Family in Fifty: Mississippi

When our family took the unplanned path toward adopting Collins this year, we knew a big summer vacation wasn’t in the budget.  But we didn’t want to abandon our #familyinfifty goal of visiting all fifty states as a family.  When our dear friends moved to New Orleans last fall we knew we wanted to visit.  It was drivable, we were missing our friends, and they were kind enough to offer to host us in their home.  It was the perfect way to check Mississippi and Louisana off our list.  We looked at the calendar and found a long weekend, Thursday through Monday, that I wasn’t scheduled to work, and made our plans to head south.

Three kids-check!

Coffee-check!

DVD playing in back-check!

At Home in the World on audio up front-check!

We were ready to go!

Rather than taking the interstate all the way we chose the scenic view of the Natchez Trace Parkway.  Beautiful views and no traffic!

Goodbye Tennessee…Hello Alabama!

Then on to Mississippi!

One of our Family in Fifty rules is that we actually do an activity in each state, not just drive through.  We have been to Tennessee and Alabama already so we just trucked on through.  But Mississippi was new for us.  Our first stop…Tishomingo State Park.

After a long day in the car we were ready for a hike.  Notice sister in the background was too impatient to stop for the photo.

This old suspension bridge was beautiful, but there was a definite lack of safety measures.  I was convinced one of the kids was going to fall off.

Creek bed rocks are always a hit.

A family that explores together, stays together.

Three little monkeys, sitting in a tree.

She loves to explore.

And she also loves bugs.

We made it back to the trail head.

Back on the bridge.

Successful hike with three kids in tow.  We were happy campers.

We spent the night in Tupelo, Mississippi.  Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis, and they like to remind you of that everywhere.

With all of the car lovers in this family, a visit to the Tupelo Automobile Museum felt like the perfect outing.  We were told it is the private collection of a car enthusiast whose goal is to have 10 cars from each decade.  The cars are displayed in chronological order which is fun to see how they evolved.  The brilliant staff at the museum gave us this little car to push Quinn around in.  What a smart idea to corral the littles and to to keep hands off of the cars.

The oldest car was from 1886.  My favorite part was the old signs decorating the walls.

After the museum we strolled down the main street of downtown Tupelo.  We stopped for lunch at Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen.  It is a delicious farm to table restaurant that did not disappoint.  If you find yourself in Tupelo we highly recommend checking it out.

Look at all of those gorgeous fresh ingredients.

After lunch we strolled down the street and popped in to a few cute little shops.

Then it was time to jump back into the car and make the final leg of our journey to our friends in New Orleans.  Louisiana, here we come!

Linking up our favorite way to spend our weekends-TRAVELING-with Erika and Shay for Working It Wednesday: Weekends.

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What’s On My Bookshelf: June

It’s the last Thursday of the month which means it’s time to talk books.  This month I completed only three books.  Apparently I was experiencing a bit of book ADD because I also started but somehow forgot to finish and moved on from two additional books.  They are both really good so far I just somehow forgot I was reading them and started something new.  Just shows how scattered my brain has been lately.


Fly Away Home

This book follows a mother and her two daughters as they navigate major life events including infidelity, pregnancy, losing a career, and many other hardships that bring them together despite their differences.  I’ve been a fan of many of Jennifer Weiner’s novels and I enjoyed this one as well.  To be honest, I’m a bit torn on the ending.  I can’t decide if I was satisfied or dissapointed.  Definitely worth adding to your summer reading list.


