November In A Nutshell

Where has the time gone?!?!  I’m not even fully sure, but if I waited any longer to stop in and type on these keys my head was going to explode.  So I give you November in a nutshell.  One day my children will thank me for this blog. 🙂

We kick off November with our thankful leaves and my birthday.  This year it was accompanied by homemade rainbow potholders.  I have some pretty awesome friends.

Truth time:  I am not a fan of going on field trips.  I literally have to make myself go and sometimes I choose not to make myself go. 🙂  I did however muster up enough energy and umph to join Winter at the pumpkin patch.  After it was all over I was glad I went, but field trips are still not my fave.

Then off to Kansas I went to work Camp Create which really doesn’t feel like work, but fun and an honor and privilege to be there.  To watch Meg and Kimberlee do their thing and hang with friends, old and new…it’s life giving.

Sometimes I love aggressively and Meg caught it on camera. LOL.

I was welcomed home by the best crew and new rainbow lights at the Nashville airport.  Hey brother boy…I see you.

Josh Kelley says it’s not Thanksgiving without our Christmas tree so up went our Christmas tree.

I found much needed encouragement and love from Amon.

Snuggles and Goodwill & Target trips and movies for days and Icees all year long no matter the season and sleeping in and a jumpstart on Christmas.

Winter broke her leg…right at the growth plate…which actually worked out better for her now because it’s not fused together yet.  So she got 3 weeks in a brace with metal rods and we gladly took that.  She was a trooper.

We celebrated and remembered Mom/Grammy with blizzards and me telling them stories about how in love she was and would be with each of them.

Smore making in magic Tennessee fall weather.

Thanksgiving was here in a flash and yet so late.  Our major win this year was that we remembered to change Leo out of his pajamas…unlike last year.  We counted it a really big win.

We saw Frozen 2 and it was everything I’d hoped for and more.  I liked it better than the first one.  Winter and I had a good cry together when Olaf was melting.  She sobbed and I assured her we’d see him again.  And I knew all along this wasn’t really about Olaf.  Sweet girl.

We ended November with Harper’s first concert to see Lizzo and Jon Bellion.  I got extremely sick the day of and Josh Kelley had to step in and take my place.  I hated to miss…like HATED to miss, but was so glad Josh got to experience it with her.  I did get the full run down at midnight over pizza and watching them re-live it all made me love them both even more…which I didn’t know was possible.

And then we barreled into December.  I’m still gathering all my thoughts on it.  I’m still working through the joy and goodness and the grief and sadness.  They are all becoming quite the group together.  So long to another November.  We’re moving another day, week, month, year closer.

Disney 2019

Every two years Josh Kelley’s parents treat the entire family to a trip to Disney.  This year was our third year going.  We do 3 days in the parks and honestly that is our max time we’d like to stay.  It’s just enough and everyone is bonkers exhausted by the time the end of the third day rolls around.

This year we felt a little meh about how Leo would do.  While Leo has a few non-traditional autistic tendencies, he also has some very traditional autistic tendencies which made Disney hard on him.  Leo was very overstimulated most of the time and that made Disney’s disability pass a gift from Jesus Himself.  I cannot imagine Leo having to wait in all those lines all day long.  I feel confident it would have made his Disney experience miserable and even harder than it already was.

While large portions of the world are still figuring out how to best be disability friendly and accommodating I really believe Disney is getting it right in a lot of areas.  Nobody is perfect…nobody…but we truly felt as if Disney World really does desire for their fun and magic to be accessible and enjoyed by all kinds of people and children.

Leading up to the trip Josh and I were not excited at all.  The last time we’d been to Disney was just 2 months after Everett died and looking back we should have just opted out of the trip all together, but we felt like we had to go since Josh’s parents had already paid for the trip.  In hindsight it was an incredibly hard and traumatic trip for our whole little crew.  Yes, Disney can be traumatic.  We were all pushed far past our limits at that moment in time and grief was suffocating and we all cried our eyeballs out to sleep every single night.  We all could not wait to get home.  It wasn’t our best decision.

So we were nervous going into this again.  Disney is supposed to be this magical place for kiddos and when one of your children is missing there will always be an obvious hole.  There will always be a sadness in watching our other children enjoy and relish in something we know Everett should be here doing too.  So we went into this trip with zero expectations and zero agenda other than to just try and have some fun and to keep our humor intact.  Laughter is one of the key components to our life.  It’s vital.  We actually didn’t even schedule our fast passes until a couple of days before our trip and then didn’t even use them all.

