Rockstars and such.

It has recently been brought to my attention that, two years ago, on this very blog, on the eve of my thirtieth birthday, I wrote the following in my post:

“I took all the twenties and kissed them good-bye tonight…tucked them away in boxes with all their sweet memories and sorrows…

…and once the twenties were safely stored and a proper farewell was said, I brought out the new box. I can’t see in it yet, but I can tell just by the outside that there is beauty inside. Sorrow too…yes, I’m sure. But there is in every box, and this one seems to come with more coping skills. More growth. More experiences. More challenges. More love.
I can’t wait.”

Little did I know…behind the flaps of that mysterious box was, indeed, love.

Quite prophetic, really.

I’m almost ready to cut my hospital bracelet off…almost. It’s just that it’s the last physical link to this entire experience and I still think about it like crazy…the shock still, I guess, and I’m wanting this thought process to die down because it is consuming.

The Power of the Mind.
It’s amazing what control we really do have over our thoughts and what tactics we use to control it. Like, seriously, envisioning myself as a rockstar really makes me think I am one. And I tell myself every day I am going to rock this day out. Even when I want to cry and stay in bed. It becomes such a challenge to myself to see exactly what I am capable of and usually, the more down & out I feel, the more I rock it out. And that doesn’t just pertain to this whole D.S. thing. It’s all the crap in life…just rock it out.

My sister says picture a person who models what you’re going through exactly how you’d want a role model to show it. Then become that person.

And that, I try to do.

With all that said, this blog has been the most necessary form of therapy for me and while I have had questionable views on various forms of socialization in the Internet before, I shan’t any longer. I may not update my Facebook status every two hours with what I’m eating or where I’m going, but I will give credit where credit is due…and that is the pure good in human kind and the soul balm you all have been in your comments and e-mails…even phone calls from ‘strangers’. I have come to ‘know’ so many of you and have been slowly healed by the photos and stories you have sent.

Do I read all the comments? You betcha. Every one of them. Often in the middle of the night from my phone while I am nursing the wee babe, but I have read them. And they are so incredibly touching. There’s just so many good people who really do care about others who are hurting. And so many good mamas and daddies out there who are all striving for the same thing. Who love their babies and want to suck every bit of popsicle juice out of this Lifecicle.

And who knows…the Facebook updates may come…

Kelle Hampton is going to the bathroom. Kelle Hampton is nursing her baby. Kelle Hampton is laughing because updating in third person is really funny.

I actually forgot, for a minute, what I used to write about on here because I’ve been using this as total therapy lately. I’m beginning to bore myself. We’ll get back to funny, random, beautiful moments eventually. And, for God’s sake, I’ll turn the sappy music to something more fun soon, but there’s so many clicks still being made to the birth story post and Play that Funky Music, White Boy doesn’t really jive with that kind of seriousness.

Needless to say, I’m craving that propeling force of Moving-on.

And let me make a tangent here for a moment to clarify the Holland thing. To all the beautiful Dutch readers, I would LOVE to visit Holland someday and my slander of wooden shoes was only referencing one of my crazy analogies brought on by this poem, a poem I actually think is beautiful…just a bit skewed as it likens having a special needs child to traveling to Holland as opposed to Italy. The only thing I have a problem with is the ending…that special needs’ parents will always grieve never getting to Italy…to which I say…GO THERE! No one said it was an imprisonment to one particular place. Perhaps it may take a little more effort to get there, but never say never.

In other news…

Our puzzle has been complete these past couple days because our much-loved Daddy is here, filling all the empties we’ve had while he’s been away.

And we’ve been talking a lot lately about how our family is fueled by togetherness, and I’ve needed that so much more lately…because nothing is more important than family. And, I guess the absence of that feeling has fueled it even more and caused us to dig deeper into what life is really about and what goals we will make efforts to strive toward. With us, it always leads to each other. To our kids. And to the little moments we make with them…moments that carve deeper impressions than money ever can.

I love our daddy.

This weekend was again somewhat chilly for Southwest Florida standards, so we cozied up inside enjoying cozy things like homemade lemon poppyseed scones (okay, I lied. They weren’t homemade. They were these from Cost Plus, but, with a smattering of butter, they were amazing), and long afternoon naps.

Nella is getting amazing with her neck muscles…something that’s apparently delayed with D.S. A little tummy time and the girl becomes a freaking rocking horse, froggy legs all hoisted behind her and that precious little head just a stretchin’. That’s because she’s a rockstar, you know.

And Miss Lainey. Her head cold gives her the cutest stuffy voice, but it comes at the expense of a very runny nose which, if you’re not watching, gets wiped on couch arms, dish towels and, um…Nella’s clothes. But she’s still a rockstar too.

And she hasn’t left Brett’s side since he’s been home.

And, perhaps this is the world’s most boring post…because I’m beating a dead horse here…but I had a bit more emotional blah-blah I had to spew before I get over the hump to more thought-out posts.

I did promise a few F.A.Q.’s. though.

A: Where do you get the knits?

My mom has made a lot of them and then people found out I’m in love with homemade baby knits, so they’ve bought them for me for gifts. But I have, over the course of taking newborn photos and obsessively scouring Etsy shops while pregnant, stocked up.

Some favorite Etsy shops:

The Bee’s Nest
Wanderlust Creations

B. Lainey’s Clothes

I get a lot from the coolest consignment shop here in Naples, Once Upon a Child, which is totally stocked with fantastic finds.
And then Baby Gap, Children’s Place, Costco (yes, Costco) and wherever else we might happen to find something on sale.

C. What does Brett do?

He sells software.

D. How do you find time to do everything?

I don’t. I can only juggle so many balls and, while I choose to keep one up, another falls. And when I pick that one up, another falls. And so on. However, I always make time for babies. For snuggling them, loving them, holding them…even if it’s while I’m doing something else.

Which brings me to bed time. The girls are jammied and ready and all the balls get dropped at this time of night while I cherish my favorite task of all. Inhaling their goodness…their littleness…and the opportunity of moments I can never get back years to come.

My littles await.

Tell Facebook Kelle Hampton is loving her girls.


Leave a Comment
  1. Your blog & photos always warm my heart. Your daughters are beautiful…thanks for sharing.

  2. Your daughters are gorgeous! Love looking at pictures of them! :-)

  3. How do you do it [make me cry] every time? Well done, once again. And I am just a bit addicted to Etsy. Thanks for sharing your favorite sellers and for answering some burning questions I’ve had.

  4. I found your blog when a friend linked the post “Birth Story” and have been reading since… your stories are incredible, your daughters beautiful. Thank you for writing!!

  5. Kelle –

    I felt a bit voyeuristic reading your blog and never commenting, so here I am. I love your words and I love your photos. I am due with my second daughter in 8.5 weeks and you’ve inspired me to remember to cherish every moment, regardless of how challenging. Your babies are beautiful. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with your readers.

    When I was very young, we briefly lived in Naples and it was one of the happiest times of my childhood and life in general. Your scenic photos feel nostalgic and therapeutic for me. I see many similarities between you and I, even down to the kind of baby knits we enjoy and books we read. It’s nice to know you’re in the world :)Have a fantastic week.

  6. I, too, like hundreds (thousands?) of others enjoy reading your blog & seeing your beautiful pictures. I also, like many others, have a child with Down syndrome. I have a 15 month old daughter named Sunny. We did not know she had DS until she was about a week old. She is our first child and is the greatest joy I’ve ever known.

    I guess Moms in general feel a connection, but “us” Moms with a child with DS, well, it feels like that times a little bit more. :)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Your babies are so beautiful! Motherhood is NEVER boring. I should know being a mother of 5 and 3 year old boys and a 1 year old daughter. I absoluty love your photos. I wish we lived closer so you could take some pictures of my children. I love your photos and your blog. I read the birth story and cried my eyes out. One of my best friends went through the same thing with her third daughter. She is now almost two and just started walking. Looking forward to more beautiful pictures and beautiful words!

  8. Tell facebook I am reading your blog and enjoying the pictures of your beauties. Your blog is a wonderful read. THANKS.

  9. Love you, love your blog, love your family, love the beauty you bring to the blogosphere.

  10. Hi, Kelle. I, too, am the mother of a precious angel with Down syndrome. Our sweet, Delaney (sometimes called Laney), just turned 3 years old in January. She is also blessed with a wonderful older sibling, Cole, 9 years old, who loves and adores her beyond measure. Just wanted to say hello and to let you know that you have inspired this reluctant writer to start a blog. I enjoy reading your “life story” and would like to invite you to read mine. I’m a few steps ahead of you in our journey to Holland and would be happy to advise you in any way that I can. God Bless.

  11. Ahh Kelle,

    You may keep that bracelet on as long as you need too. I’m actually very glad for your F.A.Q. because as I read them I realized, hmm I’ve thought about this too, hehe. I enjoy reading your blog soooo much, for various reasons:
    1: beautiful words
    2: beautiful girls photos
    3: It shows so much LOVE
    So, I can only say, Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. – Facebook status… Anabel is reading Kelle Hampton’s blog… again (lol).

  12. You are a rock star Kelle! And a rockstar that takes the time to answer questions too! seriously, that’s awesome..

    Thanks for sharing..

    Love the new header too :)

  13. And I thought I might be a first to post a comment…I will dutifully stand in line here at the post office. Defining moments. Life is filled with them. More than defining us, they define life itself. I was thinking about perfection, performance and winning and remembered a quiet scene many years ago. I was the young daddy and Nella’s Uncle Bubby (not to be confused with Uncle Buck) was with me as I introduced him to the game of miniature golf. Through the course of windmills (Holland?) and clown faces and other fantasies on the 18 hole course, I, being a good daddy, made sure he ultimately won. When the game was over, I tallied the score and announced to a waiting brown-eyed boy the results. “Daddy has 68 and you have 63!” Looking down, I saw a little blonde crowned face slowly dissolve into sadness…and suddenly I realized…he had never played a game where the low score wins. I had to interpret the score and make a champion of him. These are the moments, the events, the essence of life that demand interpreting the scores. And they are tallied different than the world might. Champions emerge from the chalice of life. Winners step onto the platform. Cheers stir from those who really know…and the applause spreads…and a wave begins in life’s stadium. This is perfection. Defined. Sometimes, what we thought was a low score trumps all. Kisses to my little victors! They take my gold!

  14. Love your posts. So glad I’ve found your site…

  15. Amz in NZ says:

    Nella is seriously delish, man shes gorgeous. Lainey will be a super big sister :) You must have awesome fashion sense yourself cos the wee girls always look so stylie – I think Lainey has a better wardobe than me for sure!

    My little boy is 2 days younger than Nella :)


  16. Cecilie says:

    Looking at your photos has become an almost-daily treat for me since I discovered your blog a few weeks ago.

    We travel to Naples once or twice a year from our home in CA. Next time we come, I will definitely be checking to see if your are available to take some photos of my little ones (ages 6 & 2)!

  17. I, too, found your blog when a friend shared with me your birth story. Thank you for sharing life’s little moments – no matter how seemingly random! – with us. They never fail to bring a smile and a little bit of inspiration for us to foster our inner rockstar.

  18. Kelle,

    I LOVE when I see a new entry from you :) Your posts inspire me to enjoy every little moment I have with my beautiful family.

    I’m due in 10 weeks with my second child (a baby boy!) and I’m savoring the last 25% of my pregnancy. The kicks, the bumps in the night, even the heartburn. It’s such a precious time.

    I have a feisty 18 month old daughter who tests my patience every day and fills me with so much love, it nearly hurts.

    And then there is my husband. My sweet, sweet, husband. Not many of us are lucky to find a true Prince Charming. Cuddling up with him every night is like coming home.

    Just wanted to share what I’m savoring. Thanks for the frequent reminders to stop and smell the proverbial roses. Thanks so much for sharing your heart and life in such an open and touching way.

    Lisa, Syracuse NY

  19. Hi Kelle-

    Found your blog on Nella’s birth story was one of the most touching things I’ve ever read. Thank you so much for sharing-you’ve touched many!

    Nella looks so teeny tiny. Gives me bad baby thoughts! :) So not ready for a baby, so I’ll live vicariously so long as you allow me. :)

    Lainey’s outfit rocks, and her little red suitcase is delicious! I find myself repeatedly wanting to ask where you got each piece of clothing your girls wear! Love Nella’s little wool (think they are wool?) pants, too.

    Again, thank you for such pretty, candid posts. They always brighten my day! (And a girl in Minnesota NEEDS a little brightening this time of year!)

  20. Nella’s eyes are beautiful! As for the neck thing and what we are told is typical for “DS” development, forgetaboutit! Our babies do everything when they are ready. Nella is already rockin her imaginary Superwoman cape. I have had doctors (when My daughter was younger) not believe she had Ds because her tone isn’t “low”. I made myself stop looking at typical baby books, well, at least the development section, and it has made a world of difference in being able to enjoy each day without getting caught up in what Cameran can do vs. should do.

    Keep rockin!

  21. Thanks Kelle Hampton for sharing your loving heart (and your beautiful pictures). Your girls are so darling!! Thankful that Brett could be home – precious times for all of you. Love & Prayers,

  22. Your blog is so uplifting.. i love reading it… Your girls are gorgeous and I wish I could take pictures like you do..I love reading about nella.. My cousin was born with water on the brain,deaf and unable to walk.. Growing up with him around and in my life made me a better person.. He was the main reason why I started working with special needs children.. They are wonderful children and truly amazing at that( which i know you know that by now).. I just wanted to say you are truly blessed and a very lucky choosen one to have these beautiful girls… I look forward to reading more post… :)

  23. Love the pic of frog-rockin’ Nella!!

  24. Rock Stars for sure :) The picture in the striped pants and blue booties is sooo cute…I can’t take the cuteness!

  25. ohhhhh just total sweetness! all of you…love your bloggie and your girls :-)

  26. Oh my goodness… your girls get more beautiful every time you post. I am glad Nella’s story has led me to your blog. It is amazing and you are a rock star.

    Kuddos to Nella for holding her head up. That is awesome!! I love the last pic with her big, bright blue eyes. I just want to hug that sweetie pie.


  27. Beautiful girls…just like their momma! Look at those eyes on that little Nella! It’s like she knows something we don’t…

  28. I am captivated by your blog, Kelle. You write so beautifully, that you make me want to pull out a pen and write….forever. I can only imagine the wonderful mama, wife, sister, daughter, friend that you are to all who know you. Your words allow others to see into you soul, which is beautiful. I wish you and your family nothing but goodness….and togetherness.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Hi Kelle=)

    Nella is a total Rockstar. I am amazed to see how well she holds her head up! She is already creating her own chart of “Nella Milestones”, not to be compared to any other child. Just Nella being Nella………she’s going to leave other little ones in the dust she’s going to go so far! But we would expect nothing less from a child that is clearly surrounded by the most amazing LOVE=)

    Susan from Boston

  30. I know you hear/read this all the time, but your blog is the most inspiring in the world. Your eloquent words have touched me to my core. As a fellow SW FL girl myself, I thank you for your honest words. People like you make the world a better place. God bless you and your beautiful family.

  31. WHat an absolutely beautiful baby!!!

  32. i look forward to your post all the time! I love reading about your girls and you realness. You are an amazing mom!

  33. Anonymous says:

    its funny that you mention your transition to the 30s, because I’m approaching 30 pretty soon, and I recalled your list of what you’ve learned… and I’m making my own. One thing I’ve learned is how possible it is to feel profoundly close to someone whose life is very very different… like I feel when I read about your life.. I have no littles yet, i’ve only just met the Daddy of my own life,and I live in the frozen Northeast.. and yet I’m drawn to how much intention and focus you bring to your day to day life.. I REALLY admire your honesty especially with your journey of mothering Nella. Your words are always appreciated, and your photos are amazing! i’m sure you have the support of a million other accidental readers like me.

  34. Anonymous says:

    its funny that you mention your transition to the 30s, because I’m approaching 30 pretty soon, and I recalled your list of what you’ve learned… and I’m making my own. One thing I’ve learned is how possible it is to feel profoundly close to someone whose life is very very different… like I feel when I read about your life.. I have no littles yet, i’ve only just met the Daddy of my own life,and I live in the frozen Northeast.. and yet I’m drawn to how much intention and focus you bring to your day to day life.. I REALLY admire your honesty especially with your journey of mothering Nella. Your words are always appreciated, and your photos are amazing! i’m sure you have the support of a million other accidental readers like me.

  35. I love your blog! You are most definitely a bloggin’ rockstar!! Your girls are beautiful and the knitted outfits are just presh! I forget how I found your blog but I am SO glad that I did! My family also lives in SWFL and we are here now visiting and enjoying the beautiful (somewhat chilly) weather! Thanks for sharing your babies with the blog world :)

  36. I love your blog! You are most definitely a bloggin’ rockstar!! Your girls are beautiful and the knitted outfits are just presh! I forget how I found your blog but I am SO glad that I did! My family also lives in SWFL and we are here now visiting and enjoying the beautiful (somewhat chilly) weather! Thanks for sharing your babies with the blog world :)

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  38. Your girls are just beautiful!

  39. Anonymous says:

    You & Nella & little Miss Lainey are all rockstars!! And we’re all your groupies! Once again you’ve touched a million hearts with your amazing posts… I look forward to your updates each and every day! And it’s the best reminder to hug hug hug my kids every chance I get… I dismiss the eye rolls and the “mom, PLEASE” and just grab my hugs & kisses while I still can!!

  40. I don’t comment every time (cause I’m one of those who likes to read everyone else’s comments and by the time I get to #645 I feel at a loss for words entirely!) but since you said you read them ALL…alas I shall comment this time. :) I really do love your blog – again I feel repetitive of all the other hundreds of people who love it too, but it has everything I love and can relate to – adorable babies, pretty things, fun photography, and REAL mommy/woman/human thoughts. I hope you get a chance to read these other amazing blogs as well. I find just as much therapy reading and communicating with other moms of the blogging world as I do writing my own. Especially those moms who have been through similar experiences, i.e. traveled to various european countries like myself… :) and have beautiful, miracles of their own. And if your like me you can never have to many comments. I check mine multiple times a day. I love finding comments but there are never enough. :) What I lack in numbers I gain in friendships though as I use the time I save reading comments to “comment” myself. :) It is truly a world I never would have found if not for my son – there is not a day that goes by that I don’t experience another blessing born from what once felt like tragedy. Again – wonderful post. Love those girls! Goodnight. :)

  41. I, too, found your blog from another reader and look forward to your posts. Your girls are absolutely beautiful and so are you. Just from reading the last few posts and seeing the pictures, you have taught me to cherish life a little more and also how important it is to keep taking care of ourselves as moms, whether it be through writing, photography or just taking a minute to put on a little make-up.

