Chinese New Year 2019

First I wanted to thank you for all the kindness and empathy which was extended after my last post.  I did not share the words to receive encouraging or mean words in response.  I shared them because sometimes I feel like I will explode if I don’t share honestly…like free therapy…and also because I know there is someone else out there feeling the same things.  It’s always nice to know you’re not the only one.  Thank you for sharing your own feelings and thoughts and pieces of your own story.  I do not take it lightly and appreciate your words deeply.


Josh Kelley’s brother Andy and our sister-in-law Becky have made sure we’ve celebrated Chinese New Year for several years now.  It’s always super fun and a crazy sweet time.  Becky’s food is incredible and I love sitting around making jiaozi with her and other family members.  In 2017 when we knew Everett would be joining our family in just a few weeks, Chinese New Year seemed even more poignant.  I remember specifically my friend Janet was holding a Zumba fundraiser to help us with travel funds to China the afternoon we would be celebrating Chinese New Year.  I raced from the fundraiser to Andy and Becky’s house because I JUST HAD TO BE THERE.  We had a sweet boy in China and I wanted to celebrate his culture so badly with the people who I love and love him.  I wasn’t going to miss it.  That will always be such a special CNY to me.

This year we got a jump on the celebrating.  We also spread things out and have been celebrating longer.  I put up our Chinese lanterns we purchased in China with Everett and Leo.  I hung Everett’s white E and thought about how much he would LOVE this time.  I thought about how different he would be if he were still here with us.  He was such a good talker and picked up English so quickly, but I imagine how insane his communication would have been by now.  All those thoughts are hard.

We had red envelopes ready the morning CNY kicked off.  I have a plethora of envelopes I picked up each time we were in China.  The kids love opening their envelopes and finding cash and hi-chews.  We received the sweetest little package of treats and kind words from our Hilliary.  Hilliary knew and loved both Everett and Leo.  She is immensely special to our family. We also prepared some fun treats and surprises for others around us celebrating such a special celebratory time in the Chinese culture.

I made white chocolate dipped Oreo pigs.  The kid crowd went absolutely wild.  I also made white chocolate and Oreo truffle pigs and dark chocolate and peanut butter truffle pigs.

Sidenote:  I had a terrible cough that would not go away leading up to CNY.  One night I had taken melatonin to help me sleep, but I was still awake coughing my face off.  I remember thinking about Chinese New Year and what I wanted to make for a fun dessert, but I was so groggy and out of it from the melatonin.  The next morning I had an email from Amazon confirming my purchase of a pig silicon pan at 1:50am.  I laughed so hard because I did not recall this AT ALL.  The groggy, melatonin me pushed my hand and made me make pig truffles because I couldn’t return the pig pan even though I had no idea what to do with it.  I was glad it was on $8.  Josh Kelley said he was glad it wasn’t a pool table. 🙂

We made our yearly animal mask to celebrate whatever year it is.  This year we went with a painted pig mask.  The kids LOVE this!!!!  They so look forward to making and wearing and doing funny things in the mask.  Across the board crowd pleaser.

This year we also added paper peonies to our crafting CNY list.  These were so fun and I actually just left the supplies out on our kitchen table for a week or so and let everyone make peonies as they pleased and then they would hang them up or give them away.

We planned out our big Chinese dinner for a Friday night with just our family, but last minute Andy and Becky were available and up for celebrating too.  It was perfect because I had already purchased all the food and Becky really enjoys cooking for others.  I did all the prep work…dicing and cutting and getting recipes ready…and she came in and rocked her insane cooking skills.  We agreed we made the perfect CNY team.  I got to do the part I enjoy and am decent at and Becky got to do the part she loves to do and we all benefitted from eating her amazing dishes.  Bonus:  Andy’s birthday was the day before so some lemon ice-box pie was in order.

Leo ate buckets of Becky’s rice and jiaozi.  I loved watching him and Nia play with water and dumpling wrappers.  I tried to soak up these moments of celebrating our first CNY with Leo.  It feels so special to celebrate this time with him.  Andy brought a fun Chinese game and more CNY paper crafts he does with his students.  One of my favorite moments was looking over and seeing Josh and Andy holding Nia at our kitchen table working on their Chinese calligraphy.  The table was a mess.  There were remnants of Becky’s delicious food everywhere and all I could think is how lucky we are to have them in our lives.  They miss and love Everett so much and that is an immense comfort to our hearts when we fear he will disappear from the memories and minds of others.

It was a culmination of sadness and the most precious, deep kind of joy.  I want Everett here with us and I’m also are crazy grateful we got to celebrate with Leo this year.  It has rained constantly all of February and Josh and Leo wrecked his truck…sigh…so we still haven’t been able to get a latter to put Everett’s lanterns up at the cemetery.  Today the sun is shining and were all hoping it stays and this weekend his colorful lanterns can go up.  We miss him everyday.  So thankful for the way Everett and Leo have added even more goodness to our family.


  1. Oh gosh this all is beautiful and heart wrenching too. Sorry I didn’t post on the last one I’m pretty deep into a depressed spell right now but maybe I need to write more to get all this junk in my head out ugh. I get the not liking people/ Christians having weird emotions. Anyways love you and your family and keep putting one foot in front of the other and loving as best as you can and being REAL

  2. You all KNOW HOW TO PARTY!!!! I miss seeing Everett and am always looking at rainbow items and thinking of him. Leo and the rest look like a good time was had by all. Hope you can get things up at the grave; so sorry it has to be there!!!! Think of you all often and many hugs and prayers from WV .

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