Enjoying the Small Things

I have laryngitis. Really bad. To the point where I open my mouth to speak and, despite all my laborious efforts to will some sound–any sound–to disperse, nothing comes out but for a weak, breathy whisper.

And I love to talk…I savor my words. So, it has been quite an experience these past couple days to sit quietly, saving the very few bursts of audible screeches I still have energy to emit for only the most important of communication opportunities…like ordering a beer. Or, okay… saying I love you to the babies. But a good experience because, when you cannot, for obvious reasons, spend energy on outputting, you instead enjoy the ride of input. Taking in the sounds around me and expressing myself through other senses–and a few breathy whispers–rather than the occasionally obnoxious loud-ish-ness my character renders itself to.

And the challenge has presented itself beautifully with managing a two-year-old as I am finding it alternately rewarding at the presentation of fits and such to just go hold her…pick her up and squish her close…distract her with hugs and tickles and purposeful silence as opposed to the verbal onslaught that so often follows. So, the lack of voice has been a bit of a blessing, I suppose…and that’s not just some far-fetched attempt to make lemonade of vocacally-challenged lemons. Promise.

So with all that said (but not really because I have no voice to say)…
a good, old-fashioned, it’s-about-time “Enjoying the Small Things” post. For new readers, it is a post dedicated to the spontaneous proclamation of love for random happies, based on my fifteen-year-old tattered copy of this book:


* The Welcome Home worthy of a perfect, Olympic 10. I saw the imaginary score cards. I heard the clapping. In fact, it wasn’t so imaginary as the poster we made and the little cutie holding it gathered a small crowd of onlookers who I think assumed the daddy was a returning soldier. I’m sure they were disappointed when they saw a suit rather than the camo they were expecting.

We, however, were not disappointed but tearfully enthused rather at the reminder that we love this man very much and his presence in our family is essential ( :o) for our functioning.

Their bond is, in a word…magic, and I am beginning to wonder if perhaps this girl has a bit of extra chromosome too…one with all sorts of magnetic daddy genes.

I breathe a bit differently when he’s here…relief for the little missing piece in my puzzle that has been found.

And I know it’s a bit cliche to write *big sigh* in a blog post, but… *big sigh.*


* Our Neighborhood Lemonade Stand this weekend. The one Heidi and I stayed up until one in the morning to prepare for. The one we thought our kids would never forget. The one we tied a hundred gingham ribbons to homemade scones and brownies and cookies for…to reap…less than desirable expectations. Because our community garage sale turned out to be a surprising bomb this year. And our kids wandered away from the few customers they had just to dig through garage sale crap that used to be theirs and cry because they didn’t want it sold. And the ice melted and bees got trapped in the lemonade (thanks to the customer that pointed that out) and we gave away more than we sold.

We may not have raised a ton of money for Haiti (okay $60, but I think my dad gave $30 of it), but we did find a lot of really old food encrusted in a high chair we embarassingly sold to some lady.

And despite the fact that we were more prepared for the lemonade stand and less prepared for the garage sale, thus probably the neighborhood joke as we, last-minute, dragged a bunch of meaningless junk out to the driveway and slapped price stickers on it as people were arriving, we did use the garage sale as a great opportunity to sit in the driveway with friends, sip coffee, kiss babies, and laugh while we, um…ignored customers.


* Watching the daddy love his babies. When I was introduced to Brett for the first time six or so years ago, the first thing I saw was how he loved his boys. And I knew it then. I was smitten.

The man is simply the most amazing father ever. Enough said.


* Our perfectly wonderful Sunday morning.

Arriving early to the beach and meandering along shell paths, chasing sandpipers and seagulls, tracing shadows, collecting shells, and digging our toes into cold sand on the first warm and sunny morning in quite some time. And completing our Sunday beach stroll with coffee and donuts at DD with Papa and Gary.

(all collage pics taken with phone!)

(and Lainey would have been in this photo had she not been completely distraught over sandy pantlegs)

And finally, Enjoying…

* The Return of Isle of Capri.

It was almost surreal arriving there today. A bit strange and healing all at once. How many times I’ve walked this beach all big-bellied, collecting shells for the baby, dreaming of my girls on this shore. And there we sat today, Nella burrowed under thin blankets and Lainey, all grins and bikinied ruffles piling pails of sand into castle heaps. I panicked for a moment, thinking I’d have to think of something to say as our friends at the Fish House came to adore our new one. And came they did, but then I remembered I have laryngitis. Screw it…I couldn’t tell them if I wanted to. So I smiled…and took in the congratulations.

And, oh…my firstborn. With no voice to distract me, I just took her in today…every bit of her happiness. I love everything about this little soul. Her independence and free spirit that is perfectly balanced with this need for love and security.

She loves her “Eye-oh-Cup-pea.” And I love my first-born. Very much.

Definitely, our beachy Sunday was a happy one indeed.

And finally, Enjoying…

* Her smiles. They are many and they are magic.



Leave a Comment
  1. your smiling baby is simply beautiful… oh, and the big sister too. enjoy.

  2. those pictures are beyond adorable. you always take the most amazing photographs and i really enjoy reading your blog!
    all the best!

  3. I’m pretty sure there is nothing more amazing than photos of a daddy and his little girls! SO cute. Look at the way he looks at his girlie!

    Also, I wish I looked as cute in braids as you do! Your bangs are so perfect. Mine have a mind of their own!

  4. oh, she IS magic.

    i love that picture of you and nella in black, white & red. so beautiful!

    and garage sale turned time sipping coffee w/ girlfriends? the only reason i participate in ours each year.

  5. Your writings read like velvetty smooth chocolate … and I love to indulge in every word. To live our lives with the loving support of an amazing partner, is such a privilege. Add to that relationship, the blessing of miraculous little people … how can one not smile at that?!

  6. Aww! Little Nella is growing so fast! I love, love, love the pictures of her smiling! She’s just blessedly sweet! Lainey is, too, of course. :)

  7. Love all the pictures! Especially the smiling baby ones and the feet ones. How cute! ;)And I LOVE the lemonade stand and beautifully wrapped goodies! How creative!

  8. Thank you for sharing life with me! I too have the book at the beginning of this post…it has been in my b-room for years…I had forgotten all about it, so I went and checked…it is still there…love the way you capture life and share it…Thanks again Kelle

  9. enjoying your posts! love her little smile, she is pure joy.

    lainey and her daddy so sweet. jonah says hi to lainey. :)

    laughed about the lemonaide stand. lol you and heidi are hilarious.

    i am glad you have laryngitis this week so you didnt feel compelled to say anything about nella. just sit back and enjoy the congratulations. cuz thats how it should be. :)

  10. Beautiful pics! Love those of Nella smiling! You have a lovely family!

  11. You are SO blessed. What a beautiful family, and beautiful moments that you have captured. Every time I read your posts and see your pictures I get a smile on my face and in my heart.

    You capture everyday beauty so perfectly.

  12. Your family is so beautiful. And yes, those smiles…so tiny, so precious! Reading your blog makes me happy. Happy happy happy!

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Thanks for allowing me to indulge in your little piece of heaven! Your family is beautiful!

  15. precious, kelle! was just thinking about you. i was intending to leave a comment on your last post, when … i saw there was a new one!! and my comment was gunna be …
    hope you’re having an exceptional weekend. thinkin’ ’bout you, kelle!
    and now? well, you for sure had an exceptional weekend. and for that i am happy.
    wishing you a beautiful week ahead of you.

    ps – curious, i am … how were those scones?

