A School Decision

I left off last Wednesday on a solitude sand booby high. And I do believe I went so far as to throw in that world-is-my-oyster stuff, which is true, yes. But so is reality, and the endcap to last week has been–well, I’m going to go with funny.

I had a little scare with the baby (went through this again, but everything’s fine), had several days of bad nausea (I’m telling myself it’s at a peak which means it’s about to fizzle soon), and I’ve been wrought with emotion over decisions regarding Lainey’s school this year. It’s been a good experience in accepting that there is so much out of our control; sometimes we just need to ride the wave.

While there have been numerous decisions we’ve made since Lainey was born, school feels like the most important one so far. With important decisions come many opinions. We’ve heard so many people who truly care about Lainey tell us what we should do–send her to kindergarten, homeschool, wait a year, send her to a different school, etc. I’ve considered them all and had lists of pros of cons written out for each choice. To be honest, any of them would have worked. But I had a first choice scenario that I felt was the very best fit for my child and our family, and it involved waiting and back-up plans and hoping. That’s a bit vague, but I’ll leave it at that.

Today, everything worked out perfectly–so much that I had a good grateful cry. Lainey will start kindergarten later this week, and I am a little bit sad and a lotta bit excited. As the week progresses, I’m sure I’ll have more to share, but tonight I am feeling this rush of motherly confidence. I listened to my own voice and overcame a few obstacles to obtain what I really wanted for my child. It worked out, and I feel so good about this choice.


I have a few emotions now to smooth out before our first big day. I will miss being with her–that’s the hardest part.


But I’m going to pack some damn good lunches and ask good questions after school. I’ll give big hugs when she runs to the car, clap the loudest at school musicals and make my presence known in every way I can. I will explore new ways to love–ways that involve letting go, standing back and cheering from the sidelines. I’m still there, and she will know that.


This one’s going to miss her sister though.


A few pics from our weekend:

Lainey’s buddy Aleena’s birthday party





Nella makes this face every time right before she dumps water on Brett’s head


After several days lounging around not feeling well, I decided it’s time to do something. A trip to Michaels and a few sheets of felt later, Lainey and I made the first little seasonal swag. I know. It’s August. But a girl’s got to have something to look forward to. More to come.


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 care to follow the feed.

And your #enjoyingthesmallthings photos. (If you use Instagram and have a photo that makes you happy, share it by using the hashtag #enjoyingthesmallthings. Yours may be chosen to be shared in a Friday post.)



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I have argyle on the mind for fall.


I have a lot of soaking up to do before school.



Leave a Comment
  1. Yay for big decisions!

  2. …and Brett’s face is the best. Looks like Lainey!

  3. Congrats to Lainey- kindergarten will be so fun!! The pics of Nella dumping the water on her daddy is hilarious, I love those faces, they need to be framed as a series :)

  4. I so feel you on this post. I too had a chorionic bleed in my last pregnancy (Zack is now 7 months old!). It was SO SO scary. Especially since I had miscarried just a couple months prior. I’m so glad baby is alright in there and sorry that you had to go through that type of scare again! :( AND my oldest son will be off to kindergarten 2 weeks from tomorrow. Such a crazy bag of mixed emotions we mommas face at all these milestones.

  5. School is such a big deal!! Your heart will break, but it is so worth it to watch them grow & learn!!

    You can do this, you were born to be a Mama!! She will do great with the awesome support of her family!!


  6. Glad you feel good with your big decision. It’s tough to be a mama sometimes.

    I have a feeling Lainey will love school and thrive there, and Nella might enjoy a few months of being solo. Then she’ll get to be the big sister/helper at home!

    Hope the nausea ends soon. That is truly the worst.

  7. I empathize with the toughness of the school decision. I asked you how that was going at one of your signings in MI in June and I totally appreciate all of the emotions you’re having about it all. I teach at a very non-traditional school in Ann Arbor and I have a toddler (who will be starting kindergarten – maybe – in 3 years!) and I think about this all. the. time.

    I can’t wait to read about Lainey’s (and your) adventures!

  8. Lainey will have a blast!

  9. Oh Kelle, I’m sorry to hear about your scare last week. It’s such a heart stopping, mind numbing feeling. I hope that you don’t have any more!

    I hear you about the nausea, surely it will be over soon for you!

    Lainey and school. I know you will probably get a whole heap of opinions here on this blog about what is best for Lainey. But you and Brett know her best, and you are some very capable parents so I’m sure you’ve done what is best for her.

    I hope everyone supports you in your decision, both here on the blog and in real life.

    Brett’s face after the water from Nella is priceless.

    Can’t wait to see those school lunches on IG.

  10. So happy for you, and so sorry for the scare… The face before and after nella dumping water on Brett’s head has to be the best two faces ever!!!

  11. Love the pictures of your girls. I especially loved the one of Nella and throwing water. It reminds me of our littlest who makes that face when we say, “Show us your crazy face!” Sorry you’re still not feeling well and for scares. I have had three kids and scares with all of them, not fun!! Hopefully soon you will be over the nausea and will be able to enjoy the rest of the pregnancy.
    Our middle gal starts kindergarten in two weeks and our oldest starts first grade. It is the first time that both are going to be gone all day. After four years of wishing for this moment, as it draws near, I know I will be sorry I wished so many of the crazy days away.

  12. Both of mine attended public kindy- hands down I am so glad they had that experience. Mine outgrew the public system and when they needed a change they made it clear. Our eldest was too impatient, and our youngest sick- public school mets the needs of many- just my two outgrew it- but, kindy was a terrific experience. I know she will have a terrific time!

  13. Did you rag roll Nella’s hair? We just did that to our Mia’s hair (1st grade) and it was PRECIOUS!

    Good for you on feeling at peace with your decision. My oldest is a Senior this year, and the youngest is in full day 1st grade and it feels weird to be moving in this new direction.

  14. The picture of Aleena makes me think of the “McKayla Maroney is Not Impressed” meme :)

  15. I’m so excited for Lainey and for you. Kindergarten is so much fun. But I know it can be scary too. My son started a few weeks ago and because he has an anxiety disorder (Selective Mutism) I was extremely nervous, much more so than I was with my older kids. However he’s gaining confidence and learning new things each day and that has been amazing to see.

