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adoption

Family

Our Adoption Profile Book {3.12.18}

Hello there. We are back from vacation and I’m back to work this week. Post-vacation on a week where we loose an hour is a little rough, but we’re hanging in there. The extra sunshine we’ll be gaining each day sure will be worth it!

We were home study approved for our adoption a few days before we left for vacation and we had already printed our profile book, so I dropped the copies by our agency office and then we headed out on a flight the next day to beautiful South Florida. The day before we arrived home from vacation we received an email from our social worker “There’s a mom who has already birthed a baby girl and we will be placing her next week. Can we show her your book?” We had less than 24 hours to respond and we said yes! We were excited, but also experiencing that nervous feeling like: “are we going to come back from vacation and get a baby?”

Unfortunately we didn’t get a call about that placement, but I thought it would be fun to share our profile book if you’d like to see. We are currently home study approved for infant adoption in the US. I know I researched a lot of books before I put ours together so I thought I’d share our final version just in case someone out there is trying to prepare their book and is looking for ideas! We used mixbook to create it- I’ve used them before for family photo books and I love them. They have colorful, easy to use templates.

Our agency gave us some guidelines including what types of pictures to include and which ones to omit. For example, we have a cat, but she never comes out for our kids and we didn’t want to promise anyone that we have a “friendly loving pet” so we just left her out of our book.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the book. Feel free to comment below or send me a message through the contact section of this blog if you have any questions we could help answer about our journey so far.

XO Ashley

Family

Adoption: Where to Start?

Today I’m sharing a piece of our personal life that I’ve been avoiding.  I’ve started and stopped this post over the course of the last couple months. It’s a difficult topic to approach because it’s a goal that we have as a family that is not always well received by others. It’s a topic that a lot of adoptive parents aren’t open about, but that’s even more reason for us to share, so that others starting this path aren’t in the dark. So here goes. Here’s how we feel about adoption.


A Calling

In 2006 I started my first professional job in a field I’m passionate about- Marketing- for an incredible region- the Caribbean! I was also just embarking on my marriage with my husband Daniel with only two years under our belt. My first official solo trip for work was to head to Kingston, Jamaica to meet the Orbis flying eye hospital and handle sponsor coordination and support. I hadn’t been far from the US (my passport stamps included Canada and Mexico), I was 24-years-old, and I was excited to add that third entry stamp to my travel document! When I hit the ground in Jamaica, I got to work, organizing customer tours of the plane, coordinating support to help in the unloading process, and I attended a community outreach event where my company went to a local hospital with the Orbis team where we gave away goodies and good vibes to the patients.

Our tour of that hospital included an orphan wing, and I remember my disbelief that these children we were visiting didn’t have families. Some of them had severe medical conditions. I met a little girl who appeared to be six months old, by my estimate, but I found out from the staff that she was a little over twelve months. It was devastating and disheartening, and when I arrived home I announced to my husband that I wanted to adopt. He really wasn’t sure, we didn’t have any children of our own, and after years of discussion I agreed, with his guidance, that we would start our family on a more natural path and explore adoption later. I put my thoughts on hold, but quite honestly in, the back of my mind, adoption was calling to be a part of our story.


What we’re doing now

Right now there’s not much more to tell except the things we are doing to be proactive in this journey; here’s how we are being intentional.

  1. We’re doing research.

We are meeting with agencies and going to info sessions to learn more about the process. We are reading about people who have adopted. We’re meeting with people who have adopted. We’ve purchased books about adoption. Basically we are learning what this process would mean for us.

  1. We’re praying about it

Our life is a little hectic, but we know that this stage won’t last forever. So we are praying, keeping our eyes open for opportunities to learn more and we’re leaning in to what God wants for our family.

  1. We’re preparing financially.

Adoption is expensive. Although there are some tax benefits and my company offers reimbursement in some cases for a small portion of the cost, there is still an extremely large upfront contribution required. We are preparing for those expenses. We’ve set up a fundraising page and we’re thinking over fundraising ideas that we could potentially move forward with.

