First Position

I’ve had an obsession with ballet since I was young. I never took any classes–always wanted to, but never really spoke up about it until it was too late. Instead, I pretended I was a dancer. A real one. I even asked a friend if I could have a pair of her old scuffed pointe shoes just because I thought they’d look cool lying around my room. Maybe I once forced my feet in them and tried to do an arabesque. Maybe I twisted my ankle and fell over. Maybe I was nineteen and far too old for such nonsense. Regardless, ballet was delicate and graceful, and I never really felt delicate and graceful in life. I was loud, impulsive, clumsy–a Saint Bernard yearning to be a Saluki.

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I dressed up the first weekend in December to see the Nutcracker every year, one time all by myself. I was a teenager–not a dancer–and yet I studied the program, the dancers’ names, where they went to school as if I was the understudy next in line to take the role of Clara. Ineke Rush was her name–the girl who played Clara, and I remember because I held a pen light to my program from my seat in the dark auditorium of The Whiting on Kearsley Street–a small corner of Flint, Michigan that felt cutural and refined against a backdrop of strip clubs and dilapidated bars. I found her name in the program, analyzed her bio and decided I wanted to be her, the ballet dancer with the long, skinny legs who floated gracefully and confidentally in my binocular view.

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In college, I took a leap and registered for Modern Dance to fulfil my Fine Arts credits–a decision that would serve futile as I’d later transfer to a Christian liberal arts college where dancing, wouldn’t you know, was not recognized as a transferable credit because–well, have you seen Footloose? Apparently, the Lord sayeth something about it.

Here’s what I learned about Modern Dance in college: It’s not ballet. I don’t know what I thought it was going to be, but I think I at least hoped there’d be some tights and legwarmers involved, maybe some ribbons that criss-crossed up my shins. I wanted to chalk the bottoms of my feet, tape my toes, stretch in front of a barre to Bach and Handel, and instead it was a lot of gyrating to African beats and pretending I was a tree. Which is funny really because, while it was embarrassing at the time–especially because I was insecure and overweight–I’d totally dig meeting up on a Friday night to wildly gyrate to African beats today. I’m more confident now, not only with my body but with letting loose and accepting the fact that there are other forms of beauty, movement, art and life outside of that breathtaking perfection of what’s expected to be so beautiful…classical ballet.

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I guess this is all just to say that this whole ballet obsession is partly why I love watching my girl every Tuesday and Thursday from behind the glass where I sit in the studio.

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She’s graceful and poised, and she’s enjoying pointing, flexing and stretching at the barre just like I would have enjoyed it too. I love the classical music, the reflection off the worn wood floors, the way the parents laugh when their child is making faces or hanging like a lemur off the barre when they’re supposed to be in second position.

I like how Miss Blair’s hair is pulled back tightly into the perfect bun, how I stand straighter when I’m watching the class and how the girls’ leotards and skirts are the softest shade of pink–like the inside of a conch shell.

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I still may be loud and clompy, more of a gyrating modern dancer than the graceful arabesque-ing ballerina I always wanted to be, but the Ineke Rush inside me smiles when I watch my girl do that something I always wanted to do. I think we all want to give our kids that–the opportunities we missed out on. We want to gather all the good in our past–memorable vacations, cherished traditions, words of wisdom passed down from our parents–repeat it for our own kids and make up for all the regrets. My kids won’t live in a broken home, I promise myself. We’ll take more vacations. The girls will travel overseas, speak a second language, and learn to play sports because I always wished I did. But you know what? I can’t do that either. While I use both the good and bad of my past to navigate my way through parenting decisions, I also have to let go. There will be disappointments and paths we didn’t expect, both of which are important lessons in life for parents and children alike. And while we present opportunities for our kids, we also have to be open to the fact that they will choose their own path someday.

I will support my girl no matter what. I will smile and nod if someday she ditches her tutu with a “Hey Mom, I want to play shot put.” And I will make sure she has the best damn shot put shoes they make. Because I love her.

But today, I am happy watching my graceful girl flit across the old wood floors in her ballet class, her toes pointed to mimic her teacher’s. I am loving today.

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*****

The giveaway winner of the Scenstsy goodies is Comment #411, Nicole: I hear ya on the “creative alien” that needs to be let out…she’s in me too. Beautiful blog, so happy I’ve discovered it.

Nicole, leave your garbage out, chop some onions, don’t flush the toilets. It won’t matter when you get your Scentsy pot. Oh, and e-mail your info please to kellehampton@comcast.net. Congratulations!

*****

This kid says “baby” now.

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Not ba-ba. Not something that sounds like baby. Baby. Long A, long E. She says it when she’s rocking her dolls to sleep.

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I am learning to quiet the voice that says “brace yourself.” The one that cautiously admonishes the celebratory voice to calm down…just in case I get my hopes up and it doesn’t play out as I wish. For some reason, I’ve felt for every victory of Nella’s, I’ve had to weigh the claps and “Hoorays” with the counter response of “…but we’d love her just the same if she didn’t do this” or “she might not always be this progressive and that’s okay.” No more disclaimers. That does nothing for her, for our expectations of who she can and will become. When someone compliments Lainey, we certainly don’t react with a “yes, she can write her name nicely but we’ll still celebrate her if that’s all she ever writes.” Because, of course we’d love and celebrate her just the same, no one would ever doubt that, and going out of our way to state it–or even think it–is, well, silly.

The last couple weeks have been really remarkable for Nella, and we are thankful. We are celebrating…simple as that.

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Talking on the phone with Nana Kate

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Don’t forget your subscription to Mamalode if you’ve been meaning to get one.

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Somewhere, there are a pair of pointe shoes calling my name.
Arabesque, plie, grand jete…and good night.

Comments

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  1. always love seeing Nella’s “oh” pictures… I wish sometime you could catch it on video and post it- I bet I’m not the only one wondering if a noise comes with it, or what provokes it:)

  2. Beautiful. Both Nella and her progress and Lainey in her little shoes. And that’s all I have to say, because Ellie is Screaming.Her.Head.Off.

  3. I have always adored ballet for the same reasons you do! One day at my local gym a Ballet Master taught a class for a few weeks. He said he would teach adults at his studio and I about melted in the spot from spontaneous combustion of excitement. I took it for two years having never ever danced before in my life. I took a break when I had my daughter and now I am back at it again. If you ever have time…even just to try a barre for one day…you should do it. I don’t do it because I am good at it. Quite the opposite. But when you are in that class…in those ballet shoes….it’s like you take on a new persona…even if just for an hour :)

  4. I took ballet for one year when I was 4. I hated it at the time so my mom didn’t sign me up again. I regret that so much. I’m always in awe of ballet dancers.

    That picture of Nella and the baby doll is so sweet!

  5. Nella is a superstar! Continue to celebrate!!!

  6. You were overweight? Really…curious about that. You look naturally skinny.

  7. gooooooooo Nella!!!

  8. I love watching your family Nella is beautiful with baby. Have a great rest of the week.And thanks for sharing lil pieces of your life.

  9. I love watching your family Nella is beautiful with baby. Have a great rest of the week.And thanks for sharing lil pieces of your life.

  10. Is it redundant if I tell you every time I comment that I adore your blog? It is?
    Too bad :)- I adore it and the gift you have for sharing your life and putting it in the perspective that we can all learn from.

    Y

  11. Little beauties. Hurray for Nella and all her progress. I have a two girls 3.5 and 18 months and I applaud evertyhing they do…but from reading this article in The Atlantic (have you read it?) perhaps I’m obsessing too much on my kids’ happiness which will lead to their unhappiness??! Crazy stuff but a very fascinating read…http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/07/how-to-land-your-kid-in-therapy/8555/

  12. I just adore the ballet pic’s and the one of Nella holding her “baby.” I can’t tell you enough how much I look forward to your blog posts! I can’t wait to put my lil’ girl in ballet soon. She is only 18 months old so I have to be patient. haha. Being a mom is the best calling in the world as you know! Thanks for sharing your inspiring words with us all and your beautiful photos as well!

  13. Speaking of “first position”, you would love this YouTube video going around. A precious new ballerina is doing her BEST to get into that first position. Looks like Lainey has got it down!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdylQeg5B9I

  14. Kelle, help a sister out and throw out some tips on how you process your photos. I love the soft dreamy feel of your shots! Thanks!

  15. I do feel a little guilty re childhood dancing, my parents sent my sister & I along to jazz ballet. Once the novelty of the cute shoes wore off, I realised that I was missing my fav tv show of the time, Inspector Gadget. I convinced my sis that we really didn’t like it and we stopped. My sister has been trying to get into music theatre for a long time, after auditions they always say her singing is fine, but her dancing will never cut it. Opps, I don’t think she blames me totally!

  16. Ah! the dance studio of my youth:-) Everything I ever really needed to know I learned at dance class. My 3 year old and I are going to a ‘Schnuppertag’ at the dance school this Saturday. It is a trial day before we sign up for real. She is already telling everyone she knows about her special new ballet shoes and her new friends that she will meet in dance class. I am so excited that I can hardly wait!
    I remember my first year of dance. My teacher used to smoke in the corner and shout at us. I still loved it. I can walk into that studio today, close my eyes and smell that ‘studio smell’ (minus the smoke nowadays)…it takes me back to a very happy time. The best were the costumes. Tap costumes were the most fun. You’d love the tap costumes! Lots of sequins and glitter and fabulousness:-)

  17. I always wanted to be a dancer too! When I got older I heard the same “dancing is of the devil” nonsense and because of this I didn’t even get to have dancing at my wedding. But you know what? The Bible says “there is a time to mourn and a time to dance”! It also says “Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!” So you know what…dance away!