We knew there would be fun, but we also went in knowing there would be sadness and hard.  We knew our kids grief might come out in a thousand different ways and that this would likely be a very overwhelming trip for Leo so we kept that information at the forefront of our brains.  Josh and I chose to hold the reigns to this trip very loosely.  We let the kids make more decisions about what we’d actually do there while Josh and I guided.  We carried Leo’s noise cancelling headphones and extra clothes & ziplock bags for him everywhere…accidents were legit in Disney…like so legit and we made sure everyone was hydrated and fed adequately and while we ate all the fun snacks we also carried a hundred more extra more filling snacks along with smaller fun treats like suckers in our backpack.  We recognized our limitations.  We only did one park per day and headed back in the evening for much needed down time to eat dinner, swim, watch movies, play football, etc.  We gave the big kids more freedom and we did a lot of dividing and conquering.  We let the bigs be big and let the littles be little and I’m so glad we approached it from that angle.

(^JOSH IS GOING SOLO ON OUR CHRISTMAS CARD NEXT YEAR^)

It was hard on Leo, but he had fun and everyone had some fun too.  He worked really hard and Disney pushed his limits, but he really did an incredible job.  We got a lot of stares.  We got a lot of off handed, quiet, rude comments.  I had dark moments where I wanted to physically fight people over their treatment or lack there of for Leo.  It all further affirmed one of our deepest desires for Leo and all of our children is acceptance…just as they are…no fixing required.

I shared this on my instagram and it honestly just about wraps up all my feelings about our Disney trip:

“We Magic Kingdomed it up today!  Five things: 1) The Walt Disney World disability pass is legit. Like legit legit and it made going to Disney with kiddos who have disabilities a little easier. Hooray for whoever thought of it.  2) I’d give the Mickey soft pretzel a solid 3 stars.  3) Why do Mickey shaped items taste better than normal shaped items?!?  4) This is Leo’s first time and we worried about how he’d do. He definitely struggled regulating, was overstimulated and I wanted to scream at some other people, but he had so much fun and really did great. Can I just pass out stickers and tees that say, “Staring isn’t caring, asshole.”?!?!  And 5) When you see a kiddo struggling, say kind words or give a gentle smile. Who cares if a 4-year-old slapped you on the butt while waiting in line for Buzzlightyear, take it as a compliment.  During a struggle time for Leo his Aunt Katy said, “He really is doing so well.” And she was 100% right.  He’s killing this trip and deserves to be here just as much as anyone else. Thank you Disney World for putting into place practices that encourage all types of people to enjoy your magic & fun.”

So we came, we partied and we survived another Disney trip.  See you in another 2 years Disney World…I’ll bring my stickers and tees next time. 😉

Kindness Advent 2019

I’m a little late posting this considering it’s December 16th, but we have been in full on Kelley kindness advent mode since December 1st.  Usually we set aside money to make all the things happen that we choose for our kindness advent, but this year, well this year medical bills are beyond legit…and that’s fine…it is what it is…so we decided to show kindness that required no money or that we already had the supplies for around our home.  I thought it was going to be more challenging than it was, but we totally brainstormed a bunch of great kindness activities that fit and we set off.

It has been really fun and great to watch our daily deliberate kindness activities fall into place.  There is still some planning that needed to happen so we did that in November and now it’s been pretty smooth sailing.  We did lose our day #8 and I could not remember what we were supposed to do that day and I couldn’t find our calendar where we mapped it all out at the time so you know, you win some, you lose some.  No worries.

I did find my list and wanted to share it here for future reference so without further ado:

**Send get well cards.  Give high 5s.  Let someone go ahead of you in line.  Write a teacher a kind note.  Draw a picture for a friend.  Make bookmarks and leave them at the library.  Paint wood circles/rocks and leave them around town.  Clean someone’s car.  Give out compliments.  Leave a treat for our garbage collector.  Send mail.  Pass out stickers.  Share Sonic happy hour.  Breakfast drop.  Return shopping carts.  Treat our teachers to a key fob.  Give out hugs.  Leave a treat for our mail carrier.  Donate some of our books to our pediatrician’s office.  Leave encouraging sticky notes on public bathroom mirrors.  Gift an ornament.  Leave chalk art around town.  Bake for our neighbors.  Leave encouraging notes on cars.  Load bubble gum & trinket machines with quarters.**

