Phone Photo Friday


Jason has been home the past couple of weekends and it’s been really nice to spend so much time together, not only for going to estate sales and antique malls but just to hang out, usually the three of us. (Ali-gator was here, too.) Since we’re living at my parents’ these times when we get out of the house together are even more precious. I love this guy so much. It’s hard to believe—because we don’t feel that old—that we’re coming up on 13 years together.


Pinterest and Kitchen Inspiration


Good news: Pinterest has some practical real life applications! Last week I was pinning pictures of kitchens for inspiration for our new home. Our architect emailed us and said, “I noticed you’ve been looking at soapstone countertops. Do you want us to get some prices together for soapstone counters in the kitchen?” Jason said, “How did he know that?!” Because he follows my boards on Pinterest, of course!

It’s true. We’ve been thinking about putting black soapstone countertops with high gloss white cabinets and stainless appliances in our new kitchen. We like the solid dark color, the soft feel, the heat resistance and the matte finish of soapstone. And supposedly it’s quite a bit cheaper than granite. Here are some inspiration pictures I pinned on Pinterest. Some are pinned because of the cabinets, some the counter tops, some the configuration.

Source: via Martina on Pinterest


Source: via Martina on Pinterest


Source: via Martina on Pinterest


Source: via Martina on Pinterest


Source: via Martina on Pinterest


Source: via Martina on Pinterest

6 Month Familiversary


Typically not long after a new baby is born at the hospital, a family photo is snapped. When a new child arrives through foster care, things aren’t so … picturesque. The night Precious came home was a bit chaotic. I called my sister-in-law Ginger before she arrived. “How much does a 2-month-old baby eat? And how often? What kind of bottle should we get? How much will she sleep? What’s a typical sleep schedule for a 2-month-old?” After the frenzy of questions and some encouragement from my sweet sister-friend, I bolted into a flurry of last minute nesting. I put a clean sheet on the crib, found a package of wipes and the box with infant clothes, set out blankets, found a nightlight. We had an hour to prepare. Once Precious was in our living room and the case worker was driving away, we fed her a bottle—she had come with one and a container of formula. My parents came by to meet her and see how they could help. We took off her cigarette-smokey sleep gown and put a clean shirt on her. It’s one Jason and I had purchased a full year before Precious was born, just because it was cute with two little birdies on it. For our future daughter. We washed her gown along with all the rest of her clothes. Then we went to Target. Our first shopping excursion as a brand new family of three. I carried sleeping Precious in a baby carrier and kissed the top of her stinky head as we tossed diapers, bottles, burp cloths and pacifiers into the cart. We got home at 10 pm and put our sleepy baby girl down in her crib. An hour later Jason left for a 4 day trip. I turned on the baby monitor and tried not to think so that I could get some sleep, assuming I’d be up a few times during the night. My first night at home with an infant. A stranger in the room next to ours. She slept like a champ, not waking up until 5 am and then going back to sleep until almost 9 after a bottle and a fresh diaper. The first night:

Precious arrived on a Wednesday night. The following day, my mom babysat so I could go to work.

The next day, my mother-in-law babysat. I was so thankful to have our moms close by and willing to jump in and help!

Precious has been a great sleeper since the beginning.

And so full of joy, too!

Here I am looking a little tired, but it’s the first photo I have of the two of us on our third day. She was so tiny!

When Jason got home, I took this first picture of them together.

It’s hard to believe that was 6 months ago. Last week we celebrated our half-year familiversary, six months since the day Precious became a part of our family. We’re looking forward to finalizing her adoption in the next few months, hopefully before her first birthday in July.

I just noticed we put the same shirt on her for our ice cream familiversary celebration that she wore on her first full day with us. (Second picture from the top.) She’s filling it out a bit more now!

Happy Familiversary, Choongie! We’re so thankful God brought you into our family. I can’t imagine my life without you. Thank you for bringing us so much joy and love everyday.

Heads Up


Since there weren’t any good estate sales posted this weekend, Jason and I stopped by a few of our favorite vintage stores. We bought a headboard and a footboard. Sadly, no side beams so we’ll be on the look out for something that will work, or we’ll just build a frame. We’ve been searching for a queen size MCM bed frame for a while. They’re pretty hard to come by. A whole matching bedroom set? Even more rare unless you’re willing to pay a lot. And we’re not. We got this set for $45. Now we’ll be hunting for walnut nightstands to match and perhaps a chest of drawers, too. (This guy will move into one of the kid’s rooms in the new house.)

It’s definitely mid-century style and looks like walnut veneer, though there is no maker mark on it. It was a bit tricky to photograph because it was rainy on Saturday but here it is. I’ll get some better photos once we have it assembled into a bed, which honestly may not happen until we move into our yet-to-be-built house. The unmade bed and green carpet I’m attempting to blur out is our room at my parents’ house where we’re staying until then.

Also at Pre to Post Modern, where we found the bed, I spotted these roller skates and I had a moment. I used to have a pair just like this when I was little! I remember learning to skate in our unfinished basement, making laps around and around the staircase. Man, I wish these had been my size…

I took this photo for a friend who was looking for a retro yellow dining table. Turns out they already found one. If anyone in Nashville is looking for one, this was around $265 at Pre to Post Modern.

