I write from the kitchen tonight–a make-shift office erected at the island counter where I can feel the unseasonably cool air seep in from the back doors and I can hear the rhythm of crickets that has replaced Pandora for the moment. It is late and the rest of the house sleeps–the girls finally tucked into familiar beds, though they adapted quite well to the temporary ones we enjoyed for the last four nights.
I hesitated on deciding the participants for this last trip, almost making it a quick solo trip, but so grateful it ended up involving both girls.

They acted as experienced travelers today, contentedly entertained with puke-bags-turned-puppets and pretzel snack refills.


Thanks to the lovely Perlin family, we did Baltimore the way it’s supposed to be done. All the way.


Our favorites this weekend:


The White House Garden Tour.

More specifically…

The many combinations of White House photos possible during the garden tour: White House blurred out to the right, White House in the foreground, White House in the background, child flying next to the White House, family in front of the White House, couple with one child in front of the White House, couple with two children in front of the White House…you get it.  Hey, we weren’t the only ones.


There was this not-really-a-Secret-Service-agent-but-wants-to-be-one-someday chick directing everyone to PLEASE KEEP WALKING because the hold-up to take pictures was causing some major traffic jams. In one particular area where everyone was clogging up pedestrian lanes, she promised that if we’d just keep walking, there was a much better place to take pictures ahead where–and I quote–“the White House will look much more centered in your photos.” We laughed and concluded she was totally lying and certainly just saying that to clear us out. So we kept taking pictures like true rule-breaking badasses. A little further down the path, a beautiful clearing with breath-taking White House views opened up. I hate when not-really-Secret-Service-agents are right.

The “new clearing” photo:


I will also tell you–just for added information–that there are little grass guards separating the visitor paved path from the White House lawn. Do not cross your foot onto the grass.  Do not make jokes about crossing your foot onto the grass.  Do not accidentally fall onto the grass.  Just stay away from the grass.

More things we love about Baltimore/D.C.:


Street Carts, Food Trucks, Ice Cream Stands



Washington Monument

One of my favorite parts of the trip.  We slipped our shoes off, unleashed our kids, and I had the pleasure of watching my girls reunite with northern dandelions.  Nella knew to blow their wispy seeds.  It’s instinctive, I guess.



Mrs. Napkin Head at a “fancy restaurant” in D.C.

(so fancy in fact that when we asked if they had grilled cheese, the fancy waiter said “Oh, it’s very fancy.” And upon invitation to elaborate what’s in the grilled cheese, he simply reiterated, “but it’s very fancy. It’s a fancy grilled cheese.”)


Well I’m a fancy Napkin Head.  There was also a fancy plastic toothpick grilled into my burger, so it was free. Fancy and free.


Rainy Baltimore Sunday

I have decided one day of far-away adventure should include rain.  It gives you an excuse to relax, to explore less touristy destinations, to discover the coziness any given city offers.

We escaped into the theater to watch Chimpanzee with the kids on a rainy Sunday afternoon. 
A: I liked it.  B: I want a baby chimp.  C:  If you are the theater employee who cleaned the fifth row back in Theater 9…I’m so sorry. 

Photobucket Photobucket


Baltimore Crab Dinner

I actually thought I had a one-up on Baltimore here. I mean, I live in Seafoodville. But you ain’t had crab until you’ve had Baltimore crab. Drenched in delicious Old Bay seasoning, Baltimore crab is an experience. It’s dumped onto paper-covered tables and soon overtaken by the ones who know the game which, I learned, is enhanced with cold beer, a wooden mallot and plenty of Wet Wipes.


Two crabs in, and I was a pro, sucking sticky Old Bay off my fingers and making my way through the shell to the best meat.


I’ve been sworn in, the event made official by the nicest Bawlmers whose company made our dinner a lively and enjoyable occasion.



I am so thrilled with opportunities to introduce more of the world to my girls and happy to return home where we belong. 

Thank you to the Perlins and to all the wonderful people in Baltimore who welcomed us and showed love to my girls.  What character your city holds! 

