Friday, March 12, 2010

A Big Step ...and a Happy Weekend to You and You

I'd like to start this post with a confession: I didn't know bunnies were so extraordinary. As in, I didn't know they can poop at a rate of like, 30 pellets per minute or, in more technical terms, 30 PPM.



But, you have no idea how much she loves this bunny.


We did something big today. Or, at least big for me.

When Nella was born and I first started to talk/write about it, it was hard to hear things like "family" or "community" or "club." I didn't know at the time how wonderful this magical mix of people gifted with a child with special needs was and, although I don't exactly think I was bitter, I was scared. I didn't want to be part of the club. I didn't want to be part of the family. I had my old family and I felt out of place with the new one. Like a teenager at the annual far-fetched-relative reunion when the thrice-removed aunts you've never met come running to hug you and pinch your cheeks and pin you against their perfume-drenched bosoms, welcoming you to the fam and hey, why don't you go introduce yourself to Cousin Jimmy. And you think Cousin Jimmy is strange and you're embarrassed to even be here and ticked that your mom and dad made you come when you really wanted to be having a sleepover with the cool popular chick down the block. Yeah, that's how I felt. I wanted to run and be separate and pretend I wasn't part of this group...because I certainly didn't ask to be.

But that was Stage One, and a valid stage that had to be part of the journey, I guess. And (oh dear, here comes the analogies...hang on), although I sulked a bit in the beginning, I secretly watched Cousin Jimmy and as much as I tried to convince myself that he was strange, I noticed myself smiling because Jimmy made me laugh. Jimmy was cool. And the crazy aunts that smelled like cheap perfume and smooshed me with their bosoms and pinched my cheeks? Well, now that I've spent a couple nights with them, I have to tell you they're a riot. They're fun and real and tell beautiful stories. In fact, I don't want to leave this reunion because I've realized this family is awesome...way cooler than the popular chick down the street. I've realized that right here and right now is exactly where I want to be.

I'm happy to be part of this family. I'm thrilled to begin a journey filled with amazing people I will meet. People who have known pain and have grown with it. People who have, perhaps against their will, thrown out "perfection" and accepted the new face of reality where not everything is glossy and Hollywood. No, it's better. It's real and deep and beautiful.

So, what did I do?

I had a blind date. With another mama. And as I walked into Calistoga, I looked to find her and landed on a happy, genuine smiling mama with a two-year-old in one hand and a car seat in the other. And, in that car seat a little body was snuggled. A little body with a tuft of blonde hair, cherubic cheeks and almond eyes. Almond eyes that looked just like Nella's. And she was born just two days before our bunny. And she was beautiful.


I knew this must be her.

Holly seemed like a pro. With three kids already under her belt, she handled this fourth little angel with ease, guiding a two-year-old through the restaurant, simultaneously slinging a diaper bag and purse over one shoulder and lugging the carseat gracefully with the other. Me? I stumbled over my own feet as I turned to look for Lainey, simultaneously swinging the car seat which knocked over a huge sign advertising a roast beef on rye to the floor. I swung to see the damage (and almost knocked out Lainey while doing so) only to see Holly already on the floor picking up after me.

Oh, this chick could be so good for me.

And can I just say car seats belong in cars? Whoever had this idea of handles and portability must never have tried to dangle one from the crook of a right elbow while corralling a toddler with the left. My right arm is permanently limp. And my baby's only all of 8 pounds. These women tote these things with little bubbas and carry groceries at the same time. I feel like my adequacy as a parent is solely judged right now on my ability to gracefully manage the mobility of an infant car seat, and it's not looking pretty.

We settled our older littles into booths with plastic lemonade cups while we situated car seats and waited for sandwiches and, all the while, I wanted to shout out "How did you handle the news?" but it seemed a little awkward. Like starting a first date with "So, how many kids do you want?"

So I waited just a bit. But not for long.

Within minutes, we were deep in conversation, synchronously nursing babies and distracting our toddlers with play-doh and books. And we talked about the day we found out, the tears we shed, the fears we share, but mostly? We laughed at our ignorance before all this and bragged about this new found place of peace and acceptance and realization that this is okay. So what if they don't walk 'til two? Isn't that actually kind of cool? Like I just added another year window before I have to worry about baby-proofing the coffee table again. And all the other stuff that comes along? We can handle it. Why is it people think this is so the end of the world? Because it's not. It's the beginning.

Holly told me all sorts of things I didn't know. I've been slow to dig for information, and I know I'll never be that girl whose "D" and "S" keys are sticky because they've been pecked into the google bar a trillion times, but I am slowly becoming more comfortable with information, knowing that some may or may not pertain to my girl. Holly told me Jamie Fox's little sister has D.S. and that there's special colleges just for people with D.S., and she knows the technical names for all the cute little specialties our kids have. And then we talked about kids in general and how the phone always rings during dinner and how, after a few kids, you don't really care if the car seat straps are crusted with old milk.

All this time I thought this "family" was something so different from my old one, but it's not. We were just two mamas with two kids out to lunch. Nothin' special. And I liked it that way.

And, although Nella doesn't look so happy here, I know she was thrilled to meet her new friend, Brooke.

*******************************************

And a few little things we're enjoying:

* Breakfast outside with friends at this quaint little cafe hidden on a side street downtown. We sat in heavy ice cream parlor chairs and loved on babies. Poured syrup over luscious heaps of french toast. Sipped steamy coffee and talked about life. And the last time I was here, I rubbed a big belly and talked about how soon, we would meet our girl.

* Afternoon escapes. I've been busy working in the house a lot -- editing, writing, phone calls, e-mails, laundry, pick-ups, nose wipes, diaper changes... whenever it gets to be too much, no matter what we're doing or what has to be done, we just stop. Get your shoes, we're going outside. And Nella gets nestled into a sling while Lainey and I draw bodies with sidewalk chalk or blow bubbles. Sometimes, I simply sink into a beach chair in the driveway and say nothing...just watch her play. The fresh air is therapeutic and the time with my girls, no matter how little, is completely redemptive. Yesterday, she pulled Nella in the wagon while I followed.

(and, for the record, the bunny was tucked away in that pink purse)

* My friend got me the coolest gift. It's so very me.

Lookey...a new camera strap.

Me likey.

**************************************************

This little blog here reached its millionth hit today. And the day before Nella was born, it hovered just above 100,000. That was seven weeks ago today. And in the exhausted state I'm in, with the way this hospital bracelet is grazing the edge of the keyboard as I type and the breathy sounds of our bunny humming in the moses basket behind me...well, tears to say the least. With everything going on, I continually return to the beautiful realization that pain has so quickly turned into joy, and the story of a tiny life has impacted so many.

I remember the song my sister shared with me in the hospital. We hovered around the laptop to listen to it and 6 pounds of heaven laid before us, promising us so much more.

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces, calling out the best of who we are. I want to add to the beauty...to tell a better story. ...This is grace. ...an invitation to be beautiful. (Sarah Groves, "Add to the Beauty")

Next Sunday, March 21, is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day. I didn't know this day existed and, had I not been invited into this beautiful new world, I probably never would have. Next Sunday evening, we will gather with our friends and family on the beach. We will light candles when we kiss the sun goodnight. We will huddle around our new girl as we dedicate her life to finding new beauty, to sharing more love. Next Sunday, our bunny will wear the soft white gown her grandma made, the same one her sister wore on that very same beach. She will be held by her Poppa as her sister and brothers hold hands around her. Next Sunday, I will bury my head into Brett's chest and cry happy tears as I fiddle with the plastic band around my wrist that still connects me to that day. Next Sunday is a special day.

I'm so glad I know about this day. I'm so glad we will celebrate it. I'm so glad we have our family, our beautiful Lainey and our sweet, sweet Nellabean.


Have a beautiful, perfect weekend. ~k

194 comments:

JB said...

I never post anything so this is a bit weird for me...but I'm working tonight in our busy ICU and I just wanted to take a moment for myself to see if you had anything new going on. And I just want you to know that your post makes me want to get up off my butt and take care of my patients! Thanks for getting me through my night!

Megan said...

Kelle, I have really loved getting to know you and your beautiful little girls. I once had the blessing to be able to give some advice and a little insight into Downs Syndrome to a beloved former teacher who had just delivered a baby boy with DS, and was so scared and worried. I was so glad to be able to tell her what these amazing kiddos are really like, and how her life was about to change in amazing, happy, joyful ways. I think your blog is going to do that for so many parents who will face what you have in these last 7 weeks, and your words will give them hope, and your Nella will give them joy. Blessings to you all! Megan Jeffery in Ohio

Susan the Singer said...

I checked one last time before heading to bed and ta da! My patience was rewarded: a new post!

I think Lainey has the most patient bunny in the world, if it'll hold still to be shoved in a purse! I'm glad you're talking to other people with DS kids, too. Nothing's insurmountable if you know you're not the only one going through it.


And yet again: Nella just keeps getting cuter!! How do you stand the cuteness in your house? I wouldn't get a durned thing done, for letting those two darlings run all over me! :)

Rachel said...

LOVE the new camera strap! I'm 18 months into this new chapter (also my fourth) and I don't know tons either. It's ok to know just what you need to know at the place where you are at and to let the rest come when you need it. I didn't know about next Sunday, so thank you for enlightening us:)

Adrienne said...

It's so great that you were able to connect with someone and see that life can be normal!

I know what you mean about not wanting to be part of this family-nope not one bit for me but now I love being part of this family of wonderful parents. They are just like you and me, wanting the best for their children.

Your daughters are precious!

The Hall Family said...

