3-21, 2012

Tonight we gathered under periwinkle skies for a beach sunset to honor 3-21. On the twenty-first day of the third month, we celebrate three copies of the twenty-first chromosome along with thousands of other families across the globe who share our journey. We were joined by many others who came to celebrate, lying blankets that overlapped other blankets on the sand like giant circles in a Venn Diagram so that somewhere in the middle there was common ground–a place that united us all, regardless of our differences.


We passed shovels to babies who scraped sand and filled buckets. We exchanged stories of where we grew up. We watched as both big kids and little kids chased seagulls and braved the still-chilly water of the gulf.




Unlike two years ago when we spent this same evening on the beach, there was no ceremony tonight–no tears, no prayer, no speech. The meaning of this day was fully present in the unspoken.


I’ve been thinking about this post all day–how I want to represent awareness today, what I want readers to understand. I could give you a lot of facts and figures. I could talk about important major headlines in the news right now like prenatal testing and abortion politics. I could tell you about inclusion and its importance in the education of all children. These are all critical topics–things I read about, things I care about, some of which I’m still figuring out.

But what I express best is what’s on my mind right now.


Right now, I am thinking that Down syndrome is the best thing that ever happened to our family.


It is amazing what can happen when you open your eyes to the world around you. It is amazing to be afraid–to feel it, to acknowledge it, to face it head on. And oh, Good Lord, is it ever amazing to be transformed by love in a way that awakens parts of you that needed to come alive.


I think about a lot more now–what kind of person I want to be, how challenges make us grow, how the world is changing, how we need to be reminded that we cannot control everything and if we could, how predictable and flat our world would be. I am so much more aware of beauty. Of people. Of unique differences that make our world rich and interesting.


I want to be a great mom. I want to be strong and amazing. I want my children to be strong and amazing. I think we’re headed in the right direction, and Down syndrome is teaching us a lot about that path.


A few months ago, out of the blue, Brett asked me “Hey babe, will Nella be smart?”


These questions always catch me off guard. Brett’s so very go-with-the-flow and doesn’t really have a lot to say about Down syndrome. He’s always said “Let her show us who she is” and he’s pretty unphased by any information I present. Between the two of us, I’m definitely more the research girl. He says Nella’s a better teacher than books, and he’s right. But I wanted to address the situation appropriately.

He must have sensed my confusion as he quickly followed with, “I’m totally okay if she isn’t smart. I just want to know…could she be smart?”

I formulated my response thoughtfully. “Babe, I will never say what the future holds because I will never put limits on my child. I think she’s brilliant, but she might not be able to show it quite like Lainey does.” Feeling the need to maybe soften the blow or prepare him a little more, I continued. “Adults with Down syndrome generally have a child-like mentality, Brett. You know that, right?”

He stopped and thought for a moment. “You mean, when she’s older, it will be like we still have a kid, right?”

I braced myself for sorrow. “Well, kind of,” I answered.

And I waited.

He raised his head and his eyes met mine. He was beaming, smiling, excited.

And, with tears, he finally said, “That is so awesome.”



Tonight I am grateful for what we are learning. I am inspired by the way challenges are shaping us. I am fueled by any remaining fear and sadness. I am motivated to see people for who they are inside–for what they have to offer rather than what they are lacking or how they are different. I hope you are learning this with me.


In explaining to Lainey our celebration tonight, I expounded on the deeper meaning of today. “Remember how Nella has Down syndrome?” I asked. She repeated the term “Down syndrome” and quickly connected it to our Buddy Walk last year and Nella’s therapy visits. We went on to talk about a lot of other things that make people beautiful and unique as well. “We’re all different in a lot of ways but we all like a lot of the same things too,” I reminded her. I then initiated a list of all the things that make us unique and awesome. “Some kids have wheelchairs, some kids have blond hair, some kids run fast, some kids run slow, some kids have brown skin, some kids have blue eyes, some kids know how to read, some kids don’t, some kids talk differently, some kids are short, some kids are tall…” and when I came to the part where “some kids have Down syndrome,” Lainey smiled and took ever.

“Just like some kids wear green shirts and some kids wear blue shirts, right Mama?” she asked.

My eyes pooled with tears and I hugged her. “You’re right, baby.” I answered.


Thank you again for coming here.

Yes, there are more challenges. But tonight, what do I want you to be aware of? Well, I hope you see it like my wise 4-year-old daughter.

The world is rich with unique differences. Some people wear blue shirts. Some people wear green shirts.


Happy World Down Syndrome Awareness Day.

To learn more about Down syndrome and the many accomplishments of individuals with Down syndrome please visit ndss.org.

If you are pregnant and have a new diagnosis or you know someone close to you who is expecting a child with Down syndrome, visit downsyndromepregnancy.org for a wealth of helpful and assuring information.


Leave a Comment
  1. Beautiful…

  2. Absolutely beautiful, Kelle. Thank you for your words!

  3. Fantastic post! What a celebration :) P.S. my 18-mo-old has those same boots and it made me smile to see Nella rocking them!

  4. Wow! you truly have changed my views on all of this!

  5. Down syndrome is the best thing that ever has happened to us as well. Where there is fear, replace it with knowledge, where there are differences, replace it with acceptance. Today was a happy day.

  6. Loved this post. I teared. :)

  7. beautiful. I think every parent should think like you, in not putting limits on what they can achieve!

    And I ADORE the picture of Nella reading her book!!!! LOVE IT

  8. Amen to that! Down syndrome was the best thing that has happened to our family, too!

  9. And to you! I have learned so much from all of you, thank you!!! I love the photos of Nella with her crazy Pippi braids… So adorable.

  10. This was perfect. That’s all. :)

    Happy 3/21!

  11. Your post left me teary – you are sooo right!! We celebrated down syndrome day yesterday with my youngest brother at his school. He is 12 this year and down syndrome is the best thing that happened to me, my parents and all my other brothers and sisters. We are so blessed through him!!

  12. You got it babe. I think it was the best thing that ever happened to your family and I think you might be one of the best things that ever came to NDSS. You are creating such awareness. I think I was always afraid before of the what if, of the diagnosis. And your family has helped open my eyes. The “dis” has dropped from the word and I only see the ability. Thank you so much for sharing. God had a plan and knew you had the heart and the strength.

    Happy 3.21.

    :) Jennifer

  13. I love how simple it is to Lainey, and you should be very proud that you have taught her its okay to wear blue shirts.

  14. I love your comment that you think Down Syndrome is the best thing that happened to your family. I feel exactly the same way about Cerebral Palsy.
    I have had such an amazing, eye opening and incredible journey. I am a better, more passionate, more tolerant and understanding person. My daughters inspire me on a daily basis and I am almost thankful to them for teaching me things I wouldnt have learnt otherwise.
    Embracing and loving disability xx

  15. That was an awesome post. Thank you kelle, it made my day.

  16. Bretts response brought tears to my eyes….it will be awesome!! :)

  17. I’ve been following your blog for almost a year now but I have never commented. Just wanted to tell you how amazed I am at your strength, your beautiful way with words, and the powerful images taken of your wonderful family. This post had me in tears from the beginning. As I sit in my kitchen in Romania, drinking my coffee to prepare to teach (peace corps volunteer here!), I am renewed by your words and for that, I thank you. Have a great week.


  18. I can not read your blog without tears! That was beautiful!!! Thank you again for sharing your wisdom and making this world more beautiful!

  19. Absolutely beautiful words tonight. The tears just won’t stop flowing! Happy World Down Syndrome Awareness Day!

  20. So beautiful. Tears welled up in my eyes. I wish that everyone felt the way you express, with acceptance, love and embraced it. It would be hard I imagine, but lacking isn’t always lacking…the way we think. Some of the sweetest, smartest people have ds…Nella has an amazing family to support her. I loved her mismatched outfit with the green boots. Sort of inspired me to dress my babe all crazy and take cute pics:) Hehe

  21. Go Brett! Kelle, there is a reason for this blog and it is a changing force for the good in so many families! :)

  22. Amen! LOVE!

    Love this! Besides my own husband, sounds like you have one of the wisest husbands I know! =)

    If you get a second, check out my FB page for the pics/videos I posted from our world down syndrome day!

    Jill B (Overland Park, KS)

  23. Simply Beautiful.

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  25. This was beautiful! I have an almost 8 month old daughter born with a chromosome deletion. She spent the first three months of her life in the hospital because of a heart defect that is just part of what having the deletion means.

    I come to your blog to feel the hope that comes with time. You make me believe that I won’t always be heartbroken over the life that should have been for my beautiful little girl.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  26. If I remember correctly from Nella’s birth story, your sister said you’d been given a key to a door that some people didn’t have. I remember commenting that was through that door was “truth”. This beautiful post contain so much of the gift of Down syndrome…the gift of truth.

  27. Green shirts, blue shirts. Amazing and moving. Thanks again for sharing and continuing to change our world, one post at a time. :)

  28. love this post. absolutely beautiful Kelle. I love your approach and I loved your comment “I think Down Syndrome is the best thing that ever happened to our family.” I have heard so many others say that same thing. You are an inspiration and Nella is such a gift!!! She makes me smile every time you post pictures…I have a feeling she is going to do that for a lot of people for the rest of her life. Much love!!

  29. That man of yours. Amazing.

  30. “I am motivated to see people for who they are inside–for what they have to offer rather than what they are lacking or how they are different.”
    If only we could all see people that way, what a world we would live in. I have no doubt that this little piece of the blogosphere is having an impact on people view others and their differences.

  31. Love it. Love it all. Love Brett’s response. Love Lainey’s analogy. Love your celebration of all the GOOD in your life. Love Nella’s sweet face in those pictures – a secure, happy, well loved baby who is very, very lucky indeed. It’s a good day. :)

  32. Wow! I just love the photo of the dad in the trucker cap holding up his smiling baby girl like a ray of sunshine. I see a lot of adorable faces… Happy belated 3/21/2012!

  33. Beautiful Kelle. You amaze me. Love your endless inspiration.

  34. Your hubby is so right. How awesome it will be! I love celebrating differences with my son, but also the things that make us the same. That make us family.

