TuTu Excited

Our next Disney trip is creeping up on us!

We haven’t had much time to think about it or start our usual Disney pre-trip routines because of everything we have going on with adoption and our church’s second campus opening and…oh, life. I looked at a calendar a few days ago and had a freak-out moment when I realized how close I am to running 13.1 miles in the Happiest Place on Earth…and I still didn’t have a tutu!

I can’t run the Princess Half Marathon without a tutu!

So off to Hobby Lobby I skipped, in search for supplies which included some stretchy headband ribbon, tulle, and felt. I also picked up iron-on letters and an iron-on princess crown for my shirt.

In summary, the shirt was a cinch. Place the letters and crown in desired spots. Iron-on. The skirt was easy, but I wouldn’t say it was exactly fun. Looping tulle through tiny holes is tedious, seemingly never-ending work. IMG_1814IMG_1804The felt dots are just placed on the skirt to give you an idea of the end result. I naively bought 37 yards of tulle, thinking that would be enough. HA! I need double that. Another trip to Hobby Lobby will occur this week, after which, I will be able to fully complete the skirt. IMG_1809I am pretty pleased with how it turned out, considering it’s my first go at making a running outfit. Just wearing it makes me feel ready to run! As I said before, I have no time goals I’m trying to reach for my first ever half marathon. My one and only goal is just to make it across the finish line, and by golly, even if I’m crawling across, I intend to look cute doing it.

With love, Malorie

Elrods Go Adoption: My Heart. Our Story.

A long, long time ago {a little over twenty years, actually} in a galaxy far, far away {like, Henry County, Georgia}, there lived a little girl:

Little Malorie Ann, brown-haired, blue-eyed, and imaginative, plays peacefully by herself. “Oh hello, Ken!”

“Hi, Barbie.” Ken bounces across the carpeted floor of the Malorie’s Room Mall, meeting Barbie and Skipper with a pasted-on smile. “Who’s this?”

“Oh, this is my new sister! She’s adopted.”

Fast forward a year:

“What do you want to play?”

Malorie pretends to look pensive, though she already knows the answer she will give her best friend. “Let’s play orphans again. My name’s is going to be Pepper, what’s yours?”

Fast forward two years:

Freshly ten-years-old and proud of this privilege, Malorie turns the bulky home camera perched precariously on her shoulder towards her bedroom mirror. She waves slightly at her reflection, careful not to tip the heavy piece of video machinery as she moves.

“Here are my Birthday Angels,” she smoothly says, zooming in on each one, counting as she goes. “…and ten. Because I just turned ten!”

The camera slides all too quickly a quarter of the way around the room, landing on a dark-complectioned doll dressed in a red jumper. This is my new Bitty Baby. She’s adopted.

Fast forward nine years:

Malorie sits in the passenger seat of a black pick-up truck, holding hands with a be-speckled boy sporting a foe-hawk. They’ve only been dating a few months, but he is quickly becoming one of her very best friends. “Yeah, since my sister and I are so far apart in age, I think I want my kids to be close together. I know I want more than one, and I really want to adopt.”

“Oh, that’s cool.”

“Yeah, so the guy I marry will definitely have to be okay with that.”

“Hey, did you notice my Georgia Bulldog floor mats?”

Fast forward two years:

“I can’t believe we’re married! Like, you’re my husband!”

“I know! Crazy!”

“So. When do you want to have kids?”

2010:

She lifts the lid of the baby-paper-wrapped cake stand, “It’s a BOY! Jack Hatcher Elrod!”

2011:

As Tim and Malorie stand by excitedly, the grandparents rip back the cloth on the jars filled with blue and green gummy bears. “It’s another boooooy! Cole Timothy Elrod!”

2013:

Bam! That was the hit that did it. Pink confetti trickled from the corner of the busted piñata. Zack’s hands raised in victory as the grandmothers squealed. “It’s a GIRL!! Lorelai Noel Elrod!”

2014: 

Malorie slides on to the bed next to Tim as he lounges there, scrolling through his Twitter feed. “So, when do you think you’re going to be ready to start the adoption process? I hate to bring it up again because I don’t want to be a nag, but I just need to know. I need to know where you stand. Do you really want to do this?”

“Let’s do it.”

“What do you mean, ‘Let’s do it’?”

“Let’s do it. Let’s start it.”

“But are you ready?”

“I don’t know if I’ll ever really feel ready. The money part stresses me out, but I know we can figure it out. I’m sure we’ll be able to raise the money, so let’s just start the process.”

Tears. Happy tears.