I cannot tell you how much of an impact your blog has had on me. Having 5 kids, the day in day out stuff gets a little mundane. Sure, we're busy, but even then, it's always the same-old. But reading your beautiful words, and how you try to soak up each and every minute has helped me look past the mundane, and be grateful for every little moment I have with my angels! I honestly get so excited when my google reader shows me that you've posted a new entry! Your pictures are to die for!!! I love love love them!!! =)
Thanks again for having such a positive outlook on everything in your life! You are truly blessed, in a way that most aren't! God bless you and your beautiful babes!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Your pictures jump off the page...The wagon picture is amazing....You are on a new journey and I have a feeling you will touch the world...I love the camera strap and I especially love the words...Redemption comes in stange places....
Happy Weekend...
Teresa

Nicole said...

Oh, thank you darlin'...for starting my weekend off with these little bits of heaven.

I've said it a gazillion times but I never can get enough of those little faces.


And I'm so happy you dig the bonnets!! No rush at all with the pics, k? You have interview outfits to pick out!!!

And you a perfectly beautiful weekend to you to my friend.

xoxo-nicole

(A MILLION HITS !!!! EEEK!!! So cool!!!)

Mamarazzioftwoboys said...

Beautifully written..I felt like I was there w/ you on your mommy date....thank you for the insight on "Down Syndrome Awareness Day" I too will be lighting a candle for all of gods children.
Love you and thanks for the Kelle, Lainey and Nella fix.

Anonymous said...

"Nella Cup"

When asked if my cup is half full or half empty, I simply say...I am blessed to have my cup.

Cheers to a cup full of Nella blessings!!!

So proud of you for taking that first giant step to finding a "really? Me too!" friend. The shoulders must feel lighter and stronger. Just so happy for you....

Krmedunn

Sharon said...

Love the binky shots, I have a little who still loves her binky and lord knows braces are in our future, but love her little face when she has the calmness that only the BINK provides!! We are a Homeschooling family in Naples too!! Love your blog,

Blessings
Sharon

*Wesley* said...

So glad you were able to make some connections this week. I love that you don't read all about the "restrictions" that DS children are SUPPOSE to have. Because every child IS different (DS or not) and Nella has already proven that by rolling over way ahead of what the experts predicted. :-) Go Nella!

Stephanie said...

Welcome to the family and happy DS day!

Dana said...

Thank you

Julie Harward said...

I LOVE the picture of you holding Nella with her face in your hands...she is safe with you and she knew that even before she made her journey to this earth...bless your heart! And bless you...you could have turned away, turned her away but you are a "true mother"...I can feel your strength! You have wisdom to see what is real and you go forward into it! From a mother of 8 to you...all my respect and love! Come say hi (if you ever get a moment!!!) :D

SDM said...

I say this every time, but your girls are beautiful -- your posts make me so happy... and I love reading what you have to say!
aside from your adorable girlies my favorite thing about this post is how HAPPY you look in the picture with Nella above! it's so great to see you so genuinely happy!! you can see it in your smile & in your eyes...

and good to see little miss lainey feeling better!!
xo

nbgardner said...

Wow, I had no idea we had a World Down Syndrome Awareness day! I'm so glad to learn that we do. My baby boy with DS is now 3 1/2 months old. I think I'm going to make it a special day for my very special baby.

Summer said...

I love your blog! I cry every time I read it--not because I am sad, but because I am moved and you say it all so perfectly. I agree about becoming part of the "club." I just did it myself. I was so scared that it would be too hard and make it too real. I wasn't sure I was ready to really accept it, but it actually made it all better! This wonderful club we are a part of is filled with so much goodness and only makes us better!
By the way, love the camera strap and Burt's Bees is the lotion I use for my little one. I love it! Have a great weekend!

The Sanchez Family said...

Nella will always be a "baby first" and I believe you have already found your way to that realization. You too have a BEAUTIFUL weekend!

Billy and Tonya said...

thanks for letting us know about next sunday, i had no idea and am glad my camden and i can feel apart of it! i had my first mommy date with a fellow holland resident today too! :) it's nice to know there are other people out there in the same boat i think, who have the same fears and feelings as we do...have a great weekend!

michelle Downs said...

I love the bunnys one eye that can be seen from the bag in the wagon! haha too great! What a sweet rabbit!

KDG said...

Welcome to the club ;) It is an amazing one! Thanks so much for all your sharing, it reminds us all how connected we all are. And I'm so glad you found such a close connection already, can't wait to find one myself! Oh and the baby proofing - or lack there of is awesome, because not only do you have longer to do it, you can do it slowly over time instead of one big overhaul!

Anonymous said...

You too. Have a beautiful perfect weekend. :)

Krissy
Batavia, Il

Madisyn Andrea said...

I feel like I open up to a new chapter in a mind capturing, beautiful novel, every time I maximize Internet and click on my "Enjoying The Small Things" bookmark. Yes, you have been officially bookmarked on my Safari page for a while now! :)
XoXo

Kristi said...

Kelle, you are so right when you said things may or may not happen (reading about down syndrome). I was like you, I wasn't going to take anyone elses assumptions for my childs potential! And your right, there are MANY colleges for our kids! Exciting!
Today I went to the local beverage center because it's my husbands birthday and was stocking up for the party. There were a bunch of girlscouts outside selling cookies and as I walked up one girl who was BEAUTIFUL and had down syndrome said, would you like to buy some? I literally said Nella (they probably thought I was nuts) but I instantly thought of your Nella! She was just glowing, hair beautiful and with her friends and her mom. I literally cried driving away (thinking of youi all!) with 4 boxes of girl scout cookies.
I know I don't know you "in real life" but I LOVE YOU and love your family! You remind me SO much of me ( I know I keep saying this and you probably think I'm nuts, lol) the same feelings and acting the same way. Your right, I never asked to be in this club as well. But I am SO glad I am here now. Our family is so rich because of this. I know we have benefited from this, as strange as it may sound.
And I was SO excited to hear you were homeschooled. I have my one son in school but I'm homeschooling Kris (almost 8 weeks and counting) and it's going VERY good! I NEVER thought I would be a homeschooling mom. But here I am. He tells me I'm the best teacher he has ever had. Not sure if that is a compliment to me or an insult to his former teachers, LOL! And now his brother wants to be homeschooled next year, lol. Not sure about that. But he will be attending private school and his brother will be able to attend a few days a week because they have a homeschool program there.
I guess the moral to my novel here is, ANYTHING is possible! :)
xoxo

Madisyn Andrea said...

(Didn't even think of how this could potentially be a book I WILL one day open up the new pages too.)

The Bunny's Beautiful Journey....hmmm (just thought of that), its like a book where you don't know what to expect. And you drop hints on the title throughout the novel. hmmmm.

Stacey said...

I came across your blog on a mom's website I peruse every now and again and I was completely and utterly moved by your writing, your photography, your love for your family, Lainey and Nella's birth story. I immediately added you to my Google Reader, and I must say, I get SO excited when you post a new entry...you have quickly become my most favorite "blogger"! Thank you for your honesty and for letting us take a peak into your journey. You are going to do big things, I just know it.

Life with Kaishon said...

Your new strap is dynamite! : )
I love that you had a blind date with a friend with a baby. A beautiful baby just like your Nella! I love that you got your one millionth hit. That is amazing.

Kristen's mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marla said...

I absolutely love your blog... The love and joy you show encourages me to enjoy every single day.

And your pictures- they are so perfect.

Thank you for blogging.

Marla @ asthefarmturns.wordpress.com

heather said...

I just wanna say that just cuz were in the club doesn't mean we can't be the cool, popular girls, too. In fact, we ARE the popular girls! :)

creativeinspirations said...

I just can't wait for the book. I have been checking back every day for about 3 or 4 weeks now to see new posts... you never ever dissapoint. Your words are so real, so honest, funny and heartwarming. I feel like when you do finally get the chance to write this book, I can say "oh Kelle Hampton?, oh yeah, I have been following her for a long time, we go way back, I know all about her!" Lol!

Bobbi Janay @When did I go from a kid to a grown up? said...

Sounds like a wonderful life.

Bobbi Janay @When did I go from a kid to a grown up? said...

Sounds like a wonderful life.

Bobbi Janay @When did I go from a kid to a grown up? said...

Sounds like a wonderful life.

michelle b said...

lainey and nella are so gorgeous! lainey looks like she is adjusting to the big sister role like a champ!

love reading your blog. you are an inspiration!
michelle...xoxo

Anonymous said...

I love the camera strap... where did your friend get it?

Beth said...

You are sooooo lucky to have a friend for Nella (and for you, and it looks like Lainey too) so early. My sweet boy is 10 years old and does not have a single child with DS near his age in our town.

But, like you, miracles unfold and we have found a friend in the strangest of places. :)

A million hits??? Incredible!!!! I just love the idea of the love and acceptance growing and growing with each hit. Thank you!

PS My favorite is the pic with Nella so very sad while she is meeting her BFF, Brooke!

Sue said...

Yay for fellow moms who understand! I have been so blessed by fellow moms who have kids with autism. There is something special about being able to say just what you feel, but on the other hand not having to explain anything.

I was cracking up about your rabbit. I am so jealous of your tame little bun. Ours is... well the word "maniac" comes to mind. I think he's going through puberty.

Joanna said...

I, like everybody else, LOVE your blog. Thanks so much for taking the time out of all that you do to let all of us in. Clearly, you're touching a lot of lives. We appreciate it. The world gets a little smaller, and a little sweeter.

Warm wishes,
Joanna

Pasadena, CA

j210209 said...

What a great way to start my Saturday morning, a post from Kelle!

I love the new camera strap and once again your words and photos are an inspiration!

