Passport to Grandeur

Sometimes, when I awake long before the babies and the sky is still dark and the coffee is brewing, I’ll randomly click on an old, old post…to see my babies tinier, to remember something grand, to see how far I’ve come.

And this morning, I came to this one.

It was back in the day–just months ago–when my soul had only begun its stretching, when Holland and Italy were still grappling for my perspective’s destination. And I remember saying that, although “Holland” was wonderful, the part of the poem that says the pain of never landing in Italy will never, ever, ever, ever go away (yes, I think there are three ‘ever’s) really got to me. Because I don’t like being told I’ll never get to do something. And then when you go and add a never ever ever, well–Hell, No.

With all that said, it dawned on me today…I haven’t thought about that poem in months. Because I don’t feel at all like I’ve landed in someplace I wouldn’t want to be. In fact, it’s been nothing but Roman cathedrals and quaint side-street cafes so far. I’ve got the best of both worlds for, while the windmills of Holland may enlighten parts of me that need to grow–say, when Nella straggles a bit behind in milestones or when we have an extra worry here and there–the vast beauty of Italian landscape still bewitches me every day with her smiles and her almond eyes and the way she kneads my skin with her grasp when she’s trying to fall asleep. If you told me I haven’t had Italy thus far, I’d tell ya you’re crazy. Because I have both.

Italy pics compliments of my friend Laura, who just returned from her vacation

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Hello, Little Italy.

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And sometimes, I wonder if maybe my glasses are just too rosey. And, so I take them off and look at it all again– what we have, what we don’t have, the present, the future…and I’ll blink my eyes and refocus, taking it in without the glasses, and…yup…still looks good. I’m aware of what the future holds. I’m aware that raising children isn’t easy. I’m aware that Lainey will think I’m a bitch someday and will call her friends complaining about me…that my heart will drop to the bottom of my soul when she gets a license and steers her car onto roads that hold drivers that text and drink and run red lights. I’m aware that both of my kids will get made fun of…for being different, for being the same, for being too smart, not-enough smart, short, tall, fat, skinny, funny, nerdy, cautious, daring, compassionate, or what have you. I’m aware that birthing children means forever I will worry that I’ll lose them. That the pain of watching them hurt or struggle or be sad will consume me until I’m eaten alive. I’m aware that it is very likely, at some point, Nella will stop making the incredible advances she’s been making. That she will talk different or look different or struggle to make achievements we hope she will make. I’ve gone there–I have to go there–just to taste it for a second to make sure I can deal. And it might not taste like creme brulee’, no. But, that’s okay. If I have to go there, when I get there, my taste buds will be that of a sophistated epicurean–aware of all the hiddent hints of season and flavors many don’t appreciate.

But for now…there’s Italy. And, it’s a shame to walk through cobblestone streets surrounded by beauty and culture and wonder and not drink it up.

I have two passports to uncharted lands…what joy they’ve brought me so far. What joy they will bring me.

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Ha. Wasn’t expecting to write that tonight, but had to get it off my chest. Like writing it somehow proves to myself that yes, I know I could be sad if I wanted to. Sometimes, just to play devil’s advocate with myself–because Lord knows how fun that is–I’ll actually try to switch my paradigm for just a moment…to see what it’s like. I’ll try to wear the shoes of the sad girl, the mad girl, the this-isn’t-fair girl. And those damn shoes just don’t fit. Like when you try to make yourself cry and you close your eyes and think of something sad and play sad music and force yourself into tears like some sort of emotional laxitive–and you realize half way into it, you’re tryin’ way too hard. I’ll think for a second I’ve tapped into it and then I’ll laugh. Nope. I’m too far down this road of a better perspective to go back. And it’s not just about Nella. No. It’s about Life. This whole Nella thing is such a small part of a greater lesson–a lesson I am slowly applying in so many other areas.

And, for Heaven’s sake, would the preacher get off the damn pulpit and call it a day? I’m done, I’m done…I really am.

In lighter-hearted news…

Yesterday was Brett’s birthday. And, without really talking about it, we’ve kind of started this thing where, for birthdays and Father’s Day and Mother’s Day and what have you, we skip the presents to save the money and instead let the celebrated one choose something to do…a trip to the beach, Isle of Capri, a family swim, a picnic, some sort of outing, etc.

Brett was easy. He wanted a trip to the beach because, I’ve come to believe, he was a merman in a previous life. Not really, but his blood could very well be part sea salt because my man speaks Ocean very well. A storm was brewing so we didn’t stay long, but we did get an hour of making our girls very happy–which is a birthday present in itself for Brett.

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And Nella’s working on her sea legs…

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And his only birthday request? He wanted me to take Lainey to the dollar store and let her pick out what she thought Brett should have for his birthday. And he was adamant about it. Even called me in the store and said, “You’re not helping, right? You’re letting her pick it out all by herself?” And I answered, “Dude, I’m holding a sombrero, a bike horn and a poly-resin horse…what do you think?”

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And watching her in that dollar store? My cheeks were sore from smiling. Pure joy. Besides the fact the carpet smells a little bit like cat pee and the end caps are full of expired Cracker Jacks, we had so much fun on our little shopping spree. She meandered through each aisle, holding a growing pile of crap and I can’t count how many times she said, “Him gonna be so excited. Him gonna lub ‘dis.”

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And when we returned home, she wrapped every gift all by herself. Cutting a ski-jawed edge along cheap puppy paper, pulling long stretches of Scotch tape that got twisted and stuck to her fingers, rolling up the edges of the wrapped mess and attempting to close it shut in some sort of presentable manner.

And when Brett opened each present, she beamed so proudly. Of course he made over the poly-resin horse with all sorts of “oohs” and “ahhs.” And he loved the grandpa reading glasses she chose for him. And the water gun. And the beer coolie (okay, she pegged him there). And, once again, I was reminded how much the little things matter so very much.

And we’ve got the horse to prove it.

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And the best part? The beautiful card she chose for her daddy. It had a kitten on it. And it was pink. And, in lovely scrolled writing, it said…”For a Special Granddaughter.”

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Dude, we do birthdays up right.

A dinner at Brett’s mama’s put the cherry on top where, once again, we sang a round of “Happy Birthday”, dimmed the lights and watched as one of our blessed souls thanked their blessings for another year and made pretty wishes for the next.

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Happy Birthday, Daddy. Even though you’re right behind me reading this while I type.

As for the rest of the week…

Note to Self: Before you wear cheap sunglasses and pass them off as hip, maybe remember removing the $5 sticker. I’m just sayin’. Because after running errands a couple places, I returned to my car in the parking lot, shot a glance toward the rear view mirror to confirm that yes, my new sunglasses were as hot as I thought they were and…um, yes. They’re hot alright.

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So, the moral of this post can be summarized by something like this: Birthdays are cool. Dollar store crap is cool. And being told I landed in Holland when I was expecting Italy only lasted for a little while before I was bitch-slapped by the beautiful reality that life has a trillion trials, but it also has the potential for sheer wonderfulness and happiness and go-out-and-get-it grandeur. And my two little beauties can take me anywhere they want to go from the windmill-speckled spaces of Holland to the gondola-strewn streams of Italy.

Amen! Preach it, Sistah!

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Oh, church ain’t out yet, so just mind your pew there for one more second.

First, our happy place here has been nominated for the 2010 BlogLuxe Award. So please vote if you can. We’re in three different categories, so make sure you check Enjoying the Small Things for all three categories: Best Eye Candy, Blogs You’ve Learned the Most From, and Most Inspiring. Thank you so much for the nomination. Click on the button below to vote, and I’ll be putting the button on the sidebar here too (soon).

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Thank you, thank you!

And finally, we haven’t had a giveaway in awhile so how ’bout THREE things to giveaway?!

I’ll choose (random.org generated) three comments to win one of the following prizes…

One of the sun bonnets Nicole makes for my girls…

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(Winner can choose any bonnet from her shop, and if you order one this week, she’ll refund your shipping if you mention in a note to seller, you saw her bonnet here)

And two other winners will win hand-embellished flip-flops from my friend, Suzanne’s Snappy Soles.

Lainey’s been wearing her flippies since she was a baby, and I just got new ones last week.

Love me some nice beach feet.

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One winner will receive a skull & crossbones pair and one will receive a child’s ribbon bling pair. Winners will be announced next post.

Oh, we’ve got a nice rest of the week ahead. A quiet wedding on the beach tomorrow night for my friend, Poppa comes in, and Brett and I will set out on the first date in a long time Thursday for our anniversary. Sounds like Italy to me. Or maybe it was Holland. Regardless…it’s all good.

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(Her Cabbage Patch smile…love it)
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Comments

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  1. Not very often when I type LOL am I really LOLing. But… when I saw the Very Special Granddaughter card I was full on GOLing. Giggling Out Loud.

  2. I have totally been wanting one of those sunbonnets. Free shipping might just do it. :)

  3. PS. I too have purchased cheap sunglasses and left the sticker on. And I have a photo of me in it too! Except mine was of me asking a complete stranger to take my photo on the Brooklyn Bridge. And I didn’t notice the sticker until afterwards. I later photoshopped the (barely noticeable) sticker out of the photo.

  4. This might seem really random, but I have that sound clip from the Rosie radio show that you did about the Holland poem on my Ipod, and it always brings me back and puts things in perspective, and usually brings tears to my eyes. Love your blog-and the bday dollar store sounds awesome :)

  5. ::tears:: Laughter-tears actually. The kitty cat card put me right over the edge! :-) Thanks for the belly laugh!

  6. ErinsFoodFiles…Love the pic! Someday I’ll get to NY and take one of those. Maybe even with the sticker!

  7. I melted when you told me, the other day, of Brett’s birthday instructions. So Brett. As I have said before, that is who I saw first when I met him…a dad…because when I met him for the first time, it was at the Mexican Restaurant Flaco’s. You were done eating when we came to join you. We sat for awhile and chatted that awkward first chatting when you meet for the firs time. Then, you and he left…you had been there a long time already. But in a few minutes, in you walked…I asked why you returned and you told me, “Brett said you don’t get to see me very often so he wanted me to come back and be with you for your dinner…” He had me…he understood “dadding.” And ever since, I have seen the patient, gentle, un-rushed father who just “pools” with his children. That is why, I never worried or wondered about his “accepting” Nella…God chose well. Any dad who led his little girl to the wonder of untethered shopping in the aisles of the dollar store will be the perfect father for a magical daughter.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Like a lot of your readers, I came across your blog through a friend and the first entry I read was Nella’s birth story. At the time I was 8 months pregnant and was worrying, hoping, and praying that everything with my little one would turn out okay. I was, still am, so inspired by your outlook, by your love, by your photography, and your stregnth. I have since gone back and read all of your previous posts and it just confirmed that your are AMAZING!!! you are leaving such a legacy for your little girls…not just through the pictures that you take (which are breathtaking by the way), but through the attitude you raise them with. You make me want to shine a little brighter for my own kids and for that, I am forever grateful!

    Charlotte from NC

  9. I too have bought cheap sunglasses and left the sticker on them, not the price but the brand which isn’t expensive! Love the hats and especially the flip-flops, my kids and I live in them all summer long!
    kendra

  10. Anonymous says:

    I LIVE in flipflops and would LOVE a pair of those cute flops!

    Becky
    Beckomk@aol.com

  11. I love both the bonnets and the flip flops. My little girly girl would be in heaven.

  12. Kelle-you are awesome! I am so inspired by you I can’t even tell you how much! Oh and I also agree that Dollar store crap is cool-in fact I just spent $30 there tonight buying stuff for vacation! Can’t beat dollar coloring books and crayons! Have a wonderful week!

  13. Liz Obie says:

    You have my votes for sure on every single category! You bring great inspiration and so much of what you say I think every single day. You are truely amazing!

  14. That Dollar Store birthday is just awesome!

  15. I second these comments. I was literally Laughing Out Loud! This was great! I so look forward to your posts! You and your family are SUCH an inspiration! You can count on my vote!

  16. You go girl! Hayley and Baby Elly from Texas are casting our vote NOW!!

  17. I love the idea of foregoing the presents to do something instead. Seems like a great idea and you still get exactly what you want :)

  18. Kelle – you have a way with words that just makes things right with the world. I adore your blog. I love your pictures and dream of the day where I can spend my time on the beach with my family. Until then I will watch you live my idea of the perfect life and continue to be inspired by you daily. Thank you for sharing your world with us!

  19. Preach on, sistah! You totally deserve Holland AND Italy and especially the award for Most Inspiring Blog (amongst other categories, of course!) Couldn’t agree with you more about your thoughts on life and your love for your girls. Tulips forever!

  20. I laughed and cried throughout this post. I love the Dollar Store birthday presents. What a great daddy he is.

  21. I love your blog… so many of your posts perfectly sum up “mom-dom” Enjoy your Holland/Italy bliss!

  22. Anonymous says:

    AMEN AMEN AMEN and Alleluia!

    That birthday card was too stinking funny! REALLY FUNNY!! I would have LOVED to have seen Brett’s face! What a great daddy!

    And I’ll head on over to vote……..just tell me you’re still working on that book of yours and I’ll have my 50 copies in time to wrap for Christmas presents!

  23. Oh Kelle, I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, reading your blog! It makes my heart sing everytime. And especially letting Lainey choose the present/s and the Granddaughter card made me smile, but I couldn’t stop myself from LOL (literally) when I saw the price tag on your sunnies….too funny! Thank-you for writing it straight from the heart, you totally inspire me! :)

  24. Oh, how I miss my daugther saying cute things like “him gonna lub dis” Toddler talk is the best.

    Your blog entries always give me the warm fuzzies.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Oh – and forget the giveaways – just send me those girls! πŸ˜‰

  26. Lindsey U. says:

    I am in love with your blog. Thank you for sharing your life in a public way so others (like me) can benefit.

  27. you inspire me to be a more gentle, loving, patient mother. you also inspire me to be more spontaneous in my mothering and my children are loving it!

  28. I laughed and laughed at the kitten card until my soon to be 3 year old came over to ask what was so funny. I said “This little girl chose a grandaughter kitten card for her dad” to which he replied “that’s not funny, I love kittens!”.

  29. I, too, LOLed at the bday card. So sweet.

  30. this is my favorite post you’ve written in a long time. while i love looking at your beautiful pictures and seeing your picture-perfect life, i appreciate your honesty and realness. no matter what happens, you guys will make it through stronger. you have such a wonderful support system. and even if Lainey does hate you at one point, she won’t be able to deny that you love her. :)

  31. I just love your blog and your spirit and perspective. I always read your blog first!

  32. love the “for a special granddaughter card” ahaha. i just bought a card for my brother’s eighth grade graduation that said “for a beloved auntie.” he was confused, to say the least.

    love your blog, even though i’m seventeen, not a mother, i find it so touching and inspiring. plus your photography skillz, wicked awesome.

    and last post you mentioned going to captiva? i was there early may. favorite place ever. that trip totally changed my outlook on life. but legit, yahgottago for the day, even though its not capri, it’s still pretty awesome.

  33. Anonymous says:

    OMG!!! YOU ARE SO THERE!!WELCOME TO ITALY!!
    YOU’RE OFF TO GREAT PLACES!!!

  34. I’ve been reading your blog every single day since Nella was two weeks old. I think you’re starting to sound more like your ‘old’ self – even though I didn’t actually know that side of you. The way you deal with life is inspirational. Thank you!

  35. I would love to have a pair of cool flipflops and I’ve got a very adorable little girl in mind for that bonnet. I love the way you dress your kids. Too cute!

  36. I voted! I hope you win! Your blog is all of those things and so much more! I get so excited when you update:)

  37. First I have to say I love your pictures all the time, but today I just adore the girls…how sweet are they! Ya know, you truly define the “life is what you make it” saying that many parents tell there kids as they are growing up. You are truly inspirational.
    Now as for Brett’s birthday wish…awesome, my favorite is the grandpa reading glasses. I can only hope that when my daughter gets older my husband takes her to the dollar store to shop and load me up on birthday goodies from the heart, everyone knows they’re the best gifts.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I was reading your post, thinking it was all so cute, ’til I read about the kitty card. Then I laughed and laughed until tears came to my eyes. Gotta love little ones!

    Valerie

  39. How much do I love the Holland/Italy reference? I have only been reading for a few weeks. At my church, I work with a parent support group called “Living in Holland,” because of that story. :)

  40. I loved it all. Every word, every picture.

    And my baby would look extra cute in one of those sun hats. πŸ˜‰

  41. Oh man, for just one ounce of the talent that you have in your little pinky for writing and taking pictures — that is all I want! This is seriously one of my favorite posts of yours (not even including the giveaways but of course, they are nice too!) EVER! Bless you, bless you, bless you! You and your family make me smile, laugh, cry, love, live, and everything else in between! Thank you so much!

    Love,
    Angela

  42. i voted for you.
    i laughed SO MUCH when i red about the card lainey chose. so much :) thanks for that.
    and nella is undescribebly beautiful in the last picture :)

  43. Cutest sandals ever. I love the skulls and cross bone ones.

  44. You take the most beautiful pictures of your girls. Beautiful family.

  45. Very sweet post. I love your positive perspective, always. Those flip-flops are darling!

  46. These pics are so cute. Would LOVE the flip flops or bonnet. SUPER cute.

    Italy, Holland, it’s all Europe :)

  47. Oh my goodness. The dollar store trip made me LOL. The card Lainey picked rocked big time. LOVE her.

  48. The granddaughter card is STILL cracking me up.
    I think I’ll take my kids to the dollar store for my husbands birthday, what a sweet and fun idea!!
    I went back and read the post you linked to – I needed to read that, and todays. You make me teary, girl! :) In good ways, of course.

  49. I remember posting on Nella’s birth story that what I thought was through that door you’d been given the key to was….truth. It seems you found it. I love your attitude and I’m glad you’re loving Italy and Holland. Living and loving life is what we should all do. And the beret on Nella….made me chuckle out loud.

  50. I cried from laughing too much at the “special grandaughter” card. I have a little girl that was born one month after Nella and I love you blog.

  51. the card got me too! too funny! love your life perspective. it’s beautiful with the rest of it

  52. Your family sure does know how to celebrate! Happy Birthday to Brett. I think that birthdays such as the one you guys did for him are so special. It isn’t the gifts or the cake; everything behind a birthday is the thought put into it. It’s the fact that you’re celebrating someones life, and that in itself is so special.

    The road isn’t without speedbumps and roadblocks, and it never will be, but it’s great that you can accept that and still appreciate what also has been given to you. Nella is a blessing and a gift, just with a little something extra. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, she was meant for your family, Kelle. Every cells, every smile, every part of her was crafted to fit into your family.

    Your blog inspires me in ways I can’t image, you bet I’m voting for you!

    Have a great week.

  53. I busted out laughing about the birthday card!!! And was really touched about Lainey’s bday gifts to her Daddy.. SO PRECIOUS. Such a good idea to make her feel joy too!

  54. Love love loveeeeee your blog posts! Im loving the flip flops too!

  55. Love love love your blog!

  56. Just had to post after I was in hysterics over Lainey’s trip to the Dollar Store. I was laughing so hard that my husband wanted to know what was so funny and, of course, after reading it to him…he was laughing pretty good. Thanks for sharing your life with all of us.

  57. Hilary B says:

    I literally laughed so much I was crying during all the birthday shenanigans. “Him gonna lub dis.” Ahhhh, I can just hear it. And the card!!!

    Happy birthday, Brett! Such a good daddy deserves such good gifts! :)

  58. Anonymous says:

    oh what a beautiful post!! the pictures and words are perfect! the card=hilarious!! what a wonderful family, all of you!! so glad lainey and nella have the 2 of you for parents!! and what a great poppa they have as well. i have voted for you!!!
    ~~Hilary~~

  59. I think I’ll be taking my little one to the dollar store next week. glad Brett’s birthday is a week before my hubby’s :-)

  60. Hi Kelle! I live in Birmingham, AL. A friend of mine sent me your birth story of Nella – it touched me in ways I didn’t know I had. Since then, I can’t stop reading your blogs…..from the music playing, to the words & feelings & photo’s that have come to life on my computer – your life is an inspiration to me! All the way from Birmingham, AL – SALUD!

  61. I love the dollar store shopping spree and laughed so hard at the lovely card she chose! Really enjoy your words and pictures! Thanks!

  62. You have my vote, as often as they will let me enter it! I cried when I went back and read your “setback” post. I think we all have those days, regardless of our circumstances, and it’s amazing to see how much we can grow and learn, and then look back and laugh at those “bad” days.
    I laughed my ass off (can I use that language here?) when I saw Brett’s bday card. That is priceless!
    Your blog defidenlty is inspiring Kelle, to remind all of us that we should all enjoying all the joys and trials that life can throw at us.

    PS I would Love a pair of those flipflops!!! :)

    Leah
    http://www.lovelifeandmommyhood.blogspot.com

  63. I love the birthday card! That is the best idea! Lainey has great taste!

  64. You have the most beautiful blog!! Love it!

  65. I discovered your blog about a month ago and I am totally hooked. You are such an inspiring writer and I love your pictures! Thanks for giving me something to look forward to!