    I love reading about your family. It always brightens my day. :)

  18. Girls are awesome…dance duds, babydolls, barrets and bows…I love love love little girls :) Thank God for kids!

    Have you ever read the poem: song for a fifth child by ruth hulburt hamilton? (you’ll love it)

    Preview…Last verse:
    The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow, For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow. So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

  19. I, too, am obsessed with ballet. The little girl I have the pleasure of caring for is seven & in her third year of ballet. Every Monday I watch her do all of her exercises & rehearse the dances she will perform at recitals. She is not crazy about ballet. Doesn’t care for it much at all. I spend so much time trying to get her to love it as much as I do that one day she finally said, rather huffily, might I add, “well, Mia, if you love it so much why don’t you just take the class?” Needless to say, I’ve eased up on her a bit. She is paving her own way & I am very proud of her for that. But it doesn’t diminish my love of ballet one single bit!

  20. tracyallegre: LOVE that article. Brilliant. I think about this a lot. I love the line: “Please let them be devastated at age 6 and not have their first devastation be in college! Please, please, please let them be devastated many times on the soccer field!” I think being disappointed in life and going through hard things in childhood is important in creating skills for them to deal with hardship later. Thank you for sharing! Bookmarking that article for sure.

  21. Way to go Nella! I was just trying to convince my 20 month old daughter, Elise, today that she can say baby.

    No dice.

  22. Love the ballet pictures!
    Nella’s “O”s are the cutest thing ever!
    The pic of Nella in the headband was excellent. I’m so happy she is making so much progress–what an angel.

  23. I love your photos! and don’t worry I’m 30 and still pretend to be a ballerina, now that I have a girl I don’t look so crazy :/

  24. Loved seeing these. I used to be a semi-pro ballerina and teach ballet.

    Our Growing Garden

  25. Your photos are just so beautiful :)

  26. The Hampton girls are rock-stars! xo

  27. Love the lace headband on Nella. I’ll have to try that on our 18 monther! She’ll probably rip it off though. :(

  28. Nella’s such a rock star! She’s getting so big! Lainey looks like she’s loving ballet! Did you see Black Swan… lovely ballet dancing! My husband wants our son to be a soccer player. He grew up in Abu Dhabi, ‘football’ is popular there :) & I wish he would teach Zayn Urdu as his second language. xx

  29. Oh man, the same goes for me and singing. I have always felt as though I was meant to be on Broadway, belting out “Defying Gravity,” or “Anything Goes.” But alas, I cannot carry a tune and my dance moves are all but graceful. I loved your post, because most people just laugh at me when I tell them that in high school I would ache inside as I watched my peers perform in that Spring’s musical. And that watching a Broadway show or even just Glee makes me yearn for the ability to belt out my feelings in tune.

    I cope by being a master at karaoke and marrying someone who dances with me no matter how terrible I am. In another life perhaps I’ll know what it’s like…but until then, my shower, car, and husband remain excellent audiences.

  30. I, too, wish I had been a ballerina….I think its great that cute littlen Lainey is one! She looks so graceful and pretty in her leotard and ballet shoes! Your words are inspiring and always help me reflect on my life.

    A couple of posts a go you talked about how you love taking pictures but that so many of your pictures are the instant kind, the kind that are stored in your brain as memories. After reading that, I try to take those pictures constantly and today I had the sweetest one with my little bean. Thank you for helping me remember the little moments….because they are usually the most important.

  31. I would love for my daughter to get into ballet too, as I was always a clumsy two left feet dancer.. but wanted to be a ballerina so badly. However, based on her current dancing, she’s going to be a modern dancer.. and that’s ok too. :)

  32. Beautifully said.

  33. I hope my girl loves dance as much as Lainey. I did get the opportunity to dance and did so up until a few years ago. I will try not to be sad if she goes the shot put route. Oh, PS: Ineke Rush is now a pilates teacher in California, maybe you should make a pilgrimage.

  34. How on God’s earth were you ever overweight?! I demand before-and-after photos!

  35. Laughed out loud at the “yes, she can write her name nicely but we’ll still celebrate her if that’s all she ever writes.” We would NEVER make a comment like that of our “typical” child. I love this reminder that all of our children deserve our hope and expectations and not a disclaimer. Of course we love them, no matter what but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate or hope for more. Thanks for that reminder!

    xoxo

    P.S. You overweight? Hahahahaha!

  36. LOVE Nella in that headband!!! Looks like she can push that walker like she’s been doing it for years!

    Lainey looks adorable in her little ballet class! My oldest just finished up her year with the big recital and it’s so fun to watch the older girls and think about how their parents watched them when they were little and still had to look over at their friends to remember the steps. Now they are almost grown women doing the most amazing things. So sweet.

  37. I absolutely love the last few photos of Nella.
    She is beautiful.

  38. I just love coming here!

  39. Quite the beautiful ballerina you have! And Nella is making such wonderful accomplishments!

    I have two great giveaways on my blog right now…you’re welcome to check them out!

  40. Heather, when I moved to Naples I lost forty pounds…running, of all things. Helped that I met a hot guy in the process too. His name was Brett. Ha.

  41. Those girls are both so precious!!! Thank you for sharing them with us. I think everything you are doing for both of your girls is wonderful. They are just as blessed to have you as you are to have them. You have a beautiful family!

  42. every time i see a picture of nella accomplishing something new i beam with pride as if she was my own baby or sister or friend. she’s fantastic…and so is her sister!

  43. I actually did ballet at an early age with women who are now famous. After struggling with an eating disorder and bad knees, I wouldn’t trade my health for success as a ballerina. Have you tried Nia? I bet you’d enjoy it!

  44. Sister! I love when our thoughts overlap as I feel like they did today…with loving to give our kids what we had (and wished for!). Our childhoods shape our parenting. I always knew that but now I *know* it.

    To shot put ballerinas!

  45. Love!

  46. Oh Kelle, I heart you.

  47. There is a dance studio where I live that offers “booty ballet” for adults. Maybe that would be more your speed? :) I think they dance in stilettos–oh my!

  48. This post rings so true for me. I have grown children, and have felt exactly what you speak of, letting them do things I never did, and I did do that, and it felt good. Now with grandchildren, it’s a wonderous world, of what I can do for them, and I want them to have wonderful memories of their times and travels with me, Tutu.
    PS The pigtails are just too cute for words!

  49. That baby Nella is rocking looks really real! Love your blog and LOVE Scentsy! I’m rocking the Hanna Cabana scent right now in my house :)

  50. It’s amazing how connected to you I feel sometimes. Like we lived different lives but parrell at the same time. I was the same way with gymnastics and I LOVE every Monday morning when I get to watch my girl exel at it, and everytime she comes to me and ask if we can watch gymnastics on the computer again:) But I try to remind myself, she may not always like gymnastics but Oh do I daydream about the day we go to the olympics!! lol

  51. ahh, alas i have the same love of ballet as you. and i did not take one class. i did however, work at a studio in my adult years for some time. thank you for the always “real” and beautiful reads.

  52. What a beautiful post. Something that I truly needed to hear today. Keep it up!!!

  53. I know this feeling of elation, pride and satisfaction watching my girls doing their ballet. It is almost magical and I feel like it elevates them to another plain in life. I know it sounds corny but I also know that you totally understand what I mean.How my heart swooned this year as my 5 year old performed in her first production of the Nutcracker. She was a snowflake and I thought my heart would burst watching her up there on stage dancing her heart out in front of a packed house of 2600.Not a twinge of insecurity only the freedom of ballet.She was amazing. Enjoy my friend. THese moments are what we are built for!XO
    Debi

  54. I’ve told you before. YOU are amazing. Continue to amaze me. Have such a story that GOD has given you. Rock on with your bad self. XO

  55. I was a dancer, for 14 years. I loved it so much, and I can’t wait to put my little one in Ballet.

    Lainey looks so sweet in first, her form is beautiful.

    Nella is just so adorable, her soft baby hair, I just want to give her a squeeze!!

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  57. I am always happy to read your blog. you put my feelings into words that I always have wished I could like you wished you had done ballet. I wished I had the inner voice and someday when I am really brave I will send you a link to my blog and let you in…but I am not brave today.

  58. So happy to hear Nella is progressing! And Lainey seems to be loving ballet! I am so there with trying to give my girl things I didn’t have, I come from a family of 6 children and ballet or gymnastics was not in the budget, don’t get me wrong, we did get to do extracurricular activities, I just wish I was able to try more things. Love the blog <3

  59. Thank you, Kelle. I’ve been a reader of your blog for a while now, and it continues to inspire me to be better and appreciate life more. My firstborn son was stillborn in September, and we are now expecting his little brother later this year. I have those same feelings of cautious optimism. I must learn to quiet the voice that says “brace yourself” and enjoy the new life that God has blessed us with. While I will be forever changed by the far too short life of my firstborn, I will continue honor his life by living fully.

  60. there is nothing more beautiful then little girls at ballet classes! and i love that you aspired to be a ballet dancer! i love your blog and how you share great stories about your life. i am totally adicted to reading your stories after seeing your post on the creative mama. thank you for sharing with us your beautiful stories, and inspiring me to appreciate the “small” things. :)

  61. I found this on the Anthro site not 10 minutes after reading this post and just had to share:

    http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=19971985&parentid=BAYNOTE

    The unusual name really stuck out at me.
    Happy Wednesday Kellee!!

