8 Things

1.  Hudson Kelley is Josh Kelley made over.  I always thought he was more Hall (my Mom’s side) than anything, but day-by-day I see it.  He’s Josh Kelley to a tee and I’ll love that and his crossed little legs while reading forever and ever…amen.

2. Amon, our littlest, her parents and me all went out for lunch on Valentines.  When I asked the kids what they’d like to eat pancakes was the unanimous choice.  Who knew IHOP would be slammed at lunch on Valentines Day?!?!?!  It was hoppin’ for sure.

While we were there a homeless man who seemed to have some metal health issues came in and was being loud saying some unkind things and appeared very angry about something.  Instead of kicking him out or making a scene an IHOP employee simply brought him a drink and some food.  The man accepted and sat chatting quietly to himself, ate and then left.  I think we’ll be going back to that IHOP.

3.  Twice this week I’ve been met with God’s goodness and love and mercy in the Kroger parking lot sky.  I hope I never ever quit seeing His goodness in the simplest of places.  Trying to keep my eyes wide open this week on the lookout for Him.

4.  Tomorrow is Noonday Collection’s spring launch.  It’s one of my favorite days.  Cannot wait to see what all they’ve got to amaze my eye balls with.  If you’ve never purchased from Noonday definitely take a peak and make a purchase that impacts the world.  They are my total fave!!!!

 5.  We took the kids to a surprise Valentines movie last night to see the Batman Lego movie.  They almost died.  It was the sweetest thing ever and you would have thought we we’re taking them to Disney World.  We don’t go to the movies a lot because ummmm, 7 people, but on Tuesday’s a local movie theater has matinee prices all day and $2 snacks.  It was the perfect little Kelley Valentines.

6.  Prepping and nesting like it’s my job.  We simply cannot wait to get our boy home.

7.  Hudson and Solomon.  I just can’t even.  They make me want to cry a river and laugh so hard and scratch my head and pull my hair out and sit in amazement at God’s plan.  I’m not going to say they are my favorite brothers because we’ve got a few other little brothers too, but they’re definitely my favorite big brothers. Hands down I could not love these two more.

 And 8.  All the props to Josh Kelley.  I guess this is my internet display of affection.  He’s just my jam…except when we don’t like each other 🙂  We are far from perfect…we’re working on “us” all the time, but he is hands down my favorite person ever.  And when our family goes into uber chaotic mode he just does his thing keeping us all together and laughing and sane.  On the drive home last night Chainsmokers came on and I sang very romantically to him, “If we got down then we go down together.” Hahaha.  The perfect Valentines theme song for this year.

   

Happy Wednesday.

Babies Come From Airports

*UPDATE*  I should have kicked this post off with this in the beginning, but the title of the book comes from one of the young sons mentioning this thought that babies come from airports.  The dad quickly corrects him and the theme of the book IS NOT that babies come from airports.  The book is written from a child’s point of view and focusses more on the airport arrival of a sibling joining the family through international adoption.  The entire relatively short book takes place in a days time and does not encompass all facets of adoption.  *UPDATE*

We recently did a big book fundraiser with Suzanne from Usborne Books and it was such a fun and easy fundraiser.  Not only did we get some great financial support for our adoption, but we also scored a ton of free books.  I was completely shocked by the amount of free books so I let the kids order away.  I am crazy pleased with all the books we ended up with…every last kiddo got things they really love.

One of the books I ordered was Babies Come From Airports.  I’m kind of a weird when it comes to adoption books and pretty particular and I had not read this book before, but we we’re getting free books so I figured what the heck.  If I ended up not liking it, I could just donate it or see if another mama who has adopted liked it.  I do want to say I believe in different strokes for different folks.  I guarantee another parent who has adopted might read this and not like it, but I’m super particular about books that portray adoption and I really loved this one.

There are lots of things I like about this book so thought I’d just list some of them out.

*Right off the bat I love that it doesn’t place the parents in a “savior” role or as wonderful people because they adopted their children.  That’s a massive pet peeve of mine because goodness knows Josh and I are a mess, we’re no one’s Savior…God is… and all of our kids have blessed our socks off.  I don’t know how we got so dang lucky.  This book is more just about how adoption can make up a family and that’s it.  Lots of joy portrayed which I love.