  35. I cannot tell you how much I needed this post today. There is this ocean inside. This deep, srormy, beautiful ocean with a dam I’ve built to keep it in check, but it is threatening to drown me. Thank you for inspiring me to write about honesty. With yourself, and also to it share with others. I’ve been holding out, and holding back. I think maybe it’s time to let people in. Thank you for the wonderful catalyst. You’ve inspired me to open up more, even through the excrutiating pain. It is needed. Thank you, and god bless you and your beautiful, sweet family.

  36. Happy Day! And can I say the answer to Brett’s question- Could she be smart- absolutely she could- and she may not express it the same as Lainey- but she’ll express it her own way- the same way she expresses her own little self now! While we were told by our dear ped to expect mild to mod MR- Ms. Quail recently went through the public school screening system- and although her expressive language is a big challenge for her, and inspite of her answer of “No” to many of the testers requests- her IQ came out at an 83 and her receptive language as a 98. I was telling another friend with a younger child with Ds this and they were shocked b/c they had been told not to hope the IQ could be over the MR range (which is less than 70). I know ultimately it doesn’t matter- they are who they are- but I just wanted to share that in case you or your readers didn’t know that it could even be a possiblity. It may be like having a kid when she’s grown- but from your descriptions of her- my guess is she’ll show you the sky’s not even the limit!

  37. What a truly beautiful post. I shared your blog with a friend who has a potential diagnosis of DS for her soon-to-be son. I am happy to report she said her whole outhanksgiving definitely improved, thanks to you.
    Keep up the good work, Ambassador Kelle. You’re helping people understand and appreciate Holland.
    Autism has certainly changed who my husband and I are. Our boys have grown us up in wonderful ways.

  38. I think you are married to a very special man.

    And your Lainey…wise little soul she is. Glad you had a great day.

  39. made me tear up… you are an amazing mom. And that Lainey, she sees it how we all should; just as things are.

  40. I truly wish that more of us stayed at a child-like mentality…I turn 31 on Friday, and I continue to long for my youth. Not to negate responsibility or deny maturity, but to live simply and without the callous I’ve acquired thus far. Lainey is wise beyond her years and if only all could see it’s as simple as some people wear blue-shirts and some people wear green-shirts; this world would most definitely be a better place. Thank you for contributing to what is innocent, pure and lovely on this earth…you continue to inspire and motivate me to “enjoy the small things”. Xoxo, Erin

  41. Beautiful post, and so moving, and the photos are just so heart warming. I enjoyed it very much.
    Just know that there are so many of us who enjoy your family, and thank you for opening up and letting us all partake in your thoughts, feelings, and of course, your shared photography through this blog. It’s such a blessing. xo

    P.S. – I am still reeling over the What the Hell photo of your mom. I laughed so hard I got chest pains!

  42. I cried big tears tonight, reading this, because I think it’s a message that rings true for all parents … we want to give our kids the best of us, no matter how challenging it is to overcome our own issues along the way. It’s been a tough parenting week for me, my patience has run thin, and as often happens when I am tired and focused on the wrong priorities, I forgot to suck the marrow. I love reading your words, because you always bring me back from that place, that forgetting place, and remind me that I am not the only momma navigating this one wild and precious life, full of hurdles and challenges. We are all in this together, and I, for one, am so honored to be in it with you.
    Great post :)

  43. Dear Kelle, I feel like I know you, I’m sure we all do. Nothing has ever given me so much in life as my baby daughter Fernanda who has Down Syndrome as well.Thank you for sharing beauty, inspiration, your beautiful children stories and photos. How could we ever be grateful enough? Giving back and raising awareness, building a better world for all our children around the world. Impacting our circle. Thanks again for your inspiration. Your blog is an oasis for many of us. Friendly, your friend from Mexico.

  44. I have been meaning to pass this on to you for a while, but just haven’t done it. Every day I receive a very short, spiritual commentary by email from Henri Nouwen, a highly respected Roman Catholic author and teacher. Nouwen faced his own demons in life, and I believe his wisdom grew directly from those sorrows and sufferings. He finally left life as a highly renown professor in the Ivy League to live in a L’Arche community with mentally and physically handicapped people. He found healing and a home there until he died.

    Anyway, this particular reading made me think of you:
    “Vulnerable, Like a Bird
    Life is precious. Not because it is unchangeable, like a diamond, but because it is vulnerable, like a little bird. To love life means to love its vulnerability, asking for care, attention, guidance, and support. Life and death are connected by vulnerability. The newborn child and the dying elder both remind us of the preciousness of our lives. Let’s not forget the preciousness and vulnerability of life during the times we are powerful, successful, and popular.”

    Somehow I think Nella, and everyone with Down Syndrome or Autism or cancer or whatever — they simply have to wear some of their brokenness on the outside where its visible. And the wise among us realize that we have plenty of it too, we can just hide it more easily. Maybe what makes people uncomfortable around people who wear their difference so visibly is that it reminds them of their own vulnerability? Maybe. I don’t know. But I LIKE that I’m reminded of the vulnerability of us all, for exactly the reason that Nouwen said.

  45. I love the pic of Lainey kissing Nella, who is puckering up with the biggest puckeroo ever — and THAT BRAID, oh the love I have for that braid.

    Love all your posts, but this one is Super Mega Special Love.

  46. I love Brett’s thinking. You have THE most supportive, amazing, loving family. You guys are inspirational. Happy 3:21 day!

  47. Crying real tears reading this, Kelle. Thank you for changing my perspective, forever altering how a 20-something young woman looks at differences – as I go forward into my future, I will always have your story in the back of my mind as a reminder that the unexpected in life is amazing and beautiful.
    Love to you and that precious family of yours. Amazing.

  48. What a beautiful post and a wonderful outlook! Coming from someone who has an older sister with Downs, she may not be as “book smart” as some of my siblings. But she has an inner pool of knowledge far beyond us all. Her understanding of people is incredible. She has the biggest, kindest heart. She has never met a person that isn’t a friend. She is my greatest example.

    My parents treated my sister similarly to you. They treated her as just another member of our family. They gave her expectations, goals, chores, etc…just like the rest of us.

    I’m so glad there are other Downs kids out there with caring, loving parents!

  49. beautiful post. the conversation between you and brett had me crying. you are amazing. your family is amazing. your husband is amazing. I wish more people could see the world the way your family does.

  50. Oh wow, brett is just a beautiful daddy isn’t he! Yes it will be awesome. So super awesome. You guys are so lovely.

  51. Brett’s tears brought tears to my own eyes. :)

  52. Wow. Brett and Lainey both made me cry, hard. Happy tears. Your family and your stories are blessings to me, even through this small blogging connection.

  53. Oh Kelle, you’re family is so lucky to have Nella. I know there will always be challenges, but people with DS are precious beyond words. My kids are normal, but I always knew that if I ever had a child with DS I’d be happy, tired probably, but happy.
    You thank us for visiting you. I thank you for sharing your journey with us. I thank you for sharing photos of your precious family. Nella makes me smile so much and I wish that I could hug her and watch her play with her big sister.
    This blog is awesome! It always makes my day.

  54. this brought me to tears…beautifully said! thank you for sharing your heart, and in turn for echoing my own.

  55. Your photos of those beautiful children at the celebration have me convinced that that extra chromosome is for extra cuteness! Also it was so genuinely uplifting to read Brett’s interpretation of how even when you don’t have a child anymore you kind of still will…followed by a photo of Nella jumping for joy. That positivity is what it’s all about!

  56. I happened upon your blog by accident a few months ago and I am so glad I did. Your thought provoking posts are so straight to the point. I love the pictures of Nella and love that bright happy smile she has. Lainey is wise beyond her years. Thank you for teaching me to accept my world and the people in it. I have not had much experience with DS but you have made me aware of the beautiful people this children are. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your life with us.

  57. Kelle, I believe this is your best post yet.


  58. Beautiful, beautiful post! I’ve been waiting all day to see what you had to say and knew it would be amazing. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog almost 2 years ago now, when at the time, I didn’t even know Nella had Down syndrome. As a teenager in high school, I can easily say that reading your blog has been a huge eye opener for me, and I always make sure not to look at children with Down syndrome differently. Nella has taught me that children with disabilities are just like everybody else and shouldn’t be treated any differently. I thank you for writing this blog and showing the world that they don’t need to look at children with disabilities any different then children without!

  59. This post is amazing..Not only because of what you are doing for the DS community, but of how you have bravely let it change you. This blog is SUCH an inspiration..and those babies..beautiful, gorgeous, just adorable. This post is absolutely one of your best!!

  60. Simply put this is beautiful xx

  61. Stunning photos as always.

  62. beautiful.

  63. a friend of mine has a (full grown) brother with Down Syndrome. One time when someone wasn’t paying much attention, he went to a restaurant, told the hostess he was meeting someone (he knew he couldn’t get a table by himself) proceeded to order a burger and fries and walked out. Well someone noticed, and he ended up getting a ride home from a policeman followed by about three other cars that wanted to make sure he got home safely. If that whole stunt wasn’t an act of brilliance, I’m not sure what is.

  64. Amazing post…just amazing..
    A big hug to ypu, Nella and Laney, who is a really smart girl!

  65. Oh, I loved this post! I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes, and my heart all warmed up. I think it’s amazing the way your family has learned to embrace something that so many other people fear. I absolutely love how you find joy in everything, even the hard stuff, to the point where it doesn’t even need to be classified as “hard” anymore.

    Thank you so much for your heart and spirit and written words. They mean so much to me!

  66. Your husband (& little Lainey, although she might want to cover her ears) completely kick a** …. kudos to you all ….

  67. You’re a freaking lucky girl, Kelly Hampton … REALLY lucky.

    Although I really don’t like the word luck … ’cause you’ve come about your beautiful world through pain, sorrow, tears, angst, etc. but with a whole hell of a lot of joy, love, absolute wonderment, etc.

    I guess what I mean is more than lucky, you are DESERVING …

    Your family DOES kick ass … to copy MsPlsMe up above!

