We’re Home!



Friday was moving day. It felt so different than when we’ve bought houses in the past…we would close at a title company, get our keys and let ourselves into our new, empty house. This time we’ve been in and out of the house almost daily for the past 6 months while it was constructed. On Friday Jason was cleaning the windows while I moved a few things over from my parents house. Then the last inspector from the city came and we paced around nervously while he walked through the house. Our site supervisor Scott put the last of 4 final inspection approval tags on the kitchen counter as he walked the inspector out. And that was it: we’re allowed to move in! Jason and I looked at the 4 final inspection tags on last time and gave each other a high five. Go time.

We met the movers at our storage unit and spent the rest of the day—the rest of the next several days, really—slinging boxes, moving furniture and unpacking. We are physically exhausted but oh-so-happy to be finally in our new home. I had hoped to sneak over early Friday morning and take final photos of a clean, empty house before we started moving in but it didn’t happen. Why? Because early Friday morning the tile guy, Peanut, was finishing grouting the fireplace and the bathroom; John, the painter, was doing touch-ups and Scott, our site supervisor/problem solver extraordinaire was putting the final touches on our front porch railings. In other words, the house was not clean or empty.

When we arrived back to our house, my mom had set up sloppy joes in her crock pot for us, as well as dropped off a bunch of food to get us through the first couple of days. She’s the best!


After her afternoon nap, my parents brought Ali down to check out her new room. She hasn’t seen most of this stuff since she was 7 month old…so basically, she’s seeing it all for the first time. Who needs Christmas gifts!

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She was so excited about all the “new” toys that she climbed into her toy box.


…and assembled:


The first morning in our new house!


On Day 2, my sister-in-law Ginger came over to help while my niece Eliza played with Ali. After they left, my parents and Jason’s parents helped us unpack and move more things from my parents’ house all day. It’s so wonderful to have such an awesome family to help us! I was too preoccupied to take many pictures on Saturday but I did snap this one of Ali. Nana (Jason’s mom) was unpacking a box with Ali and found some of my sunglasses…


Day 3 in our new house: Sunday.


Ali seems to really like her new room. It’s one of the most complete rooms in the house. All that’s missing are things that hang on the wall: pictures, book ledges, curtain rod, etc.





Ali also seems to love her playroom (AKA the den) and it’s nice to have 2 rooms in the house that are mostly kid-safe.



The hall bathroom is for Ali and guests:

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The living room is pretty much a big mess because the two couch pieces of our sectional and an armchair are being used in a home staging project. They’ll be back in a few weeks. I’ve been meaning to write about that. I’ll do that soon…


Meanwhile, this is our makeshift couch: a pile of old blankets and pillows on the floor. Lucy approves.


LuLu can be a very anxious dog but she seems to be adjusting really well. To my knowledge she hasn’t peed on anything or had any seizures so that says a lot for her.



The kitchen is almost mostly complete, however it’s still a big mess because it’s the heart of the house. (Note the tool box and cleaning supplies on the counter, the step ladder in the dining room.)



I really, really love how the kitcehn came together.

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We’re planning to add a tile backsplash at a later date.


The coffee and tea bar is pretty much my favorite thing ever.


After three days of hard work, we decided to use our last bit of energy on Sunday night to set up the TV so we could properly relax. It involved a mount that fixes to the concrete fireplace with a floating shelf below the TV. I’ll tell you about that later. We don’t have cable or internet yet, but we could use the DVD player so we found our box full of Seinfeld DVDs.


Random: Any Nashvillites interested in a beautiful, big, heavy gold vinyl sleeper sofa? I was planning to use it in the den but it’s too big for that room so we’re selling it. It’s on craigslist for $100. Sold! Thank you to Mark and his wife. I hope you enjoy it!


Forward Motion


Some days it feels like nothing is happening with our adoption finalization or with our new home build…like we’re stuck in a holding pattern. The truth is, things are moving forward—just at a snail’s pace. I’m ready for Precious to officially be part of our family forever. I’m ready to have a home of our own again. Someone else is eager to move forward, too. Precious has been great at sitting up on her own for over three months now but she hasn’t figured out how to get from here to there yet. I can tell she’s thinking about. She has started lunging for things. It’s amazing how far Precious can reach when she puts her whole self into it.