Although not immediate, we will be preparing our home study. There is an expense to that, and it also has an expiration date and could expire if not used within a specific time frame (with a small fee for re-activation), so we are trying to hit the time just right for that exercise.

Most of all we just keep moving forward. Even a small step is a step in this process.

We will keep sharing significant stages in our process through this page. Please keeps us in your thoughts as we find out more about what this means for us. And hey, if you have experience with adoption and would like to share, please send me a note through the contact section of this page or through IG or Facebook.

**Update: We are home study approved and moving forward with an agency in Texas! We are currently awaiting placement and we’re fundraising for some of our adoption fees.

 

 

 

Family, Uncategorized

Be a Piece of Our Puzzle

Adoption is puzzling so this fundraiser is fitting! We are home study approved and waiting to complete our family with one more child through adoption. Right now we’re on the list with an agency in Texas and preparing for placement with a fundraiser, because ya’ll adoption is expensive! With fees upwards of $40,000 or more, and an unpaid maternity, due to medical leave being out of the equation with adoption, we thought we’d put together a fun fundraiser. We could get a call about our child any day!

We can’t wait to bring baby P home from Texas, so a Tennessee state puzzle was the perfect fit since we just love our state.

Here’s how it works:

  • Purchase a puzzle piece
  • We’ll put your name on the back of the piece you’ve purchased
  • When the puzzle is complete, we will frame it and hang it in the baby’s room
  • Puzzle pieces are $30 and if you’d like to contribute you can make payment to our YouCaring page or through paypal. If you’re interested in making a large contribution, email me directly and we can work to accommodate a tax receipt.

The puzzle has 150 pieces and we have 145 left to sell!

We can’t wait for this child to be loved on by our community of friends and family and we’re excitedly awaiting our match and placement.

XO ~Ashley

PS: Why we’re adopting.

PSS: Our adoption profile book.

Family, Uncategorized

5 Fun Things {4.3.18}

Hey hey! How’s your week going? I’ve been saving up some fun things I stumbled upon (around the web) and this week is a great week for a pick-me-up. Here are 5 fun things (plus 1)- check it out if you’d like to see!

Fleeing desk jobs for the farm life

Breakfast for Dinner-yes please!

Morning Motivation -made me pumped!

My new (aspiring) dance moves -I can’t stop watching!

Tacos. Tacos. Tacos. -If you’re not obsessed we can’t be friends.

And for those asking and wondering, we’re still in the adoption waiting game. We’re approved and on stand-by for our placement. It could be tomorrow or three years from now- what can I say- we live on the wild side! Please keep us in your thoughts during this waiting period. Happy mid-week!

~Ashley

Family

How Old Are You?

My two year old is into asking everyone “How old are you?”

I don’t have the heart to tell her, some people think it’s rude to ask about age, because lately she’s been using this question as her conversation icebreaker. I figure, if people don’t want to answer her question they’ll tell her.

I want her to know that people come in all ages and I want her to feel comfortable talking with people older than her. So here’s how some people have responded to her question.

Our adoption social worker told her, “Well that’s easy for you to remember, I’m 5 5, fifty five.” I loved how confident she was at owning her age.

A parent at Graham’s school, originally from China answered, “Noooo I can’t tell you that!” as she laughed nervously and hurried off.

Today she asked my husband [I think she asks him this question twice a day] and he answered his usual, “I’m forty, how old are you?” And then my son chimed in excitedly, “I am going to pretend I’m forty today”. And my daughter responded, “me too, I’m forty!” How endearing that they want to be exactly as old as their dad. It must mean he makes forty look fun!

I hope my kids learn to appreciate the benefits of every age and that they’re not put off by wrinkles and walkers and age spots. I want them to respect their elders and I can only hope that if a kid asks me my age that I’ll reply certainly and confidently with my answer.

