Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Joan of Arc

Tuesday was ordinary, maybe even a little less than ordinary because I was multitasking in ways that had me frazzled, not quite present, edgy even. Ballet followed by lunch with friends was a nice retreat from the craziness I had created that day--a lost to-do list, papers scattered on my desk, clothes thrown on the floor, an unmade bed. It wasn't a bad day. It just wasn't, well, great. I'm okay with that. They can't all be fireworks.

By late afternoon, I lost such direction that I stood in the middle of the room not once, but twice, and said out loud, "What was I just doing?" And somewhere around mid afternoon, when I noticed the long shadows in the driveway and the sun's arrival over the back woods where it begins its nightly retreat, I decided I wasn't letting the day go down without a fight.

I still had things to do, a house to tidy, mouths to feed, but suddenly at that moment the most important thing was finding a way to resuscitate life back into our day. Like it was hidden in a game of hide-and-seek and my challenge was to find it.

No brainer. It's at the beach. I didn't really have the energy to pack up pails and shovels and head out, and I knew Brett wasn't in the mood either. But maybe those are the times you need it most--when it's work. It started begrudgingly--our quick preparation to take the girls to a beach sunset--but by the time we drove the four miles and caught that pink horizon from our windshield right before we pulled in to the parking ramp, everything settled and my lost direction was suddenly clear.

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We arrived just in time as if that heavy pink sun hung still right before it hit the water line, waiting for our arrival.

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Onlookers clapped like they always do once it finally fell, and we stayed and relished its afterglow.

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Nella walked the beach for the first time, her little body confidently trudging right toward the gulf. It knocked her down a few times, and she shuddered as the cold water lapped over her legs and diaper. I pulled her back into dry sand, away from the intimidating waters, but that didn't stop her. She trudged forward, like Joan of Arc, again and again and again. To conquer the water, to seek the thrill.

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Yesterday, ABCNews.com did a story on Living with Down syndrome and Nella. Cara, the producer, did a beautiful job, and I felt so humbled and honored to have the opportunity to represent this amazing community of parents and share what I believe to be very important--that we all have a choice in how we embrace hardship, and that it can open the door to living a bigger, better life. It's a story we share with many. But, for some reason, I read the first comment after the post--nothing I haven't heard before, a bit of a *yawn* by now--but still, the presented concept pissed me off at that particluar moment. That, my God, a story of a family living life to its fullest and celebrating their child who is doing great is ridiculous because our kid is two and it's going to get so much worse. Here's the thing--this person is completely right in the fact that it's going to get worse--more hardship, far more difficult challenges than, say, occupational therapy. My opposition to the comment really has nothing to do with Down syndrome or negativity in a comment--we deal with both on a regular basis, and we tend to forget about them respectively.

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The problem I have with it is the theory that happiness and perspective and grabbing life by the balls is somehow discredited if challenges are still ahead. I got fired up, something I don't often do anymore over a silly comment. Because if there's one thing I have a problem with, it's joy-suckers. Don't suck my joy. Don't suck someone else's joy. You think I don't know what's ahead? You think I don't have moments where I put myself there--ten years from now, thirty years from now, fifty years from now? You know what statistics say? I know damn well it's a hard, hard road and there will be tears. But I trudge forward. Like Joan of freaking Arc, and I embrace the challenges and choose to be happy. Knock me down, Waves. I'll get back up. I do cartwheels, okay? In my driveway. Sometimes in my nightgown. And I will never stop trying to live life this way.

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There is reason for everyone to be unhappy. There is reason for everyone to be happy. What's your focus?

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I've been thinking a lot about adventure seeking. How people choose to climb Mt. Everest knowing it's a brutal challenge. How my friend, Melina, slips in a kayak and paddles through life-threatening rapids because she wants to feel the thrill. How runners train for marathons when, certainly, a 26-mile run doesn't promise a pleasant experience. How surfers suffer concussions and yet get right back out there because there's something bigger on the other side. Adventure, victory, adrenaline, the self-awareness that comes from conquering something difficult.

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You can look at this big picture or small picture; it works both ways. Heading to a beach sunset even when you don't feel like it. Pulling the craft bin out in search of glitter, knowing it will make a huge mess. Signing up for an African Drum class even though it's one more thing on your already busy schedule (I'm thinking about it). Choosing to embrace the heartache of raising a child with Down syndrome and being happy, exhuberant, determined in spite of it.

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My point? You cannot wait for Life to come to you. You have to go get it--pursue it in a wild, passionate chase that includes the foreboding depths of challenge and heartache just as much as the ecstacy of triumph and success. You have to want it bad enough to seek it not only when things are rough and the pursuit of it brings the hope of change, but when things are comfortable and easy, and the quest for more living--more purposeful awareness--might even make you scared. It is in that fear--that breathtaking exhileration of "What If?"--that you rise to the occassion.

You step out of your comfort zone and experience the thrill of taking risks and the possibility of believing that, sure, things might be good, but if you stretched a little further, they might be great. I want to know great. And I will work hard to find it.

...and that's why we went to the beach.

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*****

Introducing new sponsor, Thirty One Gifts Independent Consultant, Nicki Kusek. Thirty One Gifts has a brand new catalogue out as of yesterday, and it's chock full of some great organizational totes and storage options.

Our new utility bag is like Mary Poppins' bag--you can fit a house in it. Perfect for the beach.

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And Lainey & Nella's personalized cinch bags came in handy when I organized everything they'd need while I was in NY last week.

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Totes are affordably priced, and there is a great variety of sizes available. Happy Shopping.


*****

Also joining Enjoying the Small Things this month is Mom Colored Glasses, a site dedicated to inspiring moms by providing ideas and information in a fun, well-organized way. One click on their site will lead you to a great collection of articles, recipes, crafts, forums, and little things that will surely make you happy. From ideas for better living to suggestions for both the best kid and mom books, it's a colorful, lively place to be--a great source for motherhood inspiration.

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*****

I'm chasing life this week. Planning Nella's little party this weekend is helping.

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Tea Party in the Woods to come. We will announce and celebrate the closing of Nella's 2 for 2 Fund after this weekend.


And in case you lost that beautiful piece ABC News did in my fiery sermon, you can watch it HERE.

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451 comments:

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Emily Krajniak said...

I just watched your piece on ABC. So beautiful. I cried through the whole thing - tears of JOY for your beautiful family. You've got your focus in the right direction and you are a joy-spreader. Thank you.

Kate said...

I think this just might be my favorite post of yours. And just what I needed to hear right now. Thanks.

And that picture of Nella at the end is just the best.

The Livelys said...

That comment fired me up too! God chose you, Amazing Kelle Hampton, for this journey because he knew you would fight like Joan of Arc to make this a beautiful loving world for your sweet Nella. All of us have our daily struggles and can choose to be Joan of Arc or crawl under the blankets and die a little to ourselves. Although the latter is okay sometimes, LIVING life is taking it blow by blow AND joy by joy. Thank you for beautifully doing both!

shi said...

Watching your interview truly brought tears to my eyes. I AM that sister who grew up not "seeing Down Syndrome" -- I saw my older brother as my best friend, and he still is. Yes, it was difficult being in school with him and having to defend him against ignorant people who made fun of him. But it has been such a blessing to witness such an honest, forgiving person who would give a huge smile the next day to the same person who made him cry the day before. Keep up the great work, Kelle! You have no idea how much your love and support means to Nella.

shi-day.blogspot.com

Julie O said...