  62. Kelle – Had to repost this…google was signed in under my friends’ account!!!

    really enjoyed this post. i love your passion for your children’s opportunies regardless if that means success or failure.

    nella’s hair is getting so long. she’s the most precious baby alive!

    finally, hope you don’t mind but i gave a small shout out to you and your blog on pinterest… there was a print that reminded me of you – tried to look up where to get one but couldn’t find it. It stated “sorry about the mess but we live here”

  63. This is my first time leaving a comment so of course i have to tell you that your blog is amazing and I love it! I prefer reading it while sitting on my bed with my 5 month old daughter, Mackenzie, in my lap. She loves looking at pictures, so between that and the music, we make it a little mommy/baby time whenever you post!! And i have to say, Nella’s flexibility amazes me! I love when she’s sitting down with one bent knee and a flat foot on the ground!

  64. It would probably make her day if you emailed the dance you saw, Ineke Rush. :)

    http://www.mindfulmovementcollective.com/PilatesInstructorBios.html

  65. So sweet to watch you (not in the creepy stalkery way) love your kids “just right.”

  66. Dang, I saw the pic of Nella with the headband and thought, “She done growed up.” She looks older with her hair like that.

  67. Also my first time leaving a comment. I love what you write. You make me feel like everything is okay in life. It really is the small things. And for June? I ran my first 5K last week. Not sure why I waited til now and not when I was 20 but hey, I did it! Thank you for the pick-me-up I get whenever I read your page. You inspire me.

  68. Kelle, you inspire me and so many others every day to suck the marrow out of life . . . so why, pray tell, have you never signed up for ballet lessons? It is NEVER too late, you are are NEVER too old and there’s no better time than NOW. Why not? There’s a ballerina in there with the creative alien that needs to be let out!

  69. I’m hoping this comment posts, seeing as they refuse to post lately lol. I love this post! I was in Ballet when I was younger AND I was in the nutcracker:-) I was the lead girl in the very first scene building the snowman! I LOVED IT!!!!

  70. Someday Lainey may throw the most graceful shot put ever seen and Nella with stand up in front of a whole crowd and amaze them with her words and wisdom. You are raising beautiful girls…

    Oneof my favorite quotes that I shared with my husband this father’s day that sums up how we are trying to raise our daughter.

    He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.  ~Clarence Budington Kelland

    What an amazing life your girls have!

  71. Charla, you are right. You may have just sparked a July challenge for me. Hmmmm. This might be interesting.

  72. Makes me want to go and sign up my girls for ballet class right now!

    Oh, how I wish I could spare them that self-conscious phase they will most likely go through like the rest of us. How wonderful it would be for them to have fun gyrating to african drums and pretending to be trees right through their adolescence and their 20s. Right. Not likely. But one can aim hope …

  73. I too wish I could have been a dancer, I watch people that dance with such envy whether it be ballet, tap, jazz, or gyrating African! I was the oldest of 5, we weren’t rich and my mom didn’t approve. Now I love that my daughter is obsessed with dancing and she loved her little dance class and that she starts again in September and that all she can talk about is her new tap shoes! It makes me smile!

  74. Yippee for Nella!!!!!! Love her hair and Lainey looks precious at ballet.

    debra

  75. Great post! I can’t wait to Piper in ballet…I loved every minute of it as a child!

    I’ll probably live vicariously through Piper by way of the violin…I’ve always wanted to learn but never done so.

  76. I have been doing something that I am ashamed of. I feel like I have been spying on your life, reading silently each of your blog posts over the past few weeks and looking through the archives for more tidbits (more then once). I am ashamed I havn’t commented as of yet but want you to know that I enjoy reading your blog and am touched and inspired by your posts each and everytime. I thought today would finally be the day I would comment, after I had to stop and reflect upon reading about our similar longing for the grace and beauty of ballet.

    Thank you for sharing your life with us and I can’t wait to read more!

  77. One of the things that I’ve learned is that I am never too old for “nonsense”. Somewhere, I think, there’s a ladies ballet class that needs one more ballerina. : ) Thank you for sharing yourself and your family with so much beauty.

  78. I took ballet for years, but never was the ballet build. Super tall and muscular is not the ballet type. Oh, but my daughter was the perfect ballerina. Maybe too tall, too, but long, lean and thin with such grace. I lived vicariously through her. It was lovely.

    And I agree with Charla…go for it!

  79. I bet a lot of readers would like to hear a bit more about your weight loss story, especially as you’ve had 2 babies since then. I myself was overweight when I was younger, but then lost 70 pounds and kept it off (mostly) for years. Now I have an almost-6-month-old and am having such a hard time losing the baby weight…

  80. Your pictures are visual goodness overload for me. I loved all the ballet photos (makes me want to stake out a ballet studio) and then that picture in front of the quilt – wowza!!!

  81. Oh gosh. When we have kids (in like 10 years) I pray that we have a girl who loves ballet. There’s nothing cuter than those little ones in tutus.

  82. Cracking up that “Baby” is almost as big as Nella. That girl is STRONG! And you should now she has an(other) admirer: my son Nate (17 months) points her out by name whenever he’s reading over my lap.

    I, too, was a hardcore ballet wannabe. Pointe shoes and college dance class stories are both eerily familiar :)

  83. Look how long Nella’s hair is! Your words are just beautiful Kelle. Thanks for sharing.

  84. Nella is such a happy baby.
    Your girls are so beautiful.

  85. Thank you for the statement about being insecure and overweight and moving past it to become the person you are now. Maybe there is, in fact, hope. <3

  86. oh
    adorable

  87. I’m from Flint. I’ll say it proud!I’ve been waiting for the right moment to comment because there are so many comments and mine won’t stand out….but today I had to do it! Sometimes it gets a lot of odd looks when people learn that.

    I also grew up attending The Nutcraker with my mom at Whiting Auditorium. Getting to wear my pretty shoes and dress up clothes. I loved it there. Especially those big oval chairs in the lobby! I was even able to have dance recitals there! The bomb! I sucked…but for a few moments during my tooti fruiti dance routine I was Clara!

    I always feel your love for Michigan because I love Michigan. Flint isn’t what it used to be, but it is still home and I’m a proud Flint, Michigan girl!

    Rock those point shoes!

  88. ALways wanted to be a ballerina too. Dont have the poise. I hope my little one is into it… Id love watching her, but as you ssay, support them in whatever they want.

    Love Nella in that headband! Love how her doll is as big as her. <3

  89. Gorgeous! Love your little girl in her ballet slippers and your baby girl smiling that beautiful smile! Your pictures are fantastic and your words are so moving. Thank you!!!

  90. They are lovely … and I am sure Lainey will be a great ballerina someday.I love your writings and pictures !!

  91. I love ballet. I begged my mom when I was in 3rd grade to let me take it and she finally gave in after a futile attempt at every sport. I danced for 10 years and even wrote my college application about it. I love it and now that I have a girl I secretly hope she wants to take it too (she is 2 1/2). I am going to put her into a class in the winter. There is just something beautiful about it. And on aside note: my husband proposed after the nutcracker 9 years ago! <3

  92. Great post! I have my own Modern Dance class experience from college. I took it with my two roommates and we still joke about being the tree when we get together. I made a D in that class.

  93. Gosh, i love how you write! I love ballet too. I love any kind of dance actually. And i’m … not so great at it at all! We took dance – my sister and i – i took for 7 years & even got on pointe…& then we quit. I don’t know why! We had even moved closer to the dance studio. I don’t remember mom & dad’s conversations about it or asking about it… and apparently i didn’t care… but now i am in awe of dancers & WISH SO MUCH that i stuck with it!

    Love all the pics! I hope Lainey loves it :)

  94. Nella looks so grown up in that lace headband! What a great picture!

    I really appreciate your thoughts on celebrating Nella’s accomplishments. I feel like I am always trying to brace other people for Levi’s future. He has always done really well, so people say things about how smart he will be and all he’ll be able to do. For some reason, I always squelch those comments with, “We just can’t know what he’ll be like…” I need to stop doing that. Thanks for the deep thoughts on that topic. I needed to rethink that approach.

  95. The photos are so cute! I love how little girls look like in tutus :)

  96. ::sigh:: ballet. Want to meet in NYC for the Nutcracker this year?

    Just love your girls, what beauties they are.

  97. Your babies are beautiful!

  98. Thank you so much for sharing pictures and achievements of those beautiful little girls. My daughter was born in February. We found out at birth that she has Down syndrome and that she has a heart defect. She has surgery in three weeks and we are celebrating every achievement along the way. I’ve never cheered so hard for a little girl rolling over.

    Thanks again for sharing your family. It has helped me see that I can focus on other things than therapy and diagnosis.

  99. Kelle – I’m so glad I clicked on the Vacation rentals icon on your blog… I’m at the Bismark as I type this and my family of five has just sighed in relaxation. So to you – thank you for that little icon! You didn’t steer this little Texan wrong! πŸ˜‰

    P.s. I have a rugrat (Gigi) born one month before Nella. She loves seeing Nella’s “O”

  100. Oh, I always wanted to be a ballerina too! I just have to mention – my favorite workout these days is Xtend Barre and part of what I love is that it incorporates a bit of ballet and lets that inner dancer live a little!! I know it was founded in Florida, so there might be a studio close to you!

  101. I am so happy I found your Blog. I have Boy/Girl Twins that are 1 month older than Nella. I want to know where you got Nella’s necklace or if you made it. My little girl needs a cute necklace like that. I just need to figure out if I can get her to keep it on. If you could post in your blog where you got it or email me that would be great! Mandro21@hotmail.com

  102. A: I was a ballet drop out. Who has the worst flexibility on the earth? This girl.
    B: Seeing Lainey’s ballet pics make me wish I had a girl.
    C: Nella is the cutest little girl ever. (Don’t tell my niece I said that.) She has one of those smiles that makes me happy.