Family

Hello! {1.14.18}

Hi- It’s been a little while since I’ve been in touch. We’ve been making our way through January and it’s taken a quick minute to get a jump start on this new year.

I do have something exciting to share! Whimsical September blog (founded by Erica) featured me this weekend and I’m just so excited about it. GO right on over to her site and check it out. And while you’re there, go ahead and look around. Her site is fun, I enjoy her Instagram stories and she also features other bloggers like me in her Saturday Sit-Down series. Thanks again to Erica for her support!

If you’re new here and found me from Whimsical September, WELCOME!

Here’s what’s new with us.

We are in the very tail end of our home study for adoption. We have our home visit the end of this month and so we are on a cleaning frenzy over here! We’re working on our profile book now.

We are full swing back into school and work, but we just loved our Christmas stay-cation which we’ve decided to do again next year for Christmas (stay home, lay around, relax, repeat).

I celebrated my birthday last week and then I started the Whole30 program the day after- eek! I’m on “Kill All the Things” part 2.

We had a two days of snow Friday and Saturday- and for Memphis that might be it for the year! We took full advantage, making a mini snowman, busting out some snow angels, and making all the snowballs.

We took our kids bowling for the first time this weekend to kill the cabin fever- it was so much fun! Stay tuned for more on that soon.

A new restaurant popped up on our radar that I’ll be blogging about soon, so stay tuned. We made a visit right before my Whole30 plunge.

We’re already planning our spring break, can you believe it’s mid-January? March will be here before you know it. Right now we’re thinking somewhere within driving distance, but we’re torn. Nashville? New Orleans?

In the meantime, check out Erica’s sit-down and follow me on Instagram or Facebook. I’ve also been sharing Insta-stories to keep you posted on fun stuff we’re into.

Have a great week!

~Ashley

 

 

Family, Uncategorized

Friday Favorites {10.12.17}

HELLO Friday! Ah, after six days of being out on vacation and then for a work conference last week it sure is good to be home. I missed my kiddos so much.

We had a little bit of a crazy week THIS week. My daughter’s school had a sewage mishap, caused by the water company. Well the entire place was backed up with sewage overnight, flowing for a good six hours before anyone made it out. So what they have is a good 4 inches of poo poo (literally) all throughout the building. We have been coping with a pieced-together-plan of working from home and a fantastic borrowed nanny that stepped in to support us for a few days. The most amazing contingency has come about as a result of the contaminated building and we are crossing our fingers that the school will relocate to another promising facility next week! The school is having to replace EVERYTHING since items are all deemed contaminated, so parents and teachers are all coming together to outfit the temporary location. This is crazy town!

I love to spend time with my toddler at home, but working from home with a toddler for multiple days is no joke. I know she’s ready to get out of the house and play with her friends and go back to her regular routine.

We also heard a bit of news about our adoption journey. We originally planned to adopt internationally, but due to my preexisting medical condition and our birth order plan, coupled with a few other details, we found that we did not have a risk-averse country that would accept us, so we have decided to switch to domestic adoption. Basically, we could have wrapped up our adoption application for a country, gone down a long road of waiting, paid up to $20,000 in country fees, all to have the country come back to us with a “no”. I don’t have any more info on our new plan other than that for now, because we ourselves are in the dark, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated on our journey here.

So here we are again, where I recap my Friday Favorites with you and share a little bit about what’s been going on.

First, one of my favorites was visiting my new baby niece. I wrote about my trip here. Isn’t she just so precious? I remember that newborn stage being so fun but so exhausting!

I headed to a conference in San Antonio for work. Our speaker, Mel Robbins had fun words of wisdom for us. She wrote a book about the Five Second Rule. Her method motivates her to get “out of her own way” by counting down from five every time she hesitates to do something. She equates it to a rocket launch, and says that it triggers blockers in the brain that keep humans in a procrastination state. She uses it to get out of bed, boost confidence, network, start projects, etc. Basically anything that she hesitates moving forward on. I’ve used it multiple times since I arrived home.

