1982 – The world is blessed with the birth of Jason Ahlbrandt
1984 – Jason’s life feels more complete (though he thinks it’s from his toy dinosaurs) when Martina is born 60 miles away
1991 – Martina discovers a love for art, encourage by an art teacher who tell her “there are no mistakes in art!”
1994 – Jason starts playing guitar and secretly dreams to one day play on a stage in front of thousands of people. He spends the next 5 years locked in his room, playing until his fingers bleed.
1999 – Jason and Martina meet at church in Erie, PA (at 16 and 14 years old)
2000 – After a near break up, we realize that we’ve been cutting off the rest of the world and we do indeed need friends and time apart from each other. Things get better. We talk a lot about the future.
2001 – Martina gets her driver’s license. Jason graduates from high school. In his yearbook, he’s named Best Dressed AND Most Talented. Martina agrees.
2002 – Days after Martina’s high school graduation, Jason proposes. She enthusiastically says yes. Just before entering college Martina discovers graphic design, the marriage of her two loves and considerations for a degree: computers (too boring) and art (to futile)
2003 – We get married at the church where we met. We nearly freeze to death the first winter in the drafty second story of an old house we rent and vow to move somewhere warmer ASAP.
2004 – We move to Nashville, TN for Jason to pursue a music career and Martina to pursue a graphic design career. (Jason’s younger brother Dan comes along, not wanting to be left behind in the frozen tundra and ready for the big adventure in Nashville.)
2005 – We buy our first house, a Frank Lloyd Wright inspiration in a new sub-division in Madison, TN. Martina gets her first graphic design job at Nashville Lifestyles Magazine. Jason works a couple part time jobs while managing (singing, playing, writing, booking, networking) his band Waterside. Another friend from Erie, Jon, moves to Nashville and lives with us for a few months. We feel blessed to have a home we can share with others. Dan meets Ginger, gets married and moves out. It’s just the two of us again.
2006 – Martina graduates from Watkins College of Art & Design
2007 – We sell our starter home and buy a 1954 mid-century modern ranch close to downtown Nashville (narrowly missing the great housing market crash). Martina gets a job at a magazine and web publishing company. Cocker spaniel Lucy joins our family.
2008 & 2009 – We do a lot of home projects and fall in love with mid-century modern design and values. Martina starts this blog. Jason moves into full time self-employment as a musician (which means dropping the job he had at Starbucks for 5 years).
2010 – We decide we’re ready to grow our family.
2011 – We start the process to become foster parents in the spring and begin officially in July with “Ladybug” and then “Precious.” After getting custody of Precious/Alianna in November, we realize we need more bedrooms so we can foster more kids. We put our beloved house on the market and buy a piece of land for sale in the same neighborhood.
2012 – In February, after selling our house, we move in with Martina’s parents and put our home on “closed” status with DCS. In June (on our 9th anniversary) we break ground for our new home. In July Ali turns one. In August her adoption is finalized. In December we move into our new dream home.
2013 – We launch ReAbide: New Life for Quality Vintage Furnishings. We reopen our home as foster parents in March 2013. First placement is “Buzz” at the beginning of May. In November, we got our 4th placement, “Bee,” at 6-months-old.
2014 – “Bee” left in February. In June we fostered tiny preemie “Firefly” for a month, found out in August that I was pregnant with “Froggie,” and then fostered “Pumpkin” for 3 days in October.
2015 – Jason went through some career transitions in the Spring, taking a new very busy touring gig with a country artist for several months while studying to get his real estate license. In April, our first biological child Zay was born. Shortly after getting licensed as a realtor, Jason returned to his previous touring gig. He’s now working full-time as a realtor and traveling several weekends a month as a guitarist. I’m still working full time as a graphic designer but 80% from home. I’ve also started doing homeschool preschool with Ali this year.
Parenting (Foster/Adoption/Birth) Timeline:
March 2011 – decide to become foster parents, start PATH training, home study, etc.
July 7, 2011 – approved as foster parents
July 28, 2011 – “Ladybug” is placed with us at 17 months old
September 1, 2011 – “Ladybug” exits state custody to move in with extended family
September 21, 2011 – “Precious” is placed with us at 2 months old
November 15, 2011 – “Precious”/Ali exits state custody into our custody to pursue private adoption
January 2012 – new (private agency) home study and petition for adoption submitted
February 28, 2012 – we close our home to new foster placements (because we temporarily live with parents while building a new home)
August 7, 2012 – Ali’s adoption is finalized; she’s officially Alianna Mae Ahlbrandt
March 2013 – reopen our (new) home as foster parents
May 3, 2013 – “Buzz” is placed with us at 2.5 years old
August 2, 2013 – “Buzz” is reunited with his mom. Foster care success!
November 21, 2013 – “Bee” is placed with us at 6 months old
February 20, 2014 – “Bee” moved to her relatives home out of state through ICPC
June 4, 2014 – “Firefly” preemie newborn is placed with us, straight from the NICU at 3 weeks old.
July 3, 2014 – “Firefly”‘s case is dismissed and he’s returned to his parents.
August 12, 2014 – discover that I’m pregnant!
October 13, 2014 – “Pumpkin” is placed with us at 1 month old
October 16, 2014 – “Pumpkin” exits state custody to an adoptive placment
April 26, 2015 – Isaiah is born.