To accomplish keeping it spending free we did things like save a Sonic gift card our neighbors gifted us and used some of it to treat someone else to Sonic too.  To make bookmarks we used supplies we already had on hand and cut up cereal boxes from our recycling for our base.  We always have a stash of stickers and shared from that.  For our breakfast drop we made banana bread from bad bananas at the end of our week because bad bananas make the best banana bread.  For treats for our garbage collector and mail carrier we baked goodies from the ingredients we already had on hand and wrote kind notes.  We are donating gently used books from our own home library to our pediatrician’s office.  We made the ornaments we are gifting.  And over the past few months every time I see a quarter laying around our house I have tucked it away so we can load the bubble gum and trinket machines.  This year definitely took a little thinking and creativity, but we have all still so enjoyed our kindness advent.

This is our 9th year of doing our kindness advent and every year I have used the same little envelopes.  This year I made a a brand new set since I taught this craft at Camp Create earlier in November.  It was really fun and my heart needed some creativity…and major bonus…I adore our new advent set up.

We are still moving right along and I am documenting daily in my stories over on my instagram.  If you want to follow along head over HERE.

I always think back to the quote that began it all during my first round of deep grief after losing my mom:
“When your burden is heaviest, you can always lighten a little some other burden. At the times when you cannot see God, there is still open to you this sacred possibility, to show God; for it is the love and kindness of human hearts through which the divine reality comes home to men, whether they name it or not. Let this thought, then, stay with you: there may be times when you cannot find help, but there is no time when you cannot give help.”

-George S. Merriam

Nine years in and it still means just as much, if not more, than it did that very first year.

Holiday Bright Spots

1. Hudson and Solomon’s snuggle ways.  Seriously, like seriously seriously, I hope they do this for their entire lives.  ENTIRE LIVES!!!!

2. Winter and Amon picking out treats at the drugstore.  There is something about watching my kids pick out treats in gas stations and drugstores that I absolutely LOVE!!!  All the choices, all the deliberating.  It’s adorable.

3. Our Toby painting.  Toby painted us a rainbow and I adore it so much I can barely stand it.  It now resides in our kitchen and is a constant reminder of hope…white knuckled, jaded, gorgeous hope.  I’ll never get enough.

4. Hello Panda cookies.  They are the bomb!  So tasty.  So delicious.  A full on Kelley crowd pleaser.  We pick these up at the Asian market, but word on the street is you can get them from Costco or 5 Below.

5. Winter and kindergarten and her learning to write and spell.  The end.

6. Taking down Winter’s hair.  It’s a family affair and it was really sweet when Josh Kelley sent me this picture.  It’s messy and a bit blurry and we’re all fresh awake and still in bed, but I love the 3 Kelley ladies all together.  Harper, Josh and I all jump in and help take down those beautiful braids.  Tuck away memory forever.

7. Middle school photo booths at Halloween that include a fake chainsaw are the literal best!  It still makes me laugh so hard.

8. Halloween chocolate candy cookies are a massive fan favorite in our house.  After Halloween we took our favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipe…or sub in your own…and the Kelley bigs chopped up all the different chocolate candies…minus any with peanuts because we’ve got a peanut allergy in the house…KitKats, 3 Musketeers, Milky Ways, Twix, Whoppers, Hershey Bars, M&Ms, etc…threw them all in the cookie dough and baked to perfection they will change your life.  Just do it!!!!!

 9. Everett’s beach photos.  I love this child with all of my being.  Miss his squishy face so much.

10. Leo and his obsessive love with his rainbow blankie.  I will let him haul it around wherever he wants.  And also, have all the treats and take all my money.  I’m a sucker.

11. Tennessee winter skies.

12. Hudson’s new pastime of taking a photo of you when you don’t know and then photoshopping it to make you out to be a freaky David Bowie fan/possible serial killer.  When I saw this one, I felt a tad scarred.

13. Leo’s painting of him and his daddy.  OH MY GAH I LOVE THIS CHILD!!!!!

14. The Finding Fred podcast.  I listened to one episode and then binged listened to SEVEN episodes while I sewed 250 key fobs.  I laughed.  I cried.  It is such an amazing podcast.