Daughters of the Bride

I very rarely purchase actual physical books these days.  Instead leaning toward the ease of the Kindle version or library books.  Before we headed off on our trip to visit friends in New Orleans, I decided to pick up a paperback to read by the pool.  I don’t want to get the iPad wet.  Well it was a good thing I because I laid my book on the side of the pool, climbed onto my raft, misjudged my raft position and promptly fell head first into the pool.  This caused a wave of water to splash out of the pool sweeping my book into the water.  All before I even opened the first page.  So needless to say, I read a very puffed up wrinkled copy of the book after a couple days of drying out.  This book was a great fluffy summer read.  It is about three sisters who are planning their mother’s wedding.  Who doesn’t love a good wedding book?  And as a side note, there is a very very minor character named Collins 🙂


At Home in the World

I’m going to go out on a limb and go ahead and declare this one of my favorite books of 2017.  We actually listened to this on audio on our way to NOLA and Shane and Owen enjoyed it as well.  If you have a love for travel and a severe case of wanderlust, then this book is for you.  This is a memoir of a family that spent a year traveling the globe, including their three kids under age 10!  This book is my dream.  I would love to take my family on an adventure exploring the world.  Tsh does a great job painting a real picture of what their travels looked like.  They are a real family with travel successes and failures.  It was so fun to hear her describe several places we have been;  the Jesuit church in Beijing, the canals of Venice, the beauty of Sydney harbor.  All places I could picture in my minds eye and so many other’s I would love to see one day.  This memoir sucked us in immediately and enraptured an eight year old with a love of travel.  I cannot tell you how much we enjoyed this book.  Listening to the audio version was fun as the author, Tsh, is also the narrator and you can hear the smile in her voice as she describes their adventures.  So so good.

That’s it for the books I finished in June.  The two books I got sidetracked from but hope to return to were:

The Mother’s Promise


Tiny Little Thing

And the first two books I’m making my way thru for July are:

The Bookshop on the Corner

So far this one is adorable.  I can’t wait to finish it.


The Identicals

You know how I love Elin Hilderbrand so her newest release is an obvious choice for me.  This is my current audio selection and it is a great Hilderbrand novel.

That’s it for my current bookshelf.  What have you been reading this summer??  I would love to hear!

Linking up with Carpool Book Club

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What’s Up Wednesday

Why hello there Wednesday.  Thank you for all the kind notes and messages about my home tour peek yesterday.  I may have the ideas, but I give Shane all the credit for executing those ideas on my limited budget.  People seem to love the wood plank wall in the boys room.  Can you believe it was less than $50 for the wood?  We had the different stain colors left over from other projects and tools on hand so he was able to pull it off for less than I would have spent for something to hang above each bed.

What we’re eating this week…

Keeping it simple with the dinner menu this week:

Grilled pizzas (brush some tortillas with a little olive oil, spread on some pizza sauce, top with your favorite toppings and cheese and toss on the grill.  Easy peasy!)

Hamburgers with grilled corn on the cob

Pesto pasta (penne with chicken, grape tomatoes from the garden, fresh mozzarella and pesto)

Grilled chicken with grilled zucchini and squash from the garden

BLTs

What I’m reminiscing about…

This month we celebrated TWO YEARS with Quinn.  I can’t believe we will be back in China meeting Collins later this summer.

What I’m loving…

All things summer.

Neighborhood pool…

Lake weekends…

Zoo…

What we’ve been up to…

The great bedroom switch of 2017 is currently a work in progress.

Combining the boys’ room…

Preparing a room for Collins to come home to…

What I’m dreading…

Combining Owen and Anderson’s clothes into their new room.  Still on the to-do list.  Ugh.

What I’m working on…

Getting ready to place our first round of adoption fundraiser T-shirt orders.  Looking forward to friends and family showing their love and helping to bring our Peanut home.  There’s still time to order!  Don’t forget to snap a pic wearing your shirt with #hurryhomecollins

What I’m excited about…

Meeting this little lady.  Folks, it’s getting real.  I’m getting excited and also getting so nervous.  We are going to have FOUR kids!

What I’m watching/reading…

Coming up on Thursday I will be sharing what I have read this month.

I haven’t been watching much, but I’m loving my weekly girl time to watch Bachelorette and catch up with my girlfriends.

What I’m listening to…

Currently the boys are hanging out in my bed next to me watching Monster Jam.  Why do they find monster trucks so fascinating??

What I’m wearing…

Swimsuits, cover ups, t-shirts and shorts.  Summer clothes!

What I’m doing this weekend…

Fourth of July weekend.  The busiest boating weekend of the year.  Looking forward to fireworks over the lake.  Last year we had so much fun.

