Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hey Buddy.

Oh boy...here we go.

Brett has this theory (among many) that when you have a moment of deja vu, it means you are exactly where you are supposed to be in life; that, somehow, if you feel like you've lived through a moment in life before, it has to mean the universe is letting you know you should be living that moment. And, I guess that's how I'd have to summarize this weekend.

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I just felt like I belonged, like it was exactly where we were supposed to be.

Sometimes I feel selfish. Like why didn't I do these things before Nella? Why did it take my world being quaked to make me jump aboard this ship and would I have done it if it hadn't? Up until this point, I have done it because every day, I peer into soulful almond eyes that belong to a child that is mine. And I love her with a painful, throbbing love that makes me want to change the world for her. I want to speak fearlessly and change stereotypes and possibly stretch hearts and minds to accept my baby more because she is mine and that's what mamas do for the ones we love. We move mountains.

I consider myself a selfless person. I volunteer when I can. I give a dollar or three or four when the check-out lady asks me if I want to add a donation for diabetes or the homeless shelter or breast cancer research to my grocery bill. I cry when I read stories about children who are hurting, and sometimes I lie in bed at night forcing myself to think of how bad it would hurt to be one of those moms. And yet sometimes it disappoints me that it took opening my arms to the tiny slippery body of my baby--the one with almond eyes and little peanut ears--to make me want to look deeply into the almond eyes of the girl that sometimes bags my groceries at Publix. To make me want to hug her and tell her I think her blond hair looks beautiful tucked behind her ears or that I appreciate how she always bags the bread separately so that it doesn't get smooshed. Because, to me, she is Nella.

And I wonder if that's selfish--having to have a personal connection to make me feel it. But then, I remember that everything we learn in life goes back to connections and emotions and knowing someone who knows someone that something has happened to. We teach our kids to treat people how they want to be treated, and the suggestion of bringing it back to ourselves is selfish in itself...but it's how we learn.

It's how I've learned. Knowing what it feels like to love someone so desperately that has that extra chromosome and to slowly let that feeling seep in deeply until it goes beyond just my child...it makes me so very passionate.
And, I guess with all that said, I felt that Saturday. I felt connected. I felt like I was walking for every blessed soul with designer genes. I felt like, even if we didn't have Nella, I would have wanted to be there.

And yet, the love still bleeds most deeply for my own girls...and I'm okay with that.

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So, I walked with a few names in my pocket of babies whose mamas aren't quite ready to walk yet. And I walked for all those on the path before us, all those on the path behind us.

And I walked for my girl. My beautiful blue-eyed kitten who rocks out a studded hat like nobody's business.

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I say I love adjectives but words fail me now.

It was...beautiful.

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I thought of what I wanted it to be in my mind. I wanted happy. I wanted dancing. I wanted a crazy celebration. I wanted to rock it out.

And, well.

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I cried a little bit when the choir sang the national anthem, but I cry at that before a big game too. And I cried when I huddled with our friends after the walk to tell them how much I love them, but that's nothing new either. Other than that, it felt like a big freaking party where life is celebrated and the future is welcomed.

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Also helped that we brought a boom box loaded with rock anthems, and my dad hoisted it over his head for the entire 2-mile walk.

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And I didn't know walking across Florida boardwalks just post-sunrise with friends, celebrating the magic of the 47th and jammin' to the Black Eyed Peas was on my Bucket List, but it is now...followed by a big fat CHECK.

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Nella's P.T. Jonah, his son, and the little rockstar herself.


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The tiniest rockstar representin'...Baby Grady, just seven days old.

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It was Naples' first year hosting, and our town delivered. We might be small, but we are mighty.

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Thank you to everyone who came out to support. Three cheers for the Village.

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Total craziness here. Coming up for air soon. But, there's good stuff this week.

Hint-hint:

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We drove two hours to get the best make-shift Michigan we could find, and Bradenton, Florida delivered pretty nicely today, I gotta say.

But, that's for later.

We gotsa giveaway.

Winner (generated by Random.org) of the Vintage Pearl $75 gift certificate: Commenter #1271, Suzanne who's loving: 1. Our 3 children already jumped into those leaves last night after supper...I raked a maze for them first!, 2. A "White Chocolate" coffee flavor I found for $4.99 today and drinking it right now in my fun insulated Halloween Cup., 3. Listened to Ingrid Michaelson as I drove down the winding roads of small town Wisconsin.
There's lots of love right now!

Suzanne, please e-mail me your information to kellehamptonblog@comcast.net

And, I'm happy to announce The Vintage Pearl as a new sponsor this month. Their hand-stamped, sterling silver comes in eye-catching unique designs and makes for memorable conversation pieces and beautiful gifts. Use discount kelle10 at check-out for 10% off this week. Discount ends this Friday.

And I think that's it. Or did I already say that? Whoa, Deja vu. Or maybe, I am just right where I'm supposed to be.

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250 comments:

1 – 200 of 250   Newer›   Newest»
Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

So fun! Looks like all the Nella Rock Stars had a blast!
I like B's theory!

Patti said...

Been waiting all weekend for this post!! Going back to read:)

Lisa L said...

those last pics...lainey holding nella.. speak volumes. she adores her, and there is such a protective look on her face. nella will always be looked after. she will always be loved. she will always be safe.

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MegCusic said...

I recently watched a documentary on HBO about a woman with DS and how she found love and independence. I cried the whole time. Getting to share in your story through your blog has made ME more aware of DS. My heart melted watching that documentary because I kept thinking about Nella and how much there is to hope for. Your story has changed me. Thank you.

Andrews girl said...

oh man, that picture of nella in the pumpkin patch, smiling! That smile slays me!

Patti said...

sooooooooo sweet, and thank you for walking for us;) tears.
Love nella's headband in the pumpkin patch photos.

Mackenzie Rice said...

totally diggin the rockstar theme for the walk!! SO SWEET :) cant wait to see the rest of the pumpkin pictures!

MyRayOLite said...

What an awesome day it was! :o) Looking forward to the pumpkin patch pictures!

Monique said...

You truly ROCKED it Hampton Style!! That Nella is one gorgeous Rock Star with the most beautiful designer jeans!! She has and will continue to bring unmeasurable joy and happiness as she grows within the love your stretched out heart gives to her. Those almond blues reach deep into souls that she has not even met and they are touched by her magic. I understand when you say words fail you, how do you describe such beauty, such love in its deepest form...

