Christmas On The Brain

Amon and Winter have already been requesting things for Christmas.  I’m working on a new Kindness Advent.  Josh Kelley has mentioned putting up his Christmas lights more than once already.  I may have already purchased some stocking stuffers and 2 out of 3 of Leo’s Christmas gifts.  What I’m saying is the Kelleys have Christmas on the brain.  It’s true.  Scoff all you want, but it’s true.  And this year I feel excited unlike many of the last few years.

We’re mixing up our Kindness Advent this year by choosing kindness that is completely free or we already have the supplies or items on hand in our home.  Very honestly, the main reason for this year’s spending free kindness is lots and lots of medical debt and we thought it would be a good challenge for our crew.  We all brainstormed over a few days and several car rides to and from school and came up with a legit good list.  It was actually really fun figuring it all out.  Also, I might be making up Kindness Advent kits for MY SHOP.  It’s been a long time request and I’m trying my hardest to make it happen this year.  I’ll share more soon, but as you can see Christmas is definitely on the brain.

Noonday recently released their Winter Line and it’s gorgeous.  It screams Everett Kelley and I want to buy pretty much every last thing.  Every year each kiddo gets a new ornament and when I saw the Rustic Bell Ornaments I knew what would be our kiddos’ ornaments this year.  Some years they get individualized ornaments pertaining specifically to them or something important from their last year, but sometimes I get them matching/similar ornaments.  They all have handmade clay balls from Ethiopia, paper mâché ornaments from Nepal, different stitched and crocheted stars from Afghanistan & East Asia and tiny animal bells from Zhengzhou, China.  Bells from India are joining the mix this year.

While I’m already thinking ahead to Christmas, I’m also thinking about birthdays and teacher gifts and just because treats for people who need some extra encouragement.  I’ve seen some Noonday artists in person…I’ve seen their craft and creativeness and it’s crazy legit.  What I can say with confidence is this is purchasing with purpose and power.

Tomorrow night we’ll party with Noonday.  If you’re local, I hope to see you there.  I promise to fix you a drink, hand you a plate of food and hug your neck.  And I promise you’ll laugh…it’s just what we do.  No pressure to buy, just come hang out and eat and drink.  Also, my friend Ashley gave me a bunch of new Noonday samples so there will be door prizes galore.  It’s going to be crazy fun!!!  If you can’t make the party, no biggie.  You can SHOP ONLINE HERE!  All items will be mailed directly to you.

Now I’m off to make some more cookies and clean our toilet. 😉 Rolling out the red carpet.

Noonday Haves

Leading up to Saturday’s Noonday Collection party I wanted to share with you some items I personally have and have given as gifts.  These are items I legitimately love and wear and have gifted to others.

The Birds of A Feather Earrings, Cow Horn Hoops, Crescent Moon Earrings  and Forestry Ear Climbers are all crazy classic and light weight.  I love wearing all of them and have given them many times as gifts to family, friends and our teachers.  Such a fun gift!

I love a good arm party and this bracelet accomplishes it in one slide snap.  Love all the colors and fun and funkiness of the Woven Dreams Bracelet.

The Wildflower Clutch might be my most favorite Noonday purchase ever.  It’s so colorful and well made and it’s a clutch that can still hold all my things. 🙂  A total keeper and I use it year round.

 

I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for items that are versatile and would easily please a large crowd…an items that can be given to friends and family and teachers that will be a slam dunk.  The Underground Cuff does just that and couples so well with other bracelets.

The Geo Necklace, Triangle really speaks for itself.  Simple, gorgeous and goes with anything.

 

 And I’ll share more tomorrow about Noonday’s Winter Line, but their Festive Paper Bead Garland is used often in our home.  I break them out for all sorts of festivities…birthdays, just becauses and Christmas.  I’ve also been known to add them to our Christmas tree.  Such a fun home item to celebrate with.

Hope to see you Saturday in person and if not, CLICK HERE to shop online now and snag some goodies!

Don’t Forget…This Saturday!

This Saturday is our Noonday Collection party and I’m pretty darn excited.  I actually have only hosted one adult party in our home since Everett died.  I know everyone handles grief differently, but I definitely turned inward.  I’d much rather stay at home these days.  It’s comfortable and what I know.  Home is my safe place where I know everyone there understands my heart and loss and my deep love for Everett.  But I’ve missed hosting fun parties so this Saturday I’m getting my hosting feet wet again.