  68. Kelle you are amazing. I”ve followed you since before Nella was a twinkle in your eye. I followed your photography, gaining inspiration for my own photography. However after Nella came into the world I have gained much more than inspiration. I’ve gained a respect for all people that I never knew I could have. While I’ve always treated everyone equal, I now view differences in a new light. Like Lainey, it comes down to the color of the t-shirt instead of the chromosome count. My children also read your blog and we are all anticipating the release of Bloom so we can further expand on the strength we are learning from you. Thank you for being willing to share your journey. You are reaching people in so many ways.

  69. My heart melted. I love this. I love how Lainey will explain DS to her friends as they all get older. I LOVE LOVE LOVE watching Miss Nella grow. SUCH beautiful shots of beautiful children for 3-21!

  70. You have given me a broad new perspective towards really going beyond differences and appreciating beauty by what it really is and not by our concept of what it is supposed to be.
    Thank you for that Kelle, and you are a strong and amazing mama and woman.

  71. you said it all, and then some! just beautiful.

  72. ‘I hope you are learning this with me.’

    I am learning this with you, I’m learning it because of you. Thank you xxxxxxx

  73. Beautiful.

  74. You rock. And you’re girls are evidence of it. Take care, Katie

  75. Kelle, you’re such an inspiration for all parents… with blue shirts and with green shirts alike.
    Lovely words and followed by very powerful sentiment-fuelled photos.
    Thumbs up to whatever you do, I’m with you.

  76. Amazing…
    honestly.. I am pregnant.. I am waiting for my blood results, and although I have to be honest and say I am trusting and praying for a positive healthy result, Nella makes me less scared about the potential outcome. Thank you for what you have done to educate so many on the POSSIBILITIES and the hope.. and fun.. and love..
    Just thank you

  77. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing your precious family with us.

  78. I, too, in often in tears from your beautiful words. Thank you for always delivering.

  79. Helpful and ASSURING information. PERFECT. Thanks for being you.

    And may we all reconnect and learn to maintain that spark of childhood curiosity just like our very clever unconditional love always souls with Down syndrome.

  80. What a touching post. I’m here in tears. Thank you for opening OUR eyes to the world around us through your experience.

  81. Your words are amazing! Love.

  82. Your words are beautiful, as always. I loved Brett’s and Lainey’s comments:) They brought tears to my eyes, and made me smile!

  83. Your raising compassionate beautiful, knowledgable children kelle ……both of them…. :-))) xo

  84. All these children are gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but looking at them and then at Nella, it seems to me as she has a very mild form of DS, cause in all honestly I don’t even think it looks as if she has DS at all most of the time.

  85. Yes. I am learning too.

  86. Kelle, I’m like you, I have to research, to feel in control. But I love Brett’s attitude to Nella, happy to see how she is, rather than letting a textbook determine his expectations.
    Lainey and Nella are going to be two amazing ambassadors for choosing to see beauty in our differences. How exciting is that?

  87. Wow girl. I read your birth story of Nella two years ago and I remembered it yesterday. Again I read it and cried. What a beautiful story! I read this post as well and cried.

    You have a beautiful family, and you are a beautiful writer.


  88. This made me tear up so much that I couldn’t even read the last couple of sentences. It was too blurry! :) gorgeous post.

  89. YOU are amazing. You can bring me to tears with a smile on my face. I cannot wait to read your book. I love all the pictures of all the children in their blue and green shirts. Lainey is so sweet. Love the picture of Nella looking up at Lainey with all the love her little body can produce. And I think you’ve definitely got a keeper in Brett. I’m so thankful that you let us in to see your wonderful world. Thank you.

  90. She’s perfect and loved. What more could one ask for!!


  91. Sounds like you had a blessed day…

    much love


  92. I love your celebrations and your heart, Kelle. Tell Lainey we’re wearing blue shirts today.

  93. Tears-that was beautiful!

  94. Lovely day to celebrate lovely people!! That Nella sure is getting cuter everyday. Love the braided pigtails. My daughter’s hair is almost long enough to braid too! Something I have been waiting anxiously to do now for 4(!) years!! :)

  95. That was beautiful – brought tears to my eyes. That we should all stay young as we grow older!

  96. Oh my word…now I’m blubbering away…thank-you for sharing your sweet family with all of us. Nella is just the sweetest thing!!

  97. I am 11 weeks pregnant, and I just declined the prenatal testing. I did it with my first child, and honestly, I don’t know what I would have done with that information if I’d received a “positive.” I know that I sure as hell wouldn’t be aborting based on Down Syndrome. I wish mothers all over North America could read your blog and realize that your daughter is just wearing a different coloured shirt. Anyway, just wanted to say that the IPS testing and abortion stats are scary….but I’m glad you focused on something different for this post :) Thank you

  98. I don’t even know you a little, but I love you and your entire family. Great post.

  99. I know I say it all the time, but it’s worth repeating. You amaze me. I have never cared for someone so strongly that I’ve never met. You have brought us into your lives with such open doors we feel like we’ve been through them a million times. Like we live next door. And it’s ah-mazing. And Brett? His comment? Dude, it took me 5 minutes to stop the tears enough to even read the rest of your post – that is until I got to Lainey’s words and they started all over again. I’m smitten with your girls and I pray that their love is a beacon to the world so there can be more that can love like them. So innocent, so pure, so REAL.
    PS) The frog boots are freaking adorable. I wish they came in my size. Just sayin :)

  100. Absolutely beautiful post….just like Nella and Lainey. Thanks for all you do and for who you ARE. Too bad the world isn’t full of people who view things with the cup not only half full but completely overflowing. Hugs.

  101. AWESOME post! I have shared before that my husbands aunt is in her fifties and has downs syndrome. She is such a great part of the family. Can’t imagine life without her.

  102. absolutely beautiful…

  103. The one thing that sticks out to me: “Down syndrome is the best thing that ever happened to our family”. OURS TOO!!!!! Even with the complete roller coaster ride we were on with my son Ben’s health…..even still. Ours too. :). Happy 3:21, Hampton family.

  104. If Brett hasn’t seen the movie Radio yet…he totally has too! You two will love it! ♥

  105. Another beautiful post Kelle. Always brings tears to my eyes, to know you are enjoying and loving life so much… and teaching us as you go along. I wish we could all see the world through the eyes of a child, and even though it’s difficult, we can keep trying and know that we each bring special gifts to this life.

  106. I am crying happy tears right now.

    He stopped and thought for a moment. “You mean, when she’s older, it will be like we still have a kid, right?”

    I braced myself for sorrow. “Well, kind of,” I answered.

    And I waited.

    He raised his head and his eyes met mine. He was beaming, smiling, excited.

    And, with tears, he finally said, “That is so awesome.”+

    Just beautiful. And, I can attest to the fact that there is something amazing about that child-like innocence that you get to embrace a little longer. You are doing so many great, wonderful things for this world, Kelle. Raising a kind, compassionate family is the beginning and the best of that.

  107. Not only do your words bring me to {happy} tears, but now Brett’s do, too…Sheesh :) What a beautiful day for you. Thanks for sharing your life.

  108. I have been anxiously waiting for this post and it was exactly what I thought it would be–insightful, heartfelt, and beautiful! The conversation with Brett is where I lost it because my husband doesn’t say much about Tessa’s Down Syndrome either, but he has moments like that where you know he is deeply moved by his baby.
    Thank you once again!

  109. Green shirts, blue eyes, brown skin….we are all different all in beautiful ways. You represent awareness so beautifully….your photos especially tell the story….I AM learning with you, thank you Kelle!
    Bug & Ruby’s Gram

  110. OK, I want to hug the dad who wears the shirt saying: “3.21, Because I will not stop until the world recognizes my daughter.” You parents hold lenses the world needs to see through. This post reduced me to blubbering tears…and told me “reduced” was the wrong word–“raised me” seems more appropriate! Thank you, Kelle, for a child teaching a father new and glorious things.


  111. Kelle,
    This post brought tears to my eyes. I just love your Nella! I need a dose of her chubby adorable-ness every day…this mama has three babies who grew up too damn fast–they’re 12, 15, and 20! Thank you for sharing your words and your beautiful life with us!

  112. Beautiful pictures of beautiful children. Take heart Kelley our kids with DS do grow up to be awesome, smart adults. My April is amazing and her brothers, still in their teens, are growing into wise young men. Yes, all have DS. Nella will amaze you with her knowledge that she aquires on this journey of life.

  113. So beautiful!! I only wish I had known about the celebration. My girls would have LOVED it. :)

  114. Best Post Ever.


  115. It’s so refreshing and encouraging to read about how wonderful your live is now that Nella is in it, especially when we’re daily confronted with so many parents (and so many people in the media, etc.) telling us that these children aren’t just as valuable as any other. Your posts warm my heart and I hope many, many people are encouraged to do what is right when faced with the same circumstances…May attitudes change!

    Years ago I had a friend whose sister had Downs. Her sister was maybe in her 20’s and still living at home with her parents. Her room was still painted a bright pink and surrounded by Barbies. And every time I went to his house, she would run to me and give me a huge hug. (And would then sit right next to me the whole time I was at the house.) Until that point I didn’t know anyone who had DS but I have to tell you that she delighted me (even though I was a very young, clueless adult!!) and I always felt…loved. Isn’t that weird? She didn’t know me that well but because I was a friend of her sisters, she showed this amazing amount of affection. It made quite an impression and now, over 20 years later, I still have happy thought when I think back on visiting that family…because of that sweet girl.

    Enjoy this beautiful life and your truly beautiful daughter!!

  116. I think you are ALL awesome! Thank you for blessing us with glimpses into your lives. We are all enriched by your spirit!

  117. Beautiful!! Down syndrome is beautiful!!! We celebrated our sweet one yesterday too. Can’t wait to get your book. I pre-ordered a few months ago. You are inspiring!.


  118. Brett’s response was perfect! :) So glad you had an awesome day celebrating Nella! She is just perfect, too! Love the kissing pictures! They are so very sweet together!