And now… 

To be honest, the first set of paperwork was so easy to fill out. It felt really weird sending it off. The beginning. We had begun. Prayerfully, this was really going to happen.

The second set came. Those were easy, too. One focused hour and everything was done, ready to be sent off, both cyber and postal.

And now here we sit, waiting to start our home study, and finally sharing with everyone our decision to grow our family through adoption. I cannot begin to tell you how happy this makes me feel. How humbled. Adding to my family in this way is something I have desired and dreamed about for as long as I can remember. The idea of adoption is something God has hidden in my heart from a very young age, and it’s so amazing to see it coming to fruition in my non-Barbie family.

On top of that, it feels so wonderful to think about the opportunity to provide a stable and nurturing home for a baby that might not have one otherwise. We are currently pursuing a domestic infant adoption through Bethany Christian Services. There is such a need for adoptive families to step forward, not just in the world, but in the United States, as well, and right here in our home state of Georgia! One of our friends from small group works as a nurse at our local hospital and she revealed last Wednesday that the night before, there were three babies on her floor that were in need of a home. The birth moms had come in with no plan other than to leave the hospital without their child. Three. In one night, three babies were born less than five miles from me that were in need of a home, and that are at this moment, most likely in custody of the state and being introduced into the foster care system.

Y’all. That is heartbreaking to me. I can’t care for every baby and child that is currently in or will be in the foster care system, but I can start with one. Yes, we need to educate young people on the importance of abstinence and safe-sex, but we also need to offer support for those that have made mistakes that they can’t turn back from. We need to love on those birth moms that are making the brave and selfless choice of allowing their child a life, even if they aren’t able to be the ones to provide that for them outside of the womb. And we need to care for the children that don’t have a place to call home or a face to call Mommy. “Do for one what you wish you could do for all,” is something our teaching pastor, Andy Stanley, teaches. That is that platform on which Tim and I are taking our first step. We are walking down the path of becoming a forever family for a child that is not of our blood, not of my womb. To love unconditionally. To provide for and protect. To raise in the way of the Lord. And of course, because they will be an Elrod, to take to Disney World!

I know this is predominately a Disney blog, but a couple of years ago I merged my lifestyle blog with my Disney, and I write from the many angles of our Elrod lives. I’m so grateful that so many of you are open to hearing about our heart on adoption and look forward to following along with this side of us. I hope it continues. Nothing would make me happier than to have you walk beside us the whole way, because I know that there are going to be days when I would love to hear an enthusiastic cheer echoing back my joy, and there are going to be times when I need a, “Cheer up, Charlie. Show me that smile!” on the days when I’m discouraged or frustrated.

Thank you, in advance, for that. Thank you for all of the prayers and support of all kinds. It means so much more than you know.

With love, Malorie

Growth Chart Order Form

Elrod Adoption Fund

The Princess Half Marathon and a Little Mommy Guilt

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My latest RunDisney Instagram post. 5.5 miles on a treadmill. Yuck.

We have just over a month until our next Elrods Go Disney getaway! This trip, however, is the first one ever that I’m not necessarily wishing to get here sooner.

It’s that little you-have-to-run-a-half-marathon thing that’s keeping me from my usual paper chain traditions.

Overall, though, I am really excited and feeling very motivated. Do I feel completely prepared to run 13.1 miles? No. But do I feel confident that I can {maybe at a tortoise speed} and that I am going to have an amazing time doing so? Yes!

I’m a mostly-melancholy personality, which means I’m a people-pleasing perfectionist, and I am my harshest judge. I keep feeling tempted to tear myself down in my training progress, but then I remind myself of the initial goal: just to say I’ve done it. To conquer it, no matter how long it takes. To make it across the finish line, even if I’m the very last one. When I set my mind on more realistic goals, I feel much more motivated and excited about it. IMG_1588

Aside from just participating in a race weekend, this trip, as a whole, is going to be so different from our past trips. For one, it is just going to be Tim, Jack, and I in attendance. Crazy! I’m totally battling good mom/bad mom feelings over this. I am okay with leaving Lorelai behind with the grands for a weekend, but I feel horrible about having to leave Cole.

He is going to be devastated.

He is definitely at the age where he knows Disney and can remember our trips. He will know where we’re going and what we’re doing and it will be hard to hide that from him. On top of it all, he and Jack are rarely separated, so he’s probably going to have a hard adjustment not having his best buddy to fall back on when he’s feeling homesick for Mommy and Daddy.

Treats. Wonderful treats will be brought home for this boy. Okay, probably just some Mickey-shaped rice-cripsy treats. But those are still pretty wonderful.

