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ReAbide

12/20/2012

There has been a theme resonating through our lives for the past year or two… restoration. Actually, it’s been longer than that. When we bought our 1954 ranch nearly 6 years ago, we started collecting vintage furniture and accessories to match the era of our home. Jason and I enjoy a good vintage store or antique mall but more for looking than buying. We prefer the treasure hunts through yard sales, thrift stores and estate sales. We like sifting through junk and finding diamonds in the rough. They often don’t look like diamonds until they’ve had a little TLC. That’s where the restoration theme first started ringing. It was almost two years ago that Jason and I started talking about becoming foster parents. When God gave me a vision of “the room” — a mix of new and old pieces carefully selected, each with a story, coming together to make a beautiful space — I started to connect the dots. Foster care is all about restoration, too: restoring love, restoring trust, restoring health, restoring family, restoring hope. Out of the steady hum of restoration ReAbide was born.

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In short it’s a new business, Jason and I are starting. I have a full vision for 3 parts of ReAbide but for this season in our lives, only part 1 is unfurling: New Life for Quality Vintage Furnishings. Giving old furnishings a second (third, fourth…) chance at a new home. If you’ve been reading this blog more than a month, you know that Jason and I have quite a collection of vintage, mid-century modern furniture and accessories. Jason is a lamp fanatic… I think I’ve seen at least 12 since we’ve started unpacking. Since we have more than we need for ourselves and also because friends have started commissioning us for find things for them, we decided to start reselling some of our furnishing through private sales.

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The second facet of ReAbide Furnishings is home staging. We love putting rooms together and we love real estate — home staging with mid-century modern and modern furniture was a natural progression of things. Many of the pieces we’ll use for home staging will also be available for purchase. We’re just starting out in this facet. We have a good friend who is a real estate guru and we were able to add a few of our items into the mix at a house he recently renovated. We were hoping to have whole finished rooms to reveal but he had already hired another home stager who scrambled our pieces in with hers. I did take a few progress shots while we were bringing in our collection, before it was all rearranged by the other stager and before we had brought in a dining table or rugs. Quick snaps with my phone but I’m glad I got them; better than nothing.

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I’d be honored if you would check out ReAbide.com and like the brand new ReAbide on Facebook!

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Christmas Gift Ideas for a 17-month-old Girl

12/19/2012

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…or at least this one specific 17-month-old (in 2 days) little girl I know.

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We adopted a new tradition last year of giving three gifts: something to wear, something to play with and something to read. (Can you call something a tradition if you’ve only done it once before?) I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I LOVE Amazon.com. They sell just about everything and it’s easy to find items with free shipping. I did 40% of my Christmas shopping in less than an hour this year. The other 50% will be at Target and 10% random places. Rabbit trail… Here’s what I ordered our little punkin for this year.

Something to Read:

The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler, David Lee Csicsko

 

This book was recommended to me somewhere along the way. It’s a simple book but helpful to start talking about different skin colors whenever Ali starts to notice that we’re all a little different in skin color.

Something to Wear:

CONVERSE Kids’ All Star Ox Tod (Sea Spray 4.0 M)

My baby has small feet! She’s still between a size 3 and a size 4. We only have a couple of options that still fit in the size 3s and only a couple size 4s. These seem like they’ll be quite versatile in a neutral olive green. (The color I got is now sold out so no picture of it.)

Something to Play With:

Frances England’s Mind Of My Own

Ali loves music and pushing buttons so turning on her CD player is one of her favorite things to do everyday. We’ve been enjoying this album a lot on Spotify the past couple of months but I wanted to get her the physical disc so she can play it in her room, the living room, the silver bullet, wherever.

I’m also planning starting a new tradition this year of a Christmas Eve family gift of hot cocoa, a Christmas movie, new PJs and popcorn. And I always end up buying a wad of small things for our stockings: socks, chapstick, underwear, toothbrushes, candy, stickers.

I’m not the least bit concerned about Ali not getting any new toys from us this year. For one, she just got a bunch of “new” toys when we unpacked all of our boxes from storage and for two, her extended family will inevitably shower her with way too many wonderful gifts. 😉 With that in mind, here are some things I put on her Amazon wishlist.

At Ali’s 18-month Half Birthday, I’m planning a little celebration and to introduce her to a potty seat and the concept of potty training. She’s been very curious about the whole process lately. After reading lots of reviews, I decided on this seat:

Prince Lionheart weePOD Basix, Berry Blue

And this book:

Potty (Leslie Patricelli board books)

Because she’s so cute when we ask “What does a cow say?” and she answers, “Mmmmmm…” a bouncy, ride-on cow:

Trumpette Howdy Bouncy Rubber Cow, White

I had the awesome choking hazard FP Little People house, hospital and vacation travel set when I was growing up. (Shh…don’t tell the child-safe police that they’re sitting out at Grandma’s house!). Now they have these short and stubby Little People. I think Ali would like this house:

Fisher-Price Little People Happy Sounds Home

And the airplane, too. She’s good at hearing and spotting airplanes and we plan on taking her on her second plane trip next year. Plus, her daddy frequently travels by airplane for work so Ali’s very familiar with the airport.

Fisher-Price Little People Lil’ Movers Airplane

Ali is pretty into anything with wheels lately. She has a little matchbox car from a cereal box that she LOVES! I’m a big fan of Green Toys (like her tea set) so I put this pink and purple dump truck on her list:

Green Toys Dump Truck, Pink

Ali has a couple of small chairs but not a child-size table. I think it would be great to have one in our playroom for coloring and Play-Doh and other activities. This IKEA one would be an option.

IKEA Children’s Kids Table & 2 Chairs Set Furniture

When Grandma asked her what she wants for Christmas this year, she said “Baby,” so I have a feel she might be getting something like this:

Little Mommy Scrub A Dub Dub Baby Doll – New 2012 Version

Ali’s plastic-coated catcher bibs have been getting really worn out. I think I’ll throw a few more up on her wish list in case any relatives still needs ideas. 😉

Bumkins 3 Pack Waterproof SuperBib, Girl G14

Bumkins 3 Pack Waterproof SuperBib


Letting Go

12/18/2012

“Hug your baby tight when you get home,” a well-meaning friend suggested on Friday afternoon, hours after the unspeakable tragedy at Sandy Hook Hill Elementary School.

At some point every parent will come to a point when she realizes she doesn’t own her child, the child is not an extension of her but an independent creature and as a parent it’s impossible to protect our babies from every danger in the world. There is a risk of putting our children on such a high pedestal that we make them idols, treasured above the Life-Giver Himself. Abraham was guilty of such and God pushed him to the extreme to force first-born Isaac out of the god status Abraham had put him in. Let him go and entrust him to Me, or I will take him away.

As painful as it was, I’m thankful for the experience we had of almost losing Ali over a year ago in a bizarre placement battle through DCS. When we thought we had lost her, I buckled under the incredible pain. I broke for her, thinking she was about to lose her family a second time and her second chance of growing up with a father. I had no choice but to let go of my maternal grip of her… she was not mine. She did not belong to any person. She belongs to Creator Father God.

By a miracle, she was placed back into our arms and we walked out of courtroom with custody, dumbfounded. We let go of her because we had to, and God saw fit to give her back to us. I pray that I never forget that she is not MINE. I don’t own her. I’m entrusted with the responsibility and incredible blessing of being her mother. My love for her is deep and wide and it goes on forever. Everyday is a gift and tomorrow should never be taken for granted.

I will hug her a little tighter. Snuggle a little longer. And then I’ll let her go, take a deep breath, and trust the One who made her.

My heart is broken for the families in Newtown, CT who lost their loved ones. I’m praying specifically for the families of two of the children that God brought to my attention. Reading through the names of the victims, the name Olivia caught my eye, and then Benjamin. One of my best friends has two precious children named Olivia and Ben (who are thankfully safe and well) and when I thought about them, my heart crumbled. So, everyday I’m lifting up the Engel and Wheeler families as they’re walking through this dark and horrible tragedy. May the Prince of Peace, the Comforter, wrap them up in His arms this week and in the days to come.


The First Play-Doh

12/17/2012

Among the many toys unpacked from storage was a box of play-doh. When Ali pulled it off the shelf in the playroom, I decided it was time to introduce her to the squishy, doughy goodness. She’s not putting things in her mouth quite so much anymore so I figured she’d get to enjoy it for at least a minute or two before I had to take it away.

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I was right.

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“Ali, if you taste it again, Mommy is going to have to take it away.”

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Oh, this age of budding independence is interesting… Every time I give her an ultimatum, she tests it. If nothing else, she is learning that Mommy means what she says.


Phone Photo Friday

12/14/2012

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


Bring Home the Bacon … for Christmas!

12/13/2012

It’s time to tell you about my favorite Christmas present from last year, in case you still need an idea for that hard-to-shop-for someone on your list. It’s not the gift that got the most use (that would be our Keurig) but it’s the one that has saved us hundreds of greasy paper towels and time cleaning a grease splattered stove, oven or microwave…which is pretty awesome. Gifted to me by my beloved.

Meet Piggy Wiggy the bacon tray.

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Microwave bacon trays are not hard to come by but I was searching high and low for one that had a lid. Without a lid the grease still splatters all over the microwave (or requires lots of paper towels), so what is the point? Then I found Joie Piggy Wiggy. Not only does it have a lid, it has a pink vented lid with a pig-face handle. It’s perfect. The grid on the tray allows the grease to drain off the bacon and everything is contained. No more throwing away 5 greasy paper towels just to cook a few strips of bacon. The grease can easy be dumped into a jar and the two parts scrub clean pretty easily. Did I mention it’s less than $10 with free shipping on Amazon? What are you waiting for … git one!


It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas…

12/12/2012

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On the eve of moving day, Jason and I went to a fundraiser dinner and a friend snapped this picture of us in front of the ginorous Christmas tree in the lobby. I would just slap it onto a Christmas card template and send it out to our friends and family this year but it’s missing a certain little cutie pie. I’m going to attempt to get a picture of the 3 of us and whip something up in time to send out. I’m also hoping to have time to do some Christmas shopping before I run out of shipping time. Yikes! So much to do this time of the year and we kind of have our hands full with unpacking and all… I did put up a few Christmas decorations as I was unpacking boxes.

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I bought 3 more boxes of vintage ornaments this summer to add to my collection. (Sidenote: I still have a couple of 11×17 Wishing You a Shiny Brite Christmas posters for sale at my etsy shop, as well as some digital download prints.)

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The silver wreath Jason and I made many years ago made it’s way onto our new front door.

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A year or two before she passed away, my Granny gave me two boxes of her vintage Shiny Brite ornaments. They’re half broken and the glitter is a bit corroated but I treasure them. That’s why they’re on this tree stand on the counter, away from toddler hands.

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Speaking of toddler hands, yeah, this is going to be interesting… I’ve already said, “No, Ali, we don’t touch the Christmas tree!” about 500x. Which just makes her want to touch it more, I’m sure. “Ball,” she says as she pokes at the ornaments. No picture of her with the tree yet for obvious reasons.

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