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


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…


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.

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???


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!


“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:

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

Block font with light grey text

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

$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:


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!!!*

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.

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…


To be honest, I had planned on linking up and writing a Working It post for today.  The topic is balancing work and home life, but when I actually sat down to write I just wanted to laugh.  Isn’t balancing work and home life what all working moms strive for?  And don’t we all feel (at least at times) as if we are still trying to figure it all out?  So while there are many things I have found that help our family run smoothly, let’s be honest.  There is only one key to any success I have at being a working mom…I have amazing support.  Without Shane and my mom, this family would fall apart.  For eleven years I worked night shift, seven days in a row, then seven days off.  Without Shane to pick up more that his fair share on those weeks, we would not have survived.  Last June I was fortunate enough to leave my night shift days behind and start working part time.  While I am home more, I still cannot do this alone.  We have been so blessed to have Mimi watch the kids while I work and all of those other times i need to run people to various appointments and practices.  Thank you, Mom!  So there is my secret to how I Work It 🙂

Since I don’t have any earth shattering secrets to balancing work-family life, let’s get on with #everydayelsbury

A peek at life this week…

After work this evening I made the trek to the parking garage and up to the second floor for my car. Only my van wasn’t there. Hmm. So I went down to the first level. No van. Up to the third level. No van. Then back down to two where I swear I parked. Nope. Then back to one where FINALLY I find my van on the far end of the aisle. I hope the security guys watching the cameras got a good laugh out of that one. #dudewheresmycar

Brackets are done! Ready for some March Madness (P.S. I don’t think the Elsbury fellas will be winning the bracket pool) #godawgs

This morning we finished up The Armor of God at women’s bible study. Not only did I win The Prince Warriors for having not showered before study but I also got wrapped in a suit of armor made out of Reynolds wrap.

Working on their first duet.

We’ve got the snacks covered.

What do 8 women do when they leave 30 (and counting!) kids home with the husbands for the weekend? Absolutely nothing. And it was glorious. #chinamamas #thatsalotofkids

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.

Owning it

Hello friends!  Today I am guest posting over on Erika’s blog where I am Owning It.  If you know me, you know there are a multitude of quirks and crazy that make me who I am, and today I’m owning it.  It was super fun to write and I hope just as fun to read.  Head on over and check it out here.

If you are hopping over from Erika’s blog…Hello and welcome to my little corner of the world!  Feel free to stay a while and look around.  I have loved reading all of the feedback and suggestions from my What’s in a Name post earlier this week.  Make sure you check it out and leave your suggestion for the perfect name for our new Peanut.

One last note.  If you are interested in 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.


What’s in a Name?

So we are struggling.  Struggling to decide on a name for our little Peanut.

I’m not going to go into our decision to give her a new American name and not keep her Chinese name.  But the reasons are many (one of which is that most Americans can’t pronounce it correctly).  So we are on the hunt for the perfect name.

You see, I have these rules that I want the name to fit into.  We still have our original name that we had if the boys had turned out to be a girl.  It is Norah.  With an h?  Without an h?  I can’t decide.  But it doesn’t fit my rules.

These two didn’t turn out to be Norah’s after all

What are my rules?


It needs to be a last name/surname that can be used as a first name. (i.e. Owen, Anderson, and Quinn)

This Butler dress is the very first thing I bought for Quinn before we even knew who she was


It needs to end in an “n” or “n” sound. (i.e. Shane,  Megan, Owen, Anderson, and Quinn)


It needs to start with a first letter OTHER THAN “S”,”M”, “O”, “A”, or “Q”.  (I frequently label things with our first initial, so no duplicates)

That’s it!  Easy peasy, right???  Well, we are having a hard time.  There are some names we like but have ruled out.  For example I like Emerson but it’s too close to Anderson.  Rowen (part of her Chinese name is Wen) it too close to Owen…

There are currently a couple of front runners but no clear winner yet.  We want the name to be perfect.  And then there is the issue of a middle name.  Gah!

I thought it would be fun to document my crazy baby name rules so we can look back in the future.

If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.  Sound off in the comments!

One last note.  If you are interested in 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 with Erika and Ashley for Tuesday Talk.

Show and Tell Tuesday: My Loves

In honor of Valentine’s day I am linking up for Show and Tell Tuesday for a quick blog introduction of my loves.

The Hubby

We first met during our senior year in high school when we were each visiting Butler for a college visit but it wasn’t until our freshman year of college when my girlfriends and I began to harass the shy boy in our physics class.  After many non-date dates we officially went on our first date on April 23, 1999.  Five years and one day later we were married.  Now after almost 13 years of marriage and 3 (almost 4-yikes!) kids, I still love to spend my days harassing that boy.