Love the outfits, the energy...the LOVE!! You moved the mountains dude, you stretched hearts and sang your song: "more alike than different" for all to hear.
I am so HAPPY for you, thank you for making the connections, sharing the emotions and although you don't even know me, I celebrate with you the joy of almond eyes and LIFE itself. Thank you Kelle Hampton!!

GOD BLESS
Monique

Claire said...

Ohmygosh! AMAZING. That looks like an amazing day. I love it!!

Ashley said...

Wahoo I'm in the first 20 comments! That never happens.

Way to go Nella Rockstars - you guys totally rocked it! Wish I could have been there to support the walk. Love all the pics- such love. Nella is an adorable rocker! And love the pic of your dad w/the boom box- so awesome.

ayshamartin said...

You may not have done these things before Nella, but by what you're doing now (writing this amazing blog) you are helping to change stereotypes and you are helping thousands of people around the world realize that we are more alike than different. So for that, thank you. You ROCK Kelle and so does the entire Nella's Rockstars team ... bless you all!

iColossus / Monster said...

I just have to say that I'm so jazzed that you posted a few of these on Facebook yesterday cuz it kept me from completely going crazy with impatience for this post!

Did y'all rock this thing out or what? I just look at those pictures with a huge smile of my face. WOW.

Love your dad, carrying the boom box, a la John Cusack in Say Anything!

Katy said...

Wow. Not gonna lie. I teared up just looking at the picures, then teared up more on how you described it.

Have a great week!

Katy

Angela said...

Oh so fabulous! Those shirts! Now I need to do shirts for our Buddy Walk team here in Dallas next month! Love it all! So glad you had an awesome time today and especially glad that you are willing to speak fearlessly and change stereotypes for our babies!! We need you! Thank you so much for that!

Love,
Angela

Monique said...
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Sher said...

Of course your Dad carried the music over his head just as you and Brett have carried those two little sweet pea's and your site has carried all of us into your life.

Everyone carries someone!

You are where you are supposed to be!

Congrats to Nella's Rockstar's!

Monique said...

...me again...just looked at the pumpkin pics...
Super Sweet! I can almost hear the laughter bursting out of that adorable little pumpkin herself!! And big sis giving the love...so genuine, so protective, so Lainey Love...

Monique

Scott and Jean Lucas said...

Kelle,
Just wanted to let you know you are touching hearts of others! I have found myself treating those with that extra magical chromosome different than before finding your story. While at the dr with my son the other day, Seth was sitting next to me and never before would I have interacted, asked his name or thought about him playing with my son in that waiting room. I made it a point to talk to him and enjoyed getting to know him for that short little while. I will make sure my children are brought up with a different outlook for those they might see as different from them.
Thanks again for sharing your story and life.

Chie Sipin - Bjarenas said...

just love. love. love. and, yes, moms are all about moving mountains. we are a mighty force to contend with.

KWQR said...

You are awesome.
Love the energy & beauty of Team Nella... looks like you had such a great time. I am seriously speechless about how amazing your writing is... you have such a gift for distilling down to the heart & soul.
Rock on, rock on...
xo
Kate

Carla Wesley said...

Crying happy tears here! You guys really rocked that walk, you bring so much style and freshness to everything you do Kelle.

You think you have to mission to get a pumpkin in Florida? Try Africa in the spring... we got some though and my kids are super excited to start carving them.

love said...

i love that your dad held the boom box up the whole time. and that picture of nella's PT with his son & her. precious. she is so loved. by many more than you will probably ever know. thank you for sharing some of your precious family!

Ashley said...

Beautiful, Beautiful post, Kelle! I am hoping that we can go on a Buddy walk soon for Laura <3 it seems wonderful!

Life....what is it really? said...

Wish I had been there just to walk with you guys. Awesome =).

Karen said...

Go Rockstars!!! So awesome! :)

dig this chick said...

Had to check in one last time before bed and you rallied. Of course. What a beautiful, moving, extraordinary thing. All of it. xo

Stef said...

I've been waiting for this post and it was all I hoped for! Our family is planning to go walk in Seattle next year and I want you to know that YOU inspired us, to get outside our sheltered little box and think of others.
The wagon pix of Nella make her look like such a big girl! I bet its because she's growing so fast, but I normally refuse to notice babies getting all grown up :)

Nikki Cupcake said...

i love stopping by your blog and always seeing such awesome pictures of your little ones! you truly have a beautiful family!

Jill said...

So glad I checked in! Love, love and love! Poppa Rik carrying that boom box...of course he did that! Where is his super poppa cape??!!

Jill B. (Overland Park, KS)

Jamie Lane said...

I think your right--I've always felt like it means your right where you're supposed to be as well. Such a rockstar feeling. :)

Seaside Siblings said...

Kelle, Through your blog, your words here, you ARE stretching hearts and minds to accept babies like Nella, all over the world.

melissa said...

You make the world seem like it is going to be O-kay, and I love that! I have said that your blog is the best thing I have found on the internet, and with this newest post, you did not dissappoint. Such a beautiful heartfelt confession of feelings. And to think that when I was little I only thought the best stories were fictional?!...maybe because I wanted them to be real. You have the abiltiy of making what seems unreal REAL. Thank you for sharing. YOU ROCK!
(Speaking of deja vu...LOVE that banner! - I remember that 4th of July post and the pic you snapped at the parade ...too cute! ;)

Unique Boutique said...

Love reading your blog - i find it very inspirational - your family is beautiful x

Mama Bonn said...

I love this! I somewhat recently began reading your blog and I am a regular now. Someone, somewhere posted a link to Nella's birth story and I was just so taken in. You see, I have two children with autism, and they were both diagnosed within two months of one another back in 2007. I can sincerely appreciate wanting to move mountains and bring about a change in the world toward acceptance of children who are perceived as so different - but who really aren't so different after all.

This was huge, I know. And it was amazing. This post left me a bit misty-eyed and smiling. Your Nella is a beautiful little girl, and she has some wonderful, loving support all around her. All children should be so blessed.

Thank you so much for sharing so honestly with all of us!

Roksalanna said...