What I’m looking forward to next month…

Girls day to Cincinnati to hit up IKEA, the Ballard outlet, and whatever else our kid-free hearts desire.  I cannot wait!

What I’m not looking forward to?  School starting.  Yep, we start back up on July 27th.  Time to cram in the summer fun!

Thanks for reading along.  Happy Wednesday!

P.S. If you are interested in supporting our adoption and helping us bring Peanut home, feel free to do your Amazon shopping through our blog affiliate link. It costs you no additional charge and we will earn a small portion of your purchase in commission. All earnings will go into our adoption fund to bring Peanut home. Thank you for supporting our family!

To start your Amazon shopping, click here.

Linking up with Mix and Match Mama, Sheaffer Told Me To.

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Show and Tell Tuesday: A Peek Inside Our Home

In January I shared that one of my goals for the year was to include a home tour on this little bloggity blog.  Well, that was before I knew I would be spending months chasing adoption paperwork so the home tour has been put on the back burner.  Instead I decided to share a little home tour preview today.

There is nothing I love more than peeking through other’s homes.  We have been working hard on some changes around here and I want to take a moment to brag on the hubby.  When I have a vision of some crazy home project he always comes through and makes my vision a reality.  He’s like my very own Chip Gaines, but with less hair 😉

The Boys’ Room

With Collins coming home soon, it was time to move Anderson into Owen’s room.  A shared room deserved a mini-makeover.  We are still working on the finishing touches, but the focal point is by far the amazing wood wall and reading lights Shane installed.

I’m telling you, he’s good.

A Room for Collins

Next up we are changing Anderson’s old room into a room fit for our new Peanut.  It is also still a work in progress, but today you get a sneak peak.

Q’s Bedroom

Master Bedroom

You know what I’m learning here?  I have a serious pillow problem

Kitchen

I’ve shared our kitchen face-lift before, but I’m still amazed at what some white paint and new flooring can do.

Living Room

I recently added this little table to an unused corner of the living room and I’m excited to see how it works as a place to store all of Q’s art and craft supplies.

Dining Room

For Mother’s Day they surprised me with the piece on my dining room table.  I have been eyeing it ever since visiting Magnolia Market.

In a house with very little wall space, simple spray painted cubbies to stash homework and a bucket to catch shoes make for a great landing zone right inside the garage door.  Even if it is in the dining room.

Powder Room

I’m a firm believer in having your powder room make a statement.  Bye bye old dark paisley wall paper.  Hello bright pink!

If you visit, make sure you sign the bathroom guestbook .  (Yes, it’s a real thing.)

Front Porch Sittin’

Back Porch Living

We bought this house because we fell in love with the back porch.

A Basement in progress

Prior to deciding to add to our family again through adoption this year, the basement was number one on our project list.  Shane managed to ship-lap the TV wall, but the rest of the project is currently on hold until we get Collins home.

The well loved piano will be receiving a fresh coat of paint.  What color should it be???

Playroom

If only it always looked this way…

That’s it for a peek inside our home.  In case you missed it, make sure you check out the adorable shirts we are selling for our current adoption fundraiser.

BE THE LIGHT and help bring Collins home.

Linking up for Show and Tell Tuesday.

 

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Show and Tell Tuesday: The Struggle Is Real

The struggle is real.  We’ve all said it.  From the little things to the big, we are all struggling with something.  Here are a few of the not so serious (and one serious) thing I’ve found myself struggling with lately.

Funny story, I originally wrote and scheduled this post for last Tuesday.  Apparently I was a complete week off on my dates.  Clearly if I don’t even know what day it is…the struggle is real 🙂

A swimsuit for Q’s teeny tiny toosh

Quinn has a problem I have never struggled with.  She is long and thin.  I’m talking she is almost 4 and can easily wear 24 month shorts.  Her waist is tiny.  Her booty is tiny.  Her legs are toothpicks.  But she also has a fairly long torso.  This has made finding a swimsuit for her this year near impossible.  All of her suits gape obscenely at the leg openings.  She prefers a tankini for ease of using the bathroom but will not tolerate any smidge of belly showing between a too short top and bottoms.  One pieces that are long enough are huge in the rear.  Last week as we were walking back from the pool she walked half way down the block before I looked back and realized her bottoms were around her ankles.  Where do you get a swimsuit for a skinny legged 4 year old?  The struggle is real.