I finally finished Crazy Rich Asians on my trip. I highly recommend it for a fun, light read. And I picked ups JoJo Moyes, Paris for One in the airport. So far, it doesn’t disappoint!

 

This resort in San Antonio was beautiful. I didn’t get to lounge around much, but I did grab a margarita and while I enjoyed the view. It has a water slide, which I definitely didn’t get a chance to take advantage of, a spa, a gym and a TPC golf course along with several restaurants.

This was the view outside my balcony.

Isn’t San Antonio so pretty at night?

I had a little bit of time to grab a manicure on the vacation portion of my trip. Isn’t this green nail color a great transition to fall? A guy asked me at the airport “what is green your favorite color?” I was in such a zone that I did not even realize he was referring to my nails!

Right before I left for travel, we had our Fall Dinner Club. We had our annual scarf exchange and had dinner in this sweet little town square in Collierville (at this little place). Isn’t this town cute? Every single scarf we exchanged was beautiful. We all left with a fun new fall accessory!

My daughter had a fun birthday party a few weeks ago to celebrate 2! Our nephews came up to visit us with their parents and they just had so much fun with my son. They gave him a whole lot of attention. Here he is with our youngest nephew goofing around.

And last week, right after I arrived back from my trip, we headed to Disney on Ice as a family. We don’t spend the money on tickets for these type of events very often- my kids just don’t sit still at this age- but they absolutely loved it!

So that’s a wrap. It’s been a packed few weeks and I can’t wait to catch up with my husband and kiddos this weekend. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Family, Food & Wine

Friday Favorites {8.11.17}

Hello and welcome to Friday! So Friday is always the day that I think things will start slowing down for the weekend, but it ends up being one of the busiest days of the week for me each and every week. It’s like everything I haven’t had a chance to wrap up all comes together on Friday and there’s an energy to complete all the things.

This Friday I thought I’d share a few favorites I’m loving for fall season (I know say it isn’t so!), a few fun things we love to do as a family, and food I thought was worth mentioning. I hope you’re settled in for a great weekend, how are you spending your Saturday and Sunday? We are running the Elvis 5K that I talked about in this post– wish us luck! We’re also headed to an adoption meeting our church- more on that journey (if you’re just tuning in) here. I also just posted about the baby shower my mom and I threw for my sister if you’re interested to see how we planned it.

If you’re new and want to read more feel free to click around and/or follow along: FacebookInstagram

And now, on to the favorites…

Family Fun

Earlier in the week I posted about one of our city adventures, a visit to Crosstown Concourse, located in Memphis, TN. Here’s a snapshot of some of the fun we had. Be sure to take a look at the full post.

I also loved this origami décor in one section of the lobby.

We are die-hard fans of our city so you will be seeing more content on how we explore and get out into our town.

Our family also partied hard at a friend’s birthday last weekend and this shot is one of my favorites. I mean that little girl of mine sure knows how to have a good time!

 

Beautiful Things

I have been scanning Etsy and look at these finds! I ordered this wall hang below. I posted it outside on my brick for better lighting so you can see all the colors, but I’ll be displaying it inside on a more neutral, tan wall.

I found this simple fall wreath on Etsy and I’m contemplating buying it…

And at Dinner Club we visited a fun new Colombian place; I just loved their décor. It makes me want to go visit Colombia wearing all of the below.

Eats

Finally, I am loving this zucchini “pasta” salad recipe I found on another Memphis blogger’s site…

And I’m snacking on these bars for a healthier option when I’m on the go and I’m forced to have a late lunches.

In other news, my sweet neighbor dropped by all these tomatoes because she was leaving town and couldn’t possibly eat them all.

And that brings my short list of favorites to a close…

(Sorry, this song is on a constant loop in my head- eek!)

