Thank You…and some Photo Answers

Just a quick ‘thank you.’ I can’t quite grasp the love from ‘strangers’ we have received…with comments and e-mails continually pouring in from around the world. I never thought this would happen when I hit ‘publish’ late that night after I tearfully finished the birth story. But it did. And we’ve been blown away by the response. I have a new found belief in goodness in the human race. I wish I could reply to every one of you because you all have played such a role in our ‘glass is half full.’ I like to play the cool and confident role from time to time, but let’s face it…no one is too cool or confident to not be affected in this extremely motivating and beautiful-self-worth way by the incredible things you have given to us in your words. So thank you. And, Hell Yes, I’m writing a book. I don’t care if no one reads it. But it’s gunna be about Life. Not Down Syndrome. Not Motherhood. Just Life.

The daddy called last night and said he had to stay one more week…and that just sucks. I’ll say it. I cried the embarrassing ugly cry, had a beer and considered watching The Hangover for the fifth time. So, if it’s of any consolation…see…I’m not just unicorns and rainbows. In fact, my “Enjoying the @#!*ing Small Things” cape has a gaping hole in it. That’s okay…my mom sews.

In the meantime, we patch it up (and my dad is coming down to stay with us, so yay).

I’ve received several e-mails and comments regarding my camera and editing. So, I’m going to climb up on my homemade soap box for one second and proclaim my love for something I think changed my life.

Taking Pictures and Documenting the Beauty of Life.

I think everyone should do it. I take my camera everywhere. And, when I look through that viewfinder, I see so much more. The clouds are bluer, the sun is brighter, the trees speak. I notice every little strand of Lainey’s blonde heap, the mess of lashes she’s blessed to possess, and the tiny swirls that make up the cowlick of Nella’s wispy brown hair. I photograph something in our life every single day. And because of it, I don’t need a therapist. And, from time to time, I’ll spend a good hour or so going back and reliving it, reminding myself just how blessed we are, where we’ve been, and how far we’ve come. Like today when I revisited our summer road trip and Lainey’s birthday and remembered just how special that was.

And yes, I get paid to take pictures for people, but for me…it’s more of a spiritual experience. I simply love the challenge of capturing little things not everybody notices that make life beautiful whether it’s in our own lives or the ones I’ve been blessed to capture.

So…to answer your questions.

I have a Canon 50D.
I mainly use three lenses, all Canon: 50 mm f/1.4, 24-105 f/4 and 16-35, f/2.8 but I borrow my f.i.l.’s 85 mm f/1.2 from time to time.
I use Lightroom for all my editing and hardly use presets anymore, but I’ve found a few good ones, despite the fact they make me feel like I’m ‘cheating’ when I use them.

For our ‘scrapbook’ pages, I use an old program, Microsoft Digital Image Suite, because it’s fast and easy.

I am fortunate to have a very talented photographer father-in-law and even more blessed that my in-laws gave me the very best (non-human…ha) gift I think I’ve ever been given…the camera I love.

So there. Hope that answers questions. And if I had any say in it, I would change the proverb “Speak softly and carry a big stick” to “Buy a good camera and photograph your life.”

And speaking of photos…it ain’t a post without a few.

So, today’s deliciousness:

Now Go Live.


Leave a Comment
  1. FABULOUS!!! I linked to your birth story through a message board and have been inspired and hooked every since. You are an amazingly beautiful woman, both inside and out! Thank you for sharing your life with the rest of us!!! Oh and sorry your hubby has another week, darn it!

  2. beautiful beautiful story, beautiful pictures, beautiful family.

    My dad is a paediatrician and I forwarded your story to him. He read it and is going to give it to any future families that are blessed with a child with Down’s syndrome.

    Congratulations on your lovely daughters and thank you for sharing your story with us all.

  3. Your story is one of beauty and art, I feel priviledged being able to read it!

  4. Ahhh, more sweet beauty. I must say, and not because I am your father, it is more than the mechanics of an exquisite camera, the selection of the perfect lens or the far-from-me-to-understand photoshop software that is responsible for your lens loveliness. It is an eye that has always looked for beauty and a heart that is convinced the little moments of everyday life are worthy of capturing and framing. And you do. You are the one that creates magic with a backyard firepit and a starry night. When I was little, my mom would entertain me by drawing a squiggle on a piece of paper, hand it to me with the instructions I was to create something from it. Well, you see things in those squiggles I never did–and you make magic from them…in a photo, a blogpost or a moment shared with you. Yes, Nella, hold on–your Momma’s takin’ you on a ride you won’t believe. Yes, hold on tight. She has you in her lens…her loving lens.

  5. OMG. I heart you. I am alittle behind but I want to comment on your birth story. Amazing. You must consider writing as a profession, really. That is after photography. Beautiful pictures, beautiful writing, beautiful babies. I heart you! :)

    Keep up the amazing work and God Bless You!!

