Pay It Forward…Rock the ONEder Fund.

In two weeks, we will celebrate an epic day.


And my heart is twisting in all sorts of beautiful ways just thinking about it, but mostly it is throbbing with love.

Any attempt at threading words to just how funny, how spirited, how healing her existence is…well it seems so small and unworthy. But, I’m used to that. Her sister’s had me slayed from the start.

I can tell you this though.

I have changed. My eyes have been opened to the broad spectrum of beauty, the value of uniqueness and the amazement of the common thread that binds us all regardless of the color of our skin or the makeup of our chromosomes.

How could I not have been aware of their magic?



I am grateful for the pain that propelled me forward this year for without it, I wouldn’t have known the joy of this place.


When I sat down to write this post earlier this afternoon, I intended to make this about Nella. But, I’ve learned something more this year. I’ve learned to look beyond. While yes, the rawness of loving my own child and imagining her almond eyed, milky-cheeked, tiny-toothed grin on the face of every other child with Down syndrome is what initiated my purpose in this new world, it has become more. I care not just because my daughter personally connects me to this greater world but because I have learned to see their hearts, their capabilities, their spirit, their determination, their love.



And I want you to see it too. Beyond Nella. The faces of these children brighten the worlds of so many lucky families every day. And as I checked my e-mail earlier this evening after a quick Facebook photo all-call, tears rolled down my cheeks at the response. My e-mail alert chirped a continuous rhythm as pictures rolled in, and I couldn’t determine what was more powerful–the faces of these beautiful babies or the words you attached to them in a desperate plea to express a fraction of how you feel.

The love of our lives. She changed me. Our joy boy. The heart of our family.




So, here’s the deal.

I’m going to ask you for something. And it’s really important to me. To a lot of people.

I’m going to ask you to think about what you’ve taken from this space this year. I have felt incredibly inspired by not only the feeling of community here but by this productive push toward good that arises simply from the understanding of the power of a group of people connected in a small way on the Interweb but, more importantly, in a much greater way within this vast world. And so, I’m asking you again, have you gained anything from visiting this space this year? A smile, a thought, a connection, the encouragement to dig deeper or let your own voice speak out. If you have, I’m asking you to give back today. Please, pay it forward.

In honor of our girl’s first year, we are asking you to give back to her. And the 400,000 other individuals living with Down syndrome in the United States alone.



The mission of the NDSS is to create a culture that fully accepts and includes individuals with Down syndrome.

Let me say that more clearly. The mission of the NDSS is to create a culture that fully accepts and includes our little girl. Our Nella.


Last year, the NDSS helped Annie Clancy, a Connecticut high school student, get closer to her dream of becoming a clothing designer when they gave her the once-in-a-lifetime chance to join designer Anya Cole in her studio to learn how to design and produce clothing. Without the NDSS, Annie wouldn’t have known what it felt like to strut her fabulousness down the runway of a fashion show in a posh SoHo loft.


Or how about Sara Wolff? A skilled motivational speaker, she serves on the NDSS Board of Directors and actively promotes Down syndrome awareness and understanding through personal appearances and inspirational speeches to educators, employers and community professionals. She is loving what she’s doing. She’s doing something amazing with her one wild and precious life. Not to mention, she got to meet Barbara Walters and Meredith Viera which is more than I can say. As Sara says, “I feel good knowing I can inspire people and make a difference.”


I want my little girl to have these opportunities, and I’m just one of many mamas who share this dream.




I’ve set a scary goal. $15,000, People. (Actually, I’m editing this after 12 hours into the fundraiser, I’m doubling it, yikes! $30,000.) Editing this AGAIN about 2 days into it. $47,000. Yup, $47 grand for 47 grand chromosomes!) Alright, I’m back. 4 days, and our goal is now $63,000. That’s 21 x 3. Three beautiful little 21st chromosomes, that’s what. And I’m a little nervous about it. But, I believe you care. I believe we can make a difference together. If every Follower–a fraction of readers–gave only $5, we could raise $45,000. Forty Five Thousand Dollars to help change the world into a place that sees the beauty and potential of the magic of these amazing individuals.




I want this life-changing year to mean more. I want to hold hands with my family in two weeks and know, when we sing “Happy Birthday Dear Nella” and watch her pat her tiny palms into sweet frosting, that something greater is in store.

For everyone.





Please. Give Nella a birthday gift. Help her give back to her friends.


If a magazine costs $5, think of how you’ll feel if you spent that instead right here.

Pay it forward. Help us give Nella a very happy birthday.

Nella’s shirt and sweater used to be dresses. They were her coming-home-from-the-hospital outfit. Sweater, crocheted by my mama

Giving is easy. Click on any link to Nella’s ONEder Fund on this page (the easiest being the large banner at the top of the blog which will remain until Nella’s birthday.)

Spread the word. E-mail it. Facebook it. Tweet it. Blog it.
Together, I’m certain we can move mountains.

Give $5. Or give more. But know, you are appreciated and you are making a difference.

Thank you for your support, your love, your joining with us to make something grand of our one wild and precious life.


And thank you to all the mamas out there who shared their magically enhanced little beauties with me tonight.


Leave a Comment
  1. What an honor to be included in Nella’s birthday celebration! Since Nella and Lily are on opposite sides of the country, this was a delightful way to get them together for their first birthdays- thank you, Kelle…it’s been a FABULOUS year :)

  2. Happy birthday sweet Nella!

  3. love. makes me teary. happy #1 baby girl n.

  4. Beautiful post, those babies melt my heart! Count my family in for donating!

  5. Passing on the word on Facebook. Because Nella, you’ve rocked my world. I remember the day I wandered onto your blog and saw her sweet eyes. I’m investing in designer genes!!!

  6. So I teared up reading this post for sure.


  7. Wow Kelle! Amazing idea to include us. I can’t believe it has been a year. We all look forward to many many more. Thank you. BIG HUGS!

  8. I have learned so much – grown and changed in so many ways in the past 10 months… I feel $5.00 is nothing in comparison to what I feel I’ve gotten out of your blog – of Nella’s ‘existence’ in my life. You’ve opened my eyes to so much… I would love nothing more than to donate to NDSS – I just need to get paid first!! So Tuesday (most random pay day in the world!! seriously – who gets paid on tuesdays!?) on my lunch break I will donate to Nella and 400,000 others… Thank you for exposing me to so many oppurtunities to help out!
    I cannot believe Nella’s going to be one already! Time flies!

  9. Oh and how could I forget to add HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY NELLA!!!! :)

  10. I will be honored to pay it forward for Nella and her friends!

    Loved all of the photos! Just beautiful! All of them.


    Jennifer in Texas

  11. Kelle, I have gotten so so much from your blog this past year; tears, laughter, inspiration, beauty, simple moments of pleasure in my day. Nthat was worht so much more than my small donation that I wish I could give more. Thank you so much.

  12. How fortunate for any organization to have you as a spokesperson, Kelle. Your way with words, your compassion, your love of all things beautiful (and what beauty in those photographs!) are awe inspiring. I’m so glad I found this blog. It encourages me to be better, do better, see better. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    I’m sure you’ll have no problem meeting your goal.

  13. They are all so beautiful. When I was in college I trained to become and early intervention specialist because a beloved high school teacher had miscarried a baby boy with DS and was so devastated to learn he had DS, and then doubly broken hearted to lose him. She was dear to me, and I was so touched by her fears for him, I wanted to do something that would help families like hers get the help, services, whatever they needed to get their sweet babies learning, growing, everything, as soon as possibly, and try to stave off some of the mama fears they understandably had. Well, I got my degree, but had two babies and was pregnant with a third at graduation, and life got in my way. It is still my dream job… someday!

  14. I can not stop crying..My daughter was born about a month after Nella and I have watched Nella grow with my daughter.I am donating to honor your beautiful daughter and my daughters peer. Happy Birthday precious Nella!!!

  15. What a way to celebrate! Congratulations and Happy Birthday Nella. I have a feeling you are going to meet your goal several times over because of what you have shared this past year; it is a gift for your readers. So thank you, this is a celebration not only for your family but for all of us who have joined you this year on your journey as cheer leaders.

  16. Thank you for sharing my Sunny Bunny’s picture. I <3 what you’re doing for our (DS) family.

  17. Thanks so much for the regular doses of beauty and inspiration!

    My kid’s birthdays never ceases to amaze me. Your blog has reminded me to document and make them extra special for my 12, 9 and 2 year old – here’s to many more cupcakes, tiaras and loot bags!!!

    Happy birthday sweet Nella! Love and Joy.

    I will be donating – and challenge all my Canadian neighbours to do the same!!! Come on, Mamas!

  18. I have been lurking about for some time… your blog is simply beautiful. From you, to your little ladies and the honesty of your journey. My brother is disabled..not with DS…but yet the journey is so similar. It is a pleasure to join you in reaching your goal… and join these sweet little ones in reaching theirs.
    It is a joy to read! And the picture of Nella looking up in blue is simply amazing, I assume you have already thought about posting it to an entire wall. :)

  19. what an honor to donate in nella’s name. she has already done so much for kids all over the world with special needs. gooooo nella! off to donate!


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  21. I just stumbled upon your blog and with tears rolling down my cheeks, I applaud you. Happy Birthday to your little girl and may your little piece of the internet reach many and bring awareness and hope to DS. You have a reader in me.

  22. I’m not sure how she came across it, but my mom sent me your entry about Nella shortly after you posted it last year. When I got to the part about Lainey meeting Nella for the first time, I cried so hard because it was such a beautiful moment. From then on, I’ve been a follower and I’ve loved watching your babies grow. They are so beautiful, and so are you. You are doing great things! Happy Birthday to your rockstar, and best wishes to all of you!

  23. I have never seen as much beauty in one place than I do on your blog. and I am not talking physical beauty…im talkin’ raw, soulful, powerful beauty. How lucky we all are to share this journey with you. Thank you, Kelle. Thank you Thank you a million times over. and of course, Happy Happy Happy Birthday Nella. You will change more lives than you could ever imagine. Love from my little family to yours…

    p.s. can I trade some Michigan cold weather for some mild Florida weather?? Even just a day?

    Melissa LaRue

  24. I can’t tell you what an honour it is to have Georgia’s photo on your blog. Thank you so much for the opportunity. Shared on facebook, of course, to give all my friends the opportunity to see all these beautiful kids. Happy birthday, Nella!

  25. Happy birthday, Nella!
    Kelle – You are one of the best things to happen to Down syndrome awareness and advocacy! Thanks for letting Micah be part of it.

  26. I am speechless. Beautiful…every detail of this post and your blog. Thank you for being an inspiration to all of us this past year. Happy almost birthday, Nella!

  27. Kelle,
    Nella and your family literally changed my life. It has changed the way I see the world, the way I parent, the way I see beauty in the small things. I had no idea a blog could be so powerful. Thank you. I will be paying it forward!

  28. Paying and more.. Happy bday Nella:)

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  31. Honored to be a part of this campaign and eager to share the world. Thank you, Kelle, for you drive and your love!

  32. How lucky you are to have Nella and how very lucky she is to have YOU as her Mommy. You are a true inspiration. Happy birthday Miss Nella C! xoxo

  33. That is the sweetest post ever! I think Nella and all those precious babies are absolutely beautiful. Thank you for posting and for sharing your little angel!

  34. you are so inspiring! whenever i see a new post on your blog, i am excited t read it. yo inspire me, not only to be a part of this campaign, but i have dreams of being a photographer, and seeing your posts inspires me! thank you!

  35. there’s my baby boy…Ethan.. the reason I am who I am today…

    All I want for him (and others like him) is for him to be accepted and be able to have the same opportunities in life as his sisters and everyone else.

    Happy Birthday Nella!

  36. Kelle…awwwwww…beautiful! I love ever single picture…made my eyes tear up just looking at all those beautiful sweet faces!!! I wish I had enough money to give back for all I feel I have gained from you…you are such an inspiration! My littlest one will be 1 in February…so it has been a joy to share in your journey as we are on ours. Thanks for being real…thanks for being you! I am honored to pay it forward for Nella’s Birthday! Hugs to you!!!
    Jolie N.

  37. gosh, this post made me cry and I’m not one to cry easily. But I love when stuff evokes true, deep emotion.
    Every time I see a picture of Nella with an ear-to-ear grin, I get choked up. She melts me in seconds.

    Looking forward to seeing her birthday post in a couple weeks!

  38. Thank you for continuing the fight “to create a culture that fully accepts and includes individuals with Down syndrome.”
    My grandma started it in our area when my uncle was born. She started the first school in the western united states for people with Down syndrome. (This was after they had to steal him out of the hospital!)
    These are pictures of my Uncle Joe with his Sister, my mom.

  39. Beautiful. Every post is beautiful. Happy Birthday Nella.

  40. What a great idea! Just went and gave what I could. I just thought “if that blog were a book, I would buy it right away”. So I paid what I usually pay for a book (and books are more expensive in Canada where I live so Yay for you :P). By the way, you deserve way more than what I could afford to give for all the inspiration you’ve provided my with since I’ve started reading you Kelle. But for now, being a poor student :P, I can’t do more. But I hope everyone is generous and you get a beautiful birthday gift for Nella!!!

  41. Okay, we are all still up… Reid included, and just clicked over to your blog. As we read your words together and scrolled through pictures Reid kept saying, “awww, cute”, or “baby” and then when he saw himself his eyes got big and he took a deep breath and chirped “Reid!” and kept pointing at himself. Thanks for the new smudge finger marks on my computer screen….they are a treasure to me! …and THANK YOU for this pay it forward, what a beautiful way to celebrate Nella’s first birthday and to honor all 400,000 of our extra chromosomally kissed kiddos. You are a beautiful soul!

  42. So what have I taken from this blog this past year?

    A lot of love.
    Great music.
    A reminder that we are all more similar than different.
    Some great laughs, and some quiet tears.

    Happy Birthday Nella. And thank you.

  43. Happy first birthday nella! We are honored to be included with all these beautiful children!

  44. The love in this post… just overwhelming! Happy birthday to Nella, and thank you for touching my life. Wishing your family every happiness in all the small things. :)

  45. Donation made and I posted to my FB page for others to see as well. I feel we can ALL learn something from sweet souls like your Nella and all of those beautiful babies in this post (and the world). Thank you for enriching my life through your words and pictures. You inspire me. Best birthday wishes to your sweet girl.

  46. Sorry! Triple post! I don’t know what happened.

  47. happy birthday nella!!! you are so loved and chosen by God to be the face of something new that is happening in the hearts of so many! thank you for sharing your joy with us!!! :)

  48. Kelle, how well you expressed it! I had just showed a friend your blog the other day because….it just touches me when I read it. Today was no exception. LOVED seeing all those smiling faces.
    Happy 1st Birthday,dear Nella!


  49. Oh, my heart skipped several beats on this one. Kelle, I wish I could put into words what your writing has done for me (and continues to do). I appreciate your honesty and openness in all of this. So many times I’ve laughed and cried. So many times I’ve nodded my head in a knowing kind of way. And for the record, not just about Nella. About runaway dogs and fiercely independent toddlers/preschoolers and messy rooms. My boy is also coming up on his first birthday and I know it’s gonna be a doozie in the emotion department. If Nella’s birthday can bring me to tears, imagine what my own child’s special day will do to me. Nella’s birthday around the corner also means it’s almost one year of me faithfully following your blog. One of the first posts I read was about Brett teaching Lainey to swim and the song “Daughter” was playing. To this day, that song does something to me because it brings me back to the early days when it was all fresh and new. And I suppose, it was still pretty new to you too. Thank you SO much, Kelle, for making this journey called motherhood all the sweeter.

  50. I reposted on Facebook and will keep doing it every chance I get… proud to be a part of such an amazing opportunity to honor and improve the lives of such an amazing group of extra special people!
    Happy Birthday to Nella…look at the number of lives she has already touched in one short year…imagine what she will accomplish in her lifetime!
    Thank you, Kelle!

  51. I am so there! These faces! These GORGEOUS faces!!

    Slices of cheesecake everywhere!

    We can do it! We can certainly reach this goal as a token of our appreciation of you Kelle and all that you give and do all the while letting us watch you and comment and learn from.

    You are an inspiration and these kids are the inspiration to pay it forward.



  52. Oh, Kelle! This is amazing. Beautiful! What a wonderful way to celebrate Nella…and all of our little rockstars!

    Jill B (Overland Park, KS)

  53. This is amazing! Happy Birthday to Nella!!! My cousin has Down Syndrome and he’s almost 40. This is so inspiring and an awesome cause!!!

  54. I’ve been inspired so much by your blog. The thing I am most grateful for has been gaining the motivation to take more pictures and write more words to document my own little life with my family. I created a gorgeous 12 x 12 photobook of all our 2010 pictures as a gift to my husband (following your lead) and am in love with it. I’m so grateful to be documenting the simple things in my world so that I will remember them. Thank you Kelle!

  55. Count me in, and I will spread the word!!

    Thank you for all of the beauty you’ve given through your blog. It is my honor and pleasure to give back.

  56. Kelle,

    It’s impossible to put a pricetag on all that your blog has taught me about being a better Mom and a better human being. I’m thrilled to donate in Nella’s honor. Thanks a million for everything you do to make the world a better place! God bless your sweet family, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NELLA!!!!

  57. “Investing in designer genes” I love that! Count me in! We love you guys. And the birthday hat is ad-or-a-ble! Tut please. :) id love to make one for ny February birthday girl.

  58. I smiled and smiled over and over at all those sweet and blessedly familiar faces…and then to see my sweet famous Amos included there too – thank you for including our little lovey rockstar. And thank you, Kelle for cradling so many new mamas fearful & uncertain hearts by your way with words, and your great big love.

    I love all of these little ones. So precious & perfect & beautiful. Happy 1st birthday Nella!

  59. donation made :) and so pleased to have done so in Nella’s honor and the least I could do in return for the inspiration you have brought to so many Kelle!!

  60. Oh my godddd, can these children be any more georgous? Thank you for opening my eyes and you can count me in!:)

  61. crying. will be able to give as soon as my husband gets paid next week. what a beautiful joy nella is. she has changed MY life, that’s for sure. please give her extra kisses on her sweet baby head from the stranger in alabama who thinks she is so fabulous and special and bright. what a gift.

