Monday Stream of Consciousness

Cold pad thai, broken chopsticks, and what’s left of my sweet balsam candle sit beside me on my desk–the latter enticing me with its clear pool of hot wax that begs to be played with. I did it–I listened to my inner child and dipped eight fingers (the thumbs wouldn’t fit) into the candle until each was covered with a thin wax shield which dried and was removed in a process that brought me far more satisfaction than it should have. I tell you all this because I am tired, and my short cloud of writer’s block was interrupted by the brilliant idea of setting the scene. My bad.

Highlights of this weekend:

Saturday morning coffee with friends which I like to think of as the gun blast in the horse race that initiates the trot of stallions to follow. The tired horses assemble at the starting line. And then Bam, coffee. Bam, conversation. Bam, cheesy egg hashbrown thing. Giddy up, Weekend, here we come. Really, I just like relating things to derbies. There are a lot of untapped analogies there.



I ran into this thing the other day.


It grazed my face upon entrance into the woods, its sticky threads kissing my cheeks and sending me springing back in a crazed, arm-flailing response. Surprisingly, it stayed intact, and my disgust melted into “oooh pretty.”



Lainey does a mean plié. She throws in one legitimate ballet technique for every 20 of her made-up interpretive moves.



Alec, Lainey’s buddy across the street, is one of her favorite people. Sometimes she looks out the window and waits for him to take his dog out and, when he does, she tells me we need to take our dog out too–at that very moment. This “chance encounter” often leads to an invitation to play. This weekend, Lainey and her bud played camping. A real tent, fire, flashlights and a bubbling brook they rigged up with a hose and a few rocks.



After being gone last week, my awareness of every little precious detail of my kids was hyper stimulated this weekend. Like how good their hair smells after a bath, how Nella holds her pointer finger and thumb together on the “roll, roll, roll” part of Patty Cake, how Lainey smiles with her melty chocolate eyes. We made up for our two lost days this weekend. Fo sho.





This is Ginger, the new temporary member of the family.


We’ve been watching my dad’s puppy for a couple weeks now, and Lainey’s in love. Ginger spends most of her time in Lainey’s arms, skipping behind her, or tucked in a fuzzy backpack on her back. Which is where she chilled during our round of putt putt Sunday evening.




I forgot how much fun putt putt golf can be. Especially when you bring a push car for your kid and it doesn’t fit through all the pathways and bridges and narrow stair cases.


So you carry it. While you carry a baby in your other arm, fetch thrown-off shoes (can’t count how many times we asked other golfers “have you seen a pair of kids shoes?”), tend to a dog in a backpack and chase after wandering balls.



I got so embarrassed of walking up to get another ball after ours fell in the river/waterfall/manmade ravine that, after Hole #13 left us ball-less once again, we called it quits and walked out.

Only after we made up our own games for the green though.




Post golf grub.



Finally, she’s off.


As if she blew the final wisps of babyhood away with those candles last week. The walking is a done deal now, and it’s been hard to get used to this different baby in our home. It really changes so much, and though I mourn the last of that itty bitty girl–the one I got to enjoy a bit longer than most–I can’t help but smile with the onset of new changes.

Mainly, how they play. Less Big Sister/Little Sister and more…just sisters. Now with a level playing field.

A cardboard box–the most captivating of toys.


Her body even felt heavier tonight as I walked her to sleep under the stars–lengthier, stronger. A big bad walker.


And speaking of the big two year mark, my e-mail box was flooded this morning, the subject line all the same: “You Made It! You Made It!” It being Nella’s 2 for 2 Fund. This weekend, the fund stood a little under $10,000 of making our goal. And that in itself was amazing–you all raised a whole lot of money these past few weeks. But then came the kindness of one person–a single $10,000 donation that tipped us over the scale. And my, how I am inspired by kindness today. Pay it forward this week, in some way, to another.


Welcome to new sponsor, Independent Silpada Consultant Debbie Smith.

love this simple, delicate Dream necklace

If you’re not familiar with Silpada designs, I suggest you browse her catalogue just for the fun of it. Ranging from classic and simple to striking and unique, Silpada offers a variety of quality jewelry pieces that accessorize any wardrobe.

Silpada Ring

Debbie Smith
has made the generous offer of donating 20% of all sales right now to Nella’s 2 for 2 Fund, so you can shop with a cause (choose Nella’s 2 for 2 Fund” as the hostess when you check out.)


My candle just burned out. Literally, figuratively. Good night.




Leave a Comment
  1. I remember when you bought that little red velvet outfit for nella…so cute with the added flower! yay for all those big girl steps too!