  6. I will definitely buy your book!

  7. I am in line for the book too…get on it girl.

  8. Kelle – you’ve already inspired me to pick up my camera every day and bring it every where and take photos. Ever since you photographed Johnathan at 4 weeks old you gave me the bug. I was amazed at what you did, you captured him perfectly and I’ve been working ever since to try and get as good as you. I’ll admit it, I so want to be a bug on your wall when you edit your photos. In addition to writing a book that I’ll pre-order right now, can you also do a photography class? And I have to say this, the photo of Nella in the tub might be the cutest baby photo I’ve ever seen . . . . ever!

  9. I LOVE the Lainey kissing baby Nella’s toes!

    I think we all want a cape just like your’s!

    You are incredibly gifted with words and creativity. I, too, will be in line to buy your book.♥

  10. After being linked to your birth story I have been reading for what seems like hours. What a precious family. Now, let me go live. You have inspired me.

  11. Wow! Nella’s eyes are amazing! So pretty!

    That stinks about Brett not getting to come home yet :( Yes, watch I would say it can’t hurt to watch “The Hangover” again, haha! Or if you haven’t seen it yet and want to get in the Olympic spirit – “Blades of Glory” is so funny too!

    xo :)

  12. Kelle,
    Ill be in line at $:30 in the morning to be the first person to buy your book. Amazing and beautiful.

  13. Delicious pictures, delicious children!

  14. Love your blog. Your family is beyond amazingly beautiful!!

  15. You are so talented with a camera. I’m lucky if I manage to capture an image of my daughter that’s not blurry and poorly lit!

    Just wanted to pop by again and say hello, and I really enjoy your blog. Also, your little Nella is two days younger than my little girl, Nellie. I thought it was neat; two little baby girls so close not only in birthdays but in name, too.

    I’m very much enjoying your blog!

    — Natalie @ Hope Springs Eternal

  16. HAHAHA! I actually called my husband over to look at your beautiful pictures you posted on you blog the other day. His response was e-mail her and ask her what she is using. And I thought…There is no way that she would want to answer a lame question like that right after giving birth to a beautiful baby! LOL I guess I was not the only one who was in awe of you awesomeness! Here is hoping I can figure it out!

    BTW, your talent for writing huge! I think a book is a great idea!

    Again, your blog has inspired me more than you will know! Rock on!!!

  17. They are both so beautiful and perfect and every way! (or is that just a camera trick?? :)

  18. I have to tell you… I read Nella’s birth story and am just amazed at your strength! I am sending my love to your family. ((HUGS))

  19. I am a recent addict of your blogging. I found you through babycenter and Nella’s birth story and I am hooked. I agree its not just the fact that you have a camera and use it, you have a gift of seeing beauty in every day life and capturing it. Thank you for sharing your life with us, you are an inspiration. Your girls are so blessed to have a mommy in you!!!!

  20. I love the pic’s of the girls..Nella’s head, her spirit shines through loud and clear! Come say hi when you can 😀

  21. Seriously, I need a new camera. The friends I have met through blogging have truly inspired and carried me over the past year and a half. We are all kindred spirits.

  22. Kelle,
    Shucky darns, that “@#!*ing” curse word is a pretty good one!
    We love you tons!

  23. Madisyn Andrea says:

    I agree with Lexi (:
    …and I must say the i am in the middle of the book you were talking about and its really good. Between you, photography, and the book, you allow me to see life with such beauty! :)
    Thank you a lot.

  24. Madisyn Andrea says:

    Oh and your baby girls are SOOOO beautiful! I don’t think you will ever stop hearing this! I love the pic of Lainey kissing baby feet; and of Nella in the bath with her eyes! I still want to know how you do that! You make all the eyes pop.

  25. Madisyn Andrea says:

    Oh and your baby girls are SOOOO beautiful! I don’t think you will ever stop hearing this! I love the pic of Lainey kissing baby feet; and of Nella in the bath with her eyes! I still want to know how you do that! You make all the eyes pop.

  26. I love your blog, both the posts and the photos. I can’t decide whether you’re a better writer or photographer, but you’re fantastic at both! Looking forward to following your journey and someday reading your book!

  27. I just started reading your blog after reading Nella’s birth story. You are an amazing woman with two precious girls, just beautiful! I too would like to know how you get the eyes to pop. I will buy your book- can’t wait to read it!

  28. Amazing pictures, amazing lady, amazing family

  29. You will never know how much you, your story, your girls and your photos have inspired me!! i read your Birth Story a few days ago and have just been in awe ever since. You have a such an amazing way with words and speak what each one of us would be thinking. You are an amazing woman who has inspired many. Please continue with this gift that you may not have even known you had. Even another reason Nella chose you:)

  30. I have added you to my list of “Blogs I Follow”. I find your story inspirational and your words beautiful. I feel as though you have been blessed with such a special gift and although it may not be known now, the reason that gift was given to you will be known someday. She is gorgeous and will be filled with a happiness and joy for life that we will never know. God Bless you and your family.
    From and Iowa Mom

  31. I want your books!!! and as I said before – I can’t WAIT to see you on Oprah sharing your story and beautiful insights!!! Seriously, You have SO MUCH to teach the world. You were meant to be a teacher like you already planned out I guess, just not in a class room with a bunch of 8 year olds only… I’m creating a name/url instead of just “anonymously” posting because I feel like I’m part of your life now and your adventure. I can’t wait to see your kids grow up!

