All the Places to Love

My house has about twenty of these hidden in various nooks:


Little piles of random junk. Barrettes. Polly Pocket shoes. Plastic lizards. Broken pieces of dollhouse furniture. And although I know, yes, it’s alright to throw this stuff away, I just shut down when I find them. Random piles of I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-this overwhelm me and paralyze any cleaning frenzy I might have had going.

Ebb is withering away, making room for Flow’s bags. And Flow is slowly unpacking. It’s going to be a good stay…I can tell.

It started in the kitchen with my girl running to open her special drawer where her aprons are folded and waiting. She wanted cupcakes. We didn’t have a box mix so we settled for the cookbook. But then we didn’t have regular flour so we settled for whole wheat. But then we didn’t have buttermilk so we settled for whole milk with lemon juice. But then we didn’t have butter so we settled for Crisco. And the moral of this story is that our cupcakes tasted like crap. But then, it really didn’t matter, did it? We stirred and poured, measured and mixed, and as I watched her manage the electric beaters on her own for the first time, all proud and smiling, I couldn’t have cared less how our cupcakes tasted.



I’m always amazed how this having kids thing is so much better than I thought it would be. And I thought it would be really, really good, so that’s saying something. That’s saying that watching the culmination of your cells happily breathe life right before your eyes and having a front row seat to their wonder of the world is nothing short of pure bliss.

Pure Bliss Times Two.


We spent good time with friends this week. Time where I’d quietly sneak into the room where Baylee and Lainey were playing just to be a fly on the wall…to listen to toddler chatter and watch these precious little girls make up stories about their dolls, sing made-up songs and take turns bossing each other around.



And it isn’t a day if our girls don’t get a chance to create.



Lainey’s summer gills are in rare form as she and daddy take a swim almost every evening. She holds her breath, dunks right under the water and then swims fast and sleek like a little eel as far as she can go before the blonde head pops up with a smile with those funny little goggles. She’s doing fabulously.

And tonight, right before the sun set…right when the scent of barbecue smoke from Friday night cook-outs went dancing through the neighborhood…right when the pavement cooled to barefoot conditions, we headed out for a Family Walk, as Lainey calls it. She pedals away on her trike while we push Nella behind her. Sometimes, when she gets crazy, she pedals backwards until she bumps the stroller which sends her into fits of giggles.



We walked to the lake where it was cool and quiet. We searched for fish, threw sticks along the muddy edge and hunted bushes and bark for skittering lizards.






One of my favorite chidren’s books of all time is All the Places to Love. I’ve read it to Lainey many times, and over these last three years, I’ve written descriptions of all our special “places” under the front cover. There is, of course, Isle of Capri where we collect crabs and eat grouper and skip along the dock with the dogs. There’s our woods where we set out on afternoon scavenger hunts, searching for pinecones and pebbles and lie blankets over dried pine needles for the perfect picnic. There’s Vanderbilt beach where we gather for sunset or Barefoot beach where both my girls’ were dedicated. And then there’s our lake where, on nights like these, we walk and talk and drink in the quiet. My Florida girls will have lots of things to love about where they live…I will be sure of it.



And, I can’t believe it but…it’s been almost half a year since this one graced us with her beauty.


All the Places to Love…all the souls to love them with.



Leave a Comment
  1. Anonymous says:

    I have enjoyed reading your blog since the birth of Nella, but have never before commented. You have enspired me to take more pictures and really enjoy the 7 blessings in our busy life. So thank you! And Nella gets more gorgeous every post.

  2. That little one is GORGEOUS! :)

  3. Glad to see you’re starting to feel a little better, Kelle. The pictures of your girls are absolutely gorgeous!

  4. i have that dress! u guys r so sweet an’ lovin’

  5. I absolutely HATE those little piles of girly things that appear all over the house! What are you supposed to DO with them?! Glad I’m not alone!
    And Lainey is such a character. I love all of her faces and outfits and craziness!
    And Nella? Don’t get me started. She is just so SNUGGLY! Yum!

  6. Nella and Lainey are absolutely beautiful! I have loved reading your blog since I found it a month or two ago :) My little sister is almost 9 months old and also has DS. We love her so much :)

  7. Nella and Lainey are absolutely beautiful! I have loved reading your blog since I found it a month or two ago :) My little sister is almost 9 months old and also has DS. We love her so much :)

  8. I think those last pics of Nella are the most gorgeous yet! What a beauty! Thanks for sharing! I get to enjoy your girls while I patiently wait for some of my own little ones!

  9. I’m in the airport waiting to catch a red-eye to New York without my precious little boy to accompany me….not my idea of a good time! But this cheered me up. Love love love!

  10. Merci ! I very like what you dou, you make me feel better with my life. I have a special tresor too…

    Thanks and sorry for my english.