Hi Kelle,
It was so lovely to see the photos of "The Buddy Walk" to read about the day.
This post (as do all all your posts) spreads so much joy.
I loved the Rockstar theme and how so many of your family and friends got involved. It's so great the way Poppa Rik carried the music all the way.
Nella you are a little star as is Lainey.
xo

Nikki said...

Wow talk about beautiful. Seeing these pics makes me tear up. Thank you for sharing with us and really inspiring us all to give more, experience more and love more.
Don Miller said: "Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way."
Well, Kelle, thank you for showing so many of us the way.

Philip May said...

Hey rock star. I've spent sneak-away moments this weekend going to facebook watching for photos of Buddy Walks in Atlanta (which is huge) and the 1st annual in Great Falls, MT where they had 465 show up. A parade of blue and yellow balloons on a cloudy day, lufting over love.

...and of course, looking for an update on Naples' first BW. I love it. I predict it will not stay small for long.

I totally dig your vibe re "where I belong." Didn't pick this life, but here I am, and its a party like I never imagined. Thank you for adding your voice to the chorus....and what a voice!

...you sure you can't make it to Savannah to be one of the J-Walkers this Saturday?

Phil
www.deedahandme.com/blog

Romaine said...

I couldn't help but be all emotional seeing what a wonderfull support system you have. I love the T-Shirts and how even the 7day old baby had one to wear, Nella is a real Rock Star and may she continue to rock!!! You are a real inspiration to me Kelle, you have inspired me to see if South Africa has something similar...
Love the Pumpkin Pics!! Romaine (South Africa)

Shana said...

I am so glad you guys rocked the walk! Go Nella it's your birthday!

Gina said...

What a wonderful post. What an inspiration.

jennaryan said...

love your blog kelle, your words are soul healing. and your girls are divine. you guys certainly rocked it out, looks like a fantastic day!

lbfoster said...

Thank you, Kelle. For sharing your walk not just on Saturday, but everyday.

Exactly where we should be. So true. Took me a bit longer to realize it, but I wouldn't change a thing. Not one thing.

Much love.

Katie said...

I think this is my favorite post. By far. I don't even have words to explain how I felt reading it.

And HEY! I'm in Bradenton! Did you go to Hunsader Farm by chance?

Dawn said...

Smiles...beautiful...amazing ...heartwarming....inspiring!!!!!!!

j210209 said...

This was so sweet.. All of you coming together for a special cause.
The 7 day old baby just made me long to start trying for baby number 2!! :)

So glad you had an amazing weekend. Thanks for sharing x

cathy said...

~tears
big fat ones
its so beautiful how nella bean has stretched so many hearts
and filled them full of love
sometimes i worry that the world is too cold and too harsh
for my sweet lil grandarlings to be out there in it.
but then i see something as beautiful as you and your freinds and your sweet family rallying
and being such rockstars
and my heart is made lighter
thank you freind

Jessica said...

This is a beautiful post, I have a daughter with autism and now preemies and have immersed myself in both causes and wonder the same, why it took this for me to do it. Love all of the pictures but the one of your day holding up the boom box the whole walk had me all choked up... the dedication of grandpas :)

Katy said...

Thank you for the pics of your Buddy Walk. We missed ours this year--we had JUST found out about our son's DS and weren't yet thinking of jumping on any bandwagons, so to speak. But my hubby's aunt walked in the same one you did, so it's neat to have that little connection. Thanks for walking for Nella and for all of us mommas who haven't walked yet but will.

Suzanne said...

Thank you Kelle! I just emailed you and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw my name!

If you ever need leaves or cheese (he he) or anything from Wisconsin, you just let me know...

Happy to be a reader and follower of your blog and fellow mommy! :)

Rik said...

The Walk was so awesome...and I now carry some new names in my heart, like Mia and Lauren and Chase and Marisa and Eli and Fiona and Steve and so many more who I can't wait to see next year at the second annual Buddy Walk in Naples. The strength we find in walking together is so incredible...and it was so fun to have some of the little wonders with Ds walking among us, catching the rhythm of the music and dancin' on the way...they truly led the way on the walk. Love was everywhere in North Collier Park...and it's alive in our world!
Thank you to everyone who planned that walk, and to those who walk with us!

Simply LKJ said...

What a fabulous weekend! And, everyone was stylin!! The pictures speak volumes, so much love going around.

Deanna said...

i love this post more than words can say. it is truly beautiful. i feel the same way about wondering why i didn't notice the world of ds before i had my daughter. now i find myself doing everything possible to do just as you described, helping people accept my daughter for exactly who she is.

Melissa said...

Amazing!!Rockstars indeed! Love, simple and pure. Thank you!

Sarah said...

Wow! What a gorgeous celebration!!! Yay for the walk. :) It looks like it was a blast! And yay for celebrating those little lives that are touched by an extra chromasome.
Congrats to the winner of the giveaway!

Life with Kaishon said...

I prayed it was a wonderfully blessed day. So thankful. I just love your family of rockstars.

sarah said...

Love it. Love starting my week with this. Love that y'all all rocked it as usual. Love the pumpkin pics. Love it all!!!

Clare said...

It looks like it was perfect!!!! Gorgeous day, and such amazing group of friends and support you have!! loving life to the fullest, and nella looks like she was right where she was supposed to be too;) xoxo

Hillary said...

With tears streaming down my face and smiles smearing across my face- you rock. I had shivered up and down my body as I looked at the amount of support that was surrounded you on such a special day. Beautiful, uplifting post. Way to go.

vernyvern said...

Love it. Love it. Love it. I cried while reading today. I'm glad the Buddy Walk was such a fun day for you all! Way to rock it out!

Shannon said...

Amazing! I have been to walks before for diabetes (my husband and cousin) but man you really ROCKED it! =) I loved how everyone went with the rockstar theme and the wagon...too cute!

I have worked with special needs kids throughout my life in different jobs...but since your blog I look at them...no...I look into them more now...into their souls. I just wanted to say thank you for continuing to share your life with some many people who you don't know. You are opening the eyes of many! I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way!

Thanks!

Bikini By 30 said...

You all looked amazing! What a wonderful group of friends you have!

jen said...

love the thought of dejavu.
makes sense.
and you guys totally rocked it.
nice job, mama.

aprilanecdotes said...

Exciting, energizing, amazing and fun! Told you that you'd love the Buddy Walk.............susan:)

Bonnie said...

So glad you had a great walk this weekend surrounded by loved ones.