Kelle,

Wonderful post, and a beautiful interview. I never tire of listening to how you express yourself the day Nella was born. You say all the things that I kept inside the day my daugther was born and the months that followed. I was afraid that if I showed my grief to anyone other than my husband and my mom, that others would think that I didn't love my daugther. So unfortantely, I suffered alone those first 6 months. Your blog was incredibly healing for me as I walked the path of acceptance. You are so strong and I admire you very much. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your family with us!

Jennifer said...

I absolutely LOVED that video. I have tears in my eyes. And I hate "joy suckers" too. Its funny that you posted about people's comments because just this past weekend I googled your name. I was shocked at all the articles that were bashing you and your family. They were saying such negative things. I am so glad that you stand up and live your life how YOU choose to and not based on someone else's opinions. You keep going strong girl!! Nella is going to do AMAZING things. I just know it. Thank you for sharing your life with so many.

- jen
walls.jennifer1 at gmail (d0t) com

emmiewyatt said...

I swear, every time I read your blog and am scrolling through the pictures of the girls, I say to myself "oh...that is my FAVORITE picture of her/them"....EVERY SINGLE TIME! It just gets better and better!

Melissa said...

I'm dying over the last picture of Nella! Just lovely!

The Trousdell Five said...

Kelle you are so right that you can't NOT be happy now just because life is going to get harder "one day". I too have a child whose life is going to get harder than it is for him at just 2, and sometimes I get caught up in the heaviness of the future. Thank you for reminding me that happiness NOW is what matters.

blessingsandglory said...

Kelle, I don't comment often, but really wanted to encourage you today. Your joy, spirit and zest for life are contagious. Sharing your story so open an honestly takes courage - thank you. As a parent that is also walking this journey I know that there will be hard times, but for now, for today I'm right there with you soaking up all of the goodness. My love for my children will never change no matter how much I am challenged by them, or how big our struggles are. My love for my children doesn't depend on what they can or cannot do. I simply love my children and thank my lucky stars everyday for them.

As always thank you for sharing the beauty of this life through your words, your photos and your family.

Megan said...

Amen sista'!
That last photo melts me. <3

Ashley said...

Well said! Love the blog and love the pictures! :)

Marriage from Scratch said...

Kelle- You are amazing! Your pictures are always so beautiful..but even more so in this post (I feel like I am there).

Happy Thursday!

~ Lori ~ said...

Famous people are often remembered by some of the quotes they said during their lifetime. Your thoughts on being happy or not, and where's your focus is a BRILLIANT quote. What a wise view on things. Keep on doing that you do...cartwheels in the driveway and all. Screw the haters. Choose happiness.

Hayley said...

Wow - I quoted you on my facebook status today because there are just not enough like you. I often am made to feel bad, or naive, or silly, for seeking the joy.

Thank you - you are an inspiration to young women. :-)

http://thefuturemrsdenker.blogspot.com/

Mark, Wendy, Dale and Rose said...

What a wonderful world.

Rachel said...

God bless you Kelle!! God bless your little ones!! You inspire me so much!! I needed this post in more ways than I can share!! Thank you!!

clau said...

what beautiful pictures,what gorgeous family!How much love and happyness in these captures,you're so lovely!!!
Hugs!

Katrina said...

That was a great clip, and I agree with you, joy-suckers are not welcome in my house!

I love that last photo of Nella. She is beautiful! :)

Tatum said...

You're amazing! I hate how in thousands of positive and uplifting comments one negative one can bring one down. But don't you let them suck your joy! You're an amazing momma who is such an example for ALL of us. That last picture of Nella is absolutely breathtaking!

Melissa said...

Amen Sister!!! Don't suck my joy either!!!! Everyone deals with their hardships whatever it might be and you can embrace them and make the best of them or you can wallow in self pity and be the negative person no one wants to be around! Not me sister!!! Bring it on!!! Because what doesn't break me will only make me stronger!! Very well said and I'm as fired up as you over those negative attitudes!!

Oh and I'm DYING, D-Y-I-N-G, over that last picture of Nella looking in the mirror!!!!!!!!!!!

Cimone said...

I've been reading your blog for a few months now and I love it but I truly identified with this entry the most. I feel like it woke me up from a long sleep. It reinforced to me that no matter what, we always have the choice to be happy. We can choose to live with a positive attitude. Thank you for that reminder. It has helped to rekindle my belief in moving forward with hope despite life's challenges. Thank you for this and for all the joy you share on this blog. God Bless! - Cimone

MC said...

Kelly Hampton you rock my socks! It steams me that someone is trying to steal your joy. Of course you know what lies ahead and you will face it head on like the trooper you are!

Kristen said...

Totally agree with you...what the heck is the point of telling someone, "Oh, it'll get worse down the road, so don't be so happy."

I mean, really? What in the world is that supposed to accomplish?

God forbid someone, you know, be happy.

/sarcasm

Adrienne said...

So sick of people not living for today!!! My dad (no longer with us) and Bennett have taught me that. You can choose to sit there and worry about what may happen, fret over the statistics, cry over what things may be like or you just freakin' live. Live right now...for today. I choose to freakin' live.

I loved the interview you did and I knew from the get go you'd be an awesome voice for our kids. Keep being joyful!!

Wendy said...

Beautiful post. And the last photo, simply breathtaking.
(And Poppa Rik's comment, I loved, I see where you get your amazing ability to write and communicate from)

Susanne said...

that last picture has to be the cutest one of nella i've ever seen!

Vintage Junky said...

Choose happy :)

And, you SHOULD do an African Drum Class... I took a West African Dance course in college and the drums were the only instrument... those drummers were amazing.

Ellie said...

And this post is exactly why I read your blog: because you are a crap sucker. No matter how crappy my day I'm somehow always smiling after reading your story. So thank you!

mummalove said...

You go girl. Joysuckers beware ;) Their loss.

Love that last photo of Nella - how gorgeous. Happy celebrating the big Two! xx

PB and JS said...

Kelle I loved your story. I love how your honest, and I believe you show both angles well. The pain and joy. I feel sorry for the people who don't know these designer gene babes bring more joy then pain and they just can't see it. It's like they just can't wrap their minds around it and that's too bad! I just love Nella, she's adorable. She brings me joy, and I've never even met her.

Linda said...

Beautiful!!!---both your writing and the ABC piece.

Jen said...

That video was wonderful to hear you talk about Nella and some of the things you experience with her. It made me smile.
A co-worker and I talk about her and the things I have shared from your blog with her. It's wonderful.

Diana Doyle said...

Kelle,

loved the video, your raw emotion and love shines through...made me cry! :)

I like to call people who are negative "energy suckers"...they suck the marrow out of you and really will never 'get it.'

There is ALWAYS hardship in any life...even with a 'normal' child, challenges,just sometimes on a different scale.

However, hardships or grief creates gratitude and growth and appreciation of the beauty in this world.

It opens our eyes to things we never noticed before - I call it "The Gift of Grief" or the gift of challenges as to be your case.

Both your babes are walking, talking reminders not to sweat the small stuff and not to take notice of the energy suckers...

How boring life would be if everything was perfect and there were no speed bumps once in a while...and thats all they are, a bump in this long twisting turning road we call life...

Here's to slaying dragons and sliding down rainbows Kelle! :)

with love
Diana x

ps; love it when you get on your soap box! x

Deanna said...

The thing that ticks me off the most about that comment is that who are they to think that their future looks so much brighter than yours just because theirs DOESN'T include Down syndrome? Really, there's no such thing as a guarantee with ANY child's future, so why do they have the nerve to predict that theirs will be somehow better than yours? I think Nella's future is truly what you make it. And the advances in therapy and such to help our kids are truly amazing, so who made this commenter "god" to proclaim hardship on your daughter's future when the sky is truly the limit on what her life can be like? I love your perspective and your sermon. I completely agree. And that's what we're all trying to do- rid the world of ugly stereotypes like the one strongly present in that comment.

monihope85 said...