  103. It always cracks me up how babies love babies! So precious that she is saying baby! Woohoo, Nella!

  104. You have many reasons to dance!! What a day! What a twirling kind of day….

  105. Kelle

    You are never too old to begin. You may never be Clara, but you may find that you transform into that 19yr old dancing around your bedroom. I am a dance instructor and studio owner an wish that more adults would come to class….far too often I can hear the longing in someone to dance, but the fear overcomes it….its never too late!

  106. I don’t know you at all, really. But the litle glimpses that come through now and then make me think that our religious history has been very similar. just sayin.

  107. Okay. I’m going to confess it. I’m a guy. A grown man. And I read this blog religiously. My wife and I have a three-almost-four-year-old who takes ballet lessons. This post was great – funny, poignant, honest, insightful. I’m applauding politley and throwing flowers.

  108. Wow, this post brings back childhood memories for me! My older sister was a beautiful, graceful ballerina. I, on the other hand, was overweight, uncoordinated and could not remember any of the dance moves, going left while everyone went right. Have you seen “the tragedy of first position” on you tube? it is hysterical. Needless to say, I dropped out and joined a bowling league…yes, bowling. But I beat all the boys and thought I was the coolest kid on the bowling league. So whatever my kids want to do, like you said, I will fully support them and cheer them on whether it’s ballet or bowling!!

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  110. My dad told me once that the best we can do is to not screw our kids up the same way we were screwed up — and then realize that we’ll screw them up in our own unique ways. Somehow, that was comforting. It still is.

    On a more cheerful note, Nella is really starting to look a lot like Lainey now that she’s moving out of her baby-ness. So cute!

    And I took ballet for nine years & never got to the pointe part. I’m still a little disappointed, but I do appreciate that I still have cute toes. :)

  111. Gosh, LOVE your point about not having to always give disclaimers! Good for you! It’s so true! Celebrate – nothing less! Your girls are so beautiful! And I agree with Charla – Kelle would look killer in a tutu!!! :) Let’s see it!

  112. Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp. Psalm 149:3

    What ever school you went to was crazy πŸ˜‰
    The bible I read says to dance and sing and play music. So, girlfriend-dance dance dance away!!!!

  113. That picture of Nella with the headband in her hair took my breath away. Look at that happy little girl. That smile always gets me. She is doing so well and I’m celebrating right along with you!

  114. Nella is so love, the eyes, the hair and piggies, smile and strength, love love love

  115. Nella is so love, the eyes, the hair and piggies, smile and strength, love love love

  116. Nella’s hair is getting so long!! Glad to hear she’s making some great strides!!! Can’t wait to hear all about them!

  117. that profile shot of nella holding the babydoll made tears suddenly well up in my eyes – just beautiful!

  118. Lovely post! I was enrolled in a popular trio class as a child: tap/ballet/tumble. I desperately wanted to be the graceful swan, but it turned out I was much better at tap. So I tapped, tapped, tapped my little heart out on the front hood of my parents’ brand-spankin-new 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass, which created much better tap acoustics than plain old pavement, and also created enough scratches that the finish on the hood went from a high shine to a dull matte. Needless to say my parents were horrified at the time (and pretty mad), but it’s become a popular family story that we all laugh at now! Sometimes I really want a new pair of black patent tap shoes – still love that click, click, click sound!

  119. I read your blog outloud tonight as my 15mo olds night time story while she drank her sippy cup of milk. She’s never listened so well! I can’t wait til she’s older and understands what I’m talking about so we can enjoy your stories and pictures together.

  120. Oh my goodness. That photo of Nella holding her doll. KILL ME NOW! It’s so cute I might die. No really. I need a girl.

    Also? I used to be a ballerina. Pointy shoes and all. I loved the Nutcracker. Went to see it this last winter and it always brings a tear to my eye. It’s just so beautiful.

    Ballet is all about discipline. I think that’s why I miss it. It challenged me. I hope Lainey keeps it up.

  121. Okay, don’t laugh… but is that Nella on the cover of that magazine?

  122. Kelle,

    This post made me smile. Lainey looks like such a natural ballet dancer. And her toes always seem so perfectly pointed in her cute little pink shoes. :)

    And HOORAY for Nella saying a new word! I love how you included in your post how she says “Baby” when she rocks her dolls to sleep. So precious!

  123. Another HomeRun, Kelle!!! You’re on a roll, gf….

  124. To let you know just how much I love reading your blog….I just stayed up through the whole newscast, knowing I am exhasuted and have to be up probably 2 times in the middle of the night with my youngest, and still be up at 5:30 am to get ready for the day with 3 kids 2 and under (2 mine, one I watch) just to get myself caught up with the last few postings. Life caught up to me and so I had to catch up in your life. Thanks for keeping me hooked.

  125. Lol… all the way over in New Zealand, my almost 8yr old ballet dancer wears exactly the same kind of leotard in exactly the same shade of lovely pink! And I too DESPERATELY wanted to be a ballet dancer as a child, but any kind of dancing was completely forbidden in the church I grew up in, so I’m reeeeally enjoying hearing people compliment my daughter on her dancing, wondering if maybe I do have some just-a-little-stifled dancing genes in me… somewhere…
    My posture also improves after I’ve watched the ballet class. Makes me wonder how bad it is when I’m not aware of it. Lol!
    Lovely post, as always!

  126. Such beautiful pictures, as always.

    The bit about loving Nelle even if she didn’t do those things really resonates with me. We have identical twins, one of whom has cerebral palsy, and I often find myself hedging my celebrations of either of them like this. Thanks for giving me permission to stop doing that.

  127. There is no way you were ever overweight! You are tiny! Tell me how you got into shape!

  128. I agree with Charla! Why not sign up?? It’s never too late. A few of my friends started dancing in high school. Then their moms wanted to start too (they were in their mid-40’s at least), and they were so beautiful and graceful. I’ve never read anywhere that ballet is just for 12 and under. :)

    Those ballet pics are adorable! And Nella with her Baby?? Precious.

  129. I cannot get over how fast Nella’s hair is growing! What is she eating? Boob? Probably, well sell me your milk! LOL

    Beautiful post today. I took ballet and dropped out, I took gymnastics and dropped out. My parents never made me fullfill my commitments. That, hurt me later in life. Now, my 13 year old I make sure she finishes what she wants to sign up for. Never a fight. Just knows it is part of the package. She did ballet at 3. Gymnastics later at 3. And played 4 years of soccer. Did ice skating at 4 through 5 and went back at 11. Now at 13 she is in DANCE! :o) Ballet, jazz, hip hop, lyrical and fundamentals. I wasn’t too sure about hip hop! Like your former school looked down on your dance credit, is how I judged it. And yes, I am a Christian and our church uses the arts to keep things contemporary. And yes there is dancing. I watched her hip hop classes and I am pleased it is not crotch grabbing or provocative. So, I am at ease at my proverbial “barre”. We are letting her do this to give her a foundation so if she wants to do drill team in college and she is doing fantastic!

    OK, I just rambled on and on about me! :o) But hey, I just gave you a mini blog to read.

    :o)

  130. I am just the same way… I always wanted to be a ballerina. I actually took ballet lessons for two years when I was 7 and 8.. but low and behold, they did not last and I moved on to other things. Now I look back on those lessons with a smile, knowing a got a taste of a dream that was just not meant to be. But if someday, someone should give me a pair of point shoes, I would more then gladly hang them on my wall :)

  131. I am so happy for you and beautiful Nella, you must be so proud of her! I’m still waiting for my Tommy’s “real” first word and he’s three and a half, but I won’t loose hope :) So i know how you feel about not wanting to get your hopes too high, because I’ve actually dreamed at night about what its going to be like when I hear him say something for the first time… Then I just remind myself that at least he’s making progress with his sign language and for that I and grateful and proud.
    You are inspiring, thank-you!

  132. I think we are kindred spirits. The last few times I have read your blog you play some of my favorite songs. Your family is so beautiful. I’m getting married in three weeks but someday I really hope to be as lucky as you are.

  133. My daughter is almost 7 and she took ballet for a couple sessions. I loved going and watching her and her teacher. I was in awe, I tell you, of Miss Colleen’s perfect legs. My daughter gave up ballet and turned to soccer…turns out Miss Colleen plays soccer too! I would love for my daughter to do both ballet and soccer. Doesn’t it just strike you as the perfect combination of feminine and athletic, graceful and kickass? If I had it to do all over again, I’d be a soccer-playing ballerina for sure.

  134. Beautiful! Lainey is breathtakingly beautiful in these ballet shots! And just when I think there’s no possible way Nella can get any cuter or make me cry yet again…dangit, she DOES!

    Oh, and I went to a liberal arts Christian college my first year of college and we just saved the African music gyratin’ for Friday nights and a handful of “cool” kids who found each other and stuck together. πŸ˜‰ One year was enough.

  135. I just have to say that I completely love that you said “Saluki” instead of greyhound or some other such dog. See, here in Carbondale, IL, we love our Salukis, and it’s rare that someone actually uses the word…more often than not we hear “What’s a SALUKI???”. So, from Saluki fans everywhere, I thank you!

  136. Oh thank you for this. I too was the loud, impulsive, clumbsy one. Finally, after I attempted my own version of an arabesque in the living room floor and knocked my little sister’s two front teeth out, Mom decided ballet tuition was better than costly dentist bills.
    I love every little bit of ballet you bring to this blog because it is definitely my passion, though I am not at all flexible and have the flattest feet you can imagine.
    It’s good to be reminded of the things I love.
    You’ve inspired me to post a poem that I once wrote about ballet. I’d almost forgotten about it. Thank you for the reminder!

  137. I always love reading your blog but today’s is just too much like my life. I love and relate to the picture you have so richly painted about ballet and all that it is and all that I am not. Please continue to celebrate everything…life is meant to be enjoyed!!!