Last week’s Friday Photo Dump:

Friday Phone Dump photos are taken on the Instagram iPhone app (free) and dropped into a 12×12 collage using a photo editing software (Photoshop Elements works). I am @etst (enjoying the small things) on Instagram if you want to follow the feed.

Last week’s Giveaway Winner for the $75 Melody Joy Shop Gift Certificate is Comment #386, Ali: 

I am halfway done with Bloom :)…. and if it werent for the laundry and my sweet newborn that wants to eat every 20 min, I would be finished! I also want new jammies now. Thank you for reminding me that the mom I am now to my girls, will be resembled in the teenage years. I forget the reflection I create. It was a simple, but forgotten thought. Thank you. Ali

Congratulations, Ali! Please send your contact info to kellehamptonblog@comcast.net with MELODY JOY GIVEAWAY in the subject line–perfect timing for some birds nest jewelry Mother’s Day gifts.


Nella Designs is returning to sponsor this month, expanding their collection of beautiful silhouette wall prints and stationery to include custom jewelry.  Our wall prints have been transformed into a unique pendant of my girls. Another hit on Instagram–I promised I’d share details. 


Check out Nella Designs’ many perfect Mother’s Day gifts, and maybe conveniently leave your computer screen up to drop some hints. Silhouette pendants can be made from photos of couples, kids, families, pets and more.


Chevron Silver Cuff Bracelet

Use Code SPRING for 10% off your Nella Designs order.


We are happy to be home!



Leave a Comment
  1. Wow! What a trip! Looks fun.

  2. Wow! What a trip! Looks fun.

  3. Oh, Mr. Napkin Head! Totally love that scene in The Holiday! I’ve never been to Baltimore, or to D.C. and honestly never had a desire…until your lovely pictures! Looks like a good time was had by all.

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  5. Its 1:30 in the morning and all I want now is some crab legs! LOL Looks like you guys had an awesome trip :)

  6. Photos aren’t working for me :-( Well a couple are, but most aren’t. Sounds like you had a lovely trip away though, hope to come back tomorrow and see the pics!

  7. Um, I LOVE that silhouette pendant. I was way more obvious in my wanting it. I practically shoved the computer into my husbands face, pointed to it, and grunted a simple, “WANT!” I think he gets it.

    If you ever have the chance, Nashville is a wonderful place for families. So many places to take the kids and explore. :)

  8. Sounds like a fun trip, and love the pix!

  9. I love both you and your friends pants. So colorful. That crab dinner has my mouth watering too. So glad you had a great time =)

    – Sarah

  10. i wanna go to Baltimore! :) i showed my husband the necklace that i think would be a great give for me…he said, “you don’t wear necklaces”. nice. oh well, worth try.

  11. okay the napkin head photo had me dying laughing :)~

  12. I’m sad to think that I only have about thirty pages left in Bloom. The thought of no longer getting to have long, meaningful conversations with you at any given time feels tragic. And yet I am grateful for the gift of your blog. So, so grateful. Definitely makes finishing the book tolerable. The friendship can continue. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Looks like you had the best time in Baltimore. Love your white house pictures. I would’ve done the same thing and assumed the security lady was lying just to get us to keep on moving. Beautiful pictures!

  14. I LOVE the yellow and orange pants (yours and your friend’s)…seriously, so cute.

  15. My absolute favourite thing in that entire post is little miss Millie’s knees!! I wanna tickle them!!

  16. Lovely trip!
    I think that Nella looks like you, Kelle!
    Every time your posts are absolutely full of emotions!
    I hope you ll enjoy a real greek food here in Greece!
    We re waiting for you!
    We love you!

  17. Loving Mr and Mrs Napkin Head! We always do thing like this (regardless of the looks from others). Glad the girls were such happy travelers.Rx


  18. oh my gosh – i LOVE that you girls wore sun shocking YELLOW pants and screaming ORANGE pants on the same day!

    I’ve got a date with my tailor and it is now on my list to have them add yellow and orange to my color list for my linen pants project!

