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:
Leave a Comment » | Faith, Family, Family: Froggie/Isaiah, Family: Jason, Family: Me, Family: Precious/Ali | Tagged: career, changes, Family, life, new job, newborn, transition, work | Permalink
Posted by mahlbrandt
I’m thankful that I get to work at home on Tuesdays and Thursday so I can spend 4/7 days a week with this kid. I love her so much it hurts. (Pics from yesterday.) She is too stinkin cute.
It was really difficult to leave for work this morning while she was calling out to me, “Mommy! Mommy!” and I had to just ignore her. Breaks. My. Heart. I love my job and somedays I’m thankful to be out of the house but other days I cry on my way to the office… it’s one of those days.
I might be a little extra emotional due to hormones. Also, we’re savoring our time with this little guy because he might be leaving on Friday. There is a hearing scheduled for 1pm on Friday and as far as we can tell there is a very good chance he will be returning to his mom, which would be a good thing for everyone. But it will also be sad for Jason and I. And especially for him and Ali…they’ve become best friends over the past 12 weeks. Nothing is ever for sure until the judge makes his decision but we’re mentally preparing. We’ll wait until tomorrow evening to try to explain anything to the kids. Last time we thought he was leaving I ended up (surprising myself by) being an emotional wreck the night before. Praying for strength! He was outside with me this morning while Lucy was doing her business and came up to me for a spontaneous hug. He’s grown so much since he arrived at our house on May 3rd… I’ll definitely be writing about all of that soon.
4 Comments | Family, Family: Buzz, Family: Foster Parenting, Family: Me, Family: Precious/Ali | Tagged: Ali, buzz, children, daughter, foster care, mom, mother, parenting, son, work | Permalink
Posted by mahlbrandt
OK, not really buried. See that small stack of paper work? It’s 25 or so forms that I need to fill out before the home visit with our case worker tomorrow.
(The big binder jammed full of paperwork in the background is from our training, home study and 1st year classes from almost 2 years ago.)
I’m on deadline at work with one of the three magazines I design. I have worked the past two evenings trying to get that all wrapped up. One more day…maybe two…and I’ll be able to take a good, long, deep breath.
In other words, the post I had planned to write for today didn’t happen. Tour of another room in our new home coming tomorrow. I’ll be back soon.
Leave a Comment » | Family, Family: Foster Parenting, Family: Me | Tagged: busy, foster care, work | Permalink
Posted by mahlbrandt
I work with a fun bunch of people. But you wouldn’t necessarily know it since we’re generally over-worked and grumpy. Every now and then, though, our boss pushes us into some forced fun. He returned from the annual general managers meeting at corporate glowing with pride and stack of awards for our office. Following our year in review meeting, we all carpooled over to the bowling alley to celebrate a fabulous 2011. The only catch—it was right smack in the middle of my deadline time at work, when I have the perfect storm of three magazines due within 2 weeks. I debated whether or not to go but ultimately decided that free food was worth an extra long lunch break. Besides I would be coming in early and working late either way. Turns out knocking things down with a big heavy ball is great for stress relief. Plus it’s nice to get off the ole rolling chair and get a little exercise. I can’t say my day was healthy over all—I had pizza for lunch and dinner, two dr. peppers, a cup of tea and a cappuccino that day. My only redemption was a bowl of multi-grain Cheerios for breakfast. (Thanks Mom!) All in all, though, hitting the bowling alley with my co-workers made a crappy day into a good day. Bonus: check out this vintage bowling alley sign. Isn’t it gorgeous?
1 Comment | Art, Art: mid-century design, Art: Phone Photo Friday, Family, Family: Extended Family and Friends | Tagged: bowling, bowling alley, Phone Photo Friday, vintage sign, work | Permalink
Posted by mahlbrandt
Since December I’ve been able to work from home about one day a week, unless I’m really busy. And the past 2 weeks I was really busy. But yesterday I worked from home and it was nice … blissful, actually!
I woke up and realized my computer was sitting on the floor beside the bed. I worked for almost an hour before even getting up! Then I had a nice sit-down breakfast with pretty vintage dishes. I LOVE Trader Joe’s banana/strawberry yogurt. Top it off with a few just-picked black raspberries… heaven!
Plus I made a pot of tea and a few hard cooked eggs.
Side note … I have to get out this cookbook every time I make hard boiled eggs. Why can’t I just remember – put eggs in pot, bring to boil, simmer for 15 minutes. (One of the three eggs exploded because I let it boil too long.)
My home office is sunny and peaceful. I got to eat lunch with Jason. An afternoon break meant strolling around the beautiful garden to let Lucy out.
And of course, I did some work too. But my desk (on the wall opposite this window) was too messy to photograph! Working from home is the best! I dream of the day I can work from home full time. For now I’ll gratefully accept one day a week.
6 Comments | Art, Art: graphic design, Family, Family: Me | Tagged: graphic design, work, working from home | Permalink
Posted by mahlbrandt
I imagine other people have typical evenings like this: come home from work, eat dinner together, watch some TV, go to bed.
I’m not sure if Jason and I have EVER had an evening like that. We’re always running around doing this or that … working late, running to the hardware store or grocery store, doing freelance graphic design or music recording projects. Sometimes we eat dinner together but it’s often at 8 or 9. And maybe one night a week we catch up on our favorite shows through Hulu (24, The Office, Modern Family). Our wind-down-relax time rarely starts before 11pm.
The other night I was thinking about what a “typical” night looks like for us and I decided to snap a picture of what we were both doing right before our late dinner break.
Jason was installing a new bowl sink in the guest bathroom. The teal glass one was pretty but impractical – it has about 7 chips in after 3 years. (Only one of which was made by Jason or me.)
I was cutting and packaging wedding invitation orders for my etsy shop.
Will we ever have simple evenings and neat-and-tidy lives? Probably not. That’s why I’m one good beach vacation away from a quarter life crisis.
7 Comments | Art, Art: graphic design, Art: interior design, Family, Family: Extended Family and Friends, Family: Me | Tagged: freelance, home projects, typical evening, work | Permalink
Posted by mahlbrandt