Have a great weekend x

dig this chick said...

Well holy hell, you mentioned the number 1 million to me yesterday too...wink.

What a sweet post. One door closes and another opens, and, in my experience, it usually has brighter, richer, more fulfilling stuff on the other side.

Hi Nellabean. Can't wait to kiss your almond eyelids.

Thing said...

Wishing you a wonderful weekend! :)

Jeanne said...

A million! Wow! That is just amazing. I am in awe.

Meeting a new family is always hard. Glad the first step went so well. Your two kids are just adorable.

Thank you for sharing.

Kristy Klaassen said...

A million hits - that's crazy cool! Can't wait to see you on Tuesday...good luck!
Do mind telling us where that amazingly gorgeous strap is from? I want one! :)
Take care.

Melodie said...

1) Rabbits can be litter box trained! For reals!

2) I *love* your analogies.

3) Get a sling and leave the carseat in the car. Lainey's head and the contents therein will thank you. You can always carry a nice thick comfy blanket to throw down anywhere if you must put her down, but you'd be amazed how much MORE you can accomplish using a sling or wrap! Plus, baby wearing counts as tummy time.

4) If you aren't already familiar with Dr. Sears, check out www.askdrsears.com He is a pediatrican and his wife a nurse, child birth educator, and lactation consultant. And they have kids. Oh, and did I mention one of them has downs?!

Melodie said...

That was supposed to say they have 8 kids. I blame the iPhone and massive amounts of steroids in my system.

Jennifer said...

I can relate to being recruited to a club that you don't *think* you want t be a member of. Since I am male partner-less, I had to use IUI/IVF to get pregnant. Of course I assumed it would take one try, two tops. Eight rounds of IUI later, no dice. And I had to face infertility. Then I had to join the miscarriage club, three times. Finally, on my third IVF, I got pregnant with twins. Two beautiful little girls. And once they were born I realized just why I had to be a member of those awful clubs...it lead me to where I am today. I am sad for the miscarried babies and the 2.5 year journey and good lord all of the money (most of the fertility treatments not covered for "unmarried" women), but in the end, look what I got, and you too. I wouldn't change a single moment now.

Anonymous said...

love you guys

Love Being a Nonny said...

You have a way of making me feel sad that I wasn't blessed with a baby with DS. She is beautiful and it is so evident how very much you love her.

So glad you got to spend time with your new friend. Wow, you are blessed!

The Full Nelson said...

How wonderful to have had a blind date with a new friend for you and Nella! Both girls looks so beautiful side by side in their very inconvenient carseats! I am soon going to have that permanent numb arm once again...

Carrie said...

I've been reading for a while and have become enamored with your girls. I hope I get to see them grow up.

I've been thinking about you not just because of your girls, but your incredible confidence in your talent. I am always in awe of those who use their skills in positive way and create a rewarding and enjoyable life for themselves.

I hate to ask for anything because you've already given so much, but if you could find a few minutes, can you fill out this survey for me? I'm trying to come up with a way to stay self employed. I'm assuming you're a small business owner by your blog but if you aren't, please disregard. http://tinyurl.com/ygsnjq2

I hope this doesn't come off as a really really bad sounding comment asking for your help, but you've been so inspirational. Not just with the beauties that are Nella and Lainey, but with all of your phenomenal creative skills.

Thanks for being here for all of us, even though you probably didn't know you were. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelle-

I know I don't "know" you...but, I just had to say it, plain and simple....I am REALLY proud of YOU!! Have a lovely weekend :)

xo-Kelly from Michigan :)

Bonnie said...

Kelle,

You are such an inspiration to me. Because of you I have tried harder than ever to enjoy the little things with my daughter (who is 2 weeks younger than Lainey) Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your world.

~Bonnie

Brighton said...

Leaving for Florida today with my family. You have my contact info if you want to reach me- Sara will be 18 next month, and yes it's a very cool family to belong to. Scary at times, but all in all- very cool. Sara will be attending college to complete a vet tech program for special needs children. She loves babies and animals and our vet has agreed to hire her on part time when she finishes school.

Kulio said...

I love the first comment from the nurse getting up off her butt to take care of her patients...because that's exactly how i feel when I read your blog! Like, "Okay, let's go take on the day! Let's make it beautiful!" :-) New friends, oh that is so cool :-)

Poppa said...

Kelle, I am so proud of your "blind date." Yes, this is one "club" members themselves didn't sign up for...we are reluctant recruits, but oh the warmth that awaits. My frist invitation to the club came when the news slowly began to creep through my workplace--and I am happy it did, I was doing my share to tell our story. I was stepping in to the elevator when a colleague called out, "Congratulations on your new baby...(and added, with a smile) We have to talk!" I never knew she was brushed with magic too. We have talked and her son has done incredible things like produce a television show! She is helping me put up a display for World Down Syndrome Awareness Day next week...there is strength in this club! I too was worried about "joining" as I am embarassed I know so little, need to shed my own ignorance and certainly have not paid my dues. They don't seem to care...they just open their arms. We have angels among us, I am sure. I cannot wait until next weekend. Enjoy the day...enjoy the bunny.

Lianna said...

I wish I would have had your courage and insight to reach out to another mother experiencing what we were at the time of Gabe's birth. Good for you! Imagine! Nella's got a brand new friend! ♥

Your camera strap is luscious! I LOVE it!!!

The Martys said...

Another beautifully written entry. I love what you are doing for Nella on DS day. It is inspiring me to do something special for my little angel. Welcome to the family. It is a wonderful family!!

Have a great weekend. Love your new camera strap. SOOOO CUTE!!!!

Amy

Kelli said...

I found myself moved to tears [again] while reading this post. You have such an eloquent way of putting into words things that I have felt and experienced on this journey. It's amazing that something in life happens and you wonder why it had to happen to you. Everyone tells you that there is a "reason", and it's "God's plan", but you don't necessarily see it yet. And then, it just happens. That initial shock and hurt slowly dissolves and you come to see that it IS your life and it is an AMAZING part of your life. I am so thankful for the friends and family that I have met because of Colin that I would never have gotten to know if I wasn't so blessed to have Colin...

Kelle, Your family is beautiful and I have enjoyed following your journey...

Jason, Hannah and Sara said...

I was fine reading your post until you posted the words to Sarah Groves! My favorite artist and song... Going to see her live next month.

Beautiful words you type... I look forward to every post and feel like i'm right there with you!

May God bless you all.

Nicole said...

Can I just say what an amazing talent you have! Your words are so beautiful and flow perfectly with your gorgeous pictures! And that Nella, OMG, she is so adorably precious. Her big sis is darling as well. My 3 little gals sat with me while I read your post and wanted to know if our new baby ( I'm pregnant ) would be as cute as the baby onthe screen ;)
So glad you found a new friend who can relate to your feelings.
Have a fabulous weekend!

Jake's mommy said...

I never wanted to be a part of that family either. No, my son, my beautiful 2 year old son, does not have Down Syndrome. He has a severe speech and language delay (functioning at the 6-9 month level)--something that as a speech language pathologist...I've had a difficult time coming to grips with. Your blog is a constant inspiration to me and has made me grateful for all the precious wonderful smiles and laughter I share with my little one on a daily basis. God Bless You and your precious little ones!

Rebecca :c)

Anonymous said...

I read your blog everyday, and everyday I am inspired to be a better, more loving, more appreciative person. You are so gifted it's crazy. Gifted in photography, writing, art, creativity and loving...I will be thinking about you and your family next Sunday!

Anonymous said...

I read your blog everyday, and everyday I am inspired to be a better, more loving, more appreciative person. You are so gifted it's crazy. Gifted in photography, writing, art, creativity and loving...I will be thinking about you and your family next Sunday!

Meredith said...

Thanks for this beautiful post. My daughter Hannah and I check in with your family every day. We love the pictures of Lainey and Nella and bunny (what a good-natured bunny!) I love this post...and I will be so honored to read about your family celebration next weekend. God bless.

Roberta said...

Of all of the blogs since Nella's birth, I cried the hardest with this one as I know what a step that was for you. I know I tell you over and over how proud I am of you, but really, knowing you like I do, this step makes me know you are on the right road. Wish I could be on the beach next weekend, but we will be thinking of all of you . . . love and miss!

momMYsliceoflife said...

The beauty that is in the blog just is breath taking. Your love for your girls, is inspiring. Your ability to embrace this new world, is awing. I'm hooked. :)

Rusulica said...

you brought the tears in my eyes, again. and i don't even have a baby. thank you for sharing your story and your wonderful thoughts (and analogies :). it is purifying.

Cathy said...

Thank you for inspiring me to be a better mother. Your blog has inspired me.

Mandy said...

You are truly amazing.....

Rebecca MacIntosh said...

Kelle, this is a lovely way to start off my Saturday...
We were told four months ago that our four year old and eldest, Seth, had Autism Spectrum Disorder.
It was heartbreaking but we knew something was different. I cried over playdates we wouldn't be invited on, and soccer games he might not understand to play. I cried for everything that "might" never happen.
But I'm seeing who he is daily. He realize when kids make fun of him, he genuinely laughs with them. He isn't scared of strangers, so with Mommy looking over his shoulder he eagerly tries to make friends, and he's brilliant. He hears things musically like no one else.
The New Family has been great and I had my own blind date. I've always seen our family of four as unique, but it goes beyond that, it's like having a VIP pass to a helicopter in the middle of a flood, it keeps you alive.
Thanks for writing... Love the new strap, I make hairpieces with that same kind of lace! :)
Happy Weekend!
Rebecca

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. You are able to put into words the way we felt at the birth of our own child with DS. Our son "Nick" will be 6 next month and oh how I love that kid. He is the sunshine to my soul and I had no idea that one extra chromosone could be sooo magical. I shared your blog with my friend who just gave birth to a little boy with DS. You are just a few weeks ahead of her journey. She finds great comfort to know her feelings and thoughts are validated. Welcome to a club none of us wanted to join but now I would never wanted to leave it.