I’m so happy you stopped by. Thanks for letting me share all the favorites I’m loving these days. I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

~Ashley

Linking up with Erika | Friday Favorites, and Katie | High Five for Friday

Food & Wine, Health

Friday Favorites {7.28.17}

Hello Friday- it’s been a while… well I guess it’s been 7 days… anyway, it’s great to see you! We sure are ready for the weekend. We have a fun play date planned this weekend and otherwise, we’ll be trying to plan for relatively no plans! This will actually be our goal until school starts at the end of the month. Also, we watched Pete’s Dragon last night and it was a huge hit so I’m sure we will have that movie on repeat that about 2.5 million times over the weekend. And I’m sure I will be balling my ever-living eyes out (an orphan loses his family, is raised by a dragon and then who is basically adopted- ugh- insert ugly cry here- why do you do it Disney- WHY???).

I thought I’d share some of my favorite products (not endorsed) this Friday. Some of these were recommended to me and others I’ve recently stumbled upon. I guess you could consider most of these summer favorites! But first, this… do you follow letterfolk on instagram? I just love this one…

Anyhow, on to the favorites.

Ice Cream. You Scream| We usually spend many evenings enjoying a summer treat on our front porch. My husband found these: they’re mini drum sticks. Less calories and sugar but just a little bit of heaven so we don’t feel as guilty indulging more often.


Bugs and Burns Be Gone!| Summer seems to bring all the bugs to Memphis. My husband also found this awesome, highly rated bug lotion. The sunscreen was recommended by one of my sister’s friends who is a dermatologist- it gives great coverage and even though it says “kids” my husband and use it too.


Drink Your Garden| My friend used to work for this company and I actually got a free sample of their chocolate protein powder the other day. I mixed it with a bit of almond milk and a few blended berries for lunch and it tasted great! Buy it straight from the company or at Whole Foods. Amazon also sells the large container of another flavor.


Necklace Junkie| I talked about Noonday in another one of my posts- I bought this necklace from an adoption fundraiser and it finally came in. I love it! Here it is pictured in person.


Calm Down| I’ve had this calm drink in my cabinet on standby for a while, but this Sunday I dragged it out- drinking magnesium is better than alcohol right? It definitely does the trick to calm nerves and I notice a difference in my system the morning after I’ve had it. Another friend of mine said she notices she sleeps better when she takes it.


Bath Bombs Don’t Bluff| A friend of mine brought this beautiful gift box of soaps and bath bombs that she was shipping to a friend from Buff City Soaps, a local place in Memphis. Isn’t the gift box of this assortment beautiful? And everything smelled amazing.


A School Lunch Sanity Saver| Finally, for those of you ramping up for school next month, we’ve been making lunches at our house all summer. I have a simple one pictured, but here’s a list of a few easy ideas for toddlers listed below just to get your brain kickin’. I swear I start to blank out and go comatose when it comes to thinking up a school lunch. Sometimes I just. can’t. do. it. anymore!

Lunch Ideas: Roasted sweet potatoes, turkey pepperoni, grapes, raspberries, blueberries, string cheese, hard-boiled eggs, elbow macaroni noodles (plain), brown rice, black beans, homemade chicken fingers (we use coconut flour and a little salt- but the one linked is a little more elaborate). You can make a lot of these ahead of time and store them in the fridge for easy access and mixing and matching (roasted potatoes and chicken nuggets go on a sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes). We use re-usable silicone cupcake liners to separate food in regular plastic containers.

Do you have any summer favorites? We’re holding on to summer tight; it’ll be gone before long. Enjoy your weekend. Thanks for stopping by!

Family

What’s Up Wednesday {7.26.17}

Hey it’s Wednesday! How are you this mid-week? Are you dragging through the week or are you coasting towards Friday? Work training has my routine all mixed up; I’m trying to find my bearings, but it’s so great to shake it up every once in a while and get the brain cells movin’. Today I’m writing about what’s new; here’s a quick glimpse of what I’m sharing!

