And Then There Were Two

02/26/2013

Oh, but not a foster placement. Boy did I confuse a few people on facebook! On the foster care front, our case worker is coming out on Thursday to check out our new home and move us back into open status, assuming all goes well. (GULP.) We could potentially start getting placement calls this weekend. (DOUBLE GULP.) Our home is as ready as it’s going to be, which made it easier for us to agree to watch our friends’ little boy Jaron for 4 days/nights with less than 24 hours notice. We joked that it would be good practice for life with two kids but dang… it was good practice! We learned a lot. It was almost as big of an adjustment as suddenly being parents to a toddler (our first placement). That was encouraging on two levels – 1. It was not as big of an adjustment. (We’re experienced now! Woot!) and 2. With our first major adjustment it got better after a week or two so I know that it would get better with two kids, also. The major difference, of course, is that we already knew and loved Jaron and his parents and we knew it would just be a few days. They also gave us a ton of directions on how to care for him, clothes, food, toiletries, etc. All of those things made it easier. It was still very stretching to have two almost-twin toddlers, and I know it was hard on little Jaron, too. One of the biggest things I learned: Being out numbered by munchins is no joke! It was much easier when Jason and I were both there to split the duties. He’d put one kid to bed, I’d put the other to bed. He’d carry one kid into the store, I’d carry the other. We both had at least 1 day where we were solo parenting both kiddos. Oy! But again, I know it would get better the longer we had to settle into a ruetine and get used to each other. Ali did really well sharing her parents. I hardly noticed any jealousy. There were a few periods when both kids wanted the one-on-one adult attention that they’re used to and I wasn’t able to meet both of their needs at once. They weren’t upset with each other but at one point while I was trying to warm up some leftovers for dinner (no way I was going to be able to cook!) and I had one kid clinging to each of my legs. It would have been comical if the shrieking/crying/whining wasn’t making me lose my mind. I even attempted to take a photo so I could laugh about it later but it don’t turn out. And I realized…What am I doing?! Just get the dang food in the microwave so I can sit on the floor and hug both kids at the same time.

So on to the fun stuff. These two are so sweet together.

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This boy is a messy eater! Lord, have mercy…He’s so stinkin’ cute though. Smiles and laughs easily.

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They two both get kissed a lot by their parents so they love to kiss each other as well. So cute!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Ali thought the chalk would make good lipstick…her latest obsession.

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Hi, Lucy! Yes, I still love you.

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Flashback… one year ago:

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Introducing… Marcus James

02/20/2013

If you recall, last week I explained that the reason we were unexpectedly watching our friend’s son is because the friends who were planning to babysit him had to suddenly up and go to Kansas to pick up their new one month old baby boy. They had been matched with a birth mom and had less than 24 hours notice to decide and go. They filed their adoption papers on Valentine’s Day and are currently still waiting in Kansas for the Interstate Transfer documents to come back so they can leave the state. Here are a couple photos of their little sweetheart:

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They’re still in need of funds for their adoption if you’re interested in helping out. More information on their blog site.


Ketchup

02/19/2013

I’m really thankful I had President’s Day off because I’ve had a very full weekend. It started on Tuesday night when we started watching our friend’s 15 month old son Jaron for 2 nights and 2 days. When he left to spend the weekend with his aunt and uncle, Jason was already gone to Orlando and I got hit with a cold. Ali and I had a couple low-key days and then Jason and Jaron came back on Sunday. Little J is heading home this morning with his parents. Yay for him, and for them…and for us! We joked about how it was a trial run with having 2 kids (since we’ll be reopening our home as foster parents soon) but, boy, we really did learn a lot.

I’ll be back soon to reflect on what I learned, as well as share a ton of cute pictures of these two little buddies. I also have a bunch of photos to share of our house that I was finally able to upload but haven’t edited yet. I need a little time to play catch-up and today I’m back to work. Bear with me. I’ll be back soon!

I leave you with this one picture for now. One of the few times we braved leaving the house with two kids was to go to Lowes to get mulch. They did awesome! Having two adults helped a lot! I pushed the car cart with the munchkins while Jason pushed the big flat cart with the mulch.

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A is for Adoption

02/13/2013

By the way, if you have a heart for adoption and would like to donate to this sweet family (mentioned in my previous post), they’re in major need of funds. They drove through the night until they needed to stop for rest and to wait out a snow storm in Missouri. They’re just a few hours away from picking up their baby boy!

Visit their blog for info about their family and to donate.