Precious: Monthly Portrait 8


Our little Ali-gator is 8 months old. Precious girl, you are getting bigger every day but most noteworthy is your hair—you seem to have had a hair growth spurt! We love playing with the fluffy wad of thick black curls on top of your head, and so do you. The hair on the sides is even getting long enough to curl up when it’s wet, typically from drool when you’re sleeping on your belly. I don’t think you prefer to be a belly sleeper but you’re still only able to roll in one direction. We put you on your back and you immediately roll on to your belly and then fuss until you fall asleep, someone rolls you back or sits you up. I’m sure you’re going to learn to crawl very soon with all the unwanted tummy time you’ve been inflicting on yourself these days. You have been trying all kinds of new foods at the dinner table, including meat, eggs and gasp—brownies. (I know…we’re horrible parents…) Your favorites seem to be fruit, carrots, and sweet potatoes—but only if they’re thin enough. Too chunky and you gag. You’ve also been learning to drink water out of a sippy cup and we can tell you’re excited about your independence, though the mechanics can be frustrating with your 8-month-old coordination. You met your baby cousin Eli this month. He’s exactly 6 months younger than you. Cousin Iris was also visiting for Grandpa’s 60th birthday along with Aunt Jessica, Uncle Jeff, Aunt Laura and Uncle Aaron. You love hanging out with other babies and Grandma L and Grandpa loved having all three of their grand kids together. The weather is getting warm and the flowers are blossoming everywhere. You’ve added a few new words to your vocabulary: dada/dad/daddy, mama (finally!), uh huh, hi/hey/ha, hun-gee (hungry). You’re also starting to randomly repeat words. A few days ago as I was buckling your car seat I said “click,” and then you said, “click.” I’d think I was imagining it but Daddy heard it too. We’ve been taking lots of walks and trips to the park to go on the swings. We love putting you in summer dresses, onesies or shorts so we can squeeze your chubby thighs and nibble on your delicious baby toes. Speaking of delicious, we couldn’t resist introducing you to Jeni’s Ice Cream shop right down the street. Can you believe babies aren’t supposed to have ice cream? We tried to tell you, but you’re very determined to sneak a taste with your extra long tongue. How could we resist your cuteness, anyway? We may have difficulty not giving you whatever you want. Love you, baby girl!

Phone Photo Friday


@mahlbrandt on Instagram if you want to follow

New Home Update


Our architect finished our construction documents last week and we have three general contractors putting together bids. Friday night we looked through the plans with our friends Leila and Jeremy who just built a house last year. We are getting so excited now, looking at all the drawings, elevations and schematics in PDF form. Hurry up, GCs! We’re ready to break ground!

On Sunday afternoon, Jason and I spent a little time on our land tree-chopping. We cut down three trees a few months ago… a huge one that had been burned by a house fire in the past, a dead cherry tree and a sickly dogwood tree. We neatly stacked all the wood at the back of the property, along the fence in anticipation of a wood burning fireplace in our new home. We were really bummed when the whole pile of firewood was stolen. Who does that?! So last weekend when we cut down huge maple tree that we decided would be too close to our back patio and house, we left the wood in large (10′ or so) pieces at the back of the yard to make it less appealing for thieves. We’ll cut it up later, maybe after the house is up.



Yesterday was the first day of spring, though it has been looking and feeling like spring for weeks now in Nashville. I’ve always been a summer lover. Bring on the heat! Spring temps here are reminiscent of the summers of my childhood in Pennsylvania and Michigan, but the flowers here are just amazing! Especially the flowering trees like red buds, cherries, plums, pears, magnolias. It’s decidedly the more beautiful time of year. Monday morning I snapped pictures during Lucy’s and my morning walk and on my drive to work:

My Husband is an 80 Year Old Man


Not really. But Jason will definitely make a cute old man some day. He often wears slip on shoes and cardigan sweaters so he already has the look down. For his birthday last year, I got him a tobacco pipe smoking kit, so now he’s taken the old man style one step further. At the estate sale Saturday where we got the sofa, Jason also picked up a couple more pipes. After a good cleaning, they’re as good as new. Or apparently, better than new since an old pipe already has a good carbon cake built up on the insides of the bowl. Something like that. All I know is, I enjoy sitting down-wind of it. And I think Jason is pretty darn handsome, too.

Mid-Century Sectional Sofa


Jason and I got a tip from my co-worker about an estate sale in a 1960s ranch. We went on Saturday when everything was half off and I was surprised to see that the couch I had spotted in the online preview was still sitting in the living room.

The sofa was covered with junk but we loved the shape and decided to go for it. It was marked $200 so we got it for $100. It was set up in the living room as a straight couch without the rounded corner piece, and we might end up using it that way in our new house. It’s in desperate need of new upholstery and new foam for the seat cushions which were…crunchy, dry-rotted. Gross. One end of the sofa doesn’t have an arm rest, like a chaise, which is pretty sweet. We set it up in the loading bay of our storage facility for a quick photo shoot before we packed it away.