Friday, January 7, 2011

Pay It Forward...Rock the ONEder Fund.

In two weeks, we will celebrate an epic day.


And my heart is twisting in all sorts of beautiful ways just thinking about it, but mostly it is throbbing with love.

Any attempt at threading words to just how funny, how spirited, how healing her existence is...well it seems so small and unworthy. But, I'm used to that. Her sister's had me slayed from the start.

I can tell you this though.

I have changed. My eyes have been opened to the broad spectrum of beauty, the value of uniqueness and the amazement of the common thread that binds us all regardless of the color of our skin or the makeup of our chromosomes.

How could I not have been aware of their magic?



I am grateful for the pain that propelled me forward this year for without it, I wouldn't have known the joy of this place.


When I sat down to write this post earlier this afternoon, I intended to make this about Nella. But, I've learned something more this year. I've learned to look beyond. While yes, the rawness of loving my own child and imagining her almond eyed, milky-cheeked, tiny-toothed grin on the face of every other child with Down syndrome is what initiated my purpose in this new world, it has become more. I care not just because my daughter personally connects me to this greater world but because I have learned to see their hearts, their capabilities, their spirit, their determination, their love.



And I want you to see it too. Beyond Nella. The faces of these children brighten the worlds of so many lucky families every day. And as I checked my e-mail earlier this evening after a quick Facebook photo all-call, tears rolled down my cheeks at the response. My e-mail alert chirped a continuous rhythm as pictures rolled in, and I couldn't determine what was more powerful--the faces of these beautiful babies or the words you attached to them in a desperate plea to express a fraction of how you feel.

The love of our lives. She changed me. Our joy boy. The heart of our family.




So, here's the deal.

I'm going to ask you for something. And it's really important to me. To a lot of people.

I'm going to ask you to think about what you've taken from this space this year. I have felt incredibly inspired by not only the feeling of community here but by this productive push toward good that arises simply from the understanding of the power of a group of people connected in a small way on the Interweb but, more importantly, in a much greater way within this vast world. And so, I'm asking you again, have you gained anything from visiting this space this year? A smile, a thought, a connection, the encouragement to dig deeper or let your own voice speak out. If you have, I'm asking you to give back today. Please, pay it forward.

In honor of our girl's first year, we are asking you to give back to her. And the 400,000 other individuals living with Down syndrome in the United States alone.



The mission of the NDSS is to create a culture that fully accepts and includes individuals with Down syndrome.

Let me say that more clearly. The mission of the NDSS is to create a culture that fully accepts and includes our little girl. Our Nella.


Last year, the NDSS helped Annie Clancy, a Connecticut high school student, get closer to her dream of becoming a clothing designer when they gave her the once-in-a-lifetime chance to join designer Anya Cole in her studio to learn how to design and produce clothing. Without the NDSS, Annie wouldn't have known what it felt like to strut her fabulousness down the runway of a fashion show in a posh SoHo loft.


Or how about Sara Wolff? A skilled motivational speaker, she serves on the NDSS Board of Directors and actively promotes Down syndrome awareness and understanding through personal appearances and inspirational speeches to educators, employers and community professionals. She is loving what she's doing. She's doing something amazing with her one wild and precious life. Not to mention, she got to meet Barbara Walters and Meredith Viera which is more than I can say. As Sara says, "I feel good knowing I can inspire people and make a difference."


I want my little girl to have these opportunities, and I'm just one of many mamas who share this dream.




I've set a scary goal. $15,000, People. (Actually, I'm editing this after 12 hours into the fundraiser, I'm doubling it, yikes! $30,000.) Editing this AGAIN about 2 days into it. $47,000. Yup, $47 grand for 47 grand chromosomes!) Alright, I'm back. 4 days, and our goal is now $63,000. That's 21 x 3. Three beautiful little 21st chromosomes, that's what. And I'm a little nervous about it. But, I believe you care. I believe we can make a difference together. If every Follower--a fraction of readers--gave only $5, we could raise $45,000. Forty Five Thousand Dollars to help change the world into a place that sees the beauty and potential of the magic of these amazing individuals.




I want this life-changing year to mean more. I want to hold hands with my family in two weeks and know, when we sing "Happy Birthday Dear Nella" and watch her pat her tiny palms into sweet frosting, that something greater is in store.

For everyone.





Please. Give Nella a birthday gift. Help her give back to her friends.


If a magazine costs $5, think of how you'll feel if you spent that instead right here.

Pay it forward. Help us give Nella a very happy birthday.

Nella's shirt and sweater used to be dresses. They were her coming-home-from-the-hospital outfit. Sweater, crocheted by my mama

Giving is easy. Click on any link to Nella's ONEder Fund on this page (the easiest being the large banner at the top of the blog which will remain until Nella's birthday.)

Spread the word. E-mail it. Facebook it. Tweet it. Blog it.
Together, I'm certain we can move mountains.

Give $5. Or give more. But know, you are appreciated and you are making a difference.

Thank you for your support, your love, your joining with us to make something grand of our one wild and precious life.


And thank you to all the mamas out there who shared their magically enhanced little beauties with me tonight.


«Oldest   ‹Older   401 – 532 of 532
Joyelle said...

My favorite quote now is that I can "rock this mommy thing out". I'm a mom of three and you have truely inspired me. You have two beautiful little girls! Happy Birthday Nella rock out your first birthday!!!

Tara said...

Kelle - what good you are doing for your daughter and everyone out there with DS. i just donated and was so happy to see the amount you have raised in 2 days. you are going to blow past your goal!

Monique said...