And 15.  My top two favorite Christmas items:

All the rainbow wrapping paper.  I started buying only rainbow wrapping paper after Everett died and I’ve stuck with it ever since.  So rainbow wrapping for Christmas.

And Pick a Pine Tree book.  Such a sweet adorable book.  My favorite new Christmas book!!!  The cutest illustrations and a crazy sweet story about enjoying the holiday season together with community.  It’s the cutest.

Key Fob Sets Are Ready

Just wanted to stop in and let you know I have been working like crazy to fill MY SHOP with key fob sets just in time for Christmas and they are all posted.

There are approximately 1,247 key fobs. 😂  Maybe not that many, but there are a lot.  I’ve put together fun sets that are all ready to go.  A great stocking stuffer, the perfect teacher gift… paired with some chocolate or a gift card 😉…and just an all around great little gift for friends and family.

And since I’m already in this shameless plug space, you could also grab my Online Bible Journaling Class or our 101 Kindness Activities List.

Head over to my shop HERE.

-End shameless ploy.-

🙂

Three Whole Weeks

Hi!!!  Gosh, it’s been three weeks since I’ve stopped in and typed my guts out on these keys.  It’s been a whirlwind in so many ways.  November is a weird month for my anxiety and sadness.  It’s my birthday month and the month my Mom died in.  The day she died was just the weirdest day because her death was sudden and on set and I was by myself when some serious decisions needed to be made and a doctor yelled at me and I was 29 and very clueless about ALL THE HOSPITAL & DEATH THINGS.  So it often feels like a lot of replaying the whole day over and over again in my head and remembering not so great feelings and words said and I can feel some serious anger about it all.  We do always celebrate her and this year it was with Dairy Queen.  Amon and I got her favorite Butterfinger Blizzard and all felt mediumly right in the world for a moment.

I wrote this about her yesterday:

“I love this photo of us. She was my person. She is my one true parent. The one who stuck it out and loved and cared and gave with zero strings attached. She always wrapped me up tight. She always called. She always loved us and our kids to absolute pieces. She taught me my #1 parenting goal…To always pursue my kids. To chase after and love them fiercely and unconditionally no matter what. I miss her hugs and laugh the most. She felt like straight up home and acceptance just as I was…no fixing required. 8 years feels like far too long.  Another day closer in all the ways.”

I’ve been working some.  I put together 40 kindness advent kits and then sold them.  That’s how that works right?!?!  HA! 🙂  Now I’m working on key fobs.  Creating makes me feel better.  It’s this weird push and pull because it is insanely hard for me to get started creating these days, but once I get into my groove it’s just what I need.  I’ve been trying to push myself some everyday to create something no matter how big or small…just something.

We nailed down our own kindness advent activities for this season.  This will mark our 9th year of doing this which seems so insane.  You can read all about it HERE…my mom’s death inspired it all.  This year we are doing things that are completely free or things we already have the supplies for around our home because medical bills are legit.  I thought we’d have a hard time coming up with 25 things, but after a few car rides to and from school we had brainstormed a whole list.

I also put together a PDF of 101 Kindness Activities and listed it in my shop for $5.  It’s all the things we have done over the years or are doing this year.  I love this little list and it weirdly means so much to me.  Anyways, if you’d like to snag it CLICK HERE!!!

Winter and Leo are now the #1 school picture takers in our home.  These gems landed in my email and a smiled stretched so far across my face I almost broke.  I mean, Leo’s crooked glasses and giant wet spot on his shirt = perfection.  Winter was recently gifted some gold necklaces from Mrs. Diana at church.  I’m not sure who was working the kids’ photo line that day, but apparently they thought the necklaces should be neatly tucked under her collar and on full display.  Thank you whoever you are!  We’re considering getting personalized mouse pads made. 🙂

We get to celebrate 3 birthdays in the fall.  Josh Kelley busted into his 37th year first.  He requested things like sausage balls and orange juice with pulp (Gag!) for breakfast and chocolate chip cookies and a date night at Bar Taco.  So we did all of that.  I even lost his birthday card…already filled out and sealed…at the hospital…and didn’t even buy a replacement.  I just told him about his card…provided a spoken visual…and he was good with it.

Hudson was up next.  He turned 11 and Josh and I wondered how we got so lucky to parent this giant man child.  Donuts and a Little Debbie birthday cake and Taco Bell and some new soccer gear and a game of soccer at the park with Icees were all on the agenda.

