Why Neither Kelle Hampton Nor Noah’s Dad Inspire Me

I’ve been thinking lately about the Big Bloggers and how they’ve managed to build such phenomenal fandoms.

Some people really work at promoting themselves.  Take Noah’s Dad, for instance.  It’s no secret that his biggest talent is self-promotion.  He’s tirelessly spammed and pushed and shoved his way to Big Blogger status.  He’s also stepped on a lot of people along the way, leaving a lot of people pissed off and creating a reputation for himself as a sleazy whore of the blogosphere.

Other Big Bloggers seem to have it all fall effortlessly into their laps.  Kelle Hampton is one that comes to mind.  She wrote a birth story and became the It Girl of the blogging community (not just the Down syndrome blogging community) virtually overnight.  Since then, her already privileged life appears to have become even more privileged, with speaking engagements and interviews and even a book deal with a major publisher falling into her lap, and (almost) everyone wanting her magic fairy dust to rub off on them.

It seems like the Big Bloggers all have a gimmick, an angle, that makes them stand out from the crowd.  Rick Smith has his daily one-minute videos, and Kelle Hampton has her photography.  I seriously wonder if either of their writing would stand on its own without the gimmicks.

I’m not inspired by either one of them, frankly.  My distaste for Rick Smith is pretty simple: he’s kind of a snake.  And what makes him worse than your everyday garden variety snake is that he portrays himself as this hardcore Christian, but his methods sure don’t back that up.

My feelings about Kelle Hampton are a little more complicated.  She’s not blatantly smarmy and offensive like Rick Smith.  I just feel like she’s a lot of glitz and not a lot of substance.  It seems that she is gradually becoming more willing to talk about Down syndrome, but I don’t feel that she really imparts any wisdom that the vast majority of we parents of children with Ds don’t come by all on our own eventually (and many of us actually have before she ever did).  Sometimes there are hints that she’s becoming a little more willing to step out of her comfort zone and be, well, real.  I wish she would open up more.  I wish she would talk about who inspires her, instead of standing alone on the pedestal that’s been constructed for her, as if she’s figured it all out without the help and encouragement of those who went before her.  I’m not inspired by pretty, because pretty isn’t earned.  I’m not inspired by privileged lives, because it’s not something I can relate to, it’s not something I think most people can relate to, and it’s a shallow foundation upon which to stand as a role model.  Kelle has raised a whole lot of money for NDSS, there’s no doubt about that (where that money actually goes, what exactly it’s spent on, dollar for dollar, is something of a mystery, but let’s assume it’s all well spent in ways every person touched by Down syndrome would be in favor of), and she’s managed to paint a prettier picture of Down syndrome than probably anyone else has ever managed to do on a large scale.  Those are the biggest contributions she’s made to the Down syndrome community – and they are big things. But how has she actually inspired anyone beyond how to take fabulous photographs and throw fabulous parties and to always look one’s best, at least on camera?

What bothers me about these two Big Bloggers who seem to stand at the top of the heap of all the rest of us bloggers is that someone decided that they speak for all of us, that what they portray is what all the rest of us should be aspiring to – and they’ve gone along with it.  And I think that if someone is going to enjoy that kind of status, they have a responsibility to be real advocates.  To actually inspire people in meaningful ways.

What inspires me?  People who are real.  People who are honest about their struggles. People who face down real adversity and overcome.  People who humbly give credit where credit is due.  People who admit that they don’t have it all figured out.  People who talk about not only the ups, but the downs, too.  People who aren’t afraid to stumble, and acknowledge it.

So, what inspires you?

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73 Comments on “Why Neither Kelle Hampton Nor Noah’s Dad Inspire Me”

  1. TUC
    February 27, 2012 at 2:48 am #

    What inspires me, or who? If it is a who, then the answer these days is Amy Silverman blogger at Girl in a Party Hat. She is an excellent writer and is very real but not a bummer. Her daughter is older than my girls so I like looking ahead at the things I might be in for in the coming years.

    • Lisa
      February 27, 2012 at 4:06 am #

      I will have to check that one out. Thanks for the rec 🙂

  2. Caryl Becker Phillips
    February 27, 2012 at 3:00 am #

    You. You inspire me.

  3. Meriah
    February 27, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    I thought a little more about this. I think for me, in Kelle’s case (I won’t even talk about Rick), I don’t like that she IS called upon to represent all of us and is held up so high for us to emulate or whatever. But I honestly have changed in my feelings about her stuff. I’m not inspired by her, no, but I think those photos of her perfect world with a kid with Ds – and portraying Ds in the light that she does – have done more for the image of Ds than… I can’t think of what else. With all this maternt21 stuff going on, I think those images do a lot in promoting a choice (I’m pro choice)- rather than immediately thinking of the drooling, tongue-out-whatever image of Ds that many of us grew up with, people will be thinking of cute, well dressed little girls. Another extreme maybe, but I’m ok with the pendulum swinging in the other, more positive direction before it settles somewhere in the middle.

    I do think she can write. A lot of it is fluff. She’s no George. But she CAN write. And her photos are very, very good (how many though she actually takes is another story – it seems like she’s in an awful lot of them).

    I see stuff going there that makes me think we will all be seeing some kind if explosion in a few years. I think she probably drinks waaaaaaaay too much. There is something yp with her/her husband and do in the end, I think – yeah, she has her shit to deal with and I don’t know what it is but I know she does because we all do. Since she is ever present in one way or another in this community, I may as well be at peace with her and just focus on the stuff that I DO like. That probably sounds really Pollyanna -esque

    • Lisa
      February 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

      No, it sounds honest.