  138. Do it! go take a ballet class! It would fun, fantastic and a great story! :-)
    I love how happy your little gals look. So cute!

  139. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I am so completely envious of Lainey’s dance class experience. If you could see the class my daughter is taking by comparison . . . oh goodness. Scarves? A barre? A teacher in ballet attire? And first position?! My little ballerina has none of that. We’re switching studios come autumn. Good job scouting out that studio, Kelle.

    And I can relate to your reasons for enrolling Lainey in dance class. I never took dance lessons either and when I asked my mom if maybe, perhaps, could I possibly take ballet lessons, it was too late too.

    Love the photos of both of your girls.

  140. Because I love her…..mom of four….three daughters. Yep…its all that matters. I told so many sports moms and academic moms and family and friends., yep…she will be perfect, and she was…..because I loved her! xoxoxoxo mom Anne of 29 28 and 24 yr old perfect kids! WHY?? Kel… you got it… cuz I loved them!!!!!

  141. Wow! When did Nella’s hair get so long? Adorable, of course!

    As a kid I wanted to take dance class and play the saxophone. I did neither. My mom told me that I wasn’t graceful enough to be a dancer. It was true (isn’t that one way to develop grace?) but I think she just didn’t want to say, “we can’t afford it,” yet one more time. I did take a class when I was about 28 years old. I had fun and learned a few things but adult expectations trumped my innocent childhood imaginings. I hope it’s different for you.

    My daughter will have the opportunity to go, try it out, and either embrace or reject dancing – it doesn’t really matter. Whatever she loves I will learn to love too!

  142. Uh, you were overweight?? I find that hard to believe! :)

  143. Kelle,
    I added you on Facebook because I just can’t get enough of you and your beautiful family, & as I signed on tonight I saw that you not only added me but had a new post, I grinned and did my inside happy dance.
    I don’t know if its because I’m pmsing or its just because all your posts are such gems, but none the less, I cried at the beauty and happiness of this post.
    Congrats Kelle, on your amazing girls.
    PS, I always dreamed of being a dancer, too. <3

  144. Loving your realization that you can’t force your ‘wishes and wants’ from your own childhood on your littles. But you can gently prod and push gently in that direction (like learning a 2nd language!!)

    Can I make a humble request ?? Love hearing your new music shares, but can you move your mixpod UP a bit … so we can see the song title/artist w/o scrolling through your thousands of fans comments? Would be uber cool-icious if you could :)

  145. Oh, how cute Lainty, the dancer is! Bless her heart.

    To have a daughter…!

    I danced classical, modern, jazz, show and tap and loved it. I think I got into dancing because of my mother’s love for it and she never got to dance.

    I would have loved to have a dancing child but none of my boys want/wanted to :-)

    of course one should celebrate every success, why not?!! I sure do, still do it with the twenty year old son and it’s so worth it and feels so good!

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  147. I have followed your blog since little Nella arrived. She was born exactly one week before my second son. I’ve never commented because there always seemed to be so many and I felt I would never be able to contribute.
    This time however, I must share with you on your realisations about Nella’s fantastic achievements – my first son was born with Down syndrome. He will be three years old in August and he STILL amazes me, every single day. Does he have delays? Yes, he does. But can he point to his body parts, choose the triangle, and grab the red bean just as fast or if not faster than his typical creche class mates (who ADORE him, by the way)? YES YES YES!
    I spent many months thinking “Don’t get ahead of yourself now…” and it was a complete and utter waste of my time. My son is beautiful and perfect and wonderful and really really smart! Yes! Smart!
    Carry on celebrating Nella and don’t ever be afraid that by celebrating you’re saying that only ‘achievement’ is recognised. You love your girl, no matter what – you know that and she knows that. And when she does something so smashing and fantastic that your heart wants to beat out of your chest with pride? Well, scream it from the mountain tops, pick her up and twirl her around, send out emails and pictures and have a little party. Just know one thing – you’re going to do it often because her achievements will NEVER stop. Enjoy!

  148. Beautiful. Nella. Lainey. Your writing. Your outlook on life.

    (I was a ballet dancer for eight years…did it four hours a day, six days a week, performed in the Nutcracker and other dances…then up and quit when I was sixteen. They let me, and I’m sure it devastated my parents, but they never really let it show. They always supported me in whatever I tried. You’ll be a great mom like that, I’m sure.)

  149. Beautiful remarks on celebrating accomplishments, and quieting the voices in your head. Nella deserves it – heck, we all deserve to be loved and celebrated the way you do for your girls! Pretty little dancer, Ms Lainey is…I too was a Saint Bernard longing to be more graceful(but I did don the tutu and slippers – my poor teachers!)

  150. First time commenter, longtime reader. I have been reading your blog for over a year. Love, love, love your passion for the everyday things. I am commenting today because I can no longer refrain myself…I, too, grew up in Flint, MI. Shopped at Courtland Mall, danced the Nutcracker at Whiting Auditorium. Only lived there for 6 years, but my dad and grandparents STILL live there. Just a funny, small world we live in. And no one really “gets” the Flint thing. “Why did your parents live there?” Um, it was all about GM dude. Anyway, just wanted to tell you it’s fun to read your Flint blurbs. Who knows…maybe our paths crossed at one point? I spent every single summer of my youth there going to day camps and sleepover camps. Lots of memories there :)
    Happy day!
    Kelly McCulloch

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  152. I always wanted to be a ballerina too. Oh my goodness are your girls adorable and Ms. Nella’s hair is getting long. Yea!!! on her accomplishments. You are so right about celebrating. We used to say the same thing about our Emma but since her brother came along we celebrate them both!! You inspire me always to be a better mom. Thank you!!

    Amy

  153. Thanks for the reminder to celebrate everything, no matter how big or how small!
    I admit, I was shocked reading that you were once overweight and lacked confidence. How the heck did you get past that???

  154. Gosh, I just wish i had such a adorable photos of me to remember my ballet years. I adored ballet and studied it full-time for a number of years. The only thing i have to show for it now are joints that are too flexible for my current fitness level! Love love love your writing and your beautiful photos. thanks for sharing x

  155. Kelle, have you heard of these classes: http://www.purebarre.com/ ?
    It’s ballet based exercise/toning classes for adults. Maybe you could get your fix that way :)

  156. Once upon a time, I dreamed of being a ballerina, too. My mother signed me up for a class when I was five and at the recital, we were all supposed to dress up as dolls. Some girls were cheerleaders or raggedy anne doll. One was a Chinese doll, another a shepherdess. I wore a Cinderella gown that my mother had sewn for my sister for halloween and called myself the ‘rich doll.’ When the teacher announced me as the ‘rich doll’ at the recital, everyone in the audience laughed. As an adult, I realize the laughter was because my self-proclaimed title was cute. But, at the time, I was horrified–I thought everyone was laughing at my dancing and my costume. I was already a pretty shy little girl, but to be laughed at by adults! My face flamed and I wanted to run away right there in the middle of the dance. I was so embarassed about the recital that I refused to return to the class. I’ve been scarred by it! LOL!! But, I still go to the Nutcracker every year. Totally relate.

    Love that pic of Nella with her baby doll–can totally picture her cooing ‘Baby’ to her little love. :)

  157. It would not be pretty if I tried ballet. I’m more of a shake your booty kind of girl. And you’re right about simply celebrating Nella’s achievements!

  158. I wanted to tell you that I truly love your blog. I read it everyday. You are a true inspiration. I don’t have kids but you are the mother i’d like to be. Keep up the good works. Your 2 daughters are so lucky to have a loving mother like you.

  159. This will make you all crack up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdylQeg5B9I

  160. I started dancing at the age of 3, when my Mom signed me up. I did tap and ballet. Oh, did I love it! Recitals were amazing, dancing with friends I loved, and dressing up in the costumes…oh how I loved it! I remember, as young as I was, I definately remember. Then my Mom passed away when I was 4 (3 months shy of turning 5) and I was done. Recitals were not the same, the costumes were not made the same. So, I quit. Boy do I wish I still knew the beautiful ballet positions, the tap dance routine to “Daddy” (originally came out in 1941, which I am sure was updated) and the ballet routine to “Little Grass Shack”.
    So glad Lainey is taking it all in and loves it so much, Every picture I see takes me back and reminds me of such a happy time in my childhood, memories that either slipped my mind or memories that I may not have even remembered until I saw the picture and thought, hey, I remember my mom making me a wand that I danced around with. She had a creative monster that just took over.
    These two words are so small, yet so huge: Thank you. For this whole blog…Thank you.

  161. I don’t have time to read the comments, but I think you should sign up for an adult ballet class. It’s in my plan for fall of this year, because I want to do all of the same things you want to do. I took ballet as a child, and then stopped dancing and I wish I never had.

  162. Ah Nella is growing up! She’s beautiful. I love to see those big ole grins.
    Just signed my big girl up for Gymnastics. Its my ballet class. So fun! Possibly the cutest hour i’ve ever seen…

  163. Ballet it beautiful, and I swear every year that I, too, will be going to see the Nutcracker Ballet in our classy 19th century theatre, also surrounded by seedy bars and strip clubs. But, alas…ha ha, something ALWAYS comes up. This year it will be a squishy little newborn keeping me at home while the the dancers float to Tchaikovksy, so I’d say that, at least this year, it’s a fair trade. I’m so glad you’re giving your baby girls the opportunities to learn ballet, or whatever catches their fancy! They’ll be better girls for it. I hope I always remember to do the same for my boys…I’ve got one that loves to write and take pictures…you never know :-)

  164. what a nice way to spend tuesdays and thursdays. I was a ballerina when i was little and worried that i would forget the steps. I still dream today that i am at a recital and i don’t know the steps. AH!
    Photo question, do you use a preset in lightroom to get the lovely black n white images? (Lainey at the bar, Nella with her baby)?
    thanks!

