Monday, October 1, 2012

October

October is Down syndrome Awareness month. I want to take this opportunity first to thank all of you. It’s a funny thing how this blog community has become what it is. I assume you, like myself and many others, visit a blog because you relate to the story in some way or maybe you’re intrigued by a different way of living. Many of you first visited this site through the story of Nella’s birth, and if you were reading back in the early months of 2010, perhaps you remember more vulnerable posts when therapy visits to our home were a big deal and “Down syndrome” was still hard to say. It’s not like that anymore, and the blog—like our life—has “moved on” if you will.

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That isn’t to say we aren’t still vulnerable or afraid or that Down syndrome doesn’t present challenges along the way. I think every one us of has a great pool of vulnerability that dwells within. It is transposed through various experiences throughout life—through hardships, through parenting, through our marriages, through relationships with our parents, our friends, and most importantly our deepest self. The presentation of Down syndrome in my life has awakened some of my vulnerabilities—vulnerabilities we share—and many of those will probably never go away. Some of you may have had vulnerabilities stirred up through welcoming a child with special needs or losing a parent or facing illness or having your heart broken or maybe simply by welcoming a child period and all of a sudden experiencing a tidal wave of emotions you’ve never felt before—love so great that you’re terrified of losing it.

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I like to tap into those relatable issues a lot in my thinking because I am fascinated with just how many commonalities we all truly share. As much as we love to be unique and we make efforts to stand out as different through our style, our home decorating, our thoughts and ideas, we cannot escape the fact that at our core, we are the same. We are human. We want to be loved, we want to feel safe, we want to be heard, we want to contribute, we want to be happy. All of us.

I have no mission statement for the blog because my brain is far too scattered to ever be summarized into one sentence. But if I had to choose something for this space it would simply be Welcome to Enjoying the Small Things. We might look different than your family, we might believe differently, we might raise our kids differently, and we might choose priorities that are different than yours. But really, we are the same. I hope you feel that and I hope that fact makes you feel welcome and accepted and encouraged to live your one wild and precious life. And if we approached every one we ever met with that philosophy, I think the world would be a kinder, gentler, more understanding place.

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As far as Down syndrome is concerned, I hope that in visiting this blog over time, stereotypes regarding individuals with special needs are dissolved. I hope you see Nella as a child first—a free-spirited child who loves her baby dolls and her sister and being hugged by her mama; a child whose wonder of the world is so rich right now that she wants words and explanations and exposure to every good thing the world has to offer. And then I hope you walk away from this blog and that you have the opportunity to meet many others with Down syndrome or Cerebral palsy or Autism or Turner syndrome or Prader-Willi syndrome or chromosomal deletions and that you remember we are all the same. We want to be loved, we want to feel safe, we want to be heard, we want to contribute, we want to be happy. All of us. I hope you use your own vulnerabilities in life to connect with others' vulnerabilities.  Wonder what it would be like to have what society has labeled a "disability" and think about how you would want to be treated and valued.  Teach these lessons to your kids. Every day. Teach them that though we are different in brilliant and beautiful ways, we are really all the same.

Tell your kids it’s Down syndrome Awareness month. Find a Buddy Walk near your home and take your entire family to it. Show your kids this video and talk to them about how we celebrate differences (for little kids, this video is a wonderful place to start!). And please, if you do anything this month—make efforts to stop the use of the word “retard” and "retarded" in your family’s vocabulary. Comparing even your own absent-minded actions to a word originally intended to classify individuals with mental disabilities is incredibly hurtful to the families who love someone with special needs. I hear it every time it's said--in conversation, on television, when people don't even know I'm listening.  I know you're not talking about my child, and I know that you are kind and accepting of others' differences.  I understand it takes a while to dispose of a word that has for so long been accepted in our society.  But know that it stings to hear that word.  It stings to have that painful part inside you that's on alert to defend your child flare up and remind you that there's a bad word that people use to make fun of your beautiful, wonderful, capable child. Please think about that.  Talk to your children about this word and ask them to confidently stand up to their friends who use it.

I may not talk about Down syndrome a lot on the blog because our blog is a “life blog,” and our life extends far beyond Down syndrome. However, there's a message about Down syndrome that I believe breathes true in every post: we have differently abled children, and each of them contribute so much joy to our home.  I don’t want to forget that the opportunity of having a child with Down syndrome and educating others is a gift. I want to do the gift right.

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If there’s something about Down syndrome you’d like to know or if you’d like to hear more about an area of our life regarding Down syndrome and Nella’s progress, the future, etc. that I haven’t shared, please leave a comment on this post. This month of Down syndrome awareness is a great time to address some of these issues and how we, as a community, can help raise awareness. I’m happy to collect some of your questions and answer in a post later this month.

Again, thank you for reading and for celebrating the ways in which we are both different and alike. Thank you for all the love you've expressed for Nella and our family.  So many of you have written to me with your stories of how your perceptions have changed, and those e-mails mean so much to both our family and our community.

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The longer we listen to one another - with real attention - the more commonality we will find in all our lives. That is, if we are careful to exchange with one another life stories and not simply opinions.  ~Barbara Deming

*****
SoCal readers, our family will be in San Diego to photograph the new Infantino/Step 2 "Everybody Plays" campaign the week of October 15th. I'll be doing a reading/discussion/book signing at 7:30 p.m. on the evening of Wednesday, October 17th at the Mira Mesa Barnes and Noble in San Diego (10775 Westview Parkway).  I'd love to meet you and your family.  Come on out!

*****

And finally, introducing a new sponsor this month: Independent Origami Owl Designer, Deb Oliver.  Origami Owl was started by a 14-year-old girl, Isabella, who set out to make enough money to buy herself a car by her 16th birthday.  Now the business offers a chance for many other women to help support their families by selling lockets that tell stories.  Each locket can be customized with charms that represent your family, your hobbies, your passions.  Deb created a locket for me with a camera, a typewriter, a "love" charm and three gems--two pink and one blue for the little boy on the way. 

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Check out the collection of lockets and charms available through Deb's site. 

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One comment on this post will be chosen (through random.org) to receive a free customized locket, courtesy of Deb Oliver.