I can totally relate to you pondering "would I have done this before Nella" I ask myself the same thing. In my heart I know I would have but this blog and getting to know your family through it has given me that passion and drive to breakdown the stereotypes and to be welcoming and loving to all.

Thank you for inspiring me and pushing me to become an even better person throught your writing and sharing your life experiences. Rock on Kelle...Rock on :)

Emily said...

Boy, do you know how to ROCK IT OUT! Fabulous post about what looks like a truly AWEsome experience.
You, Kelle Hampton, have rallied. They say God does not give us more than we can handle, that He provides us with the tools to survive...you (and your amazing support system) are proof positive. God surely knew what He was doing when he blessed Miss Nella with that extra special 47th chromosome. You are not only surviving, but THRIVING - and changing the world in the process.
MOVE THOSE MOUNTAINS, MAMA!! Rock on!
Much love and gratitiude,
E

The Mac's House said...

I think your entire family could be described as "rock stars".

Something about kids and pumpkin pictures make me smile and giggle out loud. They are both so cute.

What an awesome looking group for your big walk. Great turnout and incredible looking people. Lovin all the kiddos pics.

Susie Q said...

Thanks for sharing this event with us all....all of us who would have LOVED to have been there and walked with OUR little Rock Star! You have touched us all, Rock Star Mama, with those littles, and I would have been there myself if I could have been! But I know like myself, MANY of your blogland friends were with you in spirit all day Saturday! ROCK ON....the best is yet to come.....

XOXO

Crystal said...

Tears steaming of course...

And the cycle continues Ms. Kelle.

(cyclical is one of my favorite words)

You see I read this blog by this mom in Florida who has this sweet little girl born with an extra chromie who has touched my heart like crazy. Who has opened my eyes to something I may not have thought about everyday, until now. This little girl's smile melts my heart every time I see it and plants me firmly on the ground. DS has never been personal for me until now. Until Nella. And I have never event met her in person.

Isn't that where we all get our passion from? Our understanding of the need to make a difference. The push behind us that makes us know we will move that mountain?

It's the connection. It makes us even hungrier....

I have been waiting for this post... you guys totally rocked it out. Not surprised at all.

1) Your dad with the boom box is priceless like a mastercard commercial.

2) Those tights that Nella and Lainey are wearing are so awesome and match these really cool socks I just bought at Target that I wear with my cool black Converse tennies. Rock on!

3) Lainey walking with that precious little boy (who is wearing the coolest hat ever) is so stinkin' adorable!

4) Your crowd of friends is amazing! AMAZING! It speaks volumes.

5) And to know you walked with other names in your pocket for the reasons that you did is just beautiful!

6) I want to be a part of this. The rockstar crowd that moves a mountain. There has got to be a Buddy Walk here in Dallas. I want to walk with Nella's name in my pocket... or on my shirt with a boombox over my head!

You are making a difference. For Nella. For your readers. For every name in your pocket.

Rock on, Momma!

Jorie said...

A-mazing!!! Seriously, you guys rock!

Adrienne said...

So glad you had a great time!! I knew you would! I feel that same passion, you just want to do everything you can to change the way others view DS. We'll get there.

cathy said...

beautiful, simply beautiful

Heather said...

I think beautiful is a perfect way to describe it! It looked beautiful! Your words describe the passion so perfectly. Would we still be passionate about these issues if we didn't have these children that are part of our heartbeats? I cried when I read that your Dad held the boom box on his shoulder for the entire 2 miles. So sweet.

Shari said...

Love Nella in the pumpkin patch very cute!!! That little girl at the walk in the plaid pants is a cutie pie!!! Glad your walk went great.

Vonda said...

Love Love Love!!! Doesn't the Buddy Walk put you on this HIGH that you wish you would never come down from? SO many almond eyed wonderful people!!! And I LOVE how you described Nella's ears as little peanuts!!! Noah's eyes and ears are my favorite part of my little man those tiny perfect ears are scrumptious!!!

penneyh said...

I am from Michigan and I live near Tampa now. We drove an hour to get to the pumpkin festival in Bradenton this weekend too! It was perfect. I am loving the pictures I got of my 7 month old with the pumpkins!!

The Martys said...

Go Nella's Rockstars!!!! Looks like you had an amazing day for your walk. You have me thinking ahead for our walk next year. Love your theme. Your post, again, was wonderful and again, tears. Your love for kids and others is simply beautiful. You are inspiring to this mama.

Looking forward to your pumpkin patch post. Love Nella and her big smile among the pumpkins.

Amy

nicole said...

Your comment about seeing Nella in the sweet girl that bags your groceries reminded me of an experience I had a month ago. A family from our small town had their sixth child a while back and her name is Caroline and she has red hair and she has Downs. She is a doll! Well, I brought a meal over to them and Caroline wasn't have such a good moment right then. I couldn't leave! I so wanted to take care of her and after about 15 minutes, I asked if I could just hold her and try to comfort her. Her exhausted mother agreed, and I felt when I picked her up that I was in some strange way finally getting to hold "Nella". I love, love, loved it! I walked and gently bounced with her and in about 10 minutes she was sound asleep in my arms and I still couldn't give her up! Anyway, Nella makes me love these beautiful people more and more ~ thought you would like to know that.

andrea said...

OH MY GOSH WHERE IS THE TISSUE ALERT!!

BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!

BIG HUGS...NOW IM OFF TO GET SOME KLEENEX CAUSE GIRL IM INTO THE UGLY CRY NOW!!

PS CAN WE BUY A NELLA ROCKSTAR SHIRT?

Jess said...

This might be one of my favorite posts yet...because I can FEEL it. I can feel the love and the enjoying of this crazy amazing life. You guys rocked it out! Thanks for being selfish for your girls. I think this world needs more "selfish" parents like you. :)

Cyndi said...

I haven't lived it, but with your words and pictures I feel so close to living it. Again, you are amazing Kelle. Thank you for opening our eyes.

P.S. Still making my own makeshift Michigan in Texas! :-)

BlackCatsAngel Designs said...

I just read this post with tears streaming down my face... I can't even begin to describe how your blog has changed and effected me Kelle...

Thank you. xo

lynxymama said...

so beautiful! love the outfits. you have so many lovely friends.

that pic of nella in the pumpkins is so precious and i adore lainey's cut-off shirt!

the "mamas move mountains" comment really touched me. so true.

