks for being a blessing and inspiration in my life in the short time I have followed your blog, and in my friend's life too, because you have hit home so many times to her on things she really needs to hear!! Thank you for helping my friend believe in herself a bit more! Best wishes to you and positive thoughts for you always!

Ellen Patton

Blogs are snapshots of people's lives and nobody is perfect. I blog. And I let a life insurance policy lapse recently. And I've never mopped my floor in my condo I've lived in for over 6 years (I have swept and spot cleaned though). I hope no one thinks for one second that my life is perfect. I hope you continue blogging because I love what you write and I love your photos and I love that you are REAL.


In the real world most of us feel just like you. I recently read a great book called "90 mins in Heaven" about a guy who died, visited Heaven and came back to tell about it. Gave me such a better perspective of myself in terms that in Heaven we will all be perfect, so expecting myself to be perfect here is a waste of the time that I was given. Being the best ME right now, giving to others and letting go and letting God lead is what matters most. So know we all feel like you some days, its all perspective:)
And just to make you feel even better, the first time i found Pinterest Im pretty sure the world stopped for at least 8 hours before I realized i wasted an entire day! Please keep blogging-you have a gift to share~


I always try again: amen sista

Gina Crowley

Im guessing the last 243 comments are a good indicator of your awesomeness! Stay positive.


Karen, your blog never makes me feel bad. It's inspiring to see your vibrant and realistic photos and to enjoy your storytelling style.

I love that you are just you on the blog. You aren't trying to be a cool hipster with hazy blurry photos of your shoes and your accessories. You don't only show perfect photos of perfect moments with perfectly accessorized outfits.


So just in case you need one more person to tell you how awesome you are, I'm here to do just that. I love reading your blog and looking at your real life photos. I love reading the way you love your husband (and the way he loves you) and following your adventures. I think this blog is one of the most real blogs I read and I absolutely love this post and how real it is. There were so many things you wrote that I could have written myself and I think that's why you have such a large keep it real and in this world of way too perfect women, it's nice to have someone writing who makes you feel like your own world is a little closer to normal. So all in all, you have to do what's best for you and your family but I, for one (or one of thousands), hope you continue writing and sharing your beautiful life.

Angela Kelley

I can't crochet either... Please don't stop writing your blog, it is inspiring, funny, beautiful and REAL! I don't normally comment, but I just had to say something! :)


I love, love, love your blog! You are so real and I think that rocks. Thank you for being a real person, with real thoughts and fears. You opening up to us all probably has touched and helped more people than you will ever know. God Bless you:)


I had a discussion with my friend this past week about why yours is the only blog I follow.
Not only do I love your photography but I always find your insights
inspiring. You always seem to say what I really need to hear. Thanks!

Bronwyn Peck

Every year, about once a year-ok maybe twice, I dream of getting in my car and driving until I cannot drive anymore! There is a little part of all of us who feels the heaviness of this world. You are bold enough to show us how life really is, not some candy cotton pink dream.
When I moved into the house we live in, a neighbor from across the street came over and introduced herself and brought us a pie. So I started talking to her about how hard it was to be a mom-I was 33 with a 2 year old and I felt challenged all the time. She went on about how perfect everything was and that they had saved money and the rose colored glasses just got bigger and bigger. At that exact moment, I realized that would be the last conversation we would have except for the typical neighbor pleasantries. We were in two different worlds. It did make me feel bad for a moment and then I realized this lady must be on a lot of medication. I like being an open book and you should too! You get exactly what you see. If someone doesn't like it in the words of my mother-they can bite me.

Moving on, I love getting on here and reading what you write. It makes me laugh and realize I am not crazy. Plus your family-all of them remind me of when I was younger and I feel like I am home.

Thank you for taking time out of your life to share it with us-I mean me. You are way too hard on yourself. I work at a thrift store and we have tons of crocheted pieces for next to nothing, so you can drop the obsession with crocheting. You are a hell of a photographer and designer. And your blog is pretty awesome too. You should see mine. I think it has been updated three times since I started it 3 years ago. I can't even find it half of the time.

Kristen G

It is currently 8:22pm where I live and I'm still in pajama's... :) I see nothing wrong with it. I work from home and have been doing homework for your class all day. Staying in pajama's = less laundry.

Also, I have been with my boyfriend for 5-1/2 years and we are in a funk.. where life becomes a routine and the romance seemed to fly out the window. I've been reading your blog from the start since last week, reading when I get the chance. It somehow lit a spark in me to #1.. do cute little things for my boyfriend like Josh Downs has done for you & appreciate him in the way that you appreciate Josh Downs AND #2 be better about carrying around my camera to catch those everyday photos.

So I guess what I'm saying here... don't ever think your blog makes people feel bad... it inspired me to get out of my funk with the boyfriend, take more pictures and rock pajama's as much as I can :)

See ya in class!!


I'm a little late in posting this, but I've been following you for several years and have taken your workshop, and our daughters are the same age with birthdays days apart. I can't imagine you make anyone feel bad - you are real and not perfect but pretty darn cool. You are not trying to pretend to be anything, that is clear, you are just yourself. We appreciate you for who you are. I do hope you keep blogging but understand if time prevents it. You've got a lot on your hands.

I love your coupons for the kids idea and will be doing for my daughter's birthday.

My friend and I talk about your blog all the time, i.e. "Did you see . . ." We are rooting for your family and for Josh Downs to come home.


And THIS is why your is and always will be my very favorite blog. VERY. FAVORITE. Do you hear that? VERY FAVORITE. Your honesty & transparency is just right amount... and timed perfectly when I need to read it. So thank you for making me feel normal. And for making me feel less guilty about not knowing how to crochet. :0)


I live in another continent, speak another language, and generally run a completely different life. Yet, when I read your words it was like seeing my exact thoughts written on the screen.
Great post!!!

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