Safari Stack Bracelet Made in Uganda 

Portal Bracelet Made in Haiti

Polished Horn Ring Made in Vietnam

Patina Hoops Made in India

I’m making yummy cookies and spinach & bacon queso dip and more yummy food and maybe I’ll throw in a few raw veggies for good measure.  There will be drinks and hugs and laughter.  And purchasing amazing items with deep purpose.  If you are local and want to join us shoot me an email pitterpatterart at gmail dot com

Medallion Necklace Made in Ethiopia (Sale)

Mossflower Weekender Bag Made in Peru

Mod Marble Studs Made in Vietnam

If you can’t make the show, no worries.  You can shop online now HERE and items will be shipped straight to you.  Still a giant win!  I’ll mail you a cookie. 😉

Filigree Hoops Made in Vietnam

El Amor Wooden Tray Made in Guatemala

Droplet Necklace Made in Ethiopia

Drifter Makeup Bag Made in Guatemala

This week I’m highlighting items I like and would love to own in this post.  I’ll also share items I already personally own and have gifted to others and I’m going to share some about Noonday’s Winter Line which screams Everett Kelley!  Major heart swoon.

Brilliant Leather Wrap Bracelet Made in India

Anthology Market Tote Made in India

Belonging Necklace Made in East Asia (Sale)

So mark your calendars and join us Saturday night at 6pm or head over HERE and grab some goodies for yourself, friends, family or teachers to celebrate!  Think Christmas or birthdays or just because.  Let’s put our purchasing power to good work.

We Will All Be Better For It

We have two amazing and incredible boys with disabilities.  They both rock extra special hearts as well as Individualized Education Plans at school.  Amon’s disabilities are less noticeable than Leo’s and honestly, that’s why I talk more about Leo’s.  If you are around Leo for any amount of time you will see it.  You’ll see his autism shining through.  You’ll notice the special way he talks and acts.  You’ll see it on his precious little face.  When you’re around Amon you likely won’t catch Amon’s disabilities at all.

Leo has given us this small & yet huge direct doorway into the goodness and crappiness of other people’s humanity.  While we know Leo and absolutely see how he brings value and magic and love to the world…that the world needs more Leo’s…not everyone thinks this way.  In fact, I can see how Leo is treated differently than Amon among people and out in the world.  And that’s pretty damn crushing as Leo’s mom and dad.  I think it’s fair to say, a lot of parents in similar situations likely can relate.

As parents I think we’re prone to notice all the things regarding our children.  We know where our kids are 94.2% of the time.  We’re keeping our eyes on them in large crowds.  We’re noticing all the little ins and outs of growing and changing…are they hitting milestones, are they not.  As parents of children with disabilities I feel like this gets heightened a bit.  If something is off with Amon or Leo my mind kicks into overdrive.  Like if Leo randomly falls asleep one day before nap time my head moves into investigation mode.  Why?!?!?  Why is he already falling asleep so early?!?!?  And I start moving through my mental & physical checklist.

Fever?

Heart Failure?

Sickness?

Low oxygen saturations?

Fluid around his heart?

Just tired because he didn’t sleep well last night?

A fluke?

We’re trained to notice all the things and then work through those, alone and with medical professionals, to find answers because sometimes it means life or death or a doctors visit instead of a hospital stay.  We are constant investigators.

These observant tendencies carry over into regular day life.  As parents of one child with more noticeable disabilities and parents of another child with typically unnoticeable disabilities we see how they are treated.  When someone doesn’t want their child near Leo, we notice when they move their child to another location because of some lame ass excuse they are verbally saying out loud to themselves…AKA saying it out loud because they are trying to make us think “IM NOT MOVING MY KID BECAUSE I DON’T WANT THEM NEAR YOUR KID.”  When a parent only hovers when Leo is around, we notice.  When they strategically place their child where they can’t physically get to Leo or Leo can’t physically get to their kid, we notice.  When people stare, we notice.  Can I just pass out stickers and tees that say, “Staring isn’t caring, asshole.”?!?!?!   When they mumble words under their breath or shoot someone else a look about Leo, we notice.  When people talk or point out all the ways Leo struggles VS all the goals he has met or the way he works so hard, we notice.  And by God, when someone else thinks they know how to parent Leo better so he “just won’t act the way he does”, we notice.  All the different ways others go about trying to limit their or their child’s interaction with Leo, WE NOTICE.  It does not go unseen.  They are not being sneaky or clever or discreet or smart.  They are being unkind and dumb and rude and exclusive.  And they are missing out on one insanely awesome kid!!!

