a birthday post

It is easy to say “two years ago.” Two years isn’t a very long time, and the memories of her welcome, for the most part, are still clear. I remember what it feels like to cry so desperately that relief breaths can only come in short, stomach-jerking gasps. And, days later, how I listened to this song and this song, clutching to every word, praying it would be true–that we would be okay.

In the first two years, we talk about then and now, the difference between these two abstract eras distinct and concrete. But as the bridge between these two places slowly grows, the distinction likewise fades. A moment that changed me forever, yes; but the outcome a product of what was there all along. I had the love. I had the strength and courage. I was so capable of being her mama. I just didn’t know it.


I think about that a lot–how I am the same person today as I was the day before she was born even though it doesn’t seem true. How I am the same person I am today as I will be thirty years from now. What stones will be unturned in life–whether victories or challenges–to reveal more love, more courage, more understanding? We evolve.

As Cher would say, if I could turn back time…

I would take that little body and hold it closer, breathe her in, study her long fingers and smooth pink cheeks and let my soul do what it begged to do–to connect with its counterpart and fully accept her as the gift we needed. I would wrap my body around her, smell her, kiss her, draw her right into the place she needed to be and let her feel a purer love. I would trace her features with wonder rather than apprehension and know that her tired little frown would evolve…just like we would.


And while this day represents so much more, really it’s about a little girl who was born. A daughter who came to be, a sister who arrived, a baby like any other who just needed to be loved.


Oh, how she is loved.



This morning she woke up early–early enough I had to check the clock to make sure it wasn’t still the middle of the night. I heard the rattle of the crib railing and her happy whispers, and I finally reluctantly climbed out to welcome the day with her. I feel her low muscle tone most when I pull her from the crib. There is no resistance, no independent efforts to stand tall and pull her weight, and I love that. Every ounce of her sinks into my grasp as I lift her and pull her close, her bottom settling into my forearm, her hands touching my face, her chest fully dropping into my shoulder. I remember pregnancy yoga classes and how long it took the instructor to guide us into this kind of limber physical release. “Let go of your shoulders. Imagine your chest is dropping. Now release your leg muscles, your thighs, your calves…let go of it all. Submit to the peace in your inner soul,” she’d exhort and even after all those steps, there was still a part I couldn’t let go. After that experience I realize low muscle tone is hardly a disability. It’s an enviable ability…to just be.


We walked out into the dark living room, her head still resting on my shoulder. “Is it your birthday?” I whispered. She pulled her head up and smiled. “Yeah,” she answered. I thought about exactly where I was two years ago. Counting contractions. Waiting for the doctor to call. Knowing I’d finally get to meet my daughter.


It feels good to skip over the rest–to look back at the dark and difficult moments and stop right when it hurts to run and hold her. Like getting through the awful suspenseful parts in a movie you’ve already seen–not so bad when you know it ends well.

It’s two years later–not long, but long enough to know…it ends well.


No matter what happens, it ends well because life is bigger than scripts and sets and how-it’s-supposed-to-bes.

And before I quote another singer–God forbid, Richard Marx–let me cut to the chase.

Dude, these two years have been grand. And we love her. We love our children with a deeper, purer love that is so infinite, it cannot be shaken.


Happy Birthday, Nella.


You are everything we ever wanted. I only wish we would have been cool enough to know it then.


We know now. We love you so much, Birthday Girl. And we celebrate you today.


And thank you, little girl, for my birth day–what gift that day, those moments, those tears will always be.

Awareness born of love is the only force that can bring healing and renewal. Out of our love for another person, we become more willing to let our old identities wither and fall away, and enter a dark night of the soul, so that we may stand naked once more in the presence of the great mystery that lies at the core of our being. This is how love ripens us -by warming us from within, inspiring us to break out of our shell, and lighting our way through the dark passage to new birth.” -John Welwood



Leave a Comment
  1. Happy birthday miss Nella!!
    Thanks again, Kelle , for sharing with all of us

  2. Happy birthday Nella!

  3. Beautiful post. Happy birthday Nella! It coincides with Lunar New Year this year, and it’s a great time of the year! :)

  4. such a beautiful, beautiful post. so moving. so honest. so lovely.
    happy birthday, sweet nella!
    you all enjoy your day in a grand way!


  5. Happy Birthday beautiful girl! Have a wonderful day!

  6. Happy Birthday Nella!!!!!!

  7. Happy Birthday Nella!!!! What an amazing Momma and family you have! I look forward to following more and more of your adventures.

    Happy Birth Day Kelle!!!! Thank you for sharing your amazing family with us.

  8. Tanti auguri Nella! Mille di queste risate :) !

  9. Happy Happy Happy Second Birthday, Sweet Nella~ Your Momma captures the best birthday photos of you 😉 Blessings to the Hamptons~

  10. Happy birthday, Nella and Kelle! May it be the most wonderful and love-filled day you have known to date, to only be surpassed by every day in your future.

  11. Happy birthday Nella!!

  12. Happy Birthday to your beautiful girl and congratulations to your family for two years of LOVE surrounding her. You are blessed!

  13. WOW. What a powerful post – so raw, real, beautiful. That pic of you and Nella laughing so hard? W.O.W. I was close to tears the whole way through and then this line: “You are everything we ever wanted. I only wish we would have been cool enough to know it then.” That there put me over the top. I think you were cool enough…your hearts just had to break open a little bit wider because you had no idea how much love was coming your way. Happy birthday Nella….the world’s a better place with you in it. xo

  14. Two years is enough to know it ends well! I’m feeling the same way as Maddie’s 2nd birthday quickly approaches. Love to Nella on her birthday!

  15. Happy birthday Nella! & Kelle, thank you.

  16. Happy Birthday, Nella! I hope it’s wonderful!

  17. Happy birthday beautiful girl! What a gift you are. This post is beautiful and tugs at the heart. Thank you for sharing!

  18. sweet nella. on the day you were born the whole earth smiled. you are so deeply loved by so many. enjoy your wonderful 2nd birthday you fabulous little person!

  19. Beautiful!!!
    Happy Birthday, Nella :)

  20. Beautiful!!!
    Happy Birthday, Nella :)

  21. Happy Birthday, sweet sweet girl.

    Happy Birth Day, Kelle. :)

  22. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MISS NELLA! We celebrate YOU today!

  23. Happy Birthday Nella! You’re going to rock being two!

  24. Happy Birthday to Nella & Mama!

    Sending love from Minnesota <3

  25. Happy Birthday, sweet Nella Cordelia, bright, shiny little light of the world!!

  26. Happy birthday Nella!! xx

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Happy Birthday Sweet Nella! I am so happy to have been following your blog Kelle! Your words have helped me with my own journey with my daughter. If I only knew what I know now then! I say those words quite often! We hope Nella has a special day. Go shine baby girl!

  29. Happy birthday beautiful Nella, you meant-to-be baby girl. This brought tears to my eyes as I remembered my own story, and the day that I too was reborn thanks to my meant-to-be baby boy. Enjoy this day with that perfect, funny, smart little girl!

  30. Happy Birthday Sweet Nella!!!!!

  31. Happy Birthday Nella! Here’s hoping you have an amazing one!

  32. Happy Birthday Nella Cordelia!

  33. Happy Birthday sweet Nella! What a wonderful two years and so many more lie ahead. Have a beautiful day!

  34. Happy Birthday Sweet Nella!!! Hope you have a magnificent day :)

  35. Happy Birthday sweet girl!

  36. Simply beautiful…Happy Birthday Nella!

  37. So beautifully written Kelle. Happy Birthday to you all.

  38. Happy Birthday to a beautiful two year old! I have been reading your blog for two years now. I have a 6 year old daughter and a daughter that is 20 months. Your writing is so inspiring! Awesome post today!

  39. Gorgeous post, thank-you for sharing and Happy Happy Birthday Sweet Nella!!

  40. A very big Happy Birthday to a beautiful and special little girl! I hope you have a most wonderful day, Nella! Can’t wait to read about the festivities.

    Thank you, Kelle, for sharing your journey with all of us.

  41. Beautiful. Happy Birthday Nella!

  42. Happy happy birthday Nella!! My daughter turns two today as well, and I think of you guys often because of that. This post was beautifully written….enjoy this day and celebrate!