  4. starrlife
    February 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Humility. Question askers not just answer givers. No one blogger inspires me alone but there are certainly many I love to communicate with that are kind, respectful and smart in my blogroll.

    • Lisa
      February 27, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

      Yes! Agree completely :).

  5. PediaStaff
    February 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    HI Lisa, New reader of your blog…

    Like you, I am inspired by the bloggers whose agenda is first and foremost to get get the best information to everyone, not just the info that they wrote. I admit I was bitten at first by the Noah’s Dad bug but I have been disappointed that Rick doesn’t use his massive platform to share much unless he wrote it himself.

    Ellen Seidman at Love That Max is the perfect example of a big time blogger who has not forgotten what its really all about.

    I am also entirely inspired by the work-a-day pediatric therapists that share TONS of resources to help kiddos. We have been privileged to work with a huge array of folks that write at night while treating kids during the day. I could give some shout outs to them here but the list is too long to name. (Actually, Ellen and I did a post on the best therapist bloggers if you want that link)

    Heidi Kay

  6. Lisa
    February 27, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

    In advocacy blogs, I love to see people sharing whatever information, tips and experiences they have (as well as trying to “get the best information out” as Heidi Kay says above). I love blogs where I get the sense that the blogger is passionate about their subject matter and also accessible (someone I’d want to have a conversation with IRL). I love to see people asking questions and thoughtfully seeking answers to deeper issues. I am a sucker for great writing and for people who make me laugh and make me think.

    What inspires me most in general is depth and substance, and an awareness of/compassion for others. “Big” bloggers can make the choice to keep the readership investing in them, or to use that reach for the benefit of others. I am inspired by those who choose to make a difference in as big of ways as their influence and their voice might allow.

  7. DS Class of 2008
    February 28, 2012 at 4:48 am #

    Brilliant, inspiring post!!! Thanks for making us think.

    You have to use your position to try to do good. Pick an avenue if you must and EXCEL, become an expert in it.

    But DELAGATE and get the rest you want done too.

    I love lots of blogs, people and groups. Yet I am overloaded by the amount and disorganized searches we all must do and re-do over again each time to find stuff. Organize it for us and FoR those NEWLY Diagnosed to make an informed decision

    Soooo, http://www.downsyndromepregancy.com is posted around a lot by me.

    Great post!! Post those therapist blog links!!!

  8. Amy
    February 28, 2012 at 5:41 am #

    What inspires me isn’t really blog related, it’s life related.

    Sincere kindness and just plain consideration for others is what inspires me.
    Having someone hold the door for me as I (with babe in hand) walk behind them at the convenience store instead of letting it slam in my face is a nice thing for a change.
    Or the person who introduces him/herself to you when you are in a situation where you know not a single soul is appreciated.
    And standing up for what you believe in, even if it’s totally unpopular and could cause you to lose something important, like a job or a friend is commendable but quite frankly to me; necessary.
    I could go on and on, I love the days when I’m not cut off at the parent drop off line at school, and lets not forget about work bullshit…… But I won’t torture you anymore 🙂

    I guess it’s the small, sometimes unrealized things that happen in my life that inspire me to be a better person. I have always considered myself to be a pretty decent person, not perfect by any means but an honest, decent, humble person. And in the past 5 or more years it seems to me, a lot of people have forgotten how to be human or civil to each other in even the simpleness of ways.
    Maybe it’s because of this technology age we live in, were we can sometimes forget we are dealing with human beings, I don’t know.
    However, whatever the reasons for this, I try to combat the pissed-offness I often feel about instances or people by doing something unexpectedly nice for someone in the hopes that they may “pay it forward” to someone else, and that person may pay it forward too.
    Most importantly, I try to instill this in my kids in the hopes that they will do the same as they grow and go through their lives. Lets face it, it’s a pretty fucked up world we live in now…we can use all the decent human beings we can get these days.
    Wow sorry for the tangent. As for blog related, I personally like reading blogs that are real, like real real. And yours Lisa is one of the blogs I regularly read.
    Amy L

  9. Kristen's Mom
    February 28, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    People who are real are the ones who inspire me.
    The ones who step forward and encourage and love us when things are hard. They are the same ones who continue to love us when things are easy. The ones without an agenda or pedestal. Pedestals are good as long as you use them to encourage and lift others.

  10. Michele Zephier
    March 1, 2012 at 1:05 am #

    YES. YES. YES. ADVOCATE NOW. How refreshing. Thank god for you. And, again, YES! Take the opportunity to go behind the curtain, where it’s dirty, dusty, and out of the spotlight. Hollywooders. Ack.

  11. Alicia D
    March 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    I agree whole heartedly. I don’t know of the Rick Smith dude you discussed, but I do know of Kelle and i feel the same. she is a brand, not reality. im glad she is doing some good for the DS world, but its nothing that I, as a special needs mother, can fully relate to. i feel like its nice to visit her blog for eye candy. her life resembles a glossy magazine and im not trying to hate on her, and not saying that she’s not allowed her “thing” but i don’t feel like she represents the whole picture and thats FINE. she has her “positivity/small things” schtick, she has hallmark who sponsors her posts and gap features her kids in ads and etsy sends her products and when you read her posts you have her commercials in there for her various sponsors… its basically a business… a happy TV show…a glossy magazine. She’s branded and marketed herself (whether intentionally or not) brilliantly and its FINE and im not hating. its just more “fun” than “relatable” for me personally. I personally like real. some people like to read fluffy chick lit and some people like to read the Kite Runner. I am a Kite Runner type of girl. That’s why we have choices I guess :). As a mother of a multiply disabled teen, I like reading blogs about people like me who lead less than perfect lives…changing a 17 year old, non-verbal, disabled daughter’s diaper just like me, or sitting up all night with a seizure in between their 4 year old’s birthday party… their 4 kids wearing hand-me-downs instead of 70$ Hunter rainboots. Ya know? So, no, Kelle Hampton and her Susie Perfect Blog does NOT do it for me, but I wish her all the best in life bc life will get very hard for her. Its only been a year for her, and as far as year one of Motherhood of a Special Kid? She’s had it pretty dang good. Think of the people who have been doing it WAY longer than her with many more challenges and much less support. It just makes me sad that she gets so much love, publishers knocking down her door, media darling, etc etc… and others with far more compelling stories but not as “cute pictures” and bikini-ready bods get far less. I guess thats just the unfairness of how our society works 🙂

