Our Love Story – 1:4


I thought it would be fun to record Jason’s and my love story—at least the beginning of it—starting with when we met and fell in love back in 1999. This is part 4 of 6.

For the rest of the day after the post-prom sleep over, I couldn’t think about anything other than Jason. I went to a planning meeting for an upcoming house building mission trip to Mexico and then went to the beach with some other youth group friends who were also going on the trip. We ate pizza and watched the sunset but my mind was consumed with that cute boy I had danced with the night before.

After church the next day, Jason came over to say hello. We made small talk for a few minutes. I had been doodling on my bulletin during the service with a random carpenter’s pencil I found in the pew. I made some joke about how it probably got flattened by a steam roller or a fat person sitting on it (I don’t remember specifically) and he laughed and asked if I would use my flat pencil to write down my phone number for him. My heart started pounding even harder than it already was…my number! He wants my number! He’s going to call me!

As if my mind wasn’t already consumed enough with this guy, now I had to wait by the phone for the rest of the day. I’m pretty sure I spent the afternoon sunning in the backyard with a few magazines, the portable phone by my side, you know, just in case. In the evening a classmate came over to work on a debate for English class the next day. We were supposed to be preparing to argue how it was impossible that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated John F. Kennedy. The grassy knoll. The magic bullet theory. The Warren Commission. I couldn’t care less. All I could think about was the phone. When was it going to ring?


Phone Photo Friday


I rescued this guy out of my parents’ pool skimmer box a few days ago.

Cedar Siding


Our new home exterior will have cedar siding, as well as concrete block on most of the front, and hardie plank accents around the side and back. I was having trouble visualizing the cedar so I did some homework and looked for images on Pinterest.


Source: houzz.com via Virginia on Pinterest


Source: contemporist.com via Matthew on Pinterest


Source: banjarinfo.com via Amy on Pinterest


Source: 3ghomeimprovements.com via Yunkyung on Pinterest


Source: Uploaded by user via Lindstrom on Pinterest


Source: realcedar.org via Meghan on Pinterest


Source: cococozy.com via Alli on Pinterest


Source: houzz.com via Jutta on Pinterest


Source: flickr.com via Amy on Pinterest


Here is what I DON’T want it to look like!

Source: dwell.com via Colby on Pinterest


Or like this. Too rustic for my taste.

Source: tinyhouselistings.com via Melissa Barr on Pinterest


I stumbled upon this image, also. This house has several elements similar to ours. Concrete facade, cedar siding, courtyard entrance, glass store front style door. I also really love the unexpected pop of blue.

Source: plusmood.com via Martina on Pinterest

Precious: Monthly Portrait 9


To be perfectly honest, I was late taking this 9 month picture mainly because I couldn’t decide on an accessory. Then it hit me. WIth her hair growing an inch longer everyday (it seems), this cute hair clippy made by my friend Renata for her daughter’s first birthday party, is perfect.

