Where Do I Even Begin

Goodness it has been a while.  Definitely the longest I’ve ever gone without writing in this space since I started this blog back in 2007.  Seriously, I went back and looked.  Longest I’ve ever been away.  Leave it up to a world pandemic to jack everything up!  And I miss writing so much.  I miss documenting and story telling and rambling.  I miss you guys.  I miss it all.

I left off at the end of February when toilet paper wasn’t a rare commodity, school and carpool pickups were still a thing, being around actual human beings was cool and parties weren’t a thing of the past.  Then March hit and our world went nuts and then pretty much caught on fire and burned to the ground. 🙂

I’ll give you a quick recap.  We sold our house and bought a new house and then had to have our entire house packed up and ready to go before we left on a family trip to Ethiopia in early March.  Tornados then hit Nashville right before we left.  While we were in Ethiopia the world went nuts with a pandemic, the last two days of our trip was cancelled due to a Level 4 travel alert issued by the US State Department and then we…along with every other US citizen & green card holder in Ethiopia…rushed to fly out of Addis back to the US…people were literally wearing hazmat suits and full on respirators…like nothing I’ve ever seen or experienced…more on that later.  🙂  We made it home and the next day had our final walk-thru on our new home and finished packing, the next day packed up our house in a Uhaul & celebrated Amon’s 8th birthday and the next day we closed on both houses and moved solo with 6 kiddos in tow all thanks to COVID 19.  I have never been so tired in my entire life.  Jet lag and moving with just Josh and myself was INSANE!!!!  Then school was cancelled forever and ever and ever and Josh has been working from home and I have been feeding and refereeing and schooling all the childrens along with processing sadness, grief & depression.  Oh and ALL OF THIS really rocked Leo’s world so he hasn’t slept in 64 days so we are also zombies.

I know so many of you can relate x 1000 because this pandemic and quarantine has been so hard on so many people for so many many different reasons.  We are 64 days into this thing and I still don’t feel like I have my footing.  I know some of you can relate to this too.  I thought I’d found a routine and then I didn’t.  This has only highlighted my grief like putting a big spotlight on it and quarantine has made me feel pretty alone and isolated.  Everyone misses what we used to call life and we miss our people.  I miss hugs the most!  I’m a total hugger and what I wouldn’t give to squeeze a human not named Josh Kelley, Harper, Hudson, Solomon, Amon, Winter or Leo. 🙂  And with 3 kiddos…2 complex CHDs and 1 with asthma…we’ll be sitting tight for a while longer.  My brain just doesn’t understand how all this shakes out.

When we first got home from Ethiopia we would watch the news every morning.  We were about 2 weeks behind the rest of the US so we went into a bit of a pandemic shock upon returning home.  I mean we only had 2 rolls of toilet paper back at home!!!!!  I made Harper put whatever rolls of toilet paper we had left in our hotel room in Ethiopia in her suitcase to carry home.  We’d heard what we were returning home to, but we didn’t really fully understand it until we were immersed in it.

On our last plane ride home we were 8 of 14 passengers on board.  We closed on our house in our car.  They placed the papers outside their door in a closed envelope with two brand new pens and gloves.  In our car we put on our gloves, signed papers as they went over them via speaker phone, placed the papers back in the envelope & sealed it, then threw away the gloves and pens and placed the envelope back outside the office and returned to our car.  WHAT IN THE ACTUAL WORLD.  Hudson and Winter got strep throat right when we got back and I was for sure they had coronavirus.  Hudson was convinced as well.  My state of anxiety has never been higher.

Shortly after moving I had to get groceries for the first time.  I was so nervous and sweaty.  I also had not thought through how wearing my mask with my glasses and breathing would cause my glasses to remain foggy the entire trip.  I went right when Kroger opened up on a week day morning and by the time I got my groceries there was a long line down the center aisle to check out, but hardly anyone in self check out.  So I took almost $300 worth of groceries through self checkout.  I got called out immediately because I had two 6 packs of toilet paper and didn’t know there was a limit of one per household.  I pleaded my case as a family of 9, but no go.  A kind lady grabbed them out of my cart and bought them for me and insisted I not pay her back.  Her treat.  I cried.  When my total was around $260 my machine froze up.  The kind self checkout cashier tried helping, but alas.  So we started filling my cart with my bagged groceries and she moved me to her own machine.  As she was scanning the last of my produce I dropped an entire container of blueberries all over the floor by one of the exits.  Blueberries everywhere.  At this point I had sweated through my shirt and in my foggy glasses was frantically trying to pick blueberries up off the floor.  I finally paid and left ripping my facemask off in the parking lot and tossing it in a trash can.  As I was loading my car I found two 6 packs of beer I had not paid for hidden under all the bags.  Normally I would have gone back in and paid for them, but I took one look at that beer and then back at the store and then at my sweaty pit stained shirt and said to myself, “No way in hell.”

And that about sums up our quarantine experience so far.  Hahahahaha.  We are staying home and Josh or myself are only going out for groceries or for Leo’s blood draws.  We’re ordering groceries when we can.  And even after 64 days I still get stressed and anxious if I have to go into a store.  Even more so when I have to take Leo out.  He’s the only one who has weekly medical appointments we still have to attend and what I really want to do is stick him in a bubble.  We are doing all the things we are supposed to do, but it was very sobering to hear his cardiologist talk about the precautions we should be taking with our children. Even though Leo’s little heart got a great report I still sat in my car afterwards and just cried.  It feels really heavy and hard and sad right now.  It just feels like a lot.

So I’ll wrap it up with a few numbers.  We’ve taken approximately 1,564 walks/bike rides.  We’ve gone through 822 individual bags of chips, 32 family sized bags of peanut butter M&Ms, 10,000 pieces of bread and Harper has made 170 batches of chocolate chip cookies.  We’ve watched 389 movies and our kids have spent 800,000 hours playing video games or on the iPad watching brainless youtube videos.  We’ve downloaded 65 new educational apps and used 2 of them them twice.  We’ve logged onto 243 zoom calls and I’ve cursed 605,893 times…there’s been a lot of cursing.  And the tears, how do you even keep count of those.  And we’re still here.  Still making it.  Still holding on tight.  Still feeling crazy.  Still waking up each morning baffled by how we got here.  Still angry. Still sad.  Still in awe of the beauty around us.  Still knowing we’re the luckiest.  Still jaded.  Still stubborn hope holders.  And still looking for those bright spots in the darkness because they are always there.


  1. Kim Stone says:

    I’ve missed your post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ingrid lapp says:

    You’re doing great mama.

  3. Whitney says:

    Gosh, I love reading your words. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Barbcole says:

    I think you are AWESOME, as always! You are hanging in there and getting through each day. I can’t imagine moving with JUST THE TWO OF YOU! Unreal, BUT YOU DID! Teamwork. I have been thinking of each of you and Everett, as well. So excited to see your post tonight. I hope with school being out that things will slow down some. Cheering you on from West Virginia!

  5. Coralee says:

    So many thoughts, but mostly I’m sorry and thank you for writing. You are such a gift to those of us who have so much to learn about grief, autism, adoption, race and more. Thank you.

  6. Regina wilson says:

    Oh I love you!!! So honest and how a lot of people are feeling. I’ve missed your posts so much. Just think SUMMER!!! Popsicles, outside, playing in the hose pipe and hopefully y’all will get to go to yalls favorite place..The Wave Pool:)

  7. So happy to see you blog! Glad y’all are healthy, happy and mostly sane.

  8. I’ve missed hearing from you and laughed at the part about downloading the educational apps..we’ve all done it, but utube rules..I’m definitely not a home schooler either!!

  9. I think you are the awesomest – you and your rainbow-loving, hope-holding, brutifully made family. Praying over you & yours Laura .

  10. Cinda Nordin says:

    I just love the honesty and love in your posts. Thinking of your family in this strange, surreal, sucky time! Hoping the end is near and you can share hugs, pickle jar flowers, and baked goods with the world!

  11. Jen KNopp says:

    Love reading your posts. Always encourages. I find myself feeling so many of the same things you express, but seem unable to squeeze the joy out of life the way you do. You document it all beautifully ❤️

  12. You deserved that free beer

  13. Free beer it is. And bless you in the new house. It is amazing how you make this house at hime so fast. Love the world map wall paper. Love the colors. Bless you with all the kids at home. Here in holland we don’t have as much space.. And we are opening up….. So that is new. We hope it will open up there soon

  14. Hope farmer says:

    Thank you for your continual honesty! This pandemic is the craziest thing ever. All normalcy is out the window. I can’t even imagine all this plus moving, international trips and complex medical conditions. You’re amazing!

  15. Aww, so happy for you guys! Sometimes all you can do is make it! It’s enough most times though. Congrats on the house! Now to make it a home.

  16. Emily W says:

    Laura! “Hearing” from you is such a bright start to my day! Thank you for sharing. I’ve missed your posts. You’ve lived a lot of life in the past few months, and I’m so sorry about the hard parts. We too have a child who is more at-risk for illnesses, so we are still strictly quarantining right along with you. Hang in there! Thank you, as always, for your candidness and hopefulness.

  17. Toni :0) says:

    I cannot even imagine the enormous load of crap you’ve gone through in such a short time. Moving by itself is a tremendous effort so doing it during a pandemic and all by yourselves, holy heck I cannot imagine how exhausting it was. Praying for continued good health and peace.

  18. Elizabeth Orr says:

    So glad you are posting again.
    Can’t wait for blogs on Ethiopa.
    Not to be rude but am curious as to why you moved house.
    Take care xc

  19. Kelly beaty says:

    I’ve missed your family. ❤️

    Thank you for continuing to share your life.

  20. Heather Herman says:

    Sister. There are no words for these days we are living in. Shit got weird FAST. I feel like people won’t even hardly make eye contact when you are out shopping. So you’re not missing anything staying in! Quarantine showed me that my emotional stability was very dependent on my routine & relationships with a other humans. Life has never been so hard for me & I’m petrified that it will never be the same. Is Wave Country even opening this year?!

  21. So glad to read this post today and indulge in some Kelley family realness today.

    And to think how much has happened since you posted this a few days ago. Sending you a virtual hug to you <3

  22. Hi. Acts 16:31, 1 Cor. 15:1-8, 1 Peter 1:17-21, Rev. 22:18-19.

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