Kelle, you are simply A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! What a inspirational post. Thank you for sharing the pure happiness of all those magically enhanced little beauties! And the little peek into the success stories of Annie & see dreams like these come true is heaven on earth.
Knowing that you will be guiding Nella's heart as she grows into a beautiful young lady, your dreams for her will also come true. Look what you have accomplished so far in just one year!!!

What have I taken from your AMAZING space this year? I have learned to LOVE deeper. To LAUGH more often. To ENJOY the everyday happenings. To SLOW down and SUCK THE MARROW out of the moment I am in. To take more PHOTOS of my boys. Found new music favourites. To BELIEVE in my talents and just go with it. That I am CAPABLE. That we are all more ALIKE than we are different. That you are an incredible Mama that is smitten with unicorns and sees rainbows wherever you look- and that is beauty!! And mostly, that all us mamas (and Dadas) out there just want the best for our littles and that it starts with the unconditional love we instantly feel when their slippery little bodies are placed into our loving arms as we welcome them into our grand world. I thank you Kelle for ALL of this and much more. My donation is a small price to pay for all that your space here has given me.


Sarah said...

I keep checking back to see the donation total, and it keeps going up! How freaking awesome is that??? Yay! I'm so happy for you and the NDSS! =)

Stunningly Sweet said...

What beautiful children and an amazing cause! Can't wait to do my part!

Oceangirl 27 said...

Done! Happy Birthday Nella! The world is a better place with you and your family in it!

Maggie said...

Holy Shit Dude!!! Shouldn't say shit on a post as beautiful as this but no other word did it justice. The seed has been planted and it is BLOOMing!! My boys and I may need to do some Happy Birthday Nella/Raising the Roof dancing tonight!! Changing the world Kelle, one mama, one family at a time!! Hollah!!

Rachel said...

The most beautiful little faces on the most beautiful blog! Congrats and happpy birthday Miss Nella!

JoAnna said...

A small donation is the least I can do when this blog has provided me with so much inspiration over the last year. Thanks Kelle for your beautiful writing and Happy Birthday Nella!

priest's wife said...

What beautiful photos!

Noan said...

Happiest birthday EVER Nella !

Michelle said...

Of course we'll donate! In honor of Nella, her first birthday, and her AMAZING family!!

You are SO very blessed!

JANINE said...

This entry made me smile so much that I linked it on my Twitter, encouraging all of my friends to donate to the NDSS. I donated $40 in honor of the beautiful baby Nella. Thank you for bringing positive recognition to Down Syndrome - you and your family are a total inspiration! Good luck with reaching your goal - you're pretty close. ;-)

TRB Holt said...

I NEED to buy a bigger house because I want ALL these children's photos on my walls! Simply BEA~utiful Kelle!

xoxo, Bug & Ruby's Gram

~Shannon~ said...

OMG, dude, only about $4000 left to go!!!! Woo-hoo!!! Amazing!!! I love that so many people came through!!! It was the BEST $10 I ever spent - I just wish I could do more!

mchar said...

I have officially become obsessed with the ticker, whats up with me! You are going to do this by the end of the weekend!
Up the ante girl! You know you wanna!
What a great gift to give her for her first and what a great gift all of us can give you and your family for your anniversary.

Vandy said...

Blogged it, Facebooked it. Donated. I truly feel honored to be a part of Nella's journey.

Happiness is... said...

For a woman that has given many of us so much "umph" over the past year, $5 or more is not that much of a sacrifice. It is an honor to give back to all of these beautiful children (seen and unseen); so thanks for sharing so many of their beautiful faces. Ebb and Flow, baby. The tide and the love flows back in return.

Remember to always let the child be celebrated.

-Jennifer from Annapolis

Julie said...

The pictures of the beautiful babies and children in this post are AMAZING! God Bless each and every one!!!

Happy Birthday Nella!!!

On my way to donate!

Rachel said...

Happy Birthday Nella! You really have opened my eyes to a whole new world. Kelle, thank you for sharing your life so openly and honestly. You and your gorgeous family are a real inspiration--you bring a smile to my face every time I log on. I'm so very happy to participate in celebrating your little one. Congrats to YOU on making it through what was, no doubt, a rollercoaster of a year. XOXO

susan said...

Wait you are on FB how did i know know this? Of course we will donate towards Nella's Fund:) Thank you for all you do!! LOVED seeing all the pictures. Rozzie reminds me so much of Jana. I loved seeing all of their beautiful faces. God Bless you Kelle Hapmpton thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me enjoy the small things and be a better Mom.

catholic frugal mom said...

When I had our 5th child, Leo, 1 month after Nella. my bf in california gave me one month to settle into my emotions, then told me I have to read your blog. Since then, my kids, my sister and 2 or so friends check your entries almost everyday. I have taken pictures, thanks to you. I have a playlist, thanks to you. I sing "Everybody, Everybody needs to love; Everybody every body needs to be loved, ........." to my babies. We do some of the crafts . And I watch my husband kind of roll his eyes, when my kids ask to "get on the computer to see my friend in Florida and her babies." He says, "Yeah, your "friend." BUT, I always say.. "She answers my emails!" Anyways, thank you. Happy Birthday Nella. P.s. your dad is a gifted writer!
Pauline in Kansas, mama of 5

Jessica said...

I can't see my screen through the tears. This is beautiful and everyone of those babies is too. I have gotten so much from your blog and been inspired beyond measure. Thank you and thank Nella.

charitybreidenbach said...

Happy 1st birthday sweet little Nella! Since a friend told me about your blog in March, I've loved learning from your continuous growth and endless love for each moment with your family. Thank you for being willing to share your life with so many strangers! I love the beautiful words, and pictures paired with the music. 9 times out of 10 I end up crying! Thank you and my family is happy to donate!

