Goin’, Movin’, Doin’

We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be. – Anne Lamott
(Thank you KC for your always perfect quotes)

T’was a gauntlet week. The kind you dread on Monday but feel victorious on Friday when it’s over. So we celebrated with a huddle of neighbors in our kitchen last night, and it felt exactly what it should feel like…Friday.

Friday nights are like pre-vacation as a kid. Going to bed knowing your parents will wake you in the dark, lead you to the mini van–the one strapped with cargo carriers and stuffed with pillows and snacks and travel bags–and drive your can-hardly-breathe excited little self to Disney World the next day. Fridays are the rehearsal dinner before the wedding. The cocktail hour before the big moment. Fridays hold promise of what is to be. Like mornings that linger with coffee and bathrobes and syrupy waffles, afternoons with fresh air that sweeps through the open windows and evening with impromtu gatherings of friends in your living room…evenings that stretch long into the night because life is good and no one wants to leave.

Nella had her first therapy evaluation visit this week. Four friendly women entered our home and found spaces on our floor and played with our girl while I listened to numbers and scores in a new world I’m not quite used to yet. And then two seperate packages came this week…wonderful, informative packages full of resources on this new world, but it’s still overwhelming at times. Our playroom looks like a Down syndrome library. I cried at one point…just ‘hit’ again by that stinkin’ bus–the I-can’t-believe-we-are-THAT-family bus, but soon followed with laughter because six books on Down syndrome stacked up on a coffee table can be really funny. Life is hard. But it’s funny too, and that’s what makes it great.

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Every time I begin to sink, I remind myself that I am a rockstar. And rockstars know that life is beautiful. Life has challenges. Life teaches you things. And life is all how you look at it. We are a happy family who loves life, and we ride bikes in our neighborhood and share Friday evenings with friends in our kitchen. We go to the beach and anticipate vacations and togetherness and now, sometimes we’ll have therapy or doctor visits and we can make towers with our Down syndrome books on our coffee table, but nothing else changes from the foundation of who we are.

And who are we? Well, according to Lainey, she’s a licensed therapist because Sister got all grabby with Miss Martha who was evaluating Nella and thought she could do it better.

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And our Nellabean is just fabulous. Stretching that head up to see the world all the time, and every time she gets it up and steady, her eyes get huge, and her lips go all birdy-pursed and she’s just so proud of herself. It’s precious to behold.

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And her doctor visit this week shows us once again that she is…perfect. 8 pounds and 15 ounces of perfection.

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ha ha…I love that picture on the left…like she was just scoutin’ out her mama.

She drinks us in these days, completely receptive to our coos. We goo and ga and tell her we love her and she, in return, squints her almond eyes into flirty smiles and grins soft and sweetly. I can’t imagine life without her, and it is so perfectly clear now…we needed her.

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Our walks continue as once you start something with Lainey, it won’t be forgotten.

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We walk late in the afternoon when the lawn mowers are humming and the barbecue smoke is wafting and the neighbors wave and smile as we pass by. Afternoon walks are delicious.

As are evenings on the beach as we gathered with friends for Lainey’s bud Baylee’s birthday party last night.

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The tourists will pour in this weekend for spring break, and our town will awaken with vacation liveliness. We’ll escape to the beach as much as we can to people-watch and sink our toes into sea-foamed covered sand.

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And the weather is pure perfection lately with the gulf still cold and nights still breezy, but this beautiful calm sun that mildly warms the day and allows for a pleasant evening at the beach.

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The weekend is still young, and I’m all kid-before-vacation just thinking about the possibilities. Perhaps we shall bake. Perhaps we shall color eggs. Perhaps we shall invite friends for drinks and good food or stay out well past dark and play kick-the-can.

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But we will suck the nectar out of life this weekend. Because we can. Especially when our neighbor just got a new go-cart and despite the fact it’s made for kids, my butt sorta fits on it and my hair looks really cool blowing in the wind when I ride it.

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Have a fabulous weekend.
Go color. Invite friends over. Play music. Smear on some red lipstick (preferably stolen from your mom’s bottomless purse where it was found between a used wipe, some pen caps and a gum-covered penny).

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Life is freakin’ fabulous. Live big.

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P.S. I’m working on some blog revamps with good things to come. And thank you again for your beautiful, insightful, funny, poignant and inspiring comments. Giveaway winner revealed tomorrow night.

Comments

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  1. Awesome! Enjoy the weekend, we are a bit chilly up here in Massachusetts! My special girl is 13 now and I soak up every last minute with her..it’s the little things♥ and the big ones :)

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  3. Your girls are perfect!
    Life is fabulous:)
    You have a beautiful blogg!
    We had a girl with trisomi 18, she lived for 1 month- she was a gift.

    I glad I have the joy of our 3 year old.

    Take care!

    Have a nice weekend :)

    Johanne from Norway.

  4. Living big! Just came in from a back-breaking effort in my garden. Oh the possibilities out there make me like the night-before-vacation kid. I keep hoping and waiting to hear how you’ll be a Virgin Harvester…Lainey could grow some herbs or tomatoes in her little pots…

    Loving that last photo but I bet you knew that.

  5. honest to goodness, the picture of her at the doctor’s office where she is slouched over like that is absolutely PRECIOUS – cute, cute, cute! :)

  6. Ahh, the bliss of perhaps being among the first 50 to post a comment! And did you tell the therapists that Poppa has already begun his own regimen of arm lifts and leg kicks with his little wondergirl?! I swear she sports a proud smile every time she shows me how strong those arms are. Yes, we needed her. In a world pursuing perfection, she reminds us it was here all the time. I went back and read more of the comments from the original birth story that still appear each day, and I realized Nella is still stretching hearts and opening minds…our little professor, sharing love lectures from her little podium in life’s classroom. If we but listen…there are so many little earth angels among us. Proudly display those books on the coffee table and welcome the van load of specialists in the driveway…it’s just another van whispering, “We’re going to Disneyland!” Love you!

  7. Such inspiring words as always. I was reading the Sarah Palin book last night and when she was on the campaign trail, someone gave her a bumper sticker for her little one that has DS. It says “My kid has more chromosomes than yours.” Ha, ha–thought that was so sweet, it made me think of your little Nella. Love both your little girls!

  8. Just sitting here smiling…your picture of Lainey with the lipstick reminds me of the day Gracee had her first experience with the lipstick..and the gave the couch her seal of approval that will forever remain there. If the couch ever leaves this house I am going to cut those little lips out and put them into a frame…life is so yummy at times..and when it is not it is still life and we own, it conquer, it and then get back to the yummy part. Love,love,love this post today!

  9. OMW, if I stole lipstick from my mom’s purse, I’d probably end up with some gaudy shade of purple/hazy/fuchsia…..oh gosh, could you imagine!? LOL!!!

    Nellabean is perfect in every sense of the word! What a beautiful little face she has :)

    Livin up the weekend fo sho! Enjoy!
    xoxo,

    Lori

  10. Ugh I love love love the 2nd picture of Nella lifting her head. She almost looks as though she is about to break out in a big toothless smile.

    You on the go cart reminds me of a Spring Break 4 years ago when I went to Ca. Stayed at my brothers and my nephews had a go cart. Being the crazy aunt that I am I of course had to take it around the block. Came zooming around the corner and realized … Umm this thing doesn’t have brakes. Ahh what a fun & happy memory :)

    Keep on Rockin!!

    S~

  11. Ohhh…that photo of the therapist on the floor with Nella makes me wish I was still working with kids birth to three. Well. If they were all little Nellas.

  12. We have Will Schermerhorn’s The First 18 Months DVD too. I love his work. I remember crying through that whole DVD the first time I watched it. I sobbed and sobbed. The second time, clutching Kleenex, I did so much better. And the third time, I was focused and picked up such great information.

    Your girls are so beautiful, Kelle. Nella is becoming — every time I visit your blog I see her growing into “more”. She’s beautiful and strong. Just like her sister and Momma.♥

  13. I love so many of your pictures, but the one of Nella at the doctor’s office slouched is just beyond precious! Made me laugh out loud! And I love that little Lainey’s tongue sticks out when she’s concentrating. It reminds me of our oldest. :)

    On a more serious note…the evaluations are going to probably be the hardest part for you, if you’re anything like me. The evaluators have to do them, so they know what Nella needs to work on, but they can be overwhelming, because all you hear is how far behind she is and what she can’t do. You have the right to ask them to please focus on the positive. You’re going to be very aware of what she’s not capable of as of yet. But I know that you’ll be like special moms all over the world that celebrate every single accomplishment no matter how small. And sometimes, it takes reminding the therapist that you need to focus on the positive. :)

    I have to say that I love the last picture, too. It appears as though Holland has some pretty spectacular beaches! ;o)

  14. Sounds like a great weekend! I wish we lived near the beach, it is my favorite place in the whole world!

  15. Oooo Friday’s make the four days prior so much more bearable. Especially when Friday’s come with neighbours and beaches! Nella is so fabulous I could eat her up and Lainey is riot!
    Oh and your “new” chair is so rockstar! Enjoy your Sunday!

  16. Anonymous says:

    You realize that you are on Rosie O’D’s front page as a “must read”

    Nella, Nella, Nella

    who knew

    you knew

    good thing you had such a big celebration planned at her birth, that there are pictures to document her starlit arrival with champagne toasts….because as a rock star she might never have forgiven you if you hadn’t

  17. Anonymous says:

    I bet Nella blew the therapists away with how well she’s doing! And if you have a therapist that isn’t always telling you the positives then you need a new one:) That little angel is going to excel with her therapy because she has you!!

  18. I absolutely love the pic on the left where Nella scouts for her mama! And the way you describe her eyes are just heartwarming;

    “She drinks us in these days, completely receptive to our coos. We goo and ga and tell her we love her and she, in return, squints her almond eyes into flirty smiles and grins soft and sweetly. I can’t imagine life without her, and it is so perfectly clear now…we needed her.”

    I love the way you describe her eyes as almond eyes; a beautiful feature that every girl wishes for.

    Looking forward to every new blog entry,
    Love Therese

  19. You are very welcome, Kelle :)

    Nella is perfect, always remember that and don’t let anybody else tell you different. Focus on all her strengths and abilities, her unlimited potential and her infinite possibilities!

