The Holidays

I am behind in blogging and documenting our family so I’m going to try and do a little catching up over the next week.  In November we did quite a bit of celebrating.  My 36th birthday kicked November off.  Leo had occupational and sensory therapy that day so we spent most of our mid-morning and afternoon doing all the therapy things.  He is such a joy to spend my days with.

The birthday person in our house gets to plan all things accordingly for their special day.  Icees were a must after school…per our usual Friday ritual…and homemade pizza for dinner.

And just this moment I realized I’ve never shared my favorite homemade pizza recipe.  YOU GUYS!!!  It’s amazing and it must be cut into strips VS triangles.  Just do it.

*Naan bread (I get ours at Kroger and I broil it longer because I like crispy crust)

*Sriracha Aioli Sauce (3/4ish C plain greek yogurt, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 TB lemon -I leave this out when I don’t have a lemon on hand & it’s still crazy delish- 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 TB sriracha and a few pinches of cayenne pepper)

*THIS leftover chicken (I make this earlier in the week for taco/nacho night & then use the leftovers again for pizza night)


*Pizza cheese

Totally my fave!!!  My friend Ashley was quite appalled I still had not chosen a birthday dessert on my birthday and urged me to pick some sort of cake.  She convinced me cake it always the way to go on a birthday.  This is why she is my best friend.  I ended up making myself a rainbow funfetti cake and it was perfection straight out of the fridge.  I did insist on adding 36 candles which resulted in a full on blazing birthday cake. 🙂   I’m constantly reminding myself of how full my hands and heart are because my instinct is to remember the void of Everett missing…it’s the first thing I see in photos and traditions and our life.

I received some fun rainbow mail from family and friends which is always a lovely surprise.  Jen, Campbell and I went to see The Hate U Give.  Jen and I read the book…which was phenomenal, like absolutely phenomenal.  I was afraid the movie wouldn’t live up to it, but the movie was amazing too.  A must see for everyone.  Just incredible and taught me so much all over again as a while privileged person.  Go see it!

Jen, Marcie and I celebrate again with dinner at Cabana.  It was delicious and we were seriously the only people there.  We still haven’t figured out why, but our server brought out a yummy birthday dessert for us to share and we did not turn him away.

Ashley, Alissa, Leah and I all have birthdays in November and December so we decided to celebrate all together at Uncle Julios with some killer Mexican food and a chocolate piñata.  Yes, yes you did read that correctly.  A chocolate piñata.  It was filled with strawberries, chocolate empanadas and mini churros.  It was insanely good.  One of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

(Please take note of my “OH MY LORT” hand on my chest upon seeing the dreamy chocolate piñata.)

Next up for celebrating was our sweet Alicia.  She was turning the big 18 shortly after my birthday and when 18 rolls around a party is definitely in order.  What I love about Alicea is she chose appetizers for her main dish 🙂 and iced sugar cookies and more funfetti cake for dessert.  A girl absolutely after my own food loving heart.  And on your birthday, ask and you shall receive is always my moto.

Thanksgiving was weird this year.  I just felt all the feelings all day long plus it’s pretty much my least favorite holiday ever.  We spent a chill morning at home with cinnamon rolls and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade before heading over to Josh’s parents house.  We rarely buy the newspaper so it was pretty funny watching and listening as Josh read the kids their horoscopes.  Hahahahaha.

I’m not a big fan of Thanksgiving food at all, but Leo was completely won over by it.  Dude loves to eat and devoured an adult size plate of all the foods.  He passed on dessert…literally left his cookie sitting there…but ate all the green beans and turkey and ham and rolls and Mac n cheese and rice and squash and and and…what a little adorable weirdo.  🙂

 The rest of the day was spent hanging out.  The kids played their hearts out.  I went to visit Amanda and Toby at the hospital for a bit.  There were board games and football games and more food.  I missed Everett a lot.  I thought about him constantly.  Holidays all feel so weird now and I’m not quite sure what to do with all those feelings yet.

And now Christmas is upon us.  Josh Kelley LOVES this time of year so all our Christmas decorations were up before Thanksgiving even rolled through.  We put on Elf, ate fruity candy canes, played Christmas music and decorated all we can in our little house.  Leo broke an ornament right off the bat and we issued our “we don’t want bleeding feet” warning to all those barefeet running around our house.

I always love watching the kids pull out their own ornament boxes.  I love listening to them recount memories associated with each ornament.  This year we all hung up Everett’s different ornaments and his new one.  I get each kiddo a new ornament every year representative of some part of that year and Everett is no different.  This year we had an artist pallet, a pencil, a rubix cube, a rhino, a rainbow Christmas tree, a rainbow snowflake and a banana ornament.  We all miss Everett so much and so we fill our life and our space with reminders of him.  He is carried deep in our hearts and is always on our minds.  I so wish I could put better words to those feelings.

I had forgotten, but last year I wrote Winter a letter after Christmas and tucked it away in her ornament box.  She found it and asked about what it was.  I read it to her and cried.  My words were laced with so much hope and here she was this strong, resilient Kelley girl bringing so much spunk and laughter and fire to our family still.  I had hoped for a different outcome for Winter…I really had…but I can never fully express the honor I carry in being her mother.  She’s our Winter…the forever season all our hearts needed.

So here we are in this season that’s suppose to be so full of joy and light and hope and fun and we find ourselves fighting to find those feelings.  It’s been a struggle and every one of us feels the weight of this season.  We have kids in tears often about their brother.  We have kids who are plagued with worry.  We have kiddos who struggle with sad moments at school.  We have kids still asking questions so advanced in thinking we have no idea how to answer.  This is grief.  This is the flailing about in open, rough, wavey waters when you cannot remember how to swim grief.  So we grab on tight to one another…doing our best to lift each other up instead of pushing each other under the waves.  We remind each other we’re here…we’re in it together…we’re not planning on going anywhere…we’re going to make it.


  1. Heather Herman says:

    Oh Laura. I don’t think you even realize how much we love reading your story. It’s your transparency on your life even when things are ugly. I miss your blog when you don’t post. I love, love, love the way you make others feel seen and loved. You truly inspire me to love others well. You are proof that things don’t have to be expensive or elaborate to make someone feel special.

    I am curious on how you make your small rainbow cake. Is it 2 boxes of cake mix? What size is your lil round pan you use? I have never made a layer cake and am pretty intimidated by it.

    Ive been to Uncle Julio’s 1x and it was delicious. But now I want to go again for the chocolate piñata. Where has that thing been my whole life?!?

    Thinking about you Kelley’s & Everett all of my days.

  2. The best thing for grief is love and the love in your hearts shine bright.

  3. Laura I’ve missed all the kelley’s !!! You have the most beautiful heart, never ever change. I’m rebuked and challenged by you often. You underestimate yourself girl……the people who get to be around you for real are a lucky lot!!!!! ❤

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