Joanna Davis said...

ooooh! did you head to hunsader farms?! we were there yesterday (sunday!) it is so much fun :) your rockstars look amazing! way to go!

Nicole said...

My almost 3 year old son loves to look at your pictures when I read your blog. Today he said, "Baby Nella has lots of friends!" :)

Adri Hunt said...

What a great story to start off the week! Nella is so blessed to have such an awesome Mom!

appledapple said...

oooh, I do so love this post! You guys rocked out the walk and everyone looks grand!
I especially your use of 'village', it has personal meaning to me, because I used to fear the village and worry about how it may hurt my children, I learned slowly over time just how WONDERFUL the village can be when you let yourself open to its goodness. I love the village, I love your village!

Mrs. Werginz said...

What a great walk!! It looks like you all had so much fun!

Heather said...

Beautiful! You had me in tears, you had me smiling wide... LOVED IT!!

Summer said...

You got me crying again! Every new blog post is like opening a beautiful present created just for me. Thanks!

TRB Holt said...

Between you and Nici I have a hard time keeping my eyes dry!

An important message here Kelle, so well said ~ "Everything we learn in life goes back to connections and emotions and knowing someone who knows someone that something has happened to" Have a great week!

xo, Bug & Ruby's Gram

Lisa said...

Well...you did it again! Made me cry ;) What a beautiful celebration of Nella's life and lots of others as well. Thanks so much for sharing these - absolutely love it!

Jen said...

Love the picture of Nella riding in the wagon! We similarly decorated little Cameran's wagon as well, but in blue and yellow Gerbera daisies and signage for her Buddy Walk.

Way to rock it out!

Jen

www.lovingpeanut.blogspot.com

Jamie said...

For over 10 years I have walked the March Of Dimes walk here in small-town MN. Every year more and more people join the march, and I often wonder 'why'...personal experience, a loved one's experience, the experience of a friend of a friend, or maybe just the need to feel like they are helping to make a difference.
But it's not the reason that matters in the least, it's that overwhelming feeling you get seeing hundreds and thousands of people digging into their pockets to contribute, joining hands to walk, and hugging each other in support for the babies,
the ones arrived too early,
the ones who were held for only moments by their mamas before they were taken to be attached to machines to help save their tiny lives,
the ones who didn't make it,
the ones who did!
And to see those who made it strolling along, walking, and yes running; amazing!

Your ROCK STAR team; AMAZING!

Everyone all gussied up for the occasion; Amazing!

Your dad and his boom box; AmAzInG!

Your ability to bring me to tears in just about every post; amazing!

Sitting at the dinner table with my husband, and kids last night and feeling this strong sense of 'deja vu' and then reading Brett's theory on it this morning; Amazing!

many AmAzInG thanks!

Coleen said...

You are an amazing mom!!!!!! Rock on Nella!!!

Victoria said...

what a beautiful post!! i especially love that photo of nella with her studded hat and star glasses!! :)

i totally know what you are talking about when you see another person with ds and you just feel connected. my sister has cp so whenever i see someone else like her, my heart just open a little bit more...

God is great! Thanks again for your amazing posts and photos! I love reading your blog!

Jennifer said...

Sheesh Kelle! You're doing it again. You're making me cry again (in a good way.) We will be heading to our first buddy walk next weekend and it's all my 3 year old can talk about. I do the same thing, where I see young men with DS and think "this could be Caleb in 15 years." Thanks again for sharing. You do an amazing job!!! Wonder MaMa!!

Linda MG in Soquel, CA said...

congrats to the winner!! Man, it looks like all of you really rocked it at the Walk!! Wonderful!!

Mommy of two said...

I am moved to tears, you are starting something so good. I hope you move others to wake up and make a difference. Thanks for the wake up cry. :)

Alicia said...

What a great post. Your love for those two girls radiates off of the screen and it's truly wonderful to read. I look forward to your posts.

P.S. I agree with Andrea. I would definitely buy a Nella's Rockstars tee shirt. The money could go to the charity of your choice. If not, I would love to donate to the charity of your choice. Could you let us know which one?

Katie (Mama May I) said...

Oh, the love!! I know I've said it before, but you are seriously one rockin' gal. Your family and friends are so lucky to have you on their team.
Your love of life is infectious. What a gift to give L & N.
Thank you for being such an inspiration to us all.

Lots of love from Denver!

Brittany said...

Hi Kelle! I tried using the discount code, and it didn't work! :[

From the Kitchen said...

JOY! I just read an article this weekend about colleges who are offering degrees tailored to meet the needs of young people like Nella who have some form of disability. Degrees that will take them as far as they care to go. Degrees to prepare them to lead a full and contributing life. There were two young men with Down's Syndrome featured. I'm so sorry that I don't know the link. It was so very uplifting.

That Nella is a rockstar in her rocking outfit!

Best,
Bonnie

Tina said...
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Tina said...
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Tina said...

I am so glad the Buddy Walk was everything you were hoping it would be, plus more. It looks like it was a really wodnerful day for all of you!

Once again, I love what you do... keep doing what you do, because you're amazing!

susan said...

I started crying as soon as I saw the first picture. You delivered it Kelle. So proud of you and your family and friends. Nella is totally rockin' in those pink shoes. I showed Jana the pictures and she was grinning and pointing at Nella saying "Baby". I love the sign and "more a like" it is so true:)

Joanna (and David) said...

Awesome pictures of an amazing day. So happy for you guys. Reminds of the Spina Bifida Walk n' Roll we have each year here in Atlanta. We walked last year with 5 month old Jet and it was so special. :)

Burt Fam said...

Crying. In my office. Must pull it together. Meanwhile, thanks for the inspiration again and again. Feeling so blessed to be a mama right now.

The Johansen's said...

Looks and sounds like it was perfection in every way!!! I hope to next year walk in ours. You are amazing!!!

Myrtle's Mayhem said...

You are so awesome!

The Shaw's said...

I love your dad's theory. What a good way to describe it. I'll never think about it the same way again! Couldn't wait for this post...love all the pictures. You can just tell it was SO TOTALLY amazing. Precious friend/family time for sure. Looking forward to seeing your pumpkins in the patch. I woke up this morning with an insane need to have some kind of unbelievable fall fest day. So I think a trip to the pumpkin patch or baking up a bunch of fall shaped sugar cookies is in order today!!