With love, Malorie

Elrods Go DIY: Kitchen Cabinet Transformation

Well, if consistency is the key, then I’m an overgrown Alice in a room full of tears.

Sorry for the lengthy absence. So much time and so little to blog about.

Wait. Scratch that. Reverse it.

This post has been nagging me ever since the week of Thanksgiving, begging to be written. But I’m really good at ignoring myself, so it’s been “punted” {as my husband would say} from weekend to weekend, until today. In a strange turn of events, we actually have a Friday morning at home with nothing {urgent} to do or accomplish! Wee! And with my husband being home, I can sit almost undisturbed with my nose to screen and fingers to keys, giving you my mostly undivided attention! Don’t you feel so valued?

{I just heard a, “Woo-Hoo!” from the pot, a tiny behind asking to be wiped, and I didn’t have to go! Thank you, Jesus, for husbands! All the exclamation points!}

Okay, okay. I’m getting to the point. Please excuse my rabbit-trailing. It’s obviously been a while since I got out my creative-writing-bloggity side.

SO! Over the week of Thanksgiving, my hubby and I decided to take on one of the bigger DIY projects we’ve done in a while…we refinished our kitchen cabinets.

Meep! Huge undertaking.

Upon moving in, our newish house {we’ve been here a year and a half} had orangey, middle-toned wood cabinets. The quality of them is nice, but the color and look was just not our personal preference. I don’t have many before pictures, because like crazies, we didn’t take any before starting the project, but here is one that I scrounged up. A precarious picture of Cole at our kitchen table. I have no idea what is going on here, but it looks like disaster. IMG_0255Eck. Orange cabinets, honey-colored table, yellow chalk painted kitchen chairs…it all just screams missed-matched country kitchen. Yuck. And call me crazy {again!} but I am so over the chalk paint fad.

The project started when our church, in a current revamp, used Home Depot’s Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Kit to refinish the doors in the lobby. They turned out just lovely, so Tim and I, in an effort to get to know the product, started with our island. We used the smaller Furniture Transformations kit in the espresso color. We knew that long term we wanted light cabinets with a dark island, so we figured starting on the island was the least risky move. Once we finished, we were in love. Sounds cheese, but it completely transformed the island, just like the name of the product. It was an easy process, granted time consuming due to drying times, and the quality was wonderful . My kids have since spilled and splashed goodness-know-what all over it and I can wipe and clean it just like I could the original finish.

Bonus: That kit only cost us $35 and it completed our island with a ton left over. We have since used the remainder to refinish the top of that table Cole is sitting at, and the guest bathroom cabinet! Three DIY upgrades for $35? That’s winning.

We knew loved the product and felt confident in the execution, so we decided to move forward with doing the whole kitchen. We went back and bought the bigger kit that ran us around $80 {$100 once we bought two new paint brushes}, but this time we went with the Linen finish.

After kicking myself for not taking a before picture, I decided to document the work on our coffee station, since it was the last bit we tackled.

Ladies and gentlemen, [fanfare: bum ba-buh dum!] BEFORE!IMG_1259

The first step in the kit is a cleaner/de-glosser. Included, is a handy-dandy scrubby pad thingy. {We get real technical with the DIY terminology around here.} We removed all of the doors and drawer fronts and cleaned away. The cleaner requires an hour dry-time before the next step.

Step two is two coats of the base color. We expected the Linen to be a little more creamy than it was, so we freaked out the first time we applied it. It seemed white. Like white-white white. {Don’t you love how words start looking strange when you type them over and over?} However, once the glaze of step three was applied we achieved the color we liked. The base coats require two hours of dry-time each before you can begin step three.IMG_1260Don’t you love how {literally!} transparent I’m being with you, letting you take a peek inside my messy, mug-mashed cabinets? Oh, and the tupperware catch-all down below…let’s just move on.

Step three is the glaze. The instructions simply say, apply glaze, using a clean cloth to remove as much as desired. Okay…

Tim and I decided that in an effort to keep it consistent, I would do all of the glazing. Different hands work different ways and we didn’t want there to be obvious differences in the doors we finished. The glaze all came down to trial and error. I googled videos and tutorials, but in the end I found a method that worked for me. I didn’t want super streaky doors, which is kind of unavoidable with this product, so if I were to redo it all, I would probably buy a cream colored paint and only put the glaze in the corners and creases of the doors and cabinets. However, that’s not what happened, so I had to make it work with what we had. The end result is still great and we’ve had nothing but complimentary feedback. It’s just all about what look you are trying to achieve. Here is the glazing method that I came up with that gave me the creamy, shabby chic look I was wanting, with the least amount of uneven streaks.