  19. Your girls are beautiful – you must be very proud.

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  21. P.s I totally kept singing in head hairsprays Baltimore song when I read your post….Xo

  22. I mean “in my head”… Not “in head” I’m sure you got what I meant lol…

  23. Napkin head is my favorite.

  24. Thank you for your love poem to Baltimore. It’s my hometown, and though it can be rough around the edges, the people are pretty amazing.

  25. I’m so thrilled that your enjoyed your visit to Baltimore. I’ve lived here for all 31 years of my life. I learned to pick a crab around the age of four and haven’t stopped since.

  26. hei kelle, I live far far away from your sunny florida, allll the way across the ocean and most of europe. In romania. But I read you every day. it’s inspiring, really, the way you see life. And how you take every little thing and make the most of it.
    But my question is very materialistic today:d. Where did you buy the green kind of sweater Nella has on? Please tell me etsy:d
    Thanks a lot

  27. Love the pic with the big sisters sitting their little sisters on their knees :-) so gorgeous. What a fantastic trip. Love your blog. Wish my kids would sit still for pics too!

  28. I LOVE the napkin head photos! What a super fun trip!

  29. I know I’ve said it before, that I love the sneak peak that Instagram provides and how it’s so instantaneous, but I love to settle in for a full feature length etst blog post.
    Love Baltimore, the US fascinates me, I’m not a big traveller, but love watching you travel, especially with your girls.
    Love the dandelion photos, so sweet. Mrs Napkin head, hmm what were you drinking? Lol. We’ve got a mid-week holiday here so I’m relaxing and planning my low key day tomorrow.

  30. I can’t believe how grown up Lainey looks sitting in that airplane seat! Love that she appears to be doing something creative (writing or drawing?) on the flight!

  31. Maryland crab has my husband salivating…. we’ve considered having them shipped to us when we were in New England. P.S. If you ever make it to Paris, the grass is also off limits here as well! P.P.S. Just finished the book and all I can say is thank you.

  32. We’re going to be in DC for a couple of weeks this summer and I can’t wait to show my son (2.5 years) one of the greatest cities in the world. I love DC. :)

  33. I love how Nella is looking at you in your napkin head … she’s gotta be thinking, “I always knew she was crazy — this proves it!”

  34. Wow that is a great trip! Next time you are up here maybe your friends can take you downy ocean, hon. (although nothing like your breathtaking photos of the beach!)

  35. great trip. if you can believe it we’ve still never been to dc aside from dulles airport. on the to-do list big time. great pictures girlie. that family looked wonderful!

  36. I’m so glad that there was actual grass near the monument when you went to D.C.! (Being there when it is actually winter with no grass is like being in a sand storm… only with dirt and rocks).

    I’m so happy to have seen these pictures plus the NYC pictures (and interview of course)! My two favorite cities :)

  37. As a girl from Baltimore- I’m so glad you got to experience crabs the way they are supposed to be.
    “Crabs and beer, it’s what Maryland does!”

  38. Who’s been watching Jude Law in The Holiday? LOL!
    Love it!! What a happy trip!

  39. We enjoyed some of the same sights in March last year. Visited sister in Richmond and she was kind enough to give us the quick-as-a-flash one day tour of DC. I walked the same path behind and in front of the White House. Bought the obligatory “I heart DC” t-shirt from the fun vendors right by the White House. Cried at the Vietnam Memorial, WW II Memorial AND Arlington Cemetery. Loved the Lincoln Memorial. Will go back one day and take more time to absorb.
    I really did heart DC. It is pretty impressive.

  40. Looks like everyone had a blast!
    Nice pictures, Kelle!

  41. We live in Richmond and love day trips to DC. Definitely gotta take Ella to Baltimore sometime soon to see the aquarium!

    Glad you had safe travels!!!

  42. hi kelle
    I have been coming to your blog for a while now, but don’t think I left a comment before
    well, there it is
    I love your blog, and the way you tell stories, and most of all your pics, you are an artist
    keep well
    vivi from argentina
    ps: loved!!! napkin head ๐Ÿ˜‰

  43. What adventures you and the girls are having! It has GOT to feel wonderful to get back home though. To unpack and not live out of a suitcase. As much as travel is an exciting experience, there most certainly is “no place like home”!