  32. I am a labor and delivery nurse and stumbled upon your blog one day, I have shared it with my co-workers and we are all hooked. Your story is beautiful and something none of us will ever forget. Thank you, thank you for being brave enough to share your beautiful story and beautiful family with us. You are stronger than most!

  33. I can’t recall how I came by your blog. Maybe blogher? I am enjoying your photos and a amateur photographer myself.

  34. I found your blog through a friend after she read your birth story. It found it’s way into my life right when I needed some inspiration more than anything. Through your courage and hope I am finding my own in my own difficult time. Thank you for sharing your life with so many.

  35. Oh I love baby toes…they are my weakness! I was curious about the camera too..thanks for sharing, although its not the camera its the artist taking those awesome pics. As far as Oprah…I emailed them your story. I hope you don’t mind, but you an ispiration to so many! God bless! <><

  36. I love the photo when your big girl kisses her baby sister’s foot. It instantly brightened up my day. I agree with “Buy a good camera and photograph your life”. I never really bothered “photographing my life” but giving birth to my baby changed all that. Now that I am a mom, I make sure that I take pictures of my baby. Not just one picture a day but 10 or more pictures. I’m afraid I’m missing something when I don’t photograph my family.

    Happy Valentines Day to you and your family.

    Lots of love,

  37. So sorry Brett has to be away another week. But so happy Poppa is coming to visit!

    And Poppa, I just have to tell you. My husband and son play the squiggle game all the time. I draw them each a squiggle, and they both go off to their own corners to see what they can create from the squiggle that I drew. The hubby is an artist though – so his are always pretty darn amazing :) Big fan of the squiggle game here!

  38. Thanks for the camera info….I was wondering but didn’t want to ask. Love the pictures with the icecream. It looks so delicious!! And the picture of Nella is just beautiful……she gets cuter and cuter. I’m sure Daddy is bummed that he has to stay another week away from you girls. Enjoy your time with your Dad when he gets there.

  39. There’s no way you can possibly read all your comments, but on the off chance you read this:
    A. With my 3 year old, they told us at 12 weeks, she had Down Syndrome. They were wrong.

    B. Your pictures have inspired me to take up photography and possibly a new job path.

    Thank you.

  40. Sweet little bubble time babies! I too would wait in line for a book filled with your stories and your photos. Simply amazing.

    Definitely watch The Hangover again! I have found it can cure any bad or sad mood.

  41. Katherine T says:

    My friend linked me to Nella’s beautiful birth story…and I’ve been hooked ever since! You are truly an inspiration, it really is the small things that are worth living for. You are an amazing writer and photographer. And I agree with your dad, it has NOTHING to do with the camera and everything to do with that eye of ours! Give a crappy photographer the best camera on the planet and you’ll still get a bad picture!

  42. Your words are beautiful, and so are your darling little girls. Thank you so much for sharing your story with so many strangers. You are an inspiration.

    Your play list at the bottom of the blog has some amazing songs in it. I downloaded tons of them the other day and now have a “Nella” playlist on my ipod that my son and I listen to non-stop. “It’s Going to be Alright” makes me cry thinking of your optimism and your life. I can’t wait to follow the rest of your journey.

  43. I couldn’t agree more… I am a photographer and in high school an article in national geographic really spoke to me. It was a photojournalist holding a camera laughing around a bunch of men from a remote village. They were laughing, because they asked him why he kept looking through this “thing” and wanted to see what was so great… what they saw surprised them. He was looking at them! He had to explain it to them… they were all so shocked! It really spoke volumes to me as a teenager and I guess I’ve never forgot it. It is really the simple things in life… don’t look past them!

  44. Your words are such an inspiration to me and your writing a breath of fresh air! You have been blessed wiht beauty, talent and 2 beautiful babies. Thanks so much for sharing your life!

  45. Amazing. You, your daughters, your pictures. I just started reading when somebody linked to Nella’s birth story and I have a feeling I’ll be going back and savoring every post from the past. :)

  46. Okay, I have to admit that I’m one of the “anonymous” people who has been following your blog for a good six months (atleast)and every post is better and better. So many life lessons…you make us all stop and watch our babies a little more and a little longer everyday! Oh and the love you are teaching us to share….this world is going to be a much better place one reader at a time.

    And Hell yes, I would stand in line for your book!!!!!

    Thanks from someone you have never met, but managed to change their life.

  47. Kelle, I’ve been checking your blog multiple times a day, to see if you’ve found time between taking pictures and loving on those two beautiful girls to post. :)

    Thanks for being brave enough to share your daily life and your girls with a whole bunch of friends you haven’t met yet.

  48. Oh my goodness, your girls are absolutely stunning:) Congratulations:) You’re a strong mommy w/ a Strong Daddy behind her:)

  49. Your an amazing woman, and your living life just the way it was meant to be lived! I am so glad that your Dad is able to come and be with you. My hubs also travels for a living and yes it does S#&* sometimes when they are suppose to be home and it doesn’t happen. Please know that I’m sending you my love and pray for you to be all the woman that you can be daily.