  12. Nicole
    March 6, 2012 at 4:19 am #

    This is the very first time I am reading your blog and have to say that your writing is amazing. You are very talented. I’m actually not usually one to comment, but felt the need to introduce myself to you and commend you for saying things that not alot of other people will say.

    I have recently starting saying more on my own blog. I just got critisized for it being “too negative”…..

    I would LOVE it if you stopped by sometime and read how “real” I am, and you will see that my blog isn’t about tea parties and perfect pictures.

  13. Andrea
    March 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    What inspires me are people who are able to get their point across without putting down others. I am a first time reader and don’t really understand your choice to name other bloggers and point out their (perceived by you) shortcomings.

    • marty
      March 21, 2012 at 2:53 am #

      Well….it’s a blog Andrea where people can have opinions on others who exploit their disabled children on a regular basis for advertisement and attention (e.g. the “I will never stop promoting myself” Kelle Hampton).
      I am glad this blog is honest and not full of B.S. like the other blogs mentioned.

      • Andrea
        March 21, 2012 at 11:26 am #

        I understand that this is a blog. I actually read a lot of blogs. My favorite blogs are the ones in which the writer can give their opinion without knocking down someone else. Do you know that saying that when you say something bad about someone, people only remember that you put someone else down, not the bad things you said about the other person?
        Also, you believe that the only person who is “not full of B.S.” is the writer of this blog? What about Nancy (two comments below mine) who gives a different perspective of Kelle Hampton and the advocacy work she does for children who have DS?
        As far as your comment on exploitation, do you feel that people who put pictures of their kids all over their blogs in general are okay but if their child has Down Syndrome, they are being exploited?
        I would personally much prefer to see a person ceaselessly posting pictures of their children and talking about how adorable they are, than reading about the horrific lawsuit by the family who openly admit that they would have aborted their child with Down Syndrome, had they known she had it before she was born.

      • Lisa
        March 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

        Personally, I don’t understand why anyone would complain about the content of a certain blog, or the way the blog is written, and yet, continue to read that blog.

    • Karianne
      March 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

      Then stop reading and go over to the unicorn and fairy dust blog that is the blog that someone like Hampton writes. I personally don ‘t understand how anyone could believe all of that baloney but that is clearly what you have bought into so fly on over.

      **KH’s father is known to troll blogs and criticize anything anyone writes about Hampton. Very mature. You have to wonder….

      • Andrea
        March 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

        I continue to read here because I have enjoyed and been impressed by every other blog post I have read here. I read blogs that are written in a lot of different styles. I was just compelled to post something because I disagree with this one post.
        I realize my last paragraph might sound like I am criticizing another post here, but that is not what I meant. In fact I hadn’t even read the blog entry about that family until after I posted this comment.
        Anyway, that is why I continue to read here, because I like to read here.

      • Andrea
        March 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

        Why is it not okay for me to say that I don’t like when bloggers criticize other bloggers? Anyway, no thanks, I’ll keep reading here because I have enjoyed every other post I’ve read here. I’ll read other blogs too, because I also enjoy other blogs. I get different things from different people. i don’t feel like I have to choose one blogger over another.
        What I don’t understand is how so many people can be so angry about a blogger they have never met, and have no idea about who the person really is.

  14. can't stomach Kelle
    March 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    Saw this comment elsewhere. It expains a lot about that odd family.

    Very Anonymous says:
    February 26, 2011 at 3:20 pm
    “Poppa” was a minister during the marriage to mom & left after being discovered having MANY affairs with male members of his church. Mom basically had a breakdown & up and moved with Kelle, her sister & her brother into a cult/commune. Some legal mumbo jumbo began, as in custody & visitation issues, and basically mom ripped the kids from his life. He only reconnected when his kids started getting married.

    Little known fact: mom, brother & sister think its all BS. They are basically sickened by the charade. It is the “Kelle & Poppa Show”.

    Little known fact #2: Divorced sister’s ex-husband is brother to Kelle’s BROTHER’S wife. They all grew up in this cult/commune. Its beyond creepy. Overall, I cannot stand this broad. And her gaggle of star-struck “friends”, too? BARF.

    I am so glad I found you! I love your wit & writing. I truly thought I was the only one out there saying: “For the love of God, WHY & HOW are you people buying into this crap?” I have to go now! I shall go into hiding under the cover of night, as I fear the Loonies have already picked up my scent…some random white van will be pulling into my driveway any minute now.

    God love her and her wonky little eye….

    • Triona Cussen
      July 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

      Wow I feel sickened by your ugly attitude. What does it say about adults slagging off other people -“wonky little eye” !!!! As a parent of a baby with ds that desperately hopes the world will accept him and not judge him for his looks , I come to a ds blog site and find adults slagging off each other – incredible !!!

  15. Nancy
    March 12, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    Hey Lisa, I just wanted to add another perspective. Keep in mind that I’m not much of a blog reader at all even though I write one for DSP (informational). I like Kelle very much – I enjoy talking to her on the phone, emailing – I just do not read her blog often because between life, work, and DSP I’m swamped. The posts I have read though, I have thought were very well-written, and the photography is gorgeous. And I will read her book since it will be my next book club pick.

