2 for 2: Pay it Forward

I’ve been trying to write this post all day. I’ve promised myself that I will never write something that’s important to me unless I really feel it. Well, this is important.

While the easy current of everyday life may make us forget about Down syndrome a lot, we are two weeks away from the anniversary of a day when the idea of Down syndrome weighed so heavily on me, I lost myself for a moment.

The word anniversary just doesn’t do that day justice now. It’s a celebration. Of her. Of how we’ve changed. Of all the beauty in the world we overlooked for so long.


I was recently asked what my favorite post from 2011 was. I thought about it for a moment, scanning through memories of old posts–personal things, funny things, happy things–and then it dawned on me. It’s the post I wrote to launch Nella’s ONEder Fund last year. Why? Because I learned from it. I was nervous to set a $15,000 goal, thinking we wouldn’t get there. And the impact that followed? Over $100,000…because of you. How much I learned those weeks–about the other families in our D.S. community, about the generosity of people I had never met, about the magnitude of effect we all possess.

We’re doing it again–asking for your help, setting out to remember January 22, 2010 in a way that will help make life better for anyone who possesses the magic of the extra 21st chromosome.


This year, we are launching the 2 for 2 Fund–hoping to raise $200,000 by the time Nella turns two. We’re more than half way there, thanks to you. A little more than $75,000 to go.


Every dollar given to the 2 for 2 Fund supports the NDSS whose mission is to to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.

Things are changing in our society, but it’s only because people are working hard to change stereotypes, to recognize abilities and to tear down walls of discrimination.

I come to you as a mama.


What does any mom want for her child? Hope. Hope for a successful future, happiness, the opportunity to fulfill dreams.

And when you’re told your child has Down syndrome, for a moment, you think you have to give all that up.

Thanks to the NDSS and many others that join our cause, there is hope. We want the world to know that people with Down syndrome are doing great things with their wild and precious lives.

Just ask Leah.


Or Michael.


Talk to Jon about adventure.


Or Josh & Nicole about love.


I am ecstatic about the potential for what our kids will do in twenty years. What will the future hold for Nella’s friends?

Like Millie.


And Drew.


And Sophia Rose.


And Kayla who, by the way, can read. Big words in big books. And she can write. Because Sister is amazing.


I know these families. I’ve shared e-mails and phone calls and have met many of these kids and their parents, and all we want is for the world to see what we see.


That Lily is just like any other kid.

And George? Well, ask his siblings. One of them recently told his mom, “Mom, does it ever bother you that everyone in our family loves George best instead of you?”


Perhaps the best spokespeople of all for these kids are their brothers and sisters.

Kate and her brother

Nora and her family


I don’t want anyone to ever tell me that my child’s dreams are limited because of an extra chromosome.



Sarah & Levi

And so I’m asking you for something. For Nella. For our family. For all these beautiful capable children and their families and thousands of others.

Please give back. If you are a regular reader of this blog, here’s an opportunity to pay for a subscription. Whatever you can give. A whole ‘lotta $5 and $10 donations went a long way last year. We can do it again.

For her birthday, we ask you to help us make a home run. 2 for 2, Baby.


Join with us in raising awareness and creating more opportunities for individuals, more hope for families.


Share on your Facebook, e-mail it, spread the word.

We are sincerely grateful as are the hundreds of other families who celebrate their own little magic.

Two years ago, right now? I had no idea what was in store. How could I ever had known how much joy that baby was going to bring us? I want the world to know that joy. Help me do it.

Two Weeks. Two Hundred Thousand Dollars. We can do it.

Click on any of the links to the 2 for 2 Fund in this post, click on the 2 for 2 banner at the top of the site, or click on the 2 for 2 logo in the sidebar to give.

Thank you, thank you.



Leave a Comment
  1. Kelle, thank you for everything this does for our kids.

    Nella is so precious. And because of your blog, a lot of people I told about Ellie had a good impression of Down syndrome.

    I’m crying happy tears as Ellie sits near me watching baby signing times and I work on a project for her own birthday in a month and a half.

  2. It was with joy in my heart that I donated when Nella turned 1. Today is no different – donation made!…thank you Kelle for letting us all peek into your lives, to love your littles from afar, to be inspired by your words. Tracie

  3. Addison thanks you for all you do to raise awareness for individuals like herself with Down syndrome. Truly wonderful. THANK YOU!

  4. Thanks for making us all mammas-more-aware, which sets a great example for all our little ones watching our every move. Happy Birthday Nella!
    Kelsey and Anna

  5. I teared up at this post. Such a beautiful one.

  6. Wonderful . . . donation to follow! And just before the last picture, you mean Two Hundred Thousand, not Two Thousand, right? ;0)

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  8. Kelle, Your writing and girls alike are beautiful. I am 22 and in school getting my Master’s degree in Special Education and meet and interact with kids everyday. I don’t think I’ve ever seen sweet smiles like those on your girls! Thank you so much for writing, sharing and spreading the word about the wonders of that extra chromosome :) You’ve made me smile and think about things I never have before.

    Happy Almost 2nd Birthday to Nella!



  9. My son, Grant, doesn’t have Down Syndrome but he does have Fragile X Syndrome. He has given my life so much joy, beauty and purpose. Your blog has made a huge impression on me and I strive to do the same for Fragile X Syndrome as you have done – and continue to do – for Down Syndrome. Thank you.

  10. Well of course I’m crying. and not just because our Lily is in this post. I LOVE seeing the future in some of those pics. Love what George’s sibling said too :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY NELLA from all of the Rice’s. oxoxox

  11. LOts of love and money where it counts for beautiful Nella.

  12. I love Ellie!!! Thank you for making a difference.

  13. Great post. Happy 2nd Birthday to Nella :)

  14. Great post. Happy 2nd Birthday to Nella :)

  15. Happy birthday, lovely Nella… donation made!

  16. Breathtaking. Every single photo, every single life…simple stunning. This blog is such a beautiful testament to all children. Every single one should be cherished. You’ve helped so many do that. Blessings to you, your Nellabean, and all the beauty on this page.

  17. I love your blog! I look everyday to see if you have posted. It makes my day. I wanna be just like you when I grow up. You are the best-est mom ever. I may be thirteen, but you get me excited for when I get to be a mom. What you are doing for these down syndrome kids is extraordinary. I help down syndrome kids at my school, and they are the most wonderful kids in the world. thanks so much for helping them


    p.s and if you want you can check out my blog 😉 thejennaharmon.blogspot.com

  18. She’s so big! Love all the photos.

  19. This is the first time I’ve commented on your blog. I am so truly moved by this. Your post made my cry like a baby. Nella is beautiful, and as a future educator, your post made me realize why I’m going to be a teacher.

    I will share this with everyone I know.

    <3 Eden

  20. Happy Birthday to Nella, and good on ya for spreading the word about how wonderful and magical our little ones are! Ola turns two in April and I agree it isn’t an anniversary it is a total celebration!!!!

  21. I love that you have pictures of people you have met, on your blog… especially those with Down’s… I know you will reach your goal.

  22. Hmmmm….I’m thinking as I read. Extra chromosome. I look at these gorgeous kids and think that they really do have something extra.

    This is my favorite post.

  23. Done! I absolutely love your blog. But this is more of my heart each day. I am a social worker and several of my clients have Downs Syndrome. They are such a joy, each and every one. So here’s to them and Nella!

  24. Dear Kelle,

    I’ve been an avid reader of your blog since my mom recommended Nella’s birth story after hearing about you on Rosie Radio. I’m only 24 and just planning my wedding, but other than my own Mom’s example, your blog gives me a peak into the kind of Mom I’d like to be.

    I’ll be making my donation tomorrow morning and If its OK with you, I’ll be linking to your post on my blog right after. I don’t have nearly the reach of your blog, but I’m hoping that at least some of my readers will make a donation to 2 for 2.