  42. Friend,
    You are a rock star, really.
    I am a mother of nine really great rock stars- from college to newborn, my hands are full. But honestly I have learned more from you than I though possible. I am usually the one telling the stories, giving the advice. Keep it going, amazing.

    I do want to share a quote from Blessed Mother Theresa that keeps me in step….
    “I know God won’t give me more than I can handle- I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.” Ya gotta laugh!

    p.s. I too love etsy- have to hide the mail from my husband some days, and I like the sappy music.

  43. Love your pictures and love your girls!

  44. Rock star indeed! You 4 are rocking the world, and thanks for opening my eyes to such loveliness. As always, thanks for sharing Kelle.


  45. Having just found your blog, I find myself looking forward to your witty and thoughtful posts and beautiful photographs of your (equally beautiful) family. Thank you for sharing your world with us.

  46. Delurking to say how much I love reading your blog. I am the Mom of almost three year old twin girls, both of whom have special needs. From the moment I read your birth story I knew exactly what you were talking about. The joy, the sorry, the confusion. It is a wild ride but worth every single minute.

  47. I have completely fallen in love with your blog! And I wrote this to you once before, but I am constantly amazed at how similar our reactions/emotions etc were when receiving unexpected news about our children when their diagnosis’ are so different. I too have a love/hate relationship with Holland (funny enough since my ancestors were Dutch), couldn’t figure out how to update my fb status anymore, grieved (and still do sometimes) the life that “shoudla been” and immediately refused to follow the path that a particular diagnosis is expected to lead you down (I catch myself in Italy a lot lately, and I love it!). I love your positivity and strength and cannot wait to get to “know” you better.

    p.s. I absolutely adore the two birth stories you have shared about your daughters…do you have an exciting story about how you and your hubby met?

  48. If I could sew, I’d make that little superbaby a cape. That’s amazing!

  49. You are therapy for ME! When I’m being negative I come here and read. I started at the beginning and find myself reading slowly so I can savor it longer. And I’m sure you get this from other’s but I feel like I know you (and I hope I don’t sound like a stalker)….but as I’ve been reading I just can’t get over that maybe we knew each other when you lived in Michigan because I live here.
    But I’m appreciating the normal, the everyday of life because that is what its all about….it isn’t the one week vacation or the anniversary dinner, its everyday…and thank you for showing me that.
    I started journaling all those daily little things my 14 month old does because of you.

  50. I love you, Nella! (kiss)

  51. I love, love, love your blog. It is so beautifully written. I am in love with Nella!!! She is truly gorgeous.

  52. Anonymous says:

    You make me want to be a better mother, a better wife, a better person… You are such an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your beatiful words and pictures with us. You truly are a rockstar! Can I have your autograph? lol!

  53. Thanks Kelle.
    I so enjoy reading your words…beautiful words. (and Poppa’s comments aren’t half bad either! :) I love the honesty, and the raw emotions that pour out in each entry. You inspire me to live bigger, and savor the moments.

  54. A long time ago, I spent quite a bit of time in Holland. Immediately, I noticed all the, let’s say, rated R-ness of it, and was well shocked. But I had the best time ever. It is a weird, tiny, place packed with amazing people, cheese and beer. Yum. When you’ve finally settled in, I am willing to bet Nella will be full of surprises…just like those great little neck muscles she rocking out! Go Nella!

  55. Your blog is amazing; your photography is beautiful; your daughters are stunning, and your honesty is refreshing. I wish wonderful things to come for you and your family. Meanwhile, I will enjoy every picture-filled post!

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  58. Nella is just adorable. I also cry everytime I read your blog. Your birth story is my story when Arden was born. I knew the second we looked into each others eyes. I just knew. Arden is now 9 months old and I so love her. I love my genetically enchanced Arden.

    Thank you for your blog. My tears are good tears.

  59. I absolutely LOVE your blog. A friend of mine sent me Nella’s birth story a couple weeks ago and I have been hooked ever since. You have such a beautiful family. I think I cry every time you post something new. Haha.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. You are an absolutely amazing mother and an inspiration to all of us. I hope that I can show my daughter the same care-free, deeper-than-the-ocean kind of love that you have shown yours.

  60. Once again, I am prompted to post. You, Kelle Hampton, have quite the story. And, I might add, the most amazing way of telling it. You are so human… so easy to relate to… and you too, are a rock star πŸ˜‰ Keep writing, Kelle… we all look so forward to reading it. xx

  61. Madisyn Andrea says:

    Oh you make me laugh.

  62. Kelle… Hi again. I just want you to know that you are awesome. I love reading. In fact, you have really have helped so many and will continue to do so with your words and honesty. It’s funny, a few of us that are now Kelle Hampton blog groupies (See you really are a rock star!) We refer to you as our friend Kelle – oh, and Kelle says this and Kelle said that. And, did you read what she said… it is exactly on the spot. We have all felt they way you are feeling and we sometimes still do at moments with our sweet angels that have DS as well as with our “typical” children that do not. One thing that you have inspired me to do is to be ME more. I used to go all out with details. But, then I just got tired – SAHM with 3 kids and a traveling husband. But, I realized that I actually get energized by doing it. So, the 4 of us made Star Pop Cookies for Jake’s 1st bday party and printed out a picture of him from a pre b-day photo shoot from my friend Sara and posted them on cute striped paper and handed them out as a thank you for coming. Then I made a cute little scrapbook for all the guest to sign, write a note or draw a picture for him to have to remember. I made sure that it was already filled with his pictures from Sara so they could see it partially complete. It was fun and everyone was loving all three special touches. And, it made me feel good. The messages about how Jake has been such a blessing to everyone that was there was wonderful to read last night after the last guest left. The families of our little secret club are truly blessed- yes we will face some challenges and we will have lots of mountains to climb – but every step is full of determination and celebration. We are the lucky ones! Anyway, last night was a great party. A Smilebox to follow – just waiting for photos from my dear friends Sara and Beth (everyone was calling them the “Momma-razzi”) Anyway… I hog enough of your blog comment space. :o) Lots of hugs! Dana

  63. I just wanted to say that Nella is so gorgeous. She has the most beautiful eyes and adorable chubby checks. She must get that from her precious sister because she looks like a little doll too.

    Hope you’re enjoying your cuddles. We’re about to nurse, cuddle and sleep too. :)

  64. I just want to say I skimmed through some of the comments (because I saw there were only thirty some at the time instead of the usual 200+ and I can see where you get your wisdom and compassion – your dad’s post about the low score trumping all was so simple and amazing. I can’t say anything without repeating what everyone has said before me – I love it all.

    The words “fear not” are used 365 times in the Bible. That means there is a fear not for every day of the year :)

  65. I love that last line!

    The song on this post was my wedding song :-) Beautiful.

  66. Dammit! I am crying…AGAIN!! Have you ever thought about becomming a Motivation Speaker!?! You warm my heart. And that last pic of Nella…Oh I could reach through this screen and hug her. Precious. Lainey looks so grown is these pics too! Such beautiful girls just like their Momma. Thank you for lifting my spirits again tonight through another beautiful post. You truly are a Rockstar. πŸ˜‰

  67. lainey looks so … big. wow. she totally grew up these last few weeks, huh? (i’m feeling the same way about cora right now.)
    the idea of becoming your role model really struck a chord with me tonight … thanks for that reminder.
    and present? did not make it out yesterday … i got crazily obsessed with finding an antique cabinet for my new-ish computer room after having to move things around. sorry. tomorrow.

  68. I cannot believe how many people leave comments on your blog!!! It’s amazing how many lives you have touched! I am thrilled to hear that you read every one of them too. :) That’s awesome! I have posted a few times before. I found your blog through facebook a few weeks ago through a link to Nella’s birth story.

    My child does not have DS….But, I can still relate to having a child with special needs. I was thrust into being the mother of a special little boy at just 19 yrs of age. We were told when he was diagnosed at 11 months old that he would not survive to the age of 3. He has spent his entire 13 years in and out of hospitals (mostly for pneumonias) brought on by just something as minor as a common cold. He lacks the strength to cough and therefore, a cold could actually kill him. He will be 14 yrs old in just a few weeks and we continue to stand in awe of what he has overcome in his short life. We live each day with him to the fullest as we never know when it will be his last. He has never walked, stood or even crawled. But, he is the most amazing child and has the most amazing attitude towards life. Thank you for sharing your beautiful girls and your life. Even being into this journey 13 years now, I am still growing and learning everyday. Nella will change you in ways you never thought possible. You sound like an incredibly strong person and I know you will do just fine. BTW….is Poppa your dad? He sounds like an amazing father and grandfather! I can see where you get your writing talent! ((HUGS))

  69. Hi Kelle

    I was led to your blog by your amazingly raw, honest, breath takingly beautiful birth story and it is the LOVE and FABUOUSNESS of your girls, fsmily and bond which has held me here. Your blog is now close to my heart and reminds me daily to scoop up my little treasure and breathe her in deep because soon she will be too big to scoop up!

    I also have to say that I always read through the comments because the words of wisdom from Poppa and his beautiful way with words could be a blog on their own.

    Nella is just delicious and Miss Lainey – what a gorgeous big sister.

    Enjoy rockin it out with your girls.

    Lots of hugs

  70. Oh I was just going to shut the computer down and I’m SO glad I checked/stalked your blog once more. I’m telling you that Lainey is the splitting image of you, she has your exact eyes, so so beautiful. And Miss Nella gets cuter every time I see her, if that’s possible!!! Nothing cuter in this world and I SOOOOO want to snuggle in that neck of hers!!! What a post of yumminess!!! Thanks. Off to bed now!!! :)

  71. You have blessed me! Thank you for your transparency and for sharing life along the way. I have greater grace and understanding because of you. And I have passionate hope for the child I believe God will one day give me. You make me feel STRONG! I have a confident hope and peace for that season in my life. Thank you!

  72. Your girls are just adorable! You are a fabulous writer and photographer too! I love visiting your blog!

  73. Oh goodness…your posts always speak to my heart. You strike a chord in all moms with beautifully written prose that touches on the universal emotions we feel, the daily struggles, but mostly how it is all born out of love for our babies. I enjoy the little glimpse into your world that I get with each post…and it makes me feel renewed and ready to take on the next challenge.

  74. Anonymous says:

    Oh, come on now….I can’t handle such amazing photography! I just might have to plan a visit to FL so I can have my children photographed by you!! The close-up of Lainey in the green sweater(under where you wrote, “My littles await”) captures her pure beauty! Love, love, love!!

    Jill B. (Overland Park, KS)

    Also, like your new header!

  75. Beautiful. I know, redundant. and I hate being redundant. But your pictures, and your girls are really just breathtaking. Enjoy!

  76. In Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamont, she talks about how if a person is fascinating enough, you could really sit and watch them do dishes for an hour and totally love it, or if they call you and say, “Hey, you want to go to the Palatuma dump with me?” you could not think of anything that you would rather do than spend time with that person! : ) haha! you are totally that kind of person. The one we all want to be in the presence of while you wash dishes and drop your balls and love your family! and thanks to the blog, we get to do just that. You are a rockstar and a hilarious writer! Have a sweet night with your babes!

  77. Kelle, just wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a thoughtful comment. I will always be a fan of you, your family and your blog. So be prepared to see me here for a long time. :)

    Your girls are real beauties, and I love Lainey in green!! She looks like a rockstar in green for sure. Nella on the other hand rocks the knits like noone else :) She is such a precious pumpkin, and her glossy blue eyes make me melt.

    I’m glad your getting to the point of moving on. Not because I don’t totally get so much hope and life from reading your emotional journey, but you totally could use the release. Praying for you always :)


  78. I am in love with Nella. I love the picture of her on her belly. Look at her…. growing, and doing and rockin’ like a rockstar.

    I, too, am so happy I found your site! Reading your every word!

    Love the new look on your header, too!

  79. Kelle –
    Words cannot express how much I have enjoyed reading your blog…I recently discovered it and have greedily read aaaaallll the way back to when you began it. Love it. You are truly an inspiration. My husband and I have suffered from infertility for three long years, and will be welcoming a little baby boy in 5 weeks (hopefully…) through IVF – your story makes me believe that I can do anything….

    Thank you, thank you, thank you…

  80. You have such an amazing way with words and your photography talent is out of this world. I love your blog! I have a 17 month old son who is delayed. We are in the process of figuring out way and how we can help him best. Your words and story help warm my heart and remind me how God doesn’t make mistakes and my little fella is just the way he is meant to be and may not be just like his older brother, but that’s okay. Your family is gorgeous. Best wishes always!

  81. Every time you open your heart and share -the way YOU do- how much you enjoy the small things about “your real, beautiful life” you are able to connect deeply with others. That is why every post gets so many comments, that’s why so many people follow your blog.

    Kelle, your blog is like an open book (:until you publish your bestseller:) that grows with every post and every comment. This corner of your precious world is a community of love, where we all come to visit and share our thoughts, stories and beautiful energy, inspiring and empowering each other, always coming back for more.

    “We become what we love. Whatever you are giving your time and attention to, day after day, this is the kind of person you will eventually become.” Wayne Muller

    Wishing you Love, Light and Laughter ~

  82. As always, your post is inspiring. You inspire so many people to be better parents, better people.

    So many moms and dads know what you are talking about when you say there are so many balls to juggle. But, like you, I will gladly drop them all for my babies!

    Thank you for your inspiration!


    P.S.My almost 18 month older daughter yells “shoes!” every time I pull up your blog to read! She’s in love with shoes!

  83. Beautiful photos and a beautiful thing you wrote about tucking away the twenties.

    Love & Blessings,

  84. Beautiful! The post and your girls. You inspire me each time I come here. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  85. What beautiful photos. You are an amazing photographer!

  86. i am pretty sure that every time i comment it is to simply say how beautiful your girls are. but i have to say it again! and if i had never seen my sweet girl as a newborn i would have to say nella is the most beautiful newborn i have ever seen.

    you are such an inspiration, kelle. thanks for sharing your loves and life with us!

  87. Aw. I just found your blog a few days ago via and I’m falling in love with your beautiful girls too! I’m originally from Florida and it is so nice to see your pictures bring out the beauty of that state. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  88. Love, love, love! Thanks for sharing another post and more delicious photos. Having exhausted the archives earlier this week, I now devour everyone’s comments. Teehee! Would love to hear the story of how you and Brett met … Take care! xoxo

  89. Aww Kele, you’re bringing back memories! Hang in there! Mommies like us are rockstars! πŸ˜‰

  90. I have been reading your blog now for the last few days and I have to thank you so much for writing this all down, you are incredibly inspiring. And your girls are beautiful! I too have a two year old and the other day she woke up from her nap and I had the laptop open to your blog and after seeing pictures of Nella started pointing excitedly “Baby! Baby!” she yelled over and over. Now she insisted multiple times during the day that I log on and show her “pretty baby” as she calls her.

  91. Would you take it the wrong way if I told you I think I love you?

    I want to move to Naples, knock on your door and become your best friend. Assuming you’ll have me of course, and that you won’t find it weird that a random internet stranger moved her family across the country to be your friend…

    But it’s true, in some weird, internet stalker way, I do love you and your sweet family, and we are friends. You don’t know me, but I know a little about you, and I like what I see.

    Thanks for doing this. You have no idea how much enjoyment, hope, love, inspiration, etc. we get from every single one of your posts.

    Have a great week, Kelle. You ARE a rockstar.

  92. Rock on you Italian-Dutch Rockstar, you! Yes, you heard me, you are an Italian-Dutch rockstar. Lainey took you to Italy and Nella took you to Holland and they were both beautiful and both life changing and both wonderful and you are better for having been both places! Rock on Kelle, rock on!

  93. Hi Kelle,

    A faithful reader (and ‘sorority’ sister — my Casey Jane is 6) here now for several weeks and I continue to be inspired by everything about you! Facebook statuses have nothing on you and your blog! Just wanted you to know you have inspired and reminded yet another mom to squeeze every last drop of juicyness from her littles and am so thankful for that! Hugs last longer, kisses are sweeter and I am the happier mom for it!

    I also wanted to tell you that my dear, dear friend — my ‘Heidi’ — (connected by our daughter’s chromosome count and their adorable friendship) is about to move away to another state and it has been so hard for me to say goodbye. Even though I know we will always be each other’s ‘best down syndrome friend’ I feel like part of my heart is heading North. But, thanks to your blog, we have yet another way to stay close while miles apart. We are the first to text each other when there is a new Kelle post and I know neither of us can wait to chat about yet another amazing way you have reminded us to be better moms and wives. Thank you for keeping us close!

    Sending love your way to you and your BEAUTIFUL family! Keep writing, keep inspiring, and keep rocking it out! You are doing an awesome job!


  94. Anonymous says:

    Somehow I happened upon your blog and I am completey in love! You are so inspiring probably to so many! To me, you have inspired me to live more and count my blessings more. Thank you, thank you! I love baby knits! That’s why I started knitting and crocheting. I hope one day you’ll find my shop!
    Thank you again! Keep it up!

  95. Oh my goodness, your photos of your girls are always so delicious! Someday I will take pictures like yours….someday….

  96. I love and am addicted to your blog! Your girls are so adorable. I have been checking in frequently ever since you posted your amazing “birth story”.
    I too gave birth to a precious baby girl 8 short weeks ago. Our little Miss Macy has Down Syndrome as well. I can relate to your thoughts and feelings so very much! Macy, like your Nella, is blessed to also have a big (2 yr old) sister. :-)
    thanks again for sharing your journey!!

  97. Nella is one of the most beautiful newborns I have ever seen…Your words hold so much beauty. Thanks for the inspiration!

  98. Jenn Ryan says:

    Although I am not entirely sure how I stumbled upon your blog but for the past week I have become enthralled in your life, your work, your photos, but especially your words. I have wanted to post but always thought that was silly because you would never have the time to read all the comments. I now believe that it was God’s will that I stumbled across your blog, as it has breathed a new energy into my life. After today’s post and the talk of role models I just felt compelled to tell you that you are my role model. I don’t have any children yet but when I do if I could just be a fraction of the mother you are I know it will all be ok. You have truly inspired me and I think about you and your girls daily.

    Jenn Ryan

  99. The last picture of Nella is absolutely breathtaking. I am so jealous that you get to snuggle that little piece of heaven. Knowing that those eyes are looking right at you makes me smile. It’s as though she is saying, “Hi Momma. Thank you for loving me.” Once again, great post. :)


  100. Anonymous says:

    I love your blog, your honesty. Your story inspires me. Although, nothing like my own, I still can relate to most things you say. You are a wonderful writer, and your family is beautiful. I cry at like every post I read, thank you so much you have touched me in a way I will always remember and things you say will stay with me.

  101. Ok, dear Kelle, I have written to you one time before but I read this poem recently and it perfectly captured why I have been so taken with your blog. It is called Art and Heart by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Though critics may bow to art, and I am its own true lover,
    It is not art, but heart, which wins the wide world over.

    Though smooth be the heartless prayer, no ear in Heaven will mind it,
    And the finest phrase falls dead, if there is no feeling behind it.

    Though perfect the player’s touch, little if any he sways us,
    Unless we feel his heart throb through the music he plays us.

    Though the poet may spend his life in skillfully rounding a measure,
    Unless he writes from a full warm heart, he gives us little pleasure.

    So it us not the speech which tells, but the impulse which goes with the saying,
    And it is not the words of prayer, but the yearning back of the praying.

    It is not the artist’s skill, which into our soul comes stealing
    With a joy that is almost pain, but it is the player’s feeling.

    And it is not the poet’s song, though sweeter than bells chiming,
    Which thrills us through and through, but the heart which beats under the rhyming.

    And therefore I say again, though I am the art’s true lover,
    That it is not art, but heart, which wins the wide world over.

    Kelle, thank you so much for your “warm full heart” and letting us see it so clearly. I look forward to your words and pictures and hold my kids a little closer because of them. Beth

  102. This comment has been removed by the author.

  103. Hi Kelle,
    I have read your amazing birth story and have come back to your blog time and time again. I am a mother to twins. I had them last year on Valentine’s Day. They were born 10 weeks early and weighed 2 lbs 14 oz and 2 lbs 13 oz. We were in the hospital for 10 weeks. I had a boy and a girl. Six days after I had them I was told that my son has Down Syndrome. We were shocked and totally not prepared for the news. It was a tough time. But now over a year later my husband and I look back on that time and wonder what we were so upset for. Our son is amazing and we cannot image our life without him. His smile lights up the room and his giggle is the best sound ever.
    Keep up the blogging. If you want to read some great books read Gifts and Gifts 2. I am sure people have told you how good they are. They are short stories and I really enjoyed reading a couple before I went to bed.
    Take care.

  104. I hope you do realize that YOU are that model that others picture and become. :)

  105. I only found your blog a couple of days ago from a Facebook friend, and I’ve been hooked with reading about your family! You are truly a great writer, a wonderful photographer, and an amazing Mommy! I am a new mommy to 4 month old, and I completely envy your girls’ rockin’ wardrobes! You truly are a rockstar! Nella’s birth story was the most touching thing I have ever read in my life, and I’ve read alot! Congrats on her, she is truly a little beauty and I know she will be such a blessing to you and so many others! Little Laney is a doll too, and looks like a wonderful big sis! I look forward to reading your new posts, they give me a new perspective on life and uplift my spirit, and I just wanted to say thanks that you and your family have been a blessing in my life!

  106. Kelle, I love the new header; it’s adorable!

    Nella lifting her head already, at a month old, is about the time that kids who aren’t “genetically enhanced” start to. But you know, I think in your situation, I’d never consult another book or chart on child development. Nella will do things in her time. Whether it’s at the same age that Lainey did or not doesn’t matter; she’d do things in her own time and way even without an extra chromosome. And she’s still getting cuter!

  107. Beautifully written per usual! I just love your perspective on life.

    Can you please post an address where we could ship goodies to you? Time to get a P.O. box or something! :) Thanks. -Ann

  108. You just have to throw that killer photo in at the end don’t you…the one that steals my heart and makes tears come to my eyes! SO BEAUTIFUL!
    The pic of Nella and her daddy…I think she is smiling at him, his sweet! When you talked about “family being everything”…You are so right. That is the whole purpose of this earth…to come here, to be tried and tested and find great joy in out posterity and to be together forever. Wasn’t God so kind and so all knowing to put us together, to let us go through this time on a family?! I am so thankful for SUCH blessings! I just love my sister in this earth time. πŸ˜€

  109. Madisyn says:

    Oh and Lainey’s eyes in these pics look amazing! Totally looks like she has eyeliner on too! πŸ˜‰

  110. Cynthia Kleppang says:


    Like so many of your readers, I came to your blog from a friend who shared with me, and I have bawled again and again over your story, over your absolutely yummy, adorable, heaven-sent Nella.

    Thank you for the path you are walking and for sharing your adventures along the way. In case nobody has said it, Nella and Lainey are taking you so many places beyond Holland and Italy….your girls and your generous heart have made friends around this entire, big, beautiful world!

    With LOVE LOVE LOVE from a reader in the Puget Sound who is and will always be CHEERING you on!

  111. Anonymous says:

    I am a mom of 2 little girls as well and need to take a lesson from you about dropping the balls more often instead of continually trying to juggle them.
    And thanks to trying to be more like you, my girls got to splash in the rain puddles so much yesterday that their clothes were soaked and muddy…but they had the biggest smiles (just like yours do). Thank you from me and my girls.

  112. Hi Kelle,

    Your family is beautiful, and Nella has stolen my heart. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  113. Hi Kelle,

    I’ve had a hard time commenting because I just don’t seem to be able to find the words to express my thoughts. But, today you wrote that you read all the comments and I thought to myself that it really isn’t fair that I am getting to enjoy so much beauty (in words and thoughts and photos) from you while providing nothing in return.

    I found your blog through an internet site – someone had linked to your birth story which I eagerly clicked on because I love birth stories! I always cry when I read them, but they are always so amazing, so I continue. I have to honestly tell you that your story did make me cry (very hard), but it also made me smile and laugh (Lainey was so cute in her crown!).

    Your girls are adorable … seriously adorable. You are a beautiful person (inside and out!). You take lovely photos. Your outlook on life is real and honest and wonderful. I’m glad your hubby is home to wrap you all in his arms and make you feel safe.

    I won’t comment all the time, but please know that I am reading. I am thinking about your family on a regular basis. I am sending up prayers for you and your loved ones. Please continue to enjoy life … and live it out loud!

    Again, thank you for sharing. And, one more thing … I LOVE the last two photos of this post … what extraordinarily perfect babes.

  114. I love reading your blog…it cheers me up and reminds me what life is all about. I think it’s awesome that you are cherishing the moments with your little ones. My youngest is now in first grade. My house is quiet during the day, and while I enjoy more time for myself, I miss them. I am thankful that I was home with them, playing and enjoying them while they were small. You really can’t get that time back and so many people don’t realize that until they are grown-up and it’s too late. Have a great day with your babies today!:)

  115. Hello, my name is Carrie and I’m a Kelleoholic…completely and TOTALLY addicted to her blogs ,her precious baby girls,her photography and “Kelle herself” for just being Kelle and opening up her life to all of us!
    Sista/friend…….I look forward to your every blog……it’s like a drug that I can’t kick!
    I just adore the picture of “Daddy holding Nella” and looking into her eyes”…..uhhh, needed a whole box of kleenex for that one. You have this way of making me bust out laughing one minute and crying the next…it’s a good thing :-)
    I have to tell ya that I love your playlist….love it so much that I was finding myself going to your page (daily) just to let it play as I carried on around the house doing my daily mommy things….it really calms my soul….I like it so much that I added many of your songs to my playlist….now I don’t need to stalk your page hahaha!
    Because of you Kelle…I started my own Blog but since I’m not much of a writer I’m feeling stumped and not knowing where to start…any advise?
    I’m trying to figure the whole blog thing out and how to navigate it…I added a picture of my Boys and a lil tidbit about myself and that’s it!
    Any advise on where/how to start would be so appreciated :-)

    Looking forward to my next Kelle fix :-)
    Your friend,

  116. Hi Kelle, my name is Jeanne! How are you doing? :)

    I guess I just wanted to introduce myself to you since I feel like I know so much about you and your beautiful family. Wow, that kind of sounded stalker-y! LOL My son is 1 year 10 months old and my daughter is 10 months old. YIKES…I know! We live in Washington State about an hour from Seattle on our little piece of paradise.

    You have inspired me in so many ways due to your blog. I feel like everyday I look at my kids with a deeper since of awe and wonderment. I see the beauty in everything now. Even when my son Devon decided to eat off the top of the dishwasher door. :) And of course your photography has really impacted and inspired me to be better and learn more about my camera. So again…thank you!

    Enjoy those froggy legs and stuffy noses!

  117. Dear Kelle:
    I read you words and feel like I shall not move—-not a whisper. Your words freeze me into stillness at a kind of reverence for the miracle in family found on these pages Kelle. Yours is a freshly found discovery this blog enjoyingthesmallthings…..I’ve been captured by the beauty of your weaved words and the tenderness of two, tiny faces looking out into my space and this very space has been blessed as a holy hush…..from a ‘sister view’ I honour a brother who too was special needs and in my own familiar way discovered reflections to days gone by and what grace ‘became me’ just in being ‘big sis’ to ‘billy’. Italy will be yours Kelle…..
    God Bless Your Nest,

  118. Go Nella! She’s so strong…hope you have a great week with your girls…

  119. Kelle,
    You are so beautiful, as is your whole family.

    I too had a time in my life when I needed to remind myself that I was/am a rockstar. Back in 2008, I became pregnant with my 3rd child. During the pregnancy I was diagnosed with placenta accreta. It is a condition when the placenta embeds too deeply into the uterus and doesn’t separate the way it should after birth. It is a rare condition, that is hard to diagnose and many times is fatal to the mother. I was so scared throughout the entire pregnancy.

    I started to bleed in mid September at 32 weeks. My dr. decided to do a emergency c-section/hysterectomy. He saved my life as well as my baby’s life. But I felt so broken and different from everyone else. It was such a odd and painful feeling. As I was laying in the ICU with a tube down my throat minus my uterus, the singer Pink was featured on Entertainment Tonight, singing her song, “So What, I’m still a Rockstar”. I have never paid much attention to Pink, but man that song was just what I needed! In many ways it has kind of become my theme song. Just reminding myself that I am still a rockstar, made me feel like I could/can do anything I put my mind to.

    Your blog is amazing and you are amazing. I love how truthful and real you are. I will be praying for you as well as Nella. God bless.

  120. Anonymous says:

    Man, I know I’m going to sound so sappy…seriously, I’m the least sappy person around, but man, your blog just does something to me. I think about you and your beautiful family many times a day and pray for only good things for you all. I have been thinking about why it has touched me so much and I guess it’s because when I was going through postpartum depression, I remember my mom telling me the old adage “God does not give you what you deserve, but what you can handle.” When I read each posting I remember this adage. I remember telling her that I couldn’t handle it, that I didn’t want to handle it and that I was flailing and drowning in my own sorrow. But…I did get through it…I could handle it…I was stronger then I thought I was. We all are. So, not to sound trite, but God must think you are so amazing and strong because he has given you Nella…sweet, sweet Nella. Nella – who brings a smile to my face, and sometimes a tear to my eye when I see her – will change everything for the better. She is exactly the one thing you never realized you always wanted. How blessed are you that your story has and will continue to touch and bless so many lives? We read it and it brings us to a place where we think “I can handle anything that comes my way.” We realize that life is full of surprises that teach you and others around you how to be a better person…to be better people. Okay, the sappy portion of this entry has ended and I will finish it off by saying…keep on rockin’ the sexy shoes hot mama!

  121. Hey there Kelle!

    I was thinking towards the end of last week, darn, probably will have to wait until Monday to get a new post outta her. BUT a post Friday AND Sunday, yeah!

    Re: your Friday post, Passport to Italy. I really LOVE that you are not letting your circumstances dictate your happiness. YOU are dictating your happiness and I just love how empowered you were to make it over to Italy, REGARDLESS!! So awesome.

    There are real rockstars and celebrities and the rich and famous who have no idea how to be happy. Who search far and wide for things, fame, money, recognition, people, circumstances, drugs, etc. to make them happy. And these people, who “have everything,” live such lives of quiet or loud desperation.

    You are CAUSE in the matter of your life and, dammit, you have a SAY!

    Just was totally cheering you about that post and what it must have taken from you to get there! Rock on!

    And loved today’s post. I have a similar saying about becoming that role model, it’s “Imagine coaching someone who is going through what you’re going through, what would you say to them, how would you coach them?”

    Here’s a random list:

    1. I love the new header. It’s beautiful and representative of TODAY, what’s present for you now.

    2. I want to hear the story how you met your hubby. (I also fell in love with my hubby while watching him parent his little boy, who is now 17…we’ve been together since he was 8. It was completely the most enrolling thing he could do to have me fall in love with him. “Sign me up!”)

    3. How about a post on pics and impressions from your wedding day?!

    4. Thanks for creating your life as a work of art.

    5. We’re in LA but if we lived closer I’d also sign up for a session for you to take pics of the kidlettes.

    6. Thanks for your previous post on your camera and lenses. I just have a point-n-shoot but am giving serious thought now to a DSLR, based on your lovely work, and how beautifully you’re documenting your children’s childhoods. Since I work for Sony Pics, I probably will research getting a Sony (cuz of the discount and company loyalty) but will also see how it measure against what you’re using.

    7. I really love your “commentiers” as well and always take the time to click on their blogs and check out them and their families. My kids aren’t ‘genetically enhanced’ so I am celebrating the opportunity to “meet” DS families that I wouldn’t normally have much exposure to, and they are so lovely and beautiful and brave, especially the ones who continue to have more kids, hats off to them!

    8. Dead Poets is also one of my top favorite movies. My hubby is an artist (painter) and also an art teacher and IS the Robin Williams character (I was a student in his class so that’s how we met, hee!)

    Well, that’s it for now.

    Can’t wait to see what adventures will await you this week, make it a great one!

  122. Hello;) Okay, last photo of Nella is breathtaking. Seriously, how can I get tears in my eyes just looking into her eyes???? I don’t even know her for gosh sakes! You would think she was my very own daughter or something. Beautiful. Beautiful. You inspire me to want to be a better mother, with all you do for your girls and all your wonderful love you give to them just makes me want to do better for my son. Can you have an “open house” someday and any of us blog readers can come meet you all???? I don’t think I have ever wanted to meet people I don’t even know so much!! I’ve always said if anyone asked me the question, “Who would you like to meet if you could meet anyone in the world?” My answer would be “Cher!”. Well, my second answer would be The Hamptons from Florida, of course:) Take care:)

  123. I check several times a day to see if you’ve updated. I’m well aware you have a full and busy life, but this has become almost as big as my addiction to coffee. Forgive me. Your girls are so charming and freaking adorable!
    I know I haven’t gone through nearly what you have, but we all have our ups and downs and from your blog it seems as if you’re handling your downs with ups, which I just cannot get enough of. I love your attitude and your vision through your photos. Keep it up. You’re girls are going to relish in you forever.

  124. Kelle: Do you ever find it so amazing how wide your blog has spread and how many people are glued to every post? I think it should prove to you that you and Nella and your family are meant for bigger things, and maybe this is happening to you because you are meant to touch so many lives, and inspire people like me to be a better Mom everyday, to live life to the fullest. To stop and smell the roses (or in this case the babies…). Your blog has become my Chicken Soup for the Soul. My Tuesdays with Morrie and my Last Lecture. Thank you for writing. I am a better person for having found your blog and a better Mom to my kids. PS I wrote about how you have inspired me on my own blog and got a lot of my friends addicted to your blog as well…

  125. Funny you mention FB. I found your blog right after you posted your birth story and pre-celebrity/rockstar status. There is a huge Down syndrome community on FB and we’ve all gotten to know each other through it even though most of us haven’t ever met, we all feel like besties. So I searched your name and wanted to add you as my friend. Little did I know, you’d have thousands of new friends wanting to add you. :) You definitely have a way of making everyone want to have you as their bff! Heidi must realize how lucky she is to have you as her bestie!

    I started from the beginning of your blog and read up to the present after I read your birth story and that excerpt you posted was probably my favorite thing I read . . . you were so right. “More growth. More experiences. More challenges. More love.” It’s like you just knew.

    I wanted to share a poem that one of my bestie’s wrote for me when Morgan was just days old.