Sweet girl, at 9 months old you are looking less like a baby and more like a toddler all the time. Your body is growing and getting more active. You tolerate time on your tummy much better now, and land yourself in that position often when you’re reaching for a toy that’s just beyond an arms length. From there you’ve started spinning yourself around on the floor, rotating on your belly like a merry-go-round. Sometimes you shove yourself backwards and end up under a chair or footstool and you dust the underside of it with your pant legs. In other news, you’ve been getting good at grasping and eating finger foods like peas and cheerios. You’ll try any foods we offer you. Lately you’ve been relentlessly fascinated with necklaces. Honestly, it’s driving me crazy. You broke one by accident recently and I’ve stopped wearing them for the most part because, girl, I needed a break from continuously redirecting you. You are sweet and curious and how can I blame you for being attracted to pretty bling? You’re a lady. The other big news around here is about teeth. Your third tooth broke through 2 days after your 9-month birthday. It’s not very visible yet but with the way you’ve been grinding your bottom two teeth against it, I imagine both of your top front two teeth will be visible very soon. Which means you get to enjoy eating even more yummy foods, like steak and corn on the cob! The past month included a visit from your Aunt Char, Uncle Steve and cousin Aiden from Pennsyvania and quick weekend trip up to Cincinnati to visit our friends. You are a great traveler, still happy and easy-going almost all the time. We spent 3 days together last week, just the two of us, while everyone else was traveling. I’m glad I have you to hang out with, otherwise I’d be talking to Lucy all day. I tell you about the plan for the day, my to do list and about the breakfast I’m cooking. You chatter back to me, most of it unrecognizable words, with the occasional dada, mama, hi, yeah, hungee thrown in. You’ve also started saying uh huh and uh uh (yes/no) and shaking your head, in context. I love that you’re communicating more and more all the time. “Hungee” has been the  most helpful word, which means you want a bottle, not that you’re just hungry because sometimes you say it while we’re feeding you other food. Oh, and another new form of communication that we just love—kissing! Sometimes you purse your lips and gently lean in for a kiss, especially if we give you the “mmmm” warning that a kiss is coming. Sometimes you put your hands on our cheeks and pull in for a smacker. You did that the first time to Daddy while he was changing your diaper and it was the sweetest thing ever. Other times you vigorously grab hair/ears/earrings/glasses and smother our faces with giant, open mouth, slobbery kisses. Where did you learn that?! Girl, you need to stop! Stick to the sweet, not-quite-puckered, mostly dry kisses. Clearly, I am smitten with you. Each day is full of joy because of your irresistible smile and charm. We are so thankful you came into our lives 7 months ago.

Tubby Time


Shortly after I wrote about feeling like everything was at a standstill, progress started happening. We’ll be breaking ground on our new house soon…soon…soon. I don’t know when exactly yet, but things are starting to roll forward. We’ve decided on a contractor and we’re doing paperwork with our bank. Also, Precious just had a burst of new milestones. Scooting around on her belly (more on that later), her third tooth emerging and this: she’s graduated from the inflatable toddler tub to the full bathtub.

Precious has always enjoyed bath time but the big tub allowed for the introduction of some exciting new toys. Also, it’s easier to wash her when she can stand up or lay back in the water to rinse her hair.

My friend Leila bought us this Yookidoo Fill ‘N’ Spout bath fountain back when we were preparing to become foster parents. Ladybug (16-17 months old) had a lot of fun with it and now Precious is old enough to love it, too. I highly recommend this toy. There are three different cups that can go under the spout—a rainshower, a mill and a nesting “peekaboo” cup. Have I ever mentioned that cups are Precious’ favorite toys ever? And the fountain is so easy to turn on and off (by pushing the big orange face) that my 9-month-old can do it herself—not exactly on purpose but she does manage to turn it on and off!

Our Love Story – 1:3


I thought it would be fun to record Jason’s and my love story—at least the beginning of it—starting with when we met and fell in love back in 1999. This is part 3 of 6.

There was a dance coming up, hosted by the local Christian radio station called the Christian Prom—kids from any school were welcome, the music was all Christian and of course…no funny business. Me and another girl at our church (who apparently also had a crush on Jay) convinced him to go. We all called him Jay instead of Jason back then and until I found out he preferred Jason.

We each showed up with different groups of friends. A few of my friends were seeing Jason for the first time and one of them insisted I needed a picture of him for my scrapbook, at all costs! She marched right up to him, snapped the photo with no explanation, turned around and came straight back to the table where we were all sitting…waiting and hoping we’d get asked to dance. The red glow was caused by the photographer’s carelessly placed finger. I love the what the?! look on his face.

It was getting late. Jason was running out of slow songs to make his move. Finally, half way through a song—I couldn’t tell you which one because I wasn’t listening to it at all—he made is way over to us and asked if I could like to dance. We walked out to the dance floor together and bobbled back and forth in awkward rhythm, Jason with his hands on my waist and me with my hands around his neck, a good 12″ between us. (Why didn’t my bold friend take a picture of this?)

