When Things Suck

I know it’s Tuesday, but this week has already been heavy and hard.  Yesterday straight up sucked!!!  Like shit city.  I let life suck the joy and will right out of me.  I feel like we just stay in this state of hard and exhaustion is our normal now.  It feels like things are getting harder before they will get better and that’s life…I get it…things could be worse.  This morning I woke up after a really hard, long night.  Leo was acting off and Josh and I we’re sure something serious was going on.  One of the hardest things about Everett’s death is that I think about one of my kids dying every single day.  And not because I worry…I’m not a worrier at all, but because now we visit one of our children in the cemetery… that’s our reality.  There is so much of this life that is out of our hands and when your child dies it’s this GIANT reminder of just how little control you actually have so death crosses my mind about at least one of our children every.single.day.

I’m determined today will be better.  What little control I actually have I’m fully extending today to keep myself afloat.  I’ve made myself keep moving through the tears.  I’ve eaten some chocolate.  I made a smoothie.  I stared at Leo all googly eyed.  I finally paid some medical bills.  I took a shower.  I’m drinking lots of water.  I’m eating good foods.  Great music is blaring all day long.  And now I’m sitting down to write.  I’m choosing joy because when I examine things more closely how could I not.

Today I’m picking out things I’m crazy thankful for…the deep and shallow…because gratitude in the midst of sorrow is empowering and meaningful and life giving and can pull you from the darkness.

I’m thankful for trusted people who can directly connect with my kids in ways I cannot.  I will never be everything they need…which is insanely hard because I want to be everything they need…and we have kiddos with hard beginnings and more trauma and loss than most of us will see in a lifetime.  When I see special connections with others outside of Josh Kelley and myself I am grateful in a whole new kind of way.  After our last party, I noticed this sweet little drawing Aunt Becky had done, I snapped a picture and smiled deep.  Gratitude for all the little and big ways others love and connect with our kids.

Josh snapped this photo of Leo and me and I love it.  Not the best lighting and I’m not looking my finest, but that look in my eyes is one I love and recognize…one of love and pure smittenness and honor to mother these amazing kiddos.  I’ll tell my kids for all their lives, Josh and I are the luckiest and all 7 of them are my greatest honor and privilege.

Our journal project is helping keep my creativeness from completely disappearing.  Even on days when I don’t journal I’m at least thinking about it…what words to choose, what mediums to use, layouts, how to make whatever happen, etc.  I know I’m a creative person, but I’ve felt lost the majority of the past 2 years and I’m just holding on hoping it doesn’t fizzle out.  These journal projects are keeping the flicker from snuffing out.

(You can see more about this group journal project on my Instagram story highlights.)

I’ve been wanting to give Harper and Winter’s room a little facelift and once Winter’s adoption was final it was the perfect time to do so.  Maybe on the shallow side, but I’m thankful for their sweet space.  Their sisterly love and their Everett rainbow love.  For cripsy white and pops of bright color and bright open windows to let the light in on the darkest of days.

This past Saturday was the heart walk in Nashville.  We have tried to go every year since watching it out Amon’s hosptital window while he recovered from his open heart surgery in 2012.  This year we had soccer games so Leo and I picked up a heart ballon for each of our brave heart warriors on Friday afternoon to represent for Saturday.

Saturday morning as I watched Amon run his little heart out I was overcome with such immense gratitude for his life and Everett’s and Leo’s.  Overcome with gratitude for all their specialists and doctors and surgeons who have chosen hope for each of them.  I really wanted to go to the heart walk this year.  With losing Everett and Leo being home I wanted to be there to walk and represent 3 of the bravest boys I know, but instead I cheered Amon on.  I watched him run up and down the field going as hard as he could.  His heart isn’t perfect, but it serves him well.  He has to self regulate and he’ll need another surgery at some point, but Amon gives it 110% and nothing seems to slow him down.  Crazy grateful for our 3 heart guys and the way they have battled and fought.

And I’m thankful for how far Leo has come and each day we have together.  It’s hard because he has now been with us longer than Everett was with us.  It seems broken and crazy and unfair.  And yet, I’m grateful for every second and all the leaps and bounds he’s taken to bond and attach and trust us as his forever family.  He now has a whopping 7 specialists…which is insane feeling, but we’re working and fighting every day for answers and the best for Leo.  We want the answers he deserves and we’ll fight like hell for them.  Leo is joy!  He loves so big and he has seriously changed so much and we all just beam with pride over his life and his love and his fight.  Gah, we adore him.

(April 2018)

(September 2018)


  1. Your pictures are amazing! Leo is getting bigger. I still look for Everett sitting on the counter in the pictures. So sorry for this journey. Can’t imagine your daily pain.

  2. You are so brave to share your heart with us all. It is so inspirational to read of Amon’s soccer games and see his bright smile! I will never tire of watch zero go in circles on car and mist of all I will always think of Everett and know he is watching over all of you.

  3. And how is that for auto correct!! I will never tire of watching Leo!!

  4. ♥️

  5. From this mama of two biological (3yr and 4months) and also in the process of adopting, I’m so thankful and encouraged to read stories like yours. The real and the hard stuff. ❤️

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