House projects

I constantly have a long list of house projects on my to-do list.  Lately, I just can’t seem to get any of them done.  We need to combine the boys into one room.  Change Anderson’s current room into a room fit for Collins.  Finish a half-completed basement refresh.  The list goes on.  Shane scored this vintage Jenny Lind bed on Craigslist for me to paint for Collins.

Clearly I haven’t even started on it yet.  Before I know it we will be in China and the little gal will need a room to come home to. The struggle is real.

Finger nails

Am I the only mom that will glance down and be horrified to realize her kid’s toenails look like they haven’t been cut in weeks?  Just me?  Between fingers and toes there are a lot of nails to keep up with in this house.  The struggle is real.

TBR pile

My “to be read” list is ever growing.  We are getting ready to head out of town to visit friends and I’m struggling with choosing what to read on the trip.

My current top contenders are:

At Home in the World

The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard

The Mother’s Promise

Daughters of the Bride

The struggle is real.

Vehicle for a family of SIX

It’s no secret that I LOVE my minivan.  I think every family should have one (or two).  When Collins joins our family later this year we will become a family of six and officially will no longer fit in Shane’s beloved little blue car.

As much as it saddens him, I’m pretty sure he considers that car a member of our family, it will be time for it to find a new home.  I vote for getting another van, but Shane has exerted his veto power with a strong NO.  So we we are looking for an SUV with a third row that easily fits the 6 of us and frequently 8 with Mimi and DudDud.  It also must fit in the garage, be easy to access the third row, and satisfy my “car guy” hubby.  The struggle is real.  Suggestions???

Parenting

Here’s where I get real for a moment.  While over the past two years we have watched Quinn blossom and bloom, parenting a child with a background of loss and trauma is not without difficulties.  Lately we have recognized some struggles with Quinn, her attachment, and how she copes with stress and anxiety.  It has taken me a while to admit it, but I finally acknowledged that it was time to see a therapist well versed in attachment and parenting children from hard places.  We felt this was especially important to do before we add Collins to the mix and turn Q’s world upside down once again.  We have only been once and I will admit that I was very skeptical.  But she made me feel at ease, assured us that the techniques we were currently using to diffuse her tantrums were appropriate, and felt confident that we can get Quinn to a place that is healthy for both her and the rest of our family through theraplay.  I’m a pretty open book so I don’t mind sharing these struggles.  Parenting any child is tough and adding adoption is an extra layer to wade through.  The struggle is real…but worth it.

Linking up with Andrea for Show and Tell Tuesday.  In case you missed it, make sure you check out the adorable shirts we are selling for our current adoption fundraiser.

BE THE LIGHT and help bring Collins home.  Until next time!

 

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“Be The Light” adoption fundraiser t-shirts

We are excited to announce our final adoption fundraiser…T-shirts!

I love supporting my friends’ adoptions and have a drawer of cute adoption tees.  So when we decided to do a t-shirt fundraiser to help bring Collins home I knew I wanted super soft shirts (think your favorite sleeping tee) with a simple design.

The phrase “be the light” came to me almost immediately.  Obviously I blog over here at “letting in the light” and one of my favorite passages in the bible is Matthew 5:1-17 and begins “You are the light of the world…”.  In a world full of darkness, BE THE LIGHT.  It felt like the perfect text to represent our family and this adoption.

The light just shines out of this guy.

Designs available:

Adult:
Sizes S-XL in charcoal heathered grey
Script font with white text


Block font with light grey text

Youth:
Sizes XS-L in light heathered grey
Black, dark pink or dark grey text
Script or block font

Cost:
$18 each
Shipping add $5 for 1-3 shirts and $8 for 4 or more shirts.

