To the Isle

Sometimes I imagine I am wearing magic boots.
And I imagine that when I put them on, they give me powers.
Special powers.
Like when I wear my boots, I can change the world.
I can keep my house clean.
I can love my girls up real, real good.
I can understand some of the mysteries of the world and find peace with that which I don’t understand.
I can dance like Madonna in this video.
And it’s funny. Because, on days when the world seems to be twirling out of control and I can’t keep up, I just picture my magic boots. I envision slipping my feet into their comfortable grip…and I walk. In my magic boots. And somehow, some way, my imaginary world seeps into my real world.

I like my magic boots.

I’ve been wearing them lately, and while my world is changing and growing and things are far from the comfortable stagnancy they were a year ago, I realize that there is so much good happening in our lives. And we are learning and stretching and growing and finding beauty in ways I didn’t know we could.

We’ve been enjoying family the past few days, and Lainey has been thrilled to have found someone who appreciates the mischief of stealing make-up as much as she does. She and her cuz had a full blown makeover session the other night in the comfort of the kitchen floor.



…and I love how, while she’s applying lipstick to someone else, she can’t help but reveal her own little make-up application face.


In two days, we celebrated a half birthday, an almost birthday and a real birthday. After our “Hapy Half Birthday” song and a tealight candle on some marmalade toast the other morning, we had to sing a “Happy Almost-Birthday to Lainey” song (with another tealight candle on some marmalade toast)…


…but my favorite was our real Happy Birthday song because my beautiful cousin is soon to be thirty and having her and her sweet family here with us was more of a gift to me…and it’s not even my birthday.




When I was in the hospital with Nella and I began to try and sort out what life would be like, I remember telling myself that we will go to Isle of Capri again. We will take our family and our new baby someday soon to our happy place and all would be okay…and I strangely found comfort in dreaming of us all together on a Sunday afternoon…chasing my two girls through the salty craters of low tide, smiling…away from the rest of the world of stereotypes and pain and limitations.

A few weeks after, we debuted our new family on that familiar shoreline, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I was still hurting, I didn’t want to talk about anything, and I had a pit in my stomach from Brett getting ready to head back up to Chicago the following day. And I remember feeling so disappointed that our return to our sweet little isle wasn’t what I thought it would be. It wasn’t healing or redemptive in any way.

I wanted a do-over.

And I got it.
Last night.

Oh, it was beautiful. And shared with family.



I found healing in our huddle of beach chairs as we sat and watched the sunset, recalling many of our memories of this place we call home. Like when I’d slam my lesson plan book shut on a Thursday afternoon just a few short years ago and hustle out of my classroom to meet Brett at Naples Bay where we’d hop on jet skis and skid across the canal channels to land right here under this same sky, these same stars. Like when Lainey zig-zagged the wheels of her walker along the wood-planked floors in the tiki bar and diners smiled and cooed as her sweaty little face found comfort in the afternoon sun. Like when the boys would steal the kayaks and go exploring, coming back with pails of little crabs that were set free to scurry back to their homes. This is such a happy place, full of so many memories for us and last night, I was redeemed as I shared the new sister with our friends and told her story…and we leaped over salty craters with cousins and watched the sun set slowly behind the blanket of trees and seas.





There are still so many uncolored pages here on our happy isle. What memories my girls will make here…what colors they will choose…outside the lines, of course. Completely and beautifully…abstract.


We stayed late, the pink-hued sky replaced with a tapestry of crystal stars, the tiki bar lit up like an enchanted cottage, the dock lights reflecting magical glows that danced with the subtle waves of the tide in rhythm to the guitar tunes that trickled from the bar…




…and the perfect place to celebrate half birthdays, almost birthday, and real birthdays…all in one.


The sweet, salty, sea-kissed taste of redemption.
It’s delicious.




I will announce the winner of the lively place contest next post. I had over 300 entries, and that’s a lot to look at…but beautiful, insightful, inspiring. So, thank you.

And I forgot to add…the Rosie interview was beautiful. She was kind and intently listened, and we were so honored to be a part of her show. It’s been a beautiful thing to see awareness grow…to see attention brought to beauty, to differences, and to the incredible world of families who welcome any kind of child…regardless of how many chromosomes they have. Rosie has done a great job of representing…and we thank her for that!

Happy Hump-day! ~k


I want to be forever young.


Leave a Comment
  1. Your girls are just both so cute.

    And your cousin is BEAUTIFUL. :)

    Marla @

  2. Ah, I missed first post by seconds!

    I love seeing the pictures of you and your family at the beach. In Canada we don’t get much beach time but we are renting a cottage this summer and I hope to have our own little Isle experience while we’re there.

  3. I love beach days! We haven’t been since Julian has blessed our lives. Life with a preemie causes you to avoid things like sand. He’s such a chunk now and right where he should/needs to be… so we’re planning lots of beach trips these beautiful spring/summer days.

    I agree… let’s stay forever young.

  4. Anonymous says:

    As a person who has followed your blog for years, I am continuously impressed with how laineylove-ly,(Sorry, I cannot write love in your blog without adding Lainey to it… look what you have done!) and honest, your writing is.

    I have to laugh when I remember one conversation a couple of years ago, when you mentioned (beautifully, if I may add) how your father is gay, and the hilarious comments which followed. Your dad said something like “we have reached our record number of comments!!” and it was something like 24 comments… look now!! 100’s of comments, of positive feedback, all which you deserve, and which I’m sure you cherish. You have an even more gorgeous family then you did before Nella was born…

    Om Shanti, shanti, shanti.

  5. Kelle – I love the photos of your family! There seems to be such sweet happiness among all of you just being…together!!!! Thanks you for brightening my day!!!!

    Love the pic of Nella in her car seat with the doll- just sweetness and beauty!!!!!

  6. so glad you got a “do over” and that it was perfect!

    When I was reading Laineys album I saw that you mentioned that Brett came home from Rockford….where we live I wondered??? I assumed it was a coincidence but then today you mentioned Chicago…. So he works in our neck of the woods huh???

    So glad that you have family around you and that you are being blessed… you deserve it because you are amazing!!! Happy birthday partying to you all!!!

  7. such beautiful pictures!

  8. Nikki…yes, Rockford! That’s Brett’s hometown and we still have lots of Hamptons there. We travel there usually once a year.

  9. glad you got your do-over, we all deserve a good do-ever every now and then!

    Seeing all your pictures of your girls in their sweet dresses and hats gives me baby fever again…and my baby is only 5 months old! My husband is going to restrict my blog reading if you keep this up!

  10. love reading your days posts….
    makes me want to really learn to enjoy my life-my 5 kids, hubby, family, all of it.
    Thank you for inspiring.

  11. Beautiful post. Those hard days will come and go, but they always go. Hugs to you and your beauties.

  12. A friend of mine introduced me to your blog… I read Nella’s birth story last evening. God has gifted you in deep ways…with words and pictures. I love your authenticity in the midst of your pain. It’s captivating, heart-wrenching and beautiful…all at the same time. Following your blog will be a valuable journey for me.

  13. Brit Girl says:

    Ooh, grabbing chance to comment before they get into triple figures! Your Isle of Capri just looks so enchanting – glad it was exactly how you wanted it to be. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Looks like such a FUN filled day (and night). Your girls will have so many happy memories!

  15. I want magic boots to make me feel whole again. Im so in love with my baby girl but at the same time I feel so broken. Broken in every way, i want to be whole again.

  16. You have THE most beautiful family ever…seemingly just as much on the inside as on the outside.

    Your do-over was perfection…everyone deserves a do-over from time to time =o)

  17. Love the pics of your sweet girls. LOVE that I can picture exactly what it is like to be on IOC – because I’ve been there. And can’t wait to get back.

    Love hearing about the memories you are creating for your girls. Glad you had some family there to share it with.

    Jealous that you get to go there all the time. But then again, I do love my seasons. So, what’s a girl to do?


  18. I love the faces the kids are making in the running photos. Made me laugh out loud. Looked like a great get away.

  19. Oh the sunset can you not be at peace looking at that…just gorgeous! Love Laineys hat btw! Thanks for another wonderful post. Oh and we are about 20 minutes from Rockford…love that area! :)

  20. My in-laws live in Oregon IL, a tiny town close to Rockford, along the Rock River. We’re only an hour and a half away from them but it’s like a whole other world out there in the “country” 😉
    I wish I could spend a day at your beach. It looks so beautiful. I love the beach and ocean so much that I often wonder how I am still living in Chicago?! I truly ache for it. Perhaps it goes back to my growing up in Redondo Beach CA for the first 5 years of my life. All of my first memories are like Lainey’s- of running along the shore, digging in the sand…I am 29 but the memories are still so vivid.
    I love the picture of Nella smiling with the baby….she looks like such a cuddle bug :)

  21. How was Rosie?

  22. That last comment from “The Johansen’s” just broke my heart. I wish you were able to catch a glimpse of your future and see how wonderful it is going to be! So whole and complete with these precious gifts you’ve been given. We really are the lucky ones!

  23. Why does this post have me choking back tears? I think it was the song “forever young” that accompanied the pictures of you girls running/skipping/hopping across the beach. I love it. It looks like such a beautiful place to be.