What kills me is Leo works so damn hard.  If only you lived in our home and could see the ground he has covered in his short 18 months home.  He is at the doctor every week for blood draws and cardiology checks.  He goes to modified pre-school where he does speech and language therapy.  He does physical, occupational and sensory therapy.  And he has ABA therapy every day.  He works so hard on literally changing the way his little brain processes and teaching it new things.  Sometimes I sit and try and imagine what it’s like to be in Leo’s brain.  To be so little and to work so hard…it makes me teary and also so insanely proud of his hard work and determination.  He’s a big hitter and pincher and literally is grinning ear-to-ear when he does it.  He hit a kid the other day and when I told him he had to be soft and tried re-directing him he said, “Play.”  His precious little brain just works differently.  He’s not trying to be malicious.  He’s excited and trying to fill his sensory needs and play all at the same time.

Leo is brilliant a thousand different ways.  He also absolutely knows and recognizes people who really love and appreciate him as the human he is….exactly as he is now…no changes necessary.  His siblings are all smitten.  I laughed because Leo recently hit Amon on the back and Amon didn’t even blink, but turned around and squeeze hugged Leo which was just what Leo wanted.  My kids get it.  It’s not always easy, but they understand the magic of Leo.  My friend Ashley’s kids, Abram and Lorelei, are the same.  They both gush over Leo.  Abram always offers up a big hug for Leo and it’s fair to say Leo is slightly obsessed with Lorelei and I really believe it’s because he knows she genuinely likes him just the way he is.  I’ll never forget one time when they were swimming together.  Lorelei was swimming over to Leo and he got so excited that he chucked a pair of googles at her.  I told him no and re-directed while Lorelei just smiled sweetly at him.  Later Ashley told me that Lorelei said, “Leo can throw stuff at me any time he wants.”  Hahahahahahaha.  Gah I love that.

I’m not saying it’s always easy being buddies with Leo, but are any good relationships easy anyways?!?!  Nope.  Because we’re all human and we all struggle in areas and valuable relationships take work from all parties, but it’s well worth it.  Leo will love you unconditionally and forever and you’ll get a front row seat to his sweet enchantment and goodness.  He’ll teach you just as much as you teach him.  And after he sees you, you’ll be the topic of his stories and he’ll talk about you non-stop.  My friend Bekah, who is our carpool angel in the afternoon for Winter and Amon, is the perfect example.  Bekah adores Leo and loves on him every chance she gets.  She got her car stuck in the ditch in our front yard and it was all Leo would talk about FOREVER.  “Bekah.  Car.  Fell.”  But then Bekah brought him an icee when he was in the hospital a few weeks ago and now Leo has a new story, “Bekah. Icee. Leo.”  Bekah always chats with him and waves when we pick up Amon and Winter or she brings him a popsicle out to the car.  She gives him big squeezy hugs every time she sees him.  She gets down on his level and treats him like her own.  This week we were in Disney World and Bekah and her family were there too.  We ran into them and through the sea of people Leo saw Bekah and then nothing could have stopped that boy from getting to his Bekah.  He got to her and gave her the biggest hug and proceeded to remind her, “Bekah.  Icee.  Leo.”  Word on the street is it made Bekah’s day because Leo is a day maker.

I don’t really have a ton of answers.  I wish I did.  Like how do we make everyone more inclusive and accepting of all kinds of different human beings.  How do we all just chill out a bit and choose to soak up the beauty that’s found within all of us.  How do we teach parents to breath easier and offer grace instead of freaking out when their kid gets pinched by another child with a disability who cannot control their actions and behaviors all the time.  How do we teach people not to stare and that one of the best things we can do is offer up a kind smile.  How do we teach people that unless they have parented or taught children with  disabilities then they have no leg to stand on and their opinion on how to parent our child is actually void and completely unnecessary.  How do we teach the world that being an asshole isn’t cool.  How do we teach our people that everyone is worthy and amazing and we all have plenty to offer this world.  How do we educate an entire world on the fact that we’re better together and we each contain love to enrich and give to others.

