All The Family Days

Usually I devote an individual post to our kiddos’ family days/gotcha days, but in the chaos of Leo’s open heart surgery and recovery I haven’t been on top of documenting the way I normally would.  Solomon, Amon and Winter all officially became Kelleys in the summer months so we have back to back to back fun celebrations.  We verbally recognize in our family that these days might not always be joyful for them and that one day their family day may weigh quite heavy because it’s a day that holds both loss and life.

Every year when their family days approach we always let the individual kiddo plan their day.  They get to plan out the food and a yummy dessert and an activity for us to all do together as a family.  Right now our kiddos who are adopted feel celebratory about this day, but Josh Kelley and I know this might not always be the case and that’s okay.  We remind our kids often their stories are their own and this means they can feel all the feelings about it whatever they may be.  We are here.  We are always here and we’re not going anywhere.  Anger, pain, happiness, excitement, sadness, loneliness, mediocre, okay, acceptance, whatever feelings may come as they grow and change and discover who they are, our love will not change and we will be here supporting and loving and listening along the way.

Solomon kicks our summer off.  Ever since Sol was tiny he alway puts such time and care into planning out his special days.  This year we enjoyed the wave pool with friends and hot pretzels and Twin Snakes.  Their favorite lifeguard Abby even got everyone icees!

We also hit up laser quest in Nashville and had an absolute blast.  Solomon even came in first place during one of the games which totally made his night.  And despite Amon’s face, fun was really had by all.

Dinner at Flying Saucer for all the apps because appetizers are part of Solomon’s love language and Jelly Bellys at home for dessert.

I will never forget the moment they placed him in my arms.  Sol was our happiest baby and after I held him close I placed him in Josh’s arms and he shot Josh the biggest grin.  Gah, he’s such a special kid.  I know he was Kelley kid #3, but Harper, Hudson and Solomon all feel like the first each teaching me so much and helping to mold me into the mom I’m still becoming.

Amon was up next and took full advantage of his planning.  There is not much Amon Kelley loves more than a Happy Meal while the rest of us groan in anticipation of the stomach ache we’ll all get after partaking in his favorite meal.  And it has to be eaten in the actual McDonalds with the “good playground”.  Total day maker for this boy.

For our family activity we went putt-putt golfing and had THE BEST time.  We’ve been watching the mini-golf game show on TV called Holy Moly and have all become quite obsessed so everyone was thrilled with Amon’s choice.  We divided into teams:  Team A consisted of Harper, Solomon, Leo and myself.  And Team B had Josh, Hudson, Amon and Winter.  I have never been especially great at putt-putt so I was thrilled our team pulled out a win by one stroke.

And our night ended with ice-cream from Dairy Queen.  A man after my own heart.

Amon forever changed the trajectory of our family and flung us into the wild beautiful world of broken hearts.  He brought joy when we had all been missing it.  He shone bright light into our darkness and every day his joy continues to spill all over us.

Winter Lee brought up the end and although Winter has been with us for almost 5 years, we celebrated her first year of being legally a Kelley.  A technicality really, but a day that holds such depth for her and us.  Winter’s day fell on a super chaotic school day with soccer in the evening so we split her day up.  Donuts to start her morning off and a blue ring pop at 8pm because when it’s your day, it’s your day.

The next day was more chill so we celebrated with Arbys, brownies and ice-cream and Winter wanted us to have an art night together at home.  This may be my most favorite activity a child has ever chosen.

She wanted us to all do a big mural of a city together.  She bounced between ideas for a while, but finally landed on the city and we set to work.  This was such a fun family project and we all contributed one building of our choosing and design.  We drew, colored and painted.  After our buildings were done others set to work on other details…grass, sidewalks, the sky, flowers, bicycles, people, etc.

The end result was pretty magic and currently I’m trying to decide how on earth I frame such a large piece of artwork because this will be treasured forever.

Our Winter girl, the one we never saw coming.  Honored to be hers.  This girl is crazy loved and supported by so many.  She’s the perfect blend of spicy and sweet and easily the loudest and most brightest firecracker of them all.

Over and over again we find ourselves the luckiest.  How did we become the parents of the 7 most amazing kids on the planet?!?!  Questions for Jesus, but we’ll ride this jackpot out until the day we die.


  1. Love! Love! Love! I know there were lots of talking about Everett during these celebrations. The colorful rainbows and flags can’t be missed. Family time is the greatest and the art work is fantastic!!!! Your whole family is AMAZING!

  2. Carrie coRrigan says:

    Please adopt me!! These pictures exude love!

  3. This by far has to be one of my most favorite posts of your incredible family I’ve ever read. I’m with the commentator above, please adopt me too!!! Y’all are truly the best parents and help to inspire me to be a better mom. God bless your huge hearts. I know you are blessed by those kids but truly you are magical human beings.

  4. Maggie Connell says:

    The Kellys ROCK! You are an amazing family and the kids are so blessed to have you and Josh as parents.

  5. Sounds wonderful! Our gotcha day is Dec 15 and we used to always get together with other families that were in our group that live close-ish, but that’s been harder and harder the last couple of years. We still manage to celebrate!

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