  119. PS – Actually I loved all the pictures! :) Nella reading is priceless! :)

  120. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Lovely. Just lovely.

  121. Kelle, this post was absolutely beautiful and soulful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, words, images, ideas with us. Thank you for sharing the lessons you are learning along the way. They inspire me to be better, too.

  122. What a amazing post. Totally made me bawl!

  123. Kelle your words are beautiful….No-one gives us a manual when we become parents. Its our job to teach our little ones but I believe they teach us just as much. I love that you are not allowing DS to define who Nella is. It is a part of her but its not who she is and bravo for teaching us all that!

  124. Well said!
    I’m trying to teach my abled two year old the same things right now! That no matter what you look like, wear, sound like, or think about we are all the same on the inside. We all feel happiness, sadness, gratitude and fear. Two great books we’ve discovered that helps with these concepts are:
    A Rainbow of Friends by P. K. Hallinan
    Whoever You Are (Reading Rainbow Books) by Mem Fox
    Thank you for continuing to inspire a just, caring and thriving world one well raised child at a time!

  125. This brought tears to my eyes and was beautiful. You are inspiring, as is your family.

  126. Please know that you are helping the world learn about the beauty of not only DS, but the beauty of life. I wish the whole world could put on those Kelle rose colored glasses.

    And just an fyi to Catrine’s comment: you missed the entire point of this post. I hope reading it again will encourage you to reevaluate your words. – sorry couldn’t help myself. that comment really got under my skin.

  127. Brilliant. Just brilliant on so many levels. I loved Brett’s response — it’s similar to how my husband looks at our situation with our son becoming an adult.

    I wish all children in our education system had discussions about differences (like the one you had with Lainey) as part of the curriculum.

  128. All I can say is…tears. And girl, what an amazing husband you have. Your girls are who they are because you two are remarkable.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and reminding me to keep my eyes wide open every day.

  129. “Some people were green shirts and some people wear blue shirts” sounds like a great title for a children’s book! Wonderful post <3 My oldest son has Tourettes and I have had similar conversations with him. <3

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  131. Kelle.. I am so grateful for this post. You have no way of knowing this, but today am I making my way through the first anniversary of losing my dad at the tender age of 50 to an unexpected stroke while he was on vacation. I have been so afraid of what this day would feel like since I made it through March 22 of last year. I took today off, unsure of what I would or would not be able to handle. I woke up early this morning but didn’t get out of bed. I finally grabbed my computer and started checking my daily things. Your precious blog is always on that list. And today, it was just what I needed. An reason to let go of my emotions and let the tears fall. A reminder to enjoy the moment, to find the joy, to not get so caught up in the petty, but instead think about the things that really matter. Family. Friends. Love. Experiences that you’ll never forget. You reminded me that sometimes, the biggest “tragedies” can be the moments that change your life forever in the biggest and best ways that you never even thought possible. I could go on, but I bet you get the point. So thank you, for reminding me of what’s important on this most unrelished anniversary.

  132. I love your blog and this post made me smile looking at all the happy beautiful children! They are just adorable :)

  133. I love this post for a million reasons, but mostly you. I’m hooked. Much love to you and yours.

  134. Ugh, I totally teared up reading this and was not prepared to at all! But, thank you for such a beautiful post. Definitely worth the tears!

  135. Beautiful post, Kelle. Brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful family Nella was born into.

  136. Hi Kelle!
    Just wanted to let you know that your words and pictures speak perfectly! I don’t have kids with special needs, yet I have exactly the same dreams and intentions: I want to be a great mom, I want to teach great things to my kids, live the beautiful and embrace the unexpected, savour life and teach my babies to savour it too. I want to learn, and I learn every day, through the bumps in the road and all the moments of grace. You show so much grace, you and your family!
    Your daughters are dang cute by the way, and you’re right,Nella is a wonderful teacher. :)

  137. What a wonderful post, it also brought me to tears. This is my favorite line: ” I am motivated to see people for who they are inside–for what they have to offer rather than what they are lacking or how they are different.” YES! I agree 100% This is what I needed to hear. You have beautifully articulated one of my greatest passions. Thank you for spreading open minds and open attitudes.

  138. What a great way to start my day today. I was wondering what you were going to post yesterday and it was beautiful as always. Love the exchange between you and Brett. You have started my day off on a positive note to work with my adult clients some who wear blue shirts or green shirts or have Autism or Down Syndrome or MR all of whom inspire me.

  139. Look at all of those beautiful children. Every single one of them, in the blue shirts, and green shirts. thank you for sharing all of this this with us! you have taught me so much through your own navigation of finding the beauty in everything.

  140. Most perfect post ever! I have tears streaming down my face. Best thing that ever happened to all of us. Truly made me feel again. Love all of you!!! Katie

  141. Sitting here at my desk tearing up from the sheer beauty of this post. I have never had the pleasure of personally knowing someone with Down Syndrome, but through following your blog, I feel like I am experiencing it with you and have learned so much. Nella is such a blessing, and your honest account of your journey with her thus far is so inspiring. Keep writing Kel. Along with being a skilled photographer, you have been blessed with the gift of words and with it, touch more people than you will ever know!

  142. You have taught me so much through your amazing words and photography. What a great post! Thank you for helping me start off my work day right. Love it! :)

  143. Beautiful and precious post. I have tears in my eyes from all the sweetness…words between you and Brett..you and Lainey..and those cutie patootie pigtails in Nella’s hair.I just want to eat her up. “Ain’t” nothin’ but cuteness and it has made my morning–once again.

  144. I am most definitely learning along with you. From you. You have opened my eyes to beauty all around, and I smile everytime I see something through your eyes.

  145. Wow, when I read the comment Brett made about Nella being like a kid when she’s older and he said “That is so awesome.” It made me cry. You are so inspiring to me as a parent and I hope that if I ever have kids I can do half of what you do. I am a special needs teacher and have always had an extra soft spot in my heart for my kids who have Down syndrome! Your blog is absolutely wonderful and motivating!!!

  146. yup…..bawling here @ my desk. Wonderful post. Thank you so much.

  147. So beautiful.

  148. Geez, I am crying full on big crocodile tears. You have made me see so many things, just through your blog. My little one is Autistic and a lot of what you write relates. It can be heartbreaking, and so eye opening. Your words…your real raw words feel like they could have came from my heart. Thank you Kelle. Just, Thank you. Your little ones are beautiful, your family, friends, husband…thanks for including them in your blog.

  149. I swear there is something about Laney’s (mine daughter is spelt Laynee). THey are so carrying! Your Laney amazes me, you amaze me and Little Nella sure amazes me! I love your story and love your blog! Thanks for sharing! Tears came down my face this am as I read this. Ashley

  150. I learn so much reading your blog, especially this morning when I read how people wear blue shirts and green shirts too. Brought tears to my eyes and how awesome it would be to have a child forever.

  151. This was so beautiful. I feel like this post had love in every sentence and I thank you for sharing it with the world. It just makes me happy reading how loved both of your children are and the part about your husband had me blubbering like a fool. You have a beautiful family!

  152. This post made me so sad to have lost our Grace. Beautiful.

  153. Such a great post. :) You are blessed with 2 beautiful children!

  154. Brett’s reaction- just awesome… and the picture to follow– what a great way to start my morning at work!! :)

  155. I can’t even begin to tell you how much your words mean to me today. You help me put things back into prospective. Thank You!!

  156. You and Brett make a wonderful team; Nella and Lainey are so lucky to have the both of you. I love to read your entries and your deepest thoughts… they’re all very beautiful as you and your family are.

  157. Kelle, this was beau-t-ful girl!! I teared up when you said DS was the best thing that ever happened to your family, cuz that’s embracing something to the fullest…very inspiring!! Thanku for sharing your life with us…honestly, i think u make me a better momma. Honestly!

  158. Such beautiful words…tear jerking words…in a good way. Thanks for yet another mind opening post! I recently started following you and I find I (impatiently) wait everyday for your next humbly inspiring post. You never cease to run out of great words of wisdom that make me think each day, and because of it see the world from a different point of view…a larger point of view…that highlights all the small things around us that we often tend to forget. Thank you Thank you Thank you! ♥

  159. Tears streaming down my face. Thank You! Your words are fantastic! And “Pipi’s” braids are the absolute best!

  160. What a beautiful post. And Brett…such a beautiful attitude. What a way to find the positive in everything. I was so moved by your exchange with him.

  161. Oh Kelle. Tears this morning as I read this. Nella’s story and life has changed me. It has opened my eyes. When I see a parent of a child with down syndrome I always smile. Knowing more of their challenges and more of the grand love that’s involved. That’s because of you. You are helping SO many people, Kelle. Living a life with meaning and inspiring people everywhere to do the same.

  162. Will Nella be smart? Nella is and will be so much more than that and your husband’s response to your reply was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. Life sends us lessons in so many different ways and forms. Your Nella is a gift but then so are you, to all of us for reminding us that joy is everywhere. We only need to look.

  163. I read your blog religiously and all of your posts touch me. But this one got me good. Tears literally streaming down my face. So beautifully written… thank you for such a lovely post. It made my day.

  164. I had fallen in love with you after reading your first sentence when I starting following your blog about a year ago, and I’ve adored your family every step along the way.

    But I think I just fell in love with your husband tonight too.

    Beautiful, beautiful piece.

  165. Thank you for your beautiful words and reminding us all what is truly important in life…simply loving each other

  166. Your beautiful words made me cry at my desk this morning!! Thanks for opening all of our eyes to beauty everywhere!!

  167. Girlfriend.. you are downright amazing.. that’s all I’ve got..

  168. So gorgeous. Looking at all those happy faces – what more really can you want for your child other than happiness? Thank you for opening all of our eyes to your beautiful world and sharing the beauties that we can treasure.

  169. This made my heart sing…that there is a community that sees perfection in what our society would deem “imperfection.”

  170. . “You mean, when she’s older, it will be like we still have a kid, right?”

    And, with tears, he finally said, “That is so awesome.”

    What a wonderful and wise husband you have! I love Brett!!! Awesome indeed!