  43. Happy Birthday, sweet Nella!! While you obvisousley know how much your family loves and appreciates you, know how many of us around the world have been changed by you. We see the world a little differently, celebrate everyone’s uniqueness and have learned to embrace this one precious life. At two years old that is quite a feat, little girl! Enjoy your special day!

  44. Happy birthday, beautiful Nella!!! I love your smile! Even at 2 years old, you have reached more people than you will ever know!!!

  45. Happy Birthday gorgeous girl xxx

  46. Happy birthday sweet Nella!
    This post is amazing, just like every other one. You guys all have a great day 😀

  47. Happy Birthday sweet angel baby!! I remember so vividly awaiting to hear about her arrival, and then crying over and over as I read her beautiful story, and wanted to jump though the computer to hug you and wipe the tears from your heartbroken face. My how Miss Nella Bean has changed ALL our lives for the better. Thank you Nella!!! xoxoxoxo

  48. Happy Birthday Nella! You and my 3-year-old share the same special day :) 1/22 is always a beautiful day. Hope you get everything you wish for.

  49. Happy Birthday sweet Nella! And Happy Birth Day to you too Kelle! May today hold many awe-inspiring moments, wonderful memories, and so much love that your heart can’t contain it all and it spills over the edges in the most beautiful ways! <3 I was rereading Nella’s birth story this morning, and there is so much that I can relate to and so many emotions that I can say I went though when Sarah was born as well. Now this beautiful birthday post too….again, true in every word. So many things that I could not have guessed would be within us all almost two years ago on the day of her birth, so many ways I didn’t know I would grow, so much of ME that would not have been if she had not been given to us jst the way she is, with all her extra loveliness. Happy Birthday to you both, and thank you so much for sharing your lives with us. <3

  50. happy birthday nella! two years ago … i was waiting rather impatiently for your birth (as i know your mama was too!) … and i was waiting rather impatiently for little finn to make his appearance as well!
    2! years! old!
    still can’t believe it!
    oh happy day … enjoy it sweetheart!


  52. Happy Birthday sweet, beautiful girl! My life is better because you are in it.

  53. Happy birthday, Nella!! Kelle, you are an inspiration to many… beautiful post.

  54. Happy Birthday sweet Nella. Your birth has opened so many hearts and minds. This world is better place because you are in it.

  55. Kelle – how lucky we all are to be on this wonderful journey with you. Our own journeys w our children are wonderful & amazing. But your words for our thougts and feelings bring it all together. Happy birthday sweet Nella. Luv ya sistah. xoxo

  56. Happy Birthday Sweet Nella! We Love you! XXXXX

  57. Happy Birthday beautiful, sweet, little Nella!!!

  58. happy birthday sweet and perfect nella! you have taught me so much about myself in your 2 short years.
    beautiful post, kelle.

  59. Have a happy and beautiful birthday Miss Nella. You are just wonderfully beautiful. <3

  60. Happy, happy birthday sweet Nella girl!! You are *so* loved!!

  61. This just may be the most beautiful post ever written in both pictures and words. I wish I could express the extent of my love to my girls as beautifully when I write to them! Happy Birthday sweet girl!

  62. Kelle, your honesty and the love you have for your family is profound and shines through beautifully in these words.
    Happy 2nd Birthday, Nella! Happy *Birth* Day, Mama! xx

  63. my son is two hand has low muscle tone, and I never thought of it as a gift…thank you for the perspective.
    and Happy Birthday nella.

  64. Absolutely beautiful!

    Happy Birthday Sweet Nella!

  65. Um thanks for the morning cry!!! lol Such a beautiful post Kelle. Happy birthday Nella!! She is loved by so many that don’t even know her! What a blessed little girl!

  66. i just love that little nella and i’ve never even met her. her smile lights up my computer screen and my heart. happy birthday sweet one!!!!

  67. Happy Birthday beautiful girl !
    What a happier place the world is with you in it, how amazing is that, that you have this effect on people that have never had the chance to meet you.

    Wishing you a great year full of new discoveries. big birthday hugs coming from Paris, France

  68. Happy Birthday Nella! You are a beautiful little girl.

  69. As I’m sitting hear with many tears, I’m in awe that you cranked that out this morning! I love how you tied it all together with that quote at the end. You are a deep spirit and I’m thankful Nella’s birth brought you out into the public so I could become acquainted. Happy Birthday Nella; enjoy celebrating with your family.

  70. Aww, happy birthday sweet Nella girl! You are such a blessed little girl … insanely cute, a mama that loves you so.

    Kelle, I love your reflection … everything I could ever want to put into words, right here. How could we not have known then. It’s an amazing journey, no?

    Enjoy your girl today! She is insanely precious.

  71. Happy Birthday Nella! You have impacted more people in 2 years than you will ever know. Such a beautiful post this morning and I had a nice, happy Mama cry while reading it.

  72. happy birthday nella girl. you are a doll. your smile lights up my day everytime i read your mommas blog. what a special and loved girl you are.

  73. So beautiful, Kelle. Brought me to tears once again. Don’t know how you do it, but you certainly have a gift for words. Grateful for your little Nella, for that is how I found your inspiring blog, something I always look forward to reading. You always seem to inspire me to be that person I want to be. Happy birthday to sweet, beautiful Nella!

  74. Happy Birthday Nella!!!!!! Because of you, I have had the chance to get to know you and your amazing family. I hope that you have an AMAZING birthday and happy birth day to your mama! :)

  75. Happy birthday beautiful Nella. You are an amazing little girl and you have a wonderful mama! I love the pictures.

  76. Your beautiful post brought tears & gave me goose bumps. Happy Birthday to sweet Nella! Hope she enjoys every minute of her special day.

  77. Happy birthday Nella!

    I can’t believe I’ve been reading this blog for 2 years and I’ve been privileged to watch a very special beautiful baby girl grow up from across the ocean.

  78. Happy Birthday Nella!!! Thank you for continuing to share your beautiful story with us!!!

  79. Happy Birthday Nella!! Pregnancy hormones got me again — as soon as I heard the first couple notes of the song playing in the background I started crying. Hah.

  80. Happy 2nd birthday Nella!!! happy re birthday mommy!
    I heard this song yesterday and thought about you two. This artist found out his son had a heart problem during the pregnancy… and he talked that after grieving for a little awhile but he knew that no matter what he would give all of him to his son and this diagnosis didn’t change a thing.
    You give your girls “all of you” ! that’s so inspiring
    … Y


  82. This post brought tears to my eyes~I almost did the ugly cry because I didn’t know it was possible to feel such love for a baby I’ve never held, kissed, whispered to, but how I love Nella.
    She is so beautiful & watching her grow has been such a gift. I never knew any of this could be possible, this connection through our little blogs, the friendships made, the support needed…it is so amazing to me. I hope you continue sharing her with us for a very long time. What a beautiful, blessed family you have. Give her a great big kiss from me. Happy Birthday, Nella! With love.

  83. Happy Birthday Miss Nella! Beautiful girl, beautiful post! Enjoy this very special day!

  84. Happy Happy Birthday Beautiful Little Nella! She’s such a gift!

  85. Soon after finding your blog and reading Nella’s birth story I started a playlist called Nella. Face of a Faith and Keep Breathing are the first two songs on that playlist. I’ve added songs over the last two years that have been on your site as well as other songs I love that inspire me as a mother and remind me of sweet Nella.

    I don’t think I’ve ever thought of a mother and baby relationship as you just put it Kelle. But to completely surrender your soul is just beautiful and possibly the purist and most unconditional picture of a mother and her child.

    Happy Birthday, Nella. What beautiful pictures as we celebrate you. Such a darling and absolutely perfect little girl you are indeed!

  86. Happy Birthday to your sweet, beautiful little Nella!! It’s been wonderful watching her, you all grow these past two years :) Thank you for sharing it all. Have a great day!!

  87. Happy birthday nella! Much love fr ellie

  88. Happy Birthday, Nella!!!
    Kelle–when you write about Nella’s low muscle tone in this post, it reminds me exactly of Mabel. It is so sweet how they really do just melt into us as if to say, here is where I’m ok.”