'There is reason for everyone to be unhappy. There is reason for everyone to be happy. What's your focus?'

Wonderful and true. And I needed to hear it today!

Debby said...

You did amazing on the special and on this post. As far as the comment.....your title is enjoy the small things......some people don't get it. We have had some nrea comments as well about our son. They make me so mad at the time. When I see these beautiful smiling pictures of Nella, I see a little girl with a big future that is SO loved. And with a big sister that has such a big heart for her little sister. Your family is truly special.

Kathy Radigan said...

Like many people the last picture of Nella made me smile!! She is just so adorable and I'm so happy you all have each other. Thank you. Our daughter has special needs, and her issues are very up right now. My husband and I have always been very positive and grateful that we have her, as well as our two sons. We laugh a lot. But the last few months have been especially hard. It was great to take a breath and read you post, see your wonderful pictures and watch the great piece on ABC. I too prefer to live in joy and find my kids the perfect antidote to any fears of the future I may have, or any stupid comments others may make. I really needed this post today. Enjoy your lovely family!!

Ellen said...

I LOVE that last picture of Nella. Ah. And the one of you two laughing :) Joy-suckers are the worst. I love this post! You are great, Kelle.

Gage said...

I just watched the thing on ABC. Loved it. I remember having very similar feelings when my son was born almost 6 years ago. Anyways, I enjoy reading your blog. I love how positive you are even when there are hardships. It is a great reminder that we can be happy despite what is going on. it's our choice. Thanks
Krista

jcooper said...

That first comment stung hard, it hurt, who does that person think they are to rain on your parade. We would be alot better off if there were more people like you in this world! We all experience hardships in our lives, no matter what the chromosomes, some people just decide to handle them certain ways, You are so strong and continue to inspire us all everyday, so thank you for that! Have a great party this weekend! Love the photo Nella walking toward the water and the last shot of her is beyond words... such innocence, such a sweet little soul she is!

Lindsay said...

I love your enthusiasm and "go at life attitude" that shines through in your writing and photos. This post is awesome -just what I needed to read.

Roksalanna said...

Kelle,
You did such a wonderful job in the interview for ABC as did Cara.
You so beautifully described the journey that you and your family have been on.What shines through so much is the absolute love that you all have for Nella and Lainey.
I love the joy that you appreciate in life and this is passed on to your readers. It reminds us to aim to "suck the marrow out of life". As you said in any situation it is possible to choose to be happy or unhappy. I love the way you'll make the effort to go to the beach to enjoy a sunset when it might seem easier to stay home. Thank you for challenging us to make the most of our lives "our one wild and precious life".
xxxooo

Noah's Dad said...

Kelle,

You go girl! :) You already know this, but you really have to shake the haters off. :)

In the past month since Noah's birth story and website started appearing on various news programs we've gotten thousands of positive messages, and about 4-5 haters. Isn't it funny how you can forget all about the positive messages in the shadow of a few haters. Sad, huh?

We are learning to develop thick skin, which can be hard when someone sends you a message saying, "you're just trying to get rich off of your kid." hahhah/ really? Who says stuff like that to someone? And whose getting rich???

But anyways, we just try our best to shake it off. What we are trying to do is show the world a story that 90% of people who have a choice, decide not to open up. We hope to open the story up for them to see that stories like ours are bad, or sad...they are just different.

Just like every other parenting journey. Different. Unique. No two are the same. Down syndrome, red hair, or freckles. They are all different.

But they are also worth. So, so worth it.

Anyways, I hope you quickly forget about the haters that are out there. Or maybe you remember them in your prayers, because honesty it's sad to think that lives like these aren't worth it.

Thanks for telling your story Kelle. As I said in a recent post, a picture is worth a 1000 words, and with every image that you take, and share, you are telling the world that these kids are worth!

Your fans, and friends
Rick, Abbie, and baby Noah :)

Kristin said...

What an incredible interview that brought tears to my eyes. How blessed Nella is that she chose you for her Mommy. How blessed you are too. You are an inspiration.

Molly said...

Well, I came to leave another message because I just watched the interview. It was wonderful - you were brave, and honest, and an example to us all, no matter whether we walk a "special" path or a path made special simply because we are on it. So there.

And I'll go all Lima Heights on anyone who says otherwise. Even if I'm not sure what that means. ;)

Shannon said...

hallelujah- amen! Keep choosing happiness. There are some people that will never get it, and I feel like I am banging my head against a wall even trying to explain to them what they are missing. I still don't get what is so bad in have a harder road in life. I love me a challenge. And you always grow from it :) Loved your analogies and your video

Shannon said...

Girl. Remember a post from a long time ago.... You were trudging along with a baby, and a sleeping toddler, and you kept repeating: "I'm a Rockstar." You inspire so much, so many, so much love...just from your posts. We all love you & your family. Eff those rude folks. So many of us are behind you, and Nella. ((HUGS)) Chin up, "I'm a Rockstar."

Abby said...

what a gorgeous, moving, amazing piece (the one on ABC). and i LOVE that last photo of Nella!

stardustdawn said...

You. are. amazing! What an inspiration you are to everyone- challenges are a part of life, but that doesn't mean we can't find joy and celebrate it. I am going to print this off and put on my refrigerator, and I hope to live as fully and beautifully as you do. Thank you so much.

MissingMolly said...

You were so fierce in this post, Kelle, and I love it, love it, love it.

I appreciate your perspective, and I've always been a glass-half-full kind of person as well; that is, before I lost my daughter, who also had Down syndrome. I almost died, and though I would have given my life for her, my precious baby did die. On that day, I feel like my joie de vivre was surgically removed along with my baby. It's so, so hard to be happy these days. But I still have hope. That's why I do the hard thing of getting up and living life every day and pushing myself to do more and more. That's why my husband and I are going to try again for a child--a wish we have held dear for many, many years--even though I've been told that it's possible preeclampsia could strike again and I could lose another baby. We are bravely going forth anyway. It takes courage to push on in the face of adversity--I say, "bring it." And you demonstrate that courage every day.

As far as people being "negative": We all are at some point in our lives, I suppose. Hopefully, we face it and move through it and create joy again. There are many people who have experienced multiple tragedies and challenges. If they haven't moved through that dark place yet, if they are still in that lonely, echoing well of despair, please extend compassion rather than pity. We never know fully what someone else is experiencing. It's easy to judge, but we just don't know.

I'm still trying to find my footing again after being knocked down by tragedy. It's hard. I'm trying, really trying, to figure out how to live in this new reality. I miss my Molly girl every minute of the day, and the love and longing I have for her is overwhelming. There will never be a "silver lining" to losing my child, but I search for ways to honor and celebrate her short life. One of the positive ways I'd like to honor her memory is by getting involved in the Buddy Walk this year. I'd like to support the Ds community, and it is also a way I can proclaim, "She was here, and she mattered."

In the meantime, as I move through my dark times, your blog wraps me in a warm blanket. I know I can always come here for inspiration and beauty. Thank you.

Nuna said...

that last picture of nella is just so beautiful! very inspiring post.

Maggie said...

Love the last picture of NElla and everything you said about life is just PERFECTION!!!!

Kathleen said...

Great post. You can only be who you are and Nella can only do the same. Nobody can get you down unless you let them. Having a great birthday party weekend with Nella. The last picture of her is to die for!!