  171. beautiful post! your girls are beautiful inside and out. there is one picture in this post, where Nella is wearing the green rain boots and has a little closed mouth smile and she looks just like Lainey to me…. it’s happy day indeed! thanks for sharing your life with us.

  172. beautiful post, i am in tears and your pictures are amazing!

  173. Love how ~gracefully~ YOU increase positive awareness for Individuals with Down syndrome!

    Went to an event last night…to honor…the 3/21 bond…after the rocky start (I couldn’t help my emotions and happy tears)…had a wonderful time…celebrating their BEAUTIFUL lives…feeling so much LOVE… :)))

    Thank you so much for this powerful post, Friend! Love when words put me in deep reflection mode, feeling my mind, heart and soul are in sync. It is like having a good conversation you “know” will continue.

    When it comes to the future of Individuals with Down syndrome, when it comes to the future of any individual, when it comes to our future, I feel that what really matters is that we all find a way to fulfill our unique needs. And, by helping each other fulfill these needs, being loving and compassionate towards ourselves and others, we create a better world for all of us.

    xOx…Sending you lots of love~

    “These are the times when we stand humbly and boldly in the presence of our own great promise. These are the days when through our decisions and actions, we determine our legacy for those to come.” ~Jean Houston

  174. Brett’s a rockstar…you know that, right? Yes, you do know that. And your words: “…is it ever amazing to be transformed by love in a way that awakens parts of you that needed to come alive.” Cue a little snottage flying…some tears (and other matter) hit the keyboard.

    Isn’t it strange that we have no idea what’s inside of us until we’re handed something more precious than we ever could have imagined? Your honesty and vulnerability, exposing your fears, your wonder-abouts, your joy…dude, that’s what’s changing hearts all over the world. And remember, “He who saves one man, saves the world.” xo

  175. Gorgeous photos paired with beautiful words.

  176. Truly inspirational. THANK YOU!

  177. Every word I read on your blog is a big inspiration to me. The way you explain things and look at the world is simply awesome. My life has changed since I stumbled upon your blog. I look at the world differently, and I also look at the challenges of life in a different way. You are truly a hug inspiration to so many and from me and the so many others. THANK YOU

  178. beautiful, beautiful

  179. I am learning this with you, through you. Thank you for being honest and sharing your experiences.
    Beautiful post.

  180. I feel the same way Down Syndrome might be the best thing that ever happened to our family. I wrote a post last night called 21 reasons I love Down Syndrome, never thought I would say those words. But I do really love it and am thankful. My husband said a few years ago, that he is so excited that Sam will always want to go to baseball games with him and never be embarrassed to be with his Dad, we can’t say that for our other children that will “grow up.” That is something to look forward to for sure!
    Thanks as always for your beautiful words and pictures.

  181. I have tears streaming down my face and mixed emotions. So very very thrilled that Nella is in such a love filled family.
    But I feel a sadness too; many many years ago while in college, I worked at a nursing home for mentally disabled adults. There were SO many adults there with Down Syndrome who had been institutionalized their entire lives. If only, IF ONLY.

  182. why will I never learn not to put on mascara before I read? Amazing, lovely, beautiful. With the music you picked building and soothing at the same time, it was a whole sensory experience and it was amazing.
    I want to say that when I first bookmarked your page (at the start here, then obesessively read back through every post beginning to end like it was my job), I did it wrong, so every day when I log on to read what you have posted, I land on the page of nella’s birth story, and I have to scroll down to the list of posts, which appears right next to the photo of Miss Nella, brand new and still all red and full of expectation and love and it is the very best way to start the day. I don’t think I’ll ever “fix” my bookmark.

  183. I truly believe that you and Brett were blessed by God when you had Nella. Your heart was speaking through this entire post and I pray this post will touch the hearts of many who feel differently about Down Syndrome. Thank you for sharing your heart and family with all of us!

  184. What a beautiful post.

  185. just beautiful,thank you,as usual for your deep yet simple thoughts and words. i love reading your blog so much!!

  186. I love, love, LOVE Brett’s response!!!! It brought big ol’ tears to my eyes. So awesome!

  187. This made me tear up. Such a beautiful way to express love the daughter you love so much. I have a sister with Asperger’s, and my mom always explained it that way – some kids have Asperger’s and some don’t. Just a fact of life. I wouldn’t change one bit of my sister and am sure you feel the same about your little girl.

  188. Delurking to say you made me cry with this post. Or I should say you and your husband made me cry. Awesome!

  189. There’s a reason I don’t read your blogs at work… I’m crying at my desk again! :o)

  190. The conversation between you and Brett left me bawling. I adore your family, you guys are amazing. You ARE a strong momma and your kids couldn’t have found a better one if they had been able to hand pick you themselves. :-)

  191. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this. I needed to hear this today.

  192. I love Brett’s response. It really is awesome to have a child around all the time. My uncle had DS and 2 other family members are special needs. They have brought so much joy to our families! It’s refreshing to experience the world through their eyes – we learn a lot from them!

  193. Beautiful post – and yes, we all wear our own colors don’t we miss Lainey? Bless your precious family!

  194. You are a wonderful teacher! Thank you for that.

  195. I am so glad you mentioned DS Pregnancy’s website — it’s such a great resource! My adopted sisters (15 and 20) both have a host of behvaioral problems stemming from their mother’s drug use while pregnant. I so wish my family could be as excited about their future as you are with Nella. You’re lucky.

  196. The conversation between you and Brett brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful. Just like Nella herself. How blessed you are!

  197. The conversation between you and Brett brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful. Just like Nella herself. How blessed you are!

  198. how strange… last night i dreamt about you being on a beach book-signing and Nella and my 3 old girl Lavinia playing together and running in the sand…. and here you post lots of beach pictures….
    you have a great family, and you’re building it day by day…. Nella couldn’t have found a family better than yours…
    thank you for sharing with such simplicity and openess you life with us

  199. y’all are a amazing.

    you’ve GOT to watch this sweet video on this blog. http://www.eicherumba.blogspot.com/2012/03/wdsd-12-sisters-big-love.html

    Happy DS day!!!

  200. beautiful post :)

  201. Oh, those lips when Nella is kissing Lainey. I could eat them up!!

  202. Hi Kelle – I think you elaborated a bit about the magnetic board Nella’s often playing with in a previous post that I can’t find. My niece has a genetic disorder (3P25 deletion – it’s very rare) and is 18 months old learning and perfecting sitting on her own from a laying position. She’s finally bearing weight on her feet and will walk (and cry at the same time) guided by her therapist. I think the magnetic board would be something that would engage her and push her to grow as she plays. My question is, where did you get the magnetic letters? I’d want to go that route b/c they seem much safer for her. Your blog is so inspirational and I’ve shared it with my sister in law and she loves it. Bloom is going to be her Mother’s Day gift this year :)

  203. Kelle, thank you for so beautifully conveying what so many of us feel. We celebrated our 2nd WDSD today, as our Cora is a year younger than Nella. And I feel that Ds is probably the best thing to happen to my family too. Happy WDSD!

  204. Wow. Love this post and the part about Brett’s words to you? Yeah I’m sitting here crying.

  205. Beautiful, Kelle!

  206. So beautiful, wow are you lucky to have Nella but Nella is also so lucky to have you. And Brett, what an amazing he is.
    You have done so much for Down Syndrome right here in your beautiful words on your beautful blog.
    Need to find a tissue now…

  207. Kelle, Your words are AMAZING… On Monday I attended my aunts funeral and all through it they rferred to her whole life as LOVE and accepting. She loved everyone equally (well maybe her children more) there was not a person that she could not see good in and would find the best in everyone. When I read your post daily I find that you make me a better person. You make me think of her alot. Thank you for that.

  208. I was reading this so intently, that when I got to the bottom, I realized I had been crying. Now that’s writing, Kelle. And that family of yours, it’s perfect.

  209. I had no idea what yesterday was, but it would explain why sweet little Cheyenne was on my mind all day. She is a doll that I was a got to teach while I was a substitute teacher. Cheyenne was 11 at the time and had DS, but that isn’t what defined Cheyenne to me. What I remember most about her, is when she would grab my hand as we were walking around school, and how in that grasp I could feel how safe she felt with me. Or when we’d have our dance parties after all the other students went back to class (her homeroom teacher didn’t get her magic, and I feel sorry for him), and the way her laugh would stream straight to my heart and melt it in a single second. I wish I could see Cheyenne again and get one of her perfect hugs, where you could feel every ounce of her love pouring straight into your heart.

    And Nella will be smart. Oh so smart. She’ll move mountains. I can already see it in her eyes. She reminds me of Julie who works in our athletic department. She also is a big spokes person for Special Olympics here in Montana. A few years ago she served as our MC, and every year encourages all of us to get involved in Special Olympics fundraising. Julie is kind and compassionate, she is articulate, has DS, and moves mountains. Nella will too. In her own way, but oh how those mountains will move for her.

  210. This is beautiful. I love that Nella is so perfect for your family. God just KNEW she would be. The pictures of those darling children as so cute. What a fantastic time and day :)

  211. Your family makes for fantastic teachers!!! Sending you lots of love.

  212. I love your blog and your little girls are so precious. They always look so cute in their clothes! I have an uncle that has down syndrome and he’s an adult now but as a child I loved playing with him because he still does have the mindset of a child. We would play for hours and hours and he was one of my favorite people. Nella is a beautiful little girl!

  213. Boy, when you hit a home run…you really win the game, gf….

  214. What a wonderful post! Thank you Kelle :)
    P.S. I think you have the title for your children’s book 😉

  215. My daughter was born Dec 19,2011. Like you I knew right when I saw her but then we waited a week to confirm my suspicion. Dec 20, I was looking at your blog. Thank you so much for your beautiful words and the beautiful pictures that say more than words ever could. I posted this in a blog I hardly use so people could read it from face book. http://mytimewriting.blogspot.com/
    Not quite as elequent and I wish I had the nac for photography.
    Thanks again!!!