  11. Lainey on the Bike .. is so precious. I admire your photography skills. Made me go out and buy the same camera, so Im starting out and hope to be able to capture photos atleast half as well as you 😉

  12. We adore that book in our home too! Good pick =)

    Also, I am loving on the sweet pictures of Lainey baking up a storm with you. I cannot wait until my daughter (a year on Tuesday, OH MY GOODNESS, WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE) is old enough to participate in a little kitchen action =)

  13. Absolutely precious!!! I had an afternoon where I thought, “kelle hampton would enjoy this” so since I thought of you I’ll tell about it…I’m visiting my parents in my tiny home town and this afternoon my 4rd old woke up from her nap, expecting us to go swimming but since it was raining out, I walked her down to an estate sale where we racked up on a ton of costume jewelry ALL for $4! I guess I could also tell you that I had to take away some pearls for the rest of the evening for a sassy mouth to keep it real:)

    I love this comment “watching the culmination of your cells happily breathe life right before your eyes and having a front row seat to their wonder of the world is nothing short of pure bliss.

    Pure Bliss Times Two.”

    Thanks for sharing!!

  14. I just adore all your little bits of everyday pictures! amazing! they make me want to take my camera out EVERY SINGLE DAY!
    thank YOU!

  15. I love that my 6 year old little girl thinks walking the river bank behind our house to the highway bridge is an “adventure”.
    I was just like that as a little girl and I love that she brings back some of the sweetest memories.
    Your blog reminds me to treasure these things.
    From one Kellie to another

  16. Oh, I was hoping for a post today with some Kelle magic! So glad to read this–a perfect way to end my great day. Beautiful as always–thanks for posting and photographing and LIVING real and vivid. Much love to you guys! :-)

  17. The close up pictures are amazing! And as always so are your stories! Thank you for sharing, Dana

  18. Kaitlin Cole says:

    I love it. I love it all. I love crawling into bed at night after I put my sweet boy down and reading your blog. Looking at all the pictures of those lucky two ladies you have and smiling as I read about you love for them. Kelle you are an amazing mama and your words breathe life into my day. I love that you celebrate being a wife, mother, friend and sister. I always tell my husband “Let’s leave Seattle behind and move to Naples….we would have the best friends there!”. Thank you for always sharing your life with us!

  19. I absolutely love nights like these. The sun is setting, backyards are filled with laughter, and family time is cherished knowing a fun filled weekend is about to unfold. Hope you and your family have a blessed weekend.

  20. I love “and take turns bossing each other around.” I love that you’re feeling better and I love to hear that others get to that place, too, and I love hearing how other mamas pull themselves out. I do NOT love the little bits and piles. We call them ticky tutus (I have no clue why, except that that’s what my mom called them) and she *knows* I mean business when I start talking about picking them up! I especially love that my 3 year old loves to look at your photos and asks me to see “those sisters” and ask me all sorts of questions about them – it’s so very very sweet.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Wow, what a scrumptious life you are living!!!! I LOVE IT!!! Hey, here’s a thought for you…my ‘babies’ are of the grown up variety, but still my babies nonetheless…and I love it when they come to visit me from faraway college condos and they leave their rooms at ‘home’ a mess with random shoes, belts, thongs (of the underwear kind), sorority tshirts worn to bed, sunglasses in my car and the aroma of their latest parfume…they’re always your babies, even when they say really smart things and make good decisions and exhibit extroardinary talents…oh, life! What fun!

    So MUCH to look forward to, Kelle! Your family is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!

    Love to you!

  22. I love the last picture of Nella.
    Have an amazing weekend :)

  23. I really loved the baking cupcakes. Regardless of how they tasted, just the fact that a memory was created taste pretty darn good as it will last a life time!

    An idea for pictures for the kitchen to share with everyone is to take pictures of your kids in their chef hats, aprons, engaged in creating something yummy. Have them printed, then frame to go with your kitchen. Do play with the photos as b&w might look awesome and classic!


  24. I read every post, but rarely comment. I love your blog. Tied with as much as I love my own. :)

    I triple LOVE Nella.

    KyAnn (like Cayenne Pepper only HOTTER)

  25. So glad you have found a new flow. Love that Nellbean!! She is just a beauty. Thank you for sharing her with us!
    Blessings and Grace!

  26. Very sweet post. And Nella hitting the 6 month mark is my favorite. I LOVE babies at 6 months. They have SO much personality and are so much fun, and just LOOK at the chubs on that girl’s arms? That’s a whole lot of YUMMY!

  27. Okay, I LOVE that book…like you, I used to be a fifth grade teacher and I actually used this picture book in one of my units…actually, it’s a unit you would have loved to teach. Called “Life Anthologies”. I shared this book with my students and then we did writing assignment about all the places they loved…
    Anyway, your new pics of Nella are to die for!!!
    And I am SO EXCITED that I made it in the top “50” – posting a comment, that is! 😉

  28. Sweet Nella you are beautiful! She is simply gorgeous, though did I catch a hint of sass in one of those shots? Happy to hear that ebb has headed out the door…

  29. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE the book as well! I so enjoy to hear about your adventures!! Keep enjoying those little ones…time goes by fast…my youngest baby is 14. :(

  30. mommy of two girls too says:

    Ohh…just love the pic of you and Nella on the bench. So pretty! She loves her Mama!! Have a great weekend!

  31. Caroline says:

    Lainey is precious and Nella gets more beautiful by the day! Her face is really changing. I love her soulful eyes. Keep up the writing and living! Hugs.

  32. Loving the ‘flow’. The bottom pictures of Nella are wonderful! Love, from Germany

  33. What a lovely post. It’s so great seeing someone appreciate life when it’s taken at so little value these days. You really take my breathe away with your description of having a child. I can’t wait to have half my cells dancing, running and giggling around, myself.

    This post was beautiful but I dare say it there is something far more beautiful than your words; your girls. Lainey is such a beautiful princess with golden hair and a happy grin. And nella? Her chubby little baby arms are enough but her EYES. She is gorgeous kelle! You and your hubby know how to pass on those genes!

    Have a great weekend!

  34. I can’t believe I have been following your blog for almost six months. Where has the time gone? I’ve enjoyed following your journey so much. I know it sounds corny and you hear it in every comment but I really have changed things in my life since finding your blog. I take more pictures. Lots more pictures. And I try to enjoy the small things. Life passes by way too quickly to not drink up every drop.

    P.S. Laughed out loud about the cupcakes tasting like crap. Love the honesty!

  35. 1) I love the cupcakes! None of this and none of that… this instead and it tastes like crap. Love it!

    I would have skipped the project. But you always have a way of reminding us that it is the fun you have in the mist of it all. What is that saying… 10% situation and 90%attitude.

    2)The piles of what-nots… well with five boys I step in legos and starwars guys every stinkin day. I suppose it is better than dog poop….right?

    3) That baby Nella is so stinkin big. She brings a smile to my face every.single.time I check in. I love her and I have never even held her.

    Love ALL the pics!

  36. I remember the countless days spent in my pool growing up as a kid, and my dad throwing me up in the air only to land with a splash – just like that. They are great memories, and I’m sure one day Lainey will look back and cherish hers as well.

    As always, your thoughts are fabulous.

  37. Anonymous says:

    You are so adorable baby Nella.
    From Malaysia

  38. Woohoo, two posts in two days, what a nice surprise to check today and see you had posted again.
    My Lily turned 6 months today..can’t believe these girls are halfway to one!
    Have you heard anything about the Oprah contest??
    Happy weekend:)

  39. Such beautiful pics! I always love a good book for the kiddos…we’ll have to check this one out.

    You make cooking with kids look so fun. It never works out that way with me. My two oldest (7 and almost 6 years) fight constantly about “who will do what, she got to do more…it’s not fair”. By the end, my patience wears thin and I wonder why I torture myself with this over and over again. In my mind, I just tell myself they must be learning something, and I vow to try harder not to lose it next time.

    Thanks, Kelle!


  40. Ha ha! My 3-yr old girl took one look at the first photo on this post and said “Mummy, can I have one of those?”

  41. Precious, just precious! Your little ones…ALL little ones are such a treasure from above! A reminder that the Lord loves us. He loves us so much that He gave us the best blessing of all!

  42. Your photos are amazing and your children are adorable! Thanks for sharing.

  43. have a great weekend! i love it when lainie’s friend makes cameos in your pics, they look like they have soooo much fun together! they always have sly little smiles.

    you inspired me to start making hair accessories again for myself :) having a blast. i am turning my grandmother’s old costume earrings into hair clips.

    my boys send hugs to your girls!

  44. Love those last two pics of Nella! SO pretty!

  45. Aw love this post! And that picture of the girls posing together in princess costumes? I have a picture EXACTLY like that of each of my girls with each of their friends!

  46. Anonymous says:

    Nella is just beautiful and I love and totally relate to the little piles…organization is not my strongest trait! Have a lovely weekend!

  47. Where did you get that dress?? I love it! hope your enjoyning a fabulous weekend!

  48. Anonymous says:

    Keep on making those DAILY DEPOSITS into the memory banks of your children!
    Yep, that Great Cupcake Adventure was just that for Lainey! Who cares what they tasted like! Take them with you to the lake next time and feed the fish & turtles! They’ll LOVE them! 😉

  49. ooohhhhh that is my new favorite sentence Anon….Keep on making those DAILY DEPOSITS into the memory banks of your children!

  50. Shari H says:

    Awesome pictures and blog!

  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

  52. Wow, almost 6 months…I feel like I’ve been reading you so much longer…I came on with Nella’s birth story and have been happily lodged in your world ever since! A good (almost) 6 months to be sure!
    I’m borrowing your All The Places to Love idea and am going to start a list on our dry erase board in the kitchen and get my teens to add to it, being in a new town that will help us build up places for good memories with everyones input. Thanks so much for inspiring me to think of this!
    Much love to all of you!

  53. ,,,this was the “perfect” energy drink to begin my saturday with,,,thank you!

  54. I love this post! I’m not surprised Ebb is fleeing, with stuff like that going on I just don’t see room for him!

    Lainey and her friend Baylee make such a super-cute pair, plus those action shots in the pool are amazing! Happy almost half a year to Nella, she doesn’t know it, but she’s done quite a lot of changing the world in that time!

  55. Amazing pics!! I love the ones of Nella :)


  56. I am officially in love with Nella’s arms.

  57. Your two girls are so beautiful, and I love the pictures you take.

    When my sisters and I would clean our room, we always ended up with those little piles. Bits-and-pieces we called them.

  58. I needed this this today! As I sit here feeling sorry for myself with torn ligaments in my left ankle & foot, unable to walk and look after my 16 month old son properly. This has cheered me up no end!

