Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Forward

The grass seems lusher. The sky seems bluer. And, as the barbeque smoke from the neighbor's grill wafts slowly through our yard, it is official. We have sprung forward. In more ways than one, but tonight in its literal that blessed time of year when the day is stretched for one more hour of light. One more hour to pitter patter the bottoms of our blackened feet in the driveway, waving to neighbors, joining the boys for an impromptu game of basketball, or watching as our blonde one screeches with delight, speedily pedaling her scruffy little bike as wisps of that feathery head dance in the wind.

We don't wear shoes much from here on out 'til December. I used to get all mad mama with the dirt we brought inside to the tile...but then I got real. It's a lost cause, and besides...bare feet and spring are like ice cream trucks and summer. Just complete symbiosis, that's what.

The week ended on Friday with this grayish sky and cold, lonely air and rebirthed on Saturday with sunshine and dewey grass and that March scent of spring. I felt like I was eight years old again when, in Michigan, the beginning of spring meant packing up the snowpants and digging through the closet for my purple jelly shoes, even if there were still snow leftovers on our front yard. We did't care. Spring meant Joyce Moberly's mom was going to bring over bags of their upscale hand-me-downs from last summer and my sister and I were going to dig through it and fight like wild dogs over who could get their hands on the Esprit stuff first. Spring meant my brother would start mowing the lawn again and we would smell the rich scent of cut grass. Spring meant my sister and I were going to get ridiculously decked out in our Easter finest from those cheap woven plastic hats and new white tights right down to the polyester lace gloves. Our old Easter pictures look like two badly dressed middle-aged women, except I always had chapped lips and too-short bangs. Why my parents didn't just stop with a cute dress, I'll never know. We had to go for the topper. With hats. And patent leather shoes. And gloves. And strange matching miniature purses that we had nothing to put in them...except Bonnie Bell chapstick.

Regardless, an up-north spring is nothing less than revival, its first rays of sun and buds of crocuses and jonquils like sudden bursts of heart rhythm on an otherwise flatline screen. Life. Breathing and birthing and promising so much more. And although we, unlike so many others, get to enjoy warmth and beach and sandals for most of the year, I can still feel it come March. The anticipation of life. Zealous, colorful life.

We celebrated this weekend with our nothing-more-than-ordinary weekend...just the way we like them.

And the return of the garden hose. She's flashed more grins and expressed more giggles over this silly hose than any Fisher Price or Playscool could even hope for.

And Mama loves her some spring inspiration.

A) Crafty baking. Especially when no oven's required.
So, today we tossed some marshmallows and butter in the microwave, threw in some shredded wheat squares, placed a few Whopper eggs, and voila...spring birds' nests.

I'm thinking, with some pink and white "eggs" nestled in there, this would make a nice garden fairy treat for an upcoming birthday. Which, by the way, she's invited every person she's talked to the past two weeks. Everyone. The UPS man. You comin' to my birthday party?

B) Spring Make-up. I'm a MAC junkie. I drool over that inticing pallette of eyeshadows on their display counters and I want every. single. color. It's like telling someone to choose a favorite color from Crayola's 96 crayon box. Not possible. Especially when they have super cool names like Goldmine and Paradisco. And then they take advantage of your happy-go-lucky spring-is-in-the-air mood this time of year when they launch these succulent lines of fresh pinks and juicy peaches and, I'm just a big fat sucker for pretty make-up lined up on department store counters and the pretty girls that sell them and tell you you'd look fabulous in Pretty Plush.

Which is why I love their Back to MAC program because, when I'm yearning for Pretty Plush, I can dig through my cupboards at any time and find some old shadows Lainey's dug the bejesus out of and, if you bring in six old containers, you get any eyeshadow, lipstick or lipgloss free.

Meet my new lipgloss..."Prrrr." It's very spring. And was very free...two things we like.

C) Our Yard. We live there this time of year. Picnics. Bikes. Reading books on blankets and riding trikes in princess dresses. It's all good.

I laid in the grass Saturday afternoon and just watched the Nellabean stretch out on her blanket.

And, I have to say, one eye peeking out at me is even cuter than both. She was pooped and didn't have the energy for a full head stretch but wanted to still let me know...
...Hey, I see you.

But two eyes is pretty cute too.