  50. I have commented a few times and find myself back again and again! I have also gone back and read some of your past entries. Like so many have said before you are very talented and yes you should definitely write a book! I too was wondering how you took such amazingly beautiful pictures. I think they are the most beautiful photos I’ve ever seen! I LOVE photography as well. But, would love to learn more about it. I too take a camera everywhere I go. But, wish my pictures were as beautiful as yours!! Thank you again for sharing your story and also for giving us tips on how you take such gorgeous photos! But, I must ask just one question..where do you buy your girls’ clothes? They are beautiful just like your girls! ((HUGS))

  51. I found your blog about a week ago. There is so much love in your words, in your pictures. I, like many, am inspired. Odd as it may seem, the most inspiring is your relationship with your father. What a gift you have. I do not have this and reading about his support has aided in my grieving/healing process. Weird? Maybe. I don’t know you, although I feel as I do, but I am so thankful for the love and support from your family and friends. What a breath of fresh air. Did I mention there is SO much love here. Thank you.

  52. i WILL be in that long, long line to purchase your one day best selling book!

  53. More baby feets! Yah!!

  54. I cant wait to read your book!!! and yes I am one of your followers who LOVES to read your blog. No matter what the crisis may be, the bus analogy is the best yet! i may use that with some of my patients! You are so blessed to have a wonderful support system, and I see where you got your beautiful writing skills from, your father’s was sweet!

  55. Your babies are breathtaking. I was linked to your birth story post and after reading it immediately added you to my favorites. You are a beautiful writer and the pictures are amazing.

  56. I waited all day for these pictures!!!! I love them I love them I love them, especially those baby toes!!!!!

    Oh and if you could, would you share the store name where you got those wonderful chairs that everyone is commenting about. Love them!!!

    Oh and if you’d like some suggestions for reading, Gifts 1 and Gifts 2, they will both just melt your heart!!!!!

  57. Hi Kelle
    I’ve been reading your blog for the past few days ever since coming across it on babycenter.
    I never do this (something I should change) but I want to tell you that you have inspired me. I’ve given up on some things in my life and for whatever reason your words and images have made such an impression on me that I feel this passion to try them again. I know God places people (even blogs!) in our life for a reason and I thank Him for having me come across your story.
    I too can not wait for that book!

  58. yay! for dads … my dad is also staying with me tonight as i feel such a lack of confidence with the new baby and big kids tonight. just one of those nights i guess.
    and good to know that my little baby finn isn’t the only babes with a case of the dry baby feet … though … baby feet are always cute.
    take care. thinking of you.

  59. so sorry that Brett can’t be home this weekend. know he will be with all of you ASAP. praying that will be soon.

    i love the picture of Lainey kissing Nella’s precious toes. it’s so sweet.

    glad you celebrated the day with a sprinkle topped ice cream cone. every drip looks yummy. =)

    now you’re busy loving and growing your family … and in time i’ll be watching to buy your book.

    continued prayer for your family

  60. I already had found your blog a week ago but I must tell you that tonight I’ve seen MANY people on my facebook chatting and loving your story.

    Love your photos (go Canon YAY) and love your story telling ability. And I love those two kids of yours.

  61. Kara Brown says:

    Yay! A new post…you are REAL and TRUE…I like you.
    My oldest daugher has some medical challenges… I am your age….have the same camera and am also in love with pictures….you inspire me. Keep smiling and living, and I can guarantee I will be coming back to read about it. Thank you for sharing. :)

  62. Just so you know: I am living a richer and fuller and more aware life after reading this blog. You are a beacon of honesty and light. I am enjoying the (*&^*%@ out of the small things. Thanks for the reminder:)

  63. LOVE the footie kisses!!!

    i am SO there on taking pictures…sometimes, an entire day will go by, and I may have been the laziest MF-er on the planet, with nothing accomplished on the to-do list…but if i was able to snap a photo of katie playing with her new puppy, or a shot of jordan’s shy smile as he lounged on the couch, i know something profound was accomplished after all….

    capturing a moment in time i’ll never, ever get back…but years from now i KNOW i’ll gaze at those images and they will take my breath away.

    btw…IN LOVE with nella’s soulful eyes.


  64. How did I arrive at your blog? I’m not sure. But, thanks to you and your beautiful girls, I’ll be up way past my bedtime! I’ve just finished Nella’s birth story. Thank you! I’ll read some more and “see” you in the morning with my first cup of coffee.

  65. Kelle,

    I read Nella’s birth story and I found it beyond inspirational. Thank you for sharing your moments of sadness, joy, and love with your readers. Your story has inspired me to change my entire way of thinking and to really realize how beautiful and special everyday life is. It has also inspired me to be a better mother to my little boys. Your sweet, beautiful Nella is going to grow up knowing what an amazing, caring, loving mother she has. And that is the BEST gift you can give her =) Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  66. I would love to know what kind of bottles you use… clasic! I would love them for my little one!

  67. I hope you’ve hired an agent. You are so blessed and talented. I agree with poppa–it’s not just the camera, editing and lenses cuz I have those and none of my pics look like yours. You have an ability to capture images that others don’t see. Your blog makes us all wish you were our bff.