Hannah said...

Beautiful.

Nikki Cooper - AtL, GA said...

Good Morning,
I am here again, crying again. But happy sweet tears. I love that little Nellabean. How amazing and precious and everything beautiful she is. She represents so much. Thank you. Thank you God for little glimpses of beauty you give us on this earth.

Holly, Dwight and Anya said...

I'm so happy you have met another mom who is at the same place at the same time in her life as you. So wonderful.
I love your posts .. thanks for sharing your world with us.
I love the girls clothing .. I want it all!

Kara Brown said...

Tears!! Happy tears!

Kara

Vonda said...

Oh how this brings back memories. It took me awhile also to join "the club" and meet other parents after Noah was born. I thought that if I joined this group then it was REAL, it would hit me in the face that I DID have a child who had Down syndrome, even though I already knew that, joining a group made it so official. It was the best thing I ever did. Isn't it amazing how you can be placed in a room with a complete stranger and within minutes your mouth is running 400 mph and you are spewing off things that you weren't even aware that you knew!!?? Nella will surely have a best friend to grow up with in Brooke. They can celebrate birthdays together with sweet little tea parties. It's wonderful to fill her life with typical children, but at the same time it's also nice to give her friends that are exactly like she is. I have chills a mile high!!! If it weren't for Nella and my Noah I wouldn't be sitting here reading this, and you wouldn't have written it in the first place. I like where we are. Our children are molding us into the most wonderful people in the world. Down syndrome is the best kept secret out there and we are so blessed to be part of this wonderful journey!!!

mrc-w said...

Congratulations on one million hits!! That is too cool!
That thing about the bunny and PPM is so true and funny!

Anonymous said...

Kelle,
Thanks again for sharing - I feel you are my friend as I am following your journey. You are amazing. LOVE the camera strap! As I once again sit here and read your blog and your words I can truly picture in my mind your restaurant meeting and your beach scene. You have such a special gift - thank you for sharing it with us.
Sue
PS - if you read this and wouldn't mind Id love to send you something - can you email me - SLStich99@aol.com

Michelle said...

You get it! ;)

And you need to share where the strap is from - adorable!

Shari H said...

I love how your writing is so descriptive with sign and almost knocking Lainey out I really had to laugh at that part. I'm glad you have found another momma who knows exactly how you're feeling. Your pictures are wonderful and I enjoyed them, as did my daughter. I love how Lainey pulled Nella in her wagon with of course the bunny. By the way does the bunny have a name or is it just bunny?

Jennifer G. said...

If you only you had a dollar for every hit.... :)

I just LOVE your blog! I find myself breathing easier after reading it. It brings me inspiration. Your beautiful perspective on life is amazing. Thanks for sharing everything that you do!

Anonymous said...

I too never wanted to join this group but 10mts ago I got pushed into it :) turns out it has been the best thing that ever happened to me and our family...its a life lived well and whole. I truly feel we were picked to have our cody we are very lucky ...your girls just get more lovely. Sue NY

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me be a better mom, and a better record keeper for my own littles.

You make being a mom so glamourous.

I feel left out of the "club", but I do work with special kids of all kinds during the work day and you moms sure are lucky!

Bridget S. said...

dear kelle,
i've started reading your blog when a friend posted a link to nella's story. i cried very hard and i am so blessed to read your blog! i pray for you and nella and your family every day at church. you all are constantly in my thoughts. the pictures are ADORABLE and lainey and nella are SO CUTE together.
i hope that i can be half as cool as you when i am a mom some day!
you rock!

Poppa said...

And Nella's new friend...a beautiful Brooke I could surely jump right into! Two little angel sojourners sent to us from heaven!

P-nut said...

This encouraged me so much today Kelle. I recently joined another type of "club" this week as I found out something about one of my littles. I know it's not that huge of a deal but it is a little scarey and overwhelming .. as most things are at first.. It's life changing in it's own small ways. But this encouraged me. Thank you.

Jewllori by Lori said...

Kelle,

Eating up every word you write is what I'm good at, but better yet, allowing myself to be completely transformed by them is what I've been working on! Your hope and joy through everything you've been through still amazes me to this day, and your perseverance to make it 'normal' if I can say that, is truly admirable.

I'm so glad you've 'connected' with another mom. There's more healing in that I know!
Have a wonderful weekend too :)

xoxo,
Lori

nikki said...

ugghh.. Crying again!!! My kids are going to start to think that if you get on a computer you must cry! My husband still talks about the night he came down and found me blowing my nose in a receiveing blanket and using it to wipe my eyes... while my sweet one week old baby lay without covers on my lap!! I was an emotional faucet and I could not pull my self away. I would read and then stop and pray for you and your family. pray..read..pray...read...blow nose in blanket (repeat!). Thank you again... congrats on 1,000,000 hits.. I think 10,000 have my name on them!!! You are changing the world one hit at a time.... only these are good, healthy hits. the only side effect is a heart full of love!

TRB Holt said...

I will pause next Sunday and think of you and all the Nellas!

xo, Bug & Ruby's Gram

Kristi said...

Welcome to the family:)) Next week it will be three years since I have joined the family. My little girl is going to be three next week...

I do have to say your little girls bunny reminds me so much of my rabbit that i had when i was a little girl..(btw you can litter box train it) i had that bunny eating everything too..from ramen noodles which was her favorite thing..to anything you can imagine..and that bunny was also on a leash and went everywhere with me..oh how i miss my little bunny:(

Your pics are amazing..and I love your camera strap!!!

Kristi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosie said...

Hi, Kelle! Rosie Again.
Your comment about your hospital bracelet struck a cord with me. After my one and only pregnancy ended with miscarriage in my fourth month, I kept my hospital bracelet on for a while afterwards. It reminded me of the tenderness with which my husband treated me, my brief experience as an OB patient,the happiness of being a mom for just a little while, and as a sign of my mourning. It annoyed some people I knew, but it wasn't really their problem.
Then one day I took it off.
When you choose to - don't be afraid. It gives you a tremendous ammount of strength and symbolizes a new beginning and that life goes on.
Hugs!

Anne said...

Hi, Love the beauty of your life as you are so beautifully able to express in words and photos.
I am the mom of an adult son with special needs, cerebral palsy ,etc. Yes, great beauty can be found in a family where caring is the action item that defines its soul!
Here's a neat blog about two brothers. I have enjoyed reading about them and met they are a neat family.
http://dandrinker.blogspot.com/

clara said...

You are more than adequate, you're awesome! You are getting your girls out in the world and enjoying life so much!

I agree car seats belong in cars. I love that your sweet Nella spends so much time in the sling. Keeping my kids close to my heart when they were tiny is going to be the thing I miss most about them growing up.

Casey said...

You just get more awesome with every post.......

Poppa said...

A lazy Saturday morning so I apologize for multiple hits. "Bucket Babies"--Kelle knows that's what I call the new trend of carrying babies in those contraptions (a word only 50+ers use). We had "Hip Babies" who boast great bone structure while their parents undergo hip replacements...but you rode straddled on our hips, or better yet, wrapped around our shoulders. They touched people not plastic. In Kelle's defense, she usually has her babies in a comfy, cozy sling where Nella nestles and sleeps. OK, enough of the ranting on buckets...I will behave. I think there is an episode of Law and Order I have not seen and we are actually doing a rehearsal on one of the suprise elements of next Sunday's Baby Baptism on the Beach!!!!

Rochelle said...

Awesome post and wow on 1 million! WOO HOO! The ds community truly is amazing. God blessed us with another little girl born with ds just 24 hours after Alayna in the same hospital. They are of course, best buddies! Looking forward to following your blog and hearing all the blessings that continue to be showered on you.
Those girls are adorable!!!

blessingsandglory said...

Kelle - thank you for being so honest and brave. It is so difficult to join a "club" that you didn't sign up for. I too remember not wanted to hear all of the good wishes and "welcomes" from other parents who were farther along in their journey. And pictures of their little ones? Too much, especially of older kids, and adults, threw me over the edge. But minute by minute, hour by hour, time went by. My fears were unfounded, and I embraced the community of other parents, grandparents, family members and plain ol' wonderful people who with open arms welcomed our son Charlie and our family for who we were, and right as we were.

As a total side note {this will require me to disclose the fact that I'm a closet People reader...} Eva Longoria Parker also has a sister with DS and I noticed that she is on the same CNN program the day after you...

It's looking to be a beautiful weekend here - I'm wishing the same to you and your sweet girls!

Hugs to you,

Libby

Marla L said...

Kelle - You inspire me to be a better mom - EVERYDAY!! I find myself overwhelmed with such emotion each time I read your blog. You are such a talented girl!! I adore your photos and your beautiful words. Your girls are absolutely gorgeous!! Isn't motherhood the most incredible thing to happen to a person?! I always look forward to what you will post next. I'll be watching for you on CNN!!

God bless you and your beautiful
family.

Marla

NICKY said...

just wanted to say thank you. you are opening the hearts and eyes to so many people.

Lost and Found said...

I've had blind dates like that with women who like me were in the midst of the roller coaster of international adoption. That first blind date ended up being one of my closest and dearest friends.

hope4jackson said...

You are amazing and inspiring; though my "special" son is a different kind of "special", I relate to you on so many levels. Thank you for sharing, I always cry happy tears when I visit here. <3

jtownend said...