There have been a lot of photography questions lately, and I think I'll have some upcoming posts answering a lot of these and perhaps some fun photo challenges to come. Taking pictures of our life is such a passion for me and viewing life "through the lense" certainly adds to that whole high-on-life thing and having a story of beauty to look back on years to come, so...when I know how much it has enriched my life, I'm only eager to share that in hopes that paying it forward will inspire others to find this same joy.

My camera/lense/editing answers can be found on this post.

As far as editing my photos, I like quick edits. I take a lot of pictures and don't have time to spend a huge amount of time on each picture. And, while I have found some great editing tricks, editing and cameras and technicalities can be so intimidating. I passionately believe that a beautiful photo comes from the heart...passion and love and wanting to capture beauty but not trying too hard. I taught myself most everything I know and did so not because I wanted to do it professionally but because I wanted to capture the beauty I saw in things that inspired me. And then I had kids and...well, hello. It never ends. The professional part just kind of fell into place and I can pick and choose how much time I want to be away from the girls. And, I guess what I'm trying to say is...for so many that have expressed a desire to take better pictures of their kids or document like this... ...Do it. Do it today. Start small and grow and, I promise, you will be better for it. And your babies will thank you someday.

Just a couple before and after basic edits from today:

More to come on quick, basic things you can do to your pics. And I'm not an expert...I'm just someone who loves pictures. Like art.

This spring thing has me completely inspired. Maybe I'll even, God forbid...clean. Because my catch-all counter is so covered with the most random junk, it looks like a garage sale. I swear, at this very moment, lying across the three-foot stretch is an extention cord, a roll of tape, two barettes, an oven mitt, a card from last Christmas, a phone cord, a broken pen, a stale Jolly Rancher and a maraca.

It's late...the hour has sprung forward. But that's one hour closer to my blessed coffee hour tomorrow morning. Looking forward to my steamy cup already.

And, as a reader just commented (see, I do read them all...I really do! I've smiled so many times reading your words and looking at your families too!)
"...when almond eyes are smiling, the world is bright."

My precious big girl shared her puppy tonight...just nestled it right next to her sleeping little sister and then walked away.

~love. -k

Two quickies...

a) The interview is on CNN International (CNNI) Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern (I think the actual interview doesn't air until 4:35...and it will be live). If you don't get the CNNI channel, it will be available online soon after here.

b) The camera strap, for the many who've asked, is called Capturing Couture, and their site can be found here.


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inca said...

Just wanted to say you were excellent on CNN. You were watched by all our family. Congratulations all the way from England.

Kristine said...

Crap, crap crap, I missed the CNN segment! I got caught up trying to recreate my husband's favorite dish from his all time fav restaurant. The things we do for our men!

Will they posting it on their web site?

Anonymous said...

Simply stated, You have changed my life.

megan said...

I enjoyed watching your CNN segment. I had my whole family around the TV to see "that lady from the computer" according to my 4 year old. Great job!

Victoria said...

I have been following for blog for a few weeks now, and have yet to find the right words to say but I feel compelled to say something so here goes...You are an inspiration, when I read Nellas birth story it brought me to tears. I had to tell as many people as I could. Nella is magic, no doubt about it, shes gonna move mountains. And Lainey, is a beautiful sweet fairy =) Photography is something I have been interested in for some time now and because of you I am buying a better camera and getting into it! You have inspired me to "stop and smell the roses" and savor each and every moment with my sons (ages 7 & 10 mos). I can't thank you enough for sharing your story, your life and your amazing children with us and I look forward to reading more.

KC said...

Congratulations Kelle, you were amazing on CNNI!, I loved your interview. You looked GREAT!.

When you started talking about your first night with Nella, I lost it and started crying.
I completely agree with you. Nella Cordelia is a BLESSING :). Your blog is definitely about LIFE.

A beautiful, honest and moving interview, just like your words, just like your blog, just like you. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and for inspiring so many!

Lots of positive energy coming your way ~

dig this chick said...

well godamnit it all I can't be the only human WAITING to see that interview online! Come on CNN.

ingrid said...

hi! i just wanna ask about the wooden blocks of Lainey. is that melissa and doug?

Anonymous said...

I am trying so hard to patiently wait for CNN to post your interview!! I think I have clicked on the link 50 times!!