  24. I love these pictures and the feeling in this post…so at peace and content…Kelle, I love, love, love Nella’s knit hat, could you PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do a post sharing your shopping secrets, favourite baby products etc…Everytime I log in, I am blown away by just how goldarn cute your girls are, ALWAYS. I’d love to find some of the outfits, hats, bonnets I’ve seen in your photos for my own girls. Anyhow, again and again, I love your blog, it gives me such GOOD feelings whenever I read. God Bless Your Beautiful Family….Hugs

  25. My family has a place like your Isle of Capri. We have been going there since I was small, and when people ask me about my happiest childhood memory, I can’t help but think of a million from there. And they’re still coming. It’s heaven on earth.

  26. It is so much fun to see your adventures. And your happiness. And your love. I love that!

  27. What a beautiful place….
    Our beach is that way with us…holds a special place.

  28. Another moving post…your girls are just a pleasure to look at. Having been just once to Naples I can see its a magical place and oh how I would love to go back. You are so lucky to have that as your ‘backyard’… Love the make-up face…just so sweet.

  29. Marie in NH says:

    I love how Lainey’s little tongue is always sticking out . . . especially in the beach jumping shots of you all! Delicious! I also love Nella’s little smile with her ‘baby’ . . . so, so cute!

  30. what an incredible magical day… your pics are breathtaking and make me want to go there so so so oh so bad..

  31. I’m a superhero with a magic vacation dress. I’ll loan it to you but beware, it will take you to where the wild things are and feed you to a shutterbug. Who knows, you may be into that kinda thing

  32. I’m running out of adjectives to describe your lovely and happy posts. Suffice it to say I love them all.

  33. Beautiful! Just beautiful!

  34. Mommy of Two Girls too says:

    Again.. beautiful, inspiring post!! I want to be forever young, too! 😉 That song always makes me teary, but its a good kinda teary.
    Have a happy day!


  35. I love that you got to make another beautiful memory at your favorite place. You will make many more.
    Kelle, speaking from experience, you will have breakdowns like the one you did at the wedding rehersal. They come at times when you least expect them. I have found that you need to feel them and get them out of your system and then move on to the happy and the good. Let yourself feel everything.
    Lainey looked adorable apply the lipstick. She is definitely a girly girl.
    I am so happy I found you. It has been good for me to know that what I felt 9 years ago was not wrong or shameful. I do not have friends with anyone who has a child with a disability, so they cannot relate to what I feel. Reading your words comfort me. Thank you

  36. AH – the makeover pictures are so funny and cute! So glad you and Emma could have a fun island jaunt! Love you guys! :)

  37. Oh…how i miss ioc! I enjoyed each photo and could feel a lump in my throat and the familiar lovliness of our sweet little place. I cant wait to get back there again…
    Grouper fingers and hot sauce baby…salty dogs and channel diving with killer sharks, lol and someone who cant hold in their pee…ha, ha. I had too.

    Loved this post best. Emma is beautiful. Happy magical bday!

    Love you kells bells.

  38. It’s really not fair that I’m 8 years ahead of you on our journey with our sweet boy, one of our twins, Braden, that shares that extra piece of something special. I want to have you jump over all that initial pain, and wondering and searching and redefining… To get to where we are. But as much as you feel that everything has changed, nothing has. Except that you have a new baby. A perfect, beautiful new daughter. I look back at those photos of the first year or so with Braden and I just want to wipe away those tears of mine that I had shed, I had NO IDEA what layed ahead. The love of my life had just been born and I didn’t realize it – not then. There is no hurrying up your journey, you’ll feel it all, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh, you’ll be strong, you’ll be weak. But one day you’ll end up here. HERE is where if they lined up all the babies that will be great doctors, football stars, brilliant scientists, models, engineers and Braden and said to go choose your baby I would run, desperate, to reach Braden. As you can not imagine your life bereft of Lainey so too can I not imagine any kind of life without Braden. One day your mind will reconcile with what your heart already knows. Hugs to you and smiles for you! Bethany

  39. Anonymous says:


    I love how you show life as such a blessing… our firstborn son was stillborn last August and we so terribly miss all these happy life moments! For us every day is filled with a longing… Enjoy each little smile, word, laugh, etc, etc, etc and keep your positive view on how blessed life is! I love it and you brighten my day…

  40. Sweet photos. Sweet post. So happy you cousins could enjoy such an enchanted time together! Yes, sometimes our growth is good to be marked…like the little felt marker increments on your doorframe that chronicle Austyn and Brandyn’s heighth through the years. I will never forget the first night after Nella was given to us…it was a long night…I cried too much…all night long…puncutated only by little bits of sleep…and in the morning, felt so bad that tears were her welcome. I realized and wanted to tell this precious gift in my arms that my tears weren’t because I didn’t like her, I was crying because I did!!! I could almost see in those deep almond eyes the tender question, “Why are you crying…don’t you like me?” And I wanted to say, “Poppa cries because he loves you so!” But morning came…and with it the light only love can bring. This week, I was reminded of that change when a dear friend at work who has been away, returned and learned of our new gift. She came with such a sad look on her face, and such a woeful tone in her voice, saying, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry…” And I put my arms around her, and though my voice trembled because I was so touched with her sincere sympathy, I told her, “We did sadness and we’re done with it. Now, we’re doing JOY!” And we are. “The heart stretched out by sadness, God later fills with joy!” I cannot wait to see all my presents this weekend…I will babysit, plan a romantic evening–I want them all to myself! Love u!