    Thanks for letting me read every day and Happy Birthday to your beautiful girl!

  25. $200,000 no problem we’ve got your back.
    Great photos of Nella especially searching for her belly button. All the photos of others are amazing and have to be encouraging to everyone and proof that there is no reason for everyone not to just fit in.

  26. As always, you amaze me and bring me to tears! All of these kids and adults are BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Thank you, Kelle…for being an advocate and a friend. Kayla, Rick and I couldn’t begin to thank you for all that you have done! Can’t wait for the birthday party post! xoxo

  27. Have no fear – you will hit your target! Nella is a beauty. I’m in! xoxoxoxo

  28. Brought me to tears. Your photography & words are magical. Happy Birthday Miss Nella!


  29. All these children are beautiful but that little boy Drew … What a cutie! I have 2 little boys so his foto really touched me. I am donating to help Drew and so many others like him. Great cause and happy birthday Nella!

  30. Beautiful, Kelle. How can it be that Nella is two already? Thank you for teaching us to cherish every second, because they go by so fast. Two for two? No problem.
    We do love our Nella & thank you for sharing her with us.

  31. Such a beautiful post! Thank you for raising awareness. I’ve been so touched by your journey.

  32. I am a relatively new reader to your blog but have been hooked ever since I was introduced. I have no children but hope to someday and aspire to be a mother as wonderful as you. I have never commented on your blog but today I feel compelled to as your blog brought me to tears. You are such an inspiration and I thank you for letting us all have a glimpse into your life. I wish Nella a very sweet and special 2nd Birthday and would love to make a donation! I will be sharing with friends as well!

  33. $200,000? I think you will knock it out of the park! Next year, you will have us striving for $500,000 because you will already have bypassed the $300,000 mark! Don’t underestimate the number of individuals you touch and all of us who love reading your blog. Can’t wait to see what is done this year! You are doing amazing things!

  34. Wow.

  35. Beautiful. I love reading your words, you have an amazing talent with them. Your photos are stunning. Bless Nella on her 2nd wonderful birthday.

  36. These pictures are absolutely heartwarming. Sigh.

  37. Just lovely, and very close to my heart. My four sons have Asperger’s and even though it’s not exactly the same, the struggle for acceptance and understanding is one that we fight too. I love your blog!

  38. Thank you so much for this post…you brought me to tears. I have a brother with Lowes Syndrome which is differnt than Down Syndrome. But what you said about the siblings know the story the best you are so right. I loved all of the pictures, they are all so inspirational. Kelly you truly inspire me, you are so amazing, you have taken something that could have been so heart breaking as is it to my sister who also has a son with Lowes Syndrome and created some much awareness and hope. I look forward to your next post.

  39. As usual I’m in tears. Your pictures and stories always touch my heart, Kelle. I couldn’t contribute much, but I did what I could. Little Nella is so sweet and has such a great heart, which I can tell by reading your blog. I know I’ve never met her, but I feel like I have. The way you write about your girls and the way you capture their spirits in your photos, make me feel so connected to them and you. Thank you for sharing all of your stories. Thank you for showing the world how wonderful these children are. Your pictures capture the sweet little souls just perfectly. I sure hope you meet your goal and surpase it. Happy Birthday to Nella! This is my birthday present to her. :)

  40. That last picture? Man does Sister look like her Momma. Consider it done. Lindsey turns 2 on the 18th. Our donation will be Lindsey’s pay it forward gift. Never too early to teach the value of generosity. <3

  41. One of the most beautiful posts ever! I love your words and pictures! Thank you for sharing your life with the world! It is already making such a huge difference! I know our kids can do the most amazing things. I am only 9 months into this journey but so excited for what lies ahead! Hugs to you and your precious family!

  42. So inspiring. I share with all of my friends. Thank you for your optimism and shining light. May God Bless you!

  43. I held back the tears until I read what George’s sibling said to his mama… and that got me big time!!

    Thanks for sharing your life with us xxx And Happy Birthday to Miss Nella Cordelia xxx

  44. Thank you Kelle. Thank you for what you’ve done for our DS community. Thank you for sharing our children with the world. Can you believe how far you’ve come? I know I can’t believe where I am now with it all. I now think Down syndrome is this really cool thing where before it was something I feared, liked REALLY feared. Amazing how that extra chromosome changes hearts. Ahhh, so stinkin’ amazing!

    Can Bennett and Nella meet some day?;) LOL.

  45. Tomorrow is the 1st anniversary of my sons death. He was 16 weeks old and died of SIDS. It is a topic that most prefer not to think about or talk about. I am so glad you are fighting for your girls future!

  46. Kelle, you know I NEVER post comments on here, unless I just can’t control myself. I LOVE you more than you will ever know and I am just so proud of you. You make my heart so happy, I think it might explode. On this approaching celebration all I can think about is how much you have grown and how much love surrounds Nella! She is so very lucky to have you as a mamma but HOLY SH*T you are SO LUCKY to have her as your little girl. I can’t be in the same room with her without smiling from ear to ear. She fills me up and brings such joy to all who are blessed enough to know her. God is so amazing and He has given you so much! Can’t wait to celebrate. xoxoxoxo

  47. I think this may only be my second comment on one of your posts, but I have been a fan for a while. About once a month, I re-read Nellas birth story. It touches me in ways I can’t begin to explain to you. I have read every.single.post of yours but this one touched me again. Touched me so much that I reached for my wallet and made a donation in honour of Nella. YOU will reach your goal – I am sure of it. I will be sharing this to my Facebook & Twitter as well. xx

  48. Gah, stop making me cry! We’ve all been on this journey since Nella took her first breath–of course she gets a birthday gift from us readers… :) We gotchya, girl.

  49. DONATION MADE!!! Thank you for making this world a better place for everyone Kelle!!

  50. I hope every wish comes true for this birthday!

  51. i sure hope i’m not the only one crying. i love each & every one of those photos. it gives us hope. wow!! thank you. Nella is just beautiful. i love her faces so. so precious. (:

  52. Holla for Nella and holla for 2! My little guy, Nate, is autistic and we love reading your blog to remember and celebrate the joy that life can bring us every day, regardless of the challenges we face. We’ll be making our giftie tomorrow and have already shared your story on Facebook. Here’s to many more celebrations with you and yours!

  53. kelle, I could never say no to any of those beautiful faces!! This is one of those posts that makes my heart spill love!! :) :) I will share this on fb…

  54. This post brought tears to my eyes. I love your blog for reminding me to love and appreciate every second of my life. I was happy to donate. Hopefully next year (when I’m finally done with my schooling!) I’ll be able to contribute more. Happy Birthday Nella!
    Carley & Tatum

  55. My daughter turns two in March … so from my Joey to your Nella: 2 for 2 baby!

    With love and admiration,
    Reading with Joey

  56. this post brings tears of joy to my eyes, beautiful nella, beautiful words, beautiful photos, beautiful children and adults who have the magic of an extra 21st.

    i will be donating asap!!

    hope we hit a grand slam!

    thank you, kelle!!

  57. I don’t even know where to start… our little Lily was born with extra magic 15 months ago, and I cannot imagine our family without her beautiful little soul! I am ever so inspired by your blog, your passion, your girls, your attitude… it makes me a better mama to my own two blessed souls! Thank you Kelle for the change you and Nella and your whole family are bringing to the world, it means so much to show people that our kids are worthy just as they are. I do want the world to see what I see in Lily, in Nella, in all the other littles we’ve met on our journey. Inclusion, acceptance, hope, love, opportunity… it’s all in our grasp! Loving your message, and you’ve got this 2 for 2 in the bag lady!! Happy birthday to your sweet love!

  58. Love it! I knew you would make me cry. So happy to help whatever way I can. I will go donate and share, tweet etc. to spread the word because it is important!