  16. Nella’s smile in the last picture is absolutely priceless!

  17. I was blessed to find your blog this weekend and have read and re-read so many entries. So excited to see a new post! Your beautiful family and those SMILES…well, they make my day. Thanks for sharing…enjoying your time together….


  18. another little something …
    love those nella smiles & your crazy-haired bikini girl!!

    oh, and the b&w shirt with nella’s matching hat … get out!!

    and one more …
    the phone collage

  19. At the end of the day, after the goings and comings, I love coming here, to catch a glimpse of just beauty and peacefulness.

    Thank you for sharing.

  20. it’s amazing how sometimes kiddos can listen to us better when we can’t talk.
    and those smiles … delicious.
    bytheway … i have a gift for you … (un)fortunately? my babes was born so quickly after yours i hadn’t had a chance to finish it until just recently … i’m attempting to refind your address to send it …
    but if you get a moment (ha!) … could you email your address to me again? jenniferlivolson@hotmail.com

  21. Your family is so beautiful. You have made me realize that I need to enjoy (and take more pictures) of the little things in life and not just the big moments. I am inspired by shoes and toes now. My goal this week is to enjoy those two things (and capture them on camera:)
    Thank you.

  22. Hold on to that Daddy you have. I am an only child raised by a single mother and I love everything my about my mother. My parents separated not long after I was born so I don’t know them together, but when I see a daddy adore his children the way yours clearly does, I get a tiny twinge deep inside. It’s more out of sheer joy for the love those two share than for sadness for myself. My dad never looked at me like that. And the dads that do are truly something special.
    The picture of your husband looking at your daughter brought tears to my eyes.
    But then the last picture in this post of your smiling baby made a big grin appear on my face with utter happiness. She is adorable!

  23. Madisyn Andrea says:

    So beautiful. and like you this week, speechless(:
    Nella and her smiles! Oh my goodness! And the welcoming home of your hubby! AHHHH adorable! …and Lainey, oh boy that Love is so precious! I really run out of adjectives when I look at your life! I think I’ve used them all! XOXO

  24. yay! i was waiting all weekend to see pics of brett’s return home!
    SO glad you’re all back together :)

    your kids – are the cutest little people ever.

    i love love love those smiles!

  25. oh and i love those pics of the back of little lainey’s body holding the sign. SO cute!

  26. Again, your photos capture each moment perfectly – what a wonderful weekend you had together as a family!

    And those darling girls…Lainey is simply a little bottle of sunshine. You can just tell by her smiles and the smiles of those around her…and Nella…where to begin that sweet little one. She is magic. And those smiles…they are precious. Smiles of a baby who knows she is loved and has so much love to give back. Sweet baby girl is love.

    As for enjoying the little things, thank you Kelle for such an amazing blog. I’ve been enjoying all of the little things {smiles, happiness, honesty, a sense of humor…}found here…


  27. YAY welcome home Daddy!! He does seem like a wonderful man and father :)

    That last pic just stole my heart :’) What a precious pumkin, oh my!

    Glad things are ‘Happy’ over there, you needed that.

  28. I’m an Army brat, and I can tell you. Whether he was dressed in camo or a suit or jeans and shirt, we were completely thrilled no matter what he was wearing, or where he was coming from. We were just ecstatic to have him back. So who cares what the others thought, I’m sure they thought Lainey was precious with her sign and that your faces gave away all they needed to know anyway. Nella’s smiles are HUGE, I can’t believe them! I feel like I know you and your girls, sorry if that’s weird! But you have such a love-y family, I can’t get enough!!!

  29. So happy your husband’s home to bring you even more joy to your beautiful life:) The last photos of Nella just melt my heart. What a beautiful girl! The first thing I thought of when I saw the last photo of Nella smiling was, “Now THAT is the face of a child who knows how much she is loved:)”! What a lucky girl she is to have such love in her life . . . and I believe she already knows it:) As usual, your blog brings smiles and tears to my face!

  30. A sigh of happiness from me, and a beautiful way to end my day and head into dream land. Nella’s smiles are exquisite!

  31. oh the smiles!! the beautiful smiles and i laughed when i saw in your previous post that Nella has a perfect little kiss pucker that she’s giving the air when you are kissing her. Such a sweetie. Your posts are a balm to my worried soul as I count down the weeks till Baby3 arrives. I’m not quite sure what to do with a 3rd baby, but you remind me that we, mothers, always have more love to give and we figure things out as we go along, and there is no limit to what we can do. So thank you for that!

  32. That last photo is precious!!!!!!!!! I love the little smiles that Sam would give like that when he was first born. Just wait, they don’t stop. :-)

  33. Love ALL the pictures. Especially that last picture..get out!! SO SWEET!!! I love how you write. You have a way with words.

  34. Yes those smiles are pure magic. What a lovely day, makes me want to take my boys to the beach again.

  35. oh i love your blog so much your children are just beautiful!

  36. Your blog is beautiful… as is your family.

    Keep doing what you do. :)

  37. how sweet this is, daddy home and a fun filled weekend! things to be happy out indeed!

  38. What a great way to end my weekend…kids and hubby off to bed and you posted! I so look forward to reading your blog….it’s always full of wonderful inspiration and the pictures are breathtaking! Nella smiling just makes me weak in the knees…she gets more beautiful with each passing day, and Lainey is just an angel. Thank you so much for sharing your precious family with us. Seeing the welcoming of Brett reminds me when I was apart from my hubby for a week and when we finally reunited I did that embarrasing ugly cry, stumbling towards him in the airport…just a terrible sight I tell ya! I completely get what you must have felt finally being together.
    Have a great week, enjoy each other and know that you are blessed and have a lot of us here praying for you all. God bless, Kelle & keep us “posted”…sorry, couldn’t resist…was kinda saving that one, lol! :)

  39. I just came across your blog today and have been mesmerized by the beauty of your words.. the way you show and express the raw emotion when describing the birth of Nella. She is precious and I can’t help by smile every time I scroll through and see a picture of her. children with down syndrome really do shed a special light on the world. you are truly blessed.

  40. oh, i needed to smile today and i did while looking at your joyous sunday. your girls are beautiful.

    thank you for sharing.

  41. Madisyn Andrea says:

    Not even and hour ago I commented and there were only seven as now 40 something!

  42. Gorgeous. Her smiles are amazing, both of your girls are so beautiful & I love the welcome for your husband :) Now that I’ve discovered your blog, I’m never blogging again;) I love your style!

  43. Good lord, do I love your babies’ faces!! The smiles…simmply enchanting. And Lainey from behind holding her sign…just yumm.

  44. Oh my!!! I just am in love with you and your family! Oh Nella…those smiles…she feels the joy in your family and can’t help but show you! I’m so happy too reading this and knowing the world has you and your family in it!

  45. I am in love with your blog. Your words are so elegant and your pictures tell a story on their own. Nella’s little smiles are precious. She grows more beautiful by the day. Lainey is going to be such a great big sister. I am now obsessed with being able to take really good pictures. I am getting a good camera for my husband for his birthday. Little does he know I will be using it for myself. Thank you for your inspiration.


  46. okay, does she smile a lot, or do you stand above her, camera poised, for endless minutes, waiting… waiting…. patiently waiting….