  41. Kelle, I am not sure how to express how much I adore your writing and your photos and your girls and your outlook on life…. I’ve mentioned it in a comment before and I am just stuck for any better words to tell you how much I earnestly await any new post. Today, though, after I just finished reading the comments- I always look for your dad’s even if I just skim through the rest- I need to tell you how amazingly lucky and blessed you are to have such a wonderful Poppa. I love my Dad, oh I love my Dad, but Poppa! Oh boy, if everyone were so lucky to have a Poppa like yours. And as far as babysitting, I was that girl in high school who coudn’t “accept” new families because I was so booked with babysitting jobs. I would JUMP at the chance to babysit your kids, but since I’m so far away, I guess Poppa will just have to soak ’em up. :)

  42. Thank-you!

  43. My favorite are the ones of you all running! Such happy thrills on the babies’ faces, and you two leading the way! Love it :-)

  44. WOW- it took me the exact (and I really mean exact) length of that song to finish reading this post…brought a tear to my eye and I dont really know why…a happy tear I think

  45. I love how when Lainey is really happy she has her mouth open wide and her tongue sticking out…makes me smile every time!

  46. I wanna go!!! :) Looks like a such a terrific time!

  47. Anonymous says:

    I was just about ready to slam my lesson plan book shut after a long long day and I decided to come and see if you posted because your posts always make me feel better.

    I am still going to slam it shut though. And go home and love on my babies!

    Thank you for making my heart happy. :)

  48. awwww… yay for redos :)
    And I love the make-up session…

  49. I want to be forever young too!!

  50. Anonymous says:

    How did you lose the baby weight sooo quickly?

  51. So Kelle is there anyone in your family who is not stunning..your cousin is beautiful! The picture of Lainey painting the lips of Rennie is so looks like she actually may know what she is a true artist! The look of total trust on Rennie’s face is beyond sweet. I think being with family is so healing..I read this once and do not even know who wrote it but I really liked it.

    “Other things may change us, but we start and end with family”

    So happy to see to see how happy you are..I am smiling after reading this post. ♥

  52. Anonymous says:

    Ahhhh…another sweet post! Like a creamy sweet dessert after an incredible dinner…thank you.

  53. You look amazing! Congrats on losing the baby weight so quickly.

    Your blog and photos make me want to move to Florida and live a beach life. Thanks for sharing.

  54. You have such a beautiful family, but more than that a beautiful heart….

  55. Lainey is so photogenic and Nella is absolutely beautiful.

    Wish I could have listened to the Rosie interview.

  56. I found you a few weeks ago..I just wanted to share something with you..I am a special needs teachers aid..right now I just sub but I have spent a lot of time in a class with 3 kids that have DS(my absolute FAVORITE CLASS BTW) also happens to be my little sister’s school so I’m there everyday to pick her up…some days are horrible and I’m just feeling totally blah, but when I hear the chimes of “Hi Adia” from those 3 littles it just makes me smile..I can’t NOT smile!!! they make my day and are such a joy…and they are FILLED with joy..and a bit of mischief lol… ok, some of them are filled with a LOT of mischief!

  57. The look on Lainey’s face while applying makeup is priceless!!! Is there anyone who can apply mascara without opening your mouth? It can’t be done!!! Or feeding your baby a spoonful of baby food without opening your mouth at the same time!!! :)

    And LOVE Miss Nella smiling. Did I mention I could gobble her up in one bite? I could!!!

  58. Kelle,

    Those pictures of you four running and jumping are so great. How quickly your posts inspire us! Sometimes I think that you’re our little “life coach”, constantly reminding us of the beauty that life brings, even in simplicity.


  59. I look forward to reading your blog- I check for new posts every day. You inspire me and touch my heart every time. Your beautiful words touch my soul and are so refreshing. You help me move past my fears and remind me to enjoy the small things. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  60. I like what Poppa said…”We did sadness and we’re done with it. Now, we’re doing JOY!” Tell, Poppa that is going to be my new mantra.

    Beautiful pictures, beautiful family. Love that you got your do-over.

  61. says:

    Do overs ROCK!!!