One thing I keep on meaning to ask/ addition to writing your book, what about creating a simple (Down syndrome)picture book for children such as "I Can, Can You?" or " My Up & Down & All Around Book". Your beautiful photography would make a book like this extra special. Think about it! =)

See book examples here...

Jill B (Overland Park, KS)

BennyG said...

Oh Kelle, I was thrilled this morning to finally get to watch your interview and you did great!!! You are an awesome advocate for your girls!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful life and the extra magic with the world! They need to see that yes, indeed, those of us raising a child with Down Syndrome, are just like every other family with dreams and hopes for our children, no matter the struggles they face. I am so proud of you, Kelle and I know Poppa and the rest of your family and friends are proud too!!!

Smocking with Gwen said...

Kelle....finally got to see your interview! You are exactly as I imagined...poised, smart, hopefu! Thanks for sharing your special moments. Your words and pictures are changing lives and today we all need something positive in our lives regardless of the hurdles that pop up. You are a high stepper!!!

lbmcpherson said...


You are so inspiring for so many reasons. Your story first caught my attention because of a new life experience my husband and I are part of recently.

Our best friends had their first child last June and he was diagnosed with DS when he was just a few days old.

Their experience was different because they took their son home and never thought for a second that he was different in any way from any other child.

I think this made it so much harder for them because they had no time to prepare for what was coming. They were in complete shock.

You and your story, I think, will help them to realize that it is okay, and it can be done. Not that they did not on some level know that already but, you show how this is done so beautifully.

On a side closer to home with me; you are such an incredible photographer and seem to be so great at being simply amazing in all aspects of your life.

I have very recently taken photography up, again, after a very long hiatus.

After high school I was convinced that I would do something with art but never really made it happen.

It is so hard to get back into something that you once considered yourself to be really good at then you stepped back and everything changed so completely. I am struggling to think digitally and not from a film point of view and is just hard.

Reading your blog and your story gives me that much needed kick in the butt that says, "You can have it all. Anything is possible."

You are an incredible woman, Kelle!

Lisa from Chicagoland said...

Woo Hoo! totally missed it on TV yesterday, so went to the website today and you ROCKED it Kelle!

So awesome to see you talking "in person"!!!! he he....

Thanks for advocating for our babes!


Mama said...

Great interview. Nice what you said about time and being there and how that's what children really want..


Randi-Lee said...

This is the most amazing thing I have ever read and seen. Your ability to write is amazing and your photography is absolutely stunning. I truly believe that we are lucky to have you share your stories. I know that I have become a better person from reading this. Thank you for opening my eyes.

Randi-Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am so, so proud of you honey. :)

Courtney said...

Hi Kelle - you don't know me but I feel like I know you and your sweet story. Someone sent me a link to your blog about sweet Nella and now I read your blog regularly. I was just reading this post about your bird's nest snack and I love it!! I'm helping throw a baby shower for one of my best friends and we are doing a "nesting" theme. Could you send me the recipe if you get a chance? I could probably figure it out but I'm much better with specifics :) Thank you for sharing your story with the world. You have the most beautiful family!

Heather said...

Your interview was Perfect with a capital P. I love the picture of the shared puppy - it feels close to home. When my youngest two were babies they were both in cribs in the same room and older sister (by 17 mos) "shared" her pink blankie with baby brother... but, woops, she never got it back! It's his to this day - siblings!!! You are inspiring and full of grace. My fav blog- EVER.
ps - we were just visitng in Naples - I resisted the urge to come by (like I would know how or where!) and hug you and yours but thought of you while we there. You make a beautiful place even more beautiful.

Life with Kaishon said...

You read each comment. That is so nice. I always wonder if people that get tons and tons of comments read the comments : ) It is nice that you do. Nice that you take the time to read what people are thinking.

Thank you for your picture advice. I think that is such good advice. Simple is nice : ) Who has time to fuss with each and every picture? : )

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelle - I was so proud of you when I watched you on CNN. Yes, I am old enough to be your mom and have been reading your story since little Nella was born. Forgive me and others who write and sound like mother hens ... once a mom always a mom ( just ask my two sons -almost 20 and 25). My heart was so full when you responded to the questions asked of you on the interview. You were humble, kind, and most of all, a mom just like the rest of us who found that life is going to be not quite what we expected but what God had in plan for us. Love wins always and forever, Amen.