    The gift of who we are is the best gift we can give the ones we love and that’s exactly what Nella, Lainey, you, your family and friends are being for each other, being the best, perfect gifts you can be, in the end that’s what really matters…

    Love and laughter~

    “Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of others…for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” Albert Einstein

  20. she just gets more beautiful everyday… how is that possible!!!

    Thanks for the inspiration to have fun this weekend…. the dishes and laundry can wait ( as always!) and we will head outside…

    have a blessed night!

  21. hi Kelle, I’ve been meaning to comment forever. LOVE your blog – writing & pics! As a full-time writer, part-time wanna-be photographer and mom of two kids, aged 2 & 1/2 and 7 months, I can really identify – esp with the bit of mourning ‘losing’ your only child and having to adapt to life with two. But it’s all good.
    Just wanted to share a story from my pregnancy with no. 2. At 12-week scan the technicians asked if we wanted to screen for DS, since I’m a slightly older mom. Hubby and I looked at each other and then said, why? Answer – well, you could terminate. NO WAY, we said, that would not be an option.
    Crazy world we live in!! Which is why I’m doubly grateful for blogs like yours which inspire us to live and love the life we have.

  22. Favorite pictures: Nella looking all squashy and adorable in her diaper. Lainey learning proper lipstick application. She is self aware enough not to get any on her teeth. Applause worthy, I believe.

  23. Amazing and inspiring, as ever :)
    You’re just a beautiful, beautiful family – keep going Kelle because, if your girls turn out anything like you, they’re going to change the world <3

    I particularly love Nella’s little face at the doctor’s and Lainey with the lipstick!

    I can’t wait for your next post!
    XXX

  24. Nella absolutely does have big and beautiful eyes! Love the pictures of her in the blue hat lifting her head up like a champ.

    You are right, we are all given just what we need! Enjoy the weekend!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Nella gets more adorable each time you post pictures. She makes my heart absolutely melt. What a blessed family you have! 😉

  26. I am sure you already know , but Nella is absolutely adorable!!! I admire the grace with which you are accepting your new “normal” — I’m sure moments have been difficult, but you make it look easy. i love your blog.

  27. Nella is doing great — look at her holding her head up like such a big girl! Leaves me wondering when my daughter did that — must.look.back.on.pictures. :) Have a great weekend!

  28. I feel like I stop breathing every time I read your words and see your pictures.It is pure beauty and love and joy.

  29. I love that you’re living life freely! Cart-wheels and go-carts, what fun! And I’m SO glad you know what kick the can is – we played that all the time growing up and when I talk about it these days, people never know what the heck I’m talking about…like it’s an imaginary game in my brain. :-)

  30. I love the picture of Nella slouched over at the doctors office. The one of Lainey with lipstick reminds me of doing that myself as a little one. If momma wore it, I knew I’d look just as fabulous as she did. You’re girls are beautiful and precious Kelle.

    I can’t wait to get to the beach this year. I’m not that far since I’m in AL, but it’ll be a mini-roadtrip :)

    Have a great weekend :)

  31. Life is fabulous….even when it is not how we planned and you say it so well….Have a wonderful weekend….

  32. As always, beautiful and inspiring.

    Love the “new” chair and your girls are so sweet. Oh, and you do look pretty amazing with your hair blowing in the wind :)

  33. God bless those who can come into our homes and help us learn how to grow with our kids. When our little boy came into our lives, we had such angels come and teach us how to help him. They were amazing and … amazing.

  34. You are a rockstar…and you never cease to inspire with your attitude…you may be on Oprah’s must read page but you are also our favorite post of the week:

    http://dialinghome.blogspot.com/2010/03/fpw-enjoying-small-things.html

  35. Life IS grand! The sand tutle is awesome.

  36. Kara Brown says:

    Love it! She really is beautiful, and yes perfect!!
    Enjoy this weekend, and enjoy everyday after!!
    Thank you for sharing!

    Kara Brown

  37. Kelle, just stopping in to check on you and the girls. Love Lainey’s protective nature… Our Emma chalked our driveway today. Just wish Atlanta would hurry and get warmer. The 9 year old rode his electric scooter until the battery died….have to have toys to attract these little people….but draw the line with the pony. Best wishes for a relaxing weekend!

  38. Those evaluations can be tough, but with friendly therapists and fun toys, therapy really can be a good time for everyone! And Lainey will probably love it as well :)

  39. Amy from KC says:

    I have cried so many tears whilst reading your blog, your words touch my heart. Your daughters are both so beautiful, joy and verve just seem to radiate from them. I don’t know how anyone could look into any child’s eyes and not see God’s perfect creation. Children really do have the market cornered on that, don’t you think?

    So, let the therapy begin. All of those service providers are on your side, Nella’s side, helping her to be her best self. Remember that they are there to help you, and even though they are experts in their respective fields…YOU are experts in Nella. You know her best. They should be on her side, cheering her on to grow and become – and if you ever doubt that, then it’s time to find a new therapist. If they don’t love your girl, then they shouldn’t be anywhere near her. But seriously, who couldn’t love your Nella?!

    Cheers to weekends!!

  40. Anonymous says:

    So lovely – and my night table looks just like your coffee table…

    By the way, did you know that with a doctor’s note, Nella will get you in the fast lane for all the rides at Disney World? Who can beat that?

    I love how your dad describes her as a little professor – so cute. And those pics of her in the blue hat are stunning… wow!

    Happy weekend…

    :) heather from Canada

  41. What a beautiful family… your blogs simply inspire me to be a better person, as well as to become a loving, accepting, involved mom in the future.

  42. your blog is divine! I love the pictures you take, I love the way you express yourself and I really love wherever you live! The beach is gorgeous and it looks like you live quite close to it.

    Recently found your blog and will be visiting often.
    Your zest and energy in life is inspiring.

    And your girls are completely adorable.

  43. Love the Doctors office pics. I agree with all that said have your therapists stick to the positive. You know your baby the best. I remember once hearing one of our therapists say “she MIGHT read” someday, but lead me to believe it was more probably that she wouldn’t. I was very adamant about them assuming that anything was possible with Chloe. My favorite word became “possibilities”, and they are endless.

  44. I just want to take a moment to say a very sincere “THANK YOU” for sharing your blog. Your girls, your thoughts, your pictures.
    Your girls are so beautiful and I am in love with your (their) story!

  45. I love the pic of Nella girl with the black hat. She is so darn precious.
    I am heading to the shore this weekend as well. We are from up north and will be visiting Newport, RI. Weekend trip with my mom and sis. May you, Lainie and Nella be blessed to share these mother-daughter weekends one day in the very distant future.

  46. I love how you talk about Fridays… I totally relate to that feeling. :) So I agree!!

    And Kelle, you ARE a rockstar!!! Always! Nella will grow up to be a rockstar as well, specially with Lainey there helping. :) She is such a sweet heart and a WONDERFUL big sister. :) I love that photo of her watching over her precious baby sister while the therapist worked with Nella. So so so sweet… melts my heart.

    You look wonderful in that go cart 😉

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend filled with smiles, laughter, and over abundance of love!

    I will be spending this weekend making my first pair of knit mittens… so far so good! So I’m excited. :)

    Soak in some of that sun for me. I miss it so. Minnesota is so dreary right now… its the dark of spring storms and cold fronts… bah.

  47. I love those two pictures with Lainey with her tongue a little bit sticking out, like she’s trying really hard – so cute!
    And kudos for using “shall” in your post – love that word! :)

  48. I love when you talk about the free time with your girls. So much fun…I wish I was your neighbor!

    I remember Abigail’s first therapy appt/evaluation. I was nervous and hoping that she would perform the way she suppose too. She was our Rockstar – yes, I have always called her that! Therapy has been the best thing for her and has gotten to where she is today. My dad’s brother had DS and back then they did not know about all of the things that we know today. In fact, it was not even called Down Syndrome. That was back in 1935. We have come a long way from people knocking on my grandmother door and people telling her she must have really sinned to have a child like that.

    Now, people tell us we are blessed. I hope my grandmother hears all of this from heaven.

  49. EIC ladies are the best aren’t they? I’ve determined that they are so totally used too interfering siblings that I’ve stopped trying to keep the ‘helpers’ at bay, well mostly. 😀
    Always lovin’ the pictures of your super sweet, expressive, Nella-bella.

  50. Just wanted to say it’s not just you who needed Nella. I think it was the entire world.

  51. Soon therapy, or “fair-o-pee” as I so many times hear siblings call it will not be so daunting. These therapists will quite possibly become lifelong friends, and they will love your daughter and your family almost as much as you do. At least that’s the way I feel about my families. I enjoy your stories and pictures so. Thank-you for sharing.

  52. Nella is absolutely the most beautiful little girl in the world. I can’t help but smile every time I see a picture of her.

  53. Anonymous says:

    WOW…Navy Blue is Nella’s color..it makes her already beautiful eyes POP !

  54. Kelle, you make my heart positively ache with yearning to be anticipating a vacation, especially one to your neck of the woods like last year at spring break time. Or to Disney. We’ve been there once too. Wish we really were preparing to go somewhere! Wish I had lots of money so we could afford to vacation.

    All your pics are absolutely beautiful. That little Nella just makes me smile. And her big sister too. Wish we could have birthday parties at the beach. How cool is that? Pretty cool. Glad to hear that you guys are “livin’ large” down there. Hope you are having a spectacular weekend.

  55. Kelle. How I love you.

    Yes, I’m one of those random readers, and I can’t come up with anything less generic than “I love you”.

    Anyhow, y’know the pic of all the kids standing side-by-side on the beach? Well, the cute redhead in the middle CRACKED ME UP with the lil pose he’s got goin on! Toe out & hand on knee! Gah! Insanely cute & funny!

    BTW Kelle, you are such a natural beauty. Pretty girls aren’t often so lovely, but you are!

    Sorry bout the cheese factor here, but I love ya, love ya, love ya!

  56. I love that when my kids (ages 5, 3 and 1) look at your website, they don’t see anything “wrong” with Nella. To them, she is perfect, beautiful and exactly the way she should be. I wish everyone could have the eyes of a child. I think they see what adults can’t see. They see God’s simple and yet glorious beauty in ALL of His creation.