  66. What a fabulous way to celebrate a birthday. Brett’s one special dad, and Lainey’s gift selections were deliciously random. Love it! I’ll bet there was lots of laughter during the gift-opening fun.

  67. I’m not unique in saying that I love reading your posts. I check everyday and you’ve really been delivering the goods lately! :) I sat here tonight cracking up as I read about your Dollar Store trip, Brett calling you and seeing the card your precious girl picked out. Just when I think she cannot possibly be any sweeter, she out-does herself!

    Nella’s beautiful head was made for hats. She’s gorgeous.

    Fabulous, story-telling photos as always. Thank you so much for sharing your day with me, again.

  68. That card almost made me pee my pants I was laughing so hard. Happy birthday to your Hubs! Thanks for reminding me every day to enjoy the small things!

  69. Cassie Spencer says:

    I totally love those flip flops. I might just have to get them if I don’t win, for me and my little girl. PS Love your blog!!

  70. I LOVE the card Lainey got for Brett! I was seriously cracking up! I also love DOING something fun with the family instead of buying some present that will be forgotten after a while. I think events and memories are what we will remember not the things we recieved! Great post!

  71. ive done the same thing with some cheap sunglasses. the glasses are always soo cool that they have to be worn right away–why would they have a tag on the glass?

    and i LOVE that card Lainey picked out. perfect.

  72. Seriously. I just went from tears to full-blown laughing in this post. Reason #574 why I love your blog!!

  73. Whitney S. says:

    I love reading your blog. It is so heartwarming to see pictures of your sweet family. You are an amazing photographer and have such a way with words. :)

  74. Going to the dollar store for Brett’s birthday totally cracked me up. Such a cute idea..I love it!

  75. I voted! Seriously, your pictures bring me to tears, your words are a reminder to enjoy everyday things, and I happy cry pretty much every time I read your blog. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  76. Anonymous says:

    Love that Brett made sure you were letting Lainey pick out the gifts…to sweet!

    Love the crochet hat on Nella & love the cabbage patch smile!

    And I laughed so hard I tinkled when you posted about running around town with the $5 price sticker on the new sunglasses. Totally something I’d do!!

    Jen G.
    Indianapolis, Indiana

  77. The Dollar Store story made me cackle so hard, I won a spectacular look from my better half. *sigh* Oh, that is so priceless. I’m glad that you’ve decided not to worry about where you land, and to just enjoy the ride. It sounds easy to achieve in theory, so why is it so damn hard in actual practice?

    Good luck on the blog award!

  78. LOVE the card, that is just priceless … well if it wasn’t because it was $1 it would be priceless.

  79. Jasmine says:

    Amazing as always! My two year old son was looking at the pictures with me and saw Nella in her bonnet and said, “oh, look!” Happy Birthday Brett!

  80. Can I steal Brett’s dollar-store idea? I love it…and I love Lainey anticipating how much her daddy is going to love a fabulous poly-resin horse. (When I was in second grade, I made my dad a very clunky penguin out of clay in art class because we lived in Naples, and he hated hot weather. I figured he would LOVE the penguin because it would remind him of cold weather. I congratulated myself on my brilliance for weeks…so I know that “Daddy-is-gonna-love-this” feeling. There’s nothin’ like it!)

    Happy, happy!

  81. Anonymous says:

    I love getting online and seeing a new post!! Happy birthday to Brett!! How lucky your girls are you have you all!! I can’t wait for pic’s of the girls with Poppa! You are such an inspiration for all parents. You guys just seem to have so much fun as a family. Enjoy Italy, it looks delish!!

  82. I was so pleasantly surprised to sit down tonight, after my littles were in bed, to read a new post from you! I sure needed to hear some positivity at the end of this crazy day. And, as usual, you delivered. Keep preachin’ cause you sure do minister to us! :)

  83. Love the birthday idea Brett had! I can only imagine how much fun that was for Lainey!

    The card made me seriously laugh out loud! Adorableness!

    Have a happy week!

  84. That post was absolutely hilarious! I think it is so sweet that she picked out those gifts all by herself :-)
    When I saw the first bonnet picture I thought, wow, I need to get my daughter one of those! So I am really hoping to win one, but if not I will definitely have to look into if she ships to Canada.
    Thanks again for this window into your life!!

  85. First, although I LOVED the Holland and Italy analogy when i first heard it, I love what this post says about the two destinations even more! I LOVE you Kelle Hampton. We’ve never met and I’m still claiming you as a best friend! Second, I love love love the birthday present idea! My husband’s birthday is next weekend and I’m so very excited to let our 2 year old pick out his card and presents at the dollar store! What a perfect, fun, beautiful idea! I loooove it! A perfect idea for a segment on your Oprah show, which I’m sure you’ll get!

  86. I am always inspired when I “visit” you!

    And I love those bonnets! My Annelise would be scrumptious in them.

  87. I actually LOL’d at the card too :) Loved this post.

  88. Loved this post. I was giggling at certain parts and read some sentences out loud because everyone was asking what was so funny. Thank you for sharing.

  89. love your blog, so inspiring and full of joy!

  90. I must say that I have never ever ever ever been let down by one of your posts. This one has to be one of my favorites. LOVE the dollar store idea and the b-day card. Brett is one lucky (or should I say special) Granddaughter.

  91. Laughing at the “granddaughter” card!! How cute that he wanted Lainey to pick out his stuff! She did a great job!

  92. I just read this to my husband and we both had a great laugh. Thanks for the smile!

  93. I could relate to so much of what you’re saying. As for me, I tend to go through all of the emotions. I will tell you it gets harder as they are older…because more is expected of them. When they’re only a few months old, they are not that far off from “normal,” as they get older the gap widens. I do great day to day. Being around Graham is the best thing in the world. He is so happy and he’s my best little bud. Then we go to a party and all the other little 2.5 yr olds are speaking in sentences, and it hits me. Sometimes I have a good cry, then I push it out of my system because it’s not productive to dwell on. I do know that it will be harder as he gets older, then I have to face how other kids will treat him, etc. Right now he’s 2, so everyone loves him. I am relishing this time of pure acceptance! By the way, here’s my fav quote, I’m sure you’ll love it:

    Happiness is to be found along the way, not at the end of the road, for then the journey is over and it is too late. Today, this hour, this minute is the day, the hour, the minute for each of us to sense the fact that life is good, with all of its trials and troubles, and perhaps more interesting because of them.

    – Robert R. Updegraff

  94. love the flip flops! so cute!

  95. love love love your blog! its in reading your blog that I am reminded just how gorgeous life really is. Helps me keep things in perspective after a long day at work and coming home to a (still) messy house, that what really matters is that smile that awaits me from my one year old when I walk in the door. Thanks for reminding us that life is beautiful.. even when its messy :)

  96. By the way, I LOL’ed at the grand-daughter card!!! HILARIOUS!!

  97. Shari H says:

    Love how Lainey shopped for her Daddy. The card was the icing on the cake for me LOL!!!!!! Nella’s smiles are just so sweet. Glad Brett had a wonderful birthday.

  98. Kelle ~ love your writing and your style!! Just recently found your blog and I have been going back and reading your past years… your kids are precious and adorable.

    Love what you do for b-days – loved the card Lainey picked! I guess I need to let me kids do that instead of letting them choose from the two I pick!

    Thanks for the inspiring words!!

  99. Kelle-
    I’m sitting here nursing my 9th child. My oldest is 17. I have a busy, busy life (obviously) but I would like nothing more than to sit all day and wonder over my newest little one. When I only had a couple little ones I was so wrapped up in the next milestone, the times to come I didn’t enjoy the moments/ages they were in. You do and you will be glad in future years that you did.
    You are right, the capacity your children will have to hurt you (on purpose and by accident) is huge BUT the love and happiness to make it through those moments is huge too.
    P.S. My 4 year old knows who Nella and lainey are by sight now πŸ˜€

  100. It feels better than Christmas to find yet another new post this week. I love how reading your words has me go from tears thinking of my own journey in Italy & Holland… to laughter… real milk-out-the-nose laughter… with the pink card & dollar store goodies Lainey picked out. Brett sounds like such an amazing Dad… Happy belated Birthday to him!
    Cheers,
    Kate

  101. Hi Kelle – I stumbled across your blog not long ago, and I can’t get enough. You are a beautiful writer with the most beautiful family. Thank you for sharing your family’s story. You’re more inspiring than you’ll ever know!

  102. P.S. I just had to say (after reading ooooollldddd posts) that I like the brunette look on you better than blonde. Just in case you were wondering what a random mom is S. TX thought of your hair πŸ˜€

  103. ok I’m going to vote right now! And I LOVEEEEE those flip flops!!! I hope that hyperlnk is a blog store or etsy! I need me a pair of those!
    I’m with you on the Holland. I think it’s a poem to help people with the initial shock, is my opinion. However we forget as parents that OUR dreams aren’t always our KIDS’ dreams. Our “typical” kids could grow up to be cab drivers or work a McDonald’s. NOT that there is anything wrong with that, but the point is, it’s their life and not ours. We are just here for love and guidance. :)
    Kristi

  104. AngelaH says:

    “I’m aware that birthing children means forever I will worry that I’ll lose them. That the pain of watching them hurt or struggle or be sad will consume me until I’m eaten alive. “

    This completely speaks to me tonight. I love reading your blog and find your girls beautiful. Thanks for writing what I needed to read.

  105. Debbie T says:

    Love the blog, really inspiring!

  106. and I was just going to ask you where you get the adorable bonnets, now I just have to convince my hubby to let me buy one…

    I have to agree that Holland has its perks. Although disappointed at first you end up enjoying things along the way. One of my twins was born with a congenital heart defect and an undiagnosed syndrome 6 years ago. Knowing during my pregnancy led me nowhere but to depression during what should have been one of the happiest times of my life. You were a lot more accepting of Nella than I was of my son the first few weeks. He proved to be a fiesty little man and everyone that met him ended up falling in love with him, as I did during his first few months. He passed away not long after his 3rd birthday but those 3 years, although very stressful and hard, and some of the best 3 years of my life. He led us to many places and people that we have come to include like family and taught me and many others more than we can ever imagine. You’re doing an unbelievable job! I love reading updates on Nella and comparing her to our new little prince, the same age as her. Honestly, I think Nella is quite advanced. After reading about her being propped in the Boppy I tried it with Kovi, he toppled instantly but he did get my kids to laugh.

  107. Oh my goodness, did I need this post. Not because I needed the giggle at the birthday card, or the scrumptious pictures of your girls (even though I did) but because I posted the whiniest pity party post this week about my kid’s food allergies and how that makes life hard. And you are so right, that I need to suck it up and look at things differently. Because you know what? Dairy-free sorbet and gluten-free bread are blessings in disguise. Thanks. I needed this one.

  108. I keep forgetting this! Brett’s mama has some STRONG STRONG genes!!!! She and Brett look EXACTLY alike and the boys look JUST like them too! WOW! :)

  109. Such a great post!! I laughed out loud for the sunglasses one!! But if anyone can rock it out it would be you. Once again I feel inspired and moved by your blog. Thank you.

  110. I read your blog religiously (and yes, I will indeed be voting for you), and love all of your posts, but this was truly one of my favorites. My story is very similar to yours, but I’m just a year further down the road. And I’m happy and blessed and wouldn’t change a thing. I think people think I’m nuts sometimes because I’m not more devastated over my son’s DS. Sometimes I do what you do and take a step back and evaluate if I’m living in denial, but nope, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for so I’m going to spend my time enjoying my family because I have the two greatest kids ever and wouldn’t trade them for the world. Am I scared of the future, sure, but I’m not going to let that paralyze me.

    Being a parent is so hard, so thank you for always reminding me to ENJOY it all when I’m running out of patience and energy. You are an inspiration.

  111. As always you Rocked this post! Love love that we got three post in three days! Amen Sister, Holland/Italy you are so there baby! Love your inspiration that you continue to give me to be the best momma I can be! Living life big and loving even bigger! You Rock Kelle! You defintely got my vote! I’m hoping you go all the way to Oprah! You are the bomb! And O’ my aren’t those bonnets way to cute, and the flip flops they are so bling and adorable. Ordering some for my 3 1/2 year old for sure! You Rock! O’ and enjoy your date night and Happy Anniversary!

  112. Kelle- I have been reading your blog for sometime now, because of the suggestion from a friend, and I absolutely LOVE to read about you and your family! I have a little girl that is 13 months old and think of her each time you write a post! I also must admit, I aspire to be like you when I grow up…well, I am already quite qrown up well into my 30’s, but a girl still can dream, can’t she?

  113. I just want to say that your blog moves me…in such a way that I can only read it alone because my hubby always says that he will never understand why I want to read something that makes me cry EVERYTIME. I just adore your blog that’s why! You are so eloquently sincere and your pictures are divine. Thank you for sharing this with the world.

  114. STOP MAKING ME CRY. You can make it up to me with a pair of those awesome flip flops-its really the least you can do.
    Since you are so wise, I need some advice…My oldest went to her first college class tonight. I want to wrap her in one of those hand crocheted blankets and snuggle her in my bed for the next 20 or so years-do you think that is too weird?? Enjoy your babies-time flies!

  115. So much fun reading your stories! love the dollar store idea!! Ever since I read the holland poem on your blog I have been following the authors blog.
    Thank you again for a smile and I am off to vote!

  116. I really enjoy your blog!!Yours is the only one I follow! I just had my 3rd baby a month after yours so its interesting to watch them reach their milestones around the same time …like sitting with support with a boppy pillow!! Best of luck to you and your fam!

  117. We’re expecting our little girl in August, and a sun bonnet would look lovely on her I bet.
    P.S. Everytime I see a picture of your Nella I smile.

  118. A great post! I laughed and enjoyed it a lot! You are inspiring….good luck on winning one or all three of the blog contests…..i have voted for sure!!

  119. LibaryGirl62. Go drive up to her college, wrap her like a baby and take her home! ha ha. I can’t IMAGINE being far away from either of my girls and yet I know how proud that must make you to see how far she’s come!

  120. my daughter & i would love love love those flip flops!!!

  121. I love the Dollar Store idea! The card Lainey picked out made me laugh out loud. Sounds like it was a perfect birthday.

  122. I love the Dollar Store idea! The card Lainey picked out made me laugh out loud. Sounds like it was a perfect birthday.

  123. I voted for you in all three catagories because I ADORE your blog! I loved Lainey’s pick’s for her daddy’s birthday, but my personal favorite were the grandpa glasses!

  124. that card is the funniest thing! Such a great birthday idea…him gonna lub dis :) awesome!

  125. I laughed REALLY hard at the “birthday” card and then giggled pretty good at the sunglasses! Thanks for bringing a ray of sunshine to a rough week (and yes, I know it’s only Tuesday!)

  126. Christine says:

    OK, the beret is killing me! I can’t stand the cuteness!! The card made me laugh out loud! I needed that. Can’t wait to take my girls to the $1 store for hubby’s Christmas gifts! Great idea!

  127. Wow! You are an inspiration to me. I LOVE reading your blog and it helps me to remind myself to enjoy every minute with my family. I try to realize my daughter will not be little for long so I spend as much time as possible with and not get angry or annoyed with the daily tasks. Thank you! You are what I needed!

  128. I think your blog is amazing and very inspiring. I would love to read your book. Both of your girls are perfect! Awesome giveaway too! PS I also married a mermaid! :)

  129. My husband and I always go to the chitzy beach stores with $5 bills to pick out dust-gathering gifts for each other! Such fun little reminders of the simple things in life.

  130. Kristen Rapp says:

    I will vote for this blog, and for you to have a show on Oprah’s network! You are an amazing mother, and your words inspire me daily.

  131. I am in love with the dollar store idea! I am going to have to do that!

  132. all that and then the $5 sticker….i nearly fell off the couch laughing from the emotion of it all…

    those flipflops are to die for.

  133. Love Nella’s little green dress!

  134. i haven’t laughed so hard reading a blog in awhile. The cat pee…special granddaughter card…$5 shades…!! :) Love it all.

  135. I LOVE this post…especially the part about “Holland.”
    A little more than 8 years ago, when I was 22, I was expecting a nice trip to Italy when I got thrown on a plane that took me to Holland.
    And wow did it throw me for a loop.

    I’ve learned a lot from being his mama. I’ve changed. I’ve grown. He has made me a better mom than I think I would have been had he been born healthy.
    He is amazing and I can’t wait to see what he teaches his baby sister about life and differences and being kind to all people. She is a lucky, lucky girl and my husband and I are lucky parents.

  136. Love this post – can’t wait till the next birthday rolls around in our family! Dollar Store here we come…

  137. I have only been reading your blog for about a month but I just want you to know it has become my absolute favorite (and I read a lot of blogs…) I get excited every time I see a new post. I love your writing, your photos, everything. It is amazing to read something positive and full of joy everyday. Thank you for sharing your family with us.

  138. tomorrow, my daughter who remains diagnosis-less has ear surgery. i have mixed feelings about it. and your words made me cry, and then they made me laugh. and it was EXACTLY what i needed. thank you.

  139. Heather says:

    LOVE it!!!

  140. LOVE your blog! You are so inspiring!! I also love the idea of taking the kids to the dollar store to buy Dad’s bday gift! So cut!

  141. I love the champagne sating headband of Lainey’s! I need to take style advice from her!

    My 4 yr old son likes to buy gifts from the Dollar Store too, it’s cheap and the reward he feels for giving them is so worth the $1.50 on a bunch of faded, plastic flowers for Grandma….

  142. I absolutely LOVE the way you celebrated your hubby’s birthday! The card…hillarious! I seriously laughed out loud.

  143. Your blog is just what I need some days. Throw in a contest and its even better. I will vote because I truely believe all those categories your blog fits.

  144. I absolutely love the idea of letting your daughter pick out whatever she wants for your husband’s birthday! What a fun idea! And the granddaugther card…so hilarious!

  145. Definitely LOLd at the granddaughter card. Hysterical. Brett seems like such a sweet husband and Daddy. And I’m totally taking my kids to the dollar store for an afternoon activity soon. Good idea!

  146. KCanada says:

    Kelle you know you inspire us – you teach us so much. But today’s post has me inspired to do something very special tomorrow. I am taking Natalie (my 3 yr old) and we are going to buy our Daddy some awesome gifts at the Dollar Store! YOU HAD ME FALLING OUT OF MY CHAIR…the card did me in!! How fun…can’t wait to see what she picks out!

    You are so right – I think many of us are actually in Itay, but have fooled ourselves that we are in Holland, or even worse. Thanks to your inspiration, I CHOOSE to be in Italy.

    Keep preachin’ sistah!!!!!! Love your thoughts.
    ~Kathy

  147. i was literally LOLing at the granddaughter card! Lainey reminds me so much of my daughter! They are right around the same age too!

  148. I enjoy reading your blog. My perfect 3 year old son has CP so I have the whole Holland thing going on too. Love the dollar store birthday shopping. What a great idea.

  149. Italy..Holland.. its all beautiful… As are your children =) thank you for letting us peek into your lives.

  150. Anonymous says:

    So, the first and last pictures of Nella…awesome! And I laughed totally out loud with the birthday card! The dollar store gift idea is great, I never thought of that! Totally doing it though from now on! Karen

  151. Kelle, you seriously crack me up!! Not only are your words inspiring and your outlook on life admirable but you are pretty funny too!! I was cracking up at the sticker on your sunglasses. Nella’s squinty eye smile just warms my heart! You are truly blessed to have such beautiful girls. Thanks once again for making me laugh and forcing me to look at the small things in life.

  152. You know, I think being happy in the present is life’s best gift. Thanks for the reminder.

  153. i can just now see how rachel is slower than her peers and i have to say it doesn’t bother me like i thought it would. i am enjoying her more, she isn’t fast forwarding through her little life. i just wish she had another little girl to grow slow with and be BFF’s.

  154. Such a beautiful post! I laughed, I cried, I shed a tear and made me think of my own to children and how young and sweet they are and at some point I know they will experience pain of growing up and living life, but at the same time I hope they take the experiences they have and grow with them to be a better person and see the light at the end of tunnel.

  155. Best birthday card ever! What wonderful parents you two are. Your girls are very lucky (and little beauties, too).

  156. Your blog always makes me smile — thank you for always being able to brighten my day.

    – Kristin

  157. Those pictures of Brett with his gifts and card are HYSTERICAL!!!
    Thanks for the giveaway opportunities! πŸ˜‰

  158. Kelle,
    I read your blog daily…but am usually too shy to post! However, giveaway or not-I had to tell you how much reading this made my night. My husband and I laughed so hard together at Brett’s birthday gifts and cards. I could just hear Lainey saying “Him gonna lub dis”. Your writing is very profound yet so “real life”. Thank you for allowing all of us readers to share your journey and become friends :)

  159. It’s not very often that I CRY and LAUGH in the same 60 seconds. You are an amazing writer, photographer and mama. I enjoy reading your blog so much. Is it weird to say that it has changed my life? I now Enjoy the Small Things like never before. For that, I thank you.

  160. i had tears when i read the “dude” comment you made to brett…and the kitty card made it worse. i was laughing so hard, lub it!

  161. OH, Kelle! I live for your posts, I swear. ‘For a special Granddaughter’ just about made my day. You inspire me to be a better wife, mommy, photographer, and blogger. Thanks for everything.

  162. I love this post…my husband and I just celebrated our five year anniversary and we wrote letters about where we have been and where we are going in life. You have to look back to see how far you’ve come and you have to look ahead to point yourself in the right direction. And I love the ending too….I was laughing out loud at that card Lainey picked out…love it dude!

  163. I’ve never commented before, but I LOVE your blog! Although I’m not much of a blog reader, I adore yours! :)

  164. Here I checked, but was sure you hadn’t posted, & you had! What a sweet gift after a hectic day. ♥ it all, as always. :)

  165. I enjoy reading your blog. My perfect 3 year old son has CP so I have the whole Holland thing going on too. Love the dollar store birthday shopping. What a great idea. If your interested…..I have a recent post (with video) showing the progress my son made ove this past year. Check it out. I am super proud of him.

  166. Kelle–I am so glad that I found yoru blog and that even though I don’t know you, I feel as if we are traveling together. We began our journey before you, but knowing that I had and continue to have all of the same feelings that you do makes me feel better. Have a great 4th of July weekend. Looking forward to your pictures.

  167. We always let our children shop at the Dollar Tree every Christmas. They get exactly what they want to get everyone in the family..everyone loves to see what they will receive! My favorite was when my son got his grandfather a toilet bowl scrubber. πŸ˜‰

  168. Kelle – your post had me laughing out loud SO many times….at Brett being part merman….the birthday card….hilarious!

    Great post – and a very happy birthday to Brett. My husband’s birthday was Monday – and we celebrated at home enjoying each other’s company – the small stuff.

    Congrats on your nomination – you really have inspired us more than you know! :)

  169. i Love, love, love the things Lainey chose for Brett, haha, ESPECIALLY the kitten card πŸ˜€ Too precious! and i Love, love, love the skull and crossbones flippies!! I look forward to your new posts, and get really excited when my little feed shows one that i haven’t read yet πŸ˜€ Thanks, Kelle! Love it!

  170. Anonymous says:

    Love your blog! Your family is beautiful.

  171. Crystal in IL says:

    I voted for you this morning πŸ˜› I’ve been reading your blog from the beginning and I’ll admit I was jealous of your charmed life. Hell, I’m still jealous! Love your blog!

  172. I think we need to start the dollar store birthday gift thing. So stinkn cute.

  173. Love your blog it always inspires me to live life to the fullest and enjoy my children and family a lot more. Definitely voting for you in all three categories. Thanks so much for taking the time to do it!

  174. After my daughter was born, I was convinced I was in Holland…funny how now, just a year later, if you told me I was in Italy, I would believe you, cause I believe I am!

  175. You not only know how to take fabulous pictures, write inspiring words, but also know how to bargain shop. Love it!!! Most of all, your wisdom to take in all the small things in life with such enthusiasm is what makes me fall in love with your blog even more. Thank you for sharing.

  176. I absolutely LOVED this post!!! What a miracle time can bring to our perspectives. Thanks for sharing in such a REAL way!

  177. I love how Lainey picked out the granddaughter card and you let her keep it. This uptight momma would have said, “No, no…you need to look for a Daddy card!” I love the laid back and positive outlook you have in life. I read your blog daily and have passed it on to many people. I love your girls and think your family is fantastic!!

    I will definitely be voting!! :)

  178. I love how Lainey picked out the granddaughter card and you let her keep it. This uptight momma would have said, “No, no…you need to look for a Daddy card!” I love the laid back and positive outlook you have in life. I read your blog daily and have passed it on to many people. I love your girls and think your family is fantastic!!

    I will definitely be voting!! :)

  179. Okay so you totally had me in goosebumps & tears with that first part and then I was laughing so hard over the dollar store trip that I was crying again. Loved this post – every single word!

  180. I love the card she picked out for her Daddy! It’s something my mom is famous for, she picks cards cause she likes what they look like. Only after does she realise it says Happy Birthday Niece instead of Happy Birthday Daughter. Either way, it’s the thought that counts!

  181. I certainly laughed at the birthday gifts… can’t wait to do this kind of stuff with my daughter (to be born in September). Thank you for your blog, Kelle.

  182. Mommy of Three says:

    Kelle,

    You are truly a gift to all of us to follow your blog!
    I found your blog a couple of months ago and just love it. You remind me and all of us to enjoy each moment and to always look a bright side. You are a gift!

  183. my fav post yet. i love how you can make me laugh and cry at the same time. i wanted to call everyone i know and tell them to hurry up and get to their computer and read the most beautiful things i just read. i just relate to you on so many levels…and i’m glad i’m not the only one who’s feet don’t fit the sad and bitter shoes of a mother of a special needs child. my daughter may need in a special way but she GIVES in a special way too…and both are what make my life sparkle. i just <3 you and your beautiful family.

  184. BeckShoe says:

    Always honest and true. Love reading it!!!

  185. you are a breath of fresh air. i LOVE reading your blog. can we be friends? πŸ˜‰

  186. Your blog continues to inspire me. I look forward to reading everyday!!
    Thank you.
    Joann

  187. So beautiful, I think it is always easy to think of what you dont have, that is until your little one loks deep in your eyes and says “love you mommma” and you realize your world is complete. Love you blog!

  188. When I see a new post I run through it and read a bit of this and that, look at the pictures and see how many comments there are. Then, I go back to the top, and look at the pictures again. Then I go back to the top and read it all. And soak it all in, and take from it something that will make me a teeny bit better of a mom, or a sister, or a daughter, or a friend or a wife. I love your writing Kelle Hampton, and I love thoses babies of yours. The first picture of Nella in that green dress with that little hat has to be my most favorite yet. Thank you for sharing. This post was raw, and real, and I thank you for sharing you with us.

  189. Christmas came again, another post, lol!!!
    Enjoy your date night and Happy Anniversary to you both!
    XO
    Leona~

  190. I adore your blog! I’ve been reading since you have had Nella when a friend pointed out Nella’s birth story which had me balling my eyes out!!

    And I love your posts! They are amazing!

  191. loved your post and all the pics. would def love one of those bonnets of some sweet flops!

  192. Stacy in Plymouth says:

    Oh Kelle. Thank you so much for this post. I haven’t laughed reading a blog in a long time. The dollar store had me in tears, I can just picture it.

  193. Thank you for choosing to write and share it. You could have lived your life without. You could have been happy and never proclaimed it to the world. But, thank you for doing so.

  194. LOL-ing at the card! What a FUN way to celebrate a birthday!!

  195. This may be my favorite post ever. Thank you for sharing your heart and your sweet, sweet girls with us! The kitty card…oh.my.gosh. So stinkin’ sweet!!

  196. Mommy of Three says:

    Forgot to add that your Poppa rocks! I love his posts too! You are so lucky to have such a great Poppa. Enjoy your beautiful family!
    I have not been close to my Dad my entire life and your blog has inspired me to try to fix that.
    So thanks to you and Poppa!

  197. First time for me to comment although I’ve been lurking since the day you first posted about Nella. I just want to say that not only have YOU gone on to Italy, but you’ve taken me there as well! lol! Thank you for the journey! :)

    And p.s. I absolutely ROLLED when I saw the granddaughter birthday card! I love kids! :)

  198. I LOVE Lainey’s headband!! Wherever did you find that??

  199. Love the Dollar Store idea!!! And the card…priceless!! Inspiring post as always!!

  200. Dollar store birthday gifts – what a fabulous idea!

  201. Definitely voting for you! =)

  202. Normally your blog inspires and encourages me. But today, you made me laugh! I try to look at all the good in my life, but there’s still crap somtimes. And it’s always good to know your not alone!

  203. Dollar store shopping sprees are the best for the little ones. Once in a while for good behavior I will give my 4 year old 4 dollars (one for each year) and we will go to a store of her choice and let her pick it out.

  204. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for being such an inspiring Mommy to another stay-at-home Mom. I look forward to your pictures and words with girlish excitement every day. Your family is simply beautiful.

  205. Thanks for the laugh tonight…i totally loved the card she got her daddy:) We always let our girls shop the dollar store for gifts for each other for there birthdays..it is so fun to see what they come up with for each other.they still enjoy it as they are getting older too…

  206. I just couldn’t resist posting today! I started, about 3 years ago, taking my son to the dollar store on Christmas Eve to buy his Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents all presents. The first year was more or less just a mad grab for presents but now it is amazing to watch him choose the perfect gift each person.

    The funny thing is in all the years I have thoughfully hand chosen gifts for my family…most of those gifts have fallen to the wayside. But my son’s dollar store presents are displayed year round and have even been placed on a wedding cake table!

    It is the little things in life that keep you going! Keep showing us! =)

  207. Thank you for continuing to write beautiful posts. You never fail to inspire me.

    Kisses from the Philippines,

  208. I can’t tell you how much your blog means to me in this short little comment box, but I want you to know how much it helps me. I am going through some very stressful times right now and reading your blog helps me so much. It makes me laugh, cry, smile, relax and gives me that, much needed, little boost to keep moving forward.

    Thank You.

  209. Love the dollar store story. Had a good chuckle over the card Lainey picked out. Love your blog! Happy “belated” Birthday Brett!!!

  210. I first came across your blog when most of the rest of the world did – just after Nella was born, with your beautiful birth story. I was so touched and knew I’d always read, but I never expected to find what I find on this blog. Pure joy, endless happiness, beautiful optimism. Amazing.

    I refer to your blog as “the down syndrome” blog when I talk about it to my husband, but I realized tonight how completely inaccurate that is. Yes, the writer of the blog has a child with down syndrome, but in no way can your writing (or your family!) be described in such simple terms. Nor should it.

    The last picture of Nella was on my screen when my husband looked over just now. He asked how old she was now, with a sad look on his face. And I told him that if he read this blog that he would never wear that look when seeing Nella. He smiled a little and said “I’m sure, but it just shows you that sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason in this world”. But oh, how wrong he is. Because seeing your family makes me feel for the first time in a long time that someone knew exactly what they were doing when they gave sweet Nella to you. It isn’t a coincidence that she was born to an ambassador of a mother. It’s not luck that she found a family who wouldn’t feel limited by her “limitations”. My husband should read this site so he can see for himself that it’s not about Holland vs. Italy. It’s about a whole damn world tour.

    (longest comment EVER.)

  211. Anonymous says:

    I feel like I have come to know your family over the past couple of months..even staying up way to late to catch up on old posts. I was away on vacation and couldn’t wait to get to a computer to read your latest posts!
    The dollar store trip literally had me laughing so hard that the rest of my family turned and looked at me as if I was crazy.
    The world is such an amazing place and although it can be unfair at times, you show us not to lose sight of the wonder of it all !!

  212. Mommy of Three, I hope you do. I pray you do. Maybe he needs to know you miss him…maybe you’ve always missed him. Stretch his heart until you fit perfectly into it…like your littles do in yours.

  213. Kelle~Love the longer than long posts. I live for them..lol. Love Poppa, Love Brett, Love the Littles (Lainey looks so mature & Nella gets more gorgeous as the days go by). You are truly blessed & I thank you for sharing your blessings with us. Your words & pictures & view of life are beyond inspiring. Feel free to share some crappy moments too when things get rough. We’re here for you, stranger friend.
    With Love,
    Maria

  214. I love love love your blog…your girls are precious!!!

  215. I kept laughing out loud at this. The laughter was growing…culminated in the granddaughter card…hahaha….and my favorite line was, “Dude, I’m holding a sombrero, a bike horn and a polyresin horse, what do you think?” hahahahaha…. I think I’m going to say that randomly aloud to someone this week for sure. The pics of lainey reading are gooooorgeous and italiany – something about the shadows, so rich looking. Still laughing…

  216. I love dollar store crap, too! We just started a prize/reward chest for our girls filled to the brim with dollar store treasures. I actually took them and let them choose whatever they thought would make great prizes. They loved it- throwing marbles, plastic martini glasses, water gun (same as your girl found), etc into the cart! It was like they were on a game show, running against the clock, filling as much as they could in their cart. Oh, and the best part is how excited they are when they have earned an opportunity to pick a reward. Oh, and I so love the $5 sticker… gave me a good chuckle. Be blessed, my friend.

  217. LOVE your blog. Very inspirational! :o)

  218. I was very happy to see that little Lainey picked out the card on looks alone πŸ˜‰
    that part made break into a huge smile. I have a little one who is delayed in so many things and behind so many children with no real diagnosis. We really don’t care as she is our light, our walmart greeter, our kisser of everything bad in the world and lover of everything and everyone. Thank you for sharing yours with us.

  219. If it makes you feel any better, our daughter Sara who has Down Syndrome stormed out of the kitchen last summer and called me a bitch. I didn’t know if I should be upset, or call her therapist to declare that she had just done a totally age appropriate thing. (she was 17 at the time) The lines between Italy and Holland are very fuzzy sometimes : )

  220. Okay, I had tears rolling with the special granddaughter card. I absolutely love the dollar store idea for little ones. I am so doing that for my husband’s birthday. Thanks for the wonderful idea!

  221. I was smiling ear to ear reading what Lainey had picked out as the birthday gifts, but what made me chuckle, was the “To a Special Granddaughter” card…too cute!

    I tend to take time to check out your blog before heading off to la-la land, and you always put my mind in a good place. Falling asleep is so much easier when my mind is full of happy, beautiful thoughts.

    So that, I THANK YOU!
    Heatherxo

  222. I just love the gifts that Lainy picked out for her daddy! Kitty Kat Card and all!

  223. Cathy Forbes says:

    Today as always I couldn’t wait open up your blog and see the words and pics you shared with each of us today! Your title caught my attention quicky , then came the pics that are so priceless. As I to have always wanted to visit Italy but haven’t yet I can so see the visual you painted for us all and how amazing you are with your words and your ability to bring this our in your blogs. I am a new G-Ma of a little girl and I have learned so much from you as a beautiful mommy that I can’t wait to share with my precious little grand daughter. As a mother of three grown children I have experienced many of the things you have wrote about yet never considered some of my own trials as Italy/Holland. I pray that as I watch my grand daughter grow I can begin to enjoy the smaller things of life as you openly share with each of us each day your Italy/Halland. I am thankful that you are real with life and that even tho life has its trials, you pick the good of that and bless your family and your bloggers with such commpassion, joy and a since of wanting to look at life with your rose color glasses. May God always show His favor on you and your beautiful family. Looking forward to watching you win!!!!!!!!!!!

  224. Haha!! Love Lainey’s gifts for her Daddy! Precious.

    Beautiful pictures, as always. Thank you for sharing.

  225. Beautiful post. As always your pictures are GORGEOUS!!!!

  226. Love your images as well as your words. My niece-to-be has DS and your posts always make me super excited to meet her.

  227. oh my. oh my. I am sitting here wiping the tears from my cheeks from laughing so hard at the birthday card. Lainey totally rocks! seriously. She is so awesome! And that little Nella…she is just amazing…and I’m absolutely loving the cabbage patch smile!

  228. I also loved the granddaughter card!!! I wanted to share with you that poem Welcome to Holland has a place in my life too. When I got the news at my son’s birth about him having Ds…it was such a shcok. A litle while later, a nurse brought in a copy of the poem Welcome to Holland. My husband and I were so moved by the poem…we decided to give our son the middle name Holland. I love the idea and concept that while it wasn’t what I expected…it is still as joyful, as beautfiul and lovely as Italy. The meaning of the poem keeps changing for me as my son gets older. I loved hearing your perspective on it. You are an awesome writer and amazing photographer!! I’m glad to be sharing in this journey with you. Oh, and I’d love to share this journey while
    wearing those cute flip flops so hope I win!! LOL!!

  229. Kelle – This is the first time I’ve set myself up to leave a comment but I have been reading your blog for several months now. I want to THANK YOU for sharing your amazing pictures and incredible talentfor writing with us, your followers. Your two beautiful daughters are very close in age to my 2 handsome sons. Like you, I have a hard time wrapping my head around all of the joy that they have brought to our family. Pretty awesome ‘eh?!
    Thanks so much for letting me read about your beautiful family!

  230. Sarah (smooreo) says:

    A couple of Christmas’ ago, I surprised our family with presents chosen by our three year old. They were all a hit! We’ve continued the tradition with birthdays too. Both my kids are so very proud of what they choose!

    Love the flip flops…very, very cute!

    Have a great weekend!

  231. I’m with everybody. Trying to read quietly while my hubby works. Snorted at the card.

  232. Letting Laney pick out the card for Brett is the best idea ever. But on a personal note, I love your summary the best, ” Birthdays are cool. Dollar store crap is cool. And being told I landed in Holland when I was expecting Italy only lasted for a little while before I was bitch-slapped by the beautiful reality that life has a trillion trials, but it also has the potential for sheer wonderfulness and happiness and go-out-and-get-it grandeur.” Especially the bitch-slapped part, because I too don’t want to waste any more time wallowing in what might have been and what could be and what might not be for my own sweet enhanced little girl. Life is what we make of it, and we are making some freaking good lemonade.

  233. I’m so glad I read your blog today!!! I’ve been feeling a bit “sad” for myself and in all reality have more than enough to be grateful for! Thanks for smakin’ some reality into my life!!!

  234. I’m so glad I read your blog today!!! I’ve been feeling a bit “sad” for myself and in all reality have more than enough to be grateful for! Thanks for smakin’ some reality into my life!!!

  235. Stacy Hillestad says:

    absolutely fabulous how far you have come….as a medical social worker there were times that i had to be part of a family at those moments when they found out about d.s. and i know how hard it can be. you and your family are an inspiration and you aren’t afraid to share the ups and downs with the whole world! kudos to you…and btw….yours is the only blog i read and i’ve been hooked since nella’s story….and i love to watch lainey…my lilly belle will be 3 in a mth and i got some great ideas from you!!

  236. This has to be the funniest/sweetest/most heart-felft post I have read in a long time. Your writing is irresistible and I was seriously laughing my head off. Thanks for being so optimistic. You shine a light in this dark world. <3

  237. I have commented a few times on here. Not that I really NEED to say my two cents worth, but I guess I simply want to. I always smile when I look in on your blog. I guess first, It is the photos. Amazing…always incrdible. Then your words….Your outlook, your embracing of life. It makes me smile. It makes me challenge my own attitude at times as a momma…So, for that, THANK YOU!
    I am thankful God has blessed you with your family and positivity and it is fun in this internet savvy world to join in!!

  238. You are my favorite blog to read! Thanks for all your inspiration about living life to the fullest!

    Your girls are beautiful!

  239. I swear you are so friggin’ inspiring. I love your blog!!

  240. Another wonderful post that realigns my universe and inspires me to be a better mom, wife, child. Thank you, Ellie

  241. I’m totally doing the Dollar store thing…hilarious!

  242. I love love LOVE the idea to have Lainey go to the dollar store and get your husband presents that she picked out. How fun.

  243. Amanda C says:

    I wanna win!!

  244. Darcy M says:

    I absolutely LOVE the dollar store birthday blitz!! I was roaring at that one :) Having a 3-year old son I can only imagine the things he’d come home with!!

    Your bonnet and flops are adorable :) Is it my lucky day?? πŸ˜‰

  245. hahahaha! Laughing so hard about the birthday card.

    Great post – one of my favs yet. Thanks, Kelle!

  246. Voted for you. I adore your blog, so wonderful! I’m thrilled when I log in and see you have done a post.

  247. I just love your posts, so random at times but perfectly organized to allow us a sneak peek into how your mind works. Fun! :)

  248. Loved this post! And it’s the third one in as many days, too! I had to read to my husband the part where you said, “dude, I’m holding a sombrero…” Hilarious! My husband thought so too! All of the pictures, as usual, were beautiful and made me smile.

    I will definately be buying me a pair those flip flops if I don’t win them….they are awesome!

    And by the way, Kelle, thanks for the info on the Hipstamatic Ap for the Iphone. I’ve been using that ap more than my regular camera lately. It takes the coolest pictures! Everyone I show them too loves them! Thank you!

  249. Another awesome post! I just love your family. Your girls are so beautiful.

    I voted for your blog!

    vjsweeley at gmail dot com

  250. Oh I love it! I was laughing so hard, and it’s such a great idea to let them pick something out for daddy. Even if it is a dollar store item that would be better suited for Grandpa.

    I was just talking to my husband about how having my little girl has changed me forever. The paragraph where you talk about the inevitablity that your girls will be hurt by something or someone. I feel exactly the same way. I wish I could put my arms around her and protect her from everything, but I know that wouldn’t be good for either of us.

    Thank you for the sweet words and for the laughs. I needed them tonight. :)

  251. natalie says:

    Three post in a row, wooo hoooo!!! The pictures of Brett with his birthday gifts and card had me laughing so hard:) Love the pics of Nella in her green dress and hat, I think green might be her color.
    One of my favorite post yet, Thanks!

  252. Hahaha, so funny about Brett being a merman in another life! I LOVE the dollar store idea too! Happy Birthday to Brett! :)

  253. Oh oh Kelle. I’ve been lurking since sweet Nella was born…and I’m the one who emailed you pics of the Isle of Capri, NYC, last week.

    But this post? Demands my response. Demands that I ooh and ahh over your lovies, demands that I tear up at the joy on Brett’s face, demands that I hijack your special day plans and Brett’s dollar store presents someday when I have littles of my own.

  254. What an amazing B.L.E.S.S.I.N.G. your B.L.O.G. is to me! I have laughed, cried, celebrated, and laughed some more! Which is just what I need when I am feeling like a whiney hiney and worrying bout so many things that just don’t really matter in the whole scheme of things.! God bless you and yours! AJ

  255. I totally read this entire thing to my husband (who laughed hysterically at the kitty card for a special granddaughter)!

    As always I look forward to your posts and this giveaway (both of them!) is too good to pass up!

  256. I’ve commented a few times. Your blog has inspired me on less than inspirational days. I love the dollar store shopping. Sometimes, just for fun, my husband and I will go to such a store and have spent hours just having fun. Take that as you will!

  257. That was the cutest, most hysterical birthday bash. I LOVED all of the wonderful stuff she picked out for her daddy. What a beautiful post.

  258. Love the card. This is a tradition in our family. Many a times I have received a Hope You Feel Better card for Mothers Day. Always followed by lots of laughter.

  259. Love your blog. Makes me want to be a better mommy! LOVED even more the dollar store shopping trip. My hubby’s b-day can’t come quick enough ….

  260. It takes a special talent to elicit so many emotions from a reader in one post. So here goes (even if you never read this):

    On mothering, especially mothering a special one – we are going through a similar process at the same time. I described it the other day as a hollowing out of sorts. There are days I look in the mirror and think, “Oh, there you are!” and days where I have no clue who I am becoming. But she’s still all there, and better than ever before, because of this experience. “Becoming” is the best way to describe it, even if that makes me think of scary books and Trent Reznor ditties. And, hey, Trent turned out all hot and ripped…so there’s hope for me, too. Right? Right?! Every day is a rollercoaster sometimes…but like a rollercoaster, you look back at the end and say, “Whew, what a ride!” with a sense of pleasure.

    Secondly – adopting the dollar store tradition.

    Thirdly – your babies are so precious.

    Lastly – I seriously get excited when I see a new post in my feed. It always brightens my day. So, thanks.

  261. I was just telling my friend yesterday, “Anna needs a bonnet like Kelle’s girls.” You know. Like we’re friends. I feel like we are!!

  262. I’ve been reading your blog since someone linked to it on a Mothering.com forum. I love the way you’ve approached mothering your girlies. Realistic, Honest, Fun…

  263. Ok, that post had me riding an emotional roller coaster, but I loved it. I went from sighing and teetering at the edge of tears to cracking up out loud. The entire part related to the the dollar store adventure, Lainey wrapping the gifts, & Brett making a fuss over everything (even the granddaughter card! LOL) is absolutely priceless. But then again thinking that you’re all that in your $5 sunglasses only to notice that you haven’t removed the price tag. Well, that alone is God playing a good joke on you and getting a good giggle!

    Happy Birthday Brett. And Happy Anniversary to both of you. Enjoy! Relish your love. Now get off the pulpit! LOL. Thanks Kelle for putting the cherry on the sunday even though it’s only Tuesday. Love your words. Now I’m off to vote.

    P.S. Has Poppa ever hit as the random winner?!? I’m not sure if he would really appreciate those blinged-out flip-flops. :)

  264. THis may have been an extra long post, but reading it was worth every minute spent. We all need to stop and think of what we really have and not what we have not! Love the flip flops!

  265. I, too, love that you let Lainey keep the granddaughter card. I’m working hard on letting my babies “be little,” cause like the song says, “they are only that way for awhile!” Thanks for the reminder! Love your blog and your photos!

  266. Great post. I need a fabulous sun bonnet for my bathing beauty!

  267. I love, love the bonnet and flip flops… and of course, I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I am an addict!

  268. Best. Birthday. Ever.

  269. Kelle, you inspire me. Every.single.time I read your blog I am inspired. I am inspired by your words, your attitude, and your happiness. Lainey and Nella are absolutely gorgeous, as are you! Today’s post made me LOL, so much so that I had to read it to (and show the pictures to!) my husband! Thank you for sharing your life. It…well, it inspires me! :)

  270. Seriously! We went to the dollar store on Sunday because it was a super humid rainy day. I went in and let the kids get anything they wanted, and they loved it, and so did I! How fun! It was the best $28 I’ve spent in a long time.

    Loving your blog and the inspiration I get from it. Keep doin’ what you do.

  271. your grace continues to amaze me. your spontaneity, flexibility, and joyfulness really have helped me to be a better mommy to my three children (one of whom is 2 weeks younger than sweet nella). thank you, thank you, thank you.

  272. Why am I sobbing? when does the book come out and why do I have to share an office with my husband when i am sobbing over “it’s just a blog”??

  273. You crack me up! I love your birthday traditions. I may just have to steal a few of them. I can not wait for my little girl to say stuff like “him gonna lub dis”. Your blog makes me think of all the wonderful memories to come with my own little girl while also reminding me to focus on the ones that I am making right now. Thank you for being you and letting us have some insight into your wonderful world. Amen for rosey glasses!

  274. I look forward to each post

  275. happy post. pretty things. love you. even though you don’t know me. imma creep. hmmm.

  276. Kelle! I heart your blog! It makes me laugh out loud, and get teary eyed all with one post! I can’t get enough :) You make me sooooo excited to become a mother one day! I just hope I can be as great of a mother as you! You’re raising the bar girl :)

    Andi- Provo,UT

  277. I love love LOVE letting the kids pick gifts, the end result is always hilariously awesome! I’ll admit, it’s one of my favorite parts of Christmas–seeing what the girls pick out for Daddy. :) Though I have to say, I think Lainey wins with the ‘special great granddaughter’ card. πŸ˜‰

  278. I always love reading your blog. I wait until my kids are in bed and with a nice hot tea, coffee or hot chocolate I sit and read it, and you always have such beautiful words. There have been times when I am feeling a little down and your words just remind me how lucky we are to be mothers. Keep up the blogging and Nella is not looking like a little baby now she’s growing so fast and Lainey I’m jealous that she can swim, my daughter Madilyn is 7 and still can’t swim.

  279. Loved your post today. Now, I have to take my daughters to the dollar store and see what they choose for their daddy’s birthday. That was just hilarious. I look forward to seeing what you’ll post next!

  280. I voted for you in all 3 categories…I hope you win. And, I hope I win :) My sweet chromosomally enhanced Eden would look FAB in one of those bonnets! Keep rockin the posts, they are such a breath of fresh air.

  281. you forgot to mention that people can vote once a day until July 12th. sweeet

  282. Love the flip flops!

  283. i cried and laughed through the entire dollar store narrative.
    thank you for that. i so needed it.
    love.

  284. Loved the $1 store birthday idea. My husband even laughed out loud when I told him about the kitty card!

  285. I love your blog! It has really taught me a lot about parenthood. I too was LMAO at the kitten card!

  286. voted! voted! and voted again!

    and I laughed till I cried when I saw Lainey’s birthday card to her daddy. too much. that girl is to to much.

  287. i love the idea of lainey picking out the bday gift! we are soooo using that one! “hims gonna love this.” i love those mixed up pronouns. i have a video of my truman saying “i got me! i got me!” instead of “i got you!” so sweet.

    you’re so right on, every child, every person has their challenges, no child is “perfect.” i struggled hard with postpartum issues with my first son (and a bit but less with baby #2) and your blog really reminds me to focus on the day to day joys with my babes. one day at a time is my mantra, sometimes one hour, one minute. staying in the moment.

    you and nella are so obviously made for each other and that lainey big sis, oh man. look out world!

  288. I have to say.. this is one of my favorite posts ever!

    Happy Birthday to one of the worlds best Dads! Brett is right up there with MY Dad and MY husband :-) AND of course Poppy :-)

  289. Dude, I am so using the dollar store shopping idea! Sounds SO CUTE! My birthday is next week, so aside from winning a give away, dollar store shopping gifts from my four kids would totally make my birthday ROCK!
    -Kerry

  290. as always, so cute. and this might sound weird but i have never wanted to cuddle/squeeze/smoosh up with another person’s baby so much as i do nella. she is absolutely edible! can i have her for like 3 hours or so?

  291. I *SO* love your blog. It inspires me heart & soul.

  292. I am a forever reader, even though I don’t often respond. I’ve spent some time in Holland, and I agree: Holland takes you to Italy too. I’ve been in love with motherhood for many years now, and I needed your wonderful blog to re-inspire me. Your images and words of a mother’s heart are addicting and compelling, and most of all inspiring.

    Laney and Nella are beloved by so many. What lucky, beautiful girls.

    There are a million kinds of Hollands. My little boy would just LOVE the pink bling shoes! LOL!

  293. MeghanKG says:

    I have to admit I literally laughed out loud at that card Lainey picked for Brett! Too cute!
    You are such a lucky Mama – both your babies are gorgeous! I wish many many many more happy years to come with your amazing family!

  294. I think you said it all and in only words that you can…maybe my favotite post ever…had to read it twice…and we love the Dollar Tree idea and use it with our littles….Amazing what they find…
    Off to vote…Thank you for making me think…and love in a new way

  295. Love love LOVE your posts. I check daily for them…Sweet Nella’s smile is the best and Lainey’s “hims lub dis” cracked me up. Sweet girls!

  296. MeghanKG says:

    PS – I will definitely vote for this sweet blog :)

  297. mommy of two girls too says:

    Kelle,
    You are are soo right, your girls will take you anywhere you want to go. They are just that fab….besides, rock stars can go wherever they want, right?!! I love your outlook, Kelle! And love the presents Lainey picked out for her Daddy….so precious! Great pics, too (like always)!

  298. I check your blog at least twice a week! I love how you capture life through photos and your wonderful way of telling stories
    kerriekg@yahoo.com

  299. I’ve been stalking your blog for a quite a while and have been so inspired by you and your family. You truly are a blessed soul. :)

    Oh and the card picked by Lainey – HILARIOUS!

  300. omg I loved the $1 store idea…can’t wait to try it with my 16 month-going-on-4-year-old son! love your blog and reading about your little girls! :)

  301. My 3 year olds favourite place is the dollar store. It holds such wonder and excitement and you really can get whatever you want. I actually love the dollarstore myself. I mean anything can be justified for a dollar, right??

    I think I might get my Dad the same card for his next birthday. Hysterical!

  302. You are so talented. I love reading your updates and looking at all your beautiful pictures.

  303. Anonymous says:

    I have only been reading your blog for a few months now, but seriously, you inspire me to be a better momma! I love my babies more than anything, but I lack in the ‘making-every- little-moment-special-for-them’ arena. I didn’t really have a momma growing up, and I’m glad to have someone to look up to. i hope you get that show!!
    Brittany

  304. I am glad that your plane landed in Italy after all.

    Also, the dollar store trip story made my husband and I giggle. You’ve got one cute girl.

  305. Love your daughter’s gifts to your husband! And I look forward to your pics and posts everyday! What a beautiful family!

  306. I feel like this post is meant for me. My daughter is a little younger than Nella and the link to the old blog post was created on my daughters birthday. I hope that brings me luck in getting my little girl an adorable hat!

  307. I feel like this post is meant for me. My daughter is a little younger than Nella and the link to the old blog post was created on my daughters birthday. I hope that brings me luck in getting my little girl an adorable hat!

  308. I admire that you continuously strive to see the good and happy in everything… it’s inspirational! Your girls are just beautiful, I love coming back and reading every day now and my middle son loves showing me how “Jaskin (Jaxson) makes that same face mommy!” to Nella’s cute little faces!

  309. Kelle –

    One more comment – thank you for linking to your prior post related to Holland. I only found your blog from a friend in March so I missed the analogy related to Holland versus Italy. And I always wanted to know where that came from, so thank you. I get it now.

    Peace,

    Jennifer

  310. We too have the same tradition in our home about birthdays and holidays when it comes to my husband and I. Celebrating together is what it is all about. I do love however, all the cool things that Lainey bought Brett.

  311. If I post enough, I might just be wearing the bonnet and the bling-flops! Wooooweee!

  312. Thank you for inspiring me. I love love your little ones, they are so adorable! The card she picked out was so perfect!! Xoxo

  313. I literally laughed out loud about the sunglasses … totally something I would do. As usual, a great post!

  314. LOL LOL LOL!! That has to be the best birthday card ever! And such amazing gifts! No wonder here were ooohs and aaahs.

    Thank you Kelle for adressing the things in life that make us laugh and cry, smile and hurt and make us human.

    You inspire me every day. You make me a better mother to my 3 1/2 year old boy, and 8 week old daughter. Loads of love coming to you all the way from Norway

  315. love love love your blog! the pictures are amazing and you are hilarious!

    p.s. I love your flip flops.

  316. Anonymous says:

    You inspire me so! Kelle- the new Zoloft. :)

  317. i love little kid words typed out. your baby says ‘lub’. my baby says ‘the naked’. as in, ‘i’m the naked’ – as she runs around the house w/o her clothes on after bath time.

  318. You make me laugh. You make me cry. You are just brilliant. Your family is so beautiful.

  319. Crack me up with the sunglasses and the Granddaughter card! Your blog puts me in a happy place, and I thank you for that!

  320. Kelle!!

    You must read the lesser known follow-up to Holland!

    I am a special-ed-teacher-turned-stay-at-home-home. At the beginning of the school year, I gave the parents a copy of Welcome to Holland as well as this follow up. A quote you may like: “My Child took me to Holland and I never looked back”.

    Blessings to your family!

    You can find the follow-up here: https://www.signingtime.com/forums/showthread.php?t=548

  321. I just LOVE your blog kelle. this may be one of my favourite posts yet…so inspiring!!! your girls are delish :)

  322. This post was so sweet! I started out reading it and was crying because your amazing words about how life is great even when things don’t go as planned. And then I was seriously laughing out loud when I saw the Grandma card with the kitty on it. I was tearing up. I love your family and look forward to reading about your days for a long time to come!

  323. Oh my gosh the birthday card made me laugh soooo hard! What a sweet sweet idea to have L choose things at the dollar store- I may be borrowing that in years to come. What a wonderful birthday tradition!

  324. *sigh* your post brought a ray of sunshine to an otherwise grey day in my world.

    love the dollar store shopping – may have to try that idea on for size with my little dude for his papa’s (what he calls his grampa) upcoming birthday.

    also, my family and i are planning a trip to florida for christmas to avoid part of the cold winter here in canada. if it’s not too much to ask (though i realize it might be since this is a mighty popular place for comments so no worries if it is), what in your opinion is a must do/see in your fine state.

    we will be there for 2 weeks and will be renting a car. as we are used to driving across canada we’re totally up for driving across the state, no matter the distance, to do something outstanding. i suspect you might say the isles of capri, yes? :)

  325. your girls are so pretty!

    And they are so lucky to have you & Brett as parents, they are the luckiest girls!

    I think they chose the 2 of you, because you were the best match for them :-)

    I never have enough of your blog, and I share it a lot with friends :)
    Even some who don’t speak English, just with your pictures, they get the stories.

  326. Your girls are absolutely gorgeous. I worry sometimes if my son will be picked on. I was picked on a lot from 6th grade to 8th, it was really bad, even though I know he’s strong enough to stand up for himself, I just don’t want him to know how it feels. In the end, we can’t keep them in a bubble, we all hurt, I wish it wasn’t like that, but it is.

  327. I totally steal all your ideas and I am going to do it again! I made the same birthday shirts you made for Lainey for my girls and now I am going to let my kids shop for our loved ones at the dollar tree. BRILLIANT. I love that green dress on Nella. B E A utiful. as is your blog!!

  328. I love your flops… And you have the most fantastic music finds. How do you find them? And Nella’s beautiful green dress is adorable.

  329. Kelle, you remind us all how to truely live. I love your blog, I look forward to your new posts :)

    And those sandles are pretty kickass :)~

  330. Now that was a funny post.
    I LOVE the idea of getting your kids to pick out what ‘they think’ daddy will like. Very cute.
    I will have to take my 5 year old fairy to the shops when daddy returns from Afgan. He would really love that, and knowning she picked them all herself. :)
    Also you crack me up, I could just imagin your face when you caught a glimps of the sticker on the glasses, lol priceless.
    well done on another inspiring post.

  331. Kelle, one of my “small things” I enjoy is seeing that you’ve posted a new blog! You have such a wonderful gift with words that helps me get through the days with my triplets plus one – one of whom also has some magical qualities. I so appreciate your perspective on life, and as an aspiring photographer, I drool over your beautiful photographs! Your girls are just gorgeous and such a blessing, thank you for sharing a bit of your life with us.

  332. So I don’t have kids, right, but now I really really want to borrow one so I can take them to the dollar store and let them pick out presents for people because that idea is way cute. The end.

  333. Happy Birthday Brett! Love Lainey’s gift choices, lol. She reminds me so much of my big girl. Today is my hubby’s bday :). You know I just realized tonight how much Lainey looks like you. Lucky girl. Ok I’m off to go vote now. Have a wonderful night.

  334. I think this was my favorite post EVER. (granted I’ve only been following you since my friend Patti had a little girl w/ DS – but STILL…) First of all my heart just aches from that first picture of Nella…. OMG she is eye candy!! I just want to eat her up! BE-U-TIF-FULLL!! 2nd of all that way you explained your emotions and feelings was just beautiful and so true – all of it! I have a sister w/ Cerebral Palsy, and while Welcome To Holland has always been our go-to way of explaining life w/ Jennifer – I can totally relate to what you said to. It reminds me of a post I read about how much this moomma HATES that poem. And while I dont’ hate it – and I think it does have it’s place, I see where she’s coming from too… and LASTLY, Brett’s birthday post made me laugh so hard!! The presents the card all of it! What a fabulous idea! I just loved it. Pictures are beautiful as usual.

  335. awesome post .. from tears to me laughing at loud from the chosen dollar store gifts to just your outlook on life. Lovin .. Lovin your blog. Off to vote now!

  336. awesome post .. from tears to me laughing at loud from the chosen dollar store gifts to just your outlook on life. Lovin .. Lovin your blog. Off to vote now!

  337. o… i’d love to be entered in your give-away too! Thanks! (:

  338. a beautiful post this is, kelle!! and even though i’m a half-full kinda girl, sometimes i need a reminder that all is gonna be okay. my girl is on the brink of 7 and my baby is turning into this girl i don’t know … you know, mouthier than ever. what’s happened to my little sweet cheeks? it’s hard! i know we’ll figure it out b/c we always do, but challenging it is!! AND NOW I’M SOBBING!!

    loving you,
    april

  339. ok so this might be one of my favourite posts yet!
    you guys seem to have perfected peeling away all of the rough layers to reveal that extra juicy sweet goodness right at the core and you just eat it up!
    I have to tell you your little Willow is getting so big and looking like a little lady in this blog. Just beautiful! and that cabbage patch smile? melt your heart or what?! Loving that green outfit shes in….perfect!
    You may think of the things that aren’t “perfect” in your life but you sure have taken them and turned them into that perfect flavoured gelato that tastes best on a really hot day…and like they say….when in Rome!

  340. Thank you so much for sharing your life. I am absolutely addicted to your blog – it is an absolute must for me to look at every day. You have the most adorable family, and they are so lucky to have a mom like you. Lainey is perfect, and you are so very blessed to have Nella!

  341. Another perfect post Kelle. I look forward every day to your lovely words- and tonight your words were just perfect for me.
    And beautiful beautiful Nella just makes me smile from ear to ear.
    And that Lainey Bug- I could picture you all trotting around the Dollar Store. There is something so incredibly perfect about children and shopping! Continue to enjoy every day.

  342. There was so much about this post that I loved I can hardly stand it. I love your silliness and strength (yes you’ve got it!) all in one.

  343. i promise i’m not only commenting because of the giveaway (although i adore the flip flops! :)

    brett’s birthday dollar store festivities made my boyfriend and i crack up. especially the kitty granddaughter card. LOVE little Lainey’s spunky personality.

    on a more serious note, you are so beautiful and the more i read about the way you love life and “rock out” every situation that is thrown at you, the more i aspire to be a mother like you. maybe that’s creepy since i don’t even know you, but i really love the way you love and i hope my experience in motherhood can be as beautiful as yours. i’m a religious reader…keep writing! you inspire me! :)

  344. True mom thing to do, wear sunglasses with the sticker! Funny stuff. Loved it!

  345. i love your blog :O)

  346. OMG. i cannot stop laughing about the “very special granddaughter” card. way too much, lainey πŸ˜‰ what a darling post. brett seems like a simply wonderful father. and husband. your family is oh-so-LUCKY to have him. :) happy bday Brett!

  347. so happy to hear you’ve made it to Italy. a beautiful place…
    thanks for the reminder that we are all surrounded by beauty if we remember to look for it —
    linn

  348. I couldn’t love every word you wrote and every picture you showed more. You are just ROCKIN’ it!!!

  349. Love it… love how you share your story – the passion, love the pictures and really love how you celebrate birthdays! That is AWESOME! :)

  350. I SO love reading your blog each and every time you post. I find myself checking several times a day to see if there are any more pictures of your wonderful babies. My 8mo grins and talks to Nella when she sees her on the screen and my 7yo says “she’s the cutest little baby! (other than Emma)” =) He’s a proud big brother. Please never stop sharing your family with the world!

  351. I absolutely LOVE reading your blog as do so many of my friends and family…you write so much of what I feel! Thanks for sharing all you do! And for sharing the beautiful pics to capture these lovely moments!

  352. Of all the blogs I follow, I pull them all up and save yours for last. I get all excited to see a post from you! Your beautiful daughters and your inspiring words! Ah, now I can go to sleep and count my blessings, too. Thanks so much for sharing your words, life, and talents (: g.nite!

  353. Love the dollar store idea! Have to use that one!

  354. WONDERFUL as ALWAYS!!! your a mirror image of myself. i speak the same language. voted for ya and lush the shoes!!!! wowza! hope you and hubby have a wonderful anniversary!

  355. Kelle, everytime I read your blog, I think that was the best one, but the Dollar Store shopping trip and the Special Granddaughter card, I think are going to be hard to beat.
    Love your family

  356. Okay, you literally had me laughing out loud at the dollar store story. The giggle keep on coming.

  357. OMG I truly loved Brett’s gifts. She did such a great job! Thanks again for another wonderful post!

  358. What a fun giveaway- love it all!

  359. This post is awesome!!!! I love the Granddaughter card…that is hilarious!!! One time, when my husband and I were dating, we each took $5.00 to the dollar store and surprised eachother with 5 gifts:) That is one of my favorite memories from back in the day.

  360. Love the granddaughter card! Dollar Tree trips are the best! You rock.

  361. the birthday card and sunglasses were priceless…too bad the latter wasn’t pricetag-less! thanks for sharing.

  362. Great post. I always love reading your words as the music plays. I often head over to itunes afterwards and purchase the song.
    The sunglass story made me laugh. One day I went to work and spent the whole day wearing two different earrings. They were both dangly, but that is where the similarities ended.

  363. I LOVE Nicoles bonnets! I ordered 2 from her already after I saw them on here! I am glad you are in a happy place! Your girls are so precious!

  364. So inspirational! Thanks for sharing the Holland and Italy story. I am a relatively newer reader and loooove reading about your perspectives on parenting and life.

  365. I laughed out loud with the granddaughter card because that’s just what my daughter would pick out too! Hilarious :)

  366. Maryanne says:

    As always, your blog is beautiful and inspiring. I’m a new reader and I love it!

  367. This post totally had me laughing out loud. My husband thought I was a total loony giggling at the computer…but Lainey’s Dollar Store shopping spree was SOOOO funny (especially the card!). LOVE the idea though…I’m definitely going to take my 3 year old to do that for his dad’s birthday…cute, cute.

    Your girls are BEYOND cute. I’m LOVING Nella in that green dress…such a cutie!

  368. Love your blog! Love that sweet baby! (:

  369. I love Lainey’s choices for Brett’s birthday. Too funny! Those water squirters are pretty great. We buy them every year, cause they break of course, but they are super fun!
    I would be super excited to win any of these fun giveaways!
    So glad I checked your blog right before hitting the sack for the night.

  370. I think out of all your posts, this one hits the spot well and truly. Thankyou for sharing your truth with all of us, and for sharing your family too : )

  371. Ruth H. says:

    We are totally doing the Dollar Store birthday gift run this year for my hub’s 32nd. Lainey did a fab job!!

    And thank you for an awesome giveaway. THREE, actually!

  372. Rebecca says:

    I stalk your blog every day. You inspire me (well everyone, I’m sure) so much. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  373. 1. It’s probably illegal how much I love your blog.

    2. Nella should wear green A LOT.

    3. The birthday card put me over the edge. I laughed out loud for 2 whole minutes.

    You bring me joy. And I know I’m not the only one. God bless.

  374. Oh flip flops, how I miss thee. Living in cold/rainy washington only allows for a few short months of flip flop wearing. Hmmmmm…..love it!!!

    And, love your blog.

  375. i am in love with the idea of letting littles pick out the presents at the dollar store! i can’t wait to do that with mine. and i was literally laughing out loud when i saw the birthday card. AMAZING! have a great rest of the week. hopefully i won’t get to far behind on your blog I’M HAVING MY BABY ON THURSDAY!!!

  376. Too funny – would love to win the hat for my babe!

  377. I laughed so hard cause I can so see Lainey walking around that store picking out gaga’s presents all by herself! That is one girl that knows what she wants! Maybe she gets that from me…lol

  378. True story, the best birthday I EVER had was full of gifts from the dollar store and hidden by my very young brother-n-laws…it made a deep imprint on my heart forever. Dollar store rocks!
    The card from Lainey to Brett was my favorite of this post!
    I love the giveaways, but have to be honest. I just love getting to come to this beautiful place every day!

  379. “Emotional laxative,” I’m determined to work that into a conversation this week. Classic.

  380. I have been wanting to post a comment about your blog for sometime now and since you happen to be having a giveaway I guess it makes it the best time! I just wanted to say that although I do not have any children of my own…yet, I enjoy your blog. I enjoy the creativity of your writing and the inspiration that it brings to my own life. So Thank you! Oh p.s. I also love your photography skills you do an excellent job!

  381. Those flip flops are too cute! and if your blog doesn’t win ‘Most Inspiring’, I don’t know what will…

  382. you inspire me. you intrigue me. your kids make my heart smile. i look forward to reading your blog. i am very excited about the wonderful giveaways! thank you for being transparent. love~ claire

  383. Haha – my daughter got that Special Granddaughter card a few years ago from Nana! Guess we know where Nana shops…

  384. Your blog takes me to another world of a gorgeous childhood your girls live and relax’s me! Thanks! Keep on blogging please! :)

  385. You have two very choice destinations and very cool passports.

    I loved what Lainey choose to get Brett, thats gorgeous!

  386. Beautiful post. Really helps to remind me to Enjoy the Small things, because life is far to precious not to. Thanks Kelle, you are a true inspiration.

  387. Dude, you really do birthdays up right! Bless you for giving up contol of Lainey’s gift buying! The card is a riot and the presents are priceless! Brett is a great daddy! BTW, my daughter and I have adopted Macy Grey’s Beauty in the world as our “summer song” since you posted it! Thanks!! Happy Tuesday!

  388. I love this post! The pics are gorgeous – Nella in the knit beret is the cutest little green bean I’ve ever seen! So sweet that Lainey got to pick out her daddy’s birthday presents, and the card is utterly fabulous. What a great dad he is – she is so lucky!

    Thanks for brightening my day again.

    Kelly

  389. S. Edwards says:

    Words of wisdom..don’t ever try to do a cartwheel after 35 years has passed by…my ass is really too heavy for these arms to hold up!

    I’m lucky my neck still works!

    I love the way you see the world Mrs Kelle Hampton. Even without the lense. :)

  390. And I thought I couldn’t love the dollar store more! Thank you for giving me yet another reason :) I was seriously dying laughing when you revealed the card selection….just priceless.

    Oh – and you definitely have my vote!

    Anne in Minnesota

  391. Kate Yoon says:

    Oh Kelle, it IS Italy! Such a beautiful post!
    I’m so glad someone finally said it, because every time I’ve ever gone into a dollar store I always think to myself “man, this place smells like cat pee!”

  392. Hi Kelle,
    I am from Burlington, IA but I am in San Diego right now for a Human Resources conference. Yesterday, I was waiting for a trolley and a mom pushed her daughter by in a stroller. Her daughter has the magical chromosome too. I could tell the mom was attending the same conference as I because we are all carrying the same bags and wearing name badges. I thought, wow she brought her daughter to the conference? Next I hear the little girl say, “look mommy doggies! doggies! I love doggies!” Her father came walking up and she so excitedly said, “daddy I just saw doggies! I love doggies! he said I know you do sweetheart. It made me think of you. I don’t know why and it certainly didn’t seem like a comment worth writing to you but then today I stopped out a delicious Italian restaurant. I was looking at the placement, which was a map of Italy and I was thinking, I really want to take my mom to Italy when she retires in four years, and then I read today’s post. I just found it so coincidental I had to write it.

  393. Amazing pictures as always!! Nella and Lainey are too stinkin’ cute! Nella’s eyes are so beautiful. Her smile is contagious.

    Happy Belated Birthday Brett! I was literally LOL when I saw the birthday card. So cute!

    Looooove the flip flops and sun hat, very stylish!

    Voted for you, hope you win. Good Luck!

  394. Anonymous says:

    HAHA loved that you left the $5 sticker on the glasses. It sounds like something I would do.

    I love all of your pics but the first one of Nella with the crocheted hat…..LOVE.

    Anyway, I will vote, I am an avid reader. :)

    Rashelle

  395. Your blog is something far beyond inspirational. This place I am at in my life needs this stuff every once in a while – and I get it every time I read your blog.
    Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your beautiful family. Makes my heart fill to the brim.

  396. Who doesn’t like a pink birthday card with a kitten? Perfect!

    Love the flips too. Esp the pudgy baby feet on the Etsy page!

  397. I heart me some bonnets – have 4 already =)

    Already voted, too, courtesy of life.rearranged. Thanks for the heads up!

    xo
    c

  398. PICK ME!

  399. I struggle day to day to find the beauty in Holland…..thank you for your example, veering my eyes toward all the goodness of such a special life, and sharing your enthusiasm.

    Love, Bree

  400. Anonymous says:

    Oh Kelle Kelle Kelle, you have absolutely outdone yourself with this post. I love you and your beautiful family so much. I don’t even know you, but you have made me a better human being. LOVE to you and yours from Arkansas. Xoxo

  401. Anonymous says:

    Love that Lainey is reading the Velveteen Rabbit! A perfect
    reflection of a beautiful post!

    Jess
    Agassiz, British Columbia

  402. All right… I’m finally commenting. I’ve read your blog for a while now (I found it in a link on a friend’s blog) but I haven’t commented yet because I figure, hey, you’re getting 300 comments a day from people you don’t even know, and you’re a mom of two beautiful little girls, and you don’t have time to read all that! But you got me today.

    What you said about parenting, and how you know there will be some not-so-rosy parts to come, reminded me of a quote (on another friend’s blog- apparently all I do is read blogs!) by Elizabeth Stone: “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” That’s what I heard you saying, and it’s beautiful.

    And, as long as I’m commenting, I might as well do it up right! The dollar store idea- so sweet! My daughter’s going to be two for my husband’s next birthday, so maybe she’ll be a tad little for that, but we’re doing that for him the first year she’s big enough to understand what she’s doing it. Awesome.

    And also- I love love love your photography. You’ve got me experimenting like mad with my camera. And asking my husband, who took the classes in college and is a designer so he has “that eye,” how you do stuff like focus on toes but not face, and he explains, so I’m learning a lot while I’m at it!

    And I took a picture of a popsicle in the grass today. Inspired by your summery posts of late. :)

    Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  403. With your attitude, and from what I can tell, Nella’s too…the sky’s the limit! I’ve learned the biggest challenge my daughter faces is the ignorance of others. Those who will want to limit her and lump her into one big group. I’ve learned that Gods answers are wiser than our prayers. Isn’t it wonderful when you figure out we’re the lucky ones! Thanks for inspiring me to be the best mom (not the best DS mom, that’s such a small part of who we are) Check out our video we made to invite family/friends to last years Buddy Walk. Youtube.com Team Bryn.
    PS: Moma needs a new pair of shoes!

  404. I love doing the dollar store shopping for birthdays! Especially when the kids pick things out for you, cause you never knew you needed that pair of knee highs until your 5 yr old gave them to you! I am in love with all the hats you have for your girls! It would be a treat to win one!

  405. kelle… this post is special. It beams of imperfection, love, laughter, and beauty.
    Little lainey had me cracking up with the great card she got for her daddy… Toddlers know best, huh?

  406. Anonymous says:

    I think you are probably in the most beautiful country I have ever seen. πŸ˜€ Seriously I am pretty sure anyone anywhere would love to be where you are.

    Happy week to you!

    Daniegirl

  407. The card and your glasses had me laughing out loud! Love your blog.

  408. I just love your blog!! I just laughed so hard about the dollar store! My daughter Ella is 3 ..and I am in LUB with the LUB stage…I think I laughed for the rest of your post! BEAUTIFUL! Thank you! Kristen

  409. Gorgeous girls and a great post. :)

  410. When it comes to presents, it is really the thought that counts.

  411. Julie K. says:

    Hi Kelle ~ I haven’t commented in a long time, but rest assured I’ve been faithfully reading your lovely posts. But I just had to comment tonight because it seems as though you and Brett have the same anniversary as me and my hubby too! You mentioned that Thurs is yours (July 1). Me too! Based on Lainey’s age, I might assume you were married in 2006? I have a just-turned 3 year old girl too :) My boy is almost 10 months. ANYWAY, happy anniversary!!! July 1 ROCKS

  412. Thank you Kelle for such a good laugh this evening! I really did have tears of laughter streaming down my face about the card and the sunglasses tag! I love reading your blog so much – you inspire me to be the best momma I can be!

  413. Haha that grand daughter card had me laughing so hard!! What a sweet sweet husband you have!! I love all the pictures! Love your swim top. You both are such good parents. Oh, how I hope for a loving, kind family when I have little ones! Thank you for this blog!

  414. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry I have to curse, but holy shit Kelle that was an amazing post. You are a rock star.

  415. Our husbands share the same birthday! I feel connected across this continent, from my ocean to yours:)

  416. I about peed myself laughing about Lainey’s sweet Granddaughter card. What an absolute love. I’m so glad you’ve found your stride and are rocking this life. Thanks for all you do!

  417. Wholey-Moley I big pink puffy heart those shoes!! And my little Tootsie-Poppers feet would look toooo cute in them!! I love your blog and thanks for a giveaway chance :)

  418. a.ma.zing- that’s your blog. not commenting to be entered- but damn you are good! love reading, love learning and just plain love your blog. already can’t wait for the next post.

  419. You have a gift my friend! Your words inspire and bring laughter to the sometimes weary souls of us mamas all over the world. Thank you.

  420. I couldn’t stop laughing at the grandpa glasses pictures and almost died when I saw the Grandaughter card! This whole post made me smile.

  421. I’m inspired!

  422. When it comes to Holland and Italy you’re preaching to the choir here (sorry I tried, I thought of 5 different ways to say it but they’re all corny but don’t care I love it!)

    This post has the most amazing timing! Last week we started with a new therapist for Madison (I finally grew a pair and asked our Service Coordinator for a new therapist because the first wasn’t working for us). This new therapist has a son who is 35 years old and he has DS so we got into our Mama talks about our babies and she brought up “The Poem” and asked what my thoughts are about the poem. My response was “forgive my speech but anyone who tells me I’m not in Italy can kiss my ass” Yeah I know I have a way with words. Anyhow I just went on to explain that I like the idea of where the writer was going with that and maybe some mamas really need that but as a mama to an amazing,brilliant, exceptional (i could keep going) 2 year old precious little girl I feel I am in nothing less than Italy or even better. Hell we’re sitting on top of the Eifel Tower over here. I have my bad days here and there but who doesn’t. My 4 year old about broke my heart when I sent her to time out the other day and I got an “I hate you.” There are good days and bad days but no matter what the day I don’t have on wooden shoes and I’m not looking at windmills. We are sitting at a quaint rot-iron table on a cobblestone road eatting piles of fresh spaghetti and yes we are in Italy and if anyone tells me differently…well… they can kiss my ass =) Sorry for the cussing!

  423. I gotta say…I noticed ‘Grandaughter’ in the smaller photo and started smiling and then burst out laughing when I saw the full thing. Dangerous laughing as it’s well past midnight here and I have 3 sleeping beauties!

    Your girls (and your entire family) are absolute dolls and I enjoy reading, drinking, and taking it all in!

  424. Sharing your thoughts about life.. inspires me so much. Your perspective is honest and true..thanks for sharing yourself! Your girls are so adorable!

  425. Great Post! Love the gifts she chose! hehe.

  426. Kelle: another beautiful post and great song choice too! On days that you don’t post, i visit your blog for your great playlist!

  427. OMG-totally laughing and crying in this one. Sometimes you’re so damn funny.:)

  428. Kelle:
    Each day I hop online and think, “Oh I hope she has a new post!” Each time I’m moved… The photos of your sweet girls… the reminder to breathe each day in and take nothing for granted. It all makes my heart smile. I’m thankful for this little blog.
    Blessings,
    Danna

  429. Kelle:
    Each day I hop online and think, “Oh I hope she has a new post!” Each time I’m moved… The photos of your sweet girls… the reminder to breathe each day in and take nothing for granted. It all makes my heart smile. I’m thankful for this little blog.
    Blessings,
    Danna

  430. I love it when you get up on that pulpit – so inspiring!

  431. Is it just me or do you almost want to cry happy tears when you sing the happy birthday song? I get so emotional!

    Nella is so beautiful! She is getting so big, and her smiles make me smile!

    I’m glad to see that Lainey (I think I just butchered her name! ack!) is trying to read!!

    Hope you guys enjoy your anniversary together!

  432. I remember going through the ‘my mom is such a bitch’ phase. It’s a rite of passage, I believe. Ten years later, I love her to death and am so thankful to have her as my boys’ grandmother. She is great. Love the pics, as always. XOXO.

  433. LOVE the trip to the dollar store! And I was dying laughing over the special grandaughter kitten card! =)

    What a lovely life you have. =)

  434. P.S. my brother has (literally) been to both Italy and Holland and he tells me Holland is so much more beautiful :)

    asIfrolicthroughlife.blogspot.com

  435. Why do you make me cry? and just when i am getting into the ugly cry, you make me laugh so hard i have to pee!
    Happy birthday Daddy! You have a beautiful family! Once again beautiful photos. One blessed family!

  436. i so love your writing and how you wrote about the birthday card was perfect!! i laughed out loud!! :)

    your pictures are delicious and your writing complements them perfectly!!

    thanks for sharing your life, you are in inspiration in so many ways!!

  437. I think that I have now officially read the entire “The Small Things” blog! It’s almost depressing, because if I ever need a boost in my day, your blog is the first place I go, and if you haven’t had the time to update, I will settle in to the archives. Thank you for being who you are, and for sharing that special energy that you have with the rest of the world. Because you don’t get to know your readers, you’ll never know how you have changed my life, but rest assured, you have, and I will always hold you very dear in my heart.

  438. Geez-I just love your perspective on life, it is very beautiful and inspiring. Whenever I’m online and I remember to read your blog-I get super excited-it’s like a yummy piece of dessert I forgot I had in the house-sooo good! Your girls are precious. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.
    ps. sun bonnet=love.
    tirzahjoy@gmail.com

  439. another great post! my 20 month old and i check out your posts, smile at the pictures, and dance to the music. it’s great!

  440. Kelle, you deserve the nomination! You’ve taught me more than you’d ever know. Thank you for allowing your streams of consciousness to actually have a voice.

  441. P.S. Poppa you are awesome as well!
    (Here comes stalkerness just warning you) I sometimes look at the comments to read your inspiring feedback and I even have some of your sayings saved as little pick me ups! I know stalker can’t help it you’re like a modern day Confucius.One of my favorite sayings of yours (I think Kelle quoted it on a post) was to be the thermostat and not the thermometer, great stuff.You’re very inspiring and seem to have such a great outlook on life.

  442. -love Lainey’s red shoes
    -Nella smiles in special way like she knows of a cool surprise you’re just about to get
    -i really like these stream of consciousness posts
    -off to vote for your blog awards. am disappointed that I can’t vote for your show on oprah from Canada
    -i like lists

  443. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple months now, and shamefully, this is my first time commenting. This post had me in hysterics at my computer. Your Lainey is so stinking cute. “Him gonna lub ‘dis.” Oh I just love it! Thank you for sharing your world with us and inspiring us to make ours a little better. You are truly an incredible woman.

  444. Your songs, pictures and words are truly inspiring. You make me proud to be a mama and inspire me to be an artist. Thank you for sharing your life!

  445. This comment has been removed by the author.

  446. To me, I don’t care where I am, Italy or Holland. Someone’s gonna be jealous of me. Somebody’s gonna be jealous they aren’t where I am – cause I am a good time. Me and my boy with too many chromosomes are having a party and it doesn’t matter if it’s in Italy or Holland. We got it goin on.

    You make me laugh. You truly are a breath of fresh air.
    Another GREAT post. as always.

  447. kelle, your blog is like brownies and milk! I have to tell my kids that you are “my friend in Florida” b/c they see me looking at your blog so often. My husband asks, whenever I do something creative or different…”Did Kelle do this?” I say, “NO…. but she inspired me!”
    p.s. my little guy is one month younger than Nella and my friends and I say <“he is down right special!”..>

  448. Coni S. says:

    You truly are inspiring…I look forward to reading your posts. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful life with us!

  449. What sweetness the girls are. Your photos are like a peace of candy that you can only find at a specialty store and your words are like finding those candies wrapped in brightly colored paper that you save like little treasures. Keep it up. Cheers and have a happy anniversary.

  450. This comment has been removed by the author.

  451. I just realized that I have been stalking you, oops mean reading your blog for 5 months. Oh my gosh let me tell you in those 5 months I feel like I have gotten to know you, your family (including your dad of course) and I have enjoyed it soo much. But tonight when I read the part about Brett’s bday card? I laughed so hard I shook the bed! That was the best part ever! I love it.

  452. kelle, your blog is like brownies and milk! I have to tell my kids that you are “my friend in Florida” b/c they see me looking at your blog so often. My husband asks, whenever I do something creative or different…”Did Kelle do this?” I say, “NO…. but she inspired me!”
    p.s. my little guy is one month younger than Nella and my friends and I say <“he is down right special!”..>

  453. California Dawn says:

    I’ve been wanting to comment for a long time, but have had a hard time articulating how I feel and why I read your blog. To put it simply, your blog is the last thing I read every night before bed…your words fill me with a sense of peace, a renewed appreciation for all that I have, and on many days a much needed reminder to “enjoy the small things.” I love your attitude, your outlook, and your insight.
    Thank you! And here’s some cyber hugs from California!

  454. Amanda L says:

    I’ve never commented on your page before, but girl you inspire me and now I’m an avid reader. Thanks so much for your inspiration Kelle.

  455. crying, laughing, crying, laughing, crying, crying. laughing, laughing. that’s me reading your posts!

  456. Beautiful blog, writing, family and photos! I had a good laugh this evening reading about your Dollar Store adventure. I think I’ll start the Doallar Store tradition for my husbands Birthdays!

  457. I am a mommy of 2 girls, too. We have a 9 year old and a 7 month old. Many painful years of infertility space the two, but with the gift of surrogacy, our lives overflow with joy. Just wasn’t the trip I thought we’d take to get here! Kelle, your blog speaks to my heart,

  458. Just re-read this post & noticed that Brett had a birthday pie… my husband asks for cherry pie every year for his birthday. I’m a cake girl myself, but it makes him so happy. Will definitely let the boys pick out their own gifts & cards for their poppa’s next b-day… such a cute idea.
    Voted for your blog & will do so every day!

  459. I’ve been following your blog for a while kind of like a stalker. I LOVE the pictures you post of Nella. She has the sweetest expressions and she makes my heart smile. I live in the “today is a gift” mind set daily. It’s all we can do when buried in laundry, dirty dishes and cranky babies. Thank you for bringing beauty to all of it.

  460. Your blog makes me so happy. I actually get a little bummed when I don’t have your blog on my daily googlereader line-up.

    And everything you said is the truth. Life is always throwing curve balls. My life certainly has taken some turns I NEVER thought I would encounter. No matter how “perfect” someone’s life seems we need to realize that they are surely having their own trials. It’s just how life is.

    (Oh, and I’ll be sure to go vote for you!)

  461. Woohoo! Congratulations on your nomination! Where’s the “My very favorite blog in the whole world” choice? Just wonderin’.

  462. Thank you for once again finding just the right words to so eloquently describe the inner most thoughts, fears and ultimately truths of parenthood.

    Also, LOVED the gifts Lainey picked out on her own! Too darn funny!

  463. The Granddaughter card was priceless. I was laughing so hard my husband heard me across the house. So precious. I am voting right away, because you truly are an inspiration, and I have learned oh so much from your little family.

    jackiecollyer at hotmail dot com

  464. your husband is a sweetheart! I’m sure not all the time, I’m sure we see and hear the good stuff, but a Daddy who thinks of his little darling on his birthday and lets her have fun with celebrating Dad’s special day, is an awesome Daddy. Props to him!

    Also, you need to be a model. I’ve decided, so its official. In all your spare time, take up modeling.

    Loved this post and I will be heading over to vote for you in ALL 3 categories! I look for updates in my feed reader every morning… when you haven’t posted anything new in 24 hours, I become sad.

  465. your husband is a sweetheart! I’m sure not all the time, I’m sure we see and hear the good stuff, but a Daddy who thinks of his little darling on his birthday and lets her have fun with celebrating Dad’s special day, is an awesome Daddy. Props to him!

    Also, you need to be a model. I’ve decided, so its official. In all your spare time, take up modeling.

    Loved this post and I will be heading over to vote for you in ALL 3 categories! I look for updates in my feed reader every morning… when you haven’t posted anything new in 24 hours, I become sad.

  466. I cannot get over how grown up Lainey looks in the 1st two photos of her. I had to look twice to make sure it was her!
    I say this each time but this is a great post! :) x

  467. You are so right…it is all in how you look at your life. Holland or Italy??? Reading your post reminds me to be grateful for the small stuff that really is quite big. Thank you.

  468. I am actually laughing out loud.. what a great post!!

  469. QUESTION : are people writing nasty things when it says.. post deleted by author?

  470. QUESTION : are people writing nasty things when it says.. post deleted by author?

  471. Loving Nella’s big blue eyes!!

  472. That post had me crying for so many different reasons. I think mostly because every time I see what an awesome mom you are, it shows me how I want to be with my kids. To just enjoy every moment and not waste time worrying about the little crap- and I do waste so much time on it. I always need those reminders.

  473. Loving your blog, loving your little princesses… your are really a special mum!
    Chiara – Italy

  474. You’re just so damn good.
    And… your whole bit about what life has to offer, good and bad killed me. Like a good pain, but ahh.

    Love the pics as usual!

    Kisses to your delicious babies.
    PLEASE COME TO LA AND PHOTOGRAPH MY FAMILY!

    -Michal

  475. Wait! Is Thursday your anniversary??? If it is, July 1st is ours too. 21 years this year and no…I swear I’m not that old at all. I was a child bride. :) But here’s the cool/weird/universe-unfolding-exactly-the-right-way kind of thing: Patrick (our son with T21) was born on our 10 year anniversary. And he is the best glue ever! :) That boy’s got some magic! Enjoy your date night! And Happy Anniversary — you are blessed. ~Beth

  476. I was showing my husband pictures of your beautiful Nella, and the first thing he said was “She has cute eyes, big, blue and beautiful.”

    He gives nicer compliments to stranger’s babies than to his wife! πŸ˜‰

  477. Love the dollar store idea. That is the cutest and funniest idea I’ve seen in awhile. Thanks for the smile.

  478. I’ve got to remember the dollar store thing for my girl to do for her daddy in a year or so. Love that.

  479. Anonymous says:

    That is the best blog post yet. You are so right about the Holland poem. And I laughed and laughed about the card that Lainey gave to her dad. And so many cool photos.
    Thanks for making my day.
    Bridget and Pete

  480. Anonymous says:

    Ava’s Twinkle Toes look EXACTLY like the flip-flops you love AND they donate a portion of the proceeds to Manasota BUDS, supporting children with Down syndrome — it’s a win-win. Check them out! You’ll love them. Maybe another give-away?

    http://www.avastwinkletoes.com/

  481. Just thought I’d share with you a snippet from my blog *Insert shy smile here*
    There is a blog that I read religiously http://www.kellehampton.com/ now this is a woman that inspires me to be the best mum I can, to be mindful of all the little things. To remember to view the world through my babies eyes….its big its beautiful its amazing!!!

  482. I adore the idea of letting kids go to the Dollar General to let them “shop” for birthdays:-) I think that’s an idea I’ll borrow from you! I’d love to win a bonnet or some adorable flops for my baby girl!

  483. I would LOOOOVE a pair of those awesome flip flops for my daughter & I <3 :) I hope I am chosen as a random winner!!! Your blog is amazing!

  484. I would LOOOOVE a pair of those awesome flip flops for my daughter & I <3 :) I hope I am chosen as a random winner!!! Your blog is amazing!

  485. Anonymous says:

    I love the pictures of Lainey (the ones where she’s holding the book). Such a pretty little girl ! And of course compliments to the photographer mama :)

  486. Wow, i am soo proud i did voted..and i loved the green dress on nella, she looked so proud on it…

  487. and i loved the bonnet too..i love dianna (my 6 month old bb girl, born on the 22nd of Dec, just a month earlier than nella) to wear it..hehe, had been inspired by ur bonnets and headbands with the cutest or the biggest flower or ribbons on it, had been making them for dianna myself..hope i can send u pictures of these looked on her, would love to send u some too, if only we are not that too dar away

  488. Love this post! As I love all your posts!
    Happy birthday to Brett!
    Lovely celebration, and Lainey – she is adorable!

    – And of course I vote for Enjoying the small things! Yesssss!

  489. I loved this post from beginning to end, what an adventure! I love the idea of seeing life as different countries, having it all right now. I’d love to go to the South of France one day and stay there for 6 months or so, but if I stop and look around, there IS so much France-like goodness in the here and now. I also loved that Lainey picked out Bretts card and present. I have a daughter, Amber, almost exactly the same age as Lainey and she loves to do this too… Oh my Goodness, the Grandaughter card had me laughing so hard, great therapy! Thanks again Kelly! Love, Sophie

  490. Amy Petersen, Parker, CO says:

    Kelly,
    I have been following your blog for a while now. I am a stay at home mama of four kiddo’s, ages 18, 9, 7, and 5. I am also a FT student finishing up my Bachelor’s degree. I spend many late (and early) hours doing homework after,(as you would say) the little’s go to bed. I ALWAYS end my day with checking your blog. Some evenings, it ends with tears, others with laughter, usually with a bit of both happy tears, filled with laughter. You have such a beautiful soul, and a gift for storytelling through photography and words. Many times, your blog helps me put perspective on my own life in just the way in need reminded of. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for simply being you. God Bless.

  491. It’s been a tradition in our household to pick out the wackiest card possible that is the polar opposite of whatever the occassion is. Someone’s graduating? Pick out a sympathy card. Mom’s birthday? Grab a “For A Special Nephew On His Baptism” card. We’re wacky, but we love it :-)

    And I would love me one of those ADORABLE bonnets!

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  493. Natasha R. says:

    thanks for this post, i needed it.
    the card made me laugh out loud.
    for real.
    not like one of those fake lol’s.
    i laughed!!

  494. Kelle you’re not IN italy…You guys ARE italy! Your family is so precious and so full of love, you remind me every day to squeeze that bit more out of every moment with my loved ones.
    I cried reading the part about giving birth to these beautiful babies and then worrying for the rest of your life that you might lose them. Gosh I can’t count the nights i’ve lain in bed starring at the ceiling and wondering how I’m going to leave my little man at school on his first day. He’s 6 months old!
    You’re my inspiration beautiful lady xoxo

  495. .athena. says:

    Kelle,
    you nearly had me peeing my pants when i read about the $5 sticker on your sunglasses. It reminded me of the time I left the XL sticker on my white V-Neck tee before heading out on the town. Classy!!

    I know it may sound funny from a stranger in Denver, but I feel like you are floating on the same cloud as me sometimes.

    I’d like to also say that I love love love the fact that in your “Oprah” video you kept the part where Lainey had to go pee. If I could have voted for you 100 times, I would have.

  496. I too have been lurking since I first heard about Nella’s birth on another blog. Your writing is beautiful and pictures amazing! If I had half the photography skills you do…

  497. Kelle,
    We are a house of cystic fibrosis and, I must say, living with any potentially ominous disease gives you a different version of normal.

    I dig your normal.

    Christie, Kittery, ME

  498. Thank you for taking time from your day to blog. I happened upon your blog about a year ago and have passed it along to other mommy friends. I love the storeis you share and the ideas you come up with. YOu are an inspiration!! Have a wonderful week!

  499. One of my most prized possessions is a teeny tiny set of inch-tall porcelain figures selected at our version of the dollar store by my son for mothers day, oh so many years ago. In fact, when I recently moved to my new place (closer to my children and their children), one of them broke!–but I have both pieces, and it’s waiting now for the proper glue to make it as good as new so it can be returned to its proper place on display in my kitchen window. That’s where its always been…and always shall remain. Being a momma, regardless of the day or circumstances, has taken me into the universe in ways that no other career ever did or could, and I love the way you’ve been able to capture that knowledge and share it with your readers, and more importantly, your family! Thank you, Kelle!

  500. i am so so so obsessed with this blog. this was one of my FAVORITE posts, i laughed so obnoxiously loud through the dollar store anecdote. that little lainey is quite the lovebug.

    thank you so much for putting your life on this blog for us all to enjoy. you are such an inspiration.

    big big love from london
    XXXXX

  501. Kelle,

    You inspire me– completely and utterly. I’ve never responded to a post before, and now that I think about it-sorry for being such a creep. I think the attitude you’ve got going on is fabulous! I am currently trying to conceive, and reading your blog makes me want to be a mama so much more.

    Best,
    AllisonKathleen

  502. Ha! I love the dollar store idea! So funny.

  503. OMG stop it with the cat card. hahaha so funny! Thanks for brightening my day :)

  504. Love it, Love it, Love it, and…. voting!

  505. Anonymous says:

    Kelle,
    I LOVE this post ….and the Dollar Store story is just too cute! You always make me feel like Im there with you – like a little mouse watching and taking everything in. I thank you for that.

    My kids are 24, 21 and 17 – my youngest going to college in one short year – time does FLY … I can’t believe this is happening to me but I have to look at it as a “new chapter” of my book of life.

    You are right, as mommas we never stop worrying (or thinking) about our kids 24/7. Thank you for sharing your “littles” with me and the rest of the world!

    Sue

    PS – we need a picture of Brett in the sombrero!!

  506. Cgotaypa;umbo@gmail.com says:

    I love the dollar store birthday idea! And Nella in that hat, OMG. LOVE!

  507. Love that Lainey gets to choose Daddys bday gifts – and love her choices – pure gorgeousness

    And loving the lainey pics with the cream headband and the Nellabean ones in green so sweet

    Those bonnets are gorgeous – was thinking it reminded me of a little ladybug in the black and red

    Perfect for the beach and my newest niece Miss Marigold. Count me in x
    PS So glad your passport and 2 little tickets taking you to all sorts of places – Italy/Holland whatever all special and perfect for the experience!

  508. Vote. Vote. Vote. Love the birthday card.

  509. You are amazing Kelle! You touch my heart and so glad to have you as my friend.

  510. I had to laugh about the dollar store! hilarious. we’ll have to try that sometime!
    and thanks for writing this….i needed to hear it. it’s been a rough couplaweeks over here. Having a 2 and 3 year old, check that, a VERY “SPIRITED” 3 year old and a crazy 2 year old, is an ass-whooping every day. thus my post about how much i love my lu girl. anyway, i needed to hear that they are precious gifts no matter what. so thank you.

  511. So fun! I agree that “life is what we make of it”…it is easy to get caught up in the negative, but SO MUCH MORE important to get caught up in the positive!

  512. Love the idea of letting Lainey pick out Daddy presents at the Dollar Store. I must say that the card is the best. lol

  513. Your husband is really the sweetest…..I am so happy to see a father enjoying these moments as much as a Momma does!!

    Love the flip flops..to die for!!

    ON my way to VOTE!! You deserve top prize Kelle girl!! You rock!

  514. I have been reading your blog for about 6 months now and find myself ridiculously excited when there is a new post. You have taught me so much – to enjoy the smallest things in life that many pass by. It’s so easy to get caught up in monetary things for holidays/birthdays and I love what you did with Lainey. I am sitting here at work and when I saw the pic of Brett with all his gifts and the card, I honestly belted out a huge laugh. I love it! I can’t wait to do that with my daughter one day (she just turned 1). You are doing such a great job Momma!

  515. Kellie, my sister lead me to your blog….you are an amazing woman and I am a better mom for having “met” you! Your blog has taught me to enjoy the small thing…Thank you!

  516. That card had me cracking up. I love it! I love that Brett wanted her to pick out his presents from the Dollar store. So, so sweet. Can’t wait to read more about all the wonderful things you have in store this week!!

  517. I’m not posting for a prize, I’ve already had my reward :) I love the way you guys do birthdays, you could have gotten Brett snazzy golfclubs or expensive designer sunglasses (lol) but it wouldn’t have made me cry like the to a special grand daughter card. Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s all good. Nella’s looking great, what a clever little things she’s become.

  518. Kelly…thank you again for your blog! I’ve had my “glasses” off for a few days and this morning I was reminded to embrace the challenges and love life!

    I loved the birthday card. I was lmao reading abbout your dollar store adventure!

  519. Kelle, I love reading your blog. I’m not a mama yet but hope to be so soon, and you inspire me to be better, stronger, wiser before my mama journey begins. I’ve admired your grace, beauty and talent for a while now, but today you made me laugh so hard! My favorite post to date :)

  520. This comment has been removed by the author.

  521. Soooo precious and inspirational girl. Want to kiss both those girls up.

  522. I love that you love the life you have right now. In fact, I would say that you absolutely relish the life you have right now. That’s so good.

    It took me a long time to be able to do that. I spent a lot of time thinking that I couldn’t be happy until I had the life I wanted and dreamed of.

    This post in particular makes me appreciate what I have in my life right now. Italy here I come!

    I was rolling on the floor when I saw the card. πŸ˜€

  523. Gosh, I just love you! I laughed out loud when I read that part about the dollar store birthday presents– especially the kitten card. What an awesome idea!
    Thank you so much for your blog.

  524. I read this post last night while nursing a terribly upset teething 8 month old and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Your love for your family is an inspiration to us all.

  525. Anonymous says:

    Love, love, love reading your blog! It refreshes my spirit.
    Those bonnets are adorable! :)
    -Andrea

  526. Sooo precious and inspirational. Just want to kiss those girls up!

    Girl, I don’t know why this is messing with me and showing my comments like 5 times, but please delete them all but one…don’t know why this is doing it! Damn you google :)

  527. As always, loving your gorgeous girls and family. The picture of Brett, Lainey and the dollar store finds are priceless!

  528. The dollar store makes my heart happy! Your blog makes my heart even happier. Thank you beyond words for inspiring the lives of many–I have become a much better, patient mother after reading your posts! I appreciate you!

  529. Of course your blog was nominated! It’s awesome!

  530. Kelle, My daughter Olive Madeline was born 1 week ago and I just wanted to let you know i follow your blog religiously. It has helped me through my own pregnancy and also during labor last week it was a must read! It has helped me to realize everything was going to be okay, even when i have insecurities, my kids will love me just the same. You inspire me to be the best mother i can be for my own littles!! Thank you for doing what you do best Kelle! Oh and i literally cried over the card Lainey picked out for Brett…so funny. I loved the whole concept of the dollar store birthday spree..how fun that must have been.

  531. Oh, I loved you prose about how far you have come and how you feel about Italy/Holland and all of it. It was beautiful. You are beautiful – inside and out, and your girls are beyond lucky you are theirs.

    And the birthday card for Brett – I did not see that coming and I thought that was HILARIOUS!!! ;o) I’m totally adapting the dollar store idea to my husband’s birthday next year!

  532. so beautiful, as always. Also- love the “birthday pie”! Love that I can start my morning with a new blog post by you! thanks. :)

  533. Reading this particular blog lets me know that you are really healing. This is the Kelle I know and love – beautiful and inspired writing from the heart – “bitchslapping” ????? LOL, LOL
    The card is hilarious! Happy Birthday Brett!!!! Oh, and Happy Anniversary!

  534. so beautiful! you’ve got my votes for sure!

  535. hahahahahaah..the birthday card really had me laughing this morning! oh I love that you helpd me start my day off with a real belly laugh!
    and that Nella! sh eis giving me baby fever..BIG TIME!
    I think I am a One Hit wonder..but miracle happen!
    Rania in NYC
    ranikinani@aol.com

  536. your happiness is so contagious. thanks for giving me the bug!
    happy birthday to brett. i’m going to steal that dollar store idea. i actually got a chill when i read that lainey was saying “him gonna be so excited. him gonna lub ‘dis”. what a gift that was to HER.
    you and brett are both rock starts.

  537. Some mornings when I check to see if you’ve posted a new story I’m simply curious to see what you are up to and what your wonderful family is doing. This morning though I needed to see & read & laugh… it was one of those nights with my little one. Your words, photographs & especially the sombrero and card photographs added some much needed levity and smiles to start my morning. Thank you.

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  539. Anonymous says:

    I am a Mom in waiting….waiting for her DD to arrive in 6 days and to find out who the little one I have been carrying around really is….boy or girl? healthy? how many chromosones? and all the rest. Thanks for reminding me that know matter who are children are will bring us Joy and Struggle and that this is ALL life….so make the best of every single day with whatever you have got! You have bee truly inspiring to me on the journey to the unknown. Thank You.

  540. I love your blog! I can’t believe all the giveaways today. Maybe I missed it but what happened with the Oprah audition? I voted!
    Christi
    christiharrison@gmail.com

  541. The birthday shopping part was fantastic. I bet he will treasure that card for the rest of his life. Looks like a great birthday! (And thanks for the giveaway.)

  542. I think we were best friends in a previous life. For real.

  543. kelle,
    you are sunshine on a cloudy day!
    and lainey love and nella cordelia
    are the cherry on top the cupcakes!
    my favorite pic is nella and her cabbage patch smile, toooo cute!
    and laineys gifts for her daddy-priceless. you have a super adorable family and your smart beyond your years that you dont take them for granted.
    have a blessed day!

  544. Kelle,
    This post had me roaring once I started reading about what Lainey was picking out for her daddy…not to mention the phone call that you got from him while in the store. We let our three year old daughter do the same thing and it is so much fun to see the smile on her face when she gets to go shopping for her daddy!

  545. Dollar store presents from the littles are some of my most prized possessions! I have proudly rocked my plastic tiara with the words “DIVA” on it, just to see the huge grin my sons face.