    The question for me is what does it mean to be a good advocate? In a nutshell, my thoughts are: different tactics reach different audiences and yield different results, and there is room for a variety of efforts. The long-winded explanation follows below.

    To me there are many forms of advocacy, and parents should be free to take on whichever role best suits their skills, their personality, how they view themselves, what they wish to accomplish, their comfort level, and a much longer list which includes many factors. I for one could never write creatively as a tool for advocacy – I do not have it in me. My strengths and comfort level lie in writing informational products which are audience-appropriate, well-researched, and reviewed by appropriate experts, community leaders, and focus groups. It is a long, tedious process.

    For so many of our expectant moms, the products DSP creates are informative and helpful. But the words are not enough. And is some ways they are a little scary. The information can be overwhelming, but alongside that information is beautiful photography. Often the first thing people say when they see our pregnancy book is that the photos are amazing. And photography has the power to inspire – not grainy, badly lit hospital setting snapshots with distracting background, but close-up, crisp, clear, gorgeous photos that help expectant parents envision their future children. These photos came from Kelle Hampton and Conny Wenk, and our book is their creation just as it is ours, because the photography is an integral part of the product. They gave these photos freely, without hesitation or possibility of remuneration, and without self back-patting. Our recently released relatives booklet has many inspiring photos, showing aunts, grandparents, families – in the hope that they will inspire friends and relatives. These photos were submitted to Kelle after she advertised a photo contest on her blog. That may seem like a small act on Kelle’s part, but it actually involved the time consuming process of downloading and sifting through many hundreds of submissions to select a small number that potentially suited our needs. (If Kelle had not done this second part, we would still be waiting for me to find the time to do it.)

    Many of our moms are also inspired by stories, including the GIFTS book of course, but a fear of many of these moms – often one they are ashamed to admit – is that their child will not be beautiful, will not be active, will not be welcomed and accepted. So while we give them hard-core information, we send them to Kelle’s blog to see that beauty, that cuteness, the tea parties in the woods, and the up-close snapshots of girlies in pretty bows. Because that does inspire them. It does (as they tell us so often) give them hope. So while I personally may be beyond the stage in my life where toddlers looking cute is inspirational, I regularly hear how much the moms we help are inspired by her writing and photography, and that is why her form of advocacy helps our moms so much. It is a complement to the type of info we provide to give that expectant mom a selection of resources to find her comfort and inspiration. When Kelle joined DSP as a trustee, she agreed to attend boring meetings, read detailed e-mails, review materials, and use her creative gifts to help us out – and this she has done. She may not talk about what she does for us, but she does it, and it helps us help expectant parents.

    I admire Kelle for what she has been able to do – for DSP, for the NDSS, for expectant parents, and for bringing her child into the homes of so many people, which helps in terms of acceptance. Not long ago I saw a documentary about Star Trek, and the actress who plays Lt. Uhura said that after a year on Star Trek she was ready to move on, and told Roddenberry she was leaving at the end of the first season. That night she was introduced to Martin Luther King, who thanked her profusely for her important work, and said she was doing so much to help her race. She was taken aback by his compliments since she thought of herself as playing a small role in a short skirt. He explained that by being a part of that cast she was letting Americans see an African American in a setting where she was with others, a part of a team, where her race did not matter. Because Americans saw this week after week, far away from protests and conflict, it helped them see her inclusion as normal, and helped in acceptance. (She of course went back and talked to Roddenberry again!)

    I believe Kelle’s blog accomplishes a similar purpose for people with Down syndrome. Kelle does not soapbox, protest, or thrive on controversy. She does not claim to be “the place” to find out about Down syndrome, nor does she claim to represent anyone at all. But she brings her child to many Americans – not just the Down syndrome community – on a regular basis, an a beautiful setting, as part of a family, an extended family, a community. As such, she has chosen her version of advocacy – and thus far it has accomplished more than so many of us have been able to do – more for fundraising, more for inspiration to expectant parents, and more for acceptance by main steam America. And she has done it in a way which meets her own comfort level – which is fine. And she chooses which parts of her life to share – which is her prerogative. She has found a place for Down syndrome in a blog which has the same style it did before her child with Down syndrome was born. While it may not be everyone’s “cup of tea,” it has accomplished so much.

    It took me a few years to find out the “role” I was comfortable playing in the world of advocacy – a few years of jumping into controversial discussions, writing letters, doing interviews, until I realized that I needed to set up parameters so I could accomplish the things I found important and still fit it into the demands of my life. Kelle set up her parameters from the beginning, and I admire the level of introspection and foresight to know from the beginning how you can balance advocacy with family and work (which in her case is writing).

    So while there is a lot of variation in what we as individuals find personally inspiring to us, I do appreciate the variety of resources that exist so that we are able to find what each of us see as inspirational.

    (Note that this is my personal view, not an official DSP communication. Neither Kelle Hampton nor the DSP board was consulted on this response.)


  16. Barb
    March 12, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    I honestly think this comment sums up KH.

    “observerNovember 12, 2011 at 9:35 pm
    To be completely honest, I get the impression Kelle Hampton was horrified when her daughter was born with Down Syndrome and is using her blog as a vehicle to get thousands of people to give her self-validation when all she really has to do is pull her head out of her ass and LOVE her beautiful child instead of pasting her happy red-lipsticked face all over the internet and expecting throngs of anonymous internet folks to tell her everything is okay.”

