My big boy is 4 months old! He’s checking in at 15.6 lbs (50%) and 26.25″ (95%). Isaiah is laughing often now. He’s very peaceful and easy going but he’s got loud, happy screeches when he wants attention. Still a great sleeper and eater, nothing new to report there. He’s working hard on rolling every chance he gets and he loves to stand. He’ll reach out and grab his toys and pull them to his mouth. He’s chomping and drooling on whatever he can get his hands on. (I had to move the airplane away from his hands because he wanted it in his mouth and it was covering his sweet face!) He’s a strong boy and I get the feeling he’s ready to move so he can keep up with his big sister.
My favorites from the past month:
Our Alianna is four years old and looking more grown up everyday. (She picked that “Mommy’s ‘lil Girl” shirt to wear on her birthday, as well as the rest of her outfit.) She’s smart, passionate, creative and sassy. She’s brave, athletic and out-going. She’s full of faith and quick to pray for healing for anyone with a hurt. She adores her baby brother and is eager to show him off to new people while we’re out. She has an excellent memory for music, names, places and promises. If she had her way she’s eat ice cream and candy for every meal. She loves her friends, soccer, beading, crafts, books and swimming. Swimming! She’s swimming like a little fish this summer: underwater, retrieving toys off the bottom of the deep end of the pool, floating on her back and diving/flipping in head-first off the side. We’re unofficially doing preschool homeschool this year, which basically just means a little more intentionality with reading, writing/drawing, following instructions, attitude/respect, exploring and learning about the world. Ali is an amazing, thoughtful loving girl. She also keeps us on our toes and continually puts our parenting skills (human skills? grace, patience, wisdom, consistency, etc.) to the test.
Happy birthday, sweet girl! We are so glad you were born and that you’re ours!
When I asked to take her picture for her birthday she insisted that I take some of her with her baby brother.
The big gift she really wanted was a rolling suitcase of her own. She can’t wait to go on a trip with Daddy!
A mermaid-themed pool party for our little fish!
Alianna Mae at Three Years Old
Four years ago, I took a picture of Jason’s old shoes before throwing them away. I wanted to remember what they looked like because they represented so much to me. As disgusting as they were, I was a little sad to say goodbye. First, they show that my husband is so thrifty that he’ll wear his shoes until they’re completely falling apart and his wife insists on throwing them away. More than anything though, they represent hard work. He’s spent the past 20 years playing the heck out of guitars, fine tuning his gift. These shoes took him to school and band rehearsals and shows at first. But these shoes also worked for five years at Starbucks when we first moved to Nashville and were chasing hard after our dreams. Jason worked two or three jobs at a time while I finished my graphic design degree. After the barista days, these shoes spent many, many hours doing yard work and home renovations, building tons of sweat equity into our first two homes. He works harder than anyone I know taking care of his family, our home and his career. Jason Ahlbrandt, thank you for doing all that you do for us. I could not be any more proud of you. I’m so glad I get to be your one and only.
Once upon a time, I wrote blog posts several times a week. I hardly missed a day. Not always deep thoughts but I’ve enjoyed this as a place to journal and keep records of our lives the past six years (even more if I count my previous blogs). I sometimes wonder if there’s any value in sharing all of this but then I get an email from a fellow foster mom looking for support, a potential adoptive parent thanking us for telling our story or a casual reader just checking in to say hello since this space has been so quiet. Two months ago I thought I was back to blogging and then the weeks quickly slipped by and I haven’t blogged much since then. I’m not sure how to restart without doing a general update post. Our family has gone through so much change in the past 6 months.
It started back at the end of winter as I was entering my third trimester. We were looking toward an unpaid maternity leave and what life would look like with two forever kids. An unexpected door opened as we prayed for provision. Jason auditioned for a new gig with a busier tour schedule that would translate to better income. He didn’t get it and we wondered why. It sounded like it was going to the perfect answer to our prayers. When he didn’t get the job, he started taking classes to get his real estate license. Then he got a call back; he got the gig after all. The timing was perfect for our finances. He entered a busy season of touring just a couple weeks before Isaiah was born and my unpaid time off work began. From his bunk in the tour bus he continued working hard on his online classes, studying and taking tests for his real estate license. It was a lot to juggle but once he’s got his mind on a goal there is no stopping him. He missed one weekend of shows—two concerts in Texas—for Isaiah’s birth and then he was back on the road two days after we got home from the hospital. His tour schedule was lighter in May, thankfully, because my recovery was much harder than I anticipated. But in June things picked up again. I started back to work full time, working mostly from home now—a huge answer to prayer! And also a new juggling challenge. Jason had 6 full days off/home in June and managed to fit his real estate licensing exam in there. He passed! He’s now a fully licensed real estate agent. His schedule for July was even fuller than June and it was taking it’s toll on all of us. Half way through the month he had a hard conversation with the band leader about needing to step away to focus on his growing family and his new real estate venture. He was willing to stick it out for a few weeks to help their transition but God made a way for him to be home within days of that conversation without putting anyone out or severing any relationships. He returned to his previous gig with a much lighter touring schedule and started full steam into his real estate business. And that’s just the big stuff. There were also soccer games, visits from out-of-town family, and so many doctors appointments for check ups, dentists, PT, OB, dermatology, radiology. Phew!
All the transitions have sent our finances on some roller coaster loopy-loops and been exhausting in other ways, too. But God is good. These changes are good and I can see His hand on us through every change. It has not been easy or painless but the blessings have outweighed the struggles:
We have two beautiful children. I was able to keep my full-time graphic design job of 8+ years and be home with my kids 6 days a week. Jason was able to add a realtor hat next to the professional musician one—both flexible jobs that allow him to spend a lot of time at home. I trust that life will feel less tiring soon, and in the meantime I have a newfound love of coffee.
The photo at the top, taken by our friend Beth Rose, basically sums up the past several months. But here are some other memorable moments, too:
I’m way behind on blogging. Let’s pretend for a minute that it’s 7/26/15.
Three months old! Biggest news of the past month: Zay started laughing! We still have to work pretty hard for it, but it’s worth it. At 3 months he’s getting stronger with tummy time, holding his head up for longer periods, putting weight on his legs with help to stand up. He’s sleeping so well I’m almost embarrassed to say. (We’ve sleep trained a lot of babies.) Zay is a good eater and snorts like a pig when he’s hungry. He kicks his feet when he’s happy. Isaiah discovered his tasty hands this month and drools as he chomps on his fingers. His left hand and foot seem to be dominate. He has also discovered how to get attention with his voice; boy can get LOUD! He rarely cries but he knows how to communicate what he needs and wants. One of my favorite times of the day is story time with big sister Ali. Zay will look at the pictures or at me while I’m reading, and smile and kick his feet.
14.5 lbs. and wearing 6 month size clothes!
I’m way behind on blogging. Let’s pretend for a minute that it’s 6/26/15.
Isaiah promises he’ll smile more next month. He didn’t smile for any of my DSLR pics. [Spoiler alert: he didn’t.] At 2 months old he’s making eye contact, smiling, mimicking facial expressions, cooing and almost laughing, especially if his cheeks or chin are tickled. He’s still eating every 3 hours during the day but is starting to sleep through the night. Last 3 nights he went 9:30/10:30 – 4:30/5:00. Then back to sleepy for another 3-4 hours. Woot woot! He’s working on tummy time. No rolling yet but he loves to sleep on his right side.
Two feet tall, 12 lbs. 3 oz.