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Big Announcement: We’ve Got Land

11/30/2011

As if we don’t have enough going on with Precious and her pending adoption, Jason and I have also been working on another big project. We’re building a house! Well, we will be once we sell our little mid-century modern ranch. But, we have purchased a piece of land. It’s really rare for land to become available in our 1950s-70s developed neighborhood, but the house that originally sat here was removed after a fire. This lovely, treed, flat, half-acre lot is less than a mile from our current home and just 6 houses down from my parents house. That probably sounds too close to most people but we have a great relationship and I love that Precious and our other future kids will be able to walk to over to Grandma and Grandpa’s.

We found a local architect, Ryan Thewes, that we’re really excited to work with. He’s studied with students of Frank Lloyd Wright and he does a lot of modern design. We think he’s the perfect architect to bring the mix of mid-century and modern that we’re hoping for. Building a house is something we’ve been dreaming of for a long time but assumed it would be in our distant future. When the perfect lot opened up, we decide to take a leap of faith. God has blessed us with great friends and family who helped us work everything out.

Our biggest motivation for moving out of the home we absolutely love: more space and bedrooms for more kids. We tossed around the idea of building on but ultimately decided to move on. Our home is three bedroom but one of the rooms is Jason’s studio which leaves just one room for kids. That worked great for the past 5 years but we’ve moved into a new season. Now that we have Precious for good, with DCS regulations for foster homes we would only be able to take one more child and she’d have to be a girl close to Precious’ age. We have it in our hearts to continue fostering more kids so more bedrooms are a must.

Here are some pictures I took on the property back in October the day we met Ryan there with our friend and real estate agent Jeremy (and his dog Maggie.):

You can bet I’ll be blogging about our experience all along the way. We’re super excited!

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Thanksgiving 2011 – in Pictures

11/29/2011

We spent Thanksgiving at my sister and brother-in-law’s house in Philadelphia this year because they have a newborn, my sweet little niece Iris. It was so nice to finally meet her! Also, my siblings got to meet Precious. Here’s some photo overload from the long weekend:

Lovely table setting

My sister Jessica looking awesome as a mama.

My dad and my brother-in-law Jeff

Iris getting burped by Grandpa – the best baby burper

Grandpa and Grandma with Iris

My brother, Aaron and his wife Laura meeting our Precious on turkey day. In 2 months they’ll be welcoming their own little cutie into the world.

This is my favorite picture from the weekend.

Time to eat! Thankful that both babies slept through the meal.

Iris has a really cool mural painted in her nursery.

Precious’ hair is growing in nicely. I love her swirl.

Grandma and Grandpa with their grandkids. Two granddaughters added to the family in 2 months and a grandson on his way in January.

Do you ever accidentally pick out matching outfits for you and your baby?

A couple of firsts over the weekend: grabbing toys and putting them in her mouth AND giggling/laughing out loud!


Design*Sponge at Home, in Nashville!

11/28/2011

Are you a fan of Design*Sponge? It was one of my first favorite blogs and I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration through the site in the past few years. We submitted a before and after project a few years ago, some old office chairs we found in a dumpster and turned into a patio bench and chair. About a year ago, I was contact by one of the staff at Design Sponge asking if they could include our project in their upcoming book. Of course I agreed.

Well the book, Design*Sponge at Home, is out! Grace Bonney and the team have been doing a national book tour. When I found out they were coming to West Elm in Nashville on November 15th, I quickly bought a ticket to the pre-party craft event, which included a copy of the book and the opportunity to meet Grace and get my book signed. (Little did I know Nov. 15 was going to be such a crazy, landmark day in our lives…)

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I went alone but ended up meeting a girl who lives on our street and running into a friend of a friend I haven’t seen in years. (Renata, Jenni says hi!) Since I arrived late, I got a short personal tutorial from Grace on how to make a freezer paper stencil to create a custom hand painted cloth napkin.

After the craft, Jason came to meet me for snacks, silly photos in the photo booth, and to get our book signed by Grace. (He took the photos with me in them. Thanks honey!) Grace seemed genuinely excited to meet us and asked more about our bench project. Plus, I now have my very own signed copy of the gorgeous book sitting on our coffee table, ready to inspire a bunch more projects.