  47. Your little girls are just BEAUTIFUL! I love the pictures of Daddy’s homecoming. My husband returned from Afghanistan on Friday and I loved being able to capture on camera his reunion with our daughter. I only wish I had your amazing talent!!!

    I continue to look forward to more amazing pictures…..

  48. Beautiful post as always. I’d like to think that those little precious souls are smiling because they are remembering heaven and remembering all the good times with love ones that have passed.

  49. I am new- and I am also smitten by your sweet baby girls smile. I was introduced to your blog through a friend of a friend- read your birth story first, cried my eyes out and felt a peace beyond understanding from a perfect stranger.
    Thank you for reminding me to enjoy the small things- and putting it so elequently. I will be back for more….

  50. New to your blog, just somehow came across it today, and I can’t stop reading it! You have an amazing outlook on life, love and happiness.. and your family is beautiful!!

    I’m taking the challenge this week to enjoy the small things in my own life! Too often I’m focused on everything else going on and don’t take time to enjoy the here and now, and that seems to be what your blog is all about..
    can’t wait to read more!

  51. thanks kelle for the love filled post.

    was reading thru the comments and read tish’s comment, reread it amazed that she said everything i was going to comment about (except i don’t have a jonah to send love to lainey ~ ha)

    you captured a precious moment between daddy & lainey. And your nella is a beauty.

    (((hugs))) and prayers,

  52. Hi Kelle,
    Awwww, love the welcome home Daddy pics. I know that wonderful excited feeling and how it makes you fall more in love when they return. Your lemonade stand looked awesome, what a fun idea. Girls are beautiful like always, Love Nella smiling and Lainey’s swimsuit, PRECIOUS!!! Drink some lemon and honey mixed in hot water. Feel better : )

  53. The family pictures, the smiling baby, the grateful words…..just beautiful! I am so glad to have discovered your blog, and it has made me stop and savour the small things in my life too.

  54. I’m just impressed with all that you were able to accomplish in one weekend. And you even had time to blog. Are you sure you just had a baby? You amaze me! Love all the pics. Love your family. Love your blog.

  55. Both your girls have the most beautiful smiles!

  56. I was directed to your site from a random message board and imagine my suprise when I noticed your photos looked familiar. Very familiar. We are practically neighbors! And I’m so glad I have read your blog because I look forward to it each day and it does something for my mood that Zoloft couldn’t achieve. You remind me what is important. Your birth story was so powerful and raw and amazing. So thank you. And can I ask for your autograph if I run into you at Target one day? πŸ˜‰

  57. Your funny sense of humor had me laughing and smiling from ear to ear no doubt…… I don’t know you but I feel like I do…..I love reading your blogs and seeing your stories through your ever so talented photo’s. I look forward to reading your blogs, seeing your magic through your photography and anticipating what is in store for the next….every other day just isn’t enough. :-(
    I love your girls clothes…have to ask…where do you get all of Nella’s outfits…so many look handmade w/ love. I just adore the leggings too.
    Ok, I’m rambling lol

  58. Kelle, I love the first photo you have there in the ‘smiles’!
    But I just noticed one sentence that probably doesn’t say what you want… and might need editing…. Talking about Daddy when you say “His presence in our family is….”

  59. I spent your entire blog today in tears. Those wonderful, life feels so good, tears. The picture of your husband and Lainey at the airport was so special. Yesterday, I “introduced” my family to your family. They loved all of the photos and I shared just a bit about all of you. My daughter, age 7, especially loved all of the baby pictures on your photography site. I think she has baby fever worse than I do now! Oh well. :)
    Thank you for the inspiration that you are in my day to day life!

  60. Oh my, what a beautiful and amazing family you have. :) A friend gave me the link to Nella’s birth story, and I spent a couple hours reading it and various other posts on your blog.

    Awesome, inspiring, emotional, raw, heart-wrenching, and altogether beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

  61. “his presence in our family is detrimental for our functioning.”

    Mama, somehow I doubt that was what you meant to day. πŸ˜‰

    I am loving watching Nella change. Keep the pictures comin’!

  62. Nella has the most beautiful smile!

  63. I have that v same book its awesome (things to be happy about) and you can add your blog/family photos to the list for sure. So sweet

  64. I was really enjoying your post until I came to those smiles and then completely flooded with LOVE. absolutely beautiful!!! fantastic blog, gorgeous family, amazing photos :)

  65. Ooooh goodness her smiles are BREATHTAKING!!! Both of your girls are just beautiful!!

  66. Beautiful post! You inspire me with every one and I get so excited when I see you’ve posted a new entry :) I’m only 16 but have always loved children and I hope that, when I do have children of my own, I’m as amazing a mother as you :)
    You do such lovely things with the girls and they’re beautiful :) Keep smiling because ‘the only way to be happy is to make others so’ and you do, you really do. Not only do you make your beautiful daughters, lovely husband, fantastic network of family and friends and those you meet happy, but you inspire reasers around the world and make us happy :)

    Thank you! xx

  67. You guys are just too bloody gorgeous, every single one of you, there should be laws against it xxx

  68. You have the most beautiful blog I’ve ever seen…
    Gorgeous family and some amazing pictures!
    Im in love! πŸ˜‰

  69. My husband just went away for work and I am pregnant sick and have two sick kids at home too, and your post has seriously made my day!! I only recently started reading your blog and I find it so inspirational and full of love. Love all of your pictures

  70. Ahhhhhhh, love that baby’s smile. Made my day. Now I can go clean my disaster of a house!!! :)

  71. A friend of mine told me about your blog, and had me read Nella’s birth story. And I was hooked. You are an amazing writer and an incredible photographer. You and your girls are gorgeous, inside and out. I have started reading your blog from the beginning, (as well as your new entries) and I only read one or two entries a night with a cup of hot, spiced cider. It is complete relaxation, warmth, and I melt into your words every time. You inspire me. I am also a photographer, and you have also taught me that it is not all about getting the job done, it is about looking through the lens and seeing magic, like you do, and like you show us through your photographs. I adore seeing your husband and the girls together, is there anything sweeter than seeing a daddy with his babies? I met my husband 5 years ago and saw him with his 8 year old son. And I also instantly knew that this was him, the man meant for me, just watching the love and pride for his son. We have a one year old son of our own together now, and it is just as amazing as it could be. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us, I know that I look forward to reading your blog everyday. Nella is beyond beautiful and miss Lainey is such a sweet soul, she makes me smile all the time!!

  72. A friend emailed me your birth story and I was instantly hooked. I even made my husband put down his work stuff and read it with me. I’ve gone back and read your other posts and you are so talented. I decided to take the plunge and make a google account so I can leave you comments b/c honestly you have had a HUGE impact on my life. I can relate to so many of the things you have said. You make me think differently in situations now. I know that sounds weird and slightly “stalkerish” but really you are that amazing. My favorite thing to do is check and see if there is a new post and if there is I run and get my coffee and my 5 month old Theo and nurse him while I read so I don’t get interrupted b/c your blog is my “treat” to myself. Thank you for all you do for us mothers out there with your beautiful words and pictures. I’m so happy I’ve left a comment and am no longer feeling like a peeping Tom. Thanks!

  73. ioc…oh, how i’ve missed you. the pictures left me ioc sick and ready to return really soon!

    lainey looks like a different kid in those pics…so much older and with really long legs!

    garage sale was exactly how you said it…LOL.

    those last pics of nella smiling… they are stunning!

    love you.

