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What A Difference A Year Makes: Thoughts on Turning 28


Thoughts on Turning 28

Today I turn 28 and to look back on 27, I can’t believe the roller coaster I’ve been on. If you’d told me I’d be writing this post, today, with a baby asleep in the next room, I’d of laughed in your face. Or more likely, cried in it.

I wrote this post last year from such a low place. I was in the middle of my “two week wait,” doubtful of anything good happening, but trying to be hopeful. 27 was the year I had always had in my brain that I had become a parent. Little did I know, I was pregnant while writing that post. Little did I know, that pregnancy would turn into a miscarriage-turned ectopic-turned surgery-turned “I don’t really know what happened?” from the doctors. And little did I know, that pregnancy would mark the end of a devastating fertility journey and the start of one of the best experiences of our lives.

So much has happened this last year. I suffered my second failed pregnancy, I launched a shop (!), we started our adoption journey, and would you believe it… I finally FINALLY became a mom. I went from being conditioned to expect everything to fail to having so many things go right.

I have a beautiful, happy son. I have an amazing relationship with the woman who gave me this ultimate gift. I feel more connected with you guys than I ever have. Our past two clutches have sold out and we had a hard time keeping our balloons on the (virtual) shelves! Plus, I have so many more exciting things on the horizon for the rest of this year that I haven’t even gotten to share with you guys yet.

It has been shocking, honestly. And it’s been really hard to get used to. I still find myself waiting for the ball the drop, for everything to fall out from under me. I spent a long time in a dark place and it’s hard to open that door and see the light. There’s still a lot I want to do and change, and many hardships ahead (like learning how to balance being a working mom) but man, if I could have just had a time machine to show my turning-27 year old self how different life would be in just one year, I wish I could.

I learned a LOT about myself throughout age 27 though. I learned that I didn’t need to have a biological child and now that, frankly, I am absolutely OK if I never do. Adoption has been the most beautiful experience for us. Arlo is such a gift. I love him more than I ever thought I could love anything. He was waiting for me and I for him and that’s just how it was meant to be.

I also learned that I don’t need to build the biggest of companies to be happy. That a small, but mighty company is what makes me happier. Working 24/7 doesn’t make me happy and I’ve adjusted a lot of my goals and business structure to reflect that.

I’m entering 28 crying happy tears while singing Disney songs to a smiley baby in my arms, instead of crying sad tears over one line on yet another negative pregnancy test again.

What. A. Difference. A. Year. Makes.

I don’t have a point to this post other than to hopefully bring anyone who’s going through a tough time that you never know where just a year might take you. And while you’re in those unbelievably trying times, listen to your gut. Learn about yourself. It’s amazing how reflective you can be when you’re at your lowest of lows. You start to prioritize what really means the most to you. Don’t forget to listen to that instinct.

Thank you all for sticking with me, sending good vibes and prayers, crying with me and celebrating with me as my life dipped and soared throughout the last year. I am incredibly grateful and SO ready to see what 28 brings. Let’s do this!


  • Mia

    Oh Kelly, it has been such a joy to follow you for a few years now. I remember that 27th birthday post, and I’m glad this one is the opposite of that one. I’m so happy that turning 28 is a good marker for you this year – it marks the end of 27 when you DID become a parent! You crushed it in StudioDIY world! Etc etc etc (since you listed them above).

    I feel like there really is so much more joy exuding from you now (not that you weren’t positive before, but OH MAN). I love coming here and seeing the happy. I can’t wait to see what 28 has in store for you (along with Jeff, Bella, and Baby A!)!!!


  • Rosie

    It is a little strange and yet so wonderful to follow the journey of someone you don’t know, and be so HAPPY for them! Seeing this post, and watching you with Arlo has been so much fun… I hope you continue to open the door and trust all the good you have coming your way. You guys deserve it! And honestly, thank you for the reminder to keep going and believing through all the struggles. It means more than you might ever know! Hope you have a very very Happy Birthday!

  • Sarah

    Happy birthday, birthday buddy! I turn 33 today. June 21 is a great day for a birthday and for lots of happy reflections. So glad to watch y’all flourish! My 2 year old daughter loves watching baby Arlo on Insta-stories!

  • Suzy

    Happy birthday!
    I just had to comment because of how happy I was to come across this post today. I’ve been an occasional blog visitor of yours over the past couple of years, and after a particularly busy few months, I had no idea about you adopting your adorable son! The last thing I knew about your story was the post you had written about turning 27, and really felt for you in your struggle. By pure coincidence I thought today ‘I need to catch up with Studio DIY again’, and lo and behold, there you are with a baby! Of course I had to go back and read all about him 🙂 just wanted to say that it really made my day seeing how happy you are, and I will definitely be checking back for Arlo updates much more often!

    • Kelly

      Thank you so much for popping back by, Suzy!! We are feeling so lucky and excited as we enter this new chapter!!