670 comments:

1 – 200 of 670   Newer›   Newest»
sunnyday525 said...

Hi - I have a question about Down Syndrome, and maybe you can answer it in a future post. I've tried to google this, but haven't been able to find an answer that I can disect in plain English. Are there different degrees of Down Syndrome, like there are with autism? Is it a diagnosis that has a "spectrum"? And if so, where does Nella fall on the spectrum? Thanks.

Catrina said...

Your blog (and you!) have blessed me in seeing kids with Down Syndrome differently. I also know another little girl, named Celeste, the daughter of my youth pastor, who has also worked to open my eyes to Down Syndrome. Both Nella and Celeste have blessed me more than they will ever know. I held Celeste in the nursery yesterday, and she snuggled into my shoulder. My heart melted. They are beautiful.

Sarah said...

You have definitely blow stereo types out of the water. I don't think anyone has a choice but to fall in love with Nella once they visit your blog. You are such a good momma and I'm so thankful she has your family to raise her up =)

- Sarah
agirlintransit.blogspot.com

Claire said...

I love how much I learn from your blog. :)

Jenny said...

Love your family!!

Bianca said...

I am coming to your book signing! I'm excited to meet you and let you know how much I enjoyed your book. See you soon!

Meghann Rollinger said...

In your book you talk about how your older sons first reacted to the news of Nella's Down Syndrome. How are they doing?

Lee Ann said...

Love this post. Beautiful words, beautiful girl xxx

Andrea said...

Thank you for this post! Thank you for sharing your family!

linda t said...

OMG! LOVE THESE LOCKETS!!
And I love your blog and your commitment to teaching us about Down Syndrome. Blessings galore to you and your precious family!

Andrea said...

love her little mocasins. they are adorable.

love reading your blog, it's like a breath of fresh air every time.

Alzbeta said...

Life is beautiful :).

Abigail... said...

I've been reading your blog for a while now, but now that I am going through my own Life Changing Season, I love it all the more... Thank you for your words, your pictures and your own story of Hope.
http://abigailsday.blogspot.com

Tiffany said...

The pictures are amazing as always, and while I have no question (right now anyway). I just want to say that all I see when I see pictures of Nella is a beautiful, happy little girl.

Erica said...

Those are really cute and different! Thanks for sharing! Me and my SIL did a Buddy Walk last year in COllege Station, TX!

lovemy3 said...

It is truly amazing how life at first revolved around DS. Now, it is all just life!

Becky said...

Amazing words, as usual, Kelle. Your blog is changing lives!

dtrujillo said...

For me....they are Angels....

Ashley said...

are you doing a walk for nella again this year!?

christina said...

You're a good egg, Kelle.

Kristen said...

Love this post. And I love Nella's little moccasins, so adorable!

Rach ♥ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Megan said...

Love reading your blog. You have taught me so much, from little things to even bigger than I imagined things. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Ashley said...

Wonderful post, I don't have any specific questions but I"m anxious to read the blog post with the question and answers, just to learn more.
Thank you for all you share.
Ashley
ashleyandcraig@msn.com

Victoria @ One Crafty Momma said...

I usually don't comment - but I want you to know what an inspiration you are to so many people!

Anne said...

I hope you don't mind, I used the part of your post about taking the word retard out of ANYONE's language on FB (credited, of course). I have ADULT friends and family who still find that acceptable, and I wanted to make sure I could reach as many people as possible. I love your blog, and your growing family is so sweet.

The Sumulong 3 said...

Great post, Kelle! I particularly love what you say: we are the same, we are all human and we all want to be loved. If we could just remember that mantra everyday, the world would be a better place. I enjoy reading your blog and sharing in the joy of Miss Nella. I've got my own joy at home--3 year old Owen who rocks his extra chromosome too!
--Stephanie www.thesumulong3.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

You've done many a great favor by showing us a world of inclusion! Thank you for that!

Melissa Marie said...

Another great post! Thank you :)

Books at The Paperhouse said...

"I want to do the gift right." Oh, mama, that was beautiful.

Lovely post, as usual.

Big hugs to you and your family ~
Devon

Amy said...

Love this, thanks for sharing. I also hate the R word and cringe when I hear it. I make an effort to stop people I know from using it.

Caroline McGraw / A Wish Come Clear said...

Thank you, Kelle, for sharing Nella's beautiful stories, and for encouraging us all to look beyond what 'divides' us and turn instead to what we share in being human. <3

Katy Allgood said...

By the way, love Nella's moccasins. :)

Teresa said...

I love reading your blog. Every time I see pictures of your girls. I just see two beautiful sisters. It's not until posts like today's that u remember that Nella has special needs. You do a fantastic job of presenting her and Lainey as great sisters and nothing more.

Alison said...

This is one of my very favorite blogs!!!

Jennjilla said...

I love your kind spirit. Your blog makes my heart happy every time I read it. :)

Monique said...

Thank you for sharing your family with us. :-) My eyes and heart have been opened more than you know.

Lisa Johnson said...

I ♥ the way you write and the powerful gift you have of using words in carefully crafted ways that make such an incredible impact. What a neat and cutomized charm necklace. Thanks for a generous giveaway!

tricia*kushman*anderson said...

wonderfully said, as always. xo

Jenn said...

I have found so much inspiration from you. Thank you go sharing yourself, your family, your passion for life.

judy said...

Thank you for your blog..you have made me a more caring person .

Kristi said...

I was one of those readers who came to your blog through Nella's birth story. I can clearly remember crying with you as you expressed yourself so beautifully. Nella is simply gorgeous & such a joy to watch grow up! Thank you so much for sharing that with all of us. My question is about your day-to-day (or weekly? monthly?) things that have to do with down syndrome: do you do therapy? Is there a 'plan' like there is with autism?

meganm said...

I love Nella's moccasins, I'm kinda jealous that I don't have some...... is that a bad thing to say lol

meganm said...

I love Nella's moccasins, I'm kinda jealous that I don't have some...... is that a bad thing to say lol

Christie said...

I have learned so much from you and your family and I thank you for sharing your journey. As a mother of a child with special needs, I am starting to learn to let go and "enjoy the small things."

Rach ♥ said...