Love your blog as usual your little bean has already changed the lives of so many and will contuine to. YOu should check out the spring American Doll her name is Lainey as soon as I saw her I thought of your Lainey and the doll is almost as cute as you little lainey! until next time XOXOXO to thsoe little darlings of yours

Missy said...

Hey Kelle,
Did you see the warning on the national news last night about baby "slings". Several infants apparently have died because their little necks were bent too far forward. You can probably find it online. I was just thinking that because our little babies have lower muscle tone could be a risk factor. Just alarmed me when I saw it. Take care and enjoy her. Times goes by fast! Have a great day.
Missy
(mom to Austin)

Gwen said...

Kelle, you never cease to amaze! Love your photo of the "binky girls"! Just wanted to pass on a special care message for your bunny. We had a beautiful Belgian Giant but learned too late that during extreme hot weather they need to be kept cool. They either need to be where they can burro to get to cool soil or their hutch needs to be kept cool. We later learned that when temps rise...put frozen 2 liter water bottles in their hutch with them to keep cool. But if yours is an inside Bunny...not to worry.

Jen said...

My special little girl was born a week early last year on World Down Syndrome Awareness Day, March 21, 2009. We found out three days after she was born that she most likely had Ds. The nursing staff was amazing, and one shared about March 21st being the awareness day.

Your blog is an inspiration, therapy, and a pure joy to read. My husband and I went on our "blind date" with a family of a 10 year old with Ds just last weekend. I love your analogy about the family reunion. It may have taken us almost a year to join the reunion, but it was one worth remembering and staying in touch with.

Happy Weekend,

Jen http://www.lovingpeanut.blogspot.com

Laci said...

Your words are so inspiring to me. Just want to let you know that:)

Deana said...

You amaze me Kelle. I hardly ever comment but I promise I do read, i just look at the amount of comments you already have and know more are yet to come and think *she's never goona have time to read all of those* so I just dont comment. But you truely do amaze me, and I cannot wait to see you on CNN next week. My PVR is set to record it incase im not home. I wish I had 1/2 the talent in writing and picture taking and even mothering that you have.... your family is beautiful

Katy said...

I found after awhile that I enjoyed being part of this "family." I love seeing and running into other families at the store that know with one glance exactly what I'm going through. My friends that have no special needs children are great and wonderful and caring people, but they just can't fully understand what this life is like. That is why we must also have those that we can reach out to that can calmly and reassuringly say "I know what this life is like."

lightkeepersdaughter said...

Ahhh! Another post that just brightens my day! Thank-you!

That "thing" about your bunny and 30ppm? Well, he/she must still be a young bunny - wait a few months - 50ppm will be the norm! :) And, if you can ever toilet/paper/kitty-litter train the little critter - please post about that! I never had any success - and my daughter (who's now a couple of years older than you), had a few of them in her growing years!

Love your camera strap - absolutely love it! I have a lovely some-soft-of-mink-like-fake-fabric lined one - and love it too......But, it's way more classic looking. Now, I want a fun one, like yours is!

Take care - and thankyou for continuing to share your world with us!

Lori Maloney Young said...

Hi Kelle,
I have been following your blog for the past month or so and am so touched by your ability to honestly share your feelings, hopes and fears....
Our family was also blessed by having a daughter with Down syndrome. Our story is a little different....
My husband and I wanted to have a baby, but so far nothing was working. We shared his daughter from his previous marriage, but I really wanted to have a child of our very own.
At the time my husband was 49 and I was 39. We considered our quest for our child to be like a fishing trip. We would cast everywhere and the child who came to us was ours. With that we signed up with Family and Children Services and took the classes together to adopt a child. After the classes we were told that it would take about 2 years to have a home study done and then who knew how long it would take to have an actual match with our family. We had given up hope of having a new born, but went to the extra classes anyway....... just in case. This was back in March, 2005.
I have worked with people who have a developmental disability along with their families for a few years. In July, 2005 I was at a conference in Toronto called the Summer Learning Institute. The conference was incredible - it was a think tank basically from all over the world brainstorming and challenging each other to make our world a more inclusive world where ALL are valued for who they are and what EVERYONE can contribute.

I left the conference a day early - I couldn't take anymore, my brain was full and I needed time to process....

I wasn't home for 5 minutes when the phone rang. It was a Social Worker from Family and Children Services telling me that there might be a baby for us.... A baby!!!!! She said to not get too excited because there were a couple of things we needed to talk about first. First of all, she was a girl. I said no problem, I know something about girls...... I am one and then she said she had Down syndrome. With that tears came steaming down my face and a feeling of excitement and peace welled into my heart. The Social Worker said - are you okay and I said I am great and then she said what do you think about that? I responded through my tears and sniffs to tell her that I thought that was perfect! That afternoon we were into the office and what was supposed to take 2 years or more was done within 4 days when we got to meet our beautiful baby girl for the first time.
From the moment I had heard about Maddie I knew she was my baby and I knew that the mother who gave birth to her loved her very much, but knew this baby wasn't hers to keep.
The day after we met Maddie for the first time, we got to meet her birth mom and dad. The four of us along with 2 Social Workers sat in a very simple room and it was quiet at first. I started by looking Greg and Christina in the eye and saying thank you for bringing us our baby. With that Christina and I hugged and I felt a sweet energy go into me that only solidified that this was my baby and she was here!!!
Maddie is 4 and a half now and is an incredible girl. She goes to a co-op preschool 3 mornings a week where she has started to make friends and we are looking forward to her starting JK in September at our neighborhood school by our house. She takes dance classes twice per week and is a member of a choir I direct called the Buddy Choir.

I'm not going to lie and say it is not hard sometimes....it is..... I think it is like that with all of our children. They all challenge us in different ways.... I often make a joke that I have all the support in the world when it comes to having a child with Down syndrome, but what I really need right now is support around a 15 year old step daughter:)

We spend time with Maddie's birth family, in fact when Maddie was baptized her birth parents became her God Parents... I see them that way because God chose them to physically have the baby I couldn't. I think their road is harder than mine.

Thanks so much for sharing......

Melissa Moss said...

I don't know if you will read this and I don't know if you have seen this before but I wanted to share it with you because it is so beautiful. I believe it will touch your heart.

Very Special Gift
By S. Guevara

Once upon a time, three angels were busily working in the miracle factory. They were responsible for wrapping up all the little miracles and sending them on their way. Normally they wrapped each one in bright, sturdy paper with big, shiny ribbons. They stamped it with a delivery date and away it would go to the parents who eagerly awaited its arrival. Things usually ran pretty smoothly.

One day, however, down the conveyer belt came a little miracle that made the angels pause.
"Oh my," said the first angel "this one's uhm...well...different."
"Yes, she is unique" said the second angel.
"Well I think she is quite special," said the first angel "but I don't think she will quite fit our standard wrapping procedures."
And the second angel added, "And we know she's special, but will everyone else?"
"Not a problem," said the third angel "obliviously a special miracle deserves extra special wrapping; and of course we'll send her off with our most heartfelt blessings. Then everyone will see how special she is."
"What a wonderful idea!" replied the others.

So they searched the shelves high and low for their finest paper, and their most delicate ribbons. When they were done, they stood back and admired their work.
"Beautiful!" they all agreed.
"Now for our blessings," said the third angel "for it is time for her to go."
"I will bless her with innocence and happiness," said the first angel.
"And I will bless her with strength to face the many challenges that lie ahead," said the second angel.
"And I will bless her with an inner beauty that will shine on all who look upon her," said the third angel.
Before sending her off, the third angel, who was very wise, gently tucked a note inside.

And it said:

Dear Parents,
Today you have received a very special gift.
It may not be what you were expecting,
And you may be disappointed, angry and hurt.
But please know that she comes with many blessings,
And, while there may be pain, she will bring you much joy
She will take you in a very difficult journey,
But you will meet many wonderful people.
She will teach you patience and understanding
And make you reach deep inside yourselves
to find a source of strength and faith you never knew you had.
She will enrich your lives,
And will touch the hearts of all who meet her.
She may be fragile,
But she has great inner strength.
So please handle her with care,
Give her lots of attention,
Shower her with hugs and kisses,
Love her with all your heart,
And she will blossom before your eyes.
Her spirit will shine like the brightest star for all to see,
And you will know that you are truly blessed.

Anonymous said...

Kelle-
This is my first time to post a comment to your blog even though I have been following you since Nella's birth story was posted. I ran across her story by pure accident..or maybe not, maybe I was meant to be right there on that computer at that very moment. I love your writings and your outlook on life...and your precious little girls. Many of your posts bring me to tears because they are so beautiful and so honest, so meaningful and yet so simple. I have always looked to enjoy the simple things of life and to be grateful for all that has been given to me, even the littlest of things. I am grateful that I have been blessed to find and follow your story. You have challenged me to live a bigger life and embrace and love it all. Thank you for this gift...a gift from a stranger who is now my friend. Please know that I am a mother of three sons, 17, 15, and 11 and the teacher of 18 precious Kindergarteners....who will all benefit from the inspirations you have given me. I will say a little pray for Nella and her family on the day she is blessed at the beach...thank you for all you have given me. And my most favorite word you use in your posts is "jammied"...it just rolls in my mouth and feels yummy! Have a great weekend...!

Erin said...

Lovely, simply...beautiful!!! Your posts brighten my day!!

PrincessKCRoo said...

My son is 2 1/2 weeks old and was just diagnosed with down syndrome. Your blog is so refreshing! You're such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing everything that you do!

Heather said...