Phone Photo Friday

11/25/2011


I Told You She’s Precious

11/24/2011

Thanksgiving 2011. I can’t think of a better time to share the sweet face of our little Precious girl. Getting full custody of her last week was an unexpected gift and wonderful blessing. God is so good!

Jason has been working on an acoustic guitar lullabies album to be dedicated to our sweet daughter. The whole album should be done in early 2012 but since we suddenly need to come up with several thousand dollars for a private adoption attorney to settle all this mess, Jason has decided to release one song early as an adoption fundraiser. The first song is “Hush Little Baby.” I know I’m biased but it’s a truly beautiful, layered finger-style guitar rendition. Think Phil Keaggy, Tommy Emmanuel, Chet Atkins style. I can’t wait to hear the rest!

Click here to make a minimum donation of $1 and I will email an mp3 of the song, “Hush Little Baby” by Jason Ahlbrandt within 3 business days. It’ll be well worth your dollar, I promise. (Of course, if you’re motivated to give more than a dollar, that would be tremendously appreciated!) Thank you for your help!


Thankful

11/23/2011

This is the time of year for thankfulness and boy, do I have a lot to be thankful for!

I have a handsome, talented, strong, supportive, hard-working husband and best friend. We have a delightful and beautiful 4-month-old little girl. We got 2 new nieces this year and several friends had precious new babies born, too. We live in a lovely little mid-century house where we get to express our creativity. We have reliable jobs working with great people. We have wonderfully encouraging friends and family near and far, some in our neighborhood, across town, across the country and through this here blog. We became parents this year, first to Ladybug for 5 sweet weeks. We’ve taken a big step towards expanding our family in the near future—I’m looking forward to telling you about it in the next few weeks. And, what I am most thankful for: God has been so good to us! The miracle He worked for Precious last week? Don’t even get me started. This year has been the most challenging of my life in many ways but without a doubt the most exciting, rewarding, joy-filled and purpose-driven. God has sustained me, filled me when I was empty and empowered me to keep trudging on when I wanted to flop down and quit. His love and faithfulness never wane.

Thank you, God, for blessing me way beyond what I deserve.

And thank you, blog reading friends, for following along on this adventure with us. You could be procrastinating your to-do list anywhere on the interwebs but you chose to waste your time here with me, listening to our story, cheering us on, and I sincerely appreciate it.

This song, “Thankful” by Jonny Lang has been running through my head the past week.


Announcing…

11/22/2011

Jaron Isaac! Born 11-2-11 weighing in at 9 lbs 3 oz. Big boy!

You thought I was going to reveal a picture of our baby girl, Precious, didn’t you? Not yet, but… I’m going to post a photo (showing her face) on Thanksgiving along with an announcement so check back over the weekend!

Jaron is the freshly adopted son of our friends Leila and Jeremy. You may remember hearing about their crazy past year and a half… first their house was flooded in 4 ft of Cumberland River water for several days. Then while they were fighting insurance companies to pay out what was owed, their rental house was robbed over Christmas last year. Earlier this year they finally moved into their newly rebuilt home (with a foundation 4 ft higher per FEMA regs!). A month before his due date, they were matched with this little boy through their adoption agency. After all of the above drained their savings they had just a couple weeks to scrambled and come up with $20,000 to bring home their son. At least one of my blog readers donated to their fund. You know who you are, and I sincerely thank you! Jeremy and Leila are a couple of the finest people I know and Jaron is a perfect fit in their family. I’m happy that he and Precious can grow up as friends and neighbors.

Jaron with Uncle Jason, at 4 days old:

Here he is sporting his stripped socks made my Auntie Martina. (They double as anti-scratch boxing gloves.)

This picture was taken at 17 days old the morning after I babysat him overnight to give his mama a much needed solid night of sleep. We survived but I sure am thankful Precious was sleeping almost through the night already when she came to us.

Welcome Jaron! You are so loved, little dude!