Hi Kelle
I have been a reader since a couple of weeks after Nella's birth story was posted. I am a student midwife here in the UK and your blog post was posted as a topic of interest on a midwifery forum I use.
I just wanted to say how much your blog has affected my practice... I can truly say that it has changed the way I practice/want to practice when I qualify. When I was applying for a place on the course I often wondered how I would approach it when I helped a woman birth a baby - or indeed if I had one myself- who you were visually able to 'tell' with. After reading your honest account of Nella's birth and becoming an everyday reader I can say wholeheartedly that I feel much more prepared for this, and on a personal note would has totally changed my opinion on how I would deal with it if my child had it - I am ashamed to say that I previously thought I wasn't strong enough to deal with this if it was thrown at me; you have changed that in me.
Keep on writing, your blog has taught me so much and I look forward everyday to reading about Lainey and Nella and this soon to be sweet boy of yours.
xxx
PS. I know there's no questions for you, I just felt it was a good time to express how much your blog has done for me and how much I enjoy reading it!

Katie said...

What a beautiful post (and beautiful girl!).

LooLeigh's Charm said...

I have always had a special place in my heart and have taught my children to be respectful of all children and not to use certain words improperly. But your blog has expanded my heart. I owe it all to you for showing your life with Nella. When I see a child with down syndrome, I don't think "down syndrome" anymore. Thank you Kelle.

Ms. Pollywog said...

I am falling more in love with your blog (and Nella, if I am being honest) with every post I read. What an awesome necklace!!! Love it.

Frost Cake Co. said...

Kelle - I read your blog without seeing any differences - just that we are moms trying to do the best for our families. I have a 3 and 1 year old and everyday I try to "enjoy the small things". Thank you for your honest, funny, emotional and sincere posts. I love following your words and try to put so many of them into action. ~ Kristie

CB_Wilson said...

Love seeing Nella in her own little world playing! So cute!!!

Lioness said...

I LOVE reading your life stories. so real and so raw. thank you for your openeness and sharing your life and thoughts!

Jennifer said...

I cry often when reading your blog posts - I cry of happiness in relating it to my own family and how much I love my kids - your words are so well spoken and it puts me in such a good mood :) Thank you for all you do without even knowing it....even over here in chilly Canada !

Kelly B said...

We are human. We want to be loved, we want to feel safe, we want to be heard, we want to contribute, we want to be happy.

So true. I think sometimes we focus on making our kids feel safe, loved, heard, and happy, and forget about the contribution they are trying to make. Hmm.. we maybe do that with grow-ups, too. Good summary of the human condition. And as always, thanks for sharing your family life & your beautiful Nella.

Heather said...

This makes me smile. Thank you, for being you while at the same time being all of us. :~)

Amy said...

I loved your words today~ my heart smiled through the whole post.

KarenHable said...

I am happy (and teary-eyed) almost every time I read a post. And I always, always feel better about the world.

stvchik said...

I just love your writing. Never stop.

Michelle said...

Beautiful post and I especially loved these photos of Nella!!!

Jennifer said...

Your blog has opened my eyes to Down Syndrome in a way I never would have experienced without it. I have learned so much! If I had a question, I guess it would be about Nella's speech. What does she say? Does she talk a lot? I would love to hear her little voice. She is so precious! Oh and I thought of another one...are most children who have DS mainstreamed in the classroom at school? Will Nella go to Kindergarten with her peers? Thanks!

Misty said...

I LOVE your blog, and I loooove those lockets!!

Sarah said...

You are certainly "doing the gift right." :)

Tara and Nick said...

love the locket!!

Kelly said...

Great post Kelle! We had our Down Syndrome awareness walk yesterday with 2,000 walkers!

Rose said...

I did first come to this space through Nella's birth story posted to a parenting forum I am a member of ... and I'm so very glad I did. Every post you write that I read I really do feel the same - but different. You hit the nail on the head ... we are all mums trying to do the best for our brood whatever choices our experience leads us to. Yours was the first blog I ever read and since then I have been awestruck by the wealth of spirit I have found in the blogosphere. I feel connections with so many amazing women such as yourself who I've never met simply by virtue of the fact your words resonate through to my soul. Thank you x x x

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I never visit your blog and think of it as a special needs blog. I think of it as a mom sharing about her wonderful children.

Carrie said...

Thank you for all you do to raise positive awareness of people with Down syndrome. My brother, who has Down syndrome, has been a wonderful role model in our community for 37 years now. I have always been so proud of my friends and family for being so supportive of him and my family and for helping those that don't know him, know that he is just like all of us. The minute people meet him they love him. Your Nella is the same way and she is going to continue to make a big difference in a lot of people's lives.

Page said...

I love this blog and those lockets. Thanks for sharing your story and the opportunity to win one of these beauties!

becca said...

You and your blog have brought so much awareness to myself about how everyone is different abled. Everyday, I find myself noticing little things that others around me say and do that just are "mean" in regards to other abled people. And I know I have work to do in being a better advocate, but I am getting so much better and watching what I say myslef and telling others if they have said something mean! Thank you so much...your blog (and book that I FINALLY recently read - AMAZING BTW) has changed me in so many positive ways and I am ever greatful that I stumbled upon it!! Your little girls are so precious and such beautiful little peoples in thier own ways. Often times, when I am looking at your pictures you post, I forget the little Nella has DS...she DOES always seem like just another little girl to me (and "just another little girl" sounds so generic and un important - but that's not what I really mean, and I think you understand what I am trying to say). Thank you, thank you, thank you...for sharing your life and feelings with the world. You truly do make a difference in so many peoples lives!

Jude said...

I love reading your blog but have to admit I can't remember how I "stumbled" upon it. I love hearing about your family and your beautiful girls.
My son has High-functioning Autism; he's now an adult planning his wedding to a lovely girl from LA, but still struggles with the world.
Thank you for sharing. Thank you for always being honest. Thank you for teaching me more about Down Syndrome.
Hope you have a great month. Jude.x

Dale R said...

Hi, I read your birth story on Pinterest and now read this post on Twitter. Small world! You are doing a fantastic job getting people to change their views on DS. As a sister of a boy who had Downs (he died age 19) the"retard" comments reaaaaally get on my nerves. He taught me so much. My mum fostering him at 12days old then adopting him there was an 11 year difference. He was more of a son than a brother to me. We had such a strong bond. I've since had 2 little girls who I will bring up to respect anyone who has disabilities. Good work :)

C. said...

Your open sharing touches many!

