One Week Home

I am so behind on writing.  There are approximately 23 things I’d like to write about currently, but zero time to do so.  We’ve officially been a family of 9 for an entire month now.  The way time carries on and passes in a blink of an eye absolutely baffles me.  In fact this Friday will make 3 weeks actually being home.  That is crazy town.  I mean, didn’t we just step off that airplane in Nashville?!?!

Leo’s first week was a whirlwind one for sure.  Josh Kelley and I went to bed super late Friday night after arriving home.  As in 3:00 am super late.  We unpacked everything and even started on our mountain of laundry.  We set up our mini-crib for Leo in our room.  We went to sleep completely dazed and bafuddled and when we finally woke up it was 12:30 lunch time Saturday.  We jolted awake and then proceeded to drag little human bodies from all the beds because we had to get back on schedule crazy quick with the kids going back to school Monday morning.

It’s always so fun and surreal finally being home with our kiddos and watching our newest little one explore our house and start acclimating to home.  Leo was super cute wandering around our house and hands down his favorite thing was our toilet paper basket in the bathroom.  He’s already moved past being so interested in the basket, but in the beginning it was his total fave.

The boys started flag football so Sunday we rolled out to the ball field.  Everything has been so Everett and Leo focussed for the past 9 months so it’s always nice when the focus switches.  We loved watching the boys play and cheer them on and they had such a fun time.  We soaked up some sunshine and consumed ALL THE SNACKS.  Leo is a big time snack guy.  Give him all the snacks for all of time.

His 3rd birthday was Monday along with his first cardiologist appointment.  In the past I have been hyper vigilant about our heart kids medical appointments trying to get them all in the very first week.  Not this time.  Cardiology first and only cardiology the first week home.  I wanted to enjoy him.  I wanted to celebrate him with his birthday kicking off our first week home together.  I scheduled his pediatrician’s appointment, which would bring with it 6 referrals for even more doctors appointments, for our second week.  I was really glad I made that choice.

I have an entire post in my head about his birthday that will come later.  We all heavily grieved just missing out on celebrating Everett’s 4th birthday with him.  No one wants to plan a hurried early birthday in the hospital while their child is on life support.  No one wants to actually bury their child on their birthday either.  Getting to celebrate Leo’s birthday with him, well, it will never be lost on any of us. I had hoped so hard we would get to him before his 3rd birthday and sure enough we did.  And now there we found ourselves, actually home, celebrating his 3rd birthday just like we do everyone else’s special day.  It felt sacred.

Leo had about 3 nights of bad sleep right when we got home and then we decided to move him to his twin bed in the boys’ room.  Instantly he started sleeping amazing.  Sleeping good now is a different story finding ourselves on day 8 of him sleeping horribly, but that first week, the kid was on it and we all flew past jet lag like we’d never done before.

He experienced all these amazing little firsts like Saturday morning breakfast, first carrider line experience, having his first Sonic slush…peach flavor if you’re wondering…and our first solo time while Josh was at work and the rest of the kiddos were at school.

His first shopping cart ride shopping for new clothes because he’s the tiniest fellow around, grocery shopping with our littlest at Kroger…btw he puked all over himself…in the store…Jesus be near…figuring out we have another counter sitter on our hands who LOVES to play in the water and we even broke all the adoption & cocooning rules and threw the kid a birthday party with our family because there was no way we were going to pass up celebrating him with everyone.

And then there we’re all the little everyday things like snack time and playing and watching shows snuggled in our bed and welcoming dad home from work each evening and getting the mail each afternoon and napping anywhere and everywhere he could.

He’s definitely giving Amon a run for his sleeping money on falling asleep at any moment.  It absolutely cracks us up.  One minute he is in full on go mode and then the next he’s out cold.

It was one full amazing week.  There are always hards, but there are always bright spots too.  I find my heart absolutely astounded by Leo and I catch myself thinking at some point every single day, “Shuai would have loved this.”  I know he would have loved having Leo as his little brother just like the rest of us are so enthralled to be his family.  I know he would have loved having another kiddo in our “littles” group.  He would have excelled at big brothering.  Makes my stomach flip thinking about all we’re missing with him.

Things are pretty wild and crazy and busy right now, but I’m really trying to make time for sitting down and pecking words out at these keys.  It’s good for my brain.  We’re figuring out a lot of things with Leo’s health and what exactly he needs to thrive and be as healthy as he can be and that takes a lot of time and attention and appointments.  Plus throw in the end of school and 6 kiddos and life in general.  I actually feel ready for slower summer pace….despite dreading July.  The easier mornings.  The later nights with movies and snacks and fires and smores and fireflies.  Bring on any bit of the easier.

As always, thanks for reading.  Thanks for stopping by.  It means so much.


  1. Julie H says:

    Thanks as always for your openness and transparency. It is something much needed these days.
    I love reading the updates about your family. Leo is such a dear one and the way his eyes are now twinkling shows how loved he is; just as Everett always will be!

    Love and prayers to you and your family from another Mom on the journey.

  2. Lisa gilliam says:

    I hear a lot of joy in your post! I’m so glad that even tho life will never be the same after last year it does go on and joy comes in unexpected places sometimes. Enjoy your family and rest in His arms ❤️

  3. You all make me TIRED!! It sounds like Leo is adjusting well and things are settling in place. The pictures are so good and really show the bonding taking place with the kiddos and parents. He is handsome and reminds me of Everett. I’m glad he had a good birthday. Praying for his doctors appointments and wisdom for his future care. Hugs!

  4. So lovely to read this this morning and see how you are all doing. I was exhausted reading it!! You are one super mum and I admire you so much. I don’t think you give yourself enough praise… never cease to amaze me!!! Your little family are just the best. Role on summer and just slowing down. Thank you for taking the time from all your busy to write this xxx

  5. Thank you for sharing, as always! Love hearing how you are settling back into life in Tennessee. Don’t be hard on yourself for not writing it all down…getting down anything with so much going on is impressive! And we’ll all be here, eagerly awaiting the next update 😉

  6. Andrew Marsh says:

    Aww, sounds super great! And I’m so chuffed that your lives are getting more joyful! Keep on keeping on!!

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