  165. Have you seen the Ballerina Project? This is their Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ballerina-project/22455674948?sk=info

    I always wanted to be a Brownie or Girl Scout. My mother did like them for some reason so I never was one. I’m finally joining my “Girl Scout group” and becoming a member of the Junior League of Gainesville!

    You girls get more beautiful every day. I look forward to your posts. I especially love your creative ones where you make something fabulous. I wish I had your creativity.

  166. Cute Cute Cute and Quadruple Cute! Love the new header, too πŸ˜‰

  167. Lovely post! I took ballet for almost 9 years, pointe was my favorite. My do-over would be to not be such a pre-teen and quit simply because I thought it was uncool to be a ballerina in 8th grade. But alas, I did. Fingers crossed my sweet girl will gravitate to ballet one day, but if shot put or ice hockey or bowling is more her speed, well then, rock on. I will be the loudest shot put/ice hockey/bowling cheerleader! And celebrate, celebrate, celebrate Nella! Yes, you would love her if she was an opening act, but she’s not…she’s a rock star!

  168. i love ballet!!!

    the photos is amazing!!!

    ooh too cute your baby girl =)))

  169. I admire how you are truly able to be present in each wonderful moment with your daughters. The way you write about it is amazing. You make me feel as though I were right there experiencing it with you.

    You rock!

  170. I’d love to just squeeze that little Nella!! What a cutie! That “baby” is bigger than her. :)

  171. LOOK @ Nella with that head wrap on-she looks like SUCH a big girl!
    Enjoy your celebrations to the fullest!

  172. I was very quiet as a child and I honestly hated talking. I think it’s because my parents were alwasy so loud. I remember when I was 3 my Mom took me to see The Nutcracker and I sat in amazement the entire time. When we left my Mom said I looked up at her and said “Mommy I know what I want to be when I grow up.” When she asked “What?” I said “A ballerina because they never have to talk.” It took years of begging but when I was 8 she finally signed me up for ballet classes and it was a perfect fit for me. I excelled for 7 years until it was taken away from me.

    My daughter is 3 1/2 and asked me if she could take dance so I signed her up for a dance camp and when I put that little black leotard on her this past Monday I cried happy tears. She may not love it like I did in the long run but she’ll have the opportunity to do it for as long as she wants too!

    Love your blog and you and your girls are beautiful!

  173. There are two things we cannot do too much. We cannot be too kind and we cannot love our children too much. Celebrate the everyday moments. They are fleeting and fragile. I am working with a young mother who will say goodbye to her children too soon. She is preparing cards for all those special occasions she had dreamed of sharing with them but will not…graduations, weddings, giving her grandbabies. I cannot imagine the heart tearing anguish. I admire a mother’s love fueled effort to find a way to “be there” for them years from now. So see the incidental as if it were spotlit on the stage of life, because it is. Ballet, new steps behind a bright colored walker, pronoucing the word Baby…they are incredible moments worthy of framing and hanging in our hearts. I love you.

    –Poppa

  174. I was nearly as obsessive with ballet, yet, also added ice skating and horseback riding to the list. I could tell you the stats on every ice skater and race horse in the ’80s and ’90s….still know how to pick ’em when it comes to horse racing…too bad I’m not a betting kind of girl I’d have a nice chunk of change after the Triple Crown.

  175. This post made me cry! I know that feeling so well, the one where you want to give your kids the world. Oh, how I do! I want their childhoods to be nothing like mine. I don’t want them to have to grow up too fast, for big sister to have to be responsible for little sister, to worry about what they’re going to eat or to be embarrassed that they can’t afford a cheerleading uniform even if they make the squad. I don’t want them to feel like referees between their divorced parents (I already failed at the part where they don’t have a broken home), or to feel guilty when it’s dad’s turn for Christmas and they worry about mom being alone. SO- I’ve made it different. Their dad and I are friends, and we support each other’s parenting, including our new spouses/fiancees, and we’ve made it as open and fluid a co-parenting relationship as possible. Anna rides horses, English hunter/jumper, which does fulfill a childhood dream of mine, although it’s her dream now and I just have to step back and watch her fly. Amy tried dance, and my, my she’s a dancer, but not ballet as I’d have loved. Ballet bored her to tears. She wants ballroom or flamenco! It’s so hard to find those for a 6-year-old. So she’s decided she’ll try gymnastics for a while until she gets a little older… or until she changes her mind. The point of all of this, I guess, is just that it’s so easy to want to make everything perfect for them and so difficult to accept that we cannot – but there’s a whole lot of beauty in striving to do what we can without being overbearing and learning a lesson when they rise to meet all of those challenges we wish they didn’t have to face. Your blog post led me to all kinds of reflections on parenting. Maybe I should blog today:)

  176. I was soooooooooo excited to see Nella on the cover of Mamlode when I got it in my mailbox. I love her!

  177. The photo with Nella in the headband is so beautiful! I literally had a flash forward to her as a preppy cheerleader!

    I love youur blog and read regularly, but I rarely comment. I had to today – I had the same dream as you, to dance in pointe shoes on a grande stage – unfortunately I got bored with ballet 6 weeks in to classes when I was 5 years old!! I still wonder what it would have been like had I stayed with it..

  178. I always wanted to be a gymnast….they amaze me and I watch the olympics every moment every 4 years and search for Worlds or Nationals on my TV, hoping to catch a glimpse of those amazing girls in action.

    Nella’s hair is looooong!!! Did that happen over night????

  179. Love Nella’s pictures….just beautiful…Her “baby” is very loved!! Just so CUTIE!

  180. Oh and I agree with a commenter above, why not take a ballet class?? There are plenty of adult classes out there and it is great exercise. I took a hip hop class once at a real dance studio with my aunt. It was fun, funny and liberating at the same time.

  181. okay the first part about getting Laine the best shot put shoes because you love her almost made me cry, but then the part about Nella, oh how that made me cry with real tears down my face cry….she is so beautiful (they both ARE) and I love that you celebrate her….Personally, I have always thought her very advanced in everything so far!! she’s doing amazing!
    p.s. you are an AMAZING MOM!
    tara

  182. Kelle-Does your fam watch So You Think You Can Dance? You would love it. I am moved and amazed each week by these dancers. I bet Lainey would love to watch the dancers.

    I am in total support of you taking ballet lessons. DO IT!!

  183. Loved this post.
    Your girls are gorgeous, but Nella is captivating.
    Keep up the good work.

  184. never too late to take a ballet class! maybe it could be your july challenge πŸ˜‰ Love your blog so much. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading it each week!!

  185. Dancing is Dreaming with your feet…

  186. I think you should take a ballet class too! It is never too late =)

  187. I sat up straighter when I read about standing straighter πŸ˜›

    I try to do the same things with my children, creating those wonderful memories for them that I remember. and I have a similar conversation with myself about accepting that the memories we are creating might look different, and that is okay and even good.

  188. I agree with some of the previous commenters – you should totally take a ballet class. I taught violin lessons for many years, and always felt like the adult students enjoyed lessons WAY more than the kids did!

  189. Great post! Celebrate every moment. Lainey and Nella are both fearfully and wonderfully made!

    Beautiful girls!

  190. Kelle~

    Out of curiosity I googled Ineke Rush and discovered that she now teaches ballet at Mindful Movements in Newark, CA. Soooooooooo, I’m thinking you should add “take a ballet class from Ineke Rush” to your life list. :-) How cool would that be?

  191. I’ve just discovered your blog & I can’t stop reading! Your writing is beautiful. And your photography has definitely inspired me. Thank you, thank you!

  192. Both of your girls are so beautiful. Nella just gives me joy everytime I see her. I can’t even explain it. Thank you for sharing them with us!

  193. Wow! LOVE the header sooooo much πŸ˜€

  194. Nella is getting so big!! Her hair is so long!

  195. My 3-year-old loves to wear her hand-me-down tutu and dress up shoes that are in her dress up trunk, and on many occasions she’ll change and try on any number of dresses in her closet.

    I don’t hold a particular fascination with ballet – although I think it’s beautiful – but I’ve seen the skirted leotards and accessories pretty cheaply at WalMart and consignment shops, and wonder if I shouldn’t pick something up for my daughter. :)

    Even though you may not focus on the fact that Nella has DS, it’s pretty neat how she gives you that much more reason to celebrate those “little” things in life.

  196. Oh the picture of Nella holding her toes with the lace headband- it’s to die for! A ton of tears came with todays post. Always a good thing! :)

  197. kelle!

    i read this message on the tail of my tea bag today and it made me think of your post – “the universe is a stage on which your mind dances with your body, guided by your heart.” this is message is similar to what i take away from your blog. you may not have a tutu and point shoes (though frankly i think you could rock them), but you dance in your own way, to your own music and you let your heart be your guide. and your daughters, your family, and your readers are in awe of your performance. you are an inspiration.

    keep dancing, girlfriend!
    molly

  198. I am loving the new header!

  199. Love this. Really.
    I recently left my career for a less weird career and the first thing I did was enroll my three-year-old in ballet because goddammit she wanted to and I never got to as a I kid and I realized that I didn’t have to make the same lousy compromises my mother did and you know what:

    I loved watching her through that glass. I know /exactly/ what you are talking about.

    (I was going to type that in ALLCAPS but then I remembered this isn’t my blog. You can yell at us if you want to.)