  546. I LOVE the idea of letting Lainey pick out her dad’s birthday presents. It was hilarious and so sweet! Love your blog, I read it all the time!

  547. What an awesome post! I so enjoyed it and made me smile smile smile! What a wonderful family you have Kelle, and you inspire me! I also give kudos to Brett, who is a an awesome dad, and should could teach a few men a thing or two about raising kids and family – I so enjoy your blog Kelle, you inspire me!

    Adorable little ones as well, and well, I gotta tell ya, Poppa is also AWESOME! Love his comments!

    Shelley

  548. I was laughing at my desk when I read you talking on the phone to Brett at the dollar store~!! It was like I was there and laughing with you! Like many others, I am addicted to your blog, I look forward to every post. You have a beautiful heart and an awesome personality:) The hat and sandals rock!!Crossing my fingers and toes! I hope you have a fabulous week! My husband and I will be celebrating our 4 year anniversary tomorrow so Happy Anniversary to you and Brett!!

  549. Love the thought of a trip to the dollar store. So sweet! P.S. You motivate me to be a better momma!

  550. I so loved the dollar shop presents but in particular the birthday card priceless. But then the price on the sunglassess been there done that. So funny

  551. Oh my gosh I seriously DIED at the grandaughter birthday card…that’s awesome!

    I voted for you also! Hope you win…you deserve to!

    I would LOVE those flip flops!! Very very cute!

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  553. Anonymous says:

    I laughed so much with the dollar store story. Especially the card Lainey picked out. It’s hillarious.!! Love reading your blog. My kids are all adults now but I can relate. Love it ! :)

  554. Nothing makes me happier than finding out that you have posted another blog entry… I love your blog, love your babies and can not get enough of your amazing writing… I tear up daily when I see photos of little Nella, as she reminds me of my sister. And she is beautiful! You have a good hand there, beautiful girls, wonderful boys… Just love all the way around… As for the giveaway, YUM! Those are alwas a bonus!

    Brooke

  555. Kelle Awesome post! Your babies are beautiful.

  556. Kelle, Kelle, Kelle….This seriously has to be the GREATEST post thus far!!! I laughed, I cried, I was hooked on your every word!!! You make dollar store look like Nordstrom’s! You amaze me. You REALLY do!!! HILARIOUS card choice by Lainey! LOVE the hand sanitizer I saw in that gift which I remember you mentioning also is a big fav of Brett’s! (Mine as well!) And your $5 sticker on your glasses is SO something I would have done!!! And they really did look hot! Love it! I needed this post more than you know today! And to get 3 posts in a row..well that’s just pure craziness!! Thank you girl!

    Tara

  557. I am going to vote for you every day until July 12th!

  558. Kelle, Kelle, Kelle….This seriously has to be the GREATEST post thus far!!! I laughed, I cried, I was hooked on your every word!!! You make dollar store look like Nordstrom’s! You amaze me. You REALLY do!!! HILARIOUS card choice by Lainey! LOVE the hand sanitizer I saw in that gift which I remember you mentioning also is a big fav of Brett’s! (Mine as well!) And your $5 sticker on your glasses is SO something I would have done!!! And they really did look hot! Love it! I needed this post more than you know today! And to get 3 posts in a row..well that’s just pure craziness!! Thank you girl!
    Tara

  559. Adorable post & pictures… as always!

  560. Fantastico Post as usual! I so enjoy your blog Kelle, you are very inspiring to me!

    And Kudos to Mr. Brett, who is an Awesome Daddy and also a holler to Poppa, who words of wisdom are so very wise.

    You are all adorable!

    Best, Shelley

  561. love love love the flip flops! Absolutely adorable. My friend and I laughed at the grandaughter card until we came to tears! Such precious little girls you have.

  562. What a great post with adorable pictures of your girls! The dollar store adventure sounds like a great time. I always look forward to a new post on your blog!

  563. loved this post. i needed a trip to italy via your blog today. thank you for everything you write. i voted for the contest in all 3 categories and i love those skull & crossbones flippies!

  564. Hi Kelle, Im the girl who asked you about your desk months ago who lives in Nova Scotia. I was so excited you wrote me back that now when I talk about your blog with my family I say “my friend kelle’s blog”. hope that doesnt totally creep you out… Im sitting here with my morning coffee now day dreaming of all the holland and italy moments ahead that my little babe will bring. Im with you in thinking why restrict ourselves to only certain travel destinations, the world is our playground. Nora xoxo

  565. I get so excited when I see you have a new post up. I love what you did for Brett’s birthday. Such a great idea. One I might have to start around here. I’m all about saving a little where I can. I’ve got 5 kids, I’m sure they would pick out some interesting things at the dollar store. You can get some awesome things there!!!

  566. The Granddaughter birthday card is priceless. I laughed so hard :) I just love reading (and looking at) your blog. I am an optimist by nature and really related to the part about the sad-girl shoes not fitting! Your photos are so gorgeous, and I think it is because you truly have a wonderful perspective on your girls, on your life, and on life in general.

  567. Danielle says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, and I love you. I love you for being what I look forward to when my daughter goes to sleep and I can take the time to relish your pictures and your words. Today’s post made me laugh out loud – loved the granddaughter card!

  568. You are an amazing woman, mom and wife!

  569. I love reading your blog. It is always the first on I read everyday. I love looking at your photos. Your girls are beautiful!!!

  570. I VOTED!

  571. I Love the dollar store idea! My 4 year old would pick out some interesting stuff for her Daddy! Thanks for the great idea.

  572. I Love the dollar store idea! My 4 year old would pick out some interesting stuff for her Daddy! Thanks for the great idea.

  573. You must be psychic and knew that I needed a laugh like no other this morning while I sit in my gray cubicle. That card did it! Oh boy was that priceless! I have been reading for months now and just want you to know that I so look forward to the laughs and lessons that I know I am going to find when I get to your page. Not only that but your playlist has becmome the soundtrack to my workday and helps me stay sane during my mundane 8 to 5.

  574. I love starting off my day by reading your blog. I sit at my desk sip my coffee and smile at your beautiful girls, laugh as I relate to not always having it together and become inspired as I read your story and think about my own and how I wish I could document the daily chronicles of being a mother as well as you do. But for now I enjoy your stories and look forward to the next one with suspense. Blessings to you and your family!!!

  575. Love Lainey’s hair piece! And yay for dates!

  576. I am really loving this entry. Not that any of your otherones were not real, its just something about this one makes it all seem so raw! This blog is my drug of choice and I must say Thank You for the inspiration you have given me. Your girls are just peachy! πŸ˜›

  577. momoffaith says:

    This my first comment as well, but I’ve been following your story since Nella’s birth, and you have really inspired me to enjoy the small things in my crazy little home as well. I will be voting for you!

  578. Dollar Store birthdays may well become a tradition in this house, at least every once in a while. How fun!

  579. I love the way you write. I love even more how Lainey picks out dollar store gifts…we do this every Christmas…and my girl loves it too!

  580. Heather Campbell says:

    I would love to win a pair of flippy floppys :) or a bonnet too ! Love your blog , it had me in tears one minute and laughing the next.

  581. Firstly, I voted for you and hope you win! You have definitely inspired me to be more grateful.

    Also, I’m totally going to “borrow” your idea for cards, I always end up feeling like the cards are totally lame, but if The Monster picks it out, that’ll be tres cute.

    miscjenn at gmail dot com

  582. You’re blog is the highlight of my morning most of the time. It makes me smile while I drink my tea. Thanks for that!

  583. Congrats on the blog nominations! I adore your blog! You’re the first place I go to in the morning, coffee in hand, before my littles are up. You’re my daily dose of inspiration! THANK YOU!

    I LOVE the dollar store trip! Magical and something I’m starting with my little ones!

    Lainey’s ribbon headband in the pictures of her reading a book, did you make that or buy that some place? It’s so pretty!

    Beautiful post!

  584. The girls are just adorable. I LOVE LOVE Brett’s idea for his birthday presents. That brought the biggest smile to my face. Any chance I can steal your idea? Have a great weekend and tell Brett Happy Belated Bday!

  585. We are so embarking on a Dollar Store shopping spree for the next birthday in the family! What a cute idea and so special for everyone! As always, whenever I read your posts late at night I want to run upstairs and peek in on the kids. Your pictures of the girls always remind me that I’m lucky enough to have the same thing you have-2 perfect kids! xoxo

  586. I always look at the pictures in your blog first and then go back and read your post. I was so confussed looking at the birthday card until I went back and read your post. Love IT! Your girls are too cute.

  587. “that my heart will drop to the bottom of my soul when she gets a license and steers her car onto roads that hold drivers that text and drink and run red lights. I’m aware that both of my kids will get made fun of…for being different, for being the same, for being too smart, not-enough smart, short, tall, fat, skinny, funny, nerdy, cautious, daring, compassionate, or what have you. I’m aware that birthing children means forever I will worry that I’ll lose them. That the pain of watching them hurt or struggle or be sad will consume me until I’m eaten alive.”

    Oh my, these are thought that I constantly fight to keep out of my head. Sometimes I just want time to stand still, so I can keep my son safe in my arms forever. But then I’d be cheating him out of all the joys and pains, all of the LIVING to be had out there, sigh… I often think of this quote, and try to accept that it is what it is, and to enjoy every moment:

    “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” ~Elizabeth Stone

    BTW, I love Lainey’s ribbon headband!

    Umm, and “emotional laxative”? Wish I wasn’t at work so that I could laugh out loud, ha! This post was hilarious, especially Lainey’s shopping excursion in the cat-pee store! “For a special granddaughter”… I’ve got tears!

  588. Kelle-
    Thank you so much for the wonderful blog you keep. I’m a first time mommy-to-be, and like so many others, I was sent the link to your blog about Nella’s birth story. I love hearing about your beautiful little girls. I love the strength you bring to your situation and the sunny outlook you have on life. You inspire me!! If I can be half the mom you are- my little one is one lucky kiddo. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  589. I laughed out loud when I saw the card Lainey picked out for Brett!! Great stuff! We are in Holland or Italy – or whatever. Our Jack is the world to us filled with wonder and magic..and sometimes it’s hard, but man – I wouldn’t want to travel anywhere else!

    you can see him at:
    http://justjackjack.blogspot.com :)

    Keep preachin sista!

  590. As a mother of three “littles”, growing in to “biggies” much too quickly and a teacher of kids who all have a little extra magic in them…your blog helps to keep me grounded and inspired. Thank-you.

  591. Anonymous says:

    Of course I voted for you on all 3…you deserve an award for all those and more! This post, I must say, is one of the top fav’s…I couldn’t help but laugh and re-read it over and over again. Kelle, you rock! you’re very talented and inspirational…thank you for all you say, do and share!!!

    much love,
    Kim (in NJ)

    P.S. Hope you and Brett enjoy your date and Happy Anniversary :)

  592. I am LAUGHING! My grandma has sent me that same birthday card for the last 3 years! So glad your family is getting to make a memory out of it too :)

  593. What a great card she picked out. I enjoy reading your blog on a daily basis and seeing your beautiful pictures. You inspire me on a daily basis. Also you are an amazing mother.

  594. This post makes me so happy!!! i love the cheap glasses.. they look great! The dollar store stuff – fun! ha brett!
    lainey in that litte blueish dress and nellabean in the green- LOVE it!
    and next time your on fb – check out my profile pic… i live in both countries – every. single. day. I LOVE LOVE it!

  595. Best blog post ever! You inspire!!

  596. The birthday card Lainey chose is CLASSIC! Lol! Thank you for sharing; this post made my day. :)

  597. ok so i also saw some hand sanitizer in there! Girl knows her daddy! haha!

    loved this post, so full of admonishments to seize the day and love life, that you dont have to spend alot of money to be awesome, and of course that loving your family is the bee’s knee’s. xoxo!

  598. Melissa M. says:

    I’ve been sayin’ for months that I like the Holland story, but me and my family are in Italy, where we always dreamed of going. After reading your post, I’ve decided that we visit Holland sometimes, too. Like when the lady at Chick fil a last week said “How old is your tiiiinnyy baby?” and I said “two” and she gave me a funny look, and I realized that she’s never been to Holland, hasn’t seen the sights I’ve seen, hasn’t worn wooden shoes and clip-clomped down a historic street with tulips clutched in both fists. And I felt bad for her. So, you are right, my family lives in Italy, but we do vacation in Holland sometimes :).

    And if I win a sunbonnet for my girl I WILL wet my pants. :)

  599. Ok, I’m gonna post for a chance to win something fun. But, what I really want is for you to read my comment…. I read Gene Stallings book about his son with Down syndrome and in it his wife shared a story about when Johnny was young and how she witnessed some children in her backyard making fun of Johnny for being different. Instead of remprimanding the neighborhood children, she sat them down and explained to them how Johnny was just like them in so many ways. How he liked to play the same games and liked to eat pizza and so many other things. That momma did something that I would have had a hard time doing if these children had been “making-fun-of” my Delaney. I would have been angry, I would have yelled at somebody. But, she did the right thing. What I wish…is that you could peer into my home right now, three years ahead of you on this journey and let you see the joy we have in our family because God chose us to have Delaney. OmGosh, I am overwhelmed everyday with this little blonde miracle! She’s so NORMAL! She’s SO just like every other child I know. I want to ease your worries about Nella learning to crawl and walk and talk and “yes” she will pitch temper tantrums and hit her brother, sister in your case. She will run, she will pretend, she will love zoo animals. She will love the ocean and the swimming pool and airplanes and camels. You have so much to look forward to. I know you worry…I still worry. But, not today. Today…enjoy. Tomorrow….enjoy. Send up prayers of thanks for the gift that God has given you. I wouldn’t change it if I could. To change it would be to change “her”. I wish you could see….

  600. Loves, loves, loves! I love your posts! They light my day!

  601. oh, for the love of pink greeting cards with kittens! too stinking cute. nella’s smile gets me right in the heart. she’s so beautiful.

    i always love your posts on perspective. i hope you could hear me shouting, “amen, sister!” life is so good. love you blog, kelle. voting right now…

  602. the sunhat is sooo adorable!!!! your girls are such cute little beach bunnies, I can’t wait to take my 15month old daughter to the beach this summer

  603. Meaghan says:

    I read your blog daily and love every one of your posts. I’m pregnant with our first child right now and going through the genetic screening process was less scary knowing there are women and families like yours that flouring with the magical chromosone. You truly are an inspiring woman!

  604. I also have been reading since Nella’s birth story. Every new post you have reminds me to enjoy the simple things in life. Your family and your spirt are both so beautiful!! (as are your photographs!!!!)

  605. Ah, that birthday card just made my day! As do all of the pictures of your beautiful, happy girls. Every time I see Lainey and Nella smiles, my heart just melts. Your blog just always brings a smile to my face. Thanks again for sharing so much of your life!

  606. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, and I must say its the highlight of my day when I click on your site on my list of favorites (yes, your a favorite!) and see a new entry. You live such an enchanted, blessed life. Its amazing to admire some one you’ve never met, although I feel like were old friends. Thank you for inviting us into your life and your home. One more thing… I’m been curious to know you and Bret met. Did you blog about that at some point? If so, where can I find it? If not, will you??

  607. As always I am blown away with your positive attitude. I love it! Preach on! :)

  608. Love the dollar store birthday….can I steal it? There’s nothing better or more pure than that. And you’re exactly right…I was wondering what that smell was…..it’s cat pee. Thanks for solving that for me….and come to think of it, my grandma with the cat’s house kind of looks like a dollar store….expired food, cheesy ceramic figurines/clocks and toys that may or may not contain lead…and we can’t forget the cat pee.

  609. I absolutely love this post, I know the Holland and Italy thing well in my heart…

    And my Ivy has those bonnets but needs the next size up, so we’d love to enter to win your giveaways. Thank you.

    Steph

  610. bells, just caught up on all the posts i’ve missed. i miss those girls sooooo much i can’t stand it. and brett in those glasses…ha, he looked like brian a little more!

    nella is staring at those candles on the cake in the first one and she looks soo happy. how far we’ve come. i say we because, well, it’s a we. ha.

    so sad to be missing the wedding…i can’t stand it. text me a pic during so i can feel like i am there.maybeyou could put a pic of jeff and i in a frame and hold it up so trish and billy can see our faces…hahahah, lol.

    okay, two cups of coffee to much. i’m trying to crank out a post, but instead i sit here and read over all i’ve missed. gotta go, beckham is trying to eat whipped cream out of a can…!!??

    peyton is trying to oblige…

    love ya, miss you too.

    michigan love, heidi

  611. I love that she picked out her own presents for her Daddy! So cute!

  612. $5 with the sticker on or off…they ARE hip, Kelle!

  613. $5 with the sticker on or off…they ARE hip, Kelle!

  614. Abi' K. says:

    You’re always fullo life and great perspective!! Thanks for your words and heart…

    My tired feet would LOVE a new pair of flips! Thanks.

  615. Lizbeth says:

    Amazing photographs!! Great giveaways!!
    lizmartinez_1@yahoo.com

  616. Mandy D says:

    I’m not the biggest dollar store fan but I happen to adore the way my children light up knowing that they can but ANYTHING in the store.

    Lovin’ the bonnet!

  617. Julie B. says:

    I LOVE how Brett chose to celebrate his birthday; what a sweet dad.

  618. This is my first comment :) A friend of mine sent me the link to your blog. After one post, I added it to my Google Reader. Thank you for the little peek into your world. It truely brings a smile to my face :)

  619. Anonymous says:

    Girl get yourself some cheap sunglasses…love em, love your words, think your girls are the cat’s pajamas, etc…everytime I read your blog, my attitude changes (in a good way). Keep on writing..you have a tremendous gift.

    Heidi in Tampa

  620. Love this post! Ok, first, my hubs and Brett share a birthday…and an uncomparable, crazy love for their two wonderful daughters!! Second, I am going to vote RIGHT NOW because your blog has certainly changed my perspective on many a thing and I know everyone tells you this, but your words have truly changed me. Third, I am lovin’ the flip flops! The bonnets are precious as well!!

  621. Thanks for a great reminder that with with the unexpected comes many great things.

    And thanks to Brett for a great idea. How wonderful to let a Little go free in the dollar store and choose special things for a special someone.

  622. Kelle,
    I love the dollar shop present idea. I think we’ll have to do that for daddy’s birthday this year. Its always amazing to see what the littles head for. (Although I admit, I usually do quite a bit of steering for birthday presents!)
    You are so inspiring.
    Thank you.

  623. This is crazy. I had just read that Italy thing just yesterday for the first time. It made me think, why compare apples to oranges when they both taste so good. I love the idea of letting Lainy go to the dollar store and it looks like daddy is having as much fun with it as Lainy did. Your girls get more beautiful with every post.

  624. I always check your blog to see if you’ve posted; usually more often than you could actually write! Love Nella’s little crocheted hat in that one picture. And the birthday card? Priceless.

  625. Your blog always makes me smile.

  626. Anonymous says:

    Great post as always! It’s a great start to my morning.

    Italy/Holland will never look the same to me, lol.

  627. Love the birthday card…too funny. Looks like Brett had a great birthday.

  628. LOVE LOVE this post, friend. You are right…we are connected deeply through this perspective.

    You gotta go there. To the blech and worry…it just happens and is human. And then you gotta use the tools in your belt to deal with the blech. And you have tools that move. I’m not talking jackhammers and nail guns. You’ve got steamrollers and front end loaders.

    And I totally teared up at Brett’s birthday request! Holy shit that is so stinkin’ sweet. What a perfect idea. I just adore it so so much.

    Also, I love your children.

    And you.

    xo

  629. When ever I am having a bad day I come to your blog to be inspired and to admire the beautiful life you have created for your family and those precious girls!!!
    Of course you have my vote.
    Tammi

  630. I absolutely adore your blog! Thanks for giving me warm fuzzies all week long!

  631. Love, Love your posts:)

  632. Can I tell you how much you brighten my day…everytime you post? Your words and pictures truly touch me. Keep up the great work!

    JENN

  633. Funny that you mentioned that post, I swear it’s one of my favorites, I almost cried the first time I read it…the best part “I cried on the phone with my sister on the way there. And then Lainey fell asleep in the car and I forgot the stroller and I couldn’t bear waking up her tired little soul for her little sister’s appointment. So, I schlepped her sleeping body over my shoulder, twisting uncomfortably to keep her head from falling and balancing a diaper bag and carseat with 7 pounds and 4 ounces of baby in the other arm. And then I walked through a parking lot, breathing heavy and chanting to the rhythm of my jeweled sandals hitting the pavement…I’m a rockstar. I’m a rockstar. I’m a rockstar.” It was such a mom thing to say, and I love that how you feel shows in that post. And Lainey on the beach – totally looks like she should be an ad for coppertone!

  634. Lindsay Smith says:

    Kelle, it makes my entire day to see you have a new blog post up! I loved that Lainey picked all those gifts out completely on her own (gonna have to steal that idea!) and I still randomly giggle as I think about that card she picked out! Love it!!!

    BTW, thank you for introducing me to yet another fabulous etsy shop. Love love love the bonnets!

  635. Sitting here at work taking a break to read your new post – and laughing out loud so much that my coworker who has an office next to mine came in to ask what was so funny :) I’m dealing with some sad times right now so this post was just what I needed! LOVE the card she picked for her daddy :) Way too sweet!