Andrea said...

I'll be there on the 17th. Can't wait!

Marcea said...

Great post. Couldnt have said it any better!

Jessie said...

I'm a teacher and man, oh man do I dispise it when kids say "retarded" or "gay". It's not tolerated in our school at all.

Christina said...

What beautiful words. I can't pinpoint exactly what draws me to read your blog, but it's there.

Teresa said...

My 13 year old daughter and I love reading your blog and seeing your beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing... Teresa

Chrissie Baxter said...

Thanks for your loving transparency!

Unknown said...

I love your writing and the photos you share with us.

Amy said...

I don't know if this question has been asked because there are 76 comments before mine, but how verbal is Nella? You've posted videos of her talking, but I was just curious to the extent of her speaking skills.

Also, in honor of this month, I would just like to thank you for your blog and the wonderful things you have done to help bring awareness. I've worked with individuals with DS, but you have helped give me, and many others, an inside look into raising one these amazing people.

The Behnkes said...

Love reading your blog!

Little for a Little While said...

I come to your blog for many reasons, the top being to learn, be inspired, to remember to appreciate the little things in life. You truly are a unique individual Kelle, and I am so glad you are willing to open your heart and home to those of us that want to learn more, and leave inspired. xo

AnneEdgarAssociates said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eve Mitchell said...

I love your blog! I found you a few months ago through Nella's birth post. I was pregnant this year, but we lost our baby in June at 19 weeks to Turner Syndrome. It was a shock and I knew nothing about it. I know that things might have been hard, but we would have loved to have her in our life. I was so inspired by your blog and later by your book that I immediately went and read in a day.. Thank you so much for being so honest and sharing your life with all of us. Nella is so beautiful.

Patti said...

We have close family in Mira Mesa wish I could go :)

Fabrizia said...

I see Nella as your doctor said...beautiful and perfect!..and lucky to have a lot of love around.XO

Spollak said...

Love your blog, love your life in pictures, love the necklaces. Would love to create one to represent our beautiful children, including our daughter in heaven.

Unknown said...

I work for a school district that is renowned for it's inclusion programs. I am blessed on a daily basis to meet and intereact with children of many different abilities. Your Nella is a beautiful example of an amazing child. Thank you for allowing us a glimps into your beautiful family.

Rachael said...

A beautiful post! I would love to hear a video if Nella talking, I remember crying happy tears last year when you posted the video of her playing with the flash cards :) happy October!

Sybil said...

I have a "differently abled" child, as well. My son has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). October must be the month for awareness, because it is also National Sensory Awareness Month.

I agree completely with your idea that your perspective changes over time when raising a child with differences. I have just begun my writing journey, so many of my reflections are still about the struggles. But, yesterday I decided to write about seeing my son as simply a four-year old boy. Not a boy with SPD, but just a boy. It has been amazing to see the response.

Thanks for sharing your journey and your perspective!

Jessica Thiessen said...

Thank you for your beautiful blog!

Christi Madrid said...

My daughter and I were at the bookstore the other day and we ran into (almost quite literally) a beautiful little girl about Nella's age with down syndrome. In the past I would have just smiled and kept going, her disability pulling at my heartstrings and not knowing what to do about it. After getting to know Nella and etst I found my reaction was quite different. I instinctively knelt down, smiled, and talked to her for a quick minute before moving on. She made my whole day and I would have missed that if it weren't for Nella. Thank you <3

Bethany @ 3SonsPlus1...and.... said...

I am a relatively new reader, and I just had to say how much I loved this post. Beautifully written. Life is amazing!

Tracy Iannuccilli said...

Hi there, I love reading your posts, you way with words is amazing and how you view things I find very profound. Im a new mom myself, and can relate to some of the things that you blog about, but I also have a step daughter who is 6 and was recently dignosed with Autism spectrum disorder. I have struggle with hopw this will effect my family when she comes for her access weekends, how it will effect my Kiya. I struggled with it alot, and you blog has helped me to see, that Jade is more then this dignoses, that this doesnt defind her. Of course I have to pay extra caution to certain things, but over all she is the same good hearted beauitful girl I have helped raise since the age of two, now we just finally know why she does the things she does, and have to teach her a different way to process things. Your blog has helped me get over the disorder and get back to seeing Jade, my daughters big sister, my step daughter and my heart. I love both my girls, and enjoy the things you blog about. I laughed and cried with you when you described the first day of JK as I was dealing with the first day of Grade one, and Jade telling me shes a big girl now...

So thank you, thank you for taking me outside of my fear, and mind set and letting me breath and just let life happen.. to see that what people may view as a disability can really be a blessing, that everyone no matter how different we appear or act, is pretty much the same, and want the same fundamental things out of live, to be happy, healthy, for family and to be love and accepted.

xoox

kjvbaptist said...

We use the word retarded in our family, but it is not in a derogatory way. We have one daughter that is 'differently abled' but if we were to describe what was wrong to someone outside of our family, we use retarded. Why? Because people understand what that means. We never allow it to be used as slang. It doesn't mean she is less of a person or has less needs, it just means what that word means. I don't want to have to go through the whole story of why she is the way she is to someone who is not invested in her life. So sometimes it's ok in our family to use that word.

Consider The Lilies said...

When I was in school last semester a young man did a presentation on eliminating the "R word" and it was really moving. Most definitely making that known in my household someday, you can bet my family won't be saying it :)

Also, in regards to Down Syndrome. Are there different severities of it? Is Nella more high functioning than some? My best friends works with children who have Autism and I know that some children are considered more high functioning than others. Nella just seems like a sweet, regularly functioning almond eyed beautiful child to me :) so I was wondering if maybe she has a less severe diagnosis?

Hopefully I worded all of that respectfully and you know what I'm asking!

<3

Heather said...

Well said! Thank you for sharing your heart and your family with us. The world is better for it.

Heidi Robinson said...

love these ;lockets!

Holly said...