Maggie said...

Hi again. i love the dream necklace from your last post. I can't find it our the website. Has anyone else??

Paula said...

You go girl! Never stop grabbing life by the horns. In doing so, and sharing it with all of us, you are accomplishing much more than the simple things you set out to do. What an inspiration you are Kelle, truly. Thank you.

bINE aSHER said...

Dear Kelle, this is my first comment for you...I admire you...you are so wise,smart,funny,and beautiful!!!I thank God for you and your wonderful talents!
Rock on baby....smiles,from Seattle
Sabine

Kathy G said...

I saw the piece last night and read the comments (not something I usually do) knowing that there would be some "joysucker". I was curious to see if you'd address it- you hit it out of the park. She wouldn't know a unicorn if it bit her on the behind. As always- beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing.

Kathleen said...

Just watched the video. It had me in tears. You did a great job. Nella IS a beautiful, perfect, smart baby. She makes me smile all the time and I only "know" her from your blog.

Katie said...

Oh, that last picture...says so much. Keep making the most out of everyday- you do it beautifully.

Kristen said...

First things first...the pictures are awesome as always but WHOA - that last one of Nella - Ah-maz-ing!

I watched the video, thank you so much for providing the link...and it was so touching and honest. I can't even imagine how much of a difference you are making in the lives of others by sharing your story.

And finally, in all honesty, you know...I actually forget that Nella has Down's Syndrome! When I read about her and see her pictures, I see a vibrant little girl that adores her sister and is so full of life! That, right there, is what your story is about and I thank you wholeheartedly for sharing with the rest of us.

Little For A Little While said...

You say it sister. There is no one else quite like you. You are amazing and powerful and inspiring.

Fay Blythe said...

Thank you- I have been reading this blog for a while now, but recently my 15 month old son was diagnosed with a rare chromosome disorder...we knew something wasn't right, but now we know it will be a lifelong battle. I've been in a fog about it all, and reading this tonight is just what I needed. I choose joy, love, and enjoying all things wonderful about my precious baby boy! So thank you!

Michelle said...

Kelle, marshaMarsha isnt new, and she isnt who she proclaims herself to be. Im about 99% sure she is someone who has done this for YEARS. she hates to see families who have kids with Ds happy...for a reason. It makes her grief and guilt too much to bear, so she has to bash you. Please dont even for a minute think what she said specifically to you and about you was real..it wasnt. shes a hater, and she cannot find joy in her life. I replied to her last night, but my reply was deleted very quickly. I tried to say "this is who she is and why" but she must have complained. You are allowed to love your child, you are allowed to find the joy. I still do, too. And my kid is 13. And by the way, Miss MarshaMarsha was doing the SAME THING to me 10 years ago. ;) water off a ducks back, ok? I kinda like the mama bear. let her roar. ;)

beachbum0407 said...

Kelle - that was a beautiful interview. You've always been incredibly honest about your feelings and this interview was no different. I do have to say though, when I first heard your voice, it wasn't what I expected for some reason, haha :)

jerik said...

I was quite impressed with your appearance on ABC. Very well spoken. I love the blog and miss it when there are no new entries. Your family rocks and I love the little faces

teresa said...

Thank you for your perspective. "Chasing life" is no easy task and you are an admirable woman to be doing it the way you do. I only hope to develop even the slightest bit of strength and joy that you have. Your children are so blessed to have a mama like you and we are ever grateful to you (and Nella!) for showing us how to step out with strength and determination!!

Sabine said...

For one single negative comment you have hundreds of us who support you so very much!
We read every single one of your posts and know that you have a wonderful little treasure that you are willing to share with us: Nella.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU
for your strength, for your stories, for making us part of your day in little ways, for leaving us a space in your picnic blanket.

Sometimes, we might trip over little rocks in our path, but no one trips over mountains! You are a rock-solid momma mountain!

Cathy said...

You and your family are beautiful witnesses for the Culture of Life in our world. Your prolife light shines for all to see! God bless you.

jessica said...

Bravo, Kelle! You are an inspiration to so many of us out here!

Sarah said...

I rarely comment, but that last picture of Nella is my absolute favorite picture you've ever taken. She is beautiful.

Kelly Cach said...

Giddy
Stunned
Speachless
Breathless
....in that order.

Because today I did Nora's hair like Nella's little buns for the 1st time! My little Swiss Miss :)

Because I must be naive. There are really people like that? Still stunned.

Because when I don't have the words, you do. I am so proud of your reaction and I'm following suit :)

Because that last picture literally took my breath away.

***Oh, and I've been known to do cartwheels in the grocery isles....with my kids watching.

Allison said...

What a great piece you did on ABC...loved it!!

mamaathome said...

Well said! I love that your blog gave me a kick in the behind that I so badly needed at this moment. I needed to get over myself and get out of the gray mood that I was in. So thanks! Great great photos as always. Me favourite was the last sunset one! Stunning xxx

mamaathome said...

Well said! I loved you blog. It gave me the much needed kick in the pants that I dearly needed to get me out of this gray mood that I am in this moment. Thanks. Great photos as always, my favourite is the last sunset one. Stunning xxx

Cooking for My Kids said...

I loved this post. I love your honesty. I love your optimism. As a mom raising a son with special needs, I can attest to the fact that it gets better and better every single day. He loves with all of his heart and soul, and it makes everyone around him love the same way. Unicorns and rainbows? Yep, we see them almost every day around here. And, I love reading about someone else who experiences that same kind of joy. Keep spreading that joy, that enthusiasm, that zest for life. Everyone needs more of that and less negativity. We all need more reasons to laugh, love, and smile each day.

sheri said...

I'm sorry someone fired you up, but damn you're good when you're mad. Your writing is always passionate, but that was invigorating. Thanks for baring your soul and telling it like it is. Chase it, sister. It's yours for the taking.

K said...

AMAZING post.

The Martys said...

Your words are amazing!! Beautiful post and inspiring!! Absolutely love the last picture of Nella. Yes, Nella, you are that beautiful. You shine girl!!

Amy

Melissa Wilson said...

I choose happiness.
And I am so glad that you do too.
Thanks for all your positivity and love.

OnCallMom said...

Sing it, sista! I love this post. I always love your writing, even moreso when you're fired up about something. I'm glad you are out there preaching this message!

Oklahoma Mohrs said...

Great post Kelle. Misery loves company, don't pay attention to the haters. I LOVE YOUR BLOG and your outlook on life. You always brighten my day.

Andrea said...

Beautiful coverage by ABC. What a wonderful interview.

Just beautiful Kelle!

Cammie Heflin said...

I just don't get negative people! I guess because I'm usually one of those sickening positive people lol :) My very good friend sells 31 and I feel like a walking advertisement for her, great products! Addy's dance bag matches Lainey and Nella's cinch bags :) Great stuff, beautifully written post, as usual :) As a child once said, "She's being a fun sucking wiener, she sucks the fun out of everything." Way to not let someone get you down!

Barbara said...

My first time here. You put Ellen Seidman to shame. shhh - don't tell her!

Southern Gal said...

No one can suck your joy away. You're too full of joy!

That picture of Nella in the mirror melts my heart.

Southern Gal said...

No one can suck your joy away. You're too full of joy!

That picture of Nella in the mirror melts my heart.

melissa said...

F*!k that commenter! Your optimism and life-ball grabbing are truly inspiring. Keep it up. Your girls are so lucky to have such an amazing and devoted mother.

Kelly Cach said...