Tracy said...

those pics are fantastic!! Way to rock the walk!

Denise said...

I LOVE Brett's theory....

mom2nji said...

THe picture of Nella in the pumpkins is pure awesome.

Callie said...

Smiling. Thank you.

Marti said...

That is quite a good theory I must say....I'm really glad the buddy walk went well, looks like you guys had a blast!

JennyCB said...

Ohhh, looks like it was a great Buddy Walk! We're so bummed we couldn't make it, but my CT buds didn't get here till 2am and I didn't want to make them wake up early or leave them alone... (I owe you $$ for the cute tees!)
Great pix! (We ended up taking all of our punkin pix in front of Whole Foods. heehee)
Hope to see you soon!
:o)
Jen

The Sanchez Family said...

You rocked it out Florida Sista! LOVE it! Just posted your blog again on Facebook to spread your love over and over again!

Lucy said...

This post had me in tears the whole time, joyful ones! What a wonderful time full of connections! I admire your family and all the love you share with us!

Douglas said...

No, Kelle....it's not selfish. Because sometimes God uses people like you to spread the message to others...some people need to hear an impassioned mama holding an almond eyed beauty to inspire THEM to change the world....and you, my friend, are that voice for many. That gorgeous little has changed your world and you, in turn, are changing others. And that's exactly as it's supposed to be. As an ESE teacher, I always wondered how more people couldn't see what I saw. I'd explain what I could to who I could, but you, Kelle, have such a stronger and more passionate voice! So take it and run and don't look back...the world is waiting for your message. Congrats on such a rockin weekend! Marissa

hersideproject.com said...

Kelle you are the coolest mom!

hersideproject.com said...

Kelle you are the coolest mom!

PletcherFamily said...

Great post! I know what you mean about waiting until something happens to you until you really get out there. I was like you - always being charitable, but now I am a full fundraising powerhouse because this time it is for my child. Good for you. LOVE the shirts!!! I have a cousin who has Downs Syndrome - we will have to do something like this in our area.

www.finleyfighters.com

Sarah said...

So wonderful! Can I just say that the first pic of Nella in the pumpkins is amazing? AMAZING. So beautiful!!!! LOVE it!

Kristine said...

I cried through that whole post and then bawled when I saw that last picture of Lainey holding her baby sister so tenderly.
Really, Kelle? I'm at work!
Seriously, what else can I say...everything about this post is just pure love. A-maz-ing!
xo
Kris

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

I am in love with the fact that your dad hoisted that boom box. Only shiny love could do that to a man.

I am adoring your truthful heart that sees the world a little differently now. I find myself drawn to a different kind of almond eyes, and to dark little girl hair twisted up in 10 crazy bits and bobs all because God cracked my heart open and poured in the love of babies that come from different tummies.

Life is beauty full.

Bonnie said...

Just curious....does Lainey ever comment on how much attention Nella gets? My daughter notices and comments on how much attention her special needs brothers get. Has Lainey noticed it yet? Love your blog by the way!

katie said...

That big group shot actually made my eyes water. So happy you had such a beautiful day!

katie said...
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kcolquitt said...

Love it, Kelle! You all rocked it out to the 47th degree.
Back in January, I remember reading sister's post on the blog-a bittersweet day, but I remember thinking that I'm so glad He sent Nella to YOU, because I knew you would shine the spotlight on this precious and usually overlooked community. Well done.

Dina said...

Thanks so much for saying that you did the walk for those that weren't ready for the walk yet, we are too soon into it, I didn't get to do it this year, but next year for sure! You guys looked awesome!

Jessica said...

Def teared up a bit! Awesome pics and I wish I could have walked with y'all!

Burtons Blessings said...

You rock'd it girl! I LOVE your style. Thanks for inspiring so many with your words!

~KC: said...

As soon as I started reading my eyes were filled with tears...Few minutes later, of course, I was crying happy tears...By the end of this post and after reading your reader's beautiful comments...I'm sobbing...

Love this: "It's how I've learned. Knowing what it feels like to love someone so desperately that has that extra chromosome and to slowly let that feeling seep in deeply until it goes beyond just my child..." Beautiful! Perfectly said!

What a wonderful weekend! Thank you so much for sharing your amazing experiences with all! LOVE this emotional post, Rockstar Nella, Rockstar Lainey, Brett's theory, Rik lifting your spirits higher with his love, your beautiful energy and all your family and friends loving support. :D

This deep love I feel for our J also makes me wish for a more loving and accepting world for her and all her "buddies". It is so important to realize how similar we all are, to accept we are all different in our own way, to learn from our differences and to know we are all just the same in the most important ways...

"Every human being intuitively recognizes at their core the value of unconditional love. We experience the greatest joy in loving when we can open to another without reservation, suspending judgments and fully appreciating the other just for who he or she is. And we feel most loved when others recognize and respond to us this way as well. Unconditional love has tremendous power, awakening a larger presence within us that allows to feel the vastness and profundity of what it is to be human. This is the presence of the heart." ~John Welwood

blessingsandglory said...

Wow! You guys are amazing! What a rockstar group of buddies you have. I'm having my own Deja vu moment here, as a feel a bit like a broken record - but thank you. Thank you for sharing your story, your love for your littles, your love for that magical extra chromosome and yes, for helping all of us mama's move those mountains for our little ones.

Libby

Jodie said...

You are, as always, amazing! My husband and I sat together last night and drooled over pictures of Nella and Lainey. Especially Nella, though, because she is exactly how we picture the daughter we hope to someday have. Our son Tyler is six, has designer genes and is adopted. (All of our children are adopted.) We want to complete our family with a baby girl with DS and someday, when the time is right, we will. Nella is exactly how we picture our little someday girl. We are in love. :) Thank you for selflessly sharing your amazing family with all of us!

Jennifer said...

Oh my gosh...the picture of Nella laying in amongst the pumpkins is priceless! It made me laugh--that's how infectious I imagine her giggles to be!! Thanks for sharing! : )

Jodie said...

You are, as always, amazing! My husband and I sat together last night and drooled over pictures of Nella and Lainey. Especially Nella, though, because she is exactly how we picture the daughter we hope to someday have. Our son Tyler is six, has designer genes and is adopted. (All of our children are adopted.) We want to complete our family with a baby girl with DS and someday, when the time is right, we will. Nella is exactly how we picture our little someday girl. We are in love. :) Thank you for selflessly sharing your amazing family with all of us!