  74. oh can you please from now on always write the night before a snow day so that I can wake up and sit in my chair with coffee and read and relax and laugh and read over again and enjoy and then be on with my day?

    thank you.

    Nella-smile + Lainey-grin = warmth injected into my cold snowy snowday.

  75. I adore the pics in this post – Nella smiling makes me smile…and I love Lainey with her sign for Daddy at the airport – so priceless!!

  76. I love your simple life played out in photos. Beautiful.

    Our family relocates every few years and so I’ve had stretches of single motherhood from 2-7 months at a time. Those airport reunions are magical.

    Oh, and we have a Lainey, too!

  77. I have to say I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pic in all of your blogs. I love the swimsuit, the smiles, the adorable painted lemons with names on the aprons. It is all too adorable.

  78. You said it all….*enjoying the small things*
    xo, Bug & Ruby’s Gram

  79. I just discovered your blog recently. It’s beautiful!! :) I have a precious, amazing, beautiful Down’s sister who will be 12 next month. I was almost 13 when she was born and thought God had given us an angel.

    I love looking at your pictures of Nella, remembering what my sister looked like at that age. Maybe I’m biased (surely not! haha) but I think Down Syndrome babies are just the most BEAUTIFUL babies. They’re just so delicate and precious. God bless you and your family!

  80. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and I check back daily to read more aobut your wonderful family. I have been in your shoes (my dd has mild CP) and I’ve felt that big lump in my throat as I’ve struggled with how much to say and to whom. I was touched by your comments about how the laryngitis made the decision for you. Time will pass, and you will start to slip away from those conflicted feelings about whether or not to “explain”. It’s like putting on a pair of comfortable jeans with a big rip in them. You wear them, just because they feel right and you do not care what anyone else thinks. It took me many years to get to this point (my daughter is 8) and sometimes I still “slip” and begin the explanation. Then I just smile and stop. You will too. In fact, you already are! Hugs!

  81. I love your blog!! ZThe pictures are amazing and your story… is amazing.

    I have something for you at my blog :)

  82. Just wanted to let you know that I chose you to give a Beautiful Blogger Award to! I love your site and I think you deserve it! Check out the post to claim your award!

    Alicia from Coffee Mugs and Sippy Cups

  83. good golly nella’s smiles just took my breath away. those have to be the most heavenly smiles i have ever seen including those from my own two kidlets!

    oh and quick question. where did you get lainey’s crab swim suit? it’s too cute and my dd needs one i think :)

  84. First off let me say I’m sorry you have laryngitis! I’ve had it and it’s not fun when you are a mommy. The pictures of baby Nella smiling just made my whole day 1000 times better. That Lainey is sure a cutie pie too her smiles are so precious as well. Feel better soon!

  85. *melts*

  86. Hi Kelle, I’m Sara from Italy and I’m so in love with your blog. Your daughters are so cute, sweet, and I think you’re a big woman. I have a question: how do you do, in America, the lemonade? Thank’s so much and a big Kiss from Italy.

  87. Hi Kelle, I’m Sara from Italy and I’m so in love with your blog. Your daughters are so cute, sweet, and I think you’re a big woman. I have a question: how do you do, in America, the lemonade? Thank’s so much and a big Kiss from Italy.

  88. You are killing me here with these smiling baby pictures. She is so adorable I can hardly stand it. *Big sigh* right there with ya.

  89. your pictures are amazing.

    My favorite are the last two of your precious newest addition!!

  90. You may have laryngitis, but you most certainly have a voice. Especially to those, like me, who “hear” you through your written words. Kelle, your girls are beautiful. I think you’ll probably read that every time I leave a comment. I just want to snuggle with Nella and kiss her sweet face, and I want to spin Lainey in circles and build sand castles. I don’t have any babies of my own yet, so it’s fun to read your posts and see all the fun things you do with your girls. I definitely want to be a mom like you. :)

  91. Oh my gosh, your smiling baby is beyond precious. She’s already exuding such charm & enchantment. I’m completely twitterpated.
    I love that word- means smitten or love-struck… from the Disney movie Bambi.
    My kids are all grown, but while they were growing up we always said they were twitterpated if they had affections for another.

  92. Oh. Such a wonderful weekend.
    That book,
    14,000 Things to be Happy About
    it is just about,
    one of my most favorite books
    on the planet : )

    This post is my favorite thing to be happy about today : ) Thank you.

  93. LOVE LOVE LOVE your photos of your girls! And the last one of Nella – I would love to make a copy to hang on my fridge – it would make me smile from the bottom of my heart every time I saw her! People who make such beautiful babies should have at LEAST a dozen, Kelle & Brett!

  94. Your pictures of Daddy’s homecoming brought tears to my eyes. Amazing.


  95. Kelle, glad your weekend turned out great, even if you do have laryngitis. Loved the daddy coming home pics. And the lemonade stand pics. And the big brother pics. And the baby smiling. Ok, so I really loved all of them! And only you could take those pictures off of your phone and make them into one awesome collage.

  96. love a daddy with his babies! the pictures of your smiling nella are so so precious. i can’t stop looking at her. I have a perfect suitor for her when she is ready. only five years her senior and an equally precious smile. :)

  97. Love, love, LOVE your blog and your beautiful family! I just “found” you and am addicted to reading about your life now. Your photography skills are astounding and I love looking at your photographs (I mean, who doesn’t love squishy baby pictures and cute, little pig-tailed girls?!) as much as I love reading your story.

    I also am dying to know where you get the cute clothes for your girls?! I LOVE every outfit you have them in! I know you get thousands of comments, but I can’t be the only person who has asked this, so maybe a FAQ blog post again?! :)

    Also, since I’m here…I just have to say that your birth story about Nella has so touched me and that I think about you and your family at least once a day (not including when I’m reading your blog!) I find that so heartwarming, don’t you? I mean, I don’t even know you and yet I’m praying for you, which reminds me to pray for my family and friends! Kind of funny…

    Anyway, I can imagine keeping up this blog takes a lot of time to do, but please know that it’s very much appreciated and makes my day…along with the sweet smiles of my little one, too, of course! XO

  98. your baby girl is so, so adorable–your family is beautiful. i love your story. you are a strong mama soul.

  99. Perfection.

  100. A friend led me to your blog a few weeks ago and I love reading your stories! While most of the time I have no problem keeping quiet, today I just can’t…. I love the way Brett looks at your children. I think every woman hopes for a man like that, but not many of us get him. Your girls (and you) are so blessed to have such a wonderful guy who loves them in a way that’s so clearly obvious… and I know you realize that, which makes me even happier. Also, seeing the cuteness that is Lainey and Nella melt me – I hope my little Liana is half as cute as Lainey is when she reaches the age of 2 (she turns 1 in March)!

  101. oh, Isle of Capri. Your return to your happy place. Can’t wait to share in your happy place again, it is magic. Love you.

  102. Nelle’s smile is so precious! It melts my heart!

  103. Beautiful post and pics as always! I love the welcome home pics. Nella’s smile is so perfect!! Both of your girls are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing your life with us. Your blog reminds me to take more pictures of my children and enjoy every little minute I have with them.

  104. i don’t know you, but i love you. Because there are days when my pregnancy hormones have captivated my mind and i think there is no good to come of today, and then you post. And the most happy glorious feeling of hope and peace comes over me. Thank you for finding the beautiful goodness in everyday life.

  105. i love your photos and your attention to making every day memorable, and your sweet little family. i have two daughters also. thank you so much for sharing your world with us. what a wonderful world…

  106. Your blog has touched my heart so deeply. Your girls are perfect & absolutely gorgeous!

  107. I only wish I had the talents to tell my story as beautifully and eloquently as you do ~ your words, your pictures, your smiles, your shots of those girls are AB.SO.LUTELY breathtaking. Thank you for sharing them with the world!!

    Never been so moved by a blog before as I am by yours – I cry & laugh & smile with each entry.

  108. I love this. Nella’s smile is amazing. I love everything you posted. What a happy post!

  109. Beautiful post. Your daughters are gorgeous… love the little baby smiles. And can I say… it’s so not fair that you look so fantastic after just having had a baby. Wish I had your genes :-) I know that feeling of not being complete when my husband is out of town and then returns. And that lemonade stand is precious… I can’t believe you weren’t sold out within an hour! THanks for the smiles.

  110. Ugh! LOVE sleeping, smiling newborn photos. *Swoon, Swoon!* She is delicious.
    So glad your reunion with your hubby was just as you’d dreamed. As always, beautiful photos which encompass all the small & large details in the Book of Life.

  111. I have spent the past 3 days reading every single entry, looking at every single picture you have posted…and I just want to thank you for inspiring me to be a better Mama – not in the sense of loving my own little any more, or appreciating how lucky I am to have him as my own – I already do that… but to make me realize, that I need to enjoy the small things… to forget that I have 6 loads of laundry waiting, or a pile of dishes waiting for me to empty the dishwasher just so I can cram it full again… to let my 7 month old spend 30 minutes trying to eat the window blind cord, just because he thinks it is funny…or dancing like a maniac in our pj’s while he stares at me like I am the coolest person in the entire world – and to stop and remember that I feel the same way about him.

    Thank you for this.

    And thank you for making me want to take pictures of it all. Every moment. So I can look back and remember every single emotion…to remember how, around my own little, I am filled with so much joy, that my heart actually aches in pain from being so full.

    Today, I AM enjoying the small things.

    Lots of love to you and your beautiful family.


  112. You have SO many comments..it seems silly for me to leave another one…but…I just love you and your sweet husband and 2 beautiful little girls…Nella’s smiles melted my heart! Your are an awesome, beautiful family…God is blessing you so sweetly! Come say hi πŸ˜€

  113. Kellie,

    Love the picture of Lainey holding the sign at the airport awaiting her daddy. How priceless is that! I also love the last picture, Nella smiling! Another priceless. Until the next post!

    April (Elissa’s Cousin)

  114. Kelle, Even the photos you take with your phone are great!!! (They kind of look like those cool old Holga camera photographs.) Your girls are beautiful, by the way.

  115. I have to say when I saw that first picture of Brett and Lainey, tears started coming. I’m so glad he is home to enjoy his girls. I love Nella’s new hat.

  116. Hi there!

    Just wanted to let you know that your blog really touch my ♥

    You take the most beatuiful pictures, they express so much love.

    It’s also lovly to see something that reminds me of summer. Up here in cold snowy Norway, it seem like its never going to get hot again πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for giving so much!
    Big warm hugs from Ida

  117. Love reading your posts, they make me look for those small moments in life that sometimes pass me by in the hustle of having 5 young kids. I hope that your voice comes back soon, nothing worse then being under the weather. I’m sure having your husband home is making it a little easier. He seems like an amazing man!!!

    More beautiful shots of the girls……love Lainey’s swimsuit…..and the last picture of Nella is so precious. Love the smile on her face!!

  118. Well, it took me a few days, but I’ve just finished reading every last post you’ve ever written since 2007. What a beautiful, heart-wrenching, inspiring story…I absolutely adore the way you’ve captured you’re daughters’ lives, and wish I could go back to re-capture mine the same way! I too am just a few years into my photography business (website/blog in progress), so I really enjoyed watching your photography change/grow. Love your shots and your vision. You’re creating a beautiful life for your kids, and have inpired me to make more of mine…since life is, after all what WE make of it.
    Thank you for this blog – I love your work. Enjoy your gorgeous girls! :)
    Kristy Klaassen, chilliwack BC

  119. I love everything about this post.

    Your pictures make me well up every time I look at them.

  120. ok…so this may seem a little funny to you but everytime I see a picture of your husband he reminds me of a young Keith Carradine..they say everyone has a double. Hope you get a giggle out of that!
    On another note I am so in love with the last two pictures of Nella..seriously, I want them to put on my keychain next to my own Gracee’s adorable picture! You know I’ve always said to my husband that the smile that babies have in their dreams are the purest..like they are still remember something we adults have long forgotten..being with God and his Angels (I think that is where they are until God sends them to us) and as we growup we forgot and never have that same “remembering” smile.

  121. Oh be still my heart…Nella’s smiles are nothing less than breath taking and AWWW inspiring!

  122. wow. thank you so much for sharing your story and your words. what a beautiful family you have. you’ve inspired me in all aspects of my life. thank you for that.

  123. Nella is simply breath takingly beautiful !!!!

  124. what a precious, precious baby. really Kelle I think she was put here to teach all of us lessons about love, about life, about things not always going as planned but being even better than we anticipated.

    much love from CA, Laura

  125. what a precious, precious baby. really Kelle I think she was put here to teach all of us lessons about love, about life, about things not always going as planned but being even better than we anticipated.

    much love from CA, Laura

  126. Nella’s smiles are little gifts from God – they are so beautiful!

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them!

  127. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWW!! Look! The Nella’s gots dimples! :) IS there anything cuter than a dimpled baby grin?

  128. Nice to see you so happy and together with your hubby once again. I have been sitting here after work unwinding listening to your music play list. I love your play list; you have great taste. I had a bad day at work and your blog post cheered me up as usual. Thanks for being you and sharing with little ole people like me. You rock!! :) Your girls are growing and changing so fast, crazy how rapidly this seems to happen. It seems like I can see a difference from one week to the next. In Nella just because she really is growing so fast in size but with Lainey I can see her expressions and little personality expand. Anyways.. I will stop rambling on your blog! Have a great week. Malissa.

  129. Too cute! Thanks for the smiles!

  130. You are so blessed with such a beautiful family! Cherish every moment! You are an amazing mommy!!!
    Your girls are beautiful!!!!

  131. Enjoying… the beautiful pictures of your beautiful family! There’s something especially wonderful about Daddy pictures – perhaps the way the manliness contrasts with delicate youth? Precious…

    Enjoying… finally making/taking time for some little art projects.

    Enjoying… Easter candy (had my 1st Cadbury egg of the season over the weekend).

    Enjoying… the way my 3-month old smiles and gurgles when he hears my voice.

    I hope you feel better soon! Do you do honey with lemon??

  132. Oh, she is magic.

    And your Lainey, simply lovely.

    So glad your hubby is home. Hope your voice returns soon.


  133. Your girls are beautiful. I love Nella’s sweet smiles and her hat is precious. I love the meeting daddy at the airport pics. It reminds me so much of my life right now with my husband working out of town for a year now. When we go to pick him up every other weekend my kids are beyond excited to see him. Isn’t it wonderful to watch?

  134. I love, love, LOVE your blog! It gives me the warm fuzzies inside. :)

    And by the way, your smiling baby is absolutely precious!

  135. that baby of yours is absolutely delicious. i wish i knew you so I COULD KISS HER TOO!