    Additionally, I don’t believe Kelle writes her blog. I believe her father writes it and she is responsible for the pictures. If you look at her blog writing before she had her daughter it was written like an 8th grader and if you look at “Poppa’s” writing in the form of comments on her blog and other blogs (to defend her like she is a child) his writing VERY much resembles her blog writing after she had her daughter. Her minions fall for her but anyone with half a brain laughs at this woman. She’s as fake as they come.

  17. maggiebeth25
    March 20, 2012 at 3:10 am #

    dsmama linked your blog on FB, I took a look at your blog list and noticed neither kelle hampton or noah’s dad were listed. i began to like you immediately. i decided to search your blog to see if you wrote anything about them…low and behold there was this post. i’m happy i am not the only person turned off by them. i feel sorry for their kids.

  18. emily
    March 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    I recently read this review of Hampton’s book. The reviewer clearly gets Hampton’s MO. It’s all about Hampton. She is so unbelievably narcissistic.

    “But my responsibility to my readers is to let you know whether this is a book you want to invest in or even read. So let’s just get this over with – always keeping in mind that I wanted to like this book. And had every expectation that I would.

    You find out some things about Kelle’s life BB (before blogging) that may surprise you (not being a regular reader of her blog, I don’t know whether she’s covered her early life in her entries). She grew up in a Christian family – her father was a pastor – with a sister and a brother and two parents who approached parenting like Olympic athletes, according to Kelle. Her childhood was idyllic – until one day when she was called to the principal’s office (I think she was 8) where her mother picked her up, bags already packed in the car, and took the children to live with grandma.

    With her father’s announcement that he was gay, Kelle’s parents divorced. As a result of dealing with the tension between her need to love her father and the church’s position on homosexuality Kelle really resents “The Church” – and people who sound too churchy. Many of those who left lovingly-intended comments in response to Nella’s birth will probably be crushed to hear Kelle’s mini-rant concerning people who communicate in any way that God has a plan or a purpose for our lives.

    Did I say Kelle Hampton and mini-rant in the same sentence? Well, yes I did. While Kelle waxes so positive about everything in her life, it seems she does indeed have some strong dislikes. So the book is good in revealing that she is human, after all.

    I wish her editor had edited the book. At 270 pages, there were times when I felt like I was reading my kids’ papers when they were trying to make a word count. Did I really need to hear about the time she and her friend went skinny dipping at 3am in a neighbor’s pool while their husbands watched? Did I need to hear that Nella’s OT is such a hottie?

    The desire to be cool was very annoying. I don’t really appreciate grown-ups starting sentences with “Dude” and the endless references to cold beers for this and that occasion/feeling/trial/triumph struck me as very odd. A good editor makes a writer sound better. Where was the editor for this book?

    Kelle is a good writer, but way too over-the-top when describing and analyzing her feelings. And I’m sorry but I have to say her narcissism is just too much to bear. Now, first of all understand that I think most creative people are narcissistic. I’ve often asked myself and my writer friends Ann and Leona – how do we have the nerve to talk about our lives and assume anyone would be interested? How do my kids have the guts to get up on stage and sing and perform? The arts do take a certain amount of narcissism.

    But being a writer involves self-discipline and a willingness to develop your gift into a craft. One thing my professional teachers stressed was Take-away value. What is the point of what you’re writing? There must be something of value for the reader. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned in my early writing days is that writing needs to spring from a love of others (specifically, your readers), not from a love of yourself.

    I would love to see what a good editor could have done with this book by cutting it back at least a third.

    In the end, if you’re expecting the story of Nella, it’s there. But I wish there was more about her and less about Kelle. By the end, I was skimming because I just didn’t want to hear why she jettisoned their traditional place and chose a beer dive to celebrate her fourth anniversary with her husband. Or why she chose jeans and flashy high heels over a dress. Those things just don’t matter to me.

    The story about her appearance at the National Down Syndrome conference had some insightful moments, but again they were all about her reactions to people she met more than about the people she met.”

  19. Dude Free 23
    March 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Lisa, girl, you hit the ball out of the park on KH. The blog has become almost a caricature of itself. However,that said, I just felt sadness for little Nella when I read (which she will too, at some point) “The Birth Story.” Yes, the writing is quality here and there, but one, out of many, particular things she noted in that post was :”…it was the beginning of MY story.” (correct me if wrong, but it IS a birth story, right?). And…again, feel free to correct, but, specifically choosing to write (even before Lainey’s, I think) in the manner & style she chose to share such emotion… It is the start of NELLA’s story. Picky, am I? Maybe. My opinion, KH. Deal.

    And this is why someone like you, your thoughts, your opinions, who choose to walk the path to create your own space to vent, share, journal, and oh, dear, God forbid, have an opinion to share intelligently, without giving a crap what or how blogland may respond or think (especially those who DO troll on behalf of KH) obnoxiously & certainly not for lack of trying…MUST, at any cost, practially cut & paste the same comment on virtually every other reader comment choose to make that simply do not agree…and its ALL ABOUT KH. Not Nella. The number of afore mentioned cut n paste “…you can think or write what you want, your alllowed, but you better not…drink the punch, people” makes the obvious, well…obvious. And quite unoriginal.

    Fricking Craftastic.

    Rarely comment on blogs, but had to here…The Leave No Apology Zone! Love. It.

    And now, “Soul Sister” is playing in my head. Enjoying the no BS Zone, girl. 🙂

    PS: the book marketing campaign is in full swing, people. Be fully prepared for LOTS of pics of Kelle & Nella together on the blog…

  20. Seton
    April 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    I feel so left out. I never heard of Kelle Hampton until today when someone posted a link to an entry at Huffington Post entitled, My Baby With Down Syndrome: Finding Beauty In The Unexpected. Other than the baby that was birthed had Down syndrome, I failed to see what the title had to do with what I read in the article. If I did not already have a child with Down syndrome, that article would have left me feeling that it was an awful experience that I should avoid because the pain would be too much to bear.