I must admit, I get a bit excited when I click on the thumbnail of your blog and see a new post. Your words flow effortlessly like a slow, meandering stream that has no sharp turns, rough rocks, or white waters. I love reading about Lainey, as my daughter is a few months younger and I can imagine that if we lived closer they would be great friends. (Maybe if you'd move back to Michigan...) Thank you for writing your heart.

Marie said...

I stumbled upon your lovely blog through pinterest and it just makes me smile every time I read and look at your sweet fun pictures. Our 10 yr adopted Korean daughter has FASD. We didn't know this until a year ago when things got harder and harder with school work and her not understanding simple directions. Now everything makes sense. Also, we have 4 older bio. kids. FASD doesn't define us, but it's part of our big beautiful life. Today we are celebrating Korean Thanksgiving-we try to celebrate her heritage whenever we can. Aren't all these kids wonderful? Thanks for your blog and writing about what many of us relate to in our own lives.

Charlie Alexander said...

Gosh. Hard to know where to start with a response. You make old lessons new with such a refreshing choice of phrase. Of all the blogs I "follow" (though not really) I so look forward to reading you.

I share all of your sentiments about disabilities, I came to my own conclusions through more of a professional angle. THEN I became a mother and these lessons in acceptance and empathy and conscious language and LOVE took on so much more meaning. Like these things didn't just make sense to me and my world but they are essential to the world I will one day leave my babies in.

Thank you again xxx

mrs.t talking said...

I love reading your stories and all about Nella. Fall is my favorite time of year as well!

Jennifer from NJ said...

Love your blog. It inspires me in so many ways. My son just started kindergarten in september. He has a girl with down syndrome in his class. My question to you is when he asks me questions about her what is the way to explain her to him. He likes playing with her but sometimes she understandably yo an adult does or says something that doesnt really make sense. I want to be able to talk to him about it on his level so he can understand why she says or does the things she does. Thank you.

Stacie said...

I know I am changed for the better by knowing Nella's story and watching her and your whole family grow! I love my sweet hits of Unicorn!

Stacie/BikiniBy30

bkeila said...

Everytime I read one of your post my perspective on things in life change for me. The other day I was walking in the mall with my family and there was a woman having a hard time with one of her children having a tantrum and one of my family members told me wow and I told them "always remember that everyone has there good and bad days and you might be witnessing a bad day the way people have seen us have our own and she might just be having her breaking point today so try not to judge her for having a bad day." I want to thank you for letting me see it in a different light.

No No Nanette said...

I love reading your "life" blog, and it does encourage me to live my best life. Thank you. Happy October to Nella and the whole family!

Lacy Hope said...

Most of the time I totally forget Nella has Down Syndrome. All I see is a cute little girl growing up with an awesome big sister and mother. And I'm not just saying that. Unless you bring it up, I'm not thinking it. :)

Meaghan said...

Hello Kelle,

I live in San diego and will see you on October 17th! looking forward to it :)

~meaghan

mack said...

I am curious about what you think about juggling politically correct terms. Sometimes I feel like it's hard to keep up (certainly in part because I haven't lived in the US for almost 10 years). Here in Germany the equivalent politically incorrect term for "retard" would be "mongoloid" (meaning that people with Down Syndrome have similarities in their facial structure to people from Mongolia).

I don't ever use either term and I do literally cring when older people still use them. On the other hand, when my 93-year-old grandma recently said "retarded" I KNEW for sure that she didn't mean anything offensive or negative by it - she was just trying to describe a child with DS with the words that she knew.

How important is it to say the politically correct word (also: "European American" vs. "white")...and how much is about the tone/attitude being portrayed?

Emsnlivy said...

Kelle, I have been following your blog for some time now. When we found out our little angel had DS, a friend of mine told me about your blog. It has saved me more times than I can express. Reading Nella's birth story, and all of the experiences you have gone through with her and your outlook on life has really helped me through some difficult times. Thank you for being so open and honest with your posts. It helps us other mama's know that it is ok to feel raw emotions when dealing with something unexpected. I have a questions for you, how do you deal with discipline with Nella? We are going through a hitting stage with our 20 month old with DS and wondering what the best approach is for her. Thanks for all you do, you are such an inspiration :)

Frontier Mom said...

You inspire me!

Jess Beer said...

Kelle,

I don't have a question, but I want you to know how beautiful your family is. I truly love how you document Lainey and Nella's relationship. I have a sister with Aspergers, and our relationship is incredibly important to both of us. She is simply my sister, and we are there for each other. Your loving example will stick with both of them in the years to come. As they grow, I have no doubt they will remember to be sisters to each other first. Your girls are truly beautiful.

Kelly said...

Oh, I so needed to hear your words of encouragement and that we are all the same, because sometimes in this big,crazy of a parenting world, I feel lost and like I don't know what on earth I'm doing or if I am doing it right. Fall brings new things. Colorful things!!

PradaPrincipal said...

Love is love. Babies are babies. Rain and sunshine falls on us all, just in different seasons and at different times. Somedays we actually have the luxury of enjoying the small things, other days not so much. Would you accept only the good and not the bad from the Creator or Fate (for non-believers)? If not, whaddaya gonna do about it? :)

Ashley Hamilton said...

It's true, for some time I've read your blog and see Nella as a beautiful young girl first :)

ScrappingMomOf3 said...

Bless your family, Kelle! Love those lockets!

Megan C Larem said...

Thanks for sharing those videos in your post! I shared them with my class dealing with multiculturalism and diversity, which includes children with special needs and they are a great tool I could use in my future classroom! =)

Jessica said...

Great post. My oldest is 5 and we have had many talks on how every person in the world has been created differently and we are all loved just the same!

Kylee said...

Beautiful pictures of your sweet Nella, as always!

Kylee said...

Beautiful pictures of your sweet Nella, as always!

Melody said...

Love your blog. Thanks for sharing your story.

Mel J.

amber said...

I love these lockets. I had thought about joining up to the sell the product but I just don't have the time right now.

amyyoung said...