    I hope Lainey has a wonderful year.

  16. Glad all is ok with baby. Not fun at all :(
    Making decisions that are mainly about your children is the hardest bloody thing, I’ve learnt. It was so much easier to make decisions when it only effected yourself. But now there is soooo much to take into consideration. Whatever YOU & BRETT choose, is what’s right – believe that. Lainey will thrive no matter what!!!
    Hope you feel wonderful again soon.

  17. I remember taking my oldest to kindergarten. She never looked back. I left with tears in my eyes. Now my third was a different story. Lainey will be fine. She is such a mature little girl with such a big heart.
    Love the face that Nella makes before and after dumping the water……your hubby face is so funny as well.

  18. I am so sorry for your scare and man, i hope that your nausea subsides in the very near future.
    i am both thrilled and anxious for you to hear that lainey love will be starting kinder on thursday! i cannot wait to hear ALL about it. it will be a time of growth for both of you.
    ps. thank you for the Fri Phone Dump feature! :)

  19. School is such a hard decision! My daughter will start school in a few weeks and I am not sure how I will handle it. I know it will be so good for her and she will do well, and I will miss her. It will give me time to spend with my 17 month old son and I think he really needs that time. I am excited for the new adventure.

  20. I am sending my oldest kiddo to kindergarten soon too. It’s hard and it’s bittersweet, but damn if it isn’t super exciting too!

    I am going to cry like a baby after I drop her off, but I am determined to put on a brave face for my Cate.

    I’m glad to hear all is okay with the baby.

  21. I agonized for months on the whole kindergarten issue. We finally came to a conclusion that we feel good about too. My oldest will be going to K on Monday. His 2 year old brother is going to miss him terribly! Thanks for sharing!

  22. My son doesn’t start kindergarden until next year but a couple of my close friends in the neighborhood will be sending their kids off at the same time. We have already made a pack to walk our children to school on the first day together, then go out for coffee afterwards and comfort each other as we cry over how big our babies are. It is so bitter sweet!

  23. I agonized for months on the whole kindergarten issue. We finally came to a conclusion that we feel good about too. My oldest will be going to K on Monday. His 2 year old brother is going to miss him terribly! Thanks for sharing!

  24. We do the best with what we have, and most of the time, just gotta trust our instincts. Especially the motherly ones someone great gave us!

    Love that you say “a little bit and a lotta bit”. I say that too, and I always crack myself up.

    And the picture sequence of Nella’s mischievous face, and then her giggle and Brett’s face as she dumps the water on his head, are…well…amazing. And touching.

    Thanks, Kelle!

  25. I am so glad to hear all is well with the baby.

    All of the big school decisions are coming our way for Adam next year.

    I just tried Jamberry nails this week! Pretty cool!

  26. I’m so sorry you had a scare. Glad everything is ok!
    School is a hard decision. I went through the same thing with my daughter as she has an August birthday.

  27. I remember having to make the same school decision when my oldest was getting ready for school. She was my baby, still just 3! I wasn’t going to send her. I decided she was too young. And then 5 days before school was to begin I changed my mind. I decided it was the right thing for her. We had a new baby coming and I thought school would give her something that was hers. In the end it was the right decision. She flourished! She loved school and she made some great friends. She’s starting grade 5 this year and she still hangs with some of those same friends. ( she’s made many new ones along the way.) My baby is going to be in Senior Kindergarten EVERY DAY ALL DAY this fall ( last year in JK she only went every other day. ) and I’m sad. I am going to miss her so much but I know it’s the right decision for her. She loves school and can’t wait to be there every day! Lainey will have so much to tell you at the end of the day! Your time together will be so much more precious! I can’t wait to hear all about her first day!

  28. I work at a Charter School and I’ve seen mothers sob when they didn’t get their children in. Our Children deserve the very best we can provide, and those decisions don’t come easy.

  29. Thank you! I need to read about another momma who sends a kid to school everyday.

  30. My big boy started Kindergarten two weeks ago and it’s been so wonderful for him…and getting easier on me day by day. Many a tear were shed on my pillow in the nights leading up to that first Kindergarten morning. As a former Kindergarten teacher I preached to parents that it would undoubtedly be more difficult for them than it would be for their little one. I’ve never uttered truer words! Much like Nella will miss Lainey, my Soren misses his Nolan like mad. The best part of our day is meeting him at the bus stop with hugs, but I am completely relishing the alone time with my baby, too. Life is full of two sided coins!

  31. Oh Kelle, you poor thing. I am so sorry that you went through “that” again. When I read “this”, I knew what you were referring to. I am so happy that you and your little are well nevertheless, that must have been an wholly terror of a time! I miss my kiddos terribly everyday that they are at school and cherish all I can when we are together! Good luck on letting Lainey spead those beautiful wings of hers!

  32. I knew this kindergarten thing would be hard…and I hurt most for Nella remembering when my brothers went off to school and left me home alone…but BUT she will be the big sister soon and the new role model..time moves fast..happy school daze to all…enjoy!

  33. So happy you and baby in utero are okay! I knew what you meant before I clicked on the link. Lainey starts kindergarten, wow! Oh, mama… 3 more years until Z starts, but I may enter him in Pre-K. SO many decisions! xx

  34. My first daughter starts school in 1 week also… and OH the emotions. Tomorrow is our last day off together before school and I feel so sad to see this time go- even though I know she is ready.

    Your post is timely for me as usual :) As I too am letting go and standing back, too.

  35. Oooooohhhhhhhh….that picture of Nella takes my breath away.

    I rarely ever comment, and the few times I have tried I have had trouble signing in, so it either gets really screwed up or completely lost. But here I am, trying again :)

    Anyway, what I want to say is that it is so wonderful that you feel good about your decision with Lainey. I am so happy for you — not that you feel all settled with everything right now, but you’ve definitely done one of the hardest parts (making the initial decision) of this awful school choosing thing. And you know, I have a feeling that this is one of those times where you will grow up as a mom and a person just as much as she will. Looking at the picture of you in the pool, knowing what you and Lainey are about to start together, I thought, “wow, she’s going to grow up some and it’s going to be so good. This is one of those ‘jumps’ in life where you have to close your eyes and let your stomach drop for a bit, but in the end it changes you for the better and teaches you again that you are ALIVE, always evolving to the next stage.”

    I’m also really sorry about your nausea. I went through that big time, and it downright sucks. Pregnancy sickness is truly the reason that we adopted our third child, so in the end even my horrible, endless nausea produced some incredible and beautiful things in my life — both my second and, in an indirect way, my third child. Hang in there. You’re making a baby and that’s hard work. But way, way, way worth it.

  36. Lainey is going to be the best dressed girl in her class. I love seeing her style. Love the picture of Nella dumping water on Brett’s head and the one before…priceless. Praying for a smooth transistion later this week for you all.

  37. the picture of Nella pouring water on Brett and his expression is so sweet. so tender. made me smile.

  38. My big girl started kindergarten today! We were both nervous but excited. When she came out after school she had a big grin on her face and said, “Mom, I loved it! Can I go back tomorrow?” :) Tip to mama on the first day, dark sunglasses. Lainey won’t be able to see the happy, bittersweet tears.

  39. It’s a big decision! I’m deciding whether or not to put my son in preschool and it seems there is so much pressure to “get on the wait list for the good schools”. He’s only barely 3. Still a baby. Your little girl is going to do great because you know her well and know what’s best for her!

  40. Proud of you for making the right decision for your family. All those options will be in the table for us in 3 years and I am already dreading the pressure from friends and family about which choice is the right one. Take a lot of courage and confidence to trust your instincts. Your her mama- you know her best. Can’t wait to hear about how it goes. xo

  41. Okay, that picture where Nella pours the water on Brett? Priceless! His face, hers, the whole thing! I’m sure Lainey will SHINE as will you in the role of mama to a kindergartner. Much luck to you both!

  42. Kelle,
    I am a long time reader, but I have never commented. I am a former Kindergarten teacher, a current elementary school principal and a proud mommy of two. I thought about commenting when you were making your school choice, but stayed silent.

    All I want to say is this. If you, as a mom, feel good about your school decision, it is the right one. Folks put too much energy into the homeschool, private school, public school debate. None of these things are inherently good or bad… What matters more is who the folks are in that particular place and how it works with your family dynamic. I think it is wonderful that you took the time to think through all of your options and decided what works for LAINEY.

    Make sure you spend time with her in the next few days really talking about school and what she will experience. The only thing you lost by waiting this long is the long summer before school starts when you can daydream with your child about what school is like.

    Good luck to all of you!

  43. I love those pictures of Nella dumping the water on Brett :) Such a cutie! Your family is beautiful, glad baby is ok!

  44. Such a tough decision and one that we all make according to what is best for us and children. My 4 yr-old grandson has a year to go and I dread his mommy going thru this difficult decison-making. Frankly, I am for him being home schooled just cuz they do not live in a good school district. But I just pray and trust that best outcome will occur. I am sure he will be fine. Lainey will be fine. And Nella will be fine, once she adjusts to sister being gone. Love from your blog mama ~

  45. Picture number one, swing smile picture and smiling water dump pictures are my favorites. Did I ask you already if you follow Noah’ s Dads blog?

  46. I didn’t have a tough choice – my only choice (because of our personal situation) was to send my little boy to kindergarten this fall. I have never been happier in my life (however last week I don’t think I would have said this). My son has matured into a new person in a matter of days – and I am SO excited to see how he is going to grow, mature, and learn over the next 13 years of his school life!

    We grilled out with friends at the end of last week who knew he had started school that week. They showed their interest (men in their late 20s) by asking, “How’s school going dude?” To which my 5-year-old replied, “Too much to talk about… and I’m gonna be so busy there tomorrow that it’ll be too much to talk about tomorrow, too!” Then turned on his heel with a smirk and walked away.

    Not to mention, he has a little boy named “Jesus” in his class. My babe can read, so he reads this as “Jesus” – the name we all use from going to church. However, I’m sure the little boy’s name is pronounced, “Hey-zoos”, but my son thought it was just awesome that he had “Jesus” in his class!

  47. I’m so glad that you and the baby are okay.

    I love the pictures, especially the one taken after Nella dumped the water on Brett’s head. That’s priceless.

    Best of luck to everyone as Lainey starts school. Zoe is started preschool soon and I’m nervous…she’s so excited. I know it’s the right thing; it’s just hard to handle the change.

  48. Praying for you and the baby. I’m so sorry you’ve had the bleeding again, so scary.

    How wonderful that your first choice option for Lainey came through!


  49. Yay for Lainey going to school rough decision for me as I’m now making it single! But we’re making through and I have faith that we can stil give them what they need

    In another note, I thought etst had an instragram post of how to DIY shellac and this girl needs to be hooked up! Thanks!

  50. I love Kindergarten! Our public school Kindergarten is just 3 hours each day, so I send all mine to Kindergarten and then we homeschool them for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and sometimes 4th grades. Then they go to the 5th grade again in public school, and after that it’s their choice; homeschool or public school. By that time, they’ve had a taste of each. I know this sounds crazy, but this is what works for us. My #8 child will start Kindergarten this fall, and our last “baby” is entering preschool. I have two in college, one in her senior year in high school, two middle schoolers, and two in the elementary grades. They have all both homeschooled and went to “regular” school — because I know that both ways have good things to offer, I couldn’t just pick ONE way. I had to have a taste of both! It gives them both experiences, too.

    Good luck with Lainy’s firt day of school — bring tissue!

  51. That “before” picture of Nella, and “after” picture of her and Brett are two of the most adorable pictures EVER. Oh my goodness.

    I just sent my baby off to Kindergarten this year. I now have an empty house in the morning and it’s a little hard, but I’m trying to focus on how happy I am to see them both when they get home.

  52. Rest easy knowing you will always make the best decisions for your children.

    Nella’s hair is amazing.

  53. Yay yay yay! It sounds like something great happened that made all the pieces of the puzzle fit together so that you can feel good about school :-) School can be such a great thing! I so admire homeschoolers, and I know you would rock that out, but every year – every child – every moment is a new decision. For now this is a great decision, and you will see her grow in so many wonderful ways. When Michael hit 3rd grade I took him home for a year. Lots of reasons – it just seemed right for us then, and it was. I was kind of a terrible homeschooler, but he did okay :-) One thing I’ve always done is to say, “Be kind!” when I let them off at the door. I think that’s one of the great lessons to learn at school is how to be a good friend, or how to friend somebody who is friendless. I also sometimes lean out and yell, “Walk like a chicken!” as they run, stiff-backed into the school so that their friends don’t hear, but that’s another story. Love you!

  54. So sorry about the scare for your family!

    Hurrah for your decision! It is so tough to choose just the right thing for your family. We fostered to adopt, and our little guy came to us at 1. Even at 1, there was HUGE pressure to begin him in preschool, yet we wanted him home, close, sprinkling him with love. In the end it was just the right choice – he was soon past physical and occupational therapy. And, by the therapists and social workers admittance, he was a new boy.

    We chose to homeschool, and have no regrets. (Even when some around us had very strong opinions!)

    God Bless

  55. Glad to hear New-baby is OK. Anything “off” during those first few weeks, especially, is always a fright! But, oh the Kindergarten! Girl, you must be a rock. My boys are homeschooled. I’m the teacher, and I got all weepy during our opening prayer and national anthem knowing that two of my boys were old enough for school. One of them is even “official” this year! What happened to my babies?!?!?! Life is so full of bittersweet and decisions. But if everything was always completely sweet and easy we would never appreciate those times. It takes the bitter and the challenges, too. Blessed wishes for Lainey, Nella, New-baby, and mama as a new door is passed through :-)

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  57. Would it be a tad bit awkward if I put that picture of Brett and Nella on my mantle? I kid, of course, but really, it’s that awesome.

  58. So glad things worked out the way you had hoped. Sounds like you were in a school lottery and it went in your favor. Ours didn’t for Kindergarten or 1st and I’m convinced our school system here is in a whirlwind of chaos – BUT I know it will be ok. Because Ethan is awesome and he has 2 parents who love him to pieces and will make sure he gets the very best of life we can give him. Lainey is going to LOVE being independent and it will make her love and bond for Nella grow even stronger having some time to miss each other each day – it happened with my boys. I can’t wait to see how your oldest rock star makes her entrance on the 1st day!

  59. Being happy about your school decision is all that’s necessary. If you’re happy with it, it’s really no one else’s business.

    Glad you got over the scare.

    Nella’s face. . . oh, my, and Brett’s a good sport. :)

  60. Nella’s hair with those long golden curls is absolutely gorgeous!
    It’s a little bit shocking when I see it b/c it’s usually in pig tails and straight but those curls…WOW and double WOW!!!!

  61. She is going to love school! And as the Principal’s Secretary at an elementary school, I can honestly say that the office is gonna love Lainey’s mama too…you will be so involved in her school and probably volunteering, they are just going to love having the Hampton’s as part of their school. Have fun this week soaking up your girl!

  62. my oldest will be going to K in a week as well so we can swap tears and happy cheers! many hugs, it’s a lot all at once with the pregnancy etc. too bad my harry bear and nella can’t have play dates while the big kids are at school!

  63. The start to many very Big and Hard decisions, you have to just go with your heart. There are going to be so many more hard choices in life and you will know what is right, nothing is ever permanant. Hope you feel better soon.

  64. Nella’s hair–oh my. How gorgeous.
    So glad the littlest is hanging in there, even if s/he gave you a scare. Hopefully that signals the end of nausea.
    And I look forward to hearing you write about how much Lainey loves school. Because she just seems like the type of girl who will thrive there, and who will be very excited to tell her mom all about it.

  65. It is a big decision but you are her mama and you know her best and what’s best for her! She is going to be a champ and love the new experiences she will have! Absolutely LOVE the picture of Nella and Brett right after she pours the water on his head!

  66. So sorry that you had such an emotional week…and so happy that everything has worked out so well. Congrats on the school decision and success; I look forward to following your kindergarten journey, as neither of my girls are in school yet. :)
    I am a third grade teacher, and since having my kids I tear up seeing the new kindergartners each year (as well as at any assemblies they sing at…they aren’t even my kids!!) I’m sure I’ll be a mess when we get to that point, but I know I’ll be thrilled for a new adventure as well. You got this 😉

    Oh, and so fun to see my girls on your IG phone dump. :)

    Here is to a new, exciting week!


  67. If you don’t already read this blog, please do read this entry:


    Sweetest symmetry here, in her family and in yours.

    Good luck! I made a similar decision 4 years ago, to try public school (you can always pull her out and homeschool her at any time), and it all worked out very well. I love having the homeschool option in my back pocket in case things get rough (middle school, anyone?), but so far so good.

  68. Dear Kelle – Today, my daughter, k, started kindergarten. Like you, I agonized over all the choices.
    Well, the big day arrived. Parents, students, and siblings gathered outside waiting for the outer doors to the kindergarten classrooms to open, snapping pictures, meeting new friends, and greeting old ones. K’s teacher opened the door to her classroom and asked her students to line up. K ran off in flash, lined up, and was poised to charge into the classroom. In all the excitement, I realized, sadly, that she hadn’t hugged her mom, dad, or little sis. (And believe me, we are a family of big XXOOs- – in fact, there’s SNL skit that resembles our family affection…) But she was clearly ready, so I held my tears, I held my hugs, and I stood back and watched. Seconds later, I saw a look of shear panic cross her face. She scanned the crowd of oogling parents, locked eyes with mine, and came dashing towards me. “Ah, you need a hug, baby?” I said, smiling with relief and selfish gratitude that she needed me. “No, just my backpack”, she said cooly, freeing the backpack from my shoulder and skipping back into the line.
    Standing back and watching. A new chapter begins.
    I can’t wait to read about Lainey’s new chapter.
    Best wishes – Michelle

  69. So happy that you are happy with your schooling decision! That is what really counts. Lainey will thrive with new friends and new learning experiences (and yet will always need her mom & dad). And Nella, while she will definitely miss Lainey at first, can have Momma all to herself for a while and then enjoy being the “big sister” to your new baby (at least during school hours). It’s hard to send them off to someone else for the day. I remember…I am sending my “baby girl” off to the University of Michigan next week and I so wish it was her first day of kindergarten! Also, glad your pregnancy is going o.k. now. I, too, had chronic bleeding and that “baby” ended up just fine and is now a 22 year old college graduate (who is back home – they all come back!). Time flies…Relax, feel better and enjoy every minute you have with them all. Everything works out the way it is supposed to. Good luck with all ~

  70. I’m glad all was well with baby. In my second pregancy I bled a lot, in fact I bled so much the first time for 5 days that I thought I had a period and had no idea I was pregnant, it happened again a few weeks later. Everything worked out fine.
    My son starts school in two weeks too (pre-K but its at our regular ‘big’ school and 5 half days a week), like Nella, my Violet is really going to miss him. But I think he is ready.
    Take it easy Kelle, looking forward to hearing all about Lainey’s first day at school.

  71. Gorgeous girls and gorgeous pics as always.
    The one where Nella is laughing after dumping the water on her Daddy is hilarious!!
    I feel for you, as I have sent three of my four off to school and next year my 4th who is my baby will also start Kindergarten.
    I have been crying off and on about it all year and she doesn’t start until Feb here in Australia.
    She will be fine of that I have no doubt, but I am already grieving the loss of this stage of my life.
    No more babies or toddlers.
    At least it is only 5 days a fortnight, but still, this is unfamiliar territory for me after four kids and 10 years of parenting.
    I really am no good at letting go and moving into the next phase, so I understand how you feel.
    I cried each time I sent one off to school and each time they thrived and I adjusted. Except this time it will be just me waving goodbye and no little person still in my arms or holding my hand.
    Embrace this new phase for Lainey (and for you) and enjoy the time with Nella and the new baby to come.
    I have adored all of it and I am so glad I got to be a sahm to enjoy it all!
    My biggest thing is what to do now for me? I guess if I just let go and trust in the process then that will reveal itself too.
    Thinking of you and Miss Lainey and Nella too.
    You will be an awesome Mum at cheering her on and creating new traditions at home with Nella.

  72. I literally LOL’d at Nella’s little face before she dumps the water on Brett, and the picture after she does it is even funnier.

    Glad everything is okay w/ baby too. Have had a few scares in my pregnancies and it never gets easier. Ugh…once you have a miscarriage you’re never the same….

    I hear you on the school thing. I am sending my 4 year old to preschool this year (she went last year) but I was contemplating homeschooling because she has severe food allergies and well, preschool is just freakin’ expensive, and we just moved to a new state, etc…. But, I am letting go (again) and sending her. She will be ok, and so will Lainey. Whatever decision you make is ALWAYS the right one mama!

    These nail things seem pretty cool. Wonder how hard they are to cut to match your nail size?

  73. My little Lainey started Kindergarten today. I was torn with the decision, too, as she’s a September baby. I might very well have her repeat this grade due to her age.

    I’ve been a mess for weeks trying to decide between Preschool and Kinder. But, we live in California and the state says kids have to be 5 by December. Seems too young to me. Even September. Time will tell. We’ll learn a lot this year.

  74. I’m so overcome with emotion at the thought of Lainey starting kindergarten in just a few days! It’s hard to believe it’s already that time. How exciting for her! And you, of course. I can’t wait to hear all about her first day of school!! :)

  75. I’m so overcome with emotion at the thought of Lainey starting kindergarten in just a few days! It’s hard to believe it’s already that time. How exciting for her! And you, of course. I can’t wait to hear all about her first day of school!! :)

  76. I love Nella’s curls. Braids?

  77. I’m glad you are feeling some peace with your decisions – and that baby is well (and hope you get some relief soon)
    But…….those pictures of Nella and Brett are maybe my best pictures ever. On this blog, heck on any blog. Just priceless.
    Good Luck Lainey (and Mama and Nella)

  78. Love that pic of Nella and hubs…. She looks so ornery! and her smile is to-die-for!

  79. I’m a public school k teacher, and our first child is entering kindergarten in another district this fall–I share all your emotions, but I know it will be great!! kindergartners LOVE school! The whole year is such a scream! And you are so lucky you’ll be able to be involved!

  80. feeling it with ya….sending my first daughter to pre-school next week – could not be more excited for her and yet so sad to reach the first of so many of these milestones. I will miss her and her lil’ sis will too! But I will get to spend some QT with the little one, and I look forward to that. LOVE the photos of Nella with the water!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE! Priceless! (love the nail thing too – I love shellac- still have the last bits on the tips of my nails from april, ha!)

  81. School decisions ARE so hard. My daughter has a late/on the line birthday. I felt so strongly that she was ready for Kindergarten when she was 4 turning 5. So I went ahead and send her to school despite lots of advice to the contrary. There have been some bumps along the way especially in the those first few years, and I second guessed myself. She’s in 5th grade now, and I’m so happy I sent her when I did. She’s just where she needs to be. I had to make other decisions for my other children based on their own needs and readiness, but yes trust yourself.

  82. my little guy started kindergarten last week…and he loves it…me…i miss him.
    here is my sappy post about it…


    good luck to lainey…and you! :)

  83. Decisions are always hard, but especially when they involve the ones we care about the most. Lainey (and mama!) will do great in kindergarten. My big girl starts her elementary school voyage tomorrow. Thre will be tears ( from mama, not from kindergartener), but they will be both sad and happy, all mixed together in the most beautiful way (and I’m gonna try my hardest not to shed them until she is safely tucked away with her adorable, loving teacher and 18 other 5 year olds…). But I know she is gonna rock it like a hurricane ?…just like she does everything else. We have prepared them, we will continue to love and guide and cheer them on (I like what you said about clapping the loudest, etc…) and they will do fabulously well. I am excited to be embarking on this new phase with you. It will be fun. Promise? Promise!

  84. I love the garland!!! Will need to do something like this for sure!

  85. I hope all is well. I love Nella’s face after she poured water on her Daddy, so funny. Always go with your own Momma feelings. Your kids will be happy and confident because you are happy and they know they are loved, no matter where they travel in life. It will be a lot of fun. Get lots of rest. Take care!

  86. Yay for Lainey!! And for you in being comfortable in your decision. Nella will miss her of course but think of all the things you will.learn about Nella having that one on one time with her! Especially before another one arrives. Best wishes to your school girl!

  87. Love the swag for fall! What did you use string or yarn?
    Also how big are the circles? Love fall! My baby (DS) will
    Be starting preschool in the morning and kindergarten in the
    Afternoon . Not ready for this, but she is so excited for school, so that helps!

  88. So glad to hear baby is okay. I had a chorionic bleed with my 3rd pregnancy and also with my 4th (and current) pregnancy. There is no sweeter sound then hearing that tiny heartbeat after the scare!!
    Good Luck with the rest of your pregnancy and I will be growing right along with you – although not looking as cute!! :-)

  89. I am so happy all is well with your growing bundle :) I too had a scare with my son (I had a previous miscarriage as well) so I know that feeling and its just awful. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers for a healthy mama and baby <3 My son also starts Kindergarten in two weeks. I am having a really hard time letting go. Its always been me and him (and his little sister) and I am nervous to let go and trust that he will be taken well care of. I know he will, but I will just miss him. A mama’s love is something so strong…

  90. Enjoy your last week of summer! I’m sure Lainey will love kindergarten :)

  91. that’s what you have to do…listen to your own whispers and go with that. she will do awesome and you will enjoy some sweet alone time with nella before the baby comes. trust me you will really treasure that. btw the faces she makes cracks me up. that girl is somethin’ else!

  92. Trust your gut….mam does know best! AND about those damn good lunches?….I made them with love EVERY day,(be sure and include a note!) xoxo
    Bug & Ruby’s Gram

  93. Oh, I can’t wait to hear about Lainey’s first day of school. :)

    Love the pic of Brett and Nella pouring water of him. ha!!

  94. so exciting for lainey to start school !!

    and that birthday picture, awe! they are all matching!

  95. This is the first time I have ever commented. This made me cry. I have 2 little girls, and I will be dealing with school soon enough. The baby days pass way too fast. I love your blog, book, girls, honesty…everything.

  96. your awesome….thank you for writing!

  97. I feel you about the fall. I’m itching to make something that screams FALL!!! My son has the same problem. :)

  98. I am dying over the pictures of Nella and Brett! Their faces are priceless!

  99. oh hi martha cordelia washington. and think of all the new kids you gain when lainey has besties and you are fairy classroom god mother. youll haul in there with glitter spilling out of your purse.

    happy school days lainey!

  100. My favourite photos from this post are the two of Lainey jumping into the pool, and the two of Nella dumping the water on her dad’s head! :)

  101. Here’s what I don’t understand. You talk about wanting to challenge yourself in writing, that you’re too comfortable writing “what feels good and easy, and while that’s great, that’s not the kind of writer I want to be.”, but yet you leave out the little bit of controversy surrounding homeschooling? It’s an important topic to me and I wish a real writer, with an audience, would step up. Use those muscles.

  102. Having come in on your blog last year with the ABCNews article on your daughter, I just went back to that hallmark entry you made on January 28, 2009, the first post you made following the birth of Nella. Having really only been following your life since happier times, it’s eye-opening to go back and reread those darker times. It puts into perspective just how far you’ve come since then, and how much you’ve grown as a family.

  103. Hi Kelle, I found your blog through another, Momastery, and quickly fell in love. Searching through your archives I found the original post of your chorionic bleed. Totally seredipitious as I’m due late January and dealing with a stubborn one right now. I’m grateful that you can write with optimism about it as it certainly doesn’t feel optimistic to me all the time. Here’s hoping for a positive and healthy outcome for us both!

  104. Hi Kelle, I found your blog through another, Momastery, and quickly fell in love. Searching through your archives I found the original post of your chorionic bleed. Totally seredipitious as I’m due late January and dealing with a stubborn one right now. I’m grateful that you can write with optimism about it as it certainly doesn’t feel optimistic to me all the time. Here’s hoping for a positive and healthy outcome for us both!

  105. Doobie,
    While I respect your strong feelings on the subject, I don’t think the issue of a parent choosing homeschooling, private or public schooling should be controversial. I was homeschooled and have wonderful things to say about it. Someday maybe that’s what we’ll choose. To be honest, I am bored with issues regarding personal decisions in parenting such as bottle vs. breast, public/private vs homeschooling, etc. becoming topics of “controversy,” and that’s certainly not the kind of writing I want to do. There are a number of moms out there who choose different ways to educate their children. I applaud them all for making decisions that work best for their families and for their children.

  106. Awe :-) Kindergarten is bittersweet. My son, Benjamin, started last week. I did my best not to cry in front of him (or cling to his leg).

    He was in preschool last year and I sobbed unexpectedly at his Christmas Concert.

    I enjoy really enjoyed making his lunches for preschool. He had a lunchbox with a chalk board on the lid so I got to leave him little notes.

    Many blessings to you all as you start this new journey!


  107. We are blessed with 4 children at home and are adding 3 more children in the next few weeks. We are incredibly blessed to homeschool our brood. I had thought of myself as a rather strict homeschooler, yet, instead, I am very relaxed. We plan to start up a bit late this year and simply school later into the summer to make up for the time lost.

    The first year we add to the family (via adoption) we emphasize character qualities, language development, and bonding, as opposed to academics. Should be a fun and relaxed homeschool year and I think that is the most important thing about any type of schooling. It has to be fun and it has to be relaxed. Who can learn while stressed?

  108. I can hardly stand Nella’s cuteness, so I must comment. That look of interest at the window reminds me of my Taylor girl, only a few mo’s older than Nella. So stinkin’ cute! I love the crazy hair after taking out the twirly buns too.. ugh..

  109. Sorry to hear about your scare. Glad everything is okay.

    Best wishes on Lainey’s new kindergarten adventure. I’m sure that she will love it.

  110. Take care of yourself beautiful momma! Good Luck to Lainey and the whole family as she embarks on her school adventure. And those cup-full-of-water expressions are simply adorable.
    Many hugs from Tejas,

  111. Glad all is well with the littlest babe. Kindergarten is hard and good and fun and tough all together. My boy started Monday and his little brother misses him too. In fact, when we dropped Boone off on the first day, as we were finally getting ready to go, and Boone was still sitting at the table, Slade tells him, “Bubba…come!” with the most confused look on his face. But he made it, and I made it, and Boone made it too. Best of wishes to Lainey, Nella and Kelle. Y’all will do great.

  112. “I don’t think the issue of a parent choosing homeschooling, private or public schooling should be controversial.”

    Oh I so agree! That’s why I flinch when it seems people shy away from talking about it. Just the act of purposely being vague tends to invite more controversy. I hate that anyone feels the need to do that.

  113. Read your book in 3 hours.

    Love it. Love you.

    We’re so different, but oh, how we love our babies the same.

    Thanks so much for your metaphors; and for your oscar-award-winning life moments.

    Fifth grade teachers-turned-mommas forever!!


  114. Hi Nella, Lainey and their mom,
    My name is Jenna, and your girls are beautiful. Nella is an inspiration and I love her smile. Lainey, is entering kindergarten, yeah what a big step for you and her, I will be thinking about both of you on that day. I was born with a rare life threatening disease, 14 medical condtions, and developmental delays.

  115. I was so worried something was wrong with the baby. Glad to hear things are fine. Prayers and positive thoughts that everything stays fine and you get over the sickness soon. That is the worst! I lost over ten lbs. at the beginning of each of my pregnancies, yuck! Also bravo to you for making a decision about school! I really felt like a grown up for the first time when my husband and I had to make the same decision two years ago for our daughter. We chose school too and she is an awesome flourishing first grader this year!

  116. I think you made the perfect decision for your family and for Lainey. I think she is gonna love it and I think you will eventually too (even though you’ll miss her a little/lot too). :)

  117. I’ve been wondering what you are going to do. I’m a public school teacher and ironically enough I have absolutely no judgement about what parents chose to do with their kids in terms of school, because I truly believe every one of us is just doing the best that we can.

  118. Must read this book with Lainey before Thursday! “Llama , Llama Misses Momma”. It’s about how a shy little Llama feels on his first day of school. So sweet!

  119. Oh ma gosh, those 2 pictures of Nella and Brett are so AWESOME! I can’t decide who’s funnier, they actually made me have a big belly laugh. Good stuff!

  120. OMG, the photo of Nella with Brett and the water made me LOL! So funny! Truly caught the moment there in photos. Our daughters are only a few weeks apart in age (both of them :) and our 2 1/2 y.o. makes the same adorable face. Can’t help but smile. And thank YOU for the smiles tonight :)

  121. OMG, the photo of Nella with Brett and the water made me LOL! So funny! Truly caught the moment there in photos. Our daughters are only a few weeks apart in age (both of them :) and our 2 1/2 y.o. makes the same adorable face. Can’t help but smile. And thank YOU for the smiles tonight :) And Lainey will be just fine. She is so ready to start this next chapter in her sweet little life and you, too! I LOVE making packed lunches for my soon-to-be Kindergartner… invest in a PlanetBox! And I have no ties to them. It is fun for me to actually make her lunches everyday to put a little fun when she opens that box for lunch and with excitement wonders what’s inside today :) Have fun with it! And so glad your pregnancy is going fine~

  122. Doobie,

    Thank you for clarifying. My vagueness is because our choice involves some district rules re: school zoning, and I want to respect anyone reading this blog that might be within our district or have opinions about particular schools here.

    I could write a thesis on respecting parenting choices though…and maybe that’s good food for thought for a future post.

    Thank you again for the clarification–I get what you’re saying.

  123. I was waiting for this post! I can’t wait to hear how she does. Like you, I live in Florida and my son just turned 4, and I am choosing to NOT send him to VPK this year. But, also like you, we will probably send him to a public or private kindergarten next year. However, since he will not be attending preschool this year I am “hearing it” from so many people about how it is the wrong decision and how he will absolutely NOT be prepared for kindergarten because I am opting to keep him at home with me one last year instead of sending him to VPK. Why do people think that families can’t prepare kids for school? People make preschool seem mandatory these days. God gave us our children to enjoy! I am anxious to see how she does, please be honest in telling about the first day/week. If she cried and clung to you and didn’t want to go, please write that. And if she happily skipped off not even turning back, then write that too. Whatever happens, we’ll all learn and grow from. And in the end, it will all turn out ok. We have to believe that! I really struggled with deciding on VPK or no VPK and now that I have decided to not send him, I have to be positive, not look back, and make it the best year for us! Can’t wait to hear how the first week goes!!

  124. My girl is only 2 and reading about Lainey going to school, and you missing her, brought me to tears. I love seeing Brett with the girls – the Nella-water-dump is a classic face. You’ve given Lainey the tools for K. She’ll spread her wings!

  125. God Bless your little bebe’ growing inside……..I haven’t been pregnant for 23 years, but after several losses and scary pregnancies- I can almost feel your pain~ take good care dear Kelle~so many of us are praying for your! xo

  126. I am so sorry about your scare. So glad that things are okay. I had similar issues with my third pregnancy. She really kept us on our toes. We are celebrating her 10th b-day today :-)

    Re: school- I always thought I would send my kids to private school because that is where I attended school. But, when it came time to send our first born to pre-k we ended up at a public school where my aunt was the principal. I realized,after witnessing my son flourish in the diversity of the classroom- under the care of extremely qualified and compassionate teachers , I had been so closed minded before. My oldest is now a junior in hs. We have committed to public school because it works for us- despite some of the challenges of attending a school in a poor inner city district. My point- I truly admire your open mind- your willingness to allow what is best for your kids to reveal itself to you. What works for some- does not work for others. Thank you for driving home the fact that it is not a question about whether one option is better or superior than another- it is simply a question of where will my child thrive and be nurtured enough to be instilled with a love of learning, be given a chance to reach and succeed her potential? Lainey will do great no matter where she is because you are so mindful of her individual strengths and challenges. Enjoy this first year of school. You’ll blink and be looking for colleges soon enough.

  127. Good luck to your big girl going to school- I can imagine its an emotional time especially when you are pregnant. My little one is 19 months and I can’t imagine her going to school just yet- although I do leave her to go to work most days.



  128. School decisions are the hardest. You know what’s best for your family. Lainey seems like the kind of kid who would thrive in a school setting.

    My son went to school for kindergarten and then started homeschooling in 1st grade. I keep telling myself, “one year at a time.” I love homeschooling and also love knowing that I can always change my mind.

  129. I was waiting to hear what you were going to decide (weird?) and I’m kind of proud of you (also weird?) because I know how tough it is to do something that is out of your comfort zone. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Best of luck to Lainey on her first day of school, and to you too, because if you’re anything like me, walking away will feel like your heart is being torn to pieces. Forget junior high boys — the first day of kindergarten is where real and true heartbreak happens (at least for parents)! BUT (the big “BUT”)it gets better with time — it really does. A few weeks in, and you’ll be an ol’ pro.

  130. Feel great about your decision!! Lainey is ready and she will LOVE it and you will get used to it too – it’s not like you’ll be bored! Definitely wear sunglasses and go out with your village for coffee after the drop……makes the day go faster! Enjoy the first day – you’ll find you will always remember it – and you’ll be proud of both of you.

  131. Kelle,
    I feel your pain of kidergarten. My first borns first day is on 9/7. I am so excited and terribly sad at the same time. I am not ready for my sweet baby to gorw up but at the same time am excited to see the man he will become.

  132. Kindergarten is harder on the mommas then it is for the little ones. Stay strong momma and listen to YOUR inner voice. Also, the picture of Nella laughing and Brett looking at the camera after the water is dumped on him – PRICELESS!!!

  133. good decision – good for both of them and it’s always best when you can hear your own voice in the sea of everyone elses’

  134. The before/after shots of Nella throwing water in Brett’s face are priceless framers.

    Also love the one of Lainey pushing Nella in the swing.

    Sending good vibes for an uneventful yet exciting start to school for both of you. :)

  135. Lainey really has gorgeous brown eyes!! This is going to be an exciting week for everyone. I bet she’ll come in at the end of the day and talk about how much she loved it. :-)

  136. She is going to be GREAT tomorrow, and while you will feel her absence, her excitement to come home and tell you all about her day will fill that void. I’m so excited for Lainey and her new adventure, and for you too! I’m so sorry you had to go through the clot scare again, I hope that all is well and that your nausea is gone soon. I can’t imagine being so sick for so long!
    I just started reading Bloom and am already half way through it in 2 nights – I can’t put it down. I’ve followed your blog for a while but there’s something about the book that just really brings it all to life.
    Thank you – for your blog, for letting us share in a slice of your family life, and for sharing your wonderful girls with us!

  137. Yay for school!
    Those blue with white polka dot nail vinyls are to die for!
    And the two pics of Nella pouring water on Brett’s head? Speechless. Cutest pics I’ve ever seen. Hands down.

  138. That expression on Nella’s face before she dumped the water? The first thing I thought when I saw that photo was “wow she’s pulling Indie’s face!” as my two year old son gets such a similar expression – but usually when he’s giving us his evil eye. 😛

    The next shot of Nella laughing and Brett’s expression? Beautiful. Absolutely blow-it-huge-and-stick-it-on-the-wall beautiful!

    I’m so glad for you that the scare was nothing more than a scare. Oh you poor thing though!

    I remember waking in the night with a similar bleed when pregnant with my now-four year old. It was terrifying, and my midwife was (fekkin useless to be honest) so off-handed about it. She didn’t send me for a scan to find out why the bleed happened, just listened for a heartbeat (found one – yes!) then said “but often when a bleed like this happens, it doesn’t end well. Just to let you know.” Midwives are so hard to get here I didn’t dare try and find a new one, but we worried for weeks and weeks until my scheduled 20 week scan gave peace of mind at last.

    Wow. Totally didn’t mean to unload all of that.

  139. Share how you do the girls little twisted piggies!! So cute.

  140. First, I’m so sorry for your scare and relieved and grateful all is well. Second, there are two things that I really loved about this post. The first is your words on learning to love Lainey in a new way that involves letting go. I know it is necessary for our daughters to grow and have their own lives but it is so hard to miss them so much. I look forward to watching you do it and learning from you. I also loved loved loved the two pics of Nella and Brett and the cup of water. That pre-dump look on Nella’s face is priceless, as is the post-dump look on Brett’s. I laughed out loud. Catching up with your blog this morning has resulted in laughter and tears for me. Those are the emotions I find in a truly wonderful blog. :)

  141. I absolutely love the photograph of Nella and Brett, right after she dumped some water on him.

    Her laugh is so joyful – a wonderful moment captured perfectly.

  142. Those pictures of Nella dumping water on Daddy’s head are my absolute favorite. I keep going back to them. They bring me so much joy!

  143. I love the look on Brett’s face in the picture where Nella has dumped water on him. #priceless

  144. I have been reading you since Nella’s birth story, but I don’t comment very often. Today I feel compelled to comment and what I have to say comes from the heart. I hope you are not offended. “Great,” you say, “What the heck is she about to say?” :)
    What I want to say is what a beautiful girl Nella is. Before Nella, whenever I saw someone with Down’s, that’s all I saw. But watching Nella grow, all I see is Nella and what a beautiful, beautiful little girl she is. I pray that I will continue to see everyone the same way.

  145. oh. my. god. I discovered Nella’s birth story on Pinterest, and I’ve ben reading sososo many of your posts since Saturday night… and I can’t tell you how much your website has changed my life already. I’ve laughed and cried so many times. Your girls are beautiful. You’re permanently bookmarked, girlfriend! And your book has officially made my Christmas list…

  146. I just wanted to let you know that I read your blog regularly, but this post is the one I return to – because those photos of Nella tipping water on Brett never fail to cheer me up, even when I am at my lowest. Her glee! His resigned grin! oh, I am just going to have to take another look 😀

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