A disability does not make you less of a person or change the amount you contribute to this world.  People with disabilities aren’t to be pitied.  And we’re certainly not to form relationships out of obligation or pity, but out of a desire to get to know a person and have a beautiful, mutual, flourishing friendship.  We learn from one another and become better humans together…not apart.  And a friendly reminder, parents of kiddos with disabilities pretty much see everything, so maybe next time think twice and instead encourage your child to form a friendship instead of choosing exclusiveness and avoidance.  They will be better for it.  You will be better for it.  We will all be better for it.  I promise.

Gratitude Planner {Update}

Last November I began my quest to figure out how to be more grateful.  Losing Everett had made me jaded in some departments that I was not okay with.  Some of my jadedness I hope I keep forever because it keeps me tuned into others loss and sadness and grief and pain.  But this jadedness in the gratitude department was only going to turn me into a complete asshat.

I set out to combat it and work consistently on my gratefulness because life is hard, but life is still utterly beautiful and I didn’t want to miss it.

You can read all about my daily planner, printer for daily photos and my daily gratitude HERE.

I’m almost a full year in of deliberately practicing gratitude and I can honestly say I have loved this practice.  It has made me more aware of goodness and all through out the day I think to myself, “This is what I’ll write in my book tonight.”  I also think I ended up getting a weirdly good by-product.  Things that used to completely and totally freak me out…bring on anxiety and stress…I handle much more clear headed now.  My mind instantly goes into a -What’s the worst case scenario and whatever the result is will the world spin off it’s axis?-  Guess what, the worst case scenario has never resulted in the end of the world.  So my mind kicks into breathing techniques and my mind races to find the good or the not so terrible part of whatever.  It’s so intriguing, but I really do believe it’s a direct by-product of practicing gratitude consistently for an entire year.

I am already preparing to continue this practice and I set to work looking for just the right daily planner again.  I love simplicity…I crave it actually…so I wanted an all-in-one-item again…planner and gratitude and photos all in one book.  I thought about getting the planner I got last year, but then started searching and finally landed on the Moleskine Classic Hard Cover Daily Planner.

This was just the planner I’d been searching for.  It’s still a very convenient size and there’s a page for each day of the year.  It’s pre-dated and the color options are lovely.  And the price is just right.

So I’m all ready for 2020.  I’ve got my important dates filled in and I’m already scheming to purchase all my HP Sprocket Portable Printer paper much cheaper with all the holiday coupons headed our way soon.  Excited for another year of practicing gratefulness.

Noonday Party Time

In the past I’ve pretty regularly hosted Noonday Collection parties and then I had some major down time from anything like that.  When I went to Guatemala with Noonday almost 2 years ago it was such a weird and hard trip for me.  My saving grace was Lindsey!!  She and I instantly connected and we have remained friends ever since.  While the trip wasn’t the best for all kinds of reason, I did love seeing how Noonday worked with their artisans…definitely a highlight next to Lindsey.  Purchasing with purpose definitely held true and these artists are crazy legit.  Creativity and talent oozes from their finger tips and it was an honor to meet several of them and watch them create.

After having several friends ask me about hosting another Noonday party soon, I decided why not.  I secretly loved having friends ask me to have a party because that makes me think they like my parties. 😉

So mark your calendars because on October 19th at 6pm we’ll be partying hard with jewelry and bags and yummy food and drinks.  These parties are always super fun.  I can promise you good food, good drinks, good company and hella good laughter.  Shoot me an email… pitterpatterart at gmail dot com …for the address if you’re a Nashville local.

Still want to shop, but can’t make the party…no worries.  We’ve got you.  You can go ahead right now and start shopping the party HERE!!!!!  Place your order online and it will be shipped directly to you.  So CLICK HERE and get to shopping.