  62. WOW Kelle, Nella’s Eyes are dazzling and piercing blue I believe in her rainbow colored knit hat, love it, and she sports it most well, also love so much the pics of her and Lainey. But, my favorite Kelle, the pic of Nella smiling (the BEST) as you tell her the tales of the Isles, her smile is exuberant as if to say; just wait Mom, Nella gonna show you the Isles like you never seen them ….*warm smiles*

    Now Kelle, I hope You are taking time no, making time to pump them “twin girls” *giggles* to get ready? You know the ones you were showing OFF n UP n OUT on the Isles beach *winks n giggles*…(Isn’t great to let them loose without a bra when one is at the beach, they look great BTW) “the pumping twins”…lol… I hope the pump is moaning sweet romance for you as you ready for romance and Your Man~!~

    Cause, well, How lucky are you to have a Dad that will take charge a whole evening …So, Do take Him up on His offer to have His double bundle of beautiful, hugable loveable grand daughter’s, all to Himself…

    Enjoy Your romantic evening with You lover …

    Deborah, the Canadian Nurse

  63. But Nadia, mischief is the spice of life …*wink n giggles ..

  64. I love your face while you’re running through the sand. Not a care in the world – teaching Lainey that running through sandy puddles is how life is meant to be lived. Your story so enriches mine. And I wish Poppa would adopt me.

  65. I love your blog, your pictures, your take on life. Your girls are really blessed to have you as their mother.

  66. Kelle- I have a feeling that you will stay young for a very, very, very long time. Its just in your heart.

  67. Anonymous says:

    You are so amazing! I love reading your blog. You are truly inspiring. Your honesty is completely refreshing. And your photos are simply gorgeous.

    What a beautiful, blessed family you have.

  68. Thank you for this magical post! You definitely have special powers, Kelle.
    Thank you and Rosie for doing such a wonderful job…

    I enjoyed that video while having my little dancing session. I love Madonna!

    Loving the pictures all of you running 😀

    And today’s favorite quote is: “…all together on a Sunday afternoon…chasing my two girls through the salty craters of low tide, smiling…away from the rest of the world of stereotypes and pain and limitations.” You are going to do just that. You will see…

    Ask the Friend for love.
    Ask Him again.
    For I have learned that
    every heart will get
    What it prays for Most.

  69. I love love love how Lainey always has her tongue out when she’s running or concentrating :) She is so precious (Nella too – so beautiful!) :)

  70. Christie S. says:

    Kelle- I am so inspired by your blog. It is beautiful, and honest, and full of hope. I have only been following for a few weeks now, but I have been touched, and am finding myself changed. Changed for the better. For at times life gets messy, and hard, and it is so easy to get bogged down from the chore of keeping it all together. What I see in your words and your pictures is a reminder of the sweetness of life. The simple, sustaining joy of living in the present; leaving behind the regrets of the past and the worries of the future, and embracing the now. Thank you for sharing your heart. I have been blessed by it.

  71. Anonymous says:

    you make me want to call in tomorrow and play hookie and head for the beach, except our Oregon coast looks, acts, and feels nothing like your paradise. I laughed reading this post because when I first stumbled upon your blog you were writing about your trip to the Isle of Capri and Naples… and I couldn’t figure out where in the world you lived! I was pretty sure you were in America, but all the names sounded like Italy. Your pictures are like a great escape, thank you for the sun-break!

  72. I love that first picture of Rennie with the lipstick. So sweet! I see my own little lovely in her – imagining Ada at her age I am in love all over again.

    You’re boots must really be as magical as you say – mine only made me sweat and get blisters when we lived in FL!! When we moved to SF I got a pair of very classic Kenneth Cole eff-me boots and I love every sweat-free minute in them! Now, flip-flops around here are a different story 😉

    Thanks for the inspiration as my weekend begins…

  73. Oh those magic boots… I have a pair of my own. They sure can get a girl through some rough terrain. So happy you got your do-over… made all the more special sharing with family. I love love LOVE Lainey’s applying make-up face… too much cuteness.

  74. So it occurred to me as I was writing my nuggets last night that I participated in your lively places initiative (I make it sound like a grant proposal…) with my bit about my girl’s room. Thanks for throwing that out there. I have really loved what peeps have shared. Holy holy, friend, 300?! How to pick!

    Anyway, I adore the holding hands photos. And redemption at your Isle. So many memories to come. So many. I hope to be at that tiki bar one day! And if they try to kick me and my baby out, I won’t go. I’ll sing Shania even if there’s no karaoke! Swear.


  75. lightkeepersdaughter says:

    Did I read that right?? Poppa is gay?! I knew – I just knew there was more than one reason I was drawn to your beautiful self!

    I have to go back and find that post!

    May years ago now, the man I’d fallen in love with, married and whose child I’d given birth to, told me that he hadn’t been completely honest when we married…..that he was gay….

    He was my dearest friend, and the world’s best Daddy to our then 5-year old little girl – and I am so grateful that never changed.

