October is Down syndrome Awareness month. I want to take this opportunity first to thank all of you. It’s a funny thing how this blog community has become what it is. I assume you, like myself and many others, visit a blog because you relate to the story in some way or maybe you’re intrigued by a different way of living. Many of you first visited this site through the story of Nella’s birth, and if you were reading back in the early months of 2010, perhaps you remember more vulnerable posts when therapy visits to our home were a big deal and “Down syndrome” was still hard to say. It’s not like that anymore, and the blog—like our life—has “moved on” if you will.


That isn’t to say we aren’t still vulnerable or afraid or that Down syndrome doesn’t present challenges along the way. I think every one us of has a great pool of vulnerability that dwells within. It is transposed through various experiences throughout life—through hardships, through parenting, through our marriages, through relationships with our parents, our friends, and most importantly our deepest self. The presentation of Down syndrome in my life has awakened some of my vulnerabilities—vulnerabilities we share—and many of those will probably never go away. Some of you may have had vulnerabilities stirred up through welcoming a child with special needs or losing a parent or facing illness or having your heart broken or maybe simply by welcoming a child period and all of a sudden experiencing a tidal wave of emotions you’ve never felt before—love so great that you’re terrified of losing it.


I like to tap into those relatable issues a lot in my thinking because I am fascinated with just how many commonalities we all truly share. As much as we love to be unique and we make efforts to stand out as different through our style, our home decorating, our thoughts and ideas, we cannot escape the fact that at our core, we are the same. We are human. We want to be loved, we want to feel safe, we want to be heard, we want to contribute, we want to be happy. All of us.

I have no mission statement for the blog because my brain is far too scattered to ever be summarized into one sentence. But if I had to choose something for this space it would simply be Welcome to Enjoying the Small Things. We might look different than your family, we might believe differently, we might raise our kids differently, and we might choose priorities that are different than yours. But really, we are the same. I hope you feel that and I hope that fact makes you feel welcome and accepted and encouraged to live your one wild and precious life. And if we approached every one we ever met with that philosophy, I think the world would be a kinder, gentler, more understanding place.


As far as Down syndrome is concerned, I hope that in visiting this blog over time, stereotypes regarding individuals with special needs are dissolved. I hope you see Nella as a child first—a free-spirited child who loves her baby dolls and her sister and being hugged by her mama; a child whose wonder of the world is so rich right now that she wants words and explanations and exposure to every good thing the world has to offer. And then I hope you walk away from this blog and that you have the opportunity to meet many others with Down syndrome or Cerebral palsy or Autism or Turner syndrome or Prader-Willi syndrome or chromosomal deletions and that you remember we are all the same. We want to be loved, we want to feel safe, we want to be heard, we want to contribute, we want to be happy. All of us. I hope you use your own vulnerabilities in life to connect with others’ vulnerabilities.  Wonder what it would be like to have what society has labeled a “disability” and think about how you would want to be treated and valued.  Teach these lessons to your kids. Every day. Teach them that though we are different in brilliant and beautiful ways, we are really all the same.

Tell your kids it’s Down syndrome Awareness month. Find a Buddy Walk near your home and take your entire family to it. Show your kids this video and talk to them about how we celebrate differences (for little kids, this video is a wonderful place to start!). And please, if you do anything this month—make efforts to stop the use of the word “retard” and “retarded” in your family’s vocabulary. Comparing even your own absent-minded actions to a word originally intended to classify individuals with mental disabilities is incredibly hurtful to the families who love someone with special needs. I hear it every time it’s said–in conversation, on television, when people don’t even know I’m listening.  I know you’re not talking about my child, and I know that you are kind and accepting of others’ differences.  I understand it takes a while to dispose of a word that has for so long been accepted in our society.  But know that it stings to hear that word.  It stings to have that painful part inside you that’s on alert to defend your child flare up and remind you that there’s a bad word that people use to make fun of your beautiful, wonderful, capable child. Please think about that.  Talk to your children about this word and ask them to confidently stand up to their friends who use it.

I may not talk about Down syndrome a lot on the blog because our blog is a “life blog,” and our life extends far beyond Down syndrome. However, there’s a message about Down syndrome that I believe breathes true in every post: we have differently abled children, and each of them contribute so much joy to our home.  I don’t want to forget that the opportunity of having a child with Down syndrome and educating others is a gift. I want to do the gift right.


If there’s something about Down syndrome you’d like to know or if you’d like to hear more about an area of our life regarding Down syndrome and Nella’s progress, the future, etc. that I haven’t shared, please leave a comment on this post. This month of Down syndrome awareness is a great time to address some of these issues and how we, as a community, can help raise awareness. I’m happy to collect some of your questions and answer in a post later this month.

Again, thank you for reading and for celebrating the ways in which we are both different and alike. Thank you for all the love you’ve expressed for Nella and our family.  So many of you have written to me with your stories of how your perceptions have changed, and those e-mails mean so much to both our family and our community.


The longer we listen to one another – with real attention – the more commonality we will find in all our lives. That is, if we are careful to exchange with one another life stories and not simply opinions.  ~Barbara Deming

SoCal readers, our family will be in San Diego to photograph the new Infantino/Step 2 “Everybody Plays” campaign the week of October 15th. I’ll be doing a reading/discussion/book signing at 7:30 p.m. on the evening of Wednesday, October 17th at the Mira Mesa Barnes and Noble in San Diego (10775 Westview Parkway).  I’d love to meet you and your family.  Come on out!


And finally, introducing a new sponsor this month: Independent Origami Owl Designer, Deb Oliver.  Origami Owl was started by a 14-year-old girl, Isabella, who set out to make enough money to buy herself a car by her 16th birthday.  Now the business offers a chance for many other women to help support their families by selling lockets that tell stories.  Each locket can be customized with charms that represent your family, your hobbies, your passions.  Deb created a locket for me with a camera, a typewriter, a “love” charm and three gems–two pink and one blue for the little boy on the way. 


Check out the collection of lockets and charms available through Deb’s site. 


One comment on this post will be chosen (through random.org) to receive a free customized locket, courtesy of Deb Oliver.


Leave a Comment
  1. Hi – I have a question about Down Syndrome, and maybe you can answer it in a future post. I’ve tried to google this, but haven’t been able to find an answer that I can disect in plain English. Are there different degrees of Down Syndrome, like there are with autism? Is it a diagnosis that has a “spectrum”? And if so, where does Nella fall on the spectrum? Thanks.

  2. Your blog (and you!) have blessed me in seeing kids with Down Syndrome differently. I also know another little girl, named Celeste, the daughter of my youth pastor, who has also worked to open my eyes to Down Syndrome. Both Nella and Celeste have blessed me more than they will ever know. I held Celeste in the nursery yesterday, and she snuggled into my shoulder. My heart melted. They are beautiful.

  3. You have definitely blow stereo types out of the water. I don’t think anyone has a choice but to fall in love with Nella once they visit your blog. You are such a good momma and I’m so thankful she has your family to raise her up =)

    – Sarah

  4. I love how much I learn from your blog. :)

  5. Love your family!!

  6. I am coming to your book signing! I’m excited to meet you and let you know how much I enjoyed your book. See you soon!

  7. In your book you talk about how your older sons first reacted to the news of Nella’s Down Syndrome. How are they doing?

  8. Love this post. Beautiful words, beautiful girl xxx

  9. Thank you for this post! Thank you for sharing your family!

    And I love your blog and your commitment to teaching us about Down Syndrome. Blessings galore to you and your precious family!

  11. love her little mocasins. they are adorable.

    love reading your blog, it’s like a breath of fresh air every time.

  12. Life is beautiful :).

  13. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, but now that I am going through my own Life Changing Season, I love it all the more… Thank you for your words, your pictures and your own story of Hope.

  14. The pictures are amazing as always, and while I have no question (right now anyway). I just want to say that all I see when I see pictures of Nella is a beautiful, happy little girl.

  15. Those are really cute and different! Thanks for sharing! Me and my SIL did a Buddy Walk last year in COllege Station, TX!

  16. It is truly amazing how life at first revolved around DS. Now, it is all just life!

  17. Amazing words, as usual, Kelle. Your blog is changing lives!

  18. For me….they are Angels….

  19. are you doing a walk for nella again this year!?

  20. You’re a good egg, Kelle.

  21. Love this post. And I love Nella’s little moccasins, so adorable!

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  23. Love reading your blog. You have taught me so much, from little things to even bigger than I imagined things. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  24. Wonderful post, I don’t have any specific questions but I”m anxious to read the blog post with the question and answers, just to learn more.
    Thank you for all you share.

  25. I usually don’t comment – but I want you to know what an inspiration you are to so many people!

  26. I hope you don’t mind, I used the part of your post about taking the word retard out of ANYONE’s language on FB (credited, of course). I have ADULT friends and family who still find that acceptable, and I wanted to make sure I could reach as many people as possible. I love your blog, and your growing family is so sweet.

  27. Great post, Kelle! I particularly love what you say: we are the same, we are all human and we all want to be loved. If we could just remember that mantra everyday, the world would be a better place. I enjoy reading your blog and sharing in the joy of Miss Nella. I’ve got my own joy at home–3 year old Owen who rocks his extra chromosome too!
    –Stephanie http://www.thesumulong3.blogspot.com

  28. You’ve done many a great favor by showing us a world of inclusion! Thank you for that!

  29. Another great post! Thank you :)

  30. “I want to do the gift right.” Oh, mama, that was beautiful.

    Lovely post, as usual.

    Big hugs to you and your family ~

  31. Love this, thanks for sharing. I also hate the R word and cringe when I hear it. I make an effort to stop people I know from using it.

  32. Thank you, Kelle, for sharing Nella’s beautiful stories, and for encouraging us all to look beyond what ‘divides’ us and turn instead to what we share in being human. <3

  33. By the way, love Nella’s moccasins. :)

  34. I love reading your blog. Every time I see pictures of your girls. I just see two beautiful sisters. It’s not until posts like today’s that u remember that Nella has special needs. You do a fantastic job of presenting her and Lainey as great sisters and nothing more.

  35. This is one of my very favorite blogs!!!

  36. I love your kind spirit. Your blog makes my heart happy every time I read it. :)

  37. Thank you for sharing your family with us. :-) My eyes and heart have been opened more than you know.

  38. I ♥ the way you write and the powerful gift you have of using words in carefully crafted ways that make such an incredible impact. What a neat and cutomized charm necklace. Thanks for a generous giveaway!

  39. wonderfully said, as always. xo

  40. I have found so much inspiration from you. Thank you go sharing yourself, your family, your passion for life.

  41. Thank you for your blog..you have made me a more caring person .

  42. I was one of those readers who came to your blog through Nella’s birth story. I can clearly remember crying with you as you expressed yourself so beautifully. Nella is simply gorgeous & such a joy to watch grow up! Thank you so much for sharing that with all of us. My question is about your day-to-day (or weekly? monthly?) things that have to do with down syndrome: do you do therapy? Is there a ‘plan’ like there is with autism?

  43. I love Nella’s moccasins, I’m kinda jealous that I don’t have some…… is that a bad thing to say lol

  44. I love Nella’s moccasins, I’m kinda jealous that I don’t have some…… is that a bad thing to say lol

  45. I have learned so much from you and your family and I thank you for sharing your journey. As a mother of a child with special needs, I am starting to learn to let go and “enjoy the small things.”

  46. Hi Kelle
    I have been a reader since a couple of weeks after Nella’s birth story was posted. I am a student midwife here in the UK and your blog post was posted as a topic of interest on a midwifery forum I use.
    I just wanted to say how much your blog has affected my practice… I can truly say that it has changed the way I practice/want to practice when I qualify. When I was applying for a place on the course I often wondered how I would approach it when I helped a woman birth a baby – or indeed if I had one myself- who you were visually able to ‘tell’ with. After reading your honest account of Nella’s birth and becoming an everyday reader I can say wholeheartedly that I feel much more prepared for this, and on a personal note would has totally changed my opinion on how I would deal with it if my child had it – I am ashamed to say that I previously thought I wasn’t strong enough to deal with this if it was thrown at me; you have changed that in me.
    Keep on writing, your blog has taught me so much and I look forward everyday to reading about Lainey and Nella and this soon to be sweet boy of yours.
    PS. I know there’s no questions for you, I just felt it was a good time to express how much your blog has done for me and how much I enjoy reading it!

  47. What a beautiful post (and beautiful girl!).

  48. I have always had a special place in my heart and have taught my children to be respectful of all children and not to use certain words improperly. But your blog has expanded my heart. I owe it all to you for showing your life with Nella. When I see a child with down syndrome, I don’t think “down syndrome” anymore. Thank you Kelle.

  49. I am falling more in love with your blog (and Nella, if I am being honest) with every post I read. What an awesome necklace!!! Love it.

  50. Kelle – I read your blog without seeing any differences – just that we are moms trying to do the best for our families. I have a 3 and 1 year old and everyday I try to “enjoy the small things”. Thank you for your honest, funny, emotional and sincere posts. I love following your words and try to put so many of them into action. ~ Kristie

  51. Love seeing Nella in her own little world playing! So cute!!!

  52. I LOVE reading your life stories. so real and so raw. thank you for your openeness and sharing your life and thoughts!

  53. I cry often when reading your blog posts – I cry of happiness in relating it to my own family and how much I love my kids – your words are so well spoken and it puts me in such a good mood :) Thank you for all you do without even knowing it….even over here in chilly Canada !

  54. We are human. We want to be loved, we want to feel safe, we want to be heard, we want to contribute, we want to be happy.

    So true. I think sometimes we focus on making our kids feel safe, loved, heard, and happy, and forget about the contribution they are trying to make. Hmm.. we maybe do that with grow-ups, too. Good summary of the human condition. And as always, thanks for sharing your family life & your beautiful Nella.

  55. This makes me smile. Thank you, for being you while at the same time being all of us. :~)

  56. I loved your words today~ my heart smiled through the whole post.

  57. I am happy (and teary-eyed) almost every time I read a post. And I always, always feel better about the world.

  58. I just love your writing. Never stop.

  59. Beautiful post and I especially loved these photos of Nella!!!

  60. Your blog has opened my eyes to Down Syndrome in a way I never would have experienced without it. I have learned so much! If I had a question, I guess it would be about Nella’s speech. What does she say? Does she talk a lot? I would love to hear her little voice. She is so precious! Oh and I thought of another one…are most children who have DS mainstreamed in the classroom at school? Will Nella go to Kindergarten with her peers? Thanks!

  61. I LOVE your blog, and I loooove those lockets!!

  62. You are certainly “doing the gift right.” :)

  63. love the locket!!

  64. Great post Kelle! We had our Down Syndrome awareness walk yesterday with 2,000 walkers!

  65. I did first come to this space through Nella’s birth story posted to a parenting forum I am a member of … and I’m so very glad I did. Every post you write that I read I really do feel the same – but different. You hit the nail on the head … we are all mums trying to do the best for our brood whatever choices our experience leads us to. Yours was the first blog I ever read and since then I have been awestruck by the wealth of spirit I have found in the blogosphere. I feel connections with so many amazing women such as yourself who I’ve never met simply by virtue of the fact your words resonate through to my soul. Thank you x x x

  66. I never visit your blog and think of it as a special needs blog. I think of it as a mom sharing about her wonderful children.

  67. Thank you for all you do to raise positive awareness of people with Down syndrome. My brother, who has Down syndrome, has been a wonderful role model in our community for 37 years now. I have always been so proud of my friends and family for being so supportive of him and my family and for helping those that don’t know him, know that he is just like all of us. The minute people meet him they love him. Your Nella is the same way and she is going to continue to make a big difference in a lot of people’s lives.

  68. I love this blog and those lockets. Thanks for sharing your story and the opportunity to win one of these beauties!

  69. You and your blog have brought so much awareness to myself about how everyone is different abled. Everyday, I find myself noticing little things that others around me say and do that just are “mean” in regards to other abled people. And I know I have work to do in being a better advocate, but I am getting so much better and watching what I say myslef and telling others if they have said something mean! Thank you so much…your blog (and book that I FINALLY recently read – AMAZING BTW) has changed me in so many positive ways and I am ever greatful that I stumbled upon it!! Your little girls are so precious and such beautiful little peoples in thier own ways. Often times, when I am looking at your pictures you post, I forget the little Nella has DS…she DOES always seem like just another little girl to me (and “just another little girl” sounds so generic and un important – but that’s not what I really mean, and I think you understand what I am trying to say). Thank you, thank you, thank you…for sharing your life and feelings with the world. You truly do make a difference in so many peoples lives!

  70. I love reading your blog but have to admit I can’t remember how I “stumbled” upon it. I love hearing about your family and your beautiful girls.
    My son has High-functioning Autism; he’s now an adult planning his wedding to a lovely girl from LA, but still struggles with the world.
    Thank you for sharing. Thank you for always being honest. Thank you for teaching me more about Down Syndrome.
    Hope you have a great month. Jude.x

  71. Hi, I read your birth story on Pinterest and now read this post on Twitter. Small world! You are doing a fantastic job getting people to change their views on DS. As a sister of a boy who had Downs (he died age 19) the”retard” comments reaaaaally get on my nerves. He taught me so much. My mum fostering him at 12days old then adopting him there was an 11 year difference. He was more of a son than a brother to me. We had such a strong bond. I’ve since had 2 little girls who I will bring up to respect anyone who has disabilities. Good work :)

  72. Your open sharing touches many!

  73. I’ll be there on the 17th. Can’t wait!

  74. Great post. Couldnt have said it any better!

  75. I’m a teacher and man, oh man do I dispise it when kids say “retarded” or “gay”. It’s not tolerated in our school at all.

  76. What beautiful words. I can’t pinpoint exactly what draws me to read your blog, but it’s there.

  77. My 13 year old daughter and I love reading your blog and seeing your beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing… Teresa

  78. Thanks for your loving transparency!

  79. I love your writing and the photos you share with us.

  80. I don’t know if this question has been asked because there are 76 comments before mine, but how verbal is Nella? You’ve posted videos of her talking, but I was just curious to the extent of her speaking skills.

    Also, in honor of this month, I would just like to thank you for your blog and the wonderful things you have done to help bring awareness. I’ve worked with individuals with DS, but you have helped give me, and many others, an inside look into raising one these amazing people.