  2. second comment? damn! lol
    I knew you’d post as soon as I went to lunch.

    What a magical week for you and your family, Kelle!!

  3. And what is with kids and cardboard?? This ( cardboard box was rubbish from when we had airconditioning installed. Wayyyyy back in january 2011. It’s still going strong. And if i suggest throwing it out it’s like I suggested we strangle a puppy or something =o

  4. We love Putt Putt golf too. The best kind surely. Does tend to get a little competitive though . . :)

    How very kind of your donor to make up the remaining fund raising. There are some good people in this world.


  5. We love Putt Putt golf too. The best kind surely. Does tend to get a little competitive though . . :)

    How very kind of your donor to make up the remaining fund raising. There are some good people in this world.


  6. We love Putt Putt golf too. The best kind surely. Does tend to get a little competitive though . . :)

    How very kind of your donor to make up the remaining fund raising. There are some good people in this world.


  7. I love love love this! Especially you setting the scene at the beginning. And bravo for two little girls playing more and more like sisters. Thats beautiful!

  8. I would love to see more of doggie in a backpack… that is the funniest thing I’ve heard of in a long time! & absolutely beautiful spider web pics!

  9. Good for Nella walking all over now! A bit bittersweet I’m sure! Such beautiful little girls – sounds like putt putt was quite the adventure! Have a great week!

  10. Oh the strong and determined gait of our little walker–the places she has led us crawling cannot compare to the places she will lead us to with her purposeful steps. Two years and thousands of heart-stretching moments we have enjoyed. This Poppa cannot contain his joy. And to see this goal reached with thousands of gifts like little embraces for these precious children…surely, this world makes room for them at our table! I am eager to see the party this weekend for our two year old angel! We are so blessed.

  11. I sent you an email so that I could try and sponsor something for you! Hopefully you see it in that flood of other emails. Congrats on the fund! People are good. So are you.

  12. Bravo Nella!! They are both growing so fast! Thank you for sharing! Congrats on making the goal!! Awesome!!

  13. I can’t believe she’s a walkin girl now. It feels like I’m watching her grow up through this blog of yours-I feel like I know Lainey, Nella and yourself :) I’m sure you get that a lot.

    One of my childhood friend’s Aunt was the co-creator of Silpada! Their jewelry is beautiful…and I have that ring you’re wearing :)

    Happy Monday to you

  14. Nella looks so much like a big girl now. and Ginger is such a cute dog! :)

  15. So so fun to see Nella walking! Atta girl!

  16. Still amazed by the generosity of all those that contributed, but especially that last big donor!!
    I didn’t realize how different a child looks when they start walking until I saw these photos of Nella. She looks like she enjoys it! I can’t wait to see her birthday party unfold.

  17. Enjoy this moment. Tonight, I rushed through 18 years of moments for our daughter’s “grad page” for the year book. I could only choose 10 pictures to represent the wonder, love, accomplishment and love that she has brought us. 10-our of 18 years. Last week, she got accepted to her college of choice. Don’t blink girlfriend. Don’t blink…

  18. Your girls are so beautiful.
    It is so funny to see Nella walking.
    Love to see your photo’s everytime.

    Love the necklace.

    Hugs from the Netherlands

  19. LOL, I’ve been stalking all night to see if you’d posted :-) Nella girl, so big, so strong, so capable; the world is yours, run with it! I just love seeing her big proud smile as she walks! Sister KNOWS she’s a big girl now! And Lainey, beautiful plié, beautiful girl!

  20. Lainey’s putt putt outfit? ADORABLE!!! i would so wear it!!!!

  21. One person made up the difference? Incredible!

  22. I may or may not be biased because I’m also a dancer, but the pictures of Lainey dancing (the plié, the montage) are beautiful!

    Congratulations on reaching your goal on the 2 for 2 fund!

  23. How fast these 2 years have gone. I read you but rarely comment. I came across your blog and started reading then sent my daughters to read and some friends.At the time I found comfort in your words and how you felt when she was born because I had given birth to conjoined twin sons many years earlier but had never shared my disappointments with anyone. You made it seem okay to harbor the feelings I had felt guilty about…. the wishing that my babies were “normal” and that I didn’t want my situation to be my reality. A bit later we learned we were expecting my grand daughter Ollie Faith and that she had Down Syndrome. Your blog prepared us for the journey. What a wonderful journey it has been. She will be 1 next week. I thank you for sharing your stories and I thank God that he led us to your blog! Congrats on the 2 for 2 fund. I knew we could do it! xoxo

  24. Ginger looks exactly like Latte! I got confused for a moment there!! Love how she has became Lainey’s best friend!

    Yay for reaching your goal and for the generous person who donated that large sum!!

