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!

Back To Our Regular Scheduled Programming

First of all, THANK YOU!!!  Our Sing A Brave Song campaign ended September 30th and I sat dumbfounded at how the past 30 days had shaken out.  It was insane and crazy and good and incredible.  1.1K of us came together in 30 days and gifted a beautiful heart family $51,735!!!!  What in the actual world!!!  Goodness is still everywhere.  Thank you for giving and sharing and choosing kindness and love and generosity. Thank you for remembering our heart warriors and your own. Thank you for deciding to love how you would want to be loved. We are deeply grateful you linked arms with us in this insane goal and, well, look what happened when we did.  Please know the family who is on the receiving end of this is incredibly over-the-moon grateful.  We’re all a bit beside ourselves at this point because LOOK WHAT HAPPENED IN 30 DAYS!!! You all are crazy crazy kind. Thank you for singing this Brave Song together with us.

(photo by the insanely talented Shots by Cheyenne)

I decided to devote the entire month of September in this space to the campaign and I missed writing about all the regular ordinary random moments of life.  I’ve been looking forward to sitting down and spilling my guts about life and love and loss and grief and all the things that have been going on in the in-between.  Life is full and busy.  It’s bursting really, in the best ways.

So let’s chat.

School started back in August and we’ve yet to discuss which needs to happen because it was the most epic of first day of school starts.  This year is semi-crazy for our crew and schooling.  We found ourselves in a pretty crappy predicament at the end of school last year and Josh Kelley and I had to make some big choices for our kiddos.  This landed us in 4 DIFFERENT SCHOOLS this year.  4 drop offs and 4 pick-ups…3 of the schools all starting and ending at the exact same times.  We divide and conquer on drop offs and our friends Bekah & Chris scoop in to help with 2 of our littles on pick-up.  It’s what I’ve branded carrider line purgatory.

With a lot of fresh starts and unfamiliar buildings came some tears on the first day of school.  Some of our kiddos we’re nervous about this new start…and so were Josh and myself.  Winter started kindergarten and that was hard because Everett would have been starting kindergarten too.  I absolutely loathe these moments that spotlight our loss…that highlights his absence.  Starting kindergarten is a big deal and Everett missing weighed extra heavy on us that day.  We carry him with us everywhere and we all wore a rainbow tattoo on our hand that day.

So nerves were high.  Anxious feelings swirled.  Tears rolled hard.  Leo had only been home from the hospital 6 days.  He couldn’t start school yet so I took him, Winter and Amon all to their new elementary school while Josh and the bigs tackled middle schools.  We parked and walked up to the front of the school building with all our supplies in hand.  We were waiting with all the other parents and students to go into the building and this picture of Leo was taken approximately 23 seconds before he projectile vomitted on the front stoop of the school causing students and parents to flee in fear of ankle splatter.

I laugh because you can see it all over his face.  “Ummmmm, I’m about to puke my guts up right here and now.  No one will be safe from the splatter.”

Another mama pulled a brand new container of wipes from her kid’s backpack and handed them over.  Bekah gave me a roll of papertowels from her boys’ supplies.  All I could do was pat Leo on the back while he emptied the contents of his stomach onto his own shoes and the ground.  It was every bit of awful as it sounds.  He cleared that crowded area in no time flat.

I cleaned him up the best I could and did what had to be done…carried on.  We took Winter to her classroom first and waiting at her desk were the sweetest rainbow crayons spelling out her name.  I instantly knew she had a really special teacher this year.  Ms. Watson & Winter both have lost their brothers and their bond has continued to forge through love and grief and be just as special as I imagined it would be.  Days like these are hard for Winter…she carries Everett in a really unique way and misses him deeply and Ms. Watson understands this in a really hard & special way.  Winter talks about him every single day and I love it so much.  Photos of both Ms. Watson’s brother Neil and Everett hang together in her classroom…always remembered, always missed, always loved.  There is not a better suited teacher for Winter as she ventured into kindergarten missing her best friend than Ms. Watson.

Amon was up next.  He went right in and settled in with his waffles & milk.  This is a big year for him and part of me wanted to scoop him up and run for home, but the other part of me knew this was his place and he was going to fly!  So Leo and I said our goodbyes and headed out.

And then Leo barfed in the hallway.