MJ said...

You are such an incredible writer and artist. I come to your page for centering and appreciation of life...and I find myself shedding a tear every time..a tear of joy mostly and a tear that I've had welling in me as I feel so much of what you experience...even without the gift of my own Nella. Thank you. Thank you for sharing...the world needs more of you.

Kristin said...

Kelle-thanks to this post, I had to get off my cozy couch for a tissue. And I'm totally okay with that. Just beautiful.

Issas Crazy World said...

I love this. Love it.

I think we all try to make the best world for our children that we can. Nothing wrong with that.

There is a woman I see everyday on my way to my girls school. She sits waiting for the bus. I believe her to be about 25 maybe. She has DS. Sun, rain, snow...she is always there. She has blond hair and for some reason when I see her I think of your Nella.

Rik said...

We all work to assure Lainey, Brandyn and Austyn all realize how infinitely and singularly special they are as well...and that this whole experience doesn't define them, but distinguishes us all. Lainey was given a special trophy for the big sister and she loved the bounce house and fun the day held for everyone. I appreciate the reader's concern--it will not be helpful or healthy for Lainey or the family if the focus is only on our Nella...the camera moves around and everyone shares the glow...but they can keep the camera away from me, ha!

Bonnie said...

I totally want to buy a Nella's Rockstar shirt!

Champagne Mom said...

Your feelings are real, not selfish. You are an amazing mom and role model!

The photos and your discription of the event have brought tears to my eyes.

Rachel said...

You, your family, and your friends are all so amazing and inspirational. It is beautiful that you all came together for this wonderful event. Such love. Such support. Such family. I love it. And those t-shirts are awesome!

tfyler said...

I was thinking of you and little Nella as we were walking at the Buddy Walk in Tulsa, Oklahoma for my brother-in-law. Your blog is so wonderful and has given me a new apreciation for my husbands family and their journey that began 12 years ago when Ethan was born. Thank you so much!

tfyler said...

I was thinking of you and little Nella as we were walking at the Buddy Walk in Tulsa, Oklahoma for my brother-in-law. Your blog is so wonderful and has given me a new apreciation for my husbands family and their journey that began 12 years ago when Ethan was born. Thank you so much!

OhioGirls said...

What an awesome weekend you had! Thank you for making a difference for all of us who aren't quite ready to attend a buddy walk yet...but the magic of your words and pictures make everyday feel like a buddy walk here at home. As we read your words and heal a little more with each new post you continue to provide a place for others to feel support and love. Thank you for allowing us to be part of Nella's Rockstars (in spirit)!! Our little Lauren is definately a groupie :)

Melissa said...

You totally rocked the walk, I had tears rolling down my face as I read and looked at your pictures!
Can't wait to see more of the "pumpkin patch"!

PILCHERS said...

so great to see such a great turnout! did you meet your fundraiser goal? Total sidenote..but is it a requirement for you that you have to be so dang pretty to be friends with you...??!! LOL all of your loves are so pretty! How blessed you all are to have gotten to take part in such an amazing event!

Cameo's Angels said...

Looks like so much fun and what a cute theme!! Love all the pics, especially your dad. You all are an amazing family that is changing the face of DS and motherhood.
Oh and those beautiful pictures of pumpkins at the pumpkin patch-priceless. Nella's smile/laugh is just the best thing on a Monday and the sisters together, just sweet. Looking forward to more.

Cynthia Kleppang said...

Kelle - Haven't commented in a long while - but. If you question yourself as to whether you would have been there, changing things, before Nella came into your life... don't question yourself. You've MORE than made up for it. You have changed countless lives. I know you changed me. You make people more compassionate. That really is moving mountains.

Amie said...

You guys are TOTAL rock stars. I'm so glad you did the walk! I see BIG things in Nella's future!

ranndomized said...

Sounds like you had a fabulous day! I love the pic of Nella in the pumpkin patch LOL! She is so expressive!

DIAPERS in the DESERT said...

Your post, the pics, the walking, and your beautiful daughters...were all so touching and moving...

RMAinMD said...

,,,way to go team "rockstars",,,

Lori McPherson said...

Rock On, RockStars! We ARE all more alike than different. One Human Race. One Love...

Jamie said...

Beautiful post...
The part about wanting to tell the girl who bags your groceries that she is beautiful with her hair tucked behind her ears brought tears to my eyes. It's true what you say, that sometimes it takes experience to open your eyes. Whenever we are stopped at a stoplight and we see a homeless man or woman, I can almost guarentee I will look over to see my husband in tears...he always says, "That's somebody's baby, somebody's baby that possible wasn't loved enough". We are all connected; connected so we can learn from one another.

Chicago Mom (Heather) said...

I know you've heard this from other commenters but you have already changed the world. I look at people with DS in a different way because of this blog and Nella.

You have changed more hearts and minds than you realize. Just think how much more you will be able to accomplish. Seriously girl you are just getting started!!

Larissa said...

oh what an insane blessing for your little Nella to have that many people who got her cute little back!!

The Martha Complex said...

I love the theory behind deja vu. I will have to remember that next time I get the deja vu moments.

I always love your pictures. Great post as usual.).

Stacy Kaye said...

I do not have my own Nella, but reading your blog and following her amazing life here has made me "see" Nella so much more. I see her all of the time and it makes me want to interact with her...she has opened up MY eyes.

courtneywrites said...

Oh, Kelle, I want to be just like you when I grow up.

Jessica said...

Looks, and sounds, like it was a beautiful time!

Csunshinegirl said...

I've been waiting all weekend to for this post and was thinking about you and hoping that you had a GREAT time at your buddy walk. You REALLY rocked it!

Oh and love the pic of Nella in the pumpkin patch. I just want to kiss those cheeks!! :)

Sarah said...

tears...you, your family, your endeavors, your friends are so beautiful!

Lately, I've been reading several of the blogs of these mamas on here who have children with the designer genes, and it seems pretty apparent some angels know exactly what they are doing when they choose the mamas for those little souls.

Jen said...

OMgosh, I commented already about the similarities between Nella's and my Cameran's wagons, but jumped the gun before adding how stinking precious the pumpkin patch pictures are! Thank you again for weekly reminding us of all of the fabulous things in life.