I know how you feel, baby. I’m ready to move forward!



er… catch up. It’s amazing how a couple of days without blogging gets me out of the groove and I don’t know where to start again. So how about a little bit or this and that.

Last week was miserably busy at work for me—the worst deadline week I’ve had in as long as I can remember. Long, tiring days in my cubicle, away from my husband and sweet baby girl. Jason was home for the week but we hardly crossed paths. It feels silly to even articulate those complaints because all I have to do is shift my perspective a little bit and I realize how much I have to be thankful for. I have a job. I have an awesome husband. We have a sweet baby girl.

The week was topped off with a weekend full of packing and moving. Mostly packing. We even skipped Super Bowl parties to work. Looking at the calendar with Jason’s tour schedule between now and the closing on March 1st and we realized we better get going on this moving out of our house business. Five years is long enough to forget how much work it is to move. And goodness, how did we end up with so much stuff?! It’s amazing how it multiplies when it starts getting put into boxes.

We have officially moved into my parents’ house and are getting settled in comfortably there. Our belongings will rest in storage until the new house is completed. As I mentioned before, leaving our mid-century ranch has been extremely bittersweet. We really love that place and planned to never move. Funny how dreams and goals can change so drastically in a short period of time. If we hadn’t felt called to become foster parents last spring, and to continue fostering after we complete our adoption of Precious, I really don’t think we’d be moving right now.

But again, a simple shift of perspective and I realize how much we have to be thankful for. We’re building a house—a dream we’ve always had but figured was a long way off. We have a great relationship with my parents and a place to stay right down the street from our new house. And the new house is going to be great—and most importantly have room for our family to grow.

As we were packing on Saturday Jason’s mom, Grandma K, spotted Precious’ first tooth finally poking through. She’s been working on that for a long time. Three days later my mom, Grandma L, spotted her second tooth coming through. I finally got a picture of them yesterday. Speaking of pictures, here are a bunch of random ones from the past few days:

I’m doing the February Photo A Day challenge on Instragram (#febphotoaday … I’m @mahlbrandt if you want to follow me). The one above was “your view today,” my cubicle…ugh! And below was day 2, “words.”

On Thursday night Jason played an industry showcase with Michael Dean Church at The Rutledge. It ended up being a fun double date night out with our friends Jeremy (who played drums) and Leila—without our babies for a change! We had dinner afterwards at a new burger place in East Nashville called The Pharmacy.

My first (unsuccessful) attempt at baby tooth photography.

Kitchen configuration… whatever spare creative juice I have has been going here lately…

Teeth! Caught them on camera with the help of Grandma L who got her smiling.



We got a contract on our house last night! For our asking price minus some closing costs. I’m thankful. Relieved. And honestly, sad. It’s been an exhausting week (wait, it’s only Tuesday?) so maybe I’m a little extra emotional. I really do love this house. As I was looking for a picture to put with this post, I saw so many projects we’ve done here…our master bathroom, Jason’s studio, landscaping, the fireplace. And there are thousands of memories here from the last 5 years, especially from last year as our family grew from two to three to two and back to three. It’s bittersweet. Even more so than I expected.

Our new house will be nice and most importantly, it’ll have room for more kids we can reach as foster parents. I’m looking forward to the whole process of designing and building a home. But I feel like it’s extra hard to say goodbye to one house when we don’t have another house to move into. I love the character and quirks of our old house and “new” scares me a little bit. I don’t know anything about the buyer except that she seems to really like the house. I hope she appreciates it as much as we do. I hope she likes to garden and is happy with the updates we did.

We’ll be staying with my parents during the transition period—several of you have asked. They also live in our neighborhood so we’ll be close to the new house as it’s being constructed. We’ll be gradually packing up and moving out in February. I know I’ll be so consumed with the next season that soon I’ll detach from this one, but for today I just want to savor this old house a little longer.