What I wish someone had told me before I started glazing:

After the second coat of step two had finished drying for two hours, I began with a latex glove {not included in kit}, two sections of cheese cloth, and the glaze. In general, I tried to keep one “drenched” cloth for applying, and one that was “clean” or had lesser on it for blending and removing excess. I started by generously applying glaze in the corners, creases, and edges of the doors.

PicMonkey Collagedoor Then, using the “clean” cloth, I would drag and blend the stain onto the flat surface of the doors, rubbing a little firmer, where I wanted to remove the stain. I found that my “clean” cloth would be good for about two doors, at which time I would need to switch it out for another.

After blending and getting the stain as consistent as possible, I would go back and add some darker accents around the edges of the inset. I would use my thumb nail and the drenched cloth to make as straight and solid of a line as possible down the edges and across the top and bottom. Then, using the clean cloth, I would blend in or remove the excess. This is the one touch that is inconsistent on each door, giving each one character and interest. PicMonkey CollagedetailI repeated the process on the cabinets and drawer fronts, making sure to leave darker accents of the stain in the creases of the molding, or edges of the drawers. iPhoto LibraryIMG_1345I have to admit, that even though I feel that anyone can do it, this process seems to be easier when you have a little bit of a creative eye and hand. I really didn’t want to just slap the glaze up there. I wanted it to have character and look intentional. I made the edges and sides of things darker, while keeping the inside, larger, flat faces lighter. I don’t think there is a right and wrong way. It’s just finding out what you desire to achieve.

One last tip: When I was working on a larger door, where dragging stain from the crease of a door was just simply not enough to cover the face, instead of adding more stain with my drenched cloth {which would result in a large dark stipe, regardless of how light-handedly I tried to apply it}, I would take a more saturated part of my clean cloth, press it to the drenched cloth to absorb a bit more stain, and apply it with the now-damp clean cloth. In doing so, it would give the face color without resulting in a lot of dark streaking. PicMonkey CollageextraSee? Things that are not covered in the simplistic explanation of the directions.

The glaze must dry eight hours before you can apply the fourth step, which is a polyurethane for protection. The directions said that you can apply two coats of the glaze, but I only applied one, seeing as how I had already achieved the look I wanted and didn’t want to go any darker.

After the poly is applied, you have to wait a bit {12 hours?} before you can put the doors back on. We’re rebels by nature, so after they were dry to the touch, we put them back on and left them ajar for the rest of the dry-time.

The end result is impressive, to say the least. The look and feel of our kitchen is completely…for lack of a better word, transformed! IMG_1565Since then, we have also moved the previous {now espresso-topped, like the island} kitchen table to the formal dining room, and my handy-hubby assisted his friend in building us this amazing picnic table for our eat-in. I’m in love! Yes, I’m the crazy girl that wants a picnic table indoors.

Oh and nevermind my kids’ messy lunch plates still on the table. IMG_1566DIY up next? Refinishing all of those orange banisters to the same espresso color, changing up the backsplash, and replacing both of the kitchen lighting fixtures.
IMG_1563I just love doing home projects. So rewarding.

Oh and one last tip: Your kitchen may be smaller than mine, maybe bigger, but either way, I feel this is a helpful thought. When we were taking apart all of our doors and drawers, we kept the hardware sorted out in labeled baggies according to where it went. I know all the hinges may look the same, but we found that some of them, either by design or builder-error, needed to go back onto the same exact door. IMG_1346So what do you think?!

Actually, lets stick to the advice of Thumper’s mother. “If you can’t say something’ nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.” [insert winky face here]

With love, Malorie

 

The Many Emotions of Cole’s First Roller Coaster

We’re back, we’ve unpacked, and we’re working through the feelings of PDD {Post Disney Depression}. The past couple of days, I’ve been sifting through all of our pictures and videos and so far, this is one of my absolute favorite moments we captured: Cole’s first ever ride on Goofy’s roller coaster.

Poor Cole. Such a shorty.

Jack first rode the Barnstormer just after his second birthday, but he was always at the top of the growth charts. Cole, on the other hand, has always been on the small side, so this March he just missed the mark to ride the toddler thrill-ride of Storybook Circus. I think we might have all cried a little.

A few weeks before we left for our most recent trip, I measured him again and was excited to find that Cole had finally reached the ridable height required for the Barnstormer. We were all elated, so a common verse for our chain-tearing silly song was,

Cole’s gonna ride Goofy’s roller coaster,

Roller coaster,

Roller coaster.