"aisle"....I know it's not a big deal, but I hate when I use the wrong form of the word or spell it wrong...haha...I'm a dork.

mommy said...

while watching one of my favorite movie today, Kite Runner, one of the actors said a perfect quote and your blog came to mind - especially after that unbelievable comment made by a mother who should really tape this quote to her refrig - Your children are not coloring books - they cannot always be the colors that you want. Do not let anyone ever suck the colors from you!

RaquelDoesLife said...

You go, girl. Down with naysayers, up with...well...you! And everyone like you.

www.existation.com

Me said...

Some people just suck! Continue to grab life by the balls Kelle!!

1crown3tiaras said...

AMAZING!! xo

aimee jones said...

Best.Post. EVER!!!!!!!!

PrivatelyPublic said...

Love you, Kelle, Ms. "Joan of Freaking Arc". Thank you for your positivity and inspiration. Maybe your inner badass's middle name is Joan. Yep, Millie Joan. Has a nice ring to it. :)

Axel Kussmann said...

Much as I admire Kelle's optimism, as a parent of a child with DS, I think it's actually an absolute necessity. We have to live in the now, because we don't know what the future holds. This is actually true for any parent/child.

People like Marsha (as people have mentioned, her comment was deleted) aren't necessarily overly negative, just not informed about what the emotional reality of being a parent to a child with DS is.

If I drew you a map of your child's future showing that he/she won't become president or cure cancer or be a rockstar, and they will break their leg skateboarding and not have a date to the prom, (maybe I'll give it a name like BS Syndrome) you would be depressed beyond belief. We don't know exactly what challenges Nella, my son or any child will face.

Having children is the ultimate lesson in how you don't control your universe; you don't control exactly when you'll get pregnant or give birth (c-sections excepted), if you'll have a boy or girl... and I'm sure the uncertainty only increases as they get older.

But we can support them through any adversity and celebrate every little victory. It's actually the only way to go.

maryanne said...

I'm sorry that commenter felt the need to say something negative. I love the Sugarland song, "Stand Back Up" which says, in part, "when the darkness tries to get me, there's a light that just won't let me..." (You have to hear the whole thing.) It's not that you don't know where the dark places are, or that you don't visit them from time to time. You just don't choose to stay there. You are all about the light. Shine on, girl. You are changing people's perceptions and making a difference in the world.

A and C said...

Great post and great interview on ABC! You never cease to inspire me

Marjorie said...

amazing, inspiring, beautiful post. thank you.

Noan said...

beautiful, beautiful, beautiful

beth said...

kelle, your writing moves me in ways you'll never know-thank you for being so positive, so real, so freaking AMAZING in the way you grab life by the horns and share it with us. your baby girl is about the sweetest little thang God ever put on this earth. she has captured my (and i'm sure so many other) hearts...she could not be more perfect-in. every. single. way. amen!

jessica dukes said...

what a wonderful piece of love in that peace. nella will look back at that and how special it will be. :-)

Jill said...

So sad that people take the time to leave negative comments- way to go- you addressed it perfectly! I love your positive attitude- It's like a breath of fresh air reading your blog! Can't wait to see the party you planned for Nella!

Sarah B-D said...

love it Love it LOVE IT! You go girl! is all I could think as I read your response to the 'joy sucking' comment. Life and attitudes to it are so much about choices. It's not denying reality to choose a positive approach. I often think of that classic Anne of Green Gables line: "I will not be poisoned by your bitterness". Thanks for inspiring me Kelle, love reading about you and your family.

Christina said...

You are one of my favorite people. I can't tell you how much you inspire me. I don't think I got a chance to say Happy Birthday to Nella...so Happy Birthday Nella!

Jordan said...

Keep on doing those cartwheels Kelle! You are such an inspiration to so many people and I am thankful for you! Yes, the road can be challenging but the views are magical!!

Jill said...

I fucking love you!

Pardon my swearing, but emphasis via a blog comment is hard to express!

Great post. You are awesome. I am awed every time I visit this place.

Denise said...

Oh my gosh that last picture is something. I LOVE it. What a sweet, sweet girl. :)

Hazel said...

Kelle I'm so glad that you get angry and not sad. When I read those comments about you on other sites it just upsets me so, I find it horrid that people can criticise you for being so positive, for wanting the best for Nella, for all of your children.
All I can think is that the people that write the horrid comments must be so threatened by joy, by hope, by love. God knows what's happened to them to make them that way, or whether they're just like that, but I'm so glad that your attitude is to tell them to PO!
They chose to watch the clip, or read your blog, no one is forcing them!

Don't ever change, Kelle your joy is infectious, it's just too bad for the joy-suckers that they've taken a vaccination against happiness!

songskatesang said...

Dear Kelle,
What an honor to be able to watch you. I just think you are a gift to the world.

Thank you,
Kate

Katillia Marie said...

That last picture of Nella made my heart melt! I too hate joy suckers...life is about taking the "bad" and turning it into something beautiful.

sarah said...

AMEN AND AMEN!!!! I am gonna re read this one again and again. Get fired up! Loved seeing this passion without hurting anyone combo. Very timely and encouraging. Keep chasing those rainbows while riding on your unicorn and eating cotton candy!!!!! We're with you! And my unicorn is aqua, with pink and red hair. Boooo-yah!!!

dressesandmesses said...

Just watched your segment. One word: Beautiful!

Thanx for sharing your heart with the world!

dressesandmesses said...

Just watched your segment. One word: Beautiful!

Thanx for sharing your heart with the world!

FashBlaz3 said...

This week has been tough for me,I have been selfish, absorbed in the irrelevant and generally crabby. I needed a reality check, I am a total happy lucky girl that needs to stop being my own joy killer. thanks..you turned me around literally :)

Erin said...

You give me strength on those days when those evil joy suckers reach their way into my mind and start to strangle my future hopes for my daughter. Knowing you, and your blog, and your readers are out there brings me this feeling of hope and support. thank you thank you.
and I gotta comment of that last photo of Nella. such an angel.

melissa said...

DAMN STRAIGHT!!! Nothing worse than joy suckers...they are jealous I tell you, jealous. I told you that a lonnnnnng time ago. You could say half-full or half-empty a thousand times...and they don't get it. Just a much as I LOVE your line: "There is reason for everyone to be unhappy. There is reason for everyone to be happy. What's your focus?" I am a hopeless romantic when it comes to everyone just bein' happy; find the positive in whatever you can. - This is why I say they "don't" get it instead of they "will never" get it. For the most part, I believe anything is possible. Because, otherwise, my life would just be... stale. I had many say I was too old to have one more child. Because of you (no matter how many hardships DS might bring, key word, might, if my baby would've been diagnosed with DS), I trudged forward in fear, but confident, that everything would be okay, regardless if I had a DS child or not. Maybe they felt they were "warning" me, but you know what...in my experience, unexpected blessings are the best! And, GUESS WHAT, the nay sayers were WRONG. As a result, I really feel negativity will always bite someone in the a**! -AND, you won't always see it. You'll see glimpses, but only to reaffirm why staying positive is SUCH THE WAY TO GO. Do NOT let negativity seep into your brilliant life Kelle.
I am sorry if I rambled, but do NOT attack the ones we love! If you do, there is a little known secret: you will look like the silly one in the end, amen.
God Bless you girl!!!!!!!!!!
((HUGS))

Rik said...

The world's embrace must still stretch widely and wisely enough to include the Marsha Marshas. Their lens on life may be so tied to things they have done or decisions they have made that for them to dare to look at life differently would call them to go back and grieve, regret or reject what they have done or been. It will only be light that calls them out of the darkness and love that whispers "see things anew". To be angry at them only gives them power. To feel pity for them only makes them angry. To walk in joy before them is the best...there is a contagion with joy! Nella has taught me of joy.
--Poppa

Melissa@Julia's Bookbag said...