Sue said...

$5 per person of our family coming NDSS's way - it is the least we can do for these sweeties! $20 will be donated in Nella's name tomorrow :)

Sue and family

VeryGratefulLife said...

Thank you for this beautiful post and these beautiful photos. Happy Birthday, sweet Nella. God bless you.

Crystal said...

I can not remember if I left a comment yesterday or not....

What beautiful faces and what an amazing idea Kelle. As someone else has said, you are the perfect spokesperson!

Can't wait to see how far you pass your goal. It was already half way there yesterday afternoon.

So happy to pay it forward. And that re-purposed dress Nella is wearing is just darling!

DeAnn said...

Kelle, on March 9, 2010 you wrote this, "And, on that confusing but beautiful night, I remember holding Nella with one arm and reaching out to Brett with the other. I took his hands and cried through the words. ...This is happening for a reason. I know it. We're going to do something with this, Brett. We're going to do big things."
Girl, this is B.I.G., B I G!!! I can't stop comming back and checking the amount that has already been donated! It's just amazing, simply amazing!! It's 3 am in Alabama, and here I sit, again, with tears in my eyes at this huge outpouring of love. And it's not just love for Nella, or for the beautiful children pictured on your page. It's also love for the hundreds of thousands of children and adults across this country who grace their families each day with their own magical 47th chromisomes. Peolpe like my cousin, Travis, and my own sweet daughter, Sarah.
You have opened the hearts and minds of thousands of people all over this world. You have challenged them to not only notice people with Down syndrome, but to actually SEE them. To see their beauty, their magic, and their desire to be, and do, and accomplish anything their heart desires. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your life, and your Nella, with the world. <3

Chelsea said...

What have I gained from this space? Well, after discovering your blog only a few short months ago (and going back to read every single entry) you have opened my eyes further to the beauty all around me. I am always so excited to see a new post, you have moved me to laughter and to tears more times than I can count. Seeing Nella's smiling face makes me feel so happy, I just want to reach across the ocean and hug her! Oh boy, is there something special about that one. The beauty and honesty in your pictures, and the way you weave it all together with beautiful words is something to behold. I feel like I am sitting in your kitchen, or out in your driveway on a warm summers day, chatting over coffee, or a beer, about life and love. You have reminded me so many times that underneath it all, there is just love, pure and simple. You have inspired me to take better photos, and to write and share what's bursting out of my heart. So my small donation doesn't seem adequate payment for all that - but I am glad to be part of something so much bigger. And happy early birthday Nella - you will go on to greatness, and your Mama will be there holding you up every single step of the way.
Sending love all the way from Melbourne Australia xx

Rik said...

Paying it forward, praying it forward. Wow...and I hope others are reading all these comments as well for they are a precious contribution as well...and when I read them, I cry--not the somewhat classy soft tears on your cheeks cry but the shaking, sobbing, glad no one is near crying...but it is from a very good place in the heart and leaves me better when I am done. In a world too often cold, cruel and self absorbed--this response to these angels among us is overwhelming! Bless you every one!

kim said...

fist of all: wow. LOVE! so much love. i agree with what a lot of people say, i get so much joy, smiles and (mostly happy) tears out of your site, i'd love to help make nella's 1st b-day extra special. unfortunately there seems to be a problem with my creditcard. i tried two different ones but none will go through :( any idea what i can do?

aprilanecdotes said...

Awesome. This is going on my blog that I have for my 3 kids with DS. They are in their teens and 20's and amazing. Thank you for sharing all the gorgeous pictures. I can't wait to donate! susan

Bowen said...

I cannot believe it's been almost a year since I found this blog. When I came across your blog I was pregant with daughter #2... and I felt my life echoed yours in so many ways. My little one is now 7 months old. I am very happy to share with you all and to say Happy Birthday Nella! I think paying it forward is an awesome idea... so that is what I will do. :)

Callie said...

AMAZING....grace that is. I cannot put words to what I am feeling. You are a game changer Kelle, the "game" of life for our kids is bright. Thank you.

Sarah said...

I am so grateful to be able to donate to such an amazing little girl with such an inspiring Mommy! Nella--here's to you. Hope you have the grandest day ever! Kellye--Here's also to you! Thank you for always being such an inspiration to me. You are an amazing person, Mommy, wife, friend and much more. Your blog has really changed the way I think. Thank you!

Kristine said...

This is so amazing!! You're really making a difference Kelle! Good for you!
xoxoxo Kris

Genia & Shaylon said...

You are amazing - such an inspiration.

Jamie V said...

Look at all those precious, beautiful children!

I can't believe she's almost one!! I've laughed, cried, cheered, smiled, and prayed since discovering your little corner of the world early last year... :)

Would be honored to help!! xo

Julie said...

Consider my donation a done deal. I quit smoking for the new year, I will donate a month's worth of "cigarettes" ($50) in Nella's honor.

I'm sitting in my office with tears running down my face at the site of all those beautiful little faces in this post. What joy they must bring to their families.

Thank you for sharing your joy with me.

Jennifer said...

Lesley took the words right out of my mouth and so I will happily have to second it ;-)

"My donation is a small price to pay for all that your blog gives me. Sometimes a good cry, sometimes a good laugh, an introduction to a good song, a reminder of how much I love taking photos of my own family. THANK YOU"

Denise said...

What a wonderful thing to do and a beautiful way to honor each and every one of those beautiful children! I will be getting my donation in by the end of the week!

Denise WI

Linda MG in Soquel, CA said...