    A double yay for Walking Nella!! xxx

  25. Wonderful!
    I just took a few moments to just let this blog post enchant me. I’m swept off by it and I happened to dream away all the way to Miami of course… :-)

    Love everything about it (apart from the fact that you seem a little tired) and feel invigorated in both heart and soul. What else is there? This is just a feeling of “love” and I will be sure to pay that forward!

    Thank you Kelle. Hope you had a very good night’s sleep!

  26. I had a comment in mind and it has totally escaped me because I got distracted by “Poppa’s” comment. I see where you get your gift of words from. Can I adopt him as my own Poppa? Your family has so much love for each other. It’s refreshing.

    Congrats on reaching your amazing goal…maybe that was what I was going to say? LOL

    ❤Jodi from…
    ★★The Clutter-Free Classroom★★
    Helping Teachers Get Organized

  27. Always inspiring even with writer’s block. Congrats on the money you have raised that will help all of our kids with DS! Fab pics.

  28. Yay for miracles! Double yay, because it gives me hope for the miracle my friend Kelly is waiting for :)

  29. love to see Nella walking.. so fun.

  30. I just LOVE that Lainey is carrying/playing with an old-school ‘brownie’ camera… I did the same thing w/ one as a kid.

    Congrats on raising $200k! What an aamzing thing!

  31. I love that despite the trials of taking 2 children and a dog put put golfing, you still were able to “get the footage” and they turned out great – and tell a marvelous story. You’ve got talent like that girl! Yeah for the 2 for 2 fund. Love your little walker! xoxo

  32. You always take the most beautiful pictures of your girls! And that shot of Nella with the three golf balls? That girl’s pretty good at yoga, isn’t she?

  33. So much adorableness in this post, where to even start?! Happy to hear that you reached your goal for Nella. My gift seems trivial to that kindly, sizeable donation. But like you said, every little bit counts, right? Would love to write more but my little is eating glue from the craft cupboard. And its only 7am. Have a splendid day. Hugs!

  34. Sweet girl! Check out her walking!! Lainey is doing great with her ballet! I am loving that you got to the mark you wanted in donations!! Such a great cause! Have a beautiful week!!!

  35. Nella’s walking-wow. :) That one $10,000? That makes me cry. What generous people there are in this world. And it definitely makes me want to pay it forward this weekend.

  36. Gosh…Lainey looks so much older! O.o

  37. I think we have been to the same putt putt golf place with a similar experience. I didn’t have a cute little walker like Nella though and he had to ride out the bumps in the stroller, YIKES! Since your candle burned out, I thought I’d share my new favorite. I got it at Target in Michigan, so not sure they will have it there, but the scent is amazing – sparkling yuzu and lime. To top it off the soy candle is called HAPPINESS, made by Aromatherapy Genuine. Congrats on the 2 for 2 fund!

  38. Love Nella’s little leg warmers. So excited that the goal was met. Your blog is changing the world girl. Amazing the plans He has for you.

  39. nice turnout lainey

  40. Loving the picture of Nella walking with her ruffly diaper cover. How sweet is that?! Glad you had a great weekend and made up for lost time with your beautiful girls. I’m already looking forward to Nella’s birthday party post! Can’t wait to see what magic awaits the big two year old :) And way to go Nella on the walking thing, you’re awesome!

    Angie from Ohio

  41. Playing with candle wax – I forgot how much fun that is.
    LOVE seeing Nella walking!

  42. “As if she blew the final wisps of babyhood away with those candles last week. The walking is a done deal now, and it’s been hard to get used to this different baby in our home. It really changes so much, and though I mourn the last of that itty bitty girl–the one I got to enjoy a bit longer than most–I can’t help but smile with the onset of new changes.”

    Exactly how i feel as my almost 20 month old begins to finally walk away from me. Such an exciting mixture of pride and sadness… I guess its time to start working on #2 now :)

  43. wow!!!! a Single donation. How amazing. I’m so happy for you x

  44. oh my gosh! the little painted mug in the silpada shot made my heart sing. I absolutely have an insane obsession w unique mugs. <3

  45. Nella walking has got to be the cutest thing ever…
    And love Lainey’s little outfit with the hat – she wears it perfectly. :)

  46. So happy for the 2 for 2 Fund!! It brought tears to my eyes. Congrats! And Nella walking… adorable.

  47. Go Nella Go! How incredibly wonderful and terribly sad all at the same time. She’s growing up!


  48. I loved to see Nella walking!It’s inspiring to see all the PT/OT hours pay off!I sometimes get so involved in the process that I forget about the actual goal. Way to go Nella!

  49. Yay, Nella! Lainey’s play date in the tent is awesome!

  50. This post kinda makes me want to bring my boys to play golf! So excited Nella is on the go!!

  51. Kids grow up so quickly. It’s actually amazing. Great week and great pictures!!

  52. I love that Nella’s a full-on walker now. That’s such a huge accomplishment. And I love how she tackles those stairs too. Nothing’s gonna stop her!

  53. Oh how sweet! Absolutely thrilled at the 2 for 2 news – way to go, Kelle!

  54. Sorry, i couldn’t finish the post b/c you put the spider web photo at the beginning. If I had walked thru it and it stayed together, I would have assumed that its owner was on my person. And that would have been REALLY BAD!! A photo of me rolling on the ground in fear probably wouldn’t have been as cool though.

  55. Amazing pictures! I loved the race horse analogy! Pertains to a lot of things in life for sure!That campfire is amazing. I need one for my little Eli…:)

  56. Nella is such a big girl! She looks soooo cute in all the pictures standing up and walking! What a wonderful milestone celebration with her birthday!

  57. $10K in one donation!!! That is amazing…truly from $5 to $10K it is all a blessing of generosity and love.

    So wonderful!

  58. I just loved this post, more than usual. Thank you. :)

  59. Hi Kelle –

    I started reading in October, but realized that I needed to start at the beginning in order to really get it all. I read every post and just caught up to the present this past weekend! Thank you for sharing this part of your life through the blog! Such an amazing journey, and I’m glad to be part of it in this small way.

  60. Love how all your photos just come alive!! They bring such a feeling of pure happiness… you know how to capture the moments!! Favs are Lainey dancing in the driveway and Nella on the putting green playing her own version of putt putt golf! Super cute!
    Congrats on the 2 for 2 fund!! Amazing people our little globe has!!

    Happy Monday to you!!

  61. Love the cob web picture! Congrats on achieving your goal!!

  62. It is crazy to me how often your girls’ miletones mirror my two boys’. Your writing about the girls going from Little Sister/Big Sister to sisters absolutely sums up the changes taking place at our house these days. They’re having so much fun, it sometimes takes my breath away to watch.

  63. Your pictures are GORGEOUS! I love your photography.

  64. Go Nella, go!! It’s crazy how as soon as they start walking the babyness is gone. I feel the same way with Arya.

    Nella is becoming quite a big girl now! It’s so much fun watching her learn and grow through your writting. :)

    Congrats on the 10k!! I honestly cried when I saw your Facebook posting. To imagine that there are people out there, that are that generous, makes me believe that people are good! :)

  65. So fantastic to see nella walking! A beautiful sight indeed!!

  66. Congrats to Nella! She’s such a proud walker :) and congrats on the 2 for 2 goal!!!!!

  67. The picture of the spider web. Simply perfection!!!
    GO NELLA its ya birthday literally!! Before your know it you won’t be able to keep up with her.

  68. This is the most beautiful thing I saw today. Im’ grateful for it and thought you would be too.

  69. Go Nella! Maybe she got so excited about all that money raised that she just had to kick up her heels and take off! :)

  70. Thank you for bringing so much joy to all of our lives. Your love for family is amazing and your words so creative, always. When I need an escape from life and crazy chaos, I grab a cup of hot tea, go to your blog, hope for a new post and know I will find comfort in your words. Congrats on the 2 for 2 – you should be so proud of yourself.

  71. Kelle – that Lainey sure has some sweet dance moves! Beautiful post.

  72. So excited you made it! Ah Nella cruising around…she is literally the cutest. And Lainey is beautiful too, of course :)

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  74. Just love your pictures. How great to be able to eat outside in Feb.

  75. Came across your interview on ABC news today!

    Hi from Alberta, Canada!

  76. I love all the fun things you find to do with your kids. I love looking at how precious Nella is. My daughter, Julia, is 9 mos old, has Down Syndrome, blonde hair, blue eyes! I imagine her looking a little like Nella in a year or so! Looking at pictures of her standing and walking around are very inspiring…gotta keep up the PT.

  77. My goodness, how you inspire me! Miss Kelly Hampton you are beautiful inside and out. I look forward to each of my mornings where I can put the baby down for her first nap and then snuggle up with my coffee and laptop to read “Enjoying the Small Things.”
    Much love to you and the fam.

  78. Heidis baby belly makes me miss mine!!

  79. Love this post-Can’t wait to read your book. Please say it comes out soon??

  80. Love it all, Kelle. Wow, someone donated that big amt to the 2for 2 fund? YYes, restores faith in people. recently have been very reminded of the good in peoople. As I wrote, hubby and I were in horrific car accident. He wasnt hurt much but I will need weks and weeks for healing. In lots of pain. Emotional healing needed too. Thanks for the eamail you sent, and for your prayers. All thru this ordeal, people, incl. strangers have been so kind and helpful. And we live on this little mountain road, with neighbors spread out over land, and, well..the neighbors have taken turns bringing us dinner. There is so much goodness. And God is good, for I know that He was with us, and saved us. The rescuers were shocked that we were alive- a single car accident in the mountains. Sorry to get carried away here. Thanks and Love to you, your Blog Mama~

  81. I love your pictures!

  82. atta girl Miss Nella! Congrats on reaching your goal. Ahhhhmazing.

  83. So glad you reached your 2 for 2 goal!!!!!! Glad I could be a very very very small part it!!! Makes you realize how much good there is in our wonderful world!!!

    -Simply Shelly

  84. Oh, Linda…how did I miss the news of your accident? I have been too busy! You who encourage and inspire so many others–may it return to you tenfold! These are moments to thank God for what DIDN’T happen! I will be praying you heal quickly and completely, that you are showered with love and attention through the journey, and that somehow–like the strings on a violin pulled taut, there will be music from this trial! It appears Nella can give you some pointers in walking now, but you can still teach others about healing hearts with your kind connections! Be well soon!

    –Poppa Rik

  85. Congratulations on meeting your goal!
    I have followed your blog for a couple years now and have been inspired by your words and pictures.

    Some local friends of ours have taken on the task of inspiring a little girl with a designer chromosome. Here’s their story:

  86. Great fun photos. Your family is amazing and very beautiful.

    maternity clothes

  87. I found you from the story on I am in awe of everything about you. I just pre-ordered your book. I have two little girls, 3 & 5 and they are my world. Reading your stories and looking at your photos makes me want to be a better mother. So often we get caught up in the day to day grind and it can cloud what’s really important. Thank you for re-opening my eyes and for doing your blog. I look forward to reading it and watching your beautiful girls grow.

    You are an INSPIRATION!!!!

  88. Poppa RIK** !! Oh, I cried when I read your words. I always love how your spirit, your light, your compassion and understanding comes thru your words here. Thanks for your glowing words about me and your prayers for my healing. I will need them for some time. I believe in God and prayers. Yes, i do hope music comes from this trial. I am just not seeing that quite yet; maybe it’s just too early. I AM grateful and know that it could have been so much worse, yet, at the same time, i am so sad – which i have been told is normal. I’m sure you understand. I can’t take care of my grandbabies right now, which I usually do while their parents work. Life sure can change fast. I look fwd to better days. Sorry to ramble. IF you wanna read about the accident, there was an original story in our local paper and then there was this followup, just over a week later. They say “no serious injuries” but it is serious enuf. My ribs are hurting terribly. Bruises all over, and swelling. Much pain. Gash in hand and many weeks of cast on thumb; I cant move it still. But I am grateful. And the emotional reoovery..Here is the article: (hubby not hurt much) LOVE you, Poppa Rik! I feel like i know you after all this time and like we are family..thanks, again.

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  90. Yes, for one who two years ago thought a “blog” was a swampy marsh, it has become a nourishing spring of inspiration and a continuing reminder of the good in this world. I hope you KNOW my promise to pray for you is real and I will. Once, when I went through a prolonged physical “sidelining,” I realized my sadness was because I missed “me.” I couldn’t remember “normal.” It will return, and healed hands will hold happy grandbabies and bruised ribs will contain hearty laughter. Hold on.
    (Our apologies to comment readers for the momentary takeover of this column but Linda and I needed to talk, lol!)


  91. January came and went without your big photography announcement (mentioned in the Big FAQ). What is it???

  92. The interview was awesome. Your realness comes through. It makes me so sad that anyone would try to suck happiness…. You are doing such an exceptional job living life and accepting heartache and challenges and messes and uncertainty. I do not have a child with Down Syndrome, but you are an inspiration to me for living a life with an open heart, feeling connected to all. Thank you.

  93. I swear that boxes are the best. They easily out-rank making forts out of blankets and couches; especially if it’s a refrigerator box!

    So much fun. So much joy.


  94. You don’t know me, but I have read your blog since Nella’s birth story 2 years ago. You are an amazing writer and photographer with a beautiful family. I read this article today and thought of you:

  95. Beautiful pictures of the spiderweb. I’m terrified of spiders… but those are just gorgeous!

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