  81. Love reading your blog!

  82. I come to your blog for many reasons, the top being to learn, be inspired, to remember to appreciate the little things in life. You truly are a unique individual Kelle, and I am so glad you are willing to open your heart and home to those of us that want to learn more, and leave inspired. xo

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  84. I love your blog! I found you a few months ago through Nella’s birth post. I was pregnant this year, but we lost our baby in June at 19 weeks to Turner Syndrome. It was a shock and I knew nothing about it. I know that things might have been hard, but we would have loved to have her in our life. I was so inspired by your blog and later by your book that I immediately went and read in a day.. Thank you so much for being so honest and sharing your life with all of us. Nella is so beautiful.

  85. We have close family in Mira Mesa wish I could go :)

  86. I see Nella as your doctor said…beautiful and perfect!..and lucky to have a lot of love around.XO

  87. Love your blog, love your life in pictures, love the necklaces. Would love to create one to represent our beautiful children, including our daughter in heaven.

  88. I work for a school district that is renowned for it’s inclusion programs. I am blessed on a daily basis to meet and intereact with children of many different abilities. Your Nella is a beautiful example of an amazing child. Thank you for allowing us a glimps into your beautiful family.

  89. A beautiful post! I would love to hear a video if Nella talking, I remember crying happy tears last year when you posted the video of her playing with the flash cards :) happy October!

  90. I have a “differently abled” child, as well. My son has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). October must be the month for awareness, because it is also National Sensory Awareness Month.

    I agree completely with your idea that your perspective changes over time when raising a child with differences. I have just begun my writing journey, so many of my reflections are still about the struggles. But, yesterday I decided to write about seeing my son as simply a four-year old boy. Not a boy with SPD, but just a boy. It has been amazing to see the response.

    Thanks for sharing your journey and your perspective!

  91. Thank you for your beautiful blog!

  92. My daughter and I were at the bookstore the other day and we ran into (almost quite literally) a beautiful little girl about Nella’s age with down syndrome. In the past I would have just smiled and kept going, her disability pulling at my heartstrings and not knowing what to do about it. After getting to know Nella and etst I found my reaction was quite different. I instinctively knelt down, smiled, and talked to her for a quick minute before moving on. She made my whole day and I would have missed that if it weren’t for Nella. Thank you <3

  93. I am a relatively new reader, and I just had to say how much I loved this post. Beautifully written. Life is amazing!

  94. Hi there, I love reading your posts, you way with words is amazing and how you view things I find very profound. Im a new mom myself, and can relate to some of the things that you blog about, but I also have a step daughter who is 6 and was recently dignosed with Autism spectrum disorder. I have struggle with hopw this will effect my family when she comes for her access weekends, how it will effect my Kiya. I struggled with it alot, and you blog has helped me to see, that Jade is more then this dignoses, that this doesnt defind her. Of course I have to pay extra caution to certain things, but over all she is the same good hearted beauitful girl I have helped raise since the age of two, now we just finally know why she does the things she does, and have to teach her a different way to process things. Your blog has helped me get over the disorder and get back to seeing Jade, my daughters big sister, my step daughter and my heart. I love both my girls, and enjoy the things you blog about. I laughed and cried with you when you described the first day of JK as I was dealing with the first day of Grade one, and Jade telling me shes a big girl now…

    So thank you, thank you for taking me outside of my fear, and mind set and letting me breath and just let life happen.. to see that what people may view as a disability can really be a blessing, that everyone no matter how different we appear or act, is pretty much the same, and want the same fundamental things out of live, to be happy, healthy, for family and to be love and accepted.


  95. We use the word retarded in our family, but it is not in a derogatory way. We have one daughter that is ‘differently abled’ but if we were to describe what was wrong to someone outside of our family, we use retarded. Why? Because people understand what that means. We never allow it to be used as slang. It doesn’t mean she is less of a person or has less needs, it just means what that word means. I don’t want to have to go through the whole story of why she is the way she is to someone who is not invested in her life. So sometimes it’s ok in our family to use that word.

  96. When I was in school last semester a young man did a presentation on eliminating the “R word” and it was really moving. Most definitely making that known in my household someday, you can bet my family won’t be saying it :)

    Also, in regards to Down Syndrome. Are there different severities of it? Is Nella more high functioning than some? My best friends works with children who have Autism and I know that some children are considered more high functioning than others. Nella just seems like a sweet, regularly functioning almond eyed beautiful child to me :) so I was wondering if maybe she has a less severe diagnosis?

    Hopefully I worded all of that respectfully and you know what I’m asking!


  97. Well said! Thank you for sharing your heart and your family with us. The world is better for it.

  98. love these ;lockets!

  99. I must admit, I get a bit excited when I click on the thumbnail of your blog and see a new post. Your words flow effortlessly like a slow, meandering stream that has no sharp turns, rough rocks, or white waters. I love reading about Lainey, as my daughter is a few months younger and I can imagine that if we lived closer they would be great friends. (Maybe if you’d move back to Michigan…) Thank you for writing your heart.

  100. I stumbled upon your lovely blog through pinterest and it just makes me smile every time I read and look at your sweet fun pictures. Our 10 yr adopted Korean daughter has FASD. We didn’t know this until a year ago when things got harder and harder with school work and her not understanding simple directions. Now everything makes sense. Also, we have 4 older bio. kids. FASD doesn’t define us, but it’s part of our big beautiful life. Today we are celebrating Korean Thanksgiving-we try to celebrate her heritage whenever we can. Aren’t all these kids wonderful? Thanks for your blog and writing about what many of us relate to in our own lives.

  101. Gosh. Hard to know where to start with a response. You make old lessons new with such a refreshing choice of phrase. Of all the blogs I “follow” (though not really) I so look forward to reading you.

    I share all of your sentiments about disabilities, I came to my own conclusions through more of a professional angle. THEN I became a mother and these lessons in acceptance and empathy and conscious language and LOVE took on so much more meaning. Like these things didn’t just make sense to me and my world but they are essential to the world I will one day leave my babies in.

    Thank you again xxx

  102. I love reading your stories and all about Nella. Fall is my favorite time of year as well!

  103. Love your blog. It inspires me in so many ways. My son just started kindergarten in september. He has a girl with down syndrome in his class. My question to you is when he asks me questions about her what is the way to explain her to him. He likes playing with her but sometimes she understandably yo an adult does or says something that doesnt really make sense. I want to be able to talk to him about it on his level so he can understand why she says or does the things she does. Thank you.

  104. I know I am changed for the better by knowing Nella’s story and watching her and your whole family grow! I love my sweet hits of Unicorn!


  105. Everytime I read one of your post my perspective on things in life change for me. The other day I was walking in the mall with my family and there was a woman having a hard time with one of her children having a tantrum and one of my family members told me wow and I told them “always remember that everyone has there good and bad days and you might be witnessing a bad day the way people have seen us have our own and she might just be having her breaking point today so try not to judge her for having a bad day.” I want to thank you for letting me see it in a different light.

  106. I love reading your “life” blog, and it does encourage me to live my best life. Thank you. Happy October to Nella and the whole family!

  107. Most of the time I totally forget Nella has Down Syndrome. All I see is a cute little girl growing up with an awesome big sister and mother. And I’m not just saying that. Unless you bring it up, I’m not thinking it. :)

  108. Hello Kelle,

    I live in San diego and will see you on October 17th! looking forward to it :)


  109. I am curious about what you think about juggling politically correct terms. Sometimes I feel like it’s hard to keep up (certainly in part because I haven’t lived in the US for almost 10 years). Here in Germany the equivalent politically incorrect term for “retard” would be “mongoloid” (meaning that people with Down Syndrome have similarities in their facial structure to people from Mongolia).

    I don’t ever use either term and I do literally cring when older people still use them. On the other hand, when my 93-year-old grandma recently said “retarded” I KNEW for sure that she didn’t mean anything offensive or negative by it – she was just trying to describe a child with DS with the words that she knew.

    How important is it to say the politically correct word (also: “European American” vs. “white”)…and how much is about the tone/attitude being portrayed?

  110. Kelle, I have been following your blog for some time now. When we found out our little angel had DS, a friend of mine told me about your blog. It has saved me more times than I can express. Reading Nella’s birth story, and all of the experiences you have gone through with her and your outlook on life has really helped me through some difficult times. Thank you for being so open and honest with your posts. It helps us other mama’s know that it is ok to feel raw emotions when dealing with something unexpected. I have a questions for you, how do you deal with discipline with Nella? We are going through a hitting stage with our 20 month old with DS and wondering what the best approach is for her. Thanks for all you do, you are such an inspiration :)

  111. You inspire me!

  112. Kelle,

    I don’t have a question, but I want you to know how beautiful your family is. I truly love how you document Lainey and Nella’s relationship. I have a sister with Aspergers, and our relationship is incredibly important to both of us. She is simply my sister, and we are there for each other. Your loving example will stick with both of them in the years to come. As they grow, I have no doubt they will remember to be sisters to each other first. Your girls are truly beautiful.

  113. Oh, I so needed to hear your words of encouragement and that we are all the same, because sometimes in this big,crazy of a parenting world, I feel lost and like I don’t know what on earth I’m doing or if I am doing it right. Fall brings new things. Colorful things!!

  114. Love is love. Babies are babies. Rain and sunshine falls on us all, just in different seasons and at different times. Somedays we actually have the luxury of enjoying the small things, other days not so much. Would you accept only the good and not the bad from the Creator or Fate (for non-believers)? If not, whaddaya gonna do about it? :)

  115. It’s true, for some time I’ve read your blog and see Nella as a beautiful young girl first :)

  116. Bless your family, Kelle! Love those lockets!

  117. Thanks for sharing those videos in your post! I shared them with my class dealing with multiculturalism and diversity, which includes children with special needs and they are a great tool I could use in my future classroom! =)

  118. Great post. My oldest is 5 and we have had many talks on how every person in the world has been created differently and we are all loved just the same!

  119. Beautiful pictures of your sweet Nella, as always!

  120. Beautiful pictures of your sweet Nella, as always!

  121. Love your blog. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Mel J.

  122. I love these lockets. I had thought about joining up to the sell the product but I just don’t have the time right now.

  123. Kelle,
    I’ve been a silent blog follower but your words and photos have touched my heart in so many ways. Like you I am a bonus mom to two kids and I hope one day to have one of my own. One of my biggest fears was having a baby with a disablity but you (and Nella) have changed my heart. I saw a sweet couple the other day at the movies taking photos and laughing and it was only later that I realized they both had down syndrome. Part of it was because of their love and part of it was because of the constant love I’ve seen through your blog. It’s made my heart full. Thank you for your writing. Thank you for the way you live.

  124. Love your blog and so grateful for the inspiration you provide through your story. I have a question about DS: many of the adults I’ve met with DS are overweight. I also have a friend whose lovely son (4) has DS and she says she has to moderate what he eats b/c if he likes it he doesn’t know when to stop eating- he just doesn’t feel full. Is this typical with DS? Do you deal with this with Nella? Do you have a plan for teaching her good nutrition?

  125. Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month to your family! I enjoy reading your blog each week! So much inspiration! :)

  126. Kelle – your blog was so important to me for several months after we found out that my nephew would be born with Down syndrome. I have to admit that I first read Nella’s birth story during our first week of knowing about Cavan and it was almost too painful to finish. But now, I have come so far. So far, in fact, that it’s hard to imagine that fear, that pain. I have grown so much and a large part of my growth is directly due to your blog. I became so inspired! I have loved watching Nella and the rest of your family grown. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are treating your gift right – so right.

  127. Hi Kelle,
    I came by your blog by accident–it was mentioned in another blogger’s post. Since I found you back in June, I’ve been reading regularly. It was through your blog that I heard about Bloom and I just finished reading it over the weekend.
    I want you to know how much I appreciated your honesty and your writing. I found your outlook encouraging and your positivity lifting.
    I wish you and your family all the best and I look forward to reading more.
    Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

  128. Beautifully said! Your family is an inspiration to so many. Thank you for putting yourself out there. I have learned so much.

  129. Over the past year that I have been reading this blog I have been stretched, challenged, and had my eyes opened numerous times.

    Even just today while reading this post I always have the urge to copy and paste random parts in to a folder that I can pull up later when I’m needing a little inspiration or a kick in the butt.

    You have a love for people, all people, that is infectious. I just want to dig in and get dirty in this life. You are one that has aided in that.

    Oh, and winning a locket wouldn’t be so bad either. :)

  130. You are an inspiration.

  131. As always beautiful blog post and gorgeous pictures of Nella!

  132. Beautifully written as always! I love the exploration of the commonalities that you do write about. Always love to see your pictures as well.

  133. Girl, you are so right. Vulnerabilities come in all shapes and sizes. If we can remember that we are all just trying our best to love and be loved we could rock this world out. Imagine what we could all do….xoxo. Love ya!

  134. Your blog has changed my life and way of thinking. Pure and simple. So thank you.

  135. I hope you don’t mind if I copy and paste your paragraph about the word “retard”. I will give you credit for it. My niece has a great deal of special needs and that word just makes me cringe. My children don’t say it EVER but they hear their friends and other adults use it sometimes. We are all trying to change the way people think about this word. I am one of the people who started reading your blog when you posted Nella’s birth story. I have been reading every day since then. xo

  136. I am sure you hear this all the time, but for me, it’s true…. I feel like I have changed in my perspective and love for disabled people, and Down Syndrome especially, because of your amazing little Nella-girl. I have read books that I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise, I have talked and cooed over perfect children with one extra chromosome, I have cut the “retarded” word out of my life completely, and I have even pondered someday fostering a child with special needs. And really, much of that change in my perspective is because of a little girl named Nella Hampton and this amazing blog, where you have shared so much. Thanks Kelle!

  137. Thank you for the reminder. I LOVE your ability to celebrate life and what its brought to your family.

  138. Loved the Dreams video and shared it on my facebook! Reading your blog and one of my parents’ friends giving birth to a precious little girl with Down Syndrome just a couple months older than Nella has forever changed my perspective about Down Syndrome and all special needs! I work as an ABA line therapist with kids with autism now part-time (I’m in college, and I have to tell you, your blog contributed to that as it opened my eyes in a whole new way to differently-abled kids (and adults!).

  139. Thank you for opening my eyes to down syndrome! All I know, I’ve learned from you and I look forward to a posting of FAQ on that subject so that I can learn more. xoxo

  140. Thanks for making us aware that October is Down Syndrome month.
    I love the lockets!

  141. HI!!!
    I have 2 cousins with Down Syndrome…so I grew up knowing some people are different.And funny you mentioned the use of the “R” word…I made a point years ago to never use that word. But yesterday my hubby was talking about his golf game..he played with 3 of his YOUNG employees and he said he felt like a Retard….I SCOLDED him quickly for using that word as an example of his bad golf game. Never should anyone feel like that is ok……So I am fighting the fight with you!!!
    AND I LOVE ORIGAMI OWL…..pretty sure Isabella is from AZ….one of my neighbors daughters knows her….I want a locket and I will visit this site!!!
    THANKS so much
    your blog does inspire me

  142. Kelle, I am so excited to meet you at the book signing in San Diego, will the girls actually be there with you also? I’m dying for my kids to meet Lainey and Nella! Btw, this was a lovely post, and yes, you and your family have changed my perception as well…:) thank you.
    On instagram my user name is @rymina :)

  143. I was originally sucked in by Nella’s birth story that I read about on another site, but the more I read your back story, the more I read daily about your lives as a whole, well, that’s what keeps me coming back. I love your life philosophies, I love your outlook and your daily tries to live it to the fullest and how much you succeed in doing just that. I have been doing just that for a while, since I first read about sucking the marrow out of life. Life is much better now and more manageable when it’s all put in perspective.

  144. THRILLLLLEEDDD to be able to make your book signing!!! Also, (I hope this isn’t creepy) but, I’m taking it upon myself to invite you out to the cutest pumpkin patch you’ve ever laid eyes on.. Bates Nut Farm up in North County San Diego at some point during the week you are in town.. Hahahaha i know that sounds silly as a stranger to you.. But we share a love of Fall and this is our little slice of Fall Heaven here in San Diego… If you’d like to.. Message me on Facebook Kendall Souter… I have Addie (almost 3) and Delaney ( 1 and a half) who would have a blast with your girls, I’m sure of it!
    Thanks for yet ANOTHER awesome post.. they brighten my day!

  145. Oh well, I just don’t see Down syndrome when I look at Nella. I find her awesomely cute and she looks very attentive and alert, that’s all I see. As for the word you mention and that sounds so hurtful, I cringe when I hear it too!
    I agree that deep at heart and soul, we are the same. We come out in different shapes and colours, like toys, but we’re actually the same :)

  146. Thank you for being so open and honest, you’re doing something amazing and don’t ever forget that!

  147. such a beautiful writer :) i will say kelle— you have exposed me to a world that i never experienced before your blog. ive been following since 2010— and had loved every post and every IG photo. you have opened my eyes to special needs kids and adults and though you i’ve gone places i never dreamed! (ie: special needs camp! …as their lovely nurse i might add :) thanks for sharing your life so openly and beautifully. hugs! *danimacsnider

  148. I have been a reader for a long time, but a silent one. I want you to know though that reading your blog has made me a better mommy to my two little ones. More present, more creative and my cup runneth over.

  149. Signing up for the Wheaton IL Buddy Walk on Oct 14th!

  150. I hope I haven’t said this on your blog before, but it’s entirely possible that I have and just forgot. Your blog has opened my eyes to Down Syndrome and that those with DS can have rich and fulfilling lives. I saw a snippet of just what is possible when I visited Barcelona over the summer and saw a young lady with Down Syndrome on the subway by herself confidently navigating through the maze of stops underneath the city. It was quite magical to witness.

  151. Such beautiful writing – you nail it every time!

  152. I have been following your blog since I saw your story on abcnews.com. Your willingness to share your life with the world is amamzing. I love checking for new posts every day. Keep up the good work!

  153. Our 16yo. son died suddenly last year, and I think a locket would be fabulous because I would have 7 gems in it representing ALL my children, along with the word “eternity” to remind me of where we will all be reunited again some day. The lockets are absolutely beautiful! I’m glad your blog sponsors these creative and amazing businesses.

  154. As someone who works with differently abled adults I love what you said about the “R” word. I really hope that we can eliminate it from our language. Also thx for mentioning PW which is not al known as DS and Autism. Keep up the great work and I am looking forward to you advocating for adults too as you are starting to dip your toe into that world as well.

  155. I just ordered your book and I can’t wait to read it. Even though I don’t have children of my own yet, your blog inspires me to be a better human being.