Kelle,
I've been a silent blog follower but your words and photos have touched my heart in so many ways. Like you I am a bonus mom to two kids and I hope one day to have one of my own. One of my biggest fears was having a baby with a disablity but you (and Nella) have changed my heart. I saw a sweet couple the other day at the movies taking photos and laughing and it was only later that I realized they both had down syndrome. Part of it was because of their love and part of it was because of the constant love I've seen through your blog. It's made my heart full. Thank you for your writing. Thank you for the way you live.

Jill - addingaburden.com said...

Love your blog and so grateful for the inspiration you provide through your story. I have a question about DS: many of the adults I've met with DS are overweight. I also have a friend whose lovely son (4) has DS and she says she has to moderate what he eats b/c if he likes it he doesn't know when to stop eating- he just doesn't feel full. Is this typical with DS? Do you deal with this with Nella? Do you have a plan for teaching her good nutrition?

Sarah said...

Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month to your family! I enjoy reading your blog each week! So much inspiration! :)

Tara B said...

Kelle - your blog was so important to me for several months after we found out that my nephew would be born with Down syndrome. I have to admit that I first read Nella's birth story during our first week of knowing about Cavan and it was almost too painful to finish. But now, I have come so far. So far, in fact, that it's hard to imagine that fear, that pain. I have grown so much and a large part of my growth is directly due to your blog. I became so inspired! I have loved watching Nella and the rest of your family grown. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are treating your gift right - so right.

Nia said...

Hi Kelle,
I came by your blog by accident--it was mentioned in another blogger's post. Since I found you back in June, I've been reading regularly. It was through your blog that I heard about Bloom and I just finished reading it over the weekend.
I want you to know how much I appreciated your honesty and your writing. I found your outlook encouraging and your positivity lifting.
I wish you and your family all the best and I look forward to reading more.
Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

Miranda said...

Beautifully said! Your family is an inspiration to so many. Thank you for putting yourself out there. I have learned so much.

Elizabeth said...

Over the past year that I have been reading this blog I have been stretched, challenged, and had my eyes opened numerous times.

Even just today while reading this post I always have the urge to copy and paste random parts in to a folder that I can pull up later when I'm needing a little inspiration or a kick in the butt.

You have a love for people, all people, that is infectious. I just want to dig in and get dirty in this life. You are one that has aided in that.


Oh, and winning a locket wouldn't be so bad either. :)

Laura W. said...

You are an inspiration.

BubnMin said...

As always beautiful blog post and gorgeous pictures of Nella!

Michelle D said...

Beautifully written as always! I love the exploration of the commonalities that you do write about. Always love to see your pictures as well.

Marci Smith said...

Girl, you are so right. Vulnerabilities come in all shapes and sizes. If we can remember that we are all just trying our best to love and be loved we could rock this world out. Imagine what we could all do....xoxo. Love ya!

sarahelizabeth said...

Your blog has changed my life and way of thinking. Pure and simple. So thank you.

Lana said...

I hope you don't mind if I copy and paste your paragraph about the word "retard". I will give you credit for it. My niece has a great deal of special needs and that word just makes me cringe. My children don't say it EVER but they hear their friends and other adults use it sometimes. We are all trying to change the way people think about this word. I am one of the people who started reading your blog when you posted Nella's birth story. I have been reading every day since then. xo

Jillian22 said...

I am sure you hear this all the time, but for me, it's true.... I feel like I have changed in my perspective and love for disabled people, and Down Syndrome especially, because of your amazing little Nella-girl. I have read books that I wouldn't have picked up otherwise, I have talked and cooed over perfect children with one extra chromosome, I have cut the "retarded" word out of my life completely, and I have even pondered someday fostering a child with special needs. And really, much of that change in my perspective is because of a little girl named Nella Hampton and this amazing blog, where you have shared so much. Thanks Kelle!

Theresa said...

Thank you for the reminder. I LOVE your ability to celebrate life and what its brought to your family.

Maureen said...

Loved the Dreams video and shared it on my facebook! Reading your blog and one of my parents' friends giving birth to a precious little girl with Down Syndrome just a couple months older than Nella has forever changed my perspective about Down Syndrome and all special needs! I work as an ABA line therapist with kids with autism now part-time (I'm in college, and I have to tell you, your blog contributed to that as it opened my eyes in a whole new way to differently-abled kids (and adults!).

Sandi Delgado said...

Thank you for opening my eyes to down syndrome! All I know, I've learned from you and I look forward to a posting of FAQ on that subject so that I can learn more. xoxo

~Shari said...

Thanks for making us aware that October is Down Syndrome month.
I love the lockets!

Mimi said...

HI!!!
I have 2 cousins with Down Syndrome...so I grew up knowing some people are different.And funny you mentioned the use of the "R" word...I made a point years ago to never use that word. But yesterday my hubby was talking about his golf game..he played with 3 of his YOUNG employees and he said he felt like a Retard....I SCOLDED him quickly for using that word as an example of his bad golf game. Never should anyone feel like that is ok......So I am fighting the fight with you!!!
AND I LOVE ORIGAMI OWL.....pretty sure Isabella is from AZ....one of my neighbors daughters knows her....I want a locket and I will visit this site!!!
THANKS so much
your blog does inspire me
hugs,
jamie--mimi

Ann said...

Kelle, I am so excited to meet you at the book signing in San Diego, will the girls actually be there with you also? I'm dying for my kids to meet Lainey and Nella! Btw, this was a lovely post, and yes, you and your family have changed my perception as well...:) thank you.
On instagram my user name is @rymina :)

Cindy said...

I was originally sucked in by Nella's birth story that I read about on another site, but the more I read your back story, the more I read daily about your lives as a whole, well, that's what keeps me coming back. I love your life philosophies, I love your outlook and your daily tries to live it to the fullest and how much you succeed in doing just that. I have been doing just that for a while, since I first read about sucking the marrow out of life. Life is much better now and more manageable when it's all put in perspective.

addiesmommy said...

THRILLLLLEEDDD to be able to make your book signing!!! Also, (I hope this isn't creepy) but, I'm taking it upon myself to invite you out to the cutest pumpkin patch you've ever laid eyes on.. Bates Nut Farm up in North County San Diego at some point during the week you are in town.. Hahahaha i know that sounds silly as a stranger to you.. But we share a love of Fall and this is our little slice of Fall Heaven here in San Diego... If you'd like to.. Message me on Facebook Kendall Souter... I have Addie (almost 3) and Delaney ( 1 and a half) who would have a blast with your girls, I'm sure of it!
Thanks for yet ANOTHER awesome post.. they brighten my day!