He’s the funniest guy.  Our resident comedian and sweet love.  When I look at him, I feel his feelings so strongly.  I feel his smiles and laughter and his sadness and nervousness.  I hear his words and feel it all and I’m so glad I do.

As part of his gift Josh, Hudson, Solomon, Big Daddy and their friend Adrian all went to a Nashville Soccer Club game.  They had THE BEST time and now Josh and his dad are ready to buy season tickets next year.  They had an absolute blast.

And I’m the last Kelley birthday of each year.  I turned the big 37 too.  I’m usually super strategic about special days, but this year I felt pretty meh about it all.  Just my luck, some friends stepped in and made my birthday weekend a little extra.  Ashley, Alissa and Leah shoved me in the car at 5am and instead of hitting up the gym like we usually do they whisked me off the Waffle House for breakfast.  Leah hung up a birthday banner and even pulled champaign out of her purse to make mimosas.  Come on now, amazing.

Jen and Chad bought ridiculously amazing tickets to the Avett Brother’s concert and Jen and I had a night out.  It was insanely good.  We laughed and cried and talked about all the big and small things.  Jen’s one of my most favorite people to chat with because nothing will shock her.  She’s as open and accepting as they come.  It was such a good night and the cherry on the very top was when the rainbow lights lit up the stage and I felt Everett so close.  Miss that little boy like crazy.

For my actual birthday not much was on the agenda other than watching some amazing kiddos play soccer, finding the funniest penis shaped gummy…it’s supposed to be a carrot, but we all know better…and hanging some leaves at Everett’s grave.  That’s all I really wanted…minus the penis gummy. 🙂

And now the end of November is close.  Like so close.  I’m hoping to stop back in again sooner than later.  It feels good to type and share even the most mundane of things.  I think about this little space on the internet and I hope I never wander too far away.  Thanks so much for stopping by, reading and caring.  Means the world.

Flailing

Fall has been a bit wonky.  I’ve been anticipating the end of the year coming for so many reasons.  I’ve never been one to really narrow in on a certain holiday, but this year, for some reason, I am legit feeling Christmas.  I don’t fully know why.  The past few months have been difficult and sadness and anxiety have been swirling around coming up in all of these weird ways.  Maybe Christmas is on my horizon because it feels nice and good and magical and calm.  Maybe because I haven’t felt like myself recently…or felt like I had much to offer or give.  Maybe because I can’t seem to focus and I’ve never felt that way in my entire life.

I thrive on to-do lists.  I love marking things off…preferably with a black Sharpie marker.  And since fall set in I feel like I cannot get anything done that actually needs to be done.  It feels as if I’m failing in a 1,617 different ways and my head takes me back to summer.  Summer meant something deep this year.  I told myself over and over again, “If we can just get through Leo’s surgery.  If we can just take him back home.”  I’m not sure what I thought would settle if all that happened, but I just knew I wasn’t sure I’d survive losing another child and it felt like if we could walk out of that hospital with our boy in our arms things would at least feel a little right.

Maybe I’m left feeling my way through the fact that Leo is home and thriving and working so hard and making so many gains and my heart still feels shaken to it’s core with Everett’s death.  I didn’t think a successful surgery for Leo would mean my pain from losing Everett would go away, but there was this massive goal ahead of us…a finish line we had not been able to cross with Everett…and I just had it in my head that something would shake out from crossing that line with Leo…maybe a change within my own self.

Summer felt simpler.  Harder is ways because summer holds such pivotal memories of Everett and us losing him, but we could easily escape a bit in the hot sun and cool waters.  We were more rested and there was this weird easiness and to the chaos of everyone being home together twenty-four hours a day.  There was routine within in the glory of absolutely no routine.  Now we’re in the midst of six kiddos in four different schools.  Three middle schoolers is not easy.  And not in a personal way.  They are fun and hilarious and we love the people they are turning into and love hearing about what all is going on at school and in their heads, but it’s hard to keep up with all that is placed on their middle school plates.  A large portion of the time I have no idea how to do their math homework and well, that makes it pretty hard to help them with their math homework. 🙂