After the dance, most of our youth group friends went back to Emily’s house for the night—one of the graduating seniors who had been an important influence on me. Finally, Jason and I had time to just talk and flirt and sit side by side. Somehow, I don’t remember any of our parents taking issue with 10-15 high school boys and girls all sleeping in one living room. I guess we were trustworthy enough and there was accountability in numbers. Jason slept on one end of a sofa and I on the other end…with the girl who also liked him in between us. When I opened my eyes in the morning—with a neck ache, I’m sure!—I saw Jason, sleeping peacefully just a few feet away from me. Before long everyone started stirring. I watched him open his eyes, look at me, blink hard and yawn, look at the girl was still asleep on his legs and make a raised-eyebrows face at me that said, “Oh boy…”

Phone Photo Friday


Forward Motion


Some days it feels like nothing is happening with our adoption finalization or with our new home build…like we’re stuck in a holding pattern. The truth is, things are moving forward—just at a snail’s pace. I’m ready for Precious to officially be part of our family forever. I’m ready to have a home of our own again. Someone else is eager to move forward, too. Precious has been great at sitting up on her own for over three months now but she hasn’t figured out how to get from here to there yet. I can tell she’s thinking about. She has started lunging for things. It’s amazing how far Precious can reach when she puts her whole self into it.

I know how you feel, baby. I’m ready to move forward!

In with the Old, Out with the New


For the past five years—ever since we bought our mid-century modern ranch—Jason and I have been buying old things to replace our new things. We found a set of vintage end tables at a thrift store, came home and put our new-ish IKEA tables on craigslist.  We found an old dresser on the side of the road and gave our new-ish dresser away to some friends. And we kept going and going. Most recently we traded in our new-ish sofa and bed frame for 1950s sofa and bed frame replacements. It’s not just because we love the style of the vintage replacements; but also because of the quality. Things from that era were made to last. Why buy new, more expensive furniture that doesn’t stand up over time when we can spend less on vintage wares that just need refinished or cleaned up?

Well, I’m afraid we’ve taken our philosophy one step further…we’ve entered into the realm of classic cars.

It’s not a mid-century car. We’re not that brave yet. (Maybe someday we’ll have something as sweet as this 1963 Falcon!) We got ourselves a 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300SE. Quite a contrast to the all practical suburban workhorse we bought last spring, our Silver Bullet.

Fun fact: when this car was new, it cost 3x as much as the home Jason’s parents bought in the 80s. And much like furniture from the golden age, this car was built to last with style and quality would couldn’t find in a new-ish car…at least not for the same price.

I’m not going to lie…we were sort of wooed by the design. We love the boxy navy blue exterior and the tan leather interior—and it’s in amazing condition for the age. It has all kinds of fun buttons that we’re still figuring out, a huge sunroof, a thermostat climate control dial, ashtrays and cigarette lighters in the back doors.

In with the old…that means it was time to kick out our new (10 year old) Ford Focus. It’s a little bit sad to say goodbye to the ole’ Green Meanie. It’s taken us a lot of places in the 8 years that we owned it and it’s been a good little car, but it is time to move on. We’ll let someone else eek the last couple years out of it.

Cousin Love


Just a month ago, my siblings and their spouse and kids came to visit from Pennsylvania. Two weeks later, Jason’s older brother Steve, his wife Char and their 3-year-old Aiden came to visit, too. It was so wonderful to see everyone. The cousins met each other for the first time. They were very sweet together…lots of hugging and kissing going on. We went out to dinner and ice cream one night.

Char with Precious and Aiden, being silly at Oscar’s Taco Shop:

…and looking normal:

Uncle Jason and Aunt Martina with Aiden at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams:

Another day we had a cookout at my in-laws house. I didn’t do a very good job of documenting the adults. Oops. The three cousins had fun playing together.

The three Ahlbrandt cousins looking sleepy together after dinner and afternoon of playing: