Phone Photo Friday


Most of my Phone Photo Friday pictures are from my Instagram feed. Follow me @mahlbrandt if you’d like!

New Home Update


We have had a lot of work done on our new house the past couple weeks that’s not very visually interesting. We’ve had duct work run for the heating and cooling system. We’ve had gas lines run for appliances and vents for those appliances. We’ve had all the electrical work in the house roughed in.

Also, the courtyard leading up the front door got cleared out and a concrete footer was poured for the steps.

Next up: concrete for the front porch and steps, the garage and the back patio. I think. And soon after that: insulation, doors and drywall. Woohoo! We’re half way there.

I Just Want to Go Home


Have you ever had a “DUH” moment, when you realize God has been trying to teach you a lesson for, say, 7 months and then you finally get it?

The other night I was having a self-pity fest. It was just me and Ali hanging out for the evening and I didn’t want to be a bad influence so thankfully, this conversation was just in my head. I was so sick of living at my parents’ house and I was making a list. So sick of not knowing where the tomato sauce is. So sick of cleaning up other people’s drips on the counters. So sick of not having a big plastic serving spoon like the one we have in storage. So sick of storing dishes in my bedroom closet. So sick of this. So sick of that. So sick of feeling like I don’t have a home.

That’s when it hit me. My parents’ house is great and they have been so, so generous to let us stay with them. They provide groceries, many cooked meals, shelter, food, lights, help with childcare, and much more all for a little rent. They’re kind and they give us much grace. We’re getting a great deal and I know, I really do know, that we are very blessed to be here right now while our new home is being built.

Even with all that provision and all that love, its just.not.home. Not my home. Finally after all these months, the message was loud and clear:

Before you make your new home and open it up to more foster kids, I want you to truly understand how frustrating it feels to not have a home. Even with a cozy house, even with tons of provision, even with loving parents, you can still feel homesick—homesick for a place you cannot go.

BAS Lampshades


Have ever mentioned how much Jason loves lamps? I call him a lamp lover, because I think it’s funny. But he seriously finds the greatest mid-century modern lamps every time we’re out hunting. Recently, we realized we have 8 lamps that need shades. We’ve been trying to find simple white or off white cylindrical drum shades, with no bell. That aren’t super expensive. Why is that so difficult?

We decided to take matters into our own hands. I sent Jason a link to this tutorial and he ordered and shopped for supplies to make our first 4 shades. So far we’ve just made one, because half the lamps are in storage and the other half…we don’t have anywhere to put anything these days. We made this guy 15″ in diameter, 12″ high with white muslin. What do you think?

Lucy is in this shot for scale. A big lamp needs a big shade.

Otis the lamp got a fresh coat of paint. While painting it, Jason noticed it’s marked Quartite Creative Corp. 1959. Remember the original?

1st Familiversary!


Are you familiar with the term “familiversary?” I think Foster Parenting Podcast made it up. Some people call it “Gotcha Day” (usually when traveling to meet a child and bring them home for adoption) or “Family Birthday.” It’s not Adoption Day…it’s the day that we became a family unofficially, but a very real family.

• • •

On September 21, 2011 Jason and I were just sitting down to dinner on our back patio when my phone rang. I went in the house to grab a paper and pen and started repeating details out loud as I jotted down notes and shot some glances at Jason.

“Two-month old baby girl.”

“Bi-racial…white and hispanic…”

Umm hmm. Ok. Uh huh. I scribbled down information about her biological siblings and her situation.

“Can you hang on a second while I talk to my husband?”

It was just shy of 3 weeks from the day we said goodbye to Ladybug and we were still grieving. We thought we’d wait a month-ish before saying yes to a call. We had gotten plenty of calls but they were all outside of our parameters so it was easy (easier…) to say no.

Jason’s response to this call: “The only reasons I can think of to say no to this one are completely selfish.” Which meant yes. YES.


I let my dinner go cold as I snapped into hyper nesting mode. Are there clean sheets on the crib? Do we have any baby clothes? Blankets? How much do 2-month-olds eat? How often? How much do they sleep? I realized I was completely clueless. Remember all those What to Expect books you read while you were growing a baby for 9 months? Yeah, nada here. So I called my sister-in-law Ginger who had just had my niece 7 months prior and she gave me bullet points (which is all my brain could handle) on what kind of bottles to get, a typical daily sleeping/eating schedule, a few suggestions like bibs and burp cloths, and an invitation to call her any time of the day or night.

An hour later, this precious little peanut was delivered to our house. I’ve been saving this picture to share today. It’s the first picture I took of our beautiful girl to send to family and friends. I even managed to accidentally get our DCS agreement paperwork into the picture, too.

Our life will never be the same—it’s so much better now because of our dear little Alianna!

It’s a fun coincidence that I happen to have pictures of both myself and Jason on September 21, 2011. I was dressed up for a meeting and wanted to remember my outfit for future reference.

Jason was trying to help me to relax and calm down before my important meeting so he was playing his guitar for me, while I chilled out…in our nursery!

Favorite Moment: The Butterfly Effect


I wrote a guest post over on the blog of Farrah Frye today about one of my favorite moments as a foster parent. I just recently discovered Farrah’s blog. She’s a foster mama to four older kids and I love her positive attitude and adoration of her kids. I’m honored that she asked me to share a story on her website. I hope you’ll check it out!

Phone Photo Friday


Most of my Phone Photo Friday pictures are from my Instagram feed. Follow me @mahlbrandt if you’d like!