    Your outlook on life inspires me so much. Take the cupcake thing, I would’ve given up at the 1st hurdle but not you! Your girls are so lucky to have a Mama that rocks!

    I cannot believe that Nella is nearly 6 months old! Those last photos of her are amazing :)

    enjoy your weekend! x

  59. Love that little baby bird fuzz on Nella’s head in that last pic. :)

    Glad to see you’re feeling better. As Nella grows older and starts to interact with her peers, you may have more of those smack you in the face “my daughter has DS” moments, but each one gets less and less. The autism bus still bonks me every now and then, but it doesn’t plow me over like it used to, which is a good thing. Pain is part of parenting, special needs or not. You’re doing great. Ebb and flow, baby.

  60. Kelle~I haven’t commented in a while but check your blog EVERY DAY! You are an amazing Mom and it is clear through pictures that Brent is an amazing Dad. Your girls are incredibly lucky to have you guys…and oh yeah…to live in Florida (sent from beautiful Montana:)

  61. lightkeepersdaughter says:

    Awwww! Awwww! Awww! I have to spend a Saturday in the office today – to try to catch-up on the ever-growing pile of paper on my desk! Now……..I’m ready! :)

    Bonus day today!! – I actually just checked in to listen to your music – and re-read your “ebb and flow” post – because I can so relate!..and there was a brand new post! .. filled with the most gorgeous, love-filled, life-confirming photos….. I can’t possibly pick a favourite – but Lainey jumping like a little fish to her Dad in the pool – and Nella laying so relaxed in your arms – on the park bench…..Well – they’re the ones that made my heart say “awwwwww” today!

    Thanks for sharing………..Rosemary

  62. This is such a beautiful post. All of it. The words, the pictures, the scenes in the pictures. Thank you.

  63. Love.Love.Love….did I say Love? your blog. You are inspiring and make me take a look at my family and my life in a much more uplifting way. To embrace it all with joy, even the messes. I found your site when searching for DS sites. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos.

  64. Kelle-
    This was such a beautiful post. It really hit home with me. There are so many places to love…and you seem to be doing just that :)
    What a little fish Lainey is! That is so great that she has such a fun time swimming.
    And Nella-she just gets cuter everyday. I can’t believe she has been here for almost 6 months! What an exciting 6 months it has been for all of you. :)

  65. Linda Mg in Soquel, CA says:

    Hi~ I come here often and wanted to add to the quotes that are shared. These are all from Brian Andreas, who does “Story People”. I love the cards and other stuff on his site I think you’ll like these: “I sometimes wake in the early morning & listen to the soft breathing of my children. I think that this is one thing I’ll never regret; I carry that quiet with me all day.” “There are lives I can imagine without children but none of them have the same LAUGHTER & noise.” “She said she usually cried at least once daily, not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful and life was so short.”

  66. Anonymous says:

    those girls of yours are so gorgeous!!!!!!! I can see how you get swept into nella’s beautiful eyes & those precious little lips!! enjoy them!
    PS I adore Lainey’s love of hats and her sense of style — she can rock it out for sure!!

  67. I love that you say “couldn’t care less” instead of “could”. I don’t have many pet peeves, and that’s probably #1 :)

    And even more, I LOVE that you couldn’t have cared less that the cupcakes tasted like crap! YAY!!

    Have a great weekend…


  68. Where awareness goes energy flows. You are doing it!

    Loving today’s post. Your photos are absolutely beautiful. C:

    “Whatever may be happening, you always have an enduring point of reference -your inner Center or Self. If you are able to fix your awareness on the quite Center, the eye of the hurricane, you will be saved. You can then do what needs to be done, concentrating on the action and not on its fruits. In this way action no longer imprisons you, because the mind is impartial to the outcome and is therefore free.” -Piero Ferrucci

  69. LOL at the random bits – I tend to find little boy random toys all over – and I’m right there with you, Kelle. They overwhelm me too and bring my cleaning frenzy to a screetching halt. Times like these (with 2 littles) I wish I had a basement. We live in a 130 year old farmhouse which = no storage. I’m constantly overwhelmed! :)

    What beautiful family time by the lake – love all the pictures!

  70. I have been lurking since Nella’s birth story. You have touched me. My own sweet and special daughter will be 20 very soon, and I see her in Nella’s pretty eyes. Her name is Laney. I thought the Lainey connection was cool.

  71. laurieg says:

    so many places to love you little gilled wonder and those big baby blues. Your girls are so blessed to live in the place they do and be loved by so many. Just simply beautiful!

  72. You have such cute kids! Oh my goodness, they are adorible!

    You are an amazing photographer!


  73. We are just starting to get random bits all over the place all the time. I laugh as I pick them up again and again….bits mainly of girl hair supplies. I swear that they have legs and walk around the house on their own.