  68. Nikki COoper says:

    YAY more Kelle blogs. I also heart you and love hearing your stories. I think you will forever be in my heart for bringing so much passion and beauty to life. I am inspired to get a WAY better camera than what I have now so that I can capture the perfectly precious moments that I have with my babies all day. Now all I have to do is talk the hubby into it. SOrry yours won’t be home for another week. :(
    PS. Glad your mother can sew!! LOL

  69. ahhhh….all the photography questions that I had pent up inside!!!!! THANK YOU! After you write your wonderful book, I can see you leading workshops like Anne lamont or Brenda Ueland, helping people to express their creative abilities…whatever those may be. :)heehee

    You know, I’ve secretly been writing a book about this whole enjoying the small things blog. How it was touching lives, changing people….And then, somehow, the blogger friends all joined in on a secret party under the guise of a ‘photo shoot’ to meet you and celebrate the amazing things your “art” had created in the lives of sooo many. But, my story has already happened. These past few weeks, the word has gotten out. I’m so glad you get to see what a blessing you’ve been. I’m glad for this form of support for you!

    And, I’m thankful for you just living your life out loud!

  70. Awww, look at Miss Lainey enjoying her ice cream. Life is all good when you have ice cream with sprinkles!
    Nelly is becoming more beautiful everyday!
    When I read your blog I recall the beginning of our adventure with Chloe. My FIL was worried about what she looked like (he is old school). When creating a photo albumn for him (FIL in NY, us in MN) my husband made a quote for the inside of the front cover. “Some of the strangest creatures turn out to be the most beautiful things in the world.”
    My Chloe, your Nelly and many other little DS girls and boys are SO BEAUTIFUL!
    Thank you, again, for sharing all of you with all of us.


  71. I was guided to your blog by a friend last week. You have inspired me and many others to live life to the fullest. Your girls are absolutely gorgeous! You are a brilliant photographer, as well. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us! Add me to the line to buy your book. Stay strong! You have more support out there than one can possibly realize.

  72. I found your blog a few weeks ago and have been reading since then.

    You have 2 gorgeous girls that have a truly fantastic Mummy..

    Your words inspire me to try and be a better person & to look for the good in everything.. And the photos, well they are just fantastic! xx

  73. You have a toddler, a 3-week-old, single parenting for the moment, and you write a photography post? The whole in your cape must not be very big-you’re SuperWoman!
    Don’t worry about no one wanting to read a book you write…it will be an amazing read, and I can’t wait!
    And can I just say I adore your poppa? (or maybe it’s your dad and your girls’ poppa)! He is simply amazing-the love and support he is is a blessing just to read about!

  74. I love that picture of Nella, to the point of tears…

  75. The one of Nella being cradled in your hand just melted me. She is beautiful!

  76. I am forever hooked on your blog. You are an amazing writer and your pictures are delicious! I would buy your book!! Keep it all up!!!

  77. And I…I come back for the comments. And Sarah McLauchlin’s “Answer” was playing as I read the latest batch–fresh from an oven of love. I have never been to the Philippines. Nella has. I have never seen Australia or New Zealand or Germany or Holland–but Nella has been there. And I am in awe. And The Answer comes…and the affirmations and a resonating Ahhhhhh that transcends languages and cultures when one human family opens their heart to a child who says “Please love me.” All children ask that…so simply, so softly. And we answer when we offer a smile in the supermarket line, when we say “I like your light-up shoes–I wish they had them in my size!” (which I actually do!), or when we offer the comforting expression to the woman two rows ahead of us in the airplane whose baby has screamed her way over the past three states. Yes, “Please love me” is all they ask of a world already in spin before they arrived. The not so fashionably dressed, the runny nosed, the sweet autistic whose little world doesn’t seem to fully align with ours, the precious ones born with such severe issues they cannot stay with us long…we must love them, love them, love them so their days are bright, their hearts are light and they sleep safe at night. Then perhaps we ourselves will be whole.

  78. Hey hon! Just checking in. Hope you liked your Valentine package AR delivered. We need to make a bracelet, like Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong. Not sure what it would say and I have a few ideas about the color it would be. Hmmmmm…..

  79. I came across a neat blog post you might find inspiring.

    Life is indeed beautiful!

  80. Wonderful pictures! Lanie kissing Nella’s little ‘not-ready-to-be-in-the-world-yet-so-I-think-I’ll-peel’ foot, and Nella’s surprised face… lovely.

    Thank you for sharing your camera information. I, also, have wondered, but I think I will continue to make due with what is available (even though I did just buy a new camera; you inspired me to want to take better quality photographs of my little man).

    Thank you for your post. Now I have to go chase down the toddling boy. (walking at 10months… it’s not fair, haha!)

  81. Wonderful pictures! Lanie kissing Nella’s little ‘not-ready-to-be-in-the-world-yet-so-I-think-I’ll-peel’ foot, and Nella’s surprised face… lovely.

    Thank you for sharing your camera information. I, also, have wondered, but I think I will continue to make due with what is available (even though I did just buy a new camera; you inspired me to want to take better quality photographs of my little man).

    Thank you for your post. Now I have to go chase down the toddling boy. (walking at 10months… it’s not fair, haha!)

  82. Kelle~Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your two little heartthrobs!

    xo, Bug & Ruby’s Gram

  83. I’m just a huge fan of you! As a fellow mom/photographer, I really get so much of what you say! :)

    Just saying hey and love your words/pictures/insights!

  84. Kelle, I am so glad I found you just over a year ago. You inspire me and between you and Nici, I look at my life a little different, a little happier. So thank you. And so glad you have this amazing blog for therapy.

  85. Thank you for your story, it has touched me in so many ways. My precious 22 month old son has a chromosome abnormality: not Down syndrome, but not unlike it. I found out when we were pregnant with him, and it’s been a journey ever since then. There is still sadness sometimes, but more often there is overwhelming joy at the person he is, at his love, at the look in his eyes when he looks at his big sister. He makes all of us better people, as I am sure beautiful, perfect Nella will do for your family.

    Last week my boy learned to crawl. Very late at 22 months old, but the thrill for all of us, including him, was unreal. He’ll do incredible things with his life, as will all of our children. Thank you for adding to my world!

  86. I couldn’t agree more with your feelings on photography! My in-laws game me my first SLR and it was the most amazing vote of confidence, the best material gift I have ever received as well.

    Photography itself has been such a gift, helping me hold on to the things I never want to let go of.

    So sorry your DH has to stay gone another week!! I can’t imagine. I have such a hard time when mine is gone.

  87. I just want to thank you for being so completely honest and real. Your words are beautiful, your heart it beautiful, your family is beautiful and your continuing story is a complete blessing! Thank you for being honest and for sharing your life. I came across your blog a few days ago and just love reading your posts!! You are an inspiration, and your sister was right- you were chosen, and what a lucky little girl your baby is to have you as her mama!

  88. Yes PLEASE write a book. I would so buy it! Also you better get a patent on that cape PDQ! I need at least 2, ha! Your girls get prettier everytime I visit your blog. Your pics are amazing!! I know it is rough when the Hubs travels. It will be an even better time when he comes home this time. I’m sure of it!

  89. Happy Valentine’s, Kelle! Lainey and Nella are just looking more and more beautiful in each post. Love Nella’s big eyes and Lainey’s delight in her ice cream! Excited that you’re going to write a book! Make sure it’ll be available in the UK!! Have a good week!

  90. Nuff Said……I am just like all of the stangers posting to you the same thing….but for me it has soooo much more meaning. Your blog brings me happy tears everytime I click on. You have inspired me to follow photography which I love more than anything, you have inspired me to LIVE to be OK with what comes my way, to remember the important little things and not to focus on all the grey fuzzies that get in the way…..I find it so funny that a complete stanger can seem like a good friend…that you have never met. Someone who helps remind you to pick yourself up and also that its ok to fall…..Thank-you Kelle Hampton for the Soul (Rather than they usual Chicken Soup for the Soul) You truly are someone that am just so amazed by…

  91. AaacK! I tried to delete my comment knowing I typoed NELLA’s name.
    It’s always eeeee ending names in our home. Cassie, Chloe, Mikey, Annie, Ricky…So instinctively I write Nelly…oops! (mommy brains)

    Happy Valentines sweet girls!


  92. I will love to read your book, Kelle!. Love your girls, your words and your photography :)

    “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.” Washington Irving

  93. Hi there! it’s 2:46 AM here and I am hooked reading your blog. I got the link from our newlyweds yahoogroups.

    You write so well because you love so well and you are loved so well.

    Your babies are perfect for you just as you are perfect for them :)You are so blessed and no one except you will ever know how blessed you are :)

    Will keep on reading…

  94. It is not possible for a more perfect baby girl to have had a more perfect entrance into this world documented in a more perfect way. :)

    And this post’s photos brought a smile to my face for many a reason. Congrats on both your beautiful girls (I ‘go swimming’ with my 3 y/o and 3 month old daughter every night too).

  95. Hi, Kelle…
    I found your blog when Nella’s birth story was posted on a message board Im a part of. I just wanted to tell you that your blog is one of the most beautiful, inspiring things I’ve read ( and I teach English for a living ) and I want to say thank you for having the openness of heart to share your life with the world. I will be following your family’s story as you all grow and eagerly watching your girls grow as well!

  96. Love love love. I’ve always been a photographer at heart and your blog has been such an inspiration and an awesome reminder to keep shooting for ME.

  97. Nella’s eyes just devastate me. They hold a lifetime of love and wonder within them. Her big sister reminds me os a spirited pixie.
    May you continue to feel God’s love through these two miracles He blessed you with.
    Blessings and grace…

  98. I lurvve my Canon. But I especially lurvve my 85 1.2 — it does great things in my life. LOL!

  99. Please write a book! I WILL read! There are SO many of us that would read! And spread the word to others!
    And as an aspiring photographer, I thank you for your camera info!! I was dying to ask you but I know you are so busy with your every day life! Thank you! How amazing are you!?

  100. like others i was linked to your blog on a message board and i have to say your story is inspiring, it makes me want to be a better mother (i try and fail daily). your girls are so lucky to have you. the pictures you take are absolutely beautiful. thank you for sharing your story and your life.