MJ's Mommy said... inspire me as a mom! I am a pediatric physical therapist and one of my clients shared your blog with me. Your photos capture me and your birth story touched my mommy heart in a way you will never know. I did it, I started a blog and your entry today made it thank you!!! Now I just need to learn how to do stuff on here and take photos like you ;) May God bless you & your beautifl family! ~Julie

Kim said...

You are fantastic photographer and writer with a beautiful family. Glad I stopped by!

Harky's Soulmate said...

Your daughters are precious!!!!! I love the birds nest that you made, so I wondering how they were made. I know marshmellows, butter, and shredded wheat, but how much of each did you use? I am making them for Easter as center pieces! Thank you for sharing.

If you find this comment, can you send me an email with what you used? Thank you!!


mamgof4 said...

I just came across your blog and I was shedding tears of sadness for you but most of all for the way that you have shared your story of your LITTLE BUNDLE OF LOVE. Your always told in life you only are dealt what you can handle. I do not know you but I believe that just what I have read from your blog there is not a doubt that you will be the best mom and go on to make alot of other Mom's that have to face the same tasks that you will face as a mom with a special little daughter. They will become just as in love with each precious life that they have brought into the world as you are with yours. Thank you for sharing your story with evryone and I hope everyone can learn from you.

Alicia said...

I was so deeply touched and inspired by your words and images.Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter with the world. May blessings ever flow to her and those who recognize her gifts.

Christine Majka Savicki said...


you are just amazing! you are just so perfect with your words!!! i have an AMAZING 17 1/2 mth old little only baby thus far. i was so very scared when he was born, and felt all of the exact same feelings as you, especially wanting to litterally run away. but, i can tell you that nella will bring you more joy and happiness than you can ever, ever imagine. I PROMISE YOU THAT!!! i can't imagine what that i could have more in store from our little Brody, but i'm sure we do. Good luck, and if you ever want to chat, please look me up. we started a foundation in brody's name, and you can check out our website Really, these children are just so amazing... little pieces of God himself here on Earth. Good Luck! Hope to hear from you someday!
Christine Savicki (ps-i'm on facebook if you are, too)

jennifer said...

Kelle- really, REALLY? Beautiful, each and every word, photo, the girls, everything. What a blessing to have found your blog. Keep on keeping on in the beautiful inspiring fashion you have... much love from a (normally) cynical NYer :)

Anonymous said...


Betsy said...

WOW!!! I do not even remember now what led me to your blog....but what a beautiful way to end the day!! I believe it was the hand of God calming my thoughts before I fall asleep!! Thank you!!! It sure was better to read your blog and listen to beautiful music.....instead of hearing the evening news which can be so dark and depressing!! I will visit more often!! Good Night!

dcc10n said...

I love the pictures, they bring back memories of my sister back in 1964 who was also born DS, but had more problems with 3 holes in her heart. She lived to be 31 with all those problems, but she was more than special. My Mom and Dad thank God for bringing her into our lives. She showed us how to love each other in a special way the only we could know. I will pray for you and Nella for a long and fulfilling life ahead.

Donald Cramer from Michigan

Dee Dee said...

Your pictures are amazing. Love that big sis shared her puppy. Being a big sister is so special! :)

Melissa said...

I just died when I saw the picture of Nella & Lainey's puppy. Overcome. Absolutely overcome. Wow!

Political Jules said...

One more question about the camera. I got my hubby the canon rebel xs and a macro zoom lens (sorry, I dont have any clue what the numbers are!) Anyway, he wants me to get some filters. One person told me you dont need them cause the editing software could take care of that. Steve still wants them though. I just wondered if you use filters.

Also if you f.i.l had any inkling to do a blog to teach people about photography, I'd definitely read it!

One more thing from my adhd brain. I've been reading since nella's birth, but have not introduced ourselve. In an effort of time I will let you see our video. My daughter is Phoebe and she was born with Ds and cystic fibrosis. Our tribute to Ds to the tune of ELO's Xanadu album "I'm Alive" is here (a work in progress) :

A short vid I made for a march of dimes contest for phoebe :

Her caringbridge page (needs updating)

Ernesto IbaƱez said...

Oh my GOD!!! so sparkling post, have a nice spring!!!!!

see also my blog

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