    I think God has great plans for sweet Nella and I agree with my munchkins… HE did make her perfectly beautiful. I can’t get over her little facial expression and those pouty lips!

  57. kelle, i have followed your wonderful journey since stumbling upon your blog several months ago. each day my daughter (6 months) and i spend a moment reading your blog and enjoying your beautiful pictures of nella and lainey. without fail, nella brings a smile and giggle to my daughters face and it is just beautiful to feel and experience how much love your little nella can spread to even the littlest of beings. thank you for sharing your life and loves with us.

    -mama C and baby Attie

  58. I know I am a tiny voice in a sea of comments, but I thought I would tell you one of the things I would have told myself three years ago…skip reading the Babies with Ds book by Gundersen. It’s not our life and won’t be Nella’s life. Save yourself some tears. Gifts or Roadmap to Holland are both better choices. Or better yet, just spend your time loving on those sweet babies. :)

  59. Kelle, I just love reading the comments from Poppa, how wonderful to have a daddy like him in your life and what a wonderful grandad to Lainey and Nella. I swear Nella becomes more and more beautiful everytime I log onto your blog, those blue eyes are sparkling with magic! I know this may come as strange coming from a total stranger but I’m envious of your beautiful life. Although you will face challenges with Nella’s development from time to time, she is perfect and beautiful and her SOUL will STAY that way…how wonderful. Thanks for sharing your family with us…Hugs

  60. Life IS beautiful, and fabulous, and worth enjoying every second of!! Thank you for that constant reminder :) You are so talented and your family is so gorgeous! I LOVE that picture of little Nella holding her head up and almost cracking a little “proud of myself” smile!

  61. Ah, yes, the tower of books about Down Syndrome on the coffee table. I am familiar. After a while they move to the basket under one of the end tables, still convenient as a resource but not “on display”, if you will. I still cry sometimes, just like I cry about things going on with my typical kids. But I keep going back to the words I shared with another new “designer genes” mom this week:

    I will say, without hesitation, that the good outweighs the bad. Every single day.

    Hugs!

  62. Beautiful pictures….Nella is getting so big :) And navy blue looks fantastic on her. Have a wonderful weekend

  63. I love that Friday feeling, too! Another great post!

  64. Kelle,
    I stumbled on your blog through another friend and now love coming here daily and seeing photos of your girls. I adore your Nellabean and soak in every photo of her. She is just gorgeous.

    Again, thank you for sharing this walk with all of us.

    Tricia

  65. Kelle,
    I want to simply thank you for sharing your beautiful life. You have an energy that is spreading like wild fire. Please keep your posts coming as they are truly inspiring.

    Big Hugs,
    Tracey T. from NJ

  66. As a part of seizing our weekend I got a new haircut, signed my my nine month old daughter Ada up for swimming lessons with mama, had some professional pictures made of Ada, and am learning how to crochet. Whew! And if that wasn’t enough we took Ada to the beach today. She was terrified, I mean really terrified, of the sand. Well, at least the grass yesterday was a success!! Off to enjoy the final night of my weekend as my work week starts tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  67. “just ‘hit’ again by that stinkin’ bus–the I-can’t-believe-we-are-THAT-family bus”

    well you know….everyone has A Bus of some sort…most of us just don’t have a passenger as cute as Nella to go with.

    Poppa said:
    our little professor, sharing love lectures from her little podium in life’s classroom

    this made me smile. It reminded me of Mr. Hollands Opus. Things did not turn out quite like he thought they would either, but…as his bus rolled along he found out things turned out better than he thought they would.

  68. loving everything you had to say here… such good lessons in taking it all day by day & soaking in all the goodness!!
    You just can’t help but smile when looking at your pictures — I’m sure you already know that though!
    have a great rest of the weekend!!
    xo
    -s

  69. Oh how I love this blog!!! Thank you Kellie Hampton for sharing your world with us! Hope your weekend is as fabulous as you:)

  70. Oh how I wish I could come over and hold that precious baby of yours. Your girls are so beautiful and I love to come to your blog and read about them. Thanks for being so candid, it makes me feel like I am part of your family.

  71. so….do you really love living in florida? my hubby grew up in WPB and i can only handle about a week of the humidity.
    I love your blog..it’s only one of a few that i actualy comment on.
    i do have a question…what do you use to get the color sheets on the side of some of your photos?
    xo

  72. Oh my – could your photos (and you children!) be any more stunning? I recently found your blog so I am a bit of a newbie, but I am hooked.

    God bless you.

    JO – feel free to check out our amatuer blog :)

    http://www.teensandtriplets.blgspot.com

  73. Love the friday night feeling of having a whole weekend ahead of you.. you said it perfectly!

    and i SO remember kick-the can!!!

    thinking of you HUGE this weekend! way to gain the pounds nella!

    xo

  74. Steph,
    Your children are right, “There is nothing WRONG with Nella.” She is perfectly Nella. All of our children are perfected in our love. They are perceived as perfect in loving eyes. I hope Nella is always surrounded by children like yours. How can one be “incomplete” when she so completes us. How can one be “broken” when she makes us whole. I will help Nella to be confident, to feel significant, to know the world is her spotlit stage and to find her place and pace with one human family who helps everyone to feel a champion in this human race. Yes, Steph, your children are right…nothing wrong at all.

  75. I came across your blog a little over a month ago and have been reading it ever since. I’m not sure why I hadn’t yet, but I finally became a “follower”… maybe because I don’t like that word much. :)

    Your posts make me smile, laugh, cry and most importantly… thankful. Thank you for your words and for sharing your journey… thank you for being so honest. I have some pretty tough days sometimes – it’s nice to sit down in the quiet and know that someone else out there does as well.

    Your girls are absolutely gorgeous! I love the way you capture their sweet, sweet faces :)

  76. We ARE having a fab weekend! Lots of people watching in Fort Lauderdale, too…fun, fun, fun! And as always, you inspire…I made your nests with my 12 year old girl yesterday ans they were awesome….but the fun of giggling over sticky marshmallow was the b.e.s.t.!!!!

  77. I just love you!!!!…..that’s all!!

  78. Jordanna says:

    I just discovered your blog, and I must say that I absolutely love it :) Your family is beautiful and your words are inspiring.

    There is a web series that I thought you might like. It is called “The Specials” and it is about five young people (four of whom have down syndrome) who live in a household together. They are extremely high functioning and each have amazing personalities. The site is called the-specials.com. Hope you enjoy it! :)

  79. that yawning picture of Nella is precious and how I feel right now…but so glad to read your blog. a great way to end the night. thank you

  80. I hope your weekend is full of all those wondeful things and more!
    I love how infectious your joy and awesomeness is!
    You are a rockstar!

  81. Ahaha! I laughed out loud when I saw you on that go-cart. That’s totally something I would do!
    Awesome pictures, as always, and so happy to hear that Nella is continuing to be the rock star that she truly truly is!

  82. I love this line; I’m going to borrow it when I need to remind myself: “Every time I begin to sink, I remind myself that I am a rockstar.”

    Your pictures are beautiful, your family is stunning. Thanks for sharing it all with us.

  83. Oh your babies. I love what a proud big sister Lainey is. And Nella. Oh Nella. Those beautiful piercing eyes. Don’t ever let anyone make you doubt for a second that she is perfect, that you can do this, and that you are not the best mama in the world for that beautiful little girl. Even when it is hard, I know she is right where she belongs.

  84. our weekend has been so beautiful, too. friends over, coloring, laughing, staying up too late because it is too fun to stop, cherishing….
    i LOVE hearing other mama’s have this perspective on life. it IS beautiful….this life. thanks for sharing some of yours with us.

  85. Kelle, I’ve been reading for a bit now, and just wanted to thank you for writing. This post, particularly this bit, “Every time I begin to sink, I remind myself that I am a rockstar. And rockstars know that life is beautiful. Life has challenges. Life teaches you things. And life is all how you look at it.” made me pause tonight, in the midst of day where I have felt like I am sinking in my own set of new and seemingly overwhelming changes. In any case, your words encouraged me tonight. Thanks!

  86. My weekend did not start off well… I’ve been in a blah sort of mood the past few days and today I woke up absolutely grumpy. When your blog post popped up on my google reader, it just made my day. After reading your post I resolved to take control and have a great weekend. So far so good!

    My plan for this evening after my littles go to bed- writing an enjoying the small things post, because I’ve wasted too much of the past few days being grumpy and miserable and I need to remind myself of all the small things that make my life complete.

    p.s. Your dad is awesome! I love the comments he leaves. Make all teary eyed. Pretty much everything about your blog does!

  87. Cartwheels on the beach!!! Doesn’t get much better than that.

  88. Aimee from Minnesota says:

    Trying again to leave a comment :)…we have been through many therapies with my oldest child (8, does not have DS). He was in Speech Therapy for two years, has been in Occupational Therapy (OT) for years, and is currently doing both OT and Vision Therapy. My overwhelming feeling through the course of his therapies has been and continues to be gratitude. I am so grateful for these loving, talented individuals who are committed to my son and want him to improve and succeed. I will hold our therapists in my heart forever, because they have touched our lives in such deep and intimate ways. I am so happy for you as you begin this part of your journey – you will be surrounded by these angels for years and will be blessed by them!
    Aimee in Minnesota (momma to 4 little ones)

  89. Seriously, what would I do without you?!!!! My Soph wants to come over and play with your girls. Wish we could, I’d love to have a nice cold beer with ya and soak up these awesome moments!

  90. awww..just what I needed…thanks!
    Have a great weekend too!

  91. Your blog is such a breath of fresh air. I look forward to reading your posts. It helps remember to take the time to enjoy all the little things in life. Your girls are adorable and perfect.

  92. I so admire your writing and how you express your feelings… Life is wonderful and you have a wonderful family! I enjoy all of you pictures too… Have a great weekend… I’m envious of those walks on the beach!!!

  93. Anne (Amelia's Mommy) says:

    I want a go cart so my hair can look cool too!!!

    Just discovered you yesterday, thanks to Rosie O’Donnell. My heart grew a little bit reading your story, and my sweet 3 year old girl got an extra squeeze or two (or 58, who’s counting?)

    I have a feeling that your world is about to grow even bigger…people are talking, sista!!

    It is a pleasure to read all about you guys…what an awesome family!