    Coming to the end of the article, I was confused as to where the beauty was found. She described that first shower after the birth of her daughter. Talked about how people were coming to be with her (Kelle), about how a party stopped because of the news, and how a friend fell to the ground crying for her (Kelle). She also said there would be calls asking about her (kelle) status.

    The title was never resolved (at least not for me) and then I realized it was an excerpt from a new book. What a horrible excerpt to use and entitle that way. I get that it was emotionally charged, but what did it have to do with Down syndrome other than it being a backdrop for a flood of emotionally self-indulgent writing?

    Seriously, I began to feel guilty for not connecting or empathizing with this writer. Again, if I did not already have a child with Down syndrome, perhaps I would have pitied her anguish over the perceived end of HER life as she knew it. But we get all of these end of life feelings from her, her friends are there for her, but we never find out that having a child with Down syndrome is not the big, scary deal that it’s made out to be.

    Was the beauty that she found actually her friends who stayed friends with her in spite of her having a child with Down syndrome? Where was the beauty?

    Man, I should write a memoir.

    • maggiebeth25
      April 7, 2012 at 12:51 am #

      the first time i read her birth story was on her blog…but then they reprinted it in “parents’ magazine (i think) and all i could think was “what are they trying to tell their readers about Ds? this is a horrible story to tell.” it’s fine if she wants to put her feelings out there on her blog. it’s her blog. but when you go about telling that “my life is ended” story without the good part, that it turned out great, then why even publish it? it just paints such a horrible picture of Ds.

  21. JD
    April 8, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

    Wow. Have you all listened to yourselves? Why do you need to criticize another blogger and make assumptions about her life and her motives? Why do you feel the need to tear her down? I’d encourage you all to ask yourselves those questions……..it’s kind of laughable that you’re all here speaking negatively about someone you don’t know. It actually speaks volume about the character that each of you possess.

    • Andrea
      April 12, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

      I have been wondering this too. I think it boils down to this: remember the people in high school who would see someone being bullied and find it hilarious, then join in? Those people grow up to be adults who do the same thing.

  22. Sue
    April 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    Hey JD, Kelle Hampton puts herself out there enough that what she does reveal about her life disgusts me. She exploits her kids for money and hasn’t even bothered to put that older one in a school, probably because it would take away photo time from Kelle and cost her money. She’s a self serving oddball and her husband has no balls IMO for allowing her to sell the kids for big $$$. Clearly they support the familty.

    Not sure who you think you are for condemning other commenters. Another Hamptonite no doubt. .

    • JD
      April 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

      Not a Hamptonite at all. Just observant. Do you live near Kelle? How do you know she exploits her kids? What do you know about her older child’s school situation? How do you know that it would “take away from photo time?” Your comments are laughable, considering they are all assumptions. What is it about Kelle that makes you so mad that you have to lash out publicly? What it is that grinds your gears so heavily that you have to comment? Does she really impact you that much?????

  23. Lynn
    April 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Truly, there are only three words that describe Kelle Hampton…desperate attention HO. I put her in the same category as the Kartrashians.
    It is understandable, however, given her childhood and how her horrible father completely destroyed the family. MEN, this is why you need to come out of the closet BEFORE you create a family. He literally destroyed three kids (her sister has a blog and is equally as strange) and a wife and it is obvious what reprecussions that had on this woman.
    The older child, Lainey, always looks so bored, confused and sad. As long as Momma gets the shot that’s all that matters.

    As for JD here, Hampton has made it clear the older one doesn’t go to school and I think that is quite obvious because she details their day, everday and it only involves, picnics, playgrounds, beaches, shopping and decorating the house. Get a clue JD, if and when this kid goes to school Hampton will literally take 10,000 pictures, detail every moment and more than likely make it into some sort of a book. She exploits the kid at every turn. School will be a wind fall for Hampton.

    • JD
      April 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

      Lainey isn’t school age, which shows how assumptive the both of you are. Enjoy your spin of negativity, because I guarantee you it won’t impact anyone outside of this board in the least. Instead of hating on others predicated on false assumptions, maybe you should look in the mirror and figure out why you’re so mad!

      • hi poppa
        April 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

        Poppa is that you? The Kelle spin machine is at work.

      • Poppa is that you?
        April 10, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

        Poppa, um sorry, JD- I don’t think anyone really cares what impact it has outside this blog. I know I was commenting on a blog and a very good one IMO, much better than the crap you read over in unicorn land.

        I see the Kelle spin machine is at work courtesy of her father or her minions no doubt.
        I remember him defending her in comments all over other blogs and you would think Kelle was 11 years old the way he lashed out at anyone who did not worship her. She clearly could not speak for herself which is truly why I think she is a fake who does not write the majority of the words on her blog. I too think Kelle takes the pics and Poppa writes.

      • Mandi
        June 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

        Um, yeah assumptions … except Kelle said on her blog she is home-schooling her (unless she’s changed her mind since, it was there, clear as day). What other proof do you need? lol
        Assumptive isn’t a word.

  24. R
    April 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    well I actually know Kelle and her father, and if you think she’s crazy, I would challenge you to re-read your own comments and really think about the judgement you’re making on someone you don’t know. I’ve never seen so much hate in a blog. I hope you don’t teach your kids this.

    • have a good day R
      April 10, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

      Hi R:

      No one said Kelle was crazy, I believe narcissist and self absorbed are right on the money though. No one said her father was crazy, but selfish for destroying his family way back when is right on the money though.

      Personally speaking my kids are very well adjusted because, unlike Hampton, I don’t use them for income and I would have never hated my disabled child when she was born (and documented that on a blog and in a book) because she didn’t fit into my perfectly phony world.

