Solomon’s Beach Gotcha Day

Each year for Gotcha Days we do something fun all together as a family.  It’s a family celebration remembering the day our sweet kiddo joined our family and we became even better.  We let the special kid pick fun things like breakfast, dinner and dessert.  They are always days we look forward to.

Last July for Solomon’s Gotcha Day I was in Michigan with Everett and Josh was back at home with the other kids trying to lift spirits.  The next day Everett went into cardiac arrest and was put on full life support.  Josh immediately jumped on the next flight headed to Ann Arbor leaving the kiddos behind.  Solomon’s special day sucked.  It wasn’t anything like we usually intend for these special family days to be.  It was full of angst and sadness and seperation.

This July was pretty terrible.  Constant sadness and pain and reminders and guilt and re-living last July and I am beyond ready for this month to be over with.  As Josh and I were looking at July and thinking ahead to Solomon’s Gotcha Day we decided we wanted to do something extra special for his day this year.  Our whole crew loves the beach so this year a gotcha day celebration on the beach was in order.

We drove down on a Wednesday so we’d be on the beach all day Thursday for Sol’s day.  Before we leave on trips we go by Everett’s grave.  I am fully aware he’s not there, but it feels nice to stop by.  Last year when we went to the beach with Everett we found tons of seashells and a jar full of them now sits in our bathroom.  When we stopped by his special little corner of the earth we each took a seashell from the jar and left it on Everett’s grave.  It just felt right when everything about our life without him feels so wrong.  We miss him terribly and so wish he was still here with us.

We found an amazing cottage right on the beach that fit all our big family’s needs.  It was perfection walking just a minute to the beach and pool every day.  Solomon had already made his Gotcha Day plans so on our drive in we were keeping our eyes open for his food requests.  We cooked every night, except for his Gotcha Day night.

Sol is a total foodie so picking out his favorites is always really special and important to him.  He chose donuts for breakfast, Takis and Twin Snakes for a fun beach snack, spicy wings for dinner and shaved ice for dessert.  We disputed none of his choices because it was all delicious.

Sidenote: If you’ve never tried the TwinSnakes candy and like gummy candy, please do.  They are the absolute bomb!!!!   A total Kelley fave.

Bonus:  Everett was born in the year of the snake so of course they remind me of him.

We spent most of the day on the beach and he lived it up.  He was king for the day and we loved letting him be.  The weather was perfection, the water was clear and the flag waving was purple meaning there was excessive wildlife.  Jellyfish, sting rays, dolphins, giant schools of fish and even a 4ft shark hanging out right off the shore.  To commemorate Solomon’s Gotcha Day Sol and Josh got stung by the same jellyfish together. Hahahaha.

It was so great celebrating him and remembering what an incredible day it was when we became each other’s.  At the end of the day it felt so nice to have spent this day so much differently than we did last year.  9 years home and a lot of life has been lived in those 9 years.  I’ll never forget the moment I held Solomon for the first time and life instantly because even more beautiful.  He makes us better and we’ll tell him until the day we die that we’re the luckiest parents around because it’s just the truth.


  1. So beautiful. We are headed to Nashville to celebrate our daughters 2 Nd almost birthday (gotcha day) with her birth family and wanted to go to the beach afterwards. What beach is closest to Nashville, or where did you go and and would you mind sharing a link to
    The house a cottage on the beach with pool sounds just what we are looking for. Thank you.
    What a beautiful Gotcha day.

    • I have no idea about the closest beach. Sorry. We went to Gulf Shores, Alabama and loved it. Easy drive. And I will try and find the link to the place we stayed. Have a great vacation.

  2. Belinda Brady says:

    I love reading about your special family. The beach trip looked amazing. I’m curious though where you found a “cottage” on the water?

  3. Hannah Andrews says:

    nice! the bigger question is who got to pee on the jellyfish stings lol 🙂

  4. LOVE! How special to celebrate in such a family filled way. Love the pictures of sweet Everett as well. Your snacks must not be made around here, never heard of them. So glad you got a cottage close to the beach. Hugs and continued cheering from WV.

  5. ❤️

  6. So much joy in these pictures. Thank you for sharing Solomon’s gotcha day with us. I love Hudson’s hair, it’s so long and wavy.

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