  136. oh, so cute! i love the last picture. :)

  137. Kelle-
    your blog simply inspire me to keep going.
    Your pictures are beyond beautiful, the composition, colors, framing…. everything!
    I love the way you describe the simplest things,
    God bless you and your girls, you have a beautiful family,

  138. Hello! I stumbled across your blog and I am in love. I love your pictures, I love how much you love love and how you express the simpliest (sp??), everyday things as grand. I think I will stop by often, await the moments in which you post and see the beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing! What a beautiful family you have!

  139. Kelle please tell us more about Bret and your history together! I am reading back through the pages of your blog, like it is a delicious book I can’t put down. As I read, I fall more and more in love with your sweet family, and I yearn to know more! Tell me about Bret, about Austyn and Brandyn. Tell us how you met, your history together, your favorite things about each other. We’ve so fallen in love with you, and Lainey, and sweet Nella…now let us fall in love with the rest of your sweet life!

    Oh, and the latest pictures of Nella are just melt.my.heart precious. Those girls’, those girls’! I love to see their sweet faces!

  140. i know how very hard it is being apart. my husband was in afghanistan from the time sadie was 5 months old until she was 17 months old. he also missed her being born b/c he was training. :) so glad you have such a good, kind man just like i do. i’ll never tire of telling you how beautiful your family is. Xo

  141. I would also love to hear about your love story with Brett. He seems like an amazing Dad and Husband. Where did you meet? Was it love at first sight?

    I stumbled across this blog on accident and now I’m hooked.

    You are making ME a better Mom, a better wife. I always say “Eh, tomorrow I’ll do something fun with my girl.” or “I don’t have the time to take pictures.”

    You inspire me. Thank you so much.

  142. Hi there Kelle,

    You are a beautiful woman, inside and out, with a huge heart, a wicked sense of humor, and boundless artistic talent (writing, photography, and more.) I LOVE the photography and the super saturated colors, they GLOW!

    Congratulations on Nelle, she’s so cute and beautiful and yummy!

    And thank you for being so REAL. You are an incredible, courageous woman, to be so open and authentic with your shock and devastation of giving birth to a baby with Down Syndrome. It can’t have been easy, dealing with the upset and thwarted expectations, on top of the physical trauma of giving birth and lack of sleep and plummeting hormones.

    Thank you for sharing that first night of agony, as you tried to “go back” to the innocence of life “before.” I’m sure you might still wake up and for a brief moment, think things are the same as they were “before.” And maybe you still wish they were.

    All of this is OK.

    You are now being surrounded by a wonderful community of families who also have DS kids. And reach out for the support you need. But as you adjust to the new reality, remember it’s OK to still grieve for the loss of “that perfect dream.” It’s healthy to grieve for that and not cover it up beneath “trying to be strong, etc.”

    And when you are ready, then you can “do violence” to that dream because that dream wouldn’t have become reality anyway, right? :) Even if Nelle was born with “perfect genes,” we humans can never be satisfied with “perfect anyway!” And in the meantime, focusing on that ‘dream’ keeps you from being present and “enjoying the small things.” :)

    Keep on keepin’ it real, Kelle.

    Can’t wait to see what posts you have in store for us, as this new phase of your life unfolds.

  143. Kelle,
    When my daughter WHO HAS Down syndrome was born, I seemed to deal with it by talking about it. I would tell people in the grocery store when they stopped to admire her. Thankfully, I don’t think I ever got a negative reaction. In fact, people who had a brother, a sister, an aunt, an uncle, a niece, a nephew, etc. with Down syndrome came crawling out of the woodwork. People I had know quite a while (albeit, maybe not very well), I was surposed to find out had someone close to them who had Down syndrome. I felt that comforting.

    But back to telling people….I immediately felt like an ambassador after her birth. I wanted people to know. I wanted them to see that I was OK with it. I wanted them to know she had DS and that she was loved and accepted. I think that may be one reason why was so open about it. (And I didn’t have a blog to do this) :-)

    I just love your blog. Your writing and photographs are captivating. Your daughters, both of them, are beautiful!

  144. Thank you so much for sharing your journey in words and pictures. We are so far apart in background and lifestyle, but I am captivated and inspired by your honesty and emotion. Enjoy your sweet little baby. I would like to include your family in my prayers, if you don’t mind.

    “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, …” James 1:17

    Mom of six blessings

  145. So adorable! Again, when my page refreshed and your blog was updated, I actually smiled with excitement.

    It is so touching to see your first born with your husband. You can see the love pouring out of his eyes. That just warms my heart to see such emotion. Not to mention the stunning photos of Nella and her precious smiles. I love newborn smiles. I doubt that there is anything better.

    Thanks for reminding me about 14,000 things that make you happy book. My husband bought that for me when I was battling infertility and when I am down, I open it up and find something that brightens my day.

    Thank you again for sharing and inspiring!

  146. I’m new to your blog but you are an amazing writer! Your sweet little Nella is so beautiful! Those pictures of her smiling made my night!

  147. I read your blog for inspiration every single day. πŸ˜€

    Just wanted to share this song that has so touched my heart as a mom to a beautiful little girl. πŸ˜€ Hope you get to check out the link. πŸ˜€


  148. I was reading your newest entry with my newly 3 year old daughter and as we came to the close-up picture of Nella in the strawberry sleeper, Rylee asked “Mommy is that Sleeping Beauty“ and I just smiled and said “Yes, yes it is“. Your girls are gorgeous and I think you are doing an amazing job! Thanks for being such an inspiration.

  149. Nella has the sweetest smiles

  150. Your blog is beautiful and is giving me a massive attack of baby fever! :)

  151. I love the pictures of the girls’ smiles. I’m so glad you have your husband back! I’m definitely going to use your apron idea with the lemons on them for my three girls!

  152. Kelle!
    I’m blown away by how many new “followers” you get daily. Your “story” (A million Miles in a Thousand Years) is EPIC, chock full of raw goodness and the stuff that people carry with them in their souls.
    Obviously you are a songie, evident by your wonderful EMO music. If you don’t have “Daughter” by Loudon Wainright (I hope I am spelling that right) download it immediately!!It is so sweet, beautiful, amazing! Hurry, download it! What are you waiting for?! You know- in between taking care of a new baby and a 2 year old- in all your spare time. πŸ˜‰
    Have the best day EVER!
    Your Fan ,

  153. I’m not sure if you have been sent this poem, but it amazing and the moment I saw it, I thought of sweet Nella and her very deserving parents! Much love being sent your way!

    a meeting was held quite far from earth.it was time for another birth said the angels to the lord above.this special child will need much love her progress may be very slow.accomplishment she may not show and she’ll require extra care from her parents she meets down there.she may not run or laugh or play her thoughts may seem so far away.so many times she’ll labeled different or disabled.so lets be careful where shes sent down there.lord find the parents who will do a special job.they will not realize right away the leading role they are asked to play.but with this child comes stronger faith and richer love.and soon theyll know the privilege given in caring for their gift from heaven.their precious charge so meek and mild is heavens very special child

  154. Love that their daddy could NOT have looked happier to see his 3 favorite girls! And loving the pictures of Nella smiling! She has a beautiful smile, as does her toothy big sister!

  155. I have 5 children, a set of twins where one, Braden, has Down syndrome.

    You know how it feels when Nella lays on your bare skin and you gaze into her almond eyes and she smiles the smallest of grins…

    you know how that feels…

    well, that is how she will always make you feel.