  200. Beautiful pictures of your girl at dance class! And Nella is just about as cute as they come!!

  201. I cannot dance for the life of me, all my friends are dancers which is ironic because I am so tom-boy… very inspiring. I enjoy the positiveness that your blog exemplifies.

  202. Great post, as always! The girls are so beautiful, and I just noticed how long Nella’s hair is getting. Adorable! This part killed me: “Apparently, the Lord sayeth something about it.” Too funny! Keep up the great work, Lainey & Nella!

  203. As you should be! Celebrating….beautiful girls. Beautiful loving lives. Thanks for sharing them with us!!! They always make me smile…and YOU? You always remind me of what to NOT take for granted. Love now. All of it. So thank you….

  204. Anna Cate (5) did art camp this week, partly because I’m not like you with a plethora of craft supplies around my home. It was about 8 kids and one of the girls sat next to Anna Cate the whole week and she happened to have DS. She was precious, totally did all the art, engaged in conversation, wanted to hold Molly (18 months), and did it well even though Molly jiggled about, pouted at her Mom for making her wait to cross the street and was overall a precious child. I enjoyed talking to her every day as did Anna Cate. I know you hear stories like this all the time from parents of children with DS but thought you would want to also hear it from one who doesn’t and the inclusion that is happening all across the country. Like you said about the grief with Nella’s diagnosis, much of it was with what you didn’t know. You are helping to spread the word to those of us who DS doesn’t really affect and that is so powerful. It was such a joy to reach out to her, and the impetus is you and the community I’ve learned about through your blog. I just wanted to share:) Happy Day!

  205. I have always told everyone that watching my son play soccer is so special to me because he is GREAT at it and loves the game, the game that I gave up for him. I always wanted to play sports but was always too afraid to get out there in front of all these people to play a sport I wasn’t even sure if I was good at…until I tried out for soccer and made the team and was loving the practices. Then, I found out I was pregnant with my son and I had to give up soccer. I was young and in high school at the time. But now I get to see him do something that I wasn’t able to do and for him to be one of the best on the team…it just makes my heart skip a beat.

  206. Your post rings so true to me. I am a mom of 4 boys so I won’t be living my dancing dreams through them but I so want them to have all the experiences I didn’t.

    Your girls are cute as can be, and I love your blog.

  207. I can’t believe how long Nella’s hair is! That picture of her in the headband is SO CUTE! Usually it’s in her cute pig tails so it took me by surprise! Love that picture!!!

  208. I can’t believe how long Nella’s hair is! That picture of her in the headband is SO CUTE! Usually it’s in her cute pig tails so it took me by surprise! Love that picture!!!

  209. Lainey has a killer tendue! Love the picture of Nella sitting on the quilt. That doll she’s got a hold of certainly is life-like πŸ˜‰ …got me there for a second!

  210. Love your blog. You and your daughters remind me so much of my mom and I.

    Do you and Brett plan to have more kids in the future?

  211. Never fail to be moved by your blog and the pictures….the pictures tell such a wonderful story

  212. The picture of Nella with the quilt behind her is such a great picture of her. She is so cute! It’s definitely one of my favorites. She looks awesome with that headband on! Love it!
    (this is my first comment, she is just too cute to not be commented on!)

  213. Your Nella makes me smile…seriously, every time I see her sweet face. You were blessed with 2 beautiful little girls. And I would know, coming from a mommy who was blessed with 2 beauties of my own. :)
    Thanks to you for your blog…its my de-stressing time at the end of a long day. Lovely written words and gorgeous pics.

    Tracy

  214. I remember as a teenager telling my mom that I wished she had FORCED me to keep doing ballet (my glorious career was cut short when I didn’t like preschool ballet class :p), because then I would be beautifully graceful and etc. And probably psychologically messed up, but I didn’t think of that then. Not sure my mom knew what to say to that!

    And go, Nella! And that picture of her cradling her baby is oh, so, so, precious.

  215. I always loved ballet myself, and danced for years and years, and I started “late” I was 14, but I loved every day of it, and every class. and I think I need to get back in to dancing again now that u wrote about it. made me miss it so much!

    have a great day kelle! U made mine!
    xox
    m

  216. oh and I LOVE the new header, the hunter boots are to die for! want my son to have black ones like me>:)

  217. oh and I LOVE the new header, the hunter boots are to die for! want my son to have black ones like me>:)

  218. Kelle, I also have had a longtime love of ballet and dancing. Maybe it was reading “Ballet Shoes” that inspired me. These pictures of Lainey in the ballet class are beautiful!
    Nella looks so gorgeous with her hair in piggy tails and also with the thick head band on. She is thriving. xo

  219. Love to read your posts about both Lainey and Nella, but of course I am partial to seeing Nella’s progress. Embrace and celebrate EVERYTHING she does and don’t hold back or rationalize or over analyze… she will become her own person. Ahhh, I so wish Hannah had had a big sister like Lainey in her life. Nella is doing so well by seeing the examples her big sister present. Would love to send you a picture of Hannah in her tutu this past May. My little girl with the extra chromosome has danced 7 years with the local dance school. She is the only child in all of her 7 years of classes with an apparent disability. And she has done so well!

    Thanks so much for sharing the growing experiences with us!

  220. I’ve always felt like a dancer on the inside and watching dance can easily moves me to tears. Seeing your lovely photos of your beautiful daughter enjoying her ballet classes stirs that desire up in me all over again. When I was 5 I asked if I could take ballet and my mom told me I was too young so I waited all of my childhood for her to tell me I was old enough never realizing of course that I probably should have asked again at some point.

  221. Thank you for bringing back a fond memory. My mom took my sister and I to the Whiting when I was in grade school to see the Nutcracker. I was enthralled having taken a couple of years of ballet when I was 5-6 years old (it was supposed to help with my pigeon toes. I’m still pigeoned toed).

  222. That is so exciting! Yesterday we had a follow up with our SLP & OT. We check in every 4-6 weeks to make sure we are progressing and Kate has 18 words! 18! Her skills are scattered between 16-22 months(of typical kiddos)! I couldn’t believe it, I know as her mother she says these words but it does feel so good when other ears hear them too. They are little words like hi, bye, up pop, baby ect…but it makes me so happy. I was so proud of my girl.

  223. I just found your sight and your girls are fabulous. You’re vision of life is fabulous. And (while Lainey is adorable) I can’t help but smile every time I see a picture of Nella. She is gorgeous.

  224. I begged and begged my mom to let me dance growing up. That was all I wanted to do, but we couldn’t afford it, I guess. I took a ballet class in college and ended up adding dance as a second major. I’m not doing anything with it now (definitely again someday), but I am SO glad I did it.

  225. You overweight??? I would love to hear your story, as an overweight person myself I could use an inspiring story.

    As always I love the pics of your littles!!

  226. Okay first of all I just want to scoop Nella up!! Seriously turning into a precious little woman!! And I love that her baby is the same size as her:0)

    I took ballet from age 3-15. LOVED it but it was extremely time consuming and I picked high school life over dance. I miss it tremendously but I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I LOVE watching “Turning Point” and all of those other dance movies to see if it’s “real” ballet.. there’s fake ballet out there I promise. I’m happy that Lainey is enjoying her classes. She’s a beautiful pink ballerina!

  227. So, I’ve just had a crap morning, like really crap, the kinda crap you can’t talk about here in blogland, and I needed something to distract me. I hopped online to do some playing around with house colours and thought I would get up to date with my blog reading and yours was one of them. Kelle, do you realise what a superstar you are? When you commented on my blog I was literally jumping around, I had to go wake my poor husband up because I was too excited to wait and I totally bragged all day on facebook about it. And again, you’ve proven why you’re so loved.

    What you said about the “we’d still love her even if she couldn’t…” is something that’s been very highlighted around our house lately. And I may have been, or may not have been focusing on it too much. I don’t know, but I’m so glad you mentioned it because now my thinking isn’t so one sided.

    It’s so hard to imagine you not confident. Would you be comfortable telling us more about your journey pre-kids?

    And honestly, DO YOU KNOW you’re a celebrity? That people refer to you as “Kelle Hampton”, not just Kelle {or Kel or whatever you get called at home}?

  228. this made me laugh so hard!! i too, always wanted to be a ballerina…penelope even told me that “you can still do it, mama” because she doesn’t know that 31 is when you retire from dancing! anyway, loved the post as always…just one question….what is the deal with that baby doll nella has??? it look so….real.

  229. I too have an unrequited love with ballet. I simply think it is the most beautiful kind of dance. Sometimes when I find myself alone I work through a few positions. My parents did not have the inclination to pay for extras like dance. I got one year at age 5 and that was it. So much to my surprise my daughter asked to take ballet at age 3. It was out of the blue- we don’t watch ballet or talk about it. She has been in Dance for 4 years and is now transferring to a school that specializes in Ballet. She LOVES it. I am so happy for her.

    http://doveonawire.blogspot.com/2011/05/lifes-stage.html

  230. I have been following you from afar for a few months now. But I can’t hide it anymore, you are way too inspiring. That’s all there is to it. Your words, your photos, I love it all. You should be so proud of yourself for all the things you’ve done. You have made my day that much brighter, so many times. It’s time for me to tell you how much I think of you and your beutiful, touching blog. You were meant to do this. You’re the next “Oprah.” Go girl!!

  231. *Lainey looks like such a good little student…what a sweetie!

