Five Things

1. For our anniversary and to remember the day we sent Everett into surgery Josh Kelley and I decided we wanted to do something fun with just our big kids.  They have carried so much grief and sadness and still do, so some fun was really in order.  Harper had asked about going to Holiday World so we got Amon, Leo and our littlest lady all taken care of and hit the road early in the morning for Santa Clause, IN.  In our biggish family it’s harder for us to single out alone time with a certain kid or kids so Josh and I were just as excited as Harper, Hudson and Solomon were about our day.

We had an absolute blast.  We got some rain which semi bummed us out for a bit, but we rebounded quickly.  We rode all the rides and ate all the yummy foods and took full advantage of the free unlimited soft drinks.

We lived our best life in a theme park based on all the holidays and loved being with our 3 that kicked this family off.  They were all so little together and do not remember life without one another and I absolutely adore that.  And we adored our time with them to celebrate and remember such an important day for our family.

2. Josh and I are terrible at getting in date nights.  It feels hard to get someone lined up and then there’s the money and finding the time and we’re just really bad at it.  I loathe when people make it sound like you must have date nights to have a good marriage.  Hearing it use to instantly make me feel like Josh and I were doing things wrong and doomed, but really it’s just not the dating season for us.  Don’t get me wrong, we love a date night.  I mean who doesn’t like a little time away from their kids?!?!?!  Sometimes miracles do happen and we recently had the best date night with Andy and Becky.  We ate such good food and talked about everything.  The talking alone is so good for me…to hear other adult humans thoughts and share my own, OMG…life giving.  Give me all the late night grainy pictures when they mean remembering really great times.

3. Fourth of July came and went, but not without hard feelings.  Last 4th of July I was with Everett and my best friend Ashley at Mott.  He’d had 2 open heart surgeries in 4 days and I’ll never forget walking into his room early in the morning and finding the sweetest footprint craft his 2 night nurses had done with him to celebrate his first 4th of July in the US.  Josh had flown back home after 8 days in Michigan to spend time with our other kiddos.  Ashley arrived that day and we watched fireworks out the big windows in Everett’s room.

I thought about him all day.  I thought about how much he would have loved all the family time and the fun foods and the fireworks and sparklers.  As I watched Leo enjoy his first 4th of July and him startle and then enjoy the fireworks my mind sat on Everett.  I watched my niece Campbell swirl her sparkler in a heart shape and I could have cried a river right there in the darkness of Josh’s parents yard.  We carry him with us everywhere and remember him in every moment.

4. I love watching our kids love Leo.  I love their joy and their inclusion and their pride they take in him.  They talk about his progress, attachment and bonding regularly.  “I think he really likes us a lot” or “I think Leo is adjusting so well” are comments they say often.  It’s like they are channeling their grief into something beautiful and purposeful and I feel honored to watch it unfold.  They love him so deeply.  One of my favorite things is how they talk to him about Shuai.  They tell Leo stories and show him pictures and reference things to him about Everett.  They know they are all connected and watching them remember him and wanting Leo to remember him too is an extraordinarily precious gift to my mama heart.

And 5. One of my fondest childhood memories is watching my mom cook or baking with her.  There was never a beater or spoon I wasn’t allowed to lick clean when she was finished.  It’s all fun and games until someone gets salmonella, but lucky for us, no one ever did. 🙂  Giving my kids a scoop of cookie dough or lick a beater with brownie batter or frosting is one of my greatest joys.  I hope they do the same with their own kiddos one day.  Leo thoroughly enjoyed his time with some cream cheese frosting.


  1. Hannah Andrews says:

    love your random updates. yay for getting away with the bigs! and date nights. YES. if someone tells me “you must date your spouse” one more time i might scream. we’re soooooo bad at it. the only thing that helped us this year is that instead of really doing big presents this year my husband surprised me with a punch card of “12 date nights, to be used up within 2018” he paid one of our sitters we trust a discounted rate in january for the whole year. so basically even though we still are not good at getting out- aka we skipped two or three months out, we now have the fact we paid her in advance over our heads and the knowledge our dates are paid for lol.

  2. Hannah Andrews says:

    as in this was a christmas present. sorry, typing as the littlest climbs on me.

  3. Camilla says:

    I love your date night stories. I don’t do date night much either & I’ve been married laonget than you’ve been alive!
    But what I really liked in this story is the older kiddos not remembering being without the others. Love to you & yours!!

  4. Carolyn says:

    So much love for you Kellys! And big Kelly kids…stop growing up so fast! Leo is living his best life with that frosting too! ❤

  5. Frances Dunaway says:

    I loved reading this and it made me happy for your family. You are blessed with sweet, brave children. You will always carry your burden of grief but God is working to create comfort and happiness for all of you. Your days of sorrow will become less heavy and your precious children will play a huge part in that. God bless.

  6. Lisa gilliam says:


  7. I look forward to your update. I am PROUD of each of you for being real and combining grief and joy together. Everett will never be forgotten. I’m sure the BIG kids enjoyed their special time with you and am sure the littles were spoiled that day as well. Keep posting pictures and sharing, we think of you so often. Enjoy these last few days of summer break! Hugs from WV.

  8. Heather Herman says:

    It is not lost on me that the scared little guy in the arms of care givers at Everett’s home is now brown as a biscuit and licking frosting off a scraper. Every child with breath in their lungs deserves that same opportunity. I love that you’ve shared your life and your kiddos lives with us. Thank you x a million. Sending love & rainbow everything.


  1. […] while Leo was recovering and healing.  Holiday World was at the top of everyone’s list.  Last year we took just the bigs to do something fun on a hard day and this year we took everyone.  We […]

Leave a Reply to Hannah Andrews Cancel reply