  • Katye

    You are such an inspiration! Happy birthday!

  • Kat

    Just imagine how great things will be at 29 and 30 and so on. It only gets better. Happy Birthday and enjoy!

  • Kristina B

    Girl. I HEAR YOU.
    In May of 2015, I was walking from the Javits in NYC to the hotel after a crazy day at the stationery show (a trip I used to have to take off from my office day job) just lamenting to my husband “I KNOW I can make a successful stationery shop. I KNOW it. I just need a chance! I just need a space! I just need the right space and I KNOW it can be so good!”
    In November of 2015 I did a super successful week long pop-up, January of 2016 a space in my ideal town opened up and I was shopping for product to fill my new shelves at the stationery show in 2016. BAM.
    What a year for you girl!!! Virtual, over-the-country HIGH-FIVES and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    • Kelly

      BAM! SO. AWESOME. Such a good example, you just never know where a year will take you!!! And thank you!!!

  • Megan

    This post made my day. So happy you are stepping into the light. Enjoy it. You worked hard to get where you are and continue to be a guiding light for me so thank you! BIG ((hugs)) to your adorable family of 3. xoxo

  • LES

    I went back and read 27 and i have tears in my eyes because it turned around for you.
    it wasnt where you wanted it but look at you now.

    you deserve it all!!!
    let that light in!!!
    LET IT FREAKING BLIND YOU! because you deserve it! you’ve worked your ass off to get to where you are and no one deserves it more than you.

    i can’t wait to see what 28 has in store for you, your family, your brand and just everything over all!!!

    you are an amazing human being and you deserve it all.
    i hope you get all the things you haven’t even thought of because if there is someone out there that deserves it, it’s you.
    it’s you and your family!

    happiest of birthdays Kel (sorry i know you hate that lol!)
    heres to 28!

  • Megan

    Just dropping a comment to say, I hear you and have been there/am currently there. Our fertility journey has been a bunch of disappointments–luckily nothing dramatic, but just consistently “unexplained” and to me, “unhopeful”. I find myself trying to research and explain all the confusion away, but there’s really only so much we can do to try and make this work. A few weeks ago I was thinking about my birthday this August (turning 31) and finding myself cringing at the thought of celebrating. Ugh, I just don’t want to go there. Celebrating turning 31 and still not being pregnant or a mom is not what I thought I would be doing at this stage in my life.

    When I read your adoption posts and see your Instagram stories, though, I really feel optimistic that things will work out one way or another. Your story has really opened my heart to the idea of adoption and I can’t thank you enough for it. And THANK YOU for the reminder that things change! We can never predict what life will be like in a year. I’ve had that happen to me in so many different ways, who is to say that this way will be any different? <3

    Happy happy birthday. I hope you have an amazing day!!

    • Kelly

      I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this, Megan. It is so disappointing and devastating, but I’m so glad my posts have brought you some optimism! There is so much GOOD down the road for you, even if it isn’t the way you initially imagined it!

  • Renske

    Congratulations Kelly!

    I remember reading your Turning 27 post and crying while reading it. I’m so happy for you now! You’re two weeks older than me, but you’re such an inspiration to me. Happy belated birthday and enjoy!

  • Indya | TheSmallAdventurer

    This was such a beautiful and uplifting read, especially after re-reading your birthday post last year broke my heart. It must be so hard to try to remain happy and positive online when you’re going through so much behind the screen.

    Ever since you and Jeff announced that you decided to adopt, it’s been wonderful watching that process unfold. It honestly all seemed to go so quickly and before I knew it, you had a baby that’s already a couple of months old, but I’m sure it dragged on for you two. But at least you have Arlo now, and he you. Can’t wait to watch him grow up!

  • Lauren @ Oh Hey! I Like That!

    I’m so so SO happy that you’re finally a mama! 28 is going to be such an amazing year for you, and your strength through your year as a 27 year-old will just bolster the happiness you’ll experience this year!

  • metal beads

    It look so cute. Thanks.

  • Lisa

    Kelly, so much of your blog is sunshine and rainbows and smiles, it’s probably easy to fall into the typical blogger thing of acting like your life is perfect and problem free. I think a lot of people see people like you with cool outfits, gorgeous photos and flawless DIYs and think “I will never be like that.” No, of course not. Because YOU’RE not even like that.

    It is so touching and inspiring for you to share you struggles and journey with us. To remind us that you’re not perfect, life isn’t perfect….but it is beautiful. Thank you thank you thank you.

  • Cressilia McDaniel

    I just found your blog when looking for adoption announcement ideas on google. I am so thankful! I’ve sad cried and happy cried on every single post! I relate so much. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we arnt alone. We arnt the only ones struggling…longing to be mommies.
    My husband and I just celebrated 5 years of marriage and 4 years of “well, no baby.” We started our adoption journey through foster care a year and a half ago. We are crossing our fingers since we got the call about an infant boy and should know if he will be placed with us next month! 🤞

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