    He passed away 23 years ago, when our daughter was 12 – we miss him most every day – and wish he’d been able to age along with us!

    But – this blog isn’t about me! :)

    I love today’s post. (just like all the other ones!) And my favourite pictures, today? It’s always pretty much impossible to choose – but, today – they’re the one of Lainey in her “whale of a day” T-shirt and floppy hat – and Nella laughing with her baby doll!

    Thank-you yet again……Rosemary

  76. ok thanks, I just spent the last who knows how long watching Madonna videos and hussying (is that a word?) over Pharrel (Give it to me video!)!!! :)
    You are gorgeous girlie and so is your art. I love coming here at the complete end of my day to enjoy the pictures, the beautiful words and music. Thank you for being you :)

  77. OMG, MADONNA?!!!!! Had to listen to it 3 times already. Love the ABBA backing track and (showing my age) I remember when THAT song came out, 1979, baby!

    And Madonna’s BUTT in that video…2 kids…in her 50’s?!!! Holy jealousy, batman.

    And the ROSIE interview, OMG, listened to THAT 3 times as well. Totally cried. It was great radio, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. She’s amazing…all heart and so courageous about what she said that she previously feared people with Down syndrome and now she has a son with Down syndrome, her girlfriend’s son, that was v. cool.

    Love the yellow crochet top that Lainey’s wearing and Nella cuddling her baby doll. And do you have any family members that aren’t gorgeous?!!

    Beautiful post – Forever Young…”youth’s like diamonds in the sun…and diamonds are forever.” Awesome anthem.

    – iColossus

  78. Where did you buy your magic boots? I need a pair. I need a pair that when I put them on, I speak perfect German, and can be in 2 countries at once!

  79. To be outed on a blog is to be “blouted,” I believe…lol. My magic boots stomp on anything that defines us by our differences–especially differences others perceive to be infirmities. We should be defined by our essence alone. For years, I worked with a lady who had two children, a daughter and a son. She talked about them both. I knew little bits and pieces of their growing lives. Years later, at a wedding, I had the joy of meeting them as she proudly led me to them, saying, “I want you to meet my kids!” While it was apparant, in meeting her son Jamie, that he arrived in this world with some “differences,” it wasn’t important…and I thought it so cool that she had never mentioned this “big thing” because, to her and the rest of Jamie’s family, it wasn’t the “big thing.” It didn’t define him or them. I hope, in those first sentences that seek to introduce our Nella, her sister or her family, the words speak of their essence, their energy, their affection, their beauty, their magic. What may be a curious “difference” to others is not their essence…it is who they have been all along. ‘kay?

  80. LOVE the pic of you running and jumping – you look sooooo incredibly happy! Isn’t it nice sometimes when you are not the one behind the camera? :)

  81. How is that book coming?:-) I can’t wait to read it!! I love the pictures! Also, thanks for connecting me with Lisa Lenard designs I just ordered my mothers day gift!! I can’t wait to get it. I hope you continue to heal and get do overs but I have to say I think you are going great!!!!

  82. Forever young…I wish I took pictures like you to capture all those young moments. My youngest is 13 and just got his first zit last night. When I told my college daughter about it she reminded me how my kids were getting old and growing up. Oh how I wish I could keep them forever young!

    I love you blog and rush to the computer each morning to see if there is a new post. Thank you for helping to keep this 51 year old grandma forever young!

  83. I read your blogg every day. Its so lovely and a inspiration for me who just starting to take pictures.

    What lens is your favorit?

    Helene from Norway who dreaming of the beach. Here its 41 degrees and the snow have just disappeared.

  84. Love the last picture. the face on the little boy is soooo cute!!!

  85. seriously the pic of lainey puttin makeup on rennie… adorable. it’s like a glimpse into the future when they are teenagers. priceless.

    so glad you got a “do-over” at your isle of capri. nella’s smile is magic, love her rainbow hat. makes her beautiful blue eyes pop! i think bright colors are nella’s colors.

  86. We have a beach near our house that is on Lake Ontario. We can see the shoreline that leads all the way to Toronto. On days that I go just to catch my breath I imagine I’m superman and the world is my own private adventure. Like I can soar across all that I find wonderful and have a perspective that is all my own.
    Sometimes it lasts all day… I do have my own perspective and the world IS my own adventure.
    Love to all birthday girls!
    Beautiful as ever…

  87. We have a beach near our house that is on Lake Ontario. We can see the shoreline that leads all the way to Toronto. On days that I go just to catch my breath I imagine I’m superman and the world is my own private adventure. Like I can soar across all that I find wonderful and have a perspective that is all my own.
    Sometimes it lasts all day… I do have my own perspective and the world IS my own adventure.
    Love to all birthday girls!
    Beautiful as ever…

  88. So this may seem weird (hopefully not creepy) but you were in my dream last night. I dreamt that my husband drove me all the way from Michigan to Florida just to meet you for 5 minutes. You were busy with about 500 other of your biggest fans but when we talked, it was as if we were best friends. Then we drove all the way back to Michigan.