Cole’s gonna ride Goofy’s roller coaster,

When all our chains are gone!

When the moment finally arrived, we were all anxious to know how Cole would take this first “thrill ride”. Luckily, Tim caught the whole thing on video.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I find it hilariously wonderful. 

Also, just so you know, he rode it two more times and loved every moment. He’s excited to ride other “big boy” rides like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Test Track, and Splash Mountain in the future. Time to eat some green beans and spinach! Grow, Coco, grow!

With love, Malorie

10 Cups of Coffee: 1 Day!

Today we are celebrating our last day at home before Disney with Mickey waffles!photo 4Well, if I’m being honest with you, these really turn out more like pancakes than waffles…but tomorrow we will be living it up in the place that sells the real deal.

photo 3And for all of you Disney gurus that like to bash the quality of the official Mickey waffle, the Elrods happen to love the crunchy-outside, chewy-inside, almost-flavorless-until-covered-in-syrup face of the mouse behind the magic. They’re nostalgic. They’re classic. They’re gonna be in my belly in just a couple of days!

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And just so you know, I don’t always eat the ears first.

With love, Malorie

10 Cups of Coffee: 2 Days!

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Today I am longing to walk the breezeway between Bay Lake Tower and the Contemporary. I want the hustle and bustle of happy families in cheesy, matching shirts and tacky walking shoes, preparing for their day at the park as I stroll down the aisle of gift shops to my left and right on the way to the Comtempo Cafe. I want the sound of monorails whooshing overhead as I enjoy a breakfast bounty platter and a RapidFill mug full of terrible coffee.

That kind of morning is far from the morning I’ve had today, but I can feel it. I can taste it. It is so close!

With love, Malorie

 

10 Cups of Coffee: 3 Days and Some Britney Spears Motivation

Tim isn’t coming home until after the kids go to bed tonight. It’s just Mommy and kiddos from sun up to sun down.

Shortly after leaving the house, Tim sent me this picture in a text message.brittanyspears

Cute, right? About twenty minutes later, Cole puked all over the couch.

I will punch anyone square on the nose if they say being a stay-at-home mom is an easy job. Well, probably not. But I might give it a good hard flick.3Days

So, this cup of coffee went cold as I showered the two-year-old, removed the couch cushion covers that could be washed, and scrubbed and sanitized the ones that couldn’t. All the while, the four-year-old begged for his second piece of peanut butter toast and the eight-month-old crawled around into undesignated areas.

If Britney Spears can get through 2007, I can get through today.

Just breathe.

In other news, the boys are two sets of jammies away from being completely packed, baby girl is only bottles and formula away from being completely packed, and I’ve pulled out most of what I want to pack for myself! We have three days to get our act together, folks. Three. Days.

I might have lost it and shaved my head by then, but here’s hoping I make it to Disney, long locks in tact.

With love, Malorie

10 Cups of Coffee: Best Laid Plans

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. 

Day 7: We were on the road early in the morning, going to visit my MeMama, so my cup ‘o Joe was my usual vanilla Pike Place with cream and one sugar in the raw from Starbucks…

Day 6: Due to sickness, I slept in and only drank half a cup of coffee before trading it in for an Airborne and a hot toddy.

Day 5: Sundays are always busy when your husband works for a church, but I did have my countdown coffee in a blue Disney World RapidFill mug. I was feeling a bit better. Praise Jesus for vitamin C and whisky. I prefer non-medicinal remedies.

Day 4: I’m feeling even better, though still a bit sluggish, physically. I’m really hoping this caffeinated pumpkin does the trick, because there is a lot to do in preparation for vacation in just four days. Not to mention mom’s group, small group, homeschool pre-k, and all that other everyday life stuff.

photo-12But this little pumpkin cup makes me so excited to tackle my To-Do list. I love going to Disney in September and seeing all of the fall decor. It always puts me in the mood to change over to my fall decor at home, too.

Have you ever visited Disney in the fall?

With love, Malorie

 

10 Cups of Coffee Countdown: 8 Days!

Ask me how do you get to Tomorrowland

{echo:Tomorrowland}

Close your eyes, make a wish, and you’re there…

Close your eyes…make a wish…and you’re…

theeeeeeere.

Okay, so An Affair to Remember isn’t a Disney movie, but this is the song that came to mind this morning as I sipped my countdown cup of coffee. And honestly, I think it’s quite appropriate.

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Eight days and counting!

With love, Malorie