Five months. We’re getting into my favorite months of babyhood now. Zay is laughing more easily and loves a good game of peek-a-boo or “I’m gonna get you!” He is babbling “mama” and “dada” and some other sounds like words, though not using them with control and consistency yet. He’s rolling and scooting on his back. He’s very interested in our food so he’s had some tastes of carrots, broccoli, grapes, yogurt. We’ll start more of that next month. He loved his first vacation to the beach and did great on the flights and throughout the trip. He’s a great sleeper. Lately he’s been going to bed around 9:30, waking to eat at 5:30 and then going back to sleep until 8:30 or so. He weighs 17.2 lbs and is wearing mostly 9m size clothes. He loves books and listening to us singing, especially his big sister Ali. He loves standing (with help), bouncing and peddling his walker around. He’s not sitting up or crawling yet. Lots of chomping but no teeth coming through.
I don’t write a tribute to you every birthday but this year has been an incredible test of your character through many big changes, and I want to thank you for your steadfastness through it all. On your last birthday I was pregnant and entering into a season of tiredness that I haven’t fully come out of yet…which translates to a season of you picking up my slack. Sorry about that and thank you. I could count this past year of your life with the number of concerts you’ve played, miles you’ve trekked, TV shows you’ve been on, guitars you’ve acquired, things you’ve built around the house, times you’ve mowed the lawn, plants you’ve planted, hours you’ve worked. But none of that is as important as the number of hugs and kisses for your family, the baby kicks, the soccer games, the contractions you held my hand through, the lost sleep, the happy tears, the diapers, the pounds of coffee, the bedtime stories, the date nights, the stacks of Nutter Butters and cups of milk for dunking, the dishes you’ve washed. So many dishes. I know that the latter list matters more to you than first because you proved it over and over again this year. Your faithfulness and determination to provide well for your family led you to a new gig with a busier tour schedule. During your time away you worked hard taking classes and tests to get your real estate license while your bandmates enjoyed the perks of rock stardom. When the gig started taking it’s toll, you made the decision to come home. A lot of people wondered why you left when it seemed like you were at the top—and you had indeed reached one of your biggest life goals—I know why. I will never forget the sacrifice you made for your family. It was a challenging year but now you are here: you have two beautiful kids and an adoring wife, you’re back to your less strenuous touring gig and you’re killing it in your first quarter as a realtor. I am so proud of you; for your hard work and diligence, your drive to reach goals and passion to provide well for us, your wisdom and daily presence in parenting (even on the days when you’re away), your integrity and devotion. You lead our family well and it’s a pleasure to submit to your thoughtful guidance. Thank you for choosing to love us and serve us everyday. We think the world of you. Happy birthday, Jason!
My big boy is 4 months old! He’s checking in at 15.6 lbs (50%) and 26.25″ (95%). Isaiah is laughing often now. He’s very peaceful and easy going but he’s got loud, happy screeches when he wants attention. Still a great sleeper and eater, nothing new to report there. He’s working hard on rolling every chance he gets and he loves to stand. He’ll reach out and grab his toys and pull them to his mouth. He’s chomping and drooling on whatever he can get his hands on. (I had to move the airplane away from his hands because he wanted it in his mouth and it was covering his sweet face!) He’s a strong boy and I get the feeling he’s ready to move so he can keep up with his big sister.
My favorites from the past month:
Our Alianna is four years old and looking more grown up everyday. (She picked that “Mommy’s ‘lil Girl” shirt to wear on her birthday, as well as the rest of her outfit.) She’s smart, passionate, creative and sassy. She’s brave, athletic and out-going. She’s full of faith and quick to pray for healing for anyone with a hurt. She adores her baby brother and is eager to show him off to new people while we’re out. She has an excellent memory for music, names, places and promises. If she had her way she’s eat ice cream and candy for every meal. She loves her friends, soccer, beading, crafts, books and swimming. Swimming! She’s swimming like a little fish this summer: underwater, retrieving toys off the bottom of the deep end of the pool, floating on her back and diving/flipping in head-first off the side. We’re unofficially doing preschool homeschool this year, which basically just means a little more intentionality with reading, writing/drawing, following instructions, attitude/respect, exploring and learning about the world. Ali is an amazing, thoughtful loving girl. She also keeps us on our toes and continually puts our parenting skills (human skills? grace, patience, wisdom, consistency, etc.) to the test.
Happy birthday, sweet girl! We are so glad you were born and that you’re ours!
When I asked to take her picture for her birthday she insisted that I take some of her with her baby brother.
The big gift she really wanted was a rolling suitcase of her own. She can’t wait to go on a trip with Daddy!
A mermaid-themed pool party for our little fish!