    Morgan’s Poem

    So small she lay there in your arms
    With heaven still in her eyes.
    You truly are the blessed ones
    For she is a special prize.
    Your Father took His extra care
    and gave a piece of His heart.
    In creating your little girl,
    He created a work of art.
    He sent this child to you,
    not by luck or chance.
    God knew you were the perfect ones
    worthy to have her first glance.
    You see your little girl, Morgan
    brings with her a special light.
    That will touch all those around her
    And raise them to a new height.
    She has something special
    that she brought with her to earth.
    For there were heavenly angels
    that stayed with her through her birth.
    Morgan has been given a gift
    that she will share with us all.
    She carries with her the Savior
    in her spirit strong and tall.
    All those that are blessed to know her
    will come away the better.
    Feeling the Savior’s spirit
    Just because they met her.
    An eternal gift to treasure
    Morgan’s piece of priceless worth.
    We truly are the blessed ones,
    For she is heaven on earth.
    (Written by Tiffany Wilko)


  126. Facebook is overrated. The deliciousness of our children and father’s like Poppa aren’t!

  127. Anne Jaze says:

    I am turning 30 next year and have bookmarked your post so I can be a rockstar and welcome my 30s with a bang. You and your angels demonstrate the purest and most fundamental form of love – thank you for showing us all the way. Will pray Italy grants you and your family permanent residence status. Till then, rock those hot wooden shoes! GOD BLESS you, Lainey and sweet little Nella. :-) Hugs from across the Pacific :-)

    Anne from the Philippines

  128. Dearest Kelle,
    This is my first comment as i am not great with words and feel as if i couldnt possibly convey what i feel, but i will try.Everyday i turn to your blog i laugh, i cry(bawl)i envy(you have an amazing talent for words,photography, and dressing your children)and i get inspired.My husband thinks its a little creepy that i feel as if weve been friends for years, and slightly goofy that i include your familyy in my prayers, and dare he say insane that i have researched plane tickets to naples from idaho because after all your children are only this small once and i NEED some gorgeous pics, and you capture with your camera the beauty i see but am incapable of portraying with my mediocre camera and abbilities.I am too a hypersensitive woman i feel so very deeply and am very empathetic i have read each one of your blogs(stayed up all night last week cozy on the couch while my babes where sleeping with my chocolates and diet coke, going over each entry)i am in awe you are …amazing.The reason i am commenting is to say thankyou, for the past few days my husband has been out of town(hence the staying up all night on the computer)being with his”our” beloved grandma as she is passing, and i have been inspired ,i have been learning to embrace life,love,the stolen moments with my babes and i have been able to instead of being a mess over what we are losing,been able to embrace all of the good, i have escaped to your reality and been able to realize it is ok to feel, all of what life gives us to feel and be completly in love with my life and all i have, today instead of freaking my kitchen would get messy i took my 3 year old girls and made the most stinkin awesome crazilly messy cobbler , took a bunch of pics, and enjoyed every second of it.thanks to you, and i will continue to do all of this while reading this beautiful journey with you, just remember when you are shedding your tears or laughing till u pee a little so will all of us, and i will also put up a fare watcher alert on travelocity for when i can afford to fly all of my children to naples for pics:)

  129. I have to say I’m excited for you because whether you realize it or not you are helping Nella and the many other children with Down syndrome and special needs by blogging. You now have over a thousand followers and it’s so important for people to accept our kids. But if they don’t know much about DS or that life can be normal (it will get there, in time I promise) there will always be that stereotype that goes along with DS. I know that you’re just being Nella’s mommy but you’re also her advocate and your story will allow more people to see life with a special needs child may have it’s challenges but it can also be wonderful and so rewarding. You’re already seeing that by all the people that have reached out to you.

    You are perfect for Nella and she is perfect for you. Keep being the great mommy that you are!


  130. Anonymous says:


  131. Anonymous says:

    I’m intrigued by your take on that poem. It seems as though you are denying the point of the poem while living the exact same thing the poem is talking about. Your struggle to come to terms with DS when you expected “normal”. And if there was ever a woman who would embrace “what IS” it seems that would be you, dear lady. Your openness about your shock and sadness are so refreshing. Oh, Nella is such a lucky little girl to have a Mama like you!

  132. Kelle, Your lemon poppyseed scones may not have been truly “homemade” but they were homebaked…and that always counts for something!

    I’m so glad another mom admits to not doing it all, all the time! I also have a lot of “balls in the air” and often, despite the guilt, I have to let many fall.

    Enjoy the time with your sweet Nella. I so miss the nursing time with my own sweet girl. It’s bittersweet watching them grow up, for sure.

    I hope you have another rockstar day, full of many blessings!

  133. My son turns 2 months old today. We were in the NICU for a month of that, and put back in the hospital for a week after we finally got home. I’m overjoyed to see that Nella seems to enjoy great health, as I’m sure you’ve found out that lots of Ds babies do not. Dylan (that’s my boy) is in good health too, minus the doudenal atresia he had to have repaired via surgery the day after he was born, some small congenital heart abnormalities, which should correct themselves with time, and jaundice. I hope you feel as blessed as I do that other than the developmental delays they’re bound to have SOMEWHERE along the road, they’re just typical babies. Eat, sleep, poop, repeat. Where I get hung up, though, is comparing what my big boy (he’s 2.5) was doing at Dylan’s age, because Dylan isn’t doing any of it yet. I try to remind myself that even if Dylan was born without his bonus chromosome, he might still not be doing the things my big boy was doing, because *tooting my own horn* my big boy is, and has always been, very advanced. :) Anyway, I’ve gone into rambling mode, so I shall conclude this with saying that your two girls are insanely beautiful (as are you), and I’m glad you’re sharing your journey with us.

  134. Kelle I have been thinking that I would LOVE to knit a little pair of pants for you gorgeous, gorgeous Nella. Might take me a little while as I tend to knit in the rare moments I get in hospital without my baby in my arms. If you want to, leave a quick comment on my blog and I will get knitting. I adore the way you dress your girls!!

  135. You blog fills my heart with warmth and happiness. When I wanna reflect on my life, i come here to see how your journey in your life has lead you. Thanks for making someone in UAE a little more happier. God bless, from UAE.

  136. Love this post, you have such a beautiful family…your girls are little angels. I love your pictures they are bright and beautiful. Happy March!

  137. Kelle – You have such an amazing way with words!…and photography! I am green with envy over all these beautiful pictures….but then again you have two beautiful models there, don’t you?

    Thank you for sharing this journey with so many people you don’t know. In Nella’s short time here, he has already stolen so many peoples hearts! She is amazing!

  138. I just discovered your blog last night, and since then have been reading and reading and reading. Every chance I get. It’s fantastic. You’re fantastic. I hope you recognise you have an extraordinary talent for writing. (And of course for taking pictures) I will bee following your blog from this day on.

    -Malin, Norway (Mother of two girls)

  139. Mattanja says:

    I started reading your blog just after Nella was born. I found the link on another site. And let me say, I am hooked!

    I am loving your honesty, your story’s and most of all, the pictures. Your girls have the most beautiful eyes!

    Oh, and by the way, I am from The Netherlands, and I also do not like wooden shoes… πŸ˜‰

  140. I’m a new reader here! and Ive been captivated for over 1/2 an hour! Ive laughed and cried and cried some more. I’m a 31 year old mother of 4. My youngest Adam is 10 months old and has D.s. Your Daughters are beautiful! I look forward to following along on your journey.

    Tricia (BC Canada)

  141. You are beautiful and your words have been therapy for me too in the last view weeks. Thank you!

  142. ROCK ON girl! And show those girls how rockstars dance!!

    PS- On your way to Holland stop by France… We can eat scrumptious pastries, eat cheese, drink wine and have a great time. Thanks for commenting on my blog…

  143. You, my blogging friend, are an amazing person with a beautiful family and a gift with words. All will be well in good time. Thanks for the beautifully photographed updates.

  144. Hi Kelle,
    This is definitely one of my favorite posts! There are so many aspects about it that I love…

    Your blog as therapy… It’s NOT boring, it’s been “therapy” for me, too! I use my blog to give a voice to my inner thoughts just as you do… and I SO appreciate reading your thoughts because you say it SO beautifully and because it lets me know I’m not alone as we try our best to make the best of our lives. :)

    Your sister’s advice… Here lately, you’ve been that “model mom” for me. You savor life and your children to the fullest and, at the same time, aren’t afraid to say you don’t have it all together all the time. That has truly been an inspiration for me!

    I read a little saying yesterday that I loved: We may not have it all together, but together we have it all…

    I know you hope to “move on” and I hope that for you, too, but in between those funny, random posts, please still write about the “set backs,” too, because we all have them and those posts help others going through the same things.

    I may know you only from your blog and you may not know me, but please know that I thank you for sharing your moments. They mean so much to me!

  145. I love the rock star idea…I shall try it…although you look more like a rock star than I do. Wonderful post as always. Beautiful pics, beautiful girls, beautiful words.

  146. Anonymous says:

    My babe (now 9 months) had that little ON onsie Nella is wearing in the last pic, but it never looked that trendy or cute on her. This is proof, of course, that she IS a rock star. Only rock stars can take an ON onsie and make it look couture. <3

    Before you go thinking my babe is a wanna-be, you should see her take control of Mini Boden. πŸ˜‰

  147. I am an addict. Addicted to your words and your pictures. How does it feel to be able to touch a life halfway across the world from you? :)

    You are blessed. :)

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your feelings. You truly are inspiring. Your girls are so adorable :)

    want to answer another FAQ? :) what lens do you use? :)

    How do you ever find the time and the inspiration to write these amazing posts? With wonderful pics and inspiring words? :)

  148. Once again – beautiful – your words, your honesty, your pictures, your girls – just beautiful

  149. Marie in NH says:

    Oh . . . those pictures! I just want to scoop up those girls and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze! Nella’s cheeks are just crying out for smooshy kisses!

  150. You know, that is one thing, among many, many lessons I’ve learned since having our sweet Lauren. Having her has taught me just how interconnected we all are as humans. I bought her that book, “Everyday Angels” for her baptism. It is beautiful and makes me cry. I believe she is a little angel who has made me so aware of all of the other angels around me, those that have touched our lives, helped us in some immeasurable way.

    You are right about the Italy thing- it all is what you make it, how you perceive things. You can go anywhere, do anything. The trick is to not set limits and close doors. You are doing amazingly well, by the way.

  151. Kelle, I just had to write and say I was at work the other day and I looked over and there was a picture of Nella laying there…it was on a sheet of paper of a poem that your dad wrote. So, of course I asked my friend where she got it and someone in our building gave it to her so she can pass it on to the families she works with (we’re pediatric therapists). So amazing, how your little girl and your family can inspire so many people and help them get through some of their “tough” times.
    My MIL forwarded your blog to me (she works with your dad), and I, like everyone else, am inspired. Your little Nella, melts my heart! Karen

  152. I didn’t start reading until your birth announcement so I don’t know what you wrote about before Nella’s birth (I really should go back and read…), but you have never once bored me in your “therapy” posts. My heart has ached with yours, I’ve cried and I’ve laughed, I’ve shoved the computer in my husband’s face demanding, “Look at these babies… aren’t they precious?!” I’ve sent the link to your blog to my mom and my friends… it has made it through all the nurses in the L&D ward where my friend is the head nurse.

    I’ve seen the joys and sorrows of DS in year two, year three. Will there be struggles? Yes. Will you experience immeasurable joy? Absolutely. The pouty lip, and those beautiful blue eyes just taking everything in, soaking in the sights and the love of her Momma. Just wait until she starts to walk… she’ll never stop. She’ll pull things off shelves faster than you can clean up and you’ll look back at these pictures and wish for the days when you could just sit and snuggle. And then you’ll hear the telltale drum beats on your tupperware… she’s found your new hiding spot.

    My favorite little baby has started mimicking every move of the adults in her life. I fold my arms, she folds her arms and if she doesn’t get it right she will sit in the corner and practice. I yawn and cover my mouth, she makes a perfect little ‘O’ with her lips and slaps her hand to her face. I laugh until I cry and I’m not her momma or even her sister… I’m just a friend, a babysitter, a baby snuggler.

    All of this to say… I’m just another stranger, but I love your blog, I love your stories and pictures, I love the raw emotions. Keep writing!

  153. Thank you for helping start a dreary Monday on a really good note. I love reading your words and come back often to reread them and find inspiration. Your photos are always breathtakingly beautiful.

    For Facebook, Nicole is avoiding work by reading Kelle Hampton’s writing . . . again! :-)

  154. This comment has been removed by the author.

  155. Kelle-
    I came across your blog with the trusty “next blog” button. I have been following the story of your beautiful family ever since. And then, of course, I had to share you link with every woman/mother I know!
    Not only are your photos breathtaking, but so is the way you write…and the love you have as a mother and a wife! It melts my heart! Thank you for sharing…it makes my day that much better!
    Lauren Bice

  156. I just love how you write and your pictures are incredible. If I wasn’t clear over in Nova Scotia, I’d love to have you take pictures of my babies!!

  157. Hi Kelle,

    I absolutely LOVE your blog! I have been following your journey since I came across your Little One’s birth story.

    Just wanted to give you a big hug – as I can empathize while we follow along on a similar path.

    My little guy, Dylan, is now almost 2 and has Ds. It was also an unexpected diagnosis…

    Ahh…It’s going to get better, you will see! No, not just better, but it’s going to be wonderful, it truly truly is…


  158. Shari H says:

    Beautiful post, beautiful mother, beautiful girls!!!!!! Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  159. Good morning Kelle. Love your little rock stars. My Nella is a wild woman, no problems with her neck muscles!! I am 37 and I love my thirties. I will be so sad to leave them in a “box” in a few years. There is so much strength and emotional security that is established in the thirties I think. You have been challenged very early in this box filling process with an unexpected event. But girl, I can see you expanding and growing and becoming a more beautiful spirit than you already are. A book I love that helps me cope with life in general and to stay positive with my thoughts:
    Deepak Chopra- Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul.
    Happy Week! xo M.

  160. Wow, I love the green!

    And I think all of your readers know that the craziness of your life right now is on account of suddenly having two babies instead of one, we know it’s not all about DS – that’s just another little layer of life you have. :-) But I remember those first few months of adjusting to two children and it’s SO overwhelming. So keep on just telling it like it is, it does NOT feel boring! This is your life baby, and like it or not, we’re all fascinated, haha. Even if it’s about Lainey wiping snot on a dishtowel :-) Love you!!!

  161. Again, you have made my day brighter and the world a little easier to deal with due to your beautiful words and amazing pictures.

  162. Your blog is such a breath of fresh air. Thank you for sharing!!

  163. Confession: Each time an update from you comes into my Google Reader, I open it immediately, forgoing all other blogs until I’ve read yours.
    Also, after I read it, I keep the window open so I can listen to the music while I work.

    Thanks for being real!

  164. You certainly are a rockstar. More rockin’ than the real ones. Doubly so for your girls.

    Vent as much as you need to, darlin’. Never feel like you need to censor yourself, or change your thoughts to suit random strangers in the world peeking into the crinkling pages of your personal journal. *hug*

  165. Beautiful girls.

  166. Your family is beautiful and your new baby girl is a cutie patooti. Give her a squeeze for me!

  167. Rock on mama!!!! Youv’e got it right – when the world gets hard/sad/lonely/happy/exciting just keep rocking on!!!

    “want to suck every bit of popsicle juice out of this Lifecicle.” <—- this part from your blog rings so true. I am learning to get every drip that might fall from the lifecycle and eat it up. Every moment, even the hard ones, are precious!!

    I shed a tear at almost each of your entries – not because I feel sorry for you and your girls, but because your lifecycle is beautiful and you have agreat way with words, and analogies, that pulls at the heart strings. You inspire me on my hard days to still look at the good in it all.

    Hugs and love!!!!

  168. thank you for sharing.

  169. Reading your blog always makes me feel so good! To know that you are handling such a tough situation with grace and dignity helps me put things into perspective. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s as good as we make it, and I love your outlook on life!

    I too am obsessed with Etsy. I just ordered a knit hat for my little girl due in July (and some Easter stickers for her big sister). :)

    Here’s hoping you have a wonderful and blessed Monday!

  170. I have loved reading your blog the past few weeks and just basking in your love for your children and your life. Thank you for taking the time to share it with all of us.

    miscjenn at gmail dot com

  171. Anonymous says:

    when i listen to your playlist, for some reason i always keep expecting to hear “blackbird” by sarah mclachlan.

    “take these broken wings and learn to fly……”

  172. I came across your blog a couple of weeks ago and I have just finished catching up from the beginning until now. I love your photographs but most importantly I love your honesty. Especially when it came to your feelings about the birth of your new little girl. In December of 2004 I gave birth to my daughter Emma Noelle. She was born crying and pink but I immediately knew that something was wrong. Shortly there after she was diagnosed with a rare condition known as MIDAS syndrome and hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The doctors at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, MD told us that there was nothing that they could do to save her. I was already grieving over the fact the my daughter wasn’t “perfect” and now I had to grieve over her loss. Just like you I spent her first day sobbing and I found it hard to fall in love with her as I had my other children. It didn’t take long for her to steal my heart though. I was so thankful that I was able to rock her, sing to her, nurse her, bathe her and most importantly let her know how much she was loved and would be missed. She passed away peacefully in my arms when she was 4 days old. I am so glad that your story has a happier ending and that you have been given the gift of a lifetime to love and be loved by your precious little girl. I am also glad that you now realize how wonderful that gift is. Thank you though for being so honest about how you struggled those first few days. I have felt so guilty about how I felt and have now been given some peace because I am not alone and my feelings were normal. Thank you for sharing the laughter, the tears, the struggle and triumph of your life. Your truly have been a blessing to me!

  173. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful post, beautiful pictures, beautiful babies! You are amazing. You are a rock star! I am so in love with your blog as are so many others. I don’t even know you and yet you inspire me to want to be a better person. I hope you realize how special you are. You touch so many people’s lives in such a positive way. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  174. I just wanted to say that both of your girls have the most amazing eyes! Beautiful!

  175. Anonymous says:

    Nella’s eyes bring back such emotional and fond memories of my little sister’s infancy. I don’t think we’ve seen them in full color until this post, and they really struck me. My sister is 21 now and also sports those unique blue eyes with brushfield spots that are special to kiddos with down syndrome. She is beautiful and the best sister I could ask for. Your Laney will be so blessed in her lifetime both because she has a beautiful family but also because her and her little sister will have such a special bond. I bet sometimes you wish you had your quiet blog back without all of this activity, but know how much we appreciate you opening your world.

  176. Looking into Nella’s eyes just turns me into a big pile of mush! They are so gorgeous. What a special soul she is. And Lainey! Oh my gosh what a little sweetie. I love your blog, thanks so much for sharing your beautiful perspective on the world.

  177. I love reading your blog and seeing pictures of your beautiful family. And FWIW, I love the sappy music. I have already bought two of the songs for my iPod. :)

  178. Anonymous says:

    I need to try to pretend I’m a rockstar (or movie star, etc.) sometimes instead of waiting to “feel like doing” some things! I may could get more accomplished that way. Good idea! :)

    I love your posts, and I love that you tell about the “ordinary” we all go through: how your house is a mess (or WAS I should say since you had it cleaned…how WONDERFUL a gift,) the struggle to balance it all, the (sometimes) sadness, the joy, the intense LOVE we have for our kids, the joy in coffee or a baked treat, etc. It’s kinda like reading my own stream of running thoughts through the day. Noses wiped, lunches packed, kisses and hugs, adding something else to the grocery list before I forget, picking up toys, trying to decide (AGAIN) “what’s for dinner,” wondering if it will even be eaten anyway, laughing at yet ANOTHER “staring contest” that my 8 yr old is hooked on having constantly, baths with bubbles, bedtime stories, etc.