Your blog adds so much to my life Kelle. And your daughters are living, breathing works of art. Such loveliness.

Katie (Mama May I) said...

Oh that last pic of Nella...! You are such a beautiful advocate of life, of living each day fully. Love that!

Amy Chiampo said...

I have been reading your blog for a while now after I read your story in Parents magazine last year. I became a regular reader because I was drawn to your positive outlook and gorgeous photography.I also have a son who is the same age as Lainey. After reading this post, I clicked on the link to your ABC.com story to check it out. I ended up in tears....I am so inspired by your courage to openly and honestly share your feelings.It is refreshing and serves as a good reminder that we are all human....so many people would be afraid to share their feelings the way you have regarding Nella's birth.What a lucky little girl, she could not have asked for a better family :)

Taylor K said...

This is my favorite post that you've ever written. I've bookmarked it and will re-read it when I am reaching for the difficult things I've set my sites on this year. Thank you for being you and for writing so beautifully and honestly. Love to you all. xo.

Emily said...

There are no words to explain how amazing you are, Kelle. With your inspiring posts, your beautiful news piece, and your upcoming book. You rock, girl!

Leonard Family said...

Kelle, you are amazing. I have a major girl crush on you. I discovered your blog about three weeks ago and although I do not have a child with downs, we have several parallels and I feel like you speak to my soul. Thank you for sharing your raw feeling and your life. You are an inspiration and I adore you. Your family is beautiful and I look forward to your blog everyday. Keep enjoying your life and choosing happiness - it really is a choice.

DMK said...

I don't usually comment, but I just had to say Hear!Hear! to this post. You tell 'em, Kelle. If people don't like your optimism then that's their loss. I for one find it pleasantly contagious.

Denise

Toria said...

Oh My Goodness! That last pic i SUPER cute :D

~F~ said...

"Don't suck my joy." Easily one of my favorite things you've typed. Someone fire up the t-shirt press...it's golden!

Gina said...

Your honesty is so beautiful and refreshing, Kelle. I loved the ABC piece, and I love that you have not rewritten the history of Nella's birth.

Sunshine said...

How can anyone look into the love and joy on Nella's face and think negatively? I see her happiness that wells up from a beautiful soul and I smile. You choose exuberant life because it was blessed to you in Nella.

Anna said...

You have such a beautiful story and I loved watching the ABC piece on your family. Thank you for sharing you stories, pictures and experiences with us.

~Anna

Kelly said...

Kelle, I've read your blog (when I have time!) since shortly after the birth of my absolutely beautiful little boy Jamison in February of 2010. I was searching the web in the middle of the night, still trying to digest the words..."your little baby boy has Down Syndrome"...trying to find some good news about this news of ours. I found your blog and devoured every letter of your birth story, and cried with you.
I have no reasons to cry anymore...we have been granted such a wonderful gift! He is the sunshine in our family. ...and yes, I know there may be sadness, difficulty ahead. I'm ready!
My eldest son (20 years old) said, upon hearing that Jamison had DS, "Awesome! I can't wait to see him grow up!" I learned from that expression of love.
Your Nella is an absolutely beautiful and perfect little girl. Her joy shines and reflects in the faces of her family.
Thanks for sharing your life.
Kelly

Michelle said...

This post is absolutely beautiful, the response to the continuously frustrating remarks, the absolutely beautiful picture of Nella and Lainey together and the interview have me with tears running down my face. This world has so much to learn from the way you are living, the love you are giving. Thank you for the daily reminders of all the grace in our lives. <3

kell.magee said...

just wanted to say great job on the interview with ABC. i don't know how you held yourself together as well as you did. you are such an amazing and strong woman who is such an inspiration to me. thanks for all that you do and happy birthday nella.

Snippets said...

Nella is beyond beautiful, Kelle. You are so lucky to have the little ray of light in your life that she brings, and I feel blessed that you share that with all of us. So many times I've had a bad day, read your blog, and you cant help but smile when you see photos of that little happy face.

That ABC story made me bawl, but they were happy tears. I love the way Lainey loves and I think we all could learn something from that, nasty video commenter included!

MsPIsMe said...

Ef the haters Kelle .... you & your family rock it out & take life by the horns - bugger anyone who doesn't get that. ;)

ESMERALDAS HJERTE said...

Dearest Kelle!
I`ve wanted to leave u a message for some time now, so here it comes:) I found this wonderful tresure of a blog a year ago, and ive been here a lot...And i keep thinking; what a BEAUTIFUL heart of yours!!!! WOW! And you touch me deeply...its all about finding pieces of ourselves in other peoples eyes and souls...And in a strange way I feel related to you(I am a norwegian living up north in Norway:)"listening" to your thinking and analysing of life..I`ve boldly copied your words from one of your previous posts about "notising" yourself...I`ve put a note on my bathroom-mirror saying: "I noticed myself today, something that i have forgotten to do lately"..Remember you wrote those words? They touched my soul, and they put a smile on my face every day:)..How beautiful is`nt that? Beeing a blessing to Elisabeth in Norway that you don`t know?:) You choose life, every day- and you seem to live your own happiness...And thats wery encouraging to me:)

Many thankyous and love fra Elisabeth; Trondheim, Norway

Claire @ Scissors Paper Rock said...

Boo to the joy suckers! But a big cheers to you Kelle. You, your family, your story has changed this world for the better. You have made such a positive impact on the parenting world & for that I applaude you. Keep on Joan of Arcin' coz your joy is contagious & I want to share it with you....not suck it from you! xx

Becky said...

Amen sister!!!!!!

Kathryn said...

I cried the entire 5 minute video. I always cry when Mummas talk about their babes.

Julie H. Schaal said...

Last picture is so beautiful! Joy suckers will not be tolerated!

Michelle said...

Once again tears while watching video. Your honesty is commendable!
You go girl! And to all the haters
I send out my thoughts and prayers because they obviously need some!

kmrf said...

I just finished watching the video on ABC news. I know this sounds crazy because I don't know you personally, but I LOVE YOU. Thank you for choosing Joy, Thank you for choosing life and wonder. It is a choice guys. Always will be. My Dad has Parkinson's disease but right now he can still chop wood, fish, play with his grandkids and do most everything He likes to do. I know things will get worse. The shaking is getting worse everyday and His tremors do not respond to meds. He has a clotting diorder so brain surgery is not a good option. But right now, I am soaking him and his joy for life up every time I can. The best place to live is in today, it's not denial it's reality.

Beverly said...

I love that last photo of Nella and I always enjoy pics of Lainey and Nella together. They look like they just love each other soooooooo much. I love your personality! Your family is so lucky to have you in their lives. It's just one of the reasons I love your blog. I admire you so much. Congrats on reaching your goal with 2 for 2. I knew you would.

Cathy said...

One of your best posts EVER! You go girl (that saying is probably very dated.) Choose your happiness and go for it. You are my hero and have helped me with focus for today! Thanks so much and have a great day with that sweet family

Cathy said...

One of your best posts EVER! You go girl (that saying is probably very dated.) Choose your happiness and go for it. You are my hero and have helped me with focus for today! Thanks so much and have a great day with that sweet family

Lisa said...

You have this way of saying the things that I believe in and aim for in my own life, but so much better than I could express them. Thank you.

Jen said...

I absolutely adore you Kelle!!!

The Esquivel Family said...