    I promise.

  156. Your photos sweep away a little of the dreary “Oh crap, I’m totally reinventing my life and trying to lose over 100lbs before next year” blues. Thank you for letting us into your life just a little bit, because I NEEDED some happy news and some adorable baby and some anonymous internet hope today. Prayers and blessings from Alabama for you today!

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  159. I adore her shoes at the airport!! Thanks for reminding me to stop ande enjoy the little things!

  160. You inspire me, I am pregnant with baby #2 and I know whatever happens my family will come through it stronger and more beautiful then ever.

  161. Your daughters are beautiful and you have become such an inspiration to me. I am new to my role as stay-at-home mom and finding the transition very difficult. Your beautiful writings and pictures help me to remember and enjoy the little things that make up my day.

    Thank you. Thank you.

  162. The picture of you in the striped shirt holding Nella mostly with one hand is just to die for. She is SO tiny! The best detail is those itty bitty fingers barely poking out of that one sleeve. So sweet!

  163. That smile is like a little piece of heaven – thanks for making my day, Nella!!

  164. love love love this post and the sweet baby smiles!

    just a quick tip — maybe you were looking for a word other than “detrimental” to describe your man? hehe :)

  165. I just found your blog and have sat for the last couple of hours reading about you and your beautiful family.
    I have cried many tears reading your birth story of beautiful baby Nella.
    Your story is raw and honestly, one of the best I’ve ever read.
    Your truth is inspiring and beautiful.
    I don’t have the words to tell you how your story has touched my heart, and I suspect that is the case for many strangers that read your blog.
    You are certainly right about one thing, precious baby Nella is changing more lives than you have imagined I’m sure!
    No doubt were you chosen by God to go through such a life altering experience. We should all be so lucky!

    Love reading and hope you are adjusting well to having a new baby again!

  166. you are such an amazing beautiful person with such a wonderful positive spirit!!

  167. Kelle – How do you make your ADORABLE little photo collages?!

    You rock.

  168. I recently found your blog through another blog that I follow, I can’t remember which one right now, but I’m so happy that I found your blog. I so look forward to reading your posts and seeing the wonderful photos you post. Your girls are absolutely beautiful! I think you should totally write a book. You’re writing is captivating and intriguing. Thanks for sharing:)

  169. Hi .. I just found your blog today. I just sobbed through about an hours worth of reading … not because the story is sad but your telling of it so profound!!!
    You write so beautifully .. AMAZING!!!
    You girls are gorgeous … love all the pictures!!! SAM

  170. Your baby is SO CUTE! And your little girl is so beautiful. Thank you for posting your beautiful images and words xx

  171. i’m not a big blog reader, but i love yours that i found through dig’s…..and i hate the do this but i must. i found a horrible error:

    We, however, were not disappointed but tearfully enthused rather at the reminder that we love this man very much and his presence in our family is detrimental for our functioning.

    oops! fix that. you love him too much not to.

  172. I cannot express how much I enjoy reading your blogs. They truly are amazing. :)

  173. I keep waiting for a post where there aren’t 8 billion comments, because I don’t want mine to get lost in the crowd. I thought you might appreciate that (or at least know what I mean).
    My friend sent me a link to your site. And I read the whole thing. Yes, the whole thing. Your blog is like fining a book series you really love, going out and buying every book in the series, and staying up all night until you finish them all. When you finish reading, all you want is for the story to go on. I am so fortunate that your story DOES go on, I cannot wait to be continually inspired by you. I need help looking for the small things. Thank you.
    Oh yeah, you also inspired me to get out my digital camera again and some paint… let the creativity begin!

  174. Have been following for awhile. I must say your family is breathtaking. Thank you for sharing.

  175. The last photo of Nella just melts my heart. Golly your girls are just stunning. i think they take after their Mom. I pray you have many more perfect Sundays.
    Blessings and Grace…

  176. Marsha Colbert says:

    Smiling Nella brings tears to my eyes… she is so happy to be a part of your loving family!

    Oh, and the Sunday morning beach photos with your phone are awesome. Why am I not surprised that you can even make mobile photos look stunning!!!

    So glad the Daddy’s back and lovin’ on his family. Enjoy!

  177. What a beautiful, happy post. Your family looks and seems amazing. Love, Love, Love the pictures of Nella and Lainey is just about the most precious little girl.


  178. Hi Kelle,

    Just beautiful to see you all together.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon.


    Linda in New Zealand.

  179. I am not sure how I found your blog, but I am so glad that I happend to stumble upon it. I just wanted to let you know that you inspire me to a great mother, I am recently a stay at home mom now to my 4 year old daughter, and 7 year old son. You’re children are certainly blessed to have such loving, creative, and wonderful parents. You can truly see that you are a happy family, and the love everyone has for you. I wish you nothing but happiness on your new adventures with both of your daughters.

  180. I have never seen a newborn smile so much, I could just eat her right up!….I can’t remember if it was something you wrote or maybe one of the sweet comments from your dad or husband on one of your posts, but one of you said that she smiles as if she is holding all these amazing secrets (okay, so it wasn’t those words…I totally botched that, but it was something like that….and she does have that look on her sweet face….like she knew all along she was coming to this earth, to you, and that beautiful transformations of hearts and stereotypes would take place because of her presence…and she looks so satisfied that what she came here for is rolling into action as planned). She is such a doll…and I am quietly enjoying your blog! So glad we are apart of the same sorority or mommyrority… ooh I just made that up πŸ˜‰ but it is so nice to connect with other families walking this same road!

  181. I started reading your blog right around the time you gave birth to beautiful Nella. I just have to tell you that looking at the pictures of her smiling…just melt me and make me have a HUGE smile on my face…that I can’t make go away. I love it! Thank you.

  182. I have to ask.
    I have two little girls, also. Scarlett is 2 and a half, and Cecilia is 9 months. I still struggle to get showered and dressed every day, and often times all three of us stay in our pajamas. Don’t even get me started on venturing out of the house alone with them!
    How do you do it? How do you get yourself and two little ones up and ready and out the door?
    I admire your energy, and your love for life.

  183. I don’t know how I found your blog, but I have been addicted to it ever since and have been wanting to leave you a message, but didn’t know exactly what I wanted to say. First, you are an inspiration to me, as a mother. I admire your strength, faith, passion and outlook on life. The journey you and your family have been on has been full of many twists and turns, but you are taking it with a positive attitude and know it is out of your hands/control. My husband and I have been on a journey over the last couple of years and adopted our son from Russia. We came home with him in October. He is now 16 months and the joy of our lives. We have our good days and our bad days, but I always turn to your blog for strength and a breath of fresh air (and your pictures are amazing – I wish we lived closer – I would love for you to photograph our family). Anyways, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for sharing your story with the world – Nella has touched more people than she will ever know. I know that her and Lainey are going to do big things one day….because they have had such wonderful parents who don’t allow them to think otherwise.

  184. The last picture of Nella smiling on the sand – it gives me chills! Unbelievably beautiful!!
    Thank you for sharing your life and making me smile! I love reading your posts and look forward to the next one.

  185. Hi, I found your site through a friend of a friend….I just want you to know how incredibly inspiring you are! Your love for your family and joy in life are so refreshing. I especially love your honesty and realism, too.

    I am a young wife and we don’t have children yet, but when the time comes I hope I can have the nurturing and fun-loving approach that you have.

    Thanks so much for keeping it real and being willing to share from your life….hope you get well soon, take care!