How to order:

email your order to melsbury24@gmail.com

Please include:

Name

Shipping address

Please specify: Type (adult or youth), Size,  and Font (script or block) desired.

For youth sizes only: please specify black, dark pink, or dark gray text.

Your e-mail address

How you would like to pay (in person, by mail, or PayPal)

Note: All orders are pre-orders. We will collect orders thru June then place a bulk order. We expect them to arrive in mid July.

Thank you for cheering us on and helping to support our family!

*feel free to share!!!*

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What’s Up Wednesday

I thought it would be a good time to catch up on the happenings around here with a good ‘ole What’s Up Wednesday.  A time to share…

WUWquestions edit

What we’re eating this week…

The Peach Truck made it’s first stop of the season in our area this week, so we we will be eating all things peaches.  Things like gorgonzola grilled peach burgers, and grilled pound cake with peaches.  We will devour a 25 pound box of peaches in no time.

What I’m reminiscing about…

My babies are officially done with preschool, kindergarten and second grade.  Time, please slow down!

What I’m loving…

It’s officially summer!

What we’ve been up to…

Yard sale, yard sale, yard sale.  It was a smashing success and I am so thankful for all of the support for our adoption of little Peanut, but man was it a lot of work.  I have a couple of yard sale roundup posts coming up if you are interested in learning more.

What I’m dreading…

The giant stack of laundry currently waiting on me.

What I’m working on…

Hopefully later this week we will be launching our final adoption fundraiser.  T-shirts!!  We ordered a few in for our friends and family helping out with the yard sale and I think they turned out super cute.  Be looking for more info on how to order later this week.

What I’m excited about…

Boating season.  We took the boat and jet ski out and spent our first night at the lake on Monday night.  We love boating season!

What I’m watching/reading…

I’m currently reading Fly Away Home


listening to Tiny Little Thing

and watching the newest season of Bachelorette. We are in desperate need of a new Netflix show to watch but everything seems so dark and disturbing. Any recommendations?

What I’m listening to…

I haven’t been listening to much music lately but I have spending all of my time in the car listening to podcasts.

What I’m wearing…

Wow, have I been failing on my what I’ve been wearing posts.  It’s been pretty boring lately with a lot of scrubs and workout clothes.

What I’m doing this weekend…

Hopefully this…

Napping on the boat

What I’m looking forward to next month…

We are packing up and headed to New Orleans to visit our dear friends.  I. can. not. wait!!!

Bonus question: What is my favorite vacation spot…

Hmmmm.  That’s a tough one.  I have loved them all!  Here are some of my top favorites:

Favorite before married with kids: Australia with my college girlfriends

Favorite before kids: Italy or Switzerland

Favorite trip with kids and grandparents: Disney World

Favorite family vacation: Grand Haven, Michigan

Favorite no-kid getaway: Mexico

Honorable mention:  while it wasn’t a vacation, we loved China (and the little gal that came home with us).  I’m looking forward to exploring more of China this fall.

So that’s what’s up for this Wednesday.  Now I’m off to tackle that laundry!

P.S. If you are interested in supporting our adoption and helping us bring Peanut home, feel free to do your Amazon shopping through our blog affiliate link. It costs you no additional charge and we will earn a small portion of your purchase in commission. All earnings will go into our adoption fund to bring Peanut home. Thank you for supporting our family!

To start your Amazon shopping, click here.

Linking up with Mix and Match Mama, Sheaffer Told Me To and The Larson Lingo for What’s up Wednesday and What I Wore.

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What’s On My Bookshelf: May (too busy to read edition)

Well, it’s the last Thursday of the month, which means it’s time to share what I’ve been reading this month.  I hate to disappoint, but there are only two books to share.  As most moms know, May is a crazy month.  With the end of school programs, parties, projects, sports, adoption paper work and running our epic adoption fundraiser yard sale (more on that soon), I have had very little time to read this month.  Hopefully June will find more time for good summer reading.

This month I read one book and listened to one on audible.