    Your girls are so beautiful it’s ridiculous, and those books on the table look pretty frickin cool…but maybe that’s just because of the photographer? 😉

    Much love, peace, and all things good. xox

  94. Sometimes I literally sit with tears streaming down my face as I read your posts… Having to re-read because I can not see the screen all that well. This was one of them.

    I kind of lost it at ‘we needed her’.

    I get it. I totally get it.

    As a mom of five boys, when I became pregnant in the summer of ’08 with baby #5, who was more of the surprise than words could ever say, it was really really hard. I essentially lived in a bad mood for nine months.

    And then… I heard his first cry and I was of truly, madly, deeply in love.

    And the only way I have ever been able to explain it in words is to simply say I needed him. We needed him. God knows what we need far more than we do.

    He was a blessing we did not know was missing from our family.

    He just turned one this week. I just adore him.

    And Nella… I just adore her as well! I can not get enough of her smiles, chubby cheeks, almond eyes, and her sweet blonde hair that is coming in.

    You have a great weekend!

  95. The babies just keep getting more beautiful with each picture you take :)

  96. i feel like i say this every time…nella is just too fricken’ cute. i can’t even handle it. her expressions are awesome. i even think my jax has a crush on her!!

  97. Anonymous says:

    So….another weekend but now find myself soaking it all in Kelle-style. It is as if I have a camera around my neck too and can see what is happening through your lens. Such a gift. Thank you!

  98. You are so lucky to have your little blonde hair (46 and 47 chromosome) beauties!! They are so lucky to have such a dedicated mommy!! You guys have so much fun and it’s so much fun to read about the fun you guys have! Thanks for sharing again.

  99. Anonymous says:

    Kelle,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of weeks now and you seem like such an amazing mother and wife. I am the same age as you, am married and we are trying to get pregnant with our first baby. I can only hope to turn out to be as great of a mom as you seem to be. Your children are beautiful and the photos you take of them and your creativity is something that will be such a gift to them one day.

    Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog.

    Take care
    Cacee
    Ottawa, Canada

  100. Good read and fab pics as always. I agree Nella looks like a beauty in navy blue, is that the outfit I sent by any chance?
    Looking forward to seeing what’s next for your blog, love checking in on the Hamptons–XO, Jen

  101. How did my lipstick (the one in MY purse next to the gum covered penny and the used wipe) get over there?? Hilarious!! You have a way with words…

    Yes, LIVE BIG!

  102. Anonymous says:

    kelle,
    every one of your posts inspire me. please keep them coming. though i am not going through exactly the same trial as you, i am going through a very hard time right now, and am able to apply your sweet words to my life. you’re inspiring, just wanted to say thanks :)

  103. Anonymous says:

    i should have used the word ‘challenges’, not trial. because life is always full of challenges, it’s just how we react to them that matters.

  104. Seriously!?! Do little girls get any cuter than yours!?!?! They are gorgeous! (I’ve got two little boys…so girls are a mystery over here.)

    I ♥ your posts. You inspire me to be a better mama. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  105. Your dad rocks on so many levels. I tell ya, there’s a poet trapped in his soul. Your whole family is full of rock stars.

    I’m following your advice and grabbing this weekend to do things I want and ignoring school work (it IS spring break!) until next week.

    HOW do those girls keep getting cuter???

  106. I am reading your blog….as I do all the time and my husband just walked by and said, “WHO is that gorgeous baby?”. Nella is perfect and beautiful and so are you.

    Thank you for inspiring so many….but especially me.

    MUAH!

    Tristy

  107. You are *so* rockin’ that go-kart!! 😉

  108. I just got home from work and I was clicking through my regular blogs…and this post is just what I needed. Fabulous pictures and such an amazing outlook on life. Have a super rock-star deserving weekend!!

  109. Nella gets even cuter with each pic. Lainey is adorable as always! Thank you for the reminder, to LIVE life. It may seem silly to some, but we all NEED that reminder. Existing isn’t enough. We need to LIVE and enjoy everyday. And yes, you NEEDED Nella. I think we all do.

  110. I love all the pics you have of sweet Nella lifting up her little head! She is such a sweetie! I love when the newborns start getting some chubs on them and they start getting that cute cute budha belly! and i totally love Lainey’s red lipstick…and i can totally picture finding a similar lipstick in the bottom of my purse under some used wipes and a gum covered penny…so true! :)

  111. Oh wow look at Nella! She is such a big girl lifting her head like that! I find it hard to believe she is only 8 lbs, and is only 6 weeks old…it seems as though Nella has been here forever. What an angel.

  112. ohhh Anne Lamont… Bird by Bird. Best book ever for change- I hope you got your hands on it!

  113. Awww girl! I love your photos!!! I think I actually start to look for your dad’s comments now when I come! I have a blog crush, yes I am insane. :)
    Here is the deal, the books ARE good to read, Lord knows I read MANY on Kris’s “diagnosis”. But I will tell you something I have learned over the years. Nella’s limitations will only be the ones that YOU set for her. And I know you aren’t about to do that. So Nellabean and Nurse Lainey are going to be fine!
    And you know what? Your better than a rockstar, your a rockstar without the drug habit!! :)
    Oh and just so you know, I literally SQUEALED with delight when I signed on AOL.com the other day and YOUR FACE was the first thing I saw. Both my boys and daughter came running and my hubby said what happened??? LOL!

  114. Fortunately, the bus doesn’t hang out too long in any one place. It comes and goes. When my little guy was born, I wanted to immerse myself in all things Down syndrome. I soon became overwhelmed and had had enough. Nella won’t ever have every thing that those books say “can” happen. Take everything one day at a time. Read only what’s important and don’t make yourself sick over what mightn’t. I haven’t opened medical stuff on Ds in a very long time. I highly recommend anthologies like Gifts edited by Kathryn Soper and Roap Map to Holland by Jennifer Graf Groneberg. These are the things worth reading… Gifts is like a dose of sunshine. Your Nella is a gift (as is Lainey of course) and that’s the best reading and medicine there is.

  115. Anonymous says:

    Loved the Friday night pre-vacation description. Brought me back to my childhood!

    ~Heidi

  116. I’m having a hard time finding the words that I want to write…..I can see it in my head but it’s not coming out as I type… all I know and can express to you @ this “very” moment is…… you inspire me to no end! You remind me of what it’s like to be well rounded and to enjoy every ounce of the wonderful life I have and not to forget how amazing the beauty of life has to offer……never…everr taking it for granted. You always give me a slap of reality and I thank you for it…… I love and admire your positive energy….you are my mentor :-)
    Life is too short……you Kelle encourage me to soak up every ounce of my family…my kids…my health….you have taught me to be in the moment.
    Thank you for the pick me up you give me EVERY time I read your blog.

  117. I tried to comment last night but for some reason my comment has been lost in cyber space, I’m gutted as I would’ve been in the first 10 of comments!

    Anyway, I shall try again.. I love how you described Fridays.. You summed it up perfectly. That first photo of Nella is beautiful.. I love her little hat :)

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend! x

  118. Nella will rewrite the book on how she is a beautiful girl who has Down Syndrome and tells her story of a beautiful life full of love, happiness. She is a Rock Star! And will do BIG BIG GREAT THINGS! I cannot wait to watch her life unfold!

    :o)

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  120. Melissa M. says:

    Hey, ladybug,
    Here is my advice: take all of those factual books on Down syndrome, put them in a box, and stuff it in a closet. Go buy Oh The Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Suess and read it to your little girl every day (and to yourself, too!). It’s helped us bunches!!
    :)M

  121. Beautiful baby, and she’s gonna be a beautiful girl!
    I love the look of absorption and love in your older daughter’s face, and the look of assessing the world and taking it in on your baby bean’s face.

    Blessed girls, to have landed in your family.

  122. That dark blue polka dot outfit with the hat….oh my goodness it just makes her blue eyes SHINE! She’s beautiful.

  123. PS, you’re all cooler than any rockstars I’ve seen!

  124. Kelle, again dear Lady, the pics of the girls, are outstanding, beautiful, and yes just what life is all about…We all have specialist in our lives, maybe some of us ealier then other’s, and some times, maybe they are important in the big picture, but mostly, it is all stuff that is good to know, but all stuff that is irelevent to the love that Nella brings to your hearts, not to mention ours here…
    I was at work yesterday, and we have a senior with Down syndrom, His name is Dean, Dean came to stay in our long tern care facility, for He no longer can walk, and is loosing many skills or activities of daily living, as he suffers some confusion, or Alzeimers if you want, he came to us as His parents are now themselves up in age, and no longer able to care for Him …Yesterday, Dean told us when we were putting him back to bed after lunch, that he missed his Momma, and tears came to His eyes as did nine, and I thought of you and Nella at this point, cause I know like your Nella will of you Kelle, he loves his Momma so very much, just as Nella will love her Momma, like no other she will love her Momma dear Kelle, like no other she will love you so very much…*warm long hugs*….Deborah, the Canadian Nurse …

  125. Lovely post, my eyes teared up suddenly thinking of my own everyday struggles. Not that I’m comparing or having a worse time than you; your post just reminded me that we all have our buses that comes by, and that sometimes it’s hard not to go for a (bad) ride…

    I love watching the great photos of your family, your girls are so beautiful! Yey to Nella lifting her head up steady, and I just loved the picture of Lainey smearing your lipstick :-)

  126. My daughter Charlotte (Deedah) was born with the right number of chromosomes. she progressed thru every stage with grace and high marks…she is perfect!

    My son Jonathan followed with an extra chromosome. He took a little more time with each stage, rewarding his parents with more unembarrassed hugs, more snuggle time on the couch, more silly jokes, more simple games that make ‘regular’ world fade away. Thank you Jonathan for not racing thru life.

    Remember Kelle and Nella, normal development is a construct.

  127. Ah, welcome to the early intervention phase of your induction into the special needs mommy club. :) Even after 5+ years of this gig, I still clean the house like a madwoman and light scented candles before therapists arrive. Heh. You’ll love having therapists in the home; our therapists are like part of the family. The kids LOVE therapy days, as do I, because they force me to slow down and play with my kids and really get into it, which I don’t always do.

    Have a lovely weekend!

    p.s., your DS book pile’s got nothing on my autism book collection. 😉 LOL.