WOW!! You have raised the amount again. Yahoo! AMAZING how much money is already donated. I know many of us can donate much more, and we can get the word out. Let's rock this out!!RIK!! Yes, i read the comments as many do and i wrote almost what you did, how in this world, oh my faith in humans is restored when i am witness to this. ANd yes, i too, have cried..body-shaking sobs from being overwhelmed with emotion at what i am witnessing here! love you Poppa Rik! from the blog mama

Linda MG in Soquel, CA said...

OH, KIM- it says you can PRINT Out a form to doante, so maybe (?) if you do that and send in, with a check or credit card number, it will go thru??

Claire said...

Soo awesome! Can't wait to donate when the mid-month paycheck comes in this Friday! Thinkin you're gonna have to edit up from 47K!

Andrea said...

The other day I realized I've been reading your words for nearly a year. Your beautiful family, though you live across the country, is not so different from mine. But your attitude, your optimism, is what brings me back to this amazing space. I can get so caught up in worry, and fear, and everyday stress but when I come here I am reminded that there are bigger things, more beautiful things, waiting for me at home. To say that you have changed the way I think... is a colossal understatement. So THANK YOU Kelle Hampton, for what you do. And Happy Birthday to beautiful Nella. We've made our donation, in her name to the NDSS and let me tell you, it was an honor.

The Rangno Family

Runner Mom said...

Such an incredible way to celebrate your sweet Nella's beautiful first year! Your blog has been such an inspiration to me and how I view my own little village. Thank you for sharing your world with us, sharing your beautiful family and the depth of your journey. It is an honor to celebrate Nella and I only wish I could have given more! May you have a beautiful birthday celebration and know that so many of us are celebrating with Nella in spirit! Katie

Heth said...

I will never, ever learn. Crying 45 minutes into my work day. What a beautiful post.

Hi~I'm Alysha said...

As a soon to be mom of 3 beautiful boys with DS let me say thank you...I would love to encourage you to visit It's a beautiful orginazation that helps find homes for children with DS in E.Eourpean countires. Our beautiful children are only given till their 4th b-days to find a forever family..then their sent to mental institutions destined for a life no child should ever have to live. Our bio. son Eli (blessed with DS) opened our eyes to the same wonderful world your eyes now see in Nella...we're now blessed by a 5 yr. old Ukrainina prince w/ DS & soon our Republic of Georgian prince will be home. So many lives have been touched by your blog (including mine) & I know your life will be touched by Reeces rainbow. Hugs to you beautiful Nella! It's a joy to celebrate the wonderment of you!!!

Andyfaith said...


I have always had a love and respect for individuals who have Down syndrome. In high school I volunteered with Special Olympics and was a buddy to one of my peers who had Down syndrome. The inherent value, kindness and gigantic love that individuals with that extra chromosome have was never lost on me. I must admit though, before reading your blog, for some reason I sort of viewed people with Down syndrome and their families as having a very different life from me and my own family. Partly, I think, because society puts labels out there and also because even having had those experiences, I was ignorant.

Now, as a married woman in her late 20's who is eager to have children, I am so thankful that you have given me such a joyful and insightful perspective on Nella, your own family, and the journey you've taken this past year. You and your family are so familiar! (and not so different from my circle of friends, except that you totally rock it out and I'd like to do that more.) I have learned so much from you and the way that you dealt with the initially shocking news. I'd have to say that the top three things I have learned are:

1) I'm not frightened or scared anymore about having a child with Down syndrome or other special needs. I know that I can create a great and happy life for my family whatever our circumstances!

2) I don't and won't feel sorry for or pity someone I know who has an atypical child. It is not something to feel sad about. All children are a blessing and every family deserves to be greeted by love and congratulations from family and friends.

3) That if we could all love and accept one another the way this blog community loves and accepts each other, the world would be a totally different and better place!

I think that as much as Nella has grown and changed this past year, we can all celebrate how much each of us has grown and evolved and learned as well! You are so blessed to be the one responsible for putting us all together! Cheers to Nella and to being well over half of the way to meeting your 47GRAND goal!


Cathy W said...

You are an inspiration. Thank you...

Jen said...

Simply kick ass.

I love your are one rad mama. You inspire me to enjoy the small things with my babies :)

You should be SO PROUD for what you are doing with the ONEder fund. You rule dude... you totally rule.

I am honored to donate on behalf of sweet lil Nella bean! Here's to many more birthdays! And sucking the marrow out of life!!!

gypsy said...

I think the most amazing thing that happens as I read this blog is that less and less do I see children "with Down Syndrome." And more and more do I just see wonderful little people that I'm connected to in this great world.

I really felt that in this post. It made me cry.

Thank you, Kelle, for the gift of that. You really do have a great calling on your life.

homeiswhatyoumakeit said...

You are an amazing inspiration for mothers and women everywhere. Thank you for sharing your blog with us. And, your sweet girls...especially Nella! I am happy to give to your cause...

Kelly Cach said...

Our Christmas card this year read: "May your lives be changed and your hearts transformed." Ours were definitely changed and transformed because of our girl, Nora. But your blog is the reason for a much speedier healing!


Nora's grateful Mama,

Rocksee said...

Back again.. checking in.. checking the totals for Nella.. I keep looking at the totals and cheering everytime I see you raising the amount... and reaching it and raising the amount again..

You are moving mountains..

chantelle said...

I see you have almost met your goal Kelle! I am overwhelmed by the out pour of kindness your readers have shown. The beautiful words and love from them are amazing. Thank you for opening our eyes and sharing your story. Nella is just Scrumptious...We love you all. You are doing such wonderful things.

Happy Early Birthday Nella..You are such a beautiful BIG girl and are in our hearts forever and ever..We love you! xoxo

The Wolansky-Martel Family

Kristy said...

Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Enjoy her special day!

Mrs. G said...

Donation done! Reading your blog the past year has done so much for me. You are always inspiring, your words bring me to tears, your passion for life and all things good truly make me want to be a better person. Funny how a complete strangers blog can do all that but does.
Happy Birthday Nella, I think your goal is in the bag ; )

melanie said...

Wow! I am in awe of you and your family and all of these beautiful children! Happy Birthday, Nella!!!

Andrea said...

I have been a follower of you blog for almost a year now and have laughed and cried with you as you have made your wonderful family memories.

I am pregnant at the moment with my 4th baby and your story of love, committment and most importantly acceptance is a constant inspiration to me.

I have tried to donate to your fund but as I live in the UK am finding it difficult as the form requires a City and State which I obviously can't include. Please let me know how I can make a donation.

Andrea Robertson
West Sussex, England

Dylan said...

There was not a moment of hesitation to donate after reading this post. Thank you for sharing Nella's first year with all of us. And thank you for giving us an opportunity to donate in what feels like such a personal way!

safetygirl123 said...

Thank you so much for including us in Nella's "Onderful" fund raiser! I occasionally feel a little voyeuristic peeping into your lives, but you have been such a blessing to me. Seeing Nella grow and blossom, Lainey glowing with sisterly love, and you expanding your Mamahood beyond your wildest expectations has helped me to be a better mother, Aunt to a DS cutie pie, and person. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Rik said...

Andrea.. and anyone else who may like to donate and are having problems with the NDSS site we have set up a paypal account ( easy to use and secure)
you can send money to
by going to and use the email above. Thank you everyone-
Papa and Gary

McMel said...

we're in. Happy Birthday Nella!

kancell24 said...


I just had to donate. This blog has given me so much this year. A year where my life was rocked pretty hard it was so inspiring to read your words and get a look at your beautiful family. I posted about your fundraiser on my blog and linked it on my facebook and a parenting board I go to. I hope you raise a ton of money. I know you already have but I hope it continues to amaze you.

lusciousgrrl said...

Nella of Troy! The beautiful face that launched a thousand ships.....and thousand of dollars in support of a wonderful cause.

Happy birthday darling girl! Kelle, this is so inspiring and beautiful. What a legacy!

S said...

Thank you for your blog, thank you for issuing such a great challenge to all of your readers, and thank you for showing other young moms like me what it is like to embrace life with such graceful abandon in spite of, and BECAUSE of, the small things!

Jill Marie said...

Love.. that is what it all boils down to! Your Blog makes me feel love.

You give so much to so many of us moms that I believe we should ALL be able to give a little back!

Thank you Kelle!


Linda MG in Soquel, CA said...

TO lusciousgrrl - I LOVE it, Nella of Troy..that is great! To Kancell24: oh "sister"/friend here in this little community, i SO HEAR YOU. My life/world was rocked pretty hard this year..still feeling ripple effects it sseems. And NOW, i just found out yesterday i have a case of shingles - VERY painful and i pray for healing. I know many would echo you, and me - this blog, the words and inspiration of Kelle AND Poppa Rik and others (you know who you are, here), SO helped me in the darkness. As I have often written here, and many express similar thoughts - Kelle helps so many, beyond what she could ever imagine. I do hope that YOU are experiencing calm, after having a year that was rocked hard. TO Andyfaith(faith) - oh YOU are so amazing for someone in their late 20's! YES, as you said, "..responsible for putting us all together". Amen! Peace and Love from the Blog Mama ~

JacQualine Abbe said...

Made a donation and facebooked it- hope the goal gets reached! And far beyond it for that matter! I love your blog- I read it daily! You and your family are an inspiration!

Are we there yet? said...

Happy Birthday Nella! I love your Momma's blog so much and I am honored and humbled that I can make a small donation for your birthday!

Dede Zimmermann said...


Your blog is a beautiful, inspiring gift to all who faithfully follow it. Your positive yet realistic outlook on life brings me so much joy. I am the middle child of 7, Auntie to many and the devoted daughter of an 85 year-old man who just never gives up, no matter what life throws his way. With the large number of people in my family, there are many trials and tribulations. I come to your blog for the kick in the toot that I occasionally need to keep me going through it all.

My family was originally blessed with 8 siblings. My sister, Kathy, was born profoundly retarded and passed away when she was just 14 years old. Imagine how hard it was for my parents to accept her passing and then turn to their remaining 7 (5 of us under the age of 11) and explain why God had taken "our Angel". Through their own pain, they did an amazing job in explaining that God had sent Kathy our way to teach us all how to be loving, caring people who accept, without judgement, all who come our way. They also soothed our sorrow by telling us that Kathy was now with God and was able to walk, talk and play just like the rest of us. Our tears turned to smiles as we pictured Kathy in Heaven, able to do all the things there that she couldn't do here. We have all lived each day since knowing what a gift she was.

Your beautiful Nella is an Angel too. She is showing is showing all who meet her and follow your blog how to love and accept without judgement.

Keep it up, are an inspiration to us all :)


(p.s., there is a local family that needs some prayers. Amy is a photographer with 4 tiny little ones, 2 of whom are facing some serious health issues. To all you Kelle followers (that includes you too, Papa Rik) please pray for Amy, Brad and their babies. Here is the link to her blog:

Sandy and Allison said...

Of course I donated! You had me with the first request, but then when you reminded me, "what you've taken from this space this year" ... only everything! Smiles, happiness, joy, music, inspiration, creation ... the list goes on. Love the new, "new" goal ... wonder if you'll have to bump it up again! ;)

Your Wedding Hostesses said...