The only book I read this month was Truly Madly Guilty. The story is about a neighborhood barbecue that takes an unfortunate turn. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked it. It spent a lot of time teasing about the mysterious events at the barbecue, but in the end I enjoyed it. This was the second Liane Moriarty book I have read. Big Little Lies was excellent and I have been eager to watch the show. I have made it a full ten minutes into the first episode so far. I told you I’ve been busy!


I’m slowly making my way thru Elin Hilderbrand’s novels. This month I listened to The Love Season. This one reminded me a lot of another Hilderbrand novel, The Blue Bistro, which is one of my favorites of hers. There are great discriptions of food and the restaurant business. The book follows the story of a friendship between two women and the impact on one when the other is killed in an accident. While this didn’t end up being one of my favorite Hilderbrand novels, I still enjoyed it and all of her books set on Nantucket make for great summer reads.

Well, that’s it. Short and sweet. I’m currently making my way thru Fly Away Home and so far so good. Hopefully I will have more books to report in June!

P.S. If you are interested in supporting our adoption and helping us bring Peanut home, feel free to do your Amazon shopping through our blog affiliate link. It costs you no additional charge and we will earn a small portion of your purchase in commission. All earnings will go into our adoption fund to bring Peanut home. Thank you for supporting our family!

To start your Amazon shopping, click here.

 Linking up for Carpool Book Club

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Adoption Update: the paper chase, a new pic, and HER NAME!!!

I thought I would pop in for a quick adoption update post.  Things have been fairly quiet here lately on the ole bloggity blog due to our lives being completely overwhelmed with preparation for our HUGE adoption fundraiser yard sale coming up this weekend.  Hopefully next week I will be back to posting more regularly.

First up, I thought I would update everyone on where we currently are in our process to bring Peanut home.  Our dossier, which includes our home study, many different letters, forms and approvals, has been approved through the local, state, and embassy levels and has been signed, sealed, and delivered to the Chinese government and logged into their system.  We are currently awaiting China’s approval, called an LOA, and then the process will come back to the US immigration side.  Our best guess is that we will travel early fall (September?) to bring her home.

We recently received a short update with a couple of pictures, a short video of her WALKING! and updated measurements.  Our 21 month old Peanut is still living up to her nickname weighing in at a whopping 15 pounds.  So Tiny!

Now, on to her name…

There have been hours and hours of discussions, hundreds of names considered and I was STRUGGLING to chose a name.  With some reflection, I realized that I was putting so much pressure on choosing the perfect name for Peanut because it’s the only part of this process I can control.

As a refresher, we had some self-imposed naming rules.  Did we follow these rules?  Let’s see…

  • Must be a surname/last name that can be used as a first name (i.e. Owen, Anderson, Quinn)…Check!
  • Must begin with a letter other than M, S, O, A, Q (no repeat initials in this family)…Check!
  • Must end in and “n” sound (i.e. Shane, Megan, Owen, Anderson, and Quinn all end in that sound)…Um, sort of???? ish???

So, two and and half out of three isn’t bad.  After all (self imposed) rules are made to be broken.

So without further adieu, let me introduce you to…

Collins Violet Elsbury

(a.k.a. Peanut forever)

Thanks to all that weighed in on the name game.  We think it fits her perfectly.  Collins, we can’t wait to bring you home!

P.S. If you are interested in supporting our adoption and helping us bring Peanut home, feel free to do your Amazon shopping through our blog affiliate link. It costs you no additional charge and we will earn a small portion of your purchase in commission. All earnings will go into our adoption fund to bring Peanut home. Thank you for supporting our family!

To start your Amazon shopping, click here.

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One Year, 10 months, 17 days

Well, we’ve made it.  We’ve hit the tipping point.  The point in which Quinn has officially been with us longer than she was without us.

For one year, 10 months, and 16 days, she lived across the world.

But on the one year, 10 months, and 17th day the clock started over and she was placed into our eager arms.  Forever an Elsbury.

While my heart is sad that I missed her first cries, her first birthday, her first steps,  I am so delighted that I get a front row seat for all of the firsts yet to come.  Here’s to forever…

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