  59. I love this! And thank you for sharing bits of so many hopeful, beautiful stories.

  60. Me and my sweet Shawnie (age 5 with Ds) thank you so much.

  61. Kelle, I know you always say that you don’t strive to be a spokesperson for Down Syndrome, but whether or not you intended it, that’s what you are for me. You have SO changed my perception about Down Syndrome since the moment I clicked on your blog, nearly two years ago. I have followed faithfully since then, because you gave me so much hope and happiness by OPENING MY EYES. You took something that was scary and made it beautiful. I have no doubt in my mind that Nella is destined for great things. Like Lainey, she has a momma who inspires dreams, BIG reach-for-the-stars dreams, and I know she’ll get there. I donated last year, and I told you then that it was an honor. And I will of course donate this year, and every other year that you ask, because it truly is an honor. Much love, from our family to yours.

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  63. I have tears streaming down my face..this is just so amazing! Those pictures are amazing! Nella is such a precious adorable amazing little girl! Love your blog, I look forward to it every day!

  64. I’m so glad you do this each year. I look forward to donating in Nella’s name and helping reach all the beautiful lives you mentioned in your post.

    Your blog and Nella are such a light in my life. Seeing her little face and reading about all the amazing things y’all do … it brings such joy to my days.

    Nella’s only 39 days younger than my little boy, and I see so many similarities in them, despite their differences in chromosomes. Two is such a fun age! How I would love to sit and watch them play for the afternoon.

    I have faith that Miss Nella will do big things in this world. She already has. And she has such great role models.

    I wish her a very, very special birthday and many more to follow (especially if we can follow along).

    P.S. The sequence shots are adorable!

  65. I am all teary-eyed because of this. No, that is an understatement. We’re expecting our first baby this summer and people keep asking me if I’m worried about down syndrome. Because of reading your blog all the time, I’m not! If that’s how our baby comes out, then fantastic, I know where and who to go to for resources.

    In donating to your fund, I want to donate for Nella of course, and for a principal at an elementary school I used to teach at in NY – one of the other teachers found out that she was pregnant with a Down Syndrome baby, and went to the principal very upset. The principals response? “don’t worry, we’ll create the a classroom for kids with Down Syndrome and get the teachers we need. Your baby will always be accepted here.” It was the most inspiring thing I’ve ever heard. So just so you know, in case you ever move to NY, there is a wonderful school with a fabulous principal that Nella would love :)

  66. Thank you for everything you do to bring awareness to our kids.

  67. here I sit rocking my 11 month old with big crocodile tears! Thank you for everything you do! I have big dreams for Ollie Faith and people like you make a difference for our kiddos!!

  68. Great post! I work with individuals with Downs Syndrome. Seriously, some of my favorite people. I honestly believe the world would be such a better place if everyone spent at least 5 minutes with someone with D.S. – they would just feel the love immediately.

    I’ll be sure to pass this on to my coworkers!

  69. I am so glad to be able to add my little bit toward such a wonderful and worthy cause.
    Happy Birthday, Nella Cordelia! Thank you for blessing us all with your sweet smile!

  70. Happy Birthday to sweet Nella!

    Thank-you for this post, it made me cry (in a very very good way)!

    Thanks for being such an amazing voice for our children – my son is 2 and is rockin’ his extra chromosome. He’s awesome, and is the light of my life!

    Thank-you so much again and Happy Birthday Nella girl!

  71. You ROCK! And Happy Birthday to that sweet girl! She is more precious than words!

    I love you to pieces. I would have never met your mommy if it werent for you. thank you angel girl. thank you to your sweet sister who is a lovely example of kindness and who is a pure heart. and your family that has embraced you in such a real way. and shared their raw story of love to the world. it’s so good girlfriend. you are a star. you are precious. xo.

  73. There are no words to describe how beautiful this post is! Thank you for advocating for our wonderful children! With Love- Katie

  74. Moved to tears by every single one of these photos. I’ll donate again this year, & promise to continue to donate every birthday after…. In honor of Nella.

  75. This was a beautifully written post and you did that important topic justice.

    I can’t for January 22nd, so we can all send beautiful, *perfect*, little Nella Big Birthday Wishes!

    And when I saw you posted about Kayla reading, it reminded me of a very important person I wanted to introduce you to. Her name is Mrs. Terry Brown, and here in Southern California, she is a legend because she teaches all the kiddos with Down Syndrome how to read, write, and do math — including my little daughter, Chloe.


    Check out her YouTube and you’ll be in big, sobbing, mama tears. She had my Chloe reading in 3 weeks and if you listen closely to Chloe’s first video she has, you’ll hear me gasping and sobbing in the background. Happy Tears of course!

    Checking her out is a must! And so when I send my dollars of hope to you for your fund, I’m sending back a request that you check out this amazing woman. She’s a good reference to put in your back pocket for the day you’re ready to have Nella read too! :)

    Katie & Family

  76. Tears of joy when I read this post…. SOOO Much LOVE!!! Of COURSE you have my donation, just like last year!!! Nella is one lucky girl to have you for her Mama!

  77. Dude, you rock. Little Nella is so lucky to have a mama who kicks some serious butt :) Donations coming your way :) She is beautiful…and whenever I see someone with DS, I always think of you and sweet Nella…makes me smile everytime :)

  78. Thank you for all you do to spread the word about our kids with that perfect extra piece. With that being said, my guy Caleb (turned 2 in Oct, also sweet almond eyes) climbed into my lap when I was reading this page and was mesmerized by Nella. Then, no joke, he blew her a kiss.. Watch out, that one is going to be having the boys falling at her feet!

  79. Lovely post. Donation made and shared on my blog. I think you’ll blow $200K out of the water!

  80. I am a regular follower and I clicked on the link to see more details about 2 for 2. I literally sat and added up the donations, or tried to. It got to a $100 in 30 seconds. It’s amazing what you are doing. Tell Nella I said Happy Birthday. I know that she is going to do amazing, powerful things!

  81. I am filled to overflowing with tears – those pictures! Those beautiful people! The surfer? Oh my goodness! And my dear friend Kelly in Idaho (Nora’s beautiful mama) – well I just about died. LOVE this. Over and over. Bless you, dear mama-friend.

  82. Hi Kelle,

    This post made me tear up. I’ve been following your blog for awhile – I was HOOKED after Nella’s birth story – and am so happy to contribute to this great cause.

    Thank you for giving us a glimpse of your world and the wonderfully inspiring pictures and words you post throughout the week.


  83. Thank you for sharing this! Nella is truly blessed by having you as her mom. What an angel!

  84. I love your blog. One of my nearest and dearest has DS and she has changed my world for the better. She came to me when I was coaching field hockey and I was instantly drawn in by her deeply brown almond eyes. She turned out to be one of the most gifted field hockey players in her grade and went on to play at the high school and is now on the B team at the state college. I attend all of her games on the sidelines cheering madly. Her team does not see an extra chromosome in a uniform but a wonderfully gifted defensive force who, in her own time, will get promoted to the A team.

  85. Hi there – big kisses to Nella and your family. On behalf of my non profit organization – Parents Via Egg Donation (www.pved.org) we just made a donation in Nella’s name in the amount of $200.00.

    And we will each year until you tell us to stop.

    We love your blog, we love your family and Nella:)

    Thank you for bringing joy to so many lives through your photographs and words.

  86. What a great post. Loved seeing some familiar faces too…lily and Nora… love all the pictures of “what can be done”…it’s so amazing! I cannot wait to see all that my precious Ava will accomplish! Way to celebrate Nella’s birthday with a bang! :) She is just too cute, and looking like such a big girl lately.