  44. I just finished a blog post about our weekend adventure in time to read yours. My husband and I keep talking about how we want to take our daughter to DC and NYC and all kinds of other places, but as she is only 9 months old it will be awhile before she can really enjoy it, I can’t wait to share things with her like you shared with your daughters this week.

  45. I so wish I would have known you would be in Baltimore…I live about 20 minutes from it! Looks like you had a great time with your girls. Now I am off to get my husband to get some crabs.

  46. As a mom of kids with food allergies, I am definitely envious today reading this post–how easily you can travel with your cuties! I hope you have many more great adventures as you introduce them to the world.

  47. It’s so weird to see the pictures of DC and watch as you walk all over my normal stomping grounds :)
    I am so glad you enjoyed it though! And I am getting super excited because I get to Skype with you in less then 6 hours…. :)

  48. Jude Law as Mr. Napkin Head… hot! i lOVE The Holiday! Maybe someday I’ll make it to Baltimore and do that touristy stuff with the kids :) I lOVE crab too! Never had a crab experience like that, but I hear and see they exist… yum! It’s always good to be back home! xx

  49. The hotdog stand you ate at in D.C. is a block away from my apartment…wish I could have gotten the chance to run into you, but I was stuck inside studying for finals :/

    Glad you enjoyed DC! (where all our grilled cheese sandwiches are EXTREMELY FANCY!)

  50. Great weekend pics, DC has the very best hot dog stands! I did a very Kelle Hampton thing last, I took my kids out before bed to watch the sunset! We stayed for the whole show, even watched the sky a bit after the sun was down. Baths and bedtime were late but so worth it, we had a wonderful time just being. Thanks so much for the encouragement!

  51. Love it! We were stationed in VA for years, and frequented DC. It is just so beautiful! Gorgeous little girls in those photos!!! Kelle, you’re a great Mama. XOXO

  52. Love that Nella is totally into the Napkin Head fun. :)

  53. Your quite the jet setter Kelle. Im going to email you about advertising! LOVE your pearl bracelet! XOXO

  54. Your post makes me miss DC! I used to live there before my husband got stationed in Texas, and it’s the little things like seeing The Monument every day that I miss. Glad you enjoyed your time there!

  55. I am exhausted following you!!! Happy you are home safely! What a fantastic trip! Katie

  56. Thank you for sharing your travels with us. :)

  57. OMG…… The napkin face is GENIUS! Now that I have seen this Im sure after consuming large amounts of alcohol I will have do join the club! When I was in my early 20’s I thought it was funny to wrap myself in toilet paper at the clubs/bar and turn myself into a mummy! Funny for all the drunks not so funny for the people that had to clean up my trailing toilet paper mess!

  58. LOVE the photo of Millie and her wind-blown Mama. Stunning. Also, recently ordered from Nella designs (linked to her from your sidebar) and am VERY happy with how it turned out! : )

  59. Seriously. The Holiday is one of my FAVORITE movies….except I can’t watch it anymore. I start lamenting that I never went to Europe on vacation by myself to stay in a cottage as a single girl and kissed a really HOT stranger that just happened to knock on my door and with whom I had an immediate passionate connection! DANG IT! Why doesn’t life actually happen that way? Hahahaha!

    *Lainey looks SO grown up on the plane!
    *AWESOME idea for puke bags!!!
    *Nella by the Washington monument….can I have her???
    *Love how Nella is looking at you as Napkin Head….she GETS what silly is :)
    *And a grilled toothpick in your burger???? EEEUUUWWW! hahaha!
    *The silhouette necklace….oh my beating heart!
    *Awesome family :)

  60. This post brought me so much JOY! From dandelions to secret-agent-wannabes to fancy napkin people… I was smiling the whole time! Thanks Kelle!

  61. I had to laugh at the White House grass commentary! My husband is a firefighter on a naval base, so the fire station is right near cargo planes and other Official Military Stuff. He was showing the kiddos and me around the station, and when we went outside to see some of the trucks I noticed a red painted line right nearby. There’s a sign posted saying that you can’t cross the red line; lethal force is approved in such cases. I was laughing about it the whole time – I mean, what if I stepped ON the line, just OVER the line? Would guys with guns descend upon us?

  62. Kelle, I just finished reading Bloom and I want you to know how much joy and hope it has bring into my life and the strength I have found on it to deal with my situation while getting a divorce. I keep holding on to that sentence from the trailer, that says that when your thought your world was collapsing, really it was just expanding and how to find beautiful opportunities even in the darkest hours. I also have a little girl who at 20 months has my life wrapped around her smile and every day with her is a new beginning. I think your daughters are beautiful, and even though I am so far away (South America) Nella has a place in my heart. Thank you for making a difference in my life with your words.

  63. Kelle, I just finished reading Bloom and I want you to know how much joy and hope it has bring into my life and the strength I have found on it to deal with my situation while getting a divorce. I keep holding on to that sentence from the trailer, that says that when your thought your world was collapsing, really it was just expanding and how to find beautiful opportunities even in the darkest hours. I also have a little girl who at 20 months has my life wrapped around her smile and every day with her is a new beginning. I think your daughters are beautiful, and even though I am so far away (South America) Nella has a place in my heart. Thank you for making a difference in my life with your words.

  64. Is there anyway that you could tell us where you got those amazing yellow pants? I’m loving them and you of course :)

  65. Baltimore looks lovely! I am lovin the yellow pants!

  66. I am in awe of your bravery. Traveling with 2 kids and all that entails is proof enough of your courage, but seriously, yellow pants? Way to make me feel inadequate. (I am joking of course.) You rock the traveling, the mom-ing, and the yellow pants-ing.

  67. You’re gonna have to come back and see D.C. with some IN TOWN D.C. mamas! One day it will happen! Glad you enjoyed our nation’s capital. It’s an amazing place to raise a family.

  68. Nella in DC just makes me smile!

  69. Oh Bawlmer, hon! Isn’t it the best (native here, unfortunately transplanted to PA, but longing to head back to my homeland)??? And the crabs, don’t even get me started, you can’t visit and not experience them, or you haven’t done the visit well! Glad that you had such a good time. Your little travelers are, as always, the absolute cutest!

  70. Kelle, I live in Balto!!!! I wish I had known you were here, I wouldve stalked you ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I just finished bloom – so awesome!!

  71. Welcome home.

  72. Welcome home.

  73. Being born and raised in Baltimore, Im glad you enjoyed our seafood style. Nothing beats it. Next time you’re in town, try some steamed srimp with vidalia onions. A fantastic dinner.

    And Im glad Baltimore treated you well. Its a fun place to live.

  74. I said this on Instagram last night…but then I remembered that I almost never look at what people say to me on there, so I figured I’d be all adult like and come here.

    I downloaded your book this weekend. It was wonderful. I cried through half of it. (The good kind of cry though, the soul fulfilling, heart swelling kind.) It was just that touching and as a mother I understood each word, each fear, each piece of pure love. I loved it. Absolutely loved it.

    Just wanted you to know that.

  75. I really enjoy reading your posts so much! It looks like a really fun trip! Sweet photos! I’ve looked in two different book stores for Bloom and they were sold out! I hope to find it this weekend. Congratulations!

  76. I am dying for the Nella designs jewelry! It is so cute! I finally finshed Bloom (YAY!) Every night at 11:30 reading this book has changed my life about this world and its people. Its taken me on a journey that I’ve never experienced before. PLEASE keep up the job of an author… I would love to add another book by you on my bookshelf!!!

  77. first of all – i love that you were in baltimore this weekend, b/c i too was in baltimore this weekend. saturday’s weather made the rest of the world jealous. and second of all – i too just bought those yellow anthro pants! love it! so glad you had a good trip to one of my favorite cities….

  78. Did you and Lauren plan your bright and cheery pants day for D.C?…lol I am glad you enjoyed Bmore! I <3 my town!

  79. I have a feeling that everyone at the white house was talking about how much fun “those girls in the orange and yellow pants” were having. Too funny about the not-really-a-Secret-Service-agent! What a fabulous trip and surprise!

