Up and At ‘Em

Lately, the sky has been less than cheerful, cast over rather with a gray haze that, if we’re lucky, builds into an ominous blue in the afternoon. I like the storms, the thickness of the clouds, the sound of rain to rooftop.

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It slows our pace and keeps us indoors except for the occasional brave outing we make, equipped with umbrellas and wellies, to the bookstore.

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My girls love the bookstore. We hide between aisles of Dr. Seuss and Amelia Bedelia and chase Nella as she weasels between shelves, giggling and looking back to see if we’re after her.

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This shot was kind of accidental. I crouched down to get a shot of her shimmying away from me and happened to notice the book to my right. Ha.

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We found our respective characters in a stack of Mr. and Mrs. books.

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…and we finished our afternoon shopping for presents for Brett’s birthday, an annual tradition. The rules are simple: We walk in Dollar Tree, I hand a basket to Lainey, and I butt out. No suggestions, no interventions, not even when it’s a completely inappropriate gift.

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Like Lucky Charms strategically shelved at a toddler’s eye level, this collection of porcelain shitzus screamed “Buy me.”

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She dropped two into her basket along with a silver glitter cell phone case, a light saber, a hummingbird feeder, a package of “I heart USA” yo-yos, some kitchen spatulas and my personal favorite, four sheets of Alleluia stickers.

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‘cuz Lord knows he’s been wanting those anyway.

The card is the best. She chooses Brett’s card for its pictures–dogs with wayward tongues or googly-eyed cats–definitely not for its appropriate wording.

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My girl loves a birthday. Candles and songs and presents, she knows how to make them feel special. I know he felt special.

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*****

Yesterday was a long day.
I was’t going to write about it because I’m already over it, and looking back it seems a bit silly now. But it’s important to me to be especially honest about Down syndrome on this blog. It greatly pales in comparison to the myriad of rich events and moments in our home and therefore, it fades to the background of our life, evident in my writing as well. But there are times where I remember, if but for a moment, the inconveniences and extra worries an extra chromosome brings. Yesterday was one of them. We started with a quick dentist appointment to check out some concerns in her mouth which led to a doctor appointment and, by late afternoon, I was vulnerable and anxious, reminded of all the increased likelihoods that come with Down syndrome. I sat in my car holding a script for a blood test, Nella asleep in the back seat, and I cried for the first time in a long time. It’s not really about Down syndrome either. It’s far more related to the searing vulnerabilty loving a child brings. Maybe we feel it a bit more when we have a child with special needs, but everyone feels it at different places along the journey. I love them so deeply, so fiercely, so wholly that the thought of them not being okay is more painful than that of my own well-being. There is fear in parenthood, and maybe more with special needs parenting. That fear never really disappears, and I’m well aware it exists. My job is to find an appropriate place for it, not to bury it completely but to manage it, to never let it outshine our zest for life and adventure. Sometimes, it’s good to go there. To think about the what-ifs and sympathize with the families that do experience this reality. And it’s uncomfortable. But I am becoming familiar with the beautiful process of ups and downs, ebb and flow, victory and defeat. They depend upon each other. We wouldn’t know defeat if we didn’t have victory to measure it against, and we wouldn’t understand that breath-taking happiness is so wonderful if we couldn’t compare it with lesser days of disappointment.

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From the parking lot of the doctor’s office, I drove straight to the grocery store with one goal in mind: I wanted sunflowers. So, while my girl slept in the back of the cart, I loaded up the front with a vibrant bouquet of happiness.

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This morning, things are better. Nella’s spark has returned, and we’re pretty sure she has a little virus in her mouth, nothing to do with Down syndrome which is generally the case. No biggie.

****

June concludes today and consequently, my June challenge. I learned that getting something done is far more achievable and enjoyable if the goal is shared. If you make it fun. If you give yourself a break once in a while.

I missed some days of running. There were a few days when I had great intentions, lacing up my running shoes, planning my course, pumping up my enthusiasm. But it didn’t always work out. Nella needed me, Brett was out the door, Lainey requested a partner for sidewalk chalk art. I may not have made it past the driveway these days, but looking down at my tennis shoes while I chalked out an ocean scene or pushed a wagon, I smiled knowing just because I wasn’t out of breath or timing my feet to hit the sidewalk cracks on the downbeat of Billy Jean, it didn’t mean I didn’t accomplish my June goal.

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I pushed myself. I learned something. I instilled a new passion to continually raise the bar and to accept that falling back is part of the game. It’s how you pick yourself back up that really matters.

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I am up and running today. Tomorrow is a new month, and I will face it ready to run.

*****

July will be delivering several sponsors I’m really excited about. Stuff I love and want to share. One of my favorite jewelry stores, The Meg Shop, is back today. Remember my favorite earrings? Her store is stocked with many more like it as well as unique handmade necklaces and bracelets, all generously priced. Use code “Enjoy10″ for 10% off your order. And one comment will be randomly selected from this post to win these earrings from The Meg Shop:

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We’ll be back tomorrow for another post.

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Happy Day.

If you get BYU T.V. (we do), you can watch Nella’s story along with two other beautifully inspiring stories on Fresh Take T.V. tonight at 7:30 p.m. (check your listings, this might be different for time zones).

Here’s a sneak peek from the Fresh Take blog or check out yesterday’s preview post.

Comments

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  1. Always enjoy seeing pics of Nella and another little girl named Lily (A Perfect Lily)that I have fallen in love with in blogland. They couldn’t be any cuter!

  2. Love this! Those pictures of the girls with the books are too cute. And I LOVE that Dollar Tree idea! Might have to borrow that one. My two-year-old would get a kick out of that!

  3. Love the honesty. Need the honesty. I never know if my fears and tears are about Down syndrome or about parenting.

    The girls are beautiful. And did you happen to notice if “Little Miss Stubborn” is still in print? We have many of the books from when Matt was little, but I need that one for Ellie.

  4. AHH! I can’t believe I’m in the first dozen comments!
    I always love seeing what Lainey picks out for Brett for his birthday, haha, such a great tradition!

  5. I found you yesterday, and I think I read you for almost 6 hours. I needed your posts. I needed to choke up and realize “its not about wood floors”. To remind me of so many things that are right in front of me! Its totally about the little things. You rock. I’m so happy that I found you :)

    Nelly :)

  6. I’m glad Nella is ok!
    Well done on completing your June Challenge! You’re an inspiration to us all :)

  7. I love the bookstore photos, too cute. And I keep forgetting to say so, but your new header is my favorite one yet…I hope you keep it up for a long time!

    And Megan (team lando)- I thought of that right away when I saw that book- you DO need that for Ellie! :)

  8. Welcome Nelly. We love our Nellas and Nellys ’round here.

  9. Can’t believe I am commenter #4 – usually I am in the multi hundreds… maybe my lucky day! Great post once again:)

  10. I love how you are able to go buy sunflowers to brighten your day that you had! I should try that!

    You are a FABULOUS Mama!!

  11. My sons are now 12 and 9, and are sometimes too cool to hang with Mom (what? already?!) Visiting the bookstore together, however, remains a beloved pastime, I’m happy to say. We go to our respective areas, coming together to share our finds every so often.

    Blessed be, Kelle and family!
    Denise

  12. Wow, what a sky!! I guess the storm season is about to show, over there?
    I’ll save reading your post ’til tomorrow after work – will need it to look forward to :-)
    Feels great knowing it’s there.

    Love your wonderful feeling in the post already, though.
    /A

  13. Can totally relate as I am a mom of a special needs teenager. Love the earrings! Kris in MD

  14. The line in which you say: “I love them so deeply, so fiercely, so wholly that the thought of them not being okay is more painful than that of my own well-being.” is one that really hit home for me.

    My daughter is currently experiencing some medical issues herself and, although they may be small in the grand scheme of things, they are huge in our world and, if there was anything I could do to make it better for her, I would.

    Thank-you for putting things into perspective for me and showing me that it is ok to have my moments of sadness and vulnerability, but it is important to see the silver lining too.

  15. We are all here for you! Always.
    I hope you purchased that book! LoL!
    Blessing to you and your beautiful family!

  16. I always think about buying myself flowers to cheer myself up but I never follow through. Next time, I’m treating myself! I’m glad you picked yourself back up & found the strength to greet another month with joy. Every day is a gift!

  17. I adore those earrings. And was thrilled to see a post from you just before I head out for the weekend!

  18. I love the Dollar Store ritual. It’s such a great idea to let her do her thing. :) I love those Meg Shop earrings!!!!! Happy last day of June.

  19. What a sweet, thoughtful post. I always enjoy reading your writing and envy your flow. Currently reading “If You Want To Write” per your recommendation :)

    Also, those earrings are glorious!

    XOXO,
    Alli

  20. Thank you for being so honest. Thank you for sharing so deeply. Thank you for making me cry, yet again with your words.

    I LOVE the picture of Nella escaping!!

  21. Love the vulnerability and honesty that comes through in your posts. When you wrote that you sat in the car and cried worrying over Nella, I wanted to cry with you. I’ve been in that position many times, not because of Down’s Syndrome, but because I’m a mom to a preemie with heart defects and just because I’m a mom.

    Brett’s birthday tradition had me hysterical though. I might just go ahead and steal that idea since I never know what to buy my husband. Might as well let my girl shop for him.

    Your girls are beautiful. Take care :-)

  22. Kelle, I guffawed outloud at work at those alleluia stickers. I LOVE the dollar store birthday. Seriously it is awesome.

    Sorry to hear that Nella’s got a little mouth bug and even sorrier that it brought you down. Your attitude is awesome though. And you’re right. Parenting (any child) is scary sometimes but you do an obviously great job. And that love you feel for those two little girls is so evident and amazing and it has rubbed off on a whole internet-world full of Lainey and Nella (and Kelle and Brett) fans.

  23. Glad to see you are raising two book monsters!

  24. I would love to win the earrings, I am trying to redo my wardrobe and these would be a great addition.
    I LOVE your Dollar Tree idea, my daughter is only 6 months but I will try to remember this for when she is bigger for her dad’s birthday, what a great idea.

  25. love those earrings and love your blog!! :)

  26. You never cease to inspire me.

  27. I love this summery post…the summery girls, the summery boys’ haircuts. I love Naples. I got some flip-flop/beach chair wall art there once that hangs in my bathroom…it gets rave reviews and I love saying, “thanks. we got it in Naples.” And we did. At Wal-Mart for $9.99. 😉 Here’s to an amazing July!

  28. I was laughing so hard as I read the gift choices Lainey made that I had to read it outloud to my kids…then I laughed so hard again I cried…especially the card…:-)

  29. love love love the birthday tradition! What was Brett’s reaction to the stickers??? LOVE this post.

  30. Love. Love. Love.

  31. Every time I read this blog I want to really learn to photograph. Your pictures are always amazing as are your words.

  32. I love the books. I am definitely Little Miss Trouble :)

  33. “There is fear in parenthood, and maybe more with special needs parenting. That fear never really disappears, and I’m well aware it exists. My job is to find an appropriate place for it, not to bury it completely but to manage it, to never let it outshine our zest for life and adventure.”

    And speaking the fear takes some of the scary out of it. Thanks for writing it down and sharing your fear. My adult autistic son, living with us, may live with us forever. But what then. This is my fear.

  34. Ok, the Dollar Tree idea is great! And the items Lainey picked out are hilarious. I think it is great to see what their little minds are thinking and glad to hear Nella is fine :)

  35. Been there done that: dr visit for regular checkup which leads to trip to see phlebotomist. The Love Magnet quietly sits for blood work – doesn’t cry- and then has to hug everyone in the office while she shakes her finger at them and tells then “Don’t do that again!” Quick stop for milkshake cuz The Love Magnet knows we ALWAYS get a milkshake after bloodwork. Then scary call about bloodwork telling us to head to cardiologist/rheumetologist/anyologist in order to have something confirmed or denied. It usually turns out to be nothing and we’re back home, swimming at the neighborhood pool. At that point, I start to look around at the other kids The Love Magnet’s age and reminisce on what ‘normal’ was like before the ‘new normal.’ No. I still wouldn’t trade this life.

  36. love the pic of nella escaping you at the bookstore…so cute. Your hair was also a plus. xoxo

  37. You have alot to be thankful for.
    thank you for reminding me that I do too.

    my favorite part:
    “We wouldn’t know defeat if we didn’t have victory to measure it against, and we wouldn’t understand that breath-taking happiness is so wonderful if we couldn’t compare it with lesser days of disappointment. “

  38. I love your blog so much. I recently began a career in social work and I am finding that I get very involved and my emotions are just drained. Your blog has been an escape for me and I could never express to you how much I appreciate it. Give those precious littles a hug for me.

  39. What an awesome post. I love the fact that you had a good cry yesterday… even though it was during a time that you felt helpless and vulnerable. A good cry can be very healing. However I am really super happy to hear that Nella is likely going to be just fine.

    I’m dying to know Nella’s height and weight. She seems so petite nestled on your hip, it is very endearing!

  40. am enjoying that you wrote the heart-wrenching right along with the happy-happy.

    Love that she picked out all of that … amazing stuff … for Brett’s birthday .. what a great girl she is !!!

    Love the Sara Bareilles instrumental too ….

    (and is it wrong to say that I’m grateful to you for admitting “online” that you didn’t run every day in June … cuz we’re not all perfect and shit, right???

  41. Sunflowers have been my favorite flower since childhood! They’re the perfect pick-me-up, because sometimes you have to make your own sunshine :)

  42. What a great birthday tradition! I am planning on doing an unbirthday party for my husband next week and I may let my girls do that for his gift.

  43. Lainey’s birthday gifts and card made me laugh out loud, as they did last year. And one of our favorite outings (2 1/2 year old and 1 year old girls) is the bookstore. Your time there looks a lot like ours, and coincidentally I TOO saw Catch That Baby while pulling my 1 year old off the shelves :)

  44. I truly believe that being a momma means having your heart live outside of yourself. I hope all is well with little Nella. Peace.

  45. I totally get it. Those days when the fears about what can happen when you have a child with Down Syndrome. I still remember with perfect clarity the day my Chloe was diagnosed with Leukemia. It was the first and worst of all my fears when I heard she had Down Syndrome. Now after having lived through the scariness, we are back to enjoying the gifts she brings us every day by being her special amazing miracle of a girl. Even the worst fears can still bring incredible feelings of gratitude and faith.
    Oh, and the pictures of Lainey and the birthday shopping trip, had me literally laughing out loud!
    Caringbridge.org/visit/chloemalena

  46. Wow, I am loving that storm picture. Just wow. Impressive lil storm cloud, eh? And I am just dyin’ to know….did Lainey snap the pic of Mr. Messy?!? Impressive, once again…she has your talent!! Bwahahahaha…so precious you three are. The Dollar Tree shopping….what can I say? Other than PURE RIOT!!!!!! Alleluia stickers and the card take the cake. Pun most definitely intended. It is fantastic to see all of his kiddos surrounding him on such a special day. And GO YOU!!! Whooo hoooo for June and onto July. Wow….the time. Where does it go? Happy 4th to you and your clan!!!!

  47. Thanks for posting such honest pieces of your story with Down Syndrome. Although, I agree, I never knew the depth of pain and worry I could feel until I had a child. Just a part of parenting…

  48. love those earrings! so glad they are back :)

  49. What a wonderful birthday tradition! Reading Laney’s gift choices made my day. Thank you!

  50. I am always encouraged, enlightened, and enriched when I read your blog. Thank you so much for sharing and glad sweet Nella is okay!

  51. I love the Dollar Tree gift idea, it makes it so much more special when the gift is handpicked by a child.
    Happy to hear Nella is okay as well.

  52. Brett’s birthday sounds like fun! Love the stickers and the card. Hope Nella’s mouth is better soon!

  53. happy birthday brett!!!!!! how i love that family picture with him and his birthday cake. the love of a family all together…goosebumps!!! hope nella is feeling better today. that picture of you and her with morning coffee is the best! babies in jammies….ahhh! lets talk soon. xoxo

  54. Love, Love, Love the birthday gifts from Lainey, especially the card 😉

  55. As much as I enjoy your pictures (and I really do), I also enjoy your moments of raw honesty. You are absolutely right…if we didn’t have pain, how could we celebrate joy?

  56. I have a son with special needs. There were times I felt just like that. I think it was a bit like mourning the fact that his life was not going to be perfect. But it would soon pass. It is so hard. You want the world for them.
    Hope Nella’s little mouth is better. I just think she is the cutest thing. She reminds me alot of my granddaughter Mabel. When I look at Nella I forget about the Downs. I just see a super happy fun little baby.
    My grandkids do the Dollar Store thing at Christmas. The gifts are so darn cute. I loved the stickers.
    That sky is scary. Love the book store pictures.
    Love your blog.

  57. Thanks for being honest Kel. I have been struggling with a fear, the kind where you only remember the horrible stories on the news and you vow to never let your kid out of the house again. Loving somebody so much is exhausting (emotionally) sometimes but it feels great to love hard. I would LOVE some new earrings:)

  58. Those dollar tree items just crack me up! I remember when she did that last year too!

    Earrings are gorgeous! :)

  59. Those dollar tree items just crack me up! I remember when she did that last year too!

    Earrings are gorgeous! :)

  60. I love the dollar store idea! I may have to borrow that one when my son is old enough – though i think you’ve got way more restraint than i do when it comes to butting out! Hope all is well with Nella and she kicks this virus soon.

  61. Love your thoughts on parenthood. It is so true…we love them so deeply and with all of our hearts that the very thought of something hurting them brings pain to ourselves…

    and p.s. love the earrings!

  62. Your blogs are always so inspiring, especially when the worries of motherhood seem to be an ever present dark cloud. Thanks again for your outlook.

  63. Crying is a “reset” button to get us back in the game. And, there has to be opposition in ALL things. We have to know the bitter to really enjoy the sweet.

  64. ‎”But the struggles make you stronger, and the changes make you wise, and happiness has it’s own way of taking it’s sweet time…”

    A little mantra as we roll into the month of July!

  65. The thing I miss most about living in Florida is the afternoon thunderstorms – how you can smell them coming and the air cools ever-so-slightly just before the sky turns purple and the rain pours down.

    Tim and I had the ‘vulnerability realization’ when Ada wasn’t quite one year old. The feelings had been there but once we gave the feeling a name it was easier to manage. Still, it was so unexpected. People tell you all about how the time goes so fast, and the terrible twos, blah blah blah. Never along the way was I warned of just how exposed you become when you have a child. She is my strength and weakness all in one. Amazing.

    Glad Nella will be OK :)

  66. We dollar tree for parents, grandparents and siblings for Christmas. It is SO hilarious. I have this tacky cookie tray and I bring it out every year because its just so funny! Adorable girls and pictures as always… hope Nella feels better soon!

  67. Looking at the Etsy show is dangerous for my credit card! She has so much cute, simple jewelry.

    And I have to tell you I laughed out loud to myself when I saw the card Lainey picked out for Brett’s birthday! I looked back at last years card as well – priceless!! I think you may have started a new tradition in our household – next year I’ll be letting my daughter pick out my husbands birthday card!

  68. Glad to hear Nella-bean is OK…I hope she feels 100% soon.
    Those earrings are so cute! Adorable.

    Enjoy the day. 😀

  69. Kelle – Your words are always an inspiration and have a way of reminding me to be grateful for every precious moment. Thank you.

  70. After reading last year about the dollar store birthday trip I decided to do it this year for my husband’s birthday (June 10th). It was so much fun watching my 5 year old walking around the store saying “Daddy would love this!” as she held up glow in the dark necklaces, a blue flower lei, captain America puzzle, a plastic beer mug and lots more including one of those porcelain dogs! It’s such a great idea and I plan on continuing it because he loved it!!!

  71. What a great tradition for Brett’s birthday!

    I know you like to focus on the positives and silver linings, but I really appreciate when you share your struggles, as well.

    Life is beautiful through and through, even the rainy and tearful days.

    Keep at it, mama!

  72. The traditon for Brett’s birthday is adorable, and Lainey is so gorgeous, as is Nella. Cutest little girls!
    And I appreciate how upfront you are about your struggles. I think reality is so important when it could be easy just to share the most beautiful part of your day, and not let people see the bad moments. Your attitude is inspirational too.
    I shared the outcome of my June challenge today at my blog & I’m pretty happy with what I achieved!

  73. My daughter is a Meg! I would love a pair!

    And I love that pic of Lainey almost at the end… All blurry at the edges. Spontaneous and delightful. She is a sprite, you are right!

  74. I totally sympathize with those panicky feelings that come with having any child, especially a child with special needs. I feel them at every echo test. But your blog inspires me to do just what you say…putting those fears in their place and make life as amazing as possible for my family. Keep taking those steps Nella. Can’t wait to see her do it all by herself!

  75. and those alleluia stickers! hahaha. what a great gift! so sweet

  76. I seriously cracked up, laughing out loud, at the card for Brett. So fun! I did this for Christmas one year with my 3 year old and it was awesome to watch everyone open their gifts from him on Christmas morning.

  77. I have never commented before but, just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your life stories. They give me such a pick up that I cannot really explain. I have had a very difficult year. Reading your blog takes somewhere that I just don’t have to worry for awhile. Thank you so very much. Nicole

  78. My brother and I have a tradition of picking out the most inappropriate card for the occasion for each other. It’s become a game now- who can get the quirkiest card. My older daughter- left to her own devices- would have chosen just as Lainey did based solely on the adorable factor of whatever creature graced the cover.

    I am glad to hear that Nella is ok. I do not have a child with Down syndrome- but each of our children has presented (over the past 14+ years of parenting) needs which were special- whether it was a health issue (as we are facing now with our 17 month old trying to figure out her gastrointestinal issues) or a learning disability. I can relate to the feeling of worry which makes you hold your breath, makes you ache for them and fight to get to the bottom of whatever is hurting them, or holding them back or affecting their quality of life. Your children are so very fortunate to have you for so many reasons- but in particular this sentiment you shared “My job is to find an appropriate place for it, not to bury it completely but to manage it, to never let it outshine our zest for life and adventure.” I will take that line to heart because I know that it is something that I need to work on in my own parenting- not allowing the anxiety to completely overshadow the living- the embracing of life. Thank you, again, Kelle for sharing your experiences- the worries and the wonderment of your life.

  79. You write some of the most inspiring & beautifully honest posts. Reading them and seeing the photos make me strive to be an even better mother :)

  80. Ok, the Dollar Tree idea is brilliant. Snagged and stuffed in my bag of tricks…. :-)

  81. I am so glad Nella is ok! It is so hard when you don’t know what is wrong and you just want them to be ok.
    Congrats on completing the June challenge. Thank you for challenging me to get off my but and get moving – we have had some fun walks mostly in the rain but they were so much fun. I had two kids at the door – saying walk – they were great little motivators and it didn’t hurt that I got to snuggle my little guy in the baby Bjorn.
    I Love the Dollar store idea – I especially love the card! My 3 1/2 year old picks card for the picture- you just never know what you will get.

  82. Those earrings are simply beautiful! Loving them!

  83. I’m loving those instagram shots or hipstamatic or whatever they are (I currently don’t own an iphone, therefore am behind on all the cool doodads). I also love what you let Lainey do for Brett’s birthday, how special is that? What a great idea, and it brings plenty of laughs and smiles all around too.
    Oh, and those earrings in my ears would be divine. :)

    Caitlin
    from black currant thoughts.

  84. Sunflowers make everything better… I always enjoy the “Brett Birthday Adventures’. The cards gat me everytime I read the posts…This one tops the cake.
    “Happy Birthday Son, Love Lainey”. I LOVE IT. Tomorrow my Mounted Police Officer will march in his first Canada Day parade…so tomorrow should be great. Sending Canadian celebration love your way!

  85. Thank you for posting that glorious storm photo. I miss deeply those skys, the sounds, the smells of a good florida thunder storm.

  86. I certainly don’t know all there is to know about Down syndrome yet, but I was wondering how the whole mouth thing relates to Ds? I tried to google it, but didn’t really see anything come up. Anyway, glad she is ok after all. The hardest days for me have been days like that. After bad news at he cardiologist or the day we got our nebulizer. Seems silly now, but I remember crying as I sat with her on my lap giving her first treatment. It’s SO not a big deal, but it was just the idea of it, I guess.
    http://teal915.blogspot.com/

  87. After you posted about your favorite earrings, my husband surprised me with them for my birthday. It was so sweet and they’re lovely! I would just adore another pair.

    I love the bookstore pictures and the thought of Lainey picking out special gifts for her Dad. Such a gorgeous idea! :-)

  88. I love how you call Nella “sister.” It’s sweet. Thank you for once again delivering an inspiring post.

  89. Congrats on your June challenge and get well soon to Nella!

  90. another beautiful post. i don’t know how you do it time and time again. we are not given more than we can handle and clearly you are AMAZINGLY gifted to be a mama to both of your adorable girls. thanks for sharing.

  91. glad your keeping the posts and self honest. it is in those moments when we can connect and yet not ever feel alone.

  92. Is there anything better than a trip to the bookstore with your little ones….I think not.

    Glad to hear all will be sorted out soon, and to see what a wonderful birthday celebration was had by all.

    Sometimes you’ve got to snuff the fear out, seek it, find it, squish it, mash it, and make it more like a pesky companion, fully aware it will never leave you, but taking it along for the ride.

    Fear drives us forward, and with fear comes the courage to do the unthinkable, to challenge the road ahead.

    Hugs and all things good in life.

  93. I laughed out loud at the beginning of the post, too. And felt for you when you talked about Nella’s mouth, among other things.
    Your blog is the best. I recommend it to everyone. And, since I forgot to get in ridiculous shape in June, thanks for reminding me that I still have July. :) xo

  94. Love this post. no surprise there 😉 Lainey is too cute picking stuff out for her daddy. I think we will have to start a tradition like that. The card made me laugh out loud… which was nice, I needed a good laugh today.
    Nella is beautiful!

  95. I love your ability to display the truth while not delving into the negative on a constant basis. It is important for us all to know that we are all human, with worry and bad days. I am glad little Nella is ok. I love the pic of her watching her sissy’s ballet. It is like my boy watching his brother and Dad on the ball field, he loves it. I always longed for a Momma’s boy, a son who just adores his mother. But it brings unmeasurable joy to my heart to see my boy worship his Daddy….it is really quite something.

  96. I love reading your posts and I rarely comment because I have ‘comment anxiety’ but I just wanted to say that Nella is so lucky to have a family that loves her so deeply. You have a beautiful and amazing family. :)

  97. The vulnerability in parenthood is something. I am so not a fearful person and about 3 1/2 years ago, with the birth of my kid came some fear I had never felt before. Talking about it, how different moms experience it and deal with it is one of my favorite mama topics. Because it is EVER changing. Sometimes fear is more like concern and other times more like panic and other times more internally focused. It’s a ride, but we’re in it together. Thanks for sharing.

    Run!

    Great to talk today. Hugs to Nella bean.

    x

  98. My kids (6 and 8) are at sleep-away camp this week for the first time and I’ve been an emotional wreck. Your Mr. Messy photo was just the chuckle I needed to perk me up. Thank You@

  99. Thanks for sharing, again. Being a parent is so heart-wrenching sometimes. I have three little girls 5 and under and the mere thought of something happening or when they get really sick…. it’s just so overwhelming there are no words. Enjoy your sunflowers and your littles :) Thanks again for sharing! Your blog has inspired me to keep going with mine even though I am sure no one reads it but me :)

  100. Love this post! The birthday present idea is great. My son also has DS and has had significant medical issues lately. I understand the need to have an occasional cry. He has to have a daily treatment and it’s unpleasant. It’s usually a fight which breaks my heart. Today was tough and as usual he cried after. I just sat in the floor and cried with him while my younger daughter patted our backs and told us it was okay. We had our cry, felt better and moved on with our day.

  101. I live in Utah so I’m pretty sure I get BYU TV. I will make sure to tune in tonight!!

  102. Some days I read and some days I just look at pictures…always fabulous. You’re a good mom. Best wishes for a very productive July…productive being a very relative word. :)

  103. As usual, I love all the great pics of your adorable girls! -Teresa

  104. I totally get the mama ugly cry after having to put on a brave face for my kids and try to totally understand whats going on. You are an awesome mama to those girls!

  105. already set up my DVR for the show tonight

  106. I see you climbing a very tall staircase to success. Very TALL.

    You have a talent, a beautiful heart, and hope for much happiness to you…

    XO

  107. I love Lainey’s presents for Brett. I remember laughing out loud when I read about them last year too. What a fun idea.
    Thanks for the goal inspiration this month. I had a goal to exercise at least 15 days of the month. I made it to 15 yesterday, and am gonna go one better to make it 16 today. Next month, who knows? Maybe 20!

  108. I love those earings! I set my DVR for fresh take tonight! Can’t wait! I also loved the pictures of the bookstore, I love taking my kids there on rainy days too! :)

  109. I am so glad Nella is okay, and it’s just a virus. I too, love so fiercely, deeply and wholly. Sometimes I wish I could just be one of those moms that doesn’t worry. ‘Cause we all know worrying doesn’t do anything but create more stress and wrinkles! My little guy developed some weird rash a couple weeks ago and the pediatrician was “concerned,” and sent us for some blood work. Didn’t really know what she was “concerned” about (she kept beating around the bush when I asked her) until I pulled up trusty ‘ol Google and read about this rash being indicative of Luekemia or Meningitis. Of course I cried the whole 4 hours it took to get the results back. He’s fine. Just a virus.

    Sorry for the novel! :) Love the Meg Shop earrings.

    xoxo, Meg

  110. Genius idea for Brett’s birthday! So fun! You are very, very creative with every single thing you do. I always tell my friends “I wanna be like Kelle Hampton when I grow up”.

    && also I love Meg Shop’s earrings!

  111. I never knew that I could love something so much until the birth of my boys and the thought of something happening to them is sometimes crippling. As mama’s we want to protect them from all the bad. I think we all have days where we could sit down and cry and I think that is okay. I think it makes us stronger in the end. You are a wonderful mother and Nella is so very lucky to have you.

  112. I am sorry you had a bad day yesterday! you’re girls are so adorable and I literally busted out laughing at my desk when I saw the birthday card!

    Love those earrings…I had some like that in gold in college. They were my ultimate favorite until I lost one.

  113. Looks like you guys had some fun! The girls are growing up sooo fast!

    -Rick
    Check out our daily one minute video about our son who was born with Down Syndrome!

  114. congrats on the june challenge. i completed mine, too–morning walks with kids and a 10lb weight loss!

    the dollar tree is a great idea. what a fun way to make her dad smile. now my question is, is brett going to use the glitter cel phone case? :)

  115. That parental fear that you speak of is so intense! I can only imagine with a special needs chid that it’s much worse. I’m so glad to hear that Nella is ok!

    I love those earrings, they are gorgeous!

  116. The Dollar Tree experience made me laugh out loud just as it did last year!

  117. Loving the dollare store idea for birthday! So cute! :) Your photos are amazing and your words are so beautiful! Thanks for making my day!

  118. You have a way of putting my words together so perfect.
    We had one of those days yesterday, shed a tear and worried for my little and then I woke this morning and rested so assure that she is perfectly made and we soaked it up today.
    Love the idea of the dollar store…

  119. Being a parent is scary business, but you do a wonderful job!

    LOVE those earrings!

  120. The last day of June and my bathroom did not get painted!! UGH!! But I did reach my goal of 4 bootcamps a week.

    July, bathroom is getting done, or maybe the bedroom, I just bought a teal distressed table. She’s a beauty and I am thinking of changing my bedroom so she can fit in……..

    Have a great 4th!!!

  121. Seriously, Lainey’s choices made me laugh out loud. I love her serious face as she decides which doggie to buy and the card is just priceless!

    I’m so glad Nella is okay. You are right about there being fear in parenting. I didn’t GET that until I had my son. I swear everyone forgot how to drive the day he was born! I feel like I should be hovering in a bubble above everyone on the highway!

    I just added your button to my blog. Keep on doing what you’re doing-I love reading!

  122. I love your blog, Kelle. I have a 6 month old baby girl, and your posts inspire me to truly enjoy each and every moment I have with her. I’m glad Nella is okay :)

  123. those earring are my fave! so simple and classic.
    love reading your blog! thanks for sharing such great pics of your fam. have a HAPPY 4th!!

  124. I was literally just thinking yesterday that the worrying is the one thing I can say that I completely despise about parenting. I can handle the bad days, the fits, the whiny moments, but the worry can kindly jump of a cliff. I have to constantly remind myself that it is just part of it all, but being quite a worrier even before kids doesn’t quite help my case. :) It does, however, help me to understand my own mother a million times more! I owe her big for all the times she kindly told me, “You just have to trust me that you will understand if you have children someday…”
    I get it now. :)

  125. Love your book store adventures! Fun times. Relieved to hear Nella is ok. Oh, and tell Brett I said “Happy Birthday, son”!!! LMAO

  126. Glad to hear that things are looking up for Nella. And I love the Dollar Store birthday idea, and what a cutie, with all her wonderful birthday presents for her daddy!!! SO sweet!

  127. I laughed out loud SO HARD when I saw Lainey’s picks in the Dollar shop.. Brett must have loved those. We started that tradition last year here too, and my husband got a pink pencil with love heart eraser, among other things. It will be the only present he remembers from the day, I bet!
    Love your blog, as ever.

  128. Cute earrings! Crossing my fingers I get picked!

  129. happy birthday to brett! he is a fellow cancarian, explains the love of the ocean. i still want to know how you guys met! is he a florida native? i am a small town minnesota NOSEY NELLY! LOL!

  130. such a moving post…keep strong, buckaroo! you are doing a marvelous job with everything and just think: if you are such an inspiration to your readers–whom you’ve never met & who have never met you–just imagine the impact you have on all those people, big and small, who live under the same roof with you. so plaster those Alleluia stickers everywhere, girlfriend. JOY TO YOU!

  131. Of the myriad times I heard/read advice, thoughts, opinions, facts, theories on all things motherhood, not once did someone or something lay it on the line for me as you did in your posting: loving a child brings searing vulnerability. But even if it had been laid on the line for me as such 6+ months ago, what in the world could I have done to prepare?