Such a beautiful posting - I'm so glad you're meeting people in the same situation. It took me a while to be ready too - I didn't feel like "one of them" at first, but at my first meeting at the local DS association, I met a dear, dear friend. We consider each other the "gift" our children have given to us. We both had 4-year-olds as well as babies with DS. And our little "new moms" group is growing and we always have a wonderful time of sharing and laughing. It's like there was this parellel universe all the time and we've only now crossed over.

It's interesting though - I noticed the other day that if I tell someone my daughter has DS and they actually know (REALLY know) someone with DS, I always get a beautiful warm smile and the person says something so positive about how she's a blessing or something like that. It's only if they don't know someone that they act kind of awkward.

It gives me comfort that the people who "know" think it's a good thing.

And now you know too!

Love your beautiful pictures...

Looking forward to seeing you on CNN - hope it is available in Canada. You've got some fans here!!!

Heather

maria said...

Everything about you is so beautiful. you are my favorite person in the blog world.

KC said...

Thank so much for another moving post, Kelle!. You have created here a loving~inspiring-space, with your beautiful spirit, your powerful words and your amazing photography. A magical place where you are bringing "many clubs" together. People going through similar and different journeys come to your blog, all connecting with a larger, bigger family: our human family. :)

All you need to know, the experiences you are meant to have, the people you are meant to meet, they will all come to you when you are ready. All is well ~


"Every experience reveals something of our Higher Self to our lower self. Each shows us what we love, what we attract, what we're learning to welcome, and what we're learning to leave behind." Robert Wilkinson

Jelena, FL said...

I check your blog daily for updates, I've never commented before, but I had to today. I just had to tell you that you are an amazing and strong woman and mother. I feel so happy for Nella to be lucky enough to be chosen to have you as her mama. Yesterday I read an article about a woman who gave birth to twins and one twin, the girl, had DS, her mother says she regrets having IVF, and she considered giving up her girl for adoption because she had DS. That completely broke my heart at the thought. Imagine this precious baby girl is always going to be compared to her "perfect" (as her mother sees it) twin brother. There is no such thing as perfect and every child deserves love, no matter what, I might not know what it is like to have a child with DS, but I know they are beautiful souls. One guy in my high school had DS and he used to call me Anastasia because he said I looked like a princess. He was very sweet and kind. We are all human, we are all the same, even if we have extra chromosomes, or we look different, or we have different color skin, or hair, we are still the same, we all have a heart, we all need love. Thank you for your blog, being who you are, and sharing the beautiful pictures of your two angels. God bless you and your family.

Karen said...

You can litter box train a bunny. I had one for many years who wandered freely around the house and did his business in the box. The only draw back is that there wasn't a single wire in my house that was chomped upon.

Congrats on meeting friends in the new community. What a fantastic support system.

KellywithaY said...

Glad to hear you sit out in your driveway too to watch the kids play. We actually drag a fire pit out there on cold days. Welcome to our world...it's what you make it
and you're doing beautifully.

Kristen said...

Congratulations on the millionth!
Congratulations for being a Fantastic Mother.
Congratulations for celebrating Nella next Sunday.
And Congratulations for using Burt's Bees.- they are the best.
Oh and Sara Groves- she is the best too!

Good job and keep it up. You are amazing. The blogging world and the world in general... most especially your little girls are so very lucky to have you.

Anonymous said...

Kelle,

Can you tell me the brand on the camera strap or where it was purchased? I have a friend who would adore one!

Thanks!

jen said...

What a wonderful meeting for you! I'm sure you and Holly will be so good for each other. Loved seeing these new pics of your precious girl...just loved 'em!

jen said...

What a wonderful meeting for you! I'm sure you and Holly will be so good for each other. Loved seeing these new pics of your precious girl...just loved 'em!

Tisha said...

i wonder how relieved latte is that lainey now has a bunny. lol. so cute. so glad you met a new mommy, we can always use new mommy friends.

love the camera strap and lainey's crab outfit is so cute!

oh and try lugging a 20 lb baby in an infant seat...yeah...just today i decided he had to make the transition to big seat. he loves it and so do i.

Deborah said...

WOW Kelle, a million hits, How wonderful, imagine after You do CNN...*winks* ...

Your Dad made me cry today, when He admits to having been so ignorant, such the truth of many...

As I've mentioned I nurse now, and do 2 jobs. One in a chronic care facility, were we have seniors with DS, who have come to us the last yrs of their lives. So, it is so refreshing to read Your blog, and I am slowly passing on the word to my co-workers, as I think all should visit Your blog, cause I think they will never look upon our pt's with DS the same again...Thank You If You know what I mean. So thanks for that ...

I also work in the community as a nurse, and was fortunate to get to meet a few children who were born with health issues at birth, mainly feeding issues and heart problems as well as DS...Hence my involvement, and in community, once the problems are fixed we fade out... But when I am lucky see these children in community by chance again, it is so moving to see them grow up, as it will be to follow Your blog ...I have been nursing for 12 yrs, a second career actually ....

I live in Canada, and in Canada we have Government sponsored programs, geared to Community Living ...Prior to nursing I worked as a counsellor in a Community Living program for developmentally challenged Individuals, where we had probably a 1/4 of the population having DS ...The client's as they were referred to, some came from home, but most from large Institutions, as yrs ago Kelle, Doctor;s advocated to parent's to Institutionalized such a child, it was the thing to do in 50's even 60's, no one knew better Kelle....*shrugs* Until the '80's came deinstitutionalization... I was a part of that, we took these now Adults and re-integrated them to communities, in group home, in a work places, in social activities, in families, etc... I did such work for 15 yrs, so I am well aware of the Groups, New Family's, Clubs You are meeting, But kelle, I was never a parent of a DS child, so Your story is so refreshing important for me follow, to read ...Thank You so much....*warm smiles* ...

kara said...

When you said the bunny was in the pink purse, I did a double take because I thought you meant Nella! ;)

Your blog is so refreshing and inspiring.

Amy said...

I adore Sara Groves and this song is perfect for your family. Enjoying your evolution into a better story.

TwolittleN's said...

I, like so many others, love reading your blog! I've been hooked ever since reading your post of Nella's beautiful birth story. Your story brought me back to the day, two years ago, when my second son Nicholas was born and we learned that he had DS. I am so happy to hear that you are opening yourself to meeting others in the "club" because we too have met so, so many wonderful people...many that we now call good friends. I look forward to reading more about your Nella...oh, and don't be surprised if she breaks those milestones...our Nicholas walked at 14 months!

ASDmomNC said...

When I attended my first Autism Society meeting, mere weeks after my son's diagnosis, I almost had to leave the room from the panic attack that came on. Then I met some other autism moms, and met some autistic adults, and it became less and less scary and daunting. Then I formed my own autism moms' support group about two years later.

The special needs community is wonderful, and I am so thankful for the people who have been brought into my life because of autism, even with all the stress that it has simultaneously brought into my life. God has a plan, and all of these wonderful mamas who are my friends are part of that plan.

Your family reunion analogy was great and spot on. Making those first special needs connections is scary at first, but they turn out to be so wonderful and so healing. Your Down Syndrome mom girlfriends will be some of the best friends you will have.

Oh, and skip the baby bucket and use the sling full time. Much easier with another kid in tow. Trust me. LOL.

Molly said...

Clever girl - realizing that the party you didn't want to go to in the first place actually rocks! ;)

And that life is perfect in its imperfection.

Bert Bell said...

Congrats on the millionth hit on your blog. God makes everything good for His glory and He certainly has given you 2 beautiful angels to nurture and love. I enjoy coming back daily so I can see sweet Lainey & Nella...your pictures captures their beauty and innocence They make me smile after a long hard day of work and life. For sure Lainey loves her lil sister and is going to be an excellent big sister for Nella! Such sweet girls!

I read your post the other day when you mentioned the CNN interview and how blown away things have been going lately. God is opening doors of opportunity and provision for your family. Embrace all the goodness of it all. Many hugs, many prayers, many more blessings!

Domestic Diva said...

happy weekend to you! you are so stinkin' cute, as are your littles!!

ErinB said...

Kelle, once again a beautiful post. I am so excited for all the opportunities you have come across to share your amazing story of love. I saw this quote the other day and immediately thought of you and your family
" I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." Mother Teresa

Anonymous said...

Just read this:
Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.

Megan said...

you got a lot of bunny comments, but I didn't see this one. I don't know if your bunny is a boy or girl....(I guess I could go back and read) but if its a girl you should consider getting her spayed. Almost all female bunnies succumb to ovarian cancer unless spayed. Wasn't sure if you were wearing out your "b" button googling bunny stuff. LOL.

Valerie said...

Hi Kelle.

Your posts continue to touch my heart.

As I hit the 19-week mark, I stop and wonder about the what-ifs.

What if...I hadn't done the 1st trimester NT Screen?

What if...I hadn't gotten the risk evaluation of 1:17 for Down's Syndrome?

What if...My OB hadn't rerun the quad screen last week and my results changed from 1:17 to 1:173?

What if...I hadn't begged my husband and God for just ONE more child? I'm 40.

Some days are better than others, but on the roughest days I turn to your blog so that peace can fill my heart.

At this time, we have decided against having amniocentesis due to the risk of miscarriage. And while I know that would give me a definitive answer, after seeing pictures of your little Nellabean and reading your story (the raw emotions and all), I would DIE if I miscarried our baby...even if s/he has Down Syndrome.

Thanks for holding my hand, even though you didn't know it!

Valerie

RLE said...

It's funny the families we get thrown into and the love, acceptance and joy that come after the newness rubs off. And how lucky and blessed you feel to be a part of it once you begin to know everyone.
Love your new camera strap! Gorgeous!!