    Thanks for the LOL moment about the cupcakes. You could tell they were heading to “crap” status, but I love Lainey’s independence to do it all by herself.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


  74. Oh, and thanks for the book recommendation.

  75. woo made gracee’s weekend! she saw the little piles of girly stuff and it validated her little piles. oh i know the feeling of it stopping the cleaning flow and just recently started throwing the piles in a drawer. we now officially have two huge junk drawers…my hubby just sighs when he tries to find the stuff that normally should go in a junk drawer, like batteries or a screwdriver..he grewup in a very neat house with only boys so he does not get all the beautiful messiness that comes with creative girls.

    as the photos, thanks so much for sharing them with us.
    have a great weekend. ♥

  76. Nella on a zebra-print blanket… could it get any better. I love it :)

  77. Thanks – you never ever fail to put a smile on my face when I’m reading your blog xxx

  78. My favorite pics of todays blog are the one with lainey and her daddy and the one with you and nella on the bench. They need a frame. I cant imagine how u decide on what pictures to frame :)

  79. I know those piles well… though here they’re mostly of random car wheels and mega blocks pieces (slowly, slowly, my daughter is accumulating piles of girly things… and I honestly love it! such a nice change!) :)

  80. love the picture of lainey and bret about to smooch each other– adorable!!!!

    your girls are dolls. so gorgeous.

    and yay for 6 months!!!

    god bless you kelle and your family :)

  81. Your girls are beautiful and the pictures of Nella are heavenly! Love them!

  82. thought I might find pics of lainey feeding nella tonight…saw some cute ones of bubby and anna ruth instead :)

    makes me miss my nieces.


  83. Love Love the new pictures of Miss Nella Bean. You look amazing too:)
    Jana got a huge grin on her face looking at your pics.
    Have a great weekend.

  84. Those pictures of Nella on Zebra are simply stunning. She’s gorgeous!

  85. Your pictures are always breath taking, it’s like stepping into your life for a fraction of a section and being welcomed home. Love the dress up pictures, those are always fun, as are the baking parties.

    The baby smooch is too adorable for words.

  86. I love it when you show Lainey and her friends having a tea party. Every girl deserves to enjoy the girly girlness of those. Also they make child sized hand mixers. They work, they don’t pack as much of a punch but they work. Also I have seen at walmart in the girl’s toys department small spatulas, and small wood rolling pins. Perfect for baking along the side of their mama. Just thought I would share.

    My Grandma made us some aprons when we were little and they were awesome. She also made some of our stuffed animals, thought she was being cheap at the time, but they are so awesome now that I have the perspective to appreciate them.

  87. aaaaaah, that first pic looks just like what we collect around here all of the time…we call them “little things” and they all go into a tinkerbell music box to keep them away from our 11 month old. My 3 yr old is always asking where her “little sings” box is. I sometimes get halfway to the garbage can with a pile but then can’t go through with it hehe

  88. I have those same piles that I don’t know what to do with at my house!!! My hubby says to toss them, but I can’t. They go back in the toy bin. What do you do with them?

  89. teal915 says:

    My four year old is the same way about little pieces of things. She loves anything with little pieces: Polly pocket, Littlest pet shop.
    You’ve really helped me slow down and appreciate more of life’s little treasures lately. I need that. Thanks.

  90. i love you blog.
    im a braziliam and i cant say everything that i want it too.
    thank you and parabéns!

  91. Anonymous says:

    How is Nella’s health? You never really say. I know the focus of your blog is “yay, we’re accentuating the positive” but does she have heart issues? Eye issues? Thyroid issues? Poor muscle tone? Have you decided you won’t dwell on that here on your blog? I hope the answer is that she simply doesn’t have any of these issues.

  92. Dr. Mom says:

    Hi Anon,

    Kelle has made it clear several times that there are many aspects of her life that she prefers to keep private.. which is thoroughly understandable. It’s only right to respect what she doesn’t want to reveal to us strangers.. after all, she has already let us in her life so much more than most people would dare.
    Of course I too am hoping that Nella is doing well, healthwise.

    Just my two cents.

    Great blog you have here, Kelle. Keep it up.

    Have a great week everyone.

  93. Nella laying on your chest ~ warms my heart!

  94. ,,,i love the dimples, creases and meat on nella’s arms,,,she is simply divine,,,

  95. I quoted you on my blog (from this post) and put up links and such for a referral back to your blog. I hope that’s okay. If you want me to take it down, I will. :)

    Also, Nella is looking particularly “gawgeous” in her sweet pink frills.
    Such a sweet post.

  96. Ah… Polly Pocket shoes and other random crap… just throw it all in a bin and tuck it under the couch. That’s what I do! I used to organize it, and it didn’t take too long for me to learn the error of my ways.

    Your girls grow even more beautiful each day – if that’s even possible!

  97. Kirstin says:

    Well done Lainey on the swimming and those last 2 pics of Nella today are STUNNING!

  98. Anonymous says:

    @ Anonymous July 17, 2010 10:20 PM

    From Kelle’s Special Needs page:

    “While I don’t discuss it here very often, I read books on special needs topics I feel are helpful, I research resources for our journey and we have a great team of professionals working with us. Nella does therapy every week, we are learning lots of new things we can do with her, we see specialists regularly and yes, we have added concerns. Today, Nella is a healthy and happy baby. Today, Lainey is a healthy and happy toddler. Today, Austyn & Brandyn are thriving teens who love their sisters. Today, we are blessed.

    Blessings on your journey!.”