  128. YAY! Nothing like having a peek in Kelle’s world sipping a cup of coffee, sunday morning. I was just pouting about this rainy/chilly day and now I have all these ideas about what to do with our day.

    And enjoy yours too.

    Xoxo

  129. Good morning Kelle,

    I am here in the hospital waiting for shift change to be complete in the NICU so I can go up and sit and stare at our new little boy, Tommy. He was born this past Friday, he has Down syndrome and a heart defect, and he is beautiful :)

    I have been following your blog for several weeks now as I had stumbled across a link on a Down Syndrome forum. I can’t even remember which forum it was now, but what a great find for my family! My husband and I learned when I when I was 22 weeks pregnant that our little boy would be born with Down syndrome. I thought that since I had never posted a comment to you before, now would be a great time to just say thank you. Thank you for sharing your family’s stories. Not only have I found your stories and photos to be just gorgeous, but I have seen them as theraputic in our own journey into this new world that we had never planned for but embrace as fully as we can at this point. Seeing the photos of Lainey with Nella just gives me the warm-fuzzies and makes me look forward to the days to come when our 2-year-old, Charlie, and our own family’s newest rock star can finally be home together and we can get in our own family snuggle and play time.

    Thanks again for sharing your family’s beautiful life with everone. You continue to be one of my “sanity savers” :)
    -Jenny

  130. I love the pics yet again!! You have a VERY beautiful family!! I love your stories, analogies and fun you find in life.

  131. Anonymous says:

    Nella looks GORGEOUS dressed in navy-blue !!!

    Tanya.
    Australia.

  132. Anonymous says:

    hello! i’m a student from Singapore, and even though i live miles away from you, i chanced upon your blog because of Nella’s story, and since then i’ve been hooked. i love reading your entries, about the time you spend with your 2 beautiful girls, and the way you live your life. i really admire how you spend your time soaking up the love, and dealing with life the best you can, the happiest way you can. reading about your daughters and your life brings a smile to my face, and reminds me that life is beautiful; and even if other people may not think so, we can make it beautiful for ourselves.
    i absolutely love your pictures – i love how they manage to capture emotions that cannot be explained through words; i love the way you put an entire piece of a matching colour next to some of your pictures; i love the way you manage to capture the little details in life that many fail to notice, and blow them up into significant things that make you happy. i also really like the colours!

    i really really love your creativity, the way you made those little fairy dust packages for Lainey’s party, those favours you made for Nella’s birth, and the books you make for your kids! i wish i had the time to do such craft-y things, and i wish i had the same flair to create such things.

    and i told myself that if the opportunity ever comes in the future, i would really really like you to do a photoshoot for my future family (:

  133. Whoo boy!! When it’s Sunday night and your hubs is vacuuming the wooden floor upstairs it becomes almost impossible to focus on all that ‘kid before a vacation’ excitement that way Friday night. I’m with you on that, girl! I hope your weekend was truly beautiful. Oh, Nella’s face – she is priceless! You are totally BLESSED!

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  135. Morning Kelle…if you have a moment today swing by my blog. I posted something that I want to share with you. You have inspired me to go deep..to put in words all the swirly thoughts that go on inside this crazy brain of me..you my dear are a Rockstar! ♥

  136. Kelle… I have just discovered your blog this morning as a friend of mine posted the link to your birth story on FB. I read the whole thing amazed by you, your family, your strength and your friends. I love reading your entries and your pictures are so wonderful!! Lainie and Nella are sooooo beautiful!! I don’t have children yet but reading your story has given me this sense of relief.. knowing that no matter what happens, life is great and everything will be ok!! You’re a rockstar Kelle!!

  137. What a great comparison of Fridays! And Nella always has the sweetest hats on! Enjoy the weekend!

  138. Oh my goodness Nella is the most precious thing. My 1st daughter was BORN at 8#15oz. =) Keep writing and posting those beautiful girls. Love it

  139. beautiful entry kelle i love all the photo’s, your such an inspiration (((hugs)))

  140. Anonymous says:

    I saw a family at the grocery store and they had a young daughter who had down syndrome. I normally would have felt sympathy for the family, and perhaps thought “how hard it must be for them” …but because I had read your blog…I just smiled and thought how lucky they were to have such a little blessing in their life. She was very cute…sitting in her grocery cart…as good as gold… and smiled at my baby as we walked past. No, I didn’t feel sorry for them. Not one bit. They were a happy family.

  141. I love, love, love this blog! I woke up with a crabby, sick baby (and husband) and I felt my anxiety starting to rise…then I read your blog and realized that life IS freakin fabulous..thanks for the reminder!

  142. Yes Kelle you are a Rock Star but the TRUE Rock Star is Nella—you just wait…..she is going to show you just how to rock it out!!!!!
    Sunnie

  143. sweet, so sweet. happy weekend …

  144. photos are beautiful as they always are. the beach pics are so golden and perfect!

    you on that go-cart…pretty funny and your hair blowing in the wind is kinda cool!!!

    love you!

  145. beautiful pictures, as always. Wishing I lived in your area instead of the frigid Dakotas.

    Enjoy your week, the beach and the fun is to come!

  146. To Rachel…ouch! (Kelle’s big brother was 9 lbs. 13 oz. and looked like a toddler in the nursery)

    To Anonymous…yes, no pity. Pity paralyzes. No one steps up to the plate with pity. We did pity…early, briefly, painfully. I still say it was the big sister’s visit that took us by the hand and led us from pity to power. Yes, when I see a child with Down syndrome now, I smile and connect with the magic…like a secret Holland handshake in our spirits. Thank you for your sweet and encouraging comment, from a Poppa of magic.

  147. Now that I’ve de-lurked, it’s hard not to comment. :) Even though it’s Sunday, I’m more excited for the rest of my weekend after reading your post. Thank you!

  148. You’re right, life is hard.

    But John Wayne once said

    “Life is hard. It’s harder when you’re stupid.”

    You aren’t. No one with 6 books on one subject can be considered stupid. 😉

    *hug*

  149. You are my kindred soul at the opposite end of the parenting adventure, Kelle. My blog is 20+ yrs. down the road from you: http://theviewfromanemptynest.blogspot.com/ No, I don’t have a child with DS, but we all go to Holland in one way or another–and not just once–as mamas.Keep buying tulips and loving the unexpected joys that every jog in the path takes you to. There are blessings and kisses in the middle of every crisis…and they end up defining our joy if we watch for them. If I weren’t on the opposite coast I’d hunt you down for a long coffee and give you one of my favorite red OPI’s. Go red, girl. And let the smudges happen anyway :-)

  150. don’t change your blog too much!! it’s beautiful already :) someone sent me to your link awhile back. . . my older brother (now 33) has Down Syndrome. so when Nella was born and you wrote that beautiful birth story, my friend found out about your blog and told me i had to read it. i’ve found that i not only enjoy reading it because of the Down syndrome link, but our children are very close in age. my oldest will be three in june and my second was just born six weeks ago. you can see them at my blog: http://www.cartwheelsoup.blogspot.com. keep up the great work! you are an inspiration.

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  152. I adore how positive your blog is, the world could use more positivity. Life is a big huge challenge but it’s a beautiful challenge! Or maybe its the challenges that make it beautiful?

    Have a wonderful week!

  153. So sweet!

    I’m a bit weepy today. Tomorrow is my “big” 21-week ultrasound to look for soft-tissue markers. I’ve been crying off and on all weekend…not b/c of what we will find, but maybe b/c I’m tired of all the anxiety. It would be nice to know for sure one way or the other…although from what I understand Level 2 u/s can still show no soft tissue markers and baby can be born with Down Syndrome.

    I recently discovered an online forum at ivillage for parents of Down Syndrome/Trisomy 21. The women there have been so wonderful…providing me with heartfelt words and kindness.

    My biggest fear, from a comment made to me from blogland, is that DS babies don’t normally make it to delivery…I dread that fear. The ivillage women seemed to think that was a wrong assumption…they’ve met hundreds of women with DS kiddos and only know a couple who never made it to term.

    I rue the day that I did any of this prenatal testing…

    Sorry for rambling. Thanks, as always, for uplifting my soul.

    XOXO,
    Valerie

  154. I’m a new reader and absolutely love your blog. Lainey and Nella are adorable. Can’t wait to read more.

    Katy

  155. I remeber dreading the week you had. I was so not ready for her team of people to come. It was just another step I was not ready for. Jana was 8 weeks. I remember them leaving and crying. But thinking that was not that bad…. Jana is 21 months now and still gets PT once a week. We love our Special friend that comes every week. She has become a part of our family. You will actually look forward to it. You will be happy to see how well Nella is doing. She will continue to be your Rock Star. I will pray that you get some one as awesome as we did.
    Hugs
    Susan

  156. I am so glad I have found you. It must have been the fates or devine something. I am a daycare provider and a very special Down Syndrome baby started with me this week. He is just a couple of weeks older than Nella. He will be spending 10 hours a day with me, 5 days a week. I am not his mother but for 50 hours a week he is snuggled close to my heart, our eyes lock during feeding and my heart belongs to him. I feel sad thinking of his tough road ahead and then he smiles and I feel the world will be blessed that he is here. Thank you for being here with your words that feed the soul of this surragate momma.

  157. I am so in love with all of the people who comment on your blog…I think I enjoy them just as much as I enjoy your blog..except the pictures of Nella and Lainey are the without a doubt the best part of your blog! I am thankful and inspired by your words but those pictures are stories within themselves. I have a niece who was born a little over one pound..developed a bleed and is severely handicapped but when she smiles..everyone else smiles with her! So on reading your blog the second time and seeing “we needed her”…I know just what you are saying. Maybe in heaven we will find out we are the handicapped and the handicapped are the pure hearts..as close to God as you can get here on earth.

  158. Almost makes me want to jump in the car and drive 4 hours to the closest beach… Love the toes in the sand. Enjoy!

    Sigh…from a girl who just moved from Florida and a quick drive to the nice warm sand…

    Thanks for filling my heart today!

  159. Almost makes me want to jump in the car and drive 4 hours to the closest beach… Love the toes in the sand. Enjoy!

    Sigh…from a girl who just moved from Florida and a quick drive to the nice warm sand…

    Thanks for filling my heart today!

  160. Anonymous says:

    Your blog is a gem. Fantastic pictures.
    It’s so well done, it touches me in the deepest way.
    It fills me with serenity and gratitude for your generosity.
    Peace and happiness be upon you and your family.

  161. I just wanted to leave a comment saying how much I love your blog, your pictures, and how much you love your sweet girls. Love that you make so much of life a celebration. I just reread Nella’s birth story and cried big tears all over again.

    Also, I told my husband that the next time I have a baby, I want a tiara, too! :)

  162. A NOTE ABOUT THE BOOKS…I caution you. I read the same books and to be honest it was one of the harder things that I had to do as a parent of one of THOSE families. They are full of things that haven’t happened. Nobody told me that they have a higher chance of getting lukemia…or epilepsy…or celiac disease. But if I lived my life in fear of the unknown, I would have never had kids in the first place. And since you are like me and are the one in 1000+ that just happened to have a child with down syndrome, you know that numbers no longer mean anything and in reality our “perfectly healthy 2 year olds” have the same chance of aquiring one of those ailments than our little treasure with that one little extra chromosome. It’s good to be informed but don’t get hung up on the information over load. Love,
    http://kristadawne.blogspot.com/2009/07/nobody-told-me-about-leukemia.html

  163. Oh how I remember that tower of books! I pushed that tower away until my little guy was six months old… just wasn’t ready for all of that technical, medical pile of what if’s. Definitely check out “Gifts”, “Roadmap to Holland” & “Expecting Adam”. Very inspiring & moving reads.
    Enjoy!
    Kate

  164. hahah!! Love the photo of her in the dr’s office. That girl knows what’s going on!!! Can’t wait to see her personality blossom!!

  165. Anonymous says:

    Rock on!

  166. Caroline says:

    I just can stop looking at your photos they are amazing!!!! I live in South florida and also love the beach, the sand, the sunsets in your city are just spectacular!!!
    A new book for your coffee table: Gifts… my friend send it to me when she found out about my baby’s dx… you will cry more, but I loved it!!!

  167. I stumbled across your blog from the story on AOL ParentDish. I read Nella’s birthstory first and I can’t even put into words how moved I was at the heart-wrenching story. I’ve spent the past days going through reading more recent blog entries. You have an incredible family and are so blessed with the gift of your girls. I fall more in love with them everytime I read another entry and look through your pictures. I hope someday when I have children that I will be able to document our life as poignantly as you have through this blog. Thank you for sharing your life with your readers. I am inspired by your optimism and love for life!!

  168. You have such an amazing dad! I grew up with a distant father and I am in awe of how involved he is in your life. :) I am into this journey 14 years now with my special needs child. He is severely handicapped and has never stood or walked..(I’ve shared a bit about him before). Anyway, I can SO relate to what another commenter said! It can be so easy for them to bring you down when they start discussing all the challenges ahead of you etc.. It’s so important to remain positive during these sessions or they can become overwhelming. I thought I was the only one that felt so discouraged after a session with one of my son’s therapists. Now, I realize I’m not! I love your blog! ((HUGS))

  169. I love your blog and your pictures…..so inspiring!

  170. Madisyn Andrea says:

    We ALL needed Nellabean.

  171. Anonymous says:

    http://www.anniefortsupfund.org/index.html

    A great website….instead of “Down” syndrome….she makes it “Up” syndrome….

  172. I have this dream of preparing a big gift for the future-down-syndrome-baby’s-parents (we have around 30 new babies in our country each year), where I would include your mentioned books, a CD with lullabies, a wooden first-doll or first-car, a beautiful photo-frame etc., wrap it in a shiny paper, tie a red polka dot ribbon and send by post to any newborn.

    I wish I could brighten the day for the parents, who happens to find out they are starting the journey with their beautiful baby. I wish I would have got one on that day.. I remember feeling so small, so sad, so frightened, not knowing where to start (but the books and dvd’s would be on the very bottom of the box! The toys are the most important, our children are children first!! The medicine goes second).

    Your idea of Lainey’s birthday 10-dollar fund gave me a hope, that maybe I can do the same for my little son, and together with our friends and family we can collect the funds and create this welcome-package.

    Thank you for great ideas! Please take our best wishes from our 4 months son!

  173. Kelle, I return from this morning, having read only you and commenting earlier, but I wanted to return to read some comments as well, and I got to say again…lol…BTW, I must say, Nella in navy is just so so beautiful, her blue eyes sparkle like bright stars. Kelle, you manage to capture her gorgeous feature in your photography so well, to be honest with you, often she does not look like she has Ds at all, no offence in saying that, to anyone I mean, in any way, as I just mean, she is showing her personality, and her individuality already, she is already her own lil person, and all in only 8 weeks, she is so very pretty Kelle. Also I swear she posses for her Mom and camera too, and both the girls wear the hats and bonnets so well, surely they get their good looks from you Mom …*winks* …And about Lainey, she looks to me to be the protective big Sis, and seems to me to be so bright I am sure she will catch on soon of the special visits, and she will make sure she teaches Nella anything and everything she needs to know for the subsequent visits, just to show her off to the assessing Lady…*winks n giggles*… Thanks again Kelle for sharing your beautiful family, and for the privilege of a glimpse of your fabulous life ….Deborah, the Canadian Nurse

  174. Your talk of sharing time in the kitchen with friends inspires me to clean up the art messes in the house and have some people over!….Well maybe just move the art to the side and then have some people over :) …and maybe vacuum up the cat fur!

    xo Elizabeth

  175. beautiful post and lovely pics as always! Have to say I’m rather jealous of your weather and beach life, it’s a bit cold and wet here in Ireland! It’s wellies and umbrellas on the beach:)

  176. Anonymous says:

    a friend forwarded me the article from parentdish and it left me excited about following your blog, your story, your inspiration! My sweet 2 year old son has Down syndrome and i can relate to your every feeling and i assure you it gets sweeter and sweeter and you realize God created Down syndrome to make the world a better place! Enjoy your sweet girls! i love your pictures and your words! we just left the beach yesterday (Boca Grande)….miss it already!

  177. Hi Kelle…I just found your blog. Simply said, it is perfect. Your words are effortless, and beautiful. Thank you :-)
    I live in that world you are now just venturing into. There are more acronyms than you can imagine. EI, OT, PT, SLP, IFSP, IEP…blah blah blah.
    The therapist will end up being a great support. You get them for 3 years, and they become a part of your family.
    Keep writing, keep living, keep celebrating.
    Darcy :-)

  178. YOu are a Rockstar ( like Hannah Montana as my 3 year old would say !) !! Nella is perfectly beautiful !!!!!

  179. Anonymous says:

    So glad to see you in action…cartwheeling and go karting!
    Love it!
    Have a fabulous, fantastic and fulfilling weekend, and I look forward to “seeing” more of you and your girls next week :)

    Allison, in Australia xx

  180. Thank you for taking me away, even just for a moment, from studying for my dreary math class. You’re post and your photos take my breath away every time I read them.

    On the therapy not, one thing I’ve learned after 2 years is to never underestimate my little one (she is 2), and yes she does do everything in her own sweet time. And so will Nella. I read a book called “The Short Bus” in it there is a chapter about a young lady with Down Syndrome. Her mother talks about how her first years she spent so much time doing “therapy” activities with her, trying to help her. Finally when she got older her Mom asked her what she could do to help her and the girl replies “you can teach me to dance”, puzzled her Mom says”how will that help you?” She replies “because then we can dance together”. It really struck me that it’s really that simple… keep dancing with your little ones kelle, keep dancing!! :)

  181. Oh Poppa you made me cry “In a world pursuing perfection she reminds us that it is already here”
    I have been so lucky to be mum to my own DS son for the past 21 years and that sentence beautifully sums up how my heart has felt all this time bit I never found the words. Thank you

  182. I have spent most of my weekend reading all your blog entries. I cannot describe how moved I have been from some of your entries. I have a son who is now 16yrs, he is undiagnosed, he is delayed developmentally and has dysmorphic features. One of the best decisions we ever made was to have more children,I now have 4 and his siblings are the ones who have challenged him to be more than the doctors ever said he would. It isn’t easy to remember the small things in a house with 3 teenagers but reading your blog has reminded me of all the important things. My 16yr old high school student son walked to school by his self last week, it doesn’t matter that the school is only 500yds away and that I shadowed him, what matters is that he did it independantly. Anyone reading this who has a child who is a “runner” will understand that this is a huge step.
    Thank you Kelle, you have inspired me.

  183. Anonymous says:

    You’re words make me feel a little less alone on this journey which started just 2 weeks after Nella was born, with the birth of our daughter, Kinley. I too have that stack of books and they haunt me at times. The one thing they’ll never say is how exactly to deal with the unexpected “blessing” Kinley has been. I’m taking it day by day and your blog is a nice way to remember that we must enjoy the small things. -Danielle

  184. Anonymous says:

    You’re words make me feel a little less alone on this journey which started just 2 weeks after Nella was born, with the birth of our daughter, Kinley. I too have that stack of books and they haunt me at times. The one thing they’ll never say is how exactly to deal with the unexpected “blessing” Kinley has been. I’m taking it day by day and your blog is a nice way to remember that we must enjoy the small things. -Danielle

  185. Just to help you feel a litte more normal…it took me 15 months to even pick up those books! I had the stacks next to my bath tub, by the couch, on the coffee table, on the night stand next to my bed…even in my car! Then one day I picked one up…& I haven’t been able to put them down! I am currently on Expecting Adam…amazing! I would love to hear which books you have found and treasure!

  186. Maybe in the website revamp you can figure out a way we can click on each baby hat and get a link to the maker. They are too cute! Each new one makes me smile.

  187. Nella has such beautiful eyes!!!!

  188. Ooh hope it’s not too late to be entered but regardless….thought I had commented last night! Love the pictures so much…Nella in her diaper a the dr? Oh my goodness…so adorable. I am so glad you had that great Friday feeling! Have a good night.

  189. In three little words, I can sum up everything your blog has taught me about life and and how to approach the bumps in the road that are sometimes graveled….

    it goes on.

    And from your current post, life has definitely been happening in your sweet little BIG world. Great pictures! I foresee you baking many special bribery treats for your neighbor so you can get your weekly go cart fix in. Wind blown hair always looks better than the 30 minute hair do affair anyway….