  62. Oh my god.. All those photos! So beautiful, you’ve got me crying at 7.04am :)
    As soon as we get paid you can count me in for donating! x

    Loved every picture, read every name, they are wonderful beautiful little beings and we can give because we all care!!
    Love shows and springs forth!!!
    Happy Birthday Nella –you and I share the same birthday by the way, so like it or not you and I are connected BY HEART Strings forever!!!!
    Love ya,

  64. Done!

    And if the amount donated so far is any indication of how you will do in 2 weeks…YOU ARE THERE GIRL and then some!

    Kudos to you Kelle~ You and your family make all the difference.

  65. Thank you so much for your blog and sharing your beautiful life with us. It has meant so much to me. Your photos are inspirational, you and your girls are inspirational. I have been a lurker here for almost ten months when my amazing baby boy was born. Most of your posts move me to tears and leave me full of hope and joy. I feel like Calder has grown right alongside Nella. He has a few more months to one though! Happy birthday Nella!

    I hope you surpass your goal!

  66. What a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday! I made a donation in honor of Nella and my real-life friends Joaquin & Sofia. :-)

  67. Every single one of those faces are just beautiful. There sure is something magical about them. I just want to hug every single one of them! I don’t know what it is about Down Syndrome people, but they are extra special and extra beautiful. And they don’t even know it which makes it even better.

  68. THERE’S MY LILY! you go girlfriend. and happy birthday to sweet nella pie :)

  69. Thankyou for sharing these photos of these beautiful children with us and thanks for showing us how we can give.

  70. Thanks for the opportunity to help such sweet little people! Happy birthday, Nella. You are so lucky to have a family that loves you so very much.

  71. I have followed your blog silently for a little while and I want to thank you. You have opened my eyes to the world of Down Syndrome. I see these children for the beautiful little miracles they are. Your Nella makes my heart sing. Happy Birthday little Nella!

  72. it makes me so warm inside that you are doing do much.. it makes me half wish my mum and little sister (shes almost 18 has it as well) lived in america there seems to be alot more oppurtunites and help over there.

    your amazing

    and happy birthday to the gorgeous nella

  73. I cannot begin to express how thankful I am to have found your blog this past year. My sweet Sarah was born just a couple of months after your precious Nella. Like you, I had no idea in the moments before her birth, just how much our lives were about to change. In those early weeks after her birth I would sit up late at night on the computer trying to find every bit of information I could about DS and what I could do to give Sarah the best life possible. I’ll never forget the night I stumbled across your blog. I felt like I had found a kindred spirit who was traveling this same road, just a couple of steps ahead of me. Along with your beautiful photos, reasuring words, and infectious music you have reminded me countless times, what I knew to be true the very first time I held Sarah in my arms. That this is the life God has prepared me for, and I am going to rock it out! I am honored to make a donation in Nella’s name, and pass this on on Facebook.
    Happy Birthday beautiful Nella, and Happy Birthday to you as well Kelle. You are changing the world in a most wonderful way. <3

  74. What a beautiful beautiful post!!! And a stunning initiative!!!!!

  75. Kelle- you are my hero! I can’t wait to see this play out. It’s going to be AMAZING! Happy Birthday Nella…we all LOVE you so much! So happy to have Joaquin & Sofia share is some small way your amazing first year! Cheers to MANY MANY MANY more years!

  76. So much beauty in one post! I am seriously loving all of those beautiful pictures! Each one so unique and so beautiful. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Nella’s first year than by paying it forward. Thanks for including my little ray of sunshine in your post. I love seeing her picture surrounded by so many beautiful faces. Many who I recognize and love. I shared this on my blog and hope it’s ok that I swiped the banner and put it on my blog post. I’m terrible with copyright laws. Ha ha. But really let me know if you don’t want it on there. I just really wanted that cute little Nella bean’s face to be on my post. Epic day indeed.
    Love you!

  77. I was an educational assistant for a little boy with an extra chromosome for two years and my life will never be the same. He lit up my world. It’s been a year since I’ve been following and I couldn’t think of anything but giving to your nella and every other little with a little extra magic.
    There’s a special spot in heaven for you girlfriend. I’m going to click right now!


    Ps the picture of nella with the white background and Barrett is stunning!

  78. Those are some of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen. You Momma’s and Daddy’s have much to be proud of and what an honor you have given to all of us by sharing. Not only all of these wonderful children but by sharing your own wonderfully wild journey. To offer us a window into just how crazy beautiful life is with your super special girl! Thank you Kelle and Happy Birhtday Sweet baby Nella! Can’t wait to help you reach well beyond your goal! :)

  79. Happy Birthday Nella!
    Kelle, you are soooo great and amazing! Thank you.

  80. I just found your blog and I am in tears. Your story is amazing! My husband’s younger brother has down syndrome….he is now 21. He has accomplished so much in his 21 years and such an inspiration. He has met the president and the governor of Utah, was homecoming king, sang the national anthem at his high school football games, local rodeos, tons of motivational conferences, and local baseball games. He is an amazing individual. If you are interested in hearing more of his story…email me.

    I will be donating to your fund and will be passing it on through my blog and facebook.

    Thank you for sharing your story.


  81. I am honored and a bit humbled to be able to help out! Your blog makes my heart happy every single time! Happy 1st birthday Nella!

  82. Happy Birthday Nella!

  83. Done and Done…What an amazing idea! I’ve loved reading your blog this past year and have been inspired to love a little more each day! Thanks for everything, Happy Birthday Nella!

  84. Headed to make a donation in honor of your Nella…who has change ME too. Happy Birthday Precious Nella. YOU are making the world a different place. A better place. Thank You for being YOU.

  85. Beautiful job,. Bravo. You amaze me everyday. Happy birthday to your lovie. God bless the innocent hearts.


  86. Beautiful beautiful pictures of beautiful beautiful babies, toddlers, children and young adults.
    We have been blessed with 3 “normal” children, and have just lost a baby at 13 weeks pregnant for the second time in two years. I spent Christmas Day in hospital miscarrying. We long for a 4th child,but as I will be 40 in 2 weeks time, we also know that time might be running out. Still, hope is a wonderful thing! With that in mind, I am donating to the Oneder Fund today, to give hope to another precious child.
    What a wonderful way to say Happy Birthday, to a very beautiful Nella Cordelia.

  87. Ah, so many beautiful (and FAMILIAR!!) faces! Lovely. :-) Happy almost birthday Nella!

  88. Thanks for letting us be a part of this celebration!
    To the parents of the children posted here: If your child isn’t already featured on my website please send me a picture. Luke inspired me to create it and it’s designed to offer hope and encouragement to new parents. Birthday Blessings Sweet Nella!!

  89. What a beautiful post and a beautiful way to honor Nella and all of those other adorable faces. $5 is a small thing to give when you and Nella and your family have given your readers so much inspiration.

  90. Every parent wants what you ask for for Nella–to be loved, accepted, and cherished. Nella deserves it, Lainey deserves it, and my boys as well. So we will happily support Nella and all her magical friends.
    And Nella’s gift to me has been getting me to watch, really watch, my boys as they grow. I gave a little to her, but she (and all the Hamptons) have given far more to me.

  91. Kelle, over the past year of reading your blog, I have been inspired, motivated and uplifted. Thank you for that. And thank you for this post…these precious little ones are beautiful in every way possible and are making the world a better place one day at a time.
    Happy first birthday Nella!

  92. Donated to your sweet Nella Cordelia and all the other little stars! How is she ONE already????? Happy EARLY birthday! love love lllllllloooovvvveeee that her first birthday outfit was her coming home outfit. That, my dear, is super! Can’t wait to see pictures of the party! And you ask what I have gained? Inspiration……..keep it up….

  93. Wishing a first birthday filled with blessings both big & small Nella! It has been a treasure following you & your family this past year. So many memories for me have resurfaced; especially knowing that we began our own journey at Healthpark & Fort Myers…. so bittersweet. Your mommy is so much more than most, & you have blessed her, Daddy & your big sister with gifts the “typical” family don’t get.
    Kelle it is a comfort to snuggle into your blog & feel the reassurance of unity…. of knowing that in a world where fear & ignorance can make me feel defeated I can tune in to you & take a sip of triumph & LOVE. Thank you.

  94. Will DEFINITELY pay it forward!! What a blessing it has been to share in the joys of your family. It has inspired me to start my own blog as I always considered myself someone who “enjoyed the small things” but through your blog I saw all that is possible in SHARING this attitude to life with others. My cup has always been and will CONTINUE to be half full, HELL, I’d go one further and say it’s brimming with joy and THAT is largely due to the purity of SPIRIT we have experienced through our daughter Ruby. Reading your blog is like experiencing that 1st year all over again and I feel honored to be included in this momentous occasion that is Nella’s 1st Birthday. Shout it out to the rooftops…..Nella is ONE!!!

  95. I love each face.
    This is going to be big. Huge!
    Thank you.

  96. seriously…what a great way to start a day! Beautiful still my heart..sitting on the couch with my girl looking at each one..we love them all but Gracee was taken with Ruby as the second choice for my girl’s name was Ruby and it appears that it really should have been her name…we occasionally have to call her by it just to humor her. Oh and the giving…is there anything more soul satisfying than giving. If it had been up to my girl you would have had our bank account..makes me know how important it is to go beyond ourselves, our bills, our wants and give..parents teach your children early!! Sit them down with you and share the incredible experience of giving with them. Happy Birthday dear have in your one year stolen the hearts of many, changed the minds of many and just made this big blue marble a better place to be. ♥

  97. happy birthday nella!

    in the small school district i teach at, i’ve had one ds student in my 6th grade class. he joined the basketball team this year as an 8th grader and was recently in the newspaper!

    i love reading your blog and i love the awareness you are raising for ds!

    i’ll be paying it forward!!

  98. How could I not have been aware of their magic??? Well said. I have changed Kelle. Because of you, your blog, and your beautiful baby girl. I hope you know that your girl (and other magical little ones) are loved by strangers and mamas around the world because of this space. How wild is that?! An amazing mission, one worth fighting for, one I am happy to help. Happy Birthday Nella!!!! And thank you to all you brave mamas out there!!!! (Ok, I have officially reached my tear quota for the day…….) Beautiful, so very beautiful.

  99. You are an amazing person – for your daughter, and for all the other DS kids out there!

    I miscarried a baby girl at 13 weeks because she had downs syndrome….as devastating as that was on both accounts, I now have a different outlook of what our life might have been like….thank you for putting that positive energy into my mind!

    Thanks for letting us help celebrate Nella’s birthday! Happy birthday sweet girl!

  100. Kelle, count the May’s in times 4! I’m so bummed for missing the call for pictures. (Figures you made that call after I made the New Years resolution to spend LESS time on facebook! Drat!) Ha!

    I don’t have to repeat what your blog means to me personally; I am converted apostle of the Kelle Hampton church of “A lot of little really good things are going to happen today, so take note and be grateful!” (need the marketing people to work on that name.)

    God bless you for all you do!

    much love,

  101. It would be my honor to pay it forward! I just wish I could do more! your blog has been such a blessing and inspiration to me this year! Happy Birthday to that sweet little girl!

  102. I don’t usually comment, but I’ve been a follower since I found your site with Nella’s beautiful birth story almost a year ago.
    Your words and pictures are always uplifting to me, so I’m honored to be a part of uplifting sweet Nella, your family and the whole down syndrome community! :)

  103. I was holding my little one, Violet, who will also be turning 1 this month (Jan.28th) in my arms when I was reading this post. I couldn’t help but squeeze her more closely because your words, the photographs you shared of these beautiful children, just overwhelmed me with love. And when, we came to the photograph of Nella staring up with her gorgeous eyes- Violet became so excited and started pointing as if she recognized a friend. We, of course, made a donation.

  104. I will be honored to pay it forward in honor of my daughter and sweet Nella and all the other beautiful children out in there. What a beautiful post. IT had me in tears. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful faces. It warmed my heart and I too, have those same dreams for Emma, my angel eyes. Thanks for this blog to open the eyes of so many, so they too, can experience the beauty of Down syndrome.

    Thank you,

  105. Once again, you’ve made me think about something I had never thought of and given me hope for whatever may come. Thank you for your words.

  106. what a blessing it is to be included in something so beautiful and magical . Thanks to nelle and her extra sweetness !!!

    I will def pay it forward, You are an amazing person and you have an amazing family.
    and i loved the pictures of all the littles that have that something extra…….extra dose of gods love.

    love and blessings the doughtys

  107. Oh Kelle! Those face, THANK YOU. What a beautiful post, what beautiful little lives. I wish I could express how much Nella’s first year, your journey has impacted me. You have shown the beautiful face(s) to Down Syndrome, one that has so desperately been missing in our culture. I have learned so much from this blog, there is so much more I could say…But I’ll keep it to: THANK YOU. Hubby and I are talking how we can help…Have posted on facebook and also will share on my (small ;0) blog.

    Happy early Birthday to Nella, and Birthing day to you Mama!

  108. This has been a year of tear stained keyboards and stretch-marked hearts. Yes, I echo those words–how could we have been so unaware of the magic within these children?! I was so proud to show off your girls last night–and Austyn was such a gentleman! I am smitten with the wonder here…the Oneder! You know we will be making a contribution…for she certainly has to us! –Poppa and Gary

  109. What a great idea. I have a friend that adopted a child from EE with Downs Syndrome who has a birthday party for her child and asks for donations in lieu of presents.

    I see some familiar faces in your photo montage. :)

    Definitely will be donating. I am an avid donator to those that are adopting children thru Reece’s Rainbow. I feel it is an honor to help out those who are adopting to help offset their costs.

    Happy Birthday Nella, can’t wait to hear all about your birthday celebration of life!


  110. A wonderful idea Kelle, so happy to support you in your goal, I truly hope you reach and exceed it.

    You are an inspiration!

  111. What a beautiful post! I just love all of those beautiful babies. It was fun to even see some that I follow. Their smiles, just like Nella’s, are well like looking at God. I know that has been said over and over, but it is so true. Ds children have this magic about them, this air that says Im special and I want to love you! We will be happy to donate to NDSS in honor of Miss Nella and we want to wish her a very happy birthday! I have said it before and will say it again, she has already changed our lives for the better. She has made this family, where Ds has never touched our lives in any way, strive to find a way to bring that joy and love into it. Happy Birthday Miss Nella and Thanks Kelle for blogging about your beautiful life!

  112. Dude. Just when I think you can’t rock it any better, you go & bring it… and I mean bring it… to the next level. I love this post with all my heart & all of the love & beauty behind it makes my soul feel buoyant. I only wish I had checked my FB yesterday so my Quinn could be a part of it… figure on the one day I “unplug”! :-)
    Thank you Kelle – you are amazing beyond words.

  113. Oh Kelle, this is so beautiful! I loved seeing all of the beautiful, magical faces. Nella is such an amazing gift! I will be sharing this with everyone I know! And of course donating : )

    It would have been a privilege to see our precious Bennett alongside Nella and the other adorable children. I was a little late getting the picture in : (

    Thank you for all you do!

  114. Happy early 1st birthday, Nella!

    I stumbled on your blog earlier this year and it has easily become my favorite to see in my google reader each week. It has been a beautiful experience.

    I think, like most people, I didn’t think of Down Syndrome much before, and if I did come across the issue, it was with sadness because I didn’t understand. I no longer feel that! Thank you for sharing the joy. I donate with a happy heart.

  115. Loved this post and seeing all those beautiful children! Just made a donation in honor of “Nella and all the DS rockstars” out there…So, happy birthday baby!
    PS- I love all the pics of Nella in the bday hats my favorite leans towards one of the close ups of her precious smile but if you really made me chose (which you aren’t) I double love the ones where you see the red chair and those chubby legs in tights and the mary janes- darling :)

  116. What an amazing way to spread the love! I love it! I will donate and spread the word not only for Nella, and my daughter, Maddie, but for all the people living with Down syndrome. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being such an advocate, not only for your daughter, but for all of our children as well. You inspire me to do more, and be more. Happy early birthday to Nella! We will be celebrating Maddie’s 1st birthday 5 days after Nella’s! What an amazing journey this 1st year has been! It’s been great to “share” yours with you.

  117. Beautiful Post, What beautiful individuals!! Will absolutely give, wish I could do more. This whole idea of giving on a birthday is amazing. ONE-derful!! :-)

  118. Consider it done! Happy Birthday Nella and thank you for the 12 months of joy and happiness you have brought to me and my friends too.

    Love Helen xx



  120. Pay it forward, Party People!!!!!

    Oh, this just plum made my day. I do believe this is the happiest post ever written, in all of Blogdom.

    Off to click that link…

  121. What a beautiful way to celebrate Nella’s Birthday! Such an honor to be part of it. Thank you for sharing your story over this past year, it has truly melted my heart.

  122. Oh Kelle,

    This is just perfect! This story, keeps getting better and better! Thank you. Thank you for the amazing voice you are lending on their behalf.

    All those beautiful faces looking back at us, and I’m so proud to be the mama of a certain lil blue-eyed one. Such bright futures ahead…Oh the places they will go!

    For the past nine months now, I’ve been asked in some capacity to be more, to do more. There have been plenty of times I questioned and doubted that I was up for it. But, we put one foot in front of the other and…well, here we are. With a life that is blessed, happy, and far richer than I could have EVER imagined. We’re still learning, but what a beautiful journey unfolding.

    Much like my boy, you have also asked me to be more, to do more. You have been such a gift to me these past nine months. I look forward to continuing this journey with you. Think I’ve said this before, but you really are a great traveling buddy.

    Thank you also to everyone of you readers who are making a difference for our kids. Every little bit counts.

    Much, much love to you! And looking forward to Nella’s special day!

  123. oh this post it amazing!
    the beautiful pics, the challenge to give!
    i’m all about it!
    i’ll be donating :)

    thank you!

  124. just donated… so in love with nella! happy birthday beautiful baby!

  125. Happy Birthday little girl. I just left a birthday gift on your donation site. Have a great one!! Lisa L.

  126. kelle-
    you have changed the course of my life-and i am forever grateful for so many things. starting with pushing me in the direction of a million miles in a thousand years. what a life changing book-and you are the same way. i will happily give, happily because your outlook and vision is contagious and so many of my friends have also connected to you. and the fact that you dislike post offices, you chant “let her help”, your taste in music, and your honest way of loving every child makes me keep coming back for more inspiration-because we all need constant encouragement to become the story that we want. thank you for such a beautiful year.
    happy birthday nella-you have made so many changes in the world already-i can’t image what is in store for your amazing life…

  127. Beautiful Kelle! Thanks for all you do for our DS community! Thanks for including Bennett and I loved seeing all these precious kids! Amazing!