    –California reader

  186. Kelle, Nella’s smiles proves you look upon her with deep and profound love, for she reflect in her smile what she’s learned from you …Exceptionaly beautiful, you and yours…

  187. I think that is the best thing about children with Downs… they have the best smiles in the world.

    But Nella’s smiles are something else πŸ˜‰

  188. I don’t have a blog and to be honest have never really read any other than bits and pieces of friend’s blogs. I started reading yours from as far as I can tell the beginning (Did this all recently) and I have been glued to it. You are an amazing photographer (I would actually consider making the trip from Miami to Naples so you can take some of my family. We also have 2 girls (4yrs and 7mos))and an amazing Mom. You have a beautiful family. Congratulations on your beautiful new baby girl too!

  189. Every post, the happy ones, the ones tinged with sadness or worry, the funny ones … every single one fills up my heart and makes me cry and laugh and smile!

    Thank you again for continuing to share your family and life. Count me among the “addicted” to your site!

    Continued blessings and love to you and your family!


  190. Nella’s smile melts my heart.

  191. Your words are poetry and your pictures are so full of love and joy. Love your blog.

  192. Wow, she’s so beautiful.

  193. Okay-each time I thought–oh, now THAT is a perfect picture?

    You showed me another.

    And another.

    And another.

    You truly are showing me, as a mom, how to appreciate everything in life. The big. The small. The in between. Thank you–xoxo

  194. i love nella’s smile.

    i want lainey’s green shoes in my size. lol.

  195. The bunny hat and the smiling pic in the strawberries are too cute to handle.

  196. I’ve been silently following your blog and wanted you to know…that even tho’ I don’t know you personally, it is as clear as light why God decided when Nella’s soul came up in line to be handed down to a mommy and daddy, that He chose you guys.

    Many blessings to you and thank you for sharing this intimate, beautiful journey of yours.

  197. That last picture of sweet sweet Nella is absolutely PERFECT. I love it! I love all of the pictures but this one, oh this one! Lainey is a doll in her cute cute swimsuit! I love her pigtails.

    You are such an inspiration!

  198. Had to catch up on your blog, Kelle. I got behind a few posts. WOw, there’s a ton of comments these days, eh? Will you remember when you’re famous? :o) Nella smiling…those pictures just made me giggle. ANd you said it perfectly “I breathe differently when he’s home.” I totally get that. There’s a completeness, a fullness. Love you!!

    Cousin Lisa

  199. Her smiles are the most blessed things I’ve ever seen. She gets more and more beautiful with each day. The love in your family warms me and reminds me every day how much I love my own.
    Thank you for that. :)

  200. I am adding your blog to my list to check out. 24 1/2 years ago my daughter, Venesa, was born with spina bifida. Reading Nella’s birth story brought it all back. I did not have anyone here for me, just my wonderful husband. It has been a long road for us.

  201. Wow where to start first off your girls are absoutly GORGEOUS!!! That little smile on Nella’s face it warms my heart I could just squeeze her :) I can’t just get over how beautiful they are! Your truely blessed!!

  202. I am just completely amazed at all the comments.

    Actually…no, I’m not. Not one bit. It’s so awesome to read how many people you have inspired. Me, being one of them.

    Love the pictures, as always. Love those baby girls…Brett and the boys too…keep going Kelle! Your one rockin mama!

  203. Anonymous says:

    Your photos are amazing as always. The smiles of both girls you have captured will be treasured forever! Their smiles bring a smile to me in my crazy day!

  204. Anonymous says:

    I stumbled across the link to your birth story by accident and by the end of it I was in tears. You described so well the pain I also know. The pain of losing something you thought you had. And I understand how you have to grieve for that loss even while loving and embracing the wonderful gift that you have. Thank you for sharing.

  205. In a blog with a million comments . . how can I even tell you how you have pierced right through my heart today reading your daughter’s birth day. So beautiful and my desk is flooded with tears. Thank you for sharing such deep intimate details that inspire and motivate so many. She is absolutely beautiful, as are you and the rest of your family. God bless you. Thank you for sharing!!!

  206. Dear Kelle,
    I wanted to share with you how much Nella’s birth story moved me. I have never been touched so much by somebody that I did not even know. I cried with you, a lot! I have fallen in love with Nella, too, and Lainey! I love checking your blog to see how your sweet family is doing and I enjoy all of your sweet pictures and precious words. You have inspired me to be a better mother to my 5 boys and to suck the marrow out of life! Thank you for being real, being a good mother and devoted wife, and for opening up yourself and sweet family to share and bless others. Lots of love to you!

  207. I keep coming back to this blog again and again and each time it fills me with awe at the talent of your photography and writing. Not many people can do passion with such honesty that breaks away from all the stereotypical lay disability press that feels sorry for the special/brave/courageous blah blah blah – You’ve cut through all of that and produced something so beautiful – the children to start with of course – but so much more than that too. What a lovely find. Thank you.

  208. Anonymous says:

    I wept when I read your story. It touched every mother molecule in my body. I’m starting to weep again. And the music… oh my lord… it was perfect. Thank-you for sharing your love, your angst, your sorrow, your joy. I haven’t been able to get your blog out of my mind. This is my first year with an empty nest and I love it and hate it. Probably how you will feel on some days when you are exhausted and worried. I so appreciate your sharing your life. Everyone is not so articulate, but we… I feel this is what I would have wanted to say had I your gift of expression. I’ll be back, I want to see how things go. Blessings, Sharon

  209. Anonymous says:

    Aww beautiful smiles. Love your blog, great photos, great posts….I enjoy reading it.

    Melissa H.

  210. Okay I know this blog post is old! πŸ˜‰ But I just found your blog yesterday and I am totally smothering myself in it, reading about your beautiful girls and your awesome family. And the very first blog post I read was your birth story, not realizing it was like 6 weeks old…

    I am a step-mom as well, and I think it is such a tremendous privilege to see our husbands as dads before we even marry them. How many women get to do that? From the moment I met my husband, I knew he was a devoted dad that would do anything for his boys (then 4 & 5, but now 18 & 20. Clearly everyone asks me if I’m their sister πŸ˜‰ There is nothing sexier and that will make you fall in love with a guy quicker than seeing him kiss his child’s owie, or the grown man-hand holding little chubby fingers.

  211. Nella is beautiful. I love the pictures of her smiling when she’s asleep – reminds me of our daughter when she was an infant. She’s 4 now and, although there are still tears some days, she fills our lives with an unexplainable joy.

  212. Hello Kelle, I am just finding your blog. You are an amazing writer and your photographs are stunning. Your girls are beautiful but the smiling baby brought smiles to my face. I am amazed at your gift of cataloging moments. My youngest is 15 months old and I had almost forgotten those early sleeping smiles and laughs. Thanks for the reminder.

  213. So damn cute!!

  214. Hi Kelle, every-time I am able to check your blogs I always wanted to cry…you are such a blessing to your kids and they are sooo blessed to have a mom just like you… you are full of life, and you enjoy every tad of it… :)

  215. I am in Love with each and every one of the beautiful moments you capture!
    You are an amazing person. And I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog in some of my spare moments.

  216. I am fairly new to your blog and absolutely love it. I have had this book for years and nobody seems to know of it when I mention it so I was so excited to see it in the related posts section. My copy is equally worn and it seemed so fitting that I would find such a happy little book in a place so full of love and happiness!

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