  99. I am reluctant to add to this discussion, but, like so many, I feel very protective of this very special space that Kelle has created. She has said that by writing about “enjoying the small things,” she finds many more small things to enjoy and I have to say I too have had the exact same experience. I find that the more I read Kelle’s beautiful words and enjoy her fantastic pictures, I look even deeper for more and more beauty within my own life. Of course, we all have challenges and struggles, but we make our own happiness. It’s a choice and Kelle is, without a doubt, one of the best examples for how to choose happiness. Thank you, Kelle, so much. You’ve given us all such an amazing gift. I am choosing to accept it, rip off the brightly colored paper and ENJOY!

  100. Okay, the seemingly self-propgating piles of little girlie detail stuff is divine justice–do you remember yours and your sister’s room? The fact there was carpet beneath was itself a test of faith, for it could not be seen beneath the landfill of what you two had decided was essential to your being. So, it has returned to your home now…cosmic balance! I was way up in north Michigan in areas I believe only recently receiving electricity so I have missed monitoring my kiddoes on the blog but am home now so drank deeply of their utter exquisite lifelight! I am eager to read about your Saturday night event and happy to hear it went so well. Love to you!

  101. Elizabeth says:

    I just have to say, Nella is so adorable! (of course Lainey is too :)

  102. Anonymous says:

    Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months and I really enjoy it. Your girls are beautiful as is your photography. I’ve never left a comment, but your picture of the little piles of junk compelled me to write. I have those ALL over the place too. I have a pile on my kichen counter, a pile on the fireplace mantel, a pile on a shelf in the living room. I can’t bring myself to throw any of this stuff away. Polly Pockets are the bane of my exisitence (ha, ha,!) yet I continue to buy them because my little girl loves them so much.

    This pretty decorative dish on the hutch in my dining room has become the home to all things hair related (bows, headbands, barrets, elastics, etc.). Gotta love it!


  103. We have been blessed that Nella’s health is great; she is happy, healthy, and thriving…and we hope it continues that way.

    Thank you for your concern and well wishes!

    ~ Kelle

  104. So blessed to have found this blog. Its really turned my outlook around and for you all I am grateful :)

  105. Nella looks like a doll baby in the stroller-sweet.

  106. OMG I am lovin’ Nella on the zebra print! LOVE it!! Absolutely want to eat her up!!

  107. I can’t believe it’s nearly 6months since Nella has graced US with her presence. WOW Kelle she is beautifull and I can’t help but be in denial about her being DOWN SYNDROME, she is blossoming and mostly doesn’t have the Down Syndrome resemblance, she has been healthy and developing amazingly.. I am addicted to your BLOG and Love Love Love reading it. Thank you for sharing your family with us… Romaine(South Africa)

  108. I enjoyed reading that. Your girls are beautiful.

    BTW – I left an award for you at my site.

  109. a bonnet? seriously? I think my heart just exploded rainbows, unicorns and sunshine.

    Nella in her bonnet makes me warm and squishy…too bad I can’t put a girly one on my boy.

  110. Anonymous says:

    Your comment is very insulting Romaine. Some of us don’t care if our child looks like they have Down Syndrome. You suggest if they can just look and act ike they don’t, well that’s just soooo much better. Think before you speak.

  111. Anonymous says:

    Your comment is very insulting Romaine. Some of us don’t care if our child looks like they have Down Syndrome. You suggest if they can just look and act ike they don’t, well that’s just soooo much better. Think before you speak.

  112. Okay, to insult involves intention…while I am not in South Africa with her, I cannot but believe Romaine never meant to insult anyone, she was merely offering what she felt was a compliment. I know some people on here actually go through an online translator service to leave a comment, others do their best to craft some words that reflect their feelings–agreed, perhaps not with a great deal of thought from every angle. Believing the best in others generally helps us also to be seen in the best light. We love our Nella no matter…and I think she would whisper, “Let’s all be friends.”

  113. Poppa I love that you call the pile “girlie detail stuff”…sounds so much nicer than what I call it when I step on it in my house haha….
    and you reminded me that for my parents, yes this is cosmic balance! lol! How quick I am to forget now that I’m a parent that my parents went through this all with the four of us kids. I do this often but I think I’ll call my mom and tell her how much I appreciate her today hehe =)

  114. Anonymous says:

    Well sorry Poppa. She’s completely insulting and ignorant with that comment. “I can’t help but be in denial about her being Down Syndrome”. You’ve GOT to be kidding me. What a piece of work.

  115. Oh, Kelle…that picture of you and Nella on the bench is so beautiful! The way you are looking at her just screams how much you adore her. *swoon*
    I had to laugh at your not knowing if you should throw away those broken toys. I have a serious problem with getting rid of my sons toys. It’s so bad. I can find sentimental value in a cheap McDonalds movie figurine! Ugh. I need help! lol
    If you have a minute to answer…what lense did you use for that pretty picture of the blade of grass at the lake?

  116. Well, just let me be wrong then…we are all “pieces of work”–to some, that work is good, to others perhaps not. People learn and grow, not by being put down and ridiculed, but by walking along side us and learning by our spirits, hearing in our kindness, peeking into our lives. When we just attack them, they don’t grow or learn…they are just wounded and walk away. When people say my sweet gift is “beautiful” I just know she will always be beautiful in the eyes that love her so…just like those we love get old and wrinkled–they are beautiful to us still.