Jen

PS. I just finished posting our walk pictures as well @
www.lovingpeanut.blogspot.com

C and J said...

Those socks that Nella is rockin look just like a pair I wore on Sunday although, She makes them look WAY better!

Kelle said...

Bonnie...good question. I was very concerned about Lainey being included...even sent out an e-mail to everyone attending to make sure to give her high fives, etc., but it was unnecessary. I think she thought it was just a party for kids to get together. It's good for her too. She gets a lot of attention and I used to worry that she would expect the world to revolve around her because of how much we all doted on her. I know sharing the attention with Nella and having a special role as her big sister will make her a more compassionate advocate and community member. A lot of parents with special needs have shared some really neat ways to make brothers and sisters feel special too (someone even suggested we have a special big sister walk around the sidewalks of our neighborhood with friends and wagons if she felt slighted...ha ha)

Kirsten said...

Love...Love...Love "The Buddy Walk" photos and so in Love with the T-shirt. Having been around kids and adults all my life with Down syndrome I think you Rock for heading it up in your area. Also are you possibly selling the t-shirt that you made for the walk... I'm know I would wear proudly.

Million Dollar Mamma said...

love it!

Elissa said...

The love jumps off the screen! So happy for friends/family to support you and LOVE the theme! So true about our human nature not to be moved to care until we are touched by something. THe beauty comes when we are not only touched, but moved to action. It's the action that counts...not what created it! Can't wait for more pumpkin pics...we, too drove over an hour to get our "northern" fill only to find out the pumpkins were GONE! Looks like you had much better luck!

Jennifurla said...

Adversity creates resilience, develops maturity pushes the envelope of future performance, provides great opportunities, brings unexpected benefits, and motivates. There are almost always positive benefits from a once negative experience.

Lovely clicks.

Hilary said...

Just so you know, pictures of your girls MAKE. ME. SMILE. :) :) :)

courtneytidmore said...

Cried through this entire post. So precious. I love Nella, I have never met her and probably never will, but I am so in love with her!

Bree said...

Y'all totally ROCK!! :)

Kelly said...

This life that you share so openly with us is simply BEAUTIFUL and real. Thank you. You are a true inspiration :)

amelie522 said...

I'm a longtime reader, but I don't know that I've commented yet. Maybe because I'm one of those people that fears that my little comment on the blog of a BIG blogger would end up sounding really incoherent and stupid, and then I would've embarrassed myself, and had you saying, "geez, that lady is a total whack job...scary"! I just had to tell you though, we were at Hunsader Farms on Sunday, too! I'm so shocked you and your beautiful family were enjoying the same pumpkin patch WE were! To me, it's kinda like being in the same small area as a ginormous celebrity that you admire and are in awe of, and knowing they were THAT CLOSE! It was a great festival, wasn't it? I'm 33 weeks pregnant so I was dying slightly of heat exhaustion, but our little man loved it. Especially the mini-maze of hay bales for the kids. He could've ran around that joint for HOURS had I not started to sweat so profusely, people around me were staring. Anyway, I'm in love with your blog and your family is amazing; but most of all, you are one incredible mother and woman and soul. I'm so happy I found your niche that's been carved in bloggyland. I feel blessed and lucky to get to see how marvelous life can truly be, through your enlightened eyes. Hoping your pumpkin was the best one in the patch. And it looks like Nella's Rockstars totally tore it up at the Buddy Walk! The girls looked FABULOUS, and obviously, so did you. It looks like it was an absolute blast, and the pictures were fantastic as well.

This post was just all around goodness and love.

Stunningly Sweet said...

I love how rawly and purely you lay your emotions and opinions out there for all to adore! As always, love-love-love it!

Kristin said...

So happy the Buddy Walk was a success. As for Nella's smile in that pumpkin patch, all I have for you is *swoon!

Debbie said...

You have some of the best looking friends! You all rocked it out and of course Ms. Nella just looked fabulous. I love the last pictures of Lainey and Nella in the pumpkin patch. True sisterly love if I've ever seen it! So glad the walk was everything you hoped it would be. XOXOXO

Shaylynn said...

Pardon my inability to come up with something a little more lady like but this post made me so bleeping happy.

I adore you.
I adore your girls.
I adore how you've taken on the gift handed to you.

I kinda just love stopping by and looking at your little/big life.

Kendra said...

Loved the "rockstar theme", you took it the nth degree and it was great! would love one of those t-shirts, any chance of a giveaway or selling them?

jajb79 said...

xoxo
Rock on!!!

The Manrings said...

oh what a beautiful description to match the festive pictures of a very special day. we were there in spirit wearing our nella's rockstar shirts all weekend. kisses to both of your sweet little rockstars. xoxo

Michelle Vandepol said...

love love love :)

Elisabeth said...

Looks like you guys had a beautiful day for a great walk! I have been waiting all weekend for this post and the pictures. I am so glad you had a great time am I look forward to seeing this post for many years to come! It was my fifth buddy walk this year (in Ohio and Michigan) and I'm here to tell you it never gets old and just keeps getting better! Have a happy monday!

Megan said...

Amazing! Looks like the walk had an amazing turn out!

Lindsay said...

Love this.

LilianEveDesigns said...

XOXO

CAN YOU BE ANY MORE AMAZING:)

love this post- everything about it...the pic of Nella with the hairband:)- is precious! awwwwwwwwwwwwww thank-you!!!

<3

Kelle said...

The discount code for The Vintage Pearl should work now, they fixed it, happy shopping!

libby (schaafsma) ryder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ashley said...

What a beautiful and blessed event. You are an amazing and strong mom-- Nella is as lucky to have you as you are her.

libby (schaafsma) ryder said...

cried. the whole time. mostly because i think you were chosen to be nella's mom and maybe because of that the world will see DS through a different lens. and because it made me want to wake up my little girl from sleep and hug her real tight.

Angi said...

AMAZING...growing up with 2 brothers with DS I have walked a few Buddy Walks...I took my kids with me on one this year to support a friend...it was so much fun to share with my kiddos!

gin said...

Your last two pictures make my heart smile (more than usual).

Gina said...

I'm swooning over the little guy with his guitar.

Ashley said...

You're such a great mom, Kelle! You are such an inspiration!

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