It’s sad to think of those that don’t allow themselves to live a happy life, but there is not much you can do for them really. I find your blog Kelle, very inspirational and sometimes I “need” to read your blog to find other ways I can put my nurturing mother skills to even better use; to help me be an even better mother. I think the devotion and passion you show towards your children is admirable and makes me want to be that much better with my own children. Cheers to living a life full of joy, laughter, hugs, kisses, dreams come true. Oh, and that last picture of Nella, it speaks! Amazing :)

Two-Ones said...

It's so beautiful to see Nella walking. She is strong & determined... she is Joan of Arc! Your ABC piece was beautiful, moving, tear jerking... you are giving the world such an amazing gift with your words about family, life and passion!

Audrey said...

Kelle, I absolutely love your attitude toward life. You are an inspiration to many! Don't ever let those negative naysayers bring you down!

Kerry said...

You are amazing. You are honest and brave and you opened up your heart and your life to share with others your journey - your ability to be completely vulnerable in your honesty is a gift.
And BTW, the last picture of Nella took my breath away - astoundingly gorgeous!

Daniele said...

Your video made me cry....you go Kelle, love you

Jes said...

I think it is important to always strive for a positive outlook on life. You only live once... you might as well make it as enjoyable as possible!

P.S. I absolutely love that last picture of Nella!

moplans said...

"and that's why we went to the beach'
love it Kelle
seize the day

Anna said...

This is one of my favorite posts by you so far. I love that you focus on the good in life. I love that you choose joy over sorrow and fear. Live in the moment, Sister. Keep doing what you do best, which is raising a happy, healthy family and bringing sunshine into the lives of your family, friends and readers.

TBPenn said...

Kudos!!! You rock... And so does your family! I totally agree that ill-spirited commenter... Aka 'energy vampire'... Can suck it! The strong will only get stronger... And that's how we make life the greatest it can be! My son Carson is pure joy... And we will continue to thrive on that inspite of any challenges. Love to you all... And I hope that commenter can find some inspiration someday in what you are donig and sharing! xoxoxo

svp said...

What a great post. You have a way with words that grabs my head out of the fog and wakes it up! So, so, encouraging lady! Hugs :)

thedreamcalledlife said...

I was just thinking- I bet your parents are so proud of you. I'm proud of you, and I don't know you! Everything you said is completely valid. The way that you're living despite the challenges you're in right now and the challenges to come is the right way to do it; you can't just sit there and languish, anticipating the bad times. That's not good for you OR your kids. And imagining if you were my kid (30 years from now, since mine are still babies!) and watching my kid taking on life like you are, I just wanted to say- I'd be very proud. Good job, Kelle.

-Lela

HJM said...

I loved what you said here: "It is in that fear--that breathtaking exhileration of "What If?"--that you rise to the occasion." Perfect. So inspiring. Thank you!

Andrew's Mom said...

Oh be still my beating heart!! That last pic of Nella is AMAZING!

Jennifer said...

Kelle, the ABC piece is beautiful. I started reading your blog right after Nella was born, and what drew me in so strongly was your honesty about your feelings -- your grief, your anger, your guilt. I was drawn to the ABC piece for exactly the same reason. I'm so happy for you and your family. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Julia said...

Well I watched the ABC video and lost it... its beautiful. What a blessing Nella has been - not only to your family but for everyone!
And screw the joy suckers - I honestly think that those people are so unhappy with their own lives that they feel the need to spread their misery on others.

Donna said...

Your family is adorable and precious beyond words. The interaction between your two little angels is heartmelting. I just discovered you recently through your ABCNews article (as I'm sure many other have done as well). I'm glad to be able to "accompany" you on your journey as you go, and I feel like it's making me a better Mom to watch you handle your own challenges with the grace that you do.

Charla Liedahl said...

I'm pretty sure this is my favorite post of yours that I've ever read. I rarely comment, but just had to let you know I'm on your team. The Bible tells us to "Count it all joy..." and you do, so well. Thanks for sharing today. Oh, and give little Nella a squeeze for me. She makes my heart light.

mrszimm said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I love the way you focus on the things that hold you together and not what could tear you apart.

And, that last picture of Nella...to die for.

Blessings xoxoxo

Monique said...

...Oh little MS. Nella...how I adore that last photo of you! "Have a lovely time at your tea party" (said in an English accent) :)

Kelle...I SO needed this post right at this moment in my day/life!! What do I love about right now?...your perspective on life, on challenges, on choosing happiness and your wild and passionate chase to tackle life!! Thank you for the inspiration. Life is Grand-the heartaches and the triumphs!! You ROCK...BIG time!!

Happy celebration to you and your family!
Congrats on 2 for 2!!

Monique

Rebekah said...

AH, that last image is so timeless...love it!!

Lea said...

Really, really beautiful post. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It was all inspiring and moving. Thank you.

LoriAngela said...

So touched by your interview. I find strength in your daily photos of a person with Down Syndrome enjoying a wonderful life in normal situations. This is a light in the darkness.

Monique said...

...you are so lucky to have her...
I just watched the video clip from ABC. I have always admired your raw honesty from the first time I read your blog starting with your post on Nella's birth. You are an incredible woman, an amazing mother and yes...Joan Of Freaking Arc!!! You are making the world aware of the beauty the lies behind that magical extra chromosome...

Monique

Kristin said...

Loved watching the ABC piece! It's awesome that you look so positively on down syndrome.

Jenn-Neal said...

I love, love, love that last picture of Nella looking at herself in the mirror! She is SO precious and beautiful. I look forward to reading your blog. Thank you for linking the ABC special. I loved watching it and seeing the emotion that you feel for your daughters. I feel it through your words when you write. Thank you for allowing me a glimpse into your beautiful life. Your family inspires me to be a better Mom and person.

Laura said...

Oh that was a beautiful video...I am in tears. I just love the picture of Nella and Lainey in their cars. What a special bond your girls have. You are all so lucky to have each other. Bless you and your family.

Andrea C said...

Well said! insert round of applause.. I hate the NAY breakers too!
I have read your blog for about a year and a half now and your words, your daily "ordinary life" inspire me.

Happiness is... said...

Fuck yeah sister. Go and live it. Ignore the joy suckers.

I've been reading "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp - and I can't put it down. It's very good. All about thankfulness and joy. You would love it and scream "AMEN!" every few seconds.

Suck the marrow out of every moment tomorrow; it will be a beautiful celebration for sure. You're an inspiration for so many of us - as a mother, a woman, and as a creative monster.

-Jennifer

Wesley said...

Kudos to you for staying positive and always looking for the good in tough situations. I thought your article/video with abc was great and you were very raw and honest about your experience as a new mother to a child with Down Syndrome. I love how it has changed your perspective and allowed you to grow as a person and as a family. Nella is beautiful and there is a LOT to celebrate!

joellevandyne.com said...

I've been wondering about Ginger after seeing her photo in a few of your posts! Is she a poodle? I was wondering what type of dog she is- she is SO cute.

Also, I just love this quote from your post: "There is reason for everyone to be unhappy. There is reason for everyone to be happy. What's your focus?" So much so that I wrote it on a little slip of paper and tacked it up in my office.

Marietje Pieters said...

Life is just too short for joy sucking! I always see the good things and I'm optimistic for the future.... The title of your blog tells enough: Enjoying the small things... I kinda feel sorry for joy suckers....

Colorado Mom said...

Amen sister! No joy suckers allowed here either!

Jen said...

Kelle I just wanted to add after clicking back on your "statistics" link and reading yet another beautiful post you wrote....my 25 year old brother-in-law was killed several years ago. He left my sister a very young widow with a 5 month old baby. After that I learned to look at life differently. The odds are no more stacked against Nella than they are anyone else. Life is unpredictable, precious and short. All we can do is hold on to the here and now and love each other with all we have.