    Have the greatest day!

  89. Happy Birthday, Sweet Nella! You are truly a special gift :)

  90. Happy birthday to the chest little girl ever! And to you, Kelle. Have a grand and wonderful day <3

  91. So honoured to share my birthdate with this sweet girl. Happy birthday precious Nella! :)

  92. Beautiful. Happy Birthday darling Nella!!

  93. Happy Birthday Nella, not only did you bring such joy and happiness to your parents, but through your mothers loving words you bring joy and happiness to all of our lives. I hope your day is magical.

  94. Beautiful post and Happy Birthday to Nella and your family!

  95. What a beautiful post. Happy Birthday sweet Nella. Have a great day

  96. Happy birthday Nella and Kelle! Thank you for sharing your joy and sunshine with all of us! Here’s to a happy, lovely year!

  97. Happy Birthday Nella!

  98. Happy Birthday Nella!

  99. happy birthday sweet nella! celebrating with you today in destin, florida! :)

  100. A beautiful tribute to your little girl and your journey. Thank you for sharing your stories with us and happy birthday to Nella.

  101. Happy birthday, sweet Nella!

  102. Nella and my son share a birthday! My son is 4 today. Happy Birthday Nella, wishing you a super d-duper birthday!!! :)

  103. Happy Birthday Nella! Almost two years ago now, I found your blog because of your birth story post. I, too, was carrying a little girl then, a little sister for my 3 year old twin girls. I cried so hard reading that post, it was terrifying to me then, thinking of my own soon to be born baby. I kept reading, every post since. Two years later I’m ashamed that it was so scary, because Nella is a gift and that is clear in every post. She is beautiful and amazing, and a joyous addition to your family, just like my daughter is to ours. It’s amazing how much a baby that I’ve never even met has changed how I see the world, and people. A few weeks ago, my family went out to breakfast. While we waited for a table, a mother waited on the bench across from us with her grown son, who had Down Syndrome. I would have looked away before, I think, feeling awkward and sorry for her. This time I smiled at her, and him, made eye contact. We were both moms, waiting with our kids for a table. I thought of him as loved, like Nella is. Thank you so much for being brave enough to show us all of this.

  104. Beautifully written. Happy Birthday Nella!!!!!!

  105. Happy Birthday sweet, sweet Nella!

  106. Happy birthday, Nella! And happy birth day to all of us who have been changed by your sweet smile and beautiful personality!

  107. Happy Birthday, Nella Cordelia! Thank you for coming in to ALL OF OUR lives!

  108. So beautiful. You made me cry! Happy birthday to your perfect baby girl.

  109. I have tears again! Happy birthday Nella!!

  110. Happy Birthday, sweetheart!!! oxox

  111. I wish I could be there when your daughters become mothers and they go back and read posts like these. So beautiful, so real

  112. I wish I could be there when your daughters become mothers and they go back and read posts like these. So beautiful, so real

  113. Happy Birthday beautiful girl!

  114. Happy Birthday NELLA!! You and your family are so beautiful!! Thanks so much for beautifully sharing your stories. My girls and I love reading them and looking at the cute photos. My girls are 3 and 23 months and I think they think of you as friends as we look at your family pictures so much. :>

  115. Oh happy day!!! They say all things happen for a reason. If Nella hadn’t come, and you hadn’t shared, I truly believe the DS community would be set back many many years. ThanK God for both of you!

  116. p.s. I had never heard that sara groves song before, I love it!

  117. Happy Birthday, Nella! You are such a beautiful little girl, we love to see your photos and hear your story.

    Jill xxx

  118. Happy, happy birthday, gorgeous Nella! Kelle, those two last sentences in this post just did it for me…I cried! Beaautiful post, beautiful pictures! Have an awesome day celebrating her second year – you guys are all amazing:)

  119. Happy Birthday wishes to Nella from Ireland!! Your words brought tears to my eyes. xx

  120. Happy Birthday Nella! Happy birth-day Kelle!
    You have changed us all. In such good soul stirring ways.
    Enjoy your special day sweet girl!!!

  121. Ohhhhh HAPPY BIRTHDAY NELLA!!!!!
    An amazing post for an amazing little girl! Thank you SO SO much for sharing your amazing family with us!

  122. Are you trying to make me cry? With the post, AND the music?!
    Happy Birthday Nella!!!! You’re so beautiful, and you’re definitely a gift. Not only to your parents, but to us as readers for getting to know you!

  123. Happy Birthday Nella! She is so stinkin’ cute. I could just gobble her up!

  124. Happy happy birthday to your sweet Nella. What a beautiful post-I continue to be grateful to have stumbled upon your story and to have the pleasure of following it. You continue to inspire me!

  125. Happy Birthday beautiful princess!Let’s go party!

  126. Awwwww…Happy Birthday, Nella! And Happy Birth Day, Mama!

  127. Happy birthday sweet Nella!! Love following you and your families precious story!

  128. I used to cry every single time I read your blog because it is that moving and inspirational..I haven’t cried for a while. I guess I have gotten used to your “breath of fresh air” posts..but this one pulled them out of me once more. You’re way with words are remarkable. Happy Birthday Nella…

  129. Dreams Come true… Wish BIG Nella! May all your Birthday wishes come true beautiful sweet girl!
    We ALL Love you!!! YOU have touched us ALL in a way like no other!
    Happy Happy BIG 2 Birthday!!

  130. Happy Birthday sweet Nella!

  131. Happy Birthday, sweet Nella! This post was so honest and heart warming. Made me tear up several times. Have a blessed year. <3

  132. Happy Birthday beautiful Nella xxx

  133. Happy, happy birthday, beautiful Nella!! Oh, how lucky are the family and friends that have you in their lives!

  134. Happy Birthday, precious Nella!

  135. Eloquent, Beautiful. Happy Birthday to Nella, and all of you!

  136. Lovely!!!
    Beautiful post. Happy birthday Nella!
    Moni from Buenos Aires Argentina

  137. Show up, pay attention, believe that God will do something GOOD and try and be a part of it! That’s what you seem to do every day! Happy, happy birthday Nella!

  138. Happy Birthday Nella! We know now.

  139. Happy Birthday Nella!

  140. happy birthday miss nella! you are so loved-and so special :)

  141. Happy Birthday Nella!

  142. Happy Birthday Nella!
    This is such a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your heart and wonderful family. You are an inspiration!

  143. Happy Birthday, sweet little girl! It’s been almost two years since I first met you and your amazing family – through your Mommy’s love and inspiration-filled blog! I hope you have a wonderful day of the celebration of y.o.u!………..Rosemary

  144. Happy Birthday, little Nella! Hope you all have a wonderful day!

  145. Happy Birthday to your special baby. I love that she is sooooooo happy always. Its perfection. I love this.

  146. Happy Birthday, Nella!!

  147. Happy Birthday Nella-bean! Your beautiful soul shining out of your mama’s pictures have taught me so much about exactly how amazing that extra chromosome is! Love you honey! Have a rockin’ Birthday!

  148. Happy Birthday Nella!!! Beautiful post, my heart is melting

  149. Beautiful post- she will love reading that one day! Happy Birthday Nella!

  150. I am a new follower and I must say you are a wonderful person with such a beautiful family. I truly enjoy reading your blog. And, Happy, happy birthday Nella!

  151. What an awesome and beautiful post!

    Happy birthday Nella! :)

  152. Amen to that.

    And Happy Birthday Little Nella!

  153. Happy birthday Nella! Don’t beat yourself up Kelle, Nella would have accepted you for just being human in how you reacted. Our children are far more spiritually evolved than we could ever hope to be, truly a gift…….

  154. such a cute girl

  155. Happy, Happy Birthday to Nella! What a great reflection on her birth day, Kelle! I know that our prenatal diagnosis of Rylee actually helped us to celebrate her birth day more than a diagnosis at birth would have. I am grateful for that. After meeting lots of Moms over the last 8 years who found out about their child’s diagnosis in various ways, I’ve come to realize that everyone finds out the way that they are supposed to — for them. I admire you for embracing your experience and celebrating what has become! Enjoy this day!!