  156. Thank you for sharing your family on this blog. I love your positive outlook on life and can do attitude. Do you think Nella having down syndrome will effect your decisions on what type of education she receives, i.e. traditional school via homeschool?

  157. I would love to do a Buddy Walk!!!! I hate the stereotypes that are given to people with Down Syndrome; most of them aren’t even true!!!

  158. I love your blog and have learned so much from it. Thank you for your honesty and your outlook on life.

  159. I love this post….and your blog. Those lockets are fantastic. I can’t believe a 14 yr old came up with that idea. Awesome and so unique!

  160. What a nice, and much needed, post today!

  161. Great post. I look forward to seeing daily pictures of Nella (and Lainey too).

  162. I am a new follower and wow….Nella’s birth story was simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing that!

  163. As the daughter of two Special Ed teachers, thank you for promoting awareness of removing the “R” word from our collective vocabulary!

  164. Kelle you are a gifted writer and you express things so beautifully! Your blog is a blessing to so many,and I hope your family is blessed abundantly in return!

  165. What I most love is how your blog (and therefore your life) are about so much more than Downs Syndrome. My second daughter was born with congenital CMV and it’s presenting our family with many challenges. But reading your blog brings me peace and comfort and hope that so many more families you touch will be better prepared, better able, and more willing to accept and embrace children of different ability simply from sharing in the stories of Lainey and Nella’s lives. God bless you. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.

  166. Love your blog and that sweet little Nella!

  167. Now THIS is a happy post for me. Love it.

    Thanks for the encouragement when I was preggo. And now. Hugs from Ellie to Nella… and who knows, Ellie has my old phone and seems to be fake texting someone, so maybe it’s Nella.

  168. What a beautiful post, Kelle. I must say, your blog has changed me more than any other. There is a little boy with CP at our church and Landon had a ton of questions about him the other day. Why is he in a wheel chair? Why can’t he talk?

    I got down on one knee so I could really look him in the eyes to tell him that we’re all beautiful. We’re all different. And he should be a friend to him just like he would any other child. It was really a defining moment for me. And I thought of Nella and how my Brigham would love to play with her. Our kids are so innocent. They don’t see the differences until others around them start pointing them out. I want to make sure that my children know to accept differences and make friends with everyone.

    Your Nella is a life-changer :)

  169. Kelle, it’s posts like these that bring me back, multiple times a week, to one of my favorite, most thoughtful and ever-inspiring blogs. You use your voice for good and I am always better for having dropped by. Our kids are roughly the same ages and I’m due with our third in March, so I love peeking in to see how our similar life stages are working out. And I love your “temporary” mission statement–I want to borrow it for our church!! We are really all in need of the same basic things: love, grace & acceptance. Much love to your sweet family.

  170. I love reading your blog, looking at your photography and catching a glimpse into someone else’s life. Thank you for sharing yourself and your family with us.

  171. What beautiful jewelry! Thanks for the opportunity to take one home. Also, HUGE thanks for shedding light on your family and the beautiful Nella.

  172. I’ve been following your blog for a little while now and I have to thank you for putting all this information out there for the world to see in such a loving, caring, well worded manner. I’m glad that there are people such as yourself that can clarify things in a more simple way so everyone can understand!

  173. I have so enjoyed following your family on your blog. You have a beautiful story, a wonderful story-telling way of writing, and such lovely girls! =) I look forward to more!

  174. I adore Nella’s pig tails! They always make me smile.

  175. Love love you & your family!! I feel so blessed to be able to follow along in your guys’ journey!! xo Amy :)

  176. Your Nella is beautiful. My daughter is 8 months and I hope she grows up to be as free-spirited and happy as Nella. We were adviced to start signing to her, do you do that with Nella?? How is her language skills?
    Also, how did you practise with her for sitting, walking etc?? Sorry to be so “nosy”, but Nella is such an inspiration.
    Thank you for showing the world how beautiful our children are!!!

  177. Happy DS awareness month to you! My family and I are participating in the Sydney Buddy Walk – its become a BIG deal to our family – I kid you not it’s up there with birthdays and Christmas. We stand proud to walk and raise awareness for our daughter Isla and other individuals with DS. We have family members that aren’t very supportive of our daughter – as in they are far too important to attend special events like Buddy Walk. To be honest, im struggling with how to deal with those family members who dont give a shit! She’s my daughter a niece to them – I just wish they could see how amazing she is & want to do whatever they can to raise awareness for her and other individuals with DS, I often wonder if they think with all ‘this DS’ in one place – they might catch a chromosome. I need help, with dealing these family members – yes I am a very passionate person! I dont understand how these people don’t care to stand and up, walk with her, be proud of her. Yes, she’s isla first and she has DS – the DS at times can be ALOT of work! Awareness is important! Family support and love is important!

  178. You, your blog and the way you live your life is such an inspiration!

  179. Your pictures of Nella are beautiful. She is a lovely little girl.

  180. Beautiful. :)

  181. i like reading because with every post you make me a tiny bit better. thank you for being you, but also for being an advocate for for humanity.

  182. I just gave birth to my first child, a daughter, two months ago. There are so many times now, when I read your posts, that I just ‘get’ what your talking about so much more!! Thank you!

  183. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us. I truly enjoy reading each and every post. You have a great gift for inspiring others to be a better mom, for beautifully putting words to life, and (of course) for photography. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  184. I love this post. Thank you for pointing out how we really are all alike in our core being. Beautiful.

  185. I like your little summary — I say GO with it!!

    We are all human after all :)

  186. Life is beautiful.

  187. Thank you for this wonderful post and thank you for highlighting the point about the use of words can be hurtful … I have a physical disability and am a full time wheelchair user and when I was growing up I too would often hear words being used to describle me .. a cripple, a retard, handicapped. the list could go on….and you are so right, we are all the same, even though we may look a little bit different does make us different, we are unique but the same! I love your blog Kelle, although I am new to it but I enjoy so much just settling up on the sofa in the evening and reading back through your older posts..thank you again for sharing! Lots of love to you all and Happy Halloween, from Colette in Ireland! :) xx

  188. Great post! I love the video My Friend Isabelle. I am looking into getting the book and wondered what other children’s books you have come across that teach acceptance. I feel this is so important to teach to my little ones and I’m not always sure how to explain it or word it. Thanks in advance!

  189. Kelle, I absolutley LOVE your blog, your chlidren, and everything about you and your family. I love the way you see life. You are such an inspiration to me.
    Haley Hoile

  190. Beautifully written.

  191. Nella is such a treasure. Your “mommy-ness”, your exploding bursting heart of maternal love is a treasure.
    Sometimes I feel like a grouch mom, a selfish mom, a general failure of a mom but stories like yours make me want to be and do better.

  192. Hopefully this doesn’t sound rude; but honestly, I a beautiful little girl when I see pictures of Nella. I don’t see Down Syndrome.

  193. Beautiful post. :-) I am Deaf myself and I can relate to your post. It is so wonderful to see that there are people that have same philosophy as you do out there in the world–it definitely makes my life easier as a Deaf person.

    I have recently become a mama to a beautiful boy, and I plan on sharing the values of tolerance, love, and compassion with him. My hope is that he will grow up and see beyond “labels” of disabilities. This would make a world much easier and beautiful place to live in.

    Love your blog like always.

  194. Thank you for sharing this post. I always forget the fact that Nella does have Down syndrome and I think that says a beautiful thing about your life. My four year old is starting to notice differences in himself and I love celebrating those differences as well as making sure he knows the similarities all of us share.

  195. I think that your “mission statement” was perfect!

    Thank you for opening so many people’s eyes to Down Syndrome. While you might not *want* to be a “spokesperson” – you are an excellent one!

    Love to your family and, again, congratulations on your little boy. Mine is almost 8 weeks old and he’s more than I dreamed a baby boy could be!

  196. Thank you for your blog. I love this pictures, they are so beautiful! I have been a follower for about three years now. My daughter has ADHD and my sister is adopting a little girl with a severe limb deficency. I love your phrase “Bloom where you are planted” Your blog has been balm for my troubled heart, encouragement, beauty for my eyes, and a fresh perspective. Thank you. =)

  197. When did you first start talking to Lainey about Down syndrome? Our 10 month old daughter has Down syndrome, and I wonder when I should talk to our 3.5 year old son about it. I feel like he wouldn’t understand it now, but I don’t want him to be unprepared if someone outside our family says something insensitive to him about his sister. Any advice?

  198. Very well said. You have a way with words. I just love Lainey and Nella. I think Nella is amazing. Love seeing pictures of her reading and taking care of her dolls. I laugh out loud at some of her adorable faces. You are an amazing mom.

  199. thank u for your writing! I have a passion in my heart for children with Down syndrome. I was a special education teacher before I stayed at home with my own kids. I am a huge advocate for getting rid of the “r-word” and also pushing person first language. for example … a child with Down syndrome vs ” a downs kid “(etc). even typing that made me cringe! ick! thank you for sharing your story! and I love those necklaces if I don’t win it will be on my Christmas list!

  200. Your blog makes me so happy Kelle! Thank you :)And I would love one of these amazing lockets!

  201. We just did our first DS walk last weekend with our dear little Ruby. I found your blog after she was born with the unexpected diagnosis 16 months ago. She looks a lot like Nella- banana yellow hair and big smiles. We were talking the other night about how it was such a big thing at first, so much fear and grief. Not to say that still doesn’t reoccur, but I can’t imagine life without this sweet girl. I’m glad I didn’t know about her diagnosis before she was born, I got to see her beautiful face and fall in love with her first without fears of the unknown. Lovely blog post.

  202. I love reading your beautiful blog. Thank you for sharing your family story. Along with Down Syndrome, October is also Respect Life month. Whatever anyone’s beliefs on the issue, it is sad that so many in this country (statistics say about 85-90%) believe that ending a pregnancy is their only option when faced with a DS diagnosis, and that so many doctors present it as the best choice. I hope your blog continues to help us to see that a full, happy life is possible for a child with Down Syndrome! May each of these children be respected, valued, and cherished <3

  203. Your blog has made me rethink a lot of how I view people… and I appreciate that. : ) I’m attempting to get my college society together to go to a Buddy Walk here in FL. : )

  204. love you Kelle, love your blog (for many year!) and if you only knew how finding your blog and being reminded to enjoy the small stuff and to maximize my one wild and precious life has changed my life. I am about to go through a divorce, my initiation, because I know we’re only guarunteed one wild and precious life and I have to make the most of it. It’s sad and scary, but I’m so so excited too.

    PS- more belly shots as your little bean grows please! some of us live baby fever vicariously through others. :)

  205. You are absolutely right that the world would be a better place if we all thought more along those lines.

  206. I’ve been reading your blog since its inception. Thank you for bringing awareness to Down Syndrome. I love your blog because I enjoy your style of writing and I love your photography. Most of the time I forget that Nella has Down Syndrome. She is so adorable, as is Lainey. Thank you for sharing your story and your family with us.

  207. Beautiful locket! I’d love a chance to win one. Thanks for another beautiful post. Looking forward to your question and answer post later this month!

  208. I love that you say we all come for a specific reason, or are some way in the same boat! I have a soft spot in my heart for everyone with disabilities…. and most of all down syndrome:) They make me smile! In ways that I didnt know I could smile! so thank you for sharing your sweet spirit and sweet nella’s also with us:) and those lockets are adorable!!!!

  209. Kelle, ever since coming across your blog and reading Nella’s birth story in 2010, I can definitely say you have changed my perspective on Down’s Syndrome. I read every one of your blog posts and have read “Bloom” from cover to cover. I’ve even passed the book along to several friends since I finished it. Thank you for opening my eyes to the beauty of what Down’s Syndrome can be.

  210. Love your blog.

  211. Those lockets are beautiful, just like Nella.

  212. I have a question for you, Kelle, for DS Awareness month: What has your breastfeeding relationship with Nella meant for you? I have read how incredibly beneficial it can be for both mama and child with DS as a means of bonding. I know it must be personal, and if you don’t want to share, that’s OK. I imagine it must be very beautiful, and it would be lovely to hear your perspective.
    And you’re right: I and my peers should really stop using the r-word. Today I go from ‘should stop’ to ‘will stop.’

  213. I absolutely love your blog… Having a differently-abled daughter myself, I totally get why you chose to show your life in the way you do… They are not defined by their diagnosis… They are different not less! Keep inspiring and I love the lockets!

  214. Kelle, your blog has absolutely changed my life and the way I interact with people. It has made me aware of how much the same we are and how many of us have differences in our families…some we see and some we don’t. It may be a small thing, but whenever I see a family who has a child with Down Syndrome, I make sure to talk to them. I compliment the baby’s shoes, comment on boys being wild, or say something to make a connection. Again, not life changing for the family, but an example to my boys and a reminder to me that we are all in this together. Thank you for that!

  215. Thank you for being so open and honest in your blog. Although I don’t have kids of my own yet, I teach, and your writing helps me relate to parents of students who are struggling. Thank you!

  216. All I can say is thank you. Your blog forces my mind to think beyond the boundaries and to become a rebel in the best possible way–to dare to take risks and to believe in the unbelievable. Your hope is inspiring and your zest for life is refreshing. You have done far more with words than I could ever dream of.

    And your kiddos are a sweet as coconut cream pie. They are lucky to have you for their Mama.

  217. I love reading your posts… October is my favorite month of the year and now I will be thinking of Nella all October! Sweet little girl… Love the locket necklace!

  218. I love your blog and your sweet little family :) I also love the lockets and hope to win one!

  219. I feel horrible, seeing as “retard” is a word I say, I don’t even think about actual mental disability when I say it. I will make an effort to not use that word. I have an autistic cousin, and never thought about even the use of the word around him/his family.. Wow, I’m insensitive. You’re wonderful Kelle, and your beautiful family :)

  220. I love your blog. After reading about Bloom I started following it and as a NICU nurse it has been so great to read about your experiences. I have had Down Syndrome patients who have so touched my heart and made me a better nurse. Thanks so much for your posts and sharing your family with all of us.

  221. I love reading your blog, it reminds me to take joy in every day moments, and that no matter our differences, we all have so much in common. Thank you for sharing.

  222. Your blog is my favorite! Your way of writing, your outlook on every day life and your sweet family…the best!

  223. What a beautiful blog. Your writing is so easy to relate to for any mom. Your posts are inspiring, and you have a fantastic sense of humor. I just discovered this blog, and I am already addicted! You help me appreciate my little ones even more! Thanks Kelle!
    -Kaley B

  224. This post was very thought-provoking. If you have not seen the movie, I suggest you visit the website of http://www.prayingwithlior.com.

    This special young man with Down Syndrome has a gift of prayer that is so very inspiring!

    The locket is absolutely lovely – enjoy!

  225. Your blog has been a great tool in raising awareness of the many capabilities of different people. i stumbled upon Nella’s birth story when I was 8 months pregnant, and it shook me to my core. Prior to that, I had never allowed my mind to wonder to thoughts of “what would I do if my baby wasn’t ‘perfect’ in every way” like we all hope when we are expecting? I had to mull through lots of questions and tears. I realized, like you have, that I would take whatever kind of baby we are given and love and appreciate the heck out of her. Thank you for making me dig deep and coming out better for it. :)

  226. I just love your blog! I am due with my second child in Feb as well! :)


  227. I love reading your blog. Your Nella and my little girl are just a few months apart and I see so many similarities between the two! I found your blog shortly after she was born and I remember thinking, this woman must be an awesome mom! How honest and beautiful!

  228. You’re an inspiration, Kelle – pure and simple! Thank you for continuing to share your family’s journey with us.

    For readers in Australia, there is a fabulous program called Creative Spirit, which is aiming to get every one of the 32,000 registered creative companies in Australia to hire a person with a disability by 2021.

    Go to their site at http://www.creativespirit.org.au/ to watch a video featuring Lloyd Fernandez, a young man with Down syndrome who was hired by creative agency Droga5 – and is now a key member of the Droga5 team (he is featured on the company website at http://www.droga5.com.au/#/people/lfernandez). It is truly inspirational.

  229. beautiful post, as always!
    cheers to nella…she’s perfect. just perfect.

  230. I am a teacher of students with cognitive impairments in MI. Your blog allows me to envision the everyday life of many of my students’ families…the way that life doesn’t revolve around the disability but on the journey of life. Thank you for creating this insight for me!

  231. Very well said. I have an aunt, now in her 50’s, who was born mentally challenged. She has the mindset of maybe a 3 year old. I have always been taught to he compassionate to other peoples differences. I wish everyone could accept the differences of others. My family of course has to treat her a little different but she is still “one of us”. That is one of the many reasons why I love your blog…I wish everyone could see my aunt the way I see her…not just as soneone who is mentally challenged or different in their eyes.

  232. My parents both work with adults with disabilities and I have always tried to teach the messages of alike and different to kids that I teach.

    Through reading your blog, your book, through instagram and everything else…Nella has taught me more ways to teach these things to the next generation. She’s such a doll and even though I’ve never met her, I love her so much!

  233. Beautiful post.

  234. Beautiful post.

  235. beautifully put! i love your blog,family and the way you use nella’s uniqueness for the good :)

    by the way,my twin sister has CP and i get disgusted when people use the ‘R” word even if they don’t mean it in the insulting way.

    god bless you all!!

    happy october!

  236. Your blog has taught me so much! Thank you.

  237. You are such an amazing writer. You move me so much. I think you have changed so many attitudes. You should be incredibly proud. You are most definitely doing the gift right! We are all the same. I love that. We are indeed.

  238. Most thoughtful post in a while.

  239. Well said! I just love reading about your creativity, love for your family, everyday life and looking at your beautiful pictures of some adorable children! I always feel inspired in some way after reading a new post!

  240. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to a different world. I love reading your blog and seeing your beautiful pictures :)

  241. I think Nella is apsolutly gorgeous! I always see her as a little girl when I look at your sweet pictures of her and see she has a big heart for her dolls and her family:) She reminds me alot of my 22 month old girl. Because of your blog I will forever teach my children about how they treat others and the words they use. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us:) huge love to your precious family xx

  242. I always love your honesty and constant looking for the bright side. I can’t tell you how much your blog has changed my outlook on life. Just constantly looking on the positive side can change a life. And every time you mention that you choose which balls to juggle is a big reminder for me to not kick myself for not being able to do everything at once.

    I’m so glad for October and everything it brings, and now I am excited that it is a month to celebrate the beautiful people in my life with Down Syndrome. Thanks for everything you do!