  87. I just put a link to this on my blog! Love it!


  88. Beautiful. I am studying in the field of special education where I will get to work with wonderful kids like those you have shown in this post. Thank you for doing this for Nella, all her friends, and many others. Happy Birthday, Nella!

  89. WOW!
    I’ll be adding to my blog & Facebook.
    Happy upcoming birthday lil N!!

  90. Thank you. You have no idea how much I needed those photos today. We had Levi’s therapy evaluation like we do every 6 mo. These days are always hard for me. Thank you for what you are doing for all of us. I am soooo glad your blog was recommended to me after Levi was born. It was just what I needed as I came to grips with my precious baby’s surprise…an extra chromosome, and a much richer life that I didn’t know was waiting for me. Thank you.

  91. Hey! I’ve been reading your blog for almost a year now. My name is Katherine and I have a twin sister that has Down Syndrome. She is the reason that I am who I am today. In fact, I am 23 and am a Special Education teacher (in my 2nd year of teaching), hoping to give kids the same opportunities that my sister got in school and that I hope she continues to get. I knew since I was very young that I wanted to impact the lives of kids like my sister. She has been the biggest joy to our family (even though struggles have of course come up!) I appreciate your comments about life and often print them out and read them to my students, so know that middle school students in inner-city Dallas,TX are also benefiting from your wise words about life. I’d love to send you pics sometime of my sweet sis. Let me know if you ever have questions about growing up as a close sister of someone with Down Syndrome. :)

  92. Kelle, thank you so much for raising so much awareness about DS and sharing your beautiful family with us. Like others have said, many people I know are already more aware of DS because of youb& sweet little Nella. My Cate’s 1st birthday is coming up too – and we are going to PARTY – because she is amazing and has been such an incredible blessing. I for me it’s an anniversary of the day I fell madly in love with her. Happy birthday to Nella – I hope she has a wonderful birthday!

  93. I love, love, love your posts- soooooo inspirational!!!
    My little one is have surgery tomorrow- prayers all around!!! I wish we were closer because I am sure Michael and James would be BFF’s with your girls and we would have a ball watching them:)
    You should plan a trip to Dallas soon:)

  94. I’m donating for Nella and my sons best friend Nicholas who is turning 4 the end of jan. (he has Downs)

    I just found your blog again a week ago and I’m so glad I did!
    God Bless you! and happy day nella!

  95. Dear Nella,
    Done, little bean…to honour you, your Mama, your family, your future. You’re going to change things. I know you’ve already changed me. I thought I was a pretty good person before being introduced to you, but I think you and your family have helped me see the light in a lot of ways, and I’m a better person for it. Thanks for that gift, gorgeous gal.
    ps. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that photo of you in your smashing flamenco dress! Breathtaking….I knew red was your colour. 😉 Janita xo

  96. I’ve held many jobs throughout my life, yet not one can remotely compare to the job I have as a mom. Reading about you and your adventures is so very inspiring. Thank you for taking time away from your adorable family to write. I’m listening. And I’m donating. Rock on, Nella!

  97. One of my co-workers posted this post and blog on facebook, so I came here to read because it said “the best blog, go check it out.” So here I am and I am so glad that I clicked on the link. All of the pictures of the children are so beautiful! I know I go through my life day to day and not thinking much about down syndrome, until I read this post. I am heading over to 2for2 now to make a donation, and I will also be back to read your blog. I am adding it to my favorites and sharing this post with my friends. Thanks for sharing your story and that of the other families!

  98. What an amazing post.

  99. This was such a beautiful post! All of yours are! I loved all of the photos and Lily! BTW, I think that Nella looks just like you, especially in that last photo! Beautiful!

  100. Just so you know… I truly felt like it was an honor… a privledge to give a donation tonight. You’ve let us into your lives… into Nella’s AMAZING life… and giving a few dollars in support of that is priceless. THANK YOU KELLE!!!

  101. Added my (small) part. Thanks for the opportunity to be part of the larger picture, Kelle.

  102. Heck yes I am going to donate! It is so amazing to me when I hear people say, “I could never have a special needs child.” And then I look at you and I think, if only I COULD have a special needs child! You are amazing.

  103. Thank you for helping ALL of our kids! The tears are falling freely right now. We are preparing for Hailey’s 1st birthday…the emotions of one year ago are still there…just a little duller. I’m looking forward to see what the future holds for our children. Nothing is going to stop them!

    Love the pics of Nella!

  104. Hi Kelle,
    You don’t know me but I read your blog. I think you’re great. This post was fitting in it’s timing as I came across this blog yesterday and thought you might want to check it out.


    Good luck with your fundraising, I don’t doubt you will reach your goal.

  105. Great post! And what a wonderful idea to raise the money for NDSS. Have you considered raising money to help children with DS through Reece’s Rainbow get their forever homes and families? 200,000.00 could help so many find their forever families and be brought home where they can experience true love. Instead of being sent to a institution at 5 yrs old where they are left unloved to live out their life with adults who have a disability. Just a suggestion and welcome to theDS family!

  106. I think this is GREAT! I think you are GREAT! I tear up reading this an seeing all the opportunities this fund provides. My cousin Jimmy had DS and he did not have any opportunities, but his parents loved him dear, but that was a different time then! It makes me miss him.

  107. Thank you so much for all you do for our kids! you are such a light!

  108. Love, love, love. I’m writing a post about this for my blog right now. It’ll go up on Thursday, and I’m putting a 2for2 button on my sidebar too. Thank you for all your hard work and evident LOVE of your precious little ones. You are an awesome mama, and I’m so thankful for the encouragement I get from your blog. :)

  109. I’ve only commented once or twice but I devour every word and every photograph from every post. I don’t have children, but am enamoured with these two gorgeous girls and I love how much their brothers seem to love them. Of course I’ve donated; how could I not?

  110. Thank you for breaking down my stereotypes of down syndrome and allowing us all to see what a wonderful gift all of these children are. You are such a great mama and I am continually inspired by you. Donation made!

  111. YOU. ARE. WONDERFUL. and your daughter is BEAUTIFUL! it is so great to hear/ see wonderful, positive and beautiful things happening in this hard world. again, thank you so much for sharing your compassion with so many people. you are making a difference.

  112. i should say… both of your girls are absolutely BEAUTIFUL. and if the world had more mamas like you, it would be a much happier place. YOU GO GIRL.

  113. My dearest friends mother just gave birth to a tiny baby girl tonight, and they believe she has downs syndrome.

    Giving my friend the link to your blog was just a gift.. I adore Nella & your world & your views.

    My little brother has special needs, and he is our whole world, as you know they are the ones that make it go round.

    Thank you for being you. So glad I found your world so I could pass it along to them.

  114. Tears! So moving. Hubby gets paid on the 15th and can’t wait to give what we can! We hope to adopt a baby with the magical extra chromosome one day! Touches my heart every time I read your posts!

  115. What a beautiful post! It is so heartwarming to see all of these individuals living their dreams and not letting DS get them down!

  116. Thank you so much for this blog! And thank you Nella for having a birthday so close to my wee Ayda. When I had a surprise post birth diagnosis I was given your blog to look at Kelle. The first post I ever read was celebrating Nella’s first birthday. It helped me so much and I have come to read everyday ever since. Ayda will be 1 on Jan 25th and we are going to party hard!!

  117. If anyone can do it – you can! You’ll rock it.

  118. Beautiful post as always and great photos too! Posted and shared in 3 different places. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of these amazing individuals. The world needs more people like you.
    Will be donating on Friday!

    Happy almost birthday to the incredibly adorable Nella!

  119. made. me. cry.

    the quote about george, the photo of kate, and all the other photos. amazing. thank you for this post.

  120. Thank you so much for teaching me how to embrace motherhood. Anything I can do to give back, I’ll do gladly, ESPECIALLY in the name of sweet Nella. I love her so! Happy birthday beautiful girl!

  121. Tried to donate but it wouldn’t accepted my Master Card details.
    Perhaps its because I’m in South Africa?

  122. Oh, dear Kelle, i looked fwd to this. I donated all that i could last year and am honored and happy to do the same this year! What a special way to celebrate Nella Bean turning two. One of my grandbabies turns two after Nella. I think, if all of us mamas and grandmas donated all taht we can, we could easily reach the goal! Come on, everyone, let’s make this happen again this year!! Love from your Blog Mama~

  123. I FORGOT – TO JAMIE, above. Oh, i am sending you hugs ((( ))) around tomorrows anniv of your babys death. I am so sorry for your loss, a loss like no other, to lose a child. Love from the Blog Mama~

  124. Oops, kelle, just wanted to say. On the donation page, that pic? The red dress and the red in the hair? Oh my, that is so gorgeous!! Love from you Blog Mama

  125. I’ve been skipping my morning lattes all month to do this! So excited and thrilled to support you and your beautiful girls in this endeavour.

  126. Just BEAUTIFUL x

  127. My son’s birthday is January 22, (2004). Perfect reason to donate.

  128. My sweet baby will be 6 this month! We will, of course, donate in her honor. BTW, I have never noticed it before, but Nella looks like you in that last photo…something about her smile!
    Thanks for doing this on behalf of all of our kids who are so beautiful,capable and loved!

  129. I’ll be back. Payday is Friday!

  130. I can hardly believe that Nella will be two in just a few short days. I feel as though I’ve been a part of your family and the time has just flown by!

  131. Beautiful post Kelle! I cannot believe Nella is turning 2 already!! I am about to go pay it forward!

  132. Kelle once again you bring me to tears. You have opened my eyes to be aware of something that is so important. My little one is Special Needs due to Speech, PDD, and lots of sensory stuff. She improves every single day, and me being aware of her needs helps so much. The therapies, the research, just all the time spent on helping her is so worth it. I get so much out of your posts, you have no idea.

    I will be making a donation Friday, and my husband & I just really want you to know that you have so many military families pulling for you! I brought your name up at the last military wives meeting I was at. I will be passing this on to them, so we can all come together for Nella, and everyone else who has been touched by Down Syndrome.

    (((HUGS))) Mama, you are beautiful, and Nella is one lucky babe!
    XOXO~Shannon S. (shannonsarmywifelife.blogspot.com)

  133. Lovely words, Kelle. These are the most beautiful and happy photos I have ever seen. Happy Birthday to little Nella – just made my donation this morning. :)

  134. Beautiful Post…so much Hope!!!

  135. This brought happy tears to my eyes.

  136. I cried too..consider it done..and shared!

  137. Hi Kelle, Just wanted to let you know that I donated to the Down Syndrome Association in the UK today, and left a message with it mentioning you & Nella. I felt it was more appropriate for me to donate to help people with DS in my own country, but at the same time recognising your efforts …and Nella’s birthday, too, of course! I know it doesn’t directly benefit your fund, but I wanted to let you know that your blog has inspired some world-wide good! May it continue to do so!
    The sun is shining today after a lot of grey skies & rain…it’s a good day!

  138. Beautiful! Thank you for all that you for our sweet children. My little Abi is so blessed by people like you who show that Down syndrome does not define that person, it is just something extra. Happy early Birthday sweet Nella!

  139. Love love love this post! Seeing all of these beautiful children and their families have me boo hooing happy tears over here. I especially love the pictures of the two couples.

  140. You are such in inspiration. You take something that could be tragic to others, and you not only make it life changing (in a good way) but you make it world changing. Thank you for helping to teach me to take trials in life and change them into good. You are an amazing person, and though finances are tight right now on my end, I am going to give every dollar I can. Because I want to be a part of the change :)

  141. Done and done. Happy Birthday, sweet Nella! From one momma to another, Kelle you are…what’s the word I am looking for…oh yeah…superwonderfulfantasticallyawesomeinspiringunicornishlyamazing!Thank you for flattering us, your readers, your fans, by asking us to partner with you and your family, to help support incredible people through an incredible organization! We.Got.This. Hugs-E

  142. I’ve been reading for awhile, Kelle, but haven’t commented yet. Today is the day. :) Just wanted to say thank you for the constant positivity and inspiration you share here. It’s wonderful, and I can’t click over fast enough when I see that you’ve updated. I have no doubt that sweet Nella will set the world on fire.

  143. I told myself I didn’t want to cry…

    …but then I got to the “I come to you as a mama” part and totally lost it. The rest of the post was read through tears.

    ALL of the kids are so amazing. To think anyone would think less of their talent, their heart, their future just breaks my heart. I’m so thankful to be raised in a family where we were taught that EVERY child is one created by God, EVERY child has a purpose. I’m so glad Nella is here, I’m so glad Nella is thriving and I’m so glad Nella and those just like her are changing the hearts of so many.

    I am beyond honored to donate in honor of that sweet Nella Cordelia (I often wonder if you still sing her song, the one you posted a video of a couple months after her birth, loved that). Thank you for the opportunity to do so.

    Angie from Ohio (angiepics on Instagram)

  144. Some serious happy tear-age this morning…at my desk…surrounded by people at work. Such a good cry though! Tears of joy…and accomplishment…and perserverance..and HAPPINESS. That Nella is beautiful and capable of ANYTHING! Thank you for sharing your lives with so many people. You’ve definitely inspired me.

  145. Annnnd…. here I am crying again reading one of your posts. Hah. Off to make a donation :)

  146. This post is just so touching to me. Since I discovered your blog about a year and a half ago, you have opened my eyes in so many ways. I have 1 child, and have secondary infertility. Miscarriages, and trying to have another little bundle of love for 2 and a half years now. One of the scary parts for me that I am terribly ashamed to admit now was thinking that because of my issues I may have a child with special needs or something to that effect, and i thought of that as a negative thing. Through Nella’s birth story and seeing photos of your daily life throughout this year and a half, you have taught me that none of that would matter. Nella is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous. She shines. She is smart and deserves all of the same experiences as anyone else. Love is love. Thank you for helping me see that, you have really and truly opened my eyes. You have a beautiful family, and you are a beautiful soul.

  147. Such a beautiful post! So much inspiration. I love your blog so much. The posts make me laugh, cry and relate. Nella is a lucky girl!! I will be donating!!

  148. It is inspiring that you allowed the beauty that entered and changed your life to bring beauty to others as well. I took care of a precious 18 year old girl with Down Syndrome (as well as Autism, ADD, ADHD, OCD). She taught me truly what I thought I already knew- that the value of a person is not in what they can or cannot do, but in the fact that they are infinitely and completely loved and desired by God. That’s all that matters. Nella’s birthday falls on the day before the March for Life. 90% of babies found in utero to have Down Syndrome are aborted for this reason. It is tragic that the parents of these unbelievably beautiful humans are blind to the beauty that you have so wholly embraced. I will continue to pray for you and your family and all those with these special genes. Not only that they will be cherished after they take their first breath, but before it, too. When they are cradled in their mama’s womb. Cheers! To Nella Cordelia (LOVE that name-the middle reminds me of Anne of Green Gables with whom I am obsessed) and to all the precious ones that share her beauty!

  149. As an avid follower and a huge Nella fan, I donated last year and will double my donation this year. Thanks for all you do to not only raise awareness, but just share your family with us in a way that shows just how normal life is, despite an extra chromosome.

    I’m sure you’ve seen this, but a little story that made my day:

  150. Kelle, Thanks for doing what you are doing to raise awareness for something so many don’t understand. It is through your personal experiences that my eyes have been opened and I appreciate that. I passed this on to my facebook friends, and sincerely hope you make your goal!

  151. I’m sure everyone who walks past my office thinks I am the crazy crying lady. Every time a new ETST blog post shows up on my reader, I take a little work break and read it and usually end up bawling like a baby at the end. I’m a natural born crier (joy, sorrow, contemplation, Disney movies, etc.) I have loved your story and grown to love your family and your little girls, even though I’ll never meet them. Thank for all that you are doing for the NDSS!

  152. Honored to be a part! Thank you for giving us the opportunity to give!

  153. So many people have already said what I feel — and said it more eloquently — about you, your family, your blog and your cause. You have my admiration and support. I’ll make my contribution now.

  154. This comment has been removed by the author.

  155. Such a beautiful post. Nella is an amazing little girl and I only wish I could meet her, Lainey, and you. Your blog is so powerful. You are an amazing woman/mother. Nella will do great things in life and she will have her mother to thank for that!! :)

  156. It’s funny to think that when we saw abnormalities via ultrasound with our daughter, V, we figured DS was the worst it would be. Turns out an extra chromosome in a different spot was way worse. I wish we could have our girl here with us and celebrate her just like you can love on and celebrate sweet Nella.

  157. My little girl, who also has DS, will be 2 on Jan 22 as well! Thank you so much for raising money for the NDSS, and showing the world how amazing our children really are. Following your blog as been an inspiration for me, thank you for sharing your beautiful life with us.

  158. Made my donation! I love your sweet babies. Happy birthday, Nella!

  159. We just went to a 50th birthday party for Billy Steil in Cold Spring, MN. He is a town legend and the fact that he reached age 50 and is still in perfect health is such a blessing. He is a great man and means a lot to the community. He is the High School Wrestling Manager and follows the local baseball team all summer long.

  160. I totally cried reading this while making dinner last night. My husband was like, “What is wrong with you?” And I was like, “Shut up, Nella is turning two and they’re raising all this money for DS and, and, and . . .” He was like, “Wait, who is Nella?” So then I had to tell him the story and tell him that you’re my favorite blogger ever to step foot onto the internet. And he was like, “What has the internet done to you?” And I was like, “It has changed me totally and completely for the better.”


    I’m just so excited to see where this goes this year and I’m definitely going to donate this year!

  161. YAY Nella! Thank you for doing this, Kelle! You are quite a lady!

  162. Just donated! Thank you for the opportunity to help!

  163. Donation made from the UK in honour of the gorgeous Nella. Happy Birthday Nella, and well done Kelle for almost smashing your target! :) x

  164. Happy early birthday to miss Nella! She has my donation as well as my share on facebook! Beautiful post, Kelle. You rock!

  165. Celebration time! It is an honor for me to have a chance to give back to Nella’s “2 for 2 Fund”. :)))

    Kelle, thank you so much for being such a positive advocate for J, Nella and all children and adults with Down syndrome. I see my beloved and beautiful niece’s life as abundant with purpose and meaning. J is as worthy of love, acceptance and respect, as any other individual. And, yes, we celebrate her life and are so proud of her. LOVE the way you are raising awareness. I am forever grateful.

    Ox. Sending loving energy your way~

    “…is the fuel that helps us truly ‘walk our talk’ of love, a quality so easy to speak about or extol but often so hard to make real. It helps us to genuinely care for one another and for ourselves as well…is the foundation of unselfconscious generosity, natural inclusivity, and an unfeigned integrity…it becomes a movement of the heart so deep and subtle that it is like a movement of the sea close to the ocean floor, all but hidden, yet affecting absolutely everything that happens above. That’s the force of kindness.” ~Sharon Salzberg

  166. Posted on facebook… heading to twitter next.

    Made me cry… a good cry.

    You are a great mom, Kelle, and a great spokesperson for the NDSS and Down Syndrome in general.
    You rock.

  167. This post of yours brought me to tears. The compassion you instill is breathtaking. The awareness you are spreading is valuable beyond the dollar amounts. I feel proud to be a donator for the NDSS. Thank you for the introduction!

  168. Awesome post! I came to see Lily. Patti is a dear friend. We met about a year ago when she set out to raise $15,000 for a little boy in Ukraine who had very little time left to find a family. Through a series of events we committed to Peter last February. In 9 hours we are boarding a plane in Kiev, Ukraine to return home to Texas with our son, Peter. Now we have 2 beautiful sons with DS and our princess without. Moms like you and Patti make great things happen, and I appreciate all that you do for our children.

  169. Happy Happy Birthday, Anniversary & Celebration to your sweet, beautiful Nella! And to you Kelle, Brett and Lainey too!
    Donating for her first birthday was such a joy and natural reaction for all of the joy, inspiration, and goodness that your blog brings to me on a regular basis and all of the awareness it raises for all of those coming into contact with DS and those benefiting from the work of NDSS.
    Donating this year was a no brainer and I’ve actually been waiting for this very post to click, donate and send love from my family to yours!-…Your blog is a thing of beauty and from one mama to another I thank you for sharing with all of us!
    Just another loyal reader and fan of living life thoroughly enjoying the small things!
    -Kate @See Mom Run

  170. That’s the way to go, Kelle. Leave me sitting at my desk at work, weeping with love and hope for our precious Nella and her friends. I do suspect you will succeed with your 2 for 2.
    I’ll help.


  171. I’m a new follower of yours, and a proud one. I have read through your posts and you are an amazing mom with an amazing family. Donation was gladly made!

  172. Thank you for using your voice to celebrate the lives of people with Down syndrome! My little Miss B’s life is better because people like you help show the world the value of ALL people–no matter how many chromosomes they have.

  173. This is amazing!!! As are all of those indiviuals. So sweet and precious. I simply adore the series of photos of awesome Nella. I am broke. But I will give. In my small little NOT insignificant way. Don’t ever forget how amazing you are too…you do fabulous crazy awesome things lady. Subscription…paid?!?!?

  174. this post made me smile and cry. Beautiful, beautiful people!

  175. Nella has taken back Jan.22.
    In 1973, a Supreme Court decision on Jan 22 gave 55 million babies the death sentence….many of whom bore the extra something special.
    Two years ago, you and Nella redeemed the day by proclaiming loud and clear that everyone matters, no matter what. Happy Birthday, Nella! And I sincerely believe, the hope that you give from this little blog, has helped other babies have birthdays too, babies whose mothers just needed a little hope.

  176. I know this is way off subject, but I just have to know how you get your white background in pictures. Do you have a white backdrop or some other secret tip?

  177. Beautiful post. All the pictures made me very sentimental. I’m sure your daughter has a brilliant future ahead of her.

  178. Nella is beautiful, and we are all fortunate to share a little bit in your experience with her through your blog.

    I grew up for many years with a friend who has a condition very similar to Down Syndrome. (I seem to remember she has an extra chromosome in a place other than the 21st – maybe one away from it?)
    My dad has been blind since an accident when I was 18 months old. My friend and my dad made it my everyday experience to know what it means to LIVE LIFE with whatever differences and challenges EACH of us has.

    Thank you for sharing the full life you have with your precious family. You all are showing by doing, and there is nothing more powerful than that.

  179. ‘I don’t want anyone to ever tell me that my child’s dreams are limited because of an extra chromosome.’ Kelle, this has just become my favourite quote of all time and I promise right here and now that I shall live the rest of my life as a Mom doing my utmost to ensure that I never hear that sentiment from any other living creature when it comes to my own beautiful girl. It’s been a tough week so far, but you’ve made me smile. Thank you.

  180. This is my favorite blog you have ever written!! (and I love all of your posts) My son, Alex, was born with Down Syndrome three weeks before Nella’s birth (he was born on New Years Day 2010) and he was in the NICU for 2 months. One of the NICU nurses told me to read Nella’s brith story after she had read it. Nella’s birth story was beautiful and I have been reading your blog ever since. I love this post. Thank you for all of your efforts to raise awareness for our children. You are a wonderful person. Fondly, Kim

  181. Kelle, I follow your blog for several month now and it is the only blog I check on an almost daily basis. You inspire me!

    I just wondered if you know Conny Wenk. She is a German photographer and takes the most beautiful pictures of children (and teens) “with a little extra”. Please see her blog or the Galeries on thegirlwiththefreckles(dot)com if you ever need some more inspiration about Nellas future.

    Lots of love

  182. I recently received my degree in special education and spent today in a classroom with five students, all with special needs, two with Down syndrome.

    The first thing the teacher told me when I walked in the room was that the main rule for the students is “try first, then ask for help.” It was amazing to see all that these kids CAN do because of how much their teachers believe/expect of them! First graders were pouring glasses of juice, loading the dishwasher, and tying their shoes. I don’t think I was doing all those things at that age!

    I have been reading your blog for over a year now. Thank you for writing and all that you’ve taught me.

  183. Kelle, I just love your blog, and have loved watching Nella grow and I have truely grown to love her. Donated and shared this on my facebook. Good luck reaching your goal!

  184. I was introduced to your blog several months ago when I found out my son was going to have down syndrome. I can’t tell you how much encouragement I have gotten from your sweet Nella! Miles is four months old now and is amazing!!! Loved this post and everything you are doing for our kids!

  185. I love the ones that make me cry when I read the first sentence. $222 for Nella 2 on the 22nd…it seemed as good a number as any! Thank you Hamptons for making a difference in so many lives.

  186. i found you through a fellow blogger. your post made me tear up. dontation headed your way. your little girl, and all of those kids are absolutely precious. i wish the absolute best for you.


  187. Kelle-
    I have been reading your blog for quite some time but I think this is the first time I have posted. This last post was so beautiful (they all are). I have told so many people about your blog… thanks for inspiring me and making me laugh… on a daily basis.

    Prita McKenna

  188. What a beautiful post! How do I attach this to facebook so friends can know about the 2 for 2 fund?

  189. Oh Kelle.

    My sorority sister, Kelly Norton, suggested that I read your blog after she learned that my 4th child was born with DS. I had just given birth and was 2 weeks into my parenting journey with Evangelina questioning everything I had come to understand as a mother. Your words have not only been an inspiration to me as my daughter and I have grown together but also aided as a catalyst in my paradigm shift. It truly is a journey we are on as mothers and knowing that you are not alone is of great comfort. Through your posts I have come to value the importance of those little moments that you write about strung together in a series of bigger moments that make our lives what they are. It’s those little moments where I have learned to find my joy and strength reinforced in parenting.

    My Gellibean is approaching her 5th month Birthday this month and I will continue to celebrate her and all of the beautiful little gifts that she has brought to our family…including the discovery of you, Lainey, and most of all Nella.

    Happy Birthday Nella. I hope that one day, you and my Evangelina will have the opportunity to meet.

    Sending birthday hugs and kisses from Manila, Philippines.

  190. I would just like to say that your writings are so beautiful, and your daughters are as well. If the world had more people like you, it would be a much better place. Happy Almost Birthday to Nella.


  191. I never comment, but I’ve been following since Nella was born. I feel like I’m part of your lives way up here in Canada. I’ve grown to love your girls, and I know it sounds weird coming from someone you don’t even know, but I wanted to be able to tell you that this little blog of yours is my weekly treat. My small donation doesn’t seem like much. Good luck on reaching your goal!

  192. So happy to donate. When I found out that Owen would have DS I was 20 weeks pregnant. Someone sent me Nella’s story. I wept with sadness, happiness, love, hope and understanding. He is now 17 months and my purpose for being. Happy birthday beautiful Nella. You bring hope and joy to so many!

  193. love you, kelle

  194. I left your post all over facebook, blogged about you on my blog and asked people to donate for Kayla’s First Birthday (January 22nd also!) :) I <3 your blog!

  195. I have come back five times to read this post. I love to see the different lives of these extra chromosome beauties! It reminds me of my two cousins who literally are the shining stars out of 135 of us. Yeah135!!!! So grateful for Gods gift of life for them and for Nella. She has impacted me greatly.

  196. I am not a mama. I don’t have any particular connection with Down Syndrome. I am a broke teacher planning (and paying for) my wedding. But your blog has touched a special place in my heart and your words have been a blessing to me. I was inspired to donate to this amazing cause because of you and your family and I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be able to contribute. Thank you for sharing this worthy cause and thank you for sharing your words with the world. I can’t wait for your book to come out!

  197. How can you not donate? What a darling family you have. Thank you for letting us get little glimpses into your happiness. It definitely spills over into my life and makes me more aware. You’re a wonderful, inspirational mother and a gifted writer! Cheers to Nella!

  198. kelle, I love this post. I’ve never met you but I feel like I know you and your precious family so well through your blog. especially your sweet Nella, I mean I wish I could just hug her. tomorrow I will show my girls what we donated for, I will show them her sweet eyes and incredible heart. Nella is a world changer! we love her from miles away!

  199. I just found your blog thanks to “A Perfect Lily” and I can tell I will love reading your blog as much as I do Lily’s! You moms of extra special blessings are so inspiring! What you do to raise awareness of you children and children who share there magical extra chromosome is amazing! Happy Birthday Nella!! I hope you surpass your 2 for 2 goal!

  200. I have looked at the pictures in this post over and over again with joy. Thanks for sharing these dream-reaching young people with us. It gives me such anticipation for Levi and whatever he chooses to do with his life. I just put a link to this post on my blog & hope it brings many people to your blog.

  201. I almost cried.
    Thank you.

    I donated for the first time this year.

  202. * To Jen Jeffers – SO glad to read that you are a natural cryer too! Yep, I cry about all that you listed, and more. I think there are many of us out there! ha.. ANd * to MOLLY – oh YES, i think many of us can relate – too funny! My husband listens to me talk about Kelle and Nella and rolls his eyes, but in a kidding way and says “Maybe we shouldnt have gotten a computer”. I tell him to bite his tongue- it has brought me close to so many!

  203. Nella is BEAUTIFUL and I can only begin to imagine the joy that she brings into your lives. Once the words Down Syndrome were announced, I am sure the next thing that happened was…OK how do we accept and move forward in loving and raising Nella…exactly the same way any child should be raised. They all have a personality, they all have needs and they all have certain gifts to be explored. I can see that Nella will have a precious life on course with your family. All of the delightful people that you have shared in this post, have and will make an impact in this life, all for the better. One very special family is that of my nephew Roy Foster. He, Lisa, big brother Grant and little man Drew, are family. Drew will have a chance at the most fulfilling life he can obtain, because of the love, devotion and dedication of his family. The one word that comes after love, is acceptance. Once the words Down Syndrome have been spoken… then life can begin once again. Many blessings your way~

  204. Nice blog, hi friend, i found that there is one website offering free puzzle games. Just take one minute to sign up then you will receive one free puzzle game. Its URL is http://www.684899.com/en/CosmicCreature/project_1.htm Click the below button of the page to get in. I’ve done it and now i am enjoying it.

  205. Donated to support the beautiful Nella xx

  206. I wanted you to know that I nominated your blog for the Versatile Blogger Award. The information is here for you http://eileensplace.blogspot.com – thanks for such a beautiful place to visit!

  207. Kelle-
    Love your writing, inspirational photography, and beautiful family. Any chance you’d be willing to share your Instagram template with us all?

    Happy birthday sweet Nella!


  208. Posted both on pinterest and facebook. Good luck Kelle! You’re doing great things to help create an awareness.

  209. I think this is one of my favorite posts. I loved the pictures. I think the wedding ones were my favorite. It gives me hope… When I was in the hospital I would cry and think about Jana and how she was not going to get married. That broke my heart. Now I know that she may find someone just as special as her and get married:) Thanks for all you do! Love you Kelle

  210. I tried to post a comment the other day, but it wouldn’t let me. And that’s okay because it gave me time to scan the other comments. And let me tell you, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for so many lovely, giving people! Gratitude for complete strangers like Angela & Molly, and moms that DON’T have a child with special needs, and for women who don’t even have children yet! And gratitude for Kathryn’s story (of “The Greers”), who also happens to be a best friend to MY NIECE! Hi Kathryn! Sooo cool to see you commenting and reading Kelle’s blog…YAY!!!

    …..as if seeing our Nora on here wasn’t reason enough for tears :)

    I love people.

  211. Absolutely amazing!! You truly are a gift from the heavens where unicorns gallop and rainbows fill the skies!! Not only are you a gift to that gorgeous, scrumptious daughter of yours…little Ms. Nella (and of course BIG sis Lainey)…but to all those beautiful inspiring individuals that carry that extra magic!!
    I love what this post is doing…creating an awareness that HOPE does exist for ALL families!
    Thank you Kelle Hampton for sharing your family, your dreams and your heart with the world. I wish you all the best in reaching your 2 for 2 goal…you will surpass it!!
    Sweet #2 to you little Ms. Nella!!

    LOVE all the photos in this post…but my favoriteS are the ones of Nella on her red chair!! You know how to capture that spunky spirit of hers!! Squeeze a BIG hug on her for me!!


  212. Your blog is inspiring on so many levels. You rock as a mom but also as an advocate. Your two beautiful girls are so lucky to have you as their mommy.

  213. I love your blog. Your words and photos share your life in a happy, interesting, and inspiring way. Yours is the only blog I regularly read. It’s definitely worth the “subscription” for a wonderful purpose.

    Everyday I am enjoying my own beautiful baby boy who just happens to have Down Syndrome.

  214. This entire post? Awesome!

  215. You are doing amazing things Kelle. Your words and actions are an example to us all. I wish you and your family nothing but the best!

    I pledge to donate $10.
    It’s not a lot I know, but it’s what we can afford right now.

  216. Happy Birthday Nella.
    I like the thought of it as a sort of subscription Kelle, I don’t buy magazines or newspapers anymore, I find reading your blog and others is so much better. Not only is it more uplifting, you and others are real, and so are much more inspiring than some random celebrity, or someone’s posh house that just makes me feel rubbish about my own!
    Not to mention the sense of community out there in the blogosphere.

    Rock on the 2 for 2 I know you’ll surpass the total for sure.

  217. I saw this and thought of you:). You’ve probably already seen it though! So sweet.


  218. You doubled it and so did I! Twice as much as I donated last year! Happy birthday Nella! You are a gorgeous little girl to watch grow and I know you, like so many others, will accomplish amazing things!

  219. A very inspiring post and I can relate to every word. Although our son is missing the magic extra chromosome, he has some other special attributes that have changed the whole way we see the world and dream about his future. Beautiful photos of beautiful kids living great lives. Bless you for bringing awareness not only to the potential in kids with down syndrome, but to all kids who have something “special” that makes them unique.

  220. oh my gosh! I LOVE this post…. especially the wedding pictures.

  221. Kelle, as a new subscriber to your blog, and mom-to-be for the first time, I cannot express how touching your words and pictures have been. I always look forward to reading your posts and share them with anyone who will listen. It was truly ironic that my friend shared your blog with me (unknowingly) on the day I went to have my prenatal blood tests for down syndrome and SB. I cherish your story about Nella and shared with my husband immediately. Your NDSS fundraiser is inspirational and I simply wanted to let you know that you’ve tugged at the heart strings of another stranger on the east coast, who cannot wait to purchase Bloom!

    All the best,

  222. This entire post was simply stunning. Thank you. I will be donating as soon as I get the debit card back from husband.

  223. I look forward to reading your posts. I don’t think I’ve missed any since I found your blog. It was a pleasure donating to the 2for2 fund. Nella is absolutely gorgeous. You have an amazing gift, thank you for sharing with us. I hope Nella has a wonderful 2nd birthday. I can see her changing the world! :) We can’t forget about sweet Lainey as well. You can see the love she has for her sweet sister.

  224. LOVE it. I’m the older sister of a 17 year old Downs Syndrome boy named Matt, who is amazing. http://wellthoughtoutlife.blogspot.com/2011/03/happiness-vs-self-sacrifice.html

  225. Love it. Love it. And love it some more. And we are fostering a little lady named Nella right now. :) Sweet name for sweet girlies!

  226. Inspiring.
    Thank you.

  227. You bring me to tears every time!! Happy Birthday to Nella!! I remember her first birth post! You and your family are just amazing!! XO

  228. http://www.wolfhirschhorn.org/2012/01/amelia/brick-walls/

    Sad story. They could use some support.

  229. Ahhh, tears Kelle! Such a beautiful post, highlighting the amazing potential of these beautiful people. You’re changing the world!

  230. nora and her family: they are my famliy-my aunt uncle and beautiful beautiful cousins. all so sweet. all amazing. loving. makes my heart beat a little faster to see them on here-thankyou for your blogs :)

  231. This is inspiring, amazing, and utterly beautiful. Your musicbox was playing “The Winner Is” by Devotchka and it was just the perfect amount of music for the entire post…and it made me cry. These pictures and this story to this music was just stunning. Best wishes to you and your cause.
    Nella is gorgeous and full of sunshine. Happy birthday to her. :)

  232. I found your blog because of your upcoming book that I can’t wait to read! Nella is an absolute DOLL!! I have a 3 year granddaughter with DS. It has been a learning experience but OMG I would not trade it for the world. She is such a joy (even when she is adamantly independent lol). I am really enjoying reading your blog and have sent the link to my daughter to share!!

  233. I love your blog. You are amazing!

  234. This post is wonderful, you are such an inspiring person and mother. Your daughter is beautiful, and so lucky to have you and her family in her life. xxx

  235. nella looks so happy and curious just how a child should be ^_^

  236. She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen! Both of your girls are just absolutely gorgeous! I don’t know Nella but I love her! Your story is amazing and you are an amazing writer! I can tell that you are one proud momma! And i would be to! I wasn’t able to donate much, but I hope that it helps!! I work with children and let me just say, each and every one of them is a blessing from God in every form and fashion they come in. Forget what society thinks of children with DS and how they won’t go far! Because with enough love, they will soar! God never makes a mistake and your daughter is living proof of that because she is beautiful! I hope that you and your family’s lives have an abundance of blessings! Let God shower you with love! And i send you my love, from alabama, I wish ya’ll the very best!

  237. She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen! Both of your girls are just absolutely gorgeous! I don’t know Nella but I love her! Your story is amazing and you are an amazing writer! I can tell that you are one proud momma! And i would be to! I wasn’t able to donate much, but I hope that it helps!! I work with children and let me just say, each and every one of them is a blessing from God in every form and fashion they come in. Forget what society thinks of children with DS and how they won’t go far! Because with enough love, they will soar! God never makes a mistake and your daughter is living proof of that because she is beautiful! I hope that you and your family’s lives have an abundance of blessings! Let God shower you with love! And i send you my love, from alabama, I wish ya’ll the very best!

  238. She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen! Both of your girls are just absolutely gorgeous! I don’t know Nella but I love her! Your story is amazing and you are an amazing writer! I can tell that you are one proud momma! And i would be to! I wasn’t able to donate much, but I hope that it helps!! I work with children and let me just say, each and every one of them is a blessing from God in every form and fashion they come in. Forget what society thinks of children with DS and how they won’t go far! Because with enough love, they will soar! God never makes a mistake and your daughter is living proof of that because she is beautiful! I hope that you and your family’s lives have an abundance of blessings! Let God shower you with love! And i send you my love, from alabama, I wish ya’ll the very best!

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