  636. I seriously laughed out loud at the picture of Brett in his old man reading glasses! I love how Lainey was given free reign to pick whatever she thought he’d “lub” and that he showed such enthusiasm with each gift. That’s true love!
    And I’d LOVE to win those flip flops. you seriously have no idea how many times I’ve wandered into stores this year looking for a great pair of sparkly flippies, only to walk out empty handed. AND, we just found out we’re havin’ a baby girl this winter and I’m overwhelmed with all the clothing and accessory choices there are for girls, so I’d love a pair of those cute flips for her!

  637. Aaahh, this post made me laugh AND cry. You’re Italy is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing those thoughts with us. You have a knack of brightening my day with your words.
    Happy Birthday Brett! Lainey’s gifts for her Daddy were so perfect.
    I nominated! Good luck! Off to check out Snappy Soles since a girl can never have too many flip flops!
    xo
    Kris
    P.S. Enjoy your date night! Happy Anniversary!

  638. Kelle, I found your blog through my cousin and ever since reading Nella’s birth story have been following it. I love your pictures and am truly inspired by your words.

  639. Anonymous says:

    Love Your Blog and Love Your Pics of Your Littles <3 You are simply inspiring!!

  640. daisydana says:

    Oh man, do you crack me up. I just laughed outloud. That card was priceless. How hard did Brett laugh?

  641. I came to you through digthischick awhile back and am so glad I did!

    Love your blog. Love.

    I hope I win the bonnet for my sweet pea!

  642. Well said! Love your blog so much. Such an amazing person you are. Thanks for being real.

  643. Anonymous says:

    Okay…I know my chances of winning anything are slim, but I wanted to post a comment.

    I too have a daughter with Down syndrome. She was born a few months before sweet Nella. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your posts because they remind me that just because society says I am supposed to be sad and unhappy about Olivia’s diagnosis, it makes up who she is and I love who she is. My husband has never been upset or worried about it.

    How about Brett? I don’t recall you ever mentioning his concerns or worries. Has he just accepted it too as that is who Nella is and he loves her so it does not matter?

    I want to be happy, I am happy. It just seems like others around me think I am not supposed to be.

    Anyway, ramblings from me to you!

    Tina in TX

  644. I loved seeing your husband with his presents from your sweet daughter. One day, probably not until she’s a parent, her heart is going to melt when she sees them. She’ll know what he did for her by accepting and appreciating her little Dollar Store gifts.

  645. Miss you. We need to get together. I left PES, working for VA now (dream job). Happy Bday to Brett and Happy Wedding Day to you both. Let’s try to hook up next week? Babies are beautiful as usual.
    xo

  646. LOVE LOVE LOVE the flipflops….and as always, LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog. thank you for being you.

  647. Heather from Colorado says:

    645 comments! Then I remembered you have a giveaway on there. Girl, you totally rock! Love the way you write and I am so looking forward to a book. Love that Lainey – “him gonna lub this” – she is just so cute! And Nella, don’t even get me started. You really are blessed, and I am so happy that you can see just how lucky you are to have her in your life. Cheers!

  648. WOW!! I was going to post a comment last night and my phone would not work so i here I am this morning and i cant believe how many people have posted. I just want to say thank you for the slap in the face!!! I feel like i needed that. Things will be ok and I am ready to “rock this out” Thanks Kelle!!! Luvs&Hugs

  649. An inspiring post AND a giveaway? How lucky am I today? I sit here with my one year old on my lap and my 2 1/2 year old “drawing” on my calendar, and because of you I think, what a beautiful day we are going to have, thank you for your perspective, it always makes me think…..and now I have to go try to draw Plex for my son, and snuggle my daughter, from one mom to another, enjoy your day with the babes.

  650. I recently came across your blog and I have truly enjoyed reading about your beautiful family. Thank you for sharing!! Oh, and I especially loved this post and thought the “special granddaughter” card was perfect!

  651. So you always have a bajillion comments whenever you have a give away but i voted on all 3 catergories! You truly have inspired me to drop my “How the Hell did I end up in Holland” attitude and I see the beauty in life. I had just started blogging a couple of months before I found you and I was using it as a place for me to put my Happy thoughts and memories and now it truly is my Happy Place! Check it out some time if you can. http://martismoments.blogspot.com/

  652. LOL i love the birthday card Lainey picked for her daddy! too funny!!

    ON MY WAY TO GO VOTE!! i love your blog and look forward to reading and seeing a beautiful pics!

  653. Tina, you keep on bein’ happy! You don’t have to explain it to anyone. And yes…Brett, like your husband, hardly ever says a peep about Down syndrome. Sometimes, I think he forgets. He just doesn’t care. And I love that!

  654. omg I hope you’re able to read all of these comments b/c what a great great post this was!!
    I seriously laughed when I read the word “merman”. Love that word LOL. Merman has always made me laugh since Ben Stiller said it in Zoolander. “Mer-man, Mer-MAN!”. LOL … I laughed at the bday card, and the sticker on the glasses. I have done that before too! I always seem to leave the stickers on my old navy 2.50 flip flops too :)
    excited for the free shipping on the bonnets…this post totally reminded me I wanted to order another one for my baby’s bday coming up. Heading over to pick one now. My girls are sooooooooo stinkin adorable in the one we have :)
    Oh and I LOVED the “sermon” mama… I’ve played the why me sadness card many times over the past 9 months since we found out our baby has the vsd … the sadness shoes fit less and less as time goes on… and that makes me happy :)
    xo
    xo

  655. Thank you for these words it is truly about perspective isn’t it? I would love love any of those! I also love the sound track!

  656. So beautiful!!!! I want to win the bonnet… otherwise, I’ll just go buy one.
    Thanks Kelle!
    Liz A

  657. Jennifer says:

    This is my first time posting, but I had to comment. Your positivity has helped me look at my world in a completely different way. I consider myself a positive person, but I guess I still have times where I don’t “get there”, and you’ve helped me think through how to change my outlook during those times. Your comment on the crying really hit home, as well. How many times have I done just that?

    Anyway, I just wanted to say I love your blog and think your girls are absolutely beautiful. And that granddaughter card…I totally laughed out loud – Awesome!!!

  658. I have to write that after reading your post… its exactly what I needed to read(hear). I have been having the hardest time with parenting, a child with disabilities, and just life in general. Your blog is such a huge inspiration! I love it!! And yes I will vote for your blog!! Thank you for being so wonderful and so real!! Its exactly what we need!! Love your blog!!

  659. It took me what feels like two hours to read this blog post. Not because of the content or length of the post, I just read when I had the opportunity during my little’s morning routine. This blog has inspired me to get to know my Nikon better and take more photos of my family. Happy Wed.! Happy (belated) Birthday Brett!

  660. I laughed so loud at the dollar tree birthday picture that my coworker came in to see if I was having a spell!!! LOVE your blog. So does my almost 4 year old

  661. Anonymous says:

    I read your blog every day. I LOVE it! You are such an amazing writer, photographer, and Mother. This post CRACKED me up! The “granddaughter” card was hilarious! I hope your hubby had a great birthday. It looks like he did. Thanks for the great blogs and keep them coming! :)

    Megan W.-Missouri

  662. Anonymous says:

    I read your blog every day. I LOVE it! You are such an amazing writer, photographer, and Mother. This post CRACKED me up! The “granddaughter” card was hilarious! I hope your hubby had a great birthday. It looks like he did. Thanks for the great blogs and keep them coming! :)

    Megan W.-Missouri

  663. wow..I’m like the 650th comment…lots of people love you lady. (or maybe just your free stuff haha, totally kidding).

    I’ve said it before. Your family is beautiful and so is your blog. Everytime I see a new post up I get giddy =0)

    Love the skull and crossbones flip flops! too cute.

  664. I LOVE your blog. It inspires me to be a better mom and woman. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

    I love the shoes too!!! :)

  665. I’m sitting in my cubicle listening to the rumbles of the work day praying that no one drops in to say hi….why? I’m a puddle of tears. All emotions. So many things going on in my life right now that I was overwhelmed but then I opened your blog… realizing to throw those pessimistic thoughts out of the cubicle and be thankful for what I have. And for that I thank you. Struggles will always be there but if we pay too much attention to them we will miss all the wonderful simple things that always put a smile on your face. I can’t thank you enough for your constant optimistic views.
    PS.. I just love your photography, it’s so inspiring!!

  666. I love Lainey’s choice for Daddy’s birthday! The card made me laugh out loud because I could see my 4 year old picking the same one. What a fun day!

  667. Anonymous says:

    I read your blog every day! I LOVE it! You are such an amazing writer, photographer, and Mother. This post cracked me up! The “granddaughter” card was HILARIOUS! You have such beautiful children. I love seeing pictures of them. Well, I hope your hubby had a great birthday. It looks like he did. Keep up the great blogs! They make my day!

    Megan W.~Missouri

  668. I’m positively dying laughing over the dollar store finds. And the kitten card?! Toooo much. Tears are rolling. :) Your girls brighten my day!

  669. CoachShan says:

    I love this entire post…love that you went so many places with it…I got a lump in my throat, I laughed, I laughed with tears…You are amazing Kelle…thank you for sharing your life with all of us and putting so many things into perspective for me.

  670. This comment has been removed by the author.

  671. love the birthday ideas!

  672. my LUB this post.

  673. I LOVE THIS BLOG!!!! crossing my fingers for that bonnet. I have a 9 month old that would look soooo cute in that mother.

    Thanks for the giveaway!! fingers crossed!

    Kel

  674. This post was awesome (all your posts are always so inspiring) but the combination of philosophy and sweet birthdayness was really touching. I love love love the idea of doing something for birthdays and mother/father day instead of presents. And, thanks to you, I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to pick out her daddy’s presents all by herself. Dollar Store? Genius!

  675. I love this post! Thanks for reminding me to enjoy Italy with my little one with you know, that DS thing. I admit that even though she is 3 I still have my freak out moments of worry and all that. But when I really look at our life, it’s actually quite fabulous. And it’s summer! I love the dollar store shopping and will have to do that with my kids for the next “what does my husband actually need/want” occasion.

    I wish I could borrow your girls for playtime with mine! They would be perfect matches. Nella is getting more beautiful every day!

  676. Love the dollar store idea! Have to use that one.

  677. I’m definitely voting for you. You are so inspiring and I have learned so much from this blog; from starting a year photobook for my daughter to making our own flower headbands. I just love how creative you are.

    And those flip-flops are beautiful. I will love to win but even if I don’t win I think I have to get me and my little one a pair. (Nice pedicure by the way……)

    It is my husband’s bd. today. He took the day off and we are going to the beach. A day at the beach is just pure happiness……
    (Our anniversary was last week as well). Enjoy!!!

  678. Just voted for your blog! I used to let my nephew do the whole “pick out whatever you want” for my sister on mothers day and birthday when he was younger. she got a dollar store barbie many times! Love the post, as always. Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  679. Love Love Love this!!! I am hooked on your blog and your words are so heartfelt. Your family is beautiful and you are a very talented writer/photographer! Your blog has my vote!!!

  680. I love your idea for Birthdays – it’s great! And your girls…oh they warm my heart. Happy Birthday Brett!

  681. i love this post, kelle – you are experiencing what EVERY mom feels – ridiculous love and extreme terror and amazing joy and love all at once. i so can relate. also, i laughed so hard when i saw the kitten card for brett. what a great idea – the dollar store trip was priceless. much love from nashville!

  682. Love your perspective in this post! You are so inspiring!!

  683. Kelle – you make me feel SO LUCKY to have a baby girl with Down syndrome!

  684. I’m new to this blogging thing (I know right? What rock have I been under?). I just wanted to say that I came across your page through another page. She had Nella’s story as one of her favorite things. I read, and sat here in tears for about an hour after reading it. Such a touching story, but I sat in tears because it gave me such perspective and I related so much. Not because my child was born with DS, or anything for that matter, but we all have something in our lives that happens at one time or another that is completely life changing, devastating, horrific, sad, whatever it may be. It touched me because you chose to take the unhappy, and realized there are things in our lives we cannot change, it is our job as humans to simply accept the things we cannot change, and make the best of it, and turn it into something beautiful. You have done that, and I have shared your story with everyone I know for the past couple of days. I am also now totally addicted to your blog. I have a 5 month old little girl that I get up with in the morning before everyone else is awake, with my coffee and a bottle and together Olivia and I read your blog. I wanted to say “thank you” for touching me like you have. And in case you haven’t heard it ten thousand times each day from one person or another, your children are beautiful, especially Nella. :)

  685. Haven’t stopped by in awhile but after having a therapeutic dinner with my girlfriend…she reminded me of your blog. Funny thing is…I tipped her off to it months ago but since having our 2nd child, I rarely find the time to sit and read. BUT…this a.m. I have a sleeping baby, a toddler off having fun with gma and a nice cup of coffee. I love your blog…it makes my days happy. Oh yeah…and I love me a good giveaway so sign me up for that one!! :) You’re the best!!

  686. Kelle–Every time I try to comment, I get told I have too many characters:) I just have so much to say to you!! But for today, I will just say that I definitely voted for your blog in all three categories. And its true–your blog is the most inspiring Ive ever read! I tell my husband all the time how much you and your sweet family inspire me to be a good person:) Happy day after Birthday to Brett!

  687. Do they make the sun bonets for boys? to precious!

  688. Katherine says:

    awesome post! I love reading everything you have to say. And that granddaughters card was hilarious! My sister has been known to give birthday cards in Spanish to my parents when she was younger… do any of us speak Spanish? Nope. Anyway, thanks for sharing your life with us, I really enjoy it.

  689. Poppa’s response almost made me cry! And that’s not weird at all…..(I hope). Thank you so much for brightening the world. Oh and for giving me lots of awesome song ideas to steal (errrr….borrow) for my blog. I absolutely LOVE reading along with everyone else, you have started something amazing here and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds!

  690. Exciting giveaway! Imagining my smallest one in that bonnet just makes me giddy!! Fingers & toes crossed.

  691. I swear, our girlies could be the best of friends!! Right down to the ‘he gonna LUB dis’!!! Love how you are so reflective about your perspective – you have come such a long way, and thanks for taking us on that journey with you!!!

  692. The birthday card seriously made me laugh out loud at work! Love it!

  693. Okay, I don’t comment very much although I am always reading but this post had me crying and then laughing out loud! I think Nella is like the vineyards of Tuscany in the late afternoon when the sun is just setting over the rolling hills….she is perfect!! I love her! As for the dollar store, LOVE the fact that Brett thought about this idea all by himself. That Lainey picked out those presents for him, especially the koozie…hmmmm. And then wrapped them all! Love your family and love your family traditions!!! Think i am going to go to the dollar store today and pick me up some sweet reading glasses!

    Samantha & Chase

  694. Okay, I don’t comment very much although I am always reading but this post had me crying and then laughing out loud! I think Nella is like the vineyards of Tuscany in the late afternoon when the sun is just setting over the rolling hills….she is perfect!! I love her! As for the dollar store, LOVE the fact that Brett thought about this idea all by himself. That Lainey picked out those presents for him, especially the koozie…hmmmm. And then wrapped them all! Love your family and love your family traditions!!! Think i am going to go to the dollar store today and pick me up some sweet reading glasses!

    Samantha & Chase

  695. love the three little birds song … it is our family’s song, my 3 yr old loves to sing it =) did u hear the “B is for Bob” version?? beautiful…

  696. Love, love, love the card. I hope Brett loves being a “Special Granddaughter”!

  697. i’ve been eying that pretty bonnet for a while… my Pretty Little Thing would look adorable in one!! :)

  698. the pilot is threatening me with a trip to Holland. Ive been to Holland before but not in such dramatic fashion. Last time we went to Holland we decided that even though everyone says we should be there, like you, we are in Italy.

    She’s 8 now.

    I’m hoping we don’t get sent to Holland again, praying really, because from what I’m being told.. it would be a final destination. If we went back to Italy, we’d be minus one.

  699. Brett, you are indeed a very special grand-daughter…and may I be so bold as to say that you look super hot in those Grandpa specs? Naughty. Happy belated birthday….I highly recommend wearing purple for the entire week and partying like it’s 1999. Feels good.

    And Kelle – beautiful, magnificent, ethereal Kelle(in a good way – not ghostly or eerie!)…well, I don’t have much to add that has not been said. If you do happen to get this far in the comments, then I want you to know this: there’s a saying that he who saves one man’s life, saves the world. Well beautiful sister, let it be said that clearly you’re doing your part to help save the world because your blog is saving some souls. Soak up the appreciation, love and joy that all of your readers have for you and your beautiful family. Then when you’re having a shitty moment, or day, or week, remember there are thousands of people who would line up to give you a great big bear hug and not let go until you felt better, me included. xo

  700. Preach on sister! Love it. Your sunglasses are so very posh (even if they were $5!) That made me laugh!

  701. I don’t often comment… but always read. I always have these grandious thoughts in my head to post in a comment… and then just kind of back down. In my head, we’re total friends. We talk about our kids and the things they do… so thank you for that. Your blog truly touches my heart and I appreciate that.

    You inspire me. You inspire me to be a better mom, wife and blogger. Man I really need to revamp my blog. I think I need a blog makeover. From appearances to topics. It’ll all be redone!

  702. Well I know my chances of winning either the bonnet or the flip flops are slim but it doesn’t hurt to try.
    And I need to say that I totaly find this blog inspireing. Thanks for fresh perspectives on life, and love and family. My daughter and I sit often and read your posts.

  703. Love the Dollar Store idea! So much fun.

  704. I don’t even care about the giveaways, I HAD to comment, this post was awesome, insightful and hilarious. i love the bday card, it was LOL funny and so sweet too, b/c it was what a little girl picked out just for her daddy. love it!
    happy birthday brett!

  705. Love the dollar store gift idea. Perfect way to get kiddos excited to give! Thank you for all your inspiring words and photos.

  706. I think this was my favorite post yet. Amazing. I love the bonnets and flip flops too. πŸ˜‰

  707. Thank-you so much for this beautiful blog! You are truly an ispiration. I have an amazing 2 year old little boy and you insire me to take more pictures, slow down, enjoy the small things, make the most out of each day….and for that I really do thank-you! I look forward to checking your blog each day in hopes of a new post and you never disappoint!

  708. Anonymous says:

    I now know what I want for my birthday — and my husband will be making a trip to the dollar store with my two year old. Thanks for the Wednesday morning laugh, Kelle.

  709. Before I saw the giveaway offer, I saw the bonnet and loved it! Also, the sticker on your sunglasses made me giggle.

    Damn, you make it all look so easy and glamorous. Glad to visit you on here and see so much happiness!

  710. I just love your posts and photos!! Puts a smile on my face!!

  711. I think I may steal your birthday tradition. I love the simplicity!

  712. Laughed out loud AT WORK when I saw the pink, kitty, granddaughter card! Thank you for a MUCH needed laugh this Wednesday morning!…I’m still grinning just thinking about it!

  713. What a good daddy (and a good you!) for letting her pick out presents herself. I don’t know if I would be able to do that…it must have taken a lot of self-control not to steer her towards certain things.

    Those sunbonnets are so cute! I may just have to meander over and take a look in the store myself in case I don’t win one. :)

    http://aucoeur.wordpress.com

  714. Anonymous says:

    You hit it out of the park this time Kelle. xoxo

  715. Oh, Kelle. You are wise beyond your years. I’ve said it before, but your girls are so lucky to have you!

    And, O.M.G. I laughed OUT LOUD at the gran-daughter card! Totally made my day!

    Have a great one!

  716. Long time reader, first time commenter. Kelle/preacher – you have taught me much by your example. This latest lesson, being “bitch-slapped in the face” about trials AND joy abounding in our life is what I needed to hear this morning. I felt like I was in my own Holland until I read this post and was reminded I can enjoy life while going through my own trial right now. Thanks for the reminder!

    Oh, and the dollar store rocks, as do your $5 sunglasses.

  717. I LOVE your blog! Your girls are beautiful and you are so talented! And I really love the presents Lainey picked out for her Daddy! So sweet!

  718. I love the dollar store idea of Lainey picking out her own gifts for Daddy. That’s AWESOME. Even better is that Brett thought and acted as if each one was a national treasure. You are blessed. :) As always, loving your inspirational words and pictures. You are amazing!

  719. LOVE the dollar store finds! That is a great birthday idea.

    I love stopping in to see what you have to say, it always uplifts me.

  720. Great Birthday fun! Sounds like my kids when it comes to picking cards, better to have one with a kitty on it than worry about who it is for. thanks Kelle!

  721. Vanessa Ramirez says:

    Love reading your blog! im feeling lucky!

    -Vanessa Ca.

  722. Aw, I am so happy I’ve stumbled across your blog! (And not because of this giveaway… although love, LOVE the sun bonnet and flip-flops!) Your story is amazing! I’ve only read Nella’s story and your last two posts and can’t wait to go back and start from the beginning. Your words have captured me like a book that I can’t put down and the gorgeous pictures that go along with it?… Icing on the cake! Have a great day!! :)

  723. I love the little “Italy” hat that Nella is wearing. So sweet.

  724. Tina Aguilar says: