The Big F.A.Q.

Q: How do you keep on top of your photos?

A: I take photos almost every day. Without even thinking about it, my routine is to download them at night and click through them to choose my favorites. I store them in folders by date and tag words like “South Beach weekend,” “Lainey’s birthday party,” or “Mom’s wedding.” I have three external drives right now, and every 3-4 months, I go through folders and clean them up–delete the extras and leave only the best of the best. This is getting easier than it used to be. Three years ago, I could have had 25 shots of Lainey eating an ice cream cone–all of them similar–and I’d be paralyzed, feeling guilty to delete just one. After four years though, I know my kids and their childhood are more than well represented. Between the blog, Photobucket, the books I make for them each year, and my hard drives, I’m confident I won’t lose sleep over deleting unused photos.

Photobucket

Q: How do you take your camera out?

A: If I don’t want to lug my camera case, I will wrap my camera in a scarf and put it in my purse (I carry a larger purse in these instances, and sometimes I’ll pull the diaper change mat from a diaper bag and line my purse with it). In these cases, I’ll settle on bringing one lens–usually my 16-35 mm. Obviously, I take my camera to the beach as well. I always bring my camera case if we’re going to the beach, and I’m careful to make sure my hands are clean and sand-free if I change lenses. I also use an air blower like this one to clean off the camera when we’re home. I send my camera to Canon at least once a year for a “tune-up”–sensor and body cleaning.

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As far as photography goes, I have some really cool new ways of sharing some photo-taking tips (always a work in progress) with you come January. I can’t share yet, but I’m excited about a collaborative new project!

Q: How often does D.S. weigh on your mind?

A: We’re almost two years in this. D.S. is part of who my child is. I think about my children all day long and consequently, Down syndrome is part of that. There are so many times when I look at Nella and just feel–I don’t know, I can’t explain it–calm…content…thankful. Her eyes? I’m crazy over them–so exotic, so beautiful.

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We still talk about how this has changed our lives in so many good ways and how we will continue to grow and learn in years to come. So, to say we don’t ever think about it isn’t really true. We do, however, forget about the things we used to think about. The fears. The uncertainty. Or, rather, we’ve become accustomed to it. There will be tears. There will be days when I will say yes, this is hard. But so far, I’ve thought so many times–how could I have ever underestimated this love? I have two daughters. Unmeasurable joy times two. Period.

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Q: Do you ever worry about Lainey feeling overshadowed by Nella’s special needs?

A: I used to. It consumed me those first couple months. But I didn’t give myself enough credit as a mom. I love my children equally. How silly of me to think I wouldn’t be able to express that. The more I rely on my natural ability to love, nurture and mother the way I was born to do, the less I worry about things. I’ve realized I never miss a beat when either of my girls need more of me–I just know. And I react instinctively. I’ve never been more confident that my girls will both grow up knowing they are so special–each unique and talented in so many ways. The more I trust myself, the better I love.

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Q: What kinds of therapy is Nella getting? Are you doing anything with her that you think contributes to how well she is doing?

A: Nella has O.T. (occupational therapy) and P.T. (physical therapy), each once a week, and an I.T.D.S. (Infant Toddler Development Specialist) comes to our house every two weeks and does play therapy, evaluations, etc. This is all provided by the state as part of a federally funded Early Intervention program. These programs are incredibly vital for children with special needs, and we need to continually advocate to see that they are appropriately funded and remain in place.

If there’s any one thing we do with Nella that I feel directly affects her progress, I’m happy to share (I love the tips I’ve received from the D.S. community on resources they’ve found useful). While I believe the accepting environment we provide for Nella, where we expect so much of her and treat her equally, helps promote her milestones, I don’t ever want to suggest that a child who isn’t reaching the same milestones doesn’t have parents who work with them. Regardless of special needs, children develop differently and at their own pace. In the meantime, we invest our time, love and praise into every one of our kids, celebrating their accomplishments, supporting their needs.

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Q: It seems there are so many categories of moms these days, especially on blogs. What kind of mom do you consider yourself?

A: Just a mom. I don’t want to sum up what kind of mom I am in one word because that’s limiting. I don’t like being put in a box and I’m way too impulsive to fit into just one category. I’ve written about this before, but I think sometimes we feel like we can’t explore a new area if we don’t completely fit in the box. Like “I’d really like to buy that vintage plate because I love it, but my house is too contemporary and I’m not really Vintage Girl.” Who says you have to be just one thing? Buy the damn plate if you love it. Our society is fabulous at pigeon-holing people and identifying them into categories as if they have to abide by a certain set of rules–and judgement and assumption often follows. We’ve identified the urban mom, the hipster mom, the churchy mom, the homeschool mom, the wild mom, the funny mom, the divorced mom, the laid back mom as if once you have a label, that’s all you can be. That’s so constraining and yet, I admit, I fall victim to the labeling. Like I thought I couldn’t make my own laundry soap because it meant I’d also have to drive a hybrid car. Holding a solid faith and dancing out with the girls don’t have to be opposites. Having a home in a suburban neighborhood doesn’t mean I can’t funk it up with crafts and cherished kitsch. And writing about “the small things” certainly doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to “the big things” in life too. I want to passionately explore a multitude of areas in life and, while some areas might bubble to the surface with noticeable expression, some simmer beautifully and quietly underneath–not to be forgotten. I’ll dip my toes into different hobbies and ways of life if I feel drawn to them, and I won’t let the box of “who I’m supposed to be” stop me for a hot second. And I learn–oh, do I learn from so many other kinds of moms who continually broaden the definition of motherhood with their insight and experience.

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We’re women. We are multi-faceted. We don’t have to fit into a box. We follow our own rhythms and we celebrate our movements that may change over the course of aging, mothering, learning, exploring, loving.

I follow my instincts and listen to my heart. That’s the kind of mother I am.

Q: Do you read the comments?

A: Yes. I really try and read all of them. You took the time to write it, I want to take the time to read it. Sometimes I go a couple days before I sit down and catch up, but you’d be surprised how many of you I know by name. I try to visit blogs and leave comments when I can although, obviously, my first priority is time with my family. If you ask a question in the comments, I will try and answer it in another comment in the same post.

Q: With a public blog, how do you deal with negative criticism?

A: I wish I could say I’ve always been one of those people who shrug off criticism and make no qualms about how people perceive them. I’ve always wanted to please people, and that comes with the realization that when I don’t, it’s disheartening. When this blog gained publicity, I soon discovered that it also opened the door to criticism and sometimes false assumptions about how we live our lives, raise our kids, deal with issues, what I write about, what I don’t write about, etc. Here’s the thing–everyone should go through negative criticism at some point in their life because it is so good for you. It never feels good at the moment, but the process is enlightening. You sharpen your beliefs, gain confidence and, over time, stand firmer and stronger.

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No one is invincible–I do get my feelings hurt, and that icky, self-analyzing, defensive cave I’ve slipped into is just gross. But necessary. You grow. From blogging and putting myself out there, I believe even more Shakespeare’s advice, “To thine own self be true.” And you don’t need a blog to discover that you cannot change yourself to please others nor can you be so arrogant to think that you’re never wrong. But you can own what you say…and learn more every day from the experiences that help shape us–and that includes criticism.

Q: Where do you get your quilts?

A: My mama’s always loved a good quilt, and I inherited her obsession once I had babies and fell into my style a little more. I like cozy. I like homey. And I love me some Ebay. I don’t think I’ve paid more than $30 for any of our quilts. They were all found on Ebay–old, used, a bit tattered…but perfect. I search words like “vintage quilt,” “vintage patchwork quilt,” “granny square afghan,” “homemade patchwork quilt” and about a hundred other combinations that have scored me some pretty cool finds.

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Q: How did you and Brett meet?

A: This is definitely the most repeated question. I suppose my avoidance suggests some sort of scandalous story like we met in Las Vegas when I was a showgirl and he was a stage hand. Oh, but only if it were so storybook. Didn’t happen that way, although he did propose to me at dinner while we watched the Bellagio fountains from the Eiffel Tower–the Vegas one–and I do have a nice showgirl high-kick when I’m reenacting Sally O’Malley, if I don’t say so myself.

There is a story behind our meeting, and I did finally write it all down.

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But it’s in Bloom, and you’ll have to wait until April 3 when the book comes out. There are a lot of issues in the book I specifically discuss that I don’t talk about a lot on the blog–my past, faith, family, etc. On the blog, my intent is that these issues breathe through stories, photos and words in a read-between-the-lines kind of way and, occassionally, I will expound when I’m inspired to do so.

The book opened up the opportunity to explore a lot of untread territory though. Writing it was the most cathartic personal experience of my life–a ten month therapy session, of sorts. I am excited for next year and the release of a story that is so precious to me–one in which I hope you find shared sentiments, determination and celebration. As it gets closer, I will talk about it a bit more, but for now you can pre-order a copy of Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected by clicking any of the four distributer buttons on the right sidebar.

Finally, I promise…I don’t do it all. No one does it all. There are never enough hours in the day to finish what I want to accomplish, and there are nights where I go to bed with the house in shambles and thinking to myself, I could have done better. I am forgiving. I am realistic. And I love the thrill of waking up the next day and deciding…what is it we want to do today? How are we going to make this day great? Happiness is a choice. Sometimes it isn’t easy. There are moments it doesn’t come naturally…but when you repeatedly practice finding the good, it has a way of finding you.

If I didn’t answer your question, you might find it on this old F.A.Q. post or the F.A.Q. tab at the top of the blog or perhaps the Photography F.A.Q.

Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Can’t wait for the book! I’ve been waiting to hear about how you two met and about your faith and background. Thanks for answering these personal questions!

  2. Although I didn’t ask any questions, I thank you for sharing!

    I love learning new things about the wonderful people I read about everyday.

    Can’t wait for your book!

  3. Great Job!! I am blown away by your writing skills. Man , Momma you have mad skills!!

  4. Thank you for this post. I read your blog weekly and it’s so very inspiring and joyful. As a mommy of two wee ones it’s fun to know there are others out there raising the next generation with a similar zest for life; one that will hopefully fuel these babies to even greater heights than those we have reached because of our mommies. Merry Christmas!

  5. What a treat… am just emerging from 10 days in the newborn fog to catch up on blogs… love the FAQs and learning a little bit more about you. Can’t wait to read Bloom! My newest little calls… oh the sweet smell of new baby head… I just can’t get enough.
    Cheers,
    Kate

  6. Wow! I can’t believe I’m so close to the top, this is exciting! :) I love the part about not being in a box. I have noticed how you have so many varying interests, and you follow them all to a certain extent. I think that’s so wonderful. And what you said about it is so true. Sometimes I find myself trying to so hard to fit in just one “Box” when really, I could never fit in just one. I am special and unique and a person all of my own. And that’s a good thing :)

    I can not wait to read Bloom!

    And btw, I have always loved how you are so sweet and comfortable with sharing your life with everyone. As I think you know it brings thousands of people joy 3 times a week. And it’s so cool how you are so cool with it. From what I’ve seen you don’t let the “fame” get to you, but at the same time you don’t push it away. I admire that a lot. And as always, THANK YOU for your inspiration. I ALWAYS enjoy your writing. :)

  7. My youngest daughter was born with multiple special needs and the Early Interventions here in San Antonio were life changing!!! I cannot speak highly enough of the wonderful things they do for families. My daughter is 4 now and thriving, although we still see a few specialists. Every time I look at Nella, I’m reminded of my Lorelei and how she was at that age! They look a lot alike!!
    I love your “just a mom” idea. I find myself a little of each kind of mom (OK, not the hipster mom…I will never be cool! and I’m OK with that). I dabble in all kinds of things…I like what I like, no matter what others think. I am, who I am.

  8. I’m a first year teacher and I can so identify with your statement of going to bed every night wondering what I could have done better. Could I have kept my voice lower? Did I have to yell at them?

    Thank you for being so transparent with us.

  9. I pre-ordered the book awhile back and now I can hardly wait until April! Your blog makes me smile every single time I read it. I love the photos, reading about your adventures, and admiring what a wonderful light your blog is, especially for parents with kids that have DS. That’s how I first found you and I was instantly sucked in! Loved reading the questions/answers today!
    Caringbridge.org/visit/chloemalena

  10. Photog tips in January! YAY, that’s right around the corner!!! Thanks for taking the time to do this FAQ post Kelle!

  11. Thanks for sharing more of yourself, Kelle…your kindness, compassion and big heart leap from the pages. And these photos of you and your girls? Absolutely beautiful. Merry Christmas, friend, and may 2012 bring you all the joy and love your shoulders can carry.
    ps. I’m certainly glad to hear I’m not the only one who has found herself overcome with paralysis at the thought of deleting a photo. πŸ˜‰

  12. I read everything here, though rarely comment. We have a lot in common, but I never want to come off like, ”Kels, will you be my soul sister?’ I appreciate so much what you say here about labels and I look forward to continually connecting through your story….and the book. merry, merry Christmas to your wonderful family!

  13. Oh man, I almost have tears. I am just so damn excited about your book! I kind of just want to fast forward to April so I can have it in my hands.

    I long to have even an inch of your outlook on life. You seem so put together even though I know you’re not perfect. No one is. But you seem to really have a good head on ya. And I desire that for myself.

  14. As always, incredible pictures of such a sweet and beautiful family! :) I love your positive outlook on life! One day I told my 6-year old home-schooled son that we were going to try that “have as much fun as you can in 60+ minutes” and he was so pumped! I told him that I read your blog and that you always have the best ideas (seriously incredible ones are more like it) and he said “Keep reading that blog! I love her!” I’m really looking forward to reading your book, too. Thanks so much for taking the time to blog. Your girls are too precious for words. Merry Christmas to you and your gang!

  15. I am an amazon junkie and each time I order something I am reminded of the day in April when I will get my books. I ordered one for my best beastie for her birthday that is on the 4th..perfect. perfect. timing. She has been my friend for..wait for it..30 years and I love her so. Merry Christmas Kelle..you have something special and I am so glad to have crossed paths with you via this lovely blog of yours. ♥

  16. kelle, kelle, you inspire me..I love to check in to read your insights, look at your great picture, hear your kid quips and just get a different perspective on life…thanks for sharing so much with so many…..fun to think “I knew you when…”…camp, so long ago, yet like yesterday…do you remember one of the digital cameras we used was the big Sony that saved to a DISK! Merry Christmas to you and your crew……Jodi:)

  17. I loved reading this, especially “I follow my instincts and listen to my heart. That’s the kind of mother I am.”

    I can’t wait to read your book! Are you going on a book tour? If so, please come to Nashville!

  18. Already have the book pre-ordered and I cannot wait!! Although at the same time.. I can wait. because I want to enjoy life to the fullest between then and now :) Love all the FAQs! So many great thoughts. I love the part about failure because failure is not something I handle well. At all. It is an inspiration to me to do learn from it because it’s going to happen. I need to just roll with it.

  19. LOVED this post and just love your outlook and take – especially on “kind of mom”. keep the inspiration coming! moving to FL and i’m flipping out a little bit. i don’t like hot. and i have 2 little girls too.

  20. As always, your pictures are incredible, your girls are gorgeous, and your writing is beautiful. It seems like a weird thing to say, but your blog, your outlook on life, and your way of seeing things has influenced me for the better. Thanks a million for taking the time to share your family’s story through this blog. I can’t wait to read your book, and Merry Christmas to you and your family! :)

  21. Love this…I follow my instincts and listen to my heart. That’s the kind of mother I am.

    Can’t wait to read Bloom!

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas!
    Jill B (Overland Park, KS)

    Oh, and guess what??! Lexi (age 5 1/2) lost her first tooth tonight! She was beyond excited and when I told her the toothfairy might leave a quarter, she responded with a, “no, a dollar for my purse”. Hehe, smart girl! πŸ˜‰

  22. Your family is inspiring, mostly because you can tell that you aren’t setting out to be, just being yourselves.
    I can’t wait to read your book – this is one of my favorite blogs, just because you remind me daily to find the joy. My oh my – there is so much of it to be found. Blessings and prayers for a very Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  23. can wait to read Bloom!

    thanks for being so real!

  24. Yahoo! Thank you thank you! As my three year old would put it. “You rock my world”

  25. Just buy the damm plate…love it! Thanks for the inspiration as always, and Merry Christmas to your sweet family!

  26. Good for you girl! I am proud that you made the decision to overcome and grow from the negative words some people used about you and your blog. I am a people pleaser as well and find that sometimes the negativity speeds up growth in yourself.

    The lasting statement from this post…I am sure my kids childhood is well documented. I often find it hard to cull out my photos. That simple statement is going to help me. Well me and my hard drive.

    Merry Christmas

  27. I enjoyed reading through the answers to these questions. What I cannot wait for and have already pre-ordered, is Bloom. I cannot wait to dive into your story and relish each savory word on each delicious page. Merry Christmas to ya’ll! It’s almost here!!! xo

  28. I am so excited and cannot wait to read Bloom! It sounds like a wonderful book Kelle! Thanks for answering,”Jus a few” questions for all your faithful readers~~~Merry Christmas sweet Momma!

  29. I loved your mention of not making laundry soap because you don’t drive a hybrid! I’ve been overweight as an adult & never really addressed it. Through college and the first part of my 20’s I gained about 10lbs. a year. I finally leveled out at some point, but basically I just ignored it. This past year I toyed with the idea of doing something. I finally did in August. I went to talk to a trainer and she asked if I was getting back in shape. I had to admit I’d never been in shape, because I wasn’t that kind of person. I love books, I read dozens each year. I love Broadway, I love food, I love travel, but I’ve never tried to love exercise. So I tried every kind of exercise I wanted to try- yoga, water aerobics, Couch to 5K running, pilates. Guess what? I love it all! I’m not significantly thinner yet, but I love working out, and now do about 7 hours a week. I’m running a 5K on New Year’s, and I’m signed up for 2 more races next year. It’s amazing what we can do when we just step outside the box, even if it’s a box we like & that we put ourselves in. Happy Holidays!

  30. I don’t know you and your people (well, I virtually know Heidi, we exchanged Christmas cards this year! Yay!)but I sure like your tribe. Lots. Keep on keeping it real. xoxo

  31. I am definitely jealous of your mama made quilts!

    mango
    mangotatoes.blogspot.com

  32. I have wondered most of these, the photography bits most of all! :)

  33. While I didn’t ask any questions, it’s great to learn more about someone who I read very regularly! I’m looking forward to reading Bloom!

  34. You’re awesome Kelle! Love hearing more about YOU, your family and what makes you tick! Thanks for answering questions! And can’t wait for that book!

  35. PS. How many people do you think will be checking ebay to see what’s out there for good vintage quilts at such great prices! Ha! :)

  36. Your book has been in my amazon card…just waiting for the day I can buy it. I love each and every one of these answers…it’s so refreshing and a way I strive to be but know that I’m still far from it. As a young mom, I still feel like I’m gaining my footing….I feel change in this coming year…since I’ll be turning 30! :)

  37. Awe Kelle, you are an amazing mama! I’m a teacher and kids are my life though, I have none of my own. Always wanted a house full. . . 7 to be exact! Anyway just wanted you to know that I love, love, love your blog. There is nothing that can clear a cloudy day for me better than your blog and pix of your sweet girls! I thought that you should know I was at Target tonight when what to my wandering eyes should appear but a shelf with pix of Elftity’s relatives on it!! Well, much to my surprise, I found that he was for sale at TArget! Sadly enough, there weren’t anymore and even though I raced to the nearest Target, I was disappointed again. I guess I will have to wait till next year. I’m just sayin’ that seeing that post about the elf was spectacular and well, I gotta have one! Merry Christmas!

  38. Loved reading the FAQ and can’t wait to read your book :)

  39. You are one of the first people who have ever made me feel adaquate the things you say along with how you feel sum up so much of my word fumbles that I am not as gifted in speaking you were the first person who made me feel like its ok to not fit into a box and for that I am so great full I just want to thank you and tell you I adore your socks off sister;) have a very merry Christmas let your holiday freak flag wave:)

  40. Can’t wait for Bloom to come out! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer questions about you and your family, life, and all of the above! You are a wonderful inspiration to so many! Hope you have the merriest Christmas yet!

  41. I am a fellow Capricorn almost 33 year old glass half-full sister (my birthday is Christmas Eve). I find so much peace and joy in your writing and feel so inspired reading about your life philosophy and your family. I’m a single New Yorker who is living this fun, broke, artistic, traveling life but one day wants to raise kids with the same instinctive, joyful spirit you are bringing up Nella and Lainey. Thank you so much for this blog and I cannot wait to read your book!! Merry Christmas!

  42. Ive already pre ordered my copy and cant wait until it comes out!! Thank you for taking the time to answer such personal questions, even though I didnt ask one. To say you are my favorite blogger, is a complete understatement. Thanks for the daily inspiration to be a better mama to the two little boys I adore more than life!

  43. Beautifully said. Thank you for your answer about what type of mom you are. I so often feel constrained in my parenting because of these categories. Why do we worry about these things so much? I’m becoming a better mom by going with my gut and doing what makes me happy. Thanks for being a source of inspiration.

    PS- I love the quilts!

    http://www.theruralroost.com

  44. Love this… and oh, that Nella. Cuter by the minute.

  45. Agh, Kelle, I just love you to pieces. I LOVE your writing. Can’t wait to read Bloom.

  46. I just love your blog! It inspires me to be the Mummy I want to be. Thank you for taking the time to blog I love reading them. I have 5 beautiful girls and I thank my lucky stars for them and can’t imagine why anyone would ask me (they do regularly) if we wanted a boy. I am just so grateful for the family we have.

  47. Really good post. Can’t wait to read your book. Have a great Christmas. Thanks for being you. Xo.

  48. April cannot come soon enough! I have found a grand amount of inspiration and encouragement from you and THANK YOU for sharing your life with us!

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. Have just pre-ordered 2 copies of “Bloom” through Amazon… can’t wait for April. Not sure who the second copy is for yet, but know it will be given to the right person at the right time πŸ˜€ (Hope postage to Australia doesn’t take too long)!

  51. I can’t wait to get my copy of the book. I love reading your blog even if I can’t always relate – it helps me make sure I look at things in a better perspective. Thanks to you I handled the loss of my daughter with severe DS at 21 weeks. I now have a healthy surviving son who is 7 months old and I spend everyday soaking up his amazing joy.

  52. I hope someday I’m someone like you!!!

    ~Beth

  53. Thankyou for answering these :)
    I didn’t have my questions answered though, haha. I just wanted to know if you’re girls where good sleepers, where they co-sleeping and if you are still nursing sweet Nella?

    As always, butterflies when I saw you had posted again, highlight of the day!

    :)
    x

  54. Love it! I can’t wait to read Bloom. πŸ˜€

    I totally feel you on the criticism thing. I only have a wee little blog, but even I get blog trolls, and it sucks. Well, it did suck. Now I find it kind of amusing, and I actually have taken their words, harsh as they are, and grown from them.

    Merry Christmas!

  55. great answers, I cannot wait for your book and I hope will be translate to polish so people in my country will know how great mum you are and do not be shy to have special needs baby.

  56. Will Bloom also be released outside of the USA? I live in The Netherlands and would love to read it… :)

  57. This answer was so beautiful:

    A: Just a mom. I don’t want to sum up what kind of mom I am in one word because that’s limiting. I don’t like being put in a box and I’m way too impulsive to fit into just one category. I’ve written about this before, but I think sometimes we feel like we can’t explore a new area if we don’t completely fit in the box. Like “I’d really like to buy that vintage plate because I love it, but my house is too contemporary and I’m not really Vintage Girl.” Who says you have to be just one thing? Buy the damn plate if you love it. Our society is fabulous at pigeon-holing people and identifying them into categories as if they have to abide by a certain set of rules–and judgement and assumption often follows. We’ve identified the urban mom, the hipster mom, the churchy mom, the homeschool mom, the wild mom, the funny mom, the divorced mom, the laid back mom as if once you have a label, that’s all you can be. That’s so constraining and yet, I admit, I fall victim to the labeling. Like I thought I couldn’t make my own laundry soap because it meant I’d also have to drive a hybrid car. Holding a solid faith and dancing out with the girls don’t have to be opposites. Having a home in a suburban neighborhood doesn’t mean I can’t funk it up with crafts and cherished kitsch. And writing about “the small things” certainly doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to “the big things” in life too. I want to passionately explore a multitude of areas in life and, while some areas might bubble to the surface with noticeable expression, some simmer beautifully and quietly underneath–not to be forgotten. I’ll dip my toes into different hobbies and ways of life if I feel drawn to them, and I won’t let the box of “who I’m supposed to be” stop me for a hot second. And I learn–oh, do I learn from so many other kinds of moms who continually broaden the definition of motherhood with their insight and experience.

    Your writing…is something that I can’t even put into words! Just beautiful. And inspiring, encouraging… Lovely. :)

  58. Thanks for taking the time to answer!
    I just knew you wouldn’t answer mine – the most asked of them all!!! πŸ˜€ I can’t wait to ship that book to my swedish little mailbox!
    Can’t wait!

    I think I’ve been a follower here about a year now and I’m so totally thankful I found this Universe. To think I found it by chance – can’t believe it. What if I would have missed it??

    Letting you brighten up my days every week a whole year has not only changed my life, it has changed me. I have been comforted, inspired and amused.
    I know for sure – every time I tap http://www.kellehampton…. – that I’ll forget everything else for a moment and just be refilled in one way or another.

    I don’t know how to put it in words, without them sounding shallow but it has really changed me and it all came about at a time when I so needed to change some things about how I deal with a new kind of hardships I had little knowledge about.
    Via you I found a way to focus on the good in a structured way (I’m a very impulsive-in-the-moment-kind of gal) and in the process starting to see even more of all the beauty out there. Everywhere.

    Enough said!
    THANK you Kelle. From the bottom of my heart. You are a wonderful person.

  59. What great questions….but, of course, great answers, too. I imagine that you thought long about each response, but the way you write flows so easily and sounds just as if you were talking right to us. I loved the ‘different kind of moms’ part. I think I had put myself in a box, although I’m not sure what type. And the other day at Goodwill, I saw some vintage type bowls that I loved, but I’m not the ‘type’ to buy just two unmatching bowls…ha! but I did it and can’t wait to give them to myself for Christmas.
    You’re such an amazing mom with such a great philosophy on life. Like the other readers, I’m so looking forward to your book!!
    Susan

  60. I know what kind of mom you are: an incredible mom!
    Love, Marietje

  61. Great post, and I’m sure the book will be a winner!

    And I just want to give you a shout out for commenting on other blogs and reading the comments, etc. It makes people feel good, so thanks :)

  62. Thanks so much for that little extra bit of insight! I really can’t wait for Bloom to come out. Do you know if there are any places in Australia that will be stocking it or will I have to buy online?

  63. I love you! No, seriously, I do. Are you sure you weren’t born in Alabama and taken to Michigan, cause Dude, we could SO be sisters that were separated! Almost everything you wrote about life with Nella, siblings, being a mom, and life in general, I could have written word.for.word! I love the freedom of not living in a “box”! It allows me to walk effortlessly through the lives of so many wonderful friends of many different races, religions, cultures, classes and mothering styles. Respecting each treasured friend for who they are, and receiving the same respect from them in return.
    My one regret of this past year is not making the time to blog. And that’s the truth of it, not committing a small sliver of my time to doing something that I’ve felt so strongly, so many times, that I should be doing. Because I know that I have a voice that someone needs to hear, even if it’s just one person. Yet, each time I think, “I should write about this,” I push it asside with, “but I need to do xyz instead.” and the words never come. I need to change that, not for others, but for me, because I know how strong the urge has been, and I know that I am letting the fear and intimidation of stepping out there get in my way, and the only one struggling over it is me.
    Thank you so much for opening the lives of you, and your family, for so many to peer in and get a glimps of how to truly appreciate life, both the big moments and the small. Your words, photos, and insight are a wonderful gift.

  64. Thank you for your honesty! I can’t wait to read your book!

  65. Thank you so much for inspiring your readers. I read your blog whenever I get a free minute while my almost 3 year old is eating or napping. I admire you as a person and as a mother. Most of your posts bring me to tears. Your family is so beautiful and you can just see the love in all of your photographs. I can’t wait to buy Bloom!

    Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family. And thank you again for sharing your life with all of us.

  66. I know what kind of mom you are: an incredible mom!
    Love,

  67. Great answers. Thank you for taking the time to write that all out. Are you going to do a book tour in the spring?

  68. even more excited for blom now, although, you really should punish your publishers for waiting until january, would’ve been the perfect christmas gift. : ) Happy Thursday before Christmas!! yay!

    Oh and ps- I’ve read some of those blogs that like to hate, stating nobody should focus on the positive all THAT much. but just know this kelle, your blog really has changed me. i always knew i spent too much time in the exhuastive, the negative, the self criticism and guilt, the hard things. I knew i needed to find a way to re-train my brain. It wasn’t until I found your blog that i was able to do this. I don’t overly connect with each of your posts, but I can almost always find one line or one statement that I can engrain upon my being, and i truly truly know it has changed who i am as a woman, a mom, a friend. I am so much happier for having “met” you. You keep rockin’ it girl.

  69. I have been following you for some time now, always with intentions to send you and the girls some things I make and such… but I never get to it… and after reading your post… I see it’s ok to forgive myself… but I will get to it.. I have to… because I really enjoy your posts, your writing and your passions…and I would like to share some of mine with you…I read a book to my son the other night called the gingerbread girl.. ( I am sure you have heard of it) that you would love to read to the girls… I am going to buy your book… I guess because…I love to read things you write.. but I have always wondered how you and Brett met… I have a husband who’s been married before.. and his X wife and I get along… so I am intriged.
    have a happy Holiday Kelle.
    Lisa Wasabi mommy

  70. Kelle, You are awesome! I just love reading your blog. When I see your piles of clothes and all the beautiful things you do with your beautiful children, I don’t worry too much about my piles and realize we can’t do it all. You bring that into perspective. Keep it up you are an inspiration and your children are BLESSED to have you as a mom. You have done a great job with them and I suspect you will continue to do even better because you are that person!

  71. Love the photo of Nella hugging you!

  72. Thank you for your open-ness and honesty. Your blog is so beautiful and such a testimony of love. Looking forward to bloom!

  73. Thanks for the first answer! Someone who takes as many photos as you has to be an expert at hitting that delete button. My goal is to sort through all the photos on my hard drive and get rid of those taking up precious space.

  74. I’m looking forward to your book, too! I love your writing. Thanks for sharing with all of us. WOW!

  75. That was a great post
    I already pre ordered the book, months ago

    happy & HEALTHY holidays!

    xoxo
    cathy

  76. Kelle,
    I made the laundry detergent, used it & my husbands eczema cleared up!

    xoxo
    cathy

    ps I need that salt scrub recipe you made last year, please

  77. do u know how adoption people…http://www.clearadoption.com/ check this and send every one it’s one of the one….in usa

  78. I just have to say that I love your blog!! I am excited for you new book.
    Happy Holidays!

  79. You inspire me like crazy! I love this post. Your blog is a favorite and I always get so excited when I see a new post from you. :)

    Plus, I feel somewhat connected to you because I think there are elements of my present life which intersects with elements of your past life. :)

    Gosh – if you still lived in this area I would be over the moon to be mentored photographically by you.

    Anyway – I swear I am not as stalkerish as the above comment sounds, but just know that your photos + words have been so fun and inspiring to me!

  80. Beautiful, beautiful mama!! Great post and great way to answer questions… there were some I didn’t even realize I had, haha. :)

    Merry Christmas almost!!

    ~Tabitha Blue

  81. Wow…thanks so much for taking the time to answer all of these questions. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for photography tips!

  82. I am so ready for your book to come out! You are a very good writer (one of the reasons I am always looking for a new post on your blog), and you are real.

    Something you said about being out there, owning what you say and being who you are really hit me. I used to blog often, but one day it caused drama in my future in-law family and I stopped. I hated that after the fact, I couldn’t write anything without thinking “Will they take this wrong? Do I really want them to know this about me?” It has been about five years since this happened and I am trying to get up the courage again to push those thoughts out of my head and just write. Your blog is helping me get there, helping me get inspired enough to break my ridiculous wall. Thanks for being there.

  83. I love your perspective when it comes to motherhood. Thanks for writing, for sharing, and for letting us all take a peek into your life. I, for one, know it has helped me recognize the wonderful “little things” in my own life and family.

  84. Beautiful post! Well I know what I’m aksing for as my birthday gift now since your book comes out just in time for it to make the perfect gift!
    Have a wonderful Christmas.

  85. Just beautiful, as always. love your words, your photo’s…just love it!

    Brooke
    http://www.TheAnnessaFamily.blogspot.com

  86. I pre-ordered the book! Thanks for sharing all of these answers to your FAQ’s…

  87. The pictures in this post say it all. So much love! Happiness IS a choice. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    “When I was 5 years old, my mother told me happiness was the key to life. When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” -John Lennon

  88. I’m a recent follower of your blog. I love your crafts, I love reading about the little things, I love the simplicity mixed in with big moments and the every day things that truly are special when we take the time to notice. I love how you write about being a mother. I have wanted to have a baby for 6 years but the circumstances in our lives have never allowed us to start trying. I know there is no “right time” but there are definitely times that are better than others and we haven’t got there yet. In the meantime, your words are heartwarming and inspiring. I love “the more I trust myself, the better I love” and I love that you don’t “pigeon hole” yourself as a mother. I am learning how to not to do this as a woman and it is freeing. I love that you trust you trust your instincts and listen to your heart. Such beautiful words to live by. Thank you.

  89. Great post. I love the part about your two kids getting rural love. I have a special needs son, my first child. He has brain damage from being a micro-preemie and having meningitis 3x. He also gets PT, OT, Speech, Developmental therapies. I am afraid to have a second child bc my son needs south attention. You put it beautifully and I have hope we could have another and get through it.

  90. I am new to reading your blog, but i have quickly become a major fan. Your family is so beautiful, both inside and out. You are an inspiration in every sense of the word! I like reading blogs that leave ME inspired to be a better person, and yours definitely does that. God bless and Merry Christmas!

  91. Kelle I am so inspired by you and I have probably commented this a dozen times. You are such a wonderful woman and your outlook is amazing. I love your answer to ‘what kind of mom are you?’ I hate when I get behind on reading your posts because they are always so uplifting, true, and honest. You say what is on your heart.
    I can’t wait for Bloom!
    -Kelsey

  92. I know what I am going to be doing with the Barnes & Noble Gift Card I got for Christmas! I hope your book answers my question on how you and Brett’s ex get along so well. That never ceases to amaze me!

  93. I love this blog–I’ve been following for about a year and a half–someone on another message board had posted your blog after reading about Nella’s birth–the link went right to the birth story. To say I was ‘moved’ was an understatement. Your raw emotions, your love, your words–were inspirational and filled me with amazement. I can’t wait to read your book! I have to say that I read your blog before going to bed last night..part of my dream was playing with Nella while you were giving Lainey a bath–I put a really cute floral doo-rag on her head and she had the best musical laugh ever. That was all I remembered and sorry, I’m not creepy at all lol. I love your stories and I love your pictures!!! You have a very beautiful family and you are obviously a beautiful person on the inside–anyone would be honored to have you as a friend. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. :)

  94. Never thought I would say anything so cheesy but “I heart you”! My Evan (9 months old) has Ds and it effects everyday but some days it is just a passing thought! You just summed it up so nicely! Can’t wait for the book! Merry Christmas to your family!

  95. yep, definitely getting the book when it comes out. and maybe even a DSLR camera one day…

  96. Just 3 little words, Kelle: I love you! :) :) :)
    Can’t wait for Apr 3rd.
    Merry Xmas!

  97. “when you repeatedly practice finding the good, it has a way of finding you.” I love this! & so true that it can be hard, but once you try, it is so rewarding. Good is always there!

    Even in mouthy, over confident, super opinionated teenagers! ;o) At least that’s where this presents itself right now in our house.

    Thank you for sharing! Can’t wait for the book.

    Alison

  98. I really enjoyed reading your responses.

  99. Your bit about Moms being pigeonholed is so true.I’ve been a Mom for almost 3 years now and it’s one thing I’ll never understand (amongst other things).

    I didn’t ask a question either but thanks for your responses. :)

    Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  100. Though I don’t often comment, I wanted you to know that I read your blog almost religiously. And for a 21 year old graduate student, that’s no easy feat! Each and every day I find myself engrossed in your family’s story. Your honest, realistic view on life is truly inspiring. Thanks for being you!

  101. It is a post like this that makes me fall in love with your blog all over again. I love that you don’t put yourself in a category – it makes you and your family more “real” in the blogosphere. Keep up the great work!! So excited for Bloom :) Merry Christmas Hampton family!

  102. Thanks again Kelle…you are an amazing blogger. I look forward to checking in every day! Just pre-ordered myself a copy of BLOOM…I hope it’s a huge success! I’m sure reading it will be like curling up with a good girlfriend for a soul to soul chat :) BTW my family is thinking of coming to SW Fla for Easter break and I would love a session with the you. Are you taking new clients? Happy Holidays to you & your. xoxokh

  103. I have already Pre-ordered your book and I can’t wait to read it! I adore your blog!

  104. Loved this post! Very excited for your book to come out in April. I found your blog right after my 1st born son was born. (he’s 2 months younger than Nella) LOVED it. I then got really sick and had a 9 day stay at the hospital. While recovering at home I read your blog start to finish like a book. Your stories became real to me and we became best of friends. πŸ˜‰ Kind of like a pen pal! Love your sweet family!

  105. I can’t wait to get Bloom. I am so excited! I hope the book tour includes a stop in New York!

  106. Kelle, another BEAUTIFUL blog post!! I LOVED hearing you answer the questions and my 5 year old, Kiya, loved looking at the pictures. She said “I like Lainey, she looks like fun”, :) I can’t wait to read your book! I look forward to your blog posts each day and now will be anticipating the release of Bloom!! Have a wonderful Christmas with your family and adorable little girls!!

  107. Kelle, thank you for taking the time to answer readers questions. Funny how in the blogging world you are a celebrity of sorts, and it makes the day of us common folk to know you heard us, you noticed us. I can’t even imagine the volume of commments, emails, questions you get, but when you take the time to respond to even one person, you make our day. Heck, maybe even our week. Perhaps our month. You get the point. I still have a Facebook comment saved that you wrote back to me some six months ago! It makes me happy when I come across it, a small victory that THE Kelle Hampton heard me, and took the time to respond. Two more things, I am preordering Bloom today, meant to do it a long time ago, and I wonder how many people are going to go hunting ebay today for Vintage quilts. You can bet your marbles that i’ll be there πŸ˜‰ Thanks again Kelle, and warmest wishes to you and your family!

  108. Great post, Kelle. Thank you for everything you wrote about not labeling ourselves… that is just what I needed to hear. I am not a mother yet, but I am a woman and a wife, and I often feel like I am not enough when I compare myself to others. When I read about other women or moms, I often feel like “myself” is not adequate. I have many more years to figure it out and become comfortable in my own skin, but your words of wisdom made me smile… so thank you.

  109. Happy~Happy~Happy Holidays!!!

    Always reading…Always loving all you share…Always grateful… :)))

    xOx…Always sending you positive energy~

    “Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid but that doesn’t change that truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.” ~Brené Brown

  110. So. I didn’t see this question, and I’m dying to know: do you color your hair? If not, man, I’m jealous. If so, do tell the amazing color! I’ve never personally colored, but after 35 years of life, my hair is slowly turning from brownbrown to brownbrown with a snarly gray or two sprouting from the top. And pretty soon, pulling them out isn’t really going to do it. And I love your hair. Love it.

    Looks like next year will be another for the books. Happiest New Year to your beautiful family – and Merry Merry Merry Christmas to all from unusually balmy Chicago.

  111. Every time I see that quilt Nella is sitting on it makes me happy. I have a quilt that is almost identical on a bed in our guest room. I should take a picture and send it to you. Thank you again for your wonderful blog. I’m much older than you and my girls are adults now, but your blog is a wonderful reminder to literally enjoy the small things every day. Have a wonderful holiday!!

  112. thanks for doing this!! i can’t wait for the book!!!

    have a very merry and blessed christmas!

  113. MERRY CHRISTMAS, KELLE! Looking forward to the book. Thanks for answering all our questions.

  114. I really enjoyed this post. I don’t comment often, but I just wanted to say how much I love your blog. I discovered it almost 2 years ago on a friends blog page, and I’ve been hooked every since. Your blog introduced me to so many others, your beautiful photos have inspired me to take more pictures everyday, and to learn to photograph well. I hope that someday when I’m a momma that I can capture my children’s lives as well as you do, and your love of life is infectious! I will be pre-ordering your book this week, thank you for sharing your story.

  115. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for letting us into your life. I feel like we’re kindred spirits!

  116. I love your blog! I’ve been reading it for about a year now and this is my first comment for some reason…I’ve been meaning to tell you how much I love it! Every time I read it, I feel a little inspired- to bake, to create, to love.
    Can’t wait for your book!!

  117. First off – Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!!!

    Second – YOU’RE WRITING A BOOK?!?!?!?!? I’M SO STINKIN’ PUMPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Finally – I’m new to blogging. In fact, it was your blog that really inspired me to start. One of the first blog posts I read that REALLY struck home with me was “What I love about right now”. Because of this – we often walk around the house saying what we love about right now – For reals. It’s pretty awesome. Optimism freaking rules!!!

    Happy Holidays!!!

    -Simply Shelley

  118. Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait for the book — it comes out on my birthday! :o)

  119. Congrats on the book! I bet it’s great!

    I agree with you about raising a child born with Down syndrome. We hardly ever think about Down syndrome that much around here.

    Noah is just our son. The fact that he has an extra chromosome sort of fades into the background around here (until we have a doctor apt. or something..!)

    keep up the great work, and I wish you guys all the best!

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  120. Thank you for allowing us a more of a peek inside! Fantastic answers to some excellent questions.

    Merry, merry Christmas to your family.

    ~ Devon
    Reading with Joey

  121. I’m a frequent reader, but not a frequent commenter. This time I had to comment. I not only loved reading through your answers to your readers questions, but one in particular I feel one in the same about. Being type-casted as a particular mom/person. I am not a mom, but have felt that way for years. I do as well, fall into labeling things, but for some time now never wanted to be just one thing. I love a little bit of everything, and the way people like to fit you into one category, it’s like if they can’t do that with you, then you are confused, searching for yourself… I just wanted you to know that your answer sits true to home with me as well, and it’s good to hear there are more like that out there! Great post, love your pictures as well!

  122. Although you do a lot of things extraordinarily, you are really very real. Or come across that way….I believe that is why so many people are drawn to you. All children have needs, and all of them are “special” and you provide so much inspiration to us all. I can’t wait to read the book. It is hard to pin point why certain people strike chords with the public but your optimism and attitude towards life draws people to you….that is my theory. Thanks for the post.

  123. Merry Christmas & Happy 2012 to you & your beautiful family~

  124. Simply put (but certainly not pigeon-holing you)…inspiring. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy the holidays! E

  125. I love your writing and cannot wait for your book!

    I have a question…When do we get to see your Christmas card? :) I always look forward to seeing what you come up with. Especially since I dropped the ball this year and never got mine done :)

    Merry Christmas!

  126. Nice – love reading your responses to FAQ. But especially love your response to “what kind of mom are you?” Totally feel you on that and even posted my own ramblings on this topic on my blog awhile back.
    Cheers to a new year and congrats on your book! Can’t wait to read it!!!

  127. thank you so much for this post! you have opened my eyes in so many ways and i am truly grateful.
    i think i have said in one of my recent comments but thank you for putting yourself out there and making me know that i am justified in squeezing every last drop out of most every day. :)

  128. LOVE THIS POST!! I can’t wait to read Bloom. And I am not a reader! : D You can bet your bottom I read every blog post and WILL read your book. Thank you!

  129. Thanks for the interesting Q&A session. Aren’t we all just a mom? Love your insight(yes, I meant to separate the word) full answers. We are all unique. I am off to eat more Christmas cookies. Can you OD on sugar cookies?

  130. My husband’s parents pre ordered Bloom for me for Christmas. I will be stalking my mailbox in April. Baby sister is due around that time, and I will need some reading material to keep me awake during night time feedings. :)

  131. I ready your blog nearly daily since 2 years now, but I think I never wrote a comment *hmmm* but now: I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY :o)

    greetings from germany,

    steffi

  132. LOVE your answer to the “what kind of mom are you” question. Thanks for reminding me I don’t have to fit into a specific box and that it’s okay to dabble in things I normally wouldn’t because it’s not what I do.

    Can’t wait to read your book! You are a special woman, momma, and wife. Merry Christmas!

  133. Thank you, Kelle. You are inspiring in the most genuine way – by not trying to be. You are living your life the way you want to and you are gracious enough to share little bits with the rest of the world. I’ve been following your blog since I read Nella’s birth story and I can’t wait for your book! Thank you for sharing. :)

  134. You are a true gem miss kelle, I love your blog. I love how real and honest you are…that’s the ONE thing nobody can ever take away from you with whatever mean things they want to say, you are REAL and HONEST and I love that!
    tara

  135. Kelle, your blog always makes me smile! Thanks lady!

  136. Kelle, you are super inspiring by your passion and love for your kids. And I am drawn to your blog, whenever i need a good pick-me-up :)
    I have followed your blog for what seems like forever. When I had my conjoined twins in 2009 and blogging my way through the joy of being their mother, someone sent me your blog to find that I too was not alone in mothering an extraordinary child. (but really, looking back, what child in their own way isn’t extraordinary, really) Anywho, I am so excited to read your book. And thank you for sharing your life with strangers. I hope you and your family have a very blessed and Merry Christmas.
    <3 luci
    1heart2souls.org

  137. Kelle ~ I just found your blog a few months ago, and am glad that I did. I sit here with a smile on my face when I read you. I absolutely love all the photos you take of your beautiful girls, Brett and you. I’m gonna go pre-order your book. πŸ˜‰

    May you, Brett, Lainey, Nella and your family have a Wonderful Merry Christmas ~ and a Fabulous New Year!!

    Lorena

  138. Loved this post! And I totally agree with you about Nella’s eyes; I often find myself thinking how beautiful they are :)

  139. I had no idea you wrote a book- I am so excited to hear that. Your answers are truly inspiring.

    Steph

  140. I just pre-ordered your book for my Nook. Very excited to read it. Merry Christmas

  141. I am stoaked for your book.

    I love your blog, its one of my all time favorite online discoveries. You make ordinary magical.

    Oh, I so hope you don’t have haters. How pathetic of them.

  142. Well, I just saw on Amazon that Matt Logelin likes your books, so I’m sold!

  143. Thank-you for taking the time to answer the questions we have…If I am having a bad day all I have to do is read you blog and I am smiling again…Merry Christmas to all that share your tree this holiday season and all the best for 2012
    Julie

  144. i love the fact that you actually took the time to fully answer these questions in depth. I can’t wait to read the book about your life. i would tots buy it. You are a Very Strong woman and God has blessed u with that

  145. Kelle- You are the most amazing person I have never met…I call you my blog best friend…I read you EVERYDAY…new posts, old posts and all the in between posts. You INSPIRE me daily..If you want to talk about a certain “mom” to be, I want to be “part” Kelle Hampton in my box.

    Oh and by the way…where’s the Christmas card…do we readers get to see it?

  146. Amazingly beautiful as always…… You in the inside, your writing and your girls.
    Thank you! Looking forward to the photo tips and of course to Bloom!
    xoxo

  147. Thank you, Kelle – Amazing as always. You have a gift for words and writing! Your last paragraph brought tears to my eyes.
    Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family!

  148. I cannot wait for the book. You are truly a talented, amazing, wonderful writer, and I am so excited to read more about your life with Brett and your littles.

  149. Aaahhh!!! (That’s me shouting!) I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your description of a mom and how we don’t need to fit in a box. It has taken me so long to be okay with myself; to not feel demeaned or criticized for not doing it the same as others. Mine is more like a refrigerator box split wide open on all sides….not tidy at all.

    We need to have a sleep-over.
    We have so much to talk about.

    :)

  150. Every time I see the “snow in a jar” in a local artist’s gift shop, I think of you.

    http://bluepearblog.blogspot.com/

    You’ll have to scroll down a bit to see them!

  151. I can’t wait for your book! Ah, I’m excited. Very excited to hear more about your life and faith…my dad is a pastor too. I love your blog and peeking into your beautiful life! You continually inspire me to take more pictures and blog about real (wonderful) life.

  152. I think you’re an amazing mother and your children are very lucky to have you being there for them (not to mention documenting every stage of their lives!)

  153. Can’t wait for your book. I love me a good memoir! I first discovered you from your interview with Rosie O’Donnell. Have loved reading your blog since.

  154. I’m really glad you wrote that bit about negative criticism; the fear of rejection or someone telling me I’m a completely talentless writer/photographer/person is probably the biggest thing that keeps me from just full out pursuing all of the creative endeavors I want to do. I’ve actually read some negative blog posts and comments about your blog, and it amazes me how critical and mean some people can be for no real reason. It’s scary stuff, especially for someone (me) who is just starting to put herself out there. But your blog is my biggest inspiration, even though I’m not yet a mama and don’t want to be for a few more years. And I think that’s all that should matter. The critics come and go, and maybe some will always be there, but if you are able to inspire and brighten even a few peoples’ lives, in the end the negativity is washed away. Easy for me to say, less easy for me to remember when it’s me doing the creating. Anyway, this was a wonderful post to read (aren’t they all? =]). Happy holidays!

  155. Just wanted to say I have really enjoyed reading you rblog this year. Days when I was feeling down you pumped me up with your words and photos! Thanks, you and your family are beautiful!! GOD BLESS you for writing and letting the world read it! Can’t wait for the book!

    Merry Christmas

  156. A picture you took while you were on vacay ?last year (a weekend in the Keys @ your dad’s place?) really impacted me. Like, I need to make a whole frickin wall mural with this saying, affected me. “Look for the good.” How often do we fail to do that? Me? Everyday. sigh. Work in progress. But your last line of this post really speaks to me, of that old sign.

    Blessings to you and your freak flag flying fabulousness. πŸ˜‰ Merry Christmast.

  157. I just absolutely love everything you have just written. We have this wonderful gift as women to tap into so many different palates of life. Especially as mothers. How disheartening to watch people limit themselves to one category, thereby limiting what they are able to give to their families. You inspire me with every post to get outside of my own confinement and taste all the flavors of life and love without boundaries. I can’t wait to get your book.

  158. You have done a great job of writing and sharing your very beautiful life. I’m almost 50, a nurse and a knitter, but I feel you have reached across and we have something in common. I am learning to sing the high notes because you have inspired me to add Nella Fantasia to my repertoire.

  159. wonderful job of answering all those great questions… i had fun reading & learning all about it. can’t wait for your book. so exciting!! Merry Christmas to you & the family. big hugs!! (:

  160. First off, I was just wondering about how you store/organize all of your picture files the other day…so thanks for answering that. I really loved this write up –you brought tears to my eyes when you wrote, “I’ve thought so many times–how could I have ever underestimated this love?” oh so true.

  161. I love this post! It answered so many of the things I’ve been wondering!

  162. I can’t wait to read your book and find out more of your story..what a beautiful story you’ve been given.

    I like that you try to read all of your comments…I think that’s kind and thoughtful of you. it’d be very easy to do the opposite…to not read any of them…or to pick three out of the hundreds to read.

    You’ve given me a lot to think about in one of your responses. It’s SO true that we do label ourselves and we label others…we definitely try to pigeon hole people…it makes life seem organized or something. But, it’s wrong.

    I am much more guilty of labeling myself than others. It has taken me all of my twenties and now most of my thirties to become okay with myself.

    I hate saying that…it seems so weak, but it’s true.
    I’m a homeschool mom and my husband is on staff at a church…we’ve been in ministry for most of our 15 years of marriage. I’m trying to be true to who I really, really am and still please those around me, and it doesn’t work out that well for me too often.

    The comfort that you seem to experience in being who you are is refreshing…it also challenges me.

    I’m on a journey….and I’m gonna keep walking toward freedom.

    Thanks for this post…I needed it!

  163. Loved this post … I struggle with the “how to take the camera out and about without banging it up” issue.

    Thanks for the FAQ session …

    I STILL wish you would put the “Post a Comment” option right underneath your post though!

  164. OK, 2nd time commenting on this post, but I just wanted to say, the third picture of you holding Nella and her gorgeous smile – well, that one just makes my heart grow :)
    Have a Merry Christmas!!

  165. Thanks, as always, for putting yourself out there. You are a mommy role model to me, and your honesty and the poise in which you put it into writing are so refreshing for me. I look forward to your blog every day!

  166. Dude, quilt sales on EBAY just skyrocketed….lmao I dont know that, but I bet a lot of ppl are gonna start searching for vintage quilts tonight! bahaha

    Oh and I get paid tomorrow- thanks for the reminder to preorder Bloom. And bid on a quilt.

  167. Inspirational as always. I don’t know how you have time to do it all, but I’m sure glad you do! I’m looking forward to your book as well. Merry Christmas!

  168. Love, love, love your answer to “what kind of mom are you?” I feel so similarly! Why can’t I make my own laundry soap, upcycle my trash, AND prefer incandescent bulbs to those Eco-friendly dudes? Thanks for sharing!

  169. so excited about your book!!! did i miss when the release date is? i can do a little search for it. i told my husband it’s a “must have” for me :)

    thanks for being so open, kelle. it’s really beautiful.

    merry christmas to you & your family!

  170. Ok…so I hope this comes across the right way…here’goes…

    At first glance I thought that your Lainey was overshadowed by Nella. But, I’ve been following you for a while and I think that you’ve got a good thing going. I see that you love both of them equally (from a stranger’s point of view). You seem to embrace them for themselves and them collectively.

    I’m kinda a skeptic turned believer, but that sounds too strong or something.

    Anyways. Leaving the comment. Hopes it’s encouraging. Not the other way around.

  171. I CANNOT WAIT for your book! I’m sure I will read it all in one sitting snuggled up on the couch with a cup of hot tea and my favorite blanket!

  172. This comment has been removed by the author.

  173. Love seeing you in so many of the photos with your beautiful girls. Thank you for sharing such a magical piece of your life with all of us! With each post, you inspire and put faith into the hearts of so many Mamas…to embrace motherhood and fill our days with all the little moments, creating adventures and our own stories!! Your answer to what kind of Mom do you consider yourself absolutely ROCKED!! I so relate to what you wrote!! Love it!!
    Thank you Kelle for taking the time out of your busy creative fun-loving days to reach out and connect with us readers.
    You are truly incredible and I can hardly wait for your book!!
    Cheers to you!
    Monique

  174. You are so brave to put your family out there. I always find inspiration in your posts, whether it be some cute decorating ideas or for my amazing son with DS who is just a bit younger than beautiful Nella. Love the blog. Haven’t commented much lately as I am back at work and spend all my time with my baby boy, but always find the time to catch up on the adventures of the Hampton family. Keep it up. Merry Christmas. Hope it is just magical for those lovely girls!

  175. You are awesome! Period.

  176. Thank you for sharing, Kelle. You continue to be an inspiration, and I can’t wait to read your book!

  177. The way you look at life is inspiring. I have had a different holiday season this year in part because of you. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  178. Beautiful post! i can’t wait to read your book soon:))

  179. http://www.clearadoption.com – get your ready-to-sign and file iowa step parent adoption documents online. Stepparent adoption documents in iowa will be accurate and that the court clerks will accept it for filing as meeting or exceeding their standards

  180. clearadoption.com – get your ready-to-sign and file iowa step parent adoption documents online. Stepparent adoption documents in iowa will be accurate and that the court clerks will accept it for filing as meeting or exceeding their standards http://www.clearadoption.com/

  181. Thank you for being clear that, even though you can contribute some (or even a lot) of Nella’s successes to how hard you work with her, that kids with Ds that aren’t progressing as quickly are not products of parents not trying their darndest. Because, believe it or not, I’ve been accused of this. By my son’s therapist. There isn’t a minute of his awake time that someone who loves him and is blood related isn’t playing with him, showing him things, and/or practicing some “technique” we’ve learned. But he’ll be two on December 29th, and only a couple of months ago learned to sit up and crawl. And we aren’t close to walking yet, or even standing independently, or even pulling up to a stand instead of just to his knees. Dylan is definitely of the opinion that it should always be his way or the highway, and he’ll do stuff when he’s good and doggon ready. And I’m cool with that (now). Anyway, enough ramble. I’m excited for the book.

  182. hi, kelle…. i’ve just bought myself a canon 500d… in these holidays i plan to become intimate with it… so i’d really love to read your tips on photography since i’m a newbie but willing to learn…

    i wish you all an extremely happy and cheerful christmas

  183. Kelle,
    How much does it cost to send your camera to Canon to have it cleaned every year?
    Tara

  184. Yay! I was so excited about this F.A.Q. post! Thanks for the great photography tips. I am going to be waiting for the Photography Tips post in January. I am a photographer of sorts myself and am always looking for good tips, especially since I am already a fan of your photography talent. :) Merry Christmas!

  185. Absolutely beautiful, I love everything about this post! Im a mommy blogger and like you I don’t want to be thrown in just one category….I like them all! I adore your family and your girls. You are sooo blessed, and Im going to have to shop around on Ebay, hubby loves quilts but Ive never been a fan, but love yours….
    Merry Christmas
    Mandy

  186. You have such flare for expressing yourself. I cannot wait for Bloom! I appreciate your inspiring words and enlightening photos! It’s amazing how you are embedding little foot prints of happiness and hope On so many of your readers’ hearts!
    Thanks again for your uplifting words!

  187. Since ive just published my last post for the year i wanted to say merry Christmas and to have a happy and healthy new year to come. Yours truly Richard

  188. I love what you said about how critique can make us stronger. Never thought of it that way. I am too quick to try to please others as far as comments on my parenting. New Years resolution!

  189. *Gasp*
    A book?! You wrote a book?! And it comes out right before my birthday too! πŸ˜€
    I can not wait to read about how you guys met. I can’t wait to absorb every word on every page. So excited!

    Merry Christmas to you all! Can’t wait to read that blog post too πŸ˜€

  190. Oh my dear, I love every post! Keep walking! You are a brilliant person, you are a pretty woman, you have two wonderful daughters! I can’t end my day without reading your posts…
    If only I could met you face to face… but we are so far away…
    Don’t forget your visitors from Greece, please…
    love,
    Evita

  191. I enjoy your blog very much and am looking forward to the release your book. Have you ever considered a different format for your blog that would allow us and you to comment/reply to comments? It is hard for me to navigate through comments and the thought you were leaving comments for us as well never dawned on me.

  192. Thank you for sharing all those inspiring stories through your blog. I really don’t remember how I found your page, but I know that the first post I saw was the birth of your daughter; it totally melted my heart. I was talking with a friend the other day about autism and how hard it must be for the parents of an autistic child to handle a situation like that, and then your blog came to my mind, so I knew I had to find it again. I finally did, and I’ve been reading all your latest posts, and they are so inspiring! I used to read fashion blogs almost everyday, but now I’m replacing them by something way more productive: your blog! Thank you for remind your readers about the beauty of the world and the simple things in life. It’s funny how people are always looking for happiness when all these happy things surround us all the time! You have a beautiful family, by the way, and your photography is amazing! Keep up the good work with your blog, you’re going to be very blessed.

    http://engallophotography.blogspot.com/

  193. Just pre ordered! So excited! Have a merry Christmas!

  194. clearadoption.com – get your ready-to-sign and file indiana step parent adoption documents online. Stepparent adoption documents in indiana will be accurate and that the court clerks will accept it for filing as meeting or exceeding their standards http://www.clearadoption.com/adoption-indiana.php

  195. Hi Kelle,

    I’ve never left a comment before, but I was inspired to with this post. I’ve been following your blog for a while, and your photographs and your girls are so beautiful!

    I was especially moved by what you said about “no one does it all… but repeatedly practice finding the good”. I’ve been struggling quite a lot with that recently, and it was wonderful to hear that from you. I’m a stay at home mom to an 8 month old little boy and I absolutely love it, but there have been a lot of times in the last few weeks where I think I’m expecting myself to “do it all”, and when I inevitably fall short, I feel like I’m missing out on my own life.

    Not to get too long winded here, but the point is, your words ring true. I shall try to “practice finding the good” because there’s a whole lot of good going on. :)

    Thanks, and Merry Christmas!

    Allie

  196. Oh am I so glad that I ordered Bloom – I am so excited.

    Thank you for your thoughtfulness in answering questions.

    Have a very, Merry Christmas!!
    LOVED your Christmas crafts/party ideas…..you have BLESSED me.
    Thank you,
    Sandy

  197. Of course, I’d think of a Q after you’ve already published your FAQ. Well, in the event you might answer it on your next FAQ (or maybe in your book?), I was wondering how you got so famous! How many people read your blog before you posted Nella’s birth story? Whenever I’ve told people about your blog (which has happened many, many times), I always tell them about that birth story and how amazingly honest it was and how beautiful it is to see you learn to love your precious little one and overcome that first fear. If I’m right on my dates, you were getting press just over a month after publishing that, right? How’d that happen? How did your blog get OUT THERE?

    Merry Christmas, Kelle! Looking forward to your Christmasy stories and pics come next week!

    -Lela

  198. Kelle, I have pre-ordered your book; I am THAT excited to read it!! Merry Christmas to you and yours, may it be every bit of magical for you. Aussie Greetings, Xx

  199. i’ve got to order your book Kelle. I’m glad you chose to write about those more personal things in your book.
    Only 1 sleep to go!
    Merry Christmas if I don’t drop by again soon.

  200. gggiiirrrrlll! great post! wishing you the best of the best this christmas! may your light continue to shine as bright as it does for a very long time, because it really has helped so many of us shine brighter too!

  201. I just love your FAQ posts! I cannot wait for your book to come out. I will probably read it cover to cover in one day. I am a good 10 years older than you, but I feel like I learn so much from you. I am not kidding when I say reading your blog is like my daily devotional. You are so freaking inspiring! I hate that I am naturally somewhat of a pessimist, so I really love your unicorns and rainbows view of life :)

  202. This was a GREAT post! Especially the sorting/organizing photos part. I actually found your blog randomly, looking up photographers sites, and I came upon your site through a negative random comment on someones blog. GLAD I found your blog! I LOVE it! :)

  203. Golly…whooda thought a girl who is so creative and an excellent writer could be such a straight shooter about getting to the point (blunt) AND be thoughtful in doing so – LOVE IT! You illustrated again what is most important without losing us in babble. THANK YOU! Even if you do go off on a side story, you entertain the hell out of us in an amusing, laughing-right-there-with you kind of way and yet we never get lost…unless of course, lost in inspiration!!
    Thanks for sharing tips in another FAQ; God Bless you.

  204. Your entire post sums up everything so perfectly for me as well. I have often tried to do those same “people pleasing” things, only to find myself in that same ‘cave’ you described. I too recently re-discovered that happiness must start (in my case – start over) with me. As the former VP of my local Ds association – quitting; by my own choice was a necessity to give my family and myself more of me.
    I admire you, your talents (there are many) and find myself smiling and thinking how much we are alike – from having a similar emotional journey, thoughts with respect to educating and advocating and Family in general. (My son Hunter is just a few months older then Nella.) I don’t often “blog-stalk” others, however the fact that we seem to share in so many of the same interests led me to literally crave your blog just as much as I love to photograph and write my in my own blog. I though if ever there was something I wished I could share/say to you one day (and albeit now it’s seemingly late) it was my hopes that you would write a book. (I have this ongoing revelation that all Mom’s who have a child with Ds should write a book or at least publish a journal) and here you are – many steps ahead, ready to release this spring 2012! I want to say – thank you. I know thousands have said it before me (many in the same, or different and unique way(s)) But, Thank YOU! It’s even more heartwarming to know you do spend the time to read these comments (I myself don’t often post comments for lack of time).
    I find myself thinking; if only we could meet – but the reality is being a Canuck (Canadian) makes it difficult to meet my American friends. Perhaps one day my family will get to meet our dear friends (in our not so little Ds community) who are south of the border. Until then, I look forward to the blossoming of Bloom! (My apologies for such a long winded comment – another bad habit of mine!)
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to your whole family!
    All our love, Sandi, John, Hunter (Ds) & Hayleigh.
    We look forward to hearing from you!

  205. You are such a special woman. I absolutely love your blog and how you just share what’s on your mind. I feel like I know you so well just from following your blog, I don’t mean to sound creepy I am just amazed at how you are so open to sharing your vulnerabilities with the world. It’s truly inspiring. I am going to school to become an intervention specialist. Your whole family is beautiful and your stories of Nella bring such a warm joy inside of me. I am so thankful for parents like you and Brett. Honestly, parents like you are like gigantic magical presents for special education teachers. Your family is always in my prayers and I just wanted to share with you how much I enjoy your blog :)
    -Caroline

  206. I am so excited to read your book. Your approach to life is a constant inspiration and as a bit of a control freak, I love your reminders that having fun is worth the messy house and that it is all about balance. Your words are so rousing.

  207. I love your posts, your pics, the music you share. I imagine it would be wonderful to be your neighbor! I’m so looking forward to reading your book when it’s out. I’m so glad you’ve found peace and such enjoyment with life. If only everyone could do that I think our world would be a much better place.

  208. Thank you Kelle! You inspire all of us mammas!

  209. This quote made my heart sing-
    I have two daughters. Unmeasurable joy times two. Period.

    I am expecting daughter number two exactly two weeks from today. Those three sentences made my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. I can’t wait.

  210. I love reading your blog and every time I come back to it I wonder why I stayed away so long. When I first started reading it made me feel bad because you love your children so much and I was struggling with Postpartum depression and I’m like why cant I have that connection with my son, but I have come to use your blog as a push to love my son more and do more with him. Its tough coming up with ideas in 20 degree weather with an almost 3 year old, but reading your blog def. inspired me to be a better stronger mom <3

  211. I know this is an old post, but I decided to comment anyway. I found your blog a few weeks ago and have loved catching up on old posts. I appreciate your honesty and transparency which is so refreshing. I work at a early intervention inclusion preschool for children of all abilities and am consistently taught and blessed by all of the kiddos. I too, have embarked on an unexpected journey; but really, who hasn’t, when I discovered 4 years ago that I have genetic bilateral hearing loss that could leave me completely deaf. It has been a blessing to work with children that I can now somewhat relate to, and with their families. Similarly, writing is cathartic for me and I started a blog earlier this year. Basically, thank you for your example and joy. I think that the things that initially rock our worlds end up rooting them in the long run :)
    Elise

  212. I’ve pre-ordered your book!! YaaaaY I am looking forward to reading your story in print and looking at your amazing photo’s!! I love both of your babies faces SO much…Lainey’s little smirks are priceless and Nella’s joy with life is so visible!! Your such an amazing Momma!

    I have a question: Who takes the photo’s of you and your daughter’s? They are amazing photo’s!! Also, how do you make the subject out of focus or the background out of focus!! Took my first photo of shadows this weekend…..so beautiful!! <3

  213. Kelle, I didn’t mean to sound like I didn’t LOVE the photo’s YOU take…..they are exceptional but I was curious as to takes pictures of you and your precious babies!!?

    Love, ~Kelly

  214. I loved this post. I love your honesty. I love the way you so gracefully respond to people who criticize you for absolutely no reason. It is admirable.

    I’m going to try to follow your example when it comes to deleting pictures. Whenever I take pictures of Lila or Lexi I feel guilty deleting even one. I hope to get better. Or my husband is going to beat me. haha

    congratulations on this huge day in your life. Congratulations on your first book. I can’t wait to read it.

  215. Thank you So much, Kelle. Coming to your blog is always a good idea, especially when i m feeling sad. You are an inspiration

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