    Is it ever strange to you? That so many people feel so connected to you but we are truly strangers? I would say that means you are a celebrity!!

  89. I love this cover of Forever Young. Do you know if its available on iTunes? Those kids sound so beautiful, esp with your pictures.

  90. Is Nella… smiling? Adorable!

    I don’t have many important geographical places to which I want to return (some new ones to explore, perhaps)… but there are time in my life that have embodied innocence and hope and magic.

    I get nostalgic, wishing away the day-to-day routine and the mortgage bill and doctor’s apts and dirty diapers and toddler tantrums…

    My husband proposed to me by the water, and when we sit there and watch the waves crash against the rocks, watching the power and vastness of nature, suddenly all the things in my life get put into perspective. When he and I have time to snuggle, or my kids and I are actually having a good day and making some wonderful memories and there haven’t been any major blowouts… suddenly everything is okay. I wish I could suspend those moments, hold onto them, bottle them for later.

  91. Do-overs rock. :) And that picture of Nella smiling? Completely made me melt. She is so sweet. Actually sweet doesn’t do her justice….she’s an angel. Love her.

  92. I love your Poppa

  93. Anonymous says:

    As always, your post was great but what touched my heart so deeply was your fathers words.

    So beautiful..

  94. Because of you, her life will be perfect. And because of her, yours will be too. I think she’s really fortunate to be born to your family and lovely lainey becos you guys make up Nella’s imperfection. Just wanted to give you some encouragement. Hope I didn’t say the wrong thing.

    Really love your blog and your pictures. :) the girls are beautiful!

  95. I’m so glad you were able to redeem your beautiful Isle. May it continue to be that symbol of beautiful normalcy and love as well as memories of past and future for your family. Cheers…

  96. Anonymous says:

    Everyone should have an “Isle of Capri” in their life. Beautiful and inspiring reflections.
    BTW, Poppa you rock!!!

  97. LOL Poppa, “blouted” I LOVE IT! :) Little did I know you and Kelle come back and chat on here. You need a little “chat” side bar here. Nevermind, I’d never sleep!!!
    I love that your co-worker never mentioned it. I never do about my son. If people catch on, great (he’s still young enough where it doesnt’ jump out yet, or I’m just used to him! lol) if not, that’s great too. Kris is KRIS and I love him just the way he is. :)

  98. You and your family bring joy to me everyday. As life presents itself to us it is easy to forget when little miracles happen. You do a beautiful job of noticing those moments! Your photos are stunning and your writing moves me. Thank you for your courage and transparency.

  99. Anonymous says:


    Once again, your blog words and pictures are beyond beautiful!!

    Have you seen this video?

    It is on You Tube and is from A Down Syndrome Appreciation Event in March of 2010.

    I could not get over how much the photographer looks like you!!

    Thought you might appreciate seeing another photographers work=)

    Have a great evening with that lovely family of your……

    Susan from Boston

  100. Even though I rarely comment these days I enjoy reading your posts as much as ever! Just wanted to say that the last picture is just pure joy!

  101. I would love a pair of your magic boots!! My “go to happy place” is very similar. Laying on a beautiful boat/party barge in the middle of ocean waters on an amazing, flawless day (by the way, I am also a size 4 in my happy place – a girl can dream!). All I hear is the sound of ocean waves mixed with a little Jimmy Buffet, just enough breeze blowing to keep me cool but can still feel the sun warming my skin. Awwwwwwww. Maybe one day!

  102. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful family and pix. What kind of camera do you use?

  103. you bring joy into my heart everyday when I read your blog, it lifts me up when I am down, I love hearing your daily stories and seeing your beautiful pictures….. thank you for sharing with us all. ♥♥♥♥

  104. Oh my! That last picture–the girls are just perfect miniatures of their beautiful mamas–the expressions match!

  105. As I sat down to read your blog, it would be the first time without kids at my side, my 4 mth little girl was sleeping, and the music from your blog drowned out my two boys who were likely fighting about something outside…so I was able to completely enjoy it all to myself. It made me smile, as all your posts usually do, but this time it reminded me that not everything goes as planned or as you may have envisioned it, but that you can always give yourself a second, third or more chances to get it right. Life is beautiful.

    p.s. how did you make such an amazing book for lainey on shutterfly?? It must have taken you forever!! Looks beautiful!