  156. Happy birthday to you, we’re so glad God made you, happy birthday dear Nella…happy birthday to you!
    Love, The Rodriguez girls

    Ps. This post had me all choked up. Your words truly are living words…they come with feelings, and I love reading them.

  157. Happy Birthday to Nella and to you (I think Mommies share the birthday of their child for obvious reasons:)

    Beautiful words, thank you so much for sharing. May we all learn to be present and love every moment, knowing everything will be OK.


  158. Happy Birthday, Nella Cordelia! What a precious little bundle of joy you are! I may not know you, but through pictures it is easy to see the joy your bring to so many and the vibrancy with which you enjoy life. Keep smiling, Nella, for that adorable little grin is so very contagious! Happy, Happy Birthday, sweet little girl!

  159. Happy Birthday Nella!!

  160. Spot on. What a joyful post about your growth all because of the darling birthday girl Nella! Loved it.

  161. Just beautiful – it moved me to tears. Happy birthday, Nella, and Happy Birth Day, Kelle!

  162. Happy Birthday sweet Nella Cordelia! Two little years have made such a big difference for so many people. Your light shines so bright… illuminating dark corners around the world. Oh the places you’ll go!
    And a very happy birth-day to you Kelle. Thank you for sharing your unicorn lovin’ heart and incredible talents of words and pictures. I know that I am a better person having “met” you.
    Big hugs all around!

  163. happy birthday Nella! And happy having given birth, Kelle. Crying from the beautiful post. Reading made me see – our children teach us how to love them. We know nothing about love or about life until we hold out our arms to them.

  164. Happy Happy Birthday to Little Miss Nella! What a gift to so many she is! Giving thanks for this incredible little one!

  165. happy birthday NELLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  166. Happy Birthday Nella!

  167. Happy Birthday from Washington State Nella!! We celebrate YOU today!! We hope to meet you someday!


  168. Happy Birthday, Nella! Your mom’s story amazes me, and I can’t get over how you can sleep anywhere.. LOL

  169. You me cry again! Happy Birthday, Nella!!!

  170. Zum Geburtstag viel Glück little Nella!!!!


    PS: I almost passed out at the size of your garage! Seriously, it is bigger than my whole house and I just moved to a bigger one;-) Ha ha ha ha!

  171. Beautiful post, Happy Birthday Nella! Thanks for sharing!!

  172. Another great post Kelle! Thanks for the tears and goose bumps it brought me! Happy, Happy Birthday Nella!

  173. Happy Birthday precious Nella! :)

    (cryin my eyes out, kelle! enjoy her today!


  174. Amazing post!! Lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Such an inspirational story and life you lead. Thanks for sharing it with us all!

  175. Beautiful.

  176. Happy Birthday beautiful girl!!!
    This post brought tears to my eyes.
    You guys are amazing parents to the most amazing little girl :)

  177. Simply beautiful, Kelle. Thoughts that I totally relate to but could never express so fully, so deeply. I am in tears. Our Levi will be two this May. Happy birthday to Nella. Thank you for allowing us to come along with you this meaningful journey. It truly means more than you know.

  178. Happy Birthday to your beautiful girl. My daughter is also celebrating her second birthday today too. Have a wonderful day!

  179. Happy birthday Nella!! =)

  180. Happy Birthday Nella!
    You’re very lucky to have such a loving and supporting family. I pray that every child gets the acceptance it deserves.
    Greetings from Dubai :)

  181. Happy birthday Nella! You are so beatiful, Sweetie! Like your mother and sister. :)

  182. happy, happy birthday, sweet nella!

    thanks for sharing your family with us, kelle.

  183. Your words are perfect. Your love, your joy, your tears, your wonder, your heart for your daughter is tangible even from the other side of this world.
    Crazy as it may seem, but I can’t believe I didn’t read your blog a year ago, and it’s all cause of your Nella’s birth story. I’m just so happy for you, for Brett, for Lainey, for Brandyn, for Austyn, for Kate, for Heidi, for Poppa, for Carin, for all those friends who celebrated with you on the day, even when you didn’t feel it. They knew that you were more than capable to be the perfect Mama to Nella and Lainey.
    And you know what? They were so right.
    Enjoy the day, Kelle, drink it in. Xxx

  184. Happy birthday, little girlie! And many happy returns. We hope you’ve had a wonderful day! X x

  185. Happy Birthday Sweet Nella! May you enjoy today and all the wonders of being 2! It’s an honor to know you through your mother’s words and photos.

  186. Happy Birthday to your sweet baby Nella! Two was my favorite year of toddlerhood! Sweet hugs to you and your little family momma!

  187. Beautiful job, Kelle. Happy Birthday, Miss Nella!

  188. My goodness, beautiful post, Kelle. And wonderful pictures. I especailly like the one of you and Nella laughing together! What memories you are capturing!

    Happy 2nd Birthday, Nella!
    Can’t wait to see the party pics!

  189. Happy Birthday Nella!! Beautiful post. Looking forward to the party post!!

  190. Happy Birthday Nella Bella Dear : )

  191. WOW! Almost 2 years ago I was blessed to have found you and the first story of your blog I ever read was your post about Nella’s birth! Thank you, thank you, thank you God for bringing this beautiful little spirit into my life and thank you Kelle & Brett & Lainey & boys for sharing her with us – she will never know the laughter, smiles and peace she has given to so many through her sparkling eyes and beautiful smile. Much love to all of you and may God continue to shower Nella and the Hampton family with many many of His blessings in the years ahead.

  192. Happy 2nd Birthday, Nella! :)

  193. Beautiful post in honor of a beautiful little girl. Happy birthday, Nella!


  194. Happy birthday, Nella!! From reading your mom’s blog I can tell what a special family you have and how much they love YOU! ~Hannah

  195. Happy birthday to Nella!

    I need to say your writing is very very beautiful. I`ve been following your blog for a while now and your writing hits me every time. Not because we have similar challenges and experiences in life – cause we don`t – but because I relate your words to the feelings of my own challenges and experiences, expecially the way you describe the love for your two beautiful girls.


  196. happy day to you, sweet nella!(as my 2 year old would say) you’re awesome! i KNOW you have a bright future ahead of you full of great and wonderful things! hugs!

  197. Happy birthday to your sweet baby. I will never forget when I read your birthstory…John Mayer’s The Heart of Life was playing (coincidentally) and I thought it was meant to be that way. I have worked with people with disabilities for the past 11 years, assisting in building employement opportunities most recently in the healthcare industry, and only when I read your post did I stop this strange fear I had of having a child with a disability myself. Your words were so true and it became really clear to me that you were thankful that Nella is just who she is. I mean, who else would she be? She’s perfect.

  198. Happy Birthday sweet Nella!

  199. Happy Birthday Nella! :)

  200. Happy Birthday sweet Nella!

  201. Happy Birthday, Nella!

    Kelle your retrospective post is lovely. To watch you grow through it all has been amazing.

  202. Happy Birthday dear sweet Nella. So many lives have been touched and blessed by your birth and the life you live each day.

    Thank you Kelle and Brett for sharing so much with us. Thank you Lainey and big brothers for the love and encouragement you give your little sister. It is a joy to behold.


  203. Happy Birthday, Nella! I feel like we know you over here in Australia. You’ve been a blessing to us even though we’ve never met!

    And thank you, Kelle, for such a beautiful post. Enjoy celebrating your little girl!

  204. What a beautiful celebration of what this gorgeous girl has brought into your lives. ♪♫ Happy Birthday ♫♪ Nella.

  205. Oh beautiful Nella! Happy Birthday!

  206. Have a magical birthday.

  207. This comment has been removed by the author.

  208. I wish all moms with a DS diagnosis with their in utero baby could read this birthday post- because 90% will choose NOT to celebrate the birthday because the child will no longer exist

  209. Happy Birthday little Nella. May you always realize how special you are. People from all over come to your mama’s blog to see how far you’ve come…and amaze at your abilities and your obvious joy. You’re loved, little girl. Have a wonderful birthday :)

  210. Happy birthday, Nella!

  211. Pure beauty and love. Happy Birthday to you all!

  212. This is lovely. Happy Birthday, sweet girl.

  213. Happy Birthday to sweet Nella!!!

  214. Happy Birthday pretty girl! I’ve been reading your story since the day you were born. Your story as well as yourself has touched me in so many ways. You truly are loved and not just by your family but by the whole inter web. Enjoy your day and I look forward to reading more of your birthday.

  215. Nella is so, so sweet!!
    Happy birthday darling!!
    Wonderful photos!

  216. everything about this resonates deeply, is beautiful and unlocks my own memories,thank you xxx


    What a loveable, adorable and sweet girl you are :)

    Kelle, what an amazingly honest, raw, inspirational and BEAUTIFUL post about your birthday girl!! It brought good tears to my eyes.

    The pictures are stunning, as always; I love the one with you and Nella laughing on the bed-what a wonderful moment to capture.

    Have a fun day of family celebration!!

  218. Happiest of happy 2nd birthdays, Nella. The world changed the day you came out into it and we are all better for it.


  219. Happy birthday, Nella! It has been a joy to read about your special day two years ago and your special life now.

  220. Happy 2nd Birthday Nella!!!!!!!!!

  221. Ohh tears!! Such a beautiful post. Happy Birthday to an amazing little two-year old!!

  222. Happy 2nd Birthday Sweet Nella. Through your Mum’s thoughtful words & gorgeous photos, the world has become a better place for me and MANY others! You’re 1 very special & very loved little girl with an amazing future ahead! A big CHEERS to being 2….that’s cool! xx

  223. happy birthday sweet baby girl!!!!

  224. Happy Birthday Nella.

    Kelle – you are an amazing woman and mother and an inspiration. Your words make me smile… and sometimes they make me cry.

    This is my favorite part from your post-

    I was so capable of being her mama. I just didn’t know it.

    So true… you were so capable… Nella is so lucky.

  225. Happy Birthday sweet Nella. I haven’t been to this blog in many months, but felt the draw to come today….your special day when God blessed your family and the world with wonderful sweet you.

    Kelle this is a beautiful post to a lovely angel. Thank you for sharing your life with us all. I have learned quite a bit about the true meaning of life by reading your posts and watching sweet Nella grow like a beautiful flower. God bless your sweet wonderful family!

  226. Happy Birthday, beautiful Nella! I hope it’s as wonderful as you are!

  227. Happy birthday Nella!

  228. Oh, happy, happy birthday, Miss Nella!

  229. Happy birthday Nella, may you have the best day, I’m sure you are going to be spoilt rotten – and you deserve it! LOVE those smiles!

  230. Nella you are just perfect the way you are! Happy 2nd Birthday:)

  231. Happy Birthday, beautiful Nella!

  232. Happy Birthday Nella!
    Thank you for opening my eyes to see the beauty in things I didnt see before I “met” you. You have really changed me in so many ways. I can see you are truly blessed, and to have a mama who makes you shine in every blog post for the world to see… Thank you both for who you are and the way you change and inspire my life and warm my heart all the way over here in the cold north.

    Keep grooving,

    love Therese,

  233. Happy Birthday Nella!

  234. Happy happy 2nd Birthday Nella! You’ve enriched everyones lives the past 2 years and we blog followers look foward to even more!!
    Kelle and fam thanks for sharing it all with us, bless you!

  235. Beautiful, beautiful post, Kelle. You brought me to tears once again, but in a good way. You have such a wonderful ability to put your emotions into words. Happy, happy birthday Nella!

  236. i had chills through the entire post… the way you put your words together in this post (and all posts) is beautiful. she is beautiful. you are beautiful. your strength amazes me…as does hers. have a wonderful day celebrating her, just for who she is. your incredible two year old girl. we love you, nella!

  237. Happy birthday Nella, yesterday was my girls’ birthday – I know you’re so loved

  238. happy birthday to mama and child. what an evolution (ps: it didn’t take you *that* long to totally embrace her, tired frown and all)

  239. Happy birthday Nella!

  240. Happy Birthday pretty Nella!
    Happy birth day amazing Kelle!
    Thank you for sharing deep feelings, you brought tears to my eyes with this post.

  241. Happy birthday sweet girl. I have been reading this blog for over a year now, and honestly Kelle, I forget Nella has DS all the time. I don’t see it, it doesn’t define you, or your family, or this blog-she’s just Nella. A work of art (as is Lainey). I know you have obstacles and you’ve had some tough and scary moments… I hope you don’t take my comment in the wrong way. Thank you for sharing your family’s life with all of us, so inspiring! xoxo

  242. Happy Birthday Nella!

    From your friends,

    Lisa, Emmett and Silas

  243. Happy, Happy Birthday Nella!

  244. Happy Birthday, sweet Nella! Such a beautiful girl and a blessing to this world!

  245. Sending special Birthday wishes from NC to Beautiful Nella!!!!!

  246. I’m totally blaming pregnancy hormones for the fact that I’m crying right now 😉 Thanks for sharing this beautiful post, and a very big happy 2nd birthday to a very gorgeous Nella! Enjoy celebrating a wonderful girl x

  247. Happy Birthday, Nella! We’ve got 3.5 months until Anni’s :).

  248. Tears yet again! Happy Birthday Nella!!! Your post sounds like contentment to me, way to go!

  249. Happy Birthday Nella baby! You’re 2!

    One of my favorite posts!

  250. Such a sweet post! Happy birthday beautiful Nella- we share a birthday but 26 years apart! :)

  251. Dear Nella,

    Happy 2nd Birthday!

    You are such a beautiful little


    Have a great time being 2.

    Lots of love

    from Roksalanna.xxoo

  252. Happy Birthday sweet Nella! Thank you for opening my eyes to your wonderful world and amazing future ahead! You and your family have taught me so much!

  253. Yes, yes, yes!!! That’s EXACTLY what I meant by, “God, truly does give you the desires of your heart…even when you didn’t know they were there.” Who’d have thought “they” were everything we ever wanted? Oh, how I love this post!

    And isn’t black & white SO powerful? Lumps and tears and gasps and smiles. And so much love pouring from my heart and eyes while reading and viewing this precious tribute.

    Happy, happy birthday sweet girl ~
    Kelly & Nora

  254. Happy, happy birthday Nella!! And thank you Miss Kelle for reminding me that the day I learned of my own little one’s extra chromosome was a beautiful gift.

  255. happy birthday nella!
    you all are an amazing family.
    hope you all enjoy the special special day.

  256. Happy Birthday sweet Nella!

  257. Happy birthday beautiful, sweet, wonderful Miss Nella!

  258. The PURE JOY that shines through her smiles, just MELTS my heart! What a blessed mama you are! <3

  259. this post made my heart so happy! I hope little Nella has the BEST 2nd birthday! xoxo

  260. Happy birthday to sweet Nella! May you grow and shine to let the whole world know you are a precious gift from Heaven.

    I just wanted to share a sweet moment with you that happened this morning- I was teaching my sunday school class of preschoolers, which includes a severely autistic boy. As the little boy started to get rowdy and crazy I overheard one of the kids comment to another,”He’s different.” And when I heard the words they went straight to my heart. I felt as if someone had just insulted my best friends. I immediately thought of Nella and all the blogs posts I have read. I hated the thought that this boy would grow up being viewed as different. I went over to the kids and kindly explained that he’s not different, he just looks at life a little differently then you and me. But he is so special and beautiful. And the kids said they understood, and we went about our morning, but that thought has stuck with me all day. If only the whole world could see these beautiful children for who they really are on the inside, not their behavior or outward looks.

  261. Happy Birthday, little Nella!

  262. Happy Birthday Nella, you gorgeous girl! Have a magical day filled with love, laughter and happiness xx

  263. Happy Birthday sweet Nella. <3<3

  264. Happy 2nd Birthday miss Nella!!!
    When something is written from the depths of our hearts it can be so incredibly touching and real. What a tear jerking but wonderful post this was. You’ve got what it takes, you always did.

  265. Happy birthday Nella!!

    Kelle, Bret & family – Thanks so much for sharing your amazing story.

    -Simply Shelley

  266. Happy Birthday, Nella! Can’t wait to see what fun party you had!

  267. Just perfect. So is He. I love how God has orchestrated your life and how He has lead you to share your story with us. Happy birthday little Nella!

  268. Thank you for sharing your stories! HaPpY BiRthDaY, NeLLa!

  269. Happy birthday Miss Nella! How I’ve loved watching you grow. Thank you Kelle for sharing your family’s story.

  270. Happy birthday, Nella! You’re perfect. :)

  271. She IS so loved! Happy Birthday, Nella!

  272. Happy Birthday Nella and happy Birth day mommy. Your adventure of love has brought so much growth and yes, she is loved so very much. Only God knew what was in store and knew that you as a family were strong enough.

    Enjoy every moment.


  273. Happy 2nd Birthday Miss Nella! You are beautiful inside and out!

  274. Happy Birthday sweetie pie!!!

  275. Happy Birthday beautiful Nella!! What an amazing two years it has been.

  276. Happy Birthday, Kelle. Oh yeah, you, too, Nella! (smile)

  277. THE most gorgeous piece of writing yet. And the photos are lovely in themselves but fit so beautifully.
    Happy 2nd Birthday Nella! May your life always be filled with love and acceptance. x

  278. Happy birthday Nella!!!

  279. Happy Birthday Nella!!!! You have opened my eyes to so much! XO E

  280. Happy Birthday precious Nella!!

  281. “I realize low muscle tone is hardly a disability. It’s an enviable ability…to just be.” This is such an awesome quote and I wish I had wrote it myself! Because that is what I have learned from my son – we don’t always have to be reaching, judging, expecting. He is so happy and content in every moment and I thank him for teaching me that. Happy birthday Nella!

  282. Happy Birthday Nella…You are an amazing little girl that has taught so many people what really matters in life….and you don’t even know it. Thank you for an amazing blog that has opened my eyes to the world.

  283. Ela é a mais linda do mundo!

  284. Wow, this is the most beautiful post I’ve read in a long, long time. Happy birthday, gorgeous girl xxx

  285. Happy Birthday, Nella.

    This brought tears to my eyes.

  286. Happy birthday Nella!!

  287. Happy Birthday Nella!

  288. Happy Birthday Nella and Happy birthday momma. I cried as hard while reading this post as I did reading her birth story. God bless the lot of you.

  289. Cheers to you birthday girl!

  290. Happy Birthday Nella!! Kelle, you make as many Richard Marx quotes as you want. I think we don’t realize until we have our own children that birthdays are even more special to your mom. You grow up thinking it is your day (which it is), but it is THE MOST important day to your mom. Soak in these days…

  291. Hi Kelle I have been reading your page for about 16 months now. I enjoy it soooo much. You inspire me. Your family is beautiful. I have cried, I have laughed and I have smiled. I hope you have a wonderful Birthday. Happy Birthday to that beautiful girl too! Sending love and hugs from Ohio :)

  292. “A moment that changed me forever, yes; but the outcome a product of what was there all along.” What a beautiful, powerful statement!!
    Happy Birthday, Nella!!

  293. Happy 2nd Birthday Nella Cordelia! Okay, this is going to be hard to describe but have you noticed how Nella’s ears (just the small opening where you would look into her ear canal) look exactly like a heart turned sideways? I always notice it in all the pics! Talk about your girl teaching everyone about LOVE! =)

    Jill B (Overland Park, KS)

  294. Happy 2nd Birthday beautiful Nella! You and my 5 year old son share the very same special day “22”! I have never commented before but have been reading your blog since Nella’s birth story. Today I balled like a baby, reading your amazing gifted words, Kellie! I love your blog and look forward to each and every one of your posts! Your pictures are to die for too! Thank you so much for sharing your family with all of us outsiders, you ROCK big time! Just for the record you were cool before you had Nella, after and now and both your daughters fit perfectly into your HUGE heart!

  295. Happy Birthday sweet Nella!

  296. Happy birthday Nella! Thank you, Kelle! Your blog was the first I read after we had Hailey. It helped me realize that every thing would be okay.

  297. Happy Birth Day to you both!! Much Love!

  298. Happy Birthday Sweet Nella! Love your smiles :)

  299. Happy Birthday dear miss Nella…sweet and good wishes are blowing on the wind for you…

  300. Happy birthday Nella! What a beautiful post!

  301. Happy birthday sweet birthday girl! We too were celebrating our 2 years with Grace just a couple weeks ago. We have grown and the blessings are still being received. We are all so so lucky and I too wish I was cool enough to get that right off the bat. Oxoxox to all for you! Love katie

  302. Sweet, sweet Nella…..Happy Birthday to you!

  303. This was so beautiful that I cried through the entire post, even now. I guess it was just a combination of your pictures and words and how I really felt it… Nella is so precious and I know that you are very lucky to have her in your lives, and that she is very lucky to have such a loving family. I’m so glad that we get to share these moments with you through your blog. Thank you, Kelle! Happy Birthday to one of the cutest kids out there! :)

  304. Happy birthday Nella!!

  305. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your precious Nella!

    Life has a way of moulding us into better people through beautiful surprises…Nella is one of them.

    I hope you create many special memories today.
    Diana x

  306. Happy SECOND Birthday dear Nellabean!!!!! XO

  307. Gosh Nella is beautiful! Happy birthday sweet girl.

  308. Happy Birthday beautiful Nella! What beauty you have brought to the world and your very special family <3

  309. Oh my word I am crying!!! What an amazingly beautiful post to your birthday baby girl!!

  310. “After that experience I realize low muscle tone is hardly a disability. It’s an enviable ability…to just be.”
    Kelle — your writing is amazing, but sometimes it takes my breath away.
    This sentence was beautiful. Sometimes I want to “just be.”

    Happy Birthday sweet Nella and happy “birth” day sweet Kelle!

  311. Oh, the waterworks. This is a beautiful, beautiful post. Tantissimi auguri alla piccolina… buon compleanno, Nella!!

  312. you are the most beautiful writer.
    a true gift.

    Happy Birthday Nella!

  313. Happy Birthday, beautiful Nella! May your year be wonderful & bright~

  314. Happy birthday sweet Nella. I don’t know you but I love you so much. It is wonderful to watch you grow and see the changes in your face and celebrate milestones that you achieve. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  315. happy birthday you sweet beautiful girl.

  316. Happy Birthday Nella! You have changed so many lives!!

  317. sending birthday wishes to your sweet little girl :)


  319. Happy Birthday Nella! I love the pic of you and her with such honest smiles. What a day to remember!

  320. Happy Birthday Nella!

  321. Happy birthday precious girl!

  322. The picture of Nella with her eyes casted down, she looks so much like you! Happiest of birthdays.

  323. What a perfect tribute to your sweet Nella. She is so darling. Happy birthday, Nella!! PS…love that last quote. :)

  324. Happy Birthday beautiful, beautiful girl! Thank you for letting us take part in this very special day!

  325. Happy Birthday, Nella!

    This post gave me the goose bumps in the best of ways! God bless you little sweet girl!

  326. so beautiful. I cannot hear that song now without it triggering a flood of emotions and tears. Following you on this journey these last two years has been incredible. Thank you for sharing. Happy Birthday Nella :)

  327. Happy Birthday to your Sweet Nella! I hope today and everyday she feels how much love we all have for her… she is truly a gift to us all!

  328. Feliz Cumpleanos preciosa Nella!

  329. Happy Birthday to Nella! :) What a fantastic little spirit. That second to last picture is just TOO precious!

  330. Happy Birthday Nella!

  331. Oh my heavens! What a beautiful tribute to your sweet Nella. I wish all of those same things for my birth experience with Morgan. Why was I not cool enough to know she was just what I needed? Just what the whole family needed?

    Two years later and this song still bring back all of the emotions of reading that very first post on your blog. And the intense love I felt for you and Nella.

    Two years ago the Down syndrome family became that much better because your family joined us and has helped bring acceptance and awareness for all of our children. You’ve shown the world how beautiful it is to have a child with Down syndrome.

    Happy 2nd birthday, Nella!


  332. Happy Birthday Litte Miss Nella! And a very Happy Birth Day to you as well Kelle :) wish you guys nothing but sunshine and rainbows! ALWAYS in ALL WAYS

  333. Happy 2nd Birthday Nella girl! Hope you have the most amazing celebration today, and know that so many people love you!

  334. Happy birthday beautiful girl!

  335. A very happy birthday little Nella and happy birth-day Kelle – tis your day too Mama. X

  336. I have been thinking of Nella’s birthday all day. I couldn’t wait to check in to see what of today you would share with us and I am blown away by the pictures of Nella. Her looks have changed a bit over the past few months – she looks like a big girl now and always so beautiful wiht her big smile.

    Happy 2nd birthday, sweet little girl.

  337. happy birthday precious girl!
    Kelle, i really hope you know what you have done – the impact you have had through this sweet girl – you have taken so much fear and stereotyping out of parenting a child with a disability.
    she is a gift to so many more than just your family! ~X

  338. Happy birthday beautiful girl!

  339. This post certainly tugs at the heartstrings. Happy Birthday to your sweet baby girl. Thank you for sharing your family’s journey with all your loyal readers.

  340. happy birthday little munchkin!!! :))))) you’re 2 now!!!

  341. Happy Birthday Nella!!! You are STAR!!!! Love from UK

  342. So, so beautiful Kelle. The photos are incredible and your words as poignant and powerful as ever. Happy happy birthday sweet Nella xo

  343. Most beautiful post ever, gorgeous and inspiring xxx

  344. Thank you for putting into words what love feels like. I am always inspired by your beautiful life. Happy Birthday Nella!

  345. Happy Birthday sweet girl!
    We love you Nella!
    All the way from Quebec via PA

  346. Happy Birthday!!

  347. I remember reading Nella’s birth post and sobbing from the all the emotion…

    She is so beautiful Kelle, my daughter and I love to see her pictures daily, :)

    I recently heard a story about a baby that was abandoned by her mother in the hospital (her mom was a drug addict.)

    The baby was barely making it until a nurse would just hold her and rock her and claim her as her own.

    Every baby, every child needs this, this whole-hearted love and compassion. Thank goodness there is that kind of love in this world.

    Happy 2nd Birthday Nella!

  348. That beautiful little face just looks like Nella to me….happy birthday lil one!

  349. Happy Birthday Lovebug! I mean, we know what a great writer you are, but this post, with the background music…. wow, it was all I could do not to bawl my eyes out at work.

    Xo Jenna

    I hope the day was grand!

  351. Happy Birthday Nella! And Kelle, thank you for your honesty. In every post…but especially these kinds. It’s heart warming to read. Bless you all!!!


  352. Happy Birthday Most Precious & Gorgeous Nella!! May God continue to bless you every single day of your life!!!

  353. Happy Birthday Sweet Sweet Nella!!

  354. (gulp!) hard to read without crying! Happy Birthday Nella, if only you knew how many lives are impacted and HERE because of you! <3 luci

  355. Happy Birthday Nella.. and Kelle don’t even dwell on the fact you weren’t so “cool” or ready for the news you got… you made up for it 3 fold.. in all you think, feel and say…..

  356. You, Nella, and your whole family have changed us all for the better. Happy Birthday little Nella!

  357. Happy Birthday Nella!

    I love the quote at the end, I especially love how you referred to Nellas Birthday as your birth-day. Beautiful.

  358. What a precious treasure in Nella you have. She has impacted the hearts of many, touched souls to their core, and brought more smiles, joy and happy tears than most people do in a lifetime I am sure of it!

    I had a dear friend in high school with DS, and my high school sweet heart husband (who was also friends with Ame) and I plan to adopt a baby with DS one day. I can’t wait. I just can hardly wait. There is something so miraculous and magical about that extra chromosome and I just want a part of it! I’m sure I will be frantically emailing and face booking you when the time comes for our angel to be home with us. Until then,…

    Happy happy birthday happy wonderful Nella. You are amazing. Breath-taking. Life-changing. Sweet little two year old big girl, you’ve changed my life and you don’t even know me!

    Much love!

  359. Quite possibly my favorite post. And I never say that because they are all my favorite. But this one? This one is my favorite. It’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    Angie from Ohio

  360. Happy Birthday Nella!

  361. As a mother, days away from welcoming her first child, I cannot tell you how moved I am by your blog. I only just discovered it last week when I friend sent a link to Nella’s birth story. I read it and cried and then could not stop thinking about your honesty and how you came to terms with what you had been dealt to truly and fully love your little girl.
    Reading this most recent post, again moved me to tears. Your honesty is refreshing and also your ability to reflect and understand that this is where you were supposed to be all along. Every picture of Nella warms my heart and reminds me that every child is precious.
    You should be proud of yourself both as a mother and a woman.

  362. Happy Happy Birthday sweet Nella!

  363. I just can’t believe it’s been two years… Time is flying! Thanks for this post and your blog in general. Today it made me cry, mostly it makes me smile. Both are good.

    Sometimes, Nella’s smile comes to my mind when I’m in the need of something to brighten my mood, and I don’t even need to think of Mood brightening things/people/concepts, she’s just there! :)

    Happy birthday and birth day, from a snowy Stockholm! :)

  364. Happy 2nd Birthday to adorable little Nella! What a sweetheart! I recently stumbled upon your blog as I’ve been searching for other stories like ours. We have an adorable 5 year old boy who was also born with Down Syndrome. He has been SUCH a blessing from God and has enriched our lives more than words can say! Yes, there are days that are difficult, but what parent doesn’t have difficult days with ANY child! At the end of the day, I still thank God for creating Tarin as He did! God wanted us to have him and we’re SO thankful!
    I have to say, I thoroughly enjoy viewing your pictures – they are AMAZING!! What a gift God has blessed you with!
    Looking forward to the next post!
    B. Klassen (Manitoba, Canada)

  365. Happy birthday to her….Happy life to you!!!!

  366. Your writing is beautiful….

    Happy Birthday Sweet Nella xo

  367. Happy Birthday Princess Nella! May all of your dreams come true precious baby girl. You are SO loved!

    Kelle – your family is beautiful. I just can’t get enough pictures and stories….I look forward to your posts like no other. I soak it all in. I love the way you see things. You rock little mama. xoxo

  368. Beautiful post!

    Happy Birthday sweet Nella!


    A beautiful post Kelle. Your words warm my heart & soul, bringing me to a peaceful place-and I thank you for that. Those photos of little Ms. Nella-breath taking-she is so beautiful. So full of love and laughter and all that good stuff that makes your everyday a day full of sunshine-she is a precious gift…your photography and writing are so amazing because I have never met you and your gorgeous girls yet I feel like I know you and them just from my visits to your blog-thank you for sharing your family, your wisdom , your heart with all of us!!

    Happy happy days to you!!

  370. You made me cry at work, AGAIN. Happy Birthday Nella and thank you for always encouraging me in living large with our special needs child.

  371. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart, your honesty, your love. Happy Birthday, Sweet Nella!

  372. Happy birthday precious beautiful Nella!! What a blessing to the world you are.

  373. Happy 2nd birthday Nella!

  374. If I weren’t sitting at work, I’d be sobbing openly right now. I feel so much love and joy when I read your posts and view your beautiful pictures of your precious daughters. Nella is such a beautiful, happy girl! Wishing her a happy, healthy, wondrous third year!!

  375. Kelle, I was turned on to your blog last week, and am so grateful… your words, behaviors, outlook on life, love and your children are so inspiring. As a mother of 2 young girls myself, I can only HOPE that how much I love my girls is portrayed as much as your love for yours. You are so real and open…thank you for knowing the right things to say, for speaking to my heart and opening my heart to be more aware of lifes small, big and inbetween blessings. I only hope to be as good a woman, mother, friend, professional as you are. Thank you for being real. Thank you for inspiring me to be better. Your family is BEAUTIFUL!!!

  376. Happy Birthday to your sweet girl. Your love is stunning and she is breathtaking.

  377. You had my tears a flowing. Happy Birthday Sweet Nella! I can not wait to see the pictures of your sweet party. Kelle, I just shared your blog to a new Mom of a special blessing. I said my friends gave me tons of books but the only thing I ever read that I could relate to was your blog.

  378. happy birthday to your beautiful daughter. i hope that she has the most wonderful day.

    i’m so grateful i found your blog. i’ve already learned so much in such a short time.


  379. Incredible! I am constantly inspired by your words and pictures. Happy birthday to you and your sweet daughter!

  380. happy birthday beautiful, sweet Nella!!

  381. Happy Birthday, sweet girl! It is truly an HONOR to watch you grow up into a beautiful little girl! Love from Iowa!

  382. so beautiful! she has the best eye lashes! :) happy birthday to your sweetness!

  383. Happy Birthday to a beautiful and happy Nella! I love reading your blog and realizing that some people have it harder in life than I do, anyway, your family is beautiful! :]
    -Samantha from Dallas, Texas

  384. Happy birthday to your little one, she is a doll!

  385. Happy Birthday beautiful Nella!!!!!

  386. Happy Birthday to you, sweet Nella. You are a million shades of precious and it’s oh so fun to watch you grow up on this blog.

    Congratulations and God bless you and your wonderful family.

  387. Happy Birthday sweet Nella! She is so blessed to have you as her mommy. Love is all they need and you seem to have boundless love for your babes!

  388. Oh my gah. Totally crying. Happy HAPPY birthday, Nella and happy birthing day to you, mama.

    How glorious is this life?

  389. Happy Birthday sweetheart! Hope your birthday was just as special as you definately are!!! ((HUGS))

  390. Happy Birthday, Nella!

  391. I needed to cry today. Thanks. And happy birthday sweet Nella baby. Now….and always.


    I’ve been MIA from the blog world for a while now and I’m just amazed at what a beautiful, happy little girl she’s become!!! :)

  393. *tears* Ok Kelle, I’ve been reading since right when Nella’s birth story came out. I can’t believe it has been two years. Nella is beautiful…her pesonality just shines through the pictures. I hope you had a fun day celebrating two wonderful years!

  394. Happy birthday sweet, beautiful Nella. Thank you Kelle for beautiful post and words that You sharing. It means a lot to me. Kisses from Croatia…

  395. I’ve read your blog for a while, through the eyes of a mom who has been there/done that. My special guy with DS will be 19 in July, although I was 17 when he was born so you and I are really not all that far apart in age.

    I remember Nella’s birth post, and I felt sad for you, I remember those days, but I knew the journey you were on. I knew there was good stuff in store and I knew one day the light would dawn and you would “get it”. You do. I love seeing the change over the past two years.

    If I have any regrets in my life, it’s that I didn’t know to celebrate when my son was born. DS sounded so scary at first. Phffft. Life is what you make it. We made it great. :-) You have too, and I love seeing that message here. You seem to have a wide audience who hopefully “get it” now too. It’s so much more than a chromosome, it’s a different way of looking at the world that gives you an amazing perspective you never would’ve had. In many ways, it’s a gift.

    Happy birthday Nella!

  396. Happy Birthday sweet Nella!

  397. what an adorable, soul-uplifting smile your children have. Happy Birthday to Nella, what a sunshine!

  398. Happy Birthday Nella! Hope you had a great day! Hugs!

  399. Happy Birthday, Nella Cordelia. You are loved by so many!

  400. Such a beautiful post, thank you so much for sharing your story. I love your daughters. Happy birthday to sweet sweet Nella!

  401. Happy Birthday Nella Cordelia! Your family has taught me so very much. Many wishes for more wonderful blessings in your lives.

  402. Beautiful Post. She’s a beautiful girl with an amazing loving family. She has such a great future that awaits her :)

  403. Thank you for this incredible blog. I love how you can take everyday life and pluck out the moments of wonder that most of us too often overlook. I am reminded by your posts to be more grateful for and awestruck by this life. And Happy Birthday precious Nella! Thank you for sharing your gorgeous smiles with us!

  404. Thank you for this incredible blog. I love how you can take everyday life and pluck out the moments of wonder that most of us too often overlook. I am reminded by your posts to be more grateful for and awestruck by this life. And Happy Birthday precious Nella! Thank you for sharing your gorgeous smiles with us!

  405. Beautiful post, I have had many of the same thoughts over the past year. My sweet Leila’s (first!)birthday is just a few days after Nella’s on the 25th. I can’t count how many times I have wished that I could have a “do-over” of the night she was born, but knowing what I know now. Wishing that I could go back and let go of all the fears and worries that overshadowed the pure joy of her being born! I can’t believe that Nella is 2 already, what a joy it has been to watch her grow up, and celebrate along with you when she hits those milestones :)

    It was almost a year ago that my life was changed forever when my sweet baby came out with a little extra something that we weren’t expecting. Almost a year ago that I brought her home and as I reread Nella’s birth story I sat there crying, desperate to reach the point of acceptance that you already seemed to have when you wrote that post. At that time I didn’t know yet that I too was strong enough, and that we would be okay! I am thankful everyday now that I was one of the lucky chosen ones, just like you guys were. Happy Birthday Nella!!!

  406. Perfection. You. Nella. This post. Happy Birthday!

  407. Happy second birthday Nella! Wishing you all the very best on your very special day, from my 21 month old Molly and myself both! Kelle, I’ve been reading your story for a long time now, and you and your entire family are beautiful. Bright blessings to you all!

  408. She is PRECIOUS – I want to snatch her up!!!

  409. You said, “You are everything we ever wanted. I only wish we would have been cool enough to know it then.”

    Ah, yes. :-) I have a child with autism. Once you get past the fear, that’s the real story.

  410. happy birthday nella! and, oh what a reminder that all that we are, is already a part of us!

    and love the song “keep breathing” – i listened to that song before both of my babies were born! :)

  411. Oh, what a doll! Happy Birthday, to sweet Nella! Try to enjoy your mini vacation, Kelle. We all know your girls will miss you terribly, but will be so loved while you are away. xo

  412. Beautiful pictures of Nella!

  413. Happy Birthday beautiful and sweet Nella!

  414. She is such a beautiful girl!!! Love your pictures-
    Happy Birthday, Nella!

  415. she is beautiful…you’re a very lucky mother to have someone so wonderful in your life…God bless you..

  416. she has so much personality. love the smiling one. happy birthday sweet nella!

  417. Damn it Kelly, you always make me cry. In a good way (most of the time) but still, ugh. HAppy birthday beautiful girl.

  418. Happy Birthday, Nella! The best for you, little doll!
    Kelle, you have learnt me how to love…
    I love you like I know you… You re a precious and wonderful person!
    A big “oh!” from my Maria for Nella’s birthday: http://greekmoms.blogspot.com/2012/01/to.html

  419. Wow, what a beautiful post!
    Happy Birthday Nella!!

  420. “You get to a certain point in motherhood where, no matter how much fun you’re having, you just subconsciously breathe your children. ” Well said, Kelle. Finally I have the words to talk about the amazing, breath giving, taking my breath away experience that being a mom is. I’m such a big fan!

  421. I am not much of a blog reader. Though I recently started my own, I still don’t sit down searching for blogs to read. However, a friend shared yours on Facebook, and I’ve been addicted ever since I read Nella’s birth story. I commend you for being so raw and honest and beautiful with your words. Your craft has brought me to tears and laughter several times.

    Your family is precious. Thank you for sharing it with us! I really hope one day our paths will cross (I have a million things I’d love to talk to you about!), but until then, I’ll keep reading and you keep writing. Thank you a million!

  422. Happy Birthday, Nella! What an amazing post. Beautifully written. You captured your feelings for Nella perfectly.

  423. Happy 2nd birthday to your precious girl!

  424. LOVE LOVE LOVE. My lil brother has Downs and I have dealt with some similar emotions in hindsights sake. I love this. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS.

  425. Happy Second Birthday, Miss Nella!

    May you have many many more, each one more wondrous than those that went before.


  426. What a beautiful story – I have tears dripping onto my keyboard. She looks so happy and content. I think she is indeed there to teach you – and us, through you – how to just be, and to be happy with that. Thank you and Happy Birthday to your amazing little girl. That smile could stop traffic:-)

  427. My goodness, your little girl is so gorgeous!! I remember reading her birth story and crying along with you while trying to imagine myself in your position. It’s hard to believe it’s been 2 years. Happy Birthday Nella, you and your mama are amazing!

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