  128. ha ha you always pull on my heart and soul strings!! Sitting here with coffee and tears!! Going to donate now, and share with 600 people on FB!! Happy Birthday Sweet Sweet Nella!!! I hope the goal is reached!!!!!!!

  129. Kelle I can’t even begin to tell you how much reading your blog over this past year has affected my life! I fell in love with your sweet little Nella at first sight! You’ve made me laugh, you’ve made me cry, you’ve made me realize how blessed we all are, no matter our circumstances. Now, I am trying to talk to my husband about adopting our own child with DS. But until then I will gladly donate to this wonderful cause! Good luck in meeting your goal. I have a feeling you will surpass it spectacularly! Happy happy 1st birthday sweet little Nella!

  130. Wow what an amazing post. So many beautiful faces. I am so inspired. Happy birthday beautiful Nella!!

  131. I made a comment when I first came onto this site and read Nella’s birth story that I believe that children with down syndrome are more special than we will ever know. I think they are the most kind, gentle, caring people on the planet, there isn’t a bad bone in their body. I met a lot of children with DS while I was a camp counselor and those children and all their goodness have stuck with me over the years.

    Kelle, you asked as to write what we have taken away from this site. I have taken your positive attitude and your love of the world into my daily life. Reading your posts is a highlight of my day. I’ve strived to take more photos of my one precious life. I’ve always known that when little ones ask for my attention, to give it because it they won’t always ask. But it’s even more apparent in my life now that I’m dating someone with children who aren’t with us all time. The weekends they are here I want nothing more than to soak up every moment of joy that they put out in the world. I have always known this, but reading your words reminds me of it in wonderful ways.

    Nella, Happy Birthday! May you grow more beautiful with each passing year. May you always remember that you have potential to do amazing things. May you know that you have people who think you rock close to you and others who reside miles and miles away. May you and your sister treasure your bond and support each other through everything. May you find the goodness in your life and the loving world around you. Cheers to another amazing year!

  132. I have been reading your blog for the last year and I absolutely love it! Thank-you so much. I am currently a full-time student doing an unpaid internship, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to donate in honor of Nella’s birthday! Happy first birthday beautiful girl!


    After seeing your facebook picture all-call about 45 minutes too late, I figured I would send a picture anyway, if only to share with you and your sweet family. I was totally surprised to see our sweet Cami’s face amidst the sea of beauty (some familiar–Bennett, Reid, Morgan ;)in your post. Thank you for including our sweet peanut. I will be blogging, sharing on FB, and emailing to all. You are moving mountains, Kelle. I am proud to have Cameran be a small part of it.

    Happy Birthday Nella!


  134. Happy Birthday, Nella!!

    I’m not eloquent like you but you have taught me a lot….opened up my eyes….and opened up me!

    You have also helped me heal a little bit. My daughter was born early and spent 10 days in NICU. While I know it’s nothing along the lines of what you have gone through you have helped me deal with a birth experience that was not at all how I pictured it.

  135. I can’t donate alot, but I sure can do a little, and I’m more than happy to do it! Happy Birthday, Nella!

  136. I missed this opportunity to share Lila with your readers but I was thrilled to see all of the beautiful faces that were spotlighted on this post. Thanks for everything you do to advocate for all of our kids.

    We are blessed to have you in our extended family.

  137. Kelle-
    Thank you for your realness and your desire to share your heart with us. I am blessed beyond words with gratitude. You’ve made me look at life different — you’ve made my daughter (Hannah from Aspire) look at life different. Better. With a clearer and yet more gentle lens.

    Happy Birthday to your sweet Nella.

    Blessings beyond measure to you.


  138. Will Nella be friends with our Ellie in a couple months when Ellie is born? Thanks for all you are doing for our special little ones!

  139. Happy Birthday Nella! I think my new favorite pastime is clicking “refresh” on the donation page and seeing how many other people have donated in the last few seconds. Just in the past few minutes, other beautiful souls have donated over $1000! This blog has inspired me to see beauty in everything. Thank you!

  140. I’m bummed I missed your photo call. I loved looking at all the pictures of our enhanced friends, so many of who I recognize through blogs. My little one will be turning 1 right along with Nella. And like you said, what a year it’s been. I’ve learned so much, my eyes have been opened, and my heart won’t ever be the same.

  141. Oh my goodness! I was in PURE JOY looking at EACH and EVERY photo! PRECIOUS! Will pass this along…FOR SURE!

  142. Happy birthday Nella!

    I cannot express what an impact you all have made on me. Especially Nella. She is beautiful, irreplaceable, and precious. You, Kelle, inspire me to be a better person. Your family is wonderful and you are all such bright stars in our world. I will sharing on FB, emailing, and blogging, anything I can.

  143. I have been reading your blog for a year now and I pass it to everyone I can because you are just that good! I met a woman a few weeks ago that is the chairperson for the KC Down Syndrome chapter and I asked her if she “knew” you. Of course she knew exactly who you are. Because of you, I am getting involved in DS fund raisers. I want to pay it forward in everyway that I can.

    Nella is a very special girl who has already done great things in just one year.

  144. I don’t even know where to start, but to say that you and your story have inspired me doesn’t seem to do it justice. As a young mom to three kids under four you words lift me up when I need lifting. Happy Birthday to your sweet daughter. Thank you for letting us be apart of it.

  145. I’ve been a follower since January, when my sister told me about Nella being born. I’m going to be donating to the fund in honor of my baby sister, Abbey, who is 22, born with down syndrome and is in the hospital right now fighting for her life. This week she was diagnosed with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and has been intubated. You have so inspired me this past year to appreciate life, love my kids better and make every day a little more special for anyone I have the blessing of coming in contact with. Thank you for the awareness you are creating for our littles with DS…its about time the world sees how much better it is with them in it.

    (for a picture of my sister, just search for me on facebook. She’s my profile photo)

  146. You INSPIRE me soooo much to do something great with my one wild and precious life and I can not find enough words to even thank you! Happy Birthday Nella, please know you have one special mama there with you. You are so blessed!

  147. LOVE THIS, my heart is beating so hard!!! Loved Miss Nella SO much you just don’t even know!! Well I guess you do, but just sayin. Loved seeing my Noah’s face with all of these other almond eyed beauties. I cannot wait to make my contribution, but will do so tomorrow when hubby gets home from his business trip, cause then it will be BIGGER!!! Love you!!!

    Oh and seeing all these beauties together makes me think, YOU SHOULD DO A CALENDAR. Just say when and we’ll be at your front door!!! :)

  148. Kelle-
    Thank you for including my sweet niece, Elise, in your latest post! I know you love to suck the marrow out of life, and Elise does just that. :) She is a joy & inspiration to us and has changed our family for the better!
    I have been following your blog for several months and have been inspired by your beautiful pictures and your enthusiasm for living.
    I will be thrilled to donate to ndss in Nella’s honor! Happy, happy birthday sweet Nella!
    Keep the beautiful posts coming,

  149. Oh my – do you see this? I know you do – you are having an amazing day watching the counter for donations going up and up! All I have to do is refresh my page, and it has changed! Only 24 hours or less have passed, and you are almost at 50%! I think your goal was a little “o ye of little faith”-ish! Congratulations and Happy Birthday, Nella! I have so enjoyed your first year!

  150. Tears. I don’t know what else to say. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Keep ’em coming. I’m not the only mama checking, I’m sure.

  151. I don’t think you’re going to have a problem raising your goal amount- you’re nearly half-way there now! Go Nella’s Rockstars!!!

  152. Last night at a high school basketball game in Silverdale WA, a group of Special Olympians from local schools here in our area played a scrimmage game during halftime. Every step, toss, basket was met with the loudest applause. When the teams came back out and the buzzer rang, we gave a standing ovation, the players from our HS highfived and fist bumped their friends, their equals in sports!
    Our family is happy and honored to help Nella and the many other children to have the opportunity to high five, fist bump and receive standing ovations!

  153. Praying for Abbey here, Amanda!

  154. Heck, I owe this blog more like $5000.

  155. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now Kelle, and let me just say you have a beautiful soul. You inspire so many to reach beyond just being and to start doing, which is what life is all about. Happy Birthday Nella, sweet girl, know that you are so loved by those you know and those you don’t know. You and your sister are so blessed to have such an amazing family who reach the hearts of millions.

    PS- you can bet your sweet ass I’m contributing my weak college wallet this week to you and all the other amazing children who deserve this and I’ll be asking the same of all my buds <3

  156. I donated and am putting a link on Facebook. Happy Birthday Nella!! You inspire me every day! -Jessica Huffman

  157. I love the picture of Nella and her friends…looks like she is waiving :-)

    You have made a difference. Just by reading your blog, you have made me more aware of DS. I think the first step is educating others so that we CAN recognize that we are all the same, all deserve the same chances and opportunities in life and should all be treated the same. Thank you for opening up my eyes. Nella is so beautiful and truley a blessing.

  158. Happy Birthday SWEET Nella! I just made a donation and was thrilled to see that in less than 12 hours Nella is 1/2 way to her goal! Nella and Laney’s Momma is a rock star too! God is working through her in a wonderful way.

  159. wow. I lost it when I got to the picture of Nella looking up. I would love to donate in honor of precious Nella and all those other darling little faces! Kelle, your words inspire me daily and encourage me to suck the marrow out of everyday life in ways I never thought possible. Happy Birthday, sweet Nella! In your first year of life, you’ve already won so many hearts and opened the eyes of so many. And the best is yet to come!

  160. Happy early birthday Nella!

  161. Mrs. Hampton, there is so much I have taken away from your blog since I started reading it this past summer. I have grown to love your girls as if I truly know them, and there is nothing more I’d like to give sweet Nella for her birthday than a donation.

    Thank you for the opportunity, as you’ve touched my life with your words and stories, and I’ve always wanted to give something back to you.

    Best wishes in the New Year, and happy birthday to Nella!

  162. I don’t have much, but I gave for Nella. Thank you for sharing her first year with us. My daughter turns one on Thursday, and I love mirroring their journeys. Thank youi. Happy birthday, Nella!

  163. What a beautiful post and excellent idea. We dontated! Happy Early Birthday Nella and thanks for sharing the thoughts of your heart with all of us. You are indeed appreciated.

  164. Kelle~

    This is by far the most beautiful post since Nella’s birth……both in the pictures of beautiful Nella, pictures of other angels (I thought maybe you had photographed all of them since they are so stunning) and your giving heart with paying it forward:)

    I am speechless………..

    Susan from Boston

  165. I have always had a special place in my heart for people with DS.
    I’ll never forget the little boy who came out of nowhere at an indoor playplace and hugged me. His mom was running behind him and starts apologizing to which I wave her off smile and give him a big hug back and introduce myself. He went off to play but occasionally would come back for a hug from a stranger.

    Ever since I started following Nella’s story almost a year ago I notice children and adults with DS a little more. I pause in my crazy, kid chasing life and I smile and the phrase “when almond eyes are smiling” always goes through my head. Because, you know, those almond eyes are almost always smiling and bringing that much more unadulterated happiness into this world.

  166. Happy Birthday to Nella! And THANK YOU Kelle for reminding me this Saturday morning what life is all about. Helping others and what better way to do that than to give to a cause that helps littles like Nella achieve their dreams. This post brought tears to my eyes and I wish you and your yours the best first birthday celebration possible. I hope your giving goal is not only reached, but surpassed! I will be posting this on Facebook in hopes of spreading the word!

  167. Lovelovelove all the pics of the adorable kids! You are rocking your donation goals:) So exciting.

  168. Happy Birthday Sweet Rockstar!!!
    Kelle-i donated, made me cry with joy to be able to help out. Your a true ROCKSTAR!!!

  169. It is a honor to help in Nella’s name.

    Thank you for showing people that down syndrome is as beautiful and amazing as a person with 46 chromosomes.

  170. My sweet, funny, beautiful, smart, joyful, third daughter was born with a rare genetic syndrome called Fraser Syndrome. There’s a bunch of medical issues that she faces and has amazingly overcome, and there are also facial differences. How I love to kiss that wide, flat spot between her eyes! We loved her sweet, little webbed hands that her big sisters called her “froggie fingers”. We liked ’em so much that had a frog themed birthday when she turned one. :-) Through these past four years I have been able to see so much more clearly. When I meet an extraordinary little one, when once I would have seen a wall of differences, I now see the child. I have learned that you can experience both intense pain & incredible joy at the same time. And most of all I have learned that there is nothing that love can do.

  171. I’m going to make a prediction: you will smash your goal posthaste! Nella has inspired so many people, I don’t see how it won’t happen! :-)

  172. I discovered your blog when Nella was only a couple weeks old and have felt like you have taken me into your family.
    I once quoted you to my sister and found myself calling you my friend! I had to hastily explain that you were actually the writer of a blog that I am so inspired by that I FELT that you were my friend!
    I don’t have a designer genes baby, but I do have two boys out of three with autism. Your blog is a lovely soft spot to land in the evenings after my crazy day has finally been put to bed. I find in you the strength to love my boys extra hard and to keep enjoying the beauty in them and our lives, even when someone is having a meltdown and someone else hasn’t pooped in a week!
    I am donating towards Nella’s happy birthday and spreading the word on Facebook and my blog!

  173. Kelle, I am happy to make a donation and support these beauties. I love the honesty of your blog and your appreciation of every day life. I like hearing when Nella has a milestone and when therapy is working so I can cheer with you.

    Keep it coming.

  174. Kelle- Thank you so much for doing this. Wanted to let you know Fiona had her heart surgery yesterday and it went very well. Its hard to see my baby in so much misery but her sweet heart is beating soft and easily, no more pounding that feels like its going to burst through her chest. Thank you for sharing your story and furthering awareness for kids like Nella and Fiona. Cant wait to see your little ones birthday, I’m sure it will be fabulous, Kelle style


  175. My eyes swim every time I read your blog. I am in love with your optimism and brave approach to life. It is infectious. You are wise beyond your years, Miss Kelly.

    I share in your joy of motherhood (I have four little lovelies that make me whole) and loving big in all aspects of life. I’ve learned to choose happiness, because it’s a great way to be.

    Thanks for your words, your wisdom, and for sharing a piece of you so fully, each time you post.

    A click on your blog is an inspiring part of my day, and currently I am crushing big time on your Nella Cordelia. I don’t know how you don’t just eat her up daily. That face, oh, that little adorable face. She is precious and her spirit is even more beautiful, you can tell in her smile and that amazing sparkle in her eye.

    Kristi in Idaho

  176. LOVED seeing all those beautiful faces celebrating along with sweet Nella! (ESPECIALLY excited to see Miss Brooklyn in the first set!! She’s in Biggie’s baby class at school and he would absolutely agree that she’s one of the more gorgeous faces out there…the boy has a MAD crush on that girlie…)

  177. LOVED seeing all those beautiful faces celebrating along with sweet Nella! (ESPECIALLY excited to see Miss Brooklyn in the first set!! She’s in Biggie’s baby class at school and he would absolutely agree that she’s one of the more gorgeous faces out there…the boy has a MAD crush on that girlie…)

  178. Loved every single word and every single picture. Look at all those happy, shiny, smiling faces. They’re amazing!
    Can’t believe it’s been a whole year. Wow. Time flies and what a fabulous year it’s been for your family!

  179. You are amazing Kelle. Thank you for doing this for all of our kiddos. I am heading over to give Nella her birthday present.

    Thank you does not seem like enough. I have waited 6 years for someone with a loud enough voice to let the world know just how special and normal our kids are.

    Thank you for including my Zachary’s picture.

  180. I linked you in hopes everyone I know will see this and send it to everyone THEY know. Thank you for sharing your beautiful perspective and kindness with the world.

  181. I will be happy to make a donation in Nella’s honor, and I also shared the link on Facebook.

    We are blessed with your presence on the web. Thank you for your beautiful blog.

  182. What absolutely beautiful children! Good luck to you and your goal… I think it’s going to go over 15,000 :).

    You are not only blessing the children with DS. You are also blessing the other children with special needs. It’s all about awareness.

  183. Wow – how fast a year goes! What fun it has been watching sweet Nella grow :) It would be an absolute privledge to “pay it forward” in Nella’s honor!

    Thank you Kelle for opening my eyes to these beautiful little gifts from God!

  184. Happy Birthday Nella! I just posted a link to Nella’s birthday post! Just had to spread the joy!

  185. Beautiful post, BEAUTIFUL babies. Will be contributing & spreading the word. You’re doing a great thing, here. Nella (and your family) has inspired so many of us. Seeing the faces of all those other babies inspires me even more.

  186. Inspiring. Beautiful. Loving.
    Thank you
    Happy Birthday Nella <3

  187. I’ve been able to hold back tears for a few weeks since finding and reading your blog, but not today. Not today when I saw the beautiful, joyful children decorating your entry. To all those families, thank you for sharing your angels!
    To Lainey, from what I have read/seen you have been an amazing big sister this year, even if you make Nella look like a zebra! :) I still find it so touching that you helped to introduce her to your mommy and daddy! Such a gift! While she may pull your hair now, she will love you forever.
    And, to Nella, Happy Birthday sweet girl. My wish for you is that you dive into that cake the way your mommy dives into the ocean of goodness we call motherhood.
    As my little 15 month little guy, Jack, would say, “hippybdaaa” He sent you a little gift of gratitude for making his mommy smile after every post. And for encouraging her to soak up this time and, of course, enjoy the small things.
    Kathleen in Chicago

  188. no brainer! Of course we will donate!

  189. All of these sweet, Beautiful babies has my heart full this morning!!!

  190. Donating to this wonderful cause was the least I could do for you, for all that you’ve done for me during this past year. Even though we’ve never met, or even had a conversation, you have changed my life in so many ways! Every day I am thankful for finding your inspirational blog! Happy birthday to Nella, what a special time!

  191. I’ve been a faithful follower of your blog ever since Nella was born. And this is the first time I have ever left a comment. Tears were streaming down my face by the time I got to the end of this post. Seeing the faces of all those beautiful children is such an emotional thing.

    I am so impressed with the fact that you just posted this last evening and it hasn’t even been 18 hours yet and the response has been amazing. $15,000???? I see a much bigger outcome. I’m making my donation and I hope every reader of this blog joins in.

    You are right Kelly about hoping that we get something out of your blog… but you can never know the joy you have brought to so many people who you so graciously share with the world.

