Easter Family Photos

04/13/2015

I wanted to get some photos of our last days of a family of three. Easter was the perfect opportunity since we were together all day, dressed up and it was gorgeous outside. Between church and lunch we went to Centennial Park and took turns taking photos of each other. After lunch, we went to Cheekwood Botanical Garden with Jason’s parents and took a boatload more photos. Ali took quite a lot of these. She’s pretty impressive as a three-year-old with that big DSLR! She took all of the ones of me alone (or my belly!), and of Jason and me.

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Oops, that first one should say 2012, not 2013. 🙂

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Gender Reveal Surprise Christmas Baby Shower

01/08/2015

That’s lot of words, huh? We had a Christmas baby-gender-reveal surprise baby shower. It was an unforgettable blessing organized by my friend Steph with a part of our foster mom support community from across the country. I had passed Steph the sealed envelope from the ultrasound tech because she offered to give us something more special than a piece of paper to open on Christmas day. (And she’s one of the most creative people I know!) She rallied the troops behind my back and they sent gifts to Steph to wrap and organize into a really unique gender reveal surprise for us. I am still so overwhelmed with gratitude that they would bless our family like this. Most of these women I’ve never even met in person, although we connect daily through social media to encourage, pray for, commiserate with and entertain each other.

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The first present to open was this ornament that Steph made. It will be such a special keepsake on our Christmas tree every year.

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(Please excuse my Christmas-morning-no-makeup-pajamas family.)

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The first baby boy outfit we opened…

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Ali got some special gifts, too.

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These little knee pads made me swoon.

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A teething necklace in one of my favorite colors.

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A fellow chicken mama sent this one!

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At some point while I was opening gifts and Jason was documenting it, Ali started taking photos with my DSLR.

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These are her photos…

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I am so thankful! What an amazing surprise for Christmas day, to find out we’re having a son and to be showered with so many thoughtful and adorable gifts for him.

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Jason Ahlbrandt On Stage at the Ryman Auditorium

12/17/2014

My talented husband has had the opportunity to travel all over the world playing music—Iceland, Alaska, Amsterdam, Faroe Islands, more states than I can keep track of and many miles logging by tour bus and airplane. It’s a dream come true for him and nothing could make me happier as his wife than to see his purpose and destiny fulfilled as a professional guitarist, to see his passion satisfied by playing music every single day. I had a really special proud wife moment at the end of November when I got to see my best friend take the stage with his guitar at the famous Ryman Auditorium for Opry at the Ryman. For several years Jason has been Guy Penrod’s right-hand-man—literally at stage right most of the time, playing lead guitar—through many 100s of concerts. Several times a year I get to see a concert. This particular one was actually Jason’s third time on the Ryman stage but I missed the first two times and I was determined nothing would stand in my way this time. God sure has blessed us with amazing opportunities and friendships as we’ve pursued our dreams. Jason works so hard fine tuning his gifts and it’s a treat to see him play live. Such an honor to be in the audience that night.

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“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” & Christmas Classics

12/15/2014

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I hope you’ve seen this video of Jason playing the most beautiful acoustic guitar rendition of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen that has ever been played.

I wanted to let you know he’s also giving away copies of the whole amazing album on his Facebook page this month. All you have to do is share the video and let him know you did. He runs a new contest each week so if this week’s hasn’t started yet, check back in a day or two.

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And if you don’t win but would like to buy one, you can do so through his website JasonAhlbrandt.com. We offer free shipping. They’re the same price in person and at his shows. He’s on iTunes, Spotify and other online/digital music retailers, too.

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New Tile Backsplash in the Kitchen and Bathroom

12/11/2014

Last month Jason did a project we’ve been thinking about since we moved in two years ago—he tiled a backsplash and added under cabinet lights in the kitchen. He spent many nights working from after dinner until long after Ali and I were asleep. He’s such a hard worker. I LOVE how it came out. My only contribution was helping to pick out the tiles, which were a special order from Home Depot, in case you’re wondering. We picked the color and straight-stacked pattern to mirror the exposed concrete block wall that’s across from the kitchen in the dining room. (You can see it here in my grapefruit-belly photo.)

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I haven’t taken any photos of the backsplash in our master bathroom yet but Ali snuck this one on Monday while I was getting ready for work.

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God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

11/12/2014

Jason’s acoustic guitar album Christmas Classics has been on rotation in my iTunes for a couple weeks already. I haven’t decorated the house yet or taken a photo for our Christmas cards, but Christmas music? Yes. I started playing it in October. Jason’s album came out last October and this year he made a couple of videos to go along with it. Here’s the first one for the song “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

I love it so much! If you like it even just a little bit, we hope you’ll consider getting the whole album through JasonAhlbrandt.com or iTunes. And please share this video with everyone you know! 😉

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Costume Party

10/30/2014

On Saturday night we went to a costume party with the guys Jason plays with and their families. The three bandmates dressed up as the boss, Guy Penrod. It was a hilarious surprise! We all had a great time. Ali wore her dog suit but ditched it halfway through the party before I got any photos. I had about 3 hours notice to get ready and figure out a costume so I borrowed Ali’s dress up butterfly wings and whipped up some antennae with hot gun, pipe cleaners and ping pong balls. I was a butterfly…or a bug…or a bee. I’m not sure.

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Fall Family Time

10/28/2014

My summer-loving family has been thoroughly enjoying fall this year. Friday evening we went to a fall family festival at a church down the street from us. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. Ali jumped in the bouncy house and got her face painted. We did a cake walk until we won a pumpkin cake. I love the change of seasons in Tennessee.

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Naples, Florida Family Vacation July 2014

07/22/2014

The real reason I didn’t write any blog posts for 2 weeks is because we left for vacation a couple days after Firefly left and there was a lot to catch up on at home and work when we got back. Jason and I love to vacation in Naples, Florida. I think we’ve gone 4 times in the past 5 years. This was the first time Ali has been there, though. She’s been to the beach before but this time she was old enough to really enjoy it and play in the sand and water. She’s a little fish and the Gulf in South Florida is warm, clear and gentle. We stayed in Foxfire Country Club in a condo that happened to have a bunch of really cool mid-century modern teak furniture. The pool was warm and we usually had it all to ourselves. Ali did awesome on the 12-14 hour car ride both ways. She’s a pro traveler. We used our DVD player for the first time. On the way to Florida she watched Frozen 4.5 times! Once there we saw so much native wildlife, mostly found by or spotted by Jason. He caught 5 large 9-point starfish out in the ocean. He also found 2 live sand dollars. We released all of them after admiring them. We also saw dolphins, manatees, sting rays (I stepped on one that didn’t have a tail. Phew!) and tons of little lizards in the wild. We visited the Everglades Wonder Garden and saw captive alligators, parrots, macaws, turtles and tortoises, butterflies, flamingos and lots of other birds and reptiles. We ate so much good seafood, saw gorgeous sunsets and had lots of time to play and have fun together as a family of three. We had our vacation planned long before Firefly joined our family but God must have known that it’s timing would perfect for our family to escape the painful realities at home and reset.

Ready for the photo overload?

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July 4th

07/21/2014

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I love fireworks and all things summer which makes Independence Day one of my favorite holidays. It was a bit bittersweet with Firefly just leaving the day before but we had a fun time nonetheless. Ali said as we were walking away, “I wasn’t scared at all! Just a little bit scared.” For the record, she was pretty scared but she did great and stuck it out with Grandpa, Grandma, Jason and me.

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