  101. I just realized that YOU are the one that takes these amazing photos! I thought you were just a brilliant writer/gorgeous mother. I am so inspired by your photography & ability as a mother. I just checked out your photography website. Right after I finish this comment, I’m going directly to my closet & grabbing my Canon 30D. After I blow the layers of dust off of it, I’m going to go snap off a few photos of my wild 9 & a half month old! Much love & appreciation, Emily.

  102. Someone just e-mailed me a link to your Birthstory and I’ve spent the last hr reading. Thank you for sharing your story. You have precious beautiful Girls.

  103. I’m glad you have your camera, funny how the rarest of things can keep us sane. I for once am glad of your love for photos, because I enjoy yours sooo much (probably as much as I enjoy my husband’s photos).

    As for the book, HELL YES!!! Write, write, write. It’s so funny because I’m a writer too (nothing published… yet) and I always say the same thing, So Kelle, write it all, I have a feeling you’ll love writing probably as much as you do taking pictures :)

  104. Wow. That photo of the baby’s head in your hand is incredible. She is so beautiful. Enjoy your new sweet bundle of baby.


  105. Wow. That photo of the baby’s head in your hand is incredible. She is so beautiful. Enjoy your new sweet bundle of baby.


  106. I love your life motto. Love it. Love it. Love it. I think a day that I don’t take my camera out is a sad day. There are just so many magical moments to capture. Every day is filled with specialness. Every. Single. Day. Thank you for reminding me! : )

  107. says:

    Precious! BTW – I love Lainey’s outfits… and her ice cream cone. I noticed you like Anne of Green Gables (or AOGG, as we’ve come to call it) – we grew up on that series and many of our movie quotes and silly lines that seem to fit various occasions come from there.

    I wanted to tell you that my sister-in-law (who is pregnant with her SIXTH BOY!) has a friend with a downs child, and she said that she nursed her past a year (possibly 2-3), and it seemed to help strengthen her facial muscles. Just an idea, if you’re up for it!

  108. I was thinking of you and your girls Saturday at my sons soccer game. He is 3 years old and plays at an indoor league. There is a little boy (Sean) in his class who has Down’s. He is just the sweetest little boy ever. Usually his Mom plays with him but this Saturday his older brother (about 4 years older) was out on the field with him.
    They both had so much fun together. Laughing, kicking the ball, falling down while both parents cheered from the sidelines. I immediatly thought of your girls and what great friends they will be!!!

  109. Wow! That picture of Nella in the bath…her eyes speak volumes. She is beautiful.

    Thank you, thank you for writing your story. I know that your words have touched so many, but they have especially had an impact in my life. I’ve been stuck and overwhelmed with my babies. Seeing your love, enthusiasm and honestly lived out has been a balm to my tired mommy soul. As for that book? Keep writing – I can’t wait!


  110. I was forwarded to your blog by a message board and I will tell you that I look forward coming back to your page everyday. You are so blessed and have such a beautiful family. You have taken such a load and made it into a beautiful thing! Your incredible pictures make me smile! Enjoy your babies everyday!!

  111. Also, I love coming to your site just to hear the music!

  112. My Kaity has the same blue dress with pink apples and the same blonde pigtails as your Lainey.

    I hope my two girls grow up knowing they are loved as much as you clearly love yours. All the best!

  113. I can’t wait to read your book.
    And I want to hug your Poppa.

  114. beautiful words and beautiful photos.

  115. thank you for opening your heart for so many to read. I’ve taken pictures of my little boy every day since he’s been born (he’s nine months now) and I love that time each day to focus only on HIM and how beautiful he is!

    here’s another random question, not about photography, but… I was wondering about Nella’s hats. She has the cutest little knitted hats! Where are they from, or did you knit them? If you knit them, where are the patterns from?

    oh, and that picture of Nella in the tub is my favorite so far!

  116. Gone over the weekend and missed two of your blog posts!!
    Love the pictures–love the one of sweet Nella and her head cradled in the palm of your hand and love the ones of Lainey with the ice cream. She’s looking so grown up, Kelle!
    I usually don’t pre-order books on B&N or Amazon, but I definitely would pre-order yours. It would be so worth the wait!
    Leslie L.

  117. Your babies are beautiful, and I am totally turning to mush looking at Nella’s beautiful face. Thank you for sharing your story. Your photos are amazing, and I am inspired by your words and pictures. Take care.

  118. I just found your blog last night, and I’m hooked. Your words and photographs are just incredibly powerful and moving and beautiful.
    You have two very beautiful daughters, I feel very honoured to be allowed a peek at them everday :)

  119. I could eat your babies with a spoon! So adorable. I love reading about your life and looking at all your pictures.

  120. First of all, I love the comment from your dad!!! LOVE IT!
    And second, THANK YOU for posting about your camera and lenses. I am a photography newbie with a Nikon D90 I am using my AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX Lens more than anything and LOVING IT. Learning through trial and error with different settings. LOVEEEE looking at your pics, so inspiring, thank you :)

  121. What you said about the restoration of your faith in humanity? That? Never leaves. Seriously. When we welcomed our daughter into the world my husband and I were both in such a cynic place. Having our daughter placed in our lives opened our eyes to a side of people that we otherwise would have never seen. I still get to see it SO often. When my daughter figured out how to get a cracker to her own mouth after her second birthday? You’d have thought she won the gold medal. Hundreds of people on a board that walked through my “typical” pregnancy with me were brought to tears over something as simple as self feeding! It is amazing the light that our children get to shine on our lives. Seriously.