    We thank you for sharing and we thank you for allowing us to see Nella’s first year.

    Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!!!!!!!

  192. What an amazing way to honor Nella! While my son’s extra chromosome may not be the same as your daughters I can tell you that you will begin to relish the accomplishments and will be even more in awe of her strength and beauty. My son’s 16p11.2 duplication is rare and not heard of by many. He’s such a fighter! He is my reason for being and I am amazed at what he can acomplish.

    Happy birthday to your beauty! Have a wonderful day mama and family!

  193. KELLE! What a great idea, and great way to pay it forward (I have long loved that concept). Yep, just like when you were raising money before, many of us wrote on here that if we ALL gave even a small amt, you would raise loads of money. $5 is next to nothing and many of us can give much more, and I am sure we will. Count me in. Yes, I have received so much from YOU and your blog, more than you could know. AND from Miss Nella! Love from the Blog Mama

  194. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. Nella and Lainey have touched me; they are beautiful. Happy Birthday Nella sweet girl; keep rocking : )

  195. happy birthday sweet nella.
    when God was making you he looked down on earth and said let me find the perfect family for you.
    one who will know and cherish what a special special gift they are getting,and then share her with the world. and cause people all over to see the real beauty in that extra God gave her. kelle, you are doing amazing things, and its no accident he picked you to be her mom.

  196. I donated and I am going to post to face book. Nella has changed my loife too. We are expecting our grand daughter in Feb. Suspicion of DS. Nella made it not scary. We are anxiously awaiting our girl DS or not…. celebrations will occur!!

  197. Kelle: I am forever changed for happening upon your fabulous blog. Thank you for opening your heart and helping so many see beauty in a fresh light. Happy Birthday sweet Nella Cordelia. It is an honor to donate to your cause. XO from California…

  198. Kelle, I have followed since shorty after Nella was born after randomly finding your birth post on my facebook feed! Typing your website in on my computer has been a daily occurence since…and when I miss a few day’s I’ve always gone back and caught up. Your words, pictures, emotion and raw honestly has lifted me, encouraged me, propelled me int his last year. You have an incredible mission on this earth and you are doing it! Happy Birthday to sweet Nella…I will be donating to her and all the other sweet children who share her wonder.
    Jenn- Victoria BC

  199. I couldn’t donate much, but hopefully it will help you along to your goal a little. Your posts have inspired me so much this year, and I am so glad I found this blog. I have a friend that told me “I think that people with Down Syndrome are what you would get if you stripped all the bad out of people”. I think he is right, and all of those beautiful smiles on your post today shows that!

  200. My donation is a small price to pay for all that your blog gives me. Sometimes a good cry, sometimes a good laugh, an introduction to a good song, a reminder of how much I love taking photos of my own family. THANK YOU!

  201. Pledge made.. reading this blog.. and feeling like a part of your life each day.. 5.00 is so small for all you give to each of us..

    GIRL I just looked at this about 4hrs ago and you raised like 8,000 in 4 hours.. HOLY MOLY!

    I am blogging this, facebooking it.. and calling all of my Alaskans to action.. !

    Happy 1st Birthday Nella!!

  202. Happy Birthday, Nella! It’s so amazing to see the power of a community of people working towards the unselfish good of others… thank you for leading, Kelle!

  203. I totally agree with lesley– my donation could never be enough for the inspiration you and the nella bean give me on a daily basis. I have come to love this blog–and you– so much. And we’ve never met. Talk about a magic chromosome. True magic.

  204. I only made a small donation today, as much as I can right now. . .$5 for each of my two special girls, but it in no way reflects how much I’ve received from knowing Nella!

    Looks like you are well on your way to your goal! Gives me goosebumps! There is still a lot of good in the world- sometimes you just have to know where to look;)

    Happy Birthday Nella! Rock on girl!

  205. Oh Kelle, I needed that push!
    I have now Donated money to NNDS, the Norwegian Down’s Syndrome Network

    I hope Nella will be happy with sharing some of her birthday present with Norwegian DS kids :)

  206. How can I say no- after looking at all of those beautiful faces! Lots of tears as I read this but it was that kind of day for me – of course we will dontate and spread the word. Happy Birthday 1st Sweet Nella! Kelle thank you for your inspiring words – You have made a difference in so many lives. I love reading your blog and looking at the wonderful pictures. We will be celebrating my daughter 3rd birthday a few days early -on the 22nd I am going to ask our guest to donate to Nella’s ONEder Fund. I think you will get way beyond your goal!

  207. WOW! I checked yesterday when the donation total was just above $200. This morning is it over $10,000! Kelle, you have a huge, unseen, and sometimes unspoken support network around the world. We love Nella and you’ve taught us so much this year about loving and living. I’m hoping you’re wildest dreams are doubled – let’s shoot for $30,000!

  208. Kelle – This is my first time commenting, though I’ve been a reader since about Halloween of 2010. I always get excited when I see new blog posts from you pop in my reader feed. Reading about you and your girls has changed my life. Thank you for sharing.

    And Nella, for you and your friends, I’ve made a donation in honor of your first year. Happy Birthday, beautiful girl! You give us all so much, even those of us you may never meet in person.


  209. Kelle – This is my first time commenting, though I’ve been a reader since about Halloween of 2010. I always get excited when I see new blog posts from you pop in my reader feed. Reading about you and your girls has changed my life. Thank you for sharing.

    And Nella, for you and your friends, I’ve made a donation in honor of your first year. Happy Birthday, beautiful girl! You give us all so much, even those of us you may never meet in person.


  210. Oh, my tears. Kelle I wasn’t exactly the most blind person before. I wasn’t ignorant to unique or different people, or even to those perfectly “normal” around me. But through reading your blog, i think you made me open my eyes just a bit more and SEE them. For having eyes and looking around doesn’t mean we actually see anything, but now I can certainly say I do.

    I was bowling the other day, and I saw a boy with that 47th chromosome and i just thought, “I bet he bowls better than i do…” cause I freakin suck. It made me smiling knowing that people would include him in something that people who don’t SEE would think would be challenging for him. I’ve learned through your blog that for anyone, anything is possible, as long as we love hard enough and we help each other.

    That is why, tonight at my work, any tips I make will be donated to Nella’s Rockstar fund. I don’t care if I make the most I’ve ever made, it’s all going to the cause. I’ve never really donated before, but I think if this is going to be the first time I do it, this one is most worth it (even though they all are!) I’ll be the best waitress on the planet tonight, propelled by the need to help those who are overlooked, when really they just need a bit of help. To be accepted. To be loved. To be successful. (: I want everyone to have a chance at their dreams, because if I have the opportunity, anyone should have it, too.

    Happy Early Birthday, Sweet Nella. You are so much greater than you will ever imagine, and so very beautiful and inspiring to your family and other familes, too. She’s going to be amazing Kelle, because she already is.

  211. We have all been inspired from you, from Lainey, from Brett, and from Nella to do something wild and crazy with our one precious life. You have touched lives more than you realize. Our family will be celebrating with you as we are getting closer to bringing our little someone home with an extra chromosome. What a remarkable, astonishing village you’ve created with your words and photos!

  212. This blog post made me cry. So beautiful and precious.

  213. Giving is the least I could do for all I have received from this blog. I’ve read all the previous comments and all I can really say is “Ditto” with all my heart. Thanks for sharing a truly beautiful year.

  214. Pretty much a big ditto to what everyone else has said. This post made me cry for sure. All of those sweet sweet precious babies! Adorable. I will be donating for sure. Thank you for your blog Kelle! Thanks for pouring out your heart for all of us readers so often. Your words, stories and pictures have touched my life more than you may know! I strive everyday to be a better person and mommy because of you! Thank you.

  215. I discovered your blog, as many did, shortly after Nella was born, and I have been a devoted fan ever since. I even went back and read through all of your archives! You inspire me in many ways – as a woman, a writer, a photographer, but most of all as a mother. Thank you for letting us all into your life. Donation made – it is an honor to be able to participate in Nella’s birthday bash!

  216. Kelle, every post you send out into the world is a smooth, sturdy brick for Nella to walk upon in the road of life. You are showing the world a beautiful and perfect little being who is destined for big things, no doubt. Because of your words and photos, eyes are being opened, hearts are being stretched and the world is becoming a more accepting and loving place for her to live. You and your family are so incredibly inspiring. Happy Birthday, Nella!

  217. Holy Sh*t!!


    People Rock!

    Already $11K!

  218. Theres a reason why I can only read your blog when my fiancé isn’t home. I’m sitting here while my babe, who while doesn’t have your babe’s blessed designer genes is designer-gened herself, is sleeping and I’m absolutely bawling and can’t stop. He’d think I was nuts(again). While I can’t donate as I am credit-card-less I am passing this on through my little fledgling blog and on facebook.

    Thank you for sharing the wonder of your family with all of us crazy internet people. Thank you for the beautiful pictures that allow me to be crazy-inspired by you. You are the first blog I check to see if there’s a new post as you’re amazing.

  219. What a beautiful way to honor your daughter and her first glorious year! Going to donate right now, and spread the word!

  220. Oh, Kelle, I’m so happy for you guys! I just looked at the total and I’m thrilled for your crew. Last nite when I went to the site, the total was just over a hundred bucks. And now? You’re almost there! Go, readers!

  221. The tears are streaming Kelle and I will join you on this journey!
    I lost my brother to cancer and found your blog just before Nella was born so I have been following your journey (her journey) since her birth.
    I believe wholeheartedly in our duty as beings on this earth to pay it forward every day and you have created a great way for us to support and love each other through NDSS.

    Happy early Birthday Nella love.

  222. I’m a “stranger” to you, yet I’ve gained so much for your blog this year. Nella has changed the hearts of so many people. I’m honored to be included in her birthday party. Happy Birthday Baby ‘Ella . . . . I hope your birthday dreams come true!

  223. Kelle, I’ve never commented before, but I feel compelled on this momentous occasion. Our babies are just a month apart (I think my Susie looks a whole lot like your girls), and I’ve been following your blog since Nella’s birth. So happy to be able to celebrate a year of Nella. All the best!

  224. Donation made! I’ve loved reading your blog; thank you for sharing it with all of us.
    I think you are well on your way to FAR exceeding your $15k goal.. :)

  225. kelle…thank you for the opportunity to pitch in for such a worthy cause. i love the happy tears and happy heart i get from reading your little slice of wonderful. happy birthday to beautiful nella! the world is a happier place because of her.

  226. I shared this on my fb page and I will figure out how to put it on my blog. <3 you and Nella.

    Every life is precious and given the opportunity to THRIVE!

  227. I did it. Your button is on my blog.

  228. Oh, this site has given me so much. I so desperately want to give back. And even though I’m not in the presence of such a beautiful little being, I have learned so much from her. Anyone can do anything.
    Thank you so much Kelle. Thank you so much Nella.

  229. What a year! I’ve been following since your amazing post about Nella’s birth. This year you’ve inspired me, helped me see the color in the everyday routine, and brought me to tears more times than I care to admit. You’re an amazing mom, photographer, and blogger, and I love coming here to see what you’re going to write next!
    Happy Birthday, Nella!

  230. My daughter Grace was stillborn 9 years ago and the Drs suspect she had Downs Syndrome (they couldn’t grow the cells to kareotype so we don’t know for definite) Seeing all these beautiful children has really filled my heart with sadness and Joy. I live in the UK so i will make a donation to the UK equivalent (the DSA). Happy birthday Nella.

  231. Happy Birthday dear Nella. I am honoured to contribute in my small way. This blog brings me pure pleasure, its like a breath of fresh air. I look forward to the fabulous pictures of Nella’s party. Best wishes.

  232. I’m so grateful for your blog! I’m a labor and delivery nurse and a couple weeks ago I helped a mama deliver her sweet baby wearing his designer genes. It was a wonderful feeling to provide her with such a wonderful resource! Thank you!

  233. WOW! Almost at $12,000 and not even 24 hours! That is amazing! Go, Nella! :)

  234. Happy Almost B-day Sweet Nella!! Thanks for the mid afternoon boo hoo! Im hoping we all blow the top off your goal!! Thank you for all the inspiration!!

  235. Happy Birthday Sweet Girl. You and your mama have made me a better person. I am lucky to be included in your lives!

  236. Happy to make a difference for our children!! Congratulations baby Nella, Mamma and family for making it an AMAZING year!

    I have never posted here, but have read your lovely posts. Here is a link created to celebrate our little girl who is 3 and 1/2

    Her name is Charity Grace. And she is amazing and so many more things. I wish I blogged, but I am too busy because my girl inspired me to go back to school and I am going for my PA degree to make a difference for our children. I have been giving educational presentations to people in medicine. I use my video. I have also shared some of Nella with the groups :)

    I was also 29 when my girl was born. I have 3 girls now.

    I love this journey my children have taken me on. Being a mother rocks! Having down syndrome in my life ROCKS!

    You can see our 3 minute video at either of the youtube links below (same song, slighty different pictures). Enjoy! If you wanted to share it, if you thought it could help others, please feel free to share!

    Your life is beautiful! Thanks for sharing your heart, I am very connected to your sentiments. It’s so nice to read! I have shared your messages with other new moms and I know it helps.

    ENJOY and feel free to share:


    HAPPY 2011!!

  237. What a wonderful way to celebrate Nella and all our ONEderful special kids. Thank you Kelle for the opportunity to pay forward.

    Happy Birthday Nella!!

    Carol from SW MI

  238. Kelle,
    What fun to come to your blog and see my Ryan and all the other gorgeous kiddos! Thank you for sharing with the world just how beautiful people with Down Syndrome are!

    In the early days when DS first entered our lives, I was so scared and uncertain. Back when Ryan was born, there weren’t any blogs – so all I could do was imagine the worst, and it scared the hell out of me. I couldn’t “see” with my own eyes just how typical a life we were going to have with this special little boy.

    So that’s when I started blogging, in hopes that other moms & dads just starting on this DS journey could actually see for themselves just how “normal” life could/would be with a child with DS. I wished that by reading about and seeing Ryan in action, it would help ease some of the fears that new parents just facing this diagnosis have.

    From the start, we were led to believe by some doctors and other trained professionals we spoke with, that Ryan would never be able to accomplish much in his life. Man, has he proven those @$$holes wrong! 😉 I wouldn’t trade this little wise guy for anything in the world – I just didn’t know that in the very beginning.

    So thank you! Thank you for sharing your sweet Bunny with the world. It’s incredible the awareness you two together are raising! Keep up the great work! Happy Birthday Beautiful, Sweet Nella – I’m sure you’re going to have one helluva party! :)

    Laura & Ryan

  239. I am so happy to give in honor of Nella and every other beautiful, inspirational, amazing child with special needs, including the two that are mine. You give so much to all of us, Kelle. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Happy First Birthday, Nella!

  240. Done. Happiest of Birthdays Nella! And thank you Kelle for enriching my life with your magical words.

  241. Happy Birthday To Nella! I feel blessed that we are all included on her journey and I am happy to help pay it forward with my $5! Hope you all have a very blessed day!

  242. Nella’s first birthday picture is stunning. It was an honour to donate. Thanks again for sharing your story and continually gifting us with your gorgeous girls. To the goal and beyond.

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  244. What a beautiful way to celebrate little Nella’s first birthday! Being a mama to an amazing two yr old boy who has Down syndrome, I really appreciate all that you are doing to raise awareness & funds for the NDSS. We can make a difference! :)

  245. Happy, Happy first birthday to sweet, beautiful little Nella! Looking through your lens at the beauty of your family makes me want to love my own even more – as if thats possible! Your stories, words, pictures and thoughts are such an inspiration to me to everyday try and be a better mommy – I’m still working on not caring about piles of laundry! And I’m now CRAVING a REALLY nice camera! :)
    Thank you also for sharing all of these beautiful little faces with us!

  246. When I saw the honor roll on the fundraiser page, tears started pouring. And I can’t believe how much you’ve raised already! Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this. In the last year, I have been inspired to reclaim my joy and be who I am called to be. You have brought me that. Thank you so much.

  247. When I saw the honor roll on the fundraiser page, tears started pouring. And I can’t believe how much you’ve raised already! Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this. In the last year, I have been inspired to reclaim my joy and be who I am called to be. You have brought me that. Thank you so much.

  248. Kelle,

    My husband and I lost the sweet baby we were expecting to arrive in early June on December 19. The prayer on my daily calendar for December 19 reads, “Lord, I pray for children everywhere. Protect them from harm and guide them as they face so many challenges. May I not turn my back on a child in need. Amen” So, from my sweet angel baby to your sweet Nella, a contribution… Happy Birthday, Nella!! :)

    Love, love, love your blog!! You inspire so many in so many ways!!


  249. When I saw the honor roll on the fundraiser page, tears started pouring. And I can’t believe how much you’ve raised already! Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this. In the last year, I have been inspired to reclaim my joy and be who I am called to be. You have brought me that. Thank you so much.

  250. Um, am I the only one checking the total raised so far like every couple hours?!?! Kelle—in LESS THAN 24 hours you have almost reached your goal. I hope you are ECSTATIC, because I sure am. Look at you mama!! So proud.

  251. I can’t stop crying while and after reading this post! I found your blog several months ago, and I get so excited whenever I see a new post. Your dedication to your girls and the innate talent you hold is so inspiring. I knew at some point I would find myself responding to one of your posts, but this one definitely touched me. I am 4 1/2 months pregnant with my first child, and there are so many hopes and dreams that I have for my unborn child. Thank you for reminding me that we do not have to strive to be perfect mothers, simply ones that love our children as best we can… and everything else will work its way out. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NELLA! Even though I don’t know you personally, I would be honored to make a donation in your name for your birthday!

  252. It’s unreal. Your generosity. And it just keeps growing. We’ll be upping the ante. What do you think? $30,000? Shall we double it??????

  253. I just donated in honor of my Libby’s first birthday, 01-25. I found your blog when I was on maternity leave last year and have enjoyed following it ever since.

    Happy birthday sweet Nella!

  254. Happy happy birthday! Love to all.

  255. This comment has been removed by the author.

  256. I’ve been reading your blog since before Nella was born. You love your children and life fiercly, and that’s why I love to read your words. You make me want to be a better mom. You capture Nella’s eyes so that they can pierce a heart. Looking forward to more good things to come from you and your family. God bless!

  257. I’ll be donating and spreading the news! <3 to you and your family!

  258. Pretty crazy but you are already almost at your goal! Fantastic!

  259. Kelle,

    YES, double it! Then…triple it!

    Carol from SW MI

  260. what this blog means to me?

    It inspires me to enjoy life and to savor happy moments.

    It makes me want to be an amazing mama like you :)

    It reminds me that hard situations can be used for so much good.

    And the stunning photography…encourages me to capture the happy moments to remember during the sad ones.

    For several weeks I’ve been wanting to give money to a charity foundation or family in need, and I was just waiting to feel inspired.

    Well, I’ve been inspired! Here’s a little gift for you and your friends, Nella! Happy Birthday!

  261. Kelle,

    Who knew a couple months back a google search for those silly grill cupcakes would change my entire perspective on life. But it did. And $5 is nothin’ compared to what my boys (almost 3 and 18 mos) are getting in return from you sharing your life. Our benefit has nothing to do with DS…but all about love, love, love and the little things. I thank you for all the extra hugs, messes, photographed moments, snuggles, and sucking the marrow you have inspired in our lives.

    Donation asked…and answered.

    XOXO to the Hamptons,
    Michelle, Maverick & Radley

  262. Paying it forward on my blog.

    and re-posted on facebook. And as soon as my bank stops being a pain in the ass my credit card transaction will go through.

    Girl are you amazed at what you can do yet? Not only will you hit $15k but you will pass it I am sure of it. And to see how fast you hit it is crazy. Took me 3 mos to raise $1000 for pediatric cancer. Just goes to show how much you move people, inspire people and how much you girls are loved. :) Congratulations and Happy Birthday to Nella Bean!

  263. Happy Birthday to sweet Nella!

    I was happy to donate to such a wonderful charity and I posted to my facebook. I hope you make your goal! Your blog is so inspiring; thank you for that!

  264. You upped it!!! Wooo to the hoooo!!! And, the fact that you responded right after I left a comment might just be one of the coolest moments of my life. Just sayin’. Cheers mama!

  265. Done…in honor of your beautiful girl and all others! Happy birthday to your sweet girl.

  266. Your blog is so inspiring and motivating. My smile grows with each post I read. Count on my family for a donation.

  267. What a powerful message. What a beautiful post! Thanks SO much for what you are doing Kelle.
    Happy New Year! And Happy Birthday to Nella!

  268. Beautiful. Every single one of those adorable children. Nella and your blog have changed me and I am honoured to help pay it forward.
    Thank-you so much for sharing your journey with all of us!

  269. You go girl!!!
    It was an honor to donate this morning when I read your blog…now I can’t stop coming back every hour to see what amazing generosity your followers have!
    You inspire me with your words, photos, compassion and love.
    I don’t have little ones anymore so I live vicariously thru yours.
    Sending love to you and your family from the mountains of California (shout-out to Mt Shasta!!)

  270. It is So fun when I see all these faces that I recognize! Nella looks SOO beautiful in all these pictures! I can’t believe she is turning one! HOw fast time goes! What a neat thing for you to do to celebrate her birthday! I may need your help with some fundraising of my own soon….I can’t say much yet but soon! I will be in touch!

  271. You got me when you said to donate if I’d ever gained anything from this blog. So I donated, because I have gained so much from your little space. Im speechless at the love you’ve been shown through comments and donations. Happy birthday sweet Nella, and congrats to you Kelle for surviving and thriving in this first year and doing it with grace and style. You rock.

  272. Such a bouquet of beautiful faces…I made a donation to honor Nella and my favorite little red-head, Miss Molly! She brings such joy to my life, as does this blog. You’re doing amazing things, Miss Kelle!

  273. WOW! It’s that surging power of love. What one little soul, the one who captured our hearts from day 1, has started here. It can only grow & grow stronger as more Rockstars join Nella. This sacred space just radiates love. I am so proud to be a part of it. Kelle~you R.O.C.K.

  274. I sit here. Tears rolling down my face. Not only from the beauty of your Nella, or all the other precious babes. But the fact that I, a 16 year old high school student from Connecticut, never expected to see the ray of sunshine that struts her stuff in my schools hallways to be on a womans blog who I go to get inspiration to suck the marrow out of life. I know Annie, and her kind heart, and it’s just amazing how small the world is. Happy Birthday Nella.

  275. What beautiful babies! I am so inspired by your posts every day. Not only does your love for your family shine through, but the joy you have in everyday living. Happy Birthday, Dear Nella!

  276. I would be delighted to donate, however the US donation page doesn’t seem to recognise my UK card. Is there a way to pay via Pay Pal maybe?
    Wishing Nella a very happy 1st birthday soon! Thank you for this amazing site.

  277. You. Are. Amazing. Reading your words and admiring your beautiful photos inspire me to feed my good wolf often. Thank you for your selflessness that encourages so many of us! Rock on woman!!!!

  278. Holy shit! You’re basically there. Amazing, powerful, really good stuff. Just awesome, friend. Feel proud. xo

  279. I just wanted to share with you my blog post that I wrote today about your story and your fundraiser.

    Thank you for doing this.


  280. It was a pleasure donating in honor of Nella, thank you for sharing the beauty of your family with all of your readers.

  281. Thank you for the chance to contribute. Happy Birthday Nella, I hope you know how many people are loving watching you grow.

  282. Kelle, this was an amazing post!! Such beautiful, beautiful children! There is nothing that could stop me from helping to celebrate Nella & all her friends! I’ll link this to my facebook for others to donate. I can’t wait to see the grand total! You’re moving mountains girl. Going to donate right now & link up…

  283. Oh and I forgot to include- what your space does for me….you know. You just know.

  284. I mostly just lurk on your blog because I’m a fan of your photography and I happen to have a little boy with Ds. But today I recognize so many little faces and I have to say kuddos to you! What a wonderful gift in honor of Nella!

  285. I can’t wait until I get paid to donate to nella’s birthday! Happy birthday famous little!

  286. Thank you Kelle. For everything. You are such a great soul. Happy almost 1st Birthday Baby Nella. You are SOOO going to reach your goal girl! God Bless.

  287. I posted it on my Facebook late last night…what a nice surprise to come back today and see the love pouring in!

  288. Only $45 more to go for Miss Nella!

  289. Thank you for this post! It gave me a very good cry. I will be forwarding and emailing, and facebooking this link. I know you can meet your goal. Who better to speak up for all these beautiful souls? You have a wonderful way with words, and I will donate my little bit. It might not be much, but it’ll keep your ball rolling.

  290. Read this post earlier, “how nice” I thought and “I should donate to the ONEderful cause”.
    Pay it Forward must have stuck with me, settled in my not-so unconcious concious, somehow I ended up choosing it on Netflix. Have you seen it? I don’t know that I have ever cried so hard from watching a movie. I wanted to cheer myself up, so I come to blog land, your posts typically are uplifting. And then I see the title and I wonder…there are no accidents, I am meant to pay it forward to, we are all meant to pay it forward, and the beauty is that we can never outgive the giving….that’s the beauty of paying it forward. Blessings to you for your desire to pay it forward in literally thousands of ways through the ONEderful celebration!

  291. YOU ROCK – over $15,000 donated in the first 24 hrs!!!! What a birthday celebration!

  292. Goosebumps and tears. What an amazing thing to witness. I’ve been humming “What a Wonderful World” all day. I’m so full of hope for my new grandson and all the others who will benefit from your vision. Thank you, thank you!

  293. Happy Birthday sweet Nella!

  294. Love the pics, and a bit sad I missed out on getting my sweet Kellan’s pic on here!! What a geat birthday gift for Nella!

  295. Love the pics, and a bit sad I missed out on getting my sweet Kellan’s pic on here!! What a geat birthday gift for Nella!

  296. these kids just took my breath away.
    If I could I’d live near all of them and love on those little souls non-stop.
    great post as always, Kelle.
    Andy, From Brazil.

  297. Kelle,
    You have inspired and changed the lives of so many others including myself.
    Today my twins turn 2, and I’ll be making a donation on their behalf. I hope you far exceed your goal.

  298. Kelle, I started reading your blog, like many others, soon after Nella was born. I was 7 months pregnant. Since then, I have been inspired. Inspired to love my baby with all that I have. Inspired to stop…and enjoy the moment. Inspired to see the beautiful even on days when I have to look REALLY hard for it. Inspired to be the mom that I dreamed of being. I can’t really explain what your blog has been for me….But today,I can say without a doubt, that it has clearly had the same effect on many others. More than $16,000 in less than 24 hours. This is how the world is changed. Dream big, Kelle — the world is clearly behind you. Lots of love to sweet Nella on her upcoming birthday!

  299. I’ve been following your blog for almost a year now and look forward to each and every post. I absolutely adore your photography, writing and positive outlook. I donated for Nella and think you should be beyond proud of what you’re doing. Good luck.

  300. $16,300 in 24 hours!!! Absolutly Astounding!!! I am in tears. You are all Rockstars! Kelle, you an amazing inspiration!

  301. just beautiful ~ many thanks from one mom to another!

  302. Blame it on being due in 3 weeks but I am sitting here bawling like a baby. Happiest of birthdays little Nella. Your mommy’s telling of your birth and your first year have inspired me, healed me and made me feel whole. I have donated and will pass on the information via facebook also.

    Thank you Kelle … thank you for opening up my eyes to the beauty beyond ‘normal’ and letting me breathe easier during this unknown world of pregnancy. If you are ever in the Los Angeles area – please please please look us up.

  303. Thank you for giving us a way of joining in Nella’s first birthday celebrations. I love your blog in a way I can’t quite find the words for.It’s very soul satisfying.

  304. im about to donate…. . just so you know . you’re totally going to blow your goal away. I can feel it.

  305. What a testament to “Enjoying the Small Things.” You’ve encouraged us to give just $5 and make a difference, just like you’ve encouraged me to take a blanket in my back yard for a picnic or all the other small ways you have made me a better mother… a small step done with love makes a difference. The way all the $5 donations has added up so fast to something BIG shows how much you’ve impacted our world. Now, I lose you on the birthday parties or the photobooks…those are NOT small things, but I’m still inspired. Happy BIRTH day to you and Nella.

  306. I wait in anticipation for a new blog post. I love your blog. I am so happy you share your family with us. It reminds me to take time to enjoy my small things all 4 of them that fill my house with noise, chaos and fun. I hope you reach your goal. I donated and will post to my facebook to help you reach your goal!

  307. You’ve done it again Kelle….so amazing. So beautiful. You must feel so proud!

    I was only too honoured to contribute to sweet Nella’s Birthday wish and to post to FB as well. Your blog has inspired me in so many ways…reminding me to enjoy every hectic, chaotic, and insane minute of raising my 2 busy boys. Your words and your photos capture so much of what I feel in my own one wild and precious life right now.
    Have a wonderful time celebrating all the joys of the past year. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Beautiful Miss Nella! You Rock!
    p.s. Can’t wait to see pics from the party!
    p.p.s How fun is it watching your fundraising goal climb higher and higher by the minute ? Too cool!

  308. Happy Birthday Nella! I’ve not yet posted on this site, but I’ve been following for the last year, and in honor of my own brother-in-law who has down Syndrome, I’ve made a donation to help celebrate Nella’s first year. Kelle, thanks for all you do, and the awareness you bring. As a mother of three, I am inspired by your pictures and your posts. As the wife of a husband who has a brother with down Syndrome, I read each post and continue to want to make a difference for this seemingly small, yet big community.

  309. Anything for this darling! So has Nella charmed the world, she has also charmed me. Happy birthday, sweet baby. I am so happy that you are so so loved.

  310. क्या कहने साहब ।
    जबाब नहीं निसंदेह ।
    यह एक प्रसंशनीय प्रस्तुति है ।
    धन्यवाद ।

  311. Beautiful!

  312. I am tears. This post is simply stunning in every aspect!!!! You inspire me daily Kelle!

  313. Happy Birthday sweet Nella! I am inspired by this post. I KNOW that we can all make a huge difference. Whether it’s getting the word out, or donating a few bucks. Let’s do this!

  314. I’m spreading the love on my blog, in the hopes it goes back your way in the ONEder Fund.

    Happy Birthday Nella!

  315. What an amazing post!!! And what an awesome way to honor your daughter’s 1st birthday. I’m so glad I decided to click your link in a friend’s blogroll today!

  316. Happy Birthday sweet baby Nella! This post was exceptionally heart tugging, all of the pics are beautiful. Nella’s pic in her blue dress toward the end brought tears to my eyes. What a precious baby, precious family, precious life. Our family made a donation today because we feel like we “know” Nella from your blog and could not turn down an opportunity to support her! Onward baby Nella with much love and prayers!

  317. First time commenting… long time reading… Thank you Kelle for such a beautiful gift. “Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely… think on these things.” Your blog is pure and lovely. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me to be BETTER – a better mother and to fully appreciate (to a new level) my two beautiful boys and to live a more optimistic life. I have stayed up many nights, way after my babies have gone to bed to read your blog from beginning to end. I look forward to every blog post, so thank you for updating us often. :) Happy Birthday Nella! You already have the best gift of all – the immense love of your family! It was a joy to contribute towards your birthday “gift” and to be able to participate.

  318. I am honored to make a donation. I am new mother and though my little girl doesn’t have Downs, our girls are more alike than they are different. Bless you and your family.

  319. Spreading the word on Facebook. So happy to help out. Happy Birthday beautiful Nella.

  320. This comment has been removed by the author.

  321. Oh…and you are SO gonna blow right past your goal! I just donated and saw that you are already at $18,000!!! So awesome!

  322. I have followed your blog faithfully over the past year. You are such an inspiration to me in my day to day life.
    I have been watching your donation page #’s all day since donating this morning. Amazing to see those #’s climb at such a steady rate. You have already surpassed your original goal. Good for you. What an amazing cause for an amazing little girl!

  323. how beautiful, sweet, heart-warming and inspirational this is. here’s to hoping and praying that your goal, and much more, is met

  324. What a beautiful and inspirational post. You are doing amazing things to raise awareness and I completely admire you, your friends, and your family for all that you do to support the cause. I am HONORED to contribute to the cause. Happy Birthday Nella!

  325. I was stunned to see that the goal had been met & you doubled it! AMAZING!

  326. Honestly, your blog has made a difference in my life. Although I do not have a child with DS, I do have a two year old with developmental delays and it’s been hard (filled with worry) yet so sweet (filled with love) being his mom thus far. I am honored to be able to make a donation to NDSS in Nella’s honor. Thank you for sharing her with us!

  327. This is incredible! and i’m also in tears! I love nella bean and her life and I’m so so so happy that her existance has touched so many people… I’m so incredibly thankful to God for giving me a place where I feed my soul, question life and all the unknowns and feel so connected spiritually and emotionally to a family i’ve never met! love you all loads!

  328. So happy to be able to help pay it forward in honor of Nella, all the beautiful children on your post today, and all the rest of the hundreds of thousands that couldn’t be represented here. I’m sending so much love out to each and every one of them!

    Kelle as you celebrate the birth of your beautiful little, I’m so thankful that fate brought me here because I have become a better person and a better mommy because of you. You are such an inspiration. Your inner beauty shines through with every single word you type and I love to drink it all in with every new post. Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself and your family with all of us. Can’t wait for another wonderful year!!!

  329. Hi Kelle, Lainey and Nella,
    Have made a donation but it feels tiny compared to the huge of inspiration that you have given me. Happy Birthday beautiful girl – I know your goal will be reached in no time.
    Lots of thanks from Sydney, Australia xxx

  330. Chills and lots of tears…Loved this powerful and emotional post! Since I read it this morning, I came back few times to read it again and again. Every time I looked at these lovely pictures, I took few moments to honor each child’s spirit. I can see the same purity, unconditional love, beauty, wisdom, joy and magic I see in our own almond eyed girl.

    Nella, Rozie, Mayson, Elise, Colton Reese, Joaquin and Sofia, Morgan, Cami, Brooklyn, Drew, Ryan, Grace, Georgia, Ruby, Natalia, Micah, Abbie, Emily, Dominic, Sunny, Zachary, Noah, Austin, Sophia, Luke, Molly, Olivia, Natalie, Caleb, Will, Sean, Wes, Addison, Lilly, John Michael, Sammy, Gage, Quade, Jackson, Ethan, Bennett, Amos, Hayley, Lucas, Addison, Ian, Lillian, Gabriella, Lily, Reid, Melia Rose, Cole, Kassidy, Kayla, Zachary, Beau, Lainey, Jack, Brooke, Mia are all beautiful and perfectly made just as they are. Thank you to all their families for sharing their treasures. :)

    Annie Clancy and Sara Wolff are amazing, I love them!

    Kelle, thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures of all these precious souls so that all your readers can “see their hearts, their capabilities, their spirit, their determination, their love”, as well. Thank you for supporting the NDSS’s mission and thank you for creating awareness all over the world. Thank you so much for everything.

    I wish people around the world could see the beauty and potential of individuals with any genetic makeup and could appreciate and value their unique and amazing abilities. We are all connected. We are here in this world to love, accept, understand and help each other.

    I’m happy to make my contribution. I can feel the love. I will keep sending positive energy to Nella’s first birthday donation’s page until you reach your goal. :)))

    Much love~

    “If what I say resonates with you, it is merely because we are both branches on the same tree.” ~W. B. Yeats

  331. Kelle I so wish I had $5 to donate for every time one of your posts has made me smile, cry, or laugh. Nella would have an amazing birthday present. Thank you for doing what you do and for putting a face (lots of faces on todays post) to the story of Down syndrome. You had me at…that first picture Babe. I would be more than happy to donate!!

  332. My first comment! I am so grateful to have found this blog this past year, I love being challenged to see all the beauty that life holds. I have “invested in designer genes”. The donation does not even begin to compare for everything I have gotten from your blog!

  333. Donating is the least I can do for all that you’ve given me this past year. Happy 1st Nella!

  334. so very happy to help give back for all that i have gained from your blog.

  335. Dear Nella, you have already changed the world. She is blessed to have you for a mother, Kelle. You inspire courage, walk in wisdom, and instill joy in the lives of many.

    Supporting designer genes in Grand Rapids, MI for Nella and friends.

    This past November I celebrated the 11th anniversary of my kidney transplant. It’s not what happens to us that defines us, it’s how we handle it. All we can do is keep breathing.

  336. awesome awesome awesome!! blogging about this as well!!! what a wonderful thing. happy birthday to sweet Nella….

  337. Kelle – you and your beautiful family continue to amaze and inspire me. Your words, courage and spirit makes me want to do more, to stand up for something and to make a difference. Thank you for sharing your life with us, I am honored to be a part of it. Happy Birthday Miss Nella!

  338. HaPpY DAy Oh Happy DAY! The little precious Nella is going to be the LUCKY ONE!! Kelle, I am so happy to have been able grow, through Nella since becoming a follower of your Blog. Her story, your story, and your Blog; they have changed me. As a mom and a teacher I have learned SO MUCH. I have SEEN DS, as an “outsider, my whole life. In school, family, students, community, and in passing. But, until your world became a part of mine, I had never FELT IT. Like, from the “inside”. THAT is powerful. You put the feelings into all of our hearts through your words and your photos and it is SIGNIFICANT. I am different for it, and I am thankful. Your birthday book, thank you for sharing, was such a tribute to her first year. I was almost afraid you could never do it justice. But, as usual, you never fail to deliver. I am happy to contribute even a small amount to your cause, and hope all of your readers will do the same.

  339. I am honored to make a donation & hope that the money you raise does awesome things for those with the magical chromosome! You are an inspiration Kelle, NEVER forget that. Please forgive me if this is forward or a little creepy, but I just love Nella. Every single picture & story of her makes me smile, I can’t imagine how it makes your family feel to read about her, probably hard to contain such love.

    Love your blog, it has made me quite the shutterbug myself so thank you for that. And I get so so so much more, don’t know what I’d do without you.

    Happy Birthday sweet Nella, I can’t wait to see your 2nd year and what all you are going to accomplish! Love to all of you Kelle!

  340. Thank you for giving me the opportunity and honour of helping out.

    The site wouldn’t let me put in the recognition with Nella’s name, but she is sooo recognized and cherished… I feel like I love her (and Lainey) like my own sometimes just by getting to know her through your blog.

    I would love to put this on my facebook… what’s the best way? Include a link to your blog?


  341. Happy almost-birthday Nella! I love the words your sweet mama writes about you, your big sister, and your family.
    Kelle: I am a speech therapist who has followed your blog for nearly a year now. I love how it feeds my soul :) I’ve been checking back to see how the donations are going and I see you have doubled your goal! Congratulations! Thank you so much for letting me peek in on your world and allowing me to learn and grow with you. Love to you and yours…

  342. I smiled and cried and smiled some more as I read this post and looked at all of the photos of those beautiful children…what an amazing entry. And you are an amazing woman. What a special birthday request…for a special little angel. I can’t believe Nella’s turning one!! Happy Birthday, sweet pea!!

  343. Happy birthday to little Nella! Thanks for making me and many others better people and better mothers!

  344. I just realized that Nella is my “Happy Birthday Buddy”… we share the same birthday!!!

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful life. I’m moved to tears by most of your postings. You inspire me to drink in my little ones every day and I’m soooo incredibly grateful for the reminder of how precious life is. :)

  345. Wow–you surely know how to give a girl goosebumps! The adorable photos with the precious names on them spoke a thousand words! It was absolutely moving! Here’s to reaching your goal!! Much love to all those beauties blessing your blog tonight!! I want to hug each and every one of them!!

  346. What a wonderful idea – I completely believe you will meet your goal and go well beyond!

    I decided that as well as making a small contribution towards your goal amount, I would donate a bit more towards Down Syndrome NSW, in Australia – to also care for those local to me.

    Happy almost birthday Nella!

  347. Happy birthday to beautiful beautiful Nella.
    Seeing all these beautiful, precious faces brought tears to my eyes. You are such an inspiration. I’m happy to pay it forward. God bless. <3

  348. They are truly some of the most breath taking beauties I have ever seen.

  349. I only started reading this blog yesterday and I am mesmerised, inspired by it all. There needs to be more love and acceptance like this in the world. I’m definately donating, though having a little trouble processing – could be cos I’m in Australia. Regardless, I will be back to try again!

    Thank you. Because your work will help those who, like me, will still proceed with pregnancy should we ever get results showing an increased risk with DS. Thank you once again x

  350. Just made my donation! :)
    The least I can do for everything you give.
    Day after day I come to this space for inspiration, reminders of love and what’s important in life, a good laugh, tears, or just to admire your beautiful family and photography.
    This is powerful Kelle!!!!!!
    And you should feel so proud!!!!

  351. Holy Cow! I just checked again and you’re up to $20,000!!! Such amazing things happen when you just ask! I feel so proud to be a part of this for our children, thank you again for the opportunity!

  352. done. you are inspiring the world and inspiring me, honestly. thank you.

  353. I wish I could have donated more…it is inspiring to see how much has already been raised…in just a few days the original ‘goal’ has already been surpassed! WOW…just another way in which we can see the good in the world…I am blown away:)

    I started following your blog right after Nella’s birth. Another ‘mommy’ friend passed it along to me…I check it several times a week. You rock!!! I work as a peds nurse practitioner and have had the honor to work in a specialty that frequently works with children who have DS. I, like you, find that the ‘extra chromosome’ contains something super special!

    Thank you for helping me see the good in the big and the small things:)

    Happy early birthday Nella!!!


  354. You’re blog is such an inspiration to mothers everywhere. I get something out of it everytime I read, I am honored to give money to this foundation for Nella’s Birthday!

  355. This was a beautiful post. Thank you for taking the time to share so many children’s beautiful photos. And thank you for sharing Nella’s story.

    My boyfriend’s sister sent me your blog a few weeks ago and ever since, I fell in love with it and visit daily. I read Nella’s story first and cried. I was reminded of how I felt when my nephew was diagnosed with a genetic disorder. I remember wishing so hard that things could go back to how they were. Back when he was an infant and I told him that one day he would graduate college, drive a car, start dating, get married. The things everyone expects to see a child grow up to do. And that was all taken away with the diagnosis. I was heartbroken.

    Then I realized that he had been the same little boy all along. We just didn’t know it. But the little boy we all fell in love with from day one had that genetic disorder, and it’s what made him more beautiful. More special. It’s what gave him that bright smile and contagious laughter.

    I learned from your blog that I should connect with even more people in the Angelman Syndrome community this year. I should share my experience as an aunt to a child with special needs and be honest about it, just like you were honest about your journey with Nella. I love my nephew and want people to know. I want people to know that although he is different and doesn’t talk, he is an amazing person. And if you get to know him, he will change your life for the better just like he changed mine. :)

  356. wow, what an amazing and powerful post. I was motivated to run and get my credit card… impossible not to. Nella is so adorable! happy birthday and many more to you.

    beautiful beautiful way to start my day.

  357. Kelle, I stumbled onto your blog many months ago, and have spent countless hours searching though it (during my daughters naps of course!). I look forward to your posts every day! I am captivated by your outstanding photos of your beautiful family, incredible talent as a soulful writer and your true ability to share your life with such honesty. Our family is so pleased to have donated in Nella’s honor! Happy 1st birthday beautiful little girl!

  358. I stumbled upon your blog a couple of weeks ago. It is such a breath of fresh air. I truely enjoy your outlook on life and it’s just what I need right now. Thank you for taking the time to blog and for reminding me to “suck the marrow”. $5 isn’t much but every little bit helps, right?

  359. Just saw this on Facebook, your post appears to be working :)

  360. You’re going to have to up the ante again Kelle!! With 2 weeks until Nella Bean’s birthday, I think you’ll pass the $30k before then. Yay Nella!

  361. I just made my donation, much more than your request. Because my donation is not only to Nella and the community of beautiful people living with DS….it’s for you. You’ve given all of us so much this year through your writing, pictures and inspiration. Thank YOU Kelle and Happy Birthday (early) Miss Nella!

    -Jenny in Iowa

  362. Wow. I was on yesterday morning and read your original post; today I log on and see that you have already raised over $21,000. I can only imagine how it must feel to know how many people out there have been inspired by you and your beautiful family. I am studying to be a yoga teacher, and every time I read your blog I think that you are an example of what it means to be a yogi-a compassionate soul who finds contentment in whatever comes. My teachers say that the best way to achieve happiness in this life is to do all you can to uplift the lives of others; I think you must have been a yogi in a previous life, because this seems to be woven into the very fabric of your being. Happy, Happy Birthday, beautiful Nella. xoxo

  363. We absolutley loved these photos and the posts. We will post to our wesbite which serves parents who have children with special needs We would also like to interview you for our February focus on moms. Keep up your wonderful work!

  364. Holy wow. What a tear jerker it is to see all those sweet faces and know that by giving the $ I am helping those sweet little ones and YOUR lil bunny have a chance at a brighter future.

    I can’t believe Nella is almost one! She’s SO cute.

    This year I’ve learned to look on the brighter side of things and make an adventure out of everything I do. I love reading your blog and it inspires me to my bones.


  365. Beautiful. Inspiring. Loving.
    Thank you!!

    Happy Birthday, Nella!

    Anette, Norway:)

  366. Thank you. My weekend started with the wonderful news of the birth of my best friend’s daughter. Later, the news from Arizona brought sadness to my otherwise perfect joy. This post couldn’t have been better timed. Thank you for sharing your story and allowing us “in”. I hope one day if I’m faced with such a challenge I can handle it with your grace and strength.

  367. Small donation…BIG love for your blog, fam & that sweet Nella :0)

  368. honoured to be included in this campaign. Thank you for all the time and energy you put into this blog – and into everything . x

  369. You and your family have given us so so much! So much beauty. So much optimism. So much love. So much positive energy. I was looking for a way to pay it back and now I can do that and pay it forward at the same time. Donated and passed on the word via face book. You said months and months ago that little Nella was going to rock the world – Kelle she is more than on her way!

  370. I found your blog shortly after Nella was born and Ive loved reading it since. Your pictures are beautiful and your spirit has amazed me as you travel on your journey. We are in the hospital with our 3 month old and he’s having genetic testing done for syndromes and your strength and beauty has been on my mind and in my heart as we go through this time. There is so much beauty in this post, every single face. Thank you for sharing your journey!!

  371. I’m amazed and shocked, so I can just guess at how you feel, Kelle. I saw this right after it was posted, and there was about a hundred dollars in there. Not too long afterward it had jumped to a little over a thousand (thanks to one person donating a thousand). I just checked again, and it’s up to twenty two thousand?

    I’m pretty impressed with people right now.

  372. Such a beautiful collage of the world’s most beautiful babies! Thank you sharing your world with us!

  373. My daughter Hannah was born shortly after Nella and I have loved watching them grow up “together.” I am donating for Nella, but also for the renewed spirit that your blog offers me on a daily basis. Because of your blog, I care more about life, less about my dirty dishes, and take many more pictures of my baby girl! Thanks for sharing your world with us!

  374. TO JEN – I, too, am pretty impressed with people right now, as you said! Wow! At times, people can let us down; we let them down. THe world can seem uncaring and then something like this restores a little faith in human beings. As someone else wrote, it IS amazing what can happen when one ASKS. Yes, indeed. I feel so proud and honored to be a part of such a giving, thoughtful, kind community here~ Love from the blog mama

  375. Kelle, in my earlier comment I told you are moving mountains. I just checked and saw Nella has helped raise over $22,000!! I can’t even believe it! But I can, bc everyone that reads this blog, we all love you & your family so much; we dont even know you, but we don’t have to. I posted the link on my facebook, on babycenter and on gymboplace-which I got several msg’s from others thanking me for posting & they contributed! And all of this started with sweet little Nella. This is for her. If it was my child, I could only hope & pray for such a response. It is so moving to see all your readers come together like this!! Way to go everyone!!

  376. What an honor it is to be able to give and pay it forward. Thank you for this opportunity! I have learned so much from reading your great blog and continue to read faithfully. It’s the one blog that I remember to check religiously. :) Thank you for sharing about your life and the way precious Nella has impacted it for the the better. Much love to you and your wonderful family. Can’t wait for Nella’s birthday post! :)

    ~ Jessica

  377. Thank you Kelle, for honoring not just your beautiful Nella but also all of our babes. You are doing such a wonderful thing and you have definitly changed the face of DS and the way so much of the public perseve (sp?) our children. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!

  378. Reading your blog for the first time this afternoon was like taking a big gulp of cold, fresh water after running a marathon – invigorating, exhilarating, life affirming – to throw out a few adjectives. You truly have a gift for writing and photography, and they both flow naturally out of your beautiful spirit and love of life. You are truly blessed. Thank you for blessing us by sharing your incredible story!

  379. Kelle,
    honored to be a part of this…
    Happy birthday to Nella & all the othe Ds Rockstars
    They are celebrated in my home

    We all have those busses waiting around the corner & it is up to US to rejoice in the times the bus is out of site & accept our feelings when we see the bus coming…it’s ok


  380. Someone told me after my son was born that “once I saw his magic. . . I would forever run TOWARDS all individuals with Ds”. How so very true it has been. How could I not have seen this before in all these wonderful people who fill this world with their magic? Kelle – We are in the midst of social change — heck, maybe even a revolution –and it is very exciting! You are a part of this and it is such important “work” (I say “work” b/c I know this is all a labor of love for you) you are doing to spread this word…. and the pictures you take and share are a huge part of the connection you are forming. To see Nella just being. . . is so powerful. Strange I know, but to SEE her and your family is so amazing! I hope your following continues to grow. Happy Birthday dear little Nella! xo

  381. Beautiful babies! We are going to adopt a baby or young child with DS this year (I hope!). I can’t WAIT to add one of these precious people to our family. I gave! I posted on my Facebook! Now I’m going to subscribe to your blog. ;o) – Tracey

  382. your goal for 30,000.00 is so amazingly close at 23,000.00 , im praying for the rest fast. Amazing family , Amazing readers !!!! Amazing Nelle !

    love and blessings the doughtys

  383. I am a new follower of your blog – and it’s already brought me to tears.
    My precious 10 year old cousin named Brynly has Downs Syndrom and she’s the most magical & enlightened person i know. Her spirit and smile make me realize that life really is more simple than i give it credit for. We just need to love eachother & have fun. thank you for this post. it’s made my day.

  384. I have learned more from you in the last year that I ever thought I could from someone I’ve never met. In April, I will have someone with the precious extra chromosome enter our family. My nephew, Jackson, will arrive and I can’t wait to meet him and see the love in his beautiful, perfect face.
    My birthday is Thursday. I always get at least $100 for my birthday. Whatever I get, I am giving to Nella’s ONEder. Happy birthday to your beautiful girl.

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  386. Pssss: I think you need to raise your goal :)

  387. I too am proud to donate…for Nella and my sweet cousin Donna, my friend’s daughter Katherine…and all of the amazing kiddos that touch so many lives.

    Thank you for your blog. It’s been such a blessing–teaching me to slow down and enjoy the small things. Where some would find a disability you found joy and a purpose!

  388. I too am proud to donate…for Nella and my sweet cousin Donna, my friend’s daughter Katherine…and all of the amazing kiddos that touch so many lives.

    Thank you for your blog. It’s been such a blessing–teaching me to slow down and enjoy the small things. Where some would find a disability you found joy and a purpose!

  389. I’m happy to donate Kelle.

    Someone asked me today who my motivator is, and I didn’t think twice and started talking about your blog. It’s amazing what it became and what it has the potential to do for this world.

    Do you have a “Pay it forward” button that we can put on our blogs?

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  391. I stumbled upon your blog after someone posted it to FB…what a blessing you are! Our children are all precious and beautiful regardless of their differences! Happy Birthday to your darling daughter! Our family would be honored to take part in paying it forward! And I too will post to FB!

  392. Thank you for opening the hearts and minds of so many to the reality of living with a babe with DS.

    Your words and pictures have allowed so many to walk this journey with you over the last year. How could we not want to celebrate with you?

  393. I get so much out of your blog and pictures, and am so thankful you have given us the opportunity to pay it forward! I have loved following your blog and being inspired by your photos, particularly as my youngest was born the day before Nella.

  394. Oh girlie you know this blog has meant so much. If I’m low on time yours is the only one I read. I just love you and your littles…so I’m off to do what I can to help this amazing cause. What a wonderful thing to do. Those pics really touched my heart!

  395. What a wonderful way to truly celebrate Nella’s first beautiful year of life. Thank you Kelle for your hopeful and encouraging words and of course for sharing your beautiful photos. Your spark is contageous!

    Thank you again from one mama with a sweet child who is magically enhanced to another….


  396. You are such a gift to our amazing children. Thank you for what you do. Happy Birthday sweet Nella!

  397. Happy Birthday, Little Nella.

  398. OK, so my elegantly said comment prose was just lost into the blog-o-sphere….but it was something about positive social change, a revolution, and the future standing on our shoulders. You can imagine where I was heading with it! Anyway, this is really good stuff you are doing both with your words and your pictures. Believe that it is changing and will change the lives of those coming after you on this wonderful-eye-opening journey into the human soul.

    Happy birthday dear little Nella. xo

  399. Kelle, thank you. Thank you for sharing your beautiful journey with us. Thank you for sharing a window into the world of your beautiful family and your beautiful, beautiful Nella with us. And thank you for the opportunity to be part of something so big and important. Happy Birthday to sweet Nella.

  400. It is amazing how God manifests himself in this world. Through extra special little souls like our children, and through inspired people like you. Thank you so much.

    Love, Bree

  401. My favorite quote now is that I can “rock this mommy thing out”. I’m a mom of three and you have truely inspired me. You have two beautiful little girls! Happy Birthday Nella rock out your first birthday!!!

  402. Kelle – what good you are doing for your daughter and everyone out there with DS. i just donated and was so happy to see the amount you have raised in 2 days. you are going to blow past your goal!

  403. Kelle, you are simply A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! What a inspirational post. Thank you for sharing the pure happiness of all those magically enhanced little beauties! And the little peek into the success stories of Annie & Sara…to see dreams like these come true is heaven on earth.
    Knowing that you will be guiding Nella’s heart as she grows into a beautiful young lady, your dreams for her will also come true. Look what you have accomplished so far in just one year!!!

    What have I taken from your AMAZING space this year? I have learned to LOVE deeper. To LAUGH more often. To ENJOY the everyday happenings. To SLOW down and SUCK THE MARROW out of the moment I am in. To take more PHOTOS of my boys. Found new music favourites. To BELIEVE in my talents and just go with it. That I am CAPABLE. That we are all more ALIKE than we are different. That you are an incredible Mama that is smitten with unicorns and sees rainbows wherever you look- and that is beauty!! And mostly, that all us mamas (and Dadas) out there just want the best for our littles and that it starts with the unconditional love we instantly feel when their slippery little bodies are placed into our loving arms as we welcome them into our grand world. I thank you Kelle for ALL of this and much more. My donation is a small price to pay for all that your space here has given me.


  404. I keep checking back to see the donation total, and it keeps going up! How freaking awesome is that??? Yay! I’m so happy for you and the NDSS! =)

  405. What beautiful children and an amazing cause! Can’t wait to do my part!

  406. Done! Happy Birthday Nella! The world is a better place with you and your family in it!

  407. Holy Shit Dude!!! Shouldn’t say shit on a post as beautiful as this but no other word did it justice. The seed has been planted and it is BLOOMing!! My boys and I may need to do some Happy Birthday Nella/Raising the Roof dancing tonight!! Changing the world Kelle, one mama, one family at a time!! Hollah!!

  408. The most beautiful little faces on the most beautiful blog! Congrats and happpy birthday Miss Nella!

  409. A small donation is the least I can do when this blog has provided me with so much inspiration over the last year. Thanks Kelle for your beautiful writing and Happy Birthday Nella!

  410. What beautiful photos!

  411. Happiest birthday EVER Nella !

  412. Of course we’ll donate! In honor of Nella, her first birthday, and her AMAZING family!!

    You are SO very blessed!

  413. This entry made me smile so much that I linked it on my Twitter, encouraging all of my friends to donate to the NDSS. I donated $40 in honor of the beautiful baby Nella. Thank you for bringing positive recognition to Down Syndrome – you and your family are a total inspiration! Good luck with reaching your goal – you’re pretty close. 😉

  414. I NEED to buy a bigger house because I want ALL these children’s photos on my walls! Simply BEA~utiful Kelle!

    xoxo, Bug & Ruby’s Gram

  415. OMG, dude, only about $4000 left to go!!!! Woo-hoo!!! Amazing!!! I love that so many people came through!!! It was the BEST $10 I ever spent – I just wish I could do more!

  416. I have officially become obsessed with the ticker, whats up with me! You are going to do this by the end of the weekend!
    Up the ante girl! You know you wanna!
    What a great gift to give her for her first and what a great gift all of us can give you and your family for your anniversary.

  417. Blogged it, Facebooked it. Donated. I truly feel honored to be a part of Nella’s journey.

  418. For a woman that has given many of us so much “umph” over the past year, $5 or more is not that much of a sacrifice. It is an honor to give back to all of these beautiful children (seen and unseen); so thanks for sharing so many of their beautiful faces. Ebb and Flow, baby. The tide and the love flows back in return.

    Remember to always let the child be celebrated.

    -Jennifer from Annapolis

  419. The pictures of the beautiful babies and children in this post are AMAZING! God Bless each and every one!!!

    Happy Birthday Nella!!!

    On my way to donate!

  420. Happy Birthday Nella! You really have opened my eyes to a whole new world. Kelle, thank you for sharing your life so openly and honestly. You and your gorgeous family are a real inspiration–you bring a smile to my face every time I log on. I’m so very happy to participate in celebrating your little one. Congrats to YOU on making it through what was, no doubt, a rollercoaster of a year. XOXO

  421. Wait you are on FB how did i know know this? Of course we will donate towards Nella’s Fund:) Thank you for all you do!! LOVED seeing all the pictures. Rozzie reminds me so much of Jana. I loved seeing all of their beautiful faces. God Bless you Kelle Hapmpton thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me enjoy the small things and be a better Mom.

  422. When I had our 5th child, Leo, 1 month after Nella. my bf in california gave me one month to settle into my emotions, then told me I have to read your blog. Since then, my kids, my sister and 2 or so friends check your entries almost everyday. I have taken pictures, thanks to you. I have a playlist, thanks to you. I sing “Everybody, Everybody needs to love; Everybody every body needs to be loved, ………” to my babies. We do some of the crafts . And I watch my husband kind of roll his eyes, when my kids ask to “get on the computer to see my friend in Florida and her babies.” He says, “Yeah, your “friend.” BUT, I always say.. “She answers my emails!” Anyways, thank you. Happy Birthday Nella. P.s. your dad is a gifted writer!
    Pauline in Kansas, mama of 5

  423. I can’t see my screen through the tears. This is beautiful and everyone of those babies is too. I have gotten so much from your blog and been inspired beyond measure. Thank you and thank Nella.

  424. Happy 1st birthday sweet little Nella! Since a friend told me about your blog in March, I’ve loved learning from your continuous growth and endless love for each moment with your family. Thank you for being willing to share your life with so many strangers! I love the beautiful words, and pictures paired with the music. 9 times out of 10 I end up crying! Thank you and my family is happy to donate!

  425. $5 per person of our family coming NDSS’s way – it is the least we can do for these sweeties! $20 will be donated in Nella’s name tomorrow :)

    Sue and family

  426. Thank you for this beautiful post and these beautiful photos. Happy Birthday, sweet Nella. God bless you.

  427. I can not remember if I left a comment yesterday or not….

    What beautiful faces and what an amazing idea Kelle. As someone else has said, you are the perfect spokesperson!

    Can’t wait to see how far you pass your goal. It was already half way there yesterday afternoon.

    So happy to pay it forward. And that re-purposed dress Nella is wearing is just darling!

  428. Kelle, on March 9, 2010 you wrote this, “And, on that confusing but beautiful night, I remember holding Nella with one arm and reaching out to Brett with the other. I took his hands and cried through the words. …This is happening for a reason. I know it. We’re going to do something with this, Brett. We’re going to do big things.”
    Girl, this is B.I.G., B I G!!! I can’t stop comming back and checking the amount that has already been donated! It’s just amazing, simply amazing!! It’s 3 am in Alabama, and here I sit, again, with tears in my eyes at this huge outpouring of love. And it’s not just love for Nella, or for the beautiful children pictured on your page. It’s also love for the hundreds of thousands of children and adults across this country who grace their families each day with their own magical 47th chromisomes. Peolpe like my cousin, Travis, and my own sweet daughter, Sarah.
    You have opened the hearts and minds of thousands of people all over this world. You have challenged them to not only notice people with Down syndrome, but to actually SEE them. To see their beauty, their magic, and their desire to be, and do, and accomplish anything their heart desires. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your life, and your Nella, with the world. <3

  429. What have I gained from this space? Well, after discovering your blog only a few short months ago (and going back to read every single entry) you have opened my eyes further to the beauty all around me. I am always so excited to see a new post, you have moved me to laughter and to tears more times than I can count. Seeing Nella’s smiling face makes me feel so happy, I just want to reach across the ocean and hug her! Oh boy, is there something special about that one. The beauty and honesty in your pictures, and the way you weave it all together with beautiful words is something to behold. I feel like I am sitting in your kitchen, or out in your driveway on a warm summers day, chatting over coffee, or a beer, about life and love. You have reminded me so many times that underneath it all, there is just love, pure and simple. You have inspired me to take better photos, and to write and share what’s bursting out of my heart. So my small donation doesn’t seem adequate payment for all that – but I am glad to be part of something so much bigger. And happy early birthday Nella – you will go on to greatness, and your Mama will be there holding you up every single step of the way.
    Sending love all the way from Melbourne Australia xx

  430. Paying it forward, praying it forward. Wow…and I hope others are reading all these comments as well for they are a precious contribution as well…and when I read them, I cry–not the somewhat classy soft tears on your cheeks cry but the shaking, sobbing, glad no one is near crying…but it is from a very good place in the heart and leaves me better when I am done. In a world too often cold, cruel and self absorbed–this response to these angels among us is overwhelming! Bless you every one!

  431. fist of all: wow. LOVE! so much love. i agree with what a lot of people say, i get so much joy, smiles and (mostly happy) tears out of your site, i’d love to help make nella’s 1st b-day extra special. unfortunately there seems to be a problem with my creditcard. i tried two different ones but none will go through :( any idea what i can do?

  432. Awesome. This is going on my blog that I have for my 3 kids with DS. They are in their teens and 20’s and amazing. Thank you for sharing all the gorgeous pictures. I can’t wait to donate! susan

  433. I cannot believe it’s been almost a year since I found this blog. When I came across your blog I was pregant with daughter #2… and I felt my life echoed yours in so many ways. My little one is now 7 months old. I am very happy to share with you all and to say Happy Birthday Nella! I think paying it forward is an awesome idea… so that is what I will do. :)

  434. AMAZING….grace that is. I cannot put words to what I am feeling. You are a game changer Kelle, the “game” of life for our kids is bright. Thank you.

  435. I am so grateful to be able to donate to such an amazing little girl with such an inspiring Mommy! Nella–here’s to you. Hope you have the grandest day ever! Kellye–Here’s also to you! Thank you for always being such an inspiration to me. You are an amazing person, Mommy, wife, friend and much more. Your blog has really changed the way I think. Thank you!

  436. This is so amazing!! You’re really making a difference Kelle! Good for you!
    xoxoxo Kris

  437. You are amazing – such an inspiration.

  438. Look at all those precious, beautiful children!

    I can’t believe she’s almost one!! I’ve laughed, cried, cheered, smiled, and prayed since discovering your little corner of the world early last year… :)

    Would be honored to help!! xo

  439. Consider my donation a done deal. I quit smoking for the new year, I will donate a month’s worth of “cigarettes” ($50) in Nella’s honor.

    I’m sitting in my office with tears running down my face at the site of all those beautiful little faces in this post. What joy they must bring to their families.

    Thank you for sharing your joy with me.

  440. Lesley took the words right out of my mouth and so I will happily have to second it 😉

    “My donation is a small price to pay for all that your blog gives me. Sometimes a good cry, sometimes a good laugh, an introduction to a good song, a reminder of how much I love taking photos of my own family. THANK YOU”

  441. What a wonderful thing to do and a beautiful way to honor each and every one of those beautiful children! I will be getting my donation in by the end of the week!

    Denise WI

  442. WOW!! You have raised the amount again. Yahoo! AMAZING how much money is already donated. I know many of us can donate much more, and we can get the word out. Let’s rock this out!!RIK!! Yes, i read the comments as many do and i wrote almost what you did, how in this world, oh my faith in humans is restored when i am witness to this. ANd yes, i too, have cried..body-shaking sobs from being overwhelmed with emotion at what i am witnessing here! love you Poppa Rik! from the blog mama

  443. OH, KIM- it says you can PRINT Out a form to doante, so maybe (?) if you do that and send in, with a check or credit card number, it will go thru??

  444. Soo awesome! Can’t wait to donate when the mid-month paycheck comes in this Friday! Thinkin you’re gonna have to edit up from 47K!

  445. The other day I realized I’ve been reading your words for nearly a year. Your beautiful family, though you live across the country, is not so different from mine. But your attitude, your optimism, is what brings me back to this amazing space. I can get so caught up in worry, and fear, and everyday stress but when I come here I am reminded that there are bigger things, more beautiful things, waiting for me at home. To say that you have changed the way I think… is a colossal understatement. So THANK YOU Kelle Hampton, for what you do. And Happy Birthday to beautiful Nella. We’ve made our donation, in her name to the NDSS and let me tell you, it was an honor.

    The Rangno Family

  446. Such an incredible way to celebrate your sweet Nella’s beautiful first year! Your blog has been such an inspiration to me and how I view my own little village. Thank you for sharing your world with us, sharing your beautiful family and the depth of your journey. It is an honor to celebrate Nella and I only wish I could have given more! May you have a beautiful birthday celebration and know that so many of us are celebrating with Nella in spirit! Katie

  447. I will never, ever learn. Crying 45 minutes into my work day. What a beautiful post.

  448. As a soon to be mom of 3 beautiful boys with DS let me say thank you…I would love to encourage you to visit It’s a beautiful orginazation that helps find homes for children with DS in E.Eourpean countires. Our beautiful children are only given till their 4th b-days to find a forever family..then their sent to mental institutions destined for a life no child should ever have to live. Our bio. son Eli (blessed with DS) opened our eyes to the same wonderful world your eyes now see in Nella…we’re now blessed by a 5 yr. old Ukrainina prince w/ DS & soon our Republic of Georgian prince will be home. So many lives have been touched by your blog (including mine) & I know your life will be touched by Reeces rainbow. Hugs to you beautiful Nella! It’s a joy to celebrate the wonderment of you!!!

  449. Kelle,

    I have always had a love and respect for individuals who have Down syndrome. In high school I volunteered with Special Olympics and was a buddy to one of my peers who had Down syndrome. The inherent value, kindness and gigantic love that individuals with that extra chromosome have was never lost on me. I must admit though, before reading your blog, for some reason I sort of viewed people with Down syndrome and their families as having a very different life from me and my own family. Partly, I think, because society puts labels out there and also because even having had those experiences, I was ignorant.

    Now, as a married woman in her late 20’s who is eager to have children, I am so thankful that you have given me such a joyful and insightful perspective on Nella, your own family, and the journey you’ve taken this past year. You and your family are so familiar! (and not so different from my circle of friends, except that you totally rock it out and I’d like to do that more.) I have learned so much from you and the way that you dealt with the initially shocking news. I’d have to say that the top three things I have learned are:

    1) I’m not frightened or scared anymore about having a child with Down syndrome or other special needs. I know that I can create a great and happy life for my family whatever our circumstances!

    2) I don’t and won’t feel sorry for or pity someone I know who has an atypical child. It is not something to feel sad about. All children are a blessing and every family deserves to be greeted by love and congratulations from family and friends.

    3) That if we could all love and accept one another the way this blog community loves and accepts each other, the world would be a totally different and better place!

    I think that as much as Nella has grown and changed this past year, we can all celebrate how much each of us has grown and evolved and learned as well! You are so blessed to be the one responsible for putting us all together! Cheers to Nella and to being well over half of the way to meeting your 47GRAND goal!


  450. You are an inspiration. Thank you…

  451. Simply put…you kick ass.

    I love your blog…you are one rad mama. You inspire me to enjoy the small things with my babies :)

    You should be SO PROUD for what you are doing with the ONEder fund. You rule dude… you totally rule.

    I am honored to donate on behalf of sweet lil Nella bean! Here’s to many more birthdays! And sucking the marrow out of life!!!

  452. I think the most amazing thing that happens as I read this blog is that less and less do I see children “with Down Syndrome.” And more and more do I just see wonderful little people that I’m connected to in this great world.

    I really felt that in this post. It made me cry.

    Thank you, Kelle, for the gift of that. You really do have a great calling on your life.

  453. You are an amazing inspiration for mothers and women everywhere. Thank you for sharing your blog with us. And, your sweet girls…especially Nella! I am happy to give to your cause…

  454. Our Christmas card this year read: “May your lives be changed and your hearts transformed.” Ours were definitely changed and transformed because of our girl, Nora. But your blog is the reason for a much speedier healing!


    Nora’s grateful Mama,

  455. Back again.. checking in.. checking the totals for Nella.. I keep looking at the totals and cheering everytime I see you raising the amount… and reaching it and raising the amount again..

    You are moving mountains..

  456. I see you have almost met your goal Kelle! I am overwhelmed by the out pour of kindness your readers have shown. The beautiful words and love from them are amazing. Thank you for opening our eyes and sharing your story. Nella is just Scrumptious…We love you all. You are doing such wonderful things.

    Happy Early Birthday Nella..You are such a beautiful BIG girl and are in our hearts forever and ever..We love you! xoxo

    The Wolansky-Martel Family

  457. Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Enjoy her special day!

  458. Donation done! Reading your blog the past year has done so much for me. You are always inspiring, your words bring me to tears, your passion for life and all things good truly make me want to be a better person. Funny how a complete strangers blog can do all that but somehow…it does.
    Happy Birthday Nella, I think your goal is in the bag ; )

  459. Wow! I am in awe of you and your family and all of these beautiful children! Happy Birthday, Nella!!!

  460. I have been a follower of you blog for almost a year now and have laughed and cried with you as you have made your wonderful family memories.

    I am pregnant at the moment with my 4th baby and your story of love, committment and most importantly acceptance is a constant inspiration to me.

    I have tried to donate to your fund but as I live in the UK am finding it difficult as the form requires a City and State which I obviously can’t include. Please let me know how I can make a donation.

    Andrea Robertson
    West Sussex, England

  461. There was not a moment of hesitation to donate after reading this post. Thank you for sharing Nella’s first year with all of us. And thank you for giving us an opportunity to donate in what feels like such a personal way!

  462. Thank you so much for including us in Nella’s “Onderful” fund raiser! I occasionally feel a little voyeuristic peeping into your lives, but you have been such a blessing to me. Seeing Nella grow and blossom, Lainey glowing with sisterly love, and you expanding your Mamahood beyond your wildest expectations has helped me to be a better mother, Aunt to a DS cutie pie, and person. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  463. Andrea.. and anyone else who may like to donate and are having problems with the NDSS site we have set up a paypal account ( easy to use and secure)
    you can send money to
    by going to and use the email above. Thank you everyone-
    Papa and Gary

  464. we’re in. Happy Birthday Nella!

  465. kelle,

    I just had to donate. This blog has given me so much this year. A year where my life was rocked pretty hard it was so inspiring to read your words and get a look at your beautiful family. I posted about your fundraiser on my blog and linked it on my facebook and a parenting board I go to. I hope you raise a ton of money. I know you already have but I hope it continues to amaze you.

  466. Nella of Troy! The beautiful face that launched a thousand ships…..and thousand of dollars in support of a wonderful cause.

    Happy birthday darling girl! Kelle, this is so inspiring and beautiful. What a legacy!

  467. Thank you for your blog, thank you for issuing such a great challenge to all of your readers, and thank you for showing other young moms like me what it is like to embrace life with such graceful abandon in spite of, and BECAUSE of, the small things!

  468. Love.. that is what it all boils down to! Your Blog makes me feel love.

    You give so much to so many of us moms that I believe we should ALL be able to give a little back!

    Thank you Kelle!


  469. TO lusciousgrrl – I LOVE it, Nella of Troy..that is great! To Kancell24: oh “sister”/friend here in this little community, i SO HEAR YOU. My life/world was rocked pretty hard this year..still feeling ripple effects it sseems. And NOW, i just found out yesterday i have a case of shingles – VERY painful and i pray for healing. I know many would echo you, and me – this blog, the words and inspiration of Kelle AND Poppa Rik and others (you know who you are, here), SO helped me in the darkness. As I have often written here, and many express similar thoughts – Kelle helps so many, beyond what she could ever imagine. I do hope that YOU are experiencing calm, after having a year that was rocked hard. TO Andyfaith(faith) – oh YOU are so amazing for someone in their late 20’s! YES, as you said, “..responsible for putting us all together”. Amen! Peace and Love from the Blog Mama ~

  470. Made a donation and facebooked it- hope the goal gets reached! And far beyond it for that matter! I love your blog- I read it daily! You and your family are an inspiration!

  471. Happy Birthday Nella! I love your Momma’s blog so much and I am honored and humbled that I can make a small donation for your birthday!

  472. Kelle,

    Your blog is a beautiful, inspiring gift to all who faithfully follow it. Your positive yet realistic outlook on life brings me so much joy. I am the middle child of 7, Auntie to many and the devoted daughter of an 85 year-old man who just never gives up, no matter what life throws his way. With the large number of people in my family, there are many trials and tribulations. I come to your blog for the kick in the toot that I occasionally need to keep me going through it all.

    My family was originally blessed with 8 siblings. My sister, Kathy, was born profoundly retarded and passed away when she was just 14 years old. Imagine how hard it was for my parents to accept her passing and then turn to their remaining 7 (5 of us under the age of 11) and explain why God had taken “our Angel”. Through their own pain, they did an amazing job in explaining that God had sent Kathy our way to teach us all how to be loving, caring people who accept, without judgement, all who come our way. They also soothed our sorrow by telling us that Kathy was now with God and was able to walk, talk and play just like the rest of us. Our tears turned to smiles as we pictured Kathy in Heaven, able to do all the things there that she couldn’t do here. We have all lived each day since knowing what a gift she was.

    Your beautiful Nella is an Angel too. She is showing is showing all who meet her and follow your blog how to love and accept without judgement.

    Keep it up, Kelle….you are an inspiration to us all :)


    (p.s., there is a local family that needs some prayers. Amy is a photographer with 4 tiny little ones, 2 of whom are facing some serious health issues. To all you Kelle followers (that includes you too, Papa Rik) please pray for Amy, Brad and their babies. Here is the link to her blog:

  473. Of course I donated! You had me with the first request, but then when you reminded me, “what you’ve taken from this space this year” … only everything! Smiles, happiness, joy, music, inspiration, creation … the list goes on. Love the new, “new” goal … wonder if you’ll have to bump it up again! 😉

  474. I read this post three times before finally committing to donating. Not because it wasn’t moving as HELL, but because I really don’t have the money to donate to anything right now. But I cancelled one of my magazine subscriptions this year and will now consider your blog to be my “magazine” for this year. Can you throw in some ideas for new hairdos and fitness tips for me? ha ha!
    Love, love, love Nella to death and am happy to send her a birthday gift this year! Happy Birthday, Little One!

  475. To DEDE Z. – oh, your story so touched me and brought me to tears. and YES, *I* will pray right now, and continue doing so, for Amy & Brad and the littles. I have come here in times of darkness; Poppa Rik and others have held me in prayer and thoughts. I am glad to do the same now! thanks for sharing, Linda

  476. Amy and her sweet family are in my heart and prayers now…yes, a mystical family of carers and pray-ers and lifters and holders has formed through this blog. We are one human family…wounded warriors that still hear the music, lift high our heads and dance in the rain. And YourWeddingHostesses, your gift will be twice blessed for I truly believe when our heart prompts us to give when we cannot, it comes back to us tenfold. Sometimes in some unexpected “splash back,” and sometimes in extra expenses we are shielded from! Bless you!

    Poppa to angels

  477. Dede- you’ve asked the right community to pray for a family in need. I speak from personal experience that the power of prayer and support from the “Enjoying the Small Things” community is truly amazing! In October my sister’s sister-in-law had her baby almost four months premature weighing under two pounds, with hemoraging on his brain and possibly in need of heart surgery. He now weighs 7 pounds, his heart seemed to have ‘fixed itself’ and the hemoragging has been controlled. Angles appeared to donate blood (he has the rarest blood time of course!) and his parents are waiting to take him home one week from today! So I know God hears this ‘magical family’.

    Poppa – each and every comment you leave is just as soul shattering and tear jerking as one of Kelle’s posts! And I do believe that a good majority of the commenters read most if not all of the comments. It truly is an amazing family we’re part of here!!


  478. Wow! Quite the readership you have here! $30,000+!!! I see you making and even maybe going above your set goal! Happy Birthday Nella!!!

    Kelle, thank you so much for coming into my living room every time I open your blog and allowing me a glimpse into yours. This blog has been such an inspiration. I check every day to see if you’ve posted and get a little giddy when I see that you have. I am currently in school to be a nurse (after being out of school for almost 10 years) and every time I think I am going to lose it (What was I thinking? College and 2 little kids?) I take a breath and come here for a little inspiration. Maybe some day down the road I will get to work with beautiful little souls like your Nella.

  479. Wow! Quite the readership you have here! $30,000+!!! I see you making and even maybe going above your set goal! Happy Birthday Nella!!!

    Kelle, thank you so much for coming into my living room every time I open your blog and allowing me a glimpse into yours. This blog has been such an inspiration. I check every day to see if you’ve posted and get a little giddy when I see that you have. I am currently in school to be a nurse (after being out of school for almost 10 years) and every time I think I am going to lose it (What was I thinking? College and 2 little kids?) I take a breath and come here for a little inspiration. Maybe some day down the road I will get to work with beautiful little souls like your Nella.

  480. This comment has been removed by the author.

  481. Kelle, thank you for inviting us to participate in Nella’s birthday. It’s a cyber party! May Nella and her friends rock it out.

  482. Happy birthday sweet, sweet Nella.

    I have been reading your blog since you grew this precious little bean in your tummy. Thank you for the inspiration and insight I gain each time I stop here.

    I will donate and pass this along.
    Good work, such important and good work!

  483. Kelle, I was only able to give $5. And I wish I could give more. Because Nella and all her friends deserve more. But if we all gave $5… think of the miracle!

  484. Happy birthday to Nella:)

    Lots of love from Norway!

    Hugs Tove

  485. Happy birthday to Nella:)

    Lots of love from Norway!

    Hugs, Tove

  486. I was honoured to contribute, Kelle! Happy Birthday to your beautiful, precious baby girl!

  487. I still remember the first time I read Nella’s birth story many months ago, tears rolling down my cheeks at work all the way in New Zealand. Thanks for creating awareness of DS and reminding me what a truly honourable role a mama plays in the lives of her children and all her loved ones. Love your photos too!

  488. Callie, your gift of awareness, inclusion and celebrating our precious gift has immeasurable value…you have enriched us all!

    Nella’s amazed Poppa

  489. Commenting again, after checking in on the AMAZING generosity and support of your cyber village! Kelle, thank YOU. So much. Thank you for putting yourself out there to even ask of us, which I think is probably a bit out of your comfort zone. I was waiting and hoping you would do this. Though I know it is sometimes hard to do. If you had even the minute bit of this “I feel weird/odd asking for this from my readers” going on, I now hope you can see and feel the love rise and doubt fall. PLEASE do this EVER YEAR for Nella, for all those babies, and for us. You have rocked hard and the people have rallied! WOO HOO!

  490. Kelle–
    What a ONEderful way to honor Nella and all the beautiful souls you have introduced us to in this post! I just read Nella’s Birth Story again (read for the first time back in Aug) and I sobbed more this time; I guess it’s because I have come to know her and Lainey through the blog and I (along with all the people that follow) hold a special place in my heart for them both.

    It’s amazing–what Nella has brought to so many people by simply being born. Happy Birthday Nella! May you have tons of fun at your birthday celebration.

    Love to your family!
    Andrea in AL

  491. incredibly inspiring. I love paying it forward and will join you, support and donate!

  492. I have followed your beautiful story for awhile and I thought it was kinda weird that I don’t know you but love to look at your beautiful pictures. Happy birthday to your sweet girl! Look how far you’ve both come!

  493. thank you. they are all beautiful and i read each name and each of their smiles brought a joyful tear to my eyes. I wish everyone could see the joy and beauty in their sweet faces.

  494. posted on my FB wall and on my blog!

  495. Kelle,
    I have to tell you what an amazing woman you are! The gift you are giving to your sweet Nella and all these other sweet little babies with that extra “magic” chromosome….
    I do not personally know anyone with Downe Syndrome and feel blessed to have learned so much on your blog over the last (almost) year. I have several times seen a sweet DS babe at the grocery store or public pool or whatever and now, because of following your blog, the first thing I think of is that these sweet Mamas have a baby as sweet as your Nella, and already feel connected to them and their Mamas simply from all the information and “regular”-ness you breathe into the blessing of that extra little bit of “magic.”
    The gift you are doing for the DS community is huge.
    I hope none of this comes across in any wrong way- I just want to encourage you- thank you for making something that some people might see as a big difference be such a normal every day part of life.
    AND- man in some of those pictures she looks just like her Daddy!! Your girls are beautiful….

  496. As my wonderful fiance said, $47 is a small price to pay for all that you add to my life!! Happiest of birthdays, Sweet Nella. And Kelle, thank you, thank you for what you do, as a mama, as an artist, as a HUMAN. You inspire me to create and to make life AMAZING.~jess

  497. Do you have some kind of a foot fetish or something?
    Anyway, I hope things work out for blessed Nella.

  498. What a beautiful post Kelle. Loved seeing all those smiling faces. They brought tears to my eyes. This past year I have received many gifts from you I am thrilled with the opportunity to give back/pay it forward.

    I hug my children more, kiss them for no reason and say “I love you”, take the time to get down on the floor and roll around with them, don’t worry that our almost 5 year old still wants to sleep in bed with us, nurse my 13 month old with no plans to stop in the immediate future, live my one life the way I see fit, and have started to write a better story for my family all because of you.

    There’s a German film I saw and loved many years agao, Run Lola Run, and it’a all about crossing paths with people, even in just a few minutes or seconds, and how it changes our lives. I’ve always been moved by that thought and your blog is living proof of this.

    Hugs and Happy Birthday Nella Cordelia. I look forward to seeing you rock out your 1st Birthday.

    Lisa in CA

  499. thank you rik for the paypal account. maybe kelle could post it somewhere to make sure everyone who doesn’t have a cc or can’t use theirs knows how to still contribute! :)

  500. I would be honored to pay it forward to celebrate sweet Nella’s first birthday. Thanks for giving me a peek inside your life and helping this girl enjoy the small things! I pray many blessings to come in Nella’s next year of life.

  501. Thank you for all that you do for the Down syndrome community. For showing that our children are wonderful children with a little extra. I love reading your posts and seeing the cute pictures. Keep up the good work and thank you for making this world better for my little Abi-girl!

  502. Having lost a baby with down syndrome I just cried & cried while reading this post. Happy & sad tears. Loved seeing all the beautiful children! Nella is adorable! Give her a big hug in memory of my Ella for me.

  503. Love this sense of a larger community coming together for your girl and so many other sweeties! You go girl(s)!

  504. I’m not really sure how I got here, but I have been so blessed by your beautiful words and sweet family.

    Thank you for sharing your life.

    Happy Birthday, Nella!

  505. Happy birthday, Miss Nella!

  506. I have found JOY in reading your blog! The rememberance that life is sweet and full of JOY if only I will seek it daily. God is great! Thank you for sharing your lovely family.

    Happy Birthday little one. You are loved like crazy!

    God bless and keep you always.

  507. It really touched my heart! You did an amazing job with this post. Nella and Lainey are very lucky girls to be so much loved by you, your family, your friends and us(readers!).
    Best luck!

  508. I saw this poem around Christmas last year on a blog (I’m sorry I don’t remember which one!) I printed it off & didn’t really know why. Maybe it was to share with you.


    A meeting was held quite far from Earth!
    It’s time again for another birth.
    Said the Angels to the LORD above,
    This Special Child will need much love.

    His progress may be very slow,
    Accomplishments he may not show.
    And he’ll require extra care
    From the folks he meets down there.

    He may not run or laugh or play,
    His thoughts may seem quite far away,
    In many ways he won’t adapt,
    And he’ll be known as handicapped.

    So let’s be careful where he’s sent,
    We want his life to be content.
    Please LORD, find the parents who
    Will do a special job for you.

    They will not realize right away
    The leading role they’re asked to play,
    But with this child sent from above
    Comes stronger faith and richer love.

    And soon they’ll know the privilege given
    In caring for their gift from Heaven.
    Their precious charge, so meek and mild,

    by Edna Massionilla
    December 1981

    Love to your family

  509. I stumbled on your blog a year ago. I have enjoyed the past year you have shared with your readers, and I can’t believe your Nella, such a beautiful little girl, is turning 1!

    So glad you started the fund and I could contribute. Your blog has touched me in so many ways, I know I will always have that “feel good” feeling when I check in to see your latest posts. You have opened your heart to your readers and I have loved being a part of it. Happy Birthday Nella! And thank you Kelle.

  510. I just found your blog and I am beyond inspired. I just read your story and have tears. Thank you for being such an inspiration to many. I look foward to following your journey HUGS to your beautiful family!

  511. This comment has been removed by the author.

  512. Ever since my sister sat me down and pulled up Nella’s birth story and told me I had to read it right then. Not later. Not tomorrow…now. I have been capable, empowered, inspired, touched, moved, happy, purposeful, driven. changed.

    As I read Nella’s story, on my laptop, on the couch in the middle of the living room, surrounded by my family, tears fell. And…I felt. I felt things I have never felt or allowed myself to feel. You showed me that we are all capable. No matter what life throws us, we can catch it…and… run with it.

    Since that night I sat and read Nella’s story; I have faithfully read every post. I think I have read every single entry you have ever written. Every single one, is a huge encouragement, a present. I feel like a giddy kid on Christmas morning or like I just received a package in the mail!

    So, in response to your question…I have gained a smile, a thought, a connection, the encouragement to dig deeper. But also, I have gained a better sense of myself and the importance of “enjoying the small things”, giving back, living every day to the very fullest, and to “soak it up”, “drink it in” and savor every part of it!

    Thank you, Kelle, from the bottom of my changed and inspired soul. You have changed me and the way I view everything in life. the good. And the bad. The perfect. The not so perefet. For it is all a gift. To make us stronger and more capable.

    And…Happy Birthday, Nella! Thank you for your story and for being such a big part of my life. And for changing me, from hundreds of miles away.

    Kate from Birmingham, Alabama

  513. The generosity of others funding the ONEderful account is filling my soul, I check in just for my fill of good news. I wonder that you might make 6 figures in the end.

    All the crap news flowing out there in the world and one click and I am here, a world of love and small things and joy….because it is real, real life, real living, raw and real: LOVE. It is such a blessing to even have this small privilege to witness the love of so many, the goodness…this is the story that should be ringing out around the world on every news station, but the important thing is that we hear the ringing, the ringing of hope, faith, community, promise,love and each of us capable of “paying it forward” in someway. Thank you Kelle for sharing your blessings with your readers.

  514. Oh good! I came back to this post to see how you were coming up with the numbers that you were setting as your goals since they were “odd” amounts. I love the explanation of each one! :)

    However with the response you are getting and the number of days left until Nella’s birthday…
    I think you should set the goal to ONE MILLION dollars – because our kiddos are one in a million and they inspire us in a million ways and remind us that we are richer in life than a millionaire!

    I will be donating for Nella and for our sweet Mylie. I only wish I would have seen your post on FB and could’ve sent you a picture of our “Smiley Mylie.” Some day I will.

    Can’t wait to see how this all turns out!

  515. Yeah for the Oneder FUND! I love the name and the spirit behind it. Love what your doing!!! Happy Birthday Nella! I’m so excited/happy/amazed at how generous everyone is being – all because of YOU and what you put out there each day/week! The sky is the limit! WHOA!

  516. I think you should go for the gusto and make your goal $94,000.

    Dream big! If you don’t make it you will still have done something amazing.

  517. Kelle, I am so amazed, impressed, and excited by the momentum of your fundraising that I had to find a way to give a little more. You should be so proud of what you are accomplishing through your words, images, and heart. Thank you!

  518. I have been following your blog for months and wanted you to know that it was a great source of strength for me when my “Happy Jack” was born (rockin’ a little extra chromosome!) on May 28th of this year. He’s the most amazing child I’ve ever known. Man, wish I knew then what I know now. Happy Birthday to your sweet angel, and thank you for your beautiful and inspiring blog! Check out The “Jack” Pot ( if you ever get a free minute

  519. Thank you for sharing your family with us. Your photos are amazing as well as the love you show. I’ve made a very small donation hoping it helps.

    Happiest of days to your precious Nella! Celebrate and enjoy every single second.


  520. Thank you again for always inspiring and making my day a lil’ brighter! I created a post today on my blog to encourage people to donate to the ONEder fund! Have a wonderful week!!

  521. My first post – but not my first laugh, or tear shed, from reading your magical blog. It’s my regular dose of sunshine, so I am pleased to donate what I can to such a great cause. Your blog has had such an impact on my life (even though you don’t know me at all), and for that I am forever grateful.

    P.S. I can’t believe it’s almost been a year!

  522. Happy birthday, Nella! Thank you for touching my life.

  523. Those babies and children are so beautiful!

  524. I have been so inspired by you and your blog, I havent been reading it for that long and it has made an impression on my heart!
    I blogged about your post on my blog

    I love what you are doing and i am very glad to try and be apart of it!

  525. Thank you for featuring my cousin Sara Wolff. She truly is an inspiration to us all!

  526. Just donated $5.00 to this awesome celebration of these amazing kids. Kelle, YOU are an inspiration.

  527. I shared about your efforts on my blog. I hope it helps to get the word out. I am amazed at the amount of money already given to support this cause! It just shows that every little bit helps!

  528. Such a beautiful post! Thank you for writing with such heartfelt honesty about your life. I’ve been reading for a year. The first post I read was Nella’s birth story. It was about 3 weeks after the birth of my daughter who also has Down syndrome and I read that post over and over. I have enjoyed everything you’ve written this year. Thank you for doing this wonderful thing for the National Down Syndrome Society and for raising awareness for kids like ours.

  529. Over 75k! I am so psyched and have nothing to do with this. I am just so happy. 😀

    Congrats on doing such a fantastic job.

  530. Wow, I just discovered your blog today from a link from someone on a pregnancy website check regularly. I am deeply touched and thank you for your inspiring words:)

  531. Happy Birthday Nella!!!! So many years of happy life for you!!!!!

    see also my blog

  532. I just wish to give an enormous thumbs up for the nice info you’ve got right here on this post. I will probably be coming back to your weblog for more soon.

    Clipping Path

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