Love your posts and love you!!!!

Meg said...

DAMN STRAIGHT!

love this.

Arizona said...

Kelle, you are such an inspiration to me. This post is exactly what I needed. Lately, I've been overwhelmed & more often than not, just seem to focus on the negative things. I forget that I'm not the only person with negative, stressful things going on in my life. So thanks for always reminding me to enjoy the small things. And you better believe I am now focusing on all the reasons to be happy. Screw those joy-suckers ;) Reading your blog and seeing your awesome pictures is the highlight of my week. I'm sure you hear this non-stop, but thanks for sharing your story.

Ryan said...

Some streaming thoughts ...
1. Your blog continues to inspire me like nothing else I have ever found! Lovely!
2. Your photos continue to amaze me and make me strive with my own camera.
3. You are so right about going for great and choosing to be happy - I just want to high-5 and say 'you go girl'
4. I am jealous of your trips to the beach in February!
5. Happy Friday!

Crystal said...

That last picture of Nella in the mirror... OMGoodness gracious alive! Love it.

I watched your piece on ABC more than once. Made me cry each time. You just have such a way of taking rain and turning it into something so good.

I saw the first comment and I thought to myself.... really, people are still saying ignorant crap. It blows my mind. Who pissed in her Wheaties?

I am so glad you shared your feelings here. It is so honest. No matter the hardship in life and the rainbows and unicorns we find, the fact that ignorance is still there is apparently real.

It is refreshing in a way to see your emotions in it all. 'Cause Lord knows we've all been there. Just when we think we are strong, someone comes along and tries their darnedest to piss in our Wheaties.

Thanks for ALWAYS keeping it real.

Sonja said...

Wow, I loved the tv segment. So well done, and you were so well-spoken. Great job!

Maggie said...

I like to see you fired up! You are rocking the boat and challenging the Negative Nancys out there. Keep it up, Kelle!

Oh, and Nella in the mirror is a little bit of perfection.

Ana MarĂ­a said...

You are a strong woman and my inspiration.

I love th cinch bags! But I need a consultant ID to buy them. Do you have one?

Just Glory said...

One of your BEST POSTS EVER. I can't stand joy suckers. We all struggle daily to find as much positivity as we can, and it is a CHOICE to embrace what you have and run with it or spend your time futilely sulking about what you don't have or you can't change. Continue to celebrate EVERYTHING you possibly can- life will add plenty of worry and fear and heartache on it's own- but the celebrations are our way of choosing to keep our chins up and keep marching forward.

Jess said...

Bravo Kelle!!! Another beautiful post! If it makes you feel any better I am mad at "that comment" too;) Oh, those joy-suckers. You keep on living life as you do, it is a tremendous example to your girls and everyone around you. Yes, things there will be hardships for Nella and your family but LIFE is full of hardships and hurdles and obstacles. NO ONE knows what is around the corner for anyone. . . especially not commenter number 1 on your ABC news piece!! Nella and Lainey are BEAUTIFUL and will have a BEAUTIFUL life because of what you are teaching them about living life. Enjoy your celebration this weekend! I can't wait to see the birthday party post:)

Genia & Shaylon said...

Wow, I didn't finish reading this post the first time because I was so busy. I am so glad that I did. I loved the interview you did with ABC, love the pictures of the kids, and adore the last picture of Nella. This might be one of my favorite posts. You go mama!

ourwaytoeat.com said...

When I first read your blog, it was one of those things that was almost too painful. I read the birth story and I couldn't imagine facing that news and that life. But I was drawn back and in reading only a few entries, you managed to change my entire view of how I would respond to the news that I was having a child with Downs Syndrome. I used to think I wouldn't do it, and now I think that when you decide to have a child, you having whatever child you have. There is always NOT knowing what the challenges are. Any child could get cancer, depression, you name it. Its a risky business, opening yourself up to all of the things that could happen with children, relationships, LIFE. But the alternative? Try to protect yourself and miss out on all of this? I have been inspired to blog more, by your wonderful blog. I look forward to reading your blog every day. Not necessarily because of Nella, though she is a smile inducing part of the entire gorgeous, funny, REAL picture you paint. The life you share is beautiful, and I love your photos, your sassy writing and that your blog reminds me every time I read it that THIS ISN'T A DRESS REHEARSAL. Take the risk. Share the post. Open yourself up to all of the risks and rewards. I appreciate the reminder to dive headlong into life. Thanks for sharing the beauty that you could keep to yourself. P.s. The ABC news peice was great! Tears in my eyes. I am sometimes surprised to hear someone speak who normally I only hear through writing. You are so genuine, your voice comes through the same way in the way you talk and blog. Keep going Woman. You are an inpiration to us all. Meg www.ourwaytoeat.com

kdactyl said...

Just watched the clip...and even though I have followed you since Nella was born and all you said was not new to me...I found myself welling up with emotion...because as a mother myself...I could totally relate to your first feelings as well as how you feel about some of those today. Loved it and pretty much all your blog entries.
kd

Andrea said...

I love the picture of Nella walking. You can tell the shear joy she gets from taking steps all on her own. She is so proud of herself and it shows so well in this photo. Beautiful photo of a beautiful moment. Definitely one for a frame.

Pamela said...

Amen Sista!! Life will always pose challenges, fears, and curve balls. It is the love in the small things that makes life so big! Wishing you all the joy in the smallest of moments and in the biggest of challenges.

Nf1andprek-whisper said...

Nella in the mirror.. needs a frame.. love it... I still want to send you things I made for the girls.. can you get a P.O BOX>.. lol
I learned alot about gratitude..and I think you know the road could get hard.. down the road.. and the things people say to you... would get me angry too.. I know you look at things positively..even if there is some saddness... and I think that is commendable... Feeling gratitude and blessed..is the way we move on...and people who stay negative a lot.. get negative in return.. it's the law of attraction.... they should google it.. LOL
KElle you inspire

lar said...

It's hard to believe someone would leave a comment like that--do they think you have a choice? What are you going to do, just . . . not parent your child? Do it grudgingly and miserably and be unhappy every single day? Ridiculous.

I myself have known sadness and hardship and even now am in the middle of a very hard time. This world is not perfect, and God never promised that our lives here would be easy or that he would take away pain if we just asked. What He DOES promise is peace, and the strength to get through whatever life throws at us. And it sounds like you have that peace, and that strength, and you know that He'll keep providing it no matter what may come your way.

Betsi* said...

Thank you for this! It was just the shot in the arm I needed after a rough day with autism.

emily said...

Way to rock it Kelle and always make the choice to live life completely. Your girls see it. Your readers see it. And it's appreciated and motivating.

L.o.v.e. the last photo of Nella.

nhoines said...

I LOVE the picture of Nella in your bathroom in front of the mirror - it's perfect and she is so beautiful! I, for one, am glad you choose to be happy despite challenges. You are an inspiration to so many people, so keep doing what you are doing and living life your way - it's a great way! :)

Carrie said...

You are right, you are so so right. We need to choose joy, no matter what kind of hardship is down the road. What a stupid comment by that person...NONE of us know what is coming!! The world could end tomorrow, so why not live today? You have such a wonderful attitude towards everything, and I know that rubs off on your girls. Nella is probably going to have an easier path than some, if only because of YOUR attitude of joy, which translates to HER attitude of joy. She seems so full of love, life and happiness that that rubs off on all who know her. We love you and your sweet family. Thanks for bringing joy to OUR lives :)

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