I read this post three times before finally committing to donating. Not because it wasn't moving as HELL, but because I really don't have the money to donate to anything right now. But I cancelled one of my magazine subscriptions this year and will now consider your blog to be my "magazine" for this year. Can you throw in some ideas for new hairdos and fitness tips for me? ha ha!
Love, love, love Nella to death and am happy to send her a birthday gift this year! Happy Birthday, Little One!

Linda MG in Soquel, CA said...

To DEDE Z. - oh, your story so touched me and brought me to tears. and YES, *I* will pray right now, and continue doing so, for Amy & Brad and the littles. I have come here in times of darkness; Poppa Rik and others have held me in prayer and thoughts. I am glad to do the same now! thanks for sharing, Linda

Rik said...

Amy and her sweet family are in my heart and prayers now...yes, a mystical family of carers and pray-ers and lifters and holders has formed through this blog. We are one human family...wounded warriors that still hear the music, lift high our heads and dance in the rain. And YourWeddingHostesses, your gift will be twice blessed for I truly believe when our heart prompts us to give when we cannot, it comes back to us tenfold. Sometimes in some unexpected "splash back," and sometimes in extra expenses we are shielded from! Bless you!

Poppa to angels

FEAS613 said...

Dede- you've asked the right community to pray for a family in need. I speak from personal experience that the power of prayer and support from the "Enjoying the Small Things" community is truly amazing! In October my sister's sister-in-law had her baby almost four months premature weighing under two pounds, with hemoraging on his brain and possibly in need of heart surgery. He now weighs 7 pounds, his heart seemed to have 'fixed itself' and the hemoragging has been controlled. Angles appeared to donate blood (he has the rarest blood time of course!) and his parents are waiting to take him home one week from today! So I know God hears this 'magical family'.

Poppa - each and every comment you leave is just as soul shattering and tear jerking as one of Kelle's posts! And I do believe that a good majority of the commenters read most if not all of the comments. It truly is an amazing family we're part of here!!


Denelle Downhill said...

Wow! Quite the readership you have here! $30,000+!!! I see you making and even maybe going above your set goal! Happy Birthday Nella!!!

Kelle, thank you so much for coming into my living room every time I open your blog and allowing me a glimpse into yours. This blog has been such an inspiration. I check every day to see if you've posted and get a little giddy when I see that you have. I am currently in school to be a nurse (after being out of school for almost 10 years) and every time I think I am going to lose it (What was I thinking? College and 2 little kids?) I take a breath and come here for a little inspiration. Maybe some day down the road I will get to work with beautiful little souls like your Nella.

Denelle Downhill said...

Wow! Quite the readership you have here! $30,000+!!! I see you making and even maybe going above your set goal! Happy Birthday Nella!!!

Kelle, thank you so much for coming into my living room every time I open your blog and allowing me a glimpse into yours. This blog has been such an inspiration. I check every day to see if you've posted and get a little giddy when I see that you have. I am currently in school to be a nurse (after being out of school for almost 10 years) and every time I think I am going to lose it (What was I thinking? College and 2 little kids?) I take a breath and come here for a little inspiration. Maybe some day down the road I will get to work with beautiful little souls like your Nella.

Denelle Downhill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dam said...

Kelle, thank you for inviting us to participate in Nella's birthday. It's a cyber party! May Nella and her friends rock it out.

Baby By The Sea said...

Happy birthday sweet, sweet Nella.

I have been reading your blog since you grew this precious little bean in your tummy. Thank you for the inspiration and insight I gain each time I stop here.

I will donate and pass this along.
Good work, such important and good work!

Callie said...

Kelle, I was only able to give $5. And I wish I could give more. Because Nella and all her friends deserve more. But if we all gave $5... think of the miracle!

Rosemary and Thyme said...

Happy birthday to Nella:)

Lots of love from Norway!

Hugs Tove

Rosemary and Thyme said...

Happy birthday to Nella:)

Lots of love from Norway!

Hugs, Tove

Bean said...

I was honoured to contribute, Kelle! Happy Birthday to your beautiful, precious baby girl!

dE said...

I still remember the first time I read Nella's birth story many months ago, tears rolling down my cheeks at work all the way in New Zealand. Thanks for creating awareness of DS and reminding me what a truly honourable role a mama plays in the lives of her children and all her loved ones. Love your photos too!

Rik said...

Callie, your gift of awareness, inclusion and celebrating our precious gift has immeasurable have enriched us all!

Nella's amazed Poppa

Maheen said...

Commenting again, after checking in on the AMAZING generosity and support of your cyber village! Kelle, thank YOU. So much. Thank you for putting yourself out there to even ask of us, which I think is probably a bit out of your comfort zone. I was waiting and hoping you would do this. Though I know it is sometimes hard to do. If you had even the minute bit of this "I feel weird/odd asking for this from my readers" going on, I now hope you can see and feel the love rise and doubt fall. PLEASE do this EVER YEAR for Nella, for all those babies, and for us. You have rocked hard and the people have rallied! WOO HOO!

atyson said...

What a ONEderful way to honor Nella and all the beautiful souls you have introduced us to in this post! I just read Nella's Birth Story again (read for the first time back in Aug) and I sobbed more this time; I guess it's because I have come to know her and Lainey through the blog and I (along with all the people that follow) hold a special place in my heart for them both.

It's amazing--what Nella has brought to so many people by simply being born. Happy Birthday Nella! May you have tons of fun at your birthday celebration.

Love to your family!
Andrea in AL

fiddlehead said...

incredibly inspiring. I love paying it forward and will join you, support and donate!

gretchen said...