    The Dollar Store tradition is brilliant!

    Love the pictures…they tell a story all on their own.
    E

  132. I read your blog because while I struggle to remember all the perspecive that comes with parenting, you always remind me of it. Today I am struggling to enjoy being a mother to my two wonderful children. Junk in my heart and head is keeping me from remembering their awesomeoness and from giving me grace. But to read your words about how fiercely and wholly you love your girls reminds me that while I may be struggling today, I do, indeed, love my children to the ends of the earth. And a bad day isn’t the end of the world. It’s how youpick yourself up from it that really matters. Thanks for the really important reminder.

  133. our children- our hearts outside our bodies. this mama-love is fierce, isn’t it?
    shen

  134. Such beautiful photos- there’s just something about Florida rain…
    As usual, your little ones are lovely. Thank you so much for this blog!

  135. Thank-you for sharing the good and the not-so-good…that is what sets your story apart…love love your trip to the dollar store!!

  136. My little emma is 4 months old and she has down sydrome. Thank you for the honesty. I have so many fears of the “wait and sees’ but you’ve reminded me that parenting any child is a wait and see.

  137. your post got me thinking about goals and how I define achieving my goals. my goal for june was to get a job since i recently finished grad school. did I get a job? no. did i push myself to work hard and think positively and pray harder than i have in years? absolutely. hopefully learning these lessons helps me not only get a job but be a better social worker!

  138. I am completely stealing the dollar store idea for my husband’s next birthday!

  139. i love that you are so brutally honest when it comes to well, everything. thank you for sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly. yours is my favorite blog… :)

  140. This is such a beautiful post. Your honesty is inspiring, and your girls are just precious!

  141. Being a mom is downright scary, you’re right. But, we are all strong, capable women and it’s how we put one foot in front of the other that gets us through and brings us out the other side stronger and more capable for the next challenge :)
    Those earrings are gorgeous! I want!!

  142. LOL. The book shots are priceless – perfectly placed little bubbles of content via a book cover. Love it.

  143. your daughters are just way too sweet! thank you for always being such an inspiration!

  144. Your girls are so beautiful! Your family is so beautiful! I love what you do for your hubby’s birthday. I should do that with my kids!! The last time I let them pick out what he got, he ended up with underwear! What’s more precious than the heart of a child?!?!?! Blessings to you!

  145. I love the catch that baby shot :)
    And having family members with special needs can be tough, but it’s such a blessing to have wonderful… well, a sibling in my case, a daughter in yours :)

  146. I’m loving the vintage feel on the photos. =)

  147. I just discovered your blog the other day, and am amazed at your talent! It’s too bad you’re not here in Canada to take pictures of our family!! :o)

  148. I can’t wait to have kids and start a Dollar Tree store tradition. I think it is absolutely adorable, hysterical, and a great memory maker.

  149. Your decription of those little/big things that come with motherhood are always spot on and couldn’t be said more clearly and beautifully.

  150. You just caused me to snort out loud when I saw the presents your sweet girl picked out for her daddy! Can’t wait to adopt that tradition for my own nonexistent, future kiddos :)

  151. I love accidentally perfect pictures like the catch that baby one! We used to do the dollar tree thing for birthdays and Christmas. Unfortunately Peru doesn’t have a dollar store :(

  152. I just moved back to Orlando from Indiana for a while. The rain has been making me homesick, so thanks for showing me the beauty. Tell me if you bring the girls (and boys) to see Mickey :) I know some “friends” that would love to meet them!

  153. That Dollar Tree idea is wonderful, I will have to use that with my little bean when she gets a little older! :)

  154. Really love the dollar tree idea – a dear friend of mine told me that she did that last Christmas with her boys. I had to laugh when she said her oldest bought her floor cleaner!

  155. I love that your girls love books! My mom always bought my little sisters and I a ton of books and I am happy to say I love them still :)

  156. Thanks for being such an inspiration! Love the gift idea – my parents used to do that with me and my sister when we were kids too. My mom got lots of little figurines for birthdays, mother’s days…

  157. What a great post. Some days life just feels a bit hard aye. I had one of those yesterday. A moment in the car with floods of tears then shoulders back and off we go. Much love.

  158. Today has been a trying day and a post from you is just what I needed. Thank you!!!

  159. I love your tradition of Lainey getting gifts and a card for her dad. My son picked a birthday card out for me a few years ago that was in Spanish and said “para mi esposa”. The best card I’ve ever received and it makes me laugh everytime I look at it:))

  160. It’s still overcast here in Oregon…just waiting for sunshine to come. Maybe in July, here’s hoping.

  161. I am jealous of the full length glass your ballet studio has. Our 2 year old is in gymnastics and little sister LOVES to watch, but the viewing windows are about 3 feet too tall, I know she would LOVE to be able to stand and watch and point out of my arms.

  162. Your photography is WONDERFUL & I just love reading your post & seeing all the beautiful pictures of you kids! You inspire me in so many ways!!

  163. I love the pictures at the bookstore. And I checked my channel listing; it comes on at 9pm for me but I set my reminder on the tv. :)

  164. I am sorry for all the worrying about Nella!! she’s so beautiful! enjoy every second! I have been having alot of hard days with my 11 year old…hugs to you mama!

    oh and the June goal thing, I did 97 miles for june! My goal is 125 for July!!! thanks for doing that!
    tara

  165. Rainy days and book stores are the perfect combination! I may just steal your idea if the rain keeps on the other side of Florida!
    Hope Nella recovers from her little virus. No fun!!!

  166. Rainy days and book stores are the perfect combination! I may just steal your idea if the rain keeps on the other side of Florida!
    Hope Nella recovers from her little virus. No fun!!!

  167. Your dollar store idea is too cute. I laughed all the way through that part of your post.

  168. Thinking of you today. Thanks for writing the bit on Nella and being honest about the ups and downs. I’m so glad to hear that you took her and checked things out. Boy, these kiddos can sure worry the heck out of us at times. Lilly is doing well and healing up. Henry and I (just the two of us) are making the trek to Portland (6hrs away by car) on July 10th. Let’s cross our fingers that the trip goes well – yikes! We’ll send you an update and photos of our visit with Lilly girl. Just can’t wait to gobble up that wee-one. Give your girls an extra squeeze.
    Take care, friend!
    Kate

  169. Our children are our biggest joys…but yet our biggest worries. I completely understand – and sometimes a cry is just what you need!! Thanks for sharing!! BTW…Love those earrings :)

  170. Loving the honesty you portray in your posts.

    And those girls? *swoon*

    Happy nearly weekend!

  171. Those birthday gifts were the best:) Too cute

  172. This Texan is very jealous of your rain day! Love the pics of the girls at the bookstore, sounds like a perfect day!

  173. Totally identify with the fear associated with being a mom. That helpless feeling we get sometimes. You put it into words so perfectly.

    Loving those earrings!

    http://www.amandadovewells.com/?p=824

  174. I just checked and I do get BYU TV and you are on tonight at 9:30. And to top it off you are followed by Anne of Green Gables! Also good for you for letting yourself cry it out. Everyone deserves a good cry once and a while!

  175. In those last photo’s Nella’s hair seems to be a little darker… Love that you let Lainey pick out gifts for her Dad <3

  176. Kelle,

    Your honesty is appreciated so very much. It reminds me that on the challenging days, it’s okay to feel “off”, and that others are experiencing similar days as well. That it’s in a sense, normal. It’s funny though how the meaning of the word “normal” can evolve with our experiences. For me, it changed when Chloe came into my life and the world of special needs. I realized we create our own sense of normal…the-whatever-kind-we-want and that makes us happy kind. :) I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

    The dollar store birthday gift shopping? So fantastic! I smiled as I read the title on Brett’s card. Too cute!

    Another great post as always! Happy almost July. :)

    ~ Katie

  177. I wanted to ask on your last post if you had taken Nella to the doctor to make sure something else wasn’t going on with her increased neediness and lack of sleep but I didn’t. It can get annoying to have that ‘nurse friend’ who always thinks about medical things first. I just know from personal experience that whenever Morgan isn’t her usual self there’s usual a good explanation (i.e. ear infection, cold, etc). Glad it was just a viral thing for Nells! And yes, I do believe we feel a little more and deeper when we are a mother of a child with special needs. It’s one of the many blessings that came into my life along with Morgan.

    Happy Birthday Brett! Love the Birthday slash Easter stickers!

  178. I totally understand your need to grab those bunches of sunflowers. Bright, happy, from the earth, connected to something bigger, beautiful flowers.

    And your tradition to let Lainey have at it in the Dollar store just might become a tradition we start here – awesome.

  179. Love the Dollar Store idea – totally remember that from last year! I can relate to both the good cry and the need for flowers! We hurt when ANY of our kids hurt. Happy Birthday to Brett and Happy Independence Day!

  180. Love those earrings! Also, love reading your words about motherhood. As someone who has a hard time putting my feelings into words, it seems like so often you hit on exactly what I’m thinking about and word it so much more eloquently than I ever could. It feels good to have the feelings out there in words, even if I’m not the one who came up with the words.

  181. I love that you went and got sunflowers…my husband thinks the lilys I keep on our kitchen counter are a waste of money (I do get fresh ones every week or two, we are NEVER without) but they make me happy! Does Nella have hand, foot, mouth? Both my girls have had it and it would totally explain her being off schedule the past few days, poor baby :( My oldest has a few dental issues (soft teeth in the back that causes her some pain) and as soon as the pediatric dentist saw it he said was she a preemie and or under some kind of light as an infant…check, right on target she was 2.4lbs and was under a light which led to dental issues. We love the book store also although I think the workers hate when we come (my almost 2 year old grabs books by the armload and wants to carry them off and the 3 year old pulls out stuff looks at it and then carrys it to me to look at and then leaves it laying there for me to clean up)!

  182. I think if you don’t have those days every once in awhile, you’re not doing something right! Hugs.

    I love miss thing and the Dollar Tree. She’s hilarious!

  183. Special needs or no special needs we all have those moments Kelle and it is A O K!!!
    I just can’t believe how fast Miss Nella Bean is growing!!! Love watching your jellybeans grow through your photography!!!
    Thanks for sahring with us!!
    Sunnie in NC

  184. Amazing post, I love this. Love the sunflowers… a girl just sometimes needs flowers.

  185. I too love the occasional dark skies and stormy weather. Makes me appreciate the warm and sunny days even more!

    Glad the hear Nella is ok.

  186. “There is fear in parenthood…” so true, so consuming, so heart-wrenching, so worth it…

  187. Ah Dollar Store adventures. Love the “son” birthday card. Brett must be hiding a smirk behind that card. Love that you’re passing your passion on for celebrating people with your daughters. Happy Birthday Brett.

    And as for your recent low, I was there in the beginning of May when Alex was bit across the face by a dog that we adopted. It’s true – it’s the degree of passion and vulnerability resulting from our love that makes us so unprotected at times. To have their lives compromised in anyway is horribly painful. But it’s true you that you cannot fully relish the sweetness without experiencing the swells.

    I have to post something to the flicker site. I’ve been working my arse off in June, trying to finish a custom photo book. I have to thank my dearest friend, the salty dog, for giving me the encouragement to finish what I started.

    Enjoy the 4th. Can’t wait to see the photos from your local parade.

    -Jennifer from Annapolis

  188. That birthday tradition is so cute! What a great idea! I might have to start that around this house!

  189. your honesty with parenting is what I need during my darlest moments as a first time momma…thank you.

  190. I love the Dollar Store shopping! We do something similar for the kids at Christmas. I give them each $20 and turn them loose. Whatever they want to buy for Dad, grandparents, etc., they pick it out all on their own. I always love seeing what they think someone will love. Priceless.

  191. Your birthday tradition is awesome–it’s hilarious seeing what Lainey picks out! Especially the card.

    Have a great day, and congrats on completing your June challenge! :)

  192. I love the earrings! Thanks for your inspirations.

  193. Happy belated Brett. Lol…..just got part of my June challenge done, my living and dining room cleaned! Really cleaned…..like Great Aunt Helen coming over clean! Here’s to July!

  194. I love the $ tree idea!! I might have to enact this for coming birthdays! I feel for you with mouth virus’…my triplets all had one last year, apparently smei-common, semi-non-emergant but totally scary. Have a great weekend!

  195. <3

  196. Seriously, cutest birthday shopping idea ever.

    You are an AMAZING mother, wife and person. I learn so much from this good ol blog of yours. You are raising magnificent human beings…and it’s your victory for the taking.

    I’m sure you’ve heard this before but your twins with actress Michelle Borth! Like really. Google it. :)

  197. Sad to hear that Nella has a virus. Feel better soon Nella!

  198. Love today’s post. Brett’s birthday posts always make me smile (: Love the earrings too!! (:

  199. We <3 the bookstore too . . .getting lost for hours and scouring the sale racks for the latest interest. Love those earrings too!

  200. as always . . . well said!!

  201. Just when I feel defeat by one of my kids, your blog helps put things back in perspective. Thank U!

  202. Thank you for your happy day comment. I needed that!

  203. I know it’s random picking but …. pick me!! :-) I bought these earrings awhile ago, wore them a couple times and promptly lost one! I’d love another pair.

  204. I think the most shocking part of motherhood for me was that moment of ferocious love that we feel. That, “I will walk to the ends of the world and slay invisible monsters” for this little person moment. I knew what love was, but I didn’t know what a mothers love was until I became one. I am so glad to hear that Nella’s on the mend and Momma Bear (you) didn’t need to get all fiesty!

  205. Oh I love the Meg shop and I love reading your blog! You inspire me so much.

  206. Oh I laughed out loud at the pictures of Lainey picking out gifts and especially the card! My little girl Aislyn has such a card fetish. When shopping for groceries I have to try and maneuver the cart so she doesn’t see that huge rack filled with cards. If we do stop, she has to look at every single card (especially if it has a floppy earred puppy on the cover) I have gotten enough dirty looks from disgruntled store clerks that I have learned not to go down that aisle unless we actually need a card. Thanks for the laugh today, it felt wonderful!

  207. Love the earrings! And the dollar tree basket buy whatever is pure guineas. Such sweet girls!

  208. beautiful, just beautiful! Love how your words about parenthood touch my soul, I get it…

  209. i’m sorry you had a hard day. i can imagine the fears that come to you are quite different than just the normal momma fears. it’s good to cry and get it out. being a mom is like having your heart exposed and vulnerable.

    that pick of her crawling away and that book cover was too funny. you are good girl!

  210. Found you a few weeks ago. A woman I work with thold me about this blog!! I LOVE IT AND YOUR HONESTY. I have read Nella’s birth story at LEAST 12 times. I love the pics. they speak louder than words!! :) Youre awesome!!

  211. I’m a fan – a mother of triplets, a marathon runner, a college professor, and someone with little style but deeply appreciative of those who do. Here’s what I want to say about running and parenting and all the rest: You really should be failing at about half of what you do or else you’re not setting high enough goals. You’re not stretching yourself enough. If you reach every goal you meet, you’re not growing.

    Love your blog!

  212. I always love seeing what Lainey picks out for her daddy. Happy Birthday to Brett. You’re allowed to have ups and downs just like the rest of us. If today is off suck that marrow out of tomorrow!

  213. there is a part of me that is thankful that june is over so that my june challenge is over. i am done making dinner…next month…its the hubs’ turn.

    love the earrings! thanks for the inspiring messages!

  214. I continue to be inspired by your grace and strength as you encounter bumps along the road of having a child with special needs. Thank you for sharing openly!

  215. My favorite part of this whole post (besides the pics) has got to be Lainey’s birthday card to Brett. Hysterical!

  216. Sometimes in the living with a child with special needs, we forget that they actually do have them, and then when we remember, it’s because it creeped up on us when we weren’t looking.

  217. Hi – I have been following your blog for a while now, but have never posted. The part of your post about shopping with your daughter for your husband’s birthday gift had me laughing out loud! I love your tradition…I may even steal it. Thanks for being my favorite blog to check in at!

  218. I love the dollar store birthday presents!! I laughed out loud at the card!! We do that too for our daughter, and she has a blast, and it always ends up hilarious.
    So glad Nella’s okay…they both look like such happy little girls. You’re doing something very, very right Mama! Parenting is the absolute hardest job on the planet, and I’m not going to pretend to know what it’s like to have a special needs child. But they both obviously know that they’re loved, and that is the most important thing :)

  219. came to just listen to the music from your blog and read your post and the hard previous day. i’m kinda having one of those days…but i’m glad to know i’m not the only one.

  220. SO glad to hear Nella is doing alright. Fresh, bright flowers always cheer me up as well. Happy Weekend to the Hamptons!!

  221. We have the same Dollar Tree tradition!! All three of my girls have enjoyed this not only for birthdays but for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s day, etc.. of course there are “normal” gifts bought as well but I’m pretty sure that everyone looks forward to what they have picked out on their own with no influence more than any “traditional” present! :) It is a sad day when they start to grow out of it and want to shop elsewhere!

  222. thanks for reminding me that sometimes it’s ok to cry.

  223. Happy Birthday Brett! My husband’s bday was yesterday and now I do remember from last year their bdays being close. I spit out the crystal light I was drinking when I read what you wrote about the card Lainey picked and then saw it. How FUNNY and soooo cute. Madison (5yrs) picked out her card for her daddy too. It had a big glittery flower and played a Taylor Swift song. She said that he LOVES flowers, glitter and Taylor Swift, lol. Glad Nella’s doing better :)

  224. So glad you reminded us about Fresh Look tonight. Can’t wait to check it out. Please breathe in all of our love and appreciation for your honesty. Love the earrings and sponsor! Beautiful.

  225. I’ve been thinking a lot about the way special needs change the way we think about our child, or even parent them. Normally – as you often say – the differences blend well enough into our day-to-day life that it’s not even a thought.

    But then there are days when we feel the pang in our heart that maybe our child won’t get all the magnificent things they deserve. It’s terrifying. There is a fierce protectiveness that is unique to a child with special needs. Not that your other child is less loved or doted on, but knowing that they will be capable of a kind of self preservation that our special needs child may not be…

    I worry endlessly that Scarlett will be teased in school and not even realize it’s happening. That she’ll laugh along with those who laugh at her. It breaks my heart into a million pieces. But you know what? She has a feisty kid sister who I’m sure will give those bullies a piece of her mind. And honestly? If Scarlett is happy, who cares what anyone thinks of her?

    Today my dad was visiting from California. He admired the way Scarlett dances through life. Literally. The girl is always twirling and singing and being so freaking adorable. So we put on the song Firework by Katy Perry. I know it’s SO overplayed, but every time I sing it to Scarlett, I can’t help but cry. Dear God, if I teach her one thing, let it be the message in that song!

    Hugs to you mama! I’m glad Nella seems to be just fine :) She is precious! (And I remember Lainey’s expedition to the Dollar Tree last year. I loved it just as much last year as this year. What a sweet idea!)

  226. We have GOT to add the Dollar Tree Tradition to our list. It’s so funny to see what, in her mind, is an awesome gift for her daddy. Love it!

  227. I think you are so right about the pain isn’t really about Ds….it is about LOVING so deeply this little and you have those tough days anytime you have a child that is hurting or sad or behind….but the next day can be a total up too!

    Hope she is feeling better.

  228. You’ve inspired me! Lovey’s birthday is looming next month and I know the girls want to do something special. Hugs to you- I hope the virus is just that- maybe thrush? So scary. Abby has been having trouble getting her reflux under control. We had till tomorrow for the current meds to stop her throwing up altogether. I was so hopeful this morning as I babbled on about it, only to pick her up from school to the news she threw up. Sigh..I think maybe the special needs just enhance the feeling of the other shoe dropping over the littlest things. Things so obviously have the potential to be hard without illness, you hate for them to have to endure that. Of course- you hate for any of your beloveds to endure period. Hugs and Happy July!

  229. Love the pictures of the girls at the bookstore and the pics of the birthday celebration. I had a friend suggest your blog and it has been such a blessing in disguise. Our little peanut, Hailey, was born with Down syndrome and we, like you, didn’t know until she was born. She is having open heart surgery next week and just reading your blog helps me focus beyond her surgery and to “enjoy the small things”. Thank you!

  230. Thanks for sharing your emotions – happy and tough ones. I would love those earrings!

  231. Lainey’s birthday-shopping-for-Daddy posts are now my favorites. . .I always crack up when I see the card she picks. I hope you keep them all. That is just too precious. . .and hilarious!

    To Brett: Happy Birthday, Son! ROFL!! I’m still laughing!!

  232. I am totally stealing your idea of letting the kids shop for birthday gifts- without my intervention- at the dollar store. Brilliant!

    Would love to see some of those storm clouds. Austin, TX may dry up and blow away.

  233. I eagerly await your blog postings and am a loyal follower. Thank you for your insightful musings and sharing your beautiful children. Love.

  234. I loved the birthday card that Lainey got for her daddy– reminds me of a t-shirt my twin sister used to wear when we were in high school: it said “World’s Best Grandpa.” She used to get some of the strangest looks, & we would just smile to each other, enjoying our little “inside” nerdy joke :)

  235. this is one of my favorite posts!! first of all, i am stealing the dollar tree birthday free for all!! that is hysterical!!! and i love the little miss trouble pic and catch that baby!! hahaha so glad miss nella is ok!!

  236. SO glad you posted…I needed this post. Today, many things happened that reminded me of my own vulnerability and mortality, so it was really nice to read, “…fear never really disappears, and I’m well aware it exists. My job is to find an appropriate place for it, not to bury it completely but to manage it, to never let it outshine our zest for life and adventure.”

    Love it, love it, love it, as usual. You’re great.

  237. The pictures in the beginning of this post are some of my absolute favorites of yours.

    Yes – Wellies!

    Kelle, your writing moves me. You are talented in your ability to write honestly and express thoughts so many of us share.

    Thank you for the introduction to The Meg Shop. Love how it is unique yet so wearable.

  238. I just love the card that Lainey picked out. She also chose quite an awesome selection of gifts! Kelle – I totally blew off doing the June challenge, but gosh darnit, I’m gonna do a July challenge! New month, new start. Thank you for your honesty and your lovely take on parenting. You rock.

  239. Love the bookstore pics!

    Your blog always puts a smile on my face! Much needed after hearing some bad news from my 33-year old friend being diagnosed with cervical cancer.

    Thanks for putting a little sunshine on my dreary day!

  240. hang in there mama. there is always drama, extra chromosome or not when you are loving children, right? you are completely normal – as normal as I believe I am – Ha!

  241. Lovin the dollar tree! Seriously laughing out loud!!! I thought of you today as I took my girl to the local pool and there were two kids there who had Down syndrome. They were so adorable and I smiled to myself, thinking of all your words ringing in my ears of how precious those little ones truly are. Before I found your blog, I wouldn’t have thought much of them, but today I stopped to marvel in their beauty. Thanks to you. Hugs!

  242. Those pictures of Lainey in profile are all about your husband. Score one Brett. Just saying.

  243. Sunflowers have been my fav. flower since I can remember…love them so much I’m contemplating my first tattoo and they will be apart of it!
    I LOVE your tradition for Brett’s birthday, also reminded me I’ve been reading your blog for just over a year now as I remmeber loving this last year too :)
    Happy Long Weekend!

  244. That first picture is amazing, what a sky.

    Cannot believe it has been a year since the $ store Birthday trip, crazy!

    Happy Belated Birthday Brett!

  245. I worry sometimes that I won’t be able to pick myself back up, but I know I will have to for my other kids.
    You are an amazing mom!
    I love the dollar store idea!

  246. The picture of your family, lit up by the birthday candles, brought me to tears. The emotion is tangible – so much love for each other. Thank you for sharing such an intimate moment.

  247. You’re so inspiring, Kelle. To let me know that it’s okay that I have a bad day once in a while, the good will outnumber the bad soon enough. I will be able to look at Everleigh and not see her Dx. That gives me hope. Hope for sunnier days and a laughing, smiling little girl to share them with.

    Your family is beautiful. The shot of Brett with all the kids and the cake just melted my heart. Thank you once again for letting us peer into your life.
    -Amanda

  248. Well let me start by saying Happy Birthday Brett! As always beautifully written and beautiful photos. I love the books, Jeremiah has several of the miss and mister books. He loves going to the library, he calls it liberry.

    I am so glad Nella is okay. And thank you for being honest and real. I am glad to know I am not the only one who feels this way at times. Thank you for sharing!

  249. I haven’t read your blog since the Father’s Day post and I’ve missed your girls! We’ve had 2 deaths in our family in just a short amount of time and your blog both takes me away and also makes me want to go up and snuggle my 16 month old.every.single.post. Maybe my Charlie and Nella should meet…he loves looking at her “oh” face on my computer :)

  250. Great post…I believe every mommy needs to break down and cry every once in a while…

    I’m infatuated with the bookstore. I feel at home there and took Piper last week, explaining all the while that it was indeed the greatest place on earth…

  251. I have often said if I knew how much I would love my boys, I might not have decided to have them. It’s frightening to love someone that much.

  252. That picture of Brett and all the kids is so sweet. When we have kids, I’m going to steal your Dollar Tree tradition for my husband’s birthdays. Hope you don’t mind!

  253. Nice job with the BYU piece. I think a lot of us will tell you that thanks to you, we’ve learned to be a lot more empathetic and to be more human. Nella is reshaping a blogosphere of thoughts and attitudes.

    She is a blessing.

    -Jennifer from Annapolis

  254. Great post Kellie! Love the different effects on the photos. And love those earrings! Think I’m headed over there to look at that website! Thanks!

  255. I want to win! I WANT TO WIN!! I just started a C25K program in the middle of June, You inspired me. I’m not doing great but I am running.

  256. We call shopping at the dollar stores “treasure hunting”. You’ll never know what you might find! We’re enjoying left over birthday cake today. You’ve gotta live up while you can…

  257. I love your post and how honest and bare you are. Thank you for opening up to the world so other parents see the fear as well.

  258. If I had a daughter who, at the tender age of 4, got her daddy a light saber for his birthday I think I’d cry for joy. That’s so awesome.

  259. In a way, this is more your story than Nella’s. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the stories about your girls and family, but this was about your journey as a mother, woman and advocate. It’s a beautiful story. You’ve inspired so many and continue to do so with this blog, your words and your wonderful pictures.

  260. I teach elementary school special education. I tell people all the time that my kids, our kids, stick to you more. My students stick to my clothes, my skin, my bones, my heart and my being. There is not a day that I don’t sit down to dinner, hours after the school day and not think about them. Maybe it is because they are more vulnerable, or there are more what-ifs but maybe it’s because every day they do something amazing, outstanding and wonderful. And when they do, all the rest fads. It sneaks up on you, the fear and worry and what-ifs. It never goes away, but over time you learn to give it a swift kick right out of your mind with the thoughts of an accident free day, the perfect letter formation, tying their shoes (damn those tiny laces!) or in the powerful grin of “I did it!”

  261. Love, love, LOVE these earrings! Thanks for the giveaway & your inspiring blog.

  262. I understand the fear and helplessness of having a child with physical needs. My 8 year old son was diagnosed at 5 y.o. as a Type 1 Diabetic. He gets at least 4 shots of insulin a day. When he gets bloodwork done he cries, and I try to be supportive all the while I try to not pass out. It’s ok to have those times. I’m glad you shared.

  263. Your writings today reminded me of a quote from another blogger I like:

    From the moment that pink, delicious, crying, and beautiful bundle is placed in our arms, we enter another world. It’s a world where both vulnerability and unimaginable strength abound.

    http://www.confessionsofadrmom.com/

    Thanks for your honesty. Love the photos as usual! And might steal your birthday tradition for our house? What a great idea!

  264. Started a running group on Monday Nights for a 7:30pm run for exactly the reasons you mentioned in this post. We call ourselves the Manic Monday Runners (after the song) and we have over 35 ladies running. Some with strollers, some with puppies, some beginners and some hard core athletes. Everyone is enjoying the freedom of the run!

  265. First of all, I love your sense of humor (in the bookstore!) Second of all, I love how you put into words those feelings that all moms share about their littles. Especially about the pain of worrying that they are not ok being worse than that of our own. Third of all, I freaking love those earrings!

    And finally, sending some love to you and your beautiful family! Glad Nella is ok!

    Angela

    PS–Loved the BYU program tonight! You make us moms so proud!

  266. i’m in desperate need (ha! #firstworldproblems) of beautiful earrings.
    plus also … every year … brett’s presents make me giggle. love love LOVE that.
    the card slayed me.
    thanks for sharing the goods and the bads.
    xoxo.

  267. I love that Brett wants Lainey to pick out his gifts and card. Brilliant! I hope Nella is feeling better soon! & I’ve always wanted a pair of earrings like that because my sister-in-law has a pair, but couldn’t find any. Well, I just may have to buy a pair now! I’ve also been loving the rainstorms, it’s much greener outside! xx

  268. I love the dollar store birthday idea! I’ll definitely have to do that with my kids when they get old enough. And I relate all to well to “Catch That Baby!” Love that pic! :) As always, so many great photos. I study your art and try to improve mine! :)

  269. I love how you match your songs to your newest post. Sara Bareilles was a great choice for this one. :) Nella & Lainey tug at my heartstrings … as usual! Beautiful writing today, Kelle. :)

  270. LOVE the bookstore pictures! I hope Miss Nella’s feeling much better (and you, too!).

  271. Love love love the dollar tree idea!
    And thank you for sharing your personal moments with us. I think we all fiercely worry about our children and it is those moments that make us so thankful for the times when our babies are ok and happy! I hope Nella is better soon and the gray clouds lift.
    Melissa

  272. Love love love the dollar tree idea!
    And thank you for sharing your personal moments with us. I think we all fiercely worry about our children and it is those moments that make us so thankful for the times when our babies are ok and happy! I hope Nella is better soon and the gray clouds lift.
    Melissa

  273. Thanks for the honesty. I cried over Down syndrome this week as well, a rarity in our house, but sometimes a much needed release.

  274. if you don’t share the honest, hard bits – we all start to feel alienated because when we’re crying into our diet cokes about DS/ ASD/ whatever, we wonder what the hell is wrong with us. :) so, for the love, BE HONEST!!

    and then move on; it’s what we all do.

    you kick seven shades of bootay.

  275. Love that birthday tradition!! Hope Nella is feeling better soon. Thanks as always for an inspiring post.

  276. glad nella is ok. Also I enjoyed running with you this month. Thanks for the inspiration.

  277. Glad Nella is feeling better, and Lainey did a great job picking out presents!!

  278. Ah yes… the annual shopping trip for your hubby’s bday. I was just telling my husband about this annual event the other day and BAM, you posted it! Our little one is Nella’s age so it will probably be another year before we start this tradition. My personal favorite was the glasses from last year. Hilarious! Happy 4th of July!!!!

  279. My daughter read your post and said, “I hope we have enough love in our family for someone like Nella”. Last night was her grad prom and I look back on all the extra time we shared. There is no regretting it. Today I had an interview to work as a hospice nurse, the wheel turns.

  280. Just watched your interview/story and it was great. I cried :)
    Great job!

  281. Hi Kelle,

    I have been lurking on your blog for about a year now, always looking forward to finding inspiration in your posts. While I haven’t been blessed with a family of my own yet, I so look forward to having children of my own someday, and I can honestly say I hope I can be as much of a rock star mom as you. I can’t tell you how much I love your Dollar Tree birthday idea–I totally want to steal this for my future children when buying gifts for their dad. I’m so glad Nella has her spunk back! Your girls are precious, and thank you for sharing your lives with us.

    –Amanda

  282. I love that Brett appears to be/is reading the content of the card. I mean, he is someone’s son and Buster sure is a handsome dog…

  283. I to had a goal to run almost everyday this month, but it didn’t happen. My thoughts were running but my body was needed in another places 😉
    It’s setting goals that are important, if we didn’t set any we would have nothing to inspire us or challenge us!

  284. FOund the link to your episode!!!

    http://byutv.org/watch/8303febf-8c13-4a43-a645-99439d54f350

    WONDERFUL! Congrats!

  285. Just finished watching you on TV. I loved it, I feel like I “know” you, and was so excited to watch a celebrity on TV. You were beautiful in every way.

  286. Love your dollar store tradition.

    Love the Mr. & Mrs book pictures, too. A couple years ago my two littlest boys had the Mr. Happy & Mr. Grumpy shirts. . .they suited them perfectly at the time.

  287. I love that you bought sunflowers at the end of a challenging day. What a beautifully simple way to bring the smiles.

  288. my three daughters find great delight in picking random “stuff” for peoples birthdays – i am taking our 5yr old to the cheapie shop (in Australia) to choose a present for her school friends’ birthday parties (yes two of them!) this weekend.

    i got a paperweight every year for my birthday from my younger brother when i was kid (why do u need paperweights when you are 7yo?) i have the collection of them still… :)

  289. I love the picture of Nella and the sunflowers. It’s adorable. I’m glad it’s just a virus and not something more serious! I can’t imagine how scary that would be.

  290. Motherhood is completely terrifying at times, yet I can’t imagine not being a mom to my two…..life would of been boring and I would have nothing to blog about.

  291. The presents and card made me giggle. Thanks, I needed that! And, it’s a great idea I might just have to steal.

  292. Thank you so much for changing your source for sharing your amazing choice in music. I have missed listening over the past few months!

  293. Love the birthday idea…her choices made me smile!

  294. Oh my gosh – I was busting out laughing at Lainey’s birthday gifts and card! That is just awesome. It reminds me of when my little brother was younger. He would sign all of his cards – your favorite son, your favorite brother and then his first and last name. Um.. he’s the only son and my only brother. Oh well. I’m sorry you had a rough moment but you’re right, we all have them. Glad the sunflowers perked you back up! Happy July – it’s after midnight here!

  295. Has it already been a year since Brett’s last birthday? Life is flying by. The picture of him with the kids is precious. It seems that Lainey is such a sweet and giving child.
    I’m glad to hear that Nella most likely has a mouth bug. Source of what has made her feel off? Parenting is such a thrilling and frightful journey. Hugs to you.

  296. I found you a little while ago and read this blog from start to finish. And I must say that I was blown away with your photos, your way with words and your inspiration. You have inspired me to look beyond the material things and focus and enjoy my little boy more. He is 5 months old and the light of my life.

    Thank you Kelle, for sharing your stories and putting new light into my life. Hey all the way from South Africa!

  297. My heart was hurting today for my little girl…the what comes next..but what if…how can she?? the list goes on. Then she brought over a magazine, and pointed to a model and said ‘this girl looks suspicious’. really??? where did that word come from?? she brought me back to , who cares what’s next, let’s have fun today. Loved your mr/miss books shots..those are my favourites.

  298. Lainey’s Birthday present was HILARIOUS:) That is one great idea. This blog is a blessing to my life. Thanks!

    Amanda

  299. My baby girl is 18…almost 19. She went to bed night before last feeling fine and woke up sobbing with a dislocated jaw. Can’t open her mouth. TMJ apparently. And no one in the entire Seattle region can help her (as in “aggressive manipulation”) until Tuesday morning. Insert very sad face right HERE.

    I so know the feeling of helplessness and worry over our little ones. We’re mama’s…its what we do. I’m wrestling with questions from “Why did I let them keep the dang headgear on her for so long?” to “Why didn’t I just insist they pull the darn wisdom teeth when they should have?” In the end, I just want to hold my baby girl and make it all better.

    In the end, I offer blessings to you my friend…you’re doin’ the mama thing and you’re doin’ just fine. We all are!

    =) Diane

  300. Oh, KELLE..the line “I love them so fiercely….” so spoke to me. Yes, that is how it is for us moms. You are such a great mama. LOVE the BD tradition for Brett. I recall, reading about Lainey’s gifts for daddy a year ago. Time flies! Happy birthday, Brett. Thanks for being so real, Kelle. For sharing all of you – you cry, like the rest of us. You make me cry by reading your words. You are a gift to us all. Just sharing the wonderful thing my almost-3-yr-old grandson said to me and my hubby: He said “Grandma and Grandpa, you’re my very best friends.” I thought I would cry! Love from the Blog Mama~

  301. Kelle–thanks for the wonderful post. I appreciate the reminder of how blessed we are to be moms. And have these wonderful kiddos to love, cheer on, and worry over. And I love how the cycle is continuing now with my granddaughter. Love fiercely. Says it all. :)

  302. Your blog really is an inspiration to all and Nella is too adorable for words! During the school year I introduced Nella to my students. They also fell in love with her! It was a great way to start my lessonS! May God bless you and your family!

  303. I absolutely love your tradition w/Lainey on Brett’s bday. Makes me laugh every year. Love her card choices!

  304. Love the b-day shopping idea. Great idea, and let’s the child be in control. Love all your pics as usual. Happy 4th weekend.

  305. Happy Birthday to Brett!
    And I’m glad Nella is feeling better.
    Looks like you had a great time in the book shop!

  306. I admire you for your strength and, more so, your dedication to keeping yourself in the joys of life. I was so inspired by your choice to go get sunflowers. There are so many little visual, auditory, and physical things we can do as reminders to ourselves and others that life really is beautiful!

    I am so grateful for your words, Kelle!

  307. Yes. Sometimes the clouds are dark but the sun always manages to peek through. You are an amazing momma. You remind us all to enjoy the small things :)

    xoxo

  308. Love the birthday shopping idea!!

    Your blog is great!

  309. What a great post, from birthday traditions, bookstore adventures and Down syndrome. I also have days like that. I live in the every day with my Emma but there are those occasional things that happen that bring me to that place too. I guess it just part of the journey and one I wouldn’t trade in a heart beat. I hope Nella’s virus gets better soon. Happy July!!

    Amy

  310. The Dollar Store idea is GENIUS!

    Happy Holiday Weekend :)

  311. Beautiful, honest words
    I understand

    BEAUTIFUL pictures

    xoxo
    cathy

  312. I LOVED seeing you and Nella on TV! It was so fun to hear your voice for the first time, and you sound exactly like I thought you would! Nice job, by the way. :)

    The part about ‘yesterday was a long day…’, extremely well written! There IS fear in parenthood– so, so true.
    Thank you for letting all of us moms into your world. Knowing there are others out in the world with the same fierce love for their kiddos makes it seem less terrifying.
    -Melissa

  313. I am still cracking up about that “Catch That Baby” book in the picture. I love when stuff like that happens.

  314. I love seeing what Lainey picks out for Brett every year. So funny, and I’m sure she’s so proud of her goods when he opens them.

    Looking forward to watching your interview, post a link when it’s up online!

  315. Last week my son who is 22 months old woke up obviously very ill. He went to sleep with a minor cold but when he woke up I knew it had progressed. We agreed to go straight to the emergency room. These are the times….the times of panic, the times when I think “have I done enough?”, what if this extra chromosome beats us this time???….Those moments when you want your baby back in the perfect healthy form that you know them as. Because I know for me, when Andrew is not well, my mind goes to places that are for sure NOT helpful or even reasonable.
    I do believe it is simply about loving our babies and then you add this little extra piece that in some forms creates such sweetness, such loving kindness….but for us mamas there is an unknowing and that is so unsettling.
    You are such a loving, terrific and sweet mom…. and also so vulnerable. Nella and Lainey are so lucky to have you…as you are to have them. Thank you for your blog. It always gives me something to relate to, smile at and enjoy reading during my week!

  316. I love those earrings! And, I love that you are encouraging, even when you’re not really feelin’ it. Thanks for that.

  317. I think the Dollar Tree shopping idea is great! Love Lainey’s saddle shoes…too cute. Nella is awesome!

  318. I’ve been reading your blog for several months now. I love your photography and your writing. Your girls are just gorgeous and I hope Nella’s mouth gets better soon!

  319. As I experience the final month of my pregnancy for baby #1, your blog continues to inspire me, make me smile and make me dream big. Thank you for being so honest and funny and everything else. Happy holiday weekend!!

  320. So I was reading the part about parenting a special needs child while listening to Gravity – very appropriate! I find myself hit by the truck of worry too! My little has a language disorder and it kills me when I dont know what is wrong because she can’t tell me. When she is sad but can’t explain why. When she is sick but can’t explain what hurts. I know its a totally different situation but I DO understand how the knowledge of a disability falls to the wayside most days and then POW right in the kisser it hits you! YOU ARE DOING AN AWESOME JOB! YOU ARE AN AWESOME MOMMY! Have a great 4th!

  321. Happy birthday to Brett. I love your tradition at the Dollar Store. I’ve been wanting to do that with my son for his Daddy’s birthday since you posted about it last year. This year, I’m doing it :) I hope Nella feels better real soon!
    xo
    Kris

  322. Love seeing the phone pics added to the blog. They add something special :)

  323. So glad to hear that Nella is okay.
    Those earrings are gorgeous! I love silver loops!

  324. My boys love to Christmas shop at The Dollar Tree, too. When I was little, my granddaddy took me to a dime store to “shop” whenever I was there for a visit, and it made me feel so grown-up. What fun!

  325. As a special education teacher I encounter many children with disabilities. I can say from my heart that as long as I have been following your blog I don’t see a disability when I see Nella…… I see pure joy and peace.
    Just my thoughts.

  326. LOVE the “Catch That Baby” picture! How funny! In love with your blog, I wait for new posts with excitment like it’s Christmas!

  327. I was literally LOL at the dollar store trip and that awesome card Lainey picked out! Love that tradition. I’ve let my boys pick out their dad’s bday present all on their own before, and they picked a hot wheels car :) We may have to make a trip to the dollar store just to see what they come up with this year!

  328. Hi Kelle!

    Just letting you know I wrote a mini-review of a number of blogs I like on my blog and it includes yours. I hope it generates you a little more traffic and interest.
    You can find the post here:
    http://this-good-life.blogspot.com/2011/07/through-blogging-door.html

    Blessings,
    This Good Life

  329. Reading time’s here!
    I can relate. I know the “tearing-apart-your-chest”-feeling when difficulties happen to your child.
    I’m also living testimony to the fact that you appreciate the good so much more, having something to compare with.
    Well, I can feel it.
    Good reading, it was.

  330. Just finished watching you on Byutv. Came on at 1am, so set the DVR and watched you this morning…look at you becoming a rock star all on your own! Nella looked so little! Nice work, on sharing the message of DS.

  331. I really liked those earrings the first time you posted them!! :)

  332. Glad Nella is ok! Sunflowers…what a great idea!

  333. Still love your blog every day! And love those earrings – whether I win or not, I’ll be getting some!

  334. I love the dollar store trip…so precious. Makes me think back to when I got to pick out presents for my parents. Gotta go to the bookstore for some fun!

  335. Love those earrings. Glad to hear Nella is OK.

  336. The picture of your husband holding his birthday card made my day. I couldn’t stop laughing!

  337. Dear Kelle,
    congratulations for winning the “Power of Moms” award! That’s how I discovered your wonderful blog! I’ve read the story about Nella and, like everybody here, I was deeply touched. I am a mother of 20 months old girl, pregnant in 24 weeks with our 2nd daughter. So, I am a mother too, and my heart went out to you reading your story.
    I am happy to see that Nella was born in such a beautiful family and she is so loved. Every child is a gift from God and we have to love him / her as he / she is. I love some words by Max Lucado, saying something like this: “children are like books. They are like written books. All we have to do is to read them, not to try to write them…”
    Thanks God you have Lainey beside you in your life’s journey!
    Thanks for writing on this blog! You are wonderful! I wish you all the best!
    Kisses from Brasov, Romania

  338. Watched BYU TV last night and I cried. It was beautiful and it was in a way my story or at least my feeling. Love your post today!!!

  339. I love reading your posts…Nella and Lainey are so beautiful! Here’s to a wonderful month, July.

    *I hope to win those earrings!

  340. We had a similar scenario this week, only it was our oldest, and it’s funny how when your “typical” kid gets sick that you even worry about how it might affect your child with special needs. Always in the back of your mind, almost always shadowed by the joys, and always the source of immense love!

  341. Precious, all of this, just precious!

    -Grey’s mama in AL

  342. Amelia Bedilia and Dr Suess, my toddler’s favorite! More parents need to take their children to the library, so educational for them!

  343. i’m new here. but your posts have spoken to me so much that i check back everyday to see if there’s another.
    i cried as i read about your tears. my oldest daughter has a seizure disorder that raises more questions than answers some days. she’s 5 now, and all ready for kindergarten and i just want to hold her close forever and keep her safe. my own fears about her and her future sometimes grip me until i remember to pray, to surrender and that there’s not much i can change other than my attitude.
    i love the earrings. i just re-pierced my ears after having given up on earrings more than 10 years ago. i’m 32 and i’m like a little kid exploring new earring possibilities and stocking my collection! and i have no idea why i’m telling you this.
    i also loved your idea for your hubby’s birthday. i think i might have to steal that one with my girls. the freedom you give her to choose gifts for him inspires me.
    thanks for writing from such a raw, honest place.

  344. the happy birthday son card cracked me up, i almost bought similar earrings at anthropologie yesterday, and, most of all, thank you for your beautiful honesty.

  345. glad nella is feeling better! and lainey is a very good shopper! :)

  346. I have to admit that I go to most blogs to look at the pictures. Yours is one of the few I actually sit down and read.

  347. “I pushed myself. I learned something. I instilled a new passion to continually raise the bar and to accept that falling back is part of the game. It’s how you pick yourself back up that really matters.”

    This totally spoke to me today. I’m 15 weeks pregnant and was hit with awful morning sickness around week 6. I could barely get up off the couch, let alone think about going for a run. This morning I wasn’t feeling all that great either but I told myself that I had a choice; I could sit on the couch feeling awful or I could get outside and enjoy the sunshine on my face. I chose the sunshine and it has totally changed my attitude for the day. I just wanted to share :)

  348. “I pushed myself. I learned something. I instilled a new passion to continually raise the bar and to accept that falling back is part of the game. It’s how you pick yourself back up that really matters.”

    This totally spoke to me today. I’m 15 weeks pregnant and was hit with awful morning sickness around week 6. I could barely get up off the couch, let alone think about going for a run. This morning I wasn’t feeling all that great either but I told myself that I had a choice; I could sit on the couch feeling awful or I could get outside and enjoy the sunshine on my face. I chose the sunshine and it has totally changed my attitude for the day. I just wanted to share :)

  349. I read your birth story when Nella was born, but didn’t realize you had a blog to go with it. I’ve recently been keeping tabs and am so deeply inspired by both your photography and you’re writing.

    I have a 10 month old and while he’s perfectly healthy currently, I completely understand your breakdown. It’s hard to love someone so much and the feelings you get when something might be wrong. It’s heart wrenching.

    Anyway, love following your story!

  350. I love the raw honesty you share on this blog…and Nella is SOOOO adorable!

    Those earrings are beautiful!

    Becky
    beckomk@aol.com

  351. I have spent the last week reading your entire blog. I love this post. I haven’t commented before. You said “it’s about how you pick yourself back up that really matters.” That struck a chord with me. Your family is beautiful and I can’t wait to see what wonderful adventures you will go on. You are an inspiration to a lot of people. Sorry if that sounds corny!! :)

  352. I love everything about this blog – your way with words, your beautiful portraits, your perspective on life. I hope that Nella is feeling better soon!

  353. I love the picture of Lainey studying the porcelain dogs at Dollar Tree. What a great tradition!! If my boys were younger, I would totally copy your idea.

  354. it’s how we pick ourselves back up that matters. i love that.

  355. The dollar tree shopping trip idea is just too cute…and I love the “catch that baby” picture!

  356. I love those earrings!

  357. Isn’t it strange how worries about Down syndrome sneak up, overwhelm you, and then are gone just as quickly…Glad that you and Nella both have your smiles back today.

    And I love the bookstore photo. :)

  358. NOT KIDDING… that I could literally frame every one of your pictures and hang in my house. Every photo you take is like a work of art! LOVE it! I ADORE Brett’s tradition for Lainey to pick out her own gifts at the Dollar Tree for him! Precious! And I cracked up when I saw his “son” card this year when I remembered he got a “granddaughter” card last year! Haaha! She’s a doll! Loved the accidental catch of Nella crawling away and the book in focus! Little Miss Trouble is too cute and it gets me every time she smiles! Thanks for inspiring so many on the June challenge and LOVED your interview on Fresh Take. You were gorgeous as ever! Brought tears to my eyes! Ps. I REALLY love those earrings!!! Have a great weekend!!!

  359. OH! And HAPPY ANNIVERSARY today to you and Brett!!!

  360. Those stickers and that card are TOO funny!!! I love how kids remind us to follow our hearts and be in the moment! Thanks for sharing your world!! Beth
    http://livingfromyourheart.blogspot.com/

  361. Another inspiring post. I always tell my staff about your journey with Nella. I am special education teacher and I always appreciate hearing concerns and thoughts from a parent’s perspective.

  362. Also: Too funny about the items purchased at the dollar store. hilarious.

  363. Question. Do you know if the show on BYU TV can be watched on the BYU website? I went searching but could not find anything.
    I too held the blood work papers in my hand dreading the idea that something could be wrong with Hannah. I quickly decided not to allow myself to go to a place that I would probably never have to go. As parents, moms especially, we like to prepare for the worst but in most cases the worst never comes. My friend and I have decided that “crossing that bridge when and if we get there” is a great way to keep focused on today and our hearts free from the emotional rollercoaster that comes from the “what if’s” of life.
    Thanks again for your honesty, it’s a precious gift to so many.

  364. I read your blog posts evey day while I am nursing my newest little love. Your outlook on living life is inspirational and your family and love for it is beautiful. Thank you for writing!

  365. I love how Lainey celebrates her dad. Just beautiful. Parenting can be so difficult. You are right to allow the fear to be experienced but not to let it drive you. Hang in there.

  366. Thanks again for an inspiring post… I think my June challenge might be more of a July challenge… Oops! :)

  367. I LOVE the dollar store shopping idea. I will definitely be using this for my hub’s next birthday since my little tot will be almost 3 by then! Thanks for the idea!

  368. Not only do you post gorgeous pictures, you write with beautiful words. I hope one day when I’m a Momma I can be so inspiring… in fact I hope I can be half as inspiring everyday. Thank you.

  369. I need me a pair of these earrings! Dave Ramsey says “NO!”, I say- take a back seat, Dave, I’m worth it today.

  370. Wow… How we love that you share your life and heart with us. Thank you!! (and some FAB earrings are just the cherry on top)

  371. i love your site and your words are always so refreshing to read..thats so funny about the dollar tree…i do the same thing with my 2 1/2 yr old and she always always always picks kitty cards..shes obsessed!

  372. Although I love, love, love reading your blog and I think you are a wonderful mother, I wonder if you know you “hit the jackpot” so far with Nella and her lack of health problems. We have had two open heart surgeries, two sets of ear tubes placed, blood work done too many times to count, acid reflux, NG tube for 10 months…and that is all in only 19 months. Yet we are still considered lucky as many friends have experienced worse. Nella is a very beautiful little girl. I know you will hold on to her tight.

  373. Just watched the Fresh Take episode – I forgot how tiny little Nella was!!! So sweet. Your posts always leave me with a huge smile on my face (and often a few tears running down my cheeks). You are a beautiful writer and photographer – thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

  374. I have found the perfect treat on a crazy workday…I am playing catch-up on your blog, as a fairly new reader. I am currently at July 2009…oh how things have changed! But on the crazy days, I flip back to the future and read the present.

    Your post about children’s literature was purely poetic. It reminded me of my love for it as well. I also collect the hardback books that I love to one day give the the children I hope to have. Have an amazing 4th!

  375. might have to steal that birthday shopping idea. love the random assortment!

  376. i love your blog and your honesty. thank you for sharing your lives with us!

  377. Loved reading Amelia Bedelia as a kid! :) Going to the bookstore was always a treat. Glad your girls love it, too! Love those earrings! Simple and beautiful!

  378. Vulnerability loving a child…it is always there whether they are one or 30 something and it is a good thing…it keeps us real, in touch and mothers.

    xoxo,
    Bug & Ruby’s Gram

  379. How did you take that pic of yourself?! Have you taught Lainey how to do it yet?!
    -Carly
    http://www.createliveblog.com

  380. I would like to have another baby, be financially happy, but even if life didn’t change a bit, I would be happy!

  381. Thank you , i had a moment like that this week too with my 5 years old Hannah who has DS. Brought the tears to my eyes for just a moment…

  382. Happy (belated) birthday, Brett!!

    Love the $ Store gift idea — am totally going to steal that for my daughter to shop for my husband this summer. The more inappropriate the better. :) He’d love that.

  383. I love how you let Lainey get whatever her heart desires! That has to be fun for Brett too! He may get chocolate or he may get tampons! Cute bookstore pictures! And the picture of your hubby with all his children and the cake…priceless! I know the feeling of loving your baby(s) so much that the thought of anything wrong with them is paralyzing! Praying that Nella is well!
    Blessings to you!

  384. You can rest in the knowledge that you have changed many perspectives of people with down syndrome. When you started your paragraph on your long day and then mentioned down syndrome, I had to remember why on earth you would be writing about it. I remembered “oh yeah, one of her girls has DS” and then had to take another moment to remember which one! {And I’m not new around here, I’ve been reading you religiously for a long while now} You have definitely DEFINITELY made people look beyond that chromosome and see the person who is there.

  385. I loved the BYU-TV interview. I loved how you said that you just try to blog about life and that the extra chromosome is just part of life, not the focus. Thank you so much for your blog. It helped me so much as I awaited the arival of my daughter with Down syndrome and helps me now as I watch her grow. I, too, often forget that she has that extra chromosome. She’s Abi first and foremost, some down the line is the fact that she has Down syndrome. Keep up the good work of inspiring so many!

  386. I am glad to hear that Nella’s mouth infection was not something worse. What you wrote about the vulnerability of our children and how it pangs mothers so, I know my own mother has been there. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a young child, and I’ve had to get blood drawn every three months since I was 6 years old. Now when I go to the lab, pushing my 15 month old daughter in her stroller, I am so incredibly thankful that I am the one the bloodwork scrip is for, and not her.

  387. Your Words: “My job is to find an appropriate place for it, not to bury it completely but to manage it, to never let it outshine our zest for life and adventure.” This sentence hit home with me – big time. I’m not dealing with what you’re dealing with at all… totally something different and these words of yours, are still so so true. Thank you so much for posting it:) and for your true zest for life! i adore your blog… And your realness.

  388. I love this blog! I’m one of those blog lurkers that is often shy to post comments but I decided to just go with it.
    I used to blog but I got bored. I wish it was as easy for me to write beautiful posts as you do! Your pictures are beautiful and you make me want to keep improving my photography!!!

  389. Looks like Brett had an awesome b-day!
    Those earrings are great, thanks!

  390. so glad to hear that Nella’s problem with her mouth was not a serious issue – you are so right – love for a child is so fierce that it hurts.

  391. Just wanted to leave a comment..you look like such a wonderful mama!! I love seeing other moms celebrating motherhood..just loving life with the crazy little ones. hehe. I have two little girls and they love the same stuff..the bookstore/library..and the dollar store! your photos are just adorable. thanks for sharing!

  392. A girl can never have too many pairs of earrings. :)

  393. I so love the dollar store idea, the mans’s bday is in August and I will be taking the kids there for some shopping, what a fun idea and I am sure he will treasure those silly little gifts more than anything! So sorry to hear about Nella, hoping everything is better now. My little one once had a very scary mouth infection that covered her throat in sores and turned her teeth black overnight, it was so scary, and she was in so much pain, but everything turned out fine, it was some sort of virus. There is nothing worse than seeing your babies in pain, ugh, what I wouldn’t do to take it at all away! Happy Days to you all!

  394. Great collection,right selection ,beautiful toys..nice blog

  395. Love the morning coffee with Nella picture. Baby sleepy eyes are the best.

  396. i started laughing out loud with the birthday card!! so cute

  397. Great Photos, and it looks like you are having a grand time!
    Andrew Thomas,
    Publisher of http://webbaster.com/

  398. I love your blog. I just laughed out loud (I want to squeeze the bejesus out of that little Nella she’s so delish) and I also cried. I feel empowered and inspired to start my day knowing that although I have big ambitions it’s OK if I don’t get it all accomplished. I’m still a good Mommy. Thank you for reminding me of that. – I’m hosting a “Dirty Play Date” for my 1 and 2 year olds and their friends this afternoon (shaving cream, painting with colored ice cubes, sensory boxes)–the dirtiest play date these kids have ever seen. I know it’s going to be messy but an awesome memory. Between that, your post and the sunshiney weather mother nature delivered for us today, it’s a promising day. :)

  399. omg LOLOLOL I love the Dollar Tree idea! How funny the things she picked up! I need to do this. I love it.

  400. Nella is so beautiful. I have a 4 month old beautiful baby girl with Down Syndrome so we are navigating these waters as well. She is a blessing to our family! Your blogs are an inspiration! Thank you.

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