Valérie (Poetic chronicles) said...

Oh well, I just don't see Down syndrome when I look at Nella. I find her awesomely cute and she looks very attentive and alert, that's all I see. As for the word you mention and that sounds so hurtful, I cringe when I hear it too!
I agree that deep at heart and soul, we are the same. We come out in different shapes and colours, like toys, but we're actually the same :)

Cara Justus Photography said...

Thank you for being so open and honest, you're doing something amazing and don't ever forget that!

dani macsnider said...

such a beautiful writer :) i will say kelle--- you have exposed me to a world that i never experienced before your blog. ive been following since 2010--- and had loved every post and every IG photo. you have opened my eyes to special needs kids and adults and though you i've gone places i never dreamed! (ie: special needs camp! ...as their lovely nurse i might add :) thanks for sharing your life so openly and beautifully. hugs! *danimacsnider

The Villars said...

I have been a reader for a long time, but a silent one. I want you to know though that reading your blog has made me a better mommy to my two little ones. More present, more creative and my cup runneth over.

Nif said...

Signing up for the Wheaton IL Buddy Walk on Oct 14th!

Beverly said...

I hope I haven't said this on your blog before, but it's entirely possible that I have and just forgot. Your blog has opened my eyes to Down Syndrome and that those with DS can have rich and fulfilling lives. I saw a snippet of just what is possible when I visited Barcelona over the summer and saw a young lady with Down Syndrome on the subway by herself confidently navigating through the maze of stops underneath the city. It was quite magical to witness.

Beth said...

Such beautiful writing - you nail it every time!

MellyP said...

I have been following your blog since I saw your story on abcnews.com. Your willingness to share your life with the world is amamzing. I love checking for new posts every day. Keep up the good work!

Bugofmany said...

Our 16yo. son died suddenly last year, and I think a locket would be fabulous because I would have 7 gems in it representing ALL my children, along with the word "eternity" to remind me of where we will all be reunited again some day. The lockets are absolutely beautiful! I'm glad your blog sponsors these creative and amazing businesses.

CurlyQ said...

As someone who works with differently abled adults I love what you said about the "R" word. I really hope that we can eliminate it from our language. Also thx for mentioning PW which is not al known as DS and Autism. Keep up the great work and I am looking forward to you advocating for adults too as you are starting to dip your toe into that world as well.

Rosana said...

I just ordered your book and I can't wait to read it. Even though I don't have children of my own yet, your blog inspires me to be a better human being.

Ashley said...

Thank you for sharing your family on this blog. I love your positive outlook on life and can do attitude. Do you think Nella having down syndrome will effect your decisions on what type of education she receives, i.e. traditional school via homeschool?

Trini said...

I would love to do a Buddy Walk!!!! I hate the stereotypes that are given to people with Down Syndrome; most of them aren't even true!!!

Kristin said...

I love your blog and have learned so much from it. Thank you for your honesty and your outlook on life.

Candice said...

I love this post....and your blog. Those lockets are fantastic. I can't believe a 14 yr old came up with that idea. Awesome and so unique!

kristenbrittingham said...

What a nice, and much needed, post today!

christa said...

Great post. I look forward to seeing daily pictures of Nella (and Lainey too).

Lisa Williams said...

I am a new follower and wow....Nella's birth story was simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing that!

Kaitlin said...

As the daughter of two Special Ed teachers, thank you for promoting awareness of removing the "R" word from our collective vocabulary!

A Beauty Full Life said...

Kelle you are a gifted writer and you express things so beautifully! Your blog is a blessing to so many,and I hope your family is blessed abundantly in return!

thesweetersideofmommyhood said...

What I most love is how your blog (and therefore your life) are about so much more than Downs Syndrome. My second daughter was born with congenital CMV and it's presenting our family with many challenges. But reading your blog brings me peace and comfort and hope that so many more families you touch will be better prepared, better able, and more willing to accept and embrace children of different ability simply from sharing in the stories of Lainey and Nella's lives. God bless you. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.

Shelly said...

Love your blog and that sweet little Nella!

Team Lando said...

Now THIS is a happy post for me. Love it.

Thanks for the encouragement when I was preggo. And now. Hugs from Ellie to Nella... and who knows, Ellie has my old phone and seems to be fake texting someone, so maybe it's Nella.

Molly said...

What a beautiful post, Kelle. I must say, your blog has changed me more than any other. There is a little boy with CP at our church and Landon had a ton of questions about him the other day. Why is he in a wheel chair? Why can't he talk?

I got down on one knee so I could really look him in the eyes to tell him that we're all beautiful. We're all different. And he should be a friend to him just like he would any other child. It was really a defining moment for me. And I thought of Nella and how my Brigham would love to play with her. Our kids are so innocent. They don't see the differences until others around them start pointing them out. I want to make sure that my children know to accept differences and make friends with everyone.

Your Nella is a life-changer :)

Becky said...

Kelle, it's posts like these that bring me back, multiple times a week, to one of my favorite, most thoughtful and ever-inspiring blogs. You use your voice for good and I am always better for having dropped by. Our kids are roughly the same ages and I'm due with our third in March, so I love peeking in to see how our similar life stages are working out. And I love your "temporary" mission statement--I want to borrow it for our church!! We are really all in need of the same basic things: love, grace & acceptance. Much love to your sweet family.

Beth said...

I love reading your blog, looking at your photography and catching a glimpse into someone else's life. Thank you for sharing yourself and your family with us.

Becky said...

What beautiful jewelry! Thanks for the opportunity to take one home. Also, HUGE thanks for shedding light on your family and the beautiful Nella.

Khristenas said...

I've been following your blog for a little while now and I have to thank you for putting all this information out there for the world to see in such a loving, caring, well worded manner. I'm glad that there are people such as yourself that can clarify things in a more simple way so everyone can understand!

jessica said...

I have so enjoyed following your family on your blog. You have a beautiful story, a wonderful story-telling way of writing, and such lovely girls! =) I look forward to more!