  106. I loved this post so much I read it twice.

  107. Poppa…I had to read backwards to see what “Blouted” was..I am still giggling. You remind me so much of my brother who I absolutey adore and he came out many moons ago to my family with me at his side holding his hand ready to go into battle to protect his lovely heart..but no need to fear, there was no such battle..I have a beautiful family. He is a beautiful man and when he was 48 he had a stroke..we almost lost him and I think I could not have survived losing him..would have been like losing half of my heart. But all is well now and I am so thankful that my little is loving up on him and he is spoiling her! You are an incredible man to raise children who are such free spirits and have Good. Solid. Hearts. Kudos to you sir. ♥

  108. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful Post! I was wondering about Lanie’s Bunny! Still alive? LOL

  109. I wasn’t going to post today. Only because I feel sooo repetitive. Until I read your dad’s post. I don’t know him and I <3 him! He is such a beautiful person. He reminds me a lot of my dad. He has me in tears. I just want to hug him, lol. You are truely blessed. Oh and I’m glad you got your repeat trip and it was perfect :)

  110. Are you going to post anymore of the lively place pics? I really enjoyed them.

  111. LOVE the picture of Nella and her (or Lainey’s)baby doll! So sweet!

    Enjoy the time with your family!

  112. I’ve never come back to read comments before but I did today.

    Can I just say….. I love Poppa!!

  113. Kelle, another thing I was thinking about. Because I know you have a TON of time on your hands with a 3 yr old, newborn, a smoking photography business and being interviewed by celebrities, lol. I was thinking an “index” or labels would be AWESOME on your blog!! Maybe you can assign Poppa the job or delegate it to someone. Just sayin! 😉 How is that for pushy blog reader?
    I would LOVE to read through your whole blog, the problem is I come here usually around 1 or 2 AM (because I am a vampire) and then stay WAYYYY too long! I’d love to read about “photography” one night, or “Poppa” another night or just “life” another. Hint hint! :)
    But if you never get to it, I’ll still be here reading! :)

  114. Tallcurlygirly says:

    Kelle –

    I am so happy that you had a redeeming day back at you favorite island. You deserve to refuel, to laugh, to get messy, and to crack-up laughing in the process. I used to have an annual “camp” for my niece in Annapolis, and our camp motto still holds true today: Grow old, never up! They are now teenagers and realize that life is to be savored. It’s awesome. (And I’m 39 and still loving the fact that it’s good to want to be forever young!!).

    I will admit that you AMAZE me – what you accomplish in a given week. I cannot believe that you basically have Lainey’s party’s done while managing 2 kids (newborn no less), your blog, and your photography business. I work full time and have a little girl turning 2 at the end of May and I’m just starting to craft the invitations, banners, and details. LOL. I’ll get there. Having a child has taught me to embrace being a B+ personality instead of an A+. I left that behind with my 20’s!!

    Peace and joy to you.


    Thank you for sharing your joy once again.

  115. i LOVE the photography… just learned about your blog and love it.

  116. I had a slightly blah day…but looking at your photos and reading what you wrote made me feel like I just got done frolicking through the sandy beach too! Love it! Thanks a million- you inspire me!!!

  117. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful photos! Love it. The beach is sooo beautiful. I’d love to live there. Your life seems so nice. God bless!

    Melissa H
    ps: Love Lainey’s little pink hat, cute.

  118. Thank you for telling this story so beatufully.I cried through the whole story. You told my story. My son Noah was born on January 20th with Down syndrome. Like you we were surprised. Reading your story was like reliving my precious Noah’s birthday. I have never been able to put that night or these feelings into words but you did it so perfectly. Nella is beautiful. Thank you for sharing Nella with us. I pray that Nella and Noah know what beautiful blessings they are.

  119. I love reading your blog. You are such a fantastic writer and photographer.
    Lainey-love and Nella-bean are such cuties. You really do have a gorgeous family! And Poppa is fantastic :-)

    Greetings from Germany!
    I will be in the Fort Myers area in one week and sure will drop over to the isle of Capri 😉

    Take care,

  120. We LOVE Isle of Capri! Such a great place… Awesome pix, per usual!
    Happy Weekend!

  121. I love the picture of Nella with the baby doll and how she’s smiling. You are such an awesome mommy with the girls and the pictures of you jumping around with Lainey are priceless, such wonderful memories for you all.

  122. Dianagoddess says:

    Your husband is as special a person as you are. How lucky your girls are to have you both and vice versa. How wonderful life is when you enjoy the little things it offers. Your great pics capture the true essence of joy. My spirit is lifted everytime I visit here.

  123. i love that last photo. you and lainey have the same look on your face! adorable!

  124. Is there a link to the Rosie interview….I would love to hear it!!!
    Another great post!

  125. I am just catching up on posts and am amazed by the beauty of your family (yet a gain!).
    I didn’t know you were once a teacher…As a teacher, I am curious…What made you leave the profession?

  126. Just wanted to let you know you have a bunch of photos missing from this post

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