  117. I LOVE the last photos of Nella!!! She is beautiful!!!

  118. Seriously, I can get lost in Nella’s eyes. Just STUNNING!!! And I love Lainey’s hat in that one picture. So cute!! :)

  119. Love the pictures of your beautiful girls.
    Love your outlook on life and how you inspire me to see greater beauty in the everyday.
    Love the wisdom of your poppa and how he inspires me to think a little deeper.

  120. Poppa…I love the way you model thinking the best in others. I, too am a “polyanna” and imagine it is a decision that we won’t regret. I would rather go through life thinking the best in others and be hurt a few times than never experience the joy of all the beautiful spirits in life.

    I do struggle sometimes when I think about how to teach my own children to be cautious yet trusting in the best in others, too. thoughts??

  121. “Believing the best in others generally helps us also to be seen in the best light”

    So true, Poppa. I heart you.

  122. Love your post here, as always. Love seeing glimpses into your life. I check your blog every morning. It gets me off on the right foot and gives me inspiration to be my best and happiest each day.

    Hugs to you and your precious family, and to Poppa too! I love that man. :)

  123. Anonymous says:

    Congrats on being finalist for the blog awards. I hope you win!

  124. Poppa and Kelle,

    Thanks for letting us walk along and learn a great deal. Poppa any plans to start a blog??:)


  125. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful post Kelle. Thank you!

  126. Oh gosh, your girls get prettier and prettier every blog post!

  127. you know i want to share a little is about the day i was told i had cancer. we had just adopted gracee and when they said the C word my mind went to all the things like “how will gregg raise her on his own”…i will never see her grow-up…you know the real stuff. i decided that i was going to treat the day like i was still living and not go to the i am dying status. now keep in mind i hadn’t cried yet. i went to the grocery store to get avocado because they are my favorite food and i was going to eat as many as i wanted. in the store as i picked one up and did what alton brown taught me…gently squeeze, a woman yelled at me for doing it and then told me her way of doing it. i stood there stunned and near tears then i turned to her and said very nicely “thank you for showing me your way.” then i went to my car and cried. you know i will always remember the lesson it taught me…you do not know what is going on in the other persons life and you may just be sour the cherry on top of the kidney pie (i say this because i hate kidney pie) they have been served that day.

    people let the little things go..don’t read between the lines…just love life and all the people God puts in your life, even the people we meet on the internet. seriously life is just so short. life is for living out loud! i for one refuse to live otherwise!

    sorry for any typo as my lovely little seven year old is climbing all over me. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

    love you you make me happy!

  128. you know i want to share a little is about the day i was told i had cancer. we had just adopted gracee and when they said the C word my mind went to all the things like “how will gregg raise her on his own”…i will never see her grow-up…you know the real stuff. i decided that i was going to treat the day like i was still living and not go to the i am dying status. now keep in mind i hadn’t cried yet. i went to the grocery store to get avocado because they are my favorite food and i was going to eat as many as i wanted. in the store as i picked one up and did what alton brown taught me…gently squeeze, a woman yelled at me for doing it and then told me her way of doing it. i stood there stunned and near tears then i turned to her and said very nicely “thank you for showing me your way.” then i went to my car and cried. you know i will always remember the lesson it taught me…you do not know what is going on in the other persons life and you may just be sour the cherry on top of the kidney pie (i say this because i hate kidney pie) they have been served that day.

    people let the little things go..don’t read between the lines…just love life and all the people God puts in your life, even the people we meet on the internet. seriously life is just so short. life is for living out loud! i for one refuse to live otherwise!

    sorry for any typo as my lovely little seven year old is climbing all over me. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

    love you you make me happy!

  129. p.s. i LOVE the song!

  130. Oh, GraceesMommy, I wish you lived next door…the grass would be worn between our homes. It is between our hearts. I will tell your story…again and again.

  131. Beautiful post! And Oh My Goodness, that first picture of Nella on the zebra print! AMAZING!

  132. Anonymous says:

    Gracees Mommy – you and Kelle are kindred spirits cut from the same cloth. Loved your comment. Hope you are well – you sound like you are!

  133. Anonymous says:

    you know what? in romaines defense, i don’t always see DS symptoms in nella..its a fact i’m sure we can all agree with., anyway. what difference does it make? maybe the wording was wrong but i’m sure and I think kelle and poppa will agree, no malice was intended,,,we all as “mommies” need to lighten up and enjoy this blog for what it is!!!so maybe I see with rose colored glasses…maybe more of us should..just look at this beautiful face..god bless Nella and lets just enjoy the happiness she brings to her family and by extentsion..ALL OF US!!!

  134. Kelle-
    i love your blog. I really like the nature photos you got going here. The kids are stunning. Nella gets more and more beautiful. I love!

  135. oh poppa..we would do cappuccino on the lanai every morning and talk about our girls and how beautiful the sunrise is..that is the stuff life is about. you can tell my avocado story to anyone you know i see that lady every know and then and i still don’t know how i feel about her! seriously i want to smack her and at the same time give her a hug..she hurt me so much that day and yet she REALLY changed how i treat people. isn’t that crazy?!?

    anonymous..thank you so much. i think the reason that i love kelle and her blog is because she is like me..a realist. she does know what may be in her future, and with that being said i see that she handles all of the reality that is hers the same as i do mine. nothing like the reality of cancer to kick you in the butt and start living life to the fullest. reality can cripple you or it can be the catalyst that changes how you live. i still have moments where i fear that my cancer may come back…and i would be lying if i said it does not occasionally stop me in my tracks..but i refuse to let cripple my life. i live life so differently..i see all the little things i never did before the C word knocked on my door, and i let things go that before i would have sunk my teeth into like a dog with a bone and that in itself has been so liberating. and yes i am doing very well, gracee was a little over 1 year old and she in now seven so we have had many beautiful years together and God willing i will someday be sitting on my porch loving on her babies!!

    can i just say again how much i adore this blog. ♥

  136. To POPPA, YES! I felt the same and felt like I should defend Romaine. Sometimes I think people take the written word the wrong way. I never heard or saw anything rude or insulting in Romaine’s comment. I just thought she was making a simple observation. Sometimes some people here seem to get a bit too defensive, even though the comments are not to THEM – and they read into them, what is not even there. If this makes sense – it’s as if, at times, people read Judgement in a comment that I don’t find, and then people here come across judgemental about the person writing the comment. Hmm..think about it. I understand we all like Kelle, even tho we havent met her. But I think that usually, aside from the occasional “mean” comments that have appeared here, most people mean no harm and I would hope each of us could “hear” or read with the kind of heart and spirit that Kelle shows. Thanks again, Poppa.

  137. Your poppa is so wise. Mine is like that too. :)

    I love how the two older girls took turns being bossy. Story of my childhood, I swear.

    Nella is such a cutie patootie.

  138. My apologies if I have offended anyone.. Nella is beautifull and I will not destroy the blog with negativity… So lets all be friends!!
    Thank You Poppa for standing up for me in my absence…

  139. I have re-read what I have typed yesterday and I must admit it does sound a bit offish,my wording was completely wrong. I am feeling very bad and really want to apologise if I have offended anyone or you Kelle, I had no intention of hurting anyone or meaning Down Syndrome is bad in anyway, I just merely observed how beautifull Nella is and how at times I dont see DS Symptoms in Nella. No Malice intended… feeling very bad…

  140. Oh, Romaine, your sweet comment was received with heartfelt gratitude…and I wish we could have just shared coffee with the commenter that seemed insulted by it, because I am sure all would have been resolved. I understood what the commenter was thinking…that the “best” is not the absence of Ds identity…but you weren’t saying that. I have so many friends that tell me, “I don’t see Ds at all in Nella” and I simply say, “Nor do I right now…but its all okay–we know she has that extra chromosome and we receive it as God’s gift to us.” I know they weren’t saying anything bad about those in our big family whose Ds is more physically evident…and we have the opportunity to lead them into understanding–not by scolding or calling out their well-intended words…but by living in joy with whatever our tomorrows come to be. So, Romaine, thank you for your kind words–you caused no offense here…and to the other commenter, neither did you. This is a journey. Let’s stay in the light.

  141. Anonymous says:

    Touche poppa!!

  142. Linda Mg in Soquel, CA says:

    Oh, Romaine~ I did not see offense or ill-intent in your earlier comment. All is fine. I understood what you meant. No worries. Yay for Poppa – yes, let’s just all stay in the light and look for the best, kinda like what this site is all about! Hope your heart is lighter now, Romaine~

  143. Linda Mg in Soquel, CA says:

    OH, and to GRACEESMOMMY – – God bless you and thanks for your inspiring comment and reminder. Yes, we just never know what road a person is walking that day, and best not to personalize too much.

  144. Anonymous says:

    Lovely weekend, thanks for sharing! BUT -don’t you have some work to do? Some friends of mine have ordered pictures and while happy for your success, are a little dispointed that you haven’t come across with your obligations to them.

  145. I can’t tell you how excited I get when I see a new post. I want to take my time and soak it all in, but I also want to read as fast as possible to see what beautiful words you have strung together this time. As I was soaking it in/speed reading, I got about half way through when the music finally started. It stopped me dead in my tracks and caused an instant block in my throat. It’s perfect. Just like our littles. I’ve made a mental note, for years from now, when Ryan finds the woman of his dreams and asks me for one last dance as his momma. Adele’s “Make you feel my love” will be our song. Thanks for continual inspiration. Happy half year birthday to Nella! She’s gorgeous – inside and out.

  146. Thank you is all I can say for your blog. You make me want to be a better person and a better mom for my 2 little boys!! I have a 33 month old and an 11 month old and they are everything to me. So thank you!!! Thank you for showing me that not getting the laundry done is OK, that not having my house look perfect is ok, thank you for showing me that all that really matters in this world is that your children and loved ones are happy and healthy!!! God Bless!!!

  147. I love finding little collections of things around our home!!! I should be taking pictures of them. And good for you for leaving the clothes on the floor! She worked really hard at that 😉 Thank you for helping me enjoy the small things!

  148. Anonymous says:

    You let your DAUGHTER (Lainey) run around shirtless?!?!?! And then take photos and post them on the internet?!?!?!? She’ll hate you for that when she’s twelve! And there were even photos of her shirtless in PUBLIC!!!!

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