  216. Brett, Kelle, Lainey & Nella: You guys touch my heart & make it better in ways that I can’t understand considering I’ve never seen you guys, hugged you or held your hand. Thank you for coming all the way from Floriday (Thank you internet!)to Arkansas to make my world better! God bless!

  217. The conversation between you and your husband made me cry. So sweet, what an amazing angel you have in your home.

  218. As I read your beautifully written words about your beautifully blond daughters I am reminded of my own daughter. Although she does not have DS, I can see the same joy, the same fascination in their faces. Your images, stories, and loving words are a reminder of our children’s abilities, not disabilities. A diagnosis or a label does not change how adorable, funny, or smart our babies are.

    Your pictures and words describe the awesome experience of motherhood so well.

  219. Brett, Kelle, Lainey & NELLA:
    You guys touch my heart & make me better in ways that make no sense, considering I’ve never met you, hugged you or held your hand! Thank you for coming all the way to Arkansas (thank you internet!)to make my world a better, brighter place! God Bless!

  220. Kellie I am a mom and blogger. I read and review and I love your blog and your stories. I hope to share your story

  221. the simple conversations between your family…..i’m just crying. beautiful. simple.

  222. I totally get ur words! Cleft lip/ palate is the greatest thing that has ever happened to our family! Bless these special strong kids!

  223. Beautifully written. My best friend has a Downs Syndrome child – she is loved as your child is. Thank you for this post.

  224. Inspiring. Your photos capture the joy of the children perfectly. I love the happiness and excitement on all their faces. A true celebration.

  225. I am at work just crying reading this post because I love watching people discover what I have known my whole life. My little brother doesn’t have Downs but he is 19 with the mentality of a 2 year old. People always ask me how hard he has been on our family and I always say yes sometimes it is hard, but he is the biggest blessing that my family has. He has brought us together in a way that nothing else could. I am so glad that I grew up as his big sister because I know that I am who I am because of him.

  226. Gorgeous post, thank you so very much for sharing.

  227. For real, this post couldn’t have been any more perfect. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me so incredibly thankful to have witnessed your family through this journey. Oh happy day!!!

  228. Well said Kelle Hampton, well said……

    Susan from Boston

  229. So beautiful. Made me tear up. Hope you had a great day : )

  230. I just fell in love with Brett a little bit.

  231. You are an amazing inspiration, thank you!! xo…

  232. What a gorgeous post Kelle. Thanks for sharing with us!

  233. Beautiful! Sobbing out loud after reading the part about Brett and then Lainey. God certainly knew what he was doing when he blessed your family with Nella!

  234. I am always touched by your words, but today you made me tear up a little. I try to explain to my kids how everyone is different, but I couldnt of said it better than the way you explained it to Lainey :)

  235. Your conversation with Brett had me tear up at work today. What an amazing gift you have been given.

  236. thank you for this post! your blog has made me more aware of people with Down Syndrome and helped me to realize how awesome they are. You are doing great things!

  237. Beautiful!

  238. Tears ran down my face reading this. Brett’s awesome response, Lainey’s amazing understanding, and you tell the story brilliantly as usual. What an amazing family, blessed by sweet Nella.

  239. My daughter who has DS is five, and as she’s gotten older I’ve been more and more astonished at how smart she is. I am not so sure about that child-like mentality being part and parcel of DS; I am starting to think that that might be a consequence of the way people with DS have been treated. It’s so easy to fall into that stereotype, to think of them as happy and simple, but I think it’s a disservice. My kid has a lot going on in her head. We’ve just got to figure out ways to help her get it out.

  240. Nella is undoubtedly perfect, and God chose the most deserving parents (and sister) to bless with her existence.

  241. Thank you. This was beautiful, photos and words.

  242. Your husband sounds like an awesome dude.

    I’m so glad Nella is here, and I hope her light shines on for a very long time.

  243. Tears in my eyes….your babies are so beautiful, all of these babies are! And I loved your husband’s response, that IS so awesome! Love your posts and love your pictures…gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!

    Elle’s Mommy

  244. My friend and I are both 37 and she is pregnant for the 2nd time. Early on we discussed the fact that I, at 35, chose to have my doctor perform the 1st trimester nuchal fold screening to rule out Down Syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. I explained that if the test had come back positive for an increased chance of DS or something else, I wanted the time to be able to learn as much as I could and to potentially mourn the loss of the child I thought I would have and make room in my heart for the one that would arrive. She told me how devastated she would be if her child was born with DS since, and these are her words, he would never be accepted by his peers, never read, never write and would live in his own little fantasy world. I felt so sorry for her that she thought those things about people with DS and I am still struggling with her interpretation. I have suggested that she read your blog to see all the wonderful things that DS can mean. I want to thank you for opening my eyes and those of so many of your readers! Happy DS day!

  245. I can’t stop crying… what a beautiful blessing God has given us in children. All children. All gifts of a different kind. It’s amazing to me how He knows precisely what each of us need and how out of our circumstances He touches so many others. Thank you for sharing your story. Your journey touches me everyday. Looking forward to reading your book!

  246. I love your little family, the response from your husband made me cry and then the little response from Lanie, oh man, that REALLY got me!
    hugs to your family and for making others aware of downs syndrome and that it truly can be a beautiful thing.

  247. Lainey and Nella are both so adorable and smart! This is a great was to raise awareness :)

  248. Your post really touched my heart today. Thank you. :)

  249. Beautiful post.

  250. Your little Nella is so beautiful, as are you and your family, and your thoughtful words. It’s too bad that we can’t all grow up to be child-like. What a gift!

  251. Oh my goodness! Kelly you are such a blessed mama. Thank you for your words. Beautiful!

  252. My sister Heather Rae who is Down Syndrome will be 18 this Saturday…I share certain posts from your blog with my mom to encourage her. You brought her tears of joy.
    Thank you for another beautiful post about D.S. and your sweet little girl.

  253. Another really lovely post. Made me tear up and I loved all the pictures. Happy day to you all!

  254. My photos are quite amaturish, my words not as prolific, but if you’d like to visit my LOVE, MA who has blessed my life 25 years out of her 55 years. Please visit her here- http://theroaddownhome.blogspot.com/

    I have posted other things about her always with the heading “MA”, for privacy issues of course.
    She loves people, but she not an extrovert. :o)

  255. Sweet and beautiful post. Thanks!

  256. That Brett- what a guy. And his is so right. Awesome.

  257. I love the mans shirt in the very first photo.

    because i won’t stop until the world recognizes my daughter”

    I hope I got that right. It made me smile :)

    Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing Kelle.

  258. I always comment saying “this is my favorite post” but I mean it this time. I love your family’s take on Down Syndrome. It’s beautiful; perfect; as it should be.

    I have two little girls with Down Syndrome on my caseload and they always make me smile. Whether they are having a meltdown or telling me they love me, they bring me such joy.

  259. Aaaaaaand now I’m crying. Beautiful, just beautiful. Your outlook on life, on Down Syndrome, and on embracing differences is…so wise. You are such a wonderful momma to your girls! :)

  260. Such a post so full of beauty and truth. I loved all of the pictures on the beach. Every one of them so different yet so much the same. Sure, the common thread of DS, but so much more apparent was the common thread of love and pure delight in your children. Lainey is one cool chick with a future so bright she’ll need some super shades…and Nella, well y’all are just gonna have to harness her or something ’cause that girl is going places.

    And p.s. Nella on the beach to me looks like, “What? I own this place, y’all.”

  261. Hey Kelle. Your blog is one of two blogs that I check every day. But I’ve only commented maybe three times. We live in Mn but are actually in Naples this week visiting my FIL. I keep thinking I’m going to bump into you on the beach or pull up next to you on Tamiami.

    Another inspiring post. I love how you blog with such emotion. Your passion towards others is admirable. Lainey and Nella are blessed to have you to to watch each day.

  262. This is one of my all-time favorites from you, Kelle. And I think your husband rocks :)

    Thanks for your inspiration…

    Ashley Jorgensen

  263. I am at work in tears after reading Brett’s response to “will she be smart”. What a loving family for all of your kids! I think Nella is beautiful, and I only hope that when I have children one day they are as lovely, understanding, and inspiring as yours.

  264. Hi Kelle,
    What a beautiful post! Since i read your blog, i have changed my point of view of the Down Syndrome.The world want to be perfect today but like you say very well we can see beautiful in the inexpected.Thank you. (sorry for my english, i’m french)

  265. What a beautiful post.

  266. The BEST thing that ever happened. Love that statement about your family. Love that kids are color blind to so much. Love the joy of always being kid like. So many people strive for that!

  267. Tears are falling down my cheeks. Happy tears. Thank you for your simple, amazing, beautiful love of your family and the world. It’s infectious.

  268. Thank you for sharing the tender moment between you and Brett and the conversation about Nella’s ability to be “smart”. I about cried at his beautiful response. My aunt, who just turned 55, has Down Syndrome. She is in a sense perpetually a five year old and that isn’t a bad thing! I’ve made comments about her here on your blog before and have said she is one of the sweetest people I know. Innocent, kind, and loving. Crayons, coloring books, dot-to-dots, stickers, and bright knee high socks are given to her each Christmas and birthday and she smiles with delight when she opens them. Mickey Mouse t-shirts? Bring ’em on! If only we could all view the world with such acceptance, joy, and honest love as my sweet aunt and I suspect, all of those blessed with an extra 21st chromosome, how greater our world would be. Blessings to you and your family.

  269. Talk about some cutie patootie kiddos. If you’ve ever been touched my anyone with down syndrome, you are forever changed for the better. Their innocence and excitement for life is delicious. Hey, our friend with DS caught the bouquet at my parents wedding! No limits for these kiddos. Beautiful post, kelle!

  270. You write so beautifully, and your words are so filled with truth. I don’t know anyone personally with Down Syndrome but in this world we are all different in our own ways, yet we are all the same, we are all one. I’m grateful to you for the voice you are sharing on your blog, it really inspires gratitude and depth of thought in others.

  271. Today I am grateful to have found your blog, it is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing! Your kids are beautiful!

  272. I’m learning with you, Kelle. You are such a beutiful and talented writer. Thank you for sharing this gift with us.

  273. Beautiful post!

  274. So beautiful

  275. Amazing and so beautiful. Thanks for being a part in helping the world “get it”. Thanks for helping me “get it” a little more. Brett and you and Laniey are doing awesome in loving that sweet little Nella and showing the world what that looks like. Tears fill my eyes too at the beautiful people you are and how God uses you. Blessings and prayers

  276. beautiful. thank you for sharing these conversations with the world – your family has the important things figured out :)

  277. I love your blog, I love everything you have to say, and i share your super positive outlook, we also have so much in common it blows my mind….but the comment about Nella and adults with DS caught me off guard….maybe i’m still too new to this, but i don’t think of adult Paloma as being childlike in her thinking. I expect her to be a smart,and beautiful woman.

  278. Brilliant! Looks like a fun celebration for all.

  279. Kelle, though I don’t know you personally, I feel like I do know you as much as a person can know someone through their writing. Anytime you’ve written anything about the way your life has been made richer and your perspective’s changed for the better I truly believe it. Your story not only teaches me and others about the beauty that is in so much that we often take for granted, but it also solidifies my belief that there is purpose in everything. After reading Nella’s birth story I remember thinking that without a doubt in my mind you were meant to be Nella’s momma. Everyone gets handed different cards in life and we can either allow those things to harden and stifle us or we can use them for the purpose they were meant to carry out, making our lives rich and full. You represent carrying out life’s purpose. Don’t ever stop :)

  280. Sweet bunch of babies, and a beautiful day. Thanks, Kelle :)

  281. Wonderful post! It is so valuable to see these are loved and cherished children of our neighbourhood. So much of medicine and even parenting is moaning.
    This will help us to reach out to our neighbours who also have Down Syndrome.

  282. In tears because of your beautiful post. Thank you for helping me to better understand Down Syndrome and all the wonderful things that come with it…

  283. Beautiful post and beautiful girls!!!!!

    I am the mom to a child with a rare chromosome disorder. She doesn’t have downs, but she does have an extra part of her 17th chromosome.

    She wasn’t supposed to survive to term, she wasn’t supposed to survive birth, she definitely wasn’t supposed to survive her first year. If she survived at all, she would be a vegetable. She is now 8 1/2.

    She is NOT a vegetable.

    Yes, she is severely disabled. Yes, she is non-mobile, tube fed and non verbal. But as I type this, she is also sitting on the couch just giggling. She loves her family, she loves routine, she loves walks in her stroller. She is happy and doing much better than anyone expected.

    Most people, almost all, would probably have terminated the pregnancy. I was the absolute LAST person in the world who could thought she could handle being the mom to a disabled child.

    But guess what, she is one of my greatest blessings. Never say never, you never know.

    And life is really not so bad if your child is wearing a shirt of a different color. In fact, it is actually pretty amazing.

  284. Nella just gets more beautiful by the day

  285. Your husband = pure adorableness, just like the rest of your family. :)

  286. Thank you for your inspiration.

  287. Those kiddos are so cute!!!!! I just want to love on them!

  288. Cried through your whole post. Your pictures of these cherubs are amazing. My little guy has DS and boy, what a journey. Thank you for your posts.

  289. Absolutely beautiful photos as allways, as beautiful as all your post.
    rocio from http://blogmodainfantil.es/

  290. You have such a magic way with words, I am always moved and inspired. What a beautiful life you’ve created and continue to live. Your children are a few of the luckiest! Thank you for always finding the words my heart is trying to find…

  291. I am so sad right now that I gave up Facebook for Lent, because I want to share this post with all of my friends. as usual I am blown away by both your words and the pictures that tell your stories. Thank you.

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  294. Kelle, there are so many posts that you put on here and I always say that is my favorite! But this one is by far my favorite! Beautiful kids, beautiful families and a beautiful setting!!

  295. What adorable children!

  296. Kelle, there are so many post that you put on here and I always say that is my favorite! But this on is by far my favorite! Beautiful kids, beautiful families and a beautiful setting

  297. One of my favorite posts of all time.
    Your conversation with Brett: the best. My eyes welled-up.
    Lainey’s comment on difference: the best. Made me smile.
    Your photos, your words, your family, the occasion…beautiful.

  298. If there were a way to like this post on blogger….I would LOVE it. Your kids are awe inspiring and intuitive. Tell Brett that Nella will be smart in her own way, just like we all our.

  299. Love this post. Brett’s response made me burst into tears. So sweet and awesome.

  300. Thank you Kelle for sharing this moment with us…I have a better understanding of life with down syndrome…have a great weekend..take care..

  301. Nella will be smart. She is smart. The smile on her face in so many of your pictures means that she recognizes happiness, love and a family that surrounds her and lifts her up daily. She knows it. You can tell by her smile. And that’s how I know she’s smart! She recognizes and understands the importance of a mom, dad and sister who care about her and love her unconditionally. She already knows the most important lesson in life! And she’s figured it out at the age of 2…far before many people understand that whole happiness/family thing! What a beautiful post – I celebrated 3/21 yesterday for my brother who has down syndrome and turns 26 this Saturday! He is smart and he is my inspiration daily!

  302. Every day I read your blog and I want you to know that every day I am seeing things and thinking of things in a new, beautiful light and I’d like to thank you, your incredible gift of expressing yourself and your family for helping me achieve this.

    Thank you, Kelle!!

  303. These kids are so beautiful and your photography captured their purity and happiness. I see alot of love! Thanks for sharing.

  304. Each and every one of those babies are precious, beautiful, full of love. Thanks for sharing and teaching us all, Kelle, about DS.
    And Nella……..well I pretty much think she’s a genius already – after all, look what she’s taught to many!!!!

  305. Gorgeous–the pictures, Lainey and Brett’s comments, all of it. And I love how your pictures bring out the beauty that extra chromosome gives to these kids: the beauty of childlike joy, kissable eyes, happy grins that make you want to smile back…

  306. Beautiful post, Kelle. Brett’s response to your answer brought tears to my eyes. Awesome. : )

  307. You are a strong and beautiful mother. God bless your sweet family.

  308. Beautiful.

  309. I don’t normally leave comments … I should but I don’t. But I had to tonight when I read this inspiring post. I am a special education teacher and I am lucky enough to have a few kids in my class with down syndrome. I feel the same way about them … their possibilities are endless and the sky is the limit. They are truly a gift. Thanks for writing such beautiful words about such an important topic. And for me making me cry … with joy… for you and your family.

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  311. Not for the first time on your site, I’m in tears. Please, Dear Lord in Heaven, LET EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD READ THIS. Please, let them GET IT. Thank you, Kelle.

  312. Beautifully put. Thank you for having the courage to seek the will to see and celebrate people for who they really are and for helping others to do the same.

  313. Oh my word..you and Brett making me cry!! Whaa! that is some husband you have there! I just love Nella to pieces…love all of you…. Love from your Blog Mama~

  314. Beautiful. You continue to inspire me…

  315. I am just now getting caught up on my blog reading. Lovely, as always!

  316. I just want to say that you have a beautiful family. And your girls are just gorgeous! I say a little thank you every time I read one of your posts, that I found your blog. You inspire me and I strive everyday to make memories and enjoy every little thing with my 14 mo son.

    So thank you, Kelle. For your inspiration and for sharing your life the way you do.

    Kim (all the way from Cape Town, SA)

  317. Love it, Kelle and I am so happy destiny brought me hear some years ago :-)

  318. this post just moved me to tears, very beautiful! and i love ur compassion cai..both lainey and nella are beautiful children, having beautiful parents like u and bret

  319. yay.sorri, not CAi, rather KELLE haha i was chatting wtih one friend named cai, and we were talking bout ths post as she too s is moved..sory Kelle :-*

  320. Beautiful. Thank you!

  321. Wow. Trying to hold back tears at my desk. One of the best blog posts I’ve ever read. You’re beyond inspiring.

  322. This post brought me to tears. So beautiful. Thank you

  323. Beautiful, beautiful post, best blog on the internets — totally perspective-changing, beautiful and real. Thank you.

  324. I love your blog, it’s so fun and free, yet informative. I have always had a love for Down’s children…I don’t know why. I would have loved to have adopted a Down’s Syndrome child. I think you do a beautiful job helping others see that, basically, we are all alike.

  325. BEAUTIFUL!! Your conversation with Brett brought tears to my eyes. Tears of happiness and joy. Thank you for bringing sharing your life with us!

  326. The conversation with Brett almost made me go into the ugly cry. He truly loves his girls. It would be awesome to have a child around forever.

  327. I had tears in my eyes through this entirepost, not because of sadness but because I envy your families pure joy, happiness and love for each other. Beautifully written!

  328. ‘And, with tears, he finally said, “that is so awesome.”‘…….
    I welled up reading this. Jim and I basically have the same conversations. We are secretly(?) excited that we’ve had a baby for a while longer than normal, especially since she’s our last. Jim sounds SO much like Brett. He tells me at LEAST once a week, “I think she’s gonna surprise you, Kel.”

    And some of Nora’s more recent surprises??? She randomly answers questions with an “Ooooh, yeah!” And of all the animals, knows the sounds of a tiger and a snake…..hahahaha! Can you tell we have big brothers in the house?

    A belated Happy 3-21!!!! And can I have a copy of all the rainboot pics?! Oh my WORD, I love her!

  329. With tears in my eyes and rolling down my cheeks, I want to tell you how very glad I am to have found your blog a few years ago. Nella and you and Lainey and Bret are teaching me so much about the world around me. About love, happiness, acceptance and I just want to thank you. I’m a much richer person because I count you as a one of my blog friends and teachers. I know we don’t know each other and you don’t even know I’m a reader, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are teaching me every day how to love better. God’s blessings on you and your family Kellie!

  330. I think this is your best post ever! Thank you for the inspiration and your beautiful daughters.

  331. Wow, you made me cry…twice. a wonderful, beautiful blog.

  332. I love your writing and your blog. Your dialogues with your husband often move me to tears.

  333. Crying big fat tears. Love how you write this. Love how your Lainey talks.

  334. Sitting here with tears streaming down my face. I think I’m partially charged by the sudden, tragic loss of a friend last week, whose funeral I will attend today. I’m partially charged because at one point I thought getting my son’s diagnosis of Ds was the worst thing that could happen to me. That is so embarrassingly far from the truth and it becomes even more “ridiculous” as I try to comfort a friend who is grieving the loss of her husband and her son’s Father. We never really know what life will hold for us. But, I’m with Brett: If what part of our futures hold has something to do with remaining child-like, I think that is pretty awesome too!!

  335. I think this is the first time I’ve commented on your blog, Kelle, but I’ve been reading it for years. I just found out that I’m newly pregnant for the first time and I think of you when my fears of the future come up. I think of you and Nella and that “Down Syndrome is the best thing that has happened to your family”. I truly know that one thing that used to be one of my bigger fears of having a child with an extra chromosome could be the best thing ever. Truly. So, thank you for making me more excited for the future, less fearful, and for sitting here with tears in my eyes. I love your writing.

  336. It is always a pleasure coming here…

  337. Kelle,

    I have become more aware of DS in the last 4 months, since I’ve come across your blog, than I ever was before. Thank you for sharing your stories and your beautiful family.

  338. The “that is so awesome” comment by Brett made me cry big, fat happy tears! Your family is so beautiful in many senses of the word. Thank you for sharing…

  339. This is just gorgeous. Thank you Kelle. Brett’s comment was such a lovely reflection on a fathers love for his child. What a profound and joyous day for this world to celebrate.

  340. A teary thank you for sharing this post. Your girls are so precious!

  341. A teary thank you for sharing your world with me. I admire your attitude in general but especially when it comes to your family. Thank you!!

  342. And I’m crying happy tears….

    Thank you Kelle, Nella, Lainey and Brent. Your words and images move me.

    Not every family can walk this path with so much celebration and joie de vivre. You are all so wonderful and teach us so much about how special “special needs” can make your life. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts.

  343. Dear Kelle, I have been quietly “Enjoying the Small Things” with you for about 2 years, you and your entire family have brightened my days and inspired me all the while. This post “raised” me to tears, too. Brett’s comment was so wonderful & powerful; you are very blessed to have each other ~ and both of your amazing girls. I imagine your words producing ever-widening ripples of joy and life and LOVE to all who read them, but this one is different. More like an atom bomb, sending massive jolts of LOVE and wisdom out to the world. There is no telling what changes in attitude and perceptions, and LIVES will result from your message. Thank you for broadening my mind and my heart.

  344. Of course, as always, I feel like you have read my mind. The words I have felt are true but have never spoken. “Down Syndrome is the best thing that ever happened to our family” I feel that with every piece of my heart and soul. I would love to someday celebrate this special day the way you guys do it. At the beach, surrounded by tons of people who are walking a similar path. I cried happy tears while reading this post. You nailed it.

  345. Thank you for sharing awareness, love through words, and light through images of happiness and love.

  346. Dear Kelle, I have been quietly “Enjoying the Small Things” with you for about 2 years, you and your entire family have brightened my days and inspired me all the while. This post “raised” me to tears, too. Brett’s comment was so powerful, you are very blessed to have each other, and both of your amazing girls. I imagine your words produce ever-widening ripples of joy and life and LOVE, but this one is different. More like an atom bomb, sending massive jolts of LOVE and wisdom out to the world. There is no telling what changes in attitude and perceptions and LIVES will result from your message. Thank you for broadening my mind and my heart.

  347. “Let her show us who she is” <– i love this. i love the wisdom and the calm and the truth in that. thats perfect. thats so right. i am so lucky to teach kids with red shirts and blue shirts and gold and white and teal and navy and… i see it the same way. the exact same way. #bighamptonlove

  348. Oh my heart loves reading this. The joy. The sorrow. The emotions mixed in one. It was the first time I have cried reading your blog in a while. And I love it. I am so happy for each different child, wether they wear green or blue, and I can’t wait to see the day when the world looks at kids like sweet Lainey.

  349. You guys always renew my faith in a God who knows what He is doing. Thank you for magnifying your life’s calling. You are more of an inspiration than you will ever know.

  350. Beautiful thoughts…Thank you!

  351. I teared up at Brett’s response. I wish my husband was there yet – heck, I wish I was there yet! I love my angel more than anything but sometimes I still freak out at the future and about having a “grown up child” but I know God is in control, He has a purpose, and I also know that I love her more than anything – so I will rely on these two things to get me through it and I hope to one day say, truly, from the bottom of my heart and mean it “that is awesome”! I can’t say it enough times how much I love your blog!!!!

  352. This is the most Beautiful and meaningful post I have ever read! I loved everything about it! I am so glad that I read about Nella’s story and how she is growing! I also love all the pictures of her and Lainey and the rest of the family! This post just made my whole year! You are a wonderful person! I can’t wait to read more and more!

  353. Well said Kelle, just like your other posts, this one touched me and “that IS so awesome!”

  354. Beautiful post! The photos you take of your girls are just stunning to me! You’re an inspiration!

  355. just beautiful. it all brought tears to my eyes

  356. What Brett said brought tears to my eyes. Talk about glass half full, your glass is FULL. You two are amazing parents…amazing people. Keep spreading this knowledge on down syndrome, on differences. I love reading it. Awesome post.

  357. Aw, what beautiful words, I’m tearing up! I think your family has got the perfect attitude, so amazing.

    PS. I want Nella’s wellies! 😉

  358. wow. I have been perusing your prose here for a year or two and I just gotta say… the exchange between yourself and Brett.. you kinda refreshing him in on the fact Nella would remain childlike into her adult years following a question he posed to you and his “that’s awesome” reply through tears… straight up 10 pts for the daddy-o!!!

  359. Wow. I love the little dialogue between you and your husband about people with DS being “childlike”. What a beautiful description of these amazing people! Your post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I haven’t been to your blog in ages but my little Lilly just celebrated her 2nd birthday the day before WDSD and then my friend just found out that same day that she is expecting a child with DS. So I sent her to your blog to read Nella’s birth story. I also was referred to your blog by a friend when I gave birth to my Lilly a couple of months after Nella was born. Your beautiful perspective on life helped me come to terms with things. And like you I believe Down Syndrome has made our lives better. Thank you!

  360. “”Right now, I am thinking that Down syndrome is the best thing that ever happened to our family””

    this made me cry, (with happiness)

  361. Your words are beautiful! I cried when reading Brett’s response about Nella being like a kid as she gets older. What a wonderful moment to cherish and a great man :-)

  362. Refusing to impose limitations and accepting differences is something I feel very strongly about and you expressed that sentiment so beautifully here. We have been learning with wider eyes for two and a half years now and even at the most challenging stages of our journey there is not a minute that we wish for narrower vision. Our lives our simply enriched xxx

  363. THANK YOU for opening up your life to strangers.

    I love love the picture of the daddy holding up his daughter and the love you see between them! Precious!

  364. just beautiful

  365. Kelle – The purity of your heart comes through every word you write. Keep on writing for those of us whom you have taught, by example, to enjoy the small things. Happy Monday to you. Heather

  366. Your girls are little beauties! I am an avid follower. Watching the girls explore and grow really brighten my day. Thank you for sharing your life with us. :)


  367. this is so well-written and inspiring, thanks for sharing these deep thoughts with your readers and for motivating us to become better people in life. I’m your newest follower and so glad I chanced upon your blog.


  368. Always full of beauty and grace. Thank you.

  369. Wonderful and beautiful. You are an amazing advocate and mother:)

  370. The little girl with the braids, purple elastics and sparkling eyes…I can’t take my eyes off her! All I see is joy. Another beautiful post, thank you.

  371. Your pictures are so sweet. They bring a tear to my eye. I lost my precious 3 year old daughter with DS two years ago yesterday. I miss her.

  372. Kelle, that was so beautiful. Your story is so like my April’s story, Paloma’s story… you are just a year a head of us. Down Syndrome is also the best thing that has happened to our family. Paloma has taught us more in a year than many learn in a lifetime! Thank-you for sharing your story with all of us.

  373. BEAUTIFUL!!

  374. Awesome post!! Love the response from your husband.

  375. I am like you in that I do a lot of research and my husband like yours just lets things go with the flow. I find my self excited for the day when our son is old enough to really let his personality shine. He currently just turned 1. Sometimes I forget what he looks like to others when we go out because to me he has always just been Arieh, our son. (We had a shirt made for him that says “My Extra Chromosome Makes Me Extra Cute” His original due date ironically was March 21 😀

  376. beautiful post, kelle. again, you made me cry….reading about nella and your entire family, makes your readers, like ME, come alive!!

  377. oh, the tears are flowing. I can go to bed tonight feeling food, feeling okay, feeling love. thank you xo.

  378. i know i am late to this comment thread, and i am a non parent to boot. your babies are gorgeous. my husband and i have decided on no kids, but honestly, your sweet family makes it very tempting. thank you for so much honesty addressing a topic that many might feel begs for editing.
    your family is beautiful, your girls are lovely. your husband seems to be an excellent example of what a helpmate should be… thank you for you example of lovely family normalcy on this increasingly weird internet.

  379. oh my! my first time at your blog from a link Ashley Ann posted. I teared up at the exchange with your husband… your children are lucky to have such a cool dad (gathering from his comment, of course).

  380. What a beautiful post!

    My husband’s sister has Down’s, and she is in her thirties. I can’t express how much joy and closeness she’s brought to the family, and the smiles. And it’s like your husband said, it’s awesome that she’s still a kid. It sure makes Christmas and parties much more fun!

    Blessings to your sweet family Kelle.

  381. I’m new to your blog…and I don’t have any personal experience with Down Syndrome, but I felt compelled to leave you a comment letting you know what an incredible person I think you are.

    Thank you for being transparent. Thank you for being inspiring.


  382. I can’t get over how beautiful all these children are! Thank you for sharing!

  383. Thank you so much for making me a better person… you are amazing, your family is beautiful and nella is P E R F E C T!

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