Four years ago, I took a picture of Jason’s old shoes before throwing them away. I wanted to remember what they looked like because they represented so much to me. As disgusting as they were, I was a little sad to say goodbye. First, they show that my husband is so thrifty that he’ll wear his shoes until they’re completely falling apart and his wife insists on throwing them away. More than anything though, they represent hard work. He’s spent the past 20 years playing the heck out of guitars, fine tuning his gift. These shoes took him to school and band rehearsals and shows at first. But these shoes also worked for five years at Starbucks when we first moved to Nashville and were chasing hard after our dreams. Jason worked two or three jobs at a time while I finished my graphic design degree. After the barista days, these shoes spent many, many hours doing yard work and home renovations, building tons of sweat equity into our first two homes. He works harder than anyone I know taking care of his family, our home and his career. Jason Ahlbrandt, thank you for doing all that you do for us. I could not be any more proud of you. I’m so glad I get to be your one and only.
Once upon a time, I wrote blog posts several times a week. I hardly missed a day. Not always deep thoughts but I’ve enjoyed this as a place to journal and keep records of our lives the past six years (even more if I count my previous blogs). I sometimes wonder if there’s any value in sharing all of this but then I get an email from a fellow foster mom looking for support, a potential adoptive parent thanking us for telling our story or a casual reader just checking in to say hello since this space has been so quiet. Two months ago I thought I was back to blogging and then the weeks quickly slipped by and I haven’t blogged much since then. I’m not sure how to restart without doing a general update post. Our family has gone through so much change in the past 6 months.
It started back at the end of winter as I was entering my third trimester. We were looking toward an unpaid maternity leave and what life would look like with two forever kids. An unexpected door opened as we prayed for provision. Jason auditioned for a new gig with a busier tour schedule that would translate to better income. He didn’t get it and we wondered why. It sounded like it was going to the perfect answer to our prayers. When he didn’t get the job, he started taking classes to get his real estate license. Then he got a call back; he got the gig after all. The timing was perfect for our finances. He entered a busy season of touring just a couple weeks before Isaiah was born and my unpaid time off work began. From his bunk in the tour bus he continued working hard on his online classes, studying and taking tests for his real estate license. It was a lot to juggle but once he’s got his mind on a goal there is no stopping him. He missed one weekend of shows—two concerts in Texas—for Isaiah’s birth and then he was back on the road two days after we got home from the hospital. His tour schedule was lighter in May, thankfully, because my recovery was much harder than I anticipated. But in June things picked up again. I started back to work full time, working mostly from home now—a huge answer to prayer! And also a new juggling challenge. Jason had 6 full days off/home in June and managed to fit his real estate licensing exam in there. He passed! He’s now a fully licensed real estate agent. His schedule for July was even fuller than June and it was taking it’s toll on all of us. Half way through the month he had a hard conversation with the band leader about needing to step away to focus on his growing family and his new real estate venture. He was willing to stick it out for a few weeks to help their transition but God made a way for him to be home within days of that conversation without putting anyone out or severing any relationships. He returned to his previous gig with a much lighter touring schedule and started full steam into his real estate business. And that’s just the big stuff. There were also soccer games, visits from out-of-town family, and so many doctors appointments for check ups, dentists, PT, OB, dermatology, radiology. Phew!
All the transitions have sent our finances on some roller coaster loopy-loops and been exhausting in other ways, too. But God is good. These changes are good and I can see His hand on us through every change. It has not been easy or painless but the blessings have outweighed the struggles:
We have two beautiful children. I was able to keep my full-time graphic design job of 8+ years and be home with my kids 6 days a week. Jason was able to add a realtor hat next to the professional musician one—both flexible jobs that allow him to spend a lot of time at home. I trust that life will feel less tiring soon, and in the meantime I have a newfound love of coffee.
The photo at the top, taken by our friend Beth Rose, basically sums up the past several months. But here are some other memorable moments, too:
I’m way behind on blogging. Let’s pretend for a minute that it’s 7/26/15.
Three months old! Biggest news of the past month: Zay started laughing! We still have to work pretty hard for it, but it’s worth it. At 3 months he’s getting stronger with tummy time, holding his head up for longer periods, putting weight on his legs with help to stand up. He’s sleeping so well I’m almost embarrassed to say. (We’ve sleep trained a lot of babies.) Zay is a good eater and snorts like a pig when he’s hungry. He kicks his feet when he’s happy. Isaiah discovered his tasty hands this month and drools as he chomps on his fingers. His left hand and foot seem to be dominate. He has also discovered how to get attention with his voice; boy can get LOUD! He rarely cries but he knows how to communicate what he needs and wants. One of my favorite times of the day is story time with big sister Ali. Zay will look at the pictures or at me while I’m reading, and smile and kick his feet.
14.5 lbs. and wearing 6 month size clothes!