      But you keep thinking Kelle is perfection. Good insight into people you got there R.

      Have a good day.

      • JD
        April 10, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

        There’s no “spin”. I’ve only pointed out that Lainey isn’t school age, to try to show you how ridiculous the assumptions some of you have made are.
        What I’m asking you, which none of you can answer, is why you’re so judgmental, hateful, and assumptive (which, btw, are incorrect)?

  25. Lisa
    April 10, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    It’s entertaining watching people I don’t know duke it out over Kelle Hampton on my blog. For the record, I’m aware that Lainey isn’t school age, and I’m not even aware of whether or not she’s in school, nor do I care. I also don’t believe that Kelle’s dad destroyed their family – I’m sure it was complicated, as are most divorces.

    What I do take issue with, however, is this attitude that if you’re not a supporter of Kelle, then you should shut your trap. Why is it that only the fans and supporters have the right to be vocal? The fact of the matter is that Kelle has accepted the role of superstar in the Down syndrome parenting community. She has a far reach with whatever she chooses to put out there. She’s agreed to be this extremely public figure – a spokesperson pretty much. So people are going to form opinions about her and her presence. And as the parent myself of a child with Down syndrome, I and my child are impacted by people like Kelle, so I will exercise my right to express my thoughts and opinions about her.

    As for being “judgmental,” (which really, in this case, only means that one isn’t a fan), I’ll be reviewing her book in the next couple of days. Stay tuned and I’ll tell you what my problems with her are.

    • JD
      April 11, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      Lisa-I wasn’t criticizing you nor those who express their opinions in a tactful way. But, calling her a “ho” and stating things as fact when they’re incorrect assumptions (Lainey should be in school and she’s not b/c it would take away from photo time and money) is a pretty poor way to express how you feel, let alone act as an adult. FWIW, I thought you expressed your opinions quite well, especially because you challenged Kelle to “do more” given all of the eyes that are now on her.

  26. ilenia
    April 11, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    Sounds like you’re just a bitter blogger who has not had the success other bloggers have had. So here’s your pity party. I’ve had the opportunity to read Kelle Hampton’s book, “Bloom”, and I’ve never read a more HONEST and REAL account of a trying time. She actually admits to wanting to run away from her baby born with DS. She lets all of her ugliness out. And she talks about how she GREW from it. This is not an informational book or a blog about DS because, yes, there are plenty of places for finding information. The book is an account of her ups and downs throughout her baby’s first year of life. And she ENDLESSLY gives credit to her incredibly supportive family and friends. Perhaps you should educate yourself about the people you criticize before you start to bad-mouth them.

  27. ilenia
    April 11, 2012 at 3:50 am #

    And congratulations for riding on Kelle Hamptom’s coat tails. Most of the people writing these comments, including me, would not have come across your blog if you did not write about her. You’re entitled to your opinion, and you don’t have to feel inspired by her, but it’s pretty obvious that many people have. Your original entry makes you sound like an angst-y teen complaining about the popular girl in high school. Be honest – you say the things you do, but you want to be that girl…

    • Lisa
      April 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

      This is another phenomenon I find very curious: the rabid, overly protective nature of Kelle Hampton fans. I mean, people can come out and express valid concerns and criticisms of the likes of Kathryn Soper or Jennifer Graf Groneberg or George Estreich, and nobody really bats an eye. But there are people who actually spend their time trolling the internet looking for negative things about Kelle so that they can go defend her. Weird.

      • AC
        April 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

        I agree Lisa. My take is that her “fans” are insecure and emotionally immature people by nature. Mature women do not fawn all over someone as insignificant as KH unless there is something lacking in their own lives. I read the blog for a few months after Nella and some of the comments were down right creepy. One commenter wrote that she printed out a picture of Hampton’s kids and framed it for her desk, despite the fact she has never met Hampton in real life or knew her. Another one wrote that her kids were the most beautiful she had ever seen, even more so than her own kids. This bizarre obsession was continual and is no doubt what drives Hampton. You see the same kind of defense, such as ilenia’s, of the Kardashian girls and the majority of their followers are teenage girls.

      • jenny
        April 11, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

        poor bitter lisa –

        I think Kelle is doing more impact than you can imagine. Have you ever thought to think how she is influencing people who do not know anything about DS? Breaking down the walls outside of the DS world? Perhaps you should stop and think before you write. Call me rabid, call me over protective – whatever. Congratulations for gaining your minute of fame Lisa. You talk of trolling through the internet…your little lovely blog actually comes up #2 when you Google search Kelle Hampton. odd.

      • Lisa
        April 11, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

        Yes, it’s all part oft diabolical plan to ride on Kelle’s coattails. Absolutely couldn’t possibly have anything to do with valid concerns that are shared by a whole lot of people.

      • Shauna
        May 20, 2012 at 6:29 am #

        I found this blog in a search for Kelle Hampton retro bathing suit. And then you came up. I don’t think you’re getting visitors because people have concerns. I think the title of the blog creates interest and a little drama. I’m just not understand the venomous bullying occurring amongst the comments.

  28. Chris
    April 12, 2012 at 3:09 am #

    My guess would be that you and KH probably are more alike than you are different. I mean that in the deep down of it all. Aren’t we all more connected than we initially like to think? And isn’t that part of the beauty in experiencing trials-that our connectedness becomes so abundantly clear?

    Why is it necessary to criticize? Why not appreciate the unique characteristics that we all add to this crazy life?

  29. no fan
    April 12, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Raising my hand here as a commenter–don’t speak for me Chris. I would never or could never be as phony as Hampton. She is about a genuine as a piece of plastic and is not someone I would ever admire. I feel for her kids and the made up world they have to live in. I suspect the older one will be in therapy for a long time as an adult.