Flailing is kind of my best descriptive word for myself in this season.  Like a straight up fish!  I get through a day and think, “What did I do today?!?!”  Time races and I feel left in it’s dust.  Unproductive.  Scattered.  Unable to figure out where exactly I am.  Emptied out.  And that feels hard to me.  Winter has owed money on her lunch account for two weeks now.  Like we get automated calls from her school and emails telling us her balance is now up to_____.  Last time I chose to listen to the voicemail or open the email it was like $4.80…her lunch is .40 cents a day. :).  Just this morning I finally sent in some cash because I could not physically will myself to our bank or a business establishment that would let me get cash back.  Or I’d forget when I was at a store that let’s you get cash back.  I just couldn’t.  I have officially begun dropping any plate…the smallest and the biggest, the nicest and the jankiest, the in perfect condition and the chipped, the dinner plate and the salad plate…no plate is off limits…I am fully capable of dropping any of them and watching them fall.

This year for Halloween 5 out of 6 kids used costumes we already had on hand from our dress-up drawer and bin or they borrowed supplies from their Aunt Jen to make their costume happen.  I bought Amon a $12 wolf mask and told him we’d figure out the rest of his costume at home.  New costumes for everyone…handmade or store bought…it didn’t matter…I just didn’t have it in me and I thanked them all for going with Mom’s current flow.

If I had to nail it down I think this is absolutely some form of depression.  Fall is hard because this was the beginning of our new normal without Everett.  This was when we started to see longtime relationships fizzle.  This is when the isolation and loneliness that so often come with losing a child began.  This is when we walked through all those first holidays without him.  This was the beginning of the slow realization to all the dreams that had been buried along with his little body.  This is the season of really hard things and even if my mind does not remember every single event, my body does.  My body has taken stock of the trauma and does not forget.  I believe I’ve walked through a lot of healing…it’s true…but I also know my body holds something sacred and immensely hard with Everett’s death and therefore a change in season can set me off in a different direction and course without my say.

This week I did a podcast with Taylor at the Speak Life Podcast…it will air in November…and I got to talk a lot about Everett and the day he died.  Before I even started talking about him I started to cry so when I spoke about some details pertaining to the day he died I absolutely sobbed my eyeballs out and I’m honestly not sure you’ll be able to understand a word I was saying.  It has been a bit since I’ve spoken to someone…outside of Josh Kelley…about that day and my feelings surrounding it.  So when it all came pouring out so did the relentless tears.  Afterwards I felt this deep sense of release…it was so nice to say his name to someone and share feelings from that day.  It also threw my day for a loop and I found myself binge listening to the Catlick Podcast while sewing 1000 fake leaves together to hang from the tree over Everett’s grave.  And by 1000 leaves, I literally mean 1000 leaves.  The things you can order on Amazon is for real!

We have not done therapy in a while because it got pretty complicated to A) Get to therapy B) Schedule a therapy time that worked for 7 humans and C) What we did while waiting on whoever was in therapy…sitting in a still car for long periods of time is hard on Leo.  So admittedly we’re really behind on therapy hours and do need them.  I’m a firm believer in EVERYONE NEEDING THERAPY.  Everyone!  My best friend Ashley…who is a therapist…is quick to remind me of this in a very kind way.  🙂  And she’s right.  I just wish services like these were more readily and easily made available to people…another soapbox…for another day…mental health and America.

I’m taking some steps to help combat all the wonkiness…lots and lots of steps…all the steps 🙂 and then sometimes I just sit with it.  Like this morning, after a sweet early 5am breakfast with friends, some sadness crept in so I took Everett’s colorful pumpkin we’d painted for him to his grave right after I dropped Leo off at school by myself.  We have plans to all go together tomorrow afternoon to hang his leaves, but I just needed to take his pumpkin alone.  Today.  So I did.

I’m breathing…like seriously, breathing.  Deep breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth.  It’s real.  And it helps.  Grace is probably my number one helper right now.  Lots and lots of grace for myself and offering up real words to others to help explain my off-ness when it involves them.  I sent one of Solomon’s teachers an email this week explaining briefly how chaotic the last few weeks had been and I apologized for still not sending in his supplies he needed for this particular class.  We sent them in this morning and I’m hoping she’ll extend some grace and love to all of us about it.  Sometimes remembering to buy and then actually going to the store to buy glue, graph paper and popsicles sticks is hard.