I have followed your beautiful story for awhile and I thought it was kinda weird that I don't know you but love to look at your beautiful pictures. Happy birthday to your sweet girl! Look how far you've both come!

Kamma{}Nala said...

thank you. they are all beautiful and i read each name and each of their smiles brought a joyful tear to my eyes. I wish everyone could see the joy and beauty in their sweet faces.

DebW said...

posted on my FB wall and on my blog!

Larissa said...

I have to tell you what an amazing woman you are! The gift you are giving to your sweet Nella and all these other sweet little babies with that extra "magic" chromosome....
I do not personally know anyone with Downe Syndrome and feel blessed to have learned so much on your blog over the last (almost) year. I have several times seen a sweet DS babe at the grocery store or public pool or whatever and now, because of following your blog, the first thing I think of is that these sweet Mamas have a baby as sweet as your Nella, and already feel connected to them and their Mamas simply from all the information and "regular"-ness you breathe into the blessing of that extra little bit of "magic."
The gift you are doing for the DS community is huge.
I hope none of this comes across in any wrong way- I just want to encourage you- thank you for making something that some people might see as a big difference be such a normal every day part of life.
AND- man in some of those pictures she looks just like her Daddy!! Your girls are beautiful....

blair8481 said...

As my wonderful fiance said, $47 is a small price to pay for all that you add to my life!! Happiest of birthdays, Sweet Nella. And Kelle, thank you, thank you for what you do, as a mama, as an artist, as a HUMAN. You inspire me to create and to make life AMAZING.~jess

JeeanFoxy said...

Do you have some kind of a foot fetish or something?
Anyway, I hope things work out for blessed Nella.

Lisa said...

What a beautiful post Kelle. Loved seeing all those smiling faces. They brought tears to my eyes. This past year I have received many gifts from you I am thrilled with the opportunity to give back/pay it forward.

I hug my children more, kiss them for no reason and say "I love you", take the time to get down on the floor and roll around with them, don't worry that our almost 5 year old still wants to sleep in bed with us, nurse my 13 month old with no plans to stop in the immediate future, live my one life the way I see fit, and have started to write a better story for my family all because of you.

There's a German film I saw and loved many years agao, Run Lola Run, and it'a all about crossing paths with people, even in just a few minutes or seconds, and how it changes our lives. I've always been moved by that thought and your blog is living proof of this.

Hugs and Happy Birthday Nella Cordelia. I look forward to seeing you rock out your 1st Birthday.

Lisa in CA

kim said...

thank you rik for the paypal account. maybe kelle could post it somewhere to make sure everyone who doesn't have a cc or can't use theirs knows how to still contribute! :)

Marisa T said...

I would be honored to pay it forward to celebrate sweet Nella's first birthday. Thanks for giving me a peek inside your life and helping this girl enjoy the small things! I pray many blessings to come in Nella's next year of life.

Danielle said...

Thank you for all that you do for the Down syndrome community. For showing that our children are wonderful children with a little extra. I love reading your posts and seeing the cute pictures. Keep up the good work and thank you for making this world better for my little Abi-girl!

Ashley said...

Having lost a baby with down syndrome I just cried & cried while reading this post. Happy & sad tears. Loved seeing all the beautiful children! Nella is adorable! Give her a big hug in memory of my Ella for me.

amykatmick said...

Love this sense of a larger community coming together for your girl and so many other sweeties! You go girl(s)!

Beth Ann said...

I'm not really sure how I got here, but I have been so blessed by your beautiful words and sweet family.

Thank you for sharing your life.

Happy Birthday, Nella!

Katie Gregg said...

Happy birthday, Miss Nella!

. said...

I have found JOY in reading your blog! The rememberance that life is sweet and full of JOY if only I will seek it daily. God is great! Thank you for sharing your lovely family.

Happy Birthday little one. You are loved like crazy!

God bless and keep you always.

Cris Crozat said...

It really touched my heart! You did an amazing job with this post. Nella and Lainey are very lucky girls to be so much loved by you, your family, your friends and us(readers!).
Best luck!

Lissa said...

I saw this poem around Christmas last year on a blog (I'm sorry I don't remember which one!) I printed it off & didn't really know why. Maybe it was to share with you.


A meeting was held quite far from Earth!
It's time again for another birth.
Said the Angels to the LORD above,
This Special Child will need much love.

His progress may be very slow,
Accomplishments he may not show.
And he'll require extra care
From the folks he meets down there.

He may not run or laugh or play,
His thoughts may seem quite far away,
In many ways he won't adapt,
And he'll be known as handicapped.

So let's be careful where he's sent,
We want his life to be content.
Please LORD, find the parents who
Will do a special job for you.

They will not realize right away
The leading role they're asked to play,
But with this child sent from above
Comes stronger faith and richer love.

And soon they'll know the privilege given
In caring for their gift from Heaven.
Their precious charge, so meek and mild,

by Edna Massionilla
December 1981

Love to your family

HomemadeBaby said...

I stumbled on your blog a year ago. I have enjoyed the past year you have shared with your readers, and I can't believe your Nella, such a beautiful little girl, is turning 1!

So glad you started the fund and I could contribute. Your blog has touched me in so many ways, I know I will always have that "feel good" feeling when I check in to see your latest posts. You have opened your heart to your readers and I have loved being a part of it. Happy Birthday Nella! And thank you Kelle.

Lindsay said...

I just found your blog and I am beyond inspired. I just read your story and have tears. Thank you for being such an inspiration to many. I look foward to following your journey HUGS to your beautiful family!

Kathryn Anne (Kate) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathryn Anne (Kate) said...

Ever since my sister sat me down and pulled up Nella's birth story and told me I had to read it right then. Not later. Not I have been capable, empowered, inspired, touched, moved, happy, purposeful, driven. changed.