Noonday recently released their WINTER LINE and it’s pretty dang gorgeous.  It’s beautiful and colorful and reminds me so much of Everett.  We get the kids a new ornament each Christmas and the rustic bell ornaments are calling my name for them this year.

So I know it’s not even Halloween yet, but maybe just think about Christmas briefly or birthday presents or teacher gifts or just a treat-yo-self.  Head over HERE to check out all the lovely goodies.

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.

13 Things

1. Sometimes I receive the most fun and kind things in the mail.  I cannot tell you what it does for my heart when other people think about and remember Everett.  When they say his name it’s like a breath of air straight into my lungs.  Rainbow napkins for our rainbow boy.  Just the most kind and sweet and simple gift that filled my heart right up.  Thank you so much Kera!

2.  We love cinnamon toast.  For a while there was a cinnamon sugar struggle that went on each morning.  Then I wised up and premixed the cinnamon and sugar.  2TB sugar to 1tsp cinnamon.  LIFE CHANGING!!!!

3.  When my kids take my phone without me knowing and take 1 million selfies it is both 100% annoying and 100% awesome.  One of their selfies almost always makes my photo for the day.

4.  Jen brought us sweet treats from Breeden’s Orchard not too long ago.  Giant fruity pebbles rice Krispy treats.  What in the world!??!  They were promptly devoured.

 

5.  Janet sent donuts home with Harper one afternoon and I teared up at the rainbow stickers she added.  If you want to be a good friend to someone during grief and loss and suffering, just do what you do best.  It does not have to be grand and big to deeply deeply matter.  Rainbow stickers on a donut box reminded me on a hard day that our son was not forgotten by the world…there were still people out there thinking of him and us.  Means the absolute world.

 6.  Winter started getting carsick during their morning commute to school.  She LOVES oils and is a solid oil user like myself.  So it made total sense to make her up a carsick roller and it has seriously done the trick.  I just threw in a little of lavender, digize and peppermint and topped it off with a carrier oil.  Done and done.  It’s now her go-to in the morning.

7.  We received some TruColour Bandages in the mail a while back and I was instantly sold.  They match all the different shades of skin in our family and are seriously an incredible quality bandaid.  I’ve been buying them at Target ever since and don’t plan on stopping.  This is not an ad…just a mama telling you about a totally legit product.  Multicultural crayons & markers & construction paper and other supplies are important for classrooms.  This year I bought all our teachers packs for their classrooms and plan on keeping them in stock all year long.

8.  Need a fun afternoon craft for a kiddo who loves crafting and creating?!?!?  Just search on Pinterest “paper flower DIY” and voila.  Harper and I knocked this out in a shockingly short amount of time and it’s absolutely stunning.  We plan on making other varieties too!

9.  I love this photo of Josh and me that Winter took.  So perfectly, insanely us. 🙂  Move over Cheyenne, Winter’s coming!

10.  These SLPmade winter hats landed in our mailbox and then I died!  I mean, come on!!  Could there really be a more perfect set of stocking caps for our crew?!?!?  No way!  I might have already had our kids pictures taken wearing them for our Christmas card.  Thank you so much Sarah!  You are ridiculously talented.

 

11.  I did a super adult thing after school started back.  It’s right up there with getting life insurance and buying luggage.  I felt like such an adult.  For the first time since Josh Kelley and I got married we bought drinking glasses.  Like real legit, actually matching drinking glasses.  And at the end of the day I was walking a little taller.

12.  While Harper, Hudson, Solomon and Amon signed up for soccer this fall season, Winter and Leo headed off to Chinese school.  I so wish Everett could be here for this part of life.  He would LOVE going with them each Saturday to learn his home language and do crafts and sing songs and just all the fun Winter and Leo have each week.  I was nervous going in…I wanted to do and say and be all the right things.  We were welcomed with open arms and kind hearts.  This place is special!

And 13.  This is a very important PSA for all of the 32 people who read my blog.  Speedway gas stations have any size icee for a mere .88 cents.  I repeat, Speedway gas stations have any size icee for a mere .88 cents.  Also, I kind of cringe saying this because I feel as if I am betraying our beloved TigerMarket, but Speedway now has the best icee in town.  Alas.  Go forth and purchase delicious and perfect consistency icees!