    Your blog has become a form of therapy for me. I find that when I’m having a rough day… I come read. You have a way of putting words to my emotions and at the same time making those emotions seem “OK” to feel. Thank you for that!

    I got all misty eyed at the end of this post because my daughter was wearing the exact little hair clip as your Lainey in her hair today. Just something so small as a hair clip is such an astonishing reminder that there are people out there you’ve never met who… somehow…are living a bit parallel. I know, cheesy 😉 .

    Really though. I am so so grateful for your words and so so grateful for your ability to capture the moments of the day that would otherwise pass too quickly :)

  122. I bought a Nikon D90 shortly before I started reading your blog from. the. beginning. As I was reading it, and crying and laughing, I found myself feeling so thankful for my fabulous new camera and keeping it within arms reach so much more and taking hundreds of pictures of my little girl each day. You have inspired me to learn so much more about using this camera to its full potential and learning to edit. So, thank you. And by the way, your girls are beautiful!!

  123. seriously, it’s rather uncanny how alike we are with regard to photography ~ former elementary teacher- turned-photog, and i too have a CANON 50D, one of the same lenses (50mm, f/1.4) that my in-laws blessed me with it as a wedding gift. i agree, very generous! i’m in heaven.

  124. says:


    I caught the article in NDN today and I’m truly inspired and can relate to your story.

    My younger sister and I live here in Naples and 6 mos. ago she had her first baby at 37 and like you, friends & family gathered in the delivery room celebrating while we all dealt with the unexpected news of down syndrome. Little Max is the joy of our lives, but it did take us by surprise.

    I’m trying to capture every moment of this bliss on my new Canon 5D Mark II. I’m a beginner at photography and have so enjoyed your photos (because you know what you’re doing obviously). I’d love to share with you the few shots that have turned out.

    Kelle, keep a smile – and thank you so much sharing, it does help. I’ve sent your links to my sister Sara, I know your words will help her too.

  125. My sister sent me your blog about a month ago to read the birth story of Nella. I’ve been hooked ever since. Down Syndrome has a special place in our family. Our “little” sister is now 21 years old. She is absolutely, 100% the joy of all of our lives. We even call her “the love child.” I also follow your blog because, I too, am a photographer. An amateur, at the very most. I’ve been telling the story of our “littles” on our blog for awhile but have totally been inspired to do a better job.

    Thank you for posting all of your photo info. It is incredibly helpful. I have just recently been practicing a bit with my 50 mm 1.4/f and definitely HAVE NOT mastered it yet. But thank you. Before I sneak away to bed I do two things: 1) Check on my babies and 2) check your blog for new posts :) So thank you, for being you and sharing your incredible journey and outlook on life.

  126. My biggest regret in life was letting my dad talk me out of going to photography school. Now, 8 years later, I regret that every single day. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do, but I was intimated & hurt. But I told my husband last night that as strange as it may seem, you, a stranger, has inspired me to do it. If you taught yourself through various methods, then I can do the same. He doesn’t think it’s strange – he thinks it’s awesome. So, thank you. I’m soaking up as much photography information as I can & I am loving it. My reward if I stick with it will be a nice Canon or Nikon for Christmas. Thank you for inspiring me & others every single day by just being you.

  127. I just want to say I LOVE YOU BLOG. I discovered you on donald miller’s blog. I am re-reading the book the Purpose Driven Life and blogging about it on my sparkpeople blog. It’s at this link:

    I will be blogging on the chapter “You are Not An Accident” and I would love to provide a link to your blog when I do so. Is that okay? Both of your daughters are beautiful and I feel privileged to know of their existence. Thank you for sharing your family with the world.


  128. I’ve been reading around in here for over an hour now…LOVE your blog, love your photos, love your beautiful family =) Thanks for so much sharing!!

  129. I started reading your blog after my sister insisted me to read “Bloom”. She told me I would fall in love with it and she was right. I fell in love with Bella from the very beginning and Lainey is such a good big sister..keep it up momma!

  130. this post was just listed as one of mysuggestions to read… and Lainey’s big doe eyes sucked me in. I gasped out loud at her wee sweetness, and again at baby Nella’s precious little baby face. I’ve been around your blog world since that time… when we received Amos’s diagnosis in utero as well. just had to say hello, again. and again.

    i still feel called to big plans up here in Canada-land… we live on Vancouver Island now, and would you beieve there’s no buddy walk out here? well…it’s gets a mama thinkin’!

    skyped with you once with my sweet fellow mama-friend Leanna (who’s daughters are Poppy & Ola? you and I share a fondness for their names)… and Ola shares the same extra chromosome as your Nella and my Amos. sigh. it’s been awhile since I sat and read. and it’s been a delight. xo

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