#ImThankfulFor

11/22/2012

Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all! Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorites because I love good food, getting together with family and friends, and I love to be thankful. We have been blessed with so much and this day is all about giving gratitude to God for His provision and abundant blessings. I’ve been participating in the Twitter Trend #ImThankfulFor this month, each day listing another thing I’m thankful for. These have been pretty random based on whatever is happening each day. Here’s my list so far:

Day 1: #ImThankfulFor Good friends and a girls’ night out … even when the kiddies come along. Mostly I’m thankful for our awesome friends!

Day 2: #ImThankfulFor my daughter’s bio family and especially her bio mom – for carrying her, loving her and wanting the best for her.

Day 3: #ImThankfulFor honest, fair and hard-working business people like our contractors, our architect and our mechanic … to name a few.

Day 4: #ImThankfulFor my church @gracechurchnash and my pastor @LindellCooley. Every Sunday I’m both challenged and encouraged.

Day 5: #ImThankfulFor my husband @JAhlb814 getting to travel the world playing music. But, #jealous he has 12x more passport stamps than me.

Day 6: #ImThankfulFor my rights as a U.S. citizen and glad to live in this country. And, I’m grateful that campaign season is finally over!

Day 7: #ImThankfulFor a knowing smile from a fellow adoptive mom at the grocery story, when stories are exchanged without words.#adoption

Day 8: #ImThankfulFor the wonderful people I work with who are creative, hard-working, trusting, encouraging, independent and supportive.

Day 9: #ImThankfulFor Friday night shopping dates with my daughter whenever @JAhlb814‘s on the road, even if it’s to Kroger. We have fun.

Day 10: #ImThankfulFor friendship that has survived college, careers, motherhood and distance…the kind of friendship that lasts forever.

Day 11: #ImThankfulFor times apart because they make reunion oh so sweet. Thankful my awesome hubby & best friend @JAhlb814 is almost home!

Day 12: #ImThankfulFor inspiring people who are kind, hard-working, motivated and optimistic even after coming through horrific situations.

Day 13: #ImThankfulFor electricity and light, gas and heat, running water, four walls and a roof … It’s easy to take them for granted.

Day 14: #ImThankfulFor a mid-week night out with my two favorite people and warm Italian food on a cold, dark evening.

Day 15: #ImThankfulFor the miracle that happened one year ago today! https://mymcmlife.com/2012/11/14/i-believe-in-miracles/ … #fostercare #court#custody #adoption

Day 16: #ImThankfulFor family near and far, but especially the ones close by that are willing to babysit their granddaughter so often!

Day 17: #ImThankfulFor estate sales! Found all kind of great stuff today, haggled for good discounts & got a workout moving furniture, too!

Day 18: #ImThankfulFor siblings. My childhood would have been so dull without them. Happy bday to my favorite sister!pic.twitter.com/AAkSVXUD

Day 19: #ImThankfulFor really big dreams and the first exciting/scary step of a new adventure.

Day 20: #ImThankfulFor Oreos. And the sweet guy who is willing to get them from the grocery store at 10:30pm. @JAhlb814 #itsthelittlethings

Day 21: #ImThankfulFor getting out of work while the sun’s still shining & an early start to a much needed 4 days off! pic.twitter.com/MU2j9jxL

Day 22: #ImThankfulFor Father God, from Whom all blessings flow! I have so many, many things to be thankful for today. Praise the Lord!

Follow me on Twitter @mahlbrandt if you’d like.


Lil j’s adoption

10/16/2012

We had the honor of celebrating our friends’ adoption earlier this month. It was in the same courtroom we were in for Ali’s adoption two month prior. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the happy day, all taken by Beth Rose Photography.

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Cincinnati Visit – September 2012

09/19/2012

Besides checking out the Sign Museum, we also had some time to just chill out and hang out with our friends Sean and Renata and their crew. Their house is so cool! It’s like an MCM showroom. It’s fun to share that interest with them.

We also had a very important little dude that we were anxious to meet. Little Jonas and Ali are birthday buddies! They share July 20 and are one year apart.

Renata and her dad with Jonas. (Her mom was there also but not feeling well, so no pics.)

Ali and Olivia are very close in age and this is the first visit where they’ve really been able to play together. “Play” meaning mostly taking toys from each other…we’re working on sharing.

Ben has a special place in my heart. He was one of the first babies born to any of our close friends, right after this dear family moved away from Nashville. He’s a cool kid. My two favorite Ben quotes from the weekend:

1. Sitting around the table eating breakfast: “I have a lot of babies! Baby Olivia, Baby Jonas, Baby Alianna!” Yes, Ben, you have a lot of responsibility!