  30. poor jenny
    April 12, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Sounds like you’re the one who is envious jenny. What’s wrong? No one reads your blog and your’s doesn’t come up number 2? Really, grow up. You are either a.) a family member b.) one of the friends (could be that friend Heidi Darwish who appears to be Kelle’s servant/lady in waiting) or c.) a pathetic mom with nothing else to do other than defend a woman who doesn’t know you or give a crap about you other than making money off of your interest in her.

    • Shauna
      May 20, 2012 at 6:26 am #

      Yikes. Not understanding the venom.

  31. Nancy
    April 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    It’s so obvious that Kelle’s success pains you. Your negativity regarding her blog success and entry into the literary world scream, “Why not me?” I feel sorry for you. And since when is photography a gimmick. Photography is a beautiful art form, and Kelle, in my opinion, has quite an eye for photography. Kelle is upbeat and positive, and she knows how to turn a negative into a positive. She also knows how to treat others. Perhaps you could learn something from Kelle, because it’s painfully obvious you have much to learn.

    • Lisa
      April 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

      Blah, blah, blah. Seriously.

      • Nancy
        April 13, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

        Just wanted to add that I’m not the same Nancy as who posted a long post above. I’m a different Nancy. I won’t be coming back but wanted to clarify that. Thanks.

  32. Sandy
    April 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    You know the old saying Nancy # 2. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

  33. MB
    April 15, 2012 at 4:30 am #

    i don’t have opinions strong enough to join this conversation but i do know you are pretty clever to have figured out how to get traffic to your blog by putting her name in your post.

  34. dayna
    April 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    So as some question, “why do you keep reading if you dont like thise blog”.. I wonder… how the hell do all you “haters” know her best friends name… her fathers sexual preference? Her daughters school status??? CUZ YOU KEPT READING… Im not a friend,family,or troller… There are things I like and dislike..agree and disagree with most everything I encounter in my life. My husband, my mother, my children… Those people I love DEARLY… abundantly more then myself… BUT I dont put them down, name call them,critisize, and publicly try to humiliate them. Ill be honest, I never got the impression that she has a perfect life.. I got the impression, that she struggles, but at the end of the day she smacks herself upside the head and says… Im in control here and can make this awesome, so why not… The world goes around by all the different walks, and ways of life…we can all contribute by being negative and critisizing, or we can all contribute by excepting others to be them selves. You wouldnt be shy, if there wasnt someone outgoing, you couldnt be selfless, if there wasnt someone more selfish… just be you, steer clear of what you dont like, and focus on what you do…contribute to your one and only life in a positive way…

  35. dayna
    April 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    for the record..I struggle alot…. I have found bits and pieces of things that have inspired me and helped me from, all of the blogs I read.. Kelly doesnt claim to be the ANSWER to perfect and success..its what works for her…not all of it works for me.. but you take what you can and use it for the better

  36. Dayna
    April 19, 2012 at 2:52 am #

    one more thing… read her book, you will see by her own accord, her life is far from perfect…. just not miserable!!

    • Lisa
      April 19, 2012 at 3:09 am #

      Dayna, I did read her book, and posted my thoughts elsewhere on my blog.

  37. Tracey Rankin
    April 28, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    What inspires me? People who are kind and don’t judge.

  38. Tracy
    May 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    I had to laugh when I saw a commenter somewhere refer to the Hamptonites who fell for that trash book as “Blooming Idiots.” Perfect!

  39. Shauna
    May 20, 2012 at 6:42 am #

    I am not trolling. I haven’t read Bloom (yet). But I have followed Kelle’s blog since Nella’s birth off and on. I’m the mother of a severely disabled child and sometimes my psyche benefits from the fairy dust and pretty that is her blog. Sometimes I’m not in the mood.

    Anyway, I guess I’m a little fed up with moms attacking other moms in the blogosphere. If someone gains success, is attractive, seems happy, successful, or just isn’t miserable, then apparently it means they’re not being “real.” And by who’s definition? I’d say her birth story is pretty f-ing real.

    Furthermore, who cares if she omits anything she doesn’t want to share? Who cares if she paints a pretty picture? Not EVERYTHING is everyone’s business. So just because she shares some of it, she is responsible to share all of it?

    I think those who have such a venomous reaction to KH should ask themselves why. Do you really care i whether she’s being real or not? Or is it that her success is making you feel inferior as a mother/wife/friend/blogger/advocate?

  40. B.M.
    June 12, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    You jealous!

    • B.M.
      June 12, 2012 at 11:38 am #

      My thoughts exactly.

  41. B.M.
    June 12, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    Ooops – my thoughts exactly was meant for Shauna’s post!

  42. Rachel corral
    May 25, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

    People who inspire me? Ask those who have come before me. Those who have pavedd a path through struggles, pain, sadness, then successes and aspirations and acceptance. One person in particular was the woman who lived two doors away, who had a daughter with Down Syndrome. I had never had a conversation with them, didn’t even know thier names.we had lived there for 5 years. Then one day they saw us at the park and she came over with the biggest smile on her face and welcomed me into her world. She has always been my confidante, and as our children grow, I want her to know she will always be my strength. When I felt so alone in the world, she opened my eyes. I only hope that I can do the same for another young mother.
    Rachel, mommy to Hunter (10yrs old)


  1. Why My Fellow Down Syndrome Moms ROCK » Dont Lick The Ferrets - February 27, 2012

    […] fellow DS mom wrote a post entitled Why Neither Kelle Hampton Nor Noah’s Dad Inspire Me. And she hit the nail on the head with each one of […]

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