Kate said...

Lately, your blog has been my breath of fresh air! I'm so glad you're finding a home with your new family. Your positivity and strength are really very uplifting.

Anonymous said...

i have read your blog for over 2 years since i was pregnant with my little munchkin and you still WOW me everyday! you are an amazing woman!

~lauren
balto, md

Kate said...

Dear Kelle,
Again you pierce our hearts and souls with your honesty as you grace these blog pages. Kelle, you soar in the heavens with your unending strength. Your gift of love by sharing Nella's journey with all of your readers is the most precious gift. My cup runneth over...

Love the camera strap so perfect for you Rock Star Mama!!!

Love & prayers to your family for next Sunday.

Kate

Anonymous said...

Kelle -

One of my best friends is an amazing photographer, and I love what essence she captures of everything from my daughter to shoveling snow. I love your blog for many of the same reasons that I love Jana and her photography. Simply, you make me smile and remind me to find joy in every ounce of life. So thank you. :) And your fancy strap rocks.

I have been dying to convert from standard scrapbooking to digital and have been looking for a quick and easy program; one that is flexible to my needs. I don't like set formats. I know that you mentionned that you used MS Digital Image Suite - was it 2006?

Peace to you, your girls, your boys, your animals, and to the piles of bunny pellets (I've been waiting to hear you comment about the sheer volume of bunny pooh!).

-Jennifer (aka Tallcurlygirly)

Jaimie Lynn said...

You have a GREAT playlist! A lot of my favorite songs and artists. If you don't know of him already, there is this great musician names Mason Jennings who I think you might like! Very comforting and fun sounding, check him out ;)

http://www.masonjennings.com/

I look forward to reading your blog daily and and you have the most beautiful (and very photogenic) children! Wonderful

MyRayOLite said...

Awe Kelle! I loved reading about your blind date! We are a member of the infertility club and we have had blind dates with friends that have come from all over the country to stay with us for a "blind visit" for up to a week at a time! We went through so much trying to conceive to finally having our blessings and can relate. These experiences make us who we are today. Much better people with so much compassion and empathy for the unknown.

I have read how you call Nella your bunny since birth and we share a love of bunnies too. Bunny is my husband and I's mascot! When our daughter Brianna was born she had bunny theme in her bed, a stuffed bunny and bunny figurines. I love bunnies so much! For me it is more of a sign of rebirth, new beginnings.

Now I have to ask, what lens do you shoot with? I am in need of a lens and going to break down and get one so I can enjoy taking pictures again! I have a Nikon DSLR. I love that flower strap! I need that too! :o)

You leave me with hope and inspiration and I become giddy with excitement when I see a new day to live vicariously with you and your family.

BTW, my daughter, Brianna, she is 12, and is smitten with your girls!

:o)

Jennifer

Brittany Pedigo Elliott said...

I will be brief, I promise. A friend of mine sent me a link to your blog several weeks ago and I read the beautiful story of your precious and incredibly lucky daughters birth. On days when my life gets stressful and I just want to throw in the towel, I grab the computer and sit and read how you and your family enjoy the simple moments and they remind me that those are the important things. So thank you from a simple southern momma who occasionally needs to be reminded to just breathe.

Confessions of a Closet Hoarder but you can call me Judy said...

Hoping you have a wonderful weekend yourself. Loving that you had a date with a new friend, and that Lainey and Nella have new friends, too. Mostly, I'm glad you've come to realize that this new family you find yourself a part of is actually an amazing family full of love. :)

Kathy said...

I don't remember how I found your blog - but I enjoy reading it. Your family is beautiful and little Nella is a darling. I love Sarah Groves. She sings about important things.

Oh and did you know that rabbits can be litter box trained? Handy.

Becky said...

I love the camera strap, is it handmade?

Love your blog-can't get enough!

T's Girl said...

My little is three weeks older than Nella and as a new mom, the first time I found your blog was on a night where I thought, "It would be nice if she could just sleep in the garage!" so I could get a break from her crying. That was the first night this mama and baby cried together. Well I found Nella's birth story when I finally got baby alseep and I was of course wide awake and worried about what I got myself into creating this life.

After I read the story of Nella's arrival, I went to peek on the wee babe, tears still streaming, and I felt so lucky. Not because my little doesn't have DS but because I am lucky enough to have a little. What an incredible journey motherhood is and I admire you for documenting your girls lives so beautifully so that in 20 years you three can all snuggle on your 'perfect couch' and look back. Thanks for reminding me daily through your words and your lens to slow down really remember these early days.

*Jess* said...

My son was diagnosed with autism the same month that is known for "Autism Awareness Month". I, too, would not have known it existed.

I cherish all the friends I had and have before and after Jayce's diagnosis. However, sometimes you just want to be around someone that "gets it". :)

Anne said...

Nella is seriously one of the most beautiful baby girls I have ever laid eyes on!:) What a beautiful gift God has given you . . . and how right He was when He chose you and your family to love her! WOW! She's one very blessed little angel:)

Michele said...

Kelly,
Welcome to the family. I've been in the family for over 3 years now and am continually moved by the amazing people I've met along this journey. If someone offered me the chance to go back and erase my son's diagnosis, and would never do it. There are too many wonderful people that have come into my life because of it. Down syndrome has changed me and my outlook on life for the better.

Enjoy the journey. There are so many blessings that just sneak up on you and move you to tears.

Anonymous said...

I posted earlier, but wanted to ask you a few questions...

* when you make the scrapbook pages at home, how do you put the whole thing into Shutterfly?

* Where can I find an awesome camera strap??

* How did you get into photography? I'd love to move my butt into something on the side, but I don't know where to start. I'm a teacher too... you were before, right?

Thanks!!

Sarah said...

Again - another brilliant post. I will celebrate next Sunday too. I will think of little Nella and all of the other families touched with this!! Hugs to you!!!

RMAinMD said...

,,,beautiful indeed they are,,,

MommaBeast said...

I definitely want to second the woman who recommended baby-wearing. For one thing, it's actually been proven that using the bucket car seats (the ones with the ever-so-nifty handle) can increase the risk of SIDS. Also, they're heavy and unwieldy, as you discovered.

For another thing, you get to snuggle your bubbie to you, and they get to see the entire world from chest-height.

Here's the best Web site out there about baby-wearing and all the various baby-wearing implements (slings, pouches, wraps, rebozos, podegi, backpack, mei tais). Once you try it out, you're hooked. Both your hands are free, your baby is secure, and you can chase a toddler with ease.

Plus, you and Nella would just look darn cute baby-wearing together.

Stacy said...

March 31 will mark five years since we were thrust into this new family. It is indeed and beautiful family! We will be celebrating with you next Sunday.

Look forward to seeing your re-telling and pictures of you day!

Stacy said...

March 31 will mark five years since we were thrust into this new family. It is indeed and beautiful family! We will be celebrating with you next Sunday.

Look forward to seeing your re-telling and pictures of you day!

Bethany said...

LOL I love what Heather Seal wrote ... go Heather!! So true, but we didn't always know that, did we?

I think I had my first "event" -- dinner at a restaurant with a couple other moms -- when Payton was Nella's age. Only these other kids were older and I couldn't get out of that place fast enough! LOL. I cried when I left, because I felt like I was being thrown into a world that I didn't fit in.

But then I met other moms that I could relate to ... and that was the end of that. They are my best friends now and there really is nobody else I would rather be with. The connection is so strong ...

Joy said...

I was directed to your blog by a friend shortly after you posted about Nella's birth, and have read daily sice then, but never posted a reply. I form a lot of replys in my head, but can never make it sound how I feel when I commit it to type.

First off, I also would strongly encourage you to look into baby-wearing. It makes life so much simplier, and is a beauty and preciousness not to be missed!! :)

I too have been signed up for "clubs" where I desprately did not want to belong. First there was the 'multiple miscarriage club', followed directly by 'years of infertility club'. Then after I was the mom of 2 I got to join the 'my husband came out of the closet club' followed shortly by the 'divorced/single mom of 2 with one on the way club'. Once I re-married I joined the 'multiple second trimester loss club'.
But all of these sometimes dizzyingly painful 'clubs' have also given me such opportunity to grow and develop, and now that the pain is not so fresh, to come allongside others who suddenly find themselves in a 'club' where they are SURE they do not belong. I have also developed a much deeper understanding and appreciation of just how breathtakingly beautiful life IS, and a determination to find joy all of it.

No matter what 'club(s)' we each are in, there is a point of relevance and common-ness. Your words pull heart strings for me with each post. Thank you for your blog, and shareing your life with all of us.

I must say I have never prayed to join another 'club' until now. I am 21 weeks pregnant. Mostly I have been just praying for an alive baby at the end of this pregnancy, but I have found my self praying at the end of each of your blog posts, "If there is a little soul out there with trisomy send them here Lord."
Thank you again for shareing.

Rebecca said...

Would it be possible to find out who sings the song on your blog right now- I think it is a Cat Stevens song but would love to know who sings this version. Thanks!

iColossus / The Monster said...

Hi Kelle, I've been a reader of your blog since Nella's birth and have become a big fan.

My blog doesn't have very many readers but I just wanted to let you know that I posted today about your blog, hope that was OK with you, I figured I wanted to pass it on to my friends and family.

Have a happy day!

- iColossus

fidget said...

i love that you call her Nellabean! People look at me cross eyed when I call my baby Saffaroo (her name is Saffi). I know they all have silly nicknames for their kids, why is is so unheard of to use them in public??

Susan said...