*I like the child’s persecutive.  It’s a total kid perspective and one lots of kiddos might have who are adopted and not adopted.

*I like that it could appear maybe all 3 children in the book are adopted…so maybe no biological children.  I am completely making an assumption, but the parents look different than all 3 kiddos.  One son could maybe be assumed as a biological child, but you could really go either way.  It also doesn’t hurt that one little boy is clearly from Ethiopia (the Ethiopian flag is on his life book) and their new sister is coming home from China 🙂

*It talks about how children come from labor which I thought was neat because it could go in different directions of physical labor to birth a baby or the labor involved in adoption like paperwork. I also like how the child defines labor as “you work a lot”.  We’ve always told our children that adoption is a very careful process and there are lots of people involved and lots of paperwork involved because everyone wants the process done exactly right for the child.  We never want them to think you can just go pick up a kid flippantly…we want them to know there’s a process and a lengthy one at that…for a very good reason.

*I like how one of the boys, Adar, confuses airport security with an actual man named Security.  I also loved how he looked at Security as being someone he thought fondly of and not as something scary or hard.  Plus Security ends up being the sweetest older gentleman who whispered “Welcome to the USA” when he was a baby and his mom brought him home.  Adar draws Security the sweetest picture which you know is special because he has used drawing through out the book to keep track of all the things he wanted to show his mom when she returns from China…drawing is his thing.

*Adar gets separated from his dad and brother at the airport and airport security and Security ends up helping.  When Adar points out his dad security does ask “You sure?”…some parents might throw shade as this part, but honestly, it rang quite true with the outside world for our family.  As a multi-racial family we hear things like that a lot.  Adar simply says, “Yes, ma’am” and then points out his mom too.  It then shows the lady security officer crying when the Adar shares his picture he drew with the older gentleman Security.

*There’s diversity through out the book.  The mom and dad are of different races and on top of that it appears all three of their children are different races as well so a multi-racial family indeed.  And even though the people in the background at the airport are in black and white, they still display different family makeups and included women with head coverings.  Those are tiny details, but ones I thought were really neat.

*Near the end it shows two of the kids talking about their Gotcha day which was sweet and ends with a “Babies come from love” quote.

Here’s the straight up truth…I sobbed when I first read the book.  Now granted I’m not in the most emotionally stable of places currently and we’re bringing a son home from China soon, sooooo take it or leave it, but I really liked this book.  It’s a perfect read for Amon, our littlest and our new little guy.  Harper, Hudson and Solomon all humored me while I cried my way through it…and they might have laughed at me as well, but totally a win for the younger crowds.

If you would like to snag this book or others, just head over HERE and shop away.  There are so many great books and Suzanne was a gem to work with.

Happy Tuesday.

Hey Hey!!!

Well Hi!!!  I know every last one of you can relate, but our life is currently wild as wild can get and all of our sweet kiddos are each dealing with tough things…minus ole Harper who’s helping us keep a float.  So hence my absence around these parts last week, but I’m back and determined to write each day this week.  It’s good for my brain.  We’ll see how it goes.

So how have you been?  What’s new?  Have anything crazy exciting or hard or sad or inspiring or a good joke or a good recipe to share?  I’d love to hear it.

Around our place everyone’s just hanging on 🙂  We are officially ready for Valentines though.  Each kid picked out store bought Valentines…Doc McStuffins, lots of Star Wars and Pokemon.  My go-to teacher gifts are chocolate and a gift card.  I tend to not branch out much, but I just keep thinking that’s exactly what I would want too.  And I’ve got the kids’ books and beans ready to go.  We give them a book and a pack of jelly beans every Valentines…it’s tradition.

Hudson has been sick and down lately.  He’s missed so much school since the beginning of January and he LOVES school so he’s been really sad about that.  The kid has had blood work and an EKG and an ultrasound and prescription meds and we still can’t figure out what’s making him feel so bad.   Would you pray for him?  I just keep praying for his little body and for joy…lots and lots of joy even when he feels so bad.  We’re all trying to figure things out asap before we head to China.  We want him to enjoy the trip and not be miserable the whole time.  Your prayers would be greatly appreciated.