    Jill B (Overland Park, KS)

  80. Kelle, I hate to say that I had never heard of you or your blog until I attended the DSAGSL Trivia Night/Silent Auction last month. I won your book in the auction. The day that I received it in the mail I opened it up and read the first chapter. I could not make it through the 2nd chapter because my eyes were full of tears. I felt like someone had written my story down on paper. I had a very similar experience as yours with the birth of my son who has Down syndrome. He is now 8. I am hooked on your blog, love to hear the stories and the pictures are priceless. Thank you!

  81. I’m sure you’re utterly overwhelmed with comments with the recent release of your delightful, honest, inspiring book. Still, I can’t resist the urge to tell you two things: first, I began reading your blog about a year ago and found myself wishing I had a child with down syndrome so you’re successfully changing the label “disability” to “privilege.” And second, I left Bloom on the couch while I made dinner and overheard my 4-year old little girl (whose only experience with ds is a little boy on her T-ball team whom she poignantly refers to as “her friend with special emotions”) say, look at the beautiful eyes on these babies. They’re so perfect!! They look like almonds!” it almost made me cry as I thought of the tender lesson Lainie taught you when Nella was born. It’s remarkable really how these little ones come out accepting and loving. It’s somewhat disheartening that we lose that unconditional instant love button as we get older but inspiring to see you motivating people to take back the button! So thanks! You’ve changed my entire perspective, and as such… Me ๐Ÿ˜‰

  82. Lainey ๐Ÿ˜‰ oops. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  84. There is just so much love to be found on your blog! It makes me happy everytime I read. :)

  85. GAH! Wish I’d known you were so close by… I would’ve killed to be at that Book Club meeting! Was that Bo Brooks, where you had crabs? Definitely one of the best places to get them – a Baltimore classic. Your hosts did a great job! The only spectacle you missed out on is football season… you would’ve had some hilarious photos to share had you been here in October, I’m sure! Anyway, glad you enjoyed your visit to B-more!

    On another note, I’m about halfway through Bloom. Kelle, I am feeling SO inspired to get up, grab hold of my life and rock it out. I’m getting ready to head back to medical school after two years off and a baby, and have been feeling SO overwhelmed (going back to school, leaving my baby in daycare, the daunting road stretching out ahead of me…etc). I’ve been letting that weight just sit on my shoulders and crush me, for months. Every time I pick up your book and read a few pages, I draw strength and motivation to take charge of it all – to really *own* this path I’m on.

    You’re amazing, and your message is going to change some lives. Seriously. Thank you so much for sharing not only your experience, but your *spirit*, with the rest of us. It’s not always easy to be so brutally honest and transparent for the world, but in doing so, you are able to reach deep into people’s hearts in a way that wouldn’t be possible without that kind of openness. THANK YOU, Kelle :-)

  86. I have just finished reading Bloom after waiting 2 weeks for it to arrive to my home here in Ireland. I have never cried as much reading a book. Happy and sad tears. You inspire me to live a fuller life, be a better mother, friend, sister. Your gratitude for your life bounces off each page. Even the hard bits you went through, you learned so much. I have nothing but admiration for you and your sheer honesty. I don’t have a way with words to express how your story has touched me. Just thank you for sharing.

  87. I have just finished reading Bloom after waiting 2 weeks for it to arrive to my home here in Ireland. I have never cried as much reading a book. Happy and sad tears. You inspire me to live a fuller life, be a better mother, friend, sister. Your gratitude for your life bounces off each page. Even the hard bits you went through, you learned so much. I have nothing but admiration for you and your sheer honesty. I don’t have a way with words to express how your story has touched me. Just thank you for sharing.

  88. Love that picture of Nella in the flowy dress blowing dandelion fluff. Had a good giggle about the Secret Service Agent episode – you can’t mess with girls on a mission! Hope the Bloom hoopla continues – our world will be a better place when more messages like yours get passed around and embraced.

  89. Snow cones were my absolute childhood favorite. Even though I live in bright, sunny, and warm So CA, I have yet to find a place that regularly sells them (you know, fresh made). Jealous, in a good way, to see you with one.

  90. oh…SO SWEET!!!


  91. The Yellow Pants:


    They’re sturdy. They took a good fall to the knee on hard cement and didn’t tear!

  92. And the orange ones?! :)

  93. I have a guilty confession.

    I didn’t want to buy your book. What I really wanted was to get it at my local library. NOT THAT I DIDN’T WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR SUCCESS, of course…. it’s just that I had this inkling that I would fly through it, unable to put it down. And the hubby frowns upon that when I’ve put down good money; he wants me to take time, to savor it. Well dammit, I couldn’t do it. The wait was killing me, there were a million holds on it before me, and I just wanted to OWN IT. I gave him the puppy dog eyes a few days ago at Target, and he bought it for me.

    Sigh…. he loves me.

    Of course I was right. I flew through it – because it was good, and I just wanted to read more, more more. I appreciate your writing style (in addition to your fashion style, of course) and your wit, and (although I never perceived you to be lofty by any means… in a good way, that is a compliment just so you know) you seem even more approachable, more down to earth in your book, if that’s possible.

    I am envious and in awe of your Net, we should all be so lucky. Your gratitude , recognition and true appreciation for the gifts the Net have given you personally and to your family is so refreshing and fills me with hope and inspiration.

    Thank you for sharing, is all I really wanted to say. I will now go back to the norm: anxiously awaiting your daily blog posts (with gratitude). I will try to be less of a lurker and more community minded going forward as well.

    I don’t regret using the puppy dog eyes trick, either, by the way. Girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

  94. Your book is amazing. I am mesmerized.

  95. Whoa, I think this is some of your best work ever. It looks like you privately reserved DC–not even in Forest Gump does the Capital look so personal and so meaningful…wow. You are amazing.

    Not only that, but it looks like you did the trip on your own with the two tots. Girl, I know how freaking hard that is and my hat’s off to how fabulous you look in spite of the fact that you are probably grueling it out as far as diapers and crazy schedules.

    Speaking of that….if you get a minute could you ever repost or direct me to your Cowgirl birthday party you did for Lainey a few years ago? My mom and I both combed your blog trying to find that archive and we missed it somehow….anyway, can’t wait to read your book, sending love, hoping we’ll run into you at your Michigan book signing one of these days. Proud to know you, even far in the past.

  96. I am the 23-year-old sister of the most handsome, charming, funny, inspiring 25-year-old young man with Down syndrome you will ever meet. I picked up Bloom at the library last week, and like everyone else, couldn’t put it down. I’m writing a book report on it for a grad school class in Social Work.

    I keep going back to what Carin said about how Lainey will feel one day about Nella, and how she will know things that no other sibling will ever understand. She has it exactly right. I wouldn’t trade my brother for anything in the world, and I know my life has been made a million times better because of him. And Lainey’s will be too.

    You’re touching a lot of lives. Thank you.

  97. I usually don’t comment but have been reading every blog entry since Nella’s birth. I am a native ‘Bawlmer’ but have lived in Texas for 7 years now and JUST THIS WEEKEND my husband flew in a bushel of crabs for a little birthday celebration for me! We had such a great time and I loved showing my fellow Texans how to really eat a crab! Those Maryland crabs are the best!!

    So glad you had a great time in a very sacred city for me — it is where my sweet Casey was born 8 years ago so it will always hold special memories for me.

    Looking forward to ‘meeting’ you on Skype soon!


  98. WHat is the name of the Crab place. I’m always looking for new places to go.

  99. What great pictures! Thanks for sharing!

  100. Just finished reading Bloom and made it through dry-eyed (fought them back many times)until the end where you thanked your family. Loved the book!

  101. I am a special education teacher and love your blog. I wish more of our parents were like you! Keep up the good work!

  102. Hi Kelle! Is that Nella’s picture on the NDSS newsletter this month??? Love it!! Love your blog!

  103. so far behind for comments ๐Ÿ˜‰ but i have to say as someone who lived in that area for a looooong time i LOVE this post. you totally captured so many of the things that make baltimore and DC as magical as they are. thank you! xo

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