We surely made our presence known in our new school home very quickly.  A call to our cardiologist was made and Leo and I landed ourselves in her office right after first day drop-offs.  Heart surgery recovery is legit.  Every little thing is inspected because it’s crucial to make sure his heart is not at risk.  He got a good report and a 12 hour stomach bug. We’ll take it.

Despite all our worry and nervousness, everyone had a most excellent first day of school.  Leo was able to start school 2 weeks later and I’m just not sure you’re ready for this cuteness.

The school transition has been harder for him.  He needs lots and lots of reassurance and reminders that I will come back!  This was a big step for Leo, but he was ready…it was time.  We told him over and over again leading up to his first day how great he was going to do.  We told him all the wonderful ways he would add to his classroom.  He walked in by himself and sat down in his little seat.  I went to kiss him goodbye and he said with a quivery little lip, “Leo great?”  I confirmed with every bit of truth I know, “Leo you’re going to do so great.”  This drop off was different than every drop off before.  Maybe because he’s the baby.  Maybe because of the unique ways Leo’s little brain and body works, but my hopes are still the same for Leo and each of our kids:  That their teachers & friends would see all the magic they’re made of and that they will learn from each other about the absolute beauty they each possess and offer to this world.

He’s soaring just how we knew he would.  They all are.  I have no shame in saying if a Kelley kid lands in your class, consider yourself the luckiest to know and befriend and teach and love them.  It’s going to be a good year.

Sing A Brave Song: LAST DAY!

Life is crazy and busy, but I wanted to stop in super quick to remind you guys that today is the final day of our Sing A Brave Song heart campaign.  This is it!  Here we are!  The last day of September & the last day of this crazy heart campaign.  It’s just been incredible to watch it all unfold.  What an honor!

And don’t forget, donate today to be entered to win our final giveaway.  CLICK HERE to see what all is up for grabs.  🌈❤️

So let’s bring it all home.  CLICK HERE to donate & share.

Singing this brave song together has been such a gift!

Week 4: The Final Giveaway

Well this is the last week for our heart campaign and this week is amazing!!!!  In just 24 days we’ve raised $42,327 and it still makes me teary eyed.  It’s insane what love and kindness and generosity can do.  It’s amazing what can happen when we decide to treat and love others the way we want to be treated and loved ourselves.

Since we have met our goal and are still bringing in donations, we upped the goal just a bit and all the extra money will go towards medical bills for this sweet little heart warrior.  I totally thought on this last week I’d be pulling out all the stops and begging and pleading with people to donate so it’s feels amazing to know this campaign is already fully funded.  It’s crazy wonderful, but we still have an awesome giveaway this week and we can still give towards medical bills.

So without further ado…I present to you the 4th and final week’s giveaway.  It’s a doozy so hang on!

A little bit after Everett died the kindest woman named Terrie reached out and wanted to send us a quilt.  She uses her skills to encourage others and quilting is her gift.  Our quilt is insanely gorgeous and the biggest quilt I have ever seen!!!  She created this genius quilt with Feista…Everett’s stuffed donkey…all the letters in our family and a big beautiful rainbow with a heart.  The details are CRAZY!!!

Well Terrie has done it again and she has quilted heart perfection in quilt form just for one of you.  She reached out and wanted to create something special for this month and I was 100% here for it!  She chose a colored rainbow heart to represent Everett and asked what Amon and Leo’s favorite colors were…black & yellow…and created two hearts to represent them as well.  The quilt is 85 1/2″ x 67 1/2″, Rainbow Pixelated Heart Quilt, all cotton fabrics and I cannot believe this is one of our amazing giveaway items this week!!!!  I have been so excited to share all about it!

Terrie even asked me to make the tag for this quilt and Brave Will Be Our Song was a no brainer.  This month has been filled with so many brave people coming together to do something kind…it’s been an absolute honor to be such small piece of this campaign.  And thank you Terrie for a perfect giveaway piece.

 Let’s follow that amazingness up with more amazingness.  THIS mug by my dear friend Meg is seriously our favorite mug.  I love it for ice-cream, Josh Kelley uses it all the time for his coffee and Winter snags it for her milk.  It’s hands down our favorite mug on the whole rack.  Rainbow mug heaven.


These rainbow earrings by Gallivant, well I CANNOT GET OVER THEM!!!!  They are so pretty and lovely and light weight and I wore them out with Josh for his birthday and got compliments on them.  I am not very style forward so receiving compliments on something I’m wearing kind of makes my day.  One of you will be rocking a pair too.  They are ridiculous!!!!

 Are you seeing a trend yet with this last giveaway?!?! 😉  I love this little nod to our Everett boy.  We’ve got another precious piece of artwork for you this week.  I really wanted art to accompany each giveaway and this week’s piece was made by none other than the brave wizard himself, Toby.  It’s the sweetest burst of color and it reminds me of all the brave, wild hope out there in this world.  Amanda, Toby’s mama, crosses my mind every single day and she’s bomb for capturing this artwork just for one of you from Toby’s sweet hands created on Day #282 in the hospital.


And lastly, but certainly not least, this 2020 Fancy That Design House wall calendar.  Stephanie has created such a stunning calendar and I thought it was a perfect addition to this week’s giveaway.  Her design and art work is top-notch and couldn’t we all use a little more hope in our lives.

And if you’re wondering obviously this is my favorite page:

I have been so so so excited to share this giveaway and honestly, now all I can think about is Christmas.  Hahaha, but when you see such awesome items made and created by such talented hands, my head spins with gift ideas for loved ones, so keep all of these magic people in mind for the holidays.

Don’t forget anyone who donates/has donated from 9/21-9/30 will be entered to win the whole shebang.  It was been too fun mailing out goodies and hearing back from the winners and just give me all the love and kindness and generosity of the world.

So, 7 days to go.  The final stretch.  CLICK HERE to donate and be entered to win this week’s giveaway.  And grab the link below to share with your people.

Let’s do this!

Nashville Heart Walk 2019 + Update

You guys!!!!!  Saturday we walked in Nashville’s Heart Walk and it was just the sweetest and hardest and wonkiest and joyous feeling time.  I feel like this sums up doing things…continuing on in life…after your child dies.  Joy is still there, but sadness is still there too.  Always.  And Saturday was no different…especially when you are around such precious people and walking for such crazy brave hearts.  I teared up so many times I lost count.

I cried watching Amon run around knowing the heart he carries in his chest still needs another surgery.  I cried watching our kids decide who to walk in tribute to.  I cried watching Harper draw a rainbow and write Everett’s name on the memorial wall.  I cried hugging Amanda, Toby’s mom, and walking side-by-side her knowing the fight Toby still has ahead of him.  I cried because I know the fight and the relief and the grief far too well.  I cried watching Aunt Jen write out her 3 nephews names.  I cried for Everett who wasn’t there and I cried for Amon and Leo who were there.  I cried because I miss him so very very deeply and would give just about anything to hold his small body once again.  I cried because life is so damn complicated and beautiful.

I hate that Everett isn’t here with us, but I love what he has taught all our hearts.  I love that he deeply impacts us daily in a way no other person could.  Everett has taught us love and compassion and empathy and fight and bravery.  We carry on for him and to bring honor and awareness and to celebrate his amazing life every single day.  We carry on moving another day closer to seeing him again.

On Saturday we also hit that 50% mark for this audacious heart campaign.  I can’t even believe it.  Together we have almost fully funded someone’s entire adoption expenses.  I knew this would feel big, but it still feels really really insanely big and I stood in our kitchen and cried when I saw where you guys had taken us that day.  Thank you for joining us in this love endeavor.  We are marching on and moving into the downhill slide…chasing after $4,700 with 2 weeks to go.  Are you freaking out because I AM?!?!?!   WE CAN DO THIS!!!!  Can you even imagine?!?!

We dreamed of a whole bunch of people coming together to do something kind…something any of us would be so overwhelmed with gratefulness if we were on the receiving end.  Loving like we want to be loved.  Right now 705 people have come together to raise $35,300.  This blows me away and thrills my heart.  We are coming for you $40K.

I cannot cannot say enough how important sharing is!  I know donations get us to the goal, but sharing with more and more people in hopes they see the campaign and read about why this is so important is SO SO important.  Please continue to help us spread the word and donate.  And don’t forget all of this week’s donors will be entered to win this Saturday’s fun giveaway.  After this week’s giveaway there is only one more left!  CLICK HERE to share and donate or grab the link below to share.

This insane heart campaign has grown wings and we are soaring towards telling a beautifully broken little heart, “You make us all the luckiest to love you.” ❤️  Thank you guys for jumping on this crazy love train with us.  This morning I received a donor match so for every $100 donation we receive today an anonymous donor will match those up to $500.  So 5 people donating $100 will turn into $1000.  Let’s go!

You guys are the best!  Thank you for believing in this with us!