I mean, who hasn’t been there at some point in their lives?!?!?  Maybe not everyone, but my current life is in a season of always behind.  Always forgetting.  Always not enough.  Always feeling a bit more broken and scattered.  Always feeling at a loss.  And you know what, I can see it…I’ve recognized it…and I’m working on it.  Our best we have to offer can look so different based on one million reasons and factors and contributors.  And currently my best might not feel like my best, but it is just that…my best in my current state.  It’s what I’ve got and the world isn’t going to spin off it’s axis because of any of it.

So I might feel like I’m just flailing around like a fish out of water right now…thrashing and swinging from one moment to the next…just trying to survive…but eventually I’ll hit the water again.  I’ll catch my new rhythm and in the mean time, I’ll keep working and moving towards my waters edge.  I’ll get there.  I’m moving towards it.  And I’m asking for a little grace along the way.

Things I Loved

Saturday we partied with Katie our crazy kind Noonday ambassador and it was a blast.  Thanks so much to everyone who came out, ate, drank, laughed and shopped!  Hope you had some fun too!

This Friday is the last day to order and I’m closing in on a big goal and would love your help if you’ve had some items on your wish list or gift list.  I know I’ve been making all the lists for the holidays…teacher gifts, family & friend gifts, etc.  I love knowing my purchases matter and I’m getting killer gifts to give as well.

I love seeing Noonday items in person because it never fails I find items that I would never have purchased from just seeing them only online.  The try-on and see-in-person was fully necessary and I love when I find those fun items.  This time was just the same.  I knew I liked a bunch of their stuff, but then seeing them in person added more love or introduced me to items I never saw coming.

The Ablaze Earrings and Halcyon Hoops were absolutely INSANELY GORGEOUS and totally not something I would have ever purchased online!  Ever.  But then seeing them in person and then on my ears and I was fully sold.  They are incredible and both classic and statement pieces.  Maybe my top 2 favorite items from the entire evening.

 

My favorite bracelets surprised me as well.  Once again, I had not picked out any of these as ones I was eyeing, but the Crosshatch Cuff, Encircled Wrap Bracelet and the Utopia Bracelet Set won me right over.  Added them to my wishlist promptly!  Love the more muted color tones and gold.  BIG LOVE!

I’m typically a very simple necklace wearer…like usually wear the same necklaces over and over and over…like shower in and wear to the gym and sleep in them.  I have very few statement piece necklaces and definitely share my flare through my bracelets and earrings.  I hadn’t picked out the Spiraled Pendant Necklace or the Timeless Medallion Necklace, but when I saw them in person they really did still match my M.O.  Classic pieces that literally go with everything.  Both killer!

I laughed because they are basically the same piece, but if you absolutely made me pick the Spiraled Pendant would just win out by a hair.

Noonday’s Winter Line was awesome…just as expected.  It all sweetly reminded me so much of Everett…of course.  One thing I was really surprised by were the Brightly Felted Ornaments.  In my head, they were small, but they are actually really big.  I was crazy pleasantly surprised.  They are gorgeous bright colors and I immediately started thinking about what a fun little gift they would be to purchase, but then give individually coupled with a small Starbucks card or yummy chocolate.  That puts them right at $11 for a thought-filled gift.

 And last surprises of the night were the Adwa Foldover Clutch and the Anthology Market Tote.  I am definitely a bag lady.  I love fun, funky bags and have pretty much only one very classic bag.  I love boho and color and sling bags and pretty much the bigger the bag, the better.  Here, HOLD ALL MY THINGS PLEASE.

So for me, the Adwa Clutch was in no way on my list, but then I saw it in person and threw it over my arm and across my chest and I was sold.  Bonus:  It’s made in Ethiopia.  It’s gorgeous and really would still hold all my must haves and they have alternate straps you can purchase…Embroidered Bloom Strap and Jetsetter Strapthat are ridiculously cute.

PS:  Also could totally be killer camera straps.

And the Anthology Market Tote would be such a fun little gift.  It’s made really well and thick and who doesn’t need a fun pool or Aldis or park bag.  This is definitely a throw all our things for soccer in this bag and go kind of deal.  Loved it and it really wasn’t on my radar other than loving the color scheme.

So that’s my run down of my surprise party finds.  A mix of things I was surprised to find I really loved in person and wanted to pass it along to you guys.  Remember, last day to shop is this Friday!  CLICK HERE and snag some goodies.