As I read Nella's story, on my laptop, on the couch in the middle of the living room, surrounded by my family, tears fell. And...I felt. I felt things I have never felt or allowed myself to feel. You showed me that we are all capable. No matter what life throws us, we can catch it...and... run with it.

Since that night I sat and read Nella's story; I have faithfully read every post. I think I have read every single entry you have ever written. Every single one, is a huge encouragement, a present. I feel like a giddy kid on Christmas morning or like I just received a package in the mail!

So, in response to your question...I have gained a smile, a thought, a connection, the encouragement to dig deeper. But also, I have gained a better sense of myself and the importance of "enjoying the small things", giving back, living every day to the very fullest, and to "soak it up", "drink it in" and savor every part of it!

Thank you, Kelle, from the bottom of my changed and inspired soul. You have changed me and the way I view everything in life. the good. And the bad. The perfect. The not so perefet. For it is all a gift. To make us stronger and more capable.

And...Happy Birthday, Nella! Thank you for your story and for being such a big part of my life. And for changing me, from hundreds of miles away.

Kate from Birmingham, Alabama

merlin said...

The generosity of others funding the ONEderful account is filling my soul, I check in just for my fill of good news. I wonder that you might make 6 figures in the end.

All the crap news flowing out there in the world and one click and I am here, a world of love and small things and joy....because it is real, real life, real living, raw and real: LOVE. It is such a blessing to even have this small privilege to witness the love of so many, the goodness...this is the story that should be ringing out around the world on every news station, but the important thing is that we hear the ringing, the ringing of hope, faith, community, promise,love and each of us capable of "paying it forward" in someway. Thank you Kelle for sharing your blessings with your readers.

Laura said...

Oh good! I came back to this post to see how you were coming up with the numbers that you were setting as your goals since they were "odd" amounts. I love the explanation of each one! :)

However with the response you are getting and the number of days left until Nella's birthday...
I think you should set the goal to ONE MILLION dollars - because our kiddos are one in a million and they inspire us in a million ways and remind us that we are richer in life than a millionaire!

I will be donating for Nella and for our sweet Mylie. I only wish I would have seen your post on FB and could've sent you a picture of our "Smiley Mylie." Some day I will.

Can't wait to see how this all turns out!

Rosellini said...

Yeah for the Oneder FUND! I love the name and the spirit behind it. Love what your doing!!! Happy Birthday Nella! I'm so excited/happy/amazed at how generous everyone is being - all because of YOU and what you put out there each day/week! The sky is the limit! WHOA!

ndf said...

I think you should go for the gusto and make your goal $94,000.

Dream big! If you don't make it you will still have done something amazing.

M said...

Kelle, I am so amazed, impressed, and excited by the momentum of your fundraising that I had to find a way to give a little more. You should be so proud of what you are accomplishing through your words, images, and heart. Thank you!

Korey Hickling (Jack's mom) said...

I have been following your blog for months and wanted you to know that it was a great source of strength for me when my "Happy Jack" was born (rockin' a little extra chromosome!) on May 28th of this year. He's the most amazing child I've ever known. Man, wish I knew then what I know now. Happy Birthday to your sweet angel, and thank you for your beautiful and inspiring blog! Check out The "Jack" Pot ( if you ever get a free minute

Talia said...

Thank you for sharing your family with us. Your photos are amazing as well as the love you show. I've made a very small donation hoping it helps.

Happiest of days to your precious Nella! Celebrate and enjoy every single second.


Babygirl said...

Thank you again for always inspiring and making my day a lil' brighter! I created a post today on my blog to encourage people to donate to the ONEder fund! Have a wonderful week!!

Shenade said...

My first post - but not my first laugh, or tear shed, from reading your magical blog. It's my regular dose of sunshine, so I am pleased to donate what I can to such a great cause. Your blog has had such an impact on my life (even though you don't know me at all), and for that I am forever grateful.

P.S. I can't believe it's almost been a year!

ErinKate23 said...

Happy birthday, Nella! Thank you for touching my life.

Beth said...

Those babies and children are so beautiful!

Tara.Tamara said...

I have been so inspired by you and your blog, I havent been reading it for that long and it has made an impression on my heart!
I blogged about your post on my blog

I love what you are doing and i am very glad to try and be apart of it!

NEPA MOM said...

Thank you for featuring my cousin Sara Wolff. She truly is an inspiration to us all!

Meaghan said...

Just donated $5.00 to this awesome celebration of these amazing kids. Kelle, YOU are an inspiration.

Em said...

I shared about your efforts on my blog. I hope it helps to get the word out. I am amazed at the amount of money already given to support this cause! It just shows that every little bit helps!

angela said...

Such a beautiful post! Thank you for writing with such heartfelt honesty about your life. I've been reading for a year. The first post I read was Nella's birth story. It was about 3 weeks after the birth of my daughter who also has Down syndrome and I read that post over and over. I have enjoyed everything you've written this year. Thank you for doing this wonderful thing for the National Down Syndrome Society and for raising awareness for kids like ours.

ali said...

Over 75k! I am so psyched and have nothing to do with this. I am just so happy. :D

Congrats on doing such a fantastic job.

lavenderdreamscape said...

Wow, I just discovered your blog today from a link from someone on a pregnancy website check regularly. I am deeply touched and thank you for your inspiring words:)

Ernesto IbaƱez said...

Happy Birthday Nella!!!! So many years of happy life for you!!!!!

see also my blog

Ahshanul Hoque said...

I just wish to give an enormous thumbs up for the nice info you've got right here on this post. I will probably be coming back to your weblog for more soon.

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