  243. i love when you blog about ds – even though it’s obvious that one diagnosis for one of your darlings does not define any or all of you… but each post that you put out into the world about ds screams, “you have value – YOU – no matter who you are, or how others see you, or what you can or cannot do… you are precious.” & i know it to be true.

  244. Kelle- Once again a beautiful, thought provoking post. Thank you so much for sharing your family with us all.

  245. It’s amazing how with time and experience, the things we found so scary and overwhelming to begin with, just become part of the normal, every day fabric of our lives.
    And Nella’s birth story still brings me to tears every time I read it. Every single time. Such honesty and real emotion is like a breath of fresh air.

  246. I so wish I could come to San Diego to meet you!! You have opened my eyes not only to Down Syndrome, but also to know that everyone has a different challenge to deal with – the challenge that your family was faced with has a name, can be categorized and researched and studied… You do and have done your homework, you get Nella the best care possible, and most importantly, you have decided to make the absolute best out of the challenge you were faced with. You should truly be recognized as a hero to opening the worlds eyes for making the best out of what you are given… xoxo Alexa

  247. You already are such a gift to the world…you have by leaps and bounds changed the way I relate to ALL types of people. Thank you so much for sharing your life and your children, and for changing my world with your wild and precious life

  248. Thank you for making me and everyone who reads your wonderful blog remember that all of our children are beautiful and wonderful, regardless of their “ables.”

  249. Love your blog and your Pictures!

  250. My children are of the furry variety, and I’ve never felt very connected to the non-furry kind — but there is something about your little Nella that makes my heart ache. Since discovering your blog six months ago, I have checked it every day for new posts. I just adore the honesty of your writing and exquisit photos of your beautiful girls.

  251. Thank you for sharing your family. I have a little boy with down syndrome who is 3 and he brings so much joy to our life.

  252. You will never cease to inspire me, Kelle! Blessed to have stumbled upon your blog 3 years ago!

  253. Love this post. Thank you for sharing your life and your family through your blog. I am continually inspired by your words and your optimistic attitude.

  254. Thank you so much for opening your heart and your lives to your readers. Having a child with special needs (a chromosomal addition, although not DS) and finding you – you have no idea what your story has meant to me through these last few months. THANK YOU a million times over, really, really.

  255. I’d love to win a locket. I love how personal they can be. Yours is so sweet.

  256. We are all the same and the older I get the more true it becomes. I hope I can instill that message in my two little girls (3 years and 3 months old) and for the high school students I teach everyday. I strive to really make my students each feel important and cared about; especially those who seem to think no one does. Your blog is beautiful.

  257. I have worked as an Early Intervention physical therapy provider for 10 years now. My life is incredibly deeper, richer and fuller because of the amazing families that I have the privilege to work with each week. Since I typically work with a child who has DS for nearly 3 years, it is so fun to be able to watch their personalities bloom, so unique to each one. You openly express some of the joys, fears and triumphs that many of my moms and dads relate, but so few of us understand. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  258. Hi Kelle,

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time. During my son’s pregnancy, I felt that something would be wrong when he was born. I expressed this to my closest friend, many times. She told me about your blog and said, “don’t read it until after Isaac is born.” Well, I cheated, I read it before he was born. Sure enough, mother’s intuition was right, he was born with an obvious health issue which led to a year spent trying to determine other health issues. Ultimately, we found that he has a very rare chromosomal deletion. Anyway, my question is, how much time do you spend in therapy each week for Nella? We spend a lot of time during the week at appointments. Nella seems to be doing really well, and I’m always impressed with her walking, talking, and eating. Things we’re looking forward to with our 2 1/2 year old. :) –www.picturingtheordinary.blogspot.com

  259. I’ve loved so much being able to read your blog! I completely agree that learning about different disabilities (or different abilities) helps break down the barriers and misconceptions that have been formed. Thank you for being willing to share your story!

  260. Thank you for putting it all out there for us to read and do with it as we would like. You help me to be a better mama, to look pass the messes and the laundry and look for some fun adventure I can take my girls on. Thank you!

  261. Another beautiful post! I am including a link to a recent episode of Chronicle (a news magazine program) in Boston. This show featured different people, adults and children, who have Down Syndrome. Two of them are working at the State House. It’s 30 min. if you have the time.


    I also love those lockets!

  262. I came for Nella’s birthday story and stayed for the love.

  263. As someone who loves reading your blog I wanted to share a resource from Canada – Dave is a strong advocate for disability awareness and disability pride… the words we use are powerful – this link includes the “Words hit like a fist” cards… I have used them to hand out to people and start the conversation about using hurtful language

  264. Love to you Kelle! Know that my kids see your blog sometimes and Nella is just Nella….no mean name. No questions. They love her for being a “cute baby” my nine year old states. Break down barriers Kelle…..happy October!

  265. HI Kelle. I’m here reading. I read every post, regardless of where I am. i feel this one tonight. I feel it.
    I love you guys, a lot.
    I want to help you make your waves of change.
    You’re bold writing, your honesty, your confidence…..this is a gift. From you to us.

    thank you for it. I hope to emulate it in my life.

    much love

  266. Your Nella is so wonderfully beautiful and so is every other person with special needs. I think they are some of the most loving people in the world. Each and every one of them are truly amazing! You have such a wonderful way of showing that I your blog. Thank you for that! If Nella was old enough to know all that her mama does she would be so very proud of you. I know I am!!!

  267. I started reading your blog after our friend delievered a son with Down Syndrome. You’ve had his photo in one of your slide shows. I love watching Nella, and hearing your stories. The give away is incredible!

  268. I just soak in every word that you write! I love this. I had a sister with special needs who died in August at the age of 26. And my heart always connects with beautiful souls like hers and Nella!

  269. Nella reminds me of all the people who have been through my life at various points with various ways they are unique: Down syndrome, paralysis, MS, CP, etc., etc. I am thankful our parents taught us that everyone matters, that everyone has something to contribute, that God made and loves everyone and so should we. I hope to instill that in my kids, too. We’re trying to do so! A church back home has a congregation that has so embraced people with special abilities (e.g., the pastor’s family has adopted many kids with Down syndrome), it’s one of those glimpses of heaven when you see everyone together, because you know that everyone is considered, loved, and cared for as a valuable creation of God–regardless of the special abilities they have or don’t have. May Nella continue to find such a community, and may you continue to be blessed by family and friends who love Nella as Nella and you as you!

  270. Great post, Kelle. I appreciate you for all you do for Down syndrome awareness with every blog post.

  271. I love your blog for many reasons. It helps me be a better mother. I have learned so much from you and your book. PS: I loveeee all those lockets!

  272. I came to the blog through Nella’s birth story and am so glad to have been a virtual part of this journey! I have worked in disability services since college and love your fresh voice on advocacy, respect, and understanding. Thank you for writing!

  273. Thank you for writing such an amazing blog and educating us about Down Syndrome. Keep sharing your words. The world needs more people like you :)

  274. You’re an amazing mother and I so enjoy reading your blog! I’ve been following since you were expecting Nella and feel like I’ve been on this journey with you, supporting you along the way :)

  275. Your words inspire and with it, bring so much hope. The world is changing and you’re helping. The magnitude of your influence is overwhelming and so powerful. Never stop advocating. Brilliant.

  276. I love your quote from Barbara Deming. Truth is no matter how different, we are all just mommas in love with our children wanting the very best for them.

  277. Beautiful…as always!

  278. Beautiful post and beautiful little girl!

  279. What a beautiful philosophy for the blog. I agree the world would be a much better place if we all lived by those words.

  280. I love your family! Reading about Nella has changed my viewpoint on DS entirely and I get so mad and defensive when anyone has anything bad to say about them.

  281. I just love reading your blog! You are my sunshine!

  282. I really enjoy your blog. And think we would be friends if we lived close. I love to see the adventures you take your kids on. I live in Indiana and thought of you getting leaves in the mail as I collected a bag for a preschool project for my kids!

  283. Thank you. Thank you for your honesty and openness.

    You have opened my heart to special needs adoption. For that, I thank you.

  284. Even though I have three beautiful children of my own, I’d love to have another child just like Nella. We lost a little boy about halfway through my pregnancy about two years ago, and while I was pregnant, I always felt as though he was going to have Down’s. I’d come to terms with it and was looking forward to him so much, but that’s not the way it turned out. We named him Oliver. I love watching your girls grow!

  285. I am one of those whose life is quite different from yours… but I love every post! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

  286. I am my granddaughter’s Daisy Girl Scout leader and was enjoying the girls today at our meeting. Enjoying their differences and how their differences make them who they are. Your comments about the word retard really hit home with me. You are right – it is not a nice word and should not be used in jest.

    I enjoy your blog and your daughters are amazing – as all little girls are.

  287. Gorgeous post. I’m sharing!

  288. I homeschool my two children and look forward to sharing these videos, along with others I’ve found, tomorrow. Thanks for reminding us to choose our words carefully!

  289. Awareness is key

  290. Thank you kelle. I am going through a divorce/separation right now that has completely devastated me and am doing everything I can to stay positive and upbeat for my daughter. Trying to see the positive in everything when I feel my life has been completely turned upside down. i just want to thank you for incuding this kind of heartbreak in the instances when people are dealing with difficult times. I feel so completely alone at times because I feel like I truly believed nothing and no one would ever come between my husband and I. I just want to thank you for sharing your life and positive outlook with all of us. Your family is beautiful. You are amazing. -Erin

  291. Thank you for sharing. I am passing your blog onto my daughter. She was blessed with a daughter that has DS Delaney is the 4 th child of six and thriving ….even going to mainstream kindergarten at the same school with her sister and brothers., in Temecula CA.

  292. Love your words. Love your heart. And I really loved your hay bale post…right there with ya’ sista!

  293. There’s a sweet blonde young woman working along side my husband who just so happens to have DS. The beautiful thing about her is that DS is NOT the first thing you notice about her because you are blinded by her joyful heart that shines through her smile. When I met her I thought to myself “this will be Nella someday!” – thank you for sharing your life & your story, so many of us have been changed because of it!

  294. would love to win that locket! My Mom would love! it

  295. Kelle, I have a question, I read alot of blogs on DS and it seems like several of these children have medical problems like heart and also alot of them wear glasses,have speech problems. I am wondering if that is part of DS or is that just other medical issues they have? Is there a spectrum for people with DS like they have with autism? I read your blogs every post and I hardly ever think of her as having DS. I would just love if you had more videos to share on your girls. This question is not about DS but What do your boys think of having a new baby brother? Thank you so much for your blog. I have a disability and as I sit daily I look forward to reading your blog, as I reach the end I wish it would just go on and on.

  296. You opened me up to a world of blogging I didn’t even know existed. Following a blogger who I didn’t personally know seemed silly at first. But I find myself so excited to read each of your new posts. You have a fantastic talent in photography, through written word, and creativity. As a teacher and mom, I have gained so much through your blog, and for that I’m thankful.

  297. Well said :)

  298. Love those lockets !

  299. Love your blog!

  300. I love those blue coveralls… so dear!

  301. those are gorgeous, like your photos and children! thanks for the chance to win one

  302. How ironic! I was just signing on to ask you a question and amazingly your blog was ASKING your readers to ask a question!

    This weekend I went to my daughters sorority luncheon for Parents Weekend. At my table sat a family who had a little child with Down Syndrome. I asked their sorority daughter “who is this little cutie?” and she proudly said “this is my little brother!”

    I then continue my conversation with “we are participating in a Down Syndrome walk next weekend!” Then I follow up with “Have you read the book Bloom by Kelle Hampton?” The mom says yes….and pretty much the conversation ends. I feel like I over stepped my boundaries.

    So my question is—-If I meet a DS child is it appropriate to bring it in to conversation? Should I just ignore the fact that he is DS? I feel really bad that I made them uncomfortable. I just got diarrhea of the mouth!

    I feel REALLY bad now…..

  303. Loved your book. Hope you come to Orlando sometime for a book signing. Have a blessed month.

  304. Love reading your blog and especially LOVE seeing your beautiful pictures. I am Grandma to a precious little girl born in February 2012 with Mosaic Down Syndrome and she is the light of our lives. Thank you for helping to spread the word that Down Syndrome is not something scary or horrible. These children are precious gifts.

  305. Kelle, I’m 22 weeks pregnant and 10 weeks into receiving the news that my daughter has Down syndrome. The raw emotions I felt after the diagnosis were so scary. I found strength, hope and a love for my daughter that I lost after finding out she has Ds. Much of which came from reading your book and blog My heart continues to strengthen in love for her. Seeing how normal and beautiful life can be through your blog is so helpful. Thank you a million times over for your words.
    Many blessings to you and your family!

  306. It is so great to read your blog and see your beautiful girls for who God has made them to be! Your acceptance of Nella’s abilities and limitations is wonderful. All of our children have abilities and limitations but it is our job as parents to “unfold” who God has created them to be and to take joy and pride in who they are- rather than “molding” them to be who we think they should be.
    My husband works with children with disabilities and so has greatly influenced and educated me to accept each and every person for who they are and to work with them to work up to their potential all the while keeping in mind that each person is unique. But like you said we all are the same deep down- all have the same needs to be loved, accepted for who we are and given the opportunity to reach our full potential.
    Thanks for your transparency in writing your blog! Thanks for sharing your experiences as a Mom! Thanks for encouraging us all! And thanks for sharing all the amazing photos!!

  307. I do not have a child with Down Syndrome but I am a mother. A mother of two who loves her children more than anything. I read your blog because I love the way you love. You teach me to see the good a little bit more clearly (and to capture it more regularly, great photography!). I look forward to seeing your Nella pictures especially. You capture her nurturing and loving self so beautifully. She is such a sweet girl, thank you for sharing her with us.

  308. I love your pictures and your words – I feel like I “know” you stranger friend and want to visit next time we are in Florida! lol

    Keep it up :)

    PS – both of your girls are beautiful in so many ways and so very lucky to have you as their Mom

  309. your vulnerability is inspiring…
    your honesty is contagious…
    your refusal to pretend like you have all the answers is encouraging…
    your love for ALL children is challenging…
    i like your blog BIG MUCH.

  310. I love the pictures of Nella on this post! And I love the post too- I couldn’t agree more. We really all do have the same basic wants and needs. Remembering that helps bring so much more understanding!

  311. I can’t get over Nella’s moccasins and how they seem to go with everything!

    I love your blog and your commitment to teaching others to accept all people. :)

  312. I love these lockets! I love hearing about your day with your family. Thank you as always for sharing.

  313. Lovely. Thank you for all you share and do through this blog!!

  314. I cannot wait to share your message with my kids tomorrow. I teach middle school at a school for kids with Learning Differences. I like how we call them “differences” and not “disabilities”- like you said, we are all the same, just some of us do things differently. You are a truly inspirational Mama! I am SO sad I cannot come to the I HEART Faces event on Saturday in Dallas:( I so badly wanted to go!!! I know it will be amazing:)

  315. I have shared your blog and book with all my girlfriends. Your gift for story telling is contagious. Keep it up Mama….loving it all. As a sidenote, my first job out of college was as a temp worker at NDSS. What an amazing organization supporting even more amazing girls and boys, men and women.

  316. After reading your book, I’ve been enjoying your blog so much. I taught 3rd grade and am now a full time mom to 13 month old twin girls. I feel like we have so much in common and reading your blog is like having a close friend there to for encouragement. Thanks and please keep writing!

  317. What a beautiful post :) I have always agreed; at the core of every single human being is the desire to be loved, to be accepted for who we are :)

  318. Kelle, when I look at your girls they remind me so much of my own, who are also five and two. Their expressions, especially Nella’s, are so like my girls it is almost scary. I see the same twinkly what can I do now look in my Beccas eyes as you capture in Nellas pictures. My five year old Shelby says Nella has beautiful eyes. I quite agree, and I am hoping by teaching my girls beauty in the differences between people, children with a little extra will always be celebrated. I always tell people discrimination and bigotry are learned behaviors and I am determined my children wont learn them. You have taught us so much, Kelle, about finding beauty in everything. You are teching your girls, and I hope I am teaching mine. Thanks.

  319. I love your love of life. Everytime I come visit your blog, I am inspired. To be more creative, to photograph my children more (if that’s even possible). I am inspired to forget about all the menial daily tasks and just have fun with my kids. This is a good thing, because so often I’m caught up with all the other stuff. Thanks for reminding me.

  320. Tonight I needed to be reminded of what’s really important in life. Your post did just that … and more. Thanks Kelle.

  321. No questions here. I read your blog because I love your writing, your spirit, the girls, and, of course, your pictures. I wish I was your neighbor because I think we’d be good friends :)

  322. Thanks for making me more aware and opening up your life to us!

  323. Love your blog! What a beautiful message it brings!

  324. Kelle, I am a new reader and I absolutely love your blog! Your girls are So beautiful and congrats on little boy to come! I love your pics and the words that you use to express your thoughts and feelings! Thank you for sharing.

  325. Nella seems like a very strong spirit, and I think she gets that from her mama. It is a joy to watch her grow up through your eyes. I cant wait to see what the future holds for both of your girls.

    I have a few questions. What does Lainey know about Nellas different abilities, and how did you approach teaching her about them?

    I loved the videos you posted. Do you have any other reccomendations for childrens books or videos that are inclusive if differently abled characters?

  326. I saw a friend had one of these lockets and I absolutely loved it! What a clever idea!

  327. Well said – beautiful.

  328. Thank you for.your always beautiful and inspirational posts! <3

  329. I have to say, your blog definitely HAS changed me for the better. It’s funny, because i never noticed it before. Little things you are brought up with, little ways of not realizing that maybe, you don’t know you’re treating them differently and yet, you are! growing up, you’re told, it’s not polite to stare, or look at children with disabilities.

    I caught myself the other day in the store. I was in Yankee Candle, and there was a mother and child behind me in line. I was holding my daughter who was waving to the the little girl behind me. Who had, Downs Syndrome. I saw her, and didn’t even realize at first she had it. I smiled at her, and at the mother, said hello to the little girl, and encouraged the waving from my own daughter. Teach them young. Don’t ignore, because that’s just rude. Accept. Love. Don’t treat them differently. My daughter waves at EVERYONE. and i encourage it so much, because she can’t see a difference because she’s too young. So, i will do what i can to make sure she never can see the difference. Never ignore, not look at. The little girl responded well, smiled shyly and was quite happy that we said hello.

    You & Nella have made me realize, they’re children that need just as much love as any other. They aren’t so different at all. And for that, our lives will be more enriched. Thank you little Nella!!!!!

  330. I have never posted on here, but I wanted to say thank you for writing such a kind & understanding post about the “r-word”. I have tried for so long to urge people to avoid that word, but the best thing I could do when they would ask why they shouldn’t say it was point them to this video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoqaNG0Ozqc ). but nobody wanted to watch a 9 min video. I copied and pasted a portion of your blog post to my facebook status and hope that maybe at least one other person will stop saying it because of that. Thank you!

  331. I love your blog as well as these lockets :)

  332. I have been following your blog since Nella’s birth story and definitely see down syndrome differently now- rather, I see each person and not a chromosone difference. Thank you for sharing your lives with the rest of us!

  333. Love this post. You are awesome! Nella too! :)

  334. I love those lockets!!

  335. Your simple call to action to eradicate “retarded” from casual vocabulary is a movement I will make an effort to spread this month in honor of Nella, as well as my future brother-in-law Shawn who has Cerebral Palsy.

    “Retarded” (and “gay”) were so much a part of my vocabulary as a child (AWFUL) and a teen, it makes me cringe looking back. Even reading my teenage journals everything was “wicked gay” or “being retarded”. I find that so downright embarrassing that I used to speak that way, and that I was raised in a culture where it was 100% normal to casually call things and people retarded and gay, as synonyms for stupid or bad.

    It is SO sad to say that in this society, I feel like a mark of “growing up” mentally is when you start to catch yourself using one of those words and think twice about it or feel bad about it. I remember when I “started stopping” using those words in late highschool. And now, they’re completely out of my vocabulary and I can’t believe they were ever there. It’s shameful.

    I HOPE we are moving towards a less ignorant, more PC society in which it will NOT be normal for 9 year olds to be calling their nemeses “retarded fags” on the playground. Because seriously, that’s what I grew up with, and no one thought anything of it.

  336. We are ALL so very much the same…thank you for showing that through your words & photos


    ps-did you ever receive the BLOOM tile I sent to you in april?

  337. You continue to inspire me, Kelle. Thank you for sharing yet another wonderful, thoughtful post. Also, I can never get over how beautiful Nella’s lashes are — so sweet.

  338. I’ve worked with kids all my life and have had the privelge of working with a few downs kids over the years. Thanks for being a voice for a community that is loving, capable, funny, kind, tender and talented in thousands of ways!

  339. You and your family are amazing. I smile each time I read a post.

  340. Thank you for your beautiful words.

  341. I have the same question I think as the first commenter. I just read somewhere the other day a blogger mentioning her story about when she first found out her daughter had down syndrome. She waited for the testing to confirm it and was waiting to find out what “type” of Down Syndrome it was. Can you please tell your readers what that means? I did not know there was different types or different degrees. Thank you!

  342. I love how you make DS so normal. Thanks for letting us all get a glimpse of some people living a normal life. : )

  343. Sweet and perfect. Love as always. :)

  344. I absolutely love those lockets. I have always wanted a charm bracelet but couldn’t stand the dangling charms. This seems like the best of both worlds. So beautiful

  345. Beautifully written. Our words make a difference even when we think they don’t, hoping I can make the choice to exude kindness each time I speak. Thank you for the video, my children are about to watch.

  346. I lost my Mother and welcomed my baby girl into the world within 13 days if each other. Seven months later my life is still in a turmoil and I have a very tough time on most days. I still have hope that some day soon I can just revel in the joy my little princess brings without being so completely saddened by the thought that she never met her grandma.

  347. Love this post! Thanks for sharing! Just called out a nephew who used the R-word on FB last week. Felt a little guilty and preachy but you are right about the defense instinct kicking in.

  348. beautiful! i love your blog! i love your positivity! i just love you!


  349. Beautifully said…. we are more alike than different and we should focus on those comonalities.

  350. Those lockets are so perfect! Heading there now to check out more!

  351. I love your blog- and I can’t wait to read the book! I’ve grown up being aware of DS – my cousin has it, and he is an amazing young man….he is 5 years older than me, and such a gentleman. My “date” for plays or special events. A sensitive, funny guy. Someone who loves me unconditionally. Someone who’s walked through the incredible pain of losing a sister, brother-in-law, and unborn niece or nephew in a tragic accident, and found healing and comfort in his God- and showed it to the rest of us. And he makes us all better. So, seeing someone’s world rocked by DS is a new concept for me…in fact, at 19, one of my big goals in life is to adopt a child with DS as soon as I’m old enough to be eligible. I don’t even remember how I originally came across your blog, but I remember spending an entire night reading through – Nella’s birth to present (might have missed a few, but I spent hours reading most of it. :) While your family is different than mine, it is a blessing to see others becoming aware of the precious gift from God that is one extra chromosome :)

  352. Hi Kelle, just wanted to say hi and let you know I have been following you since Nella was born. Your ability to make me think and feel is amazing. This year marks my 20th year of working with special needs kids. Our mantra is absolutely they are children first. My husband and I have five children, one adopted. ( she has fetal alcohol syndrome) people told us we were crazy to take that on. It has been the most difficult journey of our lives, but also the most rewarding and educational for our family. We live in San Diego and Ivan beyond excited to go to your book signing! Can’t wait, see you there, Dana

  353. Thank you, as always for your beautiful post. I am a 4th and 5th grade teacher and plan on talking to my kiddos about Down Syndrome Awareness month. Thanks for the info!

  354. Thank you for your words as they always challenge and encourage. Thanks for being real and authentic on how you and your family do life.

  355. I’m very curious to hear about Nellas progress and how she is doing :)

  356. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your wonderful life!

  357. I always look forward to seeing Nella’s sweet face at the end of my day when I read your blog!

  358. Love the blog! Love the lockets!

  359. Yes those stinging words that are such a big part in today’s society, yet still hurt so badly when they directly impact you or someone you love. My goal is to eliminate the phrase “that’s so gay” or “you’re gay” at the high school level.

    Your blog touches so many people, thank you for what you do.

  360. Love your blog and all your pictures.

    Oh, and those lockets! Endless possibilities!!

  361. I love your blog so much, and reading it has indeed helped me to see that having a child with Down Syndrome is just a small part of such a full life. It has helped me to be kinder, more understanding, and to see each differently abled person through a mother’s eyes … how would I want my kids to be treated? That’s how I treat others, because they are all somebody’s kid. Thank you for raising awareness of this!

  362. Hi Kelle,

    I always look foward to your posts and your great pictures. I always enjoy hearing about Nella’s accomplishments because they give me hope. My daughter Emma also has Down Syndrome. My question would be what are you and Nella’s therapists doing to get her to talk? My Emma is not currently talking and I am hoping that she will have some words soon! Thanks again for sharing…you have a beautiful family!

  363. you are so gifted and really bless all of us without meaning to. thank you for all your words. you are loved.

  364. I found your blog after googling ‘happy/positive down syndrome’ stories after my beautiful Nate was born with a surprise extra chromosome last year.

    Thank you for helping me through many darks days in the beginning of our DS journey. 19months along days are bright, happy and full of love. Nate is a big brother now to his 5 month old sister- life is wonderful, life is complete.

    Questions – mine would be about Nella’s speech therapy. Do you have a therapist come to the house like the OT/PT?

    You have such a busy life, when do you find time to do Nella’s exercises, therapy etc outside of her set sessions? I am finding it tough with two little ones now and mothers guilt kicks in often.

    Thanks again Kelle – you are doing an amazing things for the world. I just wished you lived in Australia so we could have a coffee together. Plus, I think Nate and Nella sounds great. They would be wonderful friends.

  365. As always, Kelle, you put into words what so many of us need to be reminded about and you do it so articulately. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  366. I love reading your blog!

  367. Kelle! I heart faces in T- 4 days (actually 5 until I see you)! Will your family be accompanying you to Dallas? I hope you are able to get some fun down-time while you’re there, too. Sounds like you have a busy few weeks. Anyway, thanks for your post, and as always, reminding us that we’re all the same. All connected. All are capable of touching the lives in our vicinity, sharing love, encouragement, acceptance, and grace! It’s becoming an anthem for me! Safe travels this week! :)

  368. Kelle, it was a little over 2 years ago that I read your article in Parents Magazine about Nella’s birth. And it had me sobbing. A couple weeks later I was seeing a specialist for a Level II sonogram, where they found several soft markers for DS. After reading your story I knew I HAD to know. So I had an amnio (which I NEVER) thought I would do – But I just needed to know. I didn’t want to go thru what you did. Well 2 days later I did. I though it was the worst day of my life….I was scared & devastated. A few days later my best friend – whom I had shown your article sent me a link to your blog. And there was Nella…all cute as hell. My friend told me “you can do this. Why are you afraid of something so adorable?”. So we checked your blog everyday…friends would call me and tell me to see how cute Nella is today. She was a HUGE help to me when I was so lost and scared. My Cate is almost exactly a year behind Nella, so to this day I love seeing her and what’s coming up for us with Cate. She just seems to get more beautiful everyday. Thank you for sharing her with us – she just makes my heart happy.

    P.S. Are you doing any book signings in Dallas when you are here??? Please say you are!!

  369. Oh, how I would love one of those lockets. Not sure how she will fit all 6 of my kids in there, but I love them!!

  370. I LOVED this post and the little video of the boy reading the book about his friend and all the ways they are different. The world is changing its perception of Ds. Thank God.

  371. Nella is an amazing gift to our World. Through you she is teaching us all so much. Just love your blog <3

  372. Beautiful, as always!

  373. thank you!  It is so refreshing to catch glimpses into your life and feel that there is a kindred spirit when it comes to your approach to having a child with Down Syndrome, in that you do not focus on it.  It does not define Nella.  My lil’ Will is smart.  He is witty and has an incredible memory.  He has a killer sense of humor and loves to play jokes on people, relishing most in the laughter he inspires.  He prefers collared shirts/polo’s and insists both button be done.  He loves bow ties and has quite the collection.  Some days he wants to wear one, some days he doesn’t.  He doesn’t like messes and makes sure the kitchen cabinet doors always get closed.  He loves his doggies does a great job being the boss of them.  He shares my love of photography, spends hours looking back through pictures, loves posing at the drop of a hat and enjoys being behind the camera just about as much.  He loves cars, and Cars, trains and boats and sports- just like most boys.  He loves music, has his favorite stations on Pandora and favorite songs on all of our I-gadgets, has never come across an instrument he doesn’t enjoy playing, loves to bust-a-move (yes, he even break dances), and demands his father and I dance on command-regardless of time or place.  If there is no music for us to dance to, he makes his own, and dance we do.  He loves shopping and is the designated cart pusher.  .  He prefers that I wear my hair up, his daddy to wear suits and ties to work, and that all ice cream be chocolate.  He loves babies, is a ladies’ man and insists on opening the door for you.  He loves to help me cook, help daddy grill, and insists that any and all remotes are Daddy’s and makes sure Daddy is always in possession of the remotes.

    He is all of these things and so much more.  He is 10 and has significant speech delays.  Will was born with Down’s Syndrome and 3 months premature.  I’m not sure if I can call him mine, but I am his, now and I forever will be.  Will came into my life several years ago after his father and I had been dating for a while.  He was so little and precious and the only word he spoke was “no” and it was his answer to everything.  I was not there for the call from the doctor when his mother was 4 months pregnant.  I wasn’t there for the fear, the heartache, and the questions that were born of that one phone call.  I was not there for his birth only a few months later and I didn’t witness his tiny being fighting for life day in and day out.  I did not have that journey to experience, but am grateful the part of the journey I have been blessed to share.  I was there for a little boy learning to ride a bike, learning how to swim and dive and do flips under water.  I was there for the first time he said “yes”…to a pretty blond at Buffalo Wild Wings who sweetly asked if he would like more sprite.  I was there as he struggled to master a three word sentence.  I was there as he developed his love of photography and pictures and bow ties and music, and comedy.  He is Will; he is not Down’s Syndrome.  But as you acknowledge, it’s not all roses and rainbows.  There are fears, and pangs of worry, and concerns and moments where you are overwhelmed with panic that you aren’t doing enough, pursing the right therapy or keeping abreast of the newest research.  But mostly there is joy and love and moments where I am in awe of this being that has blessed my life.  Thank you for making me feel like that was okay and that it didn’t mean I wasn’t taking his disability seriously enough.  He is Will.  He is a loving, amazing little boy.  He is not Down’s Syndrome.                    

  374. Your blog has given me the gift to be more present in my son’s life! And now, I give that gift to my son!

  375. I really appreciate your little “talk” on the “R” word..i cringe every time i hear it and personally feel like my child is being labeled. Jenna is about a year older than Nella but not as advanced,not sure if it’s due to her first 7 months of hospitalization and surgery and not having consistent therapy or if it’s a different “degree”,as we say. I’d like to know little things like how much Nella weighs and how tall she is just to do a little comparison, but i know you can’t answer every question! I love your little family and almost feel like i know you! Too bad Florida and Alberta are so far apart!! Ha as if you’d like to meet everyone that reads and comments on your blog :)

  376. Your blog makes me happy. Makes me want to be a better mommy. To enjoy each and every moment, big or small. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I love feeling like I am on the adventure with you!

  377. thank you!  It is so refreshing to catch glimpses into your life and feel that there is a kindred spirit when it comes to your approach to having a child with Down Syndrome, in that you do not focus on it.  It does not define Nella.  My lil’ Will is smart.  He is witty and has an incredible memory.  He has a killer sense of humor and loves to play jokes on people, relishing most in the laughter he inspires.  He prefers collared shirts/polo’s and insists both button be done.  He loves bow ties and has quite the collection.  Some days he wants to wear one, some days he doesn’t.  He doesn’t like messes and makes sure the kitchen cabinet doors always get closed.  He loves his doggies does a great job being the boss of them.  He shares my love of photography, spends hours looking back through pictures, loves posing at the drop of a hat and enjoys being behind the camera just about as much.  He loves cars, and Cars, trains and boats and sports- just like most boys.  He loves music, has his favorite stations on Pandora and favorite songs on all of our I-gadgets, has never come across an instrument he doesn’t enjoy playing, loves to bust-a-move (yes, he even break dances), and demands his father and I dance on command-regardless of time or place.  If there is no music for us to dance to, he makes his own, and dance we do.  He loves shopping and is the designated cart pusher.  .  He prefers that I wear my hair up, his daddy to wear suits and ties to work, and that all ice cream be chocolate.  He loves babies, is a ladies’ man and insists on opening the door for you.  He loves to help me cook, help daddy grill, and insists that any and all remotes are Daddy’s and makes sure Daddy is always in possession of the remotes.

    He is all of these things and so much more.  He is 10 and has significant speech delays.  Will was born with Down’s Syndrome and 3 months premature.  I’m not sure if I can call him mine, but I am his, now and I forever will be.  Will came into my life several years ago after his father and I had been dating for a while.  He was so little and precious and the only word he spoke was “no” and it was his answer to everything.  I was not there for the call from the doctor when his mother was 4 months pregnant.  I wasn’t there for the fear, the heartache, and the questions that were born of that one phone call.  I was not there for his birth only a few months later and I didn’t witness his tiny being fighting for life day in and day out.  I did not have that journey to experience, but am grateful the part of the journey I have been blessed to share.  I was there for a little boy learning to ride a bike, learning how to swim and dive and do flips under water.  I was there for the first time he said “yes”…to a pretty blond at Buffalo Wild Wings who sweetly asked if he would like more sprite.  I was there as he struggled to master a three word sentence.  I was there as he developed his love of photography and pictures and bow ties and music, and comedy.  He is Will; he is not Down’s Syndrome.  But as you acknowledge, it’s not all roses and rainbows.  There are fears, and pangs of worry, and concerns and moments where you are overwhelmed with panic that you aren’t doing enough, pursing the right therapy or keeping abreast of the newest research.  But mostly there is joy and love and moments where I am in awe of this being that has blessed my life.  Thank you for making me feel like that was okay and that it didn’t mean I wasn’t taking his disability seriously enough.  He is Will.  He is a loving, amazing little boy.  He is not Down’s Syndrome.                    

  378. those are some amazing lockets!!!

  379. Your story has grown me and I have treasured watching Nella as she grows.

  380. Your words are simply beautiful. Like you said some experiences are similar and others just like to experience life through another window. Thank you for making that view so pure and beautiful!!

  381. I absolutely love this post because you’re acknowledging where you’ve been and where you’re going. Your Nella is such a beautiful girl and so very blessed to have you as her mama. <3

  382. This blog has meant so much to me for so many reasons. I have worked with families who have children with special needs and your blog was a constant reminder of what it means to be a parent – of any child. Your blog helped me to serve them in a way I may not have otherwise.

    My husband and I are just in some very early discussions on adopting a child with Down Syndrome. I have enough questions to last a lifetime, but I think one of my biggest ones right now is what are your thoughts and hopes for Nella’s future and adulthood? What do you envision when you and Brett are gone?

    I know these are perhaps the hardest questions and not having an answer is, of course, understandable. I just thought I would take this opportunity to the questions that weigh heaviest on my husband and I.

    Thank you for this blog. Thank you for your vulnerability. Thank you for your creativity and for sharing your life.

  383. I refer so many people to your blog, and so many people who already know of your family say, “You mean the family with cute little Nella.” She’s a rockstar, indeed! As is your entire family.

  384. I really, really love your blog! Like another commentor (word?) said, I feel like I know you and your family and love them too! Keep on writing!

  385. Another reader commented about how your blog makes them so happy…I have to agree! I check every day to see if there is a new post :) The other day my husband found me, crying,watching your video of letting us know that your adding a sweet baby boy to your family. Then a couple of hours later he found me watching it again! I was so thrilled for your family! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us! You keep it real! I am from Michigan and it’s so cool to see you write about places that I have been and to see you write about memories from this great state! Makes me appreciate it that much more!

  386. Do your girls sleep well? I have a 3 mo. old so I am reading a lot about sleeping. It seems like your days are often exciting and different, so a strict schedule would be tough. How do you get them to sleep after nice evening walks or an ice cream run? Love your photos,and stories and loved your book.

  387. I think what we all have in common is exactly what keeps us coming back to check in on “family blogs” of people all over the world we don’t even know… It blogtastic! Thank you for yours and sharing your beautiful family with all of us.

  388. Thank you for your wonderful blog and sharing your family with us all.

  389. Love the locket.

  390. Love love love this. Love your words. Love your advocacy. Love your blog!

  391. Your blog is one of my favorites because it completely inspires me to be ..more. More aware, more accepting, more loving, listen more to the stories of others, to say yea to my children more…I absolutely love that you have this space to use your gifts of words to encourage & inspire others!!!

  392. I have so many thoughts right now, and keep deleting what I type! We’re awaiting test results on my niece – at 4 days old, her doctor decided they needed to test for Down Syndrome. She’s such a little honey and no test results will change that!

  393. Love all the photos of Nella! We truly are different but the same! Hugs to you! :)

  394. I wanted to ask about your experience with breastfeeding Nella. As a lactation consultant, I sometimes work with babies who have Down syndrome. We know that some of these babies will breastfeed without difficulty, and others will have trouble related to low muscle tone or other conditions associated with DS. It seems like you and Nella had a long and happy breastfeeding relationship! Did you get any special lactation support breastfeeding Nella? Did anyone talk with you about potential issues with her feeding, and did any of those problems come up? What do you think would be most helpful for other DS moms to know about breastfeeding their babies?

  395. Just wanted you to know that I visited our local Petco the other day and took a bunch of photos. You’ve inspired me to have a fun pet store treasure hunt with my daughter. Thanks for the idea!

  396. Excellent post!

  397. Reading your book right now. Beautiful, all around beautiful.

  398. Reading your book right now. Beautiful, all around beautiful.

  399. Such wonderful words! Thanks for sharing with us your life and your heart!

  400. Thank you for sharing so much with us and for doing it so eloquently.

  401. It’s just AMAZING, the gifts you share with the world here. Thank you!

  402. You have given your daughter and the community of differently abled children (and they families) a gift. Your words, stories, honesty, tears, laughter, and love have opened many eyes and hearts. Thank you!

  403. I am an avid follower of your blog and I just wanted to say that your words run so deep. I love everything you have to say and your out look on life in general. I actually heard of your blog through a forum on The Bump when several people said that your blog was wonderful but made them feel inferior. I disagree. I don’t feel inferior, I feel wildly inspired by who you are as mother and as a person. Thank you so much for sharing so much of your life with us!

  404. Kelle, haven’t we all come a long way together thanks to you and your blog, and you’re so right, we’re all the same.
    I can’t even imagine my life without daily doses of etst on instagram or your blog posts. Might sound a little crazy to say, but it’s true.

    I’m not sure I have any questions about DS for you. I think I’m a bit like Brett, I learn along with you and let Nella be my teacher. I may have a few about life with a newborn though! 😉

  405. Debs lockets look really cool. I like the idea.
    Your blog has truly adjusted awareness of Down Syndrom in a very positive way. Thank you for continuing to share your experiences !

  406. Hooked on this blog from the first time I read it!

  407. I am so glad we are on the same journey of DS! I love the comments especially from those readers who have some disorders themselves. Don’t DIS our ABILITIES!

  408. you have such an elegant way about your writing. it has been a pleasure and an honor to get to know your family through your blog! i look forward to every new entry that you right! hugs!

    ps. such simple, sweet photos of nella!

  409. Nella’s pigtails are getting so long! She’s such a cutie! And yay for the Scoot and Zoom! We love ours! =)

  410. I’ve spent the last hour catching up on your entries after a grueling week packing up and moving house. Your photos are breathtaking. Thank you for sharing your blessed family.

  411. There is so many words of wisdom in this post that I want imprinted in my brain to share with my famil and friends.. You inspire me to be a better person,to enjoy the small things and to craft more often.Thank you so much.

  412. Thanks so much for this post! Love your mission statement of sorts by the way. My sister-n-law (husbands littlest sister)is 10 and has Downs Syndrome and is Autistic! As a family and a large one at that (my husband is one of ten) she is so very dearly loved and adored by us all. I just want to thank you for raising the awareness of Down Syndrome in your own unique but very effective way!

  413. Love love love!

  414. Kelle, I think you’ve written and lived true to every word in that mission statement without it ever being there. Thanks for welcoming us all.

  415. Loved the book, love your blog. Thanks for continuing to share the many facets of your family life.

  416. My question: how can you go through the day without spending it entirely on the couch with Nella kissing her up? She is too cute for words.

  417. Beautiful post Kelle!

  418. You have such a wonderful way of saying things and I enjoy reading your blog and loved your book. I was sad when it ended and hope you write another one!

  419. Thank you for sharing!

  420. Hi, I read this post through and thought a lot about it through the evening. As a disabled mum I’ve been subject to people just not knowing how to deal with me / difference / ‘disability’. I think the essential thing for us all to try to embody is to approach every person, whether young or old as an individual. We all have different strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities. If we go through life and open our eyes to the potential within this diversity and recognise every difference with a positivity the world would be so much more welcoming for ALL. Thanks Kelle, J9 x

  421. Another fabulous post! When are you going to publish a children’s book with your awesome photos and beautiful message?

  422. My uncle with Down syndrome turns 56 today. He is such an amazing imam being. Thanks for all you do for Nella, and the DS community

  423. Loved your book :)

  424. Love everything about this post, youre changing the world Kelle x (PS – Funny story I’ve been wanting to share for a while. We sponsor an Ethiopian girl named Letehanis. My 3 year old Eve sees your blog and Instagram photos of Lainey and calls her Lainey-hanis. I’m sure she thinks we send Lainey money so she can go to school and have food to eat! So cute!)

  425. I look forward to new posts from you. Your blog is an inspiration and a constant reminder of what family means.

  426. beautiful..xx

  427. Thank you for sharing the poignant Barbara Deming quote.

  428. Kelle, you slay me with your writing and your heart. Thank you.
    XoXo to the family

  429. Thank you for sharing this. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, as more people with special needs have become a part of my life through different avenues. It is sometimes a challenge to see us as all the same, but really, who among us does not have a special need?

  430. What a blessing your blog is. Your little girls are the same age as mine and, as you said, they are the same. The same triumphs, the same fears, the same mischievous or shy smiles. May your family continue to grow and be blessed. :)

  431. Kelle, your blog is so beautiful. Everytime I read it, I am happy and inspired. Thank you for being so real and so open to discussion. You are making the world a better place. And those beautiful children of yours are doing the same!!

  432. I love the way you paint your life- both your words and pictures are fabulous. Your family is so blessed. :)

  433. Beautiful pictures, as always! :)

  434. Lovely words, Kelle.

  435. As usual your words are wonderful.

    I passed a tiny pair of Minnetonka mocs in a store in Charlevoix this weekend- I almost bought them, just because. But, I have no tiny feet for them yet- one day :)

  436. Your blog has inspired me in so many ways and i feel like I have become so much more aware of others and how people deal with things in their life. I try to be the best mom for my children as I possibly can and i thank you so much for making me feel like I don’t have to be prefect just perfect for them……and the charms are so adorable.

  437. I completely understand what you’re talking about. Since I started working with the special education department in our school district, I’ve become sensitive to those words, too. I cringe every time I hear them. Both of your children are absolutely beautiful inside and out!

  438. Love your blog. Would love to get one of these lockets for my mom…You should write a children’s book on down syndrome and acceptance. I would love to read that to my girls.

  439. Great post!

  440. I look forward to each and every post and you never disappoint. Love, love, love, love!

  441. Kellie~

    I have enjoyed your blog — the writing, the photos– ALL of it….ever since I stumbled upon it just over a year ago.
    Thanks for opening yourself & your (& your family’s) life up to your readers :)

  442. I love your description of your blog as a ‘life blog’ that you’ve transitioned. You write beautifully, and I love your message that we need to see people first, with their need for love, rather than a disability.

  443. Beautiful! Thank you

  444. I think I love your blog more and more!

  445. This is a great post. I was fortunate enough to grow up with an uncle that had Down Syndrome. I say “fortunate” because I’m lucky I had 24 years of knowing him and gaining lots of life lessons from him, my family and our interactions. He was always a normal member of the family like your Nella is. Just…normal. Accepted. Special, yes…but just another member of the family with different talents, a grand personality and an important place in our hearts. I’m thankful for that experience in my life. But your blog…yours gives me another perspective in this DS world–a MOM’S view. I love my 2 sons with all my heart and there’s NOTHING that could change that–so I get how you feel about your kids. So I’ve seen DS first-hand through a child’s and young adult’s eyes and now I’m seeing it through a mother’s eyes via your blog. Thanks for this vantage point. You do it beautifully.

  446. This comment has been removed by the author.

  447. What a great post, Kelle. Your journey is beautiful, and I love that you are so genuine in sharing it :)

  448. beautiful post, beautiful girl. i hope you will let us hear her sweet voice one day! i can only imagine 😉 sigh. have a wonderful day!

  449. I am one of those that started reading your blog because of Nella’s birth story. I hardly ever think about Nella’s DS anymore when I read your blog, see pictures, etc and just enjoy you & your family. I think we’ve all moved along with you.

  450. You have taught me sooo much through you blog. It has encouraged me to courageously discourage the use of certain words in my sphere but also share to people who may be scared to approach people with disabilities that it’s okay to say hi…or hang out with them too. Thank you Kelle!

  451. I love reading your blog! You are an amazing mom and I have learned so much from you.

  452. Love your post…as usual. You have such a great, unique perspective on life. Your words inspire me to be a better mom, wife and person. I take time to “enjoy the small things”.

    So thank you. For being you and sharing yourself with us.

  453. I am a Reece’s Rainbow fanatic. Your blog gives me hope that someday each of these orphans can enjoy the love from a family and see the same amazing strides Nella makes every day.

  454. This is one of your more beautiful posts. I absorbed every word.

  455. Great post Kelle. I look forward to your posts through out this awareness month, I really think your posts about DS really are so good at breaking down all those stereo types, keep on keeping on.

  456. I love your blog. Reading your words consistently softens my heart. Lots of love to you and yours.

  457. Hi Kelle! We just moved to Michigan and LOVE it! I’m driving my kids crazy by pointing out every gorgeous tree that we pass…. soaking up the beauty on your behalf!
    Thanks for such a special blog! I love it when there’s a new post!
    Happy October!

  458. Because of Nella and your story I view things in a different light. Thanks for your words!

  459. Beautiful Post! Love your blog. It’s always such an inspiration!

  460. Can’t wait to share the videos with my littles.

  461. I told you when Nella was a newborn that you would some day get to the point where Down syndrome was in the background and now that day is here. She’s doing so great and you must be very proud. Thank you for using your gifts and your platform to educate and inspire people. You are changing a lot of lives. Thank you.

  462. Such good writing here and I too feel that “sting” when hearing the ‘R’ word. People don’t mean to be hurtful but it’s one of those words that needs to dissapear just like other derogatory and outdated terms. Your blog is always such a breath of fresh air. Thank you for being such an inspiration to so many.

  463. i will use your words this afternoon to send an email to family and friends re: using the words “retard” and “gay” because you put it so eloquently and Down syndrome Awareness Month is the perfect time to remind people and their children that we are moving into a new generation of more respectful and understanding human beings. Keep leading the charge, sister!

  464. Very well put! Everyone really is the same, and I hope my children will one day believe that.

  465. HI Kelle,

    Thanks for sharing Nella’s wonderful birth story which led me to your blog. I faithfully read every time you post and actually look forward to it. It has really helped me to see “special needs” in a whole new, GOOD light. Thank you for giving us a peek into your life.

  466. Your blog has been such a blessing to me and your words have helped heal a part of me. My son was born premature 4 years ago and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 18 months. I’m a cup is always half full kind of girl and I didn’t know how many emotions I kept hidden inside me until I found your blog last year, and when I read bloom I cried out all those emotions! It was my private moment to just release it all and that felt so darn good!! I love how you wrote “our life extends far beyond Down Syndrome”. We also have differently abled children in our home and what gifts they are!! Thanks for sharing your life blog with us!!

    Tina J

  467. I just love her hair in piggy tails!!! The necklaces are adorable, do the charms inside move around?

  468. Cant wait to show the video to my kids tonight. Keep up the good work, mama!

  469. Beautiful post! I agree we are so similar. I love the pictures of Nella and her baby, My 18 month old Son loves to take care of his sisters babies and Elmo, he feeds them and it is really sweet.Thank you for what you do and for your honesty,It is so important to think of people for who they are , My husband has CP and I often forget because he is amazing, my SIL has Turner syndrome and we don’t treat her different ( my MIL does) I think she appreciates it and she is so strong and independent. So glad my kids have such great people in their lives.

  470. Powerful words, powerful love!! I had to read through it twice, just to catch every heart felt emotion through your elaborate writing.
    Thank you for always sharing those commonalities and making this world a kinder, gentler place.

  471. Thank you for posting about Down Syndrome Month. My brother has a syndrome similar to that so I know how it feels being the sister of a special needs child. I love my brother in all way possible and I would never change him.
    Thank you so much for posting and I will be doing a post much like this one soon.


  472. As always very well said! I think you do such a great job with your blog because of the way you treat down syndrome. It is a part of your life but it does not define who you are, who Nella is, or who your family is. Kudos! Also I love love love the lockets!!!

  473. I don’t know if you will see this but I can try.. I have two children with mild special needs. They may look normal (whatever that is) but our life is at timed ruled by my oldest need for structure and my youngest with patience with her speed and agility. We can label one child autistic and the other cerebral palsy.

    Somewhere in moving forward – I have to take a second and catch my breath and honor/recognize/whine that we have some “cants” in our life. We have to deal with insurance companies who tell us our kids aren’t worth treating or people who are down right stupid when they say “Oh I’m so sorry” when you explain your child has different abilities. But then somewhere in here – life is NOT normal for my girls. I am avoiding my 4 year olds question of “why can’t I go to the roller skating birthday party” She doesn’t know she has a (mostly benign) pocket of fluid on the front of her pretty little head that in the rare event of impact could cause life to change for her..roller skating isn’t the best choice for her or that her ligaments are too loose that she can’t ever play baseball or tennis. Somewhere in there that hurts her, and me. As good Mom.. we do other things, we have a tea party instead of roller skates or we fly kites instead of playing baseball.. but do we ever have answers to their questions when they ask why? when we are moving forward?

    Somewhere in here I get tired of taking my kid to therapy 2-3 times a week to therapy so that she can run on the playground with her peers and when she speaks you can understand her say “red ball” vs “wed bah”. I get tired of saying in Hip Hop dance class “she can do the dance moves but please take her leg and show her where her foot can be so she can feel it”. I have been blessed to have the dance teacher do this — now my kid is well on her way to being Katie Perry :)

    Sometimes I think we do move forward but how do you move forward and still be kind to yourself and not forget.

  474. I am so in love with your blog. Thank you so much for sharing and doing it candidly. I am excited to visit the site and watch you all grow. You have beautiful babies so full of life. After a 4 year struggle with infertility I now have a little girl of my own, I know how precious it can be! Thanks again!!

  475. What a great blog post. I am a Kindergarten teacher and have a child with special needs in my classroom. I am working on teaching the students empathy and how his needs are different and how to work with him. (He has anger and sensory issues). This video will be great to help show how everyone is different. cmessner@myuw.net

  476. thank you for making us aware of what the month of October means to your family and so many others. my sister-in-law also has special needs, different ones, but it has been 12 years of knowing her and learning about her that has made me a better person. I hope I can teach understanding to my children – 2 girls and a boy on the way – when they want to know more about their Aunt.
    Happy October!

  477. Hi Kelle and family,

    Very inspiring and thoughtful post. I’m looking forward to ‘sharing’ the holiday season with you and your fam. Have a great day!

  478. Your family rocks!

  479. I love reading your words of wisdom!!!! And of course looking at your world through your lens. :) So special, indeed!!!! Congrats on the lil boy….I missed that somehow.

  480. Beautiful post. Reminded me to be conscious of words I say. Even if not in a hurtful way towards anyone other than my own absent mindedness it is still has a mean history. Definitely a word I want banished from my family’s vocabulary

  481. The longer we listen to one another – with real attention – the more commonality we will find in all our lives. That is, if we are careful to exchange with one another life stories and not simply opinions. ~Barbara Deming

    I love this…to me, this is what blogging should be…

  482. Thank you Kelle for making the world a better place. You make me a better mom.

  483. The first entry I read was Nella’s Birth Story. I immediately began from the very beginning – your story, and your photography, have defintely touched me (and I can’t shut up about the PICTURES! to my husband… =) you’ve got a big fan!!

  484. Kelle, you have such an amazing way with words. I have a brother with Down Syndrome and your post (and blog) hits so very close to home. Thank you for spreading awareness, and love.

  485. Your blog has changed my family in a simple but profound way. One day I was reading it, and my 11 year old daughter looked over my shoulder at pictures of your beautiful girls and commented on how cute they were. She asked me if Nella had Down syndrome, and I said yes, she did. Kaiya said “she’s probably one of the cutest little girls I’ve ever seen!” and continued to be interested in Nella’s progress and life. She told me a story about how her younger half-sister at her dad’s house saw a child this past summer with Down syndrome and commented about their face looking different. My daughter took the opportunity to explain to her that everyone is born unique and that the little girl they were looking at was beautiful, and that saying those kinds of things out loud could really hurt someone’s feelings. She says to me “mom, all I could think about was Nella and how cute she is, and I can’t stand the thought of someone ever making fun of her.” As I blinked back tears of pride and hugged her, I thought – “thank you, Kelle and Nella for unknowingly teaching my child compassion for something she doesn’t truly understand yet in such a beautiful way.” This is a long-winded comment, but I just need to say thank you. We all adore your family and love your educational approach to your life.

  486. Thanks for including your request for people to stop using the word “retarded.” I hope you and your readers express your views to the public editor of the New York Times regarding a story that appeared Oct. 1: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/01/nyregion/assemblyman-to-file-suit-charging-abuse-of-his-disabled-son.html?_r=1

    In the print version of this article on page 18, and the sell on page 1, a vulnerable voiceless man who was allegedly abused in his group home was referred to in first reference as “retarded.” I blogged about it here:


    I also wrote the public editor at public@newyorktimes.com and received this response:

    Thanks for writing. This is something we’re continuing to examine. I didn’t know the language in yesterday’s article was changed, so that is interesting. I appreciate you pointing this out to us as we continue to look into this issue.

    I also heard from the reporter who told me that the word retarded has been used frequently in a series of articles revealing widespread physical and sexual abuse of people with developmental disabilities in New York State group homes and that because it’s listed as a medical condition in the DSM, it’s appropriate.

    Perhaps you can help Times staff understand why the word “retarded” isn’t a fitting description for this most marginalized of populations. Thanks!

  487. I look forward each morning to reading this blog – you express so beautifully so many of the feelings all mothers experience on a daily basis. Most of us just can’t say it quite so eloquently! I love the little glimpse into a life of having daughters (I have two boys), and I can’t wait to see how your family evolves with a baby brother on the way. Many blessings to you and your beautiful family.

  488. Thank you for opening my eyes and making me more aware of individuals with and without “special needs.” We are all unique and special regardless of any medical diganosis. Loving one another is most important.

  489. Hi Kelle,

    I’m not sure if you get to the bajillion comments a day on your posts, but I want to thank you for the resources you posted. My daughter is 5 and, like Lainey, just started Kindergarten. She sits next to a boy in her class who has Down Syndrome and last week on the way home told me that some kids were calling the boy “weird” and it made her sad. She noticed that he doesn’t read, write, or talk very well, but he has a “helper teacher” and said he’s nice and thinks the other kids were just being mean. I was so glad she recognized those comments were inappropriate and rude, but it also scared me because I don’t know how to explain Down Syndrome to her…I told her that each person is special in their own way, and just as we are different on the outside we are different in our personalities and how we learn and express ourselves too.

    To be perfectly honest, I have never met someone with Down Syndrome. In school, “Special Education” was in another wing of the building and the only mention of it was in biology class when referencing the extra chromosome. I have an extremely limited knowledge on it, but now with what my daughter brought to my attention I realized that I don’t want the subject to be “hush hush” with her as it was when I was growing up.

    I read your blog as a mother (I also have a 2.5 year old stepdaughter) and absolutely adore your outlook on life and often try to apply that positivity to my own. I suffered a miscarriage over the summer – found out in May at the ultrasound that baby didn’t have a heartbeat, had the miscarriage induced in June, and just when I thought life was back to normal I was rushed in for an emergency D&C at the end of July. I read many of your posts about hope, loss, and faith…and now the excitement and happiness with your little boy on the way! It inspires me to “enjoy the small things” with my children now and to keep trying – I told my husband that I would regret giving up… one day a pregnancy will stick and the beautiful baby that arrives at the end of it will be worth it all.

    Thank you, again, for educating and equipping me with the information needed to help my family understand Down Syndrome, and for being such an inspiration to me as a mother.

    God Bless you and your family!

  490. Beautiful post… Thanks for what you do!

  491. I used to work for a web site, The Family Village project and we recieved funding from the Kennedy Foundation, founders of the Special Olympics. I was dismayed and surprised that back then, 1997, they still used the work mental retardation. We were forced to put it on the acknowledgements for the web site, per Eunice Kennedy Shriver. I hope they have gotten more current with their language…sister Rose Kennedy was technically diagnosed with mental retardation back in the 1930s, but such an archaic term today.
    All of us have differing abilities and obstacles. Thank you for your blog of beauty! I have learned so much and also from your book…I used your dad’s term “God Spinnin'” recently…which is such a cultural phenomenon. Thank you, Mz Hampton!

  492. I have a niece with DS and your blog has opened my eyes to many things. Your words are written from the heart and you have inspired me, along with my family, to spread the word that DS isn’t about a chromosome disorder, but about a gift that should be cherished everyday!
    Thank you!

  493. I’ve only been reading a few weeks, and I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon your blog. We have many friends with special needs children, and I’m always intrigued by the way those families live life. Thanks for sharing your wonderful family with us.

  494. I love reading your blog!

  495. Your pictures alone are worth following this blog, but your words make it even more great. Nella is such a pretty girl. Very cool lockets as well!

  496. You are such a fantastic advocate not only for your own children, but for others as well. Your blog makes me so happy; thank you for being so open and candid.

  497. i swear your way w/ words gets more and more powerful w/ every post!

  498. I just started reading and now I can’t stop. Love transcends absolutely everything and everyone deserves as much as possible.

  499. I grew up volunteering at camp for kids and adults with physical/development disabilities and terminal illness. It is the most special place in the world (screw Disney!) anyway… Ending the R-word is so close to my heart. I am so thankful you are promoting it. There is a website
    http://www.R-word.org where you can take a pledge to end to word. Their mission is to educate others on the power and meaning behind the word in hopes of ending it. Maybe you could encourage others to take the pledge or take it yourself!

  500. Nella is my favorite “internet baby”! I don’t know you guys at all but I feel like I’ve learned so much about Down Syndrome from your family. I love seeing Nella’s adventures and I love seeing the sister relationship develop with Lainey. You are truly blessed.

  501. Love your blog! It brightens my day and gives me joy. Would love to win the locket!

  502. Thank you for being so open and honest in your posts! Always take away something helpful after reading your thoughts.

  503. Thank you for being so open and honest in your posts! Always take away something helpful after reading your thoughts.

  504. This post was such a gift-thank you!! :)

    I have three children, all two years apart, and the middle child has Down syndrome. I will be excited to read your blog posts as your newest little one is born and grows. A very poignant part of my own journey has been watching my third child catch up then pass my second child in many areas of development. Some of the sweetest moments have been watching the relationship between my youngest two children, watching my youngest help her big brother. I look forward to hearing about Nella’s relationship with her new baby brother! :)

  505. Great post. Nodding my head. :) thank you.

  506. Kelle, I love when you write about Down syndrome! Although you’re less than three years in, you offer such great wisdom. And THANK YOU for mentioning the r-word. You have such a powerful voice; I hope it will make some people think twice.

  507. i recently heard abut origami owl from someone else and thought it was so cool!

    havent gotten a chance to read the post yet, but will a little later!

  508. I love reading your blog, your girls always make me smile! congrats on your new little one cookin’ away :)

  509. I will make it a point not to mindlessly use those words!

  510. Love how my eyes have been opened by your blog.

  511. Hi, greetings from Poland.I found Your blog many months ago. I love Your style and how You are looking at life. I really love photographs. Today I went to the bookshop and I found at the shelf with “good books” Your book . It is so great that I can read it in polish! Congratulations. I am Your fan.Best wishes for all family, great family.

  512. Deb Oliver got it wrong…she forgot to add two more blue gems. Afterall, Brett’s two older sons are also part of you right?

  513. My daughter is 22 mos. and has DS. I have only sporadically read your blog, though I don’t know why I don’t return more often, your photos are stunning & I really enjoy your writing, not to mention your great taste in music. I feel we have been in a plateau of sorts and am wondering, what would you say are the top 5 (or so) things you feel incredibly helped Nella? She looks like she is doing amazing. Also, can you list the titles of the team you’re working with that you mentioned in this post? Thank you!

  514. Beautiful!

  515. Thank you for sharing with us. You are an inspiration.

  516. Thanks for sharing your lives with us! I wonder if you’ll ever know the impact you are having…making this world a more accepting place for all children!

  517. I found your blog via Pinterest. I am completely amazed at your brutal honesty and am enjoying your blog immensly!
    Keep writing!!!

    love those great charms and thanks for the opportunity for someone to design their own :)

  518. Wonderful post! I always feel lighter (less impending new mother worries!) after reading your blog-I’m having a little boy soon too!

  519. I just love these necklaces! Hope you & yours have a wonderful October. Cheers to you for raising awareness.

  520. I have always felt that way about the word too. i grew up with a cousin who was born with water on the brain and many many more issues. He was blind and in a wheelchair and only knew a few people. Because of him i started working with special needs children at my first job while in high school and had to spent one class prd in detention for causing a “scene” while in one of my classes where a girl stood up and said she didn’t belong in the same classroom as those “insert word” and pointed at them. it broke my heart to see their faces, they knew at that moment she and everyone else was looking at them different. so i stood up and defended them and then landed my butt in ISD. I talk to my son all the time about how people are different and to love them no matter what. its what i believe. i see nella the same as her sister, a beautiful blonde hair little girl with the cutest smile.

    and with the lockets, im so glad you have them on your blog. one of my fellow army wives got one with a yellow ribbon since our husbands are deployed. i hope to win one so i can get a yellow ribbon too.

  521. I read your book and your words have helped our family deal with a different issue, divorce. Especially the speech from your sister,
    “I want you to picture some hypothetical person in your mind – someone who handled Down Syndrome exactly how you wish you could. Now go and be that person. Rock this out, Kelle. Rock it out and show the world another way…”

    In our extended family, that’s what we’re trying to do. Thank you for opening your life to us.

  522. I’ve enjoyed your blog for 2 1/2 years now. I started reading when my first baby was teeny and now she’s almost 3. Time flies! Love your words, your photos, and am inspired by you often…

  523. You have taught me a lot about Down Syndrome, Kelle. I see Nella as a beauty little girl…always have :)

  524. I look forward to your blogs every week. Keep it up!!

  525. Happy fall! Thank you for posting on Ds awareness month, I will be sharing your blog with family and friends :) Your beautiful words inspire me!

  526. Thank you Kelle, you truly have changed the way I look at the world. I have done everything I can to change my little bubble. If I hear those negative words I change them, if I see anyone out there with any disability I offer them a smile and a “how are you?” Because you are right, we really are the same :)

  527. Happy fall! Thank you for posting on Ds awareness month, I will be sharing your blog with family and friends :) Your beautiful words inspire me!

  528. thank you for your information on down’s syndrome. it is so inspiring, as are both of your beautiful daughters. the lockets are adorable, as well. how fun. I really enjoy your blog.

  529. sweet sweet Nella! I just love reading about how she is growing! And all of her pictures are adorable as well as sister! And those lockets are adorable!!!!

  530. Thank you for being so willing to share your happiness and love for your children with so many. You are amazing!

  531. love reading your blog, kelle. thanks for always being so honest and genuine with your readers

  532. I love your message about how we are the same. I know I don’t look at Nella as anyone except your beautiful daughter.

  533. I love reading your blog! You have been blessed with an amazing talent. We’re headed to Naples for Winter vacation in January from Ontario, can’t wait for the warmth! We should trade some snow for sun!
    Ps. LOVE the necklaces…precious!

  534. This post is beautiful. And I (shamefully have to say) that the reminder not to use the “R” word is much, much needed. Real eye opener there for me. Thank you.

  535. You are a great writer. I am always excited to read one of your posts!

  536. Just chiming in as another mommy of a beautiful little girl with Down Syndrome and a beautiful little girl without Down Syndrome. :) A friend of mine posted your blog on my FB page since you and I have something so special in common–thank you for sharing your life with the world! I’m a new hand at blogging–just began a blog for the month of October honoring Down Syndrome and my wonderful little Rachel. Cheers!

  537. Thank you for your words of acceptance! definitely putting one of these necklaces on my Christmas wish list!

  538. You and Noah’s Dad made me aware of Awarness month. I just posted about my 43 year old brother and mentioned your site and Noah’s Dads site too. Thanks for great inspiration and for bringing back tons of memories.

  539. Your blog has opened my eyes to down syndrome and you write beautifully about disabilities and I like how you wrote about not being weird but just different. And boy am I glad that we aren’t all the same. Those lockets are so neat!

  540. I am new to your blog, but both of my adult daughters have been following you for a long time. I’m a mother of seven with grandchildren of my own now. I love that we have the technology for lovely women like you to beautifully share your life experiences in a way that blesses and encourages others. I will continue to read, marvel at and pray for your family. chocolatepiechronicles.com

  541. Beautiful post and love the “mission statement” – it’s perfect!

  542. I love reading your blog :) I started reading with Nella’s birth story and I’ve been hooked on your kids and you ever since :)


    mom to 5 busy kids :)


  543. thank you for sharing so deeply, honestly, and raw-ly. like many others i found your blog through nella’s birth story – after working for years with children with special needs, reading stories like yours hits home, but in a completely different way. it’s raw and “brutiful,” as (your new friend) glennon would say. even after years in the field, so to speak, your stories have opened my eyes in so many ways. thank you. thank you thank you thank you.

  544. I love your blog and you outlook on life. Thanks for sharing your wisdom :)

  545. Some people turn to God when they feel like they’re unsure… WWJD and all that. But when I’m gripped by the panic or rage or overwhelming desire to scream that only comes from being home all day with a needy infant and a headstrong 3.5 year old, I think WWKD? The answer is usually to take a breath, step back from it all, and redirect everyone’s attention to the silver lining. You are a constant inspiration to be a better mother, better friend, more present wife. Thank you for showing your readers many sides of your family’s life. A real, living, breathing, mistake making, keepingitreal kind of mom is exactly what our generation needs.

  546. “Teach them that though we are different in brilliant and beautiful ways, we are really all the same.”

    love it. and i plan to. thank you.

  547. You are beautiful and inspiring! Thanks do much for sharing your life!

  548. I will be sharing this post, Kelle, as I have many of your others – I love your style and the message that you have chosen to share. My Stella was born 11 days after your Nella, and they remind me so much of each other. :)
    Thanks for such a beautiful blog!

  549. I am wondering if with your new precious little boy if you will get or have gotten the test done that tells you if your baby had Down Syndrome. My husband and I have been discussing if we want to get the test done and your opinion would be valuable.

  550. What a beautiful necklace. I love customized jewelery. It’s a great conversation starter.

  551. Beautiful post, thank you for sharing! Love the lockets- so unique!

  552. I absolutely love your blog – I tell all my friends when they are feeling down/ not good enough/ not themselves to go to your blog for a breath of fresh air and some serious “we are all faking it most days, just love your littles and life will be okay” advice.

    I have a question: I am currently expecting my 2nd, and always struggle with the amnio test option. I have decided to opt out both times, feeling that I wouldnt want a false positive to make me worry. But, if you could have known early on in the pregnancy about beautiful Nella’s Down Syndrome, would you have wanted to know? Do you feel like it would have prepared you or scared you?

  553. I’ve enjoying reading your blog and following your family’s day-to-day happenings. Looking forward to the new babe on the way.

  554. beautiful blog and so inspiring!

  555. Kelle, you have truly opened my eyes to a different world and for that I am thankful. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us and capturing them so beautifully on this blog!

  556. Kelle,
    I read your blog daily & it always brightens my day…I just love the outlook you have on life. Thanks for reminding me to take a minute and savor the “small things” in life, and to smile!

  557. Thank you again, Kelle! :)

  558. I have given your website to so many mothers. Anyone who has children suffers at times. Raising them is like wearing your heart on the outside – it hurts sometimes.

    What I love about your blog is that you don’t focus on the hurt. You focus on the gift that is parenthood and children. I love that.

    Thank you for being willing to share your life.

  559. Just wanted to thank you for sharing your family with us. Nella’s pictures always make me smile!

  560. Thanks for posting the link to the video. It is excellent and conveys a powerful message. I am the mother of a 17 year old daughter with DS. She has always been fully included in school with her typical peers. I am also a kindergarten teacher. I have a child with DS in my class this year. We played and discussed the video today and I emailed the link to all our kindergarten and first grade teachers. Our children are truly more alike than different from their peers.

  561. Over 2 years ago I reconnected with a cousin (through Facebook) that I had not seen since our teen years. Her daughter has Down Syndrome and she posted a link to a DS awareness site. I clicked on it and through that, discovered your blog. I hope this month others will find the same treasure.

  562. Well said!

  563. Love your locket. I’ve been wanting to do one of those Mama Bird necklaces by MelodyJoy (I think is her name).
    I’m a SW in Michigan…the world is so behind in the way we treat those that are different. My advice to parents who are trying to kick the “retard” habit? Say ridiculous instead. Works the same, starts the same!

  564. Thank you for approaching this subject in the same open and honest manner as you do with all of your subject matter. It is so refreshing to read from your viewpoint, without feeling as though one is withholding information. You are an inspiration to all parents.

  565. I have a question: when you notice kids staring at Nella and your family, how do you react? Would you rather they leave you alone or that they come up and ask questions? Thanks! Your blog is very inspiring. Congratulations on the little boy who’s on his way!

  566. My 8 year old boy was laying beside me tonight while I was reading your post and he commented on how “precious” and “cute” the little girl in the photos was. I then shared with him the heart warming video you did of Nella being a loving Mama. At the end of the video he shared “She is going to be such an awesome Mama when she’s big…just like you Mom” I love him and his heart that sees pure love and no differences…like you said Kelle, “at the core, we ARE all the same. We are human. We want to be loved, we want to feel safe, we want to be heard, we want to contribute, we want to be happy. All of us” I hold this statement of yours close to my heart. You have with every post, with Tuesday nights at Fred’s, with Nella’s ONEder year and bloom and 2 for 2 and with sharing your “enjoying the small things” stories …made this world a kinder, gentler, more understanding place. I thank you. And I am so ever grateful to my friend who sent the link to the story of Nella’s birth. Your blog has been a gift to my Mama heart and soul.


  567. Yet again, I will miss an opportunity to meet you! We are moving from San Diego the week before you get here! But, I hope you have a great time and safe travels. This was a wonderful post. Thank you!

  568. I wonder, at times, what the best way is to open a conversation with a parent who has a child with Down’s syndrome.

    For instance, if our kids are playing at the playground, after I open with the standard “how old are your kids?” or something similar, is there any polite way to ask about the kiddo who has Down’s syndrome? I don’t want to be rude, but I’m also curious.

    Can you help?

  569. Everything about your blog makes me happy. Your blog truly is a life blog. I will definitely be looking for a buddy walk near my house!

  570. I wish I had a smidge of your writing talent in the way you express your feelings and life on this blog. And I adore the locket too!

  571. Love your writing, your blog, and feeling like I know your family!

  572. I originally found your blog through Nella’s birth story, and like you said, I stuck around as I fell in love with your entire family. Now I keep coming back because your posts always leave me loving life, loving myself more, and wanting to do good in the world. <3

  573. What a great post. And as always amazing pictures.

  574. thank you for being so honest and open with your feelings about down syndrome. i know this is a very personal and difficult part of your life!

    i am so excited that you’ll be here in socal this month!! i so so so wish i could come down! :( but, i’ll be stuck in LA in a class! maybe my little can meet yours another time you’re in LA! :)

  575. Hi Kelle. I have been reading your blog for about a year and a half. I love everything about your life and family. I am pregnant with my second child (14 weeks) and just received news from my doctor that my nuchal translucency test came back positive for being high risk for down syndrome. I am feeling very overwhelmed. I know my next options in testing are Amnio or CVS. I was wondering, are you having either of these tests with your third pregnancy? I know they’re both invasive and put me at a higher risk for miscarriage. So I’m torn. Do you think it would be better to know if the baby has a disorder ahead of time to prepare, and potentially put the baby at risk? Or wait and see until the baby is born, and keep baby out of potential harm from the testing?

    Thanks! Casey

  576. 1. I wish I could take pictures as beautiful as yours!
    2. As a sister to a learning-disabled young woman, I’m happy to see how amazing your life is and your mere existence is reinforcement that your normal is…normal. Just like mine was growing up and is now! My sister has more friends than I will ever have!

  577. you are a great writer…and i love your vulnerability and honesty. it’s refreshing!!

  578. Your unofficial philosophy statement for this blog is beautiful Kelle. I’ve been so inspired by so many aspects of Enjoying the Small Things.xo

  579. “I want to do the gift right.” Simply beautiful. I am embarrassed to say that the “R” word was once part of my vocabulary. NEVER again. I have fallen head over heals in love with your family. Thank you!

  580. LOVE the lockets! I’m thinking Christmas gifts for my mother and sister (along with your fabulous book, Kelle!).

  581. After reading today’s post and you pointing out that Nella’s birth story was in 2010, it finally occurred to me how long I’ve been reading your blog! I started reading after a friend forwarded me Nella’s birth story shortly after she was born. Thanks for sharing your life–I feel blessed to have come along on this journey with you.

  582. Your blog inspires me.

  583. Happy October! I love your pictures of Nella and that it is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Kids with DS are just so squishably lovable. Hope I win a locket!

  584. Maybe not exactly related to down syndrome, but do you ever worry about all of your children being in the spotlight? I love your blog, but I often wonder if people in your town feel like you are really “friends,” because of your relatability.

    Love the lockets too :)

  585. everytime I read your blog and I check it daily, I smile. Your down to earth parenting is awesome.

  586. Your blog helps me feel like I am not alone in this parenting thing. Thanks! :)

  587. Kelle, I would love to see a follow up to Bloom as Nella gets older and you navigate the waters of being a mama to those beauties! (Not that you don’t have enough on your plate right now!) So thrilled to see her growing and thriving!

  588. Your blog has taken my world by storm. I am a new reader and finished Bloom is almost 24 hours. I am in love with your writing and the words and the beauty in each post.

    In my town, Lexington, Kentucky, there is something that my church does – called Jesus Prom. It’s for the physically and/or mentally challenged adults. It’s one of the most amazing things you will ever see.

    There’s a video online at http://www.jesusprom.org and I’d love for you to check it out. I think it would make your heart happy.

  589. I LOVE your mission statement – if one is to call it that. I also love your blog. I’m a Mom, with two daughters, but I’m also a teacher at a school with students who do have Down Syndrome. Your blog really remids me to see all students as more than they appear to be, more than their special education needs are. Not that teachers don’t see their students as people, but sometimes we need the reminder to see all kids, including our own, as kids. As little ones that need to be loved and cared for in any way that we can.

  590. Oh my gosh. I love these lockets. Definitely going on my Christmas list.

  591. Love the ambition of Isabella – and would love a charm – thanks for your blog!

  592. Your daughters are beautiful, your words are beautiful, and those lockets are beautiful, too. 😉

  593. So, so beautiful! You are truly such a wonderful inspiration. After reading one of your posts, I feel more centred, and connected to the person I strive to be. Thank you for sharing.

  594. I love your blog! It brightens my day, you are so full of joy and happiness.

  595. Whatever the post topic you choose to write on any given day in your life, it is a daily inspiration to me…thank you!

  596. Your blog is one of my favorite blogs. Thank you for all of your inspirational words.

  597. I love following your blog, your pictures and words are uplifting.

  598. thank you for continuing to speak so candidly on all issues ranging from differently abled children to every day life issues. I don’t have a child with down syndrome. I came to this blog because I was intrigued by the writing, the story itself. And it hasn’t failed me. It has given me a different perspective on life.

    Thanks again!

  599. I love reading about your growing family.. and those lockets are awesome!

  600. I’m so thank for the beauty of your blog, especially after the birth of my Samuel in May. Down syndrome is now a part of our world like it is yours. I’m encouraged by your approach to life through taking in all the little moments and the way you are able to capture so many of them in your photos.

    Blessings to you & your family.

  601. what a fantastic idea to have a q & a….I love reading your blog, came across it when I was newly pregnant with #4. We were dealing with “delays” for my #3 which I always thought meant she would catch up……not the case. Sadly she is undiagnosed, but we still do all that we can through therapy and play and just being a kid :)

  602. Beautiful and inspiring post. It brought tears to my eyes….I think about these same things in my interactions with others, in all walks of life. Also, as a physical therapist working with children with developmental disabilities, I know well what you’re talking about, but I really appreciate hearing this intimate parent’s perspective on hopes, fears, opinions regarding concepts and terminology, and realities of enjoying a little who has special needs.

  603. Thanks for sharing the videos, I plan on showing my 4 year old the more age appropriate one soon!

  604. We always enjoy your blog and my daughter is convinced that she is best friends with your girls because they love to do all the things she loves. :-)

  605. I love your blog and I love the message in today’s post especially. I don’t read as often as I used to – I find myself strapped for time these days but every time I do I enjoy the posts and wonderful photos you take.

  606. Thank you for sharing your beautiful life- I have been reading since Nella’s Birth Story was published in 2010 and appreciate the beautiful stories and amazing pictures.

  607. I love those locket necklaces and put one together online and went to order and they won’t ship to Canada, super bummed :( hope you enjoy your’s they are so cute!! Love your blog! xo

  608. I just started to read your book and am so excited! I already love your blog, but now I get to dig deeper and find myself wanting to be a better person because of you.
    Thank you…

  609. I love reading about you and your family Kell, and my perception has definately changed since discovering your little corner of the world! I used to be deathly afraid of my future children having sisabilities, now I see it as a blessing and a challenge worth taking, even with the difficulties!

  610. The very first comment is a great question and something that I have wondered myself!
    Everytime I see Nella’s Mocs I get extremely jealous! I NEED them.

  611. I have referred to your blog for a few of my patients (I work on a labor and delivery floor) who were blessed with little ones with an extra chromosome as well. I have also have learned some much about DS from your blog, thanks for keeping it real and honest

  612. I purchased your book on my nook and I’m so excited to read it. I now work with a woman who has a 15yr old son with Down syndrome. I met him and the first thing he did was give me a hug and a kiss! Never met me before but gave me a great big kiss! :) Congrats on your baby boy!
    I enjoy reading your blog…you are an amazing writer! I LOVE these lockets…I think this may go on my wish list!

  613. I just ordered one of these beautiful lockets for my daughter’s 13th birthday.

    Thank you for opening my eyes to new ways to appreciate my own family.

  614. I remember holding a sweet little girl 3 days after Christmas so excited for my girlfriend and I remember the call days later that her baby had DS. I remember the conversation with my mom that sounded like “God could not have given that sweet girl to two better people to love and take care of her…” Her mommy and daddy are incredible people! A few years later my son was born deaf and in a few short months after genetic testing it was confirmed he has CHARGE Syndrome. I thought briefly about my friends who were walking a “special” path with their daughter and thought…God gave him to me because he knew I would Love the heck out of him and do whatever was needed. I now know I was SO WRONG. Kellan didn’t need me…I needed him and God loved me enough to give me exactly what I needed. Thank you Jesus for the gift that keeps on giving!

  615. Love love love this. I just wanted to share that when I started reading your blog I suddenly became VERY aware of the word “retarded” in my vocabulary. It was just something I had picked up as a kid and continued to say, but was something I started hearing everytime I said it. In part because of reading your blog, but also because my children are getting older and repeating every word out of my mouth. I now say things are “ridiculous”. It helped a lot to find another “R” word, that meant basically what I was trying to say, but saying in an incredibly insensitive way. Kind of like when people say “fudge” instead of the “other f-word”. I definitely do not use that word anymore, and I hear it too when other people say it. Just a suggestion for people who may want to banish it from their vocabulary but keep slipping up!

  616. I have talked to our children several times about people were may look different from us but inside we are all alike. We want to be loved and treated fairly etc. I look forward to showing my daughter these links..thanks!!

  617. Love your blog and love reading about how Down Syndrom does (but most importantly doesn’t ) affect your family. Nella and Laney are beautiful in both the same and different ways. Can’t wait to meet your new little guy and see how he changes and enhances your family unit. Such an exciting time! Much love! ♥ ♥ ♥!

  618. “love so great that you’re terrified of losing it.”

    Your words resonate with me. That is how I felt about my daughter.

    Having come from a background of unthinkable abuse, Olivia Grace was the first person in the world I ever loved. I would thank God every single day for allowing me to be her (single) mother – of all the mothers in the world – I got to be hers!

    ♥ ♥ ♥

    When Olivia was three, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. When she was eleven, the cancer killed her. I have never been the same since.

    Such a cruel, cruel injustice first and foremost for Olivia and secondly for myself.

    Your children, like your life, are beautiful. You are a blessed woman.

  619. Honestly Kelle, I totally forget that Nella has DS. She’s just an adorable little angel who does all the same things mine does, if not more. She’s a beautiful little girl who looks like her Momma and has such a bright spirit. I do want to support the DS community because I’ve read your struggles and want to help other people out there who have experienced the same things. Thank you for sharing your life through this forum. You’ve helped me grow as a person in so many ways. :)

  620. When i see pics of Nella, I always feel there’s something recognisable, familiar. And although a tiny portion of that is reognising downs syndrome and seeing how similar she looks to other people i know who have downs syndrome, mostly it is the look of a toddler and how similar she looks to my 2.5 yr old girls. The same faces and ways of holding her body (to convey, for example, that she’s not happy with you and you have 3.2 seconds before a meltdown);

  621. I love the lockers… pick me, pick me!!

  622. I’m a voracious reader of yours and I’d like to know about Nella’s overall progress. If you’d be so inclined to share – what are her strengths? What are her weaknesses? Is there anything she cannot do that Lainey could at her age?

    Thank you for always leaving us with such powerful messages. You could easily be a Pastor. :)

  623. Thanks to you for saying things about DS that many of us other parents do not have the opportunity to share with the general public. You are helping educate the world about the possibilities for those with DS.

  624. Thank you for sharing your life with us, and what a beautiful life it is.

  625. I love your kids. Seriously. LOVE THEM!
    You and Brett are amazing parents, and I love how you are helping those other parents learn how to become better parents, all the while realizing that you are not perfect, that you do the best you can with what falls on your plate in life. I can’t imagine NOT having known Nella – she is ONE person I would really like to meet in life. She is going to do amazing things, I just know it.

  626. Thank you. Thank you for opening my mind and heart.

  627. Thank you for the reminder about not using that awful word. I catch myself with it on my lips occasionally. It was so widely used where I grew up. But I refuse to let my children grow up using it. Love your blog!!

  628. I just love your writing. And through you writing and photographs, I love Nella. :-) Thank you for sharing your family and your journey through life with us. Your strength, your love and your vulnerabilities are what make you such an inspiration to me, an inspiration to do better, to treat all people better, and to love my life better. Thank you!

  629. I love your blog! You have a beautiful family.

  630. What a beautiful post. Thank you for taking us on your journey.

  631. Love your blog! Look forward to reading your book..when I have space on my bedside table, meaning I cleared all the other awesome books that came before yours :)

  632. This comment has been removed by the author.

  633. On Tuesday, we had our 20 week anatomy scan for what we found out was our beautiful baby boy. We are very excited about having another little man running around soon, however there was something found on the scan that has me worried. There is an “echogenic focus” on the heart, which the doctor informed me could be a marker for Down Syndrome. The baby was wriggling a huge amount during the scan, which meant they weren’t able to get a good look at the nuchal fold measurement, but they were pretty laid back about it and said that there didn’t look to be other markers at this point.

    In four weeks, we are having an echocardiogram on the baby to learn more.

    Having a child with Down Syndrome doesn’t scare me at all – I have been lucky and know some fantastic kids and adults who have it. But the associated medical risks DO worry me.

    Can you tell me – did you have any clues before Nella was born that she might have it? And have you had any tests done on your little boy? Can you explain what they look for and how it works?

    We have opted not to have the quad screen done, nor would I have a CVS if it was offered, as it would not change anything for us if we DID discover our child had any sort of abnormality. But I am very much curious as to what to expect from the next appointment and going forward.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I know I’m not the only one who is a little less afraid of having a child who could be “different” thanks to you.

    -Katie Vyktoriah http://herpretty.com

  634. Your blog is opening minds and hearts. Keep it up.

  635. Kelle, thanks for these words! I came to your blog through Momastery and also came to find out we have a commonality of each supporting Reece’s Rainbow. I work in international adoption and we partner with this wonderful organization at times to help find homes for children with special needs. But what hit me most about this post were your comments about all of our commonalities:

    We might look different than your family, we might believe differently, we might raise our kids differently, and we might choose priorities that are different than yours. But really, we are the same. I hope you feel that and I hope that fact makes you feel welcome and accepted and encouraged to live your one wild and precious life. And if we approached every one we ever met with that philosophy, I think the world would be a kinder, gentler, more understanding place.

    This will be my theme for today! I often wish we could come together as a society more with this same understanding and you have put the feelings in my heart into beautiful, eloquent words.


  636. She is beautiful.

  637. You are such a beautiful writer. I never miss day of checking your blog.

  638. Wow! These lockets are incredible. I love how personalized they can be, and how there is also a little flair with the circle of diamonds!

  639. You touch my life every day. You are such a good human!

  640. Love the post

  641. love this post. love the pockets. thank you for both.

  642. Lovely post Kelle….and as always, your photos are beautiful. You have an eye for capturing photos that tell a story and that is a gift. :o)


  643. Thank you for this post. Kelle you and your willingness to share – share yourself, your family, your life – with others, has touched me and I am grateful for that. I don’t even think of DS when I see Nella – I just see Nella and Lainey, two beautiful girls who have the cutest clothes and the most wonderful spirits. Keep up the good work mama, your little man will be equally awesome!

    And origami owl stuff is SO adorable!

  644. Thank you for a wonderful blog. I somehow stumbled upon your blog & fell in love. I try to check back once a weekend while I have some time to myself. Your kids are adorable & your photography is wonderful.

    Thank you for your story & I can’t wait to follow for years to see everyone grow up.

  645. I usually don’t leave comments, not because I don’t want to or because I don’t have anything to say but because you already have such a strong fellowship of readers most things have already been said :). I’ve meant to though… I really do appreciate your optimistic view and sharing it with us; too many times people loose sight of the beauty right outside (myself included) and it’s nice to always be reminded. I do actually have a question, but I guess it’s more geared towards Lainey. I was wondering if she understands the level of Nella’s disability. I understand she knows shes different but I guess what I’m asking is what does that mean to her? Is it difficult for Lainey to understand that there are things Nella doesn’t quite understand or may not be able to do like her other peers?

  646. Whether we learn facts, to love deeper, or to play harder, we all have a reason we keep coming back to your ‘spot’. Keep the unicorns flying, Kelle!

  647. Such beautiful words. You have definitely opened my eyes up – and I’ve loved every minute of it!

  648. thank you for your honest writing. I work with some great downs syndrom kids at the school where I work. I appreciate your representation of your life with your family very different individuals.

  649. Every time I read one of your blog posts I learn more Down Syndrome and about how we are all different and that it is ok to be different.

  650. I love your blog and your daughters are adorable!!! I started a program for arts education for people with special needs. We specialize in dance, art, music, and musical theater. Does anyone know of any programs like mine around the country?? Please let me know! I also started a blog with stories of the kids in the program!

  651. I have a question. I don’t use the word retarded anyway, but what would you suggest using as a replacement. Nothing? Just wondering!

  652. love origami owl! very cute!

  653. love origami owl! very cute!

  654. love origami owl! very cute!

  655. great post!

  656. Thank you for this post, it is really invigorating and uplifting. I love that you are encouraging parents to just let their kids be kids. As a therapist this is something that I often try to get parents to understand, just because a child has a syndrome or disability it does not define them. Their ability to run, jump and play should not be stunted due to a parent’s overwhelming concern or sometimes, lack of understanding. I know that there are often health concerns that come along with a “special needs” child but its amazing how much we can learn and teach others just by enjoying our kids and allowing them to express themselves.

  657. What a wonderful way to link traditional lockets and new charms.

  658. Love the new necklace!

  659. I just want to thank you for sharing your story. Earlier this year, my younger cousin gave birth to a beautiful little girl who has down syndrome. No one else in my extended family knew anyone with DS or even knew much about it or what it would mean for my cousin as a mom. Your blog has not only helped educate everyone, but also provided a great sense of relief and comfort, knowing and seeing that life will be just as beautiful with DS as without it – just with different challenges and rewards. Thank you.

  660. Thank you for continuing to share your beautiful life. I am always inspired and sometimes obsessed with your ability to find beauty in the small things. Your story has definitely allowed me to rid that word from my vocabulary…and after today’s post, hopefully I can equipped my children with the courage to inspire others to do the same.

  661. I love how Nella goes about her business why you go about yours photographing her!

  662. Love waking up to read your blog. You have an amazing outlook on life and family, truly inspiring!!

  663. This comment has been removed by the author.

  664. Love you blog and love the lockets!

  665. I am currently reading your book and falling in love with your family :) Thank you for sharing your life with us :)

  666. I am currently reading your book and falling in love with your family :) Thank you for sharing your life with us :)

  667. I read your blog whenever I have free time (ha!), but I’ve never commented. Now that I have time to both read and comment, I figure it’s go time! So, I just have to say that you are an inspiration. You have such a gift with words, and certainly an even bigger gift in the awesome mom category! I always find myself blinking back the tears and having a major urge to run home an hug my kids after I read your posts. Every child is a blessing, and we need to kiss and hug and love on those blessings (counting alone is not nearly as fun!) every day. Thanks for sharing–you rock!

  668. Love the lockets! so cute!

  669. You and your family are a blessing to so many. The focus you have chosen to live by, accepting life’s surprises with zealousness, joy, grace and mercy instead of making those be what defines you is refreshing to see. Your life book is different than many of ours, but its essence is the same … to gratefully and magnificently water the seeds given to us, to grow a life of purpose, strength, peace and caring. May God continue to bless all of you!

  670. If you had known Nella had Down syndrome prior to birth would you have done anything specific to prepare? I’m pregnant with our second son and, through a series of unexpected event, just found out that he has Down syndrome as well.

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