This link up is a fun way to check in with all of you to share just what’s been going on; I’d love for you to share what you’re up to in the comments!

What we’re eating this week

We are in survival mode in this department. My husband is taking night classes two nights a week and we head to church one day a week so that equals 3 nights of easy suppers. Think quesadillas, make ahead meals, homemade chicken nuggets and Annie’s Mac and Cheese.

What I’m reminiscing about

July! How did this month slip by? I wrote a post about all the things we were up to in July; we had a great month! Here’s one fun picture from our stay-cation.

What I’m loving

Right now I am excited for all of my Nordstrom items to arrive from the SALE! I am also loving this backpack that I bought for work- I’ve had so many co-workers ask about it, and every single time I tell them it’s less than $20 they’re shocked. I also bought my husband this one and both are extremely similar in size and quality. Finally, I’m back-to-school shopping and ordered the nap map below. We have one just like it in another pattern and we love it- it has a soft inside.

What we’ve been up to

We have been hanging at the pool and had a stay-cation in downtown Memphis. I talked all about our fun month of July here. Here’s one fun picture of us scoping out the sunflowers in Memphis right before sunset.

What I’m dreading

I am dreading an early school start time. Right now we’re in a daycare format where drop of is between certain hours. The structured school year will have us shooting for a more punctual approach. Don’t leave me summer!

What I’m working on

For the blog, I just ended two great interviews with two inspiring people. You can check them out here:  Why Limit Happy to an Hour and Hola and Hey Mon!

Personally, as a family we are working on our adoption plan and our FPU plan. Click the links to learn more!

What I’m excited about/ What I’m looking forward to next month

I am excited for the Elvis 5K. We do it every year. We live in Memphis and August is Elvis Week which is actually 10 days of activities with an Elvis theme. One time I flew back to Memphis at the start of Elvis week (I had forgot about it) and there were 4 Elvis impersonators on my flight! What we really really love most about the race is that they give out Krispy Kreme donuts, Old Venice pasta and Jim ‘N Nicks biscuits at the end… so basically whatever we burn off is immediately wasted away on a full feast of carbs!

PS: Speaking of Krispy Kreme, they came to my work to talk about their social media plan and so I started following them on Intagram and their posts are so fun!

PSS: Since we’re talking about Elvis, I ordered the Memphis Moonpie in Nashville off a menu once and they brought me this- what??? That is Elvis’ face in chocolate!

What I’m watching, reading, and listening to

I just finished up this book. It’s a great read and I’m sad to see it end. I think this one is up on my list next. I did a full recap of all the resources I am loving right now here.

We are listening to Johnny Lang (a quick snipet of his music) on Pandora right now. It’s been so long but I feel like this music really belongs in our house right now!

What I’m wearing

Well right now it’s “dress for your day” at work so I’m dressing down any time I have the chance because this all changes when summer ends. On weekends it’s shorts and swimsuits and flip-flops on repeat. I’m also wearing this necklace and still loving it. I have a blue one. She sells them right through her Instagram page.

What I’m doing this weekend

We are headed to meet friends at a fun art studio for kids for a play date. Here are some past pictures of some of our previous masterpieces in action. I am so happy to say that when we leave the studio I don’t have to clean up a thing! The kids also wear the cutest aprons.

What else is new?

In 4 weeks I am going to be an aunt to my sister’s baby! I am stoked and my sweet little niece can’t come fast enough.

I also did this post on getting organized with spaghetti jars, flower delivery vases, and potted plant containers.

Otherwise we’re trying to enjoy the last of summer and keep cool in this 100+degree weather until school starts. 

I hope you’re all having a great week! If you’re visiting this site for the first time I’m glad to have you here. Feel free to take a look around and follow me on social media for info regarding the most updated content.

 

 

 

 

:)