2. After his dad asked him if he wanted some coffee. “Noooo! I’m a boy! I’m not a man!”

A few more cuddles with our buddies before we left go to IKEA and then home to Nashville.

Good friends are a blessing from the Lord! We love you guys! Thanks for having us!


Cincinnati Trip – April 2012

05/02/2012

It keeps happening. I intend to document an event, a trip, a visit with friends and I come home with a camera full of pictures of my daughter. I don’t know how it happens…

A couple weeks ago we took a weekend trip up to Cincinnati to visit our dear friends Sean and Renata and their kiddos. It was rainy and cold on Saturday so we went to the aquarium.

They don’t allow strollers in the aquarium. I thought that was the dumbest thing until I realized how packed it was in there. It was hard enough just to move around all of the standing people. Our very heavy little girl needed to take a nap anyway, and Daddy’s shoulder is the perfect spot.

I call Precious Ali-gator all the time as nickname for her real name (does that make any sense?) so I thought it was pretty awesome to get a picture of the gator under a Gator Alley sign.

She’s not really anything like an alligator. This guy was massive!

There was a trippy and very relaxing room full of neon lights and various kinds of jelly fish. I could have watched them for hours.

We caught a brief penguin show, too. This sweet family will be welcoming a new baby boy on Precious’ birthday in July!

Precious is a wonderful traveler. Look, all she needs is a shoe to chew on…

Sean and Renata have a beautiful, comfortable mid-century modern home. We love visiting them!

We even worked in a little time for antique store browsing this trip. We didn’t come home with anything but I enjoyed seeing these Curtis Jeré (real and/or imitation) metal wall sculptures.

I might regret that we didn’t buy this to put on our yet-to-exist fireplace.


I love love but I hate Valentine’s Day

02/14/2012

This is the first year that I completely, whole-heartedly am relieved that we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. And not just because Jason is out on tour. A few years ago he mentioned that he felt like the holiday was forced, putting unhealthy expectations on couples, becoming a competition, and setting a lot of people up for disappointment. We never really did much to celebrate the day—usually dinner at home to avoid the restaurants—and maybe a few candles, some chocolates, flowers, the usual. But we’ve moved away from that to not doing anything at all. I’m sure that sounds really cold and unromantic to some people. The truth is, we go on date nights several times a month, we show and tell how much we love each other everyday, we surprise each other with random gifts—we’re both very affirmed in our love and we have a healthy marriage. So take that, St. Valentine. Or Hallmark. Or whoever… And if I feel I’d enjoy some chocolates or fresh flowers in the house—GASP–I buy them! The random delivery of fresh flowers at work just because he knows I’m having a crappy day or the specialty chocolate from some exotic location just because he was thinking of me—those things mean way more to me than anything Jason has ever given to me on February 14.

Valentine’s Day IS a really important day for another reason, though. It’s my dear friend, Laren’s birthday! Precious says Happy Birthday, Aunt Laren! Fun fact: Laren and Precious both have heart shaped birthmarks.


Announcing…

11/22/2011

Jaron Isaac! Born 11-2-11 weighing in at 9 lbs 3 oz. Big boy!

You thought I was going to reveal a picture of our baby girl, Precious, didn’t you? Not yet, but… I’m going to post a photo (showing her face) on Thanksgiving along with an announcement so check back over the weekend!

Jaron is the freshly adopted son of our friends Leila and Jeremy. You may remember hearing about their crazy past year and a half… first their house was flooded in 4 ft of Cumberland River water for several days. Then while they were fighting insurance companies to pay out what was owed, their rental house was robbed over Christmas last year. Earlier this year they finally moved into their newly rebuilt home (with a foundation 4 ft higher per FEMA regs!). A month before his due date, they were matched with this little boy through their adoption agency. After all of the above drained their savings they had just a couple weeks to scrambled and come up with $20,000 to bring home their son. At least one of my blog readers donated to their fund. You know who you are, and I sincerely thank you! Jeremy and Leila are a couple of the finest people I know and Jaron is a perfect fit in their family. I’m happy that he and Precious can grow up as friends and neighbors.

Jaron with Uncle Jason, at 4 days old:

Here he is sporting his stripped socks made my Auntie Martina. (They double as anti-scratch boxing gloves.)

This picture was taken at 17 days old the morning after I babysat him overnight to give his mama a much needed solid night of sleep. We survived but I sure am thankful Precious was sleeping almost through the night already when she came to us.

Welcome Jaron! You are so loved, little dude!