    Sorry to ramble. I just want to say, I enjoy reading immensly. And ps. Lainey looks SO much like Brett in some pictures but like a minature Kelle in others!? It’s SO cute and sweet!!

    Love from South Carolina,

  179. Anonymous says:

    I need to try to pretend I’m a rockstar (or movie star, etc.) sometimes instead of waiting to “feel like doing” some things! I may could get more accomplished that way. Good idea! :)

    I love your posts, and I love that you tell about the “ordinary” we all go through: how your house is a mess (or WAS I should say since you had it cleaned…how WONDERFUL a gift,) the struggle to balance it all, the (sometimes) sadness, the joy, the intense LOVE we have for our kids, the joy in coffee or a baked treat, etc. It’s kinda like reading my own stream of running thoughts through the day. Noses wiped, lunches packed, kisses and hugs, adding something else to the grocery list before I forget, picking up toys, trying to decide (AGAIN) “what’s for dinner,” wondering if it will even be eaten anyway, laughing at yet ANOTHER “staring contest” that my 8 yr old is hooked on having constantly, baths with bubbles, bedtime stories, etc.

    Sorry to ramble. I just want to say, I enjoy reading immensly. And ps. Lainey looks SO much like Brett in some pictures but like a minature Kelle in others!? It’s SO cute and sweet!!

    Love from South Carolina,

  180. Heehee, love Nella’s little pouty lip in the last photo. And Lainey is just a doll, in her golashes! I’m a little jealous, b/c I want a pair of my own. I live in S.Florida too, btw. I’m over on the east side, just south of Ft.Lauderdale, and North of Miami. If we’re ever in the same space, I’d love to meet you and your beautiful lovelies. I totally believe you’re a ROCKSTAR! πŸ˜€ I admire so much about you, and I don’t even ‘know’ you. You’re outlook is awesome, real and beautiful! I love your photography, and it’s partly b/c I’m aspiring to do the same. :) After 172 comments, it’s a little weird to post one, and hope you read it, but I believe you when you say you do. So here I am!

  181. I came across your blog through a friend that had gone EXACTLY the same thing with her daughter. Finding out right there when she was born that she was unique and special in more ways than others. Anyways, since then I can’t stop obsessing with you and your family. The pictures, your words their eyes. Your girls have the most captivating eyes that I ever seen, or is it just because we see them through yours? Anyways, just wanted to say hi and thank you for sharing your small things, they make my small things look more special too.


  182. Let me say this for the millionth time…Nella just takes my breath away. So precious and so much thought and pondering going on behind those eyes. I wonder what she thinks of all this-this crazy, funny world and adorable family she’s in.

    I loved her little pouty face in the last post-my Grant did the same thing! It always made me laugh instead of his intended purpose-to soothe him.

    I’m lovin your little girls and seeing Nella so new and fresh makes my heart hurt for when Grant was that little.

  183. Thank you for “grounding” moments every day or so. Your beautiful words and emotions make me cry tears of sorrow, tears of sympathy and tears of joy. And I love all the tears, because they remind me of what is most important in my beautiful life. You inspire me to be a better mother, wife.

  184. Oh, just remembered two things I wanted to share with you!

    First, check out this Etsy shop – I think she’s from across the pond to boot! :-)

    Second, there’s another great consignment (just had to look at your post to spell it correctly) shop in Bonita at Bonita Beach and US41 (next to Kmart) called Twinkle Twinkle Little Store . . . great stuff too! I have even found Polo, with the tag still on!

    xoxo :-)

  185. i think my new favorite word is “Lifesicle.” Thank you!!!!

    keep writing. i love reading your posts. :)

  186. I have been following since I found your birth story linked on my March Baby Boards on babycenter. Your strength, courage, perseverance, and attitude toward life inspire me so much. Your writing is beautiful, as is your family. Thank you for sharing with us your thoughts on life, and love, and family, and what it really means to be a mom. I know I can be a better person and mom because of reading your blog. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so open and honest with everything you’re dealing with. Keep it coming! I love the serious just as much as as the “jumping and jiving.”
    And OMG you’re photos are absolutely stunning.

  187. while i am not a super religious person, sometimes i enjoy some christian rock music because it makes me think about all my blessings. i have this one song on my running playlist because it is just so inspirational to me. it makes me thankful for all the good things in my life, even when you are stuck in holland :o) it is called blessed be your name by tree63 :o)

  188. Melissa M. says:

    Hi, Kelle! I found out that my son Aidan would have Down syndrome at our regular 18 week ultrasound. He’s 18 months old now, and I’m now pregnant with our third child. Someone on our pregnancy message board on Baby Center posted a link to Nella’s birth story, and I read it over and over and cried my eyes out and the beauty and honesty with which you were able to capture your experience. Even having Aidan in our lives and hearts for a year and a half, I still can’t find the right words to tell his birth story. I can say that he, like your Nella, is loved beyond measure, and I can’t wait to read all of your adventures in the years to come!
    There is a group of mamas of babies with Down syndrome on (search Down syndrome)that are following your blog :). It’s a really active group with lots of posts daily, and has been such a source of support to me these past two years. Check it out!

    Thanks so much for sharing your posts-I am STILL laughing over your Holland post :).

  189. kelle-

    my sister introduced me to your blog and i am obsessed. with you, your beautiful babies, your love, the music on your page…is there a more beautiful song than “dream” by priscilla ahn? i think not!! what an inspiration you are–you have made me realize how much i take for granted. i am not yet a mother–i lost a child at 13 weeks–but i hope to one day provide for my children the way you do for your beautiful girls. keep writing! i can’t get enough!


  190. Kelle-

    your girls are one in a million precious. I started following your blog about a month ago and can’t get enough. You are such an inspiration. You have totally humbled me, as well as other readers as well.

    Thank you so much for bring so raw-such a rockstar in your words! :)

    Nella (and Lainey)are such sweet blessings. Although I don’t have children yet, you have touched my heart with how a mother should be!

    keep on rocking it girl!

    katie (louisville, ky)

  191. Kelle,

    I’ve been reading your blog now for a few weeks, since your birth story was introduced to me by a friend. I love reading your posts, they bring me such joy and hope.

    9 months ago this last saturday (the 27th) i gave birth (at 32 weeks) to our little girl Grace who passed away shortly thereafter. We had found out during our first ultrasound that she had cysts in her kidneys and would not live.

    A friend shared “welcome to Holland” to me during all my struggles, and it has such important meanings to me. I’ve been transported to a different world, and no matter how hard i try, i cannot get to where i wanted to go, my life will always be different. I’m sure i can visit ‘italy’ and come close to the ‘ideal’, but i will never get fully there i think…

    Now i don’t even know what i’m trying to say hehe, but i guess i want to thank you for your blog. These last 9 months have been very very hard for my husband and i, but we can see happiness ahead as i am 14 weeks along with our second child.

    Life is hard, but i know there is hope on our horizon. Thank you for your blog, it puts so much joy and hope into my life. Thank you thank you thank you!

    And just one last thing i wanted to share (although i’m sure you hear this a lot). I know a very special gal named Kimmie who has DS. She is one of the HAPPIEST most joy filled people you will EVER meet. She LOVES to sing, loves Disney and loves sharing the love. Whenever she sees you she just has to give you a hug and ask you how you are doing. She is an amazing person :) I know some people think DS is a horrible thing, that they have to ‘spare’ their child from it…. but when i look at Kimmie, i know that just isn’t true. She is so happy with her life. She works, she loves and she’s amazing :) (and she hopes one day to get married and have kids hehe) Her parents did help her very much along the way (they got her involved in lots of therapy when she was little), but she is such an amazing women :)

    So thank you again for your blog, your happiness, our pictures (which i LOVE) and your hope. I hope your day is filled with sunshine and smiles :)

  192. Kelle,

    Just started reading your blog this past Friday, starting at sweet Nella’s birth story.

    Our baby girl Lydia was born in August with a genetic disorder that we had no idea she had, that includes a very short life expectancy. I wept when I read her story because I know those feelings much better than I would like to.

    I will be keeping you and your beautiful family in my prayers!

  193. Kelle,

    Just started reading your blog this past Friday, starting at sweet Nella’s birth story.

    Our baby girl Lydia was born in August with a genetic disorder that we had no idea she had, that includes a very short life expectancy. I wept when I read her story because I know those feelings much better than I would like to.

    I will be keeping you and your beautiful family in my prayers!

  194. You are such an absolutely beautiful person.

  195. Rock on sista!!! Rock on!

  196. Ah, Nella is truly a beautiful, uncommonly adorable baby. She really, truly is. I just want to smoosh her. :)

    Your blog has been balm for MY soul, especially these past few weeks, where I have been fighting my own special needs mama battles. Your blog is not anything close to boring.

    Rock on.

  197. The blog, your family, the way your write is all beautiful. I too was introduced by a link to your birth story. You are in inspiration. Thank you for sharing your experience with the world.

  198. Just wanted to let you know that I left you a Beautiful Blogger Award on my blog :) love your story and photos

  199. I love your photos Kelle – your daughters are beautiful and reading your posts always make me go “awww!’
    Hope today is a wonderful day for you, filled with joy!

  200. Kelle…I also loved this from your “thirties” post: “i’ve learned…that there are women in the world who are wonderful…not catty or cutting or jealous or competitive. there are women who love and support. there are women who fill all the little nooks of your soul with goodness and kindness. there are women who really want you to succeed and be the best you can possibly be. …and i have found them.”…and you have found thousands more here. THANK YOU for helping so many of us, this might be therapy for you but it sure as hell is a wholelotta therapy for so many of us too, so, thank you, a million times over. God bless! <><

    – Aggie

  201. I cannont even come up with the words to describe how I feel when I read your story. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting us experience these precious moments in your life. I cry happy tears every time I visit your blog. Each time I walk away, I’m a new and better person for the insight you have given me. Your family is beyond precious. Lainey and Nella have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. You are so blessed and I look forward to reading your book for a long time. It’s one I never want to put down.

  202. Anonymous says:

    Thank-you. I may not have the same challenges as you are facing, but you need to know that your posts make me a better mother, teaching me not to worry about the small things.

    Your amazing!

  203. “Lifesicle”…I think I should wear it on a t-shirt. Perhaps all of us should!

    You’re as beautiful as your baby girls! Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. You bring such grace to heartaches and heartbeats.♥

  204. Your strength and insight and love are contagious! I can read and reread and always close my laptop with a bigger heart and a fever to spread the good, just as you do! Thank you!

  205. coming here is my daily therapy. just being present in your honesty is a gift. hearing your words and seeing your lovely images opens up my heart. thank you for being so open to all of us. you are a gift. much love, joan
    ps hope to see you in early July!

  206. NIKKI COoper says:

    i love your blog, your family, and you. Your blog is filled with such greatness and such emotion and it gets an ole softy like me every time. YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR TO ME!

  207. NIKKI COoper says:

    i love your blog, your family, and you. Your blog is filled with such greatness and such emotion and it gets an ole softy like me every time. YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR TO ME!

  208. Anonymous says:

    I always tell my 6 year old son that we got “Rock Star” parking when we get a spot up close. Now he always wants to find the “Rock Star” spot. I need to start thinking I AM a Rock Star now. I am totally addicted to your blog and I check it all the time. I have added many of your songs to my IPOD and I appropriately named the playlist “Mellow tunes.”

    Nella’s eyes are breath taking and she is a Rock Star for holding her head up like that. She will exceed all your expectations I have no doubt.


  209. Your baby girls are ADORABLE! And I love your positive outlook on life – indeed the mind is a powerful thing and sometimes a little visualization to get past a rough spot is just what we need! And why NOT be a rockstar, everyday?

  210. Awesome post as always. Look at Nella holding her head up, rockstar must run in her family hee hee.
    I agree with you on the poem. Great except that last part about parents always grieving. I am not one of those parents who says I wish things could have been…

    I love our Alayna the way she is and can’t imagine her any other way.
    Enjoy those beautiful girls.

  211. I came across your blog on one of my message boards that had a link to your birth story. I fell in love with your writing and your story…so what did I do…I went back to your day 1 of your blog and saturated myself in nothing but Kelle, Lainey, Brett, the boys, Latte and eventually made my way to Nella and…well your entire life for the last 2 years. I found myself saying…ONE MORE MONTH…then I couldn’t help but click on the next month…it was and IS the best story of life I have ever read. I found myself at times, LOL, then crying then thinking she’s a lot like me! So with that said…I wrote a list of questions I have for you:
    1-What kind of dog is Latte?
    2-What is your workout routine, if you have one?
    3-I was searching for your love story with Brett and NEVER found it…what is your love story?
    4-Who takes your pictures when it’s just you and Lainey & Nella out and about? Do you have someone who follows you around or go go gadget arms?
    Ok that’s it…can’t wait to hear back from you!
    LOVING your blog!!!
    You have inspired me to be a better mom and “enjoy the small things.” I have found myself instantly shutting my laptop when I hear a “Wanna snuggle?” or “Can you please read me this book?” Absolutely! Thanks for that~

  212. My two little munchkins are off playing with grandma and grandpa and I earlier I saw that you had a new post…. Well I saved it for this quiet moment where I can enjoy another rockstar mom’s perspective without the (thoroughly wonderful) screaming and poking of happy, hyper monkeys.
    Thank you. Seriously, it’s adds brightness to these gloomy, cold Canadian days…
    I think that new box holds a lot of sunshine, thanks for spreading it up here too!

  213. This comment has been removed by the author.

  214. Here’s to ROCK STARS from Florida, Holland and Italy who are fluent in all three languages!

    xoxo, Bug & Ruby’s Gram

  215. Hi Kelle!
    Just wanted to say how wonderful your blog is. It really lights up my mood. You are an excellent photographer, and an excellent mother :) I got warm inside my heart when I read Nellas birth story. Beautiful, beautful baby girl, and the most proud big sister I have ever seen :) Wish you and your family all the best!
    Big hug all the way from Norway :)

  216. Kelle,
    How lucky is precious little Nella! Didn’t she get delivered to the most perfect family in the world!!Oh the mountains you will all climb following Nellas footsteps up to the top of the tallest mountains….Bless you and your little family as you make this journey through your wonderful life! xoxo gramma Trish

  217. Kelle,
    How lucky is precious little Nella! Didn’t she get delivered to the most perfect family in the world!!Oh the mountains you will all climb following Nellas footsteps up to the top of the tallest mountains….Bless you and your little family as you make this journey through your wonderful life! xoxo gramma Trish

  218. brett pics always me happy cause i know how happy you are to take them[ when he is home!!!

    sweet little nella bean! she is filling out. you did that. by yourself. that always amazes me. that only you nourish her with what we are given as women to do just that. amazing.

    lainey in tree pics are so pretty!

    miss you.

  219. brett pics always me happy cause i know how happy you are to take them[ when he is home!!!

    sweet little nella bean! she is filling out. you did that. by yourself. that always amazes me. that only you nourish her with what we are given as women to do just that. amazing.

    lainey in tree pics are so pretty!

    miss you.

  220. brett pics always me happy cause i know how happy you are to take them[ when he is home!!!

    sweet little nella bean! she is filling out. you did that. by yourself. that always amazes me. that only you nourish her with what we are given as women to do just that. amazing.

    lainey in tree pics are so pretty!

    miss you.

    A meeting was held quite far from Earth.
    It was time again 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 the folks she meets down there.
    “She may not run or laugh or play,
    “Her thoughts may seem quite far away.
    “So many times she will be labeled
    “‘different,’ ‘helpless’ and disabled.
    “So, let’s be careful where she’s sent.
    “We want her life to be content.
    “Please, Lord, find the parents who
    “Will do a special job for you.
    “They will not realize right away
    “The leading role they are asked to play.
    “But with this child sent from above
    “Comes stronger faith, and richer love.
    “And soon they’ll know the privilege given
    “In caring for their gift from heaven.
    “Their precious charge, so meek and mild
    “Is heaven’s very special child.”

  222. Anonymous says:

    I just started reading your beautiful story… what a great inspiration you are. I have to admit, I am going to steal your “rock star” mantra to get me through a difficult time right now. Thanks for writing about that – it does help!

  223. i swear, little nella-bells just gets cuter!!!

    love lainey’s funny faces. and the lunch box… is she ready for school already?

    and i have to laugh at your disclaimer for your dutch readers. lol. seriously, have you had complaints?

  224. Your posts always make me tear up, so beautiful. Your girls are precious!

  225. Your posts always make me tear up, so beautiful. Your girls are precious!

  226. Your posts always make me tear up, so beautiful. Your girls are precious!

  227. I am a new photographer and I love your editing style of your photos. Which software do you use and could you do a demo on editing a picture! PS i love your blog and your girls are so darling!

  228. Karin/iowa says:

    You’re words and pictures are simply AMAZING. I have been following your story since I got word of your blog. I find myself slowly going back and reading your older posts. Brings tears to my eyes every time I read. Your way of writing makes me feel like Im right there with you experiencing every moment!

  229. Love love LOVE your writing. I enjoy reading each and every post. You have such a beautiful family.

  230. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely love your blog…praying for blessings on your journey to the very best God has for you and your family !

    A Dutch reader :)

  231. Those girls of yours are definately Rockstars!

    One thing you could do with the bracelet is to make a memory box for Nella and you, or possibly a shadow box… that’s what I’ve done with my David’s bracelets and my own. :)

    I love the knits you get. I’m a big knitter myself, so if you ever want anything fun and cute let me know. :)

    Thank you for your beautiful words. I can’t keep myself away from your wonderful blog. <3

  232. Thank you for another beautiful post! Your babies are so precious, i hope i can be as good a mommy as you one day x

  233. Your babies are beautiful! I’ve been following for a while and have wanted to leave a message but haven’t had the words I felt you needed. Today’s post made me feel so much better about you (I’ve been so worried). That precious baby has a wonderful life ahead of her with you as her mom and I think she just may have a great dad too. I know she has a wonderful sister! Just take each day and make it the best you can. Some days are always going to be better than others. I will keep you in my prayers and look forward to more of your beautiful pictures. God bless you and your entire family!

  234. THe daddy-love pictures just warm my heart. I see that look of total, utter love on my husband’s face every time I train the lens on him with our daughter. I think it might be the best thing in the world.

    Directed here by a friend, and finding a lot to think about in your story. We adopted a child with a congenital condition (cleft), and it was of course emotionally a much different process. When one chooses the condition, it is hard to imagine what it would be like to be the birth mother. A very different emotional journey, though similar in certain ways. Thanks for sharing this with the world. I think it’s so important to demystify the process of raising children with congenital conditions. It should not be something that’s tucked away or shrouded. It is a journey of love.

  235. I stumbled upon your blog yesterday. If for nothing else than for the pictures. Your family is beautiful and your recent struggles are inspiring. Thank you for putting yourself out there, as you are, for the world. You have a new regular reader in me.

  236. I think we are allowed to have our downer moments. When my daughter was born I had my share of moments – that seemed to last for days, and sometimes weeks. But I’ve found as she has gotten old (she’s now 3) the difficult moments still come, but now they only last for a minute or two – and then they’re gone. To be honest, most days I don’t even remember that I’m supposed to be in Holland.

  237. This comment has been removed by the author.

  238. I found your blog when a friend linked your blog (birth story) to her blog. And, I must say you are an inspiration. To do so others can appreciate the little things, and learn what is important in life. You have to be an unbelievably strong person. Thank you for sharing and making me the best mother i can be

  239. my 3 yr old little boy just looked at a pic of Nella in this post and exclaimed, ”How hers that cute?”

    love Ruth in New Zealand

  240. I can’t even say more than thank you. I am crying as I type this (which is not too unusual as I am pregnant) but you reminded me about something that in the stress of life and everyday shit I had forgotten and now I am going to go snuggle the littleness out of my boys. Well I am going to do that as soon as I stop crying so that I don’t scare them. Thank you again.

  241. I am a new reader of your blog, and I must say, I think this is the most wonderful blog I have ever read. Beutiful pictures, and lovely written about a change in your life. Maybe not to the worse, but to something different. I have also noticed the things you wrote when you were 30, and 31, and have been thinking that you almost wrote something prophetic. I got a tip about your blog from a norwegian website, and from then, I can’t stop reading, crying, and smiling. Thank you for sharing your wonderful family!

  242. Kelle
    I have to say you have me laugh out loud about your comments on the Holland poem
    Its never quite sat right with me either and you have explained my entire thoughts in black and white
    Thankyou for that….we need to get that poem changed for sure

    here is another poem that was sent to me many times after my dear little lady was born but I would love to see what you make of it

    Mothers lie.

    Every mother wants so much more.
    She wants a perfectly healthy baby with a round head, rosebud lips, button nose, beautiful eyes and satin skin.
    She wants a baby so gorgeous that people will pity the Gerber baby for being flat-out ugly.

    She wants a baby that will roll over, sit up and take those first steps right on schedule (according to the baby development chart on page 57, column two).
    Every mother wants a baby that can see, hear, run, jump and fire neurons by the billions.
    She wants a kid that can smack the ball out of the park and do toe points that are the envy of the entire ballet class.
    Call it greed if you want, but a mother wants what a mother wants.

    Some mothers get babies with something more.

    Maybe you’re one who got a baby with a condition you couldn’t pronounce, a spine that didn’t fuse, a missing chromosome or a palate that didn’t close.
    The doctor’s words took your breath away.
    It was just like the time at recess in the fourth grade when you didn’t see the kick ball coming, and it knocked the wind right out of you.

    Some of you left the hospital with a healthy bundle, then, months, even years later, took him in for a routine visit, or scheduled him for a checkup, and crashed head first into a brick wall as you bore the brunt of devastating news.
    It didn’t seem possible.
    That didn’t run in your family.
    Could this really be happening in your lifetime?

    There’s no such thing as a perfect body.
    Everybody will bear something at some time or another.
    Maybe the affliction will be apparent to curious eyes, or maybe it will be unseen, quietly treated with trips to the doctor, therapy or surgery.
    Mothers of children with disabilities live the limitations with them.

    Frankly, I don’t know how you do it.
    Sometimes you mothers scare me.
    How you lift that kid in and out of the wheelchair twenty times a day.
    How you monitor tests, track medications, and serve as the gatekeeper to a hundred specialists yammering in your ear.

    I wonder how you endure the clichés and the platitudes, the well-intentioned souls explaining how God is at work when you’ve occasionally questioned if God is on strike.
    I even wonder how you endure schmaltzy columns like this one-saluting you, painting you as hero and saint, when you know you’re ordinary.
    You snap, you bark, you bite.
    You didn’t volunteer for this, you didn’t jump up and down in the motherhood line yelling,
    “Choose me, God. Choose me! I’ve got what it takes.”

    You’re a woman who doesn’t have time to step back and put things in perspective, so let me do it for you. From where I sit, you’re way ahead of the pack.
    You’ve developed the strength of the draft horse while holding onto the delicacy of a daffodil.
    You have a heart that melts like chocolate in a glove box in July, counter-balanced against the stubbornness of an Ozark mule.

    You are the mother, advocate and protector of a child with a disability.
    You’re a neighbor, a friend, a woman I pass at church and my sister-in-law.
    You’re a wonder.

    Read more:

    Thanks for your Blog Im just loving it and you made me dust off my camera as well so its all good


  243. One more comment: I have two daugthers my self, and they are very interested in the pictures of your two little princesses, asking :”who is this baby”, “what are the girl saying” “can we visit her” “can we have them over for a playdate??” “can we have our own baby???” Thay can’t get enough of the pictures of Lainey and Nella :-)

  244. Anonymous says:

    By God’s graces Nella was chosen just for you,,,,she is beautiful!

  245. I love your little comment header!! Because I am sitting here saying I don’t need to comment, she doesn’t care what I have to say. but that made me feel better! lol I understand your fear. I just gave birth (august 09) to our 4th. He was NOT planned. I was DONE! And then boom. You could have hit me with a TON, hell ten tons of bricks and nothing would have knocked me over harder than THAT pregnancy. I was depressed. And I didn’t have him in my face, so the depression lasted a while (almost 1 good month). The guilt I feel (still now) was awful. I love my boys (yeah, all 4 are boys) and I can’t imagine my life without that last one, but somedays I am just like “wow, I can’t believe I am starting all over again”. And downs was one of the things I worried/wondered about! I was CONVINCED something would be wrong with him, so I hoped and prayed for it to be downs, at least then he would live. I was prepared for a downs baby. I stalked the dr’s office for my test results and turned down the amnio (because I was over 30 they wanted to do that). BUt I didn’t care what was wrong, he wasn’t going to go anywhere, so I wasn’t going to do that dangerous procedure. But knowing my family (extended parents and in laws) I am thankful that I didn’t have a downs baby. Especially after seeing how your family and friends reacted. It’s sad I know, but it is what it is. Your daughters are equally gorgeous and distinctly different. And your feelings are human! But I am glad you are feeling better. Hug those girls lots for me….and feel for me because I don’t have pink in my life!! :-p

  246. I don’t know you in real life, but I can’t totally tell you are a rockstar. All.the.way.

    And so are your girls. Your gorgeous girls. You are so blessed.

    I really love all your photographs, thank you for sharing them with us.

  247. I’ve read your blog, I’ve cried, I’ve smiled, I’ve admired your photos… you are beautiful and you have such a beautiful family!!! Thanks for sharing your story with us!

  248. Facebook says Holly is loving your blog! So thankful she discovered it. Enjoy reading it every day. Please continue to share the small things.

  249. A Facebook friend of mine linked to Nella’s birthstory…how she came across your blog, I’ll never know–but I’m grateful! I’m the mother of a special needs daughter myself. My sweet Amelia has Russell-Silver syndrome–a very rare form of dwarfism. She also has Dandy-Walker syndrome, which is a brain malformation…I could go on for days. In any case, her birth (and she is a twin..she has a twin brother with no genetic issues) was very different from Nella’s, because we were told she had Trisomy 18 (a much more serious relative to DS) and wouldn’t live past birth. We were prepared for her to pass away as soon as she was born..and she didn’t! The most miraculous, wonderful, heavenly experience of all. After much genetic testing and waiting, we came upon her diagnoses–that she didn’t have T18, but she DID have RS and DW. ANYWAY…my mind has had to go from preparing to lose a child, to wrapping itself around raising a beautiful young girl with multiple special needs (and she is beautiful…just like your gorgeous Nella)–and your blog inspires me. The “Holland” story–that was just perfect. I appreciate you sharing your story, your growth process, with the whole world; I love knowing that I’m not alone with a lot of the emotions that come along with the experience. Please…keep writing, keep updating. It is greatly appreciated!!

  250. my son did that same airplane move for so long. she’s on her way to Italy too!! But not too fast! You sure don’t want to miss all the good stuff in-between the 2 magnificent places on your way. She is a doll.

    I am reading this with Cavan (my DS son) on my lap and as the pics of Nella come up, he starts talking and reaching for the computer. It’s so cute.

    I am only a couple months older than you, I think. I was 30 when my son was born and I think that has something to do with emotions. We were “too young” for this. But oh the joys of being young and able to really enjoy this.

    Your heart will melt in ways you never even dreamed possible. I Love you and don’t know you. How can we mail you things?

  251. I must have read Nella’s birth story five times in the last few days. I’m sure I’ll be reading it many times more. It’s so beautiful. She is beautiful :)

    Sending her a big English kiss from across the pond.xxxx.

  252. I see wear you get the girls clothes, but where do you get the leg-warmers? I love them. Or are they tights? Love the pic of Nella doing rocking horse. So cute. I know no one’s life is perfect but yours SEEMS perfect. So I have to know what your biggest vice is? Mine is Diet Coke and chocolate. They get me through my day. Keep on blogging because I love to read it.

  253. Kelle, Your photos are amazing. Lainey is so precious in her green boots and Nella oh my those beautiful blue eyes! Such beautiful babies you have. I enjoy coming here and seeing your photos of them…they make me smile. As for your writing, if it helps you heal then write darling write. While I read, I pray and pray and pray. May the Lord bless & keep you. May His glorious face shine brightly upon you and this beloved family. Many blessings. ps. I love the music….keep playing whatever speaks to your soul for the moment. Hugs

  254. Your girls are so beautiful. Your writing is wonderful and your pictures are amazing. Thank you for allowing me to feel lifted each time I read your blog. You are one great MOM!

  255. I am new to your blog…was sent here by a friend sending me Nella’s birth story. IT and you and your family are beautiful and inspiring. I have to admit, the birth story was the FIRST post I read and as I was reading I was afraid to get to the end because I was afraid you were going to lose her. I’ve recently lost my third baby to miscarriage, and I so desperately didn’t want to see you lose her. I didn’t expect what you were going to say, but when I saw it, the pictures, you, her and finished reading your words I thought “beautiful.” It is all so beautiful and such an inspiration and little Nella, well, I wish I could snuggle her and give her a sweet kiss too! What a gift she is to you guys and everyone around her. I bet she is going to bring incredible joy into your lives over the years and I’m looking forward to reading your posts five years down the road and seeing what amazing things she is accomplishing and what barriers she is breaking down!

    Your family is precious, and on top of that you are a gifted individual! I’m glad I “happened” upon your blog. I’ll be a faithful reader from here on out.

    And one more side note? I’m totally with you on how amazing the Internet truly is. It has brought wonderful people into my life and blessed me beyond my wildest imaginings.

    Hugs to you and your sweet family.

  256. Anonymous says:

    You are a rockstar! That’s last picture of Nella just melts me. Look at her amazing eyes! Love love love.

  257. Anonymous says:

    I love reading your blog because you have a beautiful life and it’s so obvious how much you love your family! Thank you for your honesty and sharing your life with us. I love seeing your photos of your gorgeous girls! Just wanted to ask how did you come up with the names Lainey and Nella? Pretty names but very unique!
    Look forward to your blog updates, you remind us constantly of lifes ups and downs but to accept them with grace and humility. We are learning so much from each other!
    Minh, Sydney Australia

  258. i appreciate your blog – i love how you can express your heart into words. i too started reading it when a friend linked me to your birthstory. i cried, i prayed. i loved how you were completely honest and it was okay to be.

    your pictures are beautiful and my uterus does flip flops when i see nella’s pics :P. what a treasure!!

    i too am an etsy addict – thank you for the links!
    oh and what is the name of your lipstick/lipgloss in the top photo? love it!

    God bless you and yours!!

  259. I just read your story yesterday. We have a new 10 week old son, and I even though he doesn’t have D.S., I know I’d probably feel exactly as you did at first…I work with a student who has D.S. and he is amazing. Truly.

    Your daughters are both beautiful and your journey of life with them will be as well. Life is what you make it, and we have to take what we’ve been dealt with and make it shine in our own way. That’s the only way we see it for what it is-a true blessing.

    Oh, and I love the knits! I’m off to look for some cute knits for boys :)

  260. Your posts always make me laugh, whether you think they are serious or not! :)
    Girl, we have more in common than I thought! First of all, consignment shops and thrift stores are my FAV places to shop! And ETSY? be still my heart! Music, special needs kids, lol πŸ˜‰
    And I agree with you on the Holland poem. I do really think it’s beautiful as well. But I think the person who wrote it had “fresh” wounds. Because I know in my own personal story, over time our wounds have healed. Of course things aren’t how we planned, but I’m not worried sick anymore. Plans change for our “normal” (I told you I hate that word, lol) kids, so we have to remember that our dreams are not the same as our kids’ dreams. No matter what. What will happen will happen. I am always thankful that Kris has Johnny and Madelyn. And Nella and Lainey have each other along with their great big brothers!
    I told you, you ARE a rockstar! Glad your believing it again! :)

  261. ps- forgot a few things! ok number one, the picture of the wooden shoes made me pee my pants in the lastpost, lol. The new banner is gorgeous. And do you have a custom template on your blog? Blogger makes me crazy that I can’t get my pictures nice and big and thinking of switching over to typepad……..

  262. p.s.s. Seriously, I have ADD and cant’ seem to finish a post without coming back 10 times. Anyway, posting in the third person IS funny, LOL. If you saw my FB post today you would pity me. So far today I forgot the laundry sink on (the washer was on and I couldn’t hear it) and flooded the laundry room, then dropped a bowl full of eggs on the kitchen floor, then my 19 month old UNZIPPED my purse and unscrewed a small bottle of hairspray and dumped it everywhere and I didn’t know it until she walked up to me waving her hand in my face so I would smell it! OH FUN! Oh and I SLIGHTLY hit the snowblower on my way out of the garage!! Batting a thousand today!! Needless to say I’m having a wine happy hour! :)

  263. love it! great post!
    your girls are precious. your nella. . . oh, i can’t stop looking at her. such a sweet face! makes me want to go snuggle my bean, who, at nella’s age, gave us the same cute pouty lip.

  264. I absolutely LOVE your blog! I am not a mom (yet), but you are such an amazing role model! I wait in anticipation for new posts and always end up in tears after reading them! Your family is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing your life with us!

    Linda in Seattle

  265. It’s funny you mentioned changing the music, because I click into your blog every morning before I start returning emails and editing photos because your playlist is the perfect soundtrack! I love every song.

    I have also read the last 8 or 9 months of your blog. It’s like my favorite new novel – beautiful pictures, bright colors, and a fantastic love story for days and days. You are an inspiration.

    And I couldn’t agree with you more about Holland πŸ˜‰

  266. Any particular rockstar that you envision? A professional juggler rockstar??

    Ah… I turn 30 this year, and not sure I want to unpack anymore challenges just yet. Two kids are challenging enough!

    I usually turn to journaling as a therapy, too, but don’t get around to it as much these days (read: way overdue for session). But I found a rather depressing pattern to my entries, since I always turned to it when I was at my gloomiest. Still makes for some interesting literature, though – and it’s funny how some things never change, despite how much time has gone by.

    There’s a time for therapy. I suppose there’s even a time for “boredom” – quiet reflection. And there will be much time for funny. But for now, *rock on* with whatever you need to make time for.

    I’ll probably be joining you in the middle of the night while the little one is at the trough, as it were. :)

  267. Any particular rockstar that you envision? A professional juggler rockstar??

    Ah… I turn 30 this year, and not sure I want to unpack anymore challenges just yet. Two kids are challenging enough!

    I usually turn to journaling as a therapy, too, but don’t get around to it as much these days (read: way overdue for session). But I found a rather depressing pattern to my entries, since I always turned to it when I was at my gloomiest. Still makes for some interesting literature, though – and it’s funny how some things never change, despite how much time has gone by.

    There’s a time for therapy. I suppose there’s even a time for “boredom” – quiet reflection. And there will be much time for funny. But for now, *rock on* with whatever you need to make time for.

    I’ll probably be joining you in the middle of the night while the little one is at the trough, as it were. :)

  268. I am new to reading your blog, but love reading what you have to say. You help me to remember to savor the precious times I have with my two little ones.
    I also wanted to tell you about this, because I thought you might like submitting a picture to her album. Maybe you’ve seen this already, but maybe not. I think it is precious.
    Your girls and your family are beautiful. Thanks for sharing and for being so honest.

  269. Rebecca says:

    I have been reading your blog, and want to encouarge you to keep going, even when the days are tough, know that you are so blessed to have these treasures. I am the 2nd of 10 children. Two parents, married for 27 years with the 10 of us ranging from 26 years to 1 and a half. #10, Judah, was born in July of 08. He was diagnosed with down syndrom. As you were, we had no idea….and wouldn’t change a thing, he is a joy and delight. He is doing everything he “isn’t” supposed to be doing and amazes his teachers who come each month with what he can do. It was hard, but knowing that we can give him love and to think that so many children are aborted or ignored because they are “different”, we are so very blessed by our Judah…and each day he continues to show us that he is not differet, he is “perfect”. I am so blessed by your heart, your words, and your pictures. Your children are beautiful. I would love to send you a picture of the 10 of us, but am not sure how. Know you are blessed.

  270. Kelle,

    I have also read your blog since shortly after you wrote Nella’s birth story. I came to it from another mother’s site. Anyway, I just felt like I needed to tell you how much I love your writing, your pictures of your beautiful family and most of all the spirit behind it all. I also have 2 beautiful girls that I adore. I am a pediatric nurse specialist that takes care of kids with cancer. I am reminded every day to enjoy the normal days and small things in life. I feel that I do this pretty well but I could never write out my experiences so elegantly or with such humor. I love your glass half full attitude towards life and your kids are so blessed to have you for their mom. Keep sharing all those little things in life through your wonderful words and beautiful pictures.

    God Bless,

  271. OK, so at the risk of sounding stalker-ish: I’m Sara’s mom. She is 18, a junior in high school, a Special Olympic state swim champ, a karaoke queen, wicked bowler, Miley Cyrus fan, school dance team manager and also happens to have Down Syndrome. We will be in Santa Rosa Beach during the week of March 15th vacationing with our family. I would love for you to meet Sara and I know that Sara would love to meet little Nella.

    I teach 5th grade and we have three other kids. Normal, boring and up to our eyeballs in gelato! Drop me an e-mail if you’d like : )

  272. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this beautiful blog. I love your Nella. I love the way you write. I love the love you have for your family.

    Tonight I needed to read about family and kids being more important than money. I am quitting work and selling our home so that we may get a little rental and I may stay home with our baby. The paragraph you wrote about family being more important than money was beautiful, and was exactly what I needed to read tonight in the face of fear.

    Yes, your blog is therapy for you, but your blog is helping to change the lives of so many people. Thank You.

  273. Anonymous says:

    While juggling, always remember to keep the “family” ball in the air. You seem to be doing this beautifully. Thank you for sharing such rawness with us. You are amazing.

    Krissy Hunecke
    Batavia, IL

  274. You are such an inspiring strong person with a beautiful family! I may not know you but your words and pictures show what an amazing person you are with your family and your life.

  275. Dear Kelle if you have a moment check out this you tube..
    I had seen this sometime ago but the reminder is always good what this family has brought to the world reminds me of you and your outlook. Feel the love coming your way! Sleep tight.

  276. A few randoms from me :)
    1. My facebook status today…
    “Remember to cherish the little things in life….like when your childs little fingers get strong enough to put on his pair of socks for the first time.” That just about sums up my day today.
    2. Nella is doing FABULOUS at holding her head up. I am impressed!
    3. Keep the music as it is. It is soulful. Sometimes I just keep your blog open to have the music playing.
    3. I say go to Italy too. That is what the planes are for, right?


  277. I was directed to your blog in a post I read on a blog that I follow. It linked me to the story of Nella’s birth on your blog. The story touched my heart and brought me to tears and after reading, I wanted to read more and so now I will be visiting your blog regularly.

    I have to admit that I don’t know much about Down’s Syndrome. The only thing I do know is that I have known a few children with D.S. and it has been my experience that they are the sweetest, most loving children I have ever met.

    God bless you, your husband, and your precious girls.

  278. Anonymous says:

    [ … ] link is being shared on Twitter right now. @zenx, an influential author, said RT @1ndus: Xtreme [ … ]

  279. Hi! I just wanted you to know that I love your blog! I’m a pediatric physical therapist with three of my own little babes. I share your love of babies, which is why I chose my profession. I am also an aspiring photographer…so I love your pics. Maybe someday I’ll look you up when I’m in FL, my girlies can play with yours and you can show me how to use my camera! HA! Thanks for your honesty…you are a rockstar~ sincerely, Kim from Iowa

  280. I just love,love,love reading this blog! Your writing is so theraputic. Thanks so much for sharing your life, hubby, and “littles” with us! Your all just so darn pretty!!!

  281. Kelle, you don’t know me, but I feel like I know you so well and you are someone I truly look up to and wish I could actually know. I admire your strength, your courage and how raw you are with telling it like it is. I totally appreciate everything that you share with us and you give me inspiration.
    Your family is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story with me.
    Your friend,
    Melissa πŸ˜‰

  282. Oh Kelle, that last pic of Nella is just priceless! She is such a cutie. I found your blog when someone posted a link on a parenting site I go on. Since then I have read – sometimes in tears – your posts. Your pictures are beautiful, your words so honest and true. I am not the type of mom to sugar-coat parenting or life issues and I love reading the honest and down to earth words such as yours. You are inspiring to say the least!

  283. Anonymous says:

    I can see the world, the future, and the unconditional love of a mother in both your daughters eyes.

  284. You can write about whatever you like, I’ll read it but don’t ever stop posting those beautiful pictures. :)
    Love them.

  285. Anonymous says:

    I just want to give Nella big squeezes! And Lainey too!
    Much Love,

  286. My mom taught me “Fake it til you make it.” I find myself using it everyday- I’m a little imperfect. :)
    P.S. I think the songs on this playlist are beautiful, I’ve been putting your blog on a tab so I can listen to it, but sometimes it does make me cry for no other reason than I love my kids and my life.

  287. Aww, Look at Nella getting to be such a big girl! You are such an awesome rockstar mom and I love reading your blog. You inspire the rockstar in me daily. I talk about you all the time to everyone. Love you and your girls!!!

  288. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness is one of the most famous lines in our Declaration of Independence. It lays like an umbrella over all of us, protecting our freedoms, respecting the sanctity of life and providing opportunity for all. However it comes with no guarantees, no fairness guidelines. It is primarily left up to individuals to make the most of their lives.

    This became all too obvious as my wife and I made a trip to northern Michigan to meet our newly born granddaughter, little Maddox McClintic. Maddie, as we affectionately call her, joined the human race on Jan. 5, 2010. She came with all the anticipation of a first born, complete with pre-conceived dreams of a perfect life that would roll out in front of her like a royal carpet. And with the help and guidance of her parents, little Maddie’s life is destined to be all it can be and more.

    But as we all know life doesn’t follow the straight and narrow lines mapped out in our minds. We are constantly tested on how well we adapt to the changing and unforeseen situations placed before us. In little Maddie’s case it’s some major life-changing detours, complete with challenges few of us want to know, and even fewer of us get to solve.

    Little Maddie was born with complications that threatened her very life and as the days following her birth slowly unfolded one by one, it became clear she had inherited an amazing will to survive. This tiny new life struggled with a heart with two small holes, yet with the strength of a young lioness. She pulled with all her might each tiny breath filled not only with life-giving oxygen, but with the determination to overcome all odds.

    Then the disturbing news that little Maddie was born with Down Syndrome was confirmed. I can’t even begin to explain in words the emotions that flood into one’s mind upon hearing that. Thoughts come so fast and furious they begin to bump into one another. How will she survive? How will her parents cope? What of her future?

    Short of losing a child, the most devastating feeling a parent can have is the absolute helplessness when seeing his or her own child in pain and not being able to make it go away. Not only did my wife and I see this in our daughter and her husband as they watched tiny Maddox’s struggle, but we felt it ourselves. Our daughter, this brand new mother, needed help and we felt helpless. It was as if a dark dense fog engulfed us, allowing us to see only what lay immediately before us and completely blinding us to what lies ahead.

    For several days little Maddie’s fate was unclear too, but the sun continued to come up every morning and slowly it began to burn off the fog and take the bite out of the February chill. Each day we could see a little further and our hearts began to warm with the sight of Maddie’s little eyes looking at her parents, at us, and her brand new world with awe and curiosity.

    It doesn’t take long to see how precious each and every one of us is. An image is burned into our memories of a new dad gently tapping his baby daughter to sleep as she lay across his chest and a new mother softly touching the fingers that will soon grasp her hand and follow her on what will most definitely be a difficult journey. And with each of those touches love flows from one to the other growing into an unbreakable bond that lasts forever.

    There is Life. Little Maddie is living proof. There is Liberty as we still enjoy freedoms to make the difficult decisions that affect our lives. And there is the Pursuit of Happiness. No guarantees, but life is what we make it. Dreams are real. Love is unconditional. And being a grandparent who can be part of all this is, well, it’s truly a miracle.

    God Bless little Maddie and her parents, although I think He already has.

    Contact the writer are


  289. The publisher of the York News Times wrote our story about our precious Maddie, our Granddaughter.The story is posted right above this comment section.
    He used beautiful colors for his words.
    Maddie was born Jan5,2010.with Down Syndrome very unexpected. Kelle the words you write are our thoughts. And we have so much faith and Hope for our Maddie and Nelle. Yes our faith is being tested and our answers will be answered maybe in Days, Months or Years. For we will know when the time is right.Love like you have never loved before and soon the fog will be lifted and the sun will shine on us once again. Have faith. Wewill keep rockin on!
    I can’t help believing that Maddie and Nelle will be best of friends. Their stories are intwined together

  290. Your blog is helping me cope at this moment with my own loss (we lost a pregnancy at 13 weeks). Thank you.

  291. Kelle- What a rockstar you are, indeed!! I have been so blessed by your ability to share in such a beautiful way. The pictures are stunning. Your entire family is beautiful! I, too, was wondering about the knits and the oh-so-cute clothing, but it just didn’t feel right to ask about such trivial details. :) Thanks for the tips. One of my favorite parts of your blog is reading Poppa’s comments. You, rockstar girl, are SO very lucky to have Poppa! I think he may have been the source of your writing gift. Poppa is a rockstar, too! The view from here looks an awful lot like you are in a gondola floating down a canal in Italy! You’re amazing!

  292. You don’t know me but I just wanted to tell you that I LOVE your blog! You write amazingly and I find strength in your words. You are absolutely right that FAMILY is the most important. Too often, I let the daily stresses and trials get in the way. But, then I think about my beautiful 3 boys and how my life is blessed because of them. Thank you for the beautiful words and the pictures of your family!

  293. Thank you. Like so many others, I was lead to your blog through a link to Nella’s birth story. I have never read a blog before, never been much for the blogging world. After reading Nella’s story, I quickly went back and read every other post. Thank you for your words. Your “small things” are so inspiring and make me appreciate the little things in my life. I do not have any littles yet, but I am blessed to work in a place that allows me to be witness to littles being born every day. You have reminded me how special that is and how blessed I am to be a part of that moment in so many people’s lives. Please never stop writing. I look to your blog often for pieces of inspiration. Your girls are beautiful and are clearly headed for rockstardom, just like their momma.

  294. Thank you. Like so many others, I was lead to your blog through a link to Nella’s birth story. I have never read a blog before, never been much for the blogging world. After reading Nella’s story, I quickly went back and read every other post. Thank you for your words. Your “small things” are so inspiring and make me appreciate the little things in my life. I do not have any littles yet, but I am blessed to work in a place that allows me to be witness to littles being born every day. You have reminded me how special that is and how blessed I am to be a part of that moment in so many people’s lives. Please never stop writing. I look to your blog often for pieces of inspiration. Your girls are beautiful and are clearly headed for rockstardom, just like their momma.

  295. I’ve been hesitant on leaving a comment. Feeling that I would be “just another comment” or “just another reader” But, I have this strange urgancy to tell you, how you’ve inspired me in so many ways. So much I’m passing the word along to other blog friends and even went so far as to tell my husband he must read this.

    You are truly talented in writing. Your gift is so easy to see; Even as a stranger you’ve never met. I’ve been following your blog since your birth story, (that seems to be heard around the world…and still receiving comments to this day) and can not wait to see what your next post will be about each week.

    Thank you for sharing your life. Thank you for NOT holding back. Thanks for pretending life isn’t perfect and showing us how its okay to be imperfect. I love how honest you are. Thank you.

  296. Thank you for sharing your photos of Nella. Both of your girls are darling. I often look at the photos and wonder if maybe that’s what my little girl looked like when she was a baby. We’re going to the Ukraine next month to adopt two five year old children with Down syndrome, and until I saw Nella, I had never seen a newborn with Down syndrome. I hadn’t thought about never knowing what my babies looked like when they were born, but now I think I have an idea. Oh I know that all children look completely different, but still Nella gives me some insight to how adorable my children were when they were babies. Thank you again.

  297. Your girls are so gorgeous, and I swear, Nella has the most magical eyes.

    Also, it’s ok to blog therapeutically. Blogs are merely journals we share. So exhale and let it be about you, Kelle.

  298. Your girls are absolutely gorgeous! I have enjoyed reading your blog over the past week. You are an amazing write and an even more amazing mom. Thank you for sharing your heart-warming story with us. :)

    Abby (signed in under my 8 yr. old’s acct.)

  299. I’m another new reader, via Design Mom, and I have to tell you that Nella is the most beautiful baby. You can feel the strength of her soul when you look at her. What a precious child. Thank you for sharing her and your feelings with the world – I am better for both. Much love from a little village in England. xx

  300. She’s a rockstar with a huge fan base. Go Nella Go!!!

  301. Anonymous says:

    My little girl is two years old. She LOVES sitting on my lap while I scroll through your blog. Whenever she sees Nella. She reaches for the screen and hugs the screen as in hugging Nella. She knows Laniey by name… heh, I’m addicted to your blog…. Looks like I ain’t the only one.

  302. i love your blog. i really do. i’m so incredibly envious of your writing skills, your photography, your style and talent…your haircut too! i’d have to say your blog is one of my top two blogs to read now, right up there with the pioneer woman – love it! you are a rockstar who is so blessed with so much in life!

    …sorry for no cap, i have a sleeping infant in one arm…

  303. Kelle, you probably have received an influx of comments from moms with sweet angels just like yours lately. I haven’t read any of the comments, but I know that Nella’s birth story was sent out through our local Down syndrome organizations, so I know those suppotive moms were touched by your depiction of what so many of us have been through and surely reached out as well. My husband and I both shed tears while reading the story of Nella’s surprizing arrival because it was almost exactly what we went through a little more than 7 years ago when our Mylie was born. I just want to offer you support and encouragement and excitement. You are entering a very amazing chapter of your story with so many amazing surprises that will bless you in was you can’t even imagine. I am excited for you. There will still be heartache and challenges, don’t get me wrong, but the joys will far outway any of that. I can promise that. Good luck to all of you and perhaps we will run into each other some day…there are incredible resources just a few cities away from you in Jacksonville. When all the dust settles and you are ready to look into some DS resources google Hope Have Children’s Clinic. It has been our saving grace. :) Hugs from a fellow mom. Ingrid

  304. mom2GraceAidenFinn says:

    I’m addicted to your magical words, and especially your beautiful baby girls. Thank you for sharing your normal, rockstar, real, honest, sweet life with us.

    Just in case this hasn’t been shared with you yet, check it out:

    Wrap your loving arms around those gorgeous babes and squeeze.XO

  305. Anonymous says:

    I STILL can’t wait to read your book . . . but you could give your sister a couple of chapters? I want to borrow her to be my own person cheerleader! Everytime you post words of wisdom from your sister, it’s like that’s EXACTLY what I needed to hear right at that very moment!


  306. my mantra? keep calm, rock on. And with that post you made me excited for 30:) thanks!

  307. Thanks, just thanks.

  308. I have loved reading your blog so very much. It has touched my life in many ways. Thank you for that.

    I know it might be weird to hear a song and think of a total stranger, but I heard a song and thought of you today. I think it would speak to you.

    Lady Antebellum – Hello World.

    Keep the stories and pictures coming, you’ve inspired so many people with your blog! Blessings to your family!

  309. I believe I am in the 300’s of the comments, but you say you enjoy reading them all, so I thought, “what the heck, I’ll leave one.”
    Thank you for inspiring me to enjoy the small things in my life. I love my 2 little girls (4years and 6 months) so much and love reading about your life with your 2 cuties. Thank you for sharing Lainey and Nella…they are precious.

  310. I LOVE THIS BLOG <3

  311. Thank you for sharing your heart with us! As a mother, your thoughts and emotions reflect a lot of my heart. Your girls are precious and beautiful!

  312. hi kelle~ I have been reading your precious blog for quite some time, and your story even though at times it may not seem this way is very enchanting. You my dear have a tremendous way with words and every time you post, I find myself smiling, because deep down it is about love isn’t it…family and love. Thank you for making me love my baby even more then I already did and at night…when I am juggling I often let all of the balls fall and curl up on the couch with my wee one and smell his hair and kiss his cheeks…because soon they won’t be there and I will be sitting wishing I hadn’t let the time go by so quickly…so thank you for making me realize everyday is PRECIOUS! you are a gem!

  313. hi kelle~ I have been reading your precious blog for quite some time, and your story even though at times it may not seem this way is very enchanting. You my dear have a tremendous way with words and every time you post, I find myself smiling, because deep down it is about love isn’t it…family and love. Thank you for making me love my baby even more then I already did and at night…when I am juggling I often let all of the balls fall and curl up on the couch with my wee one and smell his hair and kiss his cheeks…because soon they won’t be there and I will be sitting wishing I hadn’t let the time go by so quickly…so thank you for making me realize everyday is PRECIOUS! you are a gem!

  314. I only just started reading your blog and I’m loving it! Your girls are so beautiful and so are the words you write. I will keep you and your family in my prayers as you are at the beginning of this new journey with Nella.
    Oh and I have to say, I LOVE the way you dress your girls – those are some of the cutest outfits I have ever seen!

  315. Just wanted to say that I can’t stop coming back to gaze upon your sweet little angel. I can’t get enough of Nella’s beauty! Thank you for sharing her with us.
    – Maureen

  316. Thank you for your posts and most of all for your honesty. You have a wonderful way with words.
    What a beautiful baby you have in Nella. I have been very touched by your story and cried through your birth post. Cried in the dark staring at the computer screen, cried while thinking how lucky I am to have my little girl no matter what challenges we face in raising her, cried for being so ungrateful at the moments and opportunities I have to be happy instead of sad, and cried just for the sake of crying and letting it all go. Our little girl is two months old and has developed hemangiomas. One is on her face and disfigures it from being “normal”. I completley knew what you were talking about when you were in the store and the clerk wanted to see Nella. I feel that automatic response to tell people why she doesn’t look “normal” and get mad at myself for feeling like I have to justify her. Why can’t I just show her off and forget about her hemagioma. Relish in someone else taking in the sight of my beautiful baby. And at the exact same time I want to just say to people,”It’s a tumor…now don’t you feel bad for asking?” Her hemangiomas will go away, we are treating them with chemotherapy every week, but while you are in it it sucks. I feel that I am missing out on what my baby would “normally” be like if she didn’t have this trial to go through. But then I read your posts and your optomism and I feel better and I feel gratitude. I know Addison’s trials are short lived while Nella will have to endure for longer and I hope you do not think I am diminnishing your pain by complaining about ours. I just want you to know we are thinking about you and appreciate your story and it’s beauty.
    Addison’s blog

  317. Anonymous says:

    Wow, Kelly — I am so inspired by your blog. Thank you so much. My babies are now taller than I am and off doing scary things like driving and dating. Thank you for sharing.

  318. Besides the obvious fact that you and your family are all rock stars, i love coming to your blog because of the amazing playlist you have! I am a college student majoring in nursing.. which comes with hours and hours of studying. I love coming to your blog to listen to your amazing music when I study. I have all of your tunes added to my itunes wishlist, and when I am graduated (and not dirt poor from student loans) I plan on downloading all of them! Keep the rockin’ music coming girlfriend!

    Thank you for be fabulous, inspiring, and having the best taste in music.

    Rock on sister! :)

  319. So today I am going to share my story that sort of involves you … My daughter Gracee is seven and she goes to a small private school in a small town in Pa..We picked the school for various reason but mainly for the smaller class which we thought would protect her from certain elements…one of which would be the bully thing…what are the odds that in a class with 4 little girls in it that it would be an issue. Well we found out that small number only make your odds greater…and Gracee was the target. She was heartsick about it..that her friend could be so mean..I will not get into the details but I will tell you it made my heart hurt! I wanted to go in and make everything right for her..I will even go as far as saying I wanted to take on a mean spoiled seven year old and make my daughters world right again. But I can’t…I knew that I had to give her the words and tools to handle this. So we started our morning with a prayer..we asked for peace and wisdom and to always do the right thing when someone else is doing the wrong thing. Then she cried and said she did not want to go to school because all the kids didn’t like her..and then it came to me and I told her it didn’t matter because you are a ROCKSTAR!!! And I told her Rockstar can do anything..and look good while they are doing it. She laughed because she has been reading your blog with me. So we put on her favorite funky dress..did her hair a little differnt and put her favorite rainbow glitter shoes. So thank you Kelle for those words and for the strength and the attitude that is takes to be a True Rockstar..So all is well with her and she Rocked those kids at school and she came home with a smile on her face. ♥

  320. So today I am going to share my story that sort of involves you … My daughter Gracee is seven and she goes to a small private school in a small town in Pa..We picked the school for various reason but mainly for the smaller class which we thought would protect her from certain elements…one of which would be the bully thing…what are the odds that in a class with 4 little girls in it that it would be an issue. Well we found out that small number only make your odds greater…and Gracee was the target. She was heartsick about it..that her friend could be so mean..I will not get into the details but I will tell you it made my heart hurt! I wanted to go in and make everything right for her..I will even go as far as saying I wanted to take on a mean spoiled seven year old and make my daughters world right again. But I can’t…I knew that I had to give her the words and tools to handle this. So we started our morning with a prayer..we asked for peace and wisdom and to always do the right thing when someone else is doing the wrong thing. Then she cried and said she did not want to go to school because all the kids didn’t like her..and then it came to me and I told her it didn’t matter because you are a ROCKSTAR!!! And I told her Rockstar can do anything..and look good while they are doing it. She laughed because she has been reading your blog with me. So we put on her favorite funky dress..did her hair a little differnt and put her favorite rainbow glitter shoes. So thank you Kelle for those words and for the strength and the attitude that is takes to be a True Rockstar..So all is well with her and she Rocked those kids at school and she came home with a smile on her face. ♥

  321. Oh, Gracee’s Mommy…that story made me smile so big! YOU are a rockstar for doing that for her!

  322. Oh, Gracee’s Mommy…that story made me smile so big! YOU are a rockstar for doing that for her!

  323. Wow what a journey you’re taking. My little girl Irelyn was born last August with numerous complications: collapsed lungs due to fluid in her chest, no gall bladder, and a weird butt crack (yep:). I spent the first month after coming home from the hospital comparing her to my 2 year old daughter and having some of the same thoughts you’ve dealt with. Brooklynn is “perfect” and Irelyn has so many problems. What will tomorrow bring? Was I supposed to have this baby? And on and on. Well I’ve realized that time does not heal all wounds but perspective does. I now understand that I wasn’t supposed to have another little girl just like her big sister. I appreciate Irelyn for being Irelyn. She has a lot more spunk, more smiles and giggles, and I’m sure that spunk will test us when she’s a teenager! But I know that her spunk is what helped her fight so hard in the beginning. I’ve learned to appreciate every minute and not too worry what tomorrow might bring. I have no control over that so why worry about it. We’ll deal with tomorrow when tomorrow comes. I pray for your family every night that you find peace and hope in every day. I thought you might like to check out a blog of one of your followers. Our website is
    I look forward to each of your posts and watching your adorable little girls grow.

  324. Kelle,
    Thanks for sharing your story with the blog world! I linked Nella’s birth story to my own blog last week.
    I came here last week to read her story & I keep coming back.
    Your pictures are marvelous. That first picture with Brett & Nella kills me – it’s so sweet.
    Oh. You have my dream hair cut. Thought you should know. Someday, when my hair is longer, I will be going into the hair salon with your photo.

    I plan to keep coming back here.

  325. Thank you for your wonderful blog and sharing your beautiful girls and family with us.

  326. Kelle,
    Just had to thank you for sharing your honest words & beautiful photographs. My oldest son, Quinnlan has DS & we found out shortly after his birth. Your birth story post eloquently put into words what it is like to have your world so completely rocked. Quinn is 3-1/2 years old now & is doing great. He has a younger brother, Remy, who just turned two. What I love most about your blog is that it is beautiful reminder of how very lucky I am to be their mother… that this parenthood adventure, although hard work, is really FUN. Thank you!

  327. How come when I used to comment I felt like I was at Lucarelli’s gnawing on pizza while listening to their band, but now I feel like I’m at a Beatles concert with everyone elbowing me around in a mosh pit! lol.

    I love Nella’s eyes in every picture! There such a window into her heart! Brett and Lainey playing bball is precious! Glad you’re rocking it out! I knew you would!


  328. I’m so happy to see how many people from all over the world +with all our similarities and differences+ are coming together ~here~ because of one common thread “LOVE”. In the end, we are A big family: HUMANITY :)

    Kelle, continue to be who you are, living YOUR life the way you CHOOSE to, ENJOYING every minute of it.

    Remember, there is no need to be afraid of anything, you are in very good company!

    “Whatever pain we have been through has been part of our own healing, and that of those we connect with. Our greatest and most powerful teachers are those who cause us the most pain, every experience contains a blessing.” Jennifer Hoffman

    May you always feel loved~

  329. I read your blog all the time. I am 31 and was born with a cleft palate. My son was born with a cleft palate too. I dealt with many emotions. I knew he was going to be born with it. Throughout the pregnancy I wrote about it all. Then when we flew to Virginia for his surgeries, I lost my hard-drive and all 16 chapters. This was 8 years ago, so there was nothing like Blogs back then. I keep wanting to try again, but it hurts. Reading your blog is cathartic and helps me realize how normal it was to feel what I felt. Believe it or not, I have more difficulty dealing with the emotions from my perfect little girl without a cleft. She is 4 and cries because she DOESN’T have a cleft palate. I don’t feel as connected with her. I worry about everything with her. I didn’t worry nearly as much with my son. Life is weird. I love how honest you are and the photos are as honest as you can get short of having Big Brother in your house filming your every move. (And that would be horrible). Keep blogging! It’s cheaper than therapy! I pray for you and your family because we can all use the support no matter where we are. You are a great mom!

  330. thank you for bringing a smile to my day. enjoy your littles and sleep well.

  331. Wow, I’ve just caught up with your blog. I forgot to add it to my reader. I love the way you write, so meaningful and real. What a beautiful pair of girls you have. All the handknitted clothing is just gorgeous! Now where is the pic of a beautiful handmade quilt?

  332. Kelle – I stumbled over your blog/birthstory and my heart celebrated, broke, and sobbed with you. I actually took my 21 month old daughter out of bed and held her in reaction. I’m learning that I like your philosophy of sucking the juice out of the lifecycle. I’m a big fan that you have one shot at life, so it’s time to enjoy every moment. I also learned through sailing that you don’t just make plans, you change them too. In our lives, we should strive to evolve and to learn. Sometimes the change in our life is self-driven, but many times it’s the result of circumstances. Remember that God will never give you more than you can take – even if you think you cannot handle it, God knows better. So put your face in the sun, do a cartwheel, and know that you can and are doing it. And keep feeding your creativity, even if it means that you’re juggling too much. Peace – Jennifer

  333. Your words are magic, I just found your blog and have been laughing and crying for the past 3 hours. My children must know that I needed your words today and they just keep on playing.
    I have 4 year old miracle(IVF)twins, Seanna and Caleb. Seanna was born with ulnar clubhand and lately I’ve been really struggling with the reality of her condition, she’s perfect, but she looks different and I’m afraid of how others will react to that and how that will affect her as a person. Your words, words I could never say/find, brought a lot of comfort today. Someone once told me that Seanna will be a “teacher” – she’s already taught me a lot … time to find my wooden rock star shoes :o)
    Thanks for being YOU and for sharing your beautiful girls.

  334. I found your blog via a link to your birth story, and can not tell you how much I appreciate your honesty. I’m 8 months pregnant, and you manage to make me cry with just about every post (I only blame the pregnancy hormones a little bit). Whether you are aware of it or not, you are addressing the hopes and fears and frustrations and inspitarions of all parents– not just those who have detoured to Holland.

    So thank you. And rock on.

  335. I can’t get over how beautiful your kids are. The picture of Nella on her stomach with those little feet kicking the air behind her…how do you ever put her down? She is so, so sweet. I would smoosh those cheeks all day long. :-)

    I’m a fairly new reader of your blog, but I have to say within the short amount of time that I’ve been reading it, I find inspiration in so much of what you write. I think it’s partly because I’m going through a bit of a rough patch right now (encountering lots of unknowns and what-ifs), so when I read posts like this one where you point out what you wrote two years ago and draw the parallel with how it ties in with your life now, I feel such relief in knowing that there’s someone else out there looking for meaning and comfort in old thoughts and dreams. Most importantly, you words remind me that when life takes a turn for the unexpected, it’s not the end of the world. It’s a new beginning, and it could be the best thing, or at the very least a good thing.

    I’m going to take a page from your book and tell myself to rock it out from now on. Just rock it out.

  336. I have a “high needs” baby who was colicky and still, at 9 months, eats every 2 hours around the clock (and won’t take a bottle). I think I’ve managed to be a pretty good mom to him, but I won’t lie – there are days after a particularly rough night when I’ve been short-tempered and tired and frustrated and I haven’t given him all that I could have. I hate those days – I hate them for me and I hate them for him because I know he deserves the whole of me. I was having one of those days the day I first came upon your birth story. I was moved to tears (of joy, of sorrow, of awe) and vowed then and there to be a better mom to my Oliver. I have still started some of those “bad” days…but I have managed to turn each and every one into good ones. You know how? You are my role model rockstar mom. I think about you and your story and I remember to give my all. Not because I’m sorry that Nella has down syndrome, but because Nella and your dealing with the surprise of her, made me remember that they are all worth every ounce we can give them. So I thank you and Nella (and sweet Lainey) for taking me from a pretty good mom to a damn good one.

  337. I just want to say that I love reading your blog! I have followed it since Nella’s birth story showed up on my babycenter board and I just can’t help but come back. I just love reading about your perfect little family. It makes me stop and think about the smallest most simple things and cherish them. Thank you for sharing such a big, important, beautiful story. It makes me cry it’s so beautiful. I can’t say thank you enough.

  338. I swear my only reason I even log onto my RSS feeds are to look at your posts these days. Your story has truly touched my heart. I am sure you get comments like this all the time, but I just couldn’t go on not letting you know that. I am so inspired by you.

    My mom always said that our children choose us. From heaven, they look down and they choose their parents. Nella and Lainey chose you and Brett. Don’t forget that! You were chosen.

    Thank you for continuing to put a smile on my face. You have quite the following now!

  339. Anonymous says:

    I’m seriously addicted to your blog. I just can’t get enough of you and your girls and family. and how you have blessed me so much. and given my the stregth to move on with my such a little problem compaired to you battles you go threw…
    and where do you find the hats with the big flowers on them?! I have been looking everywhere!

  340. When I was about 11, my older sister (older by 13 years) started seeing a man who would become her husband and he had two sons and a daughter. Rachel has DS. He wrote a book waaaaaaay back then for Little Golden Books called “My Sister is Special”. He and my sister then had another child, my baby nephew (at 20 now!), Andrew, who was later written into a revision. If you’re so inclined to check it out. It’s old (like 20 years?? ha!) but his name was Larry Jansen (he’s since passed.) And Rachel is still my niece (at 31, it’s funny to remember her when we first met).

  341. Your “models” are just adorable!! You take some awesome photos! I just happened upon your blog, and am now following with both of my sites.

    Tree aka Mother of Pearl

  342. ugh. I love your photos. I love love love them. I check everyday now to read something new. I have a newborn lil girl, and a five year old little boy…and sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the “go go go”, and forget to slow down to cherish every single second. Thanks for giving me something to read at night while I relax after the kiddies are asleep :)

    PS…Such beautiful girls you have. Perfection….totally.

  343. i love all of these pictures! Lainey looks so much like you! and the outfits for Lainey, there great!

  344. Kelle,

    You are such an inspiration! A friend shared your blog with me last week and I am just overcome with your love. So real, so deep & passionate.

    Nella is a miracle! A beautiful gift from God. He is so awesome.

    I too, am a photographer, but I don’t feel so creative right now as I want a new lens.

    I know too what a miracle is as I have a daugther, Brianna, who just turned 12 on March 1st. She was a blessing after much prayer and infertility treatments. She is My Ray Of Light. Inspired from Nicolette Larson’s Sleep, Baby Sleep lullaby album. You have to listen to it! It is sweet.

  345. You are my favorite.

    When you said that about Play that Funky Music not jiving with the post about Nella’s birth story I laughed and laughed.

    And laughed.

    Bedtime is precious. My ten year old told me last night as he was drifting off to sleep, “I hope you always lay beside me at bedtime. Even when I am a teenager.” And of course I said I would : ) And then I told him, as I have done every night since the very first night, How come out of all the little boys in the world, Jesus gave me the very best one?’

  346. You totally don’t know me, but you should know it was DIVINE that I read your blog tonight as I am praying (10 weeks pregnant) about whether or not to get the Trisomy test at 12 weeks. No question we will keep our little one regardless, but wondering if it would be helpful to know. Nella’s story encouraged me and reminded me that Jesus really is BIG ENOUGH for all things.

    And it reminded me of this “Holland Has Tulips” by Emily Perlman. I love kids with disabilities. And so I really love this. Hope it may encourage you, just like you’ve encouraged me….


    I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

    When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

    After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

    “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

    But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

    The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

    So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

    It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

    But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

    And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

    But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

  347. Anonymous says:

    Your dad has the lovliest words.

  348. You have really taken me back — 8 years, in fact, to when my world changed thanks to Ella. She was also born with Down syndrome, unexpectedly. In Sarasota, FL. I went through all of the emotions you are so beautifully expressing and sharing on your blog.

    Our family has since ‘moved-on’ and helped bring other families together with children with DS via Manasota BUDS, welcomed a third child, moved to Ireland for a year to be house parents to young adults with special needs, and who knows what’s next. So, hang on for the wonderful adventure still ahead. I can’t count all the wonderful, joyful moments Ella has given me. I just try to soak it all up.


  349. Anonymous says:

    I simply love Nella’s expression in her tummy time photo.

    “Ha! Look at that world! I can do anything I want to.”

  350. I start my work day by reading your latest post(s) and your words and pictures just make my day! I have never met you, but from the stories you share with us I personally walk away a new and better person each day. And I thank you for that!

  351. “The Power of the Mind.
    It’s amazing what control we really do have over our thoughts and what tactics we use to control it. Like, seriously, envisioning myself as a rockstar really makes me think I am one. And I tell myself every day I am going to rock this day out. Even when I want to cry and stay in bed. It becomes such a challenge to myself to see exactly what I am capable of and usually, the more down & out I feel, the more I rock it out. And that doesn’t just pertain to this whole D.S. thing. It’s all the crap in life…just rock it out.

    My sister says picture a person who models what you’re going through exactly how you’d want a role model to show it. Then become that person.

    And that, I try to do.”

    I’m going to write this down and pin it up on my cork board. your blog is beyond beautiful and you are beyond inspiring. the tears streaming down my face are proof of both ♥

  352. Dear Kelle,
    I have just discovered your blog and it is wrecking the reslolution I made just last night to go to bed earlier. I might be here for a couple more hours and then my kids will have to watch hours of tv tomorrow while I sleep on the couch.
    Your blog is beautiful.
    Your girls are beautiful.
    I want to look at these pictures all day, or night actually, long. Your writing touches my heart. I have read through the past 3 months and I am just so touched by your honesty, your joy, your love, your hope your sadness and your openness.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

    This particular post I related to as I have also been using my blog for therapy. I had a miscarriage about 2 months ago and found that writing about it, opening my heart and wound for the world to see was incredibly healing and helpful. The love that was showered on me is helping me heal.

    You and yours have been showered with love too. I just wanted to add my love to that shower. God bless each of you.
    Love from Greta

  353. I just read this post and have to agree about the Holland poem. People can get mad I don’t mind I can appreciate the sentiment that was there in the poem but at the same time its a very sad poem. Yeah at the beginning you’re adjusting to everything and it can be sad/frustrating/explitive/explitivebut from where I am now, my little girl being 21 months, I don’t feel that poem applies to me at all. DS is not something that is constantly on my brain. I don’t look at those wonderful almond shaped blue eyes and think “oh poor us she has an extra chromosome and we’re missing out on our previous dream” I look at her and think damn she has good genes!!!

  354. Anonymous says:

    Fairly Interesting publish. Couldnt be written any much better. Reading this publish reminds me of my old room mate! He usually kept talking about this. I will forward this publish to him. Pretty sure he will have a good study. Thanks for sharing!

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