PS:  Amon cracks me up in all doctor’s offices/hosptial.  He really doesn’t get “personal space” and is crazy nosey.  Always makes me laugh watching him.

I’m still sugar fasting and it has been so good for my heart, mind and body.  Food has always been such a comfort to me…it would make a bad day better, it makes me happy, it solves problems, it makes my world go round for crying out loud 🙂 so it has been really sweet to sub in Jesus which I’ve never done before.  And you know what, He totally sustains and He’s way better.  Not that food and sweets are bad…I’ll never think that…but I have a dependance on certain foods for comfort and I’m trying to learn to look to Jesus for my comfort instead.

Josh Kelley nested this weekend.  It kept cracking me up that while the Kelley family chaos level is crazy high Josh took on replacing our broken vanity and Harper’s broken toilet.  You guys, 7 people in our little house…a toilet and sink cannot be out of commission.  I was feeling the anxious stress about it, but he knocked them both out in a days time and all was right in our wild little world again.

Laura Kelley Fun Fact #2:  I have very limited clothes and shoes.  Too much of both stresses me out big time, but my weakness is a good bag.  I still try to be very choosy so as to not have 1000 bags plus I don’t have room for 1000 bags.  On one particularly stressful adoption/Hudson’s-still-sick/our-littlest-is-losing-her-mind day as I sat in our doctor’s office I discovered a hole in my most favorite favorite bag.  My friend Ashley then called and she got to hear all the distress over the hole.  Sometimes the drama is real you guys.  I sent her this after we got off the phone.

Sidenote:  Ashley is pretty much the only person who still calls me on the real live phone.  We talk weekly and I always look forward to our chats.

And last thing…I haven’t tried too many new recipes lately, but THIS ONE was delish.  Solomon even had leftovers for his snack one day 🙂  I did puree the peppers and onions at the end like it mentions and it was sooooo good and made it a thicker soup.  Also I’m making THIS for dinner this week.  I’ll report back, but it had me at honey sesame…yum.

Here’s to a crazy good week you guys.  Praying we all see His goodness everywhere and are so encouraged.

Happy Monday!

Created For Care & Fasting

Hey there!!!  Hope you guys had a good weekend and Monday.  Today is dreary and rainy yet again and I’m sitting on our couch with zero lights on.  I’m still in sweats and I conquered the grocery store with some littles in tow today.  This task always makes me feel super human.

I spent the weekend at Created For Care and it was the bomb!!!  Like I loved loved loved it yet again.  I realized what I love most about C4C is, 1) Our family is “small” sized.  Some of these ladies have like 10-16 kids.  No joke.  2) Everyone else’s families are in therapy too.  I laughed so hard when I shared how excited I was when our therapist told me last time that we had a $96 credit!!!!!  When I said this, I wish you could have heard the other moms…instant jealousy :)…they knew how awesome it was and how it was pretty much like hearing you just won the lottery.  I thought about that moment so much because it just affirmed my heart on so many many levels.  Yah for feeling normal.

The theme for Created For Care is “God writes the best stories.”  It was exactly what my heart needed.  Currently I just have a laundry list of questions for God about why and how and what exactly is He up to.  I got to teach sessions on Bible journaling…2 of which we actually broke down scripture together. I have always dreamed of doing this…of sitting around with other women and taking the exact same set of scriptures, going through them and seeing how God speaks to each individual.  It was pretty much a dream.  I got a little teary about it all because what a gift God gave me in each session.  Just feeling all those feels.

In other news, my people missed me or so they say.  I might have come home to Josh Kelley having rearranged ALL.THE.THINGS!!!!  This is his M.O.  I go out of town and then he changes things around the house or hides throw pillows…he loathes them…or puts away extra blankets where we can’t reach/find them…he thinks we have too many blankets too.  This time it was ART!!!!  We have a gallery wall going up our stairs and the kids are known to knock certain easily-knockable pieces off the wall pretty often.  Well, Josh Kelley had had enough apparently.  Everywhere I looked art had been moved or rearranged.  It stressed me out a bit.  And then I realized he even changed our brand of toilet paper and I laughed…although I’m still thinking/stressing/coming-to-grips-with his other rearrangements.  Alas.

In other news, we started a sugar detox which I then turned into a sugar fast.  Do any of you fast?  I have always been so interested by fasting, but have never actually done it.  I’ve read about it and thought about it and talked to Josh about it before and then this weekend one of the speakers spoke briefly on it and it sealed the deal for me.  I was reading in Exodus 9 and I noticed how when Moses needed something from God…like to stop the hail plague…it says he “stretched out his hands to the Lord.”  I instantly took that up for my fasting mantra.  I have an unhealthy love affair with sugar plus I’m a complete emotional eater and currently is the worst time to do something like this because my emotions are all over the place for so many many many reasons, but I have been stretching my arms out.  Whenever I want that piece of super tasty heart shaped chocolate candy Harper bought for Josh because I just know it will cure what aisles me, I pray instead and tell God I’m reaching out to Him.  I know this probably sounds super dumb, but so far I am really loving it.  I can feel the dependance.  I’ll report back at the end.

So due to no sugar at all, I’m eating lots of veggies which I feel pretty mad about, but today I did discover this.

Game changer for my lunch time.  I did not use the teriyaki sauce though and instead used some oil and garlic and tamari.  So so good.  And quick.  And easy.  I also threw in some leftover chicken from last night’s dinner.  I’m also pre-making smoothies.  Wah-wah.  It’s not anything like pre-making cookies.  Insert sad face emoji.  And there are currently lots and lots of salads in my life, but this too shall pace.

 

And why yes we do eat 3 dozen eggs each week.  Oy!

Make your own salad night is a regular around our house.  Most of the kids are cool with this, but then there are these 2 littles who aren’t exactly…as in just flat out won’t eat it or most dinners each night for that matter.  I laughed so hard at Amon’s “salad” from last night.  And why yes that is a side of mustard.

 That’s all I’ve got for today.  Hope your Tuesday is carrying on.  Tomorrow is Wednesday which means the next day is Thursday so technically it’s already almost the weekend.  We’ve got this!

Solomon is 8!

I can hardly believe it, but Solomon turned 8 yesterday.  Where has the time gone?!?!?!  Last night when I was kissing him goodnight he asked if I liked 2-year-old or 8-year-old Solomon better.  Gah, kid.  Tough question.  I defaulted to liking them both equally and throwing out fun things about both the 2 and 8-year-old Solomon that I enjoy/ed.  Then he told me I had to choose…when push came to shove I chose the 8-year-old Solomon to which he replied, “I knew it.”  Our big kids are just at such fun ages and we’ve got a two-year-old who is currently losing her mind and throwing massive fits every dang day all day long.  Give me all the big kids of the world.

Solomon planned his day to a tee.  Josh Kelley kicked his day off with a killer Pokemon birthday door.  The tradition lives on.  He chose fun cereals for breakfast…which one was chocolate shredded wheat…it still makes me laugh.  Hudson has been feeling pretty yuck lately so he stayed home from school and Solomon had a doctor’s visit right in the middle of his lunchtime, so I let him pick a quick lunch spot.  McDonalds for the win.

Since he missed lunchtime at school on his birthday, today Amon and our littlest ate lunch with him and he shared ice-cream cups with all his classmates.  By the way, I love 2nd graders.  We had so much fun chatting and I loved hearing all their little thoughts.

Hudson can’t do dairy anymore so we hardly ever have pizza.  Wah wah.  When I asked Sol what he wanted to eat for his birthday dinner he said, “I want that good pizza over by where we get jelly beans.”  I totally thought he was referring to a little local pizza shop that is delicious, but when I said the name he said, “No the other pizza place across from there.  You know, it has the little cave man holding a stick with a pizza box stuck to it?!?!”  Uhhhhh, Little Caesars?!?!?!?!  Is that really the good pizza he is referring too?!?!?!  Why yes, yes it was, but he made sure to add an order of bread sticks to his order as well.  So we dropped $15 on his birthday dinner.

We don’t do parties every year, so when we don’t we let the birthday kid pick something fun for us to do as a family.  Solomon chose Jumpstreet…aka giant building full of trampolines.  After dinner we headed out and they had so much fun jumping their hearts out.  And there was even a mechanical bull they all got to ride.  I laughed SOOOOO hard.

Then we headed home to enjoy homemade brownies, Reeces peanut butter ice-cream, homemade chocolate sauce, whip cream, sprinkles and cherries.  Hudson ate jelly beans.  Poor kid.

This morning Solomon walked in our room and met me as I just had crawled out of bed.  He wrapped me up in one of his good hugs he always gives and said, “Thanks for making my day so great yesterday.”  This kid you guys.  He has suffered so much loss is his little life and it has not been easy on his heart.  He has questions and sadness and rightly so.  We are all working towards healing and helping him work out all those massively big and hard and straight up unfair feelings an 8-year-old should never have to feel, but his little heart is strong and kind and brave.  He absolutely amazes us.  He makes us laugh so hard and he is such a helper.  We are seriously the luckiest parents on the planet.

Solomon James Altaseb, you are a joy!!!!  God has been so good to our family by adding you to it.  We wouldn’t be us without you!  Love you to pieces and happiest 8th birthday.

Chinese New Year

We celebrated Chinese New Year again this year at Andy and Becky’s house.  This is such a fun and special time for the Kelley family celebrating the Chinese culture.

Becky always makes the best food and they decorate and we play games and chat and eat and have so much fun.  It’s always always always a blast.  We’re so thankful they host and share such a special time with our whole family.

This year I was in charge of drinks and desserts.  I went with super traditional Chinese desserts like a candy bowl and THESE brownies and rice krispy treats which I tried to make look like the Chinese flag.  It was more like a flop, but my kids thought it was amazing so I count it a win 🙂

They taught us all how to play a Chinese game called mahjong this year and it was SO MUCH FUN!!!!  It’s challenging and it felt like a major victory when I actually won a few games.  For all of us non-Chinese speaking & reading people they wrote a little cheat sheet on their chalkboard so that helped big time.  After the party I added mahjong to my list of things we want to buy while in China.

This year is the year of the rooster so before the party Hudson and I made this big rooster mask.  You guys, a giant animal mask is the funniest thing ever.  It’s just the gift that keeps on giving.  I’m probably going to do another entire post about all the fun we’ve had with the rooster mask after the party.

I bought a pattern from THIS etsy shop and then I traced each piece on different patterned papers, Hudson cut them out and then we glued them all together.  For warning:  It took forever and it made me say cuss words.  I was proud to escape with only one bad hot glue burn.  The rooster mask was a hit at the party.  I even got to make-out with the rooster 🙂

Andy and Becky sent all the kids home with a red envelope filled with money and Chinese candies and little ninjas with different Chinese year animals on them.  The kids love them!!!!!

So in conclusion, our family is fun.  Our family is so fun.  We are so lucky and blessed be on our wildest dreams to celebrate such rich cultures in our family.  It’s simply the best!!!

Happy Year of The Rooster!

Currently…

Listening:  Amon and our littlest are watching Popular Mechanics For Kids while I type this.  My nephew Cooper, who is now 16, use to watch the show when he was little.  Amon found one of the DVDs at the library last night with Josh.  It’s kind of funny/annoying as all get out watching super dated kids shows.

Eating:  Nothing, but last night I made THIS.  It was my first time making it and I really liked it.  Really tasty.  And so far I am loving my Instant Pot .  Feel like I’m getting the hang of it and it really is awesome.

Drinking:  Water.  I shoot for 128oz a day.  I break it down easier by trying to drink 4 32oz bottles every day.  I use my Nalgene Bottle to make it easier.  My goal is 32 oz before 6am, another 32 oz by 12 noon, another 32 oz by 3pm and my last 32 oz by the time I go to bed.  And full disclosure I love a good coke every now and then too and I do not want the diet or zero stuff.  Give me the full on regular sugar one.

Wearing:  Sweats and a tee, but if you are looking for a cool way to stand with refugees check out Unlock Hope and snag up one of these amazing tees.  I have purchased from them before and love this company.  All the money from these shirts goes towards helping refugees.  If you know me and your birthday is coming up, do not buy one of these shirts.  Wink, wink.

Feeling:  This feels super complicated.  The current state of our world and our president’s most recent actions makes me really sad.  I also feel sad about some hard things little people in our family are going through.  I just keep trying to look to Jesus and the Bible…surrendering each kiddo and thing and line thoughts and actions up next to Jesus in the Bible.  That’s all I know to do.

Also, I feel excited because tomorrow is Solomon’s birthday.  I love celebrating our little humans and Solomon is one special kiddo.  We wrote out his entire birthday day plan over the weekend and he is over the moon excited.

(Hudson took this of Solomon and I laughed out loud when I viewed it.  Can we say Rico Suave?!?!?)

Weather:  Sunny.  Give me all that sunshine.

Wanting:  To head to China.  I simply cannot fully explain how my heart feels.  It’s so interesting because each time we get blessed with another son or daughter it’s so different than any of the other times.  Not one of them has felt the same coming home however they did.  And our newest little guy is no different.  Totally different feelings again and yet that same bursting-at-the-seams love.  I cannot wait to see his face in person and squeeze his little body ever so slightly and in a non-creepy way.

Needing:  2 things:  1.  Sell stationery.  We’ve got a massive travel bill coming up soon and there’s still stationery and Bible journaling classes available in my shop HERE.  Take a look and tell your friends.

2.  Finish up my Created For Care prep.  I’m headed out Friday to the CFC  conference to teach Bible journaling and I really cannot wait.  I keep thinking about it.  I keep getting so excited.  I keep anticipating what all God will do.  I keep thinking about all the fun ladies I met last year and crossing my fingers to meet some more new ladies this year.  I also keep thinking about sleeping in on Saturday morning.  True story.

CFC also has a super cute little online shop HERE.  Each year they have new items for sell to help off set the cost of the event to make it less expensive and more affordable for mamas.  I also snag Harper a tee.  Absolutely getting this one for her this year.

Thinking:  2 things again.  1.  How I need to wrap Solomon’s gift and write in his card and make his brownies and hot chocolate sauce…he requested brownie sundaes for his birthday dessert.  I love him.  2.  Chinese New Year.  It’s the year of the rooster and my BIL and SIL hosted again this year and it was so great.  It always is.  I’m going to share about it tomorrow.  It felt extra special knowing we’ve got a little guy in China who will be home oh so soon.

Enjoying:  Prostest signs.  Whether you’re a democrat or republican or liberal or somewhere in between hopefully you can enjoy some signs.  I have sooooo enjoyed looking at all the different ones.  Some hilarious, some so deeply thought provoking, some just simple…the signage game is strong.

  Let’s choose kindness and love today.  I know we can do it.

Blog Wonkiness + Zumba Party

My site is currently super wonky.  My subscription button has disappeared which means so did your blog post emails.  So sorry about this.  I’ve had a friend look into it and unfortunately it’s going to take some major fixing and currently adoption, and travel and heart surgeries are taking top money priority.  I’m hoping to eventually get it fixed, but in the mean time you’ll just have to check this little blog out the old fashioned way.  Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.  Means the world.

******************************************************************

Just a friendly reminder to all you locals that this Saturday is our adoption Zumba Party.  We are so crazy blessed by how friends and strangers are using their talents, abilities and resources to bless our family.  It is incredibly humbling.

All details are below, but in a nut shell you pay $10 for 2 hours of zumba exercise with the amazing Janet Duke and all the money will go towards our adoption process.

There will also be raffle items for just $1.  Yes, $1.  This means you could win a set of 5 key fobs, this 10×10 canvas, stationery sets and my online Bible journaling class for just $1.  So so fun.

I will also be there with more stationery sets for just $10.  Great little gifts to snag up plus you know your purchase has great purpose.

Please feel free to share with all your people.  The more the merrier.  What an honor this journey has been and what a gift our boy is already.

Happy Thursday.