The Book Sylph said...

I adore Nella's pig tails! They always make me smile.

Amy Snell said...

Love love you & your family!! I feel so blessed to be able to follow along in your guys' journey!! xo Amy :)

olg braut said...

Your Nella is beautiful. My daughter is 8 months and I hope she grows up to be as free-spirited and happy as Nella. We were adviced to start signing to her, do you do that with Nella?? How is her language skills?
Also, how did you practise with her for sitting, walking etc?? Sorry to be so "nosy", but Nella is such an inspiration.
Thank you for showing the world how beautiful our children are!!!

Krystle said...

Happy DS awareness month to you! My family and I are participating in the Sydney Buddy Walk - its become a BIG deal to our family - I kid you not it's up there with birthdays and Christmas. We stand proud to walk and raise awareness for our daughter Isla and other individuals with DS. We have family members that aren't very supportive of our daughter - as in they are far too important to attend special events like Buddy Walk. To be honest, im struggling with how to deal with those family members who dont give a shit! She's my daughter a niece to them - I just wish they could see how amazing she is & want to do whatever they can to raise awareness for her and other individuals with DS, I often wonder if they think with all 'this DS' in one place - they might catch a chromosome. I need help, with dealing these family members - yes I am a very passionate person! I dont understand how these people don't care to stand and up, walk with her, be proud of her. Yes, she's isla first and she has DS - the DS at times can be ALOT of work! Awareness is important! Family support and love is important!

Malin said...

You, your blog and the way you live your life is such an inspiration!

Melissa Knott said...

Your pictures of Nella are beautiful. She is a lovely little girl.

April said...

Beautiful. :)

Staci said...

i like reading because with every post you make me a tiny bit better. thank you for being you, but also for being an advocate for for humanity.

cows315 said...

I just gave birth to my first child, a daughter, two months ago. There are so many times now, when I read your posts, that I just 'get' what your talking about so much more!! Thank you!

Peggy, Jason, Lily and Connor said...

Thank you for sharing your gifts with us. I truly enjoy reading each and every post. You have a great gift for inspiring others to be a better mom, for beautifully putting words to life, and (of course) for photography. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
Peggy

Lauren said...

I love this post. Thank you for pointing out how we really are all alike in our core being. Beautiful.

Rebekah said...

I like your little summary -- I say GO with it!!

We are all human after all :)

Kristin B said...

Life is beautiful.

Colette said...

Thank you for this wonderful post and thank you for highlighting the point about the use of words can be hurtful ... I have a physical disability and am a full time wheelchair user and when I was growing up I too would often hear words being used to describle me .. a cripple, a retard, handicapped. the list could go on....and you are so right, we are all the same, even though we may look a little bit different does make us different, we are unique but the same! I love your blog Kelle, although I am new to it but I enjoy so much just settling up on the sofa in the evening and reading back through your older posts..thank you again for sharing! Lots of love to you all and Happy Halloween, from Colette in Ireland! :) xx

Oklahoma Mohrs said...

Great post! I love the video My Friend Isabelle. I am looking into getting the book and wondered what other children's books you have come across that teach acceptance. I feel this is so important to teach to my little ones and I’m not always sure how to explain it or word it. Thanks in advance!

fifawc2010 said...

Kelle, I absolutley LOVE your blog, your chlidren, and everything about you and your family. I love the way you see life. You are such an inspiration to me.
Haley Hoile

Angela said...

Beautifully written.

kmrf said...

Nella is such a treasure. Your "mommy-ness", your exploding bursting heart of maternal love is a treasure.
Sometimes I feel like a grouch mom, a selfish mom, a general failure of a mom but stories like yours make me want to be and do better.

Charlie's Mommy said...

Hopefully this doesn't sound rude; but honestly, I a beautiful little girl when I see pictures of Nella. I don't see Down Syndrome.

Ashley said...

Beautiful post. :-) I am Deaf myself and I can relate to your post. It is so wonderful to see that there are people that have same philosophy as you do out there in the world--it definitely makes my life easier as a Deaf person.

I have recently become a mama to a beautiful boy, and I plan on sharing the values of tolerance, love, and compassion with him. My hope is that he will grow up and see beyond "labels" of disabilities. This would make a world much easier and beautiful place to live in.

Love your blog like always.

Love is all you need said...

Thank you for sharing this post. I always forget the fact that Nella does have Down syndrome and I think that says a beautiful thing about your life. My four year old is starting to notice differences in himself and I love celebrating those differences as well as making sure he knows the similarities all of us share.

Evelyn Louise said...

I think that your "mission statement" was perfect!

Thank you for opening so many people's eyes to Down Syndrome. While you might not *want* to be a "spokesperson" - you are an excellent one!

Love to your family and, again, congratulations on your little boy. Mine is almost 8 weeks old and he's more than I dreamed a baby boy could be!

Carrie ~ said...

Thank you for your blog. I love this pictures, they are so beautiful! I have been a follower for about three years now. My daughter has ADHD and my sister is adopting a little girl with a severe limb deficency. I love your phrase "Bloom where you are planted" Your blog has been balm for my troubled heart, encouragement, beauty for my eyes, and a fresh perspective. Thank you. =)

Brooke said...

When did you first start talking to Lainey about Down syndrome? Our 10 month old daughter has Down syndrome, and I wonder when I should talk to our 3.5 year old son about it. I feel like he wouldn't understand it now, but I don't want him to be unprepared if someone outside our family says something insensitive to him about his sister. Any advice?

Debby said...

Very well said. You have a way with words. I just love Lainey and Nella. I think Nella is amazing. Love seeing pictures of her reading and taking care of her dolls. I laugh out loud at some of her adorable faces. You are an amazing mom.

L said...

thank u for your writing! I have a passion in my heart for children with Down syndrome. I was a special education teacher before I stayed at home with my own kids. I am a huge advocate for getting rid of the "r-word" and also pushing person first language. for example ... a child with Down syndrome vs " a downs kid "(etc). even typing that made me cringe! ick! thank you for sharing your story! and I love those necklaces if I don't win it will be on my Christmas list!

JTilby said...

Your blog makes me so happy Kelle! Thank you :)And I would love one of these amazing lockets!

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