You are doing everything right!!! Our little was in NICU for 39 days; we didn't even read about DS until about day 21. Loved on that baby girl! But other DS families are blessings for your family. You are such a sensitive mother and will know who to bond with and when. Love your photos so much -- wish you were in Orlando so I could hire you for my sweet grandbaby girl.

andrea nina said...

this is beautiful, kelle, and i can relate a lot to this entry.

when i found out my son was diagnosed with cancer, i tried for a long time to wake up from what i thought was a nightmare. but unlike you, i didn't realize and embrace this new life until a year later. i'm sort of envious that it didn't take you very long to accept that this new life is THE life meant for you, but at the same time glad that you did find a balance soon enough because i know that feeling all too well, just exactly how you described in this entry and it's not very easy on the mind.

you're very lucky to have the support you have. in a lot of ways i think that if only i did have that support, i'd be a better mother to my son. but now, i truly believe i'm right where i have to be, and that's what's beautiful about mothers of special needs children.

you're a very inspirational writer - you've inspired me to be more honest about myself and my new life. thanks always for sharing, and please keep writing!

Rhonda said...

Loving the new strap!!!

GraceesMommy said...

So I must confess..I spent a beautiful, perfect weekend with my daughter in Lancaster PA (Amish people rock). But guess what the first thing was I did when got I home to the farm after a 3 hour trip..made a cappuccino and came right to your blog..perfect ending to a perfect weekend. There will be many people thinking of you next Sunday on the beach..hoping you share it with us.

Annie said...

I was away for thwe weekend and just got back - after settling in I thought - let's see what Kelle's been up to this weekend! It has been such a joy gettng to know your family through your blog and yes- you have blessed so many with your tales of simple, yet beautiful LIFE! I am so happy that you are enjoying being at the "family Reunion" now with the crazy aunts and cousins!!!! They really are more fun. I loved the picture of Nella and her new friend! Ahh- when almond eyes are smiling- the world looks bright!
i'll be praying for your family next Sunday for Nella's special day!

Anonymous said...

A Story by Erma Bombeck
Heaven's Very Special Child
Welcome to Holland



A Story contributed by Erma Bombeck

This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angel to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth, son, patron saint, Matthew."

"Smith, Marge, daughter, patron saint, Cecillia."

"Rutledge, Carrie, twins, patron saint...give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."

Finally he passes a name to the angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped child". The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy." "Exactly," says God. "Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."

"But has she patience?" asks the angel."

"I don't want her to have to much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off she'll handle it." "I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so necessary in a mother. The child I am going to give her has his own world. She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy."

"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you," God smiles. "No matter. I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness."

The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"

God nods, "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman who I take for granted a 'spoken word.' She will never consider a 'step' ordinary. When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it! I will permit her to see clearly the things I see...cruelty, ignorance, prejudice...and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day, because she is doing my work as surely as if she were here by my side."

"And what about her patron saint?" asks the angel, pen poised in mid air."

God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."

Krista said...

Rabbits are pro poopers! I had one for 9 years, he was such a good pooper, my mother kicked him out of the house into an outdoor hutch. heh.

Its so nice you're getting out there and meeting other moms..

I hope you have a beautiful week full of warmth and happiness. :)

Take care!

Peggy said...

Oh, you are so lucky to find someone in this journey at the same place you are. We were also that lucky having a little boy born only 6 days before our daughter. They started school together when they were only 10 weeks old. In September, they will start kindergarten together. She is so lucky to have her best buddy and I am so lucky to have his mom as my friend. She was a total stranger to me 6 years ago and now we speak almost every day and see each other at least once a week. Enjoy your newfound family. We are happy to have both of you here.

btw... LOVE that camera strap!

Tamara said...

I just wanted to say that I've just started following your wonderful blog. I cried when I read your beautiful birth story. My son was born around the time Nella was born and her almond eyes remind me of his. They are also bright blue and almond-shaped, although he doesn't have DS. Nella is such a beautiful baby. Keep up the positive spirit, she is so lucky to have you as her mama.

Anonymous said...

god bless anyone who can handle the infant carrier with grace.....i personally have bruises on my arm showcasing my lak-there-of.I have two children and while i will not pretend to know your struggle i can tell you my world changed by something as simple as my sister refusing to kiss my baby girl because she was too salty a week later she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, although it became our NORMAL, i spent my second UNEXPECTED pregnancy in totall fear only to have her be perfectly healthy, now i find myself not knowing how to do this NORMAL. you r helping me find my balance and i thank you
Liz

Crystal said...

Thanks again for sharing. I'm glad to know that the 21st is a day to celebrate by beautiful girl. Not sure how to celebrate but we will mark the occasion.

I remember wanting and not wanting to talk with other parents. It took me a couple of weeks, but it was a relief when I finally made that phone call. Hope you continue to find friendship and encouragement from your new family.

Vicki said...

Good for you! Making the jump to meet new people in the "club" is a very tough first step and it's a great one to take. I'm one of those that has worn out the D and S on my keyboard, sometimes i wish I could just hang out and enjoy, it's easier for me now that mine is 3 (almost 4). your girls are gorgeous, have a wonderful day!

Krista said...

I hope you do read the comments and I hope you are encouraged by them. I ask myself, what could I have to say that the other 177 people did not. Nothing really but this thought. As a fellow mother of a special little one I found encouragement in this unique "community" we find ourselves in because you can know that they all value life. In 2002 93% of pregnancies discovered to have genetic disorders were aborted. Thank you for choosing life.

Donna said...

Dear Kelle,

Sending spring breezes from Michigan, where the daffodils, croscuses and snowdrops are just waiting to bloom outside my door.

Congratulations on one million blog visits. You are truly one in a million.

Linda said...

I love you are having Nella's baptism/dedication on the beach. On Down Syndrome Awareness Day. Can't wait to see the pictures.

Pink Velvet Mommy said...

I must tell you that your pictures are amazing and your daughters just too lovely for words.

My goddaughter Katie has DS and while it was a big surprise to all of us and her Mama and Daddy...the biggest surprise is what an amazing little girl Katie is. She is now 6 and smart and funny and full of smiles and love. She has taught our family the true meaning of love. We think she is the happiest child on the planet, and when I think of her my heart just swells!!

Thank you for sharing your story and being so honest. It is certainly not easy to be so honest with your feelings under these circumstances. But I think mama's of VERY special children will agree they went through all of these emotions only to come out on the other side smiling and feeling blessed.

Again your girls are just too lovely!!

Laurie and company said...

awesome. my friend told me about your blog today...hooked!

God BLESS you and your beautiful little family. Nella and Lainey are stunning!

Laurie
Indianapolis area

Mari Bryant- Marks said...

Good morning,
A while back, could have been a long while, you posted a granola recipe, I really liked it and would like to put it on my recipe blog, would that be ok? I'll definitely say where I got it and hopefully I can find it in your archives again! If you want to check it out it is http://realrecipesforrealfamilies.blogspot.com.

Anonymous said...

I like being the thrice-removed aunt with the perfume-drenched bosom! I'm glad you're finding your place in the family. Your girls are both beautiful!

Ann

Deanna said...

Kelle,
I just love reading your blog. I cried and cried while reading your entry about Nella's Birth. Your emotions were so raw, that I could feel them coming through the screen. Just beautiful!! The pictures of your little Lainey and Nella are just precious too! I can tell that you are a loving and caring Mama of two beautiful girls. I am a Mama to two precious girls too, so I feel like I can relate to you.

Hugs,
Deanna

Amanda said...

i just had to tell you that i've never been so touched or inspired by something/someone in my life. i truly feel like reading your blog, especially the amazing story of nella's birth, has transformed me. i can't stop reading, in fact. i feel so lucky to have been "introduced' to your awesome family and can't wait to keep following. you are an amazing mama and i'm so impressed by your courage and honesty and your ability to keep seeing all of the beautiful things in life even when it is harder to find them. you truly are an inspiration.... and of course, those girls are both so beautiful!

Cathy said...

A college friend with a Down Syndrome son, who just turned 21, posted on FBook that it was World Down Syndrome day. I googled for more info and found your birth story and your blog. I absolutely love it. The writing is touching, witty, and real and the pictures are amazing. If you write a book, I will buy it. In the meantime, I plan to become a regular reader and use my camera more! Thanks for the inspiration.

Jacobsrie said...

Kelle,
Congratulations! I am grandma to Jacob, almost 9, who has Down Syndrome. Like you we were not expecting him to be born with Down Syndrome. Yes, at first it was a shock. For some reason my first response was he is ours and we will support his strengths and help him with his weaknesses. The only weakness he has is his speech. I can't imagine our life without Jacob. Yes, he makes you see the world in a different way. We have a local Down Syndrome Association that was a blessing to us with all their information and 6years ago I started a golf tournament to benefit this association. These children are a blessing. Again, Congratulations!

scruggzy said...

Kelle...PLEASE tell me where your friend got that camera strap!! I beg you.I must have one for one of my patient's moms who longs to be a professional photographer. This is just the gift I want to give her. Please email if possible to scruggzy@yahoo.com.I would be so very grateful. Thank you!

the McCumbers said...

Where did your friend find your gorgeous camera strap?

the McCumbers said...

Where did your friend find your gorgeous camera strap?

Larsen's! said...

Hey Kelle!
I'm the owner of Squeakers toddler shoes. I follow your blog and your girls are absolutely adorable. Our website is squeakers.com, we'd love to send you shoes for your girls! Email me their shoe size at info@squeakers.com.
Hope you have a great weekend!

-Julie Larsen

bunniez said...

You are indeed a great and brave lady! May god bless you and your family be foreva this happy.. Best wishes.. :) i did learn alot from your blog.. *thumbs up*