    The girls are looking sun kissed and love touched. I can’t say it enough….you and your best guy are lovin’ those kids up right :O)

    now…run up the door, shut the stairs, say your pj’s and put on your prayers. turn off the bed and hop into the light, all because you kiss those sweet girls goodnight.

    goodnight hamptons.

  190. You guys have such a beautiful life, and you really inspire me to think about the way I live mine. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  191. I also wanted to see if you knew that Rosie O’Donnell has your link to Nella’s birth story featured on her blog site? http://www.rosie.com.

  192. we skipped Disneyland and spent Saturday doing yard work…lots of pulling of weeds and raking leaves, but watching the kiddos just have fun digging in the dirt, that was delicious. Joy is truly in the little moments.

    BTW- love crayon pictures, need to remember to take those of my budding artists.

  193. Love the go kart!! I have a few pictures of myself in a pink barbie corvett. I drove Rachel up and down the street in it for a while, until it broke……..not sure if it was because of me putting my grown up self in it or not, but I try to get the kids to drive Rachel around in it now.

    Nella is getting more and more beautiful every day. Yes, life with Down syndrome will be a little different, but you will get used to the lingo and the therapies and feel like it is something everybody does.

  194. I am still much too young (in my opinion) to think of having children yet. But I am drawn to your story because you are what I want to be like: you have challenges, but you are dealing with them as positively as you possibly can, getting through them and not letting them define your life. Thank you for sharing your story. And by the way, your children are adorable!

  195. Howdy rocker girl. Love you in the cart, your girl lifting her head and gazing with those beautiful blues, and Lainey’s red lips. :) Is that you doing the cartwheel? It prompted a “WOW” from my daughter who is in the process of perfecting her cartwheel. I made my own music player and swiped some music from you. I love your music. You might llike to check mine out too..I think you would like some of my stuff. Still adding..xo M.

  196. Still a new reader, you’re blog is my favorite thing to come and sit and read and decompress after the days activities. And it always makes me go up stairs and give my own little sleeping beauty just one more kiss! Being a mama is the greatest thing and your two girls are so precious!

  197. Another fabulous post! Thank you!

    I had a weekend like you did this weekend and so loved every minute of it with my family and friends! I also thought of you and Nella when I heard a quote from a song during the end credits of The Princess and The Frog” this weekend — “you’re the best thing I never knew I needed.” That pretty much sums up how I feel about my amazing 6 yr old with DS (Casey Jane).

    Hope you have an awesome week!

    Love to you and your family! — Angela

  198. I love your zest for life and the beauty you see in it. Your words and photos document it so well, that I feel I know you. Thank you for sharing and I’m looking forward to more!

    Marianne in chilly Cincinnati

  199. Thanks for inspiring me to enjoy the little things in my busy day with three girlies…Our younges, Miss Molly, has Down syndrome! I’ll work hard this week to enjoy them and play more!

  200. Anonymous says:

    I look forward to a new post from you so much because when I sit down and read your words, I feel at peace. My heart swells and I am happy. I take a deep breath and head back to the living room or kitchen to wrangle my rambunctious toddler and I am so happy to do it! Thank you for sharing. Your girls are just perfect. And, you look lovely in the go-cart. Hope your week goes as well as the weekend did. Take care. :)

  201. Anne Lammot ROCKS! I still have those overwhelming moments sometimes brought on by very well intentioned Doctors and Therapists. They get easier and easier to shake, because 10 minutes before they gave their spiel I thought everything was fine and great, and really they didn’t change anything, it is all still really really good and it gets easier to remember that. You are doing great, totally rocking it out Kelle.

  202. It’s 1AM, kids and hubby have been sleeping for hours, but here I am checking in for a helping of your cutie pies and your inspirational outlook!

  203. Always keep in mind that no matter how “you” think about your daughters Down Syndrome that to her (and this is no small thing) her life is perfect. It and you are all that she knows and she and you are perfect.

  204. Anonymous says:

    another amazing post! thank you so much for sharing your life with us. you know what i think, since you still have not started writing your book, why dont you just put all your blogs and make it into a book? im sure it’s gonna sell so fast and it’s gonna inspire millions of people! i sure would love to read a book with all your blogs and comments by your readers, and ofcourse the sweet insughtful conmments by poppa.

  205. Wonderful post – I’d love to drop in for a cuppa and browse those books on your coffee table!! In fact – yep – there they are – they are up on the bookshelf in my ‘spare room’ – on my coffee table is ‘teaching maths to children with DS’ Guide to inclusive education, and a whole heap of Dr Siri mystery novels (yep one of the characters has ds).

    I know that the sounds of all that therapy can be overwhelming – but luckily for us and our kids – the best therapy mantra revolves around ‘play is children’s work’. Therapists are there to help us ‘suck the marrow’ out of all our play and normal life activities – to maximise the enjoyment Nella and Lainey and your good self will get from all those wonderful ordinary activities that happen in life – all those small things and some big ones too. That is the best therapy.

    It was lovely to see Lainey ‘helping’ – you know she will learn a lot too – from Nella.

  206. Oops – I forgot to mention – I am sure you have seen the beautiful Kayla at Big Blueberry Eyes – Michelle has a wonderful series of posts titled ‘Life is therapy’ – not a scary one in sight. Good luck.

  207. What’s your email address…made a photo collage for you as a simple nice thing

  208. Oh I just LOVE Nella’s knit beanie that she wore for her evaluation! She is so beautiful!
    And I know how scary those evaluations can be… It’s been a little over 6 months that our 2 year old has been in the early intervention program. And while there are days when I struggle not to ask “why us, why her? Why our PERFECT little girl” I remind myself that she IS our perfect little girl, and that her teacher is just one more person that shines love on her. And THAT is awesome. Holland is a little scary sometimes, but it’s just as beautiful as Italy. I’m convinced.

    And thank you! I have been struggling to wake up BEFORE my girls ever since our youngest was born (10 months ago), and I have only actually done it a handful of times. Well this morning at 7:15, I promised myself a cup of tea and some quiet time to read your blog, and that did the trick! Here I am, dressed, fed, and sipping on steamy tea at 8am while my girlies are still sleeping angelically. Thanks for being part of my morning today :)

    Bless you and your fabulous, rock-star family!

  209. Oh man! I love your blog!

  210. Oh, how I long to jump on a plane and fly to you just so you can photograph my little one. I try (www.evieloucronin.blogspot.com), but I am no where near as relaxed or talented as you!

    Hopefully we’ll plan a vacation to your area sometime in the future and I can plan a photo session as one of our outings!

    Be ready for the influx of newbies in your area – your photos are a beautiful ad for life in Naples.

  211. Anonymous says:

    Kelle,

    You are truly a talented writer. You inspire me to be better and to look at all the beautiful things we have in our lives! I only recently started following you and will continue. I look forward to reading your blog and looking at all your beautiful pictures. You are an amazing woman!
    Angie

  212. Yay for Fridays and for living BIG! Love this post. :)

  213. nella is delicious in navy blue!!! her little almond eyes just pop!! i give nella a big thumbs up, a perfect 10, baby!

    lainers – red is your color!

  214. Looks like the start to a lovely weekend!

    That First 18 Months DVD is really good. It gave me quite a bit of hope. And the contributors are a who’s who of names in the Ds world. But, throw the bottom book in the stack (Karen Stray-Gundersen) away. Really, don’t read it. It will make you worried about things you most likely won’t even have to deal with.

  215. once again you are voicing my love for motherhood! Thanks..i love how you talk about being a rockstar..i think we could be friends in real life..not cyber life !! LOL. thanks agian for all your wonderful words..they are wonderful!

  216. Okay, so I laughed out loud when I saw Nella’s doctor’s photos. The potbelly is just beyond cute!

    I just wanted to let you know I nominated you for the Beautiful Blog award. (I’m certain you’ve received this, but you’re getting another one). To see it go to my blog.

  217. Anonymous says:

    you are beautiful.

  218. Well said Kelle! I remember those “can’t sleep, wildly anticipated, never let down family outings/vacations”….great memories…ones that I am happy to see you are carrying forward!

    xo, Bug $ Ruby’s Gram

    ps….one of my childhood favs…my brother & I ushered sleepy-eyed in the back seat of our car… to wake in Seattle for the 1962 World’s Fair!!…I was 10.

  219. My coffee table is looking the same. I buy the books, but I cant bring myself to read them just yet. I am reading Expecting Adam and so far its great. Its amazing how much “This Family” has helped me. So far the familys are strong beautiful people that are teaching me so much. This weekend I took my daughter out for the first time and people were so wonderful to her and me and it makes me relize I too can be a Rock Star. With lots of Luv Kirby and baby girl Dylan!!!

  220. Congratulations to you, Brett and Lainey on welcoming beautiful Nella to your family! Please know that there is a very large community available to provide information, support and advocacy. I hope you can join us for the world’s largest “family reunion” as the National Down Syndrome Congress meets this July at Walt Disney World (www.ndsccenter.org). In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.

  221. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for reminding what is really important in life. It is easy to get caught up in the daily grind, bogged down by the chores and stresses of life. My three year old often gets taken down with me. By boldly embracing life and accepting challenges you give other people freedom to not be afraid and to share in your enthusiasm. So thank you for your honest wit and for inspiring me to be better.

  222. Leighann says:

    Kelle,

    I am new to your blog, but last week a friend emailed me and told me I must read the birth story of your Nella. I must have cried for 10 minutes and then showed it to everyone. It was just so beautiful and moving…much the same as the pictures of Nella herself. I have a beautiful 12 month old, Marin, and I just can’t imagine life without her…even on the most challenging of days. You’ve definately found a new fan!

    Thanks for your candid photos and lovely prose.

    Leighann

  223. Absolutely love the dark blue crocheted hat!! Her eyes look sooo beautifully blue and wonderful.

    Those of us in land locked areas are so very jealous of the sea foamed picture and the toes digging into the sun-warmed sand.

    You are truly blessed.

  224. I know it’s been said hundreds, probably thousands of times already but your life is beautiful. Spring has hit our corner of the country and I am beyond excited to get out and enjoy it. To make and capture some memories. I have a 7 month old daughter, Amelia, and because of your words and pictures, I’m determined to not let one single moment of her pass by without being breathed in by me. You have a way of describing my exact thoughts of being a mommy that I have trouble putting into words. Once again, thank you.

  225. did i comment yet?

    well, i wanted to say holy awesome-ness on your cartwheel in the sand.

    i give it a…
    10 for creativity and showmanship!

    xo

  226. did i comment yet?

    well, i wanted to say holy awesome-ness on your cartwheel in the sand.

    i give it a…
    10 for creativity and showmanship!

    xo

  227. I’m going to have to find the adult version of Lainey’s black shoes…they look so comfy!!

  228. I love the way you dress little Lainey. She is always colorful and cute!

    You can click on my name to see the kind of Friday I had, not even time for friends. But Saturday…oh Saturday was a big Easter Egg Hunt, lunch out with the family and then a night out with my husband. So needed!

  229. All I can say is, Nella is YUMMY! What a beautiful child….

  230. I am glad your weekend was wonderful!
    Life is freaking glorious, isn’t it? Just glorious : )

  231. The way you’re able to focus back on the positive and joyful is just simply inspiring. Thank you for sharing your wonderful family and thoughts!!

  232. The way you’re able to focus back on the positive and joyful is just simply inspiring. Thank you for sharing your wonderful family and thoughts!!

  233. love your blog, i’ve been reading along since you welcomed your 2nd little girl :) i also have a DSL-R camera and have to ask you if that is the camera you use to take all of your pictures (like to the doctor’s office, etc.)? if so, how do you juggle the girls and the camera?

    i have two sons under 2 and i want to take more daily pictures (not just on special occasions), but i find it’s difficult bc the camera is so bulky and more delicate than regular cameras. would love to hear your tips!

  234. I agree, I do love the pre-vacation feel of a good ol’ Friday night!!! Thank you for continuing to guide me in my quest to enjoy the small things in my own life. I’m a type A’er trying to be more type B about the things that really matter!

  235. Several people have pointed me towards your blog. I am another mamma here with a daughter with Down Syndrome. She just turned two. She is our fourth child and is by far my easiest kid!! I don’t know if that is her or the extra chromosome, but it is true. Granted, she didn’t have any heart or eating issues, etc. She is delightful. I love that everything is just slowed down with her. I have been able to hold onto each stage just a little bit longer and that has been a real blessing.

    I saw your post on Gabbys site and felt such a recognition about your birth story. The thing about this new twist in your life is that you have NO idea how hard some parts will be and you have no idea how great it will be. The stuff that I thought would be hard, has been a total non issue, and the things that are so delightful, we could have never anticipated. Just like my other kids.

    I won’t turn this into a post of my own, but I was just reflecting on the things that I would tell a mamma of new child with Down Syndrome, and ironically,it is all the stuff that people told to me (I just went over some e mails from that time) but I didn’t have the chance to soak it in at the time. I just wanted to unring the bell and have her be “normal”. I didn’t want one more person to tell me about the story Holland or how they have a person with Down Syndrome who is a checker at their store. I just wanted her to be the same. I wanted someone to wave the magic “special needs cheerleader mom” want over me and turn me into that guy. I will be honest and tell you that it took me a while to figure out where I was with the whole process. It wasn’t that I didn’t love her, it was that I needed to figure out how I could mother her and take her for who she was instead of what she WOULDN”T be. I can say that at this point, I wouldn’t take this away from her if I had the choice. Her Down Syndrome is what makes her who she is. I can’t imagine that she would be more successful or happy any other way.

    So, be what you need to be. Be sad, be afraid and be frightened, but know that the mirth and joy and giddiness and delight with your child will come as well.

    Your Nella is more like other kids than she is different. I see her little eyes and ears and recognize how she holds her body in a way that is SO familiar to me (and all mammas who have a child with DS), that I feel like she is mine (is that wierd?). Wait till he starts pulling her legs over he ears and bends herself in half. The other kids will be so jealous!

    You are about to make friends with people you would never have known otherwise. You will love therapy and the ideas it gives you. Soon, she will just be Nella, not “Nella with Down Syndrome” (and maybe she is for you already, for me it took a little while….).

    Cant’ wait to follow this journey with you and wish I could capture my life’s moments as beautifully as you do.

  236. I haven’t had a Friday like that in soooo long. I hope I get to experience another one soon. :)

    Nella is looking so beautiful in these pictures, you have two great girls!

  237. I hope you do not mind….I cannot write a post without telling others about your blog…every post is so touching….I have linked to you over and over…so if thats a problem, please let me know…..

    Teresa
    annah99@aol.com

  238. Hello, Kelle!
    My name is Drielle and I’m a reporter of the brazilian magazine CRESCER. We read your post about the birth of your second daughter and it was so beautyfull that we decided we really want to publish it! there’s an exclusive section in our magazine with stories that mothers tell us about the day of their children’s birth. We’d love to tell your story there too.
    Could you please e-mail me as soon as you can? My mail is dcerri@edglobo.com.br.
    I hope you like the idea…
    I can’t wait top talk to you! Bye!

  239. LOVE the picture of Nella at the doctors office!! Priceless.

  240. This comment has been removed by the author.

  241. Can I be your friend? Seriously! I come back and forth and read your blog and you and your sweet family honestly inspire me to live, love, have fun and get through what ever we are given in this life.

    You paint pictures with words as well as your photography. Thank you for the peek in to your world…it’s beautiful.

    By the way…I am the worlds worst at getting books back on time. (as read in another post) So I totally get it….In fact I secretly giggle when my 4 year old asks if we can read the “Weiner Dog” book….”you know…the one the library let us keep?” I dare not tell him the truth… :)

  242. oh, your gorgeous babies. thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!

  243. Diana L. says:

    I discovered your site through Don Miller’s blog…and I am so thankful that I did.

    I am amazed at the beauty in your putting yourself out there for us to “see”. your gift of words and of capturing the magnificance of simply living, are a treasure.

    Bless you as you travel on this journey of motherhood, and the extra moments of miracles that Nella will bring you and your family…you can add one more person who’s praying for you.

  244. I love that Laney’s tongue is out in so many pictures..she reminds me of my own daughter SO much! It’s a shy, hide-your-smile look that I love so very much! Thanks for sharing your beautiful familiy with the world.

  245. I remember about a month into our therapy nurses coming to my house I said out loud….”How did we manage with our first child without you ladies!” They quickly became like part of our family. Another wonderful blessing.

    And Kaia, our then 5 year old, did amazing things with Blake while pretending to play physical therapy. She was gentle and coaxing and just perfect. Lainey will probably do the same!

    And Blake’s first package that came in the mail regarding Spina Bifida was a backpack full of catheter supplies with his very first coloring book….all about Tubie the catheter and how he works. I cried. It wasn’t what I wanted for his first coloring book….but you know what…it ended up being one of his favorites…and I would cry each time he would ask for it…but then be happy that he was embracing his life as it was!

    We said at first that Blake was so lucky to come to our family, but we quickly realized that we were the lucky ones….he teaches us so much.

    Enjoy the journey (while crying sometimes)!

    hugs,
    april kennedy
    mom to a child born with spina bifida

  246. Hello! This is my first comment but I have started reading your blog for about 3 weeks now! You are absolutely fabulous. I love the comment a while back when you talked about worrying about a messy house and that you don’t anymore and you enjoy the time you have with your girls. I LOVED that because growing up my mom worried about the house being messy and looking back she said she wishes she didn’t.

    I don’t have kids yet but my sister is expecting…she lives in Fort Myers…and I told her about your blog to read and get inspiration.

    I love your honesty and your outlook on life. I definately think you are a fabulous mother and an inspiration.

    Thanks for your words or wisdom! I will be back!

  247. I love the Friday night analogies. I always knew it was something special, a day of anticipation, but never heard it described like that. Makes me excited for next Friday….

    And I have a little boy, but the precious bows and hats that Nella wears make me want to dress him up…but I’ll resist (c:

  248. Beautiful. Life is so beautiful. The days might be long, but they make me smile.

    Thank you for sharing the beauty you have found in ordinary days, creating an extraordinary life with more memories to come.

  249. John Legend! Yay!

    And I love MASH. Love. The older you get, the more fun it is.

    Have considered attending the Ds conference yet? You know it’s in your ‘hood, right?

  250. I don’t know if you will read this post as it is buried under a couple hundred others but I had to leave a comment and tell you that your blog is a new favorite. Your girls are gorgeous!, your writing is gifted and your photographs are beautiful.I read Nella’s birth story last week and I cried for awhile afterward. I believe I was touched by God through your retelling of it. I appreciated your honesty and especially your love and acceptance of your precious baby girl. She is so precious and beautiful. She is beyond blessed to have been placed in a family who loves her and thanks God for her. I will continue to read and am grateful to have found your blog on living and loving life.

  251. You said it doll, life IS freakin’ fabulous. It’d be even more fabulous if I had one of those kick-butt little go carts to ride my fabric and thread covered self around my neighborhood.

    Loved envisioning Lainey being all protective big sis with the therapist….so perfect, ha!

    And oh,big girl pickin’ that head up….to die for.

  252. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE your blog! Your family is amazingly cute! Thank you for sharing a sneak peek into your beautiful family and your life!! Your girls are so precious and your spirit is so kind and gentle! I am inspired by you and your ability to be REAL and your ability to pick up and move on!!!! Keep on being real and keep on being your best self! Your photos are priceless!

  253. I have a confession to make: when I first read this post and noticed your lovely thank you note and my name initials I nearly fell off my chair!

  254. Lovely pictures and a wonderful way to spend a Friday evening. Gorgeous daughters!

  255. Anonymous says:

    Your words and your photos warm my heart adn make me cry (with joy). Thank you.

  256. sigh……! i love your photography. the little bean is beautiful.

    cindy

  257. Kelly L. says:

    I’ve been reading your blog since I was brought in with Nella’s beautiful birth story, and I’ve gone back and started reading some of your older posts. Your writing and pictures have touched me so deeply, and help me to look at my own life and see the beauty that’s so obviously there, but that I’m often blind to. Thank you so much for blogging.

  258. love your blog, kelle. i just started “following” it. hope you don’t mind. your story about nelle has really touched me and i really enjoy reading your blog entries!

  259. The pictures of her lifting her head up are priceless and beautiful. that girl is beautiful. her eyes are just gorgeous. Congratulations on your perfect little angel!

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