Shane is the calm to my storm, can make all of my home improvement project ideas a reality, loves to scour the internet for a random deal, and can read a mean bedtime story.  When I met that random boy sitting on a bunk as a senior in high school I had no idea twenty years later he would still be the man of my dreams.

I love you babe!

The Firstborn

The one who made us a family and made me a mom.  Looking at Owen, is not just like looking into a mirror.  It’s like looking into a magnifying glass.  He has all of my personality traits and quirks and takes them to a whole new level.

His love of cars has been going strong since he could first pick up a toy.  Whether it is building a Hot Wheels track or walking around a classic car show, this boy is in love with all things car related.  Lately he constantly has a book in his hand and his love of reading makes me so proud.

The Middle Child

If I had to describe Anderson in one word it would be delightful.  This boy is an absolute joy to be around.  He is funny, sweet and helpful.  He also has the most incredible competitive spirit and can turn any task into a race.

He would be happy to spend his days on his bike or scooter and loves to play outside.  We are so enjoying watching him evolve into a big kid.

The Princess

In the last 20 months we have watched this little gal go from a scared and shut down toddler to a headstrong little firecracker.  She is independent, and stubborn and while these personality traits can make parenting difficult, they are going to serve her well as an adult.  This little lady is going to be unstoppable.

She loves all things girly and her current obsessions include lipstick and nail polish.  She is by far my biggest animal lover and I have no doubt she will one day team up with her brother to try to talk her mama into getting a dog.  Spoiler alert: not happening 😉

After 7 years of being a boy mom, she brought some sparkle to the team.  I am so thankful I get to be her mom.

The Peanut

And even though we have yet to meet, this list would not be complete without our little Peanut.

While we can’t yet list her likes or dislikes, she already has a part of our hearts.  It will be months until we get to hold her in our arms, yet we have no doubt that God has chosen us to be a family.

We look forward to completing our six pack.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Friday Favorites and What I (Really) Wore

It’s the end of another week so that means it’s time for another round of Friday Favorites.

1. We are adopting again!

Earlier this week we shared that our family is growing again through adoption.  If you missed it, you can check out the details here. We are so thankful for all of the comments, texts, calls and kind words.  We are so fortunate to have a tribe cheering us on as we work hard to bring our new little gal home.

2. Super Bowl

Last weekend we hosted our annual Super Bowl party.  And while we were not so happy about the outcome (we are Indianapolis Colts fans in this house), we loved spending the evening with friends.

Before the game the boys asked me to draw “that black paint under our eyes like the real football players”.  My favorite liquid eye liner to the rescue!

We typically have chili for Super Bowl but this year decided to mix it up with Walking Tacos.  Yum!

He fought hard, but he Super Bowled until he dropped.  I found the little man passed out in the living room at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Typically I hate baby showers, bridal showers and birthday parties that are inevitably scheduled for Sunday at 2:00.  It just messes up your entire Sunday.  But the Super Bowl?  Why is it so late?  I want to start a motion to move the Super Bowl to 2pm.  It’s just too late for a Sunday night!  Anyone else with me?

3. Pineapple Poblano Guacamole

I stopped into Aldi last week and picked up this little treat on a whim.  It was surprisingly delicious.  I found myself eating way too many chips and guac.  I highly recommend!

4. Walmart grocery oops

This week when I picked up my groceries at Walmart I was given a bag that belonged to another customer on accident.  When I got home and discovered the error I called the store and was told to keep the extra items.  Kool-aid packets, mini muffins and Jiffy mix.  We don’t know the mystery family that these items were intended for, but let me tell you these are not things we typically purchase.  These boys were ecstatic about these surprising treats.   As a side note:  I am still LOVING online grocery pick-up.  I have experienced a couple of hiccups along the way but customer service has always been great to deal with and happy to make things right.  If you are interested in my comparison of Walmart vs. Kroger online grocery make sure to check it out.

5. What I (really) wore

It’s another two-for-one week this week with favorites along with what I (really) wore.

top (similar)/denim/booties


jersey (old, but consider buying a kids sized jersey if you’re on the petite side)/denim

Even if our team isn’t playing, Super Bowl calls for wearing my favorite jersey.


cardigan (similar)/tee (similar)/denim/booties

As usual I’m linking up with Erika, Narci, and Andrea for Friday Favorites.

Thanks for stopping by!