    *The picture of Nella holding her (amazingly realistic) baby doll made me want to talk all ridiculous to her like, “oh, you cutie, pootie, tootie, little buggy boo! I just wanna kiss you….tickie dickie, doodie poo…”

    *The Nutcracker….is that why you considered the name “Clara”? Love knowing how people chose their names. I had considered it because of Clara from “Heidi” :)

    *You should still take a ballet class!!!! Dancing and performing in front of an audience is still a dream of mine. I’m gonna do it, too! We live a very short block from our civic theater! It is so cool to have that tiny bit of history & culture so close to our home. We walked to “Beauty and the Beast” a few weeks ago, and our boys LOVED it! Later this year we will see Willy Wonka and The Diary of Anne Frank. And some day…..my kids and my hubby will see me dance on that stage :) Hey, maybe I can get a bit part in “Footloose” πŸ˜‰

    Blessings to you,
    Kelly

  232. Hi Kelle….I’m 19 and have been following your blog for some time now because I love your attitude towards life and your photography is amazing. I am also somewhat of a photographer, but it makes me so happy to know that someone else is as nerdy as I am when it comes to wishing they had been a ballerina. I definitely still pretended through high school and just recently in college. Nothing to be ashamed of! πŸ˜‰

  233. Way to go sweet baby Nella! It’s amazing how the words on this page inspire me. I look forward to all the different emotions when I read your blog with my morning coffee. These are my precious moments to myself. Thank you for all the smiles!

  234. ha! I took a movement class in college for the same prima ballerina dreams :)

    p.s. sorry my last comment (my first one!) was so lame, my friend and I were trying to see if we could figure out how to comment (I am so not a child of my generation when it comes to technology). anyway, love reading your blog- it’s a positive breath of fresh air!

  235. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to see a picture of Nella and not smile, especially in that little lace headband! Adorable!
    Ps. I am also in love with ballet, but I’m 5’10”, my butt is big and I have next to zero rhythm. Maybe I’ll grow into it??
    http://www.takeanotherstepmelissa.blogspot.com/

  236. I encourage my children to try new things, to go out for cross country or learn the banjo and if they decide they hate to run and aren’t as musically talented as they thought, that is okay with me. I don’t care if they become lawyers or organic farmers or anything in between. All I wish for is that my kids will find their balance of happiness and pursue it with their whole heart. I want them to embrace the whole world, to see possibilities in everything, to find joy in living and to understand what will be the right choice for them.

  237. Well hello there. I just stumbled upon your blog via a friends. I breathed Ballet and had to give it up because of finances. Loved reading your blog and I hope you enjoy every second of your little girl dancing with all her heart. Stand tall and keep dreaming.

  238. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more adorable pair of pigtails! Go Nella.

    I love Lainey’s concentration at ballet. Priceless!

  239. I love babies in white onsies!

  240. I have always wanted to take a ballet class too. I was never graceful enough for it though. My parents also couldn’t afford it when I was little. I have boys so ballet classes for my kids won’t happen but if I had girls I would be looking up the nearest ballet class, getting the shoes, and tutus. :)Your girls are adorable.

  241. Beautiful! The cuteness factor is sky high!

  242. This post is beautiful…there are so many things I hope and dream for my future children. Things I wish I did. Things I wish I NEVER did. But we all make mistakes. I’ve made plenty and will make a zillion more. My only hope is myself and my husband can be better for it – better partners, better parents, better people.

    Thank you as always for your blog.

    Hugs,
    CC

  243. I took ballet for eleven years, and now my 4-year-old is taking it. Happy tears for sure. Yay for Nella!! My 15-month-old calls all her babies ba-bas

  244. first-everything is easier when your tongue is sticking out, giggle love that one. Nella, what a blessing so sweet I can almost hear her say baby. Your beautiful photographs never fail to convey your love. Hugs have a lovely weekend!

  245. So so true! Why have I not stopped saying those silly words myself. I will begin wholeheartedly celebrating my sweet James’ victories and NEVER again utter “but I would still love him just as much if he couldn’t….

  246. I laughed out load when I read the saint bernard comment. I use to listen to Elton John’s tiny dancer and pretend that I was a ballerina, and that was in my teens as well. Today at 35 I’m still trying to move more gracefully and lower my voice, but it’s not really happening. O.K. I dont run into the corners of the walls so much anymore but you get it. You made so many good points in this post. What a great way to start the weekend.

    Cheers!

  247. Your ballet pictures bring back memories. Our ballerina is much older now and still dancing, and yes, I still enjoy watching through the window. The teacher rattles off a mouthful of ballet terms and the classroom full of dancers begins to dance in unison. A Christmas Tradition of ours is for my mother, my daughter and myself to attend a Nutcracker production. We started including my daughter when she was two years old. We dress in our fancy Christmas dresses and admire all the beautiful dresses the really little girls are wearing and say things like “you had a dress like that” or “oh, look at that lace”. We know the show by heart, and even recognize certain dancers, but we watch as if it is our first time seeing The Nutcracker. We love it.

  248. That last picture looks just like the shot I got yesterday of Jesenia! She is finally up and at on the walker herself. And we made a big deal out of it, including her brothers. :)

  249. Words taken out of my own ballet-less childhood and teenage years! I did actually take years and years of “jazz” dance, I always wanted to take ballet, but some reason my mum never decided to let me do it. I also wanted to be those girls who I thought were special who did all 4 – jazz, tap, ballet and lyrical. How jealous I was. Even now, watching Black Swan, I long to be in the corps! lol

  250. I love the picture of Nella with the white headband! Wonderful!

  251. The picture of Nella hugging her baby doll is beyond words. Precious is an understatement. And the pics of ballet make my heart yearn for a little girl like you wouldnt believe. I am blessed with two beautiful boys, so pink tutus are not in my foreseeable future…

  252. Lainey makes the perfect model for “a pampered woman” :)

  253. I’ve so loved what you said about the bond and can’t wait to hear more- we’re feeling it here in a parallel universe too. Charlie’s biggest concern that he voiced out loud was- but we wanted a sister for Maddie to play with- now we have it- but we didn’t have faith those early months I’m sad to say.
    And yes- celebrate those milestones- don’t feel like apologizing. I think the fact that you celebrate so much in your life is just teaching your children inner pride. It’s cool.
    And one last thing- do you guys have this book? We had it from the library and I need to buy a copy for Maddie- and trust me there are versions that aren’t hundreds of dinero- I’m not sure why Amazon’s list price is so high.
    Sweet sweet ballet pix with the abcs. Maddie likes to try to act out each pose (she takes dance during the school year too. Check it out!

    http://www.amazon.com/Your-Toes-Ballet-ABC/dp/B000C2GNM0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1309005511&sr=8-2

  254. FOND Déjà vu memories when I French Braided my little girl’s hair and sat through many heartfelt, pride-bursting dance recitals….some 25+ years ago!

    xoxo,
    Bug & Ruby’s Gram

  255. I stumbled across your blog about a year ago. It is long overdue that I comment to let you know I love your posts… I am a blog reader “friend” from Michigan, a teacher for kids with special needs…and Nella’s biggest fan. You can see it in Nella’s eyes that she will go on to do great things. Keep doing what you are doing– and never give too much credit to tests or what professionals say about potential–Nella will prove them wrong. What a tribute to you that she holds her doll with such love!

  256. I loved the Saint Bernard/Saluki comparison. I, too, feel the same way sometimes. And I definitely laughed out loud at the shot put comment. Haha.

  257. Kelle, never silence that hopeful voice. along the way, you will hear from people that “bragging” isnt ok, that getting excited when your child does something they had to work extra hard for is wrong, somehow. It IS possible to celebrate your childs accomplishments without demeaning OTHER kids with DS…but it can be really hard when you have a child who does things a little more easily. Ciarras 13 tomorrow (GASP!) and she still shocks me sometimes, I had to learn to NOT be surprised when she did something I “didnt expect because she has DS” Last week, she was telling me that something I had said was an IDIOM. And then she explained what an idiom is, gave me 3-4 solid examples, and wandered off to play video games while I stood there with my mouth hanging open. (An example of an idiom, for those who have forgotten, is “hold your horses”) HA! She teaches me every day to never underestimate her. I adore this child, and I love that she is teaching me new ways to see “different”. Enjoy nella, and dont be afraid to be surprised sometimes, to have high expectations, and to love her no matter where on the spectrum she falls. some areas will be good surprises, some will be bad. ALL will solidify your love. Heres to nella..and Ciarra!

  258. What a beautiful blogpost!

    Your girls are so lucky to have you as their mother.

  259. just thought I would tell you about this idea. I have some friends who very inexpensively put a ballet studio in their girls room. They just bought 3 good sized mirrors and hung them close to the floor. Then they bought inexpensive handrailing at Lowe’s and put it on the wall. The kids play with it all the time!

  260. I can completely relate on the ballet thoughts. I don’t have a daughter in ballet but I am a nanny and would take the little girl I care for to ballet. I would constantly ask her to do her arabesque because the child is so full of grace and amazingly long legs that it amazes me. Every time that I would take her to ballet class it would make me feel taller and I would feel graceful just walking the halls of the studio. I would have to refrain from dancing on our way out. There is definitely an inner ballerina within me. Sometimes I wonder … what if. But, no use dwelling on the what if. Right now I just enjoy the talent that I see in others … and still long for a dance class (or two) of my own :-)

  261. Beautiful as always! Maybe we’ll see Nella on Dancing With Stars one day..! How awesome would that be!

    :)

    ——————
    -Rick (Noah’s Dad)
    Check out our fun one minute videos about our son who was born with Down Syndrome!

  262. The girls are growing up so beautifully! I can’t get over Nella’s adorable smile! The sisterly love is just heart warming! I read your blog and will giggle out loud at the cute things they do!
    Bless you!

  263. Nineteen and too old to dance around in a friends borrowed shoes? I’m nineteen and have just started beginner classes at a ballet school for adults. I also just